Wikipedia Art dispute pits artists against Wikimedia Foundation
Ars Technicareports (permalink) that the two artists responsible for the "Wikipedia Art" project have been threatened by the Foundation's legal counsel over the website wikipediaart.org. On February 15, artists Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern created the Wikipedia Art article, intended to "point to the 'invisible authors and authorities' of Wikipedia, and by extension the Internet, as well as the site's extant criticisms: bias, consensus over credentials, reliability and accuracy, vandalism, etc." the article was soon sent to Articles for Deletion. It was deleted 15 hours after its creation as something inappropriate for Wikipedia, although some participants considered the deletion discussion itself to be the work of art. The artists later created the wikipediaart.org website and presented the project in terms that, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, could be interpreted as suggesting a close connection between the project and Wikipedia. Based on concerns brought to the Foundation's attention by Wikipedians, legal counsel for Wikimedia Foundation Douglas Isenberg emailed the artists, who addressed the Foundation's concerns by adding a disclaimer to the website noting its non-association with Wikipedia.
In a commentary titled "Wikipedia Threatens Artists for Fair Use", an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation decried what she characterized as a threat to the artists' free speech. The first email sent to the artists stated that use of the "Wikipedia" name was infringing on trademark rights and requested that the domain name wikipediaart.org be turned over to the Foundation, although Mike Godwin, lead counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, described it as "about the gentlest "demand letter" one can possibly write" and considers the mattered settled with the disclaimer. He noted that "if someone decided to use the EFF website as a staging ground for a performance art piece, I'd entirely support their efforts to prevent anyone's confusing the artists' work with their own."
A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association concludes that "[b]ased on its search engine ranking and page view statistics, the English Wikipedia is a prominent source of online health information compared to the other online health information providers studied." Another recent study found that "[n]early 50% of US physicians going online for professional purposes are visiting Wikipedia for health and medical information".
Informationweek.com notes (permalink) that "things that are offered for 'free' are quite fragile in terms of sustainability", while talking about Wikipedia.
David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party in the British Parliament, recently compared (permalink) Wikipedia to the UK government. He said, "Our government spends nearly £400 million a year on advertising to reach sixty million people while Wikipedia, one of the largest websites in the world, spends about one per cent of that to reach 280 million people".