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I have posted numerous homebrew features on Role-playing Games Stack Exchange, and I have used advice gotten from that site to balance most of them. If, one day, I publish the subclass, would I be required to give any or all of the following credits?

  • To the RPG.SE website as a whole

  • To the individual users that gave feedback

  • Just to the users whose feedback I used

Or would I not be required to give any credit?

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It's complicated

You still own your own posts

First off, you own everything that you originally created. Posting it on Stack Exchange doesn't affect your rights to your own content.

Incorporating suggestions

If you copy any of the text from posts that were created by others, you must comply with the CC BY-SA license. The exact version will depend on when the content was posted, and can be viewed by clicking the "Share" link or viewing the post's timeline via the clock icon on the left. Currently, new posts are licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, which requires you to (basically) provide attribution with the creator's name, a link back to the content, and an indication of whether changes were made. A more detailed description of the exact requirements is here. You would also be required to license the work that you incorporated it into under the same license.

However, game mechanics aren't copyrightable. If you merely used mechanics suggested in the posts without actually using the actual creative expression (for instance, names or description text) from the posts, you would not be required to provide any attribution or use any particular license, because you didn't use any copyrightable material from the post.

A thank-you would still be nice

All that said, it's still a nice thing to do to provide some sort of informal thanks to those who provided valuable assistance, even when you're not legally required to do so.

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  • I am 100% not a lawyer, but wouldn't getting feedback, ideas, and new content from other stack users count as "Adaptations and Modifications" under the 4.0 license? – NautArch May 12 at 15:59
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    In the US at least, "ideas" are not copyrightable, so a copyright license can't restrict usage of ideas. But in practice, the line between "using an idea" and "creating a derivative of someone else's expression of that idea" can be a fuzzy one. – David May 12 at 16:33
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    @NautArch: Only if the "feedback, ideas, and new content" is eligible for copyright and incorporated into the published RPG in a way that makes it a derivative work according to copyright law. What matters here is not what the license says, but what the law says: copyright law is what prevents you from copying another person's work and distributing it without permission. A license grants such permission, typically under various conditions. But if, as far as the law is concerned, you're not copying someone else's copyrighted work in the first place, then you don't need their permission either. – Ilmari Karonen May 12 at 16:42
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    @user68fd I think that once you start asking about specific cases and courses of action, you're asking for legal advice, which isn't legally allowed here. Hire a lawyer and ask them, instead. ;) – nick012000 May 12 at 21:36
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    @nick012000 3 questions about what the law, or a legal document such as a license, permits or requires under quite specific conditions can be on topic here. Questions about what a person should do to achieve a particular end, are legal advice which we may not give here. see Law Meta – David Siegel May 13 at 0:54
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You must give appropriate credit

User content on stack exchange sites is licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence. Appropriate credit is:

If supplied, you must provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material.

Note that if you do include material (or create a derivative work) from stack exchange users, you must publish under the same CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

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    Not a lawyer, but wouldn't that only apply if they quoted the text of the posts? Rules themselves can't be copyrighted; that's why you have RPG retroclones that reproduce the rules of previous editions of games with different wording being sold without problems. – nick012000 May 12 at 6:40
  • @nick012000 I believe you're correct. I've tried to address that in my answer. – Ryan M May 12 at 9:28
  • Commenting here, too. I think you can further support this by referencing that taking in feedback and suggestions as they update their homebrew content in their question with iterations that turns into modifying and adapating the content and now requires credit to be provided to those users/stack. – NautArch May 12 at 16:24
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    This answer is unclear; it sounds like you're saying that user68fd is required to give credit for merely receiving advice, even if they don't prepare any derivative works or distribute anyone else's content. I'm quite sure that's not the case (and if that is the case, this answer should be edited to explain why). – Tanner Swett May 12 at 19:11

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