As reported by Steven Ma, the Wikimedia Foundation's Community Associate, "more than one hundred Wikipedia editors, donors, and readers" attended an event titled Inside the Globe in New York on 7 October. The evening was both a fundraiser and an opportunity to introduce major donors to the people and culture of the projects. Roughly a dozen editors were present, including Wikimedia New York City board members and other local Wikimedians. Hosted by the Harnisch Foundation (a patron of Wikimedia) in the Metropolitan Tower, the evening saw presentations by Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia fellow Steven Walling. Steven spoke about "the identity and culture of the most involved editors, highlighting the motivations and methods behind their amazing accomplishments within the project". After the event, Ruth Ann Harnisch, the president of the Harnisch Foundation, expressed her pleasure to have introduced "so many people to the workings of their favorite online resource." In an August blog post, she had invited donors to attend the Wikimedia fundraising event, noting that she had added the WMF to her list of grantees several years ago (as a "tiny part of the support system for Wikipedia"); in the posting, she also expressed her support for the Wikimedia Foundation in its then ongoing conflict with the FBI over the reproduction of the Bureau's seal (see Signpost coverage).
Argentine Wikimedians at Frankfurt Book Fair
Wikimedians Patricio Lorente (right) and Beatriz Busaniche (second from left) on a panel at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Two members of the Argentine Wikimedia chapter recently traveled to Europe to present a book about the copyright situation in Argentina at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is considered the world's largest book fair and where Argentina was this year's "guest of honor" country. Beatriz Busaniche and Patricio Lorente are known to many Wikimedians as part of the organizing team of last year's Wikimania. Both also work with the Vía Libre Foundation, which collaborated with the German Heinrich Böll Foundation to produce the book Argentina copyleft.
The copyright situation in Argentina is considered particularly restrictive. In a 2010 Consumers Internationalstudy of 34 countries, it came out sixth-worst for consumer rights. Argentina provides no fair use or library exceptions, and does not even permit the free use of public domain works in all cases (for some uses, a fee has to be paid to a fund supporting artists). The book argues that this is detrimental for education and culture. Wikimedia Argentina has engaged in various lobbying efforts regarding the copyright situation, such as signing a letter to parliament protesting last year's extension of copyright in phonograms (sound recordings) from 50 to 70 years after creation, and opposing ongoing lobbying by photographers to extend the monopoly on photographs from 25 to 50 years after creation, which would affect commons:Template:PD-AR-Photo.
Edited by Busaniche, the book collects contributions by various authors to the copyright debate in Argentina. One chapter, by Wikipedian and founding member of Wikimedia Argentina Roberto Fiadone, presents Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects as examples of communities that generate free knowledge. Another chapter, on ebooks, was reprinted by the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. The Heinrich Böll Foundation funded a translation into German and organized a presentation of the book in Berlin, in addition to the panel at the Frankfurt event. The book is available as a PDF under a CC-BY-SA license. The Spanish version was downloaded more than 20,000 times during the first week. Busaniche also gave a podcast interview (in English) about the book to German blog Netzpolitik.
Executive director office hours: The log for the IRC office hours of 14 October with Sue Gardner has been released. Topics discussed included the blocking of Greg Kohs, owner of MyWikiBiz, from the meeting; the resolutions from the recent Board meeting (see last week's "News and notes") including the adoption of the WMF's Five-year targets (about which Gardner posted an additional Q&A); the WMF's support for GLAM outreach activities; accessibility for screen readers; expert assessment of articles (including ongoing work by the Public Policy Initiative), whether the Foundation should put out requests for proposals (RFPs) before contracting external companies for projects such as the recent donor survey; the possibility of offline versions of Wikipedia on e-readers such as the Kindle or iPad; and the study on controversial content (which three hours of the Board meeting were devoted to, with the Board concluding that further discussion was needed about some of the recommended policy changes). The office hour was also attended by WMF deputy director Erik Möller.
Research analyst and other WMF hiring: Shortly after the office hours, Newstead announced the hiring of Mani Pande as the Global Development department's Senior Research Analyst (job description). In other WMF hiring news, the position of an User Interface Designer was added to the Foundation's Job openings page on Monday, while the Community Hiring program that was started in July to fill positions in the newly formed Community Department (Signpost coverage) was removed there last week. It is not known whether any community members have been added to the permanent staff via the program, which had received nearly 2000 applications by September, but three applicants were awarded temporary fellowships in the newly created "Community Fellows" program (Signpost coverage: September 20, October 4).
One of many images uploaded to Commons on a field trip by members of the Israeli chapter: an inscription for the ancient Al-Budeiri Library in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem
WM Israel report: Wikimedia Israel has released its chapter report for March–September. Among the topics are the chapter's annual general assembly in June, at which Shay Yakir was re-elected chair and two new members were elected to the board; preparations for Wikimania 2011 4–7 August in Haifa; a report on the new copyright bill making state-owned photographs free, which will be passed back to the Knesset for voting into law and for which chapter members have assisted in the wording (see also last week's "In the news"); the second Wikipedia Academy Israel Conference on 14 June; collaboration by the chapter to ship Linux-installed computers—including a static version of the French Wikipedia's one-million-plus articles—to the African countries of Cameroon and Benin and the provision of training to local students in their use (cf. Signpost coverage); and a number of field trips to archaeological sites and kibbutzim within Israel.
WM NL annual convention: On October 9, Wikimedia Nederland held its annual members' convention in Utrecht, attended by 21 people. The meeting bid farewell to Hay Kranen, who left the board after three and a half years' service. After an amendment was passed allowing the board to have up to seven members, two new members were elected: Maarten Brinkerink and Sieband Mazeland. One topic was the matter of employing staff at the Dutch chapter, although the first appointment is not yet imminent. Another issue was the best way to transfer donations from the Netherlands to the WMF in the US. Paul Becherer said he expects to receive advice on this soon from the Netherlands tax office. January will see a bootcamp for Dutch Wikimedians on collaborating with museums, and a members' convention for the chapter's 2011 budget, when the results of fundraising are clear.