Community Logo/Reclaim the Logo

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Information

Note: The text below was written by a small group of Wikimedia editors; it does not necessarily represent the views of the wider community.

With appreciation, we ask our fellow contributors for help in translating this page into other languages and in promoting the discussion on the relevant local venues, noticeboards and mailing lists.

We also invite all interested parties to provide comments, views and opinions on the talk page.

Many thanks.

[edit]

The community logo

The Wikimedia community logo was first uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by Artur "WarX" Fijałkowski in December 2006 as part of a set of icons to complement the official Wikimedia logos (such as the Wikipedia puzzle globe or the general Wikimedia logo) for use in non–official activities of the Wikimedia community.

Since modifications of the official logos were restricted by the Wikimedia visual identity guidelines, and the name "Wikimedia" was a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation[1], Artur “WarX” released the community logo into the public domain, having created it "in the hope to be totally free."[2]

During the five years since it was uploaded, the logo had been re–mixed by many Wikimedia communities for various purposes, and its derivative versions have been adopted by the Toolserver, several initiatives of the Polish Wikimedia community, and others. In 2008, the logo was also adopted by the Meta-Wiki community.

In a surprising move in July 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation applied for the registration of the logo as their trademark, which was officially registered on August 7, 2012[3]. This fact, however, was never made public. Only in January 2013 did a volunteer editor notice that the logo has been marked with the {{Wikimedia trademark}} template by a WMF employee the previous month[4]. The issue was brought up a few weeks later during Wikimedia Foundation legal team's office hours, in March 2013 on the Wikimedia-l mailing list and again on Meta — unfortunately, without any substantive discussion.

In response to the situation, a small group of Wikimedians have initiated the necessary formal opposition procedure against the registration of the logo as a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation in the European Union. It was submitted to the OHIM on 2013-09-25 and is publicly accessible.[5] We are Artur Fijałkowski (WarX), the author of the logo, Tomasz Kozłowski (odder), Federico Leva (Nemo); with help from John Vandenberg. The cost so far is about €1,100 of our own money, which is our donation to the Wikimedia community.

[edit]

We believe that the registration of the logo as a trademark contradicts the reasons behind its creation and is contrary to the way it has been used and modified in the past. Having witnessed the complexity and lengthiness of the trademark authorisation process, we are quite sure that the mere fact of the logo being a trademark will have a negative impact on the community’s ability and freedom to use it.

We understand the importance of holding trademark rights to the logos of the projects to prevent harmful activities that could damage their reputation. With regard to the community logo, however, we feel that neither the Wikimedia Foundation, nor any other organisation that is part of the Wikimedia movement should hold trademark rights to it. Every community member should have unrestricted freedom to use it for any purpose, as has been the case for many years.

We also believe that the logo's special history and the unrestricted ability to use and modify it for one's own purposes have made it an inherent part of the shared identity of the Wikimedia community. The Foundation's suggestion that—due to their registration of the community logo as a trademark — we should create a new one so that it could be used without their authorisation or prior approval is, in our feeling, proof of ignorance and disrespect for its history and role.

We understand that the registration of the logo as a trademark isn't therefore a service to the community, despite good faith. Had the community needed a trademarked logo, it would have asked for one to be created; conversely, had the Foundation wanted to offer one, they would have created it on their own instead of registering the existing logo.

Consultation[edit]

Our initiative provides the Wikimedia Foundation with an opportunity to keep the field clear from this harmful appropriation. We hope therefore that the issue can be resolved amicably, in the wiki way: by discussing the matter on a public forum, in the atmosphere of mutual consideration and friendship. We invite all interested parties, especially individual community members, but also all interested organisations or groups, to express their opinions on the talk page. We also invite the Wikimedia Foundation and its employees (be it in their official or non-official capacities) to take an active role in discussing the issue.

Support [edit]

  1. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 21:22, 21 September 2013 (UTC)
  2. Tuvalkin (talk) 08:51, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
  3. Chico (talk) 14:17, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
  4. Wladek (talk) 06:49, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  5. Béria Lima msg 13:03, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  6. Clockery Fairfeld (talkenWS) 13:48, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  7. --Jduranboger (talk) 16:03, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  8. AugurNZ 02:27, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
  9. Bawolff (talk) 15:43, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
  10. Paelius (talk) 18:35, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
  11. Nickanc (talk) 20:37, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
  12. It became necessary to trademark the logo to keep it free. 80.114.178.7 00:46, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
  13. NaBUru38 (talk) 15:38, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
  14. I find Foundation's behaviour (registering the logo even without informing [not mentioning asking] its creator) outrageous. WMF: please, abandon trademarking the logo at this time, and let's start the whole discussion anew. BartłomiejB (talk) 13:53, 2 October 2013 (UTC)
  15. As initiator. odder (talk) 18:44, 21 November 2013 (UTC)
  16. Pleclown (talk) 09:31, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Oppose [edit]

  1. For those who are interested, the views of the WMF legal department may be found here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 17:22, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
  2. I don't see other viable means for protecting it against abuse. -- Codicorumus  « msg 18:29, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
  3. Strong oppose. This entire proposition completely misunderstands the nature of trademark registration. Under United States law, any entity that actually uses a mark with respect to its goods or services enjoys a common law right to enforce that trademark, in both state courts and federal courts (under the Lanham Act). The only effects of a trademark registration are to assist the trademark owner in proving their ownership of the mark, to alert other potential registrants that the mark is in use (for example, if a shoe company decided to use a logo that looked just like this because they were unaware that this mark was already in use), and to increase certain penalties against infringers. Preventing the registration of this mark will do nothing towards putting it in the public domain, or allowing anyone to use it for anything, because the existing common law regime already prohibits such use. BD2412 T 15:48, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
    The Wikimedia community is worldwide, not just in the USA. It seems to me that this logo is being mis-appropriated from the worldwide community through the trademark application, not just from Americans. AugurNZ 04:20, 24 September 2013 (UTC)
    This is even less of an issue with respect to "worldwide" use. A U.S. trademark can only be enforced against infringements that occur in the United States or are directed into the United States. Such a registration would have no effect, for example, on use by people in Europe using the mark on a website directed to other Europeans. BD2412 T 21:09, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but what it seems to me that you are saying is that, as a New Zealander and a member of the Wikimedia user community, I can use the current Community Logo for community activities here in New Zealand, without having to apply to the Wikimedia Foundation for permission under this trademark registration. Is that correct? I can ignore this whole trademark argument entirely? AugurNZ 23:06, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
  4. Oppose, as this poll proposes no documentation as to what a trademark implies. From what I'm reading on the talk page, it has no bearing on the copyright. Elfix 21:53, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
  5. As said above, this proposal confuses trademark (and protection from third party abuse) and copyright. Galio (talk) 12:40, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
  6. Oppose Oppose The example of the RAF roundel (Royal Air Force loses battle to control trademark roundel) is an abject lesson in what may happen if one does not trademark in a timely fashion. Failure to protect our trademark not only allows others to exploit it as they wish but could lead them to claim it as their own. Our community is based on freely sharing knowledge and media, but until the rest of the world subscribes to our values we have to play by their rules.--KTo288 (talk) 14:46, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
    From the same source "The Trade Mark Registry ruled the government could hang on to the trademark for the roundel for all other commercial [that is: non-clothing] uses". Your "abject lesson in what may happen if one does not trademark in a timely fashion" is a guile. It's no surprise you cowardly hide behind a pseudonym. --80.114.178.7 21:03, 20 October 2013 (UTC)


Notes[edit]

  1. No trademark policy existed back in 2006; the current trademark policy was only officially adopted in 2010, following an earlier resolution of the Board of Trustees from April 2009.
  2. March 11, 2013 post on the wikipl-l mailing list.
  3. Trademark information at the World Intellectual Property Organization website.
  4. December 12, 2012 edit by Maggie Dennis of the Wikimedia Foundation Legal and Community Advocacy department.
  5. Direct link to the opposition information. Accessing full PDFs now requires login, but we provided a copy of the opposition and observation on a Wikimedia wiki.