Click on any of the questions below to reveal the answer:
Why would I need an App Developer Contract?
- As an Owner: If you have come up with a great idea for an App and need someone to design and code it for you, you want to ensure you hire someone who will keep the idea confidential. You want to ensure you both understand exactly and agree what work is to be completed. You also want to be protected, for example, to ensure they provide professional work, do not use other people’s material and, importantly, ensure you own all the work and material at the end of the assignment.
As a Coder: You want to be able to provide your clients with a professional Contract that ensures you are clear about what you are agreeing to do on the project and that you are paid for each phase or for the whole job. For example, if the Owner changes the App design or functionality as you are working, the Contract provides for payment of any variation agreed and also gives you the option of not agreeing to do the work on the variation but still have a right to payment for work completed.
What if there is a dispute about services provided or project terms?
- The best way to minimize misunderstandings and ensure clarity of expectations between both parties is to clearly define the project or services in the App Development Contract. The more detail an App Owner provides to the Coder, the more likely it will be understood and delivered.
Creative design elements can be particularly tricky to communicate effectively. If you are the App Owner, it is best to give as many photos, pictures and examples as you can find to the service provider.
In addition, ensure that the Coder knows that this is all part of your idea for your business and forms part of the confidential information that is not to be disclosed or used for other clients. This will help ensure your idea is protected.
What happens if the App Owner and Coder can’t resolve an issue?
- In the event that the App Owner and Coder have a genuine dispute about the quality of the work, there is a clause in the App Development Contract requiring both parties to submit to an independent, specialist arbitrator who will decide the matter. In this case, both parties agree to abide by whatever the arbitrator determines and pay their own costs.
Can I use the App Developer Contract to hire a Coder or sell my services in another State?
- Yes. You can specify in the “Schedule” that forms part of the agreement the Australian State or Territory you would prefer to govern your Contract. It is recommended that the State you are located be specified as the jurisdiction. Otherwise in the event of a dispute, if you have not specified your State, you may have to pay for advice from someone who is familiar with the jurisdiction of your service provider and possibly incur further costs for travel and dispute resolution in that State.
How do I sign or “execute” an App Developer Contract?
- If the App Owner and Coder meet in person, both parties can sign 2 copies of the App Developer Contract and exchange them (i.e. App Owner and Coder sign two copies and each keep one).
- However, if a face-to-face meeting is not possible or practical, the next best alternative is for one party to sign 2 copies and post both to the other party. The other party then signs both, keeps one and sends the other one back.
- If this is not possible, then one party can fax their signed copy of the App Developer Contract to the other party who then signs it and faxes it back.
- As a last resort, the App Developer Contract can be emailed between the 2 parties with an accompanying message agreeing to the terms. The is the least satisfactory arrangement and provides less protection than an original signed copy.
Does an App Developer Contract need to be witnessed?
- No. An App Developer Contract does not need to be witnessed. However, both the Owner of the App signing and the Coder need to be over the age of 18 years for the Contract to be valid.
What are the risks of not having an App Developer Contract?
- As an Owner: You could have the confidentiality of your idea compromised; someone could steal your idea before you are able to launch it; you might not end up with ownership of the code; and, you would have no indemnity for any actions of the Coder.
As a Coder: You may not get paid for your work; you may end up with a different idea of what the App was intended to do than the Owner; you may dispute payments; you may have a third party try to sue you for using their intellectual property that was provided to you by the Owner as their own.
Do I still need a Disclaimer if I’m using Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play store?
- Yes. Apple and Google have their own Disclaimers to protect themselves from your customers. You should still have your customers agree to download your App at their own risk. You should also get their agreement and acknowledgement to access the permissions required to run the App, as some Apps access private information such as contact lists, calendars etc. You want to be protected from any claims they may try to make against you as a result.
- Yes, you can amend the clauses to match more accurately your specific app business. However, please bear in mind these clauses have been refined over a number of years, are comprehensive and cover most business situations. If you choose to change them you do so at your own risk.
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