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

Kat Walsh kwalsh at wikimedia.org
Thu Feb 8 19:09:30 UTC 2007

On 2/8/07, Marco Chiesa <chiesa.marco at gmail.com> wrote:
> Kat Walsh wrote:

> Thanks Kat. Of course the itwiki community is not just composed by Gatto
> Nero and me, and to be honest I haven't read yet what's going on on our
> Village Pump. Here I'm just representing myself.Also, I'm looking
> forward to see the Board decision on the limits of the
> Wikimedia-accepted fair use, with possibly some estimate on how many
> fairuse images on en.wiki will be deleted because of this decision.
> The
> Italian community may find the policy more acceptable if they're made
> aware that, say, 50% of the images tagged as fair use on en.wiki won't
> be accepted any more. When Jimbo recently wrote that we should get rid
> of  non-free material, many a voice was saying: "Hey, why shouldn't we
> used stuff we worked hard to get permission when en.wiki uses
> {{fairuse}} for the same purpose?"

I'm afraid you may be disappointed if you are expecting something
quite so specific; there are so many individual cases and
circumstances that it would simply be impossible to say in detail
"this kind is allowed, this kind is not" in such a way that everyone
would know. For the most part it is up to the informed and reasonable
members of the community to come to these decisions for their

It is definitely the case that there are a lot of images being used on
enwiki that shouldn't be. Partially because it is a divisive issue and
partially because many people simply do not know what the rules are.
Estimating how many those are would be nearly impossible... but it is
enough to keep a large group of people busy for quite some time.

(Side note, as I think from previous experience that I need to make
this clear: this is not license to be a jerk when deleting images, and
on the flip side you do not have license to accuse someone deleting
these images of doing so to be a jerk. Treat each other with courtesy
and understanding, darn it.)

The hardest part about a message like this is knowing how much trouble
some people have gone to. (I have asked people to release things under
free content licenses myself  and sometimes it is very difficult to
explain...) It may help somewhat to know there are many people in the
enwiki community who are upset at how restrictive this is even as some
others are complaining how much enwiki is permitted to do...

Enwiki went through something similar when the with-permission,
non-commercial, and non-derivative images that were permitted (or at
last tolerated) early on became speedy deletion candidates... many
people upset at the loss of their hard work, and no one is ever happy
about making that happen even where the ends are something we want.


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