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Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]
Of possible interest to LG in that it's another notable episode in the perennial "What's a good free licence for non-software content?" debate.
----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <email@example.com> -----
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 22:28:28 -0800 From: Rick Moen <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: LWN article: Wikipedia transition from GFDL to CC BY-SAThose of you who are Linux Weekly News subscribers, please see: http://lwn.net/Articles/305892/
GFDL 1.3: Wikipedia's exit permit by Jonathan Corbet November 5, 2008
[...] Members of the Wikipedia project have wanted to move away from the GFDL for some time. [...] The presence of the "or any later version" language allows Wikipedia content to be distributed under the terms of later versions of the GFDL with no need to seek permission from individual contributors. Surprisingly, the Wikimedia Foundation has managed to get the Free Software Foundation to cooperate in the use of the "or any later version" permission to carry out an interesting legal hack. [...]
In other words, GFDL-licensed sites like Wikipedia have a special, nine-month window in which they can relicense their content to the Creative Commons attribution-sharealike license. This works because (1) moving to version 1.3 of the license is allowed under the "or any later version" terms, and (2) relicensing to CC-BY-SA is allowed by GFDL 1.3.
LWN articles become available to the general public after eight days, so non-subscribers will be able to read the story starting Nov. 13.
----- End forwarded message -----
Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]
2008/11/21 Rick Moen <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
> Of possible interest to LG in that it's another notable episode in the > perennial "What's a good free licence for non-software content?" debate. >
Well heck, even Debian like CC-BY-SA 3: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=445057 (they also seem to like Affero GPL 3, but that has specific GPL-compatibility written into it)
Anyway, they have a FAQ: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/fdl-1.3-faq.html
Q. What are the changes in FDL 1.3? A. The primary change is the addition of section 11. This new provision allows certain materials released under this license to also be used under the terms of CC-BY-SA 3.0. For more information about exactly what materials can be licensed this way, see the related questions below. As part of this change, we also introduced a new definition in section 1. We also borrowed a couple of changes from GPLv3. The first is in section 9, which explains how the license can be terminated when you violate it. We now provide a means for violators to automatically have their rights restored if they cure the violation. The second is in section 10: now licensors can choose a proxy who is allowed to decide whether or not a work can be licensed under the terms of future versions of the FDL. A Postscript file showing marked-up changes from FDL 1.2 to FDL 1.3 is available for your review. Q. What is the rationale behind these changes? A. Section 11 has been added to allow wikis like Wikipedia to use FDL-covered works under the terms of CC-BY-SA 3.0 if they choose to do so. They have told us that they would like to explore this option, and adding this provision gives them a clear path to do so. Normally, these sorts of licensing decisions can and should be handled by the copyright holder(s) of a particular work. However, because Wikipedia has many copyright holders, the project needed some alternative way to accomplish this, and we've worked with them to provide that. The other changes are minor improvements that were easy to make while we were at it. They've met with wide approval in GPLv3, and they don't change the license's fundamental permissions or requirements at all. Q. Exactly what material can be licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0? A. In order to license an FDL-covered work under CC-BY-SA 3.0, a few conditions must be met: The work must be available under the terms of FDL 1.3, which provides you with this permission. If the work was released under the terms of "the GNU Free Documentation License, version 1.2 or (at your option) any later version," then it meets this criteria. The work must not have any "Cover Texts" or "Invariant Sections." These are optional features in all versions of the FDL. If the work was originally published somewhere other than a public wiki, it must have been added to a wiki (or some other kind of web site where the general public could review and edit the materials) before November 1, 2008. All FDL-covered material added to Wikipedia before November 1, 2008 satisfies these conditions.
Jimmy O'Regan [joregan at gmail.com]
2008/11/21 Jimmy O'Regan <email@example.com>:
> 2008/11/21 Rick Moen <firstname.lastname@example.org>: >> Of possible interest to LG in that it's another notable episode in the >> perennial "What's a good free licence for non-software content?" debate. >> > > Well heck, even Debian like CC-BY-SA 3: > http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=445057 > (they also seem to like Affero GPL 3, but that has specific > GPL-compatibility written into it) >
...and by 'Debian', I mean 'Debian's ftp-masters', who have the real decision-making power concerning licences in Debian.
Rick Moen [rick at linuxmafia.com]
Quoting Jimmy O'Regan (email@example.com):
> Well heck, even Debian like CC-BY-SA 3: > http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=445057 > (they also seem to like Affero GPL 3, but that has specific > GPL-compatibility written into it)
Found via that hyperlink, and highly recommended: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Version_3#Debian Page has very perceptive, enlightening, and diplomatic commentary by Creative Commons General Counsel Mia Garlick. Among the insights is the complication added to any licensing problem by issues of international law.
Concerning the general tenor of debian-legal members' comments on the v. 2.5 releases of CC's Attribution and Attribution-ShareAlike licences, Ms. Garlick wrote: "it seemed clear to Creative Commons that, for the most part, minor amendments and clarifications to the licenses should be able to address debian-legal's concerns".
I remember those seeing "concerns" at the time, having followed discussion as (in general) a lurker on debian-legal, and being pretty disgusted at the pigheadedness of the objections -- which (as you say) do not in any way speak for the Debian Project but are often believed in error to do so, and which often serve to remind observers that any ol' Asperger's-victim net.random can post to debian-legal and that many do. (There. That should nicely balance out Ms. Garlick's courtesy and diplomacy. ;-> )
What particularly disgusted me was the biggest complaint, which concerned the trademark disclaimer at the bottom of the 2.5 licence pages -- which was not, itself, part of the licence. It said, in part:
Except for the limited purpose of indicating to the public that the Work is licensed under the CCPL, neither party will use the trademark "Creative Commons" or any related trademark or logo of Creative Commons without the prior written consent of Creative Commons. Any permitted use will be in compliance with Creative Commons' then-current trademark usage guidelines, as may be published on its website or otherwise made available upon request from time to time.
Various contributors to debian-legal claimed that this disclaimer rendered Attribution 2.5 and Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 non-free, showing utter cluelessness about the realities and nature of trademark law: They demanded that CC alter the page to eliminate the suggestion of compliance with a trademark policy. Of course, they should have twigged to what "the limited purpose of indicating to the public that the Work is licensed under the CCPL" refers to: It's a rights grant exactly sufficient to the needs of the licence, and ensures that CC's trademark ownership would not be an obstacle.
Other debian-legal objections to the CC 2.5 variants were, in my opinion, similarly deficient in clue (except for those to the anti-TPM clauses, which Garlick discusses at length). Given that I'm a longtime Debian sysadmin, that clue deficiency rather annoyed me at the time. It's good that the 3.0 variants have placated the critics, anyway, even though, in my view, in general the changes have constituted textual workarounds to critics' inability to understand real-world trademark and copyright law in context.
-- Cheers, "I'm sorry Dan, what's right isn't always popular, Rick Moen and what's popular isn't always right." firstname.lastname@example.org -- George R. Moscone, Nov. 27, 1978