Wikipedia Threatens Artists Over Domain Name Of Art Project Involving Wikipedia
from the openness? dept
But, that's what's happened.
Both the EFF and Paul Levy (who has agreed to represent Wikipedia Art) have alerted us to the news that Wikipedia is demanding the artists hand over their domain by threatening legal action. As the EFF and Levy point out, this is a rather surprising move by the Wikipedia foundation, who should know better than to make a bogus demand on a URL just because it includes Wikipedia's name in it:
Wikipedia should know better. There is no trademark or cybersquatting issue here. First, the site is entirely noncommercial, which puts it beyond the reach of U.S. trademark law. Moreover, even if U.S. trademark laws somehow reached this noncommercial activity, the artists' use of the mark is an obvious fair use. Wikipedia Art uses the "Wikipedia" mark to refer to the project: a critical comment on Wikipedia and creativity. The disputed site describes the project, provides links to media coverage of the project, and so on. It does not use any more of the Wikipedia mark than need be; for example, it doesn't even use the Wikipedia logo. Simply put, the site does not purport to be, nor does it look anything like, Wikipedia and the artists have done nothing to suggest Wikipedia endorses their work. Finally, the creators are engaging in precisely the kind of critical speech sheltered by the First Amendment.While the EFF does note how odd it is for Wikipedia to be taking these actions, it leaves out the fact that Wikipedia is represented by Mike Godwin, (of Godwin's Law fame), who was also the first EFF in-house lawyer and absolutely should know better than this. Hopefully Godwin and Wikipedia come to their senses, apologize and back down.