Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Legal department

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Illegal Commerical Use of Wikiversity Content[edit]

Content from Wikiversity (stating incorrectly that the origin is Wikipedia) was used in a commerical context. Example

A reference URL to the origin of the content is missing. PopFlock seems to download Wikiversity article in large scale with bots and places advertisments with the copied content. Is is not a single page that was copied - all linked pages are downloaded as well and linked within PopFlock using the content with Advertisments on the right margin. I am not a lawyer but using Wikiversity content to earn money with it by placing advertisments with the copied Wikiversity content seems to be illegal to me. Maybe you know the procedures to deal with it. I assume all income generated with the Wikiversity content by PopFlock should be donated to the Wikifoundation. When I typed the keyword "public-private-versioning" into the search engine form, the copied version with Advertisments in PopFlock was displayed first in the results instead of the origin of the content in Wikiversity without advertisments. My contributions to Wikiversity were done as Open Educational Resources OER with especially NO commercial advertisments attached for the learners. At the time of this report currently AMAZ0N Advertisments are displayed on the right margin. At least

  • the correct citation or link to the origin (e.g. Version Control/Public-Private-Versioning. (2017, September 14). Wikiversity. Retrieved 09:59, September 14, 2017 from should be provided and
  • stated if something was changed in comparision to the origin.
  • (according to CC License) "Mention creator if supplied and attribution parties if designated in reasonable manner." This could be easily done by PopFlock if they add a link to the history of any MediaWiki page, that were copied by them for commericial use.

Regards, --Bert Niehaus (talk) 04:05, 28 April 2018 (UTC)

Legal advice for editors in trouble[edit]

Who provides legal advice to editors who are in trouble? Do we need a separate community ombudsman group for this? SJ talk   08:35, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Our present policy is set out here. At WMF, we will look at the totality of the circumstances, and we are exploring in a preliminary way whether something like a defense fund would make sense for administrators and functionaries. The reality is that we don't have many legal actions against editors. Geoffbrigham (talk) 23:30, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. It seems to me that, as long as the LCA team has a policy of not giving such advice, we do need a community group that provides support, reassurance, and advice. (They may have the advantage of not being lawyers, and so expressly not providing legal advice, just social advice on where to find the same.) SJ talk  17:59, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

How can attorneys help[edit]

How can those wikipedias that are also attorneys best help out the Foundation's legal team? Remember (talk) 14:36, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

well, i guess not suing them would make a good start ;). —Pill (talk) 19:41, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Heh. More seriously, I doubt the foundation really needs our help, but if they ever do, they can find many of us at en:Category:Wikipedian lawyers on en.wikipedia and on similar categories on other projects. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 05:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I suspect the Foundation is grateful to have knowledgeable contributors on the projects helping to develop and implement responsible policies and approaches to issues that may diminish the odds of suit. :D --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 18:49, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Legal docs[edit]

Hi. I started a page at Legal docs with some thoughts. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:25, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Updating of page[edit]

Hi, I have updated (and hopefully improved the usability of) this page per Geoff Brigham's request. Thanks! Regards, Rkwon (WMF) (talk) 01:19, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Sorry MZMcBride, I was editing the email addresses table and overrode your edits without realizing that table had been edited by someone other than me! Just fyi the change was made so it would be harder to spam the email addresses. Hope that's okay! Rkwon (WMF) (talk) 20:41, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
It seems to be increasingly clear that bots and scripts are perfectly capable of replacing "[ at ]" or "-at-" or whatever other bastardization with the at sign while users are punished with non-functioning e-mail links. This situation sucks. The e-mail obfuscation techniques disrupt click-ability and the ability to copy and paste the addresses, while arguably doing nothing to prevent spam. I've switched the addresses back to using {{mail}} for now. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:49, 17 May 2013 (UTC)


This page is not marked for translation just because nobody have done it or because there is some reasons to not do it? --Base (talk) 12:48, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Just because nobody has done it. :) I'm not sure what the protocol is for marking simple information pages for translation, but I'm happy to mark it if that seems appropriate. I note, for instance, that the long-established Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is not marked, but Wikimedia Foundation is. :/ --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:29, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Should I take that as a challenge? ;) PiRSquared17 (talk) 15:40, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
LOL! No. :D I just don't want to mark stuff for translation only to find out that the translation tool is to be used for urgent or timely items only. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 16:52, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
No, the Translate extension is used for many more pages, like Global sysops and NPOV. PiRSquared17 (talk) 16:57, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Eventually all useful pages here should be marked for translation -- use your discretion re: which ones come first. SJ talk  18:02, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Please allow translation of titles of policy pages[edit]

The summary table of policies allows translating the descriptions, but not the title of these documents, even though these titles are translatable on the target page.

Please allow translating these titles. Or better : transclude the existing translated titles within these pages, which are already existing in their first translatable item).

Note that the target of these links (when they are on the same wiki) should use the {{ll|Policy Name|translated Policy Name}} or [[My language:Policy Name|translated Policy Name]] syntax.

If you transclude here the translated titles this should use a syntax like:

{{ll|Policy Name|{{Translated page|Translations:Policy Name/subpage id of translated Policy Name}}


[[My language:Policy Name|{{Translated page|Translations:Policy Name/subpage id of translated Policy Name}}]]

In my opinion, there should be a template to help creating those links to a translatable page, using its (optional) namespace, its original page name and the subpage id of the translatable title (it should be the first item "/Page display title" in all translatable pages converted with the <translate> tags I think), with a simple syntax like {{llt|Page Name|Page display title}}. For now the Template:ll only finds the target translated page, if available, or links to the original English page, but it does not provide any translated title to display when this translated title exists in that target page (we need to provide it in its optional second parameter, otherwise the 1st parameter of the English page name is displayed : providing this second parameter can be avoided when we know that the target page is already translatable within the "Translate:" namesspace using the "translate" tag extension)...

For example, instead of:

[[Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Policies|Legal Policies]]

you'd use:

{{llt|Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Policies|Page display title}}

or even just (because "Page display title" is the default subpage id used in the "Translations:" namespace for page converted with the "translate" tag extension):

{{llt|Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Policies}}

Of course, this technic will not work when the target is on another wiki (such as "wmf:"), so we need to translate it locally on Meta (using Template:ll wirh its second parameter value surrounded with the "translate" tag). Because such page titles will be referenced often, there may be another template on Meta to help reference those external pages, notably those on the WMF site, using a user-contrivuted translation (not dispayed on the WMD site but used here on Meta in translated pages).

The simplest (immediately usable) way is to use:

{{llt|Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Policies|<translate>Legal Policies</translate>}}


[[My language:Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Policies|<translate>Legal Policies</translate>]]

Thanks. 19:13, 14 June 2013 (UTC)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Verdy p (talk)

Clarifying database copyright issues in link with Wikidata[edit]

At Wikidata, there have been recurrent discussions about database copyrights and how they might affect the work of bots harvesting data from other databases given Wikidata's choice of the CC0 License. These issues are absolutely fundamental to the future of Wikidata but there is considerable confusion about them and I believe the Foundation's legal team should look into it and provide sound, precise, professional clarifications so that the project can move forward. For a sample, of discussions about specific cases at Wikidata, see

Thanks, Pichpich (talk) 17:55, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Pichpich- thanks for asking, and particularly for providing so many useful links. I have been looking at these questions for a while and hope to be able to provide some answers. It will take a bit of time, though. Thanks for raising the issue and your patience. LVilla (WMF) (talk) 18:05, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Good answers are always better than quick answers. :-) Nevertheless, it would be helpful if you can say what sort of time frame you're talking about when you say "a bit of time". A few days? A few weeks? Thanks. Pichpich (talk) 18:23, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
We're working on it now; I'm aiming for no later than the end of September. LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:13, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
You might also be interested in some earlier discussions here on Meta and on the wikidata mailing list,[1][2][3][4] including this December post where Denny says an assessment has been requested from lawyers. Perhaps that refers to you and your team? --Avenue (talk) 11:43, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Hi there. Does the legal team have any official statements to make on this? Sven Manguard (talk) 22:44, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi. Is the legal team actively working on this? This is a critical problem for Wikidata but there's no indication that the legal team has looked into it despite the 3 month old promise to do so. 13:36, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Even a brief explanation of why the legal team doesn't see it as urgent would be helpful (if that's the case). --Avenue (talk) 02:09, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
User:LVilla (WMF) has just posted an page - Wikilegal/Database Rights - responding to this in general. Any more questions should be on the talk page over there. Filceolaire (talk) 09:47, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Minors on Wikimedia projects[edit]

Hello Geoff,

Recently an issue was raised on our projects in relation to minors on our projects and the revocation of licences. I am posting this to your talk page rather than privately because it is my firm belief the community as a whole needs to be aware of these issues. I’m not a lawyer myself, but I do think quite logically at issues, so anything I write here is just a layman’s look at the issues, and how it will affect the projects and, also very importantly, our re-users.


In 2011, the issue on minors contributing to our projects was raised on Commons here. In this discussion you stated that your answers were hypothetical, as opposed to practical. You also stated that the WMF is not liable as it is only a hosting company, the WMF does not want to limit our projects to adults, and that you did not believe we should change our current practices.

Here is a case which is not hypothetical, but very much practical in nature, and it needs to be looked at seriously by the WMF, for there are likely serious implications to both the WMF and our projects. Again, I am not a lawyer, but am looking at this from a logical, layperson’s standpoint.

Back in July, an editor from Singapore who is apparently under the age of 18 attempted to have his in-use photos deleted from Commons. The same editor also raised the issue on Commons here. After this discussion was closed, the editor again tried to have photos deleted claiming that he wasn’t aware that the licences was irrevocable. After those discussions were closed as ‘’kept’’, the editor in question then changed the licencing from a CC licence to “All Rights Reserved” (this is not visible to anyone who doesn’t have admin rights on Commons). A discussion was then opened on Commons here relating to the legal competence of minors. A simultaneous discussion was started on Jimmy Wales’, a WMF board member, talk page on English Wikipedia here, in which Jimmy states that it is obvious the editor is under the legal age of competence to licence his works.

Possible issues[edit]

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)[edit]

As of 1 July 2013, the US federal COPPA has been amended, which looks like it will affect the WMF. Further information on these changes can be found here, here and here.

This states that COPPA is applicable to “operators of general audience websites or online services with actual knowledge that they are collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children under 13.” The WMF operates and hosts one of the largest general audience websites, and it is aware that children under 13 are participating on projects it hosts. en:Wikipedia:Guidance for younger editors and en:Wikipedia:Advice for parents exist, and at least one WMF board member is aware of their existence. The WMF can not claim that the projects it hosts are not aimed towards minors under COPPA. You, yourself, state in the 2011 discussion on Commons that “We do not want to limit our site to adults.”

Under “3. What is Personal Information?”, the types of information that the WMF collects (because it hosts the information) include:

  1. Online contact information - when editors register on a WMF-hosted project they are given the option of including an email address, which is then collected by the WMF and hosted on WMF hosted servers. Whilst not compulsory to provide, the signup form does solicit the information, although it does leave the decision up to the person creating an account.
  2. A screen or user name that functions as online contact information - again, when editors register they chose a username, which is then hosted on WMF hosted servers. FTC website states “Under the original Rule, a screen or user name was only considered personal information if it revealed an individual’s email address. ‘’Under the amended Rule, a screen or user name is personal information where it functions in the same manner as online contact information, which includes not only an email address, but any other “substantially similar identifier that permits direct contact with a person online’’.” Obviously, being able to communicate with editors via their talk pages would come under this, because the identifier (the username) is used to determine which talk page is used.
  3. A photograph, video, or audio file, where such file contains a child’s image or voice - this is covered in some further detail Videos and Audio here. Commons and other WMF-hosted projects which allow direct uploads, allow anyone to upload photos of themselves. Because the WMF does not restrict usage of the projects it hosts to people over the age of 13, it is inevitable that editors under the age of 13 will upload photos of themselves. I can show you, via private email (in order to protect privacy, etc), an example of where an editor under the age of 13 uploaded a photo of themselves to Commons, and posted it on a project along with information such as their name, their school, etc.
  4. Geolocation information - The Wikimedia Foundation has various apps for general public use. One of these apps allows people to upload photos, and the app information page even states "You can enable 'GPS Tag' in your phone's camera to automatically GPS tag your photos!". What this means, is that a child under the age of 13 is fully able to upload a photo of themselves with a description of "Me at home", and their phones camera will automatically GPS tag the photo, which upon uploading this bot will extract that data from the EXIF, and then provide data by way of Commons:Template:Location, which will give clickable links to the general public, which will give on a map the exact location of the person (their street and name of town or city). This is also an obvious concern I would think.

Geoff, there is a lot more information on COPPA, and it’s something which I am certain the WMF legal representatives will seriously look at. Can you please comment on whether it is your opinion that the WMF would need to comply with COPPA, or not, and provide reasoning on why this is or is not the case. Then we can look at the licence issue separately. Again, I am not a legal eagle, but just an everday bloke who is looking at issues with some concern. Russavia (talk) 15:35, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

In this section I do see that it states "Although nonprofit entities generally are not subject to COPPA, the FTC encourages such entities to post privacy policies online and to provide COPPA’s protections to their child visitors." If COPPA is not applicable to WMF projects, given the amount of discussion on our projects operating in an ethical manner, and coming from the WMF itself, shouldn't we extend this protection to what is deemed to be the 5th most visited website on the planet? Russavia (talk) 18:42, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

I'll closely follow this discussion as the operator of the aforementioned GPS data extraction bot. The question on which step can be considered the publication of location data, the uploading, or the bot making the data more visible, has been on my mind for a long time. --Dschwen (talk) 19:44, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Legal competency of minors[edit]

In the discussions which I have linked to in the “Background” section, the general statements by WMF Legal people is that minors can enter into contracts. In the discussion on Jimmy’s talk page you noted this Facebook related case in which the courts determined that minors can enter into contracts. The thing that I believe has not been publicly discussed on our projects, and probably wasn’t covered in that decision, is that you have to be 13 years old to sign up for Facebook. I just tried signing up for a Facebook account with a DOB which would make me 12 years old, and it states “You are ineligible to register for Facebook.”.

In many countries, minors over the age of 13 are able to enter into simple contracts, such as paying for and receiving life essentials, such as say milk, bread or clothing. A 13 year old would not be able to sign a contract for more non-essential things, such as for the purchase of a house, a luxury car, or other such things.

The other factor which has been neglected to be covered by legal is that under our licencing requirements, the content being provided and licenced, whether that be text or photos/files, needs to be free in both the source country and the United States. I was discussing this issue with a Polish editor who has extensive legal knowledge, and he confirmed for me that in Poland, a 13 year old can enter simple contracts (such as milk or bread), but it is unknown whether something as complex as licencing they would be able to enter into a contract for, and even moreso when it isn’t by natural choice, but as a requirement of editing a WMF which forces editors to release their works under such a licence.

Given that the WMF doesn’t limit participation of editors to the United States, but actively tries to increase editor rates from outside of the US, surely we would have to ensure that those editors are legally able to agree to the WMF TOU, and also be of age in which they can legally licence their works.

I would imagine that there would be few countries where people under the age of 13 would be able to legally agree to a TOU as complex as that provided by the WMF. I imagine that countries with legal systems based on the Napoleonic codes would follow the Polish example, and we would have to determine how countries with common law would determine at what age an editor would legally be able to agree to the WMF TOU. In terms of Singapore, from where the editor on Commons in the "Background" section comes from, perhaps this is relevant, in which it quote R v Oldham Metropolitan BC Ex p. Garlick [1993] 1 FLR 645

If a minor is to enter into a contract with the limited efficacy that the law allows, the minor must at least be old enough to understand the nature of the transaction and, if the transaction involves obligations on the minor of a continuing nature, the nature of those obligations.

I asked my 11 year old nephew, who is pretty clued on, to look at our terms of use, and to tell me what they meant. He didn't have a clue. He understood the part about passwords, in that you should make them hard for people to guess, and not to share them with other people. He had no idea what it meant by "some activities may also subject you to liability". The licencing requirements may as well have been written in Sanskrit. That goes for almost the entire TOU. Young minors simply would not have the competence to understand these legal concepts in a way that they would be required to be by law.

At the end of the day, as a project we require that the materials provided on it are irrevocable in order to protect the projects themselves, and also any reusers of our content. This is one such reuser which springs to mind.

WMF Legal need to investigate these issues thoroughly, instead of simply falling back on the “US courts said it is ok”, because we are a global project with global reach, and such arguments seem to be missing the point. Again, I’m no legal brain, but just looking at things from a logicall layman’s view.

If it means that we need to limit participation to our projects to editors over the age of 13, for the future stability of our content (which is what the projects is about), this is something that we should not be shirking, because we owe it to ourselves, and our reusers, to be getting right. Russavia (talk) 22:36, 26 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi Russavia, Thanks for you question. We have responded to a similar question with respect to our draft privacy policy here. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 18:33, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

  • When this was mentioned on Commons, I mentioned a case in Sweden where it was decided that a 14-year-old child wasn't legally competent to buy a Playstation. It says that the child went to the shop, paid about half of the money and then went back five days later to pay the rest. The purchase wasn't valid because he didn't have his parents' permission to buy the Playstation. If a 14-year-old child can't buy a Playstation, then I suspect that a 14-year-old child can't agree to the terms of use either. What happens if a person of the child's age is allowed to agree to the terms of use in the United States but not in his own country? Is the agreement valid everywhere, somewhere or nowhere? --Stefan2 (talk) 22:58, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
Interesting case. FYI, Google translates "Moderns yrkande skall således bifallas." as "The mother's claim is therefore rejected.", but bifallas means upheld. Russavia (talk) 23:16, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
  • As a minor point, note that it is no more complicated to ask a child "Have you reached your 13th birthday?" than to ask his date of birth. Companies prefer the latter approach because it generates a potentially marketable database. For WMF such a database would only be a liability, something that "identity thieves" might want to get into, so it should definitely be avoided. Wnt (talk) 15:52, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
  • I think a key distinction here is that a CC-by license is not enforced against the child. There is no point at which you compel or punish the child or force him to pay money. The question is only whether you can reliably have permission to do something. So I would ask - in Hollywood films, in video streaming channels and blogs, is there a cottage industry of lawyers who approach children shown and offer them help in getting their consent revoked after the fact, unless the people using the video pay them off on a routine basis? I think not, but then again, who ever knows with copyright law? Wnt (talk) 15:52, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
All legal documents with minors in Hollywood require the consent of the adult as the adult has legal authority over the rights of the child and also can keep the money that the child would earn as custodians until the individual reaches the age of majority. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:22, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
  • In Sweden, a contract has to be signed by both the minor and by a parent. If the contract only is signed by one person, then the contract isn't valid. How does this work in other countries? --Stefan2 (talk) 19:42, 28 August 2013 (UTC)
  • The complexity some are adding above is, I think, not really present, at least not in the jurisdictions I know. (In what follows, I will only talk about the licensing issue.) Under German law, for instance, you may not entirely give up your exploitation rights (such as the right of recitation, of making the work available to the public etc.).
    What you are doing, legally, when you release your work under a free license, no matter if it's CC-0 or CC-by-sa or (considered it could be interpreted in a legally effective way) PD, is that you enter a contract, granting a (non-exclusive) right to another party to use the work in a particular manner or in any manner (sect. 31 UrhG). (This also applies to the CC case; the underlying assumption is that the creator grants the right to everyone who wishes to make use of it [sect. 32 subsect. 2 UrhG, 3rd sentence, so-called "Linux-Klausel"]). Can a child enter such a contract? Clearly yes (provided they are over 7 years old), but they need the consent (not necessarily prior) of their legal representative. It is uncontested in the literature that the contracts in question are dingliche Verfügungsgeschäfte. Under sect. 107 BGB [German Civil Code], "[f]or a declaration of intent as a result of which he does not receive only a legal benefit, a minor requires the consent of his legal representative." Of course a minor does not receive "only a legal benefit" when granting exploitation rights to the public; just the opposite is the case. See, for instance, Berger, Urhebervertragsrecht [Copyright Contract Law], 2008: "The declaration of intent by a person with limited capacity to contract, in particular a minor, requires the consent of their legal representative (sect.s 106 et seq. BGB). For the (minor) creator, the granting of exploitation rights is legally disadvantageous as a matter of principle (sect. 107 BGB), in general equally so for the party which has been granted the exploitation rights due to their obligation to exercise these rights" [my translation]. To emphasize the point, let me add that it is consequently even contested if a minor is allowed to use(!) freely-licensed content without the consent of her legal guardian at all due to the licensing terms attached which regularly contain the obligation to license derivatives under the same or a similar license (see, e.g. by Axel Metzger for a treatment of the GPL: "Donations subject to conditions within the meaning of sect. 525 BGB are not considered exempt from the requirement of consent for they, along with the undoubted advantages also encompass legal obligations imposed on the minor. The fact that in the case of copyleft software, in economic terms the advantages typically outweigh the obligations by a large margin, is without relevance in light of the High Court's jurisprudence as sect. 107 BGB does not depend on an economic consideration. The minor, therefore, cannot accept the conditions of the GPL at his will." [my translation]).
    From a users' perspective, that consideration is certainly relevant since reusing the content in Germany will regularly lead to the application of German law. Now, the WMF's stence is that they only accept jurisdiction of U.S. courts which probably makes sense (it would be rather unconvincing if they publicly acknowledge that this is not so but when it comes to it in court begin to argue otherwise), but of course it's apparent that de facto that's wishful thinking. Assume that an image is uploaded by A, a 14 year-old, to Commons and consecutively used on the German and English Wikipedia. Now, A's parents inform the Foundation that the contract is void and that they demand the take-down of the material. Assume further that, for some reason, U.S. courts would apply U.S. law with respect to the contract itself (which I don't know but you seem to assume) and that, under the applicable U.S. law the contract is valid (which I also don't know). What is the Foundation supposed to do? As regards the scope of exploitation rights, German courts apply German law, so the WMF gets its preliminary injunction (which roughly translates to "remove it, if you don't, pay some six-figure amount or face imprisonment", as in the Loriot case), they can go through the courts, and even the last court in the row will apply German law. So of course the matter itself is relevant, for everyone, and we should strive to make this very clear to uploaders, though I fear that our possibilities to act are rather limited if we want to stick to our mission. — Pajz (talk) 16:32, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
There are two closely related, but distinct, things at issue here; I think Pajz's fascinating bit of analysis (above) invites this distinction.
  1. Wikimedia needs to comply with the law, much like any serious organization. In this regard, it may (?) be reasonable to disregard the laws of jurisdictions that have no authority over Wikimedia. (I leave the question mark because, of course, this is a question for qualified and accountable people, which does not include myself.)
  2. Wikimedia needs to fulfill its promises of freedom, inclusivity, etc. to its stakeholders around the world, in fulfillment of its mission. In so doing, it may be necessary to consider a wide variety of legal jurisdictions.
I bring this up because the relevant kind of behavior might be different in relation to (1) or (2). For (1), the main considerations might be (to paint in broad strokes) what information is gathered as part of the account signup process; but agreement to the license may or may not be very relevant to (1). A general license like CC BY-SA is not in any special sense an agreement between the user and WMF; as the ISP, my (non-professional) impression is that under US law the WMF is not at any particular risk for copyright violation. If something is posted in violation of copyright, the copyright owner can always file a DMCA request, and WMF is in no huge trouble as long as it complies. BUT in consideration of our promise to anyone and everyone that they may reuse, remix, and republish content they find on our sites, it may be very important to determine that the uploader is legally qualified to consent to the license. Age is one consideration here, but there are others -- including the much more common issue of authorship and ownership. People are continually, for instance, uploading photos that they found on the web, or pasting text from another site into a Wikipedia article. This is often found, but often not found.
I would think that consideration of (2) is primarily a movement/community responsibility, and an area where the WMF exists to support the work of the movement. It would be good to define a set of parameters -- within whatever boundaries are determined by WMF to address (1) -- that give our users, readers, etc. reasonable, but perhaps not absolute, confidence in the free availability/republishability of the materials they find on our sites. -Pete F (talk) 20:35, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
Pajz said exactly what I said, yet your responses show the problem with your overall intentions here. As I pointed out, Florida law and Virginia law are exactly the same as German law. There is no need to worry about the "laws of jurisidictions" since they all have the same problem with the current system at place with the WMF wikis. "A general license like CC BY-SA is not in any special sense an agreement between the user and WMF" That is also not how the law, or even the language used here, operates. I pointed out YouTube's terms because it is the clear analog. It is time that you stop and allow Geoff to talk. The errors you keep making really do a disservice to any discussion here. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:36, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
You are in no position to chastise anyone here. Pajz said exactly what you said? You must be delusional. --Dschwen (talk) 22:49, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
If you stopped being incivil and actually approached the conversation in a respectful way, you would have seen that he said exactly what I said. Instead, it has become really clear that you and Pete both wanted to attack instead of having a real conversation. Nice. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:05, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
For anybody following this thread, I'd like to state that I have no intention right now of engaging with Ottava. I mean no disrespect toward him, we have had fruitful interactions in the past, but currently there is something unpleasant in our interactions and frankly, I don't have the time or inclination to figure out what's going on. If anyone else has any comments relating to mine I am happy to continue the discusssion. -Pete F (talk) 23:48, 29 August 2013 (UTC)
2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google, or (b) you are a person barred from receiving the Services under the laws of the United States or other countries including the country in which you are resident or from which you use the Services.
Older (16 April 2007) Google TOS restricted its services to people of legal age. Users are required to input a birth date to this end for example. We could have a similar approach. That said I do not like how we are essentially encouraging our younger users to be dishonest about their age. It seems like with the revised (1 Match 2012) Google TOS age requirement is ambiguously restricted to "some services".
I don't think something like us to requesting written permissions from their legal guardians would be feasible as not only would this be a serious breech of privacy but also would put minors at great potential risk.
-- とある白い猫 chi? 01:57, 20 September 2013 (UTC)
I have never had to enter a birth date to use Google's search engine, and I've never heard of anyone needing to do this. So obviously the most commonly used service—and the one that obviously allows anyone to search for pornographic images—is not restricted by age in practice. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:36, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
No, but should anyone ask they have complied with the law. We may do the same maybe. I am not entirely sure if this is a good idea though. -- とある白い猫 chi? 11:01, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
Most service providers have a policy to restrict registering for an account on any of their websites to people above the age of majority in their jurisdiction. So I think it may considerable, at least for Commons/media contributions. JKadavoor Jee 14:19, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Duplicate discussion, see Wikimedia Forum#New WikiVoyage Logo. --Stefan2 (talk) 22:04, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Is not the Chosen design for the new WikiVoyage logo too similar to the logo used by WikiTravel? The only real difference is that the new logo has colours in it, if it were to be reproduced on a monotone monitor or printer it would be confusingly similar to WT's logo. I tried to raise the issue at the Wikivoyage pub page, but mostly just got ad hominem and other personal attacks, appeal to authority and dismissed as I haven't a registered account, none of these confronts the issue of the logo being so similar to WT's. I was accused of "appear to be criticizing the competence of the WMF legal staff" When I had no idea you would have considered this issue, if you have that indicates you thought the same thing that I did at one point 21:44, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.
But what is the legal team's comments? Did they as implied already discuss this?

EDP and its ramifications[edit]

Hi, I have a question about EDP and how local communities should apply it. Based on my experience and also based on wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy I feel that any wiki edition that is mainly accessed from countries (henceforth will be referred to as "home country") where the local copyright and case law does not provide any fair-use-like exceptions should...

  • Either not have an EDP at all or have a very restricted EDP,
  • Delete all existing non-free content,
  • Apply EDP to copyrighted content from all origins including those that have local fair-use laws (such as US) unlike the home country,
  • If community wants to establish an EDP regardless, it should be through carefully constructed rationale based on case law (such as with fr.wikipedia)

Am I in the right ball park?

-- とある白い猫 chi? 01:44, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi. :) I hope we'll have some feedback on this within a few days. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:49, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
Would it be possible to discuss this on IRC or google talk? -- とある白い猫 chi? 00:42, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
Maybe. I'm not sure yet how the legal team will be able to assist, but I'll bring it up as a possibility. It's early on a Monday in San Francisco yet, so I won't be able to ask them for a while. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:21, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd be still willing to have that discussion if they are available. -- とある白い猫 chi? 14:46, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Hi, とある白い猫. A few points that I can make now - all contributors need to remember that they are responsible for their own actions. So, for instance, if I were a German citizen uploading German material onto English Wikipedia in accordance with their EDP, I may still be held locally responsible if my content does not comply with German law. The same is true in Turkey. For their own personal protection, contributors located in Turkey should definitely worry about Turkish copyright laws - see wmf:Terms of Use#1. Our Services.
That said, the legal team is working on a Wikilegal post on this issue, although the person writing this is not only not a Turkish lawyer, but not yet an American lawyer. He is a legal intern at the WMF. I hope that they'll have something up in a week or two. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 15:05, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Would it be possible for us to have some head's up on the matter? -- とある白い猫 chi? 22:00, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
I just wanted to update that I've checked on this and it is in progress. I hope to be able to bring word that this has been posted next week. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:23, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Comment If some Wikipedia edition doesn't follow the laws of some country, then it is illegal to publish or distribute that Wikipedia edition in that country. If the Wikipedia edition predominantly is used in that country, then it may mean big problems for many of the potential reusers of Wikipedia content. For example, it is currently not possible to use unmodified copies of English Wikipedia in the United Kingdom as several articles contain images which are copyrighted in the United Kingdom (although some of them satisfy the requirements for fair dealing). --Stefan2 (talk) 18:00, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Draft of text for a binding Neutral Point of View WMF policy[edit]

NPOV Text[edit]

  • This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to apply to all content pages on all Wikimedia projects. It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by local policies.
  • Neutral Point of View (NPOV) has always been a core value of Wikimedia projects.
  • This resolution is a restatement/re-emphasis of already existing practice and/or policies on Wikimedia wikis.
  • Neutral point of view consists of summarizing all information regarding a subject that is published in reliable sources without adopting or favoring any particular point of view.
  • This policy states that their missions are best served not by advancing or detracting from particular points of view on any given subject, but by trying to present a fair, neutral description of the facts – including that various interpretations and points of view exist.

NPOV Discussion[edit]

Per the mailing list discussion I hope to have a draft of this policy here. I feel this is particularly a problem because while for example wmf:Resolution:Biographies of living people talks about the concept of Neutral Point of View its meaning and ramifications aren't even implied. While a meta Neutral point of view page exists, it feels inadequate both in text and scope. Furthermore the meta page gives the impression that it is merely the opinion of Jimbo and the few editing editors and not necessarily binding and lacks the kind of weight a binding WMF resolution reasserting core principle we have had from the start.

As stated in the mailing list this policy would be a restatement and re-emphasis of what already is one of the pillars of all Wikimedia projects, particularly wikipedia. While this is an obvious norm for larger wikis, for developing smaller wikis it sometimes is a challenge (ex: Requests for comment/ace.wikipedia and Prophet Muhammad images). Such a policy may also act as an anti-censorship safeguard.

I'd like to request more feedback to draft text that would be forwarded to the board for their review.

-- とある白い猫 chi? 20:18, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

To which projects is this policy intended to apply? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 05:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
All wikimedia projects? There were some concerns on if this could apply to projects like wikinews or wikiversity, but counter arguments were presented too. The text should indeed be suitable to handle the special challenges projects such as wikinews or wikiverity face. Ultimately all projects -- とある白い猫 chi? 06:30, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Commons does not require that the files we host are NPOV, although we do aim to provide neutral descriptions of files. See commons:Commons:Project scope/Neutral point of view. --Avenue (talk) 02:06, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Commons does have a neutral point of view in practice. We do not ban topics off of Commons due to POV related reasons for example. Images do NOT indeed always convey a neutral sentiment but that isn't the same as the site being non-neutral as a whole. -- とある白い猫 chi? 22:08, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
No, I don't think Commons is NPOV at the topic level. It's not censored (at least at the level of topics), but that's quite different from always hosting a range of files covering all significant views on a topic with due weight. It certainly has biases in its overall coverage as well (e.g. due to mass import of images). NPOV doesn't seem a practical requirement at those levels. --Avenue (talk) 03:05, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
The text of the policy should indeed be suitable to handle the special challenges projects such as Commons, Wikinews or Wikiverity face. I am not sure what you mean by "being NPOV at the topic level". While the site hosts some controversial content, Commons doesn't give any view undue weight as far as I know. Having lots of images from one source and fewer from another doesn't erode neutrality IMHO while banning a certain source over POV reasons would be non-neutral. Galleries on commons for instance typically presents information in a reasonably neutral manner. As I stated larger projects such as en.wikipedia, commons, en.wikinews, etc. have a reasonable local community that wouldn't be affected by such a policy for the most part while smaller developing wikis sometimes do need such a binding policy. -- とある白い猫 chi? 05:09, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
Commons gives "undue weight" to people and organisations such as the United States government which make their material freely available and provides less content from people and organisations such as the Syrian government which makes its material fully protected by copyright. Anyway, you can't neutralise a biased point of view by uploading another image which supports a different point of view; that just diverges further away from a neutral point of view as more biased information is available on Commons. --Stefan2 (talk) 12:00, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't see the presence of "too many images from a POV source" as bias. I wouldn't call images of the Helix Nebula bias just because it was created using US/EU spacecraft. Mind that commons is a freely licensed image repository and government based content is an elite minority of the sites content which is typically generated by volunteers to commons, Flickr etc. We do not exclude or include content just because they come from the Syrian or US government. Had Syrian government used free licenses we would be just as welcoming to their content. This is a licensing issue not a neutrality issue. The proposed NPOV policy here would need to accommodate non-wikipedia wikis as previously mentioned. -- とある白い猫 chi? 21:26, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
To repeat the most common example, Commons gives undue weight to white penises. Last I heard—which was shortly after a major purge of low-quality selfies by young white men—there were still a few hundred photographs of penises on Commons, of which exactly one was of African descent, and zero were Asian. If having a large collection of penis photos that is >99% white penises and less than 1% black penises, and 0% Asian penises is "neutral" in your opinion, then your definition of neutral is dramatically more restricted than mine. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:36, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Commons is not neutral because there are over 25 faithful copies of Mona Lisa (see Commons:Category:Mona Lisa) but very few copies of many other paintings. --Stefan2 (talk) 18:47, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't think this is workable for all projects. NPOV is simply irrelevant to a lot of projects. What's "neutral" mean for Meta? What is a "neutral" concept for an intentionally promotional wiki like the Wikimania website? What does "neutral" mean for writing code at [[Mediawiki:]]? Is there even such a thing?
I believe that there are about 800 (eight hundred, that's not a typo) projects. NPOV is probably relevant to somewhere between half and three-quarters of them. I've got no objections to declaring that NPOV is mandatory for Wikipedias and Wiktionaries, but I oppose attempting to force this concept onto every single project. At minimum, you're going to need to get the list of projects and give a reason why even the code-writing and event-promotion projects need to have this rule in place. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:53, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
For example political propaganda, censorship, etc. of any kind on a meta, wikimania or Mediawikiwiki page should not be welcome by the community. Such a global policy would establish the basis for this ideal. -- とある白い猫 chi? 22:08, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Political discussions are "out of scope" for these projects, and they shouldn't be posted to the main namespaces even if the pages were 100% neutral. Also, "neutral" doesn't mean "not political". "Neutral" means fairly representing all the major sides to a discussion. Why should a page on Meta like Immediatism or Association of Eventualist Wikipedians be required to fairly represent all the sides, rather than expressly advocating for the viewpoint of the people who support it? Why should a page documenting MediaWiki software be required to include criticism of that software? There are a lot of problems with, say, mw:LiquidThreads, but I don't think that we would benefit from requiring that page to include a ==Criticism== section. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:29, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose It is unclear what NPOV means on a talk page, for example. NPOV should only be used where it makes sense. --Stefan2 (talk) 17:32, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
    Talk pages aren't content pages therefore I do not quite see their relevance to this. -- とある白い猫 chi? 22:08, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
    Are you saying that NPOV only should apply to namespace zero, i.e. to the gallery namespace? If not, how would you define "content pages" in a general way which applies to all projects? --Stefan2 (talk) 12:00, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
    Content pages have traditionally been the non-discussion spaces, generally main (namespace 0) and file namespace for most projects. Everything else tends to be treated as support and policies such as NPOV aren't applied. Granted non-neutral biased comments are often ignored but not really outright banned. I am unsure what you are trying to get at. Do you feel wikis can decide not to have NPOV of any kind and censor/eliminate content as they see fit based on a specific POV? Should wikis be written from ONLY a certain POV? -- とある白い猫 chi? 21:26, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Clearly it was naive of me to request help drafting such an important text. :/ I should have guessed that it would turn into this messy back and forth. I have created a separate section for the draft text which I ask people not to engage in discussion in that section and instead post remarks here. That said feel free to propose changes to the text or outright modify to improve the text. -- とある白い猫 chi? 06:12, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
  • How would this policy be applied to Wikivoyage, which uses a different policy? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 13:25, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
    wikivoyage:en:Caerphilly looks neutral to me, so as far as I can tell NPOV is on the site in practice. Why wouldn't Vikivoyage be applicable to NPOV? -- とある白い猫 chi? 21:01, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
    The policy on Wikivoyage is which is not quite the same. On Wikivoyage one does not cite references, and original research is both acceptable and desirable. It provides a different type of information, and is specifically not an encyclopedia. 06:36, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
    Sure, but would you agree that it is a similar goal conceptually? -- とある白い猫 chi? 07:48, 10 October 2013 (UTC)
    If the concept behind "neutral" is "Neutral point of view consists of summarizing all information regarding a subject that is published in reliable sources without adopting or favoring any particular point of view", then it's not the same. "Be fair" does not summarize all information, it does not care what is published in reliable sources, and it is acceptable to favor a particular point of view (e.g., that visiting this tourist attraction is better than visiting that one). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by WhatamIdoing (talk) 8:05, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
    Mind that reliable sources and neutral point of view are two separate concepts. Reliable sources can very well be biased. Wikivoyage is a fairly new project to WMF. I somehow don't think it is trying to be a project where anyone can write anything about any place. For your example, say if one user wrote that one tourist attraction is better than the other and another user claimed the opposite... What would happen? What would being fair entail in this example? -- とある白い猫 chi? 10:36, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
    I don't know what they would do. What I know is this: you have defined NPOV as being entirely dependent on reliable sources: "Neutral point of view consists of summarizing all information regarding a subject that is published in reliable sources". WikiVoyage publishes information that is not present in any reliable sources or that contradicts information that is present in reliable sources. So how do you say "NPOV consists of summarizing (only) what's in the reliable sources" and then say that a project that has nothing at all to do with reliable sources is even capable of summarizing only what's in the reliable sources?
    You either need a new definition of NPOV (one that says nothing about summarizing what's in the reliable sources, since projects like WikiVoyage and MediaWiki and Meta and Wikimania don't use reliable sources, and therefore are incapable of summarizing only what's in the reliable sources) or you need to give up on applying NPOV to the many projects that do not use reliable sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:20, 16 October 2013 (UTC)
    Do you have suggestions for such a text? Something that would achieve the essence of neutral point of view and be fair? -- とある白い猫 chi? 14:11, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
    I'd solve the problem from the other direction: I would not try to apply NPOV to these projects. I would say that Wikipedias are required to follow NPOV, which is all about reliable sources, and that other projects are not. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:10, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
    Mind that I am not too concerned with larger editions of wikivoyage such as en.wikivoyage or de.wikivoyage (to name a few) which have a local community diverse enough to self govern reasonably and instead I am more than worried about future editions from smaller communities - say a future ace.wikivoyage - given what happened with ace.wikipedia. I am not trying to single out a wiki, rather using it as an example why a wikimedia-wide policy is needed. It will not solve this problem but it would be the basis of any discussion and action to deal with such problems. The project goal of wikivoyage is to write out pages essentially saying: "go to this place and visit these locations at this place" based on the personal experiences, sources etc of people traveling to those locations. As a result there will be some personal bias which is not the main concern of this proposal.
    Should a wikivoyage edition be written with a religious/political/<etc> point of view? Should content be dictated by whatever religion/politics/propaganda/whatever demands? The project scope of all wikimedia projects that I am aware of would give the answer no to both these questions. There is no point of having a site-wide core value if we are going to arbitrarily make exceptions to it. Like the global wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy, specific needs of wikis can be addressed with reasonable text on the global policy.
    The notion of "be fair" and "neutral point of view" serves to achieve a common goal. The goal here is to tackle bias and censorship and local policies achieve that through NPOV for wikipedia and be fair for wikivoyage.
    -- とある白い猫 chi? 05:54, 19 October 2013 (UTC)
    You might be looking for a narrower rule, like "Don't use these projects for political or religious propaganda". I doubt that anyone would disagree with it, but enforcement is challenging: in some cases, your "political propaganda" is my "accurate facts". WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:02, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
    Understanding the challenges and needs of smaller language editions is just as important as understanding the needs of the individual flavors of projects. I have worked with editions of all sizes. As stated from the start, this policy wont fix the actual problem - rather be the basis for such a solution. We will still as always rely on local enforcement just like now with the main difference being that the local community will have some guidance from a global policy. After all, en.wikipedia's NPOV policy is very long and complex - overwhelming for smaller projects.
    Should the local community fail to address such problems then it would lead to a discussion (with the basis of this policy) and a subsequent Steward action would enforce that discussion. The Foundation and Stewards avoid content disputes with good reason and they wouldn't interfere on an article by article basis and instead deal with more broad problems with a wiki such as how it was with ace.wikipedia. We aren't trying to micro manage every article on every wiki with such a policy.
    You have dodged the question of weather or not you agree with the scenario I have expressed above on Wikivoyage. Political or religious propaganda is not the only problem here to worry about. Censorship is also an issue. Having an entire wiki written in a certain point of view (could be religious, political, etc) would also be a serious problem. Neutral Point of View pillar exists to address such problems.
    -- とある白い猫 chi? 06:47, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
    There appear to be contradictions in your statements. At Requests for comment/Disable local uploads on smaller wikis, you wrote that many small projects disregard the global licensing policy. Why do you think that small projects would benefit from a new global policy, if you at the same time think that small projects simply disregard global policies?
    An NPOV policy doesn't seem suitable for many projects. For example, the page mw:Manual:$wgLanguageCode doesn't contain any references to reliable independent sources. There is also no "criticism" section. Should that page be deleted as the lack of sources makes it impossible to establish whether it is written from a neutral point of view? Deletion of that page would have no benefits. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:23, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
    This is a re-post as my previous post was lost due to the hick-up meta wiki suffered.
    Copyright is a complicated matter even for seasoned intellectual property lawyers. Smaller communities aside from very few exceptions have not demonstrated grasping the importance of copyright. Nearly none of them have an EDP and they often have copyrighted content either without licensing or bogus free licenses. They do not do so over malice but rather not having the needed understanding to establish and enforce an EDP. This is why such communities are better off with their local uploads disabled until they establish an EDP and demonstrate willingness to enforce it. This not only protects Wikipedia but the individual users in these communities so that they don't face local lawsuits
    Neutral Point of View (NPOV) on the other hand is a simpler concept. It's goal can be understood and applied to a wiki without a lot of effort. What you are describing is the English Wikipedia's own policy on NPOV which is too complicated of a text. Currently the gold standard among particularly smaller wikis is trying to either apply English Wikipedia's NPOV or ignore the whole notion entirely. I do not know if you ever translated an English Wikipedia policy to another language, I have and it is very difficult to retain meaning with complex sentences and lengthy texts. Global NPOV should be simple and lay the foundation for whatever local NPOV policy morphs into (which cant contradict the global NPOV of course). Projects will decide how exactly to define and enforce their neutral point of view policy. Wikivoyage has "Be fair" which is much different from English Wikipedia's NPOV but ends up seeking the same overall goal.
    I really don't understand why people mention projects like Wikivoyage or Mediawiki wiki where there is a well meaning, experienced and diverse community that prevents censorship, propaganda or the wiki being written from a certain point of view.
    -- とある白い猫 chi? 13:51, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Point by point discussion[edit]

I have reformulated this discussion to try and bring it back to the points proposed originally. Filceolaire (talk) 09:36, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

This policy is approved by the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to apply to all content pages on all Wikimedia projects. It may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by local policies.[edit]
  • So this only applies to content pages. I assume that means namespace 0. Each page must be neutral but undue emphasis on some topics does not breach this policy. It isn't possible for Commons and WikiSource to comply with this since many individual pages there are not NPOV. Filceolaire (talk) 02:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Neutral Point of View (NPOV) has always been a core value of Wikimedia projects.[edit]
  • NPOV has been a core value of Wikipedia. I don't agree that it has been a core value of other projects. For instance Wikivoyage allows reviews which are a 'personal point of view' to be included. Filceolaire (talk) 02:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
This resolution is a restatement/re-emphasis of already existing practice and/or policies on Wikimedia wikis.[edit]
  • I disagree. In my opinion it is extending the Wikipedia NPOV policy to other projects. Filceolaire (talk) 02:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
Neutral point of view consists of summarizing all information regarding a subject that is published in reliable sources without adopting or favoring any particular point of view.[edit]
  • This is the Wikipedia policy. Wikiversity and wikinews allow and encourage original research so they are not based on reliable sources. Filceolaire (talk) 02:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
This policy states that their missions are best served not by advancing or detracting from particular points of view on any given subject, but by trying to present a fair, neutral description of the facts – including that various interpretations and points of view exist.[edit]
  • Again this is the wikipedia policy, sort of. I worry that wikipedia could get trapped in the US media 'he said, she said' policy of regurgitating the arguments, presenting a false equivalence between them. Filceolaire (talk) 02:02, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Also Wikipedia by it's very existence advocates for a particular Point of View - the idea that making knowledge available freely available to everyone is a good thing. This is by no means a universal opinion. Many believe that social cohesion is better served by controlling peoples access to information (Sorry but I don't have a citation for that) and the WMF projects actively opposes that view. Filceolaire (talk) 09:33, 2 November 2013 (UTC)

General discussion[edit]

  • I am Oppose Opposed to the WMF making the NPOV a policy on all wikipedia projects and wikis. I think a better approach would be a more general policy like the Be Fair policy on Wikivoyage. Filceolaire (talk) 09:33, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
    • It is very hard to read so many sections. May I ask you to simplify. This proposal isn't meant to deal with neutrality issues on a page by page basis. It is intended to deal with wiki-wide problems such as censorship, systematic bias or even in extreme cases the writing of the wiki from a certain perspective (religious, political, etc.) which should be unwelcome on all wikis. This policy alone will not fix such issues but it would be the starting point when such problems arise. This policy is intended to be compatible with both en.Wikipedia's NPOV and en.Wikivoyage's Be Fair. I would be more than pleased if you had wording achieving this. -- とある白い猫 chi? 10:57, 2 November 2013 (UTC)
The sections are yours. If you can simplify your proposal I can simplify my response. If this is intended to be compatible with the best practice on existing projects then I am afraid that, in my opinion, you have failed. I suggest you read over all the comments above (not just mine) and then do some more research on other projects, besides wikipedia, and then, if you still think a Foundation resolution would be helpful, start again from the beginning with a new draft. I don't think the current draft is a good basis for such a resolution.
I suggest you start by thinking of all the types of 'biased' content that could be acceptable to include: Das Kampf on Wikisource; personal accounts of spiritual experiences on the Haj on wikivoyage; interviews with politicians on wikinews; old advertisements on commons; papers claiming the current system of taxonomy is useless on Wikiversity; blackout of wikipedia in opposition to new copyright legislation. You should be able to come up with lots more if you think about it. Filceolaire (talk) 11:08, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
You have posted 7 new sections and made this part of the discussion difficult to follow. It is your views that are difficult to follow.
I suggest you actually read the discussion above (before the start of your first section) as I have answered the questions you have asked there already. The examples you gave would not be covered by the proposed policy as this intends to cover site-wide neutrality and not on a content page by content page basis (such as your examples). In practice site-wide bias (systematic bias, censorship etc.) already is not tolerated as we observed from the ace.wikipedia controversy documented above.
There is good reason to establish a global policy that would explain why we have this practice rather than appear to have arbitrary decisions based on unwritten rules. Such a policy would also serve as a guidance to other wikis.
-- とある白い猫 chi? 17:30, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Links to texts that are PD in Canada[edit]

English Wikisource has links to texts on This is like Wikisource but unrelated to the WMF and publishes texts that are public domain in Canada but not PD in the the USA. [] also has texts that are PD Canada. Wikidata has a property to link to online copies of works provided they are legally licensed. Is there a problem with linking to works that are PD in Canada but not PD in the USA. Filceolaire (talk) 19:15, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Question reposted on Talk:Wikilegal/Linking Legal Considerations. I think discussion should go there. Filceolaire (talk) 10:35, 9 November 2013 (UTC)


We would like to know an authoritative opinion in this matter. Otherwise it will dreastically affect the community and encourage professional contributors to stay away from a free license; I afraid.

"I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license. - Jim" It is not that simple. Some of my photographers are using 100+ frames to make a composite image. If we accept Jim's argument we will get permission foe every single frame. Organisations like NASA is giving permission for a 2MP file; whereas the actual image may be several frames each of 100+ MP. There are several such concerns beyond the scope of this discussion.

Moreover, Jim's opinion there is conflicting with the opinion of Geoffbrigham on Jimmy's talk page: "Wikimedia movement has selected a creative commons license that permits contributors, of any age, to freely license their work and also sell it for a profit to others, if they so desire. The CC FAQs specifically provide that an author can license a work under a free license and also sell it under the regular copyright regime. Indeed, this cc license was designed to encourage creators and rightsholders to experiment with new ways to promote and market their work. The user can therefore promote his work by distributing it through the Wikimedia projects, which have around 500 million unique visitors per month, and then sell copies."

Now. after Jim's stand in this case, our photographers are in a risk as anyone can encroach into their home, threaten, grab their original work and publish them in Commons based on the license they had given for a limited resolution version. I think this approach will create anarchy in the world of free concepts. I know CC and WMF respect the rights of authors; but we should act on time to rebuild their confidence too. JKadavoor Jee 10:42, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

I am looking at this. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 23:58, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Creative Commons has left a comment on the Commons discussion; I hope that helps resolve this. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 22:19, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks all. Jee 02:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

Proposed Terms of Use Amendment[edit]

Dear WMFLaCAT, You recently proposed an amendment with this premise: (It is necessary because) "Contributing to the Wikimedia Projects to serve the interests of a paying client while concealing the paid affiliation has led to situations that the Wikimedia community considers problematic." Since this is a submission by your team, I am requesting some clarification. What are three specific situations that were considered problematic by the community and how exactly will this amendment help if that same situation occurred with the TOU amendment in place? Please do not answer with nothing but a link to another page or a link to some other discussion elsewhere. If you do not wish to answer or cannot think of the situations that prompted this amendment, then say so. Thesteve (talk) 21:26, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to update CC license tags to comply with the new wordings in CC deeds[edit]

There is a discussion in Commons, to update CC license tags to comply with the new wordings in CC deeds. In that discussion we faced many difficulties to find the correct legal terms especially in providing attribution. Now the "Media Viewer" is launched; and it uses "file name" as "title" of the work. It seems it is a common practice in MidiaWiki software. But "title" of the media files is a different concept. So we need to know whether it can be followed or a separate field need to be set up to handle "title"? Please look on other points too. Jee 15:46, 13 June 2014 (UTC)

Malware typosquatting[edit]

Apparently the site ("E" is right next to "W" on the keyboard") is a malware site hoping to catch people that accidentally visit them instead of us. Does the legal staff take actions on matters like this?AioftheStorm (talk) 01:26, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Hello AioftheStorm: thank you for reporting this -- I will investigate. The most direct way to report these cases is by sending me an email at Thanks, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 04:48, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, in the future if I have need to contact you again I will do that.AioftheStorm (talk) 17:02, 21 July 2014 (UTC)


gmail told me:

This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
(ultimately generated from
Address does not exist

-- Cherubino (talk) 06:04, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Hello Cherubino: you can still send mail to trademarks@, although Andrei is no longer on the list, someone else on the legal team will be happy to assist you. I will get this fixed, and thanks for letting us know! Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 11:19, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 (United Kingdom)[edit]

As you may be aware, the UK has legislation (some of which is pending) which require or will require certain websites and web platforms to block access to what it defines as "pornographic" content, offered in a 'commercial' context, unless appropriate measures are taken to prevent such content being viewed by minors (In the UK this would normally be people under the age of 18.)

There has been some informal disscssion of this.

The relevant legislation is:-

It has been claimed by some contributors informally that WMF projects like English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons would not be unduly affected, because:

  1. WMF projects are not based in the UK, The main servers are in the US (and follow US laws), whilst the European hub is based in Amesterdam (Netherlands), the Netherlands having a reasonably liberal jurisdiction.
  2. Material on WMF projects of itself is not necessarily offered on a "commercial" basis as defined by the Act, although concern had been expressed as to the role of the projects and WMF) being 'donation' funded.
  3. That the propotion of material hosted by WMF sites that is non-pornographic, vs that which may be considered 'pornographic' (with respect to the defintions used in the Act) is such that it's provisions would not apply, or would not be applied.

The legislation would also seem to impose certain responsibilities and liabilities on service providers (in this instance the WMF), and on individuals that make "pornographic" material available in contravention of parts of the legislation, which could affect the responsibilities and liabilities of the holders of certain rights holders (such as Stewards, Oversighters, and adminsitrators).

It is appreciated that projects like Wikimedia Commons and English Wikipedia are not generally in favour of censorship, of educationally related materials, of which materials covering topics of human sexuality may be a part.

Therefore A review of the provisions of the Act by the WMF legal team, and an appropriate confirmation in policy or gudiance of

  • the formal legal position of the WMF in relation to the Act.
  • The changed responsibilities (if any) of both users and those holding extended rights (if UK based)

would be appreciated, so that local projects (Such as Wikimedia Commons, and English Wikipedia) can if required amend local policy, or respond appropriately. A formally stated position of the WMF would also help to prevent some of the misunderstandings or mis-information that may have arisen. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 20:25, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

The legislation is perfectly clear (and it's specifically The Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2019 that you need to review, it being authorised by Digital Economy Act 2017) as you've been told pretty much every 30 minutes for the last week, and more infrequently since 2017 and the passing of the Digital Economy Act. Wikimedia doesn't charge for explicit material, even if the solicitation of donations and volunteer effort could be considered "payment, reward or other benefit" which is tenuous at best, the amount of explicit material on any site (and all sites combined) approaches nothing like the one third laid down in law. This means, as I've told you repeatedly (but you refuse to listen) it is perfectly clear that The Online Pornography (Commercial Basis) Regulations 2019 will not apply to any WMF site.
It's becoming apparent that your behaviour is disruptive and unhelpful. If you fail to improve your behaviour over the next weeks and months, I'm certain that you will be asked to leave these projects once and for all.
-- Nick (talk) 21:14, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
User:Nick's right ShakespeareFan00, and from what he's told me you need to step back from dealing with things like this and relax. Go seek some time out and deal with your 'moral panics' and come back with a fresh pair of eyes and some reason in a month or so. I'd support a global lock to allow you to calm down for upto 1 month. RhinosF1 (talk) 21:33, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
Okay, then it seems that there has been a very big lack of competence on my part...ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:41, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
For those following the relevant legislation is here - ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:53, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
ShakespeareFan00, take time out for a few weeks on ALL projects. Once you're back, don't get involved for a while in things that might be conceived as moral or legal panics. If you think something might be then step back and wait 48hrs before thinking about it again. While you are taking a break, sort out your 'panics' and see if something can be done about it even if it means voluntary TBANs. Again, Stewards, I'd support a global lock of up to 1 month. RhinosF1 (talk) 21:48, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
That's what the "Log out" button is for. We don't lock people temporarily. Vermont (talk) 22:33, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
See - I'm not going to argue, given this and the concerns about image policy misapplication on English Wikipedia previously, I should not be editing for a while. I would extend the English Wikipedia, wiki break enforcement to match the Commons One, but I'd already started the clock on it so can't do that. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by ShakespeareFan00 (talk)
Enjoy your break and come back with fresh eyes. Someone might be able to extend enwp one or block you. RhinosF1 (talk) 21:55, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
I've imposed an effective block until 2021 (on all my accounts at other prjoects) Other than at Wikivoyage and Wikisource (where I've put in a short 'time-out' (and the one at English Wikipedia for the reasons indicated above.). Note to others following this, do not attempt to overturn or contetst this. 22:15, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
Enjoy your break, deal with the root causes of any panics. Take a breath and we'll see you in the future with a fresh mind. Feel free to email me if you need me to expand on my thoughts. RhinosF1 (talk) 22:26, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
It is fair to ask for a WMF response to these types of legal related issues. The opinions from volunteers here appear sound, but a statement to confirm that understanding would be useful to reference when this same question arises from others.
For several years I have been against use of blocks to impose wikibreaks. If someone is too close to any hot issues like sexual images or material that may be unlawful to publish in some countries, taking time to understand why current policies and consensus exist in their current form should be encouraged, and having time out to gain some personal distance is clearly helpful for any of us.
Giving contributors a way to air and have recognition for their concerns, in a way that does not cause disruption, is something we do not do well as a community when the users are very passionate about the issues.
Should ShakespearFan00 not feel able to just drop the stick and walk away from the topic of 'pornography' permanently, I recommend investing time pulling together casebooks of Wikimedia material, and analysing what is happening elsewhere, to then bring proposals of tangible potential value back to the community... rather than repeating similar complaints that fall on stony ground. Informative summaries of how Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr changed their policies and technology for sexual material or violent videos, and what Wikimedia might learn from those changes, would be positive without it feeling like lobbying and not really hearing what others are saying.
By the way, 2021 is a long time. Don't take such a long break that half of us are no longer here when you return.
Thanks -- (talk) 22:35, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
Just a quick update for anybody who is interested - the roll out and enforcement of this new legislation has been delayed. Please see [5]. Nick (talk) 11:10, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

Heads up: New Law in country of Georgia might make some files illegal[edit]

According to discussion at c:Commons:Village_pump#Maps_of_Georgia_(Country), it seems like creation and distribution of some images of maps of Georgia might be illegal and punishable by imprisonment and fines. I do not know what is it all about, but I suspect that some of the files on Commons and in the articles might be in violation of that law. The WMF legal department should be aware of this, and asses how might impact WMF business in that country (if any). --Jarekt (talk) 15:18, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

Question about copyright for wikis[edit]

I raised a question about copyright at Talk:Copyright#Copyright_on_wiki_projects but perhaps it would have been a better place to put it here. So I made this notice/link hoping someone would like to comment/answer.

There are thousands of files on wikis that are questionable and unless there are some very clear statements on WMF or Meta I think each wiki will decide on their own and that could lead to different results.

For example the URAA is hard for many to understand and many have probably never heard of it. If a file is PD in Xx-country then Xx-wiki would probably think that it of course okay to keep the file. I think that Legal/Legal_Policies#Applicable_Law does not give a clear answer as the example say that WMF "may request" that a local wiki policy is compliant with U.S. law. --MGA73 (talk) 12:30, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Access to restricted content without legal issues[edit]

English Wikipedia deletes some pages because of no legal reason; for instance, articles about non-notable topics. Administrators still have access to these pages, thus data is in WMF servers. Could you explain, if it is the case, why WMF does not want non-administrator users to have access to such deleted pages? 01:25, 7 August 2020 (UTC)