The European Parliament’s resolution offers the opportunity to clarify Wikimedia Europe’s position on the practice of geo-blocking and its impact on Wikipedia and its sister projects.Read More »Geo-Blocking & Audiovisual Content: Why we need to achieve a truly connected digital single market
On 30 November, Eric Luth at Wikimedia Sverige was invited to give a speech on Wikimedia, Wikipedia, and copyright at an interdisciplinary IP symposium in Stockholm. This is his speech.
The European Media Freedom Act is a proposal for regulation put forward by the EU Commission in September 2022 aiming at safeguarding media freedom and pluralism in Europe. For Wikimedia it is relevant, because, on the one hand, it wants to regulate how online platforms moderate content by media service providers and, on the other, it introduces some general rules of media law, including the protection of journalists.Read More »European Media Freedom Act: some reflections from Wikimedia Europe
Wikipedia will be harmed by France’s proposed SREN bill: Legislators should avoid unintended consequences
Written by Jan Gerlach, Director of Public Policy at the Wikimedia Foundation; Phil Bradley-Schmieg, Lead Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation; and, Michele Failla, Senior EU Policy Specialist at Wikimedia Europe
The French legislature is currently working on a bill that aims at securing and regulating digital space (widely known by its acronym, SREN). As currently drafted, the bill not only threatens Wikipedia’s community-led model of decentralized collaboration and decision-making, it also contradicts the EU’s data protection rules and its new content moderation law, the Digital Services Act (DSA). For these reasons, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Europe call on French lawmakers to amend the SREN bill in order to make sure that public interest projects like Wikipedia are protected and can continue to flourish.Read More »Wikipedia will be harmed by France’s proposed SREN bill: Legislators should avoid unintended consequences
What do the European AI Act, the European Commission’s Data Strategy, the proposed US Digital Platform Commission Act and the German Digital Strategy have in common? They all name the public interest as a key objective. For good reasons, it is increasingly en vogue for digital policy to be designed as to foster the common good and serve the public interest. But what should public-interest digital policy look like? Wikimedia Deutschland has developed eight requirements against which digital policy projects must be measured if they are to serve the public interest. Transparency and effective participation are needed. Fundamental rights must be protected and damage to the community must be prevented. Digital policy should mitigate inequality, its outcomes must be open and accessible, and it must be collaboratively managed and renewed.
Since the advent of online platforms, which allow users to openly share content, the structure of the public sphere has been transformed. Until just a few decades ago, we were used to the fact that a significant part of public discourse would take place in publicly-owned and publicly-controlled spaces, be it town squares, parks, city halls, cultural establishments or public broadcasters. In the digital world, what we think of as public spaces are actually mostly private, for-profit, and/or data-guzzling platforms and services. The only very large online platform that is not-for-profit and is maintained by a thriving community of users is Wikipedia. This gives people on the internet agency and empowers them. We believe that the huge dominance of the for-profit, data driven model is a main reason for the greater vulnerability that our societies are experiencing in terms of polarisation, disinformation, and hate. We are confident that using versatile and diverse models of operation of online services and their underlying infrastructure will make society more resilient. It will make democratic, inclusive societies a harder target. For these reasons, we want a significant part of the online public discourse to take place on public or not-for-profit platforms, services, and infrastructure. To achieve the above objective, we suggest three areas of action. 1. Institutional Support Ensure funding for a network of publicly-owned and operated platforms that can host digital cultural heritage and public debates. Regardless of whether we are speaking of a regional museum, a small municipality, or public school, whenever these institutions and communities want to run a project online or share information, they rely on a few dominant, data-monetising services, even for the most basic action of hosting content. European digital hosting infrastructure for public service and cultural institutions is important for sovereignty and… Read More »Europe Needs Digital Public Spaces That Are Independently Moderated and Hosted
The EU’s new software liability framework is coming and FOSS developers should care
Amidst the legislative discussions around AI and cybersecurity, the EU is trying to figure out the right liability framework for software, including free software. Wikimedia shares the view that companies shouldn’t get a free pass for their services just because they open sourced their code. At the same time, we don’t want to see coders, who share their work with the public and peers in order to learn, tinker or to improve a free project, worry about liability too much. They need clear and effective safeguards.Read More »Who Should be Liable for Free Software?
Subject: Open letter from Wikimedia on making encyclopaedias fit for the digital age
Dear Executive Vice-President Vestager,
We kindly request a meeting with you to talk about how to ensure that encyclopaedic knowledge can be fit for the digital age.Read More »Open letter on making encyclopaedias fit for the digital age
Current proposals like the Cyber Resilience Act, the Directive on Liability for Defective Products and proposed amendments to the AI Act include vague and various liability carve-outs for “free and open-source software developed or supplied outside the scope of a commercial activity”.Read More »Wikimedia Position on EU Proposals for a Liability Carve-Out of Free and Open-Source Software
For almost a year now, Russia has been waging a brutal all-out invasion of Ukraine. While the situation in Ukraine today isn’t easy, the most difficult period was the first four to six weeks of the invasion – when Ukraine’s capital was under assault, and many people across the world feared the country would fall to its larger enemy. But Ukraine withstood against the odds – and so did Ukrainian Wikipedia. How the Ukrainian community of Wikipedia volunteers remained resilient to challenges?
A crucial source of information
As Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February this year, millions of Ukrainians were desperately looking for information. People were trying to understand the war’s general context, but also looking up specific actionable information – from rules of crossing the border to recipes of a Molotov cocktail.
Along with news publishers and other sources of information, Wikipedia saw its popularity surge. In April, the Ukrainian-language edition of Wikipedia attracted 106,877,169 user views, its second highest month in history. The most popular article – about Russia’s invasion – raked in 3 million views in less than six months, an absolute record for UkWiki. (In case you were wondering, the Molotov cocktail article gained almost 140,000 views in February – twice as many as for the whole five years before).Read More »Ukraine: countering Disinformation in the wake of Russian invasion