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It has been the headlines of the news lately that the The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has sent a nasty letter to Wikipedia and it demanding on the free, web-based, collaborative encyclopedia, Wikipedia to remove its official seal in an article about the office. The FBI strongly believed that Wikipedia has committed authorization and counterfeiting violations.
The letter sent to site says, “The FBI has not authorized use of the FBI seal on Wikipedia. The inclusion of a high quality graphic of the FBI seal on Wikipedia is particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting copying and reprinting of the FBI’s seal.” which was obtained by The New York Times. The FBI also threaten the site for lawsuit if it continues to display the seal in the seal.
However, according to the report of CNET, Wikipedia strongly believed that the FBI may have misread the law it cited in its angry letter. Mike Godwin, the general counsel for Wikimedia Foundation answered the issue by saying: “While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version of Section 701 that you forwarded to us,”.
He further argued that Section 701 only prohibits the unauthorized reproduction of the insignia on badges and identification cards and not to encyclopedia contents. “The use of the image on Wikipedia is not for the purpose of deception or falsely to represent anyone as an agent of the federal government”, he said.
FBI is still sticking to what has been written to their letter posted July 22 and according to William Carter, FBI’s spokesperson, you can’t use the FBI seal, by law, unless you have the permission of the FBI director.
Up to this moment, Wikipedia has not removed the seal in their site despite the threat of the FBI. What’s your stand in this issue? Feel free to post your comments in here.