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Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-08-05/News and notes

Non-English special edition! 99% no news about English-based wiki communities!: Wikimania in Montreal, lawsuit in Sweden, challenges in France
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Wikimania next week!

Wikimania 2017 in Montreal

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This is an actual conference venue power outlet. It has been verified by a trusted Wikipedian. Do not be misled!

Wikimania 2017, the international Wikimedia conference, will be August 9–13 in Montreal. The event invites Wikimedia contributors from around the world to convene and discuss anything related to Wikimedia projects. The conference website includes the programme of scheduled talks, keynote speakers, and various preconference activities.

Following Wikimedia community tradition, various people have complained and been confused on the Wikimania-l mailing list. The two most popular conversations in July were the 23 post review of AC power plugs and sockets in Canada and the 53 posts about visa rejections.

Wikimedia France problems continue

Wikimedia France has continued to suffer prolonged problems (see previous Signpost coverage).

On 1 July the organization confirmed a new board of trustees. On 23 July, the board secretary announced to the greater Wikimedia community that one of the eight board members, Louise Merzeau, had died and the treasurer had resigned and already been replaced. This is the fifth board resignation in less than five months. The announcement noted that the chair, vice chair, and secretary are unchanged by these developments.

A WMF site visit was held on July 25–26, 2017. A special general assembly by request of 25% of members has been scheduled for September 9, when the community will elect members to six open seats. In October, the regularly scheduled general assembly will proceed to elect six currently held seats.

The international Wikimedia community saw and discussed one highly visible cause or symptom of conflict in May 2017 when the Funds Dissemination Committee gave WMFR only fifty percent of their requested grant. The Signpost reminds readers that no part of Wikipedia is competitive, that all Wikimedia chapters should support each other, that Wikimedia chapters and their communities must find peace and alignment, and that a problem for any individual among us makes the international news much more commonly than drama in other special interest online communities. French readers can find French language controversy in the Wikimediafr mailing list.

Wikimedia Sweden ordered to pay fine in copyright case

On 6 July the Swedish Patent and Market Court ordered Wikimedia Sverige, the Wikimedia chapter in Sweden, to pay a fine and lawyers' fees following a previous ruling by the Supreme Court of Sweden that their database of links to Wikimedia Commons photographs violated copyright law. The details of the case will sound strange to Wikimedia contributors as the court identified separate copyright laws for paper versus digital media publishing.

The Signpost and the Wikimedia Foundation's blog reported the original April 2016 loss at the Supreme Court. The Visual Copyright Society in Sweden, known natively as the Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige or BUS, initiated a lawsuit against Wikimedia Sverige in 2014 over the publication of offentligkonst.se, a website which displayed Wikimedia Commons images through a map. Wikimedia Sverige argued that Sweden's freedom of panorama laws allowed the publication of photos of permanently installed public artworks, such as monuments in public parks. Interpreting the result is challenging, but the court seems to have said that the freedom of panorama rules permit photographers to create images of art, publish them online, publish them in books, and sell copies of their photos commercially, all without permission from the artist who created the work featured in the photo. The part that is not allowed is compiling a database which makes it very easy for anyone to find and republish the images for any purpose, including commercial purposes. Whatever the legal interpretation, Wikimedia Sverige lost, and the Wikimedia Foundation disagreed with the court's ruling.

Following that ruling, the Swedish Patent and Market Court awarded money to BUS in July 2017 as reported by Wikimedia Sverige in the mailing list and on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog. While the Supreme Court mentioned the database explicitly in the final ruling, the Patent and Market Court ruling did not. Instead, that court says that media shared online cannot be considered "avbildning", a Swedish term which means "a reproduction". Since avbildning is allowed under the freedom of panorama exception it means that online publishing is likely no longer covered by freedom of panorama. Wikimedia Sverige must and will pay 750,000 SEK (US$90,000)) to BUS for legal expenses and a fine. Wikimedia Sverige is asking for donations from the Wikimedia community and supporters, even if the donation is only a small symbolic amount to demonstrate support. They take money in Swedish Krona and 10 krona, a fine donation which creates a record of civic interest in Wikimedia Sverige's position, is US$1. Anyone outside the European Union may have difficulty making a donation, although some payment types in the US and elsewhere may work.

Wikimedia Sverige executive director John Andersson said of the case that "Copyright is complex and largely incomprehensible. ... This ruling asserts that there is a difference in terms of user rights between digital and print media as photos of these works of art can for example be printed as postcards and used for commercial purposes. Digital non-profit projects like the websites Offentligkonst.se and Wikipedia, however, must pay for using the very same photos. In a society looking to fully enter a digital era, it is unreasonable to undermine the use of digital media in this way. The legislation clearly must be revised."

Available documentation of this case is all in Swedish language and includes the timeline, Wikimedia Sverige's press release, and the court ruling.

Brief notes