Tutorial :Code header for proprietary code [closed]


We need to send some source codes outside of the company and I have to add header to each file with notice which explicitly state that source code is our property and nobody is allowed to do anything with it.

Do you know any header templates which I can use?


I would not be too wordy in the header of your source files; this is just annoying nonsense that hardly anybody ever reads. Why wouldn't you rather put a very short statement which links to the full legal agreement (NDA, whatever), either by referring to the file distributed with the source code, or with a plain HTTP link?

/*   * This file is subject to the terms and conditions defined in   * file 'LICENSE.txt', which is part of this source code package.   */  

You can then ask your lawyer to provide you with a rock solid, legally sound, text which you store in one single place with your source code distribution.


Here's one I turned up from a quick google code search (from Adobe). Seems' pretty boilerplate to me:

 /*************************************************************************   *    * ADOBE CONFIDENTIAL   * __________________   *    *  [2002] - [2007] Adobe Systems Incorporated    *  All Rights Reserved.   *    * NOTICE:  All information contained herein is, and remains   * the property of Adobe Systems Incorporated and its suppliers,   * if any.  The intellectual and technical concepts contained   * herein are proprietary to Adobe Systems Incorporated   * and its suppliers and may be covered by U.S. and Foreign Patents,   * patents in process, and are protected by trade secret or copyright law.   * Dissemination of this information or reproduction of this material   * is strictly forbidden unless prior written permission is obtained   * from Adobe Systems Incorporated.   */  


Just to add to that Alan's comment from 2009-06-19, copyright is created on "fixation" (ie creation of the copyrightable work and it being written or recorded on some physical medium) in any jurisdiction that is a signatory to the Berne Convention, which is most of the world apart from Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and a handful of countries in Africa and SE Asia â€" all the blue countries in this map; TRIPS effectively requires that all World Trade Organisation members implement this.

Map of Berne Convention signatories



You really should get your legal people to check over the text when reusing an existing piece of boilerplate. Does the company have a lawyer that they use?

For example, I don't think the above examples with explicit references to U.S. and Foreign Patents may apply to the Czech Republic.

Just my EUR0.02 so you don't get caught by using boilerplate that isn't applicable or, worse, enforceable.




Best way to get one is by contacting the legal advisor for your company. He should be able to tell you which text you need to include to make them legally binding for those who will use your sources. Then again, your legal advisor might then do a Google search and copy the header from Adobe, modifies it a bit and then sends it to your company with his $5.000 legal bill...


Basically all you need is a copyright notice and a blurb about permissions.

And you don't even need that as all code is copyrighted by default, explicit notice or not.

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