Centre for Internet & Society

The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) recently released an online survey for mobile app developers to respond on their legal practices within their work, as well as their business models and familiarity with India's laws. Through this research initiative, CIS hopes to better understand the dynamics of India's mobile app ecosystem amongst stakeholders, and how developers are directly or indirectly affected by the laws in place governing this ecosystem.

Developers, designers, and product managers of all sorts are invited to participate within CIS's research survey initiative so long as they are based in India and contribute to the development of at least one mobile application within a company or enterprise. Built in collaboration with HasGeek, a community-oriented enterprise for developers in Bangalore, the survey asks participants to respond to questions on their practices related to ownership, licensing, contracts and protection of their works as intellectual property (IP). Questions also seek out background information and information related to one's business model to best contextualize responses, as well as personal insight on understandings of India's copyright laws and IP more generally.

The survey can be accessed here, and will be available for completion until Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

Ultimately, CIS intends to comment on whether the current laws in place related to intellectual property are a causal factor in either encouraging or hindering mobile app development in India. In this sense, this initiative serves as preliminary policy research and strives to provide a comprehensive understanding on the widespread legal practices of developers as the supporting stakeholders of this mobile app ecosystem.

By the end of this survey's running, we hope to be able to better illustrate the complexities within an ever-growing ecosystem that are typically only considered at a level of technical or legal abstraction. For instance, it is quite common for discourse to reference the specific activities that developers might undergo while potentially violating another's rights to their works, such as those involving the direct copying of software code without the permission to do so. Other sources might advocate for the patenting of one's mobile app products and entail the complexities of the patent filing process to ensure the optimal likelihood of the application being granted.

But what are the trends that exist across developers related to such activities? What are the ways in which they carry out these activities, and most importantly, why?

What determines who patents their product or copies another's? And what factors are at play in the shaping of an enterprise's business model and the methods that they adopt to meet their objectives?

What barriers do enterprises encounter along the way, from the startup to the corporate, and how do they get around them accordingly?

We hope that through this online survey, CIS will begin to be able to address these areas of greyed understanding, and to identify existing correlation, if any, between the business models, legal practices and personal understandings related to IP, and how one's work within mobile app development is affected as a result.

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