10

I have a client who used a licensed script as a foundation to their site. They paid for the license and it is a lifetime, single-site license. There are no more details than that concerning the license on the script website. My client just asked me to remove any mention of the script name from the code as well as the logos and footers visible to the user. I can understand removing the visible branding, but I'm a little wary to remove the copyright statements in the comments of the code. What are your thoughts?

  • Just out of interest are they able to reading HTML/PHP or whatever it maybe? How do they know your name is in the code - not encouraging anything just curious – tim.baker Dec 20 '13 at 23:23
  • If they opened up any of the PHP files they could see the copyright. It is not my name, but another developer who built this engine. – Hawkee Jan 3 '14 at 2:42
11

NOTE: I am not and have never been an attorney. I post merely based upon my own experience over a freelance career spanning a couple decades. For legal advice, it is always best to speak to an attorney directly.

First, I'd contact the product producer and ask about branding/copyright removal. It's often not an issue with additional fees.

Second, I'd express to the client that simply removing the branding/copyright may be against the terms of service for the product and could possibly result in legal action on behalf of Company X (product owner).

Third, your contract should state something about you adhering to and abiding by all legal restrictions in good faith but you are not to be held liable for specific requests made by the client which may be outside the terms of use of any product/service used.

If you've done the three above items... remove the branding. The onus then falls on the client to protect themselves. It's also wise to retain all communications regarding the matter.

  • @RKS - I removed the comments on this post. Our site isn't intended for discussion or debate, and comments are intended to help improve a post or seek clarification. If you can't be constructive in your feedback to Scott, please just refrain from commenting. Thank you. – jmort253 Dec 21 '13 at 17:38
1

I would always advise you from doing something which you know is not legally right. As a lawyer, I'd argue that correspondence about illegal matters is grounds to further hold a person responsible as clearly knew what he was doing was the wrong thing to do. The same way a soldier in Iraq isn't allowed to fall back on the excuse they murdered unarmed civilians because their commander told them to do it. If they know it's an unlawful order, they will be held accountable.

Now on to my own personal experience, I have been asked to do this by an employer (distinction between client) on several occasions. All of these times I refused and explained why it was wrong and why I wouldn't do it. The first request was asking me to copy the entire code of a competitor's website and rebrand it as our own. For one, I explained you can't even see the bulk of their code that makes their site work, but even just the visual appearance is copyrighted material. They also asked on another occasion for me to use a logo for another company and turn it into a logo for one of their companies. Their reasoning, "the owner company is a Mexican company and they don't have copyright laws."

As you can see, these situations are different than yours, however, you have no idea if the terms of the license state the copyright must remain intact. Until you know this information, you could be fully within the rights the company purchased, or you may be doing the wrong thing. Don't be that guy.

  • Hey RKS, I removed the portions attacking Scott directly. It's okay to disagree, but allowing personal attacks towards users on our site is unprofessional and goes against the rule on our site to be nice. – jmort253 Dec 21 '13 at 17:34
  • That edit is a little better, but I would still like to either close or ask Scott to back up his comments that the onus is on the client. That was the important aspect of the answer I feel reflects from where this disagreement stems. – o_O Dec 21 '13 at 18:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.