Wiktionary:License discussion

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At this early stage in the project, it is in principle still possible to change the license from GFDL to something else. I would favor releasing Wiktionary texts into the public domain. This way, the maze of slightly incompatible licenses out there is radically cleared, and the attribution requirements of the GFDL, which are not quite clear anyway, would be avoided. If every article is seen as a separate GFDL work, then the GFDL requires for instance that the title of any article be changed if the article is modified. On the other hand, if the whole Wiktionary is seen as a single GFDL work, then anybody who uses articles from it has to acknowledge the main contributors to Wiktionary. See GFDL.

Of course, releasing the texts into the public domain implies that anybody can do anything with them, including republishing under a restrictive license.

Is there any support for releasing Wiktionary texts into the public domain? AxelBoldt 22:41 Dec 14, 2002 (UTC)

I have no moral problems with this, but a large practical impediment is that Wikipeda is GFDL, which means we could not use text from Wikipedia on Wiktionary. That would be pretty silly. While GFDL is kind of inconvenient at times, it's not too bad. I don't think any similar licenses would allow "downgrading" to public domain anyway, so I don't see how any license incompatibilities would be resolved. -- Merphant
Since Wikipedia is not a dictionary, the issue of moving texts over shouldn't

come up very often. The incompabilities are resolved for users of Wiktionary texts: they could use the information in any way they see fit. AxelBoldt

Think of pictures. --Brion
Personally I wouldn't object to releasing it under a more liberal license

than the GFDL, but I don't think using PD would help that much. Maybe the GPL is a solution (which can be applied to non-programs if the source is clearly defined, which in our case it is) --Imran 23:45 Dec 14, 2002 (UTC) Using copyleft licenses like the GPL and GFDL is a deliberate political act that forces those who would profit freely from our labors to allow others to continue to derive the same profit from their additions. If Wiktionary is to use a different license than GFDL, it must provide the same type of protections or I will have nothing more to do with it. (Using a different license, of course, will complicate sharing content with Wikipedia.) Ultimately it's up to Jimbo (and if it's ever created, the Wikipedia Foundation) if it's to remain linked to the Wikipedia project and server. --Brion VIBBER 00:00 Dec 15, 2002 (UTC)
I wouldn't contribute to a project knowing that somebody could steal and hijack my work and call it their own - as if I didn't exist or matter. The whole point of the GFDL is to ensure that text is free and will remain so forever. Placing things into the public domain defeats this aim and worst, encourages others to fork our work instead of adding to it. --mav

Actually they can't, at least in the UK, a author has "moral rights" as well as "copyrights", and the moral rights include to right to be acknowledged as the author. (Although authors have to assert their moral right, while copyright is automatic). --Imran 00:18 Dec 15, 2002 (UTC)
In the US, expressly placing something in the public domain denies the author of any control of the public domain item. No more rights whatsoever. --mav
Not quite true. Public domain means that everyone has the same rights to use a work. It doesn't mean that someone can claim to have they written something they did not, or that they can edit a work and claim you did it. I can't legally take a copy of Hamlet, backspace Shakespear's name off it, and put my own on instead. -- Stephen Gilbert 01:04 Dec 21, 2002 (UTC)

But it wouldn't be "stealing and hijacking" if you freely invite them to it :-) Philosophically, one could argue that information can't be owned and therefore can't be hijacked or stolen. Public domain works also "remain free forever"; it's just the changes that someone else adds to them that could become non-free. AxelBoldt

However it is possible for a commercial entity to make a CD version of it or

mirror it on their site and apply a restrictive license to it. Or they could merge it with a dictionary they are selling. It is the GFDL that produces a sense of community and encourages contribution. I very much doubt that Wikipedia would have grown so much if it had been in the public domain. I'm strongly against PD. -- Arvindn 09:10 Dec 20, 2002 (UTC)

Agreed. A copyleft license is like a constitution and bill of rights; it may

not always seem expedient, but it's there to protect your freedoms against abuse. One should not toss either away lightly. --Brion

The public domain also allows projects like Wiktionary to start with a base of words and definitions from public domain dictionaries, without having to wring our hands about license incompatibilities.

I don't see what you mean here; isn't it true that we can put any license we

want on material derived from a public domain source? The original versions are still public domain, but modifications made here under our license are protected by our copyright and license. --Brion 01:34 Dec 21, 2002 (UTC) Both copyleft and the public domain have their place. I believe a copyleft license is best for this project. The GFDL isn't the only game in town. There's also the Design Science License and the Open Publication License. However, there's no compelling reason to use either of these over the GFDL, and they would make Wiktionary incompatible with Wikipedia. If we want to avoid the complexity of the GFDL, there's the option of using the new Creative Commons license selector. For example, here's a [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0-legalcode a simple copyleft license] that allows redistribution, modification and commercial use, while requiring attribution. -- Stephen Gilbert 01:04 Dec 21, 2002 (UTC) -----

An alternative suggestion, use the GFDL but limit our copyright to say 10-20 years, after all as things stand atm for practical purposes what we're developing now won't fall out of copyright for almost two centuries (probably around 2179 to be a bit more precise) by which time I expect most of us will be long long past caring what happens to Wiktionary. --Imran

Not to worry, by then Microsoft-Sun-AOL-Time Warner-Apple will have bought the

FSF and released a new version of the GFDL that allows them to reuse all GFDL'd material proprietarily without releasing it back to the community. Since all living human beings will be their employees, though, everyone will be free to use it as they wish.

Seriously, though; 'limiting our copyright' like that would mean that we can't

import GFDL'd material from other sources, or the limit is contaminated and the exact provenance of each 20-year-old entry has to be researched by a future vulture to see if it's still protected. I don't think that's a practical solution; better to assume it's all protected and work to make that true. --Brion

Basically the only major sources of GFDL material are Wikipedia and FOLDOC,

I don't think that we'll be using a significant amount from either of them. Including a term which releases it into the PD sometime into the future could be very useful if some flaw is found in the GFDL which stops development

Sure, and while we're raising specters of what could be, Congress

could retroactively reassign copyright over all public domain material to the Disney Public Domain Repository Corporation. (We don't want to confuse people with all this legally copyable material! Keeping it around would require leaving copyable channels open, which is just one big loophole which evil hacker terrorist criminals can exploit to pillage poor helpless media corporations. Remember, Osama and Saddam LIKE it when you download warez, mp3z, and ripped DVDz!)

It's more likely then you think I've studied the GFDL in some depth at

various times (for instance note the DTD section fails to require the Stylesheet to be GFDL and the lack of information on the handling of "fair use" material), the GFDL was designed for manuals and we're on dodgy grounds using it anyway, I'm happy enough using it for short term materials, but I think we need a get out clause in case a problem does come up.

and it would also allow some else more freedom to take over if wiktionary


More freedom to not allow their new version to be copied freely? No

thanks. We've already got non-free dictionaries.

To freely choose whatever license they want, be it free or non-free, if

wiktionary fails I'd rather a non-free group took it over then no-one doing so and all of the effort we're putting in being wasted. If a Wiktionary survives then they have a twenty year head start, and bluntly if we can't in twenty years produce a better dictionary then someone who starts from the same point as us and produces a non-free dictionary in a few years then we have no business producing a dictionary.

Also it'd be rather hypocritical of us to stop someone using our data 90

years in the future when we ourselves are using the 90 year old Webster as a basis. --Imran.

We're stopping no one -- they can always use our material freely as long

as they share alike. --Brion

No, they can use our material as long as they use the GFDL, they don't

even have the ability to choose a more/less liberal copyleft license. --Imran 23:49 Dec 22, 2002 (UTC)

What would be the legal implications of copying between a GPL work and a GFDL work? There is a rather complete Esperanto dictionary at [1] with many translations into national languages, licensed under the GPL. -- AdamRaizen 14:18 Jul 8, 2003 (UTC)

It must be too late to respond, but I face the same issue though, honestly speaking, I hate getting involved in legal problems. I searched on the net and found the following article: [http://lwn.net/Articles/30787/ When "Free" Isn't Good Enough]. This says that the GFDL is incompatible with the GPL. Due to the license incompatibility, it is difficult to embed GFDL-ed stuffs in a GPL-ed program. But I'm not sure if we have a trouble with incorporating GPL-ed documents into GFDL-ed ones. --Nanshu 00:37, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Yes, those licenses are incompatible.

I want to make template articles based on Unicode's Unihan database. Does it conflict with the GFDL? Quote from http://www.unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/Unihan.txt

Recipient is granted the right to make copies in any form for internal

distribution and to freely use the information supplied in the creation of products supporting Unicode. Unicode, Inc. specifically excludes the right to re-distribute this file directly to third parties or other organizations whether for profit or not. --Nanshu 00:37, 2 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Judging from that quote, you can only use that as a source and not as a basis

for a derivated work.

Dunno what the Gnu Free Document License involves or implies, and I don't really have the time to get involved. However, you might wish to be aware that http://open-dictionary.com/ seems to basically be cc of Wiktionary content with Google ads strapped on. I imagine, however, that you will object to his copyright notice at the very least. Handle as you see fit. -- Best wishes, Nils Jeppe 00:12, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I am the developer of Open Dictionary, and I find it disgusting that you label my efforts as a purposeful violation of the GNU FDL.
If you consumed the same amount of time you placed in stating your 'copyright violation' note (on this Wiki page) in viewing the Web site in general (frontpage, footers or term definition pages), you would notice I vividly label data sources correctly.
On the frontpage, I explicitly declare:
"Welcome to open dictionary, a collaborative project to produce a freely accessible multilingual dictionary in every language, with meanings, etymologies and pronunciations with the aid of the Wiktionary project."
The text 'Wiktionary' is linked to a Web page explaining what Wiktionary is along with the following clear sentence:
"The content available from and contributed to the Wiktionary project is covered by the GNU Free Documentation License, which means that it is free and will remain so forever - please view the 'Legal notes' Web page for additional details."
Ignoring these informational textual pages, I also clearly label each generated Web page with a footer stating:
"Copyright © 2003-2004 Zeeshan Muhammad. All rights reserved. Legal notices. Part of the New Frontier Information Network."
The text label 'Zeeshan Muhammad' links to a Web page allowing Web users to contact the Web site maintainers (me) - on this Web page, I explicitly attempt to assist users who want to know the license terms by stating:
"If your enquiry addresses license issues regarding the information presented on open-dictionary.com, then you are advised to view our legal notices Web page."
The legal notices' Web page contains rich license information which is human readable along with full license links to the GNU FDL and associated URLs.
To further strengthen case that I attempted to follow the GNU FDL as carefully as possible (within technical coding boundaries), I also developed users.open-dictionary.com which states the contributors of Wiktionary
Also, upon usage of Wiktionary content, I also made aware the Web user of the Wiki editing functions they had access to with the following clear textual statement:
"Found an omission? You can freely contribute to this Wiktionary article."
Next to this sentence was an edit button which directly went to the edit section of the content in question to allow the user to contribute to Wiktionary.
With all of these clear signs, I cannot understand how you may label my efforts as purposeful violation of the GNU FDL.
Zeeshan M 08:56, 10 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Why is it that unlike the main commons, Wiktionaries do not require -- and at any rate don't display -- licensing information for picture/media uploads? Is this intentional?

All the uploads are housed at Commons, so that's where the licensing information is kept. We discourage local files, and prefer that everything (audio and graphic) be uploaded at Commons. Clicking on the image will pull up the Commons page with the licensing info. --EncycloPetey 09:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)[reply]

To update latter-day readers, note that as per meta:Licensing update, Wikimedia licenses have changed to dual-licensing GFDL/CC-BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike).

—Nils von Barth (nbarth) (talk) 11:50, 28 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]