[Foundation-l] Third-party GFDL text irrevocably incompatible with Wikipedia as of August 1

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Wed May 27 09:54:43 UTC 2009


The relicensing process is underway.  This means we have only 2 months
to help GFDL wikis that want Wikipedia compatibility to follow suit.
The clause that allows GFDL wikis to be relicensed to CC-BY-SA 3
expires on August 1 of this year.

I am crossposting this from the licensing thread on foundation-l
because it is important and time sensitive.

While the intent behind the August 1 sunset clause provision was to
"offer[] all wiki maintainers ample time to make their decision", this
has not yet worked out in practice.  Many GFDL-licensed wiki
maintainers haven't looked at GFDL 1.3, aren't fully aware of
Wikipedia's decision to relicense, and have no idea there are hard
deadlines involved; nor have they though through the implications for
their current contributions to / reuse of Wikipedia.    (I myself had
plans to organize an import of Medpedia content into WP before
realizing that this is not possible unless they choose to relicense --
even though as of today both are GFDL wikis.)

Please help add to the list and contact those that you know:

A selection of large GFDL wikis that have not confirmed plans to
change their licenses:

 Enciclopedia Libre
 Sourcewatch, congresspedia
 the International Music Score Library Project
 实用查询Wiki (ReferenceWiki, cn.18dao.net)
 湖北百科 (wiki.027.cn)
 Medpedia, WikiDoc

I've seen a few short discussions on Wikia wikis, but nothing
conclusive... any updates there?

Smaller wikis are more likely to be unaware of the relicensing
decision or implications... and more likely to have been swayed by
"the license Wikipedia is using" when making their initial decision.
There are hundreds of them with great educational material, more than
the dozens listed on meta so far.   In particular, I expect there are
many more Chinese, German, Japanese and Russian wikis out there... I
hope we can manage to reach most of them.

Recently Robert Rhode said:
> The migration is an incentive to other sites to also relicense.
> Given that, it behooves us to get moving early enough that other sites
> will also have time to react before the deadline.  Seeing the changes
> we make will also give them a blueprint to what they may need to do.
> Incidentally, the news coverage of this event so far has been quite
> limited, which makes it more important that we have an outreach effort
> to communicate what is happening to other GFDL projects that may wish
> to change.

The second point makes sense.  We do need more outreach; a long-term
sitenotice for anons would be appropriate -- with links to how to
relicense your own wiki, and what this means for reuse of Wikimedia
material / importing your own into an article.

Mainstream press coverage would be nice - perhaps after seeing which
other large wikis are planning to switch as well.


* to be precise, when the license switch takes effect in mid-June,
externally-sourced GFDL content will be made retroactively
incompatible with Wikimedia projects back to November 2008.  We have
until August 1 to show partner sites how to relicense so that we
remain compatible.

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