[Foundation-l] BitTorrent Downloads of enwiki Images

Jeffrey V. Merkey jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com
Sat Mar 10 18:08:08 UTC 2007

Rory Stolzenberg wrote:

>On 3/9/07, Jeff V. Merkey <jmerkey at wolfmountaingroup.com> wrote:
>>I have compiled the entire library of Wikipedia's images and have a
>>bittorrent server ready to export this library on the internet.  I am
>>word back from the Foundation for approval to enable the torrents.
>>I have developed an automated C based server system which mirrors all
>>Wikipedia images and compiles them into .bz2 archives as a library based
>>on XML revision and dump.   When I get final approval, I will export
>>these torrents to allow the images to be available from the internet.
>>I will be in Arizona meeting with Dine (Navajo) folks next week on their
>>projects, but will have email access.
>>The torrents will be available at
>>At some point.  I will let folks know when and if the Foundation has
>>approved this.
>The Foundation does not own the copyright to (almost) all of those pictures.
>Why do you need approval from them? As long as they're distributed according
>to the terms of their licenses (assuming you aren't using copyrighted images
>that Wikipedia uses under a claim of fair use), you don't need any
When I start distributing them, there WILL be DMCA takedown notices and 
legal threats from various folks out on the internet
I am certain, along with possible litigation.

That's fine. If someone wants to take me to Court for distributing 
Wikipedia images, I have both the legal background,
and the resources to defend such actions.

I need the Foundations permission because they are the source of the 
images on the internet. In the event there is a DMCA takedown
notice, I will notify the Wikipedia contributor on their talk page who 
uploaded the image, wait for the response, then give the complaining
party the time period to file suit if they really feel that strongly 
about it, or work out some reasonable compromise (which would be best)
between the parties.

Should someone want to file suit or really complain, then the Foundation 
can make the call on whether or not the image should also
come off Wikipedia without exposing the Foundation to the same level of 
legal risks someone who is actively distributing the images
would be. People who own copyrights may not have an issue with Fair use 
images on Wikipedia as a encyclopedia, but they may have a more serious
view when someone is distributing full downloads and archives of images 
so people REALLY CAN host the encyclopedia. This will test that premise 
and I would expect to see more people coming forward on image use in 
general so the Foundation can more effectively identify images which
may in fact be sources of conflict.

In essence, the Foundation will have a "buffer" of sorts one level away 
from the forefront of these legal issues and at the same time be able
to filter a lot of the conflict over image distribution. The other point 
is, technically under the law, WMF may be considered the source
of the images in some cases, and in that case, they would be the 
responder to DMCA takedown notices. I think this would help
clean up a lot of the images also (people would think twice about 
uploading fair use images if they knew they were being repacked
and distributed and that they may receive DMCA notices about the images).

At any rate, it would be impolite and a breach of loyalty to the 
foundation and community to go ahead with such a plan without permission 
and without giving the Foundation the opportunity to comment on the 
proposal and offer suggestions.


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