Attribution War

Glenn Otis Brown glenn at
Wed May 26 16:19:45 EDT 2004

greg -- this is all very solid and correct except for one key point 
about the *kind* of attribution people have to give.

here are the various kinds of attribution requirements possible under 
the 2.0 licenses, and the various acts by the licensor that can trigger 

1) no attribution -- if licensor says "do not attribute this to me" or 
doesn't provide an a
2) pseudonym attribution -- whatever name the author provides at the 
point of licensing is the name you must attribute
3) attribution -- ditto, and the default set-up under all 2.0 licenses
4) attribution plus linkback -- only a requirement if licensor 
specifies a url to link back to; not a default requirement

all of the above tempered by "reasonable to the medium and means" you 
are using, which i can tell you, is actually a VERY meaningful phrase 
in contract- and lawyer-speak.

note that these four levels of attribution are all possible under the 
2.0 licenses, even if the DEFAULT is that BY is required. we did this 
intentionally -- more user flexibility but through a simpler UI, fewer 
licenses, fewer permutations. etc.



On May 26, 2004, at 7:18 AM, Greg London wrote:

> 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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