[Foundation-l] Let me ask this a third time WAS: EDP: US servers loophole?

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed Apr 11 13:22:07 UTC 2007

On 4/11/07, Nyenyec N <nyenyec at gmail.com> wrote:
> As I tried to describe before, there are classes of images that we
> cannot use if we hold ourselves to Hungarian copyright law (e.g. movie
> posters fall into this category I believe). Currently HuWiki uses them
> based on the fact that the server is located in the US and the US
> "fair use" doctrine does not prohibit the distribution of such images
> when used properly.

You should follow Hungarian law as well, and that is indeed the intent
of the policy.

The very obvious and unavoidable consequence of not doing so is that
contributors who are based in Hungary (presumably the vast majority of
your editors) are liable for actions that would be copyright
infringements under Hungarian law. Where the servers are based is very
clearly irrelevant if you want to take action against individuals.  Do
not underestimate this risk; it has happened before, though typically
for allegations of libel or personality rights violations.

Secondly, by only following US law, Hungarian courts could reach a
judgment against the Wikimedia Foundation. This could result in legal
demands to limit access to Wikipedia, or practical actions to do so.
It could also result in judgments against persons outside Hungarian
territory. Consider also that 4 members are EU citizens. These risks
may seem less serious, but they need to be taken into account.

There are cases where we may want to deliberately ignore national laws
if they are very clearly immoral, and accept the consequences. We are
ignoring China's censorship laws (or, more accurately, regulations),
for example. Policy exceptions for a few non-free images are not worth
picking a fight over, though.
Peace & Love,

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the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.

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