David Goodman wrote:
My view is that any restriction of distribution that
is not absolutely
and unquestionably legally necessary is a violation of the moral
rights of the contributors. We contributed to a free encyclopedia, in
the sense that the material could be used freely--and widely. We all
explicitly agreed there could be commercial use, and most of us did
not particularly concern ourselves with how other commercial or
noncommercial sites would use or license the material, as long as what
we put on Wikipedia could be used by anyone.
Precisely! To a large extent, we are effectively releasing our work
into the public domain, except for the fact that in some countries this
is not allowed. Also, putting a work into the public domain means
abandoning our rights of action in the event that there is infringement
on that public ownership. There is no custodian of the public domain to
take action when the copyrights of the general public have been infringed.
I have no complaints about commercial use, but I am concerned when a
commercial user massively takes freely licensed or public domain
material and parks them under the umbrella of his copyrights so that the
users of "his" material unwittingly respect a copyright that has no
basis in fact. If the only ones with rights of action against the
fraudster are the separate owners of the fragments, we will have loosed
the tactic of divide and conquer upon our own selves. I would really
like to see a situation where we nominating someone as an non-exclusive
agent with the right to prosecute serious copyright violations on a
class action basis.
I choose to edit with a pseudonym, though my real name is certainly well
known to the community. My self-esteem is not so week that I need to be
publicly credited for every last edit that I make, the satisfaction of a
job well-done is its own reward. We do not own the articles, and we
edit each others' work mercilessly. Having a long list of names in
2-point type just so that the individual editor can see his name in
print is wasteful and contrary to the spirit of our collective effort.
This is not what credit and attribution is about. Expecting anything
more from the downstream user than to say that he took things from
Wikipedia is unrealistic.