[Foundation-l] precisions about the recent WMF "fair use" decision
Robert Scott Horning
robert_horning at netzero.net
Fri Feb 9 04:45:50 UTC 2007
>Robert Scott Horning wrote:
>>I've asked before, but are there any publications of the scale of
>>Wikipedia that acutally use fair-use artwork? In nearly every instance
>>I find licensed images instead, including several that have been offered
>>today on the various talk pages of Wikipedia that were referencing
>>Encyclopedia Britannica. I don't see fair use being used to this extent
>>at all in major publications, even textbooks about artwork.
>Well, I just linked you to a journal article freely published online;
>one among many. Do you want a hit counter on it or something to satisfy
>your "scale" requirement? I don't see what that would have to do with
>it anyway---How is fair use in a journal any different than fair use in
>an encyclopedia, legally speaking?
The main point I was trying to offer here is that if you are concerned
about copyright and being in a very public place like Wikipedia is where
people would stand up and pay attention if you violate copyrights in an
obvious fashion (by the owners of that copyrighted material).
I'm actually very surprised about this source code being here, to be
honest. Atari (or whoever currently owns the Atari brand and the
existing software from that company) still asserts copyright on this
content, and has even licensed it relatively recently to a couple of toy
manufacturers who have made "retro" games based on the old Atari 2600
cartrige systems. For this to be a complete dump of the content is IMHO
the software equivalent to quoting verbatium an entire poem without
permission and claiming fair use. I'm not sure this one would hold up
if challenged, even though all that is shown is the object code.
It does, however, fit the definition of "one good example" that I've
been seeking, even though it isn't really traditional art work.
Computer software, particularly something written nearly 30 years ago,
has certainly depreciated in value to the point that you could
legitimately argue that its publication in this manner does not
adversely affect its marketability.
Traditional art works, however, tends to appreciate in value over time,
particularly when it is art work from popular artists and even more once
that artist has died. This may be part of why the Louvre is trying to
assert copyrights over some of the paintings in its galleries. In cases
where the art is still clearly under copyright, I can imagine a much
tougher time to consider the images of that art to be properly
considered fair use and not infringing on the artist's copyright.
Robert Scott Horning
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