[Foundation-l] Reuse policy

Robert Rohde rarohde at gmail.com
Mon Jun 15 18:24:39 UTC 2009

The terms of use for editors will require that editors accept linking
as sufficient attribution; however, the instructions for re-users will
explicitly say that this is only one form of possible attribution and
highlight more permanent forms of attribution, such as creating author
lists.  I would expect that book publishers and other concerned with
permanence would choose a more permanent format.

In the attribution survey of 1000+ editors in March, attribution by
link was the most popular option (though certainly not universally
accepted).  Given that, I would expect that most text contributors
will happily continue editing, and it won't lead to "the end of
Wikimedia projects" as you suggest, even though some individuals may
choose to stop contributing.

-Robert Rohde

On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 10:53 AM, Jiri Hofman<hofmanj at aldebaran.cz> wrote:
> Hello everybody,
> I hope, it is never too late to discuss these things. Today, I have noticed
> the Commons added following text under the edit window:
> "Re-users will be required to credit you, at minimum, through a hyperlink or
> URL to the article you are contributing to, and you hereby agree that such
> credit is sufficient in any medium."
> I was and I am a fan of switching to CC-BY-SA 3.0. However, I am not a fan of
> this violation of freedom which Wikimedia declares for its projects.
> It is true, a similar statement is present at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Licensing_update . But this change was not
> discussed at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Licensing_update/Questions_and_Answers as I
> can see (it was shortly discussed at
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Licensing_update/Questions_and_Answers/Oppositional_arguments ).
> Also it was announced nowhere (as far as I know) that this policy will be
> advertized in this explicite manner. I feel to be cheated. I was voting for
> an easier implementation of freedom. I was definitively not voting for the
> end of freedom. And this statement means the end of freedom.
> Why end of freedom? Just imagine, the Wikimedia will have closed the business.
> Everybody, who used links to provide a sufficient list of authors, will be in
> troubles immediately. Yes, everybody can download dumps. But will this be
> enough? No. For example it will not be possible to easily update just
> published paper books (for example textbooks for children at schools). The
> publisher will not be able to use the freedom, he could think he enjoyed.
> Yes, the publisher can always exactly follow the license. But then Wikimedia
> should not even suggest that something less than exact following of license
> could be enough.
> Similar, may be more understandable problem: just imagine, the article which
> was reused, is deleted in the Wikimedia project. The list of authors will be
> lost in a very similar way like in a case of Wikimedia shutting down
> completely.
> Just another problem: imagine, the Wikimedia foundation will get into
> financial troubles. This can happen very easily (I hope it will not happen
> soon). All the reusers who have thought linking to Wikimedia site was
> sufficient, will be pushed under a serious threat. They can be
> blackmailed: "give to Wikimedia foundation money or you can close your
> business based on CC-BY-SA licensed content."
> And one problem more: what about works of third parties? If somebody issues
> his work under CC-BY-SA 3.0, how could anybody insert it into Wikimedia
> projects when Wikimedia allows to re-use it and not to follow the original
> attribution manner specified by the author? Either nobody could insert the
> works of the third parties into Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia would
> explicitely allow to violate the third party's rights given by license the
> third party have chosen.
> What is a freedom if it cannot be guaranteed for ever in all conditions? It is
> not a freedom anymore. I am an author of quite many texts in Wikimedia
> projects. I can hardly accept my work could be misused in such a way. I do
> not allow to attribute my old works in this way. And I will be not willing to
> continue working at, for example, Wikipedia if this becomes a common policy
> there.
> I understand this does not have to be a big problem at Commons - the image
> descriptions are usually not the most important part of the articles. The
> media (image, video, sound) is. And if I understand it well, the authors of
> the media must be still attributed directly. However, I see it as a major
> problem in case of Wikipedia and similar projects.
> I understand re-using the texts inside Wikimedia project is complicated if the
> attribution means a list of writers. But we should deal with this. It's a
> challenge. We can show the world the collaborative authors can get
> appropriate credits.
> Please, do not apply this policy there. It will be a serious hit into a face
> of freedom. It can mean the authors will not be willing to contribute so much
> anymore. It can mean the Wikimedia foundation will be discredited. It can
> mean the people will not be willing to make donations to the Foundation. It
> can lead to the end of Wikimedia projects.
> Best regards,
> Jiri Hofman
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