Many images I upload are unimportant things like screenshots. I simply don't care about copyright, and want to be able to declare them in the public domain prior to uploading them to Stack Exchange.

The idea is that Stack Exchange cannot add their own copyright to something already in the public domain, and thus anyone can do anything they like with them, without needing attribution.

Question: How can I declare images I create to be in the "public domain" prior to uploading them to Stack Exchange?

  • Sure, you can. You don't give SO any exclusive rights. It's probably somewhere in the TOS. Found it "is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Overflow on a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive basis pursuant to Creative Commons licensing terms" Nov 26, 2019 at 12:10

2 Answers 2


@animuson says here:

If they'd like to distribute things under alternate licenses in the process of creating it here, they should to go publish it somewhere else under that license - we're not a hub for creating content under a bunch of different licenses. We've encouraged users to add disclaimers like this in their profile before if they want all of their contributions to be sub-licensed under a more permissive license, but it frankly doesn't belong in the post's body and only takes up more space on the page.

I know of one user who chose the latter option (for Stack Overflow content only); if you want to restrict it to a specific subset of your pictures, I guess that'd be hard to declare in your profile. In that case, the only option is to host it elsewhere. Googling for CC0 upload gives some options where you can upload pictures under that license, though I haven't checked the results in detail.

  • It seems it would be sufficient to add the CC0 logo (from here creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0) to the image prior to uploading it. Nov 26, 2019 at 7:38
  • 1
    In the image itself? That could work, I guess (you should post that as a separate answer). It would be too tedious for me....
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Nov 26, 2019 at 7:40
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones That would actively damage the content though, are you sure that's what you want?
    – Mast
    Nov 26, 2019 at 7:54
  • I turned it into an answer to see what happens. I'm aware it's "overkill" for the problem. Nov 26, 2019 at 8:06

It seems one possibility is to embed the CC0 logo into the image itself (e.g. using MS Paint) prior to uploading it to Stack Exchange:

Here's the image: https://licensebuttons.net/p/zero/1.0/88x31.png.

I recognize this is a tedious task. I also recognize that this lowers the quality of the image. But it's a fairly clear-cut signal that the image is public domain.

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