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The Courts The Almighty Buck Wikipedia Your Rights Online

Company Fined €25,000 For Altering Wikipedia 141

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-an-edit-war dept.
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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Company Fined €25,000 For Altering Wikipedia

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  • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:23PM (#36663826)
    That summary makes no sense whatsoever; can someone translate?
    • Re:Horribly Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by The MAZZTer (911996) <megazzt@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:25PM (#36663856) Homepage
      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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by sunderland56 (621843) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:21PM (#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.
        • by smitty97 (995791) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @03:07PM (#36665084)

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

        • Cool, thanks for that, now I do not have to waste time RTFA, on the downside, this happens all the time, and yet no one seems to think to prove anything in court in the US and Canada for it, as there is no such legislation for wiki being a "proper" source of info, I guess the Europeans know wiki to be a stable and proper source of info with no such things as garbage sitting on there...

      • 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"

    • by Zenaku (821866)

      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.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        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.

        • by Elbereth (58257)

          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 (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @04:29PM (#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.

            • by ZackSchil (560462)

              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.

      • by Anonymous Coward

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

        In English, all nouns are transgender.

    • 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 nu

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:25PM (#36663866)

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

  • Since when is Wikipedia an appropriate place to advertise?

  • Attempted summary (Score:4, Informative)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @01:39PM (#36664026) Homepage

    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. :)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward
    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?
    • 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)

    • 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'
    • by Jibekn (1975348)
      RTFA, the IP was a static, used for a very long time by the company in question.
    • by wagnerrp (1305589)
      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 fra
    • 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.
  • 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 pr
  • 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.

  • by Kaz Kylheku (1484) on Tuesday July 05, 2011 @02:58PM (#36664970) Homepage

    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.

    • by Carrot007 (37198)

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

    • by telso (924323)

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

      And you would be violating Wikipedia guidelines. The French version [wikipedia.org] is sorely lacking, but as a translation from the English version [wikipedia.org] has been requested, you can read up over there, but for some quick summaries:

      This page in a nutshell: Do not edit Wikipedia to promote your own interests, or those of other individuals or of organizations, including employers. Do not write about these things unl

    • by evanh (627108)

      It's okay for you to advertise but not me? :/

    • by Eskarel (565631)

      Which this company could have done, had they simultaneously removed their own abuse of Wikipedia to boost their own search engine ranking.

      • Continuing or starting an edit war wouldn't have solved anything. Directly seeking legal redress was refreshingly adult.
        • by Eskarel (565631)

          Well yes, but this is about the original company removing the link. Had they removed the links to their own website as well as their competitors they could have cited wikipedia guidelines as justification for their removal and not gotten sued. Removing their competitor's only got them in trouble.

  • I had a Wiki link for a music synthesis app (shareware) that was removed. I assumed Wiki had changed policy re linking to anything remotely commercial. So, why should someone get a commercial link/free advertising from Wiki anyway?
  • Wikipedia. The encyclopedia anyone can edit. Except when you can't. Yet again proving that silly slogans have little to do with reality.

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