I will respond fully when I get to my computer and read the whole article. 
Suffice it to say that the appointment of Hisham as a consultant is not a 
result of increased concerns about legal liability. We decided that we were 
comfortable with a consultant role for now given the role responsibilities. We 
continue to evaluate other structural options.

We are concerned about legal liability, of course, as defending the projects 
has and continues to be a core role for WMF. This concern isn't new, despite 
increased focus on legal questions on this list. I have had some informal 
conversations about legal questions and WMF's new General Counsel Geoff Brigham 
has this as a priority as he gets started.

Happy to address questions that people have (or pass them to Geoff), though I 
cannot speak as a legal authority as I am not an attorney, nor do I speak for 
the WMF on legal issues.

Will respond to Signpost later on.


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

-----Original Message-----
From: Achal Prabhala <aprabh...@gmail.com>
Sender: wikimediaindia-l-boun...@lists.wikimedia.org
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:06:38 
To: Wikimedia India Community list<wikimediaindia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Reply-To: Wikimedia India Community list <wikimediaindia-l@lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Wikipedia gets worried about legal liability
 in     India

I'm not sure this is an accurate description of the situation; perhaps 
the title has more to do with the fact that the Wikimedia Foundation (as 
opposed to the chapter) is not a registered entity in India. However, as 
I don't work for/ speak for the foundation, I don't know for sure - and 
maybe someone from the foundation - Barry? - could clarify this better.

On Wednesday 23 February 2011 01:00 PM, Anivar Aravind wrote:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2011-02-21/News_and_notes
> Dynamic content so copy-pasting relevant text
> Foundation appoints "consultant for National Programs" in India,
> following search for National Program Director
> The Wikimedia Foundation has appointed a "consultant for National
> Programs, India", whose role will be "to design and implement specific
> pilot programs that encourage many more Indians to become contributors
> to our projects in Indic languages as well as English." The new
> position is being filled by Hisham Mundol, who worked on "large-scale
> national programs on HIV/AIDS prevention" when he was a consultant for
> the Public Health Foundation of India. As Hisham Mundol said in his
> first IRC office hours, he speaks Hindi, Malayalam and English, and is
> currently based in Delhi.
> The announcement by the Wikimedia Foundation's Chief Global
> Development Officer, Barry Newstead, explained that Mundol is "a
> newcomer to the Wikimedia movement [who] will be spending the coming
> weeks (not months!) in learning mode". In an FAQ on the new position,
> it was explained that among the 179 applications, there were only
> seven from active Wikimedians, who do not have the required
> experience.
> The Foundation had not been advertising a job opening for a consultant
> for National Programs. Instead, the job opening in last August was for
> a "National Program Director, India", who would have been "the
> Wikimedia Foundation's chief representative in India". Newstead did
> not mention the previous job title or explain the modifications,
> except to note in the FAQ that the new position was as consultant
> rather than a staffer, partly because "we want to keep our options
> open in regards to the potential structure of future Wikimedia
> Foundation operations in India". It is likely that concerns about such
> a director's exposure to legal liability for Wikimedia content may
> have played a role. Asked in the IRC office hour about "the strategy
> we have for dealing with legal issues in India", Newstead emphasized
> that the Indian chapter and "Hisham, who is an independent contractor,
> have NO control over Wikimedia content as organizations." Discussing
> such concerns further, he advised the Indian chapter to get a good
> legal counsel, and align with organizations like the Centre for
> Internet and Society (CIS), which might be inclined to support
> Wikipedia.

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