Thomas Dalton wrote:
wikipedia! We're the people that look at the culture of
ownership and lawsuits and say "No! Free content can be as good as
non-free!" We're supposed to stand for something profound. The
policies could have been created so that every contributor licenses
his contributions to the Wikimedia Foundation to do with what they
wish and it would probably not have hurt wikipedia one bit (it
certainly works well for YouTube). But we didn't! Because we're not
those kind of people, that's not what we believe!
Wikipedia is released under the GDFL and not released to the public
domain for a reason. If we aren't willing to enforce the terms of the
GDFL, we should just release it to the public domain. We don't do that
because people like to be credited for their work and very few people
would contribute if people could just do whatever they like with it.
We do strongly
discourage the ownership of articles, so being credited
for something that has been ruthlessly edited is not the factor here.
Largely, downstream users _can_ do whatever they like with the work,
with only very few key restrictions. A lot of our discussions about
free vs. fair use have been concerned with how Wikipedia can be used by
I have always maintained that Wikipedia editors should be implicitly
appointing WMF as their non-exclusive agent whenever they edit. This
would give WMF standing to go after people who violate those copyrights
when ever it deems it appropriate. Most important is the viral nature
of the material, and the way his carries through several generations of
publication. It is noteworthy in this regard, when liability is
involved, that insurance companies will pay a claim while reserving the
right to recover from the person who is responsible for the damages.
The public domain is part of the "res publica", and that kind of means
that the "republic" should be protecting what belongs to the public. I'm
not going to hold my breath waiting for them to understand that.
We should be enforcing our claims in selected appropriate cases, but the
way we use the GFDL has made this very difficult or nearly impossible
without action being taken by individual editors.