The Signpost

File:Crying robot yelled at by newspaper, dall-e 3.png
News and notes

In other news ... see ya in court!

Contribute  —  
Share this
By Andreas Kolbe, Bri, Frostly and JPxG

Wikimedia Foundation files amicus curiae brief in US Supreme Court case

The Wikimedia Foundation last month filed a "friend-of-the-court" brief with the US Supreme Court supporting challenges to laws that regulate online media in Texas and Florida. It says these laws "threaten the right to freedom of expression as enshrined under the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Our brief aims to inform the Supreme Court about how those laws also threaten community-governed free and open knowledge projects like Wikipedia."

The Foundation's lawyers, Cooley LLP, said in a press release about the two cases concerned:

The cases address Texas House Bill 20 and Florida Senate Bill 7072, which prohibit website operators from banning users or removing speech and content based on the viewpoints and opinions of the users in question. Although the drafters may have intended to target large, commercially run social media platforms, the laws are written so broadly that they could potentially be applied to volunteer-run projects, like Wikipedia.

Cooley's brief argues that the bills are unconstitutionally vague, as their definitions of "social media platforms" and other terms are so broad that they could potentially be applied to any website or service that allows people to exchange information over the internet – including Wikipedia and its long-standing volunteer-led systems of content moderation. The brief also argues that the bills violate the First Amendment prohibition of compelled speech, and that if these laws were applied to Wikimedia projects, they would violate the constitutional First Amendment rights of volunteer contributors by restricting them from editing and improving information on the platform.


2024 WikiCup begins

The 2024 WikiCup began on January 1; since registrations opened, over 120 users have signed up for the competition. The Cup is a yearly editing contest that has been run since 2007. Participants are awarded points for writing and reviewing content. Readers are encouraged to sign up for the competition or subscribe to the newsletter! – F

Are makers of generative AI chatbots infringing copyrights?

Politico reports on the New York Times lawsuit against OpenAI and Microsoft, which aims to prevent the latter from continuing to use its stories to train chatbots.

The Times did not list specific damages that it is seeking, but said the legal action "seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of The Times’s uniquely valuable works."

In the complaint, the Times said Microsoft and OpenAI "seek to free-ride on The Times's massive investments in its journalism" by using it to build products without payment or permission.

It is worth noting that Wikipedia is another major source used to build generative AI chatbots. If the Times lawsuit is successful, then the use of Wikipedia content could – conceivably – likewise be found to be infringing the copyright of its volunteer authors. Or the reverse, media companies that aggressively defend copyright could conceivably lead to more AI training from open knowledge content like Wikipedia. – B, AK

16 January: Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee (U4C) Charter vote

Patrick Earley, the Wikimedia Foundation's Lead Trust & Safety Policy Manager, has provided an update about Universal Code of Conduct development on the Wikimedia-l mailing list:

Last year, the Building Committee for the Universal Code of Conduct Coordinating Committee Charter started drafting the Charter. The initial version was shared for community comment a couple of months ago. After closing the community comment period, the Building Committee met again to finalize some of the details before a community ratification vote.

This ratification was initially planned for late November.

The Building Committee continued their conversations into December so that they could present a more comprehensive Charter for community ratification. The ratification vote is now scheduled to open next week, on January 16. We will provide more information about how to vote as it opens.

Thank you for following this process, and, on behalf of the Building Committee, thanks to all Wikimedians who have provided comments and direction for this document. We look forward to seeing the results.

According to voter information provided on Meta-Wiki, the vote will run from 16 to 30 January 2024. – AK

Brief notes

The Turkish Wikipedia's page for the 2023 Türkiye–Syria earthquakes was edited by more than 200 users in the first two days of the disaster, reports the Wikimedia Community User Group Turkey
In this issue
+ Add a comment

Discuss this story

These comments are automatically transcluded from this article's talk page. To follow comments, add the page to your watchlist. If your comment has not appeared here, you can try purging the cache.


The Signpost · written by many · served by Sinepost V0.9 · 🄯 CC-BY-SA 4.0