[Foundation-l] Board statement on Wikimedia trademarks

Florence Devouard Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon May 4 10:04:50 UTC 2009

Robert Rohde wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 9:37 AM, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Michael Snow wrote:
>>> This is the statement on trademarks mentioned earlier. It both states
>>> the approach we want the Wikimedia Foundation to take and directs the
>>> staff to carry it out. It basically sums up what our understanding has
>>> been for a long time, but hadn't really been formally stated anywhere.
>>> The board also voted unanimously to approve this. The statement follows:
>>> The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to enabling our mission through a
>>> wide network of chapters, community members, and organizational partners
>>> who are all able to better achieve their goals by identifying themselves
>>> with the Wikimedia community. Because of these efforts, there is a large
>>> amount of value and goodwill associated with the name and marks.
>>> Trademark law in the United States and internationally requires that the
>>> holder of a mark take affirmative steps to protect the integrity of the
>>> mark. However, because of our commitment to openness and community
>>> empowerment, we wish to do this in a way that allows chapters and
>>> community members to be able to continue to identify themselves with
>>> Wikimedia marks without being unnecessarily restrictive.
>>> Because of this, we ask the Wikimedia staff to take appropriate steps to
>>> register and protect the Wikimedia marks, develop a set of policies and
>>> practices, and develop a strategy to allow uses by the chapters and
>>> community for activities in line with the Wikimedia mission.
>>> --Michael Snow
>> Thank you Board.
>> Ant
> I'd also like to express my thanks.  Not having any usage guidelines
> for most Wikimedia marks has been a pet peeve of mine for, oh, 3-4
> years now.
> -Robert Rohde

Hold on Robert.

Michael provided us with the "wish" of the board.

That does not mean that this is done.
That does not warranty either that the implementation proposed by the 
staff actually follow the guidelines offered by the board.
We are still a LONG way before actually seeing usage guidelines that 
would enable community and chapters to further our common mission.
But at least, the board statement is a start.

Since community elections are next corner, I guess this topic will have 
to come back on the plate very soon.


PS: see also

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people 
around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free 
license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and 
In collaboration with a network of chapters, the Foundation provides the 
essential infrastructure and an organizational framework for the support 
and development of multilingual wiki projects and other endeavors which 
serve this mission. The Foundation will make and keep useful information 
from its projects available on the Internet free of charge, in perpetuity.


An essential part of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission is encouraging 
the development of free-content educational resources that may be 
created, used, and reused by the entire human community. We believe that 
this mission requires thriving open formats and open standards on the 
web to allow the creation of content not subject to restrictions on 
creation, use, and reuse.
At the creation level, we want to provide the editing community with 
freely-licensed tools for participation and collaboration. Our community 
should also have the freedom to fork thanks to freely available dumps.
The community will in turn create a body of knowledge which can be 
distributed freely throughout the world, viewable or playable by free 
software tools.

Accessibility and quality
All the legal freedom to modify or distribute educational content is 
useless if users cannot get access to it.
We try our best to give online access to high quality Wikimedia project 
content 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, as well as provide access to 
regularly updated, user-friendly, and free dumps of Wikimedia project 
We try, through partnerships if necessary, to ensure the widest 
distribution, through DVD's, books, PDF's, or other non-internet based 
To ensure world-wide, unrestricted, dissemination of knowledge, we do 
not enter into exclusive partnerships, with regards to access to our 
content or use of our trademarks.

As a non-profit, we mostly depend on gifts to operate (donations, 
grants, sponsorship, etc.). It is very important to us to ensure our 
organization stays free of influence in the way it operates. For this 
reason, we strictly follow a donation policy, reserve the right to 
refuse donations which could generate constraints, and try to multiply 
the diversity of revenue sources.

Commitment to openness and diversity
Though US-based, the organization is international in its nature. Our 
board of trustees, staff members, and volunteers are involved without 
discrimination based on their religion, political beliefs, sexual 
preferences, nationalities, etc... Not only do we accept diversity, but 
we actually look forward to it.

We must communicate Wikimedia Foundation information in a transparent, 
thorough and timely manner, to our communities and more generally, to 
the public.
Our community is our biggest asset
We are a community-based organization. We must operate with a mix of 
staff members, and of volunteers, working together to achieve our mission.
We support community-led collaborative projects, and must respect the 
work and the ideas of our community. We must listen and take into 
account our communities in any decisions taken to achieve our mission.

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