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Be careful. This is a matter from 2013 and a decision by an Italian court. Every country in Europe have a different legal system, every case is different, so it is absolute no European jurisprudence! A Dutch, German or French judge can take in the Code Napoleon system a complete different decision. It is local judge and a case and five years old. This case doesn't give WMF any safety outside Italy!

Every law case is unique, and a judge will always look at the arguments and the local regulation, and not what his college did for instance in Romania! Or only limited. But he is free to take a complete different decision!

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Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:10 pm
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What I think will happen is that instead of suing the WMF, some rich individual or company will sue the editors they feel violated their rights, copyright, or committed some libelous statement against them. It won't matter if the individual has money, it won't matter if they win or even if the WMF helps defend the editor (which I doubt they will), it will show the world that being a volunteer editor for the WMF is a risky endeavor and will cause even more editors to leave.

It hasn't really happened yet, but I think it will at some point and that will be it for Wikipedia.

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Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:09 pm
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It's a huge mistake to think you have to be rich in Europe to start a law case. You have to be clever! You must do 99% of the work yourself, because it's very, very important to bring a case clear to a court. A European court expect that from you, it's a complete different law system, based on civilians. The role of a lawyer is very, very limited, many times you don't even need a lawyer. Where it is all about in a European law case is that you have to convince the judge. Like you have to convince a teacher you are right. Not with empty words, no, with logical arguments.

I have done several law cases in my life and always won them. Yes, together with top lawyer Ausma when he was a young, unknown starting lawyer against a huge governmental organisation. I know exacte how to win a law cause, you have to understand the way of thinking of a Dutch judge very, very well. The base is reasonable and fair. That was the reason the lawyer of wikimedia-nl was out after one letter from my site, because I know the game. And yes, Wikimedia-NL, I have discussed the whole matter with mr. Ausma, and my brother was for years a senior employee of a international law firm, it is no bluf like Edo seems to think. Arguments and evidences, that's where it's all about. The lawyers of WMF can't help anyone, they are American lawyers, they don't know there way, and how to play the came in Holland. If you can talk about a game of course. Europe is a other world, continent, with a complete different legal system. What you have to know perfect to find you way in it, you can't win with lies, money and tricks.

Because in our legal system is the civilian protected, not a organisation. He or she is the vulnerable. A organisation, also a volunteer organisation, is supposed to be professional. A civilian can effort himself to make mistakes, but a organisation not! So it's very easy to win as a civilian if you know how. And a lawyer can never safe you if he doesn't have the right arguments to convince a judge. You have to give the arguments, and a lawyer tries to convince the judge. Or you can do it yourself. And that are the rules of the "game" in Holland.

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Last edited by Graaf Statler on Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:41 am
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Kumi, There's been plenty of cases, both of people going after the WMF and editors.

There's no need for an actual legal action for the fear factor to be effective. Why do you think the Wikipediots freak out whenever anything even close to a legal threat is made on their servers? Because they know fine well the powerful effect of fear, and the critical threat it poses to their ability to retain editors.

The name of the game for critics is to educate editors that they are indeed solely legally liable for their edits, be they illegal or entirely legal (in the US), and indeed whether they comply with the ToU or local policy. And that the WMF is unlikely to provide them with much, if any, assistance, unless they can see a favourable outcome insofar as bolstering case law around Section 230.

When editors realise the subjective nature of US laws in areas like defamation, harassment and copyright, and when they realise the main operating model of the US legal system is not about who is right, but who has more money, that's when the fear factor really comes into play. Would anyone in their right mind make an edit if they weren't 99% sure it wouldn't attract the attention of a lawyer, vexatious or otherwise?

In that environment, the only people who throw caution to the wind are idiots, and you can't build an internet encyclopedia of any standard with just idiots. The current state of Wikipedia proves that.

On the flip side, potential litigants need to be educated as to the reality on the ground. As this Italian case showed, you get little sympathy if you don't at least try to engage with Wikipedia on their terms. But be smart, do only what is reasonable and necessary, do not get sucked into the bizarro world of what they perceive as right and moral or procedurally necessary. As such......

1. Make precisely one attempt to highlight the offending content, by posting a note in the talk page.

2. When 1. fails, typically because they don't even see it or just ignore it, then make precisely one attempt to fix the issue yourself by directly editing, making it clear who you are and what you are trying to do.

3. When 2. fails, most likely because some Wikiprat screams vandalism or COI, make precisely one effort to get the WMF to fix the issue, by sending a single email to Legal, which explains in simple terms what the issue is and your two failed attempts to fix it.

4. When 3. fails, that is when you start legal proceedings. At no point in steps 1. to 3. should you be anything but unfailingly polite and reasonable, and at no time make any mention of the law or pending legal action.

As Graf is showing, there's more chance of success in European courts if it actually comes down to legal judgements, but the WMF has of course always then simply hidden behind their tired old excuse that they only care about US law. So it should be emphasised to European based editors that they are unlikely to ever been seen as worth defending by the WMF.

Essentially, a Wikipedia editor is only ever truly on safe legal ground if they are doing something they are sure is totally legal under US law, and they themselves reside in the US. Even then, it might take a lot of money to defend oneself. And the WMF isn't half as protective of editors privacy as most assume, and the threat of the being dragged into a legal action is one of few reasons they will give you up.


Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:26 am
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CrowsNest wrote:
1. Make precisely one attempt to highlight the offending content, by posting a note in the talk page.

2. When 1. fails, typically because they don't even see it or just ignore it, then make precisely one attempt to fix the issue yourself by directly editing, making it clear who you are and what you are trying to do.

3. When 2. fails, most likely because some Wikiprat screams vandalism or COI, make precisely one effort to get the WMF to fix the issue, by sending a single email to Legal, which explains in simple terms what the issue is and your two failed attempts to fix it.

4. When 3. fails, that is when you start legal proceedings. At no point in steps 1. to 3. should you be anything but unfailingly polite and reasonable, and at no time make any mention of the law or pending legal action.


Crownest, you are someone who knows how to play the "game". Because, why did that Italian lawyer didn't win. Because you must alway, always, try yourself to solve the probelm first! That is what a European judge you expect of you. It's civilian law. Civilians are supposted first to try to solve there own problems. And if you didn't do that, you lose a case almost automatically. The law cause is not so important, what is important to avoid a law case and the way to it. And if you did everything to do that you win! Money is unimportant.

Lishen I have worked more than five years close together with a top lawyer (not professional, as a client.), so I know where I am talking about. Be as rude as you want, insult whoever you want within the limitations of the law, doesn't matter, but play the "game" right! And than you win.
And yes, outside America you don't have any protection of the Foundation. If they are kind they pay the bill of your lawyer, but I don't think so if you have broken there Terms of Use. Why should they?

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Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:44 am
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And what is very important to mention, a European law cause is most times administrative, so it means there are first many rounds of hear and be heard by letters, nowaday by emails. You have plenty of time to argue, to correct things. The whole real law cause is mabey in five, ten minutes finished, most times and you and your lawyer are in and are out. The judge only ask you a few things what is not clear to him.

It is absolute no a spectacular LA Law case. It's boring, slow, but very precise. Most of a law cause is not done by a judge or lawyers, it's done by clerks. The judge only takes the decision at the end.

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Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:06 am
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Poetlister wrote:
Obviously, the protection that US law gives to the WMF doesn't apply outside the USA. However, enforcing a foreign judgment against the WMF would be very tricky. The importance of this judgment is thus more symbolic than practical. (Source)

Correct Poetlister. It's more likely WMF is hit by the EU for for instance breaking the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or some other European regulation. Because for that they are not protected by the American law, ask Google.

(I can't say you make a discussion very easy, mister Jake and Zoloft with you new pro wikipedia approach.)

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Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:22 am
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