CC BY-SA

Wiki* milestones and mania

Mike Linksvayer, August 17th, 2009

ReadWriteWeb* writes that English Wikipedia just passed the 3 million article mark. While this is a great accomplishment that will surely be widely reported, RWW correctly highlights that “Wikipedia” is much more than the English site:

The family of sites as a whole has more than 13 million articles in more than 260 languages, not counting discussion pages and other errata.

As RWW also notes, Wikimedia Commons, the media repository sibling of Wikipedia, is about to pass the 5 million file mark.

And it just happens that the vast number of wikis hosted by the commercial wiki platform Wikia will cumulatively surpass the 3 million article mark soon.

All Wikipedia articles are now available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, all media hosted at Wikimedia Commons is under this or another free license or in the public domain, and most of the wikis hosted by Wikia are also under CC BY-SA, as are many other wikis, for example Wikitravel, WikiEducator, Planet Math, and Appropedia. Read about why this interoperability is a win for free culture.

Numbers alone are impressive enough and hint that Wikipedia has blown up the encyclopedia category and that other wiki projects will supersede other existing categories of cultural and educational artifact. However, the numbers only begin to tell the story. One place to see this unfold in highly concentrated form is Wikimania, the annual international conference of the Wikimedia Foundation. See the conference schedule, including panels featuring CC France and CC Taiwan co-founders Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Shun-ling Chen (Authorship, Licenses, and the Wiki Borg) and me (OER Content Interoperability for WikiMedia platforms).

* Thanks ReadWriteWeb for all your awesome CC coverage!

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Wikipedia + CC BY-SA = Free Culture Win!

Mike Linksvayer, June 22nd, 2009

As anyone following this site closely must know, the Wikipedia community and Wikimedia Foundation board approved the adoption of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license as the main content license for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites. A post about the community vote has many links explaining the history and importance of this move.


Detail of Win win relationship by Alex Brollo / CC BY-SA

Starting last week with English Wikipedia (there are over 700 Wikimedia sites in over 250 languages — the image to the right is sourced from one of them), the copyright notice on Wikimedia sites is being changed to CC BY-SA. See the Wikimedia Foundation Terms of Use.

The outreach effort to non-Wikimedia wikis to take advantage of this migration opportunity is ongoing. Help if you can. One very important milestone was reached June 19, when most wikis hosted by Wikia (there are thousands, including some big ones) converted to CC BY-SA.

Hooray for Jimmy Wales, founder of both Wikipedia and Wikia! (Note the two organizations are unrelated.) CC is fortunate to also have Wales as a member of our board of directors. Without his vision, this unification of free culture licensing would not have been possible.

Here’s to a huge win for Wikipedians, all of free culture, and everyone who made it possible! Already the licensing change is enabling content to flow between Wikipedia and other projects. Will you interoperate? See a post on my personal blog for a long-winded conjecture about long-term impacts of the licensing change.

Finally, note that this is only one instance of the Wikipedia community showing great foresight and leadership. For example, clearly the Wikipedia community’s steadfast commitment to open formats played a major role in giving open video (effectively meaning Theora) a chance for wide adoption, which it now appears on the verge of. Hooray for visionary free culture communities and many wins to come!

Addendum 2009-06-30

Erik Moeller writes on the Wikimedia Foundation blog that the licensing update has been rolled out on all Wikimedia wikis:

Perhaps the most significant reason to choose CC-BY-SA as our primary content license was to be compatible with many of the other admirable endeavors out there to share and develop free knowledge: projects like Citizendium (CC-BY-SA), Google Knol (a mix of CC licenses, including CC-BY and CC-BY-SA), WikiEducator (CC-BY-SA), the Encylcopedia of Earth (CC-BY-SA), the Encyclopedia of the Cosmos (CC-BY-SA), the Encyclopedia of Life (a mix of CC licenses), and many others. These communities have come up with their own rules of engagement, their own models for sharing and aggregating knowledge, but they’re committed to the free dissemination of information. Now this information can flow freely to and from Wikimedia projects, without unnecessary legal boundaries.

This is beginning to happen. A group of English Wikipedia volunteers have created a WikiProject Citizendium Porting, for example, to ensure that high quality information developed by the Citizendium community can be made available through Wikipedia as well, with proper attribution.

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We Have Band: “You Came Out” Video Stills Released Under CC-License

Cameron Parkins, June 15th, 2009

wehaveband
We_Have_Band 1709, we_have_band | CC BY-SA

We Have Band, and electro-pop act from London, recently released a great new video for their single You Came Out in collaboration with creative agency Wieden + Kennedy. The video is stop frame animated and composed of 4,816 still images, all of which are CC BY-SA licensed and available on We Have Band’s flickr page. This allows fans of the band the ability to reanimate the video and reuse the images as long as they attribute We Have Band and share derivative works under the same license.

Find out more about the single at the band’s mysapce blog, including ordering info.

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Ridley Scott to Use BY-SA for Blade Runner Web Series

Fred Benenson, June 4th, 2009

Blade Runner
Yes, you read that correctly. Ridley Scott, the famed SciFi director of the classic Blade Runner will be producing a new web series based on the film released under our free copyleft license. The series is initially slated for web release with the possibility of television syndication and will be a project by Ag8.

Read more about the project at the New York Times, on Ag8′s Purefold page, or join up on the FriendFeed discussion.

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CC Talks With: Nina Paley

Cameron Parkins, June 3rd, 2009

Nina Paley’s Sita Sings The Blues, released online a little over two months ago, has been generating great press and even greater viewership, closing in on 70,000 downloads at archive.org alone. For the non-inundated, there is great background information on the film at Paley’s website.

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paley about the film – we touched on the film’s aesthetics and plot points, but perhaps most interesting to those in the CC community is Paley’s decision to utilize our copyleft license, Attribution-ShareAlike, and her thoughts on free licensing and the open source movement in general. Read on to learn more about the licensing trials and tribulations associated with the film’s release, how CC has played a role, and Paley’s opinions on the Free Culture movement as a whole.

Read More…

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Outreach to GFDL licensed wikis: migrate to CC BY-SA by August 1st!

Mike Linksvayer, May 27th, 2009

To take maximum advantage of Wikipedia’s migration to CC Attribution-ShareAlike, other wikis licensed under the GFDL should, where possible, migrate to CC BY-SA before the deadline set by the GFDL version 1.3 — August 1st.

Ideally all works under free (as in freedom) licenses should be freely remixable, greatly increasing the pull of the Free universe. Wikipedia’s adoption of CC BY-SA goes a long way toward that goal, and each additional wiki that can migrate by the deadline helps even more.

Benjamin Mako Hill (Wikipedian, Free Software Foundation board member, and one of the people crucial to making the migration possible) writes on the Wikimedia Foundation mailing list:

As the group with the most to lose and as the group that introduced the change at issue, the foundation and its broader community should devote as much time as possible to this issue in the next two months before it is too late.

I’m happy to see that work is already being coordinated here:

http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Licensing_update/Outreach

As many people as possible should join in this effort and spread the word.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Know of a GFDL licensed wiki not on the outreach list? Add it.
  • Participate in one of the wikis on the list? Help that wiki migrate, even just by alerting its community to the importance of migration.
  • Want to volunteer to help but aren’t sure where to start, or have other questions? Leave a note on the outreach talk page.
  • Spread the word about this effort to others who might be able to do one of the above.

It’s also worth noting that the outreach page calls out Appropedia as an example to follow. Appropedia actually took advantage of the GFDL 1.3 to migrate to CC BY-SA before the Wikipedia community vote concluded, and is an excellent and innovative wiki and community unto itself, focusing on appropriate technology for “collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development.”

Thanks to everyone who has and will help move this distributed free culture optimization procedure forward!

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Wikimedia Foundation board approves license migration

Mike Linksvayer, May 21st, 2009

The Wikimedia Foundation board has approved the licensing changes voted on by the community of Wikipedia and its sister sites. The accompanying press release includes this quote from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig:

“Richard Stallman’s commitment to the cause of free culture has been an inspiration to us all. Assuring the interoperability of free culture is a critical step towards making this freedom work. The Wikipedia community is to be congratulated for its decision, and the Free Software Foundation thanked for its help. I am enormously happy about this decision.”

Hear, hear!

Earlier today we blogged that results of the Wikipedia community vote on adding the CC BY-SA license. Over 75% of votes were cast in approval of the change, but as has been pointed out by Wikimedia Foundation Deputy Director Erik Moeller and board member Kat Walsh, this number understates the level of support for the change. 14% voted “no opinion”, while only 10% opposed.

In any case we are deeply gratified that such an overwhelming majority (88% of those who voted with an opinion) approved this change worked on over several years by the Free Software Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, and Creative Commons, are proud to stand with such trusted organizations, and will live up to that trust!

The addition of the CC BY-SA license to Wikimedia sites should occur over the next month. Now is a good time to start thinking about whether your works and projects ought to interoperate with Wikipedia. If you’re using (or switch to) CC BY-SA, content can flow in both directions (your work could be incorporated into Wikipedia, and you can incorporate Wikipedia content into your work). If you use CC BY or CC0, your work could be incorporated into Wikipedia, but not vice versa. If your work isn’t licensed, or is under a CC license with a non-commercial or no derivatives (NC or ND) term, nothing can flow in either direction, except by fair use or other copyright exception or limitation.

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Wikipedia community votes 75% in favor of CC BY-SA

Mike Linksvayer, May 21st, 2009

Results of the WIkipedia community vote on licensing are now in:

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has proposed that the copyright licensing terms on the wikis operated by the WMF — including Wikipedia — be changed to include the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) license in addition to the current GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This will affect all text and rich media (images, sound, video, etc.) currently licensed under “GFDL 1.2 or later versions”. This change is meant to advance the WMF’s mission by increasing the compatibility and availability of free content. Further details and motivation for this change are explained in the licensing update proposal and the associated FAQ.

To gauge community support for adopting this change, a Wikimedia-wide vote was conducted between April 12 and May 3, 2009. The vote was managed by volunteers associated with the licensing update committee and conducted on servers controlled by the independent non-profit SPI.

Licensing Update Poll Result
“Yes, I am in favor of this change” 13242 75.8%
“No, I am opposed to this change” 1829 10.5%
“I do not have an opinion on this change” 2391 13.7%
Total votes cast and certified 17462

If “no opinion” votes are not included, the Yes/No percentage becomes 87.9%/12.1% (15071 votes).

For lots of background on why this is a great thing, see our post on the community vote and the previous posts it links to. CC Denmark public project lead Henrik Moltke’s immediate microblogged reaction is a good summary:

Wikimedia/pedia adopting CC a giant leap; will unite & focus strengths, facilitate participation + convey strengths of free licensing

Thanks for voting for licensing sanity!

As the results page says, the Wikimedia Foundation board must still approve any licensing change.

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“Here. My Explosion..”: CC-Licensed Feature-Length Film and Soundtrack

Cameron Parkins, May 18th, 2009

Here. My Explosion… is a new feature-length film from Reid Gershbein. Released under a CC BY-NC-SA license
(the film’s soundtrack is released under a CC BY-SA license), and is available for free download here.

The film is shot using a tilt-shift photography technique and clocks in at around 75 minutes. If you like the film, you can support it through donation at Gershbein’s website. Thanks to Boing Boing for the heads up.

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Scratch.mit.edu now at 400,000+ projects

Jane Park, May 7th, 2009

A couple years ago, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab developed a Web 2.0 programming platform for kids called Scratch. Scratch allows kids, and virtually anyone else, to create and remix rich media of all kinds—video, video games, even simple photo animations. The programming behind Scratch focuses on building blocks, like Legos, to get kids not only friendly, but adept at the technology that dominates our world. Each user can create a project, whether it be a video or a video game, and upload it to share on the Scratch website. Scratch currently exceeds more than 400,000 projects, all licensed CC BY-SA, allowing any youth to flex her creative muscles and enhance a peer’s project by remixing it with her own.

The School Library Journal wrote up an excellent article about them last week, emphasizing that “Literacy in the 21st century encompasses the full range of skills needed to engage in our global society—computer, information technology, media, and information literacy skills.” The SLJ reports that Scratch is now being tested in libraries in the Minneapolis area, “to determine if the workshops and classes for young people are replicable and sustainable for a range of libraries.” Unsurprisingly, library staff are finding that kids quickly learn the program on their own, and are guided more by their own intuitions than an “expert’s” instruction.

I decided to try out Scratch myself, and found some cool projects along the way. One project by “cougars” is a photo animation of a human skateboard. Another is a video game simulation of the Buggers war from Ender’s Game by PetertheGeek. (How cool is that?)

What’s more, the Scratch program is global, available in more than 40 languages, and the code itself is free for anyone to copy, publish, or distribute.

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