FBI Asks Wikipedia To Remove Seal

The FBI has asked Wikipeia to remove the agency’s seal from the website.  In it’s claim The Federal Bureau of Investigation states that they have not authorized the use of the seal, and calls the use of the graphic “problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting” use and reprinting of the image.  I guess they are worried that someone will use the seal to create fake documents or FBI security badges.  The use of such documents could be used to carry out acts of terrorism or fraud.

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In their own letter to the FBI, Wikipedia fired back and rejected the FBI’s claim that the seal is not available for use in the public domain.

“In short, then, we are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons,”

The Wikimedia Foundation’s general counsel, Mike Godwin, wrote in a letter to the FBI, which was posted online by the New York Times. The full letter from the Wikimedia Foundation, to FBI Deputy Director Larson can be found here:

  • http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/us/20100803-wiki-LetterToLarson.pdf

The story seems to be gaining momentum and has been picked up by all of the major news outlets.  So far I’ve not heard of any official legal action being taken by either side, other than the exchange of pleasantries via their attorneys.  Of course this matter could ultimately end up in the court system.

For “fear” of a visit from the FBI, I’ll refrain from posting a copy of the FBI seal as part of this post.

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