[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Wed Nov 21 13:51:29 UTC 2007

On Nov 21, 2007, at 7:00 AM, foundation-l-request at lists.wikimedia.org  

> Wikipedia itself is doomed by inertia to remain GFDL. WMF
> doesn't hold any of the rights and thus doesn't have the power to deem
> things relicensed; you'd need the copyright holders to do that.

I don't think the problem is quite as intractable as all that,  
although I will grant it is a tricky problem. In my (possibly  
misinformed) view, FSF is the custodian of the meaning and terms of  
the GFDL, which allows for migration to later versions of GFDL, which  
creates the possibility of an approved GFDL that is essentially an  
equivalent to an updated CC-BY-SA license.  FSF is currently in dialog  
with Creative Commons about harmonizing GFDL with CC-BY-SA.

WMF doesn't have to "deem things relicensed." Instead, it could say,  
with full notice to the community, and after plenty of public  
discussion, that its view is that the content in Wikipedia should  
migrate to the harmonized GFDL/CC-BY-SA license (version 3.x for both,  
most likely), and offer community members plenty of latitude to opt  
out by removing content (I'd be inclined to give GFDL licensors that  
option indefinitely).  We might lose some content that way, but I  
personally doubt we'd lose much. So I don't think we're stuck with the  
awful choice of having to stick with GFDL or start a new project.


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