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posted by Woods on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:11PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the content-of-this-article-is-SFW dept.

In the beginning, pop culture wiki TV Tropes licensed its content with the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license for free content.

When Google pulled out its AdSense revenue because of... let's call it NSFW fan fiction, TV Tropes changed its guidelines to forbid tropes about mature content. In response to this move, two forks were eventually created. The admins disliked this move so much that they changed its license notice to the Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike version, despite their site not having requested copyright rights from their users. Only later they added a clause to their Terms of use page requiring all contributors to grant the site irrevocable, exclusive ownership of their edits.

I suppose the morale of the story is, if you contributed to TV Tropes before summer 2012, you should know they're distributing your content under a license that you didn't give them permission to use.

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Wikia and Sony: Licensing Mind Tricks 21 comments

Popular culture website Wikia originally hosted its user-contributed content under a free, sharealike Commercial Commons license (CC-BY-SA). At least as soon as 2003, some specific wikis decided to use the non-commercial CC-BY-NC license instead: hey, this license supposedly protects the authors, and anyone is free to choose how they want to license their work anyway, right?

However, in late 2012 Wikia added to its License terms of service a retroactive clause for all its non-commercial content, granting Wikia an exclusive right to use this content in commercial contexts, effectively making all CC-BY-NC content dual-licensed. And today, Wikia is publicizing a partnership with Sony to display Wikia content on Smart TVs, a clear commercial use.

A similar event happened at TV Tropes when the site owners single-handedly changed the site's copyright notice from ShareAlike to the incompatible NonCommercial, without notifying nor requesting consent from its contributors. Is this the ultimate fate of popular wikis? Do Creative Commons licenses hold any weight for community websites?

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:13PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:13PM (#44014)

    Hey, it worked for Gracenote [wikipedia.org] it will probably work for these aholes too.

    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Friday May 16 2014, @08:25AM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Friday May 16 2014, @08:25AM (#44135) Journal

      Uhh..isn't that illegal? i mean what is to keep anyone from making a web product with a BSD or GPL or CC license and then once getting the work done for them by the community saying "fuck you losers lulz!" and taking it proprietary? Isn't this breach of contract?

      --
      ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
      • (Score: 1) by romlok on Friday May 16 2014, @09:22AM

        by romlok (1241) on Friday May 16 2014, @09:22AM (#44139)

        Uhh..isn't that illegal? i mean what is to keep anyone from making a web product with a BSD or GPL or CC license and then once getting the work done for them by the community saying "fuck you losers lulz!" and taking it proprietary? Isn't this breach of contract?

        It's only a breach of contract if there was a contract.
        If there was no copyright assignment agreed between the parties, it may be a breach of license, depending on the license.

        In this case, AFAICT, CC-BY-NC (the new license) is essentially a subset of CC-BY, so TVTropes are perfectly within their rights to combine CC-BY content with CC-BY-NC content, and distribute them both under a CC-BY-NC license. Just as GPL or proprietary software can include BSD-licensed libraries.

        What they are not permitted to do is change the license on existing works - so anything contributed to them under CC-BY would retain that license.
        However, by combining the earlier CC-BY user edits with their own copyrighted parts (eg. the rest of the website), the combined work could validly be distributed by TVTropes under any CC-BY compatible license (eg. CC-BY-NC). Technically, some edits would be CC-BY, but I'm not sure how much TVTropes are obligated to highlight those.

        However, if the TVTropes contributor agreement specifies that all incoming edits are under CC-BY-NC, and don't reassign the copyright, this likely means that TVTropes can never use that content for commercial purposes either - which arguably includes ever running ads against that content.

        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday May 16 2014, @01:24PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday May 16 2014, @01:24PM (#44180) Homepage Journal

          If your work is important to you, register the copyright. In the US at least, without registration your copyright is toothless.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @02:48PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @02:48PM (#44212)

          No, according the summary the original license was not CC-BY, but CC-BY-SA. The SA part explicitly disallows relicensing with additional restrictions. Since NC is an additional restriction, relicensing from CC-BY-SA to CC-BY-NC-SA is not allowed (unless you're the copyright owner or have explicit permission from the copyright owner, of course).

        • (Score: 1) by Paradise Pete on Friday May 16 2014, @02:50PM

          by Paradise Pete (1806) on Friday May 16 2014, @02:50PM (#44213)

          It's only a breach of contract if there was a contract.

          Why wouldn't there be a contract?

      • (Score: 1) by fadrian on Friday May 16 2014, @02:48PM

        by fadrian (3194) on Friday May 16 2014, @02:48PM (#44211) Homepage

        Uhh..isn't that illegal?

        Well, technically, yes. However, if no one cares enough (or has enough resources) to go up against a website whose content is probably not all that useful in a quixotic effort to gain some sort of satisfaction, the point, according to the law, is moot. If no one with standing cares and brings suit, then, to the court, no one cares - no harm, no foul. Thus it has been; so shall it be. Yay, American law!

        --
        That is all.
  • (Score: 1) by PReDiToR on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:28PM

    by PReDiToR (3834) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:28PM (#44021) Homepage
    The moral.

    Slashdot editors are infiltrating!
    --

    Do not meddle in the affairs of geeks for they are subtle and quick to anger.
  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:35PM

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:35PM (#44024)

    Since you're addressing SN's "Audience", you have too many hyperlinks to referred sites or TFAs, and none on "NSFW fan fiction" nor "tropes about mature content".
    Are you new to that internet thing?

    • (Score: 1) by fadrian on Friday May 16 2014, @03:11PM

      by fadrian (3194) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:11PM (#44219) Homepage

      The correct way to put this in "internet speak" is "Pics, or it didn't happen". Are you new to that internet thing?

      --
      That is all.
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 16 2014, @03:21PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:21PM (#44223)

        Pics of NSFW fan fiction? That 50 shades movie isn't out yet...

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by NCommander on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:42PM

    by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:42PM (#44026) Homepage Journal

    I'm a long-time reader of TVTropes (and occasional) editor, and I must have completely missed the relicensing (I do know current edits were CC). I do remember the backblast from them removing specific works and tropes due to the Google AdSense SNAFU, and I was pissed as hell about that; part of the reason I stuck around was due to the backtreading.

    I actually debated on having content licensed CC during golive, and again when I took over the site, but it never happened. I might readdress this for story content itself, but this ship has sailed as far as comments go.

    I've tinkered with the idea of creating a Slash->NNTP protocol, and then allowing SoylentNews be seeded across USENET; in many ways, our post database is like USENET, that posts are responsible and own what they post, and if it works for USENET, it works for us.

    --
    Still always moving
    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:59PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday May 15 2014, @11:59PM (#44031)

      > I've tinkered with the idea of creating a Slash->NNTP protocol

      Kind of like s'quote? [squte.com]

      I wish every webforum was a front-end to a usenet newsgroup.

      Yesterday I went to use dejanews for the first time in at least year and was stunned at how craptastic google has made that interface. So much wrong over there, I bet the guys working on it have never even posted to usenet.

      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday May 16 2014, @12:33AM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday May 16 2014, @12:33AM (#44043) Homepage Journal

        Exactly like that.

        Slash itself is well suited for this, especially since we allow anonymous posting. I actually discussed how we could do it at length with audioguy on IRC, and while it will be a shitton of work, its something I'd personally love to see. No idea on when though

        --
        Still always moving
    • (Score: 2) by Open4D on Friday May 16 2014, @10:31AM

      by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @10:31AM (#44146) Journal

      I actually debated on having content licensed CC ...

      I think [soylentnews.org] it would be good to do so.

       

      ... but it never happened. I might readdress this for story content itself, but this ship has sailed as far as comments go.

      The ship has sailed as far as existing comments go. But I think it would be worth transitioning to CC for future comments.

      When changing terms & conditions like that, out of politeness I'd try to make the change very clear, with emails, notifications, "click here to confirm your agreement", etc.. I think the change could be done at any time, but it might be worth considering doing it at the same time as the site's name changes (if "Soylent" doesn't emerge as the winning name).

    • (Score: 2) by Jaruzel on Friday May 16 2014, @03:46PM

      by Jaruzel (812) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:46PM (#44232) Homepage Journal

      I've tinkered with the idea of creating a Slash->NNTP protocol, and then allowing SoylentNews be seeded across USENET

      There's a guy called RS Wood over on comp.misc [google.com] USENET who seems to have a script running that auto posts articles from pipedot and other places into the group. Maybe you could ask him to add SN to the roster?

      -Jar

      --
      This is my opinion, there are many others, but this one is mine.
    • (Score: 2) by tdk on Friday May 16 2014, @09:16PM

      by tdk (346) on Friday May 16 2014, @09:16PM (#44443) Homepage Journal

      I've tinkered with the idea of creating a Slash->NNTP protocol,

      If you do this, you have to decide whether to import Usenet posts back to SN.

      If you do, there's going to be a lot of spam and you may have to beef up your moderation - eg allow anyone to moderate at any time.

      If you don't, you'll get a lot of flak from Usenetters and will be missing out on a lot of useful posts.

      If you followed [squte.com] the threads [squte.com] on slashdot vs usenet [squte.com]
      you'll know I think it's better to build a new backend instead of usenet, but meanwhile the more web sites mirror to usenet the more likely it is to last as a kind of open database/protocol for distributed web forums.

      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Friday May 16 2014, @09:31PM

        by NCommander (2) Subscriber Badge <mcasadevall@soylentnews.org> on Friday May 16 2014, @09:31PM (#44450) Homepage Journal

        In my very rough ideas on how we'd do this, users who are logged into our NNTP server (using the slash username/password) would be auto-posted to the site as a logged in user, while everyone else will come in as AC (we'd import headers and display them as well).

        My thought here is to write the site out as a series of UUCP USENET batchfiles (the fileformat is simple), and just import straight into INN which means that slashcode would essentially operate as a second server to INN which in turn can be fed to the rest of USENET in a predictable matter.

        In USENET terms, the SN feeds would be moderated, so every post would turn into an email which slashd can process one by one, and run them through spam-assassin; unautheticated posts from USENET that fail spamassassin will just be discarded silently; posts that pass will be passed back into slashd, and installed into the database, then echoed back into INN as described above. Our posts will have plenty of metadata allowing people to re-create the database from scratch if we ever have to close our doors (we could probably use some control message magic to make moderation scores appear as X-Headers, and then cancel out the old posts in the feed. This might cause issues w/ some news readers as not many of them implement Replaces/Supersedes very well).

        --
        Still always moving
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by kaszz on Friday May 16 2014, @12:03AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Friday May 16 2014, @12:03AM (#44032) Journal

    Those evil pirates must be sued..! :D

  • (Score: 1) by NowhereMan on Friday May 16 2014, @03:34AM

    by NowhereMan (3980) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:34AM (#44092)

    What does NSFW stand for?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by iwantedue on Friday May 16 2014, @03:42AM

      by iwantedue (2239) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:42AM (#44094) Homepage

      NSFW = Not Safe For Work

      • (Score: 1) by NowhereMan on Friday May 16 2014, @03:58AM

        by NowhereMan (3980) on Friday May 16 2014, @03:58AM (#44100)

        I knew about that one but it didn't seam right until just now when it dawned on me what that meant...I was coming at it from the wrong direction.

        • (Score: 2, Funny) by deimtee on Friday May 16 2014, @10:48AM

          by deimtee (3272) on Friday May 16 2014, @10:48AM (#44150) Journal

          I knew about that one but it didn't seam right until just now when it dawned on me what that meant...I was coming at it from the wrong direction.

          Yeah, that pretty much qualifies as NSFW.

          --
          No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
        • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Friday May 16 2014, @01:28PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Friday May 16 2014, @01:28PM (#44182) Homepage Journal

          I knew about that one but it didn't seam right

          Dew knot truss yore spill checker.

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
          • (Score: 1) by NowhereMan on Saturday May 17 2014, @07:56PM

            by NowhereMan (3980) on Saturday May 17 2014, @07:56PM (#44694)

            Okay you got me, so I missed one. For the record I don't just rely on my spell checker I have 2 dictionaries on the shelf next to me and I use them often. In this case I just didn't notice I chose the wrong spelling in my haste to send the comment.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by fishybell on Friday May 16 2014, @03:45AM

      by fishybell (3156) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 16 2014, @03:45AM (#44095)

      What does NSFW stand for?

      The only time posting a goatse link would be modded informative I can't bring myself to do it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @03:58AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @03:58AM (#44099)

        I admire that kink of self-control.

        Note: I tried to type "kind" but it was auto-corrected to "kink" so WTF. Might as well leave it.

        • (Score: 1) by MostCynical on Friday May 16 2014, @07:27AM

          by MostCynical (2589) on Friday May 16 2014, @07:27AM (#44122) Journal

          I admire your kink and his self control.

          --
          “I've learned from experience that asking politely never works unless you have the upper hand.” Daisuke Aramaki, GIS:SAC
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @07:56AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @07:56AM (#44126)

    I knew TV Tropes, but I had never heard about those forks, until now. If TV Tropes had not changed the license, I probably would not have heard about the forks at all. Also, while the banning of NSFW stuff would not have bothered me much (although NFSW stuff by itself wouldn't have either), that license change which happens to be both illegal and immoral certainly means I'll avoid using tvtropes in the future. I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling like this.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Friday May 16 2014, @04:01PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Friday May 16 2014, @04:01PM (#44240)

      I'm a bit surprised to hear about them censoring "mature content" since I was just reading the HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH page [tvtropes.org] last week.

      Which also raises the question whether such a thing can be called "mature"...it sounds unspeakably gruesome but juvenile vs. "mature"...

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 1) by Nerdanel on Friday May 16 2014, @09:16AM

    by Nerdanel (3363) on Friday May 16 2014, @09:16AM (#44138) Journal

    I was into TV Tropes at first, when it was new, but I came to really dislike the place.

    "You are not allowed to be anything other than family-friendly. We should have been strictly family-friendly in the first place, but those depraved people editing this wiki and adding porn tropes took us by surprise. We regret not having taking action immediately. Everything must be appropriate for five-year-olds to read. Adult-only content is immoral and we would ban it from everywhere if we could, or at least keep it from anywhere a five-year-old could possibly find it, such as the Internet."

    "You are not allowed to reference any work that even remotely references pedophilia, even in a non-approving, non-porn way, but we'll make Lolita an exception because it'd be ridiculous if we banned Lolita. This policy will be enforced by a small, closed group of the administrator's friends who "know it when they see it" and are totally not arbitrary. There are no appeals or room for discussion." (As an aside, I haven't checked if they have removed, say, Shigofumi. That one, for example, falls afoul of the letter of their rules despite its clear artistic merits, but also isn't the sort of story where that's obvious from the outset. Shigofumi is such a good example of the failures of the policy.)

    "You are not allowed to use the word "loli". It is a bad word, no matter how people use it in real life, and only bad, ban-worthy people ever put those four letters together."

    "You are not allowed to badmouth works, even legendarily bad works, in anywhere but the approved ghetto, even if everyone in the world agrees that the plot indeed is an Idiot Plot, etc. You must take a coldly clinical approach to Twilight and the Star Wars Holiday Special."

    TV Tropes developed such draconian rules and the owner was so fond of sudden and arbitrary impositions from up high that it soured my enjoyment. I had been thinking that I should find out if there is an alternative to TV Tropes, so it was nice to find out that there are two. Now I just need to choose the one I like the best. It'll be interesting to see if either of the alternatives has changed the name of The Dragon trope to something that remotely describes what the trope is about.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @04:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @04:09PM (#44242)

      You seem oddly preoccupied with "loli" matters (I am inferring from context what that means).

      I am affronted at TVTropes's violation of its contributors' copyright, but see nothing wrong with them policing pedophilia as stringently as they want. And frankly it always seemed to me that Lolita itself got a strange pass from society at large. I guess good writing (or good directing in Polanski's case) counts for far more than it should.

      (Yes, yes, I know, one is literary fiction and the other is a director anally raping a 14 year old, so apples and rapists, sorry.)

  • (Score: 1) by joshuajon on Friday May 16 2014, @02:02PM

    by joshuajon (807) on Friday May 16 2014, @02:02PM (#44191)

    Wait, so the license change was just to add the non-commercial aspects? Seems like a legit move in my opinion. I'd be curious to know whether running ads on a site violates this clause though.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @02:42PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 16 2014, @02:42PM (#44208)

      Since the content was provided to them under a licence which (a) didn't have the no-commercial clause, and (b) didn't allow to add it, no, it's not legit.