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Publish app as person or as company?

OP lebertian

8th February 2014, 04:05 AM   |  #1  
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Hi all,

I would like to see if anyone has advice about that topic. I've asked lawyers and they all tell me that is always better to publish apps as a company (for example as an LLC), mainly because that gives you legal protection, in case something goes wrong with your app (you get sued for its contents, or copyright infringement, whatever...). Of course that means creating an LLC company, which has quite a bit of expenses associated with it...

I would like to get some advice about what to do in my situation. I have a full time job and I would like to start Android development more like a side job, slowly at the beginning and hopefully being able to make it a good source of income over time. But the moment I publish something I'm already "exposed" to the "dangers" I mention above... For what I've been told, publishing as a company gives you more "peace of mind", but in my case, at least at the beginning, would feel like a pretty big overkill...

Of course I would do my best to avoid any kind of potential legal problem with any app I make, but sometimes people sue other people for random stuff that you can't predict.

What are your opinions about this topic? Is it really not a big deal? Is there any resource with legal advice for developers on how to avoid potential lawsuits? Is it definitely recommended to publish as a company?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
9th February 2014, 01:08 PM   |  #2  
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I'm not a legal expert by any means, and if I was in your situation I would be in the exact same doubt you are, and I'm not sure there's a way out. Like you said, suing is unpredictable. However, I know a few developers with small apps on the store that never had any trouble. So maybe if you intend to write apps for the rest of your life, it's a good idea. If it's a one-time thing, maybe not. Sorry I can't help you.
9th February 2014, 06:31 PM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cidinho

I'm not a legal expert by any means, and if I was in your situation I would be in the exact same doubt you are, and I'm not sure there's a way out. Like you said, suing is unpredictable. However, I know a few developers with small apps on the store that never had any trouble. So maybe if you intend to write apps for the rest of your life, it's a good idea. If it's a one-time thing, maybe not. Sorry I can't help you.

Thank you for your reply! It's okay if you're not a legal expert, I appreciate any opinion on this topic . I know already what the "best" thing to do would be from a legal perspective: create an LLC to be on the safe side. However, with this thread I intend to get the feel of the community, from the developers perspective: what's the general practice, any kind of advice to avoid trouble, etc...

About what my plans are, well I guess that the best way to put it is that I want to try, see how it goes, and if I see I can make decent income then keep doing it.

My dilemma is, then, is it worth creating a company just to try? Probably not, and most likely everything would be fine (I would do my best to stay out of trouble), but what if something actually goes wrong? This things can be unpredictable...

Maybe developers with some experience can advise on terms and conditions to use to protect the developer as much as possible. Like putting in the app's description stuff like "I'm not responsible if bla bla bla"... (this would be an example to avoid problems in case the app "breaks" someone's device).

I don't know, maybe I'm a little paranoid, but since I'm new to Android Development I'd like to know what developers with experience do in this matter.

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14th February 2014, 01:11 PM   |  #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lebertian

Thank you for your reply! It's okay if you're not a legal expert, I appreciate any opinion on this topic . I know already what the "best" thing to do would be from a legal perspective: create an LLC to be on the safe side. However, with this thread I intend to get the feel of the community, from the developers perspective: what's the general practice, any kind of advice to avoid trouble, etc...

About what my plans are, well I guess that the best way to put it is that I want to try, see how it goes, and if I see I can make decent income then keep doing it.

My dilemma is, then, is it worth creating a company just to try? Probably not, and most likely everything would be fine (I would do my best to stay out of trouble), but what if something actually goes wrong? This things can be unpredictable...

Maybe developers with some experience can advise on terms and conditions to use to protect the developer as much as possible. Like putting in the app's description stuff like "I'm not responsible if bla bla bla"... (this would be an example to avoid problems in case the app "breaks" someone's device).

I don't know, maybe I'm a little paranoid, but since I'm new to Android Development I'd like to know what developers with experience do in this matter.

Sent from my GT-N7105 using Tapatalk

I asked an accountancy company the same question and they said that it depends in the expected income. In my situation they suggested me to continue as a developer.
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21st February 2014, 03:08 PM   |  #5  
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It does depend how much you will be making. If you make $1000 per year, it is hardly worth registering a company and suffering the extra tax headache it will give you. You will probably need to pay an accountant to sort it out. However once you get to a certain price point (I would say $15,000+) then you can get certain tax advantages, plus the limited liability that a company would give you.
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22nd February 2014, 09:10 PM   |  #6  
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Personally, I feel that the only time I'd change my developer name to a company name is if I'm working with another person on my apps. If it's just me working on my apps, then I'll keep the developer name as my real life name
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22nd February 2014, 09:40 PM   |  #7  
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I really appreciate all the responses. Is there any place where I can find guidelines to stay out of legal trouble when publishing mobile apps? I know the obvious ones, of course, but I'm sure that there are things that aren't so obvious and that they're good to keep in mind while developing an app... Or any advice that you guys have would be helpful too!

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