Feeds

Wikipedia lets Creative Commons into its heart

We have seen the free culture light

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?