[Foundation-l] chapter board seats (was: Gre...)

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Thu Oct 21 08:29:33 UTC 2010

On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 at 9:26 AM, phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki at gmail.com> wrote:

>> What about situations where a dozen or so people get together and decide to
>> do the "chapter" thing for a geographic region/country, without actively
>> seeking input from the majority of Wikimedians from their region? Once the
>> name is incorporated, it's something of a done deal, whether or not the
>> Board grants them chapter-hood.
> Well, not entirely. As I understand it, if a group got together and
> started using the Wikimedia name without permission it would be a
> trademark violation (see
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Trademark_Policy). I know these
> questions has been debated over many years; someone from the chapcom
> etc should jump in for a longer answer.

There really isn't much of a longer answer.

Le me, however, try some context and an example.
Wikimedia has limited ressources, which it tries to invest in the best
possible places, with the goal to support free culture, content,
education etc. It so happens that Wikimedia is also hosting one of the
most visited website in the world, which brings us in the spotlight.
That means that there are people who are attracted to the name because
they want some of the light.
This might include people who decide to start an organisation called
"Wikimedia something", which has no purpose close to ours, or which,
as you put it, does not represent Wikimedians at large but rather a
small group of people defending their own interests. We then have the
following potential solutions:
- These people apply for chapter status, and fail to deliver the
prerequisites for being one, and are denied it. This might lead to us
asking them to drop the name, which they might do or not do, in which
case we might consider legal action in a given geography to recover
the name for other people.
- These people don't even ask for chapter status and are just a thorn
in our side or in the side of local Wikimedians who would like to
found their own chapters. Same as above applies (we ask nicely, and we
might go to court).

What I'm trying to show here, is that we cannot be everywhere (there's
much of "cannot" as in "not able to because it's just too much
trouble), so yes, there might be misuse of the name and/or the chapter
thing. However, the trademarks are registered, so if we really have a
case, we should be able to go and get our name back.



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