I've been gone for several months, so bare with me if I am bringing up old news...
I recently came across a copyrighted image on wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:TrangBang.jpg
Apparently this is not an isolated incident though. As User:172 said "This picture is one of hundreds posted on Wikipedia of similar fair use status." Also, I've found that fair use has crept its way into our copyright page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Copyrights#Fair_use_materials_and_sp…
This does concern me considerably considering the legal status of such images seems to be unclear. You can also find more information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Fair_use
Again, I've been gone for quite a while. Has there been a consensus by the community that we should start using copyrighted material in wikipedia? Even if this is fair use, what's stopping the copyright holders from suing the wikimedia foundation, and incurring a great deal of legal fees? Also, how do we ensure that it is clear that these images are not reproducible under the GFDL? I think, that we are walking on thin ice when we start including copyrighted material in wikipedia. Does it really add enough to put the whole project at risk? Is the foundation willing to pursue lawsuits against them for violating copyright law? If we decide to indeed allow the upload of copyrighted material under "fair use" who determines that it is fair use? It's only going to get harder to make sure we aren't breaking the law once we open this door.
I think we have to ask ourselves a couple questions here:
1. Are we breaking copyright law?
2. Is it worth making wikipedia less free to include copyrighted material?
3. Is the wikimedia foundation willing to incur legal fees to fight cases against it for copyright violation
I for one don't think that the benefit we get from including copyrighted material balances the risks involved, or what we loose in freedom of use.
I could be way off base here, but this is just my 2 cents.
I have the feeling that the current growing pains that Wikipedia is
experiencing are short-term, as it tries to gain more universal recognition.
I followed the discussion on the NEH grant, and I believe that if WF gets
things together, in a couple of years you'll be able to garner something
major like that.
I don't know how many people know about Perseus (www.perseus.tufts.edu), but
it's an awesome online searchable collection of classical primary and
secondary texts. It was established by a National Science Foundation grant,
and I believe continues to be supported by the NSF, NEH, and other agencies.
If Wikipedia could garner enough recognition by grant-awarders as a major
resource of international humanitarian benefit, I believe a couple
well-crafted grants could fund it and grow it to perpetuity. I hope that
academic research such as I am doing (I've also got in touch with Andrew Lih
and Tomoaki Watanabe on this list, who also do academic research on
Wikipedia) could help put it on the radar screen of the money givers.
I'd like to hear some thoughts on this.
I was wondering if anyone had further thoughts about this grant support
suggestion. Let me summarize the gist of the responses so far:
1. An number of people seem interested in the idea of surveying wikipedians
to find out more about them, similar to the survey conducted on SourceForge
open source developers. This would probably be a multilingual survey, and
off course, the wikipedians would have the choice whether or not to opt out.
Technically, Wikimedia Foundation's main technical involvement would be to
provide links on the wikipedias to ask for Wikipedians and visitors to
respond. Interested wikipedians on the various language wikipedias could
translate the master version into their respective languages. Note: The
Web-based survey itself could be either onsite or offsite (so that there be
no strain on Wikipedia resources).
2. There were some comments about my current research activities. About the
comparison of encyclopedia quality, comments were positive. About the social
analysis of wikipedian interaction, I clarified that this research is
currently being done 100% on an off-site database dump replication, and does
not directly interfere with wikipedians or Wikimedia Foundation.
3. I made a comment about "Wikipedia" vs. "wikipedia" which seemed to be a
lot more interesting to many people than the grant collaboration :-) Could
we get back on topic, please?
I have some questions that have not been addressed yet:
1. Would Wikimedia Foundation be willing to work with me to conduct such a
survey? I would appreciate a letter of support to that effect, and that
indicates that we could work together on other possible research questions
that WF would be interested in. Again, such a letter would help me acquire
I fully understand WF's financial constraints, so the support I'm asking for
does not involve any financial assistance (rather, I'm trying to help WF
that way--see next comment). I would like to cover any actual expenses
incurred (such as developer/consulting time) as part of my grant. The more
concrete the ideas of future possibilities, the more likely I can make
specific requests in the grant application. So please pour in the ideas!
2. As the note below indicates, I could probably request something like $US
4,500 ($CA 6,000) in hardware to support my research, that would effectively
be fully and directly available for Wikipedia (i.e. I could legitimately
ship it to Florida) for at least three years. What would be the best
expenditure for this possibility and what would be the best way to carry it?
I know that this is a drop in the bucket for Wikipedia's growing needs, but
I sincerely want to help. I also want to be clear that regardless of if WF
feels comfortable about writing me a letter of support, as a Wikipedian I'd
like to do my bit to help out this great project. It's because I believe in
it that I'm committing to it as a major research topic. I'll write a little
bit more on this in a separate posting.
I look forward to hearing more comments.
From: Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: July 29, 2004 9:04 PM
Subject: [Foundation-l] Personal research grant collaboration request
Dear Wikimedia Foundation,
My name is Chitu Okoli. I am a professor in information systems (MIS) at
Concordia University in Montréal, and I've been very interested in
for a while. (I am also a light Wikipedian, User:cokoli, since March this
year. In addtion, I've been listening in on foundation-l for a little while
I am currently working on a couple of research projects involving
Two specific projects involve:
1. Obtaining a scholarly evaluation of the quality of its articles by
comparing Wikipedia articles with those of other encyclopedias; and
2. Mapping the sociological networks of Wikipedians among each other in
their wiki activities, and the effects of these networks on their
and group performance in Wikipedia.
I want to apply for grant funding to support my research, and I would love
to arrange this in a way that would translate into free computer equipment
for Wikipedia. For this, I would only need the Wikimedia Foundation's
organizational support and some technical cooperation. I hope it could be a
win-win situation where I could receive assistance for my research (and the
satisfaction of contributing tangibly to what I believe is a worthy cause),
and the Foundation could hopefully get some valuable resources.
I'd like to work together with you to see what options could work best for
mutual benefit. Specifically, let me quote my faculty's grant coordinator,
as he explains quite well the boundaries of what mind be possible:
Also, with regards to buying and sending equipment to Wikipedia, you
should be okay doing that. However, the university may request that the
equipment be returned to the university at the end of the research project
i.e. 3 years from the starting date. So, Wikipedia could use the server
for 3 years, which would obviously help them by saving them the money in
the short term to purchase the equipment and in 3 years from now you may
request from the university that the equipment be donated, sold at a
discount, returned, etc. This would have to be negotiated between
yourself and the Associate Dean and Dean of the business school.
I would suggest first that you contact Wikipedia to ask them to give you a
list of the server equipment that they need to buy, but tell them that the
value cannot exceed say $6000 CDN for example. I say $6,000 because you
may get a maximum of $15,000/yr for 3 years, which you would need to hire
RAs, buy yourself a laptop to travel with, etc. In return, they would
have to send you a letter of support indicating that they will be helping
you to collect the data you need via surveys, etc.
How I would like the Wikimedia foundation to assist me is in two main ways:
1. If my research program seems interesting to you, and/or if you believe
the Foundation could benefit from the equipment that the grant(s) could
provide, please write me an official letter of support indicating that you
are willing to offer me necessary assistance in carrying out my research. I
am certainly NOT asking for financial assistance--rather, I'm trying to
provide some. (Besides, after listening in on the fundraising banner
discussion, Wikimedia Foundation is the last place I'd go asking for money
>:-) Such a letter of support in and of itself would be a great act of
"support" for me--it would be very helpful in helping me obtain a research
grant to continue my research.
2. As far as what actual "support" I would need, for much of my research, I
don't need anyone from the Wikipedia Foundation to actually do anything for
me--I am already working off the Wikipedia database dumps, and the
Wikitech-l provides pretty good technical support. (Thanks Timwi and Brion
Vibber for helping my research assistant, Claudio.)
However, some of the further research I might need to do could need
substantial help from the Wikimedia Foundation. One particular idea I have
in mind would be to conduct a survey of Wikipedians to figure out who they
are, and why they do what they do. I have in mind something very much along
the lines of the "Hacker Survey" that Boston Consulting Group conducted on
SourceForge developers, through the support of the Open Source Developers
Network. (The results are available in PDF at
http://www.bcg.com/opensource/BCGHACKERSURVEY.pdf.) I think the Foundation
could benefit from a similar survey, to better understand who Wikipedians
are. However, if I were to help conduct this survey (I am a social
with special training in conducting accurate surveys), I would need special
access to Wikipedians beyond what a database dump could provide. This is
just an example to show the kind of "support" I would need that could be
mutually beneficial. And of course, I'm trying to get funds from outside to
sponsor this (e.g. I apply for a grant to pay the Foundation for developer
time to help create the surveys).
To be explicit, what I hope to offer the Wikimedia Foundation (subject to
grant award) would be:
1. Free hardware for about three years or so (depending on the grant
2. Consulting/developer fees for specific projects that might require more
time by board members and developers.
Please post your thoughts and comments on this. I'd like you to help make
this a proposal that could help both me and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Chitu Okoli, PhD
Assistant Professor in Management Information Systems
John Molson School of Business
Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
Phone: +1 (514) 848-2424 x2967
foundation-l mailing list
From: Nat Friedman <nat at novell dot com>
To: Jonathan Blandford <jrb at redhat dot com>
Copy: Erik Moeller <moeller at scireview dot de>
Subject: Re: GNOME bounty system success
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 16:12:28 -0400
Jonathan's summary is good. One quick point on numbers: only 11
bounties have been paid, but we've had patch submissions on >50% of the
total bounties; release engineering timelines have made it hard for
bounty submitters to get some of their patches accepted by module
maintainers, and therefore paid, so that contributes to the small number
of paid bounties you see.
One thing that's surprising is that pretty much all of our bounty
submissions came from first-world economies. Despite efforts to promote
the bounties heavily in e.g. India.
I think there's a need for a bounty administration infrastructure; some
piece of software that can run these programs automatically, instead of
the mostly hand-generated web pages I wrote.