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18 February 2013, 11:30

Wikimedia and Internet Brands settle travel wiki dispute

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Wikivoyage logo The Wikimedia Foundation has announced a settlement of the legal dispute with Internet Brands, owners of Wikitravel, which began when the Foundation's alternative travel site, Wikivoyage, was being planned. The settlement requires both parties to post on their sites a statement that they "believe there is enough room for multiple travel sites to co-exist, and for community members to contribute to multiple sites in this area."

Internet Brands purchased Wikitravel in 2006 and set out a plan to add "unobtrusive, targeted, well-identified ads" to the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike licensed content. This caused unrest within the community and many volunteers left. In Germany, a Wikitravel fork, Wikivoyage e.V. appeared, with an Italian branch launched in 2007. Eventually in 2012 work began on an alternative, not-for-profit, English language site – Wikivoyage – under Wikimedia Foundation's governance.

In August of 2012 though, Internet Brands sued two community members who were active in supporting the Wikivoyage project, alleging trademark infringement and misconduct in the form of attempts to mislead contributors into forking content to the new site. The Wikimedia Foundation responded, moving the case to Federal court and filing an anti-SLAPP motion. Internet Brands abandoned its federal claims. The Foundation then brought its own lawsuit seeking a declaration that Internet Brands had no basis to block the new travel project.

Wikivoyage was officially launched in January; development had begun in September 2012, with the beta site launched in November. Now the settlement has been established, both the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikivoyage e.V., the German non-profit which worked to establish the project, are released from all claims from Internet Brands and the Foundation will dismiss its suit. Wikivoyage itself is growing rapidly; 9000 new entries in the first month and new language options for Polish, Romanian, Finnish, Hungarian, Chinese and Japanese are now being offered.


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