[Wikimedia-l] Why is not free?

Tim Starling tstarling at wikimedia.org
Mon Jul 9 00:24:41 UTC 2012

On 09/07/12 06:17, Birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
> The most basic answer (someone form WMF can correct me if I am
> somehow misled here) is that the logos are not released under a
> free license because they are trademarks.

To be precise, the logos were not released under a free license
because it was imagined that some day they would be trademarks.
According to the trademark searches I did just now, the Wikipedia logo
was only registered as a trademark in 2008, and the other projects as
late as May 2012.

The WMF felt that trademark licensing would be a useful way to raise
money, as a complement to donations. For example, this website has a
trademark license:


Obviously to support that sort of licensing arrangement, you need at
least one sort of protection (copyright or trademark). Also, there was
concern that a free license like the GFDL might be argued to be an
implicit trademark license. Lawyers tend to be conservative on that
type of issue.

Currently, WMF does not even publish the 3D source files for the
Wikipedia logo, or a high-resolution rendered image. I think that's a
bigger problem than the lack of a free license, since it prevents
people from improving the current poor-quality 3D rendering and
contributing the results back to the project.

-- Tim Starling

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