[Wikipedia-l] Wikipedia-Specific License?

Lars Aronsson lars at aronsson.se
Fri Oct 26 12:10:40 UTC 2001

Hi, [LA2] here,

I wish I had the time to participate actively in the Wikipedia
licensing discussion.  I don't have that.  But I would like to provide
some pointers for further information, that could be included as
background reading for those who want to go deeper into this.

 * General copyright law:
 ** History of the U.S. system where copyrights were created by
    registration with the Library of Congress copyright office.
 ** The difference between US/UK "copyright" = right to make copies
    vs the central European "Urheberrecht" = right to be recognized
    as the originator.
 ** US copyright law's "public domain" concept is missing in other
    national laws.
 ** The Geneva convention of the 1890s, laying the foundation for
    respecting copyrights across borders
 ** EU harmonization of copyright in the mid 1990s, extending the
    copyright protection term from 50/60/70 years to a harmonized life
    of the author + 70 years
 ** Academic publishing with private publishing houses (Elsevier,
    Springer)  vs electronic self-publishing from the universities,
    and licensing costs for university libraries.  Electronic Journals.
 ** News sources and discussion lists: ALA, RLG, Diglib, VPIEJ,
    Project Gutenberg, Bookpeople-l, UPD-discuss
 ** Current work in WIPO and WTO to globalize copyright law.
 ** The US DMCA.
 ** The EU personal data protection directive

 * Software licensing:
 ** Historic background of computer software licensing: IBMs shifting
    of revenues from punch cards to peripherals to CPUs to software.
 ** Proprietary vendor-specific software solutions vs open standards
 ** Software becomes protected by copyright law in the 1980s.
 ** Software patents.
 ** History of free software and open source code in academia: GPL.
 ** GNU GPL vs BSD license vs Perl Artistic License vs Public Domain
 ** History of GNU FDL.  GNU FDL vs Open Content License
 ** Standardization vs Patents: Cultural differences between IETF and
    ETSI.  The last call from W3C.

 * Weaving the web
 ** Understanding if websites are software, contents or something
    else.  Software is protected by copyright, but what is the best
    form of protection for websites / web-based concepts?
 ** Service marks as opposed to trade marks.
 ** Did the web make it easier to get software patents, because now
    computer software more resembles the telephone network?
 ** Does GNU FDL require or presuppose that the document format is
    stable and openly specified?  What if it isn't?
 ** How do other Wikis handle copyright / licensing issues?

So, I guess there is far more to this topic.  All I know for sure is
that I won't have the time to go any deeper into this.  If any terms
or acronyms were new to you, look them up on the web and write
Wikipedia articles about them.  Best wishes.

  Lars Aronsson (lars at aronsson.se)
  Aronsson Datateknik
  Teknikringen 1e, SE-583 30 Linköping, Sweden
  tel +46-70-7891609

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