[Foundation-l] Fwd: Wikipedia is considering going dark to protest SOPA and PIPA

Liam Wyatt liamwyatt at gmail.com
Fri Jan 13 14:45:03 UTC 2012

On 13 January 2012 14:22, Bastien Guerry <bzg at altern.org> wrote:

> Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt at gmail.com> writes:
> > We have never proposed Wikimedia Commons as a storage service for
> > GLAMs. We have always said they should have their own catalogue and
> > share copies of their multimedia with us (and everyone else) under a
> > free license. That gives provenance and verifiability. We are not a
> > replacement for publicly funded cultural organisations investing in
> > their own infrastructure.
> Fair enough.  But is it really the case that most of the GLAMs are
> just providing copies?  Just wondering.

Well if it's a public cultural institution I would certainly hope that
they're not giving us the only copy of the file! That would be a terrible
use of their role as guardians of their country/region/city heritage to
outsource their hosting costs to us and not have an in-house database!

> > Temporarily disabling access in protest is not the same as "blocking
> > my contents without warning me" - that's actually a closer definition
> > to what SOPA would enable if it were passed. Furthermore, AFAICT, it
> > would be equally applicable to Wikimedia Commons, or Flickr or
> > YouTube or any other place where they might choose to upload/share
> > their content...
> I still expect some of them to react in a way that will make them think
> twice before participating to an upload project.  But maybe that's just
> me being pessimistic.

Any cultural organisation that is proactively donating multimedia to
Wikimedia knows that we're not "merely" a host like Flickr Commons or
YouTube etc. They know that there is a statement of principles, of cultural
free-access, that comes with working with us. Whilst Wikipedia might have
an editorial policy of Neutrality, GLAM organisations especially understand
that fighting for cultural access is a non-neutral activity and requires
people to take a stand. So I am not pessimistic about this potentially
negatively affecting our reputation with GLAMs.

In fact, quite the contrary, I would not be surprised if many individuals
in GLAM (and other) organisations would privately be very supportive of us
making such a principled stand because we are at liberty to make such
statements in a way publicly funded organisations are not. Many individuals
from cultural organisations have privately told me that they appreciate how
we take a stand on the non-copyrightability-of-scans (a.k.a. Bridgeman v.
Corel) even though they can't say that in their official capacity. I
suspect that fighting SOPA might be similar.


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