I have question about the popular Creative Commons licenses, but this question may also apply to other licenses.

When somebody reads answers on a forum or other content licensed under a Creative Commons license, and later that person wants to use information from that content in their own project, do they have to give attribution? I don't mean reusing an original, ready-made, complex solution, but - for example - information from an article about touch UI or creating something in a specific program/framework.

If this is required, I think almost every program would have to have a big list of attributions, because all of us have used information from public content at some point.


Regardless of the license associated with a document, there is no copyright protection on information. Copyright protection prevents copying "expression", e.g. the wording, but not the facts / opinions expressed through those words. The non-legal academic concept of "plagiarism" is where the notion of attribution primarily comes into play. There is a special exception under 17 USC 106A that imposes an attribution requirement for works of visual art.

CC and other license schemes may add in an attribution requirement for actual copying of the expression (the "BY" attribute in CC). If a work is licensed under CC-BY, you may copy the actual expression provided that you follow the terms of the license, which primarily means that you have to attribute the work in the prescribed manner. This does not apply to extracting information from a work, because information is not protected by copyright.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.