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Summary: Do you have any views on migrating from GFDL to CC-BY-SA?

updates Please see Forum:Licensing update June 19, 2009 about the migration to Creative Commons.

older updates: Wikimedia's vote on this has concluded. Of those who had an opinion, 87.9% were in support of the change. Details about how other wikis can change are at m:Licensing update/Outreach. Wikia-specific instructions will be made available in June.

The text of most Wikia wikis is available under a free content license called the GFDL. This license was chosen because it's the license that Wikipedia uses. Wikipedia uses it because it was the best option when they launched in 2001. But now there is a better suite of licenses from the Creative Commons. The latest version of the GFDL (1.3) allows a one-time migration from GFDL to the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (CC-BY-SA). This license essentially gives everyone the same freedoms that the GFDL does - the content can be used for any purpose, derivatives must be released under the same free license, and attribution must be given.

Some of the advantages in switching license would be to remain compatible with Wikipedia (assuming they do switch), being able to share text with the many projects that already use this Creative Commons license, having a license that is simpler to use and understand, having a license which has been officially translated into many languages (the GFDL is only official in English).

Quoting from Wikimedia's information on this:

"The proposed license update is designed to achieve greater interoperability and greater re-use of free knowledge world-wide in service to our vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge."

Tomorrow, Wikimedia will begin a vote for their editors to give an opinion on the proposal. Anyone with at least 25 edits to any Wikimedia project prior to March 15, 2009 can vote. (Note that Wikia isn't a Wikimedia project, so edits here are not counted.)

Any such migration would only affect wikis that are already under the GFDL.

More details can be found at Licensing update and FAQ. Any dual-licensing discussions you see there need not affect Wikia sites (though of course such arrangements can be made on a per-wiki basis like now if desired).

At this stage, I'm just interested to know your opinion on the proposal of migrating from GFDL to CC-BY-SA.

Angela (talk) 14:17, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

update: Wikimedia has a useful blog post explaining this here. Angela (talk) 12:25, 14 April 2009 (UTC)


  • I personally think it is a good idea, especially if it makes things easier for sharing information and for users to understand the licensing realm. I've looked into the situation a bit in the previous weeks, and it appears to be the correct thing to do — and I haven't seen anything negative that could potentially come out doing this. Other people's thoughts or comments will hopefully provide some more constructive feedback on this. Greyman This user is a Central administrator TalkEmail 14:24, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I dont think this wouldn't really be usefull for fr.guildwars since the licence of GuildWiki is not exactly the same. They have the NC clause. So, if fr.guildwars would change, that would mean we wouldn't able to translate any wiki at all (the Official wiki been in GFDL). Or maybe i'm misunderstanding something. — TulipVorlax 01:05, 12 April 2009 (UTC)

Do you know whether the official wiki intends to switch license? As that one is GFDL, they too have this option until August. Angela (talk) 12:29, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
The official wiki's licence is GFDL 1.2 (without the "any later version" clause) - they can't switch RT 05:56, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
This page which is linked from every edit page says 1.2 or later. Angela (talk) 03:12, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
I think the main differences need to be highlighted before I can comment. -- LordTBT Talk! 04:10, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
If you would like to see the detailed differences, the full text of both licenses can be found at GFDL and CC-BY-SA. One advantage to the Creative Commons one is that they have a nice summary of the license here. There is also a detailed Wikipedia article on the GNU Free Documentation License and on the Creative Commons licenses generally. The specific Creative Commons license that is allowed to replace the GFDL is one that is defined as "free" by the Free Content Definition project. Angela (talk) 12:27, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
As Iunderstood, it won't be a Change GFDL license to a CC-BY-SA license, but a Relicense the content under both GFDL 1.3 and CC-BY-SA 3.0 licenses. Some highlights:
  • The change must be made before 1 August 2009, as required by GFDL 1.3 (see FDL1.3 FAQ, section Q. What is the purpose of the two different dates in section 11? Why did you choose those specific dates?.
  • Content imported from another wiki licensed under a GFDL1.2 only license must not be re-licensed, and if a relicense is made in the wiki, it should be deleted.
  • Conted imported from another wiki licensed under a GFDL 1.2 or (at your option) any later version could be re-licensed under the dual-license. But only if it was put in a public wiki before 1 November 2008. See FDL1.3 FAQ, section Q. Exactly what material can be licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0?.
About TulipVorlax comment, if GuildWiki uses GFDL 1.2 or any later version it would be possible to do the dual-licensing, but only content since 1 november 2008 and no further content can be imported since this date.
In my opinion, it would be good to give each wiki the decision to switch to a dual license like wikipedia, but not impose it to all wikis --Ciencia Al Poder (talk) -WikiDex 11:01, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
On Wikipedia, if the decision is to switch, then each article will be both GFDL and CC-BY-SA until someone imports some CC content into an article, at which time it becomes CC only. You would not be allowed to import GFDL-only content into Wikipedia in future. This dual-licensing step is not necessary for other wikis, but of course is an option if anyone needs it.
Original content added to a wiki after November can be relicensed, but if you imported GFDL content from somewhere that was not a wiki after November, that content can not be relicensed. I'm sorry that this sounds so complicated. The reason for it is that the Foundation that writes the GFDL did not want someone suddenly adding lots of GFDL software manuals to a wiki after this was announced purely with the intention of re-licensing them!
If any wikis do want to dual-license, then please let me know. My personal opinion is that it's a complicated step with no benefit to the wiki, but I'm sure there will be some exceptions. (In fact there already are 2 or 3 Wikia sites that have chosen dual-licensing) Angela (talk) 12:27, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
if GuildWiki uses GFDL 1.2 or any later version
No ! Like i said, maybe i wasn't clear enough, GuildWiki is under CC-BY-NC-SA as it always was.
About the Official wiki, the reason it was created in the first place is that Anet wanted to link a wiki from inside the game (it's done) and they needed the wiki to be in GFDL since they're kind of making profit with it.
So, i dont think they'll be willing to change licence. But, maybe i could find a talk about this somewhere on their wiki... — TulipVorlax 18:52, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
The only thing i was able to find is that they're under the 1.2 GFDL. — TulipVorlax 18:58, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
CC-BY-SA allows commercial use, just as the GFDL does. If you know anyone there, it may be worth linking them to metawikipedia:licensing update so they can think about this. Angela (talk) 19:30, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I never said CC-BY-SA disallowed comercial use but i wasn't able to say it was permitting it. Thanks.
I think the link you wanted to give was Licensing update.
I can try to contact them, it's easy, but i think they wont care much. I think i would need something, some argument, that would tell them why it's better. I fear the fact that Wikipedia will switch isn't enough.
I'll see what i can do. — TulipVorlax 01:48, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I posted about this on Regina Buenaobra's talk page. But there's a chance users there will move my comment to another page (or delete it; it happened to me many times). — TulipVorlax 02:23, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I think i did that prematurly a bit because reading the page on Meta i can already state that the Official GW wiki can't change license since they are not using the "later version" clause.
If that is the final conclusion, fr.guildwars will need to stay in GFDL. Unless the fact that they dont use the later version clause mean wen already are unable to get content from them. In wich case, many pages of fr.guildwars will have to be deleted until someone would be able to write something from fresh.
TulipVorlax 03:06, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for all your comments. It looks like fr.guildwars will be a good example of a wiki that has a reason to stick with its current license then. Angela (talk) 12:25, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I just noticed that if you click edit on GuildWiki, you see this message, so the wiki is 1.2 or later. Angela (talk) 14:50, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to insert this here, but they just changed it to that. And by the way, that wiki is not GuildWiki; it's the Official Guild Wars wiki. — TulipVorlax 08:23, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I would certainly love to see some of the wikis I'm working on migrate to CC-by-sa 3.0. For example, having Tesfanon switch to CC-by-sa would make Tesfanon material compatible with Elder Scrolls wikis outside of Wikia, including UESP. --Michaeldsuarez (Talk) (Deeds) 15:48, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree with being compatible with Wikimedia, but what are the sites that use CC-by-SA that Wikimedia would benefit from sharing with? From what I've seen, the only other easily-noticeable difference is how much of the license text itself must be shown by the site using it. Master_Conjurer 00:36, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't have any list of them, but my general feeling looking around at other wikis is that cc-by-sa is quite common. The one that Michael mentioned above is one example. WikiTravel is another. Wikimedia's own Wikinews project has always been CC (cc-by rather than by-sa). Related projects such as Open Street Map are also CC. For images, looking at either Flickr or Wikimedia Commons, there are millions of images under the relevant Creative Commons licenses. Angela (talk) 05:46, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
And Referata, "a site for wiki databases ... offers hosting of semantic wikis". — Robin Patterson (Talk) 13:11, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Works for me, then. If there isn't much difference and CC is used more, the one-time switch sounds like quite the opportunity. Will there be an immediate switch of all the Wikia wikis, or will the contributors themselves have to rewrite project and MediaWiki pages? Master_Conjurer 06:38, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
If it looks like most wikis will be happy to switch, then some of it can be automated. There may be small amounts of cleanup work to do in terms of searching for mentions of GFDL on pages other than project:copyrights. Angela (talk) 13:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Giving the short amount of time all wikia wikia have, wouldn't it be best to use the wikia wide talk page message and inform of this, as this will inform more people and will surely get more input here on wikis that can't change or issues with the change--Cizagna (Talk) Dofus » 08:05, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
At the moment, I'm just looking for a few opinions to get the general feeling of what people think about it. If such a change was made, then we'd need to think about wider communication, processes for opting in or out, etc. I'd like to see the outcome of the vote that Wikimedia are holding before doing much else. Angela (talk) 13:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
If you want to help me figure out if the official GW wiki will eventually change to CC, then you can take a look at this. Thanks. — TulipVorlax 08:34, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I strongly support migrating any wiki's license away from GFDL and to a Creative Commons license. Powers 17:47, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Strong support. Wikipedia was long overdue for this, and it makes even more sense for Wikia. --Piotrus 22:24, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
  • WikiFur is unanimously in favour of dual-licensing so far. CC-BY-SA is far more usable in practice, but it's good to have flexibility for those who are still using the GFDL to use our work. --GreenReaper(talk) 20:51, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Will the whole wiki be dual, or will vary per page? Is there any need for that wiki to consider the difficulties they'll have in re-using content from other sites if they can only take content that is already under both GFDL and CC or does that not happen often enough to be a cause for concern? Angela (talk) 08:38, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
      • The whole WikiFur federation will be dual-licensed. Import of content under license does not occur sufficiently for it to be an issue - our content is close to 100% self-written currently, and I don't expect that to change; we're switching mostly so others can use it more easily. I've had a talk with our confederated sites and they're all for it as well. --GreenReaper(talk) 01:51, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

I would like to move Accountability over. Also, Wikia hosts several wikis which are inactive, with no community to decide this issue; some of these are listed on my userpage, and they now include Javascript. As the dual license seems to be a better deal in general, I propose that all inactive wikis be moved by default. --Jesdisciple (talk) 18:11, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Cost benefit if WP does not switch

If Wikipedia does not switch to duel licensing, but a Wikia wiki switches to CC-BY-SA, that would mean the wiki will not be able to import Wikipedia articles in the future correct? -Afker All hail AliceSoft! 04:49, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

I think the only point of Wikia switching would be to match Wikimedia, so probably not. If WP didn't switch, I would assume that we wouldn't, either. Master_Conjurer 04:54, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Some wikis don't need or want content from Wikimedia projects. Uncyclopedia has a Creative Commons license despite the fact that it's a parody of Wikipedia. There is also Creative Commons sources outside of Wikimedia to import from. Maybe some wikis should be given a choice? --Michaeldsuarez (Talk) (Deeds) 11:56, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree about given choice. But I also care about the choice being educated. I think for the majority of casual wiki founders (by casual here I mean they don't have "creating new wikis" as a dedicated hobby that they become experts in) might only be able to think of Wikipedia as the main source to import from. If my stated understanding above was correct (if WP doesn't switch, a switched Wikia wiki won't be able to import from WP anymore), then to the decision makers it becomes important for them to at least have a good understanding of what BY-CC-SA sources with potential stuff are out there for them to re-use. Reading about the proposal for WP to switch only tells me that CC-BY-SA sources exist out there somewhere (if you don't count media, in which case I know flickre has a lot), but I'm not quite sure where to start looking for those sources, especially sources relevant to my topic. Is Google the only thing I can utilize to educate myself to make the cost/benefit analysis? I don't imagine a search on "(topic keyword) CC-BY-SA" would actually turn up useful results. -Afker All hail AliceSoft! 19:22, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
If Wikipedia does not switch, then I would not pursue relicensing on Wikia on a large scale, but we've always accepted the need for some wikis to be under other licenses, so it would be possible for individual wikis to switch if they wanted to. It does mean they would no longer be able to share content with Wikipedia and they'd need to make sure their users understood that since many assume you can.
An educated choice would be great, but I'm also a little realistic that for most people this whole topic is legal boringness that they just don't care about!
For finding CC content, try Creative Commons search which includes results from a few places including Yahoo CC search and Google CC search. Angela (talk) 22:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I know that some wikis, like Forgotten Realms Wiki, have had an influx of editors (partly due to the anti-fiction deltionists on Wikipedia attacking D&D articles). That project, and probably some other similar projects that are creating encyclopedic content about stuff that is less detailed on Wikipedia have imported quite a bit of Wikipedia material. So if Wikia switched, but Wikipedia didn't, it would possibly cause a lot of problems with them having to police their own wiki to prevent future 'Wikipedia imports'.
I run the Spelljammer Wiki and fortunately (or unfortunately) Wikipedia's coverage of SJ material is so poor that I don't need to worry about that.
The CC licence does seem to be a much better licence than the one that Wikipedia uses. But with the CC licence coming in several flavors, I think that Wikia will need to create a very good FAQ to explain what licence is going to be attached to new Wikia wikis.
One thing that concerns me, as someone on a wiki about Wizards of the Coast's IP (i.e. Spelljammer) is that I don't want the new licence to appear to be some sort of challange to WotC's ownership of Spelljammer. (I think the same issue applies to most, if not all, of the fan-wikis.) If Wikia's lawyers think the CC licence is ok from that point of view, I'd be willing to push for a licence switch on my own wiki. I'd be very happy to relicence all my own edits under the new licence. (And as it is curretly very quiet, I don't think anyone would object. If they did, my wiki is small enough that I could afforde to delete a few pages and then rewrite them from scratch.) David Shepheard 18:17, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
The license does not change the ownership at all. If you're concerned that Spelljammer might be worried, it could be good to add a disclaimer that explains that they own whatever they own and that it's only the original creations on the wiki that are available under a free license. Angela (talk) 08:38, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
An excellent plan with only one minor fault. Currenlty every page of my wiki has a page that links directly to GNU FDL but there does not seem to be a way to intercept this with a 'we do not claim ownership of this stuff' page. I have already put a 'Spelljammer is not abandonware' warning on my wiki, but it would be nice if the warning could be more global. There are plenty of other wikis that are enclopedias of someone else's work, so it might be worth exploring a way to insert a wiki-wide link to an internal 'Copyright' page instead of a wiki-wide link directly to the CC by SA page. For most wikis that could default to saying: 'this wiki is released under the CC by SA licence' but for wikis that are written about someone else's stuff, they could have a preceeding message that states that A, B and C are the property of company X. It might also stop someone's lawyers from coming after Wikia. David Shepheard 18:50, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Why not link to Project:Copyrights instead of the GFDL, then link to CC-BY-SA and GFDL from there? --Jesdisciple (talk) 19:17, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
I think that is a great idea. David Shepheard 19:56, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. That's easily set for wikis that have Project:Copyrights filled in (different pages are used for non-English-language wikis). I've just looked into the different settings. They include the icon (in monobook), the URL that icon goes to, the text in the footer (in monaco), the URL that footer text goes to, the text under the edit box, and the URL that text goes to. Angela (talk) 07:34, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
In monobook many wikis use(d) the MediaWiki:Lastmodified to put such copywriter issues, since the appearing of slater I inform/commented/complain (at the mail list) that I could not see the msg and I guess i was disregard... since then i started paying less attention to copywriter issues unless we got complains for removal of something. Later on I decide to remove it as Monobook only see it register users and not IP users --Cizagna (Talk) Dofus » 20:20, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
The Project:Copyrights could be in a different location. This is controlled in MediaWiki:Copyrightpage --Ciencia Al Poder (talk) -WikiDex 18:18, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the one linked from the edit page is controlled by that. The one linked in the footer is controlled by $wgRightsPage. So potentially, you can have 2 different pages, but they should probably be set to the same thing. Angela (talk) 04:14, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

The Procedure

What is the procedure for moving a wiki over? Is all (most/some/any) of Wikia going to change together, or should it be done by each wikia wiki by themselves? I suppose what I'm asking is: Should I start a "We're voting to change the license!" page on the Warhammer 40,000 wiki, or should I wait for all of Wikia? --Falcorian (talk) 05:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC) --Cizagna (Talk) Dofus » 20:49, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
You could simply have stated wait two days. I suppose that's what I have to do then. --Falcorian (talk) 01:37, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Im pointing information that is located at the very top, and "no" i can not tell you that because it says "in june" not what day --Cizagna (Talk) Dofus » 04:39, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Shouldn't we start earlier? Isn't August the deadline? We may run out of time. --Michaeldsuarez (Talk) (Deeds) 14:14, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

I can only talk of wikia i've started :
  • fr.guildwars.wikia : stay in GFDL.
  • fr.3d.wikia : can move.
  • fractal.wikia : can move.
There's another wiki where i have sysop rights; roseonline.wikia, and i think it can switch too. — TulipVorlax 18:15, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
Without even going to discussion I know the Narutopedia and Soul Eater wiki would be in favor of the switch. Both wiki go for heavy Wikipedia compatibility, and whether it's fortunate or unfortunate normally everyone just opts to defer to my rationales when it comes to complex technical and legal stuff like this. I can still make notes of course. What I'm concerned about is new wiki, I just started Animanga Wiki and it's got the default GFDL right now. At the moment it's not a problem, since I'm the only one that put anything on the wiki and the only copied stuff is from the Narutopedia there wouldn't be an issue moving. But it would be a problem for newer wiki that don't have the option chose the CC license when they start and end up stuck on GFDL when others move. ~NOTASTAFF Daniel Friesen (DanTMan, Nadir Seen Fire) (talk) (tricks) (current topic) May 31, 2009 @ 19:54 (UTC)
There's a new page at m:Licensing update/Implementation saying that Wikipedia plans to make the switch next Monday (June 15th). In view of that, I'm going to post more on this next week, with details of how to opt out etc, and a plan of how the change will be made. If anyone's in a hurry to change earlier, just drop me an email and I can make the change for you. Angela (talk) 21:50, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm discussing this with the various animanga communities at w:c:animanga:Forum:Animanga wiki on Wikia and the licensing update. ~NOTASTAFF Daniel Friesen (DanTMan, Nadir Seen Fire) (talk) (tricks) (current topic) Jun 11, 2009 @ 04:38 (UTC)

New discussion

Please see Forum:Licensing update June 19, 2009. Angela (talk)