Attribution War

Greg London email at
Wed May 26 10:18:00 EDT 2004

The By: clause is now built in as standard equipment.
97% of licenses created had the By: option.
It reduces the number of license combinations from 13 to 7.

By: is not the same as Copyright Notice.
A copyright notice is "Copyright 2004 Greg London".
By: is "sort of" like the BSD advertising clause,
except that in software, copyright notices just
naturally tag along, but in almost every other
medium, you've got to do some work to "attribute"
the previous authors and contributers.

The GNU-FDL license includes "Invariant Sections"
which allow the original author to insert
an advertising clause that must tag along with the
document, and must be placed prominently in any
derived works. This won't work for major, multi
contributer works like wikipedia, but if you're
doing a one-man or one-team project, then it might
make sense.

One important caveat, the GNU-FDL will ALLOW the
author to add invariant sections, but it does
not REQUIRE the user to do so. By default, there
are no invariant, attribution-like, sections.
The license contains clear and detailed instructions
on how to add an invariant section.

It sounds like CC licenses will have attribution
"on" by default, which is odd, since the author
should have to add a section like

"with the following attribution clauses:"

or something. If the author does not add that
phrase, then downstream authors should not have
to hunt around trying to figure out what the
original author wanted for an attribution phrase.

Do you want a URL as attribution?
Your name? Pseudoname?

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