Talk:Licensing update/Questions and Answers/Archives/2009

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Side question on attribution

Greetings, I don't know how to add another pair of questions about the answer to one of the previous I added to the page. In the answer (attribution section) is stated: If you don't like the attribution norms of a particular wiki you're considering contributing to, you can choose not to contribute, of course.

This is valid and obvious for new contributors, but lacks to address to legacy contributions: when submitting GFDL text, a contributor expect to have an history section in every derivative work or copy of the work. This is not required in CC-BY-SA (as per the answer, a link to the history is adequate). How do you think to cope with such a contributor?

Does the terms of use (as stated in this post on the foundation list) will be put online before the voting? Thanks in advance. --Baruneju 22:27, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Given the purpose of the history (change tracking), I think inclusion of the history by reference is entirely consistent with reasonable expectation, and long established practice. (Including Wikipedia itself, where the version history is reachable by a link separate from the main document.) I don't think anyone would argue that the inclusion of the full change history for a page like George W. Bush with every derivative would be a reasonable expectation.--Eloquence 03:06, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
It now says "we will recommend that attribution must always be given by user name". My question is where? Is giving this in the edit summary enough, or are you recommending this be on the article? Angela 03:37, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
My recommendation, which I've added to the license update page, is that attribution by history is acceptable when dealing with wiki-to-wiki copying where such attribution is commonly accepted.--Eloquence 20:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
@Eloquence: this is a FAQ, I think it's better to cope with some kind of questions here before the vote goes live instead of having "strange" voting due to the lack of informations. What is a reasonable expectation to some, may not be reasonable to others. I'm throwing here some "worst case scenario" to help improving the FAQ. If someone bases his argument on the license (Preserve the section Entitled "History") and the answer is "do you really expect that? This is unreasonable", I think there can be flames and troubles we don't need while in the voting session.
So, my suggestion (based on Erik mail in foundation-l and on your edit to the FAQ, but I may be wrong) is to add something about:
  1. GFDL requires attribution (five authors etc), to do that a link to hisotry is widely used (as per Erik mail), CC requires attribution so the same thing (link to history) will be done with CC (I think this is addressed in your last edit)
  2. GFDL requires history section, CC does not. "I submitted text expecting an history section in derivative works" says the contributor, the answer is..? ("or any later version" in GFDL? "Reasonable means" applied also to history section?)
IMHO dispelling doubts before the vote is better than having some "you changed things after the vote / you didn't say that before" or any other conspiracy theory later. --Baruneju 21:37, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Please feel free to add a draft q/a to the page and I will revise further.--Eloquence 20:54, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I've reverted the edit for now. IMHO we should only add questions together with an answer. If there is no answer, what good will the question do? Also please remember that all translations will have to be updated if another answer is added. Thus I think it would be better to first formulate the answer and then add it to the page itself. Regards, --ChrisiPK 11:22, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
...and only add them if, (a) it is an important question and not user-specific (b) it is done in as large of a group as possible (we want to keep the updates grouped together). Cbrown1023 talk 17:41, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
I can't state the answer, only Mike, Erik or someone from the WMF can. Also, many questions I added days ago got answers from both Erik and Mike, so I'm missing how a question without an (immediate) answer is wrong. About the translation problem: tanslators must check changes in this page, not everyone can translate in polish or chinese ;-) --Baruneju 17:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
(I just read Cbrown1023 message): I don't care about this question, if there is consensus about not putting it in I will not insist. What I care is about users coming to this page and not finding a question they are interested in: in my opinion all question are "user-specific", we can only guess what an user may ask. I just noticed a difference in the two licenses and I was wondering if anyone may find useful an answer here (I spotted a flame on foundation-l about something related to this question, but I'm not entitled to deal with flames in foundation-l and somewhere else, so if you find this question not useful, just throw it away ^__-). --Baruneju 17:56, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Another attribution question

Hi, I'm a little puzzled by something. If (part of) the goal of moving to CC-BY-SA is to simplify the attribution requirements, surely this conflicts with the dual licensing proposal - i.e. won't it still be necessary to do attribution by the terms of GFDL (the most stringent of two licences)?

--Eclecticdave 22:17, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Under a dual licensing scheme, you can pick which license you want to follow.--Eloquence 22:52, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, but I'm afraid I was unclear - in that case if the content is republished to another wiki (as I am doing), AIUI such a fork would have to become unidirectional - it will no longer be possible for any modifications made by my users to be given back to WP (unless done by the original contributor).
I would prefer to retain the existing freedom of allowing bidirectional transfer of content, but to do so I think it would be necessary for me to use the same dual licensing scheme as WP. In which case ISTM I gain no benefit from the changes. Or am I wrong? -- Eclecticdave 01:09, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
The proposed dual licensing scheme is formulated precisely to allow bidirectionality. When someone imports CC-BY-SA only content back into a WP page, that page would cease being dual-licensed.--Eloquence 02:12, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, interesting. For some reason I'd assumed the import of CC-BY-SA only content would be limited to whole (new) articles. Now it's all starting to click into place - Thanks for the clarification. -- Eclecticdave 23:42, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Also, another point I would like to raise if I may - I believe it is proposed (for those who choose CC-BY-SA) that sufficient attribution is to link to the history page on WP. In which case what happens if the article is deleted from WP - surely the attribution would be broken as the link will no longer work? -- Eclecticdave 01:09, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, in that case the attribution would cease to be sufficient. This is the case today. There is no obvious workaround for this, other than perhaps setting up a community clearinghouse for admins to provide page histories of deleted articles under reasonable circumstances.--Eloquence 02:12, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Well, currently on my wiki I maintain a page consisting of a simple list of contributors for each imported article, which by my reading is OK for CC-BY-SA, although not strictly sufficient for GFDL . I'll probably continue with this approach, as I already have a number of articles that no longer exist on WP.
It occurs to me to wonder if it is worth modifying MediaWiki to allow the history page to still be accessible in some form after the article has been deleted? -- Eclecticdave 23:42, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Has it occurred to you that these contributors may not like to see their name or alias appear on such a list? The imported article version may not be supported by them, for instance. I certainly wouldn't want that. Regards, Guido den Broeder 15:05, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm, I'm not sure what you mean by "the imported article version may not be supported by them"? To clarify, the contributors page is linked from the imported article page and lists all the people that were listed on the WP History page at the time of the import. The contrib page makes it clear these people contributed to WP, not to my site. I'm obviously always keen to get feedback, so please feel free to wander over to my site (there's a link on my user page) and take a look. -- Eclecticdave 21:59, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Richard Stallman's explanation is unparsable

"All old revisions are released under GFDL | CC-BY-SA."

Richard has chosen to use the enigmatic and grammatically ambiguous vertical bar or "pipe" character in his explanation for how all existing content on Wikipedia will be licensed. Since the pipe character can mean either "and" or "or", it is not clear what Richard is actually saying here. Can someone replace the pipe character with either an "and" or an "or" so that it is readable? Thanks! Kaldari 20:14, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

It's a direct quote so I would prefer not to modify it. I think it's evident that he means dual-licensing under GFDL and CC-BY-SA (i.e. "and"), but feel free to add a clarification to this effect if you think it's useful.--Eloquence 20:51, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
If someone should happen to find a contradiction between the two licenses, which one governs? Can we assume that a person may choose either one? Phil burnstein 22:45, 20 February 2009 (UTC)


Whilst this change is put through, I note that a system will be brought in to allow material imported from CC sources to be singly licensed. Is it possible to come up with some kind of fix that lets us import CC-NC (Non-Commercial) licensed information? I often come across NC images on flickr that I want to import and can't. AndrewRT 00:15, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

This is not possible. NC means you cannot use it for commercial purposes. The Wikimedia Foundation aims at generating really free content, which means that the content needs to be commercially useable. Thus the licenses are incompatible. Regards, --ChrisiPK 00:40, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA versioning

When the text refers to CC-BY-SA (such as in the proposed license text on Licensing update), shouldn't it specify CC-BY-SA 2.0 or higher? CC-BY-SA 1.0 is not forward-compatible (which cuts sites like en:Wikitravel off from sharing content with Wikipedia, even after this change). LtPowers 18:21, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

I quote from Licensing update:
[...] make all content currently distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License (with “later version” clause) additionally available under CC-BY-SA 3.0[...]. It does specify the version number. If you think the FAQ should also do this, feel free to modify it. Regards, --ChrisiPK 22:12, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Why not just linking?

Why should we not just link to the history page when merging, translating or similar? Please, please, it would be much easier, than needing to write 5 authors. And in reality, noone will anyway follow that - everybody will link to the history. Please! If CC-BY-SA sais it is OK to just link; then why don't just link? On svwp, where we translate a lot, it would be a great benefit. Also, if someone would only translate a few sentences, then the work would take double as much time if that someone needed to attribute the five authors. Please! Leo Johannes 15:40, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA says credit must be "reasonable to the medium or means". It is highly questionable if linking to the history is reasonable to the medium or means once you move off wikimedia run websites.Genisock2 19:27, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but now I am talking about in the Wikimedia wikis. But, also, I do not think anyone who use Wikipedia texts outside Wikimedia will care about listing authors. And I mean, if it is OK to link while it is more than 5 authors, then why wouldn't it be OK when the authors are less than 5? Leo Johannes 10:44, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
As long as there are 5 authors or less, it is reasonable to make people list them. If there are more authors, it is not "reasonable to the medium or means" to request the listing of all of them. Thus a link to the history is sufficient. Regards, --ChrisiPK 12:39, 25 January 2009 (UTC)
No, it isn't reasonable, I think, as it would make attribution the half of the job while merging or translating. I mean, if it is OK to link when it is more than five, why isnät it while it is less? Does the Wikimedia foundation actually has any power to descide the exact line "5 authors"? Nobody will care about it, anyway. Please, let us just link! Please! Leo Johannes 20:14, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
The current language get rids of the specific "5 author" requirement and should be flexible enough to allow for linking in simple intra-project transactions.--Eloquence 05:46, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but I am not only talking about merging, I also talk about translating. Calandrella 19:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Why the dual-licence?

I don't quite understand why, after the change, editors would have to "agree to release your contribution under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License and the GNU Free Documentation License". Isn't the point of this to put the edits under CC-BY-SA instead of GFDL? Why will we still have to dual-licence our new edits? Is there a legal requirement for us to do so or is there some advantage to being dual licenced? --Arctic.gnome 06:44, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

As best I can figure out, there seem to be 2 reasons:
  1. To make the transition smoother (everything is still available under GFDL for those that want to use that license for re-use)
  2. Because it's how Richard Stallman wants to do it (since he's basically calling the shots on this).
Once the switch is a done deal, we'll be free to consider changing to CC completely (and won't need anyone to modify any licenses to do it). Kaldari 17:52, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
I sympathize with the notion that it doesn't seem as neat and tidy to have two licenses implemented simultaneously, but there are some considerations for it. In addition to the reasons noted, there's the issue of being flexible for the many people who reuse Wikimedia content, so it's less instead of than either/or. I'd ask whether anybody would actually be somehow inconvenienced by sticking with dual licensing at least for the time being? Is there a practical disadvantage, or is it purely aesthetic? --Michael Snow 06:58, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
As I understand the GFDL, we have to publish the entire licence alongside any use of Wikipedia content, whereas if it was only licenced under cc-by-sa the content could be reused with only a small amount of references to the original source. --Arctic.gnome 17:01, 9 February 2009 (UTC)
No, only if you decide to use the content under the GFDL. As the content is dual-licensed, you can decide whether you want to use it under the GFDL or under CC. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 19:02, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Texts added after Nov 1 2008


I've added a GFDL text called "Breve introdução à computação quântica" to pt.Wikibooks after Nov 1 2008, and it was not in a Wiki before this. What will it happens to it after the changes occur and all Wikimedia projects start using the CC license? Should we remove this GFDL text from pt.Wikibooks, in order to pt.Wikibooks be eligible for relicensing? Or we can still let a GFDL text at Wikibooks after the changes? Thanks! Helder 02:15, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

That specific text cannot be relicensed, so you might want to ask the author of that text for permission to use it under CC-by(-sa). Otherwise, the text will not be usable, should the relicensing policy be adapted. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 15:43, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Yet another attribution question

I really hope that WMF will clearly state the way one should attribute Wikimedia's content which is licensed under CC-BY-SA: by user name, by page URL, by history URL and if it is sufficient to attribute in an edit comment or if it should be done in the text or on the discussion page. Some authors complain if they are not attributed in the modified text (but attributed in an edit comment or on the discussion page). --Claymore 15:19, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Added a question about image relicensing

I've added a new question to the FAQ asking how the relicensing will be handled for images and media files (since they are licensed individually by the uploaders rather than bulk licensed). Please see my post to the discussion list for more details. Kaldari 00:18, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Question was: "How will the license migration be handled for images?" (I removed it pending the answer.) Cbrown1023 talk 03:01, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

GFDL images with disclaimers

Will this migration fix the problem outlined at en:Wikipedia:GFDL standardization? Will we be able to remove these disclaimers with the transition, or do the disclaimers stick even with CC? If this will rid us of disclaimers, EN and Commons just may want to transition these files early. JohnnyMrNinja 22:52, 3 March 2009 (UTC)

No. CC-BY-SA still requires that disclaimers be preserved. The only advantage is that CC-BY-SA appears to plainly allow disclaimers to be attached by reference (e.g. providing a link to a disclaimer), while the text of the GFDL (if applied literally, which no one does) would seem to require physically attaching (e.g. printing) the disclaimers on all copies. The bottom line though is that CC-BY-SA, like GFDL, requires the preservation of disclaimers and this migration doesn't change that. Dragons flight 21:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Should a non-WMF project go for dual-licensing?

At Appropedia:Appropedia we want to change to CC-BY-SA, but are a little confused by the dual-licensing option.

  • I thought the dual-licensing option was a great idea as it gives more options to someone reusing the work.
  • Now I see here that it's seen as a bit of a burden, and is only being done this way because it's part of the deal between FSF & WMF. I don't understand what is undesirable about the dual-licensing option - the word "overhead" has been used but what is the overhead for the project, considering that the onus is on the person reusing the work, to check whether GFDL also applies?
  • We have actually discussed adding the Free Art License as well for new contributions (so it would be CC-BY-SA, and possibly GFDL and/or FAL) . This was prompted because one project we are merging with (the English language version of Ekopedia) is under FAL + GFDL. It's not a major issue - it just seemed like a way of giving more options to reusers.
  • Having our content under multiple licenses makes us less dependent on one organization continuing to act wisely and well. Of course we expect Creative Commons to continue to act wisely and well, but having some insurance doesn't hurt. It's always possible that one day we'll want to do something with our content that the CC-BY-SA doesn't allow for. (I know that this is a very limited insurance, not covering all content in the wiki, and relying on other licenses which at present are less suitable than CC-BY-SA - but if it's free and does no harm, then it seems worth it.)

Thanks. --Chriswaterguy 13:55, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

At some point in the future, it is likely that Wikimedia will switch to CC completely and the GFDL will go back to being a license for software manuals (its actual purpose). If I were running a non-WMF site, I would probably opt for a full switch to Creative Commons (as I don't think the GFDL actually adds anything useful to the licensing other than increased compatibility for the time being). If you're worried about compatibility, go for the dual licensing. Kaldari 19:14, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
It's true that it doesn't add a lot, but it does add something - more compatibility with other projects, even if those other projects are software manuals. Also the issue of not being dependent on one organization.
But I'm still wondering - is it a bad thing in any way, that we should avoid it and go with the single license? Is it just the potential for confusion, based on the increase in complexity of the license, or is there something I've missed? --Chriswaterguy 21:48, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
The biggest drawback, in my opinion, is having to decide how your site wants to deal with external content that is either GFDL or CC-BY-SA, but not both. In order to stay dual licensed, you can only import pre-existing material that is already fully dual licensed. If you import GFDL content (for example) then that bit of your wiki would now be GFDL-only, and you need a way to identify and keep track of that. Multi-licensing makes you more compatible for export, but less compatible for import. WMF's intention appear to be to allow CC-BY-SA-only importing into Wikipedia, etc., but to disallow GFDL-only imports. Some system will be need to keep track of which parts of Wikipedia become CC-BY-SA-only as a result of this, but so far no one has explained what that will be. Dragons flight 00:16, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
This is actually incorrect. Under this version of the dual-license, CC-BY-SA content can be imported, but it changes that page to CC-BY-SA only license. Hence the statement that "Depending on its editing history, it MAY also be available under the GFDL; see [link] for how to determine that."
See Licensing update/Questions and Answers #Dual licensing. --Chriswaterguy 05:07, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
How is that materially different that what I just said? Dragons flight 15:55, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I misunderstood your comment. As far as the concern over tracking which content is dual licensed, I agree, and want to know more about how this will work. Re the rest of your comments, I don't see how they're relevant:
In order to stay dual licensed, you can only import pre-existing material that is already fully dual licensed. Okay, missed the to stay dual-licensed - this is accurate, but "staying dual-licensed" is not really an objective. It's just something that happens for some pages, and if it is dual-licensed then its good luck for someone who wants the page as GFDL.
Your statements If you import GFDL content (for example) then that bit of your wiki would now be GFDL-only and you need a way to identify and keep track of that and Multi-licensing makes you more compatible for export, but less compatible for import are true for other schemes, but not the one being discussed here. Re the comment about identifying and tracking: it's true that it needs to be possible to do this, but you don't need to actually do it - the onus is on the reuser. (Making sense of and responding to these comments which don't relate to the current proposal have taken time I needed for other things. Please write in a clear and relevant way - it's helpful and time-saving for everyone.)
Let me try and state your argument in a way that is relevant to this discussion:
If you import CC-BY-SA-only content, bits of your wiki would now be CC-BY-SA-only, and you need a way to let GFDL reusers identify and keep track of what is still available as GFDL. WMF's intention appear to be to allow CC-BY-SA-only importing into Wikipedia, etc., but to disallow GFDL-only imports. Some system will be need to keep track of which parts of Wikipedia become CC-BY-SA-only as a result of this, but so far no one has explained what that will be.
Looking at it that way - I agree this is an important concern. I've assumed that this would be that any page with CC-BY-SA-only content would have had an attribution to the source on the page. Now I'm reading suggestions that attribution (not just for editors of the local wiki, but creators of imported content) could be given in the history pages, I'm interested to see exactly how this will be done. --Chriswaterguy 17:24, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Some questions

  1. At section 11 is said: An MMC is "eligible for relicensing"... Should I interpret this as being An MMC Site is "eligible for relicensing"...? Or, are they talking about "a work" or "a wiki"?
  2. Another question (posted first at pt.wikibooks): If some Wimimedia project do an import from another Wikimedia project before the update, but after Nov 1 2008, the text of such works will not be eligible, because they were "first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC". Is it correct?
  3. If some chapter of work under GFDL were incorporated in a wikibook prior to Nov 1 2008, but after this the other chapters were added to the wikibook, this chapters are eligible for relicensing? Helder 13:16, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
  1. They are talking about "a work" created via massive multiauthor collaboration. "A site" might in principle have multiple such works. In practice, the WMF plans to treat relicensing as an all-or-nothing proposition, so the distinction has little practical implication for us. If we relicense, we will relicense everything we can.
  2. No. Provided all of our wikis are relicensed and the text originally came from one of our wikis, then the text will have been relicensed in that original venue. Once any copy of a thing is licensed CC-BY-SA, one can treat all copies of it as CC-BY-SA. If the import came from outside the WMF, you could have a problem though.
  3. I'm not sure what you mean? Can you clarify this? Dragons flight 00:47, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
3b. I was thinking about the wikibook Guia foca Linux. It has been made from the original, that is under GFDL. The wikification was started before Nov 1 2008, but various chapters were created at wikibooks after that (also from the original). So, is it ok to relicense the whole wikibook version? Helder 11:29, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
The material published outside of WMF sites, and not incorporated until after Nov 1, cannot be relicensed. So no, we could not automatically relicense those subsequent chapters. The original book you point to seems to have only a single author, so you could certainly try asking his permission for a CC-BY-SA license. Absent that, there hasn't really been a decision about what to do with GFDL material that can't be relicensed, but they may ultimately have to be deleted. Dragons flight 17:27, 14 March 2009 (UTC)


It seems like this page has become the primary venue for explaining what is going on, which is fine. However, if this is going to be the main venue for explaining things, I think it also ought to do a better job of acknowledging some of the objections people have raised (such as on foundation-l). I realize people in opposition at foundation-l have been invited more than once to write down their concerns and haven't done so, but I don't think that justifies simply ignoring them. So, unless someone objects, I may try to add a section "What new concerns could this create" (or something similar) and try and summarize some of the other side. Dragons flight 07:54, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

After rereading the whole page, I've had second thoughts about doing that. The speaker here is nearly always the Foundation, and as such the FAQ essentially has a particular point of view. While I respect the opposition's right to be heard, I think it probably needs to be in a separate document. Dragons flight 03:59, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
Then if this is mainly the Foundation's point of view, I believe that should be stated clearly, which I don't think it is - starting from the neutral-sounding title of "Questions and Answers". Rename it, or put a prominent header clearly stating the POV, or otherwise make it Wikipedia-style NPOV by letting different opinions be stated as such instead of being segregated to their own "Opposign opinions" page. 17:18, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Cut and paste within projects

Currently, splitting or merging pages is done simply linking the original history in the history of the new page (in the summary: «moving from [link]»), although some users think that a credit template is needed, and others that even a credit template is not enough to respect the GFDL (as noted by David Gerard). The relicensing is the last opportunity to dissipate any doubt.
Using CC-BY-SA that would not be a problem, but if the text of a page is transferred on another page i.e. reused under the terms of the CC-BY-SA (with a simple link), would the latter page be considered a CC-BY-SA-only derivative work? --Nemo 10:40, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Assuming the creative content all originates from Wikimedia, and correspondingly is all dual licensed, then I believe that moving pages around does not change that. The caveat here is that Wikimedia's system of attribution and history management may be inadequate to meet the requirements of the GFDL. If that is the case, then a reuser would have an obligation to collate the history and attribution in an acceptable form before relying on the GFDL. It is one of those quirks in copyright law that you can provide someone a license even if you don't yourself provide a demonstration of how to comply with that license. Dragons flight 20:22, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. --Nemo 18:31, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Will Wikipedia import?..

It is known that Wikipedia follows strictly statist and capitalist rules. It means that Wikipedia won't import articles with incompatible license. But if a project with such license allows Wikipedia to do it (the project promise that it won't take the matter to court), will Wikipedia import or not? Caesarion 06:15, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Replied at Talk:Licensing_update#Will_Wikipedia_import.3F... Dragons flight 08:24, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

You are wrong on the legality

At least under Dutch law, it is impossible to retroactively update the license, because the editors agreed on a specific license at the time they posted their contributions and it isn't possible under Dutch law to make people agree to unilaterally agreed future licenses without providing an escape clause, in this case that would mean that you would have to provide every contributor with the option of retracting all his contributions. 20:43, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Poor show – no answer on that serious objection for four weeks? --Dealerofsalvation 19:24, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
No one is likely to respond directly to Dutch law, but an objection of similar structure is discussed in the "or later" section below. Dragons flight 20:07, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I am no legal expert but I suspect that UK law would tend to take a similar line. Sjc 14:15, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I’m not a law expert either, but the assertion "We believe that … [the licensing update is] … legally valid in all jurisdictions" is not backed by any references at all. I just want such an important change to be backed by more than just good faith. Please provide some evidence that the foundation has searched legal advice for at least the most important legal systems in the world, be the Dutch one among them or not, as it would be a catastrophe if someone succeeds in legally overthrowing the licensing scheme after it has been implemented. Now is the time. --Dealerofsalvation 03:56, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
It is discussed in de.wp, too. I doubt that you can change any license without the explicit consent of the author after upload according to German law. According to § 313 BGB you can abrogate any contract if circumstances change significantly after signing and if it is impossible to change the contract with consent. That means, that you can't change the license without consent without the danger losing the rights of usage at all. That even applies retroactively for the term "any later", if you find out, that "the later version" is not within your intention. But I am not a lawyer ;-) --Brummfuss 11:37, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

"At least under Dutch law, it is impossible to retroactively update the license" The license is not updated retroactively; it is not even updated. "I doubt that you can change any license without the explicit consent of the author" The license is not changed, either. The license is extended and grants additional freedoms subject to certain licensing conditions. The old license remains valid; users retain all the freedoms they had under this license. "According to § 313 BGB you can abrogate any contract if circumstances change significantly after signing and if it is impossible to change the contract with consent." The GFDL is not a contract, but a license. Noone has signed anything; noone has any contractual obligations; no contract is involved. --rtc 13:22, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

According to Dutch law, a license *is* a contract. See for example (Dutch only). Math1985 19:41, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Nov. 1, 2008 Cutoff Date

In the Nov. 1, 2008 section of the FAQ, the page reads, "This does not affect our ability to migrate content originating in our wikis, only the ability to re-license content originating outside the Wikimedia Foundation wikis."

Can someone explain that further? People contributing between Nov. 1, 2008 and whenever the change becomes active have been told that their contribution is to be licensed under the GFDL, that's it. If the GFDL 1.3 only permits re-licensing to CC-BY-SA for edits contributed prior to Nov. 1, 2008, then it sounds like there will be 6-7 months worth of Wikipedia contributions that will live in a permanent GFDL-only regime, while everything else on the site will be dual-licensed. Can someone explain why this isn't the case? Brianwc 00:27, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

The language in the GFDL transition clause is somewhat difficult to follow, but the Nov. 1st date only affects previously published GFDL content originating outside of the wiki that was then imported into one of the wikis. Original content published directly to the wiki is not affected. So anything our contributors write themselves is fine, regardless of when they write it. Dragons flight 03:42, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Disadvantages to dual-licensing?

I'm still trying to work out what the disadvantages are to dual-licensing, in the WMF's proposed form (where each page remains dual-licensed until CC-BY-SA-only content is added to it, at which point the page becomes CC-BY-SA only). It seems to be seen as a burden, but I'm not sure why - at least from the perspective of the site operators and the community, there are no additional requirements or restrictions compared to the single license option - the burden is on the person wanting to reuse content as GFDL. I asked a question about it (Should a non-WMF project go for dual-licensing?) earlier this month, which started some conversation but didn't resolve that issue.

The valid point was raised, by Dragons flight, that there is a need for some system to keep track of which parts of Wikipedia become CC-BY-SA-only - however, that's a need by the reusers, and I don't see it as something essential, or that will be a hindrance to regular contributors.

The only burden I can see is its potential to confuse contributors - we can minimize that with good explanations, but we can't eliminate it. Am I right that this is the only potential problem for the community (as opposed to reusers), or have I missed something? Thanks --Chriswaterguy 17:15, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Depends on what you want to consider by "only burden". An ordinary contributor should not have to worry about the licensing any more than they worry about it today. A site will need to explain the licensing, and the extra complexity in that explanation probably counts as a burden. If you take the position, as the WMF does, that ultimate responsibility for determining what content is CC-BY-SA-only rests with reusers and not with site participants, then yes that burden will fall largely on the segment of reusers concerned about GFDL content. There are some differences between CC-BY-SA and GFDL (see the comparison table for an overview), and I suppose in principle that one might consider trying to maintaining both sets of attribution information to be burdensome even though the requirements are really very similar and it should be easy to fulfill both.
At the bottom line though, I think the burden of dual licensing primarily rests with the small portion of the community involved in maintaining the documentation and explaining what it means. Depending on one's approach a few process items may need to be tweaked (such as how external content is evaluated for compatibility and imported), but the difference between dual licensing and mono licensing should be largely transparent to ordinary editors. Dragons flight 05:33, 27 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. That makes it clearer. The documentation thing is another solid reason to go for a single license, especially when it's a small community of active contributors. Some of the other folks in the Appropedia community are leaning that way already, I'm on the fence, but more comfortable with the single license option now. --Chriswaterguy 02:13, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

"or later"

I have always had a problem with the claim that when I submit my GFDL-licensed contributions to Wikipedia, they are licensed under GFDL 1.2 or later. This is nonsense. I don't think this is (or ought to be) enforceable (as was commented above by the Dutch anon). If in 20 years the Free Software Foundation decides to create GFDL 1.4 so that essentially the GFDL were equal to putting the material in the public domain, this would compromise the intentions of every knowledgeable contributor to Wikipedia, and any court in the US would rule it unconscionable, and unenforceable. The change being discussed isn't radical, but it is a change that no editor agreed to upon contributing, and I submit that the "or later" statement on Wikipedia is itself unconscionable, and unenforceable. Tempshill2 18:02, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Obviously if "or later versions" were unenforceable then the other questions would be moot. The WMF, FSF, and CC believe the clause is legal and enforceable, at least for changes that are similar in spirit to the existing license (changes that are too different and unexpected should probably be expected to fail). The GPL has been exercising similar language for some time with no major difficulties.
However, there is almost no case law directly on point. The few cases that are vaguely related tend to have a dynamic which is not consistent with your viewpoint. In particular, courts tend to take a dim view if the person offering a contractual agreement attempts to unilaterally change it in a way that would interfere with the rights of those who have already accepted it. The key point here is that you, as the copyright holder, are in the role of the one offering the license to others. You offered all reusers certain rights to your work in exchange for their agreement to follow restrictions outlined in the current or any future GFDL. In seeking to revoke the "or later versions" clause it could be argued that you are the one seeking to inappropriately break an agreement duly offered by you and accepted by others. One may wonder about the wisdom of agreeing to be bound by all future decisions of the FSF, but it is not obvious that there is anything that makes it illegal for you to agree to be bound by their decisions. Similarly, the law allows you to grant others the ability to act as an agent on your behalf and make decisions regarding the exercise of your rights. In essence, the "later versions" clause has granted the FSF limited agency to decide how your GFDL licensed works should be protected in the future. As the court might ask: If you didn't want that, then why did you ever agree to be bound by their decisions?
If you don't accept the legitimacy of "or later versions" licensing then your best recourse is to immediately stop all contributions to all sites using that condition. Dragons flight 19:13, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
RE: "If you don't accept the legitimacy of "or later versions" licensing then your best recourse is to immediately stop all contributions to all sites using that condition." ........... Are you for real? You just told a person who is willing to contribute to a good cause (i.e. Wikipedia) to bugger off if he/she is not willing to write a blank cheque. All the rest of your argument boils down to the same thing: "you allow us to do anything we want with your contribution ad infinitum or take a hike."
So what if the rules change so that the FSF puts in a clause saying that Wikipedia can sell your contributions for cash money and the FSF gets a cut, but the contributer can go hang? Yes, that's a bit outlandish, but perfectly fine according to what you just wrote. Look, the only person who really looks out for that person is, that person. Not some organization. So your insistence that this is a way for the FSF (which has its own agenda most certainly, and likely not always matching a contributor's own agenda) to "protect" a contributor's work in the future is a load of hogwash. Not being able to automatically update the license on a particular work is much fairer to the contributer(s) on which Wikipedia relies, and whose rights oddly enough, you seem quite fine to trample on since you, Wikipedia, and the FSF have deemed it fair to do so.
Did you know that in many countries it is against the law to use an 'implicit' opt in clause to sell something. For example, it is against the law in Canada for a cable company to offer a free trial of some channel package for a month (without you asking for it), and unless you tell them to stop providing that channel package after the trial is over they can start charging you for it. That is, a cable company cannot unilaterally change the terms of service from free to paid without consulting the customer and getting the customer's approval to continue the service as a paid product or to stop the service. Of course there is a law against this sort of thing, one party shouldn't be changing the rules on their own, it is legally and ethically wrong. But you are saying it is a good thing, and people should be happy with the clause or leave. How about taking an example from many countries laws (heck, the Dutch explicitly prohibit this type of outrage around copy righted works) and be ethically correct and ASK the contributor if they want to allow the FSF to change the license or leave the current one in place. Changing the terms that the contributor made a contribution without their prior consent, and forcing them to agree to this or take a hike... that is ethically unsound and wrong. Just as with the cable company, the two parties (the contributer and the FSF) may not have the same agenda with respect to the work. If the license is updated, the work should remain under the prior license unless the contributor explicitly agrees to the change.
I find it appalling how you twist things so that a person who agrees to contribute under one set of rules is seemingly a horrible person if they don't like the idea of allowing one side to change the rules without telling the other. It is like taking an old fashioned duel where the two parties agree to take 15 steps, turn, and fire, but one side is allowed to change the rules without notice, and tells the other side "don't worry, I'll look after your rights, I'll be fair about it"... but what's fair to one side is not necessarily fair to the other, and he decides to change the 15 steps rule unilaterally and only take one step. Sure the person who changed the rule thinks it is a great change, he gets to live, the other... who cares, they shouldn't have challenged me to a dual anyway, it's their fault.
The only ethical way to do this is to keep the original license in place until such time as the contributor agrees to the change. This is not done by a blanket you agree to any change in perpetuity. It IS done by providing a way for a contributor to check off their permission to update the license when a license change is made. Any other way is autocratic, quite plainly unethical, and in the current implementation somewhat fascist in the Big Brother kind of way in which it tramples a person's rights. Yes, Big Brother can say like it or lump it, you agree that we know better than you, that we will look after your rights and your intellectual and copyrightable property better than you... in fact we'll tell you what is better for you... and if you don't agree, don't contribute any more. Now isn't that a good way to get people to contribute, no? No. I have contributed a couple of item and I will leave them up. But I won't contribute any more if this is the attitude around here. Wikipedia, media, et al survives on people's good will. You seem to me to be brutal on good will. theshowmecanuck 12:00:00, 12 April 2009 (EDT)
Contributors aren't simply asked to agree to conditions for Wikimedia's benefit, they are required to give the world a license in order to contribute. Granting a license to the world is different than simply agreeing to a terms of service. It absolutely does put the contributor in a position of weakness. Our license does create a position where the FSF could harm the authors rights if FSF chose to be evil. In requiring our copyleft licensing system this has always been implicit to the process. Arguably the system could have been created differently with greater protections for contributors, but that is not the system we have. I'm sorry if you or the original poster is uncomfortable with this system, and I understand why some people would be. I don't mean to be mean-spirited when I say the person should stop contributing. But there is no getting around the fact that Wikimedia has a global licensing scheme managed by third parties. If someone is unable to accept the implications of that, then the only reasonable way to protect oneself from it is not to get involved. In my opinion, it is better to confront the reality of that now and enter into this with your eyes open rather than feel "trampled upon" later on. Dragons flight 17:49, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
"Our license does create a position where the FSF could harm the authors rights if FSF chose to be evil." - not sure how true that is. Legally speaking, don't they need to be consistent with the intention of the earlier licenses? If Dr Evil from the Austin Powers movies becomes head of FSF, there will be some legal limits to how far he can twist the license, as long as someone takes him to court. Which is simply to say, the "or later" clause doesn't give FSF and CC complete liberty to do whatever they want - it's just a way for those of us who are willing to trust a 3rd party, to ensure future issues can be dealt with.
As for deciding to make money off Wikipedia - that has always been allowed. GFDL & CC-BY-SA are free licenses. The alternative is setting down rules about what uses are and aren't allowed, and many (including myself) prefer to give freedom as to how a knowledge resource is reused. --Chriswaterguy 19:06, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
As I see it, "or later" is a CHOICE that Wikimedia made. FSF did not force anyone to pick up "or later". The Linux kernel was licensed under GPL v1 and later GPL v2, but there is no way for FSF to force Linus to license it under GPL v3. Please correct me if I am wrong. Kushal one 15:52, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Images relicensing

I seen in the respective paragraph 'A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.' . To my point of view, such da MMC-Work is defined by multiple authors. For individual images with just a few (one) author(s), i can not see such a "set of works". So i really doubt that the clause Finally, we will encourage the community to identify media files that are presently licensed under GFDL 1.x+(..) as being additionally available under CC-BY-SA. is at least covered by the GFDL1.3 itself. ---jha- 21:42, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

The WMF is taking the position (as I believe the FSF intended) that MMC works cover everything published to an MMC Site where it could expect to be subject to collaborative editing, regardless of whether it actually was. So such images, even with only a single author, are available to be relicensed. I would also like to point out that there are a large number of written works that have been worked on by only a small number of people. So your interpretation would not just create image issues but also fragment the licensing on written text, which is something no one wants. Dragons flight 23:57, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
IMHO the WMF's position is supported by the GFDL, as it clearly defines any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site as an MMC. The name itself might be misleading (most files are indeed not multi-authored), but the license's definition of an MMC is what matters, so works with only one author can still be an MMC. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 17:37, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
What they said. Kaldari 20:57, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


Wouldn’t it be nice if all the translations of the Q & A page weren’t violating copyright as well as the GFDL? At the given moment, there are translations that aren’t naming neither the original work nor the authors of that work. There is a term for texts like that: Copyvio. -- Carbidfischer 18:11, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that's necessary. It's obvious to anyone who looks at the subpages that they are just translations of a root page. Cbrown1023 talk 18:19, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, the licence demands it and it is by no means clear which version of which page has been translated in each case. I don’t think your personal opinion is more important than both law and licence. -- Carbidfischer 18:22, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
especially since we are talking about licenses here. it'd look ridiculous, if we don't honour them ourselves--TobiasKlaus 18:27, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree. It's the typical "oh, we don't have to follow the copyright rules for Wikipedia content ourselves, after all we are Wikipedia" attitude, which is all too common on Wikipedia... :o( --Ibn Battuta 02:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
All copies reference the English original (now also explicitly in the header), all copies state the terms of the license, and it's an intra-wiki effort residing in a single database. I consider this to be a fully compliant use, and to the extent that you don't, it's a trivial act and clearly, none of the actual licensors (yours truly included) have any problem with it. We don't use a free content license to support the redundant multiplication of metadata; we use it to support free knowledge. The search for tiny licensing inconsistencies for its own sake is nothing but a hobgoblin; it has nothing to do with the objectives of the Wikimedia movement.--Eloquence 03:13, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
We’re not taking about the objectives of the Wikimedia movement, but about honesty and the legal requirements of free licences. I really don’t understand why it’s not clear that we have to obey the licences we choose for ourselves. I would be very happy if source and, at least indirectly, authors of texts were named in each and every case, without the necessity for me or anyone else to demand for it. Or is it one of our objectives to ignore authors and copyright as well, just because no one sues us for it? -- Carbidfischer 07:25, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Carbidfischer that this is important, and it's not nitpicking for its own sake -- but it has little specifically to do with the texts mentioned, and is a wider problem founded in how difficult our wiki tools make it to share attribution-lists across multiple pages (and how difficult they make it to find information about authors). Both of these faults exist in MediaWiki at a deep level and should be scheduled for improvement in the future roadmap (I don't know if they are so scheduled yet). Translation is one common cause for such confusion; copying and pasting across articles is another, transclusion of text and media is a third.
Given that we are spending so much time focusing on licenses, it strikes me as reasonable to suggest we revisit all of the low-hanging improvements to attribution implementation and license compliance, at least to give meaningful lip service to an interest in improving both. Better and more granular and more visible history-tracking and attribution contribute directly to quality, which is indeed one of our objectives. -- sj | help translate |+ 23:15, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

In simple English, please answer these direct questions

  • If someone uploads an image they own, for use on the wikipedia only, will this new licenses allow others to take it and do whatever they want with it?
  • Is there any text on the wikipedia right now that others can't take and do whatever they want with already? Is that going to change any?
  • Can people take information from wikipedia articles, and publish it as a book?

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about, so please just tell me, and keep it simple. I speak American common, not lawyerese. Dream Focus 18:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi Dream Focus,
  • Such images are not allowed on the Wikipedia, neither under current policy nor under the proposal we are discussing here. "Wikipedia only" images are deleted for not complying with our idea of free information.
  • Currently re-users have to print the complete text of the GFDL and the complete version history of articles they use. This makes it nearly impossible to use GFDL-licensed work in smaller publications, such as brochures. If this proposal is adopted, re-users will only have to include a link to the list of authors (or the article itself) and to the license.
  • Yes, they can right now and they will also be able to do this if the proposal is adopted.
Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 19:25, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Where did you find only have to include a link to the list of authors (or the article itself) and to the license? Licensing update#Proposed terms of use says:
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.)
So, according to the terms of use, it is necessary to either link to the article or to link to a copy of the article which provides credit to the authors or to include a list of all authors.
Where is the paragraph that says that the terms of use are irrelevant and names the options you have described instead? -- Carbidfischer 20:19, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I did a quick summary of the options, I did not explain them in detail. Basically linking to the article or version history is probably easiest way. Of course, you can go even further and include a full list of authors. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 22:20, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
No, you summarized options that don’t exist in the terms of service we are discussing. I don’t know why you did that, I just hope you didn’t confuse Dream Focus with that. -- Carbidfischer 22:30, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Oh well. I don't see exactly what will change then. I saw people mention something about images, and text, but no real difference between the proposal on that then. 21:07, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
This applies to both text and images. There is only a slight difference: It is proposed that all authors have to be credited when using an image with less than 5 authors. Images with more than 5 authors will be attributed in the same way as text is. As images often don't have many authors, this makes sure that image authors will almost always be credited with their name and not by URL. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 22:20, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware one of the key reasons for the proposal and what will change is that we will be able to import content from CC-SA-BY (and compatible CC licenses) sources. As quite a number of other wikis and sources are choosing the CC-SA-BY license, this will be quite useful for us. It also allows our content, particularly that which is going to be deleted for notability reasons to copied to other wikis using such a license (such as wikinews). Obviously we lose the abilility to import from (and export to) GFDL sources but given the increasing popularity of CC licenses for stuff like this, I think it's considered a goodtrade off. In the eyes of many the CC license also has numerous other advantages (many of which have been mentioned), hence the reason why people often choose it instead of the GFDL Nil Einne 13:52, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
As far as I am aware, import of content from CC sources will be made virtually impossible by the proposed terms of use. People usually don’t choose CC-BY-SA because they don’t want to be named as author. -- Carbidfischer 13:56, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

Alas. I could have read this instead of spending two hours researching CC-SA-BY. But there was just so much sample-bias in the poll (no negative comments on it)! Advantageously, now I know a lot more about Lawrence Lessig. Diego Bank 03:57, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Is there a balance?

I voted no for the proposal.

As a citizen of the United States, I respect the durigibility of copyright laws.

I respect the folks of Wikipedia for the great work they have have done to commmunicate knowledge. This has created a conflict.

While I trust content of Wiki because it is "fluid", I don't trust the accuracy of Wiki.


The thing is, Wiki is so fluid, how could any content be accredited as 'truth' or 'factual'.

I love you Wiki, your foundation is set in truth, but the builders may not be truthful. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 01:58, 15 april 2009 (UTC).

I don't get it. Could you please expand yourself a little bit? Kushal one 15:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
The comment that started this thread seems to confuse the accuracy of Wikipedia's content with the licensing of it. Those are two separate issues that have nothing to do with each other. I hope others won't hope confuse separate issues when voting; no matter which position you take, the question is too important to conflate it with others. – McDutchie 18:02, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Retroactive re-licensing?

Will edits previous to the dual-license also be dual-licensed? --Toussaint 17:36, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes. This is possible, because editors always agreed to GFDL 1.x or any later version. Thus they also agreed to the GFDL 1.3, which makes relicensing possible. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 19:43, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

Mixed dual-licensing and single-licensing problems

It seems rather unclear how pages are meant to be marked clearly or consistently to indicate whether they are dual-licensed or CC-BY-SA only. Currently we have no technical provision to indicate variable licenses, nor is it clear that it could be automatically derived:

  • If CC-BY-SA-only text is copied into a page which is dual-licensed, is the resulting page CC-BY-SA only from then on?
  • If the CC-BY-SA-only material which was added is later removed, can new edits be dual licensed with GFDLv3 again? What about the intermediate edits which were made when the page was CC-BY-SA only? Must they all be removed as well?

Maintaining dual licensing seems to me to have downsides to both future content republishers and our own technical staff, without having a significant upside -- for instance, it's not clear whether material copied to another site under GFDL-only, modified, then copied back to Wikipedia would be acceptable, so continuing to offer new material under GFDL is IMO more likely to create confusion and content forking than anything beneficial.

Have any provisions for this been planned which aren't spelled out in the proposal or FAQ? --brion 23:00, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

  • If CC-BY-SA-only text is copied into a page which is dual-licensed, is the resulting page CC-BY-SA only from then on? Yes, all edits previous to the import of CC-only material are dual-licensed.
  • If the CC-BY-SA-only material which was added is later removed, can new edits be dual licensed with GFDLv3 again? What about the intermediate edits which were made when the page was CC-BY-SA only? Must they all be removed as well? If CC-content is completely removed (e.g. by revert or similar), the resulting text can again be licensed under the GFDL. Note however, that it might be hard to remove content completely after it has been part of the article for some time as it might have spread. There is no need to remove the intermediate edits, though it must be clear that these revisions are available und CC-BY-SA only.
    Since the intermediate revisions were CC-BY-SA-only and no GFDL, presumably any future version including their additions cannot be relicensed as GFDL without the author's permission. It seems to me that all intermediate revisions' additions would need to also be removed to revert the page to dual-license. --brion 22:27, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
    All original content created by Wikimedians will be dual licensed, including the edits taken individually. Assuming that the edits don't touch the CC-BY-SA-only bits, then those edits would be properly dual licensed and could be restored even after CC-BY-SA-only text was scrubbed out. Dragons flight 22:48, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
  • it's not clear whether material copied to another site under GFDL-only, modified, then copied back to Wikipedia would be acceptable Depends on when this happened. If the whole process took place before November 2008, we're fine. If it took place later, we're screwed, because such content is then not eligible for relicensing. After the relicensing, this is not possible anymore, because such content would be available under GFDL only and not under CC-BY-SA. Such content is disallowed by the proposed policy.
As I understood it, keeping the GFDL was the wish of the FSF. We are de facto abolishing it by allowing CC-only content to be imported and determining which article is under GFDL and which is not, is basically even more onerous (to use the wording of the Q&A page) than complying with the GFDL, so I guess nobody will try to reuse content under GFDL if they don't have to (like in GFDL-only projects). I don't see how dual-licensing brings downsides for our own technical staff as the obligation to find out whether the article is available under the CC-BY-SA lies with the reusers. IMHO it would have been better to completely drop the GFDL for Wikimedia projects, but then the FSF would probably not have allowed the change. (BTW: There is no such thing as GFDLv3, it's either GFDL 1.3 or GPLv3, you probably got those mixed up.) Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 23:33, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Failing to indicate license state would indeed save us trouble but feels like an abrogation of our responsibilities to our users; I wouldn't be very happy about making the claim that parts of the site are dual-licensed without providing any way for users to discover whether it's true of a particular piece. --brion 22:27, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree. The relicensing proposal doesn't require us to track CC-BY-SA-only content, but at a personal level I would encourage wikis to flag content (e.g. with a category or something similar) when CC-BY-SA-only content has been imported. It is perhaps okay to say that reusers bear the primary burden, but I generally feel that we ought to be taking steps to help make these issues easier for them when it is reasonable to do so. Dragons flight 22:42, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, the Free Software Foundation would not have released the FDL 1.3 with a migration clause without a commitment from us to dual-license in some form. We submitted a fairly detailed paper, including a flow chart of some of the risks of various types of dual licensing regime, explaining why we didn't find it to be a very desirable option.

Initially they asked us to implement new software features to track multiple licenses, but in the end they agreed that we could leave the obligation to make any determination of whether or not any piece of content is GFDL to the re-users. This is exactly what we're doing: We've made it very clear in this proposal that there are no special obligations for editors under this regime, except for the implicit dual-licensing agreement when making edits. There's a small risk of a GFDL-only fork, but given the legal uncertainties involved in pursuing such an endeavor, I don't see a reason to be overly concerned. And, indeed, if we switched to CC-BY-SA-only, anyone could still create a GFDL-only fork of Wikimedia content created prior to the re-licensing.

In practice, standards will need to develop for when and how externally published CC-BY-SA content is attributed within Wikimedia anyway, and this would also address the issue of being able to determine whether a particular piece of content includes CC-BY-SA content. The upside is, at least, that supporters of continued use of the GFDL should find this to be a better compromise than switching to CC-BY-SA wholesale, and any remaining GFDL users will be able to make continued use of Wikimedia content within limitations.

From the standpoint of licensing simplicity, the preferred option would have been to merge GFDL and CC-BY-SA into a single license. This would have been great for us, but the FSF still regards the FDL as an important license in its toolkit which has lots of characteristics that are specific and valuable for software documentation. A merge would eliminate those differences, and therefore wasn't acceptable to the FSF. The present "exit strategy" allows us to work with a license of our choice that's fundamentally in the same spirit, while preserving the FDL as a documentation license.--Eloquence 01:04, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

*nod* IMO the dual-license in this case is so onerous on potential GFDL reusers that it would make a lot more sense to just drop GFDL from future edits, giving all reusers and republishers a clear consistent path. But if that's the compromise it's going to take, I guess we can live with it... --brion 22:27, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

URL stability, license compatibility and other problems

There are some problems with the current TOS, which require slight changes to the terms of service and the attribution scheme. I've outlined them in detal on the mailing list, I'll just summarize them shortly here:

  • using article URL for attribution brings up both legal and practical problems as such an URL doesn't refer to the original work but a modified version of it (or, as in the case of a page move, some wholly different work)
  • CC-BY-SA-3.0 is not compatible with CC-BY-SA-1.0, and compatibility between the rest of the versions and between different localizations is also somewhat problematic
  • the proposed amendment to the copyright policy that mentions the edit summary and wiki-to-wiki copying is hard to interpret
  • the edit summary in its current form is not well suited to crediting external web pages

--Tgr 12:25, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

GFDL-1.2-only files

Currently, there are over 10,000 files on Commons which are tagged as GFDL-1.2 and no later version (often referred to as GFDL-1.2 only). If this proposal goes through, what will be the position regarding a) these GFDL-1.2 only files already existing, and b) GFDL-1.2 only files subsequently uploaded? Tivedshambo 08:26, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

See Licensing_update/Questions_and_Answers#Images. This proposal does not affect currently existing or future uploads of GFDL-1.2-only media. However, that question may be considered separately by the Foundation in the future. Dragons flight 08:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Re-users within WMF?

Does the last paragraph of #Dual licensing:

The CC-BY-SA license requires attribution, so when third party content is imported under "CC-BY-SA-only", it will have to be noted who the author is and that it was released under CC-BY-SA, as part of the normal, existing procedures through which projects make note of such histories (we recommend the article footer or the version history). Re-users will have to consult this information to determine whether CC-BY-SA-only content has been imported. Our licensing guidelines will make that clear.

mean that if we copy text from one article to another (as happens frequently in certain kinds of cleanup), then in our role as "re-users", we have to check if any of the text we're copying is CC-BY-SA-only, and in our role as "[agent of passive-voice verbs 'is imported' and 'be noted']", we have to indicate that on the destination page? This bothers me; external re-users have an "out", in that they can choose to be CC-BY-SA-only without having to check the history, but we're putting a fairly heavy additional burden on anyone who does certain kinds of cleanup (merges, splits, etc.). I don't much like the idea that it will now be harder for my contributed text to be re-used in certain ways. (Though I'll still probably vote "Yes", because it will now be easier for my contributed text to be re-used in certain other ways, and the pro- probably outweighs the con-.)

Anyway, sorry, I guess I've veered away from "question" and into "opinion", so I'll shut up now and wait for answers. :-)

RuakhTALK 14:42, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

No, you are only expected to note the source of the internal copying/merging/etc., generally in the edit summary. Provided you keep track of the various moves and copies, you don't have to figure out the licensing as someone else should be able to do that later when the need arises. Dragons flight 20:15, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
O.K., cool. Thanks. :-)   —RuakhTALK 20:50, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


Sorry if this has been covered somewhere but I was wondering if all deleted content would also be dual licensed - would be relevant if someone wanted to restore something after the cut-off date. Guest9999 23:15, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Depends on the deletion reason. If something was deleted because it was a copyvio, it will not be dual-licensed. If it was deleted for being out of scope or similar, I guess it can be dual-licensed. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 09:49, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
So in terms of the actual licensing procedure, if approved by vote the Foundation will just have to issue some kind of statement and everything on the servers licensed under the GFDL 1.3 will also become licensed by CC-BY-SA? Guest9999 10:02, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
They don't need approval by vote, but the rest of your statement is pretty much correct. The WMF will change the copyright notices and that should be it. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 11:28, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Another Deleted Content Question

Above reminded me of a question I posted on foundation-l, but never got fully answered ...

If the attribution requirement under CC-BY-SA becomes "URL to page or history" what happens if the referenced page is deleted? It will no longer be possible to access the list of contributors at that URL, unless changes to the software are planned?

Eclecticdave 13:15, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

URL is a sufficient attribution provided the target page continues to exist. If that target page is deleted (or the WMF somehow dies), then one would have to provide an alternative form of attribution prior to further exercising rights under CC-BY-SA. For example, one could create a mirror of the history page and provide a new URL to that, or one could include a printed author list, or any number of other options. Assuming WMF does an okay job of creating and distributing dumps and mirrors (something which we aren't currently all that good about), it would be possible to locate the necessary attribution info even if WMF suddenly died.
Incidentally, WMF has flirted with the notion of keeping attribution histories available for deleted articles, but I don't think there are any plans to go through with that at the present time. Dragons flight 17:05, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I was afraid of that, and I think that's a problem. Since there is no way to know or guarantee that a target page will always exist, URL attribution (at least directly referencing the original page on WMF) is effectively useless. If a third party wanted to use URL attribution it would have to get the list of authors and put it on a webpage under their own control and use that URL instead (which somewhat defeats the goal of making attribution easier). Otherwise the implication is that a page gets deleted and a manufacturer would be legally obliged to recall all those T-Shirts and burn them! Eclecticdave 22:10, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
No, the manufacturer's only obligation is to cease new distribution until the problem is fixed. The manufacturer has no obligation with respect to existing works already distributed while the URL was functional. Dragons flight 22:23, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
So that means if you are publishing a printed version of Wikipedia containing 100.000 articles, and one of the 100.000 is deleted, you have to stop selling the book? --Tgr 19:38, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Or you'd have to ensure an alternative way of acknowledging the authors. One way of handling attribution is by URL to Wikipedia. That doesn't prevent one from choosing a more durable method such as printing an author list, or setting up a website to mirror the article histories as they appeared at the time the articles were copied and linking to that. If all you do is link to Wikipedia, then yes you are dependent on the existence of Wikipedia, but one can choose to use forms of attribution that aren't dependent on Wikipedia. Dragons flight 21:52, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
According to the FAQ, the reason for the license change is that "Trying to obey [the GFDL] can be onerous. Per the letter of the license, every significant (greater than fair use) quotation from a GFDL work needs a copy of the license (three or so pages of print) attached. GFDL content is almost impossible to reuse in audio or video content for this reason." If CC would mean that every significant quotation needed a copy of the full page history, that would hardly be a step forward. As Eclecticdave says, Wikipedia really needs to show at least the names of contributors for a deleted page. --Tgr 08:14, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

The impression I am getting, is that URL attribution on its own is only really usable under some fairly limited use cases. That in itself would be fine, except that is not how it is being presented - URL attribution is in the Proposed Terms Of Use, presented as one of three generally acceptable forms of attribution - yet it seems that in many, if not most, practical use cases then it is not going to be legally sufficient.

IMHO WMF needs to revisit the issue of providing some sort of access to histories or author lists for deleted articles, in order to make URL attribution a viable option.

Eclecticdave 14:43, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Dual licensing - "merging in GFDL-only text"

The page says (my emphasis):

"It will be the obligation of re-users to validate whether an article includes CC-BY-SA-only changes – dual licensing should not be a burden on editors. This is also not intended to be bidirectional, so merging in GFDL-only text will not be possible."

I am not sure that i understood this legalese part. Suppose that the majority votes "yes". Some time after that i find a text, which is not licensed under CC, but is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. Will i be able to upload this text to Wikipedia? --Amir E. Aharoni 17:33, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

No. Text that is GFDL-only will no longer be accepted in Wikipedia after the transition. Dragons flight 17:56, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick answer! --Amir E. Aharoni 17:59, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


If i understood correctly, the FSF is working on GFDL 2.0, which, among other things, is supposed to remove the two problems because of which this licensing update was initiated: the incompatibility with CC and the requirement to cite the complete license in every reuse.

First of all, correct me if i'm wrong in any of the above.

Now, if the above is correct - wouldn't it be better to simply wait for the FSF to publish GFDL 2 than to complicate the matters inside Wikipedia by getting stuck forever with dual-licensing?

Remembering GPL 3, i understand that it may take years until GFDL 2 is published, but isn't it nevertheless worth the wait? --Amir E. Aharoni 18:04, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

My impression, and it is only an impression, is that the GFDL 2 drafts (last published late 2006) were more or less abandoned in favor of the relicensing clause in GFDL 1.3. None of the GFDL 2 drafts offered CC relicensing/compatibility, which the WMF board decided to explictly ask for (late 2007), and so GFDL 1.3 was created to accomdate us. If there is a GFDL 2.0, I wouldn't necessarily expect it to be targeted towards wiki issues. Dragons flight 18:31, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Actual cases where CC content could not be incorporated

Can anyone write a short list with examples of cases when useful CC content could not be incorporated into Wikipedia because of GFDL incompatibility?

Thanks in advance. --Amir E. Aharoni 19:19, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Currently CC-BY-SA text cannot be used in Wikipedia (with limited exceptions for fair use, etc.) That means Wikipedia cannot import text from projects like Encyclopedia of Earth, Wikitravel, Citizendium and others. It also means that Wikipedia text cannot be used in those projects. I'm sure someone who gave it a bit of thought could come up with a longer list, but that's a starting point.
However, I don't think this is the most prominent issue to consider. Wikipedia imports relatively little verbatim text to begin with. Rather I would say a more prominent issue is making it easier for third parties to reuse Wikipedia content. Dragons flight 22:08, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Wikitravel is CC-BY-SA-1.0, which is not compatible with CC-BY-SA-3.0. --Tgr 08:07, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Does cc-by-sa comply with DFSG?

Does cc-by-sa 3 comply with Debian's DFSG? I searced in the www but i didnt find a definitive answer.

--Chomwitt 21:59, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes [1]. Dragons flight 00:32, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Public Domain is just better

In my view, all this is an incredible waste of time. The works should be released in the Public Domain. They will get there anyways, (though after a long while, unfortunately). But releasing the work in the PD would eliminate the talks about license compatibilities and such. It's absolutely amazing to me, to see that different works that are made for the purpose of being use by anyone, are incompatible to be joined, simply because they have different, incompatible "free licenses". Also, I can't understand why Wikipedia has to ask any kind of permission from FSF, in order to take decisions about the licensing of it's own material. Please, encourage people to release materials (texts, images, movies etc) into Public Domain, that would make all this waste of energy unnecesary. Thanks Ark25 23:17, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm a PD zealot. I dual license my works into the PD. But for a project of Wikipedia's size and simple universality, taking a copyleft stance on licenses has a tremendous impact on the development of other freely licensed resources. So in 10 years I agree, there should be a similar shift to PD -- once the corpus of -SA materials is sufficiently compelling to be self-sustaining. In the meantime, I concede that the current WP course is slightly superior. -- sj | help translate |+ 23:18, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I am a PD zealot as well, but I have tempered my beliefs to support some kind of "protected public domian," which the GPL and GFDL do pretty well, but add on a lot of "RMS" (seemingly communist) cruft.--John Bessa 15:44, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

There is no way in the world I would put the photos I take into the public domain. Among other things, that would mean they could be used without crediting me at all, and that they could be freely used by (for example) magazines that do not not in any way offer their own content on any copyleft basis. When National Geographic or Clipper Vacations uses one of my images (and, yes, they have), I expect to get paid.

Also, if I placed the image in the public domain, as I understand it I'd have no recourse if someone else falsely claimed the work as their own. I'm pretty sure that by surrendering it into the public domain I'd give up all legal standing to challenge their false claim unless they were to use their false claim to bring action for my use of the image.

I'm all for copyleft. I frankly preferred GFDL precisely because it is a bit clunkier, and tended not to be used by people who weren't pretty serious about making their own work copyleft, but I can live with CC-BY-SA. - 08:24, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Plain English

I hate Ts and Cs like this, especially the bad practice of WHOLE PARAGRAPHS WRITTEN IN CAPITALS, MAKING THEM ALMOST UNREADABLE. What happened to Plain English? [[2]]. WP should take this opportunity of providing a good example.

Please provide the license as a clearly structured document with sections for readers and for contributors, in the form of what you may and may not do, copyright rights and responsibilities, etc.

It should be preceded by a summary of the license with reference where necessary to the more detailed legalistic wording.

I propose that you abandon this vote until an easily understandable, well structured plain english version of the license can be resubmitted. Meanwhile I propose to vote against.

I just tried to use my Wikipedia log in but it was rejected, & the login procedure is so obstructive that I gave up after several attempts, having been rejected on different counts at different times. Most frustrating!!!!! Please fix. 07:50, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

You don't need to log in on the voting site. Just go to the WMF project where you are mainly active and click the Go button. Also have a look at Licensing update/Bugs, maybe your problem has been explained there. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 08:05, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Common useage: GPL for Docs

The problem I see with stringent document licensing is that is has requirements far beyond free software licensing. I can cut and paste any free code and insert into my own code (a very rare event), but I cannot cut and paste, say, lab safety rules for a student handout without researching and complying with research requirements: the free s/w system makes me a pirate if I don't precisely comply!

I only encountered the GFDL recently through a discussion on the Camerapedia list. The issue there was compliance with wp, and the problem was the wholesale copying of pages without citation by wp editors.

What surprised me is the distance between the GPL and the GFDL. And I like the GPL very much, but I think it should be called the "protected public domian," (mentioned above) and re-written w/in that context. So from there the documentation should be built protection to assure that the naturalness of the public domain (where we evolved) and the genius of the GPL (where we grew up) are extended to the rest of humanity much of which is held within the annexed public domain either as capital operators (masters) or human capital (slaves).

Not applicable in France

The French writer Victor Hugo (19th century) defended the author's moral right and persuaded European coutries to sign the Berne convention. The French Intellectual property code, article L121-1, says "An author shall enjoy the right to respect for his name, his authorship and his work. This right shall attach to his person. It shall be perpetual, inalienable and imprescriptible. It may be transmitted mortis causa to the heirs of the author.".
Now Creative commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 says, 4c: "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;".
So in many cases the author name will be lost: if it's not "reasonable" to the medium or media or if the licensor designate another party. Hence such works can't be legally produced in France. But Wikimedias are published worldwide, including in France. Wiktionaire is even one of the biggest projects. Moreover, we would not know in the author names are all mentionned or not (since Creative commons don't require it), so that all Creative commons righted works, specially those produced abroad, are suspected to violate the French law. To comply with French requirements, a means to find the list of all authors (for instance, a U.R.I.) should be made clearly compulsory in the license text.
--Henri de Solages 09:36, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Generally these laws don't require attribution to be attached to the document, only that it should be possible to identify the author somehow. I don't know about French law, but Hungarian copyright law has the same requirement, and as an opinion of the Hungarian Council of Copyright Experts explains, the requirement is fulfilled in the case of banknotes by printing the author's name in the relevant documents and in the official journal of Hungary; the name doesn't have to apply on the note itself. --Tgr 15:26, 1 May 2009 (UTC)


On the Q&A-page, we read: "Given our own existing site terms as well as the actual ways in which credit is given in Wikipedia to a contributor, we believe a consistent approach to attribution in Wikipedia is to state a requirement to attribute articles by linking to them. CC-BY-SA allows for this attribution model, as it permits the author to require attribution-by-name or attribution-by-URL. That this approach is consistent with the language and intent of CC-BY-SA has been validated by Creative Commons General Counsel." (Emphasis not in the original.) This means that the author, and not the WMF, has to decide whether or not he agrees to a attribution-by-URL-policy. Furhtermore, when importing CC-BY-SA-licenced text from another project, the author may have already decided otherwise. Adrian Suter 12:53, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi Adrian, Wikipedia articles do not really have authors, just collaborators. Existing attribution rights are unaffected by these licenses. Guido den Broeder 00:10, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

not under traditional copyright?

The phrase "text published in Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects is not under traditional copyright" is confusing. The text is under traditional copyright. That is, why we give a license to copy and distribute it. The laws and treaties that apply to all creative works, apply to content published in Wikimedia Foundation projects in the same way. Of course they do. Wikimedia projects are not above the law.

I understand what this sentence is trying to say, and I agree with the intended meaning. But what it literally says is not correct or (if I misunderstood the sentence) confusing. Johan Lont 20:30, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

You are right, Johan. No license can overturn the law. Regards, Guido den Broeder 00:12, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this has been pointed out a couple of times. I don't necessarily agree that this is actually substantially confusing or misleading to someone who has no idea what a license is, but if you can come up with a simple alternative wording that gets the point across, feel free to edit it. :-) --Eloquence 00:25, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I made a change before noticing this discussion. It's not optimal, but I think it better represents the situation than the previous wording. Are there any objections or issues to this change? Mindmatrix 14:49, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Good edit. Guido den Broeder 19:23, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Good edit indeed. -- Carbidfischer 12:22, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


After submitting the vote, we got some cryptographic receipt, and someone explained I can use this to verify wether my vote was accounted correctly. Is this correct and is there a how-to instruction for this available somewhere? --Dealerofsalvation 04:04, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

You are wrong on the legality

At least under Dutch law, it is impossible to retroactively update the license, because the editors agreed on a specific license at the time they posted their contributions and it isn't possible under Dutch law to make people agree to unilaterally agreed future licenses without providing an escape clause, in this case that would mean that you would have to provide every contributor with the option of retracting all his contributions. 20:43, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

Poor show – no answer on that serious objection for four weeks? --Dealerofsalvation 19:24, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
No one is likely to respond directly to Dutch law, but an objection of similar structure is discussed in the "or later" section below. Dragons flight 20:07, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I am no legal expert but I suspect that UK law would tend to take a similar line. Sjc 14:15, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I’m not a law expert either, but the assertion "We believe that … [the licensing update is] … legally valid in all jurisdictions" is not backed by any references at all. I just want such an important change to be backed by more than just good faith. Please provide some evidence that the foundation has searched legal advice for at least the most important legal systems in the world, be the Dutch one among them or not, as it would be a catastrophe if someone succeeds in legally overthrowing the licensing scheme after it has been implemented. Now is the time. --Dealerofsalvation 03:56, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
It is discussed in de.wp, too. I doubt that you can change any license without the explicit consent of the author after upload according to German law. According to § 313 BGB you can abrogate any contract if circumstances change significantly after signing and if it is impossible to change the contract with consent. That means, that you can't change the license without consent without the danger losing the rights of usage at all. That even applies retroactively for the term "any later", if you find out, that "the later version" is not within your intention. But I am not a lawyer ;-) --Brummfuss 11:37, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

"At least under Dutch law, it is impossible to retroactively update the license" The license is not updated retroactively; it is not even updated. "I doubt that you can change any license without the explicit consent of the author" The license is not changed, either. The license is extended and grants additional freedoms subject to certain licensing conditions. The old license remains valid; users retain all the freedoms they had under this license. "According to § 313 BGB you can abrogate any contract if circumstances change significantly after signing and if it is impossible to change the contract with consent." The GFDL is not a contract, but a license. Noone has signed anything; noone has any contractual obligations; no contract is involved. --rtc 13:22, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

According to Dutch law, a license *is* a contract. See for example (Dutch only).