Template talk:PD-UN

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The cited UN policy on copyright predates the creation of the web. Surely there's something more current.LeadSongDog 16:09, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Template issue[edit]

Hi. When used, the template produces on the image pages the following message: NOTE: Please do not use this template directly! This is just for translation. Use {{XXX}} instead! where XXX is the name of the image. I was not able to pinpoint the source of the problem, not proficient enough in template coding. Thanks in advance if this can be fixed. --Eusebius (talk) 09:09, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Template:UN map[edit]

See also Template:UN map. It seems that the UN name and reference number must be removed from all United Nations maps uploaded to the Commons. --Timeshifter (talk) 23:27, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Unclear[edit]

UN Photo Center says "United Nations photographs are the property of the United Nations, which holds all rights in connection with their usage. Prior written permission is required to reproduce UN photos".[1] Sherurcij (talk) 05:02, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Proposed change[edit]

In light of the discussion at Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-UN I'd like to propose that this template be changed to appear as follows:

Public domain This work is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations. Prior to 17 September 1987 it was the policy of this organisation is to not seek copyright, keeping most of its documents in the public domain, in order to disseminate "as widely as possible the ideas (contained) in the United Nations Publications".

UN works not in the annex to Administrative Instruction ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.1 (available in English) published in the US before 1978 are in the public domain because they were published without a copyright notice. UN works not in the annex to ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.1 published in the US between 1978 and 17 September 1987 are in the public domain because they were published without a copyright notice and their copyright was not subsequently registered with the U.S. Copyright Office within 5 years (from 1978 through 1993 the UN did not register any document published in the US before 17 September 1987).

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it meets two requirements:

  1. it was published in the United States before 17 September 1987 by the United Nations, and
  2. it is not sourced to a document listed in the appendix of ST/AI/189/Add.9/Rev.1 (these documents were copyrighted under an exception the the general practice).

This work is copyrighted in jurisdictions that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works or that specifically extend local copyright protection to works of the U.N.


Dialog-warning.svg Note: you must include evidence that this work appears in an official document of the United Nations published in the United States prior to 17 September 1987.


Dialog-warning.svg empty


English | +/−

United Nations

Does anyone have some suggested changes or objections? —RP88 23:32, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose No need to over complicate with having an extra template when we can use one of our existing templates such as {{PD-US-no notice}} or {{PD-US-1978-89}}. LGA talkedits 00:37, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Is it your opinion that the text of the current template is currently correct or that the text of the suggested fix above is incorrect? I am not sure what you are proposing, as applying either of your two alternatives would require a great deal of work. It seems easier to change the single template that is already present on the relevant files. —RP88 00:52, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
It is my view that the AI does not constitute a valid commons licence, nor has it ever done so. LGA talkedits 01:33, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Of course it is not a license, that is a very strange remark. It's evidence that, prior to 1987, the U.N. had an official policy (except for certain exceptions) of deliberately not complying with U.S. copyright formalities. —RP88 01:42, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
It is being used as a licence/justification for hosting images a lot newer than 1987, and given it is not clear how Protocol 2 to Universal Copyright Convention and/or Uruguay Round Agreements Act and/or raft of other international treaties and national laws interact with the UN and it's copyright no amount of rewording could fix this template and make it work. LGA talkedits 05:06, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I think my proposed change to this template makes it clear that it can't be used for post-1987 works (they'd be eligible for deletion, just like they'd be if this template were deleted altogether, so whether my proposed change is made or this template is deleted the result will be the same for post-1987 works). If you are curious about how UCC Protocol 2 applies to signatories of UCC Paris, I'd be happy to explain in detail (in short the effect is to limit the number of countries other than the U.S. in which these works will be PD, but as the proposed change only claims these works are PD in the US, this is irrelevant). For the purposes of the proposed change to this template the URAA is also irrelevant, as it did not restore copyright to works whose source country is the U.S. (this is same reason that Commons can host {{PD-US-no_notice}} works despite the URAA). —RP88 05:42, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Still rather that the existing templates are used as it is still open to confusion and also rather makes the assumption that international copyright law regards the UN HQ as part of the US, which I don't think is a given and does not deal with documents published out of non-US offices.LGA talkedits 05:49, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
No assumption of UN HQ location is assumed. The location of UN HQ is not important, for our purposes we don't care if UN HQ is in NY or, hypothetically, Geneva or any other location. A U.N. work that is identified as having been, for example, published in London, will have the UK as its origin. For copyright what matters is the origin of a document, which is why the language of the proposed template requires the uploader to identify where a work was published. Worlks published in London would be eligible for deletion under the terms of the proposed template. —RP88 06:29, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
For example have a look at File:NepalPalpaDistrictmap.png then check the copyright statement on the website given as the source, no simple wording change is going to fix this. LGA talkedits 05:21, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Under my proposed change to this template, that file would be eligible for deletion as the uploader makes no claim that it was published in the U.S. before 17 September 1987. It seems like the proposed change works perfectly in this case. —RP88 05:46, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Might support a totally new template which made it clear in the name that a date was key such as {{PD-UN-PreSep87}}, but to try and change this when it has a history of incorrect usage is not the way to achieve that. LGA talkedits 05:53, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Sounds like we might be nearing a meeting of the minds! I don't particularly care whether this proposal is adopted by changing this template or creating a new one. If creating a new one is the preferred route, I'd prefer to see the PD-UN template deprecated, then deleted after a suitable time period, so that we don't suddenly drop 1300 files into the "no license" bucket. This will give conscientious uploaders time to fix their files. If we go this route, the documentation and text for this template should be updated to indicate that it is deprecated and point to {{PD-UN-USPreSep87}} (or whatever we decide is a good name plus any other templates we think are likely to be appropriate) and make sure that both the template and doc mention that files tagged with PD-UN will be eligible for deletion after a particular date (1 year from now might be suitable, but I have no strong feelings regarding this time period). —RP88 06:09, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I would rather a more proactive approach, I would plan to go through the list and try and re-licence as much as I can but there is nothing to stop us deleting files such as that map now if we can't find another suitable licence and say that any files not re-licensed in six months can be bach DR'ed. LGA talkedits 06:25, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
That sounds fine to me. —RP88 06:36, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment. In line with Stefan's comments, I think there are some significant complexities here regarding copyright law within different jurisdictions, especially when certain national laws specifically legislate copyright protection for UN works. In certain cases, the origin of publication is irrelevant when local laws legislate that UN works will be afforded the same copyright protection as if they were published within the local jurisdiction. In the absence of further ideas or evidence, I tend to agree that OTRS may be the way to go here, either with a wide-scope provision, or regarding specific works from the UN, as I think such complexities are beyond our abilities to determine with the necessary degree of certainty required here. Depending on the response, we can then re-evaluate from there. trackratte (talk) 01:07, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I think you are misconstruing Stefan's comment. The logic you propose could be used to eliminate all works on Commons licensed with the {{PD-US-1978-89}} template, as these works are generally still protected in any local jurisdiction that doesn't have the rule of the shorter term (despite being PD in the US). —RP88 01:15, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Absolutly, in which case it should perhaps be made clear in the template that it is only purporting to be PD US. Right now it's left to the re-user to assume, but from what I've seen it's much more complicated than that. My intent is not to engage in fallacious slippery slope arguments, but have something simple which can be easily understood by all re-users, with any level of copyright understanding, from anywhere in the world. For example, PD-US-1978-89 states "it is copyrighted in the countries or areas that do not apply the rule of the shorter term for US works, such as Canada (50 pma), Mainland China (50 pma, not Hong Kong or Macao), Germany (70 pma), Mexico (100 pma), Switzerland (70 pma), and other countries with individual treaties. See this page for further explanation". My apologies if my intent above was unclear. trackratte (talk) 02:14, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
OK, I've taken your advice and clarified the proposed change to make it clear that the works are only PD in the US and those countries that apply both the rule of the shorter term to US works and whose local laws don't specifically apply local copyright protection to works of the U.N. —RP88 02:31, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Works tagged with {{PD-US-1978-89}} have an extra problem, which makes them copyrighted in at least some countries which do use the rule of the shorter term. The parts of the Berne Convention which talk about the rule of the shorter term (Articles 7 (8) and 18 (1)) mention the term of the protection. Also, Article 5.2 tells that the protection may not be subject to any formality. In this case, the French Court of Cassation ruled that these articles have the effect that the rule of the shorter term can't be used, if the copyright has expired in the country of origin through failure to comply with copyright formalities in the country of origin. The case was specifically about {{PD-US-not renewed}}, but would also hold for {{PD-US-no notice}} and {{PD-US-1978-89}}. Some other countries might share France's view that the rule of the shorter term can't be used with regard to copyright formalities and might therefore not accept the {{PD-US-1978-89}} tag. On the other hand, there was a case where a U.S. court accepted Mexican copyright formalities as a valid reason not to grant URAA restoration for such works. The article in the copyright law of the United States which deals with URAA restoration contains very similar formulations about the term of a work: the work must be in the public domain in the source country through expiration of a term. The warning in the template should therefore presumably be amended because of this. --Stefan4 (talk) 12:59, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Per the discussion above, it looks like there might be support for deprecating this template following by deletion after a suitable period. I've put together a proposed change shown below, modeled after the deprecation of {{PD}} (although I've also included a firm cutoff date for all files, not just newly tagged files). Also involved in the change would be moving the category Category:PD-UN to be a subcategory of Category:PD_tag_needs_updating.

This work is excerpted from an official document of the United Nations.
Note: This tag is obsolete. If you add it to a file after 18 June 20014, it is liable to be tagged as {{nsd}} or {{npd}} as appropriate – this will result in deletion after 7 days. Furthermore, after 1 January 2015 all files still tagged with this license will be eligible for mass-deletion.

All files using this tag should be reviewed and if appropriate a new licence should be subsituted or the file nominated for deletion. You might consider one of the following license tags:


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Does anyone have some suggested changes or objections? —RP88 02:21, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Off the cuff I think it's a brilliant. The only thing being the PD-UN-PreSep87, as I'm not sure if that has been suitably resolved, or whether the distinction between policy to pursue copyright versus the subsistence of copyright regardless of organisational policy in copyright law has been suitably sussed out. trackratte (talk) 02:32, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I hope to find a solution that everyone is comfortable with. And yes, the fact that prior to 17 September 1987 the U.N. had an official policy of deliberately not complying with U.S. copyright formalities for all but a select few enumerated works is really only helpful for PD status in U.S., as failure to comply with these formalities (while dispositive for the U.S.) is not helpful in other counties (or even the U.S. for any post 1989 work). The PD status of these works does not extend to most countries, even those with the rule of the shorter term, as any signatory of UCC Paris has a treaty obligation to extend local copyright protection to works of the U.N. From what I've been able to determine, works of the U.N. that are PD in the U.S. due to failure to comply with copyright formalities are probably only also PD in Albania, Antigua/Barbuda, Argentina, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan (but note that my proposed PD-UN-PreSep87 above, in the interests of precaution, only mentions the U.S.). —RP88 03:10, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Two small things, first I think the date of effect should be the close of the DR, there is no point in continuing to allow the templates use on new uploads once we have decided to stop using it. I am ok with the end date of 1 Jan 2015, however the wording should be such as to make it very clear that it does not preclude the nomination or deletion of files before then if during the process of reviewing all the files we can't find another suitable licence; I can foresee an issue when someone nominates a file someone !voting keep with the reason "we can keep them until 2015" the point of giving us the time is so that we don't end up with a massive DR starting on 1 Jan and to review them an nominate them either individually or in small groups. For example "This tag is obsolete. If you add it to a file after <<end date of dr>>, it is liable to be tagged as {{nsd}} or {{npd}} as appropriate – this will result in deletion after 7 days. Furthermore, between now and December 31, 2014 all files currently tagged will be reviewed and if appropriate a new licence will be subsituted or the file nominated for deletion. Any files still tagged with this license after January 1, 2015 will be eligible for mass-deletion." LGA talkedits 06:48, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the first date is intended to be the whatever the effective date of the change, I only picked 1 August 2014 as a placeholder for whatever the real date will be; I'm happy to make that explicit in the proposal. I also don't have any objection to making it clear that just because it is before 1 Jan 2015 that a file is not immune to a DR. I've incorporated both your suggestions into the proposal. —RP88 07:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Instead of creating a {{PD-UN-PreSep87}} template, I think that we should create a restriction template which mentions the Universal Copyright Convention. Under other treaties, such as the Berne Convention or the WIPO treaty, works by the United Nations have a source country (for example, the United States for most works from the New York office, or Switzerland for most works from the Geneva office), and works by the United Nations therefore need two tags: a U.S. one, and a source country one (for example, a Swiss one). This is why a special restriction tag is needed: we can't have special U.N. versions of all Berne Convention tags.
For review rules, I propose the following:
  • If the tag is added to a file after a specific date, the file is immediately tagged with {{subst:nld}}, unless it also has a different copyright tag which then determines what to do with the file.
  • If the tag was added before that date, but before the "end of review" date, the tag should be corrected. If no valid tag can be found, the file can be nominated for deletion and be deleted after a deletion discussion, should no valid tag be found before the end of the discussion. Speedy tags should not be used at this stage.
  • Once we reach the "end of review" date, all remaining files should be tagged with {{subst:nld}}, with notification to the uploaders. This can easily be done using VisualFileChange.js if all files are sorted in a category.
  • A week after the files have been tagged with {{subst:nld}}, all files will either be deleted or migrated to another copyright tag. Once it has been confirmed that there are no further files with this tag, the tag is converted into a redirect to {{copyvio}} or {{no license since}}.
  • At the beginning of the review, a bot should preferably notify all uploaders of files with this tag so that the uploaders can assist with tag migration. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
I think your review rules are fine. While you might be able to convince me about the utility of your restriction template, I'm not a fan of having only the restriction template for three reasons: (1) as far as I am aware no UN work sourced to a Berne country signatory has fallen into the public domain in both the U.S and the Berne country, (2) under this scheme U.N. works originating in the US would have three tags (a US tag like PD-US-no_notice, your restriction template, and either a tag or copy-pasted text explaining the "U.N. works published in the U.S. before 17 September 1987" argument, (3) on an admittedly minor note, I'm uncomfortable with a template that essentially says "ignore parts of the PD-US-no_notice template, it is wrong". I think of {{PD-UN-PreSep87}} as a specialized source-specific version of PD-US-no_notice/PD-US-1978-89, much like {{PD-US-not renewed-TIME}} is a specialized source-specific version of PD-US-not_renewed. —RP88 22:36, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Do you think a template name like {{PD-US-no notice-UN}} (following the template naming scheme adopted {{PD-US-not renewed-TIME}}) would be preferable to {{PD-UN-PreSep87}}? Basically I think the vast majority of the files that can be rescued from deletion will be done with the rationale used above (i.e. PD-UN-PreSep87/PD-US-no notice-UN, whatever we decide to call it) and very few or even none for any other reason. I think a single tag is better than asking every file saved under the PD-UN-PreSep87/PD-US-no notice-UN rationale to use a standard PD-US-no-notice template and each one re-explain that the U.N. had an official policy of deliberately not complying with U.S. copyright formalities prior to 17 September 1987 with the relevant supporting links. If there are a few files sourced to a country other than the U.S. that can be rescued for another reason these files can have some extra-explanitory text that mention that UCC Paris means they are unlikely to PD anywhere else (or even a template if we find more than a few). —RP88 23:21, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
As the above "deprecation" proposal appears to have been adopted at Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-UN. I've updated the main template inline with the discussion above, enabled translation support, and changed the category Category:PD-UN to be a subcategory of Category:PD_tag_needs_updating. —RP88 03:53, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

First test case[edit]

It looks like Commons:Deletion requests/File:Flag of the United Nations.svg will be an interesting first test case for the recent deprecation of {{PD-UN}}. I'd encourage those interested in this issue to join in on either side of the debate, as they see fit, so as to have a useful case to refer to when processing subsequent images tagged with the now-deprecated {{PD-UN}}. —RP88 21:58, 19 June 2014 (UTC)