[Foundation-l] RfC: License update proposal

Nikola Smolenski smolensk at eunet.yu
Sat Jan 31 23:33:21 UTC 2009

On Saturday 31 January 2009 11:23:33 Ray Saintonge wrote:
> David Goodman wrote:
> > My view is that any restriction of distribution that is not absolutely
> > and unquestionably legally  necessary is a violation of the moral
> > rights of the contributors. We contributed to a free encyclopedia, in
> > the sense that the material could be used freely--and widely. We all
> > explicitly agreed there could be commercial use, and most of us did
> > not particularly concern ourselves with how other commercial or
> > noncommercial sites would use or license the material, as long as what
> > we put on Wikipedia could be used by anyone.
> Precisely!  To a large extent, we are effectively releasing our work
> into the public domain, except for the fact that in some countries this

No, we are not, and it is ridiculous to even think that. First of all, I would most certainly not work on Wikipedia or any similar project if that would mean that my work is put in the public domain.

> is not allowed.  Also, putting a work into the public domain means
> abandoning our rights of action in the event that there is infringement

No, it does not. Even if we have had put our work in public domain, in most jurisdictions we would still retain our moral rights. No one would be allowed to claim to be the author, for example.

> on that public ownership. There is no custodian of the public domain to
> take action when the copyrights of the general public have been infringed.

Yes, there is. For example, Copyright law of Serbia explicitly specifies (Article 56) that author's heirs, associations of authors and scientific and art institutions are entitled to protect moral rights of the authors.

> edit each others' work mercilessly.  Having a long list of names in
> 2-point type just so that the individual editor can see his name in
> print is wasteful and contrary to the spirit of our collective effort.

It is not having editors' names anywhere that is wasteful and contrary to the spirit of our collective effort. People are doing what they are because they take pride of what they do. If people are not properly credited, fewer people will work on the projects. If people are not properly credited, they will care less about their reputation and write worse. There is absolutely nothing to gain, and a number of things to lose from not crediting the authors.

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