Applicable law

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Noto Emoji Pie 1f4c4.svg (English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.

The Terms of Use say that you must comply with applicable law. That means that you must comply with all laws that apply to what may be done with respect to the Wikimedia Foundation and all laws that apply to you personally.

It may sometimes seem that if no one has told you of a law then you do not have to do anything regarding that law. That is usually not the case. The law exists whether anyone told you of it or not. Rights and obligations exist even without notice.

Laws of the United States of America apply to the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Meta and its other projects. As a result, the Wikimedia Foundation must insist that all users comply with U.S. laws. In addition, state and local laws may apply where a Wikimedia server or other Wikimedia nexus is found.

Which laws apply to you personally depends on the nation or nations of which you are a citizen or national[1] or in which you are present, and you may be considered present even if not physically present. If you are only a U.S. national present exclusively in the U.S., then you must comply with U.S. laws. Otherwise, you must comply with both U.S. laws and the laws of whichever nation apply to you.

The Wikimedia Foundation does not provide legal advice or representation. If you want help figuring out which laws apply to you, then you should seek competent legal advice, and not at Foundation expense.

See also[edit]


  1. At least in the U.S., a citizen is always a national, but not all nationals are citizens. Thus, national is the more inclusive term.