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The simple answer is that in most cases and within reasonable limits yes, it's ok. Some provisos. Copyright law gives you two basic mechanisms, which depend somewhat on the country. In many cases the use small pieces of code copied from a large work is permitted as "fair use" or "fair dealing". The limits are not well defined, but the principle is solid. ...


I wonder. Considering Microsoft has recently posted an entire browser for their source code at http://referencesource.microsoft.com/ and the license in the help does not seem particularly restrictive this might become a lot less ambiguous now.


We had a similar situation and we asked Microsoft's lawyers. They (eventually) responded that they regarded it as falling within the "fair use" provisions of copyright law. We used their source code on that basis. As any competent lawyer will tell you, fair use: allows you to copy and use small parts of a copyright work without seeking permission, ...

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