Did You Know? Data Center Location Can Influence Content Copyright Laws | Chatsworth Products
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Did You Know? Data Center Location Can Influence Content Copyright Laws

(Industry News) Permanent link

Earlier this month, Wikipedia, the massive online encyclopedia known the world over for its user-generated and edited content, celebrated its tenth year in existence. To mark the milestone, Wikipedia’s primary founder, Jimmy Wales, hit the talk show circuit to shed light on some myths and obscure facts surrounding the popular site’s structure and operational procedures.BLOG-WIKIPEDIA.jpg 

Of particular interest to those who follow data center trends and tidbits, Wales pointed out that while Wikipedia’s first dedicated set of data-storing servers were housed in San Diego, California, once Wikipedia’s model of user-generated, volunteer-moderated online content began to grow (more than 17 million articles in over 270 languages to date), the server farms, and the content they stored, were moved to Tampa, Florida in 2004.

Besides the all-too obvious and ordinary reasons a company might relocate (need more space at a cheaper cost, etc.), Wikipedia’s trek south reveals a simple, yet perhaps little-known nugget of location-based minutia – the rules and laws governing hosted content depend upon the state in which that content physically resides – in this case, the entire Wikipedia database, every last article on everything from political figures of post-colonial America to plot holes in The Matrix, exists under Florida state jurisdiction, most notably, Florida copyright law.

On its own self-published Wikipedia page, the editing model of the site states:

“Content in Wikipedia is subject to the laws (in particular copyright law) in Florida, United States, where Wikipedia servers are hosted, and several editorial policies and guidelines that are intended to reinforce the notion that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Each entry in Wikipedia must be a topic that is encyclopedic and thus is worthy of inclusion.” 

Whether or not every single article hosted on Wikipedia’s servers is justifiably ‘worthy of inclusion’ is certainly up for debate (looking at you, "Pogs"), but the fact of the matter remains – companies storing and hosting content can be required to adhere to the copyright laws where that content resides.

Granted, such a topic only affects a certain segment of businesses and industries. For the IT industry at large, the trials and tribulations of selecting a data center site understandably revolve around considerations like cost-effective thermal cooling, power usage and efficiency. Yet as IT evolves, and umbrella topics like cloud computing compete for editorial space, the debate over intellectual property, content ownership and physical site storage will persist. Where to now? Jeff Cihocki, eContent Specialist 

Posted by Jeff Cihocki, eContent Specialist at 10/11/2011 10:24:37 AM

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4/1/2023 4:23:06 PM