[Foundation-l] GFDL and relicensing

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Sun Nov 25 19:26:03 UTC 2007

On 24/11/2007, Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thomas Dalton writes:
> > If the contributions in question are extensive, that involves
> > rewriting whole articles - ie. we lose enormous amounts of content.
> I think this problem is overstated.  Not all edits are additions of
> content.

No one said all edits were additions of content. It's the ones that
are (and there are a lot of them - all content was added at some
point, after all) that will cause a problem.

> > Like I've said before, it only takes one.
> I think running a project in fear of the one case where someone
> decides to impose massive litigation costs on us is probably not
> optimal decision-making strategy.  There is so much we already do that
> poses greater risks of litigation that the migration would that I
> can't take seriously the proposition that a migration to new GFDL
> significant new problems.

The number of people doing something, and the likelihood of someone
doing it are different things. I think there is a significant (while
still probably quite low) chance of at least one person suing, and as
I've said, that's all it takes to cause a very big and expensive

I think there is a key part of the equation that we're missing - how
big would the differences between the current GFDL and the new one be?
If they're all very minor, there's a good chance no-one will bother
doing anything, if they're quite major, it's a much bigger issue.
Until we actually have a provisional new license in front of us, we
really can't be sure. My guess (and that's all it is at this stage),
is that the changes required to unify GFDL and CC-by-SA would be
fairly large, and it would end up being dependant on people's views of
the "spirit" of the license.

> > So we can be reasonably confident about winning any such cases. Are
> > you equally confident about being able to win full legal costs?
> That's not how legal risk assessment works.

Would you care to enlighten me? Risk assessment involves assessing
potential damage and the chance of that happening. Is legal risk
assessment somehow different? I can't see how it would be. Legal costs
are just as damaging as any other similar sized cost.

> Yes, an American court might enforce a foreign judgment that would
> have led to a different result if brought initially in an American
> court.  That's first-year civil procedure (i.e., an early lesson in
> the basic training of every American law student).

I'm not saying it wouldn't be legal, I'm asking if it would actually happen.

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