[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Thu Nov 22 19:57:34 UTC 2007

> If you're saying there's such a thing as being "illegal" but not
> resulting potentially in a criminal or civil penalty, then you're
> using "illegal" in a way that it is not normally used.

So if I killed you and never got caught, it wouldn't be illegal?

> I am primarily suggesting the opt-out option because I believe it's
> the moral thing to do.

Ok, thanks for clarifying that. In that case, I suggest we drop the
whole issue of opt-outs. If there isn't any legal reason for doing it,
then we just shouldn't do it. It's far too complicated to do purely in
order to be nice. (If you know of a simple way to do it, please do
speak up.)

> (So far as the question of whether French and German users would no
> longer be able to reuse Wikipedia content, I cannot imagine how a
> license migration of the sort we're talking about here -- a
> harmonization of  GFDL and CC-BY-SA -- could possibly lead to such a
> result. The endpoint license would unquestionably allow for reuse in
> France or Germany or anywhere else.)

Consider this scenario:

1) A French resident adds something to Wikipedia, under the current
GFDL (They don't need to be French, but they need to be willing and
able to sue in a French court, so it's easiest to assume they're
2) Wikipedia invokes the "or later" clause and moves over to a later GFDL
3) Someone else edits the article, with their contribs under the new license
4) Another French resident tries to reuse that article.

As far as French law is (apparently) concerned, the initial user's
contribs are still under the old GFDL, so whatever the person in step
4 tries to integrate the work into has to be under the old license,
yet it also has to be under the new license to be able to include the
contribs added in step 3. You end up with the reuser having to have
parts of their new work under one license and parts under another,
which is very confusing, very difficult to keep track of, and also
possible in violation of the GFDL anyway.

(The WMF actually has the same problem, but doesn't fall under French
jurisdiction, so it's not an issue.)

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