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Latest comment: 9 years ago by Nemo bis in topic Update on fees

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Point of Views[edit]

Both PoV are interesting and right. I'm referring to:

  1. keep the free spirit & policy of the "wiki-world"
  2. protect the logo against misuse


  1. has the logo in the past been targeted of any kind of "attack"? In the affirmative case, how, when (& how many times)?
  2. exist any alternative/compromise that match both the above criteria?

Maybe answering these two questions would be a good starting point for the discussion. --Andyrom75 (talk) 10:46, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

My personal answers:
  1. no attacks,
  2. yes, it's enough to avoid registering it and avoid attaching to it value it doesn't intend to have [official representation of something etc.]. --Nemo 22:02, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Spirit of the creator[edit]

It seems clear to me the original creator of the community logo specifically intended this image to be unrestricted by legal encumbrances. Registration as a trademark is a legal encumbrance.

While I appreciate the reasoning behind the Foundation's move to "protect" the community's logo, the community did not ask them to do this. What they have done does impede the freedom of the community to use, alter, and distribute the community's logo. I would politely request that the foundation relinquish it's claim to own it, since they have gone to such lengths to distance themselves from owning (or being responsible for) the community. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 14:44, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

The problem with not trademarking[edit]

The problem, however, with not trademarking is that anyone, even someone with hostile intent, can appropriate the logo. Thought experiment: would you have no problem at all if a neo-Nazi group started using the logo (or a close variant) as their own? - Jmabel (talk) 17:21, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

This was already discussed at Talk:Community Logo. Two points:
  1. Nobody abused this logo, while we've seen a lot of abuse of project logos (including some the WMF didn't register). Why would nazis want this logo?
  2. What makes you think trademarking would prevent them? It might not; it's not the same "trade area" as the one this logo was registered for. Owning a mark used for coffee doesn't necessarily allow you to prevent someone from using it to sell space aircrafts. w:Nice (WIPO)#List of Classes (10th edition).
--Nemo 18:08, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Strawman. Such a group wouldn't respect the trademark, either. The registration of the mark only harms those who would respect the mark, and do work in the same field - in this case, us. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 18:12, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
What if some neocons try to trademark the logo? And if they use it to whitewash their use of nuclear weapons? -- 00:11, 29 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Response of the WMF legal team and request to hold off opposition[edit]

Thank you for the invitation to join this discussion. We would like to take this opportunity to let you know that, since this issue was first raised, we have been looking into formally modifying the trademark status of the Community logo (which is also used on Meta) so that it can be freely used by the community while also protecting it against third party abuse. Our research on this issue is still ongoing, but we would like to share our current thoughts with you in light of the concerns expressed above.

We respect the special history of this logo and the community’s desire to keep it as a symbol of the community members and their work. As mentioned in the trademark discussion, we therefore have been looking for creative solutions to avoid the regular trademark permission processes with respect to this logo. One potential solution that we have discussed with outside counsel is to establish the logo as a collective membership mark, which would allow community members to use the mark freely to show their connection to the Wikimedia movement, while still protecting the mark against abuse from non-community parties.

The distinctive nature of this logo may facilitate this creative solution because, as you point out, this logo has in the past been used by community members for various purposes and is not directly connected to any of the main Wikimedia projects. The collective membership mark is a very unusual category of marks that has been used by organizations like Rotary International and Toastmasters. Our hope is that this model may lend itself to our unique situation. As noted, however, our research is still ongoing in this area as we examine global laws and treaties.

Another possible approach is to support free use of the mark in the new trademark policy as long as that use is consistent with the mission of the Wikimedia movement. However, our ability to protect the mark against outside abuse may be diminished with that approach.

WMF registered the Community logo in good faith pursuant to our mandate from the Board of Trustees to protect the Wikimedia marks and prevent third party abuses. As we said before, we wish we had communicated better on this, but frankly the legal team was unaware of the unique community history of this mark at the time of the registration. That said, we still believe that it is best to maintain this mark trademark protected against abuse consistent with the Board’s resolution. Trademark registration requires a lot of time and resources. It can often cost tens of thousands of dollars to obtain global protection and more money and expertise if challenged by non-community entities who wish to use the mark for non-Wikimedia purposes. We rely on top law firms worldwide to register and defend our marks against non-community abuses.

We believe that our current strategy to establish this mark as a collective membership mark may serve the community better because it would also allow community members to freely use the mark pursuant to our mission, while protecting it against abuse. If we drop global trademark registrations on this mark, WMF may be less able to protect the mark if challenged by third parties outside the movement throughout the world. Given the popularity of the Wikimedia projects, misuses of our marks to divert traffic to ads or phishing sites are common, and we rely on our trademark registrations to protect our editors and readers from these abuses.

That said, we certainly don’t want any registrations to interfere with the community’s work and of course we can forego our protective measures for this mark, if necessary, though we wouldn’t advise it. Accordingly, if we get clear direction from the wider community and the Board that they do not want this mark to be registered in any form, we would drop our trademark registration and protection of this logo. We accordingly ask that the proposed opposition not be filed until we are able to finish our research and report back to both the community and Board.

We welcome your thoughts on the trademark discussion page on how you would like us to proceed with this. Also, we are happy to discuss on the telephone, Skype, or hangout with the community members who are considering to file the opposition if that would be helpful.


GBrigham (WMF) & YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 19:07, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Geoff and Yana,

thanks so much for joining this discussion and such a detailed answer; I appreciate your time and your involvement.

I'd also like to thank you for informing us about your research on finding a way to protect the logo while simultaneously allowing its free use by the community; I don't think you've shared that information with us before, and it's certainly good to know you're doing that: we Wikimedians generally like to be on the same page!

I understand that the Legal team acted in good faith when deciding to register the logo as a trademark; it definitely wasn't my intention to accuse anyone of any wrongdoing, and I think that no one here believes you wanted to do anything else than to protect an asset that many of us care so deeply about. However, I believe that there is a basic disagreement about whether this particular logo should have been registered as a trademark in the first place, not to mention the uncertainty whether that logo was indeed covered by the 2009 Board resolution at all.

I appreciate your proposal to register the logo as a collective membership mark and would love to hear some more detail about how it's supposed to work. As far as your request to hold off the opposition is considered, however, I believe it's a bit too late to do that. We are acting on a timetable set by the Foundation when you applied for registration of the logo as a trademark, which was further influenced when you decided not to withdraw the application or respond appropriately to community calls for this to be re-evaluated.

We believe that the WMF claiming a trademark for the community logo is inappropriate, so an opposition must be lodged to ensure that the creator's intent, the community poll and prior use are not conveniently forgotten. The opposition process allows for a cooling off period, and mediation, so there is ample opportunity to talk, during which you'll also have time to confirm whether the Board wanted you to register this particular mark and to decide to end the opposition by withdrawing the registration, which would allow to start considering a new registration on new basis.

Thanks, odder (talk) 20:50, 21 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

The collective membership mark is a really clever and thoughtful proposal. I'm pretty sure that if it had been been suggested in the first place, the whole issue would not have been raised. However, it is quite understandable that, with the deadline tomorrow, it is too late to have a meaningful community discussion about it and odder's position is understandable. I myself believe that your idea is awesome and, on the first glance, addresses the problems that the community had with a regular trademark, while providing a certain level of common sense protection. Pundit (talk) 06:16, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Pundit, thanks for your comments. In my view, though others are free to disagree, of course, I would have prefered if the possibility of an opposition had not been announced on the Saturday before the anticipated Monday opposition. In the legal department, as far as I know, we have not been contacted by the individuals about this particular filing until now, even though the issues are well known and even though we are running a comprehensive ongoing discussion about improving and liberalizing our trademark practices with the community for some months now. See Talk:Trademark practices discussion#How do you feel about pursuing a community logo that does not share the same colors and symbols with established Wikimedia logos, in order to permit frictionless use by and with community projects?. If we had been contacted about this specific option, we would have made a few suggestions based on our experience in this area. Apart from reviewing some legal considerations with respect to the deadline, we would have suggested seeking global community support in a comprehensive and structured way well before the planned filing. As I see it, in the end, this is a decision for the community whether they want their mark protected, and we are willing to abandon that protection and expense if the community and Board do not want it.
For quite some time, in our trademark discussions, we have stated our position that we need to support wide community use of this mark consistent with the Wikimedia mission. Our chief concern has been to avoid abuse by outside parties with respect to the mark, especially since this mark is widely used on our Meta pages - pages that are followed extensively by the public and press. Without trademark protection, for example, we could not prevent people from creating false Meta pages with the community mark at top, pretending to be the community when they actually were not. We want to avoid our marks being used by others to promote outside commercial interests, phishing scams, misrepresentation of the movement, etc.
The research on the collective marks started some time ago, but it is a novel issue that requires quite a bit of research internally and by our outside law firms in the United States and elsewhere. We had not yet announced the specifics because we wanted to present the entire story to the community, and we are not yet ready to do so. We repeatedly have made clear however that we were looking for solutions to allow free use of the marks by the community while still safeguarding some legal protection against outside non-community third parties. Anyhow, we continue to advise against filing an opposition. In the end, we will do whatever is directed by the global community and Board on this issue, including abandoning protection of the mark (even if some deadline has passed).
I should point out that, though I disagree with the filing of the opposition for legal and other reasons, we appreciate the above statements, as expressed by odder, that they intend to proceed forward in an amicable and constructive way. We of course have the same sentiment. We all share the same commitment to doing the right thing for the community. On our side, our chief concern is to provide trademark protection to the community mark (which was released in the public domain) to avoid misuse by non-community persons and entities. We are of course open to any other suggestions that we have not considered in our ongoing discussions.
Take care and enjoy the rest of the weekend. Geoffbrigham (talk) 16:39, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
On "creating false Meta pages with the community mark at top, pretending to be the community when they actually were not": there's an easier way to do that: it's called creating a page on this wiki, which has open editing. :) --Nemo 21:59, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Let me be clear: I do not support filing an opposition. I think that your solution is sufficient. The problem is not with the solution itself. In fact, I think that even the regular trademark protection could potentially be widely accepted by the community, if preceded by a wider discussion. The problem is simply with execution (you acted in good faith, but with poor communication at some point) and with making people realize what does the WMF want to protect, why, and whose rights are protected. I simply do not believe it is possible to reach a consensus within several hours, even if both sides have same goals and a solution securing everybody's interests is on a table. The main disadvantage of collective decisionmaking is the time it takes, after all. cheers Pundit (talk) 07:49, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

From the discussion on this page about the history of the Community logo (here and here), it occurred to us that there is some confusion about the relationship between the copyright status of the Community logo and its significance under trademark law. (I apologize for the repetition to those of you who have read our previous comments on the difference between copyright and trademarks.)

Copyright and trademark protection serve very different purposes. Copyright prevents a particular design from being reused, while trademark protects the connection between a logo and the work that it represents. So while the Community logo was released into the public domain by WarX for copyright purposes, the logo was meant to represent the community’s work. For that reason, trademark registration makes sense to protect the use of the Community logo for its intended purpose. Otherwise, anyone could file a trademark registration and steal the logo. This is particularly true for well-known logos, like the Community logo. It appears on all our Meta pages, which are read by the public and press every day. Well-known marks are susceptible to abuse. For example, we spend significant time defending against copycat sites that misuse our logos in falsely depicting our activities, mission, and values. Trademark protection allows us to do that effectively.

Importantly, the trademark registration did not change the Community logo’s public domain status under copyright law. Trademark registration is not inconsistent with a public domain logo. If reasonably enforced, trademark protection does not interfere with legitimate reuse of a logo. Rather it protects a logo from abuse by outside parties.

The upshot of the difference between copyright and trademark protection is that anyone can hold a trademark in a logo, particularly if the logo designer releases it into the public domain (i.e. when copyright protection is unavailable). This means that if we drop the trademark registration of the Community logo, a third party could start using the logo and then register a trademark in it – preventing our community from using it in the future. Indeed, such a third party may well be following this debate to pounce on the opportunity. This is not a far-fetched scenario. In fact, we recently had a problem with a company that had registered a puzzle globe in China (after Wikipedia adopted the puzzle globe as its logo), preventing Wikimedia from protecting and potentially using the Wikipedia logo there. We had to spend significant resources to persuade the company to agree to our use of the logo in China. Fortunately, this company agreed to cooperate, but others may not be so accommodating. These are the sort of problems the Wikimedia community potentially could face if we drop the trademark registration.

I am cross-posting this rather than simply linking to the trademark policy discussion because it is already Monday morning in Europe, so I wanted to make sure that everyone involved get a chance to read this before taking any action. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 06:34, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to read it. However, it doesn't add anything we didn't know already. --Nemo 07:11, 23 September 2013 (UTC) P.s.: A more thorough answer from us to the two messages above is expected to be delivered sometime today.Reply
Geoff and Yana,

thank you for your messages; I find it really helpful that you decided to discuss this topic with us in an open manner. I will answer both of your messages in one go, so this might turn into quite a long post; please bear with me.

As far as the discussion about creating a new community logo in concerned, I wouldn't call it comprehensive because only a very tiny part of the community has actually taken part in it--and even so, those editors that have voiced an opinion there are clearly opposed to the creation of yet another logo. The only consensus that we can take into consideration is, I believe, the 2008 poll on Meta, during which the community clearly decided to adopt the community logo as a logo for this wiki, as it wanted a logo which was not registered or claimed as a trademark, as was, at that time, the case with the official Wikipedia and Wikimedia logos.

That being said, I agree with your (Geoff's) opinion that the decision on whether to trademark this particular logo should be taken by the community and the Board of Trustees; and that's basically why we decided to file the opposition. Not having the logo registered as a trademark just yet gives us time to discuss the matter at length and actually find out what the community and the Board think about this idea--something that wouldn't be possible if the logo had already been trademarked by the Foundation, and something that was not considered when the Foundation decided to register the logo as a trademark in July 2012.

As far as Yana's post goes, I can only thank you for taking the effort to make this statement. We definitely share your sentiment not to confuse trademarks and copyright, and believe that your explanation might be useful for those community members that only recently started to actively discuss this issue. On our side, however, I'd like to make it clear that this confusion has never been a contributing factor to our opposition; this lack of confusion has already been mentioned in the original discussion in March (see Nathan's post as an example).

As far as the possibility of a third party registering the logo as their trademark is considered, I believe that we (the community) can effectively act against such hostile take-overs; in the end, there is endless evidence on prior usage of the logo by various community groups ever since Artur-WarX created it in December 2006. On that topic, we welcome all ideas on how to ensure that future oppositions to trademarking the logo are successful. Thanks, odder (talk) 13:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Please note that any group of Wikipedians or Wikimedians is free to come up with alternative emblems to represent themselves, individually or as a group. There is no limit to what can be used, so why even worry about whether this particular symbol is registered as a trademark? If you want something in the public domain, come up with something new. BD2412 T 15:59, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi BD2412,

thank you for your message and for taking an active part in this discussion. I welcome your involvement and believe that it is precisely thanks to diversity of opinion that we will be able to reach the best possible consensus in this discussion (so if anyone reading this wants to jump in, by all means please do so!).

We are, of course, aware that any group of Wikipedians or Wikimedians can create a logo they want to be associated with; indeed, if you read the history of the community logo, this is precisely what happened! And as for your suggestion that we (the community) should come up with a new logo, who can guarantee that it will not be trademarked by the Foundation again? odder (talk) 17:07, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Strictly speaking, the creator of a sufficiently creative mark could guarantee that - by obtaining a copyright in the mark, and licensing it under the condition that it not be registered as a trademark. BD2412 T 21:12, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
I believe that is what the original creator of this logo did. Xe may not have been aware that a PD image could still be registered as a trademark (and, in fact, I believe it is yet a legal question whether it may be.) The creator still retains certain rights of an image when released to the public domain, under the EU's copyright laws. - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 12:34, 26 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yeah, he used our PD-self template which is not as straightforward as the now-existing CC0. --Nemo 08:40, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Freedom and protection[edit]

Reading the history, the worst thing to me is that a copyright is changed without notifying the community and it was a case that it was find out. This is particular bad for a community that embraces the freedom of user generated content. Also as pointed by Amgine, the creator of the logo (that should be the copyright owner if not donated to WMF) intended the logo to remain free.

I think that the WMF should only trademarks their own logos or donated logos, but not others.

In my opinion, tens of thousands of dollars to add a limitation of freedom (trademark) is a way to turn dollars in trash. It seems to me that the most abused part of Wikipedia is the content, not the logos. I would pay to protect the content first, then the logos. And if the content is difficult to protect (too many copyright owners) I would pay to make aware the users about the problem and then do a mass donation of the copyright to the WMF, as some open-source project tried in the past. Ciao --Trek00 (talk) 21:43, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

P.S.: I want to take here the example of Debian that have a free logo and allows anyone to distribute and to sell a copy of Debian with the official logo on the cdrom even if it is a modified copy of Debian. I don't remember problems with this policy in the last 15 years. --Trek00 (talk) 22:11, 22 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

You are making the common mistake of confusing a trademark with a copyright. They are two very distinct things, both have to do with Intellectual property, but they are quite different and they also have very different enforcement requirements (A copyright is automatic can be claimed at any moment, a trademark needs to be claimed before someone else, actively used and actively defended in order to be valid). So your PS is on the mark I'll hand you that, but most of your original post is actually quite uninformed. TheDJ (talk) 12:18, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
We should be understanding with users' argumentations... In Trek00's defense, while his wording is technically imprecise, his point is very clear: he believes that enforcement of the copyleft clauses of our projects' contents should have higher priority than the protection of the marks. I know, of course, that this is very hard and that trademarks are sometimes also used to protect out editors' copyright, but let's not dismiss his opinion so easily with some cheap nitpicking. --Nemo 13:56, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

I would put the question more broadly: do CC-BY-SA allow at all to take them and to register as anyone's trademark? My personal opinion is "no" as it contradicts fundamentally the basic idea of freedom to use, modify and use in derivative works without getting permission or notifying the author/current copyright holder, commercial use inclusive. The basic mistake was made way back ago by adopting project logos under the free license rather than by custom orders. Now I say the Foundation would fail in the court because otherwise it will be a Pandora box well seen by judges. This is of course my private non-professional (I am not a lawyer) opinion. --NeoLexx (talk) 12:32, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

i feel the foundation's conflict: they want their "free" cake and NC eat it too. but "proof of ignorance and disrespect" is not AGF. the community needs to stop trolling the foundation, and the foundation needs to communicate proactively. this asking forgiveness not permission appears to be a one way street. 13:46, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply


FIrst, I appreciate that the legal team found the time to participate in this page, however I still have to carefully read their proposal. This 2 cents are just for pointing out something that I think is more procedure-related and about consistency, so I think that even proposing now a different solution is part of the problem.

In the last years, the distinction between WMF and the community has been stated in many places, from the "editotial decisions" to "project goals" and so on. It was clearly stated that the community needed a logo that would not refer to the projects logo or to WMF. The WMF proceeded with the trademark, then the distinction between community and WMF was again a bit blurry. I understand the need of trademarking the logo, it is a common practice even in open source projects: the source code is freely available, but the project logo is trademarked.

Also, who decides what is a legitimate use of the community logo is an issue: if WMF holds the trademark, (part of) the community may be unable to use it for projects that the WMF may find unpleasant; if someone else is choosen to be the holder, how to form a consensus on legitimate use? (i.e. usage by a group of banned users, for a controversial local project and so on).

These issues (and other similar things I have no time to clearly explain) should have been addressed before proceeding with the trademark procedure. In short:

  1. there should be a decision about trademarking or not a logo (this one or a brand new one)
  2. there should be a deep evaluation of the possible holders, from both a legal and community perspective (i.e. who decides the legitimate usages, who stands in court to defend the logo, who is trusted enough to avoid future problems in case the community would pick a different path)
  3. do the WMF wants to be distinct from the community or not?
  4. Is the community a separate entity? (if yes, the community should have a say in this matter)
  5. Is the community a tool that the WMF uses (someone may say "exploit") to achieve its goals? (if yes, the community should "shut up")

These should have been taken care of long before this point. I hope that my English is not too rusty to be clear enough. Thank you, --Baruneju (talk) 08:44, 23 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

I believe these points hit the core of the issues. I learned in a very personal way that WMF is not willing to dispense with legal resources to actively defend members of the community when hit precisely for being members of the wikimedia community; to trademark the logo used by this entity that WMF considers to not be deserving of expending legal resources defending, to me, is adding insult to injury.
I request that WMF answer these 5 questions posted by Baruneju so that we can actually discuss something meaningful on this talk page. Chico (talk) 11:20, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
I wrote these points for the sake of discussion: the community (and/or whom opposes to the trademarking, by WMF or in general) should also be interested in this. Let's say the opposition goes well, how to proceed then? Trademarking or not? By whom? Also, if another legal issue involving both WMF and the community arises, will everyone jump on doing stuff without prior discussion/evaluation of pros and cons, just to hit a wall 6 months later? Or will their action be the result of a reasoning based on a perspective/agenda/knowledge not shared with/by the counterpart? Today there is a logo, created to distinguish the community from the WMF projects, trademarked by the WMF and with opposition by some part of the community. Is it possible to fix some concepts (some are in the numbered list above) so it will be possible to have a well defined process/set of expectations for tomorrow?. Sorry about the plethora of /. --Baruneju (talk) 11:56, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
I think that the idea of the opposing is to abandon trademark registration as a whole, and hope everything goes well (that the problems anticipated by the legal team will never materialize). Pundit (talk) 12:01, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
That is one idea.
The unacceptable idea was for WMF to trademark a logo that is not theirs without consulting the rightful owner of the logo. Chico (talk) 12:54, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
No, Pundit, that's definitely not the idea. As already said above, the idea is that: «we (the community) can effectively act against such hostile take-overs; in the end, there is endless evidence on prior usage of the logo by various community groups ever since Artur-WarX created it in December 2006. On that topic, we welcome all ideas on how to ensure that future oppositions to trademarking the logo are successful.»
Both solutions have their own problems: Baruneju above points out some yet unaddressed issues in the registration proposed by WMF (whatever form it takes); we, I think, have quite clearly pointed out what the course of action would be in absence of a registration. --Nemo 08:46, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
What you're describing in "reclaim the logo" section can be, basically, narrowed down to what the legal staff is proposing now (collective trademark) OR can be understood as abandoning all trademark efforts and hoping everything goes well. I assumed that since you seem to be opposing the collective trademark, too, it is the latter. Any third option I missed? Pundit (talk) 15:13, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Chico, what are you talking about? (re: not being defended by the WMF) There is a legal fees assistance program set up precisely to support contributors who are at legal risk. Could you be more specific? 23:14, 20 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

History of the logo section[edit]

Hi. :) It seems to me that some of the history here could use clarification.

It says: "The issue was brought up a few weeks later during Wikimedia Foundation legal team's office hours". The logs do show that it was mentioned, but I don't see any reference to it during the office hour, but only after Geoff Brigham and Michelle Paulson had already departed. What I see related to this in the log is "Jan 22 19:01:49 <odder> mdennis: I saw Rkwon's answer about the Metawiki logo". The log cuts off there, since the office hour had ended at 19:00 and the staffer logging turned it off, but to the best of my memory, what followed was a request for a very specific piece of information, which I supplied on the first business day after the office hour (here and here). I think the way this is written may lead people to believe that this was brought up to the legal team or as a topic during office hours, when it seems it was not.

The language that it was brought up "in March 2013 on the Wikimedia-l mailing list and again on Meta" suggests a timeline that the links themselves don't seem to agree with. The Wikimedia-L mailing list (3/19) postdates the section on Meta (3/13) by nearly a week, and is an invitation to take part in the ongoing discussion on Meta ("The discussion is taking place on Meta at <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Community_Logo>, and all comments are welcome.") It seems the sequencing here could use some repair - even removing the word "again" would soften the suggestion that these are two separate conversations and that the second one postdates the first. :) The Wikimedia-L post looks like an effort to get more people involved in a discussion that was already ongoing. Given that, I myself might have worded that something like "The issue was brought up a few weeks later on Meta, with a pointer to it in March on the Wikimedia-l mailing list, but...." --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:47, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Maggie, thanks for joining in the discussion :-) As the links show, I was the one to ask you this question, and it was done during the LCA office hours on IRC on January 22; as far as I remember. I asked you this off the channel because the meeting was already underway and its agenda was full. (Perhaps you also log private messages on IRC; if so, please do check your log from January 22.) Because you are a member of the LCA team, and because I asked you this during the office hours, I don't think that there is anything wrong with that sentence.

As for your other suggestion, I don't think there's anything wrong with that part, either: the discussion was first started on Meta by Blueraspberry in December, then on January 22 I asked you when exactly the trademark registration was filled, and only in March did I write an e-mail to Wikimedia-l which invited people to join this new discussion (hence the word again). Thanks, odder (talk) 15:05, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Odder, I did not log any of this - another staffer did - but if you asked me privately (which I do not recall), you didn't bring it up during the office hour. Office hours are conducted in the "office" channel. If you bring it up privately to a staff member, that's an entirely different thing and should be noted accordingly. :)
I understand your point with respect to the sequence of conversation, but do not agree. Perhaps it's a linguistic difference, but if you say "this and again that", you imply "that" is following on "this". In this case, the timestamps show they do not. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:10, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for the help in copyediting the text (feel free to correct even typos) but I fail to see the point of this report. That it was "brought up" in those occasions/locations is correct; the discussion on the linked Meta page went on for weeks till 2013-04-05 [1]. In general, that sentence merely states that WMF had plenty of occasions to be informed of the issue (and 6 months to act on them) so it shouldn't be surprised by this initiative, do you disagree?
John even warned in March that an opposition to the trademark registration was going to be considered.[2] --Nemo 15:22, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi, Nemo. I haven't copyedited the page and wouldn't, since it's a statement by you three specifically. :) In terms of the sentence, I am responding to what it literally says. So far as I can see, the issue wasn't brought up during the office hour. It was a straightforward question afterward, when the legal team had left, that was answered within 48 hours. As liaison, my role at the time included getting such information as promptly as I could, and I did my best with that. Given Odder's response, I thought I had given him what he wanted. "Again", of course, is an adverb that in its primary meaning is "another time; once more" - that doesn't really seem to apply to a conversation that is the subject of the email to Wikimedia-L and occurring simultaneously. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 20:00, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Sorry. I won't debate with you on the meaning of adverbs. I left a question for you above, feel free to answer it or ignore me. --Nemo 21:40, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
FYI, more comprehensive IRC logs appear to be available from wm-bot; the specific question was "<odder> mdennis: can you tell us when it was registered as a trademark?". Anomie (talk) 13:47, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Advisory Board[edit]

FYI, a few days ago we have notified the WMF Advisory Board of this initiative and discussion, asking them to comment in order to provide us all with their valuable insight. --Nemo 16:37, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Section edit links[edit]

@Jalexander:: I don't know if there were any stealth software updates, but the problem with the section edit linking seems to be due to the fact that section headers wrapped in <translate> tags are hidden from the parser's getSection() method. I suppose this is why most translated pages take measures to put the translate tags inside the header markup instead of vice versa; another possible fix might be to use <h2> instead of wikimarkup for the headers inside the translated bits, as those aren't recognized by the section editing logic either.

I thought Translate was suppose to effectively force __NOEDITSECTION__ on pages marked for translation, but that doesn't seem to be happening here for some reason which only adds to the confusion. Anomie (talk) 14:02, 16 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Yeah, I had to do noeditsection on my own on the RfC page, the reason I think there was a stealth software change was that the edit links on both here and the RfC page worked up until very recently and then stopped working on both at the same time. It's possible that the translate tags got added later then I thought but regardless wanted to make sure they got fixed. Jalexander--WMF 18:31, 17 October 2013 (UTC)Reply


Given that the Foundation has been conveniently avoiding answering many questions—asked by different people—about why we need a registered trademark for the community logo and how exactly a collective membership mark is supposed to work, I am sadly surprised to read this announcement of their plans to register the logo as a collective membership mark (in the United States).

While I appreciate that there might be some differences in people's understanding of the phrase "strong support", I believe that the Foundation should not take any action merely on the basis of the count of !votes, but should notice that plenty of users asked for more information in order to make an informed decision; that the Foundation hasn't provided answers to most of such requests since the end of September and now decided to move forward with the registration is beyond my understanding.

That the Foundation underlines the community's freedom to use the logo without a separate trademark license is, to say the very least, quite misleading; if it hadn't been for the Foundation registering the logo as a trademark in July 2012, this wouldn't have been an issue in the first place. There is no additional value or good will in the Foundation allowing a free use of the logo for the community; actually, this was the default before the Foundation secretly registered the logo in 2012.

Also, determining community membership on the basis of voting requirements (ie. edits and account registration date) has even been questioned by the Foundation's very own Board of Trustees member Samuel Klein, so I really fail to see why they decided to use it. (Pinging @Geoffbrigham and @YWelinder so they can respond to this if they want.) odder (talk) 09:19, 19 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

I don't believe the mechanism for determining membership has been set; has it? SJ talk  22:55, 20 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
There is a draft. I really don't understand why we need to have any restrictions on this logo. PiRSquared17 (talk) 23:04, 20 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
@PiRSquared17, thank you, I see. Would you object to a "1 edit anywhere" standard for being a member?
@odder, you are misrepresenting this call for input as a new announcement of intent and again misunderstand also the role of Board members (and staff members) in discussions of draft policies. Drafts exist to gather comments, specific targeted suggestions, improvements. Board members, like anyone else, may share their individual opinions on drafts. Their individual opinions have no more or less weight than anyone elses. In general, community consensus on these matters - or an evaluation of the arguments provided - should guide the final decision.
If you agree with me that "in the case of a community TM, the requirement for membership should be minimal, such as 1 edit anywhere", you should say so - the way you phrased your last paragraph above is not helpful, as it does not suggest an alternative. Almost noone else commented on that specific aspect of the earlier discussion, so I am not surprised that no change has been implemented yet in this draft. (And the blog post clearly calls out the draft-y nature of that criterion in particular, taking three sentences to note that better criteria are welcome, and that "the standard for membership... should ultimately be decided by the community".)
Finally, if there are other outstanding questions, please briefly link them when you refer to them. SJ talk  07:01, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
@Sj, please try to avoid telling people that they misunderstand things; it's very arrogant, and a really bad argument to use in a discussion — especially as you seem to suggest that I misunderstand something again.

I don't think that "1 edit anywhere" requirement would be a good starting point in terms of a collective membership mark for this logo, because I don't agree that it should be trademarked at all. My comment above only underlined that even though you criticised the edit & registration date requirement (which, to me, suggests that there are other community members that might share that view), the Foundation went ahead and implemented it in their draft.

And finally, as for you last paragraph, there are so many unanswered questions on the three or so discussion pages that it's a waste of time for me to link them — if they haven't been answered in two months, I doubt they ever will. odder (talk) 08:31, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hello @odder, 'misrepresent' is more precise, thank you for the correction. "Again" because I had initially noted two things that were misrepresented, but deleted one (now readded above). To elaborate:

  • The blog post asking for input is not an "announcement" of an intent to establish the Community Logo as a collective mark. The community logo discussion has included that phrase for months.
  • I have a pet peeve about having my comments used as a way to pit staff against Board members. Please don't do that.

If my last comment was a bit frustrated, it is because I care about this topic. I want to see our trademark restrictions thoughtfully lightened, and (c) on our logos freely licensed, so that our community can do work we love, and run projects with joy and pride, without angst or jumping through hoops. I love the idea of a good, trademark-free logo for every community (such as ours), and want Wikimedia to lead the world in having a thoughtful policy making this possible. I also think we can do better than Debian (which had a brief TM tussle years ago, and is currently registering their community logo - as a standard registration, not a collective mark - to avoid a repeat).

I honor the fact that you care so much yourself. It is a waste of energy to be fighting rather than designing a better solution. It hurts me that you are distracting the core discussion with nitpick-amplification,[1] since this discussion is improving everyone's understanding of the issue -- and it is an active issue for many other communities including Debian. In my view we need to address three things:

  • Educating ourselves and others (Debian logo is now to be TM-and-not-enforced; Tux is not TM; TM is not the only way to prevent fraud, nor the only way to block squatter registrations; collective-TM can effectively be an 'open license'; &c.)
  • If the mark is left unregistered: how else can we prevent TM-squatting, fraud, phishing? Would we need a new Meta-logo?
  • If the mark is registered as a collective mark: can we set a standard that makes everyone a member? How do we ensure that anyone can use it?

SJ talk  10:17, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. (like light amplification, but for nits that are Wrong on the Internet)
Well said. Quick answers:
  • True, we're doing so; WMF is not contributing much to our understanding of the matter so far with its silence, but other examples are interesting.
  • Squatting: with an opposition. Fraud, phishing: not considered a risk (see also the majority in this very poll). Meta-Wiki logo: obviously not, the community wanted a non-trademarked logo for this wiki (in a poll twice as participated as this one).
  • Maybe; we don't even know if it's legal (outside USA). But first one would need to set the goals for the registration, which are currently unknown/undefined. Perhaps 1 edit + unlimited sublicenseability to other entities or persons might work (if legal), but what's the goal then? --Nemo 11:21, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for the clarification, @Sj. I'm not saying that the blog post is an announcement of "an intent to establish the Community Logo as a collective mark"; I'm saying that it announces the plan to register the logo as a collective membership mark even though many questions asked by different people (not even me or Nemo!) have been left unanswered for weeks and weeks.

I don't think that copyright is that much of a problem for us these days; it's trademarks that have made people's experience in using various official logos (especially the Wikipedia one) a nightmare — and it's exactly for that reason that I'm opposed to trademarking the only logo left to us for (totally) free use.

If you like the idea of a trademark-free logo, then surely you should oppose the collective membership mark registration: it imposes certain restrictions that are not there right now, and therefore effectively limits the community's freedom to use the logo (see the trademark policy discussion page for some examples of that).

To answer your three questions: (1) Yes, I agree it's an important issue; (2) As already stated, by vehemently opposing any attempts to register the logo as a trademark by any entity, including those in the Wikimedia movement (such as the WMF), (3) I don't want to pursue this, because I don't think the logo should be registered at all (as stated above).

And finally, @Sj, if you can support your claim that I'm distracting the discussion with personal attacks, then please provide some evidence; otherwise, please refrain from making such serious accusations. Thank you. odder (talk) 11:36, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

I read 'establish' and 'register' as the same. For the last point: I should have written "lack of assumption of good faith" -- referring to language such as 'conveniently', 'at the very least', &c. But I will retract and refrain from doing the same myself! SJ talk  08:32, 23 November 2013 (UTC)Reply


Let's work through some of these in more detail.

  • How could we ensure we find squatters? What would it cost to oppose them all? What would it cost if we missed one?
  • It seems easy to miss a squatter's registration. If you have no prior registration yourself, it is rather difficult to challenge their own registration once you miss the opposition period.
  • Does every jurisdiction have a simple opposition process?
Phishing & fraud
  • Currently I can create a site that looks exactly like Meta, including the site logo on every page, and do whatever I like with it; including phishing for passwords. It would be hard to prosecute: there are no (c) or TM claims to be made. As I understand it: challenging someone based on fraud is much harder, and much more variable from country to country, than simply pursuing a TM challenge. Is this a problem we need to worry about?
A criterion that lets everyone use a collective-marked logo
Results of past and current polls
  • We haven't educated others, or ourselves, terribly well up to this point on the TM options. So many people !voting or commenting aren't quite sure about the implications of TM or not TM. We should be improving the clarity of our discussion, not comparing across years and contexts.
    • I didn't see that much confusion. In particular, the 2008 Meta-Wiki poll was very clear. Other discussions have been more confusing because of proposed solutions which may or not be legal, etc. --Nemo 11:24, 23 November 2013 (UTC)Reply
Current difficulty using project logos
  • Can we gather those in one place? And classify the types of problems people face?
    I remember this used to be a problem a few years ago, but it seems to have gotten much better (particularly with the latest draft of the TM policy)
    Many have given up, sure. For instance WMIT doesn't seem to have any hope to reopen its shop. The "seems" is surely an error of perspective, as obviously a draft is not a policy and can't claim to have already improved reality. --Nemo 11:24, 23 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

The need for trademarking[edit]

It's been suggested that not trademarking the community logo is a risk, because even though nothing bad happened from 2006 (creation) to 2012 (registration by WMF) it's possible that someone from outside the Wikimedia movement uses or registers the trademark in bad faith, to misidentify themselves as community members. It's not clear however, for what reasons one would wish to use a mark whose meaning is "this is an unofficial, non-authorized community thing which doesn't represent Wikimedia or anyone in particular but itself" and which is known only by some members of the community. In short, a thing just internal to the community, which has no value for anyone else, a bit like BJAODN.
I would like to ask the WMF: if you registered this mark to avoid such risks, where are you going to draw a line? On the English Wikipedia, some userboxes are used by thousands users and can be considered a sign of belonging to the Wikipedia/Wikimedia community much more important and valuable than this logo. What would happen if someone registered the Wikipe-tan, used by thousands CVU users? Or the AWWDMBJAWGCAWAIFDSPBATDMTAD word mark? Or even worse, what if someone registered the very barnstar sign, then making us desist from using it or self-identifying as a respected Vanguard Editor, maybe even with the goal of selling their services? Should all those symbols be registered and regulated, and the WMF tasked with policing their usage and all individual statements of affiliation to the community? Where is the boundary between what can and should be registered and what can't? --Lord High Togneme Laureate (talk) 16:26, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply

Update on fees[edit]

As you may remember, I and John shared the cost of about 1000 € for the opposition. I'm glad to say that on October 2 I got back 350 € i.e. all the OHIM fees, because the trademark was withdrawn. Of these, I and John spent 240,60 € to buy from builtwith.com a list of MediaWiki sites for WikiTeam, of which you can see the first use at https://wikiapiary.com/wiki/Category:Oct_2014_Import --Nemo 12:26, 29 October 2014 (UTC)Reply