[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).
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
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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