This page is for discussions related to the Wikimedia Foundation Legal department/Brand Stewardship Report page.
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Hello! The Wikimedia Foundation Legal department is interested in feedback on the content outline for this report:
- What sections are you most interested in?
- Are there other aspects of the work on trademarks and brands that you would like information about?
- Hi! I'm most interested in Brand Creation and Protection and Enforcement (Unauthorized Use) sections, as I think that these are currently covered vaguely or not covered in existing documentation. EpicPupper (talk) 19:49, 22 July 2022 (UTC)
- The pair of areas of most interest to me are What is the role of volunteers with regard to the Wikimedia brands?
What is the role of the Wikimedia Foundation with regard to the Wikimedia brands? - the trademarks are legally owned by the WMF, but they are Movement trademarks - and an act by either a Community or the Foundation effects us. As such, the interaction between the two is of interest to me. Nosebagbear (talk) 21:11, 22 July 2022 (UTC)
- Thanks for bringing up the nuance here. We also find this dynamic particularly unique and hope the report does it justice in highlighting the relationship and some of the interactions. RStallman (WMF) (talk) 23:31, 15 February 2023 (UTC)
What kinds of community logo mashups with trademarks are allowed? In particular, how can foundation:Resolution:Community logo trademark work with uncopyrighted but trademarked logos of other organizations? New4Q (talk) 13:39, 24 July 2022 (UTC)
Community swag + cool physical objects
The best movement swag has come from community projects over the years, or been commissioned by various affiliates or conferences. Most of the cool swag is no longer available because of friction in setting up a store or adding it to an existing store. How can we help community networks to design and sell cool swag and other physical artefacts? –SJ talk 23:20, 24 July 2022 (UTC)
- Thanks for your comment! We did want to highlight the rich history of community swag in this report. We very rarely grant licenses for community members (or anyone) to sell merchandise, in part due to administrative challenges related to quality control and accounting for licensing fees (if applicable). However, anyone is welcome to create merchandise using the marks as long as they aren't selling it. This is discussed in the 'Brand Use' section of the report. RStallman (WMF) (talk) 23:33, 15 February 2023 (UTC)
The Qs about roles should be 'role of different parts of the movement (affiliates, community groups, individual contributors)' and 'role of the WMF'. "volunteers" should generally be replaced with "community" since the community consists of a wide range of contributors, with every conceivable connection between their work on the projects, their vocation + career, their avocation + expertise, their life's work.
Parts of the movement at various levels of organization and permanence have distinctly different relationships to brand: for instance, persistent projects tend to have their own logos, banners, and other media; persistent groups tend to have their own communications and newsletters and physical presence at events; individuals tend to be the creators of interesting creative works that remix a range of things including project brands; and of course the logos and other trademarked items are generally created by a collaboration among some of those individuals. –SJ talk 15:25, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
- Thanks for highlighting the mosaic that makes up the 'Wikimedia Brand.' We've tried to describe its eclectic nature. Note taken regarding 'volunteers' vs. 'community.' RStallman (WMF) (talk) 23:35, 15 February 2023 (UTC)
Mistrust of Wikipedia as a brand problem
I think the most critical aspect of Wikimedia brand stewardship at this point is to develop some ways of monitoring what we might call "brand health". Wikipedia, as a brand, faces some MAJOR challenges when it comes to the goals of the movement. There are large swaths of people who view Wikipedia as fundamentally untrustworthy, for various reasons (eg, many American conservatives and Republicans believe Wikipedia has an overwhelming liberal bias; in Europe, we've seen some distrust on the basis of Wikimedia being a US organization).
How mistrusted is our brand? Who mistrusts it, and why? These are crucially important questions for the future of our projects, as they will determine whether we can actually continue making progress toward the vision ("everyone gets access to the sum of all knowledge") within the brands, or whether we need to put effort into other projects because the Wikipedia and Wikimedia brands are too mistrusted among too many people.--Ragesoss (talk) 18:18, 22 August 2022 (UTC)
- Thanks for this insight. We have included research from our most recent surveys (2021 and 2022) in the report's 'Measuring Brand Health' section, and aim to update this information annually. RStallman (WMF) (talk) 23:38, 15 February 2023 (UTC)
The Brand Stewardship Report has been published on the wikimediafoundation.org site
- Nice statistics after a pretty long introduction, to be honest. ;) However, I was about to stop reading after “the brands are the most valuable asset within the Wikimedia movement. They shape how millions of current and potential readers and contributors view the Wikimedia projects.” because I strongly doubt that this is even close to the truth. Even worse, as it could be considered disrespectful to the community efforts. My thoughts on this are as follows: Certainly, the name Wikipedia, the ball and other brands are important for recognition of the the place where you are when you search for information. But the most valuable asset is the content created by hundreds of thousands volunteers around the world which only made these brands the brands they are, therefore valuable brands. It might be the case that I misunderstand some nuances in these phrases as I am not an English native speaker, but wanted to give you this feedback so that you might find an even clearer description for future reports. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 13:11, 1 March 2023 (UTC)
- @DerHexer: Thanks for your feedback. We certainly did not mean to disrespect the content of the projects and the work community members have done to create it. The creation of the projects and their content is undoubtedly the most valuable contribution that the Wikimedia movement has made to the world. The way I see it, the impact of that contribution is multiplied by the fact that the project content is not treated as an “asset”—that is, it is not something that the movement has exclusive ownership of. Wikimedians created the projects, but deliberately do not try to limit how the projects’ content is used or who has access to it. Project content is released under free licenses that enable anyone in the world to copy and redistribute it. Anyone can make a mirror of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, or Wikidata, with all of the same content as those projects. What they cannot do is use the name “Wikipedia”, “Wikimedia Commons”, or “Wikidata” for those mirror sites. That is what makes the Wikimedia brands an “asset” in a way that the project content is not.
- A key way that “the brands are the most valuable asset within the Wikimedia movement” is financial. In theory, the Foundation could sell the Wikimedia brands, as represented by the trademarks and domain names, for a lot of money. That value is far greater than the value of any tangible property (computers, etc.) or reserve funds that the Foundation might own. The monetary value of the brands does not make them more important than the project content or than the Wikimedia community, but it does make good stewardship all the more crucial. The monetary value of the brands is a result of the investment of time and energy that the Wikimedia movement has made over time. That value can decrease due to things like careless trademark licensing, inadequate enforcement of unauthorized brand use, distasteful rebranding, or poorly managed public relations. In its role as steward, the Foundation must do its best to take actions that preserve or increase the value of the brands, and avoid actions (or inaction) that would diminish that value.
- I hope this explanation of our thought process in drafting that sentence is helpful. I’m sure there are ways we could have incorporated more of what I wrote here into the report itself (without using multiple paragraphs), and we may revise it as we continue to receive feedback. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let us know. – Charles M. Roslof (WMF) (talk) 14:17, 8 March 2023 (UTC)
- @CRoslof (WMF): Thanks indeed for clarifications. I've looked it up in English Wiktionary which says “A thing or quality that has value, especially one that generates cash flows.”, the latter was unknown to me. Certainly, we could start a debate now what actually creates the cash flow: the brand alone, the content alone, a combination of both and at what ratio. Nevertheless, I do get your point. In that case, it would really make sense to use a different explanation or add a footnote here, or a word which is clearer to non-native speakers (and likely also native speakers) that you refer to things that generate cash (“cashcow”). Another point with regards to value/valuable: From my philosophy backgrounds, a value is originally unrelated to money, and only in second terms related to this. English Wiktionary proves me right about this order. Therefore, in this context the combination of “asset” and “value” limits the latter to  and creates that confusion about the actual values within the movement. Something like “most successful/important asset” would make more sense if sucess or importance are good words here, meanwhile replacing “asset” with an easier term maybe? Or more openly, something like “highest good/most important or successful tool when it comes to protecting the identity/financial stability/…”. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 10:00, 9 March 2023 (UTC)