Wikimedia Foundation Legal department

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Legal is the name of a Wikimedia Foundation staff department. The Legal Department is represented by Stephen LaPorte, General Counsel.

The Legal Team

Wikipedia and many other Wikimedia projects are hosted and operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. The Legal Team, serving under General Counsel Stephen LaPorte, oversee all legal matters for the Foundation and focus on key initiatives to help support the community consistent with our Foundation goals and values. We deal with a wide range of issues and projects, including policy drafting, trademark and copyright law, international law, employment law, litigation, fundraising and grant law, domestic and international contracts, privacy law, ethics, internet law, and non-profit corporate governance.

Note: For legal ethical reasons we unfortunately can only represent the Wikimedia Foundation and cannot be the attorney for the community or movement organizations, though the legal team often provides strong support to the community in many ways consistent with Wikimedia Foundation goals.

Community Resilience & Sustainability

Community Resilience and Sustainability is a wing of the Wikimedia Foundation's Legal department, led by the Vice President of Community Resilience & Sustainability Maggie Dennis. It currently consists of Trust and Safety, Human Rights, and Committee Support.

Global Advocacy

The Global Advocacy team helps the Foundation and affiliates protect the free knowledge movement through advocacy and public policy. The simple act of sharing knowledge freely online is radical and challenging in many contexts, and can be threatened by weak or hostile policy environments. This is why the Foundation and broader community engage in advocacy and public policy work. We work alongside the Wikimedia community because policy change is most successful when informed by those who are most directly impacted and best understand their local context. Together, we stand for policies that support and protect the Wikimedia model, its people, and its values.

Legal Affairs

Through our 3 subteams – Governance & Risk, Legal Operations, and Privacy & Compliance –, we build and defend our trademark portfolio to promote and protect the brand that the communities built, we support our global fundraising strategy to ensure revenue for the Wikimedia mission, we negotiate and approve hundreds of contracts every year that promote the mission, we ensure that the Foundation’s activities are carried out in accord not only with applicable law, but also with our Foundation policies, and movement and organizational values, we fight aggressively to protect our movement values and we provide daily support to the communities and their work.

Wikimedia Foundation Email Contacts

Email Description For third-party legal issues and threats. For trademark permissions and licensing questions. For reporting trademark violations. For threats of violence against persons and property (including suicide threats and terroristic threats). For reports of illegal content concerning minors. For reporting disclosures of nonpublic information to outside parties. For general issues for the Wikimedia Foundation and its staff. For general issues related to content on or using Wikipedia and other projects.

Disclaimer: Emails to are reviewed and responded to by volunteers from our user community. Please understand that the Wikimedia Foundation cannot guarantee confidential treatment of any sensitive information you include in your message.

WMF Board Resolutions

For a complete list of resolutions by the WMF Board of Trustees, see here.


Policy Description
Terms of Use This document informs readers and users of what WMF provides through its various projects, and the rights and responsibilities that are involved.
Privacy Policy This policy governs WMF’s handling of personally identifiable information collected by WMF on its servers in relation to the projects and their communities.
Donor Privacy Policy This policy guides the handling of WMF donors' personal information.
Legal Policies These are the policies that guide the Office of the General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation, addressing a wide range of topics, including applicable law, responsibility for edits, DMCA takedowns, trade secrets, child pornography, fair use, harassment, subpoenas, and trademark licensing.
DMCA Policy This document lays out the official WMF policy for dealing with reports of copyright infringement for content hosted on WMF servers as required under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
TVEC Procedures and Guidelines This document lays out the official WMF procedures and guidelines for addressing Law Enforcement orders on TVEC content. See FAQ on Countering Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content on Wikimedia Projects for more information.
Legal Fees Assistance Program This policy outlines the scope of the Legal Fees Assistance Program, which is intended to assist qualifying Wikimedia community members who donate time and effort to any Wikimedia site or project in a support role.
Office Actions Policy This policy governs official changes made to content done under the authority of the Wikimedia Foundation, by members of the Foundation's office. These are removals of questionable or illegal Wikimedia content following complaints.
Trademark Policy This document outlines WMF's policy regarding the use of the WMF trademarks.
Visual Identity Guidelines These guidelines contain specific requirements and restrictions regarding how WMF marks may be displayed.
Guidelines on Potential Conflicts of Interest These guidelines are to be considered by anyone requesting resources belonging to the Wikimedia movement, and are intended to encourage the full disclosure of personal and financial interests that may be in conflict with such requests.
Policy and Political Association Guidelines This is an internal guideline that clarifies when and how WMF associates itself publicly on policy and political issues.
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Policy This policy prohibits WMF and its employees, contractors and others acting on behalf of WMF from making unlawful corrupt payments or bribes to U.S. or foreign officials.
Conflict of interest guide for Wikimedia movement organizations This guide provides movement organizations with a guide on how to identify and manage conflicts of interests within their organization.
  • For a more complete list of WMF policies, see the Policies page.

Non-Free Content

For local policies on the status of non-free content on Wikimedia projects, see the non-free content page.

Updates from Legal

Below are some spaces that Legal may update with announcements or preliminary discussions on legal issues.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") Compliance

In addition to the DMCA Policy, please refer to § 8 of the Wikimedia Terms of Use, which states:

The Wikimedia Foundation wants to ensure that the content that we host can be re-used by other users without fear of liability and that it is not infringing the proprietary rights of others. In fairness to our users, as well as to other creators and copyright holders, our policy is to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the formalities of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Pursuant to the DMCA, we will terminate, in appropriate circumstances, users and account holders of our system and network who are repeat infringers.
However, we also recognize that not every takedown notice is valid or in good faith. In such cases, we strongly encourage users to file counter-notifications when they appropriately believe a DMCA takedown demand is invalid or improper. For more information on what to do if you think a DMCA notice has been improperly filed, you may wish to consult the Chilling Effects website.
If you are the owner of content that is being improperly used on one of the Projects without your permission, you may request that the content be removed under the DMCA. To make such a request, please email us at legal(_AT_) or snail mail our designated agent at this address.
Alternatively, you may make a request to our community, which often handles copyright issues faster and more effectively than prescribed under the DMCA. In that case, you can post a notice explaining your copyright concerns. For a non-exhaustive and non-authoritative list of the relevant processes for the different Project editions, look here. Before filing a DMCA claim, you also have the option of sending an email to the community at info(_AT_)

Registered Legal Agent

Wikimedia Foundation
c/o CT Corporation System
330 N Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203-2336


IRC chat logs

Legal discussions