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I am thinking of making a site which will have a forum. I already have a lot of users (in an old forum, which I want to renew).

I like the Stack Exchange concept (voting, reputation, etc).

Can I build one of my own on my site? (I don't intend to copy any source code, just the concept itself.)

Is the concept patented or otherwise legally protected, or is it free to use?

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Related: Stack Overflow clones – Mat Dec 24 '11 at 15:11
How is this off topic? Where should I place this question if not here? – Madara Uchiha Dec 24 '11 at 15:36
I'm not the one who voted that, but I kind of understand the vote: this question is not about SE, it's about potential legal implications for your own site if it were to copy "concepts" from SE sites. – Mat Dec 24 '11 at 15:38
Or: why should every question have a place on the SE sites? (And calling SE a forum doesn't help a lot either! ;-)) – Arjan Dec 24 '11 at 15:39
With all that said, though, this question is on-topic here on meta. I'm pretty sure there are multiple duplicates, but it's easier to answer than look for them. – Adam Lear Dec 24 '11 at 15:45
Heh, I like your avatar, @Truth. – please delete me Dec 24 '11 at 17:02
@Can'tGetEnoughMahna: Why thank you. Have you read my profile description yet? :) – Madara Uchiha Dec 24 '11 at 17:04
@Truth Yep, fitting. – please delete me Dec 24 '11 at 17:05
up vote 14 down vote accepted

There are plenty of Stack Exchange clones out there. You can certainly use the concepts, so long as you don't copy specific code or design elements (images, etc.).

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