Many Wikimedia contributors grapple with legal issues in their work on various projects. Wikilegal is a site for the community to engage in a discourse on these matters. These posts are not intended as legal advice (see above disclaimer), but they are an opportunity for inquiry and discussion. Topics in nearly all areas of the law are relevant to our projects – ranging from copyright and privacy law to organization governance and new legislation. Wikilegal currently includes specific legal inquiries into developments that could affect Wikimedia projects and users. These posts may highlight some interesting, and even obscure, legal issues. For example, the possible copyright status of screenshots containing copyrighted images, like many legal questions, is ambiguous and calls for community input.
Through user contributions and continual peer-editing – the wiki way – we hope that Wikilegal will become a tool born of the same collaborative process as Wikimedia’s other projects. As shown by the many well-researched responses and questions we have received on posts in the past, we are confident the community is a rich source for a deeper understanding of these topics.
Note - This Is Not Legal Advice:
- The pages listed below may not be accurate, and may fall out of date over time.
- These pages are not legal advice or a representation of the viewpoints of the Wikimedia Foundation.
- The legal team can only represent the Wikimedia Foundation on legal matters, so these pages are not official advice to the community.
- The legal team cannot provide consultations, and contacting the legal team does not create any confidential relationship.
- This page is not intended to address a specific factual situation.
For more information on this disclaimer, see here.
- UMG v. Veoh, posted March 30, 2012. In 2009, in a suit brought by Universal Music Group alleging contributory and vicarious copyright infringement, the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment for defendant Veoh, a website that allows users to upload and share videos, finding that defendant was shielded by the DMCA safe harbor provision. In 2011, the Ninth Circuit affirmed.
- SABAM v. Netlog, posted May 2, 2012. In February, 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that social networks and other web hosting providers cannot be required to monitor and filter activities that occur on their sites to prevent copyright infringement.
- Flava Works, Inc. v. Gunter, posted January 31, 2013. In August 2012, the Seventh Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction against a social-bookmarking service, myVidster.com, finding that myVidster was not liable for contributory copyright infringement simply by permitting its users to post links to videos hosted on third party websites, some of which may have been the copyrighted works of video producer, Flava Works, Inc.
- UMG Recordings v. Escape Media Group, posted September 26, 2013. The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, held that 17 U.S.C. § 512 does not apply to sound recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972 for the reason that such sound recordings are expressly exempted from the federal copyright scheme, thusly service providers may not avail themselves of the DMCA's safe harbor provision for user uploads of sound recordings fixed prior to that date.
- Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement ("ACTA")
- Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act ("OPEN")
- Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act ("CISPA")
- CC BY-SA on Facebook
- Copyright of X-Ray Images
- The 9th Circuit and Works Published Without Formalities
- Copyright of Images of Memorials in the US
- Copyright of Images in German Postage Stamps
- Sweat of the Brow
- Copyright for Google Translations
- Copyright Status Of Images Hosted On U.S. Government Websites
- Linking: Some Legal Considerations
- Section 2257 Record-keeping Requirements
- Removal of Photos of Minors on Wikimedia Commons
- MIDI Files and Derivative Works on Wikimedia Commons
- Copyright status of a screenshot that contains copyrighted images
- Summary of restored copyright under the URAA
- Copyright and close paraphrasing
- Copyright and NASA images
- Copyright status of works originating from countries without copyright relations with the U.S.
- Copyright and Pictorial Representations of Architectural Works
- Copyright status of flags and logos from international organizations
- Background on the moral right of integrity
- Copyright status of utility items
- Copyright threshold of originality for logos
- Turkish Wikipedia and Non-Free Content
- Database Rights