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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
Just wondering: currently my apps, in the About window, state: "(c) 2015 MyName". Since I'll be relaunching my website with a new design, I'm thinking it should say "(c) 2015 CompanyName" instead, to appear more professional, rather than a personal indie app.
The only thing that bothers me, is my company name isn't registered yet. Would that cause legal problems later? Can someone "steal" my app/intellectual property if they register my company name and claim the app is thus theirs, because the About box says "(c) 2015 CompanyName"?
I'm not aware of any legal issue using "(c) 2015 Mick Dundee" for now and "(c) Dundee Pty Ltd" later.
I believe you can transfer copyright ownership from you as an individual entity to your company (as a separate legal entity). Whether that may incur costs is another question (as you're transferring something of commercial value).
As you're probably aware, ASIC stipulates minimum requirements for company creation such as office holders:
While a new company is more expensive, you can buy a shelf company for around $100 AUD.
The best advice you can get here for these types of questions is 'seek professional advice'.
Having said all that, do you *need* that level of detail right now (i.e. who should I assign copyright ownership to)?
Perhaps you'll get a better ROI simply focusing on getting the product out there and coming back to take care of the minuate when it matters.
All the best -
As far as name, I'd use your name and not the company one unless you are really working for a company and transferring copyright to it, meaning relinquishing your rights in the future should you get bought out or what not. Preferable to allow the company to have a license to use your software anyway.
I agree with Scott, don't use a company name that does not exists yet!
If you want to appear more professional, I know in my country at least, a self employed person can register a business name they trade as for something like 30 euro, This way you can legally trade under a different name.
I would imaging (IANAL) using a company name that doesn't exist is in some way fraudulent and I would totally advise against doing this.
"Unless they're some further legal/risky reason not to?"
To some extent it depends on what your objectives are.
From a tax and legal perspective, you *are* the business (if you just register a business name. What the business owns - you own. What tax obligations the business incurs are your obligations.
If the business owns copyright of the app, that's not really different from you owning it. Using the business name for the copyright is semantics.
A company is a separate legal entity. You are *not* the company (merely a shareholder, director and employee). The tax and legal obligations of the company are not yours.
So if you assign copyright to the company, the company owns if not you. If someone violates that copyright, the onus would be on the company to take action.
At this stage in the game though, does it make a difference?
All the best -
Let me try and put your mind at ease. When you're tiny and making $1000/month or less, _nobody_ care who you are or what your software does. You'll find it's even hard to give it away to more than a few hundred people. Even paying people to try it would be surprisingly hard.
Nobody cares until you've got a viable business bringing in some real money. At that point register, get lawyers, copyright, whatever. But right now (as far as the other 8 billion people on earth are concerned) you're not much different from a high school kid who just wrote some little utility app. I'm not trying to mean, just realistic. I get the paranoia (have some myself) but don't let fear control your business or your life.
"I recall there's an issue with (c) not being a valid copyright notice. You want either the full word copyright or the © symbol."
False. You only need show you wrote it first; you automatically own copyright as the author.
Friday, May 15, 2015
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