[Foundation-l] Deleting blatant copyright violations from the database

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 13:33:23 UTC 2007

On 12/08/07, Brian <Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu> wrote:

> Please note that I have no special interest in this text. I thought it was
> common sense that blatant violations like this would be deleted from the
> database, and so am very surprised at the lackadaisical attitude I have
> encountered. This seems like a tremendous legal risk, and there must be some
> technical solution for easily removing old revisions from the database,
> especially in cases like this where the text remained essentially unchanged.

The problem is that such a deletion involves us writing off four
months of the history; four months worth of changes and contributions.
We *can* do this, but it means:

a) we lose the knowledge of who contributed
b) we lose an awful lot of our ability to constructively edit the article

[This assumes we delete everything between the original addition and
your removal, not just roll the article right back to the state
immediately before the removal and remove any newer revisions]

a) has licensing implications; whilst we can comply with the bare
necessities simply by stating "the following people, not credited in
the article history, were contributors", we have problems with where
to put this (we always say the history list is the contributor list)
and it is a bit clunky (as well as being riddled with false positives)

b) is a little more problematic. Basically, we've lost four months of
discussion and development; we've lost a big chunk of what we rely on
elsewhere as normal tools for our editing process.

Basically, is the small potential harm caused by us continuing to make
copyrighted text available (in an obscure archive, where you have to
look hard to find it) greater than the beneft we get from not screwing
up our systems? Not a clean-cut answer, that one, and understandably
quite amenable to "let's leave it for now".

[Note also that if we get a *complaint*, we do actually Do Stuff About
It. This is the pre-emptive case]

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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