Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Very important vote happening for the free culture community. Please vote "yes" if you're qualified.

Cross-posted from the Creative Commons Blog:

A community vote is now underway, hopefully one of the final steps in the process the migration of Wikipedia (actually Wikipedias, as each language is its own site, and also other Wikimedia Foundation sites) to using Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike as its primary content license.

This migration would be a huge boost for the free culture movement, and for Wikipedia and Creative Commons -- until the migration happens there is an unnecessary licensing barrier between the most important free culture project (Wikipedia of course, currently under the Free Documentation License, intended for software documentation) and most other free culture projects and individual creators, which use the aforementioned CC BY-SA license.

To qualify to vote, one must have made 25 edits to a Wikimedia site prior to March 15. Make sure you're logged in to the project on which you qualify, and you should see a site notice at the top of each page that looks like the image below (red outline added around notice).

licensing update site notice

Click on "vote now" and you'll be taken to the voting site.

For background on the migration process, see Wikimedia's licensing update article and the following series of posts on the Creative Commons blog:

Here's a great "propaganda poster", original created by Brianna Laugher (cited a number of times on this blog), licensed under CC BY. See her post, Vote YES for licensing sanity!

Indeed, please go vote yes to unify the free culture movement!

Vote YES! For licensing sanity!


Sometimes I wish I could just thank more of the people who provide such high quality content in all aspects of the creative commons lisence. Wikipedia is now more accurate than most scientific encyclopedias and is a priceless testament to the power of the emerging age of technology.
Another interesting site on a pseudo related topic is Data Portability

As far as the creative commons licensing with new themes and content for webmasters, I didn't really realize the power of great themes and CRM systems until i had finished (shameless plug) Make Money Online Australia using HTML and CSS... now I can't help but wonder how my SEO will suffer. Short story is that anybody who includes this license deserves a thanks and to have it respected.

Anyways, I digress. I really respect people who contribute to the community with high quality themes and the like. Great post.

While I am generally in favour of the move, I wish to voice a number of concerns regarding participation of people in the South, and the CC-BY-SA licence.

1. Since the digital divide exists, and is participation in the voting process is particularly difficult for people in the South, what steps have been made to rectify the discrepancy and to create broad consultation on the ground?

2. Regardless of the divisions created by lack of technology, what is being done to insure debate occurs in a free, fair and open manner?

3. It makes sense to shift to the Creative Commons license scheme, however, there issues which have been raised regarding the ability of Creative Commons to manage downstream licensing of material under CC-BY-SA, in particular the concern that work under one license, will appear in work under a different licence and the whole exercise will be negated by what could be called "alienation" of rights and responsibilities associated with the general license scheme.

4. What steps are being implemented to avoid this pitfall and to insure that rights granted by the FSF are maintained under the CC? This is not simply an issue about software, but about the type of regime which is being implemented in the long-term with regard to creative work, and wikimedia contributions.

5. Since it would appear from experience that CC licenses are difficult to enforce, what steps are being taken to assist people in the South with enforcement, in other words, how and to what degree will the South benefit?

I thank you for your consideration,


David Robert Lewis

Wikipedia editor.