There are an increasing number of organisations which have indicated
that their output is Creative Commons by default, however there are
not as many that have a public IP policy which clearly allows staff to
publish "their" work.
i.e. We have moved from the IP policy being the stick used to prevent
openness, and the "work for hire" and "publish process" are the next
A few staff at University of Canberra (UC) have written an IP policy
proposal which clearly gives staff ownership of their work, and
requires CC licensing if their staff use organisational infrastructure
to create their work.
Otago Polytechnic adopted an IP policy like that in 2007.
Are there other examples, within or outside academia, where the
organisation empowers its staff by providing a policy which clarifies
when "work for hire" principle is enforced in this murky world of
Does the WMF have an intellectual property policy for works created by
Employees edit and upload using free licenses under their own name,
but does the copyright belong to the employee or to the WMF?
Is anyone in our community going to:
Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest
Washington College of Law
American University, Washington, DC
August 25-27, 2011
This week, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees unanimously
passed a resolution addressing the issue of controversial content on
the projects. The Board also unanimously passed a resolution
addressing images of identifiable, living people on the projects. The
resolutions are posted at:
These topics have been the subject of active debate on the Projects,
and particularly on Commons, for a long time. Last June, following
extensive community debate, the Wikimedia Foundation Board requested
the Executive Director undertake a study of the issue of controversial
content on the projects, acknowledging the difficulty of the issue
Robert and Dory Harris were commissioned to do this study, which they
did on meta in consultation with the community, publishing
recommendations in September 2010. Their report is available at:
At its October 2010 meeting, the Board was presented with this report.
The Board discussed the recommendations in depth, and developed a
working group to act on them. The working group's report was presented
at the Board's next in-person meeting, in March 2011; and these
resolutions were subsequently drafted and voted on. The working group
report has also been posted on meta, at:
Note that the controversial content resolution uses the term
"curation." We are using this term to refer to all aspects of managing
images and other content on our projects, including recruiting and
acquiring contributions and uploading, categorizing, placement of
images in articles and other pages (including gallery pages and the
main page), featuring or highlighting, flagging for improvement, and
deletion and removal. All of our projects are curated in line with
broad editorial principles; this is an essential feature that
distinguishes our projects from indiscriminate or general-purpose
Not all of the Harris recommendations are addressed in this
resolution. In particular:
* At this time, we refer the recommendation to create a WikiJunior
project to the editing community; the Board would like to see
demonstrated community support before creating such a project.
* In agreement with the Harris report, we do not recommend that
changes be made to current editing and/or filtering regimes
surrounding text in Wikimedia projects; we feel editorial mechanisms
regarding text are working well.
Finally, we urge that the community, the Foundation and the Wikimedia
movement continue to discuss the appropriate scope of Commons for
fulfilling Wikimedia's mission; this is a difficult and important
Thank you to everyone who has worked on this issue, and special thanks
to Robert and Dory Harris for their hard work.
-- Phoebe Ayers, on behalf of the Board working group and the Board
I'm taking part in an images discussion workshop with a number of
academics tomorrow and could do with a statement about the WMF's long
term commitment to supporting Wikimedia Commons (and other projects)
in terms of the public availability of media. Is there an official
published policy I can point to that includes, say, a 10 year or 100
If it exists, this would be a key factor for researchers choosing
where to share their images with the public.
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags
There is a request for a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. This request has so far
been denied. A lot of words have been used about it. Many people maintain
their positions and do not for whatever reason consider the arguments of
In my opinion their are a few roadblocks.
- Ancient Greek is an ancient language - the policy does not allow for
- Text in ancient Greek written today about contemporary subjects
require the reconstruction of Ancient Greek.
- it requires the use of existing words for concepts that did
not exist at the time when the language was alive
- neologisms will be needed to describe things that did not
exist at the time when the language was alive
- modern texts will not represent the language as it used to be
- Constructed and by inference reconstructed languages are effectively
We can change the policy if there are sufficient arguments, when we agree on
When a text is written in reconstructed ancient Greek, and when it is
clearly stated that it is NOT the ancient Greek of bygone days, it can be
obvious that it is a great tool to learn skills to read and write ancient
Greek but that it is in itself not Ancient Greek. Ancient Greek as a
language is ancient. I have had a word with people who are involved in the
working group that deals with the ISO-639, I have had a word with someone
from SIL and it is clear that a proposal for a code for "Ancient Greek
reconstructed" will be considered for the ISO-639-3. For the ISO-639-6 a
code is likely to be given because a clear use for this code can be given.
We can apply for a code and as it has a use bigger then Wikipedia alone it
clearly has merit.
With modern texts clearly labelled as distinct from the original language,
it will be obvious that innovations a writers needs for his writing are
This leaves the fact that constructed and reconstructed languages are not
permitted because of the notion that mother tongue users are required. In my
opinion, this has always been only a gesture to those people who are dead
set against any and all constructed languages. In the policies there is
something vague "*it must have a reasonable degree of recognition as
determined by discussion (this requirement is being discussed by the language
subcommittee <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_subcommittee>)."* It
is vague because even though the policy talks about a discussion, it is
killed off immediately by stating "The proposal has a sufficient number of
living native speakers to form a viable community and audience." In my
opinion, this discussion for criteria for the acceptance of constructed or
reconstructed languages has not happened. Proposals for objective criteria
have been ignored.
In essence, to be clear about it:
- We can get a code for reconstructed languages.
- We need to change the policy to allow for reconstructed and
We need to do both in order to move forward.
The proposal for objective criteria for constructed and reconstructed
languages is in a nutshell:
- The language must have an ISO-639-3 code
- We need full WMF localisation from the start
- The language must be sufficiently expressive for writing a modern
- The Incubator project must have sufficiently large articles that
demonstrate both the language and its ability to write about a wide range of
- A sufficiently large group of editors must be part of the Incubator
Routledge has kindly offered three months free online access to
Feminist Economics, a peer-reviewed academic journal, for up to 15
Wikimedians. The sign-up sheet is here,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Feminist_Economics and will
open at 22:00 UTC, Monday, August 29.
Please pass the word to anyone you think might be interested.
On Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 22:43, Ray Saintonge <saintonge(a)telus.net> wrote:
> On 08/15/11 12:25 PM, Gustavo Carrancio wrote:
>> Fred: easy to fork vs hard to understand other cultures. Think a minute.
>> ¿Are we making an Encyclopedia? Must we struggle to split or to get
> At some point we need to ask ourselves: Is our mission to make the sum
> of all human knowledge freely available, or is it to create a monopoly
> on knowledge.
While I agree with necessity of being able to make a fork easily,
there is important message which Gustavo wanted to say, but didn't
Under the present circumstance, any attempt to create English
Wikipedia fork could be successful just if WMF makes
very-ultra-serious shit and it is not likely that it would happen.
We also know how the case Encyclopedia Libre vs. Spanish Wikipedia
finished. That's, again, thanks to the fact that Spanish is
multinational language and if someone wants to get significant
official support, it would require significant time.
However, the opposite example is Hudong encyclopedia. It is obviously
that Hudong is much more relevant to Chinese people just because of
the fact that we still have more Taiwanese Wikipedians than Mainland
A couple of months ago three admins of Aceh Wikipedia decided that it
is not acceptable that they participate in the project which holds
Muhammad depictions. By the project, they mean Wikimedia in general,
including Wikimedia Commons. It was just a matter of time when they
would create their own wiki. And they created that moth or two after
leaving Wikimedia. And what do you think which project has more
chances for success: the one without editors or the other with three
editors? So, while the reason for leaving couldn't be counted among
reasonable ones, the product is the same as if they had a valid
reason. And there are plenty of valid reasons, among them almost
universal problem of highly bureaucratic structures on Wikimedia
I can imagine even very successful fork of Wikipedia in any Balkan
language. We are also more or less on the edge of successful fork of
any language whose community has any kind of problem with the rest of
the movement. And at some point we could have serious problem.
Projects could even start without license compatibility with Wikimedia
content. Yes, as I don't think that anyone would bother -- which would
be the right decision because of a number of reasons -- with GFDL and
CC-BY-SA violations of the encyclopedia in a language with not so much
That leads us to the serious dead end: We want forkability because of
our principles. We could potentially lose parts of our movement.
According to our principles, the only way to protect the movement is
to be attractive to editors more than potential forks could be. And
that's our structural problem: we are losing that battle since ~2007
and changes which we are making are too slow and too small.
And that opens the space for even worse scenario. The last hope for
societies in such decline is to impose martial law and try to fix
things by not so pleasant methods. The only problem is that we are not
society. Nobody would be killed because of Wikimedia fall and no
economy would be destructed. More importantly, when people see harsh
methods imposed (and one of them would be forbidding [easy]
forkability), they would start to leave the project, which would just
catalyze the fall.
Fortunate moment is that we are driving on organizational expansion
and that we bought some time. There are a couple of other methods for
buying time. But, if we don't use that time to fix things, at some
point we would deplete available options. We would eventually have the
same problems in India which we have in US; we would have the same
problems on a project which would be opened in 2012 as we have today
with many other projects.
Note that Wikipedia wasn't a hype because it is free and open online
encyclopedia. It was a hype because such thing didn't exist before. It
exists now all over the Internet. And without qualitative
breakthroughs, we have to do things regularly. And models exist: IBM
lives, Microsoft lives, Apple lives; Sinclair is dead, SGI is dead,
Sun is dead; Netscape lives as Mozilla, Amsword lives as Libre Office,
Ingres lives as PostgreSQL. Hi-tech organizations -- and we are
hi-tech organization -- which survived were able to catch the
technological development of their competitors. And our competitors
are not millions of MediaWiki installations; our competitor is Hudong
(note the features ), but also Google and Facebook. I am not saying
that they are against us, but that we have to catch their
technological development if we want to survive.
Just to check: I've been assuming of late that everyone that's interested in reading announcements (including things like chapter reports, committee reports and signpost issues) is subscribed to the wikimediaannounce-l mailing list - is that a valid assumption, or should reports continue to be sent to this list?
(who sends out WMUK reports, amongst occasional others)