[Foundation-l] Texts deleted on French Wikisource

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Thu Jun 3 09:43:15 UTC 2010

Mike Godwin wrote:
> Gerard writes:
> Hoi,
>> When I read:  "Wikisource content in the French language targets the French
>> public, and therefore, under French conflict of laws principles, the
>> copyright law of France applies to this content." I do read the French
>> public. Wikisource does not target the French public per se.
> I agree with you about this. Unfortunately, that turns out to be an
> inadequate argument when it comes to justifying noncompliance with a
> takedown notice.
> We consulted with French counsel on the question of compliance, and neither
> they nor we believed there was a strong probability that French court would
> invalidate the takedown notice on the grounds that Wikisource does not
> target the French public in particular.

It seems then that there is a question of jurisdiction involved.  It has 
been my long held understanding that the Wikimedia projects have 
operated under the laws of the United States, and that WMF has been 
consistent in its view that chapters are not responsible for the 
contents of the projects. Why then do we now compromise this by relying 
on what the French courts might say if the takedown notices are issued 
under US law?

Counter-notices would also be produced under US law.  There is no 
requirement that the person who files a counter-notice be the same 
person who posted the original material.  The original takedown notice 
needs to be a public document in order to enable any person considering 
a counter-notice
 to form the required good faith belief that the material was taken down 
because of a mistake or misidentification, or to challenge whether the 
takedown notice was compliant with all the requirements of such a 
notice.  Thus I would suggest that the notices are not privileged in the 
way that other correspondence or discussions would be.

I also needs to be pointed out that several of the authors in question 
died before 1923, and, unless we are dealing with posthumous works, only 
France's unique adjustment for the time of the wars would keep them 
protected there.

In the absence of a reconsideration by the WMF of some of these 
takedowns I agree that counter-notices.would be a useful approach.  To 
spread the work this could be spread among several people, each electing 
jurisdiction in a different judicial district. O:-)

Wikilivres is an option that has already been mentioned, and is probably 
the quickest to implement.

Wikisource.ca could also be used.  Eventually it would be transferred to 
Wikimedia Canada. For now, with that domain being in my possession, it 
would take only choosing a suitable webhost and some technical 
assistance before it is up and running.


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