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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Solar eclipse picture File:SE2015Mar20T.gif[edit]


How can this be 'public domain' when it says on the picture itself that it's copyrighted?

(I came here after seeing it on the wikipedia article about the recent eclipse, which was on the main page) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 12:08, 26 March 2015‎

The history of this is, to use the technical term, weird. That image was uploaded in 2009, giving a NASA web page as source. The image, if it was ever on that NASA page, isn't on it now. This image is the only contribution here of the uploader, and it shows the March 20, 2015 eclipse. So, of course, it has been widely used, recently. Because of wide use, we should be careful, but the license information is clearly incorrect. As matters stand, there is no evidence that this is a NASA work. On the face, it's (c) 2000 by A.T. Sinclair. We should research this. A DR should be put on the file. I've never done a DR, and don't have time at the moment to figure it all out, so someone else can do that. Because of wide usage, immediate deletion would be disruptive cross-wiki. --Abd (talk) 14:37, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
There are other similar images, such as File:SE1991Jan15A.gif. This file was uploaded to Wikipedia, where it is not impossible fair use could have been claimed. Then it was transferred by bot to Commons, where it may be deleted. There are thousands upon thousands of cases like this. Ordinarily the original uploader, who is using the file in a study, would be notified of a deletion on Not from commons. --Abd (talk) 14:45, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
It is still on the NASA site, at the stated source. The second column has the link to the animated GIFs. is the direct URL. The watermarking also has in there, but does have the copyright notice. Definitely a little odd. It's possible a source image was copyrighted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:45, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Found it, thanks. What it looks like is someone wrote a tool, and NASA used it. So we need to find the tool or information about it. It could be that images from the tool are usable here. Or not. --Abd (talk) 14:55, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Okay, source information, first find: [1]. Besides having alternate animations (the one shown is actually much nicer), this page has
There are several authoritative sources of detailed eclipse information on the Web, including Fred Espenak's NASA Goddard site and Eclipses Online from the UK's HM Nautical Almanac Office. As a point of comparison, both sites link to animations by Andrew Sinclair, former head of HMNAO.
This is the HMNAO web site on eclipses: ... "Crown copyright" on the site. Our gif is on It credits "Dr. Andrew Sinclair", but the image has no copyright in it. The page, though, is "Crown copyright." That copyright would not be expired, and it might limit use, I'll leave this to experts. It's not impossible that permission could be obtained.
One more point before I put this down. What if the work is a joint work? I.e., the HMNAO has: "In conjunction with the US Naval Observatory, we have provided a canon of eclipses based on software used in the production of The Astronomical Almanac." If it is a joint work with a U.S. government agency, it might have joint ownership, and then either joint owner may be able to release the images, under U.S. law, as NASA has (without citing the Crown copyright, but citing the author of the software's name, and leaving that copyright notice in place.) --Abd (talk) 15:21, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
Ah. The original source is here. Dr Andrew T Sinclair was the former head of the w:HM Nautical Almanac Office, which is basically the source of the images. They may be Crown Copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:58, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for investigating. I will check back again in some days, and see what happens. It just seemed weird to see a (fairly prominent) wikipedia page with the picture quite boldly saying (C) 2000 A.T. Sinclair. I know that some pics can be 'copyright' but still usable, but I wouldn't like to see them becoming normal on Wikipedia, which is generally free-for-all.

P.S. There's over 100 similar images, see this search.

No, Wikipedia is not a free-for-all; it's hard to get an exact count, but most of the images used on Wikipedia are uploaded to Commons under CC-BY or CC-BY-SA licenses and are still copyrighted, not free-for-all public domain.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:24, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, we need to do something about them -- they are not PD-USGov. The copyright statement is not present at the source; it was added at NASA it looks like. They are possibly a form of {{OGL}}, otherwise they are either unlicensed Crown Copyright or personal copyright and should be deleted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:44, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Will anything happen about this? I keep coming back to check for any updates; I know it can take a while - just wondering whether to keep checking back or what.

  • This section keeps being archived as it hasn't had a comment, and IP(s) keep restoring it as not resolved. IP: It would help if you added a question and signed the comment (place ~~~~ after your comment), that way people would see that you still have concerns and when you raised them (it would also reset the timer on the bot archiving this discussion). However, is this resolved? Is the image freely licenced or not, and should DRs be opened to resolve these questions or not? ColonialGrid (talk) 06:19, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
You can't force Commons to deal with your concern, I'm sure there are lots of unresolved threads in the archives. Speaking of the archives, you didn't remove the section you moved back to this village pump from there, which is also why at first I didn't know where it was coming from. As a temporary "solution" I added the {{disputed}} tag to the file's licensing section.    FDMS  4    23:55, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Fine, I give up.

I wrote on here because a photo labelled as "Public Domain" says it's copyrighted on the photo, and is on an article that millions of people have been looking at.

I don't know much about your archiving and signatures and timers. As I wrote, I kept checking back to see if anything had been done about it.

It got 'archived', so I put it back because it's not resolved - as you can clearly see if you read the above. A couple of people agreed it was a problem, but nothing happened.

Nobody is 'forced to deal with my concern', sure. But I only wrote in the first place because it seems a bit crappy that you apparently have this highly-visible clearly-copyrighted picture - and, as I discovered later, hundreds of similar ones.

But I'm not going to waste more time if you can't be bothered to help, so I'm done with this.

Bye. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 08:07, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for sharing. IP, yes, there is an obvious problem. However, the solution isn't completely obvious, as you seem to think it is. I'm not sure of the total, but there may be hundreds of these images. I did look into this, the results of my research are above. The files are being used, so deleting them will cause a certain level of disruption. I have argued that Commons should integrate with the WMF wikis, by hosting what would be hosted on Green Giant's m:Non-Free Wiki, not as a loss of the "free file" mission of Commons, but as an expansion that could be a very quick fix for hosts of problems like this one. There is no realistic legal risk to anyone using these files. There is merely a lack of technical certainty. Those files are all over the internet without problem. If they are tagged here as possibly not free, the WMF mission and policy on non-free files is satisfied.
However, that's tomorrow, not today. (Perhaps after all those who have said the equivalent of "over my dead body" are dead.) To fix this "problem," which is an obvious discrepancy, requires quite a lot of work, in fact. First of all, if they are to be kept, the files should all be uploaded from an original source, without that copyright notice.
That will address the original complaint, but doing it for one file out of hundreds seems stupid. Further, there is an unclarity about the meaning of "crown copyright" in this case. Joint work with NASA, it says on the site. If we consider that "joint authorship," in the U.S., PD-NASA could apply. Which is the license used in the files. Can a file be free and have a copyright notice in it? Yes. That is perfectly possible. So the notice is obsolete. It irritates you, IP. It's wrong or the hosting is wrong. But the real issue, here, is where the files are hosted. They could be hosted on en.wikipedia, or, for the most part -- I haven't checked -- on the encyclopedia or other project where they are used, under a fair use rationale, in some cases (i.e., in mainspace article where the image is "necessary," which is generally a local judgment). In every case, they may be used, if the local community consensus agrees to it. The WMF will act if a copyright owner complains, that's the ultimate back-up.
User:Clindberg, who has a reputation as a copyright expert here -- and I generally agree -- opined that they should probably be deleted. However, I've never seen Carl consider the impact of actions. We have other files hosted in apparent violation of the precautionary principle and these decisions are based on other considerations, such as impact, with some sort, usually, of reasonable legal argument (short of certainty) supporting a "free" argument. See Commons:Deletion_requests/File:Macaca nigra self-portrait_large.jpg.
Now, IP, this is the bottom line. This is a volunteer site. To upload the notice-free images for hundreds of files could be a lot of work. It also would be slightly risky, someone could fault the uploader for uploading crown copyright images. So, so far, nobody is exercised to do that, and, as well, nobody has been exercised enough to cause disruption by submitting all these files with a Deletion request. I did spend some hours researching this and reporting what I found, in spite of your claim of nobody caring.
If you think this should be done, do it. If it's not important, why did you come here with the complaint, and then insist on leaving this open? Just because "Someone is Wrong on the Internet?" As another pointed out, we have *many* files with problems. Maybe millions of them. Want to help? Then register an account and help. Don't want to help? Then ... go away. We will survive and so will you. Good luck, fixing all the errors on the planet. Seriously. Go after some important ones. --Abd (talk) 16:01, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Full text of GFDL[edit]

Is it required in practice to use the full text of GFDL when attributing a GFDL licensed image instead of simply linking? What are the practical consequences for not doing so, if they are actually enforced at all? Editor abcdef (talk) 02:34, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes, it is required. The consequences of not complying with this or any other of the license requirements is that the would-be licensee's rights under the license are terminated. If nothing else makes the usage of the licensed content legal, this means that non-compliant uses constitute copyright infringements. LX (talk, contribs) 16:54, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
That being said (and LX is completely correct) in 'historical' practice (the GFDL is rather old) the requirement has frequently been ignored, and to the best of my knowledge the FSF has never pursued the issue... the GFDL was never intended to be used for anything other than actual documentation, and the inconvenience of actually complying with it was a major factor in the creation of other free licenses such as the CC suite. Technically, however, yes, inclusion of the entire text is explicitly required. Revent (talk) 00:07, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
It's not the FSF who could enforce the license. It's the owner of the rights of the licensed work. In practice, someone ignoring the requirement in one of your works means that you can suit him with the same claim that your could if the work was "all rights reserved". Reusers might not be likely to be prosecuted by ignoring the claim, but they are in fact as likely as if they grab any copyrighted image in the Internet and reuse it without permission. As Revent said, GFDL was never intended to be used for some of the stuff it is actually used, and some of the people that use it just want to make his work less likely to be reused. In fact, this has lead to some proposals to restrict accepting GDFL licenses in Commons.--Pere prlpz (talk) 20:35, 12 April 2015 (UTC)


Is {{FWL}} German only and obsolete?? (S. Commons:Copyright_tags #Various_free_licenses, Wikiweise is dead since 2012) User: Perhelion (Commons: = crap?)  15:02, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Looks more or less obsolete to me, and it doesn't seem to make much sense to use it for new uploads, but there are some files using this license, so I think we have to keep it, maybe add an appropriate note... Gestumblindi (talk) 16:28, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
The link to the license text does not work anymore. Actually it might be a good idea to see if we can get the authors to relicense their files under another license, if not already done so, and delete all remaining files. It seems to be around 100 files, of which most are already under a CC license as well. --Sebari (talk) 22:43, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
The license is meaningless if the license text is no longer available. doesn't have a copy due to the original site's robots.txt, and I can't find it anywhere else either. --ghouston (talk) 00:24, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
There is an archived copy at Thincat (talk) 09:42, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
^.^b, after about 8 hours of searching and not finding a stupid copy of this odd license for an ancient dewiki fork: thanks, good enough for a {{deprecated}} instead of a mass deletion. –Be..anyone (talk) 09:25, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Well... it seems it's best to officially "retire" the license here, if a web archive is the only means to retrieve it... I think we should proceed as follows:
  • Add a note to the license template along the lines of "license isn't maintained, please don't use for new uploads", link to the archived copy...
  • Remove license template from all files that also have another free license (CC-BY-SA, FAL etc.)
  • Review remaining files, ask uploaders if they might be willing to add another license.
  • If uploaders don't respond or aren't willing, what to do? Delete the remaining handful of files or keep them, thus necessitating keeping an obsolete license template?
Gestumblindi (talk) 13:36, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
I'd say start with the three first steps and then review what's left. --Sebari (talk) 20:10, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
If no one is objecting, I will start removing the obsolete license tag from images that have another free license soon, so we can start to see what's left. --Sebari (talk) 04:37, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I expect stage one is good but note the template now links to an archived copy of the licence and the template has been tagged as deprecated. Thincat (talk) 20:19, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

I did now remove the tag from dual-licensed images. Here is what is left:

I will update this when a file gets a better license or is deleted. I suggest we review this list again next week. In my opinion, the only big losses are the two rose closeups, the diagrams, the Waskasso Park image, and the two photos of persons with no alternative. Not enough to keep a custom license, which can't be found on any official page anymore. --Sebari (talk) 20:35, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for your work! I agree with your assessments. Gestumblindi (talk) 19:55, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
The author of the diagrams kindly relicensed them, so I removed them here. --Sebari (talk) 14:54, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama for models and sculptures[edit]

A DR[2] was just closed after what appears to be ill-informed discussion of the subject of freedom of panorama. The discussion was about a model reconstruction of an extinct animal in a museum in France, which does not have FOP[3], and therefore the image is a copyright violation. It was claimed that the reconstruction, which is pure fiction apart from the underlying proportions of the skeleton, was not "original" enough, but this seems to be an invalid argument, since sculptures of living animals (and humans) are considered original, and these have even less fiction/speculation involved in their creation. So I felt it appropriate to bring the issue up here, where people may be more knowledgeable on the subject than in a regular DR, to set some sort of standard, because dozens of such images have already been deleted before due to FOP violations and the commons:precautionary principle. FunkMonk (talk) 16:54, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

It seems inconsistent at least, since models of presumably uncopyrightable utilitarian objects from France have been deleted, e.g., Commons:Deletion requests/File:Renault FT17 French Army WWI model.jpg and Commons:Deletion_requests/Models_of_the_Philae_lander. Especially for the 2nd case, it was deleted because it is a model, according to US law, even thought the object it was based on was considered uncopyrightable. --ghouston (talk) 22:32, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
What I thought, I'll ping the closing admin, Ellin Beltz. FunkMonk (talk) 09:48, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
My consideration here is that the taxidermy is done from the bones of and with the skin of actual animals, making the result not a model but as the French use the word "reconstruction"; to show their best guess of the creature while living. I considered that we have photographs of dinosaur mounts, (e.g. File:Ampelosaurus mount 4.JPG and search "dinosaur France" in Commons) which are the same things without the skin on, as well as other extinct animal mounts and taxidermies (e.g. Category:Collections of the Musée de la chasse et de la nature and search "taxidermy France" in Commons). I did a little research to try to determine the age of this rather moth-eaten specimen, and found [4] and [5]. Once Kawerk's name is searched in that document, the text translates to "Reconstitution conducted by Joseph Kawerk, From a complete skeleton in the Museum of Natural History, Toulouse. Molding the antler branches was performed on a copy in the Stuttgart Museum." Thus the original work might even have been considered Derivative way back when it was done (!) as the writer clearly gives two references for the finished appearance of the work before continuing with a paragraph on the animal's range and habits while living. With all that said, if the decision was inconsistent with those before it, I think that a DN with the links as above and so on clearly stated to prevent too much more confusion would be in order to rediscuss the image. For now, to me it looks like a taxidermic reconstruction of an extinct animal, not a sculpture or a work of art. But, and as we all can be, I can be quite wrong, so please keep me in the loop on this one! Cheers! Ellin Beltz (talk) 20:42, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the mistake is that no one in the DR even claimed it was taxidermy, and the DR was therefore closed prematurely for wrong reasons. Taxidermy is preserving an existing animal by mounting/stuffing its skin. But these are just reconstructed models of animals that do not exist, covered in hair from other kinds of animals. This Megaloceros is clearly is just a model with hairs on it, this animal does not exist, no soft tissue remains are known, so there are no skins to use. Likewise, here's a model of a mammoth.[6] Yes, the model is covered in musk ox hair, but that does not make it taxidermy. This dinosaur model[7] has feathers glued onto it, but it is not taxidermy. The hairs may even be made of an artificial material. FunkMonk (talk) 22:07, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Rama has expressed interesting arguments in the DR, so it is probably best to ping him. Regards, Yann (talk) 22:18, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Still founded on the belief that it makes a difference that the model is based on something that has at one point existed in nature. That point should be rather irrelevant to the fact that it is a model/sculpture. FunkMonk (talk) 22:24, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
  • So what to do? Start another DR? FunkMonk (talk) 10:22, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
  • Image has been nominated for deletion again.[8] FunkMonk (talk) 16:04, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The information in this essay from User:Elcobbola claims that taxidermy can in fact be copyrightable. One's guess is that the copyrightability of taxidermy has to do with the way in which the preserved animal is posed. --Gazebo (talk) 05:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
It may not have been your intention, but the verb "claims" has a certain connotation of novelty, an implication that I personally derived that conclusion. It is rather an adjudicated finding of, among others, the cases I cited in the essay (Superior Form Builders, Inc. v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Co. and Hart Scr v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Company Inc.) Remember, taxidermy is Greek for "arrangement of skin" (think of the root derm(a)- in dermatology); the taxidermist creates a model/framework of the animal over which the prepared skin is stretched. This underlying model, per the aforementioned cases, may be subject to copyright protection (unless it's of a fish). The comment "Yes, the model is covered in musk ox hair, but that does not make it taxidermy" is objectively untrue. Taxidermy is not linked to or dependent on whether an animal actually exists (for example, using real rabbit skin to make the fictitious Jackalope is no different than using real ox hair to make an extinct elk - both cases involve placing skin over a model, just like putting real goat skin over a model of a goat). Эlcobbola talk 15:05, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
One thing is gluing hairs on a model, another is to cover it with skin (which is what taxidermy is, the former isn't). See this page for how such reconstructions are made: Also, what you're talking about is "rogue taxidermy", which is of a much more artistic nature than regular taxidermy. FunkMonk (talk) 15:05, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Should {{PD-Art|FOP-....}} be considered a license?[edit]

Few times I run into files tagged by a database query as no license, that were trying to use {{PD-Art|FOP-....}} instead. But some technical background first: All the license templates on commons transclude Template:License template tag so searching for files without license templates just means searching for files not transcluding that tag. All such files are listed periodically at Category:Media without a license: needs history check and either fixed or tagged with {{No license}} tag. FOP templates are not considered license tags since they always need information of the copyrights of the photographer. {{PD-Art}} also is not by itself a license template since it required information about why the original is in public domain. But {{PD-Art|FOP-....}} seems to cover both. For example this file. Such license could cover graffiti, if it is cropped to 2D and in the countries with FOP. Am I missing something? May be the best way would be to nominate one such file for deletion and have a discussion there. --Jarekt (talk) 14:20, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

There's a switch in {{PD-Art/layout}}, with six known cases, do you think you could enumerate the FoP… there? If yes and you do nothing else you get a Category:PD-Art FoP… for each permitted FoP…, but that's no problem—better than keeping two switches in synch. –Be..anyone (talk) 15:03, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Being covered by 2D-FOPs does not make works PD, it just allows us to host reproductions of them onwiki, so the wording of {{PD-art}} doesn't apply at all. Maybe we need {{PD-FOP}} ("This is a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional work of art on permanent public display. […]"; with a country parameter)?    FDMS  4    16:35, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
User:FDMS4 I agree that wording of {{PD-Art}} is not perfect and something like {{PD-FOP-2D|country}} might be in order, where we would carefully validate each country included. Some countries with FOP, like Template:FoP-Poland or Template:FoP-Peru also have strange "not for the same use" condition. This I understand to mean that you can not create identical building, sculpture or graffiti, but a photo of a graffiti, mural or poster should be OK assuming you do not use it to create your own graffiti, mural or poster. By the way, Now we do have first DR related to this issue Commons:Deletion requests/File:Vietnam-Has-Gained-Complete-Victory-on-30-April-1975.jpg. --Jarekt (talk) 17:46, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
The main issue I have is that something which qualifies for PD-Art means it is essentially a copy, and as such has removed all public context from the photo. Almost all FOP laws have a qualifier where such works cannot be usable as a substitute for the original (or "unreasonably prejudice the rights of the original" or something along those lines). If a photo is basically a copy, and the underlying work is still under copyright, I think it is probably an issue -- that is basically a straight copy of a copyrighted work. A FOP template usually indicates that the underlying item is still copyrighted (where the photograph still needs to be licensed), and a PD-Art template generally indicates that it is not (rather it is the photographic work which added no originality). Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:45, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
At least in Germany and Austria that doesn't matter, as long as the work isn't reproduced on or as a building and (only in Austria) plastic works aren't reproduced plastically (might be an issue with hosting 3D files?).    FDMS  4    20:01, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Carl and FDMS, sorry I lost track of this discussion. Carl, I agree that {{PD-Art}} might not be ideal, but the question is are there cases where we do have purely 2D photograph of an object covered by FOP, where we would not need permissions of either photographer or the creator of the original work? We could create {{PD-FOP-2D|country}} where country parameter would be used to add proper FOP tag and countries with "qualifier where such works cannot be usable as a substitute for the original" or some other disqualifying FOP provisions would not be included. Please also see this and this deletion request. --Jarekt (talk) 17:37, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
In my mind, again, if PD-Art applies (which is purely U.S. law) that would amount to a straight copy of a copyrighted work. I don't think the combination would apply in the U.S. -- if the painting is still considered copyrighted there, then a PD-Art photo is just a copy. I don't think there is any chance of the foreign FoP law helping. So I don't think it helps the "PD in the United States" side of things. Are you saying in Germany it would be OK to sell postcards of a copyrighted painting, as long as that painting happened to be in public, and the postcard was taken from a photo of it? The Berne Convention (in article 9(2)) has this clause: It shall be a matter for legislation in the countries of the Union to permit the reproduction of such works in certain special cases, provided that such reproduction does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author. It would seem to me that FoP is one those those certain special cases. Does the text of the Berne Convention have legal effect in Germany? Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:54, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
In both these cases, this template is ill-suited. Either the work is in the public domain, and then we need a PD-something tag, or it is not, and we can't use this tag because it is not in the public domain. Regards, Yann (talk) 22:47, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Change of license on trivial "derivative" image legitimate?[edit]

This image is at the centre of a dispute regarding whether the license can be changed from CC-BY-3.0 to CC-BY-SA-3.0.

The original description claimed it as an "own work [..] based off [9]". (Implying it was a derivative work that CC-BY-3.0 lets be licensed under different terms).

The sole change from the original was the removal of a block of text (i.e. rectangular select, then delete).

McZusatz considered that the change of license was not legitimate because the change was below the threshold of originality. (I'm assuming uploader's right to change the license rests upon whether he/she can claim copyright on changes made for this allegedly "derivative" work).

The license has been changed back then restored more than once, so I think it would be useful to have further discussion on whether or not this is legitimate. Ubcule (talk) 16:13, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

No, it's not really legitimate. You can't "re-license" a work… if you create a derivative work, you can license that, although the new license only applies to the copyrightable expression added to the original. The original work still has its own license. In this case, simply removing the credit and changing the background to transparent are not copyrightable changes, so there is no new expression which can be licensed. It is rare that new expression can be created by removing elements… I guess it could conceivably be possible if there was a "selection and arrangement" copyright and someone created a substantially new arrangement via deletion (though even that is dubious as the selection would still not be new), but just like you can't get a copyright by selecting and arranging 2-3 items, you certainly can't get a new one by removing 2-3 items. So in my opinion, all of the expression existing at that new image belongs to the author of the original image, and thus the license needs to stay that way. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:50, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
I see what you're saying. (*) IMHO the problem with CC-BY-3.0 is that the additional leeway it grants derivatives is due to what it *doesn't* say, i.e. it omits BY-SA's "If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. "
Considering what the license says logically *would* lead to what you say, but that's not obvious to the casual user.
Would a CC-BY-3.0 work with changes made under a different license have to declare CC-BY-3.0 for the base work *and* (e.g.) CC-BY-SA-3.0 for copyrightable changes? Even if the latter effectively made the derivative work only distributable under CC-BY-SA-3.0 anyway?
Of course, even the ability to do that legitimately would require CFCF's changes to be above the threshold of copyrightability. It seems that you, myself and McZusatz already agree this isn't remotely the case, implying that there is no right for the CC-BY-SA-3.0 to be added, regardless.
(*) I hadn't really considered the CC-BY-3.0 much until now, since I wouldn't use it for my own works, nor have I felt the need to license changes I've made to others' works under terms different to the original. (IMHO that just makes things confusing for everyone). Ubcule (talk) 15:03, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Tapissery is 2D art?[edit]

Hi, I think File:Arhats Panthaka, Nagasena, Gopaka, and Abheda, from a six-part set of Arhat Immortal Thangkas FS-7619 08.jpg can be considered as 2D art, but since the Smithsonian Institution is claiming a copyright, I rather ask. Opinions? Regards, Yann (talk) 19:28, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

To the right of the right-side edge of the tapestry, there does appear to be a bit of a shadow. For the bottom section of the tapestry (which starts below the somewhat golden border), it appears that the very bottom of the section is closer to the camera and that the tapestry slopes away from the camera as one goes from the bottom to the top of the bottom section. At the very top of the tapestry, a red and gold section is just visible, and there may be a perception of depth when it comes to the transition from the red-gold section to the blue and gray section that comes underneath. --Gazebo (talk) 05:25, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
So OK or not? If not would it be OK if cropped? Regards, Yann (talk) 09:16, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
All paintings have some depth as well. If we crop this it should be ok. But if not cropped to the flat surface it seems not 2D to me. --Hannolans (talk) 09:51, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, I cropped it. Hopefully, it is OK now. Thanks for the comments. Yann (talk) 12:47, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

Aaronia PowerLOG Horn-Antenna.jpg[edit]

I apologize in advance if I am asking a stupid question, but I haven't dealt with copyright issues before. The image Aaronia PowerLOG Horn-Antenna.jpg uploaded under cc-by-sa-4.0 is pretty clearly this image: presumably belonging to Aaronia AG. The only difference between the two images is a dropshadow that has been hamhandedly photoshopped in. Is this a copyvio? Thanks. --Chetvorno (talk) 23:53, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

✓ Done Tagged and deleted. Thanks for your help, Yann (talk) 15:56, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. Now I know what to do if I come across a similar situation. --Chetvorno (talk) 02:51, 13 April 2015 (UTC)


Posters with embedded photographs and different creators named in the template... do we need a permission for this? Also, the portraits aren't taken by the same photographer. --Woupie-Triit (talk) 05:34, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

✓ Done DR started: Commons:Deletion requests/Files uploaded by Friedland. Yann (talk) 10:14, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Photos of street art on Commons[edit]

A bunch of well-known street artists are in town (Australia) for an event this week and I have the opportunity to photograph their portraits for their respective Wikipedia articles. Photographs of some of their previous work have been uploaded to Commons and to avoid potential embarrassment, I thought I'd check whether these photographs are actually allowed on Commons.

  1. Photos such as this, this and this were uploaded to Commons. They were taken in Australia, in a public place, are legal (commissioned works) and not anonymous. They were uploaded without the permission of the artist. According to Commons:Freedom of panorama#Australia, Freedom of panorama does to apply to 2D artworks. So should photos like these be deleted off Commons?
  2. The same goes for photos like this and this, which were taken in the UK and Norway where Freedom of panorama also doesn't apply to 2D paintings. Should these also be deleted? Do we need to do a big cleanup of Category:Street art?
  3. How would you go about asking the artist for permission for photographs of their work to be uploaded to Commons? Because the license for the actual photograph is OK, the problem is the license for the artwork being photograph. So would the artist have to release their artwork under a free license allowing commercial use, modification and distribution? Would that mean that the license/permission would apply to all photograph of that particular artwork (ie. anyone can then take photographs of that particular artwork without the artist's permission)? Also, hypothetically, does that mean that someone could legally produce and distribute copies of that particular artwork commercially?

- Kollision (talk) 09:26, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

I think the pictures linked above are not OK without a permission from the artist (except in countries where FoP includes 2D art). Regards, Yann (talk) 10:03, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
keep, and tag Template:Non-free graffiti; get an Com:OTRS, derivative of 2D work so 2 licenses; so no, release of a particular derivative does not apply to other deravitives. Slowking4Farmbrough's revenge 12:23, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
Template:Non-free graffiti only applies to illegal graffiti. These are produced legally with permission from the property owner.
Ok, I think I get it. So they don't actually have to license the actual artwork. They can just provide permission for their artwork to be photographed under a free license for just that one photo. So in the case of the consent declaration at Commons:Email templates, they'd say "...owner of the exclusive copyright of the work depicted in the media... I agree to publish the above-mentioned content under the free license ..." Then if I'm asking for permission for a photograph that's already on Commons, they would have to give consent under the exact same license as used by the photographer, right? - Kollision (talk) 15:44, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
The question 3: "So would the artist have to release their artwork under a free license ..." is interesting. The question is whether it's possible to license a particular view of an underlying work without licensing the work itself. It's a bit like trying to license separately high and low resolution versions of the same photo, which turns out to be questionable. Since the CC licenses allow the creation of derived works, once an artist has licensed a photo of the work, there's nothing to stop somebody creating a new street art representation based on that photo. The same applies to sculptures and buildings: somebody could create a new three-dimensional object based on CC licensed photos. --ghouston (talk) 22:22, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
For a mural, I don't think the license of the picture is equivalent to the license of the art work itself. Other opinions? @Clindberg: Regards, Yann (talk) 22:30, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
That seems a pretty big loophole in freedom; if I want to upload a work under CC-BY-ND, can I take a photo of it and say the photo is free, but the underlying work is not to be edited? If you have a free photo, you should be able to edit it and remix it in any way. Under PD-Art, we know that for most photographs of 2-D objects, there is no license on the picture in the US, and we conveniently expand that to the world, so no, you couldn't separately license one from the other.
Limitations on photos of 3-D objects are less onerous; I don't know the legal details, but I would say that the limitation of the rights on the sculpture or building is annoying, but non-unfree. Legally... nobody in the law probably worries about this shit. If they wanted to license 2-D rights and not 3-D rights, they would explicitly write that in the license. Any concept of using a blanket unspecific license like CC-* is a new thing, and a tiny minority, especially when looking at cases involving the money to justify going to court.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:40, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Authors can slice and dice their copyright any way they like. So if they want to license their work just as far as it appears in a particular photograph, I think they can. Obviously, if there is a photograph of a 2-D work taken head-on, they probably want to be careful about how that photo is licensed (maybe only a reduced-resolution version). Even distorted versions can be un-distorted if they allow derivative works. If street art is a substantial part of the photo (and not just incidental or de minimis), then I'd think we would need permission from the author of the underlying work (at least for the photo). I think recreated works would not necessarily be derivatives of the photo; they would probably be direct derivatives of the original work (since none of the expression in the photo would be present anymore). I can easily see a judge saying that goes beyond the permission granted by allowing the photograph. The permission would probably be something akin to FOP -- just so long as a subsequent use doesn't directly compete with the original work, or something like that. But, something like that has probably never been tested in court. Judges would tend to side with copyright owners though if they could, I'd think. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:22, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
From what one understands, if a photo is under a free license, then any copyrighted artwork depicted in the photo must also be under a free license for the photo to be reusable, unless the artwork is de minimis or subject to a copyright exception such as freedom of panorama. For a given photo, it might be all right if the depicted artwork is only freely licensed with regard to the entirety of the specific depiction in the specific photo. In such a case, the free license would allow third parties to produce copies and derivative works of that specific depiction of the artwork. Regarding the situation where a work is under a free license but with a specification that the license only applies to a low resolution copy of the work even though the work exists in higher resolution versions, the Commons licensing policy indicates that such a specification should be honored even though it is not clear as to whether the specification would be legally enforceable. --Gazebo (talk) 05:18, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

File:PM Modi at thes at the concluding session of the National Workshop on Make in India.jpg[edit]

Hi, What about the image on the background? Not permanent and no FoP in India for 2D art anyway. De minimis? Regards, Yann (talk) 10:01, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Certainly not, the logo is much too prominent. --El Grafo (talk) 13:30, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, I cropped it. Yann (talk) 13:38, 13 April 2015 (UTC)


Hello. I'm pretty sure that File:EdinburghTramsNoText.svg is a copyvio. As it is basically a cutdown version of the actual company logo (See here}. It is claiming to be PD under threshold of originality. But the article on that states that in the UK, this cannot be claimed for most logos. So this would seem to me to be a clear copyvio. What do others think? I've already created a generic replacement btw, just to be on the safe side. G-13114 (talk) 18:51, 13 April 2015 (UTC)

Is this particular picture original? It is a combination of simple geometrical shapes and it may itself be based on some old source. Ruslik (talk) 20:12, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Note that there are four images featuring this design on Commons:
I uploaded some of these based on the fact one of them was already here, being claimed as PD for being under TOO - so obviously if that's not the case, they all need to go, as they all feature the same crossover symbol. I personally don't think they are, but I don't really care either way. You're unlikely to get any firm opinions either way unless you actually file a deletion request. However, if these are deemed to be copyright, then I am personally not seeing why the generic replacement would be OK - it surely a derivative work of the actual logo. Ultra7 (talk) 13:03, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
If a work is too simple to be copyrighted it does not matter if it was derived from a copyrighted work.    FDMS  4    19:50, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Films in public domain[edit]

Three Came Home and Tokyo File 212 are available for download at When I checked for their copyright status I found that they are mentioned in this document. Does that mean that they are copyrighted?--Skr15081997 (talk) 05:29, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Whether or not something is on unfortunately doesn't say much. I'm not sure what the document you're pointing to is. Tokyo File 212 is a primarily Japanese film with directors who lived into the 1990s; as such it seems to be copyrighted in Japan and would not be eligible for uploading to Commons no matter what the US copyright status. "Three Came Home" is a US movie and seems to be considered public domain in the US; there are already images in Category:Three Came Home from the movie.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:51, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
To expand upon this: In most countries, movies are protected by copyright for 50 or 70 years after the death of the director or last major contributor. For example, in Germany, the contributors considered by copyright law for the duration of a movie's copyright are: Director, authors of the screenplay, composers of the movie's music. Only after the last of these is dead for more than 70 years, the movie is considered public domain. According to Swiss copyright law, only the year of the director's death is relevant. The US are an unusual case in that relatively recent movies may be in the public domain (e.g. published from 1923 to 1963 and copyright was not renewed - apparently, Three Came Home is such a case). Gestumblindi (talk) 10:52, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Japan is an unusual case as well; as per {{PD-Japan-film}}, a "pre-1953 Japanese film or image thereof, directed by a person who died more than 38 years ago, is now in the public domain."--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:08, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Mbwd on nonfree images spree[edit]

So far, I've reported as copyvios by this user File:Katara Prize for Arabic Novel.jpg and File:Katara Prize for arabic novel.jpg - identical copies of the same event's logo, reported as "own work", CC-BY-SA. Also File:Khalid_alsulaiti.jpg (found a newspaper article a year older).

I'm pretty sure File:Khalid_aljaber.jpg is 'shopped from the same image used for eg [[10]] (the folds of the shirt and the pen in the shirt pocket are identical), and bluntly, I think all this user's uploads are copyvios, but I don't know what to do about that that's better than playing whack-a-mole with Google Images.

Help? Pinkbeast (talk) 15:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Conflicting licensing info...[edit]

Aaargh..! I've uploaded a bunch of nice images from Flickr only to now notice their metadata contains a conflicting license vs. the one mentioned on the Flickr page... What the heck should be done now? I guess that theoretically we could go with the most relaxed license given. Why do people do nasty things like this... Example image, some of the images are contemporary photos instead of photos of old paintings. Palosirkka (talk) 15:44, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Your example image File:Sailboats on the Seine.jpg is in the public domain anyway, as it's from 1874 and the author is Claude Monet (1840-1926), not the flickr uploader. Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are considered public domain in the U.S. (see en:Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.) and that's the position the WMF and Wikimedia Commons have been following. That means that neither of the Flickr uploaders CC licenses for this image (CC-BY, CC-BY-NC-ND in the metadata) are applicable - you can't issue licenses for works that are in the public domain anyway, so the template for this file would be {{PD-art-70}}. - However, other files are indeed problematic, for example File:Pine Grosbeaks.jpg. Flickr licensing says CC-BY 2.0, but metadata contains CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0. Well, in theory one could assume that the author indeed released this file under both licenses, although it doesn't make much sense. Im not sure how to handle such cases, too. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:49, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
PS: It could make sense to release a work under BY-SA and BY-NC-SA simultaneously, as this would allow easier reuse of the work in remixes with other works that are released with the "NC" restriction - you can't force an NC license onto content that is released without this restriction, so if you mix a "regular" BY-SA and a BY-NC-SA work, the result as a whole would be only usable noncommercially (NC), but for the portions that come from the BY-SA work, BY-SA (and commercial reuasability) would still apply, so you would have to label your remix in a complicated way. If, on the other hand, you can choose to use a work either under BY-SA or under BY-NC-SA, and you have to use works with the NC restriction, you can opt for only using the NC variant. However, a combination of CC-BY and CC-BY-NC-ND (!), as in the example File:Pine Grosbeaks.jpg, doesn't make any sense, in my opinion: As the "ND" clause forbids derivative works anyway, there is no imaginable cause to use the work under this restrictive license, as it's available under the very liberal CC-BY. Yet, as long as we think that the copyright owner released a work under a license acceptable for Commons, we can accept the work even if it has more or less meaningless additional licenses (and Commons doesn't accept files licensed only with a NC and/or ND restriction). But of course, that's now the question: What is it we should assume if a file has a restrictive license in its metadata that wouldn't be acceptable as a sole license for this file, but apparently is released under an acceptable license at flickr? There are several possibilities:
  • The author earlier used the restrictive license, but then opted for releasing the file under a more liberal one - and didn't think of changing the metadata.
  • The author really wants to release the file under both licenses.
  • The license in the metadata is the one really intended by the author, and CC-BY at flickr is a mistake.
As we don't know which possibility applies, we could say that we have to delete such files according to COM:PRP - the licensing is unclear. Ultimately, one could always try to ask the file's creator for clarification... Gestumblindi (talk) 19:19, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

IS/ISIS/ISIL Videos[edit]

Could someone with more expertise please weigh in at Commons:Help_desk#Inquiry_regarding_the_hosting_of_IS.2FISIS.2FISIL_Videos_for_the_purposes_of_referencing_said_works_in_an_academic_article.? I'm linking rather than rehashing so as to try to keep the conversation in one place. - Jmabel ! talk 22:46, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Images with embedded ICC color profiles and Copyright[edit]

As requested here what about images with a embedded ICC color profile under copyright?

For example, this photo has a "sRGB v1.31 (Canon)" profile with a Copyright (c) 2003, Canon Inc. All rights reserved. notice.

Does this conflict the licence of the image and can we upload them? I guess there a lot affected images (already uploaded images too), because nobody had notice this yet. --Slick (talk) 08:33, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

Actually, I've noticed this before, but it doesn't really count since I decided to pragmatically ignore it. I'd question whether an ICC profile is something that can actually be copyrighted. Copyright only applies to certain types of works as enumerated by copyright law. I'm not sure exactly what an ICC profile is, however I doubt that it's a computer program, it may be a table of numbers or mathematical functions. Assuming that it is copyrightable, then presumably Canon have provided a license somewhere that allows people to distribute photos. However that alone wouldn't enable you to relicense the work in its entirety under a license such as CC. Perhaps there's a way of replacing such embedded ICC profiles with something else without damaging the colours. --ghouston (talk) 11:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
See Ruslik (talk) 16:58, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
They think ICC profiles are copyrightable because "The contents of the tables are vendor specific and each uses different algorithms. It is this that gives the vendor something which they can copyright." Possibly it may take the nature of a document and be copyrightable, or it may just be uncopyrightable data. I'd say the latter if the data is derived in a technical manner (it's something like a mapping from a device response to a standard colour space) and if the means of expressing it isn't very creative (a standard format where the data is plugged in.) --ghouston (talk) 22:42, 18 April 2015 (UTC)