[Foundation-l] Fair Use (again)

Brad Patrick bradp.wmf at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 20:24:54 UTC 2007

I wanted to simply state that I have been reading this thread with
interest.  When it comes to content, it is the editors and users and not the
Foundation who decide what is on.  I don't presently serve as, and don't
intend to become, the central authority for what is and isn't acceptable for
fair use questions. It is not a subject that is prone to sweeping policy
decisions, as counterexamples etc. abound.  Again, since the license is the
key to the forward looking nature of the project (here en:wp) why someone
feels compelled to take the easy way out and {{fairuse}} image the heck out
of articles out of a sense of obligation to "improve" it is beside the

The images are fair - not free - and that isn't the same thing.  You can
argue til the cows come home about any particular example.  People do.  ;-)
But I would once again encourage anyone interested in the issue to ask
themselves first why the fair image *must* be there instead of a free one
(rare examples) and why it is not instead an easy way out in lieu of the
harder task of obtaining free images as equivalents.

What happens in legal terms depends, of course, on the situation.  WMF has
no interest in fighting really hard for "fair use" in principle, since we
are all about free images where there is a choice.  Be honest - wouldn't the
best Wikipedia be one with no strings attached, with content of equivalent


On 1/29/07, Jeffrey V. Merkey <jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com> wrote:
> Ray Saintonge wrote:
> >Jeff V. Merkey wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> >>We should act in good faith always. Good faith means if someone creates
> >>a "cloud of doubt" and they are
> >>an undisputed owner of the materials in question, a good faith action
> >>would be to remove it.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >The biggest fly in that ointment is with establishing that they are the
> >undisputed owner.  There are as many misconceptions about that as there
> >are about fair use.  When that has been established it's good corporate
> >citizenship to remove the material when they ask nicely even if we could
> >win a court fight over fair use.
> >
> >Ec
> >
> >
> If they cannot establish they own the rights to the materials to the
> Foundation, then it is doubtful they will be able to
> convince a judge of this. An attorney sending a letter or posting a
> notice asserting such claims are true is about the
> only bonafide proof there is, short of a court ruling. Attorneys are
> bound by rules of professional conduct. Falsely asserting copyright
> ownership on behalf of a client could get them brought up on allegations
> with their state bar. If they are disbarred, they
> cannot practice law. Lawyers are not allowed to bill their time to
> answer bar complaints, and it could take 6-12 hours or more in
> what would have been valuable time they could bill for. If they work for
> a law firm, bar complaints can get them in a lot of
> trouble. As such, any attorney claiming copyright on behalf of a client
> is most probably telling the truth and has done their
> homework on the claims.
> That's how you tell. When an attorney sends a DMCA notice to the
> foundation. At which point, the content should come down.
> Jeff
> >
> >_______________________________________________
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> >foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> >http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> >
> >
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Brad Patrick
General Counsel & Interim Executive Director
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
bradp.wmf at gmail.com

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