I read a few posts where this is intended, and I can't dispute that, but I am questioning its legality. As I understand it, all of my posts made to a Stack Exchange site are copyright me, licensed for public use under CC BY-SA 3.0. This means that I'm giving my posts under that license, but the copyright and ownership still falls to me. At any time, I believe that I can choose to revoke that license on any given content posted to a Stack Exchange site and owned by me, however the system is preventing me from carrying out that choice.

Why should I have to wait a day between revoking permission to use content that I own?

  • 9
    This is in place to prevent rage-quits mass deleting useful content...and is in compliance with Creative Comments as it was intended, see @agf's answer on this. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:16
  • 1
    Didn't you read the license you agreed to? *eg* ;) Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:17
  • 6
    When you make a gift, you can not ask for it back. Your make a gift to all of the world whenever you post... Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:30
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    Deleting content from Stack Overflow != revoking permission to use.
    – mmx
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:32
  • Yeah, deleting is hiding
    – bobobobo
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 22:48

2 Answers 2


From the full text of the CC BY-SA 3.0 license (emphasis mine):

Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, Licensor hereby grants You a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual (for the duration of the applicable copyright) license to exercise the rights in the Work as stated below:

  • to Reproduce the Work, to incorporate the Work into one or more Collections, and to Reproduce the Work as incorporated in the Collections;
  • to create and Reproduce Adaptations provided that any such Adaptation, including any translation in any medium, takes reasonable steps to clearly label, demarcate or otherwise identify that changes were made to the original Work. For example, a translation could be marked "The original work was translated from English to Spanish," or a modification could indicate "The original work has been modified.";
  • to Distribute and Publicly Perform the Work including as incorporated in Collections; and,
  • to Distribute and Publicly Perform Adaptations

You do have the right to have your name removed and disassociated from the work. This right is granted by clause 4a of the CC BY-SA license, specifically the sentence

If You create a Collection, upon notice from any Licensor You must, to the extent practicable, remove from the Collection any credit as required by Section 4(c), as requested.

As noted above, this does not prevent Stack Exchange or anyone else from distributing and adapting the content, merely from associating your name to that content. This is also an inalienable moral right in some jurisdictions. Stack Exchange accommodates anonymization of posts: you can e-mail [email protected] with the list of posts from which you'd like to have your name removed.

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    Kudos for answering the question and noting the correct approach to get (at least partially) what is requested. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:54

From the Creative Commons FAQ (emphasis mine):

What if I change my mind?

Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation, be they verbatim copies, copies included in collective works and/or adaptations of your work. So you need to think carefully when choosing a Creative Commons license to make sure that you are happy for people to be using your work consistent with the terms of the license, even if you later stop distributing your work.


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