Tron appeal

German chapter prevails in Tron appeal

Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., the German chapter organization affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation, announced on Friday that it had won in the final court ruling over whether deceased hacker Tron (Boris Floricic) could be named in the German Wikipedia. The Berlin district court hearing an appeal by Tron's parents rejected their complaint, concluding that neither Tron's post-mortem rights nor those of the parents were violated. This brings an end to the litigation, as no further avenues of appeal remain.

Tron's parents had originally filed their lawsuit in December 2005, partly at the urging of Andy Müller-Maguhn, a member of the Chaos Computer Club (with which Tron was also affiliated). They argued that publishing Tron's real name, as opposed to merely his alias, violated his personal rights (in German, Persönlichkeitsrecht, which includes privacy rights), along with those of Tron's father who shares the same surname.

At one point in January, the court issued a preliminary injunction calling for the removal of the name and requiring Wikimedia Deutschland to cease directing people from its domain (www.wikipedia.de) to the German Wikipedia (de.wikipedia.org). This led to widespread erroneous reports in the media that the German Wikipedia had been shut down. In reality, it remained available throughout and the injunction itself was soon suspended. The court then ruled in favor of the Wikimedia chapter, leading to the now-concluded appeal.

The court decided that publishing the name was legal and did not infringe on any rights Tron might still have after his death. It also concluded that the rights of other parties such as his parents were not violated. Thorsten Feldmann, lawyer for Wikimedia Deutschland, said, "We feel that the court completely confirmed the legal position we have held from the outset."

Also, the chapter has announced the appointment of Arne Klempert to serve as business executive (Geschäftsführer) and be in charge of the chapter's physical office, to be opened in Frankfurt later this year. As planned at its annual meeting in February, the chapter expects to open its new headquarters in October. Klempert was chosen from a field of 65 applicants after two rounds of interviews. Previously one of the members of the chapter's board, he took a leave of absence from his seat on the board in order to apply for the position.

In other news involving Wikimedia chapter organizations, a new chapter has been formed in Switzerland. In a meeting held in Olten on Sunday, 14 May, members representing the French, German, and Italian-speaking regions of the country adopted the chapter's bylaws and selected its initial board. The chapter is planning to hold a Swiss Wikipedia Day in Zürich on 17 June.

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