All good points, especially about ensuring that we do not, inadvertently or
otherwise, give the appearance of having any control whatsover with the
operation of Wikipedia and Commons.

I would argue that "Free" in "Free Cultural Works" includes "freely
accessible" and there is a legitimate role for the Chapter to lobby against
this proposal should it choose to do so (as I think it should - this
legislation is likely unworkable and, in any case, unfit for a free, open
and democratic polity).

I am, of course, aware that alone the chapter has little chance of making
any impact on the thinking of the Federal Government. However, that does not
mean that there is nothing that we can do. Some suggestions

   - We could work with our partners in the GLAM sector. I have some
   responsibility for setting policy for a small regional library service in
   NSW and, on the advice of the State Library of New South Wales, our library
   service adopted a formal policy of not filtering the public internet service
   (over the objections of the IT department). This was for both practical and
   philosophical reasons. Responsibility for ensuring that the public computers
   are not used to access unsuitable material lies with the users and/or their
   guardians. I would be surprised if the other State Libraries, Higher
   Education institutions are not opposed to Conroy's proposal - what are they
   doing and can we work with them,
   - Can/Should WMF make any submission etc. to the Fed. Government? I am
   aware this may be politically difficult for them, but this does have some
   ramifications for the use of Wikipedia etc. in Aust. (esp. if proxies become
   widely used).

Neither of the above may be practical, but we may have other options.


2009/12/16 Liam Wyatt <>

> Yes, indeed this is a good question and an important issue.
> On a personal basis I am completely opposed to the filter and I imagine
> most Wikimedians in Australia are.
> However, I would caution that the Chapter cannot be seen in word or deed to
> be "responsible for" Wikipedia.
> This was a problem faced by Wikimedia UK in both the "virgin killer" and
> the National Portrait Gallery issues - the UK chapter was very careful not
> to place itself as the official spokesperson for Wikipedia.
> Of course, the mandate of the Chapter is to advocate for Free Cultural
> Works and in that sense being involved in political lobbying is something
> that it can/could/should do. We have previously made a submission to a
> government inquiry for example. Making a statement about the filter or
> similar actions is within the chapter's powers.
> But... in the event that Wikipedia were to become blocked or was "caught
> up" in some scandal around this issue, the Chapter can only describe what
> Wikipedia policies and practices are - it cannot be seen as responsible for
> the content and have a policy for how to make Wikipedia unblocked or
> what-have-you.
> my 2 cents,
> -Liam
> Peace, love & metadata
> On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 5:26 AM, Andrew <> wrote:
>> Matt, thanks - good question. As yet, no it doesn't have an official
>> position - I have forwarded this to the committee list so one can be
>> reached promptly.
>> Cheers
>> Andrew
>> On 16/12/2009, Matt inbgn <> wrote:
>> > Hi all,
>> >
>> > Does the chapter have a position on this
>> > proposal<
>> >
>> > ?
>> >
>> > Should it have a position?
>> >
>> > If it has a position, what should it be doing to advance that position?
>> >
>> > Cheers,
>> > Matt
>> >
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