Category talk:Canadian National Vimy Memorial

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Copyright issues[edit]

User:Leoboudv added the following note to the category page:

The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is situated on land which was donated by France to the Government of Canada, in perpetuity. Images of the monument and surrounding land, under the administration of Veterans Affairs Canada, are permitted under Canadian Freedom of Panorama laws.

Although the Canadian government controls and maintains the monument, the land was never deemed to be Canadian territory, and French laws still apply to the site as far as I know. While there may be an argument that Canadian laws should prevail in respect of any copyright determinations made here on the Commons, given the unique circumstances, I believe that the stronger argument is as follows: notwithstanding that there is no freedom of panorama in France, the memorial itself is in the public domain, so freely licensed images of the memorial are acceptable here on the Commons. The rationale for the memorial being in the public domain is as follows:

  • The memorial was a work for hire created on behalf of the Canadian government.
  • French law does not recognize the concept of "work for hire". However, French copyright law does recognize the concept of collective works: when several creators make inseparable contributions to a work and a separate principal initiates and directs the process and takes responsibility for the overall product, the principal takes all the ownership rights in the work. (See this summary of the law for more information).
  • The memorial was a collective work: although Allward was responsible for the main design and oversaw some of the construction details, an entire team of sculptors, engineers and architects (including Allward) ultimately produced the work. The Canadian government, as principal, commissioned and directed the work, and was responsible for its completion. Ownership of the rights, therefore, vested in the government of Canada. As such, the copyright period under French law, 70 years, runs from the date of the completion of the monument in 1936. Thus, the monument has been in the public domain since 2006. Under Canadian law, the crown copyright would have expired in 1986.
  • Although the monument is in the public domain under French and Canadian law, Commons requires that it also be public domain in the U.S. Under American law, architectural works constructed prior to 1 December 1990 are protected only as plans or drawings (see this summary of the law for more information). Therefore, images of the actual monument are not caught by U.S. copyright law.

I hope that's helpful. --skeezix1000 (talk) 16:36, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

NOTE: It should be stressed, however, that the Vimy monument stands within 117 hectares of land which France permanently donated to the government of Canada in gratitude for Canada's sacrifices in the First World War. This is clearly noted in this Ontario newspaper and in this official Canadian government site. So, Canadian FOP laws would legally apply to the monument. --Leoboudv (talk) 00:20, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

The sources you have identified simply state that France donated the land in perpetuity to Canada. That just means Canada owns the land. Absent additional sources to the contrary, that doesn't mean that the land became extraterritorial of France, that French law ceases to apply, or that foreign (Canadian) law takes precedence. The fact that a couple was convicted in a French court under French law two years ago for having sex on the memorial confirms that French law continues to apply to the site. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 12:32, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

So we don't lose track of it, just making note of the recent deletion discussion: Commons:Deletion requests/Canadian National Vimy Memorial. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 15:22, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

  • OK Skeezix1000. I get your point and your arguments about the copyright status of these photos. --Leoboudv (talk) 10:07, 10 August 2011 (UTC)


A couple of more points on this issue from discussions on the en.wp article talk page (adding them here so it is easier to track this information):
  • Among the newspaper articles covering the conviction of the French couple having sex on the monument, the Globe and Mail article on January 22, 2008 ("Swingers make love, not war, at Vimy Ridge") seems to confirm that French law applies to the site (excerpts):
"Monday, a French couple appeared at the courthouse in nearby Arras on charges of sexual exhibitionism at the First World War memorial."
"A spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson said the Canadian government hopes Monday's court appearance will send a message. “At this point, our participation in the French legal system will be enough of a deterrent,” said Richard Roik. “Inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated.”"
  • Labattblueboy noted that the treaty between Canada and France described the nature of the grant: "Appendix III of the treaty lays out the explanation of the process. In essence, its the same process that was followed for the Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries; 'the land is to be acquired by the French Government at the cost of the French nation, and held in perpetuity by it for use by the Canadian Government for a specific purpose, namely the erection of a monument and the creation of a park.' In essence, granted free use, not sovereignty." He also noted that he had understood previously that the issue was handled in this manner because foreign countries were not allowed to own French land at that time.
In any event, helpful information to have. Skeezix1000 (talk) 17:42, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I have a Canadian law degree and one thing I took away from my legal education is that a ridiculous result can generally always be contested be contested in court unless a Supreme Court has weighed in on it. And deletion here is ridiculous. Canada was granted "free" use of the land for the express purpose of erecting a monument. Photographs of the monument could only injure the commercial interests of CANADIAN creators/owners/maintainers of the monument. That French law would interfere here between a Canadian photographer and the original Canadian creator(s) is entirely opposite to the point of the "cession".--Brian Dell (talk) 17:43, 5 April 2014 (UTC)