Photo courtesy of Mike Masnick.

Photo courtesy of Mike Masnick.

On October 27, we were pleased to welcome a great crowd joining us at our office in Downtown San Francisco for an energetic and inspiring talk by Techdirt founder Mike Masnick.

A long-time supporter of free knowledge, Mike lead us through the history of copyright laws, from their origins and intentions to present day and the pressing need for reform. He demonstrated how the original goals of copyright and the results we are seeing nowadays are not aligned anymore. In Mike’s own words: “We should judge copyright law by its contribution to learning and education.”

However, rather than promoting the advancement of knowledge, in 2016 copyright can be abused to keep competition from growing and to prevent people from “tinkering” with products. It is also often used as a tool against free expression. As Mike stated, “copyright has a serious free speech problem.”

You can watch a recording of the event on Youtube.

We at the Wikimedia Foundation actively participate in the debate around modernization of copyright and advocate for policy that promotes access to knowledge for everybody and fosters online collaboration, including on Wikipedia. We have voiced our concerns about current policy and presented our vision for productive and permissive law to the Copyright Office and to the European Commission. We support the ability of all internet users to create, remix, and share information as technology already allows them to. We believe that copyright should reflect this new reality.

The push for copyright reform is a global effort, and Wikimedia supporters around the world are advocating for copyright policy that takes into account the needs and rights of internet users.

Jan Gerlach, Public Policy Manager
Wikimedia Foundation

Free Open Shared is the Wikimedia Foundation’s new event series for conversations about policy, collaboration, and knowledge. We want to engage the public and inspire people to think about policy issues around collaboration on the internet, open culture, and free knowledge. If you are interested in these topics and enjoy discussing them with others, please consider joining our public policy email list.