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.


Please note
  1. One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: "Only free content is allowed." Please do not ask why unfree material is not allowed at Wikimedia Commons or suggest that allowing it would be a good thing.
  2. Have you read the FAQ?
  3. Any answers you receive here are not legal advice and the responder cannot be held liable for them. If you have legal questions, we can try to help but our answers cannot replace those of a qualified professional (i.e. a lawyer).
  4. Your question will be answered here; please check back regularly. Please do not leave your email address or other contact information, as this page is widely visible across the Internet and you are liable to receive spam.
  5. Please do not make deletion requests here – instead, use the relevant process for it.

Borderline {{PD-textlogo}}[edit]

I nominated for deletion File:KIX logo.jpg in one batch with another logo which is almost certainly above ToO. A gradient fill (hence not a “simple text” strictly), but it may be considered rather trivial. Experts, provide some feedback please. Incnis Mrsi (talk)

URAA revisited in 2019[edit]

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

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


A timeline:

URAA timeline

Current situation[edit]

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

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

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

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


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

How to proceed?[edit]

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Where to go from here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Category:Sheet music copyrighted in Germany would have to be deleted with all of its contents. -- 20:26, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • We are in a strange situation as Wikimedia projects grow in influence. No one is documenting social changes, but there are cases where policy on Wikimedia projects leads interpretation of international copyright law. The community consensus here could become the interpretation of what is normal for the next generation. I agree with Carl's point about non-US government works having an expired term of copyright, even if those works are under that government's copyright in United States copyright law. If the copyright holder themselves takes action to put their own work into the public domain in their own primary jurisdiction, then that sort of release is the kind of permission which Wikimedia projects typically seek for mirroring in Wikimedia Commons. It is not reasonable to expect that any country's export of published works into the United States decades ago was an intent to govern the work globally under US copyright law rather than the law of the government which sought a shorter term for its own works. Something new that is developing is that to a modest extent, we might have greater near-future access to some policy opinions from the meta:Internet Archive. After the Wikimedia Foundation, the IA is the friendliest and most knowledgeable organization to advocate for the Wikimedia community and our style of publishing. While no one at IA has promised to participate in our community discussions, if we ever drafted a position on something, then they do have a policy team and since 2016 they have been seeking out Wikimedia partnerships. We are beginning to establish as common knowledge that the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive serve complementary roles toward the same goals. I can imagine the IA publishing an opinion if we asked, and if they agreed with what we proposed, and if it seemed useful to establish a coalition statement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:17, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

Policy vote?[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there enough support?[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current policy, and one way forward?[edit]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Commons Licensing and blind links[edit]

Who the hell :) is the author?

[[File:Logo ATRAL scrl.png|right|link=|200px|Who the hell :) is the author?]]

We knows what the Commons Licensing "by" clause requires. When we reuse a work we must cite the author. If do not we want to cite the author then a link it's acceptable. It is the minimum. No link no clause. Am I wrong?

So what? This is: I see always more often using the "Link=" parameter in our wikis. It's is correct? Don't we have to discuss about it? Ask WMF to say "yes or not"? I do no think that people, even projects could make a free decision. Ihmo of course--Pierpao.lo (listening) 15:17, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

@Pierpao: No, a working link is required for CC licenses and other licenses which require attribution. Deliberately using "Link=|" in case of such licenses is obfuscatory and could be considered infringement. I would consider it vandalism.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:51, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks a lot. It is obvious of course but I ask: it is written somewhere? We have a guideline like Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia for using contents in Wikimedia projects where to add this specification? Jeff G.--Pierpao.lo (listening) 09:07, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
@Pierpao: Nothing needs to change there. However, we may want to modify the "Disables the link so that clicking on the image does nothing." language at en:WP:EIS#Link and the "A purely decorative image, which conveys no information and does nothing when it is clicked on, can be specified with an empty alt attribute. For example [[File:Flag of the United States.svg|20px|link=|alt=]] generates a flag that is purely decorative." language at en:H:PIC#Links.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 12:15, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes It's a very good idea Jeff G.. Could you do it please? Otherwise with a little help from Wikipedia:Reference desk/Language I think I can write something good myself--Pierpao.lo (listening) 14:20, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
@Pierpao: we could add "However, purely decorative files are only legally usable in this way if they are in the Public Domain." after each sentence.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 16:47, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Very very good. I think moreover that since we are discussing about en Wikipedia, where fair use is allowed, due their enforceability we could write "However, purely decorative files are only legally usable in this way if they are in the Public Domain or are a registered brand with its trademark symbol" or better written. Do you agree? talk to me--Pierpao.lo (listening) 19:56, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
@Pierpao: I am adapting to your double indenting. How about "However, purely decorative files are only legally usable in this way if they are in the Public Domain or comply with WP:NFCC."?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 01:51, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes perfect User:Jeff G.--Pierpao.lo (listening) 13:44, 15 March 2019 (UTC
Ping again :) User:Jeff G.--Pierpao.lo (listening) 13:46, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@Pierpao: ✓ Done.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 16:39, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • No, that's completely wrong. [6] EEng (talk) 19:18, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
    @EEng: Why are you of the opinion that "in the case of nonfree images the reader still needs to get to the description page"?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 00:02, 16 March 2019 (UTC)
    Every use of a nonfree file must carry an explicit rationale on the description page. While there's no explicit statement I can find in NFCC saying "You must be able to link from the use of a nonfree file to the rationale for that use", coding the use of a file (nonfree or not) such that there's no way to click through to the description page is very rare, and I doubt that possibility occurred to anyone writing NFCC. Being able to reach the rationale in order to verify it seems fundamental, especially since a copyright owner might wander in wondering what the file is doing there. EEng (talk) 16:43, 16 March 2019 (UTC) P.S. I probably should have said "probably a bad idea" instead of "completely wrong".
the rationale is a policy requirement, not a legal requirement. copyright owners do not care about the rationale, only in the fair use claim, which might impact their DMCA. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:01, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Art therapy artwork by US marines[edit]

These are photographs of artwork made by US marines during therapy for mental health conditions. They are tagged with {{PD-USGov-Military}} – this looks ok for the photographers, but does it apply to the artworks? Is it feasible to claim that these were made as part of the official duties of their creators? Do US Marines have a duty to undergo medical treatment? (Alerting uploaders Slick-o-bot and .) Verbcatcher (talk) 04:24, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

I think we'd need OTRS permission for the art to be on Commons. @Majora:. Abzeronow (talk) 14:48, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
When VIRIN numbers are allocated, there is a military standard copyright release from the photographers. WRT to therapy, I would presume that this therapy (which may not be specifically medical treatment, in fact "art therapy" would rarely be a prescription) is done during time as paid military employees. It is fair to presume that were there any issue with photographs being intrusive, they would never have been released as public images, and any complaint would have resulted in a take down at DVIDS.
Technical point - having just checked the source of 120503-M-9426J-002, the photograph location has moved but there is no evidence of a take down, despite the photograph being 7 years old; in fact this particular photograph is also public on DVIDS link. -- (talk) 15:19, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • U.S. law states: A "work of the United States Government" is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties. Thus not all works created by federal employees are inherently public domain merely because of their creator. I wonder if there is relevant legal precedent challenging or clarifying the scope of "official duties". I'd doubt that creating art is part of a soldier's "official duty", even if therapy is prescribed (are marines "on duty" when they're in any therapy, be it physical, mental?) But it can get murky. Let's say I'm employed as a technician for the U.S. Geological Survey, and my official duty is to collect and process soil samples. Any photographs I take before or after my shift, on my own time, are not public domain. The photographs of soil and geological conditions I take in conducting my work are in the public domain. Then, on my 15 minute paid rest break in the field (to which I'm allowed, as opposed to an unpaid 30 minute lunch break), I take a photo of a squirrel with my iPhone, completely unrelated to my duty. Is that photograph public domain? I'd say no, but some may argue otherwise. --Animalparty (talk) 18:14, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @: does the "military standard copyright release" cover everything that is depicted in a photograph, or only the copyright that would normally belong to the photographer? Three of the images are here. Verbcatcher (talk) 18:42, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
    • The release puts the onus on the photographer. Naturally that means that mistakes get made all the time. However these photographs are not intrusive and, over a period of several years, nobody has asked they be taken down on DVIDS (we have seen many cases where complainants have had DVIDS hosted images taken down). I have no strong opinions about these photographs, if anyone is genuinely concerned they should raise a DR for doubts about copyright of the original artworks, but not the photographs. The issue of what is "private" while on military duty is complex. Photographs of a Navy officer out of uniform, taking an off duty break in a San Francisco bar with their mates, is entirely different from taking a photograph of a tortoise crossing the road, while on lunch break, in the middle of several months long programme of defusing IEDs in a hostile foreign territory. -- (talk) 18:51, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • The copyright for the photographs would be public domain. The copyright for the art would likely not be. You would be hard pressed to make a case that the production of these art works is in any way outlined in the official duty descriptions of these Marines. Being a Soldier or a Marine does not disenfranchise you from any rights intellectual property you create; it only does so for works created that are explicitly part of your duty, explicitly created for the government as part of that duty. GMGtalk 19:00, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
That's not what the law says; as Animalparty quotes above, A "work of the United States Government" is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person's official duties. Not explicitly part of their duty, just part of their duty. I could certainly make the argument that this art was created as part of these Marines paid duty positions at the time. It's a questionable argument, but we're probably literally the only people who care, so there's not going to be case-law on this.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:31, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Not so Prosfilaes. Public Affairs Associates, Inc. v. Rickover, SCOTUS ruled that speeches written by an admiral were personally copyrighted, despite being produced on government time, using government equipment, in government facilities, and presented while he was on official travel. Sherrill v. Grieves, SCOTUS ruled that an Army Captain retained the copyright for materials he wrote in order to teach a military course because his duties were to provide instruction, and this duty did not oblige him to write the material for the course. This was despite the fact that the Army later requested and was granted permission to publish the work in an official Army publication. Making works for official Army publication was not the official duty of the author.
Note also that the fact that you are on a pay status with the federal government does not mean that everything you do is part of your official duties. The standard is not whether they were being paid (both the individuals above were full time employees of the federal government) but whether the production of the work was clearly delineated as part of the duties they were obligated to perform. GMGtalk 19:52, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
That's still not what the law says; "explicitly" is your interpolation. In the Rickover case, the page you link to says they were written in the evenings. The Sherrill case commented that the book was written "in his leisure time, not as an incident to his work as instructor." The fact that the actual creation was done with government supplies on government time with the governmental goal of making them fit for service leans toward making them public domain.
I would not lay strong odds on which way a court would rule on this issue, but I tend to think that a court would feel it more just to leave the soldiers in this case with their copyright. I do not, however, think it's a clear issue.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:08, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Well, Prosfilaes, no, the word "explitly" is short hand for the court's wording of being part of the "legal contract duty to the government". Specifically, the court rejected the notion that "by entering the employment of the Government a person sells all his energies, physical and mental, to the government if they relate to any subject matter dealt with by him in performing his duties," which is to say that just because it relates in some way to your duties, does not mean it is part of your legally contractual duties. GMGtalk 21:55, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • If the copyright release means that the military photographer should have obtained permission from the artists to release these images then it is reasonable for us to assume that they did this. But "nobody has complained" does not justify keeping an image. Verbcatcher (talk) 19:16, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Correct, but this can be part of assessing if we are above or below 'significant doubt. -- (talk) 19:56, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Scans of newspaper/magazine cuttings[edit]

A long-term vandal on the English Wikipedia has uploaded some cuttings to Commmons to prove his/her claims for use as sources. As far as I can see, they have given no attribution at all to the cuttings, and I have no idea where they come from. Presumably uploading cuttings from print media are copyright violations? If so, do they qualify for speedy deletion, or would I have to go through the regular deletion process? Richard3120 (talk) 13:32, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Presumably you are referring to File:Bros Promo article.jpg and File:Bros down Under 88.jpg. These appear to qualify for speedy deletion:
  • Content is apparently a copyright violation, with no good evidence of Commons-compatible licensing being issued by the copyright holder or status as a free work. (From Commons:Criteria for speedy deletion#File)
However, I would tag these with {{No license since}} by adding {{subst:nld}}. This gives the uploader seven days to resolve the problem, and may appear less intimidating to new users.
I am uncomfortable with you characterisation of the uploader as 'a long-term vandal'. This is not the place to make such allegations, particularly as no edits to English Wikipedia have been made from this uploader's account. Verbcatcher (talk) 15:45, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
@Verbcatcher: Apologies for the use of language, but it is very, very obvious to editors who watch these articles exactly who the editor is... the fact that these are the first edits they have made using this account is unsurprising, as they have already over 70 sockpuppet accounts blocked on the English Wikipedia. I will make no further accusations, but let's just say I would not be in the slightest bit surprised if these files were almost immediately re-uploaded by another "new" editor. Thank you for your advice – I will put the files up for speedy deletion, and let's see what happens. Richard3120 (talk) 15:55, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
I am also trying to find three other files in order to tag them, but they don't seem to come up on the search – they are "BROS CBS Public announcment 1988" (yes, "announcement" is spelt incorrectly), "Bros band related article", and "BROS IN JAPAN". Richard3120 (talk) 16:09, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
I've found the first one now – it was uploaded by an editor who has indeed already been blocked as a sock of the editor mentioned above. Richard3120 (talk) 16:11, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
@Verbcatcher: and other admins – see, this is what we're up against... an IP (I wonder who that could be?) has simply removed all the {{No license since}} templates without addressing any of the issues, stated that they don't need a license and are free to use [7] (which is untrue), and said that I have multiple accounts (also untrue) and that I am under investigation (also untrue) [8], [9], [10]. Richard3120 (talk) 18:15, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
@Richard3120:, I'm not an admin, just an experienced editor who is trying to help here. I suggest you report the recent edits from this IP editor on the Commons:Administrators' noticeboard, or one of its sub-boards. However, several admins contribute here and one of them may take the appropriate action. Verbcatcher (talk) 18:51, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, I'll do that... apologies, this is my first time in Commons and I don't know my way around here. Thank you for your help. Richard3120 (talk) 18:57, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
✓ Done All accounts blocked, all files deleted. Yann (talk) 20:27, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

How to post archive photo from 1936 Berlin Olympics?[edit]

Hello, My uncle George Crompton (cyclist) has a page on that I would like to add a photo from that event that is from his family. The photo is of the Canadian Olympic Cyclist team from the Berlin Olympics in which my uncle was a cyclist. How do I upload the photo with all the restrictions that want some kind of copywrite validation? It seems silly to have this whole system and not be able to add a archival photo from a significant event from 83 years in the past.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Bcrompton (talk • contribs) 20:50 19 March 2019 (UTC)
Pictogram voting info.svg Info If the photographer was Canadian, Canadian photographs taken before January 1, 1949 are public domain per Commons:Copyright_rules_by_territory/Canada. 1936 photograph would be PD-1996. Abzeronow (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
It may be silly, but the law in the US says that works generally get 95 years of copyright protection, and the law in the EU says 70 years from the death of the author, so a photo from 83 years in the past is not clearly out of copyright, and still needs i's dotted and t's crossed.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:35, 19 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Bcrompton: Signing your posts on talk pages is required by Commons:Signatures policy. To do so, simply add four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your comments. Your user name or IP address (if you are not logged in) and a timestamp will then automatically be added when you save your comment. Signing your comments helps people to find out who said something and provides them with a link to your user/talk page (for further discussion).   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:44, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
  • upload it and use Template:PD-Canada.
    — Preceding unsigned comment added by Slowking4 (talk • contribs) 13:50, 21 March 2019‎ (UTC)
    • @Slowking4: Signing your posts on talk pages is required by Commons:Signatures policy. To do so, simply add four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your comments. Your user name or IP address (if you are not logged in) and a timestamp will then automatically be added when you save your comment. Signing your comments helps people to find out who said something and provides them with a link to your user/talk page (for further discussion).   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 17:16, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Letter from the President[edit]

Hello, I've uploaded a scan of a letter:ברכת_נשיא_המדינה.jpg This is a public letter, written by the president of Israel, addressing all the participants of a conference. The letter was sent to Mr. Yilma, who organized the conference. I scanned the letter myself, and I have Mr Yilma's permission to publish it. Is Mr. Yilma considered the copyright holder?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Yoav
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Yoavlin (talk • contribs) 05:01, 20 March 2019‎ (UTC)
Copyright on letters normally belongs to the writer of the letter, in this case the President of Israel. In some countries there might be a special rule for the president, but this is not mentioned in Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Israel. {{PD-IsraelGov}} does not apply. Verbcatcher (talk) 06:33, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Approaching the president for such a matter might be a problem. Is there another way for me to publish this public letter in Wikipedia, maybe under fair use? yoavlin —Preceding comment was added at 07:39, 20 March 2019‎ (UTC)

The fair-use guidelines are different for each language edition of Wikipedia. English Wikipedia's guidelines are at w:en:Wikipedia:Non-free content. I think that Hebrew Wikipedia's guidelines are at w:he:ויקיפדיה:רישוי תמונות/שימוש הוגן. Verbcatcher (talk) 08:05, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Yoavlin: Signing your posts on talk pages is required by Commons:Signatures policy. To do so, simply add four tildes (~~~~) at the end of your comments. Your user name or IP address (if you are not logged in) and a timestamp will then automatically be added when you save your comment. Signing your comments helps people to find out who said something and provides them with a link to your user/talk page (for further discussion).   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:41, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Is a work by the Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives in the public domain? (If yes, File:G.K. Butterfield 116th Congress.jpg can be passed.)--Roy17 (talk) 12:50, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

@Roy17: Information on the Office of the Clerk website is in the public domain. GMGtalk 12:53, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

Photo taken on a borrowed camera[edit]

Alice hands her digital camera to Bob, who takes a photo and hands it back. Later, Alice sends a perfect copy to Bob. Nobody mentions copyright. Does it belong to Bob the artist or Alice the camera owner? i.e. who should I ask for permission? — Cheers, Steelpillow (Talk) 17:51, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

Copyright always belongs to the artist. Camera ownership has nothing to do with it. Ruslik (talk) 19:46, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Exactly. The camera is just a tool. If I write a book in a borrowed typewriter. I'll still hold the books' copyright.--SirEdimon (talk) 21:22, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Things are more complex if all the creative decisions are Alice's and Bob is effectively a human tripod. -- (talk) 21:34, 21 March 2019 (UTC)
Or if Bob is an employee of Alice and the creation is considered a work made for hire in the United States. --Animalparty (talk) 22:00, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

File:Schlakman President Logo.jpg may have wrong license[edit]

This file is licensed as {{cc-by-sa-4.0}}, but it's not OTRS verified. The licensing seems OK based upon (scroll down to the bottom of the page) so maybe OTRS checking is not needed. However, the website's Terms and conditions page seems to contradict the CC licensing on the site's homepage. Is this file OK as licensed or should it be OTRS verified? -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:10, 22 March 2019 (UTC)

@Marchjuly:Pictogram voting comment.svg CommentIn my opinion, the website's terms and conditions are a violation to COM:PCP. However, another similar image, File:Ian Schlakman.jpg, from the same website, was reviewed by User:Krd as a pass. It would be better for more discussion here therefore.廣九直通車 (talk) 13:31, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
I have approved one image per their statement on the main page, and I didn't notice different terms and conditions. I think both images should go though OTRS then. --Krd 13:41, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Looks like a boilerplate terms and conditions page, and they went to some trouble to have a giant Creative Commons logo on their home page. Probably OK, but legally is vague, so probably best to double-check via OTRS. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:35, 22 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Clindberg, Krd and 廣九直通車 for taking a look at this. This is just a guess, but maybe the "Terms and conditions" page was added after the website had already been up and running for awhile as part of some type of update/upgrade. This December 23, 2018 archived version of the website shows the CC license, but doesn't seem to have a "Terms and conditions" page. They might have had someone to redo their website, and that person added the the new page without fully understanding the terms of the CC license. Anyway, I think it might be OK for at least the logo file to be sourced to the archive page since that CC license should be OK for Commons purposes, even though the file wasn't uploaded until January 2019. If you look at this March 1, 2019 archived version, you'll see the "Terms and conditions" page; so, it was added sometime after December 23, 2018. If the "Ian Schlakman" file cannot be kept, then perhaps this photo from the December 2018 archived version could be used instead. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:45, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Template:Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018[edit]

Template:Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 states "Pictures may only be used for editorial publications. Each use for commercial and/or promotional purposes needs a prior written approval by IOC and/or if applicable other rightholders (e.g. the national association or the pictured sports people)". I don't see how this conforms to COM:SCOPE and Commons:Licensing. If an image cannot be commercially used without permission, it is not allowed here. Can someone explain? World's Lamest Critic (talk) 04:01, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Sounds a lot like Commons:Non-copyright restrictions#"House rules". But I suppose it depends on what the actual accreditation agreement, if one is signed, says. If it specifically mentions transfer of copyright to the organizers, then they can set copyright restrictions. Finnusertop (talk) 06:41, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
No, this is a "press license". It is clear that unrestricted commercial use is not allowed, so not OK for Commons. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:44, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
@Yann: Then all 61,592 files which transclude {{2018 Summer Youth Olympics}} should be deleted because that template precludes commercial use. {{2018 Summer Youth Olympics}} should also be deleted, along with dependents {{Summer Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018}} and Category:Proyecto fotográfico Juegos Olímpicos de la Juventud 2018 en Buenos Aires.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:22, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
The license appears to be unacceptable, but we should not be too hasty in triggering a mass deletion, particularly as this relates to a Wikimedia-sponsored project. The license could be the result of a misunderstanding or a mistranslation, and it may be possible to change it. I have left a note at User talk:Sandro Halank, who created the template. Perhaps we should also inform the users named in Category:Proyecto fotográfico Juegos Olímpicos de la Juventud 2018 en Buenos Aires, leave notes at w:en:Talk:2018 Summer Youth Olympics, w:es:Discusión:Juegos Olímpicos de la Juventud de Buenos Aires 2018 and w:en:Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Olympics, and add some form of tag to the problematic template. Verbcatcher (talk) 17:03, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

First, the IOC has given the accreditation to Wikimedia organizations with knowledge about its licenses. Second, Wikimedia Deutschland had let their lawyers check and approved CC template and publication on Commons. Third, personality rights and copyrights are two different things, the CC license only deals with the latter; hence we are allowed to add personality rights warning as hundreds of thousands of photos here on Commons have. Fourth, dozens of projects have similar templates because they are valid. Fifth, give some thank-yous to the volunteers who did this project which is important for Commons and it's sportsphotography section in general. Sixth, speedy close as incorrect. Thanks, —DerHexer (Talk) 17:56, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

+1. Copyright and personality rights are two different things. --Sandro Halank (talk) 18:03, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Of course, in case you want us to make it clearer for you in the template, we are open for suggestions and happy to clarify. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 18:39, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

I don't think there is a concern about the personality rights notice in the template. The issue is the requirement to obtain permission from the IOC for commercial or promotional use, which does not appear to relate only to personality rights. This requirement looks incompatible with the Commons:Licensing policy, which says 'Commercial use of the work must be allowed.' If the Wikimedia Deutschland lawyers' opinion is correct then Commons:Licensing and related pages may need to be changed. Is it possible for the lawyers' opinion to be made available so that we can understand its rationale? Verbcatcher (talk) 18:52, 23 March 2019 (UTC)
"The photographer is allowed to provide the work under the terms of a Creative Commons license which allows commercial reuse. When personality rights need to be respected for commercial and/or promotional purposes, the user himself is responsible for obtaining the permissions from the IOC and and/or if applicable other rightholders (e.g. the national association or the pictured sports people)."
the concern is that deletionists persist in conflating a clear assertion of personality rights and a model release, as opposed to NC. the license appears acceptable on its face. perhaps you could clarify your concerns. and please consider the impact on good relations with german wikipedia. i guess all projects need a pre-clearance with commons rather than lawyers; perhaps you could create a model license. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 01:36, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
The wording you quote is new as of this edit by DerHexer. It previously said what I quoted. And what I quoted, was itself in quotation marks, so I assume came from somewhere. It was not about personality rights. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 03:29, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

@DerHexer: can you tell us where that original quote came from? What were the full accreditation conditions given to photographers? World's Lamest Critic (talk) 03:29, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

Hi to all, I think this template is based on templates like this one. It's just a modification of Template:Personality rights with the clear declarion, who is to be asked.
I've stated the explanation of this on a subpage in my userspace: User:Stepro/Missverständnisse (point 1, maybe you want to translate it by Google or something). The main conclusion is, that there is a big difference between license and personality rights. All of this pics can be used without restrictions on the part of the license. But (as on all pics with living people) a user have to consider the personal rights of the depicted person. It's regardless if the depicted person is a politician, a sportsman or a wikipedian.
When I have created this football templates, there were questions by WMDE about it. They have asked a lawyer about this topic, and got the response, that such templates are definitely not violating the CC licenses. As I wrote: the license has nothing in common with the question of personality rights. This YOG template states a limitation of personality rights (which are existing, if there is this template or not), but is not restricting the copyright/license. --Stepro (talk) 09:37, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

Indeed, WMDE pointed us on such template because they consider them to be clearer for re-use than Template:Personality rights. They confirmed that their lawyers had approved them to fit to both, uploads to Wikimedia Commons and Creative Commons licensing. We simply quoted it from there and adjusted it for our IOC-related template. Sorry for the confusion around that when we just wanted to be clearer on the personality rights side. As you have noticed, I tried to make it clearer now with my adjustments; I was waiting for the Spanish translation of our partners from Wikimedia Argentina. In case you still find that confusing, we are very open to adjust it further. When you think it would be sufficient to use Template:Personality rights, we can also have these phrases removed. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 10:33, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Hi, User:Stepro/UEFA is not OK either. It says works from officially accredited photographers may only be used for editorial online publications, which is not sufficient for Commons. Now all these files have a Creative Commons license, and these restrictions are in contradiction with a free license. So either the wording of these templates need to be changed, or these files have to be deleted. Regards, Yann (talk) 10:57, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Hello Yann, with full respect for your opinion: I don't know you, and I don't know your profession. But please accept, that I trust the assessment of the lawyers, who investigated exactly this template and stated that this is absolute OK for CC and for Commons a little bit more than the opinion of a Wikipedian. (as I said: This is definitely not meaned as any disregard.)
Please try to understand what I wrote on my subpage about it: Those templates are no restrictions, they are explanations/specifications about the personality rights. Yes, you can not use this pictures for any purposes: You may not put them on t-shirts or coffee mugs and sell them. BUT: This is the same as with *any* pictures of living people. You may also not put this wonderfull picture made by you on t-shirts or coffee mugs and sell them without permission.
If you really believe pictures with our templates are not OK for Commons, so you have to delete nearly all photos with living people on it. --Stepro (talk) 12:03, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Yann: these restrictions are contractual not copyright, so they don't affect the CC license --MB-one (talk) 12:04, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@Stepro, MB-one: Well, the wording does seem restrictions on copyright, not on personality rights. And I disagree about what you said about pictures of people. It should be perfectly OK to make t-shirts or coffee mugs and sell them with pictures of personalities taken in a public place. The picture of Karima Delli may be a borderline case, as it was not taken in a public place (it was a private meeting). But you can certainly use File:Lady Gaga BTW Ball Antwerp 02.jpg or File:President Barack Obama.jpg, as long as you don't use the image to endorse something else. But making this or this with a free license image from Commons should be OK. Regards, Yann (talk) 12:35, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Since the YOG template has this adjustment for personality rights implemented, can we close this discussion on this template now and proceed with our uploads, categorization, and transclusions without any further questioning? Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 12:48, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, but no again. This wording is a clear restriction on copyright, and contradictory with a free license, and not acceptable on Commons. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:03, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
There is a when-clause, in case you haven't noticed, which gives additional information to the personality rights who needs to be contacted. But as you like, we can also remove this additional helpful information for re-users and only use Commons standard personality rights template. —DerHexer (Talk) 13:39, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Done, without any further help who could be contacted if personality rights would matter for publication. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 13:49, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

I think we need an opinion here from a WMF lawyer or the WMF board, as WMDE lawyers do not speak for the WMF.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:14, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

And WMF lawyers cannot speak for Creative Commons licensing. —DerHexer (Talk) 13:39, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@DerHexer: What we can and cannot accept here on Commons is ruled by a variety of different entities, laws, customs, treaties, resolutions, licenses, policies, and procedures. Chief among the things we cannot accept for the purposes of this discussion is the restriction on commercial use in the English version of that template; such restrictions are prohibited for our files on WMF projects by the WikiMedia Foundation Licensing Policy Resolution of 23 March 2007 because such files are not free enough for any WMF project, including this one. If the IOC can't live without that restriction, we certainly can live without their files, retroactively. See also the classification of "Non Commercial" as one of the "Restrictions which are not permissible" at Any further claims that files can stay here (or on any WMF project) with that restriction will be considered disruptive, and dealt with accordingly. Is that clear enough for you?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 14:53, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for the explanation, I am a Commons administrator myself and know pretty well the difference between copyright and personality rights. The template in question had additional information on personality rights copied from another template as stated above. That was absolutely no requirement by IOC. Hence, we removed it from the template as stated above. There is absolutely nothing obwithstanding with this template anymore which only mentions the accredition giver and the personality rights. Both of these are very valid for any Wikimedia project. Otherwise, we should have a discussion about whether or not we should allow photos of human beings at all, be it alive or not (post-mortal personality rights). But that would be a very different discussion, and should not be related to this one template. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:04, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@DerHexer: Thank you. The current version works for me. What was that other template it was copied from? @Yann: Does it work for you?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:16, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Pinging @World's Lamest Critic, Verbcatcher too.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:20, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
I had no objection to the personality rights reminder on the template. My concern here is the copyright issue. While the text has been removed, I am not sure why and how it could have been there in the first place. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 15:38, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Now the template is nearly empty. I would agree with a wording explaining that the images have to respect personality rights. Something like These images cannot be used to sell a product or endorse an event. The use should not defamatory... Regards, Yann (talk) 16:31, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Question: The use of an image in an article in Wikipedia is a commercial use, as every article of Wikipedia can be reused commercially and also changed. If every commercial use of such a file needs approval of the IOC, only articles conforming to the POV of the IOC can actually use such an image. But POV articles in Wikipedia need to be changed or deleted, therefore no such image can be used in a Wikipedia article? --C.Suthorn (talk) 13:54, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
No, the use on Wikipedia or Commons is not a commercial use. The site policy requires that uploaded images be available for commercial uses, but that is different than the actual use we make of them, which is more educational (Commons itself is a bit more gray, as we are a repository to enable further unknown uses, but Wikimedia projects themselves are educational). The question is more if the license template violates site policy, not any law or contract. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:16, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

What was the agreement with the IOC?[edit]

@DerHexer: After I raised the question here, you changed the text of the template. The original text in English was

“This picture was taken holding an accreditation for the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. While the photographer is providing the work under the terms of a Creative Commons license which allows commercial reuse, the accreditation rules contain the obligation to point out the following: Pictures may only be used for editorial publications. Each use for commercial and/or promotional purposes needs a prior written approval by IOC and/or if applicable other rightholders (e.g. the national association or the pictured sports people).
In case of reuse the user himself is responsible for obtaining the necessary permissions.

The bolding present in the template implies that this was quoting the accreditation agreement with the IOC. If it was, the licensing of these images is in question. You have ignored my earlier ping, so I will ask again if you can provide us with the accreditation terms agreed to by photographers. Thanks. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 15:15, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
I would also like to know that, as well as if there have been any court cases about the IOC's heavy-handed restrictions on "use for commercial and/or promotional purposes".   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:31, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
Please read the section above: that was not a quote from the IOC but from a personality rights template of another user with the intention to clarify re-use under certain circumstances. I thought at least that there shouldn't be any doubt that the IOC has given accreditations to Wikimedia volunteers, like other users at previous Olympics, which was also stated in this template. But if it's necessary, we can check whether we are allowed to send the accreditation confirmation by the IOC to OTRS in order to have that confirmed. Of course, there is also other evidence that we were holding accreditations for Wikimedia. I don't know of any IOC court cases and I never had assumed that this would have been a requirement. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 15:42, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't understand. The wording in User:Stepro/UEFA is not at all like the very specific wording in question. Is that the one you mean? World's Lamest Critic (talk) 15:54, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
For reference here is a copy of what photographers agreed to at the PyeongChong 2018 Olympics. These are not secret agreements and there is no reason why they cannot be shared here to clear this up. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 15:56, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
IMO, this agreement is not compatible with release under a free license. However this is an agreement between a photographer and the IOC, and Commons is not part of the agreement. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:04, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
@World's Lamest Critic: Thank you. I'm going to use a stronger word now: unconscionable.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 16:07, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
The original wording sounds not too good, but I don't see it anymore. If the IOC was knowingly accrediting Wikimedia photographers though, they should have been aware of the licensing needs when it comes to commercial use. If the photographers' copyright is being used to further enforce non-commercial terms of the original contract, that would make them non-free in my opinion. If the photographers simply want to request people use them non-commercially, but still (legally) make them available under a free license and take the risk themselves that someone else uses them in a way which violates the IOC contract, which presumably would then be an issue between the IOC and the photographer/uploader, that should be up to them. The template seems to have been changed to remove the problematic-sounding wording, which would make it OK. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:16, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
quoted facts

This is a common misconception: when you upload photos to Commons, they must be under a free license also for commercial use. But if we want them to be released from all personal rights for any commercial/advertising use, we probably would have to delete > 90% of all photos with living people on it. Of course you must not use a CC0 photo for detergent advertising, as long as the consent of the person depicted is not given. And this - of course - will not be available on almost all person photos on Commons. The template Personality rights is very well known. There is saying in the English version: "Although this work is freely licensed or in the public domain, the person(s) shown may have rights that legally restrict certain re-uses unless those depicted consent to such uses."
Therefore, similar restrictive templates that require the obtaining of personal rights approval from certain organizations are fully compatible with Commons. They only limit the legal personality, and are not in conflict with the free licenses, which only affect the copyright. Also comments in the IPTC fields of the photos, such as "Useable for editorial use only, no model release available" are therefore only hints to the subsequent users, what is already allowed and what is not; and are in no contradiction to the free licenses or rules on Commons.

So it is even worded in the deed of the CC-BY-SA 4.0 license: "The license may not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. For example, other rights such as publicity, privacy, or moral rights may limit how you use the material." (deed)

That's why such templates are no further restrictions, but helpful hints to subsequent re-users and should be placed on our file pages.

This is all from my side until there will be sourced factual matters here, and not only opinions of some Wikipedians. --Stepro (talk) 00:49, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, but all these references to the personality-rights portion of the template seem to me to be like raising a straw man—I haven’t seen anyone objecting to that part, any more than to use of the usual {{Personality rights}} template elsewhere on this project. Saying that the images are for editorial use only without prior written approval goes a very long way beyond reminding reusers that the subjects’ personality rights are to be respected—if that’s all the statement was meant to imply, it’s in drastic need of rewording. As a layman I can only read it as a direct contradiction to COM:LIC; were I a potential reuser of an image so marked I would certainly take away the message that it’s unavailable for any commercial purpose.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 02:08, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
@Stepro: To quote what was written in the template when I encountered it: "Each use for commercial and/or promotional purposes needs a prior written approval by IOC and/or if applicable other rightholders (e.g. the national association or the pictured sports people)". This clearly has nothing to with personality rights. When I raised the issue here I was only expecting an explanation of how the terms laid out in the template could be compatible with COM:SCOPE. I assumed that if they were not, someone would have brought it up before this. To be frank, both you and DeHexer are acting in a way that makes me wonder why you are trying so hard to make the discussion about personality rights and dodge questions about the IOC agreement. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 03:36, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
"dodge questions about the IOC agreement": Sorry, but that's not true. DerHexer wrote more than one time above, that there is no agreement. Nobody can write something about an agreement which don't exist.
"This clearly has nothing to with personality rights." - That's simply wrong. It only has to do with personal rights. Everyone can use this pics for any editorial purpose - in Wikipeda, in newspapers, in magazines, on editorial webpages, on blogs, ... without asking anybody. That's why the pics are clearly in COM:SCOPE.
What is (due to personal rights of the depicted people!) not allowed without permission is to use this pics for commercial advertising and promotion. BUT: I wrote it again and again and again: That's so with every pic with living people on it. If there is a template or not. If the person is a politician, a sportsman, or a Wikipedian. You may not use a CC-pic of my person and put it on coffee mugs to sell them. It's simply not allowed due my personal rights, even when the picture was taken on an open wiki event and is under a free license. There was a judgement for Panini football pictures in Germany, where the copyright was no question - but the personal rights of the soccer players who took part on World Championships. The decision was that's not allowed by Panini without asking the players and the FIFA, although they took the pics by themselves and had full copyright permissions.
Please understand the difference between copyright and personal rights! On all this pics the copyright (and hence the license) is absolutely no question. The license is given for all purposes. But the personal rights are by the depicted persons, if there are agreements, templates or whatever or not. The templates are only helpfull hints for re-users, stating the facts, and no giving restrictions by themself.
But - with full respect - I don't want to write the same explanations again and again. --Stepro (talk) 14:19, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
I am sorry, but what you write above means that you do not understand what is a free license, and what are personality rights. Therefore I nominated this for deletion: Commons:Deletion requests/User:Stepro/UEFA. Regards, Yann (talk) 14:51, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm sorry, too, but the opposite is the case: You don't understand it. I citated templates, I citated the deed of CC 4.0, but you write only your personal opinion. And you state, that just your opinion - completely unsourced - is the only truth. That's no basis for a reasonable discussion.
And your behavior - at least with the DR - is in my opinion very disruptive. Nothing more from my side here. --Stepro (talk) 15:06, 25 March 2019 (UTC)
@Stepro: The template said "the accreditation rules contain the obligation to point out the following...". I have given a link to what the IOC called a "photographer's undertaking" for the 2018 Pyeonchng Olympics. It has similar wording to what was originally in the template. Did you sign something like that in order to be accredited by the IOC? World's Lamest Critic (talk) 15:27, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

Can we please cool it, and focus on the issues in hand. The original issue was whether the old version of Template:2018 Summer Youth Olympics was acceptable. The challenged text has been removed from the template (current version). There is now an issue of whether the new text is compatible with the accreditation agreement between the IOC and the photographer, and whether this matters. In my view it would matter: I am not aware of a policy on this, but I feel that we should not knowingly accept anything that breaks a valid contract between an uploader and a third party. This would be morally questionable, would introduce doubt about the free status of the content, and might conceivably lead to legal charges for conspiracy. Verbcatcher (talk) 17:43, 25 March 2019 (UTC)

File:The Flag of Erie County, New York.png[edit]

This file may be PD for some reason, but it seems doubtful that it’s 100% “own work”. Perhaps it’s a COM:DW, but in that case there should be some info provided about the original source for the image, right? — Marchjuly (talk) 07:31, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

There is a graphic of the seal (more than just the description of the design) in their law, which would I think be {{PD-EdictGov}}, and this representation does look very close to that. It's possible there is not enough additional expression added over the version in the law to support an additional copyright. But yes, should credit where the seal graphic came from at least, or if drawn by the uploader, then there *might* be a case for it being "own work" if they added any additional expression. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:34, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

copyright owner but not author, author should be credited[edit]

I want to upload several pictures under the CC-BY-SA-4.0 license where I am the copyright owner but not the author. How can I credit the author apropriately so that this is covered by the above license that is make sure this is respected by anyone making use of the picture. Where goes the name of the copyright owner and where the name of the author if I upload as "own work"? is that the right procedure in this case? --Schmila (talk) 17:22, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

Schmila, if you are not the author, why did you think you are the copyright holder? Is the license transferred to you by the author or their heir? T Cells (talk · contribs · email) 21:02, 24 March 2019 (UTC)
T Cells, these pictures were commissioned by our family in 1959 and I was informed that according to the copyright rules in Australia which apply in this case for pictures taken between 1955 and 1998 the copyright is owned by us. Based on this ownership I already gave the permission to publish one of the pictures in a book with a credit to the photographer which was accepted. You can finden the pictures I am talking about under Schmidt-Lademann House at the Cambridge library where my copyright is documented. But in any case under the assumption that I own the copyright how can I make sure that crediting the author is covered by the license.--Schmila (talk) 22:22, 24 March 2019 (UTC)