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I am following a series of programming articles. In order to understand them better, I type in the code examples and play around with them - sometimes I change the code, sometimes I don't. I also like to comment some lines with quotes from the original article. I cannot find any licensing or attribution information in and around the articles.

I would like to put the project with the examples and the quotes up on GitHub. If I had written all the code from scratch I would have used a BSD or an Apache license. I do mention and link to the original articles in the README.

What is an appropriate approach to licensing and attribution in this case?

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So you want to distribute parts from an article which has no license.

  • If the parts are eligible for copyright protection :

    You are not allowed to distribute these parts at all.

  • If the parts are not eligible for copyright protection (or something like "fair use" etc. applies):

    You are allowed to distribute these parts. You don’t have to attribute (but it would be polite to do so). You can choose any or no license.

It’s not necessarily clear whether something is not eligible for copyright protection; apart from obvious cases, better assume that it is. Quoting small parts from the article (using quotation marks and providing the author name and article URL) will most likely be fine, though.

The best way is to ask the author for permission. The author could give you a personal permission to distribute these parts (specifying how you should attribute, if at all), or the author could decide to license the article under a specific license for everyone (in which case the license’s conditions apply to you).

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