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Be Careful what you take from Stack Overflow


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I was listening to an episode of Coding Blocks podcast, and they pointed out something huge that I didn't realize until I heard it about the license for code available on Stack Overflow.

Excerpt from their podcast notes:


Be careful about sharing/using code to/from Stack Overflow! You need to be aware of the licensing and what it might mean for your application.

  • What is the license for the content I post? (Stack Overflow)
  • Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) (Creative Commons)
  • Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) (tldrlegal.com)
  • We Still Don’t Understand Open Source Licensing (episode 5)

If you use code from Stack Overflow, you need to give attribution to the person who wrote it (and where it was) but also need to change your license to the same license that they have!

This is kinda huge because I know of how much of an invaluable resource Stack Overflow is for developers, I use it fairly regularly in my day to day work if I have questions or just want to see an example.

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This is really interesting! 

I'm trying to think back to when I took anything huge from Stackoverflow. I think mainly use it for solutions to problems I have and links to available packages/libraries which have their own licensing. There might have been a time or two that I completely copied a javascript solution but I could never track it down now since it's such a part of development. Where would you even find licensing info for that? What if it's just a code snippet? There's a lot of grey areas here.

I could definitely see the problem for when people post their own solutions and link over to codepens or their own repos. Like you, I wasn't aware of this either but will keep an eye out in the future.

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