I understand that user contributed content is licensed under cc-wiki but Creative Commons work still requires a copyright holder. So who actually owns Stack Overflow's user contributed content? Stack Overflow or the individual users who contributed the content?

If it's the individual users, then

  • isn't Stack Overflow breaking the terms of cc-wiki since they are using the content for a commercial purpose? (they generate advertising revenue from user generated content)
  • could a user demand that all his/her contributions be removed from the website? What would happen in the case of content which had been heavily edited by many different users?

If it is Stack Overflow who owns the content then does that mean people using Stack Overflow user contributed content on other websites should, under the terms of cc-wiki, attribute Stack Overflow and not the individual users who wrote the content?

Does Stack Overflow have a Terms and Conditions stating their IP rights with regard to the content they contribute?


1 Answer 1


From here, as far as I can tell there are various flavours. SO links to Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic

In particular, it cites "attribution" and "share-alike". attribution share-alike

It doesn't cite "non-commercial" non-commercial

To quote from the licences page:

attribution share-alike

Attribution Share Alike

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial reasons, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This license is often compared to open source software licenses. All new works based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.

So "commercial" seems fine, IMO. Re removing content; there is a moral right (on the 2.5 Generic page):

...to request removal of their name from the work when used in a derivative or collective they don't like...

Not quite the same as removal, but I guess it would depend on the scenario.


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