[Foundation-l] Texts deleted on French Wikisource

Yann Forget yannfo at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 19:21:50 UTC 2010

2010/6/2 Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com>:
> Yann Forget writes:
>> In addition, I receive a personal letter, as "the main editor" of
>> these texts, according to Gallimard. We didn't receive any information
>> from the Wikimedia Foundation, and I know the details only because I
>> have been personally involved.
> Yann seems to be suggesting here that the Wikimedia Foundation did not
> notify him about the Gallimard takedown, but at the same time Yann
> acknowledges that he knew about the Gallimard takedown. It is precisely
> because we knew Yann knew about Gallimard's takedown demand (it wasn't a
> "request") that we did not send him additional correspondence to inform him
> about something he already knew about. I still have in my email storage
> correspondence with Yann regarding this event from March of this year -- it
> seems odd to have Yann complaining that he didn't know enough about it.
> Furthermore, when we noted in the takedown who was demanding the takedown
> (Editions Gallimard) *and we further listed their contact information* so
> that francophone Wikimedians who disagreed with the takedown demand could
> make their feelings known to Gallimard. We did this at the very beginning of
> the takedown process, which we are obligated by international law to obey.
>> Now three months later, we didn't receive any
>> information from the Foundation about this, and the texts are still
>> deleted.
> Yann seems here to say that some unnamed group did not know about the
> takedown. We posted the takedown information publicly. Yann in fact knew
> about it from the beginning. What's more, we listened to Yann's feedback,
> including claims that some of the material Gallimard demanded taken down was
> material they had no right to make such demands about. We narrowed
> Gallimard's takedown demand accordingly.  Yann knows this.

I didn't know you narrowed Gallimard's takedown demand. AFAIK you
never informed me nor Wikisource about this.
Yet there are works which are in public domain in France and which are
still deleted in Wikisource following Gallimard's demand.
In fact, you didn't inform Wikisource about the details of Gallimard's demand.
I received Gallimard's letter only one month _after_ the works were
deleted on Wikisource.
I answered to Gallimard and I didn't receive any news from them.
I don't expect to receive anything from Gallimard since their FUD
tactic worked very well, and the works are not on-line any more on
And I am not so foolish to ask Gallimard for objective information.
In fact Gallimard has made at least two mistakes in their request: one
of the author's date of death is false, and in one case, they
miscalculated the duration of copyright, forgetting the 30 years
extension for authors who died in action.

>> Many contributors are obviously not very happy, and feel that
>> the Foundation submitted to the pressure of a commercial publisher.
>> Comparing with the National Portrait Gallery affair on Commons, it
>> looks like a double standard was applied.
> I strongly suspect that any contributors who feel as Yann says they feel are
> relying on mistaken information and assumptions.  We absolutely did resist
> the demands of Gallimard within the full extent that French law allows. We
> retained French counsel who represented us in discussions with Gallimard,
> and we forced Gallimard to make their demands both more specific and
> narrower. The "pressure of a commercial publisher" played no role. (A
> noncommercial entity making the same legal demand would be entitled to the
> same takedown, assuming that the formalities were met.)

Happy to hear that. It would have been much better if you would have
informed the Wikisource community about it.

> Comparing the National Portrait Gallery affair suggests lack of knowledge
> about the underlying copyright issues involved. The NPG dispute involved art
> works that unquestionably were no longer protected by copyright according to
> the law of most signatories of international copyright treaties. The NPG
> actually knows this, and did not press any legal challenge, likely because
> of uncertainty whether their anomalous theory of copyright protection for
> digitized centuries-old artworks would be upheld even by British courts. The
> Gallimard case is fundamentally different, since most of the works they
> demanded taken down were asserted to be modern works that are clearly within
> the period of French copyright protection.

Partly false, misleading at the minimum.
Some of the deleted works are in the public domain in France.
At least half of them are in the public domain world wide, except in France.
These are published on many web sites, including the National French Library.

> Just a few days before these texts were deleted, I asked Cary what was
>> the official opinion of Wikimedia Foundation about texts which are in
>> the public domain in USA, but not in France. I was told that "the
>> community is entitled to decide by itself".
> Cary is correct that the Wikimedia Foundation is not purporting to give you
> legal advice about copyright and the public domain.  We're not your
> lawyers.  For that, you are best served by consulting French legal counsel.

Well, I am now in India, so I am not sure how much French law in relevant.
Most of the deleted works are in the public domain in India.
Any way, you answered beside the point.
I know very well what is the copyright status of these works in
France, and elsewhere.
What I ask is that you inform _the Wikisource project hosted by
Wikimedia Foundation_ about _WMF official legal policy_, whatever is
that policy.

> --Mike



More information about the wikimedia-l mailing list