Talk:Wikimedia Community Logo

(Redirected from Talk:Community Logo)
Latest comment: 10 years ago by LMezger (WMF) in topic Example problem - can community members advertise?

Initial discussion moved from Talk:Wikimedia_Thematic_Organizations.

Is it correct that this is a community logo?

Can anyone use this logo without permission to represent community Wikimedia projects?

There is a section on commons containing Wikimedia community logos. The page says that the concept was put forward by commons:User:WarX, who was the creator of the globe logo used to represent Meta-Wiki.

I would like to be able to use some logo to represent Wikimedia community projects which are unaffiliated with and not endorsed by the Wikimedia Foundation. I do not want to cause any brand confusion with the Wikimedia Foundation, but in community outreach efforts, I feel the need to use something. Others must also, because the category on Commons shows that people have remixed this logo for use in all kinds of projects. However, these logos have the following template on them, so it seems that the Wikimedia Foundation asserts some claim of control over these.
Commons:Template:Wikimedia trademark
When Wikimedia project participants need to advertise their projects and claim affiliation with the Wikimedia community, is this a logo that anyone can use for this purpose in any context without permission, just so long as they do not purport to be representing the Wikimedia Foundation or any of its projects? How does Aff Com feel about thematic organizations and the rest of the Wikimedia community representing themselves graphically with a shared community logo? What is the significance of this community logo being labeled as a trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation? Is it in any way different from any other trademarked logo? How would Aff Com and the Wikimedia Foundation feel if there were a community organization which did not want to be an official WMF-organization, but did want to represent the Wikimedia community, and did want to use a logo when they promoted themselves? I am thinking of casual meetups, the education program, programs like Wikipedia loves Libraries, and thematic organizations. Can anyone use this Meta-Wiki logo without permission to represent these kinds of Wikimedia projects? Can anyone freely remix this logo for their group without worrying about the anyone wanting oversight of the group for using the trademark? Blue Rasberry (talk) 12:03, 21 December 2012 (UTC)Reply

This comment was originally in another section; I just moved it to its own section because it never got comment and because I have new information. On December 12 en:User:Mdennis (WMF) (aka en:user:Moonriddengirl) changed the status of many community logos from not being trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation to being trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation. Here are some examples showing history:
Many community logos originated in 2006 from a community effort to create logos to represent the Wikimedia Community and not the Wikimedia Foundation. There was a poll about using this logo for Meta with the understanding that the "Wikimedia visual identity guidelines do NOT apply to the new PD image (community logo)". It seems like this logo has always been for unrestricted community use and that any community project can use it or make variations of it - is this correct? Commons:Category:Wikimedia_Community_Logos does not make this kind of statement. I was wondering about the trademark status of this logo, especially since Mdennis just tagged it differently. The tags are a mistake, are they not? I just pinged Mdennis about this. 2006 was a long time ago and that process was not well documented, so I am trying to learn what happened. In 2008 there was talk about this on the Foundation-l mailing list - see 2008-September in the "[Foundation-l] New Meta-Wiki logo - Approved?" thread.
Can anyone use this logo for any purpose due to its not being trademarked and because of its history as a non-WMF but rather community symbol? Were the trademark tags put on this in error? Thanks. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:59, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi. According to the Wikimedia Foundation's legal department, who directed me to tag the images, they are trademarked. The tags weren't placed in error, but were very specific. However, I'm happy to request clarification if you'd like. :) --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:11, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Yes, please, Maggie, we would very much like to see an official clarification from the legal department. Especially because I myself remember talking with Artur (WarX) about his logo, and his reasons for releasing it into the public domain, and I can not remember that it was ever planned to become a Wikimedia trademark. odder (talk) 11:21, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Happy to. :) But I would like to clarify that its status as a trademark (assuming the attorneys are correct) has nothing to do with copyright. It would still be public domain, as tagged. But I'll shoot out an email. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:18, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Because I needed to explain the question to the attorneys, I checked to see when and by whom the second note was added to that poll; it was added here, well after the poll was underway. I checked to see why, and it probably relates to this discussion, where the user who placed the note seems to agree that it may be subject to trademark protection that restricts it from fraudulent use:
Conversation segment copied over from that talk
"so there's nothing to ensure that it will remain a unique identifier " That's why there's trademarks. Rocket000 03:55, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply
That's true, and I suppose that any entity deliberately using the icon in a manner intended to mislead the public to believe that it's affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation would be subject to litigation. But there's nothing to stop anyone from using it for other (non-fraudulent) purposes that the Foundation simply dislikes.
If Conservapedia wants to use it as their logo (provided that it makes no claims of affiliation with Wikimedia), it can. If a company wants to use it as a logo for its bottled water, laundry detergent, or insecticide (random examples), it can. If a brothel wants to hang it over its door, it can. If the Ku Klux Klan wants to use it to promote hate speech, it can. —David Levy 04:32, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply
Indeed. They could have used the community logo for that since it's creation. I see no reason to panic though. People can use images if Jimbo Wales for the same purpose. -- Cat chi? 12:18, 7 September 2008 (UTC)Reply
Jimbo's likeness carries legal protection, but I agree that there's no reason to panic. I just want to make sure that we have our ducks in a row. —David Levy 12:53, 7 September 2008 (UTC)}}Reply
It seems that the designation as a trademark may not have been in question when that note was added, but rather the processes required to use the trademark. But in any event, I am checking with legal. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 12:31, 8 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Thanks for seeking clarification on this point, BlueRasberry. As you correctly point out, this particular logo has come to represent Meta-Wiki, which provides an important space for the community to organize and discuss movement issues. The logo is registered as a trademark in order to give us a way to prevent any third-party misuse or misrepresentation of the movement’s marks.
Because this logo has become associated with Meta-Wiki, it has become less effective as a distinctive “shared community logo.” So currently its usage does require prior permission from WMF, which we know adds an additional step. But the legal team is more than happy to guide any community member who wishes to use the Meta-Wiki logo for activities in furtherance of the mission through the permissions process (which we always endeavor to keep simple, fast, and straightforward).
In the future, we plan to make it easier for groups to show their involvement in the movement without permission. We hope to assist the community in rolling out a shared logo that reflects the community consensus, and which may be freely used and remixed, when our trademark policy is revamped in the coming year. Rkwon (WMF) (talk) 02:12, 18 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
I was asked after the recent LCA office hour to find out when this was registered as a trademark. Application was filed 7 July 2012, with a "first use in commerce" claim of December 2006. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 21:39, 24 January 2013 (UTC)Reply

I was just pointed to this discussion, which I hadn't seen before. This does not make sense to me. The logo is clearly labelled as a shared community logo, and there was no ambiguity in the discussions in 2006 that it was to be a freely remixable, 'project neutral' community logo. Meta chose to use it as the meta-logo precisely because meta did not want to have a specially-trademarked logo -- it is the place for remixing ideas from across all Wikimedia projects, and all parts of the movement. I do not think there is a desire to keep others from using, modifying, recoloring, warping, stenciling, hexaflexagonifying, frankensteining, or otherwise creatively riffing off or this logo. Please do not instate any barriers to its use and reuse. If the Meta community wants a unique logo, we can make a new one. SJ talk  19:42, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

I'm also more than a bit surprised by this. I checked the trademark registry and, sure enough, this logo has been registered as US Serial number 85671072, filed on 7 July 2012, and an international application pending: A0031176. It was published for opposition on 26 February 2013, which means the community has until 28 March to either oppose the trademark or request to extend the time to oppose. I believe that Toolserver has a clear prior claim. In any case I believe WMF is acting against the community intent. The logo File:Wikimedia Community Logo.svg was created to be free of any restrictions (including freedom from the visual identity guidelines); the image page and poll at Meta:Babel/Metawiki logo poll made this quite clear. The meta community choose to use a logo free of restrictions, with that in mind. I request that the WMF reverts itself on this one edit and withdraws the trademark application, or endorses another party (WMDE?) filing a opposition extension request. John Vandenberg (talk) 11:38, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Seconded. Withdrawing trademark application for this specific logo is probably one of the only ways for the WMF to save their face in this situation. (The other one being creating a trademark policy such as Debian's, brought up as an example by Nemo below.) odder (talk) 14:34, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

More detailed discussion

The Wikimedia Foundation’s legal team believes that it would be a good idea to have a mark that individual members of the community can use both on-wiki and off to promote the Projects and the mission, without implying approval by the rest of the movement - roughly what this discussion has called a “community mark” or “community logo”. Before getting to the question of whether or not this particular mark is a community mark, though, we’d like to give some background, to make sure we’re on the same page as much as possible.
All trademarks serve the important purpose of identifying the “source” of a product or service. However, the means by which that purpose is carried out can vary incredibly. Some marks, like the Wikipedia puzzle globe logo, should be restricted by written license to uses that properly represent Wikipedia and all of the hard work the community has put into building the largest repository of human knowledge the world has ever seen. Others could be freely reusable by members of the community when they want to use it to promote the Projects and the mission, without implying endorsement by the rest of the community.
Regardless of where a trademark sits on this spectrum of control, it is important to be able, to the greatest extent possible, to prevent the use of the marks by bad actors. This could include unassociated third parties who are not using the mark to promote Wikimedia values, or worse, using it in a way that undermines the goodwill associated with the Wikimedia community, like a phishing site. To prevent this sort of abuse, registration of the trademark is often legally required. For that reason, to protect this mark for the community, the legal team registered it.
However, these registrations, and the goal of enforcing the mark against bad actors, do not mean that the Foundation will not take into account the specific goals and history of a mark when licensing it. In other words, the mere fact of registration doesn’t prevent this from being a community mark - what matters is what guidance that the community provides to the Foundation and that the Foundation incorporates that guidance into the exercise of that mark once the registration has happened.
It is also a good idea to remember that copyright and trademark rights are distinct rights. For example, the copyright in a logo could be licensed under CC-BY-SA or even released into the public domain completely by the creator, without affecting trademark rights in the logo. This means that even if a logo appears on Commons, there still maybe trademark rights that attach to that logo even though the copyright has been released. But again, how the Foundation enforces these rights will largely depend on what the overall purpose of the mark is. If a mark is designed to be a community mark, the Foundation would not require formal written permission as long as it was for Project or mission-based use.
Given all that background, the legal team does not yet have an answer as to whether or not this particular mark is or should be a community mark. However, we encourage and welcome community feedback on (1) whether this particular mark, commonly associated with Meta, should be considered a “community mark”; (2) whether there should be an open contest to create a new “standard” community mark; and (3) whether there should be multiple “community marks” and if so, by what process should they be approved by the community. --Michelle Paulson (WMF) (talk) 02:16, 13 March 2013‎
Hello Michelle, two 3 comments:
  1. Thank you for the reminder that ™ and © are distinct rights. The issue here is ™ and a free license -- noone should have to ask for permission to [re]use community logos in a WM community context. (I think that it may make sense for all of our marks to have a Wikimedia-compatible free license, but that is a separate issue. In the initial discussion about the community logo, both a PD and a copyleft license were discussed with our counsel, but PD won out.)
  2. "If a mark is designed to be a community mark..." -- There is a category of community logos on Commons. All of them are intended to be free for any community use. Anyone can add their own logo design to that category (as long as it is not a derivative of a non-community logo); however at least half of them are derivatives of the original Wikimedia Community Logo.svg, which is the current standard.
  3. Some concerns around how the WMF enforces marks relate to the imbalance of what efforts are visible. Most people never see actions taken against bad actors (the primary reason to register and protect the marks, as you say), and the costs of such infringement is often invisible. But a single requests of a community group not to use the marks is visible, as are the resulting discussion and switching costs. Can we share summaries of this work? How often do we take action to prevent the marks from being used by bad actors? What are some major instances?
Regards, SJ talk  21:26, 13 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Hi, SJ-
That was three comments :) With regards to:
  1. We agree that, to be most productive, this discussion should focus on the TM portion of the issue. Michelle called out the TM/C distinction because not everyone in the discussion seemed aware of it, and didn't want that to cause more confusion.
  2. I think it may have been more clear to say "if the proposed and accepted purpose of the mark..." The intent of the logo's designer is not enough for a mark that is so close to the marks that everyone agrees we should protect.
  3. That's an excellent point - it is easy to focus too much on this sort of thing and forget the big picture of the constructive stuff the legal team does. I feel comfortable saying there is no imbalance. We did over 200 trademark enforcements last year, and used the trademark in other ways (for example, to recover twitter accounts that are now used and managed by the community). Geoff discussed the trademark issue at Wikimania, but maybe there are other ways we could address any perception of imbalance. Any suggestions? (Keeping in mind that the team is extremely busy already!)
-- LVilla (WMF) (talk) 00:46, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
This has always been considered a "community mark", both from its creation in 2006, and even more important, its affirmation in the Metawiki logo poll of 2008. There are all sorts of legal technicalities appertaining to a "TM", that may or may not be appropriate in this instance, but these are somewhat beside the point as long as the fundamental no-special-permissions-required character of a true "community mark" is maintained.--Pharos (talk) 13:03, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Agreed. The answers to the questions are IMHO (1) obviously yes, (2) no, (3) there's no reason why there should be a process, and in that case the community will set it up. The simple solution is not trademarking the logo, as for WLM (see below); if the WMF did so, it will probably non-enforceable so we can just ignore it I guess? If they ever sue a community member, there will probably no shortage of defenses. --Nemo 21:11, 14 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hello Luis! Glad to see your input here. You're right, I can't count :) What I'm missing from these discussions is any way to quantify the risk of allowing community members in good standing to use the marks in any way they see fit. Quantifying this would educate our community, and address that sense of imbalance. If you help the community recognize and minimize this risk, and allow them to share in the responsibility for avoiding the problem, the "us vs. them" issue goes away -- and you generally recover a bunch of your own time for other work.

And teaching others can be a good learning experience -- the process may also help us identify motes in our own eye -- e.g., trademark uses that we are currently prohibiting or rate-limitign even for trusted community groups, which could be made self-service or vastly easier with little risk.

We seem to be conservative and perfectionist in our approach - now limiting TM uses that used to be commonplace. As I understand it, this is because it is costly for us to manage them centrally... and because we have not yet chosen to delegate or share any of that management workload. This sort of centralized risk-aversion makes sense in other organizations, perhaps less so for us. We have less need for it, logos whose value is bound up with and generated by the groups who want to reuse them, and subgroups who would gladly share this overhead.

Specific knowledge that would help make our community more TM-savvy and welcome them into the circle of light:

  • What are the risks of having untrademarked community logos?
  • What are the risks of having trademarked community logos that are minimally protected: where any community member is welcome to use them in any way whatsoever?
  • What are the risks of defining a set of trusted community members and groups, and letting them use our core marks as they see fit?
    • What is the value of the pieces of red tape we currently attach to the community trademark licenses we do grant?
  • What are the risks of making trademark use difficult? Of limiting the visibility and reuse of our marks?
  • How is the responsibility for protecting and enhancing our brand and marks shared? How is positive enhancement to our marks measured?

SJ talk 

Luis wrote: Geoff discussed the trademark issue at Wikimania, but maybe there are other ways we could address any perception of imbalance. Any suggestions? (Keeping in mind that the team is extremely busy already!)

It's not entirely clear from that slide what is involved. The en:wp community used to do some of this via a Mirrors and Forks page, for instance. Is that still done? How long does one takedown cycle take? In what languages have we enforced the marks? If these were handled in a ticketing system you could run some quick queries to generate the sort of stats that would help provide balance. Or explaining why a single takedown cycle takes a long time. In addition to educating people on the risks as noted above.
I recommend killing two birds with one stone: take an element of the TM-risk-evaluation pipeline, perhaps the first stage of risk-eval, and share it with an interested community group. You want to carve out a large enough step that it repays the investment in making it shared and transparent. Include in this step both the "external" risks [fraud and misattribution] and the "internal" risks [community uses that may weaken a mark over the long-term, and require careful handling]. This would address almost all of the questions and concerns above. Warmly, SJ talk  18:20, 16 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
This sounds like a positive approach to me.--Pharos (talk) 15:10, 18 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

It seems like the only ambiguity that was ever introduced as to whether this was meant to be a community logo, free from permission requirements by the WMF, comes from the WMF declaring it a trademark without prior discussion. Additionally, I think we'd all appreciate it if no one else took the time to discuss the difference between copyright and trademark on this page. Nathan T 13:18, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Use for specific purposes


I think the specific case of the Wiki Med Foundation (only two letters different from the Wikimedia foundation) using this logo is much more tricky than usual. The combination of having a very similar name, a similar mission and a similar logo carries even higher risks for confusion. I would personally (in my non-legal opinion, and not representing anyone or anything) suggest to choose a logo that is very different from the Wikimedia logo in shape and color, until an agreement with the Wikimedia Foundation is struck. Effeietsanders (talk) 11:50, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Reply

Effeietsanders is bringing this up because I have supported efforts to establish a medical organization for Wikipedians. I have been talking with people about logos since long before the medical thing started and medicine was not really my reason for asking the question. Effeietsanders supports something called en:Wiki Loves Monuments, and I also question whether that project's logo harms the Wikimedia community because it is trying to build its own independent visual identity outside the community. The Wikimedia community works very hard to build a good image and every time a new project has a new logo it forks the branding and reputation that the community has built. I wish that Wiki Loves Monuments would have a logo which showed that it was the result of the work of the community and not some new brand.
I feel the same way about other community efforts, like Wikipedia Loves Libraries, the education program, the summer picnics, community events like "Wikipedia takes (city name)", editathons, and any other outreach event in which members of the Wikipedia community who do not want to affiliate with the WMF but who do want to affiliate with the community and movement can represent themselves. There is a difference between the community and the foundation and not everyone who wants to be a member of the movement also wants the obligations and responsibility of having a relationship with the foundation. The community was around before the foundation and almost every part of every Wikimedia project was built without the foundation interacting with the community at all. I am entirely supportive of everything the foundation does but grassroots efforts do not need to continually seek hierarchy and people need to be empowered to spontaneously do things in some way that we all agree is best. I absolutely do not want to encroach on the visual identity and branding of the foundation, but it seems to me that the purpose of the community logo was to give community projects a common visual identity to support spontaneous grassroots efforts.
I am exploring options for a community logo and whether and how a community logo should be used. This has nothing specifically to do with anything medical but rather relates to every outreach project of every kind. If anyone wants to talk to me by phone or Skype then email me to arrange something. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:16, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
I indeed assumed (too quickly) it was a question related to the ongoing application of Wiki Med. If that is not the case, my apologies and then my remark has no impact of course. In general I do feel that seperate branding gives the community more freedom because it allows them to design as they wish (using a color that suits them well), without having to coordinate everything with the WMF legal department. Using Wikimedia marks is often simply too much fuzz - getting a trademark agreement was this year also more complicated than we hoped. It also gives more freedom because the community is less critical on the initiative, because they don't feel it threatens them. But in general, if a project would like to they should probably be able to use the community logo (imho etc) assuming that doesn't confuse too much (Wiki Med being the only exception I can think of). Effeietsanders (talk) 14:41, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
It seems like the community needs to design its own logos and branding separate from the WMF and than through RfC decide who can and cannot use them. The chapters committee or some other group could than be given the authority to enforce the RfCs at a legal level. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:02, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
This seems a contradiction in terms to me: in the example of WLM, it was chosen to have a non-trademarked name and logo precisely because this makes it unnecessary to have legal authorisations and impossible to require them (claiming some "ownership"). A committee can't trademark anything. (WMNL, who "owned" WLM, could, but decided not to.) --Nemo 17:51, 15 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
A short remark on WLM: I had preferred it to be called "Wikipedia Loves Monuments", but I find it okay that it has a logo of its own. Besides, WLM is officially an activity of WMNL. So it is difficult to compare it to "Wikimedia Medicine" (which is, by the way, not an entity at the moment). As I said earlier, I could imagine that a thorg is a WUG at the beginning, to have certain trademark rights, and after the recognition process it is a thorg. But I would like to see a more concrete description of what "limited right to use the trademarks" (as the page over WUGs say) really means. Remember that the chapters have a lot of responsibilities, and must report etc., for good reasons. It cannot be in our interest that "anybody" can walk arround and say that he speaks in the name of "Wikipedia". That's why we Esperanto-Wikipedians, for example, wish to become an official WUG, and we are willing to submit to certain (reasonable) rules. Ziko (talk) 16:51, 9 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
I am not sure what I think. I think I would like to wait to hear from legal about why the WMF put trademark tags on that logo. It seemed to me that the purpose of the logo was to create a common visual identity for projects which did not want the bureaucratic responsibility of requesting the right to claim affiliation with a WMF body. I like the idea of non-WMF-affiliated community projects having a common identity to associate them with the Wikimedia community and I do not like the idea of the Wikimedia community forking its visual identity with new logos for many different projects, unless some project has a special reason for teaching the public to recognize additional Wikimedia community branding. Blue Rasberry (talk) 01:30, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply
Agreed that it is not healthy to fork visual identity unless there is a specific reason and demand for it. SJ talk  22:43, 10 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
I am not sure of the best course of action but as a person who organizes a lot of wiki-movement outreach events, I feel that I am a stakeholder in this. I would like to be party to this discussion if it moves elsewhere. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:50, 11 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
I second the requests to give detailed reasoning why it may be useful to register as trademark. If it is necessary, it should be clearly explained. If it is not, I have some doubts - taking a piece of voluntary artwork, released into public domain by a Wikimedia activist with the purpose to make it as free as possible, and introducing trademark restrictions on this work somehow does not sound all that great and well-fitting our common philosophy of open access. Also, there is clearly a power thing at play - the logo was created specifically to be free of restrictions. Without any knowledge of the intricacies of the issue, I'd very much rather spend the money needed for trademark proceedings to give the author some nice award for his job well done. Would any third party really pose a threat to this logo, even if it is not registered? That is, could some bad will troll involve WMF into a dispute, which costs could likely exceed the costs of trademark registration? Pundit (talk) 12:27, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
If you have a logo that you use, and it's not registered or claimed as a trademark by anyone, that means any other company, individual or group can use it as they like. Imagine lots of bad things they could do with your logo as their banner. That's really the one key problem with a "community logo" that isn't trademarked - sure it allows anyone to use it without your permission, but then again it allows anyone to use it without your permission. Nathan T 13:50, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
… which was the whole point of this logo being created in the first place. odder (talk) 14:21, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Which is then a very bad point to begin with. Having a visual identity you have no control over is downright asinine; it means that you will be associated with the very worst the 'net can bring, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it except stop using it yourself to try to desperately try to disassociate yourself from it. What point is there to having a logo nobody sane would be caught dead displaying? — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 20:10, 19 March 2013 (UTC) Edited signature to make it clear that I was speaking in my personal capacity, and not on behalf of the WMF.Reply
Is this an official statement of the WMF? Because if it is, then clearly, clearly you have lost the track of what the community wants, and focus too much on what you think would be good for the community.

It's been almost seven years since the logo was created by Artur, four years since it was chosen as the logo of Meta because it was not a WMF-registered trademark (among other reasons) and there hasn't been a single example of this particular logo being used by the very worst the 'net can bring. (There are other examples, too; for example, Wiki Loves Monuments is the biggest community-driven initative to have ever taken place — and I can't remember their logo being used for evil purposes.) odder (talk) 20:31, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

And what makes you think that those incidents didn't occur because they are protected as trademarks, exactly? I'm quite certain that Legal could give you horror stories of people misusing marks for bad purposes they were able to stop because they were protected; that some may be lower profile have not yet been misused does not insulate them.

And no, I never speak for the WMF unless I specifically state that I do. I use this account to make it clear that I am not uninvolved, not because it makes me authoritative to speak on the foundation's behalf. — Coren (talk) / (en-wiki) 20:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC) Edited signature to make it clear that I was speaking in my personal capacity, and not on behalf of the WMF.Reply

What are you talking about? File:Wikimedia Community Logo.svg ("Wikimedia community logo") and File:LUSITANA WLM 2011 d.svg ("Wiki Loves Monuments logo") are not registered trademarks of the WMF, how could the Foundation protect them? And I am saying that those two logos have not yet been misused because I am assuming that we would've known if they were — I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Let me repeat what I said earlier: the whole point of the community logo being created was to have a logo which was not (1) copyrighted by the WMF nor (2) trademarked by the WMF so that the community could easily differentiate unofficial activities from official ones, and have a logo that could be used without all the trademark and copyright hassle.

And now we're seeing that the WMF wants to trademark this very logo. Surely you can't be surprised to see people oppose when someone takes what's not theirs. odder (talk) 21:26, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

"four years since it was chosen as the logo of Meta because it was not a WMF-registered trademark (among other reasons)" - odder (or anyone else), would you mind providing me with a link to that discussion? I'd like to read and understand the history a bit better. Thanks! -- LVilla (WMF) (talk) 02:42, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
It's all linked for the page, with some degrees of separation. I've also added to Meta:Babel/Metawiki logo poll talk some links to the referenced discussions. --Nemo 08:10, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
I see many references to "using a logo without having to request authorization" (as Florence put it). That is different from being registered/not registered, though. I do not see any references to registration or ownership in the Meta:Babel/Metawiki logo poll page, for example. (Florence mentions PD, but says clearly that the reason she cares is because of paperwork.) Because registration and authorization/paperwork are different things, I want to make sure I'm not missing important parts of the history. Thanks! --LVilla (WMF) (talk) 16:44, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
  • I think it is important to note the purpose of these images. It might be obvious to some but not everybody I'd presume. These logos exist to symbolize something to help the community distinguish a concept in one way or another. We aren't a commercial brand where our "sales" depend on peoples trust towards the copyright of the brand. For instance Wikipedia logo symbolizes the "Encyclopedia" project. Whenever a person sees this logo they will think of "Encyclopedia", unlike the Wiktionary logo which makes people think of "Dictionary". Such symbolism helps distinguish projects form each other - not just for us, content creators, but also to the readers as well. When I see the WMF logo I should think of the Foundation, not the projects (such as Wikipedia, Wiktionary or StrategyWiki). I feel WMF logo should only be used for Foundation related projects such as the Foundation wiki and chapters. That way the logo, official/semi official entities would be unison entities. There is an overuse of the WMF logo such as on Strategy wiki (poll that got nowhere - partially due to some counter-campaigning & lack of enough attention to the discussion) as well as many other smaller-typically backend projects. This undermines the symbolism that should distinguish WMF from everything else.
  • I should be able to use such logos casually on and off Wikimedia projects as I see fit provided I am not damaging the trademark they represent (which is independent of copyright). For instance. I should not need Foundation approval to print the Wikimedia/Wikipedia logo on a cake for a celebration. Mind that not every country has a concept of Fair-use so the fully copyrighted nature of the logos makes working with them very difficult for some as they are essentially forced to violate the copyright law locally to use such logos.
  • Mind that I also feel wmf:Wikimedia visual identity guidelines is too restrictive in that regard as well as it is forcing people to use Latin script in a manner that may be illegible/unpronounceable by the general public. For instance in Turkish "WIKIMEDIA" is unpronounceable. "VİKİMEDYA" would be the localized version of the word.
-- とある白い猫 chi? 17:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Luis, I don't know if you're missing something, nor what you're implying with your "I do not see any references [...]".
However, it's very clear [if one pays attention, which I myself probably didn't do in 2008] that the supporters of the poll at the time wanted to use a logo that was not registered as trademark, not subject to any regulation. First, because it's the very concept of a "community logo", which predates that poll; second, because in your quote you lost the word "the community" which makes the statement more general, «the community could use a logo without having to request authorization» (the community in general, the community logo in any context; but here I may be misinterpreting); third, because discussions are full of statements like «Meta is not a project that needs marketing, branding, or trademark protection» (by John, one of the supporters, to which David replies "If that's the Foundation's official policy, it's fine by me" and Florence doesn't contradict); fourth, because when I opposed the proposal asking to respect the Wikimedia visual identity guideline I was told that the point was exactly not to have to follow [a/the] guideline. Frankly I've no idea what we're still discussing. --Nemo 17:24, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Nemo: you could theoretically have a logo that is a) free for any community reuse, without following visual identity guidelines, without explicit authorization, yet b) registered as a mark and protected from confusing non-community use. I think that is the clarification Luis is asking for: whether people cared about it being "free for unrestricted community use, with no TM or (c) hassle" or furthermore wanted specifically for it to be "not registered or protected at all". SJ talk  04:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Simple answer to that question, Marc. It wasn't because they are protected, because for most of that time they weren't. Whatever "protection" might accrue in the U.S. as of six months ago, there's been no details provided to suggest it suffered for the lack in the prior six years. Nathan T 21:36, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

I wanted to share some logos so that people could see them together. See also the section in Commons containing Wikimedia community logos. Some of these logos are not for community use, but they are all defining the visual identity of the Wikimedia community.

Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:39, 12 March 2013 (UTC)Reply


To avoid any possible confusion, such the obvious likely confusion as to what WMF legal might think is a "community" project and which is not, I propose that the community create a new set of logos for our community projects and the logo creators freely release the logos in such a way that the WMF can have no possible claim. For this to be a valid approach, the new logos would have to be "unlike" the current logos - but that is not necessarily a bad thing and perhaps it is a good time for the community to re-brand itself a little. Thanks -- (talk) 12:22, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

I think the original idea was exactly to have a logo free of any claims and restrictions. A logo that cannot be usurped by any entity, and that can be used by any individuals or organizations who want to emphasize their commitment to our movement philosophy. I wonder then how can the new logo be created in a way that no-one can have a possible claim to it? If it is legally possible, perhaps it would make sense to go through with WMF trademark registration and then have the logo released for unrestricted use (otherwise whatever legal threats from trademark trolls WMF anticipates now, could be an issue for the new logo as well)? Pundit (talk) 12:31, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
MediaWiki logo is still free commons:Category:MediaWiki logos, although it is used as a logo MediaWiki wiki and it is visible on evry page of any other Wikimedia projects... Does it harm anybody ? :-) Polimerek (talk) 12:35, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Unfortunately, the MediaWiki logo is a registered trademark of the WMF, too, no matter how tagged (or not) it is on Commons. WIPO search engine, search for number 1132201.[1] odder (talk) 12:49, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
Strong support. It baffles me that it is apparently possible to trademark something that you do not own (the "globe logo") under US law, without permission from the copyright holder. Perhaps I can trademark a picture of Jimmy so that nobody else can use it? Craig Franklin (talk) 13:26, 19 March 2013 (UTC).Reply
It's just how trademark law works. It doesn't matter who creates it, per se. There are stacks and stacks of legal cases where commercial entities go to court to take ownership of marks created by others. Nathan T 13:32, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
And since Artur willingly, in good faith, released the logo into the public domain so it could be used by the community without any restrictions at all (including trademark restrictions), there is no copyright holder to give permission in the first place (though you could argue that before Polish courts, since the idea of public domain technically does not exist in Polish copyright law). odder (talk) 14:19, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

I'm not sure it's even possible to create new logos where the WMF can have no claim. What we need to do is get the WMF to agree not to press a claim that might be potentially valid. Nathan T 13:30, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

I think much more better solution is to reformulate WMF trademark policy - to provide an exceptional rules for community and MediaWiki logos. If MediaWiki logo is trademarked by WMF it means that any commercial wiki based on MediaWiki which displays the MediaWiki logo in fact can be accused of violating the current policy... This is rather strange situation as the logo is a part of software package which is released under GNU GPL licence... Polimerek (talk) 13:56, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Cf. Debian Trademark Policy Version 2.0, published 19 January 2013? --Nemo 14:06, 19 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Follow up on discussion here and on wikimedia-l


I want to start by apologizing. As pointed out by Nathan on the mailing list, we should have communicated much better about registration of this mark. The registration was part of a cleanup of a large number of marks. Our goal was to make sure the movement can defend the marks against abusers from outside the community when we have to. Because it was part of this larger sweep, we did not communicate separately about this specific logo, and we should have done that. We apologize and will make sure that this logo is treated with special care in the future.

Purpose of the Logo

It is important to be clear that registering the mark does not contradict the purpose of the logo. I have read many of the original discussions around the mark, and I think their focus is on the importance of a logo that community members could use without bureaucracy to promote community activities and inform people who aren't community members about what the community does. Registering the mark does not change, or conflict with, this purpose.

Some people have suggested that the purpose of the logo was to not be owned/registered.. I think that confuses the purpose of a community-friendly mark (flexible use by community members without formal authorization) with one particular way to achieve that purpose (not register the mark). If anything, the registration strengthens the purpose, by helping us protect the mark when it is misused outside of the community. This makes it more valuable and informative for all the fun, useful (and sometimes weird) uses the community makes.

Contest Suggestion

The suggestion to have a contest around a new logo was poor communication. We meant it to start a broader discussion about how the community viewed the current logo, whether it was still the logo the community wanted to represent them, and whether the community wanted it to be the only community logo. It is very clear from the discussion and response since then that people are still very attached to the logo, and we therefore withdraw the suggestion.

Assuming Good Faith

There have been some accusations back and forth about good faith/bad faith on the part of legal, the Foundation, etc. Nathan said on wikimedia-l that pointing out errors we make is not necessarily bad faith, and I just want to say that I agree completely. We are human, and do screw up; calling us out on it can be a perfectly good faith action.

At the same time, the team is working extremely hard on the community's behalf, and we care very deeply (especially by lawyer's standards!) about doing the right thing. (The error here, for example, was one of communication, not any bad intent to take away the mark.) Because of that, I'd ask, on behalf of my new teammates, that people also give us the benefit of the doubt, and assume we're operating in good faith. Thanks! --LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

This sounds plausible and reasonable to me. Could you suggest some ways of permanently addressing the fears of those who would like to be sure that the community will be able to use the logo without the need to get WMF approval? Pundit (talk) 21:15, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
We have plans to revise the trademark policy - no set timeline yet, but definitely on our radar. Addressing and resolving this fear is one of the top priorities for that process. I'm not sure the exact form the solution will take, but I suspect that (at least in spirit) it will resemble the Debian proposal others have mentioned here. --LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:42, 20 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Comments from wikimedia-l


Tomasz Ganicz writes about the applicability of the Wikimedia visual identity guidelines:

> this situation is unclear at the moment. I think this  
> is a job for WMF Board of Trustees to clarify the situation - for
> example by excluding MediaWiki and community logos from the rules
> forbiding creation of derivative logos and  "Visual Identity Guidelines".

Agreed, more clarity is needed here. Certainly the community logos should be exempt from such restrictions. It would be great if all marks could be flexible in this regard -- at least as flexible as Google is with their Doodles! -- but I understand there are unresolved questions about how best to handle this. Discussion about this can continue here and at Talk:Logo (for other logos). SJ talk  00:35, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

The discussion should be in several parts I think. Here are a set of quesitons I'd like to ask. I already expressed my opinions on these for quite some time now but I think these questions are worthwhile to ponder.
1) What is the point of logos? Why do we even bother having them?
2) What is the point of restricting logo use? Why are we really seeking this?
3) Should all WMF related logos be fully copyrighted or should they be released with a free license? What are the pros and cons of copyrighting these logos? Is it even legally possible to copyright some of these which were originally released with a free license that is non-revocable?
4) Should all WMF related logos be registered as trademarks or should we stick to a (few) specific one(s)? How about unregistered trademarks? Pros/cons?
-- とある白い猫 chi? 02:33, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Quick comments:

  • For 3) I think we should consider releasing all of our logos under a free license, and if a logo was initially released under a free license it remains under one (no reason for us to pretend otherwise).
  • The wiki-globe is 100x more popular than all of our other logos combined; it is also one we've put the most time into designing; and are unlikely to want to change for a long time. So we might conceivably use a different set of guidelines for that one logo.
SJ talk  04:47, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

The more relevant similar case I am aware of is the debian policy on their official logo. Here are some relevant links :

--Psychoslave (talk) 07:39, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Pros and cons of a registered trademark


Lodewijk writes:

> we should probably... get a clear overview of what exactly are all the
> benefits and downsides of a registered trademark versus an
> unregistered one.

Who should make the call who can use the Wikipedia puzzle logo?


Discuss here Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 05:32, 21 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Example problem - can community members advertise?


Someone asked me for an example of the original problem which the discussion about trademarking the logo is supposed to address. Imagine that some Wikipedians who have no affiliation to a chapter or the Wikimedia Foundation spontaneously want to do a Wikipedia outreach event. I want such groups to be able to quickly organize their event and do as they like with minimal barriers to participation, and to just assume good faith that this will almost always be good. For them to do this, I think they should have an advertisement for their event, and I think it would be great if it were pre-designed so they they could distribute it without the work of making it and also so they would see by example clearly how they should advertise. Here is a sample advertisement - could someone comment on it?

Have fun!
Meet Wikipedians!
Come to a Wikipedia Meetup!

Wikipedians of (city name) are meeting at the library on (date and time). Join your local Wikimedia community in contributing to Wikipedia articles and the Wikimedia Commons media archives. Experts from the Wikimedia Movement will be in attendance to teach beginners.

This meeting is sponsored by (commercial entity) and (local student group at university) who are providing coffee and snacks.

Are any parts of this advertisement illicit, illegal, or otherwise discouraged from use? Can small organizations use such ads? Can large organizations use them? Can these be printed on paper and posted? Distributed by email as PDFs for redistribution? Sent around by social media? I would like for there to exist some advertisements on Commons which people could adapt and use to advertise their own events.

If I understand correctly, using the puzzle globe without explicit WMF permission is completely discouraged as illegal use of a trademark, and right now we are talking about whether we can use the community logo without seeking permission in the same way that the puzzle globe requires permission for events of this sort. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

My understanding: This is incorrect. Using the project marks to let people know about a regional group event - in a noncommercial way, say on posters put up around campus - is fine. Using them on-wiki to promote a wiki-project is fine. Using them to make cute one-time swag that a regional group gives out for free is fine. This is true for both large and small community groups (an individual can create posters to put up around campus, for instance). In contrast, a non-community member advertising a "learn how to promote your company online" event would not be allowed to use the marks on such a poster. Yes, images of these posters could be shared online as well, as specific invites to an event. (IANALBIPOOTV; please correct any mistakes in that summary.)
I'm assuming that this is a free, totally Wikimedia-project-related event, run by community members. [you can come up with hairier edge cases where it's more permanent than an event / it is somewhat commercial - say charging an entrance fee / it is a combined event with more than just wiki-magic happening / it is not really about the Wikimedia projects & community but only related to or inspired by them. In any of these cases it's better to ask and get explicit permission; or be sponsored by a large org like a chapter that may already have such explicit permission for broader trademark use] SJ talk  16:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
So a number of us were involved with putting on a set of lectures at the UCSF college of medicine per here [2] The whole thing was free to those who attended with funding provided for food, drink and space by the university. Legal at the WMF said that our using of the logo on a poster to advertise the evidence was me more or less me gaming the system. So if legal and the WMF board have different perspective on how the puzzle logo can be used by those within the movement it would be good to clarify this. I am not sure if me using the logo in the talks I give is even allowed or not. Also legal has stated that chapters are not allowed to sponsor events and thus allow use of the puzzle logo. Legals opinion appears to be that the chapter must be directly involved and additionally that the event must occur within the chapters own jurisdiction. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 04:16, 27 March 2013 (UTC)Reply
I must be missing something. Did you provide a specific poster design? Or just ask whether it could be on such a poster? If the former, please post a link to the poster in question. The trademark policy clearly states "Posters are fine, so long as they are limited in number and not sold commercially."
You can use the project logos in any talks you give, as long as they are a reference to those projects.
Chapter agreements themselves do not include the right to sublicense the use of the Project marks to third parties. But it is not clear to me what that means about sponsored events. There is a difference between a third-party event that a chapter has supported with a $500 contribution, and an event run and overseen by chapter members -- perhaps we can find a way to make it more clear that in the latter case, the event is considered a 'chapter event' and the chapter is directly involved.
There are also chapter trademark agreements which specify further uses of the trademarks, including any commercial use or sublicensing. I haven't seen any examples of such agreements that have been signed; only a draft on the internal-wiki that ChapCom worked on in 2007. We are looking for ways to move public materials from Internal to Meta anyway; I will check with the author to see if they are comfortable with moving that here. It would be helpful to see what those agreements look like. I would expect the older and larger chapters to have more expansive rights and more experience in protecting the marks and monitoring their use. SJ talk  22:23, 5 April 2013 (UTC)Reply
Link here [3] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:26, 6 April 2013 (UTC)Reply

To what extent are unaffiliated community members encouraged to spontaneously organize Wikimedia Movement events, start using logos, and start using terms like "Wikipedia", "Wikimedia", the names of other Wikimedia projects, "Wikimedia Movement", and "Wikimedia Community"? Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:30, 24 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

The traditional problem with community-produced posters is that someone will create a multi-project event with various organizational sponsors, and include a wikimedia logo (because part of the event is about wikipedia), which makes it seem as though that Project, or the community as a whole, is sponsoring the event (which might be political, or promotional, or what have you). Depending on the context, that may not be a healthy use of the Project logos. But I think it should be a fine use of a Community logo. You are always welcome to use the names of the projects to describe an event you are organizing as long as it is clear that the event is about that named project, and not run by that project. So a "Wikinews Merkel rally" would be problematic, but a "Wikinews editathon" would of course not be. SJ talk  16:13, 26 March 2013 (UTC)Reply

Micro-advertising — Userboxen


Further to the question of whether community members can advertise, I have recently encountered a similar situation with Userboxen, which could be described as micro-advertisements. I offer this as an example, and as my own opinion, noting that IANAL, I only have a fairly simplistic understanding of trademark and copyright law, and I haven't read through the entirety of this page or other relevant linked pages. Someone somewhere asked for input from the community on this issue, and being a member of the community, albeit a fairly new member, this is my response.

The example I offer occurred recently, while I was creating my new userbox to advertise the fact that I contribute to Wikimedia projects using my Rasperry Pi (Raspi). I'm quite proud of my new device. I'm still learning much about it, and I've started participating in the user community for Raspi's. When I went to make a userbox about it, I found that the logo image used on the article on Wikipedia about the Raspi is a registered trademark of the Rasperry Pi Foundation, and has been used on the article on Wikipedia under a fair-use rationale. If I wanted to use the logo, I would need to go through the same WP:FUR process, and even then, fair-use images are "explicitly forbidden" in userboxen. All this rigmarole and red tape to show my support for a product I love, a product that, although sold through licensed manufacturing deals, fundamentally supports open technologies and the Hacker ethic. This legal fluff left quite a sour aftertaste in my mouth, which I resolved by using some public domain fruit in my userbox instead.

All I want to do is show my support for something I enjoy, whether it be Raspberry Pi's or Wikimedia Foundation projects. I don't want to have to go to law school just to be a better fan of something. Keep it simple! Now all I have to worry about is if the Rasperry Pi Foundation decides to go the way of another fruity technology company (also with strong roots in the hacker community), and start claiming the rights to any use of images that in any way resemble their particular fruit. AugurNZ 04:02, 24 September 2013 (UTC)Reply

Hi AugurNZ! What keeps you from displaying the Raspberry Pi logo on your user page is actually copyright, not a trademark. And the Community Logo is not copyrighted. It's just trademarked. Maybe that clears up some confusion. --LMezger (WMF) (talk) 16:43, 25 September 2013 (UTC)Reply
Return to "Wikimedia Community Logo" page.