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The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has proposed that the copyright licensing terms on the wikis operated by the WMF — including Wikipedia — be changed to include the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) license in addition to the current GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). This will affect all text and rich media (images, sound, video, etc.) currently licensed under "GFDL 1.2 or later versions". This change is meant to advance the WMF's mission by increasing the compatibility and availability of free content. Further details and motivation for this change are explained in the licensing update proposal and the associated FAQ.
To gauge community support for adopting this change, a Wikimedia-wide vote was conducted between April 12 and May 3, 2009. The vote was managed by volunteers associated with the licensing update committee and conducted on servers controlled by the independent non-profit SPI.
|"Yes, I am in favor of this change"||13242||75.8%|
|"No, I am opposed to this change"||1829||10.5%|
|"I do not have an opinion on this change"||2391||13.7%|
|Total votes cast and certified||17462|
If "no opinion" votes are not included, the Yes/No percentage becomes 87.9%/12.1% (15071 votes).
As per prior agreement, the licensing update committee shared this result with WMF Board of Trustees a few days prior to the public release. The Board is responsible for giving final approval before any change to Wikimedia licensing is made.
Michael Snow, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, provided the following comment:
“The volunteers who work on Wikimedia projects have very strongly supported making their contributions available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA) in addition to the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL). Updating our license terms will support Wikimedia's charitable mission, by making our projects legally compatible with others that have chosen the CC-BY-SA license. Our free information and educational content can be shared more readily and will be easier for everyone to use.”
The full Board of Trustees passed the following Licensing update approval resolution on May 21, 2009:
To implement the change, the following events are expected:
The licensing update poll was conducted for three weeks (from April 12 to May 3, 2009) in 32 languages, and was announced via a site notice displayed to all logged-in editors. The poll was open to any individual who had a registered account on a WMF project with at least 25 edits prior to March 15, 2009, and who was neither blocked at that account nor flagged as a bot. Individuals not meeting these criteria were automatically prevented from submitting a ballot.
A total of 18692 ballots were submitted. After review, the licensing update committee certified 17462 of these as valid. Nearly all of the rejected ballots were due to individuals attempting to vote multiple times. In the case of a single individual voting multiple times, their most recent ballot is considered valid and any earlier ballots are rejected. This included 930 cases where a single account at a particular wiki was used to cast multiple votes. A further 256 votes were discounted due to individuals voting multiple times under the same account name from different wikis (confirmed as linked accounts via single user login or other technical evidence). The final 44 rejected ballots were eliminated for other reasons, including abusive sockpuppetry.
All vote review was conducted solely based on the voter's account identity and associated technical evidence. Ballot choices were encrypted and not released until after the collection of valid votes was certified. Rejected ballots were never opened.
193 Wikimedia projects were represented by at least one vote.
|397||2.3%||8 "Special" projects (includes Commons, Meta, Wikispecies, etc.)|
|72||0.4%||18 Wikibooks projects|
|60||0.3%||17 Wikisource projects|
|30||0.2%||11 Wikinews projects|
|24||0.1%||7 Wikiversity projects|
|15||0.1%||8 Wikiquote projects|