The CC license FAQ states:

Can I apply a Creative Commons license to software?

We recommend against using Creative Commons licenses for software. Instead, we strongly encourage you to use one of the very good software licenses which are already available. We recommend considering licenses made available by the Free Software Foundation or listed as “open source” by the Open Source Initiative.

Unlike software-specific licenses, CC licenses do not contain specific terms about the distribution of source code, which is often important to ensuring the free reuse and modifiability of software. Many software licenses also address patent rights, which are important to software but may not be applicable to other copyrightable works. Additionally, our licenses are currently not compatible with the major software licenses, so it would be difficult to integrate CC-licensed work with other free software. Existing software licenses were designed specifically for use with software and offer a similar set of rights to the Creative Commons licenses.

Our licenses are currently not compatible with the GPL, though the CC0 Public Domain Dedication is GPL-compatible and acceptable for software. For details, see the relevant CC0 FAQ entry. We are looking into compatibility of BY-SA with GPL in the future; see the license compatibility page for more information.)

While we recommend against using a CC license on software itself, CC licenses may be used for software documentation, as well as for separate artistic elements such as game art or music.

(emphasis added)

If even the license itself discourages its use on software, why is this the default (and only) choice in SO?


1 Answer 1


Stack Overflow is a Question & Answer site, not a code repository. The code you find in answers on SO is typically not a complete working piece of software, but small snippets of code that answer specific questions. Good answers aren't just a code-dump, either, but are accompanied by a written explanation. Many don't even require code at all. The same license applies to all Stack Exchange sites, not just Stack Overflow.


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