Feeds

Wikipedia lets Creative Commons into its heart

We have seen the free culture light

Application security programs and practises

Yes, Wikipedia is moving to a Creative Commons license.

After a vote by its Board of Trustees and its community at large, the Wikimedia Foundation has announced that its projects will move their primary licensing from the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) to the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA). And that includes "the free encyclopedia anyone can edit."

The idea is to make it easier for people to re-use Wikistuff - and mix it with other CC-licensed content. "Updating our license terms will support Wikimedia's charitable mission, by making our projects legally compatible with others that have chosen the CC-BY-SA license," reads a canned statement from Foundation Board of Trustees chair Michel Snow. "Our free information and educational content can be shared more readily and will be easier for everyone to use."

If you're using CC-BY-SA, you can add your content to Wikistuff - and you can add Wikistuff to your content. If you're using a CC-BY or a CCO license, you can move the first way, but not the second. And when you reproduce Wikistuff, you needn't reprint the entire GFDL license - though you will have to link back to Wikiland and provide attribution.

When Wikipedia was founded in 2001 - by Jimbo Wales and a guy Jimbo Wales tried to edit from history - Creative Commons licenses didn't exist. That's why the eighth largest website in the world uses a software documentation license.

But in December 2007, at some sort of free culture worship ceremony, Jimbo announced that the Wikimedia Foundation, the Creative Commons, and the Free Software Foundation had agreed to engineer a switch to a CC license. He called it "the liberation of Wikipedia."

The way Jimbo tells it, he and free culture godhead Larry Lessig cooked up the idea while strolling in Barcelona. Amidst that December worship ceremony, Larry told Jimbo: "So, there are three great things that happened to my life - two of them coming from my wife. This is the third."

By November of last year, the Free Software Foundation tweaked the GFDL to allow for Wikipedia migration to the CC-BY-SA. This spring, the Wikimedia community voted to approve the switch, with 88 per cent of the 17,000 voters giving the nod.

Wikimedia is not dropping the GFDL. It's adopting a dual-license system, so that content can be reused under both the GFDL and the CC-BY-SA. But there will be cases where the GFDL vanishes to allow for the mixing of Wikistuff with other CC content.

The change is expected to take place in June. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.