[WikiEN-l] Fair use redux; the second coming of hell; Are we a free content or aren't we?

Stan Shebs stanshebs at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 19 15:02:54 UTC 2007

WikipediaEditor Durin wrote:
> I found that 44% of images uploaded were tagged as being under a non-free
> license.
Ideally, the ratio would be 100%, since we encourage people to upload 
free images to commons, where they are available to more than just en: .
> The English Wikipedia is no longer a free content encyclopedia [...]
One could argue that it stopped being that when the first non-free image 
was uploaded.
> If the people are on this mailing list are unable to make decisions on
> this, who should I take this matter to? I'm of the understanding that Jimbo
> wanted this list to be the main source of business work, so to speak.
> Yet, the support I've seen regarding fair use issues brought up in an
> earlier thread is weak at best. Is there another place I should be taking this?
Let's get a little perspective here. When I started working on WP about 
4.5 years ago, we supposedly distinguished between free and non-free 
images, but nobody actually did anything about it. We've come a really 
long ways towards developing a system that articulates the rules and 
enforces them; nobody else, on any project public or private, has 
anything that operates on this scale. So as imperfect as it is, we don't 
have any superior alternatives to adopt, and the "free only" stance has 
such radical consequences that most people recoil from it. (I always 
wonder how many of the free-only ideologues from de: use interwiki links 
to "sneak over" and look at the forbidden images in en:) There is no 
magic wand to wave, nobody to issue a diktat that will solve the problem 
all at once.

Occasional grumbles notwithstanding, I'm personally quite pleased with 
how much better we're handling non-free content these days, and I'm 
confident that continued steady effort will improve it even further.


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