[Foundation-l] Fwd: [Wikimedia Advisory Board] License update resolution

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 23:07:36 UTC 2007

Forwarded by permission from the Wikimedia Advisory Board list.


Begin forwarded message:

> From: Wayne Mackintosh <wmackintosh at col.org>
> Date: December 2, 2007 1:00:25 PM EST
> To: advisory at lists.wikimedia.org
> Subject: Re: [Wikimedia Advisory Board] License update resolution
> Reply-To: advisory at lists.wikimedia.org
> This is an important debate and I am very pleased to see this  
> filtering through into our Advisory Board list.
> The WMF is one of but a few organisations that has clearly defined  
> what it means by "free" in its licensing policy.  We have a clear  
> definition of its meaning in our licensing policy (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Licensing_policy 
> ) underpinned by the principles of the Free Cultural Works  
> definition (http://freedomdefined.org/Definition )
> Apart from being the largest encyclopedia in the history of human  
> kind <smile> -  WMF has established a global leadership role by  
> defining what we mean by free content, but more importantly the  
> values which underpin it.  Free content is different from free  
> software. It has unique characteristics which are more than  
> adequately covered in the Free Cultural Works definition. (As an  
> international agency - COL's small free content initiative  
> subscribes to the free cultural works definition).
> Sadly the free knowledge community is facing a difficult challenge  
> in our collective history.  We are at risk of fuelling factions  
> within the free knowledge community that push their particular  
> "brand" of free content license at the expense of the greater vision  
> of free knowledge for all. I've also seen calls for a new license  
> for the education sector -- crazy.
> It is ludicrous that in this day an age - free content content using  
> License A cannot legally be mixed with Free Content under License B  
> and then released as a modified work under License B. Sure there are  
> justifiable historical reasons for this situation.  This is why WMF  
> must show bold and decisive leadership in uniting the free knowledge  
> movement together. We cannot afford to fuel license factions at the  
> risk of realising the vision of free knowledge for all. That said -  
> resolving this challenge must be founded on the essential freedoms.
> The evolution of free content license factions (in my view) will  
> stun the growth of free knowledge and rob us of our most powerful  
> lever -- the fact that digital knowledge is infinitely scalable.
> I agree with Mako -- these issues must be determined by the real  
> freedom issues rather than idiosyncrasies.  For example, the  
> seductive allure to argue our position from the perspective of  
> commercial versus non-commercial motivations, while tempting and  
> emotionally powerful, is risky because this will erode the  
> principled foundations on which we draw our meaning of freedom.  For  
> example, within our projects - WikiNews already uses a CC  
> Attribution license (i.e. without the viral clause).  So we have a  
> double president - using two brands of license among our projects  
> and one project without a copyleft clause. Fortunately this  
> situation can be defended drawing on the foundations of the  
> essential freedoms.
> It is unfortunate how interpretations of this Board resolution have  
> filtered through the popular digital media ..;-(. But hey, tall  
> trees like Wikipedia do catch a lot of wind and you can't unring a  
> bell <smile>.
> The Board volunteers will bear the brunt of managing the traffic  
> this will generate. I commend the Board's dedication and commitment  
> to the vision of free knowledge. Hang in their - we will be a better  
> world will be a better place for your efforts!
> If there is anyway I can assist from the outside as an Advisory  
> Board member in the educational perspectives around free content  
> licensing. Feel free to ask.
> Cheers
> Wayne
> On Sun, 2007-12-02 at 12:36 +0100, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:
>> <quote who="Mike Godwin" date="Sat, Dec 01, 2007 at 10:31:24PM  
>> -0500">
>> > At any rate, my own view is wholly supportive of FSF, GPL, and  
>> GDFL,
>> > even though I also favor harmonization of GFDL with CC-BY-SA  
>> somewhere
>> > down the road.
>> Absolutely. This is my position as well. But in order to do that,  
>> it's
>> important we successfully determine between the real freedom issues  
>> and
>> the things that are annoying or merely idiosyncratic. Unless we
>> establish that there are no fundamental differences from a principled
>> position, migration between these license  would be irresponsible.
>> Regards,
>> Mako
>> _______________________________________________
>> Advisory mailing list
>> Advisory at lists.wikimedia.org
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/advisory
> _______________________________________________
> Advisory mailing list
> Advisory at lists.wikimedia.org
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/advisory

More information about the foundation-l mailing list