Roughly 3-4 years ago, we hired a PHP developer and tasked them with building small "satellite" websites. They didn't stay long, and we had largely forgotten about them.

Fast-forward to today, one of the sites became big - we've since rewritten the whole thing in another language and open-sourced it on GitHub.

However, now we've found the entire PHP source code of the old site on GitHub, uploaded to the ex-employee's personal account at a time when they were still working with us.

Nobody at the company knew about this or authorized it, not even my boss. It's likely that the ex-employee uploaded it as a "test" without fully realizing what GitHub was. There is no LICENSE or README in the repository.

It would be very difficult to contact the ex-employee, and they might not remove it anyway - so how do we get GitHub to take it down quickly?

  • 12
    File a DMCA notice with GitHub - help.github.com/articles/dmca-takedown-policy – Moo Mar 11 '16 at 9:55
  • 1
    Have you tried asking the former employee? – rath Mar 11 '16 at 9:58
  • 2
    Rather than asking us to tell you if it's likely, ask them to tell you what's needed. We can't read their minds, we can only read their docs (as @Moo has done). – keshlam Mar 11 '16 at 9:59
  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because your interaction with Github is not within the scope of this site. It's likely off-topic on the entire SE network. – Lilienthal Mar 11 '16 at 10:39
  • 2
    @glcheetham I searched for "copyrighted material on github", and immediately got the answer: "If someone else is using your copyrighted content in an unauthorized manner on GitHub..." – Brandin Mar 11 '16 at 11:33

If you do not have a relationship with the developer, or cannot contact them in any way, then the best route for you to take is to issue a DMCA takedown notice.

This absolves GitHub of all legal responsibility for the takedown, and will probably result in the removal of the repository until such time as the account owner files a counter notice. Without legal responsibility being absolved, it merely becomes a "he said she said" argument which GitHub will not get involved in, as it opens them up to legal issues.

If the account owner files a counter notice, it becomes a legal issue between you and the owner of the account, as they have asserted a claim of copyright ownership or another right which allows them to post the work. But at least that will clarify the situation for you, and make it obvious what steps you need to take next.


| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .