Relicensing: What, why and how

by Aloril

  • Thanks
  • What?
  • Why or "free beer" vs "free speech"
  • Why source?
  • Definitions
  • Learning
  • Adapting
  • Copying
  • Why commercial usage?
  • Scenario #1: Publishing a Distribution
  • Scenario #2: Commercial Game Company using GFDL Media
  • Scenario #3: Pay To Play Game Site
  • Employment
  • Profit possibilities for authors
  • How?
  • Voting by former and current authors
  • Old stuff
  • New stuff
  • Adding/removing license from list
  • How voting member is defined
  • Conversion period
  • Thanks


    Relicense all existing wiki and media stuff under GFDL and possibly GPL too for all authors and all media they agree on.

    Why or "free beer" vs "free speech"

    "Free beer" means that you can look or use something for free, for example you get free beer. "Free speech" means you are allowed to do almost anything with something and you are provided required "source" data needed to do it, for example you get recipe for beer. For example Internet Explorer is "free beer", but not "free speech".

    Current license in use (OPL) fails two ways for "free speech":

    Some licenses alternatives that fix both of those 'bugs':


    GFDL: Designed for documents, workable for online book publishing. Requires release of the "source" in any modified version.

    License also preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

    Allows aggregation, document can be made part of a collection. Workable for graphical media, preserves the original work, while requiring source to enhancements to be released if the enhancement is published (as part of a game for instance).

    GPL: Compatible with code, though if media is not included as part of executable, then it's not needed.

    GFDL+GPL: User has choice to use either GFDL or GPL or both

    Why source?

    OPL allows media publishers to release only the final usable media, and not the "source" that was used to create it. GFDL requires the "source" and insures that all the information needed to recreate the media is available for use by the next generation of artists, for both learning of new techniques and enhancement of the art or music.


    Source==preferred format for modification
    Object==preferred format for usage

    Art examples of source vs object:
    a 3D mesh != pngs
    .mod != .mp3
    png map + text layer != jpg


    You can look at how something was made and learn instead of needing to reinvent. For example layers in images or midi might teach you how it was made compared to final png or mp3. This means that you can collaboratively invent things and move faster in knowledge.


    You can modify it to suit how you would like it. For example you can change instruments in song to some better ones. Or you can generate better resolution animation from meshes for high resolution displays. Or you can fix something that author didn't notice.


    You don't need to start from scratch. You can take existing pieces and build from these. Either combine them to new one or use as template. Or you can just use them just like they are.

    Why commercial usage?

    OPL specifically prohibits commercial usage so none of the following scenarios are possible.

    Scenario #1: Publishing a Distribution

    Publisher aggregates programs, media, and documentation and sells said for a nominal fee via some distribution channel.

    Scenario #2: Commercial Game Company using GFDL Media

    Scenario #3: Pay To Play Game Site


    Lets assume that WorldForge has conquered world. Now only way to work on media would be at free time, because of noncommercial clause!

    Same holds even in less radical situations: If you want there to be any possibility to get employed to do free stuff, it's because you allowed your stuff to be used commercially. Note commercial usage is not same as proprietary usage.

    Profit possibilities for authors

    What someone decides to create a nice booklet with rules, descriptions and images and has the money to create many copies in high quality?

    (S)he needs to publish source to booklet away if (s)he used our art and thus there would be competition on who can produce nice booklet cheapest. Not much extra profit margin when there is competition producing same thing.

    However consider this scenario: A says "Look, I bought this nice looking ruleset".
    B says "But I have official version with endorsement from authors!".
    C says "Yeah.. but I have official version with signatures of authors".

    Why above would work to increase value? Endorsement and signatures add artificial value to product that people want.


    What if somebody makes really good copy of Mona Lisa so that only good expert could tell difference? Would be practically worthless compared to original. What if you could make easily exact copy at quantum level? If people knew what was original and what copy, still original would be much more valuable.

    How to apply above to digital world? Use signature(author,work,serial number) where serial number is 1 to signify original version. After I invented above I noticed that it resembles what Jordan B. Pollack is proposing except that it doesn't link uniqueness to physical work bits. It links to 'original' work instead, just like in above painting example.

    Problem with above is that it requires meme to take hold. Solution is to use current meme that is backed by military force: Copyright ownership. Sell portion of copyright for work you have done between version x and x+1. If you are only author and there is only one release, then it's same as part of copyright for whole work. Some example divisions based on serial number:

    ownership for some serial numbers with certain values of s
    s no:1 no:2 no:3 no:5 no:10 no:30 no:100 no:300 no:1000
    1.728647 50.0000% 15.0867% 7.4851% 3.0953% 0.9339% 0.1398% 0.0174% 0.0026% 0.0003%
    1.106212 10.0000% 4.6451% 2.9662% 1.6857% 0.7830% 0.2323% 0.0613% 0.0182% 0.0048%
    1.010058 1.0000% 0.4965% 0.3297% 0.1968% 0.0977% 0.0322% 0.0095% 0.0031% 0.0009%
    1.001001 0.1000% 0.0500% 0.0333% 0.0200% 0.0100% 0.0033% 0.0010% 0.0003% 0.0001%


    This is a way for fans to contribute and have bragging rights "I own piece of this art".

    There must be infinite amount of serial numbers available and all proportions they have together must be finite and proportions should not decrease too fast.


    sum(serialno^-s, serialno=1..infinity) = 1 / (proportion_chosen_for_serialno1 / 100)

    To calculate proportion for certain serialno: serialno^-s * proportion_chosen_for_serialno1

    Source code for calculating above table is here


    Author could list in some web page what serial numbers are sold and price history for them and what are highest offers for unsold serial numbers.

    There could be third trusted party ('notary') who registers current owner for each serial number. This ensures that when somebody has purchased some number, (s)he will remain owner forever unless (s)he decides to sell it. In addition it ensures that nobody has means to get duplicated copy because each ownership change must be signed by 'notary'.


    Voting by former and current authors

    Are these ok questions or should something be removed/added/modified?

    Voting would be performed by sending questions to all authors we know address: Arf has collected list (not relevant anymore --elefth) here. If you know one of those unknown aliases, could you resolve it?

    Old stuff

    New stuff

    Adding/removing license from list

    License can be added or removed to the list if: 2/3 of members agree and quoting RMS: "Removing a license from the list would not retroactively terminate that license for people who obtained materials when that license was on the list."

    In addition license must in spirit be like this:

    It must require source format (sometimes same as object format). It must allow almost all freedoms (including commercial usage), except removing freedoms.

    Examples: GPL, GFDL, DSL

    (do we need above section? is there danger for 'contributor list poisoning'?)

    How voting member is defined

    There is page in wiki/web/some other suitable place with list of all contributors and their email addresses which should not contain any name that has not contributed anything.

    If contributor is not listed there, then (s)he allows 2/3 majority of voting members automatically to decide for her/himself.

    If contributor is listed there, but (s)he doesn't vote or is unreachable during voting by using email address given there: same as not being listed for voting purposes.

    Unreachable: if 3 mails during one month spaced about 1 week between them doesn't elicit any reply.

    Conversion period

    We likely need some period where new stuff is licensed both under OPL and new chosen license(s): few month - half year. During that period stuff that can't be relicensed should be moved to 'old' section.