Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

This Wikimedia Commons page is used for general discussions relating to copyright and license issues, and for discussions relating to specific files' copyright issues. Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days and sections tagged with {{section resolved|1=~~~~}} may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

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  1. One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: "Only free content is allowed." Please do not ask why unfree material is not allowed at Wikimedia Commons or suggest that allowing it would be a good thing.
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wont let me post photos[edit]

Im new and Im trying to post a photo that I took with my own camera but its basically saying I cant post because it cant determine the source of the photo — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cityboi78 (talk • contribs) 01:34, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

If you took the photo with your own camera (or, for that matter, with any camera), then the source is "own work". This is true unless the photo is of an object that has its own copyright. in which case it is much more complicated. .     Jim . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 11:35, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

PD-MA license[edit]

A new license tag, {{PD-MA}}, was created by Simtropolitan recently. The justification given for declaring Massachusetts government works as PD seems pretty reasonable to me. However, I wanted to double-check before I go hog-wild using it for uploads. Thanks, Pi.1415926535 (talk) 05:12, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Thank you Pi.1415926535 for making this post, I should've gone through a more formal process when making that. I'm currently working for the state in Boston (though I am not acting in capacity as an official) and it's well understood here that works of the Commonwealth are public domain, whereas works of municipalities are given a certain jurisdiction of their own. If anyone feels this needs more documentation or better language, please let me know. This tag would be extremely useful for uploading items from projects like the Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), and I do feel it is better to note this than a general PD-US. --Simtropolitan (talk) 13:22, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, this seems pretty clear an straight-forward to me. --El Grafo (talk) 11:12, 11 May 2017 (UTC)
For consistency, the template should be renamed "PD-MAGov" to match similar templates for other US state governments. See Commons:Copyright tags#US States and Territories. AHeneen (talk) 19:23, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
There is already a {{PD-MAGov}} tag. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:37, 18 May 2017 (UTC)
Simtropolitan, the template relies on statements about "records". Are we sure that the word "records" includes photographs and other works of art created by Commonwealth employees? I would ordinarily assume that it does not. I would be much more comfortable with this if we got a specific statement from the AG that was worded more broadly. .     Jim . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 11:19, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Jameslwoodward, the AG referred me to the Secretary of Commonwealth's office, and indeed there is a citation given here on page 7 explicitly stating public records are considered to be-
“all books, papers, maps, photographs, recorded tapes, financial statements, statistical tabulations, or other documentary materials or data, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by any officer or employee”
I can also confirm verbally that all work created by the Commonwealth is considered public record except for technical areas where the Commonwealth is a co-owner of the intellectual property with a private organization, such as vendor owned technologies (e.g. while the transit authority owns the systems for the rail-time estimates, Daktronics displays of course still have their own patents) . I would be glad to change the language to include this. --Simtropolitan (talk) 18:28, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks very much for your effort here. However, while the quote above is very broad and answers my first question, it raises a different one. It says "...made or received by any officer or employee..." That suggests strongly that either (a) the Secretary's office is careless or that (b) the Secretary's office believes that anything sent to "any officer or employee" somehow becomes PD. That's just silly -- if I send a book -- one to which I do not own the copyright -- to my State Senator, it cannot possibly somehow become PD. Even if I do own the copyright to something I send, I doubt very much that the Commonwealth can take away my copyright. So, while we have clarity in one regard, we can't rely on something that is patently absurd. .     Jim . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 19:32, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Respectfully, that is what I was saying. This is the definition of those state works which are covered by their policy, it does not exempt the state from disclosure required when a private entity is so licensed, as with the example I gave above and the one you illustrated. That quote is one sentence from 84 pages summarizing exemptions, there are common law privileges to property owners in the broad definition of “public records". This does however address that photographs and works in other mediums created by the state, in absence of other licenses, are in the public domain. --Simtropolitan (talk) 00:22, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Can we merge these two templates {{PD-MAGov}} and {{PD-MA}}? --Wcam (talk) 01:52, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Support, didn't know the other existed. --Simtropolitan (talk) 16:27, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Scale model[edit]

Hi guys, I have a issue about scale model, in Brazil we have freedom of panorama, so we can take pictures of any building... but what about a scale model of this edification?

Seems to be grey for me...

Any ideas? thanks for our time. -- Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton m 20:04, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

The answer depends on the text of the freedom of panorama law. According to Commons:Freedom of panorama#Brazil, the law says: "Works permanently located in public places may be freely represented by painting, drawing, photography and audiovisual processes" ("As obras situadas permanentemente em logradouros públicos podem ser representadas livremente, por meio de pinturas, desenhos, fotografias e procedimentos audiovisuais.").
I think the answer is no. The law does not say that buildings are free of copyright, only that photos of buildings do not violate the copyright of the building. If the scale model is not "permanently located in [a] public place[]", a photograph of the scale model is a copyright violation. AHeneen (talk) 18:43, 15 May 2017 (UTC)
Actually Brazilian FOP (as quoted above) would not allow a person to make a scale model of a building without violating the building's copyright, but I don't think that is the question here. Scale models have their own copyright as sculptures whether the original is copyrighted or not. We all understand that a scale model of a man or a lion has a copyright. The same rule applies to scale models of cars, buildings, and anything else. Therefore photographing a scale model of anything is usually an infringement on the model's copyright..     Jim . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 11:08, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Facebook files from Flickr[edit]

Hi, We have files with Facebook mark (FBMD*), then copied to Flickr, then uploaded here. Typical case: many images by this Flickr account from File:A porta-bandeira do -timebrasil, Yane Marques, feliz da vida na abertura da -rio2016 (28267594063).jpg and forward, all copied from Facebook, and available under a free license. Many useful images for Wikimedia. Thoughts? Regards, Yann (talk) 14:34, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

I think we should be wary of potential Flickrwashing in those cases. But is is possible that there are some "cross-upload" tools, i.e. I upload something to Facebook and it will automatically be posted to Flickr? this image has the tag "instagram app", for instance. Could this be something similar? In those cases, these images could be genuine. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:55, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
The images in Category:Files from lotsemann Flickr stream and on the Flickr page look very suspicious to me. Various sizes, qualities, motifs, inconsistent tags. I suspect someone uploaded/shared them from Facebook to Flickr using the Flickr app. We should be watchful. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 18:03, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
I haven't been able to get a good feel for this one. From the Flickr stream, the FBMD photos are consistent with ones from 2015 and earlier where they were taken with a Sony phone camera mostly, and a few other non-phone cameras. There are a number of cameras, but there are multiple photos taken with each. The sizes do look phone-camera-ish (many are square). So, it's possible that the author changed his general process to upload to Facebook first, then transfer to Flickr. It sure seems like that person works at a port in Brazil, and thus gets a lot of shipping photos there. They do not look like random photos from all over, but rather his own. The Olympics photos... hrm. The vantage points sure seem like they may have been lifted from a TV broadcast, but the frame sizes are still consistent with a phone camera -- always possible he volunteered to work there and had good positions. Dunno. I'd lean that all the shipping photos are OK, but I still have doubts on the Olympic ones, unless he was there as a photographer. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:04, 21 May 2017 (UTC)

Commons:RIA Novosti[edit]

As I can see, during this co-operation project RIANbot (and only RIANbot) uploaded several hundred images from RIAN archives. The last of them have been uploaded in 2012. Please explain me, is it legal, that some users (e.g.,Igor3188) go on uploads like that (e.g., File:Valery Leontiev1982.jpg), including even images that made in 2016: File:Moscow City Nov 2016.jpg, File:Krasnodar Stadium2016.jpg. The question is: is this project ended or not? Can anyone upload any RIAN photos using the template {{RIAN-license}}? --Яй (talk) 11:36, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

@Kaganer, A.Savin, Ahonc, Butko, EugeneZelenko:@George Chernilevsky, Gruznov, Maxim, Putnik, Rubin16:@Sealle, Well-Informed Optimist, Ymblanter: --Яй (talk) 07:04, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
free photos are uploaded from the dedicated account only, those photos of 2016 are not free and the project is actually frozen rubin16 (talk) 08:47, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
+1. The project is long discontinued and none of the RIAN photos other than what was uploaded years ago by the RIANbot is freely licensed. As this is not the first misunderstanding of this kind with RIAN stuff, maybe there should be an Abuse filter to prevent users using {{RIAN-license}} for uploads (@Zhuyifei1999:?) --A.Savin 13:30, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
I hate to say that: But we have 2000 ABF conditions (and we are not fare away from reaching them) thus i am not a fan of creating a filter for such stuff. I suggest to create a script which is watching for such new uploads. --Steinsplitter (talk) 15:45, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

UK transport-related graphics[edit]

A commons user is on a mission to delete a large number of image files related to UK transport. This involves literally thousands of files, simply too many to keep up with. I feel there should be some centralised discussion of the concerns he raises, and I can find no record of such a discussion, let alone consensus. Files affected include several logos such as File:BR arrows.png and everything under Category:Diagrams of road signs of the United Kingdom. Personally I completely disagree with all the deletion requests as they fall under PD-textlogo and, importantly, are covered by Commons:Threshold of originality. As far as I can see, this proposed mass deletion of content does is not based on any consensus, just on an individual decision, and contradicts established Commons policy. If Commons policy is found to be deficient, then that should be changed first rather than thousands of files being deleted. I think this deletion should be halted, but I don't know what to do about it. Cnbrb (talk) 12:07, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, sure, these are bogus nominations. However I am concerned that ShakespeareFan00 (talk · contributions · Number of edits) is a meatpuppet of some admin type who shall finish the task. I have ceased being active on commons due to actions like this. SV1XV (talk) 17:24, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Firstly I'm not Stefan4 (talk · contribs) or Betacommand (talk · contribs), and many of the concerns could be resolved very quickly by getting an OTRS confirmation out of the relevant off-wiki parties, some people here seem reluctant to do this even if it would clarify matters considerably. I was in the process of attempting to the clarify the status of certain things in respect of the BR logo, and the former BR Typeface (Rail Alphabet) when a confusion arose as to whether "Transport" (ie the UK Road sign font) was meant as opposed to "Rail Alphabet" (i.e the British Rail font) and the respective status of each, because of this additional concern about the status of "Transport" typeface there also arose on my part an ambiguity with respect to many other design elements (not just the typefaces) within UK road signs as hosted on Commons. There is no 'mission' here, other than to have materials that Commons can clearly be said to be "freely licensed". Based on the response from the parties off-wiki, I'm not as confident about the supposed Public Domain status as others here on Commons are.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:50, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Also some of the correspondence of this is now in the OTRS permission queue.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:59, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Who are the "parties"? And why would these not fall under {{OGL}}? Also see objections at Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:British motorway plaques. --Rschen7754 18:15, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
The off-wiki parties in this instance would be the National Archives (who took over from HMSO/OPSI) and the Department for Transport. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 18:28, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Instead of saying "off-wiki responses" have concerned you, you could either directly quote, or at least paraphrase those responses on-wiki. If this off-wiki discussion is the source of your concern, then if you share it on-wiki others will understand it more easily.
@Cnbrb: in response to the last sentence of your initial post, user conduct is a matter for the admin noticeboard. This case hasn't reached this point.
ShakespeareFan00, if you continue to pile on more of these requests instead of waiting for the existing ones to resolve, then a sanction may be appropriate. For instance, there is no reason to to start this DR when this DR is active and covers exactly the same points. If the 1st DR closed as delete, that would be the right time to launch the 2nd one - and it would be closed off easily "per previous DR".--Nilfanion (talk) 21:39, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nilfanion: I am aware of the duplicate filing issue, and would be more than willing to close out the duplicated filings, I'd already struck out some entries in one of the earlier DR's because of this. The duplicated entries seem to have arisen due to the us of VisulFileChange on each successive category in turn. ( Visual File Change it seems can't check that something is already nominated.) ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 06:21, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nilfanion: The above mentioned, I don't see duplicated images between the two categories you mention? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 07:04, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
That said, some degree of common sense and basic competence is required of users. I already mentioned about this duplicate filing issue at the Admin noticeboard. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 07:00, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@ShakespeareFan00: My point here isn't a technical one to do with double-tagging. What I mean is there was no reason to start any of the DRs after you had initiated the first one to discuss a specific copyright concern. Once you have raised ONE DR to address "UK road signs may be in copyright", do not raise any further ones. The worst thing you can do is scatter the discussion across a dozen different pages - different contributors might comment at different places, even though they are all saying consistent things. The first discussion can then get a solid consensus much more easily. If its closed as "keep", it saves you having to run around tagging several hundred more files and saves the community from having to discuss (and close as keep) dozens of other cases. If its closed as "delete", again that makes discussion much easier.--Nilfanion (talk) 11:01, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nilfanion: Then your concern is duly understood with clarity, given that I had this 'dispersed' discussion problem arise previously when nominating media pre VFC. And anything that reduces the already large backlog on admins is presumably something you would openly support.
I wasn't planning on making any more DR's until the pending ones were resolved.
On the 'content-disupte' side of things, I am awaiting a response from some Department for Transport contacts which should hopefully clarify the situation.
I agree it would be ludicrous if road signs they weren't actually "usable" under OGL, but it would of course be nice to have this confirmed (again) officially, given that an ambiguity arose on some points. Commons has in the past not liked ambiguity, although I can't think of any recent high-profile examples. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:37, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
And when filing finding I was writing things like per comments on previous DR) many times." when filing them ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 12:06, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
Would you be amenable, to a standing rule about not filing "purge deletions"? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 12:06, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@Nilfanion: I agree - I'm sorry if my comments gave the impression I was complaining about user conduct. To be clear, I don't wish to complain about ShakespeareFan00 personally; I believe his submissions to be made in good faith, but possibly not the best approach. I think there are issues that need to be worked out at a higher level with regard to clarifying Commons policies. The fact there is disagreement and uncertainty means that policy such as Commons:Threshold of originality needs to be made clearer. There are simply too many individual deletion requests to deal with individually. Cnbrb (talk) 22:43, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Getting back to the substance of the content/licensing issue.

On Traffic signs the previous OTRS ticket relating to this - ticket #2015063010023764, was what was being queried as to it sufficiency, in light of subsequent correspondence with another party.

[Ticket#: 2017052210016428] contains the more recent correspondence and the relevant request for clarification. These can be viewed by those with OTRS access.

The issue, is a bit technical, and it's to do with an implied right to adapt the design elements substantially, not limited to just merely shifting existing designs between different vector/raster bitmap formats with respect to the Traffic Signs Manual or Traffic Signs Image Database derived designs, and potentially use them in ways whereby downstream users from Commons would be able to in effect produce their own modified "unofficial" versions, and use them or any unofficial designs derived, in completely unpredictable ways, which may be in conflict with the original purpose, clarity and intent of the official designs use as traffic signs. (Aside: Consider for example some of the examples of 'bad' signs in this blog post - )

A similar consideration arises with 'Motorway' and with the pictographic symbols in the 'S' and 'T' series. This isn't necessarily an issue of copyright as such, but of additional design adaptation rights (potentially implied by their use on Commons), and the non-copyright restriction on "real-world" use which is noted on the image description pages, neither of which to date the OGL explicitly covers or allows for in a satisfactory manner. (On a side note, the license used on all traffic sign images should probably be updated to be OGL3 as soon as possible.)

On the rail sign images, the issue with the BR "Double Arrows logo" is, as has been pointed out in the DR's is that of the low threshold of originality in the UK. It is has additionally been raised, that given the dates of original publication, it may depending on it's status have in fact expired in copyright terms. Unlike a govt department, the British Railways Board was a "statutory corporation", whose works (depending on the precise terms of how it was set up and then wound up) are not automatically crown copyright. Thusly a normal full UK copyright term would potentially apply, in respect of works which the successor organizations now nominally owned or controlled. Considerations of a nature related to those expressed previously in regard to road signs above, would arise in respect of "design adaptation" rights also arise.

Commons being US based has not previously taken the issue of "design adaption rights" as seriously, given the different standard of protection these attract in the US (and with respect to typefaces especially). However, Commons is a global platform, and such considerations are important to potential re-users outside the US. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:41, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

The TL:DR Summary points being :
  • The BR Logo is not necessarily Crown Copyright, or covered by OGL
  • Road signs have an implied "No Derivatives" clause under some circumstances.
  • There's an ambiguity about how far both can be adapted or modified.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:59, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

OK, that clearly shows your chief concern (about "design adapation") is not a problem. Non-copyright restrictions are not grounds for deletions from Commons (unless the file is itself illegal, as is the case for child pornography). {{trademark}} is the prime example, you can't use File:Apple logo black.svg in certain contexts. The restrictions on roadside use are the direct equivalent of that. The OGL expressly includes the ability to ADAPT files. A {{design rights}} template could be developed, to explain the impact of those restrictions on re-users.
Reading the pertinent sections of the act [1][2]: "Design right does not subsist in... surface decoration" and is infringed by "making articles to that design or by making a design document recording the design for the purpose of enabling such articles to be made." Design right is about physical objects, not pictures. A physical sign (the pole, attachment and triangular baseplate) could be protected with design rights. The picture on the sign is a form of "surface decoration" and is not protected by design right. An infringing copy of the road sign would be a physical sign which could be installed at a location, or a document explaining how to create that physical object (not just a picture of the graphic, but detailing the other aspects of the design too).
On the other hand the concern about the BR logos, whether that is the double-arrow or any of the others, are actually copyright concerns: Are the PD due to age or simplicity? If not, are they OGL? Those questions are best answered in deletion requests.--Nilfanion (talk) 09:21, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Which in respect of Working Drawings and Traffic Signs Manual, are just that
(documents which provide a technical specification on how to draw the signs, albiet based on information present in relevant current or past legislation,). An SVG file is also instructions on how to 'draw' the sign, but I concede this may be stretching this too far on a technicality.
I agree with you as to the need for a Template:Design rights template, I will open a wider discussion on this below. Would it be possible to have one for Template:Real world caution as well, (which would include things like US Govt Seals, which whilst not under a copyright restriction, do have non-copyright usage restrictions.. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 09:45, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
No. A road sign (which is a physical object you can put by a road) may be protected by design rights. But that's the entire artifact, NOT the picture on the sign. The documents tell you how to draw the picture on the sign, and no matter how detailed that doesn't tell you how to construct the sign itself. The picture is "surface decoration" and is protected by copyright but not design rights. A document infringing on the design rights would might tell you what pole to use, what material to use, how to assemble the object etc.
With regards to US seals etc that already exists - see {{insignia}}--Nilfanion (talk) 11:07, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
BTW You are welcome to link this discussion and the above logic in the DR's. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:20, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
If you agree with the above logic please withdraw the DRs which are solely about design rights. If they are still open this evening I will do the admin to consolidate them into a single discussion.--Nilfanion (talk) 11:23, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, I will consider adding a note about Qualified Withdrawal. I won't close them outright because I had been previously advised, that a non-admin closure even on a withdrawal following new information, was considered bad form. There was also some additional comments/votes for deletion raised in the discussion on other grounds (such as superceed PNG versions where SVG versions now exist.)
Your offer to collapse the discussions is welcomed, and would of course naturally be appreciated.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:30, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree with an earlier comment that by spreading the comments across a number of pages, the nominator has dispersed the comments. For example, here I made an observation that caused me to put forward a "Speedy Keep" vote. I also wasted an hour or so searching out the information. Martinvl (talk) 12:53, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

That is duly noted. It seems I may need to take a break when this matter is resolved. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 13:14, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Unless I hear anything further from the PSI contact at the National Archives of the Department of Transport, I am effectively not going to comment further.

I get the impression that the likely outcome will be to keep some (or all) of these. I can't say agree entirely given continued doubts about the status, but don't want to argue with consensus. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 07:55, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

I've closed all of the resulting deletion discussions concerning the UK Department for Transport road signage. The various arguments presented were as follows

  1. The Transport font was protected by typographic copyright and usage of the font would infringe on the rights of the copyright holder (the same also being true for the Railway Alphabet font).
    The Copyright issue concerning the 'Transport' typeface does not exist. The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) is explicit that copyright protection in typefaces essentially only lasts for 25 years from the date that the first work making use of the typeface is first marketed [3]. The 'Transport' typeface has been in widespread and continuous use since 1957/58 and even if an entirely new copyright protection was somehow created (or restored) under the 1988 Act, protection on the typeface would have lapsed in 2013 (or more likely at midnight on 1 January 2014). The second issue concerning typeface copyright protection, is that even if a typeface remains protected under copyright, the usage of the typeface in the course of producing material "typing, composing text, typesetting or printing" does not constitute an infringement of the copyright of the typeface. The copyright protection on a typeface essentially exists to stop people copying the typeface and monetising plagiarised material, it does not in any way interfere with the licensing possibilities for people producing work that makes conventional use of the typeface.
  2. The Design Rights would be infringed by presenting the material on Commons
    There are several reasons this is not the case, firstly, as is clearly stated by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) the 2D representation of the 3D design [4] in the Department for Transport drawings, manuals and in the images here would count as surface decoration, and would not infringe on any design rights, the same would be true for the sign itself, which remains a 2D surface decoration. Design rights, unless registered, expire a maximum of 15 years after their creation (or 10 years, if usage is made of the design in the first 5 years, so 10 years for almost all designs of sign, given usage was largely immediate). There's no evidence available that road signs and other design elements were registered - the Secretary of State for Transport currently has no active registered designs, so if any protection existed, it would have expired in the 1970s and even if protection was somehow restored by the 1988 Act, it would have expired somewhere between 1999 and 2004, however, there is an exclusion in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) which suggests road signs wouldn't be eligible for design right protection in any case - design right doesn't protect features which allow an object to be constructed or assembled in a certain manner in order to perform its intended function, nor does it protect commonplace objects which road signage would certainly qualify under. There's no exception to design protection for a utilitarian item, however attention should also be drawn to the Freedom of Panorama which exists in the UK, so even if design rights were to exist for road signage, photographs of road signs in situ would be covered by the Freedom of Panorama provisions covering 3D objects and the OGL licence would extend to the surface decoration on the 3D object preventing any possible infringement from occurring.

The British Railways files, which gave rise to the Road Sign DRs, remain potentially problematic, as others have commented, but the Railway Alphabet typeface no longer enjoys copyright protection. The British Rail double arrow logo is more complex, it has a current (and valid) trademark registration assigned to the Secretary of State for Transport, and for the usage of the logo not to violate copyright in this context, the copyright would need to owned by the Secretary of State for Transport making any OGL licence perfectly valid, but this would need to be confirmed. The remaining imagery may or may not have been transferred into the ownership of the Secretary of State for Transport - it is my understanding that the active copyright, design and trademark materials that were owned by the British Railways Board at the time of privatisation and the initial franchising process passed to the Secretary of State for Transport but that some of the material may have been included in the sale of assets to Railtrack, to the freight companies EWS and Freightliner, and to the many other parties who became involved with the railway at that time.

Nick (talk) 09:09, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

File:NAVSO 4thFleet Two Logo Image 103116.png[edit]

Wondering if we could apply {{PD-USNavy}} here. Thanks, —MarcoAurelio 14:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Yeah. Own work would not apply. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:28, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
this could be a source -- Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:09, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Plaque in UK[edit]

Is the plaque, File:Fletcher moss croft2.jpg, copyrightable in the UK and/or the US? --George Ho (talk) 15:05, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

It may be too simple for US but copyrighted in UK. Ruslik (talk) 14:15, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
The plaque has the logo at the bottom. --George Ho (talk) 02:05, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Would concur as to possible copyright in the UK. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:23, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Logo would be de minimis / incidental there. (Though is copyrighted if you crop to the logo alone.) Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:32, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Carl. The logo alone would not make the entire plaque copyrightable. De728631 (talk) 12:47, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

I uploaded the local copy as en:File:Plaque - Action for Birds by RSPB.jpg and then nominated the Commons copy for deletion. --George Ho (talk) 19:21, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Possibly copyrighted image[edit]

Hi! I was going over some students' work and I found this image: File:Timeline4incarceration.gif. The image looks like it was taken from somewhere, possibly a government document. The only snafu here is that the student, Arpan.pal1234, has marked it as their own work rather than attributing it to the proper source. The reason I suspect that this was not created by the student is this website, which uses an altered form of the image. I checked via the Wayback Machine and they were using it in 2015, so this was definitely taken from somewhere else. (The page is a long political rant, but the image is towards the end-ish.)

I can't seem to find it - can anyone see if they can locate the original document? I'll reach out to the student, but the class is over and they don't always respond once the class is officially over so I wanted to cover my bases. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 19:04, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

@Shalor (Wiki Ed): that appears to be a cropped & reduced version of File:US Relative Incarceration Rate.png by KJBurns, which has been here since 2010 under a {{PD-self}} licence.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 19:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
  • So that means that it's OK for the student to have credited it as their own work, since it looks like they probably did the cropping and reducing. That's a relief! Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 20:02, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Well, I’d say it’s legal, given the PD original, and probably policy-compliant, but I don’t think it’s entirely “OK”—in an academic context at least—not to include the provenance or replace the cropped-out source info with descriptive text.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 20:14, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Odia Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Poster.svg[edit]

This poster is using the copyrighted logo en:File:Logo of 2017 Asian Athletics Championships.png as part of this design. Does that make it unsuitable for Commons? -- Marchjuly (talk) 03:01, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Possibly, have you asked the uploader to comment yet? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 09:34, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
@Saumyaanaidu: Why do you think this is OK for Commons? I do not think that using a copyrighted logo to create a derivative work means the the logo's copyright is now void. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:27, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
would the questioner care to consider Commons:De minimis. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 15:28, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
It's not a photo with something that happens to be visible in the background. The logo didn't appear by itself on the poster. It is placed on the poster deliberately. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:54, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure de minimis applies to something like this for the reason given by Asclepias. The logo was added to a poster created to promote a certain event. It's not even clear if the organization which holds the copyright on the logo is an official sponsor of the event, but I'm not sure whether that would matter for Commons licensing purposes even if they were. -- Marchjuly (talk) 21:27, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
yeah - why would anyone want to put their chapter materials with corporate logos here, just upload them locally out of the reach of this lot. are you going to collaborate with this editor, or just whinge at drama boards? the principles of de minimis apply here. the louvre pyramid in the center of a photo was held to be de minimis. "deliberation" has nothing to do with it. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:04, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

"Design Rights"[edit]

Subsequent to comments in a previous thread, it was suggested that in respect of certain media, some sort of warning about potential {{design rights}} was needed, owing to the differing protections these are afforded in the US and elsewhere.

Commons already implements {{trademark}}.

Let's have the discussion about what such a template would need to say here.

The need arises because in the US and other jurisdictions certain elements of a design of for example the shape of ships hull; the mask artwork for a semi-conductor; wallpaper patterns; the pictographs used in a signage system; the shape of letters in a typeface and the respective layout metrics; the pattern on a tie, amongst many other examples can variously be subject to additional protections beyond those of copyright. These additional rights typically relate to the ability for the design elements (such as shapes, colors or arrangement) to be re-used, marketed, or adapted in other designs.

Whilst in some jurisdictions these rights are held to apply only to 3D objects, in others they can be applied for in relation to elements of 2D artwork (like a semiconductor mask, or font metrics) which would otherwise only be subject to copyright.

In addition, design rights may only apply in specific circumstances (such as real world use), or be excluded from applying if the design element is an essential functional aspect of that design, (for example its not a unique design element for a plug to have pins.)

Whilst Wikimedia Commons, generally follows the US lead in such matters, and thus certain "design rights" from other jurisdictions are not necessarily applied on commons, as a global platform, it should at least perhaps warn potential downstream users that they may be applicable. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 10:13, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for the suggestion User:ShakespeareFan00. Interesting idea - I see that some files have both the templates template:PD-shape and template:Trademarked, which together seem to indicate that a file is free to use under US law the image whilst addressing the concern that it may be restricted in some countries. I wonder if that is adequate or if a new template, as you suggest, should be created to cover this scenario? I'm not a rights expert, so don't feel qualified to comment in depth, but I think we should look at what's already established on Commons and how it can be adapted to be used more effectively. Cnbrb (talk) 10:38, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
There is {{Copydesign}} template. Ruslik (talk) 10:59, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
Duly noted, but that says the design is copyright, not subject to a "design right" an important distinction.ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:05, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
I've now placed an inital draft of a possible tag here - User:ShakespeareFan00/Sandbox/DesignRights and would welcome some feedback.

ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 08:11, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

@ShakespeareFan00: I have encountered this problem a few times and when I looked in the past I felt that there was no documentation on it. If you want to draft some documentation, then I think that would be useful. If someone establishes a place to describe the issue and how to address it, then I think others will contribute over time. One case that I tried to address was the upload of some architectural mockups in the UAE. The situation there was that an organization provided computer images of what some buildings would look like. They had their legal counsel confirm that they held the rights to the art, and the design of the building, and everything else, but Wikipedia did not then have a way to note all the copyrights and rights which they released in the upload. See one image at File:Entrance of motiongate Dubai .jpg and see links to discussions at en:Talk:Dubai_Parks_and_Resorts. There are lots of places where there is no freedom of panorama to photograph buildings and where part of the necessary release might be for the building design to be featured in a photograph. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:15, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
I'd prefer that any documentation was drafted by someone with more experience, really. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 16:23, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
@ShakespeareFan00: You have been here 10 years and made thousands of edits. I hate to give you the bad news, but you are the most qualified, insightful, and knowledgeable person in the world to address this topic and establish the precedent to guide all future human discourse in this direction. The proof of this is that you recognized the problem and asked the question. Your template is great. I think you could move it to mainspace and start using it, if you liked. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:51, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Possibly unfree image[edit]

File:Green warbler-finch.jpg looks dubious to me - only two uploads by uploader, which are wholly unrelated to each other. Google image search gives a hit for it at but my browser lists this as an insecure site so I can't access it to check. Can someone else (with good computer security!) check it out, please? - Thanks, MPF (talk) 15:12, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

At that site the photo is credited “Image provided by Wikipedia”.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 01:06, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
Tough call. The bird one was uploaded just 12 days after being taken, but I don't see any other hits. The waterfall one is from Flickr at ; it has a free license there, but also has a copyright statement in the EXIF (not really matching the username either at Flickr or here), so not really sure if that was copied from elsewhere. The Flickr account has several photos by the same Canon model... and also, a bit earlier in the stream, from a high-end Nikon model (which look like more personal photos). Stream also has photos from both an iPhone and a Motorola. Sort of odd, but might be OK -- the Flickr user would have had to copy a series of photos from another site, not just one, and maybe it's photos from a husband/wife tandem, or couple friends, or something like that. Does not look like blatant Flickrwashing. Not a whole lot of confidence the Commons uploader is the same person, but could be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:11, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Images from Tasnim needing reviewing[edit]

Hi everyone. I just thought I'd share that I noticed something while sorting through images from Category:Photos from, an Iranian media site that free licenses photographs. We sort these for license reviewing because not all content appearing on the site is under this license.

There are 1,422 images that have the Tasnim tag but have not been reviewed (and have no review template). This essentially means they have slipped past the radar because they have no {{licensereview}} tag. This number technically includes the 145 (edit: now 0!) images in Category:Tasnimnews review needed that we are tracking. Nonetheless this reveals the backlog to be much larger than previously thought.

Would it be worth having a bot go through and tag these for {{licensereview}} so they can populate the maintenance category and reviewers can get to work? Or should the template {{Tasnim}} be redesigned to include a review mechanism (like {{Pixabay}}) so that all images automatically are marked for review?

seb26 (talk) 01:57, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Packaging and copyrights[edit]

I've posted an image with packaged buckwheat and it will be deleted soon. My question is if my grandchildren can upload it after 95 years, when the copyrights expire. Thanks. Fructibus (talk) 11:09, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

It depends on whether you ever have grandchildren or not. Ruslik (talk) 13:38, 25 May 2017 (UTC)
I mean, if it can be uploaded (by whoever) after 95 years. Of course my family has better access to my work, thats why I was mentioning grandchildren. But it can be people outside of my family. My children can leave my work to some friends, etc. Fructibus (talk) 22:39, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

Wording of PD-animal template[edit]

Template:PD-animal currently contains text that reads:

This file is in the public domain, because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested.

I think this wording is inadequate, because it implies that copyright only exists if it's vested in a human author. In fact, as I understand it, if a work is written for hire, the copyright can be vested in a corporation from the outset; also,even if a human author holds a copyright originally, it can be sold and later vested in a corporation. I think the notice either needs to be shortened to omit the logical justification (just say ...because it is the work of a non-human animal) or else carefully reworded by someone knowledgeable in copyright law in order to make the logic correct.

(That's all I have to say on the subject.) -- 23:12, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Giovanna Ciocca.jpg[edit]

Does this pass muster? I'm assuming, without knowing for certain, that it's a 19-century image. It's credited to the Harvard Theatre Collection, and I got it from a 1945 journal article. Thanks for your guidance. Vzeebjtf (talk) 23:22, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

This image is certainly in public domain as it is at least 150 years old. Ruslik (talk) 15:12, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you very much. Vzeebjtf (talk) 20:25, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Template:OS OpenData[edit]

OS migrated to OGL3, so this license only applies to material issued before the shift. See here (

Ideally this tag needs updating. Only the license has changed it seems, the other things like attribution haven't. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 23:32, 25 May 2017 (UTC)

What does this cover? Does this allow us to host maps pasted from the OS Open Data Viewer? Does it extend to the OS 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 maps available on Bing maps? Verbcatcher (talk) 03:11, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
In relation to the OpenDataViewer, it might, you'd have to ask the Ordnance Survey directly. My understanding is that it probably doesn't cover the more detailed mapping on Bing which is under a separate commercial arrangement. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 06:39, 26 May 2017 (UTC)
@Verbcatcher: Yes, all scales of the maps at the OpenDataViewer are available under OGL. No, none of the maps available at Bing are (the 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 scale are the key commercial products which OS wants to keep restricted).--Nilfanion (talk) 07:59, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

Template:@nilfanion thanks. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 11:22, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Azadi tower 9.jpg[edit]

According to COM:FOP#Iran, there is no freedom of panorama for any architectural works in Iran. Can Commons accept File:Azadi tower 9.jpg this file as licensed? While there's no reason to doubt that the photo was taken by someone working for the en:Tasnim News Agency, the focus of the photo is the tower so it seems like the tower's copyright needs to be also considered. The Iranian FOP does not seem to allow any exceptions, and I don't think this is a case of COM:DM. If the Commons licensing is OK, then the non-free en:File:Azadi Tower, Tehran.jpeg uploaded locally to English Wikipedia would no longer be needed. -- Marchjuly (talk) 22:12, 26 May 2017 (UTC)

If there is no FOP in Iran then the image should be deleted. Ruslik (talk) 10:18, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
I have nominated it for deletion. —MarcoAurelio 13:49, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Justus Sustermans - Claudia de' Medici, 1626, Appartamenti reali, Pitti.jpg[edit]

Wondering if {{PD-Art}} wouldn't be more appropriate as the uploader is not the author of that painting. Thanks, —MarcoAurelio 14:46, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

{{Licensed-PD-Art}}, yes. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:57, 27 May 2017 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Thanks. I've used {{Licensed-PD-Art|PD-old-auto-1923|rawphotolicense={{self|cc-by-sa-3.0}} }}. Is that correct? I'm not used with PD-Art related issues. Thanks, —MarcoAurelio 13:43, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Yep, thanks. I added the "deathyear" argument, which PD-old-auto-1923 requires and is a bit more correct. PD-old-100-1923 would also have worked. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:12, 28 May 2017 (UTC)


This license tag is outdated. Not only did they change their url [5] but they also updated their licensing to CC BY 4.0. I'm wondering if this is retroactive so we could simply adjust our template from 3.0 to 4.0. Perhaps it would be better though to keep version 3.0 in the template and implement a parameter that will accept a number like "4" to override the standard license version for newer publications of this journal. De728631 (talk) 18:57, 27 May 2017 (UTC)

According to this upgrading a CC license requires a consent of authors who in this case retain the copyright. I, however, can not find the text of agreement that authors sign when they submit an article. So, it is not clear if they are required to consent to any future license upgrades. Ruslik (talk) 10:35, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for checking this. So I'd say we need to add an optional license version to the template. De728631 (talk) 16:24, 28 May 2017 (UTC)
...which I have now done. De728631 (talk) 17:12, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Jean de Dinteville.jpg[edit]

Another PD-Art question I have is from this new upload. I've tried to fix licensing/permission to the best of my knowledge, but National Portrait Gallery files used to be problematic in the past. If you could please review/fix it'd be good. Thanks, —MarcoAurelio 14:50, 28 May 2017 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Everything OK for me. Yann (talk) 15:45, 28 May 2017 (UTC)