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Welcome to view an exercise of the many possibilities of remixing content in Wikidocumentaries and how to license them!

What is this?

What is Wikidocumentaries?

Wikidocumentaries is a maker space for citizen historians. It collects data and content from openly licensed outlets around the world about any topic – people, places, buildings, events and more. The topics cover everything that Wikipedia does, and it is possible to add even more personal, local, or generally less recognized historical topics to Wikidocumentaries.

Wikidocumentaries is made not only for exploring but for reusing the materials that are found with it. It will be possible to annotate, correct data, locate and identify, or use the materials as part of further works. Wikidocumentaries will provide functions and tools for this work.

What is this page?

This is an overview of licensing issues related to existing and imagined reuse opportunities provided by the site. This page is created as an exercise in the Creative Commons Certificates program, but it will remain as an overview and reference for guiding our reuse practices.

If you have ideas or questions related to this exercise, please add them to the talk page. (Unfortunately joining the wiki is still a bit of a pain, but please give it a try! You can also mail or use any of the other comms methods mentioned in the menu at the bottom of the page.)

Finding out which works can be remixed together

In order to specify which works can be used in each kind of reuse scenario, we must be clear on the concepts affecting copyright and licensing.

  1. What is our collection and what kind of licensing conditions do we have there?
  2. Which CC license conditions can be used together in a remix?
  3. When is reuse a remix and when only a collection/compilation?
  4. Analysis of different reuse scenarios

Our collection

Wikidocumentaries displays materials from several outlets. These outlets are content aggregators that gather and display material from other organisations. All the source images have their individual copyright status and licenses. Currently Wikidocumentaries only reads media that is compatible with Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA or more open). With more detailed control we could display more content but limit reuse of the content if the licenses do not allow that.

Media is currently read from the following services

  • Finna, the Finnish content aggregator for museums, archives, and libraries. Includes PD, CC-licensed media, and copyrighted media. Media is hosted at the source organizations.
  • Wikimedia Commons: Images, maps. Includes PD and CC-licensed media.
  • Creative Commons Search: Images. Includes PD and CC-licensed media.
  • Europeana: Images. Includes PD, CC-licensed media, and copyrighted media. Media is hosted at the source organisations.
  • Flickr: Images. Includes PD, CC-licensed and copyrighted media.

More content in the future

Storing and reading user-contributed images

The core of Wikidocumentaries is to facilitate weaving personal, less-recognized or local materials into the big data fabric. In order to do so, we need to solve in which services to direct the users to store their materials and how to make them recognizable for reading into Wikidocumentaries. Such services include local history projects such as the Topotheques, or a global service such as Internet Archive, or commercial services like Google Photos. All of them require the materials to be CC licensed in order to make them available for remix at Wikidocumentaries.

Reading more material types

There are many exciting media sources available for reuse, such as newspaper archives, sound libraries, video and film archives, bibliographic resources, full-text literary works, historical maps, data repositories with or without linked data to name a few. Any of them can be used to discovering ever more material and to provide more chances for remixing the works.

Image examples

Which CC license conditions can be used together in a remix?

This table shows which license condition are compatible with each other when creating remixes and which are the recommended licenses for the adaptations, also called the Adapter's license. The ShareAlike condition makes the choice mandatory while in other cases it is a minimum restriction and will ease the reuse for downstream users.

Public Domain: PD, CC0 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe noframe NO NO
BY 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe noframe NO NO
BY-SA 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe NO NO NO NO
NC BY-NC 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe NO 20x20px noframe 20x20px noframe noframe NO NO
NC BY-NC-SA 20x20px noframe noframe 20x20px noframe noframe NO 20x20px noframe noframe 20x20px noframe noframe NO NO

When is reuse a remix and when only a collection/compilation?


Derivative work/adaptation/remix

A derivative work – it can also be called an adaptation or a remix – is created when one or more works are altered in a way that creates a new copyrightable work.

Derivative works are created for example when works are translated, or adapted from one medium to the other, like creating a film out of a book.

In order for the resulting work to be protected by copyright, a level of originality must be presented, and the level varies by jurisdiction.

Alterations that produce an adaptation

  • Cropping
  • Color correcting
  • Translating
  • Adapting for another medium
  • Syncing a musical work with a moving image is an adaptation regardless of what applicable copyright law may otherwise provide.
  • The data about the media, the metadata, cannot be transformed either unless the license of the image allows. Many aggregators now require that the metadata of their partnering institutions must be in CC0 to allow the aggregators to clean, format and enrich the metadata without additional permissions.
Creative Commons license considerations
  • The Creative Commons 4.0 license condition ND (NoDerivatives) prohibits sharing derivatives of a work. It is still possible to create them, as long as they are not shared.
  • CC0 license for the metadata makes it easier to combine media metadata.
Wikidocumentaries reuse scenarios that create adaptations
  • Postcard scenario
  • Warping maps
  • Translating articles

Not an adaptation, free to share

The reuse is not considered an adaptation if the new work is not based on or derived from the original work.

  • Technical format-shifting (for example, converting a licensed work from a digital format to a physical copy)
  • Fixing minor problems with spelling or punctuation
  • Reproducing and putting works together into a collection/compilation
  • Including an image in connection with text, as in a blog post, a powerpoint, or an article

Part of a collection/compilation

In Wikidocumentaries we are interacting with several layers or collections. Images are released by museums, archives and libraries from their collections. They traverse through the collections of the aggregators and become part of different compilations on the Wikidocumentaries website.

None of these transitions changes the images or their copyright status. Wikidocumentaries displays the images along with the attribution to the original creators. Out of courtesy, Wikidocumentaries also displays the originating institution and the aggregator.

Creative Commons license considerations
  • It is not required to apply Creative Commons ShareAlike license to the resulting collection if SA-licensed works are used in it.
  • It is possible to use Creative Commons ND-licensed works in the resulting work and combine it with other works.
Wikidocumentaries reuse scenarios that don't create adaptations
  • Image collection
  • Saved search result display
  • Mapstory?

Displaying and distributing

Displaying aggregated images of a topic

Images are searched from several open repositories based data that is known about the topic. The images are displayed in a grid on the topic page with metadata provided by the source service.

  • Sources: Several media repositories. Search is made via the APIs, and results are limited to Public Domain or CC-licensed images. See the live page for attributions
  • Is this a remix or not? Not a remix. The original images are not altered – it is possible to display images licensed with ND and NC licenses and share them.
  • Allowed license conditions: 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px + unknown, if PD status can be derived from metadata.
  • Not allowed: 20x20px + unknown status
  • More info: See the Images page to learn more about this feature
Viewing image metadata

Every image can be opened in a viewer window that also displays all metadata. The original metadata is mapped to Wikidocumentaries data properties, and therefore it is altered.

  • Sources: Image and metadata from one external source, in this case Wikimedia Commons. Source file. Access Image viewer by clicking on any image on Wikidocumentaries Images.
  • Is this a remix or not? For the images, it is not an adaptation, but for the metadata it is.
  • Allowed license conditions: 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px + unknown, if PD status can be derived from metadata.
  • Not allowed: 20x20px + unknown status. If the metadata is not CC0, the 20x20px images cannot be included, as their metadata is altered.
  • See the image viewer page to learn more about this feature
Topic components

Wikidocumentaries topic pages are composed of components that display data about the topic. One displays people related to the topic while another displays works depicting the topic. The components can be viewed in different ways: visual gallery and list views are currently available, timeline and map views will be created. The data and the resulting imagery in the components can be filtered, faceted and sorted (although not yet).

  • Sources: Currently, the topic components display data from Wikidata (CC0), illustrated with images from Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA or more open), which makes them unproblematic to create. In the future other sources could be used as well. What are the requirements for licensing?
  • Is this a remix or not? Data is mashed up with other data, so datawise it is a remix. The data license must allow this. In parts of the world databases are not protected, but in the EU they are. Although datasets can now be licensed with CC4 licenses, they still require attribution, which is difficult to provide in this kind of mashups. Therefore the CC0 waiver is the best option for data to be used. Images are displayed with text, icons and shading on top. This is not enough to produce a remix.
  • Allowed license conditions for images: 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px 20x20px + unknown, if PD status can be derived from metadata.
  • Allowed license conditions for data: 20x20px 20x20px + data sources in jurisdictions that do not protect data.
  • Future scenario: Data from different components can be displayed together on a map or a timeline or a combination of them. The configuration of these elements can be saved, and the resulting graphic can be exported.
Search newspaper articles (concept)

The users will be able to search, clip and display newspaper articles related to the topic. The result will be a collection of transcribed clippings.

Enriching metadata

Adding or changing the location an image was shot in

Image locations can be specified with a geolocating tool that is based on the NYPL Space/Time Surveyor. The image remains unchanged, but the enriched data is created and saved in Wikidocumentaries. I assume this would constitute an adaptation of the metadata. If metadata is separately licensed (preferably with CC0), this is possible under ND. But if ND covers also metadata (is not separately licensed), I assume the work becomes an adaptation. I hope I'm wrong.

Editing and creating structured metadata

The metadata originating from the institutions can be turned into structured data. The images remain unchanged, but the metadata is transformed. It follows the same pattern as the above example.

Curating images

Another way of enriching image metadata is by adding and removing them from collections.

  • Source:
  • Is this a remix or not?
  • Allowed license conditions:
  • Not allowed:
  • More info: See Images page

Creating new works based on other works

Postcard scenario

This tool does not exist yet, but could be created. The user can pick any image and create a postcard of it by cropping the image, altering the colors, adding text and graphics on top. Graphic styles can imitate styles digitized from material shared on the platform.

  • Which copyright statuses, exceptions or licenses are good for the postcard images?
  • Is there a difference if the user only creates the postcard, prints it out for herself, or saves it in the system for others to further modify and make use of?
  • What is the classification of a digitized/extracted graphic style? Is it a derivative or an independent work?

We are currently looking into experimenting with mapstories. They are narratives that combine still images, text, map views, audio and video. Each frame includes a combination of several mediatypes, and the frames can be arranged to different compositions: slideshow-like, webpage-like, or map-like and played automatically or by user interaction. The materials can be arranged on a timeline. Are the mapstories remixes or collections? My interpretation is that although most of the work could be considered a collection, it becomes an adaptation when media is arranged and synced on a timeline.

Rectifying maps

The user can pick any scanned map found via Wikidocumentaries and rectify it. The process produces a distorted map image that aligns with a digital world map and can be used as a layer on top of it. The resulting ground control points can be saved and used to distort the original map again, also in another environment.

  • If the distorted map is not saved, only the resulting ground control points, can a ND license be used?
Translating articles

Currently all articles are from Wikipedia, but we want to allow writing articles in the local wiki as well. Wikipedia articles can be translated with Content Translation tool between any Wikipedia languages. This would be desirable for Wikidocumentaries articles as well. A precondition is that the articles are licensed permissively enough for that.

Wikidocumentaries licensing

Wikidocumentaries itself is a collection that brings together content and tools. Each of the components has their own copyright status, and Wikidocumentaries service has its own. So do the user contributions on the site.

Wikidocumentaries service

Wikidocumentaries license is CC BY 4.0, which covers for example the layouts and the original texts.

User contributions

All user contributions that are considered data, will be licensed with CC0. Default license for remixes will be CC BY 4.0, but the user may also choose CC0.


The user interface translations are created in and licensed CC BY 3.0.

Source code

The source code of the user interface is licensed with GNU General Public License.

Creative Commons licenses display

Creative Commons licenses are displayed in varied ways in the source media outlets. The Creative Commons own documentation materials can be used to add the rights links and displays.


  • In order to ensure the compatibility of the source materials for remix, they should be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons before they can be remixed.
  • There should be a similar normalizing process for user-contributed materials that fall outside the project scope of Wikimedia Commons.
  • It would be useful to display media with restrictive licensing to a certain extent. It would help discovery of materials and give the opportunity to work with their rights holders to consider more open licenses. The media may also be falsely restricted or licensed, and displaying them would allow identifying that. Media with restricting licensing conditions could only be viewed, not remixed.


See the About page for copyright information.


About Technology Design Content modules Tool pages Projects

Wikidocumentaries blog

Wikidocumentaries demo

Phabricator project

Facebook group

GitHub repository

Translation in TranslateWiki

Wikidocumentaries Slack

Setting up dev environment




Using Wikibase

Federation with Wikidata



Media metadata

Properties to content

User registration


Page types

Landing page

Search page

Topic page

User page

Organisation page

Project page

Tool page



Main toolbar and footer



Topic page header

Content module




Active modules


Family tree


Historical map


Image viewer



Module ideas







Newspaper articles






Visual editor

Query tool


Open Refine

Creating topics

Uploading images

Geolocating tool

Metadata editor

Rectifying maps


Annotation tool

Central Park Archives

Convent Quarter