[Foundation-l] Baidu Baike changed their licensing policy

Ting Chen wing.philopp at gmx.de
Sun Nov 2 11:54:47 UTC 2008

Without any explaination and announcement had Baidupedia changed its 
licensing policy (http://www.baidu.com/search/baike_help.html#n10). From 
my view point there are three major changes.

At first, instead of earlier, when you must search through many pages to 
find their copyright declerations and licensing policies now the 
licensing policy is directly linked at the bottom of every page.

The second change is in stead of earlier, where the licensing policy and 
the copyright declerations were seperated into at least two pages and 
one must puzzle together the often contradictory statements tother the 
new licensing policy is now concentrated on one page, but not less 
confusing, as I will state beneath.

The third change is that they now say that their licensing policy orient 
according to CC. But it does not say which CC. The text at this point is 
not understandable. It makes the impression as if the user can select 
between the different CC-policies, but actually the user can not. So 
actually there is no choice for that and none of their content page has 
any CC-declaration on it, except the well known © 2008 Baidu at the 
bottom of the page.

My *personnal* interpretation is that they say: Dear user, you can put 
any CC-licensed content on our page according to that license 
decleration. We support that license. But actually none of their user 
declare which license he or she want to use, or which license the 
content, which they had copy and pasted, use. So the whole thing has in 
the pracise no effect.

Everyone in the chinese community with whom I talked with say that they 
consider this as a farce. They think that Baidu just want to encourage 
its user to copy more content on their site by saying we support everything.

I myself take a slightly positive view. I think that Beidu is moving 
toward the right direction, even if the move has no effect at the 
moment. I cannot say why they introduced that peace of paper which is 
totally inunderstandable, by assuming good will I suggest that is 
because they are clueless and don't understand the cc-license. But I 
think at least formal they recognize that they have a problem and do try 
to resolve that problem. And I think that they are doing that also 
because of us. So I think that what we did in the past, complaining 
publicly and building up public pressure do show result.

So I think that we should continue or even increase this pressure. 
Suppose they really don't understand the whole licensing thing, I also 
think that it is our obligation to give developmental helps whereever we 


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