Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
5 messages Options
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

Sage Ross
I'd like to get a little wider input on this issue.  Tony1 is
reviewing a recent academic book about Wikipedia for the Signpost, and
we'd like to include an image of the cover in the review:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Book_cover_O%27Sullivan.jpg

Unfortunately, since the Signpost is project space, this violates the
letter of the policy, but (in my view) neither the letter nor the
spirit of the Foundation-level directives for non-free content.  Is
this (and other Signpost book reviews in the future, perhaps) a valid
case an exemption to the non-free content policy?

It's being discussed on-wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content#Book_cover_images_in_critical_reviews_of_books_on_WP_in_The_Signpost
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content_criteria_exemptions#Book_cover_images_in_critical_reviews_of_books_on_WP_in_The_Signpost

-Sage (user:ragesoss)

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

Gregory Maxwell
On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM, Sage Ross <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'd like to get a little wider input on this issue.  Tony1 is
> reviewing a recent academic book about Wikipedia for the Signpost, and
> we'd like to include an image of the cover in the review:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Book_cover_O%27Sullivan.jpg
>
> Unfortunately, since the Signpost is project space, this violates the
> letter of the policy, but (in my view) neither the letter nor the
> spirit of the Foundation-level directives for non-free content.  Is
> this (and other Signpost book reviews in the future, perhaps) a valid
> case an exemption to the non-free content policy?

I certainly don't agree that it is.  The only justification for
including any non-free works on english wikipedia is that doing so is
widely accepted to be a necessity (on EN, at least) to accomplish our
stated mission as an encyclopaedia, and it so happens that kind of
necessity has long been understood by the lawmakers and the courts, so
that it's clearly permitted.

Both of these aspects are necessary components of the reasoning, and
it's not at all clear that the signpost is itself essential, even less
so that signpost being hosted by Wikimedia is essential, and I think
it would be patently ridiculous to say that the signpost being able to
use particular images is essential for the project mission...  as far
as I can tell the signpost almost never has images at all, even when
it easily could.

This state of affairs wasn't an omission in policy-crafting. There
have always been cases where people wanted to use illustrations which
were not freely licensed outside of main project development spaces,
including cases which were no less useful and no less noble than the
sign post. The prohibition on this usage is intentional.

Part of the notion behind being particular about non-project usage is
that it fosters a culture of being particular about copyright— without
an acute awareness of the restrictions that copyright can place on
usage, we couldn't hope to minimize problems which would diminish the
usefulness of the project. The tighter rules outside of project space
give us an opportunity to hone our skills on alternatives and dispense
some nit-picking energy in a place where it doesn't harm the end
project. It also helps make it more clear that the state of the rest
of the project is a reasoned compromise between extremes. ("See, our
acceptance of non-free works doesn't mean we hate freedom. We have a
hard prohibition against it everwhere else!")

Beyond all that—   I don't think I could make an honest argument
against an indifference to the use of licensed works on userpages
which didn't also say that a decision to allow it on signpost was also
in the wrong.   About the best I could offer is that we could
reasonably police the signpost usage to make sure that it was lawful
and minimal, even without a bright-line prohibition, while doing the
same for user-pages is a substantially harder task (and proven by
experience to be basically impossible)... but I can't see a reason
that we should afford the opinion pieces in the signpost any special
privileged compared to the opinion pieces people write on their
userpages, essays, or comments elsewhere.  "It's only tractable if we
only allow one" isn't a particularly fair position to take, true as it
may be.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

Sage Ross
Greg, I agree with much of your analysis, but depart at a few points.

On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 5:17 PM, Gregory Maxwell <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>

>The only justification for
> including any non-free works on english wikipedia is that doing so is
> widely accepted to be a necessity (on EN, at least) to accomplish our
> stated mission as an encyclopaedia, and it so happens that kind of
> necessity has long been understood by the lawmakers and the courts, so
> that it's clearly permitted.
>
> Both of these aspects are necessary components of the reasoning, and
> it's not at all clear that the signpost is itself essential, even less
> so that signpost being hosted by Wikimedia is essential, and I think
> it would be patently ridiculous to say that the signpost being able to
> use particular images is essential for the project mission...

It's true that the Signpost itself, much less non-free images in the
Signpost, are not strictly essential to the mission of Wikipedia. But
then, neither are most non-free images that we do allow.  Some images
are more essential than others; [[Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima]] is
quite a different matter from the typical article about a book or
album where the cover isn't explicitly discussed.  And for that
matter, many articles themselves aren't strictly necessary, insomuch
as inclusion policy is under-determined by the project mission and in
some ways arbitrary.  Essential-ness is relative.

I would argue that reviews of Wikipedia-related books are at least as
important to furthering the mission of the project as a lot of the
article space content that we categorically allow.

<snip>

> Part of the notion behind being particular about non-project usage is
> that it fosters a culture of being particular about copyright— without
> an acute awareness of the restrictions that copyright can place on
> usage, we couldn't hope to minimize problems which would diminish the
> usefulness of the project. The tighter rules outside of project space
> give us an opportunity to hone our skills on alternatives and dispense
> some nit-picking energy in a place where it doesn't harm the end
> project. It also helps make it more clear that the state of the rest
> of the project is a reasoned compromise between extremes. ("See, our
> acceptance of non-free works doesn't mean we hate freedom. We have a
> hard prohibition against it everwhere else!")
>

It seems to me that book reviews are one area where both legally and
culturally, fair use has been pretty well carved out such copyright
isn't much of a restriction on freedom.  We're curtailing our own
freedom for the sake of painting a lot of different situations with
the same brush.

Nevertheless, I see that there's enough pushback from people who
recognize that an exception could be made in a case like this but
don't think it should be that I'll drop it.

-Sage

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

Neil Harris
Could this all simply be resolved by the publishers releasing a
_thumbnail-sized version_ of the book cover under a Wikipedia-compatible
license?

-- Neil


_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: Is a book cover in a Signpost book review an acceptable exemption from the non-free content policy?

Durova
Brilliant idea. :)

-Durova

On Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 5:12 PM, Neil Harris <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Could this all simply be resolved by the publishers releasing a
> _thumbnail-sized version_ of the book cover under a Wikipedia-compatible
> license?
>
> -- Neil
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
http://durova.blogspot.com/
_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l