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

Thomas Dalton thomas.dalton at gmail.com
Sat Mar 21 00:15:08 UTC 2009

2009/3/20 Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com>:
>> If we have, let's say, 10.000.000 of contributors and 1% of them
>> (100.000) is not happy with Wikipedia because of any reason and 1% of
>> them (1000) want to sue WMF or whoever and 1% of them can do it, we'll
>> have 10 big problems. We may fail in just 10% of the cases and we'll
>> suffer from significant consequences.
> This is a version of Pascal's Wager.  I don't really believe, however, the
> risk is even as high as you suggest here.  We'll be fine.

Pascal's Wager involves infinite gain/loss - this is just basic risk
analysis and has nothing at all to do with Pascal's Wager.

I think the percentages given as plausible, but do we really have 10
million contributors? The English Wikipedia apparently has 9,237,657
registered users, but I believe a very large proportion of them have
never made an edit, an even larger proportion won't have any edits
which still exist in articles. I find it very unlikely that there are
10 million contributors, even across all Wikimedia projects, that have
copyrightable contributions. (Of course, I'm ignoring anons - I don't
see how they can realistically sue for copyright infringement.) So I
think the expected number of problematic cases is significantly less
than 1, but it certainly isn't 0.

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