[Foundation-l] PD in Israel

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed May 9 05:22:03 UTC 2007

On 5/8/07, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Sorry, but I really do not agree on this specific point.
> I consider issues around copyright and licenses to be amongst those
> "major rules", which should not be changed just because 15 people vote
> for a change. The rule planned to be changed is at the core of the
> wikimedia commons project.

It is a significant discussion, not unlike many we've had before such
as the PD-Soviet templates or the sxc.hu licensing issues. In this
case, as I understand it, the main question is whether we want to
permit _some_ level of legal uncertainty. As much as I am favor of
aiming for the highest level of legal clarity, I view it (above a
certain threshold) as a quality attribute of a resource that we can
increase gradually, in the same way we improve articles in a wiki.

To put this in more practical terms, there are a number of uncertainties:

* Many of our uploaders use only pseudonyms. We have never verified
their identities. Some of them may maliciously misappropriate content
by others and hide behind their false identity.
* Our doctrine that reproductions of PD works are to be considered PD
has not been tested at the highest legal levels, and is heavily
disputed by many entities.
* In spite of our best efforts, there will often be cases where people
choose a free content license without realizing the consequences.
Typically, we will comply with later demands to remove such works.
* We use a rather colorful mix of licenses, including some
license-like templates of our own making. Many of these have never
been tested in court.

etc. etc. IMHO we have to live with some of these uncertainties (and
try to resolve them over time), and as far as I understand the issue,
this appears to be such a case. I consider it wise to let the
community define these boundaries of certainty, both in terms of
maintaining a bit of a legal distance between the org. and the
implementation of the speciifc policies, and because I think our
community is smart enough to figure out sane compromises.

The Licensing Policy is pretty detailed. It needs some refinements but
is IMHO a good basis for communities to develop project-level policies

Peace & Love,

DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

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