lauantai 8. helmikuuta 2014

Police Board of Finland Attacks Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign

On 7th of February 2014, the admin list of Finnish language Wikipedia received a pdf file from National Police Board of Finland. It is a request for comment on a fundraising issue. The contents summarized in English:
  • The first page summarizes the key points of Finnish fundraising law (rahankeräyslaki). In Finland, it is illegal to plead with audience to raise funds without a special permission issued by the Police Board.
  • The second page: according to the Police Board, the fundraising message appearing in the top of Wikipedia pages fulfills the definition of fundraising campaign. And there is no permission applied for the campaign, and it is criminal to arrange a fundraising campaign without permission.
  • The last page (lausuntopyyntö = request for comment): The Police Board asks:
    • in what purpose the request for donation message is published
    • the justification for the message to not to be an illegal fundraising message
    • how much money people have donated till now.
What makes this interesting: Wikipedia is run by a nonprofit foundation (Wikimedia Foundation) located in USA. The Finnish volunteers have only translated the fundraising message.

My recommendation for Finnish wikipedians: save your time and answer nothing to the letter. It's interesting to see what the Finnish Police Board can do to a large American nonprofit foundation. My guess: nothing.

This is not the first time the Police Board attacks fundraising. In 2012, a crowdfunded textbook Kickstarter project was delayed because a similar request of comment. The fundraiser decided to return all the money raised. After that, a Finnish company decided to fund the textbook as a PR move.

10 kommenttia:

  1. "It's interesting to see what the Finnish Police Board can do to a large American nonprofit foundation. My guess: nothing."

    Like large US organizations doing whatever they want is a good thing.

  2. If you by "attack" mean "uphold the law", then yes.

  3. The Nazi's upheld the law! Got Godwin out of the way there.

  4. Since when it's been the job of finnish police to police foreign sites/organizations? This has nothing to do with "upholding the law" you silly goose. Just because website has a Finnish version doesn't make it "our" jurisdiction

  5. Erm. Perhaps Wikipedia should just reply something like "Juristiction! Also eat a bag of dicks!"

  6. Wikimedia Finland just released an announcement (in Finnish):

    The key point translated:
    "The admins and Wikimedia Finland (registeded association) are independent bodies which are not liable for actions of the Wikimedia Foundation."

  7. "It's interesting to see what the Finnish Police Board can do to a large American nonprofit foundation."

    My concern would be... they could try to prosecute Finnish Wikipedians that translated the message as conspirators, or hold any Finnish Wikipedia admins as partners aiding the "crime" of "pleading from an audience without a permit".

  8. Welcome to European China. This is modern Finland, aka Kekkoslovakia, the world's most western province of soviet union. Of course in this police state the police board wants to restrict any uncontrolled medias and freedom of speach. There has bee no free press for years, only the misinformation of the approved truth. So why not attack the wikipedia?

  9. Yes, it is awfully bad that there is a legislation that hinders diverse criminals and swindlers to raise money for different "good causes" (that is, to their pockets) and that this legislation is actually followed by the authorities. BUT, it is of course not only a little pity that Wikipedia and contemporary crowdfunding schemes are not exactly compatible with this legislation. So, instead of taking this action as a some sort of crusade against Wikipedia and free speech, it might be more reasonable and useful to use it as an argument in a discussion to change the current legislation to be more compatible with international non-profit fund-raising.

  10. The law prohibits unlicensed collection of money in Finland. Somebody is asking for money in Finnish in a Finnish language foreign website popular in Finland. It is reasonable to assume that this means that money is being collected in Finland, even if the party asking for money is not in Finland. There is no significant Finnish-speaking population outside our country. At least to me the legal side seems obvious and the police is doing their duty upholding the law.

    Perhaps the law should be changed, but that is another issue. Perhaps Wikipedia should have asked its local administrators to make sure that what they are doing is legal (it should be obvious that asking for money from the public is an issue that many countries have regulated in some form).

    Since donating is not illegal, don't forget to click the "Donate" button on the left side of Wikipedia pages. I gave 30 euros already.