I have developed a unique website but do not have a lot of fund to protect it with trademark or patents. I'm looking for suggestions so that when my supervisor gets my codes, some laws restrict anyone from copying it and claim their work. I'm in the middle of thinking, making the application a commercial one or never allowing it to be copied at all. What kind of steps am I required to take in order to make full measurements so my applications are fully-protected?

I've come across a few, one under my consideration is MIT license. Some say we can have a mixture of both commercial and MIT. I would also like to be able to distribute some functions so it can be modified by others but I'd still retain the ownership.

Last but not least, it's confusing when I think of protecting the whole website, and protecting codes by codes in division. How should we go about this?


Check with a lawyer. Odds are surprisingly high that the university already legally owns the source code. However in the USA universities are generally fairly willing to license your code back to you. So if you want to, say, build a startup using the website you have built, you probably will be able to. But you need to cooperate with the university, not make them into adversaries.

  • 7
    +1 for check with a lawyer. Any comment we make is pure speculation and could lead down the wrong path. Feb 14 '11 at 17:41
  • But it isn't affordable to look for a lawyer according to my situation. I don't have a lot of income for that. Feb 15 '11 at 7:16
  • @john-maxim: If you can't afford a lawyer, then poke around on your university's website, or ask the administration, for a copyright and intellectual property policy. Odds are that you'll find a document, written by lawyers, that outlines exactly the position that the university will take.
    – btilly
    Feb 15 '11 at 14:22
  • I know there's no specific answer for this type, so I'm ticking as answered. Still don't know if there are licences information from the Uni's web, will talk to them on Friday. Till then I don't know what's their policy with students' programming codes in terms of intellectual property rights. Thanks anyway.. Feb 15 '11 at 16:48

Be aware that no license can physically prevent someone from taking your code, copying and reselling it. The only thing a license does is announce your intention to sue anybody who tries to violate it.

That means if you cannot afford a lawyer to write a good license for your agreement, then you likely cannot afford a lawyer to sue the person who tries to steal your code.

  • At the present moment, I can't afford a lawyer. Feb 15 '11 at 10:28

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