Licensing update/Questions and Answers/Oppositional arguments

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Licensing update
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The below is an open page collecting oppositional arguments against the licensing update. Some comments from the Wikimedia Foundation can be found on the discussion page. Any editor is able to present their views on the topics at hand; in doing so, such editors represent themselves only.

Preliminary questions and answers[edit]

Are you opposing the shift to CC-BY-SA 3.0? It seems a really great idea.[edit]

It is a great idea. Erik Moller’s “terms of service” however are not.

@Erik: Why??? Why are you punishing us with your @%#$&! incomprehensible Terms of Service.... :O :P ;) Canp 20:01, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
P.S.: Ofcourse this was just a joke.

So what’s the problem with the TOS? (Terms of Service)[edit]

In short, it’s not actually legal.

The problem comes with Erik’s copyright policy:

To re-distribute an article page, in any form, provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the article or articles you are re-using, b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions.)

Now let's compare that to what CC-BY-SA-3.0 has to say about attribution:

If You Distribute, or Publicly Perform the Work or any Adaptations or Collections, You must, unless a request has been made pursuant to Section 4(a), keep intact all copyright notices for the Work and provide, reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution ("Attribution Parties") in Licensor's copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, the name of such party or parties; (ii) the title of the Work if supplied; (iii) to the extent reasonably practicable, the URI, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated with the Work, unless such URI does not refer to the copyright notice or licensing information for the Work;

Attribution must be “reasonable to the medium or means” which will vary from case to case and cannot be flatly declared to always consist of a URL.

Why not? I've yet to see a convincing case in which a URL is not a reasonable attribution method. Kaldari 20:54, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Doesn’t the Attribution Parties clause allow for this?[edit]

No, since that can only be used for new edits since the GFDL 1.3 doesn’t create any Attribution Parties in the shift to CC-BY-SA-3.0. As a result, the English Wikipedia alone has over 290 million edits that the Attribution Parties clause can’t be used for.

What about clause (iii) the URI, if any, that Licensor specifies to be associated with the Work?[edit]

The problem with that approach is that as the license is phrased that is in addition to the requirement to provide attribution reasonable to the medium or means.

But isn’t including a full list of authors unreasonable in so many cases?[edit]

There are also cases where attribution by URL would be highly problematical. CC-BY-SA 3.0 allows for that by allowing attribution to be reasonable to the medium and means. This however is something that has to be worked out on a case by case basis and not something the Foundation can declare by fiat.

I'm curious about what case(s) would render both the list and the URL problematic. --Jesdisciple 02:48, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
3D media can present issue. You also hit a bunch of problems with what is meant by a URL in this case being poorly defined with the result that if you embed enough info in QR Code to trigger crediting requirements what counts as a ULR in this case?Genisock2 21:46, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Why are URLs a problem in 3D media? I can't parse your 2nd sentence at all. Kaldari 20:52, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

But we can fudge it, right?[edit]

No. Firstly, it’s clearly not legal. But even if it was less clear, the switch away from GFDL is meant to clear up some of the legal uncertainties associated with the GFDL. Creating new ones would appear to be counter productive. In addition, if there was a way to fudge it the resulting fudge would prevent third party CC-BY-SA-3.0 being brought into Wikipedia, because the author would very clearly not have agreed to Wikipedia’s terms of service.

But hasn’t the board endorsed this?[edit]

The board statement endorses the switch to CC-BY-SA-3.0. It makes no mention of terms of service or copyright notices whatsoever.

Hasn't the TOS been validated by Creative Commons General Counsel?[edit]

People claimed that they have, but that doesn't help since we have no idea what question was asked. It's fairly trivial to ask a question that would give you the answer that the TOS were legit, but not in a way that applies to the situation on Wikipedia. There is also the issue that CC have a massive conflict of interest.

"It's fairly trivial to ask a question that would give you the answer that the TOS were legit but not in a way that applies to the situation on wikipedia" Why do you think so? And why wouldn't the question be asked in a good way? Calandrella 20:49, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
The question "are these TOS allowable under CC-BY-SA-3.0?" would appear to be relevant but isn't (the answer BTW is mostly yes). A more relevant question would be "Can these TOS be imposed on content ported over from GFDL 1.4?" (to which the answer is no) but I have no evidence that that type of question has actually been asked. Requests for precise wordings of questions come to nothing and I wouldn't expect people to ask the second form.Geni 22:35, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Community commentary[edit]

Why shouldn't the projects be released into the public domain?[edit]

What are the arguments against doing this? Pie4all88 20:05, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

That is simply not legallly possible... Why Wales didn't choose PD in the first place, I do not know, but unfortunately we have to stand this (of course, there might be some good arguments of not choosing PD). Calandrella 20:38, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
He didn't choose PD because it wouldn't be a good business model. Attribution wouldn't be required, so people would start ripping the content and saying it's their own. There are other arguments as well. Ksd5 20:19, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
True, but I imagine Richard Stallman could write another loophole into the GFDL to make it legal. Alternately, we could petition for a Creative Commons license that does not require attribution, which would essentially be the same thing. Pie4all88 21:03, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I believe that FSF could create a revision of the GFDL, which if valid, can be used for Wikimedia. I quote "any later version published by the Free Software Foundation" Kushal one 23:12, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
No we could not. The whole reason this migration can take place is because the two licenses are similar enough that this is possible. PD/no attribution are not close enough for this to happen. Cbrown1023 talk 21:23, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
isn't there a danger then that through future changes the difference between those two is going to be made smaller such that the migration to PD/no attribution will be possible? --TobiasKlaus 21:29, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Cbrown: that's not how it works. The "whole reason this migration can take place" is because the GFDL allows arbitrary modifications to itself by the Free Software Foundation (provided the licensor opts-in to this upgradeability in advance (uses the "or any later version" clause), which Wikipedia did). Ruinia 22:01, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
GFDL Section 10: "The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns." If they attempted to create a new version that was not "similar in spirit" it would likely lead to some very complicated lawsuits. I would say it is wrong to suggest that "arbitrary" changes are possible. Dragons flight 23:55, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I'll also note that CC has published a statement of intent regarding the CC-BY-SA license to specifically make it clear what kinds of changes would or wouldn't be acceptable in future versions. It focuses more on copyleft than attribution, but we could probably persuade them to add something about attribution as well.--Eloquence 01:07, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Why I had to oppose this[edit]

I wonder how many people voting in support of this move do actually read the legalese of the new licence. Consider the crucial paragraph regulating the "by" (the "attribution"):

provide, reasonable to the medium or means You are utilizing: (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution ("Attribution Parties") in Licensor's copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, the name of such party or parties;

If you take a minute to parse this, it will dawn upon you that phrasing a legal requirement in an "and/or" phrase is a joke. It will be equivalent to the weaker requirement, i.e. the "or". Thus, the above translates to,

"you must provide the name of a party designated by the Licensor".

That's it. That's "Attribution". This means that if some fork, say "Crappypedia" takes an article off Wikipedia, all they need to say is "from Wikipedia". If then another fork, say "Boguspedia", takes an article from "Crappypedia", they just need to give the attribution "from Crappypedia". Crappypedia then goes offline, and you have Boguspedia articles giving credit for their content to a defunct "Crappypedia". Any and all attribution to the actual authors is lost. This is not what I bargain for when I expect attribution, and it is not what I would even consider a "similar spirit" to the GFDL.

Appologies if interjecting here is innapropriate. Please move my comment down if it is. Surely by "licensor" they mean the originating producer of the content, which could mean either Wikipedia or the author, but surely not "crappypedia". If you remember that a licence is a contract of sorts , 'crappypedia' is the licencee and 'wikipedia' is the licensor. Thus this surely does NOT transfer the right to issue licence to crappypedia (Otherwise crappypedia could just say 'this is now under the Crappypedia Not-so-public licence'). If we assume that the licensor is ALWAYS wikipedia, 'crappypedia' has no rights to modify who gets attributed. IANAL but this seems self evident to me. 121.44.226.13 09:42, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Let me not even start on the "reasonable to the medium" clause. So if you decide to transmit a Wikipedia article by handwritten note or chiselling it into marble, you are freed from any "onus" of attribution, because obviously it isn't "reasonable" to include such in an extremely low bandwith transmission. This means that if you want to get rid of attribution, you just need to take one step through a low bandwith channel. Well done, Creative Commons!

I understand that the motivation behind this is the idea that the "onus" of providing full attribution is too severe. Well, taking away any of that onus is equivalent to taking away credit to the authors. What is this terrible "onus" of giving attribution? Including the full edit history. This simply means that to be on the safe side, include a full database dump in your distribution. This means a couple of gigabytes. We live in the 21st century, and a couple of gigabytes amounts to a couple of bucks. Probably significantly less in the near future. This isn't what I call a terrible "onus", and it certainly doesn't seem justified to take away attribution from the actual authors of the content distributed.

What we should do instead to lighten the burden on bona fide propagation of Wikipedia content is a smart solution of distributing individual articles legally. We could come up with a "download archive" link for each article which would give you a format including the present revision including all data needed to distribute it legally. E.g. this could be an archive of two files, a html file with the article text, and an archive file with the edit history. The edit history could be automatically pruned for "loops", i.e. any sequence of edits resulting in an identical revision can be left out. This would cleanse the distributed edit histories of any revert wars and vandalism rollbacks.

en:User:Dbachmann 07:36, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Is this really the case? An expert's assurance that attribution must be to the original authors rather than any site in the chain of copying (i.e. Boguspedia must credit Wikipedia rather than Crappypedia) would be comforting. Perhaps the answer depends on whether the second occurrence of Original in the extract above applies only to Author or also to Licensor. en:User:Certes 22:01, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
If an expert told me something that was not the case, I wouldn’t call that comforting. -- Carbidfischer 08:12, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Suppose that, after Boguspedia credits "Wikipedia", *Wikipedia* itself goes offline (for whatever reason). Sounds to me like the author's name gets lost in this scenario. Boguspedia would still only have a link to a defunct site, and someone trying to trace the original author would still be blocked in his/her efforts. Am I misunderstanding something? Beerslayer 20:39, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
You've misread it. An alternate "attribution party" can only be used if the original author or original licensor designates one. According to the questions and answers page on this site, no such attribution party is being designated in the transition, and it does not appear that the Foundation would have the authority to do so anyway. The only person who can designate an "attribution party" for the content you add is you. If you don't want someone else to get credit for your work, don't designate them.
I think you misunderstand the burden the GFDL imposes. Under the GFDL, if you want to print out a Wikipedia article to give to a friend, you must also print out and attach the full history list and a copy of the license. Even if you just want to print out a single photograph, the same restriction applies. This limits the ability of Wikipedia content to be reused in other forms, which is a primary goal of the free content movement.--Srleffler 04:19, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
You don’t have a choice. By editing, you accept Wikimedia’s terms of service which state that a URL can replace the attribution. -- Carbidfischer 08:12, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Thank you. My main concern is that "Original Author and/or Licensor designate..." could mean "Original Author or any intermediate Licensor Boguspedia chooses (e.g. Crappypedia) designate...", but on reflection I doubt that a court would uphold that deliberate misinterpretation. en:User:Certes 19:06, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Maybe, though I have to say I do wonder why a carefully-written license doesn't say "Original Author and/or Original Licensor" rather than this potentially misleading "Original Author and/or Licensor". 93.32.32.173 17:29, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
The problem with that phrasing is that "Original Author and/or Original Licensor" doesn't account for transfer of copyright. But it doesn't really matter because "Licensor" unambiguously refers to the entity who has the authority to license the work, i.e., the rightsholder(s), and attempts to reason otherwise are—I think— very aptly described as a "deliberate misinterpretation". Additionally, despite the above comments, Wikipedia would no more be entitled to assert itself as Licensor than "Crappypedia". Wikipedia itself is a licensee of the content in much the same way as any other third party. The rightsholder—which would be you in the event that you have not assigned copyright to another party (NB that copyright assignment by no means should be construed to mean your licensing content to another party, using a permissive license or not)—retains the role of Licensor. If there's any doubt, the license very succinctly specifies "You may not sublicense the Work." This tackles the issue that has been raised more than a few times regarding the GPL concerning whether if party C receives work from party B created and licensed under the GPL by party A, does party B license the work to C, or is it party A? If there's further doubt still, consider section 8 part a. which conveniently addresses this issue:

Each time You distribute or publicly digitally perform the Work (as defined in Section 1 above) or a Collective Work (as defined in Section 1 above), the Licensor offers to the recipient a license to the Work on the same terms and conditions as the license granted to You under this License.

Furthermore, the concerns that the second occurrence of "and/or" is a vulnerability are misplaced. Consider that the alternative (merely "and") requires that both the Original Author and the Licensor must agree on the other parties to be credited. This means that if Original Author is not the current Licensor (another party the Original Author assigned copyright to, who then placed it under the terms of the license), and if the Original Author specifies set A, and the Licensor specifies set B, then you are only required to credit those in the list obtained by finding the intersection of those sets. Remove the "and" from the "and/or" portion and read it in context, and you'll find that it does not allow the recipient to drop simply everything but the list of those specified by the Licensor, which again I must point out is almost always the Original Author unless the Original Author has assigned rights to another entity. The first occurrence of "and/or", however, does allow the recipient to exclude to name of the Original Author so long as the Licensor specifies that additional parties be credited and the copyright is kept intact. This only becomes an issue if the Original Author is not the person credited in the copyright, which implies that the Original Author has assigned rights to another party. Given the significance of such an act and its effects, as well as current precedent (when a company acquires the rights from another, the new company generally does not continue to credit the former company, nor does the former company usually seek it), this is not terribly unreasonable.
The real conflict with the the above terms is section 8 part e.:

This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified here. Licensor shall not be bound by any additional provisions that may appear in any communication from You. This License may not be modified without the mutual written agreement of the Licensor and You.

The preceding paragraph means that even if Wikimedia tries to impose these terms, it simply does not come into play because the license explicity disallows it. Obligatory disclosure that I am not a lawyer. -- C. A. Russell 06:21, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I personally have no desire to be credited; I'd be happy putting everything in the public domain. So this is not an issue for me. --Jesdisciple 03:06, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
I find the explanation for why this deserves my support to be poor; it's not compelling, mostly because it's annoyingly vague. If RMS is in support of this, I found the evidence weak and the support seems lukewarm. The support and RMS spoke of "large collections of copylefted material that they want to cooperate with" but, well what are they? I'd like to know what specific, major text works are intended for incorporation into Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org in particular) that justify such a broad change - ones important enough to override the downsides of concerns expressed on this page, such as Dbachmann's. --Elvey 22:20, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Proposed terms of use need serious work![edit]

The proposed Proposed terms of use section is particularly poor. The WMF needs to work on and improve this section before they'll get my vote. Specifically:

Text is available under GNU Free Documentation License.

(example from meta)

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)

(example from en.wikipedia)

is changing to

All text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License. Text may also be available under the GNU Free Documentation License. See ((link to copyright policy)) for further details. See the page history for a list of authors. Media files are available under different licenses; click the file for more information.

I mean Holy Diarrhea, Batman! That could be far less verbose. At this stage, "((link to copyright policy))" should be an actual link to an actual page containing an actual (proposed) copyright policy. This is all evidence of how half-baked this proposal is. Dbachmann has just argued above, implicitly, that the proposed claim text, "Re-users will be required to credit you, at minimum, through a hyperlink or URL to the article you are contributing to", would be false, and no one has disputed his claim.

While we're at it, I'd like to see the edit page not have blatantly false/inappropriate statements like "Content that violates any copyright will be deleted." If something violates the copyright of some country (say some small country where copyright doesn't expire) with crazy laws that's not the US, it won't (shouldn't) be deleted. How 'bout "Content that violates US copyright will be deleted."
Likewise, "Do not copy text from other websites without a GFDL-compatible license." is awful! Obviously the intent is to discourage blatant copyright violations, but that's no excuse for bullshit; text that is not copyrighted at all is OK to copy too. Plus, the sentence is not grammatically correct.(BTW, where are edit page text changes discussed?)--Elvey 22:27, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Copy prevention mechanisms[edit]

"May not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying" is more explicit than "may not 'impose any effective technological measures' that restrict recipients from exercising their rights under the license". Thus it may stand better in court.

Especially if you take into account that the DMCA can be brought on you if you attempt to break a technically *not* effective control mechanism. That is, one can ROT-13 some article and not violate the CC license (ROT-13 is not an effective technological measure by any metric) yet prevent you from decoding it, due to the DMCA's ignorance of the effectiveness of the measure.

The DMCA does not apply to the vast majority of English-speaking countries, though the location of the Wiki servers may make the USA particularly relevant. en:User:Certes 11:13, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Open file formats[edit]

CC-BY-SA does not stipulate anything about open file formats of the content. I think it is better to have this restriction.

Wiki Media license[edit]

Why not have the community create there own license for WikiMedia projects? IMO the project is big enough that at this point it would make sense to develop its own license to best suit the project. A custom fit as apposed to off the rack available licenses that may not or are not intended for this application, style or magnitude. A license that can be recognized like cc by sa without the full text, and one that is made to work with both text and images or media.Eadthem 17:01, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

1)Incompatibility issues with everyone else. 2)the TOS shows the foundation cannot be trusted with the power it thinks it has. Last thing we want to do is give it any more.Geni 18:19, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I think that would be the idea. If it needs to be compatable it could be, If it needs to protect the content creators it could.Eadthem 03:17, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Ditto. I think you're being paranoid about a WikiMedia conspiracy... Even if Erik were acting on his own, what motive could he possibly have to restrict the rights of re-users? --Jesdisciple 03:00, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Liability risks?[edit]

Before approving such a change I'd like to see Wikimedia say that they have fully considered questions of liability. By reissuing user-submitted content under a new license, does Wikimedia risk being punished as an author? Wnt 17:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

"Oversight"[edit]

The GFDL forces Wikimedia to be sparing with the use of "oversight" (deletion of edits altogether from the history). I am concerned that a Creative Commons license will remove this barrier, and because legal advice is cousin to cowardice, this may not merely permit more "oversight" but may lead to the belief that it is required. Wnt 17:34, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Could you expound on that view? Oversighted edits are always of the same calibre, mostly involving sensitive informations, addresses, phone numbers, and real names. Why do you believe this will change with CC-BY-SA 3.0? —Anonymous DissidentTalk 00:01, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
The oversight mechanism is currently quite restricted - so far as I've heard, as I can't actually see what has been removed - but this is a matter of policy. As I understand it, those making the oversight deletions currently are limited by the GFDL, because technically the GFDL requires the entire history of the project to remain available. At the same time, the fact that the GFDL prohibits them from making indiscriminate cuts might offer some protection from claims that they should have deleted material "just in case". So they are only making deletions they feel are legally necessary to make... I hope. But if there is no GFDL restriction to worry about, then there is nothing but the policy of whoever is working at Wikimedia to decide how much to cut by "oversight". Now Wikimedia was started by some great people who did something truly amazing, but they've also had one spectacular foul-up with the case of the felon that came out in the papers. If some good and bad people sit on a committee some time in the future and try to decide a policy, they might come up with some compromise and before long we find out all sorts of stuff starts getting "oversighted" (e.g. for commercial reasons) and we don't even know how much. Then we have commercial Wikipedia mirrors pushing themselves as the "true uncensored Wikipedia", people don't know whose Wikipedia to edit, and it becomes a total nightmare. Wnt 17:49, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd consider it rare that GFDL-significance is a necessary consideration when it comes to edits to be oversighted (on the projects that I'm familiar with, at least). This is because such edits are, as aforementioned, mostly garbage and do not come under the GFDL at any rate. Thus the intended use of the oversight function would be minimally affected by licensing changes in Wikimedia's content; the same garbage will be the same garbage. But that's the policy as it stands now; and it's this policy of using oversight only to delete private informations that restricts oversighters. The licensing is rather a factor that staples the policy. So, I suppose there is potential for a licensing change to affect the policy and, by extension, the use of oversight – I just don't see the necessary policy change going through. I doubt such a proposal would gain any kind of communal traction, and I for one wouldn't support it. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 10:27, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Will "outsiders" get rights that "insiders" don't?[edit]

I'm all for integrating GFDL and CC-BY-SA, which will promote freedom of knowledge, freedom of speech and also my efforts and of so many else, to further these goals. Now I read:

  • Insiders - who are these? - will be held to transfer all of their contributions to the new agreement.
  • Outsiders - who are these? - will be allowed to contribute on terms of CC-BY-SA only.
  • Redistribution of any of "outsider" contributions will not be allowed unless under CC-BY-SA conditions.

Well, I don't get this. It means that anything I've written under the old licence is up to the ramsj, while anything new is being protected. It also means that I cannot redistribute anything from now, that is contributed under CC-BY-SA. And finally, if I want anything I've written from now on to be redistributed, I must be an outsider writing under CC-BY-SA and not under GFDL.

So I'd like to know, how can I write my things under the old conditions and how can I redistribute these things under the new licence if I want to? As it seems, neither is possible. - Art Unbound 21:19, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Does not go far enough[edit]

Moving to CC-BY-SA + GFDL does not address the main issue, which is compatibility with the GPL. - Francis Tyers 12:58, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I can't imagine that we would really want wikipedia to be compatible with the GPL, because the GPL is so restrictive. I love the GPL and it's great for free software...but not for text or encyclopedic--using the GPL would result in the material not being as widely used. I think that would be a huge loss. 68.82.181.158 13:18, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. The GPL is for software and not for content, so GPL compatibility is neither necessary nor desirable. Content can still be included with GPL software, this is called "mere aggregation". To illustrate this: the GFDL itself is not compatible with the GPL, yet the FSF and others distribute GPL software with GFDL documentation as a matter of routine. – McDutchie 20:20, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
The reason is linguistic software. When the data needs to be included in the software, for example a morphological analyser, disambiguation, syntactic transfer, transfer lexicon etc. These are code, but could take advantage of the data in Wiktionary and Wikipedia if it were licensed to be compatible with the GPL. That is why I will be voting no. Having it not GPL compatible wastes a lot of time in re-writing stuff that you can find easily (but not yet freely!) on WP/WKT. - Francis Tyers 10:54, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
That's utter malarkey. You are confusing data with creative content. You're not going to be incorporating wikipedia articles into the code of linguistic software. If you included some kind of raw data, though, it wouldn't be an issue anyway since data is not copyrightable. Kaldari 21:03, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

What happens in a lawsuit?[edit]

Some here have argued that a few contributors may feel that these changes do not produce an outcome "similar in spirit" to the GFDL. Suppose three or four people who feel that the GFDL offered them specific rights that have been taken away, and some force hostile to Wikipedia gives them financial and legal support. Now what happens?

  • Suppose Wikimedia points to this vote as evidence that the majority of contributors accepted the change. They dispute that it was meaningful. Can they subpoena the entire list of IP addresses and emails for all voters, or perhaps even all contributors exposed to the banner ad?
  • Consider how a press controlled by interests directly threatened by open source might cover such a case. They will try to use it as "evidence" for the general rule that all people talking freely on-line are a bunch of thieves. They don't seem reluctant to show bias on this issue.
  • Will interpretations of the free licenses be legally formalized which are more cumbersome than current opinion?

I assume that this can be made less likely with a strong opt-out procedure, but there still could be people who say they haven't looked at Wikipedia in years and had their rights abused somehow. Wnt 20:15, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia's requirements for submitted text are quite clear - work may be used under version 1.2 of the GFDL or later, as published by the FSF. They released 1.3, with the relicensing clause. The Foundation, as the operator of Wikipedia, decided to adopt it. Everything has been done above board. If the original contributors did not trust the FSF to do the "right thing", they should not have licensed their work under the 1.2 or later of the GFDL. I don't feel a lawsuit would have any effect. GreenReaper 19:38, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Google spam[edit]

Anyone trying to use Google runs into all too many versions of Wikipedia content put up by people trying to extract money through ads or by tracking who is interested in a topic (if there is any vestigial difference between those two things). Disencumbering Wikipedia content means that they can use it even more freely, and that is a lot of well-written text to throw out into general usage. Google-spammers will be able to take any two articles and mash them into a computer generated hybrid without worrying about any licensing restrictions on the text. Anyone searching the site for a link between any two ideas you can name in Wikipedia will run into these phantom articles. It's true that Altavista does much better than Google where spam is concerned, and this isn't really our problem... except, we're editors, and we use that site, so it is our problem. Wnt 20:15, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

This "issue" is inherent in the nature of free online content. Anyone can re-use it for any purpose as long as the license conditions are satisfied. Many sites, advertising-supported, have been repurposing WP content for years, and the sky has not fallen down. Why would it now? That some of them are doing so, and have been all along, in violation of the license terms (i.e., by just ripping the text without crediting Wikipedia) is a shame, and unlawful, but how does that relate to the present debate in any way? That is, in what way do you imaging that the migration would somehow worsen this problem? I don't see it. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 09:30, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Import from third parties[edit]

As far as I can see, this licensing update will close the way to import of GFDL content. But is it possible to allow to import materials under either CC-BY-SA or GFDL? If not, than why GFDL-compatitable text imported, let's say, one hour before the 'deadline' will be relicensed under CC-BY-SA (even if its author doesn't agree with it), but the text imported one hour after 'deadline' will become a copyright violation? And what shall we do with OTRS permissions for text under GFDL-only, do we need to ask all the owners of such materials to send us new permission under another license? So, even though CC content is rather popular, it is not 100% of the websites, there are thousands of sites (including many of wiki-based sites) having useful materials under GFDL, why do we have to close the way for them? — NickK 23:21, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm in this situation... =/
See also Texts added after Nov 1 2008 and Some questions . Helder 19:51, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
The new GFDL was designed to avoid people importing GFDL content to a wiki and converting it to without the explicit consent of the current maintainers after the publication of the new version of the license. You are correct regarding GFDL material imported after the release of GFDL 1.3 - it must be removed. Other wiki projects are welcome to join Wikipedia as long as they also relicense or dual-license their content to CC-BY-SA before August 1. If you are involved with or know of such a project, I would encourage you to contact them yourself. GreenReaper 19:56, 22 May 2009 (UTC)