Authorship, Licenses, and the Wiki Borg

From Wikimania

Authorship, Licenses, and the Wiki Borg

Panelists Shun-ling Chen (Harvard Law School), Melanie Dulong de Rosnay (Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam), Adam Hyde (FLOSS Manuals)
Themes Content
About the panelists
Shun-ling is a doctoral student at Harvard Law School. She is interested in on-line

collaboration such as free software projects. She seeks to on one hand develop a critique of copyright, and on the other explore internal governance issues within such projects. She has also been working extensively on indigenous rights, especially on the issues of self-governance and natural-resources management. She sees both kinds of community efforts - digital and tribal - as attempts to provide alternative thinking of social relationship and different models of resourcedistribution. She was the founding project co-lead of Creative Commons Taiwan. She has worked as

an in-house of an free software project, as well as a law clerk at Wikimedia Foundation.
Melanie is a researcher at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam

working on open content licensing potential incompatibilities. She is also publications manager for Communia, the European network on digital public domain. Prior to joining IViR and Creative Commons Netherlands team, Melanie was a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, working on copyright for librarians, and also a fellow at Science Commons, working on open access science and open data policy. She founded Creative Commons France in 2003 and received a doctorate in law from University Paris 2 in 2007 for her dissertation on legal

and technological regulation of networked information and creative works.
Adam is the founder of FLOSS Manuals, a non-profit foundation whose aim is to create free

manuals about free software. The community is young but thriving. Currently there are over 40 manuals available, with more added every month. FLOSS Manuals also produces books, and is pioneering the Book Sprint – a collaborative methodology for producing comprehensive text (in our case, manuals) in short periods of time. Recent 2 - 5 day sprints have produced 200-300 page manuals on Inkscape, PureData, How to Bypass Internet Censorship, and an Introduction to the Command Line.


After the all-rights-reserved romantic authorship approach long dominated publishing practices, information technologies now support the comeback of collaborative content production. The romantic author is dead, long live the wiki borg.

However, many wiki-based projects use outsider contents which are not produced collaboratively, but rather authored by individuals and then permitted to modify with attribution. The idea of romantic authorship is still dominant.

What does authorship mean in collaborative projects from Wikipedia to FLOSS Manuals? Can copyright-based open licenses support the various attribution expectations? Can the publishing industry encompass the demise of the author?

Language English
Video (download)