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Monday, August 27, 2007


Wiki comes to the Philippines

Bringing along ‘copyleft’ IPR model popularized by Wikipedia

By Ike Suarez, Tech Times Contributor

WikiPilipinas, an online encyclopedia of Philippine-related content has launched on the Internet, wherein any user can freely copy, use, and distribute these contents, even as registered users can edit them and upload new articles on the website.

Its publisher Gaspar Vibal, a balikbayan from New York City and scion of a family long-established in the Philippine book publishing and commercial printing industry, formally announced WikiPilipinas at a recent press briefing in Makati City.

Vibal told reporters he had patterned WikiPilinas after the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, whose copyleft intellectual property rights (IPR) model is now threatening the financial viability of traditional encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica and Groliers.

Copyleft refers to the IPR concept that enables users to freely copy, modify, and distribute various intellectual properties as long as there has been proper attribution to their source. Some variants of this concept allow commercialization of such copied and modified intellectual properties subject to certain conditions.

Vibal added that while inspired by the Wikipedia concept, he had improved on it by putting in additional features to the WikiPilipinas. Among these were an almanac of lists, a Yahoo-style directory of top Philippine knowledge portals, and community portals specifically targeted for underserved Philippine communities such as Tsinoys, Kapampangans and Fil-Americans.

Among WikiPilipinas’ knowledge portals are people and society, culture and arts, media and entertainment, sports and leisure, history, economy and business, government and politics, geography and travel, religion and beliefs, science and technology, Philippine communities, and Philippine Internet directory.

Vibal stated that WikiPilipinas has targeted 100,000 articles uploaded into it by the end of the year. It currently has 33,000 articles.

He said the target was in line with its vision to join the ranks of the world’s top 10 Wiki portals made up of the English, French, Chinese, Dutch, Spanish, German, Polish, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish wikis.

Replying to a question by Tech Times, Vibal said WikiPilinas is not intended to earn a profit even if its bricks-and-mortars address shares that of the Vibal Publishing House offices and printing press in Quezon City.

But cornered by Tech Times immediately after the briefing, he admitted there might be a way to make money out of it in the future. What the revenue models would be he still did not know, according to him.

At the briefing, he said WikiPilipinas is a Vibal Publishing House project that seeks to thank the Filipino people for their decades-long patronage of its published textbooks and commercial printing services.

Vibal said that the WikiPilipinas server on which its contents are hosted is managed by VConnect, a Philippine data center services provider. He told Tech Times immediately after the briefing that the online encyclopedia’s contents would soon be mirror-sited abroad.

He further told Tech Times that he would also launch in the near future another project, the uploading into the Internet of Philippine-related digital audio files.



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