[Foundation-l] Texts deleted on French Wikisource

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 15:26:21 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 8:05 AM, Andre Engels <andreengels at gmail.com> wrote:

> Surely having a known defense strategy would beat having no defense
> strategy at all, which basically is the situation now.

I'm afraid I must deny that we have no defense strategy.

>  But why not support the community in issuing
> counter-claims, by telling them that the possibility is there, and
> what the consequences are (both the positive one that the WMF is then
> likely to re-instate the material, and the negative one that the one
> doing the claim will be the one liable to get sued if the other party
> decides to do so).

If I were you, I would not assume that this is something WMF would never do.
As has been made clear before now, we consulted with French lawyers before
complying with the takedown notice in this instance, to assess how seriously
to take the copyright claims.

> The situation now is that a single take down notice will have the WMF
> take down the material, basically saying to the community "we have to
> do this".

I disagree with this characterization of the situation.

How do you expect people to issue counter-claims if they
> don't even know about the possibility of doing so?

Are you saying that the possibility of responding to a DMCA (or equivalent)
takedown notice has been a secret until now? My experience has been the
converse -- that any copyright advocate who knows enough to track copyright
dates and to post dozens or hundreds of texts to Wikisource is likely to
know the basics of takedown notices and counter-claims, or is able quickly
to determine on his own what can be done in response.

> I'm sorry, but I am getting more and more the feeling that for the
>  board and the executive the foundation is more important than the
> projects.

This seems disingenuous to me. You seem to be saying that all collaborative
projects must provide you with legal representation and advice.  I'm pretty
sure the Free Software Foundation does not do this, and that Creative
Commons doesn't do it either.  There are organizations that do provide such
services, like EFF (my former employer).  It seems to me to be a mistake to
try to turn the Wikimedia Foundation into another EFF, or to say that "the
Foundation is more important than the projects" because it does not try to
be EFF.

To me, this answer is an example to that. Surely, it is easy
> enough to put an answer in such wordings that the likelihood of losing
> such a suit (in the already unlikely circumstance that such a suit
> would actually be brought forward) are negligible.

The issue is not the losing of such a suit. We'd likely win it. The issue is
the cost of winning it.

> > There is plenty of generic legal advice about how to respond to takedown
> > notices. A little Googling will turn up some for you.
> So that's the foundation's reaction?

I'm avoiding giving you legal advice while dropping broad hints about where
you can find good legal advice for free. Of course, I can't compel you to
take the hint.

> If you don't like us taking down
> material, just find out yourself what can be done about that - and
> then find out how that something is done that can be done about that?

Other Wikimedians don't seem to find this as tricky as you do.

> You seem to be more tightly bedded with not only valid but also
> invalid copyright claimers than I ever had thought possible.

This seems to be an inference that is insupportable on the basis of the
facts you have.


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