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I'm developing a website where I want a widget similar to what is used on the Stack Exchange sites for upvoting and downvoting.

I found http://janosgyerik.github.io/jquery-upvote/.

Is it illegal if I use this? Does Stack Exchange have any patents on this?

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No, Stack Exchange does not hold patents on voting (or on starring something). Voting on websites predated Stack Overflow by years.

However, that project's CSS design is re-using the Stack Exchange sprites wholesale, which is a copyright violation. If you use the same JS code on your site, make sure you don't reuse the CSS and images. Give the widget your own styling and you should be fine.

So, bottom line: using the idea is fine; using the design is not. That project will have to replace those sprites with images created from scratch. Stack Exchange would be well within their right if they asked that project to stop using the sprites they are using now.

  • Yeah, but the plugin resembles SO so much. Will there be no issues? – Amit Joki Mar 15 '14 at 12:57
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    @AmitJoki: there are issues; with copyright. – Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '14 at 13:00
  • But, if i redesign it with different colors? – Amit Joki Mar 15 '14 at 13:01
  • If you use your own CSS and images, I see no issues. – Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '14 at 13:01
  • I'm not good with images. Can you tell me where i can get? – Amit Joki Mar 15 '14 at 13:02
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    @AmitJoki: what makes you think I am any better? :-P – Martijn Pieters Mar 15 '14 at 13:02

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