Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2017-12-18/In the media

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Stolen seagulls, public domain primates and more: The media discuss online copyright issues, Wikipedia's coverage of the capital of Israel and creation of a "reasonably clean, honest and reliable" work on Earth and in space.
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Was this gull appropriated for the currency of Kazakhstan?

The "Wikipedia Seagull"

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Allegedly copied gull

When Kazakhstan released a brand new 500 tenge bill (about US$1.50), a Swiss photographer named Marcel Burkhard noticed something odd about the bird on the face of the bill. It looked exactly like the bird that he had uploaded to Wikipedia on December 3, 2005, as User:Cele4. The photo is the lead image at ru:Чайковые and that photo is alleged to have been lifted by the Kazakhstan Central Bank and placed on their bill. The bank has denied all accusations of plagiarism, but has announced that they would change the bill "in time".

The bird is just one of the many times that Wikipedia content has been plagiarized (see previous Signpost coverage). People from editors at BuzzFeed, to an American senator, to the Pentagon, to Oxford University Press have all lifted content from Wikipedia. (Global Voices)

Interview with the monkey selfie photographer

Podcast This American Life presented "So a Monkey and a Horse Walk Into a Bar" featuring a narrative of how Wikimedia projects have presented the monkey selfie copyright dispute along with a conversation with photographer David Slater. Persons interested in the issue can read past coverage in The Signpost. At least hundreds and perhaps a few thousand Wikimedia community members engaged in conversation about the monkey selfie dispute in 2014 or later. Because of the controversy around this issue, this commentator at The Signpost will speak only for themselves in making the following observations about what is striking about this podcast:

  1. The Wikimedia community is sensitive to distinguishing the differences between online media platforms, the community which publishes on that platform, and the organization which hosts it. Wikimedia community members observe that mainstream media seems to understand that for example, Facebook the website is different from individual users who post to Facebook, and that Facebook as a company is different still. This podcast like many other mainstream media reports of Wikipedia conflates and confuses Wikipedia the platform, the community of users which publishes to Wikimedia projects, and the Wikimedia Foundation as an organization. It is unfortunate that Slater, even since 2014 and all that he has experienced, seems to express no awareness of the basics of how Wikipedia works and what distinctions exist between the publication, editors, and paid Foundation staff. This American Life journalists seem similarly confused. How can the Wikimedia movement better present itself to avoid this sort of confusion?
  2. Whatever happened in this case, many people respect This American Life as a podcast and yet somehow their journalistic investigation described Wikimedia projects in a way which community participants would probably regard as flawed in its premises. For example, the podcast reports that the Wikimedia Foundation exercises editorial control over Wikipedia's content.
  3. Slater is obviously highly distraught and feels that "Wikipedia" (whether platform, community, or WMF) has greatly harmed him. While sometimes the Wikimedia community may conflict with others, ideally, the conflict could proceed with the Wikimedia community's sincere attempt to establish mutual understanding and some transparent documentation that we offered a fair process.
  4. In Wikimedia community lore, the Wikimedia community imagined that on December 22, 2014, in section 313.2 the United States Copyright Office provided clarification on the monkey selfie dispute when it published the below statement. The podcast did not mention if the photographer or anyone else was aware that the Copyright Office had recently published an opinion on monkey photography.

In brief

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Jerusalem then and now



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