Ownership of the contents

(Mica) #21

Has pixels.us even violated the creative commons? That was stated as if it were a foregone conclusion, however, pixels.us are not remixing or reusing the content, rather pixels.us is the original publisher of this content.

(Public Enemy Nº 2) #22

If you consider what is published as a copy of Troy’s messages and that’s your argument behind your decision of not removing it or allowing its removal, then removing his name breaks the CC (copies must be credited to the author).

If you consider the contents to be the original contents of the author, then you should allow the author take whatever decision on them.

if you consider, as you appear to be saying that “pixls.us is the original publisher of this content”, then you’re assuming that us contributors transferred the intellectual property to you and you’re the new copyright holder. I don’t think ANYBODY here agreed to that, and that’s certainly not in the terms of service.

That we contributors grant you permission to publish our content under a CC license doesn’t mean that you OWN the copyright. Therefor if you don’t abide to the CC terms you’re violating our copyright.


I am no longer going to follow this thread even though I find it interesting. The fact is that the admins have been and are still being very considerate here. Using CC terms as a pretext to question the decisions of a user and the site is inappropriate in my opinion.

I don’t know FLOSS and the free community and their beliefs and policies that well but I would say that every user has a set of rights and responsibilities. I believe there is a right for the platform host to remove content that doesn’t abide by the spirit of the community. Yes, I have just made a contentious statement. But say you are in a public space. Are you allowed to say and do what you want? Sure. However, if you do things against the law or something that is disruptive, I bet you would be (politely, I hope) asked to leave. You may keep your speech and actions to yourself or elsewhere.

(Mica) #24

I never claimed pixls.us had copyright of the work, but that if we are the original publisher, that we have other rights that include continuing to publish the work. Whether that is legally correct or not, I am not sure; I only want to point out that which you still reason to be correct may not be correct. That is, your de facto stance is that pixls.us is in violation of the license, but that may not be true.

Back to the creative commons:

The user asked to be removed. The specific message was something along the lines of “delete my account and my posts.”

The creative commons allows the copyright holder to request that their name be removed from the content, which is what happened when the user in question asked for their account to be deleted. This creative commons FAQ spells it out.

We have actually complied with the part of the license that we needed to, e.g. the user asked that their account to be removed, and we removed it. Since the content is CC licensed, we don’t have to remove the content, but rather the reference to the user’s name in conjunction with that content. We are still free to post the modified or unmodified content. We are in compliance with the license.

Since we also have all revisions of the posts, which are all creative commons licensed, we are free to redistribute and reuse those revisions as well. So when this user tries to rage quit and delete all their posts, we are free to restore the text as we see fit. We’ll do what is best for the majority of the users here, which is to post the text that is most useful to the conversation.

From the CC FAQ: CC licenses are not revocable. Once something has been published under a CC license, licensees may continue using it according to the license terms for the duration of applicable copyright and similar rights.

That is, once you hit the “publish” button, the CC license is granted, and we are free to use the material.

So, let’s recap:

  1. Are you free to do whatever you want with your posts here?

Yes, you may edit your posts as you see fit.

  1. Removing his name breaks the CC (copies must be credited to the author).

The user requested that his account be removed, and it was. We do not have to remove the posts, as those posts are used under the creative commons. We have complied with the license by honoring his request to remove his account (name).

The revisions and all content is creative commons licensed, that includes all versions of the posts. pixls.us has a copy of that text and we are free to use it under the license terms. Just like in real life, you can’t unsay something you’ve said.

If the user wishes that the text “nee troy_s” be removed from the profile, then we’ll happily do so, but that user should contact us and espouse their wishes.

  1. Unilateral decisions on user posts

I can only speak for myself, but I don’t make unilateral decisions on this form. I read every post here, and I have read literally every post here for the last 3 years. I make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

  1. But I own my content!

You are correct, you do have copyright over your content, but the CC license is non-revocable, and every time you publish something here, you are licensing that copy of that content under the creative commons. You can’t untype things that you’ve typed. All users should keep this in mind.

This is the only time this has happened on this forum. In general, everyone here is very nice and polite, and the conversations are excellent. I hope it doesn’t have to happen again, it doesn’t make me feel good, but I try and do what is best for the majority of the people here.

If anyone has further concerns, please voice them, I’d be happy to answer.

(Thomas) #25

I fully agree with that. I have never experienced such a polite forum before. There can, of course, always be a dispute but it should not threaten the friendly atmosphere of this community.

(dumb) #26

One should understand why Troy was being so ‘mean’. Yes, his tone was aggressive, but why? There’s always a reason why one has a short fuse. Working with other people who wouldn’t listen to him? ‘High horse complex’ or something? We should honestly look at ourselves whilst we judge him so much. If any diplomatic measures which were taken before blocking him from posting merely amounted to telling him to tone it down, I would say that this was quite insufficient. In fairness, if that was not the case then I’d be stuck for ideas as far as I can see now.

As for his content, if there is no possible resolution, what we’ll have to do is mine what he’s said for anything which we can use and then reuse that elsewhere. It’s our loss if we miss anything that he’s suggested which would benefit us but we happen not to like, so we should keep an archive for reference purposes (less his name and some of the images which he’s put up, of course, IIRC he has a right to be forgotten). I see no legal constraints against this.

(Public Enemy Nº 2) #27

That’s not true. I usually edit my posts to correct typos and make things clear and that qualifies as “untype”. I’m also a human being who might be wrong about things or act in a way that I later regret, and being able to edit/remove content is a way to right my own wrongs without leaving a permanent impression to the world that I haven’t learned from my own mistakes. If I was a douchebag once I’d like to have a chance to redeem myself without leaving my douchebaggery set on stone.
But I guess that doesn’t count becase it would break the flow of a conversation where I was being a douche.

Also, you as a moderator have the ability to edit/remove my posts, whenever you decide that what I typed has to be untyped.
It’s again a double-standard that you, as a moderator, excercise a privilege you don’t extend to your users. The flexible interpretation of the CC license when it comes to consider a post a copy or an original publication depending on your arguments is also conflicting.
(keep in mind that I’m not arguing against blocking some user that has a behavior that is not acceptable. I’m arguing against the decision of not allowing users delete their content if they wish.)

So, you blocked Troy or anyone else because you didn’t like his tone? That’s fair of course.
Are you (or the software that runs these forums) going to prevent me (or anyone else) from modifying/deleting all my content if I want to? There we have a problem.

Personally I’m not ok with that. Not because I wanted to delete my content now, but because you’re restricting my freedom to do it. That’s not something I’d expect from a site about computer users’ freedom.
It looks like the majority of the users here are perfectly fine with that, but I’m not, so count me out too.
Delete my contents or not, I don’t care. But under these conditions I’m no longer participating.

(dumb) #28

So, you blocked Troy or anyone else because you didn’t like his tone? That’s fair of course.
Are you (or the software that runs these forums) going to prevent me (or anyone else) from modifying/deleting all my content if I want to? There we have a problem.

Personally I’m not ok with that. Not because I wanted to delete my content now, but because you’re restricting my freedom to do it. That’s not something I’d expect from a site about computer users’ freedom.
It looks like the majority of the users here are perfectly fine with that, but I’m not, so count me out too.
Delete my contents or not, I don’t care. But under these conditions I’m no longer participating.

Is it technically-possible to erase such things from the internet, though? The practicality of this ability to modify rests on how many copies there are. Assuming that this site’s data is hosted in a trustworthy fashion and hasn’t been copied elsewhere, this is a completely-justifiable thing to demand. Here on the internet, though, things can be copied a lot. Furthermore, backups are often made. In fact, one should always come with the assumption that what gets on the net is going to stay unless they can be reasonably sure that it will be deleted. If it’s important enough to be such a concern, you should leave this website and others like for your own online safety unless you can afford to compromise. Freedom is not for free by any metric.

I might sound harsh but I don’t know any other way to express myself, apologies if I sound as if I’m about to bite someone’s head off. (And I think it’s now much more apparent as to why I’m even turning up in this thread in the first place - I think my fuse is even shorter than Troy’s!)

(Public Enemy Nº 2) #29

I totally agree with what you said. My previous comment was a pledge to the right to be forgotten in a website where you have direct contact with the administrators.
Of course it’s naive to expect being able to erase any trace of what you said on the internet, but that wasn’t about it.

(dumb) #30

Likewise, I agree that you have every reason to demand that your content is removed as far as your freedom in the spirit of the free software movement is concerned - a most liberal freedom if we’re going to go into matters of politics. You shouldn’t have to be liable to threats from anyone who tries to smear you because it will damage your reputation and in turn your livelihood, and it is not in the interests of anyone’s justifiable security here (besides security services, but they already know!) that your name is attached to this unless. I think that there is an onus on you to facilitate your own self-defence (again, apologies for sounding so hard by using seemingly-drastic terminology) and minimise risks on your own end, though again this is not something that you should have to do by yourself other than perhaps for the sake of learning. That’s a slightly different matter though.

(Glenn Butcher) #31

Well, that’s the double-edged sword of ‘copyleft’ and most of the associated licenses of which I know. Once you release a work to the regard of others under a CC, GPL, or other such license, it’s out there for folk to use under the terms of the license. That’s why FOSS projects where divisiveness arises tend to ‘fork’, what’s already released is moot, going forward. When I put my code on github under GPL2, I read it carefully to insure I knew what rights I still had, and which I forfeited. I may be a little more sensitive to all that than most; all of my career has been immersed in the protection of information in some way.

We’re not just talking to each other face-to-face here, we’re building a record of our discourse. Our utterances into the atmosphere have an ephemeral nature that can keep subsequent interpretation of meaning, or even assertions of existence, from reliable reconstruction. But our written words are persistent, available for others to pay tribute or vilify for a long time, mostly out of our reach. @gez, you can leave here, but I don’t think you’ll avoid these dyamics in any of the other such fora. By the way, your posts have been very helpful to me in my imaging journey, thanks. If you correspond with Troy, please pass the same tribute and thanks to him.

Glenn Butcher

(Mica) #32

And you are free to do so and correct your typo, but since you’ve licensed that typo under the creative commons license, I’m free to quote or reuse your typo. Also under the creative commons, I’m free to correct your typo.

Indeed, we all have bad days, and you’re free to correct your mistakes. Lots of the users here correct their typos and edit their posts in other ways. We don’t stop them in general. And the impression isn’t permanent, you can request, under the creative commons, that you be disassociated from your content. If you’re acting in good faith, then your edits will be allowed to persist. But you licensed those specific words under the creative commons license.

I’d like everyone to correct their “douchebaggery” as well. And if you correct your misgivings and act in good faith, we don’t interfere.

Am I not allowed to make more than one argument? I was more than clear that I wasn’t sure if pixls.us were in fact the original publisher and what that meant legally. The arguments are clearly two separate ones.

Again, we don’t rule unilaterally, but take things on a case-by-case basis. Keep in mind that you license the content under the creative commons when you choose to post here. Nobody here forces you to post and when you post, you accept the creative commons license. It is very similar to the GPL license, in that the GPL doesn’t permit unlimited freedom; you can’t do whatever you want with GPL source code, you are bound by the license to contribute back. When you license your content under the creative commons, you are giving up part of your personal unlimited freedom that you’d otherwise enjoy as the copyright holder.

In this case, the feeling is that you’re participating in a public, community discussion, and the needs of the community outweigh your singular need to rage quit and destroy the continuity of our discussions.

You’re restricting your own freedom by licensing your content under the creative commons. You agree to the creative commons license (and our ToS) when you start posting here. If you don’t agree with those terms, then don’t post.

If you think this is out of line with the spirit of the GPL and the Free Software movement, then I’d suggest you do some more reading about what those ideas and licenses actually are.

Why I'm leaving the pixls.us forum
(dumb) #33

In essence, just posting is a ‘restriction of freedom’ and we’re all locked in compromises if I’m following the argument here. One is reminded of the ‘freedom ain’t free’ sayings.

(Ingo Weyrich) #35

Famous last words. Not the best ones though…

(dumb) #36

…you could’ve told the guy about the GPL and whatever ‘spirit’ it might have but you didn’t - you were on about the CC and he addressed all of that. If you’re going to adopt that tone, I might as well show you how to really bite: pay attention because this is the last you’ll probably hear from this site before you look on and mutter under your breath: according to your reasoning, you never had any freedom to begin with. Do a thing? Your freedom’s gone because you have to deal with what others want and various other compromises. Oh, how the pure has been made impure! It collapses back into the very reasoning which I’ve seen many who enter chronic depression spiral towards. I think an anonymous imageboard must be more your thing, you can certainly join the ranks of nihilistic teenagers there and have all the freedom you want.

Major edit: I see you coming back for more.


If you have nothing more to say, you know what to do. Change your mind, by all means, but justify yourself because right now you’re not making worthwhile points even from a minoritarian perspective.

(Ingo Weyrich) #37


Two posts upwards I quotet you without quoting your offence against @paperdigits because everyone could see what you wrote. Now, as you removed your post, I would like to quote you again, but this time including the offending part, so that everyone can see what you wrote, which was:

Pay attention because this is the last I’m going to say: Fuck off, Mika.

That’s not acceptable imho.



If anything is removed here, it will not go away. Has he had any success getting his content removed from archive.org

(Public Enemy Nº 2) #39

It’s amazing how little it took me to become the new villain of the group, isn’t it?
For a brief moment I became the evil Troy_s (even worse, because he never sent anyone to fuck off) and the rest of you played your parts in this little experiment.
Now that I’m back from my stay at the STFU corner let me apologize for the strong language, but let’s also revisit what just happened before and after the outburst:

I created this thread questioning some terms of the group, more specifically the decision to block users from deleting their own content.
At first it just looked like a matter of different oppinions, so nothing happened. Respectful discussion, no problems.
But I insisted, and pointed out an inconsistency with the CC license (content must be credited and credits were removed, later reinstated after I mentioned it).
As I was clearly antagonizing one of the moderators of the group I started to receive the expected patronizing tone.
As things moved forward, it was suggested that I was being naive, that I didn’t know what I was talking about (raising doubts about how much I knew about the GPL and licenses). Nobody received even a warning then. Why would they? One of them is a moderator and the other was on the same side.
That’s the bullshit people critizising free software usually gets, in all the environments related to free software.
So I decided to go full prick and throw an insult, and once again, all the usual and predictable things happened.
I was rightfully blocked (of course, what I did was actually unacceptable, things like that have no place in any adult discussion) but what happened next?
While I was blocked a group of users took issue personally and decided to defend the realm, making sure I stay the villain, even after I removed the offensive content.

Buddy, seriously. wtf is wrong with you? Chronic depression? Really?
You’re not a guy with a short fuse, you’re just a horrible person. All I did was apparently lose my temper once and you really committed yourself to destroy me, didn’t you?

Did you get flagged or blocked for that? In what world that’s even acceptable?

I asked you privately about the motivation of bringing this back to the thread. I deliberately removed it to stop the aggression circle and to make a point about the importance of “untyping” some stuff, but even AFTER I deleted it you quoted it, just to make sure everyone saw what I did.
You are a moderator, and instead of trying to let things chill you reinserted an offense that only existed briefly and added nothing to the conversation, with the lame excuse that it was for the sake of context. Just be honest, you wanted to teach me a lesson and make sure everyone knew how bad I am.
But you don’t take sides, of course, you just want to make sure things run smoothly and peacefully.

More dead horse beating, this time in third person to complete the othering process. Corporate defense in action. Adds nothing to the discussion but helps vilifying me.

I know the drill because I was one of you back in my days of free software advocacy. I have (always politely without f-words!) mistreated, patronized and discredited people who brought valid criticism, just because I thought that doing so I was protecting free software. That’s how I met Troy, btw.
Actually, I was protecting the status quo (the power of developers over those who don’t contribute code), and making excuses for them and their poor design decisions.
As soon as I started to question them, I became the hater, that annoying person.
For those who don’t know me, I was an active member of the free software community for a decade. I did several contributions (non-code) to most of the graphics programs you use (and see me now criticize).
At one point I ran probably the only design business in the world that used free software exclusively for the job. I was part of the team that made the only feature-length film to date using free software exclusively. I contributed hundreds, maybe thousands hours of my life to free software reporting bugs, documenting features, translating software, etc.
I toured with free software and free culture groups giving talks to promote free software, CC licenses and free typography (I even had personal e-mail exchange with Richard Stallman himself regarding licenses, so I think I can say I’m somewhat aware of the spirit of the GPL and free software).

So please, don’t give me the “patches are welcome” treatment, don’t tell me I don’t know what free software is about and please, don’t tell me this is a meritocracy and that you can only participate by doing instead of saying, etc. I’ve been there.

I apologize to Pat, Glenn and the other kind and respectful members of this community for having dragged you into this, but I really wanted to make this visible. It’s a problem in Free Software communities.
Any criticism is regarded as an attack on free software, and the corporate defense doesn’t wait to show up with patronising, passive-agressive and demeaning remarks, finally alienating the people who want to improve free software and turning every space into an echo chamber.
That’s the reason why I quitted from most of the free software projects. It looks like this place has inherited all the cultural quirks of mailing lists, bug trackers, etc. Anyone vocally questioning the decisions made by developers becomes an enemy of the project, no matter your previous involvement, how many people you helped, etc.

Just give it a though and take a moment to consider how you react to criticism, even when you think you do it politely without any harsh words. There’s a cultural problem in free software, and that’s why we can’t have nice things. Not because of some random guy’s bad language.

I’m not trying to pick a fight with anyone, but I think this has to be discussed (and hopefully improved).

(Pat David) #40

I am closing this thread as I don’t believe any further good discourse can come of it. I have a statement coming shortly (or tomorrow - this isn’t how I wanted to spend my evening to be honest).

Anyone mentioned or participating in this thread, let’s cool off a bit before responding. I’m happy to revisit the overall topic later in a more civilized manner, but it’s likely too fresh and inflammatory in people’s minds at the moment.

(Pat David) #41

A Post-mortem

There are two issues here that I’d like to address that are at the root of the misunderstandings and kerfuffle going on in this thread.

The user thing

A user was acting in a manner and with an attitude that I personally think is counter to spirit and TOS of the community. They asked multiple times by various mods/admins (over different times) to please be a little more considerate in both their language and approach to others.

They consistently showed they were unable to do so.

On their last administrative action they attempted to delete as many of their posts that they could.
They then asked the mods to nuke all of their posts and nuke their account.

I call this infocide.

It’s basically deciding they don’t want to play any more and are taking their ball with them. Or, it’s literally disrupting the community and vandalizing it out of spite (“rage-quitting” is a term that comes to mind). This is extremely disruptive and certainly against the spirit of cooperation and civil discourse (I’d go so far as to say petty as well).

The Creative Commons license

Everyone agrees when they sign up for the site that the content they place here will be licensed to the site under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). This means that the site is allowed to use the content provided it follows:

  1. Attribution of the creator
  2. Non-commercial use
  3. Share-alike, any further modifications are licensed the same way

Part of the reason for this is to avoid situations exactly like this. The primary reason for this site is to foster and support a community for discussions around a shared passion. When we arbitrarily start deleting stuff we create holes in the conversation that can destroy the discussion for others. The CC license granted to us allow us to keep things flowing in a way that keeps the integrity of the discussion intact.

This is actually the same policy that places like Wikipedia use (in their case they don’t even allow account deletion specifically to maintain attribution integrity).

Could you imagine if people just arbitrarily demanded their contributions to code on GPL projects get removed because they’re angry about a conversation?

To maintain the integrity of the CC license we would need to keep an attribution in place, unless the user asked to be disassociated with their content. Does asking to have their account “nuked” equate to disassociating from it? If this is the case, then attribution is no longer required.

I should have done a better job trying to clarify if the user wanted to keep their name on their posts or not (be disassociated from it).

Be Kind

Please remember that this is a public forum and that your posts are being released with the CC license mentioned above.

(There are multiple projects here using the forum in both an official and unofficial capacity, and their mods may have different thoughts about how they want to handle something like this. I will do whatever they need to support their decisions.)

More importantly, please remember that there are actual human beings on the other side of the screen. Sometimes they have bad days. Sometimes they may get offended or angry or act out. We don’t always know what’s going on in someone else’s life, and sometimes a bit of patience and compassion goes a long way. If that fails, try some levity.

*Note: I’m from the GIMP team. My flame suit is well worn, so this is just a few things I’ve learned dealing with some very, very angry users. Be excellent to each other.