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I want to have a person have a look at my code WITHOUT being able to COPY IT.

Hello dear members of the community.

Thank you in advance.


-My developer uploaded a repository and gave me permission to read/write;


-I want a third party programmer have a look at the code to evaluate it with his expertise, but I want IN NO WAY, that he can copy and paste the code.

Is there a way? If yes please illuminate this humble NOOB that I am.


3 answers

2 votes

There's no useful way to do this.  If a user can read your code, they can copy it.


Really didn't want to hear that.

Thank you a lot. Any idea to circumvent would be appreciated.

It's nothing to do with software, it's simple information flow.  If you let someone see something, they can copy it.  The information in it *is* being copied just by them reading it, let alone taking photos or copy and paste.

Ana Retamal Atlassian Team Nov 29, 2017

And keep in mind that even if there was a way to prevent him from copying the text displayed in the screen, having read access to the repo will allow him to clone it too.



Wow guys! You're great. Thank you.

Again, excuse my noobness.

The situation is that I am having something developed, and I know almost nothing of coding (nor of bictbucket, for that matters), so I want an acquaintance of mine to have a look.


What could I do? Could I share only some parts of the code?


Consider that we're talking about a big project here, so even if he were malicious and he looks at, say, half of the data, it would still take him months, I guess, to clone.


Or are there some crucial parts from which he could judge the quality of the code, and still be hindered iin copying it, if he wanted?


Best regards

There's no way to know that without looking at the code I'm afraid.

I would ask the developers if there are discreet chunks of code he could review that would not risk leaking stuff you don't want leaked.

But most people who need to do this sort of stuff sign a formal "Non disclosure agreement", which is a contract that imposes penalties if the reader shares or re-uses anything they see.

Here's a silly suggestion:

1.  print the code you want to share with them

2.  setup a secure room with a desk, chair, and the printed code

3.  hire a security screening company to strip search the person to make sure they are not bringing any paper, electronics, pens, pencils, etc into (or out of) the secure room.

4.  pray that they do not have a photographic memory

@G. Sylvie Davies [] this was the actual procedure applied at the European Commission when the deputies where negociating the TAFTA treaty.


Sylvie, you hit ground on some ideas...

All is made a bit more complicated by the fact this guy is a new acquaintance... in process of becoming a friend.

So... I could actually present him the printed code, but wouldn't have a good reason for that,,,

No need for a security guard, that would be too much. And I bet he doesn't have such a good photographic memory...

But... were you serious??


It's nice to see so much women in such a geeky place, I couldn't imagine there were so many!


A proper legal document such as an NDA is the first step I would take. And remember that just having the source code doesn't mean the other person has a working product.

I may be a complete asshole in programming... but I am an ex- lawyer and I want to deal with legal staff a complete ZERO... and I know that a contract is, in the end JUST A PIECE OF PAPER.

Plus this guy is supposed to be a new friend... Either I trust him, or not. I cannot propose hime the signing of a contract. I believe that having him look at the code while with me would be the best option... 

What you mean "with the code he has not a working product"? He is a good programmer... with a full code, wouldn't he be able to improve - eventually- and publish the app in no time?

That's funny!

A product needs source code but it also needs a build system to create the product from the source code, and then documentation, and an ordering system and then all the other things software companies do.

And if the person you trust ends up not being trustworthy, that's a risk with all relationships. If you really need to only show some of the code, use a private Bitbucket repo and upload a snapshot of some of the code there. He can even comment within the code with that approach

There used to be a joke about letting other countries see Large Router Company's source code so it would set them back six months trying to get it to work!

I think that the easiest way is to have your acquaintance sit at one of your PCs - without access to Internet. Of course you have to make sure he isn't plugging in any USB device, or taking photos to the screen.


If you need to know if you're doing anything silly with your code, consider using also some automatic tools to do some static code analysis - like SonarQube.

Exactly. The best tool to make sure your code quality is exceptional is SonarQube. By acquiring a license you make sure they are not copying your code, as per legal terms. 

Moreover you can look for organizations which main activity is precisely to review code quality from others. Under strict legal consequences you make sure they are professionals that are not going to still your code :) 

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