Copyright policy issues

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Workspace: Public policy

This is an internal working space for Wikimedia-DC members developing and understanding and possible recommendations about copyright policy.

Washington DC government copyrights

  • We can follow this up with DC government officials. Peter has a likely contact.

California public domain

  • In June 2016 we sent a letter to the California State Senate Committee on the Judiciary opposing a bill which would allow state government works to be removed from the public domain.

Mass digitization issue with comments by WMF, Oct 2015

Orphan works

  • Orphan works are those for which a copyright may apply but no copyright holder can be located, usually because the copyright holder cannot be identified, so no copyright holder can be effectively asked for permission, and the opportunity to use the work is lost without anyone actually having turned it down.
  • The public policy committee formulated the chapter's stand on orphan works for Wikimedia DC's participation in the U.S. Copyright Office's workshop on copyrights for orphan works on March 10-11, 2014
From the Copyright Office description of the workshop agenda:
The Copyright Office is reviewing the problem of orphan works under U.S. copyright law in continuation of its previous work on the subject and to advise Congress on possible next steps for the United States. The Office has long shared the concern with many in the copyright community that the uncertainty surrounding the ownership status of orphan works does not serve the objectives of the copyright system. For good faith users, orphan works are a frustration, a liability risk, and a major cause of gridlock in the digital marketplace. . . . [A] number of foreign governments have recently adopted or proposed solutions.
We finished our written comments which constitute our committee's first publication, in March 2014. The resulting doc is listed on meta with other advocacy statements by chapters.

Other topics


  • In 2011, SOPA and PIPA were bills motivated partly by the TV, film, and TV industries to incorporate copyright protection into the infrastructure of the Internet. The Wikimedia Foundation and many allied groups stood against bills proposed in the U.S. Congress that would impose burdens on wiki sites (among others) if users created certain copyright-related content there. This chapter stood with the movement on this, supporting WMF's blackout of the Wikipedias. This was framed as advocating for Internet freedom. Here was Wiki DC's statement on SOPA and PIPA. Amazingly the effort was beaten back -- our side won.