[cc-community] Why "Wiki license" = CC-BY-SA?

Greg London email at greglondon.com
Tue Jan 15 08:42:05 EST 2008

> Does anybody here know why Creative Commons decided
> that the best license for a wiki site is CC-BY-SA,
> rather than, say, CC-BY or other non-copyleft
> license? Perhaps there is an explanation somewhere?

Public Domain style licenses like CC-BY allow a project
to be forked off into a proprietary version and that
version can be used to compete directly against the
FLOS version.

If you have a project that is being developed by many
contributers over a long period of time, which is
exactly what a wiki is, then you'd probably be better
served placing that project under a copyleft license.

A copyleft license will prevent proprietary forking
and guarantees that contributers are working together
on an equal footing as far as the license/rights are

While it is certainly possible that you could have a
group of contributers who agree to cooperate but use
a Public Domain style license, a copyleft license puts
that cooperation into a legal promise. Also, while
all the people contributing under a public domain
license might agree to cooperate, that does not prevent
some outside party from creating a proprietary fork
and competing against the original project. Copyleft
licenses prohibit this using the legal rights of copyright.

See section 8 of "Drafting the Gift Domain",
It is a section that explains the difference between
copyleft and public domain style licenses, and explains
why one might choose one or the other.

Also, see "Libre Labyrinth", page 43 and 48 to compare CC-SA
with a public domain style license like CC-BY.

Hope this helps,
Greg London

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