FBI Demands Its Logo Be Removed From Wikipedia
The FBI is hopping mad at Wikipedia! Apparently they've threatened Wikipedia with legal action if the online encyclopedia doesn't remove a picture of its official seal from the FBI entry at once. Wikipedia's lawyers, while squelching laughter, have replied "no."
The FBI's lawyers claim that keeping a high-resolution image of its official seal violates federal code banning the manufacture, sale or possession of items bearing the insignia of federal offices.
The New York Times explains Wikipedia's response, which is essentially "oh shut up FBI."
The problem, those at Wikipedia say, is that the law cited in the F.B.I.'s letter is largely about keeping people from flashing fake badges or profiting from the use of the seal, and not about posting images on noncommercial Web sites. Many sites, including the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, display the seal.
You legal nerds out there might enjoy a brisk, pleasant read of Wikimedia general counsel Mike Godwin's entire letter to these FBI trolls. Godwin, a sassy fellow, accuses the FBI of deliberately misrepresenting the law:
Finally, while I sympathize with your footnoted desire to claim that "the plain meaning" of the statute supports your broad view of Section 701's scope, we note that you specifically removed the language that communicates the plain meaning of "other insignia." In context, this seems an ironic stroke.
The FBI is definitely going to raid their offices, like, tonight.