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Difference between revisions of "Talk:License upgrade"

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OK, let's get this show on the road.  I've written a first draft at [[License upgrade]], fire away.
OK, let's get this show on the road.  I've written a first draft at [[License upgrade]], fire away.
Pulling numbers out of a hat, I would suggest publicizing this on July 1st, giving a three month comment period ending Oct 1st, and upgrading on Nov 1st. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 22:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Pulling numbers out of a hat, I would suggest publicizing this on July 1st, giving a three month comment period ending Oct 1st, and upgrading on Nov 1st.
Also, while the draft is here on Shared, the actual License upgrade pages should be posted on each language version individually, so contributions can easily be checked and people don't need to futz around with creating accounts here. [[User:Jpatokal|Jpatokal]] 22:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

Revision as of 02:37, 23 June 2009

From English Copyleft discussion: [1]

GFDL and Creative Commons

[swept in from the pub]

There's a Slashdot item pointing to an announcement that Wikipedia and FSF are changing GFDL to make it compatible with the Creative Commons license. [2] This would mean we could use material from Wikipedia and other GFDL sites. We probably would not want much of their text since our goals are different,but it could be really good for maps and photos.Unsigned comment by Pashley (talkcontribs) .

Yup. It will also mean skipping the hassle of periodically explaining to newcomers why they can't do the seemingly harmless thing of copying info about history and geography from WP to WT. - Todd VerBeek 20:56, 1 December 2007 (EST)
yes, yes, yes. That would be an unbelievably huge step. OpenStreetMaps and wikipedia content would suddenly all be available --NJR_ZA 04:03, 2 December 2007 (EST)

Can someone who can read the official Wikimedia Foundation statement (link on page pointed to above, but it does not work for me, probably because of the Great Firewall) please look at the details? There may be limitations I'm not aware of. Once you have details, please track the process and make appropriate announcements and policy changes here when their new license is in place. Methinks this is important enough to be well worth doing, but I cannot do it. Volunteers? Pashley 06:07, 2 December 2007 (EST)

The key bits of the Wikimedia Foundation's statement are:
  • 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.
The Foundation can't just "relicense" Wikipedia, but they can use a clause in the GFDL to allow the use of "any later version" of the license, by making GFDL 2.0 say "Oh, and if this is a wiki, you can also relicense it under the terms of CC-By-SA if you want". FSF was already working a revision of GFDL to allow relicensing under a "GNU Wiki License" which was going to fix some of the problems of applying GFDL 1.x to wikis; I'm guessing they've just agreed to substitute CC-By-SA for that. The "migration" of Wikipedia isn't a done deal yet (that whole discussion-and-vote formality), and there are already some partisans wailing and gnashing teeth over this, but they're a very small number of people, and if Jimbo, RMS, and Lessig all want this to happen with WP, it will. Note: It will be up to every other project currently using GFDL 1.x whether they want to upgrade their license to the CC-By-SA-compatible one. Most presumably will, but there's probably a WikiCreativeCommonsSux out there that won't, and we won't be able to accept content from them. -Todd VerBeek 10:48, 2 December 2007 (EST)

Meanwhile, Citizendium — a new project from one of the wikipedia founders with no anon edits and more control by experts — have just chosen a CC-by-SA license. See en:Wikitravel_talk:Cooperating_with_Citizendium. Pashley 04:12, 22 December 2007 (EST)

But it's CC-by-SA 3.0, and CC-by-SA 1.0 isn't "any later version" compliant - correct? ~ 05:37, 22 December 2007 (EST)
Answering my own question - says: "version 1.0 licenses required that derivative be published under the exact same license only". ~ 06:43, 22 December 2007 (EST)
Good grief! That appears to mean that — even if Wikipedia goes to a CC license and even though Citizendium already uses 3.0 and OpenStreetMaps uses 2.0 and various other sites do or will — we cannot share content with any of them! We can neither re-license our stuff to their later licenses nor import theirs and use it under our CC-by-SA 1.0. I don't think this was the intent of anyone involved; all players want to share, but we seem to have painted ourselves into a corner legally. How can we fix this? Pashley 07:52, 23 December 2007 (EST)
We already have the problem. Several images have been nominated for deletion because they are CC-by-SA 2.0 or later rather than 1.0. en:Wikitravel:Votes_for_deletion#Image:Viking_ship_in_Stockholms_strom.jpg and following. I'd say we are headed for disaster here; this needs an urgent fix. Pashley 15:33, 24 December 2007 (EST)
I don't think there is any reason to delete non–CC-by-SA 1.0 images, since we provide image specific licensing information. But we do not provide text-specific licensing (since that's not feasible); our strict incompatibility is a big problem and does not serve the interests of Wikitravel. We would benefit in a pretty huge way by allowing compatibility with all CC attribution/share-alike licenses, without incurring any negative changes to how the site works and to the promises of the copyleft.
The one obstacle to changing our copyleft from "CC-by-SA 1.0" to "any CC-by-SA" is that we have promised everyone who has, up to such a change, contributed to Wikitravel that their work would be licensed specifically as CC-by-SA 1.0. What we would need to do is ask everyone who has ever written anything on the site to agree to such a change.
So we have a problem of needing a micro change that has big benefits, but requires macro support. Other sites have done this, right? World66 did, and they're owned by the same people who own our servers—in all likelihood they have some knowledge of the technical details of such a change. I say we open a feature request on shared and move this discussion to the talk page of that tech page. --Peter Talk 18:32, 10 January 2008 (EST)

FYI, I've asked Creative Commons for guidance on how to do a migration. Stay tuned. Jpatokal 07:50, 13 January 2008 (EST)

Thanks for checking with CC, Jpatokal. I've had our legal group look into this as well. We want to abide by whatever is viewed by all as appropriate, so please comment on the following suggestion. Can we post prominently on all pages of the site for a period of time (perhaps 30 or 60 days) that the site is going to switch to "any CC-by-SA", and invite anyone who does not accept this change to remove or revert any contributions they have made? I imagine most Wikitravellers will be enthused about the change. Thoughts on this? Thanks. Redondo 16:34, 30 January 2008 (EST)
If it were possible to switch the licence in this way, then it would also be possible in the future to post prominently on all pages of the site for a period of time (perhaps 30 or 60 days) that the site is going to switch to a commercial licence, and invite anyone who does not accept the change to remove or revert any contributions they have made - correct? ~ 21:43, 30 January 2008 (EST)

Hi John, we can use the MediaWiki:Sitenotice (Do you see the text that says "Wikitravel - the world's best travel guide" at the top of the page?) to display messages, but I'm still curious is there a black and white answer that any migration is kosher? -- Sapphire(Talk) • 17:54, 30 January 2008 (EST)

You know, why do we need to migrate the site? It'd be easier for the CC Foundation to update and improve the CC-by-SA 1.0 license than for us to get screwed over by attempting to do it. Nothing in the license forbids improvements to the license and CC could add an extra clause allowing for people to use "any later". Why don't we ask them to do that, which would streamline the process? -- Sapphire(Talk) • 18:22, 30 January 2008 (EST)
If they alter the original version of the licence, then surely the altered version is a later version? ~ 21:43, 30 January 2008 (EST)
As points out, you can't possibly do what Redondo is suggesting (or what Sapphire is suggesting). That would mean that you can, at any time, change the license to anything you like by either using a different version number (Redondo) or just modifying the original license (sapphire). Not only is that in bad faith, it is also probably not legal unless the original license explicitly allows it (which wouldn't make sense).--Wandering 22:28, 30 January 2008 (EST)
It is also not practical to expect users to remove their contributions. Images may be easy, but text?--Wandering 22:28, 30 January 2008 (EST)
It's not really correct to simply say "...can't possibly do what Redondo is suggesting..." because it's already been done on the Russian Wikitravel - see en:Wikitravel talk:Copyleft#Compatibility on :ru ~ 22:48, 30 January 2008 (EST)
Well, I guess "can't" was the wrong word. While I doubt if there are any practical implications to Peter's move, I do think it is questionable of questionable morality and not in violation of the spirit of copyleft (not to mention - whatever happened to consensus?). People are busily contributing to wikitravel without expectation of material or other reward and the least they should get in return is to not have the basic terms under which they've contributed changed, without due deliberation, from under them, however trivial the change may be, rather than loose talk of the 'so sue him' nature. Very disappointing. I hope someone will at least take the trouble to explain how wikitravel will be grievously harmed if we stick to 1.0. --Wandering 11:22, 31 January 2008 (EST)

There's' no reason to be concerned about my "suggestion", especially because I don't think it's viable, but if by all means it is.... I think I have consistently objected to the idea of migrating the site away from CC-by-SA 1.0. Evan explained to me the logic of how it could be pulled off without much trouble and I sort of believe him, but the problem I see is that some people hate Wikitravel and the people who purchase the domain and servers and will refuse to allow their edits to be included. Now, if someone refuses to let their edits stay in an article that has been edited by many people since, then we must remove all edits since that person's edit, because his edit will still be in the article history (I know this, because I did a lot of tinkering on de:), or what happens if I say 'Screw off, Wikitravel' and demand that my edits be removed? That essentially requires that Cincinnati and (now) Warsaw articles be reverted to their infant stages. There's really a lot of pointless debating about this when I really don't see a problem. We are able to ask people to relicense their works under CC-by-SA 1.0 (which I have done on occasion) and they'll likely agree, because of the open source principle. Yeah, we lose out on a lot of good materials, but what can we do? OpenStreetMaps can update its site license at no problem and when CC produces a new license saying 'any later or any earlier' we'll finally get our hands on stuff. Lastly, changing the license would make it easier for us than migrating the site away from CC-by-SA 1.0, because we would still be following the license verbatim. And if there was a change in the license that allowed us to update the license I would go with Jani's thinking that anyone who had a problem with that would need to show that they were harmed by the change to the CC license. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 06:02, 31 January 2008 (EST)

Why is everyone so hung up on changing the license? cc-by-sa-1.0 has worked fine all these years. All the text is properly licensed. Some, possibly many, images will have to be removed but that's not the end of the world. The incompatibility with GFDL is not new and the goals of the two wikis are different so sharing wikipedia text and images should not be an issue. What am I missing? --Wandering 06:38, 31 January 2008 (EST)
To answer your question, Wandering, I'd say there are three reasons to change the license. 1. The incompatibility with the GFDL has been a problem for ever since I've been contributing to Wikitravel; see the explanation at [Wikipedians#Licensing], and imagine if we didn't have to explain about that obstacle. 2. The brave words about Wikipedia and Wikitravel having different goals notwithstanding, there is some Wikipedia text which I would love to be able to bring into Wikitravel. Many wikitravel destinations have corresponding articles on Wikipedia which would serve our Understand sections well. 3. There are other free data sources which we could benefit from, for instance (which is CC By-SA 2.0). On all these fronts, I think WikiTravel would be better served by using a later CC-By-SA license than 1.0 JimDeLaHunt 23:47, 9 March 2008 (EDT)
Or, to turn Sapphire point about harm around. How is wikitravel (or, I suppose, IB) being harmed by the license switch? If anything, a change like this will harm wikitravel's reputation more than any harm arising out of the loss of images.--Wandering 09:43, 31 January 2008 (EST)
IB's legal team, which unlike us actually has background in intellectual property right law, has given this idea the go-ahead. It harms no one to make this change, because it preserves attribution & share-alike—the essential promise of our copyleft. I suppose it could give an impression that Wikitravel may not "keep its promises" to contributors, but I think that fear is overblown. We wouldn't be keeping to the letter of our terms of use in the very strictest & narrowest sense, but we'd clearly be maintaining the exact same purpose and spirit of our governing copyleft. I can predict one or two specific loonies who do, as Andrew points out, have an irrational hatred of this site, will claim their rights have been violated and will want their contributions removed. I think we can reasonably satisfy that request by going through their contribution histories and removing any text they contributed, rather than delete all contributions since they modified the page (that seems unreasonable, and I don't seen any compelling reason to do it).
This issue arose because of a simple oversight when people were plowing new terrain with these types of open licenses. Wikitravel's founders adopted the CC-by-SA 1.0 license in order to facilitate collaboration with other open projects devoted to our common purpose of building up freely-reusable bases of useful knowledge. Presumably those who have contributed did so because they believe in this purpose, rather than a fetishistic worship of the 1.0 license or something of that sort. So I don't understand why anyone would object to this practical move. In my view, the harm to Wikitravel's reputation born of inconsistency on the strict letter of our terms of use would be far outweighed by the benefits of preserving compatibility with existing and future collaborative projects that share our basic goals, as well as the benefits to our reputation for being a pragmatic site that isn't so risk-averse (and I think that not doing this would be extreme risk aversion) that it avoids doing what makes sense for the project.
And well, lest I draw more attacks on my personal morality and integrity from fellow administrators, I'll let that stand as my final comment on the matter. --Peter Talk 15:03, 1 February 2008 (EST)
As I see it, changing the license to CC-by-SA 2.0 or 3.0 — assumimg we can, which question we can mostly leave to IB's lawyers — should make little difference to most users; it is still CC-by-SA. The basic objective of creating freely re-usable content is unchanged.
The benefit is that it makes us compatible with other projects — Wikipedia, Citizendium, OpenStreetMaps, ... This lets us re-use text and maps from them, a significant benefit. In the process, it ends the prolonged, complex and rather acrimonious debate on the English vfd page about whether images with licenses CC > 1 need to be deleted. I'd say it is worth doing for that alone.
On the negative side, it is clearly going to be a lot of work. We do need to handle the case where a user — for whatever reason — does not allow his/her contributions to be re-licensed. This will probably include a few fairly prolific old contributors who left because of objections to the IB buyout. How do you take out dozens of contributions buried that deep in the history without losing other peoples' later work? This clearly has to be automated, but since it has legal implications and at least some players may be actively hostile, the scripts have to be auditable. Writing Perl or whatever code that both handles a complex problem and can, if necessary, be clearly explained to a judge is definitely not an easy problem.
On balance, I'd say it is worth doing. Pashley 20:21, 3 March 2008 (EST)

Yes yes yes! I support moving forward to a newer CC-By-SA license which better coordinates with GFDL and other free data / free authorship licenses. JimDeLaHunt 23:47, 9 March 2008 (EDT)

Bump! Nothing new here in months. What is current status? (Pashley) 06:36, 4 November 2008 (EST)
Yeah! This would be super nice – cacahuate talk 12:27, 4 November 2008 (EST)

Bump Pashley 21:36, 4 January 2009 (EST)

I fully support this license upgrade. LtPowers 14:08, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
I fully support this license upgrade as well. Gorilla Jones 16:52, 19 April 2009 (EDT)

Wikimedia & Creative Commons

Wikipedia is currently holding a referendum on dual licensing content, including wikipedia, to CC-by-sa 3.0. For those of you who are also Wikipedians, I'd encourage you to head over and vote ( This also raises some questions I believe. We could start taking a crack at this now, or wait till we have the outcome, where we most certainly will need to discuss this. I've also been looking a bit at Travellers point who also license their content CC-by-sa 3.0.

  1. If this goes through, can users copy 3.0 licensed content to WT, since we use 1.0?
  2. Do we want WP content? (I can think if many cases where we do want it, but also see the pitfalls)
  3. What about attribution? If we are to welcome WP content, how do we deal with this?

Comments appreciated :) --Stefan (sertmann) Talk 00:56, 14 April 2009 (EDT)

  1. No. IB's legal team has ok'd a move to a cc-by-sa any license for all text on site, but the move never happened due to community opposition. I'd be happy if we revisited that to allow newer interested users to comment. See shared:Tech:License upgrade.
  2. Sometimes. Dealing with WP dumps would be a headache, but we'd also gain a lot in being able to mishmash together ready-made history sections from their site. We'd probably have to create a new policy page to figure out how to deal with dumped text, since for the most part we still will want original, travel-oriented writing.
  3. We follow WP's lead, since they will need to deal with that as well. My guess is that they'll play looser with the attribution requirement than we would (by, for example, declaring the page history to provide due attribution). In that case, we could do something like use a template at the bottom of the page, linking to the history of the appropriate WP article(s).
This is all purely moot, however, until/if we move to an updated CC license. Our current license has terrible incompatibility issues, which owe their origins to the fact that the CC 1.0 was basically CC's first draft, and which have been corrected in all later versions. As of now, our text license pretty much restricts us from cooperating with any other sites that use the CC-by-SA license. --Peter Talk 01:19, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
Yeah, I saw that today too. With regards to #2, I think sections like history and climate would do well copied from WP (but only sections if it's too long). It might also help for lots of travel topics and phrasebooks (namely the usage/history & phonetics sections). For #3, is it possible to mess with the wiki software for this site to include a checkbox (like "this is a minor edit" & "Watch this page") labeled "Copied from Wikipedia" which would require the editor to insert the name/address of the WP article used and automatically place a link to the history of that WP page after the edit's listing on the WT article. The license at the bottom of the WT article could then include "Parts of this page may be the original work of contirbuters to the Wikipedia articles: [ Wikitravel], etc."? It sounds complicated, but it's the best method I can think of right now to solve the problem of attribution. AHeneen 01:24, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
The community opposition to the upgrade was quite minimal (only 2 users, though they repeated their arguments several times)... I don't think we were toooo far off from building a consensus to upgrade... it would just be nice to have a bit more legal input from someone in the know – cacahuate talk 14:33, 14 April 2009 (EDT)
I would certainly be one of the two who opposes an upgrade. No upgrade should or could be undertaken in just a matter of weeks or a few months. It would have to be a process that would be drawn out over at least a year to cover our asses in the legal issues. World 66, which I see has been taken offline, upgraded from the GNUFDL to CC by-SA 1.0 several years ago. In the process, they supposedly allowed any user who had ever contributed to World66, or whatever its predecessor's name was to opt-out and have all their previous content removed and all other content contributed by others was re-licensed. But, as the CC ShareAlike license ensures derivative work is also open source that means that derivative content produced with the content of the contributor who opts-out could be a possible source of legal messiness.
If this can or worms is going to be re-opened, I would want Internet Brands to conference call admins and other community members to allow a Q and A, because we will be fielding questions about a change over. Not to mention, I'd want to hear that I am protected from any legal issues and that IB would be the ones held responsible if some fiasco did arise.
That aside, I really don't see much benefit from a license "upgrade." First of all, the only real content that we are missing out on as a result of the CC-by-SA 1.0 license are a few maps, some photos, and historical information from WP and the like. That's not so bad, because a contributor could send an email to someone and simply ask a photographer to dual license a photo under CC-by-SA 1.0 and whatever other license the photographer wanted to use. Secondly, our content is still open source even with the CC-by-SA 1.0 license. Maybe it's not as "open" as I would like it to be or others would like it to be, but a whole other issues can be opened up if the community says: Hey, let's change the license from CC-by-SA 1.0, to include all CC-by-SA licenses like I did for Wikimmigrant. The problem that I have with Wikimmigrant is that the content on Wikimmigrant could be used by Wikitravel and anyone else who uses a CC-by-SA license (including 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0), but with a multi-licensed site, Wikimmigrant cannot take content from other sources even if the other content is licensed as CC-by-SA 3.0, because the other content has to be licensed under CC-by-SA 1.0, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 (possibly even later versions). All in all, I just think that an upgrade is not worth the hassle. We missed out on the 2.0 license years ago and that did not cause Wikitravel to fail. Be honest, but an upgrade is not so essential to Wikitravel. If it were, we wouldn't have amassed a collection of 20K+ articles, or been awarded a Webby, or named as one of Time's 50 Best Websites. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 23:50, 18 April 2009 (EDT)
Thanks for the legal advice, but you appear to be very confused on a number of these issues. Rather obvious among which is our ability to use images and other files with a different CC-by-SA license—we already do this. In any rate, you are commenting in the wrong place, if you wish to continue this discussion, please do so in the original thread. --Peter Talk 14:57, 19 April 2009 (EDT)
I think Sapphire is right on reusing content on Wikimmigrant, but that's because Wikimmigrant is multilicensed. A site that was singly-licensed CC-by-sa-3.0 wouldn't have that problem (because any CC license after 1.0 can be freely upgraded to a later version; not so going backwards). (Also, note Sapphire said "content"; images are a special case for a couple of reasons that I won't go into here.) LtPowers 15:58, 19 April 2009 (EDT)
I'm not very confused at all. I've been lurching around long enough to know about the license debates. I offer an opinion and that's it. I usually take a strict interpretation of these sorts of things, which has caused us to disagree, but there's no need to assert that I'm confused on these matters. It seems that whenever this gets brought up people are all bubbly about changing licenses overnight. The first time I ever heard publicly from a major player in the open source world about WP/MWF switching over to a CC-by-SA compatible license was in 2005. There was probably some serious discussion about that months before, which would place WP/WMF's transition at about 5 years in the making and its beyond naive for us to 'voice support' without thinking things through in a manner that would tackle the major issues that I and one or two others have raised in the past. And, I want people to actually consider the possibility of legal wording of the license and not some what I supposed to be some fairy-tale 'spirit of the license.' I know exactly what the spirit of the license is, but how difficult does the wording of the license make an upgrade? -- Sapphire(Talk) • 20:27, 19 April 2009 (EDT)

Some random observations;

  • Isn't it legally IB ass on the line, not ours? not to say we shouldn't deal with this thoroughly, fairly, and transparently - we most definitely should, but as far as any legal side of things - I can't imagine US law being that much different from Danish law in this regard.
  • The CC licenses have been upgraded for a reason; to counter impracticalities encountered in the real world, not saying this is specifically a reason for upgrading, just saying...
  • For better or worse (not really sure what I think about this one) one of the major differences between 1.0 and later versions, is that the later versions have a group attribution clause - namely that you can legally just attribute wikitravel, rather than all the individual contributors - while I would like being attributed for my work, reality is that most re-users barely bother to attribute even wikitravel (see SF sample guide f.x.), making it simpler, could potentially ensure that at least wikitravel gets attribution.
  • Wikivoyage[3] has embarked on a similar quest, but as far as I understand it, gone with some sort of dual licensing - my German abilities fails me here, but maybe someone with better grasp of language could look into their discussions - especially since the content is forked from WT. Sertmann 21:18, 19 April 2009 (EDT)
Yes — the only lawyers involved in or relevant to this discussion, those retained by IB, have OK'd this move. I'd suggest we treat legal advice from non-lawyers with about the same consideration as we would surgical advice from non-surgeons. Gorilla Jones 13:26, 20 April 2009 (EDT)
I am also curious whether individual contributors could be held responsible were a lawsuit to arise... we do our best to remind everyone that we contributors own Wikitravel, not IB... who's to say they wouldn't use that argument against us in the event of an incredibly unlikely lawsuit? Certainly not withdrawing my support for moving forward on this, but just playing devil's advocate for a moment  :)
Re Pepsi, it looks like they are planning to phase into cc-by-sa-any, with new articles and contributions... but not upgrading existing text. Not sure how they're planning to do that exactly... possibly by plagiarizing the Obama campaign and using a similar typeface for by-sa-2.0 and higher ;) – cacahuate talk 02:49, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
I said I wouldn't comment further, but perhaps enough time has past where we can have a civil discussion about this.
Actually, I'm not sure whether anyone could be held responsible. A license upgrade would be essentially be carried out by the entire Wikitravel community, since our policy decisions are made by en:Wikitravel:Consensus. Good luck to a plaintiff suing a community of ~50,000 contributors of just about every nationality, plus an even larger number of anonymous users. To emphasize the inclusiveness of this decision, we could put up a MediaWiki sitenotice on :en, :shared, and any other interested language versions announcing that this discussion is going on. Tying users to actual people would also be problematic. The only plausible single target of a suit is IB, the trademark owner, especially since they gave the go-ahead, and their lawyers have decided that this is not a significant worry. And Sapphire, the fact that you consider the spirit of the CC licensing to be a "fairy-tale" irrelevant to legal considerations makes it increasingly apparent that you are very much confused about these legal issues, and would be better served by deferring to the expert legal positions of both IB and the Wikimedia Foundation.
To remind newer entrants to this long-running discussion why an upgrade would be important. Staying at 1.0 makes our site content incompatible with pretty much the entirety of the open source movement, forever. That not only means that we won't be able to make use of text from any other like-minded projects, it also means that no other like-minded projects will be able to use our content. This violates a core goal of Wikitravel, and the principal goal of using a CC license to begin with. The omission of inter-version compatibility was an oversight, a mistake, made by CC, and we should not trap ourselves in this incompatibility dilemma out of some extreme, over-conservative, misguided litigious culture. This would be an especially extreme position given the background that all sorts of other major projects (including other IB projects) are also upgrading (or already have upgraded) their licenses to ensure greater compatibility throughout the open source community. If a civil suit is coming (and I seriously doubt it is), it's going to target Wikipedia before IB, and the precedent set will put an end to the question. --Peter Talk 03:27, 21 April 2009 (EDT)
I'll tackle this point by point.
  • I agree that the CC-by-SA 1.0 license puts at a disadvantage in disseminating Wikitravel content, but I still argue that wording, in strict interpretation, does not allow this. Erik Moeller wrote in reference to Wikipedia's proposal: "However, because [the GDFL] was developed specifically for (typically printed) documentation, the GFDL contains many passages that aren’t relevant to an online work like Wikipedia, and it also contains obligations that, when taken literally, are quite onerous. For example, it requires that the full text of the license accompany every copy of the work, and it also requires that the section entitled “history” be included with each copy. (For Wikipedia, a massively edited work, this history of changes is often much larger than the work itself.) While Wikipedia has developed a long practice of interpreting this language to facilitate easy re-use, the literal text of the license has baffled many re-users and confused them about what they can and cannot do." So, Wikipedia acknowledge this for some time. In fact, WM made this proposal "1. to 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" But, look at that last clause: as explicitly allowed through the latest version of the GFDL. To me, that seems to mean that WM held off on this until GDFL finally improved the license to allow this type of upgrade to WP's copyleft. To really clarify my opinion on this, the whole fairy tale spirit thing is more about the actualization of the site upgrade than it is as an indictment of why we should/shouldn't upgrade. If need be, I'll change the license of Wikimmigrant and sue the shit out myself to get an answer.
  • As far as I can deduce, IB could not be held responsible for any legal issues that are brought about as the result of a license upgrade, especially if that is solely undertaken by the Community. There seems to be an argument from some content providers that they are not responsible for content posted by its users. That's what Google was arguing about You Tube, but they seem to have struck deals in that case, so I can't tell if there's a precedent there or not. By the way, I don't really see an official OK from IB's lawyers on the matter, but something that passes at it, but I don't think that's a clear go-ahead, or at least not yet. As I've stated in the past, I believe any discussion on the matter should fully involve IB and it's legal assets.
  • Stating that I have disagreed with this, solely on my very own (and certainly not legally professional) opinion and interpretation, what do ye who support an upgrade propose? What kind of license(s) would be used? How would it be approached? Regarding deferring to the WM's expert legal opinions, WM is in a far more fortunate position than we are. Personally, I don't think it's necessary to try to subvert my, Wandering's, and 203.Thailand's concerns. I am trying to bring forth concerns that I have and even though as Gorilla says, don't take surgical advice from a surgeon, listen and consider the concerns to the husband who thinks a podiatrist shouldn't be treating his wife's subarachnoid hemorrhage. Not to mention, it does seem somewhat naive to me to rule out litigation, because the world is a very litigious place. All of this said, I'm sending an email to Poland's CC people and ask them they're thoughts, though a major week of holidays is coming up and that could take time to get a response. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 14:04, 23 April 2009 (EDT)
You know, I'm still trying to figure out where in the CC-by-SA 1.0 license it says we can't upgrade to a later version. It says "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one." The legal text doesn't define "similar", though. LtPowers 17:14, 23 April 2009 (EDT)
Which is the only issue I'm concerned with. Minus, of course, what I already brought up about Wikimmigrant's problem of multi-licensing. In the actual legal code it says: "You may distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly digitally perform a Derivative Work only under the terms of this License, and You must include a copy of, or the Uniform Resource Identifier for, this License with every copy or phonorecord of each Derivative Work You distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly digitally perform." If that weren't there, I wouldn't be playing devil's advocate and would be only raising the concern that we wouldn't be able to use content from sources that were not multi-licensed, if we went that route. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 18:34, 23 April 2009 (EDT)
You realize you could just change the Wikimmigrant license to CC-by-SA 3.0, right? Unless you think I or one of the three other contributors are going to sue you. In the strictest, most conservative possible interpretation, CC 1.0 has compatibility problems with all other versions, save CC-any, which it can re-use. CC-any cannot re-use content under any of these licenses. These are rather obvious unintentional results of the license, and this is why it has been altered in later versions, and why other sites have upgraded to those later versions.
The open-source community is not a legally conservative group of people. We are paving new ground, and are open to legal challenges anyway, which would operate in legal gray areas, simply for lack of precedents. Stubbornly clinging to 1.0 out of this sort of risk-aversion violates not only the spirit of the CC license, the purpose of our choosing a CC license, and the basic goal of being a part of the open-source community—it violates the very ethos of that community, from which the very idea of Wikitravel emerged.
As we operate under consensus, we do tend to move slowly, and can be held up from making even clearly majority-favored decisions. (This is why Wikipedia simply gave up on the consensus principle.) I would urge you to not let the holding up of this sensible change and the permanent exclusion of Wikitravel from the rest of the open-source community be your lasting legacy on Wikitravel. --Peter Talk 22:30, 23 April 2009 (EDT)
I agree, please consider all my contributions to Wikitravel also as CC-by-sa 3.0 (and GFDL, etc). -- 10:32, 25 May 2009 (EDT)
So, where does this leave us? Peter summed it up pretty well here in his last post. IMO there seems to be plenty enough support to move forward and ask IB to go ahead with an upgrade. Is this going to cause any ugliness? Why don't we give it another while, until say, June 15th, in case anyone has something to say.... but unless some new fresh arguments are brought to this, shall we move forward then? – cacahuate talk 17:31, 25 May 2009 (EDT)

Wikipedia moves to CC by-sa 3.0

As Jani pointed out in the pub, the Wikimedia foundation has now decided to move to CC-by-sa 3.0, which I at the very least feel should prompt us to make a decision. Personally I would be most comfortable with a procedure where we try to gain unanimous (or near unanimous) support among the active admins across all language versions, and then left a site notice for 3 months warning users about the change before implementing this. Sertmann 12:10, 16 June 2009 (EDT)

As a refresher, while this solved half the "can't copy Wikipedia into Wikitravel" problem, the other half is still unsolved: Wikitravel is stuck on CC by-sa 1.0, because unlike GFDL, that license provides no upgrade path at all. (CC 2.0 and up do, but that doesn't help.)
My present feeling is that Wikitravel should just finally take the plunge and unilaterally migrate to CC by-sa 3.0 already. Yes, technically, this is a license breach -- so if an author (copyright holder) serves notice, we can remove their contributions and resolve that license breach. Since 99.99% of the people who've contributed to WT won't mind, this shouldn't really be a problem. Jpatokal 07:59, 16 June 2009 (EDT)
I agree with Jani, there's such a tiny chance that anyone will care, and if someone raises a ruckus, we'll allow them to remove their contributions. I think this is incredibly minor and once upgraded, will be long forgotten in no time – cacahuate talk 19:21, 16 June 2009 (EDT)
You may be able to remove their contributions from easily enough, but what about the derivative versions? --Inas 19:55, 16 June 2009 (EDT)
Is that a Wikitravel problem? Is anyone truly worried about getting sued by someone who contributed a description of the Eiffel Tower, solely because they had a crush on ccbysa 1.0, but is bitter enemies with ccbysa 3.0? Do you think people will be able to prove that they were in some way damaged by this license upgrade, enough so that a judge would award them a sum of money? And convince a judge that they wouldn't have contributed that info in the first place if our license had been 3.0 way back when?
I think, had this conversation never started, and had we just upgraded quietly, that pretty much nobody would even have noticed.... and that nobody would have been able to tell the difference between 1.0 and 3.0. And that Judge Judy would look them in the eye and tell them to get a life. And that we've played devil's advocate long enough, and the worries that have been voiced are well meaning, but incredibly unlikely to manifest – cacahuate talk 21:17, 16 June 2009 (EDT)
Old derivative versions were created under 1.0 and continue to be 1.0. The fact that we cease to provide new copies under 1.0 makes no difference at all. Jpatokal 22:44, 16 June 2009 (EDT)
I don't really want to play armchair lawyer, but no amount of statements that we or IB make can actually change the licence of something that was licenced under CC-BY-SA 1.0. We can say it has changed, update the licence pages, etc, but it makes no difference unless the person who licenced it either implicitly or explicitly makes the change. As for damages, people can always find potential for damages when there is money being made. As for who would care, well there certainly have been people leave wanting to remove all their contributions in the past.
And as an aside, what was the benefit of CC-BY-SA 3.0 again? Sharing data with WP? Who needs it - best off without the encyclopaedic content. OSM? They are about to change licences anyway, where hopefully ODbL will make WT maps Produced Works, so there is little issue there. Where else is this volume of CC-BY-SA data we want to consume? --Inas 23:46, 17 June 2009 (EDT)
So is that an official objection? Or just devil's advocate? – cacahuate talk 20:47, 21 June 2009 (EDT)
It goes both ways: being stuck on CC 1.0 complicates correct reuse as well. For example, at Wikitravel Press, there's a significant amount of tedious work in sorting out what content is CC 1.0 and what is CC-2.0-or-greater, because we can't claim CC 1.0 works as 2.0 or higher. If WT itself was CC 3.0, we could just say "Everything licensed under CC 2.0 or greater" and be done with it.
Also, if any version of the CC license is found to be invalid or impractical in a court of law for some reason (and the whole reason CC 2+ exist is that they fix various loopholes), CC can fix it by releasing a newer version... but WT will forever be stuck with the broken license. Jpatokal 05:38, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

Well, one point that Peter has also raised above, is if we want to be a part of the open source/content community. We may or may not want encyclopædic content from WP, but what about content from Travellers point for instance. Or more importantly re sharing of our content which is one of the main goals of the site - I can see a few cases where WP could benefit from our content. Besides it's my understanding that a portion of the subsequent CC license text, is not exactly trivial in terms of legal protection of the content, but IANAL.
I would like some dialogue with Wikivoyage, before any change though, some of them have a huge beef with us and the amount of content many of those guys have contributed is not trivial. Sertmann 05:47, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Interestingly, it looks like Wikivoyage upgraded their own license on April 1, 2009 -- but only for new contributions, with a "license upgrade" mechanism for old users to relicense their old content. See here. Jpatokal 06:10, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

Thanks to Jani and Sertmann for inviting us to this discussion.

Jani is right: We have decided to switch our standard license for new contributions to "every existing and future version of the CC-by-sa". Furthermore, each of our contributors has the possiblility to upgrade his/her old contributions to our new standard license. Due to our history (we have imported about 3,000 articles from de: and some hundrets from it:), we also have introduced a way for upgrading the license of contributions "made on an other wiki" (we mean Wikitravel, of course). Many of our important de: authors that also have contributed to Wikitravel (preferably de:) have put a license upgrade template on their Wikitravel user pages. See for more details. Our Italian authors did not yet do so, but I assume this is mainly because they don't like to bother too much with judical questions. Saying this, I would not expect any objections from Wikivoyaguers that used to contribute to Wikitravel. However, it's still everyone's own decision to agree to a license upgrade or not.

On Wikivoyage, we have gone a rather complicated, but save way. By default, we only apply our new standard license to new contributions. We ask for explicit agreement of the authors before we upgrade the license of old contributions. If Wikitravel would find some way to manage a license upgrade, this also would help Wikivoyage. As already mentioned several times above, the future on wikis is CC-by-sa 2.0+. This was an important point for our decision. However, we have not been brave enough to upgrade the license without agreement of any contributor to an article, although we are sure that most of them could not even tell you what the actual differences between the versions are.

-- Hansm 10:21, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

Thanks to Hansm who has said everything already. I have one supplemental thought. @cacahuate: your words: "Is anyone truly worried about getting sued by someone who contributed a..." It's easy to say that cause you are always on the safe side when somebody is sueing - not you, of course - just the owner of the website i think. Wikitravel and Wikivoyage have lost contributors in the past due to differences in policies, decisions and whatever. Both projects have to live with that circumstances that the contributors that we lost are upset. And if one of these people wakes up in the morning with a very very bad mood..... Suing somebody is a way to get money, of course. So I think that a well considered plan should be mapped out, how to upgrade the license. And besides all that. It is my duty as the chairman of the board of Wikivoyage to protect the community. And so I think that simply switching the whole project over to cc-by-sa 3.0 is not a good option. The way just shown by Hansm is clear and suitable i think. -- Der Fussi 13:21, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Fussi, sorry to contradict you, but just one thing: Upgrading the license of contributions made on Wikitravel is an issue that only concerns the site owner and the contributors. I think this does not affect Wikivoyage in any way, so no reason to protect anybody. All the rest: full agreement. -- Hansm 13:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Oops! My words haven't been clear enough. A foreign language can be tricky. Protecting the Wikivoyage community is the reason for my opinion that the way we found on Wikivoyage way is suitable and a good option, and its my duty there. I used it to back my arguments. Of course the conclusions of these discussions here affect only Wikitravel. I recommend to include our points into these considerations. And to point it out again: I think if someone sues the project, its too late already. Removing the contributions from the history afterwards is not an option any longer then, cause the suit is lodged already. -- Der Fussi 13:59, 22 June 2009 (EDT)
Well, that's right. Sorry for the misunderstanding. -- Hansm 15:05, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

The manner in which World 66 (another site from which we would benefit in switching to CC-by-SA 3.0) took care of concerns was to make the proposed change very visible, for a significant period of time (3 months, I believe) before making the switch. Wikipedia followed a similar path. I propose that, instead of hand-wringing over possible future objections (which I think very unlikely), we could put up this sitenotice for a while to get an idea if anyone in actuality does care.

I understand the rationale behind the Wikivoyage decision to provide only new contributions under the 3.0 version, but I think this is ultimately a poor solution, as re-use of this content in derivative works would be a licensing muddle—this including articles on Wikivoyage that include updated text, as this content is a derivative work of the pre-existing 1.0 content.

Yes, we cannot legally "change" the license of existing text. We can, however, provide it under CC-by-SA 3.0—in technical breach of the 1.0 wording. But there is an obvious legal rationale supporting this move: the two versions of this one license are in all practical matters the same with the one exception of 1.0's lack of a clause explicitly allowing forwards compatibility with future versions. Moreover, the lack of a forwards-compatibility clause in the original 1.0 version was just a blooper on CC's part. I have no idea how an irate contributor could prove damages, and simply asserting that "when money is involved, someone will sue" is unconvincing. Money is not in favor of a suit if a successful lawsuit would be near impossible (and the real legal fees inevitable). Which also brings up the point (again) that even finding someone to sue would be very difficult. My assumption is that a complainant would have little practical option than to sue IB, whose legal team already ok'd the option, and has already gone the exact same route on World66.

We are already exposed to far more serious licensing/copyright violations, particularly in the inclusion on our site of all-rights-reserved copyrighted materials. Images and text added to Wikitravel that do not have a free license are established legal violations. Yes, we cover ourselves by trying to keep them off the site, and yes, the contributors who upload them are the ones to blame. But that has hardly stopped lawsuits against entities like Youtube. (And Youtube copyright violations are in a small way less serious, since we put up the claim that anyone else is free to use our content under the ShareAlike license, leading to a ripple effect). This problem is intrinsic in our open-content, anyone-can-edit model. We were founded to be part of the open-source community, and to preserve that founding goal, we do expose ourself to copyright violation already, and we will need to take the far less controversial step of switching our licensing text to 3.0, a virtually identical license to what we already have.

As to what beneficial content this change would allow us to use? The obvious one is the giant Wikipedia. We can use policy to prevent wholesale and detrimental copying of WP content to here. But I very often find a nice sentence to add to a listing or paragraph here, and it's a pain to have to rewrite it entirely. Wikia is another enormous site for which we could use the same policy. Other much tinier sites have good content that we could use here—Hitchwiki and the now defunct WikiOutdoors come to mind. Small, failed wikis are especially good sources for use to mine, as we will bring back those good contributions into the public light on our big, well-ranked site. Moreover, the future of the open-source community is huge and we cannot predict exactly what content will later become available. But it's safe to assume that we will miss out on using a lot of good content in the future—and all other members of the open-source community will miss out on using ours.

Wikimedia's legal team ok'd the change, and GFDL → CC is a far greater one than what we'd make. Our legal team has ok'd this change (as they did for World66). I think it's time to put up that sitenotice. --Peter Talk 19:49, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

Word – cacahuate talk 20:42, 22 June 2009 (EDT)

First draft

OK, let's get this show on the road. I've written a first draft at License upgrade, fire away.

Pulling numbers out of a hat, I would suggest publicizing this on July 1st, giving a three month comment period ending Oct 1st, and upgrading on Nov 1st.

Also, while the draft is here on Shared, the actual License upgrade pages should be posted on each language version individually, so contributions can easily be checked and people don't need to futz around with creating accounts here. Jpatokal 22:32, 22 June 2009 (EDT)