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Submissions/Amplify Free Knowledge with Public Policy

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2015.

Submission no.
Title of the submission
Amplify Free Knowledge with Public Policy
Type of submission (discussion, hot seat, panel, presentation, tutorial, workshop)
Author of the submission
Geoff Brigham, Yana Welinder, Stephen LaPorte
E-mail address
slaporte@wikimedia.org, ywelinder@wikimedia.org
User:YWelinder (WMF), User:Slaporte (WMF)
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Wikimedia blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

The Wikimedia projects were founded around core public policy positions like freedom of speech, the value of the public domain, and freedom to share and remix. These ideals are so integrated in our projects that we often don't view them as policy questions. But we depend on legal regimes that are shaped by policy positions of other organizations. We therefore need to pay close attention to how these positions are advanced around the world to maximize the impact of Wikimedia.


The Wikimedia movement has participated in various policy initiatives over the past years, including the SOPA blackout, protests on the Italian and Russian Wikipedia, Wikimedia's submissions to the EU Copyright consultation, and growing efforts among Wikimedia chapters to advocate for free knowledge.


We will discuss some core policy areas, like copyright, censorship, access to knowledge, intermediary protection, and surveillance.

Copyright: The public domain and free licenses are essential for our ability to provide content and software that can be shared and remixed.
Censorship: Wikipedia should never be censored by oppressive governments or other groups that are not interested in providing information with a neutral point of view.
Access to knowledge: The Wikimedia projects are an essential part of the access to knowledge movement and can be further leveraged to overcome barriers people around the world face for accessing vital information.
Intermediary protection: Laws like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act and Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act protect our ability to host the Wikimedia projects with minimal interference.
Privacy and surveillance: The right to privately read and write is a fundamental component of free speech and is therefore key to the Wikimedia projects.


We will further lay out some initial next steps that we can take as a community to better articulate our positions and make it easier for volunteers to work locally to build better public policy for the Wikimedia movement.

Join our efforts to amplify free knowledge with public policy!

  • Legal & Free Culture
Length of session (if other than 30 minutes, specify how long)
30 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special requests

Interested attendees

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  1. Daniel Mietchen (talk) 13:03, 28 February 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  2. CT Cooper · talk 17:21, 1 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Ocaasi (talk) 16:32, 2 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Dimi z (talk) 14:25, 7 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  5. John Andersson (WMSE) (talk) 17:44, 8 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Tar Lócesilion (talk) 23:20, 9 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Saintfevrier (talk) 05:41, 1 April 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  8. --Cornelius Kibelka (WMDE) (talk) 05:23, 13 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 21:36, 13 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Dashaund (talk) 03:10, 15 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]