Learning patterns/Using open licenses
What problem does this solve?
Producing free knowledge outside the Wikimedia projects in a world of all rights reserved.
What is the solution?
It is necessary to explicitly agree on the license when working with partners and collaborators (volunteers and retributed). The license can be included in contracts and letters of appointment.
- In general our Wikimedia default license is Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike. This licenses is comprehensible and easy to use. Please remember that our license is more restrictive than the Creative Commons Attribution (our default license requires the ShareAlike and and this can be an issue in OpenAccess) and it is not a convenient choice for dataset (dataset should not require attribution).
- Consider also the possibility of making an agreement with people/institution to get all non exclusive rights, also the right to sublicense content. In other words all people involved have all rights on the content, and they can have a grader use of content and release it under open licenses.
|Situation||Authorization needed and how to collect the authorization|
|Joint project in which more partners are involved.||Include under which license the content produced by the project will be released (and since you are already there add the license in the project description).
Few grant-makers will require you to produce open content by default (it is the case of projects financed by Wikimedia Foundation; it is not necessary to include the license because it is already open by default).
|Production of videos, comics, images, charts, texts, games not dirtily uploaded on a Wikimedia project by the author.||
|Production of content by different authors not associated together (i.e. a video which includes sound, images, the work of actors, the work of the film maker...)||
|Production of content by different authors contract employee of an organization/institution||
Content produced by contract employee (not occasional collaborators) should belong to the organization/institution they work for
|Typology of document||How to write the document|
|Written and signed authorization||You might need to make the agreements as written and signed authorizations for two reasons
|Letter of appointment||It is a letter in which you appoint a person or company for a job.
Include in the letter
|Project||Include in the project the line "This project and all its documentation is released by default under the license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (include also the link).|
Since you are already managing the issue of the license also:
- Collect information about attribution (this can be really useful when crediting authors and partners)
- Include how you will manage privacy (in different countries you have to adhere to the local legislation and you need to explicitly state how personal data will be used and managed)
Local legislation and intellectual property. Pay attention to local legislation and intellectual property. In case of doubts, assume that copyright is extremely restrictive even (and in particular) in a country where piracy is the norm.
Take particular care of the authorizations in Africa (and probably in other contexts where the so called piracy is dominant); open licenses are not commonly used and artists can be particularly bitter about their copyright: you can be misinterpreted as abusive rather than as a supporter of open content. Having the necessary authorizations makes it clear what and how you are working, and it avoids ambiguities and misunderstanding.
When to use
Every time you produce content outside the Wikipedia projects or not directly on the Wikimedia projects.
This is not necessary when people contribute to the Wikimedia projects directly. If a person for example edits Wikipedia or uploads an image on Wikimedia Commons, by saving he/she accepts the open license of our projects, the conditions and the attribution is recoded in the "history page".
- Guidelines to produce the communication tools Wikipedia what is about
- Expert involvement
- Supporting volunteers in administration
- How to write an agreement with a GLAM or institution
- Credit authors and partners
This learning pattern comes from the experience of the project What is about - C'est quoi. A series of communication tools about Wikipedia. Cameroon pilot project.