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Selling Code

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Hi there, I've been working on the GUI (and other) code for quite some time and I got it to the point where it has been coverted into a commercial product. The only things that needs to be done is the creation of documentation, additional art and other some minor details. My question is, how can I sell this code so that it is secure (enough) and will not be re-distributed without my knowledge? I know that I can create a library or an SDK, but I have no idea on what is involved in the distribution process. Can you please direct me on to the right track please? Any links, suggestions and comments are welcome. Thank you.

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Hey,

I'm just going to talk about the distribution format, and not the actual documentation, etc requirements.

If you're concerned about your source getting stolen, distibute it as either a .lib or .dll [with a nice clean interface and provided .h files to link it all up]. Of course, you can't charge source prices then, and most people will ignore your implementation - because source is the most important thing to most developers.

If you give them your source, then there's really no way to stop people from redistributing. Sure, you can make them sign legal documents [again, a turnoff for developers], or somehow tag each copy so that you can tell who started pirating it, but ultimately you just have to trust the people who you sell it to.

CJM

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Agreed. Anyone who is prepared to pay for your code is probably not wanting to give it away for free IMO. If you just release the .libs people can still give them away free. When you sell, get the address of the buyer and put in a clause that they can't distribute your property. You can probably put a key in a header to uniquely mark each version too.

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OK, I understand what you are both saying and I agree with you on that.
Next step would be in how to distribute that source. Can you help me with that too? Is it a similar process that in setting up your own game business or is it something else?

What I think it is similar to game business setup for all indy companies, but is there any resources on that except as on Gamasutra or GameDev?

Thank you.

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Quote:
Original post by HellRiZZer
Hi there,

I've been working on the GUI (and other) code for quite some time and I got it to the point where it has been coverted into a commercial product. The only things that needs to be done is the creation of documentation, additional art and other some minor details.

My question is, how can I sell this code so that it is secure (enough) and will not be re-distributed without my knowledge? I know that I can create a library or an SDK, but I have no idea on what is involved in the distribution process.

Can you please direct me on to the right track please? Any links, suggestions and comments are welcome.


Thank you.


Don't worry about people stealing it - you can't stop them anyway. Any real company will pay for it rathar then risk being sued.

The important thing to do is to copyright the work. The 'automatic' copyright cited by most people is in fact, almost worthless for suing people. You need to get a real copyright. I think it costs a couple hundred dollars for a US one.

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The 'automatic' copyright cited by most people is in fact, almost worthless for suing people

That depends on which country you are. In germany you have automatically full copyright (of couse enough to sue people because you cant get 'more' copyright - as far as I know) with the creation of a protectable work. You don't even need to write the 'copyright...' phrase - you have copyright with the creation.

Constantin

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You can't prevent someone from copying your software without your knowledge. At best you can make sure the installed copy is unique so that when you find it on warez you know who to sue.

You could encode the network card's number into the code so that it can only run on that particular machine it's been installed on initially. Another method is to have serial number stickers you have to key in during the installation. Or you 'stamp' the executables downloaded via your web site through a personalized account. Files saved with a per-customer version will be encoded with or contain the customer's serial number in some way.

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So, as you are saying, its a best to copyright it.
What I also was thinking is distributing binaries (e.g selling only Binaries!) and then, if someone will ask for code, ask about their (company) details, and only then sell them the code when you are pretty sure they are ok to sell SRC to.

Thanks.

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For starters, if its an expensive enough library do custom builds per customer for release builds. That is to say, release a custom linker (.lib) file to the same .dll. DO NOT let the .dll export with C names (leave it cryptic), thus pretty much requiring linkage to the library. Now in the linker library you want it to send a particular string to the dll (calls an initialization function) with the serial code. Then declare a segment in shared memory in the dll which will hold the particular serial code. Then all you need to do is write a program which loads up the same dll file, and reads the shared memory. You then know the serial number of any program released using your library. While this doesent cut out people copying, it successfully tracks them down.

As people mentioned before, if your selling code its probably valuable enough (worth enough cash) to be reason for them NOT to resell it. Make sure you do get the purchase in writing and have them legaly sign they will not rerelease your code, or use it in a library that is sold or used by other companies. Do sales on a per-project basis (or per company basis) and know what the project is for. If its an "engine" or "library" shake your head no.

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My main concern with this is that it sounds like you're wanting to sell the OpenGL GUI code you've released through SourceForge. I'm not sure about the legal side of it, so you may want to check you're not breaking any terms that you agreed to with them.

If it's a new GUI implementation (based on the same ideas) then I think you should be fine.

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Quote:
Original post by conman
Quote:

The 'automatic' copyright cited by most people is in fact, almost worthless for suing people

That depends on which country you are. In germany you have automatically full copyright (of couse enough to sue people because you cant get 'more' copyright - as far as I know) with the creation of a protectable work. You don't even need to write the 'copyright...' phrase - you have copyright with the creation.

Constantin


In the US the default copyright basically just protects you from someone else claiming the work is theres. However, others can still copy it and make money just so long as they give you credit. Its kind of strange.

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Yes, I am planning on selling the GUI (cross-platform this time) based on my OpenGL GUI. As far as I am concerned, SourceForge is restricted to licencing only code that is located on it (or am I wrong?).
I'm already in process of creating additional tools (Editors, etc), so that I could sell a fully fledged product that can compete with the rest out there.

Thanks for help everybody.

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