I read the 'blog post on the CC-Wiki license in use for the Stack Overflow content (and by extension, the Server Fault contents, since that's what actually affects me).

Personally when I write something on SF which I think is interesting, I may also copy it to my own private (although publically accessible) wiki. I usually, but don't always, credit myself and link back to SF in my local copy.

My internal logic is that because I am the original author, I can grant a CC-Wiki license to SF, and whatever-license-I-please to myself to permit my own copy.

So my question is: is this behavior consistent with the content use philosophy?

This is highly theoretical right now since A) I'm nobody and B) nobody would really care about my use of this content, but at some point it is going to matter.

Second question. I'm Canadian, so strictly speaking my content is subject to Canadian copyright law. Does that make any difference?

Hopefully this all falls under "stupid question."

  • 3
    Your internal logic is correct. You can reuse your own content however you want without being affected by the Stack Exchange licencing terms. They only affect others who obtain your content through the site. (I'm sure this is a duplicate so I won't post this as an answer, but I can't find it right now.)
    – Jeremy
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 23:04

3 Answers 3


You own the copyright to the content. By posting it on SF (or another SE site) you're agreeing to make it available under a CC-Wiki-with-attribution license. This is a non-exclusive license, and is not a reassignment of copyright.

Because you still own the copyright, and because there is nothing in the CC-Wiki license that requires you to not license it under other terms, you are free to continue using it or licensing it as you wish according to your normal rights as a copyright holder. The only thing you can't do is revoke the (conditional) rights you've granted everyone to use, except with regard to particular persons or entities who violate the conditions.

A useful analogy is companies dual-licensing code they write under the GPL and proprietary licenses -- the GPL isn't an exclusive license, and takes no rights away from the original copyright holder other than that they can no longer prevent the public from doing certain things with their code as long as the conditions of the GPL are met.

As for being in Canada, copyright law does vary by jurisdiction but things like the Berne convention (which you should read up on if you have any interest in copyright) mean there's an extent to which you can take certain things for granted. In this particular discussion, I doubt Canada has any legal oddities that make this situation substantively different from if you were US-based.

(Note that I didn't say "you've granted a CC-Wiki license to SF". While that statement isn't false, it's not the whole story, and there is an important distinction to be made. From a practical perspective, you've essentially licensed the content to the universe under those terms. StackExchange has no special rights to your content beyond those anyone else in the universe does.)


You are the author and you have the copyright. You can do with your work whatever you like. You decided to give it to Stack Overflow under a CC-Wiki license, but just because you licensed it to Stack Overflow, doesn't mean it's not still yours or you wouldn't still have the cooyright on it.

So you are free to license it to other parties under whatever licenses you like, or use it in any other ways you want, like putting it on your blog.



I have just one more thing to add: as author, you can dual-licence your work (substitute any number for dual here, of course issuing more than two licences is fine too, as long as none is exclusive).

I have just, inspired by this question, added the following text to my user profile:

I hereby offer all content I author on the SO network also under <a href="https://www.mirbsd.org/MirOS-Licence">The MirOS Licence</a> (<a href="https://www.mirbsd.org/MirOS-Licence.htm">HTML version with less WTF-8</a>) in addition to “cc-wiki” (CC-BY-SA 2.5 or 3.0, depending on the SO network site, apparently). I urge everyone else contributing here to do the same.

This is a legally binding promise / dual-licence for all my writings (code or other). Maybe you want to pick this up and possibly spread it? (MirOS is closest to MIT from the more well-known licences but explicitly talks about “works”, not “source code”, so is suitable also for e.g. media content.)

Mixing CC-BY-SA-* with anything else is really problematic: for example, licence compatibility with things like the GNU GPL is an issue.

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