Is it legal to use short code snippets?

If you are worried about infringement or your work has been copied and you want to take action.
Post Reply
Halie0201
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Is it legal to use short code snippets?

Post by Halie0201 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:42 pm

I am trying my best to write my own APP :D . Most of the codes are written by myself and the open source. But sometimes, when I stuck in a problem , I will search online and found some useful code snippets online provided by other programmers. It's more or less like a forum and someone asked the same question and another person gave his own answer. They are really very short snippets and I didn't found clear license there. Can I just use these short snippets in my APP. My app will make no money and I will not make it open source.... Is this fair use in programming? What's the fair use in programming?

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1734
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:17 pm

Hi Halie,
It's hard to give a categorical answer because it will depend on the amount of code involved and whether it constitutes a substantial part of the original which was published. Also if the piece of code is pretty obvious and indeed it is the only practical way of doing what you want, it is unlikely that it would meet the originality test necessary to be covered by copyright. There's all the difference in the world between a fairly straightforward conditional loop instruction and the entire code for Microsoft Word.
Secondly it is likely that if someone posted their solution to a problem on an open forum they intended it to be treated as open source, because that tends to be the default for most amateur scripters and coders. This is in contrast to professional programmers employed by a large software company who will know the commercial value in protecting their work.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Post Reply