Copyright & Open-source guidelines

Hackster is an open-source community. Authors share their work freely because they want to contribute to the world’s ever-growing knowledge pool. Sometimes, other authors will reuse existing material in their work. This document describes what is considered proper reuse, what is plagiarism, what to do when plagiarism is encountered, and how Hackster will handle the claims.

If you operate a project, post material (text, graphics, audio files, etc), links, comments, etc., you are entirely responsible for the content and any liability resulting from the content, its use or distribution. To learn more about these responsibilities, read our “Responsibility of Contributors” section in our Terms of Service.


What is considered plagiarism?

Plagiarism comes in many forms. In broad terms it is the act of copying one’s work without crediting the original author, effectively pretending that the copying author created the content themselves.

It’s important to understand how the original content is licensed. Some licenses require express consent from the original author before the content can be reused. Others simply require that the original author is properly credited. In all cases, if any license terms are violated then the content is considered plagiarised.

Plagiarism can happen when no license is present, so long as content has been replicated without consent or credit.

“Content” refers to, among others: text, images, videos, code files and snippets, CAD files and schematics.


What should I do if I find that a project is plagiarized?

If you find that a project plagiarised your content or someone else’s, consider first reaching out to the offending author and try to solve the problem privately.

If the problem persists, contact the Hackster team at help@hackster.io with the following:

  • A link to the offending project and screenshot of the section in question;
  • A link to the original content and screenshot of the example in question;
  • An explanation of what has been plagiarised and why you think this is considered plagiarism.

Plagiarism accusations are serious and can be damaging to a person’s reputation. Please refrain from debating accusations on Hackster’s public forums.


How does Hackster handle claims of plagiarism?

On receiving a claim, we will review the evidence and investigate as needed. If the plagiarism claim proves to be true, we will react as follows:

  • If the plagiarised content covers the entire project, the project will be unpublished.
  • If the plagiarised content covers a small part of the project, the author will first be required to add clear credits to the original author. If they do not comply, Hackster will delete the plagiarised section from the project.
  • If the author is a first offender, they will receive a warning.
  • If the author has committed repeated offenses, disciplinary action will be taken including, but not limited to locked account, project deletion, account deletion.
  • If the project containing plagiarised content was submitted to a contest, the entry will be disqualified.

We will make a good faith attempt to contact all parties involved by means of the most recent email address. The management of these situations is up to the discretion of Hackster.


How to properly credit authors when reusing their work?

As a rule of thumb, any time a third-party’s work is reused in a project, the original author should be clearly credited. On Hackster, this can be done directly in the Project Story by simply recognizing the original author in text or in the “Work Attribution” section of the Team tab.

Furthermore, it’s important to strive to comply with licenses. Try to read and understand license terms. Open source licenses are usually purposefully very short and written in language that is easy to understand. Many open source licenses require that the work is reshared under the same license terms. This means that the work needs to include the full terms which were originally present.

Read more about open source licenses.