Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

This Wikimedia Commons page is used for general discussions relating to copyright and license issues, and for discussions relating to specific files' copyright issues. Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

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Propose to update CC license tags to comply with the new wordings in CC deeds[edit]

I'm proposing this matter here per the advice of ChrisiPK at AN.

As we all know, CC had updated all of their license deeds after the release of CC 4.0 licenses. It is to educate the licensees (and licensors too) about the legal terms by highlighting them more promptly. And, we can see some terms like "remix", "work", "file" are not perfectly conveying the copyright terms. So CC changed them to "adapt", "material" to satisfy all types of works, means and medium we are using.

There is also a warning about the third party rights (like publicity, privacy and moral rights) that may limit the reuse. Our current practice is to add specific tags on individual files, which is time consuming and not perfect as we can't check all files.


Marking your work with a CC license "Example: Image"
Choose a license
Best practices for attribution
Best Practices for Creative Commons attributions
Creative Commons Attribution For Photos

So I propose to update the layout templates:

Current tag (CC BY lacks the ShareAlike clause):

w:en:Creative Commons
attribution share alike
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
Attribution: Real name (
You are free:
  • to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to remix – to adapt the work
Under the following conditions:
  • attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • share alike – If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Option 6 Proposed tag without a "title" (CC BY lacks the ShareAlike clause):

Cc primary srr.gif
By large.png Sa large.png
This media by Real name ( is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
You are free to:
  • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material
for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms.
Under the following terms:
  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
  • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

Restarting the discussion[edit]

I noticed that @Jkadavoor: marked this for archiving, but I'd rather we tried to kickstart the discussion again, because these changes are (potentially) important: they impact how we present information about reuse to millions of people, on millions of pieces of content. In particular, they impact how we present information to unskilled reusers - the people who we'd really like to (1) use more of our content and (2) comply more with our license. That's too important to let this discussion go away. So maybe the right question is: does anyone *object* to @Multichill:, WMF, and others creating a more fleshed-out mockup based on @MGalloway (WMF): 's mockups above? —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 15:42, 21 November 2014 (UTC)

Pinging all early participants to check any disagreement on using the new wordings ("Option 3/ 6") with the new layout by MGalloway_(WMF). @ChrisiPK, Saffron Blaze, FDMS4:, @El Grafo, , Dereckson:, @Jarekt, Gazebo, Kaldari:, @Stefan4, Colin, Graphium:... Jee 07:56, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Thanks Luis Villa (WMF); and no oppose from my side. :) Jee 16:04, 21 November 2014 (UTC)
  • No objections from me, too. I fully agree that it's very important that "unskilled reusers" will be enabled to comply with our license(s) as intuitively as possible. People just don't read lengthy terms; you can tell them a thousand times to read the actual license, they won't... so the big challenge is to create a summary that is on the one hand very compact, but on the other hand precise enough to make license-compliant reuse more likely. Gestumblindi (talk) 14:39, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
  • No objections, just one Pictogram voting question.svg Question: Is the "must provide a link to the license" a new thing of the CC-4.0 or has that always been there? If it's new, we may need different wordings for different versions? --El Grafo (talk) 09:36, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
  • @El Grafo: It is a requirement from version 1.0 onward. Jee 09:52, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
    • The proposed licence templates do not link to the licence itself but to CC's simplified explanation of the licence. Is this compliant with the licence. Instead of linking to the licence, you can satisfy the requirement by including a copy of the licence, but maybe the template shouldn't mention that as the template otherwise risks being too long. Several of the suggestions already seem to be too long. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:33, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
      • @Stefan4: Option 6 links to legalcode; so I'm striking off Option 3. The new layout has a collapsible "read more" feature; so we can expand the text if required. Do you have any additions to the proposed text? Jee 16:00, 1 December 2014 (UTC) We already provided several links to CC FAQs to explain the brief wording in detail. For example, CreativeCommonsWiki:License_Versions#Detailed_attribution_comparison_chart well explains every attribution parameter in detail. Jee 16:06, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I think it is OK to link to the summary rather than the legalcode; you're right that a literal reading of the license probably requires pointing to the legal code, but I've never seen that done in the wild, even by CC themselves. (See, for example, the suggested links in this attribution guide from CC Australia.)—Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 01:46, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
Luis Villa (WMF): It may be legally OK to link to the summary; but there is a difference in our perspective. In all other sites (like Flickr), they give a simple notice stating "this media is CC XX license and linking to the deed. But in our case, we are not mentioning any think near the usage; just hyper-linking to the "file page" where we state the license and terms of use. It will add one more layer of complexity, keeping the actual license one more step away. That's why we prefer to provide a summary of the license there (in the file page). Since this summary (license tag) is almost exact duplicate of the CC deed, linking it again to the deed (which again linking to the license code) is very redundant and useless (as Colin stated earlier). Jee 14:21, 8 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment. All of my work is PD, but I do have to use another license when that is what I am updating, so my preference is to make it shorter than the current version, not longer. A link can be used for details, but taking up more real estate on every image page is not a good idea. Delphi234 (talk) 05:38, 5 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I think May's mockups (above) can be very small/slim. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 01:46, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Maybe I should have asked Jee to hide the first round of options :) A reminder that May posted some proposals, which I think reflect some thinking on how to do this in a way that is both cleaner and more informative. Copied them in-line here for reference. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 01:46, 6 December 2014 (UTC)
"I have some initial thoughts and mock-ups to illustrate. Thanks for being so patient! Wikimania prep has been taking up pretty much all my time. Here
is an attempt to connect the usage and terms more than we previously did, by stating in one place and sentence "Under this license terms*, you are free to…:" and then a list of things you're free to do and what you must do after, which is to attribute and sharealike. But I began by questioning why we care about CC license banner and the purpose of the license. Because people tend to be unaware of their boundaries, a CC license is there to protect the work of the creator and the fair usage of the user of the work. Since CC license permits users to do a lot of things (which they already have no problems with) so long as they are in compliant with license. I thought it was more important for users to know know what they must do if they choose to use the work, because without following terms, they risk getting in trouble. Here
, I made the entire banner look like a single important message with a very clear hierarchy of info, as if saying: Attribute and Sharealike and you'll be fine. Same thing here
, just with different language that's more actionable, "You are free to share & adapt…as long as you…Give attribution, Share Again." I've moved around some sentences here and there but don't claim to for them to be more appropriate for legal purposes, but is what I think could be more understandable. A more condensed version could look like this
. On a side note, I really like how The Noun Project has done to educate icon downloaders to properly attribute the author. When you click on the Download button, you are required to agree to attribute the author (3.0). Once downloaded, you are directed to a page where you get pretty specific instructions on where to attribute the author depending on popular medium usages. We should do something similar!MGalloway (WMF) (talk) 13:56, 7 August 2014 (UTC)"
  • @MGalloway (WMF), LuisV (WMF): Do you need any further comments on this topic? Otherwise we can ask a crat to close it. I see no opposes now, and this discussion is running for a long-while. :) Jee 16:08, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

OK, I can close this. Do we have anyone to implement the outcome of this RfC? --Dschwen (talk) 16:15, 15 December 2014 (UTC)

Implementing the accepted proposal[edit]

Looks like we have to work on the following items:

  1. Edit Template:Cc-by-sa-layout and Template:Cc-by-layout
  2. Add translation strings for 'No additional restrictions and the Additional Details box.
  3. Change the existing translation strings.

I suggest we start with the last point, then we request the additional translations, then we update the layout. --Dschwen (talk) 16:33, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Suggest new copyright template: PD-nature[edit]

The US does not recognize copyright in works created by nature (see pg. 8 in this document: "The office will not register works created by nature, animals, or plants"). However, there is no copyright tag on Commons for uploaded works that were created by nature. When uploading an audio recording of underwater noises, the most fitting copyright tag I could find is PD-because. However, this is a copyright issue that is probably common enough to merit its own template. AHeneen (talk) 07:14, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

While I suppose you could create a specialized tag akin to {{PD-animal}} for nature sounds, I think it is perfectly acceptable to use {{PD-ineligible}} for media such as your example that are in the public domain for lack of original human authorship. —RP88 (talk) 07:31, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
There are two different copyrights to consider when uploading a sound file: The performers copyrights and the copyright for the recording. The text you refere to talks about the performer. A sound recording is of course copyrighted. --Martin H. (talk) 21:06, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, if I wasn't clear, I agree that it isn't appropriate to use {{PD-ineligible}} for sound recordings where there is an original human contribution with respect to capturing and processing the sounds to make the final recording. The cases where it would apply would be recordings of nature sounds captured by devices like traffic cameras. —RP88 (talk) 21:26, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
Regretably the situation is not that clear. Category:Deletion request for picture produced by mechanical process, for example Commons:Deletion requests/File:Ursa Minor Dwarf.jpg gives some arguments. --Martin H. (talk) 11:48, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Uploading Phantom Open Emoji to Commons[edit]

Long story short, I want upload PhantomOpenEmoji SVGs, but they has changed their license. Can I upload their SVGs from a fork per this? −ebraminiotalk 07:58, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes, as per the original license.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:27, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, I've uploaded them here Category:Phantom Open Emojiebraminiotalk 21:07, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Two watermarked Ukrainian old images[edit]

Are these two heavily watermarked images OK for use in Commons? I ask it here because they need a heavy work to restore them for use in Wikimedia projects.--Carnby (talk) 11:40, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

If they were published in the Russian Empire before 1918, they are in public domain now both in Russia and USA as well as in Ukraine. See {{PD-RusEmpire}}. Ruslik (talk) 18:29, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately since the uploader provided links to the images themselves, instead of to a page that gives any description, we aren't really given any way to 'know' that's the case. Revent (talk) 21:21, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
Published on (ja nje gawarju pa russki, let alone Ukrainian.) –Be..anyone (talk) 01:06, 22 December 2014 (UTC)[edit]

It seems that the Melomics a paid service being a source of computer-generated music. They declare to give their clients exclusive copyright for the music, but marking their files (C) MELOMICS. Personally, I doubt that the music can even be copyrightable (as they declare the music to be created fully automatic, without any human author), but noticed an OTRS ticket concerning mass deletion of sourced files without even notifying uploader about reasons.


  • they declare that their client paying for the computer generated music receive full exclusive copyright to the music,
  • the files their clients receive are marked (C) <year> by MELOMICS. All rights reserved,
  • they declare the music is generated fully automatic with no human author involved (like monkey selfie?).

Any hints how should we treat such music and, if a permission is required, who should be considered the copyright owner? Ankry (talk) 19:40, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Not being able to see the ticket, I would imagine their 'claim' is that the music is legally not the output of a purely mechanical process, but a derivative work of the algorithm that they have created. Given that it was the 'creative intent' of the authors of the computer program to produce music in this fashion, my guess would be that it would be upheld. In the case of the monkey selfie, it was in no way the 'intent' of the author to create such a work... he simply 'found' what the animal had created through pure accident.
That being said, I'm personally a bit dubious as well. Revent (talk) 21:35, 21 December 2014 (UTC)
@Revent: The ticket contains no claim, only a request to undelete the contents deleted as copyvio (but whose copyright is violated in this case I cannot imagine). The music was declared by the uploader as CC0. However, as it has no human author, I doubt it is even copyrightable; it should be PD by default. But unsure, as I am not US copyright expert; nor have an idea which template might be appropriate. And if they are not copyrightable, nobody can set any license to them. Any comments in this matter? Ankry (talk) 18:04, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
@Ankry: (disclaimer here, I'm not a lawyer) This is interesting, as has motivated me to do a bit of research. Apparently, the 'original' Melomics was a research project in Spain, and explicitly stated that the works of Iamus and Melomics109 were 'freely downloadable under CC0' at (see [4] ) This would have been the '1.0' version of that website, which no longer exists. The 'current' version of the site is owned by 'Melomics Media LLC', a company out of New Jersey, and is apparently attempting to monetize the original project. That being said, if the copyright is 'valid' then the material originally released under CC0 is 'still' under CC0 to anyone who obtained it under that license (since CC licenses are not revocable) and to anyone they distributed it to.
The other question, and the more interesting one, is... is it copyrightable? Here, the guideline is the Copyright Compendium issued by the US Copyright Office, specifically chapter 300 located here. We can disregard the question of Spanish law, because, as stated in the compendium, "The U.S. Copyright Act is the exclusive source of copyright protection in the United States.... In determining whether a work is copyrightable, the Office applies U.S. copyright law pursuant to title 17 of the U.S. Code, even if the work was created in a foreign country". The material is being published from the United States (a New Jersey company, remember) so even if it's copyrightable in Spain, we don't need to care. In section 306, the 'Human Authorship Requirement', it is specifically stated that ' the Office will not register works produced by a machine or mere mechanical process that operates randomly or automatically without any creative input or intervention from a human author', and gives as a specific example 'a claim based on a mechanical weaving process that randomly produces irregular shapes in the fabric without any discernible pattern.' The Melomics music is created, by their own statement, through an automatic process without human intervention, and seems to me to be the direct 'auditory' counterpart to what the USCO specifically says they will not register. (Yes, this is somewhat contradicting my earlier 'guess'.) At this point, I don't think it can be copyrighted, and would be something like {{PD-music-ineligible}}, since it has 'no original creative input'.
So, not quite a monkey selfie (since it was intentional) but similar. No creative input from a human, no copyright. Revent (talk) 19:52, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
@Revent: that is exactly what I suspected. Thanks. The music restored. Ankry (talk) 20:46, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Xanadu Home of the Future sign - copyrightable?[edit]

Any thoughts on whether this sign (which is located in the US) would be copyrightable? --Gazebo (talk) 23:54, 21 December 2014 (UTC)

Under be bold you could say that a {{PD-textlogo}} is no conflict with CC BY, and then let's see what happens in a possible DR. IANAL: Be..anyone (talk) 00:59, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Being bold is a great attribute for Wikipedia itself; for Commons, though, it may be more useful to be cautious. From what one can tell, it is almost certainly OK for CC-BY material to be combined with uncopyrighted material or material that is ineligible for copyright. With regard to the depicted Xanadu Home sign, assessing as to whether the sign itself is likely to be copyrightable would seem to be useful if it reduces the chance of having to delete the image later on, especially if the image gets put to use in multiple Wikimedia projects. --Gazebo (talk) 04:05, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the sign could be called an 'artwork or sculpture', so all that matters is the 'logo' (if you want to call it that) and it's purely a semicircle and some text. Well below the threshold of originality... the 'photo itself', on the other hand, is legitimately CC-BY. Revent (talk) 20:16, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Here it is: File:Abandoned Xanadu Home of the Future sign.jpg. Please add categories as appropriate. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:48, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
I actually uploaded the same image with categories added on December 22. Thanks anyway. --Gazebo (talk) 09:29, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Ah ok. It is weird that they do not have exactly the same size, so the UploadWizard didn't detect the duplicate. I deleted my version. Regards, Yann (talk) 10:00, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
That nit fascinated me, too. Flickrbot got it right, the lossless optimization and expanded EXIF should still match. But the Uploadwannabewizard got it wrong. ;-) –Be..anyone (talk) 11:04, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Category:Unreviewed files from Bollywood Hungama[edit]

On the category shown above, it tells me that only the exclusive photographers have the free license, and the others are copyrighted. How can I tell if the author of the image is an exclusive when I go on the link provided for this image, File:Aamir Khan & Anushka Sharma launch 'PK' mobile game.jpg and the others? 1989 00:19, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

The documentation of the template itself (at {{Cc-by-3.0-BollywoodHungama}}) clarifies it...apparently their intent is that only actual 'photos' (not film stills) taken on sets or at promotional events in India are CC-BY, and excludes photos taken at such events that are marked as being copyrighted by someone else (they might share a picture someone else took at one of their events, but would presumably attribute it). Revent (talk) 20:06, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Ok, but how can I tell if the event is not in India so I won't wrongly tag it as accepted? 1989 20:30, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't see an obvious way to verify that from the site itself. My thought is perhaps Googling for some details about the specific event (tedious, I know). For that particular photo, this says it was at the Reliance Digital store in Juhu (which enwiki tells me is a suburb of Mumbai) so it, and others from that same event, would be fine. I suspect it would be easiest to try to deal with them in batches from specific events, as much as possible. Revent (talk) 16:55, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
Yes, it is much easier if you know the place. I will look into these. People know that Juhu is in Bombay, like others know that Malibu is in LA. ;o) Regards, Yann (talk) 17:01, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
OK, done. 6 images do not have a complete source. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:44, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
User added the sources, and removed the no source tags on all 6 images. 1989 22:17, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
OK done. Yann (talk) 22:47, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Screenshot of Propietary software for educational purpose.[edit]

Hello, I've begun writing a book on Maya 3d and I'd like to use screenshot of the software. That should be permitted by US laws under the fair use but unfortunatly I'm not exactly an expert on the subject and what I've found in the help section only managed to confuse me further; so before making a blunder I'd preferred to ask here. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kolty89 (talk • contribs)

  • Fair use (alone) is not good enough here, likewise NC and/or only for educational purposes won't fly here, it has to be really free incl. commercial uses and derivatives. If you find no better rationale such as "anyway public domain because…" you can upload the picture to Wikipedia following their slightly convoluted local rules. Among other things that adds a do not move to commons (or similar) tag. –Be..anyone (talk) 00:44, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Just a minor point, Be..anyone: On the English Wikipedia, non-free files are usually marked with a specific non-free tag (list here), which suffices in indicating that it does not belong on Commons. {{do not move to Commons}} is usually only used for less apparent cases like "public domain in the U.S. only." Anon126 ( ) 07:30, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

The original question seems to be unrelated to the Wikimedia Commons – Kolty89 seems to be talking about using the screenshot in a book that he or she is producing. If that is the case, Kolty89 may be able to rely on a fair-use defence depending on where the book is to be published, but he or she should consult a lawyer on the point since we can't provide legal advice here. — SMUconlaw (talk) 19:33, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

As a non-admin, I have finally gathered, after much confusion, that Fair Use can be used at Wikipedia but not at Commons. Sardaka (talk) 07:28, 26 December 2014 (UTC) &[edit]

At Commons:Форум#Материалы и I asked about the availability of resources from the official sites of the Moscow Government for Commons. I would be grateful if some expert (likely with a knowledge of Russian) could answer that. The terms of use in question are [5]:

"All materials on the website of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow may be reproduced in any form of media, on Internet servers or any other medium without any restriction on volume or time limits for publication. The only condition for the reprinting or retransmission of materials is that a reference to the source must be provided (if copying information onto an Internet site this must be an interactive link). There is no need to gain prior consent from the Press Service of the Mayor and the Government of Moscow in order to reproduce materials."
"... Direct indexed link means that the link should be without redirects and should not be hidden from indexing and ranking by search services.[6]"

-- YLSS (talk) 15:41, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

It means that these materials can be uploaded to the Commons. The licence is essentially {{cc-by-3.0}}. Ruslik (talk) 18:15, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
I disagree, that license is not acceptable for use on Commons. While it does permit republication and distribution (including for commercial purposes), it does not permit modification. As a license that does not allow the creation of derivative works, it is incompatible with Commons licensing requirements. —RP88 (talk) 20:59, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
You mean that the possibility of modification has to be stated explicitly? Lack of its prohibition won't do? YLSS (talk) 21:11, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately, yes. The creation of derivative works is one of the rights granted exclusively to copyright holders by modern copyright law; without a license no one else is permitted to prepare derivative works based upon a copyrighted work. If a copyright license makes no mention of modification (i.e. derivative works) then the licensee is not granted that right, that right is retained by the copyright holder. For example, if I, as a copyright holder, give you a license that permits you to distribute copies of one of my copyrighted works, you are still forbidden to prepare and distribute modified versions of my work. —RP88 (talk) 21:29, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Now that I read your question again, it's possible I didn't answer your actual question. It is not required that a license explicitly mention "modification", as other phrases that incorporate both reproduction and the preparation of derivative works are acceptable. Commons accepts phrases like "the copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose" as incorporating both reproduction and modification (see {{Attribution}}). Unfortunately, the Moscow website license is very clear that they are only granting the reproduction right. —RP88 (talk) 21:45, 24 December 2014 (UTC)
Besides the mentioned problems with derivative works there always is one other issue with such permissions: It is not a public license and therfore fundamentally different from a cc-by or cc-by-sa or any other free license. I refere to section 6c of cc-by 4.0 for example. The licensor of can stop distributing under aforementioned conditions. Someone who reuses content from at that time will have no problems. But someone who seeks to start reusing content will be prohibited from doing so. Commons always is both: Reusing (in Wikimedia) and offering for reuse. When stops distribution we must delete the files from Commons because we can no longer offer it to new reusers. Thats impossible under Commons:Project_scope#Required_licensing_terms (must be irrevocable). --Martin H. (talk) 02:54, 25 December 2014 (UTC)
I'll forwarded the question to . With some luck we may have an answer to this problem --RussianTrooper (talk) 10:34, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

ATF website question[edit]

Would it be OK to upload some of these
images here under the assumption of PD-USGovt. ? ATF is USA's federal agency, but the logos are what worrying me - are they an indication of copyright status or simply denote that photos picture objects in ATF's property ? --RussianTrooper (talk) 10:27, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't know what the logos mean, but the ATF can't legally create copyrighted works, and if someone else transfered copyright to them, they should have clear copyright notices on them. I'd say they're safe to upload.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:47, 25 December 2014 (UTC)

Copyright status of war booty aerial reconnaissance photos[edit]

I had a Luftwaffe aerial reconnaissance photo deleted as unfree at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Kronshtadt1.jpg, but I'm not at all sure that the editor was correct. The US Navy acquired the photo at the end of WW2 and has been freely distributing it ever since. I had it tagged as an official USN photo as that was the closest PD-tag that I could find. This was obviously not correct and formed part of the editor's justification to delete, but I want the copyright status clarified, both under US and German copyright law.

As an aerial reconnaissance photo there can be no question of the usual pma+70 rule, which means that it's a work of the German government, but I can find no information in the articles on German copyright law on how that works. Do they retain copyright indefinitely? And how does the seizure of the photo by the US as war booty affect the situation?

And what is the situation under US copyright law? Given that it's been distributed by the Navy for decades, I cannot imagine that it's considered in copyright in the US.

If the ruling is that it's PD in the US, but not in Germany, that's OK, but I want some sort of tag that explains the situation when I upload it at en:Wiki so some well-meaning, but ill-informed, editor doesn't try to delete it there as well.--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 16:34, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

The "war booty" part would only be relevant within the U.S. So yes, it would probably be PD in the U.S. based on that status. That is enough for en-wiki, but Commons needs to show it is PD in Germany as well. German photographs at the time had a shorter term (25 years), so it would have become public domain in the 1960s in Germany. However, in 1995 or thereabouts (each country had to pass a law so the dates differed a little, though Germany was prompt), European works had their copyright restored to 70 pma even if their copyright had already expired, so it would have become re-copyrighted. (The U.S. in general restored copyright to lost foreign works in 1996, so normally this type of thing would have been re-copyrighted in the U.S. as well for a 95-year term, but there was a special exception for WWII war booty so that would not have happened with this photo.) Things get more interesting though... anonymous works have a term of 70 years from publication, or if not published within 70 years, then 70 years from creation. There is some uncertainty involved, but it may be PD in Germany now due to {{Anonymous-EU}}. But, that could depend on when it was "made available to the public" -- if that was not until the U.S. published it after the war, then it may have a couple years to go yet. But if that was without permission, meaning it has never been officially published, then it became PD in Germany the Jan 1 following 70 years after creation, which would have been in 2012. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:46, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA without an author[edit]

Hi, Quite a number of images from are licensed under CC-BY-SA, but no author is mentioned. Ex: File:Erik Lallerstedt 2012-09-07 001.jpg, File:Ekeby våtmark.jpg. It seems to me that CC-BY-SA can't be valid if no author is mentioned. What should we do? Regards, Yann (talk) 15:31, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Authors have a right to be anonymous I'd think, so I don't think CC-BY-SA is invalid without mention of an author (only if an author's credit was requested, but not supplied). For the latter one, it appears to be an aerial photo of a water treatment plant in or near Ekeby, Eskilstuna, and the contact on the photo page is someone with an address, which is Eskilstuna Energy & Environment, apparently a municipality-owned company which runs their electricity, water, etc. So that photo would presumably be owned by that company, and they would be releasing the rights. Maybe just credit it to the company. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:13, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
OK fine, but if it is credited to the company, it is not really anonymous. One more: File:Eskilstuna energi och miljö kontor.jpg. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:24, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
Well... "anonymous" is usually in respect to the human author. The company can be the copyright owner, but may not be able to technically be the author. That can depend on the country, and I forget what Sweden allows. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:37, 27 December 2014 (UTC)