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Copyright Violation And Tort


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#1 meckr

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:53 PM

Has anyone ever heard of any court case involving one script author using the source code of another author? I have searched and searched. I am trying to find out if the source code can really be copyrighted as copyright law states that functions cannot be copyrighted. As far as I can tell, PHP scripts are nothing more than functions. Also, individual words or phrases cannot be copyrithged either, so that would apply to variables.

The reason I am asking is that I think a script that I wrote was used in another script as part of that script. I have looked at my source and the part of the script that I believe to be mine and they are identicle in every way.

In my java classes, we learned that webpage layouts, Java, Javascript, cannot be copyrighted or even html code. If HTML, Java, Javascript code cannot be copyrighted, then how is that PHP code can be or ASP for that matter? These are all structured languages.

Of course, we all know that some text and all images may be copyrighted in a script, so my question is can the source code legally be copyrighted?

Please provide examples or resources relating to this. Answering this question will benefit us all.

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#2 Crusader

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:32 PM

To my understanding, if it's not open source then it's yours. You'd have to have coded it in a unique way though... could just be coincidence unless of course you named all your variables and functions the same.

#3 SharkBait

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 10:21 PM

How would you go about proving its your code though?

Creation date of the file perhaps? How did the other script get a hold of your code? PHP is serverside and unless you posted it somewhere, how would they get it?

*shrug*

#4 meckr

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 12:21 AM

I never made it open source but I offered it for free download at one time. That was a while back.

My question is does anyone think I could take him/her/them to court and sue them or something. It's a good 700 lines of code and all the variables have been changed on the other author's script. The layout and everything is identical to mine.

Would I have a case or what do you think?
And what is more, I agree with everything I have just said!

Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. --Albert Einstein.

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#5 .josh

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 08:11 AM

dude you are totally SOL on that. Even if there were some kind of law(s) protecting you, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to prove it was your code and that they stole it from you. You can't find cases on stuff like that because it's virtually impossible to prove. Instead, i suggest you focus on a) not handing out your script to anybody, if you don't want it used by anybody else, and b) if your script is meant for distribution (commercially or not), encrypt it.
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