When opening the flag dialog, a spiffy loader icon is shown:
I have an application on a site of mine for which this would work well.
Is the loader icon public domain, or copyrighted by Stack Exchange?
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As the person who created that animation on October 20, 2010, and with the permission of Stack Exchange Inc., my employer at the time (albeit under a different name) and now, I hereby make this animated gif:
currently available at
available under CC0 1.0 Universal.
In short, do what you want with it. Happy Holidays, have a few blinking dots :)
I found a similar image on wikimedia commons
In addition, wikimedia commons also has the following text in their Template:PD-Simple page:
This image only consists of typefaces, individual words, slogans, or simple geometric shapes. These are not eligible for copyright alone because they are not original enough, and thus the image is considered to be in the public domain.
Going by that logic, I would say that the loading gif is too simple and too easy to reproduce to be copyrighted.
...only consists of simple geometric shapes and/or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain.
However, I'M NOT A LAWYER, so this is only my uneducated guess.
I'll agree with most of the other posters here. Given that the icon is made of simple shapes and shades, it's much too simple to be copyrighted and therefore is in the public domain. This means you can reasonably use it without much legal trouble.
However, at the bottom of every SE page, there's a note:
site design / logo © 2014 stack exchange inc
Now while this may not include this icon, it also might do. So if you want to be absolutely safe, you need either legal advice or communication with the SE team. This can be done from the contact page.