The question of which license to adopt for a wiki site such as Titannica is one that has to be considered very carefully to protect the work contained within them. Many wikiwikis (including the giant of them all, Wikipedia) use the GNU Free Documentation License to protect their work. The GFDL is a copyleft license that is designed for the free distribution of software manuals and other similar documents.
Why the GFDL Doesn't Work for TitannicaEdit
Similar existing policies in some of the major Wikia hosted sites were studied closely to understand their rationale for choosing to use or not use the GFDL. The conclusion was reached that the position that Memory Alpha has adopted to not use the GFDL was backed up with rationale that aligned closely with the rationale that would suit Titannica. Although Titannica accepts that the GFDL does fit the wiki format and agrees with free sharing and modification of the work in question and all derivative works, it also has reservations that make the GFDL unsuitable for Titannica's purposes:
- Duplication. A copy of that license, plus the copyright notice of the document must be duplicated along with the work itself. In practical terms, this means that any fan website would have to post a copy of the GFDL alongside even a single article that was reposted.
- Combining. Documents combined with a GFDL-licensed work must also be released under the same license. In our opinion, it's unreasonable to expect fans to release all of their own work under the GFDL, simply to be allowed to use material from Titannica.
- Images. The GFDL makes no explicit mention of fair use rules in its terms. Images and other documents that are added to a collection must be released under the GFDL, which requires the explicit approval of the owner of the copyright.
- Commercial use. The GFDL explicitly allows commercial use of material distributed under said license. However, because Star Trek is owned by CBS Corporation, commercial uses need to be explicitly forbidden.
Because of these major restrictions, we have chosen to avoid the GFDL for all Titannica content.
Why Titannica Uses the Creative Commons LicenseEdit
It is not feasible or legal to take the GFDL, accept it and then ignore any parts incompatible with the objectives and spirit of Titannica.
Therefore, Titannica has adopted the Creative Commons License, a shorter and more legible license published by the Creative Commons. The CCL provides the necessary freedom and flexibility that a fan site like Titannica requires, and also includes the non-commercial and attribution restrictions necessary for our purposes as a Fighting Fantasy fan site.
The CCL provides the security and benefits to the authors and administrators, and the freedom and flexibility to the visitors.