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Submissions/Legal Demands: The Good, The Bad, & The Just Plain Wrong

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 2515
Title of the submission
Legal Demands: The Good, The Bad, & The Just Plain Wrong
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Stephen LaPorte (Legal Counsel, WMF) & Michelle Paulson (Legal Counsel, WMF)
E-mail address
slaporte@wikimedia.org; mpaulson@wikimedia.org
Slaporte (WMF) (Personal account: Slaporte); Mpaulson (WMF)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Legal and Community Advocacy
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

The Wikimedia Foundation’s legal team handles legal takedown demands for the Wikimedia projects, related to copyright, content complaints, and other issues. We will provide an overview of our process for handling takedown demands, share some stories from the past year, and discuss how the community and the legal team can work together to maximize the free and legal content that we disseminate around world.

Between July 2012 and June 2013, we received a total of only 31 Digital Millenium Copyright Act ("DMCA") takedown notices based on claims of copyright infringement, and we complied with approximately 48%. In addition, we received a number of other takedown demands on various other legal bases. The number of legal takedown demands we receive is strikingly low -- comparatively, Google received 24,257,269 copyright takedown notices in just January 2014 and Twitter received 1,107 in June 2013. Our low figure is the result of the Wikimedian volunteer community's ability to identify and remove potential legal problems before those potential problems turn into formal legal demands. After all, the goal of the Wikimedia movement is to provide free and legal content.

The cases that reach the legal department frequently represent complex or difficult situations. Our goal is to aggressively preserve free content, unless we are legally unable to keep it. When we receive a DMCA takedown demand, we review the legal claims involved, and we challenge the demand if it is legally baseless. We will describe this process and introduce our transparency report (which will be published prior to Wikimania 2014), where we plan to regularly share more details about the legal demands that we receive, in addition to our public reports of DMCA takedown demands on the Foundation Wiki and collaboration with Chilling Effects.

We want to share an inside view of the difficult legal questions and backstories from the past year, including a range of legitimate and illegitimate demands. We will provide some resources for community members who wish to file counter-notices in response to DMCA takedowns. We will discuss other strategies for ensuring that Wikimedia can provide the maximum amount of free and legal content in the face of legal demands from our position in the complex (and changing) legal landscape of the free culture movement.

Legal & Free Culture
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
45 minutes (but flexible, and we can reserve a portion for interactive Q&A if there is interest)
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Yes, slides!
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. en:User:Alixos Cobi
  2. Geraldshields11 (talk) 21:43, 26 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  3. AdamBMorgan (talk) 14:31, 10 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  17. Wuselig (talk) 21:56, 14 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  18. K_Rones (talk) 08:31, 27 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  19. Daniel Case (talk) 23:16, 31 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  20. Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 11:36, 3 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  21. --アンタナナ 23:49, 7 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  22. GillHamilton (talk) 14:31, 8 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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