Mon 29th October 2007, 1:43am
QUOTE(JohnA @ Sun 28th October 2007, 3:15pm)
The Puritanism is driven by fear (as the original Puritanism was). Put simply, Wikipedia is now a big juicy target for a class action lawsuit, unless it enforces normal copyright protections to intellectual property that it does not have written permission to use.
For example, see the biography of silent screen actor, Harold Lloyd
. It has a famous picture taken from the movie of Harold hanging from the minute hand of a clock on the side of a building.
The copyright statement for the picture reads thus:
...which to me begs the question as to who is kidding whom. Most blogs are non-profit enterprises as well, so can they ignore copyright like Wikipedia?
I work for a non-profit educational charity, and believe me, they cannot infringe copyright just because they're a non-profit.
You picked one of the worst possible examples. Safety First came out in 1923. It's in the public domain. Wikipedia could host the entire movie without any legal repercussions. But ignoring that your example is a horrible one, let me address your actual point: Is there a massive legal problem waiting to happen for Wikipedia because of images?
1. Fair Use. Fair use provisions allows the use of copyrighted images even without permission from the copyright holder. They're not particularly broad, but many images would be covered.
2. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't upload the infringing material, users do. Even when users DO upload infringing material, the Foundation has established procedures for removing copyrighted material even before copyright holders complain and actively does so. Any would-be suiter would have a hard time proving they created an environment that encouraged copyright infringement.
3. Lawsuits are expensive. The IP holder doesn't WANT to file one any more than Wikipedia wants to be the victim of one. If a copyright holder has a problem with an image, their first step will be to firmly ask for it to be deleted. An administrator would almost certainly do so quickly and without complaint.
And finally, most bloggers DO ignore copyright laws. No one goes after them because they usually don't reduce the value of the photograph, they rarely have any money worth taking, they'll probably take it down if asked, and there's a PR cost in any lawsuit against loud little guys.