[WikiEN-l] Millions for salaries, not one cent for defense

Gwern Branwen gwern0 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 21 16:52:47 UTC 2011

> 'This archive contains 18,592 scientific publications totaling 33GiB, all from Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and which should be  available to everyone at no cost, but most have previously only been made available at high prices through paywall gatekeepers like JSTOR. Limited access to the  documents here is typically sold for $19 USD per article, though some of the older ones are available as cheaply as $8. Purchasing access to this collection one article at a time would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
> ...When I received these documents I had grand plans of uploading them to Wikipedia's sister site for reference works, Wikisource - where they could be tightly interlinked with Wikipedia, providing interesting historical context to the encyclopedia articles. For example, Uranus was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel; why not take a look at the paper where he originally disclosed his discovery? (Or one of the several follow on publications about its satellites, or the dozens of other papers he authored?)
> But I soon found the reality of the situation to be less than appealing: publishing the documents freely was likely to bring frivolous litigation from the publishers. As in many other cases, I could expect them to claim that their slavish reproduction - scanning the documents - created a new copyright interest. Or that distributing the documents complete with the trivial watermarks they added constituted unlawful copying of that mark. They might even pursue strawman criminal charges claiming that whoever obtained the files must have violated some kind of anti-hacking laws.
> In my discreet inquiry, I was unable to find anyone willing to cover the potentially unbounded legal costs I risked, even though the only unlawful action here is the fraudulent misuse of copyright by JSTOR and the Royal Society to withhold access from the public to that which is legally and morally everyone's property.'


> 'We're projecting today that 2010-11 revenue will have increased 49% from 2009-10 actuals, to $23.8 million. Spending is projected to have increased 103% from 2009-10 actuals, to $18.5 million. This means we added $5.3 million to the reserve, for a projected end-of-year total of $19.5 million which represents 8.3 months of reserves at the 2011-12 spending level.
> ...We started the year with an ambitious plan to grow the Wikimedia Foundation staff 82% from 50 to 91 and a decision to, if necessary, sacrifice speed for quality (“hiring well rather than hiring quickly”). We expect to end the year with staff of 78, representing an increase over 2009-10 of 56%.'



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