[Foundation-l] status of the licensing update

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Sat Mar 14 09:21:07 UTC 2009

Robert Rohde wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 8:38 PM, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
> <cimonavaro at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Personally I can't fully agree. Where no new problems are
>> introduced, and old obstacles are removed, the move can
>> be a good thing in itself, irregardless of the ambiguities
>> that were there before, and still remain.
> <snip>
>> I disagree quite clearly that it should be a pre-condition.
>> I don't think keeping an ongoing discussion of the issue
>> concurrently would necessarily be counterproductive.
>> But when it comes down to brass tacks, for reasonable
>> people it should be enough that CC-BY-SA is a vastly
>> better license for what we do. Period.
> <snip>
> Relicensing is not free.  It adds a new layer of potential confusion,
> exposes us to various legal uncertainties, and generates non-trivial
> hassle (not least of which is the sometimes-but-not-always dual
> licensing scheme that we would have to keep track of).
As RMS himself has said (ipse dixit), moving to CC-BY-SA
removes encumbrances that are there for reasons that
don't apply to us (massively collaborative projects that
aren't a sideshow to computer programs, to put it bluntly).
I don't understand what is that hard to understand about that.

There are no legal uncertainties that WMF is exposed to therein.
That is simply balderdash. Dual, or for that matter multiple licensing
should be viewed as a liberating rather than a hassle generating
factor. Come on. We are giving more choice to the reusers, who
exactly is being hassled here?

And for the mercy of all that is merciful, why on earth would
it be incumbent on the foundation to keep track of anything
done about the content, except as a hobby or as a way of
making sure the trademark was not diluted (nothing to do
with content licensing at all)?
> I do not consider those issues insurmountable.
> However, if we are going to relicense (and ultimately I think we
> should get away from the GFDL) then it is also important that we get
> something useful at the end of the day.  You say: "CC-BY-SA is a
> vastly better license for what we do", but that is only true if
> CC-BY-SA is demonstrably useful.  The point I am trying to make is
> that in order for CC-BY-SA to be useful we should be prepared to
> concretely show examples of how it can and should be used.  If we
> can't do that, then it largely is not useful.

No, this is not accurate. Just saying that problems are
removed is enough. We are not in the business of giving
medical advice, and by the same token we should not
be in the business of giving legal advice, even about our
own content. Period.


Jussi-Ville Heiskanen

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