I have been trying since the middle of February to reach [email protected] for permission to use material from several questions and answers in a textbook I am writing.

I am following guidance from https://stackoverflow.com/legal/terms-of-service/public#licensing .

I don't get any response to emails, faxes, and phone calls.

Any help would be appreciated. Perhaps someone from the organization monitors this meta site.

  • 10
    You have permission to quote, if proper attribution is applied. That's the idea of the CC BY SA license...
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Apr 14, 2020 at 15:15
  • 2
    It might be more feasible to contact the authors of the specific questions and answers? They hold all the rights.
    – amon
    Apr 14, 2020 at 15:23
  • 8
    If you have questions about how the CC BY-SA license applies to your case, then you can ask the question in public on either Law or Open Source Apr 14, 2020 at 15:24
  • 2
    If it's material from questions and answers, the "(other than Network Content posted by individual “Subscriber Content”)" in your link kicks in. All contributed content here is CC BY SA licensed.... Apr 14, 2020 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


You're probably not receiving a response because there's nothing our legal team can say on the matter. The content is already distributed under a license and you can use it wherever you'd like so long as you conform to that license.

We, as a company, cannot:

  • Grant you explicit permission to do or use anything, as we do not own the content or have authority to grant anything more than the license provides.
  • Provide you any more specific advice than "follow the license."

If pressing harder on those issues, we'd likely tell you to consult an attorney of your own and see what they say you can do.

  • 14
    Could have just replied to the email saying this. Ignoring emails, faxes and calls for two months seems a little insane. Although also suspiciously unlikely tbh Apr 14, 2020 at 18:43
  • 4
    @AsteroidsWithWings I can't view the information to know why it might have been ignored, but if it had gone through the support team it would've received a canned response pretty quickly and then we would have ignored all follow-up on the issue.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 14, 2020 at 19:30
  • 5
    @AsteroidsWithWings It was the legal at stackexchange address that went into a black hole. That was clearly the place to ask. The support tag here got me the information I should have gotten there. Apr 14, 2020 at 20:22
  • 3
    @animuson Do you think that's a professional approach for a support team? Apr 14, 2020 at 23:49
  • 2
    Alternatively: does the canned response indicate/explain that the email address is unmonitored? Apr 14, 2020 at 23:51
  • 5
    @AsteroidsWithWings No support team gives legal advice, and replying with the same thing over and over is not constructive. We ignore follow-ups all the time when it devolves to people just asking the same thing they've already asked. Our legal inbox is monitored. But it is not the responsibility of our attorneys to respond to every generic support request. They monitor for serious legal requests. But as I said, they tend to just forward all other cases to the support team now rather than ignoring.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 15, 2020 at 0:15
  • @animuson I see. Apr 15, 2020 at 1:41
  • 4
    In summary, if someone is asking to reprint information from the site to a book to have proof you're not going to sue them for using the material, and tries to contact your legal department, they'll ignore the messages instead of sending a canned response, so the user resorts to contacting support who says it's not their job? Also, licensing seems to have been kind of a contentious thing on the site lately...so asking for clarity's sake doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Apr 15, 2020 at 13:57
  • 5
    If there's nothing the legal team can say on the matter, they could at least reply with a canned message. Apr 15, 2020 at 14:47
  • 1
    That's kind of what I would have thought would be sensible and I was trying to convey in my comment; it seems it would be legal's job to hand out a statement that we won't sue for this content. Maybe the OP needs it to pass muster for getting published propertly. So much has been screwy with their re-re-licensing talk it's confusing in the first place. Why would legal forward messages to support who can't speak legally for the company, and ignore the request? Apr 15, 2020 at 15:03
  • 1
    @BartSilverstrim That would be a completely inappropriate statement for our legal team to make. Of course we won't sue because we have no legal standing to sue - we don't own the content. That just gives false assurance to someone who should be asking a completely different party. Request for permission to use content is really a third-party request, but at least in the support queue we still point them back to the license.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:08
  • Ah, I see. If the person got a pointer to the license to refer to, so they can clear it legally with whoever is publishing the material, that is slightly different from hearing absolutely nothing as the case sounded when I read it above... Apr 15, 2020 at 15:16
  • 3
    @BartSilverstrim You read it correctly, I did receive absolutely nothing. My question here along with answers ans the comment threads provided what I need, and satisfied the editor at my publisher. Apr 15, 2020 at 15:44

You must log in to answer this question.

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