'Stealing' vs 'misusing'

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'Stealing' vs 'misusing'

Postby MadTux » Mon May 26, 2014 4:28 pm

I was reading an interesting (well, relatively) YouTube comment thread and somebody said that Microsoft 'stole' open source code. A reply was that it should be called 'misusing' since "Stealing would imply the code wasn't freely available to begin with.". Any opinions on what the correct term is? I would call it stealing just as not returning a book to a library is stealing; the book is freely available but you broke the 'licence' , i.e. returning it, by not doing so.

Yes, this is pretty trivial, but it would interest me to see if others see otherwise, and why. Of course, if anyone disagrees, I will hate him forever. :twisted:
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Postby MartyBartfast » Mon May 26, 2014 4:56 pm

If they're using the code in contravention of the license under which it was published then it's copyright infringement. The parties who rigourously defend their own copyrights/patents (such as Microsoft) often refer to that as copyright theft and indeed there's a trade body established to protect copyrighted material who call themselves the Federation Against Copyright Theft. So I guess if it's open source code which is released under license such as a GPL, then by Microsoft's own standards they're committing theft.
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Postby guy » Mon May 26, 2014 5:29 pm

It is definitely stealing. When anybody creative plagiarises another they are said to have "stolen" their ideas. Nobody says, "Oh, you only stole the property rights and not the idea itself". Rather, they would say that you abused the property rights by stealing the idea. So really, the YouTube pedant has the usage of "stealing" vs. "misusing" backwards. All that is true whether or not the idea is already in the public domain.
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Postby Rhakios » Mon May 26, 2014 6:30 pm

"Open Source" also includes things under a BSD licence which is more permissive, I seem to recall there is some BSD stuff in there somewhere. I also seem to recall that they used some media related stuff once, but got caught...
Hmm, oh well here's the article about using BSD code, not theft, just the usual hypocrisy.
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Postby MadTux » Mon May 26, 2014 7:15 pm

Those #@$! You have to log in to view the article! Anyway, good point. Of course, anything like stealing or misusing suggests it's illegal, but the commenter might have been referring to that incident and thought it was GPL-ed code or something.

Anyway, it looks like I'm not going to have to murder anyone in their beds for disagreeing with me; stealing it is :D
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Postby Rhakios » Mon May 26, 2014 9:47 pm

MadTux wrote:Those #@$! You have to log in to view the article!


Now that's weird, when it came up on a google search it let me see the whole article, now it requires a log in.

Anyway, suffice to say, BSD code is used as part of the Windows 2000 TCP/IP stack, as well as a large part of Hotmail (as of the time of the article being written) was being run from FreeBSD.
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Postby guy » Tue May 27, 2014 8:03 am

Rhakios wrote:
MadTux wrote:Those #@$! You have to log in to view the article!


Now that's weird, when it came up on a google search it let me see the whole article, now it requires a log in.


Some web sites allow search spiders etc. more leeway than other visitors. I think it's called advertising.
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Postby MadTux » Tue May 27, 2014 8:41 am

I couldn't get in with a 'Googlebot' user agent either ...

Anyway, the information is what matters, and I've got it now, so that's good :D
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