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

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 19:10:46 UTC 2009

On Fri, Mar 20, 2009 at 5:54 AM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 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.

* Copyleft is a specific form of copyright.
* Even attribution-only licenses are, also, a specific form of copyright.
* Just PD, which exists in some jurisdictions for non-state entities,
is not linked inherently to attribution.

I don't have anything against redefining copyleft out of the copyright
scope, if it is possible. I am just pointing to the fact that any kind
of present licenses is a form of copyright and that non-attribution
doesn't exist in any form of copyright.

> 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.

Yes, it is useful and reasonable. Personally, l don't have problems with it.

>> 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.

Wikipedia is a content author or not? If it is a provider, it may
demand just non-exclusive and non-transitive terms, like Yahoo, Google
or Facebook are demanding.

Not mentioning important authors is not consistent to the legal
philosophy of moral rights. I know that it isn't easy to define who
are the important authors of one article...

Again, personally, I don't have problems with it. However, I think
that the present construction of the attribution issue is far from
well defined and that it leaves WMF projects in extremely vulnerable
position. Just a small group of malicious persons may make a real mess
with attribution conditions. And probability for that is huge.

If something is not legally valid, it may not pass as an argument at
the court. I don't think that agreement "you don't need to mention my
name as an author" is legally valid out of Anglo-Saxon legal systems.
This means that any Wikipedia author may make hundreds of thousands of
edits and after that demand that her or his name should be mentioned
at all pages. Even he or she agreed previously with conditions of not
mentioning his or her name.

BTW, I would be really happy to see the success of this issue because
it would make a huge precedent in copyright legislation. Actually, it
would make copyright fairly useless: Who would willing to use
copyrighted material when it is possible to use good PD-with-link

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