[Foundation-l] Licensing transition: opposing points of view

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 04:34:03 UTC 2009

To be clear, my personal position toward any kind authorship
(especially toward "moral rights") is a very negative one. In brief, I
think that this is a kind of bourgeois egotism. In more details, I
think that all of us own to our teachers, they own to their teachers;
which, in fact, means that all of us own to all of our ancestors, from
our parents to amoebas; which should be attributed as well.


On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 4:30 AM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 1) Part 1: Can attribution-by-link be reconciled with the legal code
> of CC-BY-SA?
> Answer: Yes. The "attribution by link" option was explicitly made
> available to authors in CC-BY-SA 2.0 (note difference in section 4.c:
> http://tinyurl.com/cvdbe9 and related blog entry:
> http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/4216 ). Authors also have the
> option to not supply an author name for the purposes of attribution
> ("the Original Author if supplied"). The attribution requirements are
> also tempered by the caveat that they should be "reasonable to the
> medium or means", building in flexibility for situations where, for
> example, providing attribution to all authors directly isn't feasible
> or reasonable.
> Therefore terms of use which require authors to agree to be credited
> by link, and not by name, are consistent with the language of CC-BY-SA.
> This entire reasoning has been explicitly confirmed by Creative Commons
> General Counsel Diane Peters.

This kind of construction makes one copyleft license in practice just
a little bit stronger than public domain. It may be very useful in a
case like Wikipedia articles have, but something is deeply wrong with
it. In other words, in practice it says "You may do whatever you want
with the content while a derivative work is still in PD and you gave a
link to the original source."

This is not copyleft and a lot of people are contributing here because
our content is copylefted. From my amateur point of view, copylefted
material is copyrighted material in a such way that it can't be closed
again. Copyright means that authorship is respected. Respected
authorship means that [relevant] authors are mentioned.

> 2) Part 2: Can such an attribution model be reconciled with moral
> rights provisions in certain jurisdictions?
> Answer: Yes. Moral rights provisions protect an author's right to be
> named, but allow flexibility in how such attribution occurs (for
> example, there is a long history of case law with regard to
> pseudonymous attribution). As long as authors consent to
> terms of use requiring attribution by hyperlink, such attribution is
> consistent with moral rights. Such consent has already been given
> for existing edits (see below).

Moral rights are not respected because:

1) If authors won't be able to say that their name should be kept --
or it won't be a widely known fact.
2) If it would be an option, authors wouldn't be represented equally.
Just authors which explicitly say that they want to be attributed --
will be attributed.

To resume: I am happy to see that WMF intends to make a great shift
from bourgeois egotism to a reasonable attribution. But, I am quite
unsure about the consequences which will be brought with it, inside of
the world full of bourgeois egotism.

More information about the foundation-l mailing list