Erik Moeller wrote:
If German copyright law or precedent made such
copyrightable, would the German Wikipedia have to remove them? Would the
Are we increasing the risk of such a situation arising with every new
chapter and every new server cluster around the planet, particularly
with servers which are not mere proxies? I would prefer to see all
copyright liability directed at Wikimedia USA and to be able to defer
solely to US precedent in cases like this. But perhaps it's already too
late for that and we're headed for a global legal nightmare.
Well, I think this is a very valid and very confusing question. :-)
First, the German association is specifically not responsible for the
website, and we have been clear about this with several (bogus)
trademark complainants already. This is a very helpful strategy, I
think... the German association gets a bogus complaint, and tells the
complainer to complain to the foundation in the US, and we tell them to
Second, for the case of non-bogus complaints (under German law) it makes
sense (usually) for us to comply with them out of the interest of
maximal reusability. This is a huge grey area, but for example the
German Wikipedia policy of "no fair use" seems sensible to me.
When we place servers in different countries, we do introduce new legal
risks, although in some ways these risks are minimal. Consider for
example the Amsterdam cluster -- these machines are for us to use, but
we don't own them. We don't have any assets in the Netherlands. So if
by some chance there was legal trouble there, well, I suppose "they"
could force someone to shut down the Amsterdam cluster, but we wouldn't
lose any money.