Glitch Code Copyright Inquiries

I’m not a really good coder, so sometimes I visit websites like Constant Contact or Wix, and I do (Ctrl + U), which gives me the code. I then copy some of it and use it on my website. I also make a separate link on the page that displays Copyright, and then lists the name of the companies I used and where. However, Wix or Constant Contact or whatever don’t know. Is this legal or not? Do I have to ask them?

Glitch User

Hi there. I am not a lawyer and I’d caution about depending on answers posted in public threads about legal questions. Even if a person is a lawyer one side of most disputes is on the losing side.

That said many sites expressly state the posting are covered by “creative commons” and/or other open source initiatives. Some BTW is so trivial as to not be copyrightable. One can’t copyright “Hello World” for instance. Many sites have posted examples from other sites and whatever copyright was applicable can no longer be determined.

In short I wouldn’t worry about it you aren’t pulling significant amounts of obviously copyrighted code and pretending it is yours. Algorithms are not subject to copyright BTW so if you see a sorting algorithm expressed in Pascal and rewrite it in JavaScript that is not a problem.

I also believe (but don’t quote me) that someone has to actually be bothered by your usage and take action and that is probably never going to happen.

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Hi there - this really depends on where you’re getting the code from and what kind of code you’re copying. You should contact the creators/support of the sites you’re copying code from to hear from them what is allowed according to their copyright.


I know a few people have already responded with good thoughts here but I’ll add…generally it is completely fine to just copy code that you were able to find by viewing source IF no one added a license to the project. If the templates are free and not behind a paywall where you have to sign up, you’re fine. If someone included their name, giving credit is a nice and probably the right thing to do, especially if they wrote a tutorial or have a ko-fi or patreon. At least a comment in the code itself.

You will definitely see projects with licenses on Glitch and Github. I put MIT licenses on all my work that isn’t a remix or tutorial because I don’t want people to pass them off as their own projects. It is surprising to me how often people do this naively and think employers will not check. They do. So it’s great that you are asking.

Most importantly, you have to consider your motivation for using pre-written code. If you’re building a website for a business or to display some other type of work you do (not web development) then you’re not falsely claiming to be a better developer than you are. If you’re copying other people’s work with the intent of creating a web development portfolio, you need to think beyond the short term. You won’t last in any position if you don’t actually get good at coding. :slight_smile:

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