How Smart is the SMART Copyright Act? – Diff

“During March 2022, United States Senators Patrick Leahy and Thom Tillis introduced the Strengthening Measures to Advance Rights Technologies Copyright Act of 2022 (SMART Copyright Act). The bill is deceptively simple. It would require the Library of Congress to mandate that online platforms use certain “technical measures” (i.e., automated systems) to identify infringing content. Its simplicity masks its dangers, however. For that reason, though the Wikimedia Foundation agrees that technical measures to identify potentially infringing works can be useful in some circumstances, we sent a letter (reproduced below) on 19th April 2022 to the bill’s sponsors letting them know that we oppose it. 

Under the SMART Copyright Act, the Foundation and Wikimedia communities could be forced to accommodate and implement technical tools to identify and manage copyrighted content that may not be right for Wikimedia projects. This requirement could force the Foundation to change its existing copyright review process, even though the current process is working very well. …

While we fully agree that tools can be a helpful aid in identifying infringement, they should not be considered as a fix for all enforcement problems. There are two main reasons for this:

Technical tools are not good at determining when a work was “fairly used” or when a work has entered the public domain. This flaw leads to inappropriate censorship. Even YouTube’s Content ID identifies numerous false positives for infringement, and fails to catch a significant amount of problematic content. We worry that such tools would do far worse than the Wikipedia non-free content policy enforced by users.
Technical tools are often developed and owned by one company, and are not open source or freely available. If specific tools are mandated by the copyright office, this would make it difficult for smaller companies and nonprofits to use them without becoming overly reliant on those companies….”

Three Questions for the Wikimedia Foundation’s new CEO, Maryana Iskander – Diff

“As I said in my welcome letter, I am driven by the question of what it will take to create—not just imagine—a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge? I will begin by focusing on the annual planning processes at the Wikimedia Foundation so that we can share  how our current resources are allocated in support of our mission. This will help us engage with each other, and our movement colleagues, in where targeted investments will support further impact. I will also invest in supporting our Product and Technology teams as we recruit world-class leadership to guide their next phase of growth and innovation. I will also be launching a conversation about our Wikimedia Foundation values and how they guide our organization’s actions, behaviors and performance so that we are more aligned in our expectations of each other. Of course, I don’t get to just do three things at a time, but these will be my key priorities for the first six months! ”

The Wikimedia Endowment reaches $100 million milestone and welcomes three new members to its Board: more on what these developments mean for the projects and movement – Diff

“Now in Wikipedia’s 20th year, it is with immense gratitude that we announce that the Wikimedia Endowment has reached its initial $100 million goal ahead of schedule. With this milestone, the Wikimedia movement will have a critical base level of funds to continue to flourish and thrive over the long-term. This milestone was achieved thanks to the generosity of our Endowment donors, who find value in the volunteer-created content on Wikimedia projects and want to protect and support its growth for others to benefit from. …”

Wikimedia Foundation FY21-22 Annual Plan – Diff

“Today, we are proud to share the Wikimedia Foundation’s finalized Annual Plan for next year. It represents completed, cooperative work across the Foundation to define our goals for the July 2021-June 2022 fiscal year (FY 21-22). It is guided by ongoing discussions with volunteers, such as the Movement Strategy process, and our long term mission to promote free knowledge. It uses our Medium Term Plan as its overarching framework.

Please see our page on Meta-Wiki for the full plan materials, including our list of objectives and videos from the Wikimedia Foundation executive team with subtitles in Arabic, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese. Questions should be directed to our talk page, and to the live Annual Plan Conversations (office hours) held at the end of the month.

This year’s plan involves three overarching priorities—ensuring a thriving movement, an evolved platform on which that movement can thrive, and a resilient and inclusive Foundation to carry out this work….”

Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher to Step Down in April 2021 – Wikimedia Foundation

“Katherine Maher, the Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, the global nonprofit that operates Wikipedia, will be leaving the organization in April.

Under her leadership, Wikipedia attained its highest public trust in the institution’s history. Since becoming CEO in 2016, Katherine defined an expansive strategic direction for Wikimedia’s next decade, significantly expanded Wikipedia’s presence in emerging markets, increased the diversity and number of editors, significantly grew readership and contributors across Wikipedia and its sister free knowledge projects, and solidified the financial position and future of the Wikimedia movement….”

Stepping down as CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation – Diff

“Earlier today, I announced to my colleagues at the Wikimedia Foundation my intention to step down as CEO later this spring. April 15th will be my last day, marking my seven-year anniversary with the Foundation and the movement. This was not an easy decision, but it is the right one. For now, I want to share with you why I’m moving on, and what comes next. I’ll save deeper reflections on where we are as a movement for later. …”

The World Health Organization and Wikimedia Foundation expand access to trusted information about COVID-19 on Wikipedia

“The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that administers Wikipedia, announced today a collaboration to expand the public’s access to the latest and most reliable information about COVID-19. 

The collaboration will make trusted, public health information available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license at a time when countries face continuing resurgences of COVID-19 and social stability increasingly depends on the public’s shared understanding of the facts. 

Through the collaboration, people everywhere will be able to access and share WHO infographics, videos, and other public health assets on Wikimedia Commons, a digital library of free images and other multimedia. 

With these new freely-licensed resources, Wikipedia’s more than 250,000 volunteer editors can also build on and expand the site’s COVID-19 coverage, which currently offers more than 5,200 coronavirus-related articles in 175 languages. This WHO content will also be translated across national and regional languages through Wikipedia’s vast network of global volunteers.”

Executive Summary: Research findings and recommendations for developing a Declaration on Open Access to Cultural Heritage

“Cultural heritage institutions face a number of obstacles to digitizing and making collections available online. Many are beyond their control. But there is one important area that these institutions do have control over: the access and reuse parameters applied to a breadth of media generated during the reproduction of public domain works.

Whether to claim intellectual property rights (IPR) or release the reproduction media of public domain works via open access parameters is a contentious topic among the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums). Evidence shows GLAMs take a range of approaches to open access and encounter various obstacles that can hamper the release of cultural materials to the public domain. One of these obstacles is the lack of coordinated and sustainable support for GLAMs with open access ambitions.

Earlier this year, Wikimedia Foundation and Creative Commons came together to assist the OpenGLAM initiative and bridge this gap. The Wikimedia Foundation provided funding for an exploratory research paper on open access to cultural heritage. With the Wikimedia Foundation’s support, Creative Commons is now leading an initiative to develop a Declaration on Open Access to Cultural Heritage, along with a public consultation process to refine and generate consensus on what the Declaration might achieve.

This resource is meant to kick off that process. It brings together valuable insight from practice with wider societal questions to reflect on the trajectory of the open GLAM movement to date and its future needs. The research to support this work sought to:

To take stock of and reflect on open GLAM practices and the intellectual property rights (IPR) management of digital collections; and within this

Identify areas of uncertainty presenting barriers to open GLAM participation;

Identify new areas of focus emerging from open GLAM practice; and

Produce an open access resource to inform the development of a Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage….”

Job Application for Director of Product, Anti-Disinformation at Wikimedia Foundation

“The Wikimedia Foundation is looking for a Director of Product Management to design and implement our anti-disinformation program.  This unique position will have a global impact on preventing Disinformation through Wikipedia and our other Wikimedia projects.  You will gain a deep understanding of the ways in which our communities have fought disinformation for the last two decades and how this content is used globally.  You will work cross-functionality with Legal, Security, Research and other teams at the Foundation and imagine and design solutions that enable our communities to achieve our Vision: a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge….”

China blocks Wikimedia Foundation’s application to become an observer at WIPO | Knowledge Ecology International

“On Wednesday, 23 September 2020, China blocked Wikimedia Foundation’s application to become an observer at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)….

[China said,] There is reason to believe that this foundation has been carrying out political activities through its member organizations which could undermine the state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, therefore, it is not fitting for the foundation to serve as an observer to this professional organization….”

Wikimedia Foundation Form 990 for FY 2018-2019 now on-wiki

“At the end of our fiscal year 2018-2019, our revenue exceeded our expenses by US $28.5 million, which increased our operating reserve to $166.5 million, or the equivalent of 17-18 months of expenses per the fiscal year 2019-2020 annual plan <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation_Medium-term_plan_2019/Annual_Plan_2019-2020>. As reported under our prior Form 990, we have been maintaining the operating reserve at 17-18 months. Our goal is to have sufficient reserve funds to conservatively provide at least 12-18 months of operating expenses in order to mitigate against unforeseen risk, secure operational stability, and ensure the overall financial health of the organization. This principle is consistent with many other financially stable, non-profit organizations that are rated by Charity Navigator <https://www.charitynavigator.org/>. With a stable and secure reserve, we have the ability to fund specific Wikimedia Movement investment opportunities that may arise….”

Job Application for Vice President of Community Growth at Wikimedia Foundation

“The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking a Vice President of Community Growth to advance the Wikimedia movement’s vision of every single human being able to freely share in the sum of all knowledge; as well as its strategic direction, which states that by 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge, and anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us. …”

Research directions towards the Wikimedia 2030 strategy – Wikimedia Foundation

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research team has published a set of white papersthat outline our plans and priorities for the next 5 years. These white papers, which were developed collaboratively by all members of the team, reflect our thinking about the kind of research that will be necessary to further the 2030 Wikimedia strategic direction of knowledge equity and knowledge as a service.

Altogether, these white papers define a set of recommended directions in three key areas—knowledge gapsknowledge integrity, and foundations—where the Wikimedia Foundation, in partnership with affiliates and academic collaborators, can help the Wikimedia movement address and anticipate challenges and take advantage of emerging technological opportunities. Example directions include:

  • Developing a knowledge equity index to track progress towards removing barriers preventing people from accessing and contributing to free knowledge
  • Identifying new methods and tools for characterizing bias, information quality, and trustworthiness in Wikimedia content
  • Designing and testing machine learning technologies to assist contributors in identifying and filling knowledge gaps….”