Hope you will be able to help me here. I do not really know if this is the correct place to ask such questions.
In 2014 I started to work for a certain company – the setup was that I was hired by my own small LTD company and I essentially hired myself out to code for them. There was never any written contract – I would do my job, month in month out and then send them an invoice at the end of the month which would then get paid. Invoice would be raised by my own company and then I would pay myself a wage through it.
To cut a very long story short I agreed a lower rate for my work to get a cut of sales down the line. The promise was that once my product / code starts to earn for itself I would be rewarded with a percentage of the actual profit. I worked like that for 6 years where my code earned the company considerable amount of money, but I never got anything back for it. Nothing extra as promised.
I know how this might sound, that suddenly I am unhappy with the deal and I want to see what I can get. Nothing further from the truth – I worked for a fraction of what any coder in my place would consider to be fair and instead of earning good money I am left with credit card bills because there was never enough to even pay for basics. I thought that was my investment into product (and I was led to believe that) where instead I have been used. I am ashamed of this to be honest, as I allowed myself to be played. I should probably mention that the owner of said company was a distant family member.
Like I mentioned before there was never any contract on paper between me and said company. I provided the code; they paid my one monthly invoice and that was it. After 6 years I left and started to work somewhere else.
I never signed any rights over, I never given anyone written paper / statement saying that I am releasing my ownership of the software. There were others that worked on the software with me in later years but the ‘core’ was always mine.
My questions regarding the above:
- I know that the company continues to use my code and charge for it, I also know that they are building new software based on my code – can I do anything about it? Can I get compensated for it for sell my rights to them / and if they refuse go the court case route? Would it even be worth the effort?
- Is there anything I can do the recoup the costs of the development and the work I’ve done for the company over the mentioned 6 years?
- What do I need to have to provide a proof of ownership? I had to transfer some of my git repos when I was leaving but I have copies of them. I also have all work emails for the past 6 years that have a lot of the proof in them that I did the work. Would that suffice? Bottom line: is it worth it? Does anyone have an experience with such things and can tell me that I am for example wasting my life and should just move on (count my loses and so on).
Thank you for any help!