[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Andrew Whitworth wknight8111 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 23 17:27:34 UTC 2007

>BTW, if I read your reply here Andrew, you are suggesting I'm being a
>pain in the ass to insist that the original terms I released my content
>under (the GFDL) is something that can't be casually dismissed by a
>community vote of some sort.  I can't speak for "most people", but I can
>speak for myself.  I want to not only preserve the ability to make my
>contributions freely available, but I also want to maintain the current
>philosphy of the GPL/GFDL that prohibits others from preventing future
>distribution, or asserting copyright on content they haven't written.

I only used "pain in the ass" here because you had said it yourself in
the message I replied to (although you more politely used the PITA
acronym). I certainly am not implying that you are being  a PITA here.
My point with the question was that the specific case of CC-BY-SA is a
very nice analog for the GFDL in many respects. The Share-alike (SA)
requirement of the license ensures that it is perpetually viral like
the GFDL is, and the By-attribution (BY) aspect ensures that authors
receive proper credit for their work. From a philosophical standpoint,
this is almost identical to the GFDL. The benefit to using CC-BY-SA
over the GFDL is that CC-BY-SA documents do not need to be accompanied
by the whole text of the license, which is a gigantic benefit for
short documents and images. This is why wikinews chose to switch to
the CC-BY-SA, why commons prefers that license for it's images, and
why many wikibookians are interested in per-book cross-licensing
arrangements with this license.

In short, my question is this: considering that the basic rights and
protections are the same for both licenses, and they differ primarily
in the way in which they are enforced, does it really matter to you,
the content creator, whether we use one or the other? Either way, you
are the author receive proper attribution and the assurance that your
work will be perpetually available to other for free under the same
license. Enforcement has much more to do with WMF as a content host,
and the various content consumers then it has to do with the authors
of the content anyway.

--Andrew Whitworth

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