[Foundation-l] TOS and GFDL "Dedications" sections issue

Ilya Schurov ilya.schurov at noo.ru
Tue Apr 14 21:46:22 UTC 2009


Again, I'm not sure this is right place and time to discuss it. But as 
it seems we're discussing new TOS and we wish to continue using GFDL, I 
believe it will be good to discuss the matter now.

GFDL have some kind of sections which should be preserved in derived 
version of GFDL-licensed content. One kind of such sections is 
"Invariant Sections", and they are explicitly forbidden in Wikimedia 
projects. Every contributor acknowledge that their content is licensed 
under GFDL without invariant sections.

However, there are also "Sections entitled Dedications and 
Acknowledgments" in GFDL, which also should be preserved in derivative 
versions. Such a feature of GFDL were abused in Russian Wikipedia 
several times: disruptive editors used this feature to add some kind of 
inflammatory or offensive comments as "dedications" (e.g. using "edit 
summary") and then claimed that those comments should be considered as 
"Section entitled Dedication" and therefore should be preserved as is 
(can't be editor or deleted by admins/oversights, only with article 
text) due to copyright reasons. Certainly, this lead to conflicts 
between editors and finally we added a notice to edit form that state:

"You acknowledge that your contribution does not contain and does not 
produce sections entitled "Dedications" and "Acknowledgments" in the 
terms of GFDL".

I believe that this notice should be added to the TOS to avoid such 
conflicts in future in every Wikimedia project. I also believe this 
would better harmonize GFDL and CC BY-SA licensing, because CC BY-SA 
does not contain any features like "Dedications" in GFDL. And I 
definitely want to become sure that this notice does not violate any 
Foundation regulations about licensing -- neither current nor future, 
because I do not want to give disruptive editors this ability to game 
the system again.

With best regards,
Ilya V. Schurov.

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