Press Release (2015-10-17)
Free and Open Works Wiki Presented to the World
17 October 2015
The Free and Open Works wiki was announced to the public on the morning of Saturday, the 17th of October 2015. The wiki is a catalogue of works, collections, people and organisations associated with free culture, open knowledge, Creative Commons and open access. As a wiki, it will never be "complete", but it is now in a state where the public can read it - and contribute to it.
The term "free and open" denotes that a thing is able to be shared and adapted by any person for any purpose, free from technical or legal restrictions. While most famously used to describe free and open source software, it is increasingly common to find free and open government data, art, academic journals, music and literature. The wiki covers free and open knowledge and culture in all its forms, from the children's picturebook Stick's Masterpiece to the Australian Census 2011.
Users are encouraged to create and edit entries to add to the catalogue, and can do so using forms that guide the user through the process. The wiki also has a mentoring program, where unsure or beginner users can be put in touch with a more experienced editor.
The wiki builds upon the work already done on the FOSsil Bank, a Wikidot site. The FOSsil Bank ran between 2010 and 2015, and all of its thousands of entries have been reproduced in the Free and Open Works wiki. New, user-friendly forms, better metadata and more sophisticated search options are benefits of the new platform, which runs on Semantic Mediawiki. Unlike Wikidot, Semantic Mediawiki is entirely free and open source software, so the new wiki is true to its professed values.
As demonstrated by its name, the wiki is proudly part of the free culture and open knowledge movements, and is committed to a world where artificial scarcity - in the form of copyright restrictions - is replaced by abundance and openness. The wiki does have entries for some non-free and non-open works, where those works are "some rights reserved". These works represent a stepping back from the blinkered "all rights reserved" approach of conventional copyright law, and hopefully positive experiences with no-commercial-use and no-derivatives licences will encourage creators and copyright holders to adopt truly free and open licensing in the future.
Although ready to be announced to the public, the wiki is not complete - nor will it ever be. The more that users contribute, the deeper, broader and richer it will become. It is our hope that the wiki will serve as a useful resource for many years by bringing to prominence the many excellent free and open songs, audiobooks, academic papers, movies, short stories, boardgames and other works that have been created in many of the world's languages.
For any inquiries, please contact the wiki's spokesperson, Chris Sakkas at email@example.com.