Site talk:Copyrights

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The current contribution terms give broad rights to Feast upon the Word for the content submitted here. I don't really like the current arrangement but I haven't found any arrangement yet that is appealing. I chose the contribution terms that I did because they maintained a maximum flexibility going forward to implement whatever is best once we figure that out.

I'm not happy with the creative commons licenses or the gnu free documentation license. More on that below. Maybe we will go with one of those after you help me understand why my concerns are unfounded. --Matthewfaulconer 07:44, 14 Mar 2005 (CET)

Current criteria for a license

  • The license gives broad access to others to modify the content without being too picky about citing the author. Since anyone can edit anyone else's work figuring out which parts are whose is not trivial. Further, at some point in the future the site may decide to limit the amount of history. I don't think there should be a legal obligation to keep online history. --Matthewfaulconer 08:13, 11 Mar 2005 (CET)
  • The license should allow some trusted group of people to change the terms of the license in the future. I'm thinking of what apache does as a model here. --Matthewfaulconer 08:13, 11 Mar 2005 (CET)

Questions

  • Should the license allow commercial use?
I don't think so. --Matthewfaulconer 08:13, 11 Mar 2005 (CET)
For an argument on why not to use a non-commercial license such as the Creative Commons -NC license, see The Case for Free Use: Reasons Not to Use a Creative Commons -NC License BlankVerse 23:08, 30 Mar 2006 (UTC)
Nice link. I found it convincing. Thanks, --Matthew Faulconer 06:55, 2 Apr 2006 (UTC)

What about the gnu free documentation license?

  • I don't really understand how a wiki can use this. Clearly they do. And it seems to work. But to me the requirement to give attribution seems onerous for a wiki since an article is edited by so many people. If the requirement is fulfilled by history, this seems to me to require the wiki site to always keep all history. That's doesn't seem like a requirement the site should have. --Matthewfaulconer 08:13, 11 Mar 2005 (CET)
  • I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think you need to keep all history. Just the handles of the contributors. The lack of history would make it impossible to determine if a former contributor's text is still in the current version, allowing that name to be removed, but I seriously doubt anyone ever goes to that trouble. It's so much easier just to include the name. --66.215.161.42 23:57, 27 October 2007 (CEST)
  • GNU FDL requires "at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher" of each version to be kept in history permanently. If your source has links to previous versions, or if your immediate source itself is online, you also have to provide links for the last four years. However, the original publisher of each version can waive the link requirement for that version. I'm not a lawyer, either, but have a lawyer look at the FDL, section 4, points I and J, because I think the site owner would be the publisher, and could waive the link requirement straight through. And if you don't have to link to it, you don't have to keep it around. That would remove the requirement to keep every version in full, and leave only the requirement to keep titles, years, authors, and publishers.

What about one of the creative commons licenses?

  • I have the same concern here about the requirements to give attribution. Of course, you can choose not to require attribution. I don't like the fact though that the creative commons is making the licenses they provide that don't require attribution hard to find. Do they not want them to be used?
  • They do not want them used, I think because they're legally messy. When you edit a wiki page under a free content license, you're actually creating a new work in which you own the copyright, and then offering the public the right to create derivatives of it (just as you yourself created a derivative of the previous version, and under the same terms). So if you're purporting to offer others rights to a copyrighted work, and yet you don't identify in any way who is purportedly making that offer ... see why the lawyers might be wary?

What is really the goal of this wiki?

I just stumbled on this wiki today, and find it intriguing. I like the idea and the format. But then I read the contribution terms. It has apparently been working fine for 2 1/2 years, so I don't expect it to change. But I won't make contributions under these terms, which require granting rights for my work to an entity I don't know or trust. Sorry, but if one of the goals of the Feast upon the Word wiki is to attract a wide range of contributers with different experiences and viewpoints, the current contribution terms don't support it. Conversely, if the goal is for Matthew Faulconer and his associates to collaborate on scripture commentary, the terms are probably just right.

But besides not being willing to grant rights for my work, what if I want to copy some of the text from the wiki into a handout for a Sunday School class? The current terms would require me to get permission from Feast upon the Word, presumably by contacting Matther Faulconer. I suspect he would grant it, but I doubt I would go to the trouble. (Actually, I probably wouldn't have time since I tend to prepare lessons at the last minute!) And if someone were to create a wiki that overlaps this one (e.g., a "gospel topics" wiki; perhaps one already exists), the copyright on this wiki would not allow sharing text between the wiki's. So if one of the goals of this wiki is to allow wide use of the information it contains, the current contribution terms are too restrictive.

Finally, I question whether the current contribution terms even allow me to edit existing pages. I suspect they do, since that is after all the whole idea of wiki. But it isn't very clear.

But don't worry about me; I'm not a stakeholder here. I'm not even going to bother creating an account given the current contribution terms. --66.215.161.42 23:57, 27 October 2007 (CEST)

In truth I don't think the contribution terms have held back the growth of the site much. When I have asked people why they haven't contributed the answers I get aren't concerned with the terms of contribution but rather are almost always that people don't consider themselves to have the expertise to contribute. It is overcoming this that is the biggest part of increasing participation. Next up is ease of use, people often feel like it is hard to figure out how to edit something. This is partly about the technology but also about not knowing when/how to edit someone else's work when they also want to add their own thoughts. It's tough stuff working on a shared commentary. That said there may be others like you are turned off by the contribution terms--and I can see why.
I choose the terms I did because it gives maximum flexibility but I'm not even sure this is a good reason since I'm not sure what flexibility I would want that wouldn't be allowed for under another license. At the time I first launched the site I had more opinions on the matter as I had read several things on this topic and also read a book on open source licensing. But anyway I'm happy to take up the conversation again and really dig into this if you or someone is interested in helping come up with a license that would be better. One good thing about the current license is that I have the ability to change it to anything else. I had hoped that with growth it would make sense to the rights belong to a non-profit versus me personally but it doesn't really make sense at this point to start a non-profit I think--too much overhead--especially since we need very few funds to operate so the normal advantage of a non-profit is mostly missing.
Finally to be explicit, in case this is unclear to anyone, people have permission to contribute the wiki. People have permission to use the content of the wiki in teaching situations. I can't really see a case where this content would be helpful to another wiki as our purpose is pretty focused but I'm certainly open to the idea if it becomes relevant.
--Matthew Faulconer 17:57, 28 October 2007 (CET)