Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 1

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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.
Archive 1 Archive 2 →

Some notes

  • There was a fuss over this in mid-late-2004 with a prominent sculpture in Chicago. I recall some of the articles had pretty good discussion of the legal issues involved. Alx 14:48, 29 May 2006 (UTC)

    • Yup. I've updated the U.S. section accordingly. Interestingly, we have a Category:Millennium_Park with several images prominently featuring the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa... Lupo 10:29, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
  • In Great Britain, §62 does not apply to "artistic works" as defined by §4 in general, but only to sculptures, buildings (and models thereof), and works of artistic craftsmanship. These are only three subcategories of "artistic works"; the ones to which §62 does not apply are "graphic works" (including paintings) and photographs. Lupo 08:52, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Why do we say "pictures of publicly visible buildings and sculptures" in our text on Germany? The German law only says "works"; without any restrictions. Doesn't that include paintings, too? What about murals or graffiti? Lupo 15:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


Can we maybe group together countries with similar provisions in their laws? For instance, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand could go under a "Commonwealth" heading and handled summarily. I suspect many Eastern European countries could also be handled together; I know that I've seen provisions similar to the Russian ones in the laws of many other CIS countries when I studied them for the review of an infamous image copyright tag (you know which one...) I'll check more thoroughly, though. (You could help: all these laws are available at CIPR.) Lupo 15:31, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I was thinking about something like this in the very beginning, but there is one problem with this approach. For instance Great Britain should be both under Commonwealth and under EU headers and then there will be problem with keeping that information synchronized (or maybe we should include a subpage?) It may be also be an advantage to mention GB under Commonwealth and not to mention under EU as we may think the law of GB is closer to the former. However, I find it difficult to state if it's this way or the other way round. Alx 11:44, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Hong Kong

I was about to edit the page to add information about (my interpretation of) relevant laws in Hong Kong, but refrained from doing so as it was under your username space. Anyway, here is the link to the relevant legislation in Hong Kong: Chapter 528 Section 71, Copyright Ordinance, Law of Hong Kong. Thanks -- tonync (talk) 01:20, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Alx has given me permission to take care on his page - feel free to add your results! --Historiograf 00:15, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Belarus --Historiograf 00:14, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Slovakia and Israel

Hello, here is some information on the situation in Slovakia (in English).

Freedom of panorama in Israel is granted here, §2 (1) iii) --Wikipeder 06:47, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Israeli law on freedom of panorama will change on May 25, 2008 with the new Israeli Copyright Act of 2007 commencing. FOP will then only be granted if the work in question is "in a public place" or is "accessible to the public by law" (see §21 (a) and §23 of the Act). This apparently means that interieur shots from now on are only allowed if the specific access is granted by law. FOP accordingly is no longer granted to any work within a public building. --Wikipeder 20:36, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

I heard nothing about such a change. Please consider that the binding version of the 2007 statute is in Hebrew (the previous statute had an English binding version with amendments in Hebrew). That means that the fine interpretatiKon of the statute's phrasing is done according to Hebrew text. Furthermore, unless a major change in phrasing is introduced, the court rulings will maintain the status quo, and I don't see any major change in phrasing in the 2007 statute. Drork (talk) 05:41, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Most importantly, is the new law retroactive or not? We need to clear up the situation is several ways: which place (public/private)? subjects (architecture, sculptures, etc.)? dates? Yann (talk) 15:00, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
According to that translation, section 23 says Broadcasting, or copying by way of photography, drawing, sketch or similar visual description, of an architectural work, a work of sculpture or work of applied art, are permitted where the aforesaid work is permanently situated in a public place. Is that really a change? Section 21(a), the "accessible by law" part, would instead seem to be a limited right to copy things like public records (court evidence etc.) which are made available to the public by law, but may still be under copyright. The previous act had The making or publishing of paintings, drawings, engravings, or photographs of a work of sculpture or artistic craftsmanship, if permanently situated in a public place, or building, or the making or publishing of paintings, drawings, engravings, or photographs (which are not in the nature of architectural drawings or plans) of any architectural work of art. I guess they removed "or building", though they added that photographs of applied art are OK now. I don't see any definition of public place though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:27, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Some parts of this law are retroactive and some are not. Basically this law was not supposed to change the status quo, save some issues like copyrights on photographs which had to be change due to changes in the international law. Israel inherited the British law of copyrights which was written in English in 1911, but included many amendments by the Israeli legislator phrased in Hebrew. A new, more organized statute, phrased entirely in the local language, was much needed - this is the major reason for the new law. The term "public place" is a term subject to interpretation. As far as I know, the interpretation given to it by Israeli courts of law is: a place accessible to the public, whether a building or a yard, whether owned by the state or private. I don't know it for sure, but I think the people who phrased the law thought it would be redundant to elaborate, since there is already an accepted interpretation to this term. Drork (talk) 04:26, 5 June 2009 (UTC)


What is missing from this article is the applicablility of each country's copyright legislation where Wiki is published, that is to say the USA. If a copyright on the content of an image, for example, is not recognised in the US - say, for the lighting of the Eiffel Tower in France - than the photo would be publishable under the license chosen by the photographer without any additional worries at all. This search is in fact what brought me here, but I could find no clear answer in this article.


ThePromenader 21:35, 31 July 2006 (UTC)


Architectural works and statues and sculptures are works just like any other. They are eligible to coypright. If a law does not contain a "freedom of panorama" exception, then there is none, and derivative works such as images (whether taken in public places or not) are subject to the copyright on the base work. If someone wants to claim that Ukraine had freedom of panorama despite the absence of any such indication in its copyright law, it's up to the claimant(s) to provide verifiable proof by showing the relevant legislation. (It is, after all, possible that some other Ukrainian law augmented the copyright law and contained a provision that exempted the publication of an image taken in a public place and showing a copyrighted building or statue from the copyright of that base work. But the copyright law itself does not contain any such exception, and thus the publication of such images is subject to the consent of the copyright holder of the base work shown.) Lupo 07:58, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Your last edit makes sense. If User:Butko believes that there is freedom of panorama in Ukraine, he needs to back it up by refering to the relevant Ukrainian law. --Kjetil_r 19:45, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Sculptures in France

Could someone who knows French law please clarify the text of the France section? There's a disagreement over whether it applies to a Picasso sculpture. The problem I have with the current text is that the first paragraph only specifically mentions architecture; the following paragraphs go in to exceptions, referring sometimes generally to "works of art" and sometimes to architecture; but it never clearly states whether or not there's freedom of panorama for public artworks such as sculptures. --Davepape 15:22, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Sculptures and public art in the United States

There is caselaw that disputes the United States section, although it is not conclusive. In fact, this area of law seems to remain unsettled, but points in favor of photographs of public statues and monuments to be okay. Below is taken from 83 A.L.R. Fed. 845 (American Legal Reporter), and when I checked the case on Lexis-Nexis, did not find it to be overturned or paired down:

[*12b] Held not copyrightable
In the following case the court held that certain stuffed or sculptured animals were not copyrightable as sculptural works.
In Durham Industries, Inc. v Tomy Corp. (1980, CA2 NY) 630 F2d 905, 208 USPQ 10, the court held that certain three-dimensional plastic wind-up toys "instantly recognizable as the Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Pluto Dog," were not copyrightable, because the element of originality necessary to support a valid copyright was totally lacking.
See Carns v Keefe Bros. (1917, DC Mont) 242 F 745, where the Best People On Earth gave a party upon the streets of Butte, Montana, the chief attraction being a monstrous horned elk, standing 60 feet, built of a wooden frame covered with chicken wire, canvassed, plastered, and painted, and lit up at night with colored lights. When unveiled before a hilarious populace, the elk bore a notice: "Copyrighted. Infringers beware." After certain post card reproductions of the elk were sold, an infringement suit was brought, a copyright having indeed been registered for the elk. Assuming the elk to be a statue within the law of copyright, the court held that the circumstances rendered the copyright invalid. The court said that if a production was intended for or bound to be given free and unrestricted public exhibition -- to attract the public to come and enjoy without price -- the public dedication defeated copyright, since the display inevitably exposed the production to copy, and so was inconsistent with a claim of copyright. The court concluded that the elk "could no more be copyrighted than Liberty Enlightening the World, or the Dewey Arch, or the Washington Monument, and no one will seriously claim these latter could be."

--DavidShankbone 19:39, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

That's inconclusive indeed! Durham v. Tomy denied copyrightability based on a lack of originality. (What about Disney's rights? Methinks these toys were derivative works, and thus needed to be licensed from Disney?) The Carns v. Keefe case is from 1917! Are you sure it is still relevant? The U.S. copyright laws have changed substantially since then... Besides, the Washington Monument is PD (architect died 1855); the Dewey Arch was built in 1898 and dismantled in 1901, so it's PD-US, too (it had been designed by Charles Rollinson Lamb (1860 - 1942)); and the Statue of Liberty was erected in 1886 and had been designed by Frédéric Bartholdi (1834 - 1904) and is also PD. Lupo 12:25, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, couldn't we use the Carns case to argue pre-1978 public dedications are public domain under the 1908 (or is it 1909) act? -Nard the Bard 12:47, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Just as a side comment, one thing that folks often forget is that older artworks in the U.S. often were never copyrighted. Prior to the 1976 Copyright Act, obtaining copyright protection required certain formalities that artists often did not bother with. A well-known example is the "Chicago Picasso." 05:07, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure we can rely on that 1917 ruling; there was lots of case law after that. However I think we should say that any statue put up in public before 1978 was "published", so if there was no copyright notice (and never registered), those would be PD. Certainly photos of statues put up before 1923 are fine. The current definition of "published" is from the 1976 copyright law (effective January 1, 1978), so it does not apply to anything earlier. The 1909 law did not define the term at all, so it was left to courts to determine the meaning. Not surprisingly, cases apparently went different ways, but according to this PDF document, which goes into the topic in depth, the consensus tended to follow s:American Tobacco Co. v. Werckmeister, where the Supreme Court ruled that a public exhibition of a work of art does not constitute publication "where there are bylaws against copies, or where it is tacitly understood that no copying shall take place, and the public are admitted to view the painting on the implied understanding that no improper advantage will be taken of the privilege." The PDF document then says that The negative implication appears to be that exhibition without such express or implicit restrictions on copying could, in an appropriate case, constitute publication; not surprisingly, some courts have interpreted American Tobacco in precisely this way. The implication is that a statue put up permanently in public was assumed allowed to have pictures taken of it, and thus would be considered as published. As mentioned above, s:Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. v. Public Building Commission of Chicago relied on that interpretation when ruling the en:Chicago Picasso was PD since it was published (and had no copyright notice). So... I think that any pre-1923 public statues should be considered to be PD, and any other pre-1978 statues would need a copyright notice on it. The rules changed in 1978, but it would be possible to have published-without-a-copyright-notice situations until 1989, when the rules changed yet again. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:59, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Looks like you are onto something here. I would agree to have that mentioned in the policy. And thanks for the pointer to this interesting paper. Lupo 11:02, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
In looking towards the bottom of s:American Tobacco Co. v. Werckmeister/Opinion of the Court, it is stated more plainly: We do not mean to say that the public exhibition of a painting or statue, where all might see and freely copy it, might not amount to publication within the statute, regardless of the artist's purpose or notice of reservation of rights which he takes no measure to protect. But such is not the present case, where the greatest care was taken to prevent copying. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Would you mind writing up something for the policy that we consider artworks permanently installed in public places in the U.S. before 1923 to qualify as {{PD-US}} or {{PD-1923}}? I would not, however, rely on "not renewed or no copyright notice" for sculptures erected 1923-1978 (or 1989). It's too hard to verify (especially the not renewed" part), and moreover, I don't know whether it would have sufficed that the model had a copyright notice. Lupo 16:01, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay, done. Fix anything you think is wrong. While I did not mention the copyright notice thing, it would still apply if someone does have compelling evidence, but as you say verification is hard to impossible (especially renewals, as the fine arts copyright registration volumes seem to be the last ones to come online). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:32, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, one note -- the 1909 Copyright Act required the copyright notice to be present on every copy (see s:United States Code/Title 17/1976-10-18/Chapter 1/Sections 10 to 12). So, if a copyright notice does not appear on a 1923-1977 public sculpture (unless it was an unauthorized copy of another one) then it really would be public domain. See also this book. Verifying that is rather hard like you say, but maybe if the statue is thoroughly documented someplace like the Smithsonian's Art Inventories Catalog to the point where they list all inscriptions (which seem to include copyright notices), maybe that would be enough. Renewal is of course still virtually impossible to determine online. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:51, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
Thank you! I've only made some minor amendments. On the notice thing for post-1922 works, we seem to agree, but let me point out footnotes 122 and 123 (p. 37) of Cotter's paper: it appears that works of art not necessarily needed to bear a visible copyright notice at all. So, even if the Smithsonian catalog does not list a copyright notice, this doesn't prove anything. (Negatives always are hard to prove!) OTOH, if the Smithsonian says a work was explicitly copyrighted, then that's a conclusive proof. Lupo 08:02, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
On the two footnotes... it was 1) from a dissenting opinion, and 2) even there only applicable if the work was not published (i.e. temporarily displayed with restrictions). They still seem to say that published copies still needed a notice. :-) Pedestals would always give a place to put a notice without defacing the work itself anyways... doesn't have to be directly on the sculpture. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:52, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
As for whether pictures of statues (or other copyrightable objects) are derivative works, even that is unclear in the U.S. William Patry recently argued that they are not, and criticized the s:Ets-Hokin v. Skyy Spirits Inc. decision for implying they were (as well as a more recent decision which used the same reasoning). He points to a SHL Imaging, Inc. v. Artisan House, Inc decision which states they are not ("A photograph of Jeff Koons's ‘Puppy’ sculpture in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center merely depicts that sculpture; it does not recast, transform, or adapt Koons's sculptural authorship. In short, the authorship of the photographic work is entirely different and separate from the authorship of the sculpture."). Following that, there was a district court decision from this March (Latimer v. Roaring Toyz, Inc., 2008 WL 697346 (M.D. Fl.) discussed here) which used the same reasoning (which actually happens to be the district where Wikimedia's Florida servers are located, I think). I'm not sure we should rely on those decisions, at least yet, but it may be well interesting to follow (I think I saw that the decision from earlier this year which followed Ets-Hoskin v. Skyy is being appealed). If that interpretation eventually prevails, then the U.S. would essentially have freedom of panorama, at least for photographs (since they are just "depictions"), though not necessarily other media like paintings. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Indeed I wouldn't rely on Patry's private opinion in this case. He may well be right that photos of 3D works are not derivative works (though personally, I don't find his arguments compelling, but hey, he's playing in a totally different league :-), but methinks he's just debating a fine point of interpretation that is absolutely meaningless to us: if photos of 3D works are not derivative works in the U.S., then they're just plain copies, and as a result, the outcome doesn't change one iota for us. Either the depicted work is out of copyright, and the image is fine for us, or it isn't, and the image is not ok. 17 USC 101 defines copies as "material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." It seems to me that photos clearly fit this definition: they're material objects, and the depicted work can be perceived from them, and they can be communicated. I also think that if photos of 3D works were not either copies or derivative works, there would be no need at all for 17 USC 120(a) (express exemption of photos of architectural works in public places from the copyright on those architectural works).
The court order in the Latimer case is interesting reading, but I am surprised that the court did not even discuss whether Latimer's photos might have been just copies of Hathaway's "customizations". They state that it was undisputed "that the artwork on the motorcycles is the original, creative expression of Ryan Hathaway, and as such, entitled to copyright protection", and then completely fail to consider whether the company for which Hathaway worked as an independent contractor even had any rights to let Latimer make copies (i.e., the photographs). Maybe the facts were such that an (at least implied) license existed that allowed Latimer to make copies of Hathaway's artwork. Might be possible, given the description of events in the court order, but since only the company and the photographer are mentioned in that context, I do wonder whether the company had a valid license by Hathaway in the first place. The court says explicitly that Hathaway's work were not "works made for hire". They also point out that Hathaway had not registered his artwork with the Copyright Office, which AFAIK, while not madatory, is a prerequisite for being awarded damages in a copyright infringement claim in the U.S. Maybe they ignored the question about copies because of that... Lupo 10:53, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I certainly wouldn't rely on a private opinion, but district court decisions do get more interesting. I'm also not sure I agree with all the conclusions either, due to some of the things you mention. However... Latimer did register copyright in his photographs, so the Copyright Office gave him (presumably) full authorship in the photo, and not as a derivative work. Maybe the Copyright Office deemed the inclusion de minimis, or fair use since it was impossible to photograph the entire motorcycle without including it, and therefore did not affect the ownership of the photo itself. The court seemed to reach a different conclusion, though apparently they do have to treat Latimer's registration as prima facie evidence of ownership. If the photo was a straight copy though, wouldn't Latimer then have no authorship at all in the photo? That definitely doesn't seem to be the case. (And if photographs are copies, that makes it pretty unlikely that a sculpture "exists only in one copy", which affects whether more recent statues are considered "published"). If the SHL Imaging opinion holds true, I guess the theory there is that 17 USC 120(a) is just reaffirming the principle to be clear. Still, there is lots of precedent for photos being derivatives (movie studios routinely get the rights for included sculptures), and court decisions seem nowhere near consistent. Obviously it's best to stay away from this as policy, unless maybe there are a series of rulings this way (or a case goes to the Supreme Court). Mainly just very interesting to follow, for now. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)


Why are images of the Atomium not allowed on Commons? -- 11:55, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Well, I guess because most of the images that people download here, make the Atomium the central piece of the picture. Which means the picture is in violation of Belgian copyright law. Only if the Atomium is not the subject of the picture, but shown "casually" in the background for instance, will you get away with it. You'll stand a better chance if the whole thing is not visible from top to bottom. Yes, it rather defeats the idea of using the picture to illustrate the Atomium itself, but that is the way things are.
Note that the Belgian article mentions permission by the author. Of course, the case I am thinking of now concerns "portretrecht" portrait right of a living person rather than panorama right of buildings, but there was a notorious case recently in Belgium when a model who had posed for a fashion agency, later found one of the pictures concerned used prominently in an election brochure of a political party. She sued the party to get them to stop the distribution of the brochure with her picture and to the surprise of many copyright lawyers - she won. The judge held that the use of someone's face as normal practice for a fashion agency is inherently different from the use of a face in an election brochure. There are possible ramifications in other cases where the author's permission is asked and granted. I would not be surprised if anyone who got permission from the author of a building to have its picture on Wikipedia would in the end find that certain commercial re-use of the picture in question would be deemed (by a Belgian judge) to be inherently different from use in a dictionary. Wikipedia could take some consolation from the fact that the model sued the political party and not the agency - almost all lawyers thought she did not have a case against the agency. --Paul Pieniezny 23:26, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
Re: Atomium, this is a very good reason why they are not allowed here. / Fred Chess 08:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
No, the e-mail is abusive. Only the architect may object to the use of a photo of its work. The landowner has no special right on the image, unless a specific prejudice can be proven. Michelet-密是力 06:08, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that's correct. Only the copyright owner may object to publication of photos of the work. The initial copyright owner of a work of architecture is the architect, but he may transfer his economic rights to the owner of the building, for instance in the construction contract. If that happened in the case of the Atomium, the landlord is quite within his rights (under Belgian law) to restrict the use of photographs of the work on which he owns the (economic) copyrights. Lupo 07:56, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
OK - the landlord as such has no right. You're right, it can be transferred, but if this is the case, he must prove that he owns the patrimonial rights on the artistic creation - which has not be mentionned in the e-mail. Such a right transfer is the exception. The point should at least be raised. Michelet-密是力 08:04, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
If you want to question whether André Waterkeyn truly did transfer his economic rights to ASBL (or at least granted them an exclusive license), you should probably take it up with ASBL and the Belgian courts. :-) However, this appears to be largely uncontested. Waterkeyn died in 2005, so the Atomium will enter the public domain in 2076, unless there will be further copyright term extensions until then ;-(. Lupo 10:01, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
It's the other way round. As far as law on artistic property is concerned, the owner of the rights is Waterkeyn (thanks for the ref) and his heir(s). ASBL (thanks again) appears as a third party in this question, if they want to state something, the first point is for them to prove they have the right to do so. The correct answer is therefore IMHO a polite but firm questionning of their right to interviene. Michelet-密是力 10:07, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
If he did transfer his rights, copyright vests in the owner of the building; if he did not, it vests in whoever he nominated in his will. In either case, there is a copyright owner and we can't host the image since we would be infringing Belgian copyright law, annoying though it is. --MichaelMaggs 13:09, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
Agreed, but this goes back to my original remark: the e-mail is abusive. Michelet-密是力 18:33, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Japanese law

We currently summarize Japanese law as permitting freedom of panorama only for non-commercial uses. However, a discussion at this deletion debate turns up that, according to User:Kareha, the non-commercial restriction is only for "artistic works", not for architectural works, which are treated as a separate category in the law. --Delirium 10:12, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that appears to be right. 46(iv) indeed is only about "artistic works", not about architetural works. Thus Japan does have freedom of panorama for buildings, but only non-commercial FOP for paintings, sculptures, statues, and other artistic works. Lupo 12:47, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your correction, it now much helps:). By the way, now I'd like to ask another question of my own. Should we consider the restriction comes from the article 45-3, for which we may not show these pictures on public space such as outer walls of buildings and vehicles (later per a case law). We may ignore it because it's not what we are doing here, or we should inform with some restriction tags they are restricted in such usage. I'm not certain. --Kareha 20:40, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
If thats the case then they may not be "free-enough" for Commons. J.smith (talk) 23:10, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

In other words

Can such material be uploaded on commons? That's the first info one expects to get!


Régis Lachaume 01:06, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree: the present page is not at all satisfactory. There is a long discussion going on at Commons:Village pump#Freedom of Panorama issues that you might like to join in. --MichaelMaggs 12:41, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
The link you referred to is now here at Commons:Village pump/Archive/2007Apr#Freedom of Panorama issues.
A similar discussion there wrt freedom of panorama is at Commons:Village pump#"Copyrighted Package".
-Mardus 01:19, 4 August 2007 (UTC)


I propose changing the first paragraph of Commons:Freedom of panorama#Germany to the following:

It is impossible by § 62 of the Copyright Law Act to take pictures of publicly visible buildings and sculptures and make derivatives of them without permission. Thus, such pictures are incompatible with Wikimedia Commons. See also the German article (in German).

That's how I interpret that English translation of the German law, as it relates to Wikimedia Commons. Is the translation incorrect? Is my interpretation incorrect? Please, let us discuss. Thanks!   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 12:07, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Sorry you are mixing things together. It is allowed to take pictures of building in Germany, and you are allowed to use these pictures commercially. And as you can read in (3) of §62, you may do "alterations of the work to the extent required by the method of reproduction."
Fred J 13:07, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, that is not one of the permissible restrictions.   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 20:37, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Nonsense. You cannot change in German a picture of a living person in any way you wish. --Historiograf 20:38, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Hallo Jeff, could you first please explain which first paragraph you are talking about? Also, are you mixing up § 59 and § 62.
Hallo Historiograf, are you suggesting that the restriction on alternation in § 62 only applies to living persons caught on a photo?
Please let us get straight what we are talking about before we start a general panic.--Wuselig 07:05, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Jeff is wrong. Commons can't guarantee that everything someone does with the pictures will be legal under all legislations of the world. If someone takes these images and makes changes and publishes them commercially, and then he is sued, Commons can't be held liable.
FOP photos are perfectly legal in Germany. If someone takes them and uses them in a way which is illegal, there's nothing we can do. There's no reason to delete all images that might be used to do something illegal. ´
@JeffG: It is allowed to alter FOP images, the legal restriction only says that you can't alter the building pictured, since it's a protected creation. Which means that you are allowed to make derivative works, as long as you don't make alterations to the pictured work itself. --Fb78 07:34, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
JeffG's last point is what we in Germany call the jumping point, i.e. the most important issue.
§ 59 governs what FOP is. Let me put in my words: We are talking about the protection of works of art that are copyrighted, ie. the artist is still living or has not been dead for more than 70 years. That artist's work of art is displayed in a public area. FOP allows me to take a picture of this work of art if certain restrictions don't apply (it is not there permanently; I have to climb a ladder to be able to take the picture etc.).
§63 rules that I have to mention the artist name if known. I.e. I have to quote this picture of the work of art by artist XYZ was taken by me.
§62(1) governs changes to the copyrighted object. I.e. if an architect designed a building with curved lines, I am not allowed to make it look straight. If a sculpture was pure marble or painted green, I am not allowed to make it look pink. Or put a mustache on the face of somebody on a painting.
§62(2) covers work of music, where it is allowed to play the piece of music in a different key or pitch.
§62(3) is the tricky one and most misunderstood. It allows me to display the unaltered object of art, as explained above, in a different scale if necessary for publication. I.e. if there is a painting or picture we are talking about and it is 100cm*100cm, I am allowed to decrease the scale to be able to publish it. Likewise if it is only 5cm*5cm, I am allowed to enlarge.
In the German Wikipedia there is a big discussion, wether works of art displayed in or on a showcase may be displayed under FOP. Now it is clear that it is not the showcase we are talking about as the work of art, but the picture displayed in or on the showcase or infobord. Therefore according to §62(3) I am allowed to make the necessary alternations to scale.
If I publish such a picture on commons anybody may make alternations to my picture, but they may not make alternations to the work of art displayed on that picture. Therefore it is perfectly permissable to publish such images in Commons, because the law that bound me, still binds the user of my picture. And for the alternation to the work of art that that person makes, that person is also liable alone and not me or Wikipedia.
I hope I could sort things out for you and many others. --Wuselig 08:30, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
Let's cut through all the possible misunderstandings in detail and get straight to the real point: The position of freedomdefined is extremist and impossible to implement in all legal systems with strong moral rights (and further conditions derived from moral rights). It was unwise to bind Commons to this position and the meta: should be amended ASAP. Otherwise we have to pull hundreds of thousands of images from Commons to the individual projects, where they are completely legal, but take up disk space. Under German law this is not just about FOP, but every picture of a living person is restricted by law the same way as images of copyrighted works in public are. Under the current resolution not a single image of a living German person is permitted on Commons, along with all FOP-images. This is the core of the problem and if you ask me, here the prophet will have to move to the mountain - meaning the foundation has to amend its resolution. Either Commons is the noble idealistic archive of ideal free works - or it is useful as shared repository for the projects - both isn't possible as the legal systems of the world are to different. --h-stt !? 11:45, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
As so often with wikipedia discussions about specific problems turn into big metaphysical discussions about how to make the world a better place. And since THE ANSWER (the one and only) is provided by either ideologies or religeous believes we are left to hitting each other over the head with the big stick, because your answer will, by definition, never be better than mine. So I aggree with H-stt, that if we try to implement on Commons a system that serves all restrictions all over the world, we won't even be able to publish an image of a straight line, because certain ideologies abhore straight lines.
So let us get back to observing our national laws, and if I as a German upload a FOP-picture taken in Germany, than let me do it. If I upload a similar picture taken in the USA, correct me and throw the picture out. If somebody in the USA takes one of my FOP picture of a sculpture by an American Artist exhibited in an open public place in Germany and publishes that picture under his authority in the USA to make money, let him take the consequence.
So let us get the above question about German legislation right and keep metaphysics out of Wikipedia. The least common denominator if we try to do all the world right will be nil.--Wuselig 14:09, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree that, if it wants to make Commons a shared repository for the projects, the WMF has to step away from the extremist position of freedomdefined. But while we wait for that to happen, are we not duty bound to honor the WMF's licensing policy and at least schedule any photos that violate §62(3) for deletion?   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 11:25, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Just to cut out all possible missunderstandings, how, in your opinion, would that first sentence you wanted to change at the beginning of this discussion have to be phrased now? --Wuselig 17:14, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
If the WMF wants to step away from the extremist position of freedomdefined with respect to Germany, the first sentence could read as follows:

It is possible by § 59 of the Copyright Law Act to take pictures of publicly visible buildings and sculptures and publish them commercially. Still, the right to modify the works and to produce derivative works in Germany requires the permission of the original copyright holder. (§62) Before using this content, please ensure that you have the right to use it under the laws which apply in the circumstances of your intended use. See also the German article.

  — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 02:02, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
To be less ambigious with regards to which work of art shall not be modified I would reword like this:

It is possible by § 59 of the Copyright Law Act to take pictures of publicly visible works of art as defined in § 2 and publish them, even commercially. Still, as defined in § 62, especially § 62(1), the right to modify these works of art and to produce derivative works of them where German law applies, requires the permission of the original copyright holder. § 62(3) states, that changes of the scale of the depicted unaltered work of art, are permissable in the bounds made necessary by the medium of reproduction. (i.e. the picture taken can be scaled in any ratio needed to reproduce it). Before using this content, please ensure that you have the right to use it under the laws which apply in the circumstances of your intended use. See also the German article.

--Wuselig 06:26, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Why are you ignoring the latter part of §62(3)? It also states that you may do necessary "other alterations " if they are "required by the method of reproduction" , or in German, "solche Änderungen [sind] zulässig, die das für die Vervielfältigung angewendete Verfahren mit sich bringt." This does not restrict itself to resizing, but also to cropping, and if the image is blurry you are allowed to sharpen it, or enhance its lightening, etc. / Fred J 09:23, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I am not ignoring it, but let's expand the explanation in brackets as follows: (i.e. the picture taken can be scaled, cropped, enhanced etc., as the medium of reproduction makes necessary). The medium of reproduction can be a printed page, a computer screen etc. If we want to add this explanation too, we will have to rephrase, since double bracket in a text looks stupid. --Wuselig 10:38, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Have you guys seen {{PD-FOP-DE}}? Lupo 10:42, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and what is it good for, if we have {{FOP}}? --ALE! ¿…? 14:31, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break

I don't see where is the problem, just read the § 62 of the Copyright Law Act in its context: "Where the use of a work is permissible under the provisions of this Section, no alteration may be made to the work" Now, if you observe the german law, "the provisions of this Section" mentionned in art. 62 applies for a series of exceptions, given in Section VI "Limitations on Copyright " (art. 45 to 63). The general interdiction "no alteration of the work" must be interpreted in each case according to the nature of the work. As for "works in public places" (art. 59), the artistic work is instanciated by the building, and won't be altered by the picture being taken, so the provision is simply irrelevant most of the time. Or, taken litterally: this only means that you can't paint or reshape the sculpture when you take a picture of it - clear enough, who would do such a thing?...

Comment inserted: it has been done end of comment--Wuselig 17:04, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Once the picture of a building is taken, this "reproduction/derivation" has in fact the autonomy of a derivative work, and is not the building any more. Buildings and sculptures are special cases, this is why art. 59 has a (2) to specify that you can't reproduce a building by making another building, you simply can take a picture of it: the reproduction must be a derivation, not a fac simile in that case. After that, the picture itself can be modified (reframed, etc) without touching the model, and a morphing transformation would be a modification of the picture, not of the building. Unless of course you pretend it's the way the building actually looks, or do something very nasty which would cause a prejudice to the author, but then, this is a statement for which you have to face your own responsability, and in that case the moral rights of the author would of course be involved - there's no avoiding it, it's the law, since moral rights are legal and can't be waived.

I have been told that there is a general policy on Commons on this kind of point: when there is a legal restriction, free licences should be as free as any licence can be, and the legal restriction can be handled by a disclaimer (if needed) and be left to the user's responsability. Free material does not mean that you have the right not to be responsible of your deeds; a licence allways supposes a "faithful execution", and "unfair usages" will always get you into legal troubles, whatever the licence is. Michelet-密是力 16:26, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Apart from my injection, which as the case showed, could also be covered by FOP, if you played by the rules, I fully agree.--Wuselig 17:04, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
LOL - but this is obviously a very special case, since it has its page in de:wp... ;o) Michelet-密是力 18:09, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

äußere Ansicht - ???

Since we are on that §59 article, there seems to be a translation problem: "Bei Bauwerken erstrecken sich diese Befugnisse nur auf die äußere Ansicht.", does that really mean (1) "only the external appearance" may be reproduced (meaning, the interior part of a building, staircases, etc... can't be photographed), or (2) simply to be understood with the "Die Vervielfältigungen dürfen nicht an einem Bauwerk vorgenommen werden" clause that follows, meaning that the outside apparence can be reproduced (image, form - even within the building) but not the building's substance (ie, a physical reproduction is not allowed)? This should be clarified somewhere, the meaning of what is an "external" apparence in that case may be litigeous (und das überschreitet viel meines Niveaus auf deutschem, verzweifelt wirklich). Michelet-密是力 18:25, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Austrian law (and maybe also Swiss) allows to publish pictures from publicly available rooms inside. German § 59 UrhG allows only pictures from outside ("Außenansicht"). If you can photograph something PERMANENT (bleibend) from outside AND from a public place this would be fine. The ratio behind II is simply: You cannot make a 1:1 3-D duplicate of a building ("Nachbau"), and you cannot take a 2-D-mural from one building and put it on another building claiming FOP. Both is for us not relevant because a virtual use is not "an einem Bauwerk" (at a building as medium). Clear? --Historiograf 20:00, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Your interpretation of it is clear (only from outside, no inside photo allowed), but the global meaning of the law still seems spurious to me. IMHO, there is no reason why a staircase (for instance) should be excluded. Of course, if this means that you can't take inside views of appartements because it's private, OK, this is not the point. But to me, the laws protecting private life being what they are (=very efficient), they are sufficient to protect inside wiews when private life protection is the concern. Is there a possibility that "äußere Ansicht" might simply mean "the external appareance" (even of a staircase taken from inside the building), and not restrictively "the sight from outside the building"? - just wondering. But if there is an ambiguity, it benefits to the user, since ambiguous laws cannot constraint. "Lex dubia non obligat" - Michelet-密是力 20:55, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
It's not a privacy law but a Copyright act. German courts are saying: outside only. BundesGerichtsHof has decided that a postcard of an Vienna (!) building by an Austrian (!) artist Hundertwasser was'nt falling under FOP because it was shot in the second floor of another building --Historiograf 23:52, 13 August 2007 (UTC)
??? I don't get it - Where was the photograph published? Obviously, if a German court has judged something about an Austrian situation, some conflict of law has been adressed in the judgement. Usually, the law that can be applied is that of the place where the infraction has been made (and apparently, the Austrian law permits this): how was it analysed in that case, so that a German law would apply to an Austrian work of art? Actually, has the German law been applied at all? Michelet-密是力 08:25, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
The Hundertwasserhaus case in a nutshell:
  1. Picture of the Hunderwasserhaus in Vienna was taken by Austrian photographer from a room on the first floor of the house across the street. The building, designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is copyrighted. That picture was published in Austria. All perfectly fine by Austrian FOP.
  2. That same image was then published in Germany.
  3. Rights holder on the building sued in Germany for copyright violation, and won. German FOP requires that FOP pictures not only show only exterior views of things in public places (which was fulfilled in this case), but also be taken from public places (which was not fulfilled: room in apartment on first floor of the house vis-à-vis was not a public place). Hence FOP did not apply in Germany. The image was deemed a derivative work of the building.
Result: the image can be published legally in Austria, but not in Germany (because the rights holder of the building did not give his consent to the publication).
And of course the German court applied German law. That's national treatment: the Austrian work (the building) was granted copyright in Germany under German law. The picture (also an Austrian work) was judged by German FOP rules in Germany. Lupo 09:04, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, Lupo ^^, but this still seems odd, according to conflict of law admitted treatment.
"All perfectly fine by Austrian FOP" semms OK to me (though I'm not a judge, of course ;o). But then, what was the specific action condemned by the German judgement? (=somehing that somebody shoulden't have made, according to German law?) this can't have been taking the photograph, since it was indeed OK by Austrian FoP. It wasn't its first publication in Austria, apparently, since it was legal and outside German jurisdiction anyway. So what? Once the photograph had been taken and published, in a forereign country, and all this had been legal,... how could a German court condemn an action that did not take place in Germany (in the first place), and was legal in Austria? On what legal basis was this condemnation taken?
If the photograph is initially legal, it stands as it is, and has a legal existence. How can its reproduction be condemned in a third-party country, and according to which law? Was the conflict of law problem ever adressed???
As far as I understand it, this semms to be a misinterpretation of the law, insofar as its geographical range is concerned, which shoud have been overruled by some appeal court. What happend, then? Has it been brought to an appeal court, and has this question been considered? Michelet-密是力 21:40, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
Stop your fixation on the photograph. The protected work of art is the building that had been photographed. And since he was distributing postcards of this building in Germany that depicted the work of art in a way that was protected by German Copyright law he was condemned on this fact only. For the postcards he sold in Austria the German law didn't have any jurisdiction. So this whole § 62 is about the protected object and not about the image of that object. That is the misconception from the beginning of this discussion and judging from Jeff G's last comment I am afraid is the misconception still. --Wuselig 23:33, 17 August 2007 (UTC)
At the risk of w:WP:BEANS, Wikimedia Deutschland is subject to German copyright law.   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 02:05, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but this whole discussion was started, because some people obviously thought that doing the homework (or other non-mischievous deeds) was also not allowed while mommy was away. --Wuselig 06:37, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Global position

I am under the impression that we discuss the applicability of complex laws which are completely out of date and inadequate in respect of the reality of our world of today.

Lets take for example a picture taken in Germany by a Japanese tourist of a French painting, stored on a US server, downloaded by a Congolese user and used in an Egyptian promotion campaign that targets Morocco. This type of case can occupy a herd of lawyers for quite some time. I think that the right of information and communication will weight more then all the little FOP laws. And even if the case turns out to become problematic, what is the wikimedia responsibility in all that ? I think that only when there is a significant abuse, that the abuser will be held responsible, but only on a case by case base.

I think that as long there is no serious juridical test case, we will continue to waste our time, and above all, the goodwill and the "market" penetration of the commons.

Personally I would suggest the following position:

  1. Commons continues to accept image downloads in a way that is as liberal as possible (and deemed defendable)
  2. Commons censures images for cases where there is a known and proven case (such as for the Atomium, provided that the claimer can prove his rights)
  3. Commons implements a mechanism that allows for fast locking of images (see below)
  4. Commons tries to get a juridic reference case (or waits till it happens to Google, YouTube, Flickr, ...)

With a mechanism of image locking, I mean a mechanism that locks an image in such a way that it can only be used as thumbnail. Independent if one follows the method mentioned above, or not, this feature is still useful as a pre-deletion system, or for images on which there is a voting for deletion going, or for which we are awaiting licensing or author information or a formal authorisation for publishing. Moreover, this mechanism would avoid many unnecessary deletions, delinking and reappearing of the same image again and again. --Foroa 12:30, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I would only block pictures that allow to directly copy or counterfeit works of art. To me this is the spirit and the essence of all these FOP laws. --Foroa 13:35, 17 August 2007 (UTC)


Chapter 2 of Mexico's copyright law, titled "De la limitacion a los derechos patrimoniales" ("On the limitation of ownership rights") Article 148 says: "Las obras literarias y artisticas ya divulgadas podran utilizarse, siempre que no se afecte la explotacion normal de la obra, sin autorizacion del titular del derecho patrimonial y sin remuneracion, citando invariablemente la fuente y sin alterar la obra, solo en los siguientes casos... VII. Reproduccion, comunicacion, y distribucion por medio de dibujos, pinturas, fotografias, y procedimientos audiovisuales de las obras que sean visibles desde lugares publicos." ("Literary and artistic works already published may be used, provided that normal commercialization of the work is not affected, without auhorization from the copyrightholder and without remuneration, invariably citing the source and without altering the work, only in the following cases... VII. Reproduction, communication, and distribution by means of drawings, paintings, photographs, and audiovisual means of works visible from public places.")

   * Mexican copyright law, article 148 (in Spanish)

Mexico has full or restricted freedom of panorama? The preceding unsigned comment was added by Alx 91 (talk • contribs) at 01:21, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Seems to be the same as in Germany. IMO, "without altering the work" refers to the moral rights of the author of the depicted work ("right to the integrity of the work"). Hence it'd be fine to crop, scale, color-adjust, etc. a FOP-image, but it would not be ok to deface the depicted work or to flip the image. Lupo 06:47, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
This appears to me to be a restriction on commercial and derivative works that would not allow "drawings, paintings, photographs, and audiovisual means of works visible from public places" in Mexico to be used on Commons. "sin alterar la obra"[1] ("without altering the work") is stated very clearly. How has it been interpreted in the courts?   — Jeff G. (talk|contribs) 14:36, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
To be honest I would see that as prohibiting derivatives. I don't think that's free enough. Stifle (talk) 18:18, 21 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I translated this and maybe I should have been a bit more literal. "explotacion" is the word used in the original, which literally means "exploitation". I translated it "commercialization" but it seems to me to give more of a sense of competition with the original use. Maybe that's just me. -Nard the Bard 18:43, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

Images of the Atomium on Flickr

Is it allowed to upload images of the Atomium on Flickr? -- 14:37, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately no, as there's no freedom of panorama in Belgium. Plus, the Atomnium guys are known to watch over copyright violations. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 14:47, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
How can we know what they accept at Flickr? I wouldn't dare to say. / Fred J 14:52, 29 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I misread from Flickr. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 18:09, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

Is it allowed to copy images of the Atomium from Flickr? -- 17:10, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

As Jastrow answered, we can't upload images of the Atomium on Wikimedia Commons. And if there're on Flickr, the people who uploaded them there probably can't give that license. Platonides 18:11, 29 August 2007 (UTC)

{{PD-FOP-DE}} versus {{FOP}}

Please have a look at the discussion on Commons_talk:Licensing#.7B.7BPD-FOP-DE.7D.7D_versus_.7B.7BFOP.7D.7D. --ALE! ¿…? 14:43, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

Old buildings, monuments and statues

Can anyone clarify whether freedom of panorama applies only to modern buildings? Do the "x years after death of the author" copyright clauses apply to architects and buildings, or does the copyright last in perpetuity being inherited by the owners of the building? If not, how long does the copyright last on things like the Eiffel Tower? If you take a picture of an old building, like Image:Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (Paris).jpg, does recent restoration work or extension reset the copyright clock? The guideline does say "The public domain objects are not protected by the copyright law so it is commonly understood that objects of this kind can be freely photographed and the pictures can be published both royalty free and commercially. Moreover, the pictures can be freely modified and the derivative works can be freely developed" - but the guideline should make clear what objects are commonly public domain. Carcharoth (Commons) 14:10, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

"Life of sculptor/architect plus X years" does apply. Lupo 18:48, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Should this be mentioned in the guideline? I made the following change. Carcharoth (Commons) 01:59, 7 November 2007 (UTC)
Good initiative. Adding a year range (I.e. 50 to 90 years) may avoid many time consuming lookups for the specific countries. A table years/country might be useful too. --Foroa 08:15, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


Does Argentina have FOP? I don't see anything in their copyright law. See e.g. Edoardo Rubino... Lupo 14:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

South Korean laws

I came across the Korean Copyright Act (it's call "Korean" but this concern South Korea) and it's hosted by a Law office (a reliable source). I haven't seen as of yet any reference to Korean law's restrictions on the Commons. So I think this could be very useful. The only problem with this version is that it doesn't have a section summary but this other posting [2] (of a less reliable source) does. I don't intent to make any modification to this project page as I would prefer to leave this to someone who have a better understanding of the law than me. Luccas 18:34, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

We should dicuss whether this is really free. [[ Forrester ]] 15:08, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
(2) Works of art, etc., exhibited at all times at an open place as referred to in the proviso of paragraph (1) may be reproduced by any means, except those falling under any of the following cases:
  1. Where a building is reproduced in another building;
  2. Where a sculpture or a painting is reproduced in another sculpture or painting;
  3. Where the reproduction is made in order to exhibit permanently at an open place as prescribed under the proviso of paragraph (1); and
  4. Where the reproduction is made for the purpose of selling its copies.
The point #4 seems problematic. #3 may also be problematic, though that would be a bit of an extreme interpretation, but #4 sure seems like a non-commercial restriction. Maybe a little bit finer than usual "non-commercial" (appears to be only if you are selling in the photographs themselves, not necessarily just using them as part of a larger commercial context). But still iffy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:53, 5 October 2008 (UTC)


The Jamaican Copyright Act makes provisions very similar to those in the British Copyright Act. This is hardly surprising, given that Jamaica is part of the Commonwealth. Should I add Jamaica to the Commonwealth section? --rimshottalk 12:23, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

I've added it. --rimshottalk 15:39, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


Anyone know whether Bulgaria has any "freedom of panorama" clause? Carcharoth (Commons) 23:37, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Looks like it is non-commercial, at least according to Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act; Promulgated State Gazette No. 56/29.06. 1993; Amended SG Nos. 63/1994: 10/1998. 28/2000, Article 23:
No permission from the author and no compensation shall be due in the case of:
5. reproduction of works that are on permanent display on streets, squares and other public places without their being subjected to mechanical contact copying, as well as their broadcasting by wireless means, by cable or other technical means, if this is done for the purpose of providing information or for other non-commercial purposes.
Carl Lindberg 00:23, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
OK. Thanks. Do you know if that means I can upload a picture I have of a statue of St Sophia, that is described in the Wikipedia article en:The Largo: "The Largo also once featured a statue of Vladimir Lenin, which was later demolished and replaced by the one of St Sophia in 2000."? Carcharoth (Commons) 16:34, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I think no. Without sculptor permission you can use only non-commercial license. --EugeneZelenko 15:03, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, OK. Thanks. Carcharoth (Commons) 23:27, 10 April 2008 (UTC)


The relevant part of the Estonian law reads:

§ 201. Üldsusele külastamiseks avatud kohtades asuvate teoste kujutiste vaba kasutamine

Autori nõusolekuta ja autoritasu maksmiseta on lubatud üldsusele külastamiseks avatud kohtades alaliselt asuva arhitektuuriteose, kujutava kunsti teose, tarbekunstiteose ja fotograafiateose reprodutseerimine ükskõik millisel viisil peale mehaanilise kontaktkopeerimise ja selle teose kujutise üldsusele suunamine, välja arvatud juhul, kui selline teos moodustab kujutise põhimotiivi ja seda kavatsetakse kasutada otsesel ärilisel eesmärgil. Kui käesolevas lõikes sätestatud teosel on nimetatud autori nimi, tuleb see lisada kujutise üldsusele suunamisel.

As far as I understand, this means that you can take a picture of a sculpture if you are not intending to use it on a direct commercial purpose. As far as I understand, this refers only to the purpose of the authore of the photograph. Andres (talk) 18:31, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
From my point of view, this means that the commercial use of these images is forbidden, but I don't understand Estonian (if that's what the language is called). Anyway, the use of noncemmercial images is not allowed on commons, so these images had to be removed. Kameraad Pjotr 18:38, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
The law is available in English, here:
It is permitted, without the authorisation of the author and without payment of remuneration, to reproduce works of architecture, works of visual art, works of applied art or photographic works which are permanently located in places open to the public by any means except for mechanical contact copying, and to communicate such reproductions of works to the public except if the work is the main subject of the reproduction and it is intended to be used for direct commercial purposes. If the work specified in this section carries the name of its author, it shall be indicated in communicating the reproduction to the public.
So, indeed, the freedom of panorama is only for non-commercial usage and these images will not be acceptable for Commons. --rimshottalk 19:09, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
As far as I understand, the law doesn't forbid reproducing sculptures and communicating the reproductions to the public if the reproductions have been made without intention to use the reproductions for direct commercial purposes. Commercial use of these reproductions and the direct commercial intention of reproducing are different things. Andres (talk) 23:19, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Estonian respective law says that "except if the work is the main subject of the reproduction and it is intended to be used for direct commercial purposes". That is, if I want to use image Image:Eduard Tubin Tartu 1.jpg for example in commerce postcard, it is prohibited. But Wikipedia demonstrates this and other images in non-commercial purpose, in consequence publishing those images is acceptable for Commons. Commons must follow the rules, not interpret the rules. Conclusion - deleting mentioned images by user Kameraad Pjotr was unjustified--HendrixEesti (talk) 21:09, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Commons has rules; Media licensed under non-commercial only licenses also are not accepted. ([3]) and we have to follow these rules, the deleted images were clear copyright violations and were deleted accordingly. Kameraad Pjotr 16:45, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
  • Hang on moment, this is not applicable when the original author, i.e. the sculptor, has been dead for 70 years or more, in that case the work is public domain under Estonian law. 20:49, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
    • That is correct. For images of PD works, we only need to consider the copyright of the image. Images of works still under copyright, however, are derivative works. Their publication is subject to the consent of the copyright owner of the work depicted. "Freedom of panorama" (FOP) is an exception to this "derivative works" rule. So, for images of PD works, FOP is irrelevant. But for the image mentioned above, Image:Eduard Tubin Tartu 1.jpg, it is relevant: the monument was dedicated in 2005, and its authors (sculptor Aili Vahtrapuu (b. 1950[4]), architect Veronika Valk (b. 1976), and possibly Louis Dandrel for the sound installations—probably irrelevant for a photo)[5] are still living and their work is still copyrighted. Lupo 09:44, 26 June 2008 (UTC)


Can we upload pictures of french building if the building is now destroyed (When the architect is not dead more than 70 years ago) ? For example a post-cards of a destroyed Art Nouveau building created by an architect dead 40 years ago.
Liné1 (talk) 14:16, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

No. Copyright remains in existence. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:59, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Cross nationality

Just to clarify: If I am an Indian citizen, and I take out a picture of a building in France, it would still be copyrighted correct? Nichalp (talk) 13:02, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

yes, correct. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:59, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks :) Nichalp (talk) 20:05, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Russia: FOP legal practice developing

P.S. Here's the subject. Claimed to be PD. Apparently Cocacola lawyers followed the same reasoning - if the COA is PD (is it?) then its elements are too. NVO (talk) 21:23, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Last Friday, a court in en:Nizhny Novgorod has resolved a legal case of Tatyana Tavasieva against Russian subsidiary of Coca-Cola. Tavasieva is heir to the deceased sculptor Soslanbek Tavasiev (died 1976), author of the 1960s monument to en:Salawat Yulayev in en:Ufa, which has become one of the symbols of the city. In summer of 2007 Coca-Cola produced a limited run of coke (100,000 cans) celebrating 450-th anniversary of incorporation of Bashkortostan into Russia. Can design included outline of Tavasiev's monument.

Tavasieva originally claimed 500,000 roubles (20 US cents per can) but agreed to halve it to speed up the outcome. In the end she and the defendant agreed an out-of-court settlement which was uneventfully stamped by the court.

Source in Russian: [6] // NVO (talk) 20:41, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

What does "stamped by the court" mean? As I read that article, they just agreed for an out-of-court settlement, to which Coca-cola agreed because if they had been found guilty, they'd have faced stiff penalties. Interesting article. Confirms that the sculptor (or, in this case, his heir) is considered the rights owner. Lupo 21:43, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
But because it's settled out of court, no precedent is set. Bastique demandez 22:29, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
That is correct. For us, it might have been better if they had followed through with that lawsuit. Lupo 22:34, 29 August 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't work as simple. Officially, court precedents in Russia are not sources of law. In real life, court precedent in civil cases becomes significant and may influence later decisions only when it is resolved at federal levels (i.e. being at least a second stage of an apellate process). If the supreme federal court deems it important, or if these are typical, frequent cases, than the supreme court may add further weight to the case by issuing "summaries of court practice". Copyright cases aren't typical, and they don't reach upper-level courts. NVO (talk) 01:34, 31 August 2008 (UTC)
It's like that in all civil law countries, I think. Nevertheless, a court decision would have had a bit more weight than an out-of-court settlement. Lupo 08:48, 31 August 2008 (UTC)


Someone just asked on en about the Philippines - looks to me like there is no FOP (looks very similar to US copyright law). Anyone know a little more about the area ? Megapixie (talk) 02:37, 21 September 2008 (UTC)


What is the FOP status for this country? Should the France case be used? Esby (talk) 14:08, 25 September 2008 (UTC) 14:07, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't think so. There is a phone number here. Teofilo (talk) 23:18, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
There is no law or cases about FOP in Monaco. FOP is restricted by authorization. You need to do the request on this page. Request is without fee and easily accepted. It should be done 15 days before taking pictures. So what should we do with the existing pictures ? - Zil (d) 18:17, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like a commercial photography fee/license, which has nothing to do with copyright. Cities often require that for movie productions etc. so they can deal with any disruptions which may be caused. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:46, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Carl, you're probably right... - Zil (d) 15:19, 9 April 2009 (UTC)


Because of doubts with "mass media" and "occasional reproduction", I changed labeling of Greece case from "OK" to "OK/not OK". A.J. (talk) 11:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Darn! Who had put the "OK" there? It should've been NotOK all along! A permission only for the "mass media" is clearly too limited to consider such images "free". I've changed it to NotOK. Lupo 11:56, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Buildings built before 1990 in the United States

  • At present, COM:FOP#United States does not say clearly if taking pictures of buildings completed before 1990 is allowed. Perhaps we should add a sentence making this clear at the beginning of that section.
  • Wouldn't the sentence be more clear with a "present perfect" instead of a "simple present" : "Buildings are works have been subject (...) since" ? Teofilo (talk) 12:49, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Buildings weren't protected works before 1990. The phrasing as is is correct, but it could also be phrased the other way. -Nard the Bard 17:02, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Could we go as far as saying that buildings built before 1990 are in the Public Domain ? Teofilo (talk) 20:07, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, because they were PD-ineligible then. Making that explicit is probably a good idea (people who aren't fluent in English may miss the point). The sentence change seems reasonable (and maybe use "only since" instead of just "since"). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:14, 24 October 2008 (UTC)
That would be a good idea. FOP for bridges, dams, etc would be important to note. J.smith (talk) 01:26, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
It's pretty much irrelevant for commons uploads, since all pictorial representations of even copyrighted U.S. buildings are fine to upload, but it wouldn't hurt -- never know when the distinction may be useful to someone. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:18, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we should stress the fact that taking pictures of a pre-1990 building, or a bridge, remains allowed even if the photographer is not located in a public place, provided the house rules of that private place allow taking pictures, and no privacy infringement is made, for example pictures taken from a private garden or from an appartment's window, or from the top of the Empire State Building (if the picture reveals the rear of the building which is not "ordinarily visible" from the street). Teofilo (talk) 13:17, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't think there is really any difference in taking pictures of buildings built before or after 1990. The location of the photographer doesn't matter -- photos are fine as long as the building is visible from some public place anywhere. You would have to work pretty hard to find one that isn't (a lot of private property can be a "public place" -- "any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered"). Privacy rights and house rules are separate (non-copyright) matters which don't have any relation to freedom of panorama. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:27, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean that if only the top of the roof (of a post-1990 building) is visible from the street (because a wall and trees are hiding the major part of the building), it is OK to enter the neighbour's garden (provided the neighbour is OK with that) and take extended pictures of the building otherwise unseen from the street ? May I know the source of your "family and social acquaintances" quote ? (Which I find strange, as most working places (factories, administrations, army bases, would become "public places" ?). "Privacy rights and house rules are separate (non-copyright) matters" --> I know, but when one addresses the general public on a "help page", general information should be provided about what is right and wrong, so that people do not get trapped in uncomfortable situations on the wrong premise that "Wikipedia told me I could do it". Teofilo (talk) 20:51, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
That would be the way I read that section -- if the building is visible from a public place, then photos of it are fine. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the motion picture association made sure that section was in there, so that they wouldn't be sued by an architect whose building happened to appear in one of their film shots (and arguing along your lines) :-) It would seem to me that the intent was to limit architect's copyright to other buildings using the same design, people making money off of toy replicas, builders firing an architect but keeping (and using) the plans, and that sort of thing. The quote is from the definitions in 17 U.S.C. 101. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:14, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
You are not quoting a definition of "public place" but a definition of "motion picture exhibition facility". The construction of the sentence, with the word "or" between the two shows that places opened merely to "assembled group of viewers outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances" are not "public places". Teofilo (talk) 10:12, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
No, it shows up in another place in the definitions too, for performing a work in a "public place". They use the same terminology to define that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:13, 26 October 2008 (UTC)


Is there a freedom of panorama in the Vatican ?

Teofilo (talk) 12:39, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

  • The Vatican is a signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention, and to the Berne Convention[7] but doesn't seem to have a generic copyright law, rather it seems to exercise copyright over individual works by decree[8][9]. Apparently they have only copyrighted the writings of the last two Popes (John Paul II and Benedict), claiming a perpetual copyright over them. Italian law is used for anything else[[10]]. So no FOP. I've updated COM:FOP with this information. -Nard the Bard 17:20, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Picture is speedy nominated. Teofilo (talk) 21:45, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
That is an English wikipedia image -- shouldn't it just be converted to fair use rather than deleted? Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:49, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Isn't 1,944 × 2,592 pixels too large for fair use ? Teofilo (talk) 04:44, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Shouldn't be. The expression in the photograph itself (all them pixels) is freely licensed... not sure if en-wiki has a different fair use regime for photos like this, but they should. *Very* different than a straight-up copyrighted photograph. I'm pretty sure that almost anything is OK with these photos (given fair use laws) except for directly selling it, using it on a for-sale T-shirt, and stuff like that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:20, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
Do you know any American book publisher selling books on contemporary sculpture without giving a penny to the sculptors ? A court case dismissing a sculptor who had sued such a book company ? Teofilo (talk) 09:47, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
That would probably cross the line. A book about a public square where a sculpture is located may well be different. I didn't say we should host the image on Commons, but such an image should be fine on en-wiki. The "low-resolution" part should only matter if the photograph expression itself is copyrighted and and not licensed freely, which is not the case here -- the photograph is licensed freely, so the only restriction is from the copyright of the pictured object, which is probably just limits use in certain commercial contexts (like the book you mention). It is not possible to have a "more free" photo, which is the usual reason to delete fair use images. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:14, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
"such an image should be fine on en-wiki" Do you mean on the internet only or both on the internet and in a print edition for sale in book shops ? Teofilo (talk) 17:16, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Either. Print editions are making money off the encyclopedic content, not the image. Selling the image directly is different, but hosting on en-wiki only means it is only being used in an educational context. It is very different than grabbing a photo of the sculpture off the internet -- in that case neither the photograph nor the sculpture is freely licensed -- and they should be treated somewhat differently, even if they are not right now. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:51, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I am not sure the educational context meant by the US copyright law lawmaker is the kind of "broad educational use" used on COM:SCOPE. Wikipedia's public is not made exclusively of school children and university students. Teofilo (talk) 06:26, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Architectural works in Japan

COM:FOP#Japan establishes a distinction between architectural works and "artistic works". Do we have clear references certifying that architectural works are not included in "artistic works" in Japan ?

Yesterday I read a translation of the 2007 copyright law of Israel which includes the following definition : "Artistic work" – including, drawings, paintings, works of sculpture, engravings, lithography, maps, charts, architectural works, photographic works and works of applied art;

That makes me doubt of our present interpretation of the Japanese law. Teofilo (talk) 04:41, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

No, because Japanese law has a different definition.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Clindberg (talk • contribs)
The definitions are listed in Article 2 of the Japanese law, and each definition bears a latin number, from (i) to (xxi), but I can't see any definition of "artistic work" among them. Interestingly, definition (xv) says :
"reproduction" means the reproduction in a tangible form by means of printing, photography, polygraphy, sound or visual recording or otherwise; and
(a) in the case of dramas and other similar dramatic works, it includes sound and visual recording of the actings, broadcasts or wire diffusions of these works, and
(b) in the case of architectural works, it includes the construction of an architectural work according to its plan;
From this definition (xv) we can infer that photography is understood as being one form of "reproduction", in the case of an architectural work.
Teofilo (talk) 10:00, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
It is defined as a "work of artistic craftsmanship" in Article 2. Also, Article 10 shows the classifications; artistic work is in a separate class than architectural work. Article 46 (the important one) specifies artistic work and architectural work separately, again implying they are different, and applies a non-commercial restriction only to artistic works specifically. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:25, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Well, section 46 (the FOP right) distinguishes architectural works from the other classes of works. And (xv) plainly doesn't apply, because the FOP right supercedes the author's inherent right to control reproduction of his work. A lawful FOP photo is not a reproduction in the prohibited sense. Article 2 does include a partial definition of "artistic work", saying "As used in this Law, "artistic work" includes a work of artistic craftsmanship." Also see article 10, "classification of works". Architectural work is a line by itself, separated from "artistic works". -Nard the Bard 16:29, 26 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Article 2 (2) is of no help, because "included" is not synonymous with "everything else is excluded".
  • For the same reason, Article 10 (4) cannot be construed as excluding architecture from "artistic works". The opening sentence of the Japanese text of Article 10 contains the word おおむね (oomune) meaning, "on the whole; almost; nearly", so we can't rely on that article to give us precise definitions. Making clear that architectural works are protected is not like denying them any artistic value.
  • Architectural works are named separately in the opening sentence of article 46 not because they have no artistic value, but because they were not included in article 45, which refers to cases when the artist has no prior knowledge of the final location of the work. Teofilo (talk) 13:59, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Thoroughly disagree on your interpretation of article 10 (that only implies there could be more classes, i.e. that is not an exhaustive list) and especially 46. Article 45 also implies that photographs are not artistic works either, and the same distinction is made throughout the law. In any event, a definition in Israeli law is not legally binding in Japan. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:50, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Article 45 does not imply that photographs are un-artistic. The coordination "artistic works or photographs" simply makes clear that photographs are protected the same way as artistic works even if they are not artistic (like news photographs taken in order to convey information, and not with the primary purpose of seeking beauty). Teofilo (talk) 17:26, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
  • The Japanese text of Article 46 (ii) is longer than what the English translation on the WIPO website suggests. A full translation is provided on Nagoya university's website : "(ii) [imitative] reproduction of an architectural work and offering such [imitative] reproduction to the public by transferring ownership of it", but the Japanese text (二 建築の著作物を建築により複製し、又はその複製物の譲渡により公衆に提供する場合) has some ambiguity and I wonder if it could not alternatively be translated as "(ii) Reproducing an architectural work by means of architecture, or offering its reproduction [a reproduction of such a work] to the public by transfering ownership of it". ("its" in an English -> Japanese dictionary). Perhaps the WIPO translator left the second part of the sentence untranslated because of its difficulty...
  • Article 2 of the Berne Convention includes architectural works in its list of "litterary and artistic works". If we acknowledge that buildings have seldom a direct connection to litterature, we ought to admit that architectural works are "artistic works". Article 5 of the Japanese law says that any international treaty should prevail on the Japanese law. Teofilo (talk) 06:54, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Quite simply, -- no. Using definitions from other places is kind of silly within in the context of this law, as in other places they are referring to different concepts (the Berne convention is basically defining the scope of copyrightable articles in general). Article 10 to me quite clearly distinguishes between artistic works ("paintings, engravings, sculptures and other artistic works") and architectural works. Later references to particular classes of works are careful to specify exactly which classes under Article 10 they are referring to (this is pretty common in various laws that I have seen) and Article 46 quite pointedly refers to "artistic works permanently installed in an open place" separately from "architectural works" (i.e. regardless of where they are). The non-commercial part is just for the artistic works. They very explicitly mention "architectural works" every time they use it, but not in in subsection (iv), because subsection (ii) has already defined the limitation of this right as it pertains to architectural works, which is basically that you can't build an identical or derivative building (reproduction in the same form as the original -- this is the "imitative" reproduction, which would not extend to photographs though it may to small scale models). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:19, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Hideyuki Murata

  • Here is the opinion of a Japanese lawyer, Hideyuki Murata, on this page of his website I translate section 6-4 "著作権法46条2号" :
(4) Copyright Law, No. 2 of Article 46
Freedom is granted to reproduce an architectural work by any means different from the architectural means (Copyright Law, No. 2 of Article 46). Hence, freedom is granted to take photographs, then make and sell postcards, broadcast, or make video records (see, for example, Sano Bunichirou, Toshio Suzuki, "The new revised copyright law, Questions and answers" p. 63 (佐野文一郎・鈴木敏夫『改訂新著作権法問答』63頁). However, if the work is regarded not as an architectural work but as an artistic work, like for example the "Tower of the Sun" at Osaka Expo, the architect can claim copyright against a reproduction on postcards (copyright law, number 4 of Article 46 ; ibid. "The new revised copyright law, Questions and answers" p. 252).
Yet, an opinion exists that even for buildings which cannot be qualified as "artistic works", acts such as making and selling photo albums from architectural works created by an architect should be prohibited, as a consquence of an analogical reasoning based on number 4 of article 46 (reproduction of an artistic work exclusively for the purpose of selling its reproductions) (Kukuminato Shinichi, "Copyright law", compiled under the supervision of Azuma Suehiko, p.187)(久々湊伸一『著作権法』(東季彦監修)187頁). However, when the architectural work in question does not fall into the category of "artistic works", one may suspect that reaching such a conclusion from an interpretation of number 4 of article 46 might be unreasonable.
Teofilo (talk) 21:06, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
Okay, interesting. Given the range of human imagination, there will indeed be works which are on the borderline between artistic work and architecture ;-) Agreed that the Tower of the Sun is pretty clearly an artistic work and not architectural. As for the rest, it sounds like it is in agreement -- some people think there should be a non-commercial limitation for architectural works, but it is unreasonable to interpret Article 46 that way. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:56, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
As mentioned in The Japanese Wikipedia article on the sources of law, the last source of law which is used when all others (laws, case law, custom law) are silent, is (or isn't, according to some critics) jori, "natural reason", a principle enshrined by a decision of the Dajokan in 1875 before Japan had its first constitution (De Dean, Meryll Dean, Inc Baker & Taylor, "Japanese Legal System", Cavendish Publishing, 2002 p.134-135 google books). It is said (in this article) to be an equivalent of the principle in Article 1 of the Swiss civil code : "the judge pronounces according to the rules he would establish himself if he were the legislator".
In this court decision, in 2001, (mentioned by user:Kareha here) the court had to determine if designs painted on a bus were artistic or not and a definition of art/fine arts was quoted. I have not been able to determine where it is quoted from, but it had been already used in 2000 in another court decision, deciding whether patterns created by a magnetic field belong to "artistic works" :
Something expressing thoughts or feelings in a creative way and, by using or creating all or part of the following : space or forms, etc... patterns or colours, expresses aesthetic values through people's sense of sight.
Teofilo (talk) 09:10, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama in China

A poster in an outdoor public place. The author is anonymous, as far as I can tell...

The Chinese copyright law, as quoted at Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#China.2C_People.27s_Republic_of appears to be quite generous about freedom of panorama. As long as something in displayed in an outdoor public place, you seem to be free to make and use photographs of it, provided the name of the work and its author is mentioned. There is no requirement for the art work to be 3-dimensional, nor for the display to be permanent. I have created the template {{FoP-China}} to reflect this, which can be inserted into the description of such images, to clarify their status. I am asking our "copyright police" people to review this template and make any appropriate corrections.

There is however the issue of the name of the work and name of the artist that created it. I try to make a record of both if they are available, but plenty of public art of a more "applied" type (e.g, a mural outside of a fancy hotel, or a propaganda poster) usually does not carry the artist name, and often the work does not have any "posted" name either. Would the community feel that describing the location and content, plus any captions, of a work would be sufficient in this situation? For example, would any of our copyright enforcement enthusiasts (you know who you are) feel it necessary to challenge an image such as Image:Beijing-Niujie-Minzu-Tuanjie-Da-Jiating-3654.jpg?—Preceding unsigned comment added by Vmenkov (talk • contribs)

I am not sure this is specific with China. Teofilo (talk) 09:35, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, each country's copyright law is different, in particular with respect to FoP. Vmenkov (talk) 13:29, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we need a specific FOP template for China. But generally speaking I'm sure people are not going to wholesale delete FOP photos just for lack of attribution. -Nard the Bard 13:54, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we should add a reminder at the end of Template:FOP : "This template and the photographer's licence are not sufficient : in most cases the lack of acknowledgement of source would be considered an incomplete license". Teofilo (talk) 14:05, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah that would be good. Like I said, I don't think we're going to delete these images wholesale, but in many cases the ambiguity of just what we're looking at would be enough to doubt the image fell under FOP. -Nard the Bard 15:49, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
Usually the requirement to name the author is part of the moral rights, not the copyright. A couple of laws may be read differently, not sure. I don't think we would delete any image for lack of the name, but obviously it is encouraged to add it -- if an author identified himself, then obviously we would add it then. If some public art doesn't identify the artist, I don't see why photos should have to. Obviously, if someone discovers the artist through research, then it should always be added. Calling it an "incomplete license" is borderline (since moral rights are distinct from copyright, and licenses are just for the copyright) but adding a note to the FOP template is a good idea. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:13, 3 November 2008 (UTC)
I have added this on the template (not using the "incomplete license" wording). Feel free to change it or even revert it if you feel you should. Teofilo (talk) 21:14, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

South Korea, revisited

South Korea seems to have the same problem some other FOP laws have, ambiguously mixing architectural works with other types of works. It seems that FOP for buildings could be ok, however, because Article 2 defines the exclusive right of "reproduction" as follows:

*“Reproduction” shall mean the reproduction of works in tangible media
of expression by means of printing, photographing, copying, sound or
visual recording or other means; in the case of architectural works, it
shall mean to carry out a construction in accordance with the models or
plans for the construction; and in the case of plays, musical scores or
other similar works, it shall include the sound and visual recording of a
public performance, broadcast or performance of a work;
  • It defines reproduction of a building as constructing a physical copy of the building only. Compare Article 32, the FOP law, where again the the prohibition on constructing a physical copy of the building is repeated, and the non-commercial restriction applies to selling copies of a work. Article 2 seems to indicate that a photograph of a building is not a prohibited copy, so the non-commercial clause would not apply to a photograph of a building. -Nard the Bard 03:42, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
That line of reasoning seems reasonable. Similar situation as exists in the USA then. --J.smith (talk) 04:29, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
One should check what protection an author enjoys against unauthorized derivative works in the Korean law and see if it applies to photographs of buildings. Teofilo (talk) 11:27, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Good catch... that does seem to limit the scope of an architectural copyright to other actual buildings which are copies (like many countries), and not any other type of reproduction -- photos (and any other means, like video or painting and maybe even small models) of buildings are therefore not derivative works of the architectural work, and can be licensed as normal. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:08, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
No it is a bad catch, because it destroys the non-commercial permission ("may be reproduced by any means except...") mentioned in article 32. And it does nothing to diminish the monopoly the author enjoys through article 21 : "right of the production of derivative works". Teofilo (talk) 17:02, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
Article 32(2) applies in full, because a building is "exhibited at all times at an open place". The restriction of Article 32(2)(4) does not apply, because the photograph is not a reproduction per the definition. Thus, none of the four limitations to Article 32(2) applies to photographs of buildings. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:53, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
§32 is a reproduction permit. If a photo is not a reproduction, you don't have a permit for photos. It is as simple as that. But perhaps (I hope) Nard's quoted English translation could be challenged by another translation not having such disastrous consequences. Or "reproduction" in article 2 and "to reproduce" in article 32 are two words not as closely connected with another as in English. If I find some time, I will look for my Korean dictionary and try to make my own opinion on this. Teofilo (talk) 00:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but by all indications South Korea intended to limit the architectural copyright protection to only other buildings copying the design, and nothing else. This is fairly common, for example in the U.S. If you can find case law, legislative notes, or similar indicating this is not the case, then please let us know, but it would take particularly twisted logic to determine that photos are not allowed (which isn't impossible either, just very very unlikely). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:02, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
I found the solution in the WIPO translation : "2.14 "Reproduction" means the reproduction of works in a tangible form by means of printing, photographing, photocopying, sound or visual recording or other means; in the case of architectural works, it includes the construction of an architectural work according to its plan and model; and in the case of plays, musical scores or other similar works, it includes the sound and visual recording of a public performance, broadcast or performance of a work; --> they use the word "include". As "include" is not synonymous with "everything else is excluded", photographing is not excluded from the list of the different meanings "reproduction" might have in connection with architecture. Then you can read article 32 as meaning that reproduction (including photos) is allowed in many cases, except a few exceptions listed below. Teofilo (talk) 17:30, 13 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, OK. That does make a significant difference. So we are back to the odd wording of exception #4, "where reproduction is made for the purpose of selling its copies". What if it is not originally made for that purpose? But that part is kinda vague, and does imply that directly selling a photo of a building is not OK, though any other use is fine. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:13, 14 November 2008 (UTC)


COM:FOP#Lebanon says only "the media" can publish photos in public. For now I've marked it as not ok, but maybe we can talk about. Is the provision free enough? -Nard the Bard 03:04, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Is "the media" defined in Lebanon widely enough to include wikimedia commons, etc? J.smith (talk) 23:52, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't matter. We want images free for everyone, not just for us. Lupo 09:17, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
It does matter. If the definition of "media" is wide enough it might just be "everyone". If theres any possibility that there we can get more free images I'd like to explore that. --J.smith (talk) 16:21, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Whatever they define as "media" certainly does not include a private person (or a company) downloading an image, printing it on t-shirts and selling those. Hence not "everyone". Whether the WMF projects might qualify as "media" is irrelevant, because that would amount to a "wikimedia-only"-style permission, which is not acceptable per the WMF licensing resolution. Lupo 08:12, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
In the unlikely event that they define media as "any publisher of content" then it would be fine. --J.smith (talk) 18:45, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Unless "the media" is defined restrictively in Lebanon, then it could include everyone and anyone. Notice that they do not cite "news media" or "mass media". If someone can find Lebanese law citing a restricive definition of "the media", then feel free to change it back. Otherwise this is ok. IronGargoyle (talk) 19:45, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

That's a rather unusual interpretation of "media". Changed back. Provide sources that the term "media" equals "everybody" in Lebanese law. (If they had meant that, they would not have specified "media", they would have just written "It shall be permitted..." like they did in the other articles in Chapter VI. The French translation uses the phrasing "la publication par les organes d’information" in article 31, meaning "publication by information agencies".) Lupo 20:20, 20 November 2008 (UTC)
Agreed... though it is still kind of weird. Usually "media-only" comes along with other limitations like "in the course of reporting current events" or something like that, just as the immediately preceding article does. Reading that article literally means it is legal for the media to take a picture of a copyrighted item and sell it/put it on a t-shirt/etc. but not legal for anyone else... Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:33, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
How do you define "the Media" then? It seems to me that anyone could fit into something as broad as "the media" and that if some group's boundaries aren't defined, it can include anyone. I'll agree with you that the French translation is more restrictive though. I wonder if there's anyone who can comment on the original Arabic source? IronGargoyle (talk) 03:52, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Thats what I was hoping. --J.smith (talk) 06:45, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
The English translation of the French word "information" in this context is probably Nr 2 on : "a piece of news". Teofilo (talk) 11:32, 21 November 2008 (UTC)
Again, that's the French translation. No one is disputing that the French translation is more restrictive. Arabic is the official language of Lebanon, though. What does it say? IronGargoyle (talk) 00:47, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

The interpretative context is that of the Berne convention where exceptions are allowed for information purposes . In that context, the "media" exception clearly refers to "la publication par les organes d’information" = publishing by an information mass-media. Michelet-密是力 (talk) 06:42, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


Why is it OK for buildings in Norway ? Teofilo (talk) 19:28, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Because section 24 of the law (in the English translation recently linked to) says Buildings may be freely depicted. The non-commercial restriction is for works of art and photographic works only. I added that info to the paragraph there. Commons:Licensing#Norway has said the same for a long time; I remember intending to fix this page long ago but forgot. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:19, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, I shouldn't have asked, as you had written the explanation in your edit. Teofilo (talk) 13:45, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

US versus local laws

Maybe I missed the explanation, but does it matter if Commons' computer servers are located in the United States? Put another way, can I upload as many photos of public sculptures taken in Australia to Commons as I like?--Commander Keane (talk) 04:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

The rule is that the image must be legal in both the USA and the local country. However, in terms of FoP - the USA's lack of FoP does not apply to places outside of the Untied States, so images taken under a FoP exception are legal to publish in the USA. J.smith (talk) 18:49, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The rule for any author's rights is that the law is that of the publishing country of the work, for FoP that means the place where the thing is build. It does not matter where commons' servers are located in that case, if FoP is legal in Australia the picture is legal worldwide, and if FoP is not legal in France the picture is illegal for any country (as long as it adheres to the Berne convention, that is, all World Trade Organization countries). Michelet-密是力 (talk) 06:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


Anyone know about freedom of panorama in Cambodia? Kaldari (talk) 18:06, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

Found an English translation here. Article 25 gives limitations; the author cannot prohibit The reproduction of graphic or plastic work which is situated in the public place, when this reproduction doesn't constitute the principle subject for subsequent reproduction. That seems like an odd translation, but I think it is saying that photos are only OK if the statue/etc is not the principle subject, meaning there is no freedom of panorama. But, I may be reading it wrong. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:24, 4 March 2009 (UTC)


Does someone now how it looks like with freedom of Panorama in Nepal? I have some images with wall paintings and would like to upload them.... 11:26, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Doesn't look like it, according to this English translation. I don't see any article related to that type of thing at all... hard to know if it was considered. If the wall paintings are incidental, then the photos should still be OK, but if the photos are directly of the wall paintings it sounds like that is a problem (unless they are very old paintings). Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:39, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
it are mostly about Maithil art so not incidental at all. It's a pitty, but thanks anyway! I was more or less expecting it. I'll see what I can do to get an explicit permission by the artists. ...Sicherlich Post 21:53, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

France:Viaduc de Millau encore

I have added a warning to the Category:Viaduc de Millau that FOP doesn't apply.

Now, two questions (one frivolous)

  • If a do a watercolour painting of the viaduct- is that exempt from the ban- being a work of art in its own right? Is that what the section means?
  • If I take a photo through the open window of embassy car with CD plates (from a country with FOP) which law would apply; and is there any other way to get a image of this beautiful bridge, that could be used in infoboxes? --ClemRutter (talk) 19:28, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
a) no, because the watercolor is still derived from the main architectural work. b) you should think about the law of the country where you publish the picture. If you keep the picture at home for your private enjoyment, this is probably not a big problem : French law allows private copies. Teofilo (talk) 14:10, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Iran ?

What about the following picture : File:مجسمه‌ای در ورزشگاه آزادی.JPG ? Teofilo (talk) 14:07, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

FOP in the Emirates

The following text seem to define the FOP in the UAE (Federal Law No. (7) of the Year 2002 Concerning Copyrights and Neighboring Rights):

"22. Without prejudice to literary rights of the author stipulated in this law, the author after the publication of his work must not prohibit a third person to perform one of the following acts:


7. Presenting the fine arts, applied and plastic arts works or architectural works in broadcasting programmes, if such works are permanently present in public places."

Would it be ok for Commons? I doubt it, because of the "broadcasting programmes" precision and because of the spirit of the sixth point:

"6. Performing the work in family meetings or by students in an educational institute against no direct or indirect remuneration."

I thank you in advance for your opinion, I hope we can add an entry soon (be it OK or not) to the COM:FOP list. --Eusebius (talk) 14:26, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I think that the meaning of "broadcasting" is potentially wide enough to cover Commons as it is defined as, "Sound, visual or audio-visual wireless transmittal of work, performance, phonogram, programme and its recording, to the public. Transmittal via satellite and orbit is considered the same." Visual transmission of images of the work via the internet would seem covered. I don't think 6. qualifies 7. - a commercial broadcast depicting the work does not seem excluded (i.e. you could sell a documentary that included images of the work). That said, although the FOP rules are broad enough to cover Commons, they do not equate to a free licence. Downstream users would be limited as to how they used the image (i.e. they could not turn them into postcards and sell them). As such I do not think that images taken in the UAE of buildings/sculptures that are still the subject of copyright by their author can be hosted on Commons. WJBscribe (talk) 12:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
There are maybe 5,000 images of buildings in Dubai and the UAE that are all copyrighted. All would therefore be deleted unless we create a template defining the use in only broadcasting works. This would include the internet and TV. I don't know, we have to find some better solution.--Diaa abdelmoneim (talk) 12:36, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Limiting reuse of the pictures is against the aim of the project as a whole. --Eusebius (talk) 12:43, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I find this law sufficiently vague, and us sufficiently unable to interpret copyright law, to sufficiently decide to rule on deleting thousands of valuable images on Commons. Preferably a specific example of this elsewhere. Bastique demandez 18:20, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, what does your last sentence mean? --Eusebius (talk) 18:51, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well Cary, I agree that there is some ambiguity as to precisely what use images of new buildings/sculptures in the UAE can be put to, but I do not think it possible to read the UAE laws to mean "feel free to sell pictures of buildings/sculptures that are in public places". There really is no ambiguity there. Now, I guess we can say that we don't want to delete all these images so let's keep them with some sort of warning - but I find that a bit hard to reconcile with being a free content project. Alternatively, I suppose we could assume that all countries have full FOP rights until the contrary is proved - but that hasn't been our approach in other areas... WJBscribe (talk) 19:01, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I have a similar feeling about this, I think. If a DR comes about FOP in the UAE, on the basis of this text it is pretty clear that the Emirati FOP is not compatible with the project and that we must delete. But it doesn't mean that we must nominate 5000 files for deletion tomorrow, just like we don't have admins working full time on deleting 20% of the French uploads. --Eusebius (talk) 19:09, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Indonesia and Jordan

Does Indonesia and Jordan have full or limited FOP? Indonesia was a former Dutch colony so its laws may not be similar to Malaysia which has full FOP--which was once a British colony. But the Netherlands has full FOP. Indonesia is a huge country that is popular with tourists. Jordan was a former British colony and may have some form of FOP. It is also popular with tourists. Regards, --Leoboudv (talk) 19:24, 17 April 2009 (UTC)