>> I would personally hope that our main interest in the trademarks is
>> their commercial value, but their usefulness in furthering our stated
>> charitable mission, by reducing confusion on the part of potential
>> and reusers of our content.
You needn't worry on that score. I think you probably understood the
reference to "commercial value" as an indication of an effort on the
Foundation's part to completely exploit Wikimedia trademarks for
commercial purposes. In reality, we mostly don't take advantage of
opportunities to do that, but we need to secure the trademarks anyway
to ensure that other entities don't misleadingly employ our trademarks
in commercial ways.
That said, we do look at business opportunities in which we promote
our mission through licensing of our trademarks to a partner --
typically a partner that provides access to Wikimedia project
reference materials or that supports our own capacity to provide such
access. We also reserve the right to license the trademark for the
production of things Wikimedians tend to want, like T-shirts and
Without criticizing Mozilla at all, I'll note that we're not that much
like Mozilla in the scale on which license trademarks commercially.
It's probably difficult for anyone outside the Foundation to imagine
the sheer number of licensing opportunities we turn down on a daily or
weekly basis. I've also been told that, in comparison to other
nonprofits that hold commercially valuable trademarks, we're
remarkably *un*aggressive in policing them. You might almost think
the Foundation's legal strategy were being run by a free-speech lawyer.
2008/11/24 Michael Bimmler <mbimmler(a)gmail.com>:
> Yeah and, what Nathan probably meant: If a chapter ignores a
> termination message and keeps using the trademark, we would need to
> obtain an injunction in *their* country. Now, I think the Wikipedia
> trademark is not even registered internationally yet (it isn't in
> Switzerland, so I suppose it isn't in that many other countries
> either), so we'd run into problems. As a matter of fact, the chapter
> could just register the trademark in the country and unless the
> foundation was willing to really put up a court fight to get the
> trademark back, they could just ignore the termination notice.
That's an interesting question. What is the current trademark
situation for the WMF? A trademarks committee was set up nearly 3
years ago to advise the board on what trademarks to register and where
but it seems to have only lasted a few months before disbanding. There
is a page on meta ("Wikimedia Trademarks") that was marked as
historical over a year ago on which Angela said the details of the
trademarks were confidential, but that doesn't sound right - how can a
registered trademark be confidential? Doesn't it need to be public
knowledge in order to serve a purpose? The main reasons I can see in
old discussions for not registering everything and everywhere was that
it's expensive and time consuming, but we have a much larger budget
now (the discussions say the registration fee is $400 a time for the
US, which was a lot of money for the foundation 2 or 3 years ago, it
isn't now) and a full time staff (including a general counsel) which
it didn't have when the committee was set up. It would seem we can
reasonably register (and even, if necessary, defend) all our major
trademarks in at least those countries where we have significant
activity (in terms of readership, more than anything), so has this
>> I'm trying to say that striking a humane balance between the
>> requirements of trademark maintenance and the interests of freedom of
>> speech is something I try to do, pretty much on a daily basis.
> How are the two in conflict?
I had thought this was self-evident, but it seems clear that trademark
law can be understood as a restriction on the kind of speech one can
engage in, especially in a commercial context. I don't regard the two
as "in conflict," but there is clearly a tension between trademark law
and freedom of speech, just as there is a tension between copyright
law and freedom of speech. Most of that tension in the trademark
context is addressed by such doctrines as nominative fair use (see <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominative_use
>), but not all of it is.
> This perception comes not from this particular thread, but from my
> of other threads which you've participated in (including at least
> one that I
> was involved in). It's not something which I care to argue with you
> and certainly not on this mailing list, although I will point out that
> Thomas stated that "I've noticed that tendency as well", just in
> case you're
> truly unaware that some people perceive this about you.
I'm aware, of course, that false or distorted memes may propagate from
mind to mind, so it is no surprise that the same meme instantiated
itself in yours and Thomas's mind. It wouldn't surprise me if you
both happened to suffer from a rhinovirus at the same time, either.
(For reference, see <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.10/godwin.if_pr.html
>.) I've noticed, however, that the incidence of the meme about my
purported invocation of my authority is lower in populations that
actually do assume good faith, which provides a kind of partial
immunity to certain kinds of memetic viruses.
Or to put it more briefly, if you're already predisposed to assume I
think of you as "little people" or that I expect what I write to be
"accepted without question," there's probably nothing I can say that
will be interpreted any other way.
> What are you saying here? Do you think free speech is promoted by
> people "no" when they ask if they can use your trademark, but then
> not doing
> anything when someone uses it without asking?
I'm trying to say that striking a humane balance between the
requirements of trademark maintenance and the interests of freedom of
speech is something I try to do, pretty much on a daily basis. If you
have experience with trademark lawyers in other contexts, you'll find
that they're generally far more aggressive in policing trademarks than
I am. One of my tasks is to preserve and maintain the value of our
trademarks, but I try to inform that task with as much tolerance and
support for freedom of speech as possible.
As for those who use our trademarks without asking, I try to focus on
the larger-scale, commercial infringers. Mostly this is a function of
allocating resources -- we don't have infinite time and money to
police trademarks, so we try to pick the worst offenders when we send
cease-and-desist letters (with the possible followup of formal legal
action), and this means we necessarily are going to let more minor
infringers slide. It turns out that recognizing and working within
economic constraints is congruent with a more tolerant policy
regarding unlicensed use, which I think is a reasonably felicitous
result. (Often I proceed more informally against infringers, and that
frequently is enough to stop the infringement.)
> Is that something they taught you in law school, or did you learn it
> on your
I'm not sure I understand what additional information you are
attempting to elicit with this question. Are you genuinely curious
about law school or about my experience? If so, I'm ready to answer
private inquiries, but the question itself -- taken at face value --
doesn't seem germane to the subject matter of this public mailing list.
> I didn't make any points, I asked questions. If you can think of a
> different way to phrase the questions while still obtaining the
> answers to
> them, please feel free to rephrase them.
Perhaps I'm missing something, but it seems to me that the law-school
versus on-your-own question was designed to be disparaging.
> And my third question, which I suppose was the one
> considered "disparaging", was somewhat pre-emptive. Mike has a
> tendency to
> answer questions of this sort with an appeal to his status as a famous
> lawyer, and therefore as someone whose statements are (in his mind)
> question by us little people.
Good lord, this is quite a misreading of how I intended to be
interpreted. I was trying to suggest (as I elaborate above) that my
experience as a free-speech lawyer informs my work on our trademark
portfolio. I hardly think "famous" has much to do with it. I don't
think of you as "little people" -- I don't even know what you mean by
that -- but if I thought my statements were "beyond question," then I
wouldn't bother to respond to your messages.
I think you have to work very hard, mentally, to insert into my one
sentence about "a free-speech lawyer" all this stuff like "famous" or
"beyond question" or "little people." Those words may inhabit your
perception of me and my attitude, and I apologize if something I've
said elsewhere has given you the impression that I think that way, but
they're not there in the actual words I used.
I can't pretend to be inexperienced in dealing with either free-speech
or trademark issues, but I don't expect you or anyone to defer to me
simply because I'm purportedly an authority.
> So I wanted to clarify in advance which parts
> of his statement he thought could be understood (and not just accepted
> without question) by those of us who decided not to go to law school.
I hardly ever condition my responses to this list on whether the
person I'm responding to has gone to law school. And, seriously, do
you suppose that after decades online I could possibly every expect
*anything I say in any context* to be "just accepted without
question"? You must think I'm as dumb as I look.
> It seems to me to be
> self-evident that telling people that they can't use your trademark
> and not
> policing the use of your trademark are contradictory, and apparently
> seems self-evident to others on this mailing list as well (hence the
> accusations that I'm trying to make a point).
We're policing the use of the trademark. Our efforts on this front
are mostly invisible to most of you, and that is as it should be. And,
as I have pointed out, we necessarily can't police all infringing
uses, so (informed by the desire to be as tolerant as possible of non-
harmful unlicensed uses), we try to go after the worst offenders.
Your reasoning suggests (by analogy) that prosecutors who don't
prosecute every single offense, or policemen who don't arrest everyone
who might have committed offense, are somehow "contradictory" to
upholding the law. But that's not how the legal system works. We all
have legal rights and responsibilities, but, *just as important*, we
can choose where and when we will invoke them. That's not
"contradictory" -- that's at the very least prudence, and, one hopes
in the long run, it may even approach humanity and wisdom.
> Yes, there
> are also possible negative outcomes, but we're supposed to assume good
> faith, aren't we?
The question about law school, plus the stuff about "just accepted
without question" and "little people," did not strike me as informed
by any assumption of good faith. I hope you will find it in your
heart to forgive me if I misread the good-faith assumption intended by
your "little people" comment.
Phil Nash writes:
> I don't want to seem naive but it is unclear to me how this applies
> to an
> essentially non-profit organisation; if you can help me out with a
> link, I'd
> be grateful. Thanks.
I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you under the impression
that non-profit organizations, e.g. the Red Cross, don't have
commercially valuable trademarks, and don't protect them?
What gives you that impression?
Hm, I found out about this rather late... The deadline is in five
days. :) If there are some creative film-types out there they might be
interested in at least thinking about this for next year, if not
submitting this time.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gavin Baker <gavin(a)gavinbaker.com>
Subject: [cc-community] Video contest on information sharing -- win $1, 000!
(P.S. Could someone post this on the CC blog?)
SECOND ANNUAL SPARKY VIDEO CONTEST
SPOTLIGHTS STUDENT VIEWS ON INFORMATION SHARING
Competition showcases student productions,
offers instructors a fun and thought-provoking class assignment
Washington, DC – April 30, 2008 – Six library, student, and advocacy
organizations today announced the Second Annual Sparky Awards, a contest
that recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing and
aims to broaden the discussion of access to scholarly research by
inviting students to express their views creatively.
This year's contest is being organized by SPARC (the Scholarly
Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) with additional
co-sponsorship by the Association of College and Research Libraries, the
Association of Research Libraries, Penn Libraries (at the University of
Pennsylvania), Students for Free Culture, and The Student PIRGs. Details
are online at www.sparkyawards.org.
The 2008 contest theme is "MindMashup: The Value of Information
Sharing." Well-suited for adoption as a college class assignment, the
Sparky Awards invite contestants to submit videos of two minutes or less
that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of
information. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web
site, or software application that combines content from more than one
To be eligible, submissions must be publicly available on the Internet –
on a Web site or in a digital repository – and available for use under a
Creative Commons License. The Winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000
along with a Sparky Award statuette. Two Runners Up will each receive
$500 plus a personalized award certificate. At the discretion of the
judges, additional Special Merit Awards may be designated. The
award-winning videos will be screened at the January 2009 American
Library Association Midwinter Conference in Denver.
Entries must be received by November 30, 2008. Winners will be announced
in January 2009. The Winner of the First Annual Sparky Awards in 2007
was Habib Yazdi, a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel
Hill, for "Share" (http://www.arl.org/sparc/media/08-0122.shtml).
"If the medium is the message, then a video competition is an apt means
of encouraging the YouTube generation to think about the challenging
intellectual property issues shaping their communication environment,"
said SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph.
"This video contest is an excellent venue to engage students and to
explore with them the intricacies of re-using content," said Anu
Vedantham, Director of the Weigle Information Commons at Penn Libraries.
"The videos that emanate from this and similar contests provide vibrant
examples of student creativity and ownership of new media. At Penn, I
have noticed that mashup video contests and video classroom assignments
engage students and faculty in new ways with academic material, and that
video creation can be effectively integrated in many disciplines
including writing, history and language studies. Through involvement
with the 2009 Sparky Awards, libraries and new media centers have a
valuable opportunity to reach out to faculty and students."
"We're excited to be a part of the Sparky Awards again this year," said
Karen Rustad, Core Team Chair for Students for Free Culture. "More and
more students are having to manage issues of access and re-use in their
daily school work. It's a great time to talk about the potential for
The contest takes as its inspiration a quote from George Bernard Shaw:
"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples
then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea
and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will
have two ideas."
For details, see the contest Web site at http://www.sparkyawards.org.
# # #
SPARC is pleased to welcome these co-sponsors for the 2008 Sparky Awards:
Association of College and Research Libraries
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of
the American Library Association (ALA), represents more than 13,500
academic and research librarians and interested individuals. It is the
only individual membership organization in North America that develops
programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and
research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education
community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the
teaching, learning and research environments.
Association of Research Libraries
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization
of 123 research libraries in North America. Its mission is to influence
the changing environment of scholarly communication and the public
policies that affect research libraries and the diverse communities they
serve. ARL pursues this mission by advancing the goals of its member
research libraries, providing leadership in public and information
policy to the scholarly and higher education communities, fostering the
exchange of ideas and expertise, and shaping a future environment that
leverages its interests with those of allied organizations.
The Penn Libraries system includes sixteen libraries and has been in
continuous operation since 1750. Penn Libraries actively explore new
media by providing courseware support, encouraging technology
integration and supporting creative study through flexible collaborative
spaces. The Weigle Information Commons, a joint undertaking of the
School of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost and the Penn
Libraries, is a high-tech space that provides undergraduates with
integrated academic support services for library research, writing,
communication, new media, time management and planning strategies.
Students for Free Culture
Students for Free Culture (SFC) is a diverse, non-partisan group of
students and young people who are working to get their peers involved in
the free culture movement. Launched in April 2004 at Swarthmore College,
SFC has helped establish student groups at colleges and universities
across the United States. Today, SFC chapters exist at over 30 colleges,
from Maine to California, with many more getting started around the world.
Students for Free Culture was founded by two Swarthmore students after
they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law
in 2003. Named after the book Free Culture by Stanford University law
professor Lawrence Lessig, SFC is part of a growing movement, with roots
in the free software / open source community, media activists, creative
artists and writers, and civil libertarians. Groups with which SFC has
collaborated include Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Downhill Battle.
The Student PIRGs
The Student PIRGs are a network of state-based, student-directed and
funded public interest organizations active on over 200 college campuses
in 20 states.
The Sparky Awards are organized and sponsored by SPARC (Scholarly
Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). An alliance supported and
funded by hundreds of academic libraries and research institutions,
SPARC promotes new scholarly communication models that use the Internet
to expand sharing of information. SPARC was created in 1997 as an
initiative of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and operates
under ARL's non-profit status.
SPARC is a founder of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, representing
taxpayers, patients, physicians, researchers, and institutions that
support open public access to taxpayer-funded research.
For myself, I am an optimist -- it does not seem to be much use being
cc-community mailing list
They've just been waiting in a mountain for the right moment:
I appreciate all the feedback and comments that I've received both on
this list and from other sources regarding the fundraiser. As you will
see below, we're listening - and we're working to implement some changes
right away. I appreciate the time and energy the community has given
towards making it better.
The fundraiser has been a substantial learning process and I try to
merge my years of fundraising experience into this very different, very
remarkable, global community. There definitely has been a steep learning
curve...but it's been a wonderful experience.
We are currently working on the following immediate items for this week:
1) Updating the site notices with project specific site notices.
("Wikibooks is a non-profit project: please donate today.")
2) Implementing the plain text "collapsed" banner for logged-in users.
3) Translation of non-Core pages into more languages. Our volunteers are
already hard at work translating the Questions?, Stories, and "Ways to
To review, our current donations can be found here:
Shortly, we will be moving towards Phase II of the Annual Fundraiser. It
will have another round of updates and look to highlight again the
donation link and our needs as a non-profit. We've gotten positive
feedback and comments on and offline from new donors, and as Brion
pointed out earlier - donations are up from previous years - so I think
the direct request for funds and support has been working. We're going
to continue that and attempt to shake things up to get some donors to
think again about donating.
Quick comparison 2007 vs 2008:
a) First week of data only: 10/22/07-10/28/07 vs 11/03/08-11/09/08
b) Only including donations UNDER $10,000
2007 Donors: 7547
2008 Donors: 14825
2007 Dollars: $203,605.40 (ave. gift $26.98)
2008 Dollars: $406,126.06 (ave. gift $27.39)
Phase II items, by the end of November, if not sooner:
1) Improved contribution statistics & shared contribution data with the
2) A new set of site notices. We'll be updating these in a few
weeks...and I'll post them on Meta wiki for comment.
3) Minimum donations set to $1 or reasonable equivalent.
4) Additional currency: the shekel (ILS). We are also looking to add the
5) Additional features to the Live Comments page.
6) Other changes to the look and feel that highlight our value to the
community and or fundraising needs.
7) Enhanced Chapter visibility and promotion.
As always, I welcome your questions or comments. I read this list
regularly - it's a fantastic way to see rapid feedback and commentary.
Head of Community Giving
Phone: 415.839.6885 x615
“At some future time, I hope to have something witty,
intelligent, or funny in this space.”
While this is all very interesting (I am not being sarcastic, this is
what my research is about!) this is almost totally off-topic. Please
take this on-wiki or to private email.
I didn't notice any mention of the proof-of-concept wiki for SignWriting
It's clearly insufficient for writing encyclopedia articles, but I think
even this early stuff would be suitable for starting a Wiktionary. I
think that would be a much better project to start at this point, for
reasons mentioned previously, but one critical one: We have community
members (such as myself) who could contribute to ase.wiktionary but not
ase.wikipedia. I'm not fluent in ASL to begin with, and I'm unfamiliar
with SignWriting. As mentioned, many Deaf people might be in a similar
position, since there has historically been essentially no written form
I've also started a project at Wikiversity to serve that group of
I'll hopefully be adding to it as I learn more about SignWriting myself
- other interested parties are of course encouraged to help me!
2008/11/23 Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen(a)gmail.com>:
> Good idea Mark... " "a croaking dalek with laryngitis"
Forwarding this on Veronique's behalf :-)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Veronique Kessler <vkessler(a)wikimedia.org>
Subject: [Internal-l] Wikimedia Foundation's Audited Financial Statements on
the Foundation Wiki
I am pleased to announce that the Wikimedia Foundation's audited
financial statements for the year ended June 30, 2008 are available on
the Foundation wiki at:
In anticipation of any questions, we have also prepared a Question and
Answer sheet also posted on the Foundation wiki at:
I am happy to answer any questions you might have.
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Support Free Knowledge today by donating to