Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-05-12/Copyright claim

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Foundation receives copyright claim from church

By Cirt and Wikinews contributors, 12 May, 2008

The Wikimedia Foundation has received a copyright infringement claim from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon Church or LDS Church. The infringement claim is in reference to a URL used as a source in a Wikinews article about Mormon Church documents leaked to the website Wikileaks, titled "Copy of handbook for leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints obtained by Wikinews". The URL was originally cited as a link in the sources subsection of the article. While such claims have been received regarding other projects, including Wikipedia, this is the first time that the Wikimedia Foundation has received a copyright infringement claim regarding an article published by Wikinews.

The Wikinews article, originally published on April 19, described material in the Church Handbook of Instructions. The work is a two-volume book of policies and is a guide for leaders of the Mormon Church. Wikinews obtained the Church Handbook of Instructions from Wikileaks, a whistleblower website which publishes anonymous submissions of sensitive documents while preserving the anonymity of its contributors. Wikileaks describes the material as significant because "...the book is strictly confidential among the Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka LDS in short form) bishops and stake presidents and it reveal [sic] the procedure of handling confidential matters related to tithing payment, excommunication, baptism and doctrine teaching (indoctrination)."

The material was released on the Wikileaks website on April 16, and according to the site was first made available on the document sharing website Scribd. A message at Scribd now states: "This content was removed at the request of copyright agent B. S. Broadbent of the Intellectual Property Division of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

On May 5, the Wikimedia Foundation received a copyright infringement claim from Intellectual Reserve, Inc., the legal entity that owns the intellectual property of the Mormon Church. The infringement claim is addressed to Jimmy Wales, the designated agent of the Wikimedia Foundation, and requests that access to the link to Wikileaks be removed. The link was removed from the article on May 5 by a Wikinews administrator, and the article remains available without the link. The infringement claim was sent by Berne S. Broadbent, president of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and director of the Intellectual Property Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to Mike Godwin, general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, the Mormon Church has not filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice with the foundation.

The link is no longer available on the current revision of the article, but as of press time, was available in the history of the article. The information is still available on Wikileaks; in a statement to Wikinews, a Wikileaks representative commented on the material hosted at the site: "WikiLeaks will not remove the handbooks, which are of substantial interest to current and former mormons [sic]. WikiLeaks will remain a place were [sic] people from around the world can safely reveal the truth."

News coverage

The story has been covered by a few media sources, particularly from media sources based in Salt Lake City, Utah (where the Church is headquartered) and technology sites. In a Salt Lake Tribune article, Wikimedia spokesman Jay Walsh said he didn't know of any letter from the Church, noting that Wikinews had nevertheless removed the information.

The story was also covered by the Deseret News [1], and on tech sites Slashdot [2] and Ars Technica [3]; other sites also covered the story, but focused primarily on Wikileaks' role in the publication and dissemination of the material.



Also this week:

Pornography — Sighted revisions — Copyright claim — Policy updates — Citizendium 2 — Board elections — Maker Faire — IP block exemption — WikiWorld — News and notes — In the news — Dispatches — Features and admins — Technology report — Arbitration report


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