[Web Comm] GNU FDL -> CC & Mail to Wiki contributors

Frank Warmerdam warmerdam at pobox.com
Thu Jun 22 14:28:48 EDT 2006

Jason Birch wrote:
> I agree that the CC license is what should be used, and that all
> "official" osgeo sites should have the same license.
> I do have a question though:  Is it ethical/legal to arbitrarily change
> a license without first gaining the acceptance of the contributors who
> submitted under a different license?  If you need the agreement of all
> code-contributors to change the license for a project, does this not
> also apply to a collaborative work of non-code?


This was the action item Arnulf was talking about.  Someone (Arnulf?) needs
to write a letter to all contributors to the wiki requesting permission.  I
think he got drafted since CCGIS runs the wiki and so has the email addresses
of the subscriber list.  While it would have been better to rationalize this
at the beginning, now is better than later.

I would add that from a legal point of view you need to balance the risk/cost
of litigation against the value of what you are accomplishing.  Since we
are changing the license to another free license, and because we would
be happy to remove any text someone doesn't want released under CC, and
since we are going to make at least a reasonable effort to get permission
the chances of litigation are nearly zero.  And if there was litigation the
damages would also be insignificant.

Morally we have a responsibility to get permission but the differences
between the licenses are subtle enough that it is unlikely that there will
be any serious concerns from the contributors.

Best regards,
I set the clouds in motion - turn up   | Frank Warmerdam, warmerdam at pobox.com
light and sound - activate the windows | http://pobox.com/~warmerdam
and watch the world go round - Rush    | President OSGF, http://osgeo.org

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