George Herbert writes:
> There was a slight danger in the Foundation chosing to hire Mike as
> that he has a long-established tendency to poke fun at people ( cf.
> Law, and more long painful Usenet discussions from 20 plus years ago
> than I
> care to remember at the moment...). This is going over rather badly
> some people's sense of moral indignation over licensing and copyright
I confess it is a vice, although better for my liver than alcohol or
Michael Bimmler writes:
> Please Stop It.
I confess it sometimes amuses me to argue with trolls, but I have no
interest in continuing to argue publicly when it ceases to amuse
anyone else but me.
My apologies. I'll try to keep things more in hand in the future.
> Maybe you could explain the etymology of that term for us, Mike.
> Your last
> paragraph seems to imply that you understand it.
Thanks. But surely you don't expect me to tutor you on "moral rights"
jurisprudence when the materials you need are widely available
> In any case, how do you propose that we can continue in a way that
> confuse you with sentences like "moral rights are a type of moral
I don't feel confused -- it seems to me quite clear where you've gone
>>> There is a fundamental difference between a right
>>> granted by law and a pre-existing right recognised by law.
>> Is this difference based on anything in the physical world?
> Sure, it's based on whether or not the jurisdiction recognizes the
Oh, you're using "fundamental" in a way I wasn't expecting. I thought
you meant to be understood as saying that the "pre-existing right" had
an independent existence, outside of jurisprudence.
>> It's true that religious beliefs don't have great force in Western
>> courtrooms. I dismiss this particular religious belief not because
>> it's irrelevant in a courtroom, however, but because there is no
>> evidence in the physical world that this difference exists.
> In what way is the concept of moral rights a religious belief?
It's invisible, unanalyzable, and an article of faith among believers.
>> Thomas, you may believe that the longstanding debate between
>> natural law and positivists has been resolved in favor of the
>> former, but
>> there's no sign that this is true with regard to copyright.
> You could have saved us a lot of time by saying that instead of
> you didn't know what I was talking about.
I actually didn't know what you were talking about, since you use
language so imprecisely.
>> If what
>> you were saying were widely accepted, it would be odd that "moral
>> rights" obtain as to copyright/creative expression but not as to
>> things like property ownership and personal liberty.
> That would be odd if it were true. But it isn't. Theft and slavery
> morally wrong, in addition to (and regardless of) being illegal.
I happen to agree that they are morally wrong, but not as a function
of natural-rights jurisprudence. I don't, however, believe abridgement
of rights in copyright is morally wrong (although of course I don't
approve of it). There's a distinction between malum prohibitum and
malum in se.
>> I have a right to your house. Oh, sure, it's not recognized by
>> anyone, but I promise I have it!
> Why would you call it *my* house, then?
> In any case, moral rights are recognized by many people, just not
> indisputably under Florida law.
Florida law? I thought we were talking about copyright.
> I see, so you *were* being intentionally obtuse. To try to teach me
> a lesson. I have to admit I'm glad that's what it was. To have to
> that you were a complete dolt would have been much more shocking
> than the
> conclusion that you're a troll.
> And I did learn a lesson. I learned about your ignorance of right and
> wrong, and got a glimpse of the nihilism it stems from.
You seem confused here. Sometimes you want to attribute ignorance to
me, and sometimes you think I'm intentionally pretending to be
ignorant in order to teach you a lesson. I don't think you can
consistently hold both views with regard to the same subject matter.
Next time you should reflect a little and review your posting before
you hit the Send button.
Thomas Dalton writes:
>> I have a right to your house. Oh, sure, it's not recognized by
>> anyone, but I promise I have it!
> Like I say, there's a world outside the legal profession. Just because
> something isn't recognised by the law doesn't mean it isn't recognised
> by anyone.
So you recognize my right to your house? Cool! Where is it? When can
I get the keys?
> Where do you think laws come from? Do you think they appear from
> nowhere? They are created by politicians (and sometimes judges) based
> on moral values. Those moral values imply certain moral rights whether
> they are written down in statute (or case law) or not.
Oh, so you're creating a special Thomas Daltonian definition of the
word "moral rights." Cool!
>> Do you understand what the term "term of art" means?
> Honestly? No, I'd have to look it up. However, I don't need to know
> fancy lawyer speak to understand the concept of morality.
So you're under the impression that "term of art" is "fancy lawyer
>> By the way, most members of the legal profession are not students of
>> the philosophy of law. It is your misfortune that, in me, you have
>> come across someone who is. I'm not disqualified from pointing out
>> philosophical mistakes merely because I can hang out a shingle.
> Well, maybe when you progress a little further in your studies you'll
> actually know something about the subject. I'm a mathematician, I am
> well trained in logic and reasoned argument.
This underscores your problem, perhaps. Many mathematicians are under
the impression that reasoning from first principles is a substitute
for actually doing the necessary reading and learning. The notion that
one can argue without knowledge of the relevant facts is one that is
common, all by no means universal, among my friends who are
> While I may
> not be an expert on the relevant facts, I can follow an argument and
> see if it makes sense, and yours rarely do.
I can understand why arguments based on reading you have not done and
facts you do not have wouldn't make sense to you. I'll make allowances.
> Well, first off, I wasn't referring to free licenses, I was
> referring to
This is a telling admission. I respect anyone's desire to have rights
over the copyrighted material he or she generates. That's a function
of traditional copyright law and it informs the traditional regime of
"all rights reserved". But if you don't give primacy to the mission
of spreading free knowledge to the world -- the function of free
licenses! -- including your edits of other people's contributions,
perhaps you are involved in the wrong project?
> That said, the GFDL requires authors to be listed in "the section
> History", and it clearly states that a "section "Entitled XYZ" means
> a named
> subunit of the Document..."
So is current Wikipedia practice consistent with the GFDL or not?
Obviously, the History page reachable from a Wikipedia article could
be interpreted as not being a "section" or a "named subunit."
Historically, the community has generally interpreted this attribution
requirement of the GFDL as allowing for a link to a History page. In
this respect, there is no essential difference between GFDL and CC-BY-
If there is no essential difference, then your concern about getting
credit is a wash, regardless of whether the license on Wikipedia is
This doesn't mean your concern is any less valid or invalid -- it just
means that there's nothing inherent in the question of updating the
license that should trigger it.
>> Anthony writes:
>>> Sure, but I'm not in a jurisdiction that indisputably recognizes the
>>> to attribution.
>> Okay, so why are you invoking rights that you don't have?
> Please read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights,
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights_(copyright_law), and
Please understand that I am entirely familiar with the notions of
"moral rights" and "natural rights." (I suspect I am more familiar
with this notions than you are.)
> Just because a right isn't recognized, does not mean that I do not
> have it.
I have a right to your house. Oh, sure, it's not recognized by
anyone, but I promise I have it!
> Sometimes I wonder whether you're being intentionally obtuse. How
> in the
> world could a lawyer familiar with constitutional law not know that?
> Seriously, that's appalling.
I suppose it is appalling to anyone who cherishes naive notions about
the meaning of a specialized term like "moral rights" that other
people may choose not to employ them naively. To be frank, those of us
who actually have to work with such terms don't have the luxury of
using them sloppily and naively.
By repeating false things they will be not more true.
IT'S ABSOLUTELY FALSE THAT GFDL HAS A PRINCIPAL AUTHOR CLAUSE.
This clause only refers to a title page. READ THE LICENSE PLEASE.
Wikipedia hasn't such a thing.
Attribution in the GNU FDL is done by copyright notices or the section
"To use this License in a document you have written, include a copy of
the License in the document and put the following copyright and
license notices just after the title page:
Copyright (c) YEAR YOUR NAME.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.
A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU
Free Documentation License".
This means: Follwowing this way of attribution the name of the autor
can never dissapear.
Verbatim copying: "You may copy and distribute the Document in any
medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this
License, the COPYRIGHT NOTICES, and the license notice saying this
License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies" (my
Modification: "D. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document."
Important is the following clause:
"I. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and
add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and
publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there
is no section Entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating
the title, year, AUTHORS, and publisher of the Document as given on
its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as
stated in the previous sentence." (my emphasis)
It is possible to ignore this? I do not think so. There is a strong
obligation that every GFDL document which is modified must have a
section entitled History. The only thing in the Wikipedia which can be
regarded as a section history is the version history which is also the
way in which authors are given credit.
One entry with the name/IP of the contributor and the date in the
version history has two functions: 1. it is a substitution of the
copyright noctice, 2. it is part of the section history.
A lot of people in the German Wikipedia believe that the only way to
fulfill the GFDL strictly is to reproduce the whole version history
resp. the names of all contributors.
"Das Wikipedia Lexikon in einem Band" was a cooperation between
Bertelsmann and the German chapter. It has a long list of ALL
contributors see e.g.
The Directmedia Offline Wikipedia CDs/DVDs have reproductions of the
I would like to say one thing very clear:
IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE AUTHOR AND NOT A THIRD PARTY RIGHT TO CHOOSE
THE WAY OF ATTRIBUTION IN THE CC-BY-SA LICENSE.
The attribution in the GFDL is described by the license. WMF or FSF
has NO RIGHT to choose a specific interpretation.
WMF has NO RIGHT to relicense the old content according to the
proposed "Copyright Policy" containing the CC-BY-SA attribution
Each user has to agree EXPLICITELY to the "Copyright Policy" as part
of the contract between the WMF and him. May be it is legal to make
this agreement valid for older contributions of the same user. But the
policy cannot bind users no more active.
Third party CC-BY-SA text content cannot be imported if there is'nt an
EXPLICITE statement that the creator allows the attribution policy.
It is possible to substitude the normal attribution by giving instead
an internet adress BUT ONLY THE CREATOR CAN CHOOSE THIS POSSIBILITY.
If you will import CC-BY-SA content you have to obey the author's way
of attribution. If there is no specification the name has to be
mentioned. For this contribution the attribution policy (incl. link to
a list of authors if more than five) ISN'T VALID!
> A legal right is recognized by law. A moral right may not be.
This must be your own idiosyncratic application of the term "moral
right." In copyright, "moral rights" refers to inalienable legal
rights that are recognized in law. If you are in a jurisdiction that
does not recognize "moral rights," then you don't have them, by
> Sure, but I'm not in a jurisdiction that indisputably recognizes the
> to attribution.
Okay, so why are you invoking rights that you don't have?
> Barring a license to use my content in that way, sure. Just like a
> director has a basis to demand "the last solo credit card before the
> scene of the picture".
Excuse me? Film directors don't have any legal right to such a
"credit card" (I assume you mean "credit"). They may negotiate for
such a credit through contract, but they don't have it in the absence
of a contract.
>> So you're saying your legal rights are defined by "common sense"?
> To some extent, sure. Not entirely by common sense, of course, but
> rights can't be understood without employing common sense.
They can't be understood without knowledge of the law, either.
> Come to think of it, forking under GFDL 1.3 would probably be the most
> appropriate. Then, since Wikipedia intends to dual-license new
> content, new
> Wikipedia content could be incorporated into the fork, but new forked
> content couldn't be incorporated into Wikipedia.
You haven't reviewed the FAQ. As Richard Stallman explains, CC-BY-SA-
only changes, including imports from external sources, will bind
Wikipedia and re-users of Wikipedia content.
That said, I look forward to your fork. Why wait? Why don't you start
now? You clearly are dissatisfied with Wikipedia's implementation of
GFDL as well as Wikipedia's proposed use of CC-BY-SA. It should be
easy, since you throw around the word "fork" so easily. You could
probably squash us even more effectively than Citizendium and Knol have.
(BTW, one benefit of the licensing proposal is that it will be easier
for Wikipedia and Citizendium to cross-fertilize each other.)
> "A free encyclopedia without the plagiarism" would be a better slogan,
> though I'm sure a little thought could produce an even better one.
You are a marketing genius.
> Depends on the traffic. Pure hard drive space is relatively cheap.
> traffic would lead to more expense, but it'd also likely lead to more
You obviously have this all figured out. I can't wait to see your fork.