Commons talk:Stamps/Public domain

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Further information: Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates

Ukraine[edit]

Intels about this country's stamps are discussed [on this user's page. Sebjarod 17:42, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Discussion of copyright laws of various countries governing use of stamp images[edit]

Posting by Jack Child 17:46, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

1. We would like to raise the issue of copyright of postage stamps of various countries in the Commons and in the main Wikipedia page in the English language. This is important since to talk about a postage stamp without illustrating it is akin to talking about a piece of art without a visual image of it. The contribution we as philatelists can make to Wikipedia would be greatly enhanced if we can use stamp images more widely, always staying within copyright law and restrictions.

2. It appears that Wikipedia's approach to stamp copyright is different for the main Wikipedia page (in English) and for the Commons, because the Common is considered a multinational project, and thus the copyright laws of individual nations govern.

However, the main Wikipedia page in English lives on servers in the United Sates, and thus US Copyright law applies. The pertinent US Public Laws are 85-921 (72 STAT. 1771) and 90-353 (82 STAT. 240), and these permit the reproduction of US and foreign postage stamps for philatelic, numismatic, educational, historical or newsworthy purposes. There is one exception: US postage stamps since the creation of the US Postal Service in 1978 are copyrighted. This permits the USPS to control the images it uses on things such as the mugs, key chains, Christmas decorations, etc, that is sells in Post Offices. Individuals can request USPS for permission to use postage stamp images since 1978, but there is a fee which starts at $25-50.

3. Wikipedia's approach to using postage stamps on the main page, in English, is contained in this Wikipedia statement on public domain: "It is believed that the use of postage stamps on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law."

Would anyone want to confirm this interpretation, or comment on it?

4. Wikipedia's approach is consistent with the approach taken by philatelic journals (see The American Philatelist, Linns' etc), as well as other journals, magazines and newspapers which use postage stamps as illustrations, as long as the publication is in the United States and is governed by the copyright laws cited above.

5. So what can we do to reproduce postage stamps on the Commons? Here are some ideas for your consideration (your opinions and comments on this talk page would be valued):

a. To see what different country copyright laws permit, go to http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Stamps/Public_domain Here you will find specific copyright restrictions and permissions for 8 countries, including the U.S. and the United Kingdom. This is thus not of much help for anything other than these 8 countries.

b. To expand the list we could go to the philatelic bureaus of other countries and ask them what the copyright permissions and restrictions are (I am doing this for Latin American countries, which are my philatelic speciality). As we obtain this information we should post it on the Wikipedia page in b above. A pretty complete list of these philatelic bureaus has been prepared by Linns stamp journal, and can be found at: http://www.linns.com/reference/postadmin/admins.asp?uID={C7FA1533-B065-40F6-B63C-241969354B6D}

c. Another approach would be to go to the Scott Catalog people (I have written them a letter) and ask if they would permit reproduction of images from their CD-RoM version of their catalog. This CD-RoM now is published in color, with image resolution which can give fairly decent reproduction for web page use. The Scott catalogs (CD and paper versions) are published in the US (Ohio), so US copyright law would apply. The Scott copyright notice seems to suggest that reproduction of these images is permitted, but it would not be wise to try this without specific permission from Scott.


I apologize for the length of this posting, but it seemed worthwhile to lay out the various parts of this rather complex copyright issue, suggest some possible solutions, and ask for your wisdom and comments as fellow philatelists interested tin greater use of images on our Wikipedia pages. Jack Child 17:46, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for posting this! Re point 2, that doesn't apply to, for instance, the German Wikipedia on DVD that you can buy. While it might be legit to sell such a DVD in the US, I'm sure the Germans are more interested in being able to sell it in Europe. :-) The text you mention in point 3 was written by me, basically an adaptation of en:'s generic fair-use verbiage to the stamp case. I think we just need to research the situation for each country - there is probably much more that is freely usable than we realize. For instance, the Germans researched their laws and decided that German stamps were effectively in the public domain. Scott gets to rely on fair use, so don't know how useful their response is, but it would be interesting to hear Michel's rationale for using other country's images, seeing as how they're published in Germany. Stan Shebs 14:16, 2 January 2007 (UTC)


Rsponse with thanks for the posting, Stan: Using Google and my University's Law School library I have begun to research copyright law for Latin American nations (my primary area of philatelic interest). What I have found so far is not particularly helpful. For those countries with available copyright laws I have found no specific reference to postage stamps, or for government publications generally. The copyright laws deal mainly with the rights of individual authors or media creators. Using the Linns' list I mentioned in 5b above I have also written the philatelic bureaus of nineteen Latin American nations asking them for any copyright restrictions and permissions. As I get any results I will post them here as well as in the Stamps/Public domain country-by-country listing.Jack Child 19:23, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

About point 5a : I and some others have put what we know for sure (?) thank to other contributors here on Commons. You're welcome to add other countries and sources. :)
About fair use, fr.wikipedia ban fair use two months ago, like some others wikipedias. Images of stamps that are not into the public domain are tolerated for philatelic purpose only (the stamp illustrating the article about it). Fair use vs free license (GFDL, public domain) is one of the major troll on fr.wikipedia. Sebjarod 17:15, 3 January 2007 (UTC)


Regarding El Salvador, on 3 Jan 2007 I wrote their Philatelic Bureau (along with 18 other ones in Latin America) requesting information on permission to use images of their postage stamps and their governing Copyright Law. The head of their philatelic office responded by email 11 Jan 2007 as follows:

"Silvia Orantes" <silvia.orantes@gobernacion.gob.sv> 01/11/2007 10:06 AM CST To <jchild@american.edu> Subject Respuesta de Correos de El Salvador Estimado Dr. Child, En base a su nota recibida con fecha 03 de enero 2007, donde hace referencia a la interrogante de si los sellos postales de El Salvador están en el dominio público y si se pueden reproducir las imágenes de estos sellos sin permiso especial, me permito informarle que usted puede hacer uso de las imágenes de los sellos postales siempre y cuando sean para ser utilizados para medios informativos educacionales, filatélicos y culturales. Está prohibida y castigada la utilización de imágenes de sellos postales de El Salvador cuando son para fines comerciales, falsificaciones y/o reproducciones. Espero con esto responder a su consulta. Me encuentro a sus apreciables órdenes, Le saluda atentamente, Silvia María Orantes, Jefe de Filatelia, Correos de El Salvador. Tel.: (503) 2233-7625 / 2233-7629 Jack Child 17:27, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Translation: Subject: Answer from the Postal Office of El Salvador. 11 January 2007. Dear Dr. Child, in response to your note of 3 January 2007, in which you ask if the postage stamps of El Salvador are in the public domain, and if images of these stamps can be reproduced, I am pleased to inform you that you may make use of such images as long as they are to utilized for educational, philatelic and cultural informational media purposes. Use of postage stamp images for commercial, falsification or reproduction purposes is prohibited and will be prosecuted. I hope this answers your consultation. I remain at your orders, with a cordial greeting, Silvia María Orantes, Chief of Philately, Postal Office of El Salvador.Jack Child 22:26, 17 January 2007 (UTC)


Regarding Paraguay, I received the following response from their Philatelic Bureau, 15 January 2007.

"Filatelia" <filatelia@correoparaguayo.gov.py> Señor Dr. JACK CHILD, Profesor de Castellano. Estimado Dr., los sellos postales de nuestro país estan en el dominio público y se pueden reproducir las imagenes de estos sellos sin un permiso especial. Esperamos contar con algunos de esos materiales, para nuestra biblioteca. Atentamente, Señora Graciela Mármol, Jefa Asesoria Filatelica Jack Child 01:00, 16 January 2007 (UTC)

Translation: Response from Paraguayan Postal Office, 15 January 2007. Dear Dr., the postage stamps of our country are in the public domain and images of these stamps may be reproduced without special permission. We hope to be able to count on some of these materials for our library. Sincerely, Mrs. Graciela Mármol, Head of Philatelic Advisory Office.Jack Child 22:26, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Jack maybe you can translate your posted replies for those of us who do not know Spanish.
Last year I asked the Irish philatelic bureau about the Irish stamp copyright, and even though I received an acknowledgement of my request, I never received any answer from them. My feelings on stamp copyright, from that small personal experience, is that the philatelic bureaux are somewhat intent in avoiding giving an answer to us on the situation of whether we can use their images on a fair use, or other Wikipedia acceptable licensed use basis. I would love to think that other bureaux are more responsive to information requests but I suppose only persistent request, maybe by hard copy letters, will get a response. To be honest I feel pessimistic, but am optimistic. Ww2censor 02:18, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Heh - it's also possible that they don't actually know, or that it would take research that no one there has the expertise to do. One thing I've noticed is that former British territories often take over large amounts of legal code unchanged (a practical way to save on the costs of setting up your own country :-) ), so there's a good chance that they picked up the 50-year term of Crown copyright. People who know would tend to be legal specialists rather than philatelists. Stan Shebs 14:51, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
Check it out - there's this online encyclopedia that has a short article on en:Irish copyright law and links to various statutes... :-) Stan Shebs 14:56, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
And as I surmised, the act of 2000 says "Government copyright in a work shall expire 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made." [1]. Stan Shebs 15:04, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your suggestion on translations into English, which are posted above with the Spanish responses from the postal offices from El Salvador and Paraguay.Jack Child 22:26, 17 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding Spain: Spain's copyright law is: Royal Legislative Decree 1/1996, as amended on January 7, 2000

Translation of email from Spain's Philatelic Bureau, 18 Jan 07: In order to receive authorization to reproduce our postage stamps, you should send a written request to the Director of Philately, José Luis Fernandez Reyero. In the request you should include details of the use to be made of the images, type of publication, etc. The more information, the better. Under no circumstances will a true size reproduction be authorized. The reproduction should be at least 25% larger or smaller than the original size. Please send your request to: José Luis Fernandez Reyero, Director de Filatelia, Sociedad Estatal de Correos y Telégrafos, S.A, Vía Dublin, 7, 28070 Madrid, Spain. Jack Child 23:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Does that mean they claim copyright all the way back to Isabella stamps of 1850, or does the law provide an expiry date? Stan Shebs 15:02, 21 January 2007 (UTC)


I have written them asking for a clarification of this point: is there a date prior to which all stamps are in the public domain. The copyright Law does not specifically address the issue of postage stamps.Jack Child 15:41, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Regarding point 5c above (Scott Catalog images)
I have heard back from the Scott people. They are willing to consider requests for specific images, but warn that they usually require a hefty charge to reproduce and use an image. So I guess that's a dead end.Jack Child 15:00, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
Scott does not have copyrights in these images, so they are in no position to grant or refuse permission to use them. The copyrights remain with the relevant countries or stamp issuing authorities. It is noteworthy that Scott does not give credit or refer to permissions for its use of these images. I suspect that if they were ever questioned they would rely on fair use. Eclecticology 02:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
And given that stamp sales by modern postal administrations are partly dependent on the images appearing in Scott, there's basically zero chance that any of them would ever raise an objection. Stan Shebs 13:39, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Discussion on the Universal Postal Union, WADP, WNS[edit]

I contacted the WNS (WADP Numbering System) people asking if we could download and use the stamp images on Wikipedia. They replied (email from Jean-François Thivet, Assistant, WNS, 6 Feb 2007) that the images could indeed be used on Wikipedia.

To some extent the WNS number duplicates other numbering schemes, such as those used by Scott or Stanley Gibbons, but no monetary value is assigned to the stamps. The WNS number comprises the ISO 3166 Alpha-2 country code (2 letters), a serial number (3 figures) and the year of issue (2 figures), i.e. a total of 8 characters including a dot.

Their site carries information on stamps from about 160 individual countries or postal entities, and over 25,000 individual stamps. Some of the country entries are blank, and many do not go back to 2002. But the ones that are most useful provide updates to standard catalogs, along with the images.

Their web site notes that: The stamp designs are the property of their respective issuing postal authority. The issuing postal authorities have allowed the reproduction of the stamps displayed on this website.

The images on the WNS web site are thus NOT public domain. But the email mentioned above does in fact permit their fair use. Jack Child 19:42, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Technically, "permission for fair use" is meaningless, because the whole concept of fair use is that it's legally OK with or without permission of the copyright holder - if the copyright holder withdraws the "permission" later, the fair-use status doesn't change. All it means is that a use has the blessing of the copyright holder, at the moment anyway. Stan Shebs 23:58, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
What exact licensing should I indicate when uploading files from the WNS web site? --Michael Romanov 18:22, 19 August 2007 (UTC)
The images are not licensed under any of our allowed free licenses, nor are they in the public domain, so we can't upload any of them here, unless the postal authority is one who we already know does free license or PD. Stan Shebs 15:21, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Wrong page-title?[edit]

I've just translated the page to German. The page was intended as a list of public-domain stamps but for some countries there is given "only on request" including the postal address or a limitation on non-commercial use, for some the templates are listed, for others external legal texts. Is this list intended only for stamps, for which the copyright status is different from the general copyright status in that country, or for a general overview on the stamp-related copyright rules? For me, the latter would be sensible, especially the PD templates for each case should be listed in the country section. But in any case: What sense does a sub-page "/Public domain" make if there is no head page Commons:Stamps? Shouldn't this be moved there? --Liondancer 03:14, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

This page is just for listing which stamps of which countries are PD. While in theory there could be stamps under GFDL or CC or other free license, I don't think there are any real-life examples. Feel free to rename it however you like, don't think it matters much. Stan Shebs 03:27, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Ireland[edit]

For the current Irish postal administration, An Post I found this statement on their web site An Post "Terms and Conditions": "Material on this site is the copyrighted property of An Post.. All rights are reserved. The information and images presented here may not under any circumstances be reproduced or used without written permission. Users may view and download material from this site only for personal, non-commercial home use. To reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit, distribute or publicly display material from this website you will need written approval and consent from An Post."

Now does that mean only those images from the web site as opposed to other stamp images? Maybe or maybe not. So, even though all the stamp catalogues use their stamp images, I presume without payment, it seems that the current stamps cannot be used unless we get permission and my request for information has yielded no response. Regarding the older stamps I feel completely confident that under the Irish statute (that Stan provided) everything older than 50 years is in the public domain. Ww2censor 15:20, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

It's even worse than that, because even if you got "permission" from An Post, it's still not a free license. You would need an unambiguous "An Post licenses its stamp images under cc-by-sa-2.5" or some such, and it's a rare corporation that will just give away copyright material without statutory, uh, "encouragement". :-) Stan Shebs 16:33, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
For now all it seems that Irish stamp more than 50 years old are PD and for everything newer we need to make a fair-use rationale for each and every use until we get some clarification from An Post. Ww2censor 19:14, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Nicaragua[edit]

I had some discussion about stamps of Nicaragua and he gave me this link with his remarks following: "The United States and International Copyright article indicates that, as of 1947, the United States and Nicaragua adhered to the Buenos Aires convention of 1910. I have no reason to believe this changed between 1947 and 1978, and so rely upon this source for the PD-stamp designation."

This is interesting. I wonder if it affects other countries mentioned too and what do we think about this document. Ww2censor 19:14, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Belarus[edit]

I think there is some misunderstanding concerning the copyright status of Belarussian stamps. Presently Stamps/Public domain page states: "All stamps issued 1992 and after are copyrighted. See external site.". At the same time, there is a template in Wikimedia stating that Belarussian stamps are in PD. After studying the Belarussian (1) Copyright Law and (2) Postage Law, I conclude that stamps as official (state) signs are indeed in PD, as BTW is the case with most other CIS states. Therefore, I am going to change the wording of the page accordingly. Leonid Dzhepko 11:48, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

I think the reason for this wrong statement (external site) made at an unofficial site created by some amateur stamp collectors is that they, being English speakers not well versed either in Belarussian or Russian, mistakenly extended the copyright notice of the Belorussian governmental website covering only the content of the site to cover all Belorussian stamps. It is in contradiction to Belorussian law and is clearly not the case here. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 07:30, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
I have fixed the statement; I was told the stamps were public domain this evening. I also added the law a user told me about, so this should be correct now, according to law. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 07:39, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

New Zealand[edit]

Can someone look at my paragraph about New Zealand Crown Copyright, please ? See if I don't make any mistake.

The hidden sentences about stamps issued after the creation of New Zealand Post needs sources that I couldn't find today. Sebjarod 14:51, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

There is certainly a confusion here. If we read the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994 No 143 (as at 19 April 2011), Public Act, specifically Crown copyright Sections 26 and 27, there is no reservation for withdrawing the copyright in the case of Crown works made 50 years ago. The law states:
26 Crown copyright

(3) Crown copyright shall expire,—
(b) in the case of any other work, at the end of the period of 100 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work is made.

Moreover, the whole New Zealand Copyright Act 1994 does not mention any dates indicated now in Stamps/Public domain#New Zealand including 31 December 1944, 1 January 1945 or 31 March 1987. See also w:Crown copyright#New Zealand. Can anybody find any evidence for a 50-year copyright term for NZ stamps and similar artistic works? The only thing that might be relevant here is Copyright Act 1994, Schedule 1: Transitional provisions and savings. It sounds like this Schedule 1 does provide certain provisions and exceptions that are qualified under the previous NZ Copyright Acts. Then, a careful consideration and revision by a person competent in laws (and especially in NZ laws) would be required. Otherwise, Stamps/Public domain#New Zealand and Template:PD-NZ-50-years should be corrected and rewritten. --Michael Romanov (talk) 15:51, 7 June 2011 (UTC)
Page 4 of this pdf document refers to the 1945 date you are looking for. Hope that helps. Ww2censor (talk) 18:28, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Japan[edit]

After reading en:Japanese copyright law#Length of protection, the protection is 50 years long after the death of the last of the creator, 50 years after publication if the author is unknown and was working for a corporation. Are all Japanese stamps considered with unknown authors ? Will some Commons uploader consider to search the creator's names ? Sebjarod 16:36, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

They don't seem to advertise the designer or anything like that. France and maybe some other European countries are the only ones I know of that attribute their stamps to specific individuals. Stan Shebs 18:16, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Iraq[edit]

What do we know about copyright for Iraq because of this upload of the first aerogram en:Image:Iraq_1933.jpg now marked for deletion? Being 1933 it is likely PD by now. Cheers Ww2censor 16:40, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

I understand that the image has been marked for deletion because the copyright status was not provided. Since Stan Shebs added {{PD-because|it is a work of the Iraqi government that is more than 50 years old}} for a similar Image:Stamp Iraq 1932 3f ovpt.jpg, I am going to use the same licensing for the aerogram. Moreover, I have uploaded the image at WikiCommons as Image:Iraq 1933.jpg. --Michael Romanov 18:13, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Template:PD-Iraq sez 50 years (unsurprising due to decades of British rule), I'll add to this page. I moved a lot of my scans to commons before the various specialized templates existed, should go through and use more of them. Stan Shebs 22:36, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Thanks Stan Ww2censor 04:08, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Italy[edit]

Who knows anything about the status of Italian stamps? I noticed that the Gronchi Rosa might be questioned as there seems to be a push to remove improperly licensed images that includes several stamps. I wonder if the tag Template:PD-ItalyGov covers stamps more than 20 years old because stamps are, in most circumstances, specifically work done under contact for the postal authority so they are government work and not work of the individual in their own right like paintings or photographs might be. Cheers Ww2censor 16:26, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Could someone please help with a section about the copyright status of Italian stamps? It seems many of the older ones are {{Anonymous-EU}}, but for others the artists may be known. Sv1xv (talk) 20:39, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Changed date for PDness of US stamps[edit]

Research documented on my talk page en:User talk:Stan Shebs shows that the US stamps stopped being PD at the beginning of 1978, not at its end, because the Copyright Act of 1976 went into effect on 1 January 1978. (It would be convenient if someone were to summarize the research results here, hint hint. :-) ) Stan Shebs (talk) 06:15, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Belgium[edit]

The information about Belgium is obtained from the department Philately of De Post by telephone on 21 October 2008. No written information about this is available according to the person I talked to. --Wouter (talk) 13:39, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Turkey[edit]

The information about Turkey is copied from discussion at Commons talk:Licensing. Leonid Dzhepko --Л.П. Джепко (talk) 08:48, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic[edit]

The information about copyright status of stamps of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic is copied from the discussion in cs.wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Л.П. Джепко (talk • contribs) 09:04, 29 October 2008

United Arab Emirates[edit]

«:::::Hi Dzhepko, I am sorry for the delay, but life sucks :P . Any way :) , the 2002 law states that such works are protected for 50 years starting from Jan 1st of the publication year. Yet the 1992 law gave a 25 years protection ( starting from the publication date). This means that all stamps printed before 77 are in PD. Any thing after that should wait 50 years. --Tarawneh (talk) 14:37, 4 November 2008 (UTC)»

The above information about copyright status of stamps of UAE is copied from the discussion in the talk page (UAE PD template) of User:Leonid Dzhepko. Leonid Dzhepko --Л.П. Джепко (talk) 08:01, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Argentina[edit]

According to the commons licence page there is no mention of stamps, but on this en-wiki image a claim is made that the copyright of stamps over 20 years old has expired according to this link to Law 11.723, Article 34 that is provided. Can any of our Spanish speakers check this out and translate it for us to see if the claim holds up? Thanks Ww2censor (talk) 20:06, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

The 20 year thing is correct but only for photographs. This looks like a drawing. I nominated it for deletion. Philafrenzy (talk) 01:30, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Israel[edit]

I would be astonished if Kippi70's reasoning on Israeli stamps was valid. For one thing, it could be applied to absolutely any work published in Israel, including book covers, album covers, etc - those items are just as much "situated in a public place" as stamps. Stan Shebs (talk) 18:07, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Kippi70 also made a change to the Israel entry on the stamp templates page that had been there for quite some time. Even before Kippi70's edits, I noticed that ChristianBier deleted several Israel stamps that were used in two en articles. The artciles I noticed were Israel human rights ve-ahavta stamp.jpg in en:Postage stamps and postal history of Israel‎ and Israel Holocaust Remembrance Day 2008.jpg in en:Joint issue but his deletion log shows 46 deleted Israel stamps. His reasoning is that Israel stamps are not listed as PD on the Commons:Stamps/Public domain‎ page but the Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates‎, prior to Kippe70's edits used to say: "{{tl|PD-because|copy or scan of a banknote or stamp in Israel are in free use with no limitation. See: [[:Category talk:Stamps of Israel]]}} (any year can be uploaded)". IIRC some, maybe one or two, of those deleted stamps were actually pre-1948, so would not even fall within an Israel copyright scenario. None of these stamps seems to have been nominated for deletion. I think it would have been appropriate to discuss a deletion of such a number of images as opposed to just deleting them immediately, especially as some had been here for quite some time. Who is correct Stan and how do you suggest we get a definitive ruling on Israel stamps?
At this stage I am not going to ask ChristianBier directly about this until I have better information because I was treated very disrespectfully by him in my last attempted discussion despite several polite requests for justification of his actions in regard to other deletions I questioned. Ww2censor (talk) 04:49, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
According to Category talk:Stamps of Israel Israel stamps would appear to be PD. Ww2censor (talk) 05:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Hi Ww2censor, i'm glad you joined tihs discussion and thanks for your summary of the issue. I have a few remarks to make:

1. I uploaded most of the stamps that were deleted, i uploaded them based on the reasoning that was there before and based on the statement on the Hebrew Wiki which CLEARLY says that scans/images of Israeli stamps are PD.

2. Regarding stamps of British Mandate in PAlestine, they are all PD as here the Crown Copyright applies and this one is valid fifty years after publication. If any stamps prior to 1948 were deleted, it is clearly wrong.

3. Regarding the deletion of stamps by User:ChristianBier. Normally, as far as my experience here goes, items suspect of Copyvio should be marked for deletion and discussed, based on such discussion items are deleted or kept. In this issue neither the legal status is definitely clarified nor the guidelines in here are, so how come were all these items were deleted even without discussion? (all the scans were actually used at least in the Hebew Wiki!) In addition, i wrote to User:ChristianBier immediately afterwards regarding this issue and received no reaction whatsoever (eventhough he was active here since then). I feel the same as you regarding his behaviour in this matter.

4. I am still trying to get a clear answer on the status of Israeli stamps both on the Hebrew Wiki as well as at the Ministry of Communication in Israel (which is in charge of this domain).

5. I the worst case, if the matter cannot be clarified here i was told by an admin in the Hebrew Wiki that i uploading the stamps on the Hebrew Wiki is no problem, so i'll choose this option as the worst case scenario and for that purpose all the deleted files need to be temporary restored (as i have deleted some of the scans i made after uploading) Regards --kippi70 (talk) 09:16, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

It's typically difficult to get a clear statement from a government agency, the issues are sufficiently arcane that they would want a lawyer to answer, and they're not going to pay one just to respond to us impertinents. :-) A couple alternatives are to find out the status of government-produced works in general (what is the copyright on an MoC white paper or proposal?), or to personally contact one of the artists/designers, find out if they signed over their copyrights or what form of release they did. One could try posing as a clothing store and ask "is it OK to put the stamp design on million t-shirts and sell them?" If they have any grounds for objection, or want a piece of the profits, not PD. Stan Shebs (talk) 14:23, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Norway[edit]

It looks like stamps of this country are generally copyrighted, except for those that can be tagged with {{PD-Old}}. However, someone decided to tag with that licensing template a Norway stamp issued in 1992. Is that correct? Thank you. --Michael Romanov (talk) 18:46, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support this question. Nickpo (talk) 20:23, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
  • I object to this. As stated in the description by Sebjarod (if it is true, of course), this stamp design first appeared in 1871, so the design is in PD now by all means. And any reproduction of it, even it is made in 1992 and even if colours have changed (have they?), is not copyrightable. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 06:02, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

US stamp copyright[edit]

I added a new section on the public domain status of US stamps after 1977. I don't know how one can misread the statement from the USPS Fair Use Page: "Generally, no prior permission is required for: Educational Use, Noncommercial, educational uses limited to teaching, scholarship, and research..." If I am wrong, please point this out. Also, see #3 here Jonverve (talk) 16:24, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I've explained why this isn't correct at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Verville-usairmail.JPG. Fair use isn't permitted on Commons. All content has to be freely licensed, permitting commercial re-use. Adambro (talk) 17:46, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I apologize...I now understand. Thank you for being nice about it :) Jonverve (talk) 18:00, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I have also tagged a four other post-1977 US stamps as copyright violations: File:Alice Paul stamp.jpg‎, File:Postzegel matzeliger.jpg‎, File:Stamp of USA. Samuel P.Langley.jpg‎ and File:UsHorseBreeds.jpg‎. Unfortunately it seems that some editors can't even read the template they are using which quite clearly states the date after which the stamps are copyright. Ww2censor (talk) 00:06, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Polish stamps are copyrighted[edit]

I removed Poland from this list and consequently Category:Stamps of Poland, except those with expired copyright. A.J. (talk) 14:35, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Stop! Please, give some time for transfer some of that images to WP:FUC. Mark them with deletion template. And please temporary revert deleted images Polska-stampday-1963.jpg and Polska-10yearsofPRP-library-1954.jpg. We need them! Nickpo (talk) 15:07, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
  • The Polish stamps are in PD. Be so kind as to restore all remote files. Сдобников Андрей (talk) 15:53, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
  • What happened to category:Stamps of Danzig and category:Stamps of General Government? They were published by German government and are in PD. Also why now did something changed in Polish law? --Jarekt (talk) 02:07, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
    • All (almost?) restored. odder 09:55, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I'd like to see some actual evidence, as in legal citations, for either the copyright or non-copyright claim. If some stamps have "expired copyright", then there must be a specific cutoff date - please record that on the page at least, don't just remove all the information about Polish stamps. Stan Shebs (talk) 02:09, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Good luck reasoning with Commons' admins on their total/partial failures :p Sebjarod (talk) 04:47, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

  • The mass-deletion has been decided on the Polish Wikipedia mailing list on this thread, so I was only the executor of the decision. I am aware that some stamps may have been unnecessarily deleted and I am ready to restore them by hand (just point me to the proper category or a list of files). Except the stamps mentioned by Jarekt, it seems that all the stamps are copyrighted by their designers who made it on order of the Poczta Polska; the situation has been already discussed on the said list. The uploader of most stamps has linked to the following site: 1—unfortunately, works by government organisations of Poland do not fall into the public domain and remain covered by (their) copyright. odder 09:05, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
  • If Poczta Polska owns the copyright to stamps only since 1990, means it is necessary to return all stamps till this year. First of all the stamps published till 1939 as they already are in PD-old. Сдобников Андрей (talk) 09:18, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I have already restored all stamps published before 1939. However, I am not sure if the stamps from between 1945-1990 are not copyrighted; their designers are most probably still alive and they own the copyright for the design. Do stamps fall under {{PD-Polish}}? There were some stamps created for the Armia Krajowa during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 (their designer died in 1993)—are they copyrighted? There are still about 30 stamps with such an unclear situation (of over 900 I've deleted today). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Odder (talk • contribs) 10:53, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Because of the use of CommonsDelinker (what a wonderful tool... that I don't understand it can play on users' pages though), some pictures may have been erased from articles on different Wikipedias. Is it a possibility to revert that without doing it by hand (bot's contributions until date, article list of editions, reverts)? Sebjarod (talk) 12:58, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Some explainations:

  • Bot deletion was not the best move... I did not approve it.
  • "goverment signs" or "government material" from Polish copyright law is very vague term and not as broad as in USA. It does not cover "everything that comes from government or from government institutions". Even polish banknotes are uncertain: National Bank of Poland says they are copyrighted, some lawyers say otherwise. http://prawo.vagla.pl/node/8236, http://prawo.vagla.pl/node/8236, http://prawo.vagla.pl/node/7392.
  • PD-Polish is only for photos.
  • Polish law on post service says nothing about copyright protection.

A.J. (talk) 13:21, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

  • The state signs on post payment are stamps and other signs put on items of post and confirming fee of a post service. The copyright does not extend on the state signs. Сдобников Андрей (talk) 16:58, 11 May 2009 (UTC)
Dear Ejdzej, could you please provide explanations that I could understand as a lawyer. The explanations above are not good: in particular, opinion of a bank cannot be authoritative against opinion of lawyers: law is what lawyers say, and not a banking institution, especially which has an interest in the matter, so the way you put it shows to me that Polish banknotes are clearly in public domain. Unfortunately I do not know Polish well enough to check the laws myself. The previous reasoning was rather clear to me: (1) according to Polish Copyright Law, governmental (official) signs are not copyrightable; (2) according to Postal Law, stamps (inter alia) are governmental (official) signs; (3) therefore they are not copyrightable. I have tried to read the first of your references in Polish, and it looks like it starts along the same lines confirming this reasoning, but I cannot make a qualified judgment based on my knowledge of Ukrainian and Russian. So could you please check and answer along the same lines in English, or at least please translate the original discussion in pl.wikipedia into English, so that I could see whether the line of reasoning was correct from legal standpoint, since as far as I can see none of the participants there is a lawyer. Best regards, --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 15:01, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I can see the mistake in reasoning: some Polish WP users wrongfully state that postage stamps are official materials, while stamps are official signs (signage), which means absolutely different things.

By the way, I think that by bot-deleting all Polish stamps from the Commons, without giving first a good reasoning in English, the WP procedures have been violated, so all images should be restored immediately, unless an understandable explanation is given here in English, and not in Polish. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 15:27, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Now my questions regarding A.J.'s explanations:
  • Bot deletion was not the best move... I did not approve it.
So you agree, that it was not a good move, so please you or other Commons admin please revert the move and restore the images.
"government material" has nothing to do either with stamps or banknotes; they are "government signs" or better put in English "official signage". And the National Bank of Poland actually argues only that the essays (drawings) of future banknotes made by an artist are copyrighted, and they are right in that: only official signage (i. e. banknotes (and stamps) issued officially by Polish state) are uncopyrightable and are not protected by Polish copyright law, as clearly stated in Article 4.
  • PD-Polish is only for photos.
Yes, you are right here, but we are speaking about the Polish symbol template, which specifically covers stamps and banknotes as official signage.
  • Polish law on post service says nothing about copyright protection.
And Polish law on post service should not be expected to say anything about copyright protection, which is dealt with by the Polish copyright law. And Article 4 of the Polish copyright law states, inter alia, that official signage do not enjoy any copyright protection in Poland. All we should look for in the Polish postal law, is how postage stamps are expressly defined there. So please kindly cite here the exact wording of the definition of postage stamps (or any thing which proves that postage has been paid) from the law with English translation: is there any mention of official signage (or governmental signs, or the like)? Or please provide here a reference to the English text of that law. Hopefully, I have made clear the point as a lawyer. Regards, --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 16:58, 12 May 2009 (UTC)
I have read again through this discussion, and maybe my remarks should be addressed to User Odder, rather then Ejdzej. Dear Odder, again you got it all wrong: Polish stamps are not in PD because they are official works of a governmental organization, they are in PD, because Polish copyright law expressly denies them copyright protection in Article 4 as official signage, as official signs of payment of postal tariffs. Stamp designers own copyright rights to sketches, essays or drawings of stamp designs. Or to put shorter, you cannot cut out from the image of a stamp issued officially by Polish state the picture and publish it; however, the image of the whole stamp with perforation is not copyrightable. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 17:19, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

Dear Leonid!

You keep saying that legal meanings of "urzędowy" - "official", "znak" - "sign" have the same legal meaning as in common English or even Polish language. The situation is more complicated, there are controversies among Polish lawyers, and very little court practice. About National Bank controversy: please read this page, where NBP points at Copyright Act as the base of restriction on money images.

So when you demand legal analysis in English that postal stamps are copyrighted or not copyrighted I can only tell: there is no such one; I can only show you some "maybe yes, maybe no", as those on vagla.pl site. This uncertainity among Polish lawyers and National Bank controwersy are enough for deletion in my opinion (I still support it: I only shun about doing it with bot).

I personally agree with your opinion: samps, banknotes, Public Information Service (BIP) materials etc. should be free, according to copyright law. But against institutions like NBP or Poczta Polska we need really, really strong legal support. We don't have it yet, so we cannot put users of Commons in legal danger.

A.J. (talk) 11:25, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Dear Ejdzej, I cannot understand what keeps you from just opening the Polish law on Postal Service, look for section with definitions, find the definition dealing with stamps, copy and paste it here and provide translation into English, or if there is none there, state so here? As a lawyer, I assure you that NBP can only point at Copyright Act only to protect sketches of banknotes i. e. drawings made by the artist who designed the banknote, and nothing more. Any attempts to extend the Copyright Law to cover the actual banknotes, which are in your pockets, are wrong. Why all this talk about controversies? Why all this talk about court practice, when Poland is not a common law country and there is no case law there? We are not talking about the United States courts here. One Polish court is not bound by decisions made by another Polish court on another case. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 22:09, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Problem is that Polish copyright law do not mention stamps or banknotes, it only mention that "normative acts and drafts thereof as well as official documents, materials, signs and symbols are not subject to copyrights" (see [2]). Older copyright laws: Prawo autorskie 1935.pdf and copyright law of July 10, 1952 also mentions only "official documents" so the argument similar to the one used by {{PD-Polish}} also do not work. Supposedly term "official documents" is well and narrowly defined, but "official materials, signs and symbols" are not well defined and could include stamps and banknotes. Polish Post Office Law [3], [4] or [5] do not mention copyrights either (as far as I can tell). Legal opinions on the subject vary: many people claim that stamps and banknotes should be considered as "official documents, materials, logos and symbols". However according to government website [6] Polish National Bank hold copyrights to banknotes. My guess is that A.J. and User:Odder decided to be on the conservative side and assume that unless someone finds a law saying that banknotes and stamps are not copyrighted or that they are "official documents, materials, signs and symbols" we have to assume that they are. --Jarekt (talk) 03:56, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I understand that Polish Copyright Law clearly states that official signs and symbols are not subject to copyright protection, without going into great detail describing what official signs or what official symbols are. The legislators who adopted this Law were not fools, as some people try to pretend them to be, no, they were not fools and they knew quite well that the notions of official signs and symbols were expressly defined in the corresponding other legislation. For example, the basic law for everything pertaining to mail and postal service is the Law on Postal Service or on Posts or on Communications (I can only guess how exactly the corresponding law is called in Polish). Now all we need is to see whether postage stamps are considered to be official signs or not, and here the Polish Law on Posts should come in handy (at least this is the case in most CIS states). I think that it should contain a clear definition what postage stamps and other "signs" of payment of postal rates are. If the Law defines them as "official signs" serving to demonstrate that a postal tariff for mailing a letter has been paid, then that is all we need to prove. Do you have an access to such Polish legislation on Posts or Postal Service? I am asking you to check it for yourself, because I have not been able to identify any such law in English. Maybe you do not understand why the word "sign" is consistently used in such contexts? It is just to indicate something that serves as an indication, a sign (a small thing) that certifies that another big thing (so big that it cannot be placed here) is true. Let me explain this using postage stamps as an example: After you have pre-paid a sum of money to postal administration for them to send your letter where you want it, you cannot glue the money you paid onto the envelope of your letter, instead you stick a small piece of paper (a stamp) to your letter. So this postage stamp serves as a sign that you have pre-paid the postal tariff, and the post office will deliver it to the addressee. BTW, same thing is true of other type of official signs, such as banknotes. I guess you can now better understand what do they signify, and why they are called official signs. Similarly, official symbols like a national flag and a national emblem, are usually defined in the Constitution, or in specific laws on National Flag or on National Emblem. Sorry for lengthy explanations, hopefully they will make the subject clearer. Unfortunately, legal practice shows that different jurisdictions take different approaches to the legal status of postage stamps. In some countries they are not deemed to be official signs, as they are issued by private companies (which therefore hold copyright on them), and not by governmental companies; in some countries stamps have the legal status of official documents; yet in some countries they are considered to be official signs, but the legislators have not stripped them of copyright protection, as they evidently did in Poland, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Russia, Belarus, etc. What makes things even worse is that some states eventually change the legal status of their stamps. Take, for example, the USA: before 1978 the US stamps were in PD, because were issued by a governmental body and were official work. After 1978 they are copyrighted, because since then are being issued by a private company. Maybe modern Poland has to adapt its legislation to follow the EU laws; but the stamps issued by the Polish People's Republic definitely should be in PD. Regards, --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 08:28, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Legal dispute[edit]

Could you translate into English Articles 31.3 and 31.7 from "Prawo pocztowe", USTAWA z dnia 12 czerwca 2003 r.:

  • "3. Znakami służącymi do potwierdzenia opłacenia usług pocztowych świadczonych przez Pocztę Polską są:

1) znaki opłaty pocztowej emitowane przez Pocztę Polską jako samodzielne znaki opatrzone napisem zawierającym użyte w dowolnym przypadku wyrazy: „Polska”, „Rzeczpospolita Polska” lub „Poczta”, zwane dalej „znaczkami pocztowymi”;

2) znaki opłaty pocztowej, inne niż znaczki pocztowe, określone przez Pocztę Polską;

3) oznaczenia określone przez Pocztę Polską."

  • "7. Znaczkom pocztowym przysługuje ochrona przewidziana w przepisach Kodeksu karnego dla urzędowych znaków wartościowych, zaś innym znakom i oznaczeniom służącym do potwierdzania opłacenia usługi pocztowej, ochrona przewidziana w przepisach Kodeksu karnego dla dokumentów."

Maybe these provisions will help to clear the situation. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 08:50, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Or please finish my translation of Art. 31.3:

  • "3. Signs serving to confirm that postal services performed by Polish Post (Pocztę Polską) are:

1) signs of postal payment issued by Polish Post as samodzielne znaki opatrzone napisem zawierającym użyte w dowolnym przypadku wyrazy: „Polska” (Poland), „Rzeczpospolita Polska” (Polish Republic) and „Poczta” (Post), hereinafter referred to as „postage stamps”;

2) signs of postal payment, other than postage stamps, określone przez Pocztę Polską;

3) oznaczenia określone przez Pocztę Polską." --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 09:01, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

The above comes from Art. 31 of postal law, which begins with:

  • pl: Art. 31. 1. Operatorzy mogą stosować własne znaki służące do potwierdzenia opłacenia usługi pocztowej
  • en: Operators may use their own signs for confirming payment of postal service

Point 3 of Art. 31, quoted by Leonid defines "signs used for confirming payment for postal services of Poczta Polska as:

1) signs of postal patyment emited by Poczta Polska in separate form with phrase "Polska" "Rzeczpospolita Polska" or "Poczta", called "postal signs stamps" ("znaczek pocztowy")

2) postal payment signs different from postal signs, defined by Poczta Polska

3) markings defined by Poczta Polska

7. Postal signs are protected by criminal law as official payment signs, other postal payment signs are markings are protected as documents".

Arguments for copyright protection concluded from above:

  • postal signs are defined as own signs of operator
  • Poczta Polska is also operator, defined as public operator (Art. 3 p. 12)
  • operator is defined as przedsiębiorca (enterpreneur) Art. 3 p 11

Therefore "postal sign" is own sign of enterprise "Poczta Polska" (not "official" or "government" one). Art. 7 states only that it enjoys additional protection by means of criminal law. A.J. (talk) 09:23, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for your cooperation.

  • First, your translation looks a bit inaccurate to me. Why do you translate "znaczek pocztowy" as "postal signs"? According to Polish wikipedia it means "postage stamps" (pl:Znaczek pocztowy), at least all interwikis point to postage stamps. And in clause 1) there are much more words in Polish than in your English translation. Have you omitted something?
    • "Postal stamp" is more correct: there are also other "signs" apart from stamps defined in this act.
  • Second, it follows from your translation of clause 7) that the Polish state still treats postage stamps as "official signs". You are right though in stating that the uncopyrightable status of Polish stamps is disputable, because the Postage Act does not provide a clear cut definition. Still more avenues remain. Maybe the older laws on postal service provided better definitions, or other postal legislation clearly defines postage stamps as official signs of payment. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 17:18, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
    • I ephisised the fact, that stamps in 7) are treated as "official signs or payment" in terms of criminal prosecution. This does not make them automatically equal to other "official signs" when comes to copyright law (but it's a good point). Anyway, banknotes which are clearly "official" are still covered by controversial National Bank statement. A.J. (talk) 11:52, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Possible resolution[edit]

What if we define {{PolishMoney}} and {{PolishStamp}} with excerpt from law, controversy explaination and big "Use at your own risk" note? That's too close to "fair use" in my opinion... It also should be discussed at higher level. A.J. (talk) 11:52, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

I think we can try to write it up and than check with the rest of the community if it is acceptable. --Jarekt (talk) 12:09, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Has anybody actually sent a request for clarification to appropriate ministries? And to avoid the vague "free for use" or "not free for use", point out that the first Polish stamp, from 1860, must surely be in the public domain, and that the first stamps of independent Poland, from 1918, are old enough to be in the public domain unless there is a specific law extending their copyright - so the answer must quote a law saying stamps are never PD, or a law stating a date or formula before which stamps are PD. The other question to ask is which stamps can be printed on t-shirts that one is selling. Stan Shebs (talk) 13:49, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
Hey, maybe it's not so complicated as we got http://www.poczta-polska.pl plus something more Government-owned corporation. Yeah, for English speakers it means it's covered by government like health-care, military, some banks, some institutions etc. So could we just stamp them as photos from ex. Sejm ? 213.192.96.156 18:11, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Sejm photos are not free now, see {{SejmCopyright}}. A.J. (talk) 21:16, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Vatican & Guernsey[edit]

Conservatively, I assume that en:crown copyright applies to Guernsey for 50 years and that {{PD-old}} applies to the Vatican. I asked the question on the main licencing talk page but I can't find anything. Ww2censor (talk) 15:33, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

The reply to the Vatican copyright is that according to this, Italian law applies with a 70-year copyright term. So can we write that up? Ww2censor (talk) 14:57, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Recent Japanese stamps[edit]

User:Carpkazu has been uploading recent Japanese stamps under {{Copyrighted free use}} for some time, and nobody seems to have said anything. Is that possible for new stamps, or are we still limited by a 50-year rule? Stan Shebs (talk) 14:53, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Not according to the Japan template {{PD-Japan}}, so anything less than 50 year-old stamps should be deleted as copyright violations. Ww2censor (talk) 14:12, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
I nominated all the less under 50 year old stamps for deletion at Commons:Deletion requests/Images of Carpkazu. Some of you may want to comment. Ww2censor (talk) 15:25, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Situation for Hungarian Stamps[edit]

Hello, can anyone with knowledge of hungarian language clarify the situation for hungarian stamps? --Neozoon (talk) 21:28, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

I started a discussion over to Commons talk:Licensing#Hungarian stamps copyright a few days ago. Ww2censor (talk) 18:47, 31 October 2009 (UTC)
This is now archived at: Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 23#Hungarian stamps copyright which concludes that a copyright period of 70 years after the author's death applies, though where the author is unknown, a straight 70 years applies. Does anyone have a specialised Hungarian stamp catalog that records the stamps' designers? Ww2censor (talk) 15:22, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

Vietnam[edit]

We only have 1 stamp of Vietnam in Commons. What is the copyright situation for stamps? I have a little collection of vietnam stamps. I need to know to review the flickr upload of [[File:Van_troi_execution_NLF_Stamp_10.15.1965.jpg|this] one vietnam stamp. --Neozoon (talk) 01:24, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

This was discussed on the main licencing page but without any clear view. Reading the main Vietnam law, Law on Intellectual Property No. 50/2005/QH11 of November 29, 2005, at World Intellectual Property Organization indicates a copyright period of 50 years, which seems to cover all artistic works. There does not appear to be any "Official works" distinction. Ww2censor (talk) 15:17, 20 November 2009 (UTC)


Copyright status of South West African Stamps[edit]

Does anyone know the Copyright Status of South West African Stamps issued in 70s and early 80s. "In 1971, acting on a request for advisory opinion from the United Nations Security Council, the ICJ ruled that the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia was illegal and that South Africa was under an obligation to withdraw from Namibia immediately. It also ruled that all member states of the United Nations were under an obligation to recognize the invalidity of any act performed by South Africa on behalf of Namibia". Would the stamps issued by the illegal South African regime in SW Africa be copyrighted to South Africa or to Namibia or be free of copyright? The territory became the independent Republic of Namibia on 21 March 1990. Best wishes, (Msrasnw (talk) 20:21, 12 April 2010 (UTC))

The following response, slightly edited, was already offered to this question by this editor in relation to the deletion nomination of this stamp en:File:ZwillingeStampSWA1985.jpg on the English Wikipedia.
I understand that South West Africa was covered by the Berne Convetion and Namibia copyright applies for a least 50 years per COM:L#Namibia. Unless specific laws to the contrary were enacted, which I see no evidence of, copyright is generally inherited by the subsequent state which is what I interpret from this. I doubt that illegal regime could apply but Msrasnw would have to prove that because the burden of proof still lies with the uploader and initially Msrasnw uploaded the image as a non-free stamp so we have to presume, as evidenced by the question, that he has no proof it in the public domain which is why he originally applied a non-free rationale in an attempt to justify it use. Ww2censor (talk) 03:30, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Another point I notice is that "obligation to recognize the invalidity" is a request with no legal force; what matters is what laws were passed in the various countries. From our history articles, it looks like South Africa's departure was relatively orderly - building keys handed over to the agreed-upon successor, etc. It's not clear if anybody would have bothered to transfer government-held copyrights of already-issued stamps; it could have been a situation similar to the en:Namibian dollar, where they started doing their own minting, but left rands in the system. But certainly there is nothing to suggest that government copyrights were actually invalidated in any way. Stan Shebs (talk) 13:00, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Germany[edit]

Hi. We should consider removing "* For the graphic art the copyright of the graphic artist may apply, so stamps have to be shown complete" from this unsourced edit to Commons:Stamps/Public domain#Germany per Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-German stamps and all it tags.   — Jeff G. ツ 18:14, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

✓ Done  — Jeff G. ツ 19:31, 19 October 2010 (UTC)
No, you cannot do that. It is clearly basically correct. See also Commons:Deletion requests/File:German stamp- Marlene Dietrich crop.PNG. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 19:55, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

File:German stamp- Marlene Dietrich crop.PNG[edit]

Commons-emblem-issue.svg File:German stamp- Marlene Dietrich crop.PNG has been listed at Commons:Deletion requests so that the community can discuss whether it should be kept or not. We would appreciate it if you could go to voice your opinion about this at its entry.

If you created this file, please note that the fact that it has been proposed for deletion does not necessarily mean that we do not value your kind contribution. It simply means that one person believes that there is some specific problem with it, such as a copyright issue.
Please remember to respond to and – if appropriate – contradict the arguments supporting deletion. Arguments which focus on the nominator will not affect the result of the nomination. Thank you!


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  — Jeff G. ツ 02:03, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Indonesia[edit]

I note that commons:Stamps/Public domain templates lists {{PD-IDGov}}, but it's not discussed on this page. Before adding it though, I suspect that stamps are one of the exceptions mentioned in item b of the copyright law; on Indonesia's official philatelic website [7] (click on English, then Stamp Publication Policy, the url handling is squirrely) the policy states "Stamp’s copyright, commemoration stamp and stamp printed postal stationary plus stamp book is in the hand of the Director-General" and "Reproduction of stamp must at first gain written permit from the Director General." No way to tell if this is intended to be indefinite, or has the 50-year expiration date of other copyrighted works. Stan Shebs (talk) 15:39, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

According to COM:L#Indonesia, the 2002 law states that: publication and/or distribution of any work that has been published and/or distributed by or in the name of the Government, except if the copyright of the object is stated as protected, either in law or in writing on the work, at the time the work was published and/or distributed are not subject to copyright violations. The above, taken on conjunction with the philatelic website's statement, would imply that post 2002 stamps are certainly copyright but pre-2002 would need some more research. A WIPO search brings up several Indonesian copyright documents, the earliest of which seems to be 1982, but they would need careful reading before we can make any definitive statement. Ww2censor (talk) 16:13, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Joseph de La Nézière[edit]

I suppose that File:Stamp Mauritania 1913 2c.jpg was one of fr:Joseph de La Nézière's designs, and he died in 1944, so stamp can't be PD yet. If somebody can confirm my reasoning, then we should add him to our list here. Stan Shebs (talk) 13:42, 10 November 2010 (UTC)

German stamps... again[edit]

Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-German stamps and all it tags 2. Sebjarod (talk) 18:18, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-German stamps.   — Jeff G. ツ 02:40, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Deletion discussion[edit]

This deletion discussion may be of interest to other philatelists. Ww2censor (talk) 23:51, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

Indeed, the same thing all over again. See Commons:Deletion requests/File:1995 John Lennon..jpg. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 00:09, 27 November 2010 (UTC)
Archived under Commons_talk:Licensing/Archive_30#Common_sense. Sebjarod (talk) 11:47, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Pakistan[edit]

I am still confused by the provided clarifications. Can we upload any Pakistan stamp images on Commons under {{PD-Pakistan}} or not? Or must we upload them only on Wikipedia under "fair use" condition? Please clarify this further. --Michael Romanov (talk) 14:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I believe the postings are inaccurate interpretations of the Copyright, Ordinance (No. XXXIV), as consolidated in 2000 found here which states in
Section 2 (m) “Government work” means a work which is made or published by or under the direction or control of— (i) the Government or any department of the Government,
Section 13 (d) in the case of a Government work, Government shall, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, be the first owner of the copyright therein and finally
22 (1) Copyright in a Government work shall, where Government is the first owner of the copyright therein, subsist until fifty years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the work is first published.
From this document I read that we can only use images older than 50 years here so a few of the images in Category:Stamps of Pakistan should be deleted. In the past I have nominated newer images for deletion based on COM:L#Pakistan and they have been deleted, so we can only use newer image on the enwiki under fair-use but only in articles about the stamps. Some of the images in Postage stamps and postal history of Pakistan need to be moved over here; en:File:Pakistan Khyber Pass stamps.jpg has a fair-use rationale but is clearly PD, others I need to look up their date of issue. Ww2censor (talk) 05:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Mozambique[edit]

Mozambique is not listed on this page and so I'm not sure what to do regarding mislicensed images in Category:Stamps of Mozambique. – Adrignola talk 13:19, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

According to the Mozambique copyright law instituted in 2001 copyright subsists for 70 years following completion for "works of applied art" which appears to cover stamps so {{PD-old}} applies. Ww2censor (talk) 16:57, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll update this page to note that as well. – Adrignola talk 17:01, 16 April 2011 (UTC)
Personally I'd prefer for others knowledgeable editors to comment before modifying the related pages. Ww2censor (talk) 17:07, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Nepal[edit]

I responded to a question about Nepalese stamp copyright status, but before making an appropriate template need to determine whether stamps are considered as applied art or not? See CT:L#Stamps of Nepal and the next post. The answer will determine if the copyright period is 50 years or 25 years per Nepal's The Copyright Act, 2059 (2002). Ww2censor (talk) 15:57, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

I doubt the term "applied art" can be attributed to postage stamps. So, I would suggest using a 50-year period for Nepalese stamps. --Michael Romanov (talk) 19:13, 27 April 2011 (UTC)
That was my feeling too. Ww2censor (talk) 04:32, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Moldova[edit]

Please see Commons:Deletion requests/File:Stamp of Moldova 012.jpg; it seems Posta Moldova replied to an inquiry saying the believe that copyright exists on the stamps. It may not be definitive, but it may be an indication that the interpretation of stamps coming under their copyright exemptions may not be accurate. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:54, 29 September 2011 (UTC)

Let us first cite what exactly Moldovan laws say on the subject:

ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ Правительства Республики Молдова № 1254 от 10.11.2008 "Об утверждении Положения о почтовых марках, цельных вещах и специальных почтовых штемпелях Республики Молдова" (Опубликован: 18.11.2008 в Monitorul Oficial Nr. 206-207, статья №: 1268) [8]:

"... почтовая марка – знак оплаты почтовых услуг, имеющий любую форму, при условии, что его размеры по вертикали и горизонтали должны быть не меньше 15 мм и не больше 50 мм, изготовленный с помощью одноцветной или многоцветной печати, с клеем или без клея, наклеиваемый на почтовые отправления или напечатанный типографским способом в случае цельной вещи, который используется для оплаты пересылки почтовых отправлений от отправителя до получателя, согласно действующим тарифам; ..."

English translation: Decree No. 1254 of the Government of Republic of Moldova dated November 10, 2008 On Approving the Regulations on Postage Stamps, Postal Stationery and Special Cancels of Republic of Moldova (Published: November 18, 2008 in Monitorul Oficial Nr. 206-207, Article No.: 1268):

"... Postage stamp shall mean a sign of payment for postal services, having any form, provided that its vertical and horizontal size must be no less than 15 mm and no more than 50 mm, produced using one-coloured or multi-coloured printing, with or without glue, glued on mail or printed typographically in case of postal stationery, which is used to pay for sending of mal from sender to receiver, according to existing tariffs; ...".

So you can see that Decree No. 1254 expressly defines postage stamps as signs of payment for postal services (unfortunately I have found its text only in Russian, so I have to translate it myself). --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 07:34, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification Leonid. 15:37, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Algeria[edit]

I scan two algerian stamps of 2005 with picture of Numidian kings. My question is, can i import them to Commence ?, if yes with what license? -- Vikoula5 17:48, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

No because according to Commons:L#Algeria the Algerian copyright generally lasts for 50 years. Ww2censor (talk) 16:17, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Pity, thank you for your answer. But Algerian stamps also are in the category ok photography ?? there are an other licence Template:PD-Algeria-photo-except for the stamps of 2003, 2002, or no ?-- Vikoula5 19:37, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
No, they are not true photography in most instance. Most recent stamps of most countries are copyright per these and linked pages Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates. Ww2censor (talk) 16:39, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok understand -- Vikoula5 19:44, 24 February 2012 (UTC

Lebanon?[edit]

Anybody know? I found a few old airmail letters. They bear varying inscriptions: "P. Koroleff", "V. Pliss", or "F. Ott". The letters themselves are from 1953-57. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 19:35, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Per Commons:L#Lebanon there is a 50 year pma rule unless you have any different evidence that it does not apply to stamps, so it looks like uploading your letter will be ok, if the author is anonymous. Ww2censor (talk) 15:34, 3 May 2012 (UTC)

"all countries"[edit]

"All countries" at the bottom of Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates claims {{PD-old}} is OK for "upload date minus 70 years". What is the rationale for this? It seems wrong. Rd232 (talk) 15:07, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

Seems completely wrong to me, too. Gestumblindi (talk) 16:00, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
Leonid Dzhepko, who is a legal translator, added it back in 2007. He is not active here but you can find him on the ruwiki at Л.П. Джепко, so it may be worth contacting him. Ww2censor (talk) 17:19, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
I guess that at that time I just took the maximum protected period as a default for all countries not reviewed and included yet. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 08:27, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
The page Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates looks very strange. For a lot of countries, it says that you should use a template which says that the stamp designer died more than n years ago, yet there is also a statement saying that you can upload any stamp published more than n years ago. Death more than n years ago is not the same thing as publication n years ago. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:29, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

What is the status of Tunisian stamps?[edit]

Ebaychatter0 (talk) 11:23, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

According to this licence {{PD-Tunisia}} the usual copyright is 50 years pma supported by the linked documents at WIPO. Ww2censor (talk) 18:02, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

Map colors not very intuitive[edit]

In my opinion the map File:PD-Stamps in Euroasia.PNG which is used here is a bit irritating: For "Stamps are in Public Domain", the color red was chosen - but usually red means "stop!" So, my first impression when looking at this map is "stamps are not in the public domain in the countries marked red". Therefore I suggest changing red to dark green (light green for "Stamps are in public domain before laws were changed" seems to fit). Other opinions? Gestumblindi (talk) 01:25, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

+1 yep, would be better, -jkb- (talk) 17:07, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Moldovan Stamps[edit]

I recently closed a CFD about Moldovan Stamps. I was then notified that the situation is not as clear as it appeared. Of the two most recent deletion requests I found, one was closed as keep, the other as delete. Commons:Stamps/Public_domain#Moldova says that the stamps are OK and refers to Template:PD-MD-exempt which states that the stamps are not OK. Which one is correct? --rimshottalk 20:56, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

I think you really need to take into careful consideration what User:Leonid Dzhepko wrote at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Stamp of Moldova 012.jpg about 18 months ago as well as this Commons talk:Stamps/Public domain#Moldova. His legal expertise in Russian and Russian law has confirmed these stamps are PD, unless the law been changed since then, and even if that were the case, I doubt it would have been retroactively enacted by any law. Remember that many postal authorities, and other orgnaisations, museums, etc., claim copyright over their product or images, even for older items, which are well proven to be PD. I never saw this deletion discusssion but would have objected had I known. User:Zscout370 changed the Moldova template without any reference to the discussions that had previously taken place on this very issue. I suggest a review of this copyright template change is necessary because I think it was improperly made and in opposition to the decision of a then recent deletion discussion as mentioned above. We had a full discussion about the letter he based his template edit on. As far as I was concerned the matter was settled but without the involvement of philatelists, especially some who speak and understand Russian the matter is very much conjecture. Ww2censor (talk) 22:11, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Dagestan stamps[edit]

I found a cool stamp with Freddie Mercurie at Dagestan stamp. Are Dagestan stamps in PD? -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 09:04, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

The same question relates to Republics w:Mari El (Marijel), w:Mordovia and Komi, see stamps with Mercurie: [9]. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 10:09, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, these are all fakes. All above mentioned territories are part of Russia and do not issue their own postage stamps. So for sure there is no PD for these cinderellas. --Leonid Dzhepko (talk) 07:19, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Hungary[edit]

I have taken out the recently added statement on Hungary (here added by Cekli829), as there was no reference to a legal act or case law that covers the assertion that all stamp artwork is public domain. I don't doubt that those with local knowledge understand this to be true, and I would be happy to see this put back in, if elaborated with a reference that can be verified. We should be cautious to ensure that any reuser is protected if challenged and this guidance list needs to be accurate and up to date with a high level of confidence. -- (talk) 08:57, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

This work is not covered by copyright. According to the Hungarian copyright act of 1999 (Act No. LXXVI. of 1999 on Copyright):
I.4 The protection provided by this Act shall not cover legal provisions, other means of state direction, court and other official resolutions, announcements and documents issued by an authority or other official organ, as well as standards made obligatory by law and other similar regulations.
I.7 The expressions of folklore may not enjoy copyright protection. However, this may not prejudice copyright protection due to the author of a folk-art-inspired work of individual and original nature.
Thanks in advance. --Cekli829 (talk) 09:56, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for this research, it is very helpful. On the basis that the Magyar Posta, though a self-supporting commercial company, is state owned and acts as an agent of the government under taxation, I am happy to assume this is sufficient to verify the assertion of PD status for the artwork they (presumably) commission for postage stamps. I'll add the text back in with this reference. I suggest if anyone has some extra information to add, or objections, they are discussed here. -- (talk) 10:08, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Otherwise someone had better review the 1000+ stamps in Category:Stamps of Hungary by year and its sub categories, most of which, from a cursory glance, likely use this licence. However, some of the older years will be PD by age anyway. Ww2censor (talk) 10:12, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Sure, we are just tidying up the guidance here. Smile fasdfdsfoiueire.svg
I don't really understand why the second paragraph is quoted on the PD template (about "folklore may not enjoy copyright protection"), how is this directly relevant to postage stamps? -- (talk) 10:23, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me about the 2009 discussion in which User:Tgr suggested that 7O+ pma applies to Hungarian stamps, so maybe we should contact him on the Hungarian wiki, where he is active, as he may have a better take on it. Ww2censor (talk) 11:58, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
Certainly worth a notification. If there is a counterargument against interpreting the 1999 act as applying to postage stamps (or the PD status is limited to certain periods), then it should be laid out so that we can reach a credible consensus. -- (talk) 12:08, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

See Expert Opinion 2001/9 of the Council of Copyright Experts (unfortunately I don't think an English translation exists) which is about applying the "means of state direction" clause to bank notes. If I understand correctly, the Council takes the position that the clause can only be applied when the actual usage is related to the direction of the state: when a new banknote is published in the Hungarian Official Journal, it is a means of state direction, and the exception applies, but when the same banknote is shown in a book, it is not a means of state direction, and the exception does not apply, so the authorization of the copyright holder is necessary. The same logic should apply to stamps as well. --Tgr (talk) 07:05, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Laws saying that legal documents are exempted from copyright sometimes only apply to literary works whereas in other cases they also apply to included artistic works. Unfortunately, it is often not clearly indicated in the Commons templates whether a given template applies to artistic works or not (and it is often not always obvious from the law itself and you might sometimes need to read background documents and the like to know what the lawmaker meant). Does the Hungarian law cover artistic works, or does it only cover literary works? --Stefan4 (talk) 01:37, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
There is no explicit limitation in the law, and the only analysis I know of is the aforementioned expert opinion, which points out some unwanted consequences from interpreting the law too widely (e.g. a PhD dissertation is "means of state direction", regulated and certified by law and required for certain positions, but it is definitely copyrighted), and then decides that the law does not cover banknotes. So there is a significant uncertainty on what is and what isn't covered by the law, which is sometimes a problem in Wikipedia (e.g. we upload official coats of arms of municipalities to Commons on the basis that they are defined in legal provisions and so must be PD; not sure how sound this practice is); but the stamps seem to be similar enough to the banknotes, for which the Council said no, so I would be wary. --Tgr (talk) 14:22, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Tgr for your comments. So the question that needs to be answered is whether Hungarian stamps are published in the Hungarian Official Journal as "means of state direction". If so the stamps would appear to be PD, but if not then they are likely non-free and should be deleted, except of those old enough to have fallen into the public domain. Ww2censor (talk) 16:37, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Not exactly. The decision for banknotes was that the same work might be not copyrighted when it appears in the Official Journal but copyrighted when you want to use it in your own magazine. So even though the exemption in I.4 of the 1999 Copyright Act applies to them when they are published in official places, or used physically on a mail, it does'nt apply anywhere else; for the purposes of Commons, they are copyrighted and cannot be uploaded.
Which is IMO a very contrived interpretation of the law. When I asked some IP lawyers about it, they said that the Council was basically trying to fix an internal inconsistency of the copyright law, while keeping up the pretense of still working within the framework of the law, not correcting but only interpreting it.
So it would have been very hard to predict their decision just based on the law and the relevant facts (like how the banknotes are being created or licensed); likewise, I don't think the copyright law and relevant facts (like whether they are published in the OJ or not) are enough to figure out the status of stamps. They are quite similar to banknotes so my bet would be they are not PD but that is just a guess. --Tgr (talk) 10:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
I would assert that postage stamps are themselves a publication of a tax document/payment, in this case under state direction by an agent of the government. This makes them a legal document under state direction. If the state has never challenged the free reproduction of postage stamps in the past, I suggest someone writes to whoever is the Hungarian state representative for copyright and ask for a specific clarification rather than double guessing as to whether the somewhat cryptic analysis from the Council of Copyright Experts may or may not apply, before we go on a deletion purge. -- (talk) 19:15, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
Banknotes are "themselves a publication of a tax document/payment under state direction by an agent of the government" as well. The Council of Experts decision shows that that is not necessarily enough for a PD claim. Maybe the Hungarian chapter could ask clarification from the Ministry of Justice; we did that some years ago for coats of arms, though I think the answer was not very useful. But at the very least I would use a separate license template for images which are on such shaky legal grounds, not {{PD-HU-exempt}}. --Tgr (talk) 10:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Tuvalu etc[edit]

Does anyone know anything about the regulations concerning copyright on stamps of Tuvalu and "countries" like that: (Grenadines of) St. Vincent, Nevis, St. Lucia and Bequia? - Dick Bos (talk) 19:59, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

I can't be sure but according to WIPO, 2009 was the year of accession of the Berne Convention by Tuvalu where a period of 50 years applies. Other states may be different. Ww2censor (talk) 20:53, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
In general, newly-independent ex-colonies have tended to take large swathes of law straight from the British version that they were using prior to independence, especially in arcane areas like copyright. So 50 years is a good starting guess - but keep in mind that the private companies that do the actual stamp designing and printing may have quietly negotiated a deal where they retain copyright themselves. Even mail sent directly to the postal administrations about these copyright questions typically garner only vague or inconsistent replies. Stan Shebs (talk) 20:21, 24 June 2013 (UTC)

Mexico[edit]

I found template {{PD-MX-exempt}} which says:

Public domain According to the Mexican copyright law (23-07-2003), Article 14, case 7 & 8: "Copyright shall not apply to shields, flags or emblems of any country, state, municipality or political division; or names, acronyms, symbols or emblems of international governmental organisations, or any other organization officially recognized. The legislative, regulatory, administrative or judicial, as well as their official translation."

Hence it is assumed that this image has been released into the public domain.


English | español | +/−

Coat of arms of Mexico.svg


Could somebody (who knows Spain) to clarify (to check): is it true that stamps of Mexico are in Public Domain? -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 13:42, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

P.S. I have asked this question, because now Mexico is absent in the list at Commons:Stamps/Public domain :( -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 11:53, 10 July 2013 (UTC)
I do not see there was ever an entry for Mexico, so it does not appear to have been removed. As I can't read Spanish, I can't advise on whether stamps would be covered by the Template above. Anyone else know anything? Ww2censor (talk) 08:57, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

There is a point of view, that "some official interpretation" is required "that postage stamps are also covered by the law". -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 12:54, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

This template has been used to state all Mexican stamps are PD. According to the template, a Mexican law states "Copyright shall not apply to shields, flags or emblems of any country, state, municipality or political division; or names, acronyms, symbols or emblems of international governmental organisations, or any other organization officially recognized." That law, on its face, seems to apply to a country's coat of arms, flag, etc. or names of governmental entities and not postage stamp generally. I removed it, stating that it didn't appear to apply to stamps "Unless there is some official interpretation that postage stamps are also covered by the law." I don't know what "point of view" has to do with this. Ecphora (talk) 06:36, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
OK, but the question remains: should we remove all Mexican stamps? -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 08:01, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
No, if there is some other exception. For example, many of the Mexican stamps currently on Commons are old and are PD under Mexican law. Up to July 24, 2003, the length of copyright was 75 years. See here. This currently is 100 years. See English translation of current Mexican copyright law Article 29 provides that copyright protection currently extends to 100 years "following the disclosure ...of works made in the course of official duties performed on behalf of the Federation ..". "Disclosure" here means publication. See Article 16. I believe the pre-July 24, 2003 law was the same except for the 75 years, so that governmental produced postage or revenue stamps that were 75 years old as of July 24, 2003, became public domain. (These are the most current laws; different rules applied to earlier periods. For example, apparently the Mexican goverment itself could not hold copyright before 1928. See Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Mexico.) Ecphora (talk) 18:09, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
I might have misunderstood the question. Mexican stamps should not be listed in PD. Ecphora (talk) 14:52, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
I think that this page will contain all countries with explanations related to PD.
Thank you for your research :) related to Mexican stamps license. -- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 09:03, 21 July 2013 (UTC)

Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Abkhazia[edit]

The stamps of these countries are in the PD:

-- Andrew Krizhanovsky (talk) 18:46, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

Former countries[edit]

What about former countries that does not exist anymore as f.ex. South Yemen, Zaire, Soviet Union, Tchekoslovakia, Eastern Germany, Yugoslavia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.209.88.155 (talk • contribs) 09:05, 26 August 2013‎ (UTC)

I think there's no simple answer to this question. It depends on the individual cases and the legal successor countries, I assume. For example, Eastern Germany was basically absorbed by Western Germany and I assume that current German copyright law is applicable to works (including stamps) from Eastern Germany. The Soviet Union or Yugoslavia are probably more complicated cases, as they were split into several countries. I have no idea how to determine the applicable law for a work from e.g. Yugoslavia. Maybe others can shed more light on this matter. I would also say that this is in fact a more general question not only pertaining to stamps, maybe Commons:Village pump/Copyright would be better suited. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:28, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
We should assume, as a minimum, that the copyright terms of the old country are still in force (on the basis that they have probably been taken over by a successor state of some type), and similarly that no new copyright has been created by the successor state if the stamps were already out of copyright before the old state ceased to exist? Philafrenzy (talk) 08:51, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Sri Lanka[edit]

I doubt this edit which suggests Sri Lankan stamps are in the public domain is accurate. Per Commons:Copyright rules by territory#Sri Lanka their copyright protection is very restrictive and government works does not apply either, so unless there is evidence to the contrary, this should be removed. Ww2censor (talk) 06:20, 30 August 2013 (UTC)

I changed it yesterday. Philafrenzy (talk) 00:03, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

United Nations[edit]

What is the status of the United Nations stamps? Pursuant to UN Administrative Instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.2, available in English, only these documents are in the public domain worldwide:

  1. Official records (proceedings of conferences, verbatim and summary records, ...)
  2. United Nations documents issued with a UN symbol
  3. Public information material designed primarily to inform the public about United Nations activities (not including public information material that is offered for sale).

Could you clarify it... ►Cekli829 20:26, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Unfortunately it does look like UN stamps are copyright. Exactly what copyright period is effective needs to be determined. You may want to read some of the following: en:Wikipedia:Public domain#Works of the United Nations, Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 32#Template:PD-UN, Commons:Deletion requests/Images at Category:Stamps of United Nations and this deletion nomination Commons:Deletion requests/File:Stamps of the United Nations, 2010-Slovenia.jpg. Ww2censor (talk) 13:06, 24 November 2013 (UTC)
Regarding source country, I would assume that the source country is determined in the same way as for other works: the source country is the country of first publication, and if it was first published concurrently (within 30 days) in multiple countries, it is the country out of those which has the shortest term. w:United Nations Postal Administration tells that stamps are issued in three countries: USA (denominated in USD), Austria (denominated in ATS or EUR) and Switzerland (denominated in CHF). Assuming that any stamps issued in multiple countries were issued at the same time in all three countries, just assume (as a worst case) that the source country is the country matching the currency indicated on the stamp. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:06, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

France[edit]

According to what is currently stated in this article, in France post stamps only become public domain 70 years after the death of the designer. However, in Philatelistes.net it is said that "depuis 1987, La Poste détient les droits de reproduction des timbres (avec quelques exceptions : série artistique,...)". Translation: "since 1987, La Poste owns the copyright of stamps (with several exceptions: artistic series...)". Could somebody please verify if this is true? Would that imply that post-1987 stamps will become public domain 70 years after publication, irrespective of who the designer was? I know this is a question for the very long term but I am curious. Hispalois (talk) 07:50, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I have a second unrelated question. According to the article, the copyright is owned by the designers of stamps. Does that mean that La Poste forgot or neglected to include a copyright provision in its contracts with all these authors!? Could you please point to any legal text that supports that interpretation? --Hispalois (talk) 07:55, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

The copyright expires 70 years after the death of the stamp designer, even if the copyright is held by La Poste. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:02, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I have been checking the evolution of French legislation about copyright duration. It turns out that the 70 years mentioned here came into law only recently, in 1997. Prior to that date, 50 years were the rule (source). The table in the article should be corrected. --Hispalois (talk) 05:25, 9 February 2014 (UTC)
I have deepened my study of French legislation and it happens to be more complicated than I had thought at first. The 1997 law has been interpreted to have retroactive effect, except when pre-existing copyright durations were longer than 70 years after the death of the author. Therefore the table in the article is actually correct, provided that none of the listed authors "died for France" in combat. Summing up what I have found:
Since at least the law of July 1, 1992 the works of French public agencies like La Poste, and therefore its stamps, are protected by copyright (source, legal text). It is unclear whether stamps enjoyed copyright protection before the 1992 law.
Regarding the duration of copyright in France, since 1997 it extends to 70 years after the death of the author and this 70-year period applies retroactively to any work that was not already in the public domain on 31 December 1995. Before the 1997 law the duration was 50 years (source) plus exceptional periods that had been added to compensate for the "lost years" of World War I (6.4 years) and World War II (8.3 years); plus an extra 30 years for any French author who was officially declared "dead for France" (see fr:Prorogations de guerre, legal text). French judges have established that the longest copyright period should retroactively apply to pre-1995 works: either 70 years or 50 plus the applicable exceptions (source).
In practice this means that, as of February 2014:
  • the works made by any author who died before 1920 are definitely already in the public domain.
  • the works made by authors who DID NOT "die for France" and died in or before 1943 are already in the public domain.
  • the works made by authors who "died for France" between 1920 and 1943 have to be studied case by case.
  • the works made by any author who died after 1945 are not yet in the public domain. When will they become public domain? Either 70 years after the death of the author or, if the author "died for France", 80 years after the dead of the author plus any applicable world war extensions (8.3 years for pre-1948 works and 14.7 years for pre-1918 works).
Now, the big remaining question is: were pre-1992 French stamps really considered "oeuvres de l'esprit" and therefore covered by copyright law or not? Of course if the answer is negative, all pre-1992 stamps should be considered public domain. French legislation is baroquely complicated but hopefully we'll get it right! --Hispalois (talk) 06:54, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Stamps of Chile[edit]

Chile stamps in PD? For example, it is written:

This file has fallen into the public domain according to Chilean copyright law (No. 17,336 and its amendments). Nevertheless, its author and source must be acknowledged.

--►Cekli829 13:39, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Not until 70 years pma according to the official English version of the Chilean Law No. 17.336 on Intellectual Property available from WIPO here. So, as with many other stamps {{PD-old}} applies to those that qualify. I seem to recall that on Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates there was an entry for most other non-named countries that indicated {{PD-old}} most likely applied. It has since been removed. Obviously each country, not mentioned there or on Commons:Stamps/Public domain needs to be individually checked to verify that 70 year pma period is correct. Ww2censor (talk) 17:33, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
For anonymous works the Chilean law establishes a copyright duration of 70 years after publication. It also defines what an anonymous work is. This may be the default case for stamps, as opposed to 70 years pma. --Hispalois (talk) 02:03, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I highly doubt that we can consider Chilean stamps to generally be anonymous works. While I have a full set of Scott catalogues they do not provide designer names but I am pretty sure a specialised catalogue will likely list those that are known. These two webpages [10] and [11] identify the designers, José Moreno Benavente and Mauricio Navarro, and no doubt with research we can find more when and where necessary. This website may well have more designer details we need. Ww2censor (talk) 22:39, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Stamps of Mexico[edit]

Mexico stamps in PD? For example, it is written:

According to the Mexican copyright law (23-07-2003), Article 14, case 7 & 8: "Copyright shall not apply to shields, flags or emblems of any country, state, municipality or political division; or names, acronyms, symbols or emblems of international governmental organisations, or any other organization officially recognized. The legislative, regulatory, administrative or judicial, as well as their official translation."
Hence it is assumed that this image has been released into the public domain.

--►Cekli829 11:13, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

I highly doubt {{PD-MX-exempt}} applies to Mexican stamps. It is much more likely that {{PD-Mexico}} is the appropriate copyright template for works of the: Mexican government and it was published more than 100 years ago, unless you know better. Ww2censor (talk) 22:52, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Malawi[edit]

Would anyone be able to add the PD status for Malawi please? Brigade Piron (talk) 09:30, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Per Malawi's Copyright Act, 1989, the copyright term for works by individual authors is life of the author plus fifty years years and the copyright term for works by anonymous, corporate, or government authors is 50 years from the date of first publication. Since the first stamps of Malawi were issued on 6 July 1964, the earliest any stamp of Malawi will be PD is 2015 (and even then only if the artwork depicted on the stamp is a government work). I've added info for Malawi to the page. —RP88 10:37, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

German stamps and Argentinian meter images[edit]

These two issues are in disucssion at the Village pump at Commons:Village pump/Copyright#Loriot and old German stamps and Commons:Village pump/Copyright#Postal cancellations: presumably public domain but... and I think your imput will be appreciated. Ww2censor (talk) 14:35, 19 June 2014 (UTC)