Erik Moeller wrote:
On 7/19/07, WikipediaEditor Durin
This morning, I did a survey of 100 image
uploads. The sample size
with relation to
the overall quantity of image uploads per month is not statistically
it is terrifying nonetheless. With that grain of salt in mind;
Is there a survey on the _types_ of fair use images that persist a
month after upload or so? I would be much more interested in that.
I have no problem with thousands of book & album covers, logos &
screenshots. These are cases where there will be no alternative to
fair use for the foreseeable future. Wikipedia is, in some ways, like
a visitor from another planet, trying to document this one's culture:
The fact that _we_ use a free license is very odd, as most
contemporary culture is proprietary.
If there's one area we should focus on purging of any & all fair use,
it's photos of living celebrities. But the mere fact that the quantity
of fair use images is high does not indicate that something is
fundamentally wrong; the quantity of articles documenting pop culture
is also very high, and documenting contemporary works will often
include fair use excerpts. I would be more open to a rigid approach
if copyright terms weren't so ridiculously high, but there is no
relevant process of contemporary works passing into the public domain
anymore. Making use of the few exemptions the law provides seems
The issue requires a balanced approach, not a binary one. What are we
trying to achieve? Does it help anyone to nuke thousands of album
covers, for example -- does it make it more likely that free
replacements will be added? I don't think so.
It doesn't particularly matter if free replacements will be added to
those articles. "The Free Encyclopedia" means more than "free of
charge". It means, to the greatest degree possible, that it should be
free of restrictive copyright terms; free to reuse, copy, and modify as
you see fit.
View "free" and "encyclopedia" as two equally important halves of our
mission. In the case of some articles, a nonfree image adds such
tremendous educational value to an article that it's worth it to use it,
though it detracts slightly from the "free" aspect. But what, I wonder,
do you learn about Wal-Mart from seeing their logo? About your average
album or book from seeing what the cover looks like? By using thousands
of these images, we're taking away greatly from the "free" aspect of our
mission, and adding marginally if at all to the "encyclopedia" part.