Re: "Borrowing" code

Lew <>
Fri, 17 Feb 2012 10:34:12 -0800 (PST)
Novice wrote:

Lew wrote

Novice wrote:

Exactly! This is why it seemed to me that it might be okay to
"borrow" such examples. It seemed self-evident that someone writing a
tutorial meant for it to be used in developing code.

On the contrary, it is obvious that that is not the intention. A
tutorial by definition is meant for use in learning how to develop
code. It is almost certainly not meant for use in developing code.

I wasn't contemplating stealing the full source code for Windows
here, just using a small class or two that someone had figured out
and displayed publicly.

Public display does not confer right to use!

In a legal sense, sure. Still, if someone posts a recipe for chili on a
cooking page, it seems to me the intent is to offer it to the world as in
"Here's how I make a great chili in case you want to do the same." A code
example seems like the same thing to me.

You still don't get it, do you? The "legal sense" is what you asked about!

The "legal sense" is also what will bite you in the ass if you are not
responsible for it.

Why have you suddenly in mid-thread lost interest in the "legal sense"?

Making chili is not copyright infringement. The printed form of the recipe is
what is copyright, not the recipe itself. The situation is entirely non-

The code example is NOT the same. Get over "it seems to me" and deal with
reality. If you are such the expert, why did you ask the question in the first

I suppose a code example could just be someone showing off, as in "I
wrote this clever bit of code so I'm putting this code on a public web
page so that you can see how clever I am. But don't you dare try to use
it because if I find out you did, I'll send my lawyers after you and make
a truckload of money!" But that doesn't all that likely to me.

Another "seems to me". It might not seem like standing on train tracks is
dangerous, but do step off before the train arrives anyway.

The question you asked, and we answered, is if taking code from a tutorial
or other sources constitutes copyright infringement. We have told you that yes,
in many cases it is. Now you attempt to deny this fact (fact!) on the basis
of "it seems to you" that it shouldn't infringe. Disregard the law at your own
peril, dude.

Besides, Arved's advice really, really applies here. So what if you
*can* copy some code into yours? The question you should ask yourself
is if you *should*.

A point you obstinately refuse to acknowledge.

The term for copying code snippets from outside sources (like
tutorials on the Web) into your code is "cargo-cult programming".

I have seen many tragically laughable results in real-life projects
from this style of coding.

Now, CPE (copy-paste-edit) is a different matter, properly employed.

I totally agree with that. If you don't know how it works, you can't fix
it if it doesn't work. You also don't know if it is going to introduce
unexpected side-effects to your code or perform horribly because the
developer of the code was only trying to show a way to do something, not
necessarily the most efficient way. Etc. etc.

For what it's worth, I've contacted the author of the classes I've seen
and received his encouragement to use the classes, even for commercial
projects, but to please credit him in the source code. He has not asked
for any money whatsoever. I was not specific about which classes I wanted
and referred only to a significant number of examples that he has
published online so his permission seems to be a carte blanche
authorization to use anything at that website.

Get it in writing.

Also, since I don't actually LIKE using borrowed code - I really would
rather write my own - I am studying his code and developing my own
solution that will hopefully use his concept but do it in my own way.

Now THAT, as we've said upthread a few times, *is* the purpose of tutorials.

In a moment of weakness, I was tempted to just borrow the code (with
attribution) and move on to other tasks due to time pressure so I asked
my question to try to determine the consequences of doing so.

And despite many good answers to that question, you take issue with the truth.

In matters of law, "it seems to me that should be different" will not excuse
you from liability.

We've given you the advice. The consequences of following it or not are on you.


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