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. For old discussions, see the Archive section below. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days may be archived.

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Moved from (Jameslwoodward)'s talk page:

"I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license. " Are you sure? Then, I think we can upload may pictures available for sale at many sites. Moreover, many people already given as a permission for using a very small resolution copy of their very famous works. So, do you think we can host a high resoulution here, depending on that license? JKadavoor Jee 12:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

My whole comment:
"Although I could understand an argument that a much higher resolution version is a different image for copyright purposes, I think that is not the case. Therefore, I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license."
is a little more nuanced than your excerpt. No, I'm not sure -- I had to close it one way or the other and I picked what seems to me to be the better way. I do understand that I was creating precedent on Commons, but before you try to apply it wholesale, you might bring it up at the Commons:Village pump/copyright. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 13:04, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I didn't understand anything you said above; so moving to Commons:Village pump/copyright. Thanks. JKadavoor Jee 13:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
I think that this partially depends on whether there are copyrightable elements in the image which aren't clearly visible in the small image. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:44, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
That would be relevant if we were discussing copyright of something that had been photographed. But here we are discussing the copyright/licence of the photograph itself. 15:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

IMO, James is confusing licence and copyright. The image is copyright by the creator (say) and that is true no matter what size it is, what quality-setting the JPG is saved to, whether it is black and white or colour, whether you have the raw file, a 16-bit tiff or an 8-bit JPG. But the licence applies to the file (JPG) being offered. You only have a licence for that file, which allows you to do certain things with it. Stock photo libraries will licence you for one resolution of a file. They charge more depending on the resolution of the file you purchase and what you are doing with the image. These licence restrictions are quite separate from copyright. In the case of the linked file, Commons only has a licence to host the smaller file. Both the smaller and larger files are copyright the owner. Colin (talk) 15:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree with Colin here. Agencies are a good example: they license a certain resolution of an image, not any resolution. Yann (talk) 16:14, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes; otherwise we will be in more troubles. See File:TheoVanGogh.jpg. But we can't use that license for (Just a quick and dirty example.)
I'm not an OTRS volunteer. But assume people will send them original high quality images to claim authorship in case of doubts. But can we think to upload them here since the low resolution version is freely licensed? JKadavoor Jee 16:30, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment. Of course, a simple license applies only to a specific image file, not to any other original of the same image. However, it is quite possible to downsize the image to a smaller size or to upscale it (by an interpolation) to a larger size. These would produce derivative images, which are usually allowed under, at least, CC licenses. However, as I said above, uploading originals of a higher resolution would require a separate licence. Ruslik (talk) 07:11, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes; Upsampling and Downsampling are acceptable as adaptations; but finding a higher resolution file from another location is not acceptable. ("This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified here." [1]) JKadavoor Jee 07:28, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
It is quite true that stock photo agencies will charge more for a license to a higher resolution image, but their licenses explicitly call out the resolution that is covered. The various CC licenses define "Work" very broadly
""Work" means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including without limitation any production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression including digital form, such as a book, pamphlet and other writing; a lecture, address, sermon or other work of the same nature; a dramatic or dramatico-musical work; a choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show; a musical composition with or without words; a cinematographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; a work of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving or lithography; a photographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; a work of applied art; an illustration, map, plan, sketch or three-dimensional work relative to geography, topography, architecture or science; a performance; a broadcast; a phonogram; a compilation of data to the extent it is protected as a copyrightable work; or a work performed by a variety or circus performer to the extent it is not otherwise considered a literary or artistic work." [emphasis added]
Note particularly "whatever may be the mode or form of its expression". I think that if you have a CC license to an image, there is nothing in the license to suggest that you do not have a license to all resolutions of that image. In order to limit a CC license to a particular resolution, that must be specified at the time the CC license is given. If we have an image without any such restriction, then we have the right to use any resolution we may find later.
As a fallback position, I think this is consistent with the rule of law that ambiguity is construed against the drafter. If X offers a CC license to an image and does not specify the resolution, then the question of what resolution is covered is ambiguous. Since X offered the license without clarifying it, he is stuck with the user construing the license to cover all resolutions.
If we do not accept this point of view, I think we are then led inevitably to require that when one of use does a {{licensereview}}, that he or she record the resolution that was licensed at the source, so that if the source changes the license and resolution later, we have a formal record of what we have free. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:27, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
I consent that you have a point, at least about our license review process. So you mean that if a user only wants to give a license to a specific resolution, he has to specify that while uploading, right? Yann (talk) 14:52, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
No, you don't have a point and this is being misread. There is effectively a full stop after "means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License." The "including without limitation ..." bit is just a long (and non-exclusive) list of the kinds of works that may be licensed. It is not intended to mean that other forms of the work are also included in the licence. Read the whole thing and you will see that your interpretation would imply that a CC radio play also meant the book and the film versions had to be CC too. The v4 makes this clearer "Licensed Material means the artistic or literary work, database, or other material to which the Licensor applied this Public License." So, no the licence is only granted for the thing to which the licence is applied, which in this case is a JPG. Feel free to create a derivative work from that JPG, and upscale it if you like. But don't go copying another JPG and claiming that because they have a raw file in common that somehow you get that one for free to. -- Colin (talk) 15:22, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

I just downloaded and start reading the ebook from

Page 11: "Worth signed on. They put a Creative Commons BY license on the image and shared high-resolution copies for free online while selling signed prints at various prices and levels of exclusivity. “The most expensive sold first,” said Worth."

Page 26: "When completed, every aspect of the film will be released under two different CC licenses: BY-NC-SA for the high-resolution version, and BY-SA for the low-resolution. "We assume that if you are a movie theater, an on-demand platform, a newspaper, or TV, you will need the high-quality version and reach an agreement with us," says founder Nicolás Alcalá. "But if you’re a small amateur cineclub or a theater in a third world country and you don’t have the money to showcase the film, you can do it with the low-quality version for commercial purposes." JKadavoor Jee 17:10, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

I think Colin is interpreting "Work" too narrowly. The "Work" in copyright law is not the specific thing, it is the creation. Thus all of the instances of a sculpture are one work, even if made in different materials or even different sizes. If you go to the Copyright Office files, you will not find separate registrations for different sized images, whether on paper or digital. There is certainly no suggestion in "Copyright Basics" that you have to deposit different sizes of images. And, of course, all editions of a literary work are covered by a single copyright. One work is one creation; changing size or form does not make a new work.

I think Jkadavoor's cites are interesting, but not relevant, because in all cases cited, the license almost certainly specifies the resolution. Here we are discussing the case where no resolution is specified. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 22:22, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Sorry Jim; in fact, law works in the opposite way. If nothing is specified, a work is "all rights reserved". Similarly, if nothing is specified, the license is applicable to what shown there.
I think it simple if we follow the concept of "Adaptation". Consider a RAW file that is created on the camera as original work. A JPG file which is "transformed, or adapted including in any form recognizably derived from the original" is an "Adaptation". If I grant a license for the JPG, it will not applicable for the RAW file. If I crop, de-saturate the JPG and grant license only to the new b/w JPG, the license applicable only for the new JPG, and any further downward adaptations. JKadavoor Jee 04:08, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
"In order to limit a CC license to a particular resolution, that must be specified at the time the CC license is given. If we have an image without any such restriction, then we have the right to use any resolution we may find later." It seems you passively encourage people to throw away the generic license tags and use a custom tag with as many terms as possible. :( JKadavoor Jee 06:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Once again, Jim, you are confusing copyright with licensing. This is such a fundamental mistake I am concerned you are an admin here. Of course the actual created image is copyright of the creator no matter what its form. By adding a CC licence I do nothing to change that copyright status. Let's be clear: copyright law is quite different from the law governing a licence. The scope and extent of the former is decided by governments. The latter is a legal agreement I make under whatever terms I choose that gives someone rights they wouldn't have otherwise had. Just like the legal agreement I have with Spotify allows me to listen to a compressed audio track on my phone while I retain my subscription, but doesn't give me any rights to the 24-bit master copy in the recording studio. The Spotify terms only apply to the compressed digital file being streamed to me, and only for a limited duration, whereas the artists copyright remains intact, unchanged, and applies to the song in all forms. Jim, when your interpretation of the licence rules is at odds with how the world interprets and uses it, it might be worth considering that you are interpreting it wrongly. The CC licence governs the thing it is applied to, which is a uploaded digital file on Commons, and says nothing about the original master copy or any higher-resolution versions someone might generate and offer under different terms. You seem to expect uploaders to have to describe the key restricted aspects of the variant of the copyright work they want the licence to apply to (e.g. the 8-bit JPG at 3000x2000px compression level 9 uploaded 06:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)) rather than the more obvious interpretation of "see the Commons file this page describes, yes the nice JPG picture of a butterfly, that's what this licence applies to". -- Colin (talk) 08:29, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I am not confusing copyright with licensing -- I have done a lot of both over the course of my career and I fully understand the difference. However, since the CC license uses the term "Work" without further definition, we must look elsewhere for an appropriate definition. Since the license concerns copyrighted material, it seems to me appropriate to look to definitions in copyright laws rather than the OED.
I don't have a copy of the Spotify EULA, but I'll bet that it carefully specifies that your license is to the downloaded material, nothing more.
Again, I think the rule against ambiguity applies -- if the licensor does not specify the resolution, then the license is ambiguous on that point, it must be construed against the interests of the drafter, and all resolutions are included. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:48, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
This use of the word "work" scares me a bit. At least in the Swedish copyright law, a "work" is something which is protected for life+70 years, whereas other things, such as most photos, non-original films (e.g. CCTV films), sound recordings and performances, do not count as "works" but nevertheless get protection (although for a shorter term than works). If someone slaps {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} on a CCTV film, should this then be interpreted to mean that the film is unfree in Sweden? --Stefan4 (talk) 15:05, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I see no reason to use another definition than that provided by any good dictionary, just as there is no need to define all the nouns used. The fact that copyright law documents define the "Work" term for their purposes should not be interpreted as saying anything about the use of that everyday word in a CC licence. Just as legal documents often define "The Company" and "The Customer" for the purpose of their contract, but this in no way affects the use of the words "company" or "customer" in other documents.
Jim's interpretation of CC means anyone using it has grated a licence to their raw files and tiffs. And presumably if their image was taken on film and scanned, then it has granted a licence to one's negatives too. And since his definition of "work" includes the artistic creation in all its form, then, as I noted earlier, it would imply a CC licensed radio play also meant the book and the film versions had to be CC too. This is plainly a ridiculous and unacceptable interpretation and would make the CC unusable. Stefan's concern too seems to say that a CC licence in Sweden must be re-interpreted just because Swedish law defines the word "work" for its purposes differently. That's just nonsense. A licence is just a legal document. Read it as such, and don't bring in baggage from someone else's legal document. -- Colin (talk) 15:57, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Version 4 uses the word "Licensed Material" instead of "Work". Further, "Unless otherwise separately undertaken by the Licensor, to the extent possible, the Licensor offers the Licensed Material as-is and as-available..." JKadavoor Jee 16:36, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Forwarded to Legal and Community Advocacy for an authoritative opinion. JKadavoor Jee 10:48, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

See The Power of Open by Creative Commons. One example they give is: "the film will be released under two different CC licenses: BY-NC-SA for the high-resolution version, and BY-SA for the low-resolution. “We assume that if you are a movie theater, an on-demand platform, a newspaper, or TV, you will need the high-quality version and reach an agreement with us,” says founder Nicolás Alcalá. “But if you’re a small amateur cineclub or a theater in a third world country and you don’t have the money to showcase the film, you can do it with the low-quality version for commercial purposes.”. Clearly if Jim's interpretation was correct, then this would not be possible, as both are copies of the same "Work" in his opinion. -- Colin (talk) 15:09, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

But he argues that (see his comment above) the resolution is specified in that licenses. Similarly we should specify all our conditions in our "File" page too. I don't know how it is possible in sites like Flickr where only an option to choose an option button. :) That is why every CC license states that this license is applicable to THIS WORK/LICENSED MATERIAL ONLY. (I am thinking about adding a disclaimer in my licenses: "This license is applicable to whatever uploaded here by me. See Commons is a no man's land; any one, even an IP can edit this page. So I'm not responsible for whatever done by others. Please don't encroach my home and try to grab my works stored in my PC. They are mine.") JKadavoor Jee 15:47, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't see you had posted that already. I looked into why CC changed from "Work" to "Material" in CC4. The did so to expand the scope to include "sui generis database rights". The key point we are quibbling over is what was "offered under the terms of this License". Well, on the image description page, it says "This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence." So there we have it. The file. The JPG. At whatever resolution and quality and bit-depth you got and were offered. You weren't offered the larger version. And it is a different file. Can we move on now, or does the universe still need to be altered so that Jim doesn't have to admit he made a mistake? -- Colin (talk) 17:11, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
In general, I think Colin is right. If a specific version (e.g., a black-and-white version or a low-resolution version) of a photograph is licensed to you, then you do not automagically get rights to every single other version of that same photograph that exists in the universe. Each version of a photograph is its own "work". You may (under the terms of Commons' licenses) modify it (e.g., by adding false color), but "Here, you can have Version #151 of my photograph" simply does not mean that you are entitled to versions #1 through 150 or version 152 through infinity. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:53, 30 November 2013 (UTC)
What Colin is saying is clearly correct. Consider two thought experiments:
  • I license you the rights to use a photo of my art studio. In the licensed photo I have covered a painting of mine (to which I also own copyright) with a Gaussian blur. Clearly, you have not gained any rights to a version of the same photo that shows the painting intact.
  • I license you the rights to use an 8x8 colorfield that I have made by downsampling a photo of mine to an 8x8 grid. Clearly you have not gained any rights to the underlying photo.
The latter case is extremely similar to the issue originally at hand: the only difference is that in the original example, the content of the underlying photo is more legible. - Jmabel ! talk 02:05, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
User:Jkadavoor: That is very interesting. If Creative Commons argued that CC 3.0 and below couldn't be used to license databases in the European Union (because databases aren't works), then you can't use CC 3.0 or below to license the vast majority of all photographs in Sweden, because most photos aren't works either under Swedish law. --Stefan4 (talk) 08:28, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I think CC fixed many holes in their previous licenses in 4.0 We can see the summary of various issues they faced, briefly listed at 4.0 and its sub heads. JKadavoor Jee 08:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not so convinced by Colin's argument. Even assuming that the {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} license summary has any legal force (beyond simply linking to the actual license), it mentions "the file" (once), "the work" (four times), and "this work" (once). So its wording seems very unclear about whether the file or the work is meant.
The actual CC license text defines "Work" as follows: '"Work" means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including [...] a photographic work [...]'. Given CC's general reliance on not defining terms too tightly, but allowing local copyright laws to determine their application, this suggests to me that Jim's interpretation would be correct. Unless otherwise specified, what is being licensed is the photographic "work" as defined by copyright law. In most jurisdictions, I think rescaling a photo would not generally be a creative enough act to gather a fresh copyright on just the rescaled version. Perhaps heavy downscaling (e.g. to 8x8 as in Jkadavoor's example) might be an exception, but not more typical downscalings that produce a version of the photo that is indistinguighable from the original at first glance. --Avenue (talk) 14:36, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Avenue, I think Colin's reply is against Jim's argument "if the licensor does not specify the resolution, then the license is ambiguous on that point..." We have no provision to specify the resolution within the legal text; the only possibility is on the file page. Anyway it is complicated and with in the attention of Legal and CC people; awaiting a formal reply. JKadavoor Jee 16:57, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I think this whole argument once against demonstrates the foolishness of crowdsourcing copyright and license issues. People are continuing to misinterpret "work" in a way that includes too much and certainly not the material that was licenced. The fact that downsampling may not be considered a creative enough act to warrant separate copyright is quite irrelevant. We aren't discussing whether a smaller image might be covered by the same licence or whether it would be a derivative work or considered the same work. We are discussing whether a larger image that contains more original information is also licensed along with a small one. Going from a small to a larger image is not a simple transform any more than going from the trailer of a movie to the whole film is a simple transform. Folks, when your interpretation of CC law fundamentally breaks it and makes it quite unusable by any professional, you have consider that there's an off chance you are talking bollocks. Let's leave this to people with the relevant qualifications. -- Colin (talk) 18:21, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Wrt Avenue's doubt about the legal power of the licence summary to define what is being licensed, see this document that discusses the wording changes from "work" to "material". They say "Licensors may still identify what “the Licensed Material” is, however, just as they may identify “the Work” in 3.0." To my mind, the identification of what is being licensed is abundantly clear even without our licence template saying "the file". I don't see any judge interpreting our file description page as a licence to anything generated from the artists's original raw file. What has gone on with this linked file is unethical, and the amateur attempts to rewrite the law to justify reflects poorly on Commons. Any, this is all still a waste of time. None of what we write matters one jot. Colin (talk) 18:49, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Colin, to me there seems to be a glaring contradiction between how strongly you oppose other's views about the interpretation of the license, and your argument that what we think doesn't matter because we're not competent to have any views on it at all. If you really believe the latter, shouldn't you admit that you are just as likely to be mistaken about what a judge might decide as those you disagree with?
If legal people chime in with an opinion that is relevant and understandable, I'll be happy to apply that. Until then, I think we have a duty to develop what consensus we can about how to proceed with this file and others, and yes, that does depend on what we understand the legalities of the license to be. Trying to understand this does not mean we are trying to "rewrite the law", and I think your choice not to assume good faith there is far more damaging to Commons than our honest disagreement about the meaning of the license. Please keep your rhetoric in check.
Going back to the issues, the fact that the higher resolution image might contain more "information" is not important. What is important (under my interpretation of the license) is whether whatever extra features it might show have enough creative effect to attract copyright, and so make it a distinguishable Work from the lower resolution file. An example: if you knew that a file had been slightly scrambled during transmission so that it differed slightly from the original CC-licensed file, but the changes were visually imperceptible, I think your argument implies that you would have no right to use the version you received (because it is not the licensed file). In contrast, my interpretation of the default meaning of the license would be that differences that have no implications for copyright can be disregarded, whether they are meaningless transmission errors (say) or uncopyrightable detail in a photograph. --Avenue (talk) 20:47, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
You are right I am as much an amateur here as the rest, which is why I said "we write". However, you may find my interpretation fits with practical use of the licence by many professionals. The conclusion you and Jim have come to would really mean our upload wizard needs to have a strong warning "Beware, if you choose to licence your upload file under CC, you are actually consenting to licence all works derived from your negative or raw file or source video or audio masters". And we will have to tell all professionals uploading low-resolution images, while retaining high-resolution for their paid clients, that their contributions are no longer wise as someone will copy the high resolution image, change the licence on it, and then argue they did nothing wrong. In all my argument about licensing, I seek to discover what professionals believe rather than rely on my own understanding. That may be professionals who use the licence or lawyers who advise. I don't see this as an area where it is helpful for Commons users to speculate, and retaining an knowingly unethically copyied file while speculating is bad. Let's be clear: we know the low resolution version is CC and the high resolution version is "all rights reserved"? Did the photographer just upload a low-resolution version to save disc space on Commons? No. He did not licence the high-resolution version to Commons. We are being unethical, even if some people think he made a legal mistake in choosing CC for a deliberately low-resolution upload of his "work". That makes me sick, to be honest, and not happy to be part of this community.
Avenue, your scrambled version is a data-loss issue just like downsampling. I don't regard it as a relevant argument whatsoever. This is just amateur analogies. The law cannot be worked out from analogies or reason. It is what it is, and what professionals say it is, not us. -- Colin (talk) 22:52, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I find it rather frustrating that a load of folk chanted "a free licence is a free licence" not so long ago, in support of a licence specifically designed for "textual works" and which calls the material being licensed a "document". We were assured the judge would know what was meant, and not to worry about the clearly inappropriate words. Yet here we have a licence specifically designed for AV material in a digital age, on a page that clearly states what material is licensed (the file) and yet the rights of the licensor are abused by twisting and misunderstanding the meaning of one word. If we disagree with the restrictions licensors wish to place on their works, then we can choose whether to host them here or not and that is our choice. What we shouldn't do is stomp all over those rights because one or two of us think the wording of the licence could have been a bit clearer. I also think the discussion here is harmed by the fact that the uploader is not one of us, not a friend. That makes us all morally weaker: like the experiment where people are happy to accept a mistake in getting their change where they end up richer if it is in a large chain of shops, yet wouldn't dream of doing that at the local independent corner shop. Is Commons capable of doing the right thing? Silly me. I should know Commons has no moral compass. Colin (talk) 23:24, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Avenue, I agree with you that we should try to understand the terms and express our opinion until the Legal or the CC people expressed their formal opinion. They are taking much time as usual; as their opinion has a huge impact, so should take care while telling something. Hope they answer soon. Remember, your opinion was different, earlier. There you said "This collage is an interesting example. It's released under a CC-BY-SA licenses, so you could chop it up into its component images, and they could also be released under the same CC-BY-SA license - at least at the resolution provided in the collage. Now the component images are available on Flickr under a different, non-free license (CC-BY-NC), in some cases at a higher resolution, and these higher resolution versions cannot be uploaded to Commons." It is the current precedent here; that we followed since years. Now Jim created a new precedent, that can't be acceptable without strong legal support. The intention of this discussion is what Colin said above. It should not affect quality contributions to Commons. If there is such a black hole in a license, we should well advertise it instead of make benefit from it; that is part of ethics. Even CC people are responsible for it; that is why I repeatedly mailing to them. It is unfortunate that even Kat Walsh not responded to this.
See this example, stitched and tonemapped from 24 images. The resulting JPG will be different in every reprocess. Can we claim the copyright for all those 24 images and/or for the resulting JPG which is at least five times bigger in resolution (my guess) than the picture licensed here? We can argue that we are talking about simple pictures that are just downsampled; but how we can prove it? So the policy should be applicable for all. JKadavoor Jee 03:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, Diliff's image is an 4x2 matrix so the downsampling is only about 75% which is quite reasonable given the quality-reducing transformations that occur during stitching. The 24 images are a result of each frame having 3 exposures, for tone mapping. Avenues' analogy that downsampling doesn't produce a separately copyrightable work is faulty. It is looking at the transform in the wrong direction. Cropping also doesn't produce a separately copyrightable work. Yet if Diliff added another row of images to his scene to capture more of the ceiling (say -- I now it doesn't really work for this pic), that would produce a larger image. He could sell that "all rights reserved" and Commons couldn't claim it was the same work just because it could be cropped to produce the same image we have here. Same for downsampling -- there is no way to invent the missing pixels we don't have here. We didn't get them licensed to us.
The second fault being made is the continued misinterpretation of "work". The CC licence uses it to describe the kind of thing that may be licensed (something that can be described as a copyrightable work). Since that ran into problems with some databases, and was also subject to national definitions of what was a copyrightable work, they've moved away from that word. It defines the scope of things that may be licensed, not the scope of what is licensed. Greengrocers sell fruit. The sign says "Oranges 50p". When I buy an orange, I get one orange. Even though all oranges are fruit, I can't take another orange for free. That other orange is also fruit and is also the same fruit. That mistake is happening here. I've got a small JPG licensed to Commons. It is a copyrightable work. The larger JPG is not licensed to Commons even though it is also a copyrightable work and even though some people may regard it as the same copyrightable work. You weren't offered it just as the greengrocer didn't offer all oranges for 50p. -- Colin (talk) 08:43, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Jkadavoor, the comment of mine that you quote reflects my understanding of the license at the time I made it. Before this discussion I took for granted that larger resolutions were not covered when a smaller version was CC-licensed. I now find Jim's argument fairly convincing, i.e. his argument has changed my mind on this issue.
Colin, the question to my mind is how the two versions of the image would be regarded legally, and in particular whether they are legally the same "Work" as defined by the applicable license. The CC-BY-SA-3.0 license begins by saying "THE WORK (AS DEFINED BELOW) IS PROVIDED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS CREATIVE COMMONS PUBLIC LICENSE ("CCPL" OR "LICENSE")." (caps in original) Jim and I have both quoted the license's definition of "Work" in our arguments. I do not think the single mention of the word "file" in our {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} template would trump the license's definition, particularly since the Upload Wizard requires you to state that "I, [username], the copyright holder of this work, irrevocably grant anyone the right to use this work under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license", not the (IMO misleading) license summary in our template.
I find your oranges example at least as unconvincing as you seem to find my error-laden transmission example. Above you give cropping as another transformation that produces a smaller version whose license does not extend to the original image. I agree that this would sometimes be true, e.g. when there are two quite separate copyrightable elements in the original, and the crop removes one of them. However I don't agree this is always the case. Suppose the original photo showed an object (an orange, say) centred on a large white background, and this was then cropped to remove an equal amount of the white background on all sides. If the cropped version was licensed as CC-BY-SA-3.0, I think it's likely that the original version would be covered by the same license, because the extra content in the original probably would not result in it attracting a separate copyright. (I'm giving this example not so much in the hope of convincing you, as to try to make my position as clear as I can.) I think a similar analysis would indicate many downsized versions are not sufficient distinct from the original to prevent CC-3.0-licensing of the downsized version extending to the original.
I agree with Jkadavoor that this feature of the license (along with others) are not obvious and that our documentation of the license should be improved substantially. Benefiting from the feature would seem unethical to me (at least for newly uploaded works) if we failed to do improve our documentation once we were aware of the issue. --Avenue (talk) 12:31, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Your white background example is flawed as a white background is not a copyrightable thing. Like silence at the end of an audio recording. If we instead consider an image of a group photograph. Someone crops it to just one person's head and uploads that CC. Later someone finds the original group photo and, using your wrong-way-round argument, uploads that to Commons. All those extra pixels were not included in the original. In the picture we are discussing, the CC image was 48,600 pixels whereas the larger version 623,480 pixels. There are 563,880 copyrightable coloured pixels in the larger one that were not licensed. 92% of the content in the larger image is not present in the smaller image. Same for the group photo. Does it matter that the pixels are evenly distributed or not? They are clearly derived from the same photograph, in the same way that a summary of "The Hobbit" is derived from full work, but you can't get from the summary to the full work without a huge creative step. Whereas one could restore a white background quite easily. So I continue to say you are looking at the issue in the wrong direction. If you had an example the other way, it might be more convincing. Just because your logic appears to work in one direction doesn't mean it works in the other. Anyway, I believe none of this matters. The intent and interpretation of the CC licence text is what it is as determined by lawyers and judges and not by you or I. It doesn't matter one jot whether you can construct a rational argument one way and I can construct one the other. Which is why I think it is stupid of WMF to leave this sort of thing as crowdsourced. If WMF wanted to help uploaders and reusers then they would pay money and document the best advice they can. As it stands, one should consider it foolish for any professional to donate their work to Commons and foolish for any professional to reuse Commons material. They should license their work professionally and purchase media from professionals who will offer proper legal advice and legal indemnities. -- Colin (talk) 11:30, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
My white background example was intended as an example of something that isn't separately copyrightable being cropped away. Perhaps it wasn't the best example, since it seems that was ambiguous. But I think your example of cropping an individual person's head from a portrait misses the point.
You say that for the picture that prompted this discussion, the larger version contains "563,880 copyrightable coloured pixels" not in the smaller version. They do not have individual copyrights, so the number of them doesn't seem especially relevant.
Legally qualified advice on such issues would be great to have, but in its absence I don't think we should give up. For issues like this one where opinions within the community differ substantially, a precautionary approach is probably best. Hopefully some more conclusive advice will arrive in due course. --Avenue (talk) 09:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh I know those pixels aren't individually copyright, but they are creative material unlike whitespace or silence. Anyway, your point is you seem to think the CC licence is intrinsically linked to the source "copyrightable work" whatever that may be whereas I think it is linked to the instance of that work that is offered with the licence. One can take that instance and do what you like with it: upscale it, downsample it, corrupt it, but that's the instance that is being licensed. Hence the analogy where you buy one orange but not all oranges. You think you've bought all the oranges. Consider a watermark, if Commons allowed it. If someone CC licensed a watermarked image, would you consider the untarnished version to be CC too? They aren't separately copyrightable works. Or if someone CC licensed the first chapter of their "How to take great pictures for Commons" book, would you consider the whole book to be yours for the taking too? They aren't separately copyrightable works either. Or someone offers a 10 minute recording of the opening movement of an orchestral work as CC, would you consider the whole 60 minute piece to be free? They aren't separately copyrightable works either. So many examples where this thinking fails, or would be horrible if true. -- Colin (talk) 10:03, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, our fundamental disagreement is roughly as you state it, although I'm not sure you really grasp what I think the Work covered by the license is. All but one of your examples seem to address only highly distorted caricatures of this. Oranges - it's hard to see how CC licenses would or even could apply to them. The rest of a book will contain many creative elements that would attract a copyright separate from the copyright of the first chapter, and cannot be inferred even approximately from it, so they wouldn't be automatically covered by its license. Likewise the latter portion of an orchestral recording contains many creative aspects that are essentially separate from those in the recording of the first 10 minutes.
A better analogy to the downsized picture would be downsampled audio. For example, if an initial orchestral recording was made by sampling the analogue signal at 48kHz, and a downsampled 24kHz version was CC-licensed, I think the same license would probably apply to the 48kHz version as well. This is because the essential creative aspects of the performance recorded at 48kHz would also be present in the 24kHz version as well, although at lower quality.
The example you give that I think is on the money is the watermark one. Yes, I believe many watermarks would not obscure enough of the original unwatermarked version to stop it from being covered by the CC license of the watermarked version. I see nothing abhorrent about this. (And Commons doesn't prohibit watermarks; it merely discourages them.) --Avenue (talk) 11:55, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
The oranges example is not of course a copyright issue but one of language. You are fundamentally misinterpreting the concepts of "instance of" and "kind of". The licence applies to the instance of a creative work that has been offered. The copyright applies to the source work and extends to all works that can be derived from it without significant creative step (cropping, downsampling, etc). You and Jim confuse copyright and licence here just because both use the concept of a "copyrightable work" in their definitions (one as the thing being copyrighted and the other as the kind of thing that may be licensed. No other licence in the world applies to the whole copyright work. All licences contain limitations on what one has been given and what one can do with it. One cannot take a downsampled thumbnail 8-bit low quality JPG and produce from that a 36-megapixel gallery quality 24-bit tiff. There is no algorithm in the world that can create the missing pieces. Avenue, either you are arguing the licence covers the source creative work or it doesn't. If you have another interpretation of "work" then make that clear. But once you take your interpretation then one has to accept that the whole book is a creative work and the first chapter is not a separately copyrightable creative work. It doesn't matter if, like you say the rest of the book contain copyrightable elements, because the copyright rests with the book as a complete published work, and anything uncreatively derived from it, such as a chapter. Now, your example might hold if the first chapter was written in 2000 and published and then the rest of the book was written in 2005 and published then, then they would have separate copyright. But that's not the case here. We have a photograph taken at once, just as the orchestral piece is played in its entirety. Someone has cropped the recording or downsampled the image and offered that under a different licence. Colin (talk) 13:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
You seem to have a more fixed idea of what a work is than I do. For example, you say it would be "the book as a complete published work", not a chapter; "a photograph taken at once"; "the orchestral piece [...] played in its entirety". I think that each of these works could contain many others, at least conceptually. A photograph of a group of people could be chopped up into portraits of each of them, each with its own copyright. A book may contain chapters, poems, song lyrics, paragraphs and even sentences that could be separately protected by copyright, even though they comprise a larger work when combined together. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the interpretation of the license that makes most sense to me is that it covers not just the particular instance or copy of a work that it's attached to, but also other versions of essentially the same work. By "essentially the same work" I'd include things that would not attract a separate copyright, such as (IMO) somewhat larger resolution versions of the same photo, or recordings of the same performance that are identical except for being sampled at a somewhat higher rate. I'd include watermarked versions of the same photo, where the watermark was a simple typeset copyright notice or similar uncopyrightable element, but perhaps not versions signed the photographer (e.g. in jurisdictions like the U.K. where the signature might well be protected by copyright). On the other hand, I wouldn't include an entire group photo where the CC license had been applied only to an individual's portrait cropped from it, for instance. Of course IANAL, and I don't know how people trained in copyright law would see it, but that's what currently makes most sense to me. --Avenue (talk) 00:54, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Pictogram voting info.svg Info Diane Peters commented that "Apologies for the silence from CC so far. We're working on a couple of FAQs that should clear up a lot of this. We hope to have those finished early next week. I'll post here at that time." JKadavoor Jee 03:43, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the link. It's nice to see there are others with a similar interpretation to Jim and I. --Avenue (talk) 09:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
There's nothing "nice" about this. If your interpretation is correct then Creative Commons and Wikimedia are guilty of gross legal incompetence and of misleading professionals into giving up more of their creative material than they intended. CC published a clear example of a low-res low-quality film having a different licence from the high-res high-quality film and clearly intended this to serve as an example to industry. Wikimedia has for years encouraged professionals to donate low-size images to Wikipedia while keeping the studio-quality images for their clients professional use. There should be nothing less than an outcry if it proves CC3 is broken in this regard. Colin (talk) 13:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
I can't seem to find the CC example you refer to, at least not through a quick web search. (The closest thing I've found is on page 34 of this report.) Do you have any links (for CC or WMF)? --Avenue (talk) 13:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
It is actually mentioned twice in this discussion (I didn't notice the first time). See Jkadavoor's comment at 17:10, 28 November 2013 (UTC) and my comment at 15:09, 30 November 2013. The Power Of Open Page 26. This is a publicity document by CC. In addition to the already quoted bit, it says "We hope that The Power of Open, inspires you to examine and embrace the practice of open licensing so that your contributions to the global intellectual commons can provide their greatest benefit to all people" they go onto say "Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work – a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright.... We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solid, globally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs." Your document also says "for example, creators release low fidelity or low resolution versions of a work for noncommercial use, but reserve high fidelity or high resolution versions for commercial exploitation." How could these "versions" have different licences if you say the CC is intrinsically (it its very wording) tied to the entire copyrightable "work"? Add do this years of practice on Wikipedia that has gone unquestioned. If your interpretation is right, then not only is this publicity document wrong and legally misleading, but those experts haven't made it as solid and commercially useful as they think, and Wikipedia owes some people a big apology. -- Colin (talk) 16:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realise that book was from Creative Commons, sorry, even though you said so before. It does seem like a publicity document, not a reference manual, so some important details are no doubt left out. Looking on the website for the movie referenced on page 26, I haven't yet found a low-res version licensed as CC-BY-SA, so I don't know how exactly they've specified that (or even whether they've done what they said they would in the book). The full resolution version is actually licensed CC-BY-NC-ND, although if some third-party material (music and archival footage) is removed the rest is licensed CC-BY-SA-NC.[2] --Avenue (talk) 23:56, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
Well it isn't just something knocked up by an intern that might be full of mistakes. You have to admit that CC are clearly publicising and encouraging the use of different CC licences for the same copyright work released to different degrees of quality/size (in the same way as cropping length is used for other media to give a sample of the full work). It is hard to escape that if CC was designed to licence the underlying work, rather than the material being offered, then these documents are misleading and should be withdrawn. Wikipedia and Commons have thousands of low-resolution images donated under this understanding. There's a real potential for bad publicity for CC if it turns out commercial photographers have been mislead. -- Colin (talk) 08:25, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

See; any one can adapt a CC BY material and claim full copyright for it for the adaptations they made. Then why an author can't claim full copyright for his copyright for the contents in his original work that are not in the freely licensed version? even if a limited edition is licensed freely? Can I buy a Windows RT 8.1 and use Windows 8.1 Enterprise? So many arguments from our side; now it is the time for the CC people to respond, I think. :) JKadavoor Jee 16:11, 8 December 2013 (UTC) (Comment edited. JKadavoor Jee 02:35, 9 December 2013 (UTC))

Anyone adapting a CC BY work in a minor non-copyrightable way (such as cropping or downsizing) could not claim "all rights reserved" and own copyright on the new work. So the same goes of the author and his own work. They are the same as far as copyright is concerned. Just as one can't publish chapter 1 of "Harry Potter" with a newer copyright date than the original book. However, what one can do with a licence is entirely up to the wording of a licence. The only thing needed for CC is for the thing being licensed to be a copyrightable work (not the whole copyrightable work). The larger picture (high resolution, better quality, more bit depth, etc) is not a minor adaptation of the licensed thing and in fact could not be derived from the licensed thing by any technological or creative means. Microsoft didn't use CC to licence Windows. -- Colin (talk) 16:39, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
That is just a funny comment to divert from the heat of this discussion. We succeeded to bring this matter into the attention of the CC people; let us wait and see the response they offered. :) Jee 08:51, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
File:Trabalhos.jpg was tagged with {{no permission since}}. I removed this because the image recently survived a deletion request. Multichill (talk) 14:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)


This has become a popular question, and CC has now published a few new FAQ entries relevant to these topics:

Most of the official opinion of CC should be cleared up by these, but speaking with my CC hat on and restating a few points that are particularly relevant here:

  • Basically, whether a license applies to all formats of a work depends on whether they are considered the same work under the relevant copyright law. In many cases, they would be; there wouldn't be considered to be any new copyrightable expression in the high-resolution copy as the low-resolution copy. In other cases, there wouldn't be. There's no bright-line test for determining when this is the case. I realize most of the arguments over these situations are going to hinge on when a work is considered to be the same work and when it isn't, and unfortunately I can't resolve those questions for you (especially not when I'm speaking for CC).
  • You may always distribute works differently, even when the same license applies. For example, you can release a low-resolution version on a website for free, while only sending the high-resolution file to those who have paid for access. If they are considered the same work, it may be true that a recipient of the high-resolution file could redistribute it under the terms of the CC license even if she had to pay for initial access. You may even distribute things considered to be the same work under different license terms, but if they are considered to be the same work, a recipient of either could use the work under either license offered, as the licenses would apply to both. (If they would not be considered the same work, then it doesn't matter how similar they are: the license applied to one work only applies to that work.)
  • None of this is a change in the 4.0 licenses: it applies equally to works under any CC license, and depends mainly on the underlying operation of copyright law.

Hoping some of this is useful. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 22:06, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

This still leaves the problem with such things which are not works in the first place, such as most photographs under Swedish law. What happens when someone licenses a photograph under a CC licence? Is the licence invalid in Sweden as the photograph isn't a work? --Stefan4 (talk) 22:41, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure what kind of answer would be useful here, but this explanation applies to any piece of copyrightable material that may be licensed under a CC license, under whatever terms the CC license apply to it. It applies wherever a CC license was applicable to some piece of copyrightable expression to begin with. (If a CC license was never applicable to begin with, of course, then none of this applies or matters.) I'm referring to a "work" here as shorthand; the license text currently uses the term "Licensed Material" which applies to anything copyrightable that a CC license is applied to; in 3.0 "work" is given as a defined term which may encompass things not ordinarily called "works" in the local jurisdiction of the copyright holder. (The licenses are valid in Sweden, to the best of our knowledge and that of our Swedish affiliate team.) Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 22:58, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
Anything which meets the threshold of originality is a "work" and is protected by the first article of the Swedish copyright law. However, numerous things are copyrighted even if they do not meet the threshold of originality (protected under chapter 5 of the copyright law: related rights). Most important to Commons are photographs: most photographs are below the threshold of originality (and are therefore not "works") but are nevertheless copyrighted thanks to article 49 a. Other examples of things which are not works but nevertheless are copyrighted are databases, performances, sound recordings and non-creative films (e.g. CCTV imagery). What happens if someone tries to use a CC licence for a copyrighted thing which is not a work? --Stefan4 (talk) 14:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Kat Walsh and the entire CC team for the response. So I assume the hosting of File:Trabalhos.jpg is acceptable; even-though whether we should encourage it in Commons is a different question that this community should decide. Jee 02:53, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, thanks very much for responding here, and for the update to the CC FAQ. IMO the legal situation is now reasonably clear, and the first thing we should do is review and improve our documentation accordingly.
I see nothing wrong in general with hosting higher resolution versions than first uploaded here, when the license allows this. Maybe we should allow courtesy deletions when someone complains about a higher resolution version of their image being hosted here, if they misunderstood or were misled about the license when they uploaded the lower resolution one, but I imagine that discussion would be best left until we have a concrete complaint to discuss. --Avenue (talk) 04:15, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
The most outdated thing I've found here so far is Commons:Flickr files#Lower quality images. That could be a good place to start. --Avenue (talk) 12:33, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
This is hugely disappointing and I owe James an apology. Initial thoughts:
  • CC3 is broken and we should add warnings and improve our documentation on what uploaders are releasing when they use that licence.
  • CC publicity has several misleading case studies and comments wrt using different CC licences for different resolutions or qualities of work. These documents should be withdrawn from publication and a notice published indicating the misinformation.
  • Commons and Wikipedia need to raise awareness that CC is not suitable for donating cut-down versions of one's work to Wikipedia.
  • A FAQ on other variants of a copyright work is required. For example, a trailer for a movie, a sample chapter from a book, a "web-quality" stream of a video/song, a movement within a full orchestral piece, a snippet of a pop song. These are all aspects of the same underlying copyright work yet someone may wish to release them under a free licence. It would appear now that CC is unsuitable for that purpose.
  • Are there any other licences in existence that apply to the underlying copyright work. Most license I can think of only extend to the physical material or data stream one is given.
  • I'm surprised that CC4 is considered no different. Part of the move to 4 was to remove "work" entirely from the license to ensure the wording was internationally applicable and could apply to things that in some countries are not considered copyright works. I disagree with Kat Walsh that "work" is merely shorthand for "Licensed Material". The latter has no counterpart in copyright law so is not subject to national variation or wider scope interpretation (as has happened here). I think CC4 has the potential to be useful for licensing the "files" we host on commons if we consider "files" as "Licensed Material". I urge CC to double-check that CC4 is not different to CC3 in this regard.
  • If CC4 is no different the imo it is also broken and we should ask CC to think again. CC is widely used for images and this practice of donating a reduced version is widespread.
  • This is a further example of why we should not accept GFDL-licensed images because the terms of that licence are for textual documents. Wording is important and can't be dismissed as "probably ok". Careful analysis of GFDL licence terms may thus result in those license-usages being regarded as ineligible, and thus no longer free works.
  • There is a need for a free licence for audio/visual media (the files). If CC is not designed to be that licence (the intent is to make one's entire underlying copyright work free) then Commons needs another licence.

-- Colin (talk) 09:34, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

  • I agree with you that we should improve our documentation and CC should withdraw their misleading examples from, and etc. But I don't think it is a problem of CC alone. If CC works on that way, I think all similar licenses (GPL, FAL, etc.) also work that way. It may be disappointing; but if we can educate people, I don't see much problem in future. (Yes; I too apologize to Jim, he did a brave move.) Jee 09:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Which of the dozen profiles at do you mean? I didn't see a problem on a quick skim through. --Avenue (talk) 12:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, that was a quick comment; didn't check in detail. So you can read "if any". Anyway the example I quoted earlier from should be removed. Jee 15:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps CC have not made the situation as clear as I thought. Colin, I am a bit baffled as to why you think that any of your "variants" (except the web-quality stream) would be the same work. To say they are "aspects" of the larger work is a long way from suggesting the two works are the same.
I think the change in CC 4.0 wording to "Licensed Material" (defined as "the artistic or literary work, database, or other material to which the Licensor applied this Public License") just expands the types of material the license can cover. For an "artistic or literary work", the question of whether two versions/aspects/crops/renderings/etc of the work are the same work still comes down to copyright law in the relevant jurisdiction. You could attempt to specify what resolutions you want to license, but I gather CC view that as modifying their license and thus violating their trademark.[3]
Perhaps there's a workaround for this issue, at least in version 4, which says that Licensed Rights are limited to those "that the Licensor has authority to license". Instead of uploading the material yourself, email a friend and grant them the right to sublicense only a low resolution version of the work under the CC license. Your friend then uploads it here, posting a note next to the license saying that they only have authority to license the low resolution version, and forwards your email to OTRS. It seems to me that this approach does not modify the license terms, unlike trying to limit the resolutions licensed directly yourself, so it shouldn't violate CC's trademark. Instead it achieves the same result by simply using an existing license clause. Of course IANAL, so don't just take my word for it. --Avenue (talk) 12:29, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I think Jee is probably right about this whole issue also affecting the FAL, which talks about the "work" covered throughout. The GFDL applies to "any manual or other work" containing an appropriate licensing notice, so that would also seem to be affected. --Avenue (talk) 12:50, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
The only possibility for a copyright holder is to keep his original material (digital/film) in his custody; and sell only prints. I think it is applicable to any license of choice CC, FAL, GPL, GFDL.... If anybody 'somehow' come across the original, even if you specifically released it as NC/all rights reserved, they would be within their rights to use it CC BY/FAL/GPL/GFDL if a low resolution version was released in that license earlier. Am I right? Jee 13:23, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I strongly oppose your workaround and don't think it would work -- I think that is to cover a situation for example where you take a photograph of another creative work -- your CC licence covers the photograph but not the other work since you don't have authority over it. Also the "right" you've given your friend isn't sufficient rights to release the "work" under CC (he isn't the copyright owner). Creating personal variants of the CC should be strongly discouraged and I can see why CC would insist such a licence was no longer called CC. Avenue, a 30-second clip of a song and the full 3-minute version of the song are the same copyright work. A DVD of Fantasia is the same copyright work as the Blue-Ray. The first chapter of a book is the same copyright work as the full book. These are all variants, created by slavish means (crop, cut, downsample) from the original copyright work. Since the CC licence apparently applies to the copyright work, and not just to the file/disc/film in your hand, then it extends to all variants for which copyright law does not distinguish. I can only assume the intention is (like FAL says) for one to donate one's original artistic work to others as though they had the same access to the original as you do. This severely limits what CC can be used for.
Do you agree that this appears to make CC unsuitable for donating downsized images or web-quality video clips where the author wishes to retain full control over the high-quality original. Even uploading a watermarked higher-resolution version would not be sufficient protection, as someone from Commons would remove the watermark.
I have problems with v4 being regarded as the same. The word "material" is a physical not conceptual thing. I thought a big point of v4 was to free the licence from country-specific interpretations of what was a "work". To me "material to which the Licensor applied this Public License" seems to give me the power to specify exactly what I'm licensing, which I think for most of us was assumed to be the file. Do what you like with the file, but the master raw file (like one's negatives) are mine.
We now have a situation where size-variants may or may not be free depending on the country and some untested potential case before a judge. This is pretty unacceptable and could be regarded as failing our precautionary principle (aspects of which I am no fan it must be said).
I think we should attempt to contact some pro photographers who have been mislead wrt their donation to Wikimedia. I also believe we require a response from CC as to why their publicity material is misleading. -- Colin (talk) 13:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I agreed with your interpretation (i.e. that a copyright holder could release a low-res version under CC and keep the high-res version all rights reserved). However, now that we know the official interpretation, I disagree that it applies to all the examples you gave. I think there is definitely a difference between different-resolution images or DVD/Blu-Ray and taking a chapter from a book or a trailer from a movie. Difference resolutions of an image or video are much closer to being the same "thing" than something that takes out actual "stuff," such as a crop, trailer, or chapter. (I'm being intentionally vague here with my nouns because I'm not sure if calling them "work," "material," etc. is appropriate.) -- King of ♠ 17:51, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I know we can think that cropping picture or editing a video are different to downsizing (though all are lossmaking changes from which the reverse transform cannot be achieved). The key is what CC and the law think. See their answer to How do I know if a low-resolution photo and a high-resolution photo are the same work?. Now replace "low resolution" and "high resolution" with "cropped image" or "cut video" or "low quality video" or "sample chapter". What is the underlying copyright work that is behind the cropped image -- the original photograph. What is the underlying copyright that is behind the sample chapter -- the whole book. In copyright law, an excerpt from a book isn't a separate copyright entity. And all the different qualities of a pop song from AM radio to MP3 to CD are the same underlying copyright work. And it is this copyright to the work that CC applies: "Although CC licenses get attached to tangible works (such as photos and novels), the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material." So if I make a movie and extract a single frame from that movie, what is the copyright in the licensed material? It is my copyright for the movie. I don't have separate copyrights for every frame. The Commons upload Wizard says "I Colin, the copyright holder of this work, irrevocably grant anyone the right to use this work under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license". Now if the "work" is the movie and I upload a single frame... Yikes! I think it is ridiculous but to me this seems the logical conclusion to what they have decided. I guess they want us to be 100% free culture fans who are happy to release all our forms and aspects of our creative work. And I'm pretty free myself. But plenty aren't. Now I may be wrong, and have been already, but I think we need CC folk to clarify these examples and explain, in terms of copyright works, how they might differ. I take a photograph which produces a copyright work. The 640x480 thumbnail and the 6000x4000 photograph I generate from this are "the same work under applicable copyright law" according to CC and thus are linked in terms of what I've licensed. The film Fantasia is copyright Disney 1940 and so is a single frame someone takes from it... -- Colin (talk) 18:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
That text doesn't say "underlying copyright work". The copyright of the book The Wizard of Oz underlaid the movie The Wizard of Oz, but that doesn't mean it's not a separate work. The US copyright office has refused to register things like colorized versions of preexisting black and white pictures, which is the argument behind saying they're not separate works. They've never refused to copyright a movie because part of it was already released; even director's versions of existing movies can get their own copyright. Adding a short story to a collection or expanding it to a novel doesn't tie their copyrights together. There's a difference in proportions between your examples that I think misses the distinctions that are made in law. I agree a cropped image might not have a separate copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
The text says they need "to be different works under copyright law". Is the first chapter of Harry Potter a different "work under copyright law "from the whole book? Your short story in collection or expanded to become a novel are clearly different copyright works. A directors cut could be different copyright as (a) some scenes might not have previously been published [this may matter wrt copyright perhaps] and (b) the complex editing process in a movie is not slavish so earns copyright -- whereas extracting one scene from a movie is not sufficient to gain new copyright on the frame. In addition to this unexpected development, we now have the additional problem of determining what changes may or may not constitute a new "copyright work", rather than just accepting the file we got is what we were licensed to use and no other. -- Colin (talk) 20:24, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
It then proceeds to talk about "changing the format of a work." Changing the resolution would probably fall under this, but taking a screenshot of a movie can hardly be described "changing the format"; it's not essentially the same work anymore. -- King of ♠ 01:17, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree with Colin that this explanation is a bad developement with unforeseeable consequences. It goes again that usual practice of professional producers, who will rightly regard the CC license has irresponsible and unworkable. In the long term, it may damage the whole concept of free content. Yann (talk) 14:13, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Does this mean that it is risky to take a photograph of a building that you have made yourself and then license the photograph under a CC licence? Does this license the entire building, so that people can construct an identical building somewhere? Also, if a company licenses a single screenshot from a film, does this make the entire film licensed? This could get people who try to get licences from architects of buildings in non-FOP countries into lots of trouble. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I also agree that this is a terrible conclusion for those of us, including prospective professional photographers who may consider donating their best images to Commons on the proviso that only a low resolution version is licenced for this use. If photographers have no legal recourse when someone decides to connect the dots between the low resolution Commons copy and a high resolution copy found elsewhere that is absolutely not licenced under CC-BY-SA, then I am these photographers will choose not to contribute. The cat truly is out of the bag the moment you release any image under CC, it seems. Only a week ago, I was at the Wikimedia UK Christmas party and met one of the finalists of the Wiki Loves Monument competition. He was keen to contribute more images and has a portfolio that is very impressive. His prime concern was how it is possible to protect your images if they are released under CC-BY-SA and I told him that, as was my understanding at the time, you could always upload a low-resolution image and keep your originals for your own commercial interests. Now it seems we are all wrong about that. As if we didn't already have enough trouble attracting professional photography. This just makes it impossible. Can we get a response from Creative Commons (Kat, or someone else) about their conclusions on the definition of 'work' and the implications for maintaining a semblance of control over the 'master copy' of our own images? I don't think that 'keep it under lock and key' is a very 21st century answer. We wantour content to be accessible! I don't think it's too much to ask for them to be licenced in such a way that we don't hand over the keys to the castle in the process. Diliff (talk) 23:11, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
While obviously this is an uncomfortable development, it's not quite true that "photographers have no legal recourse" when it comes to the misuse of a high-resolution version of an image that has a CC-licensed low-resolution version. The photographer can definitely require that the recipient of the high-resolution version agree to a non-CC license with a damages clause for unauthorized distribution. If the high-resolution version later appears on Commons, presumably the photographer would then have legal recourse against the original recipient of the high-resolution version under the terms of the non-CC license. —RP88 01:21, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
Well they don't have a legal recourse once the recipient is in possession of the image if we haven't arranged a contract with them beforehand. Your scenario might work if we have a high resolution image available for sale on a website and the terms of sale includes this agreement, but it doesn't work if we, for example, upload your high res image on Flickr under an All Rights Reserved. Once we do that, the photo can be taken from Flickr freely and used as a CC image and we will have no recourse at that point, right? So to avoid this gaping hole in the CC licencing, we have to make sure that nobody can get their hands on the image until we get them agree to additional terms that specifically patch that hole? Ridiculous. Diliff (talk) 08:45, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
To clarify RP88's example, let's assume the high resolution image was for sale by a stock photo site. Any sort of conditions could be imposed on that file such as that it is only used for a print run of 500 copies of such and such a corporate document. If the person dealing with that file uploaded it to Commons, then they have broken their contract with the stock photo site. But Commons could legitimately host the new copy as it isn't interested in such private agreements and typically ignores them [e.g. people uploading pictures from sporting events where their ticket forbids commercial photography]. It is possible that someone "stealing" the high resolution "all rights reserved" image from Flickr has broken some "terms of use" on the Flickr site but I don't see Flicrk getting too bothered about that. I agree with Diliff that expecting the pros to keep their better copies under lock and key is impractical. Even watermarking the image is no defence against someone on Commons with a copy of Gimp. -- Colin (talk) 09:40, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

There are a lot of points here, so rather than responding to individual comments everywhere perhaps it's better just to reply in big chunks.

In general, a licensor may choose which part of a work the license applies to when applying a license. Licensing a part of something differently than the rest may be confusing, but is possible. The CC licenses do not prohibit this and are frequently applied this way—for example, an author may choose to license one song from an album or soundtrack under a CC license, which does not affect the rest of the album, or a single chapter from a book. It is possible to do this when the portion that is not licensed includes different independently copyrightable expression, which can have a separate copyright from that of the CC-licensed portion.

When we're not considering a portion and a whole, but rather two versions of a file that may or may not be the same work, a similar principle applies. In some cases, there is no independently-copyrightable expression appearing in one item a licensor is trying to license distinctly from a CC-licensed work. For a trivial example, a large landscape photograph which exists in two versions, one where the bottom-right pixel is black and one in which the bottom-right pixel is dark gray. I don't know of any relevant law under which these would not be considered the same work; placing the first version under a CC license would mean that the license also applied to version 2, as the single minimal alteration is not sufficient to be copyrightable on its own. The bar for copyrightable creativity is low, and differs across jurisdictions, but it does exist.

Getting into less-trivial examples is difficult, and starts to reveal differences between jurisdictions as well. When we consulted with our international network of affiliates on the question, it confirmed both the complexity of the underlying laws and the fact that these differences exist. (To briefly switch hats from "CC lawyer" to "Wikimedian": it may even be best to consider the most conservative interpretation when considering what to upload to Commons.)

Colin mentions above that "it matters what CC and the law think"—because the way CC licenses work here depends on the underlying operation of copyright, in general it doesn't matter what CC thinks, only the relevant laws. (There is one clarification we make: specifying that format-shifting is never considered an adaptation for purposes of the licenses. So, for example, if you have a FLAC file you may always convert it to some other audio format without it being considered to be an adaptation; similarly, you may take a digital file to print or print to digital, and it is considered the same licensed work for purposes of the CC license, even in the few cases where it could potentially be considered to be different.)

Some people have mentioned above that the terminology difference between the 3.0 and 4.0 makes a difference; this isn't the case and some of the points made indicate some confusion. All copyrightable material may be covered by a CC license, of any version. The change to "licensed material" is intended to make clear through the terminology that not all licensed things correspond with what would generally be considered "works", and that you can have a work where only certain aspects of it are licensed. However, the practical effect is no change: anything copyrightable may be covered by a CC license. (4.0 expands the scope of the license grant to sui generis database rights also, where those apply.) And as far as we know this applies to any copyrightable work anywhere in the world, subject to what is copyrightable in that jurisdiction and the extent to which copyright applies.

The license grant, in all CC license versions, extends to the exercise of the rights in the material licensed—the language is particular about it being the rights, rather than a specific discrete object. This has not changed, and the effect should be legally identical. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 00:26, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

  • So is this a "feature" of CC licensing itself, or of copyright interpretation generally? If an artist makes a thumbnail image available on his website under his own license, whatever it may be, or public domain, does the people who interpret CC this way interpret those too to license the full-resolution version? Man, the only thing you can count on about copyright is that it will never make any sense. Wnt (talk) 00:29, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
  • It is still not clear whether a lower resolution photo uploaded to Commons with a CC license also allows the use of a higher resolution version of the exact same photo. Saffron Blaze (talk) 02:35, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Kat Walsh for your reply. I can see how copyright law would regard songs on an album as being independently copyrightable. And the soundtrack (music bits) of a movie as separate from the video -- after all, some of that music might pre-date the film. But let's say someone wants to donate a 30s clip of "Yellow Submarine" to Wikipedia for our educational benefit. Is that possible under CC without releasing the whole song or film? And what about a single frame from a film. I don't see any judge regarding each frame as "independently copyrightable expressions".
There is a slight misconception that the 1MP thumbnail and the 36MP image are just "two versions of the same file". For professional and serious-amateur work, both may be produced from the same digital negative (the raw file) by a program such as Lightroom. They have a common root, like an old fashioned photograph shares a common negative. But there are creative processes in producing the final JPG just as there were in the darkroom with film. We now have the added complication that we must ponder if two separate JPGs had sufficient creative differences to be considered the same "work". At one extreme, I could use a completely different RAW->JPG software, change the lighting levels, noise reduction, dodge and burn here and there and change saturation levels to produce something I'm pretty sure any judge would regard as a separate work even if people can tell they share a common source. At the other extreme, I have chosen to "export" essentially the same processed work but at two different "preset" options. One for Wikipedia may have small size 8-bit JPG in the sRGB colourspace, high compression, a bit of "for screen" sharpening, some CC EXIF details, and geocoding information. The other, for commercial use, may be a full-size 16-bit TIFF in the AdobeRGB colourspace, lossless compression, no sharpening, no metadata and no geocoding. Someone gets hold of my high-quality TIFF and makes a JPG from it that looks pretty similar to the Wikipedia one just much larger and more detailed. Let's say that in the UK, where the threshold for originality is very low, these choices are sufficient for a judge to consider them separate. But perhaps in the US the judge is not so fussy. Whereas before we thought we knew where we stand -- the licence covered the file uploaded to Commons, we've now got a situation where "what the licence covers" may vary from country to country and may be so uncertain that we may choose not to host it at all. What a mess.
So we aren't talking about taking a CC-licensed image and transforming it (size, format) because that clearly should preserve the licence. We're taking something that wasn't released (so we thought) -- the raw file -- and transforming it in creative ways to produce two separate images. One small, one large. The large one contains things the small one doesn't and never could. And a judge must decide if the two are similar enough to be separately licensed. This isn't practical for Commons.
Is there any way we can consider the two JPGs as like two different performances of the same pop song? Same music, same artists, same lyrics but even if the two performances sounded pretty similar, surely they are considered separate works? Similarly the two JPGs have the same RAW file but each time I export to JPG that's a different "performance"? Because, mathematically and physically, those two JPGs are not transforms of each other -- they are derived from something else. -- Colin (talk) 10:50, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
If we accept this, then we're accepting that PD-Art is not a valid license. In the US, Corel v. Bridgeman is very clear; just because Bridgeman physically took a picture and turned it into a JPG does not give it a separate copyright from the painting. Lighting levels and noise reduction clearly don't create a new copyright. And copyright is clearly an equivalence set; if two photos of a painting don't have separate copyright from a painting, then they don't have separate copyright from each other.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:40, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Now there is also a short thread about this problem at en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Your_license_may_applicable_for_your_original_work. --Túrelio (talk) 20:36, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Licensing files, not works[edit]

I think we should find or create a licence that covers the file, not the underlying copyright work. This is similar to how stock photography sites work and how to-consumer licensing works. When you buy a DVD, you don't gain any rights to the film stock in the studio warehouse and the Blu-ray that comes along later. This gives artists the control over what they are giving away. They may choose to give away their raw files or high-resolution originals if they want, but they may also choose to give away a thumbnail, cropped or edited version of the original. At the end of the day, Commons is a repository of free-to-use files that can be freely reused. It does not need stronger rights than that. -- Colin (talk) 13:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment As an emergency measure, I have commented out the section "Lower quality images" from Commons:Flickr files. I think that we need a way to be able to license lower quality versions without licensing the higher quality version, but it can cause lots of unwanted consequences if people follow potentially incorrect information. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:05, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I support Colin's suggestion. I think WMF is established enough to create an "own license"; no need to depend CC or provide external links on every file we are hosting. Jee 15:44, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
It is my nature as a lawyer to never say never. However, I can pretty safely say that WMF will never write its own license for any reason, short of a complete catastrophe on CC's part. The cost is high in several ways: not just the time to us of writing the license, but the cost to others to read and understand our license; the cost of figuring out how it interoperates with CC, etc. And the benefit is dubious: I don't see the solution offhand, but I'm pretty confident we can find better ways of addressing this problem. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I too would rather avoid this situation but the conclusions CC have come to are quite surprising to many people, including presumably, the author's of some of CC's publicity material. I see from your user page that you "help protect Wikimedia's users". Well there's a bunch of contributors to Wikipedia and Commons who I suspect may be rather shocked to learn they've given away a licence to their source copyright work, and not the little JPG they thought they were donating to Wikipedia. Is this development surprising to WMF? We have lots of commercial images that are downsized -- is this the end of that practice? -- Colin (talk) 19:28, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
Can you elaborate on "a bunch" and "lots of"? Are there any hard numbers there? One of the many ways that I protect users is by weighing costs and benefits across all users, and not creating new costs for everyone to handle very specific situations for a small number. From what I've seen here, this is one of those situations, but perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with the scope of this practice on commons.
To explain to you a bit the costs from my side, the three recent public license drafting processes I've been involved with all took two years (give or take a few months), and the one I led for Mozilla was the only one that didn't have at least two nearly-full-time lawyers on it. And none of those involved translation. There are then ongoing costs, because you have to answer questions about the license for essentially the rest of time. And, again, that's just the cost to the Foundation- there is also a cost to image uploaders (literally reading more licenses, and making the paradox of choice problem worse) as well as to image users (again, yet another license to parse, understand, and comply with). -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
It would certainly be worth investigating before starting any process. I'd start by looking at modern photographic images with OTRS tickets that are less than a few MP in size -- people don't donate small pictures just to save disk space on Commons. They donate small pictures because that's all they are willing to donate. More fool them, it seems. -- Colin (talk) 22:22, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
If WMF does seriously consider writing its own licenses, I hope they'll also look for other areas where it could be useful to take a different approach from the CC licenses. For instance, CC licenses have only a weak copyleft property (i.e. Share-Alike is restricted to derivatives), so a media license that provides strong copyleft could be a useful option. --Avenue (talk) 11:28, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
That is not going to happen. Such an image would require the enclosing article to have the same (or similar) strong copyleft. It couldn't be incorporated into Wikipedia, which only has weak-copyleft for its contents. This is probably why there are no strong copyleft image licences -- nobody could use them other than a few purists. -- Colin (talk) 12:01, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
You are too quick to dismiss the possibility of such a license. I don't believe it's impossible to have a license that allows typical Wikipedia image usage (i.e. with the components being under various free licenses, in the public domain or allowed under copyright exemptions like fair use or freedom of panorama) while disallowing unfree uses (e.g. to illustrate a news article that is not freely licensed). CC have shown no real interest in this sort of approach, but if we're considering developing our own license, I think this would be a worthwhile feature to aim for. --Avenue (talk) 03:12, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Avenue, but you failed to see the strong relation with CC and WMF. We can't expect anything breaking that relation, now. Jee 03:25, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I did say "if". I wasn't expressing an opinion about how likely the WMF is to start developing new licenses (although LVilla's comments above do suggest that it's unlikely to happen anytime soon). I was just saying that if they do so, there are probably other problems with the CC licenses that would be worth trying to fix. --Avenue (talk) 09:47, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
To be clear, it really doesn't have much to do with the relationship between CC and the WMF. The open licensing community has long recognized that writing new licenses is generally a very bad idea unless there is a very, very compelling reason for it. I see no evidence provided here that this is one of those (very rare) circumstances. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
To be clear, a licence where pretty much everyone reacts with surprise when they find out what they have in fact been licensing for free, is "a very bad idea". There are thousands of very compelling reasons on Commons. I just tried "higher resolution" "contact me" on Google and got 51,600 results. And that's just one possible phrasing. -- Colin (talk) 23:17, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I asked you to provide numbers earlier for "pretty much everyone" and you declined; I'm still happy to see such evidence if you have it. I agree that 50K+ files with that sort of text is a lot (though still less than 0.3% of the files on commons), so that's the start of some evidence; I'm happy to see more. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 23:40, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
(And on thinking about it some more, I realize this may have come off as dismissive: that's not my intent; clearly 50K pictures + the German contribution is a lot of pictures, and I'll do what I can to help understand the situation and see if we can find a good solution. It's just highly unlikely that a new license is the right solution.) -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
  • You could impose extra restrictions to a licence like this: "You are free to use this work under the terms of CC-BY-SA 3.0, provided that you use the work on a Friday. However, you are not allowed to use the work at all on other days of the week." This would presumably create a valid Friday-only permission. Would it be possible to simply create a new wrapping template to use instead of {{self}} which places a similar restriction upon the work which basically says that only those parts of the work which are included in the file are licensed, whereas all rights are reserved for all other parts of the work? I'm not sure exactly how to word this, though. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:49, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Creative Commons are arguing on the basis of copyright law, and about what a copyrighted "work" is. I'm not sure that "licensing a file" is even possible, if copyright law doesn't consider an arbitrary file to be a "work". --ghouston (talk) 21:17, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
    • Licensing a file is definitely possible. For example, I could create a file, give it to you and give you permission to use the file as-is, without modification. I have thereby only licensed a file, but not any other copies of the same work. It might get more difficult if you also want to permit modifications. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:57, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not convinced, since you don't need a licence for the file, you need a licence for the underlying work that's actually copyrightable. I could create files all day with dd if=/dev/urandom of=file39483 count=10, but they aren't copyrightable. I guess you could give a licence to a work such as a photograph with a condition that it's not displayed other than as a bitmap at less than 300x300 px resolution, but how does that work for a CC licence that allows derivatives? --ghouston (talk) 22:28, 19 December 2013 (UTC)
If you chose to apply a file-based licence to a non-copyrightable work then a re-user could choose to ignore your licence -- they don't need it. Someone offering a file-based licence to something they aren't allowed to (for example, they don't own the copyright or haven't got a licence themselves) would be breaking some law just the same as someone trying to offer a file under CC when they don't have the copyright. I'm interested in digital works here, so an image would have a given resolution -- the reuser could downsample/upsample if they wished but what they can't do is try to apply the licence to an actual higher-resolution copy of mine. I don't think a file-based license would work for photographic prints on paper. Most traditional licences are not transferable -- the stock library licences an image to New Scientist magazine but you can't scan the photo out of the magazine and re-use it. I think a digital free file-based licence would have similar limitations once out of the digital domain. Something to think about. -- Colin (talk) 09:27, 20 December 2013 (UTC)
      • Licensing a physical thing is arguably easier than the mess CC seem to have created. Tying the licence terms along with whatever some country decides is a "copyright work" seems to have been a mistake and makes CC much harder to use imo. Stock image sites licence files all the time. And any time you buy a music file from Amazon or iTunes you have a licence of that file and that file only. So file-based licensing is the norm. Adding "share-alike" terms makes things more complicated but is something of a free-culture "thou shalt be as holy and giving as I am" kind of mindset imo. To be honest, CC is more than I need but CC0 gives away more than I want to (if it is also "copyright work"-based). Something closer to "Take this file. Do what you like with it. A credit would be appreciated." is closer to where I'm at. -- Colin (talk) 22:18, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

On this point, one thing others have correctly pointed out above but that I want to reiterate is that this is not a difference between CC licenses and other copyright licenses. Copyright licenses will function this way unless its drafters have deliberately taken some unusual effort to make the license apply more narrowly than the applicable copyright laws would otherwise dictate, and I can't think of any who have found it desirable to do that, as it would have other undesirable effects.

When you buy from Amazon or iTunes, you are generally entering into a contract with them, in which they may specify all kinds of terms and restrictions that go beyond simple copyright licensing and are particular to an agreement between a buyer and seller. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 00:28, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

There is a difference between a licence and a contract but why should a licence necessarily be a "copyright licence". Why can't it concern solely the file it is attached to. What would legally be problematic with a simple licence that let the recipient do what they want with the file but says nothing about any rights to the copyright work in general. -- Colin (talk) 15:13, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Kat, can you be more specific about the "undesirable effects" you believe a narrower license would have? Do you know if these have been discussed publicly before?
Colin, while I don't see so far why a license for a specific file or resolution would be impossible to devise, we currently define free content and free licenses in our project scope and licensing policies using the external w:Definition of Free Cultural Works. As its name suggests, that definition primarily addresses works of authorship, not other objects such as files or images in a specific resolution. (It does specify that works made available in digital form should be in a free format, and requires that source data or files are also made available, but those are the only exceptions I can see.) So even if we did have a file-based license available, I think that would fall outside Commons' scope as currently defined. Of course our scope is not set in stone, and nor is the Definition of Free Cultural Works, but my point is that the problem here goes beyond simply the lack of a suitable file-based license. --Avenue (talk) 00:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
A separate license for 'files' isn't needed and just creates confusion. As a photographer I control the commercial use in two ways 1) with the NC license which is good enough to fix most of the problems, and 2) with physical restriction to anyone's access to high resolution files. Size isn't important because if I put up a 1200px image on flickr that is plenty good enough for most commercial usages. Reproduction technology is advanced enough to be able to get perfectly good results at a little over 100dpi. Size is immaterial to reuse. If it is non-commercial it doesn't matter whether the reuser used a 30meg image or a 30K image. Similarly if the reuse is commercial it again doesn't matter whether the reuser had a 30meg image or a 30K image. It is the commercial use that is the issue not the size of the file. John lilburne (talk) 00:19, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

What now?[edit]

In my understanding, Wikimedia Commons has to deal with two new informations.

  1. Creative Commons interpretes the free licence as applying to higher res image files even if only a lower res file has explicitly been released under a Creative Commons licence.
  2. Creative Commons forbids the use of the CC licence logo and trademark if the copyright holder adds restricting conditions.

How will the Wikimedia Commons community actually deal with this information?
In regard to point #1: Our project sites that ask institutions or professional photographers, film makers etc. for donations, and Wikimedians who ask for donations to Wikimedia Commons should from now on explicitly point on Creative Common's interpretation of their licences in regard to the low res versus high res issue (though there is no court decision known which confirms this interpretation). Even more critical is imho the question how we deal with low res donations that have already been made to Wikimedia Commons. Do we actively inform these donators? Do we give them an choice to withdraw the affected files from Wikimedia Commons, as they donated them under false information given by us?
In regard to point #2: What does the Creative Commons trademark policy mean for files that are uploaded at Wikimedia Commons under additonally restricting conditions, like licensing explicitly only the low res file, or i.e. requiring attribution directly at the image (instead of reasonable to the medium or means in the licence text)? Do we have to remove these files from Wikimedia Commons as they violate the CC trademark policy? --Martina talk 18:50, 20 December 2013 (UTC)/19:51, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

It's not Commons' interpretation! Wikimedia doesn't give legal advice. You copy a legal license from Creative Commons, the interpretation is up to you, them, the judge, the phase of the moon, but not anybody here. We can warn them but we don't have to take a position about it except for how we would handle third-party uploads of versions they say are copyrighted, which probably is not going to win out on account of the legal uncertainty, no?
It may however be time to reconsider more prominent display or even a newfound acceptance of other options - public domain, GFDL, CC-by-NC, for example. (Not that I know how those are affected by this!) Wnt (talk) 00:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
You might want to notice that CC-BY-NC would be affected as well, since the resolution issue is not tied to a certain CC licence. It might be worthwhile to indicate to CC that placing it in the "business model" section is likely to cause ambiguous interpretations. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 00:57, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Regarding Martina's point 1: if it's established that someone has uploaded a low-res version under a CC license while reasonably believing that high-res versions wouldn't be covered, I'd hope that we'd reject uploads of any higher-res versions than they uploaded. It might be worth creating a template that can be added to the file description page to indicate this.
I'm not aware of any Commons policies or guidelines that recommend licensing just a low-res version, so I don't think we generally have a responsibility to delete the low-res version. Incorrect advice from individuals doesn't bind the community. I wouldn't object to allowing courtesy deletions for such files though (or at least ones uploaded before this issue came to light).
Advising previous uploaders about the issue seems like it could be helpful, once we've agreed how such images should be handled, although identifying them might not be entirely straightforward. I agree we should point potential future uploaders towards CC's new FAQs when they seem relevant.
On point 2: possible violations of CC's trademark policy seem like a matter between CC and the person who may have violated their policy. I don't see why we'd want to get involved. Such conditions wouldn't usually invalidate the modified license, and I think we need only decide if the conditions are so restrictive as to make the license unfree. --Avenue (talk) 14:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't like it when Commons suggests users/photographers can happily break their contracts and as long as it isn't the contract you have with WMF we don't give a damn, and might even encourage it. It is moot because if we attached at CC logo or name next to a licence that was no longer allowed to be called CC or use their logo, then CC could ask Commons to take the page down. It is a really bad idea anyway. We need clarity and simplicity. The "CC BY-SA" abbreviation in an attribution statement offers a very simple way of knowing if a licence is re-usable. -- Colin (talk) 14:57, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Kat for the explanation. Now it is clear (for me, at least) that this new information is applicable to all existing public licenses and they are not going to narrow it. So what we can and should do is to educate our contributors. Jee 03:01, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

This new interpretation of CC licensing on behalf of CC goes contrary to what was the prevailing understanding until today and of what we told licensors when they asked about. This means, at least for my jurisdiction, that past CC licensing may be generally invalid or at least contestable, as the license was given based on wrong information and thereby the licensor did not willing agree to what the true extent of the license is. Bad, bad, bad.
As I am not convinced that this interpretation is true also for GFDL, the unvoluntary "re-licensing" of GFDL-licensed works to CC-BY-SA on behalf of the WMF now appears in an even worse light than previously. --Túrelio (talk) 10:22, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

This interpretation by CC is completely wrong so we should do nothing to follow them in this wrong way. There's simply no correct way to update a freely licensed (like cc-by-2.0) 800x600 image with a 4000x3000 version found elsewhere under all rights reserved. The higher res version is to be considered a different work where the author in this case has not offered a free license. Plus nobody is able to verify this highres version is based on the free lowres version, they may look similar but may still be based on different source material. --Denniss (talk) 11:14, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
BTW I seriously doubt this strange interpretation by CC would hold if a copyright holder starts a lawsuit vs someone using a non-free highres version based on this CC interpretation. The intentions of the copyright holder have always been valued higher than a misinterpreted license text (regardless who misinterprets it) so if the clear intention by the copyright holder was to release only a lowres version under a nonrestricted free license, anything else is a copyright violation. --Denniss (talk) 13:38, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
CC didn't said the license of 800x600 image is applicable to its 4000x3000 version; they only said it is applicable if they are not eligible for separate copyright. They do not give advice for a particular case (as part of their policy); so we have to interpret how it is applicable here. We need a case example. In my opinion, a 90% downsampled image have only one pixel out of ten pixel in the original. While cropping we remove pixels from a part; while downsampling, we remove the same number of pixels uniformly. Anyway those pixels contains a lot of creative information.
Another difficulty to distinguish low resolution and original work in a print use. We can easily distinguish a digital version; but reuse can be in any media format. Jee 14:09, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I think that Denniss made a good point. If this interpretation does not hold before a judge, that's the only real thing which matters. Yann (talk) 14:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's a fair point (also made by others before), but he also made one very arguable point - that the licensor's intention will prevail. Jim argues the opposite above - that "ambiguity is construed against the drafter". --Avenue (talk) 14:31, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, see Contra proferentem and Ignorantia juris non excusat (I'm no lawyer). I think Denniss's statement needs a wee "cite needed" tag. Particularly now that CC have "clarified" their intention wrt the licence text in their FAQ. I'm fully behind those that think this interpretation is unhelpful, make no sense and has terrible consequences for CC being usable for commercial work. But my opinions don't count, and we would be wrong to suggest folk are safe to upload their downsampled images just because pretty much all users here disagree with CC. They have presumably consulted their legal bods. Commons needs a licence that gives clear instructions to both the donator and the re-user that are internationally unambiguous because our amateur and free situation means neither are protected by a team of lawyers nor by insurance. I'm also concerned that there doesn't appear to be any statement yet from CC that they have up-to-now mislead us (with their publicity material and well-known use on Wikipedia). If this is their original interpretation then their licence text needs some work to clarify it (CC4 is even less likely to be interpreted as they do because it talks of "licensed materials"). Clearly they didn't consult well enough with the Wikipedia/Commons community when drafting this licence. -- Colin (talk) 14:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

(ec)To be more explicit about what I said above: Commons isn't likely to accept higher-resolution works found under copyright due to COM:PRP; it's not the general rule to play dice with debatable and untested theories. Commons isn't in the business of giving legal advice, but like every other poor sap posting so much as a 140-character comment online we make legal decisions every time we twiddle with the site. Wnt (talk) 14:48, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
You might want to look at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Trabalhos.jpg then, which started this all off. And although we don't officially give legal advice, we have made suggestions that are now ill-advised. See this, as just one example. I reckon there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of images donated to Wikipedia on this misunderstanding. And even if Commons decides to "do the right thing" for the donator by not hosting the larger versions, the CC FAQ seems to imply someone else could reuse the larger version. So we are "doing the wrong thing" by not warning people that when they "upload a file" they are really releasing the entire copyright work under CC. -- Colin (talk) 15:03, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I'd guess that it'd be in the tens of thousands. The biggest group I've found so far is the 606 low-res images donated by Erling Mandelmann. --Avenue (talk) 23:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I missed Colin's post in the above section giving a 51K figure for one particular wording search. Now I suspect over 100K is not unlikely. --Avenue (talk) 00:42, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I'll admit I've only skimmed this entire discussion, but as it seems to me, what we have here is simply the opinion. of one lawyer, not any kind of law or court ruling. Per COM:PRP, there is certainly significant doubt that this opinion would hold water in an actual court. Hence we should not apply it. And indeed, the opinion appears absurd according to common sense. Downscaling an image removes information, and that removed information might surely not be released under a free license. It is similar to a text where you remove every other paragraph and release the rest under a free license - just because somebody has found the other paragraphs, that doesn't make these free. darkweasel94 20:21, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it is just "one lawyer". This is CC's licence and I guess they have consulted their legal team and come up with this response. I can't understand it myself, but I'd say they were more likely to be legally correct about this than anyone here. They seem pretty sure this is how copyright licences work -- you licence the copyrighted work, not the file. And the FAL looks to be similar. Don't get me started on the GFDL, you have to jump through language hoops to even attempt to apply it to image files never mind "copyright works" so all bets are off with that one imo. -- Colin (talk) 21:00, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, but in every lawsuit about a statute's interpretation, there will be one lawyer (or legal team) that was wrong. :) I would say that the licensed work simply does not include some information that is in higher-resolution copies. I do think there remains significant doubt as that term is meant in COM:PRP, and we shouldn't apply it to what we have here, but we definitely shouldn't keep telling people that they can release a lower-resolution copy but not higher-resolution copies, simply because that isn't settled. darkweasel94 21:08, 21 December 2013 (UTC)
The closure of Trabalhos.jpg as "keep" prevents us from voting there currently, but given the amount of confusion on this issue I don't think that one formal Keep vote with some back and forth discussion beneath it was sufficient to close the case. It seems best to unclose the debate - even if the main issue ends up getting argued in an RfC or something, it would be better to leave it unresolved for that span. It's not that I'm above welcoming deceitfully obtained content to the public sector if the law allows for it (after all, think how much we have lost to deceit and corruption!) but I believe that what you do should at least either be legal or defensible ... you never want to land in court feeling embarrassed for what you've done. Wnt (talk) 04:43, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
First, it was closed before (and prompted) this discussion. Second, opening another discussion on essentially the same issue as we're discussing here makes no sense to me. Let's sort out what to do in general here, then go apply whatever consensus we've reached to individual works. --Avenue (talk) 08:17, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree with darkweasel that we should not apply it to other cases immediately. But I have no doubt on the accuracy of CC's conclusion. As Diane said, "they've concluded on the following three new FAQs having consulted with our affiliates." "Our affiliates" clearly means more than one legal team. Further, I don't think they will update their FAQ without arriving into a firm opinion. They took more than twenty days to answer my question; another point for the integrity of their opinion.
Although their opinion is against my conclusions, I think they are right now. In my opinion their first FAQ is very important: "Although CC licenses get attached to tangible works (such as photos and novels), the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material." Forget the part of digital copy of a photo. How we can (or a court can) distinguish a print from a low resolution and from a high resolution unless we print in large A0 papers? See, these licenses are not defined for a particular types of works or for a particular publishing medium. They are designed for all existing and forthcoming mediums. ( Sorry; no more time to participate here, before Christmas.) Jee 05:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, and if I downscale an image, I have removed some of the licensed material. If I downscale it to 50%, I've removed every fourth pixel from the material I license. The same would apply to printing, there'a concept of resolution there as well (en:dots per inch). And it's not at all impossible to prove that the copy somebody has published is impossible to derive from the material I've licensed and that one has to use a higher-resolution copy. For example, if a certain small text in the photo's background is not legible in the licensed version, but is legible both in the full-resolution version and the version the reuser used, the conclusion is trivial. darkweasel94 09:50, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

Previous Commons interpretation[edit]

I see some odd interpretations here, so I should just throw this out to make sure we agree on what we thought the law was.
  1. If a photographer takes a 3000x3000 image with great artistic skill, that is a copyrighted work.
  2. If the same or a different photographer uses an image reduction program to reduce the resolution of the first image, traces it out on a piece of paper, takes a second photo meant to closely resemble the first one, etc. that is a derivative work of the first work.
  3. Certain methods of resolution reduction (or increase) may lack originality for copyright: for example, cutting out three of four pixels, creating a jpg image, taking a simple photo of the evenly illuminated 2-D original for purposes of replication (PD-Art). In these cases only the original copyright restricts reproduction of the derivative work -- nonetheless, the derivative work is a new work. In other words, when someone uploads a work to Commons, we expect what we receive to be the work. We don't expect that we are receiving a ghost work full of unseen cropped pixels and margins that we can't see but need to take into account when we consider what we can or can't do with it.
  4. The owner of the 3000x3000 image can license it as CC and those rights apply to all works derived from it.
  5. The owner of a 1000x1000 derivative work produced by any trivial means, such as throwing out 8 of 9 pixels, can license that as CC, and those rights apply only to the 1000x1000 derivative work and things derived from it.
  6. The person who receives the 1000x1000 derivative work is free to make further derivative works of it under CC, even by increasing the resolution to 3000x3000 by bicubic sampling, or by using an advanced artificial intelligence program to predict the shape of every leaf and blade of grass. In some cases this may be difficult or impossible to tell from the original 3000x3000 image. Nonetheless it is permissible provided that the enhanced-resolution image does not literally copy the original 3000x3000 work's originality, i.e. its photographically obtained pixels.
Are we agreed that this is what we had expected the law to be interpreted as? Wnt (talk) 17:31, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Uh, no. The copyright holder of the 1000x1000 derivative work, if they are not the same person as the copyright holder of the original one, surely can't license it in any way without permission of the first - and we only need the second person's permission if their changes are eligible for copyright, otherwise the original copyright holder's permission is sufficient. But yes, if you receive a 1000x1000 pixel work under a CC license, you can do with it what you want, including increasing its size to 3000x3000 and possibly running some kind of artificial intelligence on it to decrease the problems with sharpness that normally arise during upscaling. darkweasel94 17:40, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
By "owner" I meant to imply that he had been given full rights to copy and license that 1000x1000 image. In fact, for this discussion, he generally is the same person as owns the 3000x3000 work; the point is that we expect these to be two different things that a person can license separately, even though there was no extra originality in creating the lower-resolution work. Wnt (talk) 17:49, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes. But since downsampling does not create a new copyright, if you have a license for the 3000x3000 work, you also have one for the 1000x1000 work, regardless of who did the downsampling. darkweasel94 18:06, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Indeed, and if we take the CC FAQ information at face value then the converse is true as well: if you have a license for the 1000x1000 work, you also have one for the 3000x3000 work. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:06, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Only if you are able to prove this 1000x1000 version was made via downscaling from the 3000x3000. Note this is only a usage right given by the copyright holder. If the usage right under this given CC license extends only to the 1000x1000 version (as specified by the copyright holder) that's something we have to live with, gathering a higher res version from elsewhere is a copyright violation if this higher res version was not available under a comparable usage right. --Denniss (talk) 23:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
  • What are you basing that interpretation on? It is certainly not what the CC FAQ says on the matter. In fact they make is explicitly clear that if you want to restrict use of the higher res image you would have to do that contractually. The license affords no protection to various file resolutions. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:43, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm confused about why you're talking about (the additions to) the CC FAQ, when Wnt's sub-thread here is talking about our previous interpretation of the situation. I've added a section header to split this sub-thread off, anyway, because I think it's a complete tangent to the "What now?" topic of the (previously) encompassing section. --Avenue (talk) 01:09, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
There's a good question for the current CC interpretation: Suppose a photographer took two photos - same tripod, same light metering, same f-stop, one after the other. He shot one at 3000x3000 and one at 1000x1000, and donated the low-res one to Commons. Would they say the CC license applies to the high-res photo? (If no, how is that different from downscaling post-click? If yes, what about if he took the photos on different days and they were just fairly similar?) Wnt (talk) 02:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I think the details of our previous understanding are less important. I supposed it was the file that was licensed and had no specific thoughts about the underlaying work. We probably had no common understanding about what constituted a separate work in copyright law. The change in interpretation is that that underlaying work now is of fundamental importance. --LPfi (talk) 09:44, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Consequences for German Bundesarchiv images?[edit]

Without having read the whole discussion: If I'm not mistaken, the huge image donation of the German Federal Archives - Commons:Bundesarchiv - was done under the impression that the CC-BY-SA license only applies to the lower-resolution files uploaded to Commons (for the images that are still under protection; some are PD). Though right now I can't find a Commons page where this is explicitly stated, there's an edit made by the Bundesarchiv's own account in the German Wikipedia's article about the Bundesarchiv containing an explanation to this end ("Für die Bilder, die das Bundesarchiv auf Wikimedia Commons unter CC-BY-SA zur Verfügung gestellt hat, ist daneben auch die gebührenfreie kommerzielle Nutzung dieser niedrig aufgelösten Fotos unter Einhaltung dieser Lizenzbedingungen möglich" - boldening by me). So, the question is: If the license was given under a wrong assumption, is the license not valid at all and do we need to delete all (non-PD) German Bundesarchiv images, which are very widely used in Wikipedia? Gestumblindi (talk) 19:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

As it was likely "our" side (WMDE?), who told them that such a licensing (CC only for lower resolution version) is possible, we are obliged 1) to notify them about this paradigmatic change, and 2) if they wish so, to delete all these images, as the agreement or "contract" to donate all these images only in the specified resolution under the CC license was based on a wrong information about a highly relevant fact and thereby is void, IMO. However, before doing so, WMDE should order a legal expertise about whether CC's statement is really true for copyright law of Germany and whether there is any legal "patch" to heal this, i.e. exclude higher resolution versions from CC licensing. --Túrelio (talk) 19:48, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree, WMDE should talk this over with the Bundesarchiv. I posted a pointer at the German Wikipedia's "Wikipedia Diskussion:Wikimedia Deutschland e. V." page and hope that Wikimedia Germany people are reading this. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:04, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree that someone from our movement (probably WMDE) should discuss this with the Bundesarchiv. Whether the license is actually void or not is a legal question that we at Commons might not be qualified to decide, but regardless, if someone from our side did mislead the Bundesarchiv about the possibility of low-res-only licensing, and if the Bundesarchiv wants us to remove all these images from Commons, then I think it would be appropriate to delete them. It wouldn't hurt to explore the possibility of a legal "patch", although I don't have much hope that this will be productive. --Avenue (talk) 20:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
It's not necessary or right for us to delete the images. The Bundesarchiv is a serious institution, they have lawyers, and when they sign a CC license that wording is between them and Creative Commons. We have the right under that license to host the pictures. We do not claim the right (because we're not sure we have it, or maybe even because we don't believe in it) to host the high-res versions, so we won't. But deleting the low-res versions serves no purpose. It doesn't un-sign the CC license. It doesn't prevent anyone who can guess that the low-res version was once licensed from pursuing the claim that he has the right to copy and use the high-res version. And we have to remember that our primary educational task of acquiring and holding pictures is worth something, and shouldn't be thrown aside on a gesture. The more we delete, the weaker we look, and the weaker we look the more people will feel contempt for us and try their hand at destroying us for fun and profit. Wnt (talk) 02:34, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
I think not deleting them if the Bundesarchiv requested we do so, in light of this clarification of the CC license, would be morally bankrupt. I suspect it would also hurt the reputation of the project and likely have long term consequences beyond what is already occurring. Saffron Blaze (talk) 06:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Deleting the low-res versions, if requested, and if we were in some way responsible for the Bundesarchiv misunderstanding the license's implications, would indeed serve a purpose (beyond simply doing what is IMO morally the right thing to do). It would demonstrate that the Commons community is willing to take some responsibility for the actions of its volunteers, when those are in line with the contemporary community consensus, and help convince other institutions that we do not speak out of both sides of our mouths whenever it's convenient. It's better to be thought incompetent than untrustworthy, IMO, and certainly better than to be thought of as both.
Of course it would be better if the Bundesarchiv chose not to request deletion, which is one reason why we should discuss the situation with them. This is a difficult situation, but given the options, I don't see deleting the images on request as making us look any weaker. --Avenue (talk) 07:14, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
If the Bundesarchiv, a federal institute subordinate to the Commissioner for Culture, releases 100,000 images under a free license, they can be expected to have read the license code. The license code hasn't changed. It's your risk as a licensor that courts may have a different interpretation of the terms than you have, and it's your risk if you believe someone else's interpretation. (In fact, by the way, absolutely nothing has changed. The opinion of CC lawyers populated through some FAQ is essentially irrelevant to the interpretation of the license code.) — Pajz (talk) 21:32, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
A less legalistic view might be more appropriate here. As you can see from this 2009 discussion, at 00:59, 31. Mär. 2009 (CEST) Mathias Schindler, who was one of the main players in deals with image donors such as Bundesarchiv AFAIK, stated expressedly that the CC-BY-SA license refers to the provided files. --Túrelio (talk) 22:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
A judge may consider the licence ambiguous. I don't know who they would side with in that case, opinions differ. But CC have "clarified" the ambiguity in their FAQ. Again, I don't know if this has any weight in law, but I doubt it. Morally, since we now know what CC think the licence should have said, we should no longer advise anyone to use CC for low-resolution images. -- Colin (talk) 22:17, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

We may need to prepare a standardized text for the more general case along with one for the various wikipedias if stuff starts to get deleted.Geni (talk) 20:54, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

We are far from that stage. We still need to verify whether CC's claim is legally correct in Germany, where this institution is based. --Túrelio (talk) 20:59, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Realistically they are going to be interested in the wider legal spectrum and I'm not sure we have the resources for that many test cases.Geni (talk) 21:58, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
In view of the so far near-to-Zero support from WMF, indeed. If it remains at that, then we have the moral duty to notify the image donors about the license "clarification" by CC and wait for their reaction. --Túrelio (talk) 22:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
WMF has been asked to do two things, as far as I know: (1) help understand the situation (which we did by informing CC about it, which was one of the factors that spurred CC to write the FAQ) and (2) write a new license (which I explained above is not a good option). I'm following the discussion, and as I said above, open to doing more, but I don't see a particularly good solution to the problem yet. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:57, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Old discussion[edit]

I found an interesting discussion at It seems that this issue is not completely new. Ruslik (talk) 19:52, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

I skimmed that. They refer to two even older discussions (though I didn't find any link). The discussion is similar to ours in that people keep using the downsampling lossmaking transformation example, which is irrelevant as there is no process beyond magic that an take base metals and transform them to gold just as one can't take a thumbnail and transform it to a poster. The CC folk have clarified their intent is that "the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material". Shame their actual licence doesn't say this as clearly and leaves open the ambiguity between work (concrete noun, thing, image file) and work (abstract noun, creative product regardless of form). And v4 just makes things even worse using "material" which is much more of a concrete noun, a thing. We are left with the untested problem of whether the high resolution image is the same "copyrightable work" as the thumbnail. Since nobody has tested this, and we fear it may vary from country to country, CC is completely useless for donating small image files. How can they leave such an important aspect of their licence ambiguous and uncertain? What kind of licence document relies on its FAQ in order to be clear? -- Colin (talk) 20:47, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
This is not so much a question of CC licensing, more one of underlying copyright law. Which means that it might even vary between countries, and there it might become really complicated. darkweasel94 21:01, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, one could argue, being aware of the underlying copyright law they have an obligation to address it in the license. Particularly because people around the world have been relying of CC licenses to make works freely available in lower resolution while retaining economic viability of the work itself. Saffron Blaze (talk) 21:44, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
The licence text was ambiguous and has been causing confusion for years, it seems, and most people I would reckon came to the wrong conclusion. Yes the CC licence only covers works that are copyrightable (which is governed by local laws) but what few people thought was that a single licence covers all items that are deemed to be the "same copyrightable work", which also varies by local laws. In CC4 they tried to make the licence more international by dropping "work" to avoid problems with scope. But they insist "licensed material" covers more than just "the thing this licence is attached to". They've really screwed up imo. This doesn't much matter with words in a Wikipedia article, which are the same words whether in Courier or Helvetica and 8pt or 12pt. But it certainly matters for audio visual works. They've got a licence who's ambiguous wording is only clarified in some FAQ few people will read. Just great. -- Colin (talk) 22:14, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
The analogous case for texts would be that if you license a text where every second paragraph (or word) is removed, you also license the original where these paragraphs/words are still there. I'm not sure this is CC's fault. If their interpretation is correct, it probably applies to all licenses, not just CC licenses. darkweasel94 22:31, 23 December 2013 (UTC)
Or to make a more realistic analogy: if you've allowed free distribution of the first chapter of a novel you've written, you've released copyright on the entire etext. Wnt (talk) 20:02, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
That's more analoguous to cropping, which this doesn't seem to affect. darkweasel94 20:58, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Incidentially I've found an upload from 2012, in which the uploader added a note about restricting the CC license to the uploaded resolution: File:Suworow Gedenktafel Panixerpass 01 12.jpg. Seems a few people were already aware of the CC mess. --Túrelio (talk) 22:26, 23 December 2013 (UTC)

Darkweasel94, this affects cropping too. I don't think your "remove every second paragraph" example works. Analogies aren't particularly useful wrt copyright because copyright cannot be worked out by rational means. -- Colin (talk) 21:49, 25 December 2013 (UTC)
It affects cropping only to the extent that the cropped out portion would not merit separate copyright protection. For example, CC-licensing a photo of a beach scene with half of the featureless sky cropped off might well extend that license to the uncropped photo. IMO it's very clear that this wouldn't apply for an entire book when just the first chapter was freely licensed, except in unusual cases where the rest of the book was entirely repetitive of the first chapter or was strictly uncreative (e.g. directory listings or other factual appendices). --Avenue (talk) 12:25, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Avenue, I think you are applying common sense. Stop it now :-). If I take a frame from a film or the first chapter from a book, what is the "work of copyright"? It is the film or the book. Disney can't scan a frame from Fantasia at either low-resolution thumbnail size or at a bazillion DPI and claim this is a new work copyright 2013. If they can't generate a new copyright work simply by scanning then neither can we create a new copyright work simply by downsizing or cropping (regardless of whether the crop removed interesting or "featureless" bits). You keep looking at it backwards, thinking that given a first chapter, clearly more original text is a "new work". Unless this is Dickens publishing his book in chapters over months, books are typically published in one go and thus are one copyright work. Same with our RAW files. Some things, like movies, are composed of several copyright works (e.g., the music soundtrack may have its own prior copyrights for each song). The illustrations in a children's book may be done at one time by one publisher and so aren't tied to the written text. The fact that CC have chosen to tie their licence so intrinsically with the copyright work means the meaning of the licence varies from country to country and also relies on completely untested (and possibly never to be tested) legal questions. They could have instead stated what the licence applies to in an unambiguous manner. Or left it to the licensor to state what it applies to. But they haven't left us that option. Clearly they want users to be fully-signed-up members of the Free Culture Club. And that might be find for many of us Commons folk. But commercial donors tend to have a different mindset. Like with our purity against "non-commercial" restrictions, I think this purity here will deny us future commercial and cultural donations. -- Colin (talk) 12:51, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I am trying to apply a degree of common sense, and I'd agree that this can can be risky in legal situations. But I don't agree with your position (if I understand you correctly) that we must therefore avoid taking any decisions that do not have an absolutely firm legal basis. For one thing, deciding when there's a firm legal basis for our actions itself requires the application of common sense, so I think your position is essentially inconsistent. For another, we have relied on applying some common sense to legal issues as long as I've been active here. Yes, this leaves us open to being wrong on occasion, but I think the alternative would be to essentially shut down Commons.
That's not to say we can't do better in identifying and documenting the legal uncertainties under which we operate. We can, and we should.
Your position on the definition of a "work" seems to directly contradict Kat Walsh's post above, where she states that CC licenses can be applied to parts of a whole work when these parts contain independently copyrightable expression. What reasons do you have to think she is wrong? --Avenue (talk) 23:42, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm joking with you Avenue. I tried to understand the logic behind the licence and got that wrong. Turns out the licence is founded on copyright so, wrt logic, all bets are off. I'm now trying to understand it in terms of copyright. Kat only says one can licence parts of a work if these parts are (or can be made) independent from a copyright point of view. The soundtrack of a movie (the pop songs or original orchestral works) are considered independent. But a novel and its first chapter are not independent, and a movie and a single frame are not independent as far as I can see. But a medical textbook consisting of separate chapters by separate authors overseen by a group of editors, now that is something I can see being composed of separate copyright expressions. I can't see how cropping an image (whether one removes interesting or boring bits) makes a new copyrightable work, so the two are linked wrt any CC licence. Kat hasn't responded further to our questions but her comment on the complexity and variation among international experts/laws shows this is a right old mess we could have done without. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure if underlying copyright law would have allowed CC to create a license that applies to anything else than a "work". Terms like "file" aren't terms of copyright law as far as I know. darkweasel94 20:30, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
Copyright owners can slice and divide the licenses any way they like. If their interpretation is right (which dismays me if it is), and they want "work" to pertain to the original work without any way to limit things, they are absolutely not letting copyright owners do what is within their rights. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
I guess the original licences like GNU/GFDL/CC were set up to challenge copyright with something else (e.g., copyleft). So they spoke about the copyright work. As you say, copyright owners can make a licence or contract to cover their work, or a copy/instance of their work, and impose whatever terms they like. Whether such a licence is suitable for Commons is another matter. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The case raised by Túrelio raises a question... are we going to accept such restrictions being placed on re-use? Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:54, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
I believe the relevant policies (COM:SCOPE and COM:L) rely on an external definition of free content that is expressed in terms of the work, not specific files or resolutions. I think either we need to modify our policies to clearly allow specific versions of a work, or we should follow what's written there and delete files with such licensing restrictions. I would prefer that we modify our policies, but this might not be entirely straightforward - e.g. would we accept license restrictions that prohibit format shifting? We should probably also work to change the external definition, but I suspect that will be a slow process. --Avenue (talk) 23:42, 26 December 2013 (UTC)
I would personally like a comment from User:Eloquence wrt how the Definition of Free Cultural Works fits with CC-as-clarified, file-based licences, and restrictions on CC or other standard licences. A licence that is restricted to the file-uploaded, but says nothing (or little) about the underlying copyright work might not meet this Definition. And this would influence the kind of debate Commons has. Personally, I don't see it likely that Commons will deviate from that Definition. So this may be just one more limitation (like no-NC) that we have to accept. It would probably be simplest if Commons went the hard-line route and insisted on a Free licence for the copyright work -- our job then would be simply to warn anyone uploading a file that the licence they use is attached to the copyright work, not the file, and to seriously consider the consequences of that should there be other forms of that copyright work that you don't wish to donate for free. If we went down the file-based / instance-based approach, then I'd be keen on a "do what you like with it" freedom on the file (which would allow upsampling/downsampling/cropping/format changing/derivative works/etc). Imposing any restrictions on what one can do with the file (other than non-copyright issues like personality rights) would be disallowed. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

New discussion on cc-community[edit]

There is a new related discussion at cc-community Jee 04:58, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Shameless Bump to prevent archiving. Any new info from any side? --Denniss (talk) 10:07, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
No; it seems the CC people and WMF legal prefer to keep silence. Do we have anything to do or accept the new CC FAQ as a possibility (even though not sure) and try to make provisions to warn contributors about this? I think it is better to inform our contributors that there is such a possibility that their original works may also affected by the public license they offered for a limited version. :) Jee 10:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
A constructive approach would be to start drafting a document that explains what is considered "the same work" and what is not (and what is moot). We should document some sort of shared understanding by us, Wikimedia community and Commons community (and Wikimedia Foundation), at least on typical, clear-cut cases. As Kat Walsh mentioned there [4], CC only can say "if two files are considered the same work, then ...". They cannot provide criteria to judge copyright-wise identity of materials. In the meantime, I started Commons:Same work as something minimal. whym (talk) 15:06, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
A good attempt. Thanks. Jee 15:38, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I just created a template that can be used as a friendly warning to the re-users and helps to protect the interest of the contributors. I think it serves as a middle ground without breaking the CC license as it doesn't add any additional requirements. (posted at Commons talk:Same work too.) 15:43, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Jee, as you know CC does not accept the validity of a restriction placed on a CC license. Such restrictions may be ignored as could your template. They go on to say that a license with any additional restrictions cannot be called a CC license (despite their restriction against DRM). Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:53, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
That's not an additional restriction placed by someone else (not permitted indeed although we tend to not see it in image compilations, permitting a -by image to be used under by-sa license), it's definition of usage rights (this resolution and lower but not anything you find elsewhere and assume it to be a highres master of the lower res image) installed by the copyright holder (and not a third party like CC). --Denniss (talk) 23:15, 17 January 2014 (UTC)
Jee's template seems somewhat contradictory to me, in that it starts by saying "this License is only applicable up to the highest resolution published here", but later only suggests this would apply "if they [the copies in different resolutions] can be considered two different works under the relevant copyright laws". So I don't think it would be clear enough to rely upon, if one wanted to restrict the licensing to a certain maximum resolution. If we accept CC's interpretation of their licenses, such a restriction would indeed seem to be an additional restriction over what the CC licenses allow (although this could depend on details of the files involved, applicable copyright law, etc).
CC do not allow additional restrictions to be imposed over a CC license by anyone, whether they are the author/licensor or someone else, unless they no longer call their license a CC license, and no longer even mention CC trademarks in connection with it.[5] So CC would presumably be unhappy with any attempt to restrict the license to particular fixed copies or resolutions of the work. Whether we want to start policing violations of CC's trademarks is a separate issue. --Avenue (talk) 03:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Yes; I chose the words carefully not to beak the CC terms. While applying a license to a "Material", one need not bothered about "Other materials" which may or may not available somewhere else. But it is the responsibility of the reuser to make sure whether they are identical or not if they found some "Similar looking material" somewhere else. (I have no plan to use that template; as I have no higher resolution versions so far. It is intended for people who have a difficlty to contribute further to Commons who are very professional and their contributions are very valuable here. Feel free to edit it to make it a "stable version".) Jee 03:39, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Well this was raised precisely for this reason. Either the restriction is a violation of CC terms and as such cannot be called a CC license or the restriction may be ignored. So if the former is true and the author does not wish to remove the restriction the CC trademarks need to be removed. If the the latter is the case the option should be given to the author to delete the file, remove the restriction or re-license it in a manner consistent with his/her wishes. In the last instance we may want to look at allowing custom licenses (insert chaos drama fest). Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:00, 18 January 2014 (UTC)
Hmm, we are doing serious copyright violations on one side, providing only bare minimum attribution in media use, still prefer to discourage people from protecting their rights. WMF may be just a "yes man" of CC; but we, the volunteers need not. Jee 06:39, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

I doubt that all this is true. I think the CC FAQ is wrong on this. Applying different licenses to different sizes of one work is common practice for photo agencies for decades in all countries. Contesting that one can provide separate licenses for differnt sizes (web-version to print version) would break up most of their business model. Unless I see serious doubt in their business model from reliable sources I'd think that providing seperate licenses is possible, and I would not believe what a small movement (CC) on the internet thinks on this topic. --Martin H. (talk) 10:12, 19 January 2014 (UTC)

Martin H., do you mean "...CC FAQ is right wrong on this"? Jee 10:30, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the note. In german syntax the verb doubt would apply to both statements. I corrected it by splitting it into two sentences. --Martin H. (talk) 15:38, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
  • All those stock photo agencies use license terms, or separate contractual agreements, that permit the segregation of various sizes to different price points. What CC has done is said they do not consider additional restrictions on their licenses to be valid. Moreover, they have said if you do find a way to apply a legal restriction then the license must not be called a CC license. Thus it is quite clear that CC will no longer support this common economic model for photographers. So while there are legal means to use licenses to continue to support this common economic model it does not mean CC are wrong in the interpretation of their own licenses. It would be foolhardy for any photographer to use a CC license when they want to use a two license model. CC want people to explore more open economic models. The photographic model they discuss here seems rather dubious to me Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:02, 19 January 2014 (UTC)
As Saffron notes, those stock agencies licensed an image file at a set resolution. What CC have said is that their intention is that CC is a licence for the "work of copyright" and not for a given copy of that work at a given size/quality. They have then waved their hands about and shrugged when the follow-on question is raised as to what difference in size/quality would constitute a different work of copyright. What many people on Commons assumed was that CC worked the same way as a stock photo licence/contract, and their own publicity material gives the impression it could. But it doesn't and this makes it useless for any pro photographer wishing to donate a limited copy of their copyright work, rather than donate the whole copyright work at full quality/resolution. -- Colin (talk) 11:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
  • It would also be very useful to know exactly what this means for CC-licensed photographs in the Nordic countries. Under Nordic copyright laws, photographs are normally not works. If the photographer meant that people should be able to use his photograph when he applied the CC licence, I would nevertheless assume that a court would rule that something has been licensed, although that something isn't a work. However, when we get into complex discussions such as whether two different images constitute the same work, then the situation looks very confusing and unclear if the photograph isn't a work in the first place. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:49, 20 January 2014 (UTC)
I think if this is one reason they removed "work" from CC4. The substitute "licensed material" is as-far-as-I-can-see a legal neologism (unlike "work") that could be interpreted quite openly. I had hoped that one could interpret it as "that file next to the licence, not some other file you found on the internet that looks similar" but they claim there is no intent to change the meaning. Since CC have regional legal advisers (and did have regional editions of the licence) then I suspect those advisers are the ones to ask. -- Colin (talk) 11:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)
Interestingly, Getty also use the term "Licensed Material" and define it as "Licensed Material means any still image, film or video footage, audio product, visual representation generated optically, electronically, digitally or by any other means, including any negatives, transparencies, film imprints, prints, original digital files, or any other product protected by copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights (my bold), which is licensed to Licensee by Getty Images under the terms of this Agreement. Any reference in this Agreement to the Licensed Material shall be to each individual item within the Licensed Material and also to the Licensed Material as a whole." So whether any difference in the stand of CC and Getty? Jee 11:36, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Shameless bump. It seems neither WMF nor WMDE are interested in this (as usual) but this requires qualified legal advice what to do with future and past uploads. --Denniss (talk) 09:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

If you don't want the section archived, then change 2014 into 2015 in the signature. It can easily be changed back from 2014 when/if it has been resolved. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:47, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
Or use {{DNAU}}. LX (talk, contribs) 19:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

A real case[edit]

A real case just came up: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Clyde River at Herron's Mills.jpg‎. What do we do with that? Yann (talk) 06:00, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

I pinged LVilla_(WMF) again. :) Jee 07:25, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
Reminder to everyone: Foundation typically can't weigh in on specific files, only general policies, because commenting on specific files risks making us liable for all copyright problems on the site, not just this one. (Unless we have received a DMCA request.) But we're looking to see what we can do. —LVilla (WMF) (talk) 02:09, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
LVilla we need WMF to weigh in on whether they consider file/copy-based licences to be "free" under the terms of the Definition of Free Cultural works or whether only copyright licences that cover the "work of copyright" are valid for Commons. We also need them to give a statement on whether they are prepared to host images with "licences" that clearly break the legal terms imposed by CC on the licensor (i.e., that they cannot add further restrictions which continuing to call it a "Creative Commons" licence or use the CC logos). It is possible, in my non-lawyery opinion, that WMF may be breaking the CC terms of use by displaying the logo and "Creative Commons" name on such pages. -- Colin (talk) 12:37, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

For possible future cases I suggest we treat a higher res version found elsewhere to be on the same CC license but with NC, ND or both restrictions (CC has done this too, see example further above). Unless WMF Legal comes up with a better solution. Still leaves the problem we can't confirm this larger version is just a higher res version of a lower res version under a commons-compatible cc license.--Denniss (talk) 11:17, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Do I understand that in the case you are offering the low res is a CC license and the hi-res is ARR but we will treat it as CC-NC or ND? What does that achieve? Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:27, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
CC wants them to have the same license but doesn't give clear instruction what "same" is. So the same license version as NC/ND fits their "same" license instruction + it's the same way they used for some of their own stuff. --Denniss (talk) 15:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Could someone please post a summary of this?[edit]

-mattbuck (Talk) 12:06, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

A user who claimed herself as the subject uploaded a 180 × 270 size to Commons with a CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Later Tuvalkin found a higher resolution file in Flickr and uploaded over it even though it was "all rights reserved". I made DR claiming COM:PRP as I believed the free license is only applicable to the small sized version. I further doubted the claim the the common user too as it is the only upload of her in Commons (but it is a different reason; not related to this discussion). Jameslwoodward closed the DR as kept, claiming "The image is apparently freely licensed here. The only issue is resolution. Although I could understand an argument that a much higher resolution version is a different image for copyright purposes, I think that is not the case. Therefore, I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license."
I made a request at CC community for clarification and CC forwarded it to their legal. Upon their opinion they made a clarification/update on their FAQ:
What do the terms and conditions of a CC license apply to?
Can I apply a CC license to low-resolution copies of a licensed work and reserve more rights in high-resolution copies?
but refused to explain further. What they said is everything in a license is defined on the basis of "copyright rules"; so if different resolution files are not eligible for "separate copyright"; the license for one version will be applicable to all other versions even though they are provided in a different place like Flickr. They said further, "only judiciary can say whether different resolution files are separately copyright eligible". WMF legal also refused to comment on this matter. :( Jee 12:44, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I should add that, as I uploaded the higher resolution version of File:Trabalhos.jpg, I thought I was merely applying routine policy, and I understood (misunderstood, perhaps), the all-rights-reserved license in Flickr to be not a way to protect photo detail from loosing copyright protection but simply a statement that the contributer/subject wishes to have her material available for reuse from Commons but not from Flickr (which is another naive thing users do but doesn’t hold water in view of the CC linceses legal text). -- Tuválkin 13:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
Interesting as I do in Flickr (I apply CC BY-SA-NC in Flickr; but CC BY-SA here as I hate bots crawl my works here). Thanks Tuválkin for bring us to this wonderful discussion. I don't want to blame any, even CC; we need a clarification on this matter. I think CC's explanation is good for contributors; otherwise we will continue with our blind beliefs which make our life more unfortunate in future. Jee 14:08, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Many, if not most, people assumed that when they upload a file to Commons and associate a licence with it, then that licence applies to the file. This is a nice neat definition of what the "licensed material" is. But it turns out this is wrong. Existing copyright licences (e.g., CC, FAL) apply to the "work of copyright" and not to a particular copy of that work at a given level of quality/size/length. This distinction has consequences for anyone thinking they can use CC for a low quality or small size version of an image or other media product, yet retain "all rights reserved" or use another CC (such as -NC) for the high quality or larger resolution version. Depending on the jurisdiction, a judge may decided that for a given pair of files at different resolution, that they are in fact the same "work of copyright". Since there is no case law and copyright's view of what is a sufficiently creative act varies wildly from country to country, we are left in a situation where the definition of "licensed material" is in fact nebulous and subject of national variation and judgement on a per-case basis. There may also be some doubt that, given two files, one is merely a larger-resolution version, and doesn't in fact contain some other creative input. While many people can give their opinions on whether two such files can be considered the same work of copyright, CC's lawyers believe that in some cases/countries they might and that in itself is a problem whether you or I think they are correct in their logic.

Further, Creative Commons has stated that they take a dim view of attempts to append restrictions to images using their licences (such as "only at resolutions below X") and forbid the use of the CC logo and forbid calling the licence a Creative Commons licence if such restrictions are added. Naturally, they want to protect what is understood to be a "Creative Commons" licence and not allow 101 variants.

WMF, Wikimedia Commons, GLAM and Creative Commons themselves have all had publicity and policy material encouraging the use of CC for low-resolution or low-quality media while using different licences for high-resolution or high-quality media. Because of this there are tens of thousands of images on Commons that are licensed on the assumption that the licence covered no more than the file uploaded and the limited donation made. This may also apply to some very large donations by institutions.

We remain unclear whether an alternative file/copy-based licence approach would meet the Definition of Free Cultural Works. It seems likely that many image description pages break CC's terms of use (by including additional restrictions) and so we may be unable to host them simply on that basis. Although there appears to be a user-driven demand for file/copy-based licences, there appears to be no interest in such within WMF. Many Commons users are, of course, happy to donate even under the new understanding. But many commercial photographers may find this unacceptable, with consequences for future donations.

Commons should ensure it does not encourage the practice of using CC (or FAL or any other copyright licence) for low-resolution images if the intention is to retain rights in the high-resolution image. But additionally, Commons is unable (both legally per the precautionary principle, and morally imo) to take advantage of this situation by uploading/hosting high-resolution copies of images that have CC licence attached to a low-resolution copy. -- Colin (talk) 13:23, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

nice sentiments Colin, and I agree COMMONS can't, but the trolls that infest the place can and will. They hounded, blocked and drove away from the project a multi-award winning pro photographer over the issue of demanding he upload higher resolution images than those national geographic displayed on their website. Common law is an expression of common understanding, as are most laws around the world. The stealing of higher resolution images will damage the free image movement, as a temporary limited fad, and rest assured trolls will take full advantage. Same deal we see countless times when someone asks for an image to be deleted and get an antisocial reason why it won't be, all it does is prevent future donations as this will. Eventually different resolutions will be re-recognized as different works in most countries even if there are exceptions made by idiots here and there, but the big picture shall prevail so as not to wreck the freebie movement in the long run. Beggars can't be choosers is the lesson to be learned and history shows commons can't learn sh**. Either it will become clearer from outside that they are separate, or a new license will appear outside to accommodate the donations. Mark my words on that one.
As for the creative commons website, it doesn't mean sh**. They are not a court of law and can state that a low resolution image and a fluffy white chicken are the same work and it will not make it so. Tested in each country, they'll be proven wrong. Their idea of what is the same image is laughable. Eventually they will need to recognize that they can't over-rule common understanding or they'll be sidelined while other licenses grow popular. end of story. No point outlining the sensible solution for commons, because history shows commons is never sensible. All you can do is prepare for the trolls who will upset the wide community deliberately by stealing artwork. Penyulap 22:42, 4 February 2014 (UTC)
That or you adopt a license that includes a restriction. Saffron Blaze (talk) 04:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Penyulap, I agree Commons has a poor track record of behaving ethically and at times seems willing to adopt all sorts of daft and contradictory beliefs in order to justify hosting some images or accepting "f***ing stupid" image licences. But so far, on this discussion, ethical considerations have been the majority and I have some confidence we can adopt some policy against taking advantage of theoretical legal loopholes in CC (at least via the precautionary principle). Contrast this with the unwillingness by WMF/CC to accept they have misled their licence users. I agree also that CC's explanation of why higher-resolution versions might be drawn into the licence scope makes little logical sense but this may be due to poor explaining rather than poor legal advice. I'm sure they have consulted their lawyers. A licence only works when its terms are clear. This is one reason why I'm so opposed to the abuse of GFDL for photographs. The scope of a CC licence is now explicitly uncertain and variable from country to country and image to image. In this digital age, there is no reason why a digital licence can't be signed into a digital file, bypassing the vagaries of copyright terminology altogether. -- Colin (talk) 08:37, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
whole-heartedly agree on all points Colin, screwy licenses, lack of leadership, the reality is that wmf/commons cannot grasp it's own mistakes and shortcomings, so the idea they can compensate for CC's mistakes is (sorry, I have to stop here to have a laugh). THEN what are we going to do, make a proposal that we have a policy to avoid trolling, and who will be asked to vote for this ? Penyulap 09:15, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

We desperately need a quick conclusion on this matter[edit]

See File:Ruttkay Laura portre ff.jpg :) Jee 03:04, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Looks like someone decided what the law is. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:25, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
It is a pity WMF legal refused to comment on this issue. So what is the solution now? Jee 04:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I made a request here. Jee 05:12, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Sj expressed a wise opinion there. So what about making a policy to disallow hosting high resolution files having no explicit free license? Jee 06:34, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
We won't know what the law is, even in the US, until the Supreme Court has decided (and even then there will be doubt). However, I think as a matter of policy Commons should not host images with a higher resolution than the photographer specified. Thincat (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that we should have policy disallowing the upload/hosting of high-resolution/quality versions for files which are not explicitly tagged with a free licence, even if a low-resolution/quality version has been tagged with a free licence. This is the ethical thing to do, and the sensible thing to do per Precautionary Principle. I'm glad the above image has been reverted. -- Colin (talk) 13:18, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support to proposed policy.
Even Wikimedia-Germany (WMDE), who has an established business connection to a legal office/consultor, still did not reply to Gestumblindi's question about this matter, which had been posted full two months ago[6]. --Túrelio (talk) 13:40, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support to proposed policy. There is an equal need for a mechanism to notify uploaders of the issue. Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:11, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I like Thincat's idea, but I would like to see the proposal fleshed out a bit more before we get into a round of !voting. Would we want a standard way to record the photographer-specified resolution on the file description page, e.g. via a template in the Licensing section? --Avenue (talk) 21:38, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support As the most pragmatic solution for now. We discussed a lot, consulted CC, legal and even our board members. It seems Sj's suggestion is very wise. No we can make an ethical decision keeping away the legal possibility. At the same time, we need to educate our contributors about this danger, especially in chapter level attempts to canvass institutions (as happened in a case mentioned above). It will (making a policy as proposed here) bring the confidence of our contributors and volunteers that they are respected and we have no plan to make benefit from a loop hole that "invented" later. Jee 02:46, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment If we try to develop a Commons (Wikimedia?) policy, where is the the best place for discussion? Issues (1) there can be more than one template but I favour something less legalistic than Template:Limited version – either asserting moral rights or simply expressing the wishes of the copyright holder. (2) for non-templated files (historical and new) do we presume and enforce a limit at the resolution of the file at the time when the licence was granted? (I think yes unless the copyright-holder has subsequently uploaded a higher resolution version). (3) a need to keep other projects on board. (4) foreseen and unforeseen difficult cases ... Thincat (talk) 09:12, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
No need of such a template if we have a policy. Just mentioning it at COM:L with a link to Commons:Same work is enough: "Even if higher resolution file of a work can be considered as same work, Commons (as a matter of courtesy/ethics) will not host such files if they are not explicitly tagged with a free licence." (I will be away for a week; so unable to participate further.) Jee 11:18, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support - Not doing so would be a net negative. Sure, we'd have high resolution copies of certain files... but then few photographers would even consider donating. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:11, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Supportwe shouldnt host files greater in size than what the copyright holder uploaded or that which existed at the source location at the time of uploading. Though I vaguely remember a case where an editor was accessing higher resolution photographs of PD artworks through an unorthodox method rather than the online accessible image which we did allow to be hosted here. Gnangarra 15:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support this. First, I agree that serving our end-users free images should be important, but I also believe we should retain as conservative a view of copyright interpretation as possible - and that's guaranteed through the precautionary principle. The reasons for doing so are not immediately beneficial to the end-users per se, but to the uploaders and creators of content, as those are also the people who are most likely to donate free images to the potential benefit of our end-users. By allowing them to retain limited copyright exemptions of their work in whichever form they choose, we provide incentive for and encourage releasing future works under our free licenses, even as they make money from the higher resolution version of the same image. The end-users are able to modify, make derivative works of and even use the image for commercial purposes, provided they credit the original author, while the author is free to use any of their images however they want, and Commons gains a free picture. Everyone's happy. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
To be certain of this, our interpretation is that a lower resolution image is a derivative work of a higher resolution image (and thus considered under Commons:Derivative works) while the reverse (a higher resolution image is a derivative work of a lower resolution image) is not true, right? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Both upscaling or downscaling of the available source file is covered by the license, using a higher res version found elsewhere assumed to be of the same origin is not a derivative work of the available source file. What CC suggest to be OK conflicts with the usage right granted by the author + we can only assume such a higher res file is of the same origin. Even minor differences (series of images with minor changes in position etc) are sufficient to make this a copoyright violation.--Denniss (talk) 07:23, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
@Denniss: Does that mean derivative works might not be allowed even if the high-res version is under a different copyright than the low-res version? If we make a derivative work of the low-res version, would it also be considered a derivative work of the high-res version? If so, that makes the file non-free, and puts File:Trabalhos.jpg into the eligible-for-deletion category... TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 17:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
You are free to recalculate the freely licensed lower res image into a lower/higher resolution file and upload it as derivative work. You can't do this from the higher res file fround somewhere else unless it's released under a commons-compatible license. --Denniss (talk) 17:47, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support this proposal, and Saffron's corollary (would a template do?). --SJ+ 12:41, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support, late but definitely agree. The author should have an absolute right to limit the resolution of the file being granted for use. Huntster (t @ c) 16:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Added at COM:L. Jee 17:34, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

I think that the wording of the addition doesn't match our sentiments. The issue isn't that we think it's "morally/ethically" wrong to upload high res versions; it's just that we have no confidence it is legal. The policy should refer to the precautionary principle, rather than saying this is a choice we've made solely of our own volition. Wnt (talk) 10:58, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
It was edited later ("It is unclear whether such a distinction is legally enforceable..."). Jee 11:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

The opposite case[edit]

These three:

The origonal uploader, three years after the original upload, overwrote them with much smaller versions. I reverted it saying «Original image released per non-revokable license». Comments? (And what’s with the female glamour models and this particular copyright issue?!) -- Tuválkin 23:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

These three files seem to have been uploaded first on 3 March 2014 (not 3 years ago), and replaced with a smaller version less than an hour later. Asking the uploader why they replaced them might be a good first step. --Avenue (talk) 23:36, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Oops, what a blunder! I was fooled by the date of the earliest contribution of this uploader. Will revert the reversion. -- Tuválkin 01:03, 12 March 2014 (UTC)
Asked. @Tuvalkin: No relation other than that DR trigger this discussion. :) Jee 03:23, 12 March 2014 (UTC)

File:David Hinde Bridlington Town Crier -The World's Loudest Recorded Town Crier 114.8 decibels Cirrus Research.jpg[edit]

"I notice that the file page either doesn't contain enough information about the license or it contains contradictory information about the license, so the copyright status is unclear."




tHANK YOU —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 15:26, 15 January 2014‎ (UTC)

Charlotte Salomon: PD status?[edit]

I would like to transfer some of the fair-use images presently illustrating the German artist Charlotte Salomon's work to Commons, taking advantage of the new URAA dispensation. However I'm not sure of her PD status.

Salomon died October 1943 and her work would normally have entered the public domain in the European Union beginning this year. But her work was not published in her lifetime, and the earliest date for publication would seem to be 1961 with an Amsterdam exhibition (and accompanying brochure). It's possible that one or two of her works were illustrated in academic journals before this date, but I don't know of any.

The Berne Convention for works of arts depend on the date of publication (and not creation), but I'm wholly unable to find a clear statement of the situation on Wikipedia. This at Wikipedia: Copyright Duration Directive#Previously_unpublished_works, for example, suggests that duration of copyright is 25 years in the case of previously unpublished work in the public domain: "The directive accords copyright to the publisher of a public domain work which was previously unpublished, for 25 years after the date of publication." But what is the situation for unpublished work not in the public domain, and is the copyright term fifty or seventy years? Originally Berne directed fifty years, but the EU directive extended that to 70 years after the author's death. I'm wondering in the case of unpublished work whether 50 years after first publication still applies, notwithstanding the directive. In that case some 80 of Salomon's goauches would now be in the public domain (Paul Tillich and Emil Strauss,Charlotte: A Diary in Pictures, 1963).

I'm aware that it's often very difficult to ascertain date of first publication and that a pragmatic view is to assume that for an established artist it coincides with the date of creation. However this plainly doesn't apply to Salomon and I would appreciate an expert opinion (quoting the relevant articles in law would be appreciated). The Salomon Foundation has a reputation for being solicitous about their copyright and it would be well to be sure of one's ground (I once illustrated a Holocaust Day blog with one of Salomon's works and was astonished, and slightly flattered, to receive an email from the Foundation pointing out her work was still in copyright). Coat of Many Colours (talk) 17:45, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

The drafting seems to me to be throughly ambiguous. In Preamble 11 we see
Whereas in order to establish a high level of protection which at the same time meets the requirements of the internal market and the need to establish a legal environment conducive to the harmonious development of literary and artistic creation in the Community, the term of protection for copyright should be harmonized at 70 years after the death of the author or 70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public, and for related rights at 50 years after the event which sets the term running;
but in the operative part itself no provision is made to enact "70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public" the relevant article being Article 1
The rights of an author of a literary or artistic work within the meaning of Article 2 of the Berne Convention shall run for the life of the author and for 70 years after his death, irrespective of the date when the work is lawfully made available to the public.
which of course doesn't deal at all with "70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public".
I really would appreciate expert advice here. I would much like to see Charlotte Salomon's work on Commons (indeed deputed to), but I'm not prepared to invest the time if I have to defend the uploads against nominations for deletion. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 20:42, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
    • Directive 2006/116/EC supersedes Directive 93/98/EEC but does not materially change the issue (except that related rights now run for just 25 years). On reflection it can only be that Preamble 11 (1998) "70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public" refers to Article 1.3 dealing with anonymous or pseudonymous authors.
I'm quite persuaded now that I'm correct in asserting those first 80 gouches (comprising all Salomon's signature works) published in 1963 in asserting all Charlotte Salomon's works are now PD in the EU. I shall upload one work immediately to discover response, and unless I hear convincingly to the contrary will upload a selection to Commons starting next week. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 22:52, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I'm not the expert you are asking for so I shall not attempt an answer. However, let me make a few points which may simplify or confuse the situation. Whatever else, if WMF receive a takedown request they will almost certainly delete the images. Are the images photos you have taken? If not, are Salomen Foundation possibly claiming copyright on the photography (or just wishing)? Until 1965 German copyright was life plus 80[7] and the EU directive did not require this to be shortened, 2006/106 Art 10,1.[8] I think the directive is rather awkward but not ambiguous at "whereas 12". German law might not accurately implement the directive. From a UK pov this[9] and this[10] may help (it looks as if publication during the term of copyright does not confer publication rights). Thincat (talk) 21:44, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
  • I have been considering Germany for no good reason but I see France and Holland also get involved! Thincat (talk) 21:54, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Thincat. I understand that about the takedown. What has changed (I hope) is that deletion for the mere sake of it may now stop (it was still going on when I first considered whether it was worthwhile to upload to Commons - I decided not and took the local upload Fair Use route, but that meant high resolution images couldn't be used and even worse projects like the Netherlands wiki, which don't have local uploads as far as I can see, couldn't use them). I think I could justify a URAA objection, but I do devoutly hope it doesn't arise because all these copyright issues are pretty draining. I'm sure now about PD. When I started my account back in November, I was thrown by an objection to my local uploads pointing out the issue of publication under the terms of the Berne Convention, and for a long time I was genuinely puzzled about that, but I'm sure I understand the position now. The Charlotte Salomon Foundation were gifted Salomon's work in 1971. I imagine they had publisher's rights, but her entire work was published by 1983 and those accordingly expired by 2008. The only issue here is the URAA one and I shall just have to hope that editors and admins are a little more pragmatic about that. Thanks for your help. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 00:01, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
This one could be very messy. Many countries do have a specific provision for works published posthumously; the EU directive I'm pretty sure did away with those (the "70 years from publication" part of the EU directive is generally for anonymous/pseudonymous works where the real author is unknown and is not for posthumous works) but I'm not sure how many pre-EU directive laws had them, and if they did, it's quite possible they were not shortened by the new laws conforming to the directive. For example, France's 1957 law (replaced in 1997) had a term of 50 years from publication for any works published posthumously (the old Article 23). Nowadays they just mention the 25-year publication right, but that previous term might have started running, and if some of the paintings were only published in the early 1980s, that term might still be running in France. The 25-year publication right is only supposed to apply for works first published after the author's copyright term has lapsed, but it sounds like since it's been more than that since all of the paintings have been published, that is moot anyways. Pre-directive copyright law could be a real thorn, but I think that is the only way they could be copyrighted in the EU now. The "country of origin" is the country of first publication, and it sounds like that could be difficult to determine and may even be very different depending on each individual work. Exhibition is usually not publication, but publicity material like brochures associated with an exhibition probably would be. I see one early book was Charlotte: A Diary in Pictures, published by Harcourt, Brace, & World in 1963, and which supposedly contained 80 paintings (out of 700+ total). That is a U.S. publisher, meaning for those, the U.S. might actually be the country of origin. I do not see a renewal for that book anywhere, and the initial U.S. publication would exempt them from the URAA as well, so if that book was the first publication for any of those paintings, I think those would be OK to host on Commons, URAA or no URAA. Most other works would have been restored by the URAA, unless they were first published in a country which had 50-pma terms before the EU directive (there were some like Portugal and Italy) and did not have a posthumous term, as those might have expired before 1996. Germany and the Netherlands were 70 pma before that, so any first published there would definitely have been restored by the URAA. The Charlotte Salomon Foundation filed an explicit NIE ("Notice of Intent to Enforce", number V8006P368) as allowed under the URAA. The claim on that was for "Leven? of theater? & 1 other work. Paintings & texts. Filed for all rights." If the WMF is comfortable hosting works even in light of that, they might be OK, but I'm still very confused by the Foundation's statement. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:12, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm very grateful that you've taken the time to comment in such detail, Carl. Thank you very much indeed.
First of all you've confirmed what I thought would the case regarding the first tranche of 80 gouaches published in 1963 (London and New York, also The Netherlands, Germany and Italy). I don't have that book as it happens (on order) but I've taken care that the one gouache I have uploaded is the same as appears on the cover of the book (Salomon's work wasn't a diary incidentally, a rather unfortunate oversight of the editors to call it such). I'll take a chance on the so-called 'signature' image being amongst that first tranche and upload that as well. Otherwise I'll hang fire until I receive the book and can determine which images I can upload. 1981 saw the publication of virtually all her work in Judith Herzberg's Leven? of theater? Een autobiografisch zangspel in 769 gouaches (also translated in English [New York, London] and Dutch) and I assume that's the book filed for by the Charlotte Salomon Foundation. A huge industry developed in Salomon's work by the 1980s, so I can well understand their moving to protect their rights. I rather doubt they would file today for protection in the USA under URAA, but of course there are other estates which certainly will. Am I correct in saying the Picasso estate is one such? I believe so. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 18:02, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
The NIE was something created specifically by the URAA; the Salomon Foundation filed it in 1997. The effect of that was to minimize the rights of "reliance parties", i.e. people who had previously been using the works since they had been public domain -- those users did have some limited rights of continued usage without the NIE (versus people who started using the works only after the URAA took effect, which would be full copyright violations if not done with permission). It would be an interesting question if the Salomon Foundation would try to exercise U.S. rights now that the EU copyright has expired (or likely expired), but they would be fully within their rights to do so, and if such rights exist they will continue for several more decades. The foundation is undoubtedly quite aware of those rights, and yes, I'm sure many estates would exercise them. I personally would not touch anything outside of that first book, but if the WMF is now willing to host undoubtedly under-copyright works under a fair use rationale, it could change things. But there would be almost no fair-use defense for uploading all 700+ images, particularly if a good case can be made for a number of the works from the 1963 book now being OK. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:57, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for this. I'm not absolutely sure that first 1963 collection was ever on sale in the US, if that's relevant. I can see a Library of Congress listing 63014210 for the book as published by Harcourt, but of my books two (Royal Academy of Arts and Steinberg) both list the work as "Collins, London", while Herzberg just notes it was published in English, German, Dutch and Italian editions. I shall examine my copy of the 1963 Harcourt edition carefully when it arrives.
I don't have plans to upload all 700+ images myself. It would be slightly pointless I think because the Joods Historisch Museum (JHM) in Amsterdam has beautiful interactive pages of the whole work (as a singespiel with musical quotations, transparencies and bilingual text in Dutch and English). My plan is to upload a few high resolution versions of the most iconic images, linking to the JHM pages and providing (my own) translations into English. I'm not sure about transparencies. I think it's very unlikely any of those appeared in the 1963 edition, but the noted art historian Griselda Pollock has criticised their omission in editions. When I transfer to Commons the so-called 'signature image' (this is the final image of Salomon sketching in her garden at L'Ermitage, Villefranche-sur-Mer) I shall transfer the transparency as well on a no doubt spurious 'fair use' claim, scanning from my 1981 edition. I shall be curious to see how that fares.
Both you and Thincat have been very generous with your time. I am grateful. Off-topic, but by any chance can anyone looking in provide the coordinates of the L'Ermitage in Villefranche-sur-Mer? This was the American Ottilie Moore's villa where Salomon (and a number of Jewish children) were offered refuge (Salomon dedicated her work to her), but it was destroyed after the war and I haven't been able to locate it, although the site was visited by the Royal Academy editors. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 22:21, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
I have replied at User talk:Coat of Many Colours#Villa L'Ermitage, Villefranche-sur-Mer Thincat (talk) 20:56, 10 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, brilliant. Thanks so much for that. Excellent source you found there. I've made some comments and will continue tomorrow. Thanks so much. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 22:23, 10 April 2014 (UTC)

Just to clarify here because I'm leaving the project (basically jaded) and don't want to put the project in a false position.

To the best of my knowledge, the situation regarding Charlotte Salomon's PD status in the US is that, for the purposes of US law, her work in its entirety was first published in the Netherlands in 1971 when her estate gifted her entire work to the Charlotte Salomon Foundation at the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. This means the bulk of her work only enters the PD in the US the 95 years following in 2067. There is a question about the original 1963 collection of 80 or so gouaches, published in English, Dutch, German and Italian editions. This was indeed published in the US (as Carl discovered, apparently overlooked by reference works and even perhaps the Salomon Foundation). The copyright for this work was not renewed (as Carl also found), and so the work entered the PD in the US in 1992 and at least one well known work published in the US in 1994 appears to rely on this. However the 1963 work almost certainly qualifies for URAA restoration on my understanding. The only circumstances it doesn't appears to be if it was published simultaneously with the first foreign publication. This is not impossible since a co-author was Paul Tillich, an American, and I'm in the process of checking that.

What I've done so far is transfer the existing Fair Use files at Salomon's Wikipedia article to Commons taking advantage of this new dispensation, and I'll write those up over the next day or two as comprehensively as I am able (no expert on Salomon me). I'll also try and find a form of words that discourages further uploads without too censoriously disqualifying my own uploads. If these files have to be taken down, well so be it. I do understand.

Of course it would be pleasant that a figure as poignant as Salomon, whose own publication in her lifetime was limited to entrusting her work to her family doctor with the words "Keep this safe, it's my entire life", could now be disseminated world wide on Commons. But the fact of the matter is that the Joods Historisch Museum already does a pretty good job on that. About the only real advantage I can see of hosting them on Commons is that the {{LangSwitch}} template allows users to add translations in their native languages, and I have been careful to make that facility user friendly in my uploads.

I thank everyone for the courtesy and time extended me. I am very grateful. Thank you. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 01:11, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

I have now heard from the publisher (Houghton Mifflin continuing Harcourt Brace and World). They can't provide a date of publication. I've ordered a copy of the 1st edition of the US publication and will report back if that sheds any light. I'm inclined to think now that the publication was indeed simultaneous. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 14:46, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I've seen the American first edition now. It's a Helen and Kurt Wolff book, noted publishers of the time. There's no mention of foreign publication on the copyright page, where copyright is simply recorded as "© 1963 by Albert Salomon and Paula Salomon-Lindberg" i.e. Salomon's estate before Charlotte's work was gifted to a Foundation in 1971 (these were Charlotte's parents, who survived the war). Coat of Many Colours (talk) 09:47, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

CC License templates trouble[edit]

The text of {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} includes (via translatewiki) the text, "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor..." It seems to me that this is wrong. A) When I read the actual legal code, I see nothing to support the bold language; the code says, among other things, that a user must "keep intact all copyright notices" but "The credit required ... may be implemented in any reasonable manner" (with some minor caveats, none of which come close to allowing the author to specify the manner. I've noticed edits that suggest that a number of our contributors are being misled by this into thinking that they can specify the manner and that the license requires users to honor that specification. B) OTOH, it seems to me that the 4.0 legal code IS compatible with this language, though others disagree. C)So, if I'm right about A), what should we do about it?--Elvey (talk) 20:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

It depends what meaning one attributes to the word "manner" in the context. I think it is understood that in the context of the template Cc-by-sa-3.0, "manner" is a sort of short form to express the requirement comprised in section 4(c)(i) of the license CC by-sa 3.0 : ["the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution ("Attribution Parties") in Licensor's copyright notice, terms of service or by other reasonable means, the name of such party or parties;"]. I guess it would correspond to section 3(a)(1)(A)(i) of the license CC by-sa 4.0. It is distinguished from the next sentence of the same section 4(c)(i) of CC by-sa 3.0 ("The credit required by this Section 4(c) may be implemented in any reasonable manner;") and from section 3(a)(2) of CC by-sa 4.0. That said, English is not my language, so I'm not one who will offer a scholarly semantic analysis of the word "manner". Although licensors and licensees should read the actual text of the license, it might be useful to lift the ambiguity in the template, if you can think of an improved yet short way to express the requirement. I suppose people would rather keep the template stable and change it only if the improvement is convincing, because it is one of the most widely used templates. -- Asclepias (talk) 23:46, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Unfortunately this is the subject of one of the larger debates around Commons, and the term manner here is very ambiguous and leads to a lot of different interpretations. There may however be benefits to licensing under 4.0 International rather than under 3.0 Unported that avoids the ambiguity, with the introduction of a new "interpretation" section at the bottom, but I've not explored these concepts fully just yet. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 10:12, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I'm having trouble understanding you both. My french isn't great, so I sympathize. I appreciate that 'manner' can be interpreted multiple ways. But what's not subject to interpretation is that we're talking about attribution. If there's a way to interpret the actual legal code, to support the bold language, I'm still not seeing it. What meaning of 'manner' gives such an interpretation. Please explain here - or point me to one of the previous discussions you mention as being on point. Or can anyone else chime in? [Update]: Maybe I'm getting what you're trying to convey - is the argument that "keep intact all copyright notices" somehow means that attribution must be "n the manner specified", despite the ""The credit required ... may be implemented in any reasonable manner" language? If that's an argument that's been presented, who has presented it, and does anyone support it? --Elvey (talk) 23:35, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
This ties into the heavy debates around the guidelines for watermarks that comes up every now and then on Commons. The underlying question to all this is:

Ceteris paribus (all other licensing/attribution requirements satisfied), if someone adds a watermark "© CopyrightHolderName" to the image, is Commons free to remove the watermark or not?

Commons has difficulty resolving this issue and coming up with a definitive answer, so I'll point to relevant active threads about this: User:Andy king50 and watermark 'policy', Legality of cropping out copyright bylines/watermarks, Oppose "should not be removed" for invisible watermarks, Copyright watermarks. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 00:49, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to point me to those. Based on your description, these all pertain to watermarks in particular. I am wondering, rather about onerous attribution requirements I'd seen (can't seem to find any now though, arrrg) that did not relate to watermarks. Oh, and I see there's lots of overlap. read the andy king thread, the meta thread... oy. Still, I see nothing to support the bold language. --Elvey (talk) 02:59, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Elvey: The texts of {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} was taken from the old version of by-sa/3.0/. CC changed it while releasing version 4.0. (CC can change the wordings in the deed even though they can't edit the legal text, as the deed is merely intended to explain the legal code.) The new wording ("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.") is much better compared to the old; but conditions like "provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made" are not well defined in the 3.0 legal code. CC always states "they intended such things in older versions" and suggests to use new versions instead of relying on the old ones. But one legal issue is court only consider the wordings of the legal code; they can't make assumptions like "it was intended" or so. That is why the "watermark" matter popups every now and then. :)
Unfortunately we copied the old template for {{Cc-by-sa-4.0}} without making any changes. We discussed it Template talk:Cc-by-sa-4.0; but it ended without any solution/action. Many of our license tags are outdated; so I switched to my own tags and explanations. I'm not encouraging it; but as far as we are lazy on updates, there is no other solution. :( Jee 05:56, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Pictures of self taken by another[edit]

When one person asks another person to take their picture for upload to Wikipedia, and the person operating the camera agrees, who owns the copyright? Can copyright be casually transferred between individuals or does it take a formal declaration?

Has this ever come up before? How does Commons feel about this? How easy it is for people to transfer copyright between themselves? I am not asking about this case specifically as I really would like to understand this.

I asserted at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Lane Oct 2011.jpg that I had rights to a picture another person had taken for me. Who owns the copyright in this case? Blue Rasberry (talk) 23:49, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

This question has been directly answered to you on multiple occasions previously, including on the refusal to COM:UNDEL without an OTRS, and on the original deletion nomination where you were urged to file an OTRS, on my talk page, etc. and so on. It's really simple. The image remains copyright the photographer not the subject of the photo, otherwise there would be no financial incentive to be a paparazzi. If the subject of the image owned the photos, paparrazi would starve no matter how many likenesses they grabbed - because all the pictures would belong to the subject. I am sure you see the absurdity of that! Simply for Commons, if someone else took your photo, all you have to do is have the photographer fill out the very simple OTRS form. It would probably have taken a lot less time than all these repeated queries to hear the same answer from at least three people so far. Please see your additional queries and my answers on my talk page. Ellin Beltz (talk) 05:03, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I should add that in most countries, including the United States, transfer of copyright requires a written agreement. If you ask someone to take your photograph, even if it is your camera, they own the copyright unless they transfer it to you in writing. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 10:20, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Jim, this may be technically correct, however in line with existing project policies, the production of prior written contracts/agreements is not required for OTRS validation of a transfer of copyright that may have been by verbal agreement/understanding. An uncontested statement confirming a verbal agreement should be taken on good faith unless there is reason to do otherwise, as this is sufficient to demonstrate that we have taken reasonable precautions to assure that rights are respected. There is every reason to assume good faith when a statement comes from someone using their verifiable legal identity, especially when they have an excellent track record here and clearly understand that they would be subject to personal claims of damages if they were misrepresenting the copyright holder.
In this particular case, as Bluerasberry makes no secret of their legal identity, and has made a public statement, an OTRS ticket truthfully adds little more than a veneer of bureaucracy, but is a convenient mime to avoid the same questions being repeatedly asked.
Anyway, I don't want to dig too far into this, again. If anyone wants to try to satisfy our resident wikilawyers, they are free to knock themselves out at Commons talk:Transfer of copyright. Legally there is plenty of mileage in interpreting the law and case law around "gifts" which is effectively what someone who takes your photo on your request and gives the camera back to you is doing. This is a topic that could do with some pro bono legal advice (under US IP law) to tidy up once and for all rather than Wikimedians getting into our endless amateurish copyright loops. -- (talk) 11:00, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
All true. I particularly like the thought that if I take your picture in front of the Statue of Liberty with your camera, I have implicitly made you a gift of the copyright.
With that said however, the question is, how far do we extend AGF? I am perfectly comfortable with our standard use of it -- if User:X says that he took the picture, then, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, whether that be User:X's record here or something about the image itself, we keep it. However, when the image was clearly not taken by the uploader, I think we get into a difficult area for AGF. It is not uncommon to see images of NotablePerson, uploaded as "own work" by User:NotablePerson, when the user is just a fan, neither NotablePerson nor the copyright holder. We get images taken by professional photographers who have retained copyright -- the chain portrait studio Olan Mills is very clear that they hold copyright to all of their images. And so forth. Therefore, I think that when it is obvious that the uploader did not take the image, we should always have an OTRS license, if only to force the uploader to think again about who really owns the copyright. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 12:19, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I agree that Commons could do with engaging the (informal) services of real lawyers rather than the endless amateur lawyering and wikilawyering that seem to only demonstrate the fallacy of the Wisdom of the crowd. We have this problem where lawyers and WMF do not wish to be seen to be offering legal advice, or WMF Legal promise a response to a query yet don't deliver. We have this tendency to invent legal problems for ourselves that don't or rarely pose any issues in the real world. It most certainly is not "really simple" nor does it tend to follow any rational logic. In the linked discussion above, a random passing tourist agrees to take a photo of a couple with their camera. Who owns the photo? Who cares? In previous discussions, I've seen that physicians consider themselves owners (and thus able to publish) of radiographic images requested by them of their patients, by actually taken by a radiographer. It turns out that often the hospital may own the images, or they may not actually be subject to copyright protection in some countries. Who knows? Who cares? The publishers get a signature from the physician when they publish their paper and that's good enough for them. In these scenarios we can endlessly fight among ourselves about who is right or whether it matters (passes our precautionary principle). Or we could just get someone (WMF, say) to make a completely arbitrary decision and live with it. I think sometimes the community needs to admit to being shit at these kind of decisions. -- Colin (talk) 12:59, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
"We have this tendency to invent legal problems for ourselves that don't or rarely pose any issues in the real world." Please don't make comments like that and complain that other people are wikilawyering. If I told a lawyer that I have a recent picture by an unknown person, they're going to ask why I really need to use the picture instead of having a new one taken under contract or by myself. Lawyers tend to be risk-adverse that way.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:07, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, not long ago Dschwen asked Luis Villa about it. Maybe we’ll get a meta:Wikilegal memo ont this topic. Jean-Fred (talk) 13:19, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I did. For the record: it was on Luis' meta talk page. --Dschwen (talk) 15:23, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
And yet another example of WMF legal not following through? -- Colin (talk) 17:19, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Not quite @Colin:, we will apparently get this memo soon. --Dschwen (talk) 15:11, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
That's one of those real-life situations where following the letter of the law gets a bit odd, but it's unlikely there is a court case out there which could give us guidance. The copyright owner is the persons (or people) whose creative input ends up in the final product. From the Rogers v Koon case (based on others before it), Elements of originality in a photograph may include posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any other variant involved. The copyright then would be owned by the author of those elements. Normally with a photograph, this is the photographer (the one pressing the shutter). In an extreme situation, where a person sets up the scene, poses the subjects, frames the shot, then gets into the scene themselves and has an assistant press the shutter -- in that situation the assistant would not be the author, since it was the first person whose creative input is expressed in the eventual photograph. You could also have a situation where two people were involved in the creative decisions -- that could end up in a joint authorship situation technically. In that case, in the U.S., normally either author can issue any non-exclusive license to the work as they wish (just being required to split profits with the other authors), but there is some question if a license like CC-BY might require the sign-off of all authors. Personally, I think a very good case can be made that most of the creative decisions are being made by the person who asks to have their picture taken -- they are choosing the subjects, they will usually pose themselves, they often choose the basic angle and composition of the photo, etc. It's possible the person who presses the shutter might have a joint copyright, but I'm not at all convinced that person would own 100% of the copyright (the situation where we would need to see their permission or evidence of a transfer). While the answer to the original question might hinge on a lot of the small details of what went into the photo, I personally would rather just accept an "own work" claim in these situations, and revisit if the other potential copyright owner voices an objection. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:54, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the comments everyone. I will draft something, put it in a public place, then ask for comment. I like the idea of getting an opinion from the WMF and then abiding by that. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:06, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
    If you wish to work on this, please build on the discussions at Commons talk:Transfer of copyright, even if they are inconclusive. It may be an idea to use that same page to put any new proposal you come up with. -- (talk) 14:11, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
    Wouldn't it have been simpler to file the OTRS ticket with your friend who pushed the shutter's signature on it in the first place? The original situation which led to this had nothing to do with tourists and everything to do with a professional type photograph of a subject, where the subject then claims he owns the copyright because he is in the picture. I really can't see any reason for the Foundation to get into it, this situation is covered in the policies and guidelines already. There's no reason to try to change the world just because working within the existing policies and guidelines is unacceptable to one user. If you know who took your picture, why can't you just ask them to send the OTRS? Problem would have been solved two weeks ago without all this extra chat. Just my two cents after reading all this here and all your messages on my talk page about this same topic. Ellin Beltz (talk) 16:38, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
    I think you may have missed "I am not asking about this case specifically" when Bluerasberry started the discussion. -- (talk) 16:41, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
    His comments on my talk page are entirely about the original image, and he requests that I meet him at the pump. Ellin Beltz (talk) 17:25, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
    And there is a precedent for using OTRS when it appears that professionals are involved in photography. -- Colin (talk) 17:18, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
  • This is a good example case to build around more copyright concepts at Commons talk:Transfer of copyright and Bluerasberry has done us a service in this regard. Introduction of a user's personal example case might help us better formulate ideas of copyright law to ask WMF about. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 10:31, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
I posted a case at Commons_talk:Transfer_of_copyright#Proposal_to_satisfy_the_Geni_requirement_and_to_avoid_endless_revert_wars to build off an existing proposal and conversation. Thanks everyone for your kind attention. Blue Rasberry (talk) 10:42, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

File:Statue of Joseph Pulitzer (Fort Jay, New York).jpg[edit]

The above file was uploaded to help illustrate the recent Pulitzer prizes. However, I am not assured that this would be free. The photographer's CC license from Flickr is fine, but the image is of a statue on a public place in the US, where there is no FOP. My google-fu is failing me to find when and whom made the statue, but as often for these, it was likely installed after Pulitzer's death (1911). For it to be free, the creator (who I cannot find either) would have had to died before 1924 (90+life). Given this narrow 13 year range, I would suspect that its a good chance this statue is still under copyright, making this image non-free. --Masem (talk) 17:26, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

The sculptor is Phillip Ratner. The statue is part of a group first installed in 1982. [11], [12] Couldn't find the year of birth of the sculptor but the NYT article hints at sometime circa 1932-1942. Couldn't find a year of death. Was alive in 2011. [13] Probably still alive. The copyright of a statue installed, but not otherwise published, in 1982 in the U.S. would probably not be considered expired per previous discussions on Commons. I'm curious from where comes the notion of life+90? Sidenote: The plaque of the statue is readable on File:NYC Liberty Island Pulitzer.JPG, before it gets deleted too. -- Asclepias (talk) 18:57, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Oops, I meant life+70, got my copyright terms mixed up. Irregardless, you've identified the sculptor so even if we assume he died in 2011, this is still under copyright and the photo being a derivative work should be deleted. --Masem (talk) 20:44, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Yup. He was still alive on January 17, 2014 according to [14]. He was born in 1937, before July 7. [15][16]. Lupo 11:19, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
As an aside, U.S. statues placed in public before 1978 could be PD-US-no_notice if it lacked a copyright notice, and ones installed before 1964 needed to have their copyright renewed even if it did have a notice -- placing permanently in public was basically considered publication. The definition of publication changed in 1978, after which PD-US-no_notice becomes much harder to prove for statues, so this one is likely not PD. See Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US. Just mentioning since a 70pma term would not apply for a U.S. work published before 1978, which your original question implied it might, not that it affects this one. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:01, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Masem is correct, I was unaware of this aspect of US copyright law. I support deletion. --Balaenoptera musculus (talk) 16:21, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Copyright help regarding File:Ohio School for the Deaf, 1930 Class Picture.jpg[edit]

(moved from Commons:Helpdesk)

I came into possession of this picture when my Grandmother passed away in 1997. The photograph was taken in 1930 (84 years ago). Last year, I had the photo scanned at a high resolution so that I could have a digital copy and share with my family as a part of our family tree.

I did see the photography company's name (American Photograph Company) listed in the bottom right. However, I was not able to determine if the company still existed. I am also sure that anyone involved with the company is no longer alive.

Thus, I was not sure what copyright to use. Chances are that the paper copy that I have is the only one in existence. My great-uncle took great care to preserve it.

Any help/advice you can give is much appreciated.

Jmabel believes that I could use {{PD-US-not renewed}}. I wanted to post here to confirm before updating the pic.

--Elmorejr (talk) 23:39, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Almost certainly {{PD-US-not renewed}}, but you'd probably find a more expert opinion at Commons:Village pump/Copyright. - Jmabel ! talk 00:47, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
  • That sure looks like a copy distributed at the time. If there is no copyright notice on the back, it probably qualifies for PD-US-no_notice as well. Is the back entirely blank? Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:09, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

Owner’s permission sufficient?[edit]

I asked the owner of for permission to use a photograph from her website in,_Canterbury. She gave this reply. "All of the photographs on my site I actually own the originals of. It's taken me a long time to build my collection, so I'd rather not have them posted all over the internet. If it's only one photo for an article you are writing, it's fine with credit to my site. If you want to post a link to the page address for St Augustines on my site that is also ok, so they can go there to see all the photos." My question: does this permission allow uploading the photo to Wiki? Vejlefjord (talk) 16:49, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

If by "Wiki", you mean Wikimedia Commons and not some other website using wiki technology, then no. From the introduction to Commons:Licensing:

Wikimedia Commons only accepts free content, that is, images and other media files that are not subject to copyright restrictions which would prevent them being used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose.

All you've gotten permission for is for you (you're not anyone) to use it for the specific purpose of including it in one article (which is not any purpose). LX (talk, contribs) 19:19, 16 April 2014 (UTC)
No, this permission is not suitable here: First, with regard to copyright, it doesn't matter who the owner of the physical copy is, even if it's a photograph's original and only copy. Collectors gain no copyright whatsoever just by acquiring a physical copy - so, if this is about a photograph that is still protected by copyright, you would need the permission of the actual copyright owner, i.e. the photographer, the photographer's heirs, or someone the photographer has explicitly transferred the rights to. In case the website owner actually has formally acquired the copyright on the photograph in question, then she would be able to release it under a free license as required here, of course. But this she apparently hasn't done - giving you permission to use the photograph in a specific article isn't a free license. - However, looking at the website, it contains very old as well as more recent photographs (and some old engravings). Some of the old engravings and photographs might be out ouf copyright anyway, so could maybe be used as public domain without needing a permission (but maybe not in the UK if the scans have been improved in some way, see here). Gestumblindi (talk) 00:53, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Watermark of copyright on files[edit]


I think there is a problem with the uploads of the user Cthieblin : all her files have a watermark. For some of them it's the name that seem to correspond to the account (Catherine Thieblin), and for others it's a public organism. But all the files are about paintings or photography that seem in the public domain.

Why should be done ? Deleting the files or removing the watermark ?

-- 08:43, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Well, these images are not attributed properly, and the license is wrong. I created a DR to discuss this. Thanks for notifying. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:02, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Help with validity of Olan Mills photograph release[edit]

I'm assisting User:Mansoor Ijaz with the straightening up of an image used in the article about his father on File:MujaddidAhmedIjaz1987.jpg. It's been already deleted. Mr. Ijaz contacted Olan Mills/Lifetouch and they gave him a form to fill. It has a section called Limited Purpose for Use of Portrait that must be filled out, followed by a standard no-indemnity clause. At the bottom there's a section called Limited Copyright Release that reads In consderation of the request and indemnification provided by the Requesting Party, Lifetouch gives permission to use the Image(s) described on this Request for the limited purpose indicated above. My feeling is that the use of "limited" here would clash with CC-by-SA, even if the purpose reads "Wikimedia Commons CC-by-SA" - assuming that they would even accept it. Surely we've seen this type of thing before.... is this a valid release for a photograph? If it matters, Mr. Ijaz Sr. passed in 1992. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 01:37, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

"Limited" could mean a few things, "limited purpose" might restrict the purposes for using such images and therefore is contrary to Commons philosophy, but I read "limited copyright release" to mean only a limited quantity of copies (e.g. low-res versions) of such images will be released under CC-BY-SA, while retaining "All Rights Reserved" for other copies. I think we should make sure Olan Mills understands the implications of the CC-BY-SA license, that they won't frivolously go after our end reusers who regularly import, and also modify, images from Commons. (With WMF lawyers they'll surely never sue us, but re-users might be at risk.) TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 09:30, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
@TeleComNasSprVen: Thank you. We'll see what they say, in the meantime there's another image free from issues that could be used. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 22:59, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

File:Coronation of King George VI.jpg[edit]

This image has been added to a Wikipedia article that I started. The source is The Royal Collection Trust - Coronation of King George VI (1895-1952) and is a copy of a painting completed in 1938. The webpage clearly states "Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014". Seems a bit dubious to me that it's "in the public domain". Your expert opinion would be gratefully received. Alansplodge (talk) 17:08, 18 April 2014 (UTC)

2032 will be the 70th year after the death of the artist when it will fall into the public domain unless the UK still claims new copyright over slavish copies of artworks. Ww2censor (talk) 19:25, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
I've nominated it for deletion; see Commons:Deletion requests/File:Coronation of King George VI.jpg.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:52, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you both very much. I'll revert to the previous image in the WP article. Alansplodge (talk) 22:47, 18 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Resolved

Suspected image Universecolor.jpg[edit]

This image has a watermark saying © Paul Bird 2011 which does not correspond to the uploader name.--Carnby (talk) 22:04, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

On some of his other uploads such as File:Quintic_fractal.jpg the real author is linked to the username. Are there versions on the internet which pre-date the uploads here? Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:51, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
Yep, here. There's also an e-mail address in the PDF.--Carnby (talk) 21:40, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

Undelete request[edit]

Pursuant to the discussion above, the permission from LifeTouch has been forwarded to info-en (by me), ticket:2014042110015198. Can a sysop please undelete File:MujaddidAhmedIjaz1987.jpg so I can add an OTRS pending tag, move the ticket to permissions-en and wait for another agent to look at it? Thanks! §FreeRangeFrogcroak 21:01, 21 April 2014 (UTC)

@FreeRangeFrog: Can we also undelete the associated image which was I believe File:Dr. Mujaddid Ahmed Ijaz, 1983.png? Thanks all. --Mansoor Ijaz (talk) 21:07, 21 April 2014 (UTC)
@FreeRangeFrog: Hi FRF, would you let me know how we are coming along on this request, since I cannot see status of the OTRS ticket? Many thanks, --Mansoor Ijaz (talk) 23:06, 22 April 2014 (UTC)
@FreeRangeFrog: Good early morning, FRF. The two images were restored overnight, but with a notice on each images' home page that has an obvious error which can be fixed easily. This is how the text of the notice reads:
An email has been received at OTRS concerning this file, and can be read here by users with an OTRS account. However, the message was not sufficient to confirm permission for this file. This may, among other reasons, be because there was no explicit release under a free license, or the email address that the permission came from is not associated with the location where the content was originally published. For an update on the issue, please contact the user who added this template to the page, or someone else with an OTRS account, or the OTRS noticeboard.
To address the section in bold print above, I have researched the fact that Olan Mills Studios, that originally made the image, was sold to Lifetouch, Inc on November 9, 2011. The Wikipedia entry for Olan Mills [17] states that as well does this source here: [18]. As I do not have an OTRS account and cannot access the file to correct the template as it is instructed to do on the image's home page OTRS notice, can I ask you to do that please?
As far as the "sufficient permission" issue raised in the OTRS Notice, it was made very clear in the Lifetouch release that Lifetouch understands by giving CC-by-SA licensing rights, they must respect the free license usage offered to anyone who accesses Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia. The Lifetouch release says the following:
By granting a limited purpose use of "CC-by-SA", Lifetouch acknowledges that Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia are universally accessible and available portals to users of these encyclopedic entries, and that as such, Wikimedia and Wikipedia data must be freely available to all its users.
Can I ask for some help in making sure this is cleared up so we can use the images without fear of having them deleted again? Lifetouch worked with us as best they could within their constraints and accepted everything I asked them to do. And they granted us the right to use the image. Thank you. --Mansoor Ijaz (talk) 15:04, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Attribute code names[edit]

I often see images in newspapers and news internet sites that are from Wikimedia. The sites often write "Source: Wikipedia" or "Source: Wikimedia", not the uploader's name. It was claimed by one journalist that they won't credit code names, only real names of people or companies. Should they credit a Wikimedia uploader who is only known under a user code name, such as BIL? --BIL (talk) 11:05, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

For works that are not in the public domain but under a free license such as Creative Commons Attribution or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike, reusers are required to attribute "the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable)" (quoted from, section 4), and unless they have negotiated other terms with the copyright holder, nothing other than complying with the licensing terms gives them the right to use the licensed content. Having some odd aversion against pseudonyms does not give one the right to commit copyright infringement. LX (talk, contribs) 11:29, 22 April 2014 (UTC)

Help on File:Teófilo Braga em 1882 na revista Galeria Republicana N.13.jpg[edit]

Need some help here in this file, please.

a) The picture (by Antonio Maria Serra) surely is public domain (published in 1882).

b) Is the digital source were I based the final work relevant in this case since it is a hemeroteca from a public library?

Thanks, NelsonCM (talk) 11:52, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

The template {{PD-scan}} is used when the scanned work is PD, you didn't personally make the scan, but you want to assert that the scan itself is insufficiently original to have its own copyright protection. More details about using {{PD-scan}} are at Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag. Since the work was published in 1882 and Antonio Maria Serra died in 1900, I've updated the image description with the author's info and changed the license to {{PD-scan|PD-old-auto-1923|deathyear=1900}}. —RP88 14:02, 23 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, NelsonCM (talk) 15:55, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Borghi più belli d'Italia[edit]

Using inkscape I have made This logo, that is used by italian association borghi più belli d'Italia. Can this file remain on Commons? If yes, could someone make it better? Thanks --Lkcl it (talk) 13:53, 23 April 2014 (UTC)

Images from Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica, tagging[edit]

The website for the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica posts ( posts pictures of lawmakers. I could not find any copyright information on the website of any kind, so I asked for clarification through e-mail. After getting bounced around a little, a lawyer replied in Spanish that "there is no problem with using the images from the legislative portal, although you might want to indicate the source. This includes any other information that interests you and is available on the portal. All the information on it is public, without any manner of restriction." My question is this: what release rights category should I use to tag such images? Many thanks, Mvblair (talk) 18:54, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I would probably send that information to the people at Commons:OTRS and see what they have to say. But in my opinion, "public, without any manner of restriction" sounds rather vague; I think there have been cases where others made their works "public" as in "anyone can view in public" rather than "anyone can modify, distribute, reuse commercially etc in public" TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 21:18, 24 April 2014 (UTC)
Mvblair, as pointed by TeleComNasSprVen, every authorization must be specific, and no, "all the information on it is public" does not mean that all the information is free. Ralgis (talk) 04:20, 25 April 2014 (UTC)
Also see the gratis versus libre distinction. --TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:27, 25 April 2014 (UTC)