Most projects of the Wikimedia family, like Wikipedia, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wiktionary, Wikispecies and Wikiversity, are using the GNU Free Documentation License.
The GNU Free Documentation License was originally chosen because that was the available license when the first project, Wikipedia, started. The GNU FDL is not the most practical licence to use mainly because it is not designed for what the WMF projects are using it for.
An alternative for the GNU Free Documentation License are the Creative Commons licenses. Currently the GNU FDL is not compatible with the the Creative Commons licenses.
The WMF published a resolution declaring that to make them compatible the Wikimedia Foundation has been working with the Free Software Foundation and Creative Commons on a solution. The have come to proposal that would make it possible for the WMF project to migrate to the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC-BY-SA) licence.
The resolution states;
“The Foundation requests that the GNU Free Documentation License be modified in the fashion proposed by the FSF to allow migration by mass collaborative projects to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license;
Upon the announcement of that re-licensing, the Foundation will initiate a process of community discussion and voting before making a final decision on re-licensing.”
So the WMF is asking formally to change the GNU FDL to make a migration possible and after that there will be a discussion and a vote about it.
If the projects would migrate to the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license then that means that you are free to share it and to change the work but you need to give credit to the makers of the work and share the work under the same or compatible license.
The reason to change to license is that a main objective of the projects is to create content that can be reused freely by others. The Creative Commons license would make that more easy to do then the current GNU Free Documentation License
Jimmy Wales made the announcement of the (possible) move to the Creative Commons license on a iCommons party in San Francisco. In his speech Jimmy said;
“What I’m happy to announce tonight is that just yesterday the Wikimedia Foundation board voted to approve a deal between the FSF and CC and Wikimedia. We’re going to change the GFDL in such a way that Wikipedia will be able to become licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.
So this is not as some people speculated on facebook my 58 birthday party … this is the party to celebrate the liberation of Wikipedia.”
This transcript comes from a blogposting with the title “Breaking news: Wikipedia switches to Creative Commons!”.
This not exactly correct. The WMF is on the track of switching but first the GNU FDL needs to changed officially and the by the board announced discussions and community vote needs to be taking place.
So the actual move can still be a wile, like single user login or flagged revisions, if it ever comes.
Discussion about this has started on Foundation-l.
- http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:License_update — the resolution
- http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.org.wikimedia.foundation/22428 — Foundation-l discussion
- http://blog.jamendo.com/index.php/2007/12/01/breaking-news-wikipedia-switches-to-creative-commons/ — speech Jimmy + transcript
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