> Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 21:29:53 -0700
> From: Sean Barrett <sean(a)epoptic.org>
> Thus, under the terms of the GFDL, we cannot pass the Crown copyright
> restrictions on to third-generation re-copiers. For example, I might
> copy material from the Royal Navy's site into an article about HMS
> SCEPTRE, doing so accurately, honestly, and with attribution, but a
> third party who copied the article onto his Web site, removed the
> attribution, and somehow altered the information to be deceptive would
> not be in violation of our license.
I recommend using a more positive example of breaking Crown
Copyright, such as creating derivative works. The deceptive editing
example is likely the reason why they don't allow modifications in
the first place. Also, you might want to mention that the GFDL has
no restrictions against commercial use.
- Stephen Gilbert
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia
Marco Krohn was kind enough to email RMS on this fair use issue.
>>While discussing (on the mailing list wikitech-l(a)wikipedia.org) the
>>usage of "fair use" images/music a lengthy discussion came up if it is
>>compatible with GFDL to use "fair use" images at all.
>If the use of these images is truly fair use, then it is ok
>regardless of what license you use for your work.
>Whether this use of the images is truly fair use, that I don't know.
>>This is surely covered by the "fair use" right of the United States, but is
>>the resulting article including the citation still compatible with GFDL?
>Yes. I don't think there is really an issue here.
Additionally, RMS doesn't seem to think we need to rely at all on the
aggregation argument, and finds that aspect of things confusing.
>Those strike me as tainted sources for
>revenue. I would be suspicious of anything
>from them, and any potential strings
>attached. Sometimes sudden riches can be
>a more serious problem than being poor.
We just have to make sure we are very clear on what
they want us to do or not do and weigh the pros and
cons. No big deal. We can and should accept large
grants so long as what the donor wants us to do is
already consistent with what we want to do. If not,
then we don't accept the grant - easy as that.
>A provision that limits the amount that a
>person can contribute could protect the
>foundation from anyone who might come along
>and use his money to influence the direction
>of the foundation.
That assumes that there wouldn't be any decision
making process in grant acceptance. A foundation isn't
just a money accepting body it is also a decision
making body with certain rules and by-laws. In short
there are many things we can do to limit the potential
of a large donor using money to mis-direct the
project; just because somebody has cash doesn't mean
we have to take it regardless of the conditions.
>We already know Jimbo's approach to many issues,
>and we've mostly all accepted his Wiki philosophy.
>That does not guarantee that some new person won't
>come along and use money to convince us to take
We aren't stupid and won't take cash if that means we
have to change the project for the worse.
>I've raised budgetting before, because I see
>that as an issue that needs serious consideration.
>Once we know how much we need, we'll know how much
>to get from Wikipedians.
Why limit this to Wikipedians? We already donate a
great deal of our time to the project and relying
exclusively on Wikipedians is double dipping IMO. But
I am sure that a not-insignificant amount of cash will
still flow from Wikipedians though (I've already
donated by purchasing several domain names, for
example). But I do see a real point in making sure
everything is set-up first before we start to solicit
for grant money. So we can start with donations.
>Some potential expenses can be dangerous. Paid
>staff can be a problem because they can have a
>conflict of interest between their personal well-
>being and the well-being of the foundation.
I don't understand your point here. Please explain how
this is different than the relationship between an
employee and the company he works for? Both have a
mutual vested interest in succeeding. But that is
purely academic since the only way we would be able to
afford even one paid employee is to get a large grant.
Donations just won't cut it alone for a very long
time. Either way it will be some time before we are in
a position of even considering paid staff.
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Do you Yahoo!?
The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
NPOV. Neutral Point Of View. It sounds so good. But does it work? I doubt it.
At least, I doubt whether it works in the way it is now used on Wikipedia.
Suppose I believe that the Earth is not round but cube-shaped. And I have
arguments for it. So I put these on [[Earth]]. Next someone else comes, and
says that that's bollocks. He adds all kids of arguments on why the Earth
is really a sphere, and arguments against mine. Then I put arguments against
his. And soon we spend most of the Earth page discussing arguments for and
against a cubical Earth. Is that really the way to go?
To be honest, I don't know whether I believe in NPOV. Or ever did. It sounds
very good in theory. In practice, it does not seem to work. At least not for
me. Let me state that differently - it works for some things, not for others.
I am perfectly happy to give pro and contra views when discussing political
or ethical topics. But when I talk about scientifical subjects, I go with the
mainstream scientific point of view.
Actually, my problems may lay deeper. A cubic Earth I can refute. But what if
someone claims that Siberia had a tropical climate until 4000 years ago? It
sounds like nonsense to me, but I cannot give the arguments against it. I can
probably find out what the general idea is about the climate of Siberia 4000
years ago, but on what information this is based I do not know. So should we
just let such a claim with its arguments stand, and add "however, generally
it is assumed that Siberia 4000 years ago was as cold or even somewhat colder
What is the solution? I do not know. Maybe we should try to find more people
of established nature, not to write articles, but just to rate them. Maybe we
should be less unhappy to delete material on pages, or even start pages all
over at times. Maybe there's no problem at all, and it is me who is wrong.
Maybe there simply is no solution. I don't know. What I do know is that I find
working on Wikipedia a rather irritating thing to do lately. And irritation is
not what one expects to get from a hobby.
At WikipediaNL they have asked me why I suddenly left. There you have it.
Filters only work if articles are assigned to categories. Setting aside wether we should use categories in wikipedia itself or only in some sifter project, categories have to be implemented in the software either way. So I hacked a barebone implementation at the test site. A list of current categories can be found at
Currently, anyone can add and delete categories. I suggest that this will be restricted to sysops later, as it will prevent a "category inflation", as well as malicious deletion of a whole category.
Anyone can assign any article to any category, and remove that assignment as well. Wiki, right? :-)
Currently, categories are *not* shown on the article page, although I have written that code (keep getting some weird effect, though, so I turned it off).
To be done:
* Personal category filters
* Search for a category combination (in the example online, "Biology" and "Germany" should list "Anton de Bary")
Thoughts? Comments? Bullets? ;-)
Lee Pilich wrote:
>This is perhaps a little off-topic, but is there a
>quick and easy explanation of why the Wikipedia
>is released under the GFDL and not into the public
>domain? Somebody asked me the other day, and I
>realised that I didn't actually know.
So that Britannica, Encarta or another proprietary encyclopedia doesn't
cannibalize the project by incorporating our material and not making their
modifications available under a free license. That would break the chain of
positive feedback that has gotten us so far.
Who would read or continue to contribute to Wikipedia if a proprietary version
was always snatching up the best parts? I wouldn't - what would be the point?
Any time we do something better than a proprietary encyclopedia all they have
to do is copy what we did. Then there is a proprietary fork. Forks are bad
and proprietary ones are really bad because they tend to tear appart the
non-proprietary communities. We would never be able to rise above the
proprietary crowd in quality and contributors will drift away. We would never
be able to beat Britannica because we would be assimilated into Britannica,
piece by piece.
Short answer: The GNU FDL encourages people to share and discourages people to
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
>I've just created a separate mailing list for discussion
>on the proposed Wikipedia / Wikimedia-based textbook
>projects. Those interested in this, please sign up at:
>If someone more into the subject wants to take over
>administration of the list, please do. (It's the usual list
>-- brion vibber (brion @ pobox.com)
Cool, thanks Brion. But it does seem odd that Wiktionary doesn't have its own
mailing list... I guess they don't have nearly as much to work out policy or
I'll be the Admin but haven't a clue what the password would be. Could you
send a private email to me with this information?
We still do need to clone you, BTW. ;)
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)
Arwel Parry wrote:
>which I read as indicating that though my article
>on [[HMS Glasgow]] is legal at the moment, there
>is certainly the possibility that at some time in the
>future someone may come along and edit the article
>so that it's no longer accurate, or becomes misleading.
>Perhaps some rewriting is in order...
I think the intent of the Crown Copyright is mostly in the spirit of an
Open/Free content license so light rewriting and giving the source of the
infomation credit in a references section (without the Crown Copyright notice
since it would just be a simple reference) should do just fine.
Light rewriting = moving some phrases around and changing some words with
equivalent words just enough to pass an exact phrase Google test. Nothing
major or too time consuming.
Of course you would score a major coup for the project by getting the
copyright holder (the Royal Navy if I recall) to allow us to use their text
under terms of the GNU FDL.
Look for the link to the "Boilerplate request for permission" at:
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Boilerplate_text (hopefully this link
will work soon)
It seems that some of our ship text has been copied from websites using the
Crown Copyright which reads in part;
"....may be reproduced free of charge in any format or medium for research,
private study or for internal circulation within an organisation."
That may cover Wikipedia itself but not downstream users of our text.
"This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not used in a
Having this text on a wiki leads to a very real possibility that the text will
be modified to be something it wasn't before. It is also a very subjective
"Where any of the Crown copyright items on this site are being republished or
copied to others, the source of the material must be identified and the
copyright status acknowledged."
In other words the Crown Copyright is viral. This IMO is wholly incompatible
with the GNU FDL.
What say you?
-- Daniel Mayer (aka mav)