Wikimedia Conference 2014/Documentation/26

26 User-generated advocacy

tl;dr: Wikimedia is an organisation with very social and political goals, and therefore it should be political active. Especially to the European chapters: Join the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU. A key example was the Copyright Consultation by the European Commission. Further examples where given by WMF and Wikimedia Israel. Next big EU policy meeting April 24/25 in Brussels.

Notes edit

Introduction to Advocacy edit

  • Quick introduction to current advocacy efforts. Wikimedia is an organization with very social and political goals. It would be irresponsible of us to not talk about what advocacy would mean. How do we equip this global social movement with the tools it needs to be represented in the advocacy scene. WMF trying to broaden the options that we have that we can bring to the table and act
  • key communication channel: advocacy advisors
  • Sign up here:
  • Advocacy

EU Copyright Consultation edit

  • key example: How we answered the Copyright Consultation (by the European Commission) (see European_Commission_copyright_consultation)
  • European Commission asked citizens, NGOs, industry 80 questions on about 80 pages what's wrong with Copyright and what would you change. Thought it was important to have a consistent response from the Wikimedia movement. Once they had a group (Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU) drafted model answers that were provided to everyone, which was put on Meta. The community then provided answers to this consultation.
  • Before the end of a summer, a whitepaper will be created. The white paper is going to map all of the positions on copyright reform that politicans may follow. This is significant because there is unanimous belief in the EU that there will be copyright reform within the next 5 years.
  • The consultation was important because it put |FKAG/Wikimedia on the map. Gov't orgs were excited to have user-generated/crowd sourced feedback/answers.
  • Who participated (chapter, individuals)? What mandate?
    • Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU--interchapter working group
  • Copyright is a prerogative of the European Union. Chapters from different countries could therefore join forces to create a unified message for reform. see also: EU_policy

How to organise? edit

  • How to categorise/organise our activities? possible categories:
    • active/"leadership" issues;
    • defensive/responsive issues;
    • participation/cooperation;
    • facilitation
  • What is our toolkit: what different kinds of things can we do when we think action is appropriate?
    • On one end: site blackout
    • On other end: nothing
  • Goal: creatively list more options/tools in the middle!
  • Possible things in the middle include (just for example):
  • joining letters from other organizations (e.g., many chapters and WMF joining on surveillance issues)
  • direct contact with legislators (e.g., through presence in capital, or mailed brochures)
  • draft/coordinate talking points for chapters doing local work on global issues ("copyright reform"), or directly to editors/readers on specific issues

Further examples edit

  • Sweden: polled legislators about awareness
  • Estonia: push at the Constitutional level?
  • UK: Letter to all MEPs about our key issues
  • UK chapter says they were lucky to have a member that is an expert on copyright. Found that they had to register as a separate entity that would advocate. Submitted a lengthy response to the consultation.
  • Israel: coalition building (with CC and many others) to change law on public use of government images
  • Wikimedia Israel: process that they started 4 years ago, continued for 3 years until that every photo created by the government could be freely used. Prior to this, individuals had to pay the government to use their photos. Worked with organizations, including Creative Commons Israel, to advocate for changing copyright laws. See also
  • Israel's national photo collection being released for free use -
  • Let's brainstorm more!

Further notes edit

  • Dimi--WMF needs to be the lead in Copyright because no other organization cares more about "non-commercial"
Limitations on advocacy
  • Stephen: There are certain financial limits in the US on how much organizations can spend on certain types of lobbying. Percentage is based on a revenue for a year. Such are considerations that WMF has when making decisions about lobbying.
  • Chapter Agreements - wont engage in lobbying or advocacy activites that directly conflict with chapter activities. Free knowledge and copyright are issues that directly align with chapter agreements.
  • People go to WMF all the time asking for support for advocacy issues? The WMF has to pick and choose what issues to align with and think about what they could effectively contribute given the specific nature of the organization and the movement. Copyright Reform is an issue that WMF can take a lead in by telling an effective story about.
    • Luis: WMF wants to focus on their mission and WMF needs to keep track of what it can advocate for, but people should feel free to approach WMF with requests.
Approach to advocacy
  • Multi-track approach: working with gov't, changing public opinion, making good relationships with MEPs,

European legislation has a huge effect on the rest of the world. Ex. the Tobacco control legislation in the EU has a huge impact on China, Japan, and the US.

  • Copyright reform advocacy movement in the EU is lacking in the economic narrative. The EU looks on the field of copyright through the lens of fostering economy and economic models.
    • US shares this problem. Stephen says--we need to pool resources to replicate good arguments. More cohesive message.
  • Create visibility for the movement-- people should know that there are actors and a new category of actors so that everytime there is a dialogue, everytime there is a conference/roundtable, Wikimedia will be invited and come with their set of proposals.