When you put hard work and dedication into developing code, the last thing you want is
for someone else to plagiarise it. To help prevent this from happening, we’ll
provide advice on how to ensure your code is not plagiarised…
Developing code is not easy. It takes hard work, skill, and time, so protecting your code from plagiarism should be of supreme importance. Doing so starts with understanding intellectual property laws and the types of protection available because if you don’t and put no provisions in place to protect it, there is the potential for your code to be compromised and plagiarised by another.
It’s pretty normal for coders to rely on other coders’ work and base their own on that, but it’s not acceptable for your work to be stolen, yet sure enough, it does happen. Any code created can receive protection under design rights and patent law in addition to automatically having copyright protection, so always make sure you know your stuff.
To learn more about how you can protect your code from plagiarism, keep reading…
What is Plagiarism in Coding?
Coding plagiarism is when one individual claims another coder’s source code as their own work and does not cite sources they use or ask permission from the original creator.
When it comes to being a coder, it’s important to be aware of the possibilities of plagiarism and how to make sure that you avoid doing it yourself but also to prevent others from doing it to you.
Who Owns Code?
To put it literally, the individual who created the code will have ownership and copyright to that code. However, if you are writing code for your employer or a client, it will ultimately be owned by them.
How Can Your Code be Protected From Plagiarism?
The copyright law recognizes code as literacy work, the same as if the code was instead a book, movie, or art, which means when you create a completely original code, it automatically receives copyright protection. Copyright protection means that if another individual wants to use your work, they must have your permission, otherwise, they are committing plagiarism.
Copyright protects your work in a number of ways, for example:
- Preventing individuals from copying your code
- Preventing individuals from making adaptations to your code
While you do not have to register the copyright of your code, doing so helps to prevent any future issues you may face, and this includes if another individual claims your work as their own. Having registered copyright means you can claim for copyright infringement. Without registering the copyright, you cannot do this.
You can also put the copyright protection symbol (©) on your work, so others clearly know that there is copyright protection and is unlikely to risk carrying out copyright infringement.
Getting Registered Design Rights
Whether or not a creation has design rights depends on the type. For example, code is three-dimensional, and this means it automatically has unregistered design rights. Unregistered design rights protect the shape and configuration, internally and externally, but for additional protection, you will need to have registered design rights.
Having registered design rights provides the following type of protection for your code:
- Physical shape
While it is beneficial to have copyright protection for code, having registered design rights, offers added protection to other aspects, including preventing other code from infringing your code design and/or its elements.
The British Library provides additional information on registered design rights and the difference between registered and unregistered design rights.
How to Avoid Plagiarising Other Coder’s Work
While it’s obviously important for others not to steal your code and claim it as their own, it’s also crucial that you make sure you aren’t plagiarising anyone else’s code. Examples of how you can avoid plagiarising other’s work include:
Use a Programming Plagiarism Checker Tool
You can find standard plagiarism checker tools when writing text, and there are many tools available online which can ensure that you are not plagiarising any code. An example of a quality plagiarism check tool you can run your code through is Codequiry.
When running your code through this type of system, it will conduct rigorous checks and comparisons using intelligent algorithms to certify that your code is entirely unique and doesn’t copy other code.
Ask For Permission
If there is a piece of code you wish to use or adapt to create your own code, why not reach out to the owner and ask for permission? The worst that can happen is they say no, and you have to do something else.
Always Do Your Research
What we can ultimately conclude from this article is how significant code is to individuals and especially to businesses. It is therefore important to take the time to put protections in place to ensure code is not plagiarised by another individual or business. You can do this through additional protections on top of the standard copyright and design rights code automatically receives.
Are you a coder? How do you ensure your code is protected from plagiarism? Let us know in the comment box below.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained legal professional. Be sure to consult a legal professional if you’re seeking advice about copyright laws. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.