[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Wed Nov 21 18:11:03 UTC 2007

On Nov 21, 2007 6:50 PM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On Nov 21, 2007 6:48 PM, Delphine Ménard <notafishz at gmail.com> wrote:
> > <devil's advocate> What if the FSF decided that the next version of
> > the GFDL stipulates "As of now, all works under the GFDL are sole
> > propriety of the FSF"? What would be the recourse of the authors who
> > have agreed to "any later versions"?</devil's advocate>
> The existing content would still be available under the old terms,
> _and_ under the new ones. So, effectively, new licenses can take away
> restrictions, but can only add them with limited effectiveness (the
> effectiveness would be derived from projects like Wikipedia adopting
> the new version).

I'm trying to think this out as I type.

Ahhh, right, I forgot about "you don't take away the previous license" part. :-)

But I believe your argument is flawed. New licenses can with as little
effectiveness take away or add restrictions. In the end, if the clause
"and any later version" is non-valid, then the whole adding or taking
away is non-valid (see Michael B.'s point on taking away restrictions
in the next email).

So I agree that my work is still under the license I chose to start
with, but in France, or Germany, I would probably have a case if I
said that I wanted my content to be taken away from a website which by
default adopted both licenses (the older and the newer one).

This does leave the question of the recourse I have if
some_evil_person decides to use the content I produced under the new
license and thus bar it from further modifications or on the contrary
gets rid of all restrictions. Doesn't it? I mean my work is then
spread out there under conditions I might not agree to.

As David Gerard puts it though, it's all small talk until someone goes
to court and wins. Interesting nonetheless.


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