[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Mike Godwin mgodwin at wikimedia.org
Fri Nov 23 13:07:05 UTC 2007

geni writes:

>> If the migration happens, I will support 100 percent any request by
>> you to remove your content rather than have it be interpreted under a
>> new, harmonized GFDL/CC license.
> And if even a handful of oldtimes want their stuff removed? Have you
> any idea how much work that would involve? While we might have the man
> hours they could be better spent.

Naturally, I have an idea how much time it would involve.  One may  
reasonably assume that oldtimers who want their stuff removed would  
help us comply in removing it. One may reasonably assume that the  
hours that they'd otherwise spend would not be spent on Wikipedia  
articles (since, according to your scenario, they would object to the  
new license that FSF approved and that WMF had implemented).  It  
wouldn't be very Wikipedian of them to send me demand letters (through  
their lawyers) and have me do it. I've been working with volunteer  
contributors for a long time (17 years, actually), so I have an idea  
about how well asking for their help in meeting their own concerns  
would work. (It would work pretty well.)

But the fantasy here is in supposing that there's an option that  
*doesn't* require additional labor. If nothing changes, and if the  
current GFDL remains the paradigm, immense amounts of work in  
compliance with that license's more onerous terms will be required --  
man hours that could be better spent.

That's why it's important to remain focused on the fact that it is  
possible to provide a copyleft scheme that is consistent with the  
values of GFDL but does not require application of a license designed  
for GPL-code-oriented software manuals to wiki content.  The only  
question is, do we care enough about the projects' primary mission to  
ensure that the information in them becomes, and stays, maximally  
available to everyone in the world.


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