De: Ricardo Navalha <ricardo.nava...@gmail.com>
Para: wikimediabr-l@lists.wikimedia.org 
Enviadas: Sábado, 1 de Dezembro de 2012 12:42
Assunto: [Wikimedia Brasil] Statement from WMF General Counsel

I want to thank the Portuguese Wikipedia community in Brazil for their hard 
work as Wikimedians and especially their dedication to and passion for the free 
distribution of truthful information. Like other projects, Portuguese Wikipedia 
represents an amazing collaboration and building of an encyclopedia that will 
survive for many ages. You share in the honor of constructing something great 
for the benefit of others.
Although I am not a Portuguese Wikimedian, if I may say so, I am a bit 
concerned about seeing the situation in Brazil on Portuguese Wikipedia somewhat 
escalating. May I please suggest consideration of calm and restraint in 
deciding how the community responds to the situation.
At the Foundation, we have no tolerance for censorship of truthful information. 
Because of legal ethical rules that apply in the United States, however, my 
legal team may represent only the Foundation, not community members 
unfortunately. Nevertheless, with a clear understanding that we are not the 
lawyers for those members, we often help support them with our extensive global 
experience when the members are faced with serious unjustified threats. In 
doing so, of course, we rely on the community to follow its own policies, such 
as NPOV, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that contributions are 
factual, legal, and non-infringing. As set out in our terms of use , WMF does 
not control or influence the content contributed by community members.
In the case of the investigation that has involved one of the members of the 
community, we fear there is a misunderstanding since we are genuinely surprised 
by the summaries that have been provided to us. Although we may be mistaken, we 
actually thought WMF acted quite appropriately in this case with a close focus 
on the issue. Although I prefer not to go into too much detail given the 
ongoing matter, as I understand, the Wikimedian approached us when he received 
an apparent request to appear for questioning as part of an investigation. At 
that time, at our expense, one of my most senior attorneys at WMF contacted 
legal counsel in Brazil to seek a better understanding of the risks. Legal 
counsel advised us about the case in detail, suggesting that, under the 
circumstances, the risk should be relatively low if certain things (as we 
understood them) were in fact so. It appeared to us that the Wikimedian agreed. 
We nevertheless cautioned that the Wikimedian
 attend any meeting with police officials with legal representation to ensure 
his rights were adequately protected against unjustified claims.
At that time, there were preliminary inquiries as to whether the Foundation 
would pay for legal counsel. Under the Legal Fees Assistance Program and 
the Defense of Contributors policy, certain threshold criteria must normally be 
met. One such criterion is that the user must usually be named as a defendant 
in a legal action, which was not so here. We nevertheless were in close contact 
with the Wikimedian as we saw it. If the investigation had escalated, we would 
have reassessed the need for additional support.
In a later update, we understood that the Wikimedian had obtained legal counsel 
and that the two attended a productive meeting with the investigator. We also 
had our Brazilian legal counsel review certain investigation documents, which 
confirmed our assessment.
There was a request that WMF staff members be interviewed on the community 
policies applicable to Portuguese Wikipedia. As a general matter, we are not 
familiar with the policies applicable to Portuguese Wikipedia. We suggested 
that the Portuguese community play a role in this regard.
We were watching the situation closely and providing guidance where we were 
able. We care deeply about our community, and, in cases of serious unjustified 
allegations, we seek to help support the community. Indeed, these types of 
cases are not uncommon. Experienced in international matters, we are constantly 
involved in rebutting unjustified allegations worldwide, and, if I may say so, 
we are often successful at it.
Again I believe that the community should not aggravate the situation to avoid 
misunderstandings or misperceptions which may unjustly expose community members 
to unfounded legal threats. For this reason, I reiterate my recommendation of 
consideration of calm and restraint in assessing and responding to the 
Thank you for your genuine concern about free expression and your indignation 
against unjust censorship. Thank you for collecting and developing educational 
content under a free license or in the public domain for the benefit of the 
With warm regards,

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