Intellectual Property Law · Licensing · Technology Innovation

Can someone else use your code?

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Intellectual Property Law |

As many developers learn their craft, they work with code that they’ve written and with code that others have written. They may simply do this as an exercise to learn more about how the code works, or to give them an example of how they can write their own code. They may use it to solve a problem that they can’t figure out on their own and to increase their skill level.

If you run a tech company, though, you may be worried about someone else taking code that you’ve written. Are they allowed to use it like this?

You can copyright your computer code

It’s often possible for someone to view your code and use it in a learning situation, and this is generally not a problem. However, it becomes a problem if they try to profit off of it or they steal your code and claim that it’s their own. They may even start with your base code and then innovate on it, taking what you’ve done and using it for their own gain.

In a situation like this, it’s important to understand that you can copyright your code and prevent others from using it to make a profit. While all of the computer languages are able to be used by anyone, the specific code that you have written is yours alone. This is the same as writing in any other language or creating any other type of work. That code is unique, it does something that gives your company an edge, and it is unfair for others to profit off of it.

That doesn’t mean that this won’t happen. Many developers simply hope they’ll never get caught. If you find someone who has been stealing your code and using it illegally, then you need to know exactly what steps to take.