[WikiEN-l] Fair use issues; we need serious help

Kirill Lokshin kirill.lokshin at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 18:02:51 UTC 2007

On 7/12/07, WikipediaEditor Durin <wikidurin at gmail.com> wrote:
> As an example of the kinds of problems we face, have a look at
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Korea_Girl.jpg
> Note the fair use rationale on this image. The uploader of this
> image believes this is sufficient. He's also among a camp
> of people who believe that people attempting to correct this
> sort of error are stalkers, lacking consensus, and generally
> harassing of others.

If by "attempting to correct this sort of error" you mean slapping
"Your rationale displeases the Great Ones!  This image shall die
unless you come up with a proper offering!" tags on it, then I can't
say I'm particularly surprised by the reaction such efforts get.

More generally, I think this new obsession with rationales isn't
helpful.  The current guidelines focus on relating the rationale to
legal matters -- why the image falls under "fair use" from the
standpoint of U.S. law, in other words.  This is both unproductive --
for many classes of images, the dreaded templatized rationale would be
perfectly sufficient, and the average amateurishly written text isn't
likely to be all that helpful in the case of a legal complaint anyways
-- and not particularly useful.

What we really need is not a fair-use rationale, but rather a NFC
exemption rationale.  The question shouldn't be whether the image can
be claimed as fair use, but rather what the justification for
exempting it from the ban on non-free content is.  This would be (a)
more tailored to each specific image, as it would need to discuss
replaceability, etc., (b) more useful in terms of determining which
images ought to be retained, and (c) more obvious as a question to the
image uploader ("Why do we need this image?" versus "Why are we
legally safe with this image?").


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