[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

geni geniice at gmail.com
Wed Nov 21 14:55:22 UTC 2007

On 21/11/2007, Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.

Not exactly. The FSF is unlikely to accept the loss of invariant
sections in the GFDL. Fortunately they do appear to be prepared to
accept the loss of the obvious invariant sections by shifting to the

> FSF is currently in dialog
> with Creative Commons about harmonizing GFDL with CC-BY-SA.

Do you have a source for this and is this dialog likely to produce a
result in the next year?

> 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.

No. If the FSF shift to new licenses with better terms we update with
no opt out clause (we've been doing this with CC for years) simply
because any re-user could update the work regardless of any attempted
opt out. At the present time it is not meaningfully possible to change
from the GFDL without action from the FSF.


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