Open content license for InfoVis wiki?

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I just noticed that this wiki does not have a clearly open licensing policy. Why is this wiki’s content not put under a Creative Commons-like license? How can i be sure that my contributions remain free and reproducable re-usable? Considering that many infovis projects rely on open data or information, i think it would be appropriate to employ a CC license that allows re-use and demands attribution. This would allow for new interesting uses and give contributors the security that there efforts remain free. To be honest, i am not sure if i want to contribute any longer to something which has rather obscure IP policies. On the disclaimer page it says "totally altering someone's statement around would not be allowed, because that allows for stuffing words and realities into people's mouths." Why have a wiki then? A forum might be just as good. Apart from discussion pages, i think it is the strength of a wiki to improve statements, wordings, etc. Anybody has some ideas on that? --Marian Dörk 11:15, 24 April 2008 (CEST)

Hi, we have thought a lot about this issue and the different possible licensing terms. Finally, we decided to keep it up to the authors on what copyright they want their contributions to be applied and thus give the most freedom to the contributors. What the disclaimer states, says that the coordinators of the Wiki have the right to host the contributions on their technical platforms and make changes due to the structure of the Wiki. By default, all other authors and readers have the right to change entries in a Wiki manner (which is in practical terms the same as the CC license you are referring to). We deliberately did not want the authors to be forced to a completely open license (like the FDL of Wikipedia) because we thought that would might hinder people to put up discussions or new ideas before they published these scientifically. But the content is always free to use by others if they give attribution to the original creators. Furthermore, each author might impose other copyrights to their contributions as stated here:

Make sure that you do not use copyrighted material unless legible under the terms of fair use or the original author's consent (InfoVis:Wiki Copyright). Furthermore, each author might select other types of licenses like for example creative commons by including the type of license at the bottom of the article. Every editor has to comply to the license of the original author. Please contact the InfoVis:Wiki team in case of violations.

In case of using material of others, always GIVE ATTRIBUTION to the original authors! This is especially important for images. See Citation & Bibliography Format for details on the citation format.

-- Wolfgang Aigner 19:45, 24 April 2008 (CEST)

Thanks for your quick reply. I don't share your concerns about scientists hesitating to contribute under open licensing, maybe because i don't think that researchers would be writing about their current, unpublished work, anyway. But even if they did, they should be attributed, what the CC-BY for instance demands. While it is nice to be able to set personal licenses, having everybody choose his/her personal license, probably leads to something like a licensing patchwork which seems kind of cumbersome to track in a wiki. The disclaimer page explicitly states that linking to infovis-wiki content is cool, for which there is probably no copyright policy necessary, but copying is not so cool. I would (strongly) prefer contributing to a project where the collaborative efforts and results should be reusable by anyone without having to ask every author for permission, which does not exclude the demand for proper attribution. Do i understand it correctly, that when the site goes offline, somebody else could only restart the project if every author is asked for permission? --Marian Dörk 21:51, 24 April 2008 (CEST)

I think Marian has a very good point there. Licensing issues are problematic especially when it comes to reusing materials that have been created collaboratively and interoperability. The reason I'm writing this is that I'm involved with a wiki project that we're launching this spring and I think that licensing is a fundamentally important issue. .. And there are only non-ideal solutions, really. ..
But where one wishes to create a viable collaborative content creation project and ensure that the content doesn't get locked up or left gathering dust at some point in time, I think that a the minimum requirement is CC-by-nc-sa. If for nothing else at least to ensure that the content isn't lost if the original publisher disappears (or simply takes the content offline). .. And it's also just fair for the contributors.
And even the non-commercial clause is quite problematic because it requires, to my understanding, that the publisher is a registered non-profit organization (501(c) if you use the US license, don't know details on others). But in any case the NC clause restricts, among others, all usage by companies that are not creating any revenue with the content.
As said, while I have come to a certain personal conclusion on the issue I well understand that the issue is not simple. So, all comments are most welcome.
--Jaakko Helleranta, 17 February 2009