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Since the FAQ allows the topic of software licensing, I think it would be a good idea to put a legal disclaimer in the FAQ addressing the issue that the opinions expressed on the site do not constitute expert legal advice.

I keep seeing this concern being raised, mainly that the opinions being expressed are just that, opinions and that an attorney needs to be sought for expert advice on software licensing issues.

I wouldn't imagine someone filing a suit over this, but then again it is possible.

I believe it's a great help to hear from other devs on how they deal with software licensing and I feel it would be prudent to at least address this particular issue specifically in the FAQ. If for nothing else than to clarify others concerns about consulting an attorney to get expert legal help.

What I was thinking was to state the following: the opinions expressed on the site do not constitute expert legal advice and then point to the link for the stack exchange legal disclaimer.

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From Stack Exchange Network Terms of Service:

9 Limitation of liability

In no event shall Stack Exchange, its directors, officers, shareholders, employees or members be liable with respect to the Network or the Services for (a) any indirect, incidental, punitive, or consequential damages of any kind whatsoever; (b) damages for loss of use, profits, data, images, Subscriber Content or other intangibles; (c) damages for unauthorized use, non-performance of the Network, errors or omissions; or (d) damages related to downloading or posting Content. Stack Exchange's and the Network's collective liability under this agreement shall be limited to three hundred United States Dollars. Some states do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations and exclusions may not apply to Subscriber.

Is that what you had in mind?

  • I didn't think to look for it under the terms of service. So that is legal protection, but since the topic of software licensing is in the FAQ, would it be redundant or too obvious to just state: opinions expressed here do not constitute expert legal advice? – user39741 Nov 24 '11 at 6:28
  • I honestly don't know. To me it's perfectly clear that any advice I get from strangers on the internet is provided as-is, especially on legal or medical matters, but I can't really comment if such a notice would be redundant. If it were up to me, I'd remove software licencing from the site's scope. – yannis Nov 24 '11 at 6:39
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    I disagree, sometimes you need real life experience information from another developer that has already done what you are trying to do or thinking about. IMHO. I think it's a valuable resource before an undertaking to develop some software. You might even change the type of license you are wanting after discussing it here. – user39741 Nov 25 '11 at 6:16
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    @JamesDrinkard I think having "software licencing" on topic creates a lot of unnecessary noise, and if it were up to me I'd just kill it. But it's not up to me, obviously, I was just stating an opinion. If you scan through related meta discussions you'll see most people think that we should keep it on, regardless of the high potential for noise. That's cool with me. – yannis Nov 25 '11 at 6:38

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