Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2017-2018/Draft/Programs/Legal

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About Legal[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation legal team oversees the global legal portfolio for Wikipedia and its associated projects. Our goal is to support the Foundation and the communities of contributors – consistent with our legal ethics – in their mission to share free information worldwide. We aggressively and globally steward the values of our mission and our community of writers, editors, photographers, and other contributors by building and overseeing governance where appropriate; by protecting and defending those key values when challenged; and by facilitating initiatives designed to support and grow our communities and their various projects, including Wikipedia and its sister Wikimedia projects.

Part of our budget and work focuses on core legal services for the Foundation. These services include, for example, contracts negotiation and review, employment and immigration law support, Board support, fundraising compliance, training, general internal legal advice, and product and tech support. We address these core services in a section on Legal Non-Programmatic Work.

A large part of our budget and work – which is addressed here – is devoted to programmatic services where we work globally to support the Wikimedia communities to achieve their mission on different fronts. For example, the legal team dedicates resources to supporting users in project-related litigation, and we engage with the Wikimedia communities through consultations and advice on core policies, such as our terms of use, trademark policy, and various privacy policies. The programmatic work that we do as a legal team is somewhat unusual for a traditional global website, but it represents the critical interest of community members in legal issues underlying our mission, such as censorship, copyright, free expression, privacy, trademarks, and access to knowledge.

Program 1: Defense of content & communities[edit]

Team: Legal, Community Engagement (Support & Safety) (on occasion), Communications (on occasion), Technology (Analytics) (rarely), Product (Reading) (rarely)

Strategic priorities: Reach, Communities, Knowledge

Time frame: 12 months

Summary[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia communities and content, and the free knowledge movement sometimes face legal threats. We defend against those threats through negotiation, collaboration, risk mitigation, and litigation as appropriate.

Goal[edit]

Protect the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia communities and content, and the free knowledge movement broadly from legal threats

Outcomes, Objectives, and Milestones[edit]

  • Outcome 1: Strong defense of the Foundation, content, and communities
    • Objective 1: Defend against legal threats to the Foundation and Wikimedia content
    • *Milestone 1: Defend against informal legal threats against the Foundation and informal legal attempts (not including copyright claims/notices) to remove or alter Wikimedia content
    • Objective 2: Resist unreasonable or unlawful legal attempts to unmask community members
    • *Milestone 1: Resist attempts to obtain private information and oppose requests for nonpublic user or donor information where possible
    • Objective 3: Ensure compliance with applicable law
    • *Milestone 1: Evaluate copyright infringement claims and Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices carefully and push back against invalid claims and notices
    • Objective 4: Fund defensive litigation for community members and movement organizations in appropriate circumstances through the Legal Fees Assistance Program and Defense of Contributors Program
  • Outcome 2: Favorable laws and judicial precedent for the Wikimedia movement
    • Objective 1: Monitor relevant active litigation and proposed legislation and regulation
    • Objective 2: File amicus briefs and proactive litigation where appropriate to protect the Wikimedia movement

Program 2: Transparency Report[edit]

Team: Legal, Community Engagement (Support & Safety), & Communications

Strategic priorities: Communities

Time frame: 8 months - each report takes approximately 4-6 weeks to complete with scheduled release dates in July/August 2017 and January/February 2018

Summary[edit]

The transparency report is an important part of our efforts to uphold transparency, a key Foundation value. It provides information to the communities and the public about requests that we receive to alter or remove project content and disclose nonpublic data about users. It reassures community members that we believe they should determine project content, and that we will protect nonpublic user data.

Goal[edit]

To publish two transparency reports, one in July/August 2017, and one in January/February 2018

Outcomes, Objectives, and Milestones[edit]

  • Outcome 1: Publication of the transparency report twice a year to provide information to users about how we protect user data and community control of project content. We hope that increased awareness of these efforts will help community members feel safe contributing to the projects, even about controversial topics.
    • Objective 1: Publish two transparency reports, in July/August 2017 and January/February 2018, along with a blog post and social media promotion to raise awareness of the report
    • *Milestone 1: Release a transparency report in July/August 2017, along with blog and other promotion
    • *Milestone 2: Release a transparency report in January/February 2018, along with blog and other promotion

Program 3: Fellowship Program[edit]

Team: Legal, Talent & Culture (Recruiting)

Strategic priorities: Knowledge, Reach, Communities

Time frame: Ongoing, with 3-5 month sessions in the spring, fall, and summer

Summary[edit]

The legal team's fellowship program offers an opportunity to train aspiring law students and attorneys in the intersection of technology and law, educate them in the Foundation’s mission, open source, and free culture values, and give them an opportunity to experience a variety of in-house legal work. In turn, the program provides the Foundation with high-quality legal research and writing to support ongoing legal workflows, and helps us create a network of highly energetic and skilled legal contacts around the world.

Goal[edit]

Recruit a class of top fellows each semester who provide the Foundation with high-quality legal work and are passionate about the opportunity to learn about the Wikimedia movement.

Outcomes, Objectives, and Milestones[edit]

  • Outcome 1: A class of fellows each semester who provide high-quality legal research
    • Objective 1: Have 3-7 legal fellows participate in the program each semester
    • Objective 2: Provide a challenging and supportive environment for fellows to experience in-house legal work and grow as attorneys
  • Outcome 2: Promotion of Wikimedia movement values to the broader legal community
    • Objective 1: Provide fellows with an opportunity to advance the Wikimedia movement values such as free culture and open source, as well as the ways that the Foundation supports those values
  • Outcome 3: Strong relationships with law schools and similar academic programs
    • Objective 1: Coordinate projects with clinics, students, professors, and other parts of academic institutions that further our team outcomes

Program 4: Promoting free culture[edit]

Team: Legal

Strategic priorities: Reach, Knowledge, Communities

Time frame: 12 months

Summary[edit]

A key component of the Foundation's mission is to promote the growth, development, and distribution of freely licensed content. We plan to promote free culture through our copyright strategy, promotion of free licensing, and risk mitigation for intellectual property issues.

Goal[edit]

We will facilitate creation and development of a body of freely licensed and public domain knowledge. Our goal is to ensure content can be freely distributed broadly according to Wikimedia principles, prevent unnecessary legal disputes over content, and lower barriers to participation.

Outcomes, Objectives, and Milestones[edit]

  • Outcome 1: Response to high-priority copyright issues identified by the Wikimedia communities
  • Outcome 2: Licensing that allows the public to contribute to and reuse content
    • Objective 1: Publish public resources on Creative Commons and free licensing
  • Outcome 3: Risk mitigation against intellectual property issues

Program 5: Public policy[edit]

Team: Legal; also see work also being done under Advancement (Partnerships & Global Reach) and Communications
Strategic priorities: Knowledge, Reach, Community
Time frame: 12 months

Summary[edit]

We will advocate for public policy changes that are critical for the Wikimedia mission and operations of the Wikimedia Foundation. In recognition that the Wikimedia mission is deeply rooted in policy goals that knowledge should be available freely and globally, we will work across the Wikimedia movement to increase our reach and expand the public's ability to participate in knowledge creation.

Goal[edit]

We will protect and improve the policy environment upon which the Wikimedia initiatives depend. We will investigate and engage in initiatives to increase access to knowledge in the priority regions identified by the New Readers program. We will oppose expansions to copyright rules that would impede the Wikimedia community's efforts, and propose alternative policies that expand the public domain. We will oppose policies that increase the risk of internet censorship. We will defend the intermediary liability regime that allows the Wikimedia Foundation to neutrally host the projects. We will promote privacy practices that do not chill expression. Additionally, we will empower the Wikimedia communities to further these goals.

Outcomes, Objectives, and Milestones[edit]

  • Outcome 1: The Wikimedia Foundation articulates positions on all public policy issues that are critical for the Wikimedia mission and operations of the Foundation
    • Objective 1: Monitor and assess ongoing policy developments worldwide, including issues that may affect other teams
    • *Milestone 1: Upon request, provide internal briefings or training on significant issues
  • Outcome 2: Local Wikimedia communities are empowered to work towards policy change
    • Objective 1: Publish updates and resources on the Wikimedia public policy page, mailing list, and other venues.
    • *Milestone 1: Publish at least two updates to the content on policy.wikimedia.org, based on community input
    • Objective 2: Organize meeting with select Wikimedians engaged in policy
  • Outcome 3: The Wikimedia Foundation supports Wikimedia communities around the world in resisting government censorship efforts, and increasing people's ability to access and participate in the Wikimedia projects
    • Objective 1: Create and maintain informational resources to help empower Wikimedia communities in anti-censorship efforts
    • Objective 2: Develop and maintain censorship monitoring capabilities in at-risk countries around the world