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Commercial use waiver

  • Dear Wikia,

    on [1], you added the following bit:

    If you contribute to, or have contributed to, a wiki that uses a license that restricts the commercial use of your contribution (e.g., the CC-BY-NC license or the CC-BY-NC-ND license), you hereby waive such restriction with respect to Wikia’s use of such contribution and any derivative works of such contribution.

    Please acknowledge that a unilateral change of your Terms Of Use (of which I have not been informed by e-mail or similar) does not mean that I actually agree to these new terms - not for content I write after I have now been informed of this change, and much less for content that I added before this TOU change was made.

    For what it is worth, I will make this explicit: I do not agree to this new clause, and consider my past and future edits to any wiki that uses the CC-BY-NC license to actually use that license in full, without any waivers.

    If you can't accept that, please make sure that all edits I have made to any such wiki (first and foremost the english and german versions of Memory Alpha), as well as all derivative works based on any of my edits (which means all edits to any article that I edited in the past), are completely removed from your database. In this case, please also get back to me via e-mail, so that I know where we stand regarding this issue.

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    • Hi, the proper method to contact Staff is Special:Contact/general.

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    • I think you posted this in the wrong place, this is the community forum. And if you don't agree to such changes, you are not allowed to edit any pages on a wiki that uses CC-BY-NC anymore. For what it's worth, you do have the right to request that the CC-BY-NC license be used with no waivers (assuming that this clause was not present at the time of your edit) but it is impossible to remove those edits from the database.

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    • This is exactly the right place for this - this is very much a community matter that affects many users.

      When was this change made?

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    • From what I've seen this is not new but nearly a year old. Here's the edit history.

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    • @TK-999: Yeah, and the proper method to change Terms Of Use is to let users know, and not add some pretty big game-changers and hope that they won't be noticed anytime soon.

      @Iggyvolz: You are mistaken. If I published some content under a "CC-BY-NC" license, and I haven't waived any of my rights, then all derivative works of my work (which, as I said, encompasses all article revisions of an article after I have edited it) need to be published under that same CC-BY-NC license again. If Wikia wants to ask other editors to release their content under a different license, they first need to make sure that those editors even can do that - which means that they mustn't base their edits on stuff that I have licensed in the past. They actually need to remove my edits from their database if they want to do this - not the other way around.

      Having said that, I had another look at the actual license and found these (8.d and 8.e, respectively):

      No term or provision of this License shall be deemed waived and no breach consented to unless such waiver or consent shall be in writing and signed by the party to be charged with such waiver or consent.
      This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified here. Licensor shall not be bound by any additional provisions that may appear in any communication from You. This License may not be modified without the mutual written agreement of the Licensor and You.

      To me, this pretty clearly states that Wikia can not unilaterally call for a waiver of individual terms of this license. They do not have my written consent (nor do they have written consent from any other MA contributor), so anything they add to their Terms Of Use regarding that is just a waste of disk space.

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    • Is this not just codifying a previously unwritten agreement that MA had with Wikia - that they're allowed to put adverts on the content when hosting it themselves, but that's the only commercial use allowable for it?

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    • This might have been the intention - but as the waiver reads, it does more than that. If the waiver was valid (which, according to the above, it is not), it would allow Wikia to publish our content (or a derivative work of it) under a license that does not include the "NC" clause, and then do whatever they want to do with it - including making it available for use in any other commercial context.

      If this was just about ads besides our content, then the waiver could at least have been restricted to exactly this use case.

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    • I see. It looks like from what you wrote above about the license, it's pretty impossible to be legally proper about the Wikia/MA agreement anyway - without requiring a signature from every contributor. Even so, for whatever it's worth the ToU should reflect the fact they can only use it for adding adverts and nothing else.

      User:Semanticdrifter would probably have something to say about this

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    • In the past, Wikia has often asserted that they are not a licensee as defined by the CC license (and, as such, that any clauses of the license do not restrict their right to display ads on their site), because they are not actually using the content but just hosting it.

      Whether that interpretation of the license would have survived any legal proceedings I don't know - but at least it was something that, apparently, all sides could live with as long as Wikia didn't go crazy with the amount and placement of advertisements, so that it never came to such.

      If Wikia now tries to unilaterally change this informal agreement (if you want to call it that) then, apparently, they found out that their former interpretation of the license was wrong. If that is the case, we have to find a solution - but that solution, in my opinion, can't be one where just we as the content providers are giving up major parts of our rights.

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    • Acer4666 wrote:
      Is this not just codifying a previously unwritten agreement that MA had with Wikia - that they're allowed to put adverts on the content when hosting it themselves, but that's the only commercial use allowable for it?

      This is essentially correct, and this best represents the reason for the change in wording.

      We wanted the licensing page to accurately represent the state of play. Without commenting on whether or not past statements regarding the distinction between “using” and “hosting” were correct, we felt it was more accurate to say that as far as Wikia is concerned, the users of the small handful of wikis that maintain an NC license have accepted some commercial activity, at least as far as the placement of advertisements. By continuing to contribute with the certain knowledge that Wikia is performing some commercial activity with the content (ads), there was already an implicit waiver of the noncommercial aspect of the license for Wikia.

      What the waiver boils down to is that you allow Wikia to use the content for commercial purposes, most notably placing ads on the wiki. You waive the commercial restriction for us, which makes hosting the community possible. The waiver does not allow us to relicense the content.

      Let me be clear: we have no intention to relicense any content you and the other users of communities like Memory Alpha have created under any other terms. Relicensing is not on the agenda.

      That said, we do place ads on the material.

      We updated the language on the licensing page to reflect this reality, not impose a new one. We absolutely respect the NC part of the license. Look no further than the recent Rotten Tomatoes partnership for proof of this. If our intention was to try to bend the license beyond it’s intentions, we would have included Memory Alpha content in that promotion. But we didn’t because we know the license doesn’t allow it, and we respect that. We have even taken steps to keep API access to these communities restricted, so that they can’t be indiscriminately reused and the license terms are respected.

      This licensing page is designed to summarize and explain the licensing schemes on Wikia, and as such we wanted to make it as accurate as possible in it’s description of the different licenses and how they function for our communities. It is meant to be more descriptive than prescriptive and the change we are discussing was made a year ago, with no sinister intent and no sinister follow-up action.

      As the changes to the policy page were made to reflect the situation as it stands, we didn't affirmatively inform the relevant communities. If we did make a radical alteration to our Terms of Use or tried to change the license itself, we absolutely would have made sure that everyone who contributed to these communities knew about it.

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    • @Cid Highwind That's not at all what I said. I was responding to your last paragraph, saying that they couldn't delete your edits from the database. I didn't say that they could re-license your work. And I was confused by the Dear Wikia at the beginning. I thought you wanted this to go privately to Wikia, if this discussion is what you want it is the right place

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    • @Iggyvolz: Then you are mistaken about that aspect as well. Of course it is technically possible to remove content (say, all content I added) from a wiki in a way that makes it inaccessible to all including admins (check the "suppressrevision" mediawiki user right, for example). Depending on the wiki and the user(s) for which this is done, it may well lead to a site void of any decent content. If worse comes to worst, and it turns out that Wikia is in breach of a license in a way that is unresolvable any other way, it may still come to that.

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    • 54.80.120.136
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