On 7/20/07, Bryan Derksen <bryan.derksen(a)shaw.ca> wrote:
WikipediaEditor Durin wrote:
en.wikipedia is utterly failing at executing the
it is THE flagship project.
This is unwarranted hyperbole. If we're utterly failing, why is
Wikipedia a top-10 website that's rapidly gaining cachet as the first
place to look for general information, why is Britannica in terror of
us, and (specifically on the "free" front) why is the Wikipedia database
being used by literally hundreds of mirrors?
We're succeeding at the "encyclopaedia" part; not so much at the
part. Also, there would be significant legal concerns about hosting the
content, let alone publishing it in hard copy form, anywhere outside the US.
Also, bear in mind that "free" is only one half of our fundamental goal.
The other half is "encyclopedia". Adding
fair use content may restrict
the "free" half while enhancing the "encyclopedia" half, so it's
an obvious net loss.
From what I understand of Durin's argument, it is
that our encyclopaedia is
not being significantly enhanced by the usage of much of
content. If we're just sticking things in to look nice and illustrate
articles without actually using them to enhance the reader's understanding
and appreciation of the article's subject, we're not exactly doing much on
the encyclopedic front.
The same rationales that we use for fair use images can be used by
others who wish to use Wikipedia's material in the
same context (as an
educational encyclopedia), so it's not like the fair use images are
completely useless for people wishing to reuse our content. They just
have to make the judgement for themselves which licences are compatible
with their use and strip out the bits that aren't.
The point of WP is kinda' that downstream reusers shouldn't have to do this,
or at least not to the degree that they currently have to. Living outside
the US, I would be very hesitant at republishing Wikipedia here because I
have no way of differentiating what I am legally licensed to use, or am
permitted to use despite lacking a licence, and what I am not.