There is cool semi-recent news on the Free Cultural Works Definition front. The board of directors of the Wikimedia Foundation passed a resolution stating that all projects (including Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikibooks):

…are expected to host only content which is under a Free Content License, or which is otherwise free as recognized by the Definition of Free Cultural Works.

There is still room for several exceptions but this must be minimal and the use of such works, "with limited exception, should be to illustrate historically significant events, to include identifying protected works such as logos, or to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works."

For WMF and it’s member projects, this was a useful step because it documents and strengthens an important position in favor of explicit goals that I feel is important to successful freedom movements. But it’s not a major change for them. The resolution merely codifies what has already become accepted practice within Wikimedia projects.

But this is a major change — and a major victory — for and the definition. Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, are the single most visible and important centers for the production and dissemination of free culture today. They’re also the most successful and a model many want to emulate. Explicit buy in from WMF is a major victory indeed.

2 Replies to “Progress”

  1. Considering Erik Moller wrote the thing, I think buy-in from WMF was pretty much a certainty ;-) Certainly it’s been an ongoing problem (a) not ahhh having a definition (b) having Creative Commons own the mindspace for “the next step after all rights reserved.” And while CC are fine, their aims are not ours.

    We have a press release for Wikimedia Commons lined up for a quiet day as well. That should attract people. “Q. What do I need to participate in Commons? A. A camera.”

  2. Thanks David for your note.

    Of course, buy-in from WMF was not unforeseen but it was a very nice suprise. Erik is only one person on the WMF board and it was great that the rest of the board was as supportive of Erik and my endeavor as he was.

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