[Foundation-l] Use of logos within Wikimedia sites

Robert Scott Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Tue Feb 6 19:44:08 UTC 2007

DF wrote:

>Wikimedia's logos are copyrighted and trademarked. 
>Notwithstanding this, the logos have been placed on a
>large number of pages under circumstances where other
>copyrighted works would never be used.  

>Now many of us believe that there could reasonably be
>an exception to Wikipedia's copyright rules when it
>comes to images owned by Wikimedia itself, especially
>if they serve a useful purpose like promoting
>Wikipedia.  However, because of the unique role that
>the logos play in the visual identity of Wikipedia, I
>wanted to come here and get guidance from the
>Foundation about what constitutes acceptable use.  I
>would appreciate it if people would review the
>materials on the pages linked above and give some
>direction on when logos can be incorporated in other
>images and what kinds of pages they might reasonably
>be used on.  In particular, are promotional tools like
>banners and the like acceptable?
>-Robert Rohde
>aka Dragons_flight on EN

While I understand the rationale for trademarking these images formally 
(is http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Wikipedia-logo.png formally 
regsitered yet?) and asserting trademark status on other logos and 
names, I would like to contrast this to the use of the Linux trademark, 
both the name and the classical Linux penguin.

I will suggest, however, that the Linux trademark is not being used with 
the eye to a potential future fundraising activity or two, and is not as 
strongly defended as a result.  The main attitude that Linus Torvald 
seems to have about its usage is that somebody ought to hold the 
trademark in order to keep those who would abuse it (as did happen) from 
using trademark law to extort people in the legal system.  It is being 
held as a community trust.

There is the "official policy" that has been discussed on Meta at:


There is also the derivitive logo policy that is perhaps more closely 
related to what you are talking about:


Although on both of these pages it should be apparent that the policy is 
still "in progress" and not something that has been formally decided.

I would like to add my voice that I think the current ambigous policies 
are insufficent to offer clear direction on where to proceed, or to even 
find somebody to contact if you think you have a practical application 
that would use Wikimedia logos and trademarks but would like to seek 
"permission" first.  I know that such a person could very easily be 
flooded with a so many requests as to turn it into a full time job, 
which is one reason why I think it may not be happening right now and 
why it is deliberately ambigous.

I would hope that some sort of "happy medium" could be created that 
would allow creative expression such as the "NotSuckBanner.jpg" from the 
community that would also promote generally Wikimedia projects nor 
detract from any future fundraising efforts.  But that if you wanted to 
use a Wikimedia logo such as is being done by http://www.wikipress.de/ 
that its usage could be done for a reasonable fee and not necessarily be 
exclusive.  I could also imagine several blatant abuses of Wikimedia 
logos that would not be appropriate due to content (imagine an 
Terropedia or other group that promotes bomb making and coordinates 
terrorist activities) that would very likely be turned down flat.

Robert Scott Horning

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