[Wikipedia-l] How Wikipedia breaks the GNU/FDL

Alex T. alex756 at nyc.rr.com
Wed Aug 6 16:27:11 UTC 2003

Some of Andre's comments show that a documentation license
(designed for software manuals) may not be the best license to
use for an online wiki knowledge base; regarding authorship,
I have thought that the history pages and links to user pages
fulfills all the authorship requirements of the license, technically
the title page stuff does not make sense, but remember this license
was written for software manuals, not for web pages.

Regarding any technical violations, I doubt that it amounts to anything
more than a non-material breach as the spirit of the license is being
followed, it would seem to me that if someone was using Wikipedia
under the GNU FDL license that if they linked back to the page
they got the material from and put a link to the page history for
the authorship requirement that would show substantial compliance
with the license, even without the link to the page history anyone
who links back to the Wikipedia page is probably complying in
a way to give all third parties sufficient notice to know that it is
a copyleft license with original material and attribution being preserved.

When someone posts material on the wikipedia web site
unless they licencing it (i.e. getting it from a GNU FDL source), they have
right to post it in any form they want, it is anyone who uses Wikipedia
texts that is bound by the GNU FDL, not Wikipedia "itself".  Regarding
cutting and pasting between pages one could interpret the licence that
someone gives Wikipedia as including such broad editing rights, certainly
their is an non-exclusive license given to have one's texts posted on
Wikipedia, however, moving it between pages does prevent one from knowing
the attribution of the author unless someone figures out where the original
page history resides. As the license granted to Wikipedia includes merciless
editing, that should include moving the text to the place it belongs (if
on the wrong page). Quaere: Is moving large blocks of a page a violation of
this license granted to Wikipedia? Certainly the person who posted the
knows that it could be so moved so why shouldn't it be movable?
----- Original Message ----- 
"Andre Engels" <engels at uni-koblenz.de> said on Wednesday, August 06, 2003
3:40 AM

> It seems that the smallest amount of broken rules comes when we consider
> Wikipedia as a "Collection of Documents" rather than "Combined Documents"
> a single document, but in any case we break:
> 4B: We do not list the author of the last version plus at least five
>     of the old version on the title page.
> 4E: We do not add a copyright notice each time a new document is created.
> 4F+addendum: The license notice of Wikipedia is not in the prescribed
>     and it is not put on the title page
> 4I: Our history section is called "<title> Revision history" rather than
>     "History".

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