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Google Stealing Yahoo Code (Again)

Johan Terpstra [PersonRank 1]

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
15 years ago2,661 views

Hadn't seen this covered on the blog yet:

Google copied Yahoo's BSDed CSS snippets (and didn't even bother renaming the oh-so-obvious Yahoo id labels) without attributions as required by the BSD license.

It's not the first time Google nicks Yahoo's hard work, just search Zawodny's blog for similar instances back he and Cutts were shitslinging about who stole what first.

Anyway, you'd think they'd not do it so obvious or have the resources to come up with their own code.

Originally found via links menu on the right here:

Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Chris DiBona, well known "Open Source guy" in Google, wrote in the comments:


I work on open source compliance at Google and we’re fixing the attribution issue. This is not cool at all but it will be fixed soon. Thanks.


Ludwik Trammer [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Oh, and than (still Chris):

"Technically, it is not distribution to put bsd code on a webpage even though that page is ‘downloaded’ to a webclient. We don’t mind giving credit though."

I think he is right. As Isaac Z. Schlueter wrote:

"Use of the code is free to all, with or without attribution. If Google decides to distribute code as part of a new package in either binary or source form, and that product uses or extends the YUI lib, then they’ll have to include the attribution."

So it looks like there are technically ok, but they would like to correct this issue and give credit anyway.

Johan Terpstra [PersonRank 1]

15 years ago #

That makes sense. I only ever studied the GPL, not the BSD so I wasn't aware of what is and what isn't supposed to be done when code is re-used under that license.

(Also interesting that if it is all above-table that Yahoo should still choose to point it out on their blog...)

But take away all that, it's still emberrassing IMO to get caught out like that and then having to react to save face as oppose to making sure beforehand whether something is totally cool, especially when borrowing it from your number 1 or 2 competitor and even more so when you've been cought before.

BSD or not, taking code from the competitor you are aiming to squah isn't exactly non-evil is it? To what degree it is evil I guess is up to people's standards and belief systems.

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

15 years ago #

Johan: it's not the slightest bit evil. Yahoo has chosen to release the code for public use. Google uses it. That's how it's supposed to work.

Google takes open source code seriously, and I bet if they make improvements to it they are contributing those improvements back into the Yahoo source tree (so that they don't need to maintain an independent fork of the code).

Google also releases lots of open source code, and I'm sure they accept that Yahoo is able to use that.

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