Wikimedia Deutschland/Movement Report 2018/Conditions for Free Knowledge
|Overview||Volunteers||Software Development||Conditions for Free Knowledge||Wikimedia Movement||Finances|
Our teams in this field of action work towards creating conditions and environments that are supportive of free and open knowledge being shared by everyone. Here we work with communities and partners in politics, education, culture and science to create change in policy, institutions and people. We enable people in education, science and culture to share their wealth of knowledge, improve policies in their institutions, and connect with each other around our mission. We provide materials, training, dialogue and tools so that institutions and their people can become familiar and comfortable with sharing and opening up. In the political arena, we actively seek to influence policy making and legal frameworks that affect our communities and their ability to co-create free knowledge. Here we partner with allies in Brussels, Berlin and all across Germany and Europe, seeking to improve copyright laws and digital rights.
Our focus for most of the year was on the EU Copyright reform, working to improve various aspects of the draft that would limit internet freedom and access to knowledge. At the end of the year, it was not yet clear what final version would be voted on.
Story: Our Joint Fight for a Better Legal Framework on the Digital Single Market (by Dominik Theis)
On July 5, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) rejected the proposal of the Committee on Legal Affairs for an EU Copyright Directive that would have had detrimental effects to internet freedom, access to knowledge, and collaboration online. The day’s achievement was that the proposal will not be rushed straight through to the trilogue, the mediation committee of the EU institutions, without a transparent parliamentary debate. We, along with many other advocates, see too many weak spots in this proposal that endanger our vision for a free and open internet. Opening up the debate again means that we are able to continue suggesting changes to improve the proposal and fight against upload filtering and link-tax.
One of the weak spots in the proposal, for example, is the proposal for upload filtering. WMDE has been on the filtering topic since summer 2016. We want to prevent the internet from becoming a filtered environment by having all content first scanned for possible copyright infringements. Filtering and copyright concerns should not get in the way of free knowledge.
Our activities as of July 2018 included: Numerous direct talks with politicians and government staff; moderating a background dialog meeting format with partner organizations (Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, FSFE and others); public awareness events, partly together with others like Mozilla, partly our own formats; talks at national conferences such as [ re:publica] and international ones such as RightsCon; publicity items such as interviews for media, press releases and press talks, blog posts and social media activity; we distributed coffee filters with printed info/slogans at a party convention, sent the filters in German and English to all MEPs; informed our 60k+ members by mass mailings; ran a banner on the WP:DE; and engaged our small community of policy-interested Wikimedians in individual ways.
Since the Copyright Directive “Digital Single Market” is a topic that needs to be discussed on the EU-level, of course our Wikimedians in Brussels played a big role in this whole process. As spokespersons of the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU that unite the European Wikimedia chapters and communities, Dimitar Dimitrov and Anna Mazgal engaged in multitude of activities, events, and dialogues focusing on advocating for better legal frameworks at the European Union level.
The 2018 Plan tasked us with clearly identifying prejudices and myths around opening content, and targeting them with correct information and/or tools at the level where the misunderstandings and uncertainties exist. Looking back at the year, this work was less deliberate and strategic than we had planned, however, the myth-busting approach in advocacy holds much promise as a general tactic, and threaded through many of our activities: We increased collaboration and information exchange with Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons regarding the issue of cease and desist requests related to content on Commons. We were also happy to see the translation of the Attribution Generator tool into Spanish and Portuguese, making it available to potentially 800M new users. The tool was used to generate around 70K correct license attributions in 2018 (vs 42K in 2017). Further development of the tool into an API was initiated, so that it can be integrated in content management systems and other environments.
In the latter half of the year, the Open Education Alliance published a new position paper, which also reflects the myth-buster approach in the context of Open Education. In this field, fears around publishing open content are particularly pervasive, threatening the distribution of Open Educational Resources. Finally, we contracted for a legal opinion around using CC-BY-SA licensed content in connection with public subsidies, an issue that continued to pop up as a perceived threat. Looking ahead, we will continue our advocacy work with myth-busting tactics, as reflected in our 2019 Plan. Ideas include the publication of fact sheets of the five most damaging misperceptions around open licenses, and to further utilize the contacts we developed in 2018 intentionally for educational communications.
In the first part of the year, establishing contacts with policy makers at the federal level was delayed by the lengthy post-election process of the formation of the new German federal government. Once the decision makers were in place, we were able to place our policy points on the agendas of the parties on the central/left of the spectrum. Development and implementation of new legislatory language will be dependent on the outcome of EU copyright reform in the spring of 2019.
While the federal constitutional court did not rule in our favor on the issue of publishing reproductions of public domain works (the Reiss-Engelhorn case), the publicity around the court case helped us to disseminate our points. We contributed to drafting related language for the EU Copyright Directive, which remained in the final approved Directive.
Generally, in 2018 we again experienced the volatility of policy work, and how shifting, interdependent policy and legal processes require us to act with much flexibility in timing and types of responses. Our policy team is getting increasingly agile and creative, as well as publicly visible in our work.
In general, we are fighting against the establishment of property rights on data, to assure that people active in sharing open knowledge can still use non-personal data sets. We were unsuccessful in changing the EU Directive on the legal protection of databases towards eliminating the protections for database providers.
In relation to the debate about data ‘property rights’ we conducted a well-received campaign utilizing a new metaphor: the data pump (see story below), illustrating that data is the new groundwater, and should be seen not as a commodity, but as a common good, which should not be subject to exclusive rights. We were able to spread this message in various contexts and conferences. As a result, the term data property is used less and less by stakeholders and in the public debate. It is now unlikely that data property rights will find a way into German federal law.
Story: Data is the new groundwater! (by Lilli Iliev )
Data debates usually only revolve around who can earn money with data and how. Unfortunately, that leaves out a lot of important questions for Free Knowledge: Who should benefit from public data and its processing? How can the protection and preservation of data be ensured? Much more needs to be said about the common good in data policy. We therefore propose a new data metaphor.|
Wikimedia Deutschland advocates for an appropriate use of data as a basis for Free Knowledge
The more often metaphors are used in political communication, the more powerful they become. Those who speak of data as the new oil deliver a whole image spectrum: Price and distribution struggles, gold rush sentiment, monopoly building and an inevitable power struggle for resources, led by states and powerful corporations. On the one hand, data is usually presented in the media as a potential commodity on which any economic innovation depends and on the other, it’s portrayed as something whose extraction is a constant danger to people’s right to privacy.
The comparison of data and oil is helpful to consider the impact of oil prices and the availability of oil on the environment as well as global economic and social inequalities. The picture of a similar development with data in place of oil can serve as a reminder to deal with data differently, to avoid monopolies and to allow everyone access to data as equally as possible.
Many of our activities with partners in the three fields show that institutions are increasingly interested in contributing, and actively engaged in joint activities. Through collaborative ventures with partners, they gain opportunities to show their engagement for free knowledge publically. Some partners also begin to show their own engagement, such as a new large Open Science program initiative by the Stifterverband (our partner for the Open Science Fellows Program), as well as data ‘donations’ and institutional policy changes.
WMDE and its partners entered into an agreement with the federal culture foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes) around jointly scaling and funding the Coding Da Vinci hackathon over a period of four years. This will mean that this large, traditional governmental institution with the mission of funding cultural projects all over Germany will be actively promoting open cultural data, open access and open source coding for the first time. Funding will go towards local event organizers, who will hold cultural data hackathons in their areas and will thus scale the model.
We do get a sense that there is still much need for guidance, consultation and tools from organizations and institutions. To address this, we conducted workshops, such as the three-day training for the Open Science Fellow Program, supported the first four stations of the 2018 round of GLAM on Tour, and another Wikiversum World Cafe, this time for archival professionals in Bremen. We provided countless presentations, webinars, workshops, panel discussions, brochures, and videos to show organisations and institutions how to contribute to free knowledge and to the Wikimedia projects.
Some examples of our activities:
- workshop titled “How can I use Wikidata for my research” at the Free University of Berlin. This also built capacity by increasing the number of people who are able and willing to provide Wikidata Trainings.
- We took the opportunity to shoot a promotional video for our GLAM on Tour event series, at the event in Jagdschloss Grunewald (part of the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation), presenting the voices of both employees of the institution and the volunteers, and capturing the enthusiasm for open access to cultural heritage on both sides.
- WMDE staff worked with the German National Library (DNB) on the conference GNDCon, which revolved around the Integrated Authority File (GND) and the opportunities Wikibase and linked open data present for libraries. For years, Wikimedians have worked to utilize the data from the National Library and link it with the Wikimedia projects. Now DNB plans a multi-year, large scale initiative aiming to utilize the potential of DNB's data, possibly using Wikibase as a backbone of a semantic data web for culture and science.
- Also, the topic of Open Educational Resources (OER) has been a very good entry point for working with big, established institutions such as UNESCO or the Association of Chambers of Commerce in Germany. Our team prepared and published a brochure on open educational resources for vocational training programs (see stories below) with the Association of Chambers of Commerce. According to the definition of the UNESCO, Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation.
- We initiated an open dialogue about education in an open digital society as through the Open Education Alliance, as described in detail in the story below.
- The Open Science Fellow Program completed its second year, and continued to prove successful in proving its theory of change: To affect research institutions’ policies and practices around open science through training and connecting young scientists.
Story: Opening up vocational training - A guide for digital teaching and learning with Open Educational Resources (OER) (by Christina Rupprecht)
"Lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important in the educational biography of adults as it is one of the major chapters/most significant components in the education chain. Besides working population's demand for training and further education keeps growing. Digitally-led training measures are more and more taking place, independent of time and space. In addition, adults continue to learn individually and independently regardless of their age or educational prerequisites/background. Free and open access for all to these education formats makes an important contribution to educational equality in our society. In this context, the new opportunities created by the digital transformation will act as an important bridge to learners and will require greater cooperation from all stakeholders."
This excerpt from the strategy paper of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) points out the importance of vocational training for education and society but also of free and open access through education (formats).
Yet in practice things are different: Learning and teaching are changing in the digital world. Learning becomes increasingly individual, situational and independent from time and place and thus vocational training practices need to adapt too. Vocational training is a very heterogeneous educational sector with a large number of freelance trainers, instructors and teachers. In Germany the majority of teaching material is created by these freelancers or is provided by various chambers and associations such as the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce e. V. (DIHK). In short: Free and open access for all through free content, sharing, co-creation and collaboration remains a bit of wishful thinking.
So how can trainers benefit from these “new opportunities created by the digital transformation” for example by sharing, modifying or updating others' (digital) content without violating copyright? While teachers at schools and universities are increasingly able to access a variety of free and open educational materials, the pool of open content in the field of vocational training makes up a relatively small share. However, OER can - due to their particular characteristics (shareable, modifiable, reusable) - facilitate and even intensify the exchange between the different education sectors: content developed for other educational contexts can easily be adapted and reused for/in vocational training practices.
The brochure "Open Educational Resources (OER): A Guide to Digital Teaching and Learning" is the result of a cooperation between the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce e. V. (DIHK) and Wikimedia Deutschland. The publication is aimed at vocational training instructors and trainers, teachers and lecturers who are interested in using OER in their own teaching practice. It addresses key issues regarding OER and explains principles of copyright and free licenses. This basic information is enriched with an overview of the current status of OER in the vocational training sector, practical tips for finding, using and creating OER as well as references on how to further deepen knowledge on the topic. Over 1000 copies have been ordered since the publication of the brochure’s print version in January 2018.
The brochure is licensed under Creative Commons License CC-BY SA 4.0 and can be downloaded free of charge from Wikimedia Commons.
Story: An Open Dialogue about Education in a Open Digital Society - Forum Open:Education (by Dominik Theis)
On June 6, our policy network, the Open Education Alliance, along with edulabs, organized an Open Education Fair and a parliamentary evening on open and contemporary education and the potential of the digital transformation of education. The so-called Forum Open:Education was supposed to foster the debate on teaching and learning in modern times and deepened the exchange between civil society, educational practice and policy-makers with new and exciting ideas.
Representatives of the German Parliament Marja-Liisa Völlers, Tankred Schipanski, and Gabriele Lonz from the Ministry of Education of Rhineland-Palatinate entered into a dialogue with teachers and volunteers from the field of open education. For the open education community in Germany, Markus Neuschäfer (Open Knowledge Foundation Germany) spoke about their ideas of open education and their demands directed to politics. Of particular importance was the question how education can succeed for an open, digital society.
This forum was a starting point for the open education community in Germany to increasingly engage in a dialogue with policy-makers on the topic of open education. Now, it will be crucial to continue this dialogue publicly and to advocate actively for the implementation of the demands.
For Wikimedia Deutschland, the Open Education Alliance continues to be important for cultivating and maintaining exchanges with decision-makers at the national and regional level such as the Forum Open:Education. Which is why we will continue the work within the alliance to issue joint political recommendations. We look forward to continuing on this path together with our members, allies and policy-makers.
Story: UNESCO calls for participation: Recommendations on Open Educational Resources (by Christian Friedrich)
Until June 1st 2018, UNESCO invited comments on its first draft recommendation to its member states on Open Educational Resources online. The following briefly introduces Wikimedia Deutschland’s comments.
The UNESCO recommendations are not required to be ratified 1:1 by the member states, but are intended to serve as an instrument that informs the policies of member states (see also the introduction of UNESCO on their various instruments). UNESCO invited individuals and organizations from all over the world to comment on the initial draft of its OER recommendations and to share their perspectives and assessments with UNESCO in order to shape the future development of the recommendations.
Why is it important?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are free-licensed educational materials, meaning that their retention, reuse, revision, remixing, and redistribution are explicitly permitted. And contrary to most other educational materials, which are only available within educational institutions such as schools or colleges, free-licensed OER are usable and customizable as free knowledge for everyone – fundamental values that Wikimedia Deutschland has been promoting for years.
Although UNESCO recommendations are not binding, UNESCO member states are required to regularly report back on the current status of the topic to which a recommendation pertains; concrete guidelines can be found on the UNESCO website. Once the UNESCO recommendations on OER are approved, every member state will also be required to make their current developments in relation to OER transparent and to comment on them. This has the effect of strengthening the general conditions for OER, and thereby for free knowledge. Therefore, it is all the more important to make sure that the measures of the UNESCO OER recommendations are described in clear detail.
How does Wikimedia Deutschland contribute to the design of UNESCO?
We have prepared comments on the UNESCO draft and submitted them online. Here’s an excerpt of our recommendations (each comment is marked with the corresponding chapter number):
I. Definition and Scope
1 We encourage UNESCO to explicitly include not only the term “teaching, learning and research materials” in the definition of OER, but to also acknowledge software and data and possibly even hardware to work on as OER.
3 For them to reach their potential regarding equitable and inclusive access, OER should not only be openly licensed but also distributed in open and editable formats. This fact can and should be pointed to in this section.
II. Aims and Objectives
6 With regards to costs of educational materials, UNESCO is highly encouraged to point out the usefulness of the argument that publicly funded resources should reside in the public domain or should be accessible under an open license.
8 We encourage UNESCO to point out that these global processes of co-creation should not be one-directional (resources from the Global North are adapted in the Global South) but that a multidirectional approach of co-creation is an opportunity to foster diversity in educational contexts all over the world.
III. Areas of action
12(a) UNESCO is encouraged to advise member states to ensure that the handling of OER is firmly integrated into the training of anyone teaching others, including but not limited to, formal teaching and study programs.
12(d) Following up on our recommendation in I., we encourage UNESCO to include Open Software and Hardware in the list of policies to adapt and align.
13 & 15 We propose to add a section addressing potential asymmetries in the creation and the use of resources between the Global North and the Global South in order to highlight this problem.
14 We highly encourage UNESCO to include a recommendation arguing that public funds should lead to publicly available and openly licensed goods and resources.
Our Objectives for 2018
We assure that the most impactful prejudices around open content receive tailored rebuttals that reach those at the center of the misunderstandings. This leads to a less negative attitude among the targeted multipliers, as evidenced by pre/post documentation of changes in messaging, improved policies, followed by qualitative analysis of efforts.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):
Work on this objective was deprioritized because resources shifted towards the ongoing fight around the European copyright directive.
Therefore our work against misunderstandings remained on the level of reacting to opportunities, rather than being a systematic approach.
Nevertheless, we published a position paper to counter misunderstandings regarding potential risks of open licenses in the OER community (and beyond).
Additionally we commissioned a legal opinion on the harmlessness of releases under CC-BY with regard to subsidy law. This legal opinion will be utilized throughout 2019 to counter concerns esp. of public institutions.
We create new and improved tools for the correct handling of rights and regulations around attribution, public domain, and general personality rights. These contribute to a decrease in uncertainty when operating with open content, as evidenced by a significant demand for the tools by the relevant groups.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):Our Attribution Generator Tool receives constantly increasing use: in 2018 it helped to generate >70k correct license attributions (compared to 42k in 2017). Early 2019 will also see the development of an API for this tool which will allow for its integration in popular content management systems.||Reached|
The legal committee of the German Parliament actively deals with adjustments to the rules around public works and digital versions of works in the public domain, as evidenced by staff drafts.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):Dealing of German lawmakers/ parliament committees with this topic will not start until the EU Copyright Directive is approved on EU level (expected for March 2019).
With regards to rules around “public works” our positions are now well known among all parties in the German parliament, which will ease our upcoming work on this topic.
New alliances with partners (including trade associations and public entities) are formed for this initiative, we identify joint positions and start publicly visible activities.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):By building “unlikely alliances” with the EU commission’s Directorate-General CNECT and with support of the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union we were able to assure the inclusion of the above-mentioned rules regarding “safeguarding the public domain” in the new EU Copyright Directive.||Reached|
EU institutions work on abolishing the sui-generis database (makers’) right or restructuring it into a register-based right, as evidenced by related EU Commission documents.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):We have not succeeded in persuading the EU institutions to seriously consider our proposals. The regular evaluation of the Database Directive by the EU institutions has been completed now. Neither the directive has been deleted nor the database (makers’) right has been converted into a register-based right.||Not met|
The needs of free knowledge projects around data mining of non-personal data are appropriately considered in parliamentary committee deliberations, as evidenced by explicit references in committee documents.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):In the context of the EU copyright debate - besides the very problematic mandatory barrier for text and data mining (Art. 3) - an additional, optional regulation (Art. 3a) has been brought through the EU Legal Committee, allowing member states to use text and data mining more liberally.
Important sections of the expert communities publicly reject the departure from the approach of informational self-determination (data protection) towards the establishment of property right in data, comparable to intellectual property or ownership of things.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):
The term ‘property rights in data’ is no longer accepted in expert communities, but still surfaces from time to time in public discourses. With the promotion our new metaphor “data is the groundwater of information society” (and the successful communications around our artifact, the “data pump”) we also brought linguistic framing more in the direction of the view that data as a transport form of information must remain free of the exclusive rights of "intellectual property". At present, it does not (any longer) seem as if the introduction of property-like rights to data in Germany is being seriously considered.
Our partners in all collaborative projects act publicly as role models. They do this by sharing the free knowledge experience through their communication channels and expert publications.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):
We have contributed significantly to the fact that many partners have been involved in cooperation projects as role models for Free Knowledge. Only 4 out of 34 partners did not share their experiences via their communication channels or expert publications.
Ten institutions that already work with Wikimedia Deutschland demonstrate new ways to advocate for free knowledge with our support, thus sustaining their engagement.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):15 collaborating institutions sustained their engagement and demonstrated new ways to advocate for free knowledge
The activities we provide to transfer knowledge and skills to people working in institutions are evaluated as helpful by 80% of participants, and are continuously improved on the basis of the feedback received.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):87% of the participants evaluated the activities as helpful (n=71)||Reached|
All fellows engaged in the Fellow Program Open Science 2017/18 cycle pass on the newly acquired knowledge about open science and/or the Wikimedia projects to their own or other science institutions.
|Outcome (by end of 2018):
After conclusion of the 2nd cycle of our Open Science Fellows Program, its 3rd cycle started in September. All fellows engaged actively in sharing their experiences in lectures and workshops (see here)