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Wikipedia Refuses to Remove FBI Seal

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sent a letter July 28 to the Wikimedia Foundation, creators of the user-edited online encyclopedia Wikipedia, threatening to litigate in reaction to an image of the FBI seal posted on Wikipedia.

"It has come to our attention that the FBI seal is posted, without authorization, on Wikipedia ... Unauthorized use of the FBI seal ... is subject to criminal prosecution under Federal criminal law, including 18 U.S.C. 701," the FBI wrote in a letter to Wikipedia.

Wikimedia General Counsel Mike Godwin said the company would not capitulate. "I must inform you that the Bureau's reading of 18 U.S.C. 701 is both idiosyncratic (made especially so by your strategic redaction of important language) and, more importantly, incorrect," he said in a statement. "In short, then, we are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons."

Wikimedia said they are prepared to fight the matter in court.

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