AnonymousContributionCopyright

The following is more paranoia about copyright issues:

If we ever wanted to change licenses, we could get permission from everyone whose ever had a homepage here (we know who they are; we just have to find them), but we may still worry about anonymous contributors.

I’m wondering if it might be wise to make two modifications:

  1. For each page, a list of everyone who has contributed to it (no more than that needs to be kept).
  2. A notice that everyone who posts anonymously (i.e. people who don’t have a UserName; people who couldn’t be reached by the above log) basically licenses Alex to re-license the content in the future at his will.

This will prevent us from having any content that we can’t eventually try to switch the license on. It will, however, prevent anonymous users from posting anonymously without giving Alex permission to do nefarious things with their untracable copyrights. I don’t see why any anonymous user would care about that.

Implementation detail

For speed, the author list could be updated only as the relevant Changes were about to expire from KeptPages.

There is a small cost in terms of additional script complexity. The additional complexity is just within the KeptPages expiration stuff, so it shouldn’t make the code too much more confusing, though.

Two additional concerns:

I think the latter problem renders things unworkable. It may be better to explicitly allow relicensing in the CommunityWikiCopyright? (eg to any license certified as “copyleft” by some organisation).

:As for the impracticality of finding people, maybe; but since people are listed on a per-page basis, only some pages would have to be thrown out.

:But I particularly like the solution of allowing relicensing to some certified license.

:At this point, I don’t know of any such organization. Let’s just say “relicensing to another license certified by Alex as CopyLeft, or certified by an authority chosen by Alex”. That way, later on he could transfer the certification power to some authority, should it spring up.

:Since Alex is one of the stronger proponents for CopyLeft, and many of the rest of us would have posted our content here under PublicDomain instead, I don’t think anyone will be afraid that Alex’s definition of “CopyLeft” will be too liberal.

:– BayleShanks


Once a text is anonymous, that work’s copyright reverts to the publisher. The author can only reclaim copyright by reestablishing a claim. In the United States, it appears that means having registered the copyright at the state copyright office. I presume that proof of ownership would have to be greater than “I wrote that!” in most countries (though I’m not legal expert.)

On a more familiar ground for me, morally speaking, anonymous text should be considered gifts to TheCollective. People sufficiently jealous to protect their words should either not contribute to a collaborative document or clearly mark their reservations. – SunirShah

But what about refactoring signed contributions? To take advantage of the “anonymous text = gift”, one has to keep anonymous text permanently separate from signed text. – BayleShanks

I have been considering this issue in light of the RightToInclude concept I made on OpenMeatballWiki. While in most cases, I don’t think it would be an issue for people, it’s true that occasionally that a sufficiently large portion of text survives ThreadMode in a reworking. If we were working under FairUse alone, reworked text would require proper citation, but it makes for text that is awkward to read. We aren’t working under FairUse alone though. At this point, however, my understanding of the law becomes too vague to continue discussion. I do have a useful analogy though. In a newspaper room, when many staff rework an article, that article’s by-line becomes anonymous or credited to the news organization. – SunirShah


CategoryCopyright CategoryThisWiki CategoryUnimplementedWikiFeature?

Define external redirect: CutAndPaste CommunityWikiCopyright CategoryUnimplementedWikiFeature

EditNearLinks: FairUse SunirShah UserName RightToInclude TheCollective

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