Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Wikist Link

I've just recently mentioned the Wikipedia issue about having to register to post/edit. This was obviously made to counter the "Wikipedia Vandalism" phenomenon, where articles were modified to represent opinions, enter disputable content or just to enter silly stuff.
Apparently there are worst things that won't be resolved by such a method.
In a recent article in Clickable Culture, the author wrote about a full article being lifted verbatim from his site, not only without credit, but "they submitted an entire paragraph of my writing under the GNU Free Documentation License." (in a nutshell, this means that any text found in the Wikipedia can be copied, used, modified, or be used as a base for another article with no fee).
The writer goes on mentioning that to delete the article, "I had to agree to license my "contribution" under the GFDL." I don't really see why he had to do this. I would just write to the Wikipedia admins and demand them to remove the article. I understood that he eventually decided to keep the text, but modified it. So now it's under the GFDL, under his approval. Not nice, if you think about it.


At 08 December, 2005 05:56, Blogger Tony Walsh said...

Thanks for mentioning the Clickable Culture article. In it, I write that "in correcting the offending Wikipedia entry, I had to agree to license my 'contribution' under the GFDL." (emphasis added) You mistakenly write that I deleted the article. I merely corrected it. The only modification was to add quotation marks to the stolen paragraph and properly attribute the quote. By submitting the correction myself rather than writing to the Wikipedia admins to request deletion, I was required to submit under the GFDL.

The best process for correcting Wikipedia entries is not immediately obvious, given that one can either make a correction themselves immediately, or look for and click three separate links to read further instructions and policies. In the case of copyright violations, copyright owners need the easiest and quickest possible solution for correction or deletion. The current system is sub par.

At 08 December, 2005 15:01, Blogger Erez said...

I see your point. I got the impression that you wanted to delete it, then though else.
My intention in that paragraph was to echo your thoughts, that there should be a better method for writers to request that their copyrighted material will be removed. Since deleting it as a user will not remove it from the history pages.

At 08 December, 2005 17:14, Blogger Tony Walsh said...

You captured the essence of my thoughts, but I wanted to make the technical distinction between deletion and correction, in part to explain the issue of having to submit the correction under the GFDL (it is tied to the submission process).

At 08 December, 2005 17:31, Blogger Erez said...

What I didn't like about this whole situation was the way copyrighted material can be GPFLed so easily. I'm a big supporter of the GPL and the Creative Comomons concept, and such abuses are exactly the fuel needed for people who are against these ideas.


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