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CZ:Should we permit or disallow commercial use of CZ-originated articles?

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Policy argument summary started March 23, 2007

The issue explained neutrally

At issue is the question whether entities may use (some of) our articles, under our standard license, for commercial purposes. There is no question that we do and will always permit noncommercial use of our content.

More particularly, should we use CC-by-nc-sa, on the one hand, or CC-by-sa or GFDL, on the other, for articles that are not required to be licensed otherwise? For those articles that began life on Wikipedia, we are required to use the GFDL. For articles that make no use of Wikipedia content, we need not use the GFDL.


Affirmative: Permit commercial use.

Argument: Commercial use is part of the definition of free/open content.

Just like a free software program must (by definition) be available for commercial use, free content must be also.[1] And if the content of CZ is not free/open, users may not want to contribute to it.

Reply: "Free" is a term of art.

Some open source advocates do indeed require that licenses permit commercial use, if they are to consider a license free (or open source/content). But this is far from a universally shared opinion; it is merely a common view on the part of open source advocates.

Reply: Some licenses that forbid commercial use deserve to be called "free" because they allow further development.

There is a long history of making content available but only for individual, educational, or non-profit use; in fact, that is part of fair use law in the U.S. Moreover, the relevant sense of "free/open" that is operational does not require commercial use. This is because content can be further developed by others, and is not exclusively in the hands of its originators, even if noncommercial use is not permitted by the license. Free licenses essentially are a way of protecting the "public domain"--ensuring that something does not become appropriated for exclusive control by a single entity. A noncommercial restriction does not remove that protection.

Reply: Many educational projects have sufficient contributors, and they don't even use a free license.

This argument assumes that the only model for CZ's development is open source software development. But long before the rise of open source, there were educational projects that managed to attract very many unpaid contributors. In the Internet age, many educational projects have many contributors, with the results free to read online, but not available for commercial republishing. This is the whole category of "educational use only" content. The sort of people who will not want to contribute to CZ, if it forbids commercial use, are people who are really passionate defenders of the whole open source ethos, lock stock and barrel; those people make up (to be sure) some, but nevertheless a relatively small minority, of our potential contributors.

Argument: Commercial use permits maximum online distribution of our content, which benefits both CZ and everyone else.

It is becoming increasingly clear that redistribution on others' websites is an exceptionally useful form of publicity for many different forms of media. Redistribution on commercial websites is particularly valuable because these sites often have a high user base and a reputation for quality. Wikipedia has notably benefited from its exposure on the NASDAQ-listed company Answers.com alongside material from many other reputable resources such as the Encyclopaedica Britannica, the American Heritage Dictionary, the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia and others. The Citizendium should exploit the same opportunities and indeed failure to do so may cost it gravely if Wikipedia continues to be referenced and sourced by large well-known websites and CZ is not. A non-commercial license will likely dissuade large commercial websites from reproducing our material and cost us in terms of both publicity and endorsement of quality.

Reply: The Citizendium website is maximum distribution.

Citizendium intends to be the biggest and the most reliable encyclopedia. It is not necessary to allow others websites to redistribute its contents.

Rebuttal to CZ as max distribution
Intentions are nice, but not the same as reality. If we were about to be the biggest encyclopedia distributor, then perhaps we wouldn't need free content at all. In order to grow, we need our reputation and product to get out there. Both to reach readers and esp to recruit scholar-writers. Commercial use would help spread our product, non-commercial restrictions would do less.
Reply to rebuttal
Commercial license is more likely to act against recruiting scholar-writers, who are often accustomed to "non-commercial" publications of their work (esp. academics) or, as real-life experts living on their expertise, may prefer that there is no conflict of interests. Besides, a non-commercial license still allows on a case-by-case basis for entities to re-distribute commercially.

Reply: Non-commercial sites could offer similar features to commercial sites.

Citizendium may create a "new culture", a "noncommercial culture". Others organizations may adhere to this "new culture" and new non-profit sites may arise.

Rebuttal to notion of NC alone as superior to NC + commercial

Profit sites do better than nonprofit sites on average (verify). We cannot rely on "may start a new culture" we must work with what we have. Anything we start that is new has to be in our total control. We cannot wait to see if things change later on things that are outside our control. Answers.com and others will continue to do well. They will not fail. We need to be commercial to get publicity on them.

There is a certain lack of hubris is thinking CZ is about to change the market. The nc approach is somewhat ideologically-driven against profit-based enterprises. Unless we share that ideological bias, or our own peculiar biases (e.g., a bias against wikipedia), going nc diminishes our chances for disseminating our product.

Argument: A noncommercial-only license makes hard copy distribution harder, which hurts people without Internet access.

The major problems of noncommercial-only licensing are the hurdles it places in the path of hard copy distribution. Access to Citizendium as-is is conditional on having a computer and internet access—resources which not everyone enjoys. Distribution to offline users (the majority of the world's population) will involve making and transporting physical media, which costs money. The by-nc license does not grant the right to charge a fee even to recover costs, which not only restricts myriad entirely reasonable and desirable non-profit-making uses but means that offline users will have to rely on either charity or the direct intervention of Citizendium to receive its material (the latter may prove tricky for copyright and other reasons). While there are resources available for charitable distribution we should not force offline individuals to rely on this.

Nobody should have to rely on anyone's goodwill to get hold of our material. If it is simpler or quicker for someone to pay others to bring them the material than to go directly to the website and get it themselves, we should not prevent them — it should be their choice, not ours.

Argument: Having incompatible licenses is a nuisance.

It will cause a lot of problems if some of our articles fall under the GFDL and some fall under a non-commercial license. We won't be able to move text from one article to the other if those articles have incompatible licenses. We won't be able to merge two articles with incompatible licenses into one, except by rewriting one of them from scratch. Any kind of reorganization which involves more than one article will require checking the licenses and thinking about copyright law. Incompatible licenses will require us to spend quite some time on making sure we obey the licenses which we (partially) chose ourselves, time which could be spent on writing and improving articles. Many potential authors will be discouraged by such legal hassles, or they'll neglect the legal requirements.

Reply: Then we should not use GFDL at all.

There is no need to move an article from the non-reliable Wikipedia, which is GFDL, to Citizendium. It is preferable to be compatible with high quality noncommercial contents. For instance, materials from the Australian and Canadian governments are "noncommercial" and it would be much easier to find noncommercial contents in universities and institutions than contents allowing commercial use. In the total sum of things, Wikipedia is a small and murky commercial pond in a clear ocean of non-commercial entities.


If we do not use GFDL at all then
  1. We will lose users
  2. we will have to delete a ton of content
  3. we will discourage wikipedians from joining

Reply: Argument is falsified by experience

In fact, we have incompatibility situation now, as CZ-originated articles are not under GFDL (the license is not specified yet). And, after a couple of months, no big problems have been observed. Furthermore, situation is quite clear and stable. Many WP-sourced articles are labelled as such. No massive "blind" importing (some CZ policies explicitly discourage it). Quite many WP-imported articles are brought here by their respective authors, who decided to develop their work on Citizendium. In such cases CZ has right to label it as its own release. It was proposed and supposedly accepted that WP-imported articles that are not developed here (of status 4 "external", just mirroring Wikipedia) will disappear. In a nutshell, CZ "own" content is likely to dominate in time.

Argument: A noncommercial license hinders sharing with Wikipedia.

We are not in competition with WP, nor are we a branch of WP. What we are is a separate but similar project, with the same general goal of producing a free public encyclopedia by community writing and revision, but the specific goal of producing one with controlled expert review. There are good reasons to have both, and therefore they should both be done optimally after their different fashions. We want our project to be as good as possible, so we wish to use good attributed copyright-free material from other sources, subject to our editing and review. We also want to encourage their project to be as good as possible, and therefore want them to use whatever of our material may serve their good purposes, realizing that they will be subject to their processes of editing.

Reply: It's not just noncommercial licenses that are incompatible.

The CC-by-sa license is also incompatible with the GFDL used by Wikipedia. Future versions of these licenses may become compatible but at present they remain mutually exclusive.

Rebuttal: The GFDL and CC-by-sa are fundamentally compatible.

The GFDL and CC-by-sa provide for the same fundamental ends on all major points and so by no measure can be considered "mutually exclusive". The phrase is simple hyperbole and inaccurate. CC-by-sa images and GFDL text in Wikipedia are already commercially distributed "mutually alongside" one another. People are "banking" on the fact they will be found legally compatible in the future, enough to act as if the matter were foregone. It is much more rationale for Citizendium to assume the compatibility of the two licenses, not the inverse.


overall, compatibility with wikipedia needed to be addressed on this wiki article since this article is getting more attention than the GFDL only article.

Reply: There are excellent reasons to disallow Wikipedia from using Citizendium original articles.

Citizendium is, in fact, in competition with Wikipedia. Failure to recognize this is failure to fully recognize and appreciate the nature and aims of the Citizendium project. It is also failure to recognize the great social good that can come from competition. Citizendium is much more than just a better working environment in which to create improved articles for re-importation into Wikipedia. Choosing a licensing option for Citizendium's original article's that is incompatible with Wikipedia's GFDL is crucially important if that competition is to have its rightful effect on both projects, and thereby improve the lives of millions of information consumers.

Having CC-by-nc avoids lopsidedness in favor of Wikipedia while ensuring a fair relation. For original Citizendium articles, we cannot use Wikipedia content, and in the same way they cannot use ours. Like with like. For Wikipedia-sourced articles we improve and approve, Wikipedia can take them back up from Citizendium. Again like with like.

The choice for a noncommercial license ensures that Citizendium's article creation system can retain its competitive advantage over Wikipedia's current one. The resulting competition is the best way to "encourage their [Wikipedia's] project to be as good as possible". Ensuring competition between Citizendium and Wikipedia through partially incompatible licensing stands to greatly improve life for millions of information consumers over the way things stand now.

Rebuttal to the disallow Wikipedia strategy

To disallow wikipedia from using our articles is like cutting off one's nose to spite your face. We should pray every day that WP uses our articles. Indeed, wp users should be invited to use CZ live articles and cite (i.e. link) them. Why? First, WP is one of the most popular sites and a fabulous way to put out word on CZ. Second, wp draws in far more readers. Readers are potential recruits for writers/editors. Third, wp users are often smart, so they might improve or correct our articles. It's like a free fact-checking, news-updating, etc service. Finally, to disallow wikipedia is to totally miss the point. Even if wikipedia takes our articles, those articles will eventually get messed up within WP by edit wars, vandals, fools, etc. As they get degraded, wikipedia's better users will realize they need to come back AGAIN to CZ. Due to our quality control, we can take advantage of any WP improvements/updates without suffering their crazy degradations and deletions. Except for the short period immediately after they copy CZ, our versions will probably also be superior. (This dynamic won't be lost on the best wp writers. And savvy wp readers will catch on, too, and start to look for credits/links to a parallel, higher-quality CZ version.) Ideally, someday people will notice that, slowly but surely, more of WP is taking on a CZ look and feel, and copying CZ writings. This will create a big buzz about CZ and the scale just might tip in CZ's favor, fast. In sum, to disallow WP is like spitefully kicking the giant in the shins, rather than letting the giant's own energies trip him (aka aikido).

Rebuttal: Article incompatibility is better achieved through stylistic means than the blunt instrument of a license.

Both Wikipedia and Citizendium cover many similar topics and therefore have an interest in being able to share the other's material. Creating incompatibility via licenses is a heavy-handed measure that will cause bad feeling and division in a community that needs nurturing in any form. Citizendium can better assert its individuality and uniqueness by adopting different editorial and stylistic conventions, that do not interfere with the encyclopaedic mission but which are distinct from those of Wikipedia. This does not prevent the beneficial copying back and forth of useful material but will stand in the way of large-scale duplication of articles.

Pro GFDL only "Reply to There are excellent reasons to disallow Wikipedia from using Citizendium original articles"

Do you want Users from Wikipedia to join us? No, seriously, do you? Users and edits are equal to money for a business. The more edits the better. Always, keep this in mind when determining policy. Think: Which license will get us the greatest number of users? the greatest number of readers?

Argument: "Noncommercial" is not well defined.

It's not clear what constitutes commercial use and what doesn't. The potential legal difficulties pose a problem both for potential contributors and for potential users of the content. If noncommercial use is forbidden, potential contributors might worry about their works being exploited in ways they didn't intend, and would have to spend lots of money to enforce their rights; and potential users would have to worry about being sued for uses they believe are legitimate, and would have to spend lots of money to defend themselves against lawsuits.

If a noncommercial use license is chosen, it should be accompanied with a detailed explanation of our interpretation of what constitutes commercial use, and this should be considered incorporated into the license agreement to the extent possible. But it would be better to define what constitutes commercial use first, before it is decided what license to use, because the arguments for and against a noncommercial license rest upon what is and what isn't considered commercial use.

For example, is it commercial use for a university to sell copies of selected Citizendium articles to students? What if they roll the cost of the articles into the cost of tuition? Are nonprofit organizations categorically exempt from the provisions prohibiting commercial use? If a nonprofit distributes a CZ article attached to a request for donations, is this commercial use? What if a sponsorship statement is attached? What if an advertisement is attached?

Reply: OK, so let's clarify it.

If we clarify the meaning of "commercial," the argument appears to lose all of its force. So let's do clarify it.

Reply: Noncommercial is adequately defined in the license.

"Noncommercial" is adequately explained in the Creative Commons license. Section 4c states: "You may not exercise any of the rights granted to You in Section 3 above in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation. The exchange of the Work for other copyrighted works by means of digital file-sharing or otherwise shall not be considered to be intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation, provided there is no payment of any monetary compensation in con-nection with the exchange of copyrighted works."

Reply: No need for universities to sell the articles, as they're already free online.

Students would check the internet, where they can get articles for free. The Citizendium is aimed at the university level reader and students at universities often utilize the internet instead of buying books. Why would anyone buy something that is available for free online?

Rebuttal: The legal point remains: the threat of expensive lawsuits require a clearer definition.

It does not matter that people (not just students) can read the content online. The point is that if a questionably "commercial" entity does violate the license, this requires a clearer license.

Argument: Commercial use would make it easier to fork the Citizendium.

In a perfect world, the Board of Directors that is ultimately responsible for the Citizendium will always make all the right decisions. However, this won't necessarily be the case. If CZ does start making decisions which don't reflect the will of a significant portion of the community, a license which allows commercial use makes it easier for a (commercial) group to separate off and compete.

It would cost money to compete with CZ. Exactly how to go about doing so without violating the license depends a lot on the details of what constitutes commercial use, but whatever use isn't allowed is an option which is taken off the table. If the definition of commercial use is narrow, then competition is easy, but then the ability for large commercial interests with expensive lawyers to circumvent the license is great. If the license is tight, and the definition of commercial use is broad, then the ability of commercial interests to exploit loopholes is small, but rightful use and competition is also made difficult. In either case, to the extent the license is not well defined, it would pose a requirement that a competitor spend significant resources obtaining legal advice.

Reply: We don't want to make it easier for commercial forks to come into being.

The force of this argument rests on something it doesn't argue for: namely, that it is preferable if CZ makes forking as easy as possible. This argument can have force only for potential forkers--not for the Citizendium as an institution. For the Citizendium as an institution, it is actually an argument for disallowing commercial use--of course!

Reply: Commercial use isn't necessary for competition.

Even granting the argument's premise--that it is preferable that CZ make forking as easy as possible--commercial use is hardly a necessary condition for competition. CZ itself is a non-profit; if we can survive, that is evidence that a non-commercial competitor could. After all, CZ is just the sort of competition to Wikipedia that the argument posits as a potential good down the road in case CZ starts making bad decisions: CZ was started because people felt that some aspects of Wikipedia were irreparable. Wikipedia is GFDL-licensed, and thus commercial projects can, and do, make use of its content; CZ is non-commercial, thus proving that a non-commercial entity can overcome the financial barriers to entry. In fact, some financial and intellectual resources are available only to non-commercial entities, and Citizendium is making significant progress towards tapping those resources; if in the future Citizendium needs competition, competitors will have the example of Citizendium as a how-to guide for obtaining those resources for non-commercial competition.

Negative: Disallow commercial use.

NO material should ever be used commercially, if it is many editors will - because of their academic status - end their coorperation.

Argument: With the GFDL for CZ original articles, we might as well resolve ourselves to be a feeder-wiki, leading to our own demise

Of course, all WP-sourced articles in CZ must be licensed under the GFDL. However, if CZ original articles are released under a commercial-allowable license, we might as well resolve to be a feeder-wiki with little reader traffic and a weak self-identity leading to a future more uncertain than if otherwise.


1. The question isn't about GFDL but commercial use. GFDL isn't the only commercial use option, so the argument is off topic.

2. Anyway, this feeder-wiki argument reflects an anti-WP bias that is counterproductive. Unless somebody is already anti-WP (and most people are not), this bias is off-putting and makes us seem petty. Egos aside, why do we care if WP takes our articles?

With free content, don't we expect (and even want) all sorts of websites, with or without Wikipedia, to use and learn from our intelligent and well-written articles? Further, if we became known as a "feeder wiki into WP," wouldn't that attract numerous serious scholars who prefer our process/governance to wikipedias?!

With open content, our survival and identity will not depend on keeping our material from others. We simply want to get some credit and links back (as we do for WP as appropriate). Instead, our success depends on our ability to deliver material, to generate material, and to do it at high quality. All this means attracting writers, without being defensive and bitter at WP, and attracting readers who include future writers. Our identity needs to be as the greatest place to write/edit these kind of articles, a better working atmosphere than WP.

(It's not realistic to think that we can be the Go-To website for readers seeking an encyclopedia. We're just not going to be a full service station any time soon. If we ever someday turn out enough articles to challenge WP for readers and searches, it won't be due to choice of license.) Let the serious writers come to CZ, and don't worry if WP -- along with everybody else -- use and thereby "bring to market" the free content we produce.


A significant majority of the CZ corpus will be comprised of articles originally sourced from WP but improved and approved at CZ. Just as those articles were once copied over from WP to CZ, each and every one may be copied back over from CZ to WP, per the GFDL which all WP-sourced articles on CZ will be licensed under. Since WP provided the starting point for an improved and approved CZ article in this case, it is entirely fair that WP should benefit from CZ's work, just as CZ originally benefited from WP's work. It is win-win for both WP and CZ.

But in the case of WP having the ability to import CZ original articles, the relationship would be beneficial to only WP and not CZ--the flow would be one-way only. WP provided nothing to begin with in CZ original articles, and WP cannot be expected to contribute of import to approved CZ original articles after they import them. To therefore allow the importation by licensing is not fair, and kills CZ's opportunity for real self-identity and long-continuance. As Wikipedian David Cannon said, "Citizendium editors will be left wondering what they are working for and why". (One may wonder, however, whether some CZ editors are working at CZ simply within the unstated yet overarching goal of re-importing their CZ work into WP).

Thus, any argument that favors licensing CZ original articles under the GFDL (or compatible) is an argument that reflects WP bias, that is, it favors placing CZ in lose-win relationship with WP on the point of CZ's original articles. It may be counter-argued that CZ would get a small link at the bottom of CZ original articles WP imports, but this fails to counter that the relationship will still be fundamentally and overwhelmingly lose-win. Besides, WP will already have many thousands of such links in their CZ-sourced articles that originated as WP articles, and vice-versa, equally.

What is a main reason WP chose to license its original content under the GFDL rather than release it into the much freer Public Domain? It is simple. Because the GFDL is the teeth by which WP may retain an advantage over any serious fork of itself, i.e., over any re-user who seriously improves WP's GFDL content. CZ already must retain itself in that relationship with WP for all its WP-sourced articles. Yet some would criticize CZ if it chooses, for its own original CZ content, the same fundamental move WP has taken for its own original content? It is here where WP-bias shows its head rather than a balanced and fair approach.

And that CZ may end up becoming a mere feeder wiki to WP under the GFDL or another commercial-allowable license is a notion with considerable evidence, as shown by the following:

There are *some* cases where different projects end up with strong incompatibilities. But generally, no. And for encyclopedia projects, if there are ever any competitors for ours, well, if they are any good, we'll just use their best articles and ideas to strengthen our project.
Jimmy Wales on Jul 25, 2001

Since it's licences under GFDL too, there is nothing stopping Wikipedia from taking anything CZ develops - so while I can see a CZ community working on high quality articles, people will look for content on larger Wikipedia, and CZ will be nothing more then a quality-articles-creation wikiproject (like several others we have).[2]
Wikipedian User:Beaumont.

Since Wikipedia and Citizendium use the same license (GNU FDL), it will be trivial to synchronize content back and forth between the two. I wouldn't expect Wikipedia to be systematically biased against information gathered and vetted on Citizendium; that's what deference to contributions rather than people is all about. Result, any noncontroversial areas in which the Citizendium excels will quite quickly result in Wikipedia rapidly rising to the same level of excellence. Citizendium's design makes the reverse less likely to happen.[3]
James Grimmelmann, Resident Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

I think some of the articles in CZ have seen nice development, and I would love to take them back into Wikipedia. Unfortunately, Citizendium (unlike Wikipedia) is not currently free content.[4]
Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees member Erik Möller.
NOTE: By "not currently free", Möller was referring to the fact that licensing for CZ original articles has not yet been decided.

Kummer surfaces[5] is an article about Kummer surfaces, and is more detailed than what we say by quite some way. It is marked GFDL, so let's assume there is no problem in principle if we wanted to import it.[6]
Wikipedian Charles Matthews on Wikipedia's Mathematics Group talk page.
NOTE: Matthews was actually mistaken about Citizendium's Kummer surfaces being GFDL. It is actually original content; its license is thus undecided. The entire conversation in which that quote appeared indicates broad support for the importation but that the licensing question is holding up importation.

A larger number of lurkers from Wikipedia will, however, peruse the newly created articles on Citizendium and scavenge them. Given the public profile of Wikipedia, readers are far more likely to find the articles on Wikipedia than where they are originally posted, and Citizendium editors will be left wondering what they are working for and why.[7]
Wikipedian David Cannon, a well-respected contributor,

To be honest, I hope the site is under the GFDL, which'd allow us to copy their efforts back onto here.[8]
Wikipedian GeeJo on talk page for Wikipedia Signpost, issue 2006-09-18, about Citizendium.

It's also great that, thanks to the GFDL, if Citizendium does produce any good content, we can port it back here in the twinkling of an eye.[9]
Wikipedian WillowW, an extremely active science contributor,

Has anyone started a project to copy data from http://www.citizendium.org to wikipedia yet?[10]
Wikipedian Ravedave.
NOTE: The idea expressed is the same basic one as the WikiProject Mathematics/PlanetMath Exchange (See the GFDL PlanetMath.)

Of course, Wikipedia could start requiring registration and having disputes settled by experts - just like Citizendium. Or it could simply take content from Citizendium, if that has already done the job.[11]
Jack Schofield of The Guardian upon the launch of Citizendium.

The Citizendium is there awaiting your brilliant efforts. You could spend there creatively all the efforts you spend here fighting trolls, casting pearls before the swine. - Bypd 07:55, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Sure, the brilliant and academic will be among themselves, and that's how they'll stay.... If they do turn out a number of decent articles -- hey, we can go over there and copy-paste them here, the license being compatible :) - dab 20:16, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Exchange between two users at Wikipedia:[12].

Argument: It is appropriate that commercial entities pay for use, because they profit.

Commercial use is a special case. It is appropriate that commercial entities pay for use, because they profit. Others do not. (To elaborate!)

Argument: Commercial use would permit people to profit on the backs of volunteers.

Corporations that have no participation in the project may make money whatever they can on back of volunteers. It is not fair that some people work for free while others profit from this.

Reply: We will get something in return if our work is used.

With an appropriate license choice, the community is paid back with similar access and rights to all extensions and derivatives of their work. Commercial use would expand the marketing reach of volunteer efforts and thereby generate more social benefit and credit, which is much of what volunteers seek.

Reply: There is nothing wrong with commercial use.

Wikipedia has shown that volunteers do not mind commercial use of their work. On the contrary, some users may choose not to contribute to CZ if the freedom to make commercial use of their work is not granted.

Rebuttal: Many users may prefer noncommercial licenses.

Citizendium intends to be of high quality and be completely different of Wikipedia. The authors who prefers cc-by-nc-sa have the option to contribute in Citizendium. Besides, many contributors of Wikipedia have no knowledge about licenses, if they find out cc-by-nc-sa, they may prefer it.

Reply: People will always profit on the backs of volunteers.

Everyone who is paid by Citizendium will be profiting on the backs of volunteers anyway. Any lawyers hired by CZ, any webhosting providers they pay, the electric company that provides the energy to the servers, the sponsors who have their names mentioned, the computer companies that sell them the computers, etc. The only question is whether or not third parties who aren't paid directly by Citizendium can compete against those who are paid directly by Citizendium - something which will lower the amount of profit which is made off the backs of the volunteers.

Rebuttal: Fewer people will profit if a noncommercial license is used.

Far fewer people will profit from the volunteers of Citizendium if it is noncommercial. If Citizendium allows commercial use, many corporations will profit from it.

Argument: If contributors share copyright, the Citizendium Foundation could relicense articles commercially.

Elaborate the argument here.

Reply: Then the Citizendium Foundation, too, is profiting on the backs of volunteers.

Elaborate the reply here.

Reply: But contributors should not be required to share copyright.

See also

Argument: A non-commercial license permits overall greater encyclopedia quality through freer use of allowable images.

Similar to the argument Commercial use would permit people to profit on the backs of volunteers, users may be disinclined to take pictures/images, append them on CZ articles, and have that picture/image profit others.

A non-commercial license ensures users' pictures/images are used to transmit information solely, rather than profiting others. Relevant images improve article quality; for example, a user may not know how an African Forest Elephant looks like. An image taken by a user at the Zoo and appended to the CZ article, would help an article illustrate the description of said elephant.

To sum up in an quote: A picture says a thousand words.

Reply: Images can have different rules.

Images are generally much less collaborative than the text of an article. Therefore, it is possible to allow image authors to choose from various different licenses for their images. This could also be done with the text, but the collaborative nature of the text would make it too difficult to either have all authors agree on a license or to track which parts of an article were under which licenses. With images, there is usually only one author, and rarely more than a few.

One might argue that incompatible licenses for images and text can't be combined. But there are two responses to this. First of all, most free licenses allow for combining independent works under different licenses. Secondly, and quite definitively, by uploading an image or contributing text to Citizendium you are explicitly allowing images and text under different licenses to be combined.


Gratis permissions are not issued in materials available for commercial sale, even for education use. This is the standard in most permissions, for example Image_talk:Wessel_1954_fig1.png/Permission.

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