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Amazon Echo; EU freedom of panorama; Bluebeard's Castle

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By Gamaliel
"Alexa, Wikipedia Abraham Lincoln"

Amazon Echo provides Wikipedia access

Technology media outlets are abuzz after the November 6 unveiling of the Amazon Echo, an Internet-connected voice command device.'s new device has numerous features: it plays music, news, and weather, keeps reminders and shopping lists, provides information like Wikipedia articles and answers to basic queries. These features are activated by speaking the "wake word", Alexa. It is not clear how exactly the Echo provides information from Wikipedia, such as whether or not it reads the whole article or just parts like the introduction, or how it will navigate disambiguation pages. The Wikipedia function is not demonstrated in Amazon's video about the Echo, though it is listed on its display of sample voice commands through the example "Wikipedia Abraham Lincoln". The Wall Street Journal quips "Guess that means Wikipedia is officially a verb now."

EU restrictions on freedom of panorama affect Wikipedia

The censored Atomium

The EUobserver talks (November 4) with Dimitar Dimitrov (User:Dimi z) about the lack of freedom of panorama in some European Union countries and its implications for Wikimedia projects. The copyright for photographs taken of the exteriors of buildings in some EU countries like Belgium, France, and Italy resides with the rights holders, such as the architect or the owner of the building. This means, for example, that there are no photographs of the Atomium in Brussels on Wikipedia. Wikipedia editors have resorted to using a model of the building in Austria or a censored version of a photograph of the Atomium. Photographs of the Eiffel Tower taken during the day are not restricted because the copyright of Gustave Eiffel, who died in 1923, has long since expired. The more recently installed lights on the Tower mean, however, that photographs taken at night fall under these copyright restrictions. Despite this, there are 328 images in the Wikimedia Commons category Eiffel Tower at night.

Storming Bluebeard's Castle

Bluebeard and Judith illustrated by Gustave Doré

Scott Cantrell, classical music critic for the Dallas Morning News, recounts (November 11) efforts to verify an uncited claim in the Wikipedia article for the Béla Bartók opera Bluebeard's Castle. According to the claim, first inserted into the article in 2009, "The opera was first performed in the United States in a student production at Southern Methodist University in 1946." SMU is a school in the Dallas, Texas, area. Pamela E. Pagels, music librarian at the Hamon Arts Library of Southern Methodist University, extensively researched this claim and writes:

Pagels discovered that the US premiere was actually three years later, on January 9, 1949, when it was performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The claim about SMU was removed from Wikipedia following the publication of Cantrell's article.

Blog complains about being considered an unreliable source on Wikipedia

The conservative blog TruthRevolt complained on November 8 about being labeled an unreliable source by a Wikipedia editor, User:Grayfell, on the talk page for the article about the actress, writer, and director Lena Dunham. Dunham threatened legal action against TruthRevolt after it labeled an instance of childhood genital play recounted in her recent book Not That Kind of Girl as sexual abuse. It is unlikely that TruthRevolt will meet the reliable source policy's requirement for having "a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." Its editor-in-chief, Ben Shapiro, wrote an article in Breitbart citing unattributed claims that United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had received campaign contributions from a nonexistent group called "Friends of Hamas" which purportedly represented the Palestinian terrorist organization. Breitbart was recently in the news for attacking African-American Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch for her supposed involvement in the Whitewater controversy. The allegations were false and Breitbart had confused her with a white lawyer of the same name.

In brief

Note to readers

We want "In the Media" to be as comprehensive as possible, but we need your help. Even if you can only contribute one or two short items occasionally, that would help immensely. Editors familiar with languages other than English and Spanish are especially sought-after. Please contact Gamaliel if you wish to contribute.

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" Despite this, there are 328 images in the Wikimedia Commons category Eiffel Tower at night.". So how long until some copyright-paranoia-fanatic starts some deletion discussions on Commons? Sigh. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:48, 17 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Though the Eiffel Tower light show is copyrighted, now and then just the safety lights are on, which are *not* copyrighted, therefore, those images may reside on Commons. I suppose we could also supplement our "blacked-out" Atomium picture with an artistic night photo where the safety lights are off on the Atomium and only foreground objects are visible. I am hoping that the new Wikimedia Belgium chapter will be able to do a bit of lobbying in Brussles on this issue, starting of course, with the Atomium itself. Jane (talk) 06:59, 17 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Piotrus. As Jane says, saying that “The more recently installed lights on the Tower mean, however, that photographs taken at night fall under these copyright restrictions.” is quite inaccurate. See the explanations in c:Category:Eiffel Tower at night, as well as the pages linked there, such as c:Category:Eiffel Tower-related deletion requests , and if you read French this piece “Photographie de nuit: ce que l’on sait sur l’éclairage de la tour Eiffel” by User:PierreSelim. Jean-Fred (talk) 08:14, 17 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Copyrighted panorama right is a huge issue in Indonesia-related wiki article. I have no idea that France adopted the same principle. It's a selfish principle in my opinion.--Rochelimit (talk) 09:37, 9 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Despite the heartfelt and scathing appeal in The Signpost, I note that Wikipedians have resisted changing one jot or tittle of the article on Hedy Lamarr, insisting that a brief nude scene in a 1933 foreign language film is more familiar to the readers than their cell phones. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:45, 20 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]


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