[Foundation-l] Fair Use (again)

Robert Scott Horning robert_horning at netzero.net
Tue Jan 30 11:06:02 UTC 2007

rfrangi at libero.it wrote:

>>That may not be true in 10 or 20 years, but for now, we should embrace
>>Fair Use and use it.  Fairly, legally, and stomping on those who would
>>attempt to abuse Fair Use in our project, but we should embrace it
>I beg you all, please consider that a considerable part of the contributors to Wikimedia projects (and possibly a considerable part of people willing to reuse commercially its contents) cannot embrace fair use, simply because fair use does not exist in their legislation.
>And once again, if the point is to stick to the GFDL, fair use contents is not compliant.
>If the ponit is "articles look better with... whatever", some go for fair use, some others go for NC images. And even if I don't want neither, I have to say that fair use is something decided by the user (possibly wrongly), NC is something decided by the author (thus safer from the point of view of a legal action). 
>Roberto (Snowdog)
One of the problems with fair use for images is that they don't normally 
follow the traditions and practices of fair-use textual quotations. 
 This is also why the doctrines divirge so much from one country to the 
next for these items.

Still, I would like to point out that while fair-use doctrine may only 
be an American concept (largely), similar concepts do exist in virtually 
all other countries, even if to a significantly lesser extent.  There 
may be some images that are not strictly available for any purpose under 
the GFDL, but may under certain circumstances be legitimately used in 
GFDL'd content.  Trying to draw the line between what is acceptable 
content and stuff that simply needs to be deleted is where the problem 
comes in.  Erring on the side of caution and exclude fair-use content 
altogether may be one solution on some projects where fair use content 
isn't so critical.

What I find amazing is the philosophy of some en.wikipedia users that 
are now pushing to allow content on Wikipedia even if it invalidates the 
GFDL when it is included in a Wikipedia article.  It is this expansion 
of the range of images being permitted that surprises me, where the only 
limit to allowed content is only what is strictly legal in the USA, and 
trying to take fair use to the ultimate limits in U.S. Common Law and 
asserting educational and non-profit justifications for its inclusion.

I believe there is some middle ground that can be found between this 
free-for-all philosohpy and complete exclusion of fair use that would be 
easy to understand, work in nearly every country with significant 
numbers of Wikimedia users, and be simple enough to see a policy that is 
just a couple of paragraphs long about the topic.  Perhaps I'm overly 
optimistic here.

BTW, I love the it.wikipedia's attitude on this topic, which does a 
pretty good job of finding this middle ground.

Robert Scott Horning

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