Thank you to everyone who commented, DMed, voted, or otherwise gave feedback on our proposal to change the Forum license! While we are unlikely to come up with a solution that’s perfect for everyone, it seems like there was broad support for a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license.
I would particularly like to thank everyone who argued in favor of dropping the “noncommercial” clause – we found those arguments compelling, and are planning to follow your advice.
We are excited about all the people who are translating Forum posts, reading them in podcasts, and creating other derivative works, and we want to be sure that they are legally protected. We also know that authors generally use the Forum because they want others to share and build upon their ideas, and our job as a Forum is to enable that to happen.
Therefore, as of December 1, 2022, we are requiring that all content posted to the Forum be available under a CC BY 4.0 license.
What does this mean if I want to translate or remix Forum content?
tl;dr: you must credit the original author in a way that does not imply they endorse your changes. E.g.:
Translated from Why CEA Online doesn’t outsource more work to non-EA freelancers by Ben West under CC-BY 4.0
Creative Commons has more information about best practices for attribution.
How will this affect previously posted material?
By default, we will not change the license for anything posted before December 1, 2022.
If an author wants to make it clear that their work is free to reuse, they can add a license clause at the bottom of their posts, even those posted before December 1, 2022. Additionally, some projects (run by CEA and other organizations or individuals) may want to reach out to some authors about reusing their past work; we will be able to add a license clause at the bottom of old Forum posts, when the author gives permission.
You can do this proactively, and without our involvement, too: if you are an author, we encourage you to include a license clause in your older posts so that others can reuse your work! All you need to do is add the following clause — you can see an example of this in this post of mine:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
What if I want to use a different license?
We are currently not planning on adding a more complicated “menu” of licenses content can be published under. If you wish to publish under a different license, we encourage you to instead create a link-post to an external page which has the appropriate license (link-posting will not make the linked content published under the CC BY license).
I am only able to find two historical instances of Forum authors choosing to publish under a specific license, and one of those was using CC BY. In general, the authors we’ve contacted have been overwhelmingly supportive of sharing their work, although we are aware of some strong reasons why CC BY is not the best fit for all use cases.
Effective altruism is an intellectual community, and people usually post on the Forum precisely because they want others to build upon and share their ideas. As a global community whose members are almost universally not experts in copyright law, we want to be able to give simple, uniform guidance about how Forum content can be reused.
What if I have another concern or question?
A goal of the EA Forum is to let authors better share their ideas with the world. I’m excited about projects that remix Forum content in new ways to better accomplish that: podcasts, translations, fellowship curricula, and more.
I know that the last thing your volunteer translation group wants to do is dive into the intricacies of international copyright law, and I hope that having simple, easy rules about remixing Forum content will help all of us make the world a better place.