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

Francesco Poli wrote:
> The wiki maintainers are in the process of migrating from one wiki site
> to another one: the time to scan the whole old content and clear out any
> copyright issue is *now*.
> IMHO, migration should go on piecewise, as the old contents get
> relicensed: that is to say, each old wiki part is migrated as soon as
> it's correctly relicensed.
100% agree. Given that it's technically illegal to do the copying without the 
license, this really is the time.

For the future, I think the simplest practical thing to do is to specify one 
license for the whole wiki and specify on the wiki pages that by editing it 
you license under it.  They can of course license under *additional* licenses 
if they choose.   A site license is the cleanest and easiest thing to do.
Each page in the old wiki can be migrated as soon as all of its contributors 

It might be feasible to allow different pages to have different licenses.  
What's not reasonable is to have multiple licenses on a single page, or to 
have any page without a license, or to have a the license for a page change 
after creation.  This is because any person might wish to edit the page, and 
that person should instantly and automatically license their work under the 
same license as the rest of the page (or the page becomes a nightmare of 
different, possibly conflicting, possibly unspecified licenses).  All 
considered, a site license is the best bet, possibly with an "except for 
pages whose metadata specify differently" clause.

Of the three suggested non-copyleft licenses, two-clause BSD is probably the 
cleanest, but I don't really care.  I think the "copyleft or non-copyleft" 
question is quite beyond me; if you can't decide, ask for a vote or 

(I doubt that there is any problem accessing the page source code from the 
web; doesn't it have to do that in order to access the 'edit' page anyway?  
That access could be made more straightforward -- and wgettable -- with a 
little hacking then, I suspect.  But if that's an issue, that would mitigate 
towards a non-source-code-requiring license.)

It is crucial that the editing process informs the user that by editing s/he 
is licensing their work under whatever license.  I suppose if only people who 
log in are allowed to make changes (which I believe is the case), you could 
require that they supply licenses for their work in their personal pages 
instead, but (a) that would have to be enforced, (b) those licenses would 
have to be checked for DFSG-freeness, and (c) license compatibility would 
have to be checked before every edit.  That makes that seem to be a totally 
unreasonable option.

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@twcny.rr.com>

Make sure your vote will count.

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