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Talk:License upgrade

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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)