User:JWSchmidt/Blog/12 January 2008

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page is part of
JWSchmidt's Wikiversity blog
Feel free to add comments.
16 August 2015 - Wiki Studies
16 April 2011 - Openness
29 January 2011 - Drama Queens
13 June 2010 - Bull
5 April 2010 - Breaches
22 September - Experts
27 January - Your Banned
14 January 2009 - Wikiversity Bans
14 November - Custodianship
19 October - Review Part II
10 October - My vacation
16 September - Moulton
15 September - Forking
7 September - Distorting
27 August - Wikipedia studies
1 March 2008 - The real world
12 January - Fair Use and the GFDL
2 January 2008 - Wiki Council
---- start 2008 ----
31 December - Participatory Learning
19 December - Foundation Changes
1 December - Changing the GFDL?
13 November - What is Wikiversity?
10 November - Expert editors (part II)
14 October 2007 - Vandal Wiki
20 September - Collaborative video interface
4 September - Open Source Crusade
31 August - CheckUser
4 August - Collaborative videos
20 July - Options for video-in-wiki
1 July - Networking Web 2.0 Websites
7 June 2007 - GFDL violations
27 May - Wikiversity namespace
22 May 2007 - Wikiversity tagline
20 May - The newbie game
16 May - Tangled Hierarchies
12 May - Navigation boxes
11 May 2007 - Forced editing
9 May - Wikipedia Learning
6 May - Music collaborations
25 Mar - Reliable Sources
17 Mar - Version flagging
11 Mar - Research policy discussion
10 Mar 2007 - Credentials
3 Mar - Free media files
28 Feb - Delete or develop?
27 Feb 2007 - Main Page
25 Feb - Science and Protoscience
23 Feb - Complementing Wikipedia
21 Feb - Copyleft media files
19 Feb - Gratis versus Libre
18 Feb 2007 - Referees
16 Feb - MediaWiki interface
15 Feb - Content development projects
14 Feb - Scope of Research
13 Feb 2007 - Review Board
12 Feb - Rounded corners
11 Feb - Open vs free content
10 Feb - Research guidelines
9 Feb - Learning resource diversity
8 February - Wikiversity referees.
7 February 2007 - Wikio.
5 February - Research policy.
2 February - Portal cleanup done.
31 January - Reliable sources.
29 January - Learning projects and materials.
27 January - Recording voice chat.
25 January - Animated GIF files with GIMP.
23 January - User page cleanup.
21 January 2007 - List of portals.
20 January - 2 more portals. "Courses"
19 Jan, - Portals and templates.
18 January site statistics - 20,000 pages.
18 January - Creating and organizing portals.
17 January - Categories of Wikiversity schools.
16 Jan. - Featured content development projects.
15 January - Wikiversity status at 5 months.
14 January - The "Topic:" namespace
13 January - Featured content
13 January - Wikiversity Bugs
12 January 2007 - Start of the blog
---- start 2007 ----
24 October, 2006 - Wikiversity history
26 April, 2005 - Wiki reality games
17 March, 2004 - Semantic prosthetic
edit this list

Understanding the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL)
I hope that Wikiversity will soon be able to switch from the GFDL to CC-BY-SA. Hopefully doing so will remove our need to listen to all of the popular FUD about the GFDL (such as the claimed need to print out the entire GFDL if you want to hand someone a GFDL-licensed image). As cheering as this thought is, I suppose we will ultimately face a new harvest of FUD about the CC-BY-SA license. the previous episode....[edit]

In a previous blog post I asked:
What does it mean to "violate the GFDL"?
The context of that post was questions about the correct ways to copy GFDL-licensed works and give attribution to the people who make GFDL-licensed works.

Another GFDL "puzzler" is the idea that the GFDL is pathologically viral in the sense that if you place a GFDL image on a page of text then somehow that magically transforms the text into GFDL content (see discussion here).

Below, I explore yet another GFDL "issue", the idea that when we create a GFDL-licensed wiki, we have a legal obligation to adjust our behavior so as to make it easy for other people to sell the wiki content.

The GFDL and transparency[edit]

The GFDL reminds us not to create content that will, "thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers". Does such language in the GFDL have implications for the use of fair use content at Wikiversity? Some people seem to imply that when we include fair use content, we violate the GFDL because, "By knowingly entering data that will prevent our database to be used by our end users you are in breach of the license". The "argument" seems to be that while Wikimedia has an educational mission that can benefit from fair use content, "our end users" (such as companies that use Wikipedia content for commercial purposes) might get sued if they try to make "fair use" of copyrighted works in their efforts to make a profit from Wikimedia content. Does this make any sense at all?

First, I think Wikimedia has no legal obligation to protect companies from being sued for making profits off of fair use content. Any company that copies content from a Wikimedia website takes full responsibility for how they use the content. If I have a valid fair use rational for including a quote or an image at Wikiversity, I have no obligation to avoid that fair use of copyrighted content just because some company might be sued if they copy that content from Wikiversity and try to use it to make a profit.

Second, I reject the idea that using copyrighted content under the doctrine of fair use amounts to, "entering content that is incompatible with our license". The GFDL has a section called, "AGGREGATION WITH INDEPENDENT WORKS" which makes it clear that GFDL content can be aggregated with works that are not under the GFDL.


The context of the current debate over fair use is the idea that many fair use images at Wikipedia do not increase the information content of Wikipedia articles, they only make the articles nicer to look at. In an encyclopedia article about a television program, is there any need to show images of the characters from the television program? In an encyclopedia article about a music album, is there a need to show an image of the album cover? I'm not a lawyer, but I think the answers to such questions should come from looking at past legal cases where there has been legal debate over fair use images on the internet. At w:Fair use#Fair use on the Internet a case is described in which a website was supported for its fair use of images on the internet. I agree that fair use content should not be "decoration", but educational websites should have the ability to use quotes of copyrighted text and fair use images to stimulate the thinking of readers in the context of reviews and other scholarly endeavors.

Foundation approval[edit]

Wikiversity has a fair use policy, but does that policy need to be reviewed and approved by the Wikimedia Foundation? At the very least, it would be nice if a lawyer would look at it and say if it is in compliance with the Wikimedia Foundation licensing policy.