I would like to give my community the ability to contribute changes to my web application. My site already has an active community with thousands of users. I do earn a little bit from affiliate advertising.

What Open Souce license would protect me from someone unscrupulously putting up a copy?

The Creative Commons site suggests Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International... with the mention "This is not a Free Culture License.".

Well, fair enough. It doesn't matter to me as long as people are able to modify the code and propose changes. My site is not free and never has been, I invested thousands of hours into it over the years, as well as manage the community, answer all the emails, etc.

Is this the appropriate license to use?

2 Answers 2


Other copies of your work can exist and you can still have great SEO. As long as you are seen as the authoritative original source, your site will still rank and the content on the other sites won't show up in search results at all.

There is a chance that when somebody copies your content that Google gets the sources all wrong and indexes the other site instead of yours. One way to prevent that is by requiring all copies link back to the original.

This site operates under that model. All posts are licensed here under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required. There is a blog post that says what attribution means. It includes a link back to the original: http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2009/06/attribution-required/

  • That is a good point, and you don't build an audience in a day. Jan 25, 2017 at 14:38

There's a great site for choosing your license here: https://choosealicense.com/

If you'd like to avoid duplicate content issues, use an Apache license and include a link back to the original within it. All copies must then carry a copy of the license + link.

  • Thanks I didn't know about this one. Would the Apache would be similar to the "Attribution" clause in the CreativeCommons? Jan 25, 2017 at 14:33
  • Good site but I see all their licenses allow for commercial use. Since I never monetized my audience, or at least my service is free to use with no limitations, it is unacceptable to me to see a commercial derivative. Of course in reality it is very unlikely to happen... Jan 25, 2017 at 14:45

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