Wikimedia and the EU
Welcome to 2014!
We're expecting a really busy first quarter in Brussels and then some peace
and quiet around the European Parliament elections in May. Great
opportunity to get one's homework done.
Just one more week to go until the Copyright Consultation by the Commission
closes. At the same time the data protection reform has officially been
postponed for the next legislative period. Surprisingly, the network
neutrality dossier is moving along at a steady pace.
This and past reports at
1. Copyright Consultation
2. Committee Vote on the EU Single Market for Electronic Communications
3. EU Data Protection Regulation Delayed
1. EU Commission Copyright Consultation
Why is this relevant?
Consultations by the European Commission are usually the first step along a
windy path leading up to a legislation proposal. The current Copyright
Consultation  is, and this is rare, asking all the right questions. This
includes points that directly concern the public domain in general and key
issues for the Free Knowledge movement - like Freedom of Panorama and
Orphan Works - in particular.
On behalf of Wikimedia, we have decided to make two parallel but distinct
efforts to produce answers for the consultation. Participants in the Free
Knowledge Advocacy Group EU  prepared an answering guide in a more
intimate work group.  These answers are meant to be used by European
chapters, individuals and third parties.
Simultaneously, the consultation was wikified and presented on Meta-Wiki,
 where everybody worldwide was given the opportunity to contribute
answers. The final version of these responses is meant to be submitted by
the Wikimedia Foundation, but can of course also be used by anybody else.
Although separate, the two strategies were meant to complement each other.
The huge overlap and compatibility of the results prove that this was
indeed the case. We were simply unsure what would work best and decided to
test the pros and cons of both methods.
What comes next?
The submission deadline is 5.02.2014. It usually takes the Commission a few
months to analyse the responses and organise an event where the results are
presented and the next steps in the legislation procedure are announced.
Meanwhile, we're planning to analyse our working methods at the Wikimedia
Conference  in Berlin (10-13.04) and at a EU policy strategy meeting in
Brussels (tbc, 25-27.04).
2. EP Committee Vote on EU Single Market for Electronic Communications
Why is this relevant?
The European Commission proposed a new "Connected Continent" package ,
which also deals with the issue of what kind of services ISPs may provide.
The apple of discord is whether the proposed "specialised services",
allowing telecoms to offer higher speeds to websites and services willing
to pay extra for it, constitute a breach of the "net neutrality" principle
or not. Network neutrality is the idea that all data on the internet should
be equally treated by intermediaries.
The Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) passed
several amendments in its report to better define the proposed "specialised
services", thereby closing several possible loopholes  that would have
effectively lead to a two-speeds internet.
What comes next?
There are two more EP Committees to vote on this dossier in February -
Civil Liberties (LIBE) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE). 
Especially the latter one might take a significantly different position
from the amendments adopted by IMCO. ITRE and IMCO are the leading
Committees on this dossier
3. Data Protection Regulation Delayed Until After EP Elections
Why is this relevant?
The European Union is trying to update its data protection rules. The new
framework would also define what data online service providers (including
websites like Wikipedia) would be allowed to collect and how they would
have to process it.
A number of Member States (UK, Hungary, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Belgium
and Sweden) are hindering the approval of the current proposal. While
Germany is simply trying to delay the entire process claiming the proposed
text falls short of its current legislation, the UK is pushing to degrade
the Regulation to a Directive. This means that the dossier is effectively
blocked and needs to be re-negotiated between the European Parliament and
the Council (i.e. Member States).
A Directive would give Member States some room to include local
interpretations into the data protection framework, thereby reducing
harmonisation and, most likely, user protection.
What comes next?
As the European Parliament elections are going to be held in May 2014, this
effectively means that new legislation before the end of this year is not
very likely to pass.
Further reading: 
It’s not clear to me what will be done with the answers proposed so far at
Will they be submitted as they are, or is someone proposing to merge them into a single version (even though many answers have been signed)?
Also unclear unless I have missed something is who will the answers be submitted by, and on whose behalf? Only individuals - and not the Foundation nor chapters - have formally posted answers so far, so is the intention that the answers will be submitted by and on behalf of those individuals only?
The page says that the response "can be submitted by the Wikimedia Foundation and other interested groups”, so perhaps the answers are merely intended as a resource others can use if they wish?
If the intention is that a formal response will be submitted on behalf of the unincorporated group Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU, then it would be sensible for that group to register with the EU Transparency Register, here:
According to the EU, responses to the consultation from non-registered entities will "be published separately from the registered organisations”, which may mean less influence. See:
(I note that the Foundation is not registered!)
By the way, WMUK will be completing and filing its own separate response.
> From: Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov <dimitar.parvanov.dimitrov(a)gmail.com>
> Date: 21 January 2014 14:51
> Subject: [Wikimedia-l] European Commission Copyright Consultation
> To: Wikimedia Mailing List <wikimedia-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Hi everyone,
> Just a quick reminder that we have 6 more days to collaboratively draft
> answers to the European Commission's copyright consultation.
> The idea is to give the global, online community a chance to come up with
> answers that, if coherent enough, can then be officially given to the
> We see this as a social experiment, since no one until now has ever
> attempted to answer collaboratively and publicly such short-termed and
> in-depth consultations.
> The corresponding link is:
> Have fun answering!
Hi! My name is Sergii Petrov. I am the Head of the Press service of
Wikimedia Ukraine, a regional chapter of the WMF.
Primarily, I sent this letter at legal(a)wikimedia.org, but Jay Walsh
askedme to send it to this list.
I'm writing to inform you that The State Service of Intellectual Property
of Ukraine prepared a bill about blocking web-sites for copyright
infringement (in part similar to a Russian bill about blocking web-sites).
It obliges hosting providers and possibly even ISPs to block web-sites
without a court ruling when a copyright infringement is reported, and the
procedure is very flawed. It is solely based on an affirmation from a
person or entity who saw on the web-site the copyright infringement. It is
a pity, but according to the bill notaries will be able to certify
screenshots. It is very dangerous for Internet in Ukraine and, we think,
for Wikipedia in particular.
So, Wikimedia Ukraine with the help of Ukrainian Wikipedia community
compiled an official letter to the State Office of Intellectual Property of
Ukraine with their concerns about the bill and sent it to the Office on
Friday 10th of January.
We will inform you about situation in Ukraine with this bill. We hope that
Wikimedia Foundantion will support us.
We sent a press release for Ukrainian media and made a draft on the
be posted soon.
The text of the statement of Wikimedia Ukraine in attached file.
Thank you for your time.
Сергій Петров, Голова Прес-служби ГО <<Вікімедія Україна>>
Sergii Petrov, Press secretary, Wikimedia Ukraine
+38 067 532 14 73
On February 11, a few groups are organizing a series of protests against
mass surveillance. You can read more about their current plan here:
There is some discussion on English Wikipedia about joining this
campaign. It looks like some users support Jehochman's proposal to
curate articles, facts, and news about spying and privacy on the Wikipedia
front page, in coordination with the protest.
What do you think about this? Is there anything else we should be
considering to get involved on February 11?
*For legal reasons, I may only serve as an attorney for the Wikimedia
Foundation. This means I may not give legal advice to or serve as a lawyer
for community members, volunteers, or staff members in their personal
We have prepared a guest blog post for EFF about how Wikipedia relies on
the public domain:
The final post will be published on January 14 as part of a copyright
activism week that EFF and other organizations are doing next week. You
can find more information below about the different themes for the week.
It’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the public
domain, so I'd love to get your input on the draft.
Monday Jan 13 - Transparency:
Copyright policy must be set through a participatory, democratic and
transparent process. It should never be decided through back room deals
or secret international agreements.
Tuesday Jan 14 - Building and Defending a Robust Public Domain:
The public domain is our cultural commons and a public trust. Copyright
policy should seek to promote, and never diminish, this crucial resource.
Wednesday Jan 15 - Open Access: The results of publicly funded research
should be made freely available to the public online, to be fully used
by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
Thursday Jan 16 - You Bought it, You Own It: Copyright policy should
foster the freedom to truly own your stuff: to tinker with it, repair
it, reuse it, recycle it, read or watch or launch it on any device, lend
it, and then give it away (or re-sell it) when you're done.
Friday Jan 17 - Fair Use Rights:
For copyright to achieve its purpose of encouraging creativity and
innovation, it must preserve and promote ample breathing space for
unexpected and innovative uses.
Saturday Jan 18 - Getting Copyright Right:
A free and open Internet is essential infrastructure, fostering speech,
activism, new creativity and new business models for artists, authors,
musicians and other creators. It must never be sacrificed in the name of
415.839.6885 ext. 6867