On Thu, Jan 29, 2009 at 9:34 AM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:
But I am sure there are no applicable moral
to let's say correcting missing space around punctuation.
I have made some studies, and it appears this last
sentence is in fact complete bollocks. (xcuse my french)
There is a frequently expressed view that the moral
rights provision of "paternity rights" are there to
protect the authors right to be identified as the
originator of the work, but it is in fact (according to
a finding by Finnish copyrights protection arbitration
committee - which of course has no actual legal standing
as a binding precedent on later court cases) somewhat
TN 1991:7 states that the paternity right extends to
the level of making it obligatory to not only mention
if the original authors work has been tampered in some
way (adapted, translated, modified, whatever; choose
your own term) but to identify specifically by whom, if
This is a very strong finding, though as far as I know
untested in an actual court of law here.
I am sure most cases of shuffling punctuation around
and such is not something that can be considered
creative acts, but certainly they would qualify as
modifications. And I was recently reminded of the
Emily Dickinson poem "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass"
(published as "The Snake" in The Republican) had
a change of a single punctuation mark, which in her
own view changed the meaning of it completely on its
head; so even a mechanical application of considering
punctuation changes as minor, is not universally
I hope you don't mind my abbreviation of your original context. Anyone who
didn't read the original post can scroll back a few messages to see it.
Anyway, it seems to me that the purported moral right you're speaking of
would be a right of the original author, and not a right of the person
making the modification. Am I correct in this assumption?
I think you have hit the nail on the head there. But of course
there is a bigger can of worms to be opened, in the sense
that even though the original author would under this theory
have an imperative right to make known all modifiers, it is very
unclear whether some forms of modification would confer equal
authorship rights to *their own modified version*. This is of
course in particular interest to translators; but in the wikipedia
context would be relevant to any editors who substantively
improved an article.
If it were legally defensible to claim such rights, it would of
course only apply to modifications made to the version they
had sufficiently modified to confer a legitimate authorship
right to it. There is no way to grand-father authorship rights
even under the moral rights regime.
If so, I think it has significance in the how that
right should be
protected, if indeed one is to accept that it is a right. In that sense,
I'm not sure how "modified by a bunch of idiots on Wikipedia" is any worse
than "modified by [insert a bunch of psudonyms here]".
On the other hand, the GFDL (via the section entitled History) certainly
protects this purported right much stronger than CC-BY-SA under any
interpretation. CC-BY-SA mostly attempts to punt on these issues, leaving
it to the laws of the individual states (and in some cases to the terms of
service of the individual ISPs where the content is first contributed).
I have no opinion on this point in support of your view, but will
not present my objections publicly either.
Personally I think there ought to be a philosophical
discussion of whether
or not this is a right the WMF wishes to recognize, and if so, to what
extent. Only by answering that question can this issue be rationally
resolved, and once that question is answered the specifics should come quite
naturally. But there seems to be a reluctance to engage in such discussion
on this mailing list.
This point is one I wholly subscribe to though.
Yours in amity,