Some of our fellow wikimedians get involved with the Foundation's work by means other than editing. Below are descriptions of a partnership started with Kennisnet and a report on the use of intellectual property in France, both of which came about through the independent efforts of Wikimedians.
Kennisnet and Wikipedia
Kennisnet and Wikimedia, the start of a partnership
- Status : Editing - Proofreading - Translating - edit
"Tigers have very bold black stripes on their fur."Wikijunior
is developing educational material for children by adapting content on Wikipedia for their younger audience.By Malene Thyssen
Kennisnet is a group that provides proxies for Dutch schools. They were a major source of
vandalism for the Dutch Wikipedia, and so most of the Dutch moderators did not like them. There were frequent discussions about what to do; should we block Kennisnet permanently or only for short periods, in order not to have the good suffer for the bad? We had contact with a few schools, which proved that we could cooperate if we knew whom to contact. Kennisnet was a central ISP; what could we do?
Then the Wikijunior project started, with a small grant to create educational content. This was an opportunity to approach Kennisnet: maybe we could get them interested in this project, and they could help us with the proxy problems. We arranged a meeting: two Wikimedians went to Zoetermeer. We were welcomed by a big panel of senior people from Kennisnet and introduced ourselves. It turned out they liked us, they knew us, and they immediately wanted to know what Kennisnet could do to improve the availability of Wikipedia!
It was thrilling to see how well received our efforts on new projects like Wiktionary, Wikibooks and Wikinews were. Our perception of Kennisnet as an ISP proved to be totally wrong. Kennisnet was only the intermediary between schools and ISPs, overseeing a contract that provided Internet access; it was unfortunate that this contract was also called Kennisnet.
Our second meeting was amusing; the Wikipedians arrived in a big group, but due to sickness there was only one person from Kennisnet. Nevertheless, this proved to be a really important meeting. Kennisnet wanted to act like a partner; the basics for all the projects were identified: hosting, funding for Wikidata and improvements to Wiktionary, using Wikipedia and Wikinews within Kennisnet projects, and having kids contribute to Wikipedia. It was really brilliant. In all the excitement we had forgotten about the proxies, and about Wikijunior, but this is bound to come up at a next meeting...
Right or wrong use of intellectual property
by Yann Forget, with the help of Teofilo-Folengo, Emmanuel Legrand, and Nataraja.
- This article reflects the opinions of its authors, which may not be those of the board of the Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia editors have encountered problems in obtaining documents that should be largely accessible to the public. On the other hand, certain institutions are beginning to show an awareness of this problem.
Correspondence with French institutions
Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, Février
. This illumination is the oldest known image of winter.By Petrusbarbygere
Several requests were made to French institutions to obtain authorization for the publication of documents in Wikipedia. Institutions contacted include the National Library of France and the photographic archives of the French Ministry for Culture.
In the first case, these are illuminations which have several centuries. Although The National Library of France authorized the reproduction, they did so only with restrictions, since they would not admit that these documents are in the public domain.
The second case concerned 19th Century photographs of which the ADAGP society and the historic monuments refuse any publication without the payment of royalties.
Decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal
On March 15, 2005, the Supreme Court of Appeal, the highest French jurisdiction, handed down a very interesting judgment in the field of authors' rights. It involved the artists Daniel Buren and Christian Drevet, who are the authors of the refitting of Place des Terreaux, in Lyon. They reproached four editors for having reproduced and marketed postcards of the square without their authorization and mentioning their name on the back of the cards.
For Gérard Ducrey, lawyer of the Union professionnelle de la carte postale (Professional Postcard Union), this is a revolution in the image copyright law for works made by civil servants (...) a crushing blow to the operations of confiscation of public space by certain artists. Ducrey, more precisely, aims at architects, authors of famous buildings built with public money, who require a royalty each time their work appears in a newspaper, a book, on a postcard or on a poster. It is the case for the pyramid of the Louvre, the National Library of France, the Great Arch of La Défense...
This decision which makes jurisprudence will certainly have positive consequences on projects such as Wikipédia.
This French historical map
, showing discoverings in present-day United States following a 1673 expedition, was kindly made available to Wikimedia by the National Library of France.By David Monniaux
The opinion of the President of the French Republic
The President of the French Republic recently intervened with the Ministry for Culture, asking for acceleration of the diffusion of French and European works on the Internet. He particularly asked for an analysis of the conditions under which the funds of the large French and European libraries could be enlarged and made more easily accessible on the Internet.
It would be interesting to see how this initiative could benefit the projects of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The Michael Project
In addition, three European countries - the United Kingdom, Italy and France - joined to create an Internet portal to display cultural collections. Other countries should join the project soon. Germany, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, and Portugal have all expressed an interest in joining the Michael Project.
It would be interesting to intercede with the founders of this project to make works in the public domain clearly identified and easily accessible.
Intellectual property of Public Administrations
It would be useful to begin a campaign of lobbying to ask for the free licensing, or dedication into the public domain, of works produced for public administrations, as often as possible. This is done automatically by certain United States administrations, such as NASA and other American federal administrations (although state and city administrations may copyright their works). Such a change would help to promote the diffusion of such works within their field, and to avoid other copyright complications; if done throughout the world, it would also balance the current United States-related dominance of contents available freely on line.
There is a bill being considered by the French Parliament, which was adopted for consideration by the Council of Ministers on November 12, 2003. This bill says that 'Title II' expressly recognizes the efforts of authors in producing works within their functions as public agents. It considers ways to guarantee royalties for such work, while also guaranteeing the administration which employs them a means of fulfilling its mission of public service.
Public edition in France
The 2003 report of the Public Edition Mediator contains an enigmatic quote: une grande partie des tirages est réservée à une diffusion gratuite que les informations données ne permettent toutefois pas d’estimer globalement. (Rough translation: 'A majority of circulations are reserved for free distribution, the value of which cannot be estimated from the given information.')
The following sources are in French:
A petition was made to the European Space Agency (ESA) to require that their documents be made available under a free licence.
Norbert Bernard has taken steps to obtain a copy of the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts 
Possible future action
Initially, it would be necessary to benefit from the national feeling to ask for the publication of certain documents under a free licence (for example, photographs of the presidents of the French Republic). Then, one could widen the sphere of activity to other types of documents.
To write to French MPs asking them to adopt a legislation similar to the German law on the freedom of panorama (de:Panoramafreiheit), which makes it possible for photographers to exempt the majority of royalties when work photographed is on a public highway.
I think that, in the long run, our role is to promote the ideas of Culture Libre. We must define the intermediate stages in reaching this goal.