[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Robert Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Thu Nov 22 16:51:32 UTC 2007

Thomas Dalton wrote:
>>>  Credit card companies have a list of people they need to notify. We
>>> don't.
>> Except that you seem to be saying we do.  Specifically, some people
>> seem to be saying we (a) do have a large (impossible!) number of
>> people to notify, and (b) we can't possibly notify them in a general
>> way but must seek individual contact with them instead.
> You missed the key work: "list". Both we and the credit card companies
> have people the need to be notified, the difference is the credit card
> companies have a list, we don't. How do you notify an anonymous
> contributor, for example? (The other obvious question is how does an
> anonymous contributor enforce their rights, so the GFDL may simply not
> apply to anons, I really don't know how that would work out in court.)

I'll add here that I add contributions to Wikimedia projects using my 
actual given name, rather than using a psuedonym.  One of the reasons I 
do this is explicitly because I do assert copyright over my 
contributions, and to make the point that I can legally claim each edit 
I've performed.  I give up anonymity in the process, but I also try not 
to engage in activities that may be questionable in a legal sense when 
doing this.  I also live somewhere that I have, at least on paper, a 
freedom of speech to protect me when I write things down.  With the 
information I've left on my user pages, it wouldn't be hard to track me 
down and find my snail-mail address or phone number.  But I don't think 
there are many Wikimedia users who are this open, nor do I expect it.

But there is no doubt that the edits I have made are mine, and I do 
think it would be very easy for me to prove it in court or to anybody 
else with half a brain.

I do agree that asserting that the edit by (BTW, not a 
valid IP addresss account on Wikipedia) would be hard to document if it 
really belongs to a given individual.  It would be much more challenging 
in a legal context to have anybody come forward and assert their 
copyright if they have only performed IP address edits instead of making 
a registered user account.  I'm not saying it is impossible, but it 
would be much harder to prove.  Even asserting ownership of content via 
a psuedonym would be a bit harder, but at least you could do something 
like make an edit on your user page that lists your actual given name 
and other copyright assertion information.

-- Robert Horning

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