Initial comments were moved here from the Coffee shop

I strongly recommend that you reconsider the license of this site if you wish to increase participation, and that you clean the slate and start over while this is still a young project. I heard about this site at the Seattle Wikipedia meetup, and was initially intrigued. However, it looked like you picked a license that's incompatible with the GFDL, meaning no content from this site can ever be incorporated into Wikipedia, no can pages from Wikipedia be copied to the Seattle Wiki. Worse, you've picked a pretty severe set of Creative Commons restrictions. If this ever is successful, the "no commercial use without permission" clause means that someone would have to secure permission from every single contributor to use it in a vaguely commercial way.

Given the nature of Wikis (with such promiscuous participation), probably the safest license to choose is public domain. Yes, you'll run the risk of someone copying the information, but you'll also maximize the possibility that information developed here can be merged with other projects later (e.g. a Washington State wiki, or a restaurant guide wiki, or Wikipedia). Though I've got plenty misgivings about the GFDL, I view it as the best runner up. That would at least keep you compatible licensing-wise with Wikipedia.

Don't get me wrong...I think this is very cool that you took the initiative, set something up, and started promoting it. I'm just saddened to see such a restrictive license, because I think it's going to really limit the potential of the site, and encourage competition. I would like to participate in a Seattle-centric Wiki, but I can't abide by the current licensing. -- RobLa

It is too bad that I missed the wikipedia meetup. I will try to be there next. As far as the license, I think RobLa has a good point and I think (unless anyone else opposes) that I will go ahead and change it to the GFDL. I don't think it'll be too much of a problem since the wiki is still so small anyway.

I had original chosen this particular CC license because I didn't want people to swipe content and use it for commercial purposes, but I see that this causes problems (in particular being incompatible with Wikipedia), and I certainly want to get the most people participating that I can.

-- matias

I'd like to talk about this more before making a firm decision. Please skype me (user: LionKimbro). I strongly believe we should use a Public Domain license, or a more all-inclusive Copy-Left license. For example, you can do this:

  • Everything here is licensed to you under the/a GFDL.
  • Everything here is also licensed to you under the CC.
  • Everything here is also available for further licensing, as determined by a majority vote of yadda-yadda-yadda.
  • By contributing here, you agree to those terms.

We want to keep that door open. In the short term, we can name 1-5 people who hold the ability to control the copyrights' future, simply because making a full fleshed out description of "what is a member with voting rights" is very time consuming. We can just carefully pick 5 so that when we finally figure out how to define a member, the licensing can be in the hands of the membership.

But just going flat GFDL- it kind of freaks me out.

In the short term, PD would be fine with me too.


We as residents of Seattle happen to be host to one of the most powerful manifesto's on the net right now: THE URBAN ARCHIPELAGO.

If you haven't read it yet, DO SO. You don't have to read it here, just pick up a Stranger off the street, and read it.

Google for the phrase as well- many interesting hits in there.

It leads me to wonder whether we should commit to NPOV or not. I think, "No," now, but am not solid in this decision. But these are things we should all talk about.

Let's meet in person, piggybacking on the next Seattle Wikipedia meeting, which I believe is slated for early 2005.

-- Lion Kimbro

Lion, I think it's a fine idea to have a few folks collectively decide on the right license... just not sure who that would be yet, except for you and me (and RobLa if he's planning on getting involved?).

But I'm confused about licensing the content under multiple licenses -- not against it, just not sure how that would actually work... Would that mean you can basically chose a license for each page? Or would people who want to use content from SeattleWiki be able to choose any of the available licenses?

I'm not really very knowledgeable about all the different types of licenses, GFDL, etc; I guess at this point what I'd like is for the most people to contribute as possible, and it seems fears of copyleft abuse may be pointless if there's no content to copy :) And I wouldn't want to leave people like RobLa above not contributing because of a too-strict-licensing issue... Just thoughts.

(BTW, I did read the Urban Archipelago on the Stranger, pretty interesting, I mostly agree with it). Notice it doesn't have a wikipedia page for it yet, maybe we should beat them to it!)

-- matias 12:54, 14 Nov 2004 (PST)

Damn, I used to have a whole wiki, "wiki legal," dedicated to exactly this question and issue.

Basically, it goes like this:

A license is a set of terms that you can agree to, in order to use something a particular way. We can give multiple licenses to what is here.

That is: If you want to use it by the terms of the GFDL, you can do so. If you want to use it by the terms of the CC, you can do so. If you want to use it by some terms decided by the Seattle wiki council, you can do so. If you want to use with BOTH GFDL and CC, you can do so. (So that you can, in turn, allow people the options that we've allowed.) This idea is called an "All Inclusive Copyleft License."

This can't apply to pages that we import though- those pages must have the license that they were licensed to us by.

Damn. Again, I used to have a whole wiki dedicated to this. Some wikipedia troll defaced it, though, and it was too much work to keep restoring it. I may restore it.

PD is a good solution for now. If it's PD, we can always change it later.

(This too had a page on the wiki- "Slope of Copyleft Licensing"- as you get more valuable content, you up the copyleft restrictions.)


OK, PD (I assume GFDL) will be for now. I will make the change in the next few days.

Out of curiosity, how does it work when you change the license of something like a wiki? Especially if the new license is more restrictive, do people lose the rights they had if they already taken the content? Or does the old license apply retroactively, so any old content is under that license, and any new content under the new one? I don't think it really matters in our case in particular though, since there's been little content so far. But I wonder what would happen if Wikipedia suddenly changed its license.

-- matias 12:37, 15 Nov 2004 (PST)

OK, back to the discussion. How about using the most basic CC license, Attribution 2.0, instead? The only thing the license requires is that "You must give the original author credit", which seems OK to give contributors some vague recognition if the content is used somewhere else. It seems to me that then content from SeattleWiki could then be put in Wikipedia, since this would be a very unrestrictive license that doesn't even require the derivative works or copies to use the same license.

On the other hand the GFDL seems pretty restrictive to me, especially in the sense that any derivative works also have to be GFDL's. See also wikitravel Why Wikitravel isn't GFDL. And dual licenses seem a bit complicated too: Wikitravel:Dual licensing

As for pure public domain, I wonder if that would make contributors balk a bit about adding a lot of content. Any thoughts?

-- matias 17:10, 16 Nov 2004 (PST)

I have changed the site license for now to the CC Attribution 2.0 license. I think this is a pretty reasonable license and does not require derived work or reproductions to even be licensed the same way, so it should be one-way compatible with Wikipedia. Any comments are appreciated.

-- matias 22:05, 30 Nov 2004 (PST)

Works for me. I wish Wikipedia were under a little easier license to work with than GFDL, but it is what it is, and it is the 8,000,000 pound gorilla of wikis, so it's best to be compatible. -- RobLa 19:41, 10 Apr 2005 (PDT)

Argh...still GFDL incompatible, apparently Edit

I hate to break the news, but apparently, the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license (hereafter referred to as "CCA2") is probably not compatible with the GFDL. I'm not postive about that, but I'm extrapolating based on what I understand from the Debian Summary of the Creative Commons Attribution License for the detailed teardown.

In short, CCA2 allows a licensor to prohibit modified versions that mention them or reference them. A pessimistic reading of the license would lead you to believe that when you are creating a derivative work, you must give attribution for the licensor everywhere that authorship credit is given, even if that credit is inaccurate, and even if the licensor's contribution is not comparable to others. It also seems to disallow distribution over mechanisms that control access, such as a firewall on a LAN or a virtual private network (VPN). There's also some incompatible restrictions on the use of the Creative Commons trademark.

The Debian summary doesn't specifically discuss the GFDL, but rather, discusses whether it's "Debian Free", which is a different bar (not higher, not lower, just different). My understanding is that Debian doesn't consdier GFDL to be a Debian-Free license, either, so it may not follow that the reasons above apply for GFDL compatibility. However, from what little I understand of the GFDL, it would seem that the reasons above also are reasons for GFDL incompatibility. -- RobLa 22:04, 25 May 2005 (PDT)

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