[Foundation-l] About that "sue and be damned" to the NationalPortrait Gallery ...

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Sat Jul 11 22:17:50 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jul 11, 2009 at 5:49 PM, Tom Maaswinkel<tom.maaswinkel at 12wiki.eu> wrote:
> They only thing that I don't understand is that they claim that no-one from
> the wikimedia foundation ever responded to this. Is there any reason for
> this?

That isn't what they claimed.

They claimed:
"Our client contacted the Wikimedia Foundation in April 2009 to
request that the images be removed but the Wikimedia Foundation has
refused to do so […]"

The initial complaint (OTRS #2009060110061897 for those with access)
was made by a commercial partner (in the US) of the NPG, and was the
typically legally uninformed nonsense that comes in often enough to
have a boilerplate reply. They were given the standard "Wikimedia and
it's servers are based in the US. Under US law such images are public
domain per Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. Therefore no
permission is
required to use them." response.  Presumably the commercial vendor got
the NPG to make the legal threat under UK law because we adequately
expressed that there was clearly no copyright concern under US law.

They also stated:
"However, to date, the Wikimedia Foundation has ignored our client’s
attempts to negotiate this issue, preferring instead to take a more
harsh approach that one would expect of a corporate entity."

Please— allow me to translate:  "We're confused. We're used to dealing
with organizations like YouTube who will roll over instantly even for
the most obvious cases of CopyFraud. Why wont you play along with our
effort to lock up and monetize the public domain?"

Thank you, Wikimedia Foundation, for not being yet another Web 2.0 get
rich quick scheme.

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