15

I recently read this comment, which is quoted below (without its inline links):

@Robotnik, here's your profile page, which contains information that you, as a user of the Stack Exchange service, have contributed. At the bottom of that page, you will find the text "user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required". – sampablokuper Apr 5 at 17:36

The notification does appear at the bottom of profile pages, as indicated by this comment. However, I don't see any elaboration anywhere (in legalese or otherwise) on the definition of "user contributions" in this context.

Is profile info indeed licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0?

I'm unable to find any other discussions of this aspect of licensing; all the discussions I can find relate to questions, answers, and code—not profiles.

Could someone clarify this, please?

10

This has been clarified by recent changes in the terms of service:

Profile Content is information about you (a Subscriber) that is contributed by you or inferred about you by your activity. Profile Content includes, but is not limited to, display names, reputation scores, avatars, your role and company, and other user generated content found on a Subscriber's profile such as "About Me" content.

Profile Content that is available via the Stack Exchange API ("API Profile Content") is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange and its Subscribers under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license

The “About me” field is returned by the various methods (such as users-by-ids) that return user objects, in the about_me field. Therefore it is licensed under CC BY-SA.

3

Data and facts at least in USA cannot be copyrighted and about page is mostly data and facts about you (except for the free-form blobs you provide about yourself). As such they cannot be licensed under CC licenses.

0

Creating a user account on a Stack Exchange site results in Stack Exchange creating a generic profile page that contains statistics and layout and other standard gubbins that is common to all Stack Exchange profile pages. That standard gubbins includes the placeholder text, "Apparently, this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them."

Users may optionally contribute additional content to their profile page(s), including via the "About me" profile page field. If a user does contribute content via the "About me" profile page field, then that content replaces the placeholder text, "Apparently, this user prefers to keep an air of mystery about them."

Looking at this from a different angle: for "About me" content to be published, that content must be contributed by some entity. Only Stack Exchange, Inc., employees and the user should have the ability to edit the "About me" profile page field. In the case of legitimate users' profiles, Stack Exchange, Inc., employees do not normally edit the contents of that field. So, barring vandalism by someone who has attacked the integrity of the website or stolen the user's credentials, the only remaining entity who could possibly contribute the "About me" content is the user.

Therefore, the "About me" profile page field is user-contributed content: i.e. it comprises a "user contribution" to the Stack Exchange network.

Such user contributions enrich Stack Exchange and make it more interesting. In some cases, they may even make it more useful.

Now, to answer your question: at the bottom of every profile page on the Stack Exchange network, there appears the text, "user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0".

Therefore, the "About me" portion of Stack Exchange user profile pages is indeed licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

N.B. The Stack Exchange Terms of Service lead to the same conclusion, albeit by a slightly different route. Whereas the Stack Exchange profile page footers talk of "user contributions", the Stack Exchange Terms of Service talk of "Subscriber Content". In the context of Stack Exchange, these are effectively equivalent terms. The Terms of Service define "Subscriber Content" as "Content posted by Subscriber". "About me" content posted by a Subscriber (i.e. logged-in user) of a Stack Exchange website is therefore, obviously, a kind of Subscriber Content.

As for the license applied to Subscriber Content, this is what the Terms of Service say:

From time to time, Stack Exchange may make available compilations of all the Subscriber Content on the Network (the “Creative Commons Data Dump”). The Creative Commons Data Dump is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

and

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

So, from this perspective too, we can conclude that the "About me" portion of Stack Exchange user profile pages is indeed licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .