[Wikimedia-l] Russian Wikipedia goes on strike

Tim Starling tstarling at wikimedia.org
Tue Jul 10 23:35:17 UTC 2012

On 11/07/12 00:32, David Gerard wrote:
> On 10 July 2012 15:29, Tim Starling <tstarling at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> SOPA didn't threaten the existence of Wikipedia,
> Geoff Brigham opined otherwise, IIRC.

Yes, on the basis that "Wikipedia arguably falls under the definition
of an 'Internet search engine'".


The definition was:

"The term ‘Internet search engine’ means a service made available via
the Internet that searches, crawls, categorizes, or indexes
information or Web sites available elsewhere on the Internet and on
the basis of a user query or selection that consists of terms,
concepts, categories, questions, or other data returns to the user a
means, such as a hyperlinked list of Uniform Resource Locators, of
locating, viewing, or downloading such information or data available
on the Internet relating to such query or selection."


It's hard to see how Wikipedia could fall under this definition, but
even if it did, what would be the consequences?

"A provider of an Internet search engine shall take technically
feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, but in
any case within 5 days after being served with a copy of the order, or
within such time as the court may order, designed to prevent the
foreign infringing site that is subject to the order, or a portion of
such site specified in the order, from being served as a direct
hypertext link."

Geoff argued that we would have to manually review millions of links
in order to comply with such a court order. But the definition of an
"internet site" that would be specified under such a court order is:

"[T]he collection of digital assets, including links, indexes, or
pointers to digital assets, accessible through the Internet that are
addressed relative to a common domain name or, if there is no domain
name, a common Internet Protocol address."

We already index external links by domain name or IP address for easy
searching, and we have the ability to prevent further such links from
being submitted, for the purposes of spam control. The compliance cost
would be no worse than a typical [[WP:RSPAM]] report.

Maybe SOPA was a "serious threat to freedom of expression on the
Internet", and worth fighting against, but it wasn't a threat to
Wikipedia's existence.

-- Tim Starling

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