For fans, by fans: Toronto anime event 2017 among continent’s largest

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Anime North is “by the fans, for the fans”, event chair Irwin Tan told Wikinews in an interview at the event, Saturday. Started by a group of university anime clubs in 1997, it has grown to become one of the largest conventions of its kind in North America, spanning three days, five venues, and tens of thousands of fans.

Along with the dealer’s hall, industry tables, and artist booths typical of conventions, Anime North’s convention floor included a formal gallery space, a charity auction in support of Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital, an aerial performer, gaming tables, archery tag, dance events, and outdoor concerts. At one of the hotels surrounding the main venue, an entire 5000 volume manga library was available, for attendees looking to take a quiet pause. Full programming tracks about ball-jointed dolls — Doll North — and homoerotic-themed anime and manga — Yaoi/Yuri North — were also given entire hotels to themselves, allowing them to offer extensive programming.

As with many fan conventions, many fans attended in cosplay of their favourite characters. Some outfits included massive props, like wings, weapons, or even an additional character riding on their back. A variety of anime and manga worlds were represented, as well as video games like Undertale, Western comic books, Disney characters, even “Smug Wendy”, and the Ferocious Beast from Maggie and the Ferocious Beast. The event offered panels to help costume creators and wearers develop in their hobby, such as “Thermoplastics for Cosplay”, looking at the pliable polymers used to create things like character armour, and “Social Media for Cosplayers”.

The cosplay subculture of animegao kigurumi, for which masks of mainly human characters are worn, was well-represented. Ride the Pig Studios, a Nevada-based studio, was set up in the industry section with a photo booth for attendees to get a photo with practitioners of the craft, and two sessions, including one hosted by Kazunori Uhyo Sugiura, a university professor attending from Japan.

Anime North was deemed the fourth largest convention in North American with a primary theme of anime, in 2016, by AnimeCons.com.

Cosplay coverage continues after the interview.

Contents

  • 1 Interview with Irwin Tan
  • 2 Cosplay highlights
  • 3 Conservative convention next door
  • 4 Related news
  • 5 Sources

Many Blogs Have No Fixed Scope

Many blogs have no fixed scope

by

puni

The difference between a bloc worth revisiting and one that is forgotten about is the way the blog is written. Just imagine, would you prefer to read your university professors lecture notes or the latest novel by your favorite author

I will say you prefer to read the novel because it appeals more to your interest and because it is not as mind-numbing as the lecture notes by your professor. The most important point to remember is people like to read n light stuff most of the time. You see, when people log on to your blog, they are not only looking for information they are also looking for information they can obtain easily. They want it in a relaxed manner and entertaining if possible.

You might be thinking I can t write that way. Never could get the hang of it. I assure you, you can write that way.

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Here are some key points that will transform your writing style.

Before you write one word of your post, write a compelling headline to grab their attention. For example, the title of the article you are reading right now Blog Content Is About You . This title must have attracted you to my blog. Why Because it is about You I also posted it in Article Directories which will attract even more readers, like you. The article in the Article Directories has my blog link in the Author Box which drives traffic to my blogs.

To attract more visitors as well as to keep your current visitors coming back for more, it is very important to add a human touch to your blog posts. This can be done by simply imagining you re talking about a certain topic with your personal friend. An extra bonus for your readers would be a great sense of humor, so try to add funny comments in your articles where they are suitable. Do avoid using vulgar language unless you don’t care about turning off a major audience of blog readers who will be offended. There are many blogs I will never visit again just for this reason.

Another important key point is to avoid addressing your reader as a plural unit, that is, as. Sometimes this is appropriate but most times it is to be avoided. You should not write as if you re preparing a lecture. Instead, you should write as if you are having a conversation with one person because this will make your visitor think of you more as a personal friend rather than a professional writer or professor. I used this one-to-one technique as a Radio and Television News broadcaster. I imagined I was giving the news to just one friendly person who was interested in what I had to say and who trusted me. I wrote it and voiced it as if I were telling the stories only to them. In other words, I write like I talk.

The most important change in your writing style is to establish your own personality through your words. Because you are reading this article I assume you are a very curious person, just like I am. Based on the headline, you wanted to know what this article was all about. As you read, you likely are thinking Who is this writer . It follows that your visitors come to your blog to find out as much about you as the information you re offering them. I hope I am giving you some insight into who I am as a person and how I think because, in reality, I am using all the pointers in this article to demonstrate that they work.

You make your blog distinctive not the subject of your blog! Having your distinctive personality show through in your blog will make all the difference between your blog about gadgets and all the other blogs about gadgets out there. Get the idea Let me repeat for emphasis: You make your blog distinctive not the subject of your blog! This is a lot like creating your own brand name, where people immediately remember your blog s name when they need to find out information about gadgets, or whatever you regularly write about, in the same way people immediately think of McDonald s for burgers or Nike for sportswear.

Still think you can’t do it I challenge you to write just one blog post using the pointers I have given you and see what happens. Call it My Personal Opinion about And, let your personality out of prison, just once

Did you find this article useful? For more useful tips and hints, points to ponder and keep in mind, techniques, and insights pertaining to credit card, do please browse for more information at our websites.

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Potential Wikia mass exodus

Friday, August 1, 2008

Recently Wikia, a commercial company co-founded by Jimmy Wales and Angela Beesley, announced that it would be making changes in the appearances of its wikis, specifically making advertising more prominent. This change to mix advertising directly into the content has led many Wikia hosted sites to begin discussions regarding leaving Wikia hosting for their own. As Wikia’s business model hinges entirely upon user-generated content, large numbers of sites leaving could leave Wikia in financial trouble. Wikia has lost editors and volunteer “janitors” as a result of this.

Some changes were made to make sure Wikia doesn’t lose its community; one of them being the ability for logged-in users to turn off advertisements in their personal preferences, which would eliminate the ads from all other pages except the main pages of different Wikia wikis. However, this didn’t help much and several wikis, most notably the Transformers Wiki advised their users to switch to Firefox browser and install the AdBlock plugin to remove advertisements. The problem was the excessive advertisements on every content pages which most of the Wikia communities didn’t agree with.

Since the new Monaco skin version 3.1. was rolled out across all Wikia-hosted wikis, Wikia introduced a set of “main page column tags” meant to aid in main page designing while minding Wikia’s new advertisements. Most, if not all Wikia’s English-language wikis, such as Wookieepedia, the Star Wars Wiki, Wiki 24 and WoWWiki have converted their main pages to use these new main page column tags. Wikia’s “helpers”, people working as interns for Wikia, have helped to convert wikis to the new main page layout. However, some wikis, such as the Transformers Wiki opposed the change to their main pages and thus refused to convert their main page to use the main page column tags. Newly-created Wikia wikis will have a main page that has the main page column tags by default.

Certain Wikia-hosted communities have criticized their host for trying to make Wikia look like one big website to please the advertisers when the communities would prefer to stay independent from other Wikia’s wikis.

During the rollout of the new Monaco skin, the phrase “Wikia will never host pop-up adverts.” was removed from Wikia’s terms of use and later reinstated into the terms. Several users thought that this might hint of upcoming pop-up ads at Wikia.

Ford’s US auto sales spike, surpassing GM

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ford Motor Company said on Tuesday that its sales in the United States rose 43% in February compared to the same period last year, as the automaker outsold rivals Toyota and General Motors.

The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers

Ford said that total sales improved to 142,285 units, compared to 141,951 units sold by GM. Additionally, Ford said that its share of the total US car market rose to 17%, up from 14% a year ago. The increase was better than analysts had predicted, and Ford’s stock rose to a five-year high in morning trading, before declining later in the day. Ford’s sales were significantly influenced by a 74% increase in fleet sales to businesses. Rental car agencies alone accounted for around 30,000 units sold. Sales to retail consumers increased only 28%.

The increases were led by sales of two sedans, the Fusion and Taurus, which rose 166.5 and 93.3% respectively, although sales of other models such as SUVs and pickup trucks also increased. Both models were significantly redesigned last year, and analysts said that improved quality from such cars were driving the increases.

Other companies also reported February sales today, nearly all reporting sales gains as well, although none as large as those of Ford. Toyota was the sole exception to the sales gains, as their sales declined 8.7%, as the company was faced with a global recall during the month that led to a temporary stoppage of production for some models.

“The strength of our new products … are resonating with customers,” said Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing. However, he believed that traditional Toyota customers were not buying rival autos, but rather awaiting the results from the recalls.

Debian closes FTP mirrors for download

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

On April 25, Debian announced on its website the decision to close its File Transfer Protocol (FTP) services on November 1, 2017. This decision was motivated by efficiency issues with FTP protocol as well as FTP clients, its low usage, and its high effort required to maintain the FTP servers.

The news item included a list of the services to be closed, ftp.debian.org and security.debian.org, both of which contain an FTP server. Users were directed to use the same URL over HTTP.

Wikinews interviewed several members of the Debian project about this decision.

[edit]

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Eastern Conference wins 2008 NBA All-Star Game

Monday, February 18, 2008

Eastern Conference 134 128 Western Conference

The Eastern Conference defeated their Western Conference counterparts at the 2008 National Basketball Association All-Star Game held at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday. The final score was 134-128.

The East took an early 11 point lead in the first 5 minutes, due to an injured Kobe Bryant only playing 2 minutes before sitting on the bench for the rest of the game. “There’s one player we really, really missed, and that was Kobe,” said West coach Byron Scott. The West later reduced the lead to 2 points, but at halftime, the East led 74-65.

The West trailed by 13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but rallied behind New Orleans point guard Chris Paul, who had seven assists in the final period. With 2:48 remaining, Brandon Roy scored a layup on an assist from Paul, giving the West a 122-119 lead, their biggest lead of the game.

The East then answered back with two three-pointers from Ray Allen, before Chris Paul tied the game with a three-pointer of his own. However, the East would then take the lead and the game with layups from Dwyane Wade and Allen, as well as a driving dunk from LeBron James. A Brandon Roy three-pointer put the game within three points with 8.7 seconds left, but 3 free throws from Ray Allen sealed the win for the East.

“The fourth quarter was crazy,” said Chris Paul. “We were down 13. We picked up the intensity. We took the lead a few times but Ray Allen was unbelievable the way he shot the ball. And that last dunk by LeBron, we had two people on him but that still wasn’t enough.”

With 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists, James was named the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career. Some television commentators also considered Ray Allen a likely choice for the award, with 14 of his 28 points coming in the final 3 minutes of the game. “I think Ray Allen had a heck of a shooting night,” James said after being presented the award.

Contents

  • 1 Other All-Star events
    • 1.1 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge
    • 1.2 Haier Shooting Stars Competition
    • 1.3 Playstation Skills Challenge
    • 1.4 Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout
    • 1.5 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources

Preparing To Work From Home Online}

Preparing to Work From Home Online

by

Paul Jesse..

Who doesn’t want to work from home online? You can work whenever you want. You can wear whatever you want. It sounds great! What many people do not consider is the importance of having a dedicated office space. You need to have a place where you can stay focused when you work from home online and having a separate workspace definitely helps.

Follow these steps to create your home office space:

1. Find a space for your office. This should be separate from the rest of the house and not just a small corner of your kitchen table. Many people choose to set up a home office in the guest bedroom. If you don’t have much extra space, you can designate a small corner of the living room as your office space to work from home online. Whenever possible, you want your workspace to be private. Japanese screens or large plans can help you to separate your workspace.

2. Buy high-quality furnishings. When you work from home online, you will be spending a lot of time in your home office. Make sure that you furnish it with comfortable furniture and proper lighting. This is not an area that you want to skimp on. Having high-quality furnishings will help to keep you feeling healthy and alert.

3. Purchase your supplies. There are many supplies that you will need to get your office ready to work from home online. Aside from a computer and internet connection (both essential), you may want to purchase notebooks for jotting down your notes, and a file cabinet for storing your important documents. You should also stock up on general office supplies like pens, staplers, and post-it notes.

4. Minimize distractions. It’s very important that you can actually focus on your work when it’s time for you to work from home online. You may think that just because you no longer have gossipy coworkers at the water cooler, that you’ll be able to get more work done. Think again. There are plenty of distractions in your own home. Television, housework, and screaming children are some of them. Web surfing provides another distraction. Do your best to minimize these distractions by removing them from your office space.

5. Occupy the kids. Many people want to work from home online so that they are able to spend more time with their kids. If your children are older, they may not provide much of a distraction, but young children demand a lot of attention. Schedule your work time to be in short bursts. During that time, give your child something they enjoy doing. They may like watching a movie or playing with toys. Some parents find it helpful to set up a child-sized desk in the home office so that children can also “work” when daddy or mommy is working.

6. Maintain your office. Now that you’ve got a nice workspace set up, it is important to keep it that way. Don’t let papers build up and become disorganized. Schedule some time in your week to tidy up your workspace so that things never get out of hand. These few minutes will make things easier for you over time.

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Neville Chamberlain’s War Diaries go on display

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

File:Arthur-Neville-Chamberlain.jpg

The personal diaries of British wartime Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain are to go on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.

Beginning on August 20, 2009, a free exhibition, marking the 70th anniversary of the declaration of WWII, will allow visitors to have an unprecedented insight into the mind of the Prime Minister at the helm of the government when war was declared on September 3, 1939. His entry for that day, a note scribbled in pencil reads simply: “War declared.” With the diaries, a letter to his sister detailing the preparations for war, and the declaration letter itself, written by Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax.

The centrepiece at the exhibition will be accompanied by King George IV‘s jacket worn on his television appearance, and other previously unseen memorabilia from the period in the immediate run up to the Second World War.

A book, entitled The World Goes To War, is to be published on August 27, 2009 to accompany the exhibition. Also, a television documentary will be broadcast on UK network ITV1.

U.K. National Portrait Gallery threatens U.S. citizen with legal action over Wikimedia images

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The English National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in London has threatened on Friday to sue a U.S. citizen, Derrick Coetzee. The legal letter followed claims that he had breached the Gallery’s copyright in several thousand photographs of works of art uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons, a free online media repository.

In a letter from their solicitors sent to Coetzee via electronic mail, the NPG asserted that it holds copyright in the photographs under U.K. law, and demanded that Coetzee provide various undertakings and remove all of the images from the site (referred to in the letter as “the Wikipedia website”).

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of free-to-use media, run by a community of volunteers from around the world, and is a sister project to Wikinews and the encyclopedia Wikipedia. Coetzee, who contributes to the Commons using the account “Dcoetzee”, had uploaded images that are free for public use under United States law, where he and the website are based. However copyright is claimed to exist in the country where the gallery is situated.

The complaint by the NPG is that under UK law, its copyright in the photographs of its portraits is being violated. While the gallery has complained to the Wikimedia Foundation for a number of years, this is the first direct threat of legal action made against an actual uploader of images. In addition to the allegation that Coetzee had violated the NPG’s copyright, they also allege that Coetzee had, by uploading thousands of images in bulk, infringed the NPG’s database right, breached a contract with the NPG; and circumvented a copyright protection mechanism on the NPG’s web site.

The copyright protection mechanism referred to is Zoomify, a product of Zoomify, Inc. of Santa Cruz, California. NPG’s solicitors stated in their letter that “Our client used the Zoomify technology to protect our client’s copyright in the high resolution images.”. Zoomify Inc. states in the Zoomify support documentation that its product is intended to make copying of images “more difficult” by breaking the image into smaller pieces and disabling the option within many web browsers to click and save images, but that they “provide Zoomify as a viewing solution and not an image security system”.

In particular, Zoomify’s website comments that while “many customers — famous museums for example” use Zoomify, in their experience a “general consensus” seems to exist that most museums are concerned with making the images in their galleries accessible to the public, rather than preventing the public from accessing them or making copies; they observe that a desire to prevent high resolution images being distributed would also imply prohibiting the sale of any posters or production of high quality printed material that could be scanned and placed online.

Other actions in the past have come directly from the NPG, rather than via solicitors. For example, several edits have been made directly to the English-language Wikipedia from the IP address 217.207.85.50, one of sixteen such IP addresses assigned to computers at the NPG by its ISP, Easynet.

In the period from August 2005 to July 2006 an individual within the NPG using that IP address acted to remove the use of several Wikimedia Commons pictures from articles in Wikipedia, including removing an image of the Chandos portrait, which the NPG has had in its possession since 1856, from Wikipedia’s biographical article on William Shakespeare.

Other actions included adding notices to the pages for images, and to the text of several articles using those images, such as the following edit to Wikipedia’s article on Catherine of Braganza and to its page for the Wikipedia Commons image of Branwell Brontë‘s portrait of his sisters:

“THIS IMAGE IS BEING USED WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.”
“This image is copyright material and must not be reproduced in any way without permission of the copyright holder. Under current UK copyright law, there is copyright in skilfully executed photographs of ex-copyright works, such as this painting of Catherine de Braganza.
The original painting belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, London. For copies, and permission to reproduce the image, please contact the Gallery at picturelibrary@npg.org.uk or via our website at www.npg.org.uk”

Other, later, edits, made on the day that NPG’s solicitors contacted Coetzee and drawn to the NPG’s attention by Wikinews, are currently the subject of an internal investigation within the NPG.

Coetzee published the contents of the letter on Saturday July 11, the letter itself being dated the previous day. It had been sent electronically to an email address associated with his Wikimedia Commons user account. The NPG’s solicitors had mailed the letter from an account in the name “Amisquitta”. This account was blocked shortly after by a user with access to the user blocking tool, citing a long standing Wikipedia policy that the making of legal threats and creation of a hostile environment is generally inconsistent with editing access and is an inappropriate means of resolving user disputes.

The policy, initially created on Commons’ sister website in June 2004, is also intended to protect all parties involved in a legal dispute, by ensuring that their legal communications go through proper channels, and not through a wiki that is open to editing by other members of the public. It was originally formulated primarily to address legal action for libel. In October 2004 it was noted that there was “no consensus” whether legal threats related to copyright infringement would be covered but by the end of 2006 the policy had reached a consensus that such threats (as opposed to polite complaints) were not compatible with editing access while a legal matter was unresolved. Commons’ own website states that “[accounts] used primarily to create a hostile environment for another user may be blocked”.

In a further response, Gregory Maxwell, a volunteer administrator on Wikimedia Commons, made a formal request to the editorial community that Coetzee’s access to administrator tools on Commons should be revoked due to the prevailing circumstances. Maxwell noted that Coetzee “[did] not have the technically ability to permanently delete images”, but stated that Coetzee’s potential legal situation created a conflict of interest.

Sixteen minutes after Maxwell’s request, Coetzee’s “administrator” privileges were removed by a user in response to the request. Coetzee retains “administrator” privileges on the English-language Wikipedia, since none of the images exist on Wikipedia’s own website and therefore no conflict of interest exists on that site.

Legally, the central issue upon which the case depends is that copyright laws vary between countries. Under United States case law, where both the website and Coetzee are located, a photograph of a non-copyrighted two-dimensional picture (such as a very old portrait) is not capable of being copyrighted, and it may be freely distributed and used by anyone. Under UK law that point has not yet been decided, and the Gallery’s solicitors state that such photographs could potentially be subject to copyright in that country.

One major legal point upon which a case would hinge, should the NPG proceed to court, is a question of originality. The U.K.’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 defines in ¶ 1(a) that copyright is a right that subsists in “original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works” (emphasis added). The legal concept of originality here involves the simple origination of a work from an author, and does not include the notions of novelty or innovation that is often associated with the non-legal meaning of the word.

Whether an exact photographic reproduction of a work is an original work will be a point at issue. The NPG asserts that an exact photographic reproduction of a copyrighted work in another medium constitutes an original work, and this would be the basis for its action against Coetzee. This view has some support in U.K. case law. The decision of Walter v Lane held that exact transcriptions of speeches by journalists, in shorthand on reporter’s notepads, were original works, and thus copyrightable in themselves. The opinion by Hugh Laddie, Justice Laddie, in his book The Modern Law of Copyright, points out that photographs lie on a continuum, and that photographs can be simple copies, derivative works, or original works:

“[…] it is submitted that a person who makes a photograph merely by placing a drawing or painting on the glass of a photocopying machine and pressing the button gets no copyright at all; but he might get a copyright if he employed skill and labour in assembling the thing to be photocopied, as where he made a montage.”

Various aspects of this continuum have already been explored in the courts. Justice Neuberger, in the decision at Antiquesportfolio.com v Rodney Fitch & Co. held that a photograph of a three-dimensional object would be copyrightable if some exercise of judgement of the photographer in matters of angle, lighting, film speed, and focus were involved. That exercise would create an original work. Justice Oliver similarly held, in Interlego v Tyco Industries, that “[i]t takes great skill, judgement and labour to produce a good copy by painting or to produce an enlarged photograph from a positive print, but no-one would reasonably contend that the copy, painting, or enlargement was an ‘original’ artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright. Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”.

In 2000 the Museums Copyright Group, a copyright lobbying group, commissioned a report and legal opinion on the implications of the Bridgeman case for the UK, which stated:

“Revenue raised from reproduction fees and licensing is vital to museums to support their primary educational and curatorial objectives. Museums also rely on copyright in photographs of works of art to protect their collections from inaccurate reproduction and captioning… as a matter of principle, a photograph of an artistic work can qualify for copyright protection in English law”. The report concluded by advocating that “museums must continue to lobby” to protect their interests, to prevent inferior quality images of their collections being distributed, and “not least to protect a vital source of income”.

Several people and organizations in the U.K. have been awaiting a test case that directly addresses the issue of copyrightability of exact photographic reproductions of works in other media. The commonly cited legal case Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. found that there is no originality where the aim and the result is a faithful and exact reproduction of the original work. The case was heard twice in New York, once applying UK law and once applying US law. It cited the prior UK case of Interlego v Tyco Industries (1988) in which Lord Oliver stated that “Skill, labour or judgement merely in the process of copying cannot confer originality.”

“What is important about a drawing is what is visually significant and the re-drawing of an existing drawing […] does not make it an original artistic work, however much labour and skill may have gone into the process of reproduction […]”

The Interlego judgement had itself drawn upon another UK case two years earlier, Coca-Cola Go’s Applications, in which the House of Lords drew attention to the “undesirability” of plaintiffs seeking to expand intellectual property law beyond the purpose of its creation in order to create an “undeserving monopoly”. It commented on this, that “To accord an independent artistic copyright to every such reproduction would be to enable the period of artistic copyright in what is, essentially, the same work to be extended indefinitely… “

The Bridgeman case concluded that whether under UK or US law, such reproductions of copyright-expired material were not capable of being copyrighted.

The unsuccessful plaintiff, Bridgeman Art Library, stated in 2006 in written evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Culture, Media and Sport that it was “looking for a similar test case in the U.K. or Europe to fight which would strengthen our position”.

The National Portrait Gallery is a non-departmental public body based in London England and sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Founded in 1856, it houses a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. The gallery contains more than 11,000 portraits and 7,000 light-sensitive works in its Primary Collection, 320,000 in the Reference Collection, over 200,000 pictures and negatives in the Photographs Collection and a library of around 35,000 books and manuscripts. (More on the National Portrait Gallery here)

The gallery’s solicitors are Farrer & Co LLP, of London. Farrer’s clients have notably included the British Royal Family, in a case related to extracts from letters sent by Diana, Princess of Wales which were published in a book by ex-butler Paul Burrell. (In that case, the claim was deemed unlikely to succeed, as the extracts were not likely to be in breach of copyright law.)

Farrer & Co have close ties with industry interest groups related to copyright law. Peter Wienand, Head of Intellectual Property at Farrer & Co., is a member of the Executive body of the Museums Copyright Group, which is chaired by Tom Morgan, Head of Rights and Reproductions at the National Portrait Gallery. The Museums Copyright Group acts as a lobbying organization for “the interests and activities of museums and galleries in the area of [intellectual property rights]”, which reacted strongly against the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case.

Wikimedia Commons is a repository of images, media, and other material free for use by anyone in the world. It is operated by a community of 21,000 active volunteers, with specialist rights such as deletion and blocking restricted to around 270 experienced users in the community (known as “administrators”) who are trusted by the community to use them to enact the wishes and policies of the community. Commons is hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation, a charitable body whose mission is to make available free knowledge and historic and other material which is legally distributable under US law. (More on Commons here)

The legal threat also sparked discussions of moral issues and issues of public policy in several Internet discussion fora, including Slashdot, over the weekend. One major public policy issue relates to how the public domain should be preserved.

Some of the public policy debate over the weekend has echoed earlier opinions presented by Kenneth Hamma, the executive director for Digital Policy at the J. Paul Getty Trust. Writing in D-Lib Magazine in November 2005, Hamma observed:

“Art museums and many other collecting institutions in this country hold a trove of public-domain works of art. These are works whose age precludes continued protection under copyright law. The works are the result of and evidence for human creativity over thousands of years, an activity museums celebrate by their very existence. For reasons that seem too frequently unexamined, many museums erect barriers that contribute to keeping quality images of public domain works out of the hands of the general public, of educators, and of the general milieu of creativity. In restricting access, art museums effectively take a stand against the creativity they otherwise celebrate. This conflict arises as a result of the widely accepted practice of asserting rights in the images that the museums make of the public domain works of art in their collections.”

He also stated:

“This resistance to free and unfettered access may well result from a seemingly well-grounded concern: many museums assume that an important part of their core business is the acquisition and management of rights in art works to maximum return on investment. That might be true in the case of the recording industry, but it should not be true for nonprofit institutions holding public domain art works; it is not even their secondary business. Indeed, restricting access seems all the more inappropriate when measured against a museum’s mission — a responsibility to provide public access. Their charitable, financial, and tax-exempt status demands such. The assertion of rights in public domain works of art — images that at their best closely replicate the values of the original work — differs in almost every way from the rights managed by the recording industry. Because museums and other similar collecting institutions are part of the private nonprofit sector, the obligation to treat assets as held in public trust should replace the for-profit goal. To do otherwise, undermines the very nature of what such institutions were created to do.”

Hamma observed in 2005 that “[w]hile examples of museums chasing down digital image miscreants are rare to non-existent, the expectation that museums might do so has had a stultifying effect on the development of digital image libraries for teaching and research.”

The NPG, which has been taking action with respect to these images since at least 2005, is a public body. It was established by Act of Parliament, the current Act being the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. In that Act, the NPG Board of Trustees is charged with maintaining “a collection of portraits of the most eminent persons in British history, of other works of art relevant to portraiture and of documents relating to those portraits and other works of art”. It also has the tasks of “secur[ing] that the portraits are exhibited to the public” and “generally promot[ing] the public’s enjoyment and understanding of portraiture of British persons and British history through portraiture both by means of the Board’s collection and by such other means as they consider appropriate”.

Several commentators have questioned how the NPG’s statutory goals align with its threat of legal action. Mike Masnick, founder of Techdirt, asked “The people who run the Gallery should be ashamed of themselves. They ought to go back and read their own mission statement[. …] How, exactly, does suing someone for getting those portraits more attention achieve that goal?” (external link Masnick’s). L. Sutherland of Bigmouthmedia asked “As the paintings of the NPG technically belong to the nation, does that mean that they should also belong to anyone that has access to a computer?”

Other public policy debates that have been sparked have included the applicability of U.K. courts, and U.K. law, to the actions of a U.S. citizen, residing in the U.S., uploading files to servers hosted in the U.S.. Two major schools of thought have emerged. Both see the issue as encroachment of one legal system upon another. But they differ as to which system is encroaching. One view is that the free culture movement is attempting to impose the values and laws of the U.S. legal system, including its case law such as Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., upon the rest of the world. Another view is that a U.K. institution is attempting to control, through legal action, the actions of a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

David Gerard, former Press Officer for Wikimedia UK, the U.K. chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation, which has been involved with the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest to create free content photographs of exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, stated on Slashdot that “The NPG actually acknowledges in their letter that the poster’s actions were entirely legal in America, and that they’re making a threat just because they think they can. The Wikimedia community and the WMF are absolutely on the side of these public domain images remaining in the public domain. The NPG will be getting radioactive publicity from this. Imagine the NPG being known to American tourists as somewhere that sues Americans just because it thinks it can.”

Benjamin Crowell, a physics teacher at Fullerton College in California, stated that he had received a letter from the Copyright Officer at the NPG in 2004, with respect to the picture of the portrait of Isaac Newton used in his physics textbooks, that he publishes in the U.S. under a free content copyright licence, to which he had replied with a pointer to Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp..

The Wikimedia Foundation takes a similar stance. Erik Möller, the Deputy Director of the US-based Wikimedia Foundation wrote in 2008 that “we’ve consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes”.

Contacted over the weekend, the NPG issued a statement to Wikinews:

“The National Portrait Gallery is very strongly committed to giving access to its Collection. In the past five years the Gallery has spent around £1 million digitising its Collection to make it widely available for study and enjoyment. We have so far made available on our website more than 60,000 digital images, which have attracted millions of users, and we believe this extensive programme is of great public benefit.
“The Gallery supports Wikipedia in its aim of making knowledge widely available and we would be happy for the site to use our low-resolution images, sufficient for most forms of public access, subject to safeguards. However, in March 2009 over 3000 high-resolution files were appropriated from the National Portrait Gallery website and published on Wikipedia without permission.
“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens its ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further images available. It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.
“Digitisation involves huge costs including research, cataloguing, conservation and highly-skilled photography. Images then need to be made available on the Gallery website as part of a structured and authoritative database. To date, Wikipedia has not responded to our requests to discuss the issue and so the National Portrait Gallery has been obliged to issue a lawyer’s letter. The Gallery remains willing to enter into a dialogue with Wikipedia.

In fact, Matthew Bailey, the Gallery’s (then) Assistant Picture Library Manager, had already once been in a similar dialogue. Ryan Kaldari, an amateur photographer from Nashville, Tennessee, who also volunteers at the Wikimedia Commons, states that he was in correspondence with Bailey in October 2006. In that correspondence, according to Kaldari, he and Bailey failed to conclude any arrangement.

Jay Walsh, the Head of Communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the Commons, called the gallery’s actions “unfortunate” in the Foundation’s statement, issued on Tuesday July 14:

“The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. To that end, we have very productive working relationships with a number of galleries, archives, museums and libraries around the world, who join with us to make their educational materials available to the public.
“The Wikimedia Foundation does not control user behavior, nor have we reviewed every action taken by that user. Nonetheless, it is our general understanding that the user in question has behaved in accordance with our mission, with the general goal of making public domain materials available via our Wikimedia Commons project, and in accordance with applicable law.”

The Foundation added in its statement that as far as it was aware, the NPG had not attempted “constructive dialogue”, and that the volunteer community was presently discussing the matter independently.

In part, the lack of past agreement may have been because of a misunderstanding by the National Portrait Gallery of Commons and Wikipedia’s free content mandate; and of the differences between Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia Commons, and the individual volunteer workers who participate on the various projects supported by the Foundation.

Like Coetzee, Ryan Kaldari is a volunteer worker who does not represent Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Commons. (Such representation is impossible. Both Wikipedia and the Commons are endeavours supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, and not organizations in themselves.) Nor, again like Coetzee, does he represent the Wikimedia Foundation.

Kaldari states that he explained the free content mandate to Bailey. Bailey had, according to copies of his messages provided by Kaldari, offered content to Wikipedia (naming as an example the photograph of John Opie‘s 1797 portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose copyright term has since expired) but on condition that it not be free content, but would be subject to restrictions on its distribution that would have made it impossible to use by any of the many organizations that make use of Wikipedia articles and the Commons repository, in the way that their site-wide “usable by anyone” licences ensures.

The proposed restrictions would have also made it impossible to host the images on Wikimedia Commons. The image of the National Portrait Gallery in this article, above, is one such free content image; it was provided and uploaded to the Wikimedia Commons under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence, and is thus able to be used and republished not only on Wikipedia but also on Wikinews, on other Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as by anyone in the world, subject to the terms of the GFDL, a license that guarantees attribution is provided to the creators of the image.

As Commons has grown, many other organizations have come to different arrangements with volunteers who work at the Wikimedia Commons and at Wikipedia. For example, in February 2009, fifteen international museums including the Brooklyn Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum established a month-long competition where users were invited to visit in small teams and take high quality photographs of their non-copyright paintings and other exhibits, for upload to Wikimedia Commons and similar websites (with restrictions as to equipment, required in order to conserve the exhibits), as part of the “Wikipedia Loves Art” contest.

Approached for comment by Wikinews, Jim Killock, the executive director of the Open Rights Group, said “It’s pretty clear that these images themselves should be in the public domain. There is a clear public interest in making sure paintings and other works are usable by anyone once their term of copyright expires. This is what US courts have recognised, whatever the situation in UK law.”

The Digital Britain report, issued by the U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media, and Sport in June 2009, stated that “Public cultural institutions like Tate, the Royal Opera House, the RSC, the Film Council and many other museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the country now reach a wider public online.” Culture minster Ben Bradshaw was also approached by Wikinews for comment on the public policy issues surrounding the on-line availability of works in the public domain held in galleries, re-raised by the NPG’s threat of legal action, but had not responded by publication time.