Home Wikimedia Foundation to Add Creative Commons License for All Content

Wikimedia Foundation to Add Creative Commons License for All Content

Recently, the Wikimedia Foundation proposed that the copyright licensing terms on its wikis be changed to include a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license in addition to its longstanding GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). The proposal was approved by a 75 percent majority of community voters as announced this week.

The change will apply to all text and multimedia content, including video, images, and audio now licensed under GFDL 1.2 or later versions and will increase “the compatibility and availability of free content,” according to the WMF site.

Although the proposal has not yet been approved by the Wikimedia Foundation’s board of trustees, chairman Michael Snow wrote, “The volunteers who work on Wikimedia projects have very strongly supported making their contributions available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License in addition to the GNU Free Documentation License. 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. Our free information and educational content can be shared more readily and will be easier for everyone to use.”

The change in licensing was made possible in November 2008 when the Free Software Foundation updated its most recent of the GFDL, adding language specifically to accomodate the WMF’s desire to switch to Creative Commons licensing.

As we reported last month, in the event that the WMF board approves the proposal, existing content will be dual-licensed and new content will be CC-BY-SA licensed only. “This will ensure that any content shared from Wikipedia in the future can be done under the now broadly-used terms of Creative Commons licensing and without the additional restrictions required by the GFDL, which was created more for application code documentation and is slightly more stringent, for example requiring anyone using the content to include the full license code with each use,” wrote RWW blogger Phil Glockner.

“When I started Wikipedia, Creative Commons did not exist,” wrote Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the site’s Q&A page regarding the licensing changes. “The CC-BY-SA license is a more generic license that meets the needs of Wikipedia today, and I’m very grateful that the FSF has allowed this change to happen… It’s a critically necessary change for the future of Wikimedia.”

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.