What is wrong with this picture?

October 31, 2006

Trawling through Google News this evening, I found a headline that was… well, interesting. What is wrong with the following statement?

Wikipedia to sell content

The journalist in question, Guilherme Felitti, is referring to Jimmy Wales’ $100M “Dream a little” email, in which he ask the community for ideas on what content they would buy for a hundred million dollars and make free to the world. Presumably, Wikipedia would purchase the copyright licenses for valuable content and make it available for free download in the public domain. The article even says so, in the first sentence:

Wikipedia is considering a plan to purchase copyright content and make it available under public domain.

The problem here is that an editor appears to have used the word “sell” when they really mean to say “buy”. The headline totally contradicts the rest of the article as it currently stands.

Funny things happen when people don’t fully understand a situation, and they become even funnier when those people are journalists – it’s just the nature of their work. They need to put together stories in a reasonable time, often on a subject with which they don’t have much experience, and mistake happens.

But this was a little silly.

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