[Foundation-l] Board meeting in Rotterdam later this week

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Mon Jan 15 08:39:07 UTC 2007

David Strauss wrote:

>The biggest error I see here is that people are trying to limit language
>versions of Wikipedia so that they comply with the laws of the country
>where the language is primarily spoken. But that's fruitless. The
>Italian Wikipedia (hosted in Florida) isn't under Italian law just
>because it's in Italian. Nor are Italian citizens liable for something
>on the Italian Wikipedia just because the page is in Italian.
This is always very important to keep in mind.

>There seems to be a plausible argument that Italian citizens cannot
>upload normally copyrighted material under the fair use exception. But
>there's a huge difference between what the Italian Wikipedia can host
>and what Italian citizens may post to it.
>And if you think that you can fix the problem by making the Italian
>Wikipedia have policies that fit within Italian law, what about Italians
>who edit the English or other Wikipedias? They're not suddenly exempt
>from Italian law because they're working in another language.
There is also a very large Italian immigrant community in North America 
that can still understand its ancestral language.  I can't see them 
feeling bound by Italian law.

>Perhaps we should put together guides for legal interaction with
>Wikipedia. For example, Wikipedia editors in Italy must obtain
>permission for Wikipedia to use the content from the copyright holder
>*and* post a fair-use justification for use in jurisdictions with fair
>use or similar exceptions.
Is such a set of guidelines pssible?  I think you underestimate the 
difficulty of a task that threads its way through such a jungle of law.

>We must distinguish between language editions of Wikipedia and national
>Many countries have analogues of fair use:
>The English Wikipedia allows only a relatively safe subset of fair use,
>so another country's system need not allow everything the U.S. does to
>make use English Wikipedia materials.
Allowing only a subset of fair use is within Wikimedia's rights.  If no 
fair use is allowed at all the results could be more severe than expected.

>Assuming the person posting the material lives in Italy, the image
>should probably carry the Microsoft "used with permission" template
>*and* the fair-use justification. The former is to protect the person
>posting the material; the latter is to protect re-use of the content
>where fair use or fair dealing are allowed.
>If the person posting the material lives in the U.S., they would only
>need to post the fair-use justification because that covers their use,
>Wikipedia's, and future organizations'.
>Notice that I don't care to what language edition the person is posting.
I broadly agree with most of what you have said.


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