Copyrights and Licenses

by pieterh on 01 Oct 2009 12:28

Much of the creativity we see in the Wikidot world comes from the fact that it's really easy to share and remix ideas. Typically, ideas get bounced around over and over, accumulating refinements and improvements, until they emerge as elegant, sophisticated finished objects. But underlying that are quite delicate questions of copyright and licenses that it's time to address.

As long as people build their sites from scratch, as we did in the past, there is no problem. But when we start to build reusable pieces (themes, packages, site templates, snippets), we start to face a problem. Who has the right to see the source of a site constructed from other components and how is that right regulated by the license of the site, and the licenses of the components it was built from?

I've written a more detailed exposition of the issue on the projects forum. By the way, that forum has open membership so if you're not already a member, head over there and click 'Join this Site' on the toolbar.

We need to keep Wikidot open, otherwise the creativity will stop. But we need to provide ways for people to create private sites, otherwise people won't build Wikidot websites for fear that their work will be used by competitors.

At this stage, though I have some ideas about how to solve this, we're asking you to express your opinion. What's important to you? Being able to inspect the source (especially, templates and include files) of sites you visit? Being able to stop people inspecting these sources? Would you contribute more, or less, of your ideas if you knew they would be used by people who did (not?) share in return?

Discuss here, or on the projects forum thread.

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