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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Copyright view on multipage files[edit]

Multipage file example

Are files with more than one page treated as a whole work or every page is considered separately? Here's example: File:Dowód sprzedaży biletu okresowego MPK.pdf. In this case we have scan of two sides of the machine-printed ticket. --Rezonansowy (talk) 21:43, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Neither; copyright works can be printed many to a page, or they can consist of large volumes.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:40, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: So we can assume this file provided as an example is OK, right? --Rezonansowy (talk) 13:24, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't know; seems like a rather complex question, and I neither speak Polish nor are familiar with the details of Polish copyright law.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:34, 3 January 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: I understand. That's why I'm posting this, because it's a complex case. I wonder where can I fetch more feedback on it. We need some Polish Commons users here. --Rezonansowy (talk) 13:42, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Could someone else comment on it? This could be a part of an approach to create a guideline how to deal with multipage files from the copyright and COM:TOO point. Thanks! --Rezonansowy (talk) 23:57, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Anyone? This is a serious topic. How should we deal with multipage files? Are they treated as a separate things or like one? --Rezonansowy (talk) 21:36, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
You're asking the wrong question. Whether a file has multiple pages has little to do with its copyright status.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:29, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Assume TWO files. Assume recto is a derivative of a protected ticket, painting, whatever and verso is clearly public domain. One has to be deleted, the other one can stay on Commons. As long as there is no ©-dependency between the files, there's no problem. Whether keeping the stand alone file makes sense or not is a scope question. Now assume a two-page PDF created using both files. This pdf can't stay on Commons, because parts of the file aren't free.
Concerning your example: Yes it's ok IMHO. The CoA/logo upper left should be PD according to 1994 Polish copyright law, art. 4 #2. The rest is text only. @Piotrus: Your view regarding the file(s)? --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 04:27, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Weell. Ok, here are my thoughts: there is noting copyrighted on page (see File:POL Kraków COA.svg). Second page has logo of the Krakowska Karta Miejska (city's monthly ticket), which I think safely passes our policies on logo (simple design, below originality threshold required for copyright). I think all the public domain elements are properly identified and explained in the pd templates on the page, so I think the image is PD. If the question was about something else, I am not sure what that something else is :> --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 16:58, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Assume we have one file, one page, with multiple images on it, like File:Civilization 1 leaders.jpg or a photo with a prominent poster in it. Same problems, and in either case, we shouldn't delete the file if what's left after editing out any copyright offending material is still useful. Whereas many books on Commons are one unified copyright work, no different from any painting.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:54, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

@Prosfilaes, Hedwig in Washington, Piotrus: Guys, many thanks for explaining this case! Prosfilaes, Hedwig, let me rewrite my question – I meant:

We have a ONE file with TWO (or more) pages and there's a ©-dependency between them. Every page is under the COM:TOO but combined together like in the example above they become more complicated and above COM:TOO. Possible examples include: ebooks, tickets, publications, etc.

Question: should we treat this file as a one unified work OR treat its pages as a separate things?

The first situation could have sense because we could just split pages of this file into many separate files, so I assume if we have a DR on such files, we should judge every page separately like Piotrus did.

--Rezonansowy (talk) 11:16, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Pages should be judged separately, IMHO. If needed we could blank a copyrighted part of the page, ex. a picture. But again, I don't see any problem here. A collection of public domain elements cannot become copyrighted because there are too many PD elements. It doesn't work that way. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:01, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Actually, a collection of PD works, like a short story or poetry anthology, does have a copyright independent of the works in it. You can copy the poems in 100 Best-Loved Poems, but not the anthology as a whole.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:09, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Ultimately, the law is not going to care much about pages or files. If we have a series of files Harry_Potter_And_The_Philosophers_Stone-xxxxx.png, each of which have one word in them: "Mr.", "and", "Mrs.", "Dursley", and so on and so forth, a court is going to stomp down on that. We might get away with posting a copyrighted anthology of public domain works, but only if any identity as an integral anthology disappears. I don't think there's any way to store both sides of a ticket or publication and have a court not consider it as storing one integral work, unless it was honestly splittable, like the Mona Lisa on one side and The Dancer on the other, and generally sticking two honestly splittable works on two sides of one sheet wouldn't make them one copyright work.
When you're talking about two pages versus one, you're cutting lines that copyright law was simply not designed to cut. There's never going to be a clear point where posting two things separately is going to be clearly PD and posting them together is going to be clearly copyrighted.
As long as we're hosting both sides of that ticket, we're going to have to process it as a whole. I don't have any specific problems with Piotrus's analysis, though I'd need translations to specifically endorse it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:06, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any problem for Commons with anything else but collections of public domain elements, whatever they may be. We have to evaluate every case separately. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 03:59, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

FOP issue[edit]

Hey, is this file OK in light of FOP? Thanks. --Mhhossein talk 20:22, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

Please consider this file, too. --Mhhossein talk 20:33, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

The location depicted in the photos may be the Banco de Londres in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In particular, see this image. From information elsewhere and on Commons, Clorindo Testa was the architect. Though there is a FOP license tag for Argentina, it is not totally clear as to whether interiors are covered under FOP. --Gazebo (talk) 12:48, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
@Gazebo: Yes, it's located in Buenos Aires. See Category:Files from Open Foto Buenos Aires 2016. Then we need to know if interiors are covered under FOP according to the Argentina copyright law. --Mhhossein talk 09:53, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Can anyone check this issue please? --Mhhossein talk 14:55, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Since there is no actual freedom of panorama provision in Argentine law but it is considered uncontroversial to depict buildings, I don't see where a restriction should occur that limits these depictions to the exterior of any building. So I don't think that images of interiors are problematic. De728631 (talk) 15:16, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
Normally any exterior / interior distinction would have to be spelled out in the law -- otherwise a photo from the inside is still just a photo of the building. It sounds like Argentina's status is more based on some legal scholar opinions, and lack of any contradicting court cases, so there would be nothing to base an inside/outside distinction on. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:28, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks every body. --Mhhossein talk 06:49, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

Content of local MLITT of Japan web sites.[edit]

Hello, a template exists showing the license applicable for the reproduction of the content of the National Land Image Information of Japan, a web site of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLITTJ). Some other sites run by local entities of the MLITTJ display their own copyright notice. This is the case of the Kanto Regional Development Bureau. Their notice states that the content of the site can be freely used (reproduction, transformation, translation) even for a commercial purpose. How can I "translate / transfer" their notice on Commons ? Should I create a new license template ? --ContributorQ (talk) 22:35, 10 January 2017 (UTC)

I've only checked the notice page. The content seems to be under the Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Version 1.0) (政府標準利用規約(第1.0版)). GJSTU-2.0 is compatible with cc-by-4.0, but GJSTU-1.0 is not accepted on Commons. See Template:GJSTU1 and Commons:井戸端/過去ログ14 (Village pump in Japanese). However, they may change terms if we contact them. Darklanlan (talk) 14:22, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
@Darklanlan: thanks for your reply. Their copyright notice is pretty confusing. In the header of section #2, it is written "自由に利用できます。" and "商用利用も可能です。". Then in section #2-5)イ, the notice states "本利用ルールは、政府標準利用規約(第1.0版)に準拠しています。" which means that the notice itself has been established in conformity with the government standard Terms of Use 1.0. Is this correct ?
Well it would be indeed clearer to contact them and ask whether they allow us to use the content of their site on Commons as the National Land Image Information of Japan does. I am not sure whether I can make such a move myself, I guess it would be better to have a kind of WMF credential to do this. --ContributorQ (talk) 18:44, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
I didn't join the discussion, so I carefully read it again. According to Commons:井戸端/過去ログ11#日本の省庁が公開しているコンテンツのコモンズでの利用について, GJSTU-1.0 prohibits following two usages: 法令、条例又は公序良俗に反する利用 (Usage that violates laws and ordinances, regulations, or public policy) and 国家・国民の安全に脅威を与える利用 (Usage that represents a threat to the safety of the state and/or its citizens). (Also, it doesn't mention the CC license.) Because of this, some users claimed it was not compatible with CC-BY license and we couldn't accept it. But, in another discussion (Commons:井戸端/過去ログ14), User:Yasu says it cannot be the reason for refusing. I agree with him, and this tagging would be correct. GJSTU-2.0 is better than GJSTU1, but GJSTU1 is also OK, I think. Darklanlan (talk) 23:25, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your report about these discussions. Some users indeed oppose the use of the GJSTU1 license with the arguments you mention. A failed june 2016 deletion request of the template is a good summary of the debat. Strangely, the template displays this message: "...But the Government of Japan Standard Terms of Use (Ver.1.0) is not the free license. Because don't use this template.". Now I am not sure that GJSTU1 is OK. I think the argument: "Usage that violates laws and ordinances, regulations, or public policy", should be considered because it is a restriction we are unable to precisely frame, it is far too vague. There may be (or there might be) a japanese law article which may (might in the future) be invoked against the use on Commons. I now think that the copyright policy of the Nikkō bureau, by example, is not compatible with the Commons' usages because of its subordination to this clause which introduces some vagueness.
Ok, thanks for your help, I will try to obtain a clarification from the MLITTJ Nikkō bureau and will report here the result. Have a good week-end. --ContributorQ (talk) 15:48, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
This discussion helped me to understand the copyright tag. I'm looking forward to hear your good news. Thanks! Darklanlan (talk) 17:15, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Update: I send two mails to the Nikkō MLIT bureau. I had to insist because they first just answered me to check their copyright page. I finally obtained a clear answer about the compatibility of their web site's content with the GJSTU-2.0. Their copyright notice has been updated and now refers to the GJSTU-2.0 and the CC-BY-4.0. license (sections 2.7-イ and 2.7-ウ). --ContributorQ (talk) 16:40, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
You have done a good job! I expected it would take a few weeks or months. But now we can use their content under GJSTU-2.0 without any concern. Darklanlan (talk) 10:40, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

File:Dhkp.svg and File:DHKP.svg[edit]

Are both of these files needed? They are both svgs and they both show the same flag/logo, so I'm not sure if there's a real difference between the two. The file names are also basically the same except the latter file uses all caps. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:47, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

There have been (are?) tons of flags of Turkey that are duplicates. Pretty messy for some reason. I'm moving & replacing Dhkp.svg with DHKP.svg. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 03:36, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for checking on this Hedwig in Washington. -- Marchjuly (talk) 04:19, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Update: "File:Dhkp.svg" has been redirected to "File:DHKP.svg". -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:06, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

Photo from 1887 at Getty Images. Public domain?[edit]

I recently uploaded File:Zazel3.jpg, a photo from 1887. When I went to use it for a Did You Know on the English Wikipedia, the reviewer pointed out that the licensing may not be appropriate. Specifically, though I found it elsewhere, as best I can tell now the photo is with the Hulton Archive, owned by Getty Images. See the page here. That page includes a record for "Date created" as January 01, 1877. If we know the image is from 1877, in what contexts is it safe to assume it's in the public domain, and in what contexts is it not? Thanks. — Rhododendrites talk |  01:47, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

We do not know if and when it was published for the first time. A possibility would be to use {{PD-US-unpublished}}, if the conditions are met. --Ruthven (msg) 13:42, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
@Ruthven: Hmm. It looks like it does meet #2 there: "the death date of its author is not known, and it was created before 1897". If we don't know when it was published, does it make sense to err on the side of unpublished? — Rhododendrites talk |  13:49, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
On that, I prefer to leave an user more experienced with this tag to answer. --Ruthven (msg) 13:53, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

To reframe: we have a photographic work with an unknown author and unknown first publication, but we have a creation date of 1887 and likelihood it was originally published in the UK. The original photograph is now owned by Getty. If we follow the 120 year rule for unpublished works, it's in the public domain in the US. If it was first published before 1923, it's in the public domain. The big question, it seems, is whether Getty's publication on their website would count as first publication in the absence of other documentation. That seems like an unlikely slippery slope. But if that's the case it would still be in the public domain "70 years after the death of author, or if work of corporate authorship, 95 years from publication", since UK has copyright relations with the US. Does 120 years still apply regarding the assumption of the author's death? — Rhododendrites talk |  14:36, 11 January 2017 (UTC)

If it was in the Hulton Archives, it was published. I don't think that is much of a question. If the photographer was known, it could still potentially be under copyright (if that photographer lived to at least 1947, which is getting unlikely but still possible). But, since the Getty page can't identify an author, it sure seems most likely that it is both {{PD-UK-unknown}}, and {{PD-1923}}. Getty will put a copyright notice on anything it has from the Hulton Archives (which it bought), regardless of copyright status. That archive did have some unpublished works, but those would have been taken by employees of the w:Picture Post -- earlier photographs it pretty much would have had to collect, and were almost certainly published in order to allow them to do that. And once they were offered for sale by Hulton in the first place, that may well have been publication right then anyways. I don't think it's reasonable to doubt the publication status -- just the author issue, and the UK term. But, it is the uploader's risk if Getty does sue. If the uploader is uncomfortable, I would delete, but likely not over general copyright concerns, unless an author was identified in the first 70 years after publication. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:10, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
Getty Images is in practice collation website, not a publisher. I do not recall any case where images of interest that have been released on that site that were not previously published elsewhere in some form. Getty gets no respect from me, claiming copyright over obviously public domain material and then doing absolutely nothing to ever correct that legal error, even when notified formally, makes them as bad as any vandal or Flickrwashing account. I look forward to a time when we push them, and their deliberately misleading practices, out of business. -- (talk) 15:16, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
agreed. or sending Carol M. Highsmith a dunning notice. the sanctimony is matched by the incompetence. they could set standards for licenses, but why bother, there's no money in it. i would put PD-1923 on it. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 19:31, 11 January 2017 (UTC)
I don't suppose anybody's ever had any luck just asking Getty about the author...? — Rhododendrites talk |  02:39, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
hey go for it. my experience is that artists are responsive and organizations are not, (or tend to restate the boilerplate). yrmv. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 18:00, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Well, I sent Getty an email. I won't get my hopes up. I must say, this is rather more ambiguous than I'm used to. Here's another question: What reason is there to assume that Getty's is the original? I mean, if I make two copies of a photo, give one to an archive, sent the other who knows where, but the archive is purchased and licensed for profit, why would the assumption be that all versions of the photo that should be in the public domain came from the one now owned by [Getty]? Of course, I don't have any evidence to say there are other versions, but I didn't find this through Getty; I found it because it's all over the Internet, and got it myself from a Huffington Post article, seeing the age and not really worrying about tracking down more information. — Rhododendrites talk |  22:18, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

no, reason at all. that's why the archivists make a distinction between scan of glass plate (or negative) and scan of print. distribution channels have a print, the photographer or studio has the negative. both can go to the archives. or the studio could burn down. i.e. getty has PD items from Library of Congress, that they sell. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 22:46, 17 January 2017 (UTC)

File:Yukon Party Logo.svg[edit]

Should this be tagged with at least {{No permission}} given the fact that the file can be seen in use on the official website of the en:Yukon Party and because the user talk page of the uploader is filled with various image notifications about other files they've uploaded? Moreover, I'm not sure if simply creating an svg version of a copyrighted logo means that the original copyright is no longer in force. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:47, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

License is definitely wrong. Unsure if it is below or above canadian TOO, however. Ankry (talk) 09:46, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Ankry. Any suggestions on what should be done in this partcular case? -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:52, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
Unsure what do you mean: what should be done to delete this logo, what should be done to preserve this logo or what should be done to ensure whather it is free or not?
The latter case is the most difficult one as it needs an opinion of somebody experienced in Canadian copyright cases.
Nominating it for deletion will effect in a bit random decission of a deleting admin (TOO cases are always a bit subjective).
One can also ask the party for an OTRS permission; their response, if received, may be a hint what to do further.
The logo can be stored as fair use in enwiki, if deleted here. Bur AFAIK, not in frwiki.
Ankry (talk) 07:44, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Ankry. Sorry if my post was a bit too vague, but your reply covered all bases. -- Marchjuly (talk) 11:06, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

USFWS Pacific Region's Flickr images marked as CC-BY-NC[edit]

USFWS Pacific Region's Flickr images, such as , are marked as CC-BY-NC-2.0, despite the fact that many if not all were taken by USFWS employees. I presume the files, at lease those explicitly stated as having been taken by an FWS employee, are {{PD-USGov-FWS}}, but they'll fail license review by the FlickreviewR bot. Can I just tag them {{PD-USGov-FWS}} after upload, or should they be flagged for human review? --Rrburke (talk) 13:03, 12 January 2017 (UTC)

Maybe, the best solution is just to ask them? Ankry (talk) 13:22, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
A USFWS employee could do wildlife photography on his or her own time (not uncommon), then donate the images. It is common to assume that such donations are to the public domain but I am not aware of any such requirement.Dankarl (talk) 13:31, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
when the FWS employee goes to a restricted sanctuary, it implies work time. emailing the government tends not to work, maybe we should contact their social media folks for an editathon. the northeast region has PD and CC-BY i.e. Slowking4 § Richard Arthur Norton's revenge 18:03, 12 January 2017 (UTC)
The profile page mentions most of them are public domain, with a few "all rights reserved" exceptions. Seems like someone got a little confused about copyright, and marked them with creative commons NC. I think assuming PD-USGov is fine. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:51, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

Stock certificates[edit]

Back in the day, ownership of a share of a corporation's stock was evidenced by an actual certificate of ownership. If the stock was publicly-owned, then those certificates were made available to anyone who purchased them. Are scans of these shares subject to copyright restrictions? I have in mind the one that is shown here -- . This certificate was issued in 1969; the entire series from which it was issued was printed no earlier than 1968. The certificate bears no copyright notice. The company itself ceased to exist by the mid 1980s. Is this image uploadable to Commons? (If so, I intend to redact the name of the owner before uploading). Thanks in advance for any guidance that you can provide. NewYorkActuary (talk) 08:44, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

If it was first published in the US, and it was published if an arbitrary person could hand over money and get a copy, prior to 1978 (in this case, we can probably say 1989, though there's some more technical rules there) without a copyright notice, then it's public domain in the US.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:41, 13 January 2017 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: Thanks for the response. However, I fear that I may have wasted your time. After posting my question, I took another look at the image and found that there is some very small writing in the lower-left corner of the image. It's so small that I can't read it and it becomes absolutely unreadable after "zooming in". But, it looks like it might be a copyright notice. So, I'm going to err on the side of caution and not upload it here (instead, I'll see if I can fashion a fair-use argument before adding it to an article). Thanks again for the response and my apologies for not catching the possible notice before posting here. NewYorkActuary (talk) 00:06, 14 January 2017 (UTC)
@NewYorkActuary: From looking at images of other old stock certificates, of the same design, it strongly appears that the small text in the bottom center, under the design, is a copyright notice from the United States Banknote Company. 09:51, 18 January 2017 (UTC)

Wikimedia sent postcards - correct copyright for?[edit]

An editor has posted an intriguing question on the WP help-desk about the copyright status of a postcard sent to him by Wikimedia Asia [1]. The image on the front is noted to be CC-BY-SA but what about the postcard's typography, message and handwriting? Think it would be bordering on the pedantic to add a CC-BY-SA to include the address and message side – but since we make such a song and dance about free use, maybe we should on all our external communications (unless it is sent in confidence). What we have to consider to is such a personal correspondence being turned into a derived works. So, don't think the answer is that simple and I don't want to assume. --P.g.champion (talk) 18:45, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

Can you post its image somewhere? Ruslik (talk) 17:21, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

PD USA coming from Facebook accounts[edit]

Hello just a note to notify this discussion. Regards, Christian Ferrer (talk) 19:21, 14 January 2017 (UTC)

File:Sushil Kumar Modi.jpg and File:Sushil Kumar Modi.JPG[edit]

The file name of "File:Sushil Kumar Modi.jpg" is almost identical to File:Sushil Kumar Modi.JPG, except for the capitalization of "JPG" in the latter. Both files show the same person, but are otherwise different in content. The "JPG" file is a crop of File:Sushil Kumar Modi 1.JPG, so I'm wondering if its file name should be changed to something to which allows the two files to be more easily differentiated from each other per COM:FR. Perhaps "File:Sushil Kumar Modi 1 cropped.JPG" or something similar? -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:23, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

I think you can do it. Ruslik (talk) 17:51, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Ruslik0. If you feel a file rename is justified, then I can tagged it with {{Rename}}. I am not an administrator of file mover, however, so I don't think I can rename the file myself. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:17, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
  • Update: "File:Sushil Kumar Modi.JPG" was renamed by a file mover, so the names of the two files are no longer similar. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:04, 17 January 2017 (UTC)


Hi, this picture seem a (License laundering) but I'm not sure, this account contain only one picture and uploaded in Apr 2015, I search in google and found many websites use same picture but I don't know if they take it from pixabay or not --Ibrahim.ID 10:06, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

The same resolution image (there are other similar images too) is found here and the exif is dated April 2015 too but as you say there are several others copies online. I suspect the Pixabay uploader is not the copyright owner, so OTRS verification would be advisable. Ww2censor (talk) 15:41, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

Ex MI6 C Steele Dossier[edit]

I'd like to invite to a discussion about the copyright status of the Trump dossier by C Steele @ Commons:Deletion requests/File:2017 Trump dossier by Christopher Steele, Ex-MI6 Russia Desk Intelligence Agent.pdf. --10:35, 15 January 2017 (UTC)

Original = Public domain Digital = CC BY-NC 2.5 CA[edit]

  1. Is a digital copy of a photograph under CC BY-NC 2.5 CA details allowed if the original work is in the public domain in Canada.
  2. Is the original even considered in the Public Domain if it was published in Canada in 1946? -Janweh64 (talk) 21:18, 15 January 2017 (UTC)
  1. Reproductions of old 2D works does not give new copyright, and mere digitalization of old photos is not a creativity work. This should be confirmed if it applies to Canada (it effectively appliy to the United States); if confirmed, the copyright notice (the CC-BY-NC license) is just invalid.
  2. Photos created in Canada prior to 1949 are in the Public domain.
--Amitie 10g (talk) 00:23, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
I should have been more specific with the second question. Can I upload a picture to commons simply based on the fact that it was taken in 1946 in Canada and therefore is consider Public Domain in Canada? (i.e. Is it in the considered public domain in US?) Janweh64 (talk) 00:36, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Yep (if you have your own copy of the photo). --Amitie 10g (talk) 15:48, 16 January 2017 (UTC)
Can you elaborate (briefly) on how having your own copy of the photo makes it acceptable for upload? Isn't an image an image? How does retention of the physical object affect whether or not it is acceptable to upload it to Commons? I am very curious. Thanks! KDS4444 (talk) 06:44, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

File:African Union Flag.jpg[edit]

Just wondering about the copyright status of this file. I don't doubt that the photo was taken by the uploader, but I am wondering if the flag being shown can be considered to be free from copyright protection. en:File:African Union flag.svg was uploaded locally to Wikipedia as non-free content. It is, of course, entirely possible that this is in error and the flag imagery is free from copyright protection. The question is how to verify such a thing since the official website of the en:African Union and this subpage about the organization's symbols seem to be under the copyright of "The African Union Commission". I guess it could be argued that each individual element of the flag is simple enough to be PD, but I'm not sure if that can be extended to the combination of all the elements together as a single logo. Anyway, if the flag imagery in this photo is not subject to copyright protection, then it seems Wikipedia file could be converted to PD for the same reason. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:02, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I would say that based on en:Flag of the African Union the flag is under copyright of Yadesa Bojia - its designer (unless the copyright was transferred to the Union). Ruslik (talk) 19:55, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Are logos for FOSS software also free?[edit]

So there are many en:free and open-source software which have logos on their websites. I understand that sometimes logos are drawn by others and sometimes the website itself might not have an explicit free license. If the logo is included as part of the software repository, which includes a license compatible with Commons, is it safe to consider the logo being covered by virtue of inclusion with the free software? For example, en:CoffeeScript's logo is uploaded locally on enwiki as fair use for whatever reason, despite the software being licensed MIT and the logo being included in its software repository. So far I've uploaded two logos, but for both of them their websites clearly indicated their licenses, so I want to make sure before I upload these cases. Opencooper (talk) 05:27, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I don't have the sense that the creative artistic component of a software programming package in terms of its logo can be considered de-facto freely licensed just because the software itself is so licensed-- a book by Shakespeare may be in the public domain, but if someone designs a new cover for A Midsummer Night's Dream, that cover still remains copyrighted. However, in looking at the logo for Coffee itself, though I can see that it currently exists on Wikipedia under a fair use claim, I am not convinced that the logo meets the threshold of originality necessary to qualify for copyright protection in the first place. If you consider the list of examples at Commons:Threshold of originality and the Best Western logo discussed here I do not see the Coffee logo falling in a different class of artistic creative work. Unless there has been additional discussion of the subject elsewhere, I would suggest moving the Coffee logo to Commons, giving it a {{PD-textlogo}} tag, and calling it done. If I am wrong, someone please correct me. KDS4444 (talk) 06:40, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

It's considered MIT licensed because it is in a collection of files that (in this case) don't have individual licenses, but have one LICENSE file saying "this software and associated documentation files" are MIT licensed. If that book by Shakespeare has an explicit license saying that "this book" is placed by the copyright holder in the public domain, then there's a reasonable assumption that includes the cover. If a logo for a free software program is included in the repository without an explicit license alongside an explicit LICENSE or README file giving a license for the whole, we can generally assume that does in fact apply to the whole.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:41, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Authorship of a modified public domain file-- who gets to claim it?[edit]

I mentioned this thread on the main Village Pump page, but in retrospect should probably have mentioned it here. Here is a link to the discussion on Commons: [2]. In brief, if a person takes a public domain image and modifies it by adding annotation numbers/ arrows and adjusting the color tones, etc., does that person then get to claim authorship of the modified image as a derivative work? To keep the conversations in one place, please respond either at the Village Pump or, ideally, on the talk page of one of the participants here rather than start another thread here at the copyright section of Commons. Thanks! KDS4444 (talk) 06:15, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Derivative work cannot attract any new copyright if the original work has fallen into the public domain. Wikicology (talk) 14:46, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
@Wikicology: that sounds wrong, as anything like a general principle. A photo of a PD sculpture is a derivative work, but is copyrightable in its own right. (I will copy your & my remarks to the linked talk page where they were requested.) - Jmabel ! talk 15:59, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Oh....Really? Well, maybe I'm wrong but are you familiar with the National Portrait Gallery and Wikimedia Foundation copyright dispute? I think Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp case would also be relevant here. Wikicology (talk) 17:05, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Neither case has anything to do with derivative works. They're about mere uncreative copies. Jmabel is right.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:30, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
Really? Because "derivative work" was not mentioned there? "Photograph of a photography" is not a derivative work for example? Wikicology (talk) 18:48, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
No. Title 17, section 1, § 101 of US copyright law says "A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a “derivative work”." § 103 says "Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works
(a) The subject matter of copyright as specified by section 102 includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material in which copyright subsists does not extend to any part of the work in which such material has been used unlawfully.
(b) The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material.
That is, a derivative work is copyrightable, but it doesn't affect the copyright of what was already there. If it doesn't "represent an original work of authorship", as the noncreative copies in Corel didn't, it's not a derivative work.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:14, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
I am very familiar with COM:DW and what the US law says about it. Let me tell you why the National Portrait Gallery and Wikimedia Foundation copyright dispute applies to this particular situation. In 2009, User:Coetzee uploaded over 3000 high-resolution images from the British National Portrait Gallery's database to Wikimedia Commons. The original images reproduced by National Portrait Gallery had falling into the public domain and Coetzee believed that NPG cannot claim infringement of their own copyright simply by modifying the images. In a letter to Coetzee, NPG claim that while the painted portraits may be old (and have thus fallen into the public domain), the high-quality photographic reproductions are recent works, and qualify as copyrighted works due to the amount of work it took to digitize and restore them. The verdict from Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. case implies that "Reproductions of works that have fallen into the public domain cannot attract any new copyright in the United States" which I think was the reason why Coetzee was not sued by NPG. Copyright issue is a tricky thing, we may not be able to give perfect explanation on execeptional case since most people here are not legal practitioners. Even if we are, not everyone commenting here as handle cases like this in court. Wikicology (talk) 08:48, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Er, wha? I quoted the exact section of US law that says that derivative works are copyrightable. Claiming to be very familiar is not a response.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:48, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
I said "Derivative work cannot attract any new copyright if the original work has fallen into the public domain." This does not mean that Derivative work is not copyrightable in its own right but Its copyright depends on weather the original work is in public domain or not. If the original work is not in public domain, the DW is copyrightable because it's protected by the copyright of the original work. However, if the original work is in public domain, the DW from it will not be copyrightable unless it is significantly different from the original work from which it was produced. Wikicology (talk) 20:14, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Derivative works, as under the definition used by US law, always have their own copyright, provided the underlying work was used lawfully. A work that is not "an original work of authorship" is not copyrightable, though any copyright on the parts used from previous copyrighted works still exists. The standard for what is a copyright is not "significantly different"; it's "an original work of authorship", or basically the same as non-derivative works.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:35, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Note that "copyrightable" in this context means "eligible for copyright" and the eligibility of DW for copyright depends on weather the DW display some originality of its own or created from a non-free (copyrighted) work. If it's created from a public domain work in such a way that the DW is not original on it's own, it cannot attract any new copyright. For a DW to be protected by copyright; 1. It must display some originality of its own 2. It must be created from a non-free (copyrighted work). In this case, the DW would be protected by the copyright of the original work that is copyrighted. Wikicology (talk) 06:02, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Jmabel, I was banned by ArbCom last year. Thus, I can't edit the en:Wiki. Please, remove my comment from there as a courtesy and link this discussion there instead. Thank you. Wikicology (talk) 17:44, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

I am not sure how much of the above is aimed at my question— Wikicology, I think you are on the wrong path here. A derivative work's copyright does not depend on whether or not the underlying work is in the public domain, because if it has been classified as a derivative work, it already has its own copyright. The cart is coming before the horse. The eligibility of a work for copyright protection, if based on a public domain work, is determined by whether or not that work can be called "derivative"— if so, then it is entitled to its own copyright; if not, then it is called a copy of the public domain work and is itself in the public domain. Of those things I am certain. My question had to do with whether or not the kinds of changes performed on this particular public domain work entitled the person who modified that work to have that work classified as "derivative" and therefore to call themselves the author of that work. There appear to be no clear guidelines anywhere on Commons about the ins and outs of claims to authorship of a public domain file, and it is the vagaries of this situation which brought me to ask my question. But we can all just go ahead and call this thread closed, if we like— I didn't want to have this discussion here in the first place, really, I wanted to keep it consolidated elsewhere (though if anyone DOES know of a page on Commons that talks about identifying and claiming authorship in detail, I would love to know where it is! Thanks!). KDS4444 (talk)

You seemed to be confusing yourself, partly because you never bother to read more than my earliest comment which I had clarified in my response to User:Prosfilaes. I have stated the condition under which a derivative work would be protected by copyright. My comments above is not about what constitute a derivative work or when a work should be called a derivative work. You asked "If a person takes a public domain image and modifies it by adding annotation numbers/ arrows and adjusting the color tones, etc., does that person then get to claim authorship of the modified image as a derivative work?" The answer is yes if it display some originality of its own. Wikicology (talk) 07:28, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Background elements in File:Caroline-Winterer-historian-in-2017.jpg[edit]

In considering File:Caroline-Winterer-historian-in-2017.jpg, the subject of the photo is Ms. Winterer, but there are also such elements as an earring worn by the subject and some notices in the background, including a small notice to the right of Ms. Winterer. In the event that these elements are copyrighted, would it be possible to treat them as a case of de minimis or incidental to the photo as a whole? --Gazebo (talk) 08:09, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Of course, de minimis applies. The photograph is based on Caroline Winterer and not the object beside her. Thus, I don't see any copyright issue. Wikicology (talk) 14:36, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

Photos of bottles of liquor[edit]

My understanding is that labeling of product packaging in photos are often still under copyright protection per COM:PACKAGING and it's not assumed that purchasing a product itself means that there's been a transfer of any copyright related to its packaging. So, I am wondering about photos such as File:Kaiser-Kuemmel J A Gilka 002.jpg and File:Echter Leipziger Allasch Vorderseite.JPG. The photos themselves for sure can be licensed as "own work" by the photographer, and the bottles themselves are ineligible for copyright protection since they are generic shapes, but I'm not sure about the labels. I don't think de-minimis can be argued here, but I'm also not sure if the labels would be are considered to be still copyrighted or would be considered to be old enough by now to be in the public domain. -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:12, 19 January 2017 (UTC)

It depends on weather the packaging, and product designs contain copyrightable features. I would like to cite Ets-Hokin v. Skyy Spirits, Inc. case in which the court ruled that "copyright cannot be claimed in a print or label consisting solely of trademark subject matter and lacking copyrightable matter.". Yes, there are copyright elements in the images provided above but the photographs were based on the bottle as a whole, and not on the labels. Thus, I don't see any copyright issue. Wikicology (talk) 13:35, 19 January 2017 (UTC)
The Leipziger Allasch Vorderseite one probably has no element still in copyright (pretty sure their logo is in the public domain by now, it's been nearly a century). The Gilka one is trickier, but I think the only thing copyrightable there is the penguin, which is a pretty tiny portion of the image. - Jmabel ! talk 01:55, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
@Jmabel: (regarding Gilka) The issue for 'de minimis' is not how much of the image is taken up by the copyrighted material, but more if the copyrighted material was intentionally included as part of the subject of the photograph. Since the image seems to deliberately be of the particular brand, not the utilitarian bottle itself (the description makes that rather clear) DM really does not apply. The penguin seems to have been deliberately included in the photgraph. - Reventtalk 12:32, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
If that is really considered an issue, I'd suggest a Gaussian blur over the penguin, rather than outright deletion. - Jmabel ! talk 15:31, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks to everyone who responded so far. I feel the same as Revent about the penguin imagery, at least based upon how the file is being used. The photo doesn't seem to have been taken to show any generic bottle of liquer, but rather to be used to identify this particular brand of liquer. So, showing the label is an important part of that identification. The question then is whether the imagery on the label is eligible for copyright protection. It seems too complex and original to be {{PD-simple}} or {{PD-textlogo}}, so that leaves its age. If it's old enough to be no longer eligible for copyright protection or has lapsed out of copyright, then the complexity/originality no longer matter, right? If that, however, cannot be clearly determined, then maybe Jmabel's suggestion is worth a try. I have seen it done before with File:PixelatedHuyFongSriracha.jpg, so it probably can be done here. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:19, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Lists of coordinates within KML files[edit]

Since the enabling of tabular/map data, it is now theoretically possible to convert KML files to GeoJSON and upload to See Data:Sandbox/Evad37/St Georges for example, which I made in the same way I would make KML file for Wikipedia, but then converted it to GeoJSON and uploaded it here. However, Wikimedia-based KML files are actually stored as text in wiki subpages, and thus licenced as CC-BY-SA 3.0/GFDL. And only CC0/public domain data is allowed for Data: namespace files. Meaning that on first glance, it isn't possible to convert files to GeoJSON and upload them, unless the original author agrees to licence them as CC0. However, KML files are really just a list of coordinates and some XML tags, and according to User:Fredddie on Wikipedia, "Regarding the licenses, I think we're OK. I don't believe lists of numbers (which what KML files essentially are) are necessarily copyrightable." (w:WT:USRD#Maplinks.2FJSON_.28possible_replacement_for_KML.29)

An example KML file, from w:Template:Attached KML/St Georges Terrace (which I also made), is:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <kml xmlns="" xmlns:gx="" xmlns:kml="" xmlns:atom=""> <Document> <name>St Georges Terrace.kml</name> <Style id="style"> <LineStyle> <color>ff0000ff</color> <width>5</width> </LineStyle> <PolyStyle> <fill>0</fill> </PolyStyle> </Style> <StyleMap id="stylemap_id17"> <Pair> <key>normal</key> <styleUrl>#style</styleUrl> </Pair> <Pair> <key>highlight</key> <styleUrl>#style0</styleUrl> </Pair> </StyleMap> <Style id="style0"> <LineStyle> <color>ff0000ff</color> <width>5</width> </LineStyle> <PolyStyle> <fill>0</fill> </PolyStyle> </Style> <Placemark> <name>St Georges Terrace</name> <styleUrl>#stylemap_id17</styleUrl> <LineString> <tessellate>1</tessellate> <coordinates> 115.8652152382319,-31.95757727904666,0 115.8599030990623,-31.95581158108592,0 115.8532167437425,-31.95363880259318,0 115.8494484168494,-31.95242128016421,0 115.8493734515245,-31.95240021631571,0 115.8493217434882,-31.95238677759241,0 115.8492717253356,-31.95237845175701,0 115.8492100112155,-31.95237053127706,0 115.8491518446366,-31.95236770497429,0 115.8491035664913,-31.95236924315256,0 115.8490642577429,-31.95237183215694,0 115.8490426534675,-31.95237566593213,0 </coordinates> </LineString> </Placemark> </Document> </kml>

So, what do users here think? Are these lists of coordinates ineligible for (U.S.) copyright? Could a U.S.-based user take such coordinate lists from KML files (published/hosted in the U.S.), create a GeoJSON files from them, and upload to Data: pages as CC0/public domain? - Evad37 [talk] 02:22, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

  • I am thinking that copyright is not possible: information cannot be copyrighted, only the form in which that information is presented. You can hold a copyright to a book, and to the words in the book, but not to the way words get put together; I would also ask this: does the list of coordinates constitute a new, creative, original portion of your personality? If there is genuine creativity and novelty in them, then copyright probably holds; if not, then data are just data. At least, this is my interpretation. KDS4444 (talk) 06:57, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
    • I wouldn't think there would be any 'creativity' or the like - its created by just following a road that exists, putting coordinates into a list. @KDS4444: Would {{PD-ineligible}} be the correct template to use then? - Evad37 [talk] 09:04, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
      • I can think of no more suitable template! KDS4444 (talk) 09:47, 21 January 2017 (UTC)

Copyright Infringement[edit]

I've found one of my photos under wiki commons (someone downloaded it from FB and put it up under their user name). How do I get it removed? —Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:44, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

  • Name the file, give a link to the Facebook page from which it was acquired, and we will remove it immediately. KDS4444 (talk) 06:51, 20 January 2017 (UTC) Push Push 1986

Here's the illegal one: File:PushPush1.jpg —Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 18:12, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Hi, The Facebook page isn't available to me, but I DRed this file: Commons:Deletion requests/File:PushPush1.jpg‎. Yann (talk) 18:21, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
Also, for future reference, if you're willing to go through the rigmarole, you can send a DMCA takedown notice to the Wikimedia Foundation asserting your copyright over an infringing image. clpo13(talk) 23:37, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
(Though that is a pain in the arse and we are usually more than willing to accommodate requests for removal of copyrighted images under the COM:Precautionary principle.) KDS4444 (talk) 09:48, 21 January 2017 (UTC)


Can you please check images (which I have uploaded) on the copyright violation? (I want to be sure that I can upload more similar images.)

These images contain only lists of letters and phonemes.

List of picturesː 1, 2, 3. - صلاح الأوكراني (talk) 17:05, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

They seem ok, but the general layout of a page may be copyrightable in some cases. Ruslik (talk) 20:33, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/File:Cevap ver.jpg[edit]

Hi, I restored these files, but what's the correct license? Regards, Yann (talk) 17:11, 20 January 2017 (UTC)

You haven't stated why the file was restored. You said "it is the usual practice to do this, few days ago. Wikicology (talk) 18:28, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
The author of the poster died in 1946, so presumably it's PD-old-70 now? (It would not have been when it was deleted.) If it's before 1923, which it may be, then it'd be PD-1923, otherwise Not-PD-US-URAA. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:46, 20 January 2017 (UTC)
I changed the license on File:Tyzapisalsa.jpg to {{PD-Scan|PD-old-auto-1923|deathyear=1946}}. —RP88 (talk) 07:06, 21 January 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments. I am asking because File:Cevap ver.jpg has a different license: {{PD-Ukraine}}. Yann (talk) 12:30, 21 January 2017 (UTC)