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How to protect your free code from companies predating on it ?


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  • 4 months later...

Hello Friends,

 

Here is how I see it (someone who has not shared much at all, so please take my views on this meter only half-seriously).

 

There are two tricky points for me here.

 

1. If the code has been shared with some good intention (helping others, to support fellow hobbyist(s), ... ) - the mission was accomplished at the moment the code has been shared. What happens to it afterwards is (should be) irrelevant, if it was the only intention. But if I share my code claiming a good intention but trying to exclusively protect it and benefit from my name being attached to that code - it is something different. The real purpose of that sharing was in fact profit (monetary or not). And here we are entering a commercial realm, if I may say so. Efforts for the profit. And of course the rules and means in this realm are more tough (if any at all).

 

2. Somehow, nobody mentions the fact that by sharing the code we are "eating out" the demand in certain market. This is the same demand that companies would cover if not for us giving away what they could potentially sell (now or in future).

 

3. If the code in question is so valuable - why not starting a company around it and make a product? If it is not valuable - why bother protecting it, anyway?

 

I am not protecting companies, especially these "borrowing" someones work. I am simply trying to understand the motivation of the "other side" :)

 

It would be interesting to know your opinion on these points. 

 

Regards

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  • 3 weeks later...

 If the code has been shared with some good intention (helping others, to support fellow hobbyist(s), ... ) - the mission was accomplished at the moment the code has been shared. What happens to it afterwards is (should be) irrelevant, if it was the only intention.  

 

I'm not quite sure the best way to explain this, but I don't agree with this idea. If you shared something with the good intention of teaching others as an example, then the mission was accomplished, but what happens later with the code can still be important to you.

 

Perhaps you feel very strongly about teaching others, and are strongly against plagiarism as a matter of principle. The fact you shared with people who learned does not negate the fact that someone else took the work as their own, which could be an affront to your lifelong beliefs.

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Perhaps you feel very strongly about teaching others, and are strongly against plagiarism as a matter of principle. The fact you shared with people who learned does not negate the fact that someone else took the work as their own, which could be an affront to your lifelong beliefs.

 

A wise man once told me, to stop worrying about things that I can't change. There will always be people copy&pasting or even claiming other's ideas as their own. No license will prevent that, and IMO it should not prevent you from publishing if free education or help to others is your intention.

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Perhaps you feel very strongly about teaching others, and are strongly against plagiarism as a matter of principle. The fact you shared with people who learned does not negate the fact that someone else took the work as their own, which could be an affront to your lifelong beliefs.

 

And if you teach others who then claim the knowledge/skills gained to be their own? I do that all the time utilizing what my professors used to say back in university. I simply don't mention my teachers, including in a form of code. I don't steal my teachers' code - that's true, but I don't mention their names like they probably didn't mention names of their mentors while teaching us.

 

So, the obvious solution would be to charge a reasonable fee right a way or forget about what you have shared.

 

This problem is open for me as well. I also don't fill like charging for every "Hello World" but I too realize that my time is a limited and valuable resource, and balance my efforts accordingly.

 

In any case - thanks for sharing your opinion.

 

Regards

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A wise man once told me, to stop worrying about things that I can't change. There will always be people copy&pasting or even claiming other's ideas as their own. No license will prevent that, and IMO it should not prevent you from publishing if free education or help to others is your intention.

Exactly - you simply can't stop these people, like you can't stop those who will thank/regard you for your effort (in one way or the other).

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And if you teach others who then claim the knowledge/skills gained to be their own? I do that all the time utilizing what my professors used to say back in university. I simply don't mention my teachers, including in a form of code. I don't steal my teachers' code - that's true, but I don't mention their names like they probably didn't mention names of their mentors while teaching us.

 

So, the obvious solution would be to charge a reasonable fee right a way or forget about what you have shared.

 

This problem is open for me as well. I also don't fill like charging for every "Hello World" but I too realize that my time is a limited and valuable resource, and balance my efforts accordingly.

 

In any case - thanks for sharing your opinion.

 

Regards

 

What would you do in the case for example when you came up with a really brilliant algorithm or technique, and you had a blog where you shared it with your readers, hoping to improve the human condition with your idea, then a few weeks later there was a trade show where some big company announces "their" new idea, where they get worldwide news coverage and magazine articles and reap tons of positive press for their contribution to humanity, and they completely take credit for your idea. You go back and check the IP logs on your blog, and sure enough the big company was crawling all over the page where you posted your idea in the weeks/days leading up to their announcement.

 

That wouldn't bother you even a little?

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I do agree - that's unfortunate.

 

And answering your question - I don't know what I would do. Probably - nothing. Sorry that I can't suggest anything more constructive. It simply didn't happen to me.

 

Regards

Another big issue I have heard many, many times is where a student does a lot of work and their professor or advisor publishes the work with the student names removed, taking all of the credit for themselves, and then boosting their reputation with it to secure benefits for themselves (fame, popularity, higher pay, contracts, etc.)

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On one hand, if it's published, you would have copyright over the works published. Not the same as patent protection, but still valuable because the term involved is substantially longer. Copyright is actually a bit more loosely interpreted, if I remember correctly, though.

 

On the other hand, if you just roughly describe it, without publishing the code, you don't have copyright over the idea.

 

A student whose works are attached by a teacher / professor should have their papers in hand and could prove they were the originator of the idea.

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