The Wikimedia Foundation, a nonprofit, has introduced a new product called Wikimedia Enterprise. The Wikimedia Enterprise product “provides paid developer tools and services that make it easier for companies and organizations to consume and re-use Wikimedia data.” It will be released “later in 2021.” Companies and organizations that want to find out more about this new product can do so by filling out a short form on the Wikimedia Enterprise website.
Wired reported that Wikipedia “is seeking to re-balance its relationships with Google and the big tech firms like Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, whose platforms and virtual assistants lean on Wikipedia as a cost-free virtual crib sheet.” To me, it seems fair for Wikimedia Foundation to charge big tech companies for use of the vast amount of information that can be found on Wikipedia.
As you may have expected, there is an official Wikimedia Enterprise/Essay on the Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. It includes the following information:
…As a result, our content is often repurposed by commercial organizations that rely on it to support their business models, and which consequently earn revenue from it. Outside of voluntary corporate donations to the Wikimedia Foundation, the movement has never received benefits from any of its revenue through return investment….
Wikimedia Enterprise is being developed as a resource aimed at commercial users “who have product, service, and system requirements that go beyond” what Wikimedia freely provides. “All Enterprise API revenue will unequivocally be used to support the Wikimedia mission – for example, to fund Wikimedia programs or help grow the Wikimedia Endowment.”
As far as I can tell, Wikimedia Foundation intends to keep the majority of its services free for everyone to use. The Wikimedia Enterprise Essay states: “… The ability to freely access the knowledge available across all Wikimedia projects has always been core to the mission of the Foundation and the movement.” The only group that may soon have to pay to use Wikimedia Foundation’s products and services are big companies that have been using it for free for years.