Off-Ramp | Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

FBI Threatens Wikipedia for FBI Seal Use; Rabe Jumps on Bandwagon, Invites FBI Letter.

Dear FBI,

I notice you sent a mean letter to Wikipedia, the non-profit online encyclopedia, for publishing the FBI seal on its website.

This is the seal, by the way:

The Great FBI Seal

And, in case you missed it, here it is again!

The Great FBI Seal

To my understanding, as a taxpayer, I kinda own the seal. (This seal:)

The Great FBI Seal

And there's also free speech and freedom of the press in the US Constitution (which presumably the FBI is familiar with), which protects our use of the seal -- this seal ...

The Great Seal of the FBI 

... for non-fraudulent uses, such as, say, on-line encyclopedia articles, sophomoric blog posts, news articles, and so on. I agree it would be wrong to use this seal:

The Great FBI Seal

... to fake official communications, try to pull someone over, or get free refills at Denny's. But I'm also not really clear why I, as a taxpayer and citizen, can't print up and sell a t-shirt with this seal:

The Great FBI Seal

... on it. It's not like it's the NBA. (Yes, I know the law does protect the government's ability to profit from the seals of all government offices and agencies. Don't ask me why. I guess business in the Ag Dept's gift shop must be taking a hit in the recession.)

In any case, FBI spokesman William Carter, to save time and trouble, my address is KPCC, 474 South Raymond Avenue, Pasadena CA 91105, USA. And while you're driving over here in a caravan of taxpayer-purchased black SUV's, give my show Off-Ramp a listen!

Meantime, I should warn all 100,000 listeners to Off-Ramp to definitely NOT right-click, save, print, and distribute the image of the FBI seal above. Please, make sure you do not do that. At all. Not even a little.