[cc-licenses] Requirements for ...: toward a practicable definition of "author name" ?
ben.pineau at gmail.com
Mon Dec 24 10:47:49 EST 2007
In an other mail , Erik Moeller started an useful "CC-BY-SA
migration checklist". Among the items, I noted this important
one: "An improved attribution clause that works for wikis".
There was also an attempt to work on a new attribution text .
It's obvious that in order to improve and clarify attribution,
"author name" (as in "the name to be credited") should be
clearly defined, if possible. Users should be allowed to credit the
"author(s) name(s)" as they received them attached to the work
(or a subset of those names, subset to be defined too),
everything else I can think off would be impracticable.
For practical reasons, a few things should be allowed to the
recipient/user of the work, that a proper definition of
"author name" can impact. Here is a list of practical problems
a good definition of "author name" may prevent.
In my opinion (what's yours ?), the recipient/user of a work:
* Should credit work's authors with the "names" he received
attached to the work (be them real names or pseudonyms).
ie. Finding the real person names of authors shouldn't
be a requirement (pseudonyms are ok). And you shouldn't have
to find out if an author credited as "foo" is actually a
real person or an automated bot ran by user "bar". For instance,
Wikipedia credits article's authors names as real person names,
pseudonyms, bots names, or IP, as they come by.
* You should not have to contact authors to ask them how they
would like to be credited: the names to be used are the
names you received attached to the work as "authors", that is.
The "shall include the names (or pseudonyms, at the author's
discretion)" proposal on meta wiki  lacks clarity here.
* If an author decide to change his name/pseudonym (like in an
user account rename on wikipedia) after you received the
work, you should not be expected to find this out and fix your
copy to reflect all those changes aftermath. This wouldn't
* You should be allowed to transliterate an author name to an
other writing system if technically necessary.
For instance if your printing system, or your database setup,
or your accessibility tools (ie. screen reader) can't
handle Japanese characters, you should be allowed to
transliterate 鈴木清順 as Suzuki Seijun (or the opposite).
* There are indeed many other considerations that matter for
accreditation, like "how many authors need to be credited"
(ie. for a massively collaborative work), but I think that's
an other matter, unrelated to the "author name" definition.
A simple solution would be to require a recipient/user to credit
"authors names" as he received them attached to the work (or
a selected subset of name he received).
ie. for wikipedia, that would mean the names as they appear in
the article's history (or a subset of those names).
In a short sentence, and with my bad english, sorry, that would
along the lines be a definition like:
"An author name means a name already credited as an author,
as you received it attached to this work, be it a real name or a
pseudonym. You can transliterate authors names in other
What are your ideas about this ? did I missed something ?
And how should we credit the author of a wikipedia article
edited mostly by an IP (I mean, without a wp account, so
without anything we could think as "an author name") ?
How many authors names should be required to be credited,
if a work has many of them (ie. "the 5 principal authors" (but
then, "principal" need to be defined), or "all authors") ?
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