Years ago I developed a website in Flash for one of my clients. I was in charge of code/animation and also maintaining Hosting and Domain.

I also have a basic contract with my client and in the contract it does not mention who is the owner for the code.

My Client (ex client) decided suddenly to work with a different company, so they moved the website without asking my permission and left me with unpaid bills for hosting and domain registration.

Now the website is running on the same name but with a different extension, the website is managed by my competitor.

The other company probably used some SWF Decompiler and uploaded the entire website on the new domain.

My question:

  • Even if in our contract it is not mentioned who the owner of the code/website, I would like to know if I have some right on the code/website I developed?
  • Do you now any international regulation on this matter (I'm in Europe)?

If you like please share your opinion or similar story on this, I would appreciate it.

migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 19 '11 at 10:09

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

  • I have some knowledge of US law on the matter (although IANAL), but none on European law, and since you don't bother to tell us the country or countries involved I couldn't guess as specifics. Talk to a lawyer, and in the future write contracts that specify what copyrights or licensing the client gets. (Run those contracts by a lawyer also, as not all such contracts would, to the best of my understanding, be legal in the US.) – David Thornley Apr 19 '11 at 13:58

Ask your local lawyer. Only he can help you.


Depending on your contract, normally the IP is yours until you're paid, but you really need it spelled out in the contract to have the best fallback (this is a good video to watch: http://vimeo.com/22053820). Have you been paid at all or just not fully?

Why do you think that your competitor used a SWF Decompiler to upload the site? If nothing has changed they could just save off the SWF and uploaded it.

My advice would be to get a lawyer and discuss it with them, as depending where you are, the law could be different.

  • Hi, I was not payed at all. I suppose the competitors has used SWF Decompiler because I do not grant FTP access to theme by contract.I do not think they simply save the files because, I try first hand myself and this approach did not work. Thanks for your comment – GibboK Apr 19 '11 at 9:24
  • 1
    @GibboK: If the files are out there, they can be retrieved (and easily). – Joel Etherton Apr 19 '11 at 10:24
  • That all depends on the contract. Mine states everything I create is owned by the customer. Of course if there's no payment the contract is in dispute so ownership of the product is also in dispute. – jwenting Apr 19 '11 at 12:30

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