Regarding Copyright and Scraping Code from the Web

Chris DiBona cdibona at
Tue Oct 6 15:24:27 UTC 2009

Sure, but one caveat: When you find a piece of code that is on a blog or
whatever that you want to use, but has no copyright. Google for it (google
code search?), you'd be surprised how often code comes from other, more
responsibly licensed, places.


On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 8:19 AM, Joe Bell <joe.bell at> wrote:

>  Hi,
> I am one of the individuals in my company responsible for ensuring that we
> are compliant to the various open source licenses we are bound by, and I’m
> curious as to whether or not I am taking the right approach with my policy
> towards lifting code from blogs.  There are a number of blogs out there that
> contain no copyright statements or licensing terms yet contain very useful
> and sometimes complex snippets of code *in situ *on the web page.  It has
> been my policy that:
> a)      whether or not there is a claim of copyright on the blog is
> irrelevant, under U.S. law it is copyrighted by the author of the blog
> b)      by default non-copyright holders are forbidden from copying,
> distributing, or modifying the work
> c)       without express claim of copyright as well as express license
> terms (preferably favorable to the corporation), the code on the web page
> may not in any way be copied into or used in any corporate work
> To be truthful, I am sometimes surprised at the number of freelance
> developers who aren’t more aware of copyright law (regardless of their
> national origin) and licensing, yet post code.
> To my question, do others take such an approach?  Am I being overly
> sensitive and can relax the approach?  Is there some other key piece of
> information I may be ignorant of that would cause me to modify it?
> Best regards,
> Joe
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Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc.
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