General Question

GeorgeGee's avatar

Do you agree with the FBI's order to Wikipedia to remove the FBI seal?

Asked by GeorgeGee (4925points) August 3rd, 2010
or would you like to remind the FBI that federal art and symbols are the property of the people of the United states?

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16 Answers

missingbite's avatar

I don’t care who owns the seal. What I want to tell the FBI is to be more concerned with coordinating information with other federal agencies to keep me safe. Crap still falls through the cracks almost 9 years after September 11th. I don’t give a rats a$$ about Wiki. I do care about terrorists.

On a side note, I would also like Congress to not care about steroids in baseball while we have other major issues in this country to worry about.

Rant over.

LeotCol's avatar

I don’t agree with the FBI’s order to remove the seal. The seal was designed and made with taxpayers money. Like other government organisations it should be free for public use. The only reason it isn’t is because it’s trademarked rather than copyrighted. Besides in the letter they sent to wikimedia they left out the parts of the statute that made their argument null and void. They were falsely interpreting the law to fit their own views, which from a government organisation that is supposed to enforce the law is quite frightening.

Zyx's avatar

I don’t easily agree with authority.

laureth's avatar

I think it is silly to ask Wikipedia to remove it. That said, I disagree that the symbol belongs to the public to use at will. It would be terribly wrong for me to use it to imply that I belong to the FBI, say, just as it would be wrong for me to put my local police logo on my car and drive around with a search light.

Jeruba's avatar

It’s hard to understand why the FBI would want to expose itself to ridicule in this way.

I can see why the FBI and any other agency would want to prevent abuse of its symbols, and I agree with @laureth that the right to use them as badges of authority does not belong to everyone. A lot of things have become easier to reproduce fraudulently and misuse now that we have the Internet and high-powered graphics programs to facilitate it. This is a much bigger issue than the FBI’s authority, and no one knows what to do about the larger issue yet. Giving information about something is hardly the same thing as trying to pass yourself off as a legitimate wielder of the authority it represents.

But there’s also the point that authority vested in a badge depends on its recognizability.

More important still, to me, is the idea that the government would try to impose control over how the people write about its functions and branches. If this prohibition is upheld, how long before it becomes illegal to draw a cartoon image of the president?

MrItty's avatar

I am in love with Wikipedia’s response to the demand. The counsel for Wikimedia basically makes the FBI guy out to be a buffoon. It’s awesome.

jerv's avatar

I think that the FBI is just being petty.

Jeruba's avatar

GA, @MrItty. I sent your link to my son, who is in the first year of his legal career, and he loved it too.

How about that audacious opening paragraph, where he hints at Larson’s doddering senility? Wow.

Ron_C's avatar

If I had any authority with Wikipedia, I would tell the FBI to f**k themselves. They have a real job to do, they should stay off the Internet unless they’re monitoring terrorist organizations.

tedd's avatar

I understand the FBI’s concern, in that a high resolution copy of their insignia could be easily used by a good forger to make fake FBI identification and documents. But they have zero legal grounds for demanding the removal. And moreover, wouldn’t it be easier for them to just ask wikipedia to add “fake” or “replica” or heck even “wikipedia” over the insignia?

Besides wikipedia isn’t the only place to find it.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm, do you suppose the FBI really made this absurd demand? Maybe it was written by someone posing as the FBI, under their fraudulently used insignia, to make them look foolish. Maybe Wikipedia wrote it so they could come back with a great retort and get some publicity. Maybe it’s a conspiracy.

MrItty's avatar

@Jeruba you think the New York Times and CNN are that easily duped?

Jeruba's avatar

@MrItty, it was a joke. Sorry, I forgot myself for a moment here in the General thread.

MrItty's avatar

@Jeruba Sorry. I wish it was easier to discern the jokers from the lunies on Q&A forums. :-)

Jeruba's avatar

‘S ok. Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I were the FBI, though, I might be thinking about trying to promote such a notion right about now.

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