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I've written a book of fiction and I'd like to supplement the worldbuilding / background details with an online wiki, detailing characters, locations, cultural highlights, etc.

I like DokuWiki the most, but I've looked at over a dozen. During my research into wiki software I kept seeing a disclaimer to the effect of "content published under this wiki is released under a Creative Commons license."

My question is really simple (I think): Do I waive my intellectual property rights with regard to whatever I publish on a wiki? Or am I misunderstanding that disclaimer?

I'm sympathetic to the idea behind Creative Commons, but I've worked really hard on my book, I'm new to the publishing world, and I don't want to inadvertently lose the rights to my own work.

I've tried looking this up online, but the search results keep pointing to wikis that discuss intellectual property issues.

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If you host a DokuWiki installation yourself, you don’t have to include this licensing information.

If you decide to include it (or if you use a hosted installation where the provider decided to include it), you thereby license your content under one of the Creative Commons licenses. You still have the copyright, but you allow others, under this license, to make use of your content under certain conditions.

Take for example your very question, which is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. This allows me to publish your question on my website (or print it in a book and sell it, etc.), and optionally edit it, as long as I provide attribution (BY) and license it under the same license (SA). If I don’t follow these requirements, I would infringe your copyright. You, as the original author, still have the right to license your work under other licenses, and you don’t have to follow these license yourself, of course.

  • So, in DokuWiki, under the configuration question "Under which license should your content be released?" I chose the option "None chosen" when I installed the thing. All the others are some form of Creative Commons (or the public domain). The absence of an explicit "I reserve the copyright" option is what confused me. Is that what "none chosen" really means? If so, it seems sneaky. And are you positive about this? What about if fans added material to the wiki? They don't own the copyright, but if they published copyrighted material (let's say unknowingly), what would happen to that copyright? – Josh Feb 4 '16 at 11:58
  • @Josh: If you select "None chosen", you don’t license your content at all, so the "default" rules from the copyright apply (just like it’s the case if you upload a PDF somewhere, print a flyer and hand it out, etc.; the fact that it’s published via a wiki software isn’t relevant). You don’t have to do anything to keep your copyright, you just have it. – unor Feb 4 '16 at 12:11
  • @Josh: Well, if someone posts someone else’s work without permission (which could be given by a license), this poster infringes the copyright. You as the site provider might or might not be partially at fault for hosting it (this would be a different topic). – unor Feb 4 '16 at 12:15
  • Thank you! I appreciate the comparison with flyers. You've answered my question clearly. – Josh Feb 4 '16 at 12:26

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