FYI: Stack Overflow Not Public Domain License

Stack Overflow Not Public Domain License

How often do you use a piece of code you found on the web.  Do you know if that ‘snippet’ has a copy right? 

In these days of finding anything you want on the web.  Many of us use the web to help with a particular issue we are having in our code.  Or maybe even a question like “how do I do…”  Let’s say you find that answer on a “trade site” directly aimed at helping you solve your issue.  Or you ask a question on that same site and someone provides a possible solution.  Can you just copy and paste the code into your own project?  Good question.  And the answer is… well that depends.

One of the bigger players in the peer help sites for technology, Stack Overflow / Exchange,  is thinking of changing the rules on their sites now.  And in case you didn’t know it, they weren’t under a Public Domain License in the first place.

I am not going to express my thoughts or opinion on this here or now.  Mainly because I really need to think about it more before I come to my own conclusions.  I, like many of you, have not given it much thought in a long time.  However I do believe that we should all be aware of the rules to the peer help sites we use.  Therefore I suggest we all read and follow the thread for own on awareness even if  you are not an avid Stack visitor/user/contributor…


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Jim is a skilled software engineer and author of applications aimed both at home users and various industry markets. Jim's work has been utilized in the public safety, manufacturing, and banking industries. His newest endeavor is aimed at the wine making market. Jim enjoys giving back to the Software Development Community by being active on Stack Overflow. He is also Editor-in-Chief, Author and Developer here at

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