[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Fri Nov 23 14:21:18 UTC 2007

[reposted with corrected subject header]

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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