If no license is distributed with an application/source code, what license applies by default if any from a legal standpoint?

Edit: If bob makes source code. And bob has never placed any license in any code, or released applications. Are people legally in the right to dis-assemble/reverse engineer it? Furthermore If they obtain the source code, do they legally now own it for lack of license or does bob still obtain copyrights over said code/applications. In both situations assuming the code/application was obtained both legally, and illegally, please and thank you.

PS: bob has never uploaded any source using GIT or anything else, they only exist on bobs computer, and places bob has released them by hand.

  • 1
    How did you acquire the application?
    – Viktor
    Feb 8, 2016 at 22:15
  • Edited, and made my question more specific.
    – Nackloose
    Feb 9, 2016 at 1:00
  • "Unless otherwise stated, all rights belong to the progammer" Sep 13, 2016 at 6:22

1 Answer 1


Using this answer on Open Source Stack Exchange,

If a repository has no license, then all rights are reserved and it is not Open Source or Free. You cannot modify or redistribute this code without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

If a project doesn't have a licence, then normal copyright rules apply - this means that the author reserves all rights.

The way a project is obtained, nor (except in exceptional cases), does not alter the ownership of copyright of a project. Bob will always hold copyright, unless he releases a legal document, such as a licence, that grants others various rights to the project.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .