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Anyone ever "steal" your code, your circuit, your project?

DrG

Active Member
Have you ever had someone take your work? Steal your idea? Steal your schematic? Did you get pissed off, shrug, or something in between.

This has happened to me several times (I could give specific examples) in the computers and electronics arena. Up until now, however, there was always a correct attribution and even thanks. I wondered why they would bother to re-publish the whole thing while adding almost nothing, but hey, that was their business.

One time a schematic was used as the basis of “would this work for what I want to do” post. No attribution at all. I wrote in and said where it came from and, in fact, he apologized and edited the link and there was some discussion about the general topic of what he wanted to do. The gist of it was that I told him that the circuit that I designed and built was still working and doing what it was supposed to but he was missing a few points (like a pullup for an OC signal) and some related info. Someone else posted another circuit and so on. No harm no foul. I’m really not that picky about that stuff and never have been.

So, last fall, I made a data logger. Please understand this clearly. Making a data logger is no great feat. It is almost a rite of passage. So, I have no illusions about the significance of the accomplishment. It is not a big deal – I get it.

I had recently purchased an Arduino MKR WiFi 1010 and an Arduino NANO IOT 33 (both of these have an ESP32 variant – they are not UNOs). I actually wanted to re-do a data logger that I had made several years ago and the controller I used went away and that always pissed me off. So, I thought – why not? Nothing beats a project to learn.

I built it, it works, I am happy, blah blah blah. I figured I would go ahead and write it up (sharing and all that rot). PITA – grammar, spelling, photography, removing cuss words from code – all that. But, I did, and it is here https://create.arduino.cc/projecthub/DrGee/yadl-yet-another-data-logger-5ab66f?ref=user&ref_id=914988&offset=0

I was rather impressed with the response – thousands of views in a short period of time, a couple of nice comments and some respects (I guess they are “likes”). Cool – maybe someone else will get some use out of it so it was worth the effort.

The other day, I was wondering about a trivial issue about the MCUs…wondering how I had said something and fearing that I had said it wrong (it turned out that I hadn’t). I go search for the project on line and I fine this, instead (the actual project is still there, this was new) https://www.electronics-lab.com/project/yadl-yet-another-data-logger/.

Heyyyy that’s my code (authorship comments removed) and those are my photographs, of my project, and much of the writing (but not all) are my words, that graph is even from my data – and nothing about the original source - wtf?

So I am thinking, I will write this guy and inform him of my perception of the identity of his ancestors, particularly his parents and a few other comments concerning my perception of his general worth.

I never did and pretty much forgot about it. I have no idea why this guy does that stuff – maybe he thinks that if he puts in the word “tested” it means he is not taking it. Maybe if he puts his name and email there, it doesn’t mean he is implying that he wrote it – even if the authorship lines were removed from the code. Heck, maybe there is some fine print on the Arduino project site where I posted it that says I give up all rights and anyone else can take it and act like it is theirs. Maybe it is an AI application to collect content.

While I don’t think any of that is true, I have learned, long ago, that people who take the work products or the intellectual ideas of others are never able to produce those on their own. The inability goes along with the act of taking. By and large, they are no threat. I mean that seriously. That is the message that I, as an old person, would pass on to young people (who are genetically predisposed to not listen to old people).
 

rjenkinsgb

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Yes, a few times.

In the early 80s I wrote the control system for a machine tool CNC system. To get everything to run at the required update speed I had to come up with some original algorithms as nothing I could find anywhere was fast enough.

One was a square root routine using a unique initialisation which I believe gives the fastest possible software method - it never takes more than six iterations to give the result in any test I could do.
(Another was a "fixed" version of Bresenham's incremental circle algorithm that gave absolute accuracy, to the limit of the maths used - 1/320,000 of an inch in that system).


Some time later when I started working with MCUs, one compiler I was using had an absolutely abysmally slow maths library, using logs for square roots and various other nasties.

I sent them a version of my algorithm as a drop-in replacement for that, clearly marked as being released under the GNU GPL - and they included it with no credit at all. It got removed after a few years, I think someone audited the code and removed it rather than add someone else's copyright..


We've also had a few of our commercial products copied, near identical PCBs with just the copyright text removed..
None were made for all that long; one has some slight mods that meant it did not work well and the company that copied the others was bought out soon after.

[I keep meaning to put details of the two algorithms on my web site - this may motivate me to do it in the next few weeks..]
 

narkeleptk

Active Member
Not really the same but I have had a lot of automotive related howto's and software hijacked. Cloners out of china like to steal from the auto forums and turn them to blog posts on their sites so they can push their clone tools. They always fail to mention I use oem tools however.
 

debe

Active Member
I eventualy learnt that any pictures or circuits i put on any Forums are found on Google. But if theres been an update by me its generaly not there.
 

Triode

Active Member
I wrote a few instructables that are now cloned all over. It seems like the same sites do it to lots of instructables.
 

Diver300

Well-Known Member
My design for an electronic module was stolen, and put into production by a former customer. The loss of business caused the my company to go out of business.

The circuit was obtained by pretending that it was needed for a type approval.

The source code was obtained by arranging a two break-ins. During the first, a PC that did the programming was stolen, but they hadn't realised that the code was on a network drive. In the second break in, the PC with the source code was stolen, leaving a physically identical machine alone. The choice of PCs targeted shows what the thieves were after.
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
twice.... one of them not really "stolen" but i should have charged more for it... i was approached by a doctor who wanted an inexpensive electronic muscle stimulator. i built a prototype with completely off-the-shelf parts, and was paid $250.00 for the prototype, BOM and schematic. years later these little battery powered boxes were selling like hotcakes, and for upwards of $500.00 each.
 

DrG

Active Member
My design for an electronic module was stolen, and put into production by a former customer. The loss of business caused the my company to go out of business.

The circuit was obtained by pretending that it was needed for a type approval.

The source code was obtained by arranging a two break-ins. During the first, a PC that did the programming was stolen, but they hadn't realised that the code was on a network drive. In the second break in, the PC with the source code was stolen, leaving a physically identical machine alone. The choice of PCs targeted shows what the thieves were after.
That is some serious larceny!
 

unclejed613

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
the other one was that i figured out how to remove the glass bulb from a flashlight bulb, and replace it with what at the time were "ultra-bright" LEDs (15.000mcd) and a dropping resistor. i made sets of these, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and white (blue and white LEDs didn't work well on 2-cell flashlights, but worked well on 3-cell flashlights) and in addition two wide beam infrared LEDs and one narrow beam infrared LED for use with night vision equipment. this was back in the late 1990s when prepping became a thing, and i sold a lot of sets of these. one day somebody calls me up and tries to get me into an argument whether or not it was even possible to make these without some kind of driver chip... when i insisted i was using dropping resistors he hung up... he stole my idea is what i figured out later... the bulbs i was making with LEDs were filled with epoxy and difficult to get apart...
 

EOF

New Member
Hello to all,

So sorry for the inconvenience caused by our article on electronics-lab.com. Our intention was not to "steal" content from any author, but to better document an open-source/publicly available project and bring it to the next level for more users to be able to access it.
As you understand this is what open source means. Copy, Share and Improve by the community.

Our platform serves to provide users with some of the coolest, publicly available, open-source projects.

We put effort to explain the project in a way that is easy to follow, add to the original article and also give credit to the original creator.
This is why the same pictures etc are used. If the intention was to "steal" you will agree that we could have just used different pictures and copy your
code and article.

We will go through the post again and fix any oversight on credits. Let me know if you also want to remove the entire article.

Hope this clarifies things.
 

DrG

Active Member
Hello to all,

So sorry for the inconvenience caused by our article on electronics-lab.com. Our intention was not to "steal" content from any author, but to better document an open-source/publicly available project and bring it to the next level for more users to be able to access it.
As you understand this is what open source means. Copy, Share and Improve by the community.

Our platform serves to provide users with some of the coolest, publicly available, open-source projects.

We put effort to explain the project in a way that is easy to follow, add to the original article and also give credit to the original creator.
This is why the same pictures etc are used. If the intention was to "steal" you will agree that we could have just used different pictures and copy your
code and article.

We will go through the post again and fix any oversight on credits. Let me know if you also want to remove the entire article.

Hope this clarifies things.
Yes, remove the article. It speaks for itself as I wrote it and where I posted it.
 

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