Consider a JSFiddle with no explicit license like this one: https://jsfiddle.net/t12qqyok/57/

In JSFiddle's Credits and Legal we can read:


All code posted to the site belongs to the poster and no license is enforced.

jsFiddle are not responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any kind during the usage of provided code.

Thus unlike SO, which enforces a dual license (CC-BY-SA 3.0 and ToS) in order to post, in JSFiddle it is not mandatory to provide a license.

In this situation, lacking a license, may I edit and copy the code into a question/answer which contains such link but not the code?

I've seen several Q/A which imply that this is acceptable like is copying code from jsFiddle too minor? or Can't save question edit when replacing link with a jsfiddle. But they concern themselves with the technical and Q/A quality issues . None seem to address the license issue.


No, you may not incorporate someone else code from jsfiddle.

You can't insert content that you do not own (from jsfiddle) to a destination under CC BY-SA 3.0 (Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow).

jsFiddle does not impose any kind of license, and all the copyright rights remain to the sole author of the snippet

You should:

  • Comment on the question noticing the OP that the post is incomplete and they should add a StackSnippet.
  • Vote to close the question as lacking an MCVE.


No, unless I'm mistaken, you may not incorporate someone else code under "fair use".

because fair use laws vary from country to country—thus, content deemed acceptable under, for instance, US fair use concepts is not usable in the majority of other countries.

(but if it is demonstrated that StackExchange servers are only in US, then maybe, there could be room for US fair use... please raise a different question for that)

Yes, you may incorporate someone else code from Pastebin, as it is CC BY-SA 3.0 just like the Stack Exchange network, so:

yes it's legally fine to reuse Pastebin on Stack Overflow given that you attribute the author (in the edit description for instance)


  • OP = Original Poster
  • if missing, you can create your own MCVE and incorporate it
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  • Two questions: what if OP is the author of the JSFiddle? And would this copy fall under fair use? – Alvaro Montoro Dec 14 '17 at 11:12
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    @AlvaroMontoro It doesn't change anything that OP is the author of the JSFiddle: see the source of my first quote: "This could theoretically allow other people to legally use code that the OP specifically did not want to allow". As for fair use, that's a different topic. – Cœur Dec 14 '17 at 11:15
  • Understood the ownership part. Although I think fair use would be important for the matter of the question: CC license affects the post as a whole, and it allows including material under other licenses marking it accordingly (some parts may not be available for reuse). Based on that, copying the code, citing the reference (link to JSFiddle), and linking the license (if any) could be considered fair use for academic/educational goals. – Alvaro Montoro Dec 14 '17 at 11:40

It depends.

The CC BY-SA 3.0 license applies to the publication as a whole, but if it contains materials or content from a third party, then those materials/contents still keep the original license, and they need to be marked accordingly. As specified in Creative Commons:

Marking best practices also apply for any third party content your work incorporates. Third party content refers to material created by others, or more precisely, in which the licensor is not the copyright holder. Third party content could be offered under a Creative Commons license, restricted by All Rights Reserved copyright, or anything in between. You should obtain any permissions required for your use of third party content and abide by any license restrictions.

Using third party content in your work that is not offered under the same license terms as the rest of your work may require additional marking. If you include works offered under other Creative Commons licenses, additional marking may be required for attribution. If you include third party content in your work that may not be available for reuse under the same terms as the rest of the work, you should warn users and mark it with any additional information that may be helpful. CC offers additional explanation and tips on giving thorough notices and marking for works.

Even if the Stack Exchange post is CC BY-SA 3.0, if you specify that some parts are not covered by that license, then they are not, and they will keep their original license.

Which brings us to the question on hand: may I edit a question with a JSFiddle link to incorporate the code? It will depend on the specified license on the JSFiddle.

  • If the author specifies a license:
    • If the license is compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0, you can incorporate the code without any issues (still need to credit).
    • If the license is not compatible, you will need to get permission from the author before incorporating the code into the question.
  • If the author doesn't specify a license:

    • The software would be fully copyright protected by the Berne convention that allows exceptions for fair use and fair dealing as specified in Article 9:

      It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author.

      And that seems to fit the case of a question on the SE network (but I'm not a lawyer/judge to decide that): there is no conflict in the normal exploitation of the work and there is not unreasonable prejudice to the legitimate interests of the author.

So, unless the JSFiddle specifies a license that is incompatible with the CC BY-SA 3.0 license, you should be able to copy the code from JSFiddle into the question itself, but you will have to:

  1. Credit the author and origin of the code (link to the original JSFiddle)
  2. Specify that the code may not be available for reuse depending on its license.
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  • It would also depend on the content: creative works have copyright, but not the ideas/procedures/operations behind them. For example, if the JSFiddle only contains a for loop, the author can claim to have the copyright, but really doesn't. – Alvaro Montoro Dec 14 '17 at 14:11
  • ToS: "You grant Stack Exchange the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use,copy, cache,publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and,except as otherwise set forth herein,to allow others to do so in any medium now known or hereinafter developed (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services,even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by You. Subscriber warrants,represents and agrees Subscriber has the right to grant Stack Exchange and the Network the rights set forth above." != CC BY-SA 3.0 – Anonymous Coward Dec 14 '17 at 17:56
  • @JoseAntonioDuraOlmos The terms of service of SE don't apply to external content with a different license. Otherwise, we could create a website, state in the terms of service that all the content on the website is public domain, and post anything we wanted invalidating the original license. – Alvaro Montoro Dec 14 '17 at 19:02

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