[Foundation-l] What's wrong with CC-BY-SA?

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 11:35:04 UTC 2007

Wikipedia allows for the inclusion of text of material licensed under the
GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version. This means
that there is no restriction to GFDL Version 1.2. Anyone who says anything
different has always erroniously contributed to Wikipedia. From some people
I can believe it to be an error however, I do not believe for a moment that
Gregory Maxwell among others has not been always been aware of this. When
the GFDL is amended by the FSF in such a way that it becomes possible to
re-license to the CC-by-sa, it is very much what the FSF intends for the
GFDL. Given that officials of the FSF have been clear in the past that the
GFDL was never intended for content like Wikipedia I do not appreciate /
understand the crocodile tears that are being shed.

As the GFDL is more restrictive then the CC-by, it is possible to include
CC-by material in an GFDL work and have the whole be available under the
GFDL. In the mean time the CC-by material is still available under the
original license from where it became originally available. This can be
Commons. It is *not *a copyright violation as it is at best can be
considered a licensing violation. Given that the GFDL is more restrictive,
it can be easily argued that the reason why material was provided is still
very much applicable.


On Dec 2, 2007 11:13 AM, Robert Rohde <rarohde at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Dec 2, 2007 12:59 AM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> >  Robert Rohde wrote:
> > > On Dec 1, 2007 3:32 PM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > >
> > >> On 12/2/07, David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >>> Greg will of course correct me if I'm wrong - but I suspect the
> > >>> problem is that lots of people want CC-by-sa because it's easier to
> > >>> reuse stuff ... but that GFDL makes it hard to reuse stuff is
> > >>> considered a *feature* by many, e.g. photographers who license work
> as
> > >>> GFDL but also sell it privately. That is: the thing that makes GFDL
> a
> > >>> pain in the backside for a wiki is precisely why they like it, and
> > >>> they want it to stay a pain in the backside for that reason.
> > >> Worst possible reason to like a license, ever. :-)
> > >>
> > >> Let's make a strong copyleft license that appeals to photographers.
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > > In my opinion, that is only possible if the copyleft provisions
> > > unambiguously transfer to text written to accompany the image.
>  Anything
> > > less, is little better than CC-BY.  Most people that use photographs
> do
> > so
> > > for the purposes of illustration rather than for the purposes of
> making
> > > derivative images.  Hence copyleft provisions that apply only
> derivative
> > > images, and not to the text being illustrated, are intrinsically weak
> > and of
> > > little impact.
> > >
> > > -Robert A. Rohde
> >
> > Is not the liberal use of Wikicommons to host images (which can be
> > embedded in dozen of text pages afterwards) a bit inconsistant with this
> > concern anyway ?
> >
> >
> Yes, it is inconsistent, but that reflects a problem with Commons.  There
> is
> nothing wrong with creating a free image repository, but using that
> repository to mix copyleft licensing is potentially problematic since
> these
> versions of "free" are arguably incompatible.
> Wikipedia doesn't allow the inclusion of CC-SA text, but does allow CC-SA
> images under a theory that images and text can be understood as "seperate
> and independent" elements of a collection rather than part of single,
> unified article.  Frankly, I think doing so relies on a strange
> interpretation of the plain language of the licenses.  To put it bluntly,
> I
> think mixing CC-SA images in GFDL Wikipedia articles is already a
> copyright
> violation.
> However, as far as I know, no copyright holder has ever complained about
> this mixing, and in the absence of a real ruling of law there is enough
> ambiguity that one can at least argue the issue.  At a philosophical
> level,
> most people willing to license CC-BY-SA probably won't mind image use in
> Wikipedia, but we really ought to ensure compatibility in law and not just
> compatibility in spirit.
> I assume that addressing the dubious compatibility between the two major
> avenues of copyleft is a central goal associated with the recent
> Foundation
> Resolution and the efforts underlying it.
> -Robert A. Rohde
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