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 may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

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File:American Fluid Company crate side.jpg[edit]

Is the logo in this photo too simple to be subject to copyright or does COM:PACKAGING apply? No date is provided so it's hard to determine if the logo is too old to still be subject to copyright. - Marchjuly (talk) 05:06, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

I'd call it {{PD-ineligible}} plus {{Trademark}} --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 20:01, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the reply Hedwig in Washington. Changing the licensing from "own work" to "PD-ineligible"/"trademark" is all that is needed and that COM:PACAKGING is not a concern? - Marchjuly (talk) 04:27, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that should do it. If someone thinks otherwise, they can always start a deletion request. Cheers, --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 00:49, 31 July 2015 (UTC)


Logo is perhaps simple enough to not be subject to copyright, but I'm pretty sure this .jpg cannot be claimed as own work and needs some source information for verification purposes. - Marchjuly (talk) 05:22, 27 July 2015 (UTC)

Assuming that the logo is of US origin, then it seems likely that it can be treated as a case of {{PD-textlogo}} + {{Trademark}}. For a source, a search indicates that the image can be found on this TVWeek page and this FindSpark page, among other possible locations. (As a side note, given the nature of the logo, there might be something to be said for converting the image to PNG format, uploading it as PNG, and then tagging the JPEG version with {{SupersededPNG}}.) --Gazebo (talk) 13:53, 27 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Gazebo. Can anyone convert the jpeg version license from "own work" to "PD-text logo" or does it have to be done by the uploader? - Marchjuly (talk) 05:07, 28 July 2015 (UTC)
From what one understands, anyone can change the info for the file. I have changed the source and licensing info accordingly, in addition to some minor improvements. --Gazebo (talk) 03:30, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Thank you Gazebo. - Marchjuly (talk) 03:57, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Copyright help regarding file[edit]

The file I am trying to upload comes directly off of the website I am editing.

--Dmconner1 (talk) 16:22, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

What is your question? Can you provide a link to the website you are editing? — SMUconlaw (talk) 16:39, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

What CC license does YouTube apply?[edit]

YouTube allows people to tag videos with CC-By licenses, as here.

Seemingly YouTube does not designate a version of Creative Commons licenses.

If a video has YouTube's default CC-By tagging, what is the correct template to apply to that video? Do we just use the most current international CC-By license which Creative Commons is offering? Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:51, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

The license link goes to a youtube page at , which in turn links to CC-BY-3.0. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:54, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) This YouTube/Google support page links to CC-by 3.0 which they call the "standard Creative Commons license". So you should use {{CC-by-3.0}} at Commons and probably provide a link to the support page too. Also, as there is no personal authorship claim for the video, please be sure to credit the MacLean Center as the author. De728631 (talk) 17:56, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Resolved
Thanks, I see, this is the way to do it. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:56, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Audio published in UK in 1937[edit]

This audio was first published in 1937 in the UK by the BBC. It is public domain in the UK, but perhaps not in the US. The deciding factor is whether or not it was still under copyright in the UK in 1996 and thus had it's US copyright restored by the URAA. Does anyone know what the UK's copyright term for audio was in 1996? The work would have been 58 years old and Virginia Woolf (the author) would have been dead for 55 years. I'm just trying to decide whether the {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} template should be added. Kaldari (talk) 20:29, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Resolved
After doing some more research it looks like the copyright term for audio recordings in the UK in 1996 was 50 years after publication (it is now 70), so it would have been public domain on the URAA restoration day and thus did not have it's copyright restored in the US. Kaldari (talk) 20:51, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
It is not in the public domain in the US. All audio recordings are copyright under state law until 2067, whether or not they have federal copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:20, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
It seems that this applies to US works, but I have some doubt it applies to foreign works as well? Regards, Yann (talk) 21:30, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
It's tangled and horrible and messy. The URAA explicitly restored pre-1972 sound recordings, so if they were restored but later lost U.S. copyright, that probably eliminated the common-law protection (which will otherwise last until 2067). But if they were out of copyright in the source country at that point, it's harder to say. Did the URAA terminate the common-law protection, or since it didn't apply to those works, maybe those works continued under common law protection. The Naxos case was explicitly about 1930s foreign recordings, and was about actions that occurred after the URAA, and they ruled that the common-law copyright protection still applied. So that would be the most direct indication -- such sound recordings are still under common-law copyright in the U.S. Sucks for us, but that appears to be the law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:27, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
It's not common law in most states, is it? In Nevada, the law says:
NRS 205.217 Unlawful reproduction or sale of sound recordings.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, it is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association knowingly to:
(a) Transfer or cause to be transferred any sounds recorded on a phonograph record, disc, wire, tape, film or other article on which sounds are recorded onto any other phonograph record, disc, wire, tape, film or article; or
(b) Sell, distribute, circulate, offer for sale, distribution or circulation, possess for the purpose of sale, distribution or circulation, or cause to be sold, distributed, circulated, offered for sale, distribution or circulation, or possessed for sale, distribution or circulation, any article or device on which sounds have been transferred without the consent of the person who owns the master phonograph record, master disc, master tape or other device or article from which the sounds are derived.
2. It is unlawful for any person, firm, partnership, corporation or association to sell, distribute, circulate, offer for sale, distribution or circulation or possess for the purposes of sale, distribution or circulation, any phonograph record, disc, wire, tape, film or other article on which sounds have been transferred unless the phonograph record, disc, wire, tape, film or other article bears the actual name and address of the transferor of the sounds in a prominent place on its outside face or package.
3. This section does not apply to any person who transfers or causes to be transferred any sounds intended for or in connection with radio or television broadcast transmission or related uses, for archival purposes or solely for the personal use of the person transferring or causing the transfer and without any compensation being derived by the person from the transfer.
4. A person who violates the provisions of this section shall be punished:
(a) For the first offense, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
(b) For a subsequent offense, for a category C felony as provided in NRS 193.130.
(2067 comes from Federal law which explicitly preempts state laws at that point.) I don't see why it wouldn't apply to foreign audio recordings just like US or Nevada ones. Other state laws may be worded differently, but I've looked up a few states and always found written law to this effect.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:38, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
From what one understands, if a recording was fixed before Feb 15, 1972 and the recording was not subject to US federal copyright via the URAA and the recording does not incorporate any underlying copyrighted material (such as a copyrighted song), then the current policy is to accept the recording on Commons but to include a {{PD-US-record}} tag which talks about the possibility of states applying common law copyright. At the same time, because the {{PD-US-record}} tag is for recordings where federal copyright does not apply, it would seem that the tag should not be used for recordings for which federal copyright was applied via the URAA even if the recording was fixed before Feb 15, 1972. For the "On Craftsmanship" recording, assuming that there is no underlying copyrighted material, then it would seem that the {{PD-US-record}} tag would be applicable. --Gazebo (talk) 04:10, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
PD-US-record is basically wrong... common law protection is essentially everywhere, not just New York. Commons:Deletion_requests/Template:PD-US-record is sort of still an open question, and the tag is at odds with WMF guidance. It would only apply if the common-law copyright was lost somehow, perhaps if you could show en:abandonment. This might be the sort of work where common-law copyright is less clear, though. For commercial music recordings we shouldn't be using it, but this is a little different. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:43, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Common law is that which is based off of court rulings, and that sort of thing -- it's not explicitly written in laws passed by a legislature (which is statutory law, though those can create additional rights). Many states have statutory piracy laws, but common-law copyright can still exist without them. It's more a result of what feels "right" rather than defined lines, which makes it hard to guess what the result would be. And yes, it can differ by state. That said... the rulings have generally been over music recordings, where there is a definite commercial interest involved. It is definitely possible that common law copyright could "expire" if it had been given up somehow, or disused, or it would never really be possible to make money from it, or something like that. The above sounds like a recording of an interview... if there was a market for that sort of thing, and the BBC had been selling copies, I wouldn't touch it. Otherwise, it may be more of a common sense thing. If the BBC is not complaining about it, then it might be OK. There is very little black and white about it... owners do not need to take action to protect statutory copyright, but if they knowingly allow common law use, that might be different. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:43, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Taxidermy / stuffed animals[edit]

I'm a bit at a loss regarding the question of possible copyright protection for stuffed animals resp. taxidermy. There's currently an open DR: Commons:Deletion requests/File:ENTREe museum.JPG. Even if originally protected, the mounted animal in question may be out of copyright by now (as it's apparently an exhibit from 1878), but I would be interested in more information regarding the general question. My first, spontaneous assumption in that discussion was that such a stuffed animal isn't protected by copyright - after all, the purpose is to show the animal in its natural appearance, and that appearence in itself is not a human work of creativity. However, Taivo then cited various deletion requests where a copyright protection for taxidermy was claimed - yet, in these DRs it looks more like personal opinions, no court decisions or law commentaries were quoted.

Researching a bit more, I have found an essay by Elcobbola where indeed some (US) court cases are quoted. However, both decisions rely on "artistic features introduced by the author". In one of the two decisions, a stuffed fish was denied protection, as it had no meaningful detail ... that is not commanded by the idea of a realistic fish. So, based on these two court decisions, it seems to me that (in the US) taxidermy is only copyrightable if the animal is prepared in a particularly "artistic" way; on the other hand, if it's an animal that just looks as we would expect that animal to look (such as the fish in Hart Scr v. Dan Chase Taxidermy Supply Company Inc), then it's not protected. Now, what for File:ENTREe museum.JPG? Eulalie the elephant certainly looks a bit strangely glossy, but as it's an old specimen, this may have to do with the techniques of the time and ageing. Probably some kind of protective varnish was applied. Apart from that, it just looks like a regular young elephant to me. So, is it protected by copyright or not? Does it have "meaningful detail" that is not commanded by the idea of a realistic elephant? And to complicate matters, is it protected by copyright in France? Gestumblindi (talk) 22:32, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Was marked as "resolved" by Yann, but I'd like to keep this open for a bit longer - as the general matter isn't really "resolved", I'd say. Yann, you closed the current deletion request Commons:Deletion requests/File:ENTREe museum.JPG with "kept" and giving the reason "Made in 1878, so old enough", which may be true, but this leaves the more general question of the copyright status of stuffed animals unresolved. Regarding the "Eulalie" specimen, it's even possible that it would still be copyrighted, even if from 1878, as the taxidermist could have died less than 70 years ago - if, and that is the question, that stuffed elephant were copyrightable to start with. When I created the discussion here, I hoped for a bit more insight into that matter, but it seems that the question is very obscure ;-). Gestumblindi (talk) 14:17, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
OK, fine for more discussion. I think it depends very much on the local laws. In some place, this will be considered as sculptures, in others, not. Then, it will be allowed if it is displayed in a public place, and there is a FoP exception. So, it is quite difficult to make a general rule. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:02, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

Techcrunch vs Getty Images[edit]

Kathryn Minshew.jpg

Who is the copyright owner of this file? In the EXIF-date it says Getty Images for TechCrunch and on the Flickr-description it says Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch, but on Commons it only says Techcrunch. Can Techcrunch license the file how they want, or is Getty Images (part-)owners of the copyright? If so, is the entire Flickrfeed (with images from Getty) Flickrwashing? Do we need OTRS-permission from Getty to use the image, or is the Flickr-license from Techcrunch enough? Josve05a (talk) 22:50, 29 July 2015 (UTC)

Stemoc seems to have passed a license review for CC-BY 1.0, when it is licensed as 2.0 on Flickr. Off-topic about this question, but just wanted to say that while at the same time pinging him to this discussion. Josve05a (talk) 22:55, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
Getty Images act as a copyright agent rather than the copyright holder. If the photographer has released the image on a license suitable for Commons, then there seems no reason to ask Getty anything (... i.e. our "reasonable efforts" to check copyright can stop at checking the Flickrstream, which itself appears entirely legitimate based on contents, EXIF data, age and so forth). -- (talk) 22:59, 29 July 2015 (UTC)
nah, i passed it cc-by, svenbot changed it to cc-by 1.0 and regarding the image, Its allowed as Fae mentioned above, techcrunch is a major organization so its obvious that they need to hire professional photographers to take images for them and behalf of them and we shouldn't read into the Exif too much since most of those are hard coded into the camera these photographers use and only a handful acknowledge for whom they are taking the images for...--Stemoc 01:27, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

File:North Carolina Office.JPG[edit]

Image is claimed as "own work", but I believe it is the same as en:File:AM North Carolina Office; Wikipedia.JPG which was uploaded as non-free to Wikipedia and File:AM North Carolina Office; Wikipedia.PNG which was uploaded to Commons by the same uploader (Joey Kinyanjui). The one uploaded to Wikipedia was deleted per en:WP:F7 and the one uploaded to Commons was deleted as a copyright violation. In addition, the quality of the image does not seem to be that of a photograph taken by the uploader, but rather that of image downloaded from the Internet and then re-uploaded. - Marchjuly (talk) 00:27, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

A Google image search shows that the image is being used on this webpage for an office leasing company. - Marchjuly (talk) 04:02, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Template:Anonymous work[edit]

I recently run into Template:Anonymous work which covers Anonymous PD work created more than 50 years ago. The "template does not apply to works from countries that extended the Berne Convention or that did not sign it. In particular, this includes the European Union, the United States, India, and Russia". So what countries of origin are covered by this template? --Jarekt (talk) 12:13, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

I think a crude first pass at a list is: Algeria, China, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Monaco, Namibia, Qatar, Sudan, Swaziland, and Thailand. To construct the list I started with a list of the Berne convention signatories, removed the EU members + U.S. + India + Russia, removed countries with longer terms, and removed countries who could use this template but have better dedicated templates that mention anonymous works (like {{PD-Antigua and Barbuda}}, {{PD-Bahrain}}, etc.). —RP88 (talk) 13:56, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Probably most 50pma countries (Canada, etc.). Though as mentioned some country-specific tags already mention anonymous works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:27, 30 July 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I removed countries like Canada that have a better template from my list. The list of countries where it would be acceptable, if not best practice, to use this template is much longer. —RP88 (talk) 14:34, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

1944 French photograph[edit]

I have a lengthy discussion on my talk page about a photograph taken August 24, 1944 in France. Here are the details I could find out so far:

  • Taken anonymously in Paris, France on August 24, 1944.
  • Photograph given to wife of subject shortly later
  • First published in the periodical Pays d'Alsace, issue N° 239 in May 2012

Since it was first published 2012, the (c) will extend until the end of 2082 (+70 years). Therefore neither {{PD-EU-unpublished}} or {{PD-EU-no author disclosure}} can be applied. Topping this with a cherry: Not free on URAA date either.

Pictogram voting question.svg Question Did I miss anything that would allow us to host this photo? --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 01:35, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Where did you get +70 years? Unless the person who gave it to the periodical was the copyright owner, I don't think it was legally published, and thus any clocks starting on that didn't start.
On the US grounds, the URAA is only relevant for published works. Works unpublished in 2002 have a flat life+70, or for anonymous works, 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is less.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:20, 31 July 2015 (UTC)
Facepalm3.svg True, I just took what the user told me for face value (published with permission) I didn't think about the fact that it wasn't legally published. So, given the fact that this photo hasn't been legally published, the copyright should have expired 2014. That'll make the uploader and me pretty happy. Smile Thanks for waking me up! --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 01:17, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Haviland Thin Mints packaging[edit]

I have a picture of a Haviland Thin Mints package that I want to use for the purpose of illustrating the Wikipedia article. Would it be allowed here? Thanks! --Ixfd64 (talk) 22:33, 31 July 2015 (UTC)

Sorry, the design is copyrighted. You can upload it under the fair use clause on enwiki. Let me know if you need help with that. Best, --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 00:48, 2 August 2015 (UTC)


If, how can we license this banknote used/made before 1948 in Lebanon and Syria? We don't have much info on the copyright laws of both countries.

  • Syria: PD 10 years after publication
  • Lebanon: PD 50 years after the author's death and 50 years after publication for anonymous works.

That's all we have listed here. I'd hate to have it deleted. Anyone with a good idea and the right language knowledge around? Clin Thanks in advance! --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 00:54, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

That's obviously not a personal work, so public domain 50 years after publication should apply. Regards, Yann (talk) 10:43, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that's my thought as well. But I am not familiar at all with the laws in Syria and Lebanon, especially during this time. It would be nice if we could clarify this a little bit and maybe expand both section, incl, info about the currency of Syria and Lebanon. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 19:27, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
Well, I am not an expert of Syria and Lebanon copyright laws either. ;) Regards, Yann (talk) 14:25, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

(C) in watermark, image under right licence on Flickr[edit]

Hey everyone, there is some debate on Wikipedia over this image. It was uploaded to Flickr with the (C) in the watermark. I then contacted the author and asked him to change the licence, so that we could use the image on Wikipedia. He agreed, changed the license to cc-by-sa-2.0 and I was happy and uploaded it. It has now been raised that there might be a problem with the (C) being in the watermark. Is that the case? Do I have to ask the author to change the watermark and upload the image again? Zwerg Nase (talk) 10:21, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

No. All a copyright notice means is that he's asserting it's not in the public domain, the same thing he's asserting by offering it under the CC-BY-SA-2.0.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:23, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Great, thanks! :) Zwerg Nase (talk) 10:27, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Resolved

UK Death Certificates?[edit]

A British death certificate I uploaded to Wikimedia Commons has been tagged as a copyright violation. As I have explained on the Talk Page of that image, the legal advice I received before uploading the image is that UK death certificates are allowed on Wikipedia under the UK's Open Government Licence provided that the names of any living persons (e.g. informant) are redacted. The official UK National Archives/GRO policy is online here: Reproduction of birth, death and marriage certificates [1]. Could we get an official WM Commons statement on this matter please? Muzilon (talk) 13:28, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

I converted that to a regular DR. Yann (talk) 14:24, 3 August 2015 (UTC)