Thanks for sharing this, Mike. Sounds like something we should discuss at the upcoming WikiSalon next Wednesday evening. I have some friends (outside the wiki world) who know California lawmaking fairly well, I will ask around a bit beforehand.,_May_2016


On Mon, May 16, 2016 at 9:41 PM, Mike Linksvayer <> wrote:
On 05/15/2016 08:07 PM, John P. Sadowski wrote:
> That is quite troubling, given that the committee approvals were
> near-unanimous.  Is it possible that the bill could be interpreted
> to apply retroactively, meaning we'd have to remove those 1048 items?

I don't see anything retroactive in the text, but I also don't see
anything that would strictly prohibit state agencies and local
governments from treating previous publications as subject to copyright.

I see that User:Gazebo has posted at
to no discussion yet.

> Any idea when the bill comes up with a vote?  Wikimedia DC could
> possibly draft and send a letter giving Wikimedia-specific examples,
> or we could work with the Foundation legal team to do so.

I don't know when it can be expected to come up for a vote. I should
know more about California lawmaking than I do, which is almost nothing.
I've copied wikimedia-sf; maybe some local California government maven
lurks there and could say.


>> On May 15, 2016, at 9:47 PM, Mike Linksvayer <> wrote:
>> "California's Legislature
>> Wants to Copyright All Government Works"
>> More background at
>> According to California is one
>> of the three most "open" regarding government works. Presumably it won't
>> be anymore if AB 2880 becomes law.
>> California is one of only two U.S. states with a category under
>> -- (1048 items).
>> I haven't investigated whether and how many of those items would be
>> subject to copyright had AB 2880 been California law at the times of
>> their publication.
>> Skimming the bill's changes to present law at
>> it seems the one or two maybe dangerous additions are these:
>>> A public entity may own, license, and, if it deems it appropriate,
>>> formally register intellectual property it creates or otherwise
>>> acquires.
>> The assembly's analysis views this as a clarification, but it could open
>> the door to widespread use (or copyright apologists would say, abuse) of
>> copyright by local government, as the EFF says, "to chill speech, stifle
>> open government, and harm the public domain."
>>> (A) A state agency shall not enter into a contract under this
>>> article that waives the state’s intellectual property rights unless
>>> the state agency, prior to execution of the contract, obtains the
>>> consent of the department to the waiver.
>>> (B) An attempted waiver of the state’s intellectual property rights
>>> by a state agency that violates subparagraph (A) shall be deemed
>>> void as against public policy.
>> It is not clear to me whether this addition might serve as a barrier to
>> agencies deciding to publish material under open licenses. In the
>> meantime, I assume it will foster such barriers in practice.
>> says "[EFF]'ll
>> probably issue an action alert, but meantime, call your state assembly
>> member's office & ask them to oppose."
>> If this is indeed a threat, I wonder if there's anything Wikimedians can
>> do to oppose it, in addition to those of us in California calling our
>> state assembly members?
>> Mike
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