In Australia, we (Wikimedia Australia) had to get fundraising approval
before the 2010 fundraiser (when the chapters accepted and processed the
payments and then passed a share back to the Wikimedia Foundation).  This
was made more complicated due to the fundraising laws being a state issue
rather than national and so we had to seek approval from each state, some
with different requirements than others (for example, some needed a member
in that state willing to act as a contact person).

When this arrangement ended and Wikimedia Foundation took on the
fundraising themselves, this was no longer a requirement due to the WMF not
being an Australian organisation.  (Although we advised WMF to seek their
own legal advice to confirm this)

Your situation appears to be different for several reasons:
1) Your situation involves a group of users, not a chapter (the donation is
to a non-Finnish organisation)
2) The donation information is in a language specific to your country - and
so by targetting Finnish speakers, they were targetting Finland residents -
whereas the same language is spoken in Australia and the United States.

With #1 - given the number of smaller websites with a "Donate via Paypal"
button in the corner, I don't think this should be an issue.

The only thing that would shift this in the Finnish police's favour is #2 -
suggesting that Finns were involved in the fundraising - and as others have
said, this could quite easily be a person (or people) who the Finnish
government has no jurisdiction over (a national of another country who has
learned Finnish, for example).  Unless the Finnish Government has some sort
of strange ownership or legal connection to the Finnish language...

(Dislcaimer: IANAL of course)

(BTW - I was amused that even Google translate failed to translate Nemo's
link the first time around!)


Charles Gregory

On Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 8:33 AM, Leinonen Teemu <>wrote:

> Hi,
> I just got a message that the Finnish Police have asked the fi.wikipedia,
> by sending an email to the, to give a
> written statement about their possible violation of the laws that regulate
> fundraising in Finland. There is a little news about this already online in
> English. Here:
> I chat about this with a lawyer friend and he was afraid that the police
> msy go after the volunteers that have participated in the fundraising, e.g.
> by translating the fundraising messages.
> Is there any equivalent cases from other countries?
> In Finland one needs a pre-given permission to do fundraising.
>         - Teemu
> --------------------------------------------------
> Teemu Leinonen
> +358 50 351 6796
> Media Lab
> Aalto University
> School of Arts, Design and Architecture
> --------------------------------------------------
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