This is pretty ridiculous. The FBI recently sent a letter to Wikipedia (PDF) demanding that Wikipedia take down the FBI seal shown on the wikipedia article on the [w:Federal Bureau of Investigation]. Does the FBI have nothing better to do than hassle Wikipedia (who’s written a thorough and informative description of the FBI)?! As one Redditor named TheCid mused: “Somehow, I think a shit-for-brains lawyer at the FBI thinks Wikipedia and Wikileaks are the same organization, and decided to try to get at the latter via the former.”
The problem, those at Wikipedia say, is that the law cited in the F.B.I.’s letter is largely about keeping people from flashing fake badges or profiting from the use of the seal, and not about posting images on noncommercial Web sites. Many sites, including the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, display the seal.
Other organizations might simply back down. But Wikipedia sent back a politely feisty response, stating that the bureau’s lawyers had misquoted the law. “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” that the F.B.I. had provided.
F.B.I., Challenging Use of Seal, Gets Back a Primer on the Law
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: August 2, 2010
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.