Andrew's question regarding Relicensing code from answers requests users to releasing their code answers under a "more free" license in order to promote dissemination and re-use. What would be the case when a user has not "signed" the "agreement" and is not that active on the site (any more)?

In particular, Tobi's recent question on how to Set a subfolder for \include(only) points to a related/duplicate How to make the main file recognize relative paths used in the imported files? where user blackstev proposes a package inputx that might be of wider use. Since the user hasn't been active in more than 8 months, how should/could one go about trying to achieve this goal - from an answer to a package?

That particular user has left their email address in that answer. Have you tried contacting him/her? –  Loop Space Nov 6 '12 at 9:18
Also in that case, the license having been pointed out in a comment, the user in question made an edit in which s/he deleted the expression "all rights reserved" from the code originally posted, which seems a pretty clear acceptance of the implications of the CC BY-SA 3.0 license and the user's understanding that the code could be used by others. –  Paul Stanley Nov 6 '12 at 18:06
@AndrewStacey: I will contact the author in that regard and wait a while before suggesting to take it on. –  Werner Nov 6 '12 at 18:10
That's not to say that this isn't a good and important question! –  Loop Space Nov 6 '12 at 20:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 26 down vote accepted

All posts to the site are made subject the the Creative Commons 'Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)' license. The summary of this license says:

You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work
  • to make commercial use of the work

which is a key point of the site: you can take material here and reuse it elsewhere without further permissions. The license also says

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

along with various other things.

My reading of this is that you can take code posted here and package it up for distribution, provided you pick a suitably 'free' license and make attribution. The most obvious way to do that would be to simply use the CC license directly. The part that says 'or similar' suggests to me that something like the LPPL with an attribution statement would also be suitable, although these things are complex. [The full legal license seems to go into some detail about 'similar', and it I guess it would be safest to stick to the CC license!]

[Of course, in cases where you can contact the original author then some of the conditions may be relaxed.]

Thanks for an informative answer! I've contacted the author. The response: "It is okay that someone bundle my posted code to a package. However, the posting [has] the CC BY-SA license. Therefore, the package must attribute me and must be shared with a similar license." –  Werner Nov 7 '12 at 18:27
@Shog Useful, but focussed on republishing the content as a whole rather than taking the code, converting into some form directly usable in production and releasing it. I guess this must have come up on the main site too: the CC license is not really primarily aimed at software, hence suggesting a 'compatible' software license with attribution. I hope the LPPL is such a license! –  Joseph Wright Nov 8 '12 at 8:05

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