Saturday, July 14, 2007

Deletions of pictures

At one time I was a prolific writer on Wikipedias. This was when there was no Commons yet. At the time all pictures had to be present at the individual wikis in order to be seen. In 2004, we won the Prix Ars Electronica and I received an e-mail off to the organisation behind this price; we got permission to use their logo with our articles. There was a restriction that it was to be used with an article about the price, price winners. A reasonable restriction because we are talking about their logo, their trade mark.

I have had two instances now of people insisting on deleting this logo because it is not Free. It will be probably be deleted from the Dutch Wikipedia where the information about the permission is documented and it will after this be deleted from the English Wikipedia because the reference for the permission will no longer be readable.

There are several issues that I want to raise. Commons is as far as I am concerned not as good as it could be because it does not have a way to deal with a restrictive use of logos of organisations that allow for the use of their organisation within the limitations that they have to insist on because of it being part of a trademark.

Permissions given on one project, are often referred to on another. This is not considered when the licenses of pictures are evaluated. This is understandable because there is so much. Much of the older material does not have all the templates and doodahs because these did not exist at the time. The consequence is that much is lost because of this insistence on the compliance with later policies.

For the photos I made, I do not care too much if they are kept on projects or not. Everybody can make a photo of a building, an animal ... The problem is with material that is of benefit to our projects that we do not consider because it requires licenses that are by necessity restrictive. Restrictive in a way that even the organisation that puts the restriction on cannot help.

One additional benefit for accepting a license for logos and stuff would be that as a result our own logos would no longer have a "status aparte" on Commons.

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