[Foundation-l] Fair Use (again)

David Gerard dgerard at gmail.com
Sun Jan 28 21:28:07 UTC 2007

On 28/01/07, geni <geniice at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1/28/07, Robert Scott Horning <robert_horning at netzero.net> wrote:

> > I am being told that the one and only way that these images are going to
> > possibly be removed from Wikipedia is through a WP:OFFICE action.  I
> > think that is one of the most ridiculous sentiments ever made.  For
> > example, see the "disclaimer" that was thrown onto this image:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image%3AHand_with_Reflecting_Sphere.jpg

> Hmm yes that is rather a worry. I would argue it's inclusion in [[Hand
> with Reflecting Sphere (Self-Portrait in Spherical Mirror)]] at a low
> enough resolution could be legitimately argued to be fair use.

Yeah, there's a place for fair use, and that's probably where it would
be. Maybe in a general article on Escher, maybe not.

For the actual *likelihood* of a legal apocalypse for the Foundation -
my favoured example again, [[Xenu]] - the important IMO) fair-use
image are owned by the Church of Scientology, who are really quite
notable for now far they will take legal action to protect what they
see as their interests (see [[Scientology and the legal system]] - SCO
is *nothing* by comparison) but literally haven't uttered a peep about
the CoS-owned images on [[Xenu]] in two years, while CoS staff editors
participate extensively in the Scientology-related articles on
Wikipedia. Because the educational fair use *in the context of the
article* is really not reasonably contestable under US law. And nor
have they approached any mirror sites that I know of (and I'm hooked
in enough to the Scientology critic community that think I'd know).

(And the image of the word "Xenu" in L. Ron Hubbard's handwriting has
been widely distributed in the UK, and worldwide, on Roland
Rashleigh-Berry's 'Xenu leaflet' since 1997. I've handed it to CoS
staff myself. Not a peep of a legal threat over it.)

IMO, every fair use image on en:wp should have a {{fairusein}}
template and only be used in articles carrying that template with an
article and a rationale. I'm a big fan of fair use, but I also think
it's taken *way* too far in practice. And I think it would be a bad
thing for the encyclopedia for fair use to be abused to the point
where the Foundation says "no more."

> > IMHO, this disclaimer by itself is almost proof by itself that this
> > particular image is a copyright violation,

> It is prooof that someone doesn't know what they are doing

Assume good faith! But by no means let doing so stop us from winding
fair use on en:wp back to something considerably more hardarsed.

> > and I would argue that the
> > other 40,000 images also in [[en:w:Category:Fair use images of art]]
> > also are very likly to be copyright violations.  That is not a trivial
> > number of images to be removing.

> While it is a bit messy a lot of it isn't to bad. As long as people
> talk about the artwork in the article it is in it is posible to start
> building a fair use case.

I know you're pretty knowledgeable about the state of fair use images
on en:wp, so it's very reassuring that it's not *too* bad. Not
unfixably so, anyway.

- d.

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