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I recently asked a question, and a new user answered it. His answer linked an article he wrote as a direct answer to my SO question.

I think the article does a great job of answering my question, but I am afraid that it will be moved or deleted and I won't be able to reference it later.

Is it ok for me to edit his answer and include the article in it? I can still preserve the link to his gist.

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2 Answers 2

Is it ok for me to edit his answer and include the article in it. I can still preserve the link to his gist.

It depends on the license the article was published under, but usually and by default no. Content on a third party site is not ours to re-use unless the author or copyright holder explicitly say otherwise. (Exception: fair use when quoting, etc.)

In this specific case, you would have to check on the github page under which license or what terms the article was published.

I would ask the author first, though, and explain your reasoning. It's likely he'll see your point and do the copying, or give you express permission to do so.

Edit: I can't find any explicit license on Github, which I find weird but may be by design. All I can see is this general statement, which seems to be referring to code:

We claim no intellectual property rights over the material you provide to the Service. Your profile and materials uploaded remain yours. However, by setting your pages to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view your Content. By setting your repositories to be viewed publicly, you agree to allow others to view and fork your repositories.

make of that what you will.. but I don't read from this a permission to copy & paste an article elsewhere without the author's permission. So you would have to ask them.

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Disclaimer - alert("I don't have any experience with node.js");

In this specific case, it does look like there was some helpful information provided along with the link. The format of the post hints to this (short/long stories). When a link is provided in an answer and referred to as

  • further reading
  • reference
  • extended explanation
  • etc...

the poster should always be aware of link rot and provide enough information so that when/if that link rots, the post can still be useful and contain enough information to stand on its own. Post's containing only "see this" show little to no effort on behalf of the poster, and would be 100% useless without the link.

Editing the answer to contain the relevant information is acceptable (and even encouraged). However the points @pekka mention should also be taken into consideration.

I mean, if the guy posts a link to his own article on a self defined "code sharing" public website, containing code and even referencing the original post with a link back to Stack Overflow you would think that it's a non issue. That's for this case though... I think it it's safe to say he wanted to share this material with the site but felt like it might have been a bit too much to post all in one...

The best option would be to request from the person who posted the answer to do this... However people don't always have the time so if there are no obvious licencing issues it's fine if you go ahead and help them (and the rest of the site) out.

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1  
What about legal issues though? Admittedly, in a perfect world there would be no lawyer bull****, but we live in a world where code can belong to someone. Just blatantly coping someone else's content, without conforming to their licenses, could result in some major legal pain for the poster, and the SE network. –  Richard J. Ross III Nov 1 '12 at 15:34
    
@lix I would certainly not recommend this. If the license of the article linked to is not explicitly CC, you can't go ahead and include it here. The "best option" you mention, would for me be the "only option". –  Bart Nov 1 '12 at 15:48
    
@RichardJ.RossIII. In a perfect world, creators would have creative control over their work, to release under whichever license they desire. –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Nov 1 '12 at 16:24
    
Yes licencing and legal issues should be taken taken seriously, and pekka talks about this... However in this case I think the licencing concerns are overkill... –  Lix Nov 1 '12 at 17:40

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