licensing add tag
Paul White
What should the licence for content contributed here be?

The main options are:

1. [![CC0][1]][3] [CC0 "No Rights Reserved"][3]
2. [![CC BY][2]][4] [Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)][4]
3. [![CC BY-SA][5]][6] [Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)][6]

Option 3 is the same as the Stack Exchange licence, the others are more permissive.


This question is about what license this site redistributes your contributions under. Everyone is, of course, free to license their own content in whatever way(s) they choose.

All of the above options are permissive enough for the site — and the 'attribution' requirement of your CC-BY and CC-BY-SA grant would appear to be satisfied by showing your name on the post and in the edit histories.

Top Answer
Jack Douglas
I'm not sure there is any need for the site to mandate an option. Every contribution could specify what the author wants to grant, with the default for each user set in their profile.

The question would then become "what grant should we default to for new accounts". I suggest the default should be CC0 for the entire contribution. Either of the others would be OK too though.

I would suggest that once a contribution has been made, the grants cannot be changed (perhaps unless no-one has edited it except the OP).



Every question and answer now specifies the license granted. Once granted you can't change the license and all edits to posts, by anyone, are explicitly done under the same license as the original post, as indicated on the buttons that submit the changes, like this:

![Screenshot 2019-11-16 at 14.51.37.png](/image?hash=41b5930f262b21abf124d5b9a65b1b9c46ac5f17607f8762b8914d9a8429b7fc)

The options currently available are:

* [CC0 1.0](
* [CC BY 4.0](
* [CC BY-NC-SA 4.0](
* [CC BY-SA 3.0](
* [CC BY-SA 4.0](

And for an (optional) [additional license for original code](/meta?q=24):

* [CC0 1.0](

Please ask here on meta if you'd like to see a license added to either list.

The site default is currently CC BY-SA 4.0 but this may change in future. If it does change **it will *never* change the account default license that you have set** — the site-wide default is only for *new* accounts. I can see good arguments for several of the other licenses in the current list to be the default — I like CC0, but CC BY-NC-SA would be an interesting choice.
Answer #2
Raw "Public Domain" declarations are problematic as the only license available for code snippets. In some countries PD is not a recognized thing and this actually restricts the use of code more than frees it up. The same goes for undecaled or "do whatever" style licenses. CC0 seems be the best attempt to address those tricky legal issues while still being as explicitly open as possible. That's probably a good default.

However it does not address all concerns and other licenses should be an option. For example:

* To questioners, it will be difficult to ask questions if they are forced to rewrite snippets to be CC0. If my sofware is MIT or GPL or whatever licensed and I want to ask about why something is going wrong in some function, and if I didn't write all the code and hence can't just relicence it myself, it's problematic to not be able to post the snippet in a question.

* Most of the time when posting something online in answer to a question I don't have any reason to care. But every once in a while I do care that my contributions in a certain problem are only usable in the OSS world and not useful to people building proprietary software unsess they rewrite them. Personally I'm far more inclined to go the extra mile to help out some poor soul by fixing their code up for them if I know it will remain a lasting OSS afair and _not_ just be gobbled up.

With those points in mind I'd suggest adding a pretty full suite of licence choices for code snippets, and probably default answers to 1st to whatever the question was posted as and 2nd to the users preference.

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