John Barberio wrote:
Over on Wikipedia, there's a significant group of
editors who've decided
that current copyright policy doesn't go far enought, and are rewriting
the external linking guidelines to require 'copyright verification' and
'due care to verify copyright' on external links. This is because they
feel we are risking threat of suit due to linking to the likes of YouTube.
No, I'm not suggesting we should allow links to copyvio, it's clear that
we shouldn't. But it's my understanding that the proposed changes would
be poor ones to make for various reasons.
Primarily because we don't have the resources to take 'due care' and
'verify copyright'. True copyright verification needing lawyers time and
money, it's not something that's in our grasp at all.
That's the whole thing there. They are requiring the impossible.
Except for the occasional obvious link there is no way to tell whether
something is a copyvio. In the absence of that one is not "knowingly"
committing a contributory infringement. Policy should not be based on a
presumption of guilt, rather it should be up to those claiming a
violation to make a reasonable case for it, not an air-tight one just a
reasonable one. That would begin the discussion about that allegation.
It seems, however, that this gang is exhibiting the usual traits of
paranoia and laziness that we have encountered in many other situations
where deletion was demanded.
At the moment, copyright policy says not to
intentionally' link to violations of copyright. And I believe this is
pretty much the best standard we can claim without introducing
Additionally, my lay understanding of the legal implications is that
claiming we can and do verify copyright status of external links may
well open us up to liability rather than reduce it.
This is possible. Saying that you just don't know is far more honest
than any claim either way about the copyrights of of someone else's
site. The simple fact that the other site has attached some sort of
copyright notice cannot be taken as evidence of anything. The material
may be partially copyright, and the rest not copyrightable in the first
place. When we say that we definitely know we are likely to be
intentionally misleading our readers.
I've tried to explain this in discussion, but the
discussion has gotten
a bit overheated. It appears no one is going to calm down over this
until there's a clarification of copyright policy by the foundation.
I hope this can be clarified by the foundation.
Unfortunately such a determination should not come from the Foundation.
It is up to the community of editors on a project to sort it out. The
Foundation can adopt general policy against copyright infringement on
all Projects. It can demand reasonable care from all Projects and
editors. This is consistent with its mission.
As an ISP it cannot monitor and respond on every detail in every
Project; it cannot draft meticulous rules to define what is and isn't a
copyright violation. It should not be micromanaging in this way. By
accepting such a greater degree of responsibility in the matter it
exposes itself more, not less.
To be legal the Foundation absolutely needs to respond to formal
complaints by specific people with a specific interest. Legal cases
depend on there being an affected person whose own rights are being
violated. None will depend solely on the claims of third parties who
love to stick their noses into other people's business, and who have
taken upon themselves the role of a white knight with a mission to
purify the internet of copyright violation.
It's up to the en:wp community to find its own consensus on this, and
that won't happen unless others actively resist this attempt to enforce
idiosyncratic misinterpretations of law.