[Foundation-l] Live mirrors

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Wed May 30 23:13:10 UTC 2007

Robert Horning wrote:
> Sebastian Moleski wrote:
>> On 5/30/07, Klaus Graf <klausgraf at googlemail.com> wrote:
>>> I cannot see that blocking life mirrors is allowed by the GNU FDL:
>>> "You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading
>>> or further copying of the copies you make or distribute."
>> It certainly is. Wikimedia can freely choose who it will distribute its
>> licensed content to. Users accessing Wikimedia sites with a web browser are
>> fine. Live mirrors leeching bandwidth are not. There is nothing that
>> mandates Wikimedia to distribute its contents to everyone for every reason
>> for no price.
>> Sebastian
> I think there needs to be made a point here, that the WMF certainly can 
> control to whom and for how much they want to charge for people who want 
> to copy content from Wikimedia servers.  The GFDL explicitly permits 
> even commercial projects and even for-profit corporations from making 
> money off of content available under the GFDL.
> The difference here is that the WMF can't tell you what you can and 
> can't do with that content after you have received that content... 
> provided you use the content according to the terms of the GFDL.  And 
> even then the WMF has very little say in what can't be done with the 
> content even if you breech the terms of the GFDL.... as the WMF doesn't 
> even have a copyright on the vast majority (nearly all) of the content 
> on Wikimedia projects.  They couldn't even be a party in enforcing the 
> GFDL for 99.9999% of the content.  This is one area where the WMF is not 
> as quite of a strong ground as the Free Software Foundation, as the FSF 
> *does* own copyright on all of the "official" GNU software.  So it can 
> enforce the GPL for software it has a copyright to.
> In regards to "live" mirrors that are constantly sucking bandwidth off 
> of the Wikimedia server farm, I would have to agree that this is a major 
> problem and something that should be dealt with, both on a legal front 
> as well as through technical means.  I would be curious about some 
> comparisons of the bandwidth need of a *very* active Wikimedia 
> user/administrator who is on-line nearly 24/7 vs. one of these mirror 
> sites.  I think it would be easy for an active editor/user to suck at 
> least 1 GB of data/day, but it would be along this order of magnitude of 
> bandwidth.  It would be an interesting test to see how much it would 
> actually come out to in practice.
> Robert Horning
> _______________________________________________
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> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
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But even so, the Foundation has every right to say "It is totally
acceptable for a very active administrator (or even a very voracious
reader) to use 1 GB a day if they want to, but it is not acceptable for
a live mirror to do so." Legitimate (even if heavy) users of a site are
one thing, bandwidth leeches are quite another.

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