Many Wikimedia contributors grapple with legal issues in their work on various projects. Wikilegal is a site for the community to engage in a discourse on these matters. These posts are not intended as legal advice (see below disclaimer), but they are an opportunity for inquiry and discussion. Topics in nearly all areas of the law are relevant to our projects – ranging from copyright and privacy law to organization governance and new legislation. Wikilegal currently includes specific legal inquiries into developments that could affect Wikimedia projects and users. These posts may highlight some interesting, and even obscure, legal issues. For example, the possible copyright status of screenshots containing copyrighted images, like many legal questions, is ambiguous and calls for community input.
Through user contributions and continual peer-editing – the wiki way – we hope that Wikilegal will become a tool born of the same collaborative process as Wikimedia’s other projects. As shown by the many well-researched responses and questions we have received on posts in the past, we are confident the community is a rich source for a deeper understanding of these topics.
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Note - This Is Not Legal Advice:
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Reflects upon the ruling in the Loriot Decision, a lawsuit between the Wikimedia Foundation and the daughter of Vicco von Bulow over the use of von Bulow’s works on Wikipedia and Commons, and its potential impact on future German cases interpreting the copyright status of graphical works displayed on or contained in government publications.
Explains that works originating in San Marino, Iraq, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Afghanistan are not afforded copyright protection in the United States for lack of reciprocity under an international agreement.
Explains that international organizations’ extraterritorial status does not automatically place their works in the public domain and addresses special protections afforded to the works and symbols of international organizations.
Explains that individuals taking Zoom screenshots will have rights to the screenshot if the authorship, originality, and minimal creativity elements are met. Also explains how individual participants may have rights to their Zoom backgrounds.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Online Copyright Infringement
Explains that minors may grant licenses for the use of their copyrighted works to the same extent as adults, but that the Foundation has adopted a policy of being respectful of requests for the removal of photos of themselves.
Explains the copyright issues involved in political campaign speeches of U.S. officials, scribbled last minute notes jotted down on a prepared speech, and off-the-cuff remarks spoken during the performance of a written speech.