Minutes of the third annual Brussels Meeting of the EU Policy Advocacy Group

from: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/Big_Fat_Brussels_Meeting_-_Episode_3/minutes

Minutes of the third annual Brussels Meeting of the EU Policy Advocacy Group

User:Nicole Ebber (WMDE), User:Laurentius, User:Effeietsanders, User:Theredmonkey User:Dimi_z, User:Romaine,User:SPQRobin, User:Aktron, User:Michael Jahn WMDE, User:Pseudacorus, User:Myriam WMFr, User:Wendy the Weasel,User:Oop, User:Mtmlan84, User: Simon Hampton, User: Stuart Prior (WMUK), User:John Andersson (WMSE)

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20 November – Friday

Somewhat embarrassing. We believe everyone that they are who they say they are.


  • First meeting on EU Policy way back in 2009 -> no concrete outcomes
  • First Big Fat Brussels Meeting in 2013 -> three concrete goals and designated „contact person“
  • We gradually increased out intentions on what we can and can’t do.
    • First a discussion if we should do anything at all
    • Then which issues everybody in Wikimedia could agree on
    • then we worked on a number of larger issues that are relevant, and could be localised from country to country.
  • Dimi is working on it now full time, and storms Brussels on a daily basis.
  • Today: What are the topics that we want to focus on in European policy arena for the next few years?

General Discussion

  • We should somehow select from the relevant topics which we would like to focus on and can be successful with
  • It has to be on the list for the European Commission, but also needs sufficient support of people in the Member States, so that they can work together with Dimi on it!


Access to knowledge

  • Technological (internet, library, material, books), Financial (afford), Legal (copyright, open

access, free licenses)

  • In several countries and in Wikisource people are working on ‚open access‘.
  • Very broad topic, what should we include here? OER? Free software?

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What is going on in EU right now:

  • In EU, Horizon2020 (research funds) now requires that funded works are in open access. However, there are still a few issues:
    • the Commission has not defined what „open access“ is
    • a 12-month embargo is allowed;
    • unfortunately, journals with hight impact factor are often not open access
  • Public Sector Information Directive:
  • Telecoms Package: finalized.
    • It might end roaming Europe in a few years
    • Zero-rating will be permitted (hence, no full net neutrality and WP:0 allowed)

Brainstorming: what matters for us?

  • internet access (in refugee camps) – risky topic, given net neutrality discussions. Maybe not the best topic to work on

inside Europe.

  • open educational resources (see below)
  • free/libre open source software (FLOSS) – lobby issues could include the use of software by government, or the file

formats. Governments buy applications, not libraries. Maybe we could do something on interoperability?

  • open access and its definition; scientific knowledge/research publications
    • pro: Wikipedia is a user case for open access (both editors and readers. Citations are useless if behind a paywall).
    • We are a credible player on this. National & international discussions could strengthen each other. it is ON the agenda!
    • cons: already many players on this; not really related to us.
  • digitization – not so much an access problem for Europe (see copyright).
  • government data (see below). Similar to open access.
  • internet/computer literacy – important, but maybe not the first thing on the agenda in Europe
  • accessibility (e.g., for blind, low-sighted, people with disabilities)
    • the Marrakesh treaty is introducing a new copyright exception for some parts of this.
    • possible to use our name to highlight the importance of technical accessibility to information (especially from

authorities, but also from companies and other organizations etc.)

    • associations of blind people are in a better position to work on this

So the most important topics are:

  • open access
  • interoperability (file formats, software, operating systems, online ecosystems etc.)

General point:
What is being produced / paid for by the government, should be accessible by the general public. This goes for access to government information, this goes for data, for educational resources. Freely accessible is the very minimum, free licenses are the next step. (government including all institutions paid for by public money). The question is on which issues we take the first stance.


We agree that copyright is the most important issue to take up now.
We are trying a new way of brainstorming/mapping our ideas. Everyone writes one issue on one post-it and then we map it according to how much we agree on it and its political feasibility.

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Brainstorming & consensus/feasibility mapping

  • Freedom of Panorama (FoP)
    • Yes, we agree & relatively easy achievable.
  • Orphan works
    • If you don’t know copyright holder, it is unclear what to do. How can we use them?
    • A directive on this is just being implemented right now.
    • We could gather data however in the next data.
    • Absolutely important, but for the longer term.
  • Copyright terms
    • Seems important, but faaaaaar away, and very very hard.
  • Geoblocking and territoriality of copyright
    • Now a focus on harmonisation rather than geoblocking.
    • Most seem to agree that we should have a level of harmonisation, although the level is up for debate
    • Risk of running into unfavourable harmonisation
  • Open government works/Government-produced content
    • Agreement in room, seems semi-easily achievable, but requires serious effort.
  • E-lending
    • May help for better access to sources.
    • Agree: not really, achievable: middle.
  • Collection societies‘ monopoly
    • Complicated topic
    • Most relevant to us are contracts that exclude the option to freely license works as a composer etc.
    • However, on EU level, a new directive was recently passed, we were too late for that.
    • Maybe something on national side.
    • Agree: no strong consensus that we should do this right now.
    • Achievable: very hard.
  • No new copyright for digitalisations
    • We agree it is an important issue
    • We’re a credible stakeholder.
    • There’s a helpful report from EP, but it needs a push from us to keep going.
    • Agreement: yes, achievable: yes!
  • Attribution
    • Public awareness campaign?
    • May help to be ‚friends‘ with architect groups, by giving attribution.
    • May be strategic thing.
    • Seems there is no consensus on what to do here.
    • May be achievable, depending on what exactly we want to accomplish.
    • Attribution of FoP? – controversial. Further discussion at strategy planning for FoP
  • Scope of copyright
    • Threshold, how much creativity is needed for protection?
    • Agree: Yes on digitisation, but unclear what we want exactly and how to go about it
  • Text and data mining (TDM)
    • Important but disagreement about priority status for Wikimedia. More discussion, incl. technical, needed.
  • Fundamental copyright reform
    • Copyright sucks. But no agreement among Wikimedia on what exactly copyright should look like.

Issue Map
Most consensual & currently feasible issues:

  • No new copyright on digitisation
  • FoP
  • Government works
  • Harmonisation/territoriality
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Liability: defending the status quo
On this, we’re „conservatives“.

  • Part of the political deal of copyright reform is also an enforcement reform(E-Commerce & IPRED directives)
    • Risk for Wikimedia: If the law did not provide „liability breaks“, we would not be carry the risk of accepting and hosting so many contributions from users.
  • Consultation on online platforms:
    • What is an online platform? Definition.
    • Push to put liability with platforms
    • We want same or similar exemption internet service providers have
    • If Notice&Action Procedures, „counter notices“ a must
  • Dimi estimates he will spend 50% of his time on this
  • Liability often goes along with censorship, maybe should be combined?


On the agenda because of the recent attacks, after every attack people put up proposals to diminish privacy people have online. Will there be knee-jerk reactions?


  • If you know that someone has the records of what books you lented at a library, you will change your behaviour on

what you are going to read. Hinders your intellectual freedom.

  • Movement: We should be able to read without governments knowing what.
  • Measures should be proportional:
    • users should be informed (transparency)
    • no backdoors (hardware/software).
  • Safe harbour agreement has just been killed by the European Court of Justice.
  • Passenger Names Records Directive (PNR).
  • WMF suing the NSA.

A few questions

  • Can we join the WMF in their NSA initiative and sue someone in Europe (GCHQ)?
    • „PR stunt.“ (Can it really be tool to change situation?)
    • Awareness for the topics.
    • Chances of success?
    • This fight will be won or lost in the USA, not here.
  • What are the consequences of what happened in Paris?
    • No issues about terrorism for Wikimedia so far, but it’s a matter of time.
  • Tool: Collect data on self-policing policy on wiki-projects.
  • Privacy of European citizens is not as pressing as situation in e.g. Iran.
    • Export controls for surveillance technology?
  • Possible: Campaign around „Privacy is essential for intellectual freedom“.
    • Concentrate on people using Wikipedia who can browse pages without people looking over their shoulder.
    • Can we improve on privacy? User-profiles, IPs?
  • On a policy level, privacy is more an awareness issue for us in Europe.
    • We need to be ready for positioning/reacting, but won’t be pro-active here.

21 November – Saturday

Walk-in, coffee
Brussels lockdown starting. No metro. In the building no heating. Cold.

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Last 12 Months

  • Dimi gives an update on what happened in the past 12 months.
    • Commission will only look into cross-border issues that are ‚real‘.
      • There’s a four page letter to the commission with four case studies and why there are cross border issues.
  • Some exceptions may be interesting that are still mentioned by the Commission in the context of copyright reform:
    • out of commerce exception
    • remote consultation of works (formerly known as e-lending)
    • teaching illustration exception
    • text and data mining (risk: only for non-commercial use by public interest institutions)
    • freedom of panorama (still to be looked into, without specifying) (rightsholders want it to be called „the right to panorama“)

What has been done on chapter level

Czech Republic

  • FoP campaign
    • Collaboration between parties got media attention, but their strategy was ad-hominem
    • WMCZ positioned itself as the reasonable voice.
  • Plans are to set working group
    • Contact like-minded partners
    • Establish working relations with politicians
    • Main focus is promoting free licences
      • Formal aspect will be signing the Free Knowledge Alliance charter
        • Using „Open universe“ as an umbrella term


  • FoP campaign
    • articles (one in major newspaper) to explain FoP
    • talking to art students, architects, photographers etc.
  • Plans:
    • Letter to minister of justice to propose FoP in Estonia
    • Brochure on FoP
    • Artists & architects & grafitti artists mostly want attribution


  • Last month public consultation on the bill Wikimedia created an amendment for FoP and generated support for the public for it.
  • We were voted 8th! And yet the government ignored FoP
  • In order to get more weight on the debate, our board is rethinking our issues for lobbying, beyond the simple freedom of panorama.
  • We have joined several French „free culture“ associations to organize a working group, beyond FoP, because the Digital Bill planned an article on a positive definition of the commons.
  • We met people in the department of culture, economy and in the government to raise awareness of commons, collaborative economy and (when we were listened) freedom of panorama.
  • The commons definition has been removed of the Bill because of the strong French cultural lobby.
  • The bill will arrive to parliament in January, we’re meeting deputies and Senators to try to add amendments on commons and finally also talk about freedom of panorama
  • Lobbying mailing list is still not very active


  • Karl (former MP) provided the overview of what was happening in Brussels, but he will stop this January
  • Ongoing things:
    • Swedish chapter is being sued by collective societies for online FoP and is now in the high court
      • So far positive reactions from the media, in Sweden tradition FoP is a non issue.
        • Media articles and contacting MEPs in Brussels to clarify our case
          • During the campaign all images on Swedish Wikipedia were blacked out for two days
  • national school system will implement Wikipedia as a learning tool
  • open education and research campaign has been set up, will start contacting more MPs
  • Working with OKFN-SE
  • Plans:
    • Municipalities have troubles with PSI Directive – want to contact them
  • take part in major political gathering in Sweden (Almedalen)
  • Wikimedia Sweden has been consulted on several legislative proposals. One of only a few organisations that are asked about the issues.


  • Joined campain for FoP
    • DE Community created open letter with several thousand signatures
    • Mailing with two different postcards to MEP’s (one with FoP, one without FoP), Dimi distributed them in the post boxes of the MEP’s.
    • 5 or 10 MEP’s replied and assured Wikimedia that FoP had their vote.
    • The feeling is that some voting behaviour was changed, but no citation can be given.
  • Open Educational Resources
    • mapping OER scene in Germany and indentifying next steps, forming coalition with other organisation that are advocating for OER.
  • Guideline on free licenses and open content that has been translated into german, to make institutions aware of what open licenses can bring them and advocated against non-commercial licenses.
  • legal issue with a museum, suit regarding 2D reproduction of works in the public domain
  • Tip: WMF can provide top notch legal support.


  • Main issue is related to cultural heritage law (forbidden to share images of cultural heritage without permission).
  • workshop about pictures in parliament, some people are open to talk about problem
  • talking to government
  • There is no FoP in Italy. (Period.)


  • working group set up (1 board member, 1 former board member (supervisory role), 3 community members
    • exploration of the lobbying field (liberal parties, digital rights organisation)
  • FoP campain: banner, article written by project leader office that was taken on by Kennisland and published on the blog
  • Still looking how to continue the work group, maybe ask support from the office to provide continuity.
  • work on public information directive that has been implemented in June (support government institutions in helping

work with opening up their information)


  • Also setting up working group now. Two things on the national level happening, some parties are suggesting FoP fixes
  • BE government is doing a consultation on open data, will meet with OKFn-be.

Also happening

  • Territoriality is an issue -> Commission might try to link it to the Cable and Satellite Directive, which allows cross-border boradcasting
  • TTIP: no dedicated IP chapter. We do not need to have a position on this, but we should keep an eye on it.

Talk with WMF legal

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  • Nicole: What is thy role?
    • Jan: so far, the people in WMF who have engaged in public policy have been Yana and Stephen, now I’ve been here to work on this. Academic background, worked with Communia. Want to be in touch on a regular basis.
  • How do you see your work with the community?
    • WMF’s core is working with the community! I enjoy working with people. And I drink beer, too!
  • What is going to happen to the „Big Five“? How can they evolve?
    • They are not set in stone. They allow us to speak in the same tone, and to focus both internal and external discussion. They will evolve (but not right now), but I’m not sure how they can evolve; but they evolve with new regulatory issues coming up.
  • Is there a lot of feedback from the international movement (apart from EU)?
    • Just learnt that Canadian tax law doesn’t allow Wikimedia Canada to get involved in political lobbying.
    • There is interest in a few non-EU European countries (Ukraine, Armenia, Albania, Russia), and also South America. South Africa is working on freedom of panorama.
      • We should be careful not to be too US or EU centric.

How to set up a national campaign

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What is the right approach?

Identifying first steps to start

  • write it down on paper wiki
  • research Wikimedia positions
  • do research on the topic you want to lobby about (to know what your talking about)
  • get in touch with Wikimedia
  • identify stakeholders in the movement
  • inform the other stakeholders in the movement.
  • get a few people together that can consistently work on that
  • power mapping: who do you really need to address (do you need to talk to persons, organisations)
  • define a (SMART) goal for your campaign (and define why you are doing it)
  • have a/understand the timeline
  • think of and devide specific tasks
  • have a wikipedia article on the subject (if notable)
  • check for alignment with movement policies
  • define whether plan is realistic
  • see if there is consensus within the movement

Order of steps 1. write it down on paper wiki (including why and the goal) 2. do research on the topic you want to lobby about (to know what your talking about) 3. research Wikimedia positions 4. gather a team 5. identify central persons in the movement and get in contact with them 6. The SMART goals (other can help them with that) 7. check community consensus on the issue 8. Power mapping (will help to redifine the SMART goals later on)

Discussion about checking the consensus within the community

  • How can you check it?
  • And do you have the time to check online with the community?
    • Ask the board
    • Ask on Village Pump
    • Ask on email list(s)
      • RFC
      • Workshops
        • New ideas:
        • advisory(?) group
        • survey among users/community

Case Study: Latvia

  • Latvia wants to change their non-commercial FoP legislation into full FoP
    • They have a proposal, they know the flaws in the legislation
    • They want 10.000 signatures (they have 2000) to enter it in Parliament and wonder how to do that.
    • They do not have media experts.
      • Idea: Pitch FoP case with Latvian newspapers -> but FoP restriction only for commercial use
  • Actual goal is a change in legislation, not 10.000 signatures
    • Better to prepare a roadmap for copyright reform in Latvia
    • Simple idea: Latvian architecture can’t be promoted online because of lack of FoP -> contact tourism board
  • How to reach people that are like-minded? Via media or directly decision-makers.
  • Advise:
  1. Go another way about it: drop the current campaign silently 10,000 signatures are just a in-between step, after this the hard work start
  2. Do not be alone with this (association of architects, the Riga Tourist Development Bureau, stakeholder management)
  3. Win the architects over to your side, if the association don’t agree you can start singling out architects Selling it as a very consensual thing. It is important regardless or not if you continue with the campaign.
  4. Start talking with the MPs
  5. Use simple language for your external communication and a simple story, e.g. around architecture

Open questions

  • Raul: might it be useful to start mapping the legal situation on FoP in different European countries?
    • Knowing the playing field is a different thing than mapping the entire legal situation in all the countries.
    • Suggestion: talk to university ask a research group to take it on, could be funded, maybe start with Ivir in Amsterdam.

Meeting Inputs/Outputs/Next steps

What was new for this meeting?

  • Big 5
  • FoP Campaign and concrete EU Copyright reform
  • More chapters are beginning to engage in systematic policy work

What are the outputs?

  • Access: In the EU we want to focus on OA and interoperability, which are new explicit priorities.
  • Copyright: „No new copyright on digitisation“ is a new copyright priority.

What are the next steps?

  • We need to invest more effort into understanding and debating the importance of censorship and privacy for Wikimedia in Europe.
    • Prepare a reader for each of these topics and schedule a call in 2016.
  • Step-by-step guides for public policy engagement
    • Karl and Dimi prepare a draft on Meta and will share it with the group.

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