I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, cause the internet’s abuzz, but just in case – the Wikimedia community has officially voted to add a Creative Commons licence to all their wikis. The Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) licence, to be exact.
This is possibly the biggest Creative Commons development since it launched in 2002, and great boon to the free culture community. As I pointed out in my previous post on the vote, what this means is that the Wikimedia wikis will now be dual licensed under both BY-SA and the GNU Free Documentation Licence (GFDL – which Wikimedia currently uses), giving people moving material to and from the wikis the ability choose which licence they want to use. This means that the 6 million+ articles available on Wikipedia and Wikimedia’s other wikis (including Wiktionary, Wikinews, and Wikiquote) will be able to be more easily combined with the 160 million+ works that use Creative Commons licences.
This is the result of a lot of effort by Wikimedia, the Free Software Foundation (who manage the GFDL) and Creative Commons, which involved amending licences, public consultation, and finally a vote by the Wikimedia community about whether they wanted the change. This vote ended yesterday and came up heavily in Creative Commons’ favour, with 88% of people with an opinion voting to add the BY-SA licence (10% of voters said they didn’t have an opinion). The vote’s decision was then approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees and confirmed in a press release last night, which quote CC’s founder, Lawrence Lessig, as saying:
[Free Software Foundation President] 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.
Hear hear from CCau!