(I apologize if this is too similar to Why won't StackOverflow ask for a license agreement?, and I'm not a lawyer.)

Please add a more prominent notice just above the Post Your Question/Answer button, something like:

When you post your question/answer on Stack Overflow, you perpetually license it under the CC-wiki license. Subject to the license's terms, Stack Overflow and others may copy and edit your contribution for the duration of its copyright.

Hopefully, that would prevent any misunderstandings that users who are not aware of the license or of its terms might have, as some might not be aware that Stack Overflow expects them to perpetually license their contributions.

  • Weird. This is the second time this has happened in a few weeks... I totally agree the license should be emphasized somewhat
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:04
  • 7
    Oh my god. That user is freaking out of his mind. Putting a DMCA notice on stackoverflow. What the hell!? I was going to downvote this as not being needed, but on second though, maybe it should be a bit more prominent, at least for new users: stackoverflow.com/revisions/…
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:14
  • 2
    The funny thing is that in some cases Jeff has been willing to remove user's posts if they merely open a discussion with them and explain their reasoning. Given the cc-wiki they don't have to, and I imagine as time goes on they'll be less likely to, but this sort of destructive behavior can often be avoided with a private communication directly with the company. Threatening DMCA violations is funny though. If you want to follow DMCA then you merely go through with it - you don't do this funny dance that user is doing. Maybe if he hired a lawyer he'd have better luck.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:55

3 Answers 3


Please do not implement a click-through agreement*. It's just another bar that gets in the way of participation. Most websites have a privacy policy and terms of service behind a link, however SOIS has the following on every single page already:

site design / logo © 2011 stack overflow internet services, inc; user contributions licensed under cc-wiki with attribution required

Adding a notice that cannot be avoided is merely another way to look like a huge corporate tool, and the site is already complex enough for someone brand new to it. Imagine if you went into a user group, and during the open question period you stood up, but was interrupted by some official person in the front speaking in fluent lawyer explaining your rights and recourses. Just because other websites do it doesn't mean we need to.

It will be a sad day when the lawyers finally convince the heads of SOIS that we must have a notice or click through agreement prior to someone posting a question.

Speaking from the other end - if a user is truly worried about who "owns" their content, they already know where to look and how to find out what a website will do with it. It's plainly obvious that it's going to be on public display, and those that care will readily discover, as it's on every page, that their contributions are going to be licensed under cc-wiki, just like wikipedia and so many other websites.

I don't think we would be doing anything other than confusing people and causing more trouble if we were to force people to read such a message prior to posting.

*As far as I'm concerned, a click through agreement includes simple notices, as they would indicate that continued use of the site falls under certain terms and conditions. In other words, if you click submit for your post, it's still a click through agreement.

  • 1
    I wish I could upvote +9000
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:55

I'm not into this CYA lawyer "it might be needed" BS; such idiocy leads to me reading this stupid, STUPID sign everywhere I go:

proposition 65 warning sign

The notice is in our /legal and the notice reads at the bottom of every single page we serve:

user contributions licensed under cc-wiki with attribution required

  • Yes let's please avoid these
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 3:55
  • 2
    I'm waiting for California to force all websites to post similar messages. "Warning: This website contains content known to The State of California to cause stupidity and reduced mental function."
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 4:02
  • @polly STOLEN twitter.com/#!/codinghorror/status/34103433929691136 Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 4:18
  • 2
    @Jeff Hey, hey, attribution required! ;)
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 4:25
  • I think maybe upon the first posting of a user a small, but noticeable link to /legal and a very brief description of the license may prevent incidents like this from happening though.
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 4:33
  • @Earlz An angry user isn't going to think back to that first notice and suddenly think, "Oh, yeah, I remember that. I guess I'll just go away quietly.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 5:29
  • @Polly, but at least then they can look more stupid when they complain :)
    – Earlz
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 6:52
  • Jeff - you know I really appreciate your no-BS stance on stuff like this. But the consequences of the license agreement not being recognized by some court because it wasn't pointed out clearly enough sound really scary. Sites here in Germany are getting crap all the time for not making EULAs and such clear enough for the dumb end user. Why not add a small "This content is published under CC-Wiki" checkbox, or at least a one-time clickthrough when signing up. It's not just CYA, it's also fair to inform the author explicitly about what they are doing.
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 26, 2012 at 18:25
  • @AdamDavis Aaand now the EU requires all websites to put an even more idiotic cookie notice.
    – kinokijuf
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 11:04

I agree.

If somebody ever causes serious trouble about getting content removed, it could be argued that the license is easy to overlook; being able to say "you read a text and checked a box when you signed up" wouldn't hurt at all.

  • While I agree that it makes it hard for them to argue later, I think it still detracts from the site.
    – jcolebrand
    Commented Feb 6, 2011 at 4:16

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