Tuesday, May 01, 2012

If it is about getting the message out ...

The blog post about  #FarmAfripedia got quite a lot of attention. It was republished at the Kabissa blog giving it more exposure in Africa. It was commented on in several places. Sadly the most relevant message is that it will be almost impossible for FarmAfripedia and Wikipedia to cooperate.

The problem is with copyright and licensing. The use of the information on FarmAfripedia is restricted  by the CC by-nc-sa license. The Wikimedia Foundation projects are available under a CC by-sa license, this does allow for commercial use. The WMF rationale is that the information it is the custodian of to as many people as possible. This is why commercial use is allowed, this is why we cooperate with telephone companies to make our content available free of charge on mobile telephones in our Wikipedia Zero projects.

FarmAfripedia uses the CC-by-nc-sa license because it makes it easier to use material from the United Nations. The aim of the UN is very much to get its message out. Using a license that prevents cooperation and re-use down stream is clearly not in its interest.

There is no right or wrong. It is only a sad realisation that incompatible licenses prevent the kind of cooperation that is in the best interest of everybody involved. FarmAfripedia may reconsider its licensing, the UN may reconsider its licensing but for the WMF it is all about getting the message out as widely as possible.
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