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.4 Comments »
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).
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:
- On being a creative commoner
- Wikipedia and attribution
- Wikipedia licensing Q&A posted
- Wikipedia/CC news: FSF releases FDL 1.3
- Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses released
- DRAFT Creative Commons Statement of Intent for Attribution-ShareAlike Licenses
- Approved for Free Cultural Works
- Wikipedia and Creative Commons next steps
- Progress on license interoperability with Wikipedia
Indeed, please go vote yes to unify the free culture movement!36 Comments »
The images, part of the German Photo Collection at Saxony’s State and University Library (SLUB), are being uploaded with corresponding captions and metadata. Afterward, volunteers will link the photos, all available under Germany’s ported CC BY-SA 3.0 license or in the public domain, to personal identification data and relevant Wikipedia articles. The collection depicts scenes from German history and daily life.
As a bonus for the donating library, the metadata supplied by the German Photo Collection will be expanded and annotated by Wikipedia users, and the results will be seeded back into the collection’s database.
The donation marks the first step in a collaboration between SLUB and Wikimedia Germany e.V., the pioneering Wikimedia chapter who faciliated a similar 100,000-image-strong cooperation with the German Federal Archives last December.
“Fotothek df n-06 0000031.jpg” by Eugen Nosko, provided to Wikimedia Commons by the Deutsche Fotothek of the Saxon State Library (SLUB) as part of a cooperation project. The file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License.No Comments »
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!No Comments »
Saturday at Libre Planet, the Free Software Foundation’s annual conference, Creative Commons was honored to receive the FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit:
The FSF Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented annually to a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society by applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life.
Since its launch in 2001, Creative Commons has worked to foster a growing body of creative, educational and scientific works that can be shared and built upon by others. Creative Commons has also worked to raise awareness of the harm inflicted by increasingly restrictive copyright regimes.
Creative Commons vice president Mike Linksvayer accepted the award saying, “It’s an incredible honor. Creative Commons should be giving an award to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman, because what Creative Commons is doing would not be possible without them.”
Congratulations also to Wietse Venema, honored with the Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his “significant and wide-ranging technical contributions to network security, and his creation of the Postfix email server.”
FSF president Stallman presented a plaque by artist Lincoln Read commemorating the award to Creative Commons.
It is worth noting that the FSF Social Benefit Award’s 2005 and 2007 winners are Wikipedia and Groklaw both because it is tremendous to be in their company and as the former is in the process of migrating to a CC BY-SA license (thanks in large part to the FSF) and the latter publishes under a CC BY-NC-ND license.
Only last December CC was honored to receive an award from another of computing’s most significant pioneers, Doug Engelbart.
Thanks again to the Free Software Foundation and Richard Stallman. Please join us in continuing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his founding of the free software movement. As Stallman would say, “Happy Hacking!”No Comments »
The potential migration of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects to using CC BY-SA as their primary content license has spurred some interesting discussions about attribution — how to give credit for a massively collaborative work in a variety of mediums? This question is relevant regardless of migration, but clearly migration has prompted the discussion and provides an opportunity to progress best practices.
Erik Möller has posted results of a survey run on the English and German Wikipedias regarding how contributors feel about what constitutes appropriate credit for using Wikipedia content. Raw survey data is available for independent analysis.
Unsurprisingly (at least in hindsight), attribution via linking to the article used was most popular, while not giving credit at all was least popular. Here’s the Condorcet ranking, provided by Robert Rohde:
1) Link to the article must be given. 2) Collective credit (e.g. Wikipedia community). 3) Link to the version history must be given. 4) For online use: link. For other uses: full list of authors. 5) Full list of authors must always be copied. 6) No credit is needed.
Creative Commons had wikis in mind when we added attribution via link in version 2.5 of our licenses in 2005. If there are further changes we can make to address attribution and massively collaborative works, it is surely something we’ll want to look at in a future version of the CC licenses, regardless of Wikipedia migration, as wiki and wiki-like mechanisms will only grow in importance for the creation of free cultural works — though it will be very helpful to have the brainpower and experience of the Wikipedia community guiding such developments.
Correction 2009-03-11: We added attribution by link in version 2.0. The change in 2.5 did have wikis in mind, but was more subtle — allowing the licensor to designate that attribution should go to an entity such as a journal or wiki. Thanks to Anthony for prompting this correction on the Wikimedia Foundation discussion list.3 Comments »
Wikipedia Loves Art is a scavenger hunt and free content photography contest among museums and cultural institutions worldwide, and aimed at illustrating Wikipedia articles. The event is planned to run for the whole month of February 2009. Although there are planned events at each location, you can go on your own at any time during the month.
I had the opportunity to chat with Wikipedia’s founder and CC board member, Jimmy Wales about why Wikipedia Loves Art is so important. Check out the video on blip.tv (apologies for the lack of professional lighting).
The project is coordinated by the Brooklyn Museum, with the participation of the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum (New York), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Historical Society, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum. In all, there are 15 different museums and cultural institutions participating.No Comments »
Wikipedia began 8 years ago today and now exists in 265(!) languages with over 10 million articles among them. In those 8 years Wikipedia has grown from an outlandish dream and into a reality far more outlandish than the original dream — it now seems silly to compare Wikipedia to past encyclopedias, for while Wikipedia and sibling sites run by the Wikimedia Foundation are encylopedic in nature, they are 1,000 times more useful than anything previously conceived as an encyclopedia. Happy birthday and congratulations!
Almost exactly 1 year and 11 months after the birth of Wikipedia, Creative Commons launched. As many know, a process is underway that may result in Wikipedia migrating to CC BY-SA as its main license, which would be a great thing for the growth of free culture. However, see Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales’ letter in support of CC’s recently ended annual fundraising campaign for other connections. And day to day, media under appropriate CC licenses is being utilized by Wikipedians — who for example immediately began using video and stills from the Al Jazeera CC repository launched just two days ago.
Here’s to many more years of free culture!
For context, we celebrated Mozilla’s 10th birthday last April and the GNU project’s 25th last September. It’s very difficult to draw comparisons, but the longevity of the free software movement and the relatively recent massive success of Wikipedia should inspire and humble the rest of the free culture and related movements.No Comments »
Our final commoner letter of this campaign comes from Jimmy Wales, who needs no introduction.
If you haven’t contributed, now is the time. Please help spread this letter far and wide. Now, Jimmy Speaks…
Dear Creative Commoner,
Creative Commons recently celebrated its 6th birthday, and I want to take a moment to ask for your support of CC’s vital role in building a commons of culture, learning, science, and more, accessible to all.
When I founded Wikipedia in 2001, Creative Commons unfortunately did not yet exist. However, as by far the most wildly successful projects for the creation of and legal infrastructure for free knowledge in the world, our paths are inevitably intertwined.
For example, we have Wikinews publishing under CC BY, Wikimedia Commons curating thousands of quality images and other media, many under CC BY or BY-SA, Wikimedia chapters in Serbia and Indonesia as the Creative Commons affiliate organizations in those jurisdictions, Wikimedia Sweden and Creative Commons Sweden collaborating with Free Software Foundation Europe to put on FSCONS, and Creative Commons’ international office in Berlin just moved in with Wikimedia Germany.
Most importantly, we have people working to build free knowledge around the world, collaborating mostly informally. Some see themselves as part of one or more movements and communities, others just want to share and collaborate.
I’ve been pleased to personally serve on the CC board of directors since 2006 and am happy that after years of work, the Wikimedia community has obtained the option to update its primary license to CC BY-SA. This would remove a significant barrier to collaboration among people and communities creating free knowledge, a barrier that only exists due to the timing mentioned above.
As I explain in Jesse Dylan’s A Shared Culture, Creative Commons is about building infrastructure for a new kind of culture — one that is both a folk culture, and wildly more sophisticated than anything before it. Think about how quaint a traditional encyclopedia appears, now that we have Wikipedia. How much better would the world be if we allow education, entertainment, government, science and more to be transformed by the web? If we do not support Creative Commons, the realization of these dreams about what the Internet can and should become are at risk. By supporting Creative Commons, we build those dreams.
Allow me to close with a borrowing. Eben Moglen, chief lawyer of the free software movement, without which neither Wikipedia nor Creative Commons would exist, wrote the following at the end of the first letter of this campaign:
Supporting Creative Commons isn’t just something I feel I ought to do; it’s something we all have to do. I hope you will join with me in supporting Creative Commons with your money, with your energy, and with your creative power. There’s nothing we can’t do if we share.
The globe lit up last week to celebrate the birthday of a community and organization now in its sixth year. Creative Commons, as demonstrated by these events, is about more than just free legal tools — it’s a powerful idea that has spread the world over.
In Chennai the CC Birthday Party merged with the launch of the Wikipedia Academy on Dec. 12, coinciding with a visit from Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardener from the Wikimedia Foundation. Chennai’s Free Culture House, a co-working space founded by party planner Kiruba Shankar, hosted the celebration. Seoul joined in with a Birthday Party on the same day, organized by CC Korea.
An award ceremony for the second CC photography contest impressed guests at the Beijing party on Dec. 14, featuring a live remix of the photos. The next day Belgrade conducted a panel on the legal framework of Free Culture with presentations by CC Serbia, Wikimedia Serbia, and Free Software groups.
On Dec. 16, seven cities held CC Birthday Parties. In Guatemala writers released a special gift: 10 Christmas stories compiled in Aguinaldo Narrable, which will be illustrated by six award-winning photographs from CC Guatemala‘s Fiesta Callejera Contest.
The first anniversary of the ported 3.0 Licenses in the Philippines was commemorated in Manila, following a planning meeting for the upcoming CC Asia Pacific Conference. In Yuletide tradition and CC’s spirit of sharing, CC Philippines concluded the day by walking through Manila’s streets and sharing food and gifts to children.
CC Australia screened CC films and raised contributions for our annual fundraising campaign at the Brisbane CC Christmas Birthday Movie Night. New York City recounts that Happy Birthday may or may not have been sung at their Dec. 16 party in FYI, and Los Angeles teamed up LA’s Geek Dinner for an evening of free culture and internets in uWink.
California hosted the last CC Birthday Parties of the year, with co-housing and co-working community organizers initiating a round of discussions about Free Culture, free speech, and sustainable communities in Berkeley.
With 14 host cities and a stellar range of events, the CC community is demonstrating tremendous support for Creative Commons. A heartfelt thank you to all the party planners and guests!
Please take a moment and help make another year of CC possible!
Images: (Ann Arbor) “Long table full of revellers” and “Garin, Ted, and CC swag” by mollyali under CC BY NC; (Chennai) “121220082360” and “121220082330” by Kiruba Shankar under CC NC SA; (Beijing) 舞在山乡 优秀奖 under 作者：秦启胜 CC BY ; (Manila) “CC-PH Technical/Documentation / AUSL-ITC“ and “Outreach / Sharing” by CC Philippines under CC BY NC; (DC) “CC 6th birthday party Washington DC” by tvol under CC BY; (Education Network Australia) “Sparklers and cake to celebrate“ by edna-photos under CC NC; (CC Cupcakes) “P1070155“ by creativecommoners under CC BY; (LA) “Happy 6th Birthday Creative Commons!“ posted by felicity redwell from netZoo/revolute under CC NC ND; (Guatemala) “MBosque” by Renata Avila under CC BY.