[Foundation-l] Wikimedia logos on Commons

GerardM gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Fri Aug 24 09:59:41 UTC 2007

The problem has been identified many times; a logo is part of a trademark
and consequently an organisation is limited in what it can allow to be done
with the materials that make up their trademark.

It is a general problem not restricted to the Wikimedia Foundation or
Debian. Based on the notion of "fair use" it is possible to use logos in
many Wikipedias. Based on the notion of "insufficient creativity" there is
another creative solution to the same problem. The issue is that Commons
does not allow fair use and the "insufficient creativity" notion is also
considered to be problematic.

What is needed is the acceptance that logos instil specific restrictions.
These restrictions will not go away. What these restrictions do is limit the
freedoms associated with this material. In essence they prohibit you from
using it to represent the organisation whose trademarked material it is.

Given what the purpose of a logo is and given why we want to use these logos
in the first place, this is reasonable. It is for this reason that we need
something like a CC-tm license. A license that is considered free but
restricts what is implied by being part of a trademark.


On 8/24/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 8/24/07, Gregory Maxwell <gmaxwell at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I agree that we should permit the use of logos in Wikipedia articles.
> > Thats why I support the policies which allow limited fair use images..
> > Logos and the like clearly fit inside of that.  As a result I don't
> > think we need to do anything else.
> >
> > Erik, I understand that you're unhappy with Dewp's decisions about
> > these matters ... but their position is a long standing one.
> 1) My post has nothing to do with de.wp - please do not attribute false
> motives.
> 2) de.wp does permit non-free logos, under the assumption that they
> are "public domain" due to insufficient creativity, an assumption
> which they base on a German court ruling. They apply this logic even
> to US logos, e.g. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/20th_Century_Fox ; this
> is problematic and WMF is aware of it.
> 3) We are talking about a specific class of works: identifying works.
> I think it is perfectly reasonable to try to come up with a standard
> of freedom for such works, and to then open up our archives to allow
> uploading of those works which meet this standard to a central
> archive.  Whether that archive should or shouldn't be Commons and
> whether one should use the vocabulary of the free culture movement for
> those logos is open to debate.
> --
> Toward Peace, Love & Progress:
> Erik
> DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
> the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.
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