Wikipedia goes Creative Commons

The Wikimedia Foundation board has approved the licensing changes voted on by the community of Wikipedia and its sister sites. The accompanying press release includes this quote from Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig:

“Richard Stallman’s commitment to the cause of free culture has been an inspiration to us all. Assuring the interoperability of free culture is a critical step towards making this freedom work. The Wikipedia community is to be congratulated for its decision, and the Free Software Foundation thanked for its help. I am enormously happy about this decision.”

Read all about it here.

Wikipedia to vote on change from GNU FDL to CC BY-SA

Sorry for the horrible abbreviations in the title!

Wikipedia is in the process of deciding to go from using the GNU Free Documentation License to using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as its primary content license. One of the reasons for this move is that the GNU Free Documentation License is less flexible to use for wikipedia. More information from the Creative Commons blog:

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).

licensing update site notice

Click on “vote now” and you’ll be taken to the voting site.

For background on the migration process, see Wikimedia’s licensing update article and the following series of posts on the Creative Commons blog:

Here’s a great “propaganda poster”, original created by Brianna Laugher (cited a number of times on this blog), licensed under CC BY. See her post, Vote YES for licensing sanity!

Indeed, please go vote yes to unify the free culture movement!

Vote YES! For licensing sanity!

Not really live blogging…

This is not really live blogging. The Wikipedia Academy is off to a flying start. We began with some housekeeping rules and schedule changes followed by the official welcome from Lund University and an introduction to Wikipedia and Wikimedia given by Lars Aronsson and Lennart Guldbrandsson of the Swedish Wikimedia Chapter. Now the participants have been divided into groups and put in front of computers to attempt to learn Wikipedia skills live… So I found the student cafe and Internet access for preparation and blogging.

Wikipedia Academy

On Wednesday and Thursday I will be attending the first Wikipedia Academy in Lund Sweden. The event will be spread over 1,5 days and deal with many different aspects of Wikipedia as a phenomenon and as a tool for research and teaching. The conference has brought together the Swedish Wikimedia group who will hold practical workshops and several different scholars to discuss issues as far ranging as trustworthiness of the sources, the inclusion debate and legal issues.

It should be a very interesting meeting…


So now that FSCONS is finally here it is a great time to sit down, lean back and enjoy. Creative Commons held a workshop this morning but since then I have just enjoyed listening to the speakers. After lunch the speakers I chose to listen to were (are) Johan Söderberg A Conflict Perspective on Hacking, Denis Jaromil Rojo Freedom of Creation and Eva Hemmungs Wirtén Digital Commons throughout history.

The last speaker of the day will be Oscar Swartz who will give a keynote The End of Free Communications?

As you can see this is a very interesting day…

There are lots of pictures from the conference here!

Wikimedia not liable for online defamation

In the case of Bauer v. Wikimedia et al, a New Jersey judge has dismissed defamation claims against the operator of Wikipedia (ruling).

From the EFF blog:

This case began when literary agent Barbara Bauer sued Wikimedia, claiming the organization was liable for statements identifying her as one of the “dumbest of the twenty worst” agents and that she had “no documented sales at all.” EFF and the law firm of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton represented Wikimedia, and moved to dismiss the case in May, arguing that under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, operators of “interactive computer services” such as Wikipedia cannot be held liable for users’ comments.

User generated sites are going to get (and have gotten) involved in defamation-like cases and it is necessary that the parent company should have some form of immunity even if such immunity can be abused. It’s nice to see that it worked in this case.

Another question is whether or not calling someone the “dumbest” can be considered to be defamatory at all…