Submissions/Which Law Applies to Wikipedia?

From Wikimania 2014 • London, United Kingdom

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2014.

Submission no. 2526
Title of the submission
Which Law Applies to Wikipedia?
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Tobias Lutzi, LL.M.
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Institute of Foreign Private and Private International Law of the University of Cologne
Personal homepage or blog
During the last years, every Wikimania has hosted a certain number of talks dedicated to legal issues. Some of these talks have even focused on so-called conflict-of-laws issues (such as the question of the applicable law to Wikimedia Commons, which Deror Avi has repeatedly discussed in Washington and Hong Kong). However, none of these talks provided any general guidance to users and contributors who try to determine the applicable law to the particular project they are working on.
Consequently, several legal talks I have attended have ended with members of the audience asking whether the rules that have been discussed (e.g. freedom of panorama) applied also to the Wikipedia language version or project they are working on. More often than not, this question has remained unanswered. Even the Foundation's legal team, hosting a panel in 2013, merely explained how difficult it is to determine the applicable law to a multinational internet project such as Wikipedia, when asked about the law applicable to a particular project.
Although this reaction is understandable, given both the vast number of factors that influence the applicable law to a multinational internet project and the total lack of comparable projects outside the Wikimedia microcosm, there exist certain rules and principles the understanding of which would allow the average user to considerably reduce the number of rules he would consider to be applicable to his work. In fact, I am convinced that the mere understanding of the principles that are used to determine the applicable law to an internet project would already be of great help to users and contributors, who often struggle to identify the rules and provisions that are relevant for their work on Wikimedia projects.

tl;dr: A short presentation of the rules that determine which law applies to a certain Wikimedia project (e.g. a certain language version of Wikipedia). The talk aims to provide guidance to users and contributors who often seem to be confused by the different sets of rules that might be applicable to their work.
Legal & Free Culture
Length of session
30 Minutes
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  1. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 22:12, 19 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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  10. Gnom (talk) 20:01, 19 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  11. --MF-Warburg (talk) 21:07, 29 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  12. --Stefan »Στέφανος«  13:48, 30 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  13. MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:15, 6 April 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Wuselig (talk) 21:51, 14 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Matthias Süßen (talk) 20:08, 24 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Daniel Case (talk) 01:40, 30 July 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Tar Lócesilion (talk) 17:59, 2 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
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