Pinned topic Managing Open Source Projects
cmw.osdude 120000QT7734 Posts
Re: Managing Open Source Projects2012-12-06T16:24:02ZThis is the accepted answer. This is the accepted answer.
It depends on the nature of the code that you are using and how it is licensed. There are pieces of code that are in the public domain, meaning that you can do anything you like with it. There are other pieces of code with licenses that permit you to copy and use them, but there may be restrictions, such as simply crediting the author. Of course, anything that follows the traditional commercial copyright approach is off-limits without an explicit agreement.
It's really important to understand the intention of the code that you are using for inspiration. If you know that you are going to need to incorporate code you might want to get into the practice of limiting your search to areas that contain code you can legitimately use. When in doubt you can always contact the author of the code and then abide by their wishes (which you get in writing).
The Free Software Foundation keeps a pretty good idea on this sort of thing. This page will point you to all kinds of things which include safe areas for finding code. Wikipedia has this list of List of FSF-approved software licenses which will give you some ideas of the ones to look for. Once you know the licenses you prefer you can include those in your code searches. I do this with music which I might wish to use in videos or presentations. I always search for things that are cc-by (Creative Commons - Attribution). Then I include a credit for the creator in some way.
, There are solutions for finding usable code without fear of reprisals. Of course, the way that the lawsuit game is played any creator is in danger from someone who wants to play bully... but the alternative is to not create at all, and where's the fun in that?