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Author Topic: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?  (Read 15676 times)

Morbus Iff

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Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« on: 28 March, 2010, 09:37:29 pm »
G'day. Long ago, I received ownership of 2000ad.wikia.com, originally renamed from judgedredd.wikia.com (which has since been recreated and reabandoned, it appears). Since that time, I had set up a draft wiki on a localhost to test out my own non-Wikia approach to the topic (since, I figured, if I were going to spend all that time on it, I'd want to earn money from my own ads, and not Wikia's). Generally, I'm not that fond of many of Wikia's approaches either (mass changed that often screw up wikis, etc., etc.). I set up a bunch of templates for it (similar to yours), and began adding obsessive amounts of detail. This info was never published online: I just hadn't gotten around to it.

After doing a random search today on a 2000 AD topic, I noticed that an official wiki has been setup. What I haven't been able to find, however, is copyright policy: most wikis nowadays are GDL or Creative Commons - i.e., the text is "freely" available, with infectious restrictions. I see no such indication on the official wiki, however. What license, if any, are contributions to the wiki published under? If it's not a GDL or CC license, I'm afraid that'll silence me harshly.

VinceBot

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #1 on: 29 March, 2010, 08:38:44 am »
You'd have to harass w3bz (i'd suggest PMing him) for a real answer, but when I set up the wiki I intentionally left the copyright information blank, simply to get the site up rather than wait for Rebellions legal to work out what they wanted.

I'm not sure in which direction it would go, seeing as a lot of works posted on the wiki, like covers or even snippets from the issues, may feel under one legal umbrella, while a great deal of other information and writeups about issues and stories probably belong under CC or other general use lisences.

As far as Rebellion are concerned I don't think they're interested in laying claim to anything you write on the Wiki, such as information you post there, they just want to ensure they keep ownership of works that belong directly to them, like art or story extracts.

Again, badget w3bz for an answer, I don't think he reads these forums too often, so try PMing him or Wake who should be able to get in contact with him for more info. Hope that helps.

Morbus Iff

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #2 on: 29 March, 2010, 01:17:33 pm »
Thanks much - PM'd. My understanding, IANAL-wise, is that a) all images retain the copyright holders, b) quotes/snippets, etc. are considered "fair use", c) the collection/presentation/organization of images, quotes/snippets, and created content (i.e., user contributions) would be CC/GDL'd. I believe that's how other wikis have treated such a thing. Note, however, that I'm American, so the terms/beliefs above are decided slanted to this side of the pond's understanding of things.

pauljholden

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #3 on: 29 March, 2010, 01:24:03 pm »
As a rule, we're much more relaxed about this stuff it's all a bit more of a Gentleman's agreement, primarily because we're British and our laws are different.

-pj
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Morbus Iff

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #4 on: 29 March, 2010, 02:06:40 pm »
So, should be a slam dunk to get it under a CC/GDL license, then? ;)

w3bz

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #5 on: 31 March, 2010, 12:29:25 pm »
Generally if it's someone's work, creative or otherwise the copyright will remain with them, unless specifically done for Rebellion in which case, like all IP, the copyright remains with Rebellion. We already have a lot of fan sites that are effectively referencing 2000 AD's artwork, creators, interviews etc - which is what you'd be doing with your Wiki.

What you're effectively asking is can you use the material you'll ultimately find about the place on your wiki and make money from the advertising. If you were asking to sell copies of someone's original artwork or charging people to access your site based on 2000 AD content I'd have to get PJ to poke you with a sharp stick. However, as it's reference I can't see it being a problem myself. You just won't be able to slap on a specific license to the content that's already got a copyright elsewhere.

There are no legals on the wiki at present because it's not 'official' yet, we're in a 'beta' phase with all our members here as we'd ultimately like to give this lot control over the content. However, there will be once it goes live and will likely be under one of Rebellion's own personal licences.

If in doubt, contact marketing@rebellion.co.uk who'll be able to get your more info on the legals. Or post/pm me  ;)

Morbus Iff

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #6 on: 31 March, 2010, 02:08:18 pm »
What you're effectively asking is can you use the material you'll ultimately find about the place on your wiki and make money from the advertising.

Actually, that's the least of my concerns. Knowing if it's CC or GDL ensures that the /effort/ I put forth /isn't going to waste/: my effort becomes freely available for everyone to use, assuming they follow the same infectious restrictions. I have no intention of doing my own wiki (or working on the Wikia one) if Rebellion is putting out an official one. If Rebellion's official one didn't exist, the only reason I would put out my own (versus using Wikia's) would be to ensure that my /effort/ was /"rewarded"/, via the meagre dollars associated with Google Ads (or similar). But, truthfully, I make plenty of money a year and don't need an extra 50 to 100 USD of income a month. It's chump change. (And, yes, that's the literal figure, as I run a few other wikis already.)

Quote
There are no legals on the wiki at present because it's not 'official' yet ... However, there will be once it goes live and will likely be under one of Rebellion's own personal licences.

That's the death knell I wasn't hoping for, unfortunately. Stops me from contributing to the wiki.
« Last Edit: 31 March, 2010, 02:10:51 pm by Morbus Iff »

Morbus Iff

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #7 on: 31 March, 2010, 02:22:10 pm »
To further clarify.

* Obviously, characters, names, content, IP, images, all belongs to Rebellion. No question.
* Clearly, a wiki like this is intended to be reference material.

Here's a literal example. I'm an indexer over at the Grand Comics Database, where I indexed the first 25 issues of 2000 AD. Here's the index for issue 2: http://www.comics.org/issue/163903/. You'll note that I've added the characters to each thrill (and/or character status, like "death"), as well as a short synopsis (for that *part*). I even went so far as to notate the Nerve Centre and even advertisements (see http://www.comics.org/issue/163905/).

Under a CC/GDL license, the compilation of all this data - the effort involved to create said reference - becomes freely available. The fact that I collated "Bill Savage; Peter Silk; Brigadier Bentley Pearson; Blossom (death)" becomes reusable by anyone else. Every particular version of a thrill's synopsis, from my first version ("As Savage is shown around the secret base of the Official British Resistance, he discovers a traitor in their midst who then takes the Brigadier hostage."), to the inevitable "final" version (edited by the frothing masses of wiki users) are freely available to use and republish.

*That's* the sort of effort and content I want freely available under the CC or GDL licenses. Most everyone who uses wikis can make the distinction between "your" IP and "our" IP. I want nothing less than to protect both our interests.

nslater

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #8 on: 31 March, 2010, 02:46:35 pm »
You're going to run into problems unless you sort out the legal side of this immediately.

If a body of work has no license, and there are multiple contributors, then the copyright for that work is held collectively by every single party involved. The only exception would be if every contributor did the work under the employ of a single organisation that had reasonable legal claim to the work done. I presume this isn't the case here.

The problem arises when you wish to license a body of work with multiple contributors. Copyright cannot be retroactively changed without the agreement of each party.  If you wish to apply a license to an unlicensed work, or change the license of a licensed work - you must get the permission from every single contributor to that work.

For you, that means that unless you force contributors to agree to a license or a waiver at the point of contribution, you will never be able to license the wiki, without contacting every single person who ever made an edit. As you can probably imagine, the longer you leave that, the harder it will get.

You may remember when Wikipedia switched from the GFDL to a Creative Commons license. How did they do this, then, if you cannot relicense a collective work without contacting each collaborator? Well, they were pretty crafty about it. They actually got the FSF to add a new condition to the GFDL saying that work licensed under it could be re-licensed to a Creative Commons license. As the original GFDL also included a clause saying that new versions of the GFDL could supersede old versions, they were provided with a legal path to re-license.

As this is a community project, and like Wikipedia, I strongly recommend you choose a permissive license like the CC-BY or CC-BY-SA.

nslater

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #9 on: 31 March, 2010, 02:53:33 pm »
I thought I should further make it explicit that if you end up in the situation where you are unable to license the wiki because it was left too late - not only could users be issued take-down notices by other users, but you could be issued take-down notices by your users. As far as I know, any copyright holder (i.e. contributor) can walk away and demand the removal of their contributions, and potentially, any derivative works; i.e. subsequent edits. Thorny, thorny stuff.
« Last Edit: 31 March, 2010, 02:58:58 pm by nslater »

w3bz

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Re: Copyright of text: CC, GDL, None?
« Reply #10 on: 03 April, 2010, 01:39:52 pm »
As I said previous, best bet is to send a break down to marketing@rebellion.co.uk who should be able to clarify appropriately via the usual channels. It's getting a little too specific to fall under my banner to answer. And as always PM me if I need to nudge anyone about it.

Cheers  ;)