The license situation

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The license situation

geni
Best I can tell the last official statement from the FSF on the GSFDL
was over two years ago (back when we were running mediawiki 1.7) there
have been the odd unofficial statements but they came to nothing. This
being the case we must assume the GSFDL is dead or so comatose as to
be out of the picture (not entirely a bad thing the license was
painfully bad).

The moves to try and get some form of CC-BY-SA /GFDL merger appear to
have ground to a halt.

So what can we do. Ignoring the situation isn't a long term viable option.

There is the stick. We could prevent say further GFDL only image
uploads and produce a press release explaining why.

Other options are putting together a group to actively lobby the FSF
to get something done but I'm not sure they would react to that to
well.

So what to do?

--
geni

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Re: The license situation

Michael Snow-3
geni wrote:

> Best I can tell the last official statement from the FSF on the GSFDL
> was over two years ago (back when we were running mediawiki 1.7) there
> have been the odd unofficial statements but they came to nothing. This
> being the case we must assume the GSFDL is dead or so comatose as to
> be out of the picture (not entirely a bad thing the license was
> painfully bad).
>
> The moves to try and get some form of CC-BY-SA /GFDL merger appear to
> have ground to a halt.
>
> So what can we do. Ignoring the situation isn't a long term viable option.
>
> There is the stick. We could prevent say further GFDL only image
> uploads and produce a press release explaining why.
>
> Other options are putting together a group to actively lobby the FSF
> to get something done but I'm not sure they would react to that to
> well.
>
> So what to do?
>  
The issue is being worked on and is not nearly dead or comatose. I
suppose the GSFDL might be, most of the discussion I'm aware of has been
focused simply on an updated release of the GFDL. But we've been talking
to the FSF for the last several months and appreciate their efforts to
work with us. Right now I believe we're waiting to hear back from them
and firm up some timing issues. Erik and Mike have been handling much of
this on the Wikimedia side, and they can elaborate if there are new
developments that are ready to share. I don't think we'll see an
outright merger, the two licenses will always exist independently, but
I'm optimistic that there will be a way for us to deal with the barriers
between our GFDL content and our CC-BY-SA content.

--Michael Snow


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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by geni
2008/10/18 geni <[hidden email]>:
> The moves to try and get some form of CC-BY-SA /GFDL merger appear to
> have ground to a halt.

Not at all. We gave our approval to the final proposed language for
the GFDL 1.3 last week, and it's currently undergoing final legal
review at the FSF. Hopefully it will be only a matter of weeks now for
the FDL 1.3 to be published.

--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: The license situation

geni
2008/10/18 Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>:
> 2008/10/18 geni <[hidden email]>:
>> The moves to try and get some form of CC-BY-SA /GFDL merger appear to
>> have ground to a halt.
>
> Not at all. We gave our approval to the final proposed language for
> the GFDL 1.3 last week, and it's currently undergoing final legal
> review at the FSF. Hopefully it will be only a matter of weeks now for
> the FDL 1.3 to be published.

You've predicted dates before. They didn't work out so well.

Aside from that are you saying that there is going to be no draft
version published?

--
geni

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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
2008/10/18 geni <[hidden email]>:
> You've predicted dates before. They didn't work out so well.

Two issues have been revisited in the past couple of months, which in
the first case came as a surprise to us. But both sides seem happy and
prepared to go forward at this point.

> Aside from that are you saying that there is going to be no draft
> version published?

I don't believe the FSF plans to publish any new draft prior to release.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: The license situation

Nikola Smolenski
In reply to this post by geni
On Saturday 18 October 2008 19:08:29 geni wrote:

> So what can we do. Ignoring the situation isn't a long term viable option.
>
> There is the stick. We could prevent say further GFDL only image
> uploads and produce a press release explaining why.
>
> Other options are putting together a group to actively lobby the FSF
> to get something done but I'm not sure they would react to that to
> well.
>
> So what to do?

Donate to FSF with the instructions that the money must be spend on publishing
a new version of GFDL that is compatible with CC?

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Re: The license situation

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
> I don't believe the FSF plans to publish any new draft prior to release.

Have they published any drafts? As far as I'm aware, all the planning
so far has been done behind closed doors. There is a very real
possibility that the community will reject the license once it is
published and you'll have to start again.

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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
2008/10/18 Thomas Dalton <[hidden email]>:
> Have they published any drafts?

The FSF has published a draft of a GFDL V2 and a simplified GFDL here
a couple of years ago:
http://gplv3.fsf.org/doclic-dd1-guide.html

The GFDL 1.3 they have proposed to us is, AFAICT, a verbatim copy of
the GFDL 1.2 with a single additional section on re-licensing. The
GFDL V2 draft is a very significant evolution of the GFDL.  The
re-licensing section is the part that the FSF is somewhat protective
of, as per earlier discussions on this list. However, the discussions
of the past few months have circled exactly around the issues that we
considered potentially problematic for adoption by us and by others,
so I hope that we will have been able to accommodate most concerns
that could potentially arise.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: The license situation

Gregory Maxwell
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 2:19 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2008/10/18 geni <[hidden email]>:
>> The moves to try and get some form of CC-BY-SA /GFDL merger appear to
>> have ground to a halt.
>
> Not at all. We gave our approval to the final proposed language for
> the GFDL 1.3 last week, and it's currently undergoing final legal
> review at the FSF. Hopefully it will be only a matter of weeks now for
> the FDL 1.3 to be published.

Does this mean that no attention was given to the fact that some users
of the FDL find the terms of CC-By-SA 3.0 unacceptable and have
deliberately not licensed their works under that license?

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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
2008/10/18 Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>:
> Does this mean that no attention was given to the fact that some users
> of the FDL find the terms of CC-By-SA 3.0 unacceptable and have
> deliberately not licensed their works under that license?

Which terms are you referring to here, Gregory?
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: The license situation

Gregory Maxwell
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2008/10/18 Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>:
>> Does this mean that no attention was given to the fact that some users
>> of the FDL find the terms of CC-By-SA 3.0 unacceptable and have
>> deliberately not licensed their works under that license?
>
> Which terms are you referring to here, Gregory?

Why debate the license terms here and now?

There have been a number of discussions on a number of occasions.
There are people who have explicitly rejected cc-by-sa-3.0 for their
own works for a multitude of reasons, for both personal and public
interest reasons. The FDL and CC-By-SA licenses are not precisely
isomorphic. There exist many images on commons explicitly noted that
they are only licensed under the terms of the FDL-1.2.  I do not
believe these facts are in dispute.

Since there exist people who have consciously rejected the CC-By-SA
3.0, for whatever reason, the prospect of simply declaring their works
to be under license terms that have explicitly rejected would appear
to be both legally and ethically suspect.  It does not sound like any
consideration has been given to this subject, which is most
disappointing considering the amount of time which has passed and the
number of times this concern has been raised.

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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
2008/10/18 Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>:
> Why debate the license terms here and now?

Because CC has tried to address some of the concerns and objections,
it would be good to know what you perceive as the key remaining
issues. I've found CC generally to be very responsive and open to the
needs of the Wikimedia community.

While the release of the FDL 1.3 is an important step in a process,
it's not the end of that process. Please see the original resolution
by the Board last year on the licensing change:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/wiki/Resolution:License_update

"It is hereby resolved that:

* The Foundation requests that the GNU Free Documentation License be
modified in the fashion proposed by the FSF to allow migration by mass
collaborative projects to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license;
* Upon the announcement of that relicensing, the Foundation will
initiate a process of community discussion and voting before making a
final decision on relicensing."

This continues to be the plan. We do believe we've found a potential
compromise with regard to future use of the FDL, which is part of what
the FSF and WMF have been working on recently.

Erik
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

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Re: The license situation

Anthony-73
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 4:44 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> While the release of the FDL 1.3 is an important step in a process,
> it's not the end of that process. Please see the original resolution
> by the Board last year on the licensing change:
>
>
> https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/wiki/Resolution:License_update
>
> "It is hereby resolved that:
>
> * The Foundation requests that the GNU Free Documentation License be
> modified in the fashion proposed by the FSF to allow migration by mass
> collaborative projects to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license;
> * Upon the announcement of that relicensing, the Foundation will
> initiate a process of community discussion and voting before making a
> final decision on relicensing."
>
> This continues to be the plan. We do believe we've found a potential
> compromise with regard to future use of the FDL, which is part of what
> the FSF and WMF have been working on recently.
>

I highly doubt the FSF is going to give the WMF exclusive rights to
relicense GFDL content (the draft version used the text "you may relicense
the Work", not "the WMF may relicense the work", or even "the original
publisher of the work, even if they deny that they are a publisher, may
relicense the work"), so the WMF's "final decision" is basically irrelevant.
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Re: The license situation

Mike.lifeguard-2
In reply to this post by geni
If I recall correctly, we're talking about people who have licensed
their contributions under GDFL version something.something /or later/ -
the "or later" bit is what lets us do this kind of thing without the
insanity of tracking down each and every person and getting their
permission.

-Mike



On Sat, 18 Oct 2008 20:20:35 +0000,
[hidden email] said:
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]>
wrote:
> 2008/10/18 Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]>:
>> Does this mean that no attention was given to the fact that some users
>> of the FDL find the terms of CC-By-SA 3.0 unacceptable and have
>> deliberately not licensed their works under that license?
>
> Which terms are you referring to here, Gregory?

Why debate the license terms here and now?

There have been a number of discussions on a number of occasions.
There are people who have explicitly rejected cc-by-sa-3.0 for their
own works for a multitude of reasons, for both personal and public
interest reasons. The FDL and CC-By-SA licenses are not precisely
isomorphic. There exist many images on commons explicitly noted that
they are only licensed under the terms of the FDL-1.2.  I do not
believe these facts are in dispute.

Since there exist people who have consciously rejected the CC-By-SA
3.0, for whatever reason, the prospect of simply declaring their works
to be under license terms that have explicitly rejected would appear
to be both legally and ethically suspect.  It does not sound like any
consideration has been given to this subject, which is most
disappointing considering the amount of time which has passed and the
number of times this concern has been raised.
--
  Mike.lifeguard
  [hidden email]


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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2008/10/18 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> I highly doubt the FSF is going to give the WMF exclusive rights to
> relicense GFDL content (the draft version used the text "you may relicense
> the Work", not "the WMF may relicense the work", or even "the original
> publisher of the work, even if they deny that they are a publisher, may
> relicense the work"),

Please don't make assumptions based on drafts from two years ago. If
WMF does not choose to re-license content on Wikimedia's sites to
CC-BY-SA, there are limitations in place in the current re-licensing
language to prevent others from doing so.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: The license situation

Bryan Tong Minh
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 11:21 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2008/10/18 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
>> I highly doubt the FSF is going to give the WMF exclusive rights to
>> relicense GFDL content (the draft version used the text "you may relicense
>> the Work", not "the WMF may relicense the work", or even "the original
>> publisher of the work, even if they deny that they are a publisher, may
>> relicense the work"),
>
> Please don't make assumptions based on drafts from two years ago. If
> WMF does not choose to re-license content on Wikimedia's sites to
> CC-BY-SA, there are limitations in place in the current re-licensing
> language to prevent others from doing so.
>
I'd assume that assumptions are made on old drafts because there are
no new ones. I find it a little bit strange that the process for a
free license (open content) is held behind closed doors.


Bryan

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Re: The license situation

Erik Moeller-4
2008/10/18 Bryan Tong Minh <[hidden email]>:
> I'd assume that assumptions are made on old drafts because there are
> no new ones. I find it a little bit strange that the process for a
> free license (open content) is held behind closed doors.

It's not our preference, yes. There are two complicating factors here:

* We have no control over the text of the FDL 1.3. The Free Software
Foundation is the only organization who can exercise that control.
They have gracefully agreed to work with us in meeting our needs.
* The Free Documentation License, as its name implies, was developed
for software documentation, not for wikis. (That's what's been causing
many licensing related headaches in the first place.) It continues to
be used for software documentation. The Free Software Foundation wants
to protect and support that legitimate use.

The approach the FSF has taken is to focus on a simple FDL 1.3
release, which essentially answers our request for a migration
strategy. But in order to meet its own needs for the FDL, it has
decided that a fully open development process for the licensing terms
exposes it to unacceptable risks in protecting the interests of the
free software community. We understand that decision, and we've worked
within that constraint.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: The license situation

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
On Sat, Oct 18, 2008 at 5:21 PM, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> 2008/10/18 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> > I highly doubt the FSF is going to give the WMF exclusive rights to
> > relicense GFDL content (the draft version used the text "you may
> relicense
> > the Work", not "the WMF may relicense the work", or even "the original
> > publisher of the work, even if they deny that they are a publisher, may
> > relicense the work"),
>
> Please don't make assumptions based on drafts from two years ago. If
> WMF does not choose to re-license content on Wikimedia's sites to
> CC-BY-SA, there are limitations in place in the current re-licensing
> language to prevent others from doing so.


I'm making an assumption based on the fact that I can't imagine the FSF
supporting a license which gives special privileges to the WMF, and
considering that you "don't believe the FSF plans to publish any new draft
prior to release", making assumptions based on drafts from two years ago,
combined with what I know about the parties involved, is about the best I
can do.

I can understand the need for secrecy during the drafting process, though.
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Re: The license situation

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
In reply to this post by Erik Moeller-4
Erik Moeller wrote:


>  If
> WMF does not choose to re-license content on Wikimedia's sites to
> CC-BY-SA, there are limitations in place in the current re-licensing
> language to prevent others from doing so.
>  

I am sorry, I know I am certainly the last person who
would have a right to grumble...

But seriously, I am simply failing to parse that sentence;
and somehow I suspect there is something significant
behind it. Could someone forego the flip responses, and
rephrase it in a fashion that would clarify the thinking
behind that sentence?


Yours,

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen

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Re: The license situation

Michael Snow-3
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:

> Erik Moeller wrote:
>  
>>  If
>> WMF does not choose to re-license content on Wikimedia's sites to
>> CC-BY-SA, there are limitations in place in the current re-licensing
>> language to prevent others from doing so.
>>    
> I am sorry, I know I am certainly the last person who
> would have a right to grumble...
>
> But seriously, I am simply failing to parse that sentence;
> and somehow I suspect there is something significant
> behind it. Could someone forego the flip responses, and
> rephrase it in a fashion that would clarify the thinking
> behind that sentence?
>  
It means that the potential relicensing will be carefully circumscribed.
It won't simply allow anyone to relicense GFDL content under CC-BY-SA
anytime they want.

--Michael Snow


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