29
$\begingroup$

Does Stack Exchange or MathOverflow own my posts? Can I reuse my posts elsewhere? Do I need to cite MathOverflow if I want to reuse my posts elsewhere?

$\endgroup$
32
$\begingroup$

You own all of your posts! You retain full copyrights and you can do anything you please with them.

However, by posting on MathOverflow, you release your content under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0) license. This license allows MathOverflow, Stack Exchange and others to use your content under specific terms. This is not an exclusive license. As the copyright owner, you may release your content to anyone under any terms you please, though such waivers do not revoke the CC BY-SA 3.0 license that you previously agreed to.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I believe this is incorrect -- see my answer to this question. $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 13 '13 at 12:06
  • $\begingroup$ My answer below was incorrect and the TOS have changed, but I still believe that this answer is not fully correct, as it omits some restrictions. See my new question meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/1212/…. In particular, (1) there are additional restrictions with respect to CC-BY-SA (2) no specific version of the CC-BY-SA is mentioned in the TOS. The TOS themselves contain links to at least two different versions of CC-BY-SA. (3) the author cannot waive the additional restrictions by relicensing, since they are mandated by Stack Exchange. $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 27 '13 at 11:01
1
$\begingroup$

EDIT: what is written in this answer does not apply anymore as the TOS have been changed.

EDIT: as @FrançoisG.Dorais and @ScottMorrison point out in the comment, my interpretation here below is probably wrong, too. What is true is that, with the current TOS, if you re-use your own content elsewhere, you have to link to MO as the original source of it.

@FrançoisG.Dorais 's answer is incorrect, at least under a reasonable interpretation of the Stack Exchange terms of service; see here for more detail.

Apparently, by posting content, you restrict everybody (including yourself) to use the contributions only under the CC BY-SA license.

In particular, you cannot use that material in a paper or a book, unless it's licensed as CC BY-SA itself. Given the current state of affairs in academic publishing, good luck getting your publisher to agree to that.

At the same time, Stack Exchange and everyone else in the world has the same rights, so after you post on MO you don't "own" your writing more than Stack Exchange, or I, or anyone else in the world does.

$\endgroup$
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Frederico, I believe you may be misinterpreting the consequences of this interpretation of the TOS. Since this interpretation contradicts item 7b of the CC BY-SA license, it might invalidate the licensing agreement itself. $\endgroup$ – François G. Dorais Nov 13 '13 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais I see. So your interpretation is that SE's terms of service are inconsistent and hence invalid? (note: I am not a lawyer, so I might well be mis-interpreting everything) $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 13 '13 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ The most reasonable thing would be to ask a stackexchange officer to give an authorative answer. $\endgroup$ – Gil Kalai Nov 13 '13 at 16:02
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ They say they are working on it: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/203209/… $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 13 '13 at 16:06
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @FedericoPoloni, also, I don't see anything in the current (generally agreed to be broken) terms of service that say you are restricted to using your contributions under the CC BY-SA license, but merely that when you use your own contributions, you will provide attribution per the CC BY-SA license rules. These are rather different things, and in particular according to the current wording you could certainly use that material in a paper or book, as long as you cited the original appearance on MO. $\endgroup$ – Scott Morrison Nov 14 '13 at 4:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Frederico, that part of the TOS has been reworded and it now explicitly states the exception that you can do anything you want with your own contributed content. $\endgroup$ – François G. Dorais Nov 27 '13 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ @FrançoisG.Dorais Thanks for letting me know of the change - I've seen the new TOS and I am satisfied with the changes made. Should I delete this answer outright or just stick an edit on top of it? $\endgroup$ – Federico Poloni Nov 27 '13 at 8:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .