Commons talk:Alter Wikimedia Commons policy to allow Wikimedia logos

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Scope of the vote[edit]

Seeing as this affects every single project, I will advertise the vote on meta, as well as on various projects. Thank you for doing the same. notafish }<';> 00:52, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


I am missing the option to vote for keeping the policy and the logos, by relicensing the logos but protecting them as a trademark. This has come up quite frequently.

That being said, I would like that option best, but don't think it's practicable:

  • trademarks would have to be registered in a great many countries. This is troublesome and expensive.
  • trademarks are hardet to defend than copyright, especially internationally.
  • and most importantly: if a trademarked image is licensed under a free license by it's owner, the terms of the free license and the trademark policy may confligt. In court, the license may well "win" over the trademark, making it uneffective.

Just my 2¢ -- Duesentrieb(?!) 02:00, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I would also like that option best. Note that although we can't control the copyright status of the other projects' logos, we can change our own logo to something free. Perhaps we should hold a new Commons logo contest, with the stipulation that the winning logo has to be released under the GFDL and cc-by licenses. dbenbenn | talk 02:53, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Also, for what it's worth, not all Wikimedia logos are non-free. Image:Wikisource-logo.jpg is a crop of a GFDL picture, hence it is GFDL. dbenbenn | talk 04:27, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
hm, a logo that can be used by anyone, for any purpose, is not a logo, because it does not represent us... protecting the logo against misuse by trademarking it does not seem to work either, es I stated above. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 14:02, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
A trademarked logo is used for identifying/branding purposes. I'd like to speak with a lawyer about it, but it is quite possible for a logo to be under a copyleft; the use of the logo would be restricted by its trademark status, but not by its copyright status.
If that is the case, I would far prefer the logos be relicensed under a free license: it is the least intervention to resolve the issue. - Amgine 15:18, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
afaik, it was the foundation's lawyer's advice that lead to the logos being non-free in the first place, for the expressed reason that it would undermine their defendability as trademarks. But I would like some background on this, too... -- Duesentrieb(?!) 15:47, 27 October 2005 (UTC)


I suggest that

  1. The Wikimedia Foundation should license its images under a license which allows use in describing or identifying a genuine Wikimedia project or product, but prohibits their use in describing or identifying an unaffiliated project or product;
  2. Copyright policies of all Wikimedia projects should be altered to allow the inclusion of trademarks with such licenses.

-- Tim Starling 02:16, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

The problem here is that being trademarked makes an image "non-free"; since a trademarked image is limited in it's allowed usage, it cannot truly be "free". However, there might be a way to allow them under the disclaimer that the Foundation is not responisble for wrongful use of such images. It would also allow a reasonable number of Open Source project's logos to be displayed on places other than en:, where they are currently allowed under "fair use". Alphax (talk) 08:41, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think you understand. I'm saying we should allow this particular category of non-free images. The lack of freedom here is undeniably positive: we don't want to allow others to use our trademark to advertise unaffiliated products. I don't care if Debian would thumb their nose at the license, it clearly benefits all concerned except those who wish to deceive consumers.
The Foundation is just as responsible for a breach of this license as they are for breach of the GFDL or CC-BY. Fair use is an entirely different kettle of fish. -- Tim Starling 07:42, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

I think it needs to be clarified if this vote is about allowing only our logos, or allowing all logos wich have similar usage restrictions. I would support the former but oppose the latter. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 14:19, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

There is a clear case why we want to host pictures like logos that are trademarked. Commons has a function; it is there to have the illustrations that are needed/usefull in the Wikimedia Foundation projects. That is the mission of Commons. When a logo is trademarked and a license is defined that allows the use of this logo when identifying the organisation involved and its products, it makes perfect sense. Just declaring only ours is short sighted in my opinion and it does not make sense to me. GerardM 15:18, 3 November 2005 (UTC)

Irrelevant discussion[edit]

This is clearly where copyright vs. trademark issues are getting confused. Apparently the Wikimedia Foundation is trying to copyright the logos through a propritary license. Trademarks follow a very different set of laws, and it is illegal to present yourself as somebody you are not. That also includes "word marks", logos, and plain-text writing of the trademark.

Question: Can a logo be copylefted under the GFDL? What are the legal consequences of doing so?

Generally Coca-Cola is not going to publish their logo as a GFDL'd image (or other copyleft license), but does that diminish the value of the trademark by doing so? I think not, but I'd like some other opinions on this.

For myself, I don't see any problem with a specific exception for official trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation, as this doesn't have to have precedence to allow any other exception for any other company or organization. These logos are also important for cross project links and references, which require that the logos be in something like Commons. --RHorning 02:33, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't think there is any confusion. The problem is that the Wikimedia logos are not, at this point, registered trade marks in the vast majority of countries in the world. Before being able to fight trademark infringement efficiently, the Foundation would have to do such registration, at least in "important" countries.
In comparison, they can sue right now for copyright infringement if some other site uses the Wikimedia logos in order to use Wikipedia's reputation. David.Monniaux 08:56, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

As it seems, the logos can not be protected effectively by trademarking them, if they are under a free license. As far as I know, this is just sad but true (see my staement in the section above). This leaves us in the absurd situation that a) the logos can't be "free" if we want to avoid abuse, and b) they need to be usable in free-content-only project (never mind where they are hosted). We need a policy to deal with this situation.
Btw: Coca-Cola is interesting, because AFAIK, their logo is PD because auf age. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 14:08, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I think this is a good example. There are many logos, which are free, because they are fallen in the public domain. These are perfectly protected by trademarks. So why should this not work with a GNU-FDL free logo instead of a PD free logo? -- 16:14, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Because Coca Cola has about a million times the cache and thousand times the lawyers to look after such things? Also, I can't think of many logos that are acutally PD. Some of the very old brands, if they have not changed, yea... -- Duesentrieb(?!)
There are licenses to copy a work, and licenses to use a trademark. A free license such as the GFDL could be argued to constitute both. It's not a question of copyright being used to protect the trademark, it's a question of whether rights to use the trademark freely are granted by a free license. PD trademarks are defensible, it's not clear whether copyleft trademarks are. -- Tim Starling 08:05, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Additional possibility[edit]

Why not add the following choice, or alter the existing choice: "Will allow unfree logos from the Wikimedia foundation until a technical solution is provided for hosting common unfree content elsewhere"? David.Monniaux 08:58, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

The possibility exists. The images would have to be placed in a directory on the Wikimedia servers, preferably in different sizes. This directory would then be whitelisted for inline linking (e.g. The code for selectively enabling inline linking is now written.--Eloquence 10:13, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Placing the logos in an extra directory is a non-solution and does not solve the problem at all. If non-free images are included in pages on the commons and/or other projects, they become part of those projects and are indistinguashable from other images, at least to the casual user. Worse, those images would not have a description page, i.e. no place to specify their legal status. People meight download and use them, relying on the general terms of use of the individual projects, which state that all content is free.

The question remains: how can we have non-free logos in projects that promise to be completely free? I don't see how moving files to a different directory would help any with that question. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 10:54, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I completely agree with Duesentrieb on this question. Not having a description page is worse than having unfree logos. notafish }<';> 11:38, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
In the English projects, the terms of use clearly state that all text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License. If any project states that all content is under the GFDL, that is a mistake which should be fixed, as clearly there are many images which are under a large variety of different licenses, all of which are very different in their specific terms. Some wikis, including the largest one, even allow non-free images. When no license terms are given, traditional copyright applies, and ignorance is no excuse before law.
If you think the "casual reader" is going to know about or read the image description page, you are very mistaken. The casual reader knows very little about copyright or the internal workings of a wiki. They are unable to follow the text of a license like the FDL and unlikely to be even interested in doing so. If we make any effort at all to separate non-free images from the Commons repository, I doubt the casual reader would notice any difference whatsoever. It would mainly have these goals, in my opinion:
1) Expectations of uploaders. "Why not this logo, if you allow these coyprighted logos?" Maintaining "purity" can be seen as a good way to make sure that others do not use the logos to make a case for allowing other non-free materials, as they have tried to do in the past.
2) Expectations of users trying to find useful content of the Commons, for Wikimedia or any other purpose. The project is advertised as a repository of free content that can be used for any purpose (possibly with attribution and/or copyleft). Hosting copyrighted images here can cause fear, uncertainty and doubt.
3) Portrayal of the project and the community to the outside as being ideologically consistent and not hypocritical. (Whether such accusations are fair or not, they have been made.)
Having a non-free directory addresses these concerns. It could also be used to host other relevant non-free logos used in the interface, such as the Creative Commons license logos. For the casual reader of Wikipedia or any other wiki, on the other hand, I doubt it would make any difference where the images are. It would of course make a difference if we decided to replace the non-free logos with free ones, but that is impossible without Wikimedia's agreement -- it was, after all, Wikimedia which obtained the copyright transfer in the first place and has at times taken a fairly strict stance on logo use, even within the community.
I am saying this not necessarily as an argument to remove the images from the Commons -- I think they are used in thousands of places, and there is a strong practicality case to be made for keeping them here. However, the image description page argument seems fairly weak, at least when I compare it to the realistic reasons I can see for removing the images from Commons. That they behave differently from user-uploaded images, and more like images which are part of the user interface (such as the toolbar buttons) could even be seen as an advantage.--Eloquence 14:41, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
You wrote that "In the English projects, the terms of use clearly state that all text is available under the GNU Free Documentation License." Well, the English Wikipedia also has the policy not to use "by permission only" pictures. The logos are by permission only, so shouldn't be used on EN, whether they are on the Commons or somewhere else. dbenbenn | talk 17:08, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Waste of time[edit]

This is really a developer issue, so the whole discussion is a complete waste of time. Let's just amend the policy and find something better to spend our time on. And let's not have a pointless vote, this isn't a democracy. ed g2stalk 13:40, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

this is not a developer issue. As I pointed out above, the suggested "technical solution" is completely besides the point. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 14:04, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
I totally agree that the vote is a waste of time. But since one vote on VfD has not settled the matter, and people keep coming back to the subject, this one will, once and for all. notafish }<';> 15:30, 27 October 2005 (UTC)
Commons:Licensing already states that WMF logos are an exception, so what exactly are we discussing here anyway? Not to mention the fact that two failed VFDs make it de-facto policy if it isn't already. A third vote is completely unneccesary - how is it any more binding that the two VFDs? ed g2stalk 16:40, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
Agree, they have an exception both de facto and de jure. Wasting time arguing about this for purely philosophical reasons is pointless. There is no need to spend time playing with the MediaWiki configuration to place them elsewhere. 20:44, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Vote structure[edit]

I suggest adopting a different vote structure rather than a simple yes/no. As the "alternatives" section shows, there are different posibilities. I see essentially:

  • Keep them on Commons, make exception for Wikimedia explicit in licensing policy
  • Alter licensing policy to allow logos under licenses which allow limited use but protect the copyright holder's brand identity, then propose that Wikimedia should adopt that policy for its own logos
  • Create a "non-free" directory on the servers, then move all Wikimedia logos there in different size variants and only refer to them using magic URLs
  • Only upload logos locally to each project, never to the Commons [may require local projects to change their policies or even allow uploads if they currently don't]
  • Ask Wikimedia to license the logos under an accepted Commons license, and create free alternatives otherwise [I personally find the "create free alternatives" option absurd, but it has been suggested]

Listing these options individually may also encourage people to more creatively think about the issue.--Eloquence 22:33, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I support that. The individual points would need some tweaking, of course, but I like it much better than the simple yes/no we have now. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 00:18, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

Regarding your fourth alternative to spread the logos to each project — isn't Wikimedia, Commons, Wikipedia, Wiki whatever, one whole project? I understand that the rules are enforced stricter at Commons, but aren't the rules supposed to be the same all over the place? Anyway, Commons is nothing on its own, it's intrastructure to the rest, so any alternative implying unilateral deletion from Commons, if only to force the foundation or for other reasons, is no alternative. --Eddi 22:07, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

  1. no, most rules are project specific. Only a few basic ones are fixed and the same for all (like NPOV).
  2. Commons serves as infrastructure, but aims to be a project in it's own right, namely a repository for free pictures, sounds and video - kind of like Wikisource.
  3. the very purpose of this vote is to not do a unilateral deleton vote (as where the past deletion requests for the logos), but to advertise this vote in all projects and have a broad discussion. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 22:37, 28 October 2005 (UTC)
I am totally against even thinking of asking the Foundation to put the Wikimedia logos under a free license. The decision has been made to copyright the logos in order to protect the trademark, I feel it is going backwards to even question this because Commons has issues with them. So if any vote is going to happen, it will reflect a change of policy ON COMMONS, not affecting the Foundation in any way. I am starting to get really worried about the way Commons is making decisions which affect all projects without EVER going to a project wide consultation. This leads to pages with big red crosses instead of images, which is, in my opinion, completely unfair and prejudiciable to the projects (see for exemple the .svg decision). As a matter of fact, I made a terrible mistake, this should not even be discussed here, but on meta. I agree with Eddi in that sense, Commons is infrastructure to the rest of the projects, and cannot make such decision on its own.
So I am changing the main page to reflect the fact that this needs to happen in four phases. 1- Find alternative solutions (among which, I repeat, changing the licence of Wikimedia logos should not be an option). 2- propose those alternative solutions and launch a project wide consultation about those solutions on meta. 3-Implement the technical solution chosen. 4- apply the solution on commons and on all projects. notafish }<';> 12:26, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Problems with the "No" options[edit]

There are not only the logos but a lot of derivative works which make use of the logos: banners, meta:Leaflet, the meta:Cheatsheet, the meta:Ads etc. pp. Currently I'm a bit unsure about the legal status of these works so I and most others uploaded them on commons or meta as Copyrighted by Wikimedia and freely usable under the meta:Logo and trademark policy. The current No alternatives would IMO seriously harm our effort to create a good stack of promotion material. --Elian Talk 16:55, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I believe you're mixing two things. One is the ground licence of the logos. The other is their terms of use. An ad (using the right logo) is not a derivative of the logo per se, it is using the logo in another work, which is a totally different story. Of course promotional material can use the logos, I doubt Coca Cola asks their advertisement people to sign a logo use agreement everythime they make a new ad. If I am not mistaken the cheatsheet and the ads could even be uploaded under the GFDL, just stating that they make use of a copyrighted logo. Which implies that anyone could use the cheatsheet for something else, with another logo on it (don't quote me on that though). This is a bit like taking a picture of a work in the Public domain. You cannot apply your copyright to the subject of the picture, but you can apply your copyright to the picture itself. I am not asking here to prevent the logos from being used at all, I am saying that the Foundation should be able to say how they're being used, and that is why they should not be relicensed under the GFDL or any other free license. Copyright has been transferred to the Foundation, it should stay there and not be questionned. notafish }<';> 12:38, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Link from the main page[edit]

Does this vote have any authority? Even if "we" (the users of Wikimedia Commons) decide that "we" don't want to host these images the board can overrule the policy anyway. Just because we go to them with the result of a vote (with all it's four phases), doesn't mean they have to do anything. This isn't a democracy after all. Sure the simplest solution to this problem is to ask the board "should Commons host Wikimedia logos?" - if they say let's have a vote, then let's have a vote. ed g2stalk 16:37, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

If we decide to delete these nonfree images, we simply delete them. The Board doesn't have anything to do with that. The Board doesn't make content decisions here, any more than they do for Wikipedia. User:dbenbenn 23:48, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Previous Vote[edit]

If the result of the previous vote was keep, then why are we bringing it up again? Was there some verifiable flaw in the original voting process? - Kookykman|(talk)

The previous votes where requests for deletion from the commons. This is (supposed to be) a policy vote for all wikimedia projects. -- Duesentrieb(?!) 01:10, 11 November 2005 (UTC)

Proposal to move Copyrightedbywikimedia contents to a new website[edit]

I propose to remove all contents currently tagged with Template:Copyright by Wikimedia, Template:Copyright by Wikimedia Deutschland and Template:Copyright by Wikimedia Polska and move them to a new Wikimedia website : see my proposal on meta m:Allrightsreserved (listed at m:Proposals for new projects like a new project). You can add your name at m:Allrightsreserved#People interested and write comments at m:Talk:Allrightsreserved Teofilo (talk) 04:42, 1 February 2011 (UTC)