I think it's important to clearly state that FreeCodeCamp committed copyright infringement. It doesn't matter if we think it was an honest mistake -- though it may not have been. They published articles of many authors on a new site without their permission, neither explicit nor implied. @ben raised his concern in this post:
Background: FreeCodeCamp was a publication on Medium. This is a feature of Medium that allows organizations, or individuals, to curate a collection of Medium based articles. Individual authors write directly on Medium, or cross-post from other sites. The authors retain ownership and may request inclusion in the FreeCodeCamp publication -- without assigning any rights or making any further agreements.
Recently, FreeCodeCamp decided to move away from the Medium platform, creating their own article site. They copied all articles from the Medium publication to this new site. They did this without requesting, or announcing their intent, to the authors of those articles. They did credit the authors, though they do not link to authors' profiles and lost a "canonical URL" feature from the Medium platform -- search engines rely on this feature to properly manage search results.
Like @aspittel did, I searched my inbox for emails with FreeCodeCamp. I can't find anything asking permission, nor any special agreement that I had with them.
I got an email from Medium alerting me to the potential problem. This seems like an unusual move. It's a carefully worded email to not make any accusations, but to clearly say there's something wrong.
Looking at the new site, I see that many of the articles don't have any kind of author bio links. Image captions have also been lost, potentially removing source information -- which may be required for some photos. My own article wasn't imported correctly, missing the code content at the end. This technically makes it a derivative work, which is another area of copyright law as well.
The move was sloppy, that's certain, but was it wilful copyright infringement?
The founder of FreeCodeCamp, Quincy Larson, commented in Ben's post. In one comment, he claimed he knew nothing about Medium's use of canonical URLs -- a key feature that makes cross-posting on Medium beneficial to authors. Sure, it's possible he didn't know, but it triggers my dishonesty sensors.
I headed over to FreeCodeCamp's site and looking for information about governance. I was unable to find any corporate structures, nor published financial information. This is not a minor point. This type of information should be freely available and I'd expect a certain level of transparency in these organizations.
Usually I'd let this type of thing slide. Small charities have a lot on their plate and can make mistakes. However, given the recent event, it beings a lack-of-transparency pattern that should not be ignored. We're missing a financial piece of the puzzle to determine whether moving the articles was a genuine mistake, or had ulterior motives.
I'd like to believe this is all a big blunder, but I need to see proper outreach from FreeCodeCamp. I hope the situation can still be fixed in an amicable way, but it must be resolved.
@ossia , care to respond?