About four years ago now I was deeply involved with developing a particular Mud. The Mud ended up closing a few months after I left, and a version of the code at the end was publicly released. The thing is, I recently found a copy of the code I kept from when I left that is a version prior to the official release. What I'm wondering is whether or not I have a right to release that code, having been one of the developers, despite the version of the code being before the official release. I have no clue as to what the legality of the matter would be (i.e, do I have the right to release, or do I need to get the original owner's consent, or something else?), so some armchair lawyer advice of some sort from anyone who knows more on the matter would be appreciated. :thinking:
I have no clue as to what the legality of the matter
I've been told by a lawyer that in some jurisdictions it's actually illegal to dispense legal advice without being a licensed attorney.
Of course…he would say that, wouldn't he ;)
My layman's opinion is that if you want to be anal about it, a pre-release version of code, parts of which don't belong to you, is probably not within your rights to release, assuming they differ from the actual release version.
However, everything has a context, and the context of copyright law is commercial exploitation. In that context, releasing it might violate the letter of the law but not the spirit.
But then, I may have been breathing bad air lately. Your mileage may vary.
I have no clue as to what the legality of the matter would be (i.e, do I have the right to release, or do I need to get the original owner's consent, or something else?), so some armchair lawyer advice of some sort from anyone who knows more on the matter would be appreciated. :thinking:
Well. I'm clearly no lawyer, but I'd say given you're one of the previous developers you hold a joint copyright on that code and are able to consent to it's being released. Much like there was talk not too long ago that Hans is allowed to speak for the entire Diku team on what is and isn't appropriate for their license. So there's precedent within the community on this already.
If there was no explicit agreement made among the developers, frankly, who knows what will actually happen? Each developer holds copyright to whatever he/she did. How one determines that in the context of a project without any agreement is a very interesting question.
I think that if the code was publicly released, and if you intend to publicly release another version of the code, nobody will really care on the basis of the code being released in the first place. You could always try emailing the other people and seeing what they think, as a gesture of good faith…