Robert Rohde wrote:
On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 7:04 PM, Thomas Dalton
2009/2/19 Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
Without disagreeing on the importance of
per se, it is clearly inaccurate to say that they signify how we
interpret the license. Contributors can be asked to waive
rights to content they add to the site (where they are the
sole originators of the material, and not merely importing
content that has already been published elsewhere) even
above and beyond the terms of the specific license, and equally
they can be asked to not pursue some rights specified in the
license, where such contractual stipulations are legal. Not that
it is clear how enforceable such stipulations or waivers
would be, if reusers asserted a different understanding
of the license and/or the IP laws of their specific jurisdiction.
But sometimes people will be important content that has already been
published elsewhere. At best, we're going to have people having to go
through the edit history line by line if they want to use content
through line by line if they want to do anything using them too. It's
really not an option.
On this issue, I largely agree with Thomas, though I would frame the
In my opinion, it is incumbent upon us to give examples of how we
believe third parties can legally and practically reuse WMF content by
exercising rights under CC-BY-SA. If we can't, in our collective
wisdom, agree on how third parties ought to be able to accomplish that
under the new license, then the license is probably inadequate for our
Personally I can't fully agree. Where no new problems are
introduced, and old obstacles are removed, the move can
be a good thing in itself, irregardless of the ambiguities
that were there before, and still remain.
Now we don't have to cover every way that CC-BY-SA
might be used. And
we don't have to go through every possible complication that might
occur with wiki content. But I do think we must be prepared to give
concrete examples of how the license may be used in common
applications, and that requires being willing to confront the question
of "reasonable" attribution.
For the record I do agree with this fully, but I consider it
an issue orthogonal to the licensing issue, though clearly
related and dependant. That is to say, the issue needs to
be addressed despite us moving to the new license, and
it is clearly not addressed simply by us moving to the new
If someone comes to us and says: "I want to print
a copy of [[France]]
in my book. What is a reasonable way to comply with the license?",
then we really ought to be able to answer that question. If we can't
agree on an acceptable answer to that question under CC-BY-SA, then we
probably shouldn't be considering adopting it.
Again I have to record dissent. Do keep in mind that under
what we are escaping from under, not even the guardians
of that license were able to answer that question. So staying
under GFDL is not a real way to dodge the issue.
For the record, I am open to the idea that we might
well be able to
get nearly everyone to agree on a set of "reasonable" usage guidelines
consistent with the terms and spirit of CC-BY-SA, but I agree with
Thomas that it is important that we address that either before or
concurrent with the relicensing effort.
I disagree quite clearly that it should be a pre-condition.
I don't think keeping an ongoing discussion of the issue
concurrently would necessarily be counterproductive.
But when it comes down to brass tacks, for reasonable
people it should be enough that CC-BY-SA is a vastly
better license for what we do. Period.
Now on the gripping hand, if the real problem you have
here is the fear that some time later, after the migration
the foundation were to unilaterally express an interpretation
of allowable "reasonable" forms of attribution, I would have
to regretfully admit that given past form (and sadly, opinions
expressed by some influential people in the foundation staff)
that is not unfathomable. The only thing I can offer is that
that would of course be a new ball game, and the same
people waving whiffle-bats around, would be involved there
and then, again. I not only think possible, but am reassured
that a bad result could not stand, for long. Please trust the
good sense of the community being able to countermand
the understandable errors of the foundations operatives.