Kernel module cogsSomething that comes up every now and then in the development world is a developer claiming someone else stole their work. Plenty of open source developers, especially in the kernel worlds, are quite intimately familiar with writing a piece of code, submitting it to a repository, only to see the same code used in another kernel and the person who kanged it claiming the original developer is a thief and that people should donate to the real thief.

In open source projects, it’s pretty easy to look at the commits and see who wrote the piece of code first. Unfortunately the average user isn’t going to do this and will probably stand behind their developer of choice, which seems to be a pretty accurate reflection of the world these days – stand behind what’s comforting to believe (net security,) in the face of facts.

But what would you do if you’re dealing with a closed-source project and a developer cries foul?

I’ll give you an example here. We recently published a piece on Xtended Settings and a month later a user came in claiming that the author copied multiple things from another application called the Sense Toolbox. Both of these are closed source projects.

Asked for proof, the user mentions that the proofs were submitted to a third party (XDA). I did a little digging as I’m not particularly fond of promoting people who steal other’s work without credit and discovered that the user submitting the claims of fraud was also the developer of the app he claimed was stolen.

XDA went in and cleaned threads of a bunch of arguing and users claiming developer A or B was a thief, life goes on, months later there’s still development threads for both the products.

The developer posting on our site later posted a link to a page he’d designed which was a copyright infringement writeup that he wrote and is hosting on his website in which we have to take him at his word, or decompile both closed-soruce APKs and compare line by line.

In the meantime I’ve left the article up as I have nothing other than claims by one developer who never mentioned he was the developer, and work goes on on both applications.

As this has gnawed at me for a couple of weeks I’m asking what do you think the policy should be on this? These aren’t open source projects, the only thing I can do is decompile two closed source copyrighted applications to compare line by line and even then I won’t know who wrote what first as there are no repositories to look at timestamps on.

PS: sorry for the phoning it in past week and a half, baby was sick and out of daycare all week. In theory I return 100% Wednesday.