Web Development without a contract
First let me say that I know this isn't a place for expert legal help; I just want to get some initial feedback.
Second let me say that I know I screwed up. I am just looking for possible ways to mitigate this situation.
I have contacted a freelancer to make my site for me. My problem is that I did not get him to sign a contract stating that I own all the code he writes. So far, I have only paid him 10% of his invoice so far ($50,000). I am also just an individual (no llc or corp.) He is now turning around and using the software to start his own business (almost exactly the same).
I don't have a physical copy of the code yet since I have not finished paying him. Do I have a legit license to the code? Do I need to pay him in full before I get access to the code? Is it possible I have to claim (license) to the code at all?
I really appreciate any resources you can link to, or any anecdotal stories you may have.
Please be nice I know I screwed up big
Um, holy cow.
Off the top of my head, I think it would be better, sooner rather than later, to have a sit-down and discuss this with him now. Tell him what you want, he'll tell you what he wants, and you can hopefully come to a mutual, written agreement for what happens next. Aside from the issue of who owns the code, do you have any signed documentation on what you're supposed to get for your $50K?
There was nothing signed; I have emails, but they don't really go over money or ownership aspects.
I think I just need to bite the bullet and compromise with him, even if it means giving up half the company.
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