Wikipedia Art incident

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Wikipedia Art incident

Ken Arromdee
From the Foundation-L post:

>we sent a letter to
>Wikipedia Art that was aimed, not to threaten legal action, but to outline
>what our legal concerns were, and to try to begin a negotiation to resolve
>the matter amicably -- ideally by switching the domain name over to us, but
>not by requiring any content changes on their site at all.

This is disingenuous.  A letter sent by a law firm "to outline our legal
concerns" which uses legal language and tells a site that they will settle
matters amicably if they meet a demand is a legal threat.  It may not actually
include the words "or we will sue you", but trying to spin it as not being a
legal threat is absurd.

>I can answer that question -- it's wholly unrelated to the recent Board
>statement on trademarks. Our concern was not primarily about trademarks.

This spawned a discussion where someone pointed out that the letter *was*
primarily about trademarks, and Mike replied that it wasn't about the board
statement, which only relates to the first of those two sentences.  Again,
spin.

Yeah, Wikipedia Art are basically trolls, but I find this disturbing.  If
Wikipedia can make legal threats to trolls and deny it, and accuse trolls of
trademark violation in a baseless way, they can do it to anyone, and the
next guy they do it to may not necessarily be a troll.

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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Fred Bauder-2

> This is disingenuous.  A letter sent by a law firm "to outline our legal
> concerns" which uses legal language and tells a site that they will
> settle
> matters amicably if they meet a demand is a legal threat.  It may not
> actually
> include the words "or we will sue you", but trying to spin it as not
> being a
> legal threat is absurd.

Any communication, however artfully phrased to be non-threatening, from
an attorney or a corporation can be taken that way. However, the option
of not communicating is not viable.

Fred Bauder


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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 12:24 PM, Ken Arromdee <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Yeah, Wikipedia Art are basically trolls, but I find this disturbing.  If
> Wikipedia can make legal threats to trolls and deny it, and accuse trolls
> of
> trademark violation in a baseless way, they can do it to anyone, and the
> next guy they do it to may not necessarily be a troll.
>

At least the next guy will have benefited from watching Wikipedia Art stand
up to the WMF, most likely successfully.  The next time someone gets a
letter from the WMF lawyers, they ought to know to read it carefully to
discern whether it's a bona fide legal threat or just the WMF holding out a
tin cup and asking for favors.  I for one appreciate trolling when it
accomplishes such feats ("positive trolling for the good of mankind", as
Paul Wehage put it at http://akahele.org/2009/03/in-the-eye-of-the-beholder/
).

One wonders if Visual Wikipedia may not have had its domain name taken away
if they had the benefit of watching the Wikipedia Art situation first.

Trolls are the plecostomus of the Internet.  Sure, it'd be better to not
produce all the crap in the first place, but at least there are trolls
around to eat up when you feed them.
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
Fred Bauder wrote:

>> This is disingenuous.  A letter sent by a law firm "to outline our legal
>> concerns" which uses legal language and tells a site that they will
>> settle
>> matters amicably if they meet a demand is a legal threat.  It may not
>> actually
>> include the words "or we will sue you", but trying to spin it as not
>> being a legal threat is absurd.
>>    
> Any communication, however artfully phrased to be non-threatening, from
> an attorney or a corporation can be taken that way. However, the option
> of not communicating is not viable.
I think that any member of the general public whose experience with
courtrooms is limited to TV dramas is thoroughly intimidated by a mere
suggestion that they could end up in court for any issue whatsoever.  
For them fighting a traffic ticket where winning is a near certainty is
a greater penalty than paying a questionable fine.  It also explains why
copyright paranoia is in such good health.

Ec

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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Fred Bauder-2
On Sun, 26 Apr 2009, Fred Bauder wrote:

> > This is disingenuous.  A letter sent by a law firm "to outline our legal
> > concerns" which uses legal language and tells a site that they will
> > settle
> > matters amicably if they meet a demand is a legal threat.  It may not
> > actually
> > include the words "or we will sue you", but trying to spin it as not
> > being a
> > legal threat is absurd.
> Any communication, however artfully phrased to be non-threatening, from
> an attorney or a corporation can be taken that way. However, the option
> of not communicating is not viable.

It's easy to make it non-threatening.  Say "we recognize that you have no legal
requirement to comply, but..."

The reason they don't do that is that the legal threat is the whole point.
They're not expecting Wikipedia Art to give in out of the goodness of their
hearts; they're expecting them to give in to avoid being sued.  If they take
out the legal threat, Wikipedia Art will just ignore the letter, and
Wikipedia's lawyer knows that.  (In fact, why even have a lawyer send it in the
first place if it's not a legal threat?  There's no reason to point to any
laws if you're not implying that you're going to start a lawsuit based on
them.)

Claiming that the letter isn't a legal threat is insulting to our intelligence.


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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
If I create a piece of art using Coca-Cola bottles and call it "Coca-Cola
Art" am I infringing on a trademark?  Or am I describing my art piece
accurately?

Will Johnson





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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Anthony-73
On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 7:14 PM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

> If I create a piece of art using Coca-Cola bottles and call it "Coca-Cola
> Art" am I infringing on a trademark?


Maybe.


> Or am I describing my art piece accurately?


Sort of.
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Daniel R. Tobias
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
On 26 Apr 2009 at 09:24:54 -0700 (PDT), Ken Arromdee wrote:

> >From the Foundation-L post:
>
> >we sent a letter to
> >Wikipedia Art that was aimed, not to threaten legal action, but to outline
> >what our legal concerns were, and to try to begin a negotiation to resolve
> >the matter amicably -- ideally by switching the domain name over to us, but
> >not by requiring any content changes on their site at all.
>
> This is disingenuous.  A letter sent by a law firm "to outline our legal
> concerns" which uses legal language and tells a site that they will settle
> matters amicably if they meet a demand is a legal threat.  It may not actually
> include the words "or we will sue you", but trying to spin it as not being a
> legal threat is absurd.

It certainly would be interpreted as one if it were something written
on-wiki by somebody an admin wanted to ban under the WP:NLT policy.


--
== Dan ==
Dan's Mail Format Site: http://mailformat.dan.info/
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Ray Saintonge
In reply to this post by WJhonson
[hidden email] wrote:
> If I create a piece of art using Coca-Cola bottles and call it "Coca-Cola
> Art" am I infringing on a trademark?  Or am I describing my art piece
> accurately?
>  
Was Andy Warhol ever sued for his Campbell Soup cans?

Ec

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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Anthony-73
On Sun, Apr 26, 2009 at 10:34 PM, Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]> wrote:

> [hidden email] wrote:
> > If I create a piece of art using Coca-Cola bottles and call it "Coca-Cola
> > Art" am I infringing on a trademark?  Or am I describing my art piece
> > accurately?
> >
> Was Andy Warhol ever sued for his Campbell Soup cans?
>

Yes, but it was for copyright infringement, not trademark infringement, and
they dropped the case.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_g1epc/is_bio/ai_2419201275/
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Michel Vuijlsteke-2
In reply to this post by Ray Saintonge
2009/4/27 Ray Saintonge <[hidden email]>

> [hidden email] wrote:
> > If I create a piece of art using Coca-Cola bottles and call it "Coca-Cola
> > Art" am I infringing on a trademark?  Or am I describing my art piece
> > accurately?
> >
> Was Andy Warhol ever sued for his Campbell Soup cans?
>

I think the answer is "no, of course not, silly". :)
But I also think things would've been radically different if he'd made cans
of soup, called them Campbell soup cans and put them in supermarkets.

Michel
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

WJhonson
In reply to this post by Ken Arromdee
The point isn't whether you take a picture of a Campbell's soup can and
call it "Soup Five".  The point is can you call it "Campbell Soup Art"

The name you give it, is the point.  Not what the subject matter is.

Will Johnson




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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Anthony-73
On Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 1:57 AM, <[hidden email]> wrote:

> The point isn't whether you take a picture of a Campbell's soup can and
> call it "Soup Five".  The point is can you call it "Campbell Soup Art"
>
> The name you give it, is the point.  Not what the subject matter is.


According to Wikipedia, he called it "Campbell's Soup I".

Of course, this was before both the Federal Trademark Dilution Act of 1995,
and the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006.
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Re: Wikipedia Art incident

Thomas Dalton
In reply to this post by Anthony-73
2009/4/26 Anthony <[hidden email]>:
> The next time someone gets a
> letter from the WMF lawyers, they ought to know to read it carefully to
> discern whether it's a bona fide legal threat or just the WMF holding out a
> tin cup and asking for favors.

Well, they should already know that when you receive a letter from a
lawyer you hand it over to your own lawyer for advice. The law is
specifically designed so only lawyers can take part, if a layman tries
to take on a lawyer they will lose on a technicality designed for
precisely that purpose. (Me, a cynic?)

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