Submissions:2019/Public Policy Roundtable

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This submission has been accepted for WikiConference North America 2019.


Public Policy Roundtable


Relationship Building & Support

Type of session:

Round Table


The Wikimedia mission depends on a legal and policy environment that allows affordable access to free and reliable information.

After intensive debates over the European Union's new Copyright Directive last year, there are significant policy changes on the horizon. Lawmakers around the world seek to address the economic and societal challenges that arise online. Some of these issues are new, but many are new iterations of issues where the Wikimedia community has long-established positions. The Wikimedia community has a history of defending and promoting access to reliable information and other important values that remain at the forefront of the public agenda.

In this roundtable, we will discuss the most significant recent and upcoming policy and legal developments that affect the Wikimedia mission. The discussion will cover the Wikimedia public policy areas of copyright, privacy, censorship, access to knowledge, and intermediary liability. We will also discuss important topics beyond these core areas. We can review actions that the Wikimedia community has taken over the last year, and the biggest topics that should be on our agenda for the next.

We will discuss topics such as:

  • Proposals to change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that provides legal protections that enable Wikipedia's community self-governance
  • Developments in privacy law, and the possible paths for the future of federal privacy law
  • Georgia v.Public.Resource.Org and other important cases to watch
  • …and other topics you wish to bring to the table

Participants can share their insights, opportunities, and challenges. Through group discussion, we can identify areas for further work. We can also identify areas of potential collaboration and sharing additional information with people in North America who are interested in public policy. The roundtable will conclude with a plan for further action.

The session will be interactive, and we welcome people with all levels of knowledge and experience in public policy.

Academic Peer Review option:


Author name:

Sherwin Siy (Senior Public Policy Manager, Wikimedia Foundation), Stephen LaPorte (Legal Director, Wikimedia Foundation)

E-mail address:,

Wikimedia username:

User:Slaporte (WMF), User:Ssiy (WMF)

Affiliated organization(s):

Wikimedia Foundation

Estimated time:

60 minutes

Preferred room size:

Medium, preferably with a seating arrangement conducive for group discussion

Special requests:

Have you presented on this topic previously? If yes, where/when?:

We have had sessions on public policy at Wikimania and the Wikimedia Conference/Summit. The discussion is always updated with the most recent developments and adapted to the interest of attendees, so all of the material we will discuss will be fresh.

If your submission is not accepted, would you be open to presenting your topic in another part of the program? (e.g. lightning talk or unconference session)