Broken ToS: No contributors license? And cannot change content license?

(KajMagnus) #1


Concerning the Content License section of the Terms of Service (ToS) in a new Discourse installation.

  1. Don’t contributors need to license [the contents they post to a Discourse forum] to the company behind the forum?

    Currently by default in the Content tab in the Admin section, there is a “Terms of Service: Content License” configuration value. It says that “User contributions are licensed under a [CC-BY-NC-SA] License”, but it doesn’t stipulate that people who contribute contents to the forum agree to license their contents under that license.

    But StackExchange has this snippet: “You agree that all Subscriber Content that You contribute to the Network is perpetually and irrevocably licensed to Stack Exchange under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike license.” (here: Terms of Service - Stack Exchange, section 3. Subscriber Content)

    Isn’t something like that needed for Discourse too, in the default ToS?

  2. If the forum owners want to change content license, they won’t be able to do that? Consider this scenario: The forum starts with the CC-BY-NC-SA license, by default. The forum users post lots of contents, and this will be licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA. Now, the forum owners become aware about licensing issues and start thinking about which license they want to use. They decide they want to use CC-BY-SA. However, all forum contents is already under CC-BY-NC-SA, and I think the forum owners cannot relicense/sublicense this CC-BY-NC-SA contents under another license like CC-BY-SA. This effectively prevents them from ever switching to another license?

    Perhaps the Content Lincense section could stipulate that people posting to the forum agree to dual license their contributions under both CC-BY-SA and CC-BY-NC-SA? Or perhaps the contributros should simply grant a license to the forum owners to republish the contributions under any license whatsoever?

    Perhaps the Content License section could stipulate that people posting to the forum agree to license their contributions under CC-BY? Then the forum owners should be free to license the site contents under e.g. CC-BY-NC-SA or CC-BY-SA and most other licenses (I think).

(Background: I’m also developing forum software, actually, and I like the approach Discourse has taken with configurable User Content and Miscellaneous (jurisdiction) sections of the ToS.)

(Related topic: Who owns the content you post on a forum? aka, User Content Licensing but I’m getting the impression that the ideas therein were never implemented?)

(Jeff Atwood) #2

The terms of service, privacy, and guidelines / faq are all plain topics now in the staff category so easier to edit, with revision history, etc.