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Re: migration of wiki material: suggested licence and legal issues

On Sat, 1 Oct 2005 15:37:21 -0700 Don Armstrong wrote:

> On Sat, 01 Oct 2005, Francesco Poli wrote:
> > On Fri, 30 Sep 2005 12:48:47 +0100 Jon Dowland wrote:
> > > The old wiki's copyright statement[1] suggests that ownership is
> > > held by the respective authors, and grants "Fair Use"
> > > reproduction. 
> >
> > I don't think a whole data-dump could be seen as "Fair Use",
> In this particular case, we're really only worried about the fair use
> rules within the jurisdiction that wiki.debian.org resides in (at
> least as far as migration goes.)

Maybe, but copying the *entire* content of the wiki doesn't seem to
qualify as "Fair Use", even in a jurisdiction where fairly broad "Fair
Use" rights are granted to the public (if there is any such

It's not something like a reasonably short (and correctly attributed)
quotation: we are talking about copying a *whole* work!

On the other hand (but note that this does not in any way rely on "Fair
Use"), the old wiki maintainers have permission to publish the material.
If the new wiki is set up by the same people (or organization), they can
claim to exercise that right, simply on a different wiki.
Is the old wiki an official Debian wiki, as the new one is?
But anyway, that's not the point.
Even if the old wiki content *can* legally be migrated onto the new
wiki, there's no permission to distribute it, or to distribute modified
versions of it.
So that material cannot currently be (re)published in a DFSG-free
Copyright holders must be contacted and asked for permission to do

> > * Consequently, its source code should be (easily) available for
> > download
> It would actually just be better to expose the actual on disk storage
> that moin-moin uses (whatever that is) for rsync or similar. [This
> will probably have to happen via a mirror, since spohr is restricted.]

If that allow public users to get the source form of the wiki content
through the same medium (http) they use for accessing the wiki itself,
that's fine.

> > * An appropriate license should be chosen for wiki contributions
> > (more on this later) 
> I would suggest instead having contributors specifically indicate a
> default license for any works that they contribute out of a select set
> of licences. [Probably GPL, MIT, or GPL+MIT]

That's OK.
I was going for an easier approach (most users are annoyed by legal
details), but your proposal is fine too, as long as this feature
is simply enough to implement...

> > * Each copyright holder for material in the old wiki, should be
> > contacted and asked to agree to the relicensing *before* the
> > corresponding material is migrated to the new wiki.
> I disagree with this, simply because it will require far too much
> effort to track down every single contributor and ask them to license
> their works appropriately. Far better to migrate the information and
> to have a tag (or something) on each page that indicates what license
> the material on the page is under based on the contributor who
> contributed it.
> At some future date, we can go back through and identify pages which
> haven't been correctly tagged by their contributors and either remove
> them or reimplement them as the case may be.

That's the way to set up a wiki that will be forever encumbered with
non-free parts. If people are not willing to do the tedious work *now*,
what makes you think they will be willing to do it *in the future*?

IMHO, the only strategy that leads to a DFSG-free wiki is preventing
non-free material from being included in the first place.
And, consequently, considering every non-free material that somehow
managed to get into the wiki as a *bug* (not simply something that it
would be nice to have differently)
People will try and get some old material relicensed *only* if that is a
condition for the material to be allowed in.

That's basically similar to Debian main: some packages do not comply
with the DSFG (or other Policy requirements for the main archive) and be
in main nonetheless, but that's a bug.
The Debian Project does not *knowingly* put non-free packages in main.

    :-(   This Universe is buggy! Where's the Creator's BTS?   ;-)
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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