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The Internet

Why the Photos On Wikipedia Are So Bad 572

Reservoir Hill writes "The NY Times has an article investigating why, unlike the articles on Wikipedia which in theory are improved, fact checked, footnoted, and generally enhanced over time, the photos that go with Wikipedia articles are so bad and in many cases there is no photo at all for even well known public figures. Few high-quality photographs, particularly of celebrities, make it onto on Wikipedia because Wikipedia runs only pictures with the most permissive Creative Commons license, which allows anyone to use an image, for commercial purposes or not, as long as the photographer is credited. 'Representatives or publicists will contact us' horrified at the photographs on the site, says Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation. 'They will say: "I have this image. I want you to use this image." But it is not as simple as uploading a picture that is e-mailed to us.' Recent photographs on Wikipedia are almost exclusively the work of amateurs who don't mind giving away their work. 'Amateur may be too kind a word; their photos tend to be the work of fans who happen to have a camera,' opines the Times's author. Ultimately the issue for professional photographers who might want to donate their work is copyright. 'To me the problem is the Wikipedia rule of public use,' says Jerry Avenaim, a celebrity photographer. 'If they truly wanted to elevate the image on the site, they should allow photographers to maintain the copyright.'"

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