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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Freedom of Panorama in Belgium[edit]

Hi everyone ! There is FoP in Belgium ! \o/ Anyone wants to help me restoring the files in Category:Belgian_FOP_cases ? Léna (talk) 13:16, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Fantastic news, and I'd love to help restore... I would like some clarification first on exactly what is covered (I'm not sure what art plastique covers). Could we please first update Template:NoFoP-Belgium (and move it to Template:FoP-Belgium), and also COM:FOP#Belgium? Storkk (talk) 13:26, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
Someone edited COM:FOP#Belgium to state that the law would take effect 10 days after publication -- so would that be 15 July then? Or is it effective immediately? Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:26, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
As for art plastique, that is translated in previous versions of Belgian law as "Works of Fine Art". Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:26, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
In the Dutch version it has "beeldende, grafische of bouwkundige kunst" which may translate as "visual, graphic or architectural arts". I'm not sure exactly what the difference is between visual and graphic arts, but it implies that 2 and 3 dimensional art as well as buildings are covered, as long as they are on permanent display in a public place. The restrictions are that the work must be shown as it appears in that place (maybe some surroundings are required in the image as well as the work itself? I think the Netherlands has something similar) and it shouldn't affect normal exploitation of the work (perhaps a problem for exact reproductions of 2D works). --ghouston (talk) 08:07, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
@Ghouston: I think your translation is pretty accurate. This FOP provision seems to be very similar to the Dutch one. Natuur12 (talk) 08:23, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
I would agree with all of that. Photos of 2D works which are basically just copies (straight on and framing it) would almost certainly affect the normal exploitation of the original, and in most cases should not be allowed. But other situations (showing the public context), they would seem to be allowable. The Netherlands FOP law looks like it is more restricted as to subject matter in comparison -- but the Dutch language version of the Belgian law does seem to confirm the translation as being for most all visual art, and buildings. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:58, 7 July 2016 (UTC)
To whom it may concern and @Ghouston: The French version is quite clear. « 2/1°. la reproduction et la communication au public d'oeuvres d'art plastique, graphique ou architectural destinées à être placées de façon permanente dans des lieux publics, pour autant qu'il s'agisse de la reproduction ou de la communication de l'oeuvre telle qu'elle s'y trouve et que cette reproduction ou communication ne porte pas atteinte à l'exploitation normale de l'oeuvre ni ne cause un préjudice injustifié aux intérêts légitimes de l'auteur; » translates IMO to The reproduction and the distribution [communication] to the public of works of statuary, graphic or architectural art [the difference being that "art plastique", or, I guess, the equivalent "beeldende kunst" explicitly refers to sculptural works, making a difference to graphic (drawing, painting, photography) art - GD] intended for a permanent placement [display] in public spaces, as long as it is a reproduction or distribution [communication] of the work as is and that this reproduction or distribution [communication] does not harm the normal exploitation of the work and neither cause wanton prejudice at legitimate interests of the author. Regards, Grand-Duc (talk) 09:29, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Another question often encountered in connection with FoP: What is considered a "public place"? In many countries, FoP doesn't cover interior spaces, even if they're accessible to the public. Do we already know how to interpret the Belgian law's "public places" (lieux publics)? I wonder because I noticed that File:Stockel-TinTin-1.jpg, File:Stockel-TinTin-2.jpg and File:Stockel-TinTin-3.jpg were restored by User:Thibaut120094 (by the way, Thibaut, please also remove the old deletion request template from the file description page when restoring files, it's still there). The first of these might be also problematic with regard to the "2D reproduction" issue, as there's not a lot of context. And the pictures were taken in a metro station - in some countries, this wouldn't count as a "public place", I think. Gestumblindi (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Hi there, M0tty asked me to restore the files in Category:Belgian FOP cases/deleted en masse with a script, here's the list of files I restored: User:Thibaut120094/Undeleted, if there's files that don't fall into FoP exception, feel free to delete them. For the DR tags, I'm on it. --Thibaut120094 (talk) 19:01, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
@Thibaut120094: If you restored the files en masse with a script, maybe you could also remove the deletion request templates from the pages with a script? Would be great and better than having to remove them all manually now... Gestumblindi (talk) 19:25, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Like I said, I'm on it. --Thibaut120094 (talk) 19:26, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, for some reason I skipped the "For the DR tags, I'm on it" part of your post; I probably should read more carefully - thank you! :-) Gestumblindi (talk) 19:28, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
Done :-) Hope I didn't miss any. --Thibaut120094 (talk) 19:43, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
@Gestumblindi: Flemish communal laws seem to include churches as public places (openbare plaatsen) -> “jaarmarkten en markten, bij openbare vermakelijkheden en plechtigheden, vertoningen en spelen, in drankgelegenheden, kerken en andere openbare plaatsen. In context of the ban on smoking, "openbare plaatsen" are defined as “plaatsen waar de toegang niet beperkt is tot de privésfeer” (places where access is not restricted to the private sphere). Similar definitions I see applying to older laws on public drunkenness. Also note the examples given when the law was proposed mentions museums as an example of what isn’t allowed, not "interiors" as a whole, which seems to be tied to it harming “the normal exploitation of the work” (museum exhibitions with entry fees). Tom-L (talk) 19:11, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
The information in this article from the News Media Coalition talks about an explanation that accompanied the draft version of the law. From what the explanation said, the FOP provision was intended to apply to locations that are permanently accessible to the public, such as public streets and squares, and at the same time, the provision was not intended to apply inside of public museums or other buildings that are not permanently open to the public. (The explanation appears to add something like the following: if a work of art is situated inside a building that is not permanently open to the public, then the artist may not have expected public exhibition of the work.) I have added information about this explanation to the notes under COM:FOP#Belgium --Gazebo (talk) 04:18, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Seoul photos released by city government under CC[edit]

Hello guys! The Korea Herald reports that the Seoul government has released photos of Seoul into CC-BY domain, among them photos taken twenty years ago. The database is huge, with some 23,000 photos. Checked the site and it indeed cites CC-BY: My question is that can these photos be uploaded to Commons? My issue is that South Korea doesn't have freedom of panorama for modern buildings. Can general street photos (not depicting a specific building) be uploaded? (Example) Teemeah (talk) 10:23, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't know anything about copyright in Korea, but I'd guess general street photos would be fine as long as any particular copyrighted building is de minimis, and they can be tagged with Template:De minimis. It would also be interesting to ask the Seoul government whether they'd obtained licenses from architects for their photos. --ghouston (talk) 02:44, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
I'll ping User:-revi, who I am sure can provide more insight, and inform other Korean Wikipedians of this development. I'd personally support uploading the images to Wikimedia Commons wholesale. The entire fop issue is clearly copyright paranoia - even the Korean government doesn't care about it, as we can see from this very example. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 11:13, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Photos like this is safe as pre-1923 architecture (actually 15C), this might be in borderline, I doubt if this is acceptable. Point is COM:De minimis, I believe. General buildings should be fine. I'll contact Seoul Metropolitan Gov (or WMKR will do contacting for me) to get a highest quality possible as a dump and upload them en messe. — regards, Revi 12:12, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Copyright question about map[edit]

Hello all! I recently created a map in GIS ( I used data sourced from the US Census Bureau (outlines of Western US states), which is in the public domain. I also used raw climate data from the PRISM Climate Group of the University of Oregon (their terms of use are here:; *edit: I did do a lot of calculations and modifications of that raw data). Based on their terms of use, I understand that I can use their data, as long as I credit them, which I did.

So my question is: do I have copyright over the work and can I release it under CC, like I want to? How do I handle the copyright for this? Currently, it's slated to be deleted, due to insufficient information about the copyright. Redtitan (talk) 00:40, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

The Oregon data are free for non-commercial use only, although one may question their copyrightability. Ruslik (talk) 10:32, 12 July 2016 (UTC)
Would releasing this map under a Creative Commons license that prohibits commerical use, say CC by-ND, be valid? What would you consider the most valid license? It's slated to be deleted soon, and I want to make sure it continues to available. Thanks! Also, I should add that I did calculations using the data from the University of Oregon, to calculate where the specific climate type was that I mapped out, so it wasn't as simple as me simply adding a dataset to a map. Redtitan (talk) 21:02, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
Okay, just seeing on the wikimedia commons guidelines that non-commercial licenses aren't valid. I do have an email from the person at the University of Oregon allowing me to create climate maps with their data and upload them to wikipedia. Is there any way I can attach that to this file and release it to public domain? Please help! I'm really confused and really don't want this to be deleted, as I spent hours making this map and put a lot of work into this. The copyright issues are very unclear to me. Redtitan (talk) 21:27, 13 July 2016 (UTC)
The copyright does not protect abstract data. So, please, clarify what you mean by "data" here. Ruslik (talk) 17:57, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
The data from University of Oregon was spreadsheet data of climate averages (maximum, mean, and minimum temperature and precipitation). I applied criteria to that data to see if they matched a particular climate type, then colored in the regions on a map of the western US that matched that particular climate type. Redtitan (talk) 21:57, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
I understand what you're saying now. The data itself isn't copyrightable, so there shouldn't be a copyright issue if I modify that data and then use that in a map. I credit them as the data source in my map, and from what I understand, that's all I'll need to do. Redtitan (talk) 03:06, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Yes, you are correct now. Ruslik (talk) 19:57, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

Finding out about the copyright registration - or not - of a plaque made/published (presumably) in 1986[edit]

It's not clear if en:File:Charles W. Sandman plaque.jpg is under copyright - there is no copyright tag visible and the publication date seems to be 1986, but I don't know how to find copyright registration information anywhere. Relevant discussion.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 19:09, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

Registration information for anything 1978 and later is on In general though, public display does not equate to publication since 1978 -- see Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US. That makes it more difficult to claim PD status for works put on public display in the 1978-1989 time frame. But, that is more often a problem with statues (works which exist in one copy) rather than literary works, which almost certainly were published one way or another at the time. The question though is if the lack of copyright notice on the specific public copy would be meaningful -- it usually is not for statues, but unsure for a literary work. It might be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:49, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
I also wonder about text vs. rest of the artwork, the concern is specifically about the text.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 21:26, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

White House Performance videos[edit]

Are videos posted by the White House such as The 2016 Kids' State Dinner: Jungle Book Performance, which normally would be PD-POTUS, that state something like "Footage, music and other materials (c)Disney", still be allowed on Commons? If so, I'm presuming a De minimis would be required. Elisfkc (talk) 20:50, 14 July 2016 (UTC)

At the very least, any contained songs / lyrics / play dialog would make it not allowed. No way that would be de minimis. The video recording part is PD-POTUS, but any contained works would not be. If there is any included footage from Disney movies, that would be an issue too. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:54, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
@Clindberg: no footage, but there is singing. Elisfkc (talk) 04:11, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Henry Wilson by Nahum Ball Onthank - IMG 6879.JPG[edit]

Need to verify if File:Henry Wilson by Nahum Ball Onthank - IMG 6879.JPG is public domain. Please advise. Maile66 (talk) 14:01, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

The painting is PD. The photo would not qualify for PD-Art, but it sounds like the uploader took the photo, so they could license it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:26, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Uploader has been very active, so I second the suggestion to ask them to license it.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 17:12, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
Hi, I'm the image's photographer and uploader. Yes, the original painting is in the public domain, and so is my photograph. I have added a CC0 tag to make this clear, to this image, and to the other images that I uploaded at the same time. Note that the images were uploaded in 2010 - I'm not sure that CC0 even existed at that time! But anyway, they are certainly all in the public domain. Best wishes, Daderot (talk) 09:12, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! I note though that PD-Art is not an appropriate license here (it isn't a faithful reproduction since you took the photo at an angle), thus I've used a somewhat different license tag; I've also added that license tag to a Wikidata item since enwiki has such a tag (but typically albeit not exclusively used for fair use images) and I couldn't find the Commons one at first.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 21:03, 17 July 2016 (UTC)


File:BED1.jpg was uploaded with a {{cc-by-sa-4.0}} license tag by Emprince19 who says it is their own work, but I found the same image here and at the bottom of that page, it has a copyright notice and no Creative Commons license. I'm not sure whether it being on Commons is a copyright violation or not? Thanks for the help. Seagull123 (talk) 15:38, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

The account may be associated with the subject. Ruslik (talk) 20:11, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
The right owners are free to license works under several licences, and using one here and another there. But we usually do require OTRS correspondence in such cases, to assure we have permission from the rights owners and not from a random user. --LPfi (talk) 21:08, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

Copyright question[edit]

Does this image constitute copyrightable artwork? Please also see this GA review on the English Wikipedia. Jujutsuan (talk) 22:19, 16 July 2016 (UTC)

The painted crosswalk? In the U.S., no. In Finland, less sure, but I seriously doubt it. It's a crosswalk, and the colors are pretty standard -- do not see how that would amount to showing the personality of an individual human author. The photograph is copyrightable of course. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:32, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

Heavily watermarked image[edit]

This heavily watermarked image, taken from an old Genoese cookbook, has been uploaded from this website. The uploader Gaborasta is probably the website owner (GABriele RASTAtaldo), anyway I think there are some problems with this image. Does it need a OTRS ticket? There is also a cleaner version here (National Library of Rome website). What do you think about?--Carnby (talk) 16:39, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

If we're going to have either version, the one directly from the National Library is vastly superior. Watermarks are discouraged on Commons in all cases, and a watermark that blatant substantially lowers the value to Commons. The only copyright issue that needs addressed with the National Library scans is that of the book itself - {{PD-scan}} can then be used with the appropriate copyright tag. I cannot read Italian but for those who can, the information pages on the book start here. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 17:31, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
If our image is free, the National Library one is free; the NL page has all of the text from our page, plus a couple lines apparently from the previous. Assuming the 1852 is correct, both are clearly free. The one we have is terribly problematic with that watermark.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:53, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

GC Maps[edit]

The FAQ at indicates that great circle maps generated by that website are licensed for noncommercial use only. However, the great circle map at File:Five_longest_air_routes.gif is listed as PD-ineligible. Is there a policy for overriding a website owner's claim that a picture is indeed eligible for copyright and only usable under certain conditions, on the ground that the picture is too simple to be copyrightable? CapitalSasha (talk) 04:45, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Well, I wouldn't say that PD-ineligible is applicable to that map (for one thing, the background is surely a work that could be copyrighted). For the general question, a copyright tag is just a tag, it does not override originality requirements.Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk) 13:23, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

US copyright tags for pd-old-100[edit]

There are a lot of files like File:Cleopatra showing Octavius the bust of Julius Caesar, Pompeo Batoni.jpg that according to the templates aren't licensed properly, because "You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States." I'm not even sure what US public domain template would be right, since I have no idea whether the painting was ever "published" or not (i.e., another copy distributed, by somebody who held the copyright.) It could be {{PD-US-unpublished}} or {{PD-1996}}. Is it even possible that something published outside the US and {{PD-old-100}} could still copyrighted in the US? Is the warning spurious?--ghouston (talk) 08:38, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

It was displayed at a point in time where that made it published. Outside the Ninth Circuit, being published anywhere in the world is published for US purposes. (meta:Wikilegal/The 9th Circuit and Works Published Without Formalities explains some of the details. We've generally ignored that; I'd like to believe the WMF would take a case on the subject to the Supreme Court and get the 9th Circuit overturned, but maybe not.) There's complex rules of common law copyright; as far as I understand, unless common law copyright was actually actively held, it dissipated. Unless you're looking at something by Mark Twain or John Adams (1735-1826) or something else with an active rights holder, it would have been public domain before Federal copyright covered unpublished works.
With rare exceptions, it's not something to worry about, especially not with an 18th century author.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:11, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
So we can add {{PD-1996}} pretty much automatically to {{PD-old-100}}? I wonder if it would be possible to combine the two into a single template, that perhaps explains any exceptional cases where it wouldn't be valid. --ghouston (talk) 09:34, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Unless there is documentation to the contrary (i.e. known to have never been published anywhere), I think we generally assume that works that old have been published long ago, so PD-1923 is the assumption. And if they haven't been legally published, then the U.S. term is PD-old-70 anyways. It's not really something to worry about much -- it's virtually certain to be PD one way or another. I think the note on the need for a separate U.S. tag has gradually been added to all the PD-old-* tags, as in most other cases it's more in doubt, so I guess it was added to the 100 one as well, even though it's highly unlikely that such a work is still under U.S. copyright. (And, really, even the PD-old-100 tag is sort of fiction. There are only two countries with longer terms than PD-old-80, and both of them were non-retroactive increases, so their current effective terms are much shorter. It's just that their effective terms increase by one every year, so they will get to those numbers eventually.) Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:41, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I was thinking that such old works are surely public domain one way or another in the US, but it seems to take too much effort to work out exactly with template applies to fix the warning in PD-old-100. But it seems that {{PD-1923}} can be used in most cases if we assume that a painting is "published" merely by displaying it somewhere. --ghouston (talk) 00:48, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
I changed the file above to {{PD-Art|PD-old-auto-1923|deathyear=1787}}, no more warning. --ghouston (talk) 11:41, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Copyright status of postcards[edit]

I recently nominated two files for deletion, on the basis that were images of 20th century postcards for which the claimed PD-old declaration was unlikely to apply. See here and here. User:INeverCry concurred and deleted these files. The same concerns apply to a large number of files in Category:20th-century postcards, those where the publication date or original photographer cannot be established. Should all these be deleted? If so, what is the best way to identify those that can be kept? Verbcatcher (talk) 18:04, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

Verbcatcher I spot checked a few that looked okay. Can you present some specific examples that might be a problem?
There is a grey area for evaluation, but Commons tends to keep content that is likely in the public domain even when there is not definitive evidence establishing this as certain. The best way to identify files to keep is by the presence of an appropriate copyright license and rationale, and a lack of anyone challenging it as incorrect or implausible. Feel free to challenge some files as you like if it helps you understand the review process. Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:18, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
20th Century may be OK -- many postcards were anonymous authorship, and EU copyright would last 70 years from publication at that point. U.S. copyright may be an issue for some of those (usually those published 1926 or later, but can differ by country -- French postcards can be OK up to 1934 or so). Everything can depend on if the human author was credited on the front or back, and the year of publication. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:41, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
For US postcards, it's very rare to find many that aren't PD for one reason or another, and that's aided by very distinctive eras of postcard types. The vast majority found on eBay and other auction sites are divided back postcards from 1907 to 1915, easily identifiable by their full-side artwork and distinctive coloring. Others are undivided back (1901-1907), which are also unambiguously PD-1923 (the original offering for sale clearly counts as publication under US law). Even most of the later styles - white border 1915-1930, white border linen 1930-1945, and chrome (1939-present, but rare after the 70s) - are almost always PD from lack of copyright mark, lack of renewal, or both; I can't say that I've seen more than one or two (out of literally hundreds that I've uploaded) from before 1950 with a copyright mark, and even many form the 1980s don't. The only tricky ones are real photo postcards which aren't always as easy to date, but many of them have postmarks, distinctive items in the photo, or other ways to determine age and PD status.
TL;DR: I can't speak for other countries, but US postcards printed before 1989 can generally be assumed to be PD. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 21:21, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
The guideines in Commons:Anonymous works apply in most cases. According to this, in most EU countries the copyright on anonymous works lapses seventy years after publication, so unattributed postcards published before 1946 are ok. Some other countries use a fifty-year rule, so unattributed postcards published before 1966 are ok. In my limited experience commercial postcards rarely if ever credit the photographer.
Based on this, the deletion decision at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Roscoff-Arrivée des voitures d'oignons.jpg was probably incorrect, as this is clearly pre-1946. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Johnnies.jpg is later, but is probably also pre-1946. Should I ask for these to be undeleted?
From my quick survey, these files look problematic:
I nominated them for deletion. Not sure about the one from Norway. Yann (talk) 10:35, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
There are numerous post-1946 Italian postcards in the following categories. All of these may be in copyright.
Some of these have a PD-Italia declaration. This requires that the image must not have artistic merit or reflections of photographer creativity or personality. This is dubious for a published postcard. Verbcatcher (talk) 21:48, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Foreign postcards would have had their U.S. copyright restored by the URAA (unless published before 1923) if they were still under copyright in their source country in 1996. So, for some countries (for example the UK or Germany) the line might be 1926. For France, they had 50-year anonymous terms at the time, so probably 1945 -- though I'm not sure if the anonymous term got extended by their wartime extensions, which might add another 8 years. Italy had a six-year wartime extension in 1996 (50 years otherwise), so maybe 1940 for them. For PD-Italy... yeah, tough call. Portraits or anything else where the photographer could arrange the subject matter would be out, and I think they ruled that some very artistic landscape photographs were also ruled to be 70pma, but other more snapshot-like photos may still have their shorter terms. I'm not sure there have been many rulings to help us out. Some of those later postcards are claimed "own work" as well, so there is likely some bad licensing in there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:20, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Especially if cards are pre-1923, it's worth asking for undeletion. The difference might be if a postcard was signed by the artist or photographer on the front -- in which case we'd need to identify them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:22, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
This is helpful, but we need firm threshold dates, e.g. is it 1940 or 1966 for Italy? Also, Template:PD-Italy does not distinguish between works that qualify under the 20-year rule for "simple photographs" or under the 70-year rule for "works of photographic art". Should we have different templates so that we can see which is claimed? Any postcards with a PD-self declaration should be treated s suspect. Is there a way to search for these? Verbcatcher (talk) 00:09, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
PD-Italy is only about the 20-year term for simple photographs. The line for those would be 1976. Given the description in the law, I'd guess a number of postcards would actually count under that law. For other works, the current term is 70pma, or 70 years from publication, and would use either PD-old-70 or {{PD-anon-70-EU}}. In 1996, Italian law was 50pma, or 50 years for anonymous works. But they added 6 years to everything for wartime extensions, so 1940 is probably the line for artistic works. (The threshold of originality may also have been different, as they had not implemented the EU directive yet, and it was very common for photographs to have shorter terms then. Italy seems have kept their old clauses in their law, while Germany changed so that virtually every photograph now has the 70 year terms, which is why we still have the PD-Italy tag -- but the old law was in effect in 1996 so that would be the one that the URAA would use). Nothing about copyright is easy; there can be messy judgement calls in all sorts of areas. If we want to keep as many photos as possible, we need to wade into all these corner cases. And they can differ country-by-country. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:29, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

File:Europarl logo.svg[edit]

Is the licensing of this file correct? If it is, then I think there's probably no need for en:File:European Parliament logo.svg to be treated as non-free since the only reall difference between the two files seems to be the language used for the organization's name. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:24, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

@Marchjuly: The EU actually claims (see here) that is is a protected original design, and that all rights are reserved (i.e., they claim copyright). While there's not much originality here, it would be hard to justify it as free against the laws of every single EU member state, which I think would be needed. It's likely this is above the TOO 'somewhere' in the EU, and the EU parliament would (as a lawmaking body) itself have the power to claim rights in this 'by fiat' anyhow. It's probably not ok here, IMO. Reventtalk 00:39, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the information Revent. What should be done, in your opinion, about the Commons' file? Tag it with {{logo}} or nominate it for deletion via COM:DR? -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:44, 22 July 2016 (UTC)

Logo made up of road signs[edit]

While doing some other work on enwiki, I discovered File:NVTA Logo 2758.jpg and File:NVTA Logo web.jpg. I deleted the latter as a copyvio (and it would have qualified for speedy deletion as a smaller duplicate anyway), but on second look I'm not sure whether the remaining file is allowed on Commons or not. It consists of four traffic signs, of which nearly but not exactly identical versions are definitely PD: File:MUTCD D11-2.svg, File:MUTCD W4-2R.svg, File:MUTCD I-7.svg, and File:MUTCD I-6.svg. So this then leads to three questions:

  1. Are identical versions of all four signs provably PD?
  2. Does the version with all four signs together count as a copyrighted derivative work, or is it a trivial combination?
  3. Does the more recent version with an edge fade qualify as copyrighted, or is it still trivial?

There's no sense keeping the older version on Commons in either case - it should be overwritten by the current version if that is PD, or replaced by the fair-use current version on enwiki if it is not. Thanks, Pi.1415926535 (talk) 16:08, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't think there is anything copyrightable over the four MUTCD symbols. I would call those trivial combinations, including the more recent version. But since the two versions are different, I'd keep both. They are not duplicates -- one has wording, one doesn't, one has the edge fade, one doesn't. Historical versions are of interest anyways, even if no longer used on en-wiki. If the one you deleted was an exact duplicate, just smaller, then cool but I'd probably leave everything else be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:40, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
The deleted one was an exact scaled-down duplicate of the file still on Commons. So just to confirm - you're saying there's nothing about the logo currently on enwiki that's copyrightable, and I should upload it to Commons and keep the existing version? Thanks, Pi.1415926535 (talk) 18:36, 21 July 2016 (UTC)


Hey, I wonder if I can upload this handwriting to the commons. The one who wrote this died almost 23 years ago. --Mhhossein (talk) 06:12, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

What does it mean? Ruslik (talk) 18:13, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
@Mhhossein: Strangely, the appearance of a person's handwriting can be copyrightable, as a form of 'artistic work', even if the actual written text isn't (not that I can read this, lol) Reventtalk 00:16, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Just to clarify... I'm not saying that a person's 'style of handwriting' is itself copyrightable (it's essentially a typeface, in a way), but a specific instance of handwritten text can be... it's the 'appearance' of how the person wrote the specific text that, especially if it was not in some kind of 'standard' handwriting style, that can have the needed originality. Reventtalk 00:22, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
@Ruslik0, Revent: It's in Persian language and reads: "We hold the illusion that we've stayed but the martyrs have passed. But the truth is that time has taken us away with itself, but the martyrs have stayed." This is the actual handwriting style of Morteza Avini ([1]) and is not any specific style of writing and I don't think can be counted as an artistic work. --Mhhossein (talk) 05:28, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
It is a long text. It is likely to be copyrighted. Ruslik (talk) 12:34, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Handwriting is not copyrightable in the U.S., unless there are pictorial aspects of it. Some UK scholars think it may be copyrightable there, but that will be rare I'm guessing (very few countries use their definition of "original"). Stuff like calligraphy can be copyrightable in some countries. Obviously, if the written text qualifies for a literary copyright, then that counts. That could be enough text to create a copyright -- certainly some short poems are. In the U.S., "short phrases" are not copyrightable, so things like slogans are not, but once you get to a couple sentences, it's at least possible. If the text is repeating a known saying, that is different of course. I have little idea what Iranian copyright law would consider copyrightable though, and that is the real question here. The English translation of their law lists "decorative writings" as copyrightable -- I don't know if that sample would qualify, or if that would mean something more like Persian calligraphy. And like other copyright laws, they list all "literary, scientific and artistic writings" as copyrightable. So the question is if Iranian law considers that amount of text a literary or artistic writing, and I just don't know. If it is, then Iranian law protects it for 50 years after the author dies (it used to be 30, but was non-retroactively extended to 50 in 2010, so authors who have died since August 1980 get the longer protection). If not, then it's OK to upload. But I'm not sure that many here have much idea about how much text is needed to qualify as "original" under Iranian law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:40, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Clindberg for your comprehensive explanation. I don't think that our case can be counted as "literary, scientific or artistic writing." Should it be proved? How? --Mhhossein (talk) 04:21, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
I uploaded the image. --Mhhossein (talk) 17:53, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
Yep. It's anyone's guess what the Iranian threshold is -- and since they are not a member of the Berne Convention (it is supposedly under discussion but it has not happened), then they are not even bound by the Berne Convention norms anyways. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:00, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

Stamps from Argentina[edit]

Asking just to be on the safe side: I have read this about copyright for stamps from Argentina. Am I right in thinking then that [2] and [3] are in the public domain? Blue Elf (talk) 16:33, 22 July 2016 (UTC)