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Foundation report; gender statistics; DMCA takedowns; brief news

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By Tilman Bayer

Foundation's report for January: Anniversary impact, Brazil and India travels

The Wikimedia Foundation's monthly report for January has been published, much of it related to the celebrations of Wikipedia's tenth anniversary on January 15. The Communications Department observed that although journalists and other commentators have often been very critical of Wikipedia since its inception, "as the 10th anniversary approached, the international media seized the opportunity to reassess: this resulted in hundreds of stories around the world that were overwhelmingly positive" (an observation that had similarly been made by Sue Gardner and some Wikipedia critics, see Signpost coverage). The report called the shipment of "more than 80 Wikipedia 10 celebration kits" (with T-shirts, buttons and stickers) from the WMF to event organizers worldwide "an important pilot for the Wikimedia movement: new data about customs, logistics, and postal services for a wide range of nations has been gathered, and new processes for soliciting orders from chapters or other groups for timely delivery have been developed." Preparations to set up a Wikimedia merchandising webstore are underway.

The Human Resources Department reported a downside of the celebrations: "A large percentage of the staff in San Francisco was out for at least a week with the 'WikiPlague', a variant of the RSV virus that we seem to have caught at the 10th Anniversary Party." The department also reports that it has "started tracking metrics for new hires and the Wikimedia Foundation as a whole, and will start compiling anonymized data regarding diversity and other internal characteristics so that we stay mission-aligned."

Staff members of the Global Development department spent time in India and Brazil in January, and progress with the "Catalyst Projects" for both countries was reported.

Among the visitors to the Foundation's office in January, the report records representatives of IT firm Trivad, Inc, three consultants from communications firm OMP (a former employer of Chief Community Officer Zack Exley) attending a "Wikipedia brainstorming", the CEO of Paymentwall (a company offering ecommerce solutions) and the CEO of Charity Navigator.

Wikipedia's gender gap examined further

DMCA takedowns of fair use and US-Gov-PD images

The Foundation complied with two more DMCA takedown requests last week, continuing the recently established custom of making copies of them available on its website (cf. previous Signpost coverage).

The first request came from the US Department of Health and Human Services, concerning photos on Commons that apparently had been mistakenly designated as public domain by publishing them on the government's own websites: "Although the images had been posted to the public NCI/NIH Websites in the past, that posting was done in error. ... The photographs are protected by a license agreement and none of the parties involved ... has ever intended for the image to be in the public domain." Last month, the photographer had contacted the NCI, who took down its own copies of the images and notified the Wikimedia Foundation.

Another DMCA takedown request last week resulted in the deletion of a photo that had been illustrating the article about 1960s style icon Talitha Getty. According to the image description page as still available in Google's cache, the image had been uploaded on 15 November 2010, copied from another website with a resolution of 344 × 457 pixels, with a standard non-free content rationale as it is frequently used for portraits of deceased persons, which includes a fair-use claim.


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DMCA "take down" discussion
  • DMCA take down requests should be filed on Chilling Effects. The fair-use takedown request is especially worrying. John Vandenberg (chat) 05:04, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
    • I recently asked to make it standard operating procedure to file these with; this may not have happened with this request yet but it should going forward.--Eloquence* 05:57, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
      • I have started filing DMCA notices with; I'm working on having all notices received since the beginning of the year filed with them. They were having site issues the day I started getting them uploaded, so I only got one or two in, but I'm hoping to get the rest of them submitted today. Going forward, we'll be filing with each time a DMCA notice comes in. Christine, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC) Somehow i wasn't logged in when i initially signed this, sorry! Christine, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
    • Indeed. Are we bothering to fight back about fair use takedowns? - David Gerard (talk) 08:56, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
      • I don't see what's wrong with the takedown notice. It was a professional, artsy photograph by a professional photographer, who may very well still have a legitimate commercial interest in licensing it out for republication. We were not using it under a "transformative use" justification; in particular, we were not discussing the photograph as the object of critical analysis, but were merely using it as a vehicle to illustrate an article unrelated to the photographer's work. While we habitually do that with photographs of deceased people, we'd better make sure we stay very much on the safe side of NFCC#2 in each case, avoiding all items where commercial value may be at stake. If the matter was important enough to the photographer to go to the trouble of a takedown notice, then the most likely reason is that it actually was infringing on his commercial opportunities. Fut.Perf. 16:40, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
      • Anyone can file a DMCA counter-notice with the Foundation. It takes about 15 minutes. Kaldari (talk) 18:51, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
      • "We" aren't the ones that get to make that decisions. The original uploader is the one who gets to decide whether to fight back or not. The foundation's duty is to protect itself by complying with the safe harbor requirements. This is exactly what the put-back provisions of the DMCA were made for, so that providers like the WMF don't have to second guess these decisions. SWATJester Son of the Defender 22:26, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
        • And that's sad, because even if it's law and WMF policy to not take further action other than delete the content, these ridiculous takedown notices are simply removing legitimate material. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 23:52, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
          • Not just the original uploader, anyone who's content is removed due to the DMCA notice can file the counter-notice. Anyone that wants to can upload the content, have the Foundation remove it, and then file the counter-notice. Of course, it's better to do it with a throw-away account since you'll be blocked as well. (talk) 03:35, 16 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
            • I'd like to think users with legitimate counterclaims should be able to re-upload works without being blocked, but they should be clear about what they're doing before they do it (explicitly acquiring the legal right to issue a counter-claim by means of a strategic re-upload), and they should warn Christine about this as well. Otherwise editors whose works are indirectly damaged by the removal have no recourse. Dcoetzee 12:04, 22 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
          • Not seeing anything ridiculous about these particular takedown notices. They clearly own the copyright. Fair use doesn't mean you get to use copyrighted material willy nilly. It's a good thing we don't fight cases like these. It'd be bad publicity, and if it ever got to court we would likely lose. On top of that, it'd make it that much more difficult to fight against the takedown notices that are clearly fraudulent. DreamGuy (talk) 00:22, 24 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]

After 10 years, we are finally deciding to merchandise T-shirts? LOL! Well, better late than never! -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:16, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]

They've been selling stuff on CafePress for some time, see here. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 23:57, 15 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
That's silly. Who edits wearing a shirt? Ocaasi (talk) 21:12, 16 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. They should sell underwear. Oh wait... :D -- Luk talk 22:49, 20 February 2011 (UTC)[reply]


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