A lawyer representing Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has demanded that several of the campaign’s logos be removed from Wikipedia, saying that reproducing the logos violates copyright law. The Wikimedia Foundation has complied with the DMCA takedown notice and removed the notices.
It’s fairly surprising that the campaign would seek to ban wide distribution of its logos, which are clearly positive advertising for the campaign. It’s even more surprising that after getting a call from the Wikimedia Foundation, the Sanders campaign didn’t back down or blame an overzealous volunteer attorney—the campaign confirmed it wants Wikipedia to comply with the notice and not publish its logos.
“We also contacted the attorneys representing the Bernie Sanders campaign to discuss the issue, and they asked that WMF carry out a takedown in compliance with the DMCA rather than work with the community to update the licensing information or allow the images,” wrote Wikimedia community manager James Alexander on a discussion page about the Sanders DMCA notices.
Observers have noted that it’s debatable whether logos qualify for copyright protection at all. Even if they do, Wikipedia commentary about a political campaign seems like a crystal-clear example of fair use. Most of all, it’s unclear why Sanders’ lawyers think that removing their logos from a nonprofit…