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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Arkansas license plate images[edit]

Do license plate images created in Arkansas (such as en:File:Arkansas 2001 Hummingbird license plate.jpg) fall under the definition of "public record" in terms of {{PD-ARGov}}? My catch is the and that constitute a record of the performance or lack of performance of official functions part. As a separate, but possibly inconsequential note due to copyfraud, there is an ARR notice on the bottom of the source page. Thanks! --Majora (talk) 04:08, 9 October 2017 (UTC)

Is {{PD-ARGov}} even valid? I may have missed something, but w:Copyright status of work by U.S. subnational governments has no information on Arkansas, and the template looks like a near copy of Florida's, which has some court rulings to back it up -- unaware of anything similar for Arkansas. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:15, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
The information is taken directly from the Arkansas government website so I would assume it was valid. --Majora (talk) 11:25, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
The page says that The law gives Arkansans access to public records and public meetings, with limited exceptions. I don't live in Arkansas. Does this mean that I am not guaranteed access to public records and public meetings?
It sounds as if the state administration is required to provide a copy of a public record to anyone who asks for it (provided that the person lives in Arkansas at least), but does the law permit that person to produce and distribute additional copies of that public record, or does the person need to ask other interested parties to contact the state administration directly if they want their own copies of the public record? --Stefan2 (talk) 12:02, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Public record != public domain. They are different concepts which do not necessarily overlap -- you don't necessarily get commercial or derivative rights with public records, for example. Does anything in their government text mention "copyright" explicitly? The wording "It is a public record that was not created by an agency which state law has allowed to claim copyright" is from the Florida tag, where there were court rulings, and also a way for the state government to allow certain departments to claim copyright (which they do). Where is the list or such departments for Arkansas, and where is the corresponding ruling? Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:16, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
A public record doesn't even have to be a government work. For example, let's say that someone needs to present a copy of a copyrighted work as evidence in a court case. If a person was murdered, blood on a newspaper might serve as evidence of something. At least in Sweden, the court (or possibly the police) would have to provide a copy of the newspaper to anyone who asks so that the blood can be inspected. The copy probably also shows copyrighted newspaper content. Although the court would be able to provide you a copy of the newspaper, you would only be able to distribute copies of the newspaper in very limited cases (usually only in connection with information about the court case). --Stefan2 (talk) 20:00, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Right, but most of these public record / copyright crossovers would only apply to works created by government workers as part of their duties -- any public records created by anyone else would not have the copyright affected. But each state needs to decide this on their own (or have courts rule that their specific public record law or constitution already effectively have). Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:40, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
[1] gives a little insight into this. The second paragraph in the "public records law" section seems to indicate that Arkansas follows a similar reasoning to Florida or California. --Majora (talk) 22:45, 9 October 2017 (UTC)
Except they rate the copyright status for each state there, and only Florida and California are full green (which we have templates for). Arkansas is "Yellow" like a lot of other states, meaning "maybe" but no concrete information. We generally do not assume PD status for anything along those lines. Massachusetts is light green, which I think we also cover. Virginia and Puerto Rico are light green as well; Virginia looks like they have a law encouraging licensing under Creative Commons (which means we don't need a special tag), and Puerto Rico has an interesting statement that may bear some investigation. But I don't see it for Arkansas at all, at least given the information at that link, versus Florida's. Not at all close, from our perspective -- at least there have been no court rulings to confirm it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:43, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
I see what you mean. Well that is a problem now isn't it? Not that that would be that big of a deal. The license is only used on 18 files. But should I DR the template at this point? It seems like we may have overstepped by having it and using it in the first place. --Majora (talk) 01:14, 10 October 2017 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) After reading all of this, I find myself in agreement with Carl Lindberg. Many governments have "freedom of information" type laws, but I think it's quite a big leap from something such as that "freedom from copyright protection". Quite a number of people as it is already assume freely available online means free from copyright protection, but Commons obvously does not accept this logic per COM:FU. I think there's going to have to be something quite specific from the State of Arkansas itself to clearly show that it operates is similar to Californina and Florida, or a specific court ruling which does the same.
Is there a vetting process for templates such as this? If not, then maybe there should be because there does not seem to have been any discussion of this template at all to determine if it's actually appropriate. Maybe the creator (DarkFrog) was just being bold, but there should at least be some type of discussion as to whether he/she might've been too bold. If the template is not accpetable, then all of the files tagged with it will need to be deleted or re-licensed. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:17, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

Per the discussion above I have nominated this template for deletion. Please see: Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-ARGov --Majora (talk) 16:00, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

yeah it is the perpetual triumph of hope over experience. welcome to "open gov'ment" that is not really free. without a statute like florida, it will require a CC license from the photographer. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:46, 19 October 2017 (UTC)


I'm guessing the games at are still copyrighted, but if anyone has reason to think they wouldn't be, I'd love to know. At that point I'd change the licensing on these photos so they can by uploaded to Commons. - Jmabel ! talk 03:17, 10 October 2017 (UTC)

  • I get a Flickr error when attempting to visit that page. KDS4444 (talk) 20:50, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
    • Could you try again? Works fine for me. If you get an error, what is it? - Jmabel ! talk 21:10, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Two games are pictured, with two images of each.
  • Count Down Space Game - this site dates the game to 1959, which seems about right based on the cover artwork and the use of wooden bases on the game pieces. This would almost certainly have been copyrighted on release, its current status will depend on whether the copyright was renewed.
  • Atomic Arcade Pinball Tabletop - This eBay listing and this review both date this game to 1979, which is reasonable based on the use of plastics and the artwork. Commons:Hirtle chart appears to indicate that copyright will run for 95 years from publication, i.e. until 2074. Verbcatcher (talk) 21:54, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Category:Paintings by Kazimir Malevich by name in PD by the 2005[edit]

But recently uploaded. Delete? Thanks--Pierpao.lo (listening) 10:51, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

I don't see a problem here w:en:Kazimir Malevich died in 1935, so faithful reproductions of his paintings are public domain in the US, in Russia and in most other countries. Verbcatcher (talk) 11:29, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
That is not how US copyright law works. If it was first published before 1978, or before 2002 by an artist who died before 1978, it's controlled by publication date. Kazimir Malevich, under US law, seems a potential mind field; implies that several of his paintings were first published in the 1990s, which would make them copyright in the US until the 2040s, and it's also possible (though unclear) from w:Kazimir Malevich that many of his paintings could have been first published in Poland in 1927, which unlike the life+50 Russia (on the URAA date), would have made them copyright in their home nation 1996 and thus copyright in the US until 2023 (95 years from publication).--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:08, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
What do you mean? According to the country table at w:WP:NUSC, the Polish copyright term was 50 years p.m.a. in 1996 and wasn't extended to 70 years until 2003.
The ones which were first published in the 1990s are unfortunately unfree in the United States until the end of 2047. --Stefan2 (talk) 00:21, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
My mistake; I was under the apparently incorrect impression that all the EU states were life+70 in 1996. In which case, it's most likely that all of his paintings that were published in his life are PD in the US. It's still more complex than just looking at death date.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:52, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
What does "published" mean in the context of a painting? Is it sufficient for the painting to be publicly exhibited? Several of these pictures are shown in File:0.10 Exhibition.jpg, which is a photograph of the 0,10 Exhibition in Russia in 1915. Does this establish that these paintings are public domain in the US? I can see these in the exhibition photograph:
Based on this, is it acceptable to assume that all the paintings in Category:1915 paintings by Kazimir Malevich were exhibited in 1915, and are thereby out of copyright? Presumably, if we can establish that a painting was exhibited before 1923 then we should use {{PD-1923}}. If the first exhibition was between 1923 and 1989 then {{PD-1996}} appears correct, if its other requirements are met. What do we need to do to establish "publication"? Is it sufficient for a painting's title to be in an exhibition catalogue? The NYT article linked above does not say that these paintings were "first published in the 1990s". Malevich was a renowned painter in his lifetime, and it is reasonable to assume that all of his paintings were exhibited in his lifetime, at least those painted before the Soviet suppression of avant-garde art in about 1932 (see Russian avant-garde). Verbcatcher (talk) 12:06, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Everything exhibited in Russia (but not in Poland) in 1915 is additionally {{PD-RusEmpire}}--Ymblanter (talk) 16:22, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Exhibition is usually not "publication" but can be "making available to the public" in some countries -- the distinction can matter. For the U.S., exhibition alone was not publication, but there was a ruling that an exhibition in a setting which prevented photography did not amount to publication, but the court also stated that exhibition where photography was allowed would likely be different (see Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US, the Werckmeister case). So, for U.S. purposes, they were likely published (given the photo of the exhibition). Additionally, several of those would have threshold of originality problems in the U.S., most likely. The one which may have been unpublished per the NY Times story was a version of "Black Square", which would be one of those not likely to have a U.S. copyright in the first place, unless there was some argument on the individual brush stroke lines being expression. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:12, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
"implies that several of his paintings were first published in the 1990s" = now you are just fear mongering. any work from a european artist first exhibited in europe should follow the berne rules. it is a very low risk about the american publication date. do not waste everyone's time with it. we have only one DMCA with this kind of copyright trolling. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:18, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

Category:Photos by Flickerd/people[edit]

All images here in this cat seem to have an interesting Permissions clause attached, that goes against the very definition and spirit of the declared CC-BY-SA 4.0 (or so me thinks). And they are all uploaded by the same guy. P.g.champion (talk) 17:55, 12 October 2017 (UTC)

It's a user category, so it's not surprising that the files are uploaded by the same user. There's nothing against the license. It relates to guidelines and practices of Commons. In general, it's ok to overwrite files for minor changes, but if the uploader objects to overwriting the original files, it's not necessarily useful to argue with them about it. For a rationale about it, see Commons:Overwriting existing files#Respect content creators. Anybody can still make changes without consulting the author and upload as a separate file. -- Asclepias (talk) 18:53, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
However, the text looks like a disclaimer. Many free licences state that disclaimers, or at least some disclaimers, have to preserved. See for example w:WP:FIXGFDL. This makes it more complicated for people to use the images. --Stefan2 (talk) 20:54, 12 October 2017 (UTC)
I suppose this user template could cause some confusion. The template includes two parts, each addressed to a different audience. The first paragraph is a reminder addressed to all potential reusers, and the author probably had in mind especially reusers outside of Commons. The rest of the text is a special message addressed to the contributors of Commons only. The distinction between those two parts of the template may not be obvious to occasional visitors who are unfamiliar with Commons. A reader could easily misinterpret the end of the first paragraph ("... the rules mentioned here") as referring to the text of the rest of the same template, instead of referring to the text of the license, which is found elsewhere. Also, the "permission" field does not seem a good place for the message addressed to Commons contributors. The "permission" field is generally understood to be related to the license requirements or to an explanation of the legal status. Maybe we can make some suggestions to User:Flickerd:
  • It might be better to have two separate templates.
  • The reminder addressed to all reusers should be clear that it refers to the terms of the license. The words "the rules mentioned here" could be replaced by "the terms of the license". That reminder may be better placed near the license tag. There is still the problem that it might be interpreted as part of a sort of custom copyright notice in the sense of section 3(a.1.A) of the CC by-sa 4.0 license and that it should be preserved in the reuses, but that would seem to be a requirement allowed by the license if the author insists on it.
  • The message to the Commons contributors should not be in the "permission" field. It could probably be anywhere else, as long as it does not suggest that it relates to the license. An "other fields" field could be inserted if necessary. Or a separate ==section== in the page. The text of that message should actually include a line to make clear that it is a note to Commons contributors.
-- Asclepias (talk) 18:22, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion with the template, the intention behind it is basically everything that Asclepias has said. I've seen multiple users around Commons use these type of templates, so I thought it was a standard thing. I'll update the template with the suggestions made by Asclepias. Thanks, Flickerd (talk) 02:27, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Please don't think that you have to say sorry, because this is with the benefit of hindsight. Foresight doesn't have the same 20/20 vision. I worked with user:Jarekt to create Commons:Credit line. Maybe we can put together another essay to give guidance on how copyright owners can point out that the original upload was for a specific purpose and the author does not wish it to be overwritten, whilst at the same time allowing derivatives. If we have this guidance all in one place, then individual editors don't have to reinvent the wheel each time. P.g.champion (talk) 12:50, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Put together a short Preservation of original uploaded images. to see where we agree (and disagree) on how to avoid confusion. The actual template and wording we can magic up after. Hoping this is maintaining the spirit of both WP and CC. P.g.champion (talk) 16:23, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
given the rampant overwriting and "image improvement", you should expect more templates like this in the future. you could also say: "please follow the overwrite policy or you will be reverted". and given the allowed hybrid licenses do not know how anyone could object. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:10, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

This is an US government work, isn't it?[edit]

I was wondering whether the bathymetric maps here fall under PD-USGov. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 12:21, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

I think so. Ruslik (talk) 18:56, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
It is not that clear. The top left image is from Google maps. legal-notices Legal Notices Lower down is the bathymetric map which uses a google API Application programming interface and google states that by using their API (which is not copyrightable) they own everything that you download, even though -as a tax payer- you paid for the data and it is your data. Take this up with your congress man – unless he owns google shares as well. P.g.champion (talk) 16:50, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Yeah, that map is certainly Google's but I see no indication that the PDF bathymetric map is in any way connected to Google. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 14:36, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, your right! The bathymetric map is google free so look like is falls under PD-USGov. P.g.champion (talk) 16:24, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Flag/seal uploads by User:Coliop-Kolchovo[edit]

Coliop-Kolchovo has uploaded quite a number of government flags and seals as "own work" (see Special:Contributions/Coliop-Kolchovo for reference). While some of these might be possible to convert to PD using templates such as {{PD-CAGov}} or {{PD-FLGov}}, there seem to be many which might be protected by copyright. Regardless, it does not seem as if any of them would be considered "own work", but might possibly be derivatives instead. Can Commons except these files as licensed? -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:17, 14 October 2017 (UTC)

The uploader needs to identify a valid public domain template. I suggest adding {{PD-CAGov}} or {{PD-FLGov}} wherever applicable and probably nominate the rest of them for deletion. I'd use individual deletion request instead of a mass nomination in case the uploader can show that some of them are {{PD-US-no notice}}. --Stefan2 (talk) 23:54, 14 October 2017 (UTC)
Probably none of those svg versions are "own works" in the sense of "not copied from the works of someone else". For example, File:Coat of Arms of Jalapa Department, Guatemala.svg looks like a copyvio of File:Coat of arms of Jalapa.png because it does not credit the author of the original gif (later png). But perhaps it could have been properly licensed if attribution had been given. (Assuming a generous interpretation of the original "permiso concedido" by the author as meaning the GFDL chosen by the uploader of the gif.) -- Asclepias (talk) 03:17, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
@Stefan2, Asclepias:. Thanks to you both for taking a look at these files. I also asked about them at User talk:Jcb#User:Coliop-Kolchovo and was advised that COM:DR was probably the best way to resolve those files whose licensing is unclear. Do either of you think there are other files besides the California, Florida, and Jalapa ones which might be able to be saved? -- Marchjuly (talk) 21:27, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Well, any US flags and seals which have been unchanged since before 1978 are almost certainly {{PD-US-no notice}}. Don't depend on the years on some of the symbols as those tend to indicate when the place was incorporated, not when the symbol was created. It's really the uploader's responsibility to identify the year of first publication, though. --Stefan2 (talk) 21:55, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Can any image be saved? The only way to know is to do a serious research about each image and find where it comes from. It can be very time-consuming.
As noted above, all or almost all uploads by User:Coliop-Kolchovo are probably plagiarisms. Plagiarisms can be copyright violations, when the image from which it is copied or derived is not free or is under a license that requires attribution. They may not be copyright violations in the U.S. when the other image is in the public domain in the U.S., although they are violations of the author's rights in most non-U.S. jurisdictions.
Your first obstacle to your research is the fact that the uploader did not provide the sources and did not credit the authors. So, you start with very little information. What helps is that many images seem to be copied from other images from Commons. Even when you find the immediate source, you may realize that was only the easy part of the research. Because the immediate source may have copied or derived its own image from another source, from the work of someone else. At each step, you must look if there was a compatible free license.
Also, please note that you would be starting with a wrong idea if you think that you can put a "Gov" tag on some images of flags of California or Florida. It's not as simple as that. The general designs may well not be copyrighted, but that's often not the problem. What you must really check is the status of the actual source image. Many, maybe all, those source images are probably images that the artists drew on computer, probably later than 1989. As original drawings, they are copyrighted to the respective artists. (Unless they were drawn by CA or FL government employees, but that's not necessarily the case. Many images are drawn by vexillologists who publish their artworks on various websites and they are copyrighted.)
Example: In the files uploaded by User:Coliop-Kolchovo, let's take, at random really, the file File:Flag of Yolo County, California.svg. Although no link is provided, a search on Commons leads to File:Flag of Yolo County, California.png. A comparison of the images shows that, although tiny details may be different, the svg file uploaded in 2017 is obviously almost identically copied or derived from the png image uploaded in 2013. (Or both could have been copied from a preexistent third image, but that does not change the problem.) The svg is not an independent original creation derived from a textual description or from looking at a tissue flag or at some image printed in an old book. The svg is copied or derived from the preexisting recent computer drawing originally created by someone else. Now, we see that the png file we have found so far was tagged by its uploader with PD-CAGov. Does that mean that it's ok? Is this the end of our research? Ha! Let's not be naive. We're only beginning.
The uploader of the png file may have been mistaken about the status of the image, but he was honest: he provided the source ( and tried to credit what he thought looked like the author. The present state of the source page has changed since the 2013 upload. We will look at it later, but first let's use the Internet Archive website and have a look at what the source page looked like in 2013. It probably looked like this: [2] (I am taking an older version to get the original colours of the image.) The artist is credited as Jens Pattke. There is also a source which refers to the Gaceta de Banderas, which is a bulletin of the Sociedad Española de Vexilología (SEV), the Spanish Society of Vexillology (their website: [3], under non-commercial CC license).
If we now look at the present version of the source webpage at crwflags [4], we see that someone has added some information about the origin of the flag and a photo of an early flag [5].
Let's put all this in chronological order. It's not entirely clear, but let's try to make sense of it as best as we can. It seems that the first design of the flag was created in the 1930s by some people in some Agricultural Commissioner's Office (of the county?). Let's assume that this design is public domain. The Spanish Society of Vexillology published a description of the flag. In 2001, Jens Pattke created an image on computer and published it on the website fotw/crwflags. (Assuming the basic design and description of the flag are free, he could use those elements to create his new computer image.) Jens Pattke's 2001 image is copyrighted. Note that images on crwflags are not free. They are under a non-commercial and no-derivatives license [6]. You can find a ton of deletion requests on Commons about crwflags images. The PD-CAGov tag on "File:Flag of Yolo County, California.png" is wrong because the 2001 computer image created by Jens Pattke is not free. (A Commons user could probably create his own free image from the public domain basic design and description of the flag, but he can't copy or derive from the 2001 drawing, which has its own copyright.) Finally, the svg version uploaded by User:Coliop-Kolchovo can't be free if the image from which it is copied is not free.
-- Asclepias (talk) 03:05, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
It was my assumption that the user had taken official drawings from the websites of various governments and vectorised those. If the user in fact has taken random images from random sources, then that is a completely different thing. It's possible that some files can be saved if a correct source is provided, but as no correct source has been provided, better start a DR and let the uploader identify the correct sources if he wants to keep any of the files. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:23, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

Girls' Generation[edit]

I was checking the licencing for this photo which was reviewed by User:INeverCry. I can't find any indication of a free license in the source given. Rather I found "Copyright © Kakao Corp. All rights reserved" here. Am I missing anything? --Mhhossein talk 05:52, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

no problem, since the source page is (archived), and please see the small CC-BY icon at the right bottom of source page (html code:<img id="ccl-icon-981-0" class="entry-ccl-by" src="//" onmouseover=", 3)" onmouseout="tistoryCcl.hide()" alt="저작자 표시" style="width:15px;height:15px">). Kakao Corp is not the copyright holder of the image but the indivisual owner (pabian) of the source blog (like flickr/youtube).--Puramyun31 (talk) 06:14, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

I could see the very tiny icon after your comment. Thanks. --Mhhossein talk 12:15, 15 October 2017 (UTC)
Just FYI: User:-revi/Tistory. — regards, Revi 02:12, 20 October 2017 (UTC)


Commons:Deletion requests/File:Kiano Logo czarne RGB.png is about if Kiano Logo czarne RGB.png is below the Commons:Threshold of originality or not when using {{PD-textlogo}}. I am uncertain, but leaning towards below. Other opinions? --Jarekt (talk) 18:15, 15 October 2017 (UTC)

  • Is there other examples from its country of origin so that we can compare this with them? --Mhhossein talk 05:09, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

Wikimedia content copied into an external for-profit stock photograph database.[edit]

Someone named Paul Fearn appears to be uploading Commons images to a website called Alamy Stock Photo, without attribution, where they are "licensed" for $20+. Exhibit A-1, Exhibit A-2; Exhibit B-1, Exhibit B-2; Exhibit C-1, Exhibit C-2. How do we address this sort of thing? BD2412 T 14:55, 16 October 2017 (UTC)

We should not automatically accept Alamy's attribution of these images to "Contributor: Paul Fearn / Alamy Stock Photo". It appears that anyone can upload images to Alamy and it is unclear what checks, if any, they make on the claimed authorship. Most of Paul Fearne's uploads to Alamy appear to be historic images.[7] Alamy has 18,170 pages of images contributed by Paul Fearn, with about 100 images per page. They may have been uploaded by a bot trawling the net for suitable images. These images in question may have been copied from Commons.
On this basis we should discount Alamy's attribution of these images. Verbcatcher (talk) 16:12, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Sorry BD2412, I should have read your question more carefully. I see that you also concluded that these images were probably uploaded from Commons to Alamy. Is there anything to be gained by Wikimedia Foundation contacting Alamy at a corporate level? It appears that Alamy are selling licenses for material for which they do not own the copyright. Verbcatcher (talk) 16:24, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
If it was just one image, I would chalk it up to coincidence, but it seems obvious that these are being taken directly from Commons. I picked a few more from the list, and in every instance, not only is the image one of ours, but the description copies our description or file name (e.g. File:New London Union Station after construction.JPG, "New London Union Station after construction". I do think that some action should be taken at the corporate level. If they are scraping our database for images (even public domain images), they should acknowledge that they are doing so. BD2412 T 16:45, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
We shouldn't be too quick to throw brickbats, lots of images on Commons have dubious copyright status. Alamy say they are not claiming copyright of public domain images, their website was this disclaimer:
  • Our website might have some collections that include images that are in the public domain, not protected by copyright or where the copyright ownership is unknown. Content can enter the public domain when copyright has expired, has been forfeited or is not applicable. For these images we don’t claim any copyright or other intellectual property rights and neither do our contributors, we just provide you with access to a copy to use in line with the terms of the license you buy. Other copies of these images might be available elsewhere for free.[8]
All of the images mentioned above are public domain. We license BD2412's exhibit C (Commons, Alamy) with {{cc-zero}}, which amounts to public domain and does not require attribution. The Alamy page says "Contributor: Paul Fearn / Alamy Stock Photo", but it does not assert that he is the photographer or the copyright holder. So where is the problem? Verbcatcher (talk) 18:34, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
I suppose the problem is that they are charging people to "license" public domain images originally curated here. To a lesser extent, they are also copying our image names, and although these are highly descriptive, they do in some cases represent our original contribution to the works. Of course, even if they were renaming the works, I would still find the uncredited copying problematic. BD2412 T 21:00, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
Wikimedia has no copyright ownership at all, so there is nothing they need to credit. A source website is often credited as a courtesy, but once public domain, they can do what they like. They are providing a service, if you want to pay for it. In this case, the service may be collecting images so that their customers can find relevant images without searching elsewhere. If the customers are fine with paying for the images in that situation, then no problem. If those customers want to spend time finding images they don't have to pay for, then that's also fine. But their "license" is probably more like a contract, which can bind both parties regardless of the copyright status. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:15, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment It's likely they'll keep doing this, and they'll get away with it. Even with the disclaimer, they will probably continue to harass people who use these public domain images, sending demand letters for back royalties. See w:Carol M. Highsmith#Getty Images/Alamy lawsuit. Guanaco (talk) 21:07, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Individual photographers who didn't use PD or CC0 licenses and find their works on such sites may sue for copyright infringement. Reusers of PD and CC0 works who get such demand letters for back royalties in the mail can have the USPIS prosecute for mail fraud if the USPS was used.   — Jeff G. ツ 23:54, 16 October 2017 (UTC)
My two cents, as someone whose photo was copied (see above). It's perfectly fine with me. I use the cc0 license, which states "The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law. You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission." That's what they are doing, and it's perfectly in scope for this license. best wishes all, Daderot (talk) 09:52, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Would you feel the same way knowing that after your gone, your descendants my find themselves being billed for the use of your own photographs because Alamy has them on file and sending threatening letters to your descendants:
Interest on overdue Invoices and reasonable recovery costs
1. Unless otherwise agreed by us in writing, all Invoices are payable by you within 30 days.
2. If you do not make full payment of an Invoice on time we reserve the right to charge interest on the outstanding amount at the rate prescribed by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 from the date payment was due until payment is made.Terms and conditions
30 days is not a long time to decide whether or not to pay for independent legal advice (which is not only expensive but they may not think they can claim back if you're no longer around to advise them). After your gone, they may up having to pay up a fee rather than chance having to pay more from late payments! Whilst they can be used for commercial purposes, the CC licenses still stipulates that must remain free as in beer and image libraries should not use their legal departments to claim ownership on threat of financial penalties. For those here with loads of CC contributions, designate in your Will 'now' who you want to inherit on to your CC copyrights. P.g.champion (talk) 17:38, 18 October 2017 (UTC)
To be honest, give me a break. This is not a problem that I have. nor my descendants (who I know well). with best wishes, Daderot (talk) 00:39, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
WMF has been talking about defending free knowledge. eventually alamy or getty will find another "patsy" who will sue about their rent seeking. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:54, 19 October 2017 (UTC)
Scams are not merely a successful business model -- today they are the only successful business model, except maybe in China. That's normal, but what worries me most about this is the other shoe. The company cannot obtain sole custody of any particularly valuable image (where people would check) so long as they exist on Commons. So it has a profit motive to get the images deleted. Question is, will they decide to lie meekly by and let their future profits evaporate, or will they start a whole bunch of AFDs on the images so that they are the only ones distributing them? Citing their tender concern for privacy, propriety, and the "precautionary principle" of course!
The answer is probably the same as for some other image collectors who have the capital to sit on their images for a few years, so that we never know why boneheads are turning out to delete Wikimedia's copy.
In the end copyright is a slave system, a peculiar institution that is inherently violent and which can only be dealt with as such. Wikimedia is meant to be an inspiration against that mentality but it is not by itself the answer to it. Wnt (talk) 00:00, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
yes, and to what extent does a zealous deletionism, that doubts any upload as PRP, that is also at Getty, and precludes any fair use that is distributed by Getty, reinforce the copyfraud business model. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 12:59, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

National Army Museum[edit]

Is this image of four miniature paintings from 1857 OK to upload here? The page makes a copyright claim and it's not 1 image but 4 arranged for the photograph. Or will it be OK to crop the image and upload each of the miniatures one by one? Thanks.—Cpt.a.haddock (talk) (please ping when replying) 16:38, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

@Cpt.a.haddock: In my view it is ok to upload images of the four paintings individually because each of them is "a faithful photographic reproduction of a two-dimensional, public domain work of art". I would tag them with {{PD-Art-two|PD-UK-Unknown|PD-1923}}, on the basis that they are located in the UK. Verbcatcher (talk) 18:11, 17 October 2017 (UTC)
Thank you :)—Cpt.a.haddock (talk) (please ping when replying) 18:21, 17 October 2017 (UTC)

Copyright status of New Jersey government works[edit]

More experienced people are welcome to weigh in on this discussion. Because, honestly I don't know and I would like someone to tell me. GMGtalk 23:31, 18 October 2017 (UTC)

section F: "However, the State makes no warranty that materials contained herein are free of Copyright or Trademark claims or other restrictions or limitations on free use or display. Making a copy of such material may be subject to the copyright of trademark laws." [9] not even close. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:49, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

A for-profit newspaper using a CC-licensed image[edit]

I make thousands of road maps for state highway articles on (English) Wikipedia and with the exception of two (for specific reasons), I release the maps under the Creative Commons license as I don't want them fully in the public domain but I want them "free" enough to be used throughout the several wikis. Xenon54 (talk · contribs) let me know about the Loudoun Times-Mirror using my map of Virginia State Route 9 (specific file: File:VA 9 map.svg) on an article about an accident on the road. [10] The map image in the article was cited as "Courtesy Image/Wikipedia Commons," is this enough attribution to satisfy the needs of the CC license? I'm not looking to file multi-million lawsuits against a county newspaper, but I would want a little more effort to credit the original author. Also, is that license I use for all maps I create appropriate for what my general needs are? Thanks in advance —Mr. Matté - En. 'pedia talk 00:58, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

For the record, it's in the print edition (out today) without any attribution whatsoever. I'd just write them an angry letter to be honest. They've got a staff of like 10 or 20 probably none of whom know any better. Xenon54 (talk) 01:08, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
I'd recommend you use the 1= argument on the CC license to make it absolutely clear how you want to be attributed. Even without that, however, I think the CC license is quite clear that they need to mention the license and the author's name, neither of which they did. There's counterbalances of usability and simplicity, but I'd recommend just going with the {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} or {{Cc-by-sa-4.0}} instead of the omnibus {{Cc-by-sa-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0}}; it's a lot easier to know exactly what rights you're giving away if you use one specific license instead of several, and having several licenses can make for more loopholes for people to argue over. (The GFDL part is probably fine; I can't see anyone using it unless they're adding it to a larger GFDL work, and it has more onerous rules than the CC-BY-SA does.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:18, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: I multi-license all my contributions, with the exception of my user pages (which are licensed under the GFDL), as {{self|GFDL|Cc-by-sa-4.0,3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0|migration=redundant}} along with all future CC-BY-SA licenses.   — Jeff G. ツ 03:27, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Sure. That's most convenient for reusers if you insist on the SA restriction. But it will make it harder to enforce your restrictions.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:21, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
They are indeed in violation of the CC-BY-SA license to your illustration. As Profiles mentioned, the CC-BY-SA license requires that they attribute it with the name of the original author, if supplied, as well as identify and link to the CC-BY-SA license. An appropriate credit line should have instead been something like:
By Mr. Matté, CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons.
As they did not comply with the terms of the license, they've technically violated your copyright. —RP88 (talk) 01:36, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Your DMCA takedown request letter could go to   — Jeff G. ツ 02:09, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
It could; but I think that's the wrong way to do it. The DMCA isn't meant to protect newspapers--IANAL, but the Safe Harbor provision protects Internet intermediaries, not publishers--and is clearly inapplicable to the printed newspaper. If he's not looking for money, a well-worded letter will get the online article amended and a correction in the printed paper noting the proper attribution.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:36, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: Ok, Mr. Matté could send "a well-worded letter" there. Do you know of any online samples of such letters?   — Jeff G. ツ 03:36, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Meh, just a side effect of our own problems. As long as we are overly concerned with wordy templates over interface design, people will never use our images correctly. We are self obsessed, insular. We are a vault of theoretically reusable files to which only we can contribute. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:49, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
yeah, it is rare that the old distribution channels can actually attribute as we specify. and we do not make it easy with a wall of tl;dr. it is a culture clash. the WMF talked about defending free culture, but i'm sure they will save the drama for an egregious case. you could try a DMCA takedown, if you wanted to escalate. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 12:54, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Wordy templates? File:VA 9 map.svg has a grand total of 200 words under the heading "Licensing". A newspaper that pumps out tens of thousands of words a day doesn't get the excuse that they can't bothered to read 200 words. People don't use our images correctly because licenses are complex and people can't arsed to, at all or at least towards people who can't sue them into the ground.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:30, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment: Some templates of "a well-worded letters" would be useful. Is anybody who is a good words-smith up-to it? It is difficult for many, in the heat of the moment, on finding ones images being used without attribution to send off a cool headed missive to the publication, pointing out CC and the law. Such attempts to correspond these day are by email and the staff at the other end, just delete them as a matter of policy -unless sent by a lawyer. Currently and for many months I have been wondering how to approach a Church, (local newspaper too, etc., but that's a different matter) that use WC images (and not only mine) who omit attributions. The feed-back I get from people who own companies that maintain these sort of websites and upload these images is along these lines: (1) “In the small-print of our contract we make sure that the client is held legally responsibly for any copyright infringements regardless of were we get them from. (2). If are clients receives a email questioning copyright then will simply tell them to ignorer it as another example of W:Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells. What the website company does not and never says is that they don't expect the 'amateur' copyright owners of a WC images to be in the finical position of ever suing them. (3) For this reason, the web-masters can take out very cheap insurance against getting sued, who's insurance companies will quickly point out that the fine-print says that the client is responsible.
    Don't want to put this Church in the position of finding themselves on a three horned dilemma, where they have to pay for legal advice only to find out 'they' are indeed stealing images because the web-master is omitting attribution and they have a contract with a company that thinks this is OK and doing it on Church's behalf. So, some compressive templates would be very useful. P.g.champion (talk) 14:31, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

File:Mascot Pachi greets US Ambassador Bruce Heyman at the 2015 Pan American Games (18959014963).jpg[edit]

Even though this photo is licensed as {{PD-USGov-Military}} and {{cc-by-2.0}}, I am wondering if those licenses can be applied to the mascot imagery depicted in the photo. If they can, then maybe there's no need for the non-free en:File:Pachi 1.jpg uploaded locally to Wikipedia. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:47, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

Werner Machold[edit]

File:Werner Machold.png. I think it's a copyvio (see original in Pinterest), but I can not find the data of the original photo as to determine its copyright status. Any help? --Metrónomo's truth of the day: "That was also done by the president" not an excuse. 20:23, 20 October 2017 (UTC)

I am not sure why you think that it is a copyvio? Ruslik (talk) 20:55, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
Is a photo cropped of an image copied from the internet that is claimed as "own work", even if it is a photograph of the Second World War. All other images that the user uploaded are obvious copyright violations, but I do not know if this is public domain or not. The same image is on several internet sites, but I can not get any information about its author or date of capture. --Metrónomo's truth of the day: "That was also done by the president" not an excuse. 22:05, 20 October 2017 (UTC)
It is likely PD in USA as it is {{PD-US-no notice}}. On other hand it may be PD in Germany as {{PD-Germany-§134-KUG}} Ruslik (talk) 17:58, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
There is a slightly wider crop than Pinterest's out there (see here), so there is some independent source. But not sure what it could be. Machold was shot down in June 1941, and was a prisoner the rest of the war, so the photo was taken before then. Sounds like he won the award he is depicted with in early September 1940, so it was taken on or after that date. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:30, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

The White House[edit]

There are some images from The White House, which are tagged {{PD-USGov}} like this one, but per EXIF data they are NC-ND. Delete? --Achim (talk) 09:51, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

EXIF data and photographers cannot ignore the copyright law which says that works made by US government employees as part of their US government duties are public domain. The EXIF states that en:Shealah Craighead is the photographer and from what I can tell they are not a press or private photographer but a government employee. Now it's not so easy to tell given how messy this administration is, so a second opinion is warranted. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 10:40, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
Yes, there have apparently been some past mistakes. However, official photographs published by the White House with no caveats with specific licenses against the photographs, can and should be treated as public domain unless there is a verifiable claim otherwise by the photographer. It is the duty of the White House to publish photographs correctly, and as the publisher they must take full legal responsibility if they make mistakes. In this case, alternative licenses in the EXIF data is not abnormal, and is likely to be the photographer not changing the settings on their camera or gallery software from other work. -- (talk) 11:10, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
It has nothing to do specifically with "this administration". The notice has been on White House photos for a long time. See also Commons:White House photostream. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, that's useful to know. It's legal flimflam of course, as Carl explains below. -- (talk) 18:18, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
They are kept. Commons considers them public domain in the United States. Non-copyright restrictions apply. Copyright restrictions can apply outside the U.S. You can search in past discussions if you need more details. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
They are kept, as there is no copyright on them by law. Looking at the EXIF, it almost seems as though they are using the NC aspect to emphasize the {{personality rights}} situation (which can apply, but are a separate right than copyright), and the ND possibly to discourage "manipulation", which in some circumstances could violate moral rights (though not in the U.S.), or be slander or misrepresentation, or things like that -- also unrelated to copyright. They cannot use copyright as a way to enforce those desires though, which is the main aspect of being "free" and Commons:Licensing. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)