The Longest Now

Wikipedia now incompatible with third-party GFDL text
Wednesday May 27th 2009, 8:27 am
Filed under: chain-gang,international,Uncategorized,wikipedia

The GFDL 1.3 allows collaborative sites to switch from the GFDL to CC-BY-SA 3.0 as their license, under limited circumstances.

Wikimedia has been advocating for this change for some time, and with much effort from the FSF and Creative Commons a solution was worked out last November: such a transition would be available only for massively collaborative projects, and only for a limited time.  If a project opted for this transition, it could not incorporate any new GFDL material after the release date of the new license (November 3, 2008); and it had to decide by August 1, 2009.

Given the first date, one would assume a site would want to move as quickly as possible to decide, to avoid a prolonged period when no outside material under most any free license could be incorporated.  Nevertheless, it took us over 6 months to decide to make the transition.  Now we are faced with two hurdles: ensuring that no GFDL material has been migrated into a Wikimedia project since November, and far more complex, communicating with the hundreds of smaller GFDL wikis who chose their license for compatibility with Wikipedia, to ensure they know about this change and what it means for them.  They only have until the first of August to figure it out.

So I’ve started compiling a list of GFDL wikis and other collaborative sites that have not yet indicated any awareness about the license switch or considered switching themselves.  This includes at least half of the 20 largest GFDL wikis other than Wikipedia, both major medical wikis (Medpedia and WikiDoc), PlanetMath, and the old Spanish Wikipedia fork.  Please help contact these sites and update their status on this project page: [[m:Licensing update/Outreach]]

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[…] many sites chose a GFDL license, in part because they wanted to work with Wikimedia. As SJ points out, those sites now have a very limited timespan (til August 1) to switch if they want to, under the […]

Pingback by No maps for these territories » the big switch 05.29.09 @ 3:41 am

great article, i like this blog. Thanks

Comment by colonie 01.23.10 @ 11:45 am

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