Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 14

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Can someone confirm this change? A user has changed Template:Philippines-politician from a fair-use image tag into a public domain image tag. If this is true, it's surely good news, as the Philippine government seem to be a very good source for images. But we need to make sure these images are really public domain. --Abu Badali 15:22, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

According to the (unsourced) information on Philippine_copyright_law#Government_copyright, works from the Philippine government are something like PD-noncommercial, which would not be acceptable for Wikipedia. --Abu Badali 15:26, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

PDF of RA08293 in English. Jkelly 19:37, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
At Chapter V (WORKS NOT PROTECTED), Sec. 176. (Works of the Government) it reads:

No copyright shall subsist in any work of the Government of the Philippines.

Hooray! Then it follows with something I didn't really fully understood:

...However, prior approval of the government agency or office wherein the work is created shall be necessary for exploitation of such work for profit

There's no copyright, but we need special permission for for-profit use? What does it really means? --Abu Badali 20:30, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
As the disclaiming of any copyright seems absolute ("no copyright shall subsist"), there may only be potential consequences for the approval requirement for those subject to their jurisdiction (i.e., in the Phillipines). At least, that's the only way I can figure to resolve it. I suppose it's probably too much to hope that there is case law interpreting the apparent conflict somewhere...? Postdlf 20:39, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
It would be great if someone would contact the Phillipine government to get specific permission available for use on these items. Bastiqe demandez 22:00, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
That wouldn't be useful. We're building a free encyclopedia, in that anyone can reuse our content. Media released with a for-Wikipedia-only permission will not us to achieve our goal. --Abu Badali 22:11, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
As I understand it, only very specific kinds of governmental works are truly PD, the rest is under a non-commercial-uses-only license. See my talk page for a previous discussion about this. Lupo 10:20, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
This debate came up with {{PhilippinesGov}} (formerly {{PD-PhilippinesGov}}) too, that one was turned into a "non-com / fair use" template a while ago (I've recently been tying up some loose ends in that regard), and no one seemed to loudly object that... --Sherool (talk) 15:48, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Philipine laws are usually straightforward, and in this case, the law is very clear on this: all government works do not have copyright, but if you intend going to use specific works by the government (in particular, those not exempted after the "for-profit" sentence, which includes laws, statues, judicial rulings etc.) in a commercial ("for-profit") endeavour, you'll need to contact the government so that you can pay the proper royalties. An example of a commercial use of a government logo is including the logo of the Department of Health in the packaging of a food product (the food product may be cleared by the Department of Health, but that doesn't give the manufacturer a free ride in using the DOH's logo to emphasize this approval; it still needs government permission). An example of a non-commercial use would be posting the entire contents of a law (for example, the just-quoted Intellectual Property Law) in a lawyer's personal website. So when the law says that government works are ineligible for copyright, it means just that: they do not enjoy the same copyright status accorded to, say, a CD, a movie or a novel. Now, in light of these, as for the question of asking government permission to use these pieces of information on Wikipedia, my question is, are we using this for commercial purposes? I don't think so; Wikipedia is clearly not a commercial endeavour, and I doubt that we'd be using these for (commercial) profit either. --- Tito Pao 21:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that we, Wikimedia, allows our content to be used by both non-profit and commercial downstream use. And, hate to beat a dead horse, Jimbo Wales mentioned that content uploaded onto Wikipedia must be able to be used commercially. Since these images cannot be used commercially without a permission/payment to the government of the Philippines, I do not think we could use the images. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 21:44, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
How can one require royalties for works that are not copyrighted? john k 21:50, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Unless the Philippine government asserts copyright, they can't. That's why the section sort-of contradicts itself. --Sky Harbor 21:53, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

(Indent reset) So the section is telling me that I can, let's say, upload a government-made recording of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's 2006 State of the Nation Address and not have any copyright problems, but upload a picture of that (one exists already) and you run into problems. It doesn't make any sense. Also, some public documents have images on them (for example, the seal of Naga City or the signature of Diosdado Macapagal, which came from a public document), which, seeing the overall characteristic of the image as part of a public document, would count as being completely exempt from non-commercial endeavours, the basis for {{PD-PhilippinesPubDoc}}. --Sky Harbor 21:53, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

I believe that's quite common actualy. Applying one set of rules to the text of official public documents and another to images included in those documents (regardles of who created them) that is. --Sherool (talk) 18:39, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Additional information:
Section 184 of RA8293: "Notwithstanding the provisions of
CHapter V, the following acts shall not constitute
infringement of copyright:...(h) The use made of a work by
or under the direction or control of the Government,
by the National LIbrary or by educational, scientific
or professional institutions where such use
is in the public interest and is compatible with fair use." 
--- Tito Pao 22:02, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

I think we have two possible interpretations of the statute:

  1. The Filipino government has not actually released its works into the public domain, but as the copyright owner has disclaimed all rights except the right to restrict commercial use without permission. Violation of this would then be an act of copyright infringement subject to liability in any Berne Convention country.
  2. The government has released its works into the public domain. It nevertheless wishes to restrict commercial use, and so by statute has given itself the power to do so. Because violation of this would not be an act of copyright infringement, no one would be subject to liability who is not subject to the jurisdiction of the Phillipines.

The first interpretation makes more sense substantively, because #2 is basically "Step One: we disclaim copyright. Step Two: we adopt one of the rights we would have had if we hadn't disclaimed copyright." Also, if #2 is correct, and this asserted right to restrict commercial usage is not just the only remaining "stick in the bundle of rights" (as an American court would say) the government kept for itself as copyright holder, then how would it be enforced and what would the penalty for violation be? The statute doesn't appear to suggest any kind of sui generis procedure, which further suggests that it would just be a matter for infringement proceedings. The only flaw I see with #1 is that it requires us to assume that the statute is just poorly written, which is probably the more reasonable of the two alternatives. Postdlf 22:22, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, a user is changing these images tags from fair use to public domain. I would really appreciate someone here could help in communicating with him to avoid a dangerous edit war (and delete/reupload war) on these matters.--Abu Badali 17:17, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
It is official. Its public domain. I made an inquiry to the IPO, National Library and NCC. Image talk:Alfredo lim.jpg --Exec8 17:27, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
So what then of the commercial use restrictions? If the images are public domain, then those restrictions are not actually based in copyright ownership and so cannot be enforced outside of the Phillipines. Postdlf 17:31, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
It will be really great if it's true. There's some public verifiable statement by the IPO that it's public domain? Specially, can these works be used on a for-profit (i.e., commercial) purpose? --Abu Badali 17:34, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

Your questions about the Intellectual Property Code are welcome. You can send your questions through the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines or the National Library of the Philippines. --Exec8 08:05, 22 December 2006 (UTC)


I reworded the preamble as it seemed to suggest that the inclusion of "fair use" images is a necessity for a high-quality encyclopedia. Since, as the preamble goes on to say, most popular Wikipedias in other language don't allow "fair use" images, but are just as high-quality as the English version, this is demonstrably not the case. —Angr 06:35, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

It is highly debatable as to if the other wikis are of the same quality as en. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 08:26, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
True. They're probably of higher quality since their admins don't have to waste time hunting down, tagging, and deleting "fair use" images that violate policy, as we do here. —Angr 09:20, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
As it currently reads, the implication is that one cannot produce a quality encyclopaedia without Fair Use. Whilst some here may agree with that, many don't and it is not the philosophy of Wikimedia projects, as demonstrated by the languages which don't use it. Angr's wording (along the lines of "we use Fair Use because is can increase quality") is much more neutral and considerably less objectionable to both sides. ed g2stalk 10:00, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
What I take issue with is the idea that this is an accurate comparison. There's more than one way to add quality to an encyclopedia. The other Wikis are not of a higher quality because they lack fair use images. If the images are not a factor, then maybe it's because they're doing something that others are not. Maybe they're able to compensate for the lack of visuals by making the article a higher quality in a different way. Apples and oranges. To say that images are not required to make a high quality article is just placing a generic measurement of "quality" that is not accurate. If you take some images out, then it might still be possible for over all quality to be high, but could weaken the article in other areas that are just as important as the rest of the article. We have articles that are well written, but can be a lot better. We have featured articles that can be a lot better. (in many ways, not necessarily talking about images) Not being bad is not the same as an article's full potential. Keep in mind, I feel that the quality added by a fair use image should be very significant and encyclopedic. -- Ned Scott 10:23, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I have yet to see a fair use image that has improved the quality of the article it was used in. —Angr 10:36, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You can't possibly be serious. Abbey Road (album). Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima. john k 16:00, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Both of which would be equally good without "fair use" images. And what I take issue with is the idea that the goal of being a high quality encyclopedia and the goal of being a free content encyclopedia are somehow in conflict with each other. They aren't. It is the freeness of our content that makes us a high-quality encyclopedia; every "fair use" image detracts from our quality. —Angr 20:23, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
No, they really wouldn't. There are certain aspects of a picture that you can't convey verbally. The articles could become good while imageless, but not as good as they would be with the images. Those pictures are great examples of why we should use some fair use, and of the reason the legal concept of fair use exists. --RobthTalk 20:52, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
You can argue this by assertion? Would an art history textbook without pictures be "equally good" as one with pictures? For discussion of visual medium, [cliche alert] a picture really is worth a thousand words, and sometimes that picture has to be a fair use picture. You can't impose your own idiosyncratic ideas on everybody else. john k 23:14, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
An art history textbook would require permission to copy paintings from recent artists and would make no pretense to being free content. And even in an art history textbook, images are helpful but not absolutely essential: blind students can also learn art history without the benefit of images. Given the choice between a "fair use" image and 1000 free-content words, I'd rather someone wrote the 1000 words. —Angr 09:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
I really find this hard to take seriously. Would you like a music history teacher to describe The Beatles music to you, as opposed to playing any? And while YOU may prefer "someone" -- that's another Wikipedia editor, by the way -- wrote 1000 words to describe a painting, I think I'm safe in saying yours is a distinctly minority view. Not just a minority view, but perhaps even a fringe view. I would further say that anyone wishing to put forth the argument that a description of a painting is in any way, shape, or form an adequate replacement for actually SEEING the painting in question would seem to be poorly qualified, at best, to make fair use judgements, especially when concerning images. Jenolen speak it! 12:03, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
If I was deaf, I wouldn't really care if the music history teacher played the music at all, but I would certainly feel disappointed and discriminated against if the teacher felt that playing the music was a sufficient replacement for describing it. Is Wikipedia to exclude deaf and blind people from its target audience? —Angr 12:35, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
This is an argument for adding a more detailed description of the music, not for eliminating a music clip used under fair use, which provides more and better information for those who can hear. Should we eliminate all visual and auditory content (except for spoken work versions of articles) to avoid "excluding" deaf and blind people from our target audience? DHowell 23:43, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
The point was to show that the images and sound clips are not absolutely, indispensably essential to the article, because the article has to be written in such a way as to be comprehensible to those incapable of perceiving them anyway. Including freely licensed or public-domain audiovisual material is of course an added bonus. —Angr 06:26, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
This seems ridiculous. An article on music would be more or less incomprehensible to someone who'd been deaf from birth. Similarly, an article on visual art would be more or less incomprehensible to someone blind from birth. I don't think there's anything to be done about it, and removing fair use images (and sound clips, assuming there are any) is hardly going to help anyone. john k 06:53, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
First, not everyone who is blind or deaf was that way from birth, and people who only became blind or deaf later in life may still want to read articles about art or music, and for them articles need to be comprehensible even without the media. Secondly, I don't think art and music articles are necessarily incomprehensible to those blind and deaf from birth; after all, articles on string theory are still comprehensible to people who can only think in 3 or 4 dimensions instead of 11. —Angr 08:13, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
If Alessandro Moreschi had not made the recodings he did we would have no recordings for Castrato. Would the article have been imposible to write under those conditions? What about Farinelli? No recordings of him or his style exist.Geni 14:21, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
No one is suggesting that articles on art or music would be impossible to write without images or sound clips. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the recordings on Castrato enhance understanding of that article (at least for people who are not deaf), and that the article would be a lower quality without them. This would be true whether the recordings were in the public domain or copyrighted and used under fair use. DHowell 03:53, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
"No one is suggesting that articles on art or music would be impossible to write without images or sound clips." Well, before the preamble was changed from "we must permit some non-free material" to "we may permit some non-free material", it did actually suggest just that. The change to "may" is good, but the preamble still suggests that including non-free material will somehow make the encyclopedia higher-quality, which of course I don't agree with. —Angr 09:10, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
What does "quality encyclopedia" mean anyway? Too subjective IMHO. There are lots of editors who don't think images are important at all, others (like me) who think they are essential, although I can't explain well *why* I think that. :-) In any case, the prelude should have a more precise explanation that ties into the rationales. Stan 15:39, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Angr - the preamble specifically does not refer to "fair use images," but to "fair use content" more broadly. Fair use includes summaries of fictional and other literary works. As such, fair use is necessary to create an encyclopedia. See, for instance de:Harry Potter for an example of the German Wikipedia employing what would, in US law, be considered fair use. john k 16:38, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm fairly sure summaries are not a problem. Facts can not be copyrighed, so as long as you write a neutral factual summary of plot events using your own words there should be no need to invoke fair use or simmilar. --Sherool (talk) 16:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
They're not a problem, because they're fair use. Plot summaries are not external facts separable from the creation of the author. Thus, to give them, we need to invoke fair use. The plot summary is pretty clearly a derivative work from the original copyrighted work, and as such, any effort to use it must be done based on a fair use defense. Various people have addressed this issue, but nobody has actually refuted it, save by this kind of "Pish posh, plot summaries can't be copyrighted" defense. john k 17:20, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Note, for instance, comments by Postdlf, who is an actual American lawyer. As opposed to you who is, you know, a Norwegian non-lawyer. john k 18:58, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
IANAL, so I have no idea whether a plot summary that involved no direct quotation from the work summarized would require a "fair use" defense if legally challenged. But I do know that for Wikipedia to be taken seriously, it has to reduce the amount of "fair use" content (not just images, but predominantly images) to a bare minimum -- far less than would be allowed by law. Not violating the law isn't enough; we have to actively avoid violating the spirit of being a free content encyclopedia. —Angr 20:23, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Except that many of us don't see including fair use images as "violating the spirit of being a free content encyclopedia." Certainly most of us don't see including irreplaceable fair use images like album covers, recent works of art, famous news photographs, and the like, as violating said spirit. You can disagree, but you can't disagree on the basis that you are the guardian of what wikipedia's purpose is. Who exactly is it who will take Wikipedia more seriously if we have lengthy descriptions of famous album covers rather than showing the image itself? john k 23:11, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Our readers, who will come to Wikipedia expecting to find a free content encyclopedia and then be disappointed to find it overflowing with unfree content. If they wanted an encyclopedia full of information they're unable to reuse, they'd use Britannica. —Angr 09:41, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
What's the current estimate on the number of readers who come to Wikipedia expecting to find free content, as opposed to the number of people who come to Wikipedia expecting to find encyclopedic content? I have, during my time here, "met" exactly one person who really, really, really wanted all Wikipedia content to be free, because he himself had re-use intentions. I would submit that the vast majority of Wikipedia users are more concerned with the "encyclopedia" than the "free." People come to the site because they desire knowledge. And it's cost-free. Very few, I would wager, come because it's libre/free. And while that libre/freeness is an important part of the Wikipedia story, it's not the only part. You can't build a free encyclopedia without... wait for it... the encyclopedia! (You are, however, free to build your own "free." It seems unlikely that will attract many contributors, but hey...) As for myself, I have never once looked at a Wikipedia page, and cursed it for "overflowing with unfree content." I have, however, found many pages to be lacking in a number of areas, and an illustration of the subject is often one of them. Jenolen speak it! 12:03, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, I for one do use Wikipedia as a source for free content I can reuse, and I have become frustrated with the amount of material I'm unable to reuse. When I find an article lacking an image illustrating its topic, 9 times out of 10 all I have to do is either look at the "External links" section to find a site that does have images, or enter the article name into Google Images. I find out what the thing or person looks like, and Wikipedia remains free. A win-win situation. —Angr 12:35, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Similarly, when one finds an article about a book or a movie that lacks a (fair use) plot summary, 9 times out of ten all one has to do is either look at the "external links" section to find a site (IMDB, Amazon, whatever) that has such a plot summary, or else to enter the title in Google and find such a site. The user finds out what the book or movie or whatever is about, and wikipedia remains entirely free of fair use. It's a win-win! john k 21:46, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
Accepting for the sake of argument the truth of the "9 times out of 10", fair use images are still being systematically deleted even in the 1 time out of 10 that we can't easily find the images throught External links or a Google image search. Also, ironically, many times the images found by a Google image search are from Wikipedia mirrors, meaning the image wouldn't even exist on the internet if someone didn't first upload it to Wikipedia. DHowell 23:38, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

I'd personally support a de-intensification of the wording regarding the importance of fair use. While I do believe that in some cases we are need to excerpt unfree works in order to facilitate our discussion and critical commentary in order to do the best at the quality-encyclopedia part of our mission, it can not be disputed that including unfree works causes a substantial failure at our mission of Free Content. As such we should never consider 'fair use' an entitlement, even though it can easily be argued to be one under US law, because we should be carefully weighing every case against the two conflicting aspects of our mission. It was with this in mind that I wrote the original preamble.

To me it has become quite clear that our users, both longstanding-established and newbie drivebys, are missing the nuance of this decision and as a result freeness of our project is suffering far more than necessary. I'm somewhat doubtful that altering the language of this page will help, but if a little 'must'->'may' and a little 'minimum quality'->'enhanced quality' has the slightest change of helping then I'm all for it.

I think the less intense wording makes a little less sense because it brings the question "Why allow fair use at all", but then doesn't answer it. I think I was trying to avoid this question when I wrote the text... But it is not an unreasonable question and our partners on dewiki, eswiki, ptwiki and many others have come to a very different conclusion than we have. After looking at the efforts of the other language Wikipedias, I still feel comfortable with the decision to permit some fair use. On dewiki, for example, there are many places where enwiki's fair use is simply replaced with a prominent external link to a third parties copyright violation. I believe this is worse than enwiki's ideal of controlled excerpting. ... but my complete thoughts on why enwiki permits fair use are simply to complex to encapsulate in a little consensus approve preamble. So, perhaps it would be more fair to leave those who read this walking away with the question.--Gmaxwell 02:45, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Fine line between original photo and scanning/reproduction

I noticed this photo of a box was used as a thumbnail in remote control; clearly because the box in turn includes a photo of the remote. I did a cropped version, which is much better for (what seems to be) the *intended* purpose.

However, IMHO it's now clearly a "promotional art fair-use" reproduction of the box art, not the box itself. I'm aware that WP dislikes replacing free images with "fair use" ones (for good reason). Since all I did was a crop of the intended subject, this opens a can of worms regarding such photos; was the uncropped box photo original?

Clearly if the box had been in the background, and not the main subject, the question wouldn't arise. However, the box *is* the subject, and in a very straightforward photo with little creative input.

Given the intended use- i.e. for the sake of the box art- I'm not convinced that claiming this as a GFDL-able work is legally sound. I don't know if this was intended as legal sleight-of-hand, but if so, I don't know that it would stand any better than than pointing a video camera at a TV showing "The Simpsons", and distributing it as your own work. (c.f. a family video that just happens to have The Simpsons showing on a TV in the background).

That I was able to isolate the box-photo of the remote without affecting the utility of the image seems to back up the point. Fourohfour 12:12, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I think that the image would count as a derivative work and therfor the GFDL claim is extreamly questionable.Geni 13:16, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
No way the crop is GFDL. Issue comes up periodically at commons too, for instance a corporate logo visible in an outdoor scene doesn't give the corporation ownership of your vacation photos. Basically a non-infringing image can become infringing when you crop down to focus on a particular copyrighted bit. Stan 15:45, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I had just been thinking of creating a template to address this, with text along the lines of "This image contains images of copyrighted and unlicensed material, whose inclusion is contended to be fair use under the provisions of copyright law. While this image is freely licensed and not believed to be infringing, derivative works may be." Taking a picture of a picture doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want with it, after all. There are thousands of images that this could apply to, so even our "free" images have some degree of fair use. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 15:51, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Amusing idea. For maximum impact, try it out at commons first, watch the Germans implode... :-) Stan 16:57, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Shuold be noted that some at least would be de minimis rather than "fair use".Geni 17:20, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
de minimis is not so concpetually straightforward with digital media when we are... suggesting... that all derivative works need to be freely licensed. Jkelly 17:26, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
It's probably legal to show a can of coke in your film, but cropping a frame down to the logo and blowing it up to sell on a t-shirt would probably be infringing; this is similar. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 23:55, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Many of the comments above are on the right track legally. The photo of the box above is indisputably a derivative of the copyrighted image on that box. Because it is not a mere copy of that 2-D box surface (and a photograph of one side of that box would be a mere copy), the photographer of that box also has rights in the photo over anything that he added to it from the original. But that photographer's rights are subject to the rights of the original copyright owner, such that he can only make use of the photo to the extent he has a right to the underlying work from which it derives.

On the issue of de minimis, let's say that box were to be visible in a photo of a person, in the background on the shelf in their office. It is in no meaningful way a derivative of that box art, and I do not think that completely incidental use would be more than de minimis copying (and therefore too insubstantial to constitute infringement). If anyone would still be concerned, just use Photoshop to blur out any such irrelevant, incidentally used copyrighted works. You might have noticed that logos and graphics on clothing worn in music videos are typically blurred when they are aired on television; it is likely for this reason (though I've wondered if MTV just wants to keep companies from getting free product placements). As for public billboards, I think there might even be an implied license argument; companies advertising in Times Square, for example, are counting on tourists taking photographs there. Postdlf 18:44, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

But they're not necessarily counting on tourists then reusing those photos for their own commercial purposes and/or in ways that make the advertisers look bad. —Angr 19:00, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't talking about photos that are just of the billboards, but rather photos of Times Square that unavoidably happen to include the billboards. But you are probably right in suggesting that even if we could make an implied license argument, it would be use-specific, so it's an argument better avoided for a number of reasons. Postdlf 19:07, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

...which provoked a further thought—let's say that the box on the shelf in the background of the photo is de minimis, so we publish the photo under GFDL only. But if the photo is high-res enough, someone could still crop and zoom only on that box. Reuse of our GFDL image would consequently not be completely without limitations as long as they comply with the license. Which then begs another question I don't know the legal answer to yet: can the copying still be considered de minimis, on the basis that the box is an insignificant portion of the photo as a whole and included only incidentally, if the photo is actually so high resolution that the box can be isolated as a legible copy? I don't know the legal answer to that yet. Postdlf 19:17, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Sure, because the law isn't really based on suing people for what infringement could come of it, but whether there is infringement actually occuring. Context is an essential part of that, and since the infringement comes from changing the context, that a use may be modified into an infringing one is not a grounds to say that the original use was infringing. If I photocopy a diagram and hand it out to my class, that's fair use, but if one of the kids takes it to the photo lab and put it on a poster and sells it, I doubt I could be held responsible. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 20:02, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
That's answering a different question—whether an incidental use of a copyrighted work is defensible as fair use instead of as de minimis, which means too insubstantial to be legally significant. Your position would then appear to be that if a copyrighted object or image legibly appears in a photo, however incidentally, that photo cannot be uploaded here as GFDL, but must instead be tagged as fair use. Correct? Postdlf 20:30, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm suggesting the fair use claim as an additional tag. A review of a book may be licensed under any sort of terms you wish, but the quotes contained in it are still unlicensed copyrighted material used under fair use. Even if the review is released into the public domain, those quotes retain their copyright. I'm just thinking we need a warning to that effect. The copyright comes into play for the creative effort of writing the review or taking the picture, but we still need some legal rationale for including unlicensed material. The current tag for {{statue}}s says the entire image is fair use, since only the artist has a right to authorize, but it's also the case that we'll include copyrighed material incidentally that still needs a warning. There are some confusing cases for me, like the (not work safe) image illustrating pornography. It includes dozens of DVD covers, all of which are copyrighted, so this is derivative, and can we legitimately put it on commons? A crop down to any one of the covers would have the same restrictions as an image of covers pulled from their online catalog, so the image can't really be free. You're the lawyer here, do we even have the right to license these works as CC or GFDL, or are we simply so derivative that all uses have to be considered fair use? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 21:05, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
If the copying is de minimis, this means that the copying is too insubstantial to constitute infringement, and so fair use would be completely superfluous. This is why we need to clarify which of the two concepts we're talking about and not use them interchangeably. My question above was purely about whether showing that copying was "incidental" (e.g., just happens to be in the background of an image because it was physically there) is always sufficient to establish that the copying was de minimis. This is something I need to legally research further.
I'm at work right now so I'm not going to comment on the porn image, but re: the statue template, that's for photos that have statues as their intended subject; the use of the copyrighted form of the statue in such images is therefore not "incidental" or de minimis, and so such photos are unquestionably derivatives. So what if the statue is in the background of a portrait, rather than the subject? Is this de minimis copying, or a derivative for which a fair use claim is needed? And if it's not de minimis but we can easily blur out the statue, is fair use then unavailable such that we have to blur it out to use the photo? I don't know.
To use derivative works without having to rely on a fair use claim, we need permission from two sources: the maker of the derivative and the maker(s) of the underlying copyrighted work(s) upon which the derivative is based. The consequence of this is that if those underlying works cannot themselves be uploaded to Commons, the derivative can't either. Postdlf 21:43, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Guideline introduction

I suggest that it is important that users coming to this page understand quickly both that the onus of making a convincing fair use claim is upon them, and that replaceable media will be deleted. Just as with an article, we should edit this page with the reader in mind. It is a service to the reader to be clear that uploading unfree media here needs careful attention and often results in the deletion of that material. Jkelly 17:26, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

I would like to change the wording of one part -- "An allegation of fair use must be defended by the person claiming that status." This is nonsensical, overly-lawyer like, and makes "fair use" sound like a crime. A crime is something that is 'alleged'; fair use, however, IS permitted on Wikipedia. Therefore, I think my original re-write, for clarity, should stand: "An editor uploading copyrighted material to Wikipedia should be prepared to provide a detailed fair use rationale." This is true, conveys the same information, and a lot less inflamatory.
Jenolen speak it! 18:31, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
"Allegation" should be changed to "claim". Jkelly 18:42, 19 December 2006 (UTC)
Also, in case you're wondering, my re-writes to this page do not reflect a change in my personal views about fair use on Wikipedia, but they do reflect a desire to have the simplist, clearest, most well written policy in place, so we ALL know what the policy is. Currently, the page is filled with faux-legalese, double-talk, threats, and various other forms of what could charitably be considered poor writing. My re-writes, again, do not relect an endorsement of what I consider a mistaken policy implementation, but simply a desire to make the policy as clear as possible. Jenolen speak it! 18:37, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

In fact, there's a lot in this "preamble" that's just plain wrong, or at the very least, contains unnecessarily loaded language.

"Fair use" is a doctrine which may defend the use of some copyrighted matter and images for other purposes under a restricted set of circumstances.

Defend is the wrong word. (Defend from what?) "Permit" is the correct word. Some is weak, and does not serve the sentence well. "..use of copyrighted..." means the same thing, and is cleaner. Matter and images is a weaker choice than the simpler "material." ...for other purposes... is nonsensical, and refers to nothing previously in the sentence. (What purposes are copyrighted materials meant for? Okay, what OTHER purposes, then?) ...restricted set of circumstances seems a bit ominous. And they're not really "circumstances," which sounds like something fairly random (although some would say "fairly random" is a surprisingly accurate description of the current policy)... The correct word here is "criteria."

It is not a general blanket permission to use text, images or other materials freely without consideration of their copyright status.

I served with General Blanket in the Clone Wars. But you only need one of those weak words here. Sorry, general, it's time for retirement. Plus: Is there something on Wikipedia besides text, images, and sound? (Video would be images with sound, I suppose.) So why the text, images, or other materials? ...without consideration of their copyright status doesn't make much sense. If the material is copyrighted, then yes, you need a license or fair use claim. If the material is NOT covered by copyright, you don't. This is an article about fair use policy; all material covered by it will have some form of copyright status.

Wikipedia permits the 'fair use' of content only under very restricted circumstances where the image or content not only meets the legal tests for fair use but is also, in essence, not repeatable, i.e. it would not be possible to replace the image or content with an equivalent free image. This might, for example, include an historical event, but a publicity still of a vehicle, building or living person can be replaced comparatively easily.

Uh, gah. I suggested the following (edited here only to add a "reasonable", by popular demand), which was insta-reverted for no apparent reason. I'll submit it here. Pick it apart. Make it better.

Wikipedia permits the 'fair use' of copyrighted material primarily where the image or content not only meets the legal tests for fair use, but is also, in essence, not reasonably repeatable; that is, it would not be possible to replace the image or content with an equivalent free image. This might, for example, allow for the inclusion of a photo documenting an historical event (the Hindenberg disaster, for example), but a simple publicity still of a vehicle, building or living person will be subject to much greater scrutiny.

An editor uploading copyrighted material to Wikipedia should be prepared to provide a detailed fair use rationale.

Less ominous (Don't bite the newbies and all...), somewhat less inflamatory, doesn't presume deletion (NPOV - an image should have a 50/50 chance of surviving, right?)... This is, I would dare say, better language. Jenolen speak it! 08:01, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

NPOV doesn't apply in project space. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 17:42, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
On what basis do you reject the "fair use is a defence" position?Geni 22:52, 20 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't reject the position, I reject the wording. And I reject it on the basis that "fair use" is not a "defense" as most people understand it, but an affirmative defense - which I think is much too technical a distinction for most Wikipedia users to understand. This section should not be written in legalese. I don't think this introduction should be filled with hard to understand legal terms, when simple language tells the same information, better. Also, the main entry on Fair use properly describes it as a doctrine, not a defense.
I also enjoyed this part from that entry: Because of the defendant's burden of proof, some copyright owners frequently make claims of infringement even in circumstances where the fair use defense would likely succeed in hopes that the user will refrain from the use rather than spending resources in his defense. Remind anyone here of anything? :) Jenolen speak it! 00:07, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
Video would probably be classified as film which in the UK at least is currently treated differently from a series of pictures with sound (although historicaly this has not always been the case). I suspect US law is much the same. The "other material" allows for future proofing and oddities.Geni 00:20, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
So, I haven't seen a lot of objections to me making these changes to this section of the page. It's the holiday, so I'll give it an extra day, but after that, if no one brings up any serious questions, I'm thinking I'll start implementing some of these clean-up re-writes. Thanks for your support! Jenolen speak it! 09:48, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Wikiproject Promotional Photo Advocacy

Hi! It's me again. After failures in getting any image deletion stopped or even to get the other side to listen, I'm trying a new tact. I believe people who share my viewpoint (That publicity stills of people have a rightful place on Wikipedia) needed a better place to organize our dissent. So, I set up the framework of a Wikiproject to help save fair use on Wikipedia. Everyone's welcome, especially people who disagree. Wikipedia:WikiProject_Promotional_Photo_Advocacy. --Jeff 05:31, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Removal of decorative fair use

Can someone confirm at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject New York State routes#Palisades' sign removed from intersecting routes' articles that edits like [1] are valid? Thank you. --NE2 22:49, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

The use of highway icons to identify highways referred to on Wikipedia is not "purely decorative"; it serves the same function that the icons serve on the highway--to provide a readily identifiable visual symbol as an aid to the user. Would it not be helpful for someone traveling along a highway to know the symbols used for intersecting roadways?
I'd love to hear the legal argument that a state government would use to make the case that an encyclopedia reproducing its highway symbols in an article about its highways is not fair use. If such symbols should be removed not because their fair use could ever be challenged, but simply because we don't like fair use, I don't understand the gain in that. Nareek 23:26, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
These are not state governments, but usually semi-private agencies operating toll roads. The text to the right serves a much better purpose than the shield. --NE2 23:29, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
There's absolutely no reason why the image shouldn't accompany the text, to aid in identification and navigation between topics. The shield appears laughably tiny, less than a thumbnail really. I can't even fathom a legal argument as to how this use would fail to qualify as fair use. Postdlf 00:00, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Oh my god, seriously?--Jeff 00:06, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Then let's change the policy to allow these uses. Shall we do it for rail logos too? If no one comments soon, I will edit criterion 8 to say that logos do not need to contribute significantly to be used. --NE2 00:19, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Logos might be too broad. Is there another word that might be more specific to images representative of signage? What's a rail logo? I'm new to your terminology. This particular situation, in my minds eye, represents yet another serious incongruity between Wikipedia fair use policy what we're actually allowed to do under fair use law in the united states. --Jeff 00:30, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
I think it's not so much a question of changing the policy as thinking about what "significantly" means in this context. I don't think something has to be absolutely necessary to be significant--clearly, you could do this page without the icon. But I think you could call a contribution significant if it can be expected to provide some material help to users. I certainly don't believe you can call this kind of use "purely decorative"--having an icon as well as text makes it easier to both recognize and remember the kinds of roads in the first place. Why else would highways have distinctive markers if they weren't helpful in conveying information?
I do think the fact that there is a negligible chance that a highway operator (public or private) would bring suit to stop anyone from using their icon in a discussion of their road, and that there is an equally negligible chance that any court would take such a suit seriously, should have a bearing on our interpretation of this policy. Nareek 02:42, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
I also removed a number af rail company logos, like on Rockville Bridge, under criterion #8. I see that Ed g2s did the same a while back but they were restored six days later. --NE2 00:33, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm personally a huge proponent of allowing fair use on Wikipedia, therefore, you might want to wait until the "We want everything to be free and everything that's not to be deleted" people come and rain on my parade before making any changes just yet.--Jeff 00:39, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
as a general rule non free images should not be used for navigation. But this is a highway debate so I suggest the correct course of action is to run for the hills.Geni 02:57, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Unlike in other countries (see Crown copyright), Federal-government-produced works in the US, by default, are not protected by copyright unless explicitly granted it (see Smokey Bear for one of the rare examples). These tollway authorities are government entities. In some cases (in the last 10 years), some tollroads have been built and are owned by private authorities, but this is also uncommon. I'm not sure where the law stands on state-government-produced works (as compared to federal), but I would assume the rules are similar. It's absolutely absurd to remove highway markers from highway articles. Jkatzen 04:10, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
No states release works into the public domain, and these are typically not state agencies but independent government corporations. These are copyrighted and used under fair use. For instance, © 2006 The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. --NE2 05:14, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
I haven't done extensive research on this, but a common treatise on American copyright law suggests that Courts have "place[d] judicial opinions, and by analogy such other governmental works as statutes, administrative regulations, and other official actions and documents into the public domain ab initio, rather than merely placing the copyright ownership in the public and thus allowing the states or local government units to copyright such works." "Congressionally excluded subject matter," Law on Copyrights, Howard Abrams, 2:48, 2006. Also, generally, federal government corporations are typically (though not always) considered agencies for legal purposes ("[T]he APA conferred agency status on any administrative unit with substantial independent authority in the exercise of specific functions.") Soucie v. David, 448 F.2d 1067 (D.C.Cir. 1971). On the other hand, re: state agencies, apparently the doctrine doesn't apply across the nation, only to federal government works, unless individual states have laws otherwise ("Works of state governments are therefore left available for copyright protection by the state . . . depending on state law and policy"). Bldg. Officials & Code Adm. v. Code Tech., Inc., 628 F.2d 730 (1st Cir. 1980). Thus, as a result, I would say that most federal government logos, etc. should be freely usable, and state logos should be subject to whatever is allowed by the state or by fair use law. Jkatzen 05:56, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
And is thus subject to our fair use criteria. --NE2 06:05, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, no: subject to fair use criteria of whatever jurisdiction applies. It would be laughable to think a court would limit use of a freeway shield in this manner. Wikipedia, I suppose, can invent whatever over-restrictive criteria it wants, but that doesn't mean that's what would be necessary. Jkatzen 06:25, 22 December 2006 (UTC)
So how would you change the criterion? Would you inclde all highway signs, or just those nominally "owned" by governments? (407 ETR is an example of a fully private one.) Would you allow for anything using template:wayfinding? --NE2 06:33, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Whoa! Slow down there, this thread had been going for what? 8 hours before you descide to change the policy based on it to say that it's ok to use highway logos for decorative use? Let's have some patience here... I mean people are complaining that there was not enough discussion about the replacable fair use stuff despite month long deliberations... I am strongly against even hinting that any purely decorative use of fair use should be allowed anywhere for any reason. IF you believe a highway logo adds significantly enough value to an article that using it is justified under our policy then you need to explain that in a detailed fair use rationale, not change the policy to say that highway logos are somehow excempt from the ban on decorative use of unfree material. --Sherool (talk) 11:58, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

I didn't believe that they should be allowed, but everyone else that commented here called that ridiculous, so I went ahead and changed the policy to allow it. Someone has reinserted Image:Palisades Interstate Pkwy.svg into a number of articles that I removed it from. What should I do? --NE2 14:27, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Who's to say it's a "decorative use"? It is being used to identify the subject and to ease navigation, no? john k 17:55, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
How does the images ease navigation? Anyway if they ilustrate the article (rater than an article beeing linked to) that's fair enough (when acompanied by a fair use rationale). I was mostly commenting on the edit to the policy page that explicitly said that decorative use of highway signs was permitted, wich is obviously is not. --Sherool (talk) 18:22, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
The subject can be identified freely and adequately with text (FUC#1). Any copyrighted image used as an icon should be removed. ed g2stalk 22:05, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
The point that should be made here is that these are shields that have been declared icons (and calling them icons is a bit of a stretch). In the case of the Thruway shield, the logo of the NYSTA and the shield/trailblazer used on the Thruway and on guide signs leading to the Thruway, albeit similar, are not the same. My point is this: if these shields were not posted along the side of the road and were used only internally (on letterheads and such), then I would agree with you. But this is not the case. Travelers that identify with a road by shield only and not by name would disagree with the point that a text-only link serves the purpose, as do I. To say that the use of shields to identify the road in question is a violation of fair use is far too strict an interpretation of the fair use criteria, as I highly doubt that anyone would consider the use of trailblazers to identify the road a copyright violation. And if it is, then remove the shield entirely from Wikipedia as these shields have as much right to be used in junction lists to identify the road as much as it does in its own article. --TMF Let's Go Mets - Stats 22:25, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Again, this isn't about copyright violations, this is our strict policy on unfree images. There is no urgent need to use the icons beyond the article about the road, as the name of the road is enough to identify it elsewhere. ed g2stalk 19:30, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Whether the text is enough or is interchangeable with the image is clearly disputed for reasons given in depth above (and elsewhere), your opinion (and I can't say you've presented more than just that) to the contrary notwithstanding. And, if the law is satisfied, WP policy should only dictate removal if something is accomplished by doing so, such as the encouragement of free image submissions. No such benefit has been identified, so these cannot be said to conflict with the spirit of WP policy, and as mentioned, whether this even conflicts with the letter of WP policy is disputed. Postdlf 20:18, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

So if I continue to remove these, will I have support from the "higher-ups"? --NE2 19:00, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Why would you continue to remove them if the need/justification for doing so is contested? The proper thing to do would be to continue the discussion (or concede the other side if you have no further arguments or explanations), not to invoke some kind of law enforcement authority. That shouldn't be how we do things here. Postdlf 20:18, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
You would be doing the right thing. Using fair use images as icons (be it to identify sports teams, companies, roads etc.) is something that is frequently contested, but the result of the debate is always the same. ed g2stalk 20:29, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Please don't equivocate different cases; for instance, the commercial value of a sports team logo is rather different than a road shield (what commercial value?), so the fair use analysis would hardly proceed in the same manner. I also don't know that the minute, insignificant size in which these road shields appear is comparable to how the logos in those prior discussions were used. And perhaps those previous discussions should be revisited, but more importantly, if it is the "right thing" to remove them, then that should come out in the discussion...which it hasn't, so far. Have a little faith in community discourse rather than focusing so much on securing a particular outcome, all else be damned. Postdlf 20:37, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with law and getting sued. If the images are unfree, then we treat them all the same. ed g2stalk 20:47, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
If it's not about legal liability, then there's no urgency to force a particular outcome rather than taking the time to discuss it, and your unelaborated, conclusory statements aren't doing anything to advance that discussion (or counter any points previously made). I really don't know what you mean by "treat[ing] them all the same;" it just comes across as nonresponsive. Certain types of images are certainly more amenable to fair use than others because of how our use affects their original commercial value (compare magazine covers to photos from the magazine interior), or how much the copy represents of the original (compare screenshots with video clips), and we always have to discuss the particular use at hand to evaluate not only how it legally satisfies fair use but how it editorially improves Wikipedia articles. Differences are always important. If that doesn't seem to adress what you meant, then please take the time to explain what you did mean. Postdlf 21:44, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Unless it's highly necessary, we avoid the use of any unfree material. And this is regardless of their "original commercial value". --Abu Badali 23:15, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I have stayed out of this discussion, being the one who started the discussion on the project talk page (see the top of this section) based solely on an observation. Now that I've seen quite a bit of talk on various things (and I am worried about tangents that do sometimes develop) I will state what I do know from fact: The official website of the New York State Thruway does have a downloadable image of its trailblazer (the blue circle) in its media section (links to a different page). There are no instructions or restrictions on that image, nor of the other two that are there, that are available in several formats. I know that doesn't answer the same questions about the other highways whose shields are in dispute, but I can provide definitive information for this one.
As for the argument over decorative use: On highways in New York, this trailblazer appears more outside the Thruway than on the Thruway proper, together with a "To" plate. The word "Thruway" spelled out on signs is rare and is being replaced with the trailblazer over time. Fwgoebel 15:39, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, there are "instructions" and "restrictions" on those images. Follow the "Copyright New York State Thruway Authority" link at the bottom of the page to learn that material may not "be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means (...) without the express written permission of the New York State Thruway Authority". --Abu Badali 15:48, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I e-mailed the Thruway Authority a week ago on this very subject (not yet replied) citing specific examples. But this will likely be my final posting to this sort of forum, as I forgot about the Miranda warning...anything written will be responded to with a verbose rendition of "You're wrong". I guess my good faith isn't being assumed. Good-bye.Fwgoebel 16:17, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't see a problem with these logos - is there anything different from our normal usage of corporate logos in articles about commercial products or enterprises? If not, then these images aren't decorative - logos are an accepted form of fair use in WP policy. I'm more concerned that some of these images are in the SVG format, which allows one to reproduce them in any resolution desirable - theoretically making commercial abuse of them easier. Ideally we should never keep fair use images in a format allowing one to alter the resolution without any loss of detail. Johnleemk | Talk 21:48, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
That's not how they were being used; see this old revision, where the PIP and NY Thruway logos are used for decoration. --NE2 21:51, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
And yet again, whether that use is just "decoration" is disputed, not whether "decoration" is disallowed. Postdlf 22:23, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't see how that constitutes decoration. The logos are being used to identify the junctions, etc. Johnleemk | Talk 12:08, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Counterexample 7 again

Per my own petition, I would like expanding the counterexample 7 to include album covers, as they are used even more often than book covers. I am reposting this to get more feedback about this. Thanks. -- ReyBrujo 04:46, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Not so much that the album cover needs to be significant. More that it's cover art is significant. So Virgin Killer (so so not safe for work or some legal jusristictions) would be significant but say Live: P-Funk Earth Tour would be somewhat less so.Geni 14:23, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Why not simplify and clarify the language: "A magazine or album cover used to illustrate the subject of the photograph on the cover, where the article does not discuss that specific magazine issue or album." Postdlf 16:52, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

discussing the album is not not enough you would need to discuss the cover.Geni 00:50, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Here's the problem I have with a guideline like "you need to discuss the cover." So, would adding something like, "The cover of the album also featured this image" be enough? This is, after all, a "discussion" of the cover. (Well, technically, a "discussion" requires at least two people. This is more of a monologue.) Or does it have to be a thoughtful, reasoned anaylsis of the album cover imagery? Or somewhere in-between? And who decides how in-between? This is why slicing these fair use criteria so finely makes no sense. Wikipedia's inclusion of album covers on pages where they rightly belong is no threat to anyone's freedom, or copyleftness. It is silliness to believe otherwise. Jenolen speak it! 05:59, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
If the cover adds so significantly to the article that it warrants inclusion, then it deserves discussion. The significance of an image should not be left to the reader to infer, which is why we only use fair use for critical commentary. ed g2stalk 11:09, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I don't get why people have such a hard time writing *about* the image they're so keen to include. Many album covers are quite visually striking - why those images? why that composition? is there a connection to the music, or was it just artist randomness that "seemed cool"? Most of these album articles are stubs anyway, quite likely the cover is the most interesting thing there is to say about the album... 1/2 :-) Stan 14:29, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Are you really advocating an open season on deleting all images of album covers where the article doesn't discuss the cover itself? This is so insanely ridiculous. Nobody anywhere could ever possibly in a million years get in trouble for including album covers in an encyclopedia article. Why are we going around making problems for ourselves? john k 16:02, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
You think so destructively. Mass deeltion would be such an ineffecient solution. Would it not be better to comment on the album covers?Geni 15:35, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Sure, but we ought to think about the likely consequences of such a change in policy. I would be astonished if we made your proposed change and didn't end up with people deleting scads of album covers on the basis that they aren't discussed in the article. john k 02:45, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Not planning on changeing policy don't need to since there should be other solutions in this case.Geni 02:07, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I really can't tell you how much since there is a lack of case law that I know about. However even a couple of sentances would be a start. I would rather be dealing with debates over how much comment is needed that the currect situation.Geni 20:18, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

"Discuss the cover"?? Where did you pull that from? That's not the standard nor the practice. Are you honestly claiming that every article on a book, album, etc., cannot use a scan of the cover of that subject to represent and identify it unless the cover is specifically written about? You're going to have to explain why you think that is and why it should be the standard. Postdlf 16:08, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Because Wikipedia is changing the focus of Fair use. While the {{albumcover}} claims that "identification" qualifies as fair use, {{tv-screenshot}} indicates that "identification and critical commentary". Why they are different? If you were to choose one of the two, which is the "safer" option? -- ReyBrujo 18:18, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
The album is indetified by the title. The most logical fair use defence is that you are commenting on the album cover. However when the article does not even mention the cover this position is somewhat difficult to defend.Geni 20:18, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Indeed, cover art is not even a particularly good way of identifying an album (unless you've seen it before). ed g2stalk 21:59, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
For God's sake, are you people for real? Why on earth do you want to do this? Have you no sense of decency, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency? john k 22:16, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
"cover art is not even a particularly good way of identifying an album" Yes, it is (for most normal people). Badagnani 22:27, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Like, I said, only if you've seen it before. Text is free, and a much better way of identfying. ed g2stalk 22:36, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Good Lord, it is not a question of either text or an image. It is either text and an image, or just text. And there are times when one has seen an album cover but doesn't know the name, in which case the image identifies it to someone who wouldn't be able to from text alone. john k 22:40, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
except we have no effective ways to do image searches.Geni 22:43, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, the next step would be removing the tag from Category:Album covers, until we can create such algorithm :-) -- ReyBrujo 22:46, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand I hear there are still some people on dialup and they don't like pages that take a week to load.Geni 23:13, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Product covers are a rather inseparable part of the album, book, etc., because it's what is displayed to the world to identify and advertise the product. This is also what makes it probably the safest fair use claim we can make. The only commercial value of a product cover is to identify the product to consumers and induce you to buy it, and that very function, whether on the face of the physical product in the store, or to help identify the product on online sites as Amazon, operates by letting you view it for free before you've purchased the product (in contrast with screenshots, which derive from the very content of the work itself, not its packaging). Accordingly, as long as we keep our copies of covers low res so there's no possible value as posters, and don't remove the titles and other identifying tags that actually make them function as covers, our use cannot interfere with any commercial value of the original. So they are not only informative and irreplaceable in articles, but we're on completely safe legal ground. They're not going anywhere, nor do we need to or are we going to adopt further limitations on their use. But thanks for your opinions. Postdlf 04:37, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

The RIAA thinks otherwise[2]. You volenteering to take them on?Geni 07:58, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
That's a totally different case. --Fritz S. (Talk) 10:02, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Not really. We have established a searchable gallery of album covers. That they are not on one page would be of only limited use as a defence. The problem is worsened by the numbe of articles that consist of nothing more than the name and the track listing.Geni 15:35, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
I also don't think the RIAA demand regarding the cover gallery site is at all persuasive or relevant. We're not copying the cover art for its own sake, as an end in itself, as that site was doing—it's always to accompany an article about the album to identify that album. I agree though that use in insubstantial articles as you describe might be problematic, but that's another issue, and one not unique to covers. I'd definitely support a requirement that any article have a certain quantity of prose (not satisfied by text such as track listings) before a fair use image can be applied, as a cautionary measure. Postdlf 15:57, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
It shows that the RIAA is interested in online collections of album covers. However I tend to feel your suggestion goes too far at least for initial attempt at a solution (I really don't feel like deleting a load of images we will only want to upload again once the articles improve). Instead I would suggest the tagging the talk pages of problem articles and leaving messages on uploaders talk pages approach.Geni 16:12, 24 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, I certainly won't try to dissuade you from encouraging people to expand articles. Postdlf 21:32, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

I haven't seen this in this page... I am adding a wikilink to Wikipedia:Elimination of Fair Use Rationale in Promotional Photos. -- ReyBrujo 15:42, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

To save you the bother, it's just a repeat of the discussion we've had here a dozen times, with a "let's have a vote!" on the end. Never going to change policy. ed g2stalk 21:56, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
I know, but it is just that this is informed in related pages. Now that Jimbo spoke there, it may have the same effect as Brad's comment during the Portal issue. -- ReyBrujo 22:06, 23 December 2006 (UTC)
I think it is absolutely hilarious that the page has gone from "Jimbo spoke there" to "Jimbo blanked the entire page and told people to go away." Nice consensus building, JW! It's an entirely appropriate welcome to Wikipedia, where if the debate gets too hot, you can always count on the founder of the place to step in and shut it down! Abso-freakin'-lutely hilarious... Jenolen speak it! 10:42, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
He stopped a poll, because that's not how things work here. It was the wrong way to go about it. -- Ned Scott 10:56, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

taking things way too far

Until now, contributors to Johann Sebastian Bach have been unaware of this this intensive, complex and apparently unresolved discussion on fair-use policy - at least, no one has raised the matter explicitly there.

That is why it came as a rude surprise to discover that over the past few days, user Gmaxwell, who has been voicing his opinions here, has taken it upon himself to conduct a rampage through our article, deleting all of the fair-use sound excerpts unilaterally and without discussion on our talk page. Despite requests to inform us about and debate the matter on that page, he has done nothing aside from providing, in the view of some contributors, quite inadequate reasoning on the info pages for the assumed breaching of the fair-use provisions. The files in question are of two sorts:

(a) < 30-second sound files from commercial recordings for which standard reasons were provided supporting fair use; and

(b) two whole-track files from commercial recordings that have written permission for use on WP from the owner of the copyright.

For (a), Gmaxwell appears to object to fair use on the basis that they could be replaced by free items, which is, in our view, a highly debatable proposition that depends on the interpretation of such notions as quality, specificity and educational value. Among his arguments are that the composer died 250 years ago, and that music scores are available, and ... sort of, "Why don't you make your own recordings?"

For (b) we are bemused that items that have written permission for use have been summarily deleted without discussion, and why a separate argument for those deletions has not been provided.

We object strongly to this apparently aggressive and uncommunicative behaviour, and see that the matters involved are far from resolved here. At the very least, we expect to be given the opportunity to resolve the wording and reasoning of the reasons for fair use in these sound files, if indeed this is required. We draw your attention to this provision:

"Images which have been uploaded before 13 July 2006 may not be immediately deleted. The editor should be alerted as to the problem with the image and will be given 7 days to comply with this policy. After this date the image will then be deleted without further warning if corrective action is not taken."

We wonder whether this Gmaxwell is trying to prove a point here in conducting these actions, in the process diminishing our article significantly.

Can someone explain what is going on, and whether people here approve of the way in which Gmaxwell has behaved? Tony 00:41, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

He is acting fully in line with our policy, which is that we only use Fair Use for unrepeatable material. It is possible to create a free recording of Bach's work (the score being public domain) so unless you are commenting on a specific recording, we can't use it. ed g2stalk 00:59, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, that's funny. Seven days is seven days. Didn't you read the text above? How is he acting "fully in line with our policy" if he's flouting a basic provision? Item 10 in the fair-use policy, isn't it, talks of "similar effect". I'd like to hear an argument as to how, just because a music score is available, there exists the potential to create a performance excerpt of similar effect, not to mention educational value etc. This appears to be an extraordinarily strict interpretation of the wording, which is, of course, open to debate. And where did you dream up the rationale that unless you're commenting on a specific recording, "we can't use it"? Is that a personal opinion, or does it derive from the policy in a clear, unambigious way? Tony 01:16, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Why did you not address the fact that this was all done "without discussion on our talk page"? THIS MUST STOP. It is unwikipedian and drives away productive contributors. We've brought it up again and again, and yet editors such as Gmaxwell continue deleting without notification with impunity. It's the height of arrogance for Gmaxwell to say, "Well, I'm very sorry if I offended anybody by doing what I did but the sound samples are gone for good now, and there's nothing that can be done about it; but it's all for the best anyway, because without those samples we'll have a much more wonderful Wikipedia." He actually said that in response to the editor from the Bach page that wrote to ask "what is going on"? Obviously there is no consensus on this (how could there be, when Gmaxwell never took the few seconds it would have taken to post to anyone about his feverish deletions), so we have to be reasonable and deliberate about such decisions, respecting productive contributors in all regards.
Further, the policy states that deletion may occur if the material is not "reasonably" replaceable. That word seems to have been ignored, and is conspicuously never mentioned in "explanations" such as yours. Badagnani 01:07, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
There are free recordings at the bottom of the page. Why are the deleted pieces so unrepeatable? Also, I doubt it was Greg who deleted the media seeing as he tagged it, so if was before 7 days, don't take it out on him. ed g2stalk 01:20, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
This is getting even more ridiculous. It is clear that the people who edit regularly at the Bach article are in a position to know the answer to this question. But they weren't asked! You're asking now, after the deletion has occurred! That's just as bad as saying, "Well, I'm very sorry if I offended anybody by doing what I did but the sound samples are gone for good now, and there's nothing that can be done about it; but it's all for the best anyway, because without those samples we'll have a much more wonderful Wikipedia." Unwikipedian and insulting to editors that are obviously knowledgeable, productive, and valuable to our project. We can't continue to jeopardize losing these editors by this kind of monkey business. Badagnani 01:25, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I think there is a valid point about the exploitation of a particular recorded performance when the information you're actually seeking to represent (the underlying composition) doesn't relate to it—I think the legal fair use claim is undermined. There's no point to invoking the "replaceable" WP policy here, as that just confuses the actual legal issues and just transfers hostility from does unannounced deletion, and a law enforcement mentality. Is an article talk page notice so hard? If you're right, then that will come out in discussion and the issue will be resolved properly (and merely quoting snippets from policy does not suffice as discussion, btw). And I also agree that knowledge of a subject is important to making the best final decision, so it's foolish not to get article contributor input. Postdlf 01:34, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
The appropriate thing to do at this point is for Gmaxwell to acknowledge his error, restore the samples, and post notices as he should have done in the first place. It is never too late to acknowledge one's mistakes, and shows good faith. Badagnani 01:42, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Maxwell is clearly at the centre of this, and is attempting to shift blame to others. But who exactly did the deletion yesterday is unclear - doesn't seem to appear in history of edits. We'd like to know, so that we can call this person to account: seven days is seven days. This is not a transparent process, and should be; it bears similarities to the way fascism works: elements of randomness, the refusal to provide appropriate information, and the refusal to participate in functional discourse. There are a number of aspects of the WP policy on fair use that need to be fleshed out in relation to this unilateral and sudden action. And Badgnani is right, good editors will leave if there's arbitrary enforcement of self-justifying interpretations of policy. Tony 02:16, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
That can be found in the article logs:
I'm not sure that comparisons to facism are entirely helpful. Megapixie 02:28, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Of course I didn't delete them. If Tony1 had looked at the history, he would have seen that I only tagged them for review. The fact that Tony1 untagged them after I first tagged them as problems most likely contributed to their somewhat ahead-of-process demise. I have no reason to dislike Tony1, and no prior argument with him that I'm aware of... and I hope others will take a look at my interactions with him (see User talk:Tony1), and see that my responses have been straightforward and unemotional.

J.S. Bach has been dead for over 250 years, and it is fairly straightforward to get public domain copies of his work to play from. There was no discussion, nor is there cause to include discussion, related to those *specific* recordings of Bach[3], as opposed to any other quality rendition of those particular pieces. Free copies of these pieces could be created, and freely licensed works which we already have on commons could easily be used[4]. As such it is clear that this usage is not in conformance with our policy. This is not, of course, a new or novel application of our policy.

This matter is only complicated by the fact that some of the recordings were outside of our standards for including unfree works even in places where unfree works are permitted (for example, that they were four minutes long and high quality). Furthermore, there have apparently been legal threats, in writing, about some of this material (as indicated by Tony1 himself). --Gmaxwell 02:48, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

None of the above is new reasoning... For each of the works I posted a similar but customized argument on the media talk page, for example: [5]. I didn't respond on the article talk page, becauseuser Makemi had already said all that I would have said, and I felt the environment was both unreasonably hostile towards me and generally confused. (At the time the thread was started the audio was still, in fact, in the article.)--Gmaxwell 02:58, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, Gmaxwell: WP:NOTMYFAULT just doesn't wash here. We've seen the same mantra-like excuse by Chowbok, Abu badali, et al. ("Don't blame me; I just tagged! Blame the admin who actually deleted! But I don't know have any idea who that was!"), so much so, in fact, that it's clearly become a pattern. Massive taggers seem to work in tandem with admins who follow and sweep up (i.e. do the actual deletions). I really honestly don't care who is doing the tagging and who is doing the deleting; you must admit your error here (please read the consensus above) and make good. Wikipedia is a civilized place, and most long-time, productive editors frown on such unilateral activity that seems to answer to no one, with little or no discussion. Badagnani 02:55, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Sometimes, rudeness comes from omission rather than commission. Did you somehow miss this earlier discussion (or just selectively fail to respond to it)? I put it in italics for emphasis last time but I will put it in bold this time: The tagging and deletion were both done "without discussion on our talk page."' Badagnani 03:00, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry that you find it necessary to make this discussion more uncomfortable than necessary. :( I do not see any error beyond the initial error of including the material in the article. It was not a mistake to tag it, nor a mistake for it to be deleted. I stand by my actions and the actions of others who have supported the removal of the unfree content. My commentary wasn't intended to excuse anything, instead I just wanted to set the facts straight. Please take a little time to review the events, and our policy.. as well as the history of our policy and perhaps you will find cause to reconsider who you are accusing of unilateral action. Your claim that it was not discussed is not accurate. --Gmaxwell 03:05, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Hmm, more of the same, failure to respond to the point most at issue? I suppose I will need to reiterate: the tagging and deletion were both done "without discussion on our talk page." Badagnani 03:14, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
You are incorrect. Although Tony1 claimed that the unfree content was deleted when he started the thread on the talk page he was in error. The unfree content was still unmolested in the article, and I'm not sure why he claimed otherwise... It is true that I did not personally write on the article talk page, but this was because it was already so hostile and Makemi already said what I would have said (but far better). I'd also clearly explained the reasoning on the media pages for the files themselves. I did answer this aspect of your question above, but I hope this time I was more clear. Sorry for the confusion. --Gmaxwell 03:25, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification. Now please re-add the deleted files that were mistakenly deleted before 7 days in violation of policy, and without posting to that page's "discussion," to allow for proper and thorough consideration and discussion. And "unfree" is not an English word, any more than "ungood" is. Badagnani 03:52, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
If there is discussion to be had, why isn't it being had now rather than calling for my head?
In any case, our policy allows speedy deletions of copyright violations... which is what unlicensed works are when they are outside of the limited exceptions in law. It is true that when the subject is uncertian our practice is to act in a slow and careful manner. However there are two mitigating factors in this case. (1) Typically tagging is what starts the discussion process but Tony1 reverted my {{fairusedisputed}} tagging as soon as it was performed, and (2) Since Tony1 aparently recieved a written legal threat revoking permission and demanding takedown of two of the works which he obtained permission for and he took this threat seriously, this would imply that by Tony1's own judgement our use is not protected as fair use under the law. As such based on Tony1's own actions we would conclude that the three recordings of identical character that were without permission were copyright violations, and the two remianing files which had (perhaps questionable) permission were, at several minutes in length, long outside of our limited allowance for non-free (like that better?) samples.
Again, I didn't delete them, but I think the deletion was valid. If you think something will be gained by further discussion, then lets have the discussion. The material can aways be undeleted if something convincing is discovered.--Gmaxwell 04:04, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks again for your comments. It's clear from the discussion, though, that we've had just about enough of such discussion taking place only after the images have been tagged and deleted. In fact, you said so yourself--"feel free to discuss, but the samples are gone for good, and that makes Wikipedia an even better place"--in your response to the regular Bach article editor who wrote to you out of confusion as to what was going on. No more excuses, please; this kind of "stealth deletion" without proper discussion, I reiterate, has, and will continue to drive away productive and knowledgeable editors. Badagnani 04:11, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Difflink please. I never spoke those words, nor did I ever intend to say anything like them. Deletion can, like almost anything else here, be undone. Again, were it stealth, you wouldn't have seen Tony1 yelling about it before it happened.--Gmaxwell 04:22, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
  • You certainly did:[6]Badagnani 04:34, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Since the items have been deleted and removed (by people other than me) I guess the matter is moot now. My intention wasn't to upset you, and I'm sorry that I did... I was only trying to get a better understanding of our misunderstanding. In any case, I'm working on getting some more replacement audio for the article. The BWV 971 on on commons is rather good, and we might use that... and I'm talking to a couple of organists. I believe that, ultimately, this article will be better illustrated than it ever was before because of the removal of the unfree audio... and I hope that you will stay around to enjoy the fruits of all of our labor. --Gmaxwell 22:14, 24 December 2006 (UTC) Badagnani 04:34, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
As you can see, I did not speak the words that you accused me of, nor were they to an uninvolved person.. It appears that you are misunderstanding my comment. Please read them again in context. The matter that was moot was the question I asked Tony1 regarding his claim that the material could not be replaced. Not the preservation of the material. --Gmaxwell 04:43, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm sorry, did I miss the response to this?: "(b) two whole-track files from commercial recordings that have written permission for use on WP from the owner of the copyright." In any case, such discussion needs to happen on the Bach discussion page, AFTER the files are restored. Badagnani 04:16, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
PLEASE read our policy about non-free media at Wikipedia:Fair use criteria, also see the {{Withpermission}} and its history. That we obtained permission doesn't at a change how we handle non-free content because Wikipedia's goal is to be an Encyclopedia of Free content. Also the two works we had permission for are highly suspect because Tony1 claimed the permission had been revoked and takedown was demanded at one point. --Gmaxwell 04:22, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
One more thing, Gmaxwell did not do the deletions; if your looking to have the deletion discussed, bring it up with User:Danny, who actually did the deletions. He would be your best bet to get this sorted because Gmaxwell cannot delete files and cannot restore them, since he is not an admin. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:26, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Right, as with Abu badali and Chowbok before him, it's very clear that the taggers (who often are not admins) and deleters work in tandem, then the tagger claims he has no responsibility in the matter after the fact, the images/sound samples aren't getting restored, sorry there was no discussion, but just forget about it. This is going to change, starting now. Badagnani 04:32, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Badagnani, you have been pushing the bounds of civility through the whole discussion. Why don't we all take a holiday break for a day and copy back with clear heads to discuss this like the adults that care for Wikipedia that we all are.--Gmaxwell 04:46, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Civility must be adhered to at all times at Wikipedia, you are correct. The issue here, however, is the deletion of another user's contribution without first allowing for adequate discussion, and within the 7 days required, then claiming the question is moot, the files are gone for good, and now you can discuss. We just can't continue to tolerate this as it alienates productive, knowledgeable editors. True responsibility must be taken in this matter and it must be made good. Also, we don't all celebrate the holiday you're referring to. Badagnani 05:00, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) You guys (complaining about the deletion) are showing some serious ownership issues and pretty much acting like a dick. You're basically mad that you didn't know about this ahead of time. Well, ok, that's too bad, but you knowing or not knowing doesn't change the facts. Fair use issues can be a real threat to Wikipedia and it's free content goals, so you have no right to get mad at people for tagging and deleting the media files. -- Ned Scott 04:51, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
Badagnani, PLEASE STOP. I did not claim what you are claiming I claimed. Please read my comment in context, and please don't just paste here, use the link. You are horribly misrepresenting my words. Finally, Tony1 did not create the works that were removed. He copied them from CDs in a manner which is at odds with our policy and potentially the law. While I appreciate the effort that goes into making an article and uploading files, you are severely over-blowing the severity of this matter. --Gmaxwell 05:06, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
As much as I think it would have been best if Gmaxwell had posted an article talk page notice, Tony, for one, obviously had notice of the deletion tagging (seeing as how he tried to remove at least some of those tags prior to the files' deletion). And when Tony did post a notice on the Bach article, he didn't appear to get any support for his position. This looks more and more to me like a much smaller conflict than it was made out to be, and it was simply escalated by the general hostility unfortunately surrounding fair use discussions. And though this would not have obviated any errors in procedure, I have yet to see a persuasive argument as to why these should have been kept, or a sense that any Bach article contributors aside from Tony felt strongly about their deletion. Just my sense of things at this point. Postdlf 20:26, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
It's not Gmaxwell's fault that the files where deleted so soon, normaly fair use dipspute discussions can go on for weeks. In this case Danny aka "the Wikimedia office guy" for whatever reason descided the files where obvious copyright violations and just deleted them without further ceremony (given his job I asume he generaly know what he's doing). So any complaints about the speed of this deletion should be directed at him not Gmaxwell. --Sherool (talk) 21:51, 25 December 2006 (UTC)
I've commented more on the history of this event off-page, only because I think there is still some confusion about the sequence of events... and I don't want history to remember that I'd gone on a discussionless rampage. :) --Gmaxwell 01:48, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

I have posted the following message on the talk page of this Danny:

Dear Danny

You have clearly breached the fair-use guidelines for uploads made before the threshold date. This, among other related issues, is causing a great deal of hostility.

Please reinstate the files and post a notice on the talk page of the article; when that is done, we can start the debate as to whether the files do in fact breach the fair-use guidelines. Whatever conclusions you and Maxwell may have taken it upon yourselves to arrive at unilaterally and without communication, the due process requires seven days for debate and/or modification of stated reasons for fair use.

Even without this rule, it would have been practical and, dare I say it, proper, to raise the matter on the talk page; this is particularly the case since the issue of what is and isn't fair use rests significantly on interpretation at this stage, and is an unstable issue on the fair-use talk page.

If this matter remains unresolved, we'll take it further: this will include the proposed deletion of the seven-day rule, since failure to revert and go through the legal oprocess will represent a wilful breach. We believe that it is preferable to remove that rule than have it applied in an arbitrary and self-serving manner, whenever you please.

Tony 00:54, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Tony1, only you can prevent forest fires. Instead of moving from person to person and page to page calling for blood, why not try engaging in some discussion about why these non-free audio files should be accepted? Thus far you appear to be in the minority with your view these these should be permitted and I haven't seen a rational response from you to the points raised by myself and others.--Gmaxwell 01:48, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
As a matter of curiosity, why do you need the files to get reinstated in order to start the debate as to whether the files breach the policy? --Abu Badali 01:56, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I am calling for your blood: dead right, there, Maxwell. Your behaviour has been shocking, and offensive. Now, when you play by the rules, by reinstating the files and providing a notice, then we'll do the seven-day thing. Until that happens, I won't dignify your illegal actions by engaging in debate. Your minority assertion is irrelevant to that issue, and in any case, what is correct by the rules is at issue, not some crude numbers game. This issue is not going away. Tony 02:41, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I have been watching this for some time, and have only a single question for Tony1: Why you say Gmaxwell is the culprit of everything, when he acted according to the policy? From the log, I see he tagged the file with an {{orfud}} template on 22, you removed the tags on 23, and he added a {{fairusedisputed}} tag on 24. Danny then deleted the file. Gmaxwell only let an explanation in the talk page, but he did not delete the files. From what I see, I believe Danny acted in a rush, yes. But Gmaxwell is being pointed for doing nothing wrong. Unless, of course, I am missing something. -- ReyBrujo 02:49, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Um Gmaxwell isn't an admin he can't undelete the items. I woulkd undelete them but I'm not seeing any benifit in the course of action you suggest.Geni 02:51, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Please try to keep up on the discussion. WP:NOTMYFAULT just doesn't wash here. We've seen the same mantra-like excuse by Chowbok, Abu badali, et al. ("Don't blame me; I just tagged! Blame the admin who actually deleted! But I don't know have any idea who that was! And what's done is done! Sorry it was within the 7 days, but nothing can be done, just forget about it!"), so much so, in fact, that it's clearly become a pattern. THIS MUST STOP. Massive taggers seem to work in tandem with admins who follow and sweep up (i.e. do the actual deletions). I really honestly don't care who is doing the tagging and who is doing the deleting; you must admit your error here (please read the consensus above) and make good. Wikipedia is a civilized place, and most long-time, productive editors frown on such unilateral activity that seems to answer to no one, with little or no discussion. Badagnani 03:04, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Umm my position was closer to "blame me I'm an admin who has reviewed things". Of course if you can come up with a logical reason why the media files should be kept I would change my mind.Geni 03:07, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't addressing you. As you place your comments and questions into nearly every discussion, it makes it hard to circumvent them. Badagnani 03:15, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Is your position that tagging the media as "fair use disputed" was wrong? I can't find fault with that. This is not a "speedy delete" tag; it does what it says on the tin. (I'd argue, in fact, that it is irresponsible not to tag media that is in dispute, for fear of losing track of it and forgetting about it.) Could there have been notice on the talk page of the article? Well, yes. But taking the media out of the article did alert those with an interest. Removing media and tagging it as of disputed status isn't personal; it's not an attack. No one participating here is trying to deliberately harm the quality of the project for no reason; the removal, too, is done to improve it. (As for the actual deletion itself, it is my position that the deletion was not such an urgent case that it needed to be done immediately, and perhaps it would have been more considerate to wait. But I would have argued that it indeed needed to be deleted, unless unusual evidence was brought in its defense.) Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 04:17, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Badagani, stop make ridiculous accusations when you have absolutely no evidence to back it (I refer to admins working in tandem). Greg tagged the images, and has done nothing wrong. Danny deleted the images so take up the issue with him, and him only. Given that he carries out office actions, I wouldn't waste your time. There is no reason to keep the media, so it's not going to be restored. Stop making such a big fuss about nothing just so you can have your 7 day stay of execution. ed g2stalk 04:27, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

But was Danny making use of his special prerogatives, because if so there are certain formalities to be observed according to our policy WP:OFFICE. His deletion comments seemed to be rather offhand, which may possibly cause offence to someone who is closely involved..luke 16:33, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

A summary, if I may. The problem began when Gmaxwell did not follow WP:IFD, instead using WP:SPEEDY, removing all references to the "fair use" media in the article. Since a fair use rationale was provided, it was correct instead to use IFD; therefore Maxwell should have left the main JS Bach article untouched, tagged the images immediately, and left a message on Tony's talk page explaining the problem and giving him seven days to discuss the issue, none of which occurred. Danny exacerbated the matter by speedily deleting the images when no such nomination had been made, and before the seven-day deadline for media uploaded before 13 July 2006 (which these were [7]). These processes are designed to prevent just such a conflagration as we have now and it's unfortunate that they were not followed.

However, despite the procedural errors, I believe Gmaxwell is correct in his underlying assertions regarding the media. WP:FAIR clearly states that if it is at all possible to create or use a free version that "adequately" gives the same information, then we are to use that one. This point has already been raised by several others on the Bach discussion page [8], and reflects the general consensus here that "free" trumps "high quality". This is rather unfortunate for our musical articles, as it will be extremely difficult to find free replacements that are as high a quality as the best commercial recordings, but they both can be of "a comparable educational value", exemplary musicianship or no. Since the old recordings were present on the page for a year and a half, and had been approved before (e.g. [9]), it's understandable to be dismayed and irritated to discover that they were not, in fact, permissible. I hope that we can now concentrate on finding adequate replacements for the removed files, with perhaps an acknowledgement by the parties involved with the procedural errors. —Sesquialtera II (talk) 17:46, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

'For the record, I have never received a legal threat concerning the inclusion of the two musical sound excerpts in question (although the owner, who's a long-standing friend, at one point said he was willing to annul the permission if I requested this - a process that I doubt holds water, in any case, since I'm sure that the continuance of permission should not be based on personal whim). As stated on the info pages of the now deleted files, I have an email from the owner of the copyright giving permission to use the tracks from the two CDs in question. He was delighted, in fact, to have the exposure for his small recording company. Indeed, I can forward that email to anyone who wishes. The tracks are, IMV, of very high quality, and would be very difficult to replace. Given the poor quality of the free sound recordings available (that's why they're free, maybe?), this opportunity is particularly valuable. Why is WP shooting itself in the foot?

This is why I find this Danny's breaching of the fair-use deletion seven-day rule so offensive. I'd like to be given the opportunity to point these matters out rather than have my painstaking work summarily deleted (it took considerable time and effort, plus the use of my connections). That is, presumably, why the seven-day rule was introduced. The only response that Danny has provided is a "You've got to be kidding" on my talk page. I rest my case. Tony 12:19, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't believe the "7 day rule" was ever meant to be a guarantee. Besides, it still would have been deleted even if we talked about it and had the file to listen to. How exactly the file sounded does not change the discussion on its use. You'd be just as pissed off if it had been listed for 7 days because it still would have been deleted. It's unfortunate, but move on man. -- Ned Scott 12:42, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
What you believe is different from what the text explicitly says, and if it's going to be readily flouted in an arbitrary fashion, it should definitely be removed. The sign at the top of the policy says that editors are bound by it (i.e.,as they are written, and not that they can pick and choose what they personally believe was intended by the framers). Your "besides" comments are irrelevant: I believe that there's a case to make, and the rule exists for this purpose. And don't tell me to "move on man". Tony 15:45, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
WP:SNOW. And if that isn't satisfactory, there's always WP:DRV. Postdlf 15:19, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
Permission for Wikipedia only or to reuse it under the terms of some copyleft licence? If the latter, than clearly there has been a terrible mistake. If the former, it wouldn't have changed anything. All media used with a Wikipedia-only licence must also be usable under normal terms of our fair use policy. The same also applies for non-commercial-use-only and no-derivative-works licences. If the records in question were issued by a recording company, I highly doubt they would have consented to a copyleft licensing agreement.
At any rate, I agree with Sesquialtera II. There appear to have been breaches in terms of procedure, and the media in question have been in the article for a considerable amount of time, so it's understandable that the contributors to the article are quite upset about the deletion. However, the main thrust of their arguments have been either ad hominem attacks on those who made the procedural errors, or refusals to discuss the policy issues until the media in question have been reinstated. There has been very little effort made to address the substantive issues (i.e. extensive use of commercially-released recordings) that caused the tagging and subsequent deletion in the first place.
Oh yes, and I find the accusation of a conspiracy related to the deletion and tagging of fair use media to be a highly unwarranted assumption of bad faith - it might be best if we took a breather before continuing this discussion. m:eventualism is a good idea - the article will still be around for a long time; it won't matter if we can't immediately get the media back up. What's more important is that we avoid alienating any of our contributors, whose efforts, whether in the area of identifying possible copyright problems, or in just writing brilliant prose, would be the worst loss in the long run. Let's not try to conclude this issue so hastily if doing so will run the risk of alienating other editors acting in good faith. Johnleemk | Talk 20:37, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
There's this huge conspiracy to write an online free as in speech encyclopedia, I've heard. :-) Kim Bruning 20:40, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Tony, your friend is a genuinely nice guy. Tell him I say thank you for the gesture :-) The problem is that wikipedia only really allows content under either GFDL or one of the CC-BY licences (see: m:Foundation issues), because we're committed to making a free as in speech not as in beer encyclopedia. A lot of people who have been contributing lately don't quite understand the difference, and can be confused. Perhaps your friend would be ok with releasing the excerpts under CC-BY-SA ? If not, we shouldn't really use the files, though we can still very much appreciate the gesture! :-) Kim Bruning 20:40, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Kim Bruning has recently stated (to me, on Danny's talk page:

"There are certain externalities we cannot alter. One of these is that Danny has the last word on copyright. We all hope that he uses his word wisely.

At any rate, if some page on wikipedia says A, and Danny says B, then policy is B. This decision is final, and no further correspondence can be entered into. At your option, you may edit the so-called "policy page" to reflect the reality of this situation, or -should you prefer- you may continue to believe in unicorns. Have a nice day :-) Kim Bruning 20:13, 27 December 2006 (UTC)"

Um ... why on earth aren't we informed of this in the FU guidelines? Seems rather a major omission, doesn't it? I'm starting to lose respect for these guidelines, which contain smoke and mirrors, it seems. I expect a "what you see is what you get" approach. And they're couched in language that is far too vague to support the views of these new stormtroopers who are interpreting them in an extremely restrictive way, in my view. What on earth does "replaceable" mean? It should itself be replaced by more specific and detailed wording, so that we ordinary people can make proper sense of them. I'm appalled. Tony 13:44, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

In this context "replacable" is pretty much shorthand for "a free licensed work can be created to provide the same information", or in other words anyting that doesn't meet the first of the criteria listed at Wikipedia:Fair use criteria. --Sherool (talk) 14:12, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
There's a lot of things the guidelines don't inform you of, due to reasons too complex to fit in this margin. It's a continuing problem which needs dealing with. :-( Kim Bruning 18:59, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Exactly, and until these stormtroopers can draw on solid, black-letter rules, their actions will be based on what I see as extreme interpretations of vague/non-specific items such as "replaceable". How replaceable? In what sense? There's a desperate need for bullet points that explain these terms in more detail; this could be along the lines of the FA criteria. Until this happens, I have no confidence in and respect for the FU rules. If you want to regulate a complex phenomenon, you typically need to write out the regulations in greater detail than would otherwise be desirable. If that had been done, this dispute would probably not have occurred. The other burning issue is the lack of effective, user-friendly promulgation of the rules for FU, and the provision of advance notice of changes. That's what I find particularly offensive when you're dealing with the destruction of contributors' hard work. That's basic to good management, and WP's management has shown itself to fail seriously in this respect. Tony 03:21, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Tony, there's a disparity between the rules and the practise, because the latter is user-driven and Foundation-driven, and the rules are always trying to catch up. The bottom line is that Wikipedia would ideally have no fair use images. It's a copyleft project that wants to produce a body of work that is free as in "no payment," and free as in "do whatever you want with it." That means we have to know for every article and every image that we're in a position to say "do whatever you want with it," which we're not, if bits of it belong to someone else.
The bits that belong to other people (the with-permissions and the fair-uses) are being phased out gradually. The with-permissions are no longer allowed at all, and there is usually a presumption against fair use. There are still exceptions: events that are important and historic (Holocaust images, for example) so long as used to illustrate articles about the Holocaust and nothing else. Photographs of people who have died are allowed, so long as there's no reasonable way to obtain one with a free license. You can sometimes get away with photos of living people, but increasingly that's not being allowed. But these exceptions are likely to be whittled away over time, and the circumstances in which they apply tightened.
Therefore, when someone says your commercial recording (if that's what it was) is a violation of the fair use policy, and if that person's in a position to know (which Greg is), there's no point in arguing about whether it gets deleted in seven days or seven hours. If it's in violation, it has to go. The spirit of the policy applies, not the letter.
I've fallen foul of this situation myself a few times, and it's taken me a while to appreciate the push for freedom we have here, but I can see now that the consequences of it are good. I remember when I started just two years ago that trying to find suitable photographs on the Commons was close to impossible. Now there are lots of good photographs to use, because people went out and took them, or otherwise made them available, free for everyone in the world to use now and in the future. That's a huge achievement, and it's happening because of this push away from using material that one particular person or group claims ownership of. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:41, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, SlimVirgin, for the clearest explanation thus far. Parts of what you say should be in the lead to the rules, shouldn't they? You've pointed out a disparity, and there's no reason that the black-letter rules shouldn't suddenly catch up with practice. This will minimise dysfunction. What if the FAC process developed a culture that ignored/breached the FA criteria? There would be chaos and disrespect. Why should "replaceable" not be defined NOW, in the rules. And it's patently wrong to retain a rule that is openly flouted, so is there any objection to removing the seven-day rule? I can't see the point of having it ... Tony 05:09, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
People are currently working on hammering out a guideline regarding what is and is not replaceable; this will take time, however. As for the seven day rule, it is followed in 99% or more of cases (this is the only exception I know of), so I don't think we should remove it. --RobthTalk 06:25, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks SV, that was a very nice and accurate representation of en-wiki image practice as it stands now. I have no idea what the policy pages say, but they should be updated to reflect basically exactly what you just said. --Cyde Weys 06:45, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes, that was a clear summation, SV. If the policy page were as clear these situations wouldn't be such a problem. -Will Beback · · 07:38, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Well it is normal for us to speedy delete obvious copyright violations. Although these files were clear policy violations as far as virtually everyone who has commented is concerned, I wouldn't have recommended them for speedy deletion as copyright violations (else I wouldn't have tagged them the way I did), although I do believe that in 3 out of 5 cases we wouldn't have much support under US law. What is not normal, like the early deletion, is for established editors to just revert fairusedisputed tags right away. So this one was a bit abnormal all around. Yet, we have over a thousand admins who could undelete these files, and none have undeleted these files yet.
It's also worth mentioning that the 7 day rule applies only to older uploads (which these are). The reason we have a longer limit for older files is to deal with conditions which don't apply in this case, such as a desire to avoid bombarding people with 1000 deletion notices with short fuses, or just files where their uploader is gone and it takes a little longer for someone to love and protect the files. Effectively the 7 day rule will go away by itself once all the older images which fail the criteria are all purged. I don't mean to claim that the deletion wasn't ahead of schedule because of this, I only mention it to highlight how minor the departure from normal procedure this was.
I hope that we'll soon be past this, and again, I am sorry to have upset you Tony. --Gmaxwell 07:05, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
In practice, though, the seven day rule is usually followed in every case, simply because when you tag an image with {{subst:nsd}}, {{subst:nld}}, {{subst:nrd}}, {{subst:refu}}, etc., the tag gives a deletion date seven days into the future, even for recent uploads. The daily categories also usually say something along the lines of "Images in this category are candidates for speedy deletion once this category is seven days old." In fact, it's often a lot more than seven days because of backlog. —Angr 07:16, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Counterexample 8

Is there any evidence that there is consensus support for the idea that "An image of a living person that merely shows what they look like" is unacceptable on wikipedia? john k 06:14, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Yes: the fact that such images are routinely removed and deleted for being against policy. —Angr 06:25, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I think what John's asking for is evidence of a consensus -- you know, like, relevant page links to places where CE8 was discussed before being adopted. The fact that some admins and editors follow CE8 now only means that they know CE8 exists. John's asking, Why does CE8 exist, and where was it discussed. (I'd be interested to know myself.) Jenolen speak it! 10:34, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Discussion can be found at Wikipedia talk:Fair use/Archive 9#"Repeatability" criterion and Wikipedia talk:Fair use/Archive 9#An image of a living person that merely shows what they look like. —Angr 12:11, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
The first link is not a discussion, but a notification of a decision already arrived at through back channels, and some confusion and uncertainty about how it was to be implemented. Furthermore, it doesn't have to do with Counterexample 8. The second link brings up CE8 specifically, but then doesn't address it at all. FUC1 doesn't necessarily imply CE8, as seems to be the implication being made here. One can easily imagine a free picture of a living person which "merely shows what they look like" (whatever that means), but which is also not replaceable. Replaceability and "merely showing what someone looks like" are not related in any clear way that I can see. john k 19:20, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Of course the first link has to do with counterexample 8! In this thread, Abu Badali writes "So, I suggest the addition of a new counter-exmaple to WP:FU#Counterexamples for the case of celebrities image, (as this seems to be one of the most problematic issues). The counterexample 9 could read: 'An image of a living public person used to show how this person looks like.'" AlisonW then added the counterexample (I don't know why the counterexamples got renumbered though). And yes, in fact, FUC1 leads inevitably to CE8, at least for living people who aren't recluses, in prison or house arrest, or in hiding. Of course a photograph of a person can show more than just what they look like, but such photographs are not always used to show more than what the person looks like. And a copyrighted image of a living non-recluse/non-prisoner/non-hiding person that is being used only to show what the person looks like (because any other information the picture might convey about the person is never mentioned in the caption or discussed in the article) is replaceable by a free image. —Angr 08:08, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

I've seen few instances of people really applying this with common sense; the language is vague and context-ignorant, and has encouraged people to claim that any image that happens to show what a person looks like (such as an album cover in a biography that discusses that album at length) "merely shows" that or is "only being used" to show that. Furthermore, no images "merely show" what a person looks like, but instead give information specific to that person at a particular time and place. What makes an image replaceable is that the context in which it was taken is repeatable and accessible, so that what it "shows" can be reasonably captured by anyone. An image of a celebrity taken in public in 2005 is likely replaceable with any other public photo of that celebrity that has been taken around the same time or can be taken in the near future. By contrast, an image of a celebrity in 1970, or an image taken from a work in which the celebrity performed (TV show, etc.), is not replaceable. And if the nonreplaceable information is sufficiently relevant to the article, then it will satisfy this particular WP requirement. For example, a 1950s picture of Betty Page, a now- elderly former model, would be nonreplaceable in a highly relevant way. A picture of what Richard Dawkins looked like 25 years ago probably isn't going to have relevant differences from a picture of him now and so would reasonably be considered replaceable. On the flip side, I've seen it claimed that a photo is nonreplaceable because no free photo could capture the subject's "beauty," which is flawed (among other reasons) for suggesting that we can somehow bank nonreplaceability on the technical quality of a photo. Postdlf 15:30, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

How exactly are we to relate "non-replaceability" with "merely showing" what somebody looks like? Is there some necessary link between these two issues that I'm not seeing? john k 19:20, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Postdlf, you're right that "no images merely show what a person looks like", but what the counterexample really intends to disapprove is an image being used to merely show what a person looks like. The album cover Image:Beyoncé - B'Day (2006).jpg is surely an image that has far more information than just Beyoncé Knowle's look. But if it's used in her bio's infobox, it's being used to merely show what she looks like, and is a plain violation of our fair use rules. --Abu Badali 20:00, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Ah, okay, if that's the issue, that clarifies things somewhat. But what if the fair use image itself is one designed to largely show what someone looks like (e.g., a promotional image)? The wording is unclear. If the counterexample is designed to prevent screenshots, album, book, and magazine covers, and the like, from being used merely to show what somebody looks like, then we should say that explicitly. john k 20:06, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I would say the counterexample is designed to prevent any non-free images from being used merely to show what somebody looks like. --Abu Badali 20:11, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Implication is you support the proposal on images of living people ("where the significance of the image is that it serves to identify a particular living person"). I know of only three Wikipedians who do so, including yourself..luke 20:33, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I guess I agree with the text, but I think it's unnecessary to have an specific policy or guideline on that. --Abu Badali 21:19, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
But why? john k 21:13, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Because it increases the incentive to produce free alternatives for this class of images. As it's extremely easier to grab an unfree image of a celebrity on the internet than it is to produce a free one, we need this rule to balance the incentive equation in a way that will lead us toward our long term goals. --Abu Badali 21:27, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I actually don't have a problem with FUC#1's requirement that a replacement "adequately give the same information," nor do I consider it worth it to gripe with whatever the infobox concern is (I'm still confused by this), as it is solved (in your Beyonce example) just by moving the album cover down in the article to where that album is discussed (just don't ever tag an image for deletion if that's your only problem with it—move the image). The problem is that this counterexample does not represent FUC#1 effectively; it is too vague and too potentially overbroad. "Merely" is too frequently ignored, and is too open to interpretation regardless. "Shows what the person looks like" also ignores that the appearance of people changes over time and across contexts, and those changes may or may not be relevant depending on the subject. The counterexample simply fails to give helpful guidance. Postdlf 21:22, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
When the appearance changes over time, you can still use an image to show how the person looked like (but don't do that unless it's really needed, per FUC#8).
Do you have any suggestions on how to rephrase it someway that will address these concerns of yours, while still keeping it simple? --Abu Badali 21:34, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Maybe: "A contemporary image of a living person that presents no relevant information other than what they look like." Postdlf 21:46, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Still no good. This would allow the use of an unfree image of an 25 years younger Richard Dawkins (and we have to reason to want such photo). --Abu Badali 21:57, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
That's what the "relevant" qualifier is supposed to capture—how Dawkins looked 25 years ago simply isn't of concern to his article. Why do you think "relevant" is insufficient to get that across? ("substantially relevant"?) Postdlf 22:04, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I didn't made myself clear. The problem is that the qualifier "contemporary" is excluding any old photos from being targeted by the counterexample. --Abu Badali 22:16, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, you're right, I suppose it does operate that way, but I think it's a good thing because the presumption against contemporary photos is of a different character than older photos, because contemporary photos are categorically more likely to be repeatable. I think those are the more pervasive—and easier—problem to deal with, and so more amenable to a simple counterexample. If the photo is not current, then a subject-specific discussion is required to determine whether its informational content differs in a relevant (or "material") way from a photograph that could be currently taken. The lack of such relevant/material difference would be why the hypothetical 25 year old photo of Dawkins would be judged replaceable, simply under FUC#1. Though perhaps the qualifier of relevant or material should be added to FUC#1—how Dawkins looked on July 25, 2005 as opposed to July 26, 2005 is "information," but not relevant or material to any article (I'm assuming he didn't get any facial tattoos that night or lose an eye or something). Postdlf 23:22, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't think loosening the counterexample to only deal with contemporary photos would be productive at this point. The way it is, it still leaves room for discussion on either an old image is justifiable. --Abu Badali 00:21, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
As good real example, some editors felt that it was necessary to use a picture of an young Bob Rae in order to write about it's early career. I, for one, see this as a dangerous loophole being explored in the policy. --Abu Badali 22:55, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

It should be noted that a preclusion of non-free images is not a preclusion of older images of people. We have a number of good free photographs of famous actors and actress from the 70s and 80s thanks to the free content commitment of the non-English Wikipedias. --Gmaxwell 23:56, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

The Official Jimbo Shut Down The Vote Thread

Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales has stepped in and stopped straw poll voting on a proposal to clarify the policy allowing fair use of promotional photos of living people. In addition, Wales blanked the page in question, while encouraging Wikipedians to engage in what he calls a "continuation of a healthy and robust discussion of this complex issue." Wales newly-blanked page failed to include a link to an area deemed more appropriate for such further discussion.

The page had attracted a fair amount of attention over the Christmas holiday season, with more than 85 editors and Wikipedia administrators making their views known via the now-closed and removed straw poll. Wales' message to Wikipedia editors seeking to change the current promotional photography policies was unambigious. "We do not vote on issues in this manner," the Wikipedia founder wrote in bold type at the top of the page. Wales also indicated the page was "meaningless," writing of the oft-contentious debate, "enough is enough." When shut down, the straw poll was running about even, with no clear consensus in favor of adopting a wording change in the fair use criteria permitting, but not encouraging, the fair use of promotional photographs of living people (including bands) in articles describing those people until a free alternative becomes available.

Jenolen speak it! 12:06, 26 December 2006 (UTC) (Corrected)

I think Jimbo did the right thing. It was the wrong way to go about change. -- Ned Scott 11:10, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Whether or not a poll was the right way to go about change (probably not, but then again weeks of discussion have had no particular result), the right way to go about stopping the poll was not for wikipedia's founder to a) express his strong personal disapproval of the proposal being made in the poll; and then b) shut down the poll at a time when a majority was in favor of it by saying that the poll was inappropriate. He should either have refrained from expressing his personal view of the proposal, or refrained from shutting down the poll. This whole thing is incredibly irritating. If Jimbo or the Foundation want to decide a fair use policy for wikipedia, they have both the right and ability to do so. I hate all this stealth policy. The Foundation should either set a policy, or let it be set in the normal way, through discussion and consensus-building. Surveys and polls are one tool that is used in this way, and is perfectly normal. It seems unlikely that that particular poll would have shown any kind of consensus to change, but polls are very good for gauging the opinions of the large number of editors who have opinions on the subject, but lack the time or inclination for long arguments about it, like we have here. john k 19:13, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
The poll was a bad idea from the start; taking an issue that has been subject to over a month of contentious debate, delineating two positions, and having everyone stick some Bold text in front of their opinion isn't going to solve anything; it's just going to entrench people's positions and stifle productive exploration of compromises and common ground (such as the Wikipedia:Replaceability of fair use images guideline effort). I didn't participate in the vote for this exact reason, and I'm glad to see it closed, one way or another. --RobthTalk 23:23, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
First, we must not lessen "core" policies, we must strengthen them, that is why the poll was not going to have any effect. And second, the "slightly in favor" means you don't understand how Wikipedia works. At worst (at the extremely very ultra arch worst) the poll was 43-42. You can't become an admin with that result, you can't move a page with that result, you can't delete an article with that result. We are not a democracy. We don't do things with simple majority, especially when "slightly in favor" means one person more for any of the sides. -- ReyBrujo 11:38, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
I have a fine understanding of how things work here, thanks. (Things getting too uncomfortable? Jimbo to the resuce! Oh, you mean with WP:CON and all...) And a coding mistake in the "oppose" numbering[10] made that list repeat the 1-7 votes. I've edited my information above to reflect that. Jenolen speak it! 12:06, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Policy is not something which is a zero-sum game, like deleting a page or being an administrator. A vote which shows a 43-42 vote to change a current policy suggests that there is no consensus for the current policy, and a need to change the policy in some way. Obviously, this specific proposal was too divisive, but what this vote clearly does show is the need to change the policy in some way in that direction. john k 19:13, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't show a need to change it. It shows that many people would like to change it. Some things may be done if lots of people would like them to be so; others may not. The proposal was far too broad to be acceptable and would not be something that Wikipedia could adopt. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 23:49, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
John, we had a poll which was widely spammed onto the talk pages of folks who had already demonstrated support for its underlying idea, and which had no where near the level of support needed to pass (and thus below the level of support needed to draw out opposition) in spite of this spamming. You simply can not correctly conclude that the poll demonstrated a substantial lack of support for our policy. --Gmaxwell 00:01, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
The very best thing about all this is it proves that they (people who want fair use gone) are afraid. Countless times we've tried to start discussion, find compromises and make efforts to find somewhere where we can all agree, yet each time has been met with attempts to silence, remove and dissuade the opposing viewpoint. It's amazing.--Jeff 14:19, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Look at this way: imagine you're at the beach with your friends, and together you have all built a very large, very intricate, and very beautiful sand castle. Then some other people come along and start kicking it and trying to knock it down. You ask them to stop, and they say "There's no law that says we're not allowed to do this." You explain that you have all worked very hard on this sand castle and would like it to remain a little while longer, and they answer "We should be allowed to do this, because it improves the sand castle's quality." When an authority figure finally comes along and tells them to desist, they answer "Countless times we've tried to start discussion, find compromises and make efforts to find somewhere where we can all agree, yet each time has been met with attempts to silence, remove and dissuade the opposing viewpoint." —Angr 15:02, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate analogies more than anyone I think, but honestly I think that one in particular works better for the pro-fair use folks because it's our sandcastle being knocked down.--Jeff 15:17, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
For me, the sandcastle is the idea of a free content encyclopedia. Every fair use image is equivalent to a kick against it. You're right, I am afraid: I'm afraid for Wikipedia's future existence every time I see a so-called "fair use" image here. If Daniel Brandt really wanted to get Wikipedia removed from the Internet, all he'd have to do is write one little e-mail to Disney with links to all the Wikipedia articles using Disney images under a "fair use" claim, and say "Wikimedia seems to think their usage of these images qualifies as fair use; do your lawyers agree?" Fortunately for us, he doesn't seem interested in getting Wikipedia shut down altogether; nevertheless, I don't believe in handing one's enemies a loaded gun. —Angr 15:31, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
So again we arrive back at the original disagreement; Is Wikipedia an encyclopedia first and a social movement second, or a social movement first and an encyclopedia second?--Jeff 17:33, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
It's an encyclopedia only. A free content encyclopedia. It's not a social movement at all. —Angr 18:30, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
It sure seems like we're encouraging a social movement towards less copyright if we're trying to make celebrities give up copyright on their images. Jimbo himself has said that we have enough power to make it happen. But yeah, that just isn't true; if it were, the media would have PR firms by the balls in regards to their clients' images. - Stick Fig 19:30, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Pardon my French, but you do realize that most of us got involved in the anti-fair-use debate after your small group started fucking with our work, right? You haven't really built anything, let alone a sandcastle; you've been tearing a lot of stuff down, though. That analogy is a bad choice. I'd suggest maybe the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if you really wanted a proper analogy. - Stick Fig 15:49, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
What are you talking about? We have built the largest online encyclopedia with versions in hundreds of languages. We would probably also have the best online encyclopedia if its integrity weren't constantly under attack by the inclusion of images that we have no moral right to use. —Angr 18:30, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Those are your morals, not ours. - Stick Fig 19:22, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
(deindent) Uh, can we cool it please? I understand emotions are running high and all, but the above discussion seems to be mainly grandstanding to me, with both sides saying "we're right and you're wrong!" We're talking past each other, not talking to each other. Also, as someone who strongly supports most (but not all) of the recent policy changes to reduce the scope of fair use, I don't find Angr's recent comments particularly helpful - I agree with them, but they are so lacking in context and background information that they are only sensible comments to those who have been following fair use policy for a while - they seem like utter tripe to anyone who hasn't paid attention to fair use policy.
Anyhow, the fair use policy is intentionally stricter than American law. We are not going to test the bounds of the law, because we do not have the legal budget to defend ourselves in court, even if we're right. (The servers are barely functioning as it is - we can't afford to sink money into proving that a particular image's usage constitutes fair use.) Furthermore, we are a free as in speech encyclopaedia, so we encourage copyleft content whenever possible, and part of the effort to encourage copyleft content is to discourage the usage of fair use content when it would be possible to obtain a copylefted alternative.
Apply the same logic we apply to song lyrics to images of living people, if you will. We could reproduce the full lyrics of Hey Jude in our article and claim fair use. However, we don't. Why? Because we'd rather not face a lawsuit even if we're right; because the reader's understanding of the subject is not severely or substantially diminished by the lack of lyrics; and because if the reader is absolutely dying to find out how many times Paul McCartney sings "na, na, na, na na na", she can find a billion pages on Google with the full lyrics of the song. Likewise, how diminished is our article on Paul McCartney if we do not have a photograph of him? Not substantially, in my view - McCartney's physical body is not of great importance. The reader won't miss anything important if she can't see what he looks like. And if she really is dying to see what he looks like, well, Google exists for a reason, does it not?
Bear in mind that the policy changes are absolutely not meant to exclude the usage of material which is critical to an article. For instance, how on earth could you discuss the cover of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band without a scan of the famous cover itself? It'd be bordering on utter ludicrosity. As a result, I don't favour making the new rule completely and absolutely watertight - it ought to have room for exclusions, but only when they are absolutely 100% warranted (and at present, I can't think of any living people whose physical appearance is so important to their persona that an article without a depiction of that image would be incomplete who would be affected by this new policy).
Oh yeah, and please don't insinuate that the supporters of this policy change are people who have contributed nothing to Wikipedia. Many of us are normal editors; many of us are admins who have contributed in other respects as well as editing; and many of us (not me) have spent hours patrolling new images and tagging the ones which are blatantly abusive of fair use policy. (And yet dozens if not hundreds, by my personal reckoning, still slip by.)
As for Jimbo ending the vote, I don't have much of an opinion about that - in my view, this is inconsequential in the long run. What's important is that we are discussing the issue, not talking past each other (and incidentally, votes tend to nurture an environment where opposing sides talk past each other) - and I don't believe Jimbo has ended discussion. He has only put a stop to a vote which was not going to pass at any rate. Johnleemk | Talk 16:58, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Considering his status in a fairly iconic band whose faces were major selling points, I'd be prone to disagree with your opinion of Macca. Which proves again to me that we're on shakier editorial ground than we need to be because of the opinions of a small subset of users.
We're talking past each other right now because we tried compromising dozens of times on this issue only to end up back in the same place. I suggested forking; I suggested creating an illustrated style specifically for Wikipedia. I even asked Jimbo Wales on his talk page to intervene and help us find a solution that works for everyone; he only did when it looked like the straw poll was leaning towards fair use.
Seriously, if fear of getting sued is the issue here, I can provide links to sites for promotional photos that Wikipedians can sign up for and phone numbers for record labels and THEN we can ensure a paper trail for every image that comes in. But I don't think that's the real reason here. I think it's because we have people on the fairly extreme end of the spectrum supporting free licenses even at the cost of good content. - Stick Fig 17:24, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, thanks for the long well thought out post. I also agree with most of the policy changes but only up to where they started to include publicity photos of living people. Over the past year, fair use on Wikipedia has become more strict. Fine. Dandy. Great. Lovely and all that. Really. I mean it. But the point you make has been defeated through discussion before. I'll do it again. Your arguement works fine on almost every fair use photo that is in existence on wikipedia and is a great reason for deleting almost every category of fair use photo, with one exception. publicity photos of living people which is the ONLY segment of fair-use photos I am advocating. It is IMPOSSIBLE to be sued over using fair-use publicity photos. They are released with the sole purpose of illustrating their subject and are intended for the use we are using them for. Wikimedia will not be sued over their use, and fear of a lawsuit is not a proper arguement to disallow their use. I don't mean to be so brash and dismissve, really I don't, I just have had this discussion at least a dozen times now. We setup a page that outlines both sides' arguements already here Wikipedia:Fair Use/Publicity Photo Advocacy.--Jeff 17:15, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I believe it has also been pointed out at least a dozen times that risk of getting sued is a fairly minor aspect of the fair use policy. I mean if all we are worried about is minimising the risk of beeing sued images for wich Wikipedia have an exclusive permission to use would not have been banned (unless otherwise usable per the fair use policy). The point is to keep the use of non-free-licensed material to a bare minimum for "ideological" reasons. As such, if it is possible to adequately ilustrate the relevant aspects of an article with a free-licensed work a promotional photo should not be used for that purpose. Yes if it is important to the article to ilustrate a particular "look" that an artist have abandoned years ago a promotional image may be used along with a suitable fair use rationale (since it is unlikely that a new image to do this can be created), but I don't think any kind of special "blanket" permission to use promotional images is waranted. --Sherool (talk) 08:38, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Is wikipedia a social movement first and an encyclopedia second or an encyclopedia first and a social movement second? I'm not here to push ideology; I'm here to help build the best damn encyclopedia the world has ever seen. Ideology has nothing, 'nothing to do at all with my motives and if it ever does I hope someone shoots me in the face.--Jeff 14:40, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
If you're not here to build the best *free* encyclopedia, then you're in the wrong place. Call it ideology all you want, but as the "free" part has been fundamental right from the beginning, all there is left to discuss is how much non-free is absolutely necessary to accomplish the mission. Stan 14:49, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
But official promotional photos are effectively free gifts to Wikipedia and to anyone else wishing to illustrate the subject. Why doesn't "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" apply?. Promo photos have been provided for this purpose since long before GFDL, Creative Commons etc. Citizensmith 15:20, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
(deindent) *sigh* I thought we sorted this out some time back - promotional photos are not in any sense free as in speech - they are only free as in beer. If someone wants to reuse Wikipedia content, they have to comply with the requirements of the copyright owner, which are usually as strict as, or stricter than, many pseudo-copyleft licences (such as CC-NC or CC-noderivs). In copyright law, you cannot make derivative works without express permission from the copyright owner, and many press photos do not have such permission. Likewise, a commercial work reusing Wikipedia content might get in trouble with the copyright owner. Furthermore, press photos are not free in speech because the copyright owner retains all rights over them - they can withdraw permission to use the press photo at any time, for example - whereas a copyleft licence ensures that the content remains copylefted, even if the copyright owner changes their mind. Promotional photos are fundamentally incompatible with the free aspect of the free encyclopaedia. Johnleemk | Talk 17:43, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
No it clearly hasn't been sorted out and the more promo photos are deleted (many many high profile articles still have promo photos which nobody has got round to deleting yet) in time the more editors ,who haven't yet seen this debate, will get annoyed. This will go on for months and months with the arguments getting more and more heated as more folk see images they uploaded in good faith just blanked resulting in messy pages as has happened numerous times already. Can you give one single example of an official promo photo - which by definition is probably all over commercial web sites and print publications - being withdrawn or action taken against downstream use? Why do I get the feeling if someone gave you that free beer, you would insist on a written agreement before drinking it? Citizensmith 18:10, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
If you think these images are free in the sense of "The Free Encyclopaedia" then you really ought to read our founding principles again. We do not use copyrighted images whenever we can legally get away with it. If you don't understand this simple point then this whole debate is lost on you, I'm afraid. ed g2stalk 20:31, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I'm afraid it is. It's also lost on the industry people I've spoken to. As far as they are concerned the promotional photos I've asked them about are already in the public domain. That's what they mean by promotional or press-kit. That Wikipedia (and nobody else it seems) thinks otherwise is beyond them. Now that may not be true of every single "promotional" photo but it is the case with the ones I particularly object to the deletion of. In one case I know of the record company themselves uploaded a new promo photo for a band only to have it promptly deleted! When you talk to them about formally licensing it purely for Wikipedia they just laugh then cry. I'd bet half the images, supposedly for which suitable written GFDL or whatever, has been obtained have not been done by someone, within the organisation, actually with the power to make such an agreement. Or that's the impression I've picked up... Citizensmith 21:01, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Well did they officialy relase the image under an official free license when they where done laughing and crying (by the way giving a formal release "for use on Wikipedia" would still not do it, they need to release it under a free license)? Because if what you are saying is true then it would cost them nothing to plaster "all images on this page is hereby released into the public domain, use freely for any purpose" (or even something more restrictive up to and including the terms outlined by the GFDL license) all over theyr promo image download pages, and we would be more than happy to use those images, nothing would be better. The fact that they are not doing that seems to suggest that the images are in fact not as free as you make them out to be. Oh sure they allow liberal use, but only as long as you stay in theyr good graces. The way the copyright laws work (In the 160-odd Bene convention signatory countries) is that unless the copyright holder have explicitly stated that theyr work is licensed under less restrictive terms that work is fully protected to the full extent possible under the law (regardles of what some "industry people" believe). In order to be usable on Wikipedia theyr works needs to be licensed under terms that qualify as free content (I asume we go by the Free Software Foundation's definition of free-content around here, basicaly anything as free as or more free than the GFDL license). --Sherool (talk) 22:03, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Do you honestly think music industry type people voluntarily go and talk to their own legal departments unless they absolutely have to? Yes they could splash the release message on the pages themselves but that's not their job to do that any more than it is to certify the building electrical wiring. In short it's not pressing work for them to do. To them this is a non-issue to bother the legal department with and bores the pants off them. As far as they are concerned it is not an important issue. Citizensmith 22:28, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Really? So if someone who was running an anti-McDonald's campaign took promotional pictures of the McDonald's CEO from Wikipedia and Photoshopped them for usage on the campaign's media, would McDonald's not revoke the permission to the campaign to use it? The licence terms of promotional media are almost always completely incompatible with free as in speech because such an eventuality is always possible - and as long as it's possible, the media under such a licence is not free. And please note that we do not want a Wikipedia-specific licence - we want a copyleft licence (it doesn't have to be the GFDL or CC-BY; it can be a simple "do whatever the hell you want with it", as some people have done with their media - the reason we forbid promotional media in this case is to encourage the development of free content, because then not only will amateurs step up efforts to create their own free media, but companies and other established organisations may consider a free licence such as "do whatever the hell you want with it"). Johnleemk | Talk 21:37, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
(deindent) What you describe in the McDonalds example happens all the time in the entertainment industry. Individuals/the press etc take band press photos and do all sorts of things to them all the time. Including really nasty things in music magazines. Nobody gets sued. And I believe other protections can apply in fair critical commentary even if we were not talking about official press shots - which we are. In your McDonalds example - no they wouldn't give a toss what you did to the CEOs photo if it had been released as a promotional photo - they might go after you if you abused the logo though or modified the image in such a way to libel the individual - but that's the case even if the image was GFDL Citizensmith 21:55, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Such uses are covered by Fair Use for parody, not because the images are freely licensed. ed g2stalk 00:18, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
If it really doesn't matter, why *don't* the copyright holders simply declare that these images are in the public domain, or CC-licensed? For people that supposedly don't care, they all seem pretty careful about making sure nothing is legally in the public domain. I wonder why that is, hmmm?? Stan 22:26, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I guess see my comment above about A&R men not talking to their own legal departments unless they absolutely have to. And no I'm not one (I wish though) but do know folk in the business. Citizensmith 22:33, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
It's too bad the PR people don't talk to the legal staff, who might have a different opinion about the copyright status of those 'promotional' photos. -- Donald Albury 02:48, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
You say that as though legal staff are an inexhaustible resource. Lawyers cost hundreds of dollars an hour to seek their written opinion, and each time you speak to them it costs serious dough. They are usually kept on a retainer besides. Lawyers are the LAST thing anyone who wants to be profitable seek the consul of.--Jeff 03:22, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Our point exactly - because the de jure (although probably not de facto) legal status of these images is dubious, making things difficult for reusers (and remember, copyright law forbids the creation of derivative works without express permission from the copyright holder), we cannot use these images. The point is to encourage greater usage of copyleft licences by: 1) getting amateurs to create their own free media; 2) getting the attention of legal people in the establishment so they'll make the legal status of their promotional media clear. There will be a loss in the short run as we get used to a less pretty WP, but in the long run, as more people and organisations get into copylefting, copylefted media will be much more prevalent - and we'll be able to use them, without any strings attached. Johnleemk | Talk 12:44, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

If you seriously think any agency would release their promotional photos into the Public Domain, you must've been living in a cave for the past 50 years. They want people to use the images, sure, but they still want control over them. You think if you started selling calendars or t-shirts with these promo photos you wouldn't get sued? To think that these photos are Public Domain is quite frankly absurd. ed g2stalk 00:18, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

In reality t-shirts are made up all the time with band promo photos - including those attacking the band. Again nobody gets sued. Not for the specific images use anyway. Misuse a trademark or pass merchandise off as official and it's a different story. These photos are released explicitly for commercial use. Magazines stick them on the front page and sell more copies. Do you think they get sued for that? Citizensmith 10:24, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Actually, and here's a funny story, some of your fellow Wikipedians think they could make and sell a coffee table book out of celebrity photos that are allegedly "libre/free," and hosted here on Wikipedia. True! Crazy, huh? (Might want to tighten up that flank of the anti-fair-use crusade... it's wobbling!) :) Jenolen speak it! 02:43, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Huh? Personality rights are an entirely different issue from copyrights. Also, that's an ad hominem attack which has nothing to do with the substance of the argument on copyright law and policy. Personal rights are an entirely different issue - Gmaxwell may be wrong there, but his being right or wrong on personal rights has nothing to do with being right or wrong on copyrights. Johnleemk | Talk 12:44, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
The idea of an image being free is that it must be free for any use anyone may ever be interested in using. And I guess it won't be written in a policy in specific terms, but for me "any" use is any use... including the polemic uses, such as the misuse of a trademark. Even more, I would say it better: specially the polemic uses. Such uses are always going to happen. The most wise thing is not to relax seeing how nice is the best scenario, but to test if we are capable to endure the worst one. --Perón 12:59, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm just wondering, if by this, you think that trademarked corporate logos shouldn't be used in appropriate articles under fair use on Wikipedia because downstream users are not free to do whatever they want with them? Citizensmith 17:21, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
No, this has nothing to do with which types of unfree media we choose to use. We are pointing out that contrary to your assertion, promo photos are indeed unfree (wrt copyright). ed g2stalk 20:33, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
And I continue to assert that many images tagged as promo or press kit photos are understood to be effectively in the public domain by the original copyright holder. If that weren't the case we'd stand even less chance of getting a formal written release - which is what you want isn't it? Citizensmith 23:15, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Um, you've forgotten the issue of replaceability. Logos are irreplaceable by free images for obvious reasons. Promotional media, on the other hand, are not. Johnleemk | Talk 21:54, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Actually I was just asking Perón for their personal view. I'm sure there are people at one extreme who don't think we should even have fair use logos. Just wondered if they did. Citizensmith 23:15, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

(Re: Jenolen) Our definition of free refers to copyright. Images may also be restricted by other laws, such as trademark law, privacy law, or more specific laws, such as use of the Olympic flag or Nazi insignia. We generally do not consider such restrictions except where we would be in violation of CalifornianFlorida law. It is impossible to create an image with which you are free to do anything in any country. ed g2stalk 20:33, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Eh? California? Don't you mean Florida? Johnleemk | Talk 21:54, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Very much so. I inverted my coasts. ed g2stalk 03:57, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
"Wikipedia - The Free (But Only With Respect To Copyright) Encyclopedia"? Hmm ... probably needs work. ;) Jenolen speak it! 08:12, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

This effort seems misguided, in my opinion. We should be concentrating our efforts on making Wikipedia more free by reducing the number of fair use images and finding suitable replacements under a free license. For instance WikiProject Free Images sounds like a good effort to encourage more copyright holders to release their rights. --Oden 12:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Of course you'd say that. You're one of the main people pushing for more extremist policy. You want to talk misguided? How about angering hundreds of editors by removing images which are legal but don't fit your personal standards? I swear, I don't understand what the problem is with some of you. - Stick Fig 15:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Personal attacks aren't going to change anybody's mind, so why are you bothering? Stan 18:21, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Why do you think I'm so mad right now at the way this has been going? Oh yeah, you guys have completely avoided trying to help us and gone out of your way to explain why you shouldn't because of policy. I think going out of your way not to compromise is far worse than any personal attacks that might occur. Please consider why we're casting stones here. - Stick Fig 23:13, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Album covers

I've never uploaded an album cover to Wikipedia, so I do have a couple of questions to help guide me along. Basically, where are some proper places to retrieve album covers, old and new, for uploading to Wikipedia? Is (which does feature album covers) a good place to retrieve these images (if not, again, where)? This is for a project I'm doing on the "year in music" pages. Thanks for your help. [[Briguy52748 20:11, 27 December 2006 (UTC)]] is a good resource, as are any images at all of albums you can find anywhere (just use a search engine look Google). The important thing is to follow our fair use policies and guidelines, especially those related to fair use rationales - that's a lot more important than where you got the image from, in the case of album covers. Johnleemk | Talk 20:42, 27 December 2006 (UTC)
I just hope to do it right — I know people make missteps (such as forgetting to fill in various blanks, etc.), but I want to try to get it right the first time. Thanks! [[Briguy52748 21:22, 27 December 2006 (UTC)]]
I'm wondering if a better idea is to scan in a CD cover one's self (or 12" album cover, givent a sufficiently large scanner) and upload the scanned image. Seems unlikely, but might, et al, somehow claim ownership of their electronic copies of album covers? -- Gyrofrog (talk) 01:15, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Of course one should only publish here what one feels comfortable with defending, but I'd suggest that it is really very unlikely that would ever pursue that line of thinking. Jkelly 01:52, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
If you have the ability to create cover scans yourself, then by all means do so. If you take cover images from somewhere else, it's theoretically possible that the person who created the images will get annoyed with Wikipedia. --Carnildo 07:29, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
No, that's not necessary or worthwhile at all. A cover scan has zero creative effort, and it should be irrelevant where the scan was taken from, because scanning it yourself will just produce the same image. A person who reproduces the work of another without modifying it in any way has no copyright over the copied version -- it is retained by the original creator. As long as you have fair use rights to use the album cover, no one has any justification for prohibiting you from using their scan of it. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 07:45, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
He didn't say they had any rights to the material, but a lot of people know very little about copyright (judging by the number of "GFDL-self" screenshots and albumcovers we get), I can totaly imagine some guy who spent ages scanning albumcovers and putting them up on his site getting anoyed at us if we "rip off" all his work without giving him any credit. It's hardly a major concern, but the ORTS handelers might still get an angry e-mail or two over it. --Sherool (talk) 13:56, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Recent GA promotion

I was browsing Campbell's Soup Cans due to its recent GA promotion and am concerned about the images and their use in the article. I'd appreciate it if someone more versed in Fair use would take a look. Thanks. Appraiser 15:12, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

From the version I see now, where is only one photo in the infobox, that looks fine to me. Just make sure the image has a rational and it will be good. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 18:47, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
The image should be reduced in size to how it appears in the article; there's no need for it to be larger than that, and the larger it is, the more it could potentially supplant the commercial market for prints of the original. Postdlf 18:53, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
The image is currently credited to a Wikimedia user, tagged as being licensed under the GFDL, and being hosted at Commons, so it really isn't fine. Someone needs to upload a local copy and make a fair use claim, crediting the actual artist. Jkelly 18:54, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Good catch; I didn't even notice that. There are a lot of images improperly uploaded to Commons under the rationale "but I took the photograph [of that copyrighted work]." Postdlf 18:58, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
What??? You mean everything in Commons isn't "libre gold"??? I am shocked... shocked, I tell you... ;) Jenolen speak it! 19:53, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Quite ironically, it's more of a "I took the photograph [of a copyrighted painting (of a copyrighted product)]. I was curious as to if Warhol actually got permission to draw the cans, but I didn't see that anywhere in the article. --SeizureDog 09:56, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

He was referring to the gallery of variants which I removed. Check the history. ed g2stalk 14:06, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

Is this fair use?

  • Illmatic This article quotes 4 multi-sentence blocks of text from a single source. The single source is a short interview in a magazine, so that this amount of quoting creates a substantial use of this other source for this one Wikipedia article. Please comment, is this allowable, is this within fair use guidelines? KP Botany 18:21, 27 December 2006 (UTC).[1]
  • ^ Shecter, Jon. "The Second Coming". The Source. Text "Issue #55 April 1994 pp. 45, 46, 84" ignored (help)
  • It's highly questionable, at best - to play it safe, I think the amount of quoting needs to be reduced. At any rate, it's bad encyclopedic style to have so many lengthy quotations, with a section devoted just to quotes (without any commentary) - so even if we were well within the bounds of fair use, I'd say the article has gone overboard. Johnleemk | Talk 13:15, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

    Fair use of images

    Hello. Is the use of this image in Sketchpad, Ivan Sutherland and T-Square (software) considered fair use (fairusein3)? I checked Google and found no previous instances of the Sutherland Sketchpad video being removed from Wikipedia but University Video was sponsored by Apple Computer who is careful so I had better ask. Also, is Computer History Museum permission and the rationale I gave sufficent for this image and the alternate crop linked to it? I believe somewhere I read that permission is about meaningless but am not sure. Thank you. --Susanlesch 10:16, 28 December 2006 (UTC) copied here --Susanlesch 02:22, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

    • I guess the images passed muster here, when the article was in DYK, and in the Computing Reference desk. That's good news. If there are comments later on, feel free to add them to my talk page (sorry I have run out of time to check on this thread). Thank you. -Susanlesch 05:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)


    It seems that at least one agency is now taking action against online use of their photos; check out Perez Hilton and [11]. A little scary to ponder that he's being sued over probably 1/100 of the copyvios that WP has... Stan 14:54, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

    Only scary if you ignore the facts and are abusing this for your purposes of destroying fair use on Wikipedia. If you read the article at all, which obviously you have not, you'll see that it is filed by a company called X17 which operates They are a paparazzi photo outfit. They take photos of celebrities and sell them on to tabloids and other rags. Perez Hilton is stealing these images from X17 and putting them on his/her own website. Absolutely no one in this arguement is saying we should use any images except those officially released by the person in question, or their representatives, as publicity photos. Try harder next time to find a more appropriate example. You're reaching.--Jeff 15:05, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
    And secondly, the type of photos as shot by X17 are exactly the type of photos I want to avoid having on Wikipedia. They're all trashy paparazzi shots. They do have the benefit of being professional but they are trashy and have the look of tabloid magazines. Do you want Wikipedia to look like a tabloid? Worse yet, a tabloid shot by amateurs with their camera phones? Obviously you do. I do not.--Jeff 15:10, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
    Sorry, you don't know me well enough to successfully ascribe motives. Seeing as how I maintain a whole category of fair use images, many of which I've personally scanned and uploaded, I'm hardly desirous of "destroying fair use on Wikipedia". Stan 20:36, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

    Clarification of GFDL for a non-GNU geek

    How is a true GFDL "Free as in speech" image different from "Public Domain"? Please use the example of putting said image on t-shirts and selling. --BlueNight 12:11, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

    In my opinion (this is just my own), the GFDL is a poor free as in speech licence, because such a usage is quite impractical and legally dubious. The GFDL requires that a copy of the licence be included with every work distributed under the GFDL, making it extremely difficult to release a GFDLed t-shirt (seeing as how you'd have to include a copy of the GFDL with every t-shirt given out or sold). For such purposes, PD media are the best (no strings attached) - but since many people want to retain the copyright to their work, there are copyleft licences which do not have as stringent requirements as the GFDL. One of these is the CC-BY-SA licence. Many Wikipedians (including myself) multilicense our edits under both the GFDL and CC-BY-SA because we want to make things easier for people who want to reuse our works. In short, it is practically impossible to use a GFDLed image on a t-shirt without providing a copy of the licence with the t-shirt - so public domain images are highly preferable, or failing that, less stringently copylefted images. Johnleemk | Talk 12:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    Yes, the GFDL is not that similar to public domain, it's more like a creative commons attribution, sharealike license if you are familiar with that. the full text is here if you would like to read it. If you were making a shirt, you would need to include the full text of the license, and the creator of the work. Also any changes that have occured to the work, and you would have to allow anyone else to change the work and reuse it. - cohesion 17:55, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

    Two extremes, and we need to end this.

    Be it that the two extremes of the pro-fair use and anti-fair use debate are:

    1. Delete everything that is fair use because anything that's copyrighted is not appropriate for Wikipedia.
    2. Keep everything that is fair use and open up the floodgates because we are an encyclopedia and quality is important.

    It strikes me as incredibly easy to carve out very simple guidelines that are free of subjective qualities, the subjective qualities that we have argued over for the past 6 months. We need to eliminate words like "reasonable" and "equal" and replace them with firm adjectives that do not allow for interpretation. This simple example does not promote instruction creep, is simple to understand and also does not allow misinterpretation:

    • We agree that in certain well defined areas, fair use of images in pursuit of quality is allowed. Fair use images must only be used to illustrate the subject and no other use is permitted. The categories are:
    • Images of logos or signs
    • Publicity photos of persons
    • Pictures of objects or events that are impossible to duplicate
    • Because the subject no longer exists
    • Because the scene was unique and will not happen again
    • In the above categories, free usurps fair use under these terms
    • The free image is atleast 640 pixels wide
    • The free image is free of major defects (bad focus, motion blur, poor quality)

    (I'm missing a few things, but you get the drift)

    Why is there such naysaying and disagreement? Is it only because I am trying to present a moderate viewpoint? If I were more radical, would I then be able to achieve a "compromise" to my true goals of having an endorsement that allows fair use publicity photos? I'm getting sick of every discussion I get in just ending without any compromise or resolution. What do we need to do to end this?

    Could it be because bureaucratswant the instructions to be vague so that they can interpret them as they seem fit? I think I just hit on the real reason we can't come to a conclusion on this. So, c'mon, get off it, let's hammer out something specific that we can get this behind us. I'm sick of wasting my time. --Jeff 18:02, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

    The best way to end those debates for good will be to do the "extreme" action that will have to be done at one point of another, and wich other wikies have already done. Until then, fair use will always remain the nail in the shoe around here... --Perón 19:12, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    I think the addition of quality qualifiers makes this something I could support. One I might add is "The free image reflects the source, if important to the page's context, at a historically significant time." I.E. we'd prefer to have a photo of a person when they're actually famous. We'd prefer to have a photo of Paul McCartney from 1965 instead of now. - Stick Fig 20:34, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    There are only one or two people who want to get rid of fair use entirely, and those who want complete carte blance for fair use are also a very small minority, so I think that's quite a misrepresentation of both sides' views. Also, rigid codification won't make our problems go away (I have something like WP:BEANS in mind here), because we are having what lawyers would call a problem of construction (or statutory interpretation, where the statute is fair use policy). In real life, it's rarely as simple as drawing a clear cut line, which is why both real laws and WP policy are forced to use vague words like "reasonable" (IANAL, but I'm a student of British law though I have no intention of being a lawyer). What's reasonable will vary from time to time - by drawing too clear a line, we are forced to deal with all the problems brought about by a rigid legal code instead of a more flexible and interpretable law.
    IMO, our present problems actually stem from too much rigidity. I believe that there are possible exceptions to the present "ban all fair use photos of living people" policy (even though I can't think of any such exceptions at the moment), so I think it's a bad idea to draw such a clear line. The problem is that once you make allowance for these very rare exceptions, you end up with a lot of abuse of these exceptions (old fair use policy was rife with these issues, as many image patrollers can attest - people would dig up a photo from somewhere on the internet and claim it as fair use when it really wasn't).
    It's quite the catch-22, I'm afraid, and I can't think of a way around it. On the one hand, if we tolerate fair use promotional images, we will never get the coypright holders to make the legal status of these images clear (which they could easily do, if they wanted to, by releasing their promotional media either into the public domain or under a simple copyleft licence like "do whatever you want with this image"). On the other hand, there will be valid uses of such images, and it seems unfair not to permit these uses.
    I don't agree with Jeff's proposal, though, because I think opening the door completely to promotional media is a bad idea in the long run - it allows organisations and celebrities not to examine the de jure legal status of their promotional media. The urge to reexamine the legal status of their promotional images would be greater once they realise that their Wikipedia article doesn't have a picture of them because of the dubious status of their media, giving the copyleft movement greater impetus. Furthermore, I think it's a bad idea to allow fair use media to trump free media under certain circumstances because, again, the impetus to create high-quality copyleft media disappears if we tolerate replaceable fair use media. Johnleemk | Talk 22:07, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
    We're not discouraging high-quality copyleft media as much as suggesting that we're not going to take a crap piece of copyleft media over a high-standard piece of fair use media. Which is what this debate revolves around and why we're going to be at a stalemate here forever. We're essentially saying that we can have large holes in our coverage (to be covered up later, despite the many leaks in our reputation left behind) based on an interpretation of a rule, instead of saying that we can simply give the content a coat of paint later. It seems like the fair use side is doing all the budging and compromising here, and not getting anywhere at all. Why isn't there any coming from the free content side?
    And where is Jimbo to put in his two cents? He clearly cares about this issue, seeing how he forced our hands regarding the vote. He needs to be a part of the compromise, not above it or in overview mode, gracing us with his presence when the flame war gets too hot to handle. (Sorry if I sound frustrated but he sort of ignored an invitation to join this debate.) - Stick Fig 05:34, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    You need to compare him to a mass murderer to summon him. Try it out!--Jeff 06:10, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    We need a very big dose of WP:AGF....Seriously we do! luke 09:12, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    It's not a direct discouraging of copylefted media, but it is definitely an indirect incentive to tolerate fair use media. The impetus to go out and create a copylefted work will be greater if the only alternative is no work at all. And I think claims of damage to our reputation are overblown - will anyone say "Damn, Wikipedia sucks - I can't find a nice picture of Natalie Portman on it! I'll never use Wikipedia agin!"? Or will they just shrug and go look for "natalie portman xxx" on Google Images? I think the latter is far more likely. We're not an image repository with an encyclopaedia as an adjunct. We're an encyclopaedia, and people will always care more about what our articles say than what pictures they have.
    Furthermore, as I believe Robth has pointed out, you're thinking in terms of the short run. In the long run, we will all be better served by a greater proliferation of copylefted media. As Robth noted, we're working towards a print version of Wikipedia, and legal matters for redistributors will be greatly simplified by cutting down on (without eliminating) fair use images. This stuff about "large holes in our coverage" is simply grandstanding, IMO. You haven't shown a single article whose encyclopedic value has been greatly diminished by the removal of fair use images. The point of fair use is to allow us to cover "large holes" by permitting the usage of copyrighted material where there are no alternatives. (And you'd be surprised by how often there are alternatives; take the Paul McCartney example we've discussed, for instance - there's a public domain photo of him in 1963, obviating the need for a fair use photo.)
    As for compromise, as I said, it's not as simple as it sounds, because of the catch-22. The proposed compromise by Jeff isn't workable because it harms the purpose of our policy (to create a free encyclopaedia). In the first place, to be blunt, it seems to me that the present policy is (for the most part) fine. Its only problem is that it can be excessively rigid, but this is only a hypothetical of mine - I still can't think of any real examples of problems with present policy. Johnleemk | Talk 12:54, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    Just a chorus of agreement with Johnleemk. The onus is on the advocates of policy change to come up with compelling reasons, not ad hominems, predictions of doom, etc. I actually favor fair use in WP, and participate in this discussion in the hopes of getting some new ideas, and my reward has been to be lumped in with the hardcores who don't care one whit about this discussion and will only stop deleting when presented with a policy that directly forbids it. If what I've seen so far is the best that promophoto advocates can do, might as well pack it in. Stan 15:21, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

    To clarify, there is no "we must delete all photos of living people" policy. The policy is to remove all repeatable pictures, which covers most but not all living people, so the rule is flexible. Allowing unfree material when we can create free material ourself is completely against the philosophy of Wikipedia. When we started out we didn't replace stubs with EB articles, because "sure it's copyrighted, but it's better than nothing, and none of our editors know anything about this subject". We left the articles nearly blank for years with a message "please help us improve this article", and eventually people came along who did know more, and because they saw a page they could improve, they did. If they saw a nicely written EB article which was allowed by our policy to stay, I doubt they would have. So to reply to "We're essentially saying that we can have large holes in our coverage (to be covered up later, despite the many leaks in our reputation left behind) based on an interpretation of a rule": Yes, we can, we do and we will. Wikipedia was not built in a day. ed g2stalk 15:32, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

    I have raised this point before - but I would appreciate in particular your thoughts on the idea that incentivizing the search for libre content is, at a certain level, against the Assume Good Faith policy. Also, it was said earlier that the GFDL is a poor libre license, and some others who have thought about this have come to the same conclusion as of course you are aware. But what could be a better license. Here is an example of a project which uses an MIT type license. I linked to the Google cache because the project has been offline for a few hours. You're invited to do some "blue sky" thinking! --luke 15:48, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    Hm? How is it assuming bad faith? Is it assuming bad faith to ban good faith contributors from adding the lyrics of songs to song articles under spurious claims of fair use? I'm not trying to be a troublemaker here - I sincerely can't see how this is assuming bad faith. :{ And yes, I definitely think the GFDL is a poor copyleft licence - but this is precisely why we have such a variety of usable free licences for images instead of restricting ourselves to GFDLed images. Johnleemk | Talk 17:27, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    I think we are well beyond the point of no return regarding the license of our text. If we where to descide to use a different license we would have to start the project over pretty much from scratch because you can't just un-GFDL something, it's a share alike (aka "viral" license). Anything based on a GFDL licnsed work must itself be GFDL licensed (only loophole would be to get every single user to retroactively dual-license all theyr contributions and then "shift" the project to only rely on the secondary license or something, but we can probably not even get in touch with the majority of the prople who have been editing (every person behind shared IP's users, who have left, banned users, etc. etc.), let alone get them all to agree to do that). Fortunetely you are not limited to the GFDL when it comes to images, so if you don't like the GFDL just pick a more free license, like CC-BY or whatever. Not sure I got what you where saying regarding WP:AGF, if you where suggesting that removing unfree material to create incentive to create free material somehow amount to asuming bad faith then I don't agree, else please clearify. --Sherool (talk) 17:38, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

    I like how I made the point that none of those who support free images seemed in the mood to compromise, only for these users to prove it in subsequent edits by belitting my very comment. If it seems like I'm thinking short-term by saying fair use now, then so be it, but I feel my desire to compromise is sound here. The ball's in your court right now. We've already budged quite a bit in our position. It's your turn to figure out a way to make this work.

    It seems like it isn't as easy as it sounds because of current policy, yes, but that's the point we're trying to make here; current policy is flawed and needs to be fixed, and the only way it will get fixed is through compromise. The catch-22 here is something that needs to be dealt with. Our goal of creating a free encyclopedia is pointless if it isn't any good. - Stick Fig 23:03, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

    Don't forget that the fact that any "fair use" images are allowed on English Wikipedia at all is already a compromise. Most Wikimedia projects don't allow any "fair use" media--most Wikipedias in other languages don't, Wiktionary doesn't, Wikisource doesn't, Commons doesn't, Wikibooks doesn't. If current policy is flawed, it's flawed in the direction of being overly lenient towards the inclusion of "fair use" images and needs to be made much stricter. —Angr 23:59, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
    That may be your opinion, but that obviously isn't consensus here. Consensus is leaning the other way, even if it is in a pretty solid stalemate right now. Remember that you're in the extreme minority here, even compared to most of your free-image supporters. - Stick Fig 00:50, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    The last sentence is my opinion, just as a lot of your statement above is your opinion ("current policy is flawed and needs to be fixed, and the only way it will get fixed is through compromise" is your opinion, as is the presupposition inherent in "Our goal of creating a free encyclopedia is pointless if it isn't any good"). The first two sentences of my statement are simple fact: the pro-fair-use side has already pushed through a very liberal compromise, giving English Wikipedia the most latitude in the inclusion of "fair use" images of any large Wikimedia project. You cannot now seriously expect to renegotiate that compromise to make it even more tolerant of them. —Angr 09:27, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    If you think the current compromise is too liberal, I'd hate to see your definition of pornography. Oh, heavens to daisy, Julie Yoder is showing a little more of her neck! This doesn't mesh with our Puritan sensibilities at all!
    I don't think you can call any policy where you're slashing and burning thousands of already-implemented images a liberal one. Oh wow, we left a few copies of Salinger up in the library! Guess we're not as bad as we thought! - Stick Fig 16:29, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    I really hate to violate Godwin's law and my personal rule that two wrongs don't make a right, but since someone compared Jimbo to Hitler earlier, let me ask you: how would you have responded if the Nazis said, "Okay, let's not massacre six million Jews and a few million other untermenschen - let's keep it to a more reasonable number - say, a million?" Would you agree to this "compromise"? There are some cases where even though compromise sounds good, it's just not right, and IMO, this is one of those cases. Underneath the title of every page, we bill ourselves "the free encyclopedia", and I don't believe in compromising on that. As Angr says, we have compromised already by permitting ourselves to use non-free media where it is practically impossible to obtain free replacements. The onus is on you to show why we should compromise any further, and not the other way round. Oh, yeah, and as I said, claims that our encyclopaedia "won't be any good" if we exclude replaceable fair use media need to be corroborated. As far as I can tell, current policy is not harming the encyclopaedia's articles. Johnleemk | Talk 13:47, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    You compared the usage of fair-use images to the Holocaust. One user, in poor context, mind you, compared Jimbo to Jim Jones, who led a cult. Godwin's law or not, wow. I mean, seriously. I get the feeling that you can't sleep with yourself at night if you're not following the Book of Stallman to its logical extreme.
    Wikipedia may be the free encyclopedia, but I think a lot of us here are far more reasonable with our interpretation of free than you. Just like the Bible, we're the kind of Christians who believe in Jesus but aren't afraid to go to the bar and get plastered or engage in premarital sex, because we'll still be faithful tomorrow and believe the overall message, even if we disagree with the details. Consider us the Unitarians of Wikipedia. - Stick Fig 16:29, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    I hate to get snarky, but you're just continuing the grandstanding. Provide concrete examples of how this alleged extremism hurts the encyclopaedia, please. Tell me, when you open an encyclopaedia, are you looking for the greatest snapshot of Natalie Portman ever, are you looking to find out about the movies she's starred in? When you read an article on Hugo Chavez, do you look first for his mugshot, or do you want to know what he's famous for? Images supplement the text, not the other way round.
    I find this allegation of extremism (what with Stallman and all) extremely vexing because it seems to me that you've completely misunderstood the stance of many proponents of current policy. We aren't purists - we just believe that nonessential supplements, while nice, can go without hurting the encyclopaedia. For the essential supplementary material, we are strong defenders of fair use (a few people, such as Angr, notwithstanding).
    In closing, give me one concrete example of an application of policy that has seriously harmed the quality of an article, and stop the stupid nonsense accusing us of radical extremism or harming Wikipedia. The onus is on you to present real cases of policy actively making our articles useless to a certain segment of the population by excluding important information, not to make silly statements about policy harming Wikipedia's reputation or comparing defenders of policy to copyleft purists. Johnleemk | Talk 17:10, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    "A picture speaks a thousand words". You couldn't possibly be more wrong about the relevance of pictures.--Jeff 17:26, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    If you know about the topic. If you don't, it does not. -- ReyBrujo 18:08, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    That's an aphorism which doesn't really mean anything unless you clarify it. How much does the reader of an article learn about Jennifer Granholm from a picture of her? "Oh, so she's blonde. Not bad looking for a politician, I guess." That's about it. How many words does that picture actually convey? The real meaning of "A picture speaks a thousand words" is that certain iconic symbols, such as this here photo of some guy with his shopping facing down a tank convey information that could never be conveyed textually. What information is the image in Jennifer Granholm conveying that's relevant to an encyclopaedia article about her? Little, if any. Johnleemk | Talk 20:02, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Oh, and you wanted an example. Jennifer_Granholm's article is a perfect example of an article that has suffered. Look at the photo used now and then realize that this photo used to be there. Ridiculous.--Jeff 17:29, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Aren't government images in the public domain? Also, we need to show about how someone looks, we are not a promotional agency. Contact her agency and request a new image, if they care about how she looks like, they will give a new image. If they don't, we should care less.
    Finally, look at articles like Tarja Turunen (previous image was and Cristina Scabbia (previous image was I personally believe that, while the promotional images are better edited, the free images give the same information while allowing us to remain free. -- ReyBrujo 18:08, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Hey Rey. Works produced by people during the employ Federal Goernment are PD by law. That includes all branches of military service and every federal government service. State's have their own set of laws and many, like Michigan, lack any specific statute making works public domain.
    Regarding your two examples of free > promo, you might be surprised that I agree. You'll notice that both of your examples qualify in the section I wrote called In the above categories, free usurps fair use under these terms. They are both contain a dimension that is atleast 640 pixels and are free of quality problems. So, why are we having a disagreement again?--Jeff 18:29, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks for your comment about government stuff, I was under the belief that, similarly to Argentina, state laws can't overpass federal law (in example, if the federal law establishes images are public domain, states can't determine they can be copyrighted), so it was a good clarification. As for the other, we are not disagreeing in the topic, but in the approach. What I see is that you complain that the new free image is of extremely low quality compared with the old fair use image, and there we agree. However, I believe the right approach is not complain about that, but instead aggressively pursue for a better free image, by contacting the correct people, being them Flickr users, agencies, professional photographs or the subject herself. If you want to put it in a way, press them with comments like "Look, Wikipedia receives millions of unique users per day, and when they reach your article, they see this image that may not make you justice. What will they think?" or "The article about your opponent has a much nicer and free image than yours..." If an agency or party cares about how their head looks like, they will agree. If not (at least in the case of politicians) we would not have people working for politicians deleting content from Wikipedia ;-)
    In the Tarja article, our options increased from an image generated from multiple images (Image:Nightwish.jpg) to a watermarked image (Image:Tarja Noche.jpg, a relatively far and slightly out of focus one Image:Tarja Turunen 2006.jpg and finally the current one. I am sure there is a way to convince them. -- ReyBrujo 20:50, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Sure, I can understand unfamiliarity with our federalist system. States' rights are pretty complicated. From my view, I've seen numerous examples of creation without destruction. My own contributions to the Michigan State University article and all of the work on the Tarja article seems to validate that deletion of existing photos, or even leaving articles void of a picture, is an unnecessary interpretation of existing policy and not at all a useful implementation of policy. It's a negative incentive and I don't like negative incentives. We don't need to beat people on the head with a hammer to generate free content. When I'm teaching my cat tricks, I don't smack him when he does something bad, I reward him for doing something good. Deleting and forbidding FU image content is wrong.--Jeff 21:18, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Just to let you know, I think deleting FU images is right, but I would have approached differently: deleting the images starting from the ones that are more likely to be replaced. In example, I would have deleted images from places, and from articles with a large amount of contributors or revisions, as they are more likely to be about topics that are better known than others. -- ReyBrujo 21:39, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    I work at a newspaper. If we didn't run mugshots of newsmakers, even if that mugshot doesn't have anything to do with the article, the paper would lose value over time. If Wikipedia simply assumes that appearance is a marginally important aspect of a human being, a creature in which its appearance is often everything (especially when it comes to actors or actresses), then it'll lose value too.
    If you guys don't like me criticizing you for your extremist position and comparing, stop taking such a hard line on this issue and be flexible like our side has been. It's not that hard. If you won't be flexible, I'm sure there's a spot for this page on lame edit wars. There's a reason why The Register makes fun of Wikipedia, and it's stupid arguments like this.
    I've been getting more frustrated with this argument lately, because it doesn't seem like we're getting anywhere. You don't want to give up any ground because you think you've already given up a lot. I don't think you've given up any.
    As far as specific examples, see what I listed below in terms of the Granholm picture. It's a common issue that nobody's thinking about. - Stick Fig 20:02, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    "Jennifer_Granholm's article is a perfect example of an article that has suffered". How has the article suffered other than aesthetically? Most of the information is contained within the text. The unfree image is superior quality, but the free one adequately shows what she looks like. Her appearance is not even of any great significance in the article. ed g2stalk 19:17, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    I like how we're going to say the basest level of image is good enough for us. Here's an argument that I'm pretty sure hasn't come up yet which punctures a hole in this reasoning. If we put this into print to give to schoolchildren in third-world countries, this image would not fit the basic requirements of an image going into print, because stuff like books generally print at 300 dpi. Even 200 dpi would be stretching it for this photo. It's not something that would even be muggable at its current quality. Whereas the other photo would. And it tells the story better. And her face is more recognizable. And it's not a low-quality 8kb image. So there goes one of the reasons for removing fair use images, reproduction. This photo would be useless to reproduce.
    And that's on top of all the other failings of the photo -- the fact that we're only acquiring this photo through cropping, the fact that in a few years, it'll likely be out of date. What if she removes access to herself due to an issue regarding paparazzi, and only releases official photos? Sure, we'll have this one, but it's quite possible she might put on 30 pounds and look quite different.
    I work as a graphic designer for a living, so I sorta know what I'm talking about here regarding this photo. - Stick Fig 19:52, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    What's the story this picture is telling? I honestly don't see what's so special about Jennifer Granholm that we absolutely must include a picture of her in a comprehensive article about her. As I said below, we might as well remove a sucky free photo - if the information conveyed isn't crucial to the point where we don't need a fair use photo, we shouldn't settle for a terrible free photo either.
    If she refused access to the public, then we'd have a justifiable case for the publicity photos being irreplacable - but that's a hypothetical, not a real case. If you want a policy change to accomodate this (although doesn't policy already make room for this?), I'd have no problems with that. Johnleemk | Talk 20:02, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Photos, by default, tell stories about people from a level of their appearance. You will learn more about a person from actually seeing them than from any level of text in an article, because it adds a level of depth to a person.
    You need to stop thinking about photos from such a simplistic level, because the stories they tell are often on a level below the obvious. - Stick Fig 20:07, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    If there's so much a picture of Jennifer Granholm can tell me, why can't you point out the story the picture is telling? I don't dispute that pictures do speak a thousand words on many occasions - but I do dispute the belief that they always speak a thousand words. In many cases, an encyclopaedia article does not suffer from not having a photo of the subject. Maybe I'm just too socially impaired to see the "level of depth" gained in understanding Jennifer Granholm from having a picture of her, but that aside, still, is someone going to visit Jennifer Granholm and think "God! Wikipedia doesn't have a picture of Jenny Granholm! Boy, they suck! I'm sticking to Britannica from now on!"? Johnleemk | Talk 21:53, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Precisely. I think the article might be better with the free image out, though. Ugly free images are just as bad as high-quality fair use images - one makes us look bad to the reader, the other makes us look bad to the reuser/republisher/redistributor. Most articles do fine without pictures for a long time because there is very little actual information to be conveyed through pictures. Fair use is meant for pictures with certain qualities or information that cannot be duplicated by a free image. Johnleemk | Talk 20:02, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    I like pictures.--Jeff 21:11, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    So do I - but when I want to look at pictures, I open and not Wikipedia articles should only contain pictures when they convey information that cannot be transmitted through text. Johnleemk | Talk 21:53, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, surely there's nothing wrong with using free images purely decoratively. —Angr 22:01, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    Of course argument is focusing on encyclopedic usage, however, not decorative, because the latter (as I'm sure you know) is not a valid use of fair use images. Johnleemk | Talk 03:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    (Stick Fig:) Thank you for your in-depth lecture on resolution, but seeing as the alternative to this picture is nothing, it doesn't really matter. The argument is not "unfree picture vs free picture", but "unfree picture vs nothing" and "nothing vs free picture". We can't use the unfree picture because it is replaceable. Whether or not we use the free picture we have is an independent debate, so to compare it's resolution to the unfree picture is pointless. ed g2stalk 23:21, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    The alternative to this picture is a better picture. The only reason you don't want to use it is your ideology, which isn't in the mainstream. It doesn't look at quality, it doesn't look at whether or not we can use it. It looks at a single factor and that's it. I think we're getting nowhere here. And it needs to end. It's almost like you guys are looking for new reasons to say no. I feel like I've opened up about 100 points, only for you guys to just tear them all down. You don't want to compromise, you don't want to make the encyclopedia better, you just want to be right.
    Screw that. - Stick Fig 00:35, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    "you don't want to make the encyclopedia better". That'll be it... so is Jimbo out to sabotage his own project? ed g2stalk 00:46, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    If that's the case, why have I written a bunch of featured articles which prominently use fair use pictures? And WP does have an "ideology" - it's a free encyclopaedia. Our objective is to make a free encyclopaedia. On occasion, we must decide when to compromise between "free" and "encyclopaedia", and present policy is a compromise because it tolerates unfree images that are essential to conveying information and building a comprehensive encyclopaedia. And if "whether or not we can use it" was the only valid criterion for using an image, we'd be permitting non-commercial and Wikipedia-only images. Johnleemk | Talk 03:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    Quite, heaven forbid someone founding a project should lay down a set of immovable principles. You don't have to share our ideology, but you will have to abide by it, or start your own project. Complain all you like but our fair use policy isn't going to be anything but tightened for a long time to come. ed g2stalk 18:49, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    The way you've acted towards us is anything but nice and open to ideas. Alienating users is not the way to ensure the future success of the encyclopedia. - Stick Fig 20:48, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    We are not open to you your idea of allowing these images. I have explained this several times in a very civil manner. If this makes you feel alienated then there's not much that can be done. ed g2stalk 20:57, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    Your aloofness is not conducive to a discussion. These images were allowed for a very long time and only recently became the subject of an ill-advised and inappropriate deletion campaign that is based upon an extreme interpretation of existing policy. Our proposal hardly changes Wikipedia, nor does it violate the 5p's.--Jeff 21:01, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    I think it became clear quite a long time ago that this policy isn't going to change. Continue to complain if you must, but I've made our position clear quite enough times now. I, for one, will not be wasting any more time on this "discussion" which is going nowhere. ed g2stalk 21:43, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    It's not going to change because you don't want it to. We want to work with you guys. You won't work with us. If it's not going to work, that's on you. Not us. - Stick Fig 21:53, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    We don't relax our verifiability, NPOV and no OR policies just because some editors don't like them. The restrictions on 'fair use' images are getting tighter, they will not be loosening. 'Fair use' images are not necessary for an encyclopedia, and they are over-used and abused in Wikipedia. -- Donald Albury 23:45, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    Why should we relax those? Those help the encyclopedia. Removing images wholesale because a handful of editors are reading a guideline too stringently does nothing but hurt it. - Stick Fig 23:53, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    Hurts it slightly in the short run, helps it greatly in the long run. (I am assuming, of course, that we want to build a free encyclopaedia, not just an encyclopaedia.) In the first place, the encyclopedic value of many of the images being removed is rather disputable, since they don't add any real information to the articles (if they did, they'd definitely be usable under fair use, methinks) and if someone really needed them, they'd use Google Images instead of Wikipedia. Johnleemk | Talk 14:35, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    An interruption for a compliment and for a defense of not ending this

    The first article I created when I joined Wikipedia last year was Powder Alarm and I think the first image I uploaded was a city seal that shows the building, the town, and the importance of the event all in one image. When I uploaded that image in early 2005, I wanted to place a proper copyright tag on it but the image copyright instructions on Wikipedia were pretty damned confusing at that time, so I stuck a coat-of-arms tag on the thing, which seemed like my best option then, and forgot about it. Recently, a bot added a note on my talk page with instructions that I needed to fix the tag on this image and I remembered how difficult things were for me last year and approached the task with a sense of dread. But there are now clear instructions on how to do this along with appropriate tags. I'm operating under the assumption that some of you who are engaging in this debate were directly or indirectly responsible for this improvement, and I'd like to thank you. I'd also like to point out that the fact that you're able to discuss the topics you are debating instead of scrambling to write good instructions for uploaders is an indication of the success of work that you've done previously. Finally, I'd like to advocate patience about changing or not changing policy. For such a complex issue with so many sub-issues, the real reason why debate doesn't end is becuase reasonable people disagree about the nitty-gritty details. Flying Jazz 19:50, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

    Thanks for your kind and well thought words :) - cohesion 00:11, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    I like what you said, but isn't there a time when all reasonable people have said all that needs to be said? It seems we've reached a point of saturation whereby our arguements are recursive and repetitive, and we all know what the others' responses will be...--Jeff 17:07, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
    If you think such a point has been reached then that may be an indication that consensus to change the status quo hasn't taken place. If I were you, I'd consider suffering through the current state of things for now, paying attention to articles and images on a case-by-case basis, and perhaps returning to the policy issue in a few months. It seems a little pointless to create a new topic heading here in order to engage in a debate when you already know what everyone else will say. Flying Jazz 20:06, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

    A pragmatic 3rd approach to replacing promotional images without mass deletions or exclusionary policy

    I am taking a break from my extended wiki-break to chime in with a potential avenue of comprimise on the promotional images issue. Here goes...

    The first thing to realize is that we're not going to please everybody. There are idealogues on one side loudly shouting "freedom-as-in-liberty" (to use a crude and overly political analogy, we all know how well the "transformational power of liberty" worked in Iraq...), and there are those on the other side who I'm sure would love to turn Wikipedia into a giant fan-site for their favorite TV shows, movies and celebrities, complete with as many "fair use" goodies as they can cram in (I have no analogy here, but Wikipedia-as-a-fan-site is a depressing thought). Neither of these extremes will ever be happy with any comprimise before consensus is reached and policy is changed (or not).

    Both sides bring valuable points to the table. Quality and freedom are both important. Since quality and freedom are both stated goals of the encyclopedia, it is left to the judgment of the community (I hope) which goal becomes more important (or perhaps, as I believe, they should be equally important). This is the crux of the issue.

    Beyond the "freedom-idealogues" and "promo-junkies", I have noticed an interesting segment of users who are opposed to promotional images on pragmatic grounds. They fear (perhaps rightly), that allowing promotional images will lead to a decline in free material being added to the encyclopedia. There are also pragmatic users on the other side who dislike the low-quality or absent free alternatives in the current paradigm.

    If these two groups could be pleased, I think consenus could fairly be reached (as long as Jimbo plays nice).

    My idea stems in part from my occasional browsings of the featured picture candidates. Of any place on wikipedia that I have encountered, WP:FP has perhaps the most virulently savage critics that I have ever seen--tearing apart lovely images for the most minute flaw (on a side note...I know why WP:FP is like this...I don't need people trying to justify WP:FP to is what it is).

    As we know, getting an article to featured or good status is a clear motivator for article improvement. People like the meaningless social reinforcement that comes with a little star and others saying "job well done". Nobody but a professional photographer has any real shot at getting a featured picture--ergo, no real motivation for good, freely licenced photographs.

    My proposal is this: Why not create a Wikipedia:Good pictures page? It needn't have some strenuous criteria. Just that the image be freely licenced, newly uploaded, used in an aritcle and be of good quality (however that may be decided). People like meaningless social reinforcement. People like being able to put a userbox on their page that says "I have uploaded X good photos". Give people a little thank you or award template on their talk page and they'll upload more photos. We need to operate around the confines of human behavior to create our encyclopedia, not just abstract ideology. Quality is also important. Some promotional photos really are very difficult to get. We can keep those select few promotional photos and the rest of the problem will gradually fix itself.

    Both sides need to give a little bit of ideological ground, and we need new tools to solve pragmatic issues. Perhaps freedom can trump quality, while still allowing for promotional images to exist until they are replaced?

    Those are my two cents, now that I have offended both sides. :-) Hopefully this thread attracts some of the pragmatic users and not just the idealogues/fair-use-junkies. Irongargoyle 22:18, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

    Endorse. I like it and I also like that it's by an, until now, uninvolved party. But I hesitate to feel it will get any traction as it requires compromise, and the "live free or die" folks haven't had such a good track record. I like the idea because it is a valid positive incentive to creation of content that will encourage the replacement of "non-good" photos (being technically non-free, a publicity photo would never be a "Good" photo). It also defines a nice corolary to the "Good article".--Jeff 22:57, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    This is actually two entirely unrelated proposals. The first is setting up WP:GP, which sounds like a fine idea in theory, if people can be persuaded to be less stringent there than they are at WP:FP. The second proposal, which has nothing to do with the first, is "We can keep those select few promotional photos [of people who are very difficult to get free images of] and the rest of the problem will gradually fix itself." How are we to define which celebrities get stuck with promotional images in their articles and which ones are allowed to go without an image until a free one is found or created? —Angr 23:14, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    I'm pleasantly surprised to see questions asked instead of an immediate dismissal. Instead of stating my opinion on that, I want to ask what do you think it should be?--Jeff 23:50, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    They are related because together they give something to the moderates on each side. Anti-promo moderates get a stronger incentive tool, and pro-promo moderates get a stop to mass-deletions. What are the criteria? Good question. "difficulty" criteria could be hammered out. I don't doubt that if we can hammer out notability criteria (e.g. WP:BIO), we could also hammer out "difficulty criteria" once we are beyond the ideological wrangling stage. Perhaps fair use promotional images that an editor (in good faith) believes could be easily replaced could be nominated for deletion in a process similar to AfD. This would let the community decide image by image and would discourage mass nomination because sophisticated justifications for each image must be given. I second Jeff in asking what ideas you might have. Irongargoyle 00:09, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I don't think Angr was suggesting there was a good answer to his question but rather pointing out a flaw in the proposal. Setting up "Good Images" may help us find replacements, but it in no way addresses the problem of whether or not a given photo is "repeatable", and whether or not we should delete it. If anything, making ourselves better at replacing photos should encourage us to delete more. ed g2stalk 02:22, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    You mean like Commons:Commons:Quality images candidates? It's no longer fashionable to upload free images only to en: , after all... Stan 23:46, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    They could be uploaded to Commons, that would be fine, but they would need to be used in an article on the English Wikipedia (much as our featured pictures differ from their featured pictures). Commons is great, but we can't expect every user to use multiple Wikis. Should we really look a gift horse of new, free, quality images in the mouth simply because the pictures are only uploaded to en: and might possibly be from **gasp** new users? :-) Irongargoyle 23:57, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
    The point being made was that all new free images should be uploaded to commons. There is no reason to upload them to en. ed g2stalk 02:22, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are still people uploading free images to here, newbies and some oldtimers doing it out of habit, but there's no reason to encourage it. Most likely any free image deemed of good quality will be re-uploaded to commons by somebody else so other WPs can use it, requiring admin intervention to clean up after. Stan 05:52, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    As Angr noted, GP is a wonderful idea - but it doesn't really address the problem. If we take the analogy further, WP didn't just put FA and GA in place (and mind you, the latter has been a relatively recent addition) and sit back to watch the articles roll in. It also strictly prohibited the usage of copyrighted content in the writing of articles, unless the content was licensed under the GFDL. (I believe I've seen this analogy used before somewhere in a discussion on fair use policy...) All we are doing with present policy is making our image content policy consistent with that of article content - eschewing copyrighted material except where it is absolutely necessary to write a comprehensive encyclopaedia article. Johnleemk | Talk 14:38, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree with Johnleemk's comment, and I think GP would be great as a seperate issue. I don't see it solving the larger problem, but I don't think that was necessarily the intent. Offering encouragement and acknowledgement may not inspire everyone, but if it encourages some users to start looking for good quality free images, that's got to be an improvement on the current situation. I agree with Irongargoyle in saying that people respond to "meaningless social reinforcement" - at the moment most of the feedback given is negative and editors only hear about their uploads if there's something wrong with them. That is clearly causing a lot of ill-feeling and distrust. I think it would also be helpful to have GP in place, so that in the event of a dispute the aggrieved person could be pointed in that direction - a collection of "good" examples could be more persuasive than the thousands of words that have been written on this subject. Rossrs 15:04, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    Fair use pictures of living people should be fine.

    I just noticed that this has been added to the page in the "Counterexamples" section:

    An image of a living person that merely shows what they look like.

    Why was this added? There is no reason that a photo of a living person is exempt from the fair use principle, and there's also no reason I can think of that we'd avoid using a fair use photo for a living person. I'm going to remove this from the page in a few days if someone can't explain why the above was added. Tempshill 05:35, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    Oh boy. Do we have an FAQ or something easy to link to for people who are not aware of the past (and current) debates? -- Ned Scott 05:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Counter example 8 already has some talk about it here (see above). But in summary, it's a rather contentious amendment made without consensus as it was added to the page before people who would oppose the addition were aware of the change to oppose it. Those of us who would not want counter example 8 there did not become involved in the debate until individuals were running about deleting the, until then, perfectly reasonable photos. I think it should be removed. There's obviously no consensus for it to be there.--Jeff 05:54, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Wikipedia's fair use policy has never allowed fair use images of most living people for as long as it's been policy, although it was only in September that counterexample 8 made that quite so explicit. Even the first version of the fair use criteria that had the label "policy" attached to it said fair-use images are only allowed if "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information", which excludes fair use images of most living people. —Angr 06:59, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I say we remove it, just for kicks. There's obviously not consensus, but that hasn't stopped people from adding or removing things and enforcing disputed policies in the past, has it? - Stick Fig 07:12, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    You really think that would work? Policy is not something that everyone has to agree on. Really, there's gotta be an FAQ around here to explain this... There's been several discussions and such about this specific issue, and it's painfully clear that this is the policy and it's not going to change. -- Ned Scott 09:00, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Besides clearly being a violation of WP:POINT, it would make you guys really angry. Plus, it's called sarcasm. Having a sense of humor and being reasonable will get you a lot further in your long-term goal of creating a free encyclopedia than figuring out new ways of tightening screws. We've asked you to budge, you won't, you seem to find a problem with every one of our points, and all we're forced to do is hear you guys spout off policy instead of figuring out a way to cool heads. And admittedly, my head isn't very cool right now. Who gives a shit about the rules if the rules are making the natives restless? - Stick Fig 09:37, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    WP:IAR is policy. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 10:42, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Sorry Stick, I should have realized you were just joking. It's just been hard to tell considering some of the bold proposals that have been popping up. -- Ned Scott 00:42, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Heyyyyyyyyyyyy, cool it guys....In addition to the above discussion, see also this older discussion. In particular please note the views of User:Khaosworks as an image he uploaded of John Barrowman is awaiting removal. Also, it seems that our Copyright Policy hasn't been quite so used to such a restrictive interpretation as is now being applied by some, ever since it became so-called "policy". In fact this interpretation of the Fair Use Criteria is in itself a matter of vigorous contention by such editors as User:Postdlf and others. To sum it up, there is certainly no consensus on this issue. Now I've preiously said that we should go totally libre if Jimmy Wales so orders as his principles are clear on this point, and we sorta sign up to them when we join as users and editors. That's why I put forward such a proposal in the limited case of images of living people. But it got virtualy zero support... And also up until recently even Jimmy has been seemingly unfazed to allow fair use (following a vote it seems), so I wonder what has led to his change of attitude and thus to the current impasse in which we find ouselves. Jimmy, or anyone? Is it threats of legal action, or is it a matter of principles...or maybe more than one reason? We need to get at the root cause of the disharmony which has become obvious here for some months so we can all come to an informed view. ..luke 09:47, 3 January 2007 (UTC) / postscript: Well I see that User:Angr took the hint :) 3 minutes later than my post. Wow! <<smiles>> // pps User:Angr, care to check the image now being used for John Barrowman? <<wink>> / ppps: I added something on the talk page to help explain what just happened as the particular editor maybe somewhat nonplussed otherwise. .. luke
    Snarky comments aren't going to help anybody out, really... Anyway, pictures of living people are generally replaceable - there are a few exceptions (such as those who have completely isolated themselves from the public) but otherwise, we shouldn't be relying on non-libre content. Non-libre content should only be used when nothing copylefted could be substituted for it. As I've said before, this isn't going to harm the encyclopaedia seriously in the short run, and will greatly help it in the long run by simplifying legal issues for redistributors and republishers. Fair use images of living people that are here only to show what they look like generally don't contribute much, if any, encyclopedic value, so it's not that great a loss to have them removed. (Would it really be devastating not to have a picture of the Governor of Michigan for a year or two if, in a decade, we can amass a gallery of libre photos of her?) If there are readers who rely on Wikipedia for pictures, they really ought to be using Commons or Google Images. Johnleemk | Talk 14:48, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    What does replaceable mean? Besides images of wikipedia editors and their friends, and pictures of people who are likely to have been photographed by the US government and other entities whose work is released into the public domain, pictures of living people are not replaceable to the same extent or in the same way that, say, an image of a Playstation 2, or a picture of the Eiffel Tower, is replaceable. It is possible to find free replacements for many of the living people who have not been photographed by the US Government and are not friends of wikipedia editors, and some have been found, but the idea is problematic, and the boundaries have to be defined. It's not enough to just say that such pictures are replaceable. john k 18:00, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    A picture of the Governor of Michigan that "merely" shows what he looks like definitely has encyclopedic value. A picture's worth a thousand somethings. Every article should have a picture. This is not the year 1600. It seems to me if we're going to go Hardcore Free Content and ban all fair use images, this needs to be throughout Wikipedia and not just target living people - arbitrary. Tempshill 06:16, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    I totally agree. The current wording is irrationally slanted against valid, legal, fair-use. We need to be better focused on building a better encyclopedia. And yes, that includes using legal fair use images to enhance our articles. We should especially feel free to use publicity photos that are specifically designed to be used by third parties such as ourselves. Johntex\talk 06:33, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    (deindent...I'd rather reply all in one comment than make several messy indented comments) Many celebrity photos are replaceable because there are more sources of copyleft photos than you may think. Even old subjects which you'd think might be difficult to replace such as The Beatles in 1963 have copyleft photos out there (just look at The Beatles). Many celebrities such as Uma Thurman have decent copyleft photos available because we have a number of contributors who are also photographers at events such as film festivals. While it's true that the average Wikipedian can't exactly go out and snap a shot of a random celebrity when desired, it's not true that such an eventuality would be impossible/implausible, especially considering all the public appearances many famous people make.
    The point about a picture being a thousand words was raised earlier. IMHO, merely quoting an aphorism doesn't make it truth. The fact is that the encyclopedic value being added by a picture that exists just to show what someone looks like is quite low. The exception is when that person has a particular look that is extremely famous for some reason but said person no longer has such a look (an example cited earlier was Paul McCartney during the Beatlemania era - you're not likely to find a libre photo of him from then, so fair use is obviously justifiable - although this is just a hypothetical, since we do have a public domain shot of him in 1963). The aphorism that a picture is a thousand words generally applies to subjects where the article would clearly be lacking in comprehensiveness if we did not include that picture. (An example of this is, as I said earlier, that famous photo of a guy facing down a tank in Tiananmen Square. You'll never get this photo libre - at least, probably not in our lifetime since copyrights last for so long and are possibly reneweable ad infinitum - and it's pretty darn iconic and has been emblazoned in the minds of thousands (if not millions) as associated with the events in 1989, so it'd be extremely stupid not to have the picture in the article.
    And as I've been saying, those suggesting that current policy prevents the encyclopaedia from being as comprehensive as it should be should point out how our articles' comprehensiveness (from an encyclopedic point of view) is being jeopardised. I already said earlier that if someone wants pictures of Natalie Portman, he isn't going to be looking on Wikipedia - he'll be looking on Google Images. It's also generally not necessary to include a photo of Portman in the article, because as with song lyrics (which are a legally possible form of fair use content but have been banned by policy as far as I can remember) the content can easily be found on a search engine, and our articles' comprehensiveness is not seriously jeopardised by the omission. And even then, mind you, if you need a photo for a purpose other than just showing what Portman looks like, you can include it in the article. (One thing I can think of is that you might want to juxtapose a photo of Portman and Keira Knightley to show the resemblance between them and thus why Knightley played Amidala's lady-in-waiting in Star Wars: Episode I.)
    Regarding what is legally permissible, please remember that we are permitted to use non-commercial and Wikipedia-only licences by law. We choose to ban these licences anyway. Fair use policy is intentionally stricter than the law because we're both free and an encyclopaedia. Policy often has to compromise between these two aspects of the project, but I think present policy is a reasonable compromise - it permits non-free content where it could not be decently substituted by free content. Johnleemk | Talk 16:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    It can be useful to see simply what someone looks like. I'm reading Catch-22, and one of the characers is described as looking like Henry Fonda. --NE2 10:04, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    It generally is useful - nobody's denied that. It doesn't necessarily add much encyclopedic value, though. At any rate, the example you cite is permissible under fair use policy (I might go as far as to say it's encouraged) IMO because if we used a fair use photo of Fonda to show what the character looks like, it'd be a very transformative use, and the purpose of using the photo would not be just to show what Fonda looks like but also what the character has been described as. Johnleemk | Talk 16:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Johnleemk, the mild insanity of your position becomes apparent if you follow its logic, and say that the photo in Red-winged blackbird doesn't add much encyclopedic value, because we could just refer the reader to the photo at Blackbird and ask the reader to imagine some red stripes on the wings. Of course photos are worth a thousand words, and of course readers want to see a photo of the person they are looking up; and of course all our articles are dramatically improved with photos. (This is not right on point on the fair use photo argument; I just need to slap down the idea that photos of people aren't very valuable, which you're doing with the euphemism "non-encyclopedic".) Tempshill 19:18, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    First of all, that's a highly inaccurate analogy that misrepresents my position. I am not asking readers to take another image and imagine new elements in it. I am merely asking them to look up photos from a non-libre source if they really want a non-essential image. Also, animals are not people - a decent encyclopaedia would find it difficult, if not impossible, to write an article about a species without including a graphic (after all, we want to make reference to any distinctive physical aspects of the species, something that would be highly difficult without a picture) while it would easily be possible for the same encyclopaedia to write a comprehensive biography of a politician without including any pictures of her. (The exception would be if she became notorious for a particular picture - an example I am thinking of would be Janet Jackson's famous wardrobe error. This, however, is an exclusion already provided for by policy.) Johnleemk | Talk 10:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Also, the position that "people who are looking for photos of people will be using Google Images" isn't compatible with offline CD versions of Wikipedia; and it also seems crazy to me because with the same logic you could say "People who want lists of movies that movie actors have acted in will be using IMDB, so mentioning the movies that Robert de Niro has acted in is not adding much encyclopedic value." And then repeat that for any piece of information that might be on the Web elsewhere. Tempshill 19:29, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Again, that's a rather inaccurate analogy because information is in the public domain, while promotional pictures are not. If we can duplicate information in a libre manner, we do it (unless that would conflict with the "encyclopedia" aspect of the project). If we can't, we should only do it when it is absolutely necessary to write a comprehensive article. As for offline versions, apparently you missed the point made by others that in the long run, we will likely be able to include such images because they will be under libre licences - policy now creates an incentive for people to create new copylefted content and/or to relicense old copyrighted content. Also, it is possible we would not be able to create an offline version in the first place because before we made it, we'd have to make sure every fair use image was being used properly (not just within the terms of policy, but within the terms of the law), and if we did put out the offline version, it would make matters hard for redistributors and reusers of content because of the proprietary licences many fair use images are released under. In short, I view the lack of some non-essential fair use images as acceptable in the short run if in ten years, Commons will be able to provide decent replacements for most subjects we currently have fair use images for. Johnleemk | Talk 10:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    This Week's Paragraph for Translation

    From the main Fair Use page:

    There are a few categories of copyrighted images where use on Wikipedia has been generally approved as likely being fair use when done in good faith in Wikipedia articles involving critical commentary and analysis. Such general approval must be seen in the light of whether a free image could replace the copyright image instead.

    While they do represent marvelously constructed bits of multiple condition ("generally," "good faith," "likely," etc.) nothing-speak, it's time for these sentences to go.

    I'm hoping to re-write them in English, the official language of the English language Wikipedia. Won't you help?

    There are a few categories is a poor substitute for actually giving useful information, as opposed to a generalization. ...where use on Wikipedia has been generally approved... Uh oh. Stay on target! ... as likely being fair use... Stay on target!! ...when done in good faith... Say what??? Wikipedia articles involving critical commentary and analysis. Oh dear God, really? I'm fairly certain all of our encyclopedia articles include either critical commentary or analysis, but I trust you, my fellow Wikipedia editor, have ready a list of "72 Wikipedia Article Categories That Contain Neither Critical Commentary Nor Analysis." Put that aside for the moment, and let's get this sentence into the ER, stat!

    But first, sentence two. (Yikes!)

    "Such general approval must be seen in the light of whether a free image could replace the copyright image instead" is a sentence about to collapse under the strain of mis-used words and its basic inability to communicate its own meaning. This sentence is silently screaming for help... and help it, we shall.

    First off, general approval (a fellow officer of General Blanket?) has to go. ...seen in the light... Hmm, if anything, this sentence is moving toward the light, by this point. ...copyright... should be copyrighted. And it's all just too much.

    I propose we replace both these sentences with the much simpler and more direct:

    "Some copyrighted images may be used on Wikipedia, providing they meet both the legal criteria for fair use, and Wikipedia's own fair use guidelines. Copyrighted images that reasonably can be replaced by free/libre images are not suitable for Wikipedia."

    Comments? Questions?

    Jenolen speak it! 12:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    But it's so much less subjective! How can the poor contributer wiggle out of the requirements, if we make them so unambiguous? Appraiser 13:57, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    No one ever said it was going to be easy... ;) Jenolen speak it! 14:01, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I like the idea. It's a lot more readable. Johnleemk | Talk 14:39, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    with the number of articles out there that don't contain "critical commentary and analysis" I think the removal of that sentance would be a bad idea.Geni 15:16, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Quite, the number of "List of *** episodes" pages that contain a hoard of screenshots without critical commentary on them is quite alarming. ed g2stalk 16:32, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Yes, but in almost every example that follows this sentence the words "For critical commentary" are given as part of the requirement for using that particular type of image. I think the rewrite is much clearer and easier to comprehend. Rossrs 21:45, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree - the "critical commentary" claim has become so common that it's essentially worthless. At any rate, the rewording says that fair use images must be used in line with Wikipedia policy - and presumably policy already states that fair use images must be used only for commentary, so I'm not sure what the problem is. (Unless we want to highlight that fair use images should only be used for commentary, which wouldn't be that bad an idea...) Johnleemk | Talk 00:34, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Yes. The "critical commentary" rationale is being used so frequently that I have to wonder how many users are actually thinking about it and how many are just copying and pasting the rationale in an attempt to comply with policy. Perhaps the policy should use more specific language in explaining what is meant by "critical commentary". ie that the image is used to illustrate something that is discussed/analyzed/critiqued/examined etc in sufficient depth as to warrant an illustration, rather than being used to illustrate something that is mentioned in passing. Such as 'celebrity X featured on the cover of Magazine Y on August 1, 1999 ..... and here's a picture of it'. (Example Pamela Sue Martin, one of numerous). But I'm digressing. Jenolen has only rewritten the opening sentence of a section, and the "critical commentary" is well and truly referred to (about 6 times) in the points that follow, so retaining it in the opening sentence is unnecessary. Rossrs 11:20, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    Official letter to publicists and agents to request free images

    Jimbo agreed with sending a letter to major publicists for Hollywood stars requesting free images for Wiki[mp]edia. So, we should create a kind of template he can use. To do it, I suggest checking Declaration of consent for all enquiries at Commons, plus Wikipedia:Example requests for permission. Anyone willing to give a hand with this? Should we keep this new thread here, or somewhere else? -- ReyBrujo 18:02, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    I think Wikipedia talk:Requesting copyright permission or Wikipedia talk:Example requests for permission might be a better place for the thread... --Fritz S. (Talk) 21:02, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, I am starting a new WikiProject at User:ReyBrujo/WikiProject Free Images. Feel free to drop by there and help polish it :-) -- ReyBrujo 17:51, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    Album covers having to be refered to in album article

    This stems from a discussion taking place at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Albums#Album covers and fair use. Geni (talk · contribs) has stated that album articles should have commentary in them when attempting to use an album cover in the infobox. This also parallels a discussion on this page above this on at Wikipedia talk:Fair use#Counterexample 7 again. While I certainly am not asking Geni to stop his attempt for people to expand album articles, I voiced my problems with their creation of Template:No commentary on cover picture and Genidealingwithalbumcovers (talk · contribs). I stated: "you should change the wording if you are going to be using that template a lot so that it says that articles don't have to mention the album cover to use due to policy, just someones opinion that it would be a nice thing to do. This way, people won't think they are breaking policy by using the album art on the page without mentioning it." Geni simply stated that he would not do that. My reply to that was about scaring newbies and: "there will then be no problem with removing your template from talk pages either, since there is nothing in policy that says album covers have to be mentioned in the album articles." I decided to bring this up here to see what others thoughts were on this situation. Another problem I saw was that Geni can't just address album covers, but has to also video game covers, movie posters, DVD covers, book jackets, ect. -- moe.RON Let's talk | done 18:42, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    In first paragraph of the policy: "we may permit some non-free material for critical commentary", so this is not just his opinion. The next step is to enforce this rule properly by removing these images, but that would be quite a large task. ed g2stalk 19:04, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    This isn't a "rule" requiring "enforcement," nor did Geni even see it as such as he explained in the previous discussion. There is nowhere near consensus for deleting cover scans on this basis. What we do have is consensus that it would be better for articles to talk about their covers, and this template will encourage that. Please don't inject ill will into that issue by twisting a notice encouraging article expansion into an authoritarian crusade of "rule enforcement." Postdlf 19:14, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Woah, woah, I NEVER meant any ill will. Sorry if I said anything wrong. I guess I was very wrong on this. I apologize and now will back away to creating pages again. -- moe.RON Let's talk | done 19:28, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I was responding to ed g2s' comment, not yours. Postdlf 19:31, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are already people working on book covers and as for the others I can't deal with everything at once. A lot of album covers suffer from an extream form of stubiness thus I tend to feel that the problem is most acute in that area. Perhaps I'm wrong but hopefuly the taging will give us a clearer picture of the situation. Incerdentaly the template is currently unprotected so anyone who objects to the wording could just edit it.Geni 19:23, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thank you, Geni, I think you're taking a reasonable and productive approach to this issue.
    And ed g2s, I actually do support removal if the article is an insubstantial stub, such as "X is an album by Y" with a track listing. But that has nothing to do with whether the cover is expressly discussed; it's about whether there is actually anything of substance said about the album for which the cover is a surrogate. Postdlf 19:31, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    But Geni has said very clearly that their opinion is that the cover itself absolutely must be discussed in the article. Why is that a reasonable or productive statement to make at a time when there already is clearly heated debate regarding other areas of fair-use. As ed g2s immediately stepped in and went even further to suggest that we should delete all these covers it looks more like stoking a fire to me. 19:54, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    A lot of them, yes. A lot of covers are iconic, or say a lot about the album. Many are just boring band pics or stylised logos. These do not add significantly to the article (FUC#8). ed g2stalk 21:27, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    An album cover always adds significantly to the article, even if it's just a stylized logo or boring band pic. It shows, among other things, that the band chose to use a stylized logo or boring band pic as the cover for that album. Any decent article on an album should include an image of the cover. john k 21:03, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    That's assuming the band chose. Many pop groups have little or no input. While the cover image is relevant, it's significance has to be considered on a case by case basis - you can't just state that the album cover is significant without justifying it, which is exactly why it needs to be discussed. If we allowed any fair use image that conveyed any useless piece of trivia (such as, the band likes serif fonts, or the band likes black and white photos) that wouldn't be much of a restriction. ed g2stalk 21:34, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    I agree that they always add significantly to the article. Another reason beyond those stated by john k is that they help identify the album in question in a manner not redundant, but instead complementary to the album title, and sometimes moreso than the album name (e.g., Led Zeppelin III, Queen II). The album cover is how the artist and/or the record label advertise the album to the world, even in the days of digital downloads. I respect that ed g2s does not see this categorical relationship, as we are all entitled to our own editorial judgment. But clear practice and consensus is that album covers are always significant to the albums because of their function. Postdlf 21:37, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    If the album cover adds significantly then there will be no problem writeing about it will there?Geni 21:39, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
    Nope, and I support your encouragement of this, and think placing your template's request on the article talk pages is well tailored to that issue. Postdlf 21:47, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    Covers are not the only way the albums are advertised. There are posters, music videos, t-shirts, web-sites etc. We do not include images of all these. The relevance of each cover to each album is unique. Our policy is not to add any image which is relevant to the subject at hand, or images that "help identify" the product. ed g2stalk 22:03, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

    Album covers, however, are quite unique in that they are how the album is identified by. Album covers, in a sense, are iconic. I definitely agree, however, that there must be commentary about the album (and better yet, the cover - though that's not always practical) for the fair use claim to be valid. If all we have is a track listing, we're treading on shaky ground, policy-wise and possibly legally-wise. Johnleemk | Talk 00:37, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    But I think we're going to have to tolerate some shaky ground, at least for a while, as the natural life-cycle of a Wikipedia article tends to lead to its growth, and an increase in the desired critical commentary. What starts out as a simple image and track listing CAN lead to a well rounded, well developed article... and I'd hate to think we're causing "crib-death" of these types of articles, due to copyright concerns that can ONLY be alleviated via the contributions of editors to the articles in question. After all, in order for an article to grow, it has to exist.
    It seems we're very, very trigger happy these days on deletions... to the point of deleting stuff without following policy because, "Well, it was just going to get deleted in the end anyway..." (At least, that was my take on the whole classical music rhubarb from a couple weeks ago.) Maybe we all ... and I include myself in this ... should consider a switch to decaf? I'm unaware of ANY successful "that's not fair use" action against ANY Wikipedia content - or any case where a claim of something not being fair use wouldn't simply be resolved by the removal of the material in question.
    But instead, we've got people instantly deleting images and content that have been uploaded in good faith, by contributors with distinguished edit histories. Those contributors are being treated like fanboy-drooling 14-year-olds excited to add a "bitchen" photo of their favorite X-Gamer... Yes, many of us DO know better, and yes, many of us who work in the media have a very different relationship with the actual practices of "fair use" than as the purely theoretical construct I'm guessing the majority of Wikipedians do. I don't see fair use as a logic problem to be poured over and endlessly nitpicked until one side or the other "wins." I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- fair use of copyrighted material on Wikipedia IS permitted. That's the official policy. I know many of you don't like that... that you want everything here to be totally libre/free .... but that's not the current reality. Here's the important part: How to get there -- to that totally libre/free encyclopedia -- and what trade offs we make in the meantime -- is certainly an area where good people can have different views. I'd like to ask the Wiki-community to have a little more tolerance and respect for diversity in this regard, and try a little harder to respect not only the letter of something as important as WP:CON, but its spirit, which should infuse this project's very DNA, and every decision made by every editor and admin. Jenolen speak it! 06:52, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    I didn't say the solution is to delete the images. It's not really a critical thing, IMO, because we have greater problems going on with fair use, so I feel it would be foolhardy to divert admins' effort into tagging and deleting such images. As geni has been saying, it's better to encourage people to expand the articles. Also, fair use policy on Wikipedia is not the same as fair use law. Our policy will always be stricter than the law because we are supposed to be free. Present policy compromises between the "free" and "encyclopedia" aspects of the project by permitting non-free content where it cannot be replaced by free content, and only a very small minority want to change this (usually they cite other language WPs which have successfully got along without fair use). The rest, including those who take a lot of flak for fair use (such as ed2gs and Gmaxwell) strongly favour fair use content where it would be impossible to get a free replacement. Johnleemk | Talk 16:41, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    There is no better illustration of the way fair use is misunderstood by the Wikipedia powers that be than the rule that you can't use e.g. an album cover outside the context of the album. Using the image in a different context is seen by the courts as transformative and hence more fair use than use in the original context.

    See Bill Graham Archives vs. Dorling Kindersley:

    Most important to the court’s analysis of the first factor is the “transformative” nature of the work.... The question is “whether the new work merely supersede[s] the objects of the original creation, or instead adds something new, with a further purpose or different character, altering the first with new expression, meaning, or message.”... Here, the district court determined that Illustrated Trip is a biographical work, and the original images are not, and therefore accorded a strong presumption in favor of DK’s use. In particular, the district court concluded that DK’s use of images placed in chronological order on a timeline is transformatively different from the mere expressive use of images on concert posters or tickets. Because the works are displayed to commemorate historic events, arranged in a creative fashion, and displayed in significantly reduced form, the district court held that the first fair use factor weighs heavily in favor of DK.

    In other words, because the Grateful Dead posters are used to illustrate a history of the band and are not merely saying "here's what these concert posters look like," the publishing company is doing something different from the copyright holder. If you use the album cover to illustrate a history of the band, you have a stronger fair use case and not a weaker one.

    No, I am not a lawyer, but I do employ fair use every day of my working life, and I can tell you that the rulecruft that has grown up around fair use on WP has virtually nothing to do with the way fair use works in the real world. Nareek 07:26, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    I note that you are quoting a court case, which means that indeed people are getting sued over fair use. Not only that, but the company got sued over exactly the kind of thing we want people to be able to do with WP content. I also note that nobody arguing to push the envelope on fair use has put up a bond to cover the Foundation's costs should they wind up in court, nor have any lawyer-Wikipedians declared that they would take a Wikipedia fair-use case pro bono. It would be a shame for all those donations we see at the top of the screen to go into lawyers' pockets; even if we were to win the case, the money is still gone. People working for media companies can get away with being relaxed about fair use, because they have a legal staff, and very often cross-licensing deals (in some cases because they're all owned by the same parent corporation). So yes, we already understand that we're being more restrictive about fair use than may be necessary, but that's the responsible thing to do in our circumstances; there's no copyrighted image so valuable that it's worth risking the project as a whole. Stan 09:47, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Just a reminder that we are still waiting to hear from Jimmy Wales on his exact reasons for wanting to tighten up on this issue at this stage. Until we do, it's perhaps better to refrain from speculation because he is best placed to explain. ..luke 10:11, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    The legal opinion I've seen suggests it would be the uploader rather than the foundation that would be in legal trouble.Geni 11:23, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    The first step in a copyright dispute is not a lawsuit--it's a letter saying that the copyright holder thinks their copyright is being violated. In virtually all if not all of such cases, Wikipedia complies by taking down the disputed material--which I think is appropriate; it's not WP's mission to push the boundaries of copyright law. (This happens routinely, generally when someone uploads a photograph that a photographer or news outlet thinks they ought to get paid for--which would not typically be the case with either album covers or promotional photos.)
    But the point I'm making is that WP's rules as they stand allow kinds of fair use that are less legally protected while forbidding uses that are more protected. If you're worried about lawsuits, what kind of sense does that make?
    P.S. The media outlet that I work for, which (like most media outlets) routinely takes advantage of fair use, has a hell of a lot less resources than Wikipedia. Nareek 15:29, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    "Less legally protected" fair uses? Haven't heard that one before, what are you talking about? On resources, the whole Wikimedia organization has five employees I believe - if you're working for a media outlet that's smaller than that, then you're not in the top twenty of readership either. WP is unique in having so much visibility for so little expenditure. In any case, several times people have made the "no one would ever possibly sue" argument, and the existence of court cases pretty effectively disproves that one. Stan 15:52, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Copyright holders sue when requests to take down copyrighted material fail. Again, this process happens routinely at Wikipedia without putting the project in legal jeopardy. What WP needs to be able to do is show that it is exercising due diligence in following the law--the actual law, not our own made-up rules that have no legal basis.
    On the size of the outlet I work for, the point is that small, medium and large media companies, both for-profit and non-profit, routinely use fair use without losing sleep about it. As does WP, when it comes to text instead of images. This suggests to me that the handwringing over fair use images is somewhat neurotic. Nareek 16:24, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    To me it suggests we need to work on reducing fair-use text as well. It's just a lot harder to detect than fair-use images are. —Angr 16:31, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    I wouldn't go that far, although I have noticed a few articles with so many quotations that it's not just a transgression of fair use policy, but our content guidelines as well. Excessive quotations can and should be removed without resort to fair use policy unless it's absolutely necessary. Johnleemk | Talk 16:41, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    How many media companies are there that have multiple hundreds of thousands of unlicensed images visible online, not a single IP lawyer on staff, and as you put it, "rulecruft" designed by amateurs? It would be easy to argue that we're not exercising due diligence now. If you're so certain that there is no problem, put your money where your mouth is and post that bond. If you're right, it costs you nothing and you get to be a hero. Stan 16:50, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    I actually agree with you--I think it's unfortunate that Wikipedia does not base its copyright rules on sound legal advice. As I've written before, I think WP is too restrictive on fair use in some ways and too lax in other ways--mainly in the use of photographers' proprietary images based on an imaginary "good reason" clause in copyright law. I don't think it's a major risk--because people do send letters before suing, mainly because it's immensely cheaper. Still, I would like to see WP acting more responsibly--the one time I've heard from a WP lawyer in one of these discussions, he was giving advice explicitly based on his political perspective rather than the law. That's not what you want from your lawyer. Nareek 02:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Brad P. has plenty to do already! But nothing is stopping you from hiring somebody to work up some legal advice for en: images. Stan 07:04, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Law and policy are never going to be the same. We intentionally restrict our usage of fair use content to areas where it would be impossible to replace the fair use content with libre material. Having said that, I'm not sure why anyone would want to delete pictures of album covers from an article about the band's history. As far as I can tell, this thread was originally about removing album covers from articles without any commentary whatsoever. Johnleemk | Talk 16:41, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    I've not yet cycled through the above text and related issues. But straight away this strikes me as an argument such as "There is no critical commentary on Syd Barrett's face. Nowhere is his appearance discussed. Let's delete all images of Syd Barrett." Album covers are as important recognising features to an Album, as a photo is of a person. You don't have to write a commentary on Kurt Cobain's face to be able to use a fair use photograph of him, just as we don't need to comment on Blue Monday (New Order song)'s iconic cover art in order to use it on Wikipedia. - hahnchen 19:58, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    Uh, nobody's said anything about examples like that. We're talking about articles whose only content is "X is an album by Y" followed by a track listing. A more reasonable analogy is an article about Syd Barrett consisting of one sentence saying "Syd Barrett is a musician" followed by his date of birth. Johnleemk | Talk 05:28, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    If not could you please clarify the creation of Template:No commentary on cover picture? Isn't this just the same as Template:No commentary on Syd Barrett's face? - hahnchen 06:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Your argument falls flat on its face when you see that the template you are citing isn't requesting deletion of the image but requesting expansion of the article. Johnleemk | Talk 10:41, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Speaking of album covers

    Is there any sort of consensus (or even an official pronouncement) regarding the use of album cover images outside of album-related articles? Frequently an article about a musician will have an album cover instead of a free-use photo. Some even have a gallery of album covers as part of the discography. To me, both uses are not free use, but I've yet to hear that Wikipedia has reached a consensus about it. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 23:15, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

    The article's title is irrelevant, as long as whatever article it is used in actually discusses the album enough to justify it; it shouldn't be used just to exploit the image on the cover. Discussion of an album is discussion of an album whether it occurs in a biography, a musicology, or an ethnography (pardon the strained attempt at homoly). Postdlf 23:45, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
    Using the album cover to illustrate the artist is definitely not allowed. Using in a discography shouldn't be done either, as it's not being used for critical commentary. Unless specific discussion of cover art is present, a discography's purpose is to list the albums an artist has release. This information can be conveyed freely and adequately using the album titles, so FUC#1 applies. ed g2stalk 00:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Album covers in discographies serve the clear and useful purpose of helping to identify albums to those who may be familiar with the covers and not the titles. (Can everyone who knows the Velvet Underground's "banana album" tell you the name of that album?) The use of thumbnails of copyrighted material for identification purposes on the Internet has been upheld as fair use in Kelly v. Arriba--and that case involved art photographs, a much easier thing to claim copyright violation on than album covers, whose purpose is primarily promotional. Nareek 02:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Wikiproject Music quality guidelines says not to use album covers in discography listings, it also strikes me as violating the Wikipedia policy of keeping the amount of fair use to a minimum. The images are already (usualy) present in the album article, the cover art doesn't rely contribute significantly to the artist's article when just used in a discography list. --Sherool (talk) 10:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Rear covers?

    A question about rear covers and covering our rears (sorry, couldn't resist). Are we allowed to include an image of an album's back cover, if the back cover is mentioned in the article (i.e. an article about the album itself)? I would think this does indeed qualify as fair use. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 21:38, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

    Today's featured article and fair use

    Hi, folks. I'd like to draw everyone's attention to today's featured article on the main page, The Adventures of Tintin. This article uses several fair use images in a manner that is, in my opinion, completely appropriate and unimpeachable. Nothing can possibly explain the artistic work of Hergé as well as Hergé's art itself; the art is discussed in the article, and the article would be significantly diminished if the illustrations were not present. Can anyone honestly argue that the German version of the article explains the subject matter as well? The Swedish version mades do with a Commons image of a Tintin shop in London — an image which clearly demonstrates only the commercial exploitation of Tintin, which is only a tiny aspect of its cultural significance.

    If we were to eliminate all fair use images, this article would lose all illustration of the ligne claire style for which Tintin is noted. The article also contains a paragraph about the arguably anti-Semitic character Mr. Bohlwinkel; if the accompanying image were lost, the reader would be unable to make his or her own judgment about the extent to which the character is or is not a Jewish caricature. There are not mere decorations, but essential encyclopedic content. I hope that in our rush to remove legitimate misuses of the fair use policy, we will never go so far as to remove all fair use — this article shows how the encyclopedia would be greatly diminished if we did. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    P.S. After making this post, I decided to add that Commons image to the article — this was my first edit to that article. Just thought I should disclose that. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:13, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    There was another commons image that was a photograph of a stuffed toy of the dog character; I uploaded it to Wikipedia and tagged the commons image for deletion, as taking a photograph of a copyrighted object just makes a derivative work that cannot be freely licensed. Template:Statue then applies. Postdlf 05:03, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I don't think anyone (except possibly one or two extremists) would disagree with you, really. :) Johnleemk | Talk 05:11, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I find it very sad that the opinion that Wikipedia should actually live up to its title of "the free encyclopedia" is considered "extremist". If I didn't happen to be wikiphilosophically opposed to the whole idea of featured articles, I'd work up an article on a different cartoon or cartoonist to featured article status and use no "fair use" images at all, just to prove it can be done. —Angr 07:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Angr, it is not the opinion that Wikipedia should be "the free encyclopedia" that is considered extremist. What may be considered extremist is the interpretation that any fair use is completely incompatible with that title. Fortunately, that interpretation is not widely held, nor is it supported by existing Wikipedia policies or guidelines.
    (Incidentally, it might indeed be possible to create a featured article for a cartoon, cartoonist, comic book or comics artist without including any fair use images — if the cartoonist died before 1936. The comics of Winsor McCay, such as Little Nemo in Slumberland, are now in the public domain, so that's one case in which Angr's thought experiment could succeed. However, the notion that fully encyclopedic articles on Calvin and Hobbes or Batman could be created without resort to fair use is frankly baffling.) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Actually, that so-called "extremist" opinion is widely held throughout Wikimedia's projects, just not on English Wikipedia. And yes, I wasn't thinking of a cartoon whose copyright has expired; I was thinking of a modern one still protected by copyright. For example, Ralf König, one of my favorite cartoonists, whose article is currently illustrated with but a single free image, and which I believe could become an excellent article without adding any more images to it. —Angr 08:59, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, we're on English Wikipedia at the moment, so that's what I was referring to. What percentage of Wikimedia traffic does account for again? And frankly, I think that the Ralf König article would benefit from the addition of a sample of König's art, perhaps showing one of his large-nosed, hairy-chested men. An article on any artist which does not demonstrate the artist's style in any way is, in my opinion, incomplete.—Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 09:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Why should we dissuade the reader from going to König's own website? Contrary to what some people seem to think, Wikipedia isn't the only website on the WWW. —Angr 09:30, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    A minor variation of the "Why should Wikipedia include ______ when people can use Google to find the same information elsewhere on the Internet" argument, which I find baffling. The idea of Wikipedia as an incomplete encyclopedia seems directly incompatible with its primary mission -- to be an encyclopedia. This attitude is, frankly, very very odd. To each their own... I, however, prefer my encyclopedia to be a bit more encyclopedic. Jenolen speak it! 09:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Yeah, and if you violate other people's copyrights along the way, so be it. The ends justify the means, right? —Angr 10:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Wow! So, there it is, folks -- A Wikipedia admin who often deletes fair use images apparently considers "fair use" a copyright violation. This explains a lot. Thanks! Jenolen speak it! 10:24, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Oh, there's a difference. It's about as fine as the difference between voluntary manslaughter and murder. They're different in court, but in both cases irreparable damage has been done. —Angr 10:40, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    It's very tough to keep up with the rhetoric here, but I think I've got it - you're saying that "fair use" constitutes an "irreparable damage" to copyrighted material. Unfortunately, the law doesn't agree with you. And with attitudes such as this, I must seriously question your ability to make sound judgements about matters relating to issues of fair use. Thank goodness you're only a Wikipedia admin, not a judge. Speaking of which, you're an admin -- act like one. You should probably stop letting it appear as though your personal views on these issues taint your decision making. Any admin who doesn't know the difference between a copyright violation and fair use probably should not be making decisions about these issues. Jenolen speak it! 10:51, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Actually, "fair use" constitutes irreparable damage to a project pretending to be free content. And I am acting like an admin: I feel the encyclopedia is under attack and I'm doing my best to protect it. —Angr 11:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, Angr, I believe that if we take a 100% free stance, we would make it hard, if not impossible, to write an encyclopaedia. We cannot comment on at least famous copyrighted artwork without including a picture of them. (An article on Andy Warhol's art or the Tiananmen Square incident, for example, would find it quite difficult.) There has to be some amount of trade-off between the two goals of "free" and "encyclopedia". Johnleemk | Talk 10:58, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Gee, I guess all those other 100% free encyclopedias being written in other languages must be figments of their editors' imaginations, then. There is absolutely no need for any fair use images in any encyclopedia. Ever. Including them here is pure self-indulgence. —Angr 11:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    We'll have to agree to disagree then, since I think that although in 95% of cases, it is possible to write a comprehensive article without a single fair use picture (I've done it with a few featured articles, and could have done it for several others were it not convention to include images of album/single covers in an article), you can't use this to rule out fair use for the other 5%. I agree that in many cases, our usage of fair use is self-indulgence, but there are a number of instances where fair use is absolutely warranted. By the way, I also wonder what you would think of quotations then, since (this is just a random estimate used to give the argument some concreteness) ~90% of all quotations aren't libre, and as such must be used under the provisions of fair use. Johnleemk | Talk 11:15, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Of course that was waiting to be said, and indeed is entirely consonant with Jimmy Wales's principles (#5) as Johnleemk well knows. That said, the Foundation Vision is a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge, perhaps including 'fair use' content? ...luke 11:22, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I do think quotes--and summaries of fiction, which are also only usable under a fair use claim--need to be eliminated unless an article would be absolutely incomprehensible without them. I'd make the same exception for images, except I don't think there's a single case of an article that would be incomprehensible without a fair-use image illustrating it. —Angr 11:27, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    And is this the standard that you use as an admin, when determining issues of fair use? That because you don't believe ANY article needs a fair use image, ALL fair use images should be deleted from Wikipedia? Or do you hold your nose, curse the fact that fair use IS permitted, and uphold the policies of Wikipedia? Jenolen speak it! 11:38, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    The latter. Some of us are capable of complying with policies we personally disagree with, rather than doing what we please and then hiding behind WP:IAR. —Angr 11:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    You've proven that last statement false through your actions. You've been deleting fair use content under your own interpretation of policy, goals and principles and ignoring the dissenting opinion. I would appreciate some consistency. --Jeff 16:27, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    No, actually, I haven't. I have only deleted images that clearly and unambiguously meet the stated criteria for speedy deletion of images. —Angr 16:40, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    You are entitled to your opinions, though I hope you recognize that you are in the minority here on Wikipedia and respect that fair use is presently an accepted part of our encyclopedia. For my part, I feel that people and places should be named in accordance with the desires of the person/place in question (rather than the name given them, for example, by 18th century colonial conquerers), but common names rule the day here, and I accept that. I trust that you are also prepared to grudgingly tolerate the existence of fair use as a part of current practice. Dragons flight 11:36, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Well, I don't go around deleting "fair use" images out of process, if that's what you mean. —Angr 11:44, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    The point I'm getting at is the application of policy should be consistent with community views, not personal ones. To take your statements at face value, you seem to suggest that essentially all images should fail FUC #8 (contributing significantly to the article they are used in) in your opinion. However, I would still expect you to recognize and respect that there are cases (e.g. Art by Andy Warhol) where the community considers those images significant even if you don't. Dragons flight 11:53, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Put it this way: it's not that I consider the images insignificant, it's more that I think they are not so indispensable that they're worth (1) the time and effort it takes the community to decide which images are really valuable and which aren't, (2) the time and effort it takes to locate and tag for deletion the images that violate fair use policy, (3) the time and effort it takes to delete the images that have been properly tagged and then remove the red links from the articles where they were being used, (4) the risk of legal action in cases where the copyright holder disagrees with us that our "fair use" claim is valid, and (5) the damage to Wikipedia's reputation as a free content resource. Those are my views; my actions are based on existing policy, not the policy I wish we had. —Angr 12:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    eh we have various artists. Would not be imposible to illistriaght ligne claire with a free pic.Geni 12:18, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Exactly. Hergé isn't the only comics artist capable of using ligne claire style. Wikipedia has freely-licensed comics, and while I don't know enough about it to say whether that counts as ligne claire or not, it's certainly possible that some Wikipedian artist could make a ligne claire drawing and license it freely. —Angr 12:32, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Gee, I guess all those other 100% free encyclopedias being written in other languages must be figments of their editors' imaginations, then.

    Is there any encyclopedia that never quotes from copyrighted material? Bear in mind that you can't even paraphrase a fictional work without taking advantage of fair use. We have here again the fetishization of the image as somehow different from text--fair use images corrupt the Wikipedia project in a way that text does not.
    The idea that an encyclopedia article about an artist that includes no examples of the art is just as good--better, even, because it's "free"!--is frankly perplexing. Also the idea that we should illustrate artistics styles by making up our own examples--has no one heard of the no original research policy? Or are the anti-fair use policies the only ones that matter? Nareek 13:05, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    We know about it in particular see WP:NOR#Original_images for this very issues.Geni 13:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    If I make my own painting and say "this is what cubism looks like", I certainly am "proposing an unpublished idea or argument". I honestly can't fathom how an article with my version of cubism is superior to one with Picasso's. Nareek 13:38, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Only if it significantly differs from existing works of cubism. We certianly use user ccreated art in Moe anthropomorphism as an example. An article on cubism with free images in has the advantage that it would be legal in the uk and it would be posible to mmake derivatives.Geni 14:01, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Fair use is originally a concept from British common law. It is certainly possible to make derivative works that include fair use images--I've never seen a serious argument as to why this would be a problem. Nareek 14:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    Um no such thing as british common law. Britian has two different legal systems. Closest under english and welsh law would be fair dealing which is much more restictive. Remeber copyright didn't really become a major issue of law untill after the US declaired independance which means that there is only a limited common base between the two legal systems.Geni 14:54, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Does nobody here read German or what? The German Wikipedia disallows fair-use images, and limits the use of textual quotes as well I think, but they are generally considered to be a high-quality encyclopedia, many of the articles being better than their en: counterparts. Seems hard to explain how fair use can be crucial for an English-language encyclopedia, but unimportant for its German-language counterpart. Stan 18:07, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    The German Wikipedia operates under European law, and is limited accordingly. The German-language Wikipedia is, by all accounts, an excellent resource, but in this respect it is inferior to the English-language Wikipedia. There is no reason for us to limit ourselves unnecessarily. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 22:00, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I was wondering how the German Wikipedia would handle something like Jackson Pollack--an artist for whom one picture is surely worth far more than 1,000 words. I was surprised to find that the German version actually had a far more detailed and useful photograph than any in the English-language article--then was unsurprised to find out that it was being proposed for deletion as not being GFDL. Nareek 18:45, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    That image is on commons not de.Geni 21:37, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    New template idea

    All these confusion over taking images of copyrighted materials, such as statues, got me thinking. Maybe we should have a new template that says something along the lines of:

    "This image contains copyrighted material owned by their respective persons. However, in the event that the owner's copyright expires or is deemed invalid, the taker of this photograph/scan/screenshot grants the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document freely."

    Because as I understand it, a photograph of a statue (or anything else) really has two copyrights on it: one for the statue and one for the photographer. If I was to take a image of a statue by an artist whose copyright expires next year, I would expect for the image itself to be mine and not to automatically lose my copyright along with it. Additionally, you never know when a court case will dermine say, screenshots, to not be covered by the original copyright.

    Also, as it stands, there seems to be no difference in taking someone else's images of copywritten works and using our own images. Isn't using Image:Dalí.Rinoceronte.JPG better than taking this?

    Call it something funky like "Copysplit". Does my logic seem reasonable?--SeizureDog 18:10, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    It might be a better idea to do this similar to Template:Self, e.g. replace "the taker of this photograph/scan/screenshot grants the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document freely." in your text with "the creator releases this image under the following lincense:" and a copyright license template. --Fritz S. (Talk) 18:19, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I really don't know how to properly word it. I was just giving the jist of it to let more enlightened people write it out properly.--SeizureDog 18:57, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    yes that would be a good idea if properly worded. Closest that I know if is some of the working in Template:OldOS.
    Hmm posible wording would be "This image contains copyrighted material owned by people other than the author of the image. The I the author of the image releases any rights I have under the GFDL but make no claim to the other interlectal propertly image the image"
    Of course that wording would anoy Richard Stallman but that isn't our number one problem right now.Geni 21:08, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    I guess it would be unnecessary to categorize these images per date of copyright expiration, something like This image contains copyrighted material owned by people other than the author of the image, who is releasing it under <<license>>. Please change this tag to <<license>> on <<date>>. -- ReyBrujo 21:25, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
    would be hard and in many cases insanely complex to do (aparent from anything else it assume the law remains constant).Geni 23:48, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    free,but still illegal

    bbc article.--Pierson's Puppeteer 22:02, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    We have no reason to think that the clip is free with regards to copyright. But yes under us law there is "Right of Publicity" and simular but they are not really matters for this page.Geni 23:43, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

    Proposal to formalize WP:FAIR#Counterexamples #5 as a CSD

    There has been some discussion on WT:CSD about WP:FAIR#Counterexamples #5. I would like to propose that we formalize it as a CSD. As it is now, there are tons of media photos that have no justifiable use. Please see WT:CSD#What would everyone think about adding a criterion for news media photos? if you are interested in this discussion. Thank you. --BigDT 07:20, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Surprisingly, despite the law being quite clearcut about this (if there's substantial "effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work", it's not fair use), a lot of people are attempting to justify borderline images by claiming they are irreplaceable. I was surprised to see the number of people at Wikipedia:Images and media for deletion/2007 January 5 arguing that we can use photos taken by news agencies under fair use, even if they aren't really iconic. Johnleemk | Talk 09:44, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
    Seems fine to me also, but the argument would break down on the same lines it always does. - cohesion 19:36, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
    For what (little) it's worth, even though I support the use of legal fair-use images on Wikipedia, I'd support making this a CSD, since it's clearly not legal fair use. The "lines" aren't completely uniform. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 21:11, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Promotional fair use images are not encyclopedic

    Proposal: promotional fair use images should not be allowed on Wikipedia, or the use of such images should be very limited. The argument against allowing such images is that the purpose for creating such material is often commercial or as a a part of a public relations strategy. Case in point: our article on JAG DVD releases looks like it could have been lifted from a commercial website selling the products in question. Why should we limit the downstream use of Wikipedia in order to accomodate such material? --Oden 21:07, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    This proposal is not a good idea. Promotional images are often the only image available. For example, a product that has not yet been released cannot reasonably be photographed by Wikipedians, yet the picture may provide a great deal of important information to the article. For your case in point, that is a content problem that should be addressed on the Talk page of the article in question. It is not a reason to make a blanket forbidance of a whole class of usable images. Johntex\talk 21:14, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    See also Friends DVD releases, The Simpsons DVDs or many of the articles in Category:Videos and DVDs. JAG DVD releases is not an exception, the use of promotional images is endemic to the point that a straw poll was recently held on whether to substantially increase the amount of such images on Wikipedia (fortunately it was quickly shut down). In their eagerness to find the perfect image some editors seem to be losing the big picture of creating a free encyclopedia (free as in free of advertisments).

    As regards future releases Wikipedia is not a soapbox or a crystal ball. Articles on upcoming events which are written in a neutral and verifiable language are acceptable, but including promotional material crosses the limit between encyclopedia and advertising, in my opinion. If we have to put up with this kind of material we should at least require that the copyright holder releases the copyright for the material in question. Otherwise a link to a website with more information, including promotional material, is a sufficient service to our readers. --Oden 21:31, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Articles on upcoming events or products do not necesarily violate soapbox or crystal ball. If verifiable information is available from reliable sources, we often have articles in advance of sporting events, product releases, etc. That includes information from the manufacturer or sponsor, and yes, this can include photos.
    What is their to complain about with respect to showing a picture the cover of a VHS tape? How is that advertising? We should covers of books. We should covers of phonograph albums and CD's. We should not require all those images to be taken by Wikipedians when the manufacturer is already providing an excellent copy. If a picture of those products is advertising, then a picture of a car would be advertising for the make of car, a picture of a cruise ship would be advertising to the cruise line, a picture of a Coca Cola can would be an advertisement for Coke... there would be no end to it. Commercial products exist. That is a fact. Photos of them belong on Wikipedia. Johntex\talk 21:39, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    We allow fair use images in the circumstances you mentioned above because it is not possible to create a free image of a copyrighted work, it becomes a derivative work. But you raise an interesting point: in the choice between a nice and glossy fair use image which is provided by a commercial undertaking and released in order to market the product in question and a image taken by a Wikipedian I would certainly prefer the latter, even if it also has to be licensed as a fair use image. --Oden 21:52, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Considering the high amount of drama around this particular issue, I can't believe you'd actually suggest this. We do not need to tighten the screws here; it'll make a volatile situation worse. It's like you're saying, "oh, we haven't done enough damage to fair use; let's make it so that we aren't using ANY promo photos."

    Also, this seems to be a new and fairly unique opinion on what we should do and is clearly extremist even compared to policies already put forth. Wikipedia has ultimately become in many segments a pop culture encyclopedia and that's what people use it for. Deal with it and stop ruining the site for the rest of us. - Stick Fig 04:38, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Fair use must be the exception, not the rule. And unfortunately, many, many around here think otherwise. -- ReyBrujo 04:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Fair use should not be over-used, but we should not fear it either. Right now, we are already far too tilted against fair use, as in our policy with regards to no fair-use images of living people. That is causing many of our artilces to be less informative than they could be. Johntex\talk 05:47, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I believe it is clear that Wikipedia spirit is to be completely free, but that such goal, at this time, is not possible without a huge discussion like the one the French Wikipedia had. On the other hand, by allowing any fair use image to stay, we are discouraging users from participating in supporting this project with free images, even if their quality is below average. We are also... how to say... "encouraging" new users to upload fair use images. These new users will later come to discussions about fair use with opinions like "Images make the article pretty", "Has anyone sued us before?", "They are free, we don't pay for them" or just "Support", opinions that, while not completely wrong, are not the ones we want. In this last sentence, I think Wikipedia is not only a knowledge storage, but also a way to teach users about the GFDL, freedom to copy, modify and redistribute content. Personally, I am not so much interested in having a user add a trivia item in an article than making him understand what freedom is about.
    The "making our articles less informative" is disputable. Removing an image does not make the article less informative, since you are removing secondary information (in the case of promotional images, at least). It is much like a trivia item: "This personality looks like this". However, if you remove the lead (usually where the full name, date and place of birth are kept), then yes, the article becomes less informative. But an image.... -- ReyBrujo 06:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Not that there's anything wrong with encouraging fair use. In fact, I hope we see more fair use images if they make Wikipedia better.
    All the other side goals of Wikipedia are invalid. I don't care about teaching people the GFDL, and anonymous users certainly don't go to Wikipedia to learn about a free license; they come to learn about Bob Dylan and George W. Bush. It's not what people use the site for. People use the site for goals different from the ones many of you assume they use it for. Don't let that blunt statement burn your eyes too much. - Stick Fig 06:34, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Of course people use this place for different motives! However, don't forget why this site was setup. We don't strive for "best encyclopedia", but for "free encyclopedia". -- ReyBrujo 06:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Screw being free if free means we can't have good content that's available to us legally. - Stick Fig 07:30, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Then this is not the place for you. I'm not being rude; there are a lot of well-meaning and talented people who don't work on WP for one reason or another. It's like being a pacifist in the military, if you don't buy into the basic mission, everything about the job is going to be a problem, and the military isn't going to change its mission to accommodate you. Stan 15:16, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thank you for revealing your basic problem with policy, then. Like it or not, we are the "free encyclopedia", and until you change it to the "best encyclopedia" or "fair use encyclopedia", policy will always be oriented towards maintaining our status as a free encyclopaedia. Being free isn't a "side goal" - it's an integral part of what this project is. Otherwise it wouldn't be stated at the top of every page, would it? We are not free so that we can teach people about the GFDL (which IMO is one of the worst copyleft licences anyway) - we are free so that we can make it possible to make the sum of all human knowledge available to the world for free. This is essentially the problem in the debate, then - your philosophy is "The more fair use the better!" while ours is "The more libre the better!" If you want to fork because your ideals are incompatible with those of the project, that's fine - but please don't subvert the "free encyclopedia". Johnleemk | Talk 15:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Jeff nailed my position earlier -- I'm a quality advocate. It's only incompatible with Wikipedia because it's incompatible with your personal interpretations of the rules. I feel that in many cases, fair use is free enough and that quality is the main goal here. We're replacing good images with nothing, or worse, images that don't tell the story properly. And for some reason, you guys don't see anything wrong with that.
    Quality is not a side goal. You guys may feel that this is not Wikipedia's main goal, but I feel the opposite. Stop reading exclusively from the Book of Stallman and realize that you guys could seriously hurt Wikipedia's long-term reputation here (one that's already had some body blows). - Stick Fig 16:20, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Sorry, since when did fair use images be considered libre? I think promotional photo advocates are the only ones who consider fair use images to be "free" for Wikipedia's purposes. The reason we're getting rid of such images is because they add little, if any, value to the article. This nonsense about reputation is grandstanding. You have never given me one example where a visitor reading an article of ours that applies fair use policy correctly would get up and say "Damn, Wikipedia sucks! I'll never use them again!" Jennifer Granholm isn't a good example because we could just get rid of the terrible free image - and it'd still be a mighty fine decent article. The simple acid test for whether we should use a fair use image is this: will the reader think we have a sucky article if we don't include the image? Johnleemk | Talk 17:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    "Free enough" (what I said) != "Libre" (what you said).
    I think if we have a legal right to use something, we should use it if it makes sense to do so. If a free image is better, we use it. If it's not, we go with something else that's within our legal jurisdiction. And in the case of people, it's a lot harder to get a free image of a celebrity than a fair-use image of one. And getting fair use images of celebrities is already hard. You haven't been on the phone with PR people for over an hour just to get a press photo of Oasis like I have. - Stick Fig 18:22, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    not encyclopedic? Please, that's not even what you're saying. You're saying they're not appropriate for wikipedia. And of course removing a picture makes an article less informative. If you have an article with a picture of a person, that is more informative than the same article without a picture. I don't see how that's even debatable. A picture of a person is far more useful than, for instance, full date of birth, which is pure trivia. john k 06:24, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    So, at school you got A+'s by presenting the picture of George Washington only? Wish I had gone to such school, instead of writing essays usually 20 or 30 pages long. -- ReyBrujo 06:28, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    • John Kenney is exactly right here. The truth is the opposite of what ReyBrujo is claiming. Most contributors here have as our primary aim the goal of making the best possible encyclopedia. Contributing free photos is a noble but secondary goal. We should emphasis the primary goal of making the best possible encyclopedia. Good use of legal fair use images should be a part of that. Eliminating fair use images makes our articles less informative, less authoritative, less interesting, and ultimately less utilized as a result.
    ReyBrujo, if photos are as useless and uninformative as you imply, then why on earth would you care to set up an incentive for people to contribute free ones. Your argument is not self-consistent. Johntex\talk 06:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Because it is the only way fair use advocates will stop quarreling. Most complain that free images are of low quality compared with fair use ones. However, if we get free images that are of high quality, then both freedom- and FU-gamers will be happy. And you are wrong at that point: most contributors here have as primary goal to make the best encyclopedia. However, that is not why this site was created. As I just said to Stick Fig, that is a nice secondary goal, but our primary goal should be "free encyclopedia". This is hard for some people to understand, much like the "Verifiability, not truth" statement at WP:V. Best encyclopedia? No. Free encyclopedia. Unless you want to edit our five pillars and add a point for "Best encyclopedia" there. -- ReyBrujo 06:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    And don't even tell me our pillars mean nothing if most people disagree. I don't see Bram Cohen saying BitTorrent's purpose is to help piracy just because most users use it to download illegal content. -- ReyBrujo 06:45, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Rey, I get the feeling you may be somewhat confused... either that or you just worded something poorly. None of us, as far as I can tell, are fair use advocates. What we are (and correct me if I'm wrong, stick, john k) are quality advocates more than anything else. We see quality at a greater weight than the people who would rather be rid of everything copyrighted do. We see the gradual diminishment of fair use on Wikipedia as a major blow to its' inherent quality; a blow from which it will probably never recover. None of us are disagreeing with any of the 5p's, nor are we suggesting Wikipedia not have as a major goal to be as free as possible. If you recall, I was the one who suggested the project which you are now heading up. It's great you are taking it on, but the reason it never started before was because I saw it as a way to end the deletion of fair use. Unfortunately, the deletion did not end and the project did not start.
    Our collective primary goal is the best free encyclopedia, but pursuant to that goal need not be the outright banning or elimination of fair use!!!!--Jeff 08:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    "if we get free images that are of high quality, then both freedom- and FU-gamers will be happy". Unfortunately, Rey, no they won't. There are lots of people here who would actually rather use any fair use image instead of a freely licensed image, however good the quality of the free image might be. —Angr 08:34, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    You're a fool and mis-characterizing everything we've ever said.--Jeff 08:41, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Thanks for the personal attack. I wasn't actually talking about you, Jeff, but hey, if the shoe fits... —Angr 08:42, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Who on earth are you talking about then? I can't remember anyone at all saying fair use > free of similar quality.--Jeff 08:43, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I'm talking about the people who get into edit wars to restore fair-use images that have been replaced by free images of similar quality. I've encountered several of those. —Angr 08:51, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Ok sorry, I pulled the trigger a bit fast. I just saw "...lots of people here" and thought you meant here, not Wikipedia in total.--Jeff 08:53, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Angr, I know there are those who would prefer using any fair use image because it was released yesterday instead of last year (I have messed with them many, many times). We can deal with them later. However, there is another branch, which is found here, that think fair use images should be used because they add "quality" to the articles. It is possible that, if we begin getting free images of quality to replace fair use images of quality, this will settle some of the feelings that been pushed here. Sure, we would get probably very few images, maybe 1 for every 100 petitions. But from my point of view, that 1% is worth the trouble. -- ReyBrujo 15:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I find it difficult to post any response that is productive, so I'll limit my response to a resounding NO.--Jeff 08:27, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    If we are to accept such images they should at least be under a free licence. Wikipedia should promote the spread of free content by requiring that before any new fair use images are uploaded the copyright holder needs to be contacted and a request made to release the media under a compatible free licence.

    The current system seems to assume that the copyright holder will not allow this, which perpetuates the current model of copyrights and undermines the spread of free content. It is possible that copyright holders state that the media is copyrighted as a matter of course without reflecting upon the alternatives. In many, if not most, cases licensing promotional media under a free license is beneficial for the copyright holder.

    One example is media produced by the US federal government. Such media is public domain, and often released as a part of the government's public relations strategy but is in most cases beneficial for both the government and for other users. Another example is Ubisoft, the company has licensed all screenshots under a attribution license (commons:User:Avatar/Ubisoft, commons:template:Attribution-Ubisoft and OTRS ticket#: 20051200210003144). --Oden 14:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    My reaction to the initial proposal is "probably not" - promotional photos should be usable where it would be difficult, if not impossible, to create a libre version of the image, and the various other legal/policy criteria are met. I agree that it probably doesn't make sense for many articles to be using certain promotional media, especially those cited, but this isn't a reason to make a blanket rule excluding all promotional media. I agree that it is absolutely worth it, however, to step up efforts to get companies and celebrities to do as Ubisoft has done. If the images are already de facto libre, why not go further and make it de jure? Johnleemk | Talk 15:25, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I use the Ubisoft example for gaming projects. While it may not be possible to get all publishers to do something similar, we don't need all screenshots to be free, just one. And it does not even need to be a screenshot, an old promotional poster does work. -- ReyBrujo 15:54, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    If promotional material is distributed with the intent of maximizing exposure, then copyright seems to be more of a obstacle that lowers the impact of the message. Of course, there might be images which the copyright holder will never release (for instance music album and DVD/VHS covers), but it might be possible to expand the number of free images and replace a few irreplacable fair use images. Perhaps this should be co-ordinated under a Wikiproject, so that the same copyright holder does not receive multiple requests (on the other hand multiple requests would highlight the widespread support for our free encyclopedia). --Oden 21:33, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    As I said, we don't need the album cover (unless people is purist). A promotional image of the album, the band's poster, a screenshot of one of the album's videos, a photography of the CD pack released by the company, etc, anything like that would be enough. As for the WikiProject, we are working on WikiProject Free Images (tempoary name, still a proposal). -- ReyBrujo 21:38, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    Low-resolution fair use images

    Our fair use policy states that:

    "The amount of copyrighted work used should be as little as possible. Low-resolution images should be used instead of high-resolution images (especially images that are so high-resolution that they could be used for piracy). Do not use multiple images or media clips if one will serve the purpose adequately."

    I was wondering how much web-resolution is? Since the highest custom setting for thumbnails in a user's preferences is a width of 300 pixels, that could be regarded as an indication of a upper limit for an image to still be considered low-resolution. There is a tag for images which have a too high resolution: {{fair use reduce}}, and it links to Help:Images_and_other_uploaded_files#Embedding_internal_images. I usually apply it to images above 500 - 600 pixels. There is currently a backlog of images waiting to be reduced, but the question is to which resolution? --Oden 22:49, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Well, when I resize images in that category, I do it with Microsoft Office Picture Manager. The resize function there has a prespecified "Web - small" setting of 448×336 (i.e. the long side is at most 448 px and the short side is at most 336 px), which is what I use for resizing. —Angr 23:13, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
    As small as necessary. If the current image is being shown in a 250px box, and there is no justification for having a bigger size (in example, it is a logo), then 300px should be enough (regardless of any SVG suggestion). I think anything bigger than 800x600 should be tagged, because you don't usually need bigger images. -- ReyBrujo 23:25, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
    Are you talking about resolution, or about image size? Resolution for screens is 72dpi, necessarily, because the screens display an image at 72dpi. I realize that people conflate the terms, but we should try to be precise here. --lquilter 23:37, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    Dots per inch refers to printing resolution while there is also image resolution (pixels). I think we are dealing with both here, though most often the images have a low printing resolution since they are sourced from various websites. --Oden 23:48, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    (edit conflict) We have discussed this before, here and here "recently". There was even a proposal for amendment in the second link. Apparently DPI is a measurement of resolution used in printed documents, and not the definition itself. Also note Wikipedia:Fair use/Definition of "low resolution". -- ReyBrujo 23:52, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

    It would be nice with a bot which could go through Category:Fair use size reduction request and resize the images to web-resolution. --Oden 22:01, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

    Intro phrasing

    I find the introduction to be a bit vague. I suggest changing the second and third paragraphs to

    “Fair use” content on Wikipedia must meet the legal tests for fair use. Furthermore, Wikipedia permits the “fair use” of copyrighted material only if the image or content is, in essence, not reasonably repeatable; that is, it would not be possible to replace the image or content with an equivalent free image. This might, for example, allow for the inclusion of a photo documenting an historical event such as the Hindenburg disaster, but a simple publicity still of a vehicle, building or living person will be subject to much greater scrutiny.
    An editor uploading copyrighted material to Wikipedia must provide a detailed fair use rationale; otherwise the uploaded material will be deleted.

    My rationale for the changes in the second paragraph is that some people (see below) seem to understand it as allowing the use of any content that is difficult or impossible to reproduce, disregarding the normal fair use requirements, and this misunderstanding (if it is one) will be rarer if the legal requirements are mentioned in a separate sentence and unconditionally (also, it’s spelled ‘Hindenburg’). In the third paragraph there should be a stricter requirement because a fair use medium without rationale qualifies for speedy deletion under criterion I6; alerting uploaders to the necessity of a rationale might prevent somebody’s future frustration with the process.

    My motivation for proposing this change is a set of current IFD debates, [12], [13] et al., regarding non-free photographs from Iraq; that it would be difficult to obtain equivalent replacements is one of the major arguments for keeping them. Since I participate in those debates, my opinion on the matter is biased (to the effect that that argument is not valid). I apologise if my understanding of the intent of the relevant paragraphs is wrong and would appreciate an explanation if that is the case. —xyzzyn 11:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    I second the changes, FWIW. Johnleemk | Talk 15:26, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I like it too. Please wikilink to Fair use rationale, and make it clear that lack of one qualifies the image for deletion. -- ReyBrujo 15:45, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Done. (I assume it’s too early to link to WP:FURG.) —xyzzyn 15:56, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    ABC/Disney Shuts Down Blog Exercising Fair Use

    Not that there is a reliable source cited, but demonstrates fair use is a gray area where anything can happen. Sure, it is not something we are doing (we upload still images, not videos, and we try to stay neutral and verify information), it is something to be careful about. Note that, apparently, the site was doing critical commentary as well. -- ReyBrujo 20:53, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    From what I could tell, the guy hosted clips of radio programs on his site. We host audio clips, mainly for speeches, songs and interviews. However, I also wish to stress to just be careful. With this, and the mention of the youtube video a few headings up, we need to link long and hard about if what images/audio/video that we host are going to be worth saving or not. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 21:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are a bunch of templates regarding external links at User talk:Thadius856/templates/badlink. An external link to a web page which infringes someone's copyright can be regarded as contributory infringement (see Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry). --Oden 22:10, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I think there was some plans for creating a WikiProject YouTube, one that would review every YouTube link added to check if it is copyright infringement or not. I think it was proposed at the WikiProject Spam some time ago. -- ReyBrujo 22:16, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I haven't heard about the wikiproject, but for all we know, this could be another YTMND situation where we might have to block all of youtube and put the exceptions on the whitelist. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 22:27, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    In my ideal world, YouTube, MySpace, Blogspot and most others Web 2.0 sites should be blacklisted by default :-) But if that is not possible, better to start purging. My last count was around 7,000 YouTube videos, I am willing to bet it is over 9,000 by now. -- ReyBrujo 22:38, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    I know some Wikipedia users link to their profiles on youtube, but that is still a lot of links to youtube. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 22:45, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    One place to start is by going through pages that use Template:YouTube (What links here). Most contributors, especially link spammers, probably don't bother with the template, though. --Oden 22:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

    You use YouTube search, but it will take long. Note that, in case of copyright violation, we can agree that the link should be removed, even if it is in a talk page. Anyways, that is not a topic to discuss here, better for WP:SPAM or WP:EL. I was just pointing that fair use is a pretty gray area, and any assumption we can do is just a gross estimation, not something sure. -- ReyBrujo 22:59, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
    Should be noted that wikipedia hosts both video and audio files in places.Geni 14:20, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    I have never seen video around, but it is possible. Hopefully those files are being categorized as something other than just "media". -- ReyBrujo 14:46, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    There are three at the bottem of this page Controlled_Impact_Demonstration. Most videos are held on commons mind.Geni 14:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    No problem with those videos then. This has been picked up by IMDB as well. -- ReyBrujo 15:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
    Return to the project page "Non-free content/Archive 14".