Sometimes when I've had questions, I've simultaneously asked them on other forums as well. For example, I may ask a question on christianforums.com, copy the same question, and paste it on hermenutics.stackexchange.com to get more perspectives, and vice versa. Also, I may copy an old answer I've given on one of the forums and then used it to answer a similar question from the other.

So long as I'm the creator of a question or answer on a forum, am I generally allowed to copy and paste what I've written and use it across forums, or do most sites consider themselves the "owners" of what I post, forbidding me from copying and pasting what I wrote elsewhere?

  • What you're describing is generally known in Internet forums and Stackexchange as "Cross-posting" and is generally frowned upon. That's not a legal classification, though. It's just not what you should do. Plagiarism is usually when you quote some information or finding without giving due credit (e.g. in a research paper). Usually it's not a legal issue, but you can fail a course or in bad cases, have your degree rescinded, for plagiarism.
    – Brandin
    Dec 14 '21 at 9:54
  • @Brandin I didn't know it was frowned upon. I personally don't have a problem with doing it so long as it doesn't break any rules or anything.
    – The Editor
    Dec 14 '21 at 14:09
  • Yes, it is frowned upon. Some sites have rules against it; your post could be deleted, for example. But again, it does not make it a legal issue. It's just bad manners. For a SE discussion on the rule, see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/64068/…
    – Brandin
    Dec 16 '21 at 7:22

See https://stackoverflow.com/legal/terms-of-service and https://law.stackexchange.com/help/licensing.

As with most social media sites, your contribution of content does not transfer ownership of any copyright in the content; rather, you grant to the platform a non-exclusive license. Because the license is not exclusive, you can grant similar or different licenses to other parties, which generally happens when you post the same content on other sites.

(Of course, you can only grant licenses when you own the copyright or have a license that allows you to grant a further license, so posting content created by others can be complicated; this seems to be beyond the scope of the question, though, so I mention it only in passing.)

To answer with respect to a specific site, of course, you have to look at the site's terms of service.

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