Xenharmonic Wiki talk:License

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For reference, although this page was just created, this has always been the license that the Xenharmonic Wiki materials have been distributed under, going back to when the site was hosted at Wikispaces. The license was also listed at our Archive.org Xenharmonic Wiki Backups page, so this page is just to make it easier to locate.

concern about NC being non-free and incompatible

I see that back in 2018, the non-free NC restrictive license was chosen. I'm concerned about problems with this restriction, and it's incompatible with the CC-BY-SA license used by almost all other wikis including Wikipedia and the Xenrhythm wiki. I personally also use CC-BY-SA for all my own music and writings, so the NC license makes me hesitant to contribute here.

NC incompatibility

Because NC is non-free (see https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/freeworks), it is incompatible with the standard free-culture licenses, CC-BY and CC-BY-SA. Because of the NC restriction, no material can ever be mixed between Wikipedia and the XenWiki.

To reiterate: in a situation where people want to combine material from Wikipedia and XenWiki, there is no commercial activity happening, but the NC license is still blocking this creative process. Surely that's not intended.

To clarify again, as this is often misunderstood: if some work says "no commercial use", it cannot be legally used within another work that does allow commercial use, and this is true even when no commercial use ever occurs.

Why NC? Is there any actual concern it addresses?

Is there any actual problem around the XenWiki and commercial use? Who would be using XenWiki material commercially? And wouldn't it be welcome, even encouraged, for the work to be used in such rare cases as long as the commercial use itself was still licensed freely? (That's what the SA "share-alike" is for already, that alone blocks anyone from using the material in All Rights Reserved derivatives). Wouldn't CC-BY-SA address all the real concerns anyone has?

I suspect that NC was chosen just because of the general inclination that this work isn't intended for commercial use. I suspect nobody considered the compatibility issue or other ramifications of the license. Is that right?

Possible changes to allow CC-BY-SA

I think it would be worth the effort to build the consensus needed to change to the standard CC-BY-SA.

Maybe a practical way to transition is possible. Consider a case where everyone contacted accepts a change to CC-BY-SA. Then, any substantial material from those who could not be reached could be specifically marked with an indication that the specific page is NC licensed still. I hope this will not be needed. Overall, it would be a huge improvement to be compatible with the rest of the wiki world and not segregate this material.

For perspective, I added a note to my own user page https://en.xen.wiki/w/User:Wolftune about my own use of CC-BY-SA

--Wolftune (talk) 05:12, 22 March 2021 (UTC)


I don't care if we drop the "NC" and I doubt anyone else does. I don't know the process for changing all of this formally but I am alright with this. This should be posted to the "Xenwiki Work Group" on Facebook. Mike Battaglia (talk) 16:08, 22 March 2021 (UTC)

I have nothing against commercial use of the information except selling the same things we offer for free. Is there any commonly used trade-off or clause for this? --Xenwolf (talk) 10:42, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
The SA "share-alike" clause combined with BY "attribution" does the job well enough, though it's not absolutely strict. People could (any one of us or anyone else) do something like print out a book of everything from the wiki and sell the printed copy, but they would have to indicate the CC BY-SA license and include credit to the Xenharmonic Wiki, and we could and should say that credit should be listed as "Xenharmonic Wiki https://xen.wiki". So, anyone who pays for the copy would see and know about the original source.
In practice, to stop anyone from selling "bootleg" copies of anything requires taking legal action anyway. The most dishonest actors might ignore licenses altogether anyway. I don't imagine anyone will sell the material in a way we'd find problematic. I personally support the idea of people perhaps making posters and selling them (we plan to do such things for the Kite Guitar), it's okay to pay for the costs of preparing, printing, and getting people physical stuff. And if someone made a paid-for ebook that included wiki material, CC-BY-SA would let them do that, but the whole ebook would still have to be CC-BY-SA which would mean anyone could freely share it and could also take any updated or new material and contribute it back to the wiki. Any small use like just referencing a tiny bit from the wiki would be fair use anyway, so no license can block that. --Wolftune (talk) 01:15, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
If CC-BY-SA takes care of all that, I'll be fine with it. --Xenwolf (talk) 06:36, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
For me, there remains one question. If CC-BY-SA takes effect what does that mean for the songs I've shared on this Wiki? I'm asking because I plan to register my stuff with the Copyright office once I get the money. --Aura (talk) 14:21, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
Well, the wiki could take the position that specific items such as your songs may be listed with a different license. It doesn't strictly have to be all the same. But assuming the smoother everything-the-same, any contributor retains complete copyright to their own work. You can register your songs and use them in any capacity, as you are the copyright holder. You are just licensing the content here under CC-BY-SA which means that at least the aspects of the songs that are here are then usable by people under the CC-BY-SA license. You can still separately license or use your own songs in any way you choose with anyone, you are not bound by the license yourself. But if others contribute non-trivially to your songs here, you would need to follow CC-BY-SA in your use of their contributions. The same principles apply right now with the current CC license anyway. --Wolftune (talk) 19:47, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
Nice. Then that means that I'm completely on board with the smoother everything-the-same CC-BY-SA treatment. --Aura (talk) 20:47, 24 March 2021 (UTC)