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Alice has published a Web page incorporating content from a Wikipedia article written jointly by Bob and Eve. She is using the content under CC BY-SA 4.0. As is agreed to by Wikipedia contributors, she is giving attribution using a link to the Wikipedia article.

Eve contacts Alice, and exercises her right under CC BY-SA 4.0 to request removal of attribution. Bob, however, does not; thus, Alice must give attribution to Bob.

What should Alice do? Leave it as is, because she isn't specifically mentioning Eve on the page, so Eve can't do anything? Remove the link and just give attribution to Bob without a link? Something else?

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  • Is this still an RSLA even though I'm not actually in this situation (it's just hypothetical), and it's tagged any-jurisdiction?
    – Someone
    Sep 12 at 18:30

1 Answer 1

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Bob has the right to grant permission to copy his joint works. Copyright requires permission to copy, not the lack of prohibition, so Eve does not have veto power over Bob's copyright. CC BY-SA 4.0 is irrevocable, and Bob has not revoked that license. The attribution clause does say that

If requested by the Licensor, You must remove any of the information required by Section 3(a)(1)(A) to the extent reasonably practicable.

The wording of the license aims to not distinguish joint works from single-authored works, and nothing in the license address the problem of "the Licensor" when there are two Licensors who do not agree. Eve might then sue Alice for copyright infringement, given that her grant of permission was contingent on the belief that a user would remove attribution upon request. Alice can defend herself because she is not publishing the materials under a license granted by Eve, it is a license granted by Bob.

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  • Isn't Alice also publishing the materials under a license granted by Eve as well as by Bob?
    – Someone
    Sep 12 at 20:11
  • What matters is whether an author has granted permission.
    – user6726
    Sep 12 at 20:17
  • Bob does not have the power to publish or licence a joint work against Alice’s wishes.
    – Dale M
    Sep 12 at 23:36
  • Isn't it important that each revision of a Wikipedia article is a derivative work of the previous revision? Is such an article technically even a joint work?
    – Roland
    Sep 13 at 8:31

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