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[Copyright question thread]

Bear in mind there are other threads relevant to the discussion, however!


Thomas Hofer wondered how Wikipedia can properly include content from a third-party FDL document [1], but the discussion veered to who holds copyright on the work on the pages [2], inspired by a confusing entry on Wikipedia FAQ (Who owns Wikipedia?) [3]. It has since been amended, following Jimbo Wales's clarification of his view [4]. Larry and Jimbo then discussed some of the motivation for using the FDL in relation to their vision for Wikipedia [5] [6] [7]. Jimbo mentions that Wikipedia is using invariant sections [8]; Axel Boldt contradicted that and raised the issue of principal authors [9].

Selected quotations

Wikipedia has no records about copyright-holders in its diffs and changelogs. When I create or edit a page, the corporation that runs Wikipedia is the copyright-holder of all my changes - which minimizes copyright-troubles. (And gives the corporation the right to release modified or unmodified content under any other license if they want).

But what happens when I insert a FDL document from a third party?-- Thomas Hofer, [1]

As far as I know, I have not signed away my copyright on the material I submit to Wikipedia. In my opinion, this means that I still hold the copyright of the pieces I have written, although the corporation is the copyright-holder of the site as a whole. I have not given up copyright, I just restricted my rights as the copyright holder by:
1. Putting the material under a Free Documentation License
2. Allowing any type of publishing and changing that one could reasonably expect be done to a Wikipedia entry--Andre Engels, [2]

I think that this view is essentially correct. --Jimbo Wales [4]

I think that the main thing we want to preserve is the simple operation of the community, and the ethos against authorship. --Jimbo Wales [7]

What you do if you hit the submit button on wikipedia is to release your material under GFDL, without invariant sections....
There is however one issue: if I release my article to wikipedia under GFDL, Bomis, *per the GFDL, section 4B*, has to maintain information about at least five of the principal authors. I think the easiest way to do this would be to maintain unlimited page histories, maybe downloadable by FTP somewhere if the material gets to voluminous for the web server. --Axel Boldt [9]

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Last edited November 1, 2001 7:08 am by Larry Sanger (diff)