Subject: Re: [boost] Legal problem with Stackoverflow contribution under the "Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0" license
From: Philip Bennefall (philip_at_[hidden])
Date: 2018-02-19 16:10:54
On 2/19/2018 4:34 PM, Dominique CHABAUD via Boost wrote:
> Hi all,
> In Boost 1.62.0 we saw in the following header file :
> that the function inline ticks_type __stdcall GetTickCount64emulation()
> is a contribution coming from https://stackoverflow.com
> Stackoverflow re-lisensing to MIT is told to be in place starting Feb 1,
> 2016 and only for new contributions. But the StackOverflow contribution
> that has been borrowed in Boost is Nov 23, 2011 and contributions prior to
> Feb1, 2016 are under the "Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0"
> license which is not permissive.
> This causes legal problem.
> Hope somebody can fix this.
I agree with the point being made, and would also like to add that as
far as I can tell, there is a potential incompatibility between the MIT
license and the Boost software license. So even with questions posted on
Stack Overflow that do fall under the MIT license, there is a potential
The Boost license makes it explicitly clear that derived works
distributed in object code form do not require attribution in
accompanying documentation or similar, while the MIT license is
ambiguous on this point. I am referring to this paragraph in the MIT
The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included
in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.
It is not clear to me what "substantial portions of the software" means.
If my reading of the license is correct, however, it does seem like
derivative works distributed in object code form *do* require
attribution as the license does not state anything to the contrary - at
least not in an explicit fashion. So at best there is an ambiguity
between the two licenses, in the worst case scenario they are simply
incompatible on this point. I am not a lawyer, so anyone with more
knowledge on the subject feel free to correct me.