Yesterday, the New York Times covered a story wherein the FBI sent a letter to Wikipedia demanding that they remove the official FBI seal from their website. A laughable attempt at best and one that makes little sense. I ventured over to the FBI website in order to determine the quality of their seals. The homepage seal is available but tiny and not high quality:
Additionally, the FBI has a page dedicated to the heraldry of the seal. A larger picture of the seal is available for viewing but attempts to “right-click” and “save as” have been disabled. Anyway, here’s a screen-shot:
Certainly these images pale in comparison to the Wikipedia seal. Wikipedia’s response letter is short and sweet, it breaks down the FBI’s arguments and interpretations of the law, 18 U.S.C. 701 . Another defense not mentioned in either letter (but is on Wikipedia’s FBI seal page) is the use of public works:
This image is a work of a Federal Bureau of Investigation employee, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.
Obviously the FBI doesn’t ‘get’ the Internet. My question to the FBI is many fold…how? why? what are they thinking? and really? I’m not sure who is more confused the FBI or myself. The FBI owes an apology to Wikipedia for wasting their time and also an apology to the American people for wasting our resources and tax dollars. If they need something else to focus on, here’s a list I put together after thinking on it for 30 seconds: the global war on terror, the Gulf oil spill, their most wanted list, banking fraud, child kidnappings, mass-murdering psychopaths, North Korea, Iraqi insurgents, Russian spies, and drug cartels. Honestly, this Halloween I am printing up FBI seals galore, pasting them into a costume, and donning the super-hero name “G-MAN”. We’ll see how many people I can fool into giving me candy.