Stack Exchange currently dual-licenses user content, which allows them to sell user content without attributing users. When did the dual-licensing start?

The Wayback Machine's first save of the ToS page was on May 22, 2018. The ToS already was mentioning the dual-license then.


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The terms which provide both licenses existed at least back to 2010-06-09, which is the first capture I'd previously found on archive.org of the Terms of Service:

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license. You grant Stack Overflow the right and license to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services.

That version probably existed at least one day prior to that capture, as the capture for http://stackoverflow.com on 2010-06-08 has a "legal" link at the bottom. However, the capture for 2010-06-05 doesn't have a "legal" link.

There may have also been some licensing information placed in questions tagged "faq", potentially on the main site or Meta Stack Overflow. However, I didn't see anything linked from the homepage in earlier captures which gave me the impression that something else was "obviously" in place.

If you trace the history back, the location of the Terms of Service bounced around a bit, first in a couple of locations on stackoverflow.com, then on stackexchange.com, and later on all sites.

First Capture Last Capture location
2010-06-09 2010-12-22 http://stackoverflow.com/legal
2010-06-29 2010-12-08 http://stackoverflow.com/legal/terms-of-service
2011-04-26 2018-05-17 http://stackexchange.com/legal/terms-of-service
2018-05-21 current https://stackoverflow.com/legal/terms-of-service
  • 6
    2010 may well have been the first version. At least according to old meta questions which indicate there wasn't a terms of service page at all back then: Stack Overflow - no terms and conditions?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Apr 28, 2023 at 22:47
  • 1
    The 2018 update was announced here. There was also an update in 2016, although it appears the location of the document did not change. Aug 5, 2023 at 4:19

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