[Foundation-l] Communication

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Fri Jun 4 19:47:32 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think if you look at what we did with regard to the Gallimard takedowns --
> 1) Consulting with French legal experts before taking any action
> 2) Compelling Gallimard to narrow and specify their takedown demands
> 3) Enlisting community members to implement the takedowns
> 4) Including (though not required to do so) contact and identifying
> information for Gallimard
> 5) Providing a complete list of what Gallimard demanded to be taken down
> -- you see both a high degree of deliberation on our part (we didn't simply
> jump to comply) and an effort to make clear to the community what we were
> doing and why, and to involve the community, even at the same point in time
> at which we followed through on the takedown demands.
> You may remember than Yann originally asserted some kind of double standard
> (maybe that we're more afraid of French publishers than of British
> museums?), and Andre suggested that we simply (and fearfully) comply with
> facially invalid takedown requests. Neither notion is true. Somehow those
> notions didn't exactly feel cooperative.
> I think it's essential to maintaining the fabric of a massively
> participatory and cooperative endeavor that one first give some attention to
> the full facts of how we responded, rather than jumping to (negative)
> conclusions about our motivations and interests.  My view is that, to the
> extent possible, I want to minimize the exposure of community members to
> legal risk even as I'm doing the same for the Foundation.  Partly this means
> adhering to the framework of the applicable laws, including copyright laws
> -- so, yes, we will normally comply with a formally correct takedown notice,
> just as we will comply with a formally correct "put up" demand.  We'll also
> help targeted community members find independent legal counsel when we can,
> and we'll support chapters that seek to provide professional legal advice to
> the community as well. We do generally have to obey the rules, however, and
> we didn't create them.
> --Mike

At this point I'm familiar with what the Foundation did and did not do
in this particular instance; while my note mentioned that the
complaints about communication directed towards the WMF were usually
prompted by specific instances, my point about the general
responsibility of the WMF to communicate fully is just that - a
general point, and not an implied restatement of Yann's complaint. On
the other hand, while no one can say that the Foundation did not
attempt to inform the French Wikisource community at all, the steps
you did take are still open to some criticism and suggestions for

Cary posted a very brief summary of the rationale for the takedown
notice, Gallimard's name and contact information, and a list of
content deleted. He did not describe the Foundation's effort to limit
the scope of the demand, or its contact with French counsel (which was
described later, on the talk page, in the form of a copy of an e-mail
from you mentioning Hugot Avocats), nor was any effort made to inform
project participants how they could contest or counter Gallimard's
demands. You can argue, and have argued, that participants should know
this already or can easily discover the relevant information with some
digging. But why not spare them the effort? It's fully possible that
the folks most interested in the specific content are no longer paying
close attention, or will be discouraged enough to just give up. Is
posting a link to a useful description of put-up procedures really a
liability for the WMF?

The idea here is that some communication is not necessarily ideal
communication, and we can acknowledge that an effort was made while
still asking for just a little bit more.

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