Wikipedia as an Image Source

From the Copyright Librarian at the University of Minnesota, we get this great post about permissions for images found on Wikipedia. On public domain images, for instance, the Copyright Librarian had this to say

Note: Wikipedians may not always be 100% correct about whether an image is in the public domain, but they are good at documentation, and good at self-correction. I’d say they’re about as good a source of public domain information as any, these days. There’s no perfect information.

Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, image in the public domain & taken from Wikipedia

Read the rest of the post here.

I enjoyed reading this piece by the Copyright Librarian quite a bit. For example, I didn’t know that Wikipedians rely on the fact that an image “was originally distributed for promotional purposes” to be able to use it or that they “actively debate whether that image is appropriately used” before reading this post. So I learned something new, something I always like from my reading. Moreover, as you well know, I’m fond of Wikipedia. Here,  I had the pleasure of seeing a post that doesn’t categorically assert that “Wikipedia is unreliable”. Wikipedia is not always reliable either, but shouldn’t one judge its quality by actually reading the entry — whether that be an article or the status of an image — and then making up one’s mind just as we do with everything else? This judgement is surely difficult, but that difficulty is compounded and not helped by the rote repetition that if it’s Wikipedia, it’s wrong.

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