Wikipedia talk:Replaceability of fair-use images/Archive 12/19/2006-1/10/2007

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I like this policy suggestion as a clarification to existing policy. I don't feel the following statement is right: we are also equally committed to the goal of producing a quality encyclopedia. As much as I would like to believe this, I'm not sure it is supported by current policy. Maybe something along the lines of, we recognize that images are an important source of information on their subjects. I didn't see a specific mention of subjects who routinely appear in public, but in venues that don't allow photography. -Freekee 18:37, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

That sentence is quoted directly from the preamble to the fair use criteria. As for your second concern, I had addressed the general legal climate concerning such photographs (the question had been raised about whether it's legal in Japan, for one) but not a specific situational context. Daniel Case 05:04, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Generic vs. Representative images[edit]

In my opinion, there is major disagreement among wikipedians as to whether "fair use" representative images should be replaced with "free content/GFDL" generic images. While I have philosophical objections to replacing "fair use" representative images with "free content" representative ones, think that keeping "fair use" representative images clashes with the fourth pillar of the Wikimedia foundation: "free content".

However, I think that the current proposal takes no clear position on whether a "fair use" representative image should be replaced with a "free content" generic image or not. I think the proposal should take a clear position on this before it becomes policy.Librarylefty 11:20, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

If freely licensed images already exist, they must be used in place of copyrighted images used under a "fair use" claim. That's already existing policy (Fair use policy says "Always use a more free alternative if one is available.... If you see a fair use image and know of an alternative more free equivalent, please replace it, so the Wikipedia can become as free as possible.") and I don't think there is any major disagreement among Wikipedians on that point. The major disagreements as far as I can tell are (1) whether a particular free image is an adequate replacement for a currently used nonfree one (decided on a case-by-case basis), and (2) whether a nonfree image that could be replaced by a free one can be kept until such time as a free image is located or created (which was the de facto state of affairs until a month or so ago, even though policy has always said replaceable nonfree images may not be used, even when a free replacement is not yet available). —Angr 16:04, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

Questions regarding "reasonably replaceable" and "is not reasonably replaceable" criteria for living people[edit]

I read the article and it seems very reasonable and thoughtful but putting it to work raises some questions, specifically about the policy for living people.

  • "Makes regular, scheduled public appearances" How available is this information? I personally never came across such information accidently except for concerns and book signings/readings. Isn't this a problem since most public appearances are usually private and not open to the public while events like concerts usually produce poor images?
  • "Grants interviews in the news media", how do interviews by companies like Entertainment Weekly or CNN help wikipedians get a picture of the person?
  • "works in a known location", Aren't places of work usually restricted to professional visits only, if any?
  • "daily affairs in locations freely accessible to the general public" I can only see this applying to very few cases. Is a person seen shopping automatically makes a free image of the person "reasonably replaceable"?
  • "Discourages photography of themselves". So if I quote an interview/article where the author says something as such, does that automatically make fair-use images of the person okay?

I'm all for the cause of what this article is trying to accomplish but per above I anticipate some arguing at image talk pages if it is adapted. - Tutmosis 22:37, 29 December 2006 (UTC)


Since your questions and comments are good and thoughtful, I have decided not to merely intersperse mine but set them up separately.

Generally, the "reasonably replaceable" criteria are met for the sort of people mentioned as examples: politicians, academics and at least a few authors. People we generally have covered by free images already. Their usual habits are sort of the template.

How available is this information?

Some people put it on their websites.

I personally never came across such information accidently except for concerns and book signings/readings.

Googling might also reveal this sort of information, as it turns up a lot of event listings from local weeklies and such. You might not be able to go to an event, but perhaps someone closer to it could (See the underutilized WP:PMS, which probably needs a better-chosen shortcut (that one should probably instead go here).

Isn't this a problem since most public appearances are usually private and not open to the public ....

Then they wouldn't be public appearances, would they?

... while events like concerts usually produce poor images?

Usually they do (and not to say, they're usually not permitted except for all but accredited members of the media in attendance). But that's probably something I should deal with separately.

how do interviews by companies like Entertainment Weekly or CNN help wikipedians get a picture of the person?

And interviews with The Podunk Weekly Shopper aren't media? The point is to establish that someone is a public person who does not shy away from public attention.

Aren't places of work usually restricted to professional visits only, if any?

Depends on the type of workplace. You could probably walk up to the department offices at most colleges or universities, or (after passing reasonable security measures) to most elected officials' offices in democratic countries. Even if you absolutely couldn't get an appointment just to take a picture you're not going to get any money for, someone working in a known location can usually be approached outside their workplace (granted, as the "may not be" criteria suggests, if their usual workplace is a secure defense research lab, you may not be able to do that).

I can only see this applying to very few cases. Is a person seen shopping automatically makes a free image of the person "reasonably replaceable"?

I have seen a few such pictures on blogs from chance encounters with mid-level celebrities on the streets of New York. The Teutul family of American Chopper fame are residents of my town, and I see Paul Sr. around occasionally and once ate in the same restaurant. I see he and his son are represented with free images, but maybe I should drop by their shop, say I'm from Wikipedia and could I get a picture of Mikey? I probably could. I would definitely say they go about their daily affairs in locations accessible to the public.

So if I quote an interview/article where the author says something as such, does that automatically make fair-use images of the person okay?

In my book, yes. We'd sure accept that as sooth in an article.

I anticipate some arguing at image talk pages if it is adapted.

Every new policy is going to generate some arguing. The idea is to settle as many of these issues beforehand as possible. Currently, none were and a few too many admins have been using personally-chosen standards for replaceability that were far too minimal. Daniel Case 03:20, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
Well thank you for your response. It helped me understand the proposal a lot better. I must admit embarrassment for that "public appearances" question, slipped my mind. ;) I'm now beginning to believe that this policy can work. Last issue I have is a possible future incident where a notable figure is going to fit a bullet from both categories, example "was spotted shopping" but "never does interviews". I think we need figure out (and state) how to deal with such a situation without it getting into a lengthy argument. - Tutmosis 03:36, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Britney Spears as an example and problems with this page[edit]

This page says that her article is one of "Those articles use free images, but they were obtained under circumstances not generally available to the average person and not ideal for quality image creation.". Really?

If you bothered to read the [page], you'd see it's a public-domain image taken by a US sailor for the Navy's website during a 2003 concert at which "[o]rganizers provided priority seating for military members and their families", thus enabling the creation of a good image.

This is an acceptable picture for me, but I still think one that showed her performing in which her hair was not frizzed out á la Laurie Anderson in her prime, the way the general public is accustomed to seeing her, would be even better. And can you get that picture with your own camera at a concert if you buy a ticket? Chances are, no. You'll likely be forbidden from taking pictures at these shows.

Of course, currently the most representative picture of her would be obtained by staking out the hot LA nightspots.

I think Image:Britney Spears.jpg is a great example of how good free images can be. It shows Spears doing what she's famous for doing, dressed how she's famous for dressing. Sure, its not as "pretty" as a studio portrait, but its actually more realistic than such a photo.

I have no deal-breaking objections to this image, as I said above. But I still think it's not the best picture possible, and the fact is that Ms. Spears currently lives her life in such a fashion as to greatly limit the opportunity for a nice professional-equivalent headshot to be taken on a chance basis by an amateur photographer. Daniel Case 19:05, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

I think this page is problematic, as it is radically different than actually policy. Of course, its good to propose and discuss changes to policy. But this is far from what may happen, and suggests people can do things, that currently, aren't allowed. I'm concerned that this page seems to be linked-to from numerous articles, due to its use in a template. So, people may get the false impression this page has some official signficance, when it doesn't. It seems completely ignorant of what policy is now, or may become. --Rob 12:13, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing out that Template:Rfu-c pointed here; I didn't realize that! I changed it so it points to WP:FU instead. —Angr 12:30, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I wondered why that was done, too, although it did seem to indicate to me that consensus was forming for these guidelines. What steps have to be taken to at least upgrade these to guideline status? It seems to me that a formal vote is not absolutely necessary. Daniel Case 19:05, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
For me, the section beginning "An image of a living person may not be reasonably replaceable if that person:" needs to be merged in with the preceding section beginning "An image of a living person is reasonably replaceable". We shouldn't be making distinctions between Dan Savage-level celebrities and Tom Cruise-level celebrities.
For the sake of a credible, realistic definition of replaceability, we cannot but be making that distinction. You can get a lot closer to a Dan Savage than you can to Tom Cruise. Just because Alan Light did in the latter instance does not mean it's going to be easy for just anyone to do so. Daniel Case 05:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
Easy, no, but possible. If it were incredible and unrealistic to say that a free image of Tom Cruise can reasonably be made, we wouldn't have one. —Angr 06:34, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Stop misrepresenting things. "May not be reasonably replaceable" ≠ "incredible and unrealistic". You seem so much to see things in black and white, and in this matter we must admit some shades of gray. I'm glad Alan Light got that kind of picture of Tom Cruise. But he had special access and chose later to use it in a way that benefited free content. It is currently unrealistic to make the assumption that that will be the case with everyone we want to have pictures of. Daniel Case 19:25, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Image quality[edit]

Also, the entire "Image quality" section has to be scrapped (and similarly the word "quality" throughout).

I'm going to completely ignore this criticism as I increasingly suspect it does not come from any sort of good-faith position. The fair use criteria themselves state that "the second part of our mission" is "to produce a quality encyclopedia". Would you insist on not scrapping poorly written text just because it wasn't copyvio? Hell no ... Please argue this purely on what you would consider an effective working definition of replaceability, and not to further this stealth agenda you have of pushing the English Wikipedia into joining the German and Spanish Wikipedias as all free-use. If you want to uphold the free-content pillar, consider that you must do so in the manner most likely to encourage the credible use of free content. Daniel Case 05:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

It is preposterous to insist that free images "be of equivalent quality to most extant images of the subject" and frankly untrue to state "We can only credibly insist on free content if we demand quality comparable to non-free content." Amateur photographs like Image:BlnHauptbahnhof26.jpg (to pick an example of my own work) may not be as high-quality as professional photographs, and probably don't meet your definition of "quality image" in the "Definitions" section, but a fair-use image of the same building would certainly be considered replaceable. So the freeness of my image has to take precedence over the quality of any fair use image. —Angr 19:54, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

You obviously don't spend much time looking over our photo collection.
First, your picture is a quality image in my book. And, I would suspect, many others. Don't go around selling yourself short.
Second, we have 664 featured pictures. All of them are required to be free. Quite a few are public domain thanks to the US government, but (I think) the majority are taken by users here. A teenage boy from Australia is responsible for almost 10 percent of those images, in fact. Speaking as someone who used to (and still does, occasionally) take publishable photos as part of his job, I am very impressed with the majority of pictures here. I would select many of them for use in paid publications if I were back editing photos ... and indeed some have been. I was very proud a couple of months ago when I got contacted about licensing this picture by a production company making a special on Imelda Marcos for the Discovery Channel that felt it perfectly illustrated brutalist architecture.

So I am not imposing any standard we don't already have, and strive for, when I write replaceability guidelines that remind people they can't just point their camera phones at some famous person 200 feet (OK, 61 m) away and upload it as is.

Along those lines, however, I should add that while our FPs show that we can take damn good photos of natural phenomena, fauna and flora and city skylines at night in addition to snarfing great ones from the U.S. military, they show that as of yet we don't take good portraits. Consider that, as I've pointed out elsewhere, the aforementioned featured picture gallery includes only one image of a notable living person — McCoy Tyner, and that one's over 30 years old. I feel that if we can take pictures of natural features, skylines and flowers that are as good if not better than the Britannica's, we can and should insist on FP-worthy pictures of living persons. Especially if a) we hold the articles about the corresponding individuals to a higher standard for accuracy to the point that WP:3RR doesn't apply if you're dealing with someone inserting libelous material and b) we are deciding to get rid of the many fair-use images of NLPs we have to better spur their replacement by free ones.

I admit this may not be easy for every shutterbug we have, as portrait photography is a little trickier than taking pictures of train stations. However, it can be learned. My picture of Ted Sorensen is not something I would submit even to picture peer review, but it would do on a book jacket or in a magazine ... and it's free-license. I cite the quality standard of fair-use images because I know we have photographers who can do as well.

Third, I would add that the German Wikipedia, to which you are fond of referring most of us in adversarial positions to yourself in this ongoing argument as an example of how you can have a quality encyclopedia without fair-use images, has at least one featured picture of a notable living person, one good enough for us as well. If they can do it, as you have always seemed to suggest, so can we. Jawohl!

Fourth and last, I would also remind you that low quality is specifically listed under the image deletion criteria. It can be (and should be used a lot more than it is) as a reason in and of itself to delete an image — as is done on the German Wikipedia regularly, if I understand correctly. You have argued repeatedly that leaving a fair-use image in discourages the creation of a replacement free-use one (leaving aside that I and others long replaced fair-use images with our own quality free ones without benefit of a draconian image-replacement policy, once we concluded we could indeed produce an equivalent-quality replacement) ... it thus follows as inexorably as night follows day that retaining a crappy free-use image in discourages its replacement by a better one. Daniel Case 05:43, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Addendum: I should also remind you, Angr, that as the very last section points out "replacement image" does not necessarily mean "one taken by a Wikipedian". We should be working as much to persuade the creators of the type of images we're lookking for to release at least some quality images under a free license. If I persuade Jerry Bauer to give me a release of rights on that book-jacket photo of Alice Sebold that got me into this whole argument, right away we've got a great-quality free image. We have added many of our free images of people by just that process of persuasion. Daniel Case 05:51, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, of course we have some very good free images, I never said we didn't, but you can't illustrate a million articles with 664 pictures. And even the featured pictures we have are probably not all as good as professionally made equivalents would be, just as many (even most) of our featured articles are not as good as professionally written equivalents would be. To me, one of the charming aspects of Wikipedia is the amateurishness of the article content and the photography, and writing a policy that says free images can be replaced with fair-use images if the latter are of better quality than the former is just opening the floodgates for a mass replacement of images like mine (good enough for Wikipedia, but not a great photograph by a long shot) with professionally made images under a fair-use claim. In fact, it will completely obviate the entire rest of the policy, and the users opposed to the inclusion of free images will have a field day getting them all deleted. If this becomes policy with the "Image quality" section intact, how long do you think it will be before your own fine portrait of Ted Sorensen gets replaced with this one or even this one because someone considered your image not to be "of equivalent quality"? Not long, I suspect. —Angr 22:12, 2 January 2007 (UTC)
And you know what? If either of those images became free and replaced mine, I wouldn't mind. If we produce content that is not the best possible content and someone else improves upon our work, that's how it's supposed to be. All we have to do is insist that the improvement on a free image also be a free image (which I thought was already pretty clear, but whatever ...). I can, and will, certainly make that clearer in the guidelines.
I had an image of The Sphere replaced. It in turn got replaced when the original uploader did not respond to a request for a change in licensing as it was (surprise!) a sculpture in a public place. There's a better picture there now. And it's free.
If you're still worried about someone else replacing that picture, here's the only competition you have for that view. I wouldn't waste too much time worrying. Daniel Case 01:00, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
"To me, one of the charming aspects of Wikipedia is the amateurishness of the article content and the photography".
Hmm. I don't quite know how to respond to this one. Put it on the Main Page somehow? Send it to The Register? Assume it's a misplaced submission to WP:BJAODN?
I guess repeating it in a sarcastic change of phrasing, with an appropriate link, would get the point across:
To me, one of the charming aspects of Wikipedia is the amateurishness of the fact-checking of articles about notable living persons.
OK. Enough. Quality matters. When you have more articles in an English-language encyclopedia than any encyclopedia has ever had before, quality has to matter. When you are among the top ten websites in the world and the go-to place for quick information for millions, quality matters. When you have this many editors, quality matters.

I know we're not supposed to begin arguments with "Jimbo says", but he did say at WikiMania this year that we have to focus on quality as much as quantity in our articles, and the reason I'm quoting this in my argument is that I have seen evidence that we have been taking this seriously all over the place — in article assessments, in GA and DYK no longer accepting unreferenced articles, in the creation of a separate peer review process for science articles, among other things.

Perhaps the scientific peer review page says it best: "Wikipedia has now matured from a small intellectual exercise into a serious and respectable source of information." We can thus no longer afford to be charmed by our own amateurishness.

Angr, I say this only to make clear that it was never my intent to suggest that the replacement of free images by fair-use ones just for low quality is OK. I put the quality section in to remind people they have to shoot as well as we ask them to try to write. Yes, it is extremely unlikely that every article will someday be illustrated by a feature-quality picture. That is not an excuse for not trying to take the best possible picture for it. "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"

Note that many project banners on talk pages openly proclaim a goal of getting every article within its purview up to featured quality. Because we can do it. There is no reason not to insist on quality free content across the board. Daniel Case 04:50, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps you wouldn't mind if your picture of Sorensen was replaced with an unfree one, but I certainly would! Because both your picture and mine are good enough for Wikipedia, which should be the criterion for letting a free image replace a fair-use one. If you rewrote the "Image quality" section to say that free images must meet a minimum standard of quality (say, they must be in focus and the subject of the photograph must be recognizable), that would be much better than what it currently says (the completely unrealistic goal of requiring all free images to be as good as the professionally made ones they intend to replace).
"I put the quality section in to remind people they have to shoot as well as we ask them to try to write." That's fine as long as you remember that how they write is also not of the same quality as professional material: featured quality at Wikipedia ≠ professional quality in the real world. Our featured articles may be the best Wikipedia has to offer, but still most of them would not earn better than a C in an undergraduate composition class. There's nothing wrong with encouraging people to produce the best work they can, but that should not include telling them, as the "Image quality" section of this proposal does, that their best work will only be allowed to replace unfree content if it's at least as good as the unfree content was. —Angr 06:25, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I didn't say I wouldn't mind if that picture were replaced. I said I wouldn't mind if it were replaced by either of those images if they were relicensed as free ones. Your almost willful misreadings of my responses to you are making it increasingly difficult to assume good faith on your part.

As I have said before, we can not only create free replacement images, we can persuade rightsholders to change the rights on existing images and make them free. We have done this. We certainly need to encourage more of it.

"Our featured articles may be the best Wikipedia has to offer, but still most of them would not earn better than a C in an undergraduate composition class" Really? Having graded that sort of composition, I would beg to differ. Having done some copyedits on FACs, I would demand to differ. Have you taken them to someone who grades undergraduate papers to try and test that theory?

I really wonder what someone who seems to have such a low opinion of quality, and indeed an antipathy to it, here on Wikipedia is doing editing it. Somehow I don't think that attitude would fly on large open-source computing projects. Daniel Case 19:35, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

My misreading wasn't willful; I quite honestly overlooked "became free and" and simply read "If either of those images replaced mine..." in your post above.
"As I have said before, we can not only create free replacement images, we can persuade rightsholders to change the rights on existing images and make them free. We have done this. We certainly need to encourage more of it." I agree with you completely; but this isn't what we're talking about right now. We're talking about the wording of the proposal that suggests a free image should not be allowed to replace a fair-use image unless that free image is already of as high a quality as the fair-use image it's replacing. That is simply too high a hurdle. I think it should say that a free image only has to meet a minimum standard of quality (being in focus and showing the object or person in a recognizable way) to replace a fair-use image. (And of course that it's better to have no picture at all than a replaceable fair-use one.)
OK, I'll clarify more explicitly what I meant: that a free replacment image need only be of equivalent quality as the whole range of fair-use alternatives, not the image it's actually replacing. Your photo of the Haputbahnhof certainly fits that description; our photo of Mohonk Mountain House from a frequently used angle more than holds its own.
I am someone who has graded undergraduate compositions, and when I read Today's Featured Article on most days I am reminded of an average student's essay: the same leap from one topic to the next without any sort of transition, the same desire to sound impressive by using ten-dollar words, sometimes incorrectly, and so on. But that doesn't bother me, because I know it was mostly written by amateurs, so it's okay that it sounds that way. And it isn't true I have a low opinion of quality; I just think we shouldn't flatter ourselves into believing an encyclopedia written mostly by amateur encyclopedists is going to sound like it was written by professionals. When I write an article, I do the best I can, but I don't write "brilliant prose"; I doubt I could if I tried. I just try to get down the main encyclopedic points in a way the reader will more or less understand (which is difficult for me because I tend to write articles that require a fair amount of background knowledge in linguistics, and sometimes I forget I can't actually expect that of the readers), and move on. —Angr 20:37, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, we're sort of moving off-topic here, but ... I did copyediting on Gliding and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion during their FA noms, so I claim some responsibility/credit there. The originals weren't bad ... I'd give them B's, mostly. The art of narrative flow proves elusive for many writers.

I wish we did celebrate "brilliant prose" in some way outside the FA context. Structure is something a lot of writers could work on; I do like Frog as an FA I didn't work on that is well-written and well-organized.

With respect to Sorensen, surely an image taken during his time of prominence in the 60s, even if we can't find a free one, would be an image that ought to be included in the article? Also, in terms of quality, it seems to me that at the very least there needs to be some kind of minimum quality. If an image is not good enough to survive an Images for Deletion vote, it shouldn't be used as an excuse to delete a fair use image on the grounds of "replacement." john k 21:12, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

A fair use image that could be replaced by a free one has to be deleted regardless of whether an adequate free image has already been found or created. Any image, regardless of licensing, of such poor quality that it wouldn't survive IFD shouldn't be used at all. —Angr 21:19, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
We could probably use a PD image of him with Kennedy. I'm certain they exist. Daniel Case 00:57, 4 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree on the second. On the first, this is a lot more complicated. If you expand "could be" far enough, just about anything could be replaced by a free image - it is always theoretically possible to convince a copyright holder to release it, and people have suggested that such a possibility is enough for replaceability. But there seems to be some consensus that some images which are, at least, theoretically replaceable (those of living recluses, for instance), can still have a fair use image. Your own POV is not yet policy, so quit acting as though it is. john k 23:15, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

A different kind of example[edit]

It seems that most of the discussion here is about living people. However there are other cases. For example, I tagged Image:Ahmose-shabti-head.png as replacable. Given that a shabti is located in a public museum in Brooklyn (another in Khartoum) and as far as I'm aware there are no restrictions on photography, and that New York City has over 8 million people with 2 million of those in Brooklyn, it seems to that this is definitely a resonably replacable image. Definitely, under the current guideline "It is located where it may be viewed and photographed (with any reasonable restrictions that may be necessary to protect it) by the general public most of the time." it would. At least one person disagrees. I'm interested in hearing how many people here don't think this is resonably replacable. Nil Einne 13:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

I really don't think there's any contention about replaceability of images of objects and places. Those are more clear-cut than people.

Recently, I found that the Monster Thickburger article used, and had been using for almost two years, a Hardee's publicity photo. Given that there are Hardee's in a good portion of the United States and anyone can order one, I slapped it with the tag (the first time that ever happened). It just got deleted. Daniel Case 13:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Sorry I had a closer look and it appears I was wrong. According to the FAQ [1]

  • Photography is allowed in the Museum so long as the images are taken using existing light only (no flash) and are for personal, non-commercial use. Photography is often restricted in special exhibition galleries; please consult with the Visitor Center upon arrival.

As such, replacing this image with one from Brooklyn probably wouldn't solve the problem since it you couldn't license such an image under an adequetly free license (it would have to be under a no-commercial use license). One from Khartoum may or may not solve the problem (someone need's to find out what their policies are). Of course, you may be able to convince the Brooklyn Museum authorities to let you release a photo you took yourself under a free license and such a photo would still be more free in any case. Is there any establish guideline on how we deal with cases like this? Nil Einne 14:01, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for noting this. I will amend the guidelines appropriately. Daniel Case 15:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I've often wondered about such restrictions. On what basis can they demand that photos are used for non-commercial use only? Are they claiming copyright on the exibit or is this just like the habit some museums have of aserting copyright on scans of 500 year old paintings they have in theyr posession? --Sherool (talk) 14:23, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
My guess is that the logic runs like this:
  1. The works in question are rarities or antiquities that could not possibly be subject to copyright or for which pictures for noncommercial use are usually fair use anyway.
  1. The museums and galleries that display them for the public to see spend, have spent and plan to continue spending in the future, considerable sums of money to preserve and/or restore these works, which are often fragile due to their advanced age.
  1. They recoup some of this money, at least, by selling quality pictures of the works in question in various formats in their gift shops, and/or licensing them to publishers for glossy coffee-table volumes.
  1. A commercial photograph taken without their cooperation detracts from the money they earn/reasonably expect to earn to the purpose of upkeep of the originals. The creator of such an image earns reward without assuming any of the risk.
  1. Therefore, they can do this. Daniel Case 02:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Let me re-phrase, I understand why they would not like people to use photos of theyr collection commercialy. However is theyr "request" that photos of the exibits be not used commercialy actualy enforcable in any way other than asking people to "please don't do it". The amount of money and effort spent on something is entierly irrelevant to it's copyright status (see Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.). They do have a legal right to forbid photography on theyr premesis (basicaly if you violate theyr temrs for beeing on theyr private property they can kick you out for trespassing, but that's about it), but if they do allow photography do they have the actual legal means to dictate the way in wich such a photo is used down the line? The only way I think off would be if they aserted that theyr arangement of the exibits where creative enough to award them a copyright, but even then a close up, cropped photo of just the object in question would not infrindge on theyr copyright of the exibit itself, since it would just be a photo of a public domain object. I'm not nessesarily saying we schould ignore such conditions, but I'm genuinely curious as to just how enforcable they are. It's hardly unhard of for people to asert that theyr works are protected to a far greater extent than what the actual law covers... --Sherool (talk) 09:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Bridgman seems to have not been appealed, so it really can't be considered binding legal precedent yet even in the U.S. Second Circuit (as the British Museum Copyrights Group obliquely acknowledges). But you do have a point, I think: the only way museums could really be on safe ground legally here would be to ban all photography outright (some do). I suspect this policy is a holdover from the film-camera days, when they could be sure that most photographs of artworks would be of amateurish enough quality as for the vast majority of them not to effectively compete with any commercially useful alternative. I'm not so sure that's as true anymore with digital cameras (and I'm also sure that they're not going to ban photography as museum security already has enough to worry about without patting down every visitor for concealed digital cameras).
Yes, it seems to me that there's a test case here, especially regarding a photograph made not for direct commercial use but simply to be potentially available for commercial reuse by other parties who wish to do so. But someone other than Wikipedia will have to be the plaintiff as we have always erred as much as possible on the safely legal side of copyright law to better uphold the free-content standard.
So, for the time being, we can declare images of any artwork or antiquity located in a museum that allows the works to be photographed but not for commercial use to not be reasonably replaceable, pending any clarification of this aspect of the law, and a fair-use image permissible. Daniel Case 17:58, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I forgot about this. Anyway I have to agree, it's not resonably replacable at the moment. Nil Einne 13:10, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

May not be reasonably replaceable[edit]

(Crossposted on image talk page in question):

Did someone remember to check the British Museum's site for information on whether a photograph taken within it may be reused on a commercial site?

Photography with flash and video recording is permitted in most galleries for private purposes only, using hand-held equipment. The diary for commercial photography is closed until further notice.

For the time being, IMO, this image cannot be considered reasonably replaceable. This image should stay in the article. Daniel Case 02:08, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

AFAIK, the British Museum is irrelevant since the Shabtis are located in Brooklyn (which doesn't allow commercial photos) and Khartoum (which we don't know about although perhaps it's a bit too out of the way for most wikipedians to be considered resonably replacable) not in the British Museum. The British museum simply has a photograph of the shabti. At least that was my understanding... Nil Einne 13:10, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Geographical distance[edit]

There is a major flaw in this current definition.

This system marks all images as replaceable if they are technically replaceable but not reasonably replaceble. If therefore an image could be freely taken in London, as I am running across in a current dispute, but the editors concerned do not live in london, apparently your rules say that it is a perfectly replaceable image, even though there's not a chance in heck that I'm going to be able to actually get there. It's unreasonable that I be asked to go get one. There are british wikipedians, to be sure; However I cannot necesarrily contact them. If there is a system set up by which requests can be made for locals to go get such images, it would be perfectly reasonable to ask that the image be replaced. However, we should not be so illusioned so as to think that under the current system there is any chance that the image can be replaced. You may define replaceability however you please, however if we cannot replace it and there is little to no probability that someone who is a local will ever see the warning, let alone decide to take care of it, then by definition it is not replaceable. In my current situation, we did get a volunteer after all, however I cannot be sure that such a thing will happen in the future, and the "please replace this image" tag explicitly says that such images which are not soon replaced can be deleted outright.

Wikipedia would be far better served if its editors spent their time trying to fix problems they see, rather than composing guidelines for deleting the problem outright. These guidelines have no justification in existing unless you are also willing to set up a system for actually fixing the problems which concerned editors cannot fix themselves. Thanatosimii 18:29, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

If this were "Thanatosimiipedia", then yes, you can justify what you say, because you can't go there ;-) But in Wikipedia, you don't need to do all the job yourself. I live in Argentina, and like editing Japanese articles. As you can imagine, I cannot travel to Japan to take a picture of some place or person by myself. So, I trust either japanese contributors in this Wikipedia, or the ones contributing at the Japanese Wikipedia, to offer us a free alternative. There is really no excuse for not having free alternatives for US and UK images, as a large number of wikipedians here are from either country. Put a request at Wikipedia:Requested pictures and just wait. Wait and trust. -- ReyBrujo 18:37, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I can justify what I say in normal wikipedia... Deletion is never superior to improvement, and unless the image itself qualifies for deletion for other resons, it isn't superior to keeping a thoroughly legal fair use claim. Having deletion ever as the solution for fair use images is counterproductive. Expend effort in improving, and integrating these photo request thingies into your banners instead of saying it will be deleted within a week! Thanatosimii 21:43, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Also consider using the photograph matching service. Daniel Case 19:53, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Also for good measure put {{reqfreephotoin|London}} on the article talk (dunno if anytone is actively scanning those categories for photo targets, but hey, can't hurt). --Sherool (talk) 23:37, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Hey, check this out![edit]

I found this pic of Mischa Barton on Flickr just this morning. Yes ... a high-quality free image of a celebrity! Daniel Case 04:47, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Not to belabor a point, but, well, I'm going to belabor a point.
A) All truly libre images are free of all rights concerns.
B) This image is free of copyright concerns (CC2.0), but not free of personality rights concerns (that is, it fails the "can you commercially reuse it?" test; Mischa Barton's lawyers would likely prevent you from profitting from sale/commercial reuse of this image)
C) Therefore, this is not a libre/free image.
So where am I wrong? (Like you guys need that kind of an invitation...)  ;)
Jenolen speak it! 05:16, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Did you ever click on the link to an actual example of a fairly restrictive personality rights law (Indiana's) that Gmaxwell provided earlier? The law is here; §1(c) is of particular interest. The notion that "you cannot commercially reuse it" as a blanket statement is, in a word, wrong. No content is free of all rights concerns; you can't rework it to make it libellous, for instance. There are certain other issues, mainly involving, but not limited to, false advertising, specific to images of living people. To equate these restrictions with a blanket ban on commercial use is highly inaccurate. --RobthTalk 07:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I did; thanks for the link! But you didn't answer the question. Is this a "libre" image? Does this meet Angr's standard of what a truly "libre" image is? It's a simple question, really... Why is it so hard to answer, is this a libre image? My answer, of course, is no.
And I'm not talking about esoteric rights concerens, either, but a pretty basic principle involving libre images. I thought a libre image was supposed to be re-useable in any way. A picture of a bluebird, for example. It doesn't need the bluebird's approval... as long as the copyright concerns are addressed, it can be reused in any way.
And frankly, Indiana's law doesn't do anything for me, since I live in California, other than continue to make the case that when dealing with rights-challenged images across multiple jurisdictions, fair use is a much, much safer way to go for using images such as this. Jenolen speak it! 07:13, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Is this a libre image? My answer would be yes; the image is unencumbered by copyright concerns, which are the most widespread and uniformly enforced restrictions (similarly, I would consider an freely licensed image of a swastika to be a libre image even though there would be non-copyright-based legal restrictions on its use in certain European countries). It is fully reusable in many jurisdictions, and as freely reusable as an image of a living person can be in the rest. As for the statement that fair use is legally safer than use of libre images anywhere... I assume this is supposed to refer to the argument advanced earlier that a celebrity might sue someone for publishing an image of them that did not present their image as they wish for it to be presented. Please find an example of a law that would do this if you are going to make this assertion, or, if this is not the case you are making, explain what you are saying and provide an example of a law under which we would have any difficulty. --RobthTalk 08:06, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I rather doubt any image of a living person will be completely free of personality rights concerns, including publicity photos they have personally approved. If Jenolen is right that images encumbered with personality rights concerns are not libre enough for Wikipedia, the only solution is to prohibit any pictures of living persons, regardless of licensing. Is that what you want, Jenolen? —Angr 08:26, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

This "argument" would make sense, if I were the one pushing for a totally libre Wikipedia. I'm not. You are. And that's fine, but let's keep things straight. It's YOU who compared fair use of copyrighted material on Wikipedia as the "manslaughter" to the "murder" of the goal of having a completely free/libre encyclopedia. Or were you being a tad bit hyperbolic?  ;)

But let's look at the big issue: If you DO agree that there can be NO truly libre image of a living person -- and you agree that we should have images of living people in Wikipedia -- then I have no idea WHY you wouldn't allow for fair use of such images whenever possible. If there can be no libre celebrity photos ... and we want Wikipedia, as an encylopedia, to identify and show what certain celebrated people look like ... then we HAVE to rely on fair use. Now, we're just arguing over how much to allow. I want much, much more than you do, because I think once you've met the legal standard for fair use, you've .. uh ... pretty much met the legal standard. You, though continually push for an ideological goal - a goal, however unrealistic, that I realize is shared by the founders of this project. And therefore, maybe this project, eventually, will NEVER include celebrity promotional photos. And maybe it's okay to have unrealistic goals!

But it remains idiotic - emperically - that a photo such as the official state goverment photo of the Governor of Michigan - released for use by the media, citizens, and organizations - is NOT "copyleft" enough for this project. Ridiculous, really, that there should even be a debate about it. The ONLY reason to keep that photo out of Wikipedia is because of an ideological purity toward the "libre only" concept. And you are the admin who deleted that image. So let's make no mistake - it is you who have pushed a libre extremist viewpoint time and time again.

As for Robth's questions, I am genuinely surprised that he considers the Mischa Barton picture to be libre. Robth, you seem to know a lot about this sort of thing, and if you are correct, then I apparently had an understanding of libre that was wrong. If libre refers to copyrights only, then great. I honestly was under the impression that in order for an image to be considered libre (under the Angr standard), it had to be free of ALL rights concerns. (Free to redistribute, free to modify, free to be used commercially, etc.) It's also helpful to remember that Angr is the one who comes to Wikipedia looking for content he can freely reuse in any manner, not I.

But when describing this image, you say, and as freely reusable as an image of a living person can be in the rest. ... aren't you talking about fair use there? Just a little?

As for the statement that fair use is legally safer than use of libre images anywhere... -- Ah, but that's NOT what I'm saying. I'm saying this is NOT a libre image... and those who say it's libre are wrong. So fair use is required.

I'll see if I can't dig up some statue that explains to your satisfaction how commercially reusing a celebrity's image without their consent in California (and many other states) is illegal, but, uh, do you really need that? I mean, c'mon... you're smart enough to "know" this is true, for the purposes of this debate. It's why I can't sell my own Three Stooges merchandise, or even make my own Firefly/Serenity T-shirts through CafePress. Do we really need a citation for this? As fun as the "High School Debate Club" aspect of Wikipedia policy making is, I'm more than a little tired of it... Jenolen speak it! 05:07, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

First, it would appear that I misinterpreted your earlier statement; I wasn't requesting evidence that personality rights exist or would limit the reuse of this image. Rather, I (mistakenly, apparently) thought you were alluding to an argument advanced earlier by someone or another, someone in this multi-page forest fire, who advanced the ridiculous notion that Wikipedia might be sued by a celebrity for using an image that was not that celebrity's endorsed promotional photo.
Next, to the question of whether some element of fair use is involved when reusing a freely licensed image of a living person: no. Fair use is a legal doctrine that applies only to the use of copyrighted material without the permission of the rights holder, and thus does not enter the question when dealing with a freely licensed image. When I said that a freely licensed image is "the most freely reusable" in jurisdictions that recognize personality rights or other non-copyright limitations, I meant that, while these jursidictions impose certain restrictions on the use of images of certain subjects, these restrictions apply to all images equally, while a freely licensed image is free of the more substantial restrictions imposed by copyright. So no, fair use is not necessary. People reusing any image, whether freely licensed or fair use, will have to pay attention to the requirements of local personality rights laws, but with a freely licensed image they will be free to use the image for purposes that would not qualify as fair use of an unfree image.
Finally, to the question of whether libre applies specifically to copyright, I think it does, but I'm not sure; I'm not even sure if there is a canonical definition of libre in this regard. Or if it matters; there is no practical way to create an image of a living person that is more free than a freely licensed image of that person, so we certainly aren't doing ourselves any harm by using these images, and they are more free than the fair use alternative. --RobthTalk 06:52, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
I guess my "concern", such as it is, is this:
A) Users (such as Angr, but I don't mean to pick on him/her... there's plenty of 'em, including Jimbo/Foundation types...) want all Wikipedia content to be totally libre free, not just copyright free.
B) Content such as this certainly doesn't meet that standard.
C) Downstream users who THINK this content meets that standard will be in for an unpleasant legal surprise.
D) That legal surprise may lead all the way back UPSTREAM to the original uploader of the material and original hoster.
An irrational fear? Perhaps. (In poker, it's called "monsters under the bed" -- worrying about something super unlikely.) But it's certainly not more irrational than the whole Granholm photo idiocy, which remains the low point of this debate for me. I mean, if we're not going to include state goverment photos released for "personal, media, or organizations" to use, I really think we're just creating problems where none exist.
And after being told time and again that a reason to RFU something is to protect the rights of the downstream users, so they can reuse material in any fashion, I also think it's just hypocritical to now turn around and say, "Well, downstreamers, you're on your own." Does that make sense? I mean, if the "rules" are hypocritical, can't we both agree they need to be changed?
Jenolen speak it! 11:12, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Where did you get the idea I want Wikipedia content to be "totally libre free, not just copyright free"? Copyright-free is good enough for me. Fair-use has its place too; fair-use content (whether images, audio-visual files, or text) should (in my opinion, not per current policy) be used iff the article would be incomprehensible without them. But I still don't understand why you would prefer to use images that are covered by both copyright protection and personality rights protection (such as the Granholm picture I deleted) rather than images that are covered only by personality rights protection (such as the Granholm picture I uploaded and that is on the article now). With the former, both Wikipedia itself and downstream users are open to lawsuits on two grounds, while with the latter, we/they are open to lawsuits on only one. Unless, of course, you're simply opposed to copyright-free content on general principles. —Angr 11:36, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
As to the question of whether we are misleading reusers into thinking we are free of all restrictions, and legality of content this passage from the site disclaimer, though necessarily worded in very general terms to cover the great number of possible eventualities, does refer to the importance of examining local laws when reusing Wikipedia content. --RobthTalk 14:50, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

OK - so let's look at this from the other direction. Under what circumstance would someone be unable to use a photo of a celebrity that was released by their publicist - yet be free to use a photo we took ourselves? It can't be some commercial use because that would fall foul of the personality rights laws - so what other circumstance are we thinking of here? Whatever that circumstance is must be the purpose behind this push to replace such publicity photos. I guess I'm having a hard time figuring out what that is. Furthermore, I'm having a yet harder time figuring out under what circumstances having no photo at all would be preferable to just having a publicity shot. SteveBaker 15:32, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

First of all I don't think personality rights can totaly ban all potential commercial use, how else can photos of celebreties be printed in magazines and newspapers? Furthermore most of the world don't have fair use to fall back on so a free licensed image would be a lot "safer" for all sorts of non-commercial uses (besides I don't think Californian law can be imposed on reusers outside the US anyway). And from a purely "selfish" point of view a free licensed photo would be usable the all ~250 Wikimedia projects, the majority of wich don't allow unfree images at all. --Sherool (talk) 15:52, 10 January 2007 (UTC)