Friday, August 06, 2010

Now this is just plain stupid

The FBI, apparently having nothing better to do with their time and resources, has sent a strongly worded letter to Wikipedia demanding that the online encyclopedia take down an image of the official seal that accompanies the site's article on the agency.

There's just a few small problems with this action - the seal is being used for a non-commercial educational purpose, no one is falsely representing themselves as FBI employees and, most importantly, since the seal is public property it CANNOT be copyrighted.  Therefore, the Fibbies seemingly don't have a legal leg to stand on, yet they're insisting on using our tax dollars to sent a cease-and-desist order to Wikipedia (but not the online Encyclopedia Britannica, which displays the exact same seal on their site).

"Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the dust-up both 'silly' and 'troubling'; Wikipedia has a First Amendment right to display the seal, she said.

'Really,” she added, “I have to believe the F.B.I. has better things to do than this.'"

One would think.

Wikipedia to their credit has fired back a response stating that they indeed have that perfectly valid First Amendment right to use the seal in that manner and that they're prepared to defend their position in court.  Good.  It's about time people and institutions began standing up to this sort of inappropriate (and highly annoying) bullying by the folks who supposedly work for us, and not the other way around.

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

They should add a few pictures of FBI HQ, specifically the entrances.

Cripes, the FBI is dealing with a large leak of real classified data to Wiki, and they're all worried about someone using the seal. Says a lot about our national security priorities!