Anime Vice News

Meet the Next Handley Case: the People v. Wikipedia?

Wikipedia co-founder accuses the site of hosting child porn-- and reports it to the FBI.

Another item spotted by eagle-eyed Simon at Icarus Publishing: apparently Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger, creator of the Wikipedia competitor Citizendium (which I had never even heard of until today), has disclosed that he believes that Wikimedia Commons, the file repository for the public domain and/or freely licensed media (e.g. images, sounds) on Wikipedia, "may be knowingly distributing child pornography," and has reported such to the FBI.
 CUTE NOT PEDO! CUTE NOT PEDO! AAAAUGH!
 CUTE NOT PEDO! CUTE NOT PEDO! AAAAUGH!
The pieces that Sanger specifically pointed to? "A category about pedophilia" and "a category about something called lolicon."  (The links were redacted in the letter, which is available online.) And Sanger specifically points to 18 USC 1466, the same law that Christopher Handley was charged with obscenity under, leading to his pleading guilty and being charged with six months in prison and 3-5 years of probation. You really should check out the letter if you can; Sanger argues further on the page with Wikimedia general counsel Mike Godwin, and the latter's thoughts are quite interesting.

I went to Wikimedia Commons and at least at this time, the worst you see in the "lolicon" category is panties. The "pedophilia" category has more detailed drawings that depict children in sexual acts; however, they were drawn in 1905 and are used only in two user galleries on Wikipedia, both of which are for "Historical Erotica."

Granted, it's entirely possible that more troublesome images have been deleted since this letter was sent out. And of course, we don't know what the FBI will or won't do in response. But if Wikimedia was charged, it seems clear that Godwin thinks that the Supreme Court would likely throw out the statute under which Handley was convicted-- so I wonder if they'd fight all the way up?    
FoxxFireArt moderator on April 11, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.
This is actually the first time I've heard of Wikimedia. I think the FBI will be a little less likely to go after something like this. For one thing, when they went after Handley. He really didn't have the ability to gie himself a very strong defense. Why else would they go after him and not the company that was legally distributing it. In these kinds of cases they aren't after really justice. They are looking for a "Win". Something that makes them look good in the papers. If they were to take on a company with the funds to defend them self and win. They would look incompetent.
HeeroYuyon April 11, 2010 at 10:13 a.m.
Jeez... some moron is just butthurt that no one care's about his own site so he's trying to make a fuss any way he can. Die in a fire jerkwad.
Karkarovon April 11, 2010 at 10:13 a.m.
Interesting timing but I think the truth here is that we have a snubbed "partner" who is more interested in exacting some sort of pathetic revenge than in actually pointing out anything that resembles wrong doing.  The US Court systems biggest flaw is that we allow it the be used for this kind of low ball personal attack BS.
cfatalison April 11, 2010 at 10:24 a.m.
@HeeroYuy said:
" Jeez... some moron is just butthurt that no one care's about his own site so he's trying to make a fuss any way he can. Die in a fire jerkwad. "
he ruined sanger's name, INCOMPREHENSIBLE SIN , burn kill maim
HeeroYuyon April 11, 2010 at 10:25 a.m.
@cfatalis: Don't make me go Kiritsugu on you...
cfatalison April 11, 2010 at 10:32 a.m.
@HeeroYuy: i mean that guy ruined Sanger's name 
HeeroYuyon April 11, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.
@cfatalis: OOOooooohhhh, hahahahahahhaa
cfatalison April 11, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.
@HeeroYuy: see? this sange can't cut anything
HSaabedraon April 11, 2010 at 11:21 a.m.
There's not much to this issue more than Sanger's own ends.  He's using the hysteria over the Handley case to force the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization behind Wikipedia, the MediaWiki platform and Wikia) to spend time and money on the investigation while he tries to use the publicity generated to push his own (lackluster and poor) alternative in Citizendium.  The government already provides exceptions to such organizations when it comes to the handling of such material when presented in an educational and informative manner. 
 
Since he can't beat them at their own game, he got desperate and used legal tactics in order to snuff them out.   Handley this isn't, simply because the Wikimedia Foundation and by extension Jimbo Wales is already a known quantity.
sotyfan16on April 11, 2010 at 1:22 p.m.

As more of these issues and cases come up it seems that the world and the media are trying to make Handley into a pariah. Handley is an otaku like most the rest of us and it seems like the law and general public are looking at outlawing such a lifestyle and behavior. I await for something more legit to come about that worrying about the guys at Wiki. Kudos to Simon though.

ShadowKnight508 moderator on April 11, 2010 at 2:08 p.m.
@Karkarov said:
" Interesting timing but I think the truth here is that we have a snubbed "partner" who is more interested in exacting some sort of pathetic revenge than in actually pointing out anything that resembles wrong doing.  The US Court systems biggest flaw is that we allow it the be used for this kind of low ball personal attack BS. "
Well said, Karkarov....he is just looking for some form of cheap revenge and wants to publicly humiliate his former company. Just wait until CNN hears about this...they will hype it up like the story they did about the rape-simmulation game Rapelay and this will get blown out of scale really quick.
Tempestangelon April 11, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
This whole lolicon thing is making the world turn stupid....
Sandon April 11, 2010 at 4:21 p.m.
I think we're going to need more news coverage before this can be considered a proper old-fashioned moral panic, but we're making good progress.  (You'd be surprised at how many people think all anime/manga is basically pornography of the most depraved quality.  It is similar to how many people, in complete disregard of actual sales figures, think the majority of videogames are murderfests.)  Also, Karkarov's on the money in pointing out this is probably mostly a petty revenge thing. 
 
Granted, it is good to be vigilant about what's uploaded to the site, but like Gia mentions, I've only ever seen pretty tame stuff linked from Wikipedia articles.  Now, it is possible to upload things to the "Commons", which is a repository that isn't necessarily linked to actual Wikipedia articles.  With that in mind, there's possibly stuff that could be purged, but it seems like this could have been managed without bringing in the FBI.  Wikipedia (and all of its associated sites) is usually pretty good about self-moderation.
cfatalison April 12, 2010 at 2:43 a.m.
@Nanashi said:
" I got it lets just right anything to do with lolicon in

really hard to read kanji

characters that way liberal retards will be like, "Shooooot, that's  just too hard to even trace on a piece of paper." Problem solved. "
you know that is actually not a that bad of an idea
John_Martoneon April 12, 2010 at 1:05 p.m.
Oh, that's rich. I needed a good laugh this morning.
LordAndrewon April 12, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.
@HSaabedra said:
" There's not much to this issue more than Sanger's own ends.  He's using the hysteria over the Handley case to force the Wikimedia Foundation (the organization behind Wikipedia, the MediaWiki platform and Wikia) to spend time and money on the investigation while he tries to use the publicity generated to push his own (lackluster and poor) alternative in Citizendium.  The government already provides exceptions to such organizations when it comes to the handling of such material when presented in an educational and informative manner.   Since he can't beat them at their own game, he got desperate and used legal tactics in order to snuff them out.   Handley this isn't, simply because the Wikimedia Foundation and by extension Jimbo Wales is already a known quantity. "
Just so we're clear here, Wikia is unrelated to Wikimedia. Wikia also uses the MediaWiki platform and was created by a co-founder of Wikipedia; but so is Citizendium. 
 
Larry Sanger does appear... somewhat insane sometimes; but then again so does Jimbo. Larry Sanger is trying to make a legal battle out of something that is little more than a moral objection; but he does not deserve the disrespectful comments he's received on Slashdot or here.
HSaabedraon April 12, 2010 at 10:33 p.m.
@LordAndrew:
 Larry Sanger does appear... somewhat insane sometimes; but then again so does Jimbo. Larry Sanger is trying to make a legal battle out of something that is little more than a moral objection; but he does not deserve the disrespectful comments he's received on Slashdot or here.
 
There's a reason people are railing against him so harshly.  The introduction to his letter is rather self-serving and does nothing to validate his objections, however valid or invalid.  If he was really concerned about the material in question, he wouldn't attempt to shamelessly promote himself in a letter explaining his moral objections to the FBI.  It has nothing to do with the issue at hand unless you're specifically trying to grab attention.  At least Jimbo owned up to his previous transgressions.  On the other hand, Sanger is proving why his ventures keep failing and it has everything to do with him and his attitude.
cfatalison April 12, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.
he ruined Sangers Zombolt  name, what is the other reason we need to  maim him?
Arjunaon April 13, 2010 at 1:55 a.m.
Lottsa money to be made in suing people today.
LordAndrewon April 13, 2010 at 5 a.m.
@HSaabedra: Larry Sanger has a conflict of interest. He has a conflict of interest regardless of whether or not he discloses them. But he discloses them because they are relevant. He mentions the other stuff he's been involved with to help the FBI decide whether it's worth acting on. If he hadn't done that, people would be complaining that he didn't disclose his blatantly fucking obvious conflict of interest. He was screwed whether or not he did that. There would be no good way for him to do this. 
 
Citizendium is failing because of its model, not the actions or beliefs of its Editior-in-Chief. Jimmy Wales and the Wikimedia Foundation still do stupid things regularly, and people have no problem ignoring those.
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