Illegal Content in Wikimedia Projects

Date: Fri, 02 Nov 2007 19:10:47 +0100
From: Florence Devouard
Subject: [Foundation-l] [Announcement] French lawsuit against WMF won
in court
To: foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org

An injunction was sought against WMF to force it to remove content from
the french wikipedia, that the plaintiffs deemed defamatory and
infringing on their privacy. The plaintiffs also sought 63,000 Euros in
damages, and requested from the WMF to provide contact information of
the anonymous editor responsible for the edit.

The court stated that the Foundation is a hosting provider in the sense
of article 6 of the LCEN (“Loi pour la confiance dans l’?conomie
num?rique”) and as such has no obligation to keep watch on the content
that it hosts and can not be held accountable for the content added by
contributors to the encyclopedia.

The same law states that hosting providers must remove illegal content
when notified it exists. In this case, the dispute centred largely
around when the Foundation was notified. The plaintiffs believed they
had notified the Foundation via e-mail, although the Foundation has no
record of the e-mails having been received. The court did not consider
e-mails sufficient notification.

Also, the court stated that when a hosting provider is notified about
libelous content, it only has to remove content that is obviously libelous.

In this case, the lawsuit was filed before the Foundation was officially
alerted. As soon as the Foundation received official notification, it
immediately removed the content in question.

The court also stated that once the Foundation was notified of the
problem, it acted swiftly and removed the content. As a result, WMF won
the lawsuit and will not have to pay for any damages. The request to
provide the contact information of the editor responsible for the edit
was also dismissed.


Autor: Klaus Graf

Historiker und Archivar, Blogger

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