Technology

Wikipedia wants big tech to pay for using its content


The foundation clarified that while the enterprise API is selling the service of this new method of access, it does not stop anyone from using the existing free methods of access.

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Wikimedia foundation, the non-profit that runs Wikipedia, said it will launch a paid service for high volume commercial re-users of its content. The service has been designed for companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, commonly referred to as “Big Tech”.

The foundation said on its page there won’t be an exclusive contract or content, and that the product will help provide smaller for-profit organizations to have a “more level playing field” to benefit from the use of Wikimedia’s content on their platforms.

The newly designed API is said to be an opt-in product for firms. Wikimedia will package existing publicly-available data from its projects and make commercial companies reuse them on their services. It is a new method of delivering content at a volume and speed designed specifically for major for-profit organisations that are using Wikimedia content commercially.

The foundation clarified that while the enterprise API is selling the service of this new method of access, it does not stop anyone from using the existing free methods of access.

Wikimedia noted that its content is often used by commercial organisations that rely on it to support their business models and earn revenue from it. Each of these large companies independently re-builds Wikimedia project data internally to address their very similar use cases, it added.

“This significant investment is not only duplicated effort, but also represents resources spent within each company rather than in support of the free knowledge ecosystem,” Wikimedia said.

The foundation wants to eliminate the system where software development needs of some of the world’s largest commercial organisations are met with donor money.

It is still working on determining the costs of the API by exploring factors such as the volume of content reuse to determine the appropriate cost for each customer.

As government around the world are brainstorming ways to build a financially sustainable model while working with Big Tech, Wikimedia believes enterprise API creates a way for those for-profit organisations that have built business models from the use of freely-available Wikimedia content to also invest in the Wikimedia movement in a reliable and ongoing manner.

With Wikimedia Enterprise, the foundation wants to create a new revenue stream and improve the content available to readers. It clarified that the revenue stream is an added source of revenue and the foundation will continue to rely on donors for funding.

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