Are there any modern digital methods of proving that you are the orginal copyright owner of a piece of source code? Or does one still use the old method of copying the code to disk and mailing the disk to yourself via certiified snail mail?
The old "mail it to myself" technique isn't foolproof. Anyone could mail himself a blank, unsealed envelope and then stick something in it later. Using this technique would provide some evidence that you actually created this code when you say you did, but it would be easy to challenge in court.
If we're talking US, then register it with the US Copyright Office. Costs around $100, and you have to register it anyway if you want to file suit for statutory damages (otherwise you're restricted to the actual damages you can prove, which is hard).
in hungary there is the option to put it into an envelope and some institute put a stamp on it, and mark it so you cannot open it.
If all you want to do is demonstrate copyright, then register it and then publish the actual code. Of course, any trade secrets are then revealed.
Coding Shop Lawyer
Run a one-way function like md5 on the source code. Publish the hash that is generated as an ad in some popular newspaper.
Fiendishly clever Joel.
name withheld out of cowardice
The MD5 scheme is technicly good, but can one assume that a court will accept it as evidence? IE. will they get it?
"Run a one-way function like md5 on the source code. Publish the hash that is generated as an ad in some popular newspaper."
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