Terms of use/FAQ

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) addressing common questions raised on the interpretation of the Wikimedia Terms of Use. Please reach out to legal@wikimedia.org if you have other questions on the interpretations of the Wikimedia Terms of Use. Please note that for complex questions on law, the Wikimedia Foundation Legal department will refer them to the Wikilegal research process, and correspondents will be advised on the same. Please note that the legal team can only represent the Wikimedia Foundation on legal matters, so these pages do not substitute for independent legal review if you wish to understand how these Terms of Use may apply to your own particular situation.

1. What is the Wikimedia Terms of Use?
The Wikimedia Terms of Use is an agreement that a user must agree to and abide by in order to use Wikimedia projects. It tells you about services offered by the Wikimedia Foundation, how the Foundation works, the relationship to you as a user, and the rights and responsibilities that guide both the Foundation and the user.
2. Where can I find the Wikimedia Terms of Use?
You can access the Wikimedia Terms of Use here.
3. Is the Wikimedia Terms of Use similar to the Wikimedia Privacy Policy?
No, the Wikimedia privacy policy details how the Foundation collects, uses, and shares personal information. It highlights how the Foundation collects very little personal information, how it does not sell or rent that personal information, and how the information is stored and processed (in the United States of America, or any other country in which the Foundation or its agents maintain facilities). The Terms of Use references and links to the privacy for that information. The Wikimedia Privacy Policy can be accessed here.
4. How can I suggest urgent modifications to the Wikimedia Terms of Use?
If you have an urgent proposal to modify or change a section of the Wikimedia Terms of Use, you should reach out to legal@wikimedia.org with the original clause or section, the proposed change, and the reason you believe this change is urgent. Legal will then review and advise on the next steps.
5. My modification is not urgent, but it is important. What should I do?
For non urgent requests to modify or change a section of the Wikimedia Terms of use, please document them on this talk page. We recommend that you sign them with three tildes (~~~) rather than the customary four. This is because it will sign your username without a time stamp, thus preventing your modification to be automatically archived. When a public consultation on the review of the Wikimedia terms of use commences, these modifications will be collected and considered in preparing revisions of the Terms of Use for the community discussions that will be held.
6. When is the Foundation likely to review the Wikimedia Terms of Use?
We intend to have a community conversation about the Terms of Use to commence in 2023. Internally, the Foundation is reviewing the existing terms of use with an aim of establishing what needs to be updated in light of the UCoC adoption, any changes that may be necessitated by the emerging legal requirements in different regions and general updates to the law over the past ten years, and the possible adoption of the UCoC enforcement guidelines. After this is complete, public consultation will commence. The timing of this consultation will be dependent on the UCoC Enforcement Guidelines consultation as well as any other major competing consultations, such as Movement Charter, to ensure that community members have the opportunity to engage in all areas of interest without overwhelm.
7. What is the process of adopting the modifications made on the Wikimedia Terms of Use?
The Terms of Use review will be a collaborative and consultative process that will commence some time in 2023. The Foundation legal department will identify proposed changes and present them for community discussion as described within the Terms of Use.  After the community comment and discussion process is over, a draft will be presented to the General Counsel to approve the updated terms, after which a Foundation staff member will update the official version of the document hosted on foundation.wikimedia.org.
8. Is the English version of the "Terms of use" on Meta-Wiki exactly the same as the one on Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki (i.e. foundation.wikimedia.org)? Are they intended to be the same? Why do both exist?
The English version of the "Terms of use" on Meta-Wiki should be exactly the same as the one on Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki. However, the one on the Governance Wiki cannot be altered by volunteers, whereas the one on Meta Wiki may be altered or edited. Because of this, the document on the Governance Wiki is the official version, although in practice unconstructive changes to the version on Meta are quickly reverted by other volunteers.  
9. It seems the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki is a private wiki for WMF staff and coordinators. Therefore, anyone who wants to translate the Terms of Use will need to do it on Meta-Wiki. Is this correct?
Yes, any community member who would like to translate the terms of use can only do it on Meta-Wiki and not on the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki.
10. At what point should a new, complete (or a previously synchronized but later slightly edited) language version be accepted and synchronized to the Governance Wiki? The Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Turkish and many other language versions are marked as complete but they are not listed in the "Terms of Use" on the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki.
A new, complete or a synchronized version may be accepted and synchronized on the Governance Wiki as soon as the Foundation is able to verify that the translation is correct. The Foundation is not able to verify that other translations on Meta are correct, although perhaps during the community consultation upcoming we will be able to arrive at a process for review.
11. Do the Terms of Use (implicitly) prohibit the use of quotations from (non-free) content, not published under a license compatible with Wikipedia? If so, why is this done?
No. The Terms of Use does not implicitly prohibit the use of quotations from non-free content. The Terms of Use and Licensing Policy resolution promote the sharing of free knowledge in a way that protects the right of people who hold copyright and also the security of reusers to understand what material is freely licensed and what material is not. Some projects explicitly refer to the use of quotations from non-free content in their Exemption Doctrine Policy. It is important to consider how to use quotations from non-free content in ways that are allowed under copyright laws, and marking such quotations clearly may provide additional protections to reusers who are reusing content in different contexts.