The Wikimedia projects make up one of the world's largest repositories of human knowledge. With that much information, someone is bound to get upset by some of the content from time to time. While the vast majority of content disputes are resolved by users themselves, in some extreme cases the Wikimedia Foundation may receive a legal demand to override our users.
The Wikimedia projects are yours, not ours. People just like you from around the world write, upload, edit, and curate all of the content. Therefore, we believe users should decide what belongs on Wikimedia projects whenever legally possible.
Below, you will find more information about the number of requests we receive, where they come from, and how they could impact free knowledge. You can also learn more about how we fight for freedom of speech through our user assistance programs in the FAQ.
“We change people through conversation, not through censorship.”
Story: A French intelligence agency summoned a Wikipedia user to its offices, and threatened him with severe criminal penalties if he did not use his administrative rights to delete information about a military base from French Wikipedia that the agency deemed classified. The supposedly classified information was actually publicly available because the military had provided interviews and a tour of the base to local reporters. We defended the user involved and fought to keep the content up on Wikipedia. Read more.
Time Period: July 2012
Story: A Tasmanian aboriginal language center demanded the removal of the English Wikipediaarticle on "palawa kani", claiming copyright over the entirety of the language. We refused to remove the article because copyright law simply cannot be used to stop people from using an entire language or to prevent general discussion about the language. Such a broad claim would have chilled free speech and negatively impacted research, education, and public discourse — activities that Wikimedia serves to promote.
Time Period: January 2014
Story: A photographer left his camera unattended in a national park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. A female crested black macaque monkey got ahold of the camera and took a series of pictures, including some self-portraits. The pictures were featured in an online newspaper article and eventually posted to Commons. We received a takedown request from the photographer, claiming that he owned the copyright to the photographs. We didn't agree, so we denied the request.