[Clipart] OpenClipart and Debian.

Bryce Harrington bryce at bryceharrington.com
Wed Jan 12 01:07:14 PST 2005

On Tue, 11 Jan 2005, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> But what you are proposing is that each distributor look through 3,000 
> images (and growing) each time they update their file to makesure that 
> they aren't going doing anything illegal, or morally wrong.
> I don't think this is a reasonable proposal.
> You might like to think that OCAL is like a library, but truth is, it 
> isn't a public library, or a historical archive. And the German law says 
> that the current ocal distribution is illegal. And a lot of people would 
> be deeply offended by it. We have to be sensitive to these issues.
> I think ocal should at least try to addresss these concerns responsibly. 
> Removing the flag is certainly one option. Maybe there are others. But 
> it's important to accept that the issue is real. The Nazi flag is not 
> something you should take lightly. At least not in Germany.

I think you're picking a fight here unnecessarily.  Since day one we
have always recognized that there is going to be some clipart submitted
that SOMEONE will find offensive.  It's always been our position to
provide an uncensored core pool of art, enable the attachment of
metadata to individual images, and tools for filtering based on these
keywords.  If you look through the list archives you'll notice an
appreciable amount of the discussion has centered around creation of
these capabilities, and a large portion of our future plans are geared
towards improving that.

Also keep in mind that this is an extremely pre-1.0 product, so to
expect every issue to be addressed right now is expecting too much. ;-)

However, this is entirely predicated on requiring of the involvement of
people who find these things offensive to add the metadata to enable the
filtering.  I hate fascism probably more than the average fellow, but to
me the NAZI flag is just a historical symbol.  The Taiwanese flag I
could care less about, although I hear it's illegal in China or
something.  The people who do care strongly about these things should
pony up the time to help mark them, so they can produced packages that
meet whatever their definition of "clean" is.  I'm sure there are
religious fundamentalists that would want to remove any image of semi-
or un-clothed humans, fantasy pictures of wizards or devils, cusswords
in a particular language, and anything suggesting homosexuality.  Fine
by me, whatever floats their boat, as long as they're putting in the
labor of doing the filtering, and are not infringing on my rights to
have an uncensored package that includes wizards and mermaids and flags
of evil armies.

(I also think it silly to be offended or illegalize the entirety of the
OCAL package due to a few images; it's like being offended and
illegalizing the whole of the internet, because hey, you can find porn
on it.  But hey, people find the craziest things to get upset about.)

Furthermore, the entire problem was one we inherited from the flags
project; it was not of OCAL's making, so to get offended at us is to
shoot the messenger.  We want to protect the right to distribute clipart
that is legal for us to do so (i.e., no trademarked/copyrighted images),
so would not accept being browbeaten into censoring the entirety just to
suit a vocal minority.  Still, we're making efforts to provide tools for
people to do their own censoring, so to get upset at us for having an
uncensored package is like yelling at the road construction crew for
impeding traffic.

Also, note that the package that Debian has chosen to include is only
one way to receive the images.  A user can also browse the online
version.  So censoring the packages is no guarantee that the person
cannot be offended.
> Let's consider some alternatives:
>  * Make two distributions. One with "everything" and one "clean".
>  * Make two distributions. A "core" one, and a "potential problems" one.
>  * Divide the archive into categories and make a different .tgz archive
>    for each. For example, someone might decide to not download
>    ocal-flags.tgz and ocal-company-logos.tgz
> Whatever you do, do *something*.

What I've done myself personally is create, test, and distribute tools
to enable adding filterable metadata on SVG's.  I've ensured that 100%
of our clipart has RDF structures, that you can put whatever keywords
into you want.  With the help of the rest of the team, there are also
tools for manipulating the entire archive based on the metadata and
keywords.  The team has documented the process of creating
distributions, and have welcomed the involvement of others in helping
with it - including producing alternative distributions.

The final thing I'm going to do is encourage *you* to do the rest.  ;-)

> You don't have to do everything. You don't have to come up with a perfect 
> system. But I think that it's important to at least do a "reasonable" 
> effort to address the issue.

I disagree, I think OCAL has no such obligation.  We never asked Debian
to include the package, nor did we ever ask Germans in particular to
download and use it.  

The fact that OCAL *is* doing things to help address it is, and *is*
being attentive to these issues is to its favor.  But the team is
currently quite small; to achieve these other things, we only need more


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