[Foundation-l] Licensing update: Final steps

geni geniice at gmail.com
Thu Jun 11 00:26:42 UTC 2009

2009/6/9 Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org>:
> All,
> after some internal discussion with the licensing update committee,
> I'm proposing the following final site terms to be implemented on all
> Wikimedia projects that currently use GFDL as their primary content
> license, as well as the relevant multimedia templates:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Licensing_update/Implementation

Well the Terms for edit screen is unacceptably long

The current English wikipedia copyright terms are "You irrevocably
agree to release your contributions under the GFDL" which clocks in at
ten words. There are another 13 words of editing guidance.

Your version clocks in at 112 words or a 380% increase. When dealing
with such widely used interface elements the trick is minimalism.

Moving on to the Project:Terms of use

A Terms of use is a working document. Vision Statements can go elsewhere

"general public" horrid apart from the fact it is flat out false
(legal persons and governments are not normally considered general

"For compatibility reasons, we also ask you to license it under the
GNU Free Documentation License (unversioned, with no invariant
sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts)."

Not good at all. Firstly the reasons are unimportant and secondly we
don't ask we require.

"Information for multimedia contributors"

I think you mean non-text media here (yes I'm aware this in turn
creates issues with tables). Strictly speaking images are not on their
own multimedia.

Information for re-users

Giving what is effectively legal advice is always kinda dicey. Getting
it wrong worse still.

"Attribution of text: To re-distribute an article page in any form,
provide credit to the authors either by including a) a hyperlink
(where possible) or URL to the article or articles you are re-using,
b) a hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable
online copy which is freely accessible, which conforms with the
license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner
equivalent to the credit given on this website, or c) a list of all
authors. (Any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or
irrelevant contributions.)"

Completely false. This at absolute best only applies to content
created after June 15 with no content imported from non wikimedia

"Attribution of rich media: Rich media files must be attributed in any
reasonable manner consistent with the chosen license specified by the

Reasonable to the medium or means. Kinda dicey. Should probably stick
to "must be attributed in a manner consistent with the chosen license
specified by the contributor(s).

btw  "chosen license specified by the contributor(s)." is a horrific
bit of phrasing.

Attribution of externally contributed content yeah its a sensible
sub-clause but it comes in the wrong place. Since the Attribution of
text doesn't even consider the possibility of text that doesn't fall
under it's remit you've got a nice internal contradiction in the TOS.

Copyleft/Share and Share Alike:

You start talking about pages here when before you were talking about
articles. Consistent terminology should be used.

Terms for multimedia files

Another outright error. The eligible files definition claims say FAL
(and more importantly GPL) are eligible for additional licensing.

In practice that whole section would be better left to commons which
has a fair number of people who really know what they are doing with
regards to image licensing. Heh The the Licensing
update/Implementation phrasing is actually so bad it release the
wikipedia logo under the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license.

All in all the whole things suffers from being sloppy and appears
rushed. Poor and inconsistent phrasing, internal contradictions and
legaly questionable assertions.

The June 15 target is unrealistic at this point since some of the
issues are going to be tricky to fix (an awful lot of thought has gone
into the english Terms for edit screen over the years)  or requires
actual decisions.


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