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

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Fri Feb 9 02:37:12 UTC 2007

On 2/8/07, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Fair use is somewhat different in that many third party uses,
> > especially educational ones, will be permissible as well.
> One can make a parallel argument to defend -NC.

I don't agree that one can.

Fair use is not a license, it's an escape clause in copyright that
enables the the public to engage in reasoned and informed discussion
about copyrighted works, effectively a form of free speech.

We do not accept non-free materials which we are licensed to use, but
we may accept some materials whos exclusion would effectively equate
to a suppression of our free speech.  Fair use is special not because
it is a copyright loophole, but because it is critical to free speech.

There are other copyright loopholes which we explicitly reject. For
example, we do not accept copyrighted works from Iran except which we
can make a fair use claim for...  We could legally do so, because as a
non-signature to any of the international copyright treaties, their
copyright law (which is very similar to that of most countries) is not
enforceable outside of Iran.

In my eyes, this confusion you see with respect to fair use is removed
when you view it in this light and don't try to consider fair use a
copyright license. Fair use isn't a license.

>By stating simply that our projects are free, without denigrating the work
>of those who want to include more license-encumbered materials, we can at
>once clarify our own goals, push part of the burden of clever tagging onto
>the less-free efforts, and implicitly exert stronger pressure to find free
>representations, images, and recordings of important subjects.

I'm not sure we disagree so much, since I certainly don't support the
claim that anything we could replace is fair use.

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