User talk:Herostratus/Image RfC

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Examples of the images we are talking about here[edit]

Original arguments[edit]

This is a redacted version of the discussion at Image talk:Agave syrup.jpg, with ungermane material removed, but see that page for the full original version of the discussion Herostratus

[These pictures should be allowable because:]

  1. This is a promotional image and such a tag is clearly allowed on Wikipedia.
  2. The company from whose website the image comes has not complained and most likely will not complain about this use of this photo.
  3. There are other, more pressing issues facing Wikipedia at this moment.
  4. Not every editor can afford a digital camera.

Badagnani 19:18, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

To respond to several of these points:

  • First, note that the "promotional" tag specifically states that the image must not be replaceable. Wikipedia does not accept all promotional images, only those that meet our fair use criteria.
  • Note, moreover, that those criteria are devoted not only to the goal of avoiding legal trouble, but also to that of maximizing the amount of free content we produce.
  • While the image may not be right-this-moment replaceable, or replaceable by one particular editor, it is possible that someone could take and upload a free photo for this purpose.

The fair use policy is being enforced more actively now than it has been in the past, and while many good-faith editors who had gotten the impression that certain types of images which were not permitted are permitted have been upset by this change, the policy is being enforced in good faith, and in pursuit of the goal of increasing the amount of free content we produce, one of the five pillars of Wikipedia. RobthTalk 22:41, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The argument that "Wikipedia should allow a copyrighted image because I can't afford a digital camera" seems rather akin to "Wikipedia should allow copyrighted text because my English writing skills are poor". FWIW, any drug store will make digital images from film. Chowbok 00:07, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I understand your desires to reduce the amount of copyrighted images on Wikipedia, but keep in mind that just because you took an image with your own camera does not mean it is not copyrighted... Anss123 16:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

  • That is absolutely not true, at least in the United States (which is the relevant jurisdiction for Wikipedia). You can take photos of commercial products and do what you like with them. You think the Coca-Cola company owns the copyright to every photo ever taken of a family barbeque? —Chowbok 18:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Indeed. Why, for instance, can companies get sued over using, say, a coke bottle in a movie? (This has happened with other products IIRC)...--Anss123 18:56, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
      • We're getting a bit far afield here. The point is that Wikipedia currently considers photos taken of commercial products to be copyrighted by the photographer. If you think this is a mistake, then please start a discussion at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. —Chowbok 19:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Original deletion notice and replies[edit]

The ultimate goal is to have no fair use images on Wikipedia, or at any rate to have only fair use images for which free images cannot possibly be made - a person who is dead, for instance. The goal is that all images on Wikipedia be able to re-used by anyone for any reason whatsoever, including in material that disparages the subject, alteration of the image to make the subject appear ridiculous, inclusion of the image in pornography, or whatever. This is the overarching goal. I personally think that its a silly goal, but that doesn't matter. It is what the Foundation wants, and the Foundation hosts the Wikipedia servers and thus its desires get a lot of consideration. Wikipedia may be freely forked (copied) by anyone, and perhaps someday someone will make a version where fair use images are more welcome, but this encyclopedia is not it. The images which you are contesting could at least theoretically be replaced with free images, therefore I am deleting them. You may take these to deletion review if you like. Herostratus 18:24, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

In your future communications, please use "My" rather than "The" when referring to Wikipedia's goals. I am a significant contributor yet it is clear that my input has not been considered in this case. In fact, I don't remember having any discussion about most of the images that seem to have disappeared today, without even any discussion on the talk page of the articles themselves. That is highly improper. Your conduct is seriously impoverishing Wikipedia, and this is made even more sad by the fact that the companies producing the items in question have uploaded the photographs for just such a use (to make their products better known). There is considerable controversy at this moment, as I'm sure you well know, about the deletion of promotional photographs. So you seem to be doing this simply to prove a point, rather than to mitigate any real threat. This may tend to create enmity with many productive editors, as many of the deleters seem, from their edit histories, simply to delete, and not create much or any content. Again, let me reiterate: I do not agree with your policies nor the unilateral manner you are carrying them out, with regard to the deletion of promotional images without discussion on the pages from which they are being removed. I ask, sincerely, that you please modify both your language and your behavior in the future. Further, please think of how it must feel if you were in the position of being wiki-stalked in such a manner as you are now doing to me (considering the countless number of hours it took to locate and input those images in the first place, for the benefit of our community and users). Badagnani 18:54, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

According to WP:FU, the following are allowed (these are described as "examples" but I think the list is pretty exhaustive): Cover art, logos, Stamps and currency, Film and television screen shots (for critical commentary only, not for identification or decoration), Screenshots from software products (ditto), Paintings and other works of visual art (ditto), Posters, programs, billboards, ads (ditto), Publicity photos (these may be used just for identification, not only for critical commentary.

The images we are talking about here are not cover art etc. According to Wikipedia:Publicity photos, the only possible justification is that they are or might be publicity photos. But a publicity photo are allowed if and only if:

  1. it is from an actual press kit and
  2. it is not possible to replace the publicity photo with a free image.

Neither of these apply to the images we are talking about, let alone both. On the other hand, Wikipedia:Publicity photos is just an essay. But it does address the question more closely than anything I've yet seen.

Also, "Other promotional material" is permitted. The examples given are posters, programs, billboards, and ads. But note that "Other promotional material" may be included in an article for critical commentary only. NOT for identification. Critical commentary would require the elements of the image be discussed in the article. For instance, an image of a bottle of chili sauce would have to be accompanied by text discussing the bottle (NOT its contents), if I understand aright. "In 1993, XYZ chili company came out with the a new, narrower-necked bottle, as shown below". Whether even that would qualify as critical commentary is doubtful in my opinion, but that would the minimum requirement required by my understanding of the term "critical commentary".

I think the reason for a lot of this can be summarized thus: there is a very large body of editors who can simply NOT be made understand that you can use the cover of a Superman comic book to illustrate the article Superman (comic book), but NOT (necessarily) to illustrate Superman or Superhero or Comic book or Comic book art etc. You can use the painting Guernica to illustrate the article Guernica (painting) but you cannot (necessarily) use it to illustrate the articles Picasso or Cubism or Bombing of Gernika or Spanish Civil War). Not to put too fine a point on it, many editors appear simply not to have the mental chops to make these distinctions. Thus the new and severely restrictive policy is necessitated.

There are other reasons for the policy, some good, some bad. The point is that it is policy, whether you or I like it or not, and we are bound to follow it. Herostratus 05:02, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

New input from RfC[edit]

  • Wikipedia is not just for educational use, it can also be for profit use. You can take content from Wikipedia, sell it, pocket the money (via proper GFDL steps). If an editor can't afford a camera, well too bad, you don't get the image. That kind of rationale will never fly for a valid fair use claim. Policy is clear on this, and it is not optional. These images should not be used because they fail Wikipedia's fair use criteria. -- Ned Scott 05:25, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
    • First, I don't think the enforcement-level issue on these images is being debated, here, and that's because it isn't really up in the air. These images are replaceable. Nor is this the venue to challenge the fair use policy as a whole; recent discussion on Wikipedia talk:Fair use and input from higher-ups in support of the current policy make it clear that a major centralized discussion, not an isolated RfC, would be necessary to effect such a change--and a veto of such a change from the foundation level would be very likely. The big issue that I see here is that enforcing the policy requires undoing the hard work of many contributors.
    • I empathize with Badagnani's position, and it's a damn shame that he's in it. Some time ago, I spent a good chunk of time scouring the internet for images from Greek vases, sorting the images, and getting them ready to upload them to Wikipedia, assuming they would be covered under the {{pd-art}} tag; right before I started uploading en masse, I sent an email to WikiEN-l to make sure this was the case; to make a long story short, it wasn't so I had to discard the project and request deletion for the few images I'd already uploaded. Losing a lot of work like that is no fun, and it is a shame that our policies have frequently been unclear enough and laxly enough enforced that well-meaning people have put tons of work into uploading images that aren't allowed under the policy.
    • So the question is, where do we go with this? Free content has always been a core part of Wikipedia's mission, and its centrality has been reaffirmed by the project's leaders in recent discussions (to save myself from repeating everything, here is my take on how the current activity on the fair use front cames about; Jimbo Wales chimed in in several of the conversations referenced there). This fact and its implications with regard to the allowability of various images have not been made sufficiently clear in the past, and as a result we've accrued a great number of images outside the boundaries of policy, but uploaded with much time and effort by good contributors. So what do we do? If we follow the policy, we scrap people's effort; if we aim to preserve everyone's contributions, we have to seriously alter Wikipedia's core principles. I think its clear where I stand on this; the fact that we have done a poor job instilling and explaining these principles in the past shouldn't prevent us from doing so in the present. Frustrating though it is for the people who uploaded these images, keeping them does not fit in with Wikipedia's core mission, and thus they have to go.
    • What can we learn from this incident? First, Badagnani was upset that there was no discussion on the article talk pages. I think the image talk page is probably the appropriate place, but editors interested in the article might want to participate in the discussion. Thus, if Carnildo is willing, I think it would be helpful to have OrphanBot run on these categories; the advance removal of an image from an article would alert that article's editors that a change was on the way, and give them a chance to make an argument against replaceability if they so chose. Any other suggestions to help ensure that the implementation of this policy surprises people as little as possible would be welcome and helpful. Second, the best thing that we can do is make sure that, in the future, people find out about our policies early rather than late; tell people when they're uploading their first image rather than after they've uploaded over 100. Better enforcement will be the key to less wasted effort and fewer legitimately upset contributors in the future. --RobthTalk 07:03, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. (Also check spelling of username): Badagnani 07:06, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry about the name--I corrected my spelling. --RobthTalk 09:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: One proposal that was recently suggested at the Fair Use discussion area was simply to take a moderate perspective and leave up photos that are clearly of a promotional nature until they can be replaced, rather than taking a scorched earth policy. In fact, you are the first editor out of more than 10 actively deleting images who has shown any sense of concern or humanity (for the labor that went into locating and inputting these images) in the course of their activities. Badagnani 07:12, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
When something violates policy, it can and should be removed / corrected as soon as possible. It's nothing personal, it's just policy. -- Ned Scott 07:18, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem with this approach is that past experience has shown that free images are much more likely to be found or created when we don't use fair use images of the subject. If an article already has an image (whatever the licensing), there's not much incentive for anyone to go out and find or create a free one. Ultimately, we do not want fair use images of these subjects (and although promphoto is a legitimate tag, it is fair use, and the tag specifically states that it is intended for subjects for which a free image could not be created); if we continue to use the fair use images, we are likely to see them remain indefinitely, while future uploaders, confused by their presence, spend their time uploading more unacceptable images; if we delete them, we can make a clean break and begin replacing them with free images. I believe that the second is the best course of action. --RobthTalk 09:23, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: It's just too severe. The numerous photos of extremely rare and obscure Asian liquors that have just been wiped out, for example, are likely never to be replaced, leaving many very bare articles and impoverishing our readers, and for what? Perhaps that represents some kind of triumph in your mind, but I'm afraid I can't agree. Badagnani 09:29, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It's the "likely never to be replaced" that I disagree with. I am constantly surprised by the vast range of subjects for which we have free pictures; Wikipedia has a huge network of contributors from all around the world, and many of them contribute their original photographs. As to your question of, "for what?", my answer is that it is for the purpose of ensuring that, when, in the future, Wikipedia content is distributed in print or CD form in countries without a "fair use" exception, we will have more images to send worth it. That's worth slightly shrinking the volume of content we offer to our present internet audience to achieve. --RobthTalk 18:15, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment: This is a community, and we make policy together. I take exception to the extreme mode of enforcement, as the "promophoto" tag is a legitimate one, and the images are on the Internet in order to promote these products. The harsh and impersonal mode of discourse I mentioned just makes the actions (of such editors) appear that much worse. Badagnani 07:27, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Hi, at the moment some seem to have forgotten that we have two policies - and they aren't mutually consistent (see WP:C). So this morning I have asked to know the Foundation's official policy...luke 07:35, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Comment:While we should do more to emphasize our policies to editors, the information has been there. When I started uploading images a year ago I very carefully studied the fair use policy. As a result, of the nearly 100 images I have uploaded, only 2 are tagged as 'fair use'. One is a photo of a 40 year-old album cover, and the other is a true promotional photo, taken from the press kit published on-line by a public relations firm. To call an image of a product from an on-line catalog 'promotional' I think distorts the intent of the policy. It is indeed unfortunate that a lot of images uploaded in good faith by editors will be deleted, but the policy is there, and has been there for a while, and if we make exceptions for images uploaded in good faith we lose the moral right to enforce any policy. -- Donald Albury 12:32, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It's obvious that Badagnani was not only acting in good faith by uploading these images, but that he was working hard to make Wikipedia a better place. I hope no one doubts that. And it's clear to me that the articles are improved by having the images. However its also clear that the images violate policy as it stands. This policy is supported by Jimbo and the Board, and is supported by a majority of Wikipedians who regularly deal with copyright issues -- but it is wholeheartedly disagreed with by a large group of Wikipedian as well, who also make good points. I personally support the policy that requires these images be deleted, but if Wikipedia ultimately decides to use these sorts of pictures, I wouldn't make too much of a fuss. The most important thing to me is that this sort of this never have to happen again. If we aren't going to accept images like this, it ought to be obvious to anyone uploading them that they'll be deleted. And it's not yet. I can't tell you the number of users who have said "Well then what's the {{promo}} tag for?", or "But we have lots of pictures like these!" If we can prevent this sort of unhappiness we should. We could prevent it by changing policy and allowing these sort of images to stay -- which I don't support. Or we could work to make sure all new user know, unambiguously, not to upload unfree images at all unless they are irreplaceable and historic. – Quadell (talk) (random) 23:28, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Thank you; it's partly the method whereby editors went about it I objected to, methodically dismantling editors' contributions that were, in my case, carefully selected to apply under the "promophoto" tag you mention. After reading Wales' comment posted below, however, I think it might have been much nicer if the deleting editors had stipulated that the webmasters of the websites from which the photos were originally downloaded be emailed, asking for their permission to use the photos in question. Likely at least some would have complied. The thing is, I wouldn't even know what to ask. Perhaps we could benefit from a tutorial (in plain English) in exactly what to ask when emailing for such permission. I expect that some webmasters would be leery if they were asked to use photos from their websites without certain stipulations or assurances. And, as mentioned before, from experience, some of the websites, such as those featuring photos of extremely obscure Asian liquors, probably would never respond to such a query. Badagnani 23:37, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Well regarding the "tutorial" for requesting permissions we do have Wikipedia:Requesting copyright permission. I think it's fairly plain English. Though again there is the problem of making people aware that it exist. --Sherool (talk) 00:43, 25 November 2006 (UTC)


The definition of replaceable that some are using I do not agree with. Some are using the possibility of replaceability as grounds that it is replaceable. However, I think the definition is:

  1. that there is an image that exists already (not one that could be taken in the future), already uploaded onto Wikicommons and
  2. that is an acceptable, generally equivalent replacement (ie, of a person it shows their face like a publicity photo would, not the back or side of their head)

Further, the concern that fair use images aren't readily replaced with free onces since they already exist and no one searches for free ones is a fault of the system. No page or system exists to request replaceable pictures. A page and tag could be setup to mark images that could be replaceable and are requested to do so. Simply deleting images in the hopes someone will upload a free replacement is damaging to Wikipedia as the quality of the article suffers. It's why featured articles should have a picture. --MECUtalk 15:30, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

That is what you think the definition is. Many others, including Jimbo Wales, disagree, and your interpretation ignores the logic of the policy, which is that by removing fair use images now we encourage the creation of free ones. Note also that FA images must have appropriate copyright status; this is not a requirement for against-policy fair use images. --RobthTalk 18:18, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm tired of people throwing around "what Jimbo Wales says" without a link to back it up. And you must have not read my entire statement, specifically where I said "Further, the concern that fair use images aren't readily replaced with free onces since they already exist and no one searches for free ones is a fault of the system. No page or system exists to request replaceable pictures. A page and tag could be setup to mark images that could be replaceable and are requested to do so." Deleting the images is one way to do it, my way is another. Was there any thought put in to what would be the best way? Or did someone just decide and start acting? Also, I am not alone in my definition. --MECUtalk 19:44, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
It's not quite true that no system to request image replacements have existed. We have had {{fairusereplace}} for about a year already. Though I can agree that it may not been "advertised" well enough. That's generaly always the case with image related issues though, people just don't care about the image policies untill theyr images start disapearing. Back when we first started demanding source and copyright info on the images we had acumulated over 20,000 that had been tagged with the old {{unverified}} tag for months and months with little or no effect. When we started deleting those there was much of the same drama, cries about people not beeing given a chance to provide the required info, good faith contributions beeing destroyed, articles beeng dammaged etc... --Sherool (talk) 20:28, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Re Jimbo: link (there are others too).
Re a preexisting system to replace these images. As Sherool pointed out, there is one, and the fact is that it just doesn't work. What's the motivation to go looking for a free image when the article already has one, and will be allowed to keep it? A few people do go looking for replacements, but not many. When fair use images are removed on the other hand, free images start popping up with encouraging frequency. --RobthTalk 21:00, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, in the link you provided, Wales states that Wikipedia has enough clout now that if an editor writes to a website where a promotional photo is hosted, s/he can usually get permission to use the photo (i.e. a free use license). I don't think this avenue has been seriously addressed in previous discussion. One problem with this is that many rare promotional images are hosted on websites in foreign nations, and even if one writes to the webmaster, they often don't respond. Even webmasters in English-speaking areas don't respond either, as if they don't have time to deal with such queries, or they just get too many emails per day to respond to. Badagnani 21:13, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

General rant[edit]

Badagnani wrote "This is a community and we make policy together". For better or worse, this is not true, several core policies are handed down from the Foundation. Most of the time we hardly notice because they're obviously good policies.

WP:NPOV, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:No original research are polices that, basically, everyone agrees with. BUT...our fair use policy is the one central policy that many editors do NOT agree with, and especially the new draconian implementation. And with good reason, the reason being that it's a bad policy if your number one goal is the make the best on-line encyclopedia possible.

But that isn't the the Foundation's number one goal. It's an important goal to them, but not the most important. The number one goal is making a freely redistributable encyclopedia.

Is there a good reason for this? Not that anyone's ever been able to explain to me, and I've asked around. In my opinion, its a fairly useless goal with no real upside. People try to justify it, but the justifications are weak in the extreme. An editor above talked about future distribution of a print edition (!) and a CD edition. The Foundation has had talks with MIT about including Wikipedia CDs in the $100 computers that MIT wants to distribute to poor countries. This is asinine. If your village can't get web access you have a lot more pressing needs than a Wikipedia CD and you're probably better off with Brittanica anyway. And there's no other real reason to ever have a CD edition.

So why is is it so imporant the our content be totally free? My personal opinion is that Jimbo and the Foundation have drunk the Kool-Aid. They want to make the best encyclopedia possible to the extent that that is consistent with staying on Richard Stallman's speed-dial. I think this is a purely ideological position, the foundation wants everything to be under the Gnu license simply because they want to give back to the free-content community and because they think that free information is a end in itself, and that this is more important to them than having the best encyclopedia possible.

I don't care about some future CD version, I'm not here to make nice with the free-content movement, and I really don't give a rat's about third parties who want to redistribute Wikipedia content. Let take care of itself. I'm here to work on making the best on-line encyclopedia possible and I suspect that a lot of editors are here for that.

But none of that matters.

As they say, the boss isn't always right, but he's always the boss. Jimbo and the Foundation set up the structure for the Wikipedia to exist, they don't meddle a lot, but when they do we have to deal with it. They're pretty good on most issues; on this one, we just have to grin and bear it. No organization is perfect and no boss is perfect, so it's no use railing about it.

As an admin, I promised to enforce policy and I intend to do so. If policy ever gets stupid enough that it's not worth working on the encyclopedia anymore, I'll leave. But we're nowhere near that point now. The encyclopedia is still pretty darn good even if we do have to jettison a lot of usable images and piss off a lot of good editors. It's too bad but about that but— Preceding unsigned comment added by Herostratus (talkcontribs)

You write off the importance of redistributability, but I couldn't disagree more. If I believed that the only thing that was going to come out of this project was a great encyclopedia for the internet, I'd chuck in my cards and walk away right now. I'm not pouring hours upon hours into this project so that the chump sitting across from me in the dining hall Monday morning has a bigger and better cheat sheet for his last second cramming, or so that Joe 13-year-old can have the full range of Pokemon battle moves at his fingertips; I'm doing it because I believe that if you gather together as much useful information as you can in one place and say to the world "here it is, do what you want with it", people will find something worth doing.
Now I don't believe that somebody's going to package up the entirety of Wikipedia, print it out, and start passing it out to the disenfranchised. But I do believe that people will find ways to compile and package the content we're gathering here to reach people who never could have had it before.
Right now, a good textbook on Ancient Greece will set you back $50-100. Give the folks working on that subject another few years to go with this, though, and I think we can come up with enough good content that someone could copy and paste it all together into a text worth teaching from and make money selling it for 10% over the cost of production. The same can be said of any number of other areas of the 'pedia.
This project has the potential to become an incredible reservoir of repurposable content, and if temporarily decreasing the service we offer to the denizens of the internet can improve that reservoir, then I'm all for it. Wikipedia could only be written on the internet, but if it was never going to be read outside of the internet it would be a damn waste of time. --RobthTalk 07:48, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Herostratus, thanks for your remarks which I read with interest. I would like to clear up one point before we talk about the reasons for the policy. You will see above ( the moment some seem to have forgotten that we have two policies - and they aren't mutually consistent (see WP:C). So this morning I have asked to know the Foundation's official policy. posted at 07:35 on 23 November 2006) that I was concerned a couple days ago about a crucial policy inconsistency which seems to impose a significant difficulty in interpreting the policy. Now the particular point I want to make at this stage - and then wait for others to come in on the discussion if they wish before proceeding - is that the Wikimedia Board doesn't, contrary to what was implied earlier, appear to have a policy position specifically on 'fair use' in Wikipedias. That is based on the one answer received on the Foundation mailing list to 2 fair use questions....--luke 08:53, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
What does using fair use images have anything to do with re-distributivity? Does the GDFL require that you make it easy for people to copy/reuse your items? Isn't the Wikipedia policy that anyone who reuses Wikipedia must determine for themselves the applicability to them of items used under fair use? (Yes, see Reusers rights and obligations) It would be easy for someone to copy if they omitted all fair use items. The English Wikipedia allows fair use items. Systematically removing all fair use items section be section because some users have the idea that fair use isn't free which then means we can't possibly be following the foundations goal is asinine. --MECUtalk 15:32, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
But leaving out all those fair use images leaves an impoverished version. How much better that reused version would be if all the fair use images had been replaced by free images. That is what this initiative is aiming for. -- Donald Albury 17:12, 25 November 2006 (UTC)
A great argument for leaving the images until free ones are found to replace them. By removing them, you have a reduced product. --MECUtalk 00:24, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
If you leave the unfree images, there is no incentive to replace them with free images, which hurts WP in the long run. -- Donald Albury 01:13, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
Why do we have to give incentives? Is there any actual incentive to working for Wikipedia at all? Yet thousands seem to do it anyways. I think another system could work just as well. If people spent the same amount of time they spend deleting images as they would finding replacements instead, you'd be quite amazed. --MECUtalk 15:23, 26 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm still trying to puzzle this out exactly because the issues are a little complicated. But it seems to me that the idea of incentivizing the search for free images is fundamentally not in harmony with WP:FAITH - "To assume good faith is a fundamental principle on Wikipedia. In allowing anyone to edit, we must assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it. If this weren't true, a project like Wikipedia would be doomed from the beginning...." The proper way would surely be to explain to editors the aim to have free content rather than copyright, admonishing them of an obligation to look for a free alternative as being preferable to copyright material used as fair use. That way, everyone understands the position. Furthermore this would perhaps enable harmonizing our fair use policy, which at the moment is in considerable disarray because of a fundamental discrepancy between WP:C and WP:FUC. As i remarked above, and no-one has disputed it, The Foundation doesn't have an overriding policy so we must sort this out for ourselves...luke 08:07, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

More general ranting[edit]

Okay, let's have a look at the policy...

Any non-free media used on Wikipedia must meet all of these criteria:

1. No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information...

Some seem to be interpreting this vague language in an extremely restrictive way... a way which would moot nearly all of WP:FUC. Let's start with "could be created". Some are suggesting that this means any possibility at all of a free image being created; see Template talk:promophoto to see a proposed change that the template only apply to deceased persons. But even that doesn't meet the strict bar of "could be created"; theoretically a very talented artist could carefully craft a GFDL'd composition of the subject, adequately conveying the same information. Based on this interpretation, there is no nonreplaceable image, and therefore we could make things a whole lot simpler and less confusing by rewriting WP:FUC to simply say, "No copyrighted images may be used." This obviously isn't what's intended by the policy, and I hold that there's an implicit "reasonably" in there before "could be created". The picture of the governor of my state is currently flagged with a replaceability template. Is it reasonable for a Wikipedian to get an appointment with the governor to take a carefully posed and made-up portrait such as the one here? Must this procedure be followed for every single public figure who went to the trouble of releasing a promotional photograph specifically to avoid this kind of a hassle? Would a candid shot of the governor at a public appearance "adequately give the same information?"

No, it would not. Let's consider what "information" is conveyed by a promotional photo. Is it "Here's what this guy looks like," and nothing more? No! In the first place, that information is not necessarily conveyed at all; see "carefully posed and made-up" above. In the second fact, the content of a promotional photo, combined with the information that it is a promotional photo conveys the additional information, "Here's how this person wishes to be represented in the public eye." No candid shot could adequately convey the same information, and I maintain that nothing but a promotional photo could adequately convey the same information, hence promotional photos are not replaceable. VoiceOfReason 15:19, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

If no-one does so soon I propose a wholesale review of fair use policy taking all factors into account. These should include legal advice, technical advice on server loads, Jimmy Wales's view, free content considerations etc. If necessary the policy can be recast, and hopefully a concord can be achieved on what has become a major distraction for the project--luke 18:22, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
Good luck. Tvccs 01:58, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Thank you. By the way could you give me the reference for: "Jimbo" has specifically endorsed copyright protections and the DMCA as being a good approach to protecting the rights of artists. Thanks..luke 05:19, 10 December 2006 (UTC)