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Topic:
Who owns the program when the project is done?
This thread has 305 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:09
juliejacobson
CE Pro Magazine
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Do you give the customer your programming code when they're paid up ... in case you go out of business or something?

Please share any stories. I"m getting calls from homeowners.

thanks
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Post 2 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:15
QQQ
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Yes, and it's the greatest travesty in our industry that dealers continue to take advantage of unknowing customers by not giving them the code, OR at a minimum informing/explaining to them what they will or will not be receiving it, and what that means. Of course the dealers who hold all code back don't want to have that conversation, because then the customers would demand it. And the less someone knows, the easier it is to take advantage of them.

Last edited by QQQ on January 27, 2009 22:26.
Post 3 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:19
39 Cent Stamp
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There was a thread here about this a while back.

Some of us think the code belongs to the programmer and the customers bought a 1 time solution.

Some of us think the code belongs to the customer because the system should be easily upgraded.

I think the fair compromise is that the CI firm bills the client for the code.


The biggest problem is that the customers arent aware that they need the code until they need it. This is a standard/habit/policy that needs to be addressed and changed across our industry.

Reasons customers need code backups:

1.Original CI firm sucks. They need to hire someone to finish job.
2.Original CI firm is gone from the face of the earth. They need to hire someone to finish the job.
3.Customer is a cheap SOB and thinks they should be able to get free programming forever. These customers are the same ones who want to change their directv favorites every 2 weeks.

Adding to #3. These customers typically end up paying 2 or 3 times more trying to do things the wrong way vs. just calling up the original CI firm like they should have.
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Post 4 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:22
Stephane
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I don't since my remote programming is 'flat rate' . I believe (in this case) that the customer is not paying for the whole amount of time invested in GUI and graphics.
Post 5 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:22
cma
Super Member
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I work as an independant programmer for AMX, sometimes as a sub-contractor for another dealer, sometimes directly with the end user. I allways give out the code even though I use alot of custom made modules that I have developed over the years.
Post 6 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:24
shnakz69
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I never give my AMX or Crestron code to clients as the Intellectual rights belong to me, especially because i use alot of my personnaly written modules and our contracts state it very clearly.

URC, Pronto, and such i really dont care i also dont give out RTI mainly due to the software not being avaliable to non-dealers anyway.
Post 7 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:26
RTI Installer
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I give my customers what I call a death package,, It contains copys of notes and diagrams and thier RTI programing file, I dont give them the RTI software of course, just what another installer would need to get going, if my company were to fall off the planet. I think this should be common place for every installer, to provide to a paid in full customer. Customers who dont pay, well they can suck eggs and figure it out themselves
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Post 8 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:27
39 Cent Stamp
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.

Last edited by 39 Cent Stamp on January 28, 2009 19:53.
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Post 9 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:28
Stephane
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I believe a $400 'flat rate' remote control programming would be addressed differently than a 'charged by the hour' Crestron system
Post 10 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:36
39 Cent Stamp
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On January 27, 2009 at 22:19, 39 Cent Stamp said...
There was a thread here about this a while back.

Some of us think the code belongs to the programmer and
the customers bought a 1 time solution.

Some of us think the code belongs to the customer because
the system should be easily upgraded.

I think the fair compromise is that the CI firm bills
the client for the code.

The biggest problem is that the customers arent aware
that they need the code until they need it. This is a
standard/habit/policy that needs to be addressed and changed
across our industry.

Reasons customers need code backups:

1.Original CI firm sucks. They need to hire someone to
finish job.
2.Original CI firm is gone from the face of the earth.
They need to hire someone to finish the job.
3.Customer is a cheap SOB and thinks they should be able
to get free programming forever. These customers are the
same ones who want to change their directv favorites every
2 weeks.

Adding to #3. These customers typically end up paying
2 or 3 times more trying to do things the wrong way vs.
just calling up the original CI firm like they should
have.

Adding the link to the earlier thread about this topic..
[Link: remotecentral.com]
Avid Stamp Collector - I really love 39 Cent Stamps
OP | Post 11 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:45
juliejacobson
CE Pro Magazine
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What is a crestron or amx customer to do if dealers goes out of business and won't give up the code? They have to fork out another $50k for another installer to program from scratch?

I am going to educate consumers that they need to do business only with integrators that will give them (or sell them) the code or at least hold it in escrow in case something happens.

Is that unreasonable?
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OP | Post 12 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 22:50
juliejacobson
CE Pro Magazine
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any legal precedents on this topic?
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Post 13 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 23:00
Terrmul
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Due to the way most of our AMX code is programmed we give the client the whole code but some of the highly customised modules within that code are previously compiled and, therefore, remain "hidden". This allows the client to make changes, update system or panels, add or remove devices, change the installation set-up etc. without the need to rehire the original programmer but still protects the intellectual property of the original programmer.

For example:

Programmer spends many hours developing an uber-cool DirecTV module.

We don't bill the customer for all that time as the uber module will be used many times over.

We don't want the client hiring a new programmer who then "steals" the uber code to potentially distribute or re-use it many times over.

We DO WANT the customer to be able to take all rest of the code and manipulate or update as he sees fit even if that means not using us.

It can help to understand it this way:

A module is a brick and the code is the cement.

A client needs both the bricks and the cement for the system to work but, if needed, replacing a brick for a new one is relatively easy whereas replacing the cement would be cost prohibitive. I think of this as a win-win for both us and the customer. They get the best system and great value for money and we get repeatability, stable systems and profit.

Whether the touchpanel GUI's are template based or customised the customer owns them outright.

Our handheld remote codes are owned by the customer 100%.
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Post 14 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 23:14
tsvisser
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I think the key word here is "own". For software developers, that is a really key critical term. Software is almost never owned by consumers, it is licensed. Absolutely the end user must be protected, but it needs to be done in a manner that is fair to the software developer - simply congruent with all the other business entities out there that sell software.
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Post 15 made on Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 23:18
Trunk-Slammer -Supreme
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FWIW:


The programmer writes the code for the client, not for himself. The client is paying the bill so the client is paying for that code.


In my opinion the programmer should legally be bound to provide a cop of the program to the client.
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