Wikipedia Encyclopedia very liberally utilizes the “fair use” policy concerning copyrighted material. Nevertheless, a trademark infringement lawsuit against two artists has turned the tables on this popular doctrine. Read on for more details.
According to news sources, the powers that be at the encyclopedia we all know and sometimes love, are very angry at two artists and their attempt to establish a Wikipedia entry entitled "Wikipedia Art," which could then be freely edited and "transformed." Apparently crossing an invisible copyright line, the page they created lasted only 15 hours on the site before being summarily deleted by Wikipedia authorities. The archive and continuing discussion of the project is still alive, however, and is under threat of legal action by the Wikipedia Foundation's legal counsel for trademark infringement.
In the words of the original post made by the two artists, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern:
“Wikipedia Art is an art intervention which explicitly invites performative utterances in order to change the work itself. The ongoing composition and performance of Wikipedia Art is intended to point to the invisible authors and authorities of Wikipedia, and by extension the Internet, as well as the site's extant criticisms: bias, consensus over credentials, reliability and accuracy, vandalism, etc.”
The intention was to create an article meant to function as a critique of Wikipedia as an information source, but for whatever reason, it did not meet the established guidelines for an encyclopedia article and was deleted. This did not, however, stop the discussion as once an article get a mark of “AFD” (article for deletion) it sets off sparks for commentary on various blogs. This was actually what the artists had hoped for, and much to the chagrin of the Wikipedia Foundation, they created wikipediaart.org so that they could track the discussion and the various forms the page took while it was live on Wikipedia.
The Wikipedia Foundation claims that the use of the word “Wikipedia” violates a number of statutes all by itself. The matter raises the issue:
What exactly constitutes “fair use” and isn’t turnabout fair play?
What do YOU think?