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[wlug] Wlug Wiki License Changes

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Matt Brown matt@m...
Thu Jun 30 01:05:10 NZST 2005

Hi All, 

Long mail sorry, please read at least the first five paragraphs, as they
are the critical ones. I'm happy to receive comments on this, please try
and keep onlist replies to topics that are of interest to *all* readers

Currently the wiki states that copyright is retained by the author of
the page, but provides no details on the acceptable uses of that
content. This leaves the situation quite murky. Clearly it is highly
desirable to have a much more definite situation regarding the licensing
of wiki content. 

To this end the Committee has decided that going forward the wiki
content will be licensed under the Creative Commons Wiki License.
Details information on this can be found at in short it allows anyone to
copy / modify / distribute the wiki content provided that they 
a) attribute its source as the WlugWiki 
b) provide the copied / modified / distributed content under the same
license as they are using it under (ie the WlugWikiLicense).

As a wiki author it means that you are agreeing that your content can be
used in the ways specified by the license and you are waiving your
rights to attribution in favour of the content being attributed to the
Wiki. You'll still get your name displayed on the wiki in the recent
changes / page history / etc :) If you're an author (have ever added or
edited content to the wiki, please add the following code to your
HomePage to indicate that you are happy for all your past / future
content to be licensed under the WlugWikiLicense.
I agree to the WlugWikiLicense%%%

>From the date Mon 18 July 2005 00:00 NZST onwards all authors making
additions and modifications to the wiki must agree to provide their
content under the WlugWikiLicense. This will be clearly described on the
edit page from this date forth so that everyone understands this. 

----- Critical bit ends now - thanks for your patience ------

The remainder of this email deals with our plans for the significant
issue of how to relicense the existing wiki content in an appropriate
and acceptable manner. 

In this process the committee is trying to balance the need to have a
robust defendable process for relicensing the content, with the common
belief that anyone who added content to the wiki (by it's very nature)
was implicitly agreeing that it could be further copied / modified /
distributed. While we think that there is a very strong argument for
this interpretation we would still like to set a good example by
obtaining permission to relicense from authors wherever possible. 

Obviously there will be some content (imported manpages / howtos / etc)
that we may not be able to relicense, so for the forseeable future there
will be certain pages in the wiki that will not be under the
CreativeCommons license. Each page will clearly describe the terms that
it is licensed under. It is the committees intention to work with wiki
authors over time to bring more and more content under the new license,
with the eventual goal of having all content in the wiki available under
the same license. This may take some time :)

1) As described above the first step in the migration plan is to get
every author to add to their page a statement that they agree to the
2) A plugin will be written to analyse each page and the individual
diffs that constitute the current version of this.
3) For each diff the author will be looked up to see if they have agreed
to the new license
4) If all authors of significant diffs that constitute the present
version of the page have agreed to the creative commons license the page
will be licensed under creative commons, otherwise it will remain as is.
5) Significant diffs as mentioned above must meet two criteria
   1) They were not marked as a 'Minor change' when they were made
   2) They add or modify more than 10 lines of the page content and
contain new material (ie. A 20 line diff that fixes capitalisation and
punctuation is not significant).

Hopefully this is an acceptable process that will allow us to
progressively bring the entire wiki under the new license as we gain
acceptance from more and more authors, and as pages naturally grow and
are modified with new content under the new license. 

Pages containing both old content and new licensed content will default
to being displayed as they currently are (ie not under the new

Futher details are available at
and I am happy to clarify any details that I've missed out of this

Thanks for your patience,
Matt Brown
Wlug Commitee Member
Mob +64 275 611 544

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