[Foundation-l] Re: [Juriwiki-l] Re: Copyright complaints

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue Feb 14 01:31:54 UTC 2006

David Newton wrote:

>I tried to get a definitive statement, of the type that you just made,
>out of people on this very mailing list. I also posted things on the
>Scriptorium at Wikisource to get input there. The result was more
>confusion. I then got interested parties to chat in IRC (those
>interested parties that were actually interested enough at the time to
>respond) to see what should be done about this. The copyright page of
>the main Wikisource domain was altered with a note making it clear
>that this was a trial. Nothing was said about it for a month and so
>the page that was referred to earlier in this thread was altered.
>It wasn't exactly like this alteration was made in secret and it
>wasn't exactly like this alteration was made without trying to get the
>opinion of the Foundation on the matter. After all that's precisely
>why I posted about it on this very mailing list!
One needs to understand the decision making dynamics around the wikis.  
A lack of responses  does not equate to disinterest or agreement.  Most 
people don't feel like carrying on discussions ad nauseam when it 
doesn't affect what they are personally doing.  Most policy discussions 
are inconclusive and very, very tedious.  When you change a "policy" 
page, most people don't notice it.

>I suggest that you be the one to make the policy clear on Wikisource.
>I also suggest that you be the one to tag the hundreds of UN
>resolution copyvios on there for deletion. If this is to be the
>confirmed policy I will remove work that I have done on starting to
>put some British legislation online, which is under Crown copyright
>and hence incompatible with the GFDL. Prepare for a storm of protest,
>particularly about the UN resolutions (although I happen to agree that
>they are copyvios in that case).
>If Wikisource is not to be a repository of works that are freely
>reproducable, but not compatible with the terms of the GFDL then I
>think starting something on Wikicities would be in order. I originally
>intended to use the Wiki format to create copies of the original
>legislation online and then create amended copies of them as they
>appeared at various points. Since the promised British Government
>statute law database is currently mired in developmental purgatory
>that seemed a very useful thing to do and perfect for Wikisource.
The copyright status of statutes is highly debatable.  The US believes 
that its own statutes should be freely reproducible, but this is not the 
case in many other countries.  I am not familiar enough with the case 
law for this in those countries to make an informed comment on how such 
arguments would turn out.   Suffice it to say that there is an important 
public policy issue involved that would not be relevant to most other 
allegations of coyright infringement.

>Good luck in implementing (properly this time) the copyright policy of
>the Foundation. You'll need it given the number of those willing to
>wilfully violate copyright on Wikisource.
To say that these activities are wilfull violations is an improper 
accusation.  There can be no wilfull violation when there is significant 
doubt that an action is a violation in the first place.


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