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I am not a lawyer at all. Neither do I have any intention to infringe somehow the Stack Overflow license. My question is in a pure theoretical domain.

An answer to this question states clearly, that Stack Overflow is licenced under so called Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic License.

But each time I read anything about licenses, I wonder - under which jurisdiction? As far as I know, there is not such thing like global laws. creators, located in Sweden, know a lot about this stuff.

So the question is - in which countries exactly infringement of this license will be considered illegal?

share|improve this question
+1 it's a good question, although I'm not sure whether there will be a good answer. A license, as far as I understand it, is fundamentally independent from any jurisdiction. It's a contract that is made between the site and its users, no matter where those are. Inhowfar it is enforceable under a specific jurisdiction is a different matter altogether. Maybe somebody can dig up a list of places where CC licenses have been enforced successfully – Pëkka Aug 29 '11 at 15:46
Ask your lawyer if you want to know if it is illegal where you are. There is not much point in speculating in general. (And it is not that complicated to comply to the license.) – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 29 '11 at 15:48
@Paulo it's a valid question, and deserves more than the usual "ask your lawyer" - as somebody who has written a lot of stuff on this site, I would like to know where the license is applicable too – Pëkka Aug 29 '11 at 15:49
Oh, there's tons of point in speculating, @Paŭlo. It's fun! – Michael Petrotta Aug 29 '11 at 15:50
ALL OF THEM BECAUSE JEFF WILL PERSONALLY – bobobobo Aug 29 '11 at 15:53
It may deserve a better answer, @Eat... 'specially if you're planning a plagiarism backpacking trip... But we're still not lawyers, and I rather suspect any answer will by necessity consist of a considerable amount of speculation. – Shog9 Aug 29 '11 at 16:10
I suppose this depends on the way of infringing. – Paŭlo Ebermann Aug 29 '11 at 16:11
@Shog a list of countries where a comparable CC license has been accepted in court, while far from guaranteed information, could provide some starting point. And doesn't SE, Inc. have lawyers who could answer this at least for the U.S.? – Pëkka Aug 29 '11 at 16:13
"considered illegal" is to lawyers as "considered poor style" for programmers. There's a lot of room for smart people to be miles apart. A list of countries that don't have any law relating to licenses is short. A list of countries where actual judicial findings state that this specific license is generally valid is probably shorter. The law is fluid and it matters more which court, which lawyer you retain. Without a signed contract, judges have to balance many laws with the allowed facts. This results in judges avoiding writing precedent until tens or hundreds of these cases are resolved. – bmike Aug 29 '11 at 16:59
illegal != civilly liable – Won't Aug 29 '11 at 17:14
up vote 15 down vote accepted

The Creative Commons Jurisdiction Database contains a list of all of the official affiliate countries. While this doesn't guarantee that the license can or is enforced in any given country, it does at least give an indication that a country in the database demonstrates an interest in compliance.

share|improve this answer
Robert Harvey, upvoted, thank you, but this link makes thing even more complicated, since "demostrating interest in compliance" is quite vague term. – shabunc Aug 29 '11 at 16:23
@shabunc you're unlikely to get anything more concrete than that. I guess in most jurisdictions, the license hasn't even been tested in court yet so it would be impossible to tell even for a local lawyer – Pëkka Aug 29 '11 at 16:24
@Eat more Twisters, OK, so let this one be the answer. Though, in that case I don't understand any Meta question on illegality, since it is very vague term. – shabunc Aug 30 '11 at 5:55

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