Are developers stealing code?
Many software developers regard ‘code-borrowing’–reusing existing software in their own work–as an acceptable practice, despite the legal minefield it could create for their employers, says research due to be published later this week. The anonymous online survey of more than 3,000 developers found that almost 70 percent of respondents keep a personal library of code that they freely carry between employers. Such code is generally used without the lawful owner’s knowledge or permission, according to IT legal experts from out-law.com. “Reusing or copying code, though in some ways unlawful, I believe is common practice in software development,” said one freelance developer who participated. “Most developers that I come in contact with (including myself) reuse, copy, or even reverse-engineer code to make it work better or to include it in an application that we are programming.” According to Susan McKiernan, an IT lawyer with Masons, the law firm behind out-law.com, the survey showed that there was a widespread acceptance of the practice of reusing and ‘borrowing’ code. Full Story