13 June 2012

"Pirates": SpringerImages

Lately we hear a lot about cases where corporations or greedy individuals misuse freely licensed software or content, such a case is related in a special report in Signpost, Wikipedia's community-written and community-edited newspaper: Springer's misappropriation of Wikimedia content "the tip of the iceberg".

SpringerImages, a website providing scientific images and part of the Springer global publishing company was caught by a professor publishing and selling Creative Commons licensed materials with no proper attribution. After being contacted and some talks with the professor, the publishing company admits there may be some flaws but call the accusations "blatantly false" and "reputation damaging".

After the Signpost's article, Springer published another response, this time they acknowledge "defects" and take measures like "we have manually stopped display of *all* images with MediaWiki or Wikipedia in the caption. These images will not be displayed again until we can reliably differentiate among those that have non-commercial restrictions."

The article notes how damaging for Free culture such abusers are, one notable example being the German Federal Archives, which donated 100.000 pictures to Wikipedia in 2008 and then stopped contributions after seeing mass-scale abuse of their donated content (like images with watermarks cropped and then sold on eBay as original)

In as interesting piece, read it all at Signpost.

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