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Let's say i'd like to take an existing smart contract from the Ethereum blockchain and use it for my own project on the Tron chain. Apart from any technical issues: Is it legal to do that? Can i just grab it and use it for my own stuff without any legal implications or does it depend on some license agreement or am I always free to do it?

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Source code. Source code never changes. (cit.)

Currently there's nothing that prohibits you from doing this, and on the contrary it's a really common conduct. And, I would say, it's specifically a best practice: reusing code already tested and audited by many peers it's ideally much safer then dealing with a complete brand new smart contract. And this is true not only for Ethereum, but in general for all softwares out there.

In any case, it's always up to the developer to provide a coherent and clear licensing model for its own product: if they don't provide a proper license you can consider that code free.

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  • Thanks for the answer. What if they don't provide a license but state this: "All rights are reserved. IT IS NOT LICENSED FOR COPYING". I assume i can not legally use it right? github.com/BitcoinHEX/contract – Endogen Jul 27 at 16:15
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    Stating something is reserved does not mean it really is, and all rights reserved itself hasn't made sense in twenty years now. Unless that exact source code is copyrighted or properly licensed, you cannot avoid reuse of it. Please note I'm from Europe, where software license, copyright and so on works in a specific way. If you live elsewhere, stick with your local laws about these topics because - at the end of the day - it's what really matters. – Giuseppe Bertone Jul 27 at 16:35
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When you don't copy the code exactly, you should have no problems, because it is nearly impossible to proof that you really used their code. Because "In dubio pro reo", youre totally safe. When you do copy it exactly, you should have a look at the license, it should be specified. https://solidity.readthedocs.io/en/v0.6.12/layout-of-source-files.html#spdx-license-identifier If there is no license and no way to find out whos code it is, it should be ok to use it, otherwise just ask.

I would post the link as a comment, but I don't have enough reputation yet.

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