In ANT. Override properties. Optional Execution in Single Target I noticed this at the top of the answer:

If you find this tip useful, and use it, please give credit in your code to Canova, email <email address>

The user posted his email address where indicated above.

Should this content be removed from the answer, should the answer be flagged for moderator attention, or should it be left as is?

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It's also a bit of a blog post, given that the answerer also asked the question. (And it's an old post; it seems the user has not been around since asking the question and answering it themselves.) –  Arjan Dec 25 '11 at 0:31
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Using Problem's answer, which deals specifically with how to handle the request for attribution as a base, this answer details how to handle the actual answer as opposed to the request in the answer.

Remove the request for attribution from the answer.

Because the CC license overrides any other request for attribution, keeping the request in the answer would just be promoting noise on the network, and degrades the quality of the content.

If anything, the author of the answer can try to demand (or politely request) attribution in their profile (after all, you can write almost anything you want in there), but they can't enforce it by any means given that they agreed to the CC license when they signed up for the site.

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All the content on Stack Overflow comes with a Creative Commons license which requires attribution (these links are found at the bottom of every page).

Quoting from the relevant Stack Overflow blog post:

If you republish this content, we require that you:

  1. Visually indicate that the content is from Stack Overflow, Meta Stack Overflow, Server Fault, or Super User in some way. It doesn’t have to be obnoxious; a discreet text blurb is fine.
  2. Hyperlink directly to the original question on the source site (e.g., http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12345)
  3. Show the author names for every question and answer
  4. Hyperlink each author name directly back to their user profile page on the source site (e.g., http://stackoverflow.com/users/12345/username)

This clearly means attribution both to Stack Overflow and the individual answerer.

Before posting, users have agreed with Stack Exchange to offer their content under that license. Answerers are perfectly within their rights to request that they be given further attribution in any fashion for code they post here, but there's no requirement that anyone accede to such a request.

Obviously (though apparently not obviously enough -- see comment below) the CC license only takes effect if the verbatim content of the answer is reused. While I am not a lawyer, it seems clear to me that simply reading the answer or using the ideas in it are not enough to require attribution, however, verbatim use of any part -- such as the code -- of an answer would be. Even in this case, any additional attribution request remains only a request.

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I guess if they copy-paste that code directly into their program. But just finding something helpful is no reason for providing attribution. Besides, I would just link back to that specific post. I would never put that email address anywhere on my website. –  animuson Dec 24 '11 at 23:16
    
@animuson: The answerer's note says "If you find this tip useful, and use it" [emphasis mine]. Of course no one can force you to include attribution based solely on the fact that you read the post. That's absurd on its face, and I don't understand how you can interpret my answer as saying it. –  Josh Caswell Dec 25 '11 at 0:49
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I think the note about requiring posting of their email address and the name in their text (which may or may not match their stackoverflow name at any given time) goes somewhat beyond what the site itself requires, and is probably overridden by what the poster agrees to simply by posting content in the first place. That is: by posting, they are agreeing their content has the same conditions of use as any other content posted here (which does not include posting anyone's email address). or, something like that :) –  Andrew's a Unitato Dec 25 '11 at 1:33
    
@Andrew: Yes, but they are also free to ask for any further attribution they like. It's just unenforceable. –  Josh Caswell Dec 25 '11 at 1:37
    
I don't know, it seems kind of spammy that they created a separate email address just for Stack overflow. A person who was really concerned with attribution would use their actual email address or a link to their website, something better than that. I'd be afraid I was going to get spam religious emails immediately after sending one to them. –  animuson Dec 25 '11 at 2:52
    
@animuson: Agreed; it's weird and unnecessary (especially this particular one), but I don't think that there's anything wrong with a request per se. –  Josh Caswell Dec 25 '11 at 3:10
    
@Problem - does using some code from an answer count as republishing? IANAL but I interpret republishing to be something like using the code verbatim in a blog post, or a journal article. –  Adam Rackis Dec 25 '11 at 5:50
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@Adam: I ain't a L either, but AFAIK, copyright law (on which the CC licenses are based) kicks in when the material is distributed in any way. I don't know what happens if you copy-paste some code from SO, compile it immediately, and never show anyone your source, but I'm fairly certain that sharing that source in any way counts as "republishing". –  Josh Caswell Dec 25 '11 at 5:57
    
@Problem - ok, fair enough. Thank you –  Adam Rackis Dec 25 '11 at 5:58
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I don't know if the user agreement of the site itself would override the apparent additional requirements the poster seems to be imposing on "use" of their content. I suspect so, though.

That is, by posting it, an answerer is agreeing to the terms posted on the site, no matter if they demand more stringent requirements for using what they post here..

StackOverflow requires attribution as noted for publishing content - but that is something totally different from just "finding useful".

I think the additional part is unenforceable, probably overridden by the site terms, and therefore noise. My guess is the poster would disagree, and would react negatively to their additional terms being removed, though.

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