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Wikipedia can defame with impunity

Wikipedia can defame with impunity

Paris – France has decreed that the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts Wikipedia on its servers, is in no way responsible for the content posted by contributors working on the free encyclopedia.

A decision by the Tribunal de grande instance of Paris settled the case raised by three members of a pharmaceutical consulting firm: some anonymous Wikipedians had described them on the pages of the collaborative encyclopedia as activists of homosexual rights. According to the three, that publication was defamatory and detrimental to the right to privacy as it put sensitive information into the streets. Reason enough to denounce the Wikimedia Foundation with a claim for damages of 69 thousand euros each.

The request of the three French was judged “inconsistent” by the magistrate Emmanuel Binoche just as another judge, this time Californian, had done regarding the famous case of the American golfer who felt slandered for what was published in the free encyclopedia.

Before discussing the violations suffered by the three plaintiffs, before determining whether the nature of the published information was defamatory, Judge Binoche noted the matter by focusing on the role held by the Wikimedia Foundation . The accusation lapses, as the non-profit organization it cannot be considered in any way like Site Manager according to what its users write.

A statement that, reports Le Monde, agrees well with a law of June 2004 relating to online privacy. “The hosts of websites – explained Binoche – cannot be held responsible for the information residing on their servers, if they are not informed of their illicit nature”. Nor, the judge specified, are they required to monitor or trace the origin of the information they host.

Binoche’s decision, numerous Digg users also observe, is also in harmony with the nature of the free encyclopedia, which makes peer social control its strong point, capable of making it, in Nature’s opinion, as reliable as the Britannica. .

The Wikimedia Foundation, added the president Florence Devouard, compensates for the non-infallible revision of the Wikipedians and undertakes to remove from the entries of the encyclopedia the contents deemed illegal, upon notification of the users. Reporting that one of the three plaintiffs seems to have forwarded, but not before resorting to lawyers.

Gaia Bottà