[Foundation-l] Four Questions About Freedom (was: Clearing up Wikimedia's media licensing policies (some important points))

geni geniice at gmail.com
Fri Feb 9 13:22:30 UTC 2007

On 2/9/07, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> 1) Making the division clearer. One way to do so would be to caption
> every image that is used under an exemption doctrine with a notice to
> that effect, e.g. "Copyright (C) XYZ. Used under fair use. [[About
> fair use in Wikipedia]]" That latter link could explain our policies,
> our desire for replacements, and the general free culture philosophy
> underlying this framework.

Rather a lot of the time we don't know exactly who XYZ is.
> 2) Liberation of non-free works. For many pictures, liberating them
> will be a matter of paying a certain amount to the copyright holder.
> So perhaps what is needed is a Content Liberation Group, either a
> point of contact within WMF, or a separate non-profit which seeks to
> raise funds to free existing works. I would favor the second option,
> as it could then be generalized to non-free software, and other works
> which are not as relevant to us.

There are various projects floating around to do this.

> Such a CLG could also systematically contact copyright holders of
> works which are no longer financially relevant. It could develop tools
> that make this process efficient and scalable. As Board member, I
> would be in favor of the WMF bootstrapping such a thing, even if it
> becomes a separate organization.

Problem is most of these works are not in a digital form and we have
no way of scanning in bulk.

> 3) The permanently non-free. Here I'm not referring to Mickey Mouse.
> Mickey is non-free, but it could theoretically be bought, or its
> copyright could expire (it would have if not for Disney's purchase of
> politicians to prevent it from happening).

That was more to do with bringing the US in line with most of the rest
of the planet.

> Even Wikimedia does not put its logos under an existing free license.
> I don't like the Debian approach of using two logos much because it
> tends to lead to either confusion or dominance of one over the other
> (who even knows the non-free Debian logo?). And this is one instance
> where there has been infighting within the free culture movement --
> Debian shouting at Mozilla and vice versa. A Firefox fork named
> Iceweasel. Silliness.

A rational response to the situation. It is not unreasonable for those
who want to stuff to be free to take steps to make sure it is.

> I think we may have to sit down with the CC folks, the FSF, Debian,
> and other stakeholders and try to develop an "Identifying Works
> License" or something like that, a license which grants certain
> liberties, as long as the use identifies only the desired entity and
> _nothing else_.

FSF and Debian will likely say no given that it runs against their
core philosophy. CC will probably produce half a dozen licences by

>It might permit modifications if they used only for
> commentary and nothing else, and so on. It might even have to make
> explicit reference to commercial vs. non-commercial use.

Please don't suggest this to RMS in person I don't want to have to
hold an election for a replacement board member.

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