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Company Fined €25,000 For Altering Wikipedia

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the now-that's-an-edit-war dept.

The Courts 141

hcs_$reboot writes "A French court ordered a company to pay 25,000 Euros to a competitor about which she had removed the name of a Wikipedia entry dedicated to her field. Hi-Media, the defendant, was identified thanks to her IP address found from the Wikipedia page."

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Horribly Summary (2)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663826)

That summary makes no sense whatsoever; can someone translate?

Re:Horribly Summary (4, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663856)

Sounds like Hi-Media specialized in field A. On Wikipedia page for Field A, Competitor B was mentioned. Someone at Hi-Media edited the Wikipedia page for Field A to remove all references to Competitor B. And I assume it was sanctioned by Hi-Media if they're getting in trouble for it

Re:Horribly Summary (4, Informative)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664512)

Correct. The field in question is micropayments. Hi-Media and Rentabiliweb are both companies that handle micropayments. The French Wikipedia page for Micropayments [wikimedia.org] used to list both companies. Someone from Hi-Media edited the page, and deleted the name of Rentabiliweb. Court found in favour of Rentabiliweb for 25,000 euros (roughly $36,000). Edit logs from Wikipedia and reverse DNS was the main evidence.

Re:Horribly Summary (4, Funny)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665084)

Were they forced to make 5 million payments of 0.005 euros each?

Re:Horribly Summary (2)

jandoedel (1149947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664578)

It's about companies that offer micropayment.

There was a list of companies that offered this service, and Hi-Media removed their competitor from that list. The competitor (Rentabiliweb) noticed this, and found out that the IP address of the edit belonged to a computer at Hi-Media, which the judge saw as proof that Hi-Media sanctioned it.

Rentabiliweb claimed 150 000 in damages, but only got 25 000, because "people don't usually visit Wikipedia to find companies that offer services"

Re:Horribly Summary (2)

Zenaku (821866) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663886)

The link goes to a google translation of the article, so I'm guessing the summary was "translated" from the original as well.

I agree, it's completely unintelligible. I only get that one company is suing another over a Wikipedia edit. I think that the defendant company removed the plaintiff company from a list of companies providing some service. I think all the she and her stuff must be because of gendered nouns in the original language.

Re:Horribly Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664100)

Indeed.
Good summary,
And good analysis : in French, there is no equivalent to "it" and "its", eveything has a gender ( and yes a company is "female" ). That's why "she" sued "her" competitor.

Re:Horribly Summary (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664508)

There's always "ce", as in "c'est la vie". Ce is usually used for "this" or "that", but can also be translated as "it". Much like English, there's a real problem with specifying unknown or indeterminate gender. For some reason, Anglophones really hate using "it" to refer to people, thus you end up with "he/she needs to eat his/her food", instead of "it needs to eat its food". At least, in English, when gender is inapplicable (a situation that English recognizes), you can use "it".

Re:Horribly Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664770)

"It" sounds like you're referring to a thing, not a person. It's comparably insulting to calling someone in the Navy "crewman" rather than by their rank or appropriate honorific.

Re:Horribly Summary (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665228)

Are you kidding? I'm sure they'd rather be called "crewman" than "it".

Re:Horribly Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665278)

It's comparably insulting to calling someone in the Navy "crewman" rather than by their rank or appropriate honorific.

Brilliant. Explain a basic feature of the English language by using analogy to an obscure factoid about English-language naval etiquette that you can be 99% sure any native speaker would be ignorant of, let alone someone unfamiliar with basic English.

Re:Horribly Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665872)

Oh please, if there's one thing Americans all know about is the military.

Re:Horribly Summary (3, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665954)

Anglophones really hate using "it" to refer to people, thus you end up with "he/she needs to eat his/her food", instead of "it needs to eat its food"

Most Americans use "they" instead of he/she, since he-she is sometimes used to refer to a transvestite. It's odd when you stop to think about using a plural for a singular pronoun of indeterminant gender, but it's better than it or he/she.

Re:Horribly Summary (2)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666330)

From my dictionary:

The word they as a singular pronoun to refer to a person of unspecified sex has been used since at least the 16th century. In the late 20th century, as the traditional use of he to refer to a person of either sex came under scrutiny on the grounds of sexism, this use of they has become more common. It is now generally accepted in contexts where it follows an indefinite pronoun such as anyone, no one, someone, or a person.

In other contexts, coming after singular nouns, the use of they is now common, although less widely accepted, esp. in formal contexts. Sentences such as : ask a friend if they could help are still criticized for being ungrammatical. Nevertheless, in view of the growing acceptance of they and its obvious practical advantages, they is used in this dictionary in many cases where he would have been used formerly.

Re:Horribly Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664502)

I think all the she and her stuff must be because of gendered nouns in the original language.

In English, all nouns are transgender.

Re:Horribly Summary (2)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663888)

entabiliweb had noticed that his name had been erased from the record "Micropayment" on Wikipedia. L'entrée donnait une liste de sites Internet où cette activité est disponible. The entry gave a list of websites where this activity is available. Or, Rentabiliweb s'est aperçu que le 9 juillet 2008 , la référence à son site avait disparu. Dans l'historique des versions , elle ausculte les IP et remontent jusqu'à Hi-Media qu'elle accuse alors d'avoir tenté de lui nuire. But Rentabiliweb realized that July 9, 2008 , the reference to his site had disappeared. In the version history , it auscultates IPs and go back to Hi-Media accuses it of trying to harm.

I think Google Translate auscultates it perfectly cromulently, what's your question?

Re:Horribly Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664222)

Some company called Rentabiliweb noticed that their name had been erased from the French micropayment wikipedia article, so they looked through the history and found that on July 9, 2008, someone from an Hi-Media ip address expunged all mention of them. People get angry and Rentabiliweb takes this up before a commerce tribunal (I don't know much about legal proceedings in France). At this point, Hi-Media says what Rentabiliweb did to determine the source of the edits was illegal, but the tribunal decides that Rentabiliweb is in the right. Rentabiliweb tried to get 150000 euros out of Hi-Media, but the tribunal knocked that down to 25000.

And then the article harkens back to that time the Hadopi architect edited wikipedia.

I don't see much of a story, but that's me.

What???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663850)

Can someone translate from ramblese?

Re:What???? (1)

present_arms (848116) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663872)

sorry I only speak English :P

Re:What???? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664040)

Hi-Media and Rentabiliweb both are micropaiement businesses (micropaiement probably being the French word for micropayment). Hi-Media went on to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and, under the list of companies on the micropaiement article, removed Rentabiliweb's entry. Rentabiliweb could have just edited the article, and restored their entry, but instead they sued and somehow won â25,000.

Personally, I can't see how Hi-Media did anything wrong enough to justify such a huge fine. At worst, it was wikipedia vandalism, which merits a warning, and if continued, a ban. At best, if their edit was in good faith (it probably wasn't) it merits no punishment.

I can't tell exactly, but I think Hi-Media also claimed that Rentabiliweb identified them illegally, using the IP address listed on the page to which I linked earlier. Lol, noobs.

Re:What???? (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664194)

The triviality of an act does not mean it is trivial. For some people, it is trivial to steal a car. With a nice repo-man's tow truck, I can steal cars REALLY fast and it doesn't even require lock picking skillz. In fact, the relative ease in which a bladed instrument can be plunged into the heart of another human should be an even more dramatic example of something that is trivial to perform but is not trivial in nature.

So when one company sets out to limit the exposure of another, this is trivial to do on wikipedia, but it is, in truth, anti-competitive behavior and should be punished fiercely. You can stack all kinds of ridiculous technological measures out there, but the party(s) involved already knew it was wrong and should have known it might even be criminal.

In short, the idea that it's not "so" wrong because it's too easy is kinda weak.

Re:What???? (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664420)

Where's the option to mod up for "Right On"?

Re:What???? (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664688)

Anti-competitive, or competitive? Anybody can edit anyone out of Wikipedia, and then anyone can edit anyone back in. That makes it merely competitive. If wikipedia employees/metas actually blacklisted references to someone out of Wikipedia, that might be anti-competitive, since nobody else can undo that.

But do you have a right to be in a WP article? (2)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664948)

The fundamental question to me is what right do you have to be in a Wikipedia article? Let's assume for a moment that WP was not a publically editable site, but that it was a closed system with designated editors. Would Wikipedia be obligated to include every possible company that might be related to a particular product or service in their encyclopedia? Should they be sued for excluding some company?

If not, then why is it illegal for an editor to remove a company from a Wikipedia page? Why does it matter that it's publically editable?

The court, apparently finds it anti-competitive, but by what right does any company have to be listed in Wikipedia? Are they paying for advertising? Do they have a contract?

Now, the governing board or whatever of Wikipedia, internally, might find it to be a violation of site policy for a company to remove a competitor from Wikipedia, but why should courts be involved in what is essentially an internal governance/editorial issue at Wikipedia?

Re:But do you have a right to be in a WP article? (4, Insightful)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665180)

Has nothing to do with Wikipedia per se. That's not the fundamental issue.

Someone censored or supressed what was or is for selfish gain. It's wrong.

That's the anti-competitive act.

It's like me hiding your painting in a gallery so people buy mine rather than yours.

Re:But do you have a right to be in a WP article? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665188)

Let's make up a nice hypothetical situation for you. You are company A and I am company B and we operate in the same industry.

You did whatever you did to earn a high ranking on Google's indexes. I somehow managed to have all mention of your company removed from Google's indexes so that only my company appears there.

So let's ask your irrelevant question about "what right" exists to be listed there at all. I think in the case of appearance on Google and the removal of it is a demonstrable case of harm as it decreases the visibility and presence of a company. For that matter, Google owns Google and even IT does not have the right to behave in that way.

Wikipedia is a medium just as Google is a medium. If you, Company A removes mention of me, Company B, from a public medium, you have done harm to me. It's easy to see in the case of Google because it is a highly consumer oriented medium. Wikipedia, not so much but the principle is the same.

Re:But do you have a right to be in a WP article? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665262)

Your hypothetical situation doesn't seem to prove what you want it to, in my opinion.

Who shows up where in Google's Indexes is solely Google's business. The only right I might have to be on Google is whatever right Google *grants* to me.

If Google sells my competitor the right to remove me from Google's search results, then I might have a lawsuit against Google (if I had a contract with Google to be listed; of course, if I don't pay for my google listing, but just expect to show up because of the crawler giving me a free, automatic listing, then no contract would exist, and I would have no right to show up in the index), but not against the competitor, I shouldn't think (I'm no lawyer, but that's my understanding of the law).

Google DOES have the right to remove whomever they want for essentially whatever reason they want, from their search results. In particular, here in the U.S. it would be a First Amendment Constitutional Speech issue - the government cannot compel speech, and any legal requirement that Google couldn't de-list you would be compelling speech from Google, thereby denying Google's stockholders of their First Amendment rights.

I have no idea if France has anything similar to the First Amendment, however.

Re:But do you have a right to be in a WP article? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666358)

Actually, it does and you are missing a huge point that has been demonstrated right here on slashdot multiple times. First of all, while you seem to think Google is at 100% liberty to do what it wants with its own servers and services, you are demonstrably wrong by legal precedent. Google is severely limited by what it can and cannot do by virtue of competition laws, trademark laws, copyright laws and more. The controversy over Google Ad Words is precedent enough to show that.

And barring any interference by Google itself, if one entity could affect whether another has presence on Google or anywhere on the internet, they are interfering with free trade. That is illegal by the laws of most nations in the world. My example wasn't about what Google has a right to do, but what others have a right to do TO OTHERS using Google's services.

Your view point picks on specific media items to decide what may or may not be fair business practice. My view point attempts to make no distinction. There is an inherent problem with your view in that every time a medium changes, all the rules regulating professional behavior changes with it. Consider the victory for the consumer when Bell was broken up and new regulations about personally owned equipment were guaranteed by the government. All of that went out the window when the medium changed to wireless. Where POTS service providers are barred from charging the subscriber more for using a modem, wireless carriers are perfectly free to do so. By failing to appreciate that the medium is nearly irrelevant to fairness of practice and behavior, you and others with your point of view are guaranteeing the process of abuse and resolution with each and every new technology that appears now and into the future and that every victory for the consumer will have to be re-fought and re-won each and every time.

Re:What???? (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666112)

I agree, take them out back and plunge bladed instruments into the execs who set this in motion.

Re:What???? (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664284)

Hi-Media and Rentabiliweb both are micropaiement businesses (micropaiement probably being the French word for micropayment). Hi-Media went on to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and, under the list of companies on the micropaiement article, removed Rentabiliweb's entry. Rentabiliweb could have just edited the article, and restored their entry, but instead they sued and somehow won â25,000.

But then they would have violated the conflict of interest policy of Wikipedia.

You're confused. (1, Insightful)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664332)

You're confused between real-life (interfering with another business's trade- for which Hi-Media was fined) and a childish fantasy land where is ok to do anything you like (where you "I can't see how Hi-Media did anything wrong enough to justify such a huge fine" which you think "a warning [or] a ban").

Welcome to the grown-up's world, where your actions have consequences, whether your like it or not.

Re:You're confused. (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664550)

I agree that what Hi-Media did is wrong and unethical, but I fail to see how anything they did should be illegal or otherwise worthy of any sort of lawsuit. Sure, you can sue for anything, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be summarily thrown out of court by a judge for wasting their time.

Consider Hi-Media and this other company are both members in some private club, which has a building with publicly facing windows. As part of this club, you can hang anything you want out the windows, or remove anything from the windows. The other company hung a sign out one of the windows, and Hi-Media removed it. It's all private property, there is nothing any law (besides zoning regulations) has anything to say about it. It is up to that private club to arbitrate internally, and decide to kick out Hi-Media. No government authority should have any say over the proceedings.

Re:You're confused. (1, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664712)

This appeared to be a civil lawsuit where the question of legality is left up to a criminal court. For these civil cases, the two questions that are addressed is whether the defendant did the actions for which they are accused and how much in damages should be awarded. The court found that €25000 was acceptable and not €150000.

Re:What???? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664568)

entabiliweb could have just edited the article, and restored their entry, but instead they sued and somehow won Ã25,000.

That would just likely start an edit-war. The action they took ends the problem. And gets them a little "relief" for the hassle and harm done, and a hand-slap on the bad guys to not try it again.

Re:What???? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665146)

Doesn't Wikipedia have their own policy for challenging such an edit (e.g. maybe not re-adding your company, but petitioning the Wikipedia editors to re-add you, and lock the page so that the competitor cannot remove you, or banning edits from the competitor's IP block or something)?

Re:What???? (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665302)

I'm not a wikipedia expert, but I know pages can be locked/protected from edits if they are big targets for vandalism (Obama most recently I think) but they're unlikely to lock it for such a small target. And no, they can't lock it against edits from a specific company. Besides, they could just go home and edit it from home etc.

Re:What???? (2)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665140)

Do you really want a web where companies and individuals are actively censoring one another for personal gain? It's starting to happen already.

Imagine the day you cannot find any negative reviews for any product or company.

Your negative or critical comments are removed from a blog because they are against the sponsors.

Your posts on a forum are modified to remove links to the competitors of the recommendations you wrote.

Welcome to shillnet. Honesty and personal integrity be dammed. If you don't stop this while it is obvious, it won't send out the warning signal that society does not tolerate low and pathetic business practices. Maybe that will force people to think twice about being assholes.

Re:What???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36666290)

Except that, whether a website removes or keeps bad reviews of something, is entirely up to that website. A video game publisher can't forcefully take down reviews on a store that sells their games, they need to get the store to agree to take down the reviews themselves.
And if stores start to remove bad reviews, people can still open their own neutral websites where bad reviews won't be deleted.

Wikipedia is another deal. The fact that anyone is free to add, edit or remove content is important. Did the company remove it's rival for malicious reasons? Yes.
Should that be illegal? No, unless you want to deny Wikipedia the right to run their website the way THEY want.
Wikipedia works as long as people can edit articles without fear of being prosecuted. If people start to fear lawsuits for editing articles, they'll stop contributing and Wikipedia will die.
If you plan to reply that only editing information about competitors should be illegal, think carefully: scientists often disagree with each other. Should scientists fear lawsuits because they edited an article on thermal dynamics? I know Wikipedia sometimes mentions multiple theories, but sometimes scientists disagree about a small detail in one theory and this argument is not significant enough to Wikipedia to mention both opinions. However, it may seem significant enough to these scientists that one will sue the other and claim damage to his reputation.
Should historians fear lawsuits from each other because of a disagreement? Should political analysts fear lawsuits? Should I sue the person who wrote the USA are a Republic when they really are more of a tyranny?

But nobody asked Wikipedia what they thought about it. A judge in France decided that from now on, the French Justice System can decide what edits are legal on Wikipedia. Specifically, you can't edit an article in order to contradict a competitor or rival in any way.
As for Wikipedia... They wanted to be a website where people were free to edit articles, and disputes would be settled internally. But it has now been decided by other people that since Wikipedia is so popular, Wikipedia can no longer make their own rules.

If I were the owner of Wikipedia, I'd sue the plaintiff website and demand payment for advertisement fee. Because that website admitted in court that Wikipedia is a source of advertisement, and the court agreed. That would teach them to try and get the authorities to dictate the rules of my own website.

Maybe a French judge could now tell me what rules my guild on WoW should have...
Speaking of video games, next we'll have EvE online players suing other players for destroying their ships in game and arguing that ships are worth real money, even though the purpose of the game is to fight each other and destroy your enemy's ships. I bet this would actually hold in a French court.

Re:What???? (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664116)

i am not for sure, but I believe that the following is happening here company A Sues Company B for a Wiki edit. The edit was erasing company A's name from wikipedia. Company B's IP range was tied to the edit. Company A and Company B are both in competition with eachother. It is like Pepsi soda erasing Coke soda's wiki Entry and Coke suing for internet defacing.

Wikipedia admins beware (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663866)

Now we can sue you for recommending our pages for speedy deletion. Take that!

Re:Wikipedia admins beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664160)

This was a Commerce Tribunal, specifically dedicated to solve conflicts between businesses. The Wikipedia alteration had been done by a fixed IP belonging to the defendant, so the case case that a company tried to damage the public image of a competitor. The judge evaluated such damage to 25,000 eur of lost revenue. An individual like a Wikipedia contributor (or even an employee of a competitor) using his own business does not have to obey Commerce rules and could not be sued.

That's a bit presumptuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663878)

Paid to the competitor? Like, that competitor was recognized as having a legal interest in being listed in a private, community-run website?

That is odd. I could see the fine being paid to the Wikimedia foundation, since they're the ones whose terms of service were violated by the malicious edits; but I think a legal can of worms is opened by the idea that a third party could sue for being deprived of a publicity service to which they were never entitled in the first place.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663908)

If this sort of lawsuit becomes the norm, we can *definitely* expect a chilling effect.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (2)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664052)

This sounds like a case of company A saying something about company B, so company A sues company B. It sounds like Wikipedia was just the venue and that the person who made the edit was just an employee. In other words, this sounds more like business law than anything that has to do with the freedom of speech.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664288)

Yes, a chilling effect on company shills from using public resources to help their business and hurt their competitors. In the end, no big loss.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665794)

Yes, a chilling effect on company shills from using public resources to help their business and hurt their competitors. In the end, no big loss.

Uh, no. The term "chilling effect" refers to self-censorship of speech beyond the parameters of the original case for fear that those parameters will be extended to cover additional speech.

For example, the chilling effect in this case could apply to competitors (who are frequently domain experts) who simply correct information rather than delete it. One man's correction can be be another man's censorship and if that second man is particularly litigious then the truth doesn't really matter because simply defending oneself in court is frequently too much of a burden on its own.

Personally, I think the correct action in this case would have been to revert the edit and be done with it.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664438)

I think that was part of the intent of the judgement. French court succeed?

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664046)

If you are removing publicly available (and seemingly correct) information about a competitor from a publicly available website, this can be easily be considered anticompetitive behaviour.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664750)

If you are removing publicly available (and seemingly correct) information about a competitor from a publicly available website, this can be easily be considered anticompetitive behaviour.

I smell a whole new breed of internet troll awakening.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665086)

The GP is right though. The fact it's on wikipedia should never change the intended harm of the action.

If you are working for company A it is anti-competitive for you to tear down posters for company B. This is just as well. The fact is is happening on Wikipedia makes no difference.

Company A in this case would rather censor the competitor than compete fairly. I think people should avoid business with the anti-competitive company because it's dishonest. If they are willing to do this, why wouldn't they pull something similar on you? A micropayment service sounds like a perfect model for ripping off merchants and end users.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664106)

since they're the ones whose terms of service were violated by the malicious edits

You assume the edits were malicious, and they weren't actually removing a relatively unknown non-notable Micropayments company from a list of 'notable micropayment companies'

Or claiming such in good faith

The Wiki was working as it should be; if the company actually was notable, there should have been no problem simply reverting the edit.

Sounds like an attempt to use the courts to make an end-run around Wikipedia policy and editor consensus

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664556)

Sounds like an attempt to use the courts to make an end-run around Wikipedia policy and editor consensus

Or no-one cared or knew enough about about the topic to question the edit. I can think of one notable European-based payment processor that isn't mentioned on Wikipedia. They probably could have re-added themselves knowing full well that French micro-payment processors are probably on a par with Dankort. Not so many Danes, but the ones editing Wikipedia would all be familiar with Dankort. In the case of a French micro-payment processor, they're perhaps not even well known among the French.

Doesn't sound like it's anything to do with Wikipedia policy - more a couple of companies squabling over anything that comes to mind.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664702)

Why else would someone from their work computer be editing Wikipedia to remove names of competitors for anything but malicious reasoning? Oh, the poor shill got caught! Oh the humanity!!!

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#36666376)

You assume the edits were malicious, and they weren't actually removing a relatively unknown non-notable Micropayments company from a list of 'notable micropayment companies'

That's essentially what judges are for. They look at the case, and see if the truth can be established (beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal cases, lower standards apply in civil cases) - sometimes that's not possible, sometimes it's rather clear. Here a company removes a link to a direct competitor. Why did they do it? Because the employee of that company cares that the list of notable micropayment companies is correct, they say? Well then let him explain what criteria he used, whether he compared market presence, whether he removed other companies, whether he added competitors.

There is no absolute proof required. In this case the employee in question does not even have a Wikipedia account (since he signed with IP address), so his claim to care about the correctness of Wikipedia information would not pass the reasonable doubt standard. It would even fail the "not laughable" standard.

Many countries have laws against anticompetitive behavior. One of the scenarios this is supposed to avoid, is a larger company suppressing information or spreading misinformation about the smaller company. E.g. in the case of Wikipedia the larger company might be able to afford a dedicated person to remove the smaller companies entries, whereas the smaller company might at best be able to occasionally look at the relevant pages. They'd have no chance to keep the information correct.

What information that Wikipedia page lists afterwards is irrelevant for the court case. The company was fined for engaging in anticompetitive behavior - the judge did *not* order Wikipedia to list the competitor. So Wikipedia is still free to decide which company should be on the list and which should not.

Re:That's a bit presumptuous (2)

improfane (855034) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665344)

Wikimedia is not the company that was wronged.

Company A actively tried to hurt B by denying readers who happened upon that article at the time the mention of that company. They had a malicious motivation to stop the company's name from being heard.

If you allow this to happen, the act of hurting competitors becomes a slippery slope:
  - supressing information about them
  - spreading FUD about them
  - physically damaging, 'removing' or intimidation them

A business ecosystem that works on these ethics is not a pleasant one (Goldman Sachs).

The author who wrote the article was probably not associated with either company, hence why both companies were mentioned. It would not have been anti-competitive if one of the companies edited the article to add their own name (it would have been against Wikipedia's neutral policy however).

Translations... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663892)

From the article...

A good soul hidden under the IP 143.126.11.222 blew up, ...

Wikipedia had its chance to be an encyclopedia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36663970)

It could of been a professional open source competitor to the likes of Britannica, World-book and Encarta (which was killed by Wikipedia), but no they let deletionists and admins with serious mental problems take over. Luckily there are inclusionist wikis out there but as long as Wikipedia keeps appearing on the top of search engine results it will reel in more suckers while Jimbo Wales keeps hanging out with his babes [wikia.com] .

If you are a Wikipedian reading this, please turn of your computer and go outside. You won't care about NPOV and notabillity once you get laid.

Re:Wikipedia had its chance to be an encyclopedia (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664206)

Oh, cry some more. Nobody fucking cares if your pet article got deleted. Wikipedia is much better now that people have actually started trying to enforce some notability, neutrality, and strong sources. Beforehand, it was a complete and utter joke, and now it actually has some respectability. Once all the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek articles have been deleted, it will be an even better site.

Yes, yes, go ahead and say it: I represent everything wrong with Wikipedia, and I am evil incarnate. I take glee in making little babies like you cry and leave in a huff. You never would have contributed to a relevant article, anyway. The fewer people we have writing articles about obscure Buffy characters, the better. YOUR ARTICLES WERE A WASTE OF SPACE, AND I'M GLAD THEY'RE GONE. BWAHAHAHA.

Re:Wikipedia had its chance to be an encyclopedia (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664586)

Lies. The articles are never gone. They are still taking up space in the database, and can be recovered by admins.

On en.wp, notability is a farce (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664828)

IP wrote:

Wikipedia is much better now that people have actually started trying to enforce some notability

Let's see: English Wikipedia defines notability of a subject as coverage of the subject in multiple reliable sources independent of a subject. Yet there's no remotely rigorous definition of "multiple", "reliable", or "independent". This makes notability on English Wikipedia look like "a farce", as gottabeme put it [slashdot.org] . Has French Wikipedia defined notability more objectively than English Wikipedia has?

Re:Wikipedia had its chance to be an encyclopedia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665836)

"I represent everything wrong with Wikipedia"

Actually, you represent everything that is wrong with society. Fortunately, people like you rarely get to make the rules...or the lack there of.

Re:Wikipedia had its bla bla EDITED (1)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665046)

It could of [have] been a profe[...], but no[need a comma here] they let deletionists [...] inclusionist wikis out there[need a comma here] but as long as Wikipedia keeps [...]

If you are a Wikipedian reading this, please turn of[f] your computer and go outside. [...]

Edited that for ya.

So Wikipedia is a marketing website now? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36663974)

Since when is Wikipedia an appropriate place to advertise?

Re:So Wikipedia is a marketing website now? (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664020)

Since when is Wikipedia an appropriate place to advertise?

Since Jimbo needed money?

Re:So Wikipedia is a marketing website now? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664048)

I habitually look for service providers on Wikipedia

Re:So Wikipedia is a marketing website now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664086)

Since 13 Jan. 2001.

Domain ID:D51687756-LROR
Domain Name:WIKIPEDIA.ORG
Created On:13-Jan-2001 00:12:14 UTC

Wiki social marketing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664024)

I saw it firsthand. Individuals get active in Wikipedia, get titles of editors, and then start to carry out commercial orders of removing competitors' names.

I do not click on Wikipedia links anymore. It is like that magical ring. When one has got too much power it corrupts. There are other sites too where information can be found.

Wikipedia is being used now by inside marketeers to skew the market.

Attempted summary (3, Informative)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664026)

My French is rather rusty... but here's a go:

A company (A) had removed the name of their competitor (B) form the (French) Wikipedia article on Micropayments. Thanks to Wikipedia's logs the company who had their name removed (B) was able to identify the culprit as their competitor (A) and sued, successfully claiming 25,000 € in damages.

French natives, please correct me if I'm misreading here. :)

Re:Attempted summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664196)

That's my understanding, but I dropped out of French in high school on account of our teacher being insane. She would frequently burst into 30-minute rants about assassinating various members of the Congo government. I wish I was joking. Every single class aside from two or three tests was either a revolutionary rant or watching Muzzy again.

Re:Attempted summary (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664352)

I dropped out of this conversation on account of AC being insane. He/she would frequently burst into rants about his/her high school French teacher being insane.

Re:Attempted summary (2)

Trigger31415 (1912176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664272)

You're right.
Moreover, Company A = Hi-Média, and Company B = Rentabiliweb.

When will people learn (1)

CheerfulMacFanboy (1900788) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664172)

If you want to be anonymous on Wikipedia, you have to get yourself a name. If you post as an IP, its much easier to find you.

Terrific (-1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664192)

Now the stupid admins and users with an overinflated sense of ego can threaten legal action just because someone edits a page and they don't agree with it?

Come on, Wikipedia's just a website.

Re:Terrific (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664308)

No, this is about a shill from one company trying to edit Wikipedia to remove references to their competitor. It has nothing to do with your strawman.

Re:Terrific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664908)

I didn't know companies had a right to be mentioned on wikipedia. Now it is enforced by the government?

Re:Terrific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665012)

They have a right not to be removed from Wikipedia by their competitors.

Re:Terrific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665936)

Why?

I agree that it's low, and I absolutely agree that it's a shady practice if it was authorized, but why does this company have an expectation that their name will appear in a publicly editable page?

Now, IANAL, and IANA Frenchman, so the sum total of my understanding French civil law is basically "You can sue people for doing bad things to you", but I fail to see how this is interpreted as an attack worth suing over. After all, they can turn around and do the EXACT SAME THING! And the two people who go to Wikipedia to learn about the different types of microtransactions available in France will, naturally, be very sad.

Basically, until such a time a Wikipedia adopts standards that will allow them to be referenced in a high school (or better) research paper, I don't see that you can claim any expectations of any kind about the contents of Wikipedia. Since those standards are antithetical to the nature of Wikipedia, I don't see this happening.

Re:Terrific (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665068)

I didn't know companies had a right to be mentioned on wikipedia. Now it is enforced by the government?

I think it's more likely a right to not have content arbitrarily deleted by a competitor. Imagine the uproar there would be if a Microsoft [wikipedia.org] employee removed all references to Apple Computer [wikipedia.org] from Wikipedia.

Re:Terrific (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665324)

I didn't know companies had a right to be mentioned on wikipedia.

Never said they had a right to be on Wikipedia. On the other hand, Wikipedia is not for company shills to be using for the advancement of their company above others.

Now it is enforced by the government?

No. Once again, constructing a strawman. This was not the government stepping in completely on their own attempting to police Wikipedia. This was a civil suit involving one company disliking the practice of the shills from another company trying to game Wikipedia to gain competitive advancement at their expense.

Re:Terrific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664452)

The court only judged that company A acted to harm company B. That's what A was found culprit of. B had claimed 150,000 € but the court judged they did not justify the damage and cut it to 25,000 €

The principle is that when A acts to harm B, then A is liable.

Re:Terrific (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664482)

Actually, threatening any legal action against anyone is grounds for an IP ban from all wikimedia projects. It's one of the few cross-project rules.

WP:ELNO-no (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664208)

TFA has an image of the Wikipedia edit. I found it [wikipedia.org] , and they removed a link from a list of Plates-formes, whatever that is.

I don't know about the French Wikipedia, but on the English one, "Links to individual web pages that primarily exist to sell products or services...", as these appear to be, are "normally to be avoided [wikipedia.org] ". And in fact, the current article has only a list of internal links.

I'm a Wikipedia admin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664214)

As a Wikipedia admin it is fun to control information to my extremist right wing views that make Ron Paul and Ann Rand look like hippies. I stay up on my computer 16 hours a day and also I don't have a job because I live with my parents basement for the last 20 years after dropping out of high school. After reading conservativism for dummies I found Wikipedia in 2003 and have been editing there ever since. I have a botnet of sockpuppets on discrete IP ranges so they can't be checkusered and use them to get "consensus" to delete anything I don't like and bias the arbcon. I also weigh 450lbs and stuff my face constantly with cheetos, double cream, mountain dew and KFC megabuckets. My mom buys fleshlights and anime porn because I will never get a girlfriend.

My user name on wikipedia is Bsadowski1.

Identified by IP (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664238)

The RIAA determines identity based on an IP address and we get complaints and reams of technical reasons why it is inaccurate. The identity of false editor is determined from an IP in a Wikipedia edit log, and successfully sued, and we all cheer freedom and openness. Now I hate the RIAA's litigious actions as much as the next guy, but this seems wholly inconsistent. Is the identity of someone behind an IP address only questionable when we don't like the outcome?

Re:Identified by IP (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664606)

here is the difference

The Company purchased Internet access (and a fixed block of ip addresses)
The edit was done from an ip address in said FIXED BLOCK of addresses
Therefore the COMPANY was held liable

Its the difference in the real world of a business getting held responsible for a letterbomb sent by courier from a street address
and
a person being held responsible for a letterbomb sent from a motel room (just because they happen to have been registered at that room)

Re:Identified by IP (1)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664622)

Wow! You get all that about freedom? Most of what I see are complaints about the bad translation, comments about how Wikipedia is not the place to advertise, and statements about how it's against Wikipedia's terms to post links mainly for advertisement purposes.

If their company is anything like the one that I work for, they own their IP address. If the company is being sued for 25k Euros, it would seem to be valid if it's based on the fact that an edit came from an IP that the company owns. They can't say that something that was modified in a way that was to their benefit, by an IP address from within their company, was unlikely to be done by an employee with permission to do so.

Of course, IANAL

Re:Identified by IP (1)

Jibekn (1975348) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664624)

RTFA, the IP was a static, used for a very long time by the company in question.

Re:Identified by IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664634)

For public computers questionable sure, but if the person made an edit at work then I think that may take some thought. I know even though someone else could potentially log into my machine at work I'm really the only one that is supposed to be on it.

Re:Identified by IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664672)

In this case they need only identify that the IP belonged to a company. That is not a person it is a legal construct and has no inalienable rights. If the RIAA wanted to sue a company for downloading music illegally I have no objection. Just as long as it it not an ISP they are suing for user actions of course.

Re:Identified by IP (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664684)

The average consumer is on a dynamic IP address that can change at the whim of an ISP, and generally does so if their modem is taken offline for more than a few minutes. Conversely, the average business buys dedicated IPs so they can run their web servers from a static location. If the edits came from an IP range owned by the company in question, there is nothing particularly questionable about that. Their only argument would be someone else hacked their servers, and routed the changes through it, to frame them.

Re:Identified by IP (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665266)

Whats inconsistent, or rather, outright dishonest is the constant attempt by anon. cowards to create FALSE CONTRADICTIONS that include assuming hive-mind status for all the users on /. and assuming arguments that haven't even been made per-se.

Re:Identified by IP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665862)

OH NOES!!!!!!1!!!one!!!1!! IT CONSPIRACY!

Poor precedent (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664260)

This is a bad precedent to set. Considering that Wikipedia is meant to be edited by anyone, even it is is wrong (Sarah Palin fanatics editing Paul Revere's page). The changes are supposed to be reviewed and amended if they are wrong, like in the care of Paul Revere, sorry Palin fans. Also I don't see how this caused the company any loss. I mean someone shopping for a micro payment system is not going to be looking on Wikipedia on which company to choose and if that is how a company is doing business they probably won't be doing it for long.

Re:Poor precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665630)

"someone shopping for a micro payment system is not going to be looking on Wikipedia on which company to choose"

Are you really qualified to make that decision? Wikipedia is meant to be edited by anyone but not intentionally defaced or deceptive. I think it is an excellent precedent to set. If you are an ass you just might get spanked..

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36664636)

user. 'Now that ffel an obligation RECRUITMENT, BUT

25,000 Euros in losses? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664894)

How can you claim losses for being removed from an article on Wikipedia?

It's not an advertising platform, and the way the company was even in the article to begin with may have been inappropriate, regardless of who it was who removed it.

Re:25,000 Euros in losses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665440)

Wasn't about the amount of losses so much as the conduct itself, which is a clear conflict of interest.

Stupid french court (2)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36664970)

The information that was removed might have been a spam link.

It's not the purpose of Wikipedia to promote businesses.

A Wikipedia page does not owe you free advertising.

If I find that my competitor is abusing Wikipedia to boost their search engine ranking, of course I will remove it.

Re:Stupid french court (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36665224)

you think the damn magistrate didn't think of that? How low is your opinion of the French?

Re:Stupid french court (1)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36665410)

ANd would you still do that if (as in this case) you had a link on thier advertising your shit?

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