Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2005-03-21/CC-Wiki license

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The Wikipedia Signpost


Creative Commons unveils new license for wikis

By Michael Snow, 21 March 2005

Last Thursday, Creative Commons introduced a beta version of its new license designed specifically for wikis, in conjunction with Lawrence Lessig's introduction of a wiki to help draft an updated version of one of his books.

As Lessig explained it, with the new license, which has been given the designation of CC-Wiki, "rather than requiring attribution back to the copyright holder, [the license would] require attribution back to either the copyright holder or a designated entity." The designated entity would presumably be whatever organization controlled the wiki. Lessig characterized it as a newly branded version of the attribution/share-alike (CC-by-sa) license, rather than being an entirely new license.

Lessig is also using a wiki to work on updates to his book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, originally published in 2000. The wiki for the book, which is powered by JotSpot, will use the new CC-Wiki license, although the published version will not use a Creative Commons license - Lessig told BusinessWeek that he wasn't able to get his publisher, Basic Books, to agree to one of the Creative Commons licenses.

The new license could have implications for Wikipedia, since for quite some time there have been periodic complaints that the GNU Free Documentation License is difficult to comply with and incompatible with the popular Creative Commons licenses. In an attempt to reduce the burden of license compliance on those who reuse Wikipedia content, Wikipedia:Copyrights encourages mirror sites to focus on providing a link back to the Wikipedia article. Ram-Man also spent some time organizing an effort to encourage people to release their contributions under multiple licenses, usually the GFDL and one of the Creative Commons licenses.

However, Lessig's project received a cool reception from some Wikipedians. Angela called the decision to use proprietary software from JotSpot to host Lessig's wiki a bizarre choice. Others, including Jamesday, also criticized the CC-Wiki license itself, particularly over the effect of group attribution on the rights of individual authors.