Friday, 17 August 2018

Building a Mobile App: 4 Legal Issues to Consider

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Over the past few years, Nigerians’ love for all things I.T. has grown exponentially. From the craze for I.T. hardware such as computers, smart phones and other handheld devices to increased expertise in the area of software development, Nigerians are making giant strides in the I.T. sector.
One of the areas of growth is the development of mobile applications (Mobile Apps) by Nigerian businesses and individuals. While this has fast become a lucrative endeavor, there are certain things one must consider before entering into it.
Here are some ways to avoid legal pitfalls, if you are considering building or launching a mobile app:

1. Who owns the Mobile App?- Before building a mobile app, you have to consider the all important issue of Who Owns The App? This is very important especially when you are not the author of a mobile app i.e. the person who writes the code for the mobile app. The author of the mobile app code is generally considered to be the owner of the code. So, if your mobile app is being written by mobile application developers or any other third party, it is important to have Intellectual Property Ownership and Licence Agreements in place to settle issues as regards the ownership of the mobile app. 

However, one of the exceptions to this rule is where the mobile app is written by an employee during the course of carrying out his job. In such case, the application will belong to the employer.
 
2. Intellectual Property Registration & Protection - It is important to also consider registration of trademarks, copyrights and patents. Conduct a search to avoid infringing on any existing trademarks and copyrights and the attendant legal issues that come with such infringement which can include removal of the app from the app stores. 

Where the app will use copyrighted content- images, videos, sounds and articles, permission should be gotten to allow the use of such content.
 
You can read up some our intellectual property articles here, http://www.naijalegaltalkng.com/what-is-copyright/ and here-http://www.naijalegaltalkng.com/intellectual-property-series/
 
3. Obtaining Licenses- Mobile applications these days have varying functions, some of which require various permits and licenses before being launched into the market or even being built. For example, Mobile Money or mobile banking applications require special permits from the financial regulatory bodies. 

4. Privacy Policy- Where the mobile app will collect or use personal data, a privacy policy is needed which will basically state your personal data practices i.e. how you use or protect the data you obtain from a mobile app user and freedom or restrictions on the use of the collected data. 
Some countries have privacy laws that require a privacy policy in all mobile applications that their citizens use and failing to provide one in such circumstances would make the mobile app owner liable to breach of those privacy laws. This is however, dependent on the reach of the mobile application.

Gain insights on some other legal issues to consider when starting a business- http://www.naijalegaltalkng.com/5-legal-issues-to-consider-when-starting-your-business/

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