Wiki Loves Broadcast is a project by the Wikipedia community that aims at strengthening collaboration with public broadcasters. The primary goal is to be able to freely use content from public broadcasters on Wikimedia projects. The project started in 2016 as an initiative by the German-speaking Wikipedia community, supported by Wikimedia Deutschland, but plans to extend its reach across projects, countries and languages.
Idea and scope
Content produced by public broadcasters, especially when educational in nature, aligns well with the content of Wikimedia projects. Selected material from public broadcasters could in principle be reused on other platforms, including Wikimedia projects. However, a free Creative Commons license (CC BY-SA or above) is required for Wikimedia projects. Therefore, Wiki Loves broadcast urges public broadcasters to work towards free licenses for (parts of) their content and develop a new model of creating freely licensed content in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
The possibility to upload and embed professionally produced, high-quality multimedia material can be a considerable improvement for Wikimedia projects. Furthermore, this approach would also end up benefiting teachers and improving school lessons, where copyrighted material cannot be fruitfully used in a legally unproblematic manner. Last but not least, it would help broadcasters themselves by creating a bigger audience for the educational content in question, therefore underscoring the broadcasters’ democratic legitimacy, supporting their fight against disinformation online and ultimately contributing to fulfill their educational mandate.
For content that cannot be used directly on the Wikimedia projects, public broadcasters should at least provide better access to their archives and online platforms, so that they can easily be referenced by Wikimedia projects.
- Discuss the the release of content under a free Creative Commons license with public broadcasters and Wikimedia Deutschland. Move towards free CC licenses as a standard, particularly for educational content, on the long run.
- Involve the communities of various projects, so they can participate in and supervise the embedding of new content. Public broadcasters can upload their content directly through verified accounts.
- Introduce permanent links to content in the online platforms of public broadcasters.
- Introduce the option to download content directly from the online platforms.
- Convince public broadcasters to freely license and upload relevant press photos.
In terms of what is suitable public broadcasting material for Wiki Loves Broadcast, it is important to distinguish between Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia. For Commons, all media files that are educational in some way are eligible, regardless of their relevance for Wikipedia, as long as they are available under a free license. For Wikipedia, all content is suitable that meaningfully complements the articles by adding important information or visualizing a central issue. Here is a brief overview of the kind of material that is useful for Wikipedia articles:
- Well-made, encyclopedically edited explanatory videos. These videos should be rather short and should not cover an entire subject area, but rather a partial aspect. As a rule of thumb, we recommend not to exceed a length of 3 minutes per video. In the German context, it has mostly been this kind of content that has been released under a free license. Here are two examples from the tagesschau (ARD) and Terra X (ZDF) respectively.
- Uncommented or unedited recordings, in line with the motto "show, don't talk". That includes, among other things, historical recordings (speeches, events, etc.) or nature and landscape photography.
- Recordings and images from talk shows, for example, can also have a place in articles about the the persons or the programs in question, especially if the articles are poorly illustrated.
- In some cases, audio recordings can also add value to Wikipedia. Examples include original recordings of important speeches where no video is available under a Wikipedia-compatible license, and original sound recordings of relevant events (e.g. the fall of the Berlin wall), people (e.g. a presenter's first or last recording), or radio programs (e.g. intros, audio samples, or entire episodes). Articles can also benefit from the release of music recordings, for example of orchestras or individual musicians.
Progress (as of October 2023)
In 2019, Terra X (ZDF), one of the most prestigious documentary and science programs on German television, began releasing short animated clips under a free Creative-Commons-License (mostly CC BY 4.0). Since then, more than 350 videos have been released that way and uploaded to the free media database Wikimedia Commons. Over 90% of them have found their way into Wikipedia articles, raking in more than 3 million views a month. A total of over 87 million views speaks volumes to the amount of attention that high-quality public broadcasting content can gather in the world of Wikipedia.
In late 2022, the Tagesschau (ARD), the most reputable news program on German television, followed suit and also began releasing short animated clips under a free Creative-Commons-License (CC BY-SA 4.0). Since then, over 80 videos have been released that way and been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, amassing over one million views in total so far. The most popular video has already been clicked over 400,000 times.
Numbers like this increase at a fairly constant rate, since Wikipedia, contrary to other more fast-paced platforms, has a strong and steady long-tail. Other German public service broadcasters have joined ARD and ZDF (like Deutsche Welle), have announced that they will do so (Bayerischer Rundfunk) or are planning to do so at the moment (SWR, WDR, MDR, Phoenix, SRF in Switzerland, and Deutsche Welle again).
Wikiolo and Jan-David Franke (WMDE) presented the project at Wikimania 2023 in Singapore in order to lay the foundation for an international Wiki Loves Broadcast network. Here's a link to the session.
Title: Television in Wikipedia - Internationalization of Wiki Loves Broadcast
Description: Educational content from public broadcasters should be permanently available online under a free license like CC BY-SA 4.0. It is all of us who fund this content through our license fees or taxes, so we should all be allowed to freely use it. This helps fulfill the mission of the broadcasters, aids teachers and students, and benefits Wikipedia. The German-speaking Wikipedia community (“Wiki Loves Broadcast”) and Wikimedia Deutschland have been working to make this a reality for over five years. Now we want to internationalize the project and help other Wikipedia communities to establish similar undertakings.
After all, the German Wiki Loves Broadcast project has been very successfully advocating for freely licensed educational content by public service broadcasters. In consequence, public broadcasters in Germany are blazing the trail on the usage of Creative Commons licensing. Once uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and integrated into relevant articles, these video clips - on subjects like the construction of the Taj Mahal, the US voting system or the ancient city of Angkor Wat - have improved hundreds of articles and rake in millions of monthly views on Wikipedia. This success story deserves to be shared and replicated.
In this session, we therefore want to introduce the project, motivate people to adapt it in their country, and answer questions about how to start Wiki Loves Broadcast, ranging from the organizational setup and the affiliation to national Wikimedia chapters to arguments needed to convince politicians and public broadcasters of the value of Creative Commons licensing. In doing so, we ultimately want to lay the foundation for an international Wiki Loves Broadcast network.