Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

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URAA revisited in 2019[edit]

In the context of restoring files newly in the PD at the beginning of this year, there was some discussion about the restoration of files now in the public domain in their country of origin (like the Netherlands, Germany or other countries with a protection term of 70 years after the creator's death), but still protected in the USA for several (up to 25) more years because of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA).

Some were in favor of restoring them, others (me among them) for waiting with the restoration until the files are free in the USA as well, as it is still Commons policy to only host files that are free both in their country of origin and the USA (Commons:URAA-restored copyrights: "If the end result of copyright evaluation is that there is significant doubt about the freedom of a file under US or local law, the file must be deleted in line with the precautionary principle.")


A timeline:

URAA timeline
Current situation

I hope I've included all relevant events in the timeline. My conclusion is that regarding files affected by the URAA, we have a mess on our hands, and this has been the case for years. The WMF basically says that we should respect US law and delete infringing files, but the WMF itself will only act when forced to (like by a takedown request), else it will look the other way. The German wikipedia has hosted files affected by the URAA (but PD in Germany etc.) for years without any problem from the WMF as far as I know.

Meanwhile on Commons, there's a bit of a confusion. Some argue in favor of deleting/not restoring URAA affected content, others argue to more or less ignore the URAA. Users are constantly uploading new files still protected in the USA because of the URAA, some tagging them with {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}, which says the template shouldn't be used for newly uploaded files.

I filed several deletion requests for such URAA-affected files (PD in their country of origin, but still protected in the USA), which wasn't received well by some users at the German wikipedia and here. Several of the files were uploaded recently, so they are not remnants from the years before 2012 when many users basically thought the URAA would be struck down by the US Supreme Court.

One of those requests, Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Hugo Erfurth, was closed by Jcb as "Keep" with the rationale "see COM:DIU - the hypothetical copyright in US is only imaginary. In line with the WMF point of view, the vast majority of admins does not delete files for this reason."


  • despite the (later) outcome of Commons:Review of Precautionary principle which concluded that there is no community agreement to host files affected by the URAA (on Commons).
  • Despite the fact that the WMF has actually said that infringing content should be removed (but it would only act when being forced to).
  • And despite the fact that the URAA is enforced by US courts (thanks to User:Clindberg for these examples, originally from here):
    • Toho v. Priority Records: This was on some Godzilla stuff. There was some infringement of some sound recordings which did not need to be restored in the first place, but there was additional infringement of a restored musical composition copyright as well.
    • Toho v. William Morrow: More Godzilla; the films never lost copyright (and the character was infringed), additionally some publicity stuff was ruled to be restored, and also infringed.
    • Troll Co. v Uneeda Doll Co.: This was on some troll dolls which lost their U.S. copyright due to lack of notice (1965 case ruling), but then got restored. The restoration was not being contested, but was more about if the defendant was a "reliance party" (they were not).
    • Dam Things from Denmark v Russ Berrie Co.: This is on the same troll dolls; the dolls were restored but the case was remanded to a lower court because they did not properly evaluate the derivative works status in regards to being a "reliance party".
    • Peliculas Y Videos Internacionales v. Harriscope of L.A.: This was on some Mexican films which got restored. The ruling was again more based on whether the defendant was a reliance party (they were for 22 of the 29 films).
    • Alameda et al v. Authors Rights Restoration Corporation et al: More Mexican films; the District Court ruled infringement on 81 of 88 films. The appeal addressed the remaining seven; they were ruled PD in Mexico in 1996 (by virtue of being produced before January 1948 and thus PD in Mexico due to failure to comply with Mexico's own registration requirements at the time), and thus ineligible for restoration. The infringement of the 81 others was upheld.
    • Elkan v. Hasbro: This was on the Stratego board game. It was ruled simultaneously published in the U.S. and Canada, and thus not eligible for restoration.
How to proceed?

So how should we proceed? As I see it, there are three options:

  • 1) Do nothing. Not the preferable course of action in my opinion, the confusion would continue.
  • 2) Delete files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin.
    • Advantages: Compliance with US law, which is mandatory for Commons because of the ties of the WMF to the USA. Protection of content re-users in the US from potential legal trouble when re-using content not PD in the USA.
    • Disadvantages: Not giving users outside the US (that includes various wikipedias) files which are PD in their respective source countries. Angry users from those countries.
  • 3) Allow files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin.
    • Advantages: Giving users outside the US (that includes various wikipedias) files which are PD in their respective source countries. Happy users from those countries.
    • Disadvantages: Non-compliance with US law, which is mandatory for Commons because of the ties of the WMF to the USA. Potentially exposing content re-users in the US to legal trouble when re-using content not PD in the USA. Files could still be deleted when the WMF is forced to act because of a takedown request or similar.

There's probably a million more things to say, but I'll stop here, this is already long enough. Thoughts, additions, proposals? --Rosenzweig τ 14:24, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Comparing your 3 options with m:United States non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter term#Statement from Wikimedia Foundation, your option 2 resembles hard enforcement and your options 1 and 3 partially resemble no active enforcement. Similar to Chinese Wikisource, I would like to modify your option to better resemble no active enforcement by negatively allowing (not positively encouraging) affected works only with some conditions:
  1. Tag Template:Not-PD-US-URAA as amended to warn that hosting these files is only provisional, subject to copyright holders demanding taking down with no permission.
  2. If copyright holders openly allow us to host the files with permission not compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL, like allowing Wikimedia to host but not commercial, derivative, or subsequent usage, then allow them here only when properly tagged.--Jusjih (talk) 04:34, 15 June 2019 (UTC)


Another option: Move the servers to a more friendly country, where such massive deletion of free information is not necessary. All this extreme anglocentrism of this project is here again detrimental to our goal of free and open information. This pictures are only in one country not usable, so there should be made provisions by the WMF to comply somehow for this single country without restricting the whole wikiverse. The WMF has more then enough money and personal ressources to cater for that, it's their core task to do so. Information destruction for 98% of the wikiverse should not be an option. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:43, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

That has been discussed at length before. Bottom line of the discussions: You would (perhaps) solve one problem, but create others instead, because you most likely couldn't host files that are free in the US (but not elsewhere) on such servers in another country. --Rosenzweig τ 14:48, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
And? Why should this single country get a special treatment? Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:51, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Probably because the Wikimedia Foundation is based in the USA and a substantial portion of the users of the Wikimedia projects are from there too. --Rosenzweig τ 15:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
So move it to another country, it should not be that difficult for an international enterprise to move around to more friendly countries. A move would not implicate a move of employees as well, but I expect the vast majority of those will work somewhere around the world anyway, at least if the WMF really gives anything about the proclaimed diversity, and those are not just meaningless words. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 15:30, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
That would help nothing most likely -- the WMF is a U.S. institution, so we are directly subject to U.S. laws either way. We can't exactly tell the WMF to go move countries. And that would probably create a lot more problems then it solves -- it could just mean there is a third country we'd have to respect the copyright laws fully. This type of suggestion is really not anywhere close to being reasonable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
MaW: Mir geht Fair Use am Allerwertesten vorbei, wenn Durch damit tatsächlich freie Inhalte gelöscht werden sollten. Fair Use, sprich die wissentliche und willentliche Missachtung von Lizenzen aus recht egoistischen Motiven, hat deutlich weniger Wert als ein möglichst umfangreiches Portfolio an wirklich freien, und tatsächlich fair zu benutzenden Inhalten. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:57, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
This is not about fair use. Fair use files are not allowed on Commons at all. It's about content that is in the public domain in the USA. --Rosenzweig τ 15:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

The whole point of international copyright conventions is that countries are respecting the copyright of works from other countries. For works where the copyright has expired in their country of origin, there is no point in claiming some imaginary copyright in the US. That's why I, together with the vast majority of admins and in line with the WMF point of view, do not delete such files. Jcb (talk) 14:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

The US copyright is not imaginary, it's real. And the WMF point of view is that we should delete files that infringe on US law. BTW, how do you quantify "the vast majority of admins"? --Rosenzweig τ 15:03, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
U.S. copyright law is not imaginary. The URAA restorations are just as real as the EU restorations which happened at the same time. Should we respect those? It would be nice to just decide to use, say, UK law from 1990 rather than what the courts would use today. But we generally don't do that. If we want to change policy to only use copyright in the country of origin, while deleting anything which a DMCA request happens and/or a deletion request from the copyright owners, then that would be a valid discussion. But as long as policy is to use U.S. law, that includes the URAA. We could also just as easily decide to use U.S. law alone, meaning anything published before 1924 is fair game, rather than having to do research on authors and delete an extra 25 years worth of stuff when we can't find a death date, which would be much easier to explain. I tend to agree when it comes to knowing whether it was actually published or not it can get tortuous, and I would not delete on those grounds unless there was specific evidence something was not published until much later -- that would be an "ambiguous" situation the WMF was angling to keep. But the URAA is not imaginary nor easily separable from the rest of U.S. law -- it is the law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

Hi, Thanks for starting this discussion. Seeing WMF position, and that the legal risk is very low, I think that we should change our policy to allow URAA-affected files. We should allow files which are in the public domain world wide, except in the USA. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:20, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

"In the public domain world wide" could become problematic in a few years. Accd. to en:Rule of the shorter term#Worldwide situation, Mexico with its 100 years pma term (the currrently longest such term AFAIK) does not apply the rule of the shorter term. If I understand Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Mexico correctly, the Mexican 100 years pma term starts to take effect for works of all authors who died in 1952 or later, so instead of allowing such works in 2023 (or up to 25 years later, depending on year of publication, if respecting the US copyright), we'd have to wait until 2053 if we really wanted "in the public domain world wide". --Rosenzweig τ 15:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
OK, so Mexico and Côte d'Ivoire are the countries with a copyright term longer than 70 years which do not use the rule of the shorter term. This would be a clear limited exception. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:37, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
You mean do _not_ use the rule of the shorter term I guess? And Côte d'Ivoire actually went back to 70 years pma in 2016 accd. to Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Côte d'Ivoire, which would mean File:World copyright-terms nokey.svg is outdated. --Rosenzweig τ 16:45, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, right. So it would be an exception for 2 countries only. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I believe Colombia is 80pma with no rule of the shorter term. That is likely the longest actual term right now -- both Mexico and Cote d'Ivoire were non-retroactive increases. Mexico was 30pma until 1982, and their increases have been non-retroactive, so they are effectively 66pma now (increasing by one each year). Plus they had a registration requirement before 1948, which is probably impossible to research but most stuff before then is probably PD in fact. Similarly, I think the Ivory Coast went from 50pma to 99pma non-retroactively in 2004 or so. And for Spain, while they use the rule of the shorter term, I think the rest of the EU would respect the 80pma for their stuff. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:14, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not a fan. It's treating life+70 as the one true rule, where it's not. If we're going to ignore the US law, why are we going to pay attention to EU law for Canadian, Indian or Japanese works?--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:23, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

If a file is PD in Germany (for example) but not in the US, it would be possible to upload it locally to de.wp, de.wikt, nl.wp, so that it can be used in WM projects, that while they can be accessed from the US are not meant to be accessed from the US (but because of the language from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, ...). If this is the case, then how about creating a site, that cannot directly be accessed by users, but is added with the instant-commons extension to de.wp, de.wikt and so on? --C.Suthorn (talk) 15:32, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

This shadow-commons should for those countries with such restrictive laws, like the US. Commons is for the whole Wikiverse and thus has the duty to serve all the Wikiverse with free content. If a single country differs, a shadow-commons should be created for this single country, not the whole Wikiverse. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 15:35, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
All the proposals about moving the servers, establishing additional servers for affected files etc. are rather pointless IMO unless it is clear that the WMF (or someone else with the WMF being okay with it) is actually prepared to do it. Accd. to m:Legal/Wikimedia Server Location and Free Knowledge, the WMF isn't really willing to do it. At least they were not 5 years ago. --Rosenzweig τ 16:04, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and that would not help Wikipedias which do not allow local uploads, i.e. Spanish Wikipedia which serves all of South America except Brazil. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:13, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I do not think it would be a problem, if (one or more because of different copyright-realms) shadow sites was physically located in the US, if it only delivers its contents to specific WM-sites that address a chosen copyright-realm. Also the instant-commons extension was made to avoid local uploads (therefore no problem with spanish or other sites). I do not know, if instant-commons supports one or more image-sites, but it should. Then, if the qqx.wp-site wants to show the example.jpg file in an article, it would look for said image in commons, then if not found in shadows1, then shadows2, then locally. As far as I know, WMF has backup datacenters (proxies) outside the US, so if all else fails, a shadow site could be located in one of those. Five years ago the US government was all for freedom of information, today the focus of the US government is more with the car industry and coal mining, eyeing the internet more of a threat that might need to be regulated and gated, maybe in a way that conflicts with the way WM works. --C.Suthorn (talk) 16:31, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Correct me if I'm wrong please, but my understanding is that is special since it's actually hosted in Germany, correct? GMGtalk 16:21, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
To my knowledge, de.wp is hosted along with all other Wikimedia sites in the US. There are some cache servers in the Netherlands and Singapore accd. to m:Wikimedia servers. --Rosenzweig τ 16:38, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is what I'm being told on IRC also. They have servers (? I dunno, I'm not tech savvy) in the Netherlands that route traffic to the actual host location in the US. So they didn't decide as a legal matter that they were going to host files locally according to German, Austrian, and Swiss law, they just did it as a matter of local policy. GMGtalk 16:40, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I will read the whole text above later, but here's how it is in my never too humble opinion:
  • Stop being overly worried about the WMF. The WMF has only one legal responsibility: deal with DMCA takedown requests. Nothing else. PD-US is not required.
  • To host a file on Commons, some rationale to host it in the US is required. This doesn't require a free license, any fair use rationale will work. "I can get away with it" and "the copyright holder won't care!" are also valid rationales.
  • You know who is legally responsible for files uploaded to Commons? You are! The uploader. You didn't know? Well now you do.
  • We don't give a shit about files being PD in the US or not. We somehow assume German FoP magically also applies to the US, which it doesn't, and this occasionally results in DMCA takedown requests which are honored by the WMF. In case of costumes, the Commons community has flat out given WMF legal the finger.
Long story short, I support undeletion for files that are PD in their source country and have any rationale (including "we can get away with it!") to host them in the US. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 16:22, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
i think it is great, that you want to re-open the URAA can of worms. keep in mind this is the consensus currently: "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion."[1] per m:Legal/URAA Statement. but i see there is a continuing movement among a minority to flout the consensus. i look forward to the migration to German servers, and the subsequent mass deletion of swastikas. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:11, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: see Commons:Licensing#Interaction of US and non-US copyright law:

"If material that has been saved from a third-party website is uploaded to Commons, the copyright laws of the U.S., the country of residence of the uploader, and the country of location of the web servers of the website apply. Thus, any licence to use the material should apply in all relevant jurisdictions; if the material is in the public domain, it must normally be in the public domain in all these jurisdictions (plus in the country of origin of the work) for it to be allowable on Commons."

This text is flawed: "the country of location of the web servers of the website" is nothing but repeating "the U.S." earlier on in the list. It follows with a fallacy, that the same "license" must apply in all jurisdictions. First, this is false. We can perfectly have a non-free "license" (like fair use, CC BY-NC or "we can get away with it") for the US while having PD for the source country. Second, nobody ever in the history of Commons gave a shit about the residence of the uploader. Uploaders best move to Sealand. Bring biscuits. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:50, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: The point of my introductory remarks above (timeline etc.) is that there is no real current consensus. There's "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion" that you cited, but there's also "it is my understanding that at this time there is no community agreement to host files affected by the URAA." from Commons:Review of Precautionary principle a few months later. --Rosenzweig τ 18:05, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
i think it is great you are trying to develop a consensus. i do not think this community is capable of agreeing to one, hence the talking past each other impasse. but by all means repeat the precautionary fear-mongering. what is the history of DMCA takedowns based on URAA? do those facts change anyone's mind about what the risk of hosting URAA content is? Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 19:27, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: I looked at the DMCA takedowns at and found none of the kind we're discussing (PD in the country of origin, but still protected in the US because of the URAA). There are two, for a 1955 UK image, and for a 1967 UK image; both images are still protected in the UK, but probably would not be protected in the US if not for the URAA. But that's a speculation really. --Rosenzweig τ 21:02, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I see no need to re-open the discussion about URAA. m:Legal/URAA Statement is still valid. Raymond 17:43, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Raymond: So you think we should delete the files affected by the URAA, following WMF's conclusion "The community should evaluate each potentially affected work [...] and remove works that are clearly infringing." from that statement? --Rosenzweig τ 18:00, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
No, because you have forgotten the more important part (my POV): "However, if a work’s status remains ambiguous after evaluation under the guidelines, it may be premature to delete the work prior to receiving a formal take-down notice, because these notices often contain information that is crucial to the determination of copyright status. Due to the complexity of the URAA, it is likely that only a small number of the potentially affected works will be subject to such notices. These guidelines differ from the more proactive systems currently used by the community for other copyright violations, but the complexity and fact-intensive nature of the URAA analysis makes a more active approach imprudent." Raymond 18:12, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Raymond: I have not forgotten that part, I just think that usually the copyright status of works affected by the URAA is not "ambiguous" because we have the necessary facts to determine said status. When is the status "ambiguous" in your opinion? --Rosenzweig τ 18:16, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
One concrete example: File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, author is Hugo Erfurth, a German photographer who died in 1948. The work was protected in Germany until the end of 2018. It was protected there on the URAA date, which is 1996-01-01. The US copyright was restored and lasts for 95 years from 1929, so until the end of 2024. Is there anything "ambiguous" here? If so, please tell me. Thanks. --Rosenzweig τ 18:24, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
So it's completely fine for any german language project to use it, and it's the duty of the WMF with it's multimillions of dollars, to make the use of this completely legitimate free content possible and not to hide behind the laws of some random country from the Wikiverse. Those pictures must not be deleted, the very minimum is a move from here to all projects, where they are legitimate. The free content has to be protected, not deleted. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 18:45, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Rosenzweig: If we want to claim public domain you also have to check for every country where and when this photograph was first published legally according to the local copyright law. We also should compare if the photograph is published in the US less or more than 30 days after publication abroad. For some countries it might the outcome the photograph is never officially published officially, or much later than the creation date. So even for old paintings public domain is not sure. --Hannolans (talk) 18:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Hannolans: So what is your conclusion from this? Should we only allow works here that have had their publication history thoroughly checked and for which we can say with absolute certainty that they were published on day (or at least year) X in country Y? In that case, we probably would have to delete whole droves of files, and not only files that are perhaps/probably/possibly affected by the URAA. --Rosenzweig τ 19:06, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Rosenzweig: I strongly say see keep, unless there are legal outcomes that proof a particular work is not public domain. Recently we had this situation with the diary of Anne Frank due to legal claims. In this situation you should check sentence by sentence the public domain status as some sentences where published in 1947 while other sentences not. To make your check even more complicated: if we really want to check public domain, for each work we should also check if the work is inspired by an earlier work and if so, if that was an accident or copied and if that work is pd as well . This is for example an issue for music, where some artists could claim they first created a tune used in a work. So, let's focus on real situations. We should respect the rights of artists and photopgraphers who created a work and who need a fixed term of copyright, but not the theoretical legal loops --Hannolans (talk) 20:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)


Where to go from here:

  • Declare ourselves to be idiots. Seriously. We are not legal experts (any of us who IRL actually are legal experts are off the clock, so you don't count) and shouldn't claim to be legal experts. We cannot determine whether or not a work is in the public domain.
  • Create COM:We are idiots. (I'll be more than happy to if it doesn't get deleted!)
  • Start undeleting.

Questions?- Alexis Jazz ping plz 19:14, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for creating this discussion, Rosenzweig. I also agree that the status quo is untenable if only because there is no consistent URAA policy so you have deletions and tense undeletion requests. Alexis Jazz makes some excellent points in that the United States also has no Freedom of Panorama and yet we routinely ignore U.S copyright in allowing German FOP to be the rationale to keep modern sculpture in Germany. Just as we leave to the WMF to handle DMCAs for those sculptures, it would be better if allowed files that are public domain in their countries of origin to remain on Commons and just let WMF handle any potential DMCA takedowns. Deleting because of URAA also exacerbates the orphan works problem (something that countries have dropped the ball on). Commons is intended as an international, multilingual project and yet we keep on forcing anglocentric policies on the rest of the world. That needs to stop. The current administration in the United States is also rather unpredictable. We've seen leaks about pulling out of NATO, pulling out of the WTO, and the United States has exited UNESCO So, let's admit that we are not lawyers nor copyright experts and let's allow WMF to do the heavy lifting as far as worrying about U.S. copyright. Because otherwise, this is not an international project but an anglocentric repository dependent on the whims of the United States government. Abzeronow (talk) 21:05, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
let's come back to Rosenzweig's concrete example: File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg from above. Author is Hugo Erfurth, a German photographer who died in 1948. The image is clearly out of copyright since January 1st, 2019. Probably not in the USA. I respect the copyright terms of Germany, where I live. But why should I have any interest or responsibility to enforce a US law that, even if WMF does not care about it? Raymond 21:19, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
My actual question was whether it is really "ambiguous" that the photograph is, for the reasons I outlined above, still protected by US copyright until the end of 2024? And if so, why? You did not answer that. --Rosenzweig τ 22:16, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Rosenzweig: We are idiots. We need to "remove works that are clearly infringing". This would be, for example, the latest Disney movie and the Harry Potter books. Is a century-old photograph of which we are not exactly hurting it's commercial exploitability a copyright infringement? Or is it fair use, in which case it's not an infringement? I don't know. You don't know! We're idiots! Most legal experts probably won't be able to answer that question right away. So let's wait for a DMCA claim in those cases and let WMF handle it. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 23:51, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Well by that logic, why bother following any copyright law? :-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:43, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
@Clindberg: I'll write a small essay about that. I already have the title! - Alexis Jazz ping plz 01:59, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

@Sänger, Abzeronow: When you write "anglocentrism" and "anglocentric", I think you really mean "Americocentrism" and "Americocentric", respectively.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 22:06, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Yes and no ;) The trigger for the current discussion was a deletion spree by Rosenzweig against perfectly legal end free pictures from and for German projects, but this discussion is taking place in english instead of the natural language for this discussion: German. But...of course the underlying legalese is us-centrist (America is a continent, no a country, and most of America speaks Spanish or Portuguese) indeed. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 22:48, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
This is not perse a German discussion either, files from most European countries are in the exact same situation. Jcb (talk) 23:08, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
There was no "deletion spree". I didn't delete, I filed deletion requests. --Rosenzweig τ 00:18, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
<quetsch>You've got an (A) behind your name and started a mass deletion process of perfectly legal and free pictures, I call that a deletion spree. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:23, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
don't be pedantic. you openly flouted the URAA consensus here, because "you know better", even though there has not been a DMCA for such an example. do not create a load of drama wasting everyone's time, keeping URAA files, especially when there is a DR backlog. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:15, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, he was being pedantic -- that is going deletion hunting, which is never popular. However, he was not flouting URAA consensus, which is to delete if there is significant doubt as to its PD status in the U.S., including if restored by the URAA. That is the current consensus. If we want to remove the "and the U.S." part of Commons policy, and make it just the country of origin, that would be another matter. The discussion you point to on the URAA though was overruled just a couple months later, and is *not* the consensus. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:19, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
i see a new wave of "significant doubt" recently, in DRs that have not resulted in a deletion. i would suggest those persons with "significant doubts" do not have a consensus based on URAA alone. they should stop. this abuse of "significant doubt" tends to undermine the credibility of the commons at other projects such as Hebrew and German. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 13:07, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
"Significant doubt" is the wording in the Commons:Licensing policy. You are basically suggesting to ignore copyright law because it is inconvenient. There is really no doubt as to a lot of these; the effects of the URAA are well known and they are fully copyrighted in the US. I get that users are frustrated by following a copyright law that does not apply in the country where they live, but that doesn't change the law. Also be aware that uploaders are technically liable; they are uploading a work to a U.S. website, so they are actually the violators if it's illegal in the U.S. Yes, we have DMCA protections where it can be removed before it gets into more serious legal territory, but you could also ignore all copyright laws with that argument. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:14, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
no, i am not suggesting ignoring copyright law, rather i am saying follow the WMF legal guidance: "However, if a work’s status remains ambiguous after evaluation under the guidelines, it may be premature to delete the work prior to receiving a formal take-down notice, because these notices often contain information that is crucial to the determination of copyright status." and i doubt the credibility of the recent increase of "significant doubt". what facts have changed? where is the evidence of a copyright violation? i get that editors are frustrated that their interpretation of US copyright law is not shared by WMF legal. maybe they should come by American University Washington College of Law, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property for some counseling. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 23:25, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
We are following WMF legal's guidance. Their words: The community should evaluate each potentially affected work using the guidelines issued by the Legal and Community Advocacy Department, as well as the language of the statute itself, and remove works that are clearly infringing. So that is what we do. We carefully go through the URAA questions, ask things like was in copyrighted in the source country on the URAA date per their law at the time, and did it lose U.S. copyright due to lack of notice/renewal etc., and if the end result is that the file is clearly restored by the URAA we should delete. WMF Legal did *not* say to keep such works until a DMCA is filed. They do have a point on ambiguous stuff, for example something created before 1924 but we don't know if it was published then or not -- it's hard to answer the URAA questions at that point, which details are often present in a DMCA request, and when in that type of gray area we should probably assume early publication and keep the files. That situation would amount to theoretical doubt, not significant doubt, usually. But never did the WMF say to simply ignore the URAA when it's obvious a work was restored. The fact that something was restored by the URAA does not automatically make it "ambiguous". Any works created 1924 or later do not have the publication date ambiguity. The current Commons:Licensing text follows basically that. We should not do bulk deletions, but go case by case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:39, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
"We are not recommending that community members undertake mass deletion of existing content on URAA grounds, without such actual knowledge of infringement or takedown notices." and yet we see mass deletion nominations increasing recently, with no actual evidence of infringement, merely "significant doubts", resulting in this tl;dr discussion. you might call that "following WMF legal's guidance", i do not. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 14:44, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Right, but when we have good knowledge of a source country's copyright law on the URAA date, and we know the work was under copyright in that country on that date and it's from 1924 and after, then we basically know it's copyrighted in the U.S., and its presence here is knowledge of infringement. Mass deletions are discouraged because there could be a lot of different details for each work (mass restorations would then be similar). It can be hard -- I just commented on a Malta one where we really don't have enough knowledge of the copyright law in 1996 to really say (in fact it appears the terms were much shorter then); we should not be deleting without such knowledge. But the URAA is law and it's not impossible to evaluate it. What situation would be enough for you to think we should delete on URAA grounds? Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:54, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
right, when the image is findable either off-line or on, with an affirmative "all rights reserved". that would be actual evidence. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 02:43, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
America is not a continent; this idea that two huge continental bodies, North America and South America, stuck together by a tiny isthmus, is one continent and yet Africa, Asia and Europe are three is ludicrous. The name America is problematic, but it is a standard name in English, and Germany / Deutschland are hardly unproblematic, given that it's not the only country with Germans or Deutsch speakers, though it has historically used that justification to invade other countries with Germans or with Deutsch speakers. Instead of nitpicking the name of our countries, let's just accept the normal names of these countries for the goal of communication.
For the WMF, German law is irrelevant for legality. It has to abide by US law. I find myself quite frustrated to have to dig through death dates and be stopped from uploading works that are perfectly legal for me and the WMF because of not finding death dates or finding that they died many years too late for me to upload them. Commons is going to have to end up with compromises.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:15, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think the WMF would permit Commons to introduce policies that say US copyright law can be ignored, unless there are sufficient doubts about the legal status. The situation with FoP, according to Commons:Freedom of panorama is that "The question of what country's law applies in a freedom of panorama case is an unsettled issue." So, the WMF isn't explicitly permitting the hosting of copyright violations. It can't do the latter, since it's a requirement of the DMCA safe harbor that the site operator isn't aware of any particular violation of US copyright. The DMCA safe harbor is also an advantage of hosting a site like Commons in the US, when in many other countries the site operator wouldn't be shielded from lawsuits. Maybe the current situation, that the Commons policy is a little unclear, and some files are kept when strictly they should be deleted, is the best that can be done (from the point of view of wanting to host files that are public domain in many countries.) --ghouston (talk) 02:51, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
    • Yeah, that's kind of what I am afraid of. Changing policy to "PD in the country of origin" would help the URAA restorations, except we'd be knowingly hosting stuff under copyright in the U.S., which could lead to some rather sticky situations (having to explain that policy, etc.). But, it's *possible* that PD in the country of origin would mitigate that, since works would still need to be pretty old. But we'd have to respect any DR or DMCA from a copyright owner. I'm just not sure that's a good policy to change.
    • On the other hand, I probably would be in favor of arguing that foreign *government* works should expire per their own country's law -- you could at least make the argument that they are a form of PD-author. The government could make a longer term for their own works if they so choose (I believe New Zealand does), so that is sort of like a copyright owner deciding when something becomes public domain. I'm not aware of any government bringing a copyright lawsuit in another country, especially when it has expired in their own, so to me that enters a wide "unknown" area. However, when asked about that, in this meta discussion on the URAA, they suggested it was still better to get a statement from the government that they consider their term expiring to apply worldwide (like we had from the UK then, and have gotten from Canada and a couple others since). So if they are not willing to ignore potential URAA rights of foreign governments, I really don't see where we should be ignoring them from private citizens where the rules are well established with many court precedents. I would be in favor of that, though. It's probably a similar gray area to the current FoP policy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:42, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks, that's an interesting and useful input. But you can't claim that deleting files affected by the URAA is a "consensus". Yes, it is written on the page you mention, but not only there is no general agreement about this, and as it seems lately there is not even a majority for that. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:22, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that there is no consensus on URAA. Seeming by this thread, it's difficult to say how we are going to reach a consensus. Going back to one of Alexis Jazz's comments, would it be possible to do a quasi-noncommercial license for works public domain in their source countries but likely still have an enforceable copyright in the United States (and note, allowing German FOP pictures since those sculptures would also have had restored copyrights in the US is "we can get away with it")? Going back to the concrete example of File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, is there even someone who can enforce the possible US copyright of Hugo Erfurth's works? It could be an orphan work for all we know since European copyrights are automatic and US copyright has only been automatic since 1989. Abzeronow (talk) 16:50, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • For File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, yes there is someone who can enforce it. Hugo Erfurth's heirs got the restored copyright, and can enforce it (per the URAA, the ownership of the restored copyright is the author or initial rightholder of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work, so it can revert to the original owner). There are some examples of determining that in the case law listed above. The restored U.S. copyright will last until 2025. The painting is also still copyrighted in Spain and Colombia until 2029; whoever owned the painting's copyright (heirs, or possibly someone else if the economic right got transferred) can still enforce it there. The FoP situation is different; we don't really have any U.S. case law to go by there -- it's at least quite possible that a court would take foreign law into account in those situations, and are more difficult in the first place as they are derivative works. It's a lot more than simply "we can get away with it". We have plenty of case law on the URAA however. We delete orphan works too (which are works known to be under copyright, just perhaps not knowing who the copyright owner is or there being no way to contact them). Laws give no protection over violating orphan works, unfortunately. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:12, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, if he had heirs. I can't find any mention of children in the EN, FR or DE wiki pages for Erfurth. And yes, I am very much aware that there are no legal protections for orphan works. An international travesty as lawmakers are often beholden to the 1% and not the general public. And since the United States has no FOP, pretending that German FOP law is the be all and end all is "we can get away with it". As referenced above, works hosted here under German FOP have been taken down under the DMCA, so there is no current legal basis for us to host works merely protected by German FOP, and yet we do because that's what the community decided. We can and should do the same with the URAA. If not, let's invent some sort of compromise measure like works in their last 20 years of U.S. copyright (1924-1943), or allow CC-BY-NC-ND to only apply in the United States or let's just pretend that works were simultaneously published in the US . Abzeronow (talk) 17:25, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Heirs don't have to be children -- it would be following the laws of inheritance in the country of origin. Often things will go to parents or siblings or cousins, etc. If the law of that country says there is no inheritance beyond children, and he had no offspring, and there were no heirs designated in a will, then that may be OK. But most countries have well-established laws for inheritance of property, which probably deal with situations where no direct descendants are living, and the copyright would follow those. We generally assume there is *some* owner, somewhere, until the copyright term expires. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:32, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Some of Hugo Erfurth's photographs are available via Getty Images – so I doubt they are "orphan works". In fact, his heirs sold his "Nachlass" (works he left behind) to a museum in Dresden in 2009 [2]. --Rosenzweig τ 18:22, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the information, Rosenzweig. Learned something new (which is always good). Abzeronow (talk) 21:37, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Yann:, policy has *always* been "public domain in the U.S. and the country of origin". Restored files are copyrighted in the U.S., full stop. There is nothing different about them, legally, than if they had a copyright notice and were renewed, unless you are a "reliance party" (which we are definitely not). Following the "massive restoration" discussion where you claimed consensus, you changed Commons:Licensing to say that URAA can not be used as a deletion reason. That got an immediate reaction, and Commons:Review of Precautionary principle was started with a wider audience. That was closed with a summary that consensus was still to delete such files, and Commons:Licensing was therefore updated with this edit (and tweaked right after to this wording), which indicated the new community decision and remains to this day. There are obviously people frustrated about the law -- it sucks for us, no question -- but I'm not as sure they represent "consensus". As long as the policy is "public domain in the U.S. and the country of origin", you really can't claim you are following that policy if you ignore the URAA. Where there is some gray area -- say something created before 1924 but we don't know whether or not it was published before 1924, I would say that would be theoretical doubt and not significant doubt, so we should keep those. But for stuff which the only hope is simultaneous U.S. publication, I think we should need some concrete evidence of that. If there is consensus to change policy to only be "PD in the country of origin", which would be a massive change, then that would eliminate the URAA basically. Short of that though, I don't see a way and say with a straight face that our policy is not not keep stuff which is copyrighted in the U.S. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:53, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • There is a consensus on the general policy, but there is certainly no consensus on its application for URAA. One of the reason URAA is really a problem is the retroactive application to files which were already in the public domain. That's a big change compared to usual legal practice. When the copyright duration was extended in Europe, it only applied to files which were not already the public domain. AS the WMF says, determining if URAA applies or not can be quite complicated. And the potential legal risk is much much lower than for a copyright in the country of origin. All this combined leads to the current opposition of deletion of these files. That's why we should applies a different policy for these than for others. I am looking for a compromise where some files can be kept. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:09, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Are you claiming the EU restorations to 70pma were not retroactive in exactly the same way? That is quite false. The EU directive quite explicitly applied to files which were already in the public domain. The UK's happened on the same day, even. Hard to say why we should respect one and not the other. I would certainly love to use the UK's old terms of 50 years from creation for photographs. But those got restored in the UK the same day the URAA took effect. Obviously, you can't go back and claim infringement on actions which took place before the works were restored -- no laws are retroactive in that way -- but they can re-create a copyright going forward, which is what both the URAA and the EU directives did. The EU only restored works which were protected in at least one EEA state, but that is pretty much all of them (Spain had 80pma terms). The US only restored works still protected in the country of origin, so was more limited. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:17, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Yann: Your claim "When the copyright duration was extended in Europe, it only applied to files which were not already the public domain." is not true, or not for all countries. Germany in 1995 restored copyrights for photographs that were already "gemeinfrei" (in the public domain). See s:de:Oberlandesgericht Hamburg - U-Boot Foto 1941 for a 2004 court case about a concrete example – a photo of a submarine which was published in 1943, had its copyright expire in 1968 (the therm of protection was 25 years after publication then), only to have the copyright restored in 1995, now for 70 years pma. The photographer was still alive in 2004 btw, so the initial term of protection was extended for 100+ years. --Rosenzweig τ 18:41, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
The restoration of copyright by URAA was accepted by the Supreme Court in en:Golan_v._Holder. If the WMF is not contesting take-down requests on FoP grounds, it doesn't mean that the legal situation is clear. It may also mean that they are not sure if they would win such cases or not in court. If the decision went the wrong way, and the legal situation was "clarified", the carnage on Commons of FoP artworks would far exceed the URAA issues. Better to just to delete the few images that receive a take-down demand. --ghouston (talk) 00:29, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

And moving the Wikimedia host servers to Germany has unfortunately the consequence, that some files would have possibly to be renamed, even if the formerly auspicious symbol now associated with Nazism ist not also found in its image contents. -- 11:34, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

And the Category:Sheet music copyrighted in Germany would have to be deleted with all of its contents. -- 20:26, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • We are in a strange situation as Wikimedia projects grow in influence. No one is documenting social changes, but there are cases where policy on Wikimedia projects leads interpretation of international copyright law. The community consensus here could become the interpretation of what is normal for the next generation. I agree with Carl's point about non-US government works having an expired term of copyright, even if those works are under that government's copyright in United States copyright law. If the copyright holder themselves takes action to put their own work into the public domain in their own primary jurisdiction, then that sort of release is the kind of permission which Wikimedia projects typically seek for mirroring in Wikimedia Commons. It is not reasonable to expect that any country's export of published works into the United States decades ago was an intent to govern the work globally under US copyright law rather than the law of the government which sought a shorter term for its own works. Something new that is developing is that to a modest extent, we might have greater near-future access to some policy opinions from the meta:Internet Archive. After the Wikimedia Foundation, the IA is the friendliest and most knowledgeable organization to advocate for the Wikimedia community and our style of publishing. While no one at IA has promised to participate in our community discussions, if we ever drafted a position on something, then they do have a policy team and since 2016 they have been seeking out Wikimedia partnerships. We are beginning to establish as common knowledge that the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive serve complementary roles toward the same goals. I can imagine the IA publishing an opinion if we asked, and if they agreed with what we proposed, and if it seemed useful to establish a coalition statement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:17, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
    The rule of the shorter term is bad for global copyright policy. Copyright maximalists have frequently gotten copyright extensions based on the fact that Country B has a longer copyright term than Country A, but due to the rule of shorter term, Country A's works have a shorter copyright length in Country B than they might. One little tweak by Country A, and more money is going to flow from Country B to Country A? Lawmakers jump at it.
    It is reasonable to expect that a country's export of works into other countries was in respect of the international copyright treaties, which make caring about the original country's copyright duration a optional feature. These non-US governments did not seek a shorter term for their own works; we'll wait until 2047 for Agatha Christie's works to leave copyright, some of which have been PD-US for 20 years, and by which point most of her writings will be PD-US. If we're worried about social changes, we should worry that we're about the only site on the web that worries about copyright laws that we don't have to.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:04, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Policy vote?[edit]

It seems the users who wanted to contribute to this discussion have done so now. From what I gather, most (not all) of them would support a Commons policy change to accept works that are in the PD in their country of origin, removing the requirement that they are also free in the US.

The only way to achieve that IMO is a policy vote. Some will probably say there's no need for that, because one of the earlier votes or one of the WMF statements support whatever is correct in their view. The problem with that is that we have two contradictory earlier Commons votes, and the WMF statements are deliberately vague so people on both sides of the argument can find sentences in there to support their particular point of view (like, we should consider each file invidually and delete clearly infringing files, but also there's no need to do that really). This is precisely what created the current mess we're in.

A URAA policy vote has been tried before from what I can see (like here), but without any real success. The vote I have in mind would be a choice between two of the options outlined above: option 2 (delete files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin) and option 3 (allow files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin). Nothing else, no discussion about moving the servers to another country, creating some kind of "Shadow Commons" etc., because all of that would be outside the scope of a Commons policy vote.

What do you think? Would you support another attempt to clear up the current situation – that there is no real consensus, as shown in the discussion above – by a vote? --Rosenzweig τ 13:26, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

@Rosenzweig: I support that. Also, I strongly suspect the reason for the WMF to be vague is because they are not in the position to really condone anything. If you were to ask them "hey, is FoP okay?" or "hey, is DM okay?" you would also get vague answers. The uploaders are legally responsible (always have been), WMF could easily shoot themselves in the foot if they say out loud X is allowed, because it would shift (part of) the responsibility to them. So they won't. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:49, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
I support a vote on this. Abzeronow (talk) 18:56, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
The problem is, that Commons is proclaimed the central repository for pictures in the Wikiverse, and uploaders are taken here automagically. They upload perfectly legal and free content for their (and hundreds of other) projects, just to see them deleted because of some for hundrets of projects completely irrelevant foreign country laws. How will those, who want to mass-delete perfectly legal pictures, guarantee, that they will be transferred to all projects, where they are perfectly legal? How should the upload process be changed, so that normal uploaders wuld become aware of those looming mass-deletions of perfectly legal and free pictures, and how could they get them to all projects, that could use them, in one click?
The use as the central repository for all projects of the Wikiverse is the most important use case for Commons, everything else is at most secondary, if not tertiary. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:30, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie, is a perfectly free and legal book for me. I still can't upload it here, because it's still in copyright in the UK. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and its translation into German by Maria Lazar, are completely free and legal for you. It is still in copyright in the US. There is no way to have a multinational project and coherently obey any copyright laws and not have some users have the files deleted because of foreign (to them) copyright laws. Removing the requirement that files be free in the US will still force people to deal with foreign copyright laws that are irrelevant to them but are relevant to the work.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:32, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: you could actually upload Murder on the Links to English Wikipedia as PD-USonly, but indeed not here. I think we should either drop the PD-US requirement or start allowing PD-USonly, reduce the complexity. Legally, it doesn't make all that much of a difference despite the server location. Dropping the PD-US requirement is more sensible from the perspective of the enduser and better fits the multinational profile of Commons. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 08:56, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Legally, uploaders are liable -- so if something is copyrighted in either the country they are in, or the U.S. (the country of the site), they could be committing infringement. Commons:Licensing does explain that. The DMCA would likely protect the uploaders from the U.S. half of that, but technically that is the case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 09:58, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
As far as I know, Commons always has to ask users to upload only files that are free in the USA. If they ignore that, it's not required that other users or administrators delete their files, but if they receive a few DMCA take downs, their account will probably be deleted. They can also face legal action in their country of residence, if they are identifiable and if the files aren't free in that country. The other issue is that Commons is supposed to be a repository of freely licensed files, and ignoring copyright violations doesn't achieve that. Otherwise, there'd be no need for any deletion process, beyond DMCA take-downs. But files that are free in quite a few countries, even if that doesn't include the USA, it doesn't seem like such an issue. If a file was labelled as free in death+70 countries, but said nothing about its US copyright status, it wouldn't bother me. I think adding "not free in the USA" templates would be questionable. But you still have the issue of what to do when such files are nominated for deletion because they aren't free in the USA. Asking administrators to ignore US copyright law isn't a good idea. --ghouston (talk) 06:01, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
@Ghouston: administrators should abide by US copyright law.. when the USA is the source country. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 08:56, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure that source country should make so much difference. Files from the USA that are still under copyright in the USA can be public domain in much of the rest of the world, so are still worth hosting if there's a work-around for the legal issues. --ghouston (talk) 09:53, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
The work-around that I'm thinking of is to separate the legal requirements from the "volunteer deletion policy". The legal requirements are the users shoudn't upload any material that violates US copyright. They should be warned of the consequences, that if their uploads receive 3(?) DMCA take-downs then their account will be banned. They should also be advised not to violate the copyright laws of their country of residence, to avoid personal legal difficulties. The volunteer deletion policy, on the other hand, doesn't exist to enforce US copyrights (that's handled by the DMCA). It exists to maintain Commons as a source of free files. That can be done by deleting files that are not either freely licensed, or public domain in a significant part of the world. That could be defined as either free in the USA, or free in death+70 countries (including the subset of the latter where FoP is accepted). --ghouston (talk) 10:17, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
you really want to ban people after 3 DMCA's? for example, you could have 3 images of the same FoP germany sculpture which gets a DMCA. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 13:10, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: this is just the current policy, as I understand it. I'm not sure if it's exactly 3 images. I think it's required by the DMCA. See en:Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. It also says that the website operator (Wikimedia) must not be aware of "presence of infringing material or know any facts or circumstances that would make infringing material apparent" and "must reasonably implement a policy "that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances" of "repeat infringers", must inform their users of this policy, and must accommodate standard copy protection systems." This limits somewhat their freedom to ignore US copyright law, but doesn't require active enforcement by volunteers. --ghouston (talk) 01:31, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
actually, "repeat infringers" = 3 is not policy; but by all means go for a proposal. you realize that 3 out of 30000 would be nonsense? the management by numbers, and specifying punitive measures in advance, and "the DMCA made me do it" is sad. WMF have a safe harbor; they are not ignoring anything. but by all means propose filters for uploads without a permission from getty. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 02:15, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
For some reason I had the idea it was 3. Whatever, I'm happy if it's as lenient as the law/courts allow. If it can be set at say a million or a billion. I'm fine with that. "Repeat" on it's own isn't good, since you could be banned on the 2nd "offence". --ghouston (talk) 02:48, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Here's what WMF says (not much): [3] Here's another interesting link from the EFF: [4]. --ghouston (talk) 03:01, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
If you search the web for something like "requirements for a dmca repeat infringers policy" you'll find that a million or a billion won't cut it. There have been court decisions on the topic, e.g., against Cox Communications [5]. --ghouston (talk) 03:20, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Do I get this right? Commons is not an international project, but a US-only project? That seems to be the gist of most deletion-happy people here. Then why have commons at all, if it doesn't cater all projects? Decentralised Upload and cross-project usability could be a solution. If I upload a perfectly legal and free picture to deWP, currently it's unusable for any other german language project, it has to be uploaded everywhere again, thus perhaps up to hundred times. The very reason for the creation and maintaining of commons was and is to give a central repository for all projects of the Wikiverse. Besides as well let others use the pics also, but that's just a nice add-on, nothing central. If Commons is no longer able to do it's main job to be the central repository for the whole Wikiverse because of restrictions by any random country, why not decentralise it? Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 16:18, 28 January 2019 (UTC)

The WMF is always going to delete files that get a take-down request, if they consider it valid. There's nothing we can do about that. But we have no obligation to delete files voluntarily, if we consider them in scope for some other reason (e.g., free in the rest of the world outside the USA.) Works by authors whose heirs are sending take-down requests or lawsuits would be exceptions that should be deleted on sight. --ghouston (talk) 22:03, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
We are the Wikiverse, the WMF is just a service organisation from our midst, that was created to do tasks for us. We should say what we want, and the WMF has to cater us. If we want to be international, not just US, the WMF has more then enough ressources to come up with a good solution for that, and a headquarter in SF is nothing of value, it's just the current place, nothing more. Commons is as well primarily a service for all projects in the Wikiverse, as is WD. It should be organised in a manner to cater all projects in the Wikiverse (and perhaps even some outside, but that's nothing central) in the best possible way for all projects. If that means decentralisation, and/or better licence tags for different projects, so be it. The deWP cannot use any Fair Use stuff, as the concept of Fair Use is not legal in the German language projects, but of course the deWP will tolerate for them illegal Fair Use pictures in Commons. The same approach is necessary for pictures, that are free and legal in de German language projects, just not in the USA. Some projects must be prohibited to use them, but they need to be tolerated in the international picture depository for all language versions. And the highly paid legal department should come up with a viable solution, that keeps those pictures in the data base, but restrict the usage for different projects. USA-centrism must never be allowed, that is nothing compatible with an international project. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 22:58, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I think this is the wrong place to propose moving the WMF to Germany. I don't even know what the right place would be. I'm not convinced anyway that Germany or the EU in general has more favourable copyright policies than the USA. Do they even have an equivalent to the DMCA safe harbor, or do you just get sued directly when users upload copyright violations? Isn't the EU always proposing new draconian policies like forcing sites to install upload filters? --ghouston (talk) 23:05, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I never said that. A complete move to Germany would make the deletion of all Fair Use material necessary. It would not be a problem for deWP, as we can't use it anyway, but it would probably be a problem for enWP. Here with this exaggerated usage of URAA against usable pictures for dozens of projects in the Wikiverse it's the other way around. As an international project we have to either follow all laws at once, or all laws just for the projects they apply to, and Commons is not a project restricted to a certain land, it's by definition international. If URAA-deletions should take place because of enWP, Fair Use deletions must follow because of deWP. no project in the Wikiverse is anyhow more equal then the others. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 23:17, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Fair use material is already not allowed on Commons per COM:FAIRUSE. Local projects, like enwiki, can host fair use material under certain conditions, as allowed for by meta:NFC. clpo13(talk) 23:27, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Also, despite being an international project, Commons has to abide by the laws of the country it's based in, which is the United States. See en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights, Commons:Licensing#Interaction of US and non-US copyright law and m:Legal/Wikimedia Server Location and Free Knowledge. clpo13(talk) 23:31, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
And if that land is not suitable for a lot of projects, a move to a better suited is the best option. Yes, currently the illegal Fair Use is possible, while the perfectly legal pictures, that where the reason für this discussion could be deleted. For a lot of projects the loss of Fair Use will not change anything, only enXY profits from that, so why not make it the other way around? Host Fair Use in the projects themselves, and move commons to a country that abides to other laws. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:21, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Wherever you move, you just shift the problems around. It would probably be worse in a number of aspects, moving anywhere else. We may as well suggest you move to the U.S. and solve the problem that way ;-). A policy change is a separate matter though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
There's nothing illegal about fair use; it's an exception under law. As I said above, many perfectly legal pictures for me and many other people around the world are deleted because their European source nations consider them under copyright. meta:Non-free_content#Exemption_Doctrine_Policy shows the fair use rules for Wikimedia projects; looking at just the first screen of the Wikipedia section, the Arabic, Belarusian and Bangla Wikipedias are all described as having policies "similar to enwiki".--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:32, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
"illegal Fair Use" yeah a profound misunderstanding of the law. when all the federal judges agree, then by definition it is legal. see also w:Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 22:54, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
To propose moving WMF's servers to Germany, ghouston, you should try to create a subpage of meta:Requests for comment. Well, the proposal to move the servers to Iceland failed, but that doesn't mean the same for moving the servers to Germany, does it? George Ho (talk) 08:02, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Nah, I prefer Iceland. --ghouston (talk) 09:42, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

Is there enough support?[edit]

A week ago, I asked who would support a policy vote. Two users responded that they would. In my opinion, that is not enough.

The problem is that, as I see it, a fair number of people (probably including the Wikimedia Foundation) do not really wish a change of the status quo because they fear that the change would be for the worse (from their respective point of view). So they prefer the situation we have right now, where they can point to whatever statement or decision supports their point of view.

That is why, to be meaningful and have any chance of success, such a policy vote would have to be well-prepared, or it would end like the 2017 vote I referred to above (3 supporters and a number of people who were opposed to the vote per se). A vote definitely needs more than three participants if you don't want it to be derailed or dismissed without further discussion.

In order to achieve this, the policy vote must not be a casual affair somewhere on one of the village pump pages, probably unknown to most potential voters. It would have to be on a separate page, there would have to be announcements on Commons and at the other Wikimedia projects, and it all would have to be in several languages. English is the de facto working language of Commons, but obviously the URAA problem affects users from lots of other countries. Not all of those speak English, but if you want the vote to be meaningful, those users need to be able to participate, and they need information they can understand, in a language they can read. Besides English, that would probably mean the other major European languages, like Spanish (which would cover Latin America as well), Russian, French, Italian, German, Portuguese (because of Brazil), possibly also Dutch, Swedish, Polish, others. As for non-European languages, probably Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, others?

All of this would be quite an effort, and a substantial number of supporters would be needed for the translations and the announcements at the various village pumps, forums etc. both on Commons as well as on the projects.

I'm willing to proceed with a vote, but not on my own. As I explained, quite a number of supporters would be needed to do the work. So far two have said they would support the vote. Unless we get more, option 1 from above ("Do nothing") is unfortunately the likeliest outcome of this debate. --Rosenzweig τ 14:41, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

Current policy, and one way forward?[edit]

This issue has actually been settled for some time, and we do have a formal policy on it, which was updated following the initial very extensive discussions. It appears within COM:L at Commons:Licensing#Uruguay_Round_Agreements_Act and reads:

Files nominated for deletion due to the URAA should be evaluated carefully, as should be their copyright status under US and local laws. A mere allegation that the URAA applies to a file cannot be the sole reason for deletion. If the end result of copyright evaluation is that there is significant doubt about the freedom of a file under US or local law, the file must be deleted in line with the precautionary principle.

What sometimes causes confusion is the fact that an admin closed a discussion with the ambiguous summary "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion." But that does not and never has meant that the community has granted itself exemption from the US copyright extensions that resulted from URAA. At the time Commons was facing multiple DRs based purely on a statement that URAA applied, without any detailed legal and factual review of the individual files, and the community decided that that was not good enough. But as Carl Lindberg says above, URAA has since that date become an integral and legally unchallengeable part of US copyright law, and the Commons community is simply not competent to come to any consensus to ignore it.

That is clearly reflected in COM:DR which notes that "Any expressed consensus will be taken into account so far as possible, but consensus can never trump copyright law nor can it override Commons Policy".

Insofar as there may be a 'mess' here, that seems to derive not from Commons policy, but from editors who repeatedly argue it can be ignored. To be clear, unless and until Commons files are hosted outside the US, it is unlawful under US law to host any file that we are aware infringes US copyright of any type, including that created by URAA.

Where an editor lodges a DR, whether for a single file or for a group of files, each should be reviewed against our hosting policies in the normal way. It is not enough for an editor simply to allege that URAA applies, but if on a review of the facts it is found that the file(s) are infringing then they must be deleted. Once again, consensus to the contrary - or editor anger - can never override the law.

One unhelpful issue fact, perhaps, is that Commons interprets COM:PRP very, very strictly in many cases, and deletes many files that the WMF would be a little more relaxed about. Retaining more files shouldn't mean ignoring the law, and could be done by adjusting the rigour of COM:PRP to prevent deletion for fanciful, far-fetched or even paranoic reasons. As it will be hard to get any consensus for changing the simple wording of COM:PRP as it stands, an easier option might be to add some agreed explanations that define more precisely what the community means by significant doubt in different classes of case. An RFC along those lines could allow more images to be held while still complying with the law and the requirements of the WMF.

That could make a real difference. URAA copyright applies only when the work meets a variety of factual qualifying criteria, and whether those criteria are met is frequently unknown and sometimes unknowable. Rather than assuming the worst possible situation ("the file has to be deleted because we can't prove unknowable facts"), Commons could use a more nuanced and practical test of the extent of significant doubt. MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:23, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure that would really help. To ascertain if it could, I'd like to see concrete examples of works that could be kept. Let's use Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Hugo Erfurth, which was closed as kept by Jcb because "the hypothetical copyright in US is only imaginary". Of the 22 files contained in this DR, are there any that you think could be kept when NOT applying any of the "fanciful, far-fetched or even paranoic reasons" you mention? Or would they still have to be deleted? --Rosenzweig τ 20:01, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
I'd suggest a wide-ranging discussion to get views on suitable wording. That may take some time and should have a variety of examples up for discussion. It shouldn't be based solely on one specific set of facts, ie on one DR. I'm putting the proposal up for initial consideration, and wouldn't want to jump too quickly into specific drafting. In that specific case the stated closing rationale appears contrary both to policy and to US law. MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:12, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
The only chance for 1924 and later Hugo Erfurth stuff would be if any of his works qualified for Lichtbilder; those may be slightly ambiguous since Germany's terms did not change much (just changing any remaining 25-year simple photos to 50-year) but (per later court rulings) they seem to have changed the qualifying level for them, beyond what the EU directive seems to have required. Or I guess if they were simultaneously published in the U.S., but that should require some evidence to support it. For that list, File:Der Maler Richard Müller mit Modell im Atelier. Foto von Hugo Erfurth.jpg would seem to be the only one which might fall under the simple photo stuff, and even that seems dubious to me (though the date is not known, which makes restoration unclear). For other works, one area could be works where the creation date was before 1924 but we don't know when the publication date was -- those probably fall under the "ambiguous" part of the WMF guidance, part of current policy, meaning we probably should not delete under that uncertainty, but rather treat that as more of a theoretical doubt and keep them under assumption of PD-US-expired (unless we have specific publication info or have some documentation that it was kept unpublished until at least 1924). Of the Erfurth ones, File:Corinth,Lovis 1858-1925.JPG does not have a creation date -- just that it obviously needed to have been before the subject's death in 1925. If that was from 1923 or before, it could be OK. File:Painter Kete Holvits by Erfurt G.jpg also does not have a date -- was that before or after File:Käthe Kollwitz by Hugo Erfurth 1925.jpg, taken of the same person? If before, that could be pre-1924 and also be OK. As User:MichaelMaggs says, we could treat stuff which has a significant chance of being OK (possibly even if there is a significant doubt as well) as "ambiguous" under current policy and keep them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:42, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
According to this, the Richard Müller photo is from 1921. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:59, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I added the year to the file description. --Rosenzweig τ 15:26, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
I followed Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Italy that say 70pma, at first view... Christian Ferrer (talk) 06:22, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Right, which documents the situation today. But the URAA restorations applied based on public domain status on the URAA date, which was 1996 for Italy. Italy applied the EU directive in Legislative Decree No. 154 of May 26, 1997, but that was after the URAA date and therefore does not affect the URAA. The law in effect in 1996 is here, which was 50pma. And for non-retroactive laws, sometimes you need to go back even further because sometimes parts of older laws still apply. There are some details at en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights in the Italy row. Portugal and France also had lesser terms on the URAA date, as did most of the eastern European nations which joined the EU at later dates. Carl Lindberg (talk) 09:13, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks you I added a note at our text. Christian Ferrer (talk) 12:03, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

@MichaelMaggs: Do you plan to actually put up that RfC you mention above? Or did you have something else in mind? --Rosenzweig τ 16:20, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Hi Rosenzweig, while I was suggesting that this might be a possible way forward, I'm afraid I'm no longer closely enough involved with Commons to commit the rather large amount of time that would inevitably be involved to lead the idea. I would certainly support it, and perhaps could help with some of the final drafting, but I don't think I'm the right person to push this forward. MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:21, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

PD works by branches of foreign government[edit]

It's quite common to find government copyright that lasts for 50-75 years after creation, but this is still shorter than the US duration of the earlier of 95 years after first publication, or 120 years after creation, if author is unknown or corporate authorship. Can we keep these files? It seems rather absurd if those governments/parliaments/courts/other public bodies would attempt to restore their copyright in US while they dont protect it in their own countries.--Roy17 (talk) 01:53, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

The UK has declared that UK Crown Copyright falls into the public domain worldwide. If we could get assurances from the countries that their works leaving copyright world-round, that would be best.
IIRC: The US, which doesn't have copyright for federal works, floated a question in the 1970s to the signers of the Universal Copyright Convention, about whether it could enforce its copyright in federal government works in their countries. The majority were against it, especially (and unsurprisingly) the Soviet Union. It actually makes great sense to let your own citizens use a government work and yet use it to extract money from abroad. (Lots and lots of quibbles with that, but I'm sure that mant politicians would accept that sense.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:08, 20 July 2019 (UTC)


Please, modify {{PD-SlovakGov}}, per discussion: Commons:Undeletion_requests/Archive/2019-09#COA_Slovakia. State symbols, municipality symbols, symbols of self-governing region have no copyright in Slovakia. --Regasterios (talk) 19:56, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

@Mates: can you help me? --Regasterios (talk) 07:54, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support The new section should be added. And maybe link to the wipolex version, since that can show the law in both Slovak and English from there, and in both PDF and HTML. But this may also need to be in the form of an edit request on the template's talk page, with the exact desired modifications provided. In this case you probably need to provide a rewrite of the whole thing (including links), as the text of the old section shown has been broken up into multiple new sections in the new law, and we should use the new wording throughout. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:54, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Anybody else? --Regasterios (talk) 19:29, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support per Carl.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 00:45, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support as I read it in Slovak, §5d clearly states that all state symbols, municipality and regions symbols are not subject to copyright. However if the symbol happens to be a derivative work the original is still copyrighted. Carl's link doesn't include changes made in 2018. We'd better find the translation of current version. --Mates (talk) 15:25, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

@Clindberg, Jeff G., Mates: Thank you for your support! Who will modify the text? --Regasterios (talk) 13:22, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Flickr user oscepa[edit]

I noticed some photos from OSCE Parliamentary Assembly were not their own. For example:

  1. File:Tymoshenko OSCE.jpg Photo courtesy of the All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland"
  2. says Photo credit: Chamber of Deputies, but in Chambre des Députés' own flickr album , everything is CC-ND.

Perhaps this flickr should be blacklisted.--Roy17 (talk) 16:18, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

They specified author information correctly. So, this is problem of users who upload these files - they should check the authorship before uploading. Ruslik (talk) 09:37, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Copyvios from Wikipedia in Hindi[edit]

Several accounts created back in February at Wikipedia in Hindi post today files which are all copyvios. It must be a school project but I don't know who is (mis)guiding it. --Patrick Rogel (talk) 11:08, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

@Patrick Rogel: Do you have more information? What did you find and how? Can you share an example? Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:02, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

"Anonymous" (and not the kind we normally deal with)[edit]

There are a number of files here that are licensed with the statement "Anonymous release their flyers and press release under public domain." This includes a link to here, which is a suspended Twitter account. They also include a link to here which says " You can post the flyers anywhere you want. We release them as public domain."

Now, setting aside the question of whether this is a legitimate site for the "group", and to what extent these are derivative of other works, I don't know that "Anonymous" (with a capital A) actually can make a blanket PD dedication. As far as I am aware, Anonymous is not a legal entity. They're not a registered non-profit, they're not a business, the don't "exist" as an entity that can own and transfer property. I'm not sure I understand how this is different than a public domain dedication from a street gang or your local sewing circle. If it's not a legal entity, then it can't own anything to release into the public domain, and the intellectual property for these works would still be held by the individuals who created them, and they would continue to own them until they fell out of copyright as an "anonymous work" (lower case a).

Am I missing something here? GMGtalk 13:55, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

I'd say it's like Wikipedia; the Wikimedia Foundation actually owns little of it, but all the contributors have agreed to release their works under CC-BY-SA. If the individuals who created these works understood that releasing them as Anonymous work meant releasing them as PD, then they are PD. By the nature of Anonymous, it's going to be complex and somewhat unclear, but I think if they were created by a member of Anonymous and released by Anonymous, that's a clear enough license for us to use it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:42, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Well, the problem there is that content on Wikipedia is not licensed as a collective under a blanket declaration. Every contribution from each contributor is individually licensed. That's the By saving irrevocably agree to release your contribution bit at the bottom of the edit window, above the publish button.
I mean, compare a private business. It is a legal entity that is able to enter into legal contracts. You are a graphic designer, and you enter into a contract with this entity that the intellectual property you are paid to produce is transferred to and owned by it. That entity can then enter into another legal contract to release the IP under a free license. Anonymous can neither enter into a legal contract, nor own property. There's nothing for the individual creators to transfer IP to, nothing to hold ownership of the IP in the meanwhile, and nothing to release content under any license. GMGtalk 12:25, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Each Wikipedia page says "Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License". That looks like a blanket declaration to me. Yes, the Wikimedia Foundation is much better at crossing their t's and dotting their i's. But I don't think it changes anything; someone releasing their works as Anonymous is agreeing to license their works as public domain.
Anonymous is not a private business licensing something. It's a group of people agreeing to license their works published as Anonymous as public domain. It's not as pretty as we'd like, but I think it's a clear license.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:26, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't mean to be curt, but I'm not sure you understand exactly. There is no "pretty as we'd like". The content is either released under a binding agreement by the owners of the intellectual property or it isn't. The statement at the bottom of the Wikipedia article is not the legal instrument that licenses the content. The legal instrument that licenses the content is the declaration at the bottom of the edit window. I am not aware of any copyright laws that allow for a loose confederation of anonymous users to release their content in a legally binding irrevocable license on behalf of unnamed individuals that may or may not "belong" to this "group" which is not a legal entity. GMGtalk 02:22, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
The statement at the bottom of the edit window is merely a reminder, at best a repetition. When you use Wikipedia, you agree to the Terms of Use, wherein you agree to license your content freely.
I'm not saying that a loose confederation of anonymous users is doing anything. I'm saying that releasing works without a copyright notice or explicit license labeled Anonymous is much like releasing works with a note saying CC-BY-SA 3.0; it's not as clear as a lawyer would recommend or we would like, but I think a judge would find the license was offered and accepted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:24, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
I'm not a copyright specialist here, but I know we have consistently said exactly the opposite. Something published on the web without a copyright license is assumed to be copyright, as nowadays there is no requirement that the item bear a copyright notice to be copyright. Something is only free according to CC-BY-SA if it says so, or says it's in the public domain, or is known to come from a source which is known to publish everything in the public domain, or which is explicitly licensed under that licence.
There are several reasons for our taking this position besides the fact that I think most legal systems expect a certain degree of due diligence before making any such assumption about other people's property --(1), people frequently publish on the web something they have copied elsewhere on the web without worrying about copyright. (2) Many, perhaps most, of the people who publish something on the web which they would like to permit other to use, are intending to release it as -NC. (3) People rely on us to publish only items that have a free license. (4)As WP has as one of its main purposes, establishing a new model of publication free from the restraints of conventional copyright, we need to be exemplary in our respect for the existing law.
And for this particular sort of item, I know from reading history that in the UK at least armorial bearings are most definitely property, and there have been numerous legal disputes through the centuries about who is free to use them. The College of Arms letter is not saying the items are free from copyright--they are saying that the owner is the person holding the arms, or for whom the drawing was made, and that the owner is free to license them to us. But that owner has to explicitly do so. .DGG (talk) 17:53, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Huh? What do coat of arms have to do with this?
As for the rest, we've never required that works have their license embedded in them. Saying it's published by Anonymous effectively says that it's under the licenses that Anonymous works are published under.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:55, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
No, you've got it exactly backward. Per the TOU itself the content is licensed when it is submitted. GMGtalk 18:52, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, it's licensed when it's submitted. But that would be when it's submitted, even if the submission form didn't remind you of it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:01, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

I think what GreenMeansGo is missing here is that it is not the entity "Anonymous" that is releasing the work, but the original anonymous authors or somebody on their behalf. The question is whether we believe the author has released the rights. It is not much different from John Doe releasing his work as Commons User "I'm brilliant". We don't know it is the person behind "I'm brilliant" who is the author, neither do we know the authors of the works published by "Anonymous" have released their rights. In both cases we have to make an assessment about the trustworthiness of the statement.

I think it is highly probable that persons making flyers and press releases for an entity have given that entity the right to use these works freely, especially when it comes to works such as You call it piracy.PNG. I find it very unlikely that the author would not have meant the entity can publish them as public domain, perhaps authorising some members of "Anonymous" or declaring the works PD personally.

--LPfi (talk) 12:21, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

  • @LPfi: Regarding the entity can publish them as public domain, the problem is that there is no entity. For the entity to release content there must first be a transfer of intellectual property to an entity which can hold property and enter into legal agreements. The only thing that we have here is "some twitter account" telling us that they are releasing content created by "some person" who may or may not be them, under a legally binding agreement. There is, as far as I can tell, not even any real way of having permission sent via COM:CONSENT. In order to do so, the respondent needs to affirm that they have "legal authority in my capacity to release the copyright" on behalf of themselves or a legal entity which owns the intellectual property, usually via a contractual work-for-hire transfer of rights. Because there is no legal entity, there is no capacity in which any individual can be legally empowered to enter into binding agreements on its behalf.
Own work uploads aren't really relevant. An individual can release their own works pseudonymously. But that does not transfer to collective licensing. I cannot release your works on your behalf based on the unverifiable claim that we belong to a club together. GMGtalk 12:35, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I still think you've got this from the wrong end. When I release a work labeled CC-BY-SA 3.0, it's not Creative Commons releasing the work on my behalf; it's me, leaving a label on my work that communicates to you and other people that I am releasing my work under a free license. When someone releases a work labeled Anonymous, it's not Anonymous releasing the work on their behalf; it's them, leaving a label on their work that communicates to people that they are releasing a work to the PD.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:47, 19 September 2019 (UTC)


May I import in Wikimedia Commons a picture taken by me of a military cap badge created in 1960 for the now disappeared Independent State of Katanga (1960-1963) ? This former secessionist province is now part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Impartial (talk • contribs) 15:24, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Hey Impartial. Being honest, I'm not 100% sure we would retroactively apply the copyright laws of the DRC to the State of Katanga. If we do, then it seems this would be likely be an anonymous/pseudonymous work with a copyright term of 50 years.
Does anyone know how we treat other similar situations, like maybe former Soviet republics or something like works from Bangladesh? GMGtalk 16:34, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Legally, I don't think Katanga ever existed as an independent nation, so they'd be treated like any other work from the DRC.
We've always taken the law of the current owner of the land as relevant.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:23, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

If a mp3 of a song is ccby/ccbysa, how far can it be reused?[edit]

Suppose a mp3 of a song, that is, a specific rendition of that song, is ccby/ccbysa. This mp3 can be remixed anyhow, but can people perform (play with their instruments/sing) the song in their own way? That is, make cover versions?--Roy17 (talk) 15:27, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

@Roy17: Assuming lyrics and melody of the mp3 are all original, yes. In case of CC BY, reasonable attribution is required, which could probably be fulfilled by just saying what you're going to sing before you start. In case of CC BY-SA, if you are going to perform your version live and nobody is recording it and you didn't write anything down, you can't claim copyright. No copyright means no derivative work, so you could ignore ShareAlike. If you do record it, you'll have to ShareAlike. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 16:42, 12 September 2019 (UTC)
Note that for a Mp3 or other recording of a song is free licensed, all three factors must be true: 1)The composition must be free licensed or public domain, 2)The recording must be free licensed or public domain, 3)The performance must be public domain. -- Infrogmation of New Orleans (talk) 01:37, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't understand what you mean by the performance must be public domain.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:13, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: I think Infrogmation considers both the performance (whoever sings/plays) and whoever pressed "record" on some recording device. When there is no recording, there can't be copyright. Ideas or memories ("I played this great song once") can't be copyrighted. This interpretation of law is problematic in quite some cases though, and on Commons we generally ignore it. I don't know if anyone who provided no creative input but merely pressed "record" was ever granted royalties in a lawsuit. Kind of related: security cameras. There is extremely little to no creative effort involved. Granting copyright for years of footage to whoever installed it is ridiculous, besides, the installation is likely utilitarian. (try to capture as much relevant area as possible) So there is no artist, only a recorder. (whoever maintains the camera) Who owns the copyright for those images? Probably nobody, but legally it's not fully clear yet. What if you provide a canvas and paint to a monkey and the monkey makes a painting? Arguably you made the recording possible. So should you now be the copyright holder? Monkey selfie says no. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 11:52, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, that's not what I asked.
I asked, when a mp3 is ccby/ccbysa (the premise is true. dont discuss this.), is reuse limited to that mp3 only, or the song itself? Can people make cover versions (that is, a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artist or composer)?--Roy17 (talk) 18:53, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Did the composer give you the rights to make cover versions? How can you know that premise is true if you don't know who has licensed you what rights?--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:59, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
(Since people cant understand...)
I release an mp3 in ccby/ccbysa, can other people make and sell cover versions of my song?--Roy17 (talk) 00:08, 14 September 2019 (UTC)
Instead of hiding Infrogmation, why didn't you read what he wrote? Yes, if you release a musical recording under a free license, you release all copyrights in that recording under a free license, including the composition.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:37, 14 September 2019 (UTC)


Hi, contains a copy of (search "systematic approach") and File:Classification of enzymes with type of reaction catalyzed.png is

The short quote on comes from

Only "© Copyright 2019" in the footer of copied pages and are not compatible with Wikimedia Commons.

Is there a history masking to do?

Best regards, --Lacrymocéphale (talk) 09:12, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Hey Lacrymocéphale. It's a pretty common misconception that releasing content under a free license removes the copyright, but it does not. There are edge cases where this gets extremely complicated, but by and large, the license merely stipulates the terms under which the owner exercises their copyright. For example:
  • All rights reserved. You are not allowed use this.
  • You can use this for non-commercial purposes.
  • You can use this for any purpose, but you have to give me credit.
  • You can use this for any purpose, no strings attached.
If the person didn't own the copyright, then they couldn't very well dictate the terms under which people could use the stuff that they own. Having said that, what may be needed here is for the user to send verification of their account to OTRS. Obviously, anyone could register an account under any name they want, and we don't automatically assume that it is officially connected because of the name of the account. GMGtalk 13:04, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Video upload question 5[edit]

For the American stop-motion animated short film “The Interview” by Kara Fern (ZimtHaus)

Now here's the fifth time I posted for the same reason. I looked up her YouTube channel with one video after she was made and directed the film at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).

Can I upload a video from YouTube into here if any issues? HarvettFox96 (talk) 11:08, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Hey HarvettFox96. The video does appear to be appropriately licensed and to belong to the supposed creator. The only potential problem I see is if the characters used in the video were not themselves the creation of the same person, but could be considered a separate creative work that would be covered under a separate copyright (For more information see COM:TOY.) GMGtalk 12:53, 13 September 2019 (UTC)
Hmm... well... about these character models, she did felted them from claiming at the ending credits, not (major) toy companies. HarvettFox96 (talk) 02:22, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Suitable templates for anthologies and collections[edit]

I've been looking for some sane template to use to give the licensing status for edited books collecting works by multiple authors. For example this one at IA: japanbyjapaneses00stea.

Its copyright status in the US is PD as publication pre-1924, but its non-US status depends on the death date of the individual authors (assuming I don't find any indication of US publication within 30 days). On thing is that it's a pain to research all of them to find the vital dates, but I've also not found any good ways to provide the information on the file's page once found. A long list of author namePD-JP-expired (or whatever) is… well, it doesn't seem very elegant at least.

At the other end, I've seen variants where the license tag is picked based on the vitals of the editor only; or on the last deceased of the contributors (which makes sense for a movie and other collective works, but not as much for a book and other collections of works); or (most commonly, even if not in compliance with policy) just the US status.

Do we have any guidance on this that I've just failed to find? Do we have tooling/templates to make this a little less awkward? Or, possibly, is an assumption of expiration (due to age, typically) for all the individual contributors/contributions considered sufficient in the absence of any actual evidence to the contrary?

Just scanning the table of contents for the above linked work I can already tell that it's going to be a right pain to track down any vitals for most of the authors. And on the flip side, given it was published in 1904 and the contributors were men in positions of authority (i.e. they weren't spring chickens), it seems eminently reasonable to assume they all shuffled off this mortal coil before 1968 (Japan was pma. 50 until 2018). Other books of this kind are going to be much more reasonable to research, but things like old newspapers and magazines—where the majority of authors are anonymous, pseudonymous, or eminently non-notable—are going to be essentially impossible.

Does that perhaps weigh the scales in the direction of accepting something like a "assumed expired based on: reasoning / research undertaken", somewhat akin to what one would do for PD-no-renewal? --Xover (talk) 13:34, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

There's always {{PD-old-assumed}} if you can't find a death date. The assumption of 120 years for life+70 would mean 100 years for life+50, so 1904 would be fine for a Japanese work.
I'd upload most of this stuff directly to Wikisource. Looking at s:Index_talk:Weird_Tales_v01n02_(1923-04).djvu and s:Index_talk:Weird_Tales_v01n03_(1923-05).djvu, you're looking at a number of authors published in 1923 dying in the 1970s, with one letter writer dying in the 1990s.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:42, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

Copyright of notable US Congresspeople's tweets[edit]

such as Pelosi's and Paul Ryan's. Obviously their staff operate their twitter accounts. Are the tweets works of the federal govt and hence PD? If they are, does the Commons community want a OTRS from them confirming it? Some files are challenged in Commons:Deletion requests/Files uploaded by A1Cafel.--Roy17 (talk) 18:53, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

The tweets are works of the federal government to the extent they're created by the staff. There's almost always open questions about any attached media, though.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:52, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Coat of Arms for General Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd baronet[edit]

I would like to upload an image of Asgill's coat of arms to the relevant Wikipedia page for Charles Asgill. I had difficulty finding an online link for reference purposes [1], so I sent a 'contact us' online message to the College of Arms in London (so I have no copy of my wording) telling them exactly what I was proposing to do - to upload the image to Wikipedia - and could they please send me an online link for reference purposes. I now have the reference sorted out, but have been requested to ask here if I can upload the image I paid £350 for back in 2009? I do hope so, since I would like to share it.

I got a beautifully hand written (in gold ink) letter back yesterday (from the Lancaster Herald) enclosing a photocopy of the relevant page by way of reference and proof. Would he not have made some objection had they been displeased at my request?

Guidance is requested please. Arbil44 11:12, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 11:12, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Signing again with 4 tildes. Arbil44 11:23, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 11:23, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
@Arbil44: Commons:Signatures policy dictates that a signature "must link to the user page, the user talk page or the user's contributions." Please comply.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:38, 15 September 2019 (UTC),_2nd_Baronet#Asgill_and_Washington I do not have the IT skills to do this, I'm afraid. I'm nearly out of here, just a couple more things to do. I only need an answer to my question please. Arbil44 12:27, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Cordless Larry (talk • contribs) 18:55, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
I have had a long telephone conversation with the Lancaster Herald today []. He tells me that when artists are engaged by the College of Arms to create images they have to sign a document releasing the copyrights to that image. He confirmed that my having purchased the artwork gives me the right to do whatsoever I might wish with it. I do hope that that is sufficient? Could someone let me know please? I hope this is linking as I am supposed to do? [1] Arbil44 21:55, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 21:55, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
I see my attempts at linking to the Asgill talk page didn't work I'm afraid. I also notice that the coat of arms for Lord Cornwallis has no reference attached to it and the copyright is given as the person who uploaded it User:Rs-nourse - am I free to do the same (and I do have references)? Arbil44 22:30, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 22:30, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Template:Request edit

Please could someone help me here? I am going to hospital on Friday and I really want to be finished with my tasks here well before then. I apologise for not knowing how to do the correct link to the above referenced talk page. Arbil44 07:38, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 07:38, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
As requested by SignBot, signing again, but this time with brackets round the tildes. (Arbil44 07:49, 17 September 2019 (UTC))
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 07:49, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
This website is bringing me to tears. I just can't do it the way I am supposed to. I have just left an answerphone message on the Lancaster Herald's phone 020 7332 0414 for him to email me as soon as possible to prove that what I have said he said is true. I have explained to him what is happening to me here on Wikipedia and I just hope he is not out of London and will get back to me a.s.a.p. SignBot's message says to put brackets round the tildes, but even that doesn't appear to work. Arbil44 08:05, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 08:05, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Robert Noel <> To: Mrs A (my personal email address) 17 Sep at 12:26

From Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald, 130 College of Arms London EC4V 4BT

17 Sept 2019

Dear Mrs A, thank you so kindly for talking to me yesterday on the telephone and what follows below, as you can see, which I have headed ‘To whom it may concern’, will constitute the necessary desideratum. With very warm salutations yrs Robert Noel

To Whom it may Concern:

From Robert Noel, Lancaster Herald, 130 College of Arms London EC4V 4BT

17 Sept 2019

In respect of the image which I provided to Mrs A in 2009 vizt. Asgill, 2nd baronet, this is to certify that we at the College of Arms have no objection to its release by Wikipedia.

Robert Noel

Lancaster Herald

Tel +44 207 332 0414

[ Arbil44] a suitable reference is online at the Universal Historical Dictionary [1] Arbil44 12:13, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Arbil44 (talk • contribs) 12:13, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
This has now been resolved by OTRS. See File:Sir Charles Asgill, 2nd Baronet coat of arms.jpg. Cordless Larry (talk) 13:27, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Non-commercial license to prevent monetization[edit]

Would the release of an image under non-commercial Creative Commons license prevent its seizing for monetization by the likes of Alamy and Getty Images (considering cases like Highsmith v Getty / Alamy)? I also wonder whether it's possible for an image's author to license a low-res version of an image under the commercial clause and a high-res version under non-commercial clause - the former to be used on Commons and the latter elsewhere, including our featured pictures (if the image's author doesn't want the monetization). Brandmeister (talk) 12:37, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

@Brandmeister: Nothing has yet been shown to prevent seizure by their ilk, not even having to pay settlements.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 12:57, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
My understanding is that the non-commercial clause legally prevents it. If they seize such an image anyway, the will lose the lawsuit if it's filed. With that in mind, perhaps we should make some allowance for NC licenses. Brandmeister (talk) 13:05, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, an NC license would prevent it. But a CC-BY license (let alone CC-BY-SA) also means they probably would not bother, since they would have to credit the copyright owner, and also inform users about the CC-BY license, which they would likely be loathe to do (since the users could then obtain it without paying Alamy / Getty in the first place). Highsmith released the images in question to the public domain, meaning they are the same as if copyright expired, so Getty can sell copies while obscuring the source and author. A CC0 license would give them similar free rein, but with any other CC license there is still copyright control being exercised, so doing the same thing as with Highsmith's images would be a copyright violation, NC or no NC.
As for the second question, I would tend to accept that situation -- copyright owners should be able to license any slice of expression they want. If a low-res version of a painting shows much less expression than a high-res version, then I don't see why the artist could not license the low-res differently than a high-res. There could be a tricky legal question for photographs in particular though, which is probably the hedge that Creative Commons gives on this practice. For most photographs, the copyrightable expression is generally not the subject matter, but instead elements under control of the photographer, such as angle, framing, possibly lighting, etc. In that situation, it's possible the low-res version has all of copyrightable expression already, i.e. there is no expression in the high-res version that can be identified over and above the expression in the low-res version, meaning that there is no additional expression which can carry a more restrictive license. And as usual, those analyses can differ by country, based on what aspects each country deems copyrightable. Additionally, you can't stop someone from enlarging the licensed low-res version. In a general sense, yes it's very possible for an author to only freely license a low-res version -- we would accept those. But legally, you would need to identify copyrightable expression which exists only in the high-res version in order to have a more restrictive license on that. In many situations that should be fine, but especially with photographs there could be an issue identifying such expression. I would not recommend that Commons itself ever makes that assumption and upload a high-res version against the author's wishes when only a low-res was licensed, but it may not be possible to guarantee that situation for all countries if someone else uses it that way. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:02, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. Brandmeister (talk) 15:03, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Transferring files from Instagram to Commons[edit]

I'd like to help out on OTRS because I've been working on a new project: Requesting Instagram photographers to share their images on Wikipedia/Commons. Till date, more than 8 photographers and a drone-photographer have shared their images. But since the OTRS process got a backlog, some of their images were nominated for deletion like these, due to which they've halted uploading images for a while. If I'm an OTRS volunteer, I can accept their submissions in no time, so they can submit more images. And, as per my research there isn't any OTRS volunteer in our state.--IM3847 (talk) 04:08, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Maybe using a system like we use (and made) in the Netherlands is useful for your project? We use Wikiportrait (website) for kind of the same thing you are doing. DutchTom (talk) 04:15, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
@DutchTom: It looks good for new-comers. But, I think even they should be submitted for OTRS permission. But, sadly there lacks any OTRS volunteers in our region to accept them in a quick phase. I would like to know a bit about Wikiportrait & how it can be implemented in our country.--IM3847 (talk) 14:22, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
OTRS access is indeed necessary for the system to work. I could give you some more information but maybe that goes faster when we meet on IRC. Otherwise I think @Ellywa: would like to give you some more information since she setup the system for NL-WP. DutchTom (talk) 14:29, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
Of course I would love to see Wikiportret translated (localized) and used by other projects. In this case, it possibly would be much easier if an open licence is connected to the instagram images like it is done sometimes on youtube and flickr. No OTRS effort is required in these cases (no tedious emailing...). Kind regards, Ellywa (talk) 17:36, 15 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ellywa: Prior to this, I've requested Instagrammers to place Avaialble on Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 in their post's caption. That worked well until a point where a photographer submitted tens of images and adding this text to every image makes his work difficult. Since he does sells some of his images, he can't even add the sentence directly to his account. But, I dunno how to release images under a license on Instagram like in Flickr.--IM3847 (talk) 07:54, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Hi @IM3847:, I think it would be wise to discuss this further on Commons, for instance here: Perhaps a procedure on Instagram can be designed. For Flickr and Youtube there is a procedure, where specific people check the licenses of automatically uploaded images, see
A better process should be derived to transfer images from Instagram to Wikimedia Commons, as Instagram has now became one of the largest photo-sharing social media.--IM3847 (talk) 12:37, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Facebook and Google have worked overtime to cultivate walled gardens and make sharing less easy, so Instagram and Google Photos lack structured licensing metadata which their predecessors used to have. We'll never get them to be as good a source for Wikimedia Commons as Flickr is. It doesn't hurt to try, but I suggest to rely on methods whose cost is shared with others: if [6] is still accurate, the IFTTT method is still the easiest way to get stuff out of the Instagram cage. Nemo 15:31, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Most notably, Instagram no longer provides a public API to retrieve media from an account. That means it is dificult and likely against Instagram's TOS to extract images from there. I believe that IFTTT still works, at least for your own account, but I haven't tested it. --AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 16:09, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
@AntiCompositeNumber:@Nemo bis:Previously I've requested Instagram photographers to place Available on Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 4.0 in post's caption, but when they're ready to submit images in a bulk, this method isn't gonna work, for ex: case of KshitizBathwal, who want to submit many of his beautiful shots to Commons. His images were tagged with deletion, due to backlog in OTRS. And now he do want to upload few more images and doesn't like to get a deletion tag on them. I think there should be a list that saves Instagram users who uploads images to commons, so even if the same user upload an image which was already published on his Instagram account, it should be moved on with previous ticket given for his uploads.--IM3847 (talk) 19:06, 16 September 2019 (UTC)


Is it just me, or should the second part, the bit about 25 years, be a seperate template? I'm pretty sure there was no art exemption in the second case. Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:32, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

What is the benefit of having two templates instead of one? Ruslik (talk) 20:27, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
@Ruslik0: In particular with this one, it emphasises the first item in the list so heavily that it's not clear the second is even an option the template covers. Also, I think there's a lot of benefit to explicitly stating the logic. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:51, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
I don't see the point of a different template. The 1995 law stated "This Act shall also apply to literary, scientific and artistic works and other works produced prior to the entry into force of this Act." In other words, they made a retroactive restoration in 1995 like EU countries did around that time, so any photographs which were also works got restored to the full term in 1995, and cannot use the 25 year term. It was only photos which did not rise to "works" which got a non-retroactive extension to the longer term, and where existing PD works remained PD. Since it's been 24 years since that law went into effect, I think it becomes almost irrelevant in Norway by 2020, since anything which had expired by 1995 would have expired by the new terms by 2020 (well I guess except for the 15pma terms if those are longer). And their 2018 law may have retroactively restored even the old 25 year ones... not sure I can trust that translation, but they may have changed "works" to "intellectual property" in that transitional clause in the new law (and I think the photographic 50 year thing is now section 23). The old 25-year terms will remain relevant for the URAA though -- non-"work" photos before 1970 were still PD on the URAA date, so they would not have been restored. Possibly even 1971, if that 1995 law did not upgrade existing non-work photos and only applied the longer term to new photos created after that date. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:23, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
§ 23 regulates exclusive rights for "photographic images", and gives the term as pma. 15, but at least 50 years from creation. § 117 regulates applicability to pre-existing works as "This law also applies for creative works [åndsverk] and other works [andre arbeider] from before the law came into effect." In other words, lov 15. juni 2018 nr. 40 om opphavsrett til åndsverk mv. is retroactive (§ 117) and applies a pma. 15 / minimum 50 year term of protection to photographic images that do not rise to the level of an artistic work (§ 23). Incidentally, note also the 25-year publisher's right for otherwise expired previously unpublished works in § 13, that applies to creative works but not "other works" (i.e. "photographic images").
For anonymous/unknown "photographic images" the term of protection is the minimum term (50 years) from creation, but with a requirement to do the research for both identity and date of creation.
Note that the protection for "photographic images" is not a limitation of copyright, but an extension of it: photos that would not otherwise be afforded copyright protection due to, e.g., lack of creativity, are given equivalent protections but with a differing term of protection. This means that § 23 should be narrowly construed: if a work would not otherwise merit protection it will not gain protection unless it specifically matches the criteria in § 117 (but the criterium is broad, so this will rarely be relevant). And mere mechanical reproductions (i.e. scanning an old photo / PD-scan) are not intended to be protected by § 23.
@Clindberg: Where are you seeing a worksintellectual property issue? "Åndsverk" is defined in § 2 as "… literary or artistic works of any kind, that are expressions of original and individual creative effort …"; that is, it's defined in terms of creativity and originality of expression. "Creative works" would be a decent translation. But the transitional clause explicitly refers to both "Creative works" (åndsverk) and "other works" so the distinction is moot in that context. --Xover (talk) 08:05, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
@Xover: The "intellectual property" was just a machine translation issue -- seems that is what "åndsverk" gets translated to. Didn't feel right, so thanks for the clarification :-) I guess that is the question on the new §117 -- does "andre arbeider" also apply to non-creative "fotografiske bilder", or does that more refer to related rights (nærstående rettigheter). $103 appears to use the word "arbeider" in relation to the latter. The 1995 law, § 60, said basically the same thing -- "Loven gjelder også åndsverk og andre arbeider fra før lovens ikrafttredelse". In the official English translation, "andre arbeider" was translated "other works" which seemed to imply that it only applied to "works", i.e. did not apply to non-work simple photographs. Whoever made this tag assumed the same, since it says that such photos did not get the retroactive extension in 1995, meaning such photos which has already expired per the older 25 year term remained expired. If that was erroneous from the get-go, it should be removed from the tag. But it would seem that the 2018 law has the same wording, so if not restored in 1995 then nothing has changed since.
And yes, the PD-Norway50 is talking about the works discussed in Commons:Simple photographs. Most European countries have a shorter term for photos which do not rise to "works". That can be defined differently by country -- in many countries, it was for snapshot-type photos, as opposed to studio portraits and the like where the photographer controlled the entire scene, but some countries are completely different. I'm not sure we have any explicit examples for Norway. I think Finland ({{PD-Finland50}} has some decisions along the "snapshot" lines -- this photo (which apparently is quite famous in Finland) was given as an example of a non-work photo (and Finland did not retroactively restore them either, apparently). Similarly, Sweden decisions have said that news photos are typically not "works". The presumption may be that Norway is similar, but any court case guidance would be good -- both the simple photos page and COM:TOO Norway is lacking of details. The EU directive did not apply to things which were not "works", so countries were pretty much free to protect them or not, and restore them or not. Germany on the other hand apparently changed their "simple photo" threshold, which used to be similar to Finland's, to only mean things like X-rays and elevated virtually any photo to being a "work" per a couple of their court decisions. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:46, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
@Clindberg: § 103 says "What this chapter [chapter 7, the DRM stuff] says about works, applies equally [mutatis mutandis] for works that are protected after chapter 2." Chapter 2 is titled "The rights of performing artists and producers etc. (related rights)" and includes §§ 16–24: exclusive rights for performing artists, terminating an agreement relating to rights in an audio recording, performing artists right to additional compensation, agreement regarding ongoing compensation, producers' exclusive rights, compensation for public performance and transfer [broadcast] to the public of audio recording, broadcasters' rights, exclusive rights to photographic images, exclusive rights to databases. That is, when § 103 refers to "works" the term encompasses photographic images (in addition to a ballet dancer's performance).
The confusion stems from the translation. The law distinguishes between "åndsverk" and "arbeider". "Arbeid" (in both verb and noun forms) is usually translated as "work", but in a legal/copyright context means something like "any product of deliberate effort". "Åndsverk" is translated as "work" because that's the meaning in a legal/copyright context, but the word itself means something like "a working of spiritual effort" (it connotes the soul, or human spirit; the creative spark). In case law there's the concept of "verkshøyde" ("the working's elevation") that roughly equates to the threshold of originality. An "åndsverk" is always a creative work, and all "åndsverk" are "arbeider"; but not all "arbeider" are "åndsverk". That both translate to "[creative] work" and "work" is misleading: an "åndsverk" is by definition a creative work with sufficient originality to merit copyright, but a mere "arbeid" is just the sweat of your brow and does not usually merit copyright protection.
Or put another way, all of chapter 2 is about extending certain rights and protections to works that would not normally (i.e. in chapter 1, the basic copyright rules) be accorded copyright. Nothing in chapter 2 is a "åndsverk" (creative works), they're "arbeider" (mere works) or "nærliggende rettigheter" (rights related to, but distinct from, copyright; like database rights).
As to the precedents for TOO… The proposition for the 2018 law (the codified legislative intent) specifically mention an intent to align the law with the EU harmonisation act and the laws of Sweden, Denmark, and (iirc) Finland. I know there is some case law in the area, but I am not familiar with it. I do know that in some contexts there is a debate regarding whether an amateur photographer (vs. a professional photographer or a photographic artist) can ever be considered to have created a "åndsverk" (vs. a mere photographic image). I would be very surprised if that is current jurisprudence, but it might be suggestive of where the line lies. --Xover (talk) 18:36, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
But the retroactive extension in the 2018 law seems irrelevant today as almost 25 years have passed since 1995. Ruslik (talk) 08:39, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
@Xover: Thanks. Thought I replied to this yesterday, but seems it did not post. In looking further though, at the reference link in the tag, it looks like there were further transitional sections in the 1995 law which are not in the wipolex consolidated versions. The link (given in the tag by Stefan2, who added that part in 2014) is broken now, but there is an archived version which has the content. Among other things it says: Bestemmelsen i § 43 a gjelder ikke når vernetiden etter de eldre regler i fotografiloven er løpt ut før loven her trer i kraft. That seems to be explicit in that the general restoration clauses did not apply to photographic pictures, so the tag does seem accurate. Sort of doubt the 2018 law was intended to change that situation, since it seems to have just reorganized the same text in the older law. That clause does seem to have extended the term for any of the pictures which had not yet expired, so it would seem as though photos from before 1970 would be the cutoff date for the URAA. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:29, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

One advantage of the image that led me to ask this is that the National Library of Norway has declared it out of copyright. Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:17, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

{{PD-CAGov}}, California agencies claiming copyright and "copyrighted outside of the United States"[edit]

The {{PD-CAGov}} template has a section that lists at least some of the California governmental agencies that are permitted to claim copyrights. In the section, there is the statement that "...any works of these agencies should be assumed to be copyrighted outside of the United States..." From what I understand, if a California government agency can claim copyrights, it would be such that those copyrights would not be restricted to countries outside of the US. As such, would it be more accurate to change the statement to "any works of these agencies should be assumed to be copyrighted in the United States" or "any works of these agencies should be assumed to be copyrighted" instead? Thanks. --Gazebo (talk) 06:05, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

Inside USA {{PD-US-GovEdict}} may apply. Ruslik (talk) 08:49, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Image Licence Change[edit]


Some time ago, I had uploaded an image under an incorrect copyright licence and would like to rectify this discrepancy. The image has been flagged as a possible copyright violation, and changes cannot be made without the 'speedy deletion' tag prompt. The image relates to an academic institution's Wikipedia article (logo cited incorrectly as 'own work'), which would prompt a 'non-free use' rationale to use the logo. What would be the best way to proceed with correcting the aforementioned; would deletion be possible and reupload with the correct parameters? If so, how would this be carried out. Thank you so much.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by ReflectiveJuice (talk • contribs) 13:47, 17 September 2019 (UTC)
Hey ReflectiveJuice. I presume you are referring to File:DBS-logo-fit.png. As the image consists of merely simple shapes and text, I have updated the information on the file to indicate that it likely falls below the threshold of originality required for copyright protection. GMGtalk 14:18, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

SVG map with Gnu DW[edit]

I’m at loss on how to license File:PT-exCCFL(eletricos).svg. It is a map whose cartographic information I cobbled from three different source images, one of them being licensed as {{Self|GFDL|Cc-by-sa-3.0-migrated|Cc-by-2.5}}, the others as {{self|cc-by-sa-4.0}} and {{self|cc-zero}}. How should/could the final result be licensed? -- Tuválkin 19:23, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Hey Tuvalkin. My understanding is that it would be dual licensed GDFL and CCBYSA 4.0. CCBYSA licenses are all forward compatible with newer versions, and have to be licensed under the newest version of which the new work is derivative (because they are forward but not backward compatible). GDFL is AFAIK generally not compatible with other licenses, and dual licensed works would need to continue to be dual licensed. If I've missed something, please ping me and let me know, because I would very much like to correct any misunderstanding I may have here. GMGtalk 12:58, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo, Tuvalkin: I think that's incorrect, and a correct answer is {{Cc-by-sa-4.0}}. Dual-licensing with GFDL would entail making a derivative of a CC BY-SA 4.0 work available under GFDL, and I don't think CC BY-SA 4.0 allows that. By a slightly non-obvious means, CC BY-SA 4.0 allows derived works to be licensed under any compatible licence, but the only compatible licences are CC BY-SA 4.0 itself, FAL 1.3, and GPLv3. CC BY-SA 3.0 has similar requirements, but its compatible licences are only localised CC BY-SA 3.0 licences and CC BY-SA 4.0. Since CC BY-SA 4.0 is common to both lists, you can use that. Note that there's no problem with removing GFDL from a source: {{Self}} allows you to select a licence of your choice, and you choose CC BY-SA 3.0. It's possible you might be able to license under FAL 1.3 or GPLv3 by using the multi-licensed source under CC BY 2.5, but I'm not sure about that and I'm not sure it's worth trying to work it out. --bjh21 (talk) 13:43, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Oooh. Okay Okay. Because the work is specifically GDFL 1.2 or any later version, then it is compatible with GDFL 1.3, which is compatible for re-license under CCBYSA 3, which is itself compatible with CCBYSA 4. That makes sense but its a long walk to get there. GMGtalk 14:05, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
Yup, if it is truly derivative, then cc-by-sa-4.0 is really the only option due to the second work mentioned. However, if it was only the information that was used, and not the way it was expressed on the map, it may not be a derivative work of the copyright. Facts themselves are not copyrightable, just the way they are expressed on the map. Really depends on which aspects of the originals were copied. If just the first one provided the outlines, with the other two just supplying facts but expressed differently, you could use almost any license (though mentioning the vector outlines are CC-BY-2.5, in case those do have a copyright, which is possible). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:28, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

CC licence music video on Youtube[edit]

Hi! I would like to ask your opinion. en:Jay Chou's Ninja music video has been published under a CC licence on youtube by his official publishing company (that he also owns), JVR Music. The channel is linked on the official website (left hand side, under the facebook icon). Does this mean that the entire video can be uploaded to commons, with the sound? Or just that I can screenshot some of the scenes? (I know I can do the latter, but what about the music? I would guess that remains copyrighted despite the music video being licenced under CC? Am I right?) Teemeah (talk) 12:07, 19 September 2019 (UTC)