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

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Mar 20 04:54:03 UTC 2009

2009/3/19 Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com>:
> This kind of construction makes one copyleft license in practice just
> a little bit stronger than public domain.

Um, no. The power of copyleft is in preserving freedom to re-use on
derivatives. Can you point to any piece of writing that somehow links
copyleft inherently to attribution? I consider the two to be
completely de-linked, and some people have in fact proposed copyleft
licenses which do not require attribution.

That said, that is a philosophical tangent, because we're not
proposing to remove attribution. We're not even proposing to alter it:
We're proposing terms of use that are consistent with what's currently
written on pages such as Wikipedia:Copyrights, and with what Wikipedia
itself has been doing since its inception.

Essentially, the underlying theory is that for massively collaborative
works, linking to a copy that includes the change history is a
reasonable alternative to including the change history directly. The
attribution terms are phrased precisely to assure that this author
credit is retained in the linked-to copy, when author credit is not
directly given.

In this regard, the terms represent an improvement to what's currently
stated in our terms of re-use. By switching to CC-BY-SA, we reconcile
those terms with the content license.

> 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.

No, you're confusing terms of participation in a project like
Wikipedia with moral rights. Wikipedia can set its own terms of
participation in any way that's reasonably consistent with the
fundamental legal philosophy of moral rights. Linking to a copy of the
content that includes author credit satisfies that criterion.
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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