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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • Companies will get away with copying open source code as easily as they get away with copying closed source code. As long as they are not successful in their business endeavour, it is far more likely that their copying will pass unnoticed. However, the more successful they become, the more likely it is that their product will be noticed by someone able to detect a similarity and call for careful scrutiny.

    That is a pretty strong reason to not copy in the first place. Copying can be seen to be a case of "heads you lose" (company never succeeds because of natural failure) or "tails we win" (company becomes successful causing the copying to get detected, so the profits are diluted drastically as a result).

    There are differences between copying from open source and closed source in this scenario. Copying from open source is easier (since the source is available, so you can adapt it rather than simply using a binary copy in its original form), but it is more detactable (detecting copies is yet another "bug" that is made shallow by having many eyes).