On 5/15/06, Alphax (Wikipedia email)
Rob Church wrote:
On 12/05/06, Anthony DiPierro
>And if that's the case, can we sue?
Good luck with that.
The Foundation can't, because it doesn't own the copyright to the
material. It's up to the copyright holder to enforce their licencing.
Could The Foundation sue /on behalf of/ those authors whose copyright
has been violated?
INAL but my understanding is.
Under US law they could if given permission to do so by the copyright
holders (the situtation is compicated in the case of minors. The
foundation would probably need their parents/gardians permissions).
I don't see that aspect as a problem. Even one significant adult author
of an article should be enough. GFDL does not even require that ALL
authors be listed.
Authors could designate the Foundation as their agent in such
circumstances, but IIRC it has refused that role in the past. For most
individual authors to begin an action could be incredibly complicated,
and as long as we are dealing with only snippets of material they could
very well come up with a fair use argument.
The situation is perhaps the worst nightmare come true for those who
believe that access to information should be free. Inadvertent
violations of traditional copyrights by advocates of free material are
easily corrected. Free material needs to be defended if it is to remain
free. This is why I have always maintained that public domain is not
ownership by no-one but ownership by every one; I see this as a subtle
but important decision. Who is responsible for protecting the public
domain, and the broad range of free licences? Who is in a practical,
rather than merely thoretical, position to do anything about the
problem? Have any of these licences been tested anywhere in the courts?
I do not want to believe that GFDL including its permissions to use
material for commercial purposes, was nothing but a big unconscionable
con job designed to get people to work and contribute for nothing.
I don't know how chinese copyright law works and
copyright law tends to get very complex very fast.
is an American company. If Baidu is listed on nasdaq that
may be enough for US jurisdiction and US copyright law to apply. If the
individual authors are left to their own devices than individual authors
should start peppering these unrepentant violators with large quantities
of DMCA takedown orders. If you are a significant author in 1,000
articles you could send them 1,000 takedown orders. This could be more
easily done by US Wikipedians because of their easier access to US
courts in every judicial district if it ever gets to that. Proving
damages would be difficult, but accepting the minimum statutory penalty
of $200 for each separate violation could have an interesting effect.