WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Who Owns The Code?, Part 2 Concluding the discussion that we began in November. By Douglas Kleeger, CTS-D, DMC-E/S, XTP-E, KCD
hanks for all the feedback to my column from November, entitled “Who Owns The Code?” As you might have guessed, it drew comments from a number of different folks from several different areas of our industr y. As you might remember from Part 1, I discovered that there are still integration companies out there that do not turn over the programming code to the client at closeout—even after they are paid in full! I thought this issue, like others our industr y has encountered as we’ve matured, was one we had outgrown. However, it appears that this subject is not resolved, and there are those on both sides of the fence who have strong beliefs that their policies on this issue are fair and just.
Alexander Rosner Responds
As someone who has worked in this industr y for about 40 years, I want to give my two cents. But first, some background: I’ve sat in the chair of the Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), setting up the conferencing system through which he consults with the President of the United States. I have pulled cable in sweltering attics; I’ve been in the air, hanging loudspeakers that weighed hundreds of pounds; I’ve produced hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, or perhaps even millions. And it’s fair to say millions of people have benefited from work with which I’ve been involved. That’s the background from which I’m opining. For ever y project, a list is made of
“Yes, we provide everything that we have on the job that would help the client in the future, in case he no longer loves us and wants someone else to service him. Seems like it’s the right thing to do, especially when I’ve been on the other side of things, coming into a job done by someone else!” Company Profile: Rosner Custom Sound, based in Long Island City NY, is a sound contracting firm that also does video. It specializes in engineered sound and video systems for entertainment, education and worship since 1959. Rosner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 24 Sound & Communications February 2019
Mike West Responds
what you have to do and what you need, right? And there’s always a line item for programming, correct? The company providing the ser vice does this for a profit. So, when the project is complete, all pieces of the project— from the cabling, to the devices, to the labor, to the intellectual property (design and programming)—are now, in my opinion, the property of the one who paid for it: the client! I just do not see, after the project is completed, how an integrator can withhold the uncompiled code and prevent clients from having someone else work on their system that they paid for! So, let’s turn to the responses I received. Over whelmingly, it appears
“It has been our practice for years to provide the code, audio files, drawings and serial numbers with the closeout documentation. It is our opinion that the customer owns the code the moment a PO is received. We also provide a one-year warranty for all systems we install.” Company Profile: Founded in 1997 in Huntsville AL, Quantum Technologies, Inc., is a professional audio, video, control and videoconference system design and integration firm, specializing in serving commercial, civilian and federal government customers for more than 20 years. West can be reached at email@example.com.