Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

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

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Could someone look at images uploaded by User:BPSkantze, some are marked "own work" and they are not, but could some of them still be free?


Hallo an das Wikipedia Team,

Ich habe eine Frage zum Thema Kategorien, bezüglich der Hochgeladenen Bilder meiner Seit's, die nicht übertragen warden.

Beispiel, Liste der Kulturdenkmäler Chemnitz.

Wenn ich weitere Bilder bei Commoscat einfüge, was bisher immer gut geklappt hatte, ist dies jetzt nicht mehr erkennbar.

Hat sich diesbezüglich da etwas im Ablauf geändert?

Wenn nicht, dann ware ich dankbar für die Rückstellung der Abläufe, so dass das ganze auch wieder nach dem Einfügen unverbindlich und ohne Zeitverzug funktioniert.

Danke. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (dwt). (talk • contribs)

File:Volcano footage of two eruptions in Hawaii.ogv[edit]

Hi, The source says it is in the public domain, but there is a mention of a copyright at the beginning. So I suppose it wasn't renewed, or the mention isn't complete? Yann (talk) 22:48, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

I checked the records and found that copyright was in fact not renewed [1]. De728631 (talk) 23:25, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
@De728631: Thanks a lot. Could you tell where to look, or help filling up this: Commons:Batch uploading/Public domain films? Regards, Yann (talk) 17:40, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
For something published in 1959, it would have needed to be renewed during 1987 or maybe late 1986. Any records after 1978 are online at so you can just search there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:50, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
What Carl said. And for pre-1978 records, there is a direct link from to all those records at De728631 (talk) 18:02, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks Carl. For en:Plan 9 from Outer Space, which seems to have a complex copyright history (see [2]), there are records ([3]), but not in 1986 or 1987. Is that sufficient to establish absence of renewal? Regards, Yann (talk) 18:25, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
The film was registered in 1981 and renewed (RE0000279707) in 1986. The "date" column of renewal records is typically the original date of publication, which was given as 1958, instead of the renewal date, but it's there -- the numbers start with "RE". The page claims that the incorrect titles and possibly incorrect date on the registration would make them invalid -- I don't believe that is correct. An incorrect date earlier than the actual publication date might mean that the federal copyright would be considered to start from that earlier date, but it would not invalidate anything. Their second claim is that the person who filed the renewal did not have standing to renew -- sounds like he got quitclaims for some of the involved people but if none of those had any standing, then the renewal would still be invalid. The page also notes the screenplay was registered as an unpublished work, possibly to claim the movie was a derivative of the copyrighted screenplay, but that gambit has been overruled by the courts -- as much of the screenplay as is present in the released film is considered published and its copyright would expire with the film's. So is correct on their third point. Basically, the question on that film is squarely on that 1986 renewal -- it was definitely timely, but if the claimant had no standing to renew, then it would not be a valid renewal and the film became public domain. That sounds like it's a rather tangled question though. might be correct, but it might be messier than that. If the film was a work for hire, the rights would have stayed with the company. If the rights were owned by Wood and transferred, then the renewal rights did not vest (since Wood died before the time for renewal) and the rights would have reverted to his heirs. If the renewal party got a transfer from those heirs, it might make a difference. The registration does say work for hire, which may eliminate the vesting thing. I don't really feel like wading through that mess of quitclaims, so I really don't know. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:12, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
With regard to File:Volcano footage of two eruptions in Hawaii.ogv, the following question may be of interest. If a motion picture or video recording incorporates a soundtrack, and the movie or video recording was fixed prior to February 15, 1972, is the audio portion subject to the complicated special case copyright situation for pre-1972 sound recordings? A 2005 Groklaw article speculated that "common law copyright may continue to subsist in the sound recording" for "a soundtrack from a copyright-expired movie". In addition, state laws regarding copyright of pre-1972 sound recordings have sometimes included language such as "phonograph record, disc, wire, tape, film or other article on which sounds are recorded" (emphasis mine) with regard to subject matter.
At the same time, from what one understands, the state law/common law copyright situation for pre-1972 sound recordings does not necessarily affect the audio portion of movies or video recordings because for the purposes of US copyright, the audio portion of a movie is not a "sound recording" but is instead treated as an integral part of the work and is subject to the same copyright status as the movie itself. In a US government report on the legislation that was later enacted as the Copyright Act of 1976, it was mentioned on page 56 that the audio portion of a motion picture has been "long a nebulous area in American copyright law" and that the proposed definition of "motion picture" includes the movie's audio portion. In addition, the report mentions that the audio portion of a motion picture is excluded from the definition of a "sound recording."
A practical example: Commons includes visual material from the 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead. Could a portion of audio extracted from the movie's sound track be treated as free content for the purpose of Commons, and would the licensing situation for such audio would be a case of {{PD-Pre1978}} (the same as the movie) as opposed to {{PD-US-record}} (a pre-1972 sound recording)? --Gazebo (talk) 01:55, 16 November 2015 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Thoughts on this? --Gazebo (talk) 16:38, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Images from Facebook albums[edit]

Agency for Inspection and Restoration of Monuments of Moldova has a bunch of albums on their Facebook page containing original work of monument photography: . Question: if the page administrator, which is also the head of given agency, adds a description for every album stating this text (CC-BY-SA-4.0), will it make the photos eligible for uploading @ Commons? Thank you. //  Gikü  said  done  Tuesday, 17 November 2015 20:43 (UTC)

I think so. Ruslik (talk) 19:13, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Sure. If a copyright owner puts an explicit license on their work on a web page, then it would seem to be licensed, and it's fine to upload. The main issue is when people other than the copyright owners add a license -- those are meaningless. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:45, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

File:Colosseum in Rome, Italy - April 2007.jpg[edit]

The author suggests attribution: "Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0" by info template, so could I change the permission at "license-header" section to {{Cc-by-sa-3.0|1= David Iliff}}?

Thanks by the attention. --Almondega (talk) 14:47, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

P.S.: I'm new here and have so many questions, so, is here someone who could help me in Portuguese (Brazilian) language like a a tutor? My English is terrible... Thanks again. --Almondega (talk) 14:54, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Google Chrome Screenhsots[edit]

Anyone know the Google Chrome is covered by its EULA, but the interface is part of the Chromium source code licensed under the BSD, so, the Google Chrome screenshots sowing the UI and free elements are allowed in Commons.

Laterly, this file and other has been originally tagged as Speedy (and one of them converted to a DR), so, please pay attention of that DR, and (regardless if there is already community concensus) please discuss why the Google Chrome IU is actually licensed under the BSD license. --Amitie 10g (talk) 18:42, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

For more information, see this thread at the Google Chrome forums (Google account is required) and waiting for answer from a Google employee. --Amitie 10g (talk) 18:58, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Amitie 10g: The reason we have DNs is for people to discuss the file/s at the Deletion Nominations. There's no reason to post up extra requests for comments when the discussion is not going your way at the DN. This file went to DN because you removed the speedy tags on several of these files without converting to DNs and I converted the remaining one for consensus - where it belongs. Ellin Beltz (talk) 03:05, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Well, you're right. Anyway, I asked in the Google Product Forums and I'll ask in the Chromium forum, too. --Amitie 10g (talk) 03:18, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

Coat of arms of Iran[edit]

Hey guys. Could you please help us on this thread Commons:Deletion requests/File:NOHED.svg? Perhaps User:Micheletb which is the creator of Template:Coat of arms can help us to find out criteria of coat of arms on the regions don't have explicit rule about this. Thank you. −ebrahimtalk 20:40, 18 November 2015 (UTC)

Photograph of a [work of art / industrial model] : "works of art" are associated to author's rights, but photographs of "industrial models" are legal. In that case (photograph used for documentation), the "industrial models" legislation is considered to have priority. In other cases (making fac-similes or derivative statues) the "work of art legislation would have priority.
Flag of Brunei's work of art : clearly legal restrictions of use apply in the local legislation, but that work of art may be reproduced without authorization nor payment, which makes it essentially "free" and acceptable on Commons.

A/ As said on the template, there is two different things in a coat of arms :
  • its definition (e.g., "a red circle on a green background"), which is public domain (in the sense that anybody can draw a picture accordingly), but with restricted use, though (in the sense that such a picture represents the holder of the title and cannot be said to represent anything else, it cannot be appropriated by others) ;
  • and its realization (this peculiar picture representing a rend circle on a background - the file, the piece of graphic art), which has a specific author and is NOT public domain.
Thus, to be accepted on Commons, a coat of arms must generally be redrawn after a description obtained by looking at a (protected) model : since the description is not protected a drawing made accordingly is legal ; and since the Commons author is the author of the graphic work per se, he can put his work under a PD license and it is OK for Commons.
In that case, if the original file is indeed نشان تيپ 65 نوهد نيرو زميني ارتش (whatever it means) and the author of the .svg is indeed MrInfo2012, for which there is no reasonable doubt, it is OK to flag the .svg as "own source" and place the link to the model used.
B/ The problem, though, is that it is not a "coat of arms" in the medieval meaning, but (obviously) a logo of a military unit, industrially produced. Being essentially military in its function, logo in its conception, and industrial production in its realization, this is a mixed case : military units use their logos just the way medieval knights used their coats of arms. (If it is protected as an industrial model, which is not automatic, this would lead to further protections, which are irrelevant in that case anyhow).
The legal problem for a judge, when different point of view may lead to different legal treatment, is to determine which point of view has priority.
In that specific case, the legal treatment of coats of arms will very probably have priority on that of logos. The judge must make his own opinion, but the choice seems really straightforward, alternatives being dubious.
And, btw, the legal regime of logo reproductions (and of industrial models) do not specifically forbid any reproduction, contrarily to the general legal regime of "work of arts" where author's rights fully apply - there are cases where reproductions can be allowed without authorization or payment. It is generally OK to take a photograph of a logo and of an industrial model, like the one of the "silver lady".
C/ There has been a similar discussion on the fr: wikipedia on military logos, with the conclusion that the question could be put to the French MoD. The "official" answer was ... evasive - enumeration of the legal regimes that could be applied, unclear as to who is the right owner of such a logo, and inconclusive. Clearly, the problem lies in uncharted waters.
D/ As for an admissibility on Commons, the two main questions are whether the picture can be published and reproduced (1) without payment to the right holder, and (2) without authorization from the right holder. If the answer is OK, the media is essentially "free", even though addition legal restrictions may apply (such as for flags, for instance).
In that case, a Reductio ad absurdum can show the correct approach:
  • If we suppose it must be considered as a work of art, authorization must be asked to the right owner, who may ask for a payment.
  • The right owner (or at least its legal representative) is obviously the military unit represented by such logo, since the unit obviously can make reproductions and representations without asking anybody.
  • Has such a military unit ever asked for payments, or imposed restriction, to the diffusion of their logo ? This is unheard of, and the very idea is ludicrous.
  • Hence the "work of art" hypothesis is not the correct approach, and the "coat of arms" approach can be preferred in that case.
E/ I would suggest the following rule of thumb to be followed by the Commons community : "Military logos can be assimilated to coats of arms". But of course, this opinion is open to discussion. And the Commons:Deletion requests/File:NOHED.svg can be a good example to discuss that rule.
Beware, though, that the formulation of what is a "military logo" can lead to various interpretations : arm/breast cloth woven emblems? Metallic 2D-3D ones (beret-like)? Breast enameled ensigns? Military medals or distinctions (cloth / metal versions)? Rank indications? unit indication (probably PD-ineligible anyway)?... there has been discussions on where would the limit be set.
Michelet-密是力 (talk) 08:08, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

File:Greenwich arms.png[edit]

File is tagged with {{PD-because}} claiming that it's copyright has expired, but it's not clear how this is determined since there is no source given for the image other than "English Wikipedia". Moreover, the image does not seem to be a freely recreated version of the original per COM:COA#Coat of Arms "found on the internet". -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:53, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

I added necessary information from the enwiki. Ruslik (talk) 20:26, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Ruslik0. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:01, 20 November 2015 (UTC)


Uploaded as own work, but there's no OTRS verification and it's the only file uploaded by the uploader. Title of image seems to suggest it's a crop from something found online and it looks like it's from this My Space page -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:27, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

The uploader is probably associated with the subject. They should provide OTRS permission. Ruslik (talk) 20:36, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Template for UK sound recordings[edit]

Hi, Do we already have a template for UK sound recordings, which are in the public domain if prior 1957, cf. en:Copyright law of the United Kingdom#Broadcast copyright? Should we create one? Regards, Yann (talk) 12:23, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

What should be the wording for such a template? Any opinion please? Yann (talk) 18:27, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
That sounds like a copyright for broadcasts, not sound recordings. The rules for sound recordings are given in the following section on the page. A sound recording which was broadcast on radio would appear to be subject to both copyrights, so you need to wait until both of them have expired. You can compare this with a film which is copyrighted as a 'cinematographic work', as a 'sound recording', as a 'performance', as a 'video recording' and in some countries also as 'photographs', these being different rights which to some extent are subject to different copyright terms and have different copyright holders.
Also note that the w:Copyright Duration Directive restored sound recording copyright. This was discussed when Sweden implemented the directive because sound recordings created before the 1970s or so previously were in the public domain in Sweden. --Stefan2 (talk) 18:39, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
OK. I am asking because of [4]. This a radio broadcast recorded in 1931 in UK. So I presume that it became public domain 50 years after recording, i.e. on January 1st, 1982. Regards, Yann (talk) 19:00, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
In the European Union, sound files like this may be subject to several rights with different copyright terms:
  • The spoken words may constitute a literary work with a copyright term of 70 years pma. The requirement here is that the words, as written down on a paper, should meet certain quality requirements. I suspect that there are countries where these words do not meet those quality requirements, but the UK is a bit special. I have no idea when the journalist died, but Gandhi died less than 70 years ago.
  • The sound recording of the spoken words may be subject to copyright protection as a 'sound recording'. This is not based on originality because there is only one way to record sound. The European Union first set the term to 50 years from publication, but this was recently increased to 70 years from publication. The European Union restored copyrights if the 50-year term hadn't expired when implemented, but I have no idea if anything additional was restored when the term was increased to 70 years. In either case, the sound recording copyright term has expired, since the recording is more than 70 years old.
  • The people who appear in the sound recordings might make a performance. I'm not sure how you define a 'performance' except that the definition doesn't seem to involve any originality (at least not under Swedish law). However, the copyright term is only 50 years from publication, so it has already expired if it once applied.
  • In the UK, there is apparently also a 'broadcast copyright', which apparently doesn't apply to broadcasts of this age.
From what I can tell, you need to ensure that all applicable rights have expired, and then there is also the question about the copyright status in the United States. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:55, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

File:Mahatma Gandhi First Television Interview (30 April 1931).webm[edit]

Hi, Is this video {{PD-US-no notice}} or {{PD-US-not renewed}}? Regards, Yann (talk) 19:22, 19 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Do television programmes count as 'published' under United States law? Under Swedish law, television programmes seem to count as 'unpublished'. --Stefan2 (talk) 19:36, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
Under older US law and practice, TV programs were generally unpublished until if and when they went into syndication. This couldn't have been just aired on TV, though. [5] and Wikipedia are pretty clear that 1931 had minimal and experimental TV at best, so anything of the sort would have been distributed as a filmstrip to movie theaters. (I bet the TV interview is simply wrong.) PD-US-not renewed is pretty likely; I have a problem taking a YouTube copy of unknown provenance and saying that there was no copyright notice in the original.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:34, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
OK, thanks for your answer. There is no copyright notice in the film itself, that's why I presumed "no notice". I changed it to "not renewed", and renamed the file. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:21, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

File:Tony Sealy.JPG[edit]

I think this image uploaded as own work may not be so. It appears elsewhere on the web e.g. here in a list of people from Hackney (although it could be copied to there from the Wiki page). It is uploaded as own work in April 2014 but the subject's football career finished 20 years ago. Thanks. (Apologies if I am mistaken). Eagleash (talk) 15:18, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

I think it is fine. Tony Sealy is now a manager in Hong Kong. The link you found is a FamousFix site, which scrapes wikipedia, so I think they got the image from us, not the other way around. In addition the version on Commons is much larger and the Exif camera data is consistent with other photographs from that uploader. —RP88 (talk) 15:45, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
OK thanks. I thought that the other site might have copied it from Wiki (as noted above). I knew Sealy was working in HK but the image looks like one of him at younger than 56. Anyway if it's been looked at & found to be OK, all's well. Thanks & again apologies for 'time-wasting'. Eagleash (talk) 17:48, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Unfree Image?[edit]

I uploaded this image to Wikimedia commons and it was deleted as an unfree image on Flickr. The Creative Commons tag on Flickr says it can be used as long as attribution is given and it is not used for commercial purposes. That seems like it is allowed. Can anyone help me? Ayzmo (talk) 15:24, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, but that Flickr image can not be uploaded to Commons. It is Commons policy to only accept free content, in particular, Commons only accepts media files that are not subject to copyright restrictions which would prevent them being used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose. That Flickr flie is licensed under the CC BY NC ND 2.0 license, which prohits commercial use as well as the creation of derivative works. Neither of those restrictions is acceptable on Commons. Additional information is available at Commons:Flickr files. —RP88 (talk) 15:36, 20 November 2015 (UTC)

Need advice on two images[edit]

I am currently doing a GAC review on Joan Lindsay. Two images are included that I need advice on whether or not these are free to use:

File:Joan Lindsay enhance crop 1925.png
File:Joan Lindsay 1914.png

Please advise. Maile66 (talk) 13:17, 21 November 2015 (UTC)

Just as a quick note before we dive too deep on the intricacies of copyright terms here: the (physical) photographs in question are currently owned by the en:State Library of Victoria who in their online database record for both these images have a specific statement that the image is out of copyright. Were I assessing their status purely on my own count I would most likely simply accept this statement as valid since they are the current owners and a presumption that they possess superior knowledge. How that stacks up against the standard on Commons my familiarity with the area is not sufficient to judge. So "FWIW", I guess. --Xover (talk) 14:12, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
I notice that 'File:Joan Lindsay enhance crop 1925.png' is flipped left to right compared to the original. I appreciate that with this change Lindsay faces the page, but flipping portraits isn't good practice. Aa77zz (talk) 15:00, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
Australian photographs at the time expired 50 years after creation, and nothing has restored copyright. So, add {{PD-Australia}} to the two images (and File:Joan and Daryl Lindsay.jpg, the source of the crop). Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:36, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
✓ Done Yann (talk) 14:59, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Copyright of handprints[edit]

Can a handprint be eligible for copyright protection in certain regions? What about Category:Handprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre? --George Ho (talk) 09:21, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

I don't think so. Copyright is only generated when there is creative input, and there is minimal, if any, of such input when one places a hand into wet concrete. (The answer might be different if an artist used multiple handprints to create an artwork.) — SMUconlaw (talk) 12:32, 23 November 2015 (UTC)


I this ok? it seems enough old to be in the PD, but source : "web site"? it seems to come from [6] not free. --Christian Ferrer (talk) 13:08, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I added this infor, but we need a license for the country of origin (Turkey?). Yann (talk) 14:57, 23 November 2015 (UTC)
thanks I found, I think it's it's PD-Ottoman Empire..--Christian Ferrer (talk) 16:22, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

References for public domain movies[edit]

Hi, I'd like to upload movies in the public domain from Internet Archive and YouTube, at least those which have an article on the English Wikipedia. I'd also like to document that in the article en:List of films in the public domain in the United States. But I was reverted (see article history and en:Talk:List_of_films_in_the_public_domain_in_the_United_States#US_Copyright_Database_as_a_source) under the pretext that my references to absence of renewals are "original research". So we have quite a silly situation, with movies on Commons with a public domain template, but they can't be listed in an article on the English WP. Opinions? Solution(s)? Regards, Yann (talk) 18:36, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

It's my understanding that Public Domain status is not determined by Wikipedia editors who are looking through primary source database and making a determination on their own if the film qualifies. Lack of a registration in the US Copyright Office database is a good sign of PD status, but that database has errors and there may be competing claims on some or all of the properties associated with the film (script, score, etc). Thus, we rely on reliable secondary sources that have made a claim of PD status. -- Green Cardamom (talk) 19:01, 23 November 2015 (UTC)

Possible copyright violations?[edit]

I came across this via the English Wikipedia's draft article for Walking War Robots. The article has several long sections that contain pictures of robots from the game. A look at one of the images, File:Destrier v2.png, shows that the uploader claims that this is his own work. My question though, is whether or not you can make this claim when it comes to screen shots of a game. Even if you could create and customize your own build (which does not seem to be the case), wouldn't any in-game images be considered copyrighted to the game publisher/creator? A look at the uploader's history shows that they've done several of these.

I figured that I'd bring this here and ask about this, since I've always thought that game screenshots and images of in-game characters/robots/etc fell were considered to be copyrighted and thus ineligible for upload except in very, very specific scenarios - and even then you had to properly credit the game creators. Tokyogirl79 (talk) 12:14, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

You are correct; unless the game's artwork has been freely licensed then those uploads are not allowed. Looks like an admin has deleted them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:55, 25 November 2015 (UTC)