Terms of use/Creative Commons 4.0

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This consultation is now closed. Thank you for your input!

This discussion started on 5 October 2016, and ran until 8 November 2016.

The Legal team may answer remaining questions in the coming weeks.

We are considering upgrading the default copyright license for Wikimedia to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. This proposed amendment will be available for discussion for at least thirty days (until November 8, 2016).

Learn more and share your comments.

Creative Commons 4.0 upgrade

The Wikimedia Foundation invites you to provide comments and feedback on upgrading the default license for text on the Wikimedia projects to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0. Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects have been available under a Creative Commons license since June 2009, when the Wikimedia community expressed very strong support for using version 3.0 of the license. Since then, Creative Commons licenses have empowered people to easily create, share, and collaborate on the Wikimedia projects.

The new version 4.0 keeps the same general terms requirements, with upgraded legal code, including two new important changes:

  • Improved clarity – the 4.0 version is easier to understand and organized cleanly, including a common-sense explanation of attribution and other license conditions.
  • More international – the 4.0 version of the license now has official translations beyond English, improving international accessibility.

To upgrade to Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0, we will need to amend the Wikimedia Foundation Terms of Use, as proposed here. After the Terms of Use changes, all newly created or edited articles will be available for use under the terms of the 4.0 license. We have prepared a legal note explaining more legal details and the upgrade process here.

We have yet to decide which changes to wiki pages and software interfaces to make if the license change goes forward; please help here!

As is our commitment in Section 16 of the Terms of Use, we are receiving community comments for 30 days on this proposed amendment before discussing the final version with the Board of Trustees. Translations of the amended Terms of Use are now available in German, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and a few other languages, and we welcome your help translating this into additional languages if you are able.

How can you help?

  1. Provide feedback on the proposed change to the Terms of Use.
  2. Translate the amendment and other documents into additional languages, if you are able.
  3. Please join the CC 4.0 cleanup drive to determine what Wikimedia software interfaces, docs and pages updates are part of the proposed change to CC BY-SA 4.0. Also, we should be ready to, if the final change is made, implement the updates.

Proposed new Wikimedia Terms of Use, Section 7[edit]

A more detailed breakdown of these changes is available here in a diff showing the exact changes.

7. Licensing of Content

To grow the commons of free knowledge and free culture, all users contributing to the projects are required to grant broad permissions to the general public to re-distribute and re-use their contributions freely, so long as that use is properly attributed and the same freedom to re-use and re-distribute is granted to any derivative works. In keeping with our goal of providing free information to the widest possible audience, we require that when necessary all submitted content be licensed so that it is freely reusable by anyone who cares to access it.

You agree to the following licensing requirements:

  1. Text to which you hold the copyright: When you submit text to which you hold the copyright, you agree to license it under:
    1. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License ("CC BY-SA 4.0"), and
    2. GNU Free Documentation License ("GFDL") (unversioned, with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts).
    (Re-users may comply with either license or both.) The only exception is if the Project edition or feature requires a different license. In that case, you agree to license any text you contribute under that particular license. Please note that these licenses do allow commercial uses of your contributions, as long as such uses are compliant with the terms. Where you own Sui Generis Database Rights covered by CC BY-SA 4.0, you waive these rights. As an example, this means facts you contribute to the projects may be reused freely without attribution.
  2. Attribution: Attribution is an important part of these licenses. We consider it giving credit where credit is due – to authors like yourself. When you contribute text, you agree to be attributed in any of the following fashions:
    1. Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the article to which you contributed (since each article has a history page that lists all authors and editors);
    2. Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy that is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on the Project website; or
    3. Through a list of all authors (but please note that any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions).
  3. Importing text: You may import text that you have found elsewhere or that you have co-authored with others, but in such case you warrant that the text is available under terms that are compatible with CC BY-SA (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the Project edition or feature). For a list of compatible licenses, see Creative Commons. You may not import content that is available solely under GFDL. You agree that, if you import text under a CC BY-SA license that requires attribution, you must credit the author(s) in a reasonable fashion. Where such credit is commonly given through page histories (such as Wikimedia-internal copying), it is sufficient to give attribution in the edit summary, which is recorded in the page history, when importing the text. The attribution requirements are sometimes too intrusive for particular circumstances (regardless of the license), and there may be instances where the Wikimedia community decides that imported text cannot be used for that reason.
  4. Non-text media: Non-text media on the Projects are available under a variety of different licenses that support the general goal of allowing unrestricted re-use and re-distribution. When you contribute non-text media, you agree to comply with the requirements for such licenses as described in our Licensing Policy, and also comply with the requirements of the specific Project edition or feature to which you are contributing. Also see the Wikimedia Commons Licensing Policy for more information on contributing non-text media to that Project.
  5. No revocation of license: Except as consistent with your license, you agree that you will not unilaterally revoke or seek invalidation of any license that you have granted under these Terms of Use for text content or non-text media contributed to the Wikimedia Projects or features, even if you terminate use of our services.
  6. Public domain content: Content that is in the public domain is welcome! It is important however that you confirm the public domain status of the content under the law of the United States of America as well as the laws of any other countries as required by the specific Project edition. When you contribute content that is in the public domain, you warrant that the material is actually in the public domain, and you agree to label it appropriately.
  7. Re-use: Re-use of content that we host is welcome, though exceptions exist for content contributed under "fair use" or similar exemptions under copyright law. Any re-use must comply with the underlying license(s). When you re-use or re-distribute a text page developed by the Wikimedia community, you agree to attribute the authors in any of the following fashions:
    1. Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to the page or pages that you are re-using (since each page has a history page that lists all authors and editors);
    2. Through hyperlink (where possible) or URL to an alternative, stable online copy that is freely accessible, which conforms with the license, and which provides credit to the authors in a manner equivalent to the credit given on the Project website; or
    3. Through a list of all authors (but please note that any list of authors may be filtered to exclude very small or irrelevant contributions).

    If the text content was imported from another source, it is possible that the content is licensed under a compatible CC BY-SA license but not GFDL (as described in "Importing text", above). In that case, you agree to comply with the compatible CC BY-SA license and do not have the option to re-license it under GFDL. To determine the license that applies to the content that you seek to re-use or re-distribute, you should review the page footer, page history, and discussion page.

    In addition, please be aware that text that originated from external sources and was imported into a Project may be under a license that attaches additional attribution requirements. Users agree to indicate these additional attribution requirements clearly. Depending on the Project, such requirements may appear for example in a banner or other notations pointing out that some or all of the content was originally published elsewhere. Where there are such visible notations, re-users should preserve them.

    For any non-text media, you agree to comply with whatever license under which the work has been made available (which can be discovered by clicking on the work and looking at the licensing section on its description page or reviewing an applicable source page for that work). When re-using any content that we host, you agree to comply with the relevant attribution requirements as they pertain to the underlying license or licenses.
  8. Modifications or additions to material that you re-use: When modifying or making additions to text that you have obtained from a Project website, you agree to license the modified or added content under CC BY-SA 4.0 or later (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the specific Project edition or feature). When modifying or making additions to any non-text media that you have obtained from a Project website, you agree to license the modified or added content in accordance with whatever license under which the work has been made available. With both text content and non-text media, you agree to clearly indicate that the original work has been modified. If you are re-using text content in a wiki, it is sufficient to indicate in the page history that you made a change to the imported text. For each copy or modified version that you distribute, you agree to include a licensing notice stating which license the work is released under, along with either a hyperlink or URL to the text of the license or a copy of the license itself.