See MeatballWikiCopyrightDiscussionArchived for an older version.
This site copied ClassStriation without permission:
Note my comment. -- SunirShah
Cliff has pointed out the need for a decent, open and free copyright policy before things get along too far.
There isn't a policy yet. When there is a set policy, it will be posted on a non-wiki page. (So nobody can add conditions like selling your children. :-)
A good policy should make clear what kinds of contributions are wanted, and not surprise people after they have invested significant time. --CliffordAdams (who will leave the final decision to Sunir)
Some general points... under the BerneConvention (which the USA, UK and Canada are signatories to), original work is copyright the author automatically; that is the default position. The "right to be identified as author" cannot be assigned so you can never claim you wrote stuff you didn't.
There is a separate copyright in the collection of messages and you can reasonably stake a claim for that. You can use this to prevent other people copying the site as a whole. (This is what Ward does.) Also, if several people work on a paragraph they all have rights and you need permission from all of them to make copies. It becomes a "derivative work". This is what happens when you edit a page.
You probably can't quite do that. From my reading, "public domain" status requires an explicit declaration from the author. (In some countries, even the original author can't sign away certain rights, like the right to attribution.) If you want to do that, you should probably make a very clear statement.
This does have the advantage of being simple(r) in principle. -- SunirShah
I don't think it would be impossible to do public domain. If the "Save" button were replaced by a "Give this text to the public domain" button, it would be pretty clear (this idea stolen from a similar one at Wiki:WikiCopyRights). -- BayleShanks
Public domain by default is probably best. If the author wants some kind of license, he/she can either make note of it when writing, or write something on their homepage on the wiki.
Either way, the author should be required to put their name next to what they write if they want it copyrighted in some fashion.
Ideally, the wiki could color the authors' names differently depending on the type of license they want their text to be in, so that its easier for people. -- RyanNorton
Hi! We've come up against this kind of problem and therefore are promoting a simple license, the "Primarily Public Domain" which means "public domain except as noted". See: http://www.PrimarilyPublicDomain.org This is a pragmatic license because it's generally very difficult for a work to be entirely in the public domain, they tend to include copyrighted excerpts from elsewhere. But it returns the burden on the editors to be responsible, reversing the current laws where everything is copyright by default. Your Wiki is a controlled environment so I think you could insist that all material be in the public domain. (As we do at http://ms.memes.net) One advantage for you of the Primarily Public Domain would be that it would be compatible with your existing license - it would honor the current material, which is all copyrighted, but would make fair use of it, which would be quite broad since ownership is generally now difficult to establish. We'd love to include your Wiki in our registry, if you used this license. Andrius Kulikauskas, Minciu Sodas, http://www.ms.lt, firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the "give credit where credit is due" philosophy.
"Anyone may use this material in any way as long as 1) this license, or the GNU FDL, or the OpenPublicationLicense covers the copy or derived work, and 2) no additional restrictions beyond those imposed by those licenses are imposed upon anyone by the copy or derived work".
(personally, i think virality is not necessary for this sort of thing)
"If you would like to, you may take any material on this website and remove all names, IDs, handles, and other personal identification information, as well as any information which could seem to connect any of these posts to any individual or online persona. The result of this 'decrediting' shall be in the public domain."
this way you can have material in the public domain without worrying about expressing volatile opinions and then having them copied somewhere outside your control (well, the opinions will be copied, but the references to you will not be, so your safe).
I find this policy overall weaker than it could be because of:
It's not in line with the realities of Wiki. People never respect ownership of work on Wiki. How many times do people email original authors and wait for explicit permission to delete their words? Indeed, for a community effort, individual ownership is an unwanted force.
However, it has some excellent parts too. Quoting:
And this part is debatable:
I probably just violated the copyright there... -- SunirShah
I'm aiming for a broad fair use policy. That is, copyright belongs to you, but the site will reserve some rights in the name of fair use. This will include editing, deleting, copying, etc. plus the ability to archive (timestamped) snapshots of content and publish those on a separate server. That's for some special cases like FAQs and How Tos that would be nice to distribute on the net. Those will have restrictive licenses (don't alter or republish; just distribute). I believe that's fair--it's a nice community donation to the larger community of the net plus it's good marketing. ;) And that's as far as the "broad" part goes.
The site also maintains a copyright on the collection of material. This copyright will not be extended, so no duplications of the site will be acceptable. Hence the necessity for the archiving (because it's nice).
Regarding citations, the site should also be considered a daily webjournal with myself as the editor. Currently, the "publisher" title is confused between Cliff and I. i.e. we keep passing the buck back and forth. ;) Thus, I recommend making Meatball the publisher. Archived pages will be considered "back issues" of the site; archived material will be considered a new collection of the above material, I suppose. (??) -- SunirShah (enjoying the theoretics of this more than anything!)
By the way, the above section is kind of moot. I've written the new MeatballWikiCopyright which does not necessarily reflect what I wrote above. Frankly, comparing the two gives me a headache, so just pretend that I didn't really mean any of the above. --ss
I do not recommend that the site take ownership of contributions. The original author should retain ownership. However, by contributing the content to the site, the author should give the site an additional (non-exclusive) right to copy the content. I also think that it's important to claim rights for unsigned/anonymous editing.
Personally, I think the general "community" would be best served if the additional right is relatively broad, as it is on the C2/PPR wiki. If you don't want your content copied, edited, or possibly published in other media (like a mirror or a CD-ROM), then don't submit it, or submit only a link to offsite media. --CliffordAdams
I think I have figured out the perfect precedent to rely upon: If MeatballWiki is a daily published journal (as it claims to be), submissions to the journal are in the same class as letters to the editor. All original material submitted to the journal is considered property of the journal. All previously published material maintains its copyright, but that must be compatible with the copyright of the journal. -- SunirShah
I am not sure whether the letter is truly considered "property of the journal" in the wide way your phrasing implies. For example, if I wrote a letter to The Times I would be surprised to see it published in The Sun even if both papers had the same owner. I'll ask some lawyer types about this and report back. -- DaveHarris
This statement has generated some controversy, and I'd like to clarify a few things. First, by "make an issue" I meant a legal issue (like a lawsuit). After all, if a user doesn't want their content to remain in the wiki, they can simply remove it. I encourage vigorous discussion, but not actions which threaten the availability of the site for anyone. By "delete all of their content" I mean that if a person cares to sue me, then I don't believe I'm obligated to keep providing wiki services to them. Finally, I wouldn't take permanent action without consulting Sunir. --CliffordAdams
Giving others the ability to edit your work without restriction. - Although I think I know what you mean, as drafted it makes me uncomfortable because it is so wide. For example, it suggests someone could replace my signature with their own, or they could insert the word "not" and reverse the meaning of a signed statement.
I think what you want is not so much the copyright as a limited and non-exclusive licence to do certain things. Those things you can list more or less explicitly, and for anything else you would need to seek fresh permission. For example, if we don't mention movie rights, they should/will belong to the author not the site.
I believe a degree of common sense may be assumed. Courts will make "reasonable" interpretations. For example, if you post stuff to the web it doesn't make sense to try to stop it being cached by browsers. Common practice and standards will apply. Courts are not as dumb as people sometimes make them out to be.
If you need to seek fresh permission to do something new, and you can't identify the original authors, that's tough. It means you can't ethically do whatever it is you wanted. Lack of a signature does not mean "anything goes".
In my view you should aim to minimise the rights the site has over the content, to what you need for the "usual" day to day running of the site. This would certainly cover publishing the content as a web page with all that that implies. I think it would probably cover the Wiki-like editing and refactoring, moving the site to a new server and even mirroring. But not setting up a separate "Best Of Meatball" site, nor republishing content in book form. -- DaveHarris
(Sunir below is commenting on an earlier version of the above, which was shorter and more personal. I rewrote it because I didn't like my tone. -- DaveHarris)
You should aim to minimise the rights SunirShah has over stuff that I write.
I totally agree. It is not acceptable to concentrate any control like that in my hands. -- SunirShah
But a broad license that grants the community at large control, rather than just the site owner, does not concentrate power -- BayleShanks
A limited licence to copy within the site is necessarily implied by posting it to the site.
I suspect if you want to do things like setting up a separate "Best of Meatball" site, or republishing content in book form safely, you need to get explicit permission in writing from the authors. Just having a paragraph somewhere that says, "Don't post unless you give permission" is not likely to stand up in court. You will probably have to prove the author read it, that it was the author who posted the content not someone else faking his ID, etc. Generally you need a lot of infrastructure to exploit the content like that.
To put it another way, I suspect that discussions like this, and "policy statements", can only clarify the existing situation. They can't change it; at least, not if the change involves taking rights away from original authors. -- DaveHarris
It is not really impractical to ask people to adhere to looser copyright policies. The International C Echo on Fidonet (C_ECHO) asserts the requirement that all source code must be accompanied by a copyright banner that suggests either the code is in the public domain or is freeware. The sole license agreement of propogating the copyright banner is permitted, but no "for non-commercial use" or any of that. It's a good policy, people adhere to it without complaining and it isn't too much to ask. -- SunirShah
also, later on...
it is not legal nor natural to assume ownership of anonymous material, so that provision has been dropped. -- SunirShah
I am concerned about moving material off of MeatballWiki and onto other Meatball related sites. Technically, MeatballWiki is independent of other Meatball material. It's also unclear what constitutes a Meatball site and what is merely affiliated with Meatball in some way.
I wonder about this. It is common enough practice to archive interesting threads to newsgroups. If material is otherwise "out there", is repackaging that material illegal and--more importantly--unethical? Also, preventing wholesale or partial reproductions of the site is ridiculous; search engines and archivers quite happily violate this constraint.
Basically, I'd think that if you want to write material that you want to own, this isn't the place to do it. Post it on your own server and link to it from here. -- SunirShah
Certainly the site should not claim exclusive ownership. On the other hand, however, giving one's work to the site may encourage a community spirit. There are better places to post personal or commercial web pages. If a wiki owner chooses to accept only "given" pages, I think that would be a reasonable policy. --CliffordAdams (who is passing the buck to Sunir)
also, later on...
it is not legal nor natural to assume ownership of anonymous material, so that provision has been dropped. -- SunirShah
Post it on your own server and link to it from here. - It wouldn't be practical for me to publish this paragraph from my own web site and link to it from here. In practice it will be close to a binary choice - accept the policy, or don't contribute.
the general "community" would be best served if the additional right is relatively broad - If you grab too many rights, some people will refuse to contribute. You have to balance opposing forces here. The "community" might be better off with fewer rights but more people willing to take part. -- DaveHarris
Right now, on WikiWiki, much material on religion is being moved to Wiki:WhyClublet, including some words of my own. Now I really understand why preserving copyright is important. While I have nothing against the clublet itself, I do not really want things I've said about religion (or politics) being moved around without my knowledge. Those topics, as you know, are contentious and easy to misrepresent. Anyway, I asked to be decredited for my comments and they have graciously agreed. But if you agree with KeithBraithwaite on , then my wishes may not have been necessarily respected if worst came to worst (anally, er, legally speaking). -- SunirShah
At [Wikipedia], we are making use of the GNU Free Documentation License. Without getting all "free software holy war" on you, it is worth noting that your existing license doesn't really qualified as "free" or "open source" under standard definitions.
Of particular importance is the right to copy, MODIFY, and redistribute. In a sense, that's the essence of what we do on a wiki. There can be no guarantee that 'authorship' will be respected _within_ a given wiki, so why should we try to enforce _among_ different wikis?
Even copying and _giving credit_, which is easy to do in non-wiki contexts, is problematic in the wiki world. If someone copies an article from Wikipedia and into another wiki, then even if I ask them to reference us, as a practical matter we know that upon repeated revisions, the original credit will vanish.
To some extent, Wikis simply can not be about "taking credit" for one's work. This is very different from a project like Nupedia, in which authorial credit is a very big deal.
So, I'm here to encourage you, and all Wikis, to use a very open licensing strategy, and we should _in particular_ use a strategy that is "viral" in the sense of GPL vs BSD, and _free_, including (radical even for GNU) giving up the idea that we will be properly credited.
Sure, but no one said they were exerting their copyright when removing them. They could simply be removing them, even with a WikiMindWipe, and that could simply be vetoed like any other edit. Copyright is a heavy club; it's only used when necessary, so we shouldn't assume it's being used always. -- SunirShah
Well, there is always FairUse. If they wrote it, you can quote it--to some degree. In some ways, everything we write here is a "quote". That's part of the reason we sign with a double hyphen. It's typographically one way of citing a quote. -- SunirShah
"Thanks guys; I really appreciate the input. I'm starting to consolidate your advice into a policy (at least in my head). I'll write something clear down very shortly. For what it's worth, I'd once again like to point out that the copyright policy on MeatballWiki is independent of the copyright policy of Meatball itself. That's an entirely separate issue and needs to be dealt with again. But we'll do that later."
I mentioned this issue to Sunir since I've been thinking about my "ViewPoint" project. For ViewPoint, I plan to make it very clear that people can do extremely radical copying and editing. All contributed works could be used by any viewpoint, in ways that the original author may not agree with. Indeed, one planned viewpoint is a "pure idea" view which would strip all attribution from contributed works. I don't expect everyone will like that policy, and I don't want people to contribute unless they can live with it. --CliffordAdams
One of the things I've been mulling over these days is how intellectual property works online. I do remember back in the mid 90's when people were threatening to sue over browser caches. Similarly, with universal editing, something has to give. -- SunirShah
for the record, SunirShah once wrote:
I'd also like to state that I'm not really keen on talking about copyright policies because it's not really important right now. However, since it will be important and there's no other time to deal with it than now, it must be done. sigh...
i used the terms "open" and "restrictive" above to denote when a license granted more and less rights to the site owners or the community at large. these are sort of loaded words, so does anyone disagree with their use? Also, I noted that the refactoring partially seems to reflect my own opinions (a more open license is better), although that wasn't my intention. Please take a good look and see if i've done any damage. One specific example; I tend to read into the discussion an initial push for either a magazine style idea or a very open license by CliffordAdams and SunirShah, followed by some debate during which Sunir's view evolved towards the minimal license model (but also this idea that we should just state what is already law) (btw, if this timeline is actually close to correct, we could put it at the top of the page somewhere to help things cohere) -- BayleShanks
I've made six novel comments in addition to the refactoring. I signed all but one. they are:
(obviously, this map to my novel comments should be deleted in a few weeks)
Usually I like to refactor a page this size into smaller ones, but I think it makes sense for the main parts of this discussion to remain a cohesive unit, since it was essentially making a decision about a single thing.
It seems http://wiki.vicp.net/post/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=Wiki%B0%B2-%C8%AB has copied OnWikisAndSecurity and http://wiki.vicp.net/post/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=%C8%ED%B0%B2%C8%AB has copied SoftSecurity from this collection. However, public edit access is restricted. What shall we do? -- SunirShah
Absent CopyrightRegistration prior to CopyrightInfringement?, you can only obtain injunctive relief and actual damages for infringement, which presumes that you are interest in pursuing a LegalSolution. Your best bet is to contact the infringer and ask them to stop, or at least give proper attribution. -- DavidPrenatt
I'm not going to sue someone in Japan over one and a half copied pages; I certainly would have a hard time demonstrating what I wrote as well. It's not even really that big of a deal if it's a personal journal or something like that, even if he has copied some more pages off of WikiWiki as well. The problem is that I can't tell because I can't read Japanese. I'm trying to register as a user. Maybe then I can post. -- SunirShah
I found that mailto:email@example.com is the administration account. I sent it the following, re: Copyright infringement.
The pages http://wiki.vicp.net/post/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=Wiki%B0%B2-%C8%AB http://wiki.vicp.net/post/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=%C8%ED%B0%B2%C8%AB http://wiki.vicp.net/post/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpWiki&file=index&pagename=LittleLanguage and possibly others have been copied from other sites including MeatballWiki and WikiWiki. While I appreciate the flattery, this is not very appropriate. As I cannot read Japanese, I do not know what the intent of the site is, but it's still unfair to reproduce and incorporate material others have worked on into your collection. Please remove the texts that you have copied. A simple link would have been sufficient. Certainly just linking to the pages would be better than throwing all all those "?WantedPages" at your reader. Sunir Shah, Editor of MeatballWiki
From [Article 15] of the BerneConvention, it seems pretty clear that anonymous contributions are copyright Meatball, lest the original author(s) "reveals his identity and establishes his claim to authorship of the work." I am not a lawyer, but I should make this ammendment to the Rationale section of MeatballWikiCopyright.
Like DaveHarris above, I'd like to mirror, but not fork, the PageDatabase. I want to take it with me on my laptop to conferences. Other people may appreciate the ability to mirror as well. For starters, we certainly at the moment imply that others may reuse the output of the IndexingSchemes, such as the AllPages index and the LinkDatabase which in effect represent the collection. MetaWiki, the TouchGraphWikiBrowser, SisterSites, etc. have reused this material. Therefore, we can explicitly state in the Rationale that this is permitted. I remain uncomfortable with people basing a fork from it, but there are FairUses. Though one must give proper credit, so I wonder how other wikis would actually do this.
Meatball has reserved the right to publish timestamped snapshots of material here, but I have taken the conservative approach of only doing this for content explicitly marked as such. However, since one can "feasibly" download the whole site, and some people (robots) actually do this (to the server's joy), perhaps it would be more efficient to just provide an HTML tarball. If necessary, I'll write a download and synchronization tool to demonstrate how this can be done.
This material cannot ethically be used as basis for a fork, as not every author here has agreed that is valuable. Also, I'm not so clear that anyone else has the RightToMirror?. After all, although your browser cache may have the whole PageDatabase, no one else has access to your cache. I would prohibit redistribution. -- SunirShah
It may be useful to describe that intent of the MeatballWikiCopyright was to do absolutely nothing, in perhaps less absolute terms. More accurately, it exists to exert the most minimal amount of pressure. People seem to confuse the copyright notice as a power grab, when it is intended to explain the default state of copyright. Even if CopyLeft has become very popular on the Internet, so are PenNames. Similarly to PenNames are abnormal (vs. RealNames), CopyLeft is not the baseline, the BerneConvention is. -- SunirShah
I read the cp stance, and I was unable to figure what it was in the end. In short, may we translate some parts in french or not ? If yes, do we have to indicate each time the parent page ? or just cite the site ? Or what ? could someone tell me before I do something that is possibly wrong ?
Good question. -- SunirShah
Sketch of an answer...
Well, is it valuable to have people who don't speak English contribute here? Only if there were enough bridging people and there was a way to allow non-English communities to grow without hampering them. Yet, they should have Meatball values. Even in pluralistic societies, there must be people who form linguistic bridges and act as advocates for and to different linguistic subcultures, or otherwise the society degrades to might makes right.
Legally, you can translate works, but only within Meatball's systems. The moral dimension to that is simple. Translations introduce semantic shifts and errors that may cause authors concern. -- SunirShah
My point isn't that translation is wrong; just that ethically authors maintain the right to prevent translations of their works (excepting developing countries). Meatball demands the right to adapt works, that reasonably includes translations in my opinion. Therefore, translations could and should (if they occur) appear on MeatballWiki.
Regarding values, as I said, it is a matter of communication and building bridges that transfer those values. Translations are a critical facet of that. But we wouldn't want a group of Japanese on MeatballWiki as none of us speak Japanese. I read/write French (kind of) . French is cool with me. German has a better fit than French. We'll work on those two; after that, we'll see.
I added the restriction on jurisdiction, changed the word "pre-screen" to "review", and added a big honkin' disclaimer to my own legal liability. Flames? As always, the goal is to say absolutely nothing in the most amount of words. ;) -- SunirShah
I removed Use of MeatballWiki is unauthorized in any jurisdiction that does not give effect to all provisions of these terms and conditions, including, without limitation, this paragraph. That possibly made it a crime to access Meatball from the USA, I think UK and probably Canada. It made use unauthorised almost everywhere. Here's a start on explaining why. Not necessarily an exhaustive list:
Of course, your intent was understandable enough, which is why I removed only the problematic portion. If you do decide to add it back, though, please understand why I can't continue to participate here while reading and contributing are possibly a crime for me.:) JamesDay
Thanks for reviewing it, James. I'm not sure about the editorial responsibility on the site. Clearly if no one has PeerReviewed it, then I'm not going to take responsibility for it. On the other hand, pages that are years old are not so clear. For now, I'm happy to put that clause there if it means something to somebody. Common sense is to abide by FidonetPolicyFour, however, and I rely on the GoodFaith of others. -- SunirShah
The editorial responsibility part has a couple of aspects. I was viewing it as mixed editor and publisher, since that appears to be your role here. First a note that I don't know Canadian law on this so for whatever it is worth the following is US law, something you can't really dodge contamination with until the servers are in Canadian jurisdiction, though you can try. The [Communications Decency Act] provides you approximately absolute protection for anything anyone else writes, even when you're quoting from them. There are two main catches. The first is things you write yourself. The second is things from others which you edit in such a way that your edit creates the objectionable item. So, that's "editorial" or "publisher" liability in US - pretty minimal. Case law in the UK is probably fairly similar but probably not as absolute. Canada probably also similar. The US is actually a pretty good jurisdiction to be in these days. For an overview, have a look at [Online service provider law] (and please add Canadian notes if you know of any!) If you want to put those articles here, let me know and I'll copy over the things I wrote. -- JamesDay