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Wikipedia and Creative Commons next steps

Lawrence Lessig, December 6th, 2007

Last week the Wikimedia Foundation board took an important step toward giving Wikipedia the right to choose to migrate to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Credit goes to the Wikimedia Foundation and Free Software Foundation for having the wisdom and foresight to enable this progress. However, the real work has just begun. As Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales put it:

Now, community, we have a lot to talk about. :)

For Creative Commons, this means continuing a discussion concerning how the CC Attribution-ShareAlike license can be improved so as to not only be the best available license for a massively collaborative content project, but the best such license feasible.

To start with, Wikimedia board member Erik Möller has posted a list of issues that we want to address — with input from across the CC community.

One of these issues holds particular interest: Should the ShareAlike requirement be more precisely defined for “embedded” media, and if so, how? For example, if an image licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike is used to illustrate an article, must the article be similarly licensed? This has previously been discussed on the cc-licenses list, and we welcome the opportunity to drive that discussion to a happy conclusion.

Tentatively the eventual outcome of these discussions will be a new version of the CC licenses. We’ll say version 3.5 for now — a significant improvement, but still within the framework of version 3.0 and folding in the work done so far on proposed version 3.01, thanks again to the Wikipedia community.

The primary venue for this discussion focused on improving CC licenses is the cc-licenses list. We encourage you to subscribe and participate. Of course related discussion will and should continue on Wikimedia and other lists.

Thanks again to the WMF and FSF, and thanks in advance to you, the community, for the work that is ongoing and about to begin!

One Response to “Wikipedia and Creative Commons next steps”

  1. Hessel says:

    Hi Lawrence,

    exciting news. I am promoting the Creative Commons By Share Alike license and the great step with Wikipedia in the Netherlands. I think it sounds great to have a full licensed CC By SA:

    Online Encyclopedia – http://www.wikipedia.org
    Free Music community – http://www.tribeofnoise.com

    Keep in touch! Hessel

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