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Wikipedia Wins Defamation Case

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the wiki-this dept.

The Internet 153

Raul654 writes "Yesterday, a French judge dismissed a lawsuit against the Wikimedia Foundation for defamation. The judge found that 'Web site hosts cannot be liable under civil law because of information stored on them if they do not in fact know of their illicit nature.' According to the inquirer: 'Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($100,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website.'"

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Ashamed to be gay in France? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216031)

I thought you have to "come out of the closet" to be hetero there.

Re:Ashamed to be gay in France? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216347)

I of course didn't RTFA (eye muss knot bee knew hear, looser) so I have to ask: was one of them Ted Turner? [kuro5hin.org]

Note that if you don't click the link this coment may seem flamebait or offtopic, and the joke will be on you. Hey, wait a minute, IN SOVIET Ru OW OW stop hitting me!

-mcgrew

Re:Ashamed to be gay in France? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216541)

(eye muss knot bee knew hear, looser)
...
IN SOVIET Ru OW OW

Shut the fuck up.

Re:Ashamed to be gay in France? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217511)

Ted Turner is most definitly a fag.

Whether he's homosexual, I don't know.

Correction (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216039)

A correction has been posted:

'Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000,000 euros ($100,000,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website.'"

Re:Correction (1)

crerwin (971247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216139)

It'll probably just get reverted.

Re:Correction (1)

Dues (786223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216487)

Looks like a clear cut case of the Streisand Effect, imo.

Re:Correction (5, Funny)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216525)

A correction has been posted (to correct for currency devaluation):

'Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($100,000,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website.'

Re:Correction (1)

Wellspring (111524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218093)

The neutrality [wikipedia.org] of this article is disputed [wikipedia.org] .
Please see the discussion on the talk page.
Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved [wikipedia.org] .

Wonder if.... (-1, Troll)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216049)

These three guys are planning a trip to Dubai soon?

Re:Wonder if.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216247)

I don't get it. I know it's off-topic, but what's "Troll" about it?

Color me stupid I guess.

Re:Wonder if.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21217995)

Same thing that makes yours flamebait. >:(

Oh no, teh cocks! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216071)

Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($100,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website.

Who the fuck cares?

I wonder how far this could be applied (5, Interesting)

Huntr (951770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216075)

Specifically, this part of the Reuters writeup:

"Web site hosts cannot be liable under civil law because of information stored on them if they do not in fact know of their illicit nature," Binoche said in his written ruling released at the Paris civil law court earlier this week.

Moreover, Web site hosts are not legally bound to monitor or investigate the origin of the information they store, he added.


IANAL, but I wonder if this could have ramifications in the file-sharing world..

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216151)

Nothing has changed. I don't know of any (commercial) web hosts that actively scan for illegal content. They go by the tried and true "if someone complains, we'll take it down" formula, and it works well. The ruling simply reinforces this - web hosts are not responsible for illicit content until someone notifies them, after which they have a reasonable amount of time to remove the illegal content before being *actually* legally responsible.

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (3, Interesting)

ddrichardson (869910) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216501)

IANAL either, but this line intrigued me:

But a judge rejected their demands in a ruling reached on Monday, arguing that "the Wikimedia Foundation's responsibility ... has not been clearly established," a decision welcomed by the foundation.

This suggests to me that that plaintiff simply didn't provide a good enough case against Wikimedia, rather than a decision that could become precedent. I'm sure someone with a better grasp of law can correct me.

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (5, Insightful)

frp001 (227227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216727)

From what I read, there are 2 things:
- The judge ruled that, despite its aspect, Wikipedia, is more like service provider than a newspaper or editor work (i.e. internet users publish their stuff on it, not the Wikimedia foundation)
- The French law requires that illegal material must be formally notified to the provider by register letter.

Apparently the plaintiffs did notify Wikimedia but not in the correct form.

So, for what I understand both are true Wikimedia cannot be held responsible for what others publish. The can be if they have been informed published work is illegal and have not taken actions to remove it. It would then be the plaintiff's work to:
- prove to material is illegal in some way (this where the making a better case of comes in)
- prove that Wikimedia knew the work was illegal.

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (2, Informative)

Keith_Beef (166050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217753)

If you can read French, then here is a much better article than the badly summarized version that Reuters published.

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-651865,36-973824@51-974025,0.html

Or ask the Babel Fish for help.

In essence, the three sued Wikimedia for invasion of privacy and defamation.

The judge ruled that Wikimedia administrators cannot be held responsible for opinions published, until the disputed content is brought to the administrators' attention by a letter sent by registered post with proof of delivery and the letter must cite the articles of law according to which the offending material should be removed.

Beef.

Re:I bet US courts would give a differnt verdict!! (1)

binaryartist (1172973) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218201)

I guess the case would have had a different turn if it was in US? I guess according to US laws, the host is responsible for what is posted through it. I am trying to guess, what would have happened if some users had used Wikipedia to share information to co-ordinate Al-Qaeda attacks in US?? Who would be held responsible if something like that happened?

Re:I bet US courts would give a differnt verdict!! (3, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218489)

Truth is a defense to a defamation claim in the U.S. so if they are actually homosexual then there would be no defamation claim because the statements were true.

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (5, Informative)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217275)

I don't know about the rest of your argument, but this court case was in France where they use the Civil Law system. There is no judge-made law and there is no "precedent".

This was a fast-track procedure (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218155)

I don't know the term in English, but this was a "référé" lawsuit, which means that the plaintiff claimed there was an emergency. The court was not deciding on the basic merits of the case, but rather deciding whether the alleged libellous statements were so bad that something had to be done ASAP. In any case, I don't believe the court would have awarded them any money (that would be for a normal lawsuit to decide), but they could have ordered WP to do delete the stuff from their DB (could luck with all the mirrors laying around) or face contempt.
BTW 100k is just outrageous, even celebrities don't get that much when suing repeat-offender tabloids. At best they'd get a few hundred bucks and attorney's fees.

Re:I wonder how far this could be applied (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216579)

Considering France's stance on p2p [theregister.co.uk] and compatibility between [usatoday.com] personal digital music players, I am not surprised by this ruling. I greatly admire them for their open-minded approach to these sorts of tech issues.

Plus, their wines and cheeses are delicious ;)

Applicability to the US (4, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216085)

(As the original submitter of this article) For the applicability in US law, you guys might want to listen to this session recording [archive.org] from Wikimania 2006.

When "defamation" include the truth? (5, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216113)

If it was posted they were homosexuals and they weren't, that'd be defamation. But it states their "homosexuality was revealed on wikipedia". Which leads me to believe they are in fact homosexual.

So how does revealing the truth equate to defamation?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216179)

Interesting point. Defamation and libel only apply to lies, do they not? If someone is a convicted murderer, I can write that about him and he can't say crap - because it's all true. If, on the other hand, I falsely claim someone is a murderer, then clearly I'm liable for defamation suits.

Better yet, since these homosexual men felt the revelation of their orientation was defamatory, what does that say about how they feel about their own sexuality?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (4, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216275)

Better yet, since these homosexual men felt the revelation of their orientation was defamatory, what does that say about how they feel about their own sexuality?
Probably not much. What it most likely tells you about is how their society perceives their sexuality. (Or, even more pedantically, how they think that society perceives it.) A gay person in the US military may be quite happy and well-adjusted about his or her orientation, but also realize that word of that getting out would have serious negative consequences.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217287)

Afaik what's required is that either there is proof or that you "admit" it yourself. Just being called gay is hopefully not enough.

If it is, it would be quite a neat way to get rid of superiors so your career progresses faster.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217413)

Sadly it's not much more than that. One of my friends was booted from the Marines under "don't ask don't tell" when a fellow marine he'd had a relationship decided to file allegations that my friend basically got him drunk and made sexual advances when things weren't working out anymore.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217623)

Fair enough, but you needn't be booted for things to turn uncomfortable for you. All I'm saying is that there can be a significant difference between how a person feels about themself and how society feels.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Drewmeister (1036004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218055)

Better yet, because they went to court, the whole world now knows about their homosexuality. This may also suggest that are imbeciles as well.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218495)

excellent point.

cf. 18 year olds with 17 year old girlfriends/boyfriends; and marijuana smokers

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (5, Insightful)

WaltBusterkeys (1156557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216423)

"Defamation" does not include the truth, but "invasion of privacy" and "public disclosure of private information" both do. Let's say that you had HIV, but it was under control with medication. You'd hope that you would have a cause of action against your doctor if he revealed that information to the world, right? Or if you kept it a secret that you were a victim of child abuse and somebody published a full-page advertisement in the local newspaper calling you out on it. It's not necessarily something to be "ashamed of" but it might not be something you want the world to know.

Unless you're a public figure, the law in most states recognizes that there is true information that people have a right to keep to themselves. See, ironically, Wikipedia on invasion of privacy [wikipedia.org] .

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (4, Funny)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217075)

what does that say about how they feel about their own sexuality?
 
They think its totally gay.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (3, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216201)

Truth is an absolute defense against libel/slander/defemation in some - but not all - jurisdictions. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation#Truth [wikipedia.org]

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216257)

Only one I see mentioned is the Philippines. Am I missing something?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216335)

It's defamation in Candada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway at least. Probably many more.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218407)

It's defamation in Candada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway at least. Probably many more.

To say something true about somebody? Wow. Just seems incomprehensible to me.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Informative)

Diss Champ (934796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216227)

IANAL, but while in the USA the truth is an absolute defense against charges of libel and such, that is not true everywhere. Indeed there are plenty of places in the world where the truth will get you in a heck of a lot more trouble than pretty much anything you can make up.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216235)

Everybody knows fags suck.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217183)

I see what you did there. How clever.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Interesting)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216293)

So how does revealing the truth equate to defamation?
This isn't a universal defence. In many countries (for example Canada), you can be successfully sued for defamation even if your accusations/statements are true. Defamation is classified as statements lowering the "esteem" of a person. True of false. Defamation must consider Context and must meet reasonable standards. So a single story on how Paris Hilton is a slut may be okay, two dozen of them may allow a successful defamation law suit.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216391)

That was my first thought as well... perhaps French law is different? Anyone know?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216471)

From TFA:
"The U.S.-based Wikipedia Foundation, which is behind the popular compendium, was sued by three French nationals over a Wikipedia article that said they were gay activists."

The second FA uses the exact same wordings: "homosexuality was revealed on wikipedia". But if I were you, I would really not believe it :) Why?
"Binoche did not rule on the whether the information contained in the article was defamatory and dismissed the plaintiffs' claim for damages."Emmanuel Binoche being the judge.

It looks more like someone saw a list of activists and edited it to become "gay" activists. And then these people went ahead and sued Wikimedia Foundation, instead of using the _infamous_ WHOIS database.

ROFL.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216491)

They weren't suing for defamation, they were suing for invasion of privacy.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216571)

If it was posted they were homosexuals and they weren't, that'd be defamation. But it states their "homosexuality was revealed on wikipedia". Which leads me to believe they are in fact homosexual.

So how does revealing the truth equate to defamation?


Revealing something that a person considers private information and putting it in wikipedia or another format for the entire world to see should be legally wrong. If it isn't illegal today, it will be.

For example, my favorite color is green. That's a fact. I don't want some one to look me up in wikipedia and find out my sexual preferences or my favorite color or anything else that I consider private information. If "defamation" is the nearest existing law that they can use to slap them with, so be it. Wikipedia and those that actually did add/edit those articles should be held accountable for releasing private information. It doesn't matter if the information is true or not; it is the fact that the information was released to the world wide public and could be used in a negative manner against the person.

I have lots of fetishess that I like. The only person that is privy to that information is my wife. If my fetishes ever show up listed in wikipedia, then I'd have to sue them as well. It doesn't matter if the information is correct or not. What matters is that I didn't give my permission for the information to be released and is shouldn't be published.

I wish a judge would heavily fine Wikipedia for this. Wikipedia is not an ISP. An ISP has no idea what data is going through there bandwith. Wikipedia has editors and actually edits and removes lots of user generated content. It's a totally different thing! Wikipedia is trying to use an ISP get out of jail free card. The said thing is that it'll work.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Diss Champ (934796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216773)

For example, my favorite color is green. That's a fact. I don't want some one to look me up in wikipedia and find out my sexual preferences or my favorite color or anything else that I consider private information.
Well, since you didn't post as AC it's a bit late for that, eh? Now we all know your favorite color.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217233)

For example, my favorite color is green. That's a fact. I don't want some one to look me up in wikipedia and find out my sexual preferences or my favorite color or anything else that I consider private information.

Well, since you didn't post as AC it's a bit late for that, eh? Now we all know your favorite color.


Nah, I'm safe because this is slashdot, and few use slashdot for actual factual information. Besides that was the "safest" example that I could come up with. Favorite colors change alot. I like green today next month I might like teal the month after navy or a shade of red or even khaki. It's meaningless information.

Dangerous information like religious or sexual preferences I haven't stated now have I?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Loligo (12021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217373)

>Dangerous information like religious or sexual preferences I haven't stated now have I?

Using words like "teal" will certainly make people wonder about that sexual preference thing..

At least you didn't say "mauve" or "taupe" or "chartreuse", then you'd have people running for Wikipedia.

  -l

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Funny)

Darby (84953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218025)


Nah, I'm safe because this is slashdot, and few use slashdot for actual factual information


Yeah, whatever, Green liker.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Insightful)

protolith (619345) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217081)

Wikipedia should be viewed as a men's room wall, people write stuff on the wall, some is useful, some isn't, the editors should be viewed as the janitors that mostly clean off the piss stains, I wouldn't hold account the owner of the men's room, or the janitors for not cleaning something embarrassing or plain wrong, unless it has been pointed out to be removed or fixed and they refused to correct the info.

The individual that used wiki as a place to air somebody else's laundry should be the one held accountable.
If the accounts to edit can be registered anonymously, then that should probably be changed. It might cut down on the vandalism if everything posted could be linked to an actual person.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217491)

Wikipedia should be viewed as a men's room wall, people write stuff on the wall, some is useful, some isn't, the editors should be viewed as the janitors that mostly clean off the piss stains, I wouldn't hold account the owner of the men's room, or the janitors for not cleaning something embarrassing or plain wrong, unless it has been pointed out to be removed or fixed and they refused to correct the info.

The individual that used wiki as a place to air somebody else's laundry should be the one held accountable.
If the accounts to edit can be registered anonymously, then that should probably be changed. It might cut down on the vandalism if everything posted could be linked to an actual person.


That's what wikipedia is. What wikipedia pretends to be is an encyclopedia though. An encyclopedia should have standards of what personal/private information that they will not publish about people. I view both wikipedia and the submitter of the information at fault. Wikipedia is claiming to be an ISP which isn't true. It is claiming to be factual information with many sources before the information is allowed. What makes wikipedia dangerous is that it's a search able men's room wall of many, many men's room walls. I wouldn't care if you saw kabocox is a "deeming term goes here" on any given men's room wall. I wouldn't want to be able to search kabocox through google and find every deeming term or comment that's been applied though.

I'm safe because I'm not notable enough to be in wikipedia. Are you safe enough to be not notable enough for wikipedia?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217397)

I'm not sure about the laws in your country, but in some European countries, when you become a person of "public interest" (some kind of celebrity, politician, etc), you give up a few privacy rights. For example, it is no longer illegal to take a snapshot of you and publish it without your consent (which is quite seriously punished if you're some Joe Average and someone thinks it's funny to take an odd picture of you and use it in some kind of meme). That also includes certain parts of your private life, like your family and also if you have some girlfriend on the side.

Funny enough, these laws still hold (mostly 'cause our social party politicians are so effing ugly that even all the fame and money can't attract women and our conservatives are, well, it's not really cool to call for more privacy for their womanizing while at the same time defending the sanctity of marriage and all that jazz).

I guess this would also cover things like sexual preferences.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217765)

You can't, and shouldn't, be able to legally strongarm true facts about yourself out of the public discussion, should they come to light. Otherwise, every person's reputation is moot-- it's just a positive-spun PR that's worthless in aiding any decisions at all. If your unsavory reputation precedes you, then you shouldn't engage in unsavory practices. If you would argue that your practices aren't unsavory, then be proud of them.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

LMacG (118321) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216739)

> If it was posted they were homosexuals and they weren't, that'd be defamation.

Why?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216879)

No replies?

Now that's the funny thing about the /. mainstream. Flaunting their homophobia all the time but unable to defend it.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217435)

I was wondering the same. Being gay is not illegal in France afaik. Now, if they were claimed to have some sort of illegal sexual preference, I could understand that it would well be in the area of defamation, but being gay?

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216781)

I think this was a planned extortion of Wikipedia. They "outed" themselves in those entries.

Why be suspicious? Simple- All they had to do was deny that they were gay. Sure, that may be lying- but it's also "lying" not to be "out" in a way.

Gay or not, I think they planned this.

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216875)

No, calling someone 'gay' isn't an insult (apart to the insulter for being so small minded as to equate 'gay' with 'bad'), it's just factually inaccurate if there not infact gay.

That and any single-word attempted insult is just no where near as good as it should be if you want to insult someone:
1) Your birth certificate is an apology from the condom factory
2) Some people are has-beens. You are a never-was
3) Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.
4) Your so gay

Personally, I'd say the latter lacks any punch

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217415)

Perhaps if a wikitroll posted "$NAME is gay" on a bunch of articles, and just happened to be right in the case of the plaintiffs?

- RG>

Re:When "defamation" include the truth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21217823)

Your own statement proves their point quite nicely: Why do you think it is defamation if someone calls you a homosexual, even if you aren't? In an ideal world, nobody would give a shit either way. The fact that you view anyone saying anything about your private orientation, wrong or not, as constituting defamation even if there's nothing legally wrong with that claimed orientation, proves that society in general and you in particular are unable to make a fair judgment in these matters. You may now understand why people prefer to keep their orientation private.

Deh-fah-may-schon (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216121)

Bet the judge went back to his chamber, looked up what 'defamation' is on wikipedia, and came out and made his ruling...

Re:Deh-fah-may-schon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216417)

Hey, who brought "Cajun Man" out of retirement and made him a judge?

Re:Deh-fah-may-schon (0, Troll)

NOLFXceptMe (1013903) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217001)

In India , maybe he would've looked up "homosexuality" too. :)

Strange (0, Offtopic)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216207)

Hell, if I had a nickel for every time some AC posted "You're a fag!" in response to an edit or post that they didn't like, I'd make Bill Gates look poor. The normal response is "Fuck off, AC!" or "No, YOU'RE a fag!".

These douchebags, however, decided to sue. Who do they think they are? Americans?

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216237)

"YOU'RE a fag", eh? ITYM "YOUR a fag"

Re:Strange (0)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216359)

No, it is pretty clearly "YOU'RE A FAG" because "you're" is a contraction for "you are." "Your" implies ownership.

YOUR RIGHT! (3, Funny)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216425)

I'd agree with the GP, anyone arguing at that level is unlikely to get the grammar right.

Re:Strange (2, Funny)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216459)

Just check your hair. All OK? Good.

Next time a joke flies that high above someone's head, AC, try attaching a solar panel or two to it. The guys on the ISS could do with a spare.

Re:Strange (1)

reddburn (1109121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217471)

But when you see the illiterate mongoloids who post this crap, they use "your." That, I think, is the idea to which the OP was pointing.

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216269)

your a fag

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21217459)

Speaking of FAGGGG!!! where has AKAImBatman and AlexPKeatonInDa been lately? Hopefully dead in a ditch with their postmortem poses being their usual 69.

Re:Strange (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216311)

I would like to think that the slur wouldn't be taken so literally by any commonsense court. These guys were being called out for being homosexuals. It doesn't seem to be in the same manner as using a slur that normally is interpreted as being homosexual in some fashion. Mostly it's just a random slur.

That would be like me sueing someone for calling someone a bitch... I don't think they mean to insinuate that the other person is a female dog.

Irony (5, Funny)

Nairanvac (912343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216331)

Anyone else find it ironic that they all sued for 69,000 euros?

Re:Irony (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217475)

No, given that it's a french lawsuit it makes sense, if you ask me.

I wonder... (1)

Korveck (1145695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216355)

...who are these three "notable" homosexuals, that the articles about them can survive more than two days.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21218219)

Don't worry, they have now, with this lawsuit, reached true notability. I guess that would qualify to pretty much permanent the article. :>

Have I been deceived about Europe? (0, Troll)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216375)

Why would someone who's European complain about such statements? After all, the Europeans bitch and moan about how ass-backwards and right-leaning the U.S. and Americans are while trying to give the impression that they're all-accepting, liberal, and open...

Does this article imply things aren't as rosy in Europe as I've been led to believe?

Re:Have I been deceived about Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216735)

Does this article imply things aren't as rosy in Europe as I've been led to believe?
Yeah, I stopped believing the "liberal" and "open" European crap awhile back.

At least the US stopped throwing stuff at their black athletes awhile ago.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/highlights/010508_racismfootball.shtml [bbc.co.uk]
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/03/sports/soccer/03soccer.html?n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/C/Coaches%20and%20Managers [nytimes.com] stuff

Unfortunately we are all brought down by our society's worst members.

Good point, but... (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217741)

...but that's not always the case. Most Europeans are just ordinary folks like Most Americans are - complete with personal and political biases, prejudices, and what-have-you. It's widely considered just as much of a slander to call a guy a "Schwuler!" in Geneva as it is to call a guy a "Homo!" in Alabama.

Don't let the few jingoistic jackasses (on either continent) fool you - things are just as benighted and ugly parts of in Europe, and in roughly the same proportions, as they are in parts of North America.

No nation has a monopoly on idiocy.

/P

The cat is definitely out of the bag, er- closet (1)

direpath (513554) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216409)

They can't be too concerned with the public declaration of their sexuality on the site if they are willing to come at Wikimedia in court. Might as well shout it from the rooftops. Haven't they ever hear of Barbara Streisand?

Re:The cat is definitely out of the bag, er- close (1)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216493)

if they are willing to come at Wikimedia in court
Is that legal in a court?

Who? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216413)

So... some information is missing here. Who was it?

This is good, but maintain consistency (1, Informative)

dedazo (737510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216415)

While appreciate that there's a judge that won't hold a website like WP that relies on third-party contributions, I find it ironic that Angela Beesley [wikipedia.org] has been trying to delete her own biographic entry six times in the last two and a half years:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley_(2nd_nomination) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley_(3rd_nomination) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley_(4th_nomination) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley_(5th_nomination) [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Angela_Beesley_(6th_nomination) [wikipedia.org]

There are other examples of this throughout WP. Jim Wales' personal intervention to ensure that his bio did not use the term "pornography" when describing what Bomis was is one. I hope to heck that WP never allows the "higher ups" to trump the system, especially if they are being dragged to court for upholding their right to publish information about other people.

this reminds me of something (1, Redundant)

paulpach (798828) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216453)

'Three plaintiffs were each seeking 69,000 euros ($100,000) in damages for invasion of their privacy after their homosexuality was revealed on the website.'
... not that there is anything wrong with that. [tv.com]

Forced outing (3, Interesting)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21216581)

This is where a conventional encyclopedia, with experienced editors, outshines wikipedia (one of the many places). An experienced editor will usually reject forced outing of people, or revealing that they're gay when they'd rather keep that private, because it rarely adds to the factual content of the article and can interrupt the parts of their lives that should be private. Shame on wikipedia. Although I agree with the courts, I see this forced outing as a bad call for wikipedia to have made.

Re:Forced outing (1)

dottyslashdottydot (1008859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218313)

No: shame on the editor(s) who added that information. As the ruling said, Wikipedia can't be held liable for information added by its editors.

In other news... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216755)

Dumbledore is suing J.K. Rowling for declaring "I always thought of Dumbledore as gay!"

"Good" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21216927)

Interesting that this article was tagged "good". In normal cases people around here wines like hell when even the slightest indication that their privacy might be at stake. And then this shows up where it seems that private information about these three guys where posted, without their approval. They tried to get redeemed and failed in court. Good or bad? One thing is certain, out privacy are being threatened.

I'd be upset too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21217153)

If someone said I can't tell the difference between the digestive system and the reproductive system.

Defamation? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217239)

Anyone here up for a countersuit? I think there has to be some kind of anti-discrimination law that states that you're in the wrong if you call it defamation when someone claims that you're gay.

FROST PWIS3T... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21217337)

Wait what? (2, Insightful)

Damocles the Elder (1133333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21217521)

Too lazy to RTFA, but from the summary, a thought occurs:

If you're gay, and you're trying to hide it, and someone online says "OFMG U R TEH GAYZ", do you
A, say "Haha, you're stupid. No I'm not.", or do you
B, sue them for revealing your secret?


Someone should see if this works on the government. "OFMG U R TEH WIRETAPPING US D:"

Re:Wait what? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218259)

C. "So you just got pwnd by a queer..."

Gay or not, that usually shuts them up quick. I think that is the one they were going for also. Unfortunately they weren't quite up to the game against wikipedia so they should have stuck with choice A alright.

fags (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21218005)

after they got their victory they should have been taken out of the courthouse and executed in public for being faggots in the first place. homosexuals are an abomination to human society.

WikiMedia Foundation chairwoman Florence Devouard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21218261)

WikiMedia Foundation chairwoman Florence Devouard says at http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2007-November/034529.html [wikimedia.org] "An injunction was sought against WMF to force it to remove content from
the french wikipedia, that the plaintiffs deemed defamatory and
infringing on their privacy. The plaintiffs also sought 63,000 Euros in
damages, and requested from the WMF to provide contact information of
the anonymous editor responsible for the edit.

The court stated that the Foundation is a hosting provider in the sense
of article 6 of the LCEN ("Loi pour la confiance dans l'économie
numérique") and as such has no obligation to keep watch on the content
that it hosts and can not be held accountable for the content added by
contributors to the encyclopedia.

The same law states that hosting providers must remove illegal content
when notified it exists. In this case, the dispute centred largely
around when the Foundation was notified. The plaintiffs believed they
had notified the Foundation via e-mail, although the Foundation has no
record of the e-mails having been received. The court did not consider
e-mails sufficient notification.

Also, the court stated that when a hosting provider is notified about
libelous content, it only has to remove content that is obviously libelous.

In this case, the lawsuit was filed before the Foundation was officially
alerted. As soon as the Foundation received official notification, it
immediately removed the content in question.

The court also stated that once the Foundation was notified of the
problem, it acted swiftly and removed the content. As a result, WMF won
the lawsuit and will not have to pay for any damages. The request to
provide the contact information of the editor responsible for the edit
was also dismissed.

--------

This is very good news for the Foundation. We maintain that WMF is not
the publisher, owner or monitor on any of the Wikipedia projects (and
obviously not the WP FR). We are pleased to have our position upheld and
supported in a court of law.

In general, it is extremely important that we get used to quickly remove
any defamatory content, or privacy-invasive content, as soon as it is
brought to our attention. "We", in this case, mean "all of us". Editors
of Wikipedia, volunteers on OTRS, staff members. The more we care about
people requests of this type, the more we will be recognized as a
community caring about the truth and caring about the individual. Whilst
we must not fall into easy censorship and let ourselves be pressured to
remove information which should be available to humanship just because
it does not please a couple of people, it is also important to remember
that we are a top 10 website, widely read everywhere and that any
erroneous information on people may have huge consequences in their
private and professional lives.

Being available to answer readers concerns *is* important. There is no
gain for anyone to get in a court to solve such issues (except for
lawyers in fact). Most conflicts of that sort could be solved through
communication.

Whilst the current case was not strictly speaking a biography page, it
involved living people. So, my email is also a reminder that policies
such as the "biographies of living people" in the english wikipedia are
very helpful to both protect our projects and help making sure our
content is as reliable as possible.

Let us seek to avoid violence when violence can be avoided :-)

I suggest that every project get a look at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons [wikipedia.org]
And consider building such policies in the near future.

A few links for more information
*
http://wikimedia.fr/index.php/Communiqu [wikimedia.fr] és_de_presse/La_Wikimedia_Foundation_reconnue_comme_hébergeur_de_Wikipédia
(in french)
*
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip [wikipedia.org] édia:Le_Bistro/2_novembre_2007#Proc.C3.A8s_gagn.C3.A9_par_Wikimedia
(in french)
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Privacy_policy [wikimediafoundation.org] (in english)

Florence Devouard

The following firm represented the Foundation in this lawsuit:

HUGOT AVOCATS
www.hugot.fr"

Sounds like the Streisand effect... (1)

truggl (1175327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218461)

(Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] )

defamation? (1)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21218475)

How can it be defamation if it's true?
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