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

Todd Allen toddmallen at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 05:56:23 UTC 2007

Bryan Derksen wrote:
> Todd Allen wrote:
>> Bryan Derksen wrote:
>>> Actually, those conditions seem pretty reasonable and in tune with
>>> existing policy to me. But it allows album covers, book covers, all
>>> manner of screenshot, exactly the sorts of things that have recently
>>> become subjects of contention. So I'm not sure where the conflict lies here.
>> The point of contention is, the current policy is highly problematic in
>> terms of being "the -free- encyclopedia." That doesn't just mean "free
>> of charge", it means "free as in freedom"-as in, if I see an image used
>> on Wikipedia, there should be a very good chance I can, if I comply with
>> the GFDL, copy, reuse, or modify it as I see fit.
> Yes, I am well aware of the dual meanings of "free." By this point in
> the discussion we shouldn't need to go over such elementary issues. What
> you seem to be overlooking here is that "free" and "nonfree" are not
> black and white binary values with no grey area in between. That's a
> false dichotomy and a bit of a red herring to boot. We're not debating
> whether to allow "non-free" images at all, since we've already decided
> that some non-free images are allowed. What we're debating is what
> specific _degree_ of "freeness" is required, and in what situations.
> Images that are not licensed but that are compatible with fair use are
> not as "free" as GFDLed images, but the are _more_ free than a
> non-fair-use-compatible image would be. A person who wants to take
> Wikipedia's database and set up another encyclopedia site doing the same
> things that Wikipedia does _is_ free to do so, even with the fair use
> material, since the fair use exemption is not Wikipedia-specific but
> rather _use_-specific. If we can do it, they can do it.
> If they want to do other things, such as sell DVDs or print it on toilet
> paper or what have you, then maybe some of the content's conditions are
> no longer compatible with that use. That applies both to fair use images
> _and_ to the diverse mish-mash of "free" image licenses we use. There
> are things one could do where only the PD images would be allowed and
> the GFDLed images would have to be removed.
>> Right now, that's not the case. There are a tremendous number of unfree
>> images in use on the "free" encyclopedia. In a few cases, unfree images
>> may be so necessary, critical, and irreplaceable that we should use
>> them. But many of us, including me, don't believe "a few cases" is
>> equivalent to "all album, book, movie, or corporation articles". Most of
>> those can be written perfectly adequately with solely free content (in
>> this case, text) and the use of the image is decorative.
> This is where matters of opinion come in. A lot of people are arguing
> that what you're calling merely "decorative" is in fact more useful than
> that. Frilly borders or a shaded background are just "decorative", a
> picture of the thing that the article is about is more than that.
>> Replaceable? How are album covers and corporate logos replaceable, you
>> ask? Easy! We discuss the album/corporation/etc. using text only (which
>> is free).
> Not really, IMO. An infobox on [[Nike]] with a cell at the top that read
> "An asymmetric upward-opening crescent with the points skewed toward the
> right" would be silly, and would not be nearly as useful for recognizing
> the brand as an actual picture of the Nike swoosh logo would be.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> WikiEN-l at lists.wikimedia.org
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
You'll note that I stated earlier in this very discussion that Nike
would be a likely exception we could make, since its logo has been
essential to its marketing strategy and is iconic. But it would not be
hard at all to provide a discussion of the Nike logo in the article on
Nike, tons of source material exists regarding just that logo.
"Exception", however, is the operative word here-that couldn't be said
of the vast majority of logos. The idea of providing narrow exceptions
is so that in a case such as Nike, we can use the logo-not so that in
every article about any corporation we can use the logo!

As to text replacing the fair use, I wasn't meaning to describe the logo
by using text ("upward opening crescent" or the like). In most articles,
the (logo/cover/what have you) isn't discussed at all, nor really could
it be-no one's covered or commented upon it, we'd have no source
material to draw from. In that case, it's not essential to know what it
looks like to understand...what? The lack of discussion on it?
Discussion or coverage of the image itself should be a -minimum-
standard for any claim of fair use in an article, and as of now I'd
venture a guess it happens in less than 1% of cases in articles
utilizing "fair use" images.

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: OpenPGP digital signature
Url : http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikien-l/attachments/20070722/38a51738/attachment.pgp 

More information about the WikiEN-l mailing list