[Foundation-l] a new free image!

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Thu Mar 1 03:20:58 UTC 2007

On 2/28/07, Yonatan Horan <yonatanh at gmail.com> wrote:
> This reminds me of an idea I had that might not be feasible. Make a
> commons-like project for fair use pictures that all wikipedias can use and
> disable local uploads at all wikipedias. That way, only absolutely must fair
> use pictures will be accepted (logos, stamps, pictures of historical events
> that are unreplaceable, etc.) and there won't be fair use pictures of living
> people and of other things for which fair use isn't a must. That way you
> won't have all the inconsistencies with, for example, Spanish Wikipedia
> users asking why en can use fair use pictures of, say, music albums while
> they can't because they have local uploading disabled and only upload to
> commons. This way you'd also get people who are knowledgeable in the area of
> fair use and policies regarding fair use on wikipedia taking care of
> pictures rather than different people having different views on different
> projects. This way you'd also have one central fair use policy that is
> consistent amongst all the projects which will take care of the whining as I
> mentioned above and will also make sure that fair use that isn't really a
> must isn't in use on other projects (from my personal experience, this is
> what is going on on the Hebrew Wikipedia which currently has, IMHO, the most
> lax fair use policies out of any other project). Of course the problem is
> that you'd have to find people willing to monitor such a project, which you
> might not find as readily available as people for a project such as commons
> that deals with free content and there's also the hassle of starting up a
> new project (which some may deem unnecessary).
> -Yonatan
The much bigger problem is getting the key members of the various
projects to agree on a standard definition of what is and what isn't
acceptable.  I don't see that happening any time soon, unless some
decision is made at the board level forcing the various projects to
adopt a certain standard.

IIRC, the board was opposed to making such a decision the last time it
was polled on such an idea.  But I could be mistaken there.

An argument against even having a standard definition is that the
different language encyclopedias have very different communities of
users when it comes to what is legal and what isn't legal for them to
distribute without permission (in some cases there is an argument that
certain users wouldn't even be able to legally *contribute* to certain
articles).  Once you've entered the realm of using unlicensed images
created in the last century or so you've taken the position that it's
OK to create an encyclopedia which some portion of your user-base
cannot legally distribute (and possibly contribute to).  This is
acceptable, I think, but it relies on balancing the benefits and
drawbacks., and these benefits and drawbacks vary from community to
community.  The English Wikipedia for example has a much greater
proportion of users who are able to use certain images than the French
Wikipedia, for example.


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