The Wikimedia Foundation is excited to introduce the new Wikimedia Public Policy site. Public policy is vital for a world where everyone can freely access, share, create, and remix knowledge. The new site presents five policy areas that are most important for our mission and projects: access, censorship, copyright, intermediary protection, and privacy. Wikimedians can take action to support public policies to expand free knowledge. With the right laws, policies, and principles, free knowledge will be easier to collaboratively create, share, and remix.
This site is another important step toward protecting Wikimedians from censorship or reprisal due to sharing free knowledge, problems we have faced before. In 2011, the Italian parliament considered a law limiting free speech. The Wikipedia community took action to oppose it. For three days, Italian Wikipedia showed a message explaining how this proposal could endanger free knowledge. In 2012, the Wikipedia community came together to blackout the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours in opposition to SOPA. That same year, the Russian Duma passed legislation that promoted censorship of sites the government found inappropriate, so the Russian Wikipedia went black to bring attention to free speech concerns. More recently, the Russian Wikipedia responded to threats of censorship with a steadfast commitment to delivering neutral, reliable information. The public policy site is a place to coordinate new types of policy actions to support our mission without interfering with sharing of knowledge on Wikipedia.
This year, Wikimedians advocated together to preserve the freedom of panorama so Wikimedians can upload outdoor images without fearing unfair legal suits. And on Meta-Wiki, the community has worked hard to build a consensus on how governments’ actions affect our values. Furthering these same goals, the new site gives the Wikimedia community a greater voice in public policy.
We invite you to learn about Wikimedia’s public policy positions at this site and join the policy discussion list. The material on the site will be maintained as a living document, and edits are welcome on this wiki version.
Yana Welinder, Legal Director
Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel