The first thing to consider is:

  1. Was this work from elsewhere on the internet that you hold copyright to? Or,
  2. Was this work one of your Pens from here on CodePen?

If it’s #1, you can file a DMCA takedown notice for the infringing work. It’s against our Terms of Service to put things on CodePen that break copyright.

If it’s #2, was that Pen private? If so, again, let us know right away what you want to do. Private Pens on CodePen are unlicenced, so by default are copyright to you, or you can apply whatever licence you wish in the source code.

If it’s #2 and the Pen is public, that means the work is MIT licensed (our info on that). We encourage you to read that in full, but in brief, people are free to copy it and their copy can be copied as well. There are many reasons for this, one of which is that it’s kind of awesome to browse CodePen knowing everything is usable for anything you want.

That doesn’t mean that copying people’s work is in good taste. It certainly isn’t, especially if they are trying to take credit for it not just save a copy or learn from it by playing with the code for themselves. For the record, the Fork button on Pens is the best bet for that kind of thing. Forking retains a history and gives credit where credit is due automatically. Copies are when someone literally copy and pastes code and assets.

We have various techniques in place to prevent copied Pens from being as prominent as the original. Things like factoring in dates and other metadata, algorithmic comparisons, disregarding forks from queries, and more. But we aren’t perfect. Sometimes copied work surfaces and becomes more prominent than the original. If you see this happen, please let us know. We always want to do our best to feature the original work and will correct our mistakes when they happen.

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