Re: "Borrowing" code

Lew <>
Fri, 17 Feb 2012 23:27:26 -0800 (PST)
On Friday, February 17, 2012 1:50:23 PM UTC-8, Arved Sandstrom wrote:

On 12-02-17 03:51 PM, Lew wrote:

Gene Wirchenko wrote:

Lew wrote:

It's too strong a conclusion, "freely" available. A tutorial's code very
reasonably could be licensed only for personal use in service of learning the
material in the tutorial. Presence in a tutorial is not presumptive evidence
that code is licensed freely or in the public domain.

     How would it be licenced without some sort of statement?

Exactly so. It wouldn't be.

Mere presence in a tutorial is not a license.

If there is no such statement, then the code is freely available.

Wrong. In most jurisdictions, certainly in the U.S., all rights are reserved by
default. Ergo if there is no statement of license, then the code is completely
unavailable, outside fair use.

[ SNIP ]

What do you do if you can find essentially the same code, except for WS
and variable names and such, on dozens of different websites?
Acknowledge everyone?

What? Huh? "Essentially the same code, except for" the things that make it
different under copyright law? Where's the problem?

I'm not talking about plagiarism either. I'm talking about code snippets
that, given a certain situation, really won't deviate from a certain
form. Any adequate programmer, confronted with the same problem, would
arrive at essentially the same expression. There are numerous examples
of this on the Internet or in books or in magazines.

This is a question of law. What does the law say?

AIUI, if you copy the same expression as a copyright work without permission,
you have violated the copyright. That's the law. You can play the "how many
angels can dance on the head of a pin?" game all you want, but absent the
particulars of a given case you're just playing with yourself.

Code is not prose or poetry. That's why automatic copyright for source
code is a flawed concept. Ideally people should have to explain why they
think their code rates copyright. I understand that we shouldn't be
flouting the current (broken) system, but we shouldn't be passively
accepting it either.

I guarantee that each and every one of us writes code routinely,
independently and without copy & paste and without reference to others'
material, that could be attacked on the basis of copyright, simply
because someone published something basic. Are you cool with that?

You could write a Harry Potter novel without seeing the original work, too.
J.K. Rowling could then sue you, as her publishers have done, and you would
lose. Are you cool with that?

Copyright exists to protect the expression of a work. It has value. It '
prevents others from profiting from the copyright holder's work without
sharing the profit, or at least getting permission. Yes, I'm cool with that.

You should be, too.


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