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

Samuel Klein meta.sj at gmail.com
Fri Feb 9 03:09:51 UTC 2007

On Thu, 8 Feb 2007, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> On 2/8/07, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> [snip]
>>> 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.
> [snip]
> I don't agree that one can.

"-NC is somewhat different in that many third praty uses and reuses,
  especially educational ones, are permissible as well."

What's the problem with NC?  Reuse is hard.  Incompatible licenses can't 
be merged, and maintaining the separation incurs overhead.  Allowing NC 
material, regardless of warnings against it, encourages people to think
that is "free enough".  All this is true for fair use.

We ignore much of this for fair use in part because we as a culture have 
been slow at developing tools for editing, splitting, and merging images 
and media... but this is changing.

Defending fair use is confusing, as this thread's arguments show, even to 
intelligent people who have thought about this and know what it means.

We should not be confusing when inspiring people to create free materials.


> 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.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

More information about the foundation-l mailing list