Daniel Mayer (maveric149) wrote:
Toby Bartels wrote:
>But this is precisely the comparison that is
>The public domain, like CC-by, is free but not copyleft.
>And the public domain ''is'' made use of for derivative works
>more readily than copyleft material is.
Copyleft for content has existed for a very small part
of the history of
copyright, so I wouldn't expect anything else at this point. The volume of PD
content vs copyleft content also does not compare (lots more PD but most of it
isn't very good).
Certainly we can't blame the Grimm brothers for not copylefting their work.
But we can observe the consequences of their work's public domain status
and compare this to what might have happened had it been copyleft instead.
My point about positive feedback is still valid here -
each of those
proprietary derivative works are forks that for practical reasons can never be
combined to create something better.
Even in the case of Disney, this is not entirely true!
Disney's proprietary fork on the Snow White fairy tale
feeds back to the free storytellers' community in parodies.
That's not very much, and as I indicated in my previous post,
I'd be much happier if Disney couldn't create such forks.
But even this situation is not as absolute as you claim.
The Disney example isn't ideal; the WikiNews example is better.
But for that example, you just state, as if you know for a fact,
that it will be used just as much if it's copyleft as if it isn't.
The Disney example is a clear case where it would have been used less.
The fact remains, however, that until you demonstrate that copyleft
does ''not'' decrease usage, then your argument is not valid.
Effort is wasted making the same
improvements in many different ways when that effort ''could'' have been
condensed and combined into a smaller set of forks that could exchange bits and
pieces back and forth as needed. The time saved could be used to write more
content or further improve the wording of the old.
Proprietary forks dilute effort permanently while
improvements to copyleft
forks can be backported to the original - or any other copyleft fork for that
matter. Thus copyleft encourages the freer exchange of knowledge (PD and
attribution-only licenses encourage the exchange in just one direction).
Let's go through the argument carefully:
* There are two free possibilities: copyleft (A) and non-copyleft (B).
* Under possibility (A), essentially all of the derivative works
can be fed back into the original programme.
* Under possibility (B), some of the derivative works can be fed back,
while some of them will become proprietary and thus can not.
* Conclusion: More deriviative works will be available for positive feedback
under (A) than under (B).
Please let me know if I'm misstating your position!
Now, this conclusion does not in fact follow.
Here is a conclusion that ''does'' follow:
* Valid conclusion: A greater proportion of derivative works
will be available for positive feedback under (A) than under (B).
Your original conclusion would then follow from this premise:
* Just as many derivative works will be made under (A) as under (B).
But that premise is certainly false in many situations!
I rather doubt this premise would be true for WikiNews;
even CC-by-sa would not be as attractive as CC-by to a printed paper.
In fact, judging from the way that people have misused Wikipedia,
I don't think that it's even true for Wikipedia;
surely even more people would create improperly FDLed forks
if that were legal!
Now, this doesn't at all mean that your original conclusion is false.
The argument is invalid, but the conclusion may still be true.
I'm confident that the missing premise is false quite often,
but I'm not so certain that the original conclusion is ever false.
Erik gave a vague argument as to why it might be false for WikiNews,
which you didn't accept -- and I'm just not sure about it either way.
(As a matter of fact, I don't even believe that Erik is sure about it;
he just described how it ''might'' be false.)
In other words, I'm confident that WikiNews would be used more often
to create derivative works if it's not copyleft (B) than if it is (A).
But since many of the derivative works under possibility (B)
would not be useful for positive feedback, I obviously can't conclude
that possibility (A) will actually result in less positive feedback.
But by the same token, you can't assume that it will result in more.
It's a matter of how the effects will balance.
Now, I don't intend to convince you that your conclusion is ''ever''
I'm only pointing out that we cannot know that it will ''always'' be
In that case, it would be foolish to adopt a Foundation policy
that is based on the assumption that the conclusion is always true.
The wording that Erik suggested leaves our choices open.
In any specific case, there will still be a lot of precedent to overcome
before Wikimedia puts out anything that doesn't have a copyleft licence.
But if there's a reason good enough to overcome Wikimedians' objections,
then it shouldn't have to go through a by-law change as well.