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I have a question about IP in freelancing. What types terms would you put in an IP agreement with a client to ensure that:

  • Any code you use from your own code base (convenience code or frameworks) remains your property and not the client's.

    • Further on this one: How do I even begin to define what's mine and what's newly generated IP for the purpose of the product. To exaggerate my point: why is a for-loop not their IP? How do I make it that a convenience script for displaying multiple images in a grid is also not their IP? Where and how should I draw the line?
  • Any third party open source code must be used in accordance with its respective licencing agreement.

I'm interested in answers from a strictly legal perspective, but also just as much, I'd like to know how you handle this in practice.


Maybe helpful note: I'm in data science and prototype software dev, so I lot of the code I use to develop a solution doesn't actually go into a final product. And I port over a lot of helper code from other personal projects or client projects. I never know how to define what's mine and what's theirs.

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  • Couldn't you just upload your scripts to GitHub with the relevant license that suits you? Then it's like any other 3rd party library. Or include a list of 3rd party libraries, including yours along with the license terms with the project. Basically what I'm saying is apply a license to your code, then make sure its stated that those libraries are covered by a specific license
    – Dan Harris
    Feb 3, 2021 at 1:04
  • Thanks @DanHarris for the respones. Yes I could for a lot of it. Although there are parts which are more dynamic - tweaks I might come up with on the spot. Even though I cam up with it while doing the work for the client, it's still highly generic and stuff I would reuse later. Feb 3, 2021 at 8:28

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