[Foundation-l] Wikinews - not so much a state of the wiki

Robert Rohde rarohde at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 18:59:26 UTC 2007

On Dec 4, 2007 9:58 AM, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:

> On Dec 4, 2007 11:57 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> > One reason we don't have editorial control of any kind is because with
> > editorial control comes editorial responsibility. At the moment, any
> > libel (or whatever) is solely the responsibility of the person that
> > added it (at least, until WMF is formally notified). If someone takes
> > editorial control, by my understanding, they would also be liable for
> > anything illegal on the site.
> >
> Where does this understanding come from?  And what jurisdiction(s) are
> you talking about?

Both for copyright and libel there are provisions in the US that limit the
liability of "service providers" for the actions of their users.  Generally,
part of liability protection comes from the conclusion that the service
provider is unaware of the negative behavior of the users.

My understanding is that if there were a full-fledged editor responsible for
approving every story then that person (or organization) could be liable in
the event that something they approved was found to libelous or otherwise
injurious to a third party.  Or in other words once you put in a filter on
submitted content, you may be responsible when negative content
inappropriately gets through that filter.

However, as far as I know, there is very little in the way of case law that
actually addresses the liability associated with massive collaboration
systems, like wikis.  It is unclear to me what liability a volunteer editor
might have when confronted with the injurious statements of another
volunteer contributor.

-Robert Rohde

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