In the ToS of Stack Exchange sites, under the section Subscriber Content, the first sentence states that my submitted content is licensed (to Stack Exchange) under CC BY-SA 3.0:

You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.

Here is the second sentence:

You grant Stack Exchange the perpetual and irrevocable right and license to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and, except as otherwise set forth herein, to allow others to do so in any medium now known or hereinafter developed (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services, even if such Subscriber Content has been contributed and subsequently removed by You.

Does this sentence just summarize what the consequences are of licensing (to SE) my content under CC BY-SA 3.0?

Or does this sentence state that I’m licensing (to SE) my content under a second license?

In other words: Is my content multi-licensed (to SE), under CC BY-SA 3.0 (as defined in the first sentence) and under a custom license (as defined in the second sentence)?

  • Definitely related. opensource.stackexchange.com/q/1717/775 – RubberDuck Jun 27 '17 at 12:37
  • @Mureinik: I don’t think so. It’s just a coincidence that this question is about the same site it is asked on. Such a question should be on-topic here no matter which service/site it is about (as long as a free/libre/open license is involved). – unor Jun 27 '17 at 13:22
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is entirely about the Stack Exchange Terms of Service, not about understanding the CC license. – amon Jun 29 '17 at 12:42
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    @amon: Please see Is it on-topic to ask how free/libre/open a product really is?. The ToS in this case are comparable to contributor-agreements in software projects, and it should be on-topic here to discuss the possible problems in regards to the free/libre/open aspects. – unor Jun 29 '17 at 13:03
  • @unor Possible conflicts would be on-topic (e.g. “Can CC content be dual-licensed?” or “Does SE have the right through the CC license to mandate a specific attribution format?”). But you are not asking about any such conflict, or any concept of the CC license. Instead, you are asking how how the SE Terms of Service should be interpreted. I don't think interpreting ToSes or other contracts should be on-topic, regardless of whether they touch on Open Source licenses. – amon Jun 29 '17 at 13:23

Does this sentence just summarize what the consequences are of licensing (to SE) my content under CC BY-SA 3.0?

Or does this sentence state that I’m licensing (to SE) my content under a second license?

It does not just summarize the CC-BY-SA license. You are indeed dual licensing your content to Stack Exchange. By posting to a Stack Exchange site, you are licensing that content to everyone (including Stack Exchange) under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license. In addition to that you're agreeing to SE's terms of service, which grants them specific rights to that content.

Granted, all of the things you're agreeing to would be covered by the Creative Commons license as well, but they are two separate agreements none the less.

  • Thanks for your answer:) That would mean SE (if they use the second license) could 1) publish my work without attributing me and 2) allow "others" to publish my work without attributing me and use it without any kind of copyleft. – unor Jul 2 '17 at 12:52
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    Well, no. Copyright and Contract law both favor the original owner where there is no explicit language in the contract (in this case, the ToS). They couldn't publish your work without attributing you, because you've not explicitly granted them the right to do so. Likewise, they cannot allow anyone else to do this because you've not conferred the right for Stack Exchange to sublicense to others the additional rights granted to SE in the ToS. Everyone else is entirely bound to the Creative Commons license. – RubberDuck Jul 2 '17 at 13:11
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    In other words, when it comes to copyright, if there is no explicit licensing of the ability to do something with a copyrighted work, it is assumed that nothing can be done with it. The simplest example is a copyrighted work published without a license. No license == All rights reserved. That's just the most extreme case of there being no specific grant of license. – RubberDuck Jul 2 '17 at 13:16
  • I see, thanks. -- "Likewise, they cannot allow anyone else to do this": With the quoted others I was referring to the statement in their second license: "to allow others to do so in any medium" (but, if I understand it correctly, these "others" have to help providing "the Services"). – unor Jul 2 '17 at 13:23
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    On top of all that, the user may have granted an additional license. See my user profile, for instance, which says, "LICENSE: All my StackExchange contributions across all sites, except as noted within any particular contribution, are available under the standard SO/SE licensing terms (CC-BY-SA) or under the CC-0 Public Domain Dedication, at your choice." – Glenn Randers-Pehrson Jul 2 '17 at 16:07

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