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Submissions/The Bad Assumptions of the Copyright Discussion

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission
The Bad Assumptions of the Copyright Discussion
Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)
Author of the submission
James Alexander
E-mail address
Jalexander / Jamesofur
Country of origin
United States
Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)
Wikimedia Foundation
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Copyright law and its side effects have been a point of interest for the Wikimedia community since its inception. The very idea that all of our data should be completely free or that a place like Wikimedia Commons should exist is in many ways revolutionary. Increasingly this has become a world wide public discussion that came to a head with the SOPA and PIPA protests (especially because of the WM projects that took part). Sadly, while many smart, large and powerful organizations took 'opposite' sides in those debates they were not far from each other in actual reality. Even the opponents of SOPA/PIPPA admitted to agreeing with the core argument that the supporters had: that copyright infringement was costing the companies involved an enormous amount of money, and that it was in turn badly injuring the local and global economy.

These beliefs are based on core assumptions that, when evaluated do not make logical or economic sense, and the continuation of the bad beliefs (and the recognition of them by supporters) not only doesn't help the debate but in fact severely harms an already-fragile world economy. In this discussion I hope to present a brief overview of the arguments being made and why the direction that many opponents are taking is going hurt more then it helps. I hope to spark conversation, debate and activism among the attendees and their circles.

Track (Wikis and the Public Sector; GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums); WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education; Technology and Infrastructure)
Wikis and the Public Sector
Length of presentation/talk (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
25 Minutes ish could expand if needed to fit room
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Special request as to time of presentations (for example - can not present on Saturday)

Interested attendees

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  1. Looks interesting. Kaldari (talk) 23:16, 1 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. WereSpielChequers (talk) 15:13, 2 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. CT Cooper · talk 21:15, 2 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  4. CutOffTies (talk) 16:02, 12 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  5. the wub "?!"
  6. Léna (talk) 00:19, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Mindspillage (talk) 04:36, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Mike Linksvayer (talk) 17:39, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  9. SarahStierch (talk) 00:50, 22 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  10. NaBUru38 (talk) 18:03, 7 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Shujenchang (talk) 06:43, 11 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  12. Your name here!