[WikiEN-l] The Register decries Wikipedia's "censorship" via OTRS

Geoffrey Burling llywrch at agora.rdrop.com
Mon Jul 9 23:36:52 UTC 2007

I wish I could agree with Jimbo's summary of this unfortunate account, but 
he is wrong on one vital topic: It took several days for an explanation to 
be provided, & only after the matter was raised at WP:AN/I. According to 
the page history, the article was protected 18 June 17:33, then blanked 
sixteen minutes later. No explanation appeared until 21 June at 02:28 when 
a thread had been running for a few hours. Admittedly, based on the 
datestamp of a question left on the talk page, apparently no one noticed 
this action until a few hours before the WP:AN/I thread started, but I 
would have expected a notice on the Talk page shortly after the action had 
been taken.

I still don't understand the reasoning that justified blanking the page as 
"the best solution". Wikipedia has a number of articles on subjects with 
trademarked names -- I assume that names like "Ford Mustang", "Microsoft 
Windows", "Spam", etc. are tradmarked & the ownership rights adequately 
protected. If Wikipedia received a letter from a corporate lawyer at Ford 
Motors about the Mustang article & their trademark, would the appropriate 
action in that case be to blank *that* article?

And maybe it's because I happen to have a couple of lawyers in my family, 
I don't find them all that scary. This email (who serves legal notices by 
email, except shady lawyers on the payroll of criminal organizations?) 
should have been replied to with a request that he deliver in hard copy 
proof of the ownership of the trademark & proof that ownership of this 
trademark has been adequately protected. Only after that had been 
delivered would I have considered blanking the page. And maybe not even 

The point is that this entire incident made Wikipedia look foolish. We 
didn't need anyone's help to do that -- be they a scurrilous website or a 
news organization known for its quality around the world.


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