I found that Stack Overflow is very attractive. I really like its simple and elegant design. I believe that the source code is not available for download :)

What if I write a similar software (say 75%) like Stack Overflow, is it considered plagiarism?


3 Answers 3


If you want to do your own thing, similar to this site, there is nothing to prevent you from doing that.

Plagiarism is related to copying someone's written words and calling them you're own (like a book or article). I think you are thinking of copyright laws.

Here's what the copyright office has to say about online work:

Copyright protects original authorship fixed in tangible form. 17 U.S.C. sec. 102(a). For works transmitted online, the copyrightable authorship may consist of text, artwork, music, audiovisual material (including any sounds), sound recordings, etc. Copyright does NOT protect ideas, procedures, systems, or methods of operation. 17 U.S.C. sec. 102(b).

Basically, as long as you don't steal the artwork, or the source code or the text itself, you are probably fine.

That being said, if you are just looking to have a site like Stack Overflow on a particular topic, Stack Exchange is the way to go!


It is possible to create a Stack Overflow-like community by following the community process at http://area51.stackexchange.com. If you garner enough community following, Stack Exchange may make it into a real site.


If you like it.. get hooked up with their Beta over at Stack Exchange. It's gonna be free.

It's not open to people yet... you'll just want to keep an eye on it.

  • 2
    It's gonna be free, but also you are not going to have any control over any aspect of it, and your concept will have to generate reasonable traffic in a defined time frame to survive. It's not really "having your own SO clone".
    – Pekka
    Jun 5, 2010 at 8:30

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