[Foundation-l] Swedish Wikipedians removes Wikimedia logos

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Wed Mar 31 01:58:35 UTC 2010

On Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 11:10 AM, Mike Godwin <mgodwin at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Mar 30, 2010 at 4:55 PM, John Vandenberg <jayvdb at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The Swedish Wikipedia has drawn a line in the sand that all content in
>> article space should meet the definition of "free
>> content".[http://freedomdefined.org/]
> I agree that they've been drawing a line in the sand, all right.
>>  The reason for using this
>> criteria is so that there is not a need to consult a different license
>> for each logo in order to determine what uses are acceptable.
> The issue, though, is that there's no specific problem at all associated
> with the appearances of the Wikimedia copyrighted and trademarked logos in
> the contexts in which they are used.  *In other words, all this attention
> has been focused on a problem that has never occurred with regard to the
> images in question.*

The purpose of defining "free" is to ensure that there will be no
problem *for unknown reuse scenarios in the future*, _and_ to prevent
a proliferation of individually crafted licenses for each case.

I haven't looked at the license in detail, but I take it for granted
that you have crafted it clearly define the reuse possibilities.
However the WMF logos are available under a license that only covers
the WMF logos, and isn't compatible with the prevailing definitions of

> I keep pointing out, of course, that there's lots of material in Swedish
> Wikipedia that's not freely licensed -- for example, the names of Living
> Persons or the true names of contributors who choose to share them.

Those are not copyright - there are different laws which protect them
in various ways.
The WMF logos (marks) are protected by copyright.

> What seems to me to be happening here is a kind of nervous insistence on a
> very simplistic kind of ideological consistency, which, if it were followed
> further along this extreme, would threaten to make Wikipedia unusable.
> Consider for example the famous quotation mentioned here:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-Reliance .

The Sv.Wp decision is removing the inconsistency in its copyright
stance by removing the loop hole for WMF logos.  Overly simplistic?
Maybe.  However lots of foreign language projects have adopted very
strict positions on copyright issues.

Christophe Henner suggested earlier in this thread that Swedish
Wikipedia is just ahead of the curve.  I agree.  Sooner or later a
Wikipedia is going to try to be turned into a Debian package!  I'd bet
on Debian legal requiring that the WMF logos are stripped, even if
they are used in compliance with the WMF policy.

This is not to say that Swedish Wikipedia won't have other problems
which prevent being packaged into Debian.  Has there been any debian
legal discussion about Wikipedia?  The closest I can see is an RFP for


>> The availability of a WMF license for their logos is useful for some
>> purposes, however the Wikimedia logos do not meet the criteria of free
>> content.
> And therefore if the Wikimedia logos are used with permission on
> Wikimedia-hosted projects, the earth will crack open, and dogs and cats will
> start living together openly.

Re-iterating the relationship between project and the host (WMF)
doesn't help, as strong stances on rejecting non-free elements
(copyright & trademark) are usually made to protect the right to fork,

AFAICS, the trademark policy protects the right of a (hypothetical)
commercial fork of sv.wp to use the old {{wikisource}}, which includes
the wikisource logo, in conjunction with a link to wikisource.org.


>>  If Wp.Sv doesn't want to accept non-free licenses in article
>> space, then it is understandable that the WMF logos need to go as
>> well.
> This is perhaps too broad a use of the word "understandable" than I am used
> to.

I would prefer that Sv.Wp make an exception for WMF logos being used
in conjunction with interwiki links, such as on
sv:template:wikisource.  To me, those uses are part of the UI of the
project, and fall under fair use of the trademark.

However, I've seen this non-free logo debate too many times to be
surprised that there are lots of people willing to make a tough stance
on it.

John Vandenberg

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