documents and main site(s) as a text: authorship

10 Dec 2022

AHEM none of this is legal advice, i am not a doctor. i'm but a hooligan who spells licence inconsistently.

  • documents: general copy1… policies, icons, and so on. could be for those logging into the server, or browsing the main site(s), or visiting our social media, or discussing how to handle issues,
  • main site(s) as a text: material and processes making up snailhuddle.org (or what have you)—whether for the world wide web or gemini or gopher or whatever---mooooooooooostly(?) aside from people's own little areas (snailhuddle.org/~username) and anything primarily intended for another domain (such as an art portfolio hosted on our server, delivered as the artist's own website) and the bulk of any subdomainned service we merely chuck our own stuff atop of (as with running a bookwyrm instance)

so, assuming collective authorship? (in some sense or other)?


how do we credit people (ourselves and each other)?

for the work overall, the initial/interim stuff online at the moment just says “snailhuddle contributors”—

  • do we leave overall credit at (something like) that?
  • do we (also or instead?) list everyone ever involved?
  • only those who pipe up in document-related discussions?
  • just individuals (or ad hoc teams?) who ask to be mentioned (if they author things in published copy or artwork? or regardless of particular ~​~​~​end​~​~ role​~​~​~?)?
  • nobody?

what about credit on parts helping to make up the whole? individual works or sections or whatever?

  • attach details of credit to those parts completely ad hoc? or ???????????????????????????

meanwhile… each specific update to the repository is by default attributed, in the repository’s log(s) of changes, to whoever added it there. (sloppily speaking—i am totally new to using version control, as of this week!!). but that won't necessarily be who has contributed the material—maybe something's composed orally by a few people but digitised by only a couple of them, for instance.

  • on committing an update, a note is added, which could include "on behalf of [(self and) names]"?
  • or temporarily change the user-name to be recorded, eg "name [for names]"?
  • would submitting these through a collective account (repository-side? or on our server?) be worthwhile? (i don't know if this would make a real difference on a commit-by-commit basis?)
  • presently i am experimenting solely from a personal account, which leaves projects and repositories under an umbrella of me-as-maintainer2—is this unfair?


copyright laws vary, but let's suppose we expect3 to each have copyright in what we create, at least somewhere in the moment between having created it and first allowing anyone else to do any copying of it…

so we declare it? for those jurisdictions that don't treat such rights as automatic.

we can keep this copyright to ourselves—optionally licencing others to go a‐copying in particular ways—or transfer the copyright away from ourselves.4

suppose we make something that we do not want subjected to copyright! (this is how i feel about most of my dabbles with computer code). if the work is ours, ours, all ours, (muah‐hah‐hah‐hah‐haah), we might like to dedicate the thing to the public domain. tada!

oh but what about jurisdictions that refuse to recognise this slick move? we can ignore them and hope for the best? we can licence, on a case by case basis, people whose local legal systems refuse them access to our public domain work? we can instead from the get-go apply a Creative Commons 0 to alleviate the muddle?

okay lovely but what if we make something for which such abandon would be a little extreme?

in that case we hold onto our copyright. we licence selectively (if at all). we could be expressing things like "yes this drawing can be reproduced in the snailhuddle moderation policy, but that doesn't mean anyone else gets to include it in theirs" or "sure anyone can reuse or adapt this policy as long as they credit us and leave out the piccies" (or whatever we actually decide).

underlying software is generally licenced differently/separately to the data it handles. and we might find ourselves elaborately constrained by whatever existing software we draw on—"the program our friends wrote to produce an R.S.S. feed of our major announcements is released under an MIT licence, whereas the webpage-templating script we've modified is under GPL version 2, however a recent announcement annotates a little chunk of social-networking code that is under a GPLv3…etc etc etc" and before you know it you've got half a dozen licences clamouring over one tiny item. i reckon our preferred approaches to licencing our own softwarey work ought to at least inform our choices of softwares to borrow. i'm inclined to lean5 towards the more permissive software options6—not least because divining whether something counts as a use covered by copyright or contravenes a licence term is especially Boring and Stressful in computing, and i'd like any of us to be able to jump in and have a go without worrying.

whereas for that which are not software, i… don't know. maybe feels better cagey than sorry? at least until some sort of vaguely stabilised group of interested people have established a consensus? i don't know?

also, before troubling anyone else about the project, i had been wondering about contracting someone to apply profesh experience setting/implementing/reviewing/maintaining/ensuring Seriously robust antioppresh policy to help get things started (though huge accessibility troubles and expensive occurences had my year go very otherwise). that too might have licencing implications, depending what outside resources might get folded in, through such a process.

what to do?


erm anyway, whatever we decide can go in copyrightty notices. shared repositories conventionally gather these in a file (and/or a folder) named LICENSE or COPYING, annnnnd i prefer the cut of COPYING's jib, not presupposing licence. we could structure it such that a summary could be automatically slipped into footers or onto a dedicated page?


must? would? how? whom? what?

working title snailspace

your responses



as in copy​written material


whether through intent or anticipation


we might do a bit of each, if our creation is affected by multiple kinds of copyright—as music often is, for instance.


inclining and leaning! that's a strong tilt!


CC0, BSDs, MIT, their ilk