FBI threatens to sue Wikipedia for using seal. Really?


Just try it, FBI. We could use the publicity.

In what would be the stupidest potential lawsuit in almost a month, the FBI is threatening to sue Wikipedia for posting its official seal online.

The FBI appears to be concerned that no-goodniks could pull the seal from Wikipedia to make phony badges and documents. But seriously, FBI, the cat’s already out of the bag on this one. Heck, even the FBI’s own site has decent JPGs of the seal that can be found by anyone with rudimentary Google skills.

Wikipedia’s response letter leans heavily on the snark, and refers to the FBI’s “creative editing” and “strategic redaction of important language” in the law it cites. But Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation sums the whole episode up perfectly when she spoke to the New York Times: “I have to believe the FBI has better things to do than this.”


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  1. You have got to be kidding me. They don’t have a leg to stand on. Their reasoning is ridiculous, and a simple request to add some kind of watermark ought to resolve that problem, not suing wikipedia. There is fair use, so it’s not a copyright violation. This makes no sense.

  2. wishtobeanoninwiki on

    what about our personal ip addresses? if the FBI would help protect us from foreigners like wiki and not spy on us (unless i was from the middle east and have ties to bad guys, which i am not…and wiki knows that…dam liberals spying on Americans! myob to spies in UK…we love UK, but hate wiki for free speech violations! we have our own censors and don’t need anymore freespeech violators. wiki will be out of business someday thanks to our colleges and their antiwiki sentiment. respect us Americans or prepare for a mass lawsuit that will result in many famous UK artists/musicians feeling a desire to move to our neighbor in the north! LOL. now UK would hate it if their talented folks decided to leave UK for Canada! XD)

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