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Licensing update/Outreach

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This page is to coordinate efforts to reach out to other GFDL content providers that may wish to change their licensing in response to Wikimedia's relicensing decision. It is not an effort to convince others to switch – rather to ensure that sites which are currently compatible with Wikipedia understand the change taking place and what the August deadline means for them.

About dual/multi-licensing[edit]

There is no requirement for non-Wikimedia projects to dual- or multi-license their content. Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects are dual-licensing all original text by contributors. However, single-licensed CC-BY-SA text will be allowed to be imported into these wikis, and from that point on the article would become singly-licensed. GFDL-only text will not be allowed to be imported to any Wikimedia project.

To maximize your ability to share text with Wikimedia, you should either:

  1. choose CC-BY-SA as a single license, or
  2. choose CC-BY-SA as your main license, require imported text to be (at least) CC-BY-SA licensed, mark singly-licensed CC-BY-SA material as such, and not require any other license for import

External sites wishing to be GFDL-only will not be able to import content into Wikimedia projects. They may still export content from Wikimedia if they first verify that this text does not contain any singly-licensed CC-BY-SA material.

How to switch licenses[edit]

How to transition from GFDL 1.3 to CC-BY-SA 3.0[edit]

Appropedia is a good model. They switched to a single license in April, which is appropriate for most projects. See their License Migration page for their announcement.

  1. Announce the change
  2. Update the license details on your site

For MediaWiki sites, these are the settings you may need to change:

Importing and exporting text from Wikimedia projects[edit]

Before you export text to a Wikimedia project or import text from a Wikimedia project, you should check that the licensing on the external site is compatible. This table summarizes how Wikimedia content is expected to interact with other sites.

License on External Site Can export text to Wikimedia Can import text from Wikimedia
Public domain OK OK Not OK Not OK
GFDL 1.0 only Not OK Not OK Not OK Not OK
GFDL 1.1 only
GFDL 1.2 only Not OK Not OK Before 2009-06-15: OK OK
After 2009-06-15: Possible Possible if no CC-BY-SA-only content is included
GFDL only Before 2008-11-01: OK OK Before 2009-06-15: OK OK
After 2008-11-01: Not OK Not OK After 2009-06-15: Possible Possible if no CC-BY-SA-only content is included
CC-BY (any version) OK OK Not OK Not OK
CC-BY-SA-1.0 Not OK Not OK Not OK Not OK
CC-BY-SA-2.0 / 2.5 Before 2009-06-15: Not OK Not OK Not OK Not OK
After 2009-06-15: OK OK for creating derivative works
After 2009-06-15: Not OK Not OK for copying the entire work
CC-BY-SA-3.0 Before 2009-06-15: Not OK Not OK Before 2009-06-15: Not OK Not OK
After 2009-06-15: OK OK After 2009-06-15: OK OK
CC-BY-ND Not OK Not OK Not OK Not OK
GFDL-CC-BY-SA-3.0 dual OK OK Before 2009-06-15: Not OK Not OK
After 2009-06-15: Possible Possible if no CC-BY-SA-only content is included.
  1. For dual licenses, the table assumes that the importer wants both licenses to apply. In general, imports are OK OK or Possible Possible if the resulting work is labeled as having only one license apply to it. In that case, refer to the line for the corresponding license.
  2. Dates refer to the date that a particular revision was created on the Wikimedia site.
  3. This table does not apply to Wikinews where content is usually CC-BY.
  4. This table does not apply to Wikisource where content can have various licenses.

Contacting affected collaborative sites[edit]

There are example form letters you can use to contact sites below. If you do contact a site, please indicate this in the appropriate table. If you use a different form letter for certain audiences, please link to the text here.

Wikis affected[edit]

See also: List of wikis

The following wikis are licensed under the GFDL and we should assume unless we hear otherwise that license compatibility with Wikipedia is important to them. While the FSF has developed and maintained the GFDL, the Wikimedia projects have essentially caused non-technical-documentation projects to use it; and we have some associated responsibility as the people most sensitive to wiki licensing issues to keep others whom we have affected in the loop. Please add to the lists below.

Style: please use the lic-outreach-header template and three column format to list contacts and licensing status. Make any long comments footnotes to simplify the tables. Include a question mark next to a contact name if you're not sure that is someone aware of the licensing discussions taking place.

Large wikis[edit]

Site Contact Licensing status
Baseball reference no discussion
Biblewiki Main page talk? the mysteries of the GFDL bible. RageSoss comment. [1]
Biographicon Herdrick (feedback form) He says they are looking for someone to buy the site.
Enciclopedia Libre Juanan Ruiz Asked Mav if he could help. -Kaldari
:Not sure they will go for it due to poor reception of merge proposal. In fact, them just being FDL and us being both FDL and CCBYSA, would allow them to use our content but would prevent us from using theirs. Although we have already pretty much ported anything of real value and the Spanish Wikipedia is an order of magnitude larger and more active. I also don't have much free time at all. Somebody else would be a better choice. --Daniel Mayer (mav) 16:44, 24 July 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Int'l Music Score Library ? no discussion
Letopisi.ru ? ?
Medpedia [1] Judy Stone, web-email? RageSoss email, SJ email [2] They are planning to switch to CC-by-sa, and are working out the legal details.[3]
New World Encyclopedia [2] Svemir Brkic Kaldari email, switched to CC-BY-SA
PlanetMath [3] Aaron Krowne Kaldari email, they say they are going to migrate
sourcewatch, including congresspedia Sheldon Rampton? no discussion
StrategyWiki ? Switched to CC-BY-SA 3.0
Vikidia ? no discussion
Vseokino.ru ? ?
Wikia sites Angela [4] Most wikis will switch to CC-BY-SA on June 19th. See Wikia:Licensing
WikiDoc [4] Alexandra Palmer? Switched to CC-BY-SA 3.0 from 2009-07-30
Wikinfo Fred Bauder f-l discussion about how to switch
WikiTimeScale ? no discussion
WikiZnanie.ru [5] ? no discussion, BSD DPL from 2003-08-29 (see)
实用查询Wiki (ReferenceWiki, cn.18dao.net) ? ?
湖北百科 (wiki.027.cn) ? ?
معرفة (marefa.org) ? ?

Smaller wikis[edit]

generally w/o their own wikipedia entry. here technical docs are separated in part b/c some of them deal directly with GFDL source material and should not be assumed to care about WP's switch

Technical Docs
Site Contact Licensing status
mac-on-linux ogre3d
unmaintained free software
Other sites
Site Contact Licensing status
dKosopedia Centerfielder (Bureaucrat) They plan to switch licenses within a week or so or of June 11, 2009.
DocForge Matthew Schwartz Switched to CC-BY-SA on February 2, 2010
Global Warming Art Robert Rohde In process
internetsafety podcast
metapedia.org (blacklisted)
Miata wiki
Rosetta Code Michael Mol Didn't hear about it until too late. Affixed at GFDL 1.2 for the time being.
traditio.ru (blacklisted) `

Ways to find other wikis[edit]

The above is a fraction of a fraction of all GFDL wikis out there. Some search terms that can help you find hundreds more English wikis with little effort:

  • "Content is available under GNU free documentation license" wiki -wikipedia
    2,300,000 pages match. At an average of 1000 pages a wiki that's over 2000 wikis...

Important non-wiki content using GFDL[edit]

This material may or may not eligible for relicensing, depending on how collaboratively it was created. The criteria laid out in GFDL 1.3 are : a massive multiperson collaboration site should have had the material publicly available (presumably for collaboration) prior to November 3, 2008.

  • ...


  1. It looks like this project is strictly GFDL 1.2, although the license links point to the current (1.3) GFDL, which has the same url at gnu.org as the earlier versions. I'm leaving them a message at 'Talk:Main Page' informing them of the switch.--Ragesoss 22:16, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
  2. I sent an email through the contact interface explaining the situation.--Ragesoss 22:39, 27 May 2009 (UTC) I sent a form letter to a lead editor there. ~~~~
  3. From the email I got back from Community Manager Andrea Spillman: "Medpedia will be switching to Creative Commons-Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 in the near future, as soon as the proper legal steps and rewriting of the Terms of Use are completed. Check back soon for more information..." --~~~~
  4. discussion on Wikia