Revisiting Fan History’s copyright policy

November 19th, 2009 by Laura Leave a reply »

Our admin staff loves the wiki community.  They are a helpful bunch, both in terms of content, back end issues, information structuring, etc.  Which gets to our point: We floated our proposal to merge with the on the foundation mailing list.  One of the issues that came up was our copyright policy.  At the time that we implemented it, we had talked to several people in the wiki community, wanted some sort of copyright protection from automated scrapers, etc.  We were leery of creative commons licenses because we didn’t necessarily think that they would offer us the protection that we might want.

But the discussion on the mailing list… has a point.  Even if we don’t make the move to WMF (which both sides need to want, where we both feel like compromises can be made to help each of our missions), we still need to address our copyright policy.  When I last had a serious conversation with Wikia about being acquired, Angela indicated that this would be pretty simple to change: Just do it.  (We would have had to change our policy to match the copyrights used by Wikia.)  This mostly seemed to entail: Announce the change, give time for people to comment or disagree, address edits made by those who don’t consent to the change, then just make the change.

Is it that simple?  And if we do change, what sort of copyright policy should we adopt?  We just don’t want to make such a change without really thinking it through because we don’t want a repeat of the problems that Transformers Wiki went through.  Have other wikis made copyright changes?  How did they handle it?  What are problems that wikis have faced using different licenses?

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