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

John Lee johnleemk at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 03:53:55 UTC 2007

On 7/19/07, Ray Saintonge <saintonge at telus.net> wrote:
> WikipediaEditor Durin wrote:
> >On 7/18/07, quiddity <blanketfort at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> >>(I don't know the background or details of this issue, but...)
> >>
> >>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Images_and_media_for_deletion/2007_July_18#Image:Einstein_tongue.jpg
> >>
> >>this is making my brain hurt.
> >>
> >>
> >That's a pretty easy call really.
> >
> >Fair use should be limited as much as possible in order to maintain
> >the encyclopedic integrity while staying focused on our mission.
> >The Einstein article already has substantial images of the man.
> >The image can only be fair use within our criteria if the image is of
> >major significance to the article. Currently, the article just speaks
> >to Einstein's ability to stick out his tongue. That's hardly sufficient.
> >
> >There's claims the image is iconic (I grant it is) and culturally
> >relevant (I grant it might be). Ok, so write about that...then the
> >image becomes of use. Without that, the image is worthless to
> >the article and is purely decorative.
> >
> "Fair use" seems to be the cry for anyone who can't be bothered to look
> more deeply into a situation.  This is a 1951 photograph!  Where was it
> first published?  Who owns the copyright?  Was it properly renewed?
> .Given that some have attached the "iconic" description, has anyone with
> a connection to the article ever filed a copyright action about the
> picture?  In the absence of such a legal actions perhaps the copyright
> has been effectively abandoned.  The answers to these questions may very
> well lead to a determination that the image is already in the public
> domain.  If that's the case fair use is not relevant.
> With older photographs especially it would be nice if people did a
> little homework before diverting the debate into a fair use discussion.
> It would be a far greater benefit to the encyclopedia if works treated
> as unfree by virtue of uncertainty were established as free.

1. In copyright issues, we should err on the side that keeps us safest
2. I see no copyright problem here - the iconic nature of the image gives us
a free pass, generally, in fair use, as many publications have used this
picture with less context than we provide;
3. Because we are a free encyclopaedia we hold ourselves to a higher
standard than other publications and demand that non-free content's usage be
justified in some way by significantly improving our coverage;
4. By having nothing more than a relevant caption, it is difficult to argue
that having this non-free picture significantly improves [[Albert
5. This is a perfect illustration of why we should stop quibbling about "is
it fair use under American law?" and start asking "is this non-free content
necessary for the encyclopaedia?"


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