Submissions/Changing the world, one law at a time (Lobbying for Wikimedians)

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

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Title of the submission

Lobbying for Wikimedians

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Mathias Schindler

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Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia Deutschland e.V.

Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Wikipedia is generally seen as a success story of an open, free and non-discriminatory Internet with low barriers of entry. Its visibility and speed makes it into into a small, but growing factor in the process of public opinion building. In fact, we all heard about politicians trying to brush up their biographical article in Wikipedia not just for vanity reasons. At the same time, the conditions in which Wikipedia can operate are changing. Various proposals in "copyright reform" (e.g. the possible introduction of a ancillary copyright for publishers in Germany, the introduction of copyright on mere collections of facts) might undermine Wikipedia's ability to collect the wisdom of the world. All in all, the larger threats are not related to copyright but collateral effects on privacy laws, decency laws, procedural changes in how litigation works. In 2010, a media frenzy erupted due to the launch of "Google Street View" in Germany. As a result, a set of poorly worded proposals for the change of privacy laws entered the political scene that would effectively not have stopped Google Street View but would have made it impossible for Wikimedia Commons to geo-tag images.

This talk is about Wikimedia's ongoing efforts to promote the core freedoms that Wikipedia stands for among the political scene and to take part in the more defensive measures to prevent the internet from turning into a wasteland. While our resources are limited (at least in comparison to your average pharmaceutical company), some of our approaches are quite effective and can be easily copied by Wikimedians in other countries.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

People and Community

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  1. CT Cooper · talk 13:19, 30 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
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