Feeds

Wikipedia's Gallery guy hung up to dry?

Facing up to National Portrait Gallery

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Exclusive Wikimedia Foundation says it's standing behind Wikipedia contributor Derrick Coetzee in his defence against legal threats from the National Portrait Gallery.

But Coetzee has been stripped of administrator privileges, which leaves him unable to comply with the Gallery's request, El Reg has learned.

This leaves Coetzee directly in the line of fire, at risk from a lawsuit that could be a test case for public domain rights. Rather than supporting him, Wikipedia appears to have used the contributor as a shield. Coetzee has been obliged to fend for himself for legal representation.

In April the Gallery demanded that Wikimedia remove over 3000 copyrighted images of public domain artworks. Coetzee had downloaded the images from the NPG website and uploaded them to the Wikimedia Commons. The organisation didn't respond. On Friday, the Gallery wrote to Coetzee personally. In exclusive correspondence with The Register, Coetzee explained that he cannot comply.

"As a consequence of the conflict of interest resulting from legal pressure, my administrator rights on Wikimedia Commons were temporarily revoked, so that I can't even delete files."

Wikimedia Foundation did not respond to the NPG's original takedown request in April 2009, so the NPG is pursuing Coetzee directly. Coetzee is now being represented pro bono by attorney Fred von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The case revolves around differing usage rights permitted by US and UK copyright laws. Under UK law, photographs of public domain artworks can be copyrighted. But under US law, the photographs cannot be copyrighted and retain the public domain status of the original artwork. El Reg has previously given extensive coverage to this issue. The Gallery asserts the files were downloaded from their server in the UK, so UK law applies. Wikimedia is located in the US, so they are asserting protection under US law. As Coetzee lives in Seattle, he could not be extradited for mere civil offences, so the NPG could have difficulty prosecuting him in a UK court.

But the NPG's complaint goes beyond copyright.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.