[Foundation-l] Multi-licensing situations on page text

Oldak Quill oldakquill at gmail.com
Mon Nov 19 02:20:41 UTC 2007

On 19/11/2007, Robert Rohde <rarohde at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Nov 18, 2007 5:48 PM, Oldak Quill <oldakquill at gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 19/11/2007, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > There is a regular question on en.wikibooks that we have yet to find a
> > satisfactory answer on. I would like to know if some people here could give
> > us some insight on the issue.
> > >
> > > The question is whether an individual book, or even an individual page
> > can be cross-licensed under the GFDL and another license (such as
> > CC-BY-SA-x.x). I know that individual contributors can release their
> > content under a plethora of licensing schemes, but can we say that a single
> > book is released under the GFDL and CC-BY-SA-2.5, for example? And even if
> > we say that the book is licensed in that way, can we say that all future
> > wikibooks editors MUST also agree to release their contributions to that
> > book under that same licensing scheme?
> > >
> > > The question arose earlier as to whether an individual book could be
> > entirely released into the PD, although we've already decided that this
> > isn't really possible.
> > >
> > > Would it be more reasonable to say that "XX version of this page, when
> > uploaded originally, was cross-licensed under GFDL and YY. Future revisions
> > of this page are only GFDL, but it is possible to copy, distribute, and fork
> > XX version under an alternate license as well, just not on this server."?
> >
> > Derivative works must be licensed with both licenses if the original
> > work is covered by both licenses. GFDL and CC-sa licenses require that
> > derivative works are licensed with the same license (or a different
> > version of the same license). Two licenses covering one work doesn't
> > change the conditions of either license and isn't a reason to take the
> > requirements of either license less seriously - both licenses must be
> > carried across to derivative works.
> This is false.  It is a license not a contract.  To create a legitimate
> derivative work, the author of the new version must have a legal right to do
> so.  To accomplish this, he only needs to invoke one of the two licenses.
> Hence a derivative work need only be covered by one of the two prior
> licenses.
> As a matter of policy, a wikiproject could hypothetically require that all
> pre-existing licenses be carried forward, but this would be a project issue,
> not a legal one.

Still thinking about our hypothetical GFDL and CC-by-sa dual-licensed
document, even if the CC-by-sa license is used to "invoke" the right
to a legitimate derivative work, this work will still have derived
from a GFDL-licensed document and would also have to be licensed under
the GFDL. At least, this is my impression of licensing and I may be

GFDL and CC licenses are independent of each other. One can't be
chosen for a derivative work (and the other dismissed) if the original
was licensed under both. Both licenses require that any derivative
works must be licensed under the same or a similar license (GFDL and
CC licenses are too dissimilar to be considered "similar licenses",
and can't be substituted for each other).

Oldak Quill (oldakquill at gmail.com)

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