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Britannica brand still popular, Wikipedia 'a desert' for good portraits

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By Cryptic C62

Most of Wikipedia's news coverage this week was dominated by the copyright dispute with the National Portrait Gallery in London. See "Further developments in copyright dispute" for more.

Britannica vs. Wikipedia

Encyclopedia Britannica was recently ranked number 10 on a list of top British consumer brands, jumping up 19 spots from last year's rankings. BBC News discussed this increase in popularity. When asked how Britannica is able to survive with competition from Wikipedia, Britannica marketing director Ian Grant said, "They're a chisel, we're a drill, and you need to have the correct tool for the job."

Criticism for poor images

The New York Times writer Noam Cohen criticized Wikipedia for its poor images—specifically its lack of high-quality photos of celebrities. Some of the articles whose images were criticized include Halle Berry, Hank Aaron, and Natalie Dessay. Cohen described images as being "a glaring flaw in the Wikipedia model," in that articles gradually improve over time while images do not.

He also wondered "considering the money that stars spend to maintain their image, it is surprising that more have not invested in high-quality, freely licensed photographs for Wikipedia and other sites" (as Plácido Domingo has done). As briefly mentioned in the Signpost's January 2, 2008 edition, a streamlined mechanism for providing such photos exists at Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submission. However, according to the NYT article Wikimedia Foundation spokesman Jay Walsh said that many representatives or publicists trying to provide a photo are not aware that they need permission by the photographer to release it under a free content license.

One photographer, Jerry Avenaim, who has contributed a number of celebrity photos to Wikipedia, was nevertheless skeptical about the free licensing requirement, stating "the problem is the Wikipedia rule of public use... [Wikipedia] should allow photographers to maintain the copyright."

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