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How to Deal With Stolen Code? 799

greenrom writes "I work for a small company as a software developer. While investigating a bug in one of our products, I found source code on a website that was nearly identical to code used in our product. Even the comments were the same. It's obvious that a developer at our company found some useful code on the web and copied it. The original author didn't attach any particular license to the code. It's just 200 lines of code the author posted in a forum. Is it legitimate to use source code that's publicly available but doesn't fall under any particular license? If not, what's the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Since I'm now the only person working on this code, there's no practical way to report the situation confidentially. I'm new to the company, and the developer who copied the code is the project lead. Reporting him to management doesn't seem like a good career move. I could rewrite the copied code without reporting him, but since the product is very close to release it would be difficult to make a significant change without providing some justification."

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