The Wikimedia projects make up one of the world's largest repositories of human knowledge. With that much information, someone is bound to get upset by some of the content from time to time. While the vast majority of content disputes are resolved by users themselves, in some extreme cases the Wikimedia Foundation may receive a legal demand to override our users.
The Wikimedia projects are yours, not ours. People just like you from around the world write, upload, edit, and curate all of the content. Therefore, we believe users should decide what belongs on Wikimedia projects whenever legally possible.
Below, you will find more information about the number of requests we receive, where they come from, and how they could impact free knowledge. You can also learn more about how we fight for freedom of speech through our user assistance programs in the FAQ.
Story: The Wikimedia projects exist to provide everyone with free knowledge. Sometimes, people disagree about whether certain information should be available. In October and November, we received two separate emails complaining about the existence of an English Wikipedia article on a historically disputed region. The article adheres to Wikipedia’s rules of neutrality and accuracy, and covers an important historical subject. These emailers are welcome to discuss potential changes on the article talk page. We support the community’s prerogative to present neutral, accurate information about sometimes controversial topics on the projects.
Dial W for Wiki
Time Period: September 2016
Story: Most people contact us by email to ask for changes to project content, but we occasionally get phone calls, too. In September, someone left a lengthy voicemail, sharing a complicated tale about political corruption and violence in small-town North America. It seems that they wanted us to update the English Wikipedia article about a specific city and county to include some of the information in the story. Of course, we don’t update the projects, but if they have reliable and neutral sources, they are welcome to edit the page themselves or contact the volunteer editors.
Time Period: July 2016
Story: A major North American transit authority emailed us in July, requesting that we remove their logo from Wikimedia Commons because it was trademarked. We explained that this does not violate trademark law; it is not a commercial use, and there is no chance of confusing viewers. This is an example of nominative fair use, as the image is used to illustrate Wikipedia articles about the authority. However, we offered to forward their concerns to experienced Commons volunteers, who chose to to put a note on the page mentioning that the image is trademarked.