[Wikipedia-l] GFDL and Wikipedia

Axel Boldt axel at uni-paderborn.de
Fri Oct 26 00:35:51 UTC 2001

A couple of comments regarding the recent GFDL debate:

0) The rendering of the GFDL at
   http://www.wikipedia.com/license/index.html sucks rocks. Several
   @acronym's are still there, and the numbering is incorrect
   (Preamble should be 0, the MODIFICATIONS section, when refering to
   sections 2 and 3, means in fact sections 3 and 4.) It would be best
   to simply link to the FSF's version at
   http://www.gnu.org/copyleft.fdl.html. In the sequel, I will use the
   correct section numbers from FSF.

1) It is interesting to learn that every Wikipedia article is
   considered to be a separate GFDL'd work. This should be stated
   somewhere. It has real consequences.

2) Among them: the title of every article has to be changed if the
   article is changed (5.1). To get around this, we would need some
   note on the submit page, stating that the submitter permits 
   to retain the article's title even if the text is changed.

3) To use the GFDL, the license text has to be part of the document. A
   link at the top (after the title) would probably be sufficient.
   This is missing right now. Furthermore, this notice has to state
   the invariant section title (for the link back that you want to
   require) and cover texts (which I assume we don't care about).

4) The five most significant authors (at least) have to be maintained
   in perpetuity (5.2)

5) I have no legal opinion about whether it is permissable to require
   exact layout, down to the colors, of an invariant section. But I
   would like it a lot better if we could relax and tone down our invariant
   section requirement a bit, maybe like this:
     "At prominent position, mention that this material originated at
     Wikipedia.com, the free collaborative encyclopedia, and provide a
     link back to Wikipedia's original article. Here is a suggested
     HTML table to do so:..."
   Imagine I want to put together a website for a class I'm teaching,
   and use materials from Wikipedia. This fat table on every page?


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