Just found this website, where somebody is planning an wuju based
encyclopaedia on wing chun (a Chinese martial art). They call it
wingchunpedia. The logo looks... kind of familiar.
Is this something that action should be taken against?
I've somehow found myself embroiled in the middle of a fair-use fight on
en.wikipedia, but an interesting viewpoint has expressed itself that I'm
curious with the "powers that be" and other experienced Wikimedia users
might find a bit interesting, at least in terms of where a significant
faction of Wikipedia users want to go.
The philosophy is essentially that fair use images are permitted on
Wikipedia, even if you are not going to be legally permitted to use them
if you copy them and try to re-publish the Wikipedia article. I guess
this same philosophy also applies to the whole issue of NC images and
their inclusion in Wikimedia projects, but in this case the issue is
mainly centered on fair use applications of image content.
In reading through the Wikipedia Fair Use guideline talk page
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk%3AFair_use), I noticed a
recurring theme to justify many fair use images based around two
significant points of the fair-use doctrine as described in USC 92
* Educational fair use - Wikipedia is part of an "educational
institution" and the images are used as a form of instruction.
* Non-commercial entity - Because the WMF is a 503 (c) 3 non-profit
organization, and because all of the editor/contributors to Wikipedia
are unpaid volunteers, Wikipedia can claim non-commercial usage of fair
My counter argument is that neither of these justifications are valid
for inclusion into Wikipedia. The educational exception is a major
stretch and I just don't see how it really applies in the case of
Wikipedia, particularly with some common-law cases that have
significantly reduced the scope of educational fair use. In the case of
the non-commercial entity, I would argue that the GFDL is the trump card
here, as reproducing Wikipedia (and almost all Wikimedia) content must
be done under the terms of the GFDL, which explictly permits commercial
The response to this is that it doesn't matter if the GFDL applies.
They just want to include fair use images, even if the GFDL doesn't
permit their reproduction. This is essentially a "buyer beware"
attitudue where you, as the end-user, are required to explicitly go
through the licensing terms of all images you download together with an
article and remove those images if you decide to pass the article on to
a 3rd party. The inclusion of an image on Wikipedia has no connection
to the GFDL, but only if it is legal (even if barely) for it to be
displayed on a website run by the WMF.
I had a hard time understanding this philosohpy, but a fairly vocal
group insists that this is where fair use policy on Wikipedia ought to
I should note that I got into this whole mess because I was involved
with a group that was trying to write a Wikibook about M.C. Escher, and
I tried to point out that they couldn't reproduce the Escher artwork
unless they somehow were able to obtain a license that could be used
under the GFDL. The response was that the images were being used on
Wikipedia, so why not Wikibooks? The Escher reproductions are claiming
fair use, but I think it has gone way too far on Wikipedia, as I believe
these to be merely a copyright violation.
Robert Scott Horning
I got a call yesterday from a press officer for a major UK bank. My
number was one of the few contact numbers they could find.
They spent lots of time yesterday morning adding stuff to the bank's
article from their websites and having it reverted as a copyright
violation. They couldn't work out what she was doing wrong, so they
called me. They hadn't heard about the Microsoft mess at all. Oh dear.
I explained that editing the article about yourself is a conflict of
interest, and pointed them at the talk page and said this was the
right place to put stuff - that they should introduce themselves, etc.
And that people might argue, but that happens on the Internet. I also
said I'd have a look myself.
Well, that's one more innocent disaster averted ...
But we really need something to handle this sort of thing and make it
widely known. Something as n00b-friendly as possible - just type on a
page (or in a form) or send an email.
Which will mean another firehose of crap to find volunteers to deal
with. This is the tricky bit. Compare to OTRS, which has the twin
problems of (1) a firehose of crap with a few important things in it
and (2) too few volunteers, who then get (understandably) tetchy and
close to burnout, and not great success at recruiting more.
0. I submit that we really do need this.
1. Most n00b-friendly interface possible. This is not a big problem.
2. How to get volunteers interested in wanting to look at this? This
is the tricky one.
(I'm tempted to submit this to Ask Slashdot for ideas ... any objections?)
Another bad publicity storm such as happened last week to Microsoft is
absolutely not in Wikipedia or Wikimedia's interests. We don't want to
make organisations fearful of coming near us.
In the Frankfurt retreat of October 2007 (see
) it was envisioned that someone should be charged with the fostering of
relationships between Chapters and Foundation as well as with the developing
of Chapters and related activities. This is actually a job which has been
developed, and officially been done for quite a while already, by Delphine
Ménard, as you all may know.
On the current path of stabilizing and professionalizing the organization,
the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to now hire Delphine Ménard as Chapters
Coordinator (part-time), starting as of today, February 1st, 2007. It is my
honor, as board member especially responsible for relationships with
chapters, to announce this to you.
Since it is a bit pointless to welcome someone already so involved in
Wikimedia, please allow me to express my warmest congratulations to
Delphine, I am looking forward to a fruitful cooperation :-)
Oscar van Dillen
Karim was on a panel at Wikimania this past summer, as well.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Karim R. Lakhani <klakhani(a)hbs.edu>
Date: Jan 31, 2007 3:37 PM
Subject: [Air-l] A teaching case on Wikipedia
I wanted to let you know that my colleague Andrew McAfee and I have
prepared a teaching case on Wikipedia. This case will be taught to
MBA students at the Harvard Business School this spring in the
Managing in the Information Age elective course.
The case is free online and is under the GNU Free Document License.
You can get it here
Here is a brief synopsis:
Wikipedia has emerged as a robust model for content production by
volunteers working asynchronously on the internet with a
unconventional model for distributed decision making. The "Articles
for Deletion" process in Wikipedia provides unique insight into the
inner workings of a distributed community. Wikipedia administrators
have to decide if an article on "Enterprise 2.0" should be deleted,
kept or merged with some other article. The episode illustrates
broader issues of IT-enabled community mobilization and engagement in
To show the delicate balance between issues of authority, expertise,
community consensus and norms of behavior in a distributed setting.
To discuss success and failure modes in online communities.
I hope to have a teaching note for this by April and also a teaching
plan - if some of you use it before hand in class - I would be
grateful if you would share your experience with me.
Also your comments and suggestions for the case are very welcome!
Karim R. Lakhani
Harvard Business School
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