I need advices about dealing with stolen works

I know the title is a bit… disturbing but right now I’m not sure what to do.

my friend (A) designed keyboard K and after many phases of prototyping, the keyboard is finished and ready for GB.

my friend A have a public github repository for that keyboard design, at this moment he did not think about lisencing his work. Another person (B) forked A’s repo and claimed that he/she worked on the design from the begining.

A hastily make his github repo private, effectively cleared all the “fork records”.

Is there a way to prove that person B has stolen A’s work? will comparing B’s current design with previous commit of A’s repo suffice?

I appreciate any helps.


I think you can prove, based on the git logs, that person A worked on the project and not person B. So I assume you would be able to legally prove that person A created the base on which person B continued, or copied. However I don’t Git enough in detail if it’s possible to manipulate the dates/timestamps.

Person B could perhaps remove the .git directory, reset his date/time to an earlier starting point, create a local repo and commit against it, then push the changes to github. I would assume from this procedure, that his earliest commit/timestamp is legit and difficult to prove otherwise, he could even go as far as to say that person A copied B instead.

Putting things in a public repo without licensing information from the start, I assume it’s copyright protected, whether it has a license or not. Just as if you happen to write something other than software. The difficult part is proving who was first, as it’s person A against the word of person B.

Hi, it’s true that git history can be rewritten (I do use git too). Maybe person A should try contacting github.

I read through: https://opensource.guide/legal/

Making your GitHub project public is not the same as licensing your project. Public projects are covered by GitHub’s Terms of Service, which allows others to view and fork your project, but your work otherwise comes with no permissions.

If you want others to use, distribute, modify, or contribute back to your project, you need to include an open source license. For example, someone cannot legally use any part of your GitHub project in their code, even if it’s public, unless you explicitly give them the right to do so.

I think github might help if person A can provide enough evidences.

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Hey Tom,

I don’t know if this is you, but it otherwise kinda relates to your case here

hi, that’s my friend. :slightly_smiling_face:
(I avoided mentioning any names in this thread; I’m not directly involved)

after reading that reddit thread, I think everything is clear now.