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By Deryck Chan, Tilman Bayer, Alex Stinson and Theo10011
Reprinted on half a page without attribution: Aerial shoot of Tai Po, taken by Samuel Chan (zh:User:CX257), a Hong Kong/Belfast Wikipedian, on a flight between his two homes
No unfree alternative available? Photo of a sign for the Queen's Pier in Hong Kong, uploaded by QPBOT20, two years before the pier was demolished

Hong Kong book publisher plagiarizes photos by Wikipedians, apologizes

Last month, Wan Li Book Company, a leading Hong Kong publisher, released A Speaking Map of Hong Kong – a multimedia guidebook to Hong Kong history and geography. It was soon discovered that it used some 100 photographs from Wikipedia and Flickr without any copyright acknowledgement. When comparing any page from the book with the relevant Wikipedia article about the corresponding district of Hong Kong, one can almost certainly find a Wikipedia picture replicated exactly in the book.

Aware that the book in question is actually the sequel to A Speaking World Map, a similar interactive book by the same publisher, a writer on Hong Kong Inmedia, set out to buy the previous book in search for more copyright violations. Instead, he was surprised to discover copyright acknowledgements for various pictures in the book. Those credited included both individual photographers and organisations such as the United States Geological Survey. For one illustrated photograph, the acknowledgement was so delicately written that it included the photographer, the illustrator, and the Tajik Agency on Hydrometeorology who provided the original data. A skim through the inside covers of the two books reveals that they were compiled by the same chief editors.

The publisher did leave a line in A Speaking Map of Hong Kong as a defence: "We were unable to contact some of the old street photographs' owners due to a lack of information. Copyright holders should feel free to contact us." However, Wikipedians noted that every picture description on Wikipedia and Flickr is clearly accompanied by the username of the author, and the copyright licence under which the author released the picture. The infringing book did not credit anyone in compliance with the licences; neither did the publisher leave a comment to the authors asking for authorisation.

Jeromy-Yu Chan, president of Wikimedia Hong Kong, called it the largest infringement of Wikipedia images in Hong Kong's history. A Hong Kong freelance writer filed a case against Wan Li Books with the customs.

On August 14, one user identifying as deputy editor-in-chief of the publisher posted an apology on the talk page where the infringements were being discussed. The user stated that the editor for the book had resigned and that all copies would be recalled and destroyed, and asserted that the apology was made "not on legal grounds, but out of conscience."


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What is Wan Li in Chinese? I don't think I've heard of it. Kayau Voting IS evil 09:31, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Oh, I understand now. Must be pretty embarrassing for them. Kayau Voting IS evil 09:32, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The second sentence is incomplete: "It was soon discovered that it ." —Arsonal (talk + contribs)09:49, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

It looks OK to me. Airplaneman 23:21, 17 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Wonderful to see Wikimedia approaching the community for input WRT the advertising campaign.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:57, 20 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

There's an error in the image Initial Taxonomy. On the section Gnoming, where its says Vandalfighing it should read Vandalfighting [i.e. there's a T missing]. I'm really good for nothing, but I do spot typos. Qwrk (talk) 00:08, 29 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]


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