Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

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

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Films in public domain[edit]

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

Whether or not something is on unfortunately doesn't say much. I'm not sure what the document you're pointing to is. Tokyo File 212 is a primarily Japanese film with directors who lived into the 1990s; as such it seems to be copyrighted in Japan and would not be eligible for uploading to Commons no matter what the US copyright status. "Three Came Home" is a US movie and seems to be considered public domain in the US; there are already images in Category:Three Came Home from the movie.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:51, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
To expand upon this: In most countries, movies are protected by copyright for 50 or 70 years after the death of the director or last major contributor. For example, in Germany, the contributors considered by copyright law for the duration of a movie's copyright are: Director, authors of the screenplay, composers of the movie's music. Only after the last of these is dead for more than 70 years, the movie is considered public domain. According to Swiss copyright law, only the year of the director's death is relevant. The US are an unusual case in that relatively recent movies may be in the public domain (e.g. published from 1923 to 1963 and copyright was not renewed - apparently, Three Came Home is such a case). Gestumblindi (talk) 10:52, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Japan is an unusual case as well; as per {{PD-Japan-film}}, a "pre-1953 Japanese film or image thereof, directed by a person who died more than 38 years ago, is now in the public domain."--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:08, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
According to the former copyright law of Japan, a film is subject to a copyright term of 38 years p.m.a. (author = director) if the film isn't a work for hire, but I think that this is reduced to 38 years pd if the film is a work for hire. According to the current copyright law, the copyright term is 70 years pd regardless of whether it is a work for hire or not (50 years pd if first published before 1953). Unless I have misunderstood something, there was a court ruling where it was concluded a) that the new copyright law didn't have the effect that any copyright terms were shortened (at least not for already existing films), and b) that the films by Akira Kurosawa aren't works for hire. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:48, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
  • User:Gestumblindi: Are you sure that your explanation of German law is correct? Article 2 of the w:Copyright Duration Directive says that the copyright term expires 70 years after the death of four people, but Article 10 (1) says that the directive doesn't have the effect that any copyright term is shortened. In Sweden, Article 10 means that the copyright expires 70 years after the death of the four people listed in the directive or 50 years after the death of certain other people, whichever is later. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:52, 22 April 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4: Yes, I'm sure. German copyright law is very clear in this regard, see § 65 (2) of the Urheberrechtsgesetz: "Bei Filmwerken und Werken, die ähnlich wie Filmwerke hergestellt werden, erlischt das Urheberrecht siebzig Jahre nach dem Tod des Längstlebenden der folgenden Personen: Hauptregisseur, Urheber des Drehbuchs, Urheber der Dialoge, Komponist der für das betreffende Filmwerk komponierten Musik." My unofficial, amateurish translation: For works of film and works produced in a similar manner as works of film, copyright expires seventy years after the death of the longest-living of these persons: Main director, creator of the script, creator of the dialogue, composer of music that was composed for the work of film. - My post above was a bit imprecise in that I condensed "creator of the script" and "creator of the dialogue" into "authors of the screenplay". Gestumblindi (talk) 20:58, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
User:Gestumblindi: What does § 137f (1) mean? --Stefan4 (talk) 21:30, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4: Attempt at translation: If by application of this law as amended on 1 July 1995 the duration of a previously originated right would be shortened, the protection expires when the duration of protection expires according to the provisions in effect until 30 June 1995. In all other respects the provisions of this law as amended on 1 July 1995 are also to be applied on works and related rights where the protection was not expired on 1 July 1995. - But I don't know what provisions German copyright law had before 1 July 1995 regarding the duration of protection for films. Gestumblindi (talk) 23:54, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
User:Gestumblindi: That's precisely the problem you have in Swedish law: you can't only consider what the law currently says (the 1996 law), but you also have to consider the former law (the 1961 law). In Swedish law, there are two major situations where the 1961 law is relevant, and several minor situations which rarely occur. The 1961 law is only relevant for works which predate the 1996 law. The two major situations:
  • Films: The 1996 law says that anything created independently of the film is independently copyrighted for life+70 years, but that things created directly for the film get a special 'film copyright term' which is life of four people+70 years. The 1961 law says that the 'cinematographic work' essentially only is the film in 'script form', written on a piece of paper, and that everything else is individually copyrighted for life+50 years, whether created directly for the film or not. Under the 1961 law, this means that there is not a specific date when the copyright expires to the entire film but that different parts of the film enter the public domain on different dates as different people with different death years created different parts of the film. Some of these other things may have been created by someone other than the four people listed in the EU directive, and in that case you have to consider both the 1996 term (life+70 years of four people) and the 1961 term (life+50 years of someone else) and use whichever is longer.
  • Unpublished anonymous works: The 1996 law says that anonymous works are protected for 70 years from publication. However, if the work isn't published within 70 years from creation, then the term is shortened to 70 years from creation. The 1961 law says that anonymous works are protected for 50 years from publication. However, if you can somehow prove that the work was first published after the death of the anonymous author, then the term is shortened to life+50 years. Life+50 years is sometimes longer than creation+70 years.
Since Sweden and Germany often have had similar copyright rules, I'm wondering if there might be a similar complex mess for films in Germany. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:14, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4: That's an interesting question indeed. I'll present it at de:Wikipedia:Urheberrechtsfragen (the German Wikipedia's equivalent of this page). Gestumblindi (talk) 19:07, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4: I've already received an answer, see there. It seems there are some similarities to Sweden, though it seems a bit less complex: Before the changes of 1995, German law had no special provisions for works of films, so for the duration of copyright, all people that could be considered (co-)creators of the film were of relevance - and still are for pre-1995 films. Amongst others, this apparently includes the cinematographer in most cases, possibly also set designers, costume designers and others, depending on the kind of movie. Gestumblindi (talk) 19:58, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
That sounds exactly like the Swedish situation: the death year of most people who were involved in the film needs to be considered. Some of the involved people only do things which create related rights, and with respect to those people, it should be enough to consider the copyright term for the relevant related right. For example, actors are 'performers' and cameramen are 'photographers' and create film recordings and possibly also sound recordings (but some film frames might be photographic works of art in which case the cameraman's death year matters). However, if the contributions are separable, it seems that the old law sets the copyright term independently for each contribution. I think that the European Union made a big mistake when deciding that the Copyright Duration Directive shouldn't have the effect that the copyright term is shortened. These rules are way too complex. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:40, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
"That sounds exactly like the Swedish situation" - well, yes, but it seems there are at least not differing terms of protection to account for (more people, but 70 years p.m.a. for these, too). According to a German law commentary (Schricker/Loewenheim, 4th ed.), cameramen (cinematographers) may very well be considered co-creators of the work itself (so not just creating related rights); for the relevant locations in the commentary, see Pajz' post in the German discussion. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:57, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Wouldn't laws limiting anonymous work to a flat 70 years generally save us from considering cameramen? I guess not if you're looking at a modern-style movie with a cast list of thousands (at which point we assume the last person died, say, 80 years after the movie was made and thus 150 years from publication), but I haven't seen many older movies where cameramen and the like have been noted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:12, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
If some of the co-authors are anonymous, then you should apply the rules for anonymous works with respect to those authors, at least as far as Swedish law is concerned. I am not sure if you can use rules for anonymous authors if some of the people listed in the EU directive are anonymous as the EU directive doesn't mention the situation where some of them are anonymous. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:27, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Stefan4, by virtue of law, they are always "separable." A cameraman is the creator of a moving picture (§ 95 UrhG), or a joint author of the resulting cinematographic work (§§ 2(1) no. 6, 8 UrhG) if it is protected; and he's also the creator of the underlying photographs (§ 72 UrhG), some of which may even be photographic works pursuant to § 2(1) no. 5 UrhG. These are separate rights. — Pajz (talk) 11:22, 28 April 2015 (UTC)

Why can't running copyright terms be shortened by a law? -- 15:53, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

It could, but laws in EU countries have to follow directives (according to EU law, there could be cases where national bodies would question its validity, but hardly about these matters).
The reason EU chose to do it this way is probably that ownership is considered holy – making someone's property a commons is difficult – while the public right to cultural heritage can more easily be postponed. The copyright lobby is strong and generally has nothing much to loose on orphan works.
--LPfi (talk) 12:43, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

File:Popov Ivan Vasilyevich.jpg Deletion[edit]

Why was it deleted this image? It was a photo for identification. It was made by an anonymous photographer in the 1930s. Obviously, the author will never be known. In Russia works published prior to 1 January 1943 may also be in the public domain if: 1: author died before January 1, 1944... 2: they were published anonymously or under a pseudonym before January 1, 1943, and the name of the author did not become known during 50 years. -This case --Yokki

What is the copyright for presumably American, anonymous, unpublished photos from 1923?[edit]

If I am reading Commons:Hirtle chart correctly, Template:PD-US-unpublished is applicable, meaning that we cannot use them, as even a 1923 photo has a 120 years of protection, expiring only in 1943, yes? Two clarifying questions: a) what does it mean for a work to be "published" (particularly with regards to photographs), and b) what if there is no certainly about the author's nationality, ex. in the case of an individual traveling around the world? If, let's say, we know that that the photo was taken in 1923, but could have been taken either in US or in Italy/Poland (presumably under Template:Anonymous-EU), what copyright tags can we use? (If you reply here, please ping me back through Template:Ping, thank you). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 06:42, 7 May 2015 (UTC)

@Piotrus: The easiest case of published is where copies were made with permission for general distribution and/or sale; in the case of photographs, most likely as postcards or in a book. Where photos were taken is generally irrelevant for copyright; what matters is where they were published. Under US law, and I believe the Berne Convention, nationality of the author of an unpublished work is irrelevant. When we use Anonymous-EU or PD-US-unpublished is a Commons thing; in the US only the second will matter, and presumably in the EU only the first, no matter where the author was from or where the picture was taken.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:43, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: Ok, but... then is the photograph, unpublished, from 1923, PD or not? Author unknown. OK to upload to Commons or not? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 02:50, 8 May 2015 (UTC)
Only if its author died before 1945. If it's anonymous, then no. At the time, publication was undefined in the law so the courts came up with some rules. "Limited publication" was distribution to a preselected (i.e. limited) group of people with restrictions on further distribution, and that did not count as full publication. If either of those parts was not true (distributed to a large number of people, or no restrictions were made on what could be further done with those copies) then it was general publication and those copies needed a copyright notice. But unpublished works never lost copyright. There is unsurprisingly a fair amount of gray area so it can depend on the specific facts of the work. Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US has some further details though that is focusing on sculptural works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:56, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

If where photos were taken and nationality of the author of an unpublished work is irrelevant, then what defines what law to use? Could I export photos from USA and publish them freely in EU while they still are under copyright in USA (and get a first publisher's right under EU law)? --LPfi (talk) 12:26, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

If it's unpublished, the country of origin would be the nationality of the author. Once published, that would be the country of origin I guess. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:19, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
The law to use is always the law of the country that you're sitting in. You could export works from the USA and publish them freely in the EU if they're PD in the EU; publishers are always doing things like that.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:52, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
If it is unpublished, then:
  • United States law is simple. {{PD-US-unpublished}} is what should be used for all works, regardless of where the work comes from, regardless of whether the copyright has expired somewhere else in the world and regardless of whether a country has signed a copyright treaty with the United States or not.
  • The source country is the country of citizenship or residence of the author. If the work later becomes published with the consent of the copyright holder, then the source country changes to the country of first publication.
  • The application of the first publisher's right is explained here with respect to Swedish law. It seems that the requirement is that the person who publishes the work or makes it available to the public must be a citizen or resident of Sweden but that the work may come from any country and that it is irrelevant in which country the work is published or made available to the public. Here you can also see that citizens of the European Economic Area are treated in the same way as Swedish citizens (meaning that they can claim the first publisher's right), but it seems that other citizens which merely reside within the European Economic Area (but outside Sweden) can't claim this right. Under other copyright treaties, such as the Berne Convention, it explicitly says that this rule (44 a §) doesn't apply. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:22, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4, Prosfilaes, Clindberg: Thank you for the explanations. But could you clarify the following:
What is the country of citizenship or residence of the author is unknown (because the author is unknown)? Do I understand you correctly that than the publisher's country has jurisdiction? Ex. I have a photo of an unknown origin. I am a citizen of Fooland, I want to digitize and publish it on the Internet, in this case only Fooland law applies?
What if the work was created (presumably in the US after 1895) and not published (ex. kept in family archives)? Do we have a chart for this by date of creation, like Hirtle chart? As in: which copyright tags to use for works of anonymous authors, presumably American, by date of creation?
For a specific case, I am trying to advise an uploader of images to w:Rosa_Raisa article. They come from early 20th century (from 1914 to 1938), author unknown, some presumably American but some may be European, kept in the American family's archive and recently digitized. How would you tag them? Public Domain? Fair use? Copyvio? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 04:48, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
The author still has a country of citizenship and a country of residence even if the author is unknown. If you are sued by the heirs of the anonymous author, then the heirs will usually have information about the country of residence and citizenship of the anonymous author even if this information hasn't been disclosed publicly, and this information is then provided to the court and used by the court in the same way as the court uses information about authors with known identity. I guess that this is a situation in which you can never be completely certain and where there always is a risk that someone who claims to be the copyright holder might have more information than what you have access to.
Under European law, the person who first publishes an unpublished work becomes the copyright holder to that work provided that the copyright already has expired. Under the Swedish implementation, the only requirement in order to claim this right is that the publisher must be a citizen of an EEA country or a resident of Sweden, whereas the source country of the work and the country of first publication are irrelevant. The citizenship and the country of residence of the author is sometimes relevant for establishing the public domain date in European countries, though. If this information is relevant and unknown in a specific situation, then I don't know whether the court would accept or deny the publisher's claims to the right of the copyright.
What are you looking for about unpublished works which COM:HIRTLE doesn't reveal? The table already gives the full situation under United States law:
  • Unpublished sound recording: There are currently no unpublished sound recordings which are in the public domain in the United States. The copyright expires at the earliest on 15 February 2067.
  • Unpublished architecture: Only in the public domain if {{PD-US-architecture}} is satisfied. When other unpublished architecture becomes old enough (in 2061 or later), {{PD-US-unpublished}} can be used too.
  • Other unpublished works: Only in the public domain in the United States if {{PD-US-unpublished}} is satisfied.
The United States rules for unpublished works are much simpler than the rules for other unpublished works since the source country is irrelevant for the copyright status in the United States. If you have unpublished photographs from the 20th century, this United States rule means that the correct copyright tag is {{copyvio}} unless you obtain permission from the photographer, and this regardless of the source country. If you wish to use 'fair use', carefully check the exemption doctrine policy of the project you wish to upload them to, for example w:WP:NFCC#4 on English Wikipedia.
The copyright term in Europe is determined by the w:Copyright Duration Directive, which sets the term to 70 years after creation if the author is unknown or to 70 years after the death of the author if the author is known (and the rule of the shorter term is also used for foreign works). Also note Article 10 of the directive which says that the directive doesn't have the effect that the copyright term for any pre-existing works is shortened, which affects the copyright expiration date for unpublished works in a number of countries. Under Swedish law, this means that the copyright term for unpublished anonymous works is extended to 50 years from the death of the anonymous author if this is longer than 70 years from creation, or to 50 years from publication if the work is first published more than 70 years after creation but before the death of the anonymous author (an uncommon situation I suppose: most authors die within 70 years from creation of the work). Under German law, this means that the copyright term for unpublished anonymous artworks is extended to 70 years from the death of the anonymous author, while unpublished literary works and unknown works by known authors seem to get the flat EU term. Under British law, many works get a minimum copyright term of 50 years from publication, which means that many unpublished works simply can't enter the public domain unless they first become published, or unless you wait until 2040 when this rule is supposed to be repealed. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:22, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

In terms of jurisdiction, that is always the law in the country of your intended use, country of origin or not. The country of origin is for the most part just used by countries who define the length of copyright protection by the "rule of the shorter term" or the "rule of the longer term", which requires a particular country to compare copyright terms with. There is not much legal effect other than that. The actual law in the country of origin only applies within that country's borders (just like any other country). Because it has an effect on the term in more countries than just its own however, it is a useful tool for Commons to use to determine when they can host a work, so we look at their laws in particular. Publishing "on the internet" usually means you are publishing on a particular website, and that website is hosted in a particular country, so those would probably be the laws you would most need to follow, as well as the ones where you actually are. That type of global publication is relatively new and I'm not sure the courts have really caught up with it; there have not been many cases and there are some widely varying results. But if you do an act which is considered copyright infringement where you actually are, then you can be sued in that country. Of course, if no copyright owner ever surfaces to sue, then you would never have any real issue. As for Wikipedia or Wikimedia, you'd have to follow the terms of use. Orphan works, where the author's identity has been lost or if known cannot be located, are an ugly situation -- there is no real way to obtain a license, but a license is required. If the family owns copyright, they may have inherited it and could license it. If the photos were published in the U.S., then of course there is a good chance they are PD. Not knowing if they were published is different than knowing they were not published, but we might need a good reason to assume they were. So the question might be how did the picture source come by owning the pictures? Sometimes even that amount of distribution might be publication, depending on the facts. But if they are truly orphan works, where the copyright still exists, that is a problem with no real solution for Wikimedia. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:06, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

T&E Soft logo - below the threshold of originality?[edit]

Would the blue "T&E SOFT" logo on this page be below the threshold of originality in the US, or, for that matter, below the threshold of originality in Japan (from what one understands, the logo is for a Japanese company)? --Gazebo (talk) 07:58, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Certainly {{PD-textlogo}} in the USA. Yann (talk) 09:12, 11 May 2015 (UTC)
If you mean this, then the file should be fine in Japan too. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:03, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. As of now, the logo has been uploaded here. To be sure, the logo is basically text though in a somewhat unusual font with some shading at the edges, so it seemed likely that the logo would be below the TOO (threshold of originality) in the US and in Japan, given the examples on the Commons TOO page. At the same time, it can be useful to get additional opinions from others. --Gazebo (talk) 05:16, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Eurovision Song Contest downloads[edit]

Hi. I took several pictures in Category:Maraaya from ESC site and marked them as Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International. Local Community is not sure about licence and proposes only "attribution" licence. What do you think? brg. A.--ModriDirkac (talk) 16:27, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

@ModriDirkac: Creative Commons is not specifically mentioned, so {{Attribution}} would be more appropriate. However, I am not sure if these photos are free: There is no mention of being able to modify the photos, which is a necessary permission. Anon126 ( ) 00:16, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
So is "You can also use the Press Photos in your publications. Please credit EUROVISION/EBU and the photographer." free enough or not? --Sporti (talk) 10:12, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I don't think these pictures are free. They are allowed to promote the Eurovision Song Contest. I don't think commercial use is allowed outside of that. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:45, 15 May 2015 (UTC)

Official policy link is Commons:Problematic_sources#Promotional_photos... -- AnonMoos (talk) 07:47, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

correct permission[edit]

I would like to upload an artwork image created by Daniel Del Nero and published on his website, I wrote to him via email and he gave me permission. But as I look around the Wikimedia Commons site, it seems to me that just having his permission written in an email to me is not enough. Am I right on that? It looks like he has to give some kind of license on some kind of larger permission site? Thanks for your help. Greg Dahlen (talk) 11:43, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

See COM:OTRS... AnonMoos (talk) 07:34, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Patents in Public Domain in Germany?[edit]

During this DR discussion come up the question about the copyright status of patents in Germany. We do not have much information about it on Commons: Category:German patent drawings relies on PD-old licenses, Category:Patent templates does not have anything about Germany and Commons:Copyright_rules_by_subject_matter#Patents talks only about US. However as User:Joefaust pointed out claims that "Under Sec. 5(2) Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz), patent documents (published patent applications, patent specifications and utility model documents) are exempted from copyright protection from the time of their official publication.". Can someone familiar with German law and language verify this. If it is true than we could create {{PD-Germany-patent}}. --Jarekt (talk) 19:23, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

The FAQ entry on DPMA's page essentially says that §5 (2) UrhG can be applied. §5 (2) UrhG says that there's no copyright protection except those mentioned in §62 (1) and (2) and §63 (1) and (2). §62 (1) says that no modifications are allowed. §63 (2) says that translations are an exception of (1). §63 says that the author and source have to be named. So I'd say {{Nonderivative}}. --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 04:48, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
The legal analysis by Nenntmichruhigip is correct, but we habitually ignore the restrictions of §5 (2) UrhG versus the basic norm of §5 (1) UrhG here on Commons as well as all parallel constructions at German copyright law. So according to our practice German patent files are compatible with Commons guidelines. --h-stt !? 09:53, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
Ok, so that would be comparable to Creative Commons "CC-BY-ND" license, which is not compatible with Commons policies. On the second read of I can see that it explains it plainly. --Jarekt (talk) 12:37, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
See also German FoP laws which also place a non-derivative restriction on images of copyrighted works of art. We've always silently ignored that fact. -- Liliana-60 (talk) 22:25, 15 May 2015 (UTC)
One thing I realty do not like is to have a license template for which consensus changes and then we need to delete a lot of files that a lot of people spend a lot of time on. I think I would rather not have {{PD-Germany-patent}} than allow people to spend a lot of time uploading files which will be deleted. --Jarekt (talk) 03:18, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Maybe it would be good to have a template similar to {{Cc-by-nd}}, so uploaders looking for a suitable template will become aware of the situation. Actually when writing my previous posting I used Template:Cc-by-nd to check whether nonderivative licenses are allowed here :-) --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 11:01, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
No, this is not comparable to any CC-license and particularely not to CC-by-nd. It is a PD-gov status. And if you are confused how it can be explcitly exempt from any copyright status but at the same time thate is a clause to limit derivatives to those usual already in the analogue aera (as cropping, change of contrast or background color always was considered legitimate), then you should pose that question to the legislators of Germany, not to me. I didn't write the law. I can only tell you, that there is no judicature on the issue, so we can only interpret the wording of the law. And that is perplex in itself. --h-stt !? 13:17, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

What shall I do[edit]

In 2010 I uploaded two images of a picture, one from the entrance hall of a public bath, the other one from a demonstration (of course in public areas). The artist consented. Now I got a message from the artist of that picture:

  • ... Ich bin durch Zufall mal wieder auf die Seiten von Wikimedia gekommen und sehe da noch meine Wassergöttin vom Mineralbad Berg, es steht da auch das da was geändert wurde am 13. April 2015 ???. Es steht da auch was von Copyright, verstehe ich das richtig dass man da die Fotos runterladen, verteilen und vervielfältigen darf? Wenn ja muss das sofort raus weil das Urheberrecht bei mir ist, und ich keinerlei Weitergabe möchte...

She seems to be surprised about the PD copyright and does not wish the free use of the images. As far as I understood she can request the deletion of the first image which is a photograph of a two-dimensional work of art, exhibited an a public place? A license protecting it against download etc does not exist?. I am complete unsure about the second picture. She herself used kind of a copy of the said first picture and carried it on several Monday demos. I replaced it later by another better copy she gave me for upload, and changed the text upon her wishes. Are their different rules for the two image versions?

At one hand I liked to wilfare her wishes; on the other hand I think the first image is a worthful information about the Mineralbad Berg, as the second one belongs to the info about the demonstrations. At least the first version of the second image is my photograph from a public event, it can be seen better when I undo the cropping. What shall I do? sarang사랑 05:02, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

As a public work of art in Germany, you can take pictures of it and upload to Commons even without the artist's permission (see COM:FOP). Of course, the images can be deleted as a courtesy, but we are under no legal obligation to do so. -- King of ♠ 16:18, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Freedom of panorama in Germany requires that a work is situated permanently in a public place. Anything used in a demonstration is not permanent, so that image is not okay, as it does not fall under FOP. The picture taken at the bath is more complicated, as it may or may not count as a public place. See Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#Germany. --rimshottalk 13:56, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Portrait colored from processed photograph[edit]

So I made a vector painting of an artist in a concert, of which there are many photographs of her performing. I used one particular photograph as a rough basis but I drew the singer in a slightly different pose on paper and used my sketch as a framework for my vector painting. But I still used the photograph as a coloring source, albeit with some moderate processing on my end. Is this still considered a derivative work and not allowed on Commons?—Kelvinsong talk 18:31, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

See en:Barack Obama "Hope" poster for one caution... AnonMoos (talk) 07:41, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
This is the image in question 1, vs 2. It clearly passes the overlay test but does the act of using the photograph as a reference in the process make it a derivative work? And beyond that, how valuable would such an image be on commons—Kelvinsong talk 17:59, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
The simple act of using a photograph as a reference does not necessarily mean it's a derivative work. The question is if expression from the original is copied. That can be elements under the photographer's control, such as lighting, angle, timing, framing, and things like that. It can be a little hard to define well. While the photographer has no copyright in the object being pictured... and you've made some changes... I'd be concerned about that. The angle is very similar, the lighting on the clothes and face etc is very close. If that was a posed picture, definitely derivative, as a snapshot where the photographer has no control over the scene and pose... grayer, but still possible. On the other hand, if there was a photographer nearby that took a similar photograph, those would not be derivative, and if your image was changed enough so that it was impossible to distinguish which was the source photograph, in theory that should have changed enough. But if your image replicates the exact timing on the photograph, that might be enough for a judge to decide it's derivative. The Obama hope case is probably the closest case, and while it was not explicitly ruled derivative, the judge hinted very strongly that would be the outcome if the case was not settled, which it was (the judge did rule that it did not constitute fair use if it was derivative). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:03, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

GNU and pictures[edit]

It is the com:GNU Free Documentation Licence, version 1.2 applicable to a picture? thanks--Pierpao.lo (listening) 05:40, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

That image has what would be considered a semi-annoying license according to current Commons practices ("Note: The GFDL is not practical for photos and short texts" -- Commons:Licensing). -- AnonMoos (talk) 07:39, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Photograph of University of Mysore Crest sign[edit]

Since some anonymous user asked me, I wonder about the copyright status of a photo I took and uploaded of a neon sign depicting the crest of the University of Mysore (File:University_of_Mysore_crest.jpg). The sign is permanently located on top of Crawford Hall at the university. The University of Mysore was founded in 1916 under the former Mysore Kingdom and it seems the design of the crest goes back to around that date - (maybe much earlier since the University grew out of Maharaja's College, Mysore which goes back to 1833 and uses a crest of the same design) - anyway long before the Indian Copyright Act of 1957 came into force. - so I assumed this was OK. Christopher Fynn (talk)) 17:34, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

It sounds like the building was constructed in 1947. The crest design itself is probably older, although each depiction of a crest might have its own copyright (would depend on if the depiction was recreated or if they added additional expression to that version in particular), so that is the main concern. India has FOP although not for two-dimensional works... some elements of that sign are not 2-D, though there is a 2-D design underlying it (though most/all of that 2-D design is likely to be much older). Lastly, if anonymous, copyright has expired in India anyways. You'd have to go to some pretty far extremes to call your photo a derivative work, so I would not vote to delete it. The general prohibition on logos is under the assumption the logo itself is copyrighted (which not all are). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:17, 17 May 2015 (UTC)


I have a question on this image. The "Gold Coast" in the title is the name of an actual hot dog place (note: I took mention of it out of the photo caption on this enwiki article for that reason), but the company logo is prominent in the photo. As the article is not about the company nor a specific product it makes (meaning I don't see an NFCC exemption for the logo), it seems to me that there may be an advertising, trademark, or copyright issue here because of the logo. Could someone a bit more knowledgeable in that area look into this? MSJapan (talk) 19:23, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

See COM:DM. The pupose of the picture is the food, not the logo. The picture should therefore be fine according to the standards of most or all countries. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:07, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
In reference to the policy, there are circumstances where de minimis wouldn't apply. Note that I pointed out that the place is referenced in the filename (as well as the caption in the enwiki article until I changed it). The logo is pretty significantly visible, even though the focus is the food, because it makes up the entirety of the background. That being said, it might made sense to change the background to avoid the problem entirely. MSJapan (talk) 22:26, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
If the logo is referenced in an image caption, then de minimis doesn't seem to apply for the page where that image caption is used. De minimis is very much about how you use an image. If the image caption on a page only mentions the food, then the use on that page should be fine. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:34, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
That the logo is nowhere shown complete also weighs in favour of DM. But in line with the above regarding captions, might it be advisable to rename the file as well, to ChicagoChardog or similar, to avoid any appearance of misrepresentation on the one hand, or promotion on the other?—Odysseus1479 (talk) 22:58, 18 May 2015 (UTC)
Odd situation. Caption is accurate, each shop may have a different style of hot dog so it still makes sense. The logos were probably incidental, though they do add something to the photo. On the other hand, it's simply the fact that it's the logo of the company, and not any particular quality in the expression of the logo itself, which is probably more important. It's possibly a situation where fair use is so complete as to be fine for even commercial use (trademark aside). I really have a hard time thinking of a situation where the logo designer could realistically sue for copyright infringement on the photograph. Or, more probably it's a situation like Ets-Hokins -- that decision said a photograph would need to be focusing on a bottle's label in order to be derivative; simply being part of the photograph was not enough since the logo just happened to be there (i.e. was incidental) when the photograph was made of the bottle it was on. This is a little different as it is the background, and not necessarily intentionally included. Intentionally including an artistic work as a background to enhance the image probably would not be OK, as it would not be necessary to simply illustrate the primary object, though this one feels different (probably because the logo just happened to be there in the snapshot, and the main value is its status as the logo and not its artistic expression). I don't think it's really a problem, though blanking the background would put a bit more focus on the hot dog itself. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:16, 18 May 2015 (UTC)

current Exxxotica deletions requests[edit]

Hello. At Commons:Deletion requests/2015/05/12 there are currently some deletion requests for images of porn stars, photographs taken at some exhibiton/convention type event. All files share the problem that there are some posters or similar in the background that have to be considered as COM:DW, making the whole images COM:DM borderline cases with tendency in one or another direction, depending on the individual image.

First: I'm not interested in these individual images, and most of the current cases can be solved by applying an appropriate crop anyway. But I would like to discuss this more generally.

If we assume (which is not necessarily proven here, but for the moment please let us assume it is) that:

  • all those images have been created with permission of the host organization (either by press accreditation or general allowance to take photographs at the event), and
  • the images are taken during an explicit photo posing of the models, and
  • the background posters and magazines are intentionally placed that way, so that it is unavoidably to include them into the photographs,

is that enough reason so assume that this is technically DM in any case?

I'm not a lawyer, but my feeling is that it could be.

We have lots of photos of people in front at red carpet style photo events with sponsor walls backgrounds which sometimes include complex logos, and it sounds unreasonable to me if this could be a reason of not being able to use the photograph while all intention of the whole event was to shares images of the shown people and stuff.

Please advise. Thank you. --Krd 07:40, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment In a case like File:Kara Tai at Exxxotica Miami 2009 (1).jpg, the background images are without doubt de minimis, but the DVD cover she hold may not be. In other cases, the background posters can just be cropped. File:Kaylani Lei at Exxxotica Miami 2009 (8).jpg and, after the crop, File:Kaylani Lei at Exxxotica Miami 2009 (2).jpg, File:Jesse Jane Exxxotica Miami 2009 (7).jpg, File:Jesse Jane Exxxotica Miami 2009 (6).jpg are OK. Regards, Yann (talk) 07:51, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
Thx Yann, but as said, I know that most cases can be solved by cropping. This is trivial and not the question here. --Krd 08:01, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I think the event organisers, movie companies and stars all want as much publicity and thus they allow the press/public to take photos. Obviously such photos are going to be published in newspapers, magazines and online at places like Facebook and Flickr. I'm not sure that this meets our re-use requirement, because we only allow them if they can be freely reused for any purpose. Taking the example of File:Kara Tai at Exxxotica Miami 2009 (1).jpg, is it possible for anyone to take that DVD cover and reuse it commercially? I suspect that a re-user could do so given that the file itself is 3.43 Mb. Clearly Kara is holding up the cover because she wants to promote the "movie" but is she or the production company giving permission for anyone to reuse the image in any way they wish, even commercially? I don't think that is the case here because she and the production company want people to buy the video. Unless there is some explicit (no pun intended) licensing, I think such a file could probably qualify as fair-use if it were reduced in size but I don't think it can stay on Commons. So I think the same would apply to any red-carpet scenario - the copyright holders are advertising their wares but they are not necessarily giving the rest of us permission to reuse such images. A curious example is File:"DJ Ashba" "Nicky Whelen" (5482655188).jpg, where you can see that there is a poster for a movie next to the two people but is it reusable, especially given that you couldn't really remove the happy couple without leaving a hole in the poster? Obviously it is of questionable copyright, being accredited to Eva Rinaldi's Flickr account, but the EXIF gives a different author, who maybe works for her? I might actually start a DR on that one but I'll wait till this discussion is concluded. Green Giant (talk) 10:06, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
I mostly agree with you, but File:"DJ Ashba" "Nicky Whelen" (5482655188).jpg could be cropped to be sure that the poster is de minimis. The most problematic issue is the pictures with the DVD cover. May be some blurring could help? Regards, Yann (talk) 10:41, 20 May 2015 (UTC)

Photos von KZ-Haeftlingen[edit]

Moin! Welche Lizenz kann Commons fuer Bilder von KZ-Haeftlingen nutzen? Z.B.: File:BONNAMY Raoul.jpg. Mehr hier: Category:Victims of Nazi concentration camps. Zur Zeit wird einfach alles reingeworfen, PD-Polish, PD-old, PD-wasauchimmer. Soweit ich es gesehen habe, wird in allen Faellen (?) kein Photograph genannt. Ideen? --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 02:00, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Wenn es sich bei den Fotos um Lichtbildwerke handelt, dann sind sie mindestens bis zum 1.1.2016 geschützt, wenn der Fotograf das Kriegsende erlebt hat. Daß nach dem Krieg vieles konfisziert und zu US-Eigentum ernannt wurde, ist dabei unerheblich. Commons verlangt ja auch Freiheit in Deutschland, nicht nur USA. Daß der Fotograf ein Verbrecher war, spielt dabei keine Rolle. --Ralf Roleček 06:51, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Bei der KZ-Aufnahmefotos dürfte es sich kaum um Lichtbildwerke handeln. Und meist ist der Fotograf ja garnicht bekannt und das Foto vermutlich auch nicht von Urheberseite veröffentlicht worden, wie z.B. in der oben verlinkten Löschdiskussion; dort erfolgte die vermutete Erstveröffentlichung von polnischer Seite. --Túrelio (talk) 07:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Wenn der Fotograf und seine Lebensdaten nicht angegeben sind, ist {{PD-old}} sicherlich nicht anwendbar. Wenn die Fotografen tatsächlich anonym sind, gelten afaik 70 Jahre nach Veröffentlichung ({{Anonymous-EU}}). Ich würde jetzt mal nicht annehmen, dass der interne "Dienstgebrauch" innerhalb eines KZ als Veröffentlichung zählt? Dann würd's davon abhängen, wann jemand das entsprechende Archiv ausgegraben und veröffentlicht hat … Gleichermaßen ist {{PD-Polish}} nur anwendbar wenn auch das Datum der Veröffentlichung bekannt ist und nachgewiesen ist dass die Erstveröffentlichung in Polen stattgefunden hat (oder der Fotograf Pole war). --El Grafo (talk) 09:24, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Keep in mind that {{PD-Polish}} also requires that the publication in Poland must have been with permission from the photographer, who was probably unknown when the picture was first published. If the photographer was unknown at the time when the photograph was published, it can't have been possible to obtain permission from the photographer. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:46, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Mmmh, the english language version of the template doesn't explicitely say so, but it does make sense of course. --El Grafo (talk) 14:02, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
@Stefan4: you are wrong. Polish pre-1994 copyright law made photograps to be ineligible for copyright unless photographer made a clear copyright restriction. It was due to the photographer to made the restriction. If he failed to made such a restriction, the photo was PD. It doea not matter whether the photographer was anonymous or not. The post-1994 law did not extend copyright to photos that were published without restriction. However, you are right, that this applies only to published photos. Anonymous unpublished photos are PD in Poland 70 years after creation. But US copyright is more restrictive here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ankry (talk • contribs) 2015-05-22T08:31:39 (UTC)
But if the publication was without permission from the photographer, then there is as far as I know no country which treats this as 'publication', meaning that the photo is to be treated as an unpublished photograph. --Stefan4 (talk) 08:41, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Note that permission might have not been required when the photo was published as most photographs were ineligible to copyright then. So everybody who owned a copy was authorized to publish it, unless the copy was marked with clear copyright notice (but then, the photographer was obviously known). Copyright status of such (published) photos did not change later. And {{PD-Polish}} is about this. Ankry (talk) 13:36, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
Nein, Commons verlangt Freiheit im Ursprungsland. --WolfD59 (talk) 07:13, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Also DR und am 1.1.2016 UDR? --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 09:24, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Auschwitz war 1942 deutsch und es gibt keinerlei Anhaltspunkt, daß das Bild in Polen erstveröffentlicht wurde. Kennen wir den Fotografen nicht, müssen wir davon ausgehen, daß es noch lange geschützt ist. PD-old und PD-polnisch sind jedenfalls definitiv falsch. --Ralf Roleček 16:47, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Government Work in Cyprus[edit]

Does anybody know the copyright status of works created by the Cypriot Government? Specifically, I'd like to upload this logo of the Limassol municipality. Fern 24 (talk) 10:30, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

Cropping out authors' logos from CC BY 2.0-licensed Flickr photos[edit]

Are there any problems with uploading a photo from Flickr I don't own which is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence (meaning derivatives are permitted) and cropping out parts of the picture that contain the photographer's logo and website? I would most likely do this by uploading the original image in its entirety initially and then replacing the file with the cropped version so the original could be seen in the file history. Obviously, the usual required attribution would be included under the file's summary. Thanks. CrookedAsterisk (talk) 13:48, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

If the logo is copyright-related, you should not remove it; for details see Commons:Watermarks#Legal_issues_with_the_removal_of_watermarks. --Túrelio (talk) 13:56, 21 May 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. I knew the topic should have been covered somewhere but just couldn't find it. CrookedAsterisk (talk) 14:02, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

File:Rowlandson-Bluestockings.jpg and misleading EXIF permission requirement[edit]

The photo from subject contains an EXIF info in the image subject that the image is property of NYPL and cannot be used without their permission, WMF legal team suggests in OTRS that this is "an incorrect notice from the New York Public Library". I think we should do something with this. But what can we do?

  • add a warning concerning this (invisible on the description page) info
  • remove the incorrect EXIF information

Any hints? Ankry (talk) 08:41, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

  • I suggest a warning. Yes the data is probably incorrect but it is not clear that NYPL knows that. They may actually believe that it is correct and perhaps they are willing to enforce that. This is not a reason for us to delete the file but a warning as a courtesy to our reusers seems decent. Natuur12 (talk) 12:53, 22 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Why do we need a warning beyond {{PD-Art}}, which is already on the page?--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:26, 22 May 2015 (UTC)

High Resolution photo for printing[edit]

Dear Wikimedia Commons Need this photo for high resolution for printing, Possible to advise the owner of this photo? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Adamnzh (talk • contribs)

Hi Adamnzh,
you might try to contact the uploader at his home-wiki [1]. However, he/she hasn't been active since November 2014. So, he/she might not read it. --Túrelio (talk) 09:54, 22 May 2015 (UTC)