Why does "Bomis hold a collection copyright on
Wikipedia as a
whole"? I think the contributors are the ones who form the
collection (create the hypertext structure, "place the links").
Where is the essential part that Bomis adds to Wikipedia (in an
ideal way - I don't mean the server space)?
Don't get me wrong, I'm very thankful to Jimbo/the Bomis people
for making this possible. It's just something I don't understand
(but I'm no lawyer) - could someone explain this to me?
It's purely a pragmatic matter of law: since copyright in the
individual articles is owned by individual authors, only they
have standing to sue for infringement. If someone were to use
one article or a few in a way incompatible with the GFDL, that's
probably OK--it would be up to the individual authors to take
action, if any. But if someone decided to copy all of Wikipedia
and sell it as proprietary product or something, all of the
authors would have to organize a class action, and document
authorship, etc., which is a pain in the ass. But if Bomis (or
some future non-profit foundation--we're thinking about that too)
makes sure to claim a collection copyright, Bomis would be able
to sue for non-compliant uses of the whole collection. And that
still wouldn't interfere with any rights the authors had in the