Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2011/09

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Archive This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.

Copyright transferred verbally for image from internal network

I uploaded an image from the internal network at my workplace. The image author released all rights verbally and agreed to put the image in the public domain. I am unable to put a provide a "source" such as URL or a book ISBN, because the image originated from a common folder on a private network. I have been notified that the image may be deleted from the Commons if I do not rectify the situation. How should I proceed? Rabbit m (talk) 16:05, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

  • See COM:OTRS for a detailed explanation. In brief: The photographer (or whoever owns the rights of this photograph) must send an email to with a statement releasing the photograph under {{cc0}}. SV1XV (talk) 17:58, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Insurance policies etc.

From an antiquarian, I recently bought an interesting piece of history, a car insurance policy issued in 1932 by an insurance company from London for a Miss C. in Ayrshire. I think it would be a nice addition for Category:Car's insurance. Am I right in the assumption that a plain insurance policy qualifies as "facts, data, and unoriginal information" and therefore {{PD-text}} is applicable? And what about personality rights? Do you think I should censor the name of the insured person in the document scan, as I have done here? Or is a policy from 1932 old enough? After all, Miss C. probably died some time ago, but could be still alive (if she was twenty in 1932, she would be "only" 99 by now)... - Also, when having a look at Category:Car's insurance, I saw some files with questionable licensing. File:Зеленая карта ОАО ЖАСО.jpg is certainly not the uploader's "own work", who licensed it as CC-BY-SA. Should we change the license there to PD-text? Or is the document, including two logos, too "original" and should be deleted? ("My" policy is much plainer, no logos, short text). The copyright of File:IVK.png, if there were any, would also not be held by the uploader, I think, but I assume that's really PD-text? Gestumblindi (talk) 18:31, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

The policy would almost certainly be copyrighted as a creative work - or, if it's a filled-in-form, the form upon which it was based would be copyrighted at the very least. As to whether it's old enough to be in the public domain, that's complicated. I believe that to upload it here, it needs to be public domain both in the source country and in the U.S.
  • For the UK. I have no idea, sorry. {{PD-old}} gives the rule for a living author, but not for a corporate author, which seems to be the most likely case if issued by an insurance company.
  • For the U.S., there's a good summary at, note particularly the section on "Works First Published Outside the U.S. by Foreign Nationals or U.S. Citizens Living Abroad". Note especially that whether there was a copyright notice on the work can make a big difference for works published in this time frame. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:57, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Blank forms aren't eligible for copyright in the US.[1]--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:18, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
That's good to know, but I suspect an insurance policy is more than a blank form (the examples they cited would be things like empty charts that have no creative content whatsoever, while a policy is almost purely going to be composed of creative content). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 05:34, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, I'm pretty sure that even a filled out insurance policy wouldn't be copyrightable e.g. in Germany or in Switzerland, where a fairly high threshold of originality applies (i.e. a document consisting of standard technicalities for an insurance wouldn't be seen as "creative" enough for protection). However, the countries to consider here are UK and U.S. indeed... There is no copyright notice on the policy. But was it ever "published"? I remember an interesting discussion about the definition of "publication" (on Lupo's talk page, I think) and would suspect that an insurance policy is not a published work, as it was not made accessible to the public. So, for the U.S., the rules for "Never Published, Never Registered Works" at the top of probably apply, if a policy is really a "work" in the U.S., and then probably the second case: "Unpublished anonymous and pseudonymous works, and works made for hire (corporate authorship)". This would mean a copyright protection of 120 years from date of creation, making the policy copyright protected in the U.S. until the year 2052... but I'm not quite sure whether this also applies for unpublished works from outside the U.S.? The section on "Works First Published Outside the U.S. by Foreign Nationals or U.S. Citizens Living Abroad" is only, as it says, about published works. Gestumblindi (talk) 10:11, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
1) As far as the originality question goes, I found a a quote of 1-2 Nimmer on Copyright § 2.18[E], saying "There appear to be no valid grounds why legal forms such as contracts, insurance policies, pleadings and other legal documents should not be protected under the law of copyright." (emphasis added) This is followed by various caveats that can probably be answered only by an attorney who works in the field, but it's enough to make me think that we should treat it as copyrightable unless shown otherwise.
2) Similarly with publication: at the time of the creation of this document, the U.S. apparently had no definition of publication, so determining the definition at the time would take more effort than we are likely to want to put into this. However, the current definition of publication would indicate that the document was published, unless there was something in the policy (doubtful) preventing its contents from being disclosed to others. (See 's definition of "disclosure" and of "the public.") Again, unless we are shown otherwise, we should treat it as having been published. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 11:03, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. If we can presume that the policy counts as "published" in the U.S., we may still have a chance that it is in the public domain there - if it was in the public domain in the UK as of 1 January 1996, if I understand this correctly. But I too have no idea what the status of a corporate work published (or not published according to UK law?) in 1932 is... (several copyright law changes since then, some maybe retroactive?) Gestumblindi (talk) 11:20, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
By the way, it seems that the company issuing the policy in question ("Jerrome, Druce & Co., Ltd.") no longer exists. If there is no legal successor, might the policy have fallen into public domain? Gestumblindi (talk) 21:00, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Copyright doesn't work that way. If the company no longer exists, somebody owns the company's assets, including their copyrighted works. That somebody probably isn't aware of it, but the copyrights still exist. --Carnildo (talk) 23:18, 30 August 2011 (UTC)
This is based on the assumption that there's always a legal successor, somebody who owns the defunct company's assets. Well, I'm not really knowledgeable in the area of company liquidation in the UK, but is this really the case? Gestumblindi (talk) 20:49, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not an expert in UK law, but my general impression from reading up on various pieces of English Common Law is that there is no such thing as unowned property: there is always an owner, though figuring out who it is can be difficult, and there are situations where ownership defaults to the Crown or the government. --Carnildo (talk) 21:40, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Library and Archives Canada image requires deletion... or not?

It has long been established that the "Restrictions on use: Nil" note on LAC images is not a waiver of copyright (as explained in the category's disclaimer). So with regret, I was about to nominate File:Ann Heggtveit 1960.jpg for deletion. However, the credit at LAC is "E. Farret / National Film Board of Canada" with a source of "Government". This leads me to believe the image would have been under Crown Copyright. In that case, as a 1960 image, the photo would have fallen into the public domain on January 1 of this year. Would anyone here be able to confirm my belief? Thanks! Resolute (talk) 01:39, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

That appears to me to be correct, with the caveat that Crown Copyright is 50 years from the end of the year of first publication, not the year of creation. So we'd need to know when this image was first published. Also, although it's tied up in the URAA mess, I'm not sure {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} is applicable. Since it was still under copyright at the URAA date (1/1/1996), URAA did not restore copyright on this work, it merely extended it. As far as I know, the legal challenges to the URAA only question the restoration of copyright where it had expired, not the extention of still-active copyright. It appears to me that this image is under copyright in the US and will probably remain so for the next 45 years. cmadler (talk) 12:29, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
If it is Crown Copyright, and it was published at the time, it would appear to be PD. As for the URAA, I often think that Crown Copyright (or any other government copyright with a special term) amounts to a copyright owner releasing their rights to the public domain (i.e. PD-author)... the UK has explicitly said that they consider the rights to expire worldwide (thus it's irrelevant what the URAA did) and Canada may well be the same. But as a technicality, the work may have been published without a copyright notice way back when, and if so the URAA was needed to restore the copyright at the time. Crown Copyright is based on year of publication though, and it's not clear if 1960 was the year of publication or creation. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:45, 2 September 2011 (UTC)

File:HDFC logo.svg

Is this logo in en wikipedia en:File:HDFC logo.svg simple enough to be tagged {{PD-textlogo}} and moved to commons? --Sreejith K (talk) 13:25, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

  • I would say probably not--the symbol on the left is not text and it probably is complex enough to give rise to copyright.--GrapedApe (talk) 15:49, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Possible copyright violation

I originally posted this query to File talk:Saint Sofia Church.jpg back in November 2005, when that image was located on the English Wikipedia. I didn't get a satisfactory reply back then, so I decided to re-ask the question. The image File:Saint Sofia Church.jpg also appears in this BBC article. That it is the same photo is indisputable (look at the birds), but the BBC one is slightly cropped compared with the Wikipedia one. It seems to me that either the BBC has taken an image from Wikipedia without proper attribution, or both images were taken from the same source, possibly in violation of copyright on Wikipedia's part. The account of the user who originally uploaded the file, Linyang, has been dormant for years.

What should be the next step? Gabbe (talk) 13:47, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Clearly Wikipedia did not copy from the BBC. The only person who really can complain to the BBC is the copyright owner. I suppose someone could mention it to them, but as you say, there is reasonable doubt about the real source -- you wouldn't want to accuse them unless you really know that Wikipedia was the original source (and only the photographer knows for sure). If we find a pre July-2004 source for the photo, that would change things most likely. That may be hard though, given how long the photo has been here and how often it's been copied elsewhere. File:Harbinblue.jpg and File:Ice Snow World.jpg are other uploads by the same user, also widely copied around the web, but also ones where I can't find an obvious earlier source. They are somewhat suspicious as they are lowish resolution, but uploading that type of thing was a lot more common in 2004. Two of them have "Lin Yang" as the author, and the Harbinblue one has "Yao Dao Luan" (though the only Google matches I see are in reference to the image here). That user did claim authorship on the three photos at the time. If you want to do image searches, and can find a pre-2004 source, or a larger-resolution or wider-crop source, that may cast enough doubt to take further action, but not sure there is enough info right now to do anything. Perhaps asking the BBC if they know the source for their photo, to see if there is indeed another place out there. You can use Google Images search -- if you find a copy using their search, you can usually then search on that image itself, or you can enable the Googleimages widget in your preferences here and you get a link in the menu at the top of the page. There is a similar widget for tineye. When looking for these three, I did not find any higher-resolution versions (other then ones obviously expanded from the wikipedia source version). Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:05, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
So, in short: Until an image pre-dating the 2004 upload to en_wiki is located, we assume that Linyang was acting in good faith (without necessarily assuming that the BBC is acting in bad faith) even though it seems likely that either the BBC or Linyang has acted inappropriately? Gabbe (talk) 12:36, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Well, consider it this way. It's possible that the photographer uploaded it at en_wiki and then also sold/licensed it elsewhere (e.g. BBC), which would make both uses appropriate. That does happen sometimes. cmadler (talk) 15:08, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
(ec) It's always possible the BBC asked for permission by email or something -- the copyright owner is really the only one in a position to truly know, and if it comes to legal action, the only one with any standing to do something on that front. Contacting them probably couldn't hurt -- maybe more in a manner of saying we are trying to verify the source of the image, and asking if they know where they got the image from, or something like that. The image has also been copied in a lot more places than just the BBC by this point. But the fact that it is on the BBC page (or most of these other locations) does not cast any doubt on Linyang. If we find a source which explicitly credits someone else, that could also change things, as well as finding earlier sources, or finding a higher-resolution version from more recent sources. But to me, everything I see fits the pattern of an image uploaded to Wikipedia in the earlier days, and since then having been copied far and wide, often without attribution and usually without mentioning the license (many do at least mention the Wikipedia source). It's in pretty wide use amongst Wikipedias as well, so yes I'd think we want at least some concrete indication that the images were not originally uploaded in good faith before doing something else on this side. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:12, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Artworks in museums with restriction on photography

I was recently sorting images relating to Chareleston Farmhouse, one of which is the photo File:Julian Bell.jpg which is a photo of a painting on display in the museum's collection [2].

I visited the collection recently, and noted that there is a blanket restiction on photography - no photography is allowed inside the house that contains their collection of artworks by various artists. If photography is prohibited, then it would appear that the only legal way to get images of the works that they hold is by getting permission from the museum directly.

If this is the case, what is the copyright status of photographs taken inside museums that restrict or prohibit photography, such as the image above? --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:45, 31 August 2011 (UTC)

Commons is not concerned with this kind of restrictions. Only the photographer is. We already have had this discussion countless time. Yann (talk) 11:08, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Do you mean to say that it is alright to upload images that have been taken without permission? Surely Commons is concerned about the provenance of an image in relation to any restrictions placed on photography in a museum, even if it cannot concern itself with the behaviour of the photographer? --Gavin Collins (talk) 11:14, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes, if you take photos, you are responsible to get permissions. Commons does not, and cannot check that the permission exists or not. Commons obviously encourages people to get a proper permission, but won't prevent them to upload pictures even if they do not. Ultimately Commons won't have any problems if the permission is not there, the photograher only might have problems. Yann (talk) 12:14, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Often, there is probably no explicit law against that sort of thing, though the proprietor could make the photographer leave. But really, it is up to the photographer if they want to upload them or not, as they are the ones who should know what the law is, and what risks they are taking if any. It's entirely possible they got special permission to take the photo, or the rules were different at the time, and that sort of thing. See Commons:Image casebook#Museum_and_interior_photography, and the "See also" link there. Obviously, unless FOP applies the photographed works themselves can not still be under copyright.
In the case of File:Julian Bell.jpg in particular though, it looks to have been taken off a local government website, and uploaded with a PD-Art type of rationale. Unfortunately, it also shows the frame and a bit of the surroundings, so unless it gets cropped we would have to delete it -- the painting is PD-Old (artist died 1934), but the photo itself is not. Even though it was obviously taken with permission of the museum (or even provided by them), we don't have any actual permission from the photographer on that one as it stands. We could crop to just the painting though I guess. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:43, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I can see that the copyright notice of the local government website says "Reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited other than for individual use only" [3], so I agree with Clinbberg that cropping would be necessary in order to qualify the picture for inclusion under the COM:PDART, if I understand the policy correctly.
However, if I was to ask the museum for permission to put the (cropped) picture and to upload other pictures of their artworks, what would be the postion if they objected? Could the museum assert Publication right over the images and prevent me from doing so? --Gavin Collins (talk) 14:07, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
Commons is only directly subject to U.S. law, which recognizes no publication right, nor copyright in a digital reproduction of a public domain painting (it's possible, though never verified through a court case there, that the photographer could claim actual copyright in the UK over the photo, more than just the publication right, which is only for previously unpublished works usually). PD-Art is an exception to the usual rule of using the law in the country of origin; the community voted to allow those works (since they are OK per U.S. law) even if they are not OK in other countries. I would be careful making any use of this work in the UK. If you yourself took these other photographs though, then you own the copyright to the photographs. If the pictured works are public domain, then the museum would be limited to non-copyright means (if any exist) of preventing use. If someone else took the photos, the photographers (or copyright owners of the photos anyways) would have to license them. I don't think the publication right would come into play at all. But, I don't live in the UK and I have no real idea of what legal rights they would have. Commons would follow the copyright alone though, which rests with the photographer, and is unaffected by a museum's photo policy. It's up to the photographers and uploaders to gauge any additional risks they are taking. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:52, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
(ec) ...under Commons rules the {{PD-Art}} tag can be used for "faithful reproduction" photographs of 2D public domain works of art even where copyright might be asserted under local law in the source country. (from Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag, an official policy). They can object all they want and it won't matter here. See also en:National Portrait Gallery and Wikimedia Foundation copyright dispute. cmadler (talk) 14:55, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
I can see a parallel with the National Portrait Gallery case, in that, where photography is prohibited by a museum, then the only other channel open to an uploader is to obtain an image from, say, books or websites whose publishers have been granted reproduction rights from the museum. However, I am not sure that COM:PDART allows the circumvention of such restrictions based on the idea that "They can object all they want and it won't matter here". It seems to me that if a breach of copyright were deemed to have occured in the UK (or some other restictive jurisdiction), then that would be grounds for legal action against Wikimedia in that jurisdiction, regardless of US law suggests. --Gavin Collins (talk) 16:44, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
My point is that Wikimedia Foundation has taken a clear position that 1) they are bound by US law, so Bridgeman v Corel applies, 2) they believe that such copyright claims are generally spurious, and 3) "...if we ever were seriously legally challenged, we would have a good internal debate about whether we'd fight such a case, and build publicity around it". In other words, in this specific case (faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art), Wikimedia Foundation and Commons have taken the position that they are in the public domain, and should be treated as public domain regardless of what anyone else says. The WMF response in the NPG case was in keeping with this position, and it's reasonable to expect a similar WMF response to any such future legal arguments. cmadler (talk) 17:20, 31 August 2011 (UTC)
The Wikimedia Foundation is a U.S. entity, and the servers (thus the act of distribution) are in the U.S., so I'd think that is the only place they would be directly liable for any infringement. Our policy is to host files if they are public domain (or free) in both the U.S. and the country of origin, but that is just policy, and that does mean that files may well still be under copyright in other countries -- by your logic, the Foundation is just as liable to be sued in those other countries, and thus we should only be hosting files which are PD *everywhere*, and consider ourselves subject to every law in the world (i.e. the country with the most restrictive law governs us). For example Colombia has an 80pma term and does not use the rule of the shorter term; should we not host a work published in 1890 (thus PD in the US) by a European author who died in 1930 (thus PD across Europe, and the country of origin) just because that author could sue in Colombia? While the Foundation obviously does not want to be sued anywhere, I don't think that's a viable path to take. Users in other countries of course need to be aware of their local laws, and look at the details provided here, and be careful to not use works which are a problem in their own country. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:29, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
  • I had been assuming, and perhaps others were as well, that the original was in the public domain and the question related to the production of copies. But upon further examination, it appears to me that the painting is by Duncan Grant, who died in 1978. At that time the UK law was 50 years pma, since extended to 70, so it will not be PD in the UK for nearly 40 years. US law depends on publication, which we don't have the facts about, but I think it's enough to clearly see that it's still under copyright in the country of origin, and so is not suitable on Commons. cmadler (talk) 19:47, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
    • Until yesterday, the author was listed as Roger Fry (died 1934). Was there a reference for the change? That would change the situation, yes. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:51, 1 September 2011 (UTC)
Even if the picture was free of copyright restriction, I am still finding the issue of artworks in museums with restriction on photography to be vexatious. One the one hand, here is a painting in a museum on permanent display to the public, which if we ignore the technicalities, implies that the artwork is in the public domain for all to see. On the other hand, there are restictions on photography within the museum that prevent visitors such as myself from capturing images of this artwork, which is a pity, since such images could be used to illustrate articles about the artist or the work itself.
I feel there is a conflict between our desire to upload images, and role of museums as "gatekeepers" who restict photography, say for reasons of security or to protect their future income stream from the sale of reproduction rights that would be lost if high quality images were uploaded into Commons.
In my view, the only responsible way to resolve the issue is to lobby the museum by requesting the release images of their collections that are suitable for web browsing into the public domain, rather than copy images from books or website that have images from the museum's collection. I think the current policy (COM:PDART) that has been clearly explained by cmadler and Carl Lindberg is sensible, as the role of museums as "gatekeepers" impedes the the distribution of works in the public domain, but I do see that the museums should not loose out if we simply ignore the effect of uploading high quality images without concern for their provenance might have on the museums future income. --Gavin Collins (talk) 10:03, 2 September 2011 (UTC)
See Commons:Why we need high-resolution media. To accept web-resolution versions of public domain works in an ill-conceived attempt to appease the gatekeepers and preserve their short-term income stream will hurt our mission, content reusers, and the world. Dcoetzee (talk) 19:57, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
A lot of places or areas might restrict photography, see for example File:PrizrenCollection2 2010 100 2944.JPG or other photos from Category:No photography signs. Should we restrict those too? I can hang a sign like this in my home or neighborhood too, however I can not legally require anybody to follow those signs. Similarly, museums and other institutions can display signs like that and photographers breaking those restrictions can be asked to leave the premises, but there is not law related to use of such images and it is often not possible to keep track of rules related to each institution, when were they enacted and when they expire. I do not mind museums attempts to sell their images, but restricting photography to prevent creation of free alternatives seems like a conflict of interest and in general unethical thing to do. --Jarekt (talk) 21:20, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a conflict of interest, but restricting photography does have sensible economic rationale. The income stream from the sale of reproduction rights is far from short term; I suspect most museums expect income from this source to increase in the long term, and collecting income that helps defray the cost of maintaining the collection is ethically sound in my view and is no different from, say, renting out museum rooms or gardens for private functions.
Whilst "Commons:Why we need high-resolution media" might be the ideal, I think a more museum friendly essay might be order along the lines of "How museums benefit from images of their collections in the public domain" might encourage them to the to make more content available for upload into Commons. --Gavin Collins (talk) 09:22, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Publicity still copyrights

(moved from general forum)

Is it right that Publicity still images from moviemakers are free of copyright? There are a number of images uploaded with this rationale -- see File:Kubrick-Fear-LoBrutto.jpg for a typical example -- and they only ask us to check an article on the English Wikipedia for information about that.

If they're acceptable after all, wouldn't it be better to have a specific licensing tag for them?

Other thing that worries me is how do verify than a given photography is really a Publicity still and was published without a copyright notice? --Damiens.rf 18:34, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

  • In my opinion, all these pictures are very problematic, such uploads are completely based on some guesswork. Is it really a publicity shot? What if it was published with a copyright notice? What if it was first published abroad? What if the picture was not published at all before 1978? AFAIK there is no unified approach for such pictures on Commons -- there were number of DRs, and some publicity pictures were deleted, some -- kept. Trycatch (talk) 22:52, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
  • The theory is they were published without a copyright license before 1978 -- quite likely, but we like to have some actual proof or at least indication of that. I think there are claims out there that typical practice for that kind of work was that no notices were supplied (and most of them were likely guaranteed to be published). But I'm sure DRs have gone both ways, based on the facts of each case -- some may have better proof than others. The tag would be {{PD-US-no notice}}. And even if there was a notice, photos published before 1964 would have needed a copyright renewal, which we can now search for ({{PD-US-not renewed}} is the tag for that). Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:22, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
My local movie theater has copies of 1950s publicity photos, that clearly have a proper copyright notice and statement that magazines and mumble mumble have the right to use this picture for this and that purpose. Both a proper notice and insufficient permission. I doubt there was a proper copyright renewal, but it's very hard to look up nameless works like these.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:42, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

What would be the place to establish our instance on hosting these images? More and more of these files are being uploaded, and since they are usually pictures of famous Hollywood stars, they use on Wikipedias is expected to be widespread among highly visible articles. But it's still to easy for an upload to pretend some image fits the never-copyrighted-publicity-still description for there is no known practical way for some editor do verify or dispute the claim. --Damiens.rf 15:59, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

Some evidence needs to be supplied to support the license claim. Without that, yes, it probably should lead to deletion. There is no single policy towards these -- some were undoubtedly published with a copyright notice, and some undoubtedly were published without one. While it's possible to search renewal records for photographs now, it can be a little tricky -- the photo could have been inside some book which got renewed. But with no supporting evidence, deletion requests are probably appropriate. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:12, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Ok. So I'm nominating this one and any other without such evidence for deletion. I expect a verbiage discussion from the vitriolic uploader, so I wish more people coult take a look at it.
Please sign your post, and see my request below. Jehochman (talk) 21:21, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Not a whole lot to say here beyond the obvious. 1) It is highly probable that these are public domain photoes, but a higher degree of proof of this would be welcome, beyond (very well-educated) guessing. 2) The blitz-tagging of so many images at once seems very inappropriate.
Demians.rf, please stop trying to anticipate in advance what the uploader (Wikiwatcher1 in this case) or any of his friends are going to say. But thanks for getting more people involved.--WickerGuy (talk) 01:47, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Also, in the case of most of these photos the uploader (Wikiwatcher1) has been very specific about the source of the photo (exactly what book and what publisher) and stated that no copyright is posted in the book for the photo. That does in fact constitute positive evidence!!!--WickerGuy (talk) 05:40, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Of note. At least three books on Stanley Kubrick provide copious copyright notices for stills taken from the film itself, AND absolutely NO copyright notice for pics of directors and actors working. These are Alexander Walker Stanley Kubrick Directs, Michel Ciment Kubrick, and Paul Duncan Stanley Kubrick: The Complete films. This seems fairly precedent setting to me.--WickerGuy (talk) 15:32, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Please keep it to ones which really have no real evidence provided or stated. If there is discussion on the talk page, a previous DR, statements that a renewal search was performed, or documentation of an actual original copy with no notice, avoid nominating them unless you have new information specific to that photo which may point in a different direction than previous discussions. Don't simply mark every photo marked "publicity" without looking at them -- there is at least one below where existing discussion was simply ignored. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:03, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Especially documentation of an actual original copy with no notice. This in fact was provided in all the photoes nominated, even though User:Damiens.rf stated that no evidence of public domain was provided. While we could discuss & debate whether or not this is or is not sufficient evidence, the bald statement of "no evidence" on the part of User:Damiens.rf is simply false.--WickerGuy (talk) 06:26, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
Well, one other note -- evidence from a post-1989 publication with no copyright notice is of no consequence whatsoever. Also, for a book, the single copyright notice for the book by default covers all photographs inside the book (unless there is a separate notice). We need evidence of a pre-1989, and preferably pre-1978, publication with no notice (and not as an illustration in a copyrighted book, but a standalone publication). Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:29, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
My understanding is that except for "works for hire," ie. where a book or magazine publisher hires their own photographers, the copyright remains with the original photographer. Copyright registration for pictorial works, like photographs, have their own category for filing, #5 of 8 available, "(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works." When registering, you select the relevant one. The annual edition of the Catalog of Copyright Entries also uses separate volumes for each category. The copyright law refers to this as "divisible" copyrights. The photographer alone owns the copyright upon publication if the photo had a copyright notice. Studios were not book or magazine publishers, and the few we see in movie books, old magazines, and fan photos, were given out without copyright. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 02:12, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
That's correct, but now you are getting into copyright notice technicalities. The book is technically a "collective work", arranging the text (one copyright), images (separate copyrights), perhaps an introduction (separate text copyright); the collective work itself is separately copyrightable. A copyright notice on a collective work, in the absence of any others, becomes the default notice for any of the contained works. Yes, even if they are different authors -- that situation is considered an "erroneous" notice, not an "invalid" notice. An erroneous notice does not mean the individual works fell into the public domain (whereas invalid notices did). From a user's perspective, the whole thing is copyrighted, even if the name is wrong, so they have no presumption they can use the individual works. See this copyright circular. There were consequences to an erroneous notice, but mainly that if you got permission to copy from the name on the notice which was actually there, you would not be liable for infringement. However the copyright on the individual item was *not* invalidated in this case, which is what PD-US-no_notice is really about. There is a very specific exception for advertisements in newspapers... those did need a separate notice, but just those did (due to a weird court case, and that exception is specifically there in the 1976 Copyright Act). All that is moot for a 1999 book anyways. Now, if a publicity photo was distributed separately, then yes it needed its own notice. That is the part we need evidence of. Sometimes they did have notices. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:06, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Can a guideline be made from all this? We know that some did have notices. But from the recent scholars who have examined this, a copyright notice on publicity photos was the rare exception, not the rule. It would seem that due diligence in checking for copyright is the best we can do. There are hundreds of thousands of old freely distributed publicity photos in archives and books that are PD. I'd hate to see WP image policy be overruled by fear.__Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 03:57, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
I know many are probably PD, but we never keep works here simply based on the odds of that kind of thing. We'd be wrong sooner or later, and probably sooner. The copyright renewal percentage of works (particularly non-books) which got registered is really small, but we do not make assumptions based on the odds there -- we want some evidence specific to that work. See Commons:Precautionary principle. Before the renewal records came online, we really had no recourse and deleted since it was not possible to even do a search. Now we do have a chance, but you do have to know the author and year of publication to make a half-decent search. If it ever came to a court case, you would have to show evidence if you claim copyright was lost due to notice. It sucks that that original information on so many photographs is lost -- these are "orphan works" -- but there is not much we can do about it (a couple of orphan works laws have been proposed, but thus far have not gone anywhere, as copyright owners fear that loopholes will be created depriving them of potential royalties, so there is no legal defense in this situation except having actual publication information, or documenting a search with the terms you looked for). Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:43, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Reading the Commons:Precautionary principle, it seems to actually support the inclusion of probable, even if not totally proven, PD images. It states that "good faith" in adding "media files which to the best of our knowledge are free. . . " is the ultimate goal. And only where there is "significant doubt" should an image be deleted. But here we have almost no doubt that only a small fraction of publicity photos were ever copyrighted. But even that minor risk of adding a copyrighted work, after due diligence, is probably reduced to zero because of the "damages" question. As Kristin Thompson concluded:
The legal situation concerning the reproduction of film frames and publicity stills remains undetermined. There has been no litigation or legislation to set precedents . . . [and] given the difficulty of proving that such illustrations diminish the commercial viability of a film or of derivative products, it seems unlikely that such a case will be initiated.[4]
One commenter in the above "Fear" article added some interesting aspects:
This story fails to point out that while the 1976 Copyright Act did indeed extend federal statutory copyright protection to unpublished works, it also provided that if those works were not published before the end of 2002, they would go into the public domain. Thus it is highly likely that a great many such materials as diaries, photographs, etc. are now indeed in the public domain and free for everyone to use.
Yes, it is true that there are still millions of "orphan works" that create a problem. A legislative solution would be best to provide maximum clarity, but meanwhile a risk analysis for many such works would show that many could be used with little likelihood of any infringement suit being brought. The fourth factor emphasizing impact of the use on the market for the work, which courts have often considered the most important consideration, would come heavily into play here since relatively few orphan works could be argued to have a substantial market capable of being eroded by use, especially if that use is educational in nature and not aimed at profit-making.--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 06:47, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
That is all very reasonable, but Commons currently is not reasonable. It is even worse for European copyrights, where admins delete simple pre-WWI photos without any economic value that nobody knows the photographer of. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:58, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Re the quote made above: "This story fails to point out that while the 1976 Copyright Act did indeed extend federal statutory copyright protection to unpublished works, it also provided that if those works were not published before the end of 2002, they would go into the public domain. Thus it is highly likely that a great many such materials as diaries, photographs, etc. are now indeed in the public domain and free for everyone to use." That is an oversimplification. The 1976 Copyright Act provides in 17 USC 303 that works that were as of January 1, 1978 unpublished got a copyright of 70 years p.m.a. or at least until the end of 2002, and if published between January 1, 1978 and December 31, 2002, would even benefit from a copyright that runs to the longer of 70 years p.m.a. or the end of 2047. So the last sentence about the likeliness of diaries, photos etc. being not copyrighted is highly debatable! Lupo 14:09, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
it also provided that if those works were not published before the end of 2002, they would go into the public domain That is not true. If the author is known, such works get a term of 70 pma, and if the author is not known or is corporate, they get a term of 120 years from creation (or 95 years from publication, whichever is shorter). And works created before 1978 but published 1978-2002 won't expire until 2047 at the earliest no matter when the author died (though from 1978-1989 there were still notice requirements). If you can make a reasonable case that that 120 year (or 70 pma) period has passed, then OK. But that is not going to be the case for movie publicity shots. I will certainly argue against paranoia in many cases, but when arguing for lack of notice or renewal in particular, we need some actual evidence for that work. Fair use may well provide protection for many uses of these photos or film stills, but that is also an argument (per Wikimedia Foundation policy, not just ours) that we cannot use. Works need to actually be in the public domain for us to host them, and we need to be able to make a case for that. For lack of notice or lack of renewal, that means specific evidence for that work; courts were generally loathe to find that people had forfeited protection by lack of notice, such as the doctrine of "limited" vs "general" publication -- limited publication (copies sent to a limited set of people for a specific, limited purpose) does not cause copyright to be lost, only "general publication" does. One example were Oscar statuettes -- even though they had been handing out copies of the statue to winners for years (without a copyright notice on them), the courts eventually ruled that was limited publication so the organization retained copyright through the time they registered them for federal copyright (which is still in effect). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:47, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Per your comment that

"works need to actually be in the public domain for us to host them, and we need to be able to make a case for that. For lack of notice or lack of renewal, that means specific evidence for that work,"

doesn't that create a standard of proof that's basically impossible to meet for publicity photos, which were rarely copyrighted? The Commons:Precautionary principle you referred to requires "good faith" in adding "media files which to the best of our knowledge are free. . . " and deletion only where there is "significant doubt." And what guidelines can be given to prove the non-existence of a copyright to make the case? Searches are fallible. The existence of a photo in a book does not prove 1st or later publication of a photo. If I had uploaded an autographed photo of a celebrity that I received from that celebrity, with no copyright, naturally, would even that "prove" the photo was never published earlier with a copyright?

Since the cases all relate to American celebrities, does the basic rule that "publicity photos were not usually copyrighted and were intended to remain free for publications to use wherever possible," repeated by all the scholars, mean anything on the Commons? --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 20:34, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

I added some explanation to one of the images tagged, to show that film still images were rarely, if ever, copyrighted.--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 23:08, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Scanning images from books is almost always going to be a no-no, unless we know from independent sources (or the information provided with the photo) that they are already public domain. The book itself would not change the copyright status, unless someone forgot to copyright the entire book. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
The statement can help, I guess... if we can find particular studios who made a practice of distributing copies without notices, that may give some evidence. Identifying the particular studio at least can help, at least showing the photo was in fact distributed that way once, and identifying the owner -- that makes things more certain. But extrapolating that to all publicity photos from all sources is irresponsible. For example, File:Kubrick-Fear-LoBrutto.jpg is one of the files under discussion -- turns out that was taken during a movie self-financed by Kubrick, so there was no studio involved in the production, and so the above reasoning that studios often distributed these photos without a notice does not apply to it. As far as I can tell there is no certainty over the origin of the photo at all. One thing about notices though -- they had to be present on *all* copies, not just one somewhere. The idea was that users, given access to any copy, should have an idea if they could copy it further or not -- if no notice, they could copy it, and if there was a notice (which required a year as well) then you knew you couldn't, but would know a year when it would be OK. So in your scenario, if you got an autographed photo like that with no notice, yes that would be plenty of evidence, even if there exist copies with a notice elsewhere -- just one was all it took. (Well, the courts did allow that a small percentage of copies accidentally published without notice may not invalidate the copyright, but even then it would indemnify anyone making copies of those). The problem is that modern sources of stock publicity shots typically have lost any distinction as to whether there were notices on originals (and habitually slap their own copyright notices on them, often spuriously). In real life, yes, some common-sense risk analysis probably means it's worth it to try, particularly in non-commercial situations. But hosting on Commons is more philosophical, since we have a requirement that files are "free". That is not something we can ignore -- it's part of our charter -- so to claim that copyright was lost we really should have some specific evidence, and not automatically host an entire class of works based on simple assumptions (which is guaranteed to get us into trouble sooner or later). Fair use on the wikipedias is an entirely different proposition than hosting works here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
A film still with no copyright is obvious on this tagged Rainer photo. Actually, it's typical. I used to have a collection of hundreds of autographed stills like this and never saw a copyright notice, front or back. If there were such an item, it would have had the effect of a "No Trespassing" sign posted in front of Macy's - not a bright idea. The requirement that files are "free," requires, as you point out, "good faith" in adding "media files which to the best of our knowledge are free. . . " and deletion only where there is "significant doubt." Is there "significant doubt?"
Giving names of studios that followed the practice of not copyrighting publicity stills (or press releases,) is simple, as the judges in the leading cases have made this clear. So has Nimmer on Copyrights. The Greene Archive case about the Marilyn Monroe photos also pointed out the automatic "general distribution" of her photos, even though her photographer was also a noted independent photographer. The "limited distribution" aspect of publicity photos has apparently not been an issue yet. There, the court found that photos distributed in press kits, to theaters, used in articles or ads, implied general publication. In all these photos we're discussing U.S. photos, and I would assume U.S. law is key.
BTW, if any of these images are deleted, can they be uploaded as PD to the English WP? I've uploaded PD files there and many were later moved to the Commons by some admin. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 02:47, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
If works were distributed individually, then yes they needed copyright notices. The Rainer photo would appear to have no notice on it -- I think that is OK. You can't extrapolate that in any way though to a 1980 photo scanned from a book -- there is no evidence of being distributed individually in that case, which is a minimum requirement to invoke the "studio publicity stills" reasoning you mention. Just being authored by a studio is not enough. If you own actual physical copies of these original publicity shots, and there is no notice on them (check the backs too), then by all means scan them and upload, and put that information (that you are scanning an actual original) as info on the image page. That's plenty good for me. I would also agree that that type of thing would constitute general publication. Books are a bad source though; there is more than significant doubt in that case. There appear to be a mix of such photos which got tagged, some virtually certain to be copyright violations and others more likely to be OK. Odds are that studios got more careful with copyright as time went on, so the earlier publicity shots probably are more likely to be OK, but again we need some indication that they were published that way. If these images are in fact PD in the U.S., they can be hosted here. If not PD, then can't be hosted at en-wiki either, except as non-free photos with a fair use rationale, which is probably workable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:16, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you can automatically exclude everything besides an actual photo as a valid source. The same photos were distributed in press kits to magazines and newspapers, movie authors, advertisers, theaters, etc. Obviously, those printed reproductions are where most book authors got their photos from, not simply actual prints. There can really be no original photo print, as prints were simply reproduced by the photo lab whenever needed. They were not "limited edition" signed prints. My guess is that the ones reproduced in books by the publishers were probably more valid as they often came from studio archives.
But there's no reason to think that studios got, or had any reason to get, more careful with copyright over time. It would have been totally counterproductive to place copy limits on publicity photos. Entertainment attorney and author Nancy E. Wolff (trustee of the Copyright Society of USA,) summed up the cases clearly:
It has been assumed that these images are most likely in the public domain or owned by studios that freely distributed the images without any expectation of compensation (2007).
So I don't see on what basis you can exclude books, and apparently newspapers and magazines, as a source. The U.S. cases make it clear that it was those very publications that were typically the first publishers. The books I've seen and used always have credits and copyright notices attached to any copyrighted photos. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 04:52, 27 August 2011 (UTC)
If books had a copyright notice, you can't assume anything else about the contents of the book. If the images were previously public domain, great, but we need at least indication of the previous publication without notice. Even worse, the books were almost certainly registered with the Copyright Office -- for one, that triggers much higher penalties for infringement if it occurs, and second, it also gives authors a way to retain copyright even if there was publication without notice from 1978 and on (the 1976 Copyright Act changed the rules to be more lax). And simply being a photo in studio archives also says nothing -- it would most likely be unpublished until its appearance in the book, meaning copyright is absolutely still valid. The details of a press kit would matter -- was it just sent to limited people, with instructions to limit the use? Or were they just given out to anyone who asked? And was there a copyright notice accompanying the press kit in general? If items were just sent to a limited class of people for a limited purpose, that does not trigger the PD-US-no_notice situation. That probably would not hold up for press kits, but there still needs to be evidence of lack of copyright notice. The book you note discusses that further, and in that case they did have original prints as evidence they were distributed at the time. Something in a book, unless it's documented that way, provides no such evidence. A photo being in the studio's archives rather indicates that it had never been published. If external photo agencies got their hand on copies, they were more likely published at some point. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:18, 6 September 2011 (UTC)
Your paragraph covers way too many legal questions in a shotgun fashion, so really can't be responded to concretely. Most of the facts have already been discussed earlier and below. Some of your statements are very true, but others are not. But the real issue that affects any ability to deal with the topics you haven't yet dealt with: that 44 images from many different sources and used in dozens of articles were all tagged at the same time, so should be dealt with individually. One of the images tagged, for instance, was actually an original (derivative) artwork, had already been discussed when uploaded, and has nothing to do with publicity or movies. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 18:22, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Effect of book copyright on included photos

This section is in response to a few of comments above from User talk:Clindberg, who's opinions are in italics:

If books had a copyright notice, you can't assume anything else about the contents of the book. If the images were previously public domain, great, but we need at least indication of the previous publication without notice. . . . it also gives authors a way to retain copyright even if there was publication without notice from 1978 and on.

I don't think the linkage you give for the book's and photo's copyright does in fact exist, something you implied for the Arlen photo. A couple of quotes from Nimmer on Copyrights, and the "Milton H. Greene Archives" case, clarifies this, noting that the term "collective work" refers to books incorporating a collection of pre-existing photos:

"Copyright in a collective work covers only those elements contained therein that are original with the copyright claimant. . . . a collected work copyright does not per se render protectible the pre-existing or underlying work upon which the late work is based. If the underlying work is itself protected by copyright, then the copyright in the . . . collective neither nullifies nor extends the protection accorded to the underlying work. . . . . If the underlying work is in the public domain, a copyright in the collective work does not render the underlying work protectible."

Another important fact that I don't think has been pointed out yet, is that the book's author and/or publisher is "required" to get permission from the photo's copyright owners before using it:

"Permission is required to convert an underlying work [as part of a collective] . . . when such permission is lacking, copyright protection may be forfeited (Section 103(b). . . . by the fundamental principle that only that which is original with the copyright proprietor or his assignor may be protected by his copyright."

So your statement, we need at least indication of the previous publication without notice, is not accurate. In the case of the Arlen photo, the statement would imply that N.W. Univ. Press would knowingly engage in copyright infringement and forfeit copyright protection:

". . . if the pre-existing work that serves as the basis for a collective is itself protected by copyright, then its unauthorized incorporation into a collective work constitutes copyright infringement. (Nimmer)"
"Section 103(a) provides that copyright in a collective work does not extend to any part of the work in which such [pre-existing] material has been used unlawfully. (Nimmer)"

As WickerGuy earlier confirmed on his own, the books that contained the photos in question had credits and copyrights listed for those that were copyrighted, and not for the ones uploaded. Per guidelines, a "good faith" inclusion of photos "which to the best of our knowledge are free" is what's required. It's not unreasonable to rely on a publisher's credits or lack of, along with general legal principles about "Film still" copyrights, to be kept, I assume.

You also wrote: Even worse, the books were almost certainly registered with the Copyright Office -- for one, that triggers much higher penalties for infringement if it occurs. . . But for the images tagged, the situation is probably the exact opposite:

"Since publication of copies without a copyright notice or with a fatally defective copyright notice is a defense to a claim of infringement. . . "
"In the case of collective works, where the person named in the copyright . . . is not the owner of a [photo] therein, and the [photo] does not bear its own separate copyright notice, . . . an innocent infringer is shielded . . . . [and] has a complete defense to an infringement action . . . (18AmJur2d) "
--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 23:06, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Good summation. Your photographer background is helpful--WickerGuy (talk) 23:59, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
1) If the underlying work is itself protected by copyright, then the copyright in the . . . collective neither nullifies nor extends the protection accorded to the underlying work. . . . . If the underlying work is in the public domain, a copyright in the collective work does not render the underlying work protectible. Correct. Inclusion in a book does not mean anything to the copyright in the underlying works. If the photo was previously public domain, it remained so, if it was previously protected by copyright it remains protected by copyright. That's all I ever said -- being in the book does not mean anything in respect to the copyright in the underlying work, whether it has a separate notice or not. If you want to claim prior PD status then fine, but we need to identify how it previously became public domain -- being in the book changed nothing. To emphasize that part of the quote: copyright in the . . . collective neither nullifies nor extends ...
2) Permission is required to convert an underlying work [as part of a collective] . . . when such permission is lacking, copyright protection may be forfeited. Pretty sure he's talking about the copyright in the collective work itself -- i.e., if you commit copyright infringement, don't expect to get protection on works related to that infringement. Copying the photo without permission again has no effect on the copyright of the photo... it will even mean that a work can be considered unpublished, since general publication can only occur via acts done with permission of the copyright owner. Presumably the book authors had permission to use the works, but even if not, I sincerely hope you are not claiming that putting someone's photos in a book without permission somehow means that the copyright of those photos is lost. Again, this situation tells us nothing about the copyright status of the photo being used.
3) If the book was in fact the original source of the photo, which was not previously distributed, registration of that book can indeed cause additional problems. The Copyright Office is pretty clear about this, not leaving much to doubt: A single copyright notice applicable to the collective work as a whole serves to indicate protection for all the contributions in the collective work, except for advertisements, regardless of who owns copyright in the individual contributions or whether they were published previously. It goes on to explicitly detail the case when the owners are different: If the owner of the collective work is not the same as the owner of an indi- vidual contribution that does not bear its own notice, the contribution is considered to bear an erroneous notice. The linked circular goes on to detail the problems caused by this "erroneous name" situation, but loss of copyright is not among them.
4) The penalty for lack of notice was reduced a lot by the 1976 Copyright Act, effective 1978 -- copyright was not necessarily lost without notice, as it gave authors a way to claw it back (one requirement was registration, and books normally where). Secondly, copyright notices became completely unneeded as of March 1, 1989. If you are using a book published after that date, you really can't infer anything at all. Some of the source books appear to have been from the 1990s.
If you are basically saying that some of these photos were known to have been distributed prior to the book, and lack of notice indicates they were already public domain since the author was careful to document copyright in other cases, then maybe. The act of publishing the book though would not have changed the copyright status; it may serve as additional documentation at most. For these publicity stills, the act of general publication occurred when the stills were distributed to theatre owners etc. (before even being put in newspapers, lobbies, etc.) -- the court cases make that fairly clear. Many of the photos you uploaded have that "look" to them (and one is even a scan/photo of the actual still, which absolutely shows publication). But some were simply photos in a book, with no indication they were ever previously published -- and by all the quotes above, it appears that the copyright was safeguarded. In the absence of a separate notice, a third-party user was supposed to assume, if the book was the original publication at least, that the book author controls copyright and permission needed to go through them -- but if you did not do that, it would be infringement since there was an apparent copyright owner that you didn't bother to contact. Some of the tagged works look more along those lines. Again, we need to have an indication that general publication actually occurred prior to being the book, which is all I've ever said, and at least a likelihood that no notice was present at that time. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:03, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I guess, from your comments, it really gets down to how one defines your preference for some "indication that general publication actually occurred prior to being in the book." Let me know if I'm too off base in this. You seem to want, or need, some hard tangible proof; but I'm putting more emphasis on customary practice in the industry. I naturally agree with your comment that " the act of general publication occurred when the stills were distributed to theatre owners, etc." That was, and still is, the custom.
In the Milton Greene Archives case, for instance, (linked earlier, somewhere) a movie publicity marketing expert was called in as a witness. He stated clearly that "publicity photographs were generally available upon request to members of the general public." Nimmer adds, "Indeed, the very essence of the publicity campaign wss to actively encourage such dissemination." He even implied that copy-protecting such publicity-intended images would be the "antithesis" of their intended purpose. And as summarized recently by Honthaner,
Publicity photos have traditionally not been copyrighted. Since they are disseminated to the public, they are generally considered public domain, and therefore clearance by the studio that produced them is not necessary.
If what you are really after, as you wrote, is "at least a likelihood that no notice was present," I think we have it in long-standing custom and tradition in the industry. As for our using them in references, such as bios and other photo collective works, Thomson concluded that "existing practice . . . has developed a tacit acknowledgment that publicity stills may be used in scholarly works without permission."[5] --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 21:40, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
I'm certainly willing to believe that most of that type of material was published without a copyright notice. Indeed, we have kept many such photos before. But we need some indication that the material was actually distributed that way. For example, one of the tagged files is File:Kubrick-Shining-Nicholson.jpg -- that is a 1980 photo, with no evidence that it had previously been distributed (indeed the source is stated as "studio archives" hinting that it had been unpublished prior to the book). The claim there is the lack of copyright notice in the book is what caused the photo to become PD -- and I am arguing against a case like that, as that seems to be directly contradicted by the Copyright Office circulars and indeed the straight text of the law. To me there is no indication that the photo was PD prior to being in the book. File:Kubrick-Lyndon.jpg is similar. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Kubrick-Fear-LoBrutto.jpg was about a photo from Kubrick's 1953 movie... which was self-financed, meaning no studio was producing it, meaning there was no advertising campaign of the sort which could have made such material public domain, and meaning that it would have been a private copyright owner to begin with. So, what is the rationale for PD status then? The court cases you mention revolved around having actual, physical copies of the original advertising material, so there was no question along those lines -- that makes PD determination much easier. Copying out of a book, to me, requires a bit more provenance information to demonstrate that -- possibly information in the book, or possibly info found elsewhere, but to me we need something along those lines. A previously unpublished photo appearing in a book cannot rely on the "publicity photo" assumption, to me. In a real court case, yes the copyright owners would have to prove their ownership, but a judge would not look too favorably upon someone who made copies without having an original which actually lacked a copyright notice. So yes, what I'm basically asking for is some evidence that a given photo under discussion was actually distributed back in the day as part of the publicity campaigns. Many of the nominated photos probably come under that, but some certainly don't. File:Rainer-MGM.jpg absolutely has that evidence (plain from the image itself), for example. It would be far, far better if someone has actual hardcopies of the old material and would scan those, rather than scanning from a book, which to me requires additional research and documentation for a reasonable claim to PD status. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:17, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
OK, I agree again that, as you state, "it would be far, far better if someone has actual hardcopies." I would only add to that, that it would also be far, far better if we knew what images we were discussing. You've made it clear that many of the photos are either OK, probably OK, maybe OK, or need more research. But mass tagging 44 images all with different sources from different periods is not the way to handle this. Within just your last few comments, you've referred to various photos with different rationales and sources, and feel some may be OK and others not.
I just reviewed a dozen or so, and saw that some were actually from original film still scans, some were obvious promo portraits, a number were already debated on Talk pages when uploaded and "kept," including one where you were involved. One was from the US govenment, and one was original art. In other words, the mass tagging methodology is counterproductive, assuming that a rational discussion and resolution was intended. I say "intended," since the original mass tagger has yet to comment. In effect, there is no possible way that this discussion can resolve any photo issues since no photos are being discussed - it's a random general discussion.
The tags should be rolled back as suggested by some other admins below, and then you can select a particular photo to discuss. It's pretty easy to see that very few of the tagged photos were, or could have been, examined for acceptable use within the few minutes they were all tagged. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 00:32, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
I didn't like mass-tagging 44 images which said "publicity" without looking at what else was there -- a couple had been discussed quite a bit before (the one you mention) and should not have been re-nominated, at least one had plain evidence for the claim as part of the image, etc. But they are individual DRs, meaning they are already being discussed individually, and quite a few were quite legitimate. The discussion in this section was a more general question about the effect a book copyright has, and several of the DRs do seem to be on PD claims based on that situation. And as a side note, "common" practice may have changed over time for the studios -- this looks to be a promotional photo of Kubrick during the Barry Lyndon campaign, with a clear copyright notice, sort of indicating that materials in that era (or at least by that studio in that era) had a copyright notice. The 1940s and 1950s were likely different, and as a practical matter photos from before 1964 are a lot more likely to have not been renewed, something not required for 1964 and later. I can understand some folks even being uncomfortable with the general publicity still thing if there is no specific information about the photo (or at least the studio in the same era), and I myself am not terribly comfortable using that for 1970s and maybe even 1960s stuff. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:39, 10 September 2011 (UTC)`
The photo you've found does not in fact have a valid copyright, per the "Notice" requirements. It would be PD, would it not? --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 04:18, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
It does not have a year, but that was allowed for pictorial, graphic or sculptural works in some circumstances: The year may be omitted when a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying textual matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or useful articles. That one is borderline on that score, and the other parts of the notice are satisfied. I wouldn't be comfortable with a claim of invalid notice on that. It also indicates the studio was also aware of copyright, and actively trying to preserve on on those materials in that era. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:35, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Unlike that list of useful items, all of which are sold, stills were freebies to the public. I doubt that a publicity still would avoid the strict date rule: A notice without a name or date that could reasonably be considered part of the notice, is the "same as omission of notice." So if you want to upload it, you have my support ;-) --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 05:00, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
The law in effect at the time doesn't seem to qualify it -- it says the year was OK to omit for photographs. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:33, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Actor vs. film publicity stills

I guess I have to repeat something I wrote above: "My local movie theater has copies of 1950s publicity photos, that clearly have a proper copyright notice and statement that magazines and mumble mumble have the right to use this picture for this and that purpose. Both a proper notice and insufficient permission. I doubt there was a proper copyright renewal, but it's very hard to look up nameless works like these." That's good evidence that at least some of these publicity photos were originally copyrighted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:52, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

That's true. But the kinds of publicity stills I think you're referring to are ones used to publicize a particular film. Those, because they were actually "production stills," ie. photos from the film itself, were protected, along with the film, as in this example and this one. Along with lobby cards, those had the name of the film, studio, copyright info (sometimes), and actors' names on the front.
The ones that are really the focus here are ones that simply publicize an actor, and were typically headshots, as mentioned in film still, with examples here of Norma Shearer and Buster Keaton.
IMO, this whole issue of being able to use such actor publicity photos is fairly important for WP. From just the two examples above, for Norma Shearer and Buster Keaton, their existing lead image are worse than the two examples given, both of which it seems should be acceptable for the Commons. It's important because in the U.S., the film industry has been one of its largest, and has been a major export product worldwide. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 22:03, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Machine gun tagging

As uploader, I just heard the ratta-tat-tat of the formerly censured methodology of using an image destructo-bot. Nor was I informed about this discussion. There is no conceivable way to respond to each and every image discussion, and some might assume that response is not wanted. The same questions could have been discussed in a rational manner, and the film still article, which I helped expand, should be made relevant. I'm not a programmer, so can't bot-respond as required. Instead of someone trying to explain why images like ones of Kirk Douglas, Jerry Lewis, Paul Muni, or Cecil B. DeMille are prima facie publicity-type photos, I formally request that the machine-gun tagging methodology be responded to first. By its nature, each image's notice, "To discuss it, please visit the nomination page," is meaningless as it can't be done. All 44 of these improper tags, added over a few minutes without due consideration, should be reverted immediately. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 19:16, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this is disruptive. I suggest rollback. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 19:21, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
For simple proof of my claiming that they were tagged "without due consideration," among the other problems, the photo of Mae West, for instance, had a lengthy discussion on its talk page before being supported, and was totally ignored. Off topic, but it's one I added from an editor's request. Although another request, for Laraine Day, was deleted because Damiens didn't agree or simply see, that this was a publicity image. So now she, and many other movie stars, have some other noticeably poor PD photo. For a few other samples of movie publicity photos, here's 27 million. As they're often used for giving autographs to fans, here's a peek at 185,000 examples.--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 22:24, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
For whatever it's worth, and I know the tagger is aware of this, many of the images tagged were discussed and questioned by admins when they were first added to the English WP, and were supported later by other admins who transferred them to the Commons. Because of that alone there's no logic in trying to respond to the tags. Can anyone suggest anything, or am I missing something? --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 20:34, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
In any case, the most obvious reason the tags are not capable of being dealt with is that most of them were tagged with a totally erroneous statement: No evidence provided to support the claim that it was published without a copyright notice. In fact, the exact opposite is the case, and was even discussed for some of the images. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 21:45, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Recently now discussed on the deletion-discuss pages of ALL of them. "Preponderance of evidence" was indeed given even in insufficient to provide "proof beyond reasonable doubt". The challenger User:Damiens.rf has a history of ignoring prior historical discussions of images.--WickerGuy (talk) 22:30, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

Whoever tagged all these should please arrange a central dicussion and revert the creation of multiple parallel discussions. The uploader needs a fair chance to respond. Nobody should be overwhelmed by the process. Jehochman (talk) 21:19, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Suggestion It might be worth checking if some of these photos appear in the 1971 edition of Alexander Walker's copiously illustrated book on Kubrick. Since the book itself was published pre-1977, wouldn't that solve some problems (if in fact the photos are there)? I can check on this Sunday- my local public library has a copy.--WickerGuy (talk) 06:25, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

A link to this issue has been added to the Commons dispute board.--Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 18:32, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Since no one there has made any comments on that board over a three-day period, I've posted the issue at ANI. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 01:28, 30 August 2011 (UTC)

New PD-Art DR

I'd like others' opinions on File:Torchwood_Miracle_Day_Title_Card.svg. It's currently up for DR, and there's one single line with a twitch in the middle. It's so close to being obviously PD-text, but I'm not quite comfortable with the line.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:58, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

Quick check on copyright issue...

I've uploaded an image from the Cadw website (part of the Welsh/UK government), which seems, according to their copyright policy, to be covered by the Open Government License - "The material featured on this website is subject to Crown copyright protection unless otherwise indicated. Crown copyright protected material (other than the Royal Arms and any Welsh Government logos) featured on this website may be used and re-used on and subject to the terms of the Open Government Licence: (" Could I just double-check that:

a) I've understood this correctly

b) this is suitable for the Commons and

c) that I've got the image uploaded/labelled correctly?

There are a couple of other useful images on the same site, but I don't want to proceed unless I'm correct in my interpretation! Many thanks in advance, Hchc2009 (talk) 08:51, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

The UK Open Government Licence is fine for us. I see that you've already found and used the licence tag {{OGL}}. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:45, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! Hchc2009 (talk) 10:44, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Flickr uploads attributed or 3rd party

What is the procedure when a set of Flickr pages (photos already uploaded by unrelated editors using one of several bots) attribute the works to a different photographer (ie not the holder of the Flickr account)? Dankarl (talk) 17:09, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

You don't use them period. There is no guarantee that the Flickr user acquired the all rights from the photographer to allow them to license the images to others. They may have instead had a limited, exclusive license for use of the images themselves, but that's not good enough for Commons and we're not privy to any agreements to know to the contrary. – Adrignola talk 19:50, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I get that but how to handle getting them off Commons?Dankarl (talk) 20:48, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
I'd nominate them for deletion, pointing to the Flickr page showing the attribution to a third party. – Adrignola talk 20:49, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

BSI kitemark status

What is the copyright status of the kitemark of BSI_Group ([6]) ? It seems to be a pseudonymous design over 100 years old (1903), and published before 1923. Does {{PD-UK-unknown}} apply here? Or even {{textlogo}} ? It is a trademark of course: [7] . SV1XV (talk) 19:14, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

It would probably be PD-textlogo in the U.S., but the UK has a different standard altogether, and I wouldn't use that. But if it is from 1903, and it was apparently registered for trademark that year, then yes I would add PD-UK-unknown and {{PD-1923}} (for the U.S. side). However... the UK trademark is listed as being from 1933, not 1903. That could just be a record-keeping thing though. But if 1933 is accurate, I still think it's fine (PD-UK-unknown would still apply), but don't add PD-1923. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:39, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Public Domain, how far does it go?

So a big newspaper used one of my PD images with which I am absolutely happy with. In the image source they claim it as 'own': Source: The Daily Telegraph. Are they allowed to do that because its PD? Amada44  talk to me 12:34, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

In many countries, moral rights would mean there is a right to be identified outside the economic rights -- in the UK though, it would seem 1) such preference needs to be indicated, 2) the right can be waived (in many countries the right cannot be waived), 3) it expires along with the economic right (unsure if a PD declaration also eliminates that right), and 4) above all it seems that newspapers are exempt from it anyways. If they said "author" instead of "source", maybe that could be a small issue (perhaps w:misrepresentation), but really you have to find law outside of the economic right of copyright to enforce it, since you have explicitly disclaimed all economic rights under copyright law. So, it depends on the laws of the country of the newspaper. I would definitely add the {{published}} template to the image though, to make note of the work on this side. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:51, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
Carl, thanks for the answer. I think I'll just ask them nicely to change the credits ;) - Amada44  talk to me 10:10, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

Fondazione Cariplo images

We recently got and supposedly are going to be getting more images using the {{WikiAfrica/Artgate}} template. The uploader speaks Italian, and the emailer behind the OTRS ticket was indeed from the GLAM named. However, it seems that they are claiming copyright on some 2D images that are public domain due to age, but may also be claiming copyright on some 2D images that are not (and that's my main concern). All in Category:Artgate Fondazione Cariplo. The OTRS email was sent in prior to any uploads from the organization, but it's more a case of what images we'll accept rather than what they'll give. – Adrignola talk 22:33, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

I can't see it, but I would presume the OTRS just covers the photographs, not necessarily the subjects. For the 2-D reproductions, we could probably add the PD-Art tag (but don't remove the existing licenses -- they could well still apply in parts of the EU, maybe even Italy). For pictures of still-copyrighted works, yeah, I think we'd have to delete unless we have permission from the artist of the underlying work (perhaps moving to local projects as fair use). Nothing unusual. Really nice set of photos though, overall. A lot of those could stand to use the {{Artwork}} template instead of information... seems to be little identification of the underlying authors. Carl Lindberg (talk) 08:23, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
No need to delete something. All the original artworks in the category are owned by the Cariplo Foundation, as clearly explained in their site. They released the site (images + description texts) with the same license, CC BY-SA, as a part of the initiative "Share Your Knowledge" chained to italian GLAM. We will probably suggest them a less limitative license (so the images of the oldest artworks may be relicensed in the future). If you need further details, you can contact me. --Marcok (talk) 19:08, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Owning the objects does not necessarily mean they own the copyrights to those works. Italian law is a little different, in that transfer of photographic negatives, molds, and that type of thing used to make the copies does imply transfer of copyright (Article 109: In the absence of agreement to the contrary, the transfer of one or more copies of the work shall not imply transfer of the exploitation rights afforded by this Law. However, the transfer of a mold, an engraved plate or any similar medium used to reproduce a work of art shall be deemed, in the absence of agreement to the contrary, to include the right to reproduce the work, provided such right belongs to the transferor.). Not sure if that holds for paintings. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:45, 12 September 2011 (UTC)
That's true - only in the theory. However we have a permission granting that they are entitled to do that (and they have a lot of lawyers, and consultants, of course, being a bank!). We cannot break their privacy asking to see, for example, the original agreement between two private subjects. We are simply not entitled to ask such things. They declared they can do this, and that's all for us. --Marcok (talk) 09:07, 15 September 2011 (UTC)

File:Mishneh Torah by Matthew Bisanz.JPG

Two issues; one is that in OTRS ticket 2011091310008529 the Metropolitan Museum of Art has stated that this object belongs to the Jewish Theological Seminary while it was on temporary loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and that visitors were asked not to photograph it at the request of the lender. They would like it removed to respect the lender's wishes. Except that we don't have any other images of it for Mishneh Torah. I'm aware of Commons' position on this issue and so will have to make the difficult case to the museum that we can't do anything about it. What does bother me is how it is shown to be under the GFDL and CC-BY yet below are more templates that state that if you want to use it commercially you have to do it under the FAL. The other licenses don't prohibit commercial use so it looks like the uploader is attempting to modify the terms of those licenses. In fact it looks like many of MBisanz's uploads have {{FAL or cc-by-nc-nd}} on it. By itself that wouldn't be a problem, but it's combined on many files with licenses that do permit commercial use. – Adrignola talk 19:46, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

The odd licensing bit is just an artifact of using {{FAL or cc-by-nc-nd}} along with a bunch of other CC and GFDL licenses. That does not really make sense; that could probably be changed to just be FAL since the other licenses are basically supersets of cc-by-nc-nd. But, it's not fatal, just confusing, since it is still usable under cc-by-sa. As for the deletion, that's rather difficult. The photography restriction may have just been in order to prevent flashes from being used, but maybe it was a simple wish of the owner that photos not get around, and when something is on consignment like that it could actually prevent the museum getting future consignments from that owner or even others who want to control images (whether that is reasonable or not -- normally ownership of an object has no real rights to images of that object). On the other hand, as you note, we don't have any other images of it, and we typically leave this case to the uploaders themselves -- if they want to delete in light of the request, I'd delete I think. Otherwise, not sure. The request is somewhat ironic in light of the JTS website page on the partnership with the museum: Tradition suggests that Jewish treasures are not meant to be locked away; that their greatest potential as educational tools is when they can be seen and appreciated by all. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:10, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Hm I meant to change the images to not have both {{FAL or cc-by-nc-nd}} and the CC-BY-SA licenses together... instead now {{FAL or cc-by-nc-nd}} is a redirect to {{FAL}}, which is not correct -- it was a valid license tag on its own, but was just misleading if used in combination with CC-BY-SA. If that was the only tag on an image, and there was a third-party user making legitimate use of the CC-BY-NC-ND license, there is no longer visual evidence of that, and worse it'll be impossible to tell by looking back in the article history... Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:42, 14 September 2011 (UTC)
Fine. I'll go through 300+ images and manually adjust each one. – Adrignola talk 00:54, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps we could adjust the wording on the first one, to say "unless other licenses are specified" or something like that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:55, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
Using AutoWikiBrowser I switched the above template to FAL only on those that already had CC licenses permitting commercial use (MBisanz's uploads). So not as involved as expected. – Adrignola talk 13:42, 15 September 2011 (UTC)


In OTRS ticket 2011091610005204 someone is stating that en:File:FOUO declass.png and File:Jmtc-espn-veterans-day-menu.png should be removed because they are "access/dissemination restricted government documents". This is likely the same person who left the note at en:Talk:Sensitive but unclassified: "Unless the images of U/FOUO documents are overstamped as being released for public dissemination, or some other document is issued rescinding the FOUO status of these documents they should be removed. Whether they were taken from another public website or not does not negate the fact that these documents ARE marked FOUO. These documents are NOT for public consumption." I don't know what to do here. – Adrignola talk 15:40, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Copyright-wise I think we are fine. However this is one of Non-copyright restrictions we should have policy on. The person complaining about it is correct, according to US security procedures no FOUO documents are supposed to be released to the general public. However I do not know if such release is against US law. Google search on "US law" and "For official use only" only finds 78,000 documents marked as FOUO available on the web. --Jarekt (talk) 16:51, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I'll forward the email to the legal team and see if we can get an answer to that. – Adrignola talk 17:25, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
According to en:Sensitive but unclassified en:Thomas Andrews Drake was indicted under the en:Espionage Act for having a document marked Unclassified/FOUO. en:Thomas Andrews Drake article mentions indictment under .--Jarekt (talk) 18:13, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I also found that there are "no Federal Regulations" governing FOUO and "unauthorized disclosure may only result in administrative or personnel action". Unfortunately it was not on publicly available website. --Jarekt (talk) 18:39, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

de minimis in videos?!

Google earth

This video contains a part of screencaptured (presumed to be) google earth sat images (of course copyrighted) in the middle. If the full video would consist of google earth it would be definitely a copyvio regardless of what the orig. uploader at vimeo would claim (wrong license). But the question is: Is this small fraction of the video okay? De minimis? Contra: the inclusion is not incidental (and can be edited out (screen blacking / still image for replacement)) - google earth is used(←fixed after posting) to show the distribution of these machines. Pro: the sat image section is not the topic the video is about. To be careful I tend to get this part edited out but I am curious what others mean. Thanks for comments! --Saibo (Δ) 01:17, 11 September 2011 (UTC)

I don't think it's de minimis. In Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television, Inc., 126 F.3d 70 (2d Cir. 1997) the court didn't consider a relatively short (27 seconds), out of focus and obscured background inclusion of a copyrighted poster as de minimis. Among other things the court pointed out that the Librarian of Congress considers any "full-screen or substantially full-screen display appearing on the screen for more than three seconds" as a "Featured display" of a work (in this case additional royalties should be paid). In this video the Google Earth map is displayed for ~30 seconds full screen. It's not de minimis. The map can be relatively easily replaced by a free one, obscured or otherwise removed from this video, and IMO it should be done to keep it on Commons. Trycatch (talk) 19:40, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:28, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
There is a chance that is a NASA base image, of course -- don't think that Google has their own satellites ;-) The ocean portions look very much like some of NASA's stuff. But, they could have enhanced it I suppose. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:50, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Google does have its own satellite, it is a partner with exclusive commercial access in Geo-Eye-1 satellite (which also sells satellite imagery to the NGA). But Google Earth uses NASA public domain satellite photos as well, especially for small scale maps, like the one shown here. SV1XV (talk) 05:08, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Regardless, if labels or colouring or whatever were added by Google, they may have copyright to the arrangement of those contributions. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:00, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Labels or colouring may be ineligible for copyright. See File:Arkansas map by Sean Pecor.png. Trycatch (talk) 10:03, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
At least it's not NASA Blue Marble (used by almost everyone else for small scales -- Bing Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Yandex maps and so on) -- it looks very different (e.g. compare Greenland) and much less ugly than Google imagery. One the smallest scales there is "(c) 2011 NASA, TerraMetrics" copyright notice. I suppose the ocean was taken from Blue Marble, and the rest was provided by TerraMetrics (it's possible that TerraMetrics shots were used for the very reason to acquire copyright lock-in on the map, because their map looks plain ugly comparing to Blue Marble). Trycatch (talk) 10:03, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
See TerraMetrics and Google Earth -- "Our TruEarth® 15-meter imagery is the baselayer imagery that covers the entire globe in Google Earth and Google Maps. This imagery provides the the consistent, continuous wide-area coverage and is an essential foundation for overlaying other data and imagery." TruEarth is one more processed Landsat as far as I understand -- "Best-available Landsat 7 Source Data", "Based on fully uncompressed lossless NASA source data with unsurpassed visual feature fidelity." [8]. Trycatch (talk) 10:12, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
Thank you all - great findings!
  • De minimis: apparently it is clear that this is not DM. Could someone add a section regarding videos to COM:DM? If not - I will do (based on Trycatch's well done research). ;-)
  • Copyrighted content: At least this is totally reworked NASA imaginary. So - should we do the step and assume this is not copyrighted? I would not like to.
Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 03:02, 17 September 2011 (UTC) (corr. --Saibo (Δ) 01:58, 22 September 2011 (UTC))


The copyright holder of this file allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder David Liuzzo is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted. You are kindly requested to contact the copyright holder before using the material for purposes outside wikipedia. For requests and questions feel free to contact the original author.

Dear Mr David Liuzzo: By means of these lines, I write to congratulate you on the great work done in the creation of some of the drawings of flags of the German Empire. I am a great admirer of German culture, and i think that your pieces of work are wonderful. Thus I wish to request your permission to use some of your drawings, specifically the "Reichsdiensflagge der Kaiserlichen Marine 1893-1918", "Dienstflagge für die Übrigen Verwaltungszweige des Reichs", "Reichskoloniallflagge", "Flagge des Governeurs von Deutsch-Ostafrika", "Flagge der Ralik-Inseln (Marschallflagge)", "Reichsadlerflagge", "Reichsadlerflagge Variante 1", Reichsadlerflagge Variante 2", and the "Flag of Prussia 1892-1918", for non-commercial basis, for stamping on t-shirts only.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Ulises Javier Fratesi

GPL licensed images

Yes, {{GPL}}, not {{GFDL}}. When cleaning up the file description of File:Dorso de cocodrilo marino.jpg, I noticed that the image was licensed at the source as GPL. Now, while GPL-3 says that it was "a free, copyleft license for software and other kinds of works" (my emphasis) and defines "program" as "any copyrightable work licensed under this License", it is clearly intended as a (software) product license. Can it at all be applied in any halfway meaningful way to images? Would section 5(a) and 5(b) amount to a requirement to watermark such images? What do we do or what shall we do with images other than free software screenshots that are licensed under this license? Lupo 13:45, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

Well, {{GFDL}} was intended for documentation (manuals) and yet we still allow it to apply to images. So I'm not surprised to see {{GPL}} being applied to images that aren't of software. It seems that "freely licensed" is not being seen through the lens of "realistically usable for re-users". At the very least it's dubious. – Adrignola talk 14:21, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
(ec) GFDL isn't intended for images either, but... they are technically "free". I think as long as the attribution and modification notices are present (nearby or whatever), the sections you mention would be satisfied (same for section 4). A free game screenshot is also an image with the exact same license restrictions; not sure why that would be any different. The license is definitely discouraged for use with images, but if that is the only license available (particularly when coming from external sources)... I can't see a reason to disallow it. I don't see it as being particularly worse (nor better) than the GFDL when it comes to images. The license says: The “source code” for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it -- so that would mean the bitmap image in this case, to me. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:23, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
As jpg is commonly used for making modifications I cannot see that the original bitmap has to be available. An analogy would be a machine language program: of course a higher language (or even assembler) would be preferred, but if the program is made in raw machine code, so be it. --LPfi (talk) 17:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)
JPG is a bitmap, to me anyways ;-) That is really what I meant. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:03, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

Limited free use on copyright

ok I understand why the USPS stamp image isnt allowed in Commons, but from what I understand, it should be allowed as a non-free image in the Sturgeon article. I would like to include it under the sturgeon stamp image from Maldova, I believe. I just need verification, and some assistance with the upload instructions. Can someone please help? The file in question has already been deleted from Commons. File:06_woa_largestfwfish_300.jpg Atsme (talk) 14:35, 23 September 2011 (UTC)Atsme

Follow the directions at en:Wikipedia:Upload (click on "a picture of a postage stamp, or of currency"). Dcoetzee (talk) 07:19, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Thank you Dcoetzee. Atsme (talk) 22:36, 24 September 2011 (UTC)Atsme


As a Flickr reviewer, I review a lot of images with questionable sourcing. If we find images uploaded to Commons with one author but under the Flickr image itself states that the image is copyrighted by another author, wouldn't it be necessary to obtain permission from the copyright holder and credit him as the author for the image on Commons? Patricia_Clarkson_2,_2010.jpg was closed a 'kept' despite the fact that the Author listed for the image is Viva Vivanista but the image is clearly copyrighted by Rob Rich on the Flickr page itself. I initially placed a 'no permission' tag on the image but this was reverted by another editor so I nominated it for deletion. Another editor sent an e-mail to the Flickr account holder to see if permission could be obtained from the copyright holder but this permission was not obtained. It seems like the proper thing to do in this case would be to delete the image. Warfieldian (talk) 18:21, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

I agree; why was this kept? Powers (talk) 18:26, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
As an aside to this discussion, I think the situation of 3rd-party attribution occurs often enough that users need guidance to be alert for the situation (just ran into this myself). I've posted some proposed language at Commons talk:Flickr files/Guide which could go there or perhaps at some better location. Please take a look.Dankarl (talk) 20:00, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
That is a little odd; the Flickr account has a large number of works by that author from that specific event, perhaps they were there by agreement? I think it'd be best to contact the photographer to clarify (it's possible he allowed the low-resolution versions to be licensed), but would tend on the deletion side given the explicit copyright notice (meaning that the Flickr account owner is not the actual copyright owner), and the contact details (sort of indicating that one should contact the photographer for further use). But I don't think this is a situation where the Flickr site owner was simply copying works from elsewhere... not a slam-dunk decision either way. If the photos are on the website with permission, which seems probable, it would at least be innocent infringement, if there would be any penalties at all. But, there is a chance the Flickr account author simply forgot to change the default licensing when they uploaded them, and especially since there is contact information provided, that should probably be used to make a verification. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:24, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your reasoning and I do think that there might have been an agreement to allow the use of the images on Flickr but there is no proof that he agreed to release the photos under Creative Commons license. It is almost certainly not malicious flickr washing by the Flickr uploader but there is sufficient doubt (especially since contact attempt was made with Flickr uploader and not received for several months now) that deletion would be the cautious approach. It could always be uploaded later or undeleted if sufficient interest was taken by the Commons editor who uploaded it to seek OTRS confirmation. Warfieldian (talk) 23:24, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Please review an image template for possible speedy deletion

Please review the following template: Template:PD-MD-exempt. The links are broken, and there is nothing definitive about the free use of the referenced Moldovia stamp File:Stamp_of_Moldova_012.jpg which is currently being used in a Wiki Sturgeon article. The template is a generalization, does not refer to postal stamp exemptions or copyrights, and doesn't meet Wiki's free use requirements for the stamps inclusion in Wiki Commons. In fact, a US Postal Service stamp with a white sturgeon image was recently deleted from Commons even though a working url to the USPS permissions page was provided [USPS Permissions]. Perhaps a template like the one in question would have saved it from deletion. Another editor, Asclepias, also brought up the issue of whether or not the Moldovia sturgeon image was tagged correctly with a proper template.Atsme (talk) 23:22, 24 September 2011 (UTC)Atsme

Why would broken links invalidate something? It wouldn't change the law. The law being referred to is here, and the text matches exactly. Moldova actually passed a new law last year, which is here -- the content is now in Article 8, instead of Article 7, but it appears (using Google translate on the Russian text) that the content of this area is the same. They specifically mention banknotes as being among the items not protected by copyright, and official stamps may well be a reasonable analogy to that (the list in the law is not exhaustive, implying that similar official items are also not protected by copyright). The U.S. situation would have no bearing for the law in Moldova. At any rate, the template itself is absolutely accurate and I'm not sure why you would want it deleted. Usage on a stamp is not 100% sure, but quite defensible. But even if a stamp was not OK, it would certainly be OK for images of banknotes or other official documents, and is a completely valid tag. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:14, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Carl, thank you for your response. Perhaps I worded my question incorrectly. I'm nominating the Moldovia stamp image for speedy deletion, so it really doesn't matter what happens to the template. I only mentioned it because the template doesn't provide any validation for free use of the stamp from Moldovia. Stamps are not mentioned in their list of not protected by copyright, and neither is anything else from the Moldovia postal service. I'm looking forward to hearing from more neutral editors regarding this issue. At this point, my position remains the same - speedy deletion of the image for copyright violation, and failure to provide proper validation of free use. Wiki's guidelines for free use are very clear. Assumptions are not a valid defense. The majority of specialty stamps in circulation around the world have copyright restrictions which are very similar to those of the US Postal Service, especially when it involves private sector artwork, or photographs. I recently learned about Common's free use guidelines after a USPS stamp I uploaded was deleted for copyright violation with the explanation that Commons was restricted to "free use" images only. The Moldovia stamp doesn't provide proper validation for either free use, or fair use. It is our duty as editors to recite factual information with no ambiguity, or assumptions. Even if assumptions were allowed, general consensus would assume fair use, not free use based on the majority of stamps in circulation with use restrictions. The Molodovia stamp is definitely a candidate for speedy deletion until such time as its free use is PROPERLY validated.Atsme (talk) 05:18, 27 September 2011 (UTC)Atsme

Well, the heading kind of implied that. And anyways, the stamp is definitely not a candidate for speedy deletion -- that is only for obvious cases, and this most certainly is not, and at a minimum would need the discussion in a regular deletion request. The text of their law says the following is not subject to copyright: State emblems and official signs (flags, armorial bearings, decorations, monetary signs [banknotes in another translation], etc.); Note the "etc." at the end -- that means similar types of national symbols, not specifically listed there, would be included. Given they mention banknotes, and provided the postal service is a governmental department, stamps may well follow the same logic -- that is defensible. Any specific information from Moldova would be appreciated of course, but at this point it's a matter of opinion if that law covers stamps, and that is not what speedy deletions are for. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:41, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

File:ROKAF Boeing 737 Peace Eye AEW&C 01.jpg

This image has uncertain copyright. I've sniffed through google images, and found which seems to be the real source, but I can't indicate if the images are under cc-by-2.0-kr. AzaToth 22:53, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

PD-textlogo only for USA logos?

This question was spurred by a file that isn't on Commons, w:File:The_Sunday_Telegraph.png, but my question is more general - Isn't this sort of image covered by {{PD-textlogo}}{{Trademarked}}, or does PD-textlogo really only apply to USA published logos (or at least only to logos from countries that agree that fonts and simple words are not copyrightable)? --Tony Wills (talk) 09:09, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

It's not just U.S. law, though the lines may be different between countries. The UK law on fonts is pretty explicit, with pretty much in writing the same thing which U.S. court cases are beginning to point, which is that any use of a font is not a derivative work, but you aren't allowed to use any materials from a font (even bitmaps) to create a competing font. See sections 54 and 55. The UK concept of "originality" is quite different though, being a very low bar, lower than the U.S., to the point that some people theorize (this has never been tested in court as far as I'm aware) that a person's signature may be considered "original". But that involves a drawing specific to that one person. There was a Vienna Typeface convention in 1973 (full name: Vienna Agreement for the Protection of Type Faces and their International Deposit), but I believe only France and Germany signed it, and it has never become operative. Even then, the protection was just going to be for 10 or 15 years. Fonts may be more of an industrial design thing (UK protection for those is 25 years). As for short names, the UK position is similar to the U.S.. In short, I think that logo is fine on Commons, and PD-textlogo would mostly apply to UK logos. There is some guidance here; they say that logos consisting only of letters are copyrightable only if they are arranged in such a way as to give some form of "artistic" impression, and if that arrangement is original. By that, this logo is not copyrightable per UK law either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:14, 27 September 2011 (UTC)
Ok, thanks for that clarification. --Tony Wills (talk) 19:17, 27 September 2011 (UTC)