Wikimedia Foundation

Help bridge our open communities: Open Coalition Project Coordinator Job

Jane Park, January 22nd, 2014


Construction of the Story Bridge, Brisbane, 1939 / State Library Queensland / No known copyright restrictions

Last November, a bunch of us from Wikimedia, Mozilla, P2PU, OKFN, Creative Commons, School of Open, and other communities got together for a session at Mozfest called “Collaborations across the Open Space.” That session not only laid the groundwork for better communication among open organizations, but also resulted in the momentum to draft a job description for a project coordinator who will “support the development of a stronger network of organizations working in the areas of open knowledge and open access.”

The part-time position is being funded by Wikimedia UK with the hope that another organization will pick up it up after the initial 6 month term. The full description is at https://wikimedia.org.uk/wiki/Open_Coalition_Project_Co-ordinator – but here are the highlights of what we envision the person to be doing:

  • Have a thorough understanding of issues relating to open knowledge, open access, open source, and open content licences
  • Lead on the development of a small event for organisations working in this space, including Wikimedia UK, Open Knowledge Foundation, Creative Commons, Mozilla, Open Rights Group, and OpenStreetMap, among others
  • Act as a conduit for organisations acting in the open space, facilitating discussion and collaboration
  • Lead on the creation of a website and booklet explaining what it means to be an open organisation, what the “open sector” is and the benefits it brings
  • Build a relationship of trust with the group and the wider open community
  • Develop and deliver sessions about the open coalition at Wikimania in London, August 2014

The position is based in London, but will be working with open community members from around the world. Have a look at the position and also at the notes from the original Mozfest session for reference.

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Thank You to Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales

Mike Linksvayer, January 5th, 2010

Wikipedia also wrapped up a wildly successful fundraiser at the end of the year. See below for Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ thank you letter to the community, reproduced in full under CC BY-SA, the license Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites migrated to last June. Note “support our friends” at the end — it is a great honor for CC to be in such esteemed company!

Wow. What can I say? Thank you.

We’ve just ended the most successful fundraiser in our history, $7.5 million USD raised in less than 8 weeks.

Incredible. But I’m not surprised.

In 2001, I took a bet on people, and you’ve never let me down.

You have created the largest collection of human knowledge ever assembled: 14 million encyclopedia articles in 270 languages, still growing and getting better every day. You have supported, funded and protected it.

Advertising doesn’t pay for Wikipedia. You do. Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website on earth – 340 million people last month – and we run our servers and pay our lean staff entirely with donations.

Your donations keep Wikipedia free to use and free of ads. Your donations keep spreading free access to knowledge all across the earth.

Thank you for everything you give to make Wikipedia a reality. I’ve been inspired by your comments, and feel privileged to witness your passion for Wikipedia.

  • “When I’m at a loss for answers in life, you are always here to rescue me!” – Lauren Sierra
  • “To my 6-year-old son, Wikipedia is a wonderful window into the world’s knowledge.” – Pilgrim Beart

  • “Wikipedia é muito importante para todos. É uma conquista da humanidade.” – Fernando Borba
  • “Wikipedia is all about fulfilling one simple need: immediate access to high quality information on any topic you can think of. That is why I’m glad to support it.” – Joao Nunes

It’s an amazing story. There’s nothing else like it.

And if you haven’t yet made a contribution to support Wikipedia, it’s not too late. You can still make a gift to support the free and open sharing of knowledge. Just click here.

I also encourage you to support our friends:

Thank you again.

Wikipedia forever,

Jimmy Wales

Founder, Wikipedia

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WikiEducator, Connexions, and MediaWiki join forces in OER Remix Project

Jane Park, November 20th, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, WikiEducator‘s Wayne Mackintosh announced earlier this week that they were joining forces with Connexions “to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely “producer-consumer” models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production.” WikiEducator and Connexions are two collaborative OER projects that use Creative Commons licenses. While WikiEducator, licensed CC BY-SA, focuses “on building capacity in the use of Mediawiki and related free software technologies for mass-collaboration in the authoring of free content,” Connexions, licensed CC BY, focuses on the collaborative development, sharing, and publishing of modular educational content that can be easily integrated into larger collections or courses. According to the announcement, the two projects will partner “to build import export capability between the Connexions and WikiEducator/Mediawiki platforms.”

It’s definitely exciting to see these two OER projects working together, especially since the collaboration is being generously funded by a grant from one of our own biggest supporters, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. There are various ways you can tune into its progress, including visiting the project planning node, subscribing to the Connexions mailing list, or helping them develop use case scenarios.

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Our OVC Wrapup

Fred Benenson, June 23rd, 2009

Open Video Conference

We wanted to give big thanks to Ben, Dean, Elizabeth, Adi, and all the volunteers to helped make the fantastic Open Video Conference happen. Myself, Jane and Alex K were all in attendance on behalf of CC and we figured we’d post a wrap up about our experience at the conference.

At the CC Salon NYC / OVC Pre-party, I was able to record my conversation with Brett Gaylor, the director and creator of RiP! A Remix Manifesto which also screened at OVC. You can download our interview in ogg here, or mp3 here, available under a our Attribution license. Fans of Adam McHeffey will be happy to watch a YouTube video of his performance here. And last but not least, thanks to Erik Möller from the Wikimedia Foundation for guiding us through Wikipedia’s switch to CC-BY-SA.

And of course, we couldn’t forget about Blip.tv for supplying the beer at the salon, For Your Imagination Studios for the space, and Parker and Wesley for helping out with setup and breakdown. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!

As for the OVC itself, we were blown away with the focus and intensity in every panel and session. I repeatedly heard from attendees how nice it was to have 100% of a conference focused on an issue that typically receives only 10% of the attention. One of my favorite presentations was by Chris Blizzard from Mozilla showing of Firefox’s 3.5 Ogg Theora capabilities. Here’s a quick screen cast some of the capabilities Chris showed off at the conference:

On Saturday afternoon I gave a well packed luncheon presentation on Open Video, Metadata, and Creative Commons. You can download the slides from my presentation here.

Here’s a brief summary from Jane and Alex who attended on behalf of ccLearn:

OVC by Alex Kozak / ccLearn

OVC by Alex Kozak / ccLearn

ccLearn also attended the first ever Open Video Conference and had a blast. We think much of the OVC’s success is due to the fact that so much of it was relevant to openness in general that education naturally fit the bill. “Open Video in Education” especially blew us away by the diversity of forward thinking present in the room by both open education advocates and those with little to no experience with open educational resources (OER). Most everyone in the room, including the audience, were in agreement that open video and open technologies are essential to the future of education. The expressed concerns were more about how to convince the higher-ups at their institutions to see the light.

To reiterate, the session was not lacking in representation. Someone remarked how the variety of perspectives yielded a kind of “transformer panel.” From Bjoern Hassler (Cambridge University’s Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies) who set the tone in the beginning by assuming that it is (or should be) apparent to everyone that CC BY is the best license for OER, Tiffiny Cheng (Participatory Culture Foundation) who highlighted Miro, the open source free high definition video player, to UC Berkeley’s webcast.berkeley, the panel was diverse but consistent in their view that open video for education is essential, that CC licenses for that video is a given, and that—to quote an audience member’s words—”You have to do more than just tape lectures.”

Finally, you can also watch most of the main hall sessions on the Livestream feed page for the OVC, though Flash is required. We’re assured these will be available in Theora in short order.

Great job OVC, we’re looking forward to the next one!

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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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REMINDER: CC Salon NYC / OVC Pre-party is Thursday Night (+music & beer)

Fred Benenson, June 16th, 2009

CC Salon NYC Logo
Open Video Conference

Just a reminder that the Creative Commons Salon NYC / Official Open Video Conference Pre-party is happening Thursday night!

I’m also excited to announce that we’ve added a live acoustic set from CC musician Adam McHeffey (of FrostClick fame) as well as lots of cold beer sponsored by blip.tv!

Here’s all the info:

June’s Salon will feature an in depth chat with Brett Gaylor, writer and director of RiP! A Remix Manifesto, a presentation by Erik Moeller, Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation WMF on Wikipedia’s switch to Creative Commons licenses, and a live acoustic set from singer song writer Adam McHeffey.

Thursday, June 18th, from 7-10pm
For Your Imagination Loft
22 W. 27th St., 6th Floor
Between Broadway & 6th Ave.
New York, NY

We’ll have free (as in beer) beer for the reception afterward. If you’ve didn’t make it to any past CC Salons, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: fred [at] creativecommons.org.

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Announcing June’s CC Salon NYC / Official OVC Pre-party

Fred Benenson, June 8th, 2009

CC Salon NYC Logo
Open Video Conference

After taking a break for a bit (things have been busy at CC) I’m happy to announce our June Salon, which we’ll be partnering with the Open Video Conference on. Think of it as a Salon and the official OVC pre-party.

So come out to have some beers with the CC community watch some cool presentations, and meet some new faces in the free culture space.

June’s Salon will feature an in depth chat with Brett Gaylor, writer and director of RiP! A Remix Manifesto, a presentation by Erik Moeller, Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation WMF on Wikipedia’s switch to Creative Commons licenses, and some more guests to be announced.

Here are the details:

Thursday, June 18th, from 7-10pm
For Your Imagination Loft
22 W. 27th St., 6th Floor
Between Broadway & 6th Ave.
New York, NY

We’ll have free (as in beer) beer for the reception afterward. If you’ve didn’t make it to any past CC Salons, don’t miss this one, and if you did, you’ll know to come early as space is limited.

RSVP to the event via Facebook or by e-mailing me: fred [at] creativecommons.org.

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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 vote on migration to CC BY-SA begins now

Mike Linksvayer, April 13th, 2009


A community vote is now underway, hopefully one of the final steps in the process the migration of Wikipedia (actually Wikipedias, as each language is its own site, and also other Wikimedia Foundation sites) to using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as its primary content license.

This migration would be a huge boost for the free culture movement, and for Wikipedia and Creative Commons — until the migration happens there is an unnecessary licensing barrier between the most important free culture project (Wikipedia of course, currently under the Free Documentation License, intended for software documentation) and most other free culture projects and individual creators, which use the aforementioned CC BY-SA license.

To qualify to vote, one must have made 25 edits to a Wikimedia site prior to March 15. Make sure you’re logged in to the project on which you qualify, and you should see a site notice at the top of each page that looks like the image below (red outline added around notice).

licensing update site notice

Click on “vote now” and you’ll be taken to the voting site. [Update: If you see a different site notice, it's because other important notices about the Wikimania conference are rotating with the vote notice. In that case you can go directly to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:SecurePoll/vote/1. For other Wikimedia sites, change en.wikipedia to the domain of the site in question.]

For background on the migration process, see Wikimedia’s licensing update article and the following series of posts on the Creative Commons blog:

Here’s a great “propaganda poster”, original created by Brianna Laugher (cited a number of times on this blog), licensed under CC BY. See her post, Vote YES for licensing sanity!

Indeed, please go vote yes to unify the free culture movement!

Vote YES! For licensing sanity!

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On being a creative commoner

Mike Linksvayer, March 29th, 2009

Domas Mituzas writes in an extremely nice post:

It takes time to understand one is ‘creative commoner’. I do have a t-shirt with such caption, but it is much more comfortable once you start feeling real power of use and reuse of information. Few anecdotes…

He tells stories of the joy of being reused (see our last post on that subject for similar).

Mituzas recognizes the importance of standard copyright licenses in facilitating such reuse…

Also, by using CC license I simply used lingua-franca of world I’m in – and now my content can evolve into shapes that I couldn’t expect, and that would be limited by non-portable licenses.

…and the problems posed by non-interoperable licenses:

Of course, there other different stories. My colleague (and manager) runs a wiki about his own town, Bielepedia, and he wants to exchange information with Wikipedia. Now he can’t, as well as quite a lot of other free content community projects. Though of course, some may believe license difference doesn’t mean much, in this case it means that we’re building borders we don’t need nor we have intent to maintain.

Indeed, one of Mituzas’ points is that Wikipedia should migrate to CC BY-SA (he is an active Wikipedian and Wikimedia Foundation board member, also see the migration decision timeline and our most recent post on the matter).

Unnecessary licensing incompatibility between Wikipedia and much of the rest of the free content world not only prevents specific reuses, but probably hampers the growth of free content overall, as mentioned in the Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses:

When a copyleft license is widely used, it not only protects essential freedoms for all users, it fosters the spread of those freedoms. This occurs when people who may not know or care about Freedom as understood by the Free Software movement, but merely wish to use works that happen to be Free, release adaptations under a Free license in order to fulfill the requirements of the license. By the same token, if there are pools of Free content that may not be mixed because their copyleft style licenses are legally incompatible, the spread of essential freedoms is constricted.

However, it’s important to note that Bielepedia, as currently licensed, would not benefit from the migration of Wikipedia to CC BY-SA. That’s because Bielepedia is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA. Hopefully inspired by the possibility of interoperability with Wikipedia, Bielepedia and many other projects will see fit to migrate to more liberal CC licences that are interoperable with CC BY-SA and meet the WIkimedia Foundation’s licensing policy (CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC0/public domain, though the latter aren’t licenses).

If you haven’t yet please go read Domas Mituzas’ post on being a creative commoner. It really is very nice!

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