Bryan, I agree with you that we are not following the spirit of the Definition of Freedom strictly. That is the main problem, and we keep on introducing exceptions to the general licensing spirit for the sake of convenience. Two wrongs does not make one right - where does it stop?

Yes, it's rather unfortunate that we have already lost one administrator because of possible legal issues. One issue is: people working with free software/free culture in affected countries are faced with the issue that they are promoting something (liberation of material to the public domain or under free licenses by those who have such material closed in cellars in museums or available only through gatekeepers, so that it's usable by Wikimedia Commons) that in the end is useless to promote because it's possible to use it anyway, on a clause that is perfectly fine in the US but absolutely not in those countries. So instead of smoothly and diplomatically convincing such institutions, we're bullying them into it. A bad strategy, and bad publicity for Wikimedia, imho.

The other issue is: what to do if you are an admin from one of the affected countries and receive a request from the authorities in that country to take down some PD-Art media from the site (copyrighted in that country)? Do you refuse your local authorities saying "it's in a server in the US, ha-ha", risking whichever consequences, or do you violate Commons "policy" so you won't disobey local authorities, and delete the media?... Is it possible to be an admin in such conditions?

It's very nice to talk about lobbying for Free Culture and having some courage against such unfair and ridiculous legislations when you're sitting comfortably on US soil.

Well, there you go, more questions to be answered.


--- On Thu, 21/8/08, Bryan Tong Minh <> wrote:
From: Bryan Tong Minh <>
Subject: Re: [Commons-l] [Foundation-l] PD-art and official "position of the WMF"
To: "Wikimedia Commons Discussion List" <>, "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <>
Date: Thursday, 21 August, 2008, 9:18 PM

We have never followed the Definition of Freedom to the letter and
neither to its spirit. The Commons community has always followed their
own way interpreting freedom just like they did in the PD-art
Which ended up in a decision that will allow us to use
become a broader repository but arguably also will drift us away from
freedom in its strict sense and may have rather unfortunate
consequences for our fellow UKians and Scandinavians. I know at least
one admin who did not want to take the risk of administering a
repository that would cause him to break his country's law. In the end
this was the decision of the Commons community itself only. The
Foundation allowed the project decide for themselves which they did.

Free to reuse is rather vague. The community has always drawn the line
of freedom themselves (indeed in some cases directly violating the
Definition of Freedom and the Licensing resolution).


(As a side note I had seen this coming. It has always been a matter of
when, not if)

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