Suppose that one finds programming code from a web-page without any license. How a reader of the web page can use it? Can she copy it to own computer, compile it, run it, do some statistical analysis of the code without reading it? Or do I always ask a permission what are the licences before using it to anything? I think I already made a copy of it if to my web-browser's cache if I can read it.

I live in Finland if it matters anything.

1 Answer 1


You can read it, you can examine it to the point where you understand it, and then you can get inspired by the code and write your own code, without copying the code on the website, which does the same thing.

If there is no license, then you can do what copyright law allows you to do. You are not allowed to copy the code, or create derived works by taking the code and modifying it.

  • 1
    Its worth noting that the recipient can essentially do anything they like under copyright, so long as they do not distribute the original code or a derivative work of it. So to answer the OPs question outright - yes they could download it, compile it, run it, run statistical analysis on it etc etc etc. What they could not do is give it to another person, in whole, part or through a derivative work. Whether they could run it in a cloud setting is something that might not be well established (as it may or may not constitute distributing a copy to another party).
    – user28517
    Jan 17, 2020 at 2:11
  • Downloading is making a copy. Copying is what copyrights regulate. " 17 U.S. Code § 106. Exclusive rights in copyrighted works U.S. Code Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;" How is a copy in a file on your system not a copy? Jan 19, 2020 at 5:01
  • How is a copy in you computer working memory (and cache on permanent storage) made by visiting the site not a copy?
    – ptman
    Oct 14, 2021 at 13:46

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