Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Invoking IP: Way to Go Wikipedia!

Like many bloggers, I do a lot of my initial research on a topic at Wikipedia.  It's a great place to start researching something and, for really basic facts, I feel safe sending the world to learn through it.  I know that it's open source status freaks a lot of people out, but I think that's a strength rather than a weakness.

While working on my forthcoming blog about parody, transformative works, and fair use in roleplaying games, I needed to snag a photo of 2 Live Crew.  The members of 2 Live Crew fought one of the most famous fair use parody lawsuits all the way to the Supreme Court and won there.  I liked the photo at Wikipedia, so I decided that I'd use it.

Since I write about intellectual property, I try to be respectful of it by only using materials that authors have made public.  If an image is public domain, I use it.  If the image is freely distributable but requires attribution, I attribute.  When I tried to snag the 2 Live Crew photo from Wikipedia, I got the following message:

Wikipedia's media page will let me use the image of 2 Live Crew, but gives me options for proper attribution.  (Image in question "2LiveCrew" by The Doppelganger at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2LiveCrew.JPG#mediaviewer/File:2LiveCrew.JPG)

How awesome is that?!  Mad points to Wikipedia for understanding that materials ARE going to be used online so creating a system that encourages people to use them legally and respectfully!