Meet Creative Commons board member Jimmy Wales. You probably know him best as the founder of Wikipedia. Here, he talks to us about the importance of Creative Commons, why fundraising is hard, and his crazy travel schedule.
Why are you on the CC board?
As the founder of Wikipedia, I am very aware of the importance of thoughtful licensing regimes for creators of content who want to share it with others. We live in an era in which it is really easy for people to share knowledge. Without a legal framework that allows them to do so in the ways that they want, we won’t realize the full benefits of this era.
Why do you support CC and why do you use it on your sites?
I have always been a fan of CC’s approach as a “middle way.” For a long time, we were stuck in a debate about copyright that focused only on two categories of people: the creators who want to maintain their work under traditional copyright, and the “pirates” who want to steal that work and undermine it. What was lost in that dialogue first became obvious in the world of free, open source software: many people are creators but aren’t interested in, nor helped by, traditional copyright. CC recognized that the solutions being created in the world of software had broader applicability to culture.
What, in your opinion, are the challenges that lie ahead for CC?
Billions of people benefit in some way from the work of Creative Commons, but I fear that it is too often overlooked because the work is by nature free of charge, and because it is “infrastructure.”
At Wikipedia, we are able to fund-raise directly from small donors because we are huge, public, and visible, and our community builds something that everyone uses every day. With Wikipedia, we can always know that there will be lots and lots of $30 donors from the heart and soul of the Wikipedia donor community. It’s harder for Creative Commons.
I’m a donor to Creative Commons, and I encourage other people to be donors as well. Creative Commons will always have a smaller group of donors, but one that digs deeper because they know how important the work is.
I know you mentioned below that you travel a lot… what’s your daily life like? What are you traveling for? We’d love to get a glimpse of a day in the life of Jimmy Wales!
I’m writing to you from a plane, of course. :) I’m not so sure I can explain a “typical day” for me because every day is different. I’m on my way home to Florida now, and then next week I’m off on one of my maddening multiple-continent journeys.
I’m about to do this:
I count 5 changes of continents in there… in 9 days!
Join Jimmy Wales in showing that you care about Creative Commons by donating to CC today.1 Comment »
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.No Comments »
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:
- Creative Commons makes it easier for anyone to share and build upon the work of others. Make a donation to Creative Commons.
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation defends the rights of all Internet users. Make a donation to the EFF.
- The Free Software Foundation promotes the development of free software and supports the rights of computers users. Make a donation to the FSF.
Thank you again.
From the Science Commons blog …
Commoners and digerati alike will come together tonight at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco for a vibrant discussion on the intersection of science and the Web. The event, “Making the Web Work for Science”, will be moderated by Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, joined by panelists Stephen Friend (Sage), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), and our own John Wilbanks (Science Commons).
The night will be dedicated to the idea of bringing Web efficiencies to scientific research – a core theme seen in our work and thinking here at Science Commons. We now have the tools and understanding to bring together open research and data on a global scale, embedded with the freedoms necessary to be able to fully utilize it. Come help us further discuss this concept with some of the top names in the Bay area tech community as well as open science advocates.
The event (currently sold out, but stay tuned) kicks off at 6 p.m. with a networking reception; the main event beginning at 6:30. A private reception will follow. Tickets are $8 for Commonwealth Club members, $15 for non-members, and $7 for students with valid ID.No Comments »
In New York this weekend? Head on over to NYC for the 1st Wiki-Conference. Here are the details:
Plans are still gestating, and more schedule details should appear soon; participants are encouraged to give your own ideas for topic sessions. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales will be giving a keynote, and we will also have a second keynote speaker TBA.1 Comment »
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.
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!
Erik Moeller writes on the Wikimedia Foundation blog that the licensing update has been rolled out on all Wikimedia wikis:
20 Comments »
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.
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.