A statement on Wikimedia Foundation's fundraising delivered to the National Police Board of Finland
(San Francisco, California) 3 March 2014 -- Finnish authorities recently requested a statement concerning a fundraising message published on Wikipedia web pages. The National Police Board of Finland is assessing whether the message falls under the Finnish Money Collection Act.
Wikipedia is hosted by the U.S.-based nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), which is registered in the United States. The Wikimedia Foundation's mission is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.
The Wikimedia Foundation submitted its statement on the matter to the National Police Board on 28 February as agreed, despite a press report in Finland that suggested we did not meet the deadline. That press report has since been retracted and corrected. The Foundation's strong view is that the Finnish Money Collection Act is not applicable to the matter for numerous reasons that we laid out in our statement to the National Police Board. The Wikimedia Foundation does not have its own activity or representation in Finland. While there is an organization in Finland called Wikimedia Suomi ry, that organization is independent of WMF, is not owned by WMF, and is not operated by WMF. The Wikimedia Foundation operates Wikipedia and administers all global fundraising operations for Wikipedia in Finnish. All funds raised by WMF with its Finnish banners go directly to WMF.
Wikipedia is very widely used in Finland. In February 2014, over 2 million unique visitors visited the site from Finland.
"The geographical reach of fundraising at Wikipedia is global and directed to users of Wikipedia all over the world. All decisions on fundraising and all execution of fundraising campaigns are carried out by WMF, which is a nonprofit organization. Moreover, all of WMF's websites, including Wikipedia, are managed from our headquarters in San Francisco. The request from the National Police Board of Finland for a statement was a surprise for us. We take this seriously and look forward to clearing up the misunderstanding," said Geoff Brigham, General Counsel at the Wikimedia Foundation.
- About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that operates Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix, Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation receive more than 490 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most popular web property worldwide (comScore, December 2013). Available in 287 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 30 million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.
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