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MCART Software Development Policy

Once accepted by both parties, a request for software development creates a contract between a group purchasing the software (the "client") and the group providing the software ("MCART").

This document details our policies concerning the intellectual property rights of software provided by MCART to a client. If the terms or language of this agreement is not satisfactory, the client may negotiate an alternative with MCART, which will override these terms.

General copyright law

A basic principle of copyright law is that copyright is vested in the author of the work, at the time the material is created. There are two principal exceptions:

  1. If a signed contract exists between the parties that assigns the rights from the author to a third party;
  2. If the work is "work for hire" (in which the author is a "bona fide employee", i.e., receives employee benefits, and is be treated by the purchasing business as an employee for tax purposes)

Generally, unless there is a signed contract between a consultant and the client, copyright ownership typically belongs to the author. In the case of software, the client usually will own a single copy or a non-exclusive license to use the software. Unsigned writings, oral contracts and understandings are normally not valid to transfer copyright ownership.

Traditional code and open source code

Source code is the set of human-readable commands written by computer programmers to perform certain computer functions. Access to this code is necessary in order to create new releases, fix bugs and modify software.

  • Under the traditional model, the extent to which the software may be modified or distributed is limited to the developer or to whom the developer has assigned the rights to do as such. This model is often favored, as it protects both the developer's and client's investment.
  • Under the"open source" model, software programs are created by a group of volunteer developers who make it freely available for use, often without cost. "Open source code" is frequently distributed to users, which is not the case under a traditional license arrangement.

Importantly, both models are subject to a license agreement. A key provision typically included in an open-source license provides that when open-source code is incorporated into a commercial software program, the entire combined product must be available for public distribution.

Development types

There are choices for access to and modification of the source code:

NormalMCART both creates original code and draws on our own library to develop software. Code developed may be submitted to the library for use in other tasks. As "normal" development is inexpensive and allows MCART to provide maximum support, this option is the popular.Inexpensive, most flexible
AdaptiveMCART minimally modifies existing MCART library code to suit the client's cosmetic and functional requirements. This is generally the least expensive option, but is limited to pre-coded functionality that MCART has "ready-to-tailor."Least expensive, least flexible
ExclusiveMCART develops all original code during the project. No library code is used.Most expensive / least flexible
Open sourceMCART develops code drawing only on "open source" code, and make the result--including any new code developed--publicly available.Billed by hour only

Intellectual Property Rights

The intellectual property of MCART generated code depends on the development type:

NormalThe client gains full rights to use the software as provided, but may not copy, modify or redistribute the code, except to make normal backups. MCART retains the rights to reuse any of the code developed during the project, either in whole, or in part.
AdaptiveMCART retains full intellectual property rights to all code (and other results, innovations, etc) performed for the task
ExclusiveThe client is purchasing full and exclusive intellectual property rights to the software and its code. Please note that though the development is "from scratch", it may still use MCART infrastructures that may affect the software's functionality, such as hosting. Purchasing exclusive rights does not necessarily guarantee portability.
Open sourceNeither the client nor MCART retains any rights to the code. All rights to the software fall under the General Public License (GNU GPL). For more information, please see http://www.gnu.org.

Note on data access

In all cases, the client always retains full control over the rights to their own data. MCART will either build a method into the system to enable the client to retrieve data from the software directly, or remain available to extract the data. In the case of the dissolution of MCART, the client is permitted to modify the code as necessary to retrieve client data from the system.

Guarantee of functionality

MCART guarantees its software to perform all functions as specified in the original proposal in a "bug free" manner.

A bug is defined as a programming error in source code that has been written or modified by MCART that causes the program to malfunction or terminate when used as intended.

If a bug in our program source code syntax or logic, we correct the problem at no charge. If the problem is due to a system configuration, a network error, or issues related to entry of data not foreseen as use, our regular rates may apply.

Please note that regardless of the development type, MCART can guarantee the functionality of software only if it has been modified or developed exclusively by MCART personnel.

Liability

MCART will not be liable for costs, expenses, losses, or damages, either general, special, actual, consequential, or incidental, that you may suffer, or that some other person may suffer and claim against you, resulting from use, misuse, outage, delivery, or failure to deliver MCART code or services.

Applicability

This software development policy is subject to national legislation where the work is completed. In Switzerland, this document is Loi fédérale sur le droit d'auteur et les droits voisin, 1er juillet, 1995 (cf. 3.1, Art. 10.3). For more infomation, or for specific documents regarding national legislation, please see the website of the World Intellectual Property Organization, at http://clea.wipo.int/clea/lpext.dll/Folder/Infobase/.

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