The EcoPort Foundation
Under copyleft, can people change each other's information?
You are at: EcoPort Foundation: Questions & Answers: Under copyleft, can people change each other's information?
Questions, comments and suggestions: t.putter@ecoport.org

Yes, but as implemented in EcoPort, only by making a copy of the original and modifying the copy. The original version in EcoPort, if it has been created and inserted under password protection by the original author, cannot, in this form, including the display of the author's institutional logo, be modified by anybody else. Anything less would be intolerable: imagine a situation wherein one person could change the content displayed under another person's logo or trademark! Legal liability would rest with the owner of the logo or trademark while any random person could modify the content.

The new 'variant' will be displayed under the name and logo of the new author. It will also, and similar to the original, be under the 'closed' control of the new author's username and password.

There are places in EcoPort where the author could, explicitly, check a box that will then allow others to modify the original content. But if this process of granting permission is not activated explicit by a person who has a username and password to make this concession, then the above restrictions apply.

An important goal in EcoPort is to prevent information duplication and proliferation especially in technical subjects and publications. All too often, new editions of old publications, or functional equivalents of books and documents are published that vary only very slightly from each other. The level of content homology is extremely high in many subjects. This forces information seekers to choose between books that contain mostly the same data, but which are rather expensive to own as functional duplicates.

The Internet/www is causing massive, redundant duplication of information; a irony given that one of the 'fathers' of the Internet revolution Claude Shannon (1963) in the book "The Mathematical Theory of Communication", defined information as "...the elimination of useless alternatives..."; a definition that makes the Internet/www one of the most profligate generators of misinformation in human history.

Against this background and idealism, the EcoPort system, tools and 'knowledge objects' are designed to encourage authors to add value to each other's work and to avoid duplication and functional homology where possible. Thus, authors are encouraged first to suggest new, value-adding data to the author of an existing record, hopefully able to rely on the original author's good manners to cite sources of new information. Secondly, authors can annotate each other's records in a manner that keeps the original and the annotation independent in all ways. This annotation mechanism takes several forms, but also accommodates minority opinion and a way to record, display and manage differences of opinion among authors.

EcoPort's basic philosophy is one of '...winning by sharing...' instead of competing and duplicating each other's work for a variety of territorial reasons.