Template talk:PD-Coa-Germany

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Template creation[edit]

Erstellt von User:Rosenzweig, siehe de:Wikipedia Diskussion:Wappen --JuergenL 29 June 2005 18:25 (UTC)

Siehe auch de:Vorlage:Wappen-PD-DE --Rosenzweig 30 June 2005 16:35 (UTC)

Use of Federal CoA[edit]

At the time of writing, this template contains the German federal CoA (Bundeswappen) and mentions legal restrictions concerning the use of CoAs. This strikes me as a bit ironic, because said legal restrictions prevent us from displaying the CoA in this manner ;-)

Remember, it is allowed to display a CoA - other than your own, if applicable - for purposes of documentation (as in saying "the CoA of X looks like this"), but not merely as a decoration or in a way that might create the impression that it is your own.

Therefore, I shall remove the CoA from the template. 21:50, 15 July 2005 (UTC)

You must have confused something here. It is not allowed to use a CoA in a way as to imply that this is your CoA, or that you, your company etc. are a part of the state / entity that uses that CoA. Other than that, newspapers, journals, books, webpages etc. can use it, for illustrative purposes if they wish. Nothing in the way the CoA is used in this template implies that this is the CoA of Wikimedia, or Wikimedia is an agency of the German state. It is simply there to illustrate that this template concerns itself with German matters, just like Polish or US CoA do in other templates dealing with Polish / US copyright matters. --Rosenzweig 08:26, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

Scope is too narrow[edit]

I think the scope of this template is too narrow. Well, it is nice to know, that you can apply it to german coat of arms, but §5 of the Urhg. does allow much more, since it puts all laws and all other publications of the german government and it's institutions into the PD. I tried to make a license with this bigger scope in Image:SBZ von A-Z Cover.png.

My question is now, why is the template PD-Coa-Germany limited to CoAs? As far as I can see it would do no harm to open it to all governmental publications instead of making a separate template for the rest. What do you think? -- Dr. Schorsch 23:00, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

The scope is NOT too narrow. Coats of arms are not just any pictures, but also symbols of sovereignty of the respective state, district or city. Because of this, additional legal restrictions apply to their usage, independent of the copyright issues. This template addresses these restrictions. Doing so would make no sense outside of this context. That's why this template should stay as it is now. --Rosenzweig 17:42, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

A question[edit]

Alternative title: Wappenverwendung Klappe die 1752ste. :-)

Yes, I have seen and read de:Wikipedia_Diskussion:Wappen/Archiv3#Wappenverwendung_Klappe_die_1423ste. I'm sorry to rehash things that were already discussed ad nauseam at the German Wikipedia, but there are a few details that I don't understand about the reasoning there. It seems that major German commentaries on the German copyright law disagree with the reasoning made at the German Wikipedia.

This template asserts that COAs of a "corporation of public law" (in German: an "Amt") were in the public domain due to §5(1) of the German copyright law (see UrhG §5). Can someone explain why this should be so? I've checked several commentaries on the German copyright law and taken a closer look at two of them (Dreier/Schulze and the "Heidelberger Kommentar" by Dreyer/Kotthoff/Meckel; see references below). They are highly consistent in their interpretations and disagree with the assertion made in this template. Only COAs actually defined in a law or edict or similar official work of an "Amt" would be exempt from copyright under §5(1), if that official work was published. That certainly covers the national symbols, which were defined in the Anordnung über die deutschen Flaggen ("Edict on the German flags") from June 7, 1950, including a graphical reference (BGB 1950, p. 205), which was revised in 1996, again in text form and with reference graphics (BGB 1996 I, pp. 1729–1732). However, does §5(1) automatically cover sub-national flags (Länder, communal flags)? Only if these were published in similar official publications. And that would need to be shown on a case-by-case basis.

The argumentation on the German Wikipedia is based on one single case, in which a postage stamp was considered PD under §5 in Bavaria. Analogies based on this case and on land register maps are then made to assert that COAs also were covered by §5(1). This strikes me as somewhat dubious.

Let's start at the top. Examples for an "Amt" are the federation (or the federal government and its agencies), but also the Länder, the municipalities and communes. Also the courts, the church, Ortskrankenkassen (public health insurance offices!), universities, and other institutions mandated by a law (see Heidelberger p. 113). The official publications of such an "Amt" are enumerated exhaustively in §5(1). Both the "Heidelberger" and Dreier/Schulze agree that §5(1) is exhaustive, covers basically only text works (see in particular Dreier/Schulze p. 130, #4: "Contrary to official works under §5(1) other official works in the sense of §5(2) need not necessarily be textual works" (translation by Lupo), which clearly implies that §5(1) is only about textual works), that the paragraph is to be interpreted narrowly, and that applications of §5(1) based on analogy reasonings are the exception from the norm (Dreier/Schulze p. 130; Heidelberger p. 111 #10).

COAs also do not fall under §5(2). Dreier/Schulze mention explicitly that they were excluded: Nicht §5 Abs. 2 unterfallen nach Ansicht zumindest des überwiegenden Teils der Literatur dagegen ... [long list of examples elided] ... Banknoten, Münzen und Briefmarken; Wappen und Hoheitszeichen; ... ("Not covered by §5(2) are, according to the majority of the literature, ... bank notes, coins, and postage stamps; coats of arms and insignia; ..."; translation by Lupo). Both the "Heidelberger" and Dreier/Schulze again agree that §5(2) is to be interpreted narrowly (Dreier/Schulze p. 132 #10; Heidelberger p. 117 #43).

Can someone explain to me why in view of all this §5(1) of the German copyright law should apply to German coats of arms of Ämter in general? I just don't see it. I think one should have very good arguments to ignore leading commentaries such as Dreier/Schulze or the "Heidelberger".

  • Dreier/Schulze: Urheberrechtsgesetz; Beck Verlag, Munich 2003; ISBN 3-406-51260-7.
  • Dreyer/Kotthoff/Meckel: Heidelberger Kommentar zum Urheberrecht; C.F. Müller Verlag, Heidelberg 2004; ISBN 3-811-42349-5.

Final note: The postage stamp analogy seems to be very controversial. Postage stamps have been considered in one case in Bavaria as official works under §5(2), but that decision is criticized by the majority of the literature because postage stamps are not published for public information but for a monetary use (Dreier/Schulze p. 133 #10). The German Wikipedia gives "Ungern Sternberg GRUR 1977 766" as the reference, but Dreier/Schulze cite that only in a different context on p. 129. They discuss the postage stamp case on p. 133 in the context of §5(2) (not 5(1)!), where they give "Ungern Sternberg 1988 766, 768" as the reference (maybe a typo?). The "Heidelberger" discusses the same case as a negative example in the context of §5(1) and cites "GRUR 1987 436ff". Both commentaries also reference "Schricker GRUR 1991 645ff" for this case. (GRUR is a German law journal, for those who weren't familiar with it. Unfortunately I don't have access to it.)

Lupo 20:42, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

I should add that I am aware of the "Gies case" (OLG Köln 6 U 21/00; 28 O 253/99), a case that decided in May 2000 that the sculpture of the federal eagle on display in the parliament hall was not an "offcial work" in the sense of §5. It seems to me that this case is considered on the German Wikipedia (besides the postage stamp case mentioned above) as supporting the assertion of this template that COAs were covered by §5(1). (See de:Wappensatzung.) I disagree. In their reasoning, the court mentioned in this case that "Allerdings können auch nichtsprachliche Werke im Sinne der Vorschrift amtliche Werke sein. Insoweit kommen neben Darstellungen auf Geldscheinen und Münzen z.B. auch solche in Gemeindewappen in Betracht." ("However, also non-textual works can be official works. Insofar are depictions on bank notes and coins, but also coats of arms of communes eligible for consideration." Translation by Lupo, emphasis added.)
Some comments on this: first, the court makes this mention very clearly in the context of §5(2), not §5(1); it therefore cannot possibly be used to support any reasoning that COAs were covered by §5(1). Secondly, the court only said COAs were "eligible for consideration" under §5(2) ("kommen in Betracht"), which is a far cry from saying "are covered by §5". Essentially, the court only said that it considered it reasonable to ponder whether COAs might be covered by §5(2), but did not ponder the issue and left the question open. That's a bit thin as a foundation for this template's bold assertion; especially given that the majority of the literature seems to disagree (see above).
Finally, the court in this case used "Ungern Sternberg GRUR 1977 766,768,771" as its reference for that statement. That article in GRUR bears the title "Werke privater Urheber als amtliche Werke" ("Works of private authors as official works", transl. by Lupo) and is from 1977. I am not sure it is still current; according to the "Heidelberger", p. 113f, #23-29, and p. 118f, #49-50 (see the reference above), the rules for such cases have changed in 2003 with the adoption of §5(3), and private works since then only enter the public domain by becoming an official work when and if they are appropriated by an "Amt" by being incorporated into an official publication (e.g. reproduced wholly within a law or other official publication). Works that are merely referenced or cited in an official work no longer lose their copyright, instead, the public office is granted a mandatory license to publish the work. Lupo 07:56, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
You might also take a look at this site on Bild und Urheberrecht (in German). On the topic of coats of arms and insignia, they cite Schricker/Katzenberger (I presume this is Schricker, Gerhard (ed.): Urheberrecht - Kommentar, 2nd ed., C.H. Beck Verlag; Munich 1999; ISBN 3-406-37004-7; a third edition appeared in 2006, ISBN 3-406-55125-4): "... Dem amtlichen Interesse geradezu zuwider liefe eine Anwendung des Abs. 2 auf Banknoten, Münzen, Postwertzeichen (Briefmarken), Wappen der öffentlichen Gebietskörperschaften und sonstige künstlerisch gestaltete Hoheitszeichen ... Auch eine Anwendung des Abs. 1 auf solche Gegenstände scheidet aus, und zwar grundsätzlich sogar dann, wenn sie in amtlichen Bekanntmachungen abgebildet werden ..." ("An application of §5(2) to bank notes, coins, postage stamps, coats of arms of "public corporations of territorial sovereignty" [Ämter? Lupo] or other insignia showing artistic creativity would run contrary to the interests of the public office. ... An application of §5(1) on such items is not possible either, in general not even in cases where the items are depicted in official publications..." (translation by Lupo)) Oops! Now that appears to be a very strict interpretation... Lupo 11:24, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Das Landgericht München (AZ 21 S 20861/82) sieht das völlig anders und verwirft die Kommentarmeinung als falsch. --Steschke 12:28, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
de:Amtliches Werk says the "Aktenzeichen" (AZ) was "21 S 20861/86". Did you mean the same? That wouldn't by chance be the postage stamp case referenced by all these commentaries, and on which they quite obviously disagree? (But good to see that Schricker's strict interpretation isn't generally accepted.) What's the reasoning to extend this to "amtliche" Wappen in general, despite other commentaries disagreeing? Is the decision from that case available online somewhere? Lupo 13:02, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
Ich habe das Urteil nur auf Papier, abgedruckt in einer Fachzeitschrift der Briefmarkensammler. Wenn ich es einscanne, kann ich es dir zumailen. Ich habe es aber momentan nicht zur Hand. --Steschke 13:09, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
That'd be great! (Provided it's not too much work to dig it out and scan it in.) Is it the case the "Heidelberger" mentions (as GRUR 1987 436ff)? Lupo 13:22, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Benutzer ST, Mitautor eines juristischen Kommentars zum Kommunalrecht und erfahrener Verwaltungspraktiker, wird von mir in jeder Hinsicht in der Auffassung, dass amtliche Wappen gemeinfrei sind, unterstützt. Wir leben gut mit dieser Ansicht in der de Wikipedia und ich sehe keinerlei Grund für eigene Ermittlungen durch Lupo. Er sollte sich um Fälle zu kümmern, für die seine Kompetenzen unbestritten sind, nicht um die Auslegung nationalen Rechts. --Historiograf 00:27, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

I'm trying to understand why §5 should be applicable despite all commentaries I've looked at disagreeing. Steschke has been very polite and has patiently explained to me his reasons. I still have a few minor questions, but at least I can see now why and how he arrived at the conclusion presented in the template. I ask questions whenever I don't understand something, even if you may not like it. And a simple "XY says so" is not an answer to a "why" question. Sorry to have bothered you; I'll clear this up with Steschke himself. Lupo 17:21, 8 July 2006 (UTC)


I apparently forgot to report back the result of the discussions between Steschke and me on this issue. The full discussion is here (in German and English).

Basically, German administrative law requires that coats of arms etc. of bodies of public law (municipalities, but also e.g. universities) must generally be signed off by (a heraldry commission of) the state and then must be published in an official bulletin known as an Amtsblatt. By virtue of this publication, the description and that precise official rendering of that description become PD in Germany, notwithstanding the disagreeing commentaries I had mentioned above.

This is indeed based on the decision of the Landgericht in Munich, Bavaria, on postage stamps (AZ 21 S 20861/86). The subject matter is comparable, and the court was very clear in its reasoning: "Die vom Kläger entworfene Briefmarke hat den urheberrechtlichen Schutz, den sie zunächst als bloßer Entwurf besass [...], durch die Aufnahme im Amtblatt [...] gemäss §5 Abs. 1 Urheberrechtsgesetz verloren." (emphasis added.) ... "Die Abbildung der [...] Briefmarke ist jedoch wesentlicher Bestandteil der Bekanntmachung und nicht bloßes schmückendes Beiwerk." ... "Die Aufnahme der Briefmarke in die Bekanntmachung [...] hat ihre Gemeinfreiheit zur Folge [...]." (Translation: "The stamp that was designed by the plaintiff lost its copyright, which it initially did have while it existed only as a draft, by virtue of its inclusion in the Amtblatt. The picture of the stamp is an essential part of the official publication, it's not just a decorative (incidental) inclusion. The publication of the stamp in the official bulletin has the consequence that the stamp is in the public domain.")

Now, this is not an isolated case. Since all German coats of arms (and stamps) must be published in an official bulletin, they are all in the public domain. Steschke, who professionally deals with such matters, also pointed out two additional aspects:

  • If COAs were copyrighted, a municipality could not use it on the Internet without renegotiating a new license contract with the designer of its COA, as German law does not allow contracts that cover future technologies.
  • It appears that heraldics is understood as craftsmanship in Germany, not as an art.

Even if we take into account the criticisms of this court decision in the commentaries (see above), it should be noted that they criticize it because postage stamps were published not for the purpose of public information but for monetary use. First, this criticism itself is not above criticism: one could equally well argue that indeed the publication of the stamp in an official bulletin is for the purpose of informing the public on how the new stamp looks like (such that the public knows that this is a genuine stamp, and to allow the public to recognize it and also to recognize it from fakes). Second, this argument made in the legal commentaries breaks down for coats of arms, as these certainly are not for monetary use, and thus their publication clearly has the purpose of informing the public.

For me, this is good enough to establish the PD status of German coats of arms in Germany. For further questions, please address Steschke directly (although he appears to have much reduced his activity at the de-WP and here...); he knows much more than me about this. Lupo 07:23, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Other official works[edit]

There are other official works as like logos of institutions, organisations and so on. If they reach threshold of originality they are still in the public domain due to they are official works but not coat of arms. At all § 5 UrhG is not limited or concretised to coat of arms. Maybe the template should be generalised to official works (as stated in the chapter of the law)? Geo-Loge 13:36, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

This is essentially the same question that was posed above in Scope is too narrow. The answer is the same: Coats of arms are not just any pictures, but also symbols of sovereignty of the respective state, district or city. Because of this, additional legal restrictions apply to their usage, independent of the copyright issues. This template addresses these restrictions. Doing so would make no sense outside of this context. That's why this template should stay as it is now. --Rosenzweig 17:17, 27 January 2007 (UTC)


Ich habe soeben die Vorlage für Flaggen {{PD-Flag-Germany}} geschaffen. Seit einiger Zeit habe ich begonnen, Abbildungen von Flaggen in die commons hochzuladen und die Vorlage für Wappen {{PD-Coa-Germany}} ist „nicht wirklich“ passend für Flaggen.

Wie man an meinen Benutzerseiten de:Benutzer:Ludger1961/Liste der Flaggen in Nordrhein-Westfalen und de:Benutzer:Ludger1961/Liste der Flaggen der kreisfreien Städte in Nordrhein-Westfalen sehen kann, werden weitere folgen. Der Aufbau dieser Listen ist mit Absicht parallel zu den entsprechenden Listen der Wappen aufgebaut.

Da fremdsprachige Benutzer den Sinn und die Bedeutung der von mir geschaffenen Vorlage evt. genauso bestreiten wie bei dieser hier, wäre ich froh, wenn auch sie entsprechend geschützt wird.

Mit freundlichem Gruß --ludger1961 23:24, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


To clean up categories and categorie trees, we demand you to remove category:Insignia from this template, because Category:Insignia contains the overall subCategory:Coats of arms and double categorisation should be avoided. Thanks Havang 10:10, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Why? What's bad about double categorization? Who is that "we" who "demands" something? Did you mean "propose"? Lupo 15:45, 15 September 2007 (UTC)
Sorry for my inadequate choise of english words like demand, (I am dutch, I wrongly translated verzoeken=ask or propose). We, that's several users, and the subject is being discussed at Template talk:Blason-fr-en-it. You 'll find an explanation there. Then you understand what our long term goal is: templates which do not disturb classification trees and classifications. Please, join the discussion. (See also a short note at user:Massimop.) Good evening. Havang 19:06, 15 September 2007 (UTC) ‎

Geocoding -> Category: Location not applicable[edit]

Does somebody agree with the integration of this cat into the template? Coat of Arms don't need to be geocoded... --Stefan-Xp (talk) 17:20, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Das sollten Benutzer auch so bemerken, ohne dass man es explizit dabeischreiben müsste, oder? --Slomox (talk) 16:38, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Ja die Benutzer würden das vermutlich schon merken, aber das Tool, welches nicht geogecodete Bilder findet bemerkts nicht... ausserdem ists ja ne hidden-cat... --Stefan-Xp (talk) 17:50, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Manche merken es nicht, vgl. Commons talk:Coat of Arms. --Rosenzweig δ 21:06, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Ist es denn realistischerweise erwartbar, dass irgendwann alle oder zumindest so gut wie alle Dateien entweder mit dieser Kategorie oder mit Koordinaten ausgestattet sein werden? Denn nur dann würde es für so ein Tool auch was bringen. Wird beispielsweise vom Tool diese Kategorie eingetragen, wenn ein Mensch bei Benutzung des Tools entscheidet, dass die Datei keine Koordinaten benötigt? --Slomox (talk) 18:30, 22 November 2008 (UTC)
Naja wenn ich das Tool auf meinen Username anwende stören mich die Wappen "ohne Location" etwas... ausserdem geht es vielleicht anderen Usern ebenso, abgesehen davon wäre das schon ein großer batzen, der keine Location mehr braucht ;) --Stefan-Xp (talk) 19:00, 22 November 2008 (UTC)

Ich bin so gar nicht in der Geocoding-Geschichte drin, aber kann man den Wappen nicht die Koordinaten des dazugehörigen Ortes zuweisen? --Flominator (talk) 19:26, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Können könnte man wohl schon, die Frage ist allerdings, ob das überhaupt erwünscht ist.... --Stefan-Xp (talk) 19:59, 27 November 2008 (UTC)
Der Link oben scheint schon anzudeuten, dass das eher unerwünscht ist... siehe auch die upcoming discussion --Stefan-Xp (talk) 20:05, 27 November 2008 (UTC)