[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Thu Nov 22 01:59:52 UTC 2007

Andrew Whitworth wrote:
>> I imagine most people who have been contributing for any
>> length of time share my view that our contributions are
>> effectively public domain and, regardless of what I, the
>> Foundation or indeed anyone else does, have been and will
>> be used in many different ways without the slightest bit of
>> respect for the GFDL or any other license.
> I agree with this point entirely. The average contributor couldn't
> care less about the license, and it's my experience that licensing in
> general has done more to hinder contributions then it has to secure
> them. Or, at the very least, the hindrances are more apparent then the
> securities are.
> Besides a few GFDL ideologists, most contributors wouldn't care at all
> if we switched licenses, and many would welcome the freedom of a less
> restrictive licensing scheme. This is certainly the case on wikibooks
> where many book donations have been slowed or even canceled because of
> licensing problems. I would venture to guess that most of the problems
> associated with such a license switch would come externally, not
> internally.
> --Andrew Whitworth

This may be generally true, but it only takes one who pushes hard for 
keeping the GFDL to "upset the apple cart" if you want to push for a 
license change.

BTW, you can count me in an a GFDL ideologist if you want, and my 
contributions are under the terms of the GFDL.... and I intend to 
enforce that license on anything I've contributed to Wikimedia projects 
where the GFDL is the explicit default license of the project.

And yes, I've checked for copyright violations of my individual 
contributions.  There have been a few, but it generally hasn't been that 
big of a problem, nor have I seen any of my contributions used in 
generally a fashion I wouldn't agree with in the first place.  The worst 
situations were for-profit websites that took Wikimedia content (both 
Wikipedia and Wikibooks) and simply wrapped advertisements around the 
content.... and ignored the GFDL.  But then again, those websites 
generally got so little web traffic that most of them fold up after less 
than a year of operation.  Those violations are also watched by many 
other individuals, so I'm not overly protective.  But I would object to 
somebody taking my contributions to Wikibooks and Wikipedia, and 
relicensing them to something other than the GFDL...particularly if it 
was the WMF who did this to my contributions.  I expect better out of 
the WMF.

-- Robert Horning

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