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#1 webdevfreak  Icon User is offline

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Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 12 September 2014 - 02:04 AM

Dear dream.in.code forum members,

I have some bigger issues with my employer and I would like to share it with you in hope to get some useful suggestions what to do.
So, after more than almost 2 months of work on one bigger web application, my mate and I successfully finished it for our employer whose job was to sell it to other customers. Since we had to show our application to potential clients, we have uploaded a trial version on a web server of our employer. After few months of waiting to be paid for our work and listening to promises about potential customers and our payment from our employer, we decided to remove our app from the server and forbid the use of application to our employer. We were (and still are) almost sure that his promises are just lies and we are pretty sure that he really doesn't care about our really hard work on that great and beautiful app.
After deleting database and app files from the server we wanted to start finding clients by ourselves. After few days we noticed that our employer uploaded all application and database files back to the server (obviously he has made a backup in the mean time). Moreover, he changed all server (cpanel) login details and simply blocked us from accessing our application on his server. In other words, he stole our application from us (even it was a beta test/trial version).

Since I'm disappointed and frustrated, I would like to hear what you think about that and what should we do? We have our copyrights because we are the creators of this app. This app can be used by many different users for their own purposes.

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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 12 September 2014 - 06:39 AM

What do you mean "employer"? Is this a X month contract job, a salary job, or someone you just approached? Were you paid to specifically make this app, or was it something you concocted on the side?

Either way - the only answer is lawyer up.
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#3 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 12 September 2014 - 07:40 AM

I'm not reading anything about a contract...

If your 'employer' is 9 to 5 work that you were hired to perform, you maybe shit out of luck. I'd consult a lawyer.

If you have a contract & his actions are outside of said contract, I'd consult a lawyer.

If you have no contract, you maybe shit out of luck & can chalk this up as hard earned experience.

Everything is peaches & cream when it's still wishful thinking. Once the money is involved, everyone is fighting. Contracts help prevent this, & give legal power to correct this.
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#4 webdevfreak  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 12 September 2014 - 08:19 AM

Hi,

we didn't make any contract because employer (person who asked us if we would like to create that web app in order to start selling it to different companies and customers) told us that after we develop it we will discuss about earning and so on. So we started developing this app and we didnt think about bad outcome with him. However this is funny because whole app is our work even the trial version is currently published for testing purposes. We can prove it's ours creation because we've got a bunch of previous versions that aren't published even in testing purposes.

The only bad thing is that this version of app is on his server as we had to put it somewhere. We didn't think he could be such an a**hole as we were in touch everyday and discussed about everything.


he told us what we should do and what app should consist of but that doesn't mean that app is his creation so he shouldn't have any rights to use it. we didn't make any contract that would allow him to use it. My mate and I should be the only ones who have all rights (copyrights).

Isn't that true?
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#5 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 12 September 2014 - 08:24 AM

In theory, but each country's law (and local area law) is different. Whining to the internet is not going to solve the problem, nor are you going to find some compelling gem of a logical argument to make this guy go "aww hell. That is totes the truth. Here's a big sack of money I promised you".

Listen to me the - only thing to do is remember those three little words: lawyer up now. The sequel would be called: get a lawyer.

The sooner the better, or you can do as no2 suggested and chalk it up to a learning experience about making some trial app. Well.. at least it as just a trial app.
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#6 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 13 September 2014 - 05:52 PM

View Postwebdevfreak, on 12 September 2014 - 11:19 AM, said:

we didn't make any contract because
...
We didn't think he could be such an a**hole


Experience. You didn't know & therefor you didn't get a contract. You'll know next time.

There isn't much you can do. Check with a lawyer, but you pretty much got con'ed, screwed, fucked, or whatever by someone that knew better & watched you make the mistake of not getting it in writing.

** Update **
Two things to follow up with :

1.) You can send a cease & desist. Though it's probably financially smart to just walk away. You're going to spend thousands in legal fees & if you have no way of recouping that with your app (since he's the guy selling it, I'm assuming he has all the connections) there isn't any reason (other than right) to continue the leagl pursuit.

2.) Anyone that shys away from a contract, in any business relationship, is doing so for a reason & should be red flag #1. If they are unwilling to put their name to a legal document, you should be unwilling to commit to a product. The biggest thing you are going to need to overcome is being young & excited. Everything seems hunky dory up front. But tales of any internet business will always show that it's never a pleasant story. Someone got screwed along the way, & in some cases it doesn't tank the business.
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#7 webdevfreak  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 14 September 2014 - 03:40 AM

Guys, thank you for all of your support and have a nice day.

You've helped me a lot with your suggestions. Thanks.
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#8 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 14 September 2014 - 06:29 PM

I'll be interested in seeing how this ends, please do let us know (atleast somewhat)
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#9 webdevfreak  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 14 September 2014 - 09:14 PM

ofcourse!
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#10 laytonsdad  Icon User is offline

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Re: Employer trying to steal our web app

Posted 15 September 2014 - 12:59 AM

Someone once told me "There are no friends in business" I find this to be true in all markets. When money is involved, many will squirrel to get the upper-hand. Be smart and cover your backside next time.

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This post has been edited by laytonsdad: 15 September 2014 - 01:05 AM

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