[Foundation-l] Clearing up Wikimedia's media licensing policies (some important points)

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 15:55:14 UTC 2007

On 2/8/07, Marco Chiesa <chiesa.marco at gmail.com> wrote:
> IANAL, but I'm not sure this can be applied to works of art, photographs
> and all the non-text things we're talking about. Last months SIAE
> (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers) enforced copyright on an
> amateurial art website which was showing contemporary paintings. The
> website was describing and commenting these works, so the use of the
> pictures was "to illustrate what it was talking about". Still, this is
> copyright infringement under the Italian Law. Instructional purposes
> means that a teacher can distribute N copies of a copyrighted media to
> his/her students, but if you print a book well you have to pay the
> copyright owner his/her fair royalty.

My understanding from talking to someone I know who is a professor at
a university is Italy (i.e. not a legal authority), is that the
Italian law takes a much more aggressive stance on the commercial
impact of a work than does the law other places.   I don't believe
that the foundation policy should be to conform to the most
restrictive laws in the world, ... we should still be able to discuss
democracy even if the Chinese government forbids such discussion.
Rather, we should adopt rules reflecting a common subset.

In any case, I wasn't claiming to have solved itwiki's copyright
issues... I was only pointing out that the very loud voice screaming
that there was no parallel to fair dealing in Italian law was in

> Fair use is NOT a license.

Where did I say it was?

> It's a way to defend yourself when challenged
> about copyright infringement.

Sure, although it is equally true that "I have a license" is a way to
defend yourself when challenged about copyright infringement. :)

> If you have a NC media used in Wikipedia
> under fair use, why  should someone who wants to use it non-commercially
> be tricked into thinking that it is (c)All rights reserved when the
> media is actually a bit more free? Ok, not free enough for Wikimedia,
> but hey someone else may have other interests out there...

Because "a bit more free" is nowhere near free enough, and by
advertising that it is a bit more free we dramatically reduce the
interest in getting it free enough, because there will be some people
who are happy with the "bit more free" and their voices will be
removed from the chorus asking and looking for ways to make it free

In any case, thats my personal view. It's not policy, nor have I ever
asked it to be policy.  I provided it as contrast to show that there
are people who not only disagree with accepting such licenses, but
whom consider them so harmful that they'd rather we not do anything
which could possibly seen as promoting them.

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