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Who is the legal owner of a Bitbucket Online repository?

Who is the legal owner of a Bitbucket Cloud repository?

It is possible to transfer software licences to other companies (under certain circumstances). Is this cases, its quite easy to determine, who the owner is (a company, "the one who pays for it").

But bitbucket seems to be loosely connected to an jira/confluence-instance: You can connect any bitbucket repo (even "private" ones). All accounts (which are global and not tied to an cloud instance) can create repositories on bitbucket cloud.

Are bitbucket repos connected to an atlassian account?

For example: If a company aquires another one and transferes the licenses, what would happen with the repos? Can they transfered (in a legal sense), too? And who owns them?


2 answers

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Ana Retamal Atlassian Team Mar 19, 2018

Hi Sven, by default the owner of a repository is its creator. If the creator of a repo is an employee, then the owner will be whoever is defined in your contract with such employee.  

 If you have a Jira/Confluence instance you can link it to Bitbucket. You can also link private repositories, but only the users with the right permissions will be able to see them. However, I don't really understand what you mean by:

All accounts (which are global and not tied to an cloud instance) can create repositories on bitbucket cloud.

Can you clarify that part?

Bitbucket accounts are connected to the Atlassian account of the creator, and these credentials are used to log in.

Regarding the transfer of the licences, it will be better if you contact our Sales team by sending them an email at sales-at-atlassian-dot-com.

Hope that helps!


Can you clarify that part?

This is my understanding of how atlassian accounts are working, please correct me if I am wrong:

Atlassian accounts are global -> not linked to a cloud instance. In theory I could use any (already existing) atlassian account and grant it access to our instance. On the other hand, new employees register their account at atlassian's website and are granted access to the instance after that -> If we delete our instance, these accounts still exist.

If an employee uses "his own" private account (we do not allow that), which has access to our instance and creates a bitbucket repository, how does someone know that this repository is owned by the company? We know that (because we told him to do it), but what is the legal view?

I could be totally wrong, but I am curious how this works.



Gabriel M Atlassian Team Apr 03, 2018

Hi Sven,

In the case that you did describe, I would say that it depends.

1. If the referred user, using his personal account, created a private repository under his account, he will be the owner.

2. If the referred user, using his personal account, created a private repository under the team account, the team account admins will be the owners of that repository.

This difference can be checked on the URL of the repository.
Case 1:<that_user_username>/<repository_slug>/

Case 2:<the_team_username>/<repository_slug>/

Thank you for your clarification.

Ana Retamal Atlassian Team Apr 12, 2018

Hi Sven, you're right about how Atlassian accounts work.

From my personal experience, most companies won't allow users to use their personal email addresses, and if they do they'll specify clearly in their contract with the employee who'll be the owner of the content created on this account during the period the person is employed by them. If one of the parts breaks this agreement, we won't be able to do anything about it as that is a contract between employer and employee. 

From our perspective, the owner of the Bitbucket account is whoever owns the email address associated to it. If the company contact us asking for access to this personal Bitbucket account, we won't be able to grant it. 

If you have any more in-depth questions or need an official statement about this, please contact our Legal department. at Legal Service Desk.

Kind regards,


Hello Ana,

May I ask something related to your answer?

Just trying to find out about how this works and how can I get more insight into it I am not trying to make anyone mad or anything

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