Wikidata licence woes

General discussion about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects
Renée Bagslint
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Wikidata licence woes

Post by Renée Bagslint » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:56 pm

Andreas Kolbe explains a problem with Wikidata licensing as CC-0 (more-or-less public domain) compilations derived from Wikipedia licensed under CC-SA-4. Discussion is deprecated. Perhaps hiding it away on Phabricator will close it down? Well, there are a lot of people who are not lawyers discussing it there. WMF spends millions of dollars annually on lawyers. Perhaps it could afford to have one look at this question? Probably not, after all the only people who would benefit are already addicts.

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Dysklyver
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Dysklyver » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:02 pm

This is not legal advice.

I consider the Wikidata situation to be at least nominally correct. The WMF lawyers have of course looked at the situation when Wikidata was first conceived, the legal opinion given at the time was that factual data is not protected by copyright.

It was further considered that the arrangement and selection of facts were both covered by copyright, and that Wikidata was a novel arrangement distinct from Wikipedia, and with no selection of data as data was imported from multiple sources.

It was decided that bots should not be used to import data from European sources for legal reasons. No sign of this registering with anyone!

And finally it should be noted that Google leads the field in stealing data, with Facebook a close second, the WMF is way down the list and unlikely to be sued. In the event they were, they would almost certainly win. I challenge anyone to find a working angle to get a win against them. WMF legal obviously noted this as well.
Editor of the The Wiki Cabal. I live at www.wiki.org.uk.

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EarlStatler
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by EarlStatler » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:41 pm

No, WMF not, but my advice to all European users is, be careful. Maybe WMF is protected under the law of the state California, but you are not! All European users have to deal both with the European rules and the rules and the laws of there one country, because the protection of the American legal system stop at the borders of America! And, because we have and the sui generis database right, no far use, and a system with pay or I sue you letters from lawyers it is very, very tricky for them, also Wikidate. I said it before, WMF gives you a umbrella when the sun is shining, but want it back by the first raindrop.

Europeans, be careful because of this!

(This is also not a legal advice, only a warning to be very, very careful!)
If you're in a dogfight, become a cat!

Proabivouac
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Proabivouac » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:34 am

It's not the first time they've retroactively changed the license. Otherwise, they would still be using the one they used when Wikipedia started. No one ever tried to section off the old license materials from the new ones; it was just retroactively falsified. This "CC0" thing is what they'd wanted to do all along. Their view is and has always been that content creators should have no rights at all, leaving computer programmers in charge of and free to make money from everyone else's work by virtue of technical control. They must act this way because they are incapable of producing anything of value themselves; one may as well ask mosquitos to start manufacturing their own blood. Because Wikipedia has deliberately and systemically filtered out participants who might assert their rights in favor of a loser pseud army, most of whom would be afraid to sign their real name to anything, they are effectively above their own contracts and the law.

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EarlStatler
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by EarlStatler » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:50 am

But the huge problem is, they turn the risk to the once who are reusing the material because the copyright remains, a CC licence doesn't give any guaranty it is real free material. And turns the risk on the ones who are know by using there real name or because they are doxxed. And that is why I say, be careful, European users, you can be held responsible under the law and regulation of your country, because copyright infringement is in many European country's basically a crime!

And in Holland we say de dader ligt op het kerkhof, the perpetrator you can find in the cemetery, and that is the situation. WMF will always claim they are not responsible, and the one who spread the material you can find on the digital cemetery behind a nick, en jij bent de sjaak! In other words, if you are using CC material it is on your one risk, whiteout any, any guaranty, because a only the holder of the rights can give that permision to reuse the material, and nobody else!
If you're in a dogfight, become a cat!

Proabivouac
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Proabivouac » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:44 pm

Dysklyver wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:02 pm
This is not legal advice.

I consider the Wikidata situation to be at least nominally correct. The WMF lawyers have of course looked at the situation when Wikidata was first conceived, the legal opinion given at the time was that factual data is not protected by copyright. It was further considered that the arrangement and selection of facts were both covered by copyright, and that Wikidata was a novel arrangement distinct from Wikipedia, and with no selection of data as data was imported from multiple sources.
One of the problems – and this is a general problem with commons flavors which allow derivative works – is that fair use, which is Wikipedia contributors' basis for using copyrighted materials in their own contributions, is dependent upon context. For example, it might be defensible to have every line of a poem quoted somewhere or another on Wikipedia, but if you say, "hey it's all cc, I'll stitch the original back together" that is no longer fair use, even if the excerpts are no larger or even smaller in toto. Wikipedians often use factoids from single-subject compilations across a large number of articles, where recompiling all of those in one place would become directly competitive with the original sources.

And that is basically the entire point of Wikidata. Fair users have no problem with the copyright regime. If you are doing your own legitimate original work, copyright law should hardly ever come up; just proceeding in good faith is sufficient. The people who need a change are those who plan unfair use.

The overall problem with Wikidata is that it's not a good faith project. At best, they might say that they managed not to technically break the law. But it's quite clear that their overall mission is to make an end run around as many copyrights as they can, and they are simply arguing over how careful they need to be.

Throughout the phabricator discussion, there is one option which is conspiciously never even raised or considered: let's build our own datasets from scratch. Because if they were actually doing that, laboring away unpaid for how many years to create the kind of materials they want to use, there would be no chance that they would be willing to release it under CC0 or probably under any commons license at all. The willingness to share freely is inversely proportionate to amount of labor the sharer has put into the work.

Relatedly, Kim Dotcom has just lost his hearing to avoid extradition to the United States.
Last edited by Proabivouac on Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:22 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Renée Bagslint » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:15 pm

Bertrand Russell wrote:The method of ‘postulating’ what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil. Let us leave them to others and proceed with our honest toil.
He was talking about a technical position in the philiosophy of logic, of course. The Wikimedia projects seem to have applied the principle to plagiarism, but with a most perverse outcome -- individually small but cumulatively huge amounts of toil to produce the same effects as theft.

Proabivouac
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Proabivouac » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:35 pm

Renée Bagslint wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:15 pm
Bertrand Russell wrote:The method of ‘postulating’ what we want has many advantages; they are the same as the advantages of theft over honest toil. Let us leave them to others and proceed with our honest toil.
He was talking about a technical position in the philiosophy of logic, of course. The Wikimedia projects seem to have applied the principle to plagiarism, but with a most perverse outcome -- individually small but cumulatively huge amounts of toil to produce the same effects as theft.
And this is why commons licenses which allow derivative works should be banned by law, unless the work is entirely the original creation of the author as in an original work of art (which if I'm not mistaken was the original pretense of the license.) If it were all copyrighted in the normal way, downstream users would need to apply the same fair use judgments they apply to other sources. By telling them that it's all free and clear, they are not only inviting theft but outright encouraging it.

I speak from personal experience when I say that the only people I've known (and I've known several) who are obsessed with copyrights and commons licenses are programmers and thieves. They always start with the question, "Okay, where do we copy our stuff from?" and then agonize over which sources use which license (and, implicitly, how would the fact of copying be proven and who has the power to contest it.) That is precisely the discussion they are having on phabricator, from exactly the same kind of people.

Renée Bagslint
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Renée Bagslint » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:18 pm

The WMF deliberately pander to the notion that creatvity is the same thing as "remixing". Having been myself involved in the creation of knowledge (albeit of a rather specialised form) for quite a number of years, I can testify to the fact that it is not achieved by just throwing a few facts around, nor even by reading a few books and copying out random chunks. But the people who write Wikipedia articles obviously think that it is. I have also known a fair few creatives who work rather hard for rather little reward to write works of fiction, which is about creating, in some way, people, situations, whole worlds, that didn't exist until someone thought of them -- something that most people simply cannot do. But the WMF raise their money from two sources: the small donors, who prefer to believe that by writing long pseudo-scholarly articles about the plumbing arrangements in the USS Enterprise they are being creative in the same way as the people who invented the characters and wrote the scripts, and that scientific research is the same as googling a few books -- and the big donors, who make a lot of money out of cheating the creative and scholarly people of a fair return on their hard work. Of course the WMF is going to take this essentially dishonest approach to creativity: their livelihoods depend on it.

Proabivouac
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Re: Wikidata licence woes

Post by Proabivouac » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:05 pm

Renée Bagslint wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:18 pm
…and the big donors, who make a lot of money out of cheating the creative and scholarly people of a fair return on their hard work. Of course the WMF is going to take this essentially dishonest approach to creativity: their livelihoods depend on it.
For those of us who are old enough to remember, all of this is a grand betrayal of what the internet was supposed to be about. The idea was that we can cut out the middlemen and the gatekeepers and create our own things. Technically this is still true, actually even easier. But socially and politically, we've been moving in the other direction. One of the main reasons is the prevalance of systemic programmer-directed theft. And it's the large well-organized crime families who are taking control.

You can see Wikipedia and Wikidata as the Tattaglias to Google's Barzini. They're too small to throw around too much weight on their own. Google wouldn't even need to buy the WMF; they could individually buy every person who works for them, i.e. same way they do it in politics. A lot of the "volunteers" on the tech side may in fact be plants. Here Wikipedia is crippled because the same method they used to disenfranchise their contributors winds up disenfranchising the Foundation. They should have billions to throw around but instead most of it goes to Google. It only really makes sense as a front.

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