Talk:U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

Latest comment: 6 years ago by Pi zero in topic ISBN magic link

Poor man's equivalent edit

This was started under story development. There are email queries outstanding that will not be answered until Monday at the earliest. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:22, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Biographical details edit

Hi, thank you for doing this story - I just wanted to note that I've been advised to remove my biographical details from my userpage, and unless you consider them relevant to this story I'd appreciate it if they could also be omitted here. Thank you. :-) Dcoetzee (talk) 22:48, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I've weighed the relevance of the information in question to the story against the right to privacy of the entity named and the likely degree of its involvement in the matter, and removed the information from the article. I note in passing that this was information that I was taking on trust in the first draft of the article, which is still in development, and that I had not yet checked. Uncle G (talk) 00:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External coverage edit

FYI I'm keeping a list of external sites covering this event at Commons:User:Dcoetzee/NPG_legal_threat/Coverage, which you may find useful. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:24, 12 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Getty edit

Not sure if anything can be used from this, a piece by someone from Getty on PD-Art. --Brian McNeil / talk 07:38, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I certainly want to use that, because there's material there that echoes what has been said in the discussion fora debates over the weekend. I'm trying to work out how to do so. Uncle G (talk) 13:32, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's worth clarifying that this is by the J. Paul Getty Trust, which is a very different institution from the more well-known Getty Images with rather different views on this matter. Dcoetzee (talk) 03:06, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original Reporting edit

To try and get more information I have made a number of attempts to contact for comment.

  • UK Department of Culture
  • Shadow Culture Secretary
  • National Portrait Gallery press contacts
The NPG have responded that they are drafting a statement for publication today. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:10, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Arts Council press contacts
Said they have nothing to do with NPG, forwarded query to Culture dept press contact.
Requested they comment anyway in light of Victoria and Albert museum working on 'Wikipedia Loves Art'. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:26, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Declined to comment on an org (NPG) they're not involved with. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:22, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jim Killock said:

"It's pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law."

  • Jim Killock is the executive director of the Open Rights Group. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • EFF (Requested comment from EFF Europe)
  • Victoria and Albert museum
  • UK Liberal Democrat Culture &c person
  • Emailed a couple of other uploaders of NPG images, including at least one in the UK
    One responded, unconcerned. Other quite concerned and wants nothing to do with it. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:25, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Prof. Clunas, Oxford University Fine Art dept
  • Jay Walsh of the WMF (very bland email asking for statement of position)
  • Wikimedia UK press contact address
    Response from WMF Wikimedia UK Chair...

At the present time we do not have any statement or comment to make on this issue, as we are not involved in this dispute.

Thanks, Mike Peel Chair, Wikimedia UK

I will post responses as they turn up. --Brian McNeil / talk 08:01, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussions online edit

This is kicking up quite some discussion online. Not just the J. Random, Talking head on Slashdot. The WMF Chair, Michael Snow has commented on the foundation-l mailing list, "Properly speaking, I would not consider something an archive if it is not accessible. For collections that are not available for study, the more correct term would be 'vault'. " --Brian McNeil / talk 08:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Yes. There have been quite a few discussions of public policy. I think that there's a Mike Godwin quotation to be had somewhere, too. I'm looking more for commentary from non-Foundation people, though. Uncle G (talk) 12:03, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I have reason to believe that the NPG have previously tried to menace the WMF over this before resorting to 'personalised' legal threats. I have a conflict of interest that precludes asking Mike Godwin about this. Off-wiki I can provide his email for anyone seeking comment. Do we have a stashed email for Dcoetzee?--Brian McNeil / talk 12:08, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • The prior requests (Remember your NPOV!) from the NPG are one thing that I want to include, here. There are, of course, the edits in w:en:Special:Contributions/ (q.v.), for starters.

        I'm talking about statements that Godwin has already publicly made, by the way. Uncle G (talk) 12:45, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

        • Anything prior on this will have been in some way brushed off, w:Template:PD-Art has the Foundation position on this: US organisation, US servers, tough luck people like the NPG. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:03, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Yes, but prior requests amplify the point that this is an ongoing concern for the NPG, that it has been pursuing since at least 2005, and give some context to the story. They will also serve to introduce discussion of the Foundation's position. For that, by the way, a community edited template is not a good source. The volunteer community's understanding of the Foundation's position is not as good an official statement of the Foundation's position from an actual officer of the Foundation. There's a message from Erik Möller in his official capacity, somewhere.

            In any case, that template is on the wrong wiki. Even if a volunteer community statement were desired, the source to look to would be on the Wikimedia Commons. Uncle G (talk) 13:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Digital Britain Report edit

Does this tie into the NPR stuff in any way? --Brian McNeil / talk 12:57, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPG edit

NPG Statement edit

Talk:U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images/NPG statement. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:50, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dicussion with NPG from 2006 edit

In case this is useful: commons:User:Kaldari/NPG email Kaldari (talk) 17:49, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Thanks, this looks pretty interesting. --Brian McNeil / talk 19:13, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Hmmm. That almost tallies with some public statements that I've read, although those indicated that the situation was resolved, rather than dangling in mid-air as that correspondence indicates. But it flatly contradicts the "To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue" statement.

      Of course, there's an amount of he-said-she-said here. We're only being supplied with redacted copies of purported electronic mail messages by their recipients, with no confirmation from the senders that that is indeed what was sent, for example. But there are public statements from others to the effect that yes a discussion between Commons editors and the NPG took place in 2006, and people were under the impression that this was the agreement. So that much at least has some independent confirmation. I'll double check the discussions. Uncle G (talk) 21:28, 13 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NPG Wikipedia contributions edit

Of note...

In response to this, and the two vandalism edits to the YouTube founder's article, I've sent a response to the NPG with some questions about - is it staff only, or public? And the rosalind franklin edit (July 13, 2006). Here they've asserted copyright over a picture from the U.S. NIH. --Brian McNeil / talk 11:32, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Response:

Hi Brian

Thanks for your reply and also for bringing to our attention the edits made from an IP address belonging to the National Portrait Gallery. We will treat this matter seriously and I’ll begin investigating this now. I’m sure we will be in touch again soon but in the meantime please do let me know if I can be of any further help.

All the best


Eleanor Macnair

Press Officer

Communications & Development

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place London WC2H OHE

  • From this I'd read an admission that the above IP address is theirs. What remains to be seen is if it is publicly accessible, or staff-only. From the nature of the contributions I would be firmly of the opinion it is exclusively the latter. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • The response is much along the lines that I expected it to be: A polite thanks, an acknowledgement that the IP address is assigned to the NPG (which isn't in any doubt), and a statement that the matter will be investigated. Uncle G (talk) 13:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last-minute fishing edit

Just emailed them a link to our article to give them a final opportunity to comment before publication. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I suggest letting them have until at least 16:00 UTC (which will be 17:00 local time). Uncle G (talk) 13:40, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Per initial feedback reminding me they're investigating the IP edits I have made this change. --Brian McNeil / talk 13:48, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Only one minor quibble with that: I still maintain that we can call it the NPG's IP address. It most definitely is. I researched this in the RIPE NCC records. The IP address range is assigned to the National Portrait Gallery, via Easynet. is the only one of those 16 IP addresses that has edited the English Wikipedia. (I checked the contributions histories of all of the others.) Uncle G (talk) 14:11, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • I don't dispute we can call it the NPG's IP address, it is how we characterise contributions from it that concerns me.

Hi Brian

Thank you for sending this over – much appreciated. I’m going quickly circulate this to the parties involved to check that the actions are accurate.

At the moment we are still investigating the matter you raised in your previous e-mail:

On the day that the NPG's solicitors contacted Coetzee, the NPG added the words "CHINK" and "FUCKING CHINK!" to Wikipedia's article on Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube. (The edits by the NPG can be seen here and here.)

It is inaccurate to say that the National Portrait Gallery added these words as this is a matter under investigation and the wording implies that the Gallery as an institution has added these words – which is not the case. I will be in touch as soon as I have made any progress on this.

When are you putting your article live? I will endeavour to get back to you before your deadline.

Thanks Brian

Best wishes


Dear Brian

I have a statement about the edits to Wikipedia from the IP Address you previously sent to me:

The National Portrait Gallery unreservedly condemns any use of racist or offensive language. This claim was presented to us at 12.51 today and we are actively investigating whether these remarks were sent from a National Portrait Gallery user account. Until we have established this we are not in a position to comment.

Would you be able to tell me if the time of the offensive edits (listed as 14.39 and 14.40 ) is UK time or US time as this would help with our investigations.

We are happy that you have included our full statement in your article.

Best wishes


Hi Brian

Thank you for clarifying this – very helpful. Also, thank you for adding our statement into the article so quickly, this is much appreciated.

These offensive edits to Wikipedia are a separate issue to the debate surrounding images. We would really appreciate it if would remove the section below from the article at this time as it isn’t relevant to the debate about the images.

(On the day that the NPG's solicitors contacted Coetzee, the anonymous contributor at the NPG added the words "CHINK" and "FUCKING CHINK!" to Wikipedia's article on Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube. (The edits can be seen here and here.))

I assure you that we will be in touch further about these edits as our investigation moves on. However, of course this editorial decision is up to you.

Thanks again for your help today Brian and for bringing this to our attention. I am sure we will be in touch again soon!

Best wishes Eleanor

It's a trucky editorial decision. My second thought is to reduce the issue to one sentence, something along the lines of "Other, later, edits made on the day that NPG's solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG's attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.". My first thought, as you can see by what I did before I came back to the talk page and noticed this, was to beef up the coverage of the copyright edits, because with the statement added the article did appear to be focussing too much on the "CHINK" edits.

I think that there are competing forces at work. Yes, the relevance is only what could be called the shooting-in-the-foot factor. But people have already noticed these edits in association with this, and more will no doubt do so. I'm thinking that it better serves the reader to acknowledge their existence and note the actions of the NPG, than to remain totally silent on a point that readers probably will later discover independently. I'm also thinking that it serves the NPG well, too. Readers learn that it hasn't ignored the issue, which may serve to prevent greater fuss being made by them over it. Uncle G (talk) 17:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Citations edit

Should the sources to enwiki and Commons use |pub=Wikimedia Foundation? Just a thought. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Technically no. Content there is self-published and the Foundation acts as a service provider. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:55, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Commons edit

I understand the desire to clarify what Wikimedia Commons is in this context. However, I'm simply not sure that the fact stated is actually correct. The English Wikipedia has its own local repository, and I have no information as to which of the two, that or the Commons, can be considered the "main" one.

The reader can, of course follow the interwiki link to find out what the Commons is. Uncle G (talk) 13:35, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Publication edit

I hope that the article now covers everything, and gives the reader a proper grasp of events and of the story. All of the things that were on my original checklist to add are now there. How much longer should we wait for comment from the people listed as approached for comment above? And is there any aspect of the story that is missing? Uncle G (talk) 03:42, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Images edit

A couple more images would be good, if possible. –Juliancolton | Talk 15:46, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Funny man! ☺ I, personally, took the same stance as other news reporters have done here, which is to not embroil Wikinews in the copyright dispute itself. This means not employing any of the disputed images in the article. It's an interesting situation, reporting on a news story where the only physical, and thus imagable, elements of the story are paintings, images of which are the subjects of the very copyright dispute that the story is about. Uncle G (talk) 15:56, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sources/External/References or footnotes edit

As the sources section was getting scarily long I selected some links and split them off into an external links section. I know some may actually be used to source material, but these were undated references and pieces of legislation I'd never expect someone to read in their entirety to fact-check the article.

A secondary point is that there are several external link symbols throughout the article. Among other things, these link to diff listings on Wikipedia. I'm generally against using ref syntax on Wikinews, but for such an in-depth article it would seem appropriate here as a way of preventing details like this breaking the flow of the article. What such a section is named? I'm open to suggestions. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:31, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • ShakataGaNai (talk · contribs) has a wikinews url shortener. Would it be useful to pass diff and other deep-links through this? Depending on how its done, it would mean anyone sourcing from us would use wikinews-related links. Might be too late to do this here, but should this be something we can privately use? If made world-accessible it would get added to the WMF blacklist as a potential way to slip in links to goatse and such. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:36, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • The length of the URLs themselves only matters to someone concerned with the raw wikitext, since none of them are bare URLs. As such, their lengths don't matter to readers. I'd also prefer not to use shortened URLs, e.g. tinyURL and its ilk, simply as a service to readers who want to know what they are being directed to before they follow a hyperlink. Uncle G (talk) 13:27, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm not really happy with "External links" as that section's title, especially given that, as you've observed, they are far from the only external links. It also upsets the traditional expectation that external links were not used as sources. How about sub-headings within "Sources"? The sources that you mention can be under a "Background information" third-level header. Uncle G (talk) 13:27, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On publication edit

When published I strongly recommend inserting a {{wikinews}} link to this story into the National Portrait Gallery's Wikipedia page. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:38, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

References to logs edit

Suggest that the log references (which currently include user=Lar parameters) be changed to

so that if in future someone else should act, that will be reflected in the log. It is entirely possible that someone other than myself may well take action, neither of the actions I took is irreversible. I was not sure about the practices here so refrained from making this change myself. ++Lar: t/c 15:01, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • It's best, as said below, for the subjects of this news story to be kept at arm's length by Wikinews. Thank you for sticking to the talk page only. The intention of those URLs, listed as they are as sources, is to show the sources used and thereby provide verification for the facts stated in the story, namely the actions that you, specifically, took. If there were a way to hyperlink to an individual log entry, I'd have used it. If someone makes further log entries in a month's or a year's time, that really isn't relevant to this news report, which deals in the events that have just happened. Uncle G (talk) 15:20, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Suffice it to say I agree about the arms-length-ness. However I disagree about the logs themselves, because there is a very real chance that someone else might well make such a change, within the time window this news report covers. Certainly if no one does, by the time it's time to archive this, they could be returned to this format I suppose. There is another factual correction needed in them, although it's very minor, the title of the second one was lacking "on Wikimedia Commons"... SUL will show Dc has accounts in many places and adding it in reduces confusion. ++Lar: t/c 18:17, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looming edit

We've heard back from the NPG. It is now 18:01 UTC, which is 19:01 local time in the U.K.. I don't want to wait too much longer for moving to review status. Uncle G (talk) 18:02, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think I've pushed for all the input I can get. I'm not sure we can wait on Jay at the WMF, and my thoughts about the politicians I've been trying to contact are unrepeatable. As long as the ORG bit is worked in I'd say put up for review. Your choice if you add to the NPG assertion of no contact with the WMF with us getting no response from them. If it is in the next few hours it can always be added. Oh, and use urgent review. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:15, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

David Gerard is NOT WMUK press officer edit

I was for WMUK v1, I'm not for WMUK v2, at all. I've added a "[THIS IS INCORRECT]" note to the article. I'm a volunteer media contact for WMF, though less and less of late (WMUK's number seems to be propagating). I have no official status with the WMF or any chapter - David Gerard (talk) 13:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Your home page, used as the source for this information, said, and still says right now, otherwise. I'll put the word "former" in.

    As a former press officer, you'll no doubt understand our desire, as a NPOV news service, to keep the subjects of the story that Wikinews has close association with at arm's length, here, and not have them write the story themselves. This is why editing the article directly is a bad idea. Ryan Kaldari and Derrick Coatzee both edited just this talk page, notice. Uncle G (talk) 14:00, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah, I need to update the home page sooner rather than later. I'll do so now. I edted the article as well to avoid the risk of it falling through the cracks - David Gerard (talk) 19:48, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you want a quote from Wikimedia UK please get in touch with someone at Wikimedia UK and we'll consider what we're prepared to say. But our current strategy is to keep our heads firmly below water on this as we don't want to become a target. In light of this I'm particularly uncomfortable with our name being mentioned in connection with someone who was acting entirely independent of us (and indeed has never been a member of - or in any way affiliated with - our organisation). David Gerard remains a UK press contact for the WMF, but, at present at least, has nothing official to do with Wikimedia UK. --Cfp (talk) 19:59, 14 July 2009 (UTC) (Treasurer, Wikimedia UK)Reply[reply]

Check the emails to your press contact address. I asked for comment earlier today. --Brian McNeil / talk 20:13, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry the person to whom that address goes had only just seen that e-mail. Our opinion on at least one of the issues at stake can be seen here. But I do not think we wish to comment further on details of any current discussions between the NPG and any other party. --Cfp (talk) 20:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please can this article be corrected to reflect the fact that David Gerard has no official involvement with Wikimedia UK in its current incarnation, and never has? Linking his name and comments to Wikimedia UK is wholly inappropriate and inaccurate. At the present time, Wikimedia UK is not involved in any way with this dispute, and as such is not commenting on it. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 09:54, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is part of why I edited the article directly - Wikinews is notoriously bad at fixing factually incorrect or misleading details when the writer is particularly fond of a turn of phrase - David Gerard (talk) 21:39, 16 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikinews is, well, Wikinews. In this case you're glossing over the situation - or at least the history leading up to it. Until this article/issue started getting pushed it was still on David Gerard's web page that he was the UK press contact. That historical, and widely known position is one the rest of the media acts from; I take it as an unreasonable and unfair characterisation to represent Wikinews' (note, no capitalised "N") position as wilfully disregarding a near-unnnanounced change of circumstance. I know there's a difference between WMUK v1 and v2, but our readers don't, and nor do other press seem to.
It would be nice to see the current WMUK appoint some press spokesperson, or otherwise nominate someone to be a voice to the world on this issue. It isn't going to go away in a hurry, and there are a lot of people want to see this fought in courts - UK, US, and wherever else there is a chance of money being made or lost. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:36, 16 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some brief review comments edit

As a non-regular Wikinews contributor, the tone could be a bit cooler. For example would we go into some points in such depth, for a story that was about some other body or issue? Or include a sentence phrased more like a disclaimer: "Like most Wikimedians, he is a volunteer at the wiki projects, and not an employee or representative of the Foundation that provides and operates them." Not that the coverage isn't neutral or the points inaccurate, more that the tone is a shade too "warm" in a few places.

I'm having a go at addressing the tone issue slightly.

FT2 (talk) 21:00, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've also added a section giving background on the parties. I don't know if this is the best way to do it, but there are presumptions that will be applied to Commons (such as the meaning of "administrator", or how Commons is organized), and also scattered information on the solicitors in two separate places. It's easier to collect all similar "useful background material" in one place. Please improve how this is presented, if possible. FT2 (Talk | email) 22:45, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Peer review edit

I'm in the process of doing a peer review of this version. Are there are any major further changes expected or should I publish the version when I'm done with my review? JoshuaZ (talk) 22:07, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd say go ahead and publish. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ok. Killing beat me to that. I'm not going to disagree but I have slight concern about one sentence. "In part, this failure may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Wikipedia's free content mandate; and of the difference between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation." Do we have reason to conclude that any fault lied with the Gallery and not miscommunication for example? JoshuaZ (talk) 22:16, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The template {{under review}} can be used so that redundant reviews don't get undertaken. --SVTCobra 22:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Still posting some further improvements - when I'm done can they be reviewed too. And being new to the publishing cycle at Wikinews, what is the correct template to indicate that revisions are being done to update the draft, and the template will be removed when it's ready for re-review? Assuming that's how it works. FT2 (Talk | email) 22:49, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are ok. Your edits won't appear in the article until they are sighted by a user with editor status. It won't require another full review. --SVTCobra 22:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok - thanks for that. FT2 (Talk | email) 22:59, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I didn't expect you to re-write the entire article. Is there a single sentence that you have not changed? --SVTCobra 01:27, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done, I think. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:42, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image edit

Would it be OK to include a sample NPG image from Commons? --SVTCobra 22:24, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have vague feelings that the article almost seems to take a pro free-content/pro Wikipedia side without including a copy of one of the disputed pictures. Maybe instead include a low-res copy with a note that a low res copy is clear ok? JoshuaZ (talk) 22:27, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would not put a NPG image on it. Use the Commons logo if you must. I'd suggest {{QuoteLeft}} and {{QuoteRight}} for decoration. --Brian McNeil / talk 22:41, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WMF response edit

Not too late, needs worked in...

Brian, the Foundation has prepared the following statement on the recent NPG activities

Regarding recent actions by the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK) towards a Wikipedia user.
The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
Unfortunately, during the week of July 6, 2009, the National Portrait Gallery, based in London, UK, issued a legal threat against a Wikipedia user. The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law. We regret that the National Portrait Gallery has not attempted to engage in constructive dialogue, either with the Wikimedia Foundation or the Wikimedia community of volunteers, and has chosen instead to issue legal threats.
The Wikimedia volunteer community is discussing this issue independently, and some thoughtful arguments on the matter can be found in community blogs, for example:

-- Jay Walsh Head of Communications

This would - obviously supercede the earlier remark by the chairman. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:25, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've asked Jay Walsh if there is a reliable source to cite this from. It isn't yet on the blog. Its best not to add it until formal, I've removed it for now. When it's confirmed, the proposed edit is here. FT2 (Talk | email) 23:51, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I rolled back to the version with the statement, this statement is from Jay's WMF email address to my wikinewsie email address, and copied to the scoop distribution list all accredited reporters are on. From other private correspondence I can say this will not appear elsewhere unless it is a news site that Jay has also sent this to; it will not be published as such on the blog. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:57, 14 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Post-publication coverage edit

Okay, I'd like to keep a list here of other stories that come up in Google News after ours.

I have this, from a search for National Portrait Gallery. I currently see Wikinews as the most recent source, listed in the top section with the Gruniard and el-Reg. There's also a huge pull-quote from the Wikinews article...


...plaintiff in that case, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was "looking for a similar test case in the UK or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position

--Brian McNeil / talk 00:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Great story edit

I wanted to thank you all for your hard work on this story, which does a great job of informing the public about the situation and pulling in lots of relevant sources. Keep up the good work. :-) Dcoetzee (talk) 03:08, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

International context edit --FrobenChristoph (talk) 04:52, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Legal Issues? edit

This article appears to contain unjustified legal interpretation. Example:

"Under United States law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted 2 dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone."

As far as I'm aware, there is no such law in the United States, though if there is and you can cite it, I would love to know of it. There has been a legal court case settled in the Southern District of New York in which this was concluded (the Bridgeman case), but as that was not a Federal Supreme Court case, it is non-binding in the rest of the US, and not really adequate grounds to call precedence, TIANAL (and I bet the article writer isn't, either). C'valyi d'Jade (talk) 04:57, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The Bridgeman case seems to be fairly widely accepted as case law. Clarifying it as "case law" probably wouldn't hurt though. Done.

    What's interesting that I hadn't known, is that "Bridgeman" in turn was heard under UK law, and draws for its decision upon UK cases (where the Gallery is located) by high level courts in the UK (the UK's Privy Council and House of Lords respectively). The full ruling is rather long! That hadn't been noted and it's of significance since it's often considered a purely domestic ruling; this additional information directly affects whether the case has any likely legal standing in the UK. FT2 (Talk | email) 09:34, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • The original text, before it was rewritten, quite explicitly said "A case in U.S. law". Uncle G (talk) 14:39, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Bridgeman is a US case but unusually, it was explicitly decided under the UK legal system (1st time around) and later under the US legal system. Its backing cases were from the House of Lords and Privy Council respectively, both as English and binding a decision as the Supreme Court would be for a US matter. To describe the legal basis as simply "a case in US law" is therefore misleading, since a reader will gain an incorrect impression - that Bridgeman drew on US not UK law; that its cited cases were probably US ones; that UK law does not contain such precedents, and that if any do exist they are unconnected to the Bridgeman case cited in the NPG/Coetzee matter. It is therefore important to state both sides:
        • The edited version therefore states that "Copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated" and "Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery's solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country."
        • On the other side it explains the legal background a bit, and that Bridgeman (widely considered a precedent affecting the US) was in fact based on both UK and US frameworks. Within the UK legal framework it was based upon rulings by the House of Lords and Privy Council on intellectual property rights in the UK. Those rulings directly considered issues such as originality, copyrightability, status of reproductions and indefinite monopoly via reproduction.
      • FT2 (Talk | email) 16:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British v English edit

I've now twice corrected the first line from English to British. Just because we are in dispute with them doesn't mean we should misrepresent them, however extensive their collection of specifically English portraits they were setup by the British Government as a National gallery for Britain and an important part of their collection predates devolution to Scotland and Wales. I.e whether a nineteenth or twentieth century British Prime minister was English, Welsh or Scottish their portrait will be in that gallery. WereSpielChequers (talk) 12:16, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They are English and Welsh. Or, at least, they are governed under the laws of England and Wales. Ever since the act of union Scotland has retained a separate legal system. Their law has nothing to do with the NPG. As this is a legal dispute the distinction is important. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:18, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is it possible that the gallery covers British people, but is bound by English law? The 1992 Act that created the current trust has legislative authority in England and Wales, but all its references to the trust's role are to "portraiture of British persons and British history". ([1]). FT2 (Talk | email) 12:25, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't doubt it holds pictures of Scots and Irish - but the point is that it's all under English law, a critical part of the story. Uncle G (talk · contribs) made a deliberate and clear decision to stick with that, it seems sensible and I'd want his input before changing that detail. --Brian McNeil / talk 12:52, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's a shame when "corrections" aren't fact checked. This is the English National Portrait Gallery. There is a quite separate Scottish one, in Edinburgh. Uncle G (talk) 14:36, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • And this really didn't have anything to do with the legal system, by the way. That's later in the article, notice. This is the first few words of the first sentence of the lead, and our readership is worldwide and doesn't know the story already. So right away it tells the reader which, of the several "National Portrait Gallery"s in the world, and even the multiple ones in the U.K. (per the headline), is the one that the story involves, without spending too much time on the details that will be gone into later in the story. The Gallery is the one in England, the English one. I didn't write "English National Portrait Gallery", notice. I wrote "English National Portrait Gallery". Uncle G (talk) 15:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Brianmc, I really don't see where you're coming from with this 'English law' argument that you keep using as a basis for reverting. I've scoured the article and I can find no reference to 'English law' except once in the Museums Copyright Group statement, and that seems to be made off-hand. Conversely the article is peppered with the phrase 'UK law'. Indeed the article states the relevent legislation is the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act, which applies to the whole country. Please tell me where exactly English law comes into it?
Assuming I'm correct, Uncle G still makes a valid point about the global readership. Still, the gallery's remit is for British portraits, which makes it a gallery about Britain. I suggest that we could change it to "The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London, England", which still specifies its English location for the reader but does not incorrectly imply it only deals with English art. -- (talk) 17:42, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • You don't even seem to be making an effort to see the distinction I did and, frankly, Uncle G's point kills English vs British dead. If you'd been saying "London's National Portrait Gallery" that might have made more sense, but you're looking for a more generic description that ignores the political landscape of the UK. --Brian McNeil / talk 17:58, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am fully aware Scotland has a devolved parliament - what I am apparently failing to understand is in how this is in any way relevant. I repeat, where does English law come into it? Which English law in particular? And why does "London's" make more sense? Why shouldn't there be a more generic description - the political landscape of the UK doesn't come into this at all? If this article was dealing with the Scottish NPG and you'd wanted to call it a British gallery the converse argument would also be valid. -- (talk) 18:22, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have you finished ranting about being reverted? You've done a fine job of saying "I don't like your arguments", but you've done bugger all to justify calling this the British National Portrait Gallery. --Brian McNeil / talk 23:51, 16 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I should think not, considering that's not what I've been proposing at all.
You're being very hypocritical. You haven't answered any of my questions. -- (talk) 18:29, 21 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Concerns edit

I didn't have time to review FT2's changes as xe made them, but in summation they are a cause for some concern. I've been busy in Another Place (several, actually). I am concerned that some information has been lost and some bias has been introduced by them.

I was being quite careful with what I originally wrote about the Museums Copyright Group, for example, stating just the facts without implying any conclusions. Similarly, the problems observed on the talk page with the legal issues text that FT2 added, are the very reasons that I was quite careful when writing up the legal issues, avoiding as best I could stating any legal conclusions beyond what are already in law textbooks, and aiming to simply outline the problem, so that readers know why the case would be significant in law.

I notice, too, that we've lost a whole lot of names and details, changing active voice to passive voice to cover up those losses. That's not good writing. Wikinews' style guide recommends active voice, and there was no real reason to change this and lose information in doing so.

We've also lost mention of Wikipedia Review, for no good reason, even though several of the public policy discussions mentioned in the story took place there. We've lost explanation of a non-departmental public body, and a link to an explanation of what an administrator on MediaWiki actually is. We've also mis-represented the NPG, to make it seem that it's only actions over the years have been against Wikipedia and the Commons, when clearly it has been asserting its copyright to several people, not least to M. Crowell. Uncle G (talk) 15:25, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Quick comments -
    • You'll note that no legal conclusions are drawn. But the facts of the legal background are highly salient. For example, "Bridgeman" is often quoted as a US case - it turns out to be rather relevant to the news article that "Bridgeman" was decided twice, applying UK and then US law, and drawing on multiple "Law Lord" rulings. No conclusions being drawn and the material being accurately cited and salient, I don't think the legal material added is a problem in the sense you're concerned about. It clarifies that the US case is closely related to (and drawn from) UK law, and indicates the provenance and main rulings.
    • One name is removed - the user (Lar) who responded by blocking the account and desysopping the user. Not necessary to name every user who did anything, and Lar's name isn't furthering the story. Other names do, and those are left in.
    • A number of sites have discussed the matter, from Slashdot onwards, since the initial email was posted up. The removal of Wikipedia Review isn't due to pro/anti issues, it's because put simply, its interest is as a specialist site discussing anything that happens on Wikipedia; it doesnt add to the story anything that suggests wider interest by the world and if we're going to name sites that have in depth coverage of the matter then there are likely to be other technology and media discussion sites with a greater claim to be the one(s) named.
    • We have indeed "lost a link to an explanation of what an administrator on MediaWiki actually is". It's been replaced by a brief in-article explanation because the word "administrator" will usually be assumed to mean "person in charge" or "person responsible" by a lay-reader of the news. A link is probably insufficient to prevent many users making this error.
    • Non-departmental public body is still linked exactly as before, but at the point where the NPG and Commons are both described.
  • FT2 (Talk | email) 16:33, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Not true, I'm afraid. Both George William Herbert's and Larry Pieniazek's names were removed, and sentences were changed from active to passive voice to compensate. We now have "Coetzee's 'administrator' privileges were removed by a user", for example. That is, as I said, not good writing.

      That reason for removing Wikipedia Review doesn't hold water, nor change the fact that several of the public policy discussions reported in the story took place there. That other places also might have discussed the issue doesn't change the fact that what was actually reported on, and observed in original reporting, was discussions at Wikipedia Review.

      You're right about the non-departmental public body link. I take that back.

      But conversely, I point to discussions on this very talk page where people are arguing that the text as you revised it implies that Bridgeman would hold in the U.K.. As I said, this is something that I originally tried quite hard to avoid implying. I was quite careful not to make any such implication, not least because doing so would be rendering the article non-neutral. I'm not the only one voicing the concern that that is exactly what you've done.

      You've also not addressed the issue of your mis-representing the NPG. The original text had "The complaint by the NPG that its copyright is being violated is a long-standing one, that it has maintained for some years.". There was no implication with that wording that it was solely Wikipedia that it made its complaints against. M. Crowell, after all, says otherwise, and I'm pretty sure that xe isn't alone. I'm pretty sure that the NPG would state, if asked, that it has been complaining to more people than just those at the Commons and Wikipedia. (Indeed, I found one site when researching the article that appeared to have been subject to a takedown request for all NPG images.) The text that is there now says "While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years.". That statement might not be actually true. So this is not merely a misrepresentation, but possibly an outright falsehood, to boot. We know that the NPG has repeated its complaint for many years. But we in fact do not know that its complaint was sent to the Wikipedia Foundation. That is a fact that we have not checked as reporters. Uncle G (talk) 01:17, 18 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Style issues edit

Hey guys,

I noticed there are numerous style issues in this article:

  1. U.K. vs. UK. This unresolved discussion should at least be consistent.
  2. No date parameter in some sources
  3. Sources not in reverse chronological order.

There are smaller issues, but those are the major ones I saw. Having taken a look at the history, I find no fault of Killing Vector (talk · contribs)'s peer review, as significant changes have occurred since then. I'll try to help out, but I can't guarantee anything. Calebrw (talk) 14:56, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • It was "U.K." and "U.S." consistently originally. And some of the sources don't have dates because they don't have dates. There's simply no date on McIlwaine's article, for example.

    Having sources in reverse chronological order is not a style requirement, by the way. There is no such requirement in the style guide. The ones that I added, I added in simple order of use (although we did later factor the background sources out into a separate section, to make the review process simpler). Uncle G (talk) 15:33, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • See this WN:ARCHIVE#General_Conventions, which is the basis for the chronological order. Calebrw (talk) 15:38, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • As I've pointed out before, that's not the style guide, and it doesn't have a good rationale. Uncle G (talk) 15:46, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Perhaps these concerns should be best addressed at the WN:WC. Calebrw (talk) 16:13, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        •   Done -- See this discussion. Calebrw (talk) 16:17, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • There are probably other details in the archive conventions that could/should be ported to the style guide. It isn't always easy to keep these overlapping documents in synch.
          The 'rationale' behind sorting newest-> oldest is to impose an order on sourcing that is consistent, and to order such that historical documents versus latest reports are appropriately prioritised in the sources. A side-effect is that people tend to add post-publication sources out of order, so having them stand out is a beneficial feature where many are not actually used as sources.
          For something as complex as this, the first thing was taking a decision that in some way the sources needed divided up. I agree with Uncle G (talk · contribs)'s judgement that external links wasn't wholly appropriate - the solution of having a sources sub-section on the background information seemed a good one. I will say I don't like seeing source templates used without a date; where there isn't one I'd say don't use that template. I always push for |date= to be fully qualified Month Dayno, Year so that if the need arises the date information can later be processed. --Brian McNeil / talk 16:38, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

How much money is involved? edit

How much money is actually obtained through the museum through the sale of such images? Their digitization program is obviously work, and they should get paid, but we ought to push for direct UNESCO funding to museums that provide high quality digital photographs of world-class artwork to the global public domain. Wnt (talk) 15:34, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Please note that this is the talk page for discussing the writing of the article. If you wish to comment on the issues that the story involves, please use the comments page. From a writing of the article perspective, I did consider putting some facts and figures about revenues into the story. They had come up in the various discussions over the weekend. But there was some disagreement amongst the sets of figures, the discussion of revenue being a very minor part of those discussions that people didn't explore to a large extent, and I didn't find any readily usable quotations from identifiable people in those discussions that would help exemplify the issue to the reader. Uncle G (talk) 15:44, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Miscellaneous comments edit

I have not yet read the talk, but this article comes across to someone totally unfamiliar with the processes of the wiki-editing dynamic as biased in favor of the Wikimedia Commons.

I would suggest a much more "news"-like description of the case, and leave the legal speculation to the discussion boards. This reads like a harried defense of the Commons' right to post images. While I would side with Wikimedia on almost any issue, I think it damages Wikinews' reputation as a legitimate source of reporting to have such an overwrought explanation of the case.

EDIT (7-16-09): I am especially concerned with two issues. First, the fact that this has been Wikinews' front page breaking news story for two days. This appears to outsiders as a very self-interested bias for a news outlet, when there are so many other large news stories occuring in the world. Second, in a move that would appear to be attempting to accurately represent BOTH sides of the story, the statement from NPG is introduced, but is immediately refuted with "In fact, ..." making it sound like Wikinews is simply debating with NPG, instead of delivering an impartial account of the facts.

A news agency's goal is not to fight these fights--that's a job for the discussion boards and the forums. I am worried that the front page and the story itself will appear juvenile or undeveloped (which, as a news source, Wikinews is) to readers because of its attempt to present a defense for Wikimedia Commons. (talk) 17:03, 15 July 2009 (UTC) Editor, The Argus, Illinois Wesleyan UniversityReply[reply]

Update on representation edit

Hi all, just wanted to provide an important update on this story. As noted at Commons:User:Dcoetzee/NPG_legal_threat, I have secured representation for my legal conflict with the National Portrait Gallery. I will be represented pro bono by Fred von Lohmann, a senior intellectual property attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the heads-up on that, I've now swapped emails with Fred. From his perspective Wikinews is looking in the right places and asking the right questions... He just can't give answers on all of them right now. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:27, 17 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some misleading implications. edit

Hi all.

I've been trying to get my head around the status of Bridgeman v. Corel (for what must be the ten thousandth time), so I read through this article, and I'm a little worried the "legal issues" section here goes off track towards the end. We drift happily through past UK cases, nice solid legal precedents, then discuss Bridgeman, but it doesn't seem desperately clear to the reader that this was an American case and not a British one. We talk of it being "heard ... applying UK law", and conclude that "The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted".

This, to me, reads as though we're claiming Bridgeman to be binding in the UK - it's the definite "concluded that ... were not". Perhaps this ought to be reworded? Strictly speaking, the court ruled on one and had an opinion about the other, but I'm not sure how we can put that clearly.

It certainly seems best to ensure we avoid giving the unintentional impression that Bridgeman v. Corel has the force of decided law in London, and as it now stands the article can leave a casual reader somewhat confused. Thoughts? Shimgray (talk) 10:20, 17 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I'd say it is now too late to do such a significant rework. This being confusing to a casual reader should be no surprise - I find it confusing and I've read most of the sources. I have email from the EFF lawyer representing Derrick pro-bono and (as you'd probably expect) he is confident Bridgeman would be considered if brought before a UK court on such a copyright dispute. --Brian McNeil / talk 10:24, 17 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have similar concerns. See #Concerns above. Avoiding bias and the implication that Bridgeman applied in the U.K. was one thing that I was very conscious of when I wrote the original, and I was careful not to state any legal conclusions beyond what are already in law textbooks. See also #Legal Issues? above. There are some suggestions in those sections. Uncle G (talk) 01:39, 18 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Grammatical fail edit


In particular, Zoomify's website comments that while "many customers — famous museums for example" use Zoomify, in their experience a "general consensus" seems to exist that most museums are concerned to make the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than prevent the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

"concerned to make" should be "concerned with making", and "prevent" should be "preventing". The sentence doesn't currently parse. Thumperward (talk) 12:57, 29 July 2009 (UTC) {{editprotected}}Reply[reply]

because I agree w/Thumperward. -Elvey
  DoneGopher65talk 06:06, 4 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Also, I wanted to note that this legal advice given to Coetzee has info the article could use, but working it in would take time.) Elvey (talk) 18:01, 30 July 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately, while articles can have minor grammatical and spelling errors corrected after they are archived, archive policy prevents adding or removing content from the articles in question. However, you could chose to write a new article and include additional information that has recently come to light (within 3 days of the article being written, usually). Gopher65talk 06:06, 4 August 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Category request edit

{{editprotected}} I think this would belong to Category:Art and Category:Galleries as well. —Elekhh (talk) 00:30, 1 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  Done --Pi zero (talk) 12:42, 1 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ISBN magic link edit

{{editprotected}} This page uses an ISBN magic link, a feature which is likely to be replaced sometime soon per the RFC on Mediawiki. In the Background material subsection, please enclose the word ISBN, and the number immediately after it, inside the {{ISBN}} template e.g. {{ISBN|0870621440}}, which should have no outward effect but ensures that the link to Special:BookSources is maintained when the magic link is deprecated. Cheers. Green Giant (talk) 17:03, 27 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  Done --Pi zero (talk) 14:34, 28 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Return to "U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images" page.