Gregory Maxwell stated for the record:
I propose we establish a policy that PD confirmation
must be sought
for all images obtained from US government websites.
Only material actually produced by US federal government employees in
the course of their work is automatically PD. Often government
websites also contain commercial stock photography and other contract
works which we have no right to use. US Federal government websites
are among the most responsive on the internet, so obtaining such
permission should not be an issue.
There is usually an opportunity to apply common sense: If it looks
like stock photography it probably is, and we should ask. Very few
government agencies actually produce their own publication grade
images. However, there are a number of well meaning wikipedians who
have very wishful ideas of what we can use... If we ask them to apply
common sense we get Alanis Morrissette's Ironic uploaded.
As long as copyright warriors are willing to apply common sense the
other way -- it is patently obvious that
were taken by a Naval
officer during the performance of his duty, and I would have little
patience if someone were to argue that they ''might'' not be.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and
I think the best
course of action would be for use to make a strong statement that we
*always* prefer works made by wikimedia project participants. If we
must choose between a work with free licensing and one made by a
wikipedian we should always replace the free work with the wikipedians
work unless the outside work is clearly better. If there is any
possible doubt in the copyright the work should be replaced by a work
from one of our users. We should avoid making outside works featured
I find the standard "any possible doubt" to be much too paranoid. The
standard for convicting someone of premeditated murder is lower than
that. If we held ourselves to that standard, we would be an image-free
Web site -- ''no'' image's provenance is ''utterly
someone to doubt.
The wikimedia projects already have a sizable and
growing base of
photographers, illustrators, and musicians. It is completely
reasonable to believe that we can meet our own media needs, excluding
specific historical works that we wish to comment on.
Are you actually saying that it is "completely reasonable" for a
Wikipedian to photograph the wreck of USS ''Thresher''? For a
Wikipedian to take a clear picture of a B-2 Spirit in flight? For a
Wikipedian to take snapshots of the construction of the International
Space Station? There are several myriad subjects beyond "specific
historical works that we wish to comment on" for which the public domain
is the only source of images.
Sean Barrett | When I become evil overlord, if I'm
sean(a)epoptic.com | looking all around for my elusive enemy,
| I will occasionally look up as well.