On Fri, Feb 29, 2008 at 8:39 AM, Ken Arromdee <arromdee(a)rahul.net> wrote:
Can anyone honestly say that this free image has the
value as the fair use image? Yet that's exactly what's being argued. You
can't even see his face in the free image.
In that particular case, I'd personally agree with you that the
free-licensed picture is not adequate.
Unfortunately, most of the time, arguments on Wikipedia aren't about
the actual case in front of us, but between bands of people afraid of
precedent being set, or wanting precedent to be set. There's a
reasonable 'thin end of the wedge' worry that if we add a subjective
criterion to the current policy on when fair use images are
acceptable, some people will take it and run with it and before we
know it, there'll be a hole in policy big enough to drive a truck
This is not an unreasonable fear, either. We frequently have fans
wanting to replace our amateur photos of celebrities taken during
public appearances with professional photographs under a claim of fair
use. The vast majority of our freely-licensed photos could be
replaced by a better fair-use image, I suspect.
Realistically, the worry is not so much that that argument would win
the day, but that it would open up a lot more edit wars and arguments
that could not be so easily countered with hard-edged policy.
This is not a view I wholly agree with, by the way; I fear that we
have a long-term trend towards ironclad, no-exceptions, zero-tolerance
policies because people would rather have easy than right, and because
the querulous and stubborn can argue others to exhaustion on
subjective points. This would not be the Wikipedia I signed up for.