We’ve been a bit lax in not mentioning this earlier, but a historical vote is currently taking place over at Wikipedia. The vote is to determine whether Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia sites) should add Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike to its default licences, alongside its current GNU Free Documentation Licence.

This would mean that the entire of Wikipedia – yes, that’s right, all 6 million+ articles – would be licensed under CC BY-SA.

What’s so important about this, I hear you ask? Isn’t Wikipedia already under a licence that lets anyone re-use the material?

Technically yes. But this vote is all about making the system smoother. The way Wikipedia’s licensing currently works makes it difficult for people to mix and match Wikipedia and Creative Commons licensed material. This means that most of the 100 million CC-licensed photographs on Flickr can’t be used on Wikipedia. The same goes for most of the millions of other CC-licensed works – music, films, articles, text books.

Dual licensing Wikipedia and the other sites run by the Wikimedia community under both GFDL and CC BY-SA won’t fix this entirely, but it will make it easier for people to combine material from the two single largest sources of open access content in the world – Wikimedia and Creative Commons. This means more material can be re-used, more easily, and more often.

So it is important, and we do encourage all you Wikimedians (or rather those who qualify by having more than 25 edits to a Wikimedia site prior to March 15) to, as the President of our very own Wikimedia Australia, Brianna Laugher, puts it: Vote YES for licensing sanity!

For information on how to vote, check out the post on the Creative Commons International Blog. Or if you’re not sure and want to know more, you can find all the background information and ongoing debate at the Wikimedia’s licensing update page.

It’s your material, so have your say.