Jump to content

EU policy/Big Fat Brussels Meeting/minutes

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

Minutes of the first inaugural Brussels Meeting of the EU Policy Advocacy Group


present: User:Nicole Ebber (WMDE), User:Jan Engelmann (WMDE), User:Lilli Iliev (WMDE) User:Laurentius, User:Effeietsanders (Lodewijk), User:Theredmonkey (Nikolas), User:Lyzzy (Alice), User:Psychoslave (Mathieu), User:Dimi_z (Dimi), User:Romaine (WMNL), Siim Tuisk (WMEE), Joe McNamee (left 6.4. 12:00), Anna-Lena Schiller (facilitation)

6th of April


10:00 Walk-in and coffee; (discussion about ISO codes)

10:30 Welcome words, organisational details, (explaining Brussels-Bubble)

  • Jan welcomes everyone, thanks Dimi for organizing the meeting and Lodewijk for co-initiating the issue
  • Dimi gives a brief introduction to the "Brussels-Bubble" (how does Brussels work?)
  1. lobbying at Commission & Parliament: Brussels.
  2. lobbying at Council: national level. Different phases. a) consultation, b) proposal by commission, c) first reading, d) second reading. After first hearing it is hard to change stuff.

  • Dimi points out that it´s important to initiate this working group, --> when topics get public attention, the process (hearings etc.) is mostly done already and you can only be for/against --> we have to get active in advance
    • Some examples of newly developed crowd sourcing tools: "PiPhone" http://piphone.lqdn.fr, "LobbyPlag" http://www.lobbyplag.eu, "ParlTrack" http://parltrack.euwiki.org
      • Dimi: Lobbying has negative connotation, is paraphrased as advocacy etc. --> we aim to create new, transparent form of lobbying
        • Anna Lena introduces herself, her role as facilitator, documenter, neutral person; explains scheme of meeting for next two days, expectations, roles, rules
          • plan for day 1: Vision, policy issues, goals. plan for day 2: more practical, documentation
            • Jan introduces Joe --> CEO of European Digital Rights . He also explains that the timing of this meeting is not accidental, 2014 might be a decisive moment
  • Joe explains the direction of travel. Four pieces of legislation closely related to (c):
    • E-Commerce directive: introduced in 2000, grants all kind of exceptions regarding liability to the host of content online. The directive is vague, which means different implementations. In this context, more and more companies take 'voluntary actions' which are not obligated by law. Refinement on its way? Nonfree content industree expected to be opposed, unclear what it will lead to. Important because it determines who is responsible for the content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Commerce_Directive_(EU)
      • Infosoc 2001: There are two aspects. Includes exceptions and cascades into other dossiers. 14 exceptions in art. 5, many different ways to implement. Commission might consider reopening at some point in time. Important because it is the holy grail of harmonization of copyright in Europe. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Directive
        • IPR Enforcement Directive. Important because: Who is legally responsible for the content. Not directly important, but there is room for hurtful side effects. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enforcement_Directive
          • Child Protection (online) - privatised enforcement, not about legislation right now. Important because (not to us so much) of the side effects regarding upload control (self sensoring)

  • EU Data Protection http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Protection_Directive Important because it touches upon all services and service providers online.
    • Orphan works directive: works without known copyright owner. Main players are the publishers and libraries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphan_works#European_Union
      • Services Directive / CRM Directive: Currently states that internet service providers are not liable for their clients behaviour, thus have no incentive to spy on their behaviour. This is under attack by the content industry.
        • Clean IT; lobbying-power of content industry; things improved, meeting about this couldn´t happen 2 years ago; still problematic situation, opposing lobby/interest groups
          • talks about different copyright laws, exceptions in different EU-countries. Digiges and other externals try to create pressure on commission by pointing out contradictions in directives; topics: voluntary upload-filtering; three-strikes-system points out several examples of absurd ways of influence by lobbyists towards directives finishes with fragmented overview
            • la quadrature du net --> Alice asks about general necessity to cooperate with organisations in order to take influence (amongst industrial branches) --> depends, cooperations with non-contradicting groups can´t be harmful at least

  • Mathieu asks if we could launch a fundamental discussion about copyright.
    • Joe explains how the Term Extension for copyright came into existance. 3 EU Commission.-financed and initiated studies, basically saying that from an economical perspective it is not a good idea.
      • General strategy discussions: Written consultations are always good to reply. 1) they might actually want to know, 2) they might take some stats from it (x% said...) 3) they may need your support
        • "Licenses for Europe": thy shall not talk about the law. Joe questions how useful participating in this would actually be. http://ec.europa.eu/licences-for-europe-dialogue/en/content/about-site
          • How can we turn free knowledge into an economic asset story? There are no clear studies known that answer this. However, it is an important question to lobby effectively.

For further reading: http://www.edri.org/files/2012EDRiPapers/activist_guide_to_the_EU.pdf

12:00 Let's get to know each other! Participants present themselves and their topics of interest.

  • Lena starts introduction round, participants present their neighbours, point out their expectations --> several express their wish to produce specific outcomes

12:30 What do you expect from this work group? How can it help you? How do you imagine it happening?

  • Anna Lena presents structure for identifying needs, purposes, goals

  • Dimitar: Monitoring all the way to active representation in Brussels
    • Nicole: Agree upon the structure and main goals of the working group; transfer of outcomes & next steps to get more people on board
      • Jan: At least establish a system for group information --> agree on channeling/communication method; agree on concrete tasks for the next 6 months and produce visible outputs
        • Mathieu: Extending WM guidelines; feed them back into copyright lobbying; agree on what to do with freely licensed material; meet some folks
          • Alice: identify three focus points - what is worth to act upon; concrete 'To do' in 2013, think about representation, role and legitimation: how far can we go & do we want to go.
            • Nikolas: set up active working group; agree on next steps

  • Lodewijk: Timeline, not only for next 3 months, but for next 3 years; most wanted list --> policies we want to change the most
    • Lorenzo: Get a picture on the Eu situation, agree on next steps
      • Lilli: Self consideration as working group; agree on tasks and responsibilities
        • Romaine: Be active in the European Commission (Romaine for commissioner!) --> we should be part of the merry-go-round; have a permanent representation group. An office would be nice to have
          • Siim: Become proactive and unified; growing network; Beer ;)
            • Dimi: fries ;)
              • Nicole: chocolate ;)

How did the idea start? Whats the motivation for this meeting?

  • Lodewijk: opportunity in general, threats by side-effects of certain political decisions/ Wikimedia only organization that aims to give knowledge a voice; goal should be to make life easier for people who produce, aggregate, cultivate free knowledge
  • Jan: --> we need to identify "battlegrounds" here
    • Dimi: feeling of impotence (concerning influence of threatening political developments)
      • Alice: Decisions by clueless people can harm us. she points out potential impact that Wikimedia has and had in the past --> SOPA etc., we need to get more aware and "proud" of this
        • Siim: necessity to work together, unify and connect, use power of critical mass
          • Mathieu: getting overview about general structure of wikimedia universe
            • Niko: broaden the focus, consider threats to other free-knowledge-projects as relevant, too; defend them; not only focus on our internal topics/problems
              • Jan: Wikimedia is recognized as political player already, there IS an opportunity, we need to
                • Siim: "if libraries wouldn't exist, we wouldn't be able to invent them in todays political climate." --> storytelling important to the public, in order to raise enthusiasm for our goals

  • Need: --> me: frustration, feeling of impotence --> world: awareness raising, eliminate threats, --> WM: preventing project from being overruled
  • Purpose: opportunity to be heard, gather nucleus (EU-level), making life easier for knowledge-creators, story-telling, give knowledge a voice, combination of perspectives and asset

13:30 lunch break

14:30 Success stories and experiences on the national level. What can we learn?


Jan: tells story about successful lobbying --> German copyright reform was monitored and accompanied by Mathias, Nikolas and Jan for 4 years, after meeting with politician certain phrase in draft proposal was changed -->


  • lots of monitoring, little lobbying
  • explain possible outcomes, collateral damage to politicians
  • networking with journalists
  • old school methods not all wrong, mutual trust, lobbying requires digital AND physical presence

Lodewijk: after some pressuring, photos of politicians were published for Wikipedia, next governmental website published pictures under CC-3.0

--> doubts expressed by Alice and Niko --> argument gets lost when you agree on compromises


  • do not approach government only as a lawmaker, but also as an organization
  • compromises can sometimes be good for /can turn out to support the intended goal concerning free knowledge

Siim: charity was first considered when someone was poor or something, law suit by WMEE got right,... , sent a box of bananas to ministry as comparision with banana republic with a lot of media attention. --> story doesn't have to be dry.


  • fun&visual factor can take you a long way, vivid/illustrative way of expressing your issue can be very helpful
  • be present, speak peoplespeak. How is Regular Joe affected by this?
  • practice simple messaging, cultivate story-telling
  • people don´t care about issues, they care about people --> things that could get back to themselves
  • Mathieu: digitized book got transfered to Wikisource
  • share learnings!
  • Lodewijk suggests Wikipedian TED-talk about "Wikipedias legislation nightmares"

15:30 Proactive advocacy: Defending Free Knowledge is fine. But what would you want to achieve?



  • free access to government works, PD-GOV **
  • open access in science
  • liability
  • fair use
  • reproduction rights
  • digitalization of cultural goods
  • general copyright reform
  • linguistics; change the narrative
  • PR for knowledge
  • economic models/collecting societies
  • reproduction of 2D-works (communicate advantages for startups etc. for using CC-licences) --> PR
  • data protection (example: right to be forgotten)


  • consensus about it to cover

17:00 Freedom of Panorama


Tiny bit of history: EU-wide freedom of panorama was included in the original draft. Lobbying pressure turned it into advisory. Some countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Slovenia, Baltics) don't allow it. In Italy, nobody except Wikipedia cares.


three levels, from low to high: Freedom of Panorama for:

  • buildings
  • publicly displayed arts
  • interiors of publicly accessible buildings

including commercial use, EU-wide.


  • digital backup for cultural heritage

Questions: Who is against it and why?


  1. define legislative status quo
  2. mapping of possible coalitions/strategic alliance, policy arena analysis
  3. creating a narrative, create information package, legal proposal
  4. start a campaign, lobbying --> yeah!

Jan: scientific survey "Interaction with European proposals for regulation - survey and course of action" will soon be published in english

Take aways for today, goals for 7th of April:

  • have clear, practical, inviting and simple outcomes that outsiders can work with.
  • Siim: "light a flame" for eu policy group, see even more enthusiasm
  • Romaine: getting practical tomorrow: knowing what we do the day after tomorrow, and today: we started!
  • Nicole: hopes that double amount of people will join when the next meeting takes place

end: 18:50

7th of April


09:00 Walk-in, coffee

  • everyone expresses how he/she feels in one "hashtag"
  • Anna Lena presents the agenda for today

09:20 Recap Goals & Steps

  • Including: difference between proactive and reactive.
  • PD-GOV would require a similar process as for FoP.
  • Orphan Works requires an extra step (community consensus finding & information resummarizing), and also works on a different time scale.
  • Reactive activism requires documenting the issues, inventorizing threats, identify the threads & red flagging them, monitor long term and then start the whole 'proactive' timeline (or a shorter version if urgency requires so).

09:40 How to organise the work group? (feat. contact person & question of "authority")

  • There are different stakeholders that are interested to be involved, and many audiences that need to be communicated with. We should try to avoid becoming a closed capsule.
  • Alice: to ensure sustainability of the working group, huge amount of openness, opportunity for participants to join any time, any issue, should be agreed on

Working group tasks


  • arena analysis
  • prepare drafts, papers; read executive documents, decide on whats important
  • make sure that we can communicate the benefit of a contact person in Brussels
  • make the necessity and benefit visual
  • prepare sort of newsletter for Chapters about actions of EU-policy-group, contact person in Brussels, to keep them informed

What do we need?

  • legal specialist, person to rely on concerning law issues, (academic background) needed (--> can probably be found within the chapters; but a lot of information can also be requested from MEP staff members)
  • notice board/ flagging platform, place where people can leave any problem, statement, question, --> sort of mailbox where everything is collected, then working group decides on what to to with it, where issue belongs --> to make people feel heard
  • publicly document all information and analysis (have been to event xy, z said that; I've read a blog/report, the main message is abc); being so open and transparent can be our asset.

basic tasks of the contact person:

  • attend any relevant events, physical presence --> relevant for representing Wikimedia as stakeholder
  • stakeholder dialogue
  • receive information from community, react on in, communicate needs
  • stay in touch with community, communicate and always be available on a certain, at least low level
  • know the Wikipedia-universe, be familiar with core-issues, way of communicating, thinking, be able to mediate wiki-issues/style
  • skills: be able to sharpen, sell, anticipate arguments

community tasks:

  • legal analysis, arena analysis
  • publish drafts, papers
  • elaborate talking points (tl; dr)

Milan Chapters Meeting (19.-21. April 2013):

  • Prepare a session to present the goals and the state of the working group (Niko, Jan, Nicole), have as many working group members attend the session as possible. Get more people interested and involved!
  • involving/consulting the community (also at Chapters meeting)--> we should present our plans in a positive way, don´t provoke destructive complains, invite people to join in during the process

Excursus by Jan:

In his standard work "Machiavelli in Brussels. The Art of Lobbying in the EU" (http://dare.uva.nl/document/133254), Rinus van Schendelen sketches the ideal profile of a Public Affairs professional in the EU. Important skills and capacities are:

  • descriptive and analytic capacities
  • always hungry for facts
  • calm and even-tempered
  • sense for pragmatic efficiency
  • communicative, multi-lingual, with a good sense of humour
  • curious about every new development in the European playing field
  • deep knowledge about the EU system and the most important stakeholders, factors and vectors of the political gaming
  • deeply rooted in the own organisation, i.a. a real Wikimedian / or at least someone with the same mindset
  • very adaptive, comitted to learning by doing''

--> maybe lower expectations?  ;)

Legitimacy question:

  • Should it be only Wikimedians doing this lobbying, or could it be regular professionals?
    • Can the person speak on behalf of Wikimedia? --> person can only be capable of acting if there is enough trust by comunity etc.; since there is no huge "abstract community" here, this shouldn´t be the biggest restraint
      • Be open in internal communication and drafting. This helps with the community, and credibility word.
        • group agrees on necessity to have a paid contact person
          • limiting factor might be not the amount of money needed, but the number of truly committed chapters
            • Are there any plans to set up an official entity like a thematic organisation? - We don't know yet. Not on the agenda for now, way too early to decide about it at this early stage.
              • How to select a Contact Person? We definitely need to present the person at the Wikimania in Hong Kong. But we don't have to wait for that with doing stuff.

Most important next steps:

We discussed it shortly, and agreed we first need to start doing, before finding a solution to this. Some words considered to be included: Wikimedia, Wiki, Policy, EU, Free Knowledge, Working Group, Advocacy, Advisory

11:20 Operational TIMELINE and follow-up meetings



  • Dimi/Jan: quarterly report (in transitional phase, later on monthly), 5-10 lines. First slightly after Milan. (the first report a bit larger, with more background)

2nd Quarter 2013:

  • Lilli: Wrapping up the meeting: minutes etc.
    • Lodewijk: Set up EU-policy-announce(_AT_)lists.wikimedia.org .
      • Dimi: send link of advocacy-advisors mailing list to all participants of this weekend.
        • Nicole: Set up a chapter hit list (with input of others)
          • Jan: get a professional translation of the German paper + exec summary/Wikimedian translation/tl;dr.
            • Niko/Jan/Nicole: Prepare talk for Milan (Lodewijk and Laurentius will be present)

  • Jan/Nicole: Prepare blog post for WMDE's blog (English/German), prepare also summary blogs pointing to the original (Romaine for NL, Dimi for AT, Lorenzo for IT etc.)
    • Dimi: revamp the whole metapage (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_Policy). Alice will help.
      • Jan: Get a rough idea of how to find the contact person, draft profile etc. Find sparring partner
        • Niko: Create an abstract timeflow on the Freedom of Panorama issue.
          • Jan & Dimi will be the transitional contact person for the outside world. For the inside galaxy, we will use the meta page.
            • All (distributed by Nicole): contact all relevant chapters

Before Milan chapters meeting

  • Dimi/Niko: Finalize submission Wikimania before end April
  • Dimi: update of metapage
  • Jan: Find & draft budget
  • Jan: Hiring process (to be defined) - should be concluded before Hong Kong if somewhat possible
  • Lodewijk: setting up mailing list;
  • Nicole (with help of Lodewijk): setting up hitlist, contacting all relevant Chapters
  • European Chapters: AT, CH, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, HU, IT, MK, NL, NO, PL, PT, RS, SE, GB, (BE)

After Milan chapters meeting

  • Dimi: Set up Issue specific task forces (i.e. Freedom of Panorma, PD-GOV) and make sure each has a lead contact
  • Freedom of Panorama
  • PD-Gov
  • Siim / Jan: Orphan Works
  • Dimi/ Niko: Prepare presentation for Hong Kong, has to contain: Be in the middle of Arena analisys on FoP & PD-Gov (depends on task forces)
  • Dimi: Crowdsourced monitoring system set up & functional (not perfect), including the dropbox for early warning system
  • Dimi & Jan (in transitional phase): short quarterly reports; later on monthly

3rd Quarter 2013:

Before Wikimania:

  • Jan: set up an internal working cycle/ set date for next policy meeting

After Wikimania:

  • Niko: decide on a name; working title: EU-Policy working group

4th Quarter 2013:

  • Start Prep for Campaign European Parliament elections
  • Start Thinking about Keynote Speakers for Wikimania 2014 that are relevant to the discussed issues

1st Quarter 2014:

  • Launch of Campaign/asking questions etc EP elections
  • Analyze Working Plan European Commission

Open questions regarding hiring:

  • Who would it be accountable to
  • Who should hire
  • Where to hire (Wikimedia/outside)
  • What profile
  • Pay
  • desksharing/open work space --> optional also for volunteers

end: 14.15

13:00 Which technological tools and communication channels best suit our goals?

  • Transitional stage: Contact adresses on Meta (Jan/Dimi) until the contact person is picked
  • announcement emails?
  • Lodewijk: Set up EU-policy-announce(_AT_)lists.wikimedia.org .
  • Dimi: send link of advocacy-advisors mailing list to all participants of this weekend.
  • we will keep discussions as open as possible, and fully transparent until August at least, after that we can re-evaluate.

14:00 Conclusion and fare-well

  • expactations mainly satisfied
  • big thank you to brilliant facilitator Anna Lena
  • put report based on etherpad on meta --> just happened

Pictures on: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Big_Fat_Brussels_Meeting_April_2013