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Can you projects be stolen on GitHub?


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#1 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1314

Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:17 PM

So recently Ive opened up a github account, in order to upload my projects I put hard work into.  But I fear people may just steal my source code and just take credit for it instead. Ive opened it up just so potential employers could see my work, but the fear of theft just turns me off. What do you guys think?



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#2 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 18845

Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:03 PM

Maybe, depending on what you mean.

Having a publicly-visible repository with date stamps makes it pretty easy for you to defend against a false ownership claim. Most nations have laws that include certain rights ("moral rights", "author's rights", and "defamation", among others) that protect your right to proper attribution. Some licenses waive some of those rights, but most still require attribution. Penalties for violation can be fairly harsh.

Most open source licenses include the principle of branching and forking development, that is, if one group is not happy with the direction you are taking the software they are free to create their own version of the software that does something differently. They can claim ownership over their changes, and if their project grows enough, it can take on a separate life than yours. That is part of the freedoms so many desire.


Can they claim credit for your code? No, but you might grant them permission to use it without attribution requirements.
Can they make their own project starting from a copy of your code? Yes, that is one reason open source exists.
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#3 Squared'D   Members   -  Reputation: 2217

Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:14 PM

Private repositories are available if you are willing to pay for it. That's there business so they'll try there best to protect your data. If you want to hide your code, this is what you'll need to do.

If you put your code in a public repo, you'll anyone will be able to look at it as public repos are generally for open source code. I have 2 public repos and I hope people use the code freely. I only want credit and not money for those projects.

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#4 Krohm   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2961

Posted 26 February 2014 - 11:29 PM

I think you're worrying too much but just to be clear, if somebody is going to copy your code, the only way to protect yourself will be by trial. While most nations have regulations for intellectual property, you'll need to have a lawyer at hand.

On the pro side, making the code public will, as frob says, likely lower the cost of litigations quite a lot.

So, I guess you have to fully understand the mentality of what open source repositories really are.

 

I'm also considering opensourcing something, but I'm well aware I'll be giving up my right to control. With branches, there's no problem really. To be honest, if somebody picks it up, it'll be better so I'll move to something else.



#5 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1418

Posted 27 February 2014 - 02:23 AM

I don't understand your issue. 

Are you worried that people will reuse parts of your code? 

Or are you worried people will claim that your entire project as their own?



#6 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2205

Posted 27 February 2014 - 02:44 AM

I wouldn't be worried.  If the main purpose of your repository is to showcase you code to potential employers then you shouldn't have anything secret or proprietary on there anyway.  

 

Also I've never heard of an employer looking at code samples when recruiting someone. For some positions administrating a coding test as part of extended interview isn't uncommon but that will be under controlled circumstances and they will give you the task they want completed. But I can't imagine someone looking through your code after reading your CV.


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#7 überflieger   Members   -  Reputation: 116

Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:00 AM

So recently Ive opened up a github account, in order to upload my projects I put hard work into.  But I fear people may just steal my source code and just take credit for it instead. Ive opened it up just so potential employers could see my work, but the fear of theft just turns me off. What do you guys think?

 

I think you did not grasp the concept of Open Source in general and GitHub in particular. Github is all about SHARING knowledge and Collaboration (you could argue that Software Development in general is about that). It says so right on the frontpage: "Share your projects with the world".  If you are afraid that someone takes your code, puts his name on it and makes the millions of dollars instead of you, than go for private repositories. Or host it on your own webspace with GitLab.

 

BTW: There have been several reports over the years about employers ripping off applicants work. :-) Its a wild world we are living in.


Edited by überflieger, 27 February 2014 - 04:01 AM.


#8 TechnoGoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2205

Posted 27 February 2014 - 04:48 AM


BTW: There have been several reports over the years about employers ripping off applicants work. :-) Its a wild world we are living in.

 

This is true.  I worked at company where we had a recruit do a days work on a new app to assess his skill level, we didn't end up hiring him but did end up using his code in the app. 


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#9 JDX_John   Members   -  Reputation: 284

Posted 27 February 2014 - 05:00 AM

You can get a private repo on all these sites; you can even get a free private repo on many of them (limited to 1-5 users or 1Gb typically). 

 

I don't think the OP means his code to be open-source, he wants people to be able to see it but not use it? I don't know if such a license exists but the simple fact is many, many people would not think twice about ripping off your work and you would never even know (unless you invented some new algorithm). It probably doesn't matter if they do unless you are in a niche and they are your direct competitor.


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#10 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8157

Posted 27 February 2014 - 08:53 AM

 


BTW: There have been several reports over the years about employers ripping off applicants work. :-) Its a wild world we are living in.

 

This is true.  I worked at company where we had a recruit do a days work on a new app to assess his skill level, we didn't end up hiring him but did end up using his code in the app. 

 

 

... so you just ripped off the code he showed you? Or you mean you were made aware of it and decided to integrate it into your application license permitting?

 

EDIT: never mind, can't read. Technically I suppose the code he wrote during that day belonged to the company in some way or another.


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#11 ISDCaptain01   Members   -  Reputation: 1314

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:44 AM

Im just afraid people will just claim my work for their own. I dont mind if they use my code but I would like due credit wherever they use it.

#12 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2094

Posted 27 February 2014 - 09:58 AM

If you are worried, why don't you put only smaller samples of code? you can't claim someone has stolen your scenegraph implementation since thousands did he same already. Or have you invented some unique algorithm that you want to show? If you have, can't you write up a whitepaper on the matter? That would be even cooler in the eyes of an employer.

 

Sorry to be harsh but it's pretty hard to imagine if someone at this time invents something that wasn't invented before that can be stuffed into small example code that an employer could skip through during an interview.

 

 

EDIT: In my opinion (correct me if my view is wrong) sample codes on interviews are really good just for some overview of your coding style. Naming conventions, cleanness, whatever. So any generic, otherwise not interesting codes would suffice. Now that I think of it, maybe the way you write the most boring framework setup code is more telling than how you write fancy algorithms.


Edited by szecs, 27 February 2014 - 10:09 AM.


#13 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 27 February 2014 - 12:38 PM

In reality, no one cares enough about your code to steal it. Chances are good no one will even see your code on GitHub unless you're out there promoting it or sending it to employers. 



#14 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6765

Posted 27 February 2014 - 01:40 PM

Once you've put the code out in public, you really can't stop people from misrepresenting the code as their own. You can license it such that you require attribution, or as GPL does: also require users of your code to submit their changes for you to consider rolling into your codebase. The license affords you a well-defined legal standing, such that you can pursue the matter in court; but it does nothing to stop a dishonest person from misrepresenting the code as their own, and you would need to discover their breach and initiate legal action to have them punished.

 

Expecting and requiring attribution is all fine and good. When we get to your motivations beyond that, I think its worth some introspection on your part -- Is the code you're making public really so special that its a significant head start for those that would adopt it, and so you would expect to be credited and possibly paid? Or, is the code really not that special, and you're reacting to a more visceral, emotional response that tells you that the code is yours and you should be recognized or compensated for it?

 

We all grow attached to our own hard work, and justifiably so -- but at the same time, its helpful to maintain a certain perspective about the outside world and the level of work that thousands of people donate to society every day. There's tons of bleeding-edge technology put into open-source operating systems like Linux, lots of code made available from advanced research projects, and so on. It might simply be best for your own conscience and sense of karma to simply require attribution, and then not worry yourself about it any further and content yourself knowing that you've helped out whomever might adopt your code simply by doing something you've done anyway.



#15 Aardvajk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5268

Posted 28 February 2014 - 09:29 AM

Wrap your code in tinfoil. I wrap my head in tinfoil and NSA can no longer steal my ideas.



#16 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 821

Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:40 AM

What licence did you release the code under?


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#17 General Awesome   Members   -  Reputation: 196

Posted 03 March 2014 - 11:34 AM

Wrap your code in tinfoil. I wrap my head in tinfoil and NSA can no longer steal my ideas.

 

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