[Clipart] Nazi flag
kevin at wixsonit.com
Thu Aug 4 12:32:59 PDT 2005
Is OCAL's purpose to provide a library of useful images for use in
projects of public communication, or is it to defend artistic
expression? Those two purposes are mutually exclusive. You can't have it
Is OCAL the appropriate venue to make a political statement in defense
of free speech, or is OCAL's role more to be simply useful to a wide
There are art galleries who take on controversial art and offer it on
display. It's good that such galleries exist because free speech is
important and there should be some outlet for virtually any kind of art,
but those galleries are almost always poorly attended and are difficult
to fund and organize. They fill a niche, but they aren't widely useful.
The people who create non-controversial art don't want their art
displayed in such galleries because it hurts their profile, reputation
and for lack of a better phrase, commercial viability.
So, which is OCAL? The niche gallery for homo-erotic art down in the
Bohemian section of town, or is it the collection of useful clipart
images appropriate to the corporate and non-profit environments where
clipart is typically used? Are you willing to sacrifice OCAL's future,
to see the project rendered useless, just to defend an open submission
policy? Do you really care that much about pornographers, about the
select few people who will contribute images of graphic sex acts and the
few who will find a use for those images? Because if you accept such
images, I'm guaranteeing you that you will see a significant drop in the
number of people who download the library, and a corresponding drop in
contributions, regardless of whatever filters or other half measures you
put in place.
I think OCAL is not the right place to take extraordinary measures to
protect freedom of expression, and there are more suitable alternatives.
Let people who want so badly to distribute the Nazi flag do it
elsewhere. Let DeviantArt be a place for artistic statements, and let
OCAL be a useful clipart library.
As for where to draw the line...let me repeat what I said before:
We draw the line where we, as a community, decide to draw it. We weigh
the appeal, importance and usefulness of the image (categorically)
against the potential hit to downloads and usefulness of the library --
we ask, how does this affect our market? Just because there's no charge,
shouldn't mean we aren't concerned about marketability.
You see, the slope is not so steep after all. There is a guiding
principal to be applied to standards and practices.
Bryce Harrington wrote:
>On Thu, Aug 04, 2005 at 01:03:20PM +0100, Daniel Carrera wrote:
>>Christian Fredrik Kalager Schaller wrote:
>>>>I don't know about France, but a German Debian developer told me that in
>>>>Germany it's illegal enough that Debian can't include it.
>>>That is probably more to do with hobbyist lawyering than knowledge.
>>Perhaps. But the main point of my email was not about the stupid flag.
>>It was about what we should do about illegal material. *Suppose* for the
>>sake of argument that it really was illegal. Or suppose you have some
>>other, unspecified image, which is illegal. How do you deal with those?
>I think the answer is clear. In the case of truly illegal images, such
>as copyright infringements or child porn, it would simply be removed
>from the collection.
>In the case of offensive (adult material, etc.) or locally-illegal
>images (flags, etc.) our policy has been to tag and filter. As a
>project we wish to respect people's sensibilities, however at the same
>time we are opposed to outright censorship.
>As I think people can see, the only realistic way you can hold the
>principle of not allowing censorship is to provide a way to filter,
>because otherwise there will build up a strong pressure to "fix" things
>by more heavyhanded methods (deletion). As well, I think people can see
>that this is a long steep slope; once you start deleting a few images,
>where do you stop?
>The one thing that we have to watch out for is that certain quarters who
>call for censorship of things do so not just because they personally
>don't want to see it, but because they feel that society would be better
>if _nobody_ saw it, and thus what they want is not a filtering mechanism
>that each person could decide what level to use, but a removal mechanism
>that prevents everyone from seeing it. But history teaches us that
>"burning the books" doesn't lead to a better society based on morality
>after all but rather it leads to a repressive one based on fear.
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