Earlier today, the Senate in Brazil passed the Marco Civil bill, that has
some ambiguous provisions on net neutrality. It was passed on urgent basis
in anticipation of NetMundial, a meeting on internet governance that will
be held in Brazil tomorrow and Thursday.
We have prepared an op-ed (see below) explaining how certain types of net
neutrality laws impact Wikipedia Zero, and we will try to get it published
around the closing of NetMundial. The purpose of this op-ed is to make sure
that there is an accurate portrayal of Wikipedia Zero in the net neutrality
debate, particularly in countries that are relevant to this project.
While we don't plan to take a direct advocacy position on net neutrality at
this point, we will continue to develop a position on Wikipedia Zero. We
would therefore like to hear your thoughts on this topic.
* Free Access to Knowledge Should Not Be a Net Neutrality Issue In recent
months, lawmakers around the world have been considering net neutrality
rules that aim to preserve the Internet's original promise as an open
forum. But certain provisions of net neutrality laws could threaten the
free spread of information in surprising ways. In particular, such
provisions could prevent non-commercial initiatives like Wikipedia Zero
from providing truly free access to the online encyclopedia in the Global
South. Legislators must be careful to avoid these unintended consequences.
Net neutrality advocates are right to be concerned that forcing users to
pay for faster data delivery could easily push small and non-commercial
publishers and content creators out of the market. Since its inception, a
key tenet of the Internet has been equal treatment of data from all
sources: Internet service providers must deliver content from blogs or
startups with the same speed as content from major media companies or huge
tech firms. Allowing Internet service providers to charge more for faster
delivery of certain kinds of content would favor players with deep pockets,
who could then muscle out smaller competitors. But to date the discussion
has largely ignored a potential pitfall: might certain provisions of net
neutrality laws unintentionally hamper the free flow of information they
seek to protect? Just consider the net neutrality law passed by the
Netherlands in 2012, sometimes presented as a model for legislation
elsewhere. The Dutch Telecommunications Act aims to enforce net neutrality,
in part, by prohibiting ISPs from charging subscribers different rates
based on the services they access, for example VoIP or instant messaging.
However the Dutch law would also prohibit ISPs from providing free access
to certain sites, as they would technically be charging different rates (in
this case, nothing) for different services. It's worth noting that not all
net neutrality rules include these provisions: the FCC's previous Open
Internet Rules, for example, simply focused on prohibiting blocking and
unreasonable discrimination against content providers. Similarly, the
current version of the pending Marco Civil bill in Brazil does not prohibit
paid or free Internet connection as long as ISPs do not monitor, filter, or
block the content of data packets. But the Dutch law, and any laws modeled
on it, might interfere with initiatives that rely on zero-rated data, like
the "Wikipedia Zero" program across the Global South, which essentially
aims to have all carriers in a given country zero-rate Wikipedia so it can
become a true public good, with unfettered access for everyone. When
carriers commit to waiving data fees, Wikipedia Zero can provide
schoolchildren with a virtual encyclopedia in places where they don't have
access to books or libraries, spread practical knowledge about agriculture,
sanitation, and wellness, and deliver outside information to people living
under repressive regimes. Eventually Wikipedia Zero will extend to free
editing of entries as well, empowering users in developing countries with a
platform for free speech. Wikipedia Zero isn't the only free service that
could suffer from specific provisions of some net neutrality laws. The
Refugees United mobile app allows victims of political upheavals and
natural disasters to find lost family members and friends free of cost,
also relying on zero-rated data. And Mobilium Africa's Smart Health app,
launched in September 2013, aims to educate Android users in Africa about
HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria, including prevention, symptoms, and
treatment, for free. These initiatives are just the beginning: as the cost
of mobile handsets falls and mobile penetration rises across the developing
world, there will be even more opportunities for creative services that
empower users, raise standards of living, and bring transparency and
accountability to government through free delivery of information. Yet all
these current and future initiatives could be undone by a few lines of
legislation - inadvertently thwarting free access to information in the
name of the free Internet. Net neutrality is undoubtedly a major concern.
As lawmakers craft new rules they must take care not to unintentionally
hinder the very cause they are trying to advance. Net neutrality rules
should focus on enshrining the "end-to-end" principle, which states that
Internet service providers do not distinguish between data flowing over the
network based on its application or content. Net neutrality rules should
not prevent the zero-rating of non-commercial initiatives, like Wikipedia
Zero, that do not pay for any preferential treatment and do not interfere
with the open Internet. *
415.839.6885 ext. 6867
NOTICE: For legal reasons, I may only serve as a lawyer 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 are considering joining the following coalitions which seek to protect
free expression and privacy by opposing mass surveillance, and we would
like to get your input. The Wikimedia community raised concerns with PRISM
and other mass surveillance programs during a discussion on the topic in
July 2013, as well as in our recent consultation on our revised privacy
policy. After these discussions, we looked for opportunities to take a
stance on mass surveillance that was consistent with our movement's mission
and values, and is more global in nature. We believe the following two
coalitions may meet these criteria:
Necessary and Proportionate (https://necessaryandproportionate.org) - a set
of principles on mass surveillance, based on international human rights
Reform Government Surveillance (https://reformgovernmentsurveillance.com) -
a call for global government surveillance reform, focusing on transparency
and appropriate limitations.
We would like to join like-minded organizations and ask for reform on the
current state of mass surveillance. Privacy and free expression are
essential components of our mission to disseminate free educational
content. Your input on joining these coalitions would be greatly
*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
I am forwarding this email for you. Please note Timothy's question
regarding OPN membership.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Timothy Vollmer <tvol(a)creativecommons.org>
Date: 2014-03-20 23:16 GMT+01:00
Subject: do you want to be listed on the Open Policy Network website?
We're almost ready to launch the Open Policy Network website. Sorry
for the delay!
Here's a draft: http://staging.openpolicynetwork.org/ (will eventually
We need interested orgs to indicate whether they'd like to be listed
as members on the website. If you are we will include a logo on this
Please let me know if you want your org listed and where to get a
P.S. we wrote a bit more about the OPN and Institute for Open
Leadership on the CC site awhile ago -
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google
Groups "Open Policy Network" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send
an email to open-policy-network+unsubscribe(a)googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.
Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.
Ceterum censeo opera officiales esse liberandam -
Wikimedia Deutschland - Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e.
V. Eingetragen im Vereinsregister des Amtsgerichts
Berlin-Charlottenburg unter der Nummer 23855 B. Als gemeinnützig
anerkannt durch das Finanzamt für Körperschaften I Berlin,
Just to let you know that I have been invited to the GA of an European
Project called MAPPING -
"Managing Alternatives for Privacy, Property and INternet Governance" in
Rome on 20 and 21 May. 
It is a little bit unclear what the endgame is, but it seems to try and map
all the different stakeholder positions on several issues. They have a
thematic session on intellectual property rights, which I will
I am posting this because I see the need to be more informative about such
participations and give people a heads up. So, if anyone has any request,
background information or wants to give me any instructions, let me know
;). I am attaching the invitation for exra detail.
Wikimedia and the EU
Brussels politics is generally calming down ahead of the elections with the
notable exception the crucial net neutrality vote this week. Meanwhile the
Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that web site blocking orders
do not have to be specific.
This and past reports: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/Monitor
1. CJEU: "UPC Telekabel Wien" Decision
2. TTIP: EU-US Talks on Web Hosting Liability
3. Net Neutrality: Decision Imminent
4. Big Fat Brussels Meeting vol. 2
#CJEU #telekabel #blocking
1. European Court of Justice states that website blocking orders do not
need to be specific
Why is this relevant?
It funnels into the rules and regulation of how, when and by whom web sites
can be blocked. It therefore is important for the internet at-large. If
ISPs become more prone to general blocking and filtering, every website
would become more susceptible to being "caught in the net". It is therefore
good to follow the developments, as this will also have implications on the
Notice and Takedown Directive being currently written.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was asked by the Austrian
Supreme Court for a preliminary ruling on an injunction case (Telekabel
Wien had been ordered to block a website providing unlicensed copies of
films). So far, the legal status quo in the EU was that web site blocking
orders had to be specific, meaning that the court has to define the
technical method by which it is to be implemented by the internet service
The CJEU ruled  that this does not need to be the case and that
blocking orders might be general. In order to ensure balance between all
parties rights (ISPs, users, rights holders), stated that ISPs can become
exempt of liability if "all reasonable measures" are taken. Furthermore,
users need to be given a legal way to challenge measures taken by ISPs,
just like rights holders.
This reading departs from the Advocate-General's opinion , who had
written, that in order to balance all fundamental rights, blocking orders
had to be specific (i.e. defining the technical blocking method). His
position also mirrors previous CJEU decisions against general filtering and
blocking practices, like Scarlet vs. Sabam .
What comes next?
Obliging the ISPs to take "all reasonable measures" while looking for an
appropriate balance between the rigths of copyright holders and these of
users puts them in a very tricky position. More lawsuits seem inevitable.
Fears from civil society groups include, that the relationship between ISPs
and users is handled in private contracts. In order to avoid lawsuits, ISPs
could simply change their user agreements, meaning a weakened position of
internet users, that would prevent the balance seeked for by the court.
Legally, the case will be decided by the Oberster Gerichtshof in Vienna
(Austrian Supreme Court), which will have to be in line with the CJEU
2. Online content liability to play a role in TTIP negotiations
Why is this relevant?
The negotiations between EU and USA on a new trade and investment agreement
will seemingly include rules on content liability for internet hosting and
According to a leak  published by German newspaper Die Zeit , a
proposal to discuss liability the exclusion of hosting and service
providers from content liability has been tabled by the European
According to the E-Commerce Directive , internet providers in the EU are
not liable for the information transmitted. This had previously been an
issue while negotiating past international agreements, most notably ACTA.
What comes next?
The leaked document shows that the European Commission is also asking for
"co-operation" in these matters, which might indicate a request to exchange
information about the implementation of the US Digital Millenium Copyright
Act. This is to been seen in direct relation to the Notice and Takedown
Directive, currently being drafted at DG MARKT and crucial for how content
could be removed off the internet in the future.
We are following both, possible IP and internet implications of TTIP and
any development of the future Notice and Takedown directive.
3. Crucial network neutrality vote to be held on 3 April
Why is this relevant?
It is a fundamental internet issue. Briefly, the legislation will determine
what agreements between content providers and telecoms will be legal in the
EU. The current draft of the regulation permits "specialised services" in
contrast to the best effort principle. If these are allowed and defined too
broadly, it would effectively result in an internet where content providers
with more money can secure preferential access to end users. Start-up
projects without financial backing (like Wikipedia was some years ago)
would hence be disadvantaged. If, on the other hand, "specialised services"
are defined too narrowly or even prohibited, it would mean the end to
zero-charge projects (like Wikipedia Zero).
The Commission proposal on net neutrality  officially promotes the
concept, but contains many loopholes. The European Parliament report from
the ITRE (Industry) Committee failed to close most of them.  Now, four
parliamentary groups have tabled amendments  ahead of the final
vote that would seriously limit the possible exceptions. The split lines
run along Socialists & Democrats, Greens, the Left Group and Liberals
proposing the changes and the conservatives (EPP, ECR) endorsing the ITRE
version. However, most groups might end up with a split vote, making the
outcome hard to predict
What comes next?
The vote will take place on Thursday, 3 April 2014 during the plenary
session in Strasbourg. It is most likely to come up in the afternoon. 
4. Big Fat Brussels Meeting vol. 2
In order to finetune our strategy, we invite everyone to a second meeting
of the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU in Brussels 
As last year , we will hold a two-day "Big Fat Brussels Meeting". The
meeting is open for each and everyone. Prior knowledge of advocacy or
internal Wikimedia policies is not required - a good diversity of views can
be very productive.
This years meeting is going to be held on a Thursday and Friday (April 24
and 25). We apologise for those of you who can't take weekdays off, but the
meeting coincides with a public event on "Cultural Heritage and Mass
Digitisation" on Thursday, co-organised by us and UNESCO. 
The two panels of the World Book and Copyright Day debate include speakers
from the European Commission, Wikimedia, UNESCO, the British Library and
the Federation of European Publishers. We believe tying-in the two events
makes very good sense and will give participants an opportunity to engage
hands-on in Brussels EU affairs.
Please put your name on the participant list on Meta-Wiki or send me an
email if you intend to participate, so we can organise an adequate meeting
As a part of the wider work that we're all doing on advocacy, Wikimedia UK
has put together a letter to UK MEPs calling on them to support changes to
copyright. The letter covers the three areas of interest of the Free
Knowledge Advocacy Group EU:
- Freedom of panorama
- Use of orphan works
- Public domain of publicly-funded works
We've used illustrated examples in the text. We plan to send this out to
all 73 UK MEPs within the next couple of days, both by email and by post.
Do let me know if you have any thoughts.
Thanks and regards,
Head of External Relations
+44 (0) 20 7065 0993 / +44 (0) 7803 505 173
Wikimedia UK is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in England
and Wales, Registered No. 6741827. Registered Charity No.1144513.
Registered Office 4th Floor, Development House, 56-64 Leonard Street,
London EC2A 4LT. United Kingdom. Wikimedia UK is the UK chapter of a
global Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia projects are run by the
Wikimedia Foundation (who operate Wikipedia, amongst other projects).
*Wikimedia UK is an independent non-profit charity with no legal
control over Wikipedia nor responsibility for its contents.*