[Foundation-l] Texts deleted on French Wikisource

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 13:54:20 UTC 2010

Ray Saintonge writes:

An important point; we musn't force the WMF lawyer into a conflict of
> interest

The issue is only partly conflict of interest, and it often isn't that. It's
primarily that WMF is not insured to give legal advice to community members.
We run an encyclopedia, not a free legal clinic.  (By comparison, when I
worked for EFF, I was actually empowered to give free legal advice to people
who called in for help.)

It really feels good to be able to say "Make my day."  More of us should
> try it.

You'll be pleased, I know, to know that I do get to say something similar
quite frequently. There are plenty of bogus legal threats directed to WMF.

John Vandenberg writes:

In cases like this, I think it would help if the WMF lawyers would
> tell the community, bluntly, that they can't assist the community in
> the matter, with a quick overview of why they cant assist.

See above.

It's also no secret that we have referred community members to lawyers in
the past because we could not represent or counsel those members. This is
what we did with regard to NPG.

> Is that possible without putting WMF lawyers in a tight spot?

Sometimes. Sometimes not. (The issue is not so much putting lawyers in a
tight spot as it is one of making WMF more vulnerable, e.g., by revealing
defense strategies.)

Peter Gervai writes:

Or we can reasonably expect them to ask for real legal advice from (or
> paid by) the WMF and _then_ accept the _known_ risk to file a
> counter-notice.

What happens if they follow the legal advice from WMF and then face
liability anyway? (This sometimes happens even when the best advice is
given.)  WMF is not insured against the malpractice lawsuit that community
members might bring in that case.

John Vandenberg writes:

.. find generic legal advice ... or ...
> .. find a lawyer among the community who can help.

There is plenty of generic legal advice about how to respond to takedown
notices. A little Googling will turn up some for you.


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