Since the epic Stack Overflow 3rd Anniversary Tee was never made available for purchase, I thought I'd make my own shirt.

Using a tshirt design site, I put "The <center> cannot hold; it is too late" from Bobince's classic answer.

The back has the Unicode-garbled "Tony the Pony He Comes," along with a link to the original answer in accordance with the CC-Wiki license.

Before I ordered it and made it real, I just wanted to make sure this was okay. Is it?

N.B - I'm not using the logo at all, as I'm aware that raises more legal issues. I'm just using the CC-Wiki licensed text.

  • This question covers logo usage and mentions text usage in passing, but it's still not super-clear, so I wanted to get some official weigh-in here. :) May 6, 2012 at 2:22
  • By CC by SA, you must place a username and working link. Have fun convincing people to click the link on your tshirt! May 6, 2012 at 2:49
  • @Manishearth so in other words it's technically illegal? What does "working" link mean? May 6, 2012 at 2:51
  • it was a joke :) CC-by-SA/SO policy says you must credit the user on the tshirt, as well as providing a link. If the tshirt says http://stackoverflow.com/answers/...... somewhere, I think its OK. Just thought that the image of people tapping links on a tshirt was funny :/ May 6, 2012 at 2:54
  • @Manishearth oh i know you were kidding. :) I'm just tired, so I didn't textually laugh (don't worry! I grinned in real life). According to CC by SA 4.a, though, evidently I'm supposed to link to the license itself. I guess I could print that on the inside of the tee... :P May 6, 2012 at 2:57
  • I need one of these shirts. Jan 19, 2015 at 2:10
  • Let me put it here i.sstatic.net/fkmGu.png Nov 9, 2017 at 23:48

2 Answers 2


Go for it - just make sure you send me one!

  • I totally agree, and I'm sure bobince won't mind in this specific case, but this answer still is factually incorrect: when reproducing CC content, technically, you have to attribute the author as well - even on a T-Shirt, and not even Stack Exchange, Inc. can waive that requirement. It clearly doesn't matter in this case, but it might next time someone has this question (say because they want to sell a T-Shirt with SO content on it). More reading: Attribution required
    – Pekka
    May 6, 2012 at 14:02
  • @Pekka according to that blog post, technically I'd have to have 2 links on the shirt, then, right? the original question and Bobince's user profile? I'm going to go ahead with it since everyone agrees, but I will put the link to the original question on the back. May 6, 2012 at 16:45
  • @Geoff: What's your shirt size? :P May 6, 2012 at 16:45
  • @Thomas technically, I think that's right: you'd have to link to the SO question and to bobince. You could, however, take a shortcut and ask bobince for permission, which would save you from having to link anything :)
    – Pekka
    May 6, 2012 at 17:02
  • @Pekka ah yes, that would be ideal :) I'll ask him. Thanks May 6, 2012 at 17:07

The terms of the site - CC-by-SA - require you to attribute your source, and - if you were to make more of these T-shirts - only offer it under similar terms.

I've never heard anything formal or official about clothing and CC-by-SA text, so I'm willing to bet that you couldn't take the text, make the T-shirt and profit from it. A private shirt, though - I don't think anyone's going to come after you.

EDIT: Looking back on the full legal text of CC-by-SA 3.0 Unported, section 3(a) jumps out at me.

3. License Grant. 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:

a) to Reproduce the Work, to incorporate the Work into one or more Collections, and to Reproduce the Work as incorporated in the Collections;

A t-shirt would be considered a reproduction, the end result would be royalty-free (meaning, as best as I can tell that you wouldn't owe StackExchange money), and the license would allow someone else to use the same work in the same manner (by CC-by-SA).

I think you can do it. Place the CC-by-SA tag somewhere near the bottom/back, and/or place a QR code to the full license (finally a use for QR codes!) to satisfy 4(a).

  • yeah, that's what I was thinking. It'd be nice to hear from a company representative though. May 6, 2012 at 2:30
  • @ThomasShields: Yeah, I agree. I'd really like to see something [as funny as the post] make it onto a T-shirt.
    – Makoto
    May 6, 2012 at 2:31
  • I think this is the closest you'll get. It's not for sale, though, hence my creation of a lesser (yet hopefully still funny) one. May 6, 2012 at 2:33
  • The store should sell Jon Skeet Facts t-shirts: meta.stackexchange.com/a/9182/172108
    – iglvzx
    May 6, 2012 at 2:39
  • Would that still hold if Bobince wanted to make his own t-shirt line from that answer? Does he have ownership of it? Would anyone be able to if they were the author? May 6, 2012 at 2:39
  • @JeffMercado: Yeah, that's the question. I'm no lawyer, but I would figure that, if he wanted to make his own, there probably wouldn't be an issue. I would presume that anyone would be able to, if it were their own comment. The main catch is that you probably couldn't sell it. I'd rather hear an official answer in terms of clothing creation. I'll look around and see what I could find.
    – Makoto
    May 6, 2012 at 2:42
  • @JeffMercado that's the trick, isn't it? Technically his answer (even if he holds copyright) is licensed by StackExchange, and he agreed to that by accepting terms and conditions, so technically even he can't sell it unless he works a deal with Stack Exchange. May 6, 2012 at 2:43
  • 3
    @ThomasShields No, Bobince was the original creator, and the CC-BY-SA is a non-exclusive license, so Bobince is free to do with it whatever he wants, including profiting from it.
    – waiwai933
    May 6, 2012 at 2:57
  • @waiwai933 oooh, okay. Didn'tk now about the "non-exclusive" part. May 6, 2012 at 3:03
  • I think your edit nails it. I'll leave it open for the night to see if a company rep chimes in, otherwise I'll accept this. May 6, 2012 at 3:21

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