It’s easy to forget just how old Wikipedia is, compared to many of the free culture organizations on the Web. One looming example of this has always been our use of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).
Founded before Creative Commons, the GFDL was the only copyleft license that even came close to making our work free for others in a way that fit our mission.
But it’s never been a perfect fit. Far from it, in fact.
Clauses such as the invariant sections rule and the burden of printing both the full text of the license and a list of authors have seriously handicapped past efforts to republish works of Wikimedia projects. The GFDL is not really to be faulted for this, since it’s written with software documentation in mind, not an encyclopedia with thousands of authors.
But there’s a solution on the horizon. With the advent of Version 1.3 of the GFDL, we can now legally transition to the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. But the choice to move to Creative Commons rests not with our non-profit, the Wikimedia Foundation. It rests with the people who have licensed their contributions: namely, you. If you’ve got more than 25 edits to a Wikimedia project before the 15th of March, please make your voice heard by voting!
- Meta: Licensing update
- Wikipedia:Comparison of GFDL and CC-BY-SA
- Wikipedia community vote on migration to CC BY-SA begins now (CreativeCommons.org)
- Wikipedians to Vote on Site-Wide Creative Commons (ReadWriteWeb)