Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy The Media Wikipedia

Does Creative Commons Work With Pseudonymity? 37

Posted by timothy
from the no-fair-that's-a-bunch-of-questions dept.
kale77in writes "I was going to direct this question to the Australian Arts Law Centre, and probably still will, but I'm sure they're very busy and I'm sure that someone here must have bumped up against this issue already. I have not found it addressed in the CC FAQ. I have a website which is oriented around the study of Ancient Greek. Much material relevant to this study (texts, lexica, etc) was published in the 1800s; it is now out of copyright and readily available from archive.org and similar sources; but much of this material could use an upgrade and users will have up-to-date contributions of their own to make. I'm writing a system that allows user entry, correcting, searching, commentary, tagging, redistribution and so on, of such material." Read on for the questions this raises about licensing, attribution, and copyright.
Kale77in continues: "Here's my issue: I would like everything to be under Creative Commons BY-SA — I can say 'same as Wikipedia' and this will encourage participation and confidence. The question is who should own the copyright of user-created data. I'd like the copyright to be held by the submitter. But I've no interest in enforcing anything more than pseudonymity for the users. Now I understand that copyrights can be held pseudonymously; but how does this allow attribution as required by CC-BY-SA? Is it enough for an author of a derivative work to reference the page on my site where the pseudonymous copyright holder grants the license? Does the end user need to be able to contact the copyright holder for additional rights? Is this a road through a minefield, so that I should just bite the bullet and, like Wikipedia, make a foundation to hold and license the copyright for collaborative works? But that costs money to administer; for a small non-profit venture is it best to just chill and take resort in persuading the users to make everything public domain? Or does a special User Agreement allow some way to gain the benefits of CC licensing (= endless reuse, and no hassle) without losing pseudonymity? But then, won't a complex upfront agreement hinder participation?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Does Creative Commons Work With Pseudonymity?

Comments Filter:
  • by hedwards (940851) on Friday July 01, 2011 @07:11PM (#36638432)

    Last I checked, in the US at least, one could have a copyright in ones pen name, so I'm not really sure why there would be something special about using a CC license.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday July 01, 2011 @07:21PM (#36638480)

      Last I checked, in the US at least, one could have a copyright in ones pen name, so I'm not really sure why there would be something special about using a CC license.

      For reference:

      "An author of a copyrighted work can use a pseudonym or pen name. A work is pseudonymous if the author is identified on copies or phonorecords of the work by a fictitious name. Nicknames and other diminutive forms of legal names are not considered fictitious. Copyright does not protect pseudonyms or other names. ... But be aware that if a copyright is held under a fictitious name, business dealings involving the copyrighted property may raise questions about its ownership. Consult an attorney for legal advice on this matter."
      http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl101.html [copyright.gov]

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The central two problems that I see as it applies to this situation:
        1) You must be able to prove that you're acting on behalf and with consent of the copyright holder in case you decide to sue for copyright infringement.
        2) If someone decides to sue for copyright infringement of the uploaded material, proof of being the account holder will need to be provided and that necessarily breaks pseudonymity.
        So all is honky-dory, until it actually matters.

  • Does the end user need to be able to contact the copyright holder for additional rights?

    You might be confusing Creative Commons's core licenses with CC+ [creativecommons.org], a standardization of dual-licensing metadata.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      CC-BY-SA eliminates the need to contact the copyright holder, because the rights have already been granted: the right to publish derivative works, with attribution, under essentially the same license. If someone wants rights beyond that, they going to be disappointed, because people who select CC-BY-SA as the license generally mean it: those rights, but no other rights.

      • CC-BY-SA eliminates the need to contact the copyright holder, because the rights have already been granted: the right to publish derivative works, with attribution, under essentially the same license.

        Well, that's not completely true. If you publish something through CC-BY-SA, you grant those rights provided you had the neccesary rioghts to do so. If someone decided to put Harry Potter on the net under CC-BY-SA, you still would not get the rights to distribute it by downloading it there, unless J. K. Rowling (or the publisher, I'm not sure who actually owns the rights) approved it.

        Now imagine a text added under CC-BY-SA by the author, but under pseudonym without any way to find out the actual author. Now

  • Easy Answer? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'd just ask the person uploading the content to specify how they'd like to be attributed. Maybe make the default "Your Site Name Contributor" and let them change it as part of their profile.

    Section 4 c i seems to be what you should be looking at.

    (i) the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution ("Attribution Parties")

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you're worried about the need for attribution, you could simply have the contribution agreement state that submissions are licensed under CC-SA (without the by). Or if you want to keep attribution the CC-BY licenses specify the use of an accepted means of attribution. You could simply give one such example in the contributor agreement as an example of what would be acceptable. This could be as simple as attributing it to the site itself (if the contributor agrees this works) or if you wanted to cause pro

  • I'd really like to know about this website. I'm a Latin major and I study Ancient Greek. I'd love to contribute to this.
    • by a whoabot (706122)

      It could be Textkit [textkit.com]. I used White's First Greek book which I got from there and the forums to start me off on learning Greek before I went to university. It looks like the website has really been changed cosmetically since I last looked, however. Hopefully the substance is still there.

      • by kale77in (703316)
        Textkit is brilliant, although it's auto-processing uses Latin-character OCR on the Greek texts. Human transcription and correction is necessary to get something searchable.
    • by kale77in (703316)

      There's a several-year-old version of my site online at http://jesus.com.au [jesus.com.au] -- that's a New Testament Greek site as the name suggests. It has grammatical searching, so for example, to find infinitive verbs in the Johannines, you would use http://jesus.com.au/find/words/.v.inf/in/john,1jn-3jn [jesus.com.au]. See the homepage for a feature list; any feedback from a classics learning/teaching background would appreciated.

      While I've been upgrading my interest in NT/Koine to full blown classical, I've been adding features over

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @07:40PM (#36638580)

    like Wikipedia, make a foundation to hold and license the copyright for collaborative works

    That's actually not how Wikipedia works. The Wikimedia Foundation holds none of the copyrights, these are still retained by the (pseudonymous in most cases, I might add!) user who posted the content.

    The only extra precautions they take, AFAIK, are making sure that all revisions are always and permanently attributed (e.g., you cannot delete accounts, as that would leave a situation where it is unknown who to attribute). When attributing, it is enough to say "User SoAndSo on Wikipedia".

    So I think you'll be fine.

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      IANAL, but I got better LSAT scores (without studying) than most of them did, and I have a few sharks in my family.

      The parent AC response is entirely correct

    • great point about the holding of copyright. id add that the reason wikipedia doesnt hold copyright, is because if it did, then it would be getting sued all the time for defamation and libel. if they dont hold copyright, they can use the 'shield law' in the US, which makes them basically a 'service provider' and thus immune to lawsuits over the content they hold. thats my theory anyways (and i dont know much, but i have a hunch).

      instead, when someone wants to sue over a wikipedia article, they sue a john doe

      • by ron_ivi (607351)

        so if you have an article written by 50 people, then 50 different people own the copyright. you have to figure out who is responsible for which bits...

        So when you attribute someone, do you need to list all 50 people and wikipedia? And what happens in a long chain of derived works; where, say, work A is a derived work of Wikipedia, work B is derived form work A, and work C derived from B. If I make work D derived from C, do I need to attribute all the people in A, B, and C?

        • IIRC, there are some wikis out there that do attribute every author on every page - they modify the mediawiki PHP code to spit out a list of editors for each page at the bottom of each page. its actually not that hard IIRC, a day's work or two for a hobbyist programmer.

          As for derivative works, well, I am no lawyer, but as far as i can tell, someone could definitely make the argument you make. What counts as 'appropriate attribution' appears to be somewhat uncertain in legal terms. I could see someone who wa

    • by kale77in (703316)

      If this is correct, then it's almost ideal. Not legally watertight, but, certainly sufficient to proceed with.

      I realise that I was assuming that copyright resided with the Wikipedia Foundation because the only alternative seemed untenable -- that the required attributions for every stage of revision could become exceedingly complex. But there actually is no single copyright statement on a Wikipedia page now that I look for one.

      It seems, following this up, that the Wikimedia Foundation Terms of Use [wikimediafoundation.org] fills the

  • Now I understand that copyrights can be held pseudonymously; but how does this allow attribution as required by CC-BY-SA?

    If a user posts something under a pseudonym, then attribution need only reference that pseudonym.

    Is it enough for an author of a derivative work to reference the page on my site where the pseudonymous copyright holder grants the license?

    Technically all a derivative work would need is enough information to clearly attribute the work. Even just the title of the work, name of your site, and the pseudonym the work was published under would qualify. (E.g. based on "the song" by sombody57 of example.com). It is debatable if a mere link to the source is sufficient, but the Wikimedia Foundation feels it is, so you would be in good company.

    Does the end user need to be able to contact the copyright holder for additional rights?

    No. There is

  • The question is who should own the copyright of user-created data. I'd like the copyright to be held by the submitter.

    How about "nobody"? Why does anyone have to own the copyright?

    Seriously, is there any danger in making the content Public Domain? It might even increase the value of the site because although other people could copy the whole thing and post it, you could be the one to guarantee that nothing's been changed except by contributors involved. So the value you claim is not just the content, but

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      There are all sorts of arguments against dumping it in the Public Domain, many of which can be found in RMS's reasoning behind the GPL. For example, it doesn't ensure that derivative works (e.g. an audio or translated version of the text) would remain free-as-in-speech. I'm all for the development of the Public Domain over time (copyright terms are too damn long), but in the short term, copyright with free licensing (e.g. CC-BY-SA) serves the public good better.

  • like Wikipedia, make a foundation to hold and license the copyright

    The Wikimedia Foundation, who operates Wikipedia, does not own copyright to the collaborative works that are its articles. It also does not "license" it. The only thing it does is to claim that whenever you edit a page on Wikipedia, that edit is under CC-BY-SA, and if you don't agree with that, don't edit.

  • Your use cases for expected user-generated content include "user entry, correcting, searching, commentary, tagging, redistribution and so on, of such material."

    Scanning of PD works, OCR, and making corrections to that data is just data, and you can't copyright facts or short phrases, titles, etc.

    "Commentary" can enjoy copyright protection, so the CC licenses can be applied and each user would retain copyright of his commentary either under his real name or pen name.

    But if the commentary is *editable* by oth

All constants are variables.

Working...