Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 11:45:30 -0400
Reply-To: Ray Pass <raypass@ATT.NET>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: Ray Pass <raypass@ATT.NET>
Subject: Re: Ask independent consultant: Should I give out the code?
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
I'd like to weigh in firmly on the side of Mad Doggy here. I have never
even considered keeping any code that I produce while on a client's time as
mine and not theirs. The way I see it is that they are paying for my time
and expertise, and while I am on their clock, anything I produce is
theirs. I also almost always end up working closely with one or more
employees of the client on a team, and much of the code produced is done on
teamwork basis, even if I do the vast lion's share of it. I always feel
that I am not only providing usable code, but I'm also instructing the
people I work directly with in how and why I did what I did, so that they
can maintain it after I am out of the picture. I have never found this to
be eliminating the need for my services. On the contrary, as Michael would
agree I'm sure, it only enhances my value for continued assignments. It
would be different if I created an application while totally on my own time
and then "sold" it to a client. They then would not be paying for my time,
but rather for a product that I had previously produced.
Another piece of this puzzle is that although I often begin to develop on
my own PC, I always at some optimal point transfer my code to my client's
system and execute it from there. At that point, not only is it their
code, but it's on their equipment.
I will say that this is just the way I choose to work. I'm sure that
Michael will agree that it is not the only model. As others have said, you
will have to make your own decision based on your own set of
circumstances. Good luck.
At 09:55 AM 10/26/2001 -0400, Michael L. Davis wrote:
>Hello Chuck and other friends,
>A lot of folks worry about what the lawyers say. I've never adopted that
>point of view. From the first day I've consulted (eight years now), I've
>told clients that the code that they have hired me to create is
>theirs. They can do anything with it that they please. I've even flipped
>them a copy of the source code from my archive after they've "misplaced
>it". I do my best to document and comment it.
>I'm personally committed to helping clients so that my coding projects can
>be reused and so that the consultants and employees that follow me can
>maintain and expand my work. Altrustic? Maybe but I believe I can get a
>better rate by maximizing the value of the programming that I deliver.
>On the other hand, once I go out the door, if the client want me to make
>changes or modifications, they need to rehire me to perform them. Also,
>anything I learn about SAS programming (not their proprietary business
>secrets!) is mine to reuse on the next gig. I've had to have contracts
>that clients propose to me revised to make that clear.
>- Michael "Mad Doggy" Davis
>At 08:12 AM 10/26/2001 -0400, Charles Patridge
>>There are several viewpoints on this question from my perspective:
>>1. Since you have not signed a contract and you imply your client only
>>wants the analysis (which inplies the output and some kind of written
>>document), you are not obligated to handover your programming code.
>>And as such, this code that you write can legally be argued as copyrighted
>>by intellectual property rights as well as software copyrights.
>>2. Should your client decide after the fact, they wish for the programming
>>code, you may be able to convince your client that it is for sale at some
>>price that is mutually agreeable. However, with most statistical software,
>>the code is a key ingredient but MORE IMPORTANTLY is the ability to
>>interpret the results in a correct manner which involves your ability as a
>>statistician to interpret these results. This is really what makes you
>>valuable to your client, and hopefully you should be able to convince them
>>as such. And hopefully, they will understand this to continue keeping you
>>on a retainer basis provided they value your statistical skills.
>>3. From my perspective and experience, I often provide my code (open
>>source) to my clients as part of my contract with the idea the code is not
>>to be re-sold or re-used for external purposes and it copyrighted under my
>>name. This has made for long-term and continued working relationships
>>implying more contracts for me. This is my humble opinion.
>>In addition, for perspective clients, I will also provide open code to a
>>point. That is, I will make most but NOT all code available for them to
>>use and test but not to be re-sold or used for generating revenues or to be
>>used for external use. This approach has frequently produced new clients
>>as well as clients who have decided to try going the rest on their own
>>without my services. I can not qualify how much business I may have lost
>>in the latter but I do know it has only helped solidify my reputation as
>>being trustworthy, honest and easy to deal with.
>>In conclusion, the decision to share open code it ultimately up to the
>>author and what that decision may do to the working relationships he/she
>>develops with their respective clients.
>>I would be interested in seeing what other consultants have to say on this
>>topic as I am sure where will be varying opinions.
>Michael L. Davis
>Bassett Consulting Services, Inc.
>10 Pleasant Drive
>North Haven CT 06473-3712
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