[Foundation-l] Request: WMF commitment as a long term cultural archive?

FT2 ft2.wiki at gmail.com
Thu Jun 2 14:56:34 UTC 2011

There are two caveats:  nobody can tell the  future of human cultural
history or any individual legal organization, and while the repository and
wikis as a whole, and virtually all legally hostable media of genuine value,
are preserved indefinitely, obviously no guarantee can be given concerning
any specific individual image or article.

Beyond that, the best guarantee is the license it's under.  The Foundation
licenses all its data and content (with the sole exception of non-free
images used to illustrate articles on local wikis) under a license that
allows anyone to use, copy, amend, or distribute them. The explicit purpose
of doing so is so that anyone wishing to can not only redistribute it, but
if they are unhappy with its prospects in WMF's custodianship, they can take
all of it and archive it or fork from it - that is, start their own version
based on all content, descriptions, data and articles they wish to take and

That right is enshrined on Wikipedia in policy and license - it's known as
the "*right to fork*" [ie, to create derivatives and copies].   Our forking
FAQ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:FAQ/Forking> expands on this
giving details of where data can be downloaded, as well as Wikipedia holding
a list of websites that mirror its
anyone's use.

As the financial market crash proved, promises made by one organization are
only useful insofar as that organization can promise to endure and meet
them. Our approach is to spread our content and make sure others know we
actively support re-archiving and reuse of it, ensuring that copies and
archives will always exist.

At worst I cannot be sure if all data is routinely provided - a staff member
can comment on this - but the policy, rights, traditions, choice of license,
and endorsement of other sites doing so in practice, is our way of ensuring
a practical commitment is made.


On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 12:29 PM, Fae <faenwp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi,
> 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
> commitment?
> If it exists, this would be a key factor for researchers choosing
> where to share their images with the public.
> Thanks,
> Fae

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