As for re-licensing Wikipedia, personally, if it was
up to me, I would
be "bold" and do it the following way. I know that this is legally
less secure than what Mozilla did, but I think that given our
situation, it is reasonable. Someone in this thread mentioned that
there is a judge who gives legal advice to Wikimedia -- maybe if
he/she could post to give their opinion on whether this is legally
My idea is thus:
* Announce publicly the intended change of license from GFDL to WPL
(Wikimedia Public License), and invite contributors to complain if
they are unhappy with their material being re-licensed. Delete and
re-write the material that is complained about.
* At some point (call it <date>), have all new articles licensed under
* For one year starting on <date>, display a clear message on every page
created before <date> stating that "This material is GFDL. We are
intending to re-license it as WPL on <date+1year>. If you are the
copyright holder and do not wish for your contributions to be
re-licensed, please contact us."
* I imagine very few people will contact us, and we can state that
people's silence is interpreted to mean they're OK with the
* Announce all of this extremely loudly in public. Post to all sorts of
message boards, have news sites report it, etc. We have enough
publicity to claim that we have contacted all contributors via public
means. At that point, I believe it is no longer our responsibility if
someone didn't notice anything for a whole year.
* One year after <date>, switch everything to WPL-only (or whatever you
like). People may still complain after this, in which case we can
still remove and re-write their work, but it is not really our
responsibility that other people may have already re-used the work
under WPL terms.
Without committing myself to opposing or supporting this initiative, I
would say that three years would be a more appropriate period. This
would correspond to the normal statutory limitation under US copyright law.