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Important: Preserve Content Attribution

From: Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2013 01:12:59 -0500
Message-ID: <50FA396B.1030304@w3.org>
To: "public-webplatform@w3.org" <public-webplatform@w3.org>
Hi, folks-

There was a recently a slip-up in which some of the attribution on 
certain pages was removed; this has been corrected... no harm, no foul. 
But I thought it was a good idea to remind (or inform) everyone of the 
importance of attribution.

Attribution is critical to this project, from a legal, practical, and 
motivational perspective.


On the legal side, our license is CC-BY, or Creative Commons 
Attribution. When we agree to the site license, we all agree to honor 
this. Failing to provide attribution, or removing past attribution, is a 
violation of the letter and spirit of this license. Note that there are 
two exception to this:

1) things that only state facts, and not interpretation, are not 
protected by copyright, and are thus outside the bounds of licensing . 
But this line can be gray... a compilation of facts is protected by 
copyright if the selection and arrangement of the material is original; 
it's safer to provide and preserve attribution

2) if all the original material from a particular source has been 
excised from the article, attribution for that source can optionally be 
removed; in practice, however, we are only using this to deliberately 
simplify the license the article is available under, e.g., if the 
original content was under CC-BY-SA (Attribution and Share Alike), we 
might remove all the old material so it can be reused under CC-BY.


On the practical side, attribution is used for fame and blame. Fame is 
praising the original contributor for their content, so people know who 
to credit and thank when they are reusing the content. Blame is the 
flip-side of the same coin... it helps users (and reusers) to evaluate 
any possibly bias on the part of the original contributor.


On the motivational side, we are lucky enough to have many primary bulk 
contet contributors, and we hope to have large numbers of community 
contributors over time. Part of what motivates those contributors is the 
aforementioned well-deserved fame... remove that attribution, and you 
undermine motivation, and the project suffers; even people who don't 
want notoriety per se still have a sense of fairness, and may be 
discouraged if their contributions are not afforded equal treatment. 
This even affects people who are potential contributors... they see how 
contributions and attributions are handled, and that may affect their 
decision on whether they will start contributing.


So, everyone, please remember not to remove existing attribution, and 
always give credit when adding content.

Thanks!

Regards-
-Doug Schepers
W3C Developer Relations Lead
Received on Saturday, 19 January 2013 06:13:14 UTC

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