IRC office hours/Office hours 2011-12-01/Refactored

geoffreybrigham: First, I wanted to thank everyone for coming. We set out on top a little summary of our 2011-2012 intiatives.
Ottava: Legal based initiatives or just Foundation stuff?
geoffreybrigham: So we of course but our strategy together with WMF goals in mind. But the summary is for legal. Obviously happy to answer any questions
Philippe: Geoff, how about telling us a little about your background?
kim_bruning: I'm reading the strategy document as linked
kim_bruning: After Philippe, I'd love to hear if it would be possible to publish court documents and briefs etc on a separate site.
geoffreybrigham: So I've practiced law for about 26 years. about 10 years internationally while living abroad.
kim_bruning: (Sort of in the style of say groklaw)
geoffreybrigham: Last ten years ... international cyber-law
kim_bruning: (Where did geoffreybrigham live before sf?)
Seth_Finkelstein: Philippe - that was sort of my first question too, but differently phrased, "Why in the world did you want WMF job? Little money, lots of aggravation, etc."
Ottava: Have you worked for a charity organization before? Have you worked on policy/lobbying parts? Have you worked on copyright matters int he international cyber-law, etc?
geoffreybrigham: Lived in Paris and Switzerland. Lived in Washington and Miami.
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, ooh fun, french legal system too
Theo10011: and Geoff is quite Fluent in french I believe.
Moonriddengirl: Kim, I'm not sure I understand your question: "After Philippe, I'd love to hear if it would be possible to publish court documents and briefs etc on a separate site." Would you mind explaining?
geoffreybrigham: Bien sure je parle francais.  ;-
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, I was wondering if we could go groklaw style
geoffreybrigham: So worked as deputy general counsel at ebay. had about 80 lawyers report to me in us and internationally. lots of work on ip, copyright, etc.
Ottava: geoffreybrigham - in the past, the Office and the legal advisor took a passive approach to copyright - only when complaints about copyright infringment were actually filed did they intervene. Will you continue that or will you set forth some more proactive kinds of standards and actions?
geoffreybrigham: new to charity work, so that is where I'm boning up. used to lobby in washington hi ottava ... good question.
Seth_Finkelstein: Seriously, why ebay -> WMF? It seems like quite a change (salary, staffing, focus)
Theo10011: Geoff, did anything interest you in Wikimedia or Wikipedia?
geoffreybrigham: to be honest I'm fortunate to have a community like you all. because of you ... and your sophisticated understanding of copyright ...
Moonriddengirl: kim_bruning, do you mean you'd like us to start a new wiki hosting court documents, like a specialized wikisource? or that you'd like WMF to post these documents where it's involved?
geoffreybrigham: I don't need to deal with lots as proactively as other lawyers for other websites.
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, post documents where it's involved as much as possible, and have volunteers do some of the paralegal stuff. Like Groklaw.
geoffreybrigham: so we usually wait for DMCA notices before we take down copyright violations. This is to ensure that we have full information before making a decision
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, in fact, I wonder what pamela jones is up to these days
Moonriddengirl: Oh, kim_bruning, I think I follow you; you're wondering about letting the community assist in drafting these documents?
Ottava: Earlier this year, I posed a question to you - obviously copyrighted images of a video game device was uploaded to Commons. It was claimed that, though the image was not truly simple that a handful of individuals claimed it was "simple" and used a court case merely about letters and a blue background to justify that the image was not truly copyrighted. This is a situation that cannot
Ottava: be handled by consensus among not lawyers. Is there any way we can get some better advice from up top on how to interpret the rulings so that we do not put the Wiki in jeopardy?
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, letting the community assist in doing research needed for these documents
Philippe: So Seth asked why WMF...? Geoff was it just the chance to work with the community, or was it anything in particular?
• kim_bruning waves to mindspillage ... do you know groklaw? (famous for SCO vs IBM&Linux ?)
Philippe: Ottava, are you talking the signing keys?
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, Getting the facts in any situation can take a lot of hard work.
mindspillage: kim_bruning: of course...
Moonriddengirl: Agreed, kim_bruning.
Ottava: Signing keys?
Philippe: Nevermind, Ottava, mpaulson tells me that you're not.
geoffreybrigham: So to be honest after a number years of practicing law, I wanted something inspiring.
Seth_Finkelstein: Philippe, why go from big bucks/big staff/big business, to peanut pay/few staff/nonprofit
geoffreybrigham: WMF represents that. The community element is exciting. For example we are discussing the Terms of Use as a community. For me that is exciting. When I was at ebay, usually decisions were just made.
kim_bruning: you know, for the first time in history, folks at the wmf offices are more bright-eyed idealists than the wikimedians themselves
geoffreybrigham: Here we have the advantage of the community...I find that interesting and novel. also our mission is pretty incredible.
• mindspillage was one of the people who interviewed Geoff, and was initially wondering the same thing: why go from ebay to us? I was suitably impressed. Still am.
geoffreybrigham: you guys really have made something great for the future.
Risker: "you guys".....I have a feeling you should change that to "we", Geoff
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, are you familiar with Groklaw?
geoffreybrigham: online blog about legal issues, right? open source
kim_bruning: It's a fairly famous (blog)(!) involved in doing lots of background research in the IBM/SCO case on who owns Linux IP *nod* a lot of groklaw readers helped the paralegal running the blog to sift out truth from fiction in that case. Effectively having lots of SME's doing lots of legwork. I figure that we as wikimedia could probably do them one better
geoffreybrigham: I would love to discuss with you sometime kim.
Philippe: So, along those lines, Geoff, what do you see coming up thats particularly fun and exciting?
kim_bruning: Sounds like a plan. Or maybe poke mindspillage sometime if she's around?
geoffreybrigham: well ... lots of stuff.
kim_bruning: ChristineM, as is "interesting"
geoffreybrigham: So what I would like us to do is to participate more actively in legislative venues when appropriate.
kim_bruning: Like helping .eu chapters talk about copyright law?
Risker: Q: How close are we to having the Terms of Use approved and in place?
geoffreybrigham: and I want to make sure we are not US-focused on that stuff. So that is one thing I find exciting. So the Terms of Use discussion has been incredible valuable to me.
Philippe: It's fun to have a lawyer who actively worked outside the US… and we have a few of them.
geoffreybrigham: To be honest, I originally thought it would only take 30 days. Boy, was I wrong.
kim_bruning: I'd drop impersonation ... I'd be careful about mentioning child pornography
geoffreybrigham: I felt that the quality of the discussion required a longer comment period. I also wanted to have strong international participation.
tommorris: geoffreybrigham: are there any plans to use the Terms of Use if, purely theoretically, female editors came forward with allegations of off-site sexual harassment claims, say.
kim_bruning: Definitely need to permit the viruses and worms and etc... if we're going to discuss them
geoffreybrigham: So - with translations now in place - I expect us to wind up the discussion by the end of the year.
kim_bruning: what, I can't nmap without authorisation?
geoffreybrigham: So the TOS is against harassment.
kim_bruning: definitely needs work ^^;;;;
geoffreybrigham: it is a step to help us set expectations on how we use our sites.
kim_bruning: (sorry, I'm jusdt reading and making notes)
geoffreybrigham: Harassment is an issue for many people, female and male.
Philippe: kim, maybe you could do the notes in another space and we can take questions here?
geoffreybrigham: Frankly, it will depend on the facts of each case.
small2: will you be making use of "user:wmf legal"
geoffreybrigham: Another thing we are excited about is mobile.
kim_bruning: okay, one terms of use question for here: could we also have a brief version of the TOS, CC deed style?
geoffreybrigham: Legal spends lots of time negotiating low cost contracts to deliver Wikimedia sites worldwide.
Bence: Q: how secret are the trademark agreements that WMF signs; and how much money is in them? (it would be fun to know the list of upcoming movies with Wikipedia inside
geoffreybrigham: I think it is cool that we can deliver your content to the mother in India so she has the same free access to knowledge when looking up health information.
Moonriddengirl: Actually, we have it already, <kim>. It's on the top of the page.
geoffreybrigham: That is cool.
ajbp: kim - look at again
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, eh? With who are those contracts being negotiated. <looks somewhat puzzeled>
ajbp: there is already one up
geoffreybrigham: major telecommunications carriers throughout the world.
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, I'm slightly puzzeled... why do we need to sign any contracts with them at all?
geoffreybrigham: so actually we rarely seek royalties.
geoffreybrigham: with our trademark agreements.
kim_bruning: (could you explain to a mobile newb? What's the difference with normal internet?)
kim_bruning: Moonriddengirl, jolly good show.
geoffreybrigham: if there are payments, they are usually to cover costs.
Risker: kim, it's like having that "facebook" icon directly on your phone...except it's a Wikipedia icon that comes right to us
Moonriddengirl: Thanks, but all I did was make it slightly pretty. The legal team wrote it.
geoffreybrigham: trademark agreements are usually confidential because they relate to upcoming events, like new movies etc.
small2: will they be made public after a certain date?
geoffreybrigham: Often times we don't know if we might be included because they may cut us out of the movie takes ...
kim_bruning: Risker, Oh, that's nice enough. Now all we need is an edit button on every mobile
Philippe: kim_bruning: we're working toward that.
kim_bruning: Risker, I'm dissapointed that does not have edit
jorm: working on it.
StevenW: small2 I think Geoff can answer your account-related question...
kim_bruning: Philippe, very high priority, since people in the "Global south" generally are mobile, not fixed
Sir48: the encyclopedia that any mobile can edit
geoffreybrigham: WMF legal .... we actually have used it that much except for takedowns and explanation of takedowns. We don't intend to use it often unless I hear strongly differently from the community.
Philippe: (small2, geoff's answering your question)
Philippe: (and I think he meant "have NOT used it that much")
geoffreybrigham: small2 ... you are an official member of the legal team now.
SWATJester_: Oh good. I didn't actually have a question, I just wanted to congratulate Geoff on the growth of the team since his arrival, and from what I've been able to see he's been doing a great job.
Seth_Finkelstein: Philippe, I have questions i could ask, I just don't want to hog.
kim_bruning: Seth_Finkelstein, just start asking, we'll hash-sort the queue
geoffreybrigham: Thanks so much SWATjester ... to be honest, most of the thanks goes to the community.
geoffreybrigham: The thing that has amazed me about this job ...
kim_bruning: (non coders: no such thing as a hash sort, it means we randomize the queue :-p)
geoffreybrigham: is how sophisticated people are about legal issues.
geoffreybrigham: Interested in things that people feel we should be focusing on in Legal?
kim_bruning: Philippe, we need to make it easier for all sorts of newcomers to grok stuff in general. We don't have enough grok-documents
Seth_Finkelstein: Quick one - Did Gil Penchina (also of ebay) have anything to do with WMF finding you (or you finding WMF). Not that I consider it negative, the opposite in fact, just curious.
SWATJester_: Actually now that I think about it, I have a question. Where do things stand with the transition of the legal queues off OTRS and onto the staff? It seemed mostly complete, and I know Michelle was slamming through a huge backlog. Has that completed yet?
kim_bruning: Does the WMF have any position on the 2 anti-piracy bills currently in congress/senate?
tommorris: kim_bruning: I think the WMF made their position clear on that
mindspillage: kim_bruning: check the blog!
geoffreybrigham: I knew Gil when I was at ebay.
kim_bruning: mindspillage, the thing about blogs is that there are so many to choose from?
geoffreybrigham: But he did not help me find this job.
StevenW: relevant post on the bills kim mentioned:
geoffreybrigham: I applied for it when I saw the announcement. For me it was perfect timing ... it was one of those moments when I said: This job is for me.
geoffreybrigham: It was the best decision I made.
geoffreybrigham: Just so people know ... I know thousands of people at ebay.
Theo10011: I'm surprised ebay still has thousands of people.
kim_bruning: <- found it... phew
geoffreybrigham: Legal queues have been transitioned to legal.
kim_bruning: StevenW, oh, you beat me to it
geoffreybrigham: and we think we are up to date.
geoffreybrigham: some things are technically opened but taken care of.
SWATJester_: Geoff -- and tickets that are manually moved into the queue by other agents?
tommorris: geoffreybrigham: does the WMF have any legal staff that are qualified in the UK?
ajbp: Question: what is the your opinion of the current level of copyright infringement on our wikis? (if you have one) Do you agree with Moonriddengirl that we have a copyright crisis in terms of how much copyrighted material is currently on our wikis?
tommorris: or anyone they could, err, ask a favour of.
geoffreybrigham: We don't have UK legal staff.
geoffreybrigham: We do have a strong network of attorneys internationally.
Philippe: SWATJester_: I'm pretty sure that Michelle gets notification of all of those and deals with them.
ajbp: Tom - I have an English law degree, but I'm not a lawyer - if you have a question about UK copyright then I can probably help you though
geoffreybrigham: We do use Covington and Burling in the UK.
geoffreybrigham: a top law firm.
geoffreybrigham: they also advise us on European matters.
geoffreybrigham: In addition, we have a strong network of lawyers worldwide.
Narodnik: Question: what are the legal team's general thoughts about individual volunteers' legal liabilities, and that of functionaries such as ArbCom members specifically? is the WMF prepared to stand up for those doing difficult or contentious work for the movement?
tommorris: I only ask as we sometimes have some copyright-related questions from UK people in OTRS and it'd be nice to have someone check over a canned response
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, do you prefer common law, civil law, or do you like both?
geoffreybrigham: I understand the copyright bots are down and work is ongoing to get them back up ... which is good news.
• tommorris could probably get Ironholds to write such a canned response, as he has literally written the encyclopedia article on fair dealing in British law.
geoffreybrigham: again ... i'm so happy to have community which has an excellent expertise to take care of the majority of the copyright issues.
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, you know it's scary when coders can write BOTS to do it for you
geoffreybrigham: It may not be ideal that there is backlog but we are fortunate to have the people we have to work on the top priorities.
Ironholds: tommorris, I'd be totally happy to do so, should counsel inform me this is appropriate
PhancyPhysicist: tommorris: are you the gent that had the issue with the he banner?
Ottava: Writing an article on Wikipedia does not make one an expert, especially when Ironholds is not legally a lawyer
SWATJester_: Geoff: On your meta/strategy page, you mention that one priority is supporting the fundraising process. I'm glad to hear that -- could you comment on how involved (or if not, why not) the legal team is in the broader discussion of the financial/fundraising relationship between the chapters and the WMF itself?
geoffreybrigham: So I used to be the liaison officer for the Attorney General and the French Ministry of Justice in France .... I saw both civil and common law intersecting, clashing, etc.
tommorris: PhancyPhysicist: yes
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, ooooh, sounds like lawyerly fun
PhancyPhysicist: tommorris: cool. I see you are in the other channel. should i ping you there?
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, how's the relationship with your colleagues at CC and FSF?
geoffreybrigham: I came away from that experience with respect for both systems ... but in different ways.
tommorris: PhancyPhysicist: can do
geoffreybrigham: So as General Counsel I'm closely involved in WMF discussions.
tommorris: geoffreybrigham: what's the direction with CC 4.0?
geoffreybrigham: I just did a European tour with Sue to talk to chapters about the issue.
Theo10011: do you have any thoughts on it yet Geoff?
geoffreybrigham: As a legal team, we have reviewed international laws on compliance
geoffreybrigham: we work on fun these contracts with payment processors
geoffreybrigham: We work closely with Creative Commons.
geoffreybrigham: Indeed their General Counsel is coming next week from out of state to talk to us about a number of shared issues.
geoffreybrigham: We intend to ask about CC 4.0 and understanding that better
kim_bruning: who's the current CC general councel btw?
geoffreybrigham: Diane Peters
geoffreybrigham: that is what I like about this job ... lots of mutual support.
StevenW: As for closeness with FSF.... we have had Eben Moglen come speak to the whole staff and talk specifically with legal this year.
geoffreybrigham: From the community, from other General Counsels,
geoffreybrigham: like-minded organizations, like Mozilla
mindspillage: We have a good relationship with FSF also, though they have been focusing on other things--they have a new executive director this year.
kim_bruning: Diane Peters seems to be a pretty cool person. Worked at OSDL, Linux foundation, mozilla
Seth_Finkelstein: What's your "philosophy of lawyering"? That is, in the range of anything short of outright contempt of court, to scholarly argument, where do you place your way of operating?
SWATJester_: Geoff -- I don't mean transactionally, WRT the fundraiser, I mean in terms of the broader relationship with the chapters and the long term arrangements for fundraising.
StevenW: Narodnik: I think we can get to your question now.
kim_bruning: mindspillage, who's exec at FSF now?
kim_bruning: mindspillage, btw, how's comms between FSF and FSFE? They seem to be somewhat loose
geoffreybrigham: I tend to a practical lawyer.
geoffreybrigham: I look for solutions within our philosophical beliefs.
mindspillage: I met the CC legal team at their summit this year--they are interested in working with us and keeping us in the loop as the 4.0 process begins.
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, since our philosophical beliefs are "enablers" more than "strictures", that can be interesting
mindspillage: kim_bruning: John Sullivan--he's been working there for a billion years but in operations.
geoffreybrigham: I am also wearing a voodoo necklace ... I hope that doesn't bother anyone.
Philippe: As long as you don't have voodoo dolls of staff on your desk...
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, The devs are asking you to help wave dead chickens over the servers?
geoffreybrigham: On longer term relationships on fundraisers ...
Philippe: kim_bruning: you make that mistake one time....
mindspillage: kim_bruning: no idea on FSF/FSFE.
geoffreybrigham: I think that, once a chapter payment processes, the standard becomes extremely strict.
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, as long as you don't write voodoo code, we're fine with it.
geoffreybrigham: There are a number of compliance issues that must be addressed directly.
kim_bruning: actually, jokes aside, whence the voodoo necklace?
geoffreybrigham: it is extremely important that fundraising is done right to protect our brand.
• Risker waits patiently for the response to Narodnik's question
geoffreybrigham: @Narodnik.
geoffreybrigham: Obviously the work of the community, including functionaries, is invaluable ... and not always easy.
geoffreybrigham: But legally folks are responsible for their own actions.
geoffreybrigham: Historically, we have not had any legal problems.
geoffreybrigham: But, if we do, we will look at the particular circumstances.
geoffreybrigham: In the past, with editors, we have found counsel for them.
kim_bruning: (tpyos are less important on irc... no worries)
geoffreybrigham: so we will look at it on a case-by-case basis should the need ever arise.
Narodnik: pro bono counsel? WMF-funded? or editor funded?
kim_bruning: geoffreybrigham, will you be keeping a blog with what you're up to?
geoffreybrigham: Will depend. we need to see. probably not ... but again it will depend on what the community wants.
Narodnik: geoff, what would the stumbling blocks be to financially supporting an editor who has being doing good work in advance of our values?
geoffreybrigham: We often negotiate pro bono counsel. Of course our budget is pretty limited. We have $30million a year to run the 5th largest website in the world.
kim_bruning: Does that happen very often?
geoffreybrigham: Not often.
kim_bruning: we used to be able to do it with half that amount!
geoffreybrigham: It has happened a handful of times. And in the cases we found counsel, people seemed satisfied.
geoffreybrigham: lol ... fair point. but we are a bigger site.
geoffreybrigham: problem is that you guys have been too successful.
Narodnik: geoff, if hypothetically you had the budget to contribute to the legal defences of editors in the right (from our perspective), are there legal reasons you would be reticent in getting involved?
Philippe: OK, folks, with that…. here we are, and we've spent another hour together.
Seddon: Ironholds: I can certainly do so
• Excirial wanders off to delete some problems to address the "To popular" issue.