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First you have to distinguish between what is ethical and what is legal. You actually ask about what is ethical. This is highly subjective! I believe there is broad consensus that: Ideas shared in public can be freely used by anybody Smaller sections of code shared in public can be freely copied by anybody. Larger sections of code can be copied verbatim ...


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Though I am not a lawyer... You are conflating several issues. So, let's try to tease them apart. There is copyright which applies to any code of sufficient size (more than a few lines?) that is re-used in another context. Here you need to abide by the copyright license of the code, which could range from forbidden to allowed. Open Source generally ...


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Yes, it is. Concepts that people communicate to others in online forums are intended to be adopted by others. There is neither a tradition nor a legal basis for banning others from reusing the same algorithm (copyright protects only specific expressions of ideas, not the ideas themselves, trade secret status does not apply, and algorithms cannot be patented)...



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