Wikipedia Art controversy (old)


The Wikipedia Art Controversy of 2009 occurred after two artists, Scott Kildall and Nathaniel Stern, created a Wikipedia page entitled “Wikipedia Art,” which was meant to serve as a space for collaborative performance art. According to the page’s authors, the page was “removed from the site 15 hours after its birth[1],” which prompted the article’s authors to start their own site discussing the article, [1].

According to Ars Technica, artist Scott Kildall received a letter on the 23rd of March, 2009, from Douglas Isenberg, counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, requesting “that the domain be transferred to Wikimedia[2].” Kildall and Stern subsequently sought counsel from James Martin, who responded to Mr. Isenberg, saying that “We have concluded that my client has not violated any of Wikimedia’s legal rights.”

Multiple commentators, including Ars Technica and the EFF[3] have characterized the dispute as one of fair use over the use of trademarks in domain names, supporting Wikipedia Art’s argument that it’s use of the Wikipedia trademark in a noncommercial referential way is protected by fair use.