On 27/07/2017 14:36, Andreas Kolbe wrote:
> If you look at the comments under Barbara's piece, Greg linked to this
> YouTube video:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZurOYgQLT44

since I don't own an Amazon Echo, I will have to rely on the video.

> I had a look at that video before posting here. (I think it's kind of a
> daft video, but it does a perfectly good job of demonstrating how the Echo
> works.)
> In this video, the lady asks at the beginning, "Alexa, who is Edward
> Snowden?"
> The response reflects the lead sentence of the Wikipedia article, such as
> it was at the time.
> At 0:30 in the video, she asks "Alexa, who is the FBI?" Again, Alexa
> responds with the lead sentence of Wikipedia's FBI article as it was at the
> time.

The video was posted on March 9th, 2017.

This is the article about Edward Snowden as of March 6th, 2017:

and this is the article about FBI as of March 7th,2017:

The response about Edward Snowden is not verbatim (I had a look also at
some of the previous revisions, and the incipit did not change). It is
very similar for sure and I can see some way to automatically get from
the Wikipedia article incipt to the sentence spoken by Alexa. But at
this point if you rephrase a sentence and use facts I don't think you
are infringing copyright. It could be akin to close paraphrasing[1], but
the quantity of text is limited.

The response about FBI instead is verbatim.

In both cases, they may be within the realm of the "right to quote"[2]
(I am not sure this concept exists in US law per se) or "fair use".

> You say that Alexa reportedly gets some of this from Bing. But even if
> that's the case, how does it make a difference? To me it seems rather like
> Flickrwashing (Bingwashing?).

It may totally make a difference. I am not a lawyer, but I think the
question about the copyright status of search snippets and indexes for
search engines has already been addressed by jurisprudence.

Simply put, the amount of text used changes the situation from "right to
quote"/"fair use" to "derivative work".

Furthermore, to correctly cite Wikipedia, if snippets would not be
considered under fair use/right to quote, they would need to also cite
the license.

In this regard, compare the difference - http://imgur.com/gallery/3FQZS
- between the snippets (both from Google and Bing), which do not have a
license indication and the extensive portion of text which is displayed
in the box in Bing which correctly indicates both the link to the
original work and the license. Interestingly, in the case of the FBI,
the box in Bing has less text and no indication of the license. It may
be that they automatically decide that if they are going to show more
than N words/characters then they do not treat the text as a quotation
but as a derivative work and so they show the license.

I tried with another couple  searches and this behavior seems
consistent. If they shw a short chunk of text (~ 1 sentence), they do
not provide the source and link to the license. If they show a big chunk
of text (with a "+" sign) they do.

The Wikimedia Foundation could ask for a clarification to Amazon, but I
suspect that the answer would not differ very much from above.


[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Close_paraphrasing
[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_quote

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