[cc-it] Lessig: "Enormously important news from the Free Software Foundation"

J.C. De Martin demartin a polito.it
Lun 3 Nov 2008 15:54:52 EST

Enormously important news from the Free Software Foundation

November 3, 2008 4:24 PM - comments (0)

The Free Software Foundation has released the GNU Free Document License 
version 1.3. Section 11 of that license now (essentially) permits 
certain wikis to be relicensed under the Creative Commons 
Attribution-ShareAlike (v3.0) license, so long as the relicensing is 
completed by August 1, 2009. That means, the Wikipedia community now has 
the choice to relicense Wikipedia under a Creative Commons license. 
(Here's the FAQ for the amendment.)

It would be hard to overstate the importance of this change to the Free 
Culture community. A fundamental flaw in the Free Culture Movement to 
date is that its most important element -- Wikipedia -- is licensed in a 
way that makes it incompatible with an enormous range of other content 
in the Free Culture Movement. One solution to this, of course, would be 
for everything to move to the FDL. But that license was crafted 
initially for manuals, and there were a number of technical reasons why 
it would not work well (and in some cases, at all) for certain important 
kinds of culture.

This change would now permit interoperability among Free Culture 
projects, just as the dominance of the GNU GPL enables interoperability 
among Free Software projects. It thus eliminates an unnecessary and 
unproductive hinderance to the spread and growth of Free Culture.

Richard Stallman deserves enormous credit for enabling this change to 
occur. There were some who said RMS would never permit Wikipedia to be 
relicensed, as it is one of the crown jewels in his movement for 
freedom. And so it is: like the GNU/Linux operation system, which his 
movement made possible, Wikipedia was made possible by the architecture 
of freedom the FDL enabled. One could well understand a lesser man 
finding any number of excuses for blocking the change.

But here's what Richard said in 2002 in a different context:

"If we don’t want to live in a jungle, we must change our attitudes. We 
must start sending the message that a good citizen is one who cooperates 
when appropriate...."

Add "good citizen" to the list of praise for this founder of 
contemporary freedom.

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