See CommunityWikiLicense.

BayleShanks: Even though it isn’t compatible with some of the CreativeCommons licenses as I at first suggested, I think that maybe I prefer our current license to a more complicated amalgation. The license has good FeatureKarma. It’s simple. It enables text to flow from here to almost all the other OpenContent communities that I know of. It stands a good chance of surviving the “standardization battles” between the top OpenContent licenses. And because of the MeatBall license, it enables us to act as an OpenContent overlay upon MeatballWiki.

I guess I still personally prefer PublicDomain (to cover the case in which both ShareAlike and GFDL lose out to some new license that isn’t invented yet). But the current license is pretty slick. I think the simplicity may prevent unforseen legal problems in the future (witness all the agonizing recently in MeatballWiki which was caused in part by what turned out to be ambiguous text in the MeatballWikiCopyright).


MartinHarper: Should we require people to license under the GFDL with no invariant sections, front cover texts, and back cover texts? I think that’s implicit, but worth stating up front, IMO. –MartinHarper

BayleShanks: I ruthlessly stole a single word of yours while copying RatedChangeAggregator over to there (“GroupLens”). Hope you don’t mind. – BayleShanks

AlexSchroeder: Of course not. All my contributions to MeatballWiki are also licensed under a CopyLeft. 😉 – AlexSchroeder

ChrisPurcell: I’m also rather tired of the four-legs-good arguments that MeatBall has been sprouting. The community disagrees, so what? Move on to something productive.

My main question is why this site is CopyLeft not PublicDomain. Be reassured: I’m not going to start a huge row about it. I never cared much one way or the other (ignoring moments of paranoia) beyond keeping things legal. – ChrisPurcell

AlexSchroeder: I guess it is a question of ideology. Too much exposure to RichardStallman. 😉 – AlexSchroeder

ChrisPurcell: So, ideologically, PD is out for CommunityWiki. – CP

AlexSchroeder: The argument goes like this: When would somebody prefer PD to CopyLeft? I can only think of one example: Somebody wants to print a book and not provide a CD with the tarball included, or somebody wants to distribute a PDF file without distributing the tarball. Why make it easier for somebody to make it hard for future readers? – AlexSchroeder

new: 2004-04-08 11:30 UTCLionKimbro: Well,…

  • If some new copyleft license comes along, your work can be incorporated into it.
  • You can be incorporated into every copyleft license. (Sadly, you can also be incorporated into a copy-right license as well.)
  • Books are not going to be important in 2 decades, the Internet will. So we don’t have to worry so much about book-publishers hiding the on-line PD version.
  • What we’re doing here isn’t exactly the sort of thing people would want to buy a book on. However, it is the sort of thing people would look up online.
  • Nor is this exactly the sort of thing Microsoft wants to pick up.

I worry a little about somebody trying to make it hard for future readers. But I worry a lot about us making it hard for future collaborators.


ChrisPurcell: My understanding was that, since we cannot forsee the future, we should make Meatball’s archives maximally useful for that future. Only PublicDomain does that. Be sure you’re not choosing CopyLeft, with all its attendent hassles (…licensed under both the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Share Alike license…), simply out of paranoia. – ChrisPurcell

BayleShanks: I’m in favor of PublicDomain myself, in general, but also for this wiki. The main reason is compatibility with future licenses (“expect the unexpected”). I’m willing to settle with CopyLeft (and I don’t think it’s that bad; on some days I think I like CopyLeft better), but I slightly prefer PublicDomain. – BayleShanks

AlexSchroeder: Outside the the US, the UK, and other CommonLaw? countries, there is no such thing as a PublicDomain. All you have is copyright protected works, and works whose copyright has expired. Some of the rights copyright gives you, you can sign away, others you cannot. This is called licensing. Thus, even if I wanted to put things into the public domain, I cannot. I’ll have to craft a license statement. So much for compatibility with future licenses. As to CopyLeft or not: The main thing I worry about is somebody editing the content on these pages and printing a book, without giving back to the community. – AlexSchroeder

MartinHarper: In that situation, don’t craft a license statement: use PrimarilyPublicDomain, which is compatible with every license that is compatible with international law. My personal preferences (most days) are CopyLeft > PrimarilyPublicDomain > DefaultCopyright. –MartinHarper


SunirShah: You have to terminate relicense to Meatball. A series of legitimate actions done in good faith will result in Meatball incorporating material unethically and illegally. Consider the likely scenario that Adam copies Betty’s copyleft text into CommunityWiki. Carl copies that text into MeatballWiki. Betty, who wrote the initial text, notices and flips out. Not good. I suppose this is why copyleft licenses are so concerned with compatibility. – SunirShah

AlexSchroeder: In this case, Adam is not reading the edit note carefully. It says “As a special case, you must also license the text to Meatball to copy, distribute and/or modify.” Maybe we can improve the wording. – AlexSchroeder

SunirShah: All users read and understand all messages all the time, right? That isn’t a HumaneInterface, nor is it likely it will prevent errors. – SunirShah

MartinHarper: The same issue could occur if someone copied MetaWikiPedia text here, as that is GFDL, not GFDL+Sharealike+meatballwiki. Or indeed with any license, anywhere, including DefaultCopyright. I don’t see that this wiki is a special case. –MartinHarper

SunirShah: It isn’t the same. CopyLeft people expect (perception is important) to be able to copy material from one copyleft site to another, so they will without reading the license text. Copyleft is complex as it stands; multiple copyrights are more complex. Multiple copyrights + a special random case is really complex.

It may be the case that the multiple copyright license concept here is equally broken, as it makes CommunityWiki only publish outwards. Note that derivitive works cannot be integrates back into CommunityWiki as an author may choose any one of the licenses, add new original work under that one license, and refuse to re-license it under the others.

Even if they were amenable to any copyleft license, they may really not want to donate their material to a CopyrightTrap full of evil monsters like MeatballWiki. They may not know that is the case here.

Finally, copyleft works that have a large number of authors are much harder to integrate here. – SunirShah

MartinHarper: So someone might make a mistake. Why should I worry? Seems that I should defend against CopyrightParanoia, and trust that the DMCA protects my host and good faith protects our contributors (and me).

Someone could fork us over. Worst case scenario: they force us to choose a single license and drop compatibility with the other one. I can live with that risk.

CommunityWikiLicense may restrict our contributors out of fear of MeatballWiki. On the other hand, this is the case for all copyright licenses - see CopyrightImpossibilityTheorem. –MartinHarper

SunirShah: You should know better than to conclude “well, it may happen, but not necessarily, therefore I can ignore the problem.” The idea is to control probabilities. AvoidIllusion. You should worry because it is bad faith to encourage such behaviour.

Personally, I am trying to think ahead to the time when we want to incorporate copyleft text from elsewhere. You are saying that you never want to incorporate text from elsewhere without permission. – SunirShah

MartinHarper: As we’ve discussed before, “make legally possible” and “encourage” are orthogonal. And the SecondCopyrightImpossibilityTheorem shows us that we can’t have everything we want. –MartinHarper

SunirShah: Sure, but more to the point, do you not want to incorporate other copylefted text here? Even text derived from here? – SunirShah

BayleShanks: The multiple license allows us to delay our choice of CopyLeft license until the time comes when we really want to import something under a single license. At that point, we may drop some of the licenses. Until then, our content can be exported to as many places as possible. We should try not to drop down to a single license (to import content) for as long as we can stand it. As long as we can manage to multi-license, we have options.

In addition, we can continue to be an “overlay” to MeatballWiki only as long as we have the MeatballWiki copyright license. I think this feature is very, very important.

I think Sunir’s point that someone may be misled to import content here is correct. Let’s change the wording to say “do NOT import content that is not yours without discussing it with our community first, even if it is copyleft.” or something clear and scary like that.


AlexSchroeder: I would like it to be “clear”, but it doesn’t have to be “scary”. If newcomers get the impression that they have to ask permission first, then we might as well make the site password-protected and administer a test to all new contributors. 😉 How about this:

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work triple-licensed like the rest of this wiki using the GNU Free Documentation License, the Creative Commons Share Alike license, and allowing Meatball to copy, distribute and/or modify the text.

Current version for easy comparison:

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, or work licensed under both the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Share Alike license. As a special case, you must also license the text to Meatball to copy, distribute and/or modify.


BayleShanks: I think that Sunir is correct that some people may be confused about these subtle legal issues and just think “it’s CopyLeft”. Since, at this stage, we aren’t planning to import very much, there is no harm done by making it hard to import. What are people going to import, anyway? Do you know of any other site which triple-licenses its content under the meatball license, the GFDL, and ShareAlike?

Note that I don’t want to scare people about contributing their own work; I just want to scare them about importing work from elsewhere.

I guess it might not hurt to say “your own work, or work in the public domain”, since PublicDomain stuff is pretty much the only stuff that we can import, anyway.

So, since there is absolutely no gain in telling people they can import triple-licensed content (since it doesn’t exist right now), and there is a loss (the chance of someone being confused), let’s not do it.


MartinHarper: Actually, I don’t believe we can necessarilly import even triple-licensed text from other wikis. Note that the FreeDocumentationLicense has the concept of immutable and aggregating “history” sections, when making derivative works, which ShareAlike doesn’t. So I’d propose just saying:

Please make sure you contribute only your own work, unless you fully understand the copyright implications of submitting someone else’s work. By contributing here, you grant CommunityWiki permission to publish your work under the terms of the CommunityWikiLicense.

This is all fine, because we’re only triple-licensed as a form of DelayAction - or rather DelayDecision?. –MartinHarper

AlexSchroeder: Done.

I also changed the wording to say MeatballProject and not only MeatballWiki, because the MeatballWikiCopyright says “[…] distributing such content through Meatball’s systems” (emphasis mine). – AlexSchroeder

BayleShanks: 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.

This makes us future-proof against unexpected new license developments (as long as Alex is around). I think that future-proofness is important.

The sooner we do this, the better.


AlexSchroeder: I’d rather not place my trust in a single person (if I were you, since you chose me, haha). Personally, I’m discussing a proposal to move Emacs Wiki from FDL to a “simple generic copyleft” [1], and I’ve asked for comments on debian-legal [2]. If such a move turns out to be possible, I’d suggest we do the same here. – AlexSchroeder

MurrayAltheim: I’m curious about a quandry I’m in. I’d like to post an image that I’ve created to illustrate a point. It’s my image and I don’t wish it to enter the public domain. I am okay with a Creative Commons license with attribution. How can I safely post the image (i.e., refer to it via a link from CommunityWiki) and be guaranteed that someone won’t alter any text surrounding the image that states its license? Or does posting anything at all to this site put it into the public domain (i.e., a license that does include attribution)? Not having any control whatsoever over the content one posts might deter people from contributing. – MurrayAltheim

EvanProdromou: The ShareAlike license doesn’t put things into the public domain. It just doesn’t require attribution. People redistributing and modifying a file still have to notify other people of their rights, and they still have to obey the license.

A license that doesn’t require attribution is not the same as the public domain. That’s just wrong.

You might want to post your image on another site you feel more comfortable with and point to it from the CommunityWiki page of your choice.

Note that you cannot embed the image on CommunityWiki without releasing it, merely drop a link. – SunirShah


Actually, it’s unclear whether including an image (or other media) in the presentation of a Web page creates a derivative work subject to ShareAlike provisions. CreativeCommons won’t make a call on it, and of course the FreeSoftwareFoundation would grumble, “It’s not software! It’s not documentation! What do we care?!”

Getting advice on this kind of stuff is hard.

If I recall correctly, there have been U.S. lower court rulings that suggest (sensibly) that it is the final presentation as read by TheAudience that matters for copyright, rather than the process that goes into composing it. But, you’re right it is not straightforward. Thus, it’s best to err on the side of conservatism, and not expose the image to copyleft. The real point is not what is legally the case, since Murray is incapable of suing for abuse of his photo, but what will be most clear for people who are interested in scraping the site to mirror it elsewhere. – SunirShah

MurrayAltheim: Evan, I’m quite aware of the distinction between public domain and the various copyright and public use licenses. What I meant to infer is that posting a document whereby one loses all effective control, even control over attribution (which is what I am interested in maintaining) is effectively public domain, particularly from an author's point of view. If one were to actually put “©2004 (author name)” on an image, would that (a) violate the policy of this wiki; (b) alter the author’s rights because the license of the wiki is less restrictive than the established copyright, or something else? My understanding is that where the actual image comes from (i.e., which ftp or http site) is immaterial to the issue; I believe Sunir is correct on this count. BTW, I am capable of suing for abuse of the photo, as is any author – I’m not sure why I wouldn’t be. My guess is that if I actually put a copyright notice on the image, it’s illegal for anyone to remove it, and that would permanently assign attribution to the image, which is all I’m after. The only question then is if that is a problem from the wiki’s license POV. – MurrayAltheim

AlexSchroeder: We can hardly claim that our license extends to all linked content. So if you place a link to an image on a page, then we are allowed to edit the link, but not the image. Since the license doesn’t extend to the linked content, you can put whatever text you want on the image, just as you could put whatever text you wanted on a PDF file linked from this wiki.

I think it would exceed your financial resources to sue for abuse of the photo given the prospective gains (a few hundred dollars in damages), which is why I said you were incapable of suing. At least from a practical point of view.

Before we get too far, to be perfectly clear, there is a distinction from embedding an image here and linking to it. A link is explicitly different from embedding it as – SunirShah

AlexSchroeder: My gut feeling is that inlining a work requires the authorization to copy and distribute from the copyright holder, whereas no such authorization is required when linking to some work. In either case, however, local licensing terms do not affect the work in question. This is why the difference between linking and inlining makes no difference when answering Murray’s question.

Your gut feeling that linking makes little claim to the referent I think is sensible. However, local licensing terms do affect an embedded work. When someone *wget*s a page (or saves it from InternetExplorer), as the CopyLeft license text encourages them to do so, they will grab the image as well, which is not intended. Thus, Murray should just link to his image rather than embed it. It’s not a question of legal philosophy, but more a question of architectural and social pragmatics. – SunirShah

MurrayAltheim: If I go to a professional photographer’s website, the CNN website, the Art Institute of Chicaco website, etc. and locate a URL for an image, and I “embed” (or transclude) the image (i.e., provide a link that causes that image to be displayed here), the image now appears to be on this web site. The terms of its previous license (usually a copyright notice at the bottom of its original publication page) are now replaced by the publication terms of the page it’s now on. Most images do not have a copyright notice right on the image (some of course do). Sunir, I think that while it’s not as nice as showing the image on the wiki page, you’re correct in that doing so would alter its perceptive license (even if not its actual license as originally published). I think that any copyright notice on the image might be viable but it certainly is a grey area, since on wiki who did the link and under what legal circumstance it occurred is indeterminate (e.g., I can transclude my own images and you can’t, but who wrote the link?).

Part of the reason I bring this up is that it’s been an issue in hypertext for along time. Ted Nelson identified transclusion as a major issue back in the 60s’ and proposed a solution for it that included attribution and even payment. There’s never been a means of transcluding text (easily, at least) in HTML, though we certainly did talk about it in the HTML WG (this is one of the reasons Ted is so harsh about the Web). I think one of the principal reasons why it’s not there is that it would open up huge legal difficulties without providing a complete solution (e.g. as Ted proposed). The world is not ready for Ted, and I’m sure he’d agree.

And just to clear up the issue of liability, the practical ability to sue is never considered in the right (legal ability) to sue. If someone steals someone else’s work, they may use whatever resources are necessary to fight. There are even legal defense funds set up to assist artists and photographers in protecting their work. – MurrayAltheim

AlexSchroeder: Side-note: Oddmuse:Transclusion works for raw wiki text (it will be processed according to Oddmuse rules) and raw plain text (will be shown monospaced, preformatted). Only quoted HTML from an RSS feed can end up as raw HTML on Oddmuse pages.

As for the images, I’m sure we can find a technology solution that supports our community decision. Here’s what I see:

  • Inlined images from remote sites are a well-known issue on the web, so we believe the onus of license checking is on the person copying and redistributing pages. When you click on “Download the page database” [3], you will see an appropriate warning: Please be aware that the page database may contain copyright infringements. Should you decide to publish it, you may be held responsible for these infringements.
  • The rule to inline images will automatically add a caption to the image displaying a license disclaimer. We would need to determine the exact text to display, eg. “This image is not covered by the CommunityWikiLicense.” I would probably add a theme to the default CSS that allows regular users to hide this caption.
  • Inlining remote images is tricky and we therefore avoid it. I can disable the rule for remote image inlining, or hide the inlined images via default CSS, in order to avoid tricky legal issues. I think this option is silly.
  • Encourage authors to place a license notice on the image itself. This is what the author of the DrFun? comics does, for example. And it works remarkably well.


So, basically, it all comes down to this: if you don’t want to release a work under the license terms of this wiki, don’t put the work on this wiki.

If the work is indispensible, we should figure out a way to change the license.

Another point is that transclusion from external Web sites is decidedly un-wiki. If you embed an image from your personal server, I can’t correct, edit, improve or enhance the image.

Lastly: Murray, do you happen to remember off the top of your head any of the legal defense fund names or URLs or whatever? It’s a question that keeps coming up on the Creative Commons mailing list, and I’d love to have an answer for people.

Well, sanity must prevail, as I say. In this case, we are talking about whether or not Murray should post a photo of himself here, even though he does not want it to be distributed around the world in ways he is not comfortable. While, there is an argument that it is technically possible to copy/steal any content posted on the web, it’s really the social expectations on CommunityWiki that matters as it is expected and encouraged to copy material from here. Thus, the solution is very simple: Murray should only link to but not embed an image of himself here.

I think calls for TechnologySolution​s are premature. Transcluding material or copying&pasting text is the same problem. People likely to post here are expected to understand the terms of the license before posting, as Even says, and you can deal with infractions ad hoc if they ever come up. It’s not like you’re creating a lot of liability here on CommunityWiki.

Then again, Evan’s cry that “if you don’t want to release a work under the license terms of this wiki, don’t put the work on this wiki,” is the typical geeky OpenSource way of HelpingLusers, but it’s not a HumaneInterface, so to speak, nor does it follow RadicalInclusiveness. That is, it doesn’t really follow the PrincipleOfConstantRespect. I know my track record isn’t so hot in this respect, but my goal in life is to get better at it.

My point here is that the CommunityWikiLicense is very complicated. While you may understand it, or think you may understand it, it’s not exactly the simplest thing on earth. So, some people may in fact not like the license, but they won’t understand it, and they will post here. The role of TheCollective here is to mitigate and advocate this license in appropriate ways, not to push all the blame on newcomers. I mean, unless you want to create OutcastNewcomer​s of all those who don’t understand the fine vagueries of the internal CopyLeft dialogue, which may be the case considering your logo is a copyleft symbol. (I’m not one to comment on nor influence what TheAudience of CommunityWiki is intended to be.) – SunirShah

Well, I must admit I do feel some hostility over the whole thing. First off, I was using an example of an image I created as an example because I see it as an issue that needs to be solved. It’s not an image of me, it’s a technical image I created. This came up because I was curious about what would happen to my authorship rights if I posted an image on this site. The physical location of the image is immaterial to its publication here. I’m not a neophyte regarding intellectual property and copyright issues and I find the overlapping licenses here confusing and probably invalidating - which license applies? I don’t believe legally it can be all three. I think this site really needs one license, not three, and I agree with Sunir that it’s asking a lot of laypeople to figure this kind of thing out based on reading three conflicting license statements. Lastly, this is not about comfort, it’s about understanding an author’s explicit rights regarding their work as published here, which is what I thought this page was discussing. Many people who value their work, particularly those whose careers are based in creation of artistic works, take these issues very seriously. – MurrayAltheim


I definitely wasn’t trying to be UserHostile, and Murray, I’m sorry if my bluntness offended. My understanding is that you’re positing this technical diagram as a GedankenExperiment, and I was trying to break down the question to its simplest form.

There’s two real choices when someone wants to contribute something that doesn’t conform to site policy (license policy or otherwise): either the community changes the policy, or the contributor doesn’t post the material. There’s a third, of course: the contributor ignores policy and posts anyways. But I think this is the least desirable, as it sets up the contributor in opposition to the community.

Challenging policies is healthy and valuable. It shakes a community out of GroupThink, makes sure that there are justifications for policies, and makes sure that the justifications and the policies themselves are made explicit. I think that exceptions to policies help us make better ones.

As to the desires and wishes of creators: a collaborative creation system, especially a wiki in DocumentMode, is not conducive to retaining absolute control over their work. As wiki contributors, we trade off some control of our work (in a general sense) for the benefits of collaboration.

Wanting to retain a fairly simple level of control – just getting credit for having done something – is what I think you’re asking about, directly. As far as I can tell, for CW, we have a couple of options:

  • Change our license so that attribution is required (I think the CC by-sa would be the right fit here).
  • Do some technical tricks to make sure that attribution stays with a particular image (which would not prevent it from being modified downstream, however).

Attribution is kind of tricky in wiki, since people have different AuthorshipModel"s in their head. More extended control (say, disallowing re-distribution or modifications) is a lot more of a challenge.

Just to demonstrate a real case, what about when Bayle added a somewhat parodied Dilbert comic, complete with a copyright notice attributing it to United Feature Syndicate in 1995 (he neglected to elide the copyright)? While we all know the context and the joke, and it would be difficult to care otherwise (CopyrightParanoia), should Bayle have known not to have posted the image? I mean, Bayle is supposedly an expert on the license having co-written it, but even he made a mistake. I still think, Evan, that you are neglecting to account for the mistakes that people often make. – SunirShah

MurrayAltheim: I’m not sure he did make a mistake. By modifying the comic he created a derivative artwork that could be considered both satire and a piece of art in its own right. I’m not sure if that comes under Fair Use, but it does seem to reflect upon an artist’s right to re-use materials in the creation of a work of art. I can’t remember what the law states on this one, but I don’t think it’s so clear cut as you make out. He might be legitimately allowed to do it, even within the US. Outside of the US, in many countries, he certainly could, given copyright law is not international.

Well, I don’t understand the parody FairUse exemption, but in this case it’s clear cut that the copyright notice attributing ownership to United Feature Syndicate that’s on the bottom of the image is incorrect. I mean, Bayle just neglected to change the attribution. (Remove copyright notice and adding citation.) Not a big deal, but a demonstration that there are other options other than choosing the license, choosing not to post, and choosing to post anyway. I’m assuming Bayle just made a mistake. – SunirShah

BayleShanks: Murray: see my comment above about using a multiple license to delay licensing choice. To reiterate, until a single copyleft license has won the “license standardization battle”, we must not irrevocably commit ourselves to a license that may lose.

In addition, my goal for this site is for it to serve as the CopyLeft side of MeatballWiki; that is, I want this to be a place where people who are interested in talking about what MeatBall talks about, with much of the same people, but who would like their contributions to be CopyLeft, may post or cross-post to. Due to our MeatBall license provision, time spent writing or editing text at CommunityWiki can also help out MeatballWiki; because text can be moved from here to there at any time. Without such a provision, choosing where to make a contribution would become more of a zero-sum game.

I should note that I’m not sure if many others, either here or on MeatballWiki, who still support this goal, and also that (probably as a result), the MeatBall license provision hasn’t been used much. But even if the two wikis diverge, I would rather move at a “glacial pace” and take our time thinking about it before taking the irrevocable action of removing the MeatBall license provision. If content posted here couldn’t be moved to MeatBall, then there is really no way that the two corpuses could ever converge.

I think that such a “disjunctive license” is indeed legal. See the email I received from Mr. Turner at the FSF on the page MultiCopyrightWiki.

However, I do agree with Sunir and Murray that we must take into account the impressions given by the licensing situation, rather than writing off these concerns as “user error”. I still think we should modify the message on the edit page to say something like “don’t contribute anything besides your own work, even if copyleft licensed, without asking permission first”, rather than just “unless you fully understand the copyright implications of submitting someone else’s work”.

Or just switch to PrimarilyPublicDomain, at which point we could stop spending time discussing copyright 😊

K, done. I've launched a WorseIsBetter OpenMeatballWiki that can only improve with love. http:/ – SunirShah/

About images: I think that any image embedded in the text here has been contributed to CommunityWiki and hence has been irrevocably made available under the CommunityWikiLicense. Making exceptions to this would just make the whole situation more complicated and confusing for others who may want to copy our content later [[[I_know_you_didn't_ask_for_an_exception,_I'm_just_writing_this_for_future_reference_to_others;_p.s._why_isn't_this_footnote_working??]]]. I suggest that you just put in a link to the material, the way that Sunir suggested.

I think that once we decide what we think, a clarification about images should be put on the page CommunityWikiLicense.

Note about that “irrevocable”: we’re nice people, though, and I expect that any request to CommunityWiki to excise some contribution that was made in error would be honored.

About the cartoon: I did think about these issues, but I may indeed have made a mistake.

As Sunir pointed out, regardless of fair use, there is the question of whether I should have erased the copyright notice. I did think about this before posting, but I couldn’t decide if I should or not; if I don’t erase it, people may think that Scott Adams did it, and he may not want to be associated with it; if I do erase it, people might not understand that he drew the original work, and he might want credit. Regardless of morality, I’m sure there’s a legal requirement one way or another (although I think there shouldn’t be; see MinimalLaw), but I don’t know which way it requires. What do y’all think?

As for the question of whether I can do such a thing at all, in the U.S. I think I am covered by fair use, since this is a parody, but who can tell. Fair use isn't well-defined, it has to be interpreted by the courts. Anyway, I have no idea what jurisdiction my posting this to Alex’s server is under, or what the laws are there. So I just went ahead. Perhaps I’ll email Scott Adams to ask what he thinks.

Anyhow, this long explanation is just FYI: for once, I think this is a situation where one can do what is ethical and write off unresolved legal confusion as CopyrightParanoia. Mostly because, if we find out the comic is infringement, it can be easily excised from the corpus.

Creative Commons

EvanProdromou: I just wanted to point out that the drafts for the next version of the CreativeCommons licenses is available here for public. They’ve just posted the Attribution-NonCommercial?-ShareAlike, since it includes most of the provisions from the other 10 licenses. They could probably use some input from people using CC licenses for Wiki (like CommunityWiki and WikiTravel). Comments should go to the cc-licenses mailing list (no CreativeCommonsWiki? yet). –EvanProdromou

new: 2004-04-08 11:30 UTCLionKimbro: Alex, could you do something very simple for me?

Where the page render reads:

This work is licensed under a <a href=“">Creative Commons License</a>.

…can you make it read:

This work is licensed under a <a href=“” rel=“license”>Creative Commons License</a>.

It’s just the addition of rel="license" to the a href. 😊 😊 😊

I’m using the Web Developer Firefox extension, and I’m just astonished by what I can see! All those details on the RecentChanges page, for example; Soooo easy to think of scraping, when you can so easily see what’s there..!


It makes me think: “Gee, we should have a span around the summary lines.”

Then I saw the rel-license thingie, and went to see if we have it. Nope! Can’t see it.

This tool is freakin’ awesome!

I used it to rework the CommunityProgrammableCss? too; You make changes, and see them applied in real-time. So sweet!

If this were a CommunityProgrammableWiki, I’d just add it myself. 😉

AlexSchroeder: Well, the summary is in the strong element, so instead of using a separate span for it, I just added an attribute to the dash, so that you could remove or replace it if you wanted to do that.

GNU FDL 1.3 and section 11


With the recent minor update in the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.3, would it better to update to GNU FDL 1.3? At least that would automatically allow the content to be licensed under CC-BY-SA especially in the case of wikis. Or is the current dual-licensing better? A visual explanation of the GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 section 11

DavidCary: I don’t see how updating lets me do anything that I couldn’t already do before. Since the CommunityWikiLicense currently says “… the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation …”, and “GNU FDL 1.3” is such a “later version, couldn’t I just grab some random block of text under the “FDL 1.2 or later” license, then do whatever FDL 1.3 permits me to do?

No, because of the "Nov. 1, 2008" and the 2009 cutoff date.

BayleShanks: Afaik,

  • The relicensing provisions in version 1.3 is a one-off change that only applies to material added to a wiki before November 1, 2008 and can only be used until August 1, 2009.
  • The impact on us is that we have the option to switch from our current triple license (GFDL/CC-SA/MeatballProject) to a quadruple license (GFDL/CC-SA/CC-BY-SA/MeatballProject) if we want, provided we do so before August 1, 2009.
  • You can’t just grab text and relicense it yourself, unless you grabbed that text and republished it prior to November 1, 2008. The license is craftily designed to prevent that, the intent being that only preexisting wikis can, as a community, take advantage of this.
  • If we don’t, as a community, do anything by August 1, 2009, the change has no effect on us.

Personally I’m a little annoyed because I first heard about this change at a GNU event, where I asked the GNU rep to please pass along my request to make the GFDL and some CC license convertible. She said they just did. But now I find out that they didn’t really make them convertible perpetually, for everybody, but rather just temporarily, for a few entities. This won’t help to end the program of incompatible licensing (unless everyone in the world decides to use this opportunity to dual- or triple- or quadruple- license, and continues to multi-license forever. But if everyone were so coordinated, there wouldn’t be incompatible license problems in the first place).

As for what we should do, as you might have guessed, I’m always up to add more licenses to our license disjunction, so I’d be up for adding CC-BY-SA to the mix. But I’m fine with doing nothing too.



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