FBI Gets Litigious With Wikipedia

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FBI Gets Litigious With Wikipedia

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation has threatened Wikpedia with legal action, saying that its use of the FBI logo on the agency's Wiki entry is a violation of the law that could result in a fine or imprisonment.

If you're reading this, then you have at least a passing familiarity with Wikipedia. It's a "multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia" that can be edited by anyone, which means that it's not always the most rock-solid source for facts but also affords it an incredibly wide range of topics and information. It's a quick and easy way to look up information on just about anything, including the FBI - which, in the eyes of the FBI, is a bit of a problem.

In a letter sent to Wikipedia's office in San Francisco, the FBI claimed that "unauthorized reproduction of the FBI Seal was prohibited by U.S. law" and warned that "whoever possesses any insignia... or any colorable imitation thereof... shall be fined... or imprisoned... or both."

The problem apparently stems from Wikipedia's use of the FBI logo in its entry. The image is available in four resolutions, up to 2000x2060, which the Bureau claimed is "particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by Wikipedia users."

But Wikipedia attorney "Machine Gun" Mike Godwin said the G-men are barking up the wrong tree. "The enactment of [these laws] was intended to protect the public against the use of a recognizable assertion of authority with intent to deceive," he wrote in response to the Bureau's letter. "The seal is in no way evidence of any 'intent to deceive', nor is it an 'assertion of authority', recognizable or otherwise."

"We are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons," he added. He also claimed that Wikipedia is "prepared to argue our view in court," although he did not comment on speculation that he and Wikipedia founder Jimmy "The Icepick" Wales were getting ready to blast their way out before the feds had them totally surrounded.

Source: BBC

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So, basically, their Attorney godwinned the wiki thread before it even started?

What the hell is their problem? I don't see how having the logo up on the FBI page is doing any harm. It's not like they're pretending the wiki page is an official government site or anything. I hope Wikipedia do take them to court, and win.

It'd be funny if someone added this ordeal to the FBI wiki page.

Really? How silly can the FBI be? I thought they were quite serious folks.

Haven't they got better things to do?

Andy Chalk:
The image is available in four resolutions, up to 2000x2060, which the Bureau claimed is "particularly problematic,

No one tell them an SVG is vector graphics and could be scaled up to 1,000,000x1,000,000 if a person wanted. ZOMG! Someone could label an entire COUNTRY with the FBI logo!

Andy Chalk:
because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by Wikipedia users."

As opposed to deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by every DVD owner who can screencap that bigass FBI logo they force us to sit through? (That is an FBI logo, right? I never actually LOOK at it.)

Alright, we NEED to revise our laws concerning fair usage and copyright. (Yes, I know this isn't classified as such but is it really that different?) When people are suing other people for simply using showing a famous logo that isn't even being used for gain, there is clearly something wrong.

God the FBI are morons. It's as if they say around a table and said "just in case we're not hated by the general publich enough, what else can we do?"

Wikipedia versus the FBI

...I don't know which one I have my money on...

I mean, both of them know everything about everying...84% of the time...ish...

Be right back changing my avatar to the FBI's logo.

Jonluw:
Really? How silly can the FBI be? I thought they were quite serious folks.

Haven't they got better things to do?

Hey, use of the FBI logo is serious business!

The FBI would probably shit themselves if they did a google search of "FBI Logo"...

I guess Wikipedia dun goofed and was backtraced by the cyber police.

OT: Nice to see that the FBI is worried about this...
I guess that the crime they deal must be at an all time low.

Seriously, are they that bored or incompetent?

Our secret services wouldn't threaten, they'd do.

This just in, The Escapist has been shut down and all it's workers are facing life sentences for showing of the FBI-seal in a news post

Glad to see my tax dollars are being put to good use...again

Copter400:

Jonluw:
Really? How silly can the FBI be? I thought they were quite serious folks.

Haven't they got better things to do?

Hey, use of the FBI logo is serious business!

I don't understand what the potential for trouble it can cause. What am I going to do? Commandeer a car, using my laptop to prove I am from the FBI?

Streisand Effect, go go go!

I do see why the FBI wouldn't want a copy of their logo available for anyone to get access too. Someone could use it to forge documents or something, but I doubt it being on the Wikipedia page is what would cause something like that. If you google the FBI logo, you get 1.4 million results, so yeah, Wikipedia isn't the problem.

So stupid. Why does every old person hate Wikipedia so much, and why can we just sue everyone for no real reason?

Throw this case in the gutter and smack the FBI guy in the balls for being a twat.


Soooo sir Andy Chalk, you're defying the law by using the FBI logo on this post of yours? :P

Well, I guess David Duchovny and the FBI have even more in common: they're both sitting on their asses doing nothing useful.
Seriously, sueing Wikipedia? Taxpayer dollars could be used for something, like, I dunno, not re-enacting Vietnam in Iraq/Afganistan/Where ever the fuck the American Forces are.

If I were Wiki I would go on the offensive, suing the FBI for wasting my time and misusing copyright laws that allow the placement of that logo on the Wiki page.

Formica Archonis:

Andy Chalk:
The image is available in four resolutions, up to 2000x2060, which the Bureau claimed is "particularly problematic,

No one tell them an SVG is vector graphics and could be scaled up to 1,000,000x1,000,000 if a person wanted. ZOMG! Someone could label an entire COUNTRY with the FBI logo!

Andy Chalk:
because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by Wikipedia users."

As opposed to deliberate and unwitting violations of restrictions by every DVD owner who can screencap that bigass FBI logo they force us to sit through? (That is an FBI logo, right? I never actually LOOK at it.)

The point was the users misusing it. There is a lot of flak being given to companies these days about the misuse of the products they provide. It's not going to be long before someone tries to hold a gun manufacturer accountable for a shooting death.

I was under the impression that Fair Use laws in the states allowed lower resolution images to be used for company logos etc. If this is correct, it would seem trivial to simply oversight the higher res images and just use a lower one. Or just put a replica or specimen watermark on it as is required for money.

It seems kind of silly on both fronts.

manaman:
The point was the users misusing it.

And if a person wants to misuse it, they'll misuse it. It's not like you can make said logo not exist or track every single use of it. The logo on their "about the seal" page is tiny, admittedly, but it could still be misused. It just seems odd to declare that something you distribute yourself shouldn't ever be distributed.

SteelStallion:
It'd be funny if someone added this ordeal to the FBI wiki page.

Actually, they did it, go look it up.

Also, according to random sources I read, FBI cannot win this, it's a loss-loss debacle for them. Really, don't they have BETTER things to do? I think CNN has a more detailed report about it, look it up!

"Machine Gun" Mike Godwin and Jimmy "The Icepick" Wales? Is Wikipedia owned by the Mob?

You don't fck with Wikipedia.

and

Jonluw:
Really? How silly can the FBI be? I thought they were quite serious folks.

Haven't they got better things to do?

Its nice to see your tax dollars at work isn't it America?

Anyone else think they thought they were going after Wikileaks?

Scde2:
I guess Wikipedia dun goofed and was backtraced by the cyber police.

This is the like the third time I've seen you reference that YouTube video..

OT: Don't Wikipedia have about 9 articles on Fair Usage and Copyright? If the FBI sue them then I'm fairly sure Wikipedia would win due to that face.

It's worrying when an online encyclopaedia knows more about laws than the FBI..

Isn't it obvious?

There's a secret message,a-a-a code, perhaps, hidden inside the seal! It all makes sense now!

No wonder they don't want it readily available to the public!

WinkyTheGreat:
The FBI would probably shit themselves if they did a google search of "FBI Logo"...

Or the fact that you can generate your own version of the logo to say pretty much whatever you want.
http://www.signgenerator.org/logos/FBI/
Here's Mine!
http://www.images-graphics-pics.com/signs/logos/FBI/logo.asp?text=FUCKING+BRILLIANT+IMBECILES&time=1729
Pretty conclusive really...

SteelStallion:
It'd be funny if someone added this ordeal to the FBI wiki page.

I'll be right back....

Joking aside, this is ridiculous. Is the FBI that bored?

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