Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

I was trying to Google for my old question on SO. One of the results looked very fishy to me:

sql - Is there a way to communicate application context to a DB connection in non-Sybase DB servers (similar to set_appcontext in Sybase)? - Stack Overflow (3 posts)

That URL basically seemed to be someone wholesale copying of actual Q&A (and more) data from SO.

The site's banner calls identifies it as ""

Any clue who they are and if what they are doing is legal?

Searching on Meta and just Googling didn't seem to yield any useful results.

share|improve this question
@agf - Those are good places to report the site so that SO can optimize their SEO and learn from other implementations, but it's far more important to report the site in this list of license-infringing sites. – Kevin Vermeer Oct 4 '11 at 13:48
@KevinVermeer Thanks, I looked for that but didn't see it when I posted that comment. – agf Oct 4 '11 at 14:05
@agf - posted to 71820 – DVK Oct 5 '11 at 13:21
up vote 30 down vote accepted

Stackoverflow releases monthly a data dump containing all questions, answers, etc. That's publicly accessible and anyone can download that. So this explains how they got the data.

Many "shady" people use the data dump to re-create stackoverflow websites, usually with tons of ads, in the hopes of getting hits from google and then money from the ads.

This is 100% legal and allowed (although I would say "immoral") as long as the license - which requires attribution - is respected. Since the particular website you linked has no attribution (no link back to stackoverflow or to the authors) it's copyright infringement.

share|improve this answer
Are you sure it's "copyright infringement"? I'd call it "license violation"... – Time Traveling Bobby Oct 4 '11 at 14:29
@Padded: the license allows you to copy the content without infringing the copyright, so if you don't follow it the license doesn't apply and thus it's copyright infringement.. Or at least I think so :S – Andreas Bonini Oct 4 '11 at 14:38
this actually isn't happening in the wild, though -- if you are clever (for small values of clever..) you can construct a search containing a very rare phrase (hint: think guids) in a very early stack overflow question. Doing this shows that almost nobody has the full dump out there. – Jeff Atwood Oct 4 '11 at 22:52

We keep a running list of sites we have discovered to be in violation of the license here. I've added this new offender to my personal list of offenses to look into.

Often, sites using Stack Overflow content are simply not aware of the infringement and they bring their sites up to snuff promptly as soon as I send them a message pointing it out. Sometimes... they don't. But that's another story.

share|improve this answer
I don't think anyone goes to this amount of trouble to pretend they're their own community by replicating "our" content without at least an inkling that what they're doing is downright rude. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 4 '11 at 17:42
@Tom Oh, they know it's rude. They also know it's content that's frequently searched and that selling ads on their copycat sites can be lucrative, so they don't care. We don't mind them being that kind of rude as long as they attribute properly. – hairboat Oct 4 '11 at 19:45
I do, lack of any legal basis notwithstanding. I spend a lot of time on my answers for Stack Overflow, and I'm aware that they are CC but I wish that they weren't. It's not enough to make me stop contributing, but it's close. Increasingly so, actually. I don't spend several hours a day writing awesome answers so some nameless opportunist can make money off me and my friends. – Lightness Races in Orbit Oct 4 '11 at 23:14
Wow, this post is very interesting (honestly I didn't read it, I just want the sailboat thingy) – juan Dec 16 '14 at 12:27

You must log in to answer this question.

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