If I take a photograph of software code, in what way(s) am I allowed to use/distribute that photograph?

I am assuming copyright code hangs somewhere between fair usage and copyright infringement, but for free to reuse code such as MIT, can I assume I am free to use/distribute it, and if I distribute it what license should I use?

  • How big is the volume of code shown in your picture? Jul 8, 2017 at 14:36
  • @PhilippeOmbredanne I am not sure, but would change based on usage(coding language, library). Generally, it would be of a whole screen. Jul 9, 2017 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


If you create a photograph in which software code is a prominent feature, then your photograph will likely be considered to be a derived work of the software and you will have to comply with the copyright license of the software.

If the photograph is more than a mechanical reproduction of the source code, then the photograph itself is also protected by copy rights, which you hold as being the photographer.

If the source code is licensed under a permissive license, like the MIT license, then you are completely free in your choice of license for the photograph.
To comply with most permissive licenses, you will have to mention somewhere (probably in the metadata of the photo) that the code shown is licensed under license XYZ.

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