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

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen cimonavaro at gmail.com
Wed Apr 11 13:56:57 UTC 2007

On 4/11/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 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,
> Erik
> DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
> the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.
> "An old, rigid civilization is reluctantly dying. Something new, open,
> free and exciting is waking up." -- Ming the Mechanic

Hi Erik!

I am sure that doing as you say is the best course, at the very least
the safest. But the way you phrase it, your message appears
contradictory to some degree.

To paraphrase:

"You should obey your countrys laws."

"We may deliberately decide to not obey the laws of every country."

I think some people may miss where the essential difference between
taking a stand against oppresive laws and obeying culturally distinct
legal practises arises, and you might perhaps clarify it slightly.

Another thing I would caution you against, Erik, is the use of the
imperative voice and the "royal we", particularly in postings where
you have a disclaimer at the bottom that essentially establishes that
you are speaking as a private person (admittedly a private person with
quite good laymans understanding of the legal issues) rather than for
the foundation. Do not take this the wrong way, in this particular
case I think the imperative voice may infact be warranted, since legal
matters are significant, but in general it is good to keep private and
foundation opinions clearly distinct, no?

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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