After seeing the following question one of my problems came in mind: I want to couple two different scripts in two different languages.

I found a solution for that, and I copied that solution. Unfortunately the same author uses this code for a script which he put under the GPL, but he did not mention the GPL in his example.

Can I use the connection (pipe-construction) in a non-free script, even if the script he uses this code is under the GPL?

I want to combine python and ruby, and I used the code from this page. Later I found out that he wrote a script licensed under the GPL using the same technique.

  • Show us where you got the code. In general, if the code is part of a GPL'd library or application, it's not immune from the GPL if you only use part of the code and not all of it. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:09
  • related: Is a project without license public domain?
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:11
  • @RobertHarvey: Done, I hope that helps
    – arc_lupus
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:14
  • 2
    It says at the bottom of that page: "Except where otherwise noted, all content on this site www.decalage.info is licensed by Philippe Lagadec under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License." Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:20
  • @RobertHarvey: Ooops, I haven't seen that before, thanks!
    – arc_lupus
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:22

1 Answer 1


Most likely, no you cannot use the other person's script without licensing your code under the GPL.

For you to legally use someone else's work, they need to provide a license to you for that code. Some licenses, such as MIT and BSD, are permissive, and are the equivalent of giving the code away. Other licenses, such as the GPL, impose restrictions upon end-users of their code.

You stated that the script you want to use is GPL'd, then you must release your code as GPL if you wish to use their script.

The fact that an example was provided without explicitly stating the license is mot. That example was effectively unlicensed code to which you did not have permission to use.

  • Is that also true for code described as tutorial?
    – arc_lupus
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:12
  • 1
    @arc_lupus - yes. Code is code, and is subject to copyright regardless of the end intent for the code. The author of the tutorial needs to provide a license to use the tutorial code.
    – user53019
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:15
  • How big must the difference then be to use this idea? I mean, if I want to connect both languages and it is only possible in this specific way, can it still be protected by the GPL?
    – arc_lupus
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:16
  • @arc_lupus - your questions are now expanding beyond the scope of your original question. Digging into "How much difference does there need to be" is beyond the scope of what Programmers can provide.
    – user53019
    Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:19
  • 2
    @arc_lupus: The best place to ask is a lawyer specializing in copyright law in your area. The "How much difference" question is a legal one and the answer can differ widely between jurisdictions. Commented Mar 17, 2015 at 15:41

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