Default permission to use code posted to the forum


Hi there.
I just wanted to suggest establishing some kind of default license for code that is posted to the forum. I bet that most of it is specifically intended to be a model for others to follow, if not pasted directly into projects users are having problems with. As I understand it, though, anyone who posts code to help others, or even ROLI, or even another company that acquires ROLI, JUCE or this content in the future, could some day legally force people who used the code to take down their software. That wouldn’t be nice, and I don’t expect it, but it would be possible. Maybe just a statement in the terms of use that code posted to the forums defaults to ISC or something, unless the poster states otherwise?




Related thread: Github Pull Requests


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Now that I think of it, changing the terms of use to allow the people who request help on the forum to actually use the responses in their code would still not solve my dilemma, since the bit of code I need was posted a year or so ago by a moderator who doesn’t appear to still be here, and such a rule would likely not be retroactive.

It is hard to believe, but my only choices are to use the code and take a risk, or to ask the same question that was answered years ago, and obtain permission from anyone who replies.



Vaguely related in that it concerns the licensing of code, but I am talking about these very forums maintained by ROLI for the purpose of helping JUCE users, but without any provision to actually allow people to use the code posted, not on GitHub, but right here.



Yeah, you’d be taking a huge risk there. Because obviously this whole forum is just a big legal trap that we set so that we can catch and exploit unwary JUCE users. Each snippet of sketchy code that Fabian posted years ago is kept in a huge database, and our team of lawyers uses racks of A.I. powered bots to trawl the internet, reverse-engineering binaries to find possible infringements, so that we can pounce on our customers and destroy their businesses!

Sorry for being sarcastic, but honestly…! You’ve posted multiple threads about this now, and you’ve clearly spent way too long obsessing over it.

As (I presume) a solo indie dev, you’re kidding yourself if you think anyone actually cares enough about what’s in your codebase to spend time looking at it. Maybe you’ll end up creating a billion-dollar hit product whose central algorithm is unequivocally based on whatever that thing was that Fabian posted. But even then I doubt if we’d come bothering you! :slight_smile:

When you think of what the top 100 most important risks are that you should be focusing on, do you honestly think “using a few lines of code from a forum” is a big enough danger to waste even a minute thinking about? Has any product or company in history, ever hit problems over this??

Life is short. Go and worry about the important stuff, and make cool products. That’s what we want our JUCE users to do.



I know, @Chuckk mentioned Fabian personally and ROLI staff in general, but in fact, any code could be claimed by a malicious employer of an individual. If I would post code during my work time, that belongs to my employer, that could use that to fabricate claims, long after I am gone.

But at the same time I totally agree with the point, why you were sarcastic, 99% of the snippets here are so generic, there is no chance of anybody winning a case with that.

While most likely it wasn’t about a forum post, this has happened numerous of times:



Sarcasm, fine. Conjecture about who I am or what I may or may not do, whatever. I don’t care if you like me. Not my problem.

I don’t intend to make money from this first project, but I want to make it available to as many people as possible, permanently (I was in fact planning out when to invest in an Indie license, but obviously that money could be useful for other things, too). I do personally know others who were forced to go digging through years-old archives to remove tiny bits of code to avoid having their projects taken down - I mean they were told their projects would be taken down - and very, very recently (you can probably guess the company involved; it has a very close relationship to JUCE, and, I believe, wouldn’t bat an eye if they had any reason to sue me). I don’t want to make money from this yet, but I don’t want to spend my time learning a framework if I can’t be sure it won’t bite me. Again, this does happen to people; I know them personally, and admonishments from people I don’t know on the internet don’t mean much, when other coding help sites at least make this permission official.

I didn’t expect a definitive response from a dev, necessarily, and I wouldn’t expect the legal aspect to interest you much, if you have other people to spend their time on it (I can’t say I didn’t expect sarcasm or derision). The issue I brought up doesn’t just apply to me, but to everything posted here by all users. If I’m wrong, correct me. If it doesn’t interest you, that’s another question. I happen to think it’s a legitimate concern.


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More information and guidance on this would also be welcome. It could apply to the code I need, but I don’t know, I’ve never been sued for copyright infringement before, and I guess all of my lawyer friends are in court right now and have their phones on silent. What I noticed in the code was that there was really no way to do the same thing without doing it… pretty much exactly the same. That’s for my case; I can’t speak for the other hundreds.



Right, but there’s nothing we can do about that - the stuff that 3rd parties post here, and whether they choose to fight each other over it is beyond our control.

As far as anything our team posts, then the license is “do whatever the hell you want with it”, which I think is what everyone else in the 15 year history of this forum has always assumed to be the case.



It’s pretty easy to understand on stackoverflow:
“…you should be aware that all Public Content you contribute is available for public copy and redistribution, and all such Public Content must have appropriate attribution.” Well, OK, it’s longer than that, but I don’t think it’s exactly true there’s nothing you can do about it. I had to agree to a bunch of legal stuff before I could make an account here, use the forum, etc. To use Projucer, I had to either read through and agree to JUCE legalese or GNU legalese that are both more involved than this.
You can, e.g., include in the terms of use of the forum that whatever you post will be available for others to use, with attribution. People click through without reading it (except me), and voila.

Good enough for now, thank you.



My take on this is that it depends on the nature and volume of the code being posted. Most small snippets (small enough to fit into a forum post) can’t simply be pasted into your code without significant modification anway. They need to be adopted to your naming and calling conventions, coding style and project needs. So basically they are more like a How-To than a self-contained solution. Those are often hosted on GitHub anyway, with an associated license.

If someone discloses proprietary code of their employer on a forum, it is ultimately their responsibility, not that of the forum or its users.

You can, e.g., include in the terms of use of the forum that whatever you post will be available for others to use, with attribution.


Although I doubt that attribution for a few lines of code makes much sense, unless they really solve a significant problem. As said, it depends on the nature and volume of the code.



On that note, the EU copyright directive - Article 13 might serve for a reason to add (yet another) disclaimer in the future (or May takes care of it :wink: ). I am no fan of disclaimers, which nobody reads anyway, but people, who care at least can get peace of mind.

I would set a default case for trivial code to be in public domain, code that is copied needs link to original and closed source, well, that’s why it’s called closed… but that is, how reasonable users work anyway…

I mean, technically somebody could post code and put their own license to it “This is my code, but you must not use it”, but how sensible is this…

Best to ask Jemilla… :wink:



[quote=“daniel, post:12, topic:32739, full:true”]
On that note, the EU copyright directive - Article 13[/quote]

Interesting connection. I don’t trust BBC news to explain it in great detail, but from what they said it sounds horrid:
“content-sharing services must license copyright-protected material from the rights holders.”

And yet I suspect they’re primarily referring to music, movies, and software, and to “copyright-protected material” owned by corporate entities, since I’ve also been told that your work is considered copyrighted the moment it’s in a tangible form. Imagine if dentists and their families could keep getting paid for work they did decades ago.
What would Josef K do?



Probably a better source than facebook :stuck_out_tongue:, but anyway…

The original point was, if code posted here is free to use. So there is common sense and there is the law. And as you pointed out, anything you produce is subject to the copyright laws, as long as it’s unique (simplified speaking). So this directive basically says, if someone posts copyrighted material, ROLI will be liable.
That’s why I supported your call for a clarifying disclaimer for the future.

But in the end, I am not a lawyer.




It sounds like it actually means that ROLI would be required to patrol the forums and make sure people didn’t post copyright-protected code, which would be downright Kafkaesque, if code is actually considered copyright-protected the moment it is in a tangible form. My point was that it doesn’t sound like a very wise decision anyway. Writers have long had to deal with the fact that their product is fairly easy for anyone to reproduce, and that everyone has access to the same tools they do, meaning their craft is in much lower demand than 100 years ago; for some reason, musicians and filmmakers refuse to accept that they’re increasingly in the same situation.

RE this forum, I can think of a couple scenarios where a disclaimer would be convenient:

  1. Someone working on a GPL project posts some code asking for help. Someone takes and uses that code in a proprietary project. Pandemonium!
  2. Someone working on a proprietary project posts some code asking for help. Someone takes and uses that code in a GPL project. Pandemonium!

If both of those users had clicked away a notice that anything they post to the forums will be available under the Whatever the Hell You Want license, no pandemonium. And asking for help without being subject to the WHYW license would be an obvious feature of premium support.



I’m pretty sure that article 13 does not apply to this forum, since it’s not generating any revenue and its main purpose is definitely not sharing code snippets.



Well, we are finally far off topic, but that’s the argument of youtube, it is not generating revenue from sharing videos… do we believe that?

On topic, I don’t care as far as it concerns my postings, since they lack the uniqueness to be protectable by neither patent nor copyright.