Questions tagged [legal]

Questions about the legal aspects of Stack Exchange sites, such as the terms of service, using content and/or code-snippets, attribution, copyrights, patents, using trademarks, etc. General legal questions are OFF-TOPIC but may be asked on Law Stack Exchange.

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301 votes
6 answers
110k views

Do I have to worry about copyright issues for code posted on Stack Overflow?

I was wondering about the copyright of code snippets from answers. Let's say you ask a question and the solution consists of ten lines of code, which are given in an answer. Are there any restrictions ...
252 votes
28 answers
20k views

Why is SE removing links and community ads about a legal fund campaign?

Stack Exchange staff will actively remove links to a legal fund campaign from user profiles, posts, and comments, as well as community ads surrounding Monica's situation and reinstatement. Why? [This ...
JNat's user avatar
  • 24.1k
2816 votes
9 answers
321k views

A Terms of Service update restricting companies that scrape your profile information without your permission

Update (April 19, 2016): This change is now live. You can view the updated Terms of Service here, or read about them below. tl;dr: We’re planning to make some changes to our Terms of Service to stop ...
Jaydles's user avatar
  • 52.7k
119 votes
1 answer
7k views

Why can't I use Stack Exchange if I'm under 13 years old, or if I'm under 16 years old and from the EU?

I was just reading the Terms of Service, and noticed something: You must be at least 13 years old to access or use the Network or Services, including without limitation to complete a Stack Overflow ...
119 votes
7 answers
4k views

Is SE [going to be] selling our content for AI model training? And what exactly does "reinvest back into our communities" mean?

Wired published an article titled Stack Overflow Will Charge AI Giants for Training Data. I read through it, and a few sections seemed noteworthy to me "Community platforms that fuel LLMs ...
cocomac's user avatar
  • 13.7k
60 votes
5 answers
2k views

Who owns the copyright to S[OFU] content?

What with Jeff's blog post today, possibly this is a good time to ask: who actually owns the copyright to questions, answers and comments submitted to StackOverflow and relatives? Over in this ...
chaos's user avatar
  • 7,483
42 votes
19 answers
5k views

We’re adding more user controls for cookie consent

Update (Feb 8 2021): We’ll be doing some A/B testing with the consent interface. Once we’ve landed on a final design, we’ll use that design on all of our sites network wide. Additionally, we’re ...
Des's user avatar
  • 3,924
56 votes
4 answers
3k views

Who owns the content I post?

Does Stack Exchange own the content that I post? What do I do if I want all of my posts and my user account deleted? Return to FAQ Index
292 votes
15 answers
26k views

Is Stack Exchange in violation of New York labor law, in using volunteer moderators?

Is Stack Exchange in violation of New York labor law, in using volunteer moderators? I found a New York State Department of Labor - Division of Labor Standards Frequently Asked Questions document, ...
aparente001's user avatar
  • 11.5k
509 votes
8 answers
43k views

How does SOPA threaten Stack Overflow / Stack Exchange?

Today's Stack Overflow system message reads: SOPA is a dangerous law. It breaks the Internet and threatens sites like Stack Overflow. Protect the Internet! How is it a threat to Stack Overflow?
Unicornaddict's user avatar
108 votes
5 answers
11k views

Is there a Stack Exchange site for Law Questions? If not, why not? [duplicate]

I think a Legal Stack Overflow would be an excellent resource. Why doesn't such a thing exist? If it doesn't, I'd like to create one.
Mark P Neyer's user avatar
  • 1,215
193 votes
1 answer
9k views

Why is the Google Analytics cookie defined as "strictly necessary" and saved without consent?

When you open a Stack Exchange site the first time you are asked about your consent for storing cookies. You can disallow all cookies except those that are defined as "strictly necessary". ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
56 votes
7 answers
3k views

Is it time for Stack Exchange, Inc and the community to legally separate amicably?

There's no need to rehash the issues that have led to a lack of trust between the employees of Stack Exchange, Inc and the members of the community. Suffice it to say that astoundingly they continue ...
Stop Harming the Community's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
378 views

Shouldn't the Terms of Service use Stack Overflow, Inc.?

The Terms of Service still uses the term Stack Exchange, Inc. However, I believe that the name is now Stack Overflow, Inc. , so I believe that should be changed to that. It is weird to have the wrong ...
wythagoras's user avatar
  • 9,316
314 votes
5 answers
10k views

Was the retroactive change to CC BY-SA 4.0 approved by Stack Exchange's lawyers?

Update: I have started a GoFundMe in an attempt to have a court or arbitrator settle this. It has raised a decent amount, but more will be necessary to retain counsel. On 2019-09-05, Stack Exchange ...
jhpratt's user avatar
  • 4,588
40 votes
2 answers
2k views

Stack Exchange should stop using the Creative Commons logo [duplicate]

If I understand correctly, SE reproduces its user-produced content using a CC-BY-SA license with additional restrictions: namely, from point 3 of the TOS, In the event that You post or otherwise use ...
Federico Poloni's user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are our policies regarding underage users?

What are the age requirements for using the Stack Exchange network and what should moderators do if they encounter an underage user?
Cesar M's user avatar
  • 21.5k
267 votes
2 answers
37k views

Did the Stack Exchange staff members assist in the apprehension of Ross Ulbricht?

The recent arrest of someone behind Silk Road is in the news today, he was arrested in a San Francisco public library. A couple of background articles here and here. To what extent, if any, did ...
wim's user avatar
  • 4,495
260 votes
2 answers
6k views

Will concerns regarding the move to CC BY-SA 4.0 elicit any further dialogue from Stack Exchange, Inc.?

Fifteen days ago, it was suddenly announced that the user-contributed content on Stack Exchange had been relicensed as CC BY SA 4.0. The change took immediate and retroactive effect and is still in ...
Lightness Races in Orbit's user avatar
149 votes
1 answer
2k views

Please follow your own policies on making new policies

Your policy on making policies is crystal-clear: Stack Exchange, Inc. agrees that it will: [...] Post previews for review of all new official policies in the Moderators Teams instance with the policy ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 2,994
35 votes
8 answers
4k views

I'm worried about Stack Overflow content licensing [duplicate]

Strongly related: Do I have to worry about copyright issues for code posted on Stack Overflow? It appears that all the submitted content on Stack Overflow is licensed under the Creative Commons (CC) ...
Evert's user avatar
  • 477
52 votes
3 answers
557 views

Does the migration of edited posts violate attribution requirements?

I'm not meaning this to be a duplicate of this feature request. Here, I'd really like to find out if the current migration process is a violation of the license under which contributors grant their ...
Joshua Dwire's user avatar
  • 2,190
44 votes
2 answers
866 views

How can SE gate access to the Dump that will allow individuals access to the data while preventing "misuse" by for-profit organizations?

I read this answer written by Jody Bailey: We are looking for ways to gate access to the Dump, APIs, and SEDE, that will allow individuals access to the data while preventing misuse by organizations ...
Franck Dernoncourt's user avatar
159 votes
4 answers
3k views

How can we opt out from the arbitration clause of the new terms of service?

The new Terms of Service went live yesterday following an 8-hour heads-up on meta. One key change that was mentioned as an aside with no real explanation is the new arbitration clause. Opt-out ...
Andras Deak -- Слава Україні's user avatar
84 votes
3 answers
1k views

Can you ditch the attribution for own content clause from the Terms of Service?

Deep in the bowels of the SE Terms of Service you will find the following sentence (in section 3. Subscriber Content), with one clause highlighted by yours truly: In the event that You post or ...
Oli's user avatar
  • 7,504
45 votes
1 answer
629 views

Question still appears in my top network posts even after having it disassociated from my account

A while back I asked to have a question disassociated from my account (this one). It was, but today I noticed that it still appears on my profile page on most Stack Exchange sites where I have an ...
AlliterativeAlice's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers
917 views

Are the SE additions to the Creative Commons attribution requirements enforceable? [duplicate]

In the footer of Stack Exchange sites, it is stated that user contributions are licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 with a contradictory and incompatible attribution requirement addendum. The “attribution ...
Kris's user avatar
  • 475
30 votes
1 answer
1k views

Since when did SE stop uploading DMCA takedown notices to Lumen Database?

There was an answer that was removed from Stack Overflow due to a DMCA takedown notice. According to the comments there, the complaint was not published to Lumen Database (formerly called Chilling ...
Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
640 views

By posting a selection of previously written text here, are we waiving our copyrights to the excerpt?

Posts on Stack Exchange sites have a Creative Commons license applied. However, on Writers, people will post snippets of their own writing for critique purposes. Does that mean that if I post a ...
Goodbye Stack Exchange's user avatar
22 votes
0 answers
173 views

Why are there separate copies of the Terms of Service per site, if the link in each site just goes to Stack Overflow's version?

I noticed that each site in the network has its own copy of the Terms of Service, e.g. https://stackoverflow.com/legal/terms-of-service, https://meta.stackexchange.com/legal/terms-of-service, https://...
Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog's user avatar
21 votes
0 answers
624 views

What licence is subscriber content provided under 4.0, 3.0 or them all?

In the footer it says: site design / logo © 2018 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required. rev 2018.8.7.31273 However, in the footer under ...
Peilonrayz's user avatar
  • 3,786
12 votes
1 answer
560 views

Legal page says user content is under cc-by-sa-3.0, but other pages say cc-by-sa-2.5

The legal page has two references to "the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license," and both of them link to cc-by-sa version 3.0. However, the bottom of every page links to version ...
Matthew Flaschen's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
541 views

Do some of the questions/answers of Stackoverflow break SDK agreements? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Should moderators enforce NDAs for software vendors? Somebody I know thinks that some of the questions/answers on stackoverflow violates certain core SDK agreements. Is this ...
user avatar
-188 votes
17 answers
18k views

Update to our Advertising Guidelines

Today, we have updated our Advertising Guidelines as follows: “Retargeting pixels are not allowed on any campaign. allowed for a limited number of vetted and pre-approved Programmatic partners.” ”...
Des's user avatar
  • 3,924
295 votes
3 answers
28k views

We're rolling back the changes to the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

I’m writing this post to let you know that we’re fully rolling back the changes made yesterday to the AUP and having them go through moderator review. I also want to briefly talk about how it happened:...
Cesar M's user avatar
  • 21.5k
210 votes
11 answers
4k views

How can we move forward if SE will not admit to wrongdoing for legal reasons?

As I understand, one of the major grievances of the community recently over the situation with Monica is that the Stack Exchange team has not apologized for or admitted to any wrongdoing over making ...
Peter Olson's user avatar
  • 7,712
164 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is Stack Exchange still planning to respond to the community's open letters?

On October 6th, moderators, ex-moderators, and members of the community published two open letters to Stack Exchange Inc.. These letters have, as of today, been signed 768 times (general letter) and ...
Nate S.'s user avatar
  • 1,156
47 votes
9 answers
18k views

Updates to the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – January 2024

As part of our ongoing efforts to review and update policies, we’ve updated our Acceptable Use Policy. These changes come after a review period in which we made adjustments as a result of moderator ...
Cesar M's user avatar
  • 21.5k
27 votes
1 answer
180 views

Please add anchors to the sections on the /legal page

As a community moderator, I'm occasionally asked to take down content based on copyright. Per policy described in What should I do when I see copyright violations posted on Stack theOverflow? and ...
Kevin Vermeer's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
451 views

What is proper etiquette when someone posts copyrighted material?

I just ran into an answer in which the author included a link to a PDF book that was licensed only to them. I'm pretty sure this is copyrighted material and the author does not want copies of the book ...
user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there a list of non-moderators who have stated they suspended activities due to recent events? [closed]

There are lists of moderators that have resigned or suspended activity due to the series of events1 instigated by Stack Exchange starting September 5, 2019, but I've only seen speculation on the ...
Stop Harming the Community's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
242 views

How far should we go in judging question ethics?

I recently happened across this question: How do I hide a file? The OP asks about writing code in C/C++ to make a file "hidden or undeletable." Rather than close or downvote the question for its (...
Tim's user avatar
  • 301
220 votes
2 answers
3k views

Please upload DMCA takedowns to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse / Lumen Database

I have a request. I'd like to ask Stack Exchange corporate to establish a practice of uploading all DMCA takedown requests that it receives for content hosted on the Stack Exchange network to the ...
D.W.'s user avatar
  • 13k
142 votes
1 answer
2k views

What gives SE the legal right, under the CC-BY-SA license, to modify user profiles without indicating that the content has changed?

The Terms of Service clearly indicated that all content that you provide to SO Inc is licensed under CC-BY-SA, and that would include your About Me section of your user profile, which SO Inc is ...
user avatar
104 votes
1 answer
2k views

Stop tracking users without their consent

Right now, if you visit an SE site the following things happen: two cookies _ga and _gid are saved, those contain unique IDs used for Google Analytics a request is made to www.google-analytics.com ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
90 votes
2 answers
2k views

User data in light of Stack Overflow's / Stack Exchange, Inc.'s acquisition

I would like to know how the acquisition impacts our user data, and specifically private user data. I am aware that a large part of our contributions could be scraped from the outside (or even, ...
Levente's user avatar
  • 2,063
42 votes
4 answers
1k views

Is Stack Exchange staff removing GoFundMe links?

According to this announcement, Stack Exchange staff will actively remove links to a legal fund campaign from user profiles, posts, and comments Yet browsing around Meta Stack Exchange, I still ...
Glorfindel's user avatar
  • 251k
37 votes
2 answers
847 views

Are these eBooks that copy from SE illegal?

So, this guy has made a bunch of eBooks based on Stack Exchange content. Making books of SE stuff is okay, but two rules need to be followed: Attribution License the work under CC-BY-SA as well This ...
Christopher King's user avatar
34 votes
1 answer
862 views

To refuse arbitration, give us your name and address

To opt out of mandatory arbitration and retain the right to participate in a class action, the terms of service state: Your written notification must be mailed to us at Stack Overflow, Attn: Legal ...
Gilles 'SO- stop being evil''s user avatar
30 votes
2 answers
544 views

Can SE just resell our data, relicense it and remove the attribution requirement?

SE has decided to charge for the network content when used for training AI according to an article. This has not been officially announced here, so we do not know the details. But the main question to ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar