Someone post my code as if was theirs what could I do?

suzane.goncalves's picture

I understand that we create modules to share, I love the idea. So since I'm a college student that lacks experience for most of the jobs posted now, I did some volunteer work in a non-profit organization.

I suggested a certain improvement and explained to my manager that I would be more than happy to create the module but that would love to post it on in my name so I could have a proof of my skills. She did agree with me, all the content we develop since is a non-profit organization was intended to be share.

I finish the whole module and was more than happy to send her. At this point due to work schedule I was NOT volunteering anymore. She mentioned some changes that we need to make so it would work for more companies and I said it was fine.

I got really surprised this week when I realized that someone have already posted my work, it has less then 10 lines (out of over 200) different then mine. Does not mention any contribution, this person just post as if it was their code. It was not my manager, but instead a new Programmer that she had hired after I left.

Now here is the thing, I know what I did I have at least 10 versions of this code, but I'll not be able to post it because it will be consider duplication. I'm really upset because this is not what I learned about Open Source and cooperation.

Is there anything that I can do, besides trying to ask them to fix this?


First, you need to negotiate

Acubed's picture

First, you need to negotiate with the other person, if at all possible. There's nothing that anyone else can do until you can specify how you tried to negotiate and why it failed.

It sounds like this may be considered a "work for hire", in which case they own the copyright on the work, and may publish it or modify it as they wish.

If there's no obstacles preventing you from publishing your work under your name (the agreement that you may publish what you wrote is sufficient to let you do so), then you should do so, especially if you have a commit history/repository you can publish. If your code was published with an Open Source license (for instance, the GPL), you should have no problem continuing to publish changes to the module under your own name.


Crell's picture

If your original code was developed in Git, then you and the other developer could coordinate to push the full Git history to That way all of the old commits would have your name on them. You could also ask about giving you access to the module on as a co-maintainer.

(All of the above assumes of course that the other developer is able to act in good faith.)

It was not develop in Git.

suzane.goncalves's picture

It was not develop in Git. But I do have months of e-mails exchanged with m code, also the e-mails from my manager and other co-workers.

But would that be fair? I spent 4 months working on this module and now I would be the co-maintainer of it.

I think that is a is not an ethical attitude. So is there any police against it? In GPL2 we should always mention who did the code we are copying for credit purposes...

I guess my question would be what if he just says that he doesn't care, do I have and option, something that I could do?

Because if it was a case of good faith the developer would not have posted someone else work as its own.

Suzane Goncalves

In GPL2 we should always

greggles's picture

In GPL2 we should always mention who did the code we are copying for credit purposes...

Does it say that? I don't remember that part. Can you cite the section?

Don't try to figure out "What

cweagans's picture

Don't try to figure out "What if". Just talk to the guy, see if he'll credit you, and go from there.

Cameron Eagans

Similar situation

scotilen's picture

I'm having a similar situation right now.
I did try to negotiate since it was the easiest and the right thing to do.

They have said that the code is theirs and nothing else can be done.
Is there anyone in Drupal site that I can report the case? Or anything else that can be done?


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