Stack Overflow: A Code Laundering Platform? [article]

Le An, Ons Mlouki, Foutse Khomh, Giuliano Antoniol
2017 arXiv   pre-print
Developers use Question and Answer (Q&A) websites to exchange knowledge and expertise. Stack Overflow is a popular Q&A website where developers discuss coding problems and share code examples. Although all Stack Overflow posts are free to access, code examples on Stack Overflow are governed by the Creative Commons Attribute-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license that developers should obey when reusing code from Stack Overflow or posting code to Stack Overflow. In this paper, we conduct a case study
more » ... th 399 Android apps, to investigate whether developers respect license terms when reusing code from Stack Overflow posts (and the other way around). We found 232 code snippets in 62 Android apps from our dataset that were potentially reused from Stack Overflow, and 1,226 Stack Overflow posts containing code examples that are clones of code released in 68 Android apps, suggesting that developers may have copied the code of these apps to answer Stack Overflow questions. We investigated the licenses of these pieces of code and observed 1,279 cases of potential license violations (related to code posting to Stack overflow or code reuse from Stack overflow). This paper aims to raise the awareness of the software engineering community about potential unethical code reuse activities taking place on Q&A websites like Stack Overflow.
arXiv:1703.03897v1 fatcat:jbps6jsj65hm7geq65ecigts44