Talk:Community Logo/Request for consultation

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Latest comment: 7 years ago by Fæ in topic Legal representation

How do Requests work?[edit]

I'd like to understand what the current exact workflow-process is, for requesting usage. Could we get that added to the RfC as a short bullet-point list?

Maybe some details of how many requests are submitted on average every quarter?

Maybe a guesstimate of how many lawyer/intern hours it takes to answer each request? Quiddity (talk) 02:21, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Quiddity, we have described this process in this blog post. However, the purpose of establishing a collective membership mark is to allow community members to use the Community logo without following the trademark request process. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 18:02, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks. That post, the collective membership mark explanation, and some of the points at Trademark_Policy#FAQ, helped answer most of my questions. Quiddity (talk) 22:44, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Examples of flexible use[edit]

I'd also like to see 2 or 3 examples of things along the lines of:

  • Instances where usage was requested, and granted.
  • Instances where usage was requested, and denied.
  • and possibly (if it's useful), Instances where usage was not requested but should have been, and would have been granted.

(Sample ideas only. I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. Please give us examples to illustrate the problems and successes.)

I think that would help those of us who don't understand what the problem is, get some insight into how the disagreements arose, and how changing licencing schemes may (or may not) help resolve them. Quiddity (talk) 02:21, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

I've been offline since yesterday so I may have missed it, but there is still no explanation of how this collective mark thing would work, so I consider it only a preliminary (imaginary) proposal. --Nemo 10:14, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Quiddity, I cannot think of an incident during my tenure as general counsel where WMF has restricted the use of the community logo for any Wikimedia activity. We generally have a hands-off approach on the logo when it is used in furtherance of Wikimedia activities or mission. In practice, unless I am forgetting something, I don't believe we have asked community members to request permission during my tenure as general counsel. The registration provides us with a stronger tool than "common law" rights to protect against non-community third party misuse; the registration is a preventative measure to help guard against such misuse. Our intent is to formalize our open view on the use of the community mark by seeking to register the mark as a community collective mark and to modify the next version of the trademark policy to reflect that more liberal approach. Since your posting, we have posted on the main page of this consultation the counterarguments that had been previously posted. Hope that helps. Geoffbrigham (talk) 10:15, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
On "where WMF has restricted the use of the community logo for any Wikimedia activity", of course not this logo, because it was free and nobody would ever ask you permission. But about other marks, there are endless examples. And many we will never know about because people don't even bother asking and they just give up. --Nemo 11:50, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
We are quite liberal in granting permission on the use of the other trademarks. I would encourage those who are following this objectively to read our trademarks practices statement and discussion here. As general background, to others reading this discussion, we are having a constructive conversation with many members of the community on seeking ways to draft a clearer, easier-to-read trademark policy which allows even more use of our principal logos without permissions. We inherited a 2009 trademark policy, which we feel is time to update to provide greater clarity for the community. This discussion with the community has been going on for some time and this consultation is part of it. We actually have seen the community logo as part of our portfolio to protect, but we have heard concerns expressed as part of our larger discussion that we must ensure liberal use of the community logo (which we have done to date). We are hearing that the community does not want an "alternative mark" as we had suggested as an idea. So, in the last couple of months, we have taken a new look at this and have sought outside legal counsel advice on the issue in the US and elsewhere. For that reason, we now think the collective member mark, although somewhat unique, is a good way to go and addresses the concerns previously expressed. We don't have an emotional stake in this, however. If the community as a whole does not want WMF to continue bearing the financial and resource burden of protecting the community logo against misuse, I'm fine following a directive to forgo that responsibility. That said, my recommendation is to use the resources of WMF to protect the community mark while maximizing its usage as a collective member mark, as explained on the main page of this consultation and in previous discussions. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:13, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

The counterargument[edit]

I find it impossible to comment on this consultation as it does not give the reason some people are opposed to registration. As it stands this request is so biasly worded it seems to me it can only result in one outcome - the one WMF wants. I urge the WMF to either present the counterargument or allow someone else to, otherwise this is essentially a meaningless consultation. (Ping User:Mdennis (WMF) and User:Jalexander). Dpmuk (talk) 02:36, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

If you could expand on what you want added, and perhaps some suggestions, I'm sure there is some flexibility. It's from the legal team so Maggie and I can't adjust it unilaterally but they will be watching this page (and we can make sure they see comments). I don't think this page should have everything repeated, it's just gets repetitive and 'too long didn't read' and we link to the larger discussions where many people's viewpoints are expanded on. That said, it doesn't mean we can't add something here if it makes sense to ensure both sides are exposed. I also imagine (like most RfC's) a good amount of argument for both side will be put into the comments. Jalexander (talk) 03:31, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Well at the moment the first paragraph under "considerations" essentially gives the WMF view of why it should be trademarked but there is no equivalent paragraphs for why it shouldn't. I'm not looking for much - just a paragraph giving what the opposing considerations are. It doesn't seem fair to me that to get a summary of the WMF position I have to read one paragraph here where as to get a summary of the opposing position I have to read through a wall of text. Dpmuk (talk) 04:37, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Dpmuk, we did provide links to the discussion in the background section, including this one. I think one main concern is that WMF may try to control the trademark in ways inconsistent with community needs, but that is not our intent. Any mandate we receive will assume we allow for community use in furtherance of the Wikimedia mission. I'm sure reading the links may show more nuance to the contrary argument. Geoffbrigham (talk) 04:50, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
After talking to Geoff and Yana I've added a section (copying from the Reclaim the Logo discussion) on counterarguments here do you think that should be good to jump start the thoughts? Jalexander (talk) 05:23, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
It's still not quite balanced as the arguments don't have all their counter-arguments which we have already provided elsewhere. :) At least you're trying to consult the community this time, thanks. --Nemo 10:22, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yes, that's the sort of thing I was talking about. Obviously ideally it's exact form would have been agreed beforehand but I appreciate you've tried and think it's much more balanced and that I'm now able to make an informed decision. Thanks for listening. Dpmuk (talk) 15:21, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Dpmuk! This was a very helpful request. It is important to present all views in a consultation. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 18:20, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Only a third option is satisfactory[edit]

We are told that any symbol we use to identify the activities of a free project must either be non-free or be open to be stolen and denied for our own use by anyone who files a paper. These are not acceptable options. What we should look to do here is to create a new concept of "trademarkleft", which would register the trademark on behalf of the people of the world, subject to such terms and conditions as we can devise so that its presence means something (i.e. so that it can be used by noncommercial encyclopedists, but not by a private company as an apparent endorsement by us). The key activity here should be to fight for the right to a commons, and a concept of what that is, rather than choosing from a list of menu options. Wnt (talk) 04:32, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Wnt, I think that is our intent with the collective membership mark and a liberal use provision in the new trademark policy. Our goal is to maximize community use in furtherance of the Wikimedia mission. We are of course open to other alternative ideas that can be protected if misused. Geoffbrigham (talk) 04:42, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
user:wnt, the most recent item I have seen about that concept is : I recommend reading at least the section about User:Benjamin Mako Hill's views - he is on the wmf:Advisory Board. More from Mako on his blog . I'd love to see more movement towards a trademark-left system. I think it would also be acceptable to have the community logo managed by a neutral entity, such as w:Software in the Public Interest. The idea of a collective membership mark is also worth exploring.
Also Wnt, please also accept that there are many more options. Should the trademark opposition process conclude that the WMF can't hold a worldwide trademark on this logo, the WMF and/or community can pick a new logo if they feel that they need a trademarked logo, or the WMF and/or community can pick a new logo when there are people 'stealing' our community logo or denying us of our community logo. John Vandenberg (talk) 05:09, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Why is trademark a bad thing?[edit]

I am obviously not a lawyer, so I'm left scratching my head about something. Why would it be a bad thing if the Foundation trademarked these? At least with regard to the specific logo being discussed, trademarking it wouldn't remove the public domain release, correct? So, it could still be freely reused, but the Foundation and the community-at-large would be protected from misrepresentation by malicious outside entities. I fail to see why this would be a bad thing. Huntster (t@c) 07:59, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Huntster. I wont try to answer whether trademarking it will remove the public domain release, or get into legal arguments here.
Please consider that WarX uploaded this logo in 2006, and marked it with {{PD-self}}, which at the time said (emphasis in the original):
I, the author of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide.
In case this is not legally possible:
I grant anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.
Today that page (commons:File:Wikimedia Community Logo.svg) also says (emphasis in the original):
This file is (or includes) one of the official logos or designs used by the Wikimedia Foundation or by one of its projects. Use of the Wikimedia logos and trademarks is subject to the Wikimedia trademark policy and visual identity guidelines, and may require permission.
The WMF has successfully trademarked this logo in the US. That is done.
The WMF has put conditions on the use of this logo. That is done.(To be fair, the WMF has been facilitating a discussion aimed at reducing the conditions placed on this logo. But my response is that while they have a trademark, they retain control of which conditions they set, and can change them at will; and, any trademark goes against the intentions of the author.)
The WMF has also applied for a trademark on this logo in the EU. That is being contested.
The Standard You Walk Past is the Standard You Accept.
Also, by not opposing, we encourage other well meaning non-profits, corporations and trademark trolls to apply for trademarks of other public domain logos; 'our' logos, such as the Free Culture logo, which is shared by and and others. (note I havent done an exhaustive search to check that nobody has trademarked that logo). John Vandenberg (talk) 09:37, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
During my tenure as General Counsel, I am unaware of any incident where WMF restricted the use of the community logo in any Wikimedia activity. Also, our proposal is to seek a collective membership mark and to help incorporate this free ongoing community use in the trademark policy, as pointed out above and in our community discussion on trademark practices. WMF is involved in part because protecting the mark is expensive, and we are willing to carrying that burden. Global protection can cost tens of thousands of dollars for any mark, and other ongoing and necessary measures - such as paying services to monitor the web for misuse by non-community third parties - costs money and time. Geoffbrigham (talk) 09:59, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
"Flexible" doesn't equal "free", hence it's not what the logo was designed and adopted for, unless you explain how this collective mark could be "owned" by anyone from the community without gatekeepers (registered by an association with automatic open membership/registration like our wikis?). --Nemo 11:54, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

How is it even possible to register a public domain image as a trademark, which effectively removes from the public some of the rights that PD implies? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 10:23, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Peter, your question is a good one. We wrote a bit more detail about that here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 11:01, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Free licensing vs Trademark vs Foundation Full-Copyright[edit]

I am kind of curious why trademark is even needed for our logos except perhaps the WMF logo that is associated with the donations. The idea seems to be to trademark it so no one else does. That is all good and well but why do we insist on fully copyrighting project logos then? We are a non-profit project, we do not have a commercial product. I feel the fear of abuse of symbols/logos are distracting us from our free knowledge mission. -- とある白い猫 chi? 20:08, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi とある白い猫, thanks for your question. Trademark is needed to protect the connection between the Wikimedia logos and the Wikimedia sites. When a person or organization uses a logo with respect to some particular work, users start to associate that logo with the work in question. And as users start trusting that the logo represents certain work, third parties may abuse that trust for their own profit. Trademark law ensures that when readers see the puzzle globe in the top left corner of a website that looks like Wikipedia, they should be confident that they are looking at neutral, notable, and high quality content that is the result of Wikipedia’s rigorous and transparent editing process.
The copyright status varies across our logos for historical reasons. We hope to bring consistency across them and license them under CC BY-SA or a similar free license in the future. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 22:27, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Re the copyright status: \o/ Some of us have been wondering about that for years, and I'm glad to hear it's being looked into now. Anomie (talk) 13:27, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Just a note since we're on this topic, while I know that the process of converting old logo's is a bit more complicated the process did indeed start with the Wikivoyage logo which was allowed to be submitted with an open license and remains on commons under cc-by-sa-3.0 (both the older globe logo and the new one). Jalexander (talk) 20:00, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
I can support trademark protection if logos are going to be freely licensed. Can we get more info on that plan? Perhaps the board can pass a conditional resolution that allows logos to be freely licensed if they are under trademark protection? -- とある白い猫 chi? 21:36, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
The Wikivoyage logo license was an excellent step; it would be wonderful to have them all under a free license. Thank you, Yana and all for your work and thought about this. SJ talk  01:18, 3 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

You know, Meta:Babel/Metawiki logo poll was filed for a reason. Meta logo used to be the Wikimedia logo. One of the main reasons the community decided to change the logo was that WMF logo wasn't free or was too official. This needs to be addressed too. -- とある白い猫 chi? 02:41, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

It's worth reviewing how official we want the Meta logo to be. If there is a community logo under collective trademark, would that be free enough? In my mind, the two should be equally free and unofficial. SJ talk  01:18, 3 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
How can we answer whether that 'would be free enough' Sj? The WMF is asking the community to endorse something without providing any details of what 'it' will entail and many are unsure of what actual legal framework this would fall under, because the WMF has not even linked to the appropriate Wikipedia article, nor answered questions about this after two weeks. See the question about that here, on the poll, and also The WMF's presentation of this concept should be neutral and adequately inform the community. It does not.
The WMF gives the examples of Toastmaster and Rotary.
  • The Toastmasters collective trademark is only issued to approved organisations (clubs), rather than individuals, and their agreement says "Member clubs shall not permit any individual member of a club or any other person or entity to use the collective membership marks without prior written approval from the Executive Director of Toastmasters International."
  • Likewise Rotary only joins with approved organisations rather than individuals, and says "Rotary Clubs and other Rotary Entities may use the Rotary Marks in promotional and project materials as set forth in the Visual Identity Guide, the Manual of Procedure and the Rotary Code of Policies. [break] You may not use the Rotary Marks in a manner that would imply RI's affiliation with or endorsement, sponsorship, or support of a third party product or service."
Given the examples of Rotary and Toastmaster, does the WMF intend to allow derivatives of the collective mark to be created? Will derivatives need to be approved by the WMF? Will ownership of the derivatives need to be transferred to the WMF before use? Will then WMF then need to register and protect those derivatives also, like they did with the Meta, Outreach and Strategy planning logos? Is that a good use of donor funds Sj?
Given the examples of Rotary and Toastmaster, does the WMF intend to only allow the collective trademark to be used by approved affiliates?
If the WMF intends to allow direct membership of a WMF controlled entity or similar, does the WMF have a comparable example to cite, where the international collective trademark allows use by members who are individuals rather than organisations, or better yet allows use by non-members?
If membership of an organisation is required, what will the articles of association be? I'll bet that the WMF would be proposing a US organisation, and the members of our community will be required to join in order to use the trademark, and the membership application will required the prospective member to agree that any disputes will be heard in the jurisdiction of California, which essentially means the WMF will win by default on any dispute involving someone living out of US, because the cost to appear before the court would be prohibitive, and some may fear coming to the US. John Vandenberg (talk) 05:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I would also like to see a summary of what collective TM would mean in detail. If we were to take this path, my ideal if possible would be to use this for only one reason: to prevent someone else from filing their own registration and possibly imposing greater restrictions.
  1. Register lightly (roughly twice, in the US and EU)
  2. Universal membership, open to all people.
  3. No restriction on or separate registration of derivatives.
SJ talk  11:38, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

September 26th Wikimedia-l email from Geoff and Yana[edit]

Copying in the email that Geoff and Yana sent to Wikimedia-l so that it can be seen here by those not on the mailing list and for discussion purposes.

Hi all,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has constructively participated in the ongoing trademark practices consultation that we started several months ago. Please feel free to continue your participation there, since all issues continue to remain open for discussion.[1] We would also like to invite community members to join the ongoing discussion regarding the trademark protection of the Community logo that we posted on Monday: Our goal is to obtain clear direction from the community on how we should proceed with respect to the registration of the Community logo and whether we should pursue a collective membership mark for the community.

Our current consultation is part of an ongoing discussion regarding this logo. We joined this discussion on the talk page for the Community logo and Wikimedia thematic organizations.[2] We then initiated a broader discussion on trademarks in June, where the discussion on the Community logo continued.[1] That trademark practice discussion remains open and active, and we have been responding to a wide array of important issues thanks to community comments.

We were first notified this weekend of a potential opposition to the trademark registration,[3] a proposal not raised earlier in the community consultation on trademark practices even though the deadline for the opposition was not until December 22. We accordingly initiated a community consultation on Monday about how you would like us to handle this.[4] Indeed, this is consistent with the legal team’s ongoing efforts over the last two years to include the community in important legal decisions and policy proposals. We have put a strong emphasis on a close working relationship with the community, such as in our discussions on the Terms of Use, the Privacy Policy, the Conflict of Interest Guidelines, the Legal Fees Assistance Program, the Political Affiliation Policy, and now the Trademark Policy.[5]

In our ongoing consultation regarding the Community logo, we have asked the community to let us know whether to seek a collective membership mark (which will help maintain protection against misuse by others, while allowing free use by community members) or to abandon the registration of the trademark and its protection by WMF.[4] Collective membership mark is an idea that we started researching a couple of months ago in light of community comments in the trademarks discussion.

To be clear, we have no emotional investment in the outcome. This consultation is the community's opportunity to let us know how the mark should or should not be protected. As we stated before, we are fine abandoning the trademark registration to put our limited resources against other priorities, but this decision belongs to you and the Board [6]. To ensure full community participation, we have invited users from all across the world to take part in this and continue to encourage that.[4]

Our actions will be based on the community consultation underway and the Board, not on an extra-community legal action. We understand that an opposition against the Community logo trademark has been filed, and we will handle it as we do all litigation. The litigation deadlines are a non-issue to us because we will do what the community and Board tell us. Our goal is to determine the broader community intent through a community consultation that is open to everyone. If the community and Board tell us that we should abandon registration, we will do so; if you want it protected, let us know.

Please join in at and tell us what you would like us to do. Also please feel free to participate in the more comprehensive discussion with the community on trademark practices.

Thanks for your thoughts on this,
Geoff & Yana

  1. a b
  2. and
  4. a b c
  5. Board approval is probably necessary since we registered the logo in light of a Board resolution. After the Community logo was adopted as the official Meta logo, it was added to the list of Wikimedia logos in September 2008. In April 2009, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution directing WMF staff “to register and protect the Wikimedia marks.” The Board can provide clarification whether we should or should not register the Community mark based on the results of the community consultation.

Confusing wording[edit]

See also #Only a third option is satisfactory

From the current results, I don't think the way questions are phrased is entirely clear. Some participants understand the second question ("should WMF abandon trademark registration") as including the collective trademark, and some treat it as basically abandoning the current process, possibly in favor of the collective trademark registration (or not). Pundit (talk) 07:05, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

The second question is intended to mean abandonment of any trademark registration and protection (including the collective mark). Thanks, Pundit. Geoffbrigham (talk) 08:29, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
I understand that this is your intent. I'm only signaling that in my view it may be slightly confusing. I allowed myself to clarify, if anyone believes it goes beyond a simple minor clarifying edit, feel free to revert. Pundit (talk) 08:50, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
This is a question to those who voted in that section, so I can't answer it. If they don't agree with the change, you risk that some of them may deem the poll invalidated.
At any rate, the two proposals have separate +1/-1/0 sections, so they are blatantly not a dichotomic aut aut, even if they were mutually exclusive. --Nemo 09:16, 27 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Thanks for registering the logo as a trademark[edit]

Hereby I thank the legal team of the Wikimedia Foundation for registering the logo as a trademark. This will protect the Wikimedia movement as a whole, of which I'm a part, against abuse of the trademark. Wikivoyage has a new logo now, which definitely will receive trademark protection by the Wikimedia Foundation. Fellow community members should weigh in the possibility of a contest for a new logo design and subsequent copyright and trademark protection by the Wikimedia Foundation. I have no problem with that. The Wikimedia Foundation is just a legal body representing the whole Wikimedia movement, if you like it or not. You do have (some) influence in this radical transparant movement, for example through election of three community board members plus a couple of chapter representatives on the board. So, actually the Wikimedia Foundation is governed by representatives of the Wikimedia movement. I wish the legal team and the board a lot of wisdom, courage and strength in this process. Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 07:02, 2 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Update (October 8, 2013)[edit]

This seems to be more an update as of September 25th? Would those opposing the trademark be willing to share the text of the opposition statement on this wiki under a free license, to save interested people from trying to navigate the EU's trademark office? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:46, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi, thanks for your comment. This was already done at the main page on the topic, Community Logo/Reclaim the Logo, as well as on [Wikimedia-l] It's time to reclaim the community logo, on the 25th. I've updated the page to help the users getting lost on this page find the actual information they're looking for. --Nemo 20:51, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Nemo. I think I misspoke before - I was meaning the exact text of the opposition document that was filed at the EU trademark office, as referenced to in this update from the WMF. Does that solely consist of the text at Community Logo/Reclaim the Logo, or was any other information submitted? The quotes posted by the WMF seem to imply that more text than you link to has been submitted (e.g. I can't trace the "prohibit the registration of the trademark application." statement on-wiki). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:05, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi, I mean the sentence and link «on 2013-09-25 and is publicly accessible» (click, click "access to file" icon at the top, there you are; if it's not simple enough you can probably upload where you want, I'm told there is no copyright restriction). As for what they contain, the opposition is just what you can expect, while the observation is mainly text resonating the community texts at Community Logo and elsewhere, just in case filing them officially to the OHIM happened to convince the WMF to answer those concerns and questions by several community members. :) --Nemo 21:36, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Please can you upload a copy of that document here under a free license? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:39, 8 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
The PDFs are not our or our representative's copyright more than yours, so if I can upload them you can too. In Italy such stuff would be PD, I'll try to find out what pages to upload where and with what tag. However, some of those PDFs contain the WMF's representatives' name... are we sure that they won't sue me for mentioning them, as is their tradition? --Nemo 05:56, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I see you are referring to the Blockshopper case from 2009. An unfortunate case. Yet they are a firm of 2,400 lawyers; the WMF is not working with the same lawyers, and would hardly allow such behavior on its behalf. SJ talk  10:52, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I just wanted to confirm that our lawyers are indeed not the lawyers who worked on the Blockshopper case. They are not even in the same office. Today, Jones Day is helping us in a couple of areas that promote our values. For example, they have provided outstanding legal advice to us for free on the collective membership mark, and they are defending Larry Lessig, a leader of free culture, in his fair use claim together with EFF. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 18:07, 10 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
As far as I understand, that action was initiated by the firm for their own sake, not on behalf of someone, so I don't see how it matters who of those 2400 lawyers is working with the WMF. It's a very risky and, let me say, disgusting, entity to have anything to do with. I don't feel comfortable mentioning their name or linking their website, yet WMF forces us to have to do with them. --Nemo 11:06, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

I would also prefer if the opposition was uploaded here. --Bence (talk) 15:50, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi Bence, thanks for the message. As Nemo wrote above, our lawyer told us there are no copyright restrictions on the text, but as you know, such wording isn't enough for the file to be uploaded to Commons. We are in touch with them, and the file should be uploaded to Commons shortly; we'll also provide you with a transcription so you won't have to open a PDF document to read the actual text of the opposition. Thanks, odder (talk) 18:29, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, that should make it easier. (I did go looking for it at the link, but it takes a bit of time, and there are like a dozen files under "Opposition"). -Bence (talk) 22:17, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
A copy of the opposition and observation is now on a wiki too.[1] --Nemo 10:46, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for putting the time into making these easier to find. -- (talk) 13:39, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Legal representation[edit]

Hi all,

We wanted to provide the community with some background on our decision to hire Jones Day to represent the Wikimedia Foundation with respect to the Community logo.

Some time ago (and before the pending opposition), Jones Day had kindly agreed to provide us with pro bono (i.e. free) research on the collective membership mark. Jones Day has a long history of commitment to pro bono service. Despite representing the Wikimedia Foundation for free, their work was outstanding and they really understood our community much better than most other law firms. So when we found out that these two individuals filed an opposition to our registration after we had started a community consultation on the collective membership mark, we asked Jones Day to represent the Wikimedia Foundation in that action. We did not hire the firm to bully community members. Rather, we hired it because we believe that this firm will do a good job at protecting the community’s interests and preserving the possibility of a collective membership mark as will be determined in the community consultation.

We would like to take this opportunity to once again encourage you to join the consultation about the Community logo. It is important that everyone get a chance to speak up so that we can get clear direction from the community.


GBrigham (WMF) & YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 06:06, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

1. Why are you unable to use interwiki links? 2. Why do you say "these two individuals"? Everyone knows who they are. Don't they have names? 3. Can you explain the "filed an opposition after we started a community consultation" stuff? I have not seen anything of this "consultation" before the opposition was announced on wikimedia-l. --MF-W 06:27, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I'm afraid "these two individuals" reads like attempting to depersonalise your opponent, which is an unfortunate attitude when we're talking about your own community members seriously concerned with something WMF has done, and particularly concerning when hiring representation such as this - David Gerard (talk) 07:08, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Geoff, presumably the legal advice was to exhaust all community consultation processes and attempt a mediated inexpensive friendly negotiation of their objection before forcing two long term volunteers for the Wikimedia movement into a US court to defend themselves (presumably "action" against "these two individuals" means a direct adversarial civil action against two named Wikimedia Movement volunteers/leaders). Could you explain how much you expect this to cost out of the charity's donated funds, and what your estimate is for the personal losses for "these two individuals" due to claims against them by the WMF? Certainly this sets a Wikimedia Movement precedent for what we (the unpaid volunteers) can expect from the WMF. It is scary, I'm scared to even write here as part of community discussion, I hope I have completely misunderstood what you intended to say here. Thanks -- (talk) 09:18, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi all - Our intention here is to correct what was, in my mind, a mischaracterization of the law firm, including the suggestion on wikimedia-l that we hired this law firm to bully volunteers. Apologies for using the wrong language and giving the wrong impression. There certainly is no desire to impersonalize anyone: indeed we had named the volunteers who had filed the opposition as an update in the community consultation. Before the filing of the opposition, the law firm had been providing free services as a donation in researching the collective mark issue for us; we are quite grateful for their pro bono work, which has been outstanding and has allowed us to have this community consultation on an original approach that we believe is consistent with our community values. To be clear, there has been no legal action filed by WMF against anybody in this matter. The lawyer for the volunteers has filed an opposition, and we have hired a law firm to respond to that opposition, if necessary. I would have preferred if that opposition had not been filed by the volunteers, and, in my personal view, I don't believe they were forced to file it based on the facts and deadlines as set out in the consultation. When someone files a legal opposition, however, we are required to hire legal counsel to represent us in that proceeding. I don't have the ability to do it personally because I am not licensed to practice in European trademark proceedings and it is hard to do it from afar with my focus on a number of competing issues and priorities. Yet I cannot abandon the mark by not showing up without clear guidance from the community. To be clear, there is no separate legal action filed in the U.S. or anywhere else by WMF. We are simply hiring a lawyer to respond to the opposition filed by the attorney representing the volunteers - a legal proceeding initiated by them after the legal department had started a non-legal community consultation on the issue. I hope the costs will be minimal, because I hope the opposition will be dropped by the volunteers after we see the results of the community consultation. We have always said that we will do whatever the community and Board instruct us to do in this matter. (I hear the above comment about inter-wiki links; my apologies, I will correct that going forward.) Cheers. Geoffbrigham (talk) 10:16, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Geoff, your explanation was helpful and added information I did not understand and as a layman, misinterpreted from your opening statement. Knowing the good work of the Wikimedia volunteers who have followed their consciences in raising a timely objection, I felt it would be remiss not to ask and I am glad to see a prompt reply. Picking up on David's point I am slightly puzzled that despite saying you have no desire to impersonalize, you have still not given names, perhaps if you have future comments you should be seen to be naming Federico and Tomasz (after all, I am courteously referring to you as Geoff rather than WMF Legal) as well as your shift to more accurately calling them "volunteers" rather than "individuals"; minor comms stuff perhaps, but important to the community I feel. -- (talk) 10:36, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Fae. I appreciate your advice here. My intent was to discuss the issue without personalizing the discussion in a bad way, but it obviously came out wrong. Sigh. Geoffbrigham (talk) 10:51, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thank you, Geoff (and also Fae for asking in this detail), for this clarification of misunderstandings, which was really important here. However, I still have the comprehension question I wrote above regarding "filed an opposition to our registration after we had started a community consultation". Afaics this page (request for consultation) was started already mentioning that the opposition was announced. So was there any consultation elsewhere already? --MF-W 23:46, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi MF-W, thanks for seeking further clarification. We’ve had an ongoing consultation regarding all the Wikimedia marks - including the Community logo - since early June. We then started this consultation after odder announced that they may file an opposition to the registration, but had not actually filed one. In this consultation, we clarified that the deadline to file an opposition was not until December and that there was plenty of time to resolve this issue within the movement without a legal action. We offered to drop the registration if we got clear direction from the wider community and the Board. We also outlined the proposed collective membership mark that we were researching, which we believe would better serve the community. By the time the opposition was filed on September 25, there was already an active community consultation underway on this page. I hope this answers your question. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 05:07, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yes, it does, thank you! --MF-W 15:11, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Trademark practices discussion doesn't include any consultation about the trademarking of the community logo. Indeed, the fact that it gave for granted, as premises, what the community had objected to, without addressing any such concern, is precisely what convinced us that the WMF wasn't, at the time, open to any serious discussion of this action. --Nemo 18:13, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

On pro bono, we now know (the order of magnitude of) what Jones Day has earned from their outstanding service: mailarchive:wikimedia-l/2016-June/084356.html. Nemo 17:09, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

I now understand what the WMF means by "pro bono", using their own special PR language. Thanks for connecting the dots here Nemo. No doubt Jimmy Wales would again say, "utter fucking bullshit" were this anyone but the WMF. -- (talk) 19:21, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply

Collective Membership Mark[edit]

Firstly, please forgive me if I make any errors in legal interpretation here; I am most definitely no lawyer. The proposal being put forward is to register the logo as a "collective membership mark", where anyone who is a "Wikimedia community member", as acknowledged by the trademark holder (being the Foundation) may use the logo without asking for permission. My questions are:

  1. Who is a "Wikimedia community member"? This is a discussion that is as old as the community itself and one where an answer that is satisfactory to everyone has never been presented. I presume a concrete definition would have to be arrived at before this could work. Who gets to choose who is a member of the community?
  2. If someone that wants to use the logo for whatever purpose needs to go to the Foundation and get certified as "the community", how is that different to asking permission? It's been stated here that the usage criteria would be "liberal" which is great, but what guarantee does the community have that the Foundation won't unilaterally change its mind at some point in the future and designate almost nobody as being a "Wikimedia community member" for the purposes of this mark?
  3. Given the advantages that the Foundation is advertising to the collective membership mark strategy, why was this not tried from the beginning rather than trying to establish a trademark, which seems a lot more restrictive, over this logo?

Thanks in advance for your answers. Craig Franklin (talk) 10:46, 9 October 2013 (UTC).Reply

Hi Craig, please see my comment below that I believe answers your first two questions. As to your third question, this is a rather creative solution using a very unusual type of mark. But in order to make it work for our global community, it is helpful to have an ordinary trademark registration as well. It allows community members to use the logo as a collective membership mark under U.S. law, while the regular trademark can be enforced against deceptive uses by others. I hope that answers your questions. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 06:47, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Yana, thankyou for the response. I have a follow up question: do you have to apply for a regular trademark first, and then do the collective membership mark after that has been accepted, or is it possible to do both simultaneously? Would it be possible in theory to start the collective membership mark process without the existing opposition having to be withdrawn? Craig Franklin (talk) 10:10, 12 October 2013 (UTC).Reply
Hi Craig, that's a good question. Generally, you don’t have to hold a regular registration before applying for a collective membership mark. Frankly, we haven't yet researched whether a pending opposition could prevent the collective membership mark from being issued. But even if it may be technically possible to file a registration for a collective membership mark now, we may not want to spend resources on the filing without knowing whether we will ultimately hold the EU registration. The EU registration is an important piece in how we would set up the collective membership mark globally.
One thing that we have to keep in mind is that we have a limited trademark budget and defending against the opposition would divert resources from that. Hopefully, if the community wants to proceed with the collective membership mark, the opposition will be withdrawn and this will not be an issue. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 16:26, 12 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I don't believe the community ever wanted to have a collective membership mark, unless I missed something of the history here, this was an original action by WMF legal without a pre-existing request by the community. I believe it would be more accurate to say that the discussion is about whether the community approves of constraints being actioned by WMF legal, rather than whether it chooses to proceed or not. As I understand it, if the community now disapproves, WMF legal is not bound to any outcome of a consultation process. -- (talk) 17:54, 12 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Comparison: Tux[edit]

Tux the penguin was set up to be an untrademarked community logo for Linux.

Here is a thread from 2004, after a community member based in Europe set up a company with "Tux" in its name, filed a registration for the name and icon, tried to extend it to an EU and US-wide registration. He said he was doing it to prevent Microsoft, et al, from using Tux; and insisted he would set up a fair system that defined how it could and could not be used...

There was a heated community debate, in German and other languages. The next year the registrant failed to file some paperwork and the registration lapsed. In the end, the community (and the initial artist) did not go on to register it, and I don't believe the trouble arose again. But this is an example of what could happen. SJ talk  11:15, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

Good example, probably more accurate to say it is an example of what did not happen that illustrates a path for the value of inaction. I would much rather see the Foundation find a way to respect the collective views of the Wikimedia movement, and be seen to be making strenuous efforts to do so, rather than paying lawyers to set up nice cases but in process damage many relationships. On this occasion I suspect a structured mediation may negotiate a change of tactics, perhaps with the WMF going "meh, can both sides put a pause on this adversarial approach as there is no immediate threat" and thereby creating space for friendly negotiation rather than setting an artificial legal timetable which will entrench views. -- (talk) 11:51, 9 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I agree which is why we are having this discussion, right? -- とある白い猫 chi? 13:53, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yes, and for someone who is normally seen as often taking the role of a black-hat critic, I think WMF legal are doing a good job of replying to questions here. -- (talk) 15:25, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply


Next time for such a page, please use a subpage for the translations (or for the comments), as it was e.g. done on Requests for comment/Activity levels of advanced administrative rights holders (discussion). As can be seen, one has to resort to creating hand-made "edit this section" links as edit section links don't appear on pages marked for translation. Moreover, they don't even work at the moment, because the section titles "Support/Oppose/Neutral" are also marked for translation, which breaks the title syntax and makes the page believe it has no sections. --MF-W 13:07, 10 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

I've removed the markings of "Support/Oppose/Neutral" for translation and will see if I can get somebody who might actually be able to make that work to take a look. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:26, 10 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yeah, this isn't a perfect solution for the translations (especially because of the handmade edit section links) however after looking at a lot of other options I think it was the best one. I believe it is significantly more important to have the translations and the comments on the same page (like they are able to be now) rather then subpages for one or the other. Again, neither is perfect but in the end I decided this was the best of the options I could see in the short time I had. (the section headers below weren't supposed to be translated but someone added them in good faith, can't blame them for trying :) ) Jalexander--WMF 07:11, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Well, ok, but why is it so important to have them on the same page, if they are transcluded? I don't think anyone has the need to add his opinion to the same source code as the introduction. --MF-W 15:47, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

More information about the collective membership mark[edit]

A collective membership mark is a type of trademark that indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a collective group or organization.[1] The mark would be registered for use by community members.[2]

Unlike with regular trademarks, we would not be required to enter into trademark licenses and approve each use to maintain the trademark right. This means that community members would be free to use the logo on their personal websites, on their social media profiles, in print material, on t-shirts, and really anywhere they like to show their membership in the movement. While the Trademark Office requires standards to be set for the use of the collective membership mark by community members, it doesn't specify what those standards must be. It only requires that the standards be clearly identified and enforced.

The lack of specific requirements allows great freedom to establish the standards that will govern community members' use of the mark. As we previously mentioned, we intend to make the use of the mark as easy as possible. Our current thinking is to base the standards for using the mark on the community requirements for voting in the Wikimedia Board elections. So in order to use the Community logo to represent that he or she is a member of the Wikimedia community, a person would need to have made 20 recent edits and 300 total edits on the Wikimedia projects.[3] Anyone who doesn’t meet that requirement would still able to use the logo on the projects or with permission for any use that furthers the Wikimedia mission. And any standards for use would be set out in our new trademark policy and so would first be subject to community consultation.

For jurisdictions that do not provide a collective membership marks, our new trademark policy would establish a right for community members abroad to freely use the logo pursuant to our U.S. registration. But we would still need to have a regular trademark registration in the EU to be able to prevent abusive non-community uses there. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 20:05, 10 October 2013 (UTC)Reply

  1. These marks are commonly used for that purpose by fraternal and civic organizations. For example, a collective membership mark allows the ROTARY INTERNATIONAL emblems to be used to indicate membership in the Rotary International organization.
  2. So in applying for a collective membership mark for the Community logo, we would submit samples of community members' current use of the logo. For example, we could submit a copy of this user profile.
  3. Please let us know if you think that there are better community standards that we can use for this.
Really not trying to nit-pick but commons:User:Tor leads to a non-existent page of a non-existent user. :) -- とある白い猫 chi? 13:51, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Oops! I've fixed it. Case specific. :) Thanks. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:12, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Yana, thanks for sharing this information. Do you have a reference/further information page that sets out the membership standards that the (US?) Trademark Office sets out? I'm surprised to hear that they aren't well defined. It sounds like the voting requirements are a good place to start, but the time period for 'recent edits' bit might need some thought. Why would a regular trademark registration be needed in the EU when community trademarks also seem to be available there? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:02, 11 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi Mike, thanks for your input on the voting requirements. Unlike the “collective membership mark” under US law, the “collective mark” under EU law generally requires members of the group to use the mark in relation to their own products or services. In that sense, it is more restrictive.
The collective membership mark under US law is provided under 15 U.S.C. § 1054 and § 1127. More information about this mark is available under Section 1304 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure. I hope that is helpful. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 03:14, 12 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Back in June I think, the WMF said at Trademark practices discussion:
"The community logo also shares a combination of colors and symbols that are strongly associated with other registered principal Wikimedia marks. Failure to register the community logo could in theory result in loss or dilution of our principal marks. That said, trademark registration does not preclude the community from using the marks broadly, as long as that use is in furtherance of our mission."
Will the WMF allow the community to create and use derivatives of the Community Logo if it is registered as a collective mark in the US, and an individual mark in the EU. e.g. Red, green, and blue? Will the WMF also be registering them as collective trademarks if they also also share a combination of colors and symbols as existing trademarks? John Vandenberg (talk) 04:04, 12 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
I think that the voting requirements are not a good basis for defining our community. In my view, our community includes anyone who has ever edited, enjoyed, reused, or distributed material from a wikimedia wiki. The question is, how welcoming can we be in our definitions of membership? SJ talk  15:58, 13 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
Rather than trying to redefine "members" so we can count how many can dance on the head of a pin, it might be easier to recognize that the free access at the core of the Wikimedia mission and values, means that public domain ought to be a default option for creative content we produce. All members of the public must be able to benefit from the sum of human knowledge, and have no barriers to supporting the shared Wikimedia vision. Arguments for outcomes to erect new bureaucratic or legal barriers, must eventually unravel themselves, as some are no doubt realizing. Saying this, I am fully aware that law is more about building on foundations of rhetoric than bedrock of logic. -- (talk) 22:46, 13 October 2013 (UTC)Reply
User:Sj, my question isnt about membership; it is far more fundamental. The trademark policy draft currently says "Outside the Wikimedia sites (...). [and presumably this applies to the sentence that follows...] The logos should also not be modified without separate permission from the Wikimedia Foundation." It does not yet mention derivatives, though finally WMF has said they will add something to the FAQ (Talk:Trademark policy#Derivatives of the Community_Logo).
Regarding membership, the current rule of 300 edits would rule out one of the previous Wikimedia Australia board members, who had been a member for several years and who put their hand up to be secretary when we needed one. She had plenty of relevant experience, but didn't actively edit the projects. She worked her butt off, contacting members, encouraging editors, providing detailed advice to board members and community members alike. But that isnt good enough now ... false association with the community is now something the WMF wants to "litigate aggressively internationally". John Vandenberg (talk) 14:00, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
User:SJ, I share User:John Vandenberg's concerns. I am not sure how community should be defined but I would like the definition to be flexible and changing. SJ's definition and John's definition seem in alignment with each other but not in alignment with the "300 edits" definition, which would exclude members of the Wikimedia community who were readers, beneficiaries, and contributors in ways that are not measured by edit counts. Like John, I also would like clear explanations of who is and who is not able to enjoy Wikimedia community benefits. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:15, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply


The closure for this consultation has just been set at December 7.[2] Does anyone oppose this date?
If not, we should think about who should close this Rfc; I suppose it will follow the usual standards for RFCs, right? I've not proposed nor !voted any of the two proposals so far and I could offer my help closing it if needed, but we can probably do better (finding someone who's not in WMF, Reclaim or the !voters). --Nemo 22:30, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

I didn't get any feedback on the above, so – as !voting is a "right" everyone has – I placed my personal conclusion from this consultation. --Nemo 23:02, 5 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I've just seen that this is going to be closed soon. I am surprised that it will be closed without a IRC office hours or two, as was suggested by a few people back in early October,[3] and promised by Philippe in the last LCA office hours, which was back in January 2013 (here). That was before the majority of the community had heard about the trademarking. It wasnt until March that board member user:Sj was alerted to the trademarking of the community logo, and it was the first I had heard of it also. John Vandenberg (talk) 13:33, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I do not see this as a closure of the whole discussion; the date as I understand it is an arbitrary deadline for asking people to give comments. I expect this discussion to continue elsewhere, and for there to be a continual conversation among stakeholders. Community comments are only the beginning of a conversations and not a resolution. I expect responses to this including another request for comments, an IRC office hour for live questions and discussion, presentations at future Wikimania conferences, and continual perpetual discussion on meta pages. The point of this talk is to recognize and perpetuate historical community practices and not to enforce sudden broad change. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:00, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
I agree that the discussion will continue, but it doesn't mean that a decision on this specific proposal can't already be made. In my own personal humble view, in March 2013 it was already very clear to anyone bothering to read that the sentiment of the community was against the registration (otherwise we wouldn't have started Reclaim the Logo, of course). Now that it's been confirmed and made clear to absolutely anyone including the WMF, following its own rules/game, it's definitely time to get rid of this registration. The discussion can then proceed without the legal impediments that such registration imposed on it.
Of course, months and months have been spent on this matter already, not as fruitfully as they could have been if only the WMF had immediately withdrawn the registration back in March: everyone is tired. So it would be even better if the WMF refrained from keeping pushing its own agenda for discussion and let the community raise the issue of registering this or that logo if the community itself feels such a need, to be sure that it's serving the community etc. --Nemo 20:41, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Just for the record...[edit]

My personal impression of this 'Rfc' is it cannot be used as a reasonable gauge of the community's opinion as no alternate arguments were cogently presented to the community. I don't believe anyone is likely to say Counterargument (not supported by the legal team) is equally or fairly representative. (In fact, the process by which this 'consultation' was conducted has been, for me, the strongest argument against the WMF's position.) - Amgine/meta wikt wnews blog wmf-blog goog news 00:46, 3 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

To be fair, the very fact that – despite the extremely unbalanced introduction, to use an euphemism – this consultation gauged a majority against the registration of the trademark is quite a good signal of what the opinion of the community is. --Nemo 22:07, 5 December 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I am pleased to see that both of you have criticism here. I am happy with this discussion because before the Wikimedia Foundation organized it, many of these views were not collected. I think that the Wikimedia community's position is improved by the Wikimedia Foundation having taken initiative and started it. I am grateful for those who participated in encouraging the Wikimedia Foundation to make this request, and grateful to the Wikimedia Foundation for responding to the encouragement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:09, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply

Some thoughts on running large RfCs (not just LCA ones), from the discussion above:

  • A clear description of alternatives is useful. Where there are many interested parties with different perspectives, a short period of time dedicated to drafting options, may help. This can be clearer than letting the party with the most energy summarize all options as they perceive them.
  • We need a way to enumerate questions that need answers in a long-lasting discussion; and a way to mark questions as duplicates / link them to the original question. Something like numbering equations on a page.
  • Clarity about how an RfC will be summarized, not just the date on which it will be closed, is a gray areas of many RfCs. Stating the process up front can help remove one small source of ambiguity / anxiety.

SJ talk 

Thank you[edit]

To those running this RfC, and those participating in it over many months, for this thoughtful and attentive public discussion. SJ talk  02:31, 10 December 2013 (UTC)Reply