Wikimedia’s transparency report is a joyOn March 11, 2018 by Kenna
Like many of the most popular websites, Wikimedia — which oversees Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons among other sites and services — publishes a transparency report in which it details commercial and governmental requests for surveillance and content removal.
But of course, Wikipedia is a wiki, meaning that the way you take something down is by editing the page, then defending your change in the comments for that page — not by asking the Lords of the Internet to get the food-coloring out of the swimming pool.
So Wikipedia’s transparency report is something of a joy. I mean, how can you read this: “From July to December of 2017, we received 343 requests to alter or remove project content, seven of which came from government entities. Once again, we granted zero of these requests” and not rejoice?
On Techdirt, Mike Masnick points out that the very low levels of copyright requests are a proof that the expensive, ineffective “filter” systems demanded by Big Content are not the best way to take care of copyright infringement:
Wikimedia projects feature a wide variety of content that is freely licensed or in the public domain. However, we occasionally will receive Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices asking us to remove content that is allegedly copyrighted. All DMCA requests are reviewed thoroughly to determine if the content is infringing a copyright, and if there are any legal exceptions, such as fair use, that could allow the content to remain on the Wikimedia projects. From July to December of 2017, we received 12 DMCA requests. We granted two of these. This relatively low amount of DMCA takedown requests for an online platform is due in part to the high standards of community copyright policies and the diligence of project contributors.
This is actually really important, especially as folks in the legacy entertainment industry keep pushing for demands that platforms put in place incredibly expensive “filter” systems. Wikipedia is one of the most popular open platforms on the planet. But it would make no sense at all for it to invest millions of dollars in an expensive filtering system. But, since the whining from those legacy industry folks never seems to recognize that there’s a world beyond Google and Facebook, they don’t much consider how silly it would be to apply those kinds of rules to Wikipedia.
Wikimedia releases eighth transparency report [Jim Buatti and Leighanna Mixter/Wikimedia Foundation]
Wikimedia’s Transparency Report: Guys, We’re A Wiki, Don’t Demand We Take Stuff Down [Mike Masnick/Techdirt]
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