Memory Alpha

Updating our license to version 4.0

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We are currently using the Creative Commons license (BY-NC) in version 2.5. This version has been published in 2005, updated to version 3.0 in 2007, and will apparently be updated to version 4.0 in the coming weeks. Once this has happened, I will suggest updating our license policies to refer to the most recent version.

This is possible, because the various BY-NC licenses are compatible with each other. Basically, what the updated policy page would state is that all content added to our database prior to some date (to be determined) is published under the v2.5 license, and all new content or derivative works added to our database on or after that date are considered to be published under the v4.0 license.

After reading the explanation of changes between v2.5 and v3.0 ([1]) as well as suggested changes from v3.0 to v4.0 ([2]), I see nothing in those changes which would affect us negatively. The positive effects can be read on those pages as well. I would like to invite everyone to have a thorough look at these suggested changes and discussion pages - and check out if the suggested version change would be OK for us. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 13:05, September 23, 2013 (UTC)

Suggested changes

There are tons of links going directly to our copy of the legal code directly (currently located at Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License), so to keep changes at a minimum, I suggest the following:

  1. Keep Memory Alpha:Copyrights basically unchanged by just removing the version number from all links to Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License (complete)
  2. Check all other links to that page and remove version numbers there as well (complete)
  3. Copy the actual license legal code to Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License/2.5 (Note: This should really be a manual copy of the content, not a page move. Reason for this is that, in this case, the change history of the various license versions stays in one place! -- complete. and done this way before I saw this)
  4. Copy the new license legal code to Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License/4.0
  5. Replace the content on Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License with the following bullet points:
    • All article revisions added to Memory Alpha before CHANGEDATE are considered to be released under version 2.5 of the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC 2.5), or an earlier version of said license if added to Memory Alpha before November 3, 2005.
    • All article revisions added to Memory Alpha on or after CHANGEDATE are considered to be released under version 4.0 of the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC 4.0). If this revision is a "derivative work" of an article revision that was added before CHANGEDATE, it is considered to be re-licensed from its previous license to CC-BY-NC 4.0 unless the prior license expressly disallows such re-licensing. In this case, the new article revision is licensed under the same license as the previous revision.
    • In case of differences between two or more involved versions of the CC-BY-NC license, licensees need to comply with the more restrictive wording.

Verbose license list

As requested below, replacing bullet points of the list above:

  • All article revisions added to Memory Alpha before CHANGEDATE are considered to be released under an earlier version of the CC-BY-NC license, namely:
    • version 2.5, if added to Memory Alpha between November 3, 2005 and CHANGEDATE-1
    • version 2.0, if added to Memory Alpha between June 19, 2004 and November 2, 2005
    • version 1.0, if added to Memory Alpha between January 15, 2004 and June 18, 2004
    • revisions added before January 15, 2004 were originally licensed under a version of the GFDL.
  • All article revisions added to Memory Alpha on or after CHANGEDATE are considered to be released under version 4.0 of the Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC 4.0). If this revision is a "derivative work" of an article revision that was added before CHANGEDATE, it is considered to be re-licensed from its previous license to CC-BY-NC 4.0 unless the prior license expressly disallows such re-licensing. In this case, the new article revision is licensed under the same license as the previous revision.
  • In case of differences between two or more involved versions of the CC-BY-NC license, licensees need to comply with the more restrictive wording.


I've already taken a quick peek at this stuff and have no issue with that path being taken. -- sulfur (talk) 13:43, September 23, 2013 (UTC)

Is this related to this issue? 31dot (talk) 21:27, September 23, 2013 (UTC)
I found out that the 4.0 licenses are about to be released while checking stuff for that other discussion, but otherwise no, this suggestion neither solves nor makes worse the other issue. There apparently has been a discussion about clarifying whether ads next to content are commercial (or non-commercial) use, but the final license doesn't seem to contain any of that. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 21:45, September 23, 2013 (UTC)

Note that for the ccl-sa license style, we still have to really discern between 2.5 and newer ones, as the links go to different places on the CC site. As such, I suspect that we'll have to update all of those images to use the appropriate license link, and all new ones will fall under the 4.0 (as in, we can update the licensing template appropriately at that time. -- sulfur (talk) 13:06, September 24, 2013 (UTC)

I've now updated the {{licensing}} template to handle ccl-sa2 (this is currently displayed, but when 4.0 is released, the intent would be to hide this option), and also updated all images using the ccl-sa licensing template to use ccl-sa2 (to preserve their 2.5 SA licensing). -- sulfur (talk) 14:17, September 24, 2013 (UTC)

I have a problem with 4 and 5, since that will actually break the "chain of history" located on the page if the license is updated again, and we want to preserve that as pointed out in 3. The actual legal text of the 4.0 license should be directly on the CCL page until such time as it would be replaced.
I also don't think we need to point out the change date either, since the page history will do that, and a sitewide notice should go out before the actual change anyway.
The rest of the bulleted points could just be reworded and added to the notice at the top of the license. For example, something like this:

This is the full legal text for the Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Generic license. A Human-readable summary is available here, and a layman's version is located at Memory Alpha:Copyrights. For works licensed under the prior version of this license used on Memory Alpha where automatic re-licensing though derivative works is expressly disallowed, the prior license remains in effect. In case of differences between two or more involved versions of the CC-BY-NC license, licensees need to comply with the more restrictive wording.

I've created subpages for 1.0 and 2.0 since each license really only needs to point back to the last version if we use this, and either way it's nice to have versions of the old licenses somewhere where they are correctly formatted. - Archduk3 07:07, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
I don't see how this suggestion is better. Among other things, the first suggestion explicitly avoids changing the license legal code in any form, and also doesn't try to invent something like "automatic relicensing". Basically, anything added under one license version should stay under that license version until someone comes along and creates a derivative work of it. Why should we do it any other way? Regarding the other points, I consider it a service to actually let interested people know important dates instead of making them look up stuff in a revision history - and, of course, we wouldn't "break page history" if we do something now that we would do anyway in case of another version change. I'm sticking to the original suggestion. --Cid Highwind (talk) 07:30, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
Well that's unfortunate, since I reject the original suggestion based on the concerns I've raised. I firmly believe the actual legal text of the license currently in use should only be located on the CCL page where historically it has always been, not a subpage. This makes it easy to compare the actual changes in the text, of course, and is something that would be lost if the change just becomes a number in a link instead. That should have been obvious since I didn't use the phrase "break page history", but I'm not really responsible for how this is read, only written. I'm also not "inventing" automatic relicensing though derivative works, I'm trying to simplify the text of your long winded versions. Did you even try and think of a way to improve that wording, or just go straight to being a dick? Maybe you can explain in detail though how only my suggestion changes the legal code while yours does not, since nether is part of the actual text of the license, and if you're interested in providing services now, please provide a full one and date all the license changes in your suggestion. With that said, I'm not seeing much need to rush an upgrade to 4.0 anyways when we didn't even upgrade to 3.0. - Archduk3 08:02, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
Oh, is it that time of the month again? OK, let's talk about the differences between my and your suggestion:
  • My suggestion: All "license links" go to a page that explains which article revisions were (or will be) published using what license. Anyone who just wants to edit on MA probably doesn't care much about reading legalese daily, anway, but if he or she does, the exact legal code that applies is just one step away. Anyone who wants to take Memory Alpha content for external reuse can see all the license versions that might apply, and the timeframe in which they apply. No content that was licensed using one license version gets presented using another.
  • Your suggestion: All license links go to a page presenting the 4.0 legal code. Now, if I visit a page that (for example) was last edited in 2012, I would still be presented the 4.0 license. Does it apply? No, because the editor licensed it as CC-BY-NC-2.5 and nothing else. Is the reader of our license page made aware of that? No, because the phrase "where automatic re-licensing though derivative works is expressly disallowed" restricts itself to licensing changes through a derivative work (which I still wouldn't call "automatically", but pretty much the opposite), which isn't the case in our example. There has not been any derivative work that might have lead to the new revision being licensed as CC-BY-NC-4.0 (if allowed), so the most recent article revision still needs to be presented as CC-BY-NC-2.5
Along those lines, the text I suggested is not a change of the legalese, but pretty much just an additional reference to a restriction that already is in the legal code (4.a and 4.c, if you want to look it up) - whereas your suggestion might actually break 4.a by not presenting the reader/licensee with a link to the license version that applies, and also by implying that some old article revision is actually licensed under version 4.0 instead.
Now, apart of that, it's funny to see you accuse others of being a dick while, basically, being one yourself by stomping your feet and claiming "my way or the highway". If you really want to try stall process again because you can't accept that others might know what they are doing, then, yes, we either stay at an outdated license version forever, or we're making this a majority decision instead of an unanimous one. Sulfur already stated that he doesn't have any problems with the first suggestion. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 08:58, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
I would think an asshole like you would be able to deal with some shit, and it's not like I haven't pointed out before that I'm only going to treat you as you treat everyone else. "So look in the mirror, see yourself. Consider that, [Cid]. I can think of no greater torment for you." I actually can mind you, but using the quote is nice. Also, if you're just going to try and summarily dismiss valid points raised during a discussion, about the license no less, just remove your own synop powers now and save the community the time. I'm sure you could get a job in wikia's legal department with that kind of attitude though, so it will be like you'll still here making bad decisions.
The easy solution here would be that all "license links" should go to Memory Alpha:Copyrights instead of directly to the legal text, since they wouldn't be doing that under the original suggestion anyway. The copyright page already needs an update, the last time I checked TAS was copyrighted to CBS as well and probably should be mentioned as such along with the rest of the series, and this way all parties issues are addressed and resolved. I look forward to your knee-jerk reasoning on why we shouldn't do that because it was my idea, and that, I imagine, will truly be a torment for you. - Archduk3 09:42, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

MA:NPA. Seriously.

In terms of the first suggestion, may I suggest a minor tweak to it. Put the 4.0 license in place there (when it comes available and we adopt it), while also posting it on the /4.0 subpage. Once the license is in the page history, then replace it with the timeline bit noted above. I think that clearly delimiting the dates (note: it might even be worth noting when CCL 1.0 was brought into play -- I don't think that MA ever used 2.0, I think that it went 1.0->2.5 directly, no?) is definitely a good thing, and more transparent overall. -- sulfur (talk) 12:08, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Note: My bad. 2.0 was June 19, 2004. It appears that the move from GFDL to CCL 1.0 was right around January 1, 2004. -- sulfur (talk) 12:10, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

There are so many (sometimes tiny, sometimes big) changes in the text between 2.5 and 4.0, as well as more or less arbitrary formatting changes applied to our version, that a diff between the current article revision and the potential new license is pretty much meaningless. As long as the bullet points end up as the current article revision, though, I wouldn't mind something else copied there inbetween even if I don't see the benefit of it.
Yes, those earlier CC licenses have all been used, even if only for a short while and ten years ago (which is why I thought it might suffice to just reference them in passing for readability purposes). We can add them to the list explicitly. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 12:43, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

My feeling for mentioning the dates is partly to indicate the timeline to users, so that they can see when things moved from one to another. In terms of copying the license in to the history, the reasoning is simply that it marks a specific hard date when the license was changed... right in the copyright information. -- sulfur (talk) 12:53, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

[edit conflicts] - That's a poor solution to avoid loosing the comparison, and not at all intuitive for the future based on what the content of the page would be. I don't see why a timeline with notes has to be at CCL instead of COPY, which would seem to be the intuitive place to talk about multiple copyrights, including the non-CCL one. The page "Creative Commons License" should be the (current) thing which it was named for, not an "improper" disambiguation. - Archduk3 12:59, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
Sulfur, I've added a full timeline above. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 13:05, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

I expanded the timeline slightly, also linking to the "why not GFDL" page that we have. I also created a "legal" category to collect all of this stuff in so that it's all in one place for ease of finding/use. Archduk3 put in some navigation stuff at the top and now the history of MA:CCL contains formatted versions of all of the past used licenses for comparison, in case people show some interest in such.

Overall, I think that the path forward is fairly simple and straightforward (overall) and that the basic quick summary page is a good thing to have at MA:CCL. Now, a further thought might be to do a page include of the "current" license being used below the summary section, so as to limit the number of page follows people have to do in order to actually find it. -- sulfur (talk) 14:16, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

For the record: I'm still not on board with having the current license somewhere other than directly at CCL. Suggestions 1 and 4 above are redundant since COPY needs to be updated anyway and the "license links", of which there really aren't that many, can point to COPY as well. - Archduk3 14:33, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

An example of what I'm suggesting we do (something of a compromise of Cid and Archduk3's comments above): Memory Alpha:Creative Commons License/Temp

Pretend that the presentation is nicely laid out and looks gorgeous. :)

Thoughts? -- sulfur (talk) 14:51, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

As long as the list stays intact, we can additionally have the license text below, yes. Without, we might still link to a wrong license in some instances. I changed the order of bullet points and added some bits to further clarify which license exactly one is looking at on the temp page. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 15:14, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
Here is my suggestion, which was already a compromise, and just pretend the rest of the page is there. - Archduk3 15:23, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

I like doing both routes... so may I suggest that the licenses by date/etc list is stored in a template that is included in both pages (and protected too...) -- sulfur (talk) 15:29, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

That suggestion still wouldn't solve the issue of a number of links (for example the one in our footer) then linking to the 4.0-license from/for articles that contain 2.5-licensed content. Unless we manage to change all links regarding licensing to be "filtered" through the Copyrights page, there needs to be a sort-of disambiguation on the license page. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 15:32, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Sorry, I was unclear in my explanation. I mean that bit of text indicating which license version covers which date span, text that is identical in the two suggested pages above, would be put into a template so that we only have to remember to edit one place. -- sulfur (talk) 15:41, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

And I was refering to Archduk3's suggestion. Of course we can move that "license disambiguation list" to the Copyrights page, but only if we can make sure that it is definitely/always seen before any licensing text. Currently, there's a direct link to the CCL page in the footer. If we change that (and all other links) to link to the Copyrights page instead, it works just the same - but we will not make access to the license any easier in that case, because it'll still be the same number of clicks away. -- Cid Highwind (talk) 15:46, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
The link in the footer is controlled at MediaWiki:Copyright, and can only be changed by an admin at wikia's office in San Fransisco or by using voodoo magiks. The rest is rather simple. - Archduk3 15:56, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Not quite true... I changed it the last time around. ;) -- sulfur (talk) 16:11, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Side note, we're at cross purposes here. That "license disambiguation list" has to be shown before the "current" license. I think that we all agree on that. Archduk3 suggested that we also put that on MA:COPY, since it makes a certain amount of sense to discuss the history of things there (I agree to that suggestion). I suggest that we put that blurb into a template that can be transcluded on MA:COPY and MA:CCL so that we only have to update one thing at a time (I agree to that suggestion, obviously), and the current suggested presentation at MA:CCL/Temp doing an "include" on the actual license makes a lot of sense, since it simplifies and means that we only end up with the license in one actual place on the wiki (note: I also, oddly, agree with this suggestion). -- sulfur (talk) 16:17, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Just to make sure... are you suggesting that we should have the same list on both the Copyrights and the main License page? -- Cid Highwind (talk) 16:42, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
[edit conflict] - You last changed it at wikia's offices in San Francisco, so you were an admin there at the time, and it does require voodoo magik since wiki links don't work. I know, I was there. It was weird. :p
The license disambig list only needs to be shown before the current license if links from 2.5 pages go directly there as a "license link". I can have all those links changed today, or at least whenever the templates update. - Archduk3 16:46, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

Cid: Yes. On the license page to indicate that you "might" not be looking in the right place. On the copyright page to indicate the history.

AD3: True. I guess I was an admin there, though it can be changed elsewhere. Also, I think that the point that Cid is making (trying to make?) is that older revisions of an article may fall under a slightly different license, or pages that haven't been updated in X amount of time may also fall under an older license until they are revised.

As things stand, I don't believe that we have too many places (if any) where the license number is explicitly listed for our local license (CC-By-SA pointing to the site don't count obviously, since they're a different license/case). Anywhere we have the license number explicitly listed for the CC-By-NC license, it likely shouldn't be listed, since that potentially requires a lot of updates around the site when new versions of the license are released and used. -- sulfur (talk) 17:01, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

I get that, which is why I'm saying we should point everything to COPY, since stuff like the files and the footer only needs to say it was CC-BY-NC without mentioning the version if the link points to a location that provides the information on the version used and a link to the actual legal text.
This is the same reasoning for why you didn't need to update the shortcut link for the CC-BY-SA files, since all we had to do was change the external link to point to COPY instead and explain there that files uploaded after the CHANGEDATE would be using 4.0 by default, and files before that used 2.5. - Archduk3 17:38, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

For CC-By-SA files, we have so few that we should simply be clear as to which license they are using. There is no reason to be more complex than that. -- sulfur (talk) 18:39, September 26, 2013 (UTC)

In any case, the license versions for images have never been defined as strictly as those for text content. We mustn't simply assume that the dates that are valid for our BY-NC licenses are valid here as well. I agree that we should handle those on a case-by-case base. --Cid Highwind (talk) 20:50, September 26, 2013 (UTC)
I don't really have a problem with the SA files pointing outward, since there are so few, but we do have enough NC files that we should still mention the dates for those, even if we use less than definite language to explain it. - Archduk3 20:06, September 29, 2013 (UTC)

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