No NDA was signed and nothing was discussed with customer in this relation. Then I'm tempted to store projects in my public github and post links to them in my blog as a demo for potential customers. At the same time I'm afraid this is may look like (or may be) an offence regarding the previous customers.

  • 2
    No, no, no! Definitely not! You are professional even if there is no formal contract between you and your client. He paid you in full, so remain professional. you can indeed put some excerpts of interesting parts for your new clients. Just make sure you hide all sensitive details.
    – Peter MV
    Sep 6, 2017 at 10:50

7 Answers 7


I have seen multiple examples of it being done, agencies or people linking to the previous work self hosted - but as courtesy just ask the client first if you can put it up on your code account as proof of work.

Also something to consider - if you don't show that you got permission to put it on GitHub, prospective clients could be turned away.


You should never post sensitive source code publicly. I wouldn't pay you if I knew you'd share my project to the rest of the world.

However, you may briefly write a description of the project on your blog and some screenshots.

  • One example: the work have been completed 6-12 month ago and the customer does not respond regarding the question. I could assume the code is not sesitive: there is no special "know-how" which a business is based on. Or this still may turn away prospective clients?
    – noname7619
    Sep 4, 2017 at 10:35
  • 1
    @VladimirLenin Personally I'd be pissed off if I see my contractor posted source code from his past projects. Because if you can do that to someone else, you can also do that to me. I wouldn't mind you write a description of what you've done. A resume is also ok. But not source code. I don't want source code from your old projects (I can't use them), I want an overview what you've achieved.
    – SmallChess
    Sep 4, 2017 at 11:34
  • @VladimirLenin If you really want to do it. Why not just publish under your name? No reference to your client? Just an idea.
    – SmallChess
    Sep 4, 2017 at 11:38
  • @VladimirLenin if a client doesn't respond, assume the answer is no; you can only post it with an explicit okay from the client (and make sure you look into copyright laws around that as well), unless it's your own creation and wasn't paid for.
    – Amelia
    Sep 6, 2017 at 12:11

I would not do this, as clients may have objections.

You can try to make blog posts with specific screens trying to highlight something specific you worked on.

You can contact and talk to your clients and ask specifically if they are ok for this part of the project, this module's code if I host on github, and in the process i might end up improving/updating the code, which you will have free access to get updated code with no extra cost ... this might tempt them to approve but some clients might cannot afford their source code to be public so please ask them and go ahead only if they specifically give you permission for this...


I would not post source code that was written for clients publicly unless you have explicit permission from said client.

The easiest (by far) way you can have open-source code as a freelancer that you can reuse and have as a portfolio is just to create reusable libraries that you can use in each client project, but keep the actual source for clients private.

An example of this:

I have a couple of repositories on github that I use between multiple clients. I wrote and maintained these partially myself, and partially for a client with explicit permission (and our contract said that all source code belonged to me, with a licence for them to use it, with proper copyright waivers. The company dealt with open source work, though, so this is very much non-standard).

I wouldn't make a client website source public, but I would include my own public packages in it.


Unless you have explicit permission to do so, sharing source code that you are being paid to correct is a bad route to take.

Many clients will have objections to the source code they are paying for being published to the world.

A description or short snippet could be included with a blog article, however having a full public repo is going to cause arguments you do not want to cause.


My clients tend to think that everybody out there want a similar software I've done for them and are reluctant for the source code to be published. What I do to show my work is recording demo videos where I run in Debug mode some of the web sites and desktop applications developed by me. A professional design and friendly user interfaces can be seen while I review a small portion of the code that solves a complex and specific problem. In Debug mode I inspect variables to show the data and explain why that bit is efficient and well designed. Less than 5% of the code is shown on video but potential employers love it as they don't have lots of time to spend and want someone to talk through and explain how it works.


Many jurisdictions have statutes of implied contracts, implied warranties, and more which cover situations when a dispute arises and where no written documents exist describing the arrangement. If you go to a restaurant there is an implied contract which assumes that you will be provided with food and service in exchange for payment. In most states a similar implied contract would exist for your software development. In lieu of any agreement, if you accept money for for development the implication is that you get to keep the money, and the client owns the software. You also have an implied duty to protect the client's work-in-progress assets. I usually include a copyright disclaimer as a file header in the client's name right from the first line of code written. For example:

    Copyright © 2010 by Bill Shakespeare All rights reserved. 
    No part of this software or firmware may be reproduced, 
    distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, 
    including photocopying, recording, or other electronic 
    or mechanical methods, without the prior written 
    permission of the author. 


    Copyright © 2010 by Bill Shakespeare and the BigCode 
    Corporation.  All rights reserved.  
  • What do you write in your copyright? Can I write for example that I share the ownership of the code with a client?
    – noname7619
    Sep 20, 2017 at 8:51
  • ###code Copyright © 2010 by Bill Shakespeare All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
    – Doug12745
    Sep 20, 2017 at 15:40

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