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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On 22 January 2012 23:33, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> You may have heard the other stereotype about lobbying, that people who
> actually propose and support legislation like SOPA and PIPA are backed by
> lobbyist on behalf RIAA, MPAA and other large publishers, who have very
> deep pockets. It is not an uncommon assumption that the majority of the
> lobbying industry backs the other side on the issue, since it is about
> money and employing a lobbying firm's services is only a matter of how much
> money someone is willing to spend on it. I considered lobbyists as a tool
> for the wealthy to get their say, who can't state their opposing positions
> openly. Again, these might be stereotypes, but the general realities aren't
> that far off either.
>

Yes, it certainly does have a negative connotation. But, remember,
(with appropriate citation needed tag) that lobbying, certainly in
Britain, is a right every citizen has: to ask their Member of
Parliament to meet them in the lobby of the Palace of Westminster to
discuss their concerns.

--
Tom Morris
<http://tommorris.org/>

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
Hi Mike

I want to talk for a minute about lobbying in general, aside from the WMF
position on it. Because this might be one of those international issues
where perceptions might differ based on the culture and nationality of
someone. I know my position on this might be naive or flawed, but I know
others who feel the same way.

Direct lobbying is relatively new compared to the older forms of government
and legislative influence. Strictly from a global south perspective, a
similar form of unregulated advocacy and influence that I saw practiced
here was called something else.......bribery.
Now, I know that it is miles away from what you are talking about, since it
is strictly regulated in the US and UK. If not for the public reporting,
and rules regulating it, you would see the thin line that others in the
Global south see running through it. It is not something that inspires
transparency and confidence.

In US politics, general lobbying in addition to rulings like the Citizens
united, put large corporation in a powerful position to buy voices in
Washington. If it is indeed going to be about getting voices heard *only*
through lobbyists, I think the publishers can scream the loudest.

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:16 PM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic@gmail.com> wrote:

> Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> writes:
>
> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Am I wrong to assume, that lobbying involves approaching a registered,
> > professional consulting/lobbying firm in Washington who in turn, refer
> the
> > client to politicians and then facilitate meetings and discussions in
> > private, client are expected to pay expenses and other fees incurred in
> the
> > process, usually a pretty hefty sum.
>
> Yes, you're wrong.
>

That was partly based on my reading of the en.wp article on lobbying (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying), when you have a minute, do re-write
the sections of the article where it is wrong. The lead section of the
article itself covers the morality and ethics of lobbying quiet well,
mentioning the similar stereotype I spoke of earlier, "Lobbying is often
spoken of with contempt, when the implication is that people with
inordinate socioeconomic power are corrupting the law". As the article
states, it is a form of power struggle, motives range from predation to
self-defense. My question was who usually spends more? non-profits who run
a free encyclopedia or giant publishers whose daily revenues are directly
affected by these decisions?


>
> > Are those discussions and arrangements
> > made in private, facilitated by lobbying firms, what is needed to get our
> > voice heard?
>
> No. It can be helpful to have an experienced Washington
> government-relations specialist to facilitate meetings, and to advise
> you on how to be effective, but the word "private" is inappropriate
> here. (The very fact that Politico was able to publicize WMF's
> engagement with such a specialist ought to be an indicator of this --
> in the USA, especially for the last 40 years, there have been vastly
> increased requirements for public reporting and accountability, both
> for nonprofits and for traditional corporate lobbyists.) When I
> represented the Center for Democracy and Technology or Public
> Knowledge at the FCC or on Capitol Hill, for example, the first thing
> I had to do when getting back from a meeting was write up a report of
> whom I met and what was discussed. The reports became part of the
> public record, and part of these nonprofits' public disclosures as
> well.
>

Actually politico didn't publicize the engagement exclusively, the link kim
provided, mentions it as one brief story in a list of 10 others, stating,
"The foundation has snagged Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, according to
a newly filed lobbying disclosure, to focus on “legislation related to
online intellectual property infringement, including H.R. 3261, S. 968 and
S. 2029.” Those bill numbers coincide with SOPA, PIPA and the OPEN Act."
Along with the foundation did not return to comment to MT before press time.


>
> > You mentioned the protest, and how proud you were to have been associated
> > with it, so were most of us. That was the right thing to do - open,
> direct
> > and public. All of which this doesn't seem to be.
>
> You'd be wrong about meetings with policymakers not being public.
> They're required be law to be reported and accounted for. As I have
> noted, many people have stereotypical notions about what it means
> to "lobby" in Washington. Too many movies and TV, I imagine.
>

> > Again, these might be stereotypes, but the general realities aren't that
> far
> > off either.
>
> Hugely far off, actually.
>
> To compare: it's a little bit as if you took your understanding of
> police work from watching American police action films. It's not wrong
> to say that sometimes police rough people up, for example, but it
> would be wrong to say that is the norm. Most police work is dull and
> routine, and the sheer amount of paperwork an average policeman has to
> do is so astounding that nobody ever even tries to depict it in film
> or TV drama. You'd switch channels or walk out of the theater in boredom.
>


Again this might be one of those things that differ from country to country
and perceptions influenced by cultures. To use your analogy, police work,
and general law and order, has existed for several centuries, the
institutions and the idea of lobbying is relatively new. This is more true
for regulated lobbying now in US and UK, than any other place. Some
countries still make do with no lobbying all together. If you look at the
regulated lobbying section by country (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying#Lobbying_by_country), even the
regulation to govern lobbying came in late 90's.

There are still a lot of powerful institutions and organizations, who get
their message through, and make measurable impact without moving a single
lobbyist. This is the first time we are engaging one, so just curious about
what impact it has on perception of others.

It's about ROI and impact of money invested. We have the biggest and direct
way to get measurable impact on these issues, Wikipedia and the projects,
with 400 million people watching. The blackout proved that, incurring
little or no actual external cost in the process.


>
> If you really think that (for example) the American Library
> Association's Office for Information Technology Policy
> (http://www.ala.org/offices/oitp) is having secret meetings with
> senators and writing big checks, then the American entertainment
> industry has done a huge disservice in educating people about all the
> ways public policy can be shaped. Not that this should come as any
> surprise.
>

That is sadly the impression I have, along with a lot of others. I am not
an american but that has been the view cultivated by several years of
following american politics, tech news and listening to the likes of Jon
stewart, Huffpo and other reputed sources.


>
> (I'd love it, of course, if the American Library Association were
> capable of writing big checks, but that's another story.)
>
>
> --Mike
>
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On 22 January 2012 08:30, Kim Bruning <kim@bruning.xs4all.nl> wrote:
> Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
>        http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html
>
> Interesting. Any details?

I thought we had already discussed this here, but maybe it was only
discussed on the SOPA pages on-wiki? Upshot: the Wikimedia Foundation
engaged a DC firm, Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, to help us better
understand SOPA/PIPA. They are the folks who've been advising us over
the past month or so, helping us figure out how big a threat SOPA/PIPA
are, where they came from, what stage they were at, how likely they
were to pass, what kind of response the blackout was getting, and so
forth.

When Geoff or anybody from the Foundation was opining on-list or
on-wiki about SOPA/PIPA, it was with the benefit of the expertise of
the DC firm.

It remains to be determined how or whether we will continue using that
firm (or any other similar firm). We don't have any intention of doing
anything secretive or underhanded.

There is probably more information on enWP's SOPA-related pages.

Thanks,
Sue

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 2:12 AM, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 22 January 2012 23:50, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <cimonavaro@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> So we will put a few fallback datacenters elsewhere, just so our
>> various communities and chapters realize we aren't going to be
>> bullied by US jurisdiction.
>
>
> AIUI setting up the new Virginia datacentre took considerable effort
> and planning, so it's not a trivial task. And the key, of course, is
> not "do we have a few hundred squids?" but "where does the really
> pretty centralised MySQL database for that particular wiki live?" But
> this suggests a significant part of the hard thinking on this issue
> has been done.

"You might very well think so, I couldn't possibly comment. (for one,
not to embarrass your view of your own acumen)" :-D

>
> This ties into the question (which should be easier to raise now) of
> "how forkable is Wikipedia in practice?" Not for purposes of forking
> with rancor, but for basic backup hygiene: given the available data,
> software and configuration information, is it actually feasible to
> create a working backup of Wikipedia, if the WMF is hit by a legal
> meteor?

Just for my own purposes, I do have to profess and and proclaim;
if I ever did talk about forking in rancour, I did say I would bankroll
their way, not join them out from the ship. And keep the money
reins tight so they didn't ever turn hostile in earnest.

But the last point is cogent. OPEN is a Pandoras Box. It isn't a legal
meteor, it is a hangmans noose around the whole Internet. And as
such, it would pretty much force a thousand Baidu Baidus around
the world to bloom, which is why Google is not waiting, but is acting
right now. And sadly wikipedia is still not living in the real world on this.

>
> This is getting towards a wikitech-l discussion ... but your basic
> concept is sound: as digital natives, we understand instinctively that
> the way to preserve something is to spread *lots* of copies of it
> around. Even if doing so is quite difficult and unwieldy.

While I would love the wikitech people to be on the ball and do some
hardcore contingency planning, the real issue is strategic, and entails
moslty that we show ability and willingness no make a stand, not just
for one day, but for all time.

--
--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 11:24 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org>wrote:

> On 22 January 2012 08:30, Kim Bruning <kim@bruning.xs4all.nl> wrote:
> > Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
> > http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html
> >
> > Interesting. Any details?
>
> I thought we had already discussed this here, but maybe it was only
> discussed on the SOPA pages on-wiki? Upshot: the Wikimedia Foundation
> engaged a DC firm, Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, to help us better
> understand SOPA/PIPA. They are the folks who've been advising us over
> the past month or so, helping us figure out how big a threat SOPA/PIPA
> are, where they came from, what stage they were at, how likely they
> were to pass, what kind of response the blackout was getting, and so
> forth.
>
> When Geoff or anybody from the Foundation was opining on-list or
> on-wiki about SOPA/PIPA, it was with the benefit of the expertise of
> the DC firm.
>
> It remains to be determined how or whether we will continue using that
> firm (or any other similar firm). We don't have any intention of doing
> anything secretive or underhanded.
>
> There is probably more information on enWP's SOPA-related pages.
>
>
Ah. Thanks Sue for the clarification.

I indeed missed that on en.wp, maybe communicating that they were employed
for consultation during the blackout might help, internally or even
externally?

This is the first I heard about the extent of their involvement, it would
be great if this could be communicated better.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 3:24 AM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> I thought we had already discussed this here, but maybe it was only
> discussed on the SOPA pages on-wiki? Upshot: the Wikimedia Foundation
> engaged a DC firm, Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, to help us better
> understand SOPA/PIPA. They are the folks who've been advising us over
> the past month or so, helping us figure out how big a threat SOPA/PIPA
> are, where they came from, what stage they were at, how likely they
> were to pass, what kind of response the blackout was getting, and so
> forth.
>
> When Geoff or anybody from the Foundation was opining on-list or
> on-wiki about SOPA/PIPA, it was with the benefit of the expertise of
> the DC firm.

Oops. Okay, that explains the notes on how somebody thought the
anti-forking provisions in that bill were to the favor of the WMF-ethos.

You shouldn't blame them for that though. This is a pretty special
operation. Not easy to understand that we *WANT* wikimedia to be
forkable, just for our own protection...

> It remains to be determined how or whether we will continue using that
> firm (or any other similar firm). We don't have any intention of doing
> anything secretive or underhanded.

I don't think you need to be discouraged from employing such firms,
but you have to understand the information they provide, should be
tightly proscribed to providing effective means for the foundation to
fulfill its mission, rather than help us steer our mission so that we as
a movement can be more "effective" in some political game.


--
--
Jussi-Ville Heiskanen, ~ [[User:Cimon Avaro]]

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> Direct lobbying is relatively new compared to the older forms of government
> and legislative influence. Strictly from a global south perspective, a
> similar form of unregulated advocacy and influence that I saw practiced here
> was called something else.......bribery.

I know you know this, but for those who don't, lobbying in the USA is
highly regulated. Bribery in the USA is a felony.

> In US politics, general lobbying in addition to rulings like the Citizens
> united, put large corporation in a powerful position to buy voices in
> Washington. If it is indeed going to be about getting voices heard *only*
> through lobbyists, I think the publishers can scream the loudest.

Where did that "*only*" come from? I hope not from anything I've written.

As for the Citizens United case, well, it's one of those cases that's
widely talked about but rarely read. The real core case on campaign
finance is the one I name below, now more than 30 years old. It is a
complicated case dealing with the intersection of corporate regulation
and constitutionally protected political speech, and one could teach a
whole course about it, just to prepare someone to read Citizens
United. Here's the enwiki link:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_National_Bank_of_Boston_v._Bellotti>.

Almost invariably, when I hear people talk about Citizens United in
informal discussions, I'm hearing people who haven't invested the time
it takes to understand why these issues are entangled. And of course I
can't invest the time to give you a semester's worth of coursework
either. But one shorthand way to look at this is, do we want to say
that corporations don't have freedom of expression or the right to
engage in political speech? Because if we flatly decide that, what
happens to The New York Times Company (a for-profit corporation)?
Should the Times be barred from political speech? Or the American
Civil Liberties Union? (See
<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=American_Civil_Liberties_Union&action=submit>.)
My point here is to underscore that public discussions of Citizens
United and other cases rarely, in my experience, rise above
sloganeering. The problems involved in corporations' legal status are
subtle and complicated ones, not reducible to tweets and chants. I
support reform of corporate influence in politics, but not at the
price of making it impossible for an incorporated NGO to speak for
individuals who otherwise might remain unheard.

> That was partly based on my reading of the en.wp article on lobbying
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying), when you have a minute, do re-write
> the sections of the article where it is wrong.

I hope I may be forgiven that this particular task can't be at the top
of my to-do list just now. But I invite others to contribute to that
article. As is usually the case, a Wikipedia article is a fine place
to start research, but not itself an authority, as I think we all
agree.

> My
> question was who usually spends more? non-profits who run a free
> encyclopedia or giant publishers whose daily revenues are directly affected
> by these decisions?

Why do you imagine money spent is the measure of influence? The
pro-SOPA forces outspent the tech industry three-to-one and still
lost.

Plus, If money is the measure of effectiveness, what does this say
about Encyclopedia Britannica versus Wikipedia?

> Actually politico didn't publicize the engagement exclusively, the link kim
> provided, mentions it as one brief story in a list of 10 others, stating,
> "The foundation has snagged Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, according to a
> newly filed lobbying disclosure, to focus on “legislation related to online
> intellectual property infringement, including H.R. 3261, S. 968 and S.
> 2029.” Those bill numbers coincide with SOPA, PIPA and the OPEN Act." Along
> with the foundation did not return to comment to MT before press time.

Note the words "newly filed lobbying disclosure." So much for our big
secretive lobbyist arrangement!

> There are still a lot of powerful institutions and organizations, who get
> their message through, and make measurable impact without moving a single
> lobbyist. This is the first time we are engaging one, so just curious about
> what impact it has on perception of others.

I expect the impressions are more positive among those who are more
knowledgeable about political processes in the United States. As for
whether WMF should have engaged someone in DC to advise in this
context, I don't have an atom's worth of doubt that this was the
correct and appropriate strategy to keep Wikipedia and other Wikimedia
projects alive and vital in the face of ill-considered American
legislation.

> It's about ROI and impact of money invested. We have the biggest and direct
> way to get measurable impact on these issues, Wikipedia and the projects,
> with 400 million people watching. The blackout proved that, incurring little
> or no actual external cost in the process.

I think you imagine the blackout was the only thing that mattered in
turning this legislation around. I can see why you might think that,
but it is incorrect. Effective strategies for political change are
implemented on many levels, and, in my view, it is naive to suppose
that mere protest, standing alone, is enough. I'm old enough to
remember 1968, when countless individuals took to the streets all over
the world. It was exciting, but it was also followed by decades of
repressive governmental action that disillusioned many of the most
hopeful and idealistic. To learn from 1968, you can't indulge the
notion that mere mass protest is enough. Certainly there are plenty of
people who remember Tienanmen Square who'll tell you the same thing.

> That is sadly the impression I have, along with a lot of others. I am not an
> american but that has been the view cultivated by several years of following
> american politics, tech news and listening to the likes of Jon stewart,
> Huffpo and other reputed sources.

Better than following the reputed sources is to lead them -- to make
the news and not merely consume it. The reason the news media are
called "media" is that they "mediate" -- you're not getting direct
experience, but only what media believe will capture your attention
and/or entertain you. Consider for example the works if this
influential Canadian (almost as influential in my life as Canadians
Sue Gardner and Jay Walsh ;) --
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan .


--Mike

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
I find this discussion interesting, although after Sue's clarification, it
might be moot. But I am going to continue it, until someone asks to take
this off-list.

On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 5:20 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Direct lobbying is relatively new compared to the older forms of
> government
> > and legislative influence. Strictly from a global south perspective, a
> > similar form of unregulated advocacy and influence that I saw practiced
> here
> > was called something else.......bribery.
>
> I know you know this, but for those who don't, lobbying in the USA is
> highly regulated. Bribery in the USA is a felony.
>

My point was, it became regulated fairly recently. Before that, the lines
between gaining influence from politicians for legislation existed in an
entire spectrum of what might be ethical or moral; it still lies on the
grey end of the spectrum in some countries, where bribery is not uncommon.
And I did not mean the USA before and I don't mean it now, I did however
mean, it is a matter of perspective based on where you are coming from on
this.


> > In US politics, general lobbying in addition to rulings like the Citizens
> > united, put large corporation in a powerful position to buy voices in
> > Washington. If it is indeed going to be about getting voices heard *only*
> > through lobbyists, I think the publishers can scream the loudest.
>
> Where did that "*only*" come from? I hope not from anything I've written.
>
> As for the Citizens United case, well, it's one of those cases that's
> widely talked about but rarely read. The real core case on campaign
> finance is the one I name below, now more than 30 years old. It is a
> complicated case dealing with the intersection of corporate regulation
> and constitutionally protected political speech, and one could teach a
> whole course about it, just to prepare someone to read Citizens
> United. Here's the enwiki link:
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_National_Bank_of_Boston_v._Bellotti>.
>
> Almost invariably, when I hear people talk about Citizens United in
> informal discussions, I'm hearing people who haven't invested the time
> it takes to understand why these issues are entangled. And of course I
> can't invest the time to give you a semester's worth of coursework
> either. But one shorthand way to look at this is, do we want to say
> that corporations don't have freedom of expression or the right to
> engage in political speech? Because if we flatly decide that, what
> happens to The New York Times Company (a for-profit corporation)?
> Should the Times be barred from political speech? Or the American
> Civil Liberties Union? (See
> <
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=American_Civil_Liberties_Union&action=submit
> >.)
> My point here is to underscore that public discussions of Citizens
> United and other cases rarely, in my experience, rise above
> sloganeering. The problems involved in corporations' legal status are
> subtle and complicated ones, not reducible to tweets and chants. I
> support reform of corporate influence in politics, but not at the
> price of making it impossible for an incorporated NGO to speak for
> individuals who otherwise might remain unheard.
>

This is an area I have no expertise in. My nascent understanding of the
legal implication of those legislations aside, I, like others usually defer
to more respected opinions. The Citizens United ruling for example has been
criticized by President Barak Obama, several prominent Senators including
Sen. McCain and John Kerry, Sandra Day O'Connor, several law professors
including Professors of Law at Yale and Harvard Law school, New York times
in an editorial stated "The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new
weapon." This is of course, overlooking the recent creation of Super PACs,
which is currently being mocked by Stephen Colbert and the like, while GOP
primaries and recent spate of negative ads, brought them under more of a
spotlight in the media.

My sloganeering opposition, along with several others is summed up by David
Kairys "Money Isn't Speech and Corporations Aren't People", I might not
know the subtleties and the underlying implications of the ruling, but I
side with the aforementioned opposers and the above statement.

You can read more about them in the rather large section on the criticism
section of the ruling page. (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission#Criticisms
)


>
> > That was partly based on my reading of the en.wp article on lobbying
> > (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying), when you have a minute, do
> re-write
> > the sections of the article where it is wrong.
>
> I hope I may be forgiven that this particular task can't be at the top
> of my to-do list just now. But I invite others to contribute to that
> article. As is usually the case, a Wikipedia article is a fine place
> to start research, but not itself an authority, as I think we all
> agree.
>
> > My
> > question was who usually spends more? non-profits who run a free
> > encyclopedia or giant publishers whose daily revenues are directly
> affected
> > by these decisions?
>
> Why do you imagine money spent is the measure of influence? The
> pro-SOPA forces outspent the tech industry three-to-one and still
> lost.
>
> Plus, If money is the measure of effectiveness, what does this say
> about Encyclopedia Britannica versus Wikipedia?
>

Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech and
corporations are people, albeit according to a naive but widely help
understanding of it, one that is shared by several prominent professors at
law.


>
> > Actually politico didn't publicize the engagement exclusively, the link
> kim
> > provided, mentions it as one brief story in a list of 10 others, stating,
> > "The foundation has snagged Dow Lohnes Government Strategies, according
> to a
> > newly filed lobbying disclosure, to focus on “legislation related to
> online
> > intellectual property infringement, including H.R. 3261, S. 968 and S.
> > 2029.” Those bill numbers coincide with SOPA, PIPA and the OPEN Act."
> Along
> > with the foundation did not return to comment to MT before press time.
>
> Note the words "newly filed lobbying disclosure." So much for our big
> secretive lobbyist arrangement!
>

I didn't state the agreement was secretive, the extent of the discussions
and consultation with the firm was.


>
> > There are still a lot of powerful institutions and organizations, who get
> > their message through, and make measurable impact without moving a single
> > lobbyist. This is the first time we are engaging one, so just curious
> about
> > what impact it has on perception of others.
>
> I expect the impressions are more positive among those who are more
> knowledgeable about political processes in the United States. As for
> whether WMF should have engaged someone in DC to advise in this
> context, I don't have an atom's worth of doubt that this was the
> correct and appropriate strategy to keep Wikipedia and other Wikimedia
> projects alive and vital in the face of ill-considered American
> legislation.
>

In light of Sue's clarification, the extent of the lobbying firm's
involvement wasn't near to what I assumed earlier. As far as consultation
and advising about political implications, yes, that was correct and the
appropriate strategy to take. Beyond that, I would defer to the opinion of
the wider community, which might or might not be in-line with yours.


>
> > It's about ROI and impact of money invested. We have the biggest and
> direct
> > way to get measurable impact on these issues, Wikipedia and the projects,
> > with 400 million people watching. The blackout proved that, incurring
> little
> > or no actual external cost in the process.
>
> I think you imagine the blackout was the only thing that mattered in
> turning this legislation around. I can see why you might think that,
> but it is incorrect. Effective strategies for political change are
> implemented on many levels, and, in my view, it is naive to suppose
> that mere protest, standing alone, is enough. I'm old enough to
> remember 1968, when countless individuals took to the streets all over
> the world. It was exciting, but it was also followed by decades of
> repressive governmental action that disillusioned many of the most
> hopeful and idealistic. To learn from 1968, you can't indulge the
> notion that mere mass protest is enough. Certainly there are plenty of
> people who remember Tienanmen Square who'll tell you the same thing.
>

I didn't think that at all. it would be quiet childish to think that
blackout alone was responsible for the change in the political position.
There were a whole host of issues, WMF worked in conjunction with several
other internet properties, albeit without prior coordination, to put a
united front and a public stance on what it believed in. The same two
things I am arguing for now. I really hope you don't think lobbying alone
could have achieved that; if your argument is, lobbying in addition to
blackout could have achieved that, then my earlier argument of ROI applies,
which generated more of a response? As far as our impact goes, WMF could
have spent 10 times of what Google did on lobbying, and it wouldn't have
compared to the impact the blackout generated.

This is not about mass protest, the opinions greatly out-weigh in one
direction over the other.


>
> > That is sadly the impression I have, along with a lot of others. I am
> not an
> > american but that has been the view cultivated by several years of
> following
> > american politics, tech news and listening to the likes of Jon stewart,
> > Huffpo and other reputed sources.
>
> Better than following the reputed sources is to lead them -- to make
> the news and not merely consume it. The reason the news media are
> called "media" is that they "mediate" -- you're not getting direct
> experience, but only what media believe will capture your attention
> and/or entertain you. Consider for example the works if this
> influential Canadian (almost as influential in my life as Canadians
> Sue Gardner and Jay Walsh ;) --
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan .
>


There is a spectrum of what is considered Media. I'm not sure about new
media being mediators but it is indeed a medium, a means of communication,
like the internet or Wikipedia. We are Media too, Mike.

My opinions are my own, based on reputed 3rd party sources, and expert
opinions, kind of like Wikipedia. I chose them, they are of course
conflicting ones out there, but they are as good as any others.

Regards
Theo

P.S. Hi Jorm, whatcha think? ;)
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 2:24 PM, Gregory Varnum
<gregory.varnum@gmail.com> wrote:
> Basically a charity in the USA can spend up to 20% of its expenses on "direct lobbying" of related issues.

20% of the first $500,000, 15% of the next $500,000, 10% of the next
$500,000, and 5% of the rest, with a cap of $1 million.

The limit for "grassroots lobbying", such as the blackout, is 25% of that.

And this is all only if they make an election under 501(h).

>> Basically that means they can say "this is good and that's good" - but they can't actually endorse a party or individual.

This is grassroots lobbying, not direct lobbying.

Pursuant to requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, any
tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments)
is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of
avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue
Code or promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax
related matter.

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 7:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> This is an area I have no expertise in. My nascent understanding of the
> legal implication of those legislations aside, I, like others usually defer
> to more respected opinions. The Citizens United ruling for example has been
> criticized by President Barak Obama....

I don't believe I suggested that Citizens United hasn't been
criticized by knowledgeable people. (I'm a critic too.) President
Obama, as a former constitutional law professor, for example, has
surely read both Bellotti and Citizens United. What I said,
specifically, was that when I read popular discussions of Citizens
United online, more often than not I'm reading commentary from someone
who hasn't read the cases.

> You can read more about them in the rather large section on the criticism
> section of the ruling page.
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission#Criticisms)
>

My habit is to read the decision directly rather than read the
Wikipedia entry. No reflection on Wikipedia, of course -- it's just
that as a practicing attorney I am professionally driven to consult
primary sources.

> Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech and
> corporations are people, albeit according to a naive but widely help
> understanding of it, one that is shared by several prominent professors at
> law.

My own habit is to read the cases directly, since I often must discuss
them with fellow lawyers who have also read the cases.

> We are Media too, Mike.

Just so. And it's something I never forget. All media must be received
skeptically.


--Mike

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> Why do you imagine money spent is the measure of influence? The
> pro-SOPA forces outspent the tech industry three-to-one and still
> lost.
>

Citation needed.

>
> Plus, If money is the measure of effectiveness, what does this say
> about Encyclopedia Britannica versus Wikipedia?


We have more. You need to separate Wikipedia from WMF, one is a US based
non-profit, the other is an online Encyclopedia. An encyclopedia, or
Wikipedia in this case, has to strive to be free of bias and political
positions, especially local ones. WMF on the other hand, can facilitate and
protect its interest and mission.

If I were to use a simplistic analogy, I would see Encyclopedia Britannica,
as a strictly scholar written encyclopedia with 65 thousand articles, who
in this model might have no options but to use lobbyist, since they don't
have a direct way of communicating with their readers. English Wikipedia at
3.8 million articles, written by you, me and most people on this list,
updated every second, might seem more at home by being direct, and talking
to the people who read and write it, and let them decide on their own
instead.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech and
> corporations are people

Really? That's weird. What recent ruling said that?

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 22 January 2012 08:30, Kim Bruning <kim@bruning.xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa
>>        http://www.politico.com/morningtech/0112/morningtech377.html
>>
>> Interesting. Any details?
>
> I thought we had already discussed this here, but maybe it was only
> discussed on the SOPA pages on-wiki?

I havent seen it mentioned on the mailing lists, and I dont recall
reading it in the IRC office hours.

I didnt see all of the discussion on enwiki. Does someone have a link
to the enwiki discussion about engaging a lobby firm?

The first mention I saw was on Commons

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Commons:Village_pump&diff=65523806&oldid=65523798

--
John Vandenberg

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On 1/22/12 7:32 PM, Theo10011 wrote:

> P.S. Hi Jorm, whatcha think? ;)

I think that trying to school Mike Godwin on Citizens United and IP Law
is colossally bad idea. But entertaining.

--
Brandon Harris, Senior Designer, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 7:45 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 12:30 AM, Mike Godwin <mnemonic@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Why do you imagine money spent is the measure of influence? The
>> pro-SOPA forces outspent the tech industry three-to-one and still
>> lost.
>
>
> Citation needed.

Here's a place to start:
<http://www.americablog.com/2012/01/story-behind-sopapipa-is-campaign-money.html>

But my favorite source for "citation needed" taggers is this:
<http://lmgtfy.com>

>> Plus, If money is the measure of effectiveness, what does this say
>> about Encyclopedia Britannica versus Wikipedia?
>
>
> We have more.

And who am I to take issue with such an indisputable, uncontroversial statement?


--Mike

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech and
> > corporations are people
>
> Really? That's weird. What recent ruling said that?


Citizens United Vs. Federal Election Commission, I was referring to David
Kairys quote here. [1]

Regards
Theo

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_united#Academics_and_attorneys_2
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:
>
>> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech and
>> > corporations are people
>>
>> Really?  That's weird.  What recent ruling said that?
>
> Citizens United Vs. Federal Election Commission

It said that money is speech and corporations are people? Weird.
Where does it say that? My search seems to be broken, cause I can't
find it.

> I was referring to David Kairys quote here.

AFAICT, Kairys' quote was that money *isn't* speech, and corporations
*aren't* people.

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:56 AM, Brandon Harris <bharris@wikimedia.org>wrote:

>
> I think that trying to school Mike Godwin on Citizens United and IP
> Law is colossally bad idea. But entertaining.
>
>
I agree completely. I love Mike, why on earth would you think I was trying
to "school" him? I was talking about general reactions of a US legislation.
I have no standing taking on Mike on IP laws.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 2:17 AM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 1:48 AM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:
> >
> >> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 10:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> > Well, that was my point, according to recent rulings, money is speech
> and
> >> > corporations are people
> >>
> >> Really? That's weird. What recent ruling said that?
> >
> > Citizens United Vs. Federal Election Commission
>
> It said that money is speech and corporations are people? Weird.
> Where does it say that? My search seems to be broken, cause I can't
> find it.
>
> > I was referring to David Kairys quote here.
>
> AFAICT, Kairys' quote was that money *isn't* speech, and corporations
> *aren't* people.


This seems rather dickish.

Let me re-state, I wasn't quoting Kairy but referring to his opposition. If
you read I said "according to recent rulings....", I didn't quote the
legislation or Kairy first, but a layman's understanding of the ruling,
based in part to a quote by a profesor at law.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> If you read I said "according to recent rulings...."

And as far as I can tell, what you claim those recent rulings said, is
not what the recent rulings said.

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
On Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 2:48 AM, Anthony <wikimail@inbox.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> > If you read I said "according to recent rulings...."
>
> And as far as I can tell, what you claim those recent rulings said, is
> not what the recent rulings said.
>
>
WP:OKAY

I hope I am still entitled to my opinion and understanding of a ruling, one
that I share with several others, however, flawed you might think it is.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
Le 22/01/2012 20:04, Mike Godwin a écrit :
> Another important lesson about arguing issues in Washington is that
> the fight is never over. The content companies have been at war with
> technology companies for decades over copyright issues. The fact that
> we were heard one day (or even one week) in 2012 is no basis for
> complacency.

I agree. Current times require a "wikifreedom" project whose objective
would be to fight censorship through sharing knowledge and raising
awareness. One of the main branches could be technological know-how to
build radios or bypass internet censoring. Giving access to tor-hidden
services like an encyclopedia or wikinews can change it ALL for censored
peoples.
> I believe Kat Walsh deserves credit for pointing out that, while we
> strive for NPOV in our encyclopedic content, the very existence of an
> encyclopedia -- and a freely available one at that -- signifies a
> political position. (Encyclopedists and librarians have known this for
> some time.)

That's an important fact, but if the communities and donors are to
delegate their power to a representant, it must be through a referendum
amongst the 300 000 makers of Wikipedia. I think anyone who ever
registered should be contacted and informed about such elections.

Money is already already dangerous for a cause, political power is even
more. « Beware the steward »

> This is not an either/or choice. Small, independent voices can be
> heard, if you know what you're doing.
I agree. In fact, I think the power of Wikipedia and sister projects is
not shown in the money, but in the huge and resourceful communities
commited to them.

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
Le 22/01/2012 20:18, Thomas Dalton a écrit :
> That's a good analogy. The approach often taken with studies about
> humanity is not to do experiments (because they can be harmful) but
> instead to examine things that have already happened or are happening
> anyway.
But then you won't act until studying it all, rejecting any opportunity
to take a stance in the meanwhile. That is, you make the choice of
consenting what's happening without good reason. That's a choice, that's
an experiment: the experiment of passivity.

From a thousand years of dark ages, Les Lumières [1] have drawn one
lesson : control of information flow is best fought than allowed. It is
best for everyone to be the master of his or her own life.

[1]: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lumi%C3%A8res_%28philosophie%29
(the english article is urgent, it's about wikipedian values)

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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
Mike, I don't know how's the political landscape is in the USA, but you
would say that there is few significative corruption and collusion?


Le 22/01/2012 21:16, Mike Godwin a écrit :
> Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> writes:
>
> On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Am I wrong to assume, that lobbying involves approaching a registered,
>> professional consulting/lobbying firm in Washington who in turn, refer the
>> client to politicians and then facilitate meetings and discussions in
>> private, client are expected to pay expenses and other fees incurred in the
>> process, usually a pretty hefty sum.
> Yes, you're wrong.
>
>> Are those discussions and arrangements
>> made in private, facilitated by lobbying firms, what is needed to get our
>> voice heard?
> No. It can be helpful to have an experienced Washington
> government-relations specialist to facilitate meetings, and to advise
> you on how to be effective, but the word "private" is inappropriate
> here. (The very fact that Politico was able to publicize WMF's
> engagement with such a specialist ought to be an indicator of this --
> in the USA, especially for the last 40 years, there have been vastly
> increased requirements for public reporting and accountability, both
> for nonprofits and for traditional corporate lobbyists.) When I
> represented the Center for Democracy and Technology or Public
> Knowledge at the FCC or on Capitol Hill, for example, the first thing
> I had to do when getting back from a meeting was write up a report of
> whom I met and what was discussed. The reports became part of the
> public record, and part of these nonprofits' public disclosures as
> well.
>
>> You mentioned the protest, and how proud you were to have been associated
>> with it, so were most of us. That was the right thing to do - open, direct
>> and public. All of which this doesn't seem to be.
> You'd be wrong about meetings with policymakers not being public.
> They're required be law to be reported and accounted for. As I have
> noted, many people have stereotypical notions about what it means
> to "lobby" in Washington. Too many movies and TV, I imagine.
>
>> Again, these might be stereotypes, but the general realities aren't that far
>> off either.
> Hugely far off, actually.
>
> To compare: it's a little bit as if you took your understanding of
> police work from watching American police action films. It's not wrong
> to say that sometimes police rough people up, for example, but it
> would be wrong to say that is the norm. Most police work is dull and
> routine, and the sheer amount of paperwork an average policeman has to
> do is so astounding that nobody ever even tries to depict it in film
> or TV drama. You'd switch channels or walk out of the theater in boredom.
>
> If you really think that (for example) the American Library
> Association's Office for Information Technology Policy
> (http://www.ala.org/offices/oitp) is having secret meetings with
> senators and writing big checks, then the American entertainment
> industry has done a huge disservice in educating people about all the
> ways public policy can be shaped. Not that this should come as any
> surprise.
>
> (I'd love it, of course, if the American Library Association were
> capable of writing big checks, but that's another story.)
>
>
> --Mike
>
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Re: Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa" [ In reply to ]
Le 22/01/2012 23:30, Mike Godwin a écrit :

> I think you imagine the blackout was the only thing that mattered in
> turning this legislation around. I can see why you might think that,
> but it is incorrect. Effective strategies for political change are
> implemented on many levels, and, in my view, it is naive to suppose
> that mere protest, standing alone, is enough. I'm old enough to
> remember 1968, when countless individuals took to the streets all over
> the world. It was exciting, but it was also followed by decades of
> repressive governmental action that disillusioned many of the most
> hopeful and idealistic. To learn from 1968, you can't indulge the
> notion that mere mass protest is enough. Certainly there are plenty of
> people who remember Tienanmen Square who'll tell you the same thing.
>
In this case, what do you think of Avaaz.org?

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