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Wikimedia Europe

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

JohnDarrochNZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Michael S Adler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Benh LIEU SONG (Flickr), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Markus Trienke, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stefan Krause, Germany, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons

EU Policy Team

Wikimania 2024: call for submissions open!

The great celebration of everything Wikimedia will take place in Katowice, Poland, August 7-10 . Wikimedia Europe was asked to curate the track on Legal and Advocacy, which we are happy to support. As Wikimania 2024 gathers under the topic of the Collaboration of Open, we present under your consideration some ideas on how to align with this message.

You can submit a session proposal for Wikimania 2024 here.

Food for thought

In this time of global conflict, disinformation and digital authoritarianism, the Wikimedia movement offers a model for decentralised, grassroots governance of free knowledge. Our movement empowers communities to exercise their right to access knowledge, and to advance other fundamental human rights. The Wikimedia model offers inspiration on how to create connections between people of various backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. 

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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

(Wikimédia France, the French national Wikimedia chapter, has also published a blog post on the SREN bill)

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

Eight requirements: Making digital policy serve the public interest

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.

Net Neutrality & the Fair Share Debate 

A debate focused on “big tech” & “big telco”

Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market wants major online platforms to contribute to the cost of telecommunications infrastructure. The distribution of wealth and added value, especially when talking about dominant and gatekeeping companies, is a fair debate that Europe clearly needs to have. However this debate makes a very unfair omission: It focuses only on “Big Tech” and “Big Telco”, while forgetting about the commons, alternative competitors, online communities and rural communes.

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Hope and IoT Data: An Update on the EU’s Data Act 

The debate about the proposed Data Act is in full swing. The lead rapporteur for the Data Act, Pilar del Castillo Vera (EPP ES) in the Industry Committee, has published her draft report with proposed amendments. Other MEPs have until 28 October to propose their own changes. While there is some hope that amendments will effectively limit the sui generis database right (SGDR), the provisions for Internet of Things (IoT) data sharing that cement the factual data holders’ strong position currently remain largely unquestioned.

Authors: Aline Blankertz & Dimi Dimitrov

Read More »Hope and IoT Data: An Update on the EU’s Data Act 

Debate: Should we care that AI facial recognition is trained on openly licensed photos?

Wikimedia.brussels introduces a new format: debate. Our regular contributors as well as guest authors look at one topic from various sides. The arguments may be contrary, or they may point to different priorities. Contributors cast light on the complexity of an issue that doesn’t lend itself to an easy one-way solution. It is up to our Readers to choose the most appealing point of view or appreciate the diversity of perspectives.

Read the contribution by Anna Mazgal

Read the contribution by John Weitzmann

These days, searchable Creative Commons-licensed resources include over 600 million items. Many of these are photos and out of them, a large number depicts humans – and their faces. While CC licensing does not touch upon the rights of subjects of photographs, the licences enable the author to waive many of their rights making possible, for example, reuse of images portraying people.

At Wikimedia, we are of course fans of open and free licensing – all content in projects such as Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons is available for further reuse. We love when people do that because practising Free Knowledge is only possible with frictionless sharing, adapting, remixing and building upon what already exists. But as we see the availability of these resources as a force for good, should we care if they are used in a way that harms people?

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COMMUNIA, the voice for public domain, celebrates 10. anniversary

Advocating for a better internet for all, we wouldn’t go far without our partners and collaborators. COMMUNIA International Association On the Digital Public Domain, where we are a member, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this week.

Distinct profile, great results

In the digital rights bubble COMMUNIA is unique: its focus on digital public domain stems not from it running projects based on the use of these resources but because public domain – like any public good – requires preservation and protection. One could say that copyright is only a short break in the continuum of human creative heritage. However, with the creative industry’s insatiable appetite to expand and extend copyright (we are looking at you, Disney) there is a need for a targeted effort to keep public domain accessible to everyone.

These issues may seem abstract, but when we think of such classics as Anne Frank Diary and the absurdities of its release into public domain, we can see how important this work is. If that doesn’t convince you, think of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry– the story of extending the French copyright for works by authors that died during World War II is still one of the most read COMMUNIA articles.

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How the DSA can help Wikipedia – or at least not hurt it

The Digital Services Act is probably the most consequential dossier of the current EU legislative term.  It will most likely become a formative set of rules on content moderation for the internet. It also means that it will shape the way Wikipedia and its sister projects operate. One can only hope that the DSA doesn’t try to fix what isn’t broken, specifically our community-based content moderation model. What are the scenarios?

A quick history of recent platform liability legislation

One of the reasons why the DSA became a thing, is the growing conviction that online intermediaries – from social media, through various user-generated content hosting platforms, to online marketplaces – will not fix the problems with illegal content through voluntary actions. In the previous legislative term we saw two proposals to change the responsibilities and liability of platforms. The focus was on types of content: copyrighted material (in the infamous Directive in Copyright in the Digital Single Market) and so-called terrorist content (in the Regulation on Dissemination of Terrorist content Online, or TERREG, with its final vote on April 28). 

The topical focus has its limitations, such as the number of legal regimes one platform would need to conform to simultaneously. This time around, the European Commission wants to impose rules on platforms that would cover all sorts of an intermediaries, content and services. 

Read More »How the DSA can help Wikipedia – or at least not hurt it

Terrorist content and Avia Law – implications of constitutionality of TERREG in France

Analysis

In the first of series of longer features on our blog, we study the implications of national court ruling on the future of an EU regulation: in this case on TERREG.

In June 2020, France’s Constitutional Court issued a decision that contradicts most key aspects of the EU proposal for a regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online – but also gave EU legislators specific tools to prevent drafting legislations pertaining to content regulation that would directly contradict fundamental rights and national constitutional requirements.

Download as pdf

Introduction

Over the course of the past two years, France had a lively debate on a draft bill to combat hate speech online (the so-called Avia law). The debate mainly revolved around imposing stricter content removal obligations for both platforms and other intermediaries such as hosting providers. The final law, passed in May 2020, included the obligation for hosting providers to remove terrorist content and child sex abuse material within the hour of receiving a blocking order by an administrative authority. The law also foresaw a 24-hour deadline for platforms to remove hate speech content, based on flagging by either a user, or trusted flaggers – based on the platforms’ own judgement and with the help of technical measures. This content removal activity was supposed to be subject to guidelines that were to be established by the French Media Regulator (CSA). 

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