I do not know if it's the right place to ask this question. But I find that this site is the closest site in the exchange sites to ask a such question.

I m working in a company and in my job contract there is confidential clauses concerning codes, documents,...

In the company we are working on an open source project (GPL V3). the project is not shared yet to the public.

Do I have the right to share the code of the project with people (out from the company)?

  • This probably best belongs on programmers.stackexchange.com.
    – dr jimbob
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:10
  • 5
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about programming and legal. It is definitely not security related. Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:14
  • Noteworthy: this was already asked on Programmers, nearly verbatim, by a different user.
    – apsillers
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 17:30
  • @apsillers - Well looking at the timestamps, it was asked here (where it doesn't belong) first (at 16:06), then I commented this belongs on programmers (16:10) as our close options only have migrate to meta/stackoverflow/superuser, and then it was reasked at programmers at (16:25). But I liked your answer over there (+1), everyone agrees its a bad idea.
    – dr jimbob
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


Not a lawyer, but your company probably owns your code (this is typical).

You do not have permission to release it to the world. At the very least your employer can justifiably terminate your employment based on this -- and you have to be careful that you don't include any non-GPLv3 code with the GPL parts.

If the code is GPLv3, then if that code is distributed (sold or given) to a customer than the customer is legally entitled to the GPLv3 portions of the source code and they can distribute the code however they choose.

If you have GPLv3 software as a service, e.g., your company can keep modified GPL code themselves, but never release/distribute it to anyone. Then they can keep the code secret and only use it in-house.

See: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html




  • are there similar question. could you point me directely to the questions in the faq?
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:20
  • @MOHAMED Added links to specific questions that are most relevant. Especially gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#StolenCopy . There's a subtle distinction - did your company distribute the work to you when they let you see the source code? I would argue no, they let you see the source code on work machines that they own and any distribution to non-work machines was likely theft.
    – dr jimbob
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:27
  • the company already provide the source code with the binary when it delivers the product to the customer
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:36
  • @MOHAMED - I assumed they were treating it as a trade secret (and not distributing binaries/source). If they distribute the binary & source, then my understanding is the GPL allows you to distribute the source.
    – dr jimbob
    Commented Jul 18, 2013 at 16:40

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