Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Wikipedia Community Vote On License Migration

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the raise-your-hand dept.

The Internet 95

mlinksva writes "A Wikipedia community vote is now underway on migrating to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as the main content license for Wikimedia Foundation projects. This would remove a legal barrier to reusing Wikipedia content (now under the Free Documentation License, intended for narrow use with software documentation, because Wikipedia started before CC existed) in other free culture projects and vice versa."

cancel ×

95 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Existing content? (4, Insightful)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564119)

What about existing content? I don't recall being asked to allow my edits to be re-licensed later. Won't they face the same problem Linux would if it went to GPLv3?

Re:Existing content? (5, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564179)

I don't recall being asked to allow my edits to be re-licensed later.

Think of your edits as free promotion for your concerts, and figure to make your money on T-Shirt sales.

Re:Existing content? (2)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564243)

Oh, I'm not annoyed by it, I was just pointing out the apparent flaw.

Re:Existing content? (1, Redundant)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565569)

I'm sorry, I don't quite get it. Can you give me a car analogy instead?

Re:Existing content? (4, Informative)

bcmm (768152) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564225)

I should have voted before posting:

"make all content currently distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License (with later version clause) additionally available under CC-BY-SA 3.0, as explicitly allowed through the latest version of the GFDL;"

That clause seems to be written specially for Wikipedia:

"Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.
...
The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

Neat legal hack...

Re:Existing content? (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564361)

Neat legal hack...

I don't think that special-casing a specific corner case qualifies as "neat". But a hack it is, that's for sure.

Re:Existing content? (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564579)

Neat legal hack...

Or a clear violation of basic FLOSS principles like "No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups", depending on how you look at it since it discriminates against everyone not Wikipedia. If the FSF can do that, there's in principle nothing against releasing a GPL4 that said "You have the right to relicense to BSD, as long as you're Richard Matthew Stallman". Or just make an equally bullshit definition that fits just him. Despite their good intentions I think it sets a bad precedent that is much broader.

Re:Existing content? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565009)

The FSF doesn't need to play games with GNU software, they require copyright assignment to the FSF (I'm talking specifically about GNU software here, not any software licensed under the GPL).

Basically, the GFDL trick demonstrates that the 'or later' clause means you damn well better trust the person who defines later.

Re:Existing content? (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565859)

The GFDL is not intended or suited to be used for Wiki articles; it is for documentation, and includes terms and options that not only render it a non-free license but also present practical issues for a Wiki.

If you use a license for something totally outside its intended scope, you should not be surprised if future versions are problematic for you, or if their workaround is to allow a different license (altogether) to be used instead.

Wikipedia article pages are not software. And the FSF don't single out or discriminate against Wikipedia specifically, in the relicense option.

However, they do effect time-based discrimination on projects that haven't been created yet.

Suddenly after that magic date Aug 1, 2009, certain rights automatically get revoked from you.

That's a timebomb, and a horrible idea. They should have at least instead published a new license revision 1.4, that would allow document authors to exclude the relicense right by utilizing the new version of the license.

Re:Existing content? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569057)

The fact that they didn't specify Wikipedia in the license text is academic, they generated the new license in cooperation with Wikipedia.

Personally, I don't have any skin in this game, but I would hesitate to use a FSF license with the or later clause intact (but I would have prior to this).

Re:Existing content? (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27577691)

The worry is not about the copyright assignment. The worrying thing is that they encourage people to put "and any later version of the GPL" on software, and lots of people (me included) do so.

So a GPL4 that says "Richard Stallman can sell closed-source versions of this" would technically be possible and would affect a lot of GPL software, not just stuff with FSF copyright assignment. It would not affect Linux because the "any later version" text was deleted.

Seriously though I would not be worried. Any real scenario where such a thing would happen would be so obviously bogus, where the new license is obviously violating the principles that were behind the license, that I think it would be easy to legally argue that it is invalid.

Re:Existing content? (1)

jakykong (1474957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565039)

The clause looks like it applies to just about every wiki to me... and there are lots of those.

Anyway, I believe it has to do with the fact that Creative Commons didn't exist with the previous version (correct? I gathered that from the article... Didn't check that yet), or some similar situation. That CC happens to be a better license for such content, and the FSF seems to have decided this too, seems to make sense to me. Having a path for moving from one to the other makes some sense to me.

Re:Existing content? (2)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565477)

Which is a perfect example of why, in all GPL code I have written, I remove the "or later versions" clause.

Re:Existing content? (2, Interesting)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 5 years ago | (#27572589)

That creates a problem of its own, in that it locks the project into the current version of the license.

A much more sensible option should be to redirect the "or later" clause to yourself: rewrite the GPL in your code to be updated by you, instead of "as published by the FSF". That way you keep some control of your project as the original creator, and don't doom it to have an eventually obsolete license.

Re:Existing content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27567229)

What? Bad precedent? This applies when you're trying to create a strict set of rules that are for a group of people who you can't be trusted, and define precisely what you're allowed to do, to avoid intentional or unintentional misinterpretation.

FSF is not driven by a set of such rules, but by a set of principles, which is exactly the opposite. They are trying to create "rules" (licenses) that match their principles, and are doing pretty good job. This time, they have made the right decision, allowing the migration to a license that has the same spirit as their on. And they decided that what you call "group discrimination" was necessary. I believe they were right, think a bit to see why, but even if they aren't, they haven't broken their principles here at all. They tried to do the best that follows them. By the way there is no discrimination, because every person and group gets exactly the same from the works under GFDL, and they will continue even after potentional relicensing.

If they put "You have the right to relicense to BSD as long as you're Richard Stallman", that would break their core principles, while it sounds to be the same. First, the license is different in spirit and someone preferring the GPL would be very unhappy with such change, second, Wikipedia is not only an online community, but a huge repository of articles which terribly needs switching to a sane license, and rms is just some guy.

Re:Existing content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569893)

Despite their good intentions I think it sets a bad precedent that is much broader.

As an editor with hundreds of anonymous edits and only a few under my recently setup UID, this also sets another scary precedent.

There is a need to control spam and colbertism on The Big Wiki. When asking for votes for keep or delete on articles, the deletionists [wikimedia.org] have thrown out keep votes of people without "enough" edits. Add to that some deletionists going to voter's user pages throwing out trivial edits when counting to the "enough" edits and they can quickly shrink the pool enough to ensure a win.

If 25 edits is what it takes for an account to be considered eligible for this massive of a vote, then that standard will get held up in the little battles in those discussion pages. After all, if it is good enough [wikipedia.org] for the license it should be good enough for everything, right?

But at least you will know that if you want a REAL Wikipedia account, you need to save up 25 major edits before you or your sock puppets register.

Re:Existing content? (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565279)

That clause seems to be written specially for Wikipedia:

Actually, it's written for Wikipedia and all wikis that went with GFDL for Wikipedia compatibility -- the idea is to get everyone shifted over to a more appropriate license. The "August 1, 2009 or earlier" clause is there to prevent license-washing of GFDL content: you can't, for example, use the GFDL 1.3 to put the Emacs manual up on a wiki and then re-license it as CC-BY-SA.

Re:Existing content? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565939)

The deadline isn't what prevents that sort of thing, it's the other restriction: (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

i.e. Works added to a Wiki or edits made after November 1, 2008 cannot be relicensed under the relicense option.

For Wikipedia, that would probably mean they need to discard all edits made in the past 5 months which are not properly subject to the relicense option, if they really want to be safe and stay within the GFDL requirements for section 11.

Otherwise, if not for that limit: uh, why can't you, as long as you think to do it before August 1, 2009?

If the "Aug 1" date were really for that -- someone could in theory do that now, create a new Wiki, search the web, find all printed books, documents, etc, under the GFDL (like the Emacs book), and add every single bit they could find to their MMC, then relicense the MMC (before the Aug 1 deadline).

Re:Existing content? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565345)

"MMC Site"... means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server....

Neat legal hack...

Wikipedia links to v1.2 of the GFDL, which doesn't mention MMC. I licensed my contributions to them under the GFDL. They are not the owners of the content, as their copyright page clearly states in a big read box. If they try to relicense that content, it'll be copyright infringement.

But perhaps they're just thinking of new content?

Re:Existing content? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565825)

Actually, the copyright warning contains a link to this page [wikipedia.org] , which states that: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;

Meaning distribution is permissible under the terms of 1.3 as well, which includes the time-limited option to RELICENSE.

Re:Existing content? (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567675)

Perhaps, but I'd never read that until yesterday, and I doubt many others had either. The wikipedia footer specifically links to the original 1.2 license, and I think it's valid to see other contributions with that footer, and trust that your contributions will be using that specific license. Technically, you're correct, but I wouldn't want to bet on which way it would go in court.

Re:Existing content? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568463)

This is really the same as software that contains the clause " This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

The text of the license itself includes the provision to use the terms offered by any future version.

There's no specific licensing requirement to include a copy of the version of the license in advance, whose terms will be used.

If use of 1.3 is permissible as indicated by the terms provided under 1.2, the options 1.3 provides can be exercised when redistributing....

Unless you're suggesting the clauses permitting future versions are not permissible despite the fact that the text of the 1.2 license says that redistribution under the terms of future versions of the license is a permissible act.

Re:Existing content? (2, Informative)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564291)

The GFDL license [gnu.org] , under which the current Wikipedia content is licensed, has a "or any later version" clause, which Wikipedia uses [wikipedia.org] .

With the newest update of the GFDL, the FSF introduced a new section, 11. RELICENSING, specifically designed to handle this update:

11. RELICENSING

"Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.

"CC-BY-SA" means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco, California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license published by that same organization.

"Incorporate" means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.

An MMC is "eligible for relicensing" if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

Re:Existing content? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565805)

A special clause the FSF introduced into the GFDL allows GFDL [gnu.org] works to be relicensed, see Section 11.

11. RELICENSING

This was because the CC-BY-SA was a license that did not exist at the time the GFDL was the only free documentation license available.

The GFDL was intended to be part of the "licensing stack" for copyleft software; a counterpart to the GPL for copyleft software, where the code itself would be GPL, the documentation would be GFDL.

It was never designed to be used for sites like Wikipedia; but they wanted to make content freely available, and GFDL was the only thing really available to pick.

When more appropriate alternatievs came up, it makes sense that they adjusted the license to simply allow conversion to the alternative, for those class of works it was appropriate for, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel.

Copyright relicensing 101 (2, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567109)

Because so many here are clueless about copyright licensing, I thought I'd give a brief explanation of what it entails.

See many people think that you can't relicense a work without explicit agreement of anybody and everybody who ever edited that work. Picture go through the mind like vast emails asking a submitter about the semicolon at the end of line 35,219 in one of over a million files.

But if that were the case, a work could basically NEVER be relicensed! You're never going to get explicit permission from everybody (or even a majority) who has submitted to wikipedia.

Instead, there's a legal process wherein the license change is proposed in a very public forum, clearly documented as such, for a 'reasonable' period of time which depends on the work in question, the number of people involved, and the reqirements of the legal jurisdiction(s) in question.

During this time, having been given legally recognized reasonable notice, copyright holdeers can either agree to the change (by doing nothing) or they can object to the claim and withdraw copyrights to their works. This process (or very similar) exists around the world and applies when there are many people holding copyrights to a shared work. In practice, it works something like the legal notice section in your local newspaper, only in this case, it's global. (you do know about the legal notice section in your local paper, right?)

IANAL and all that, but I have done a fair share of legal stuffi n pro per, etc....

But it may be more simple than that: when you submitted your work(s) to wikipedia, dd you READ the license you were submitting it under? In many cases (not necessarily Wikipedia) you are granting the copyrights themselves to the receiver. AFAIK, WP doesn't work this way or they wouldn't have become so popular.

So the question comes back to you: Do you disagree with the license change? And if not, which of your submissions do you object to them using under the new license?

Re:Copyright relicensing 101 (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567397)

But if that were the case, a work could basically NEVER be relicensed!

So? If lots and lots of people have submitted to a work under a certain conditions WHY should it be possible to change that without their active consent?

Instead, there's a legal process wherein the license change is proposed in a very public forum, clearly documented as such, for a 'reasonable' period of time which depends on the work in question, the number of people involved, and the reqirements of the legal jurisdiction(s) in question.

In the words of wikipedia [[citation needed]], in the US there'd probably be a class action where some lawyers would get rich and the rest screwed but in most other countries you'll be open for lawsuits for the next 150 years.

Re:Copyright relicensing 101 (1)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568607)

Because one of the conditions they agreed to when the submitted the work was that they granted permission for just such a change at a later date without their active consent. They essentially signed a contract that said 'by signing this contract, you grant us to change the contract that you signed in certain ways at a later date, without needing to ask you.' Terrible idea to agree to that if you're signing a real estate contract. Perfectly reasonable if you're donating content to a free encyclopedia that needs the flexibility to adapt to licenses that provide them with better options for distribution and incorporation of free content.

Re:Copyright relicensing 101 is UNTRUE (1)

khanyisa (595216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567833)

This is rubbish. If you can't get explicit agreement from a contributor you need to trace them down or replace their contribution, unless you have explicitly obtained the contribution under a licensing agreement.

In this case, Wikimedia's licensing agreement under which contributions were made explicitly allows changing the license to a later version of GFDL, and the latest version of that allows relicensing under CC-BY-SA 3.0 - see many other posts here for the full explanation.

So the voting is about whether Wikimedia's community agree with the policy, not about whether you agree with your submissions being relicensed - you already gave them that right (without assigning copyright to them)

Re:Copyright relicensing 101 (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569993)

Really? So if someone wants to relicence the latest movie DVD they have under a Creative Commons licence, all they have to do is propose it in a public forum, and if the movie company doesn't object, it's okay?

During this time, having been given legally recognized reasonable notice, copyright holdeers can either agree to the change (by doing nothing) or they can object to the claim and withdraw copyrights to their works.

Firstly, what does "withdraw copyrights" mean?

If you mean refuse to allow their contributions to be distributed under the new licence, then that would create major problems too. Are you really suggesting that for everyone who's edited on Wikipedia, who opposes this change, then Wikipedia will have to remove all of their edits?

But it may be more simple than that: when you submitted your work(s) to wikipedia, dd you READ the license you were submitting it under? In many cases (not necessarily Wikipedia) you are granting the copyrights themselves to the receiver. AFAIK, WP doesn't work this way or they wouldn't have become so popular.

No, the way it works is that you agree your edits to be distributed under the GFDL. This is why Wikipedia can do what they do. AIUI, this change is allowed due to the "or any later version" clause.

But it doesn't mean that people can relicencing other people's content, just so long as they don't explicitly object! If so, that would be an immediate defence for anyone sharing files on bittorrent - "But they didn't object to me doing this".

But if that were the case, a work could basically NEVER be relicensed!

There are three ways to relicence a work:
* Get the copyright assigned to you (done for most businesses).
* Relicence under terms compatible with the licence you got them to submit the work as (what Wikipedia are doing, AIUI).
* Require explicit permission from the copyright holder.

Sorry - for someone who claims "so many here are clueless about copyright licensing", you're talking complete rubbish I'm afraid. If copyright law worked the way you claimed, things would look very different.

No Matter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564171)

It is all a steaming pile of crap anyway.

Re:No Matter (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564351)

Mod parent up.
Wikipedia is made of shit and run by shit.

Re:No Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565933)

A-Fucking-Men.

Prohibited on many college campuses now due to inaccuracies, misinterpretations of the original cites and bias.

Re:No Matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27592623)

"Prohibited"? What kind of shitty university are you attending that imposes ridiculous restrictions about filtering web content?

The "later version" clause (4, Informative)

ErMaC (131019) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564211)

Existing content contributed to Wikipedia was done under the GFDL license, which like the standard GPLv2 includes a "or later version" clause. Wikipedia's license includes this clause.
The latest version of the GFDL now contains a section I think written to specifically allow Wikimedia to do this. See section 11, "Relicensing" here:
http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html [gnu.org]

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

lfaraone (1463473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564307)

Existing content contributed to Wikipedia was done under the GFDL license, which like the standard GPLv2 includes a "or later version" clause. Wikipedia's license includes this clause. The latest version of the GFDL now contains a section I think written to specifically allow Wikimedia to do this.

Kinda. It's broad, in that it allows pretty much any wiki to do the same thing, but it *was* a collab between WMF and the FSF.

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564683)

So when I relicense it under GPLvMINE, which allows me to give you the finger and do whatever I want with it, what are you going to do then?

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566605)

I would sue you for copyright infringement. The GFDL specifies that relicensed content must use the CC-BY-SA license. Any other questions?

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564981)

includes a "or later version" clause.

IANAL, but such a clause sounds extremly questionable legally speaking.

The right to disagree is a very fundamental right. I doubt that courts would allow you to just give up that right as it would imbalance the whole contract section of the law.

Now, someone in another thread said that the license is backwards compatible so it may be of no interest here. But I am just curious about that clause in specific as it seems to be used in more than one open source license, and I just can't see how the courts would allow it to be leglly enforceable.

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565157)

IANAL, but such a clause sounds extremly questionable legally speaking.

You can sign away all your rights, so I don't see why "or later" shouldn't be legal even if it means the same as "the people in charge of the license can relicense it any way they agree on". It'd be pretty close to a copyright assignment except you keep your own rights and your name by the (c). It might be that developers don't understand what they're doing, but I doubt other developers will be held accountable for their ignorance.

Re:The "later version" clause (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565207)

>You can sign away all your rights,

Not really, there are several fundamental rights that a simple contract cannot contravene. lrn2law

You're right, but it's worse than that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568101)

You're right. At least under Dutch law, the clause would be illegal. For it to be legal, Wikipedia should either have explicitly asked their contributors to give up any copyright claims to their contributions, which they did not do (in fact Wikipedia explicitly stated that contributors kept their copyright, allowing relicensing of their own contributions if they wanted), or it should have included some kind of termination clause, granting contributors the right to opt out of the license switch. American law may work differently though.
That being said, contributors were never asked to license their contibutions under arbitrary versions of the GFDL in the first place. The link on the article edit page used to go to a specific version of the GFDL.
Of course, it doesn't actually matter whether it is a legal move or not. Because no one wants to be the person who drags Wikipedia to court over this, they can implement the license change without fearing the law. Now, if you or I were to try something similar we'd find ourselves in court the next day. And that's why I think this is a bad thing for the Wikimedia foundation to do. Not because I dislike CC so much (I don't particularly) but because they're saying "the law doesn't apply to us", or phrasing it differently, they're advocating rule of force over rule of law. It may be that they've become sufficiently irreplacable that the law indeed does not fully apply to them anymore, but if they start exploiting that position to undermine either equality of law or the concept that people cannot be bound to contract terms they didn't agree to, they're doing society more long term harm than the good (however plentiful) their encyclopaedia has brought.

Re:You're right, but it's worse than that (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27636571)

American law works differently.

The issue here is not copyright law.

Licenses are an aspect of *contract* law, and you can grant damned near anything in American contract law, unless it explicitly contradicts other statutes or "public policy".

There's nothing about "or any later version" that carries those connotations, so there's no reason why a contributor would be deemed unable to agree to that term, and therefore it's valid.

(IANAL, E)

Re:The "later version" clause (1)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27568307)

These licenses do not include an "or later version" clause. A project may declare that a given license or later version may be used, but is not required to do so. The linux kernel is the most famous example of a project that only allows v2 of the GPL.

Backwards compatible (5, Informative)

rhinokitty (962485) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564221)

The CCSA is backwards compatible [gnu.org] with the GFDL.

Vote yes! (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564437)

If you have a WP account with at least 25 edits before March 15, please vote yes on this. The only reason WP picked GFDL was that CC-BY-SA didn't exist when WP began. GFDL and CC-BY-SA are the same style of license; they're both GPL-ish as opposed to BSD-ish, because they both require derived works to be under the same license. GFDL sucks for a variety of reasons:

  1. It's long.
  2. It's got a windbaggy ideological preamble; people shouldn't be forced to put their support behind a particular politically loaded credo just because they want to contribute to WP.
  3. Although GFDL can be a free license, it can also be a non-free license if you choose to use it with some of the optional parts like invariant subsections. This creates confusion, and has also caused lots of smart people to waste amazing amounts of time arguing and worrying about it, e.g., Debian wrangled for months before eventually deciding to exclude certain documentation that was under non-free versions of the GFDL.

CC-BY-SA is far more widely used at this point. Switching to CC-BY-SA eliminates legal hassles that would otherwise be involved in making derived workds using WP. As a concrete example, I wrote some CC-BY-SA-licensed books [lightandmatter.com] , and when I want to use a photo or something from WP, the GFDL licensing creates hassles. I ended up having to dual-license the books, and that shouldn't be necessary. If people want to use the commons (both putting in and taking out), there shouldn't be artificial barriers to doing so.

Plenty of people have already posted about the legal aspects of why relicensing is possible, but the long and the short of it is that relicensing complies with both the letter and the spirit of the law. It complies with the letter of the law because of the later version clause. It complies with it in spirit because GFDL and CC-BY-SA are similar types of licenses, just implemented badly in one case and well in the other.

Re:Vote yes! (4, Informative)

DanielHast (1333055) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564553)

Mod parent up. That's the basic idea: GFDL was never really designed for something like Wikipedia, and CC-BY-SA accomplishes the same thing much more elegantly while preserving the intent of the GFDL.

One other issue is ease of compliance. The CC-BY-SA license only requires attribution "reasonable to the medium", including the author(s), title, and URI where applicable. The GFDL has the additional requirement that the entire text of the GFDL be included with every copy of any part of the work. This makes technical compliance much more difficult, and thus conflicts with Wikipedia's goal of widespread distribution in many mediums.

Re:Vote yes! - My stupid OSS license rant (-1, Flamebait)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564671)

Why should vote for yet another license that claims to be about freedom while consisting of a long list of restrictions?

Don't give me the 'it complies with the spirit' bullshit, if it was the same it wouldn't be a new license. It complies with the spirit in YOUR eyes, if its different, you can't assume that everyone agrees that the spirit is the same.

Lets go over your reasons:
1. Its long because its full of restrictions, not freedoms.
2. All OSS licenses are windbaggy ideological bullshit, I shouldn't have to support Stallmans political agenda to contribute to Linux but thats pretty much the way it is. Fortunately my solution is simple, I don't, I contribute to projects under licenses that are a lot more in touch with the spirit of freedom, that is, licenses that aren't 10 pages long.
3. Can be free, can't be free, complies with the spirit of this new license that is free? Are you a lawyer cause this sounds like some 'if the glove fits' kind of bullshit.

So, I've got my own new version of GPL, lets call it GPLv666. GPLv666 says that the software is now licensed under a BSD 2 clause license that must say BitStream rules at the top as well. Since its just a newer version of GPL I can just license any GPL software under it, so much for the restrictions of GPL, welcome in my BSD + restrictions license. It also says that for every copy of bits you make of software licensed under GPLv666 you must pay me one month of pay based on the world average wage.

'I use CC-BY-SA and its a hassle when I use GFDL works in my books'

Heres a hint: STOP USING A RESTRICTIVE LICENSE THAT CLAIMS TO BE ABOUT FREEDOM WHEN IT ISN'T.

God you guys and your OSS licenses are a joke, keep screwing around like this and your licenses aren't going to mean shit.

Relicensing is possible because the licenses are written to be so flexible that all it takes is some crafty wording to render them useless, which is exactly whats going on here.

I say vote yes as well, the more stupid shit like this that occurs the sooner licenses like this will be rendered ineffective and the sooner we can get back to actually sharing information rather than worrying about whos license is better and why someone else shouldn't use the information.

Re:Vote yes! - My stupid OSS license rant (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565397)

All OSS licenses are windbaggy ideological bullshit

Bigot. All licenses are windbaggy ideological bullshit.

Re:Vote yes! - My stupid OSS license rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566617)

I think the only appropriate response to that post is tl;dr

Re:Vote yes! - My stupid OSS license rant (2, Informative)

markkezner (1209776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569635)

This GPL v666 arguement doesn't hold water. The following text is from GPL v2, Section 9 [gnu.org] . In GPL v3 [gnu.org] , it is in Section 14.

If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License âoeor any later versionâ applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

Because your GPL v666 is not published by the FSF, you cannot relicense existing GPL'd software under it.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564869)

It's got a windbaggy ideological preamble; people shouldn't be forced to put their support behind a particular politically loaded credo just because they want to contribute to WP.

It's sad how people don't understand how important ideology is.

Although GFDL can be a free license, it can also be a non-free license if you choose to use it with some of the optional parts like invariant subsections.

This statement deliberately confuses what it means to be "free". Free doesn't mean "I can do anything I want." Free means "I have all the basic freedoms required to take advantage of this data, while at the same time it is guaranteed that others will have these freedoms as well."

People really don't give the free software foundation enough credit.
If Linux was released under the BSD license it would be nothing.

It is percisely because of all those annoying restricions and windbag idealists that the project has endured.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565361)

You wrote: It's sad how people don't understand how important ideology is.

On the contrary, I think it's very important. That's why I object to telling people that if they want to contribute to WP, they have to put their name behing a license with a particular ideology attached to it.

I wrote: Although GFDL can be a free license, it can also be a non-free license if you choose to use it with some of the optional parts like invariant subsections.

You wrote: This statement deliberately confuses what it means to be "free".

I'm not a big fan of every aspect of WP, but one thing I do like is that they say you should always assume good faith. If you want to disagree with me, you can do it on the merits of the argument, without accusing me of being dishonest.

Free doesn't mean "I can do anything I want."

I didn't say it did.

Free means "I have all the basic freedoms required to take advantage of this data, while at the same time it is guaranteed that others will have these freedoms as well."

Based on your post and mine, it seems to me that either (a) I don't understand the issue about invariant subsections correctly, or (b) you don't. If you think case a applies, you might want to respond with a post that would explain your point of view. It would be helpful, for example, if you could explain whether you think Debian should have, or should not have, excluded documentation that used GFDL with invariant subsections.

Re:Vote yes! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565959)

The GFDL is one of the most non-free open source licenses available. It very rigidly controls how you can and cannot use the content.

In my case I was looking into the legal ramifications of offering a voip based version of wikipedia. I contacted the FSF about the legality of it and they said that audio reproductions aren't even permitted by the GFDL.

Sucks to be a blind person.

Additionally you can use the GFDL to create a kind of monopoly of information by adding some of the invariant section requirements to your content and a few other tricks.

If wikipedia had done something like that they could require a 30 page invariant section be included with any use... So if you wanted to copy an article for some educational site or other purpose you would also have to include the 30 pages in invariant crap along with it. This would severely devalue the use of the content outside the original site granting a near monopoly.

Technically you can also abuse a number of other of the FSF licenses for purposes like that and other anti-competitive purposes. Makes me wonder how long it will be used like that.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27577219)

Although GFDL can be a free license, it can also be a non-free license if you choose to use it with some of the optional parts like invariant subsections.

This statement deliberately confuses what it means to be "free". Free doesn't mean "I can do anything I want." Free means "I have all the basic freedoms required to take advantage of this data, while at the same time it is guaranteed that others will have these freedoms as well."

No, the statement means "the GFDL is not necessarily a free license by the definitions of OSI, Debian, etc.". It's possible to put severe restrictions on derivative works: prohibiting end users from removing or modifying parts of the work, for instance. There are also dodgy restrictions on the use of things like DRM. Because of this, Debian has concluded that the GFDL is a non-free license. [debian.org]

Re:Vote yes! (1)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 5 years ago | (#27594841)

No, the statement means "the GFDL is not necessarily a free license by the definitions of OSI, Debian, etc."

This is exactly what I meant about being less than forthright.
The OPEN SOURCE INITIATIVE would be a group that determines whether a license meets their criteria as being "open source", not free. The FREE SOFTWARE FOUNDATION would be a group that determines whether a license meets their criteria as being "free", not open.

The OSI has published criteria to determine "openness" and the FSF has published criteria to determine "freeness".
These are two similar concepts, but there are very important differenences. (The most important of these differences, in my mind, is ideology.)

I find it had to believe that either you or the OP are not familiar with these differences. [software.coop]

If you or the OP want to make the argument that the license is not "free", then that argument needs to be made against a clearly defined definition of what it is to be "free". To point out that group OSI doesn't like the license, does not actually mean it's not free, since the OSI does not attempt to define what is "free software".

I'll quote Stallman here:
The Free Software movement, which I founded in 1983 focuses on freedom and community, on human rights for software users. "Open source" was founded in 1998 as a way to stop talking about those things. To hush them up, to bury them, put them out of people's sight. So they talk about practical advantages that come from using the software. Well, I also talk about practical advantages in my speeches. So here's what I say [Stallman outlines a large circle with his hands], and here's what they say [Stallman outlines a smaller circle within the first circle] - except that they go into more depth on it, and that is useful, y'know. Making the case to businesses that they will get some practical advantage out of releasing their software under, usually, a Free Software licence, that's useful, but the point is it's still a more superficial part of the issue.

Go to the OSI site and search on "freedom". You won't find a defintion of "free" there and you will find a bunch of blog postings which illustrate exactly what RMS is saying.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565559)

people shouldn't be forced to put their support behind a particular politically loaded credo just because they want to contribute to WP

Because the CC-BY-SA license isn't making a ideological and political statement? Sure...

Re:Vote yes! (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566473)

GFDL sucks for a variety of reasons:

This is a pretty lame list.

It's long.

WTF? This is your lead-off complaint? It's "long"? Well, the GPL is long, too - should we replace it? Heck, the BSD license is two paragraphs - that's kinda long, don't you think? Perhaps there is a cartoon version...

It's got a windbaggy ideological preamble

Unlike the Creative Commons? Not.

Although GFDL can be a free license, it can also be a non-free license if you choose to use it with some of the optional parts like invariant subsections. This creates confusion, and has also caused lots of smart people to waste amazing amounts of time arguing and worrying about it

If they wasted amazing amounts of time, how smart can they really be?

I think I'm going to vote no on this license change because the reasons presented here are very lame.

Re:Vote yes! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568807)

It's long.

WTF? This is your lead-off complaint? It's "long"?

... and, unlike CC-BY-SA, has to be appended to every document that reuses Wikipedia content, even if it's just a few paragraphs. Especially nice in print.

I think I'm going to vote no on this license change because the reasons presented here are very lame.

Compatibility alone is a good enough reason. Almost everybody uses CC nowadays, and not being able to combine two works created in the same share-alike-spirit just sucks.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569051)

How about this for a reason: the reason it's long is that the GFDL is encumbered by a number of clauses and options that are totally inappropriate for Wikipedia or a project like it. Their presence in the license terms can be confusing and off-putting to contributors (who will read things like 'We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software'), and contributes nothing to the project.

Some of those particular options present in the license make GFDL content incompatible with Wikipedia. That means that content that is brought in, even though it is ostensibly under the "right" license, has to be scrutinized to ensure that the particular GFDL options that are used aren't going to present problems down the road. The proposed CC license would have no such possible wrinkles.

The GP poster is correct that the CC license has no ideological preamble that goes into specific ideology; compare the GFDL [gnu.org] and the CC license in question [creativecommons.org] . The Wikipedia ethos/ideology and the Gnu Foundation take on things are not identical; therefore, it makes more sense to use a license that is not specifically tied to terms and ideas borrowed from GNU.

Finally, GFDL is a barrier to the incorporation of a lot of good, free material into Wikipedia. CC is a much more common licensing type for non-software related things, like photographs. Getting and keeping good, free images to illustrate articles is a constant struggle on Wikipedia. It is made more difficult by the fact that very few people are posting new images with GFDL licensing, but there are a lot of people (or at least a lot relative to people using GFDL) using a Creative Commons license. A lot of media resources that Wikipedia currently can't use would be made accessible by this change.

Re:Vote yes! (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567331)

Sharealike I can understand, but attribution ? Is that necessary ? Couldn't we just have CC-SA ? I don't care to not be credited for the typo fix I made on Nausicaa's articles or the "PENIS PENIS" I reverted on a Chinese history page...

Re:Vote yes! (1)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569227)

I imagine attribution is necessary to make it possible to dual license with the GFDL going forward. GFDL requires attribution, which is one reason why things like preserving page history in an article merge are considered important; the page history is essentially the GFDL-required attribution list for the entire article.

I think you missed the main reason for this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27567439)

A license change seemed inevitable to me, I read through the original GDFL and it didn't seem to be a very good fit for WiKipedia or it's sister projects. I was guessing there would be either through an addendum to the GDFL itself, or through a move to an entirely new license, now it seems we're getting both.

Several comments above are calling this a hack, but the way Wikipedia was placed under the GDFL seemed to be a hack to begin with. With the GDFL "...in any medium, that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License", which (if I'm understanding correctly) states that for a work to be redistributed, the original authors need to have their name included along with a copy of the GDFL stating their agreement with it. Many authors weren't doing this as it was and article History tabs weren't really doing this properly either.

I have worked on several other WiKi based sites under different licenses in the past and one of the most rewarding parts was seeing an article I contributed to being translated into several different languages. I was disappointed when I created an account on Wikipedia to find out that this, although technically possible, wasn't always feasible under the GDFL, as with the license you had to go back through and obtain permission from all the original authors before it could be translated. To a degree, the GDFL was making the official WikiMedia projects incompatible with each other, let alone other sites under different licenses.

I had several documentation and book projects I had created in the past that I was looking to place on the official WikiMedia sites, but the attribution extremities of the GDFL kept me from moving them there. I can see the original GDFL working for small documentation projects, were you can get all the authors together to all agree on the license and establish an appropriate authors page, but for larger things such as Wikibooks and Wikipedia it created a lot of hassles.

Re:I think you missed the main reason for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27592551)

This.

As a Wikipedia contributor, I want this to go through. A few months back I actually read through the GFDL again, as I'd only had a hazy memory of it, and I walked away with a bad taste in my mouth. The GFDL is pretty complex (even using the GPL as a metric, it's considerably so), and there were quite a few things I didn't like about it.

Then you have to consider that Wikimedia is operating on pretty dubious grounds to begin with. As has been said, the GFDL just doesn't suit Wikipedia well at all, and there are a lot of little discrepancies that seem to be conveniently ignored on the part of Wikimedia. As of now, they are pretty much operating on the basis that because of the nature of most of the small time contributions, as well as the "spirit" that big contributors seem to have, legal troubles about the GFDL are unlikely. However, if someone really wanted to, it would be fairly basic to create a shitstorm for the project by the terms of the GFDL.

After reading the CC-BY-SA 3.0, I found it to be much more agreeable and in line with what I thought the GFDL was about. I looked for mentions of the possibility of a license change at that time, but found little more than "it's something we might consider by next summer". (Perhaps I didn't search hard enough). I am now happy to see that it's really on the table, and hope that it goes through. If it fails, all it would take is a single Wikipedia fork predating November 1, 2008 to embrace the opportunity.

Re:Vote yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27567657)

As a concrete example, I wrote some CC-BY-SA-licensed books [lightandmatter.com], and when I want to use a photo or something from WP, the GFDL licensing creates hassles.

Cry me a river, dickhead. I submitted some very valuable imagery to Commons and Wikipedia -- some PD, most GFDL -- to make their particular set of projects better. You wanna use them? The GFDL says you must GFDL your derived works. Incredible, isn't it? You don't like it? TOO FUCKING BAD. Shit happens, the world isn't always to your liking.

I did not submit that content so lazy shitheads like you come in and later say "We would prefer it if you just gave it all to us on our terms, not yours."

You, Wikipedia, RMS, and the rest of you assholes have betrayed a large number of people in your "change" to the GFDL. "Or later versions". Feh! A pox on your filthy, lying houses.

Fuck you. All. Dead, if necessary.

"Fool me once, shame on me ..."

Re:Vote yes! (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27577469)

Cry me a river, dickhead. I submitted some very valuable imagery to Commons and Wikipedia -- some PD, most GFDL -- to make their particular set of projects better. You wanna use them? The GFDL says you must GFDL your derived works. Incredible, isn't it? You don't like it? TOO FUCKING BAD. Shit happens, the world isn't always to your liking.

Cry me a river. The GFDL also states [gnu.org] that it can be relicenced as CC-BY-SA. If you submitted the work under a previous version, then you still agreed under the "or any later version" clause.

Incredible, isn't it? You don't like it? TOO FUCKING BAD. Shit happens, the world isn't always to your liking.

Seriously - try reading the licencing that you submit your work under, before whining about it.

Voting is so last millennium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564475)

It is too bad Metascore [metascore.org] is still under development. A sophisticated system like that would be so superior to a simple vote.

Note: they need developers [metagovernment.org] , if anyone is willing/able to help.

So... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564541)

I'm having trouble keeping synced with the slashdot group-think this week.

It is okay to radically change the licensing of someone's work against their will if a bunch of unrelated people say so on a Wiki, but it's not okay if some big company does it? And that fact that Wikipedia is a big company doesn't count because it is run by Jimmy Wales [gawker.com] ? Do I have it?

This is very confusing: I know that the wikipediots have decided that they can rewrite the law with their little straw polls, but I must have missed the message announcing that the Slashdot group-mind had also adopted that position. Or is this just an application of Slashdot rule 9432/Z/B2: "Copyright law means whatever it is most convenient for you at all times."?

--Confused drone

Re:So... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565263)

I know that the wikipediots have decided that they can rewrite the law with their little straw polls...

They're not conducting "straw polls", they are reaching a verifiable consensus.{{fact}}

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565413)

How do you define "radically change"? What's going to change that would hurt you as a past contributer? Do you even know? Have you even thought about it? Of course not, you're just here for your daily dosage of self-righteous indignation. Go ejaculate your sarcastic rants elsewhere. The only people that care about this are the ones that have no reason to. Go figure.

Pre-empting the inevitable cries of abuse (4, Insightful)

staeiou (839695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27564545)

I'll be the first to admit that this seems pretty tricky at first - that the GNU and Wikipedia could get together and retroactively re-license an entire project through the "later versions" clause. However, the later versions have to be "similar in spirit" to the original in order for this to happen. If they did this to re-license Wikipedia's GFDL content under the BSD license or the public domain, that would not be similar in spirit. The differences between the CCSA and the GFDL are minor, especially in the context of Wikipedia - which uses no front cover texts or invariant sections. The big one is the need to attach a copy of the license to the content (as opposed to a URI to the license) - it is a bit absurd that I've violated the GFDL by printing out a copy of a Wikipedia article and giving it to my students, because I didn't think to attach a copy of the GFDL to it.

Re:Pre-empting the inevitable cries of abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566767)

The big one is the need to attach a copy of the license to the content (as opposed to a URI to the license) - it is a bit absurd that I've violated the GFDL by printing out a copy of a Wikipedia article and giving it to my students, because I didn't think to attach a copy of the GFDL to it.

Actually, you haven't, because that's fair use. But your point is a good one.

I left Wikipedia. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564575)

Too much conflict. Stuff like BetaCommand. The whole affair with BDJ. A dozen or a hundred other things. It just wasn't for me.

Stuff like this has made me glad I've never considered going back.

this is an awful precedent (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27564589)

Wikipedia effectively collaborated with the FSF to get the license changed so that the "any later version" clause could be invoked to give specific powers that various higher-ups in Wikipedia want.

As someone who thoroughly supports the FSF and licenses works under the GFDL, but hates Wikipedia with every scholarly neuron in his aging body, I'm very saddened to see this successful lobbying by the Wikimedia Foundation of the FSF.

Remember, one day the FSF will make a change that you don't like as a result of influence by a group you don't approve of. Do the right thing, and make sure that your licenses are tied to a particular version of FSF license verbiage.

I remember when FSF licenses were designed to be readable by humans, written in general terms to protect equally the freedoms of everyone. Shame, Stallman, shame.

Vote early, vote often (-1, Troll)

dapyx (665882) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565013)

I already voted with a few sockpuppets and I'm trying to remember the passwords for the rest of my accounts. Surprisingly, it worked to use the same IP address. (note that you need accounts with 25 edits prior to the beginning of the vote)

Re:Vote early, vote often (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565543)

Please don't do that. That undermines the attempt to derive an honest consensus. Also, when things have been voted on in the past they have then gone through and looked at the IP and useragent data and struck through any obvious sockpuppets. All you are doing is making more effort for everyone involved. Vote with a single account.

Correct (1)

kentsin (225902) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565027)

Good move. It is wrong to re-license public domain or complete free materials with a more restricted license.

There are many more such cases, please correct them all.

Re:Correct (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565083)

Wrong? It's not even possible. You can probably interweave them sufficiently with other licensed material that it is simpler to go back to the less restricted source, but you can't actually claim a stronger license to the material (well, for public domain anyway, the licensing of other materials may allow it to be relicensed).

Re:Correct (2, Insightful)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569391)

You can make a derivative work from a public domain work and then license that under a more restrictive license. Happens all the time. Say, for instance, I was a creatively bankrupt entertainment company whose mascot was a disease carrying vermin. I could just dig up old public domain works- say, fairy tales, or stories by Victor Hugo- and make my own cinematic version of them- add a few musical numbers, perhaps. Then I assert copyright over the derivative work. Public domain doesn't travel with the content in the way the GFDL/CC licenses are- derivative works are considered new creations, provided that they are sufficiently different from the source.

Re:Correct (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569457)

Hence the comment about interleaving. Still, if you leave an original song intact and prove that I gained access to it by transcribing it from your work, as I understand it, it would still be public domain.

Wiki Voting (5, Funny)

isnoop (239143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27565129)

It's a good thing they outsourced the voting. If they tried to handle it through the wiki, you'd have a good chance of the whole site being renamed Colbertpedia.

There once was a page on WP about what WP was not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27565737)

Whatever happened to "Wikipedia is not... a democracy"?

Re:There once was a page on WP about what WP was n (2, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566005)

When it comes to matters of editing, it's not.

When it comes to matters of licensing, it is more so.

The vote doesn't actually determine the outcome. The board will analyze the votes and the results and decide the outcome.

The board could strike down the proposal even if it gets 90% support.

Re:There once was a page on WP about what WP was n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566343)

Relicensing collaborative work is not something that can be done by ballot unless the outcome is 100% one way or the other.

Re:There once was a page on WP about what WP was n (2, Funny)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566397)

But didn't you read? It's not re-licensing. Nope, nope, it's not.

The following is how they did it:
1. Write a new version of the current licence.
2. *handwavey-magic*
3. The work is now under a different licence!

See? No re-licensing at all. Nope, not at all!

Why ShareAlike? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27566079)

What is the point of ShareAlike if anyone can edit Wikipedia?

Do People Really Care? (4, Insightful)

qazwart (261667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566265)

I've been in this business a long time. There are dozens. Heck, maybe hundreds of "Open Source Licenses", and I really can't tell the difference between them. There's Apache, GPL, Eclipse, CPL, QPL, and even BSD which get some people into raging fits.

Okay BSD is a bit different because you can -- in theory -- produce your own changes and keep those as proprietary. Apple did this with Mac OS X. However, they could have done pretty much the same thing with Linux too. Watch:

1). Company "X" submits to the Linux project some code changes that will allow Company "X" to hook its proprietary code into the Linux kernel. Completely legal according to the Linux GPL license.

2). These hooks would probably be rejected by the Linux project, but Company "X" could still use them although they'd be under the GPL license.

3). Company "X" now creates a proprietary layer on top of Linux using their GPL hooks to link it to the Kernel. The proprietary layer would sit above the GPL'd code and officially be separate from it.

The end result: Linux kernel under GPL, Company "X"'s special code that hooks into the proprietary layers under GPL, but not supported by the Linux project. Company "X"'s proprietary code on top not under GPL. A full OS. Yes, it's a bit more work than simply taking the basic BSD code, adding in proprietary changes directly into the kernel, but in the end, it's pretty much the same to the end user.

I use a lot of OSS software, and I support many OSS projects. But all this care and concern about licensing is unbelievable. Linux is Linux not because of the license, but because Linus Torvalds is a top rate project manager who knew what was important and what wasn't important.

Torvalds didn't jump on the microkernel bandwagon because he thought it the cool design wasn't worth the performance hit. Linus created his code to be X86 specific because it was faster that way.

Linus has carefully avoided all these piddling political wars about nonsense and has carefully focused his entire project and has kept his project from splitting apart in fratricidal wars that had engulfed the BSD world.

Yet, we get into these silly arguments. Was it worth the time and effort to create the GNOME project just because KDE depended upon a small set of propriety (even though freely licensed) QT Libraries? (BTW, I tend to use the GNOME desktop myself). What would the Linux desktop look like if the desktop environment wasn't split into two major camps and all that effort could have been put into building a full feature, yet friendly desktop?

In the end, it's all OSS and it's all good.

on the other hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27569669)

without the protection of licenses, open source projects would get taken by companies, who would then sue people for using the stuff the company took.

linus chose a license, he didnt put it out there in the public domain, and he did it for a reason.

Re:Do People Really Care? (1)

Simetrical (1047518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27577473)

1). Company "X" submits to the Linux project some code changes that will allow Company "X" to hook its proprietary code into the Linux kernel. Completely legal according to the Linux GPL license.

Um, no. According to the interpretation of the FSF and most kernel developers I've heard from, and according to the intent of the license (it's clearer in v3), hooks, plugins, drivers, etc. must be released under the GPL. That's what distinguishes it from the LGPL: you can't combine it with your proprietary code.

You'd have to do it "at arm's length": from userspace, for instance. An OS where you refuse to modify your own kernel isn't going to be very successful. Good luck hooking a userspace program into your scheduler.

Start Over... (0, Troll)

Charles Wilson (995273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27566685)

Wiki-P is already compromised by politicization anyway. The Obama Scandal has let everyone know that only Politically Correct material is allowed. So why have a silly political license. Just sing the Internationale and be done with it. CW

Will dual licensing fix their problem? (1)

Jupix (916634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27567135)

I voted for the change yesterday, but after doing so, I began to think about what this will actually solve.

I mean, their problem is the GFDL in its current implementation being slightly too difficult to work with, and generally not really what they want for Wikipedia. Correct?

My question is, since they plan to DUAL LICENSE everything, not only replace the GFDL with CC-BY-SA (apparently [wikimedia.org] ), won't they still be bound to whatever problems they have with their old license? So how will this fix their problem?

Re:Will dual licensing fix their problem? (3, Informative)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27569307)

Not everything will be dual licensed. In particular, this allows Wikipedia to incorporate a large amount of media (images, sound, and video) that are CC-BY-SA licensed but aren't GFDL licensed. It also allows other projects that use CC-BY-SA (like other Wikis) to incorporate Wikipedia material without having to comply with the GFDL.

Oppose it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27568121)

I contributed to Wikipedia because it was GFDL, so that I could get improved versions of my articles back with GFDL. Now, if someone incorporates CC-only third party content into an article, I cannot get it back with GFDL. Therefore this licence removes my ability to use content, and as such I am opposed to it and this is what I am going to vote for. I ask open content comrades who agree with me to oppose Wikimedia's proposed changes as well.

On a political level, I trust RMS and GNU far more than Lessig and CC. I support both, but RMS is who I really trust.

Re:Oppose it (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27572187)

I also opposed it because of clause 2. It doesn't impose the dual licensing ad infinitum.

Don't worry about the results (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27574721)

If the vote doesn't go the right way the first time, then the deletionists will just post the same request again and again until they win.

That's how Wikipedia works, right?

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?