Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

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

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Cut-off date for {{PD-old}}[edit]

In many countries, copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the author. In our daily DR closure routine, we come accross many files from PMA+70 countries of which we do know (more or less) the date of creation, but we do not know when the author died. At this moment it depends on who closes the DR, how old an image has to be before we assume PD-old, when we don't know when the author died. I would consider a file from a PMA+70 country safe when over 140 years old (from before 1877). That means that the author could have been 20 years old at the moment of creation and died at an age of 90 years old. Jim has stated several times that he uses 130 years old (from before 1887) as a cut-off date, while Sebari has stated to use 120 years old (from before 1897). I consider it a bad situation that the outcome of DRs like Commons:Deletion requests/File:KingArthurS.jpg depends on who closes it. Starting a DR should not be like rolling a dice. I think we should come to a consensus on a cut-off date for such cases. Any thoughts? Jcb (talk) 16:59, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

I believe a consensus about that cut-off is dearly needed. For reference, a previous discussion was here: Commons:Village pump/Archive/2016/12#Clarification of the Precautionary Principle for 100.2B years old photographs. I think that discussion mostly stalled due to technicialities. The main point of contention seemed to be the place where to put such a clarification and the duration. Therefore I propose we discuss two points:

Works by unknown authors or authors whose death date is unknown can be assumed to be in the public domain XXX years after creation, unless other factors (for example a separate copyright for an unpublished work) preclude this. If the creation date is also unsure, a conservative estimation must be used. Such works should be tagged with {{PD-old-assumed}}.

  • What should XXX be?
Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:21, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
I use 120 years, which is also the time required in USA for unpublished work to be in the public domain. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:32, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support as proposer, preferably 120 years as a reasonable compromise. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:36, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
The opinions as known at his moment vary from 120 to 140 years. Choosing the shortest (most risky) period as a 'compromise' does not sound very logic to me. Compromises normally end up somewhere in the middle (e.g. 130 years in this case). Jcb (talk) 17:42, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) I think 100 years are sufficient when it's only about the lifetime of the author. Works like paintings and photographs are hardly created by newborn babies, so the authors would have been at least in their teens when they created the work in question. This means you get some 115+ years of lifetime which is already highly unusual for people to reach – especially if you consider the contemporary life expectancy. De728631 (talk) 17:51, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
If you look in the last discussion I linked above, the range was 100-130 years. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:49, 11 February 2017 (UTC) (Also, I was mainly talking about the compromise between copyright paranoia and ignoring of copyrights. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:58, 11 February 2017 (UTC))
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support 130 years is what I've always used. lNeverCry 18:30, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support While I have never made the assumption so far, 120 to 130 years seems about right and it would be great to have a hard and fast cut off date for these kinds of images. Ellin Beltz (talk) 19:54, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I did the same thinking as you and considered 140 years first, then I asked and Yann suggested 120 years (as he wrote above) so I followed his suggestion, as it seems reasonable. I will adapt to any of those, maybe I'll be more confident with 140 years, but it's maybe simpler having 120 years (if an author is unknown after 120 years, it's unlikely that 20 years more will bring more info). --Ruthven (msg) 20:06, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • 120 so long as reasonable efforts were made to determine copyright/date of death, there is no risk for the uploader or the WMF. Normal rules for anonymous or unknown. -- (talk) 20:36, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose: we have two groups of copyright issues here: 1) anonymous works and 2) works of authors with unknown date of death (in Poland we call it "orphan-work").
For each of this groups copyrights are different!
1) anonymous work is PD after 70 years after publication if the author is still unknown
2) "orphan-work" is PD after 140 years after the first known publication of any work of this author.
There are rules we keep on Polish Wisources -- and I think they are quite correct... Wieralee (talk) 21:03, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
This is not about anonymous works. We have fixed rules for that. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 21:51, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose. It depends on country. For USA I have always used 120 years, but studying Czech Republic I discovered, that 140 years is needed there. Spain needs 130 years, Venezuela 110 years, Thailand 100 years and so on. Taivo (talk) 21:14, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
So what is your suggestion? We keep what we are currently doing and everybody uses what they think is best? Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 21:54, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
If we determine such age, then it must be country-specific, just like all other copyright conditions are country-specific. Taivo (talk) 08:01, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose any term less than 130 years. People can easily live 60 years after creating a work. Jcb (talk) 21:18, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Today yes. But you have to take into account the life expectancy of the time, which was much shorter. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:22, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
This may differ from country to country. If I look at my own great-grandparents (in the Netherlands), almost all of them died in their 80s. Jcb (talk) 21:29, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Fine for them, but that's not how we take a decision, which should be based on scientific and historical data. [1] is an example, [2] is another. In short, life expectancy in UK or France in 1900 was 45 years, where it is now over 80 years. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:56, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
@Yann, Jcb: The low life expectancy around 1900 is partly due to the higher child mortality rate, I assume. People who lived to adulthood and didn't get seriously ill often lived to be 80, 90 years and older. One of my own ancestors was born in 1869 (in Italy, later lived in Switzerland and France) and died in 1971, nearly 102 years old. The well-known French photographer Nadar died shortly before his 90th birthday in 1910. The possibility of a given 19th century photographer reaching a similar age can't be denied. It may not be very likely, but likely enough to be cautious. 130 or 140 years doesn't sound unreasonable to me. Gestumblindi (talk) 23:13, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
So are you in favor of this suggestion if XXX said 130? Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 21:54, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, that would be acceptable for me. Jcb (talk) 22:04, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

It certainly varies from country to country. In 70 year pma countries, I use 130 years, not 120. Take a photographer born in 1867 who takes a photograph at age 20 (130 years ago) and lives to be 80 years old in 1947. Certainly this is not an extreme case -- a five year old photographer who lived another 110 years takes us back to the beginning of photography, but I'm comfortable with 130 years. A while ago, I looked through Category:People by name for those born before 1866 and found that a significant fraction of them lived past 1946. In thinking about this, remember that average life expectancy doesn't help you because during the 19th century it was skewed down a lot by those who died young and everyone we are worried about made it to an age when they could take a photo. Of course, I would adjust it for periods other than 70 years. The USA is a special case because of the 1923 rule, but for unpublished works it is easy -- for unknown authors it is 120 years after creation. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 21:57, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi, Your extreme example does not help. I can agree that the life expectancy at birth is a bit distorted, but taking the life expectancy at 20 is a sane and reasonable compromise. According to the link I gave above, it was 60 in UK in 1900. Regards, Yann (talk) 22:08, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mixing works of unknown author (eg. in the example pointed above the author seems to be signed by initial - it should qualify as pseudonymous work) with works on identified author of unknown death date. Also 120 years after creation, while may be OK for US copyright (most cases) seems to short for pma70 countries. Ankry (talk) 22:05, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
What is the difference between an unknown author and an author without a known death date, in your opinion. Please note that we are not talking about anonymous works in this proposal, which are a whole different kettle of fish and very rare. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 22:23, 11 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment With no uniformity in copyright legislation until we get to the 1990s, and the different approaches to media, and the law of the country, setting a hard rule is only a heuristic, and should never be a hard rule. So it either needs a list by country based on their copyright laws, in association for US copyright law, or to US copyright laws alone. PMA70+ is not a universal date until 1990s, there was PMA50+ and PMA25+ which depended on nation and the medium of the work (cinematography different from books, different from photographs, different from paintings, different from panorama). There is no requirement for absolutism anyway, and we should query where we have significant doubt, not a requirement for absolute proof where a reasonable query and efforts made to identify a person. We don't need to be perfect, we just need a good effort.  — billinghurst sDrewth 05:19, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thus, should we have nation specific templates for orphaned works to be used instead of a generic PD-old? --Ruthven (msg) 14:53, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
    Maybe, but PD-old seems fine for me for countries with the PMA+70 rule. Jcb (talk) 15:06, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment U.S. law sort of uses 120 years for this (being a 70pma country), so I could see using that -- 17 USC 302(e). They increased it from 100 years when they were a 50pma country, so you could use a vague rule of "pma term plus 50". And while yes, Jim's example of 130 years also makes some sense, most photos were not taken when the photographer is 20 years old (especially then, as photography was much harder to learn). And if you have evidence of the same photographer being active earlier, then that would adjust the "20 years old" mark, so the deletion would not necessarily be based on the date of creation of a particular photograph -- if you know when the author was born, or had earlier works which shows they were older than 20 (or other information on the author which indicates an older photographer), that could shorten the assumed term significantly. If you know a photo from 1890 was taken by someone at least 40 years old, that could be enough. I suppose having a baseline based on creation for a photo where we know nothing of the photographer at all may be a starting point, but that does not necessarily mean that photos newer than that mark are automatically a problem. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:21, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks for the reference to 17 USC 302(e) link. I see no reason why Commons should not simply adopt the legally advised default in the USA. There is absolutely no way that a volunteer is at any legal risk by presuming that 120 years after creation is sufficient to grant public domain status for works with named authors, and below the "significant doubt" threshold per PRP, so long as some sort of reasonable search has been made to determine an author's death date.
    Commons does not have to be more strict than the US copyright office in order correctly to manage risk, and the USCO unambiguously state that Reliance in good faith upon this presumption shall be a complete defense to any action for infringement under this title. -- (talk) 17:28, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I would suggest 150 years as even 140 aren't sufficient. A real life example is Sarah Purser (1848–1943) with a working period extending from 1872 to 1937 who died in 1943. However, depending on the case, if there are more infos about the working period etc., other estimates can be made. --AFBorchert (talk) 16:26, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
    Your example makes no sense in this context, as we easily determine the date of death of the author. Cases where a simple search on Google provide a date of death are not what this default presumption is about. -- (talk) 17:36, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
    Sorry but this is nonsense. Of course I have to take an example where the life span is well-known to prove that even 140 years do not provide safety. --AFBorchert (talk) 23:17, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Stats about lifespan are a tangent, we should be looking at copyright law and actual legal precedent rather than making up rules on hypothetical foundations. The USCO states a default of 120 years is sufficient, there is no risk based argument for longer periods. -- (talk) 23:54, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
It depends on what your goal is. If you are striving for a 100% guarantee the file is not under copyright, you look for the most extreme examples of life dates. If you are looking for a lower standard -- say, beyond a significant doubt like COM:PRP -- then you look for some statistical level. The U.S. is fine with assuming that something more than 120 years old means the author has presumably died more than 70 years ago, provided there is no documentation on file at the U.S. Copyright Office. It is a balance between author's rights, and the rights of the public for public domain works -- they do not strive to make sure it's absolutely impossible, just very unlikely, that an author has been dead for less than 70 years. We assume good faith on users' uploads, despite the fact that we don't really know they are the author. If further information comes to light which shows they are not the author, then we delete -- but we don't require 100% proof in the meantime. Likewise, with these very old files, we do the same -- we may presume a work is PD-old-70, but if a death date is found, then we would delete. The question to me is about what line is roughly equivalent with the percentage of bad user "own work" uploads we know that happen, and deal with. And frankly, old works like these are far less likely to be a copyright problem than modern works falsely labeled "own work". So, I'm in favor of some kind of "most likely" threshold. I would not make it lower than 120 years given the U.S. law, but I don't think I'd go higher than 130 either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:12, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
I see in the “most likely” approach a departure from COM:PRP. Other projects did this already (see {{Bild-PD-alt-100}} at de:wp) but then we should at least attach a stern warning to it to protect potential re-users. And there should be some rationale at the file description much like as we expect it from {{Anonymous-EU}}. But most uploaders don't do this. --AFBorchert (talk) 06:28, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Not "most likely" I guess... but beyond a significant doubt. That is what COM:PRP uses -- not beyond any theoretical doubt, but beyond a significant doubt. I mean, it's theoretically possible that any given work was first published in Spain or Colombia, but we will assume whatever country of origin (and copyright term) seems most likely. And it's theoretically possible that an author will live past 100, but that is statistically very rare (and most works are not created when the author was 20 years old, either) so I don't think this policy needs to go to those extremes. The U.S. has a rule of 120 years for exactly this situation, which may be a reasonable balance. Adding 10 years to that would push it over the "significant doubt" line for sure, or perhaps 120 years is enough. That is basically the range I'd be OK with. 100 years is too low for me, unless for a 50pma country. We could also say 130 years, but if we know of earlier works from the author, subtract the start of the work period, and if the country of origin is less than 70pma, subtract that difference too. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:39, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Hi, It seems some people didn't read the proposal, some didn't understand it, and others ask irrealistic requirements based on fear and irrational perceptions. Also the question is not a yes/no vote.
Let's start again from the beginning: this is for cases where the author is not really anonymous, but the death date is unknown. And we need to take a decision based on scientific and historical data. Taking as an example a picture taken 120 years ago (i.e. 1897) by a 20-years old person, who therefore was born in 1877. According to the link I gave above, the life expectancy at 20 years at that time was at max 60 years (in western Europe), so this person was statistically expected to die around 1937. So it is quite reasonable to assume that the person died before 1947, 10 years after the life expectancy date, and therefore that the picture is in the public domain. This satisfies well our precautionary principle. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:44, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
You use a standard deviation of only a few years for life expectancy? Really? During WW2 quite some people in their 80s lived in the village where I live. If I see my granddad this week, I will ask if he can estimated about how many. Jcb (talk) 22:55, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
@Yann: "According to the link I gave above, the life expectancy at 20 years at that time was at max 60 years (in western Europe)" - no, that's not what your link says. Not "at max 60 years". It's the mean life expectancy at 20 years, which includes people passing away aged 30 as well as aged 90. As I wrote above, individual 19th century photographers can have reached a very old age indeed. I already mentioned Nadar (1820-1910); some other examples of photographers I found by browsing through Wikipedia include William Henry Jackson (USA, 1843-1942), Francesco Negri (Italy, 1841-1924), or Thomas Kimmwood Peters (USA, 1879-1973). Gestumblindi (talk) 23:33, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
@Jcb, Gestumblindi: As I already answered above, and as Fae also said, we should not make a decision on special or extraordinary cases, but on scientific statistic data. And when I write "at max 60 years", I mean that Europe had the longest life expectancy at that time. Regards, Yann (talk) 10:17, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Given a mean life expectancy of 60 years, there's nothing special or extraordinary about individuals reaching an age of 90 or more. In the 19th and early 20th century, it's not the norm, but common enough (there are lots of more examples) that we have to consider it. Gestumblindi (talk) 11:50, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
@Yann: What standard deviation do your scientific sources mention? Jcb (talk) 16:16, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
These sources do not give a standard deviation. As always, we will have rapid decrease with a long tail, with the majority of the people living only a few years more than the life expectancy, and a tony minority live longer, etc. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:27, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, that's your fantasy then. If these sources do not give standard deviation or information about spreading, every conclusion you try to draw from it is pointless. Jcb (talk) 17:31, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
well that is your fantasy then. the idea that you can generate a confidence interval with mathematical precision, and all others get deleted is an impossible standard. it has nothing to do with precaution and everything to do with fantasy. trying to reason with you is pointless. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:44, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
"It seems some people didn't read the proposal, some didn't understand it, and others ask irrealistic requirements" well duh, it is commons - what did you expect? the idea that people will oppose any artificial line as "risky' when they have no data is nothing new. maybe i should survey my grandparents? let's take a straw poll. hillarious. go ahead and implement your rubric. it would have just as much justification as the delete all PDM. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 00:54, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Hi, maybe a bit out of topic but not so much if we talk about life expectancy. Note that the life expectancy for a "lucky" professional photographer was undoubtedly higher than the life expectancy of a miner or of another persons practicing other physical labours and working often since a very young age. The equality don't exist at our time and it was even much more true in the past. I guess almost the photographers of this period was a bit lucky by comparison to the rest of the population and therefore had a life expectancy a bit similar from ours, and in all cases higher than for a lot of persons. This is not an opinion about the cut-off date for {{PD-old}}, just an opinion about life expectancy which, of course, varies according of the activity. Christian Ferrer (talk) 13:10, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support 120 years is a diligent cutoff. My guess is that this cutoff will be correct more than 99.9% of times. If this date was chosen then so far as I know, Commons would be more diligent in respecting copyright in this way that any other institution. If there were a relevant copyright practice for us to adopt from somewhere else respectable, then we could follow that practice, but since no one has surfaced anything relevant, it is fine for us to write the norms. 120 years is reasonable. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:12, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I calculated the average age of death of all the photographers listed in Category:19th-century photographers from the United States and whose dates are provided:

The average is about 73,09 therefore the life expectancy for those 19th-century american photographers was 73 years. The older was William Henry Jackson who died at 99 year old and the younger was Timothy H. O'Sullivan who died at 42 years old. Christian Ferrer (talk) 20:11, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

Furthermore I've no doubt that if one includes all the photographers listed there, the result will be very similar. The photographers were privileged in comparison with a large part of the population, because they had much better conditions and hygiene of life. Who can say the life expectancy was the same for a miner and for a photographer. A big part of the debate was around life expectancy, and if one want to talk about the life expectancy of a photographer one have just to look at the records for the photographers of this period and will see that 60 is far to young, because it include all the population (miner, farmer, soldier, manual workers...), and sorry but I don't think the photographers of this period were amateurs, they had a privileged trade. That's said, I'm not in favor to use 120, 130, or 140, I've no opinions and I agree with below that if there is legal text this is better. It is just that I know personaly that life is not equal for everyone nowadays and the past was worse. Christian Ferrer (talk) 08:40, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
All of the discussion about statistics for life-expectancy is bizarre and tangential. What concerns us is copyright law and verifiable legal cases, not original ad hoc research by unpaid amateurs, no matter how well meaning. The only hard guidance linked to in this discussion, has been from the United States Copyright Office, which sets a default of 120 years for authors with no discoverable death date. The USCO gives assurance in plain English that nobody can be subject to legal claims if they make this presumption. If someone can point to alternative authoritative legal advice, or a relevant and recent legal case of damages where someone published making this presumption of 120 years and the courts found against them, I would be very happy to examine it. -- (talk) 20:20, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support I'm fine with 120, given that most works aren't made at 20.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:51, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support 120 for me is fine, I've had pre-1900 in my head for these sorts of things anyway. I understand Fae's concerns, but the work done by Christian Ferrer is neither bizarre nor tangential, it's useful to know that the US Copyright Office suggestion of 120 years is sufficiently cautious, if Christian's work showed it wasn't, we could have adopted a more cautious time (such as 130 years). Thanks are due to Christian for their diligent analysis. Nick (talk) 12:43, 17 February 2017 (UTC)

Proposed conclusion[edit]

Let's see if we can come to a workable conclusion. Please keep any discussion about the topic outside this subtopic, this subtopic is to try to derive a consensus from the discussion in the maintopic.

For files with a copyright situation based on the PMA+70 rule ({{PD-old}}), what time needs to have passed from the (latest possible) date of creation before we can assume that the copyright has expired? In the discussion above, several users have stated diferent opinions and several arguments have been brought in to support the different opinions. Till now:

  • Several users prefer 120 years
  • Several users prefer 130 years
  • Several users prefer 140 years
  • One user prefers 150 years

Could we find each other somewhere in the middle? Based on the different opinions stated till now, the most logical compromise seems to be to use 130 years as a standard cut-off from now. I think the best thing is to formulate this more generic, so that it can be applied to countries with a different copyright length as well. That would be copyright duration + 60 years (e.g. 110 years for PMA+50 countries, 130 years for PMA+70 countries).

A formulation could be: "If the copyright situation of a file is based on the date of death of the author, but we do not know when the author has died, we assume the file to be PD if at least the lenght of copyright protection + 60 years have passed since the latest possible date of creation of the work. (e.g. 130 years if copyright is based on de PMA+70 rule). If we know of an older work of the same author, we base the situation on the date of creation of that older work. If we do know the year of birth of the author, we use the year in which he/she reached the age of 20 in the calculation instead of the year of creation of the work."

Could we find each other in such a compromise? Jcb (talk) 16:40, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

The mode is 120, and as that's how voting normally works that is logically the popular consensus and is the only number that is supported by published legal documents that would stand up to scrutiny in a court, rather than by hypothetical argument. If we are going to compromise on a number, taking the most supported both externally and by a consensus, even if a minority consensus, makes the most sense. -- (talk) 17:11, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
+1. IIRC the German Wikipedia uses 100 years. I can understand some arguments for a longer time, but I don't see any legal or rational arguments for more than 120 years. Regards, Yann (talk) 19:26, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Although I would prefer 130 years, I can accept 120. Gestumblindi (talk) 19:57, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
I can accept anything. I am fine with 130, but would prefer 120. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 20:01, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
This is not a vote between e.g. 4 people. I disagree with Fae about his interpretation. To get a consensus, you try to look at all opinions and to find the best option for the total of them. If we choose 130 years, then less than half of us wants it shorter and less than half of us wants it longer. Also apparently most of us can live with 130 years. If we want to find a workable agreement, then we should try to end up somewhere in the middle, so that most of us can support it or at least accept it. (And suggesting that only your own arguments would be valid is of course not the way to find a solution). Jcb (talk) 23:47, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
Well, there was a longer discussion linked earlier by Sebari (Commons:Village pump/Archive/2016/12#Clarification of the Precautionary Principle for 100.2B years old photographs) where several people did want 100. Given the U.S. law, I did prefer 120 (and probably 130 for Spain and Colombia, where the line could be altered based on laws and other facts surrounding the work). But do those opinions count? Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:00, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
Far fewer contributors watch this sub-noticeboard than the main Village pump, so the prior discussion should have some weight in assessing consensus. 'Negotiating' a number by taking a mean average of the discussed options is less likely to result in a logical outcome that will stick and be defended long term; it's a bit like looking at mammal evolution and deciding that the most successful will walk on 3 legs, as most we see walking around have between 4 or 2 legs, and many 2-legs walk with a stick. -- (talk) 20:56, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
i agree to 100 or 120. i do not agree to 130. "And suggesting that only your own arguments would be valid is of course not the way to find a solution" oh yeah mr. "i'm right and you're wrong"? LOL Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 02:55, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
So you're the trolling IP? Signing this comment didn't make it sound any less stupid and immature than the other two. If you think Commons is a toxic place where collaboration is impossible, why don't you leave? The revenge bit in your signature is plain goofy BTW. lNeverCry 08:12, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
no - i never troll, that would be a banned user? and i'm sticking around for all the other institutions who have left. if you don't like the negative feedback, go cry on your pillow - snowflake. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 23:38, 18 February 2017 (UTC)
120 works for me, but I would accept 130 if that is the majority Ronhjones  (Talk) 20:03, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Whatever is taken, I would like to suggest that we should introduce a special license template for all those cases where we simply guess that a work is in the public domain as 120 or more years have passed since creation. Possible reusers should be warned that there is still some risk. --AFBorchert (talk) 21:40, 15 February 2017 (UTC)
    • I agree with what AFBorchert just said: special template. I can live with 120 or 130. - Jmabel ! talk 16:34, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
  • I have created {{PD-old-assumed}}. Feel free to comment on the contents of the template, I created it as a starting point, not per se as a final version. It seems that the only thing we still have to find a consensus on is the question whether it should be 120 or 130 years. Most people are willing to accept both of them. If there is no clear consensus about this point within one week, I will start a vote with only two options: 120 years or 130 years. Jcb (talk) 19:18, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I would appreciate it if you could step back and let someone else decide if there is a sufficient consensus here. Thanks -- (talk) 19:51, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
I would appreciate if you could stop frustrating this discussion. Jcb (talk) 20:29, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Please stick to normal consensus building processes. The person who has created the proposal has also pushed for an early conclusion and strongly advocated one point of view. That same person should not be closing down discussions and creating another proposal which precludes a consensus here. Recognise you are not a neutral party. -- (talk) 20:45, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
You have been the only person in this discussion who has tried to push his own opinion as a consensus. Many people have stated that they can live with different options. The main discussion leans a bit towards 130 years, the reactions to the proposed (yes, proposed, not decided) conclusion lean a bit towards 120 years. It's too early to take one of them as a consensus, but it's obvious that by now all other lengths can be eliminated. Today I have posted a reminder to VP and AN. If this does not lead to a clear consensus for one of the two, then a simple vote between the two seems to be the easiest way to resolve that. (With again an invitation at AN and VP of course). I do not see how this can be not a normal way to come to a consensus. Have a bit of patience please. Just grant the process the time to come to a well supported consensus. Jcb (talk) 21:04, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, so step back and let someone else decide if and when there is a sufficient consensus. I have a view and will respect a well formed consensus. There is no need force another proposal, nor would it be healthy for every proposal on this to be created, directed and closed by the same person. -- (talk) 21:24, 17 February 2017 (UTC)
i see a broad consensus at 120, let's close it at that. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 23:48, 18 February 2017 (UTC)

Further discussion[edit]

Pictogram voting info.svg Info I've brought this to the attention of the English Wikipedia community, on the en Village Pump. The discussion and !vote on Commons will be of interest to other language Wikipedias as well, and a note on those would be helpful. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:29, 27 February 2017 (UTC)


There is not yet a clear consensus for the cut-off date for works where PMA+70 applies and the date of death of the author is unknown. That's why I am starting a vote. (Two users have suggested that there would already be a consensus. Those users should not be affraid of the vote, because if they are true, the outcome of the vote will support it.) It's clear that only two options have a significant support: 120 years and 130 years. That's why this vote only has these two options. Please don't add options.

This vote will end when at least one week has passed since the start of the vote and there are at least 20 valid votes and there is a difference of at least 3 votes between the two options. Votes are counted from each user with at least 100 edits at Commons before the start of this vote. Jcb (talk) 22:19, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

120 years[edit]

  1. Nick (talk) 23:09, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  2. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 23:31, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  3. Prosfilaes (talk) 23:51, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  4. Taivo (talk) 07:05, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  5. Xover (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  6. Commons (and the vast majority of reusers) are legally safe at 120 years, as long as it's understood that we should apply the later of this or (relevant pma term) from the last date at which evidence of the author being alive can be located. To clarify, if the author lived in a 70 pma country, and created the 'work at hand' 130 years ago, but we know of works created only 60 years ago (possible for someone that lived past 90) then 70 pma should be applied to the last known date the person was alive, if that yields a later date. This is in accordance with US law, with the understanding that we are using information 'that we can discover' rather than USCO records for the latest date it's known the person was alive. - Reventtalk 12:26, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  7. Yann (talk) 16:11, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  8. i object to the constant shifting of the goalposts. the consensus is clear, the delay is because you do not want to recognize it. voting and restrictions on voting are not a consensus process. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:31, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  9. De728631 (talk) 17:51, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  10. Materialscientist (talk) 23:54, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  11. I guess I'm in favor of 120, but (as I think Jcb alluded to) it's not always going to be as simple as a straight cutoff. Is it 100 for 50pma countries? What happens when we find two works by the same author, one 125 years old and one 115 years old? Do we keep one and not the other, even though both should have expired at the same time? Similarly, what happens if we find a work 100 years old, but we find works by the same author which are 135 years old? In other words, can we adjust the 120 downwards based on finding earlier works by the same author (meaning we will eventually find works from earlier in a career, say 25 years old) and using 120 on those earlier works? Using less than 120 for anything may have some U.S. copyright law consequences, although if we know it was published before 1923 (which most of these will be) that issue is moot. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:23, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
  12. Although I agree with others that it needs to be applied on a case-by-case basis. There will be exceptions. Kaldari (talk) 05:15, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
  13. Accepting the general idea with 120 years as the starting point for the creation of a detailed policy page. That should include rules/guidance for some of the more complex cases mentioned above. MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:26, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
For any author with a known date of death (or known dates of activity) we should be creating an 'author' page... that can then give information to calculate the 'latest possible' expiration date that should be used for all of their works. 120 years (and 70 after last known activity) is legally safe for Commons (as being in accordance with US law) but might include non-US works that are still under copyright at home. We should make it clear that uploaders should be making reasonable efforts to determine the last date that an author was evidenced to be alive, and applying the relevant pma term 'before' looking at any post-creation rule. - Reventtalk
I think you meant known date of birth. We can (and should) make {{Creator}} pages for authors, where we can put in dates of birth or known work period if we know them. But yes... that is another interesting question. If we find a work 125 years old from a 70pma country, then also find a work by the same author less than 70 years old (proving they died less than 70 years ago), then what? Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:16, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

130 years[edit]

  1. Jcb (talk) 22:19, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  2. AFBorchert (talk) 00:31, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
  3. --Ruthven (msg) 21:26, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
  4. Jarekt (talk) 14:45, 27 February 2017 (UTC)


==== 140 years ====

  1. ...but will adapt to any conclusion, I just feel more comfortable being more conservative in this case --Ruthven (msg) 20:56, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    @Ruthven: As written above in the voting explanation, please don't add options. Choose one of the two options or don't vote. Jcb (talk) 21:23, 26 February 2017 (UTC)
    Perhaps we should have an option then with no fixed cut-off-date at all (as before). --AFBorchert (talk) 14:22, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Photos of paintings[edit]

Hello, I would like to ask some questions about licensing. I'm not sure if this is a good place to ask such questions, so I'll ask one question, and if you think it's a good idea to continue here, I'll keep asking some other questions. For the sake of the argument, let's assume that I'm a painter based in USA.

  • I made a painting and, before selling it, I made a photo with it. If I want to publish the photo on my website or to upload it on Wikimedia Commons, do I need the permission from the new owner of my work?Thanks. Cultura211 (talk) 20:42, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Hello there. This is the right place for copyright inquiries. If you are the original painter based in the USA, your image is copyrighted to you, and only you. In the US, copyright can only be transferred if you are someone's employee or if the painting was specially ordered or commissioned by your customer, and if both of you expressly agree to such transfer of copyright in a written document. So if you just painted a work and then choose to publish it, the copyright will remain with you and anybody else will need your permission to do anything with your painting. De728631 (talk) 21:58, 13 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Indeed (it's similar in Europe, by the way) - even the new owner of the original painting can't publish it without your permission, unless you have also explicitly transferred the copyright (or exclusive rights of use) of your work to him. Per default, you as the creator of the work retain all rights. Gestumblindi (talk) 00:32, 14 February 2017 (UTC)
    • did you make the painting before 1923? did you make the painting before 1978 without a copyright notice? have you been dead 70 years? is your painting in a museum collection with a big (c) on it? Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:38, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Thank you very much for your kind answers. What happens with the works sold to museums? If a newspaper would like to show the inside of a museum and to take photos with various works there, it looks like a complicated job - to ask for permission from all the painters who sold their works to the museum. Or maybe sometimes the museums make a deal with the painters so they (the museums) get the permission to publish photos with the works without having to ask the authors? Cultura211 (talk) 13:13, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi Cultura211,
Newspapers, and medias in general, usually have special exemption on copyright. The details vary from country to country. It is called fair use in USA. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:20, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
Many countries allow certain uses of works without getting permission -- in the U.S. it is called "fair use", in the UK (and other countries inheriting its laws) "fair dealing", and the rest typically have a list of permitted uses in their copyright laws. Many common uses may fall under that. Educational and news-reporting institutions often have some wider allowances, and using a photo of such a work when selling it (or maybe advertising an exhibition) would usually be OK. Those are all attempts to balance some "normal" usage, against say a museum selling postcards of a painting when they don't own the copyright and such permission was not otherwise given. In most cases... it's best to have an explicit agreement on such things (e.g. a contract) when the sale is made -- that can avoid complications of an act being legal in one country, but not another, etc. But in general, ownership of an object does not mean you own the copyright (and also does not imply any rights over photos of that object, copyrightable or not). In the past, certain transfers (say of photograph negatives) may have been considered an implicit transfer of the copyright as well, but since 1978 U.S. copyright law has said that any copyright transfers must be explicit (i.e. in writing). 17 USC 204. So, for your original example, if you sold both the copyright and the painting to the museum, you'd have to get permission from the museum to upload the photo here, most likely. You could use the photo if it falls under fair use (which in the U.S. would likely cover most non-commercial uses), but uses outside of fair use (such as uploading here) you'd have to get permission. If you just sold the painting, but not the copyright, then the museum should normally have no say over the photograph -- you still own the copyright of the painting, and also the photograph. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:35, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
An example of special exceptions in copyright law for museums (public collections) is Switzerland's URG Art. 26: "A work forming part of a collection accessible to the public may be reproduced in a catalogue issued by the administrators of the collection; the same rule applies to the publication of exhibition and auction catalogues". Gestumblindi (talk) 12:05, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
That was very useful, thanks for the kind answers. Cultura211 (talk) 22:54, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Images from the US Naval History and Heritage Command[edit]

During a couple of my recent GANs, I got licensing questions about pictures that I used from this organization. The main page of the NHHC photography collection states: "Most of the photos found in our collection are in the public domain and may be downloaded and used without permissions or special requirements (those which are not will be noted in the copyright section of the image description)." I've been using PD-USGov-Military-Navy as I suspect that some portion of these were taken by naval attachés or other military photographers, but some of those that I've seen there appear to be commercial photographs that were probably purchased by naval personnel, especially the foreign warships. And others may well have been given to the navy by the RN or other organizations.

So I'm wondering if these photos should use their own license using the language from the NHHC website (kinda like PD-Bain) and stating that the license applies worldwide (it's impossible at this remove to know if any particular photos were purchased or made by naval personnel so the worldwide provisions of PD-USGov-Military-Navy would apply). This would preempt the sorts of questions that I've been getting about their copyright status. Thoughts, comments?--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 21:44, 16 February 2017 (UTC)

A portion of those images were donated by individuals -- those, while not strictly PD-USGov, may very well be OK -- if copyright was transferred along with the donation, and the Navy then makes them public domain (which could well apply here), may as well just use the PD-USGov. Any that were donated before 1989 were likely PD-US-no_notice anyways. For foreign vessels, it could be harder, though US Navy personnel may still have taken them (joint project between navies, or even surreptitious spying). For material which was given by other navies, or copies that were simply obtained by the Navy, that would be the hardest -- they could be PD in the U.S., but may not be PD in the country of origin. Those cases probably would need a different license tag, or be deleted. But, the NHHC website does say that images not in the public domain should be marked on the image description itself ("those which are not will be noted in the copyright section of the image description"), which indicates they have done some copyright vetting before putting the images up, so in most cases it should not be an issue unless there are such notes in the image description. The vast majority are PD-USGov-Military-Navy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:50, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
a lot of these are taken from NARA navy and army signal corps. their provenance and metadata sucks. we will have to research high resolution at NARA. you will never preempt the doubt of deletionists no matter how much leg work we do. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 04:07, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. I knew the lack of provenance would be a PITA, but I had hoped that the vetting by the NHHC would be enough to allow for a special tag just for their images, to forestall questions like what's a USN sailor doing in the middle of the North Sea in 1915, photographing Royal Navy battleship squadrons before the US entered WWI? At any rate, I've only just today discovered a NHHC template that reproduces the copyright statement from the website, so that should help keep the uproar down to a minimum. Now if I could only figure out a way to do the same for Imperial Russian ships!--Sturmvogel 66 (talk) 13:48, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
The template mentioned is quite new...I've been working on uploading NHHC images (on and off) for a few months now. I've been working on the general assumption that the NHHC PD assertions are reliable... while most images are unattributed, I've found no obviously commercial material that did not predate 1923. In the few cases were attributed material might have a pma problem (such as en:Robert Enrique Muller its generally determinable that the person was an employee. - Reventtalk 12:50, 24 February 2017 (UTC)


Hi, I am a bit doubtful about the use of {{PD-IDGov}} here: Special:Contributions/Achmadmaulanaibr. Could someone check please? Regards, Yann (talk) 11:49, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Hi, Could someone confirm that these are OK? Thanks, Yann (talk) 16:10, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

PD-US-not renewed and PD-US-no notice[edit]

1. In USA, how I can check if "copyright was not renewed". Is there is some site I can check it? what it's mean "renewed". how can copyright on photo renewed or how can copyright on book renewed

2. How I check "a copyright notice", Is there is a site that I can check it?

thanks —Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:38, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

1. Older U.S. law required a work to be renewed in the 28th year of its copyright, by filing a renewal with the U.S. Copyright Office. For works originally published 1953 or later (and before 1964, as the requirement ended in 1992), the records will be online at . For works published earlier, you'd have to search the printed copyright catalogs. They are online at UPenn, but searching is still tedious, and you have to know the names (copyright owners) to search for. If it's just a book you are looking for, Stanford has a searchable database. You may need to search on multiple names, as anyone with a renewal interest in the copyright could file, which could be the corporation, or someone they sold partial rights to, the original author, etc. Secondly, photos are particularly difficult -- while not many were renewed, the renewal could also be in the form of a book renewal if the photo was in book renewed by the same copyright owner that same year, or similarly part of a periodical (magazine), and that sort of thing, so you may need to look in multiple sections of the catalogs (not just the artwork/photograph sections). But, it is at least possible to do. If you do claim lack of renewal, it is best to list the names you searched for. If you can find an original registration (which could be done at any time in the 28 years, so it could be in any of the catalogs, though usually the year of publication) that can actually help, as the copyright registration number would then make it much easier to search for the renewal. Those were rarely done for individual photos though. If the photo was first published as part of a book or magazine, look for a renewal of that book or magazine.
2. Copyright notice needed to be on all published copies. Copyright owners did not need to register a copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, but they did need to have a visible copyright notice. For photos, this can often be difficult though -- if a particular copy of a photo was not distributed, lack of notice on that particular copy means nothing. And if that photo was distributed along with other materials as a group, copyright notice could be anywhere in those materials. For a book, the notice needed to be around the title page at the front. There is no site to check -- normally you can just check on the physical object itself. But, you have to know something of the publication status of that object, which can be difficult for photographs. Something like a publicity photo with obvious markings to show that it was actually distributed before 1964 (say one which documents a copyright owner, then a dated stamp of a separate entity like a newspaper showing that copy was distributed) are the best bets. If a photo was part of a larger work, the copyright notice could be anywhere in that work (even one notice on a magazine by default protected all works in that magazine). Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:16, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
here is the copyright office online search for after 1978
here is the hathi trust copyright review
here is the how to manual;view=1up;seq=3 you have to go through the pdfs one year at a time Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:25, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
@Slowking4: That copy of Circular 22 is rather out of date (it's from 1989). There have been important changes since (the Copyright Renewal Act of 1992, in particular). The current version is at - Reventtalk 04:00, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

License for no restrictions photo in UK[edit]

I found a photo I'd like to upload here. It is marked "usage restrictions none" so I think it is PD but am not sure. If it is usable on commons, what license tag(s) do I need to use? Thank you. HalfGig (talk) 12:57, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

I'm afraid this file is not explicitly PD. "Usage" may not include the making of derivatives which is required at Commons. What we need to know is the name of the photographer and their personal confirmation that this photo was released into the public domain. Maybe you could ask the contact person mentioned on that website if he can help you with these details. De728631 (talk) 13:13, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I will email him. HalfGig (talk) 13:18, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, "no restrictions" means anyone can use it, but copyright is retained all the same, unless the owner chooses to release it with a CC-by-SA licence or equivalent. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:20, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I've emailed the contact. My guess is that the photographer is the person who discovered this species, Professor Mario Vallejo-Marin of Univ. of Stirling. He or the University are likely the copyright holder. I'll let you know what they say. HalfGig (talk) 13:27, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
The contact on the webpage is a dead email address. But I knew the photo was taken by Vallejo-Marin and emailed him. He was happy to release it under CC4!! I'll be processing it. HalfGig talk 19:46, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

20050304 TRANSPLANT 24 - Poster.jpg[edit]

Does this file fall in COM:ADVERT? --Mhhossein talk 07:37, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Well, I have nominated it for deletion. Wikicology (talk) 19:18, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum's collection are now under the CC0[edit]

see [3], [4], about 375,000 images (include photos of 3D art, see [5])--shizhao (talk) 08:46, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

For the Commons upload project refer to -- (talk) 09:02, 23 February 2017 (UTC)


It doesn't seem to me that the user who uploaded this image owns the copyright of it: File:Amsterdam metro logo.svg. Fentener van Vlissingen (talk) 18:08, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

This is {{pd-textlogo}}. Ruslik (talk) 18:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

File:Duty calls.png[edit]

Could someone please verify the copyright status of this xkcd comic? I know Randall Munroe has released a few of his works under a free license, but the source page doesn't mention anything about permissions. --Ixfd64 (talk) 18:58, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

The source page actually says it’s under a CC-BY-NC licence, which is not allowed here.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 19:08, 23 February 2017 (UTC) P.S. Tagged for speedy deletion as a probable copyvio. (19:29, 23 February 2017 (UTC))

The copyright issue with 3D features in photos?[edit]

Have I understood correctly that the issue with 3D features (such as a frame) in photographic reproductions of old (definitely PD) artworks is that, unlike photos of a purely 2D object, there is independent copyright in the photo? Or, put another way, would I be right to assume that the photographer of such an artwork would be able to upload it here under their choice of license, much like anyone can upload photos of purely 2D artwork under Bridgeman v. Corel? And to be clear, I'm talking about cases along the lines of a ca. 1800 painting that happens to be in an elaborate frame, or where the frame has some independent interest such that cropping it out would not be desirable.

Or is there some other property of these and relevant copyright law that make them problematic? Are they, for instance, considered to be sculptures and covered by some more onerous copyright term than the painting they frame (in general terms, not extremes where the painting is effectively incidental to a room-sized actual sculpture or some such)? --Xover (talk) 20:12, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

The issue here is not the design of the frame, but as soon as the frame is depicted, it becomes the photographer's choice of how much they show of it, which angle to choose for the shot etc. These considerations create a new copyright independent of the out-of-copyright artwork inside the frame as opposed to a faithful photographic copy of the artwork as such. So yes, photos with a picture frame can be uploaded with a license of the uploader's choice, even if the main subject is PD. De728631 (talk) 20:24, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Hmm. I assume you meant "can't be uploaded"? But in my hypothetical here the person doing the uploading is the person taking the photo. For instance, if I took a photo of an old PD artwork that includes the picture frame. My understanding is that the copyrights to care about are the one for the painting (which is expired), and the one in the photo (which, in this case, I would hold), and thus I would be able to upload the photo under a free license. Have I misunderstood something? --Xover (talk) 09:09, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
It depends on if the frame itself is copyrightably original, and how old it is. Many old works have been placed in modern frames... the 'safe' answer is to simply crop the frame before uploading unless it's known to be old. - Reventtalk
Ok, so there is a separate copyright in the picture frame? Is this considered equivalent to a sculpture, or would it be the same term as a painting (amended, of course, to account for the fact that the painting and the frame probably have separate creators)? What would be the term one would have to check it against? Let's say we're reasonably sure both the painting and its frame were created in 1800, and I am the photographer; would it then be reasonable to assume both painting and frame are PD, and I hold the copyright for the photo, so I could upload that photo under a free license? I would also guess that in most cases the creator of the frame would not be possible to determine, and so it would, for a lot of cases, have to be treated as an anonymous work; and similarly that a possible separate (typically later) creation date for the frame would be hard to determine, so that absent contrary evidence it would be reasonable to use the date of the picture as a de facto date for the frame? Further, is there anywhere any guidance on determining a "threshold of originality" for something like a picture frame? Surely not all picture frames meet whatever that threshold is, no matter how restrictive it might be? Or is that sufficiently uncharted waters (I'm guessing Bridgeman v. Corel didn't deal with this directly) that in practice it doesn't pertain where Commons is concerned? I'm thinking here of completely plain wooden frames, or just a simple cardboard square with a cutout in the middle for the artwork, as one simply obvious case of "below threshold of originality"; with increasing complexity in the determination relative to increasingly elaborate frames. How would one tag such a photo? Three separate tags, for each of the separate copyrights in the mix? --Xover (talk) 16:19, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
The frame could be a work of art, depending on the country and the frame. Unless it's clearly an artistic frame (cherubs or whatever), I'd not worry about it. I think the US would count most frames as functional and not copyrightable and pretty much any use of a photo of a painting with an incidental frame as fair use of the frame. Other countries have stricter rules, but I don't think it's something that we should take too much time worrying about it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:28, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, most frames are not copyrightable... the most likely case where it would be a concern is where some very old, famous painting was placed much later into a modern frame that is intended to be 'in the style of' it's period... I'm thinking of something like the Mona Lisa, though it's 'modern' frame is old enough to be PD at this point (it's from 1909). I rather suspect that in the few cases where that would arise, art scholars or museum descriptions would note that the frame was modern. - Reventtalk 04:09, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
there is no case law, so you are left with the empty theorizing on commons. museums care so much about frame copyright, that they do not document the age or provenance of frames, except in obscure curatorial case studies. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:28, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
It's not that obscure... see for example. Portions of the frame are a modern artistic work, 'in the style of' period frames. - Reventtalk 04:20, 25 February 2017 (UTC)
you made my point - an exhibition about frames [6] and no information in general about all the other frames on view. i.e. "with its plain frame. ... The picture was reframed and installed in the chapel in 1603" [7] and no information in the metadata [8]. so if you cared, you could do no research about frames in general, you would have to email every museum about each artwork on display. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:51, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

Summary of issues surrounding picture frames[edit]

I'll attempt a summary of the above thread.

  • For a photographic reproduction of a typical painting that includes the frame in the photo, there are three copyrights in play: the artist of the painting, the photographer making the reproduction, and the artist that created the frame for the painting.
  • The copyright issues for the painting itself and for the photographic reproduction are both well illuminated elsewhere in documentation and policy, and is not affected by anything specific to this thread.
    • If you take the photo yourself, you are free to license the photograph as such under any license you please, including the Commons-compatible ones.
    • The photographer, if it is not you, also obviously has this right, and can upload it here under a free license; or follow the OTRS procedure; or release it elsewhere (Flickr, say, or their own website) under a free license and we can reupload it here under that license.
  • If the creator of the frame or the "publication" date (date frame was added to the painting) is known, the copyright assessment would be as for any other artwork (like the painting, say) only with the dates specific for the frame.
  • For the frame, both the date of creation / "publication" and the artist will often or even in most cases be unknown. In these cases it is usually reasonable to assume the frame has a copyright date identical to the framed painting, and to use the copyright term for anonymous works in the relevant jurisdictions (US + country of origin).
    • Reasonable efforts must be made to ascertain the artist's identity and the relevant dates in order for treating it as an anonymous work with priority equal to the painting to be defensible.
    • Existence of any specific information about the frame obviously means that information should be taken into account.
  • Picture frames, along with most other things, must meet a "threshold of originality" in order for it to be afforded copyright protection.
    • For very simple picture frames—like plain square pine planks, with maybe a coat of paint or varnish, say—this threshold is extremely unlikely to be met.
    • The more elaborate the frame, the more likely it is to meet the threshold, and the more complex a copyright assessment would be.
    • There is no known case law or precedent to help determine this specifically for picture frames, so any such assessment should err on the conservative side.
    • Whether the Commons community will accept a "threshold of originality" test for picture frames is not yet determined (current practice seems to be to delete pictures including frames, or to crop the picture to omit the frame).

Is that a fair summary? Did I get anything wrong, or leave anything out? Is there some suitable place this could be put so the next guy maybe doesn't have to ask here to find these answers? Or am I the only nerd obsessive enough to even care about this issue? ;) ----Xover (talk) 09:45, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

@Xover: I think you missed something. Disclaimer: IANAL, all following is "as far as I understand". If the photograph is a "faithful reproduction" of the painting (whatever that means) WMF says that the photographer does not have any copyright – or as they put it in Template:PD-Art: "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain". That changes if the image contains a 3D frame. --El Grafo (talk) 14:04, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
@El Grafo: "Faithful reproductions" are those that don't embody any copyrightable originality beyond that inherent in the underlying work... they are intended to merely depict it's actual appearance, without any creative retouching or restoration. A faithful reproduction is effectively identical to what anyone else would create given the same equipment, skill level, and opportunity. If the image has been altered (other than in purely mechanical ways such as automatic filters in image software) then it's less likely to be a faithful reproduction.
The possible copyright in a frame is something that would only very rarely be a concern... far more often, we would be concern about the copyright in a 'photo' of a frame. In the rare cases where it would matter, it would probably be noted in sources about the work, it's just something we should keep in mind. - Reventtalk 18:02, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
@Revent: I agree, frames are rarely a problem, just mentioned them because the question was "did I leave anything out". The "problem" I have with "faithful reproduction" (but didn't want to tackle here; hence the "whatever that means") is that it's difficult to judge without having access to the original or at least having a "color checker" in the frame. We've had several discussions over at FPC, where some people were feeling the colour balance of such a reproduction was off and others disagreeing. Just have a quick look at all the different versions we have at Category:Mona Lisa – if we're being honest, they can't all be really "faithful". But I guess that's not really relevant from a copyright point of view. --El Grafo (talk) 19:19, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
@El Grafo: Basically, it ends up as a matter of considering 'intent'. Skill or 'effort expended' don't contribute to copyrightability, only originality, so if the photographer intended to merely create a depiction of the previous work, and not create a new 'original' work based on it, then there is no new copyright. How well the image actually 'faithfully' reproduces the original (a matter of skill or effort expended) becomes irrelevant. - Reventtalk 19:28, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Back when the first colorized black and white movies came out, the US Copyright Office solicited comment about whether they were copyrightable. They eventually decided that if you colorized a whole movie, it was copyrightable, but that still didn't apply to something like a photograph. Color balance isn't a factor in copyrightability in the US, at least unless a court or Congress overrides the Copyright Office. (I'd also say that the color of a non-light emitting object like a painting is incredibly complex, depending on the color of the lighting among other things. Any digital representation is going to be catching just one idealized version.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:51, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
I think that most frames aren't copyrightable; it's a limited standardized form. If you're looking at a frame that's recognizably a piece of art in its own right, then the question might come forth, but in most cases a frame is simply not going to be a concern. As a matter of practice, on stuff where there's no case law on copyrightability, i.e. no one is even thinking about them as a copyrightable work, we shouldn't encourage thinking about them as copyrightable work.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:58, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Foto eines Zeitungsberiichts[edit]

Kann ich ein Foto eines Zeitungsartikel von 1978 als Beleg für eine Aussage in Wikipedia Hochlagen ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gumtau (talk • contribs) 09:12, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Nein, das geht leider nicht. Der Text des Artikels und eventuell enthaltene Fotos sind noch urheberrechtlich geschützt und dürfen nicht ohne Erlaubnis der Autoren wiederverwendet werden. Was Du machen kannst, ist den Zeitungsartikel als solches zu zitieren: "Autor, Titel, Zeitung, Seitennummer, Datum." Dazu kannst Du dann noch ein kurzes Textzitat abschreiben und in die Wikipedia einfügen, aber abfotografieren geht nicht. De728631 (talk) 16:31, 24 February 2017 (UTC)


Is OTRS permission needed for this image? The file comes from this tweet and it appears that the account holder is agreeing to a free license here. However, no specific license is specified in the declaration and I'm not sure if " I grant this image ©-free" is a definitive enough statement for Commons. It's certainly not as specific and detailed as COM:OTRS#E-mail template for release of rights to a file. -- Marchjuly (talk) 15:53, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

With both hands in use, Jeremy Burge obviously did not take this image himself, so he is not in a position to waive the copyright. Only the original photographer could do that. Nominated for deletion. De728631 (talk) 16:37, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
@De728631: I don't think Burge is the person depicted in the photo. I believe that is someone named en:Myke Hurley. The photo came from Burge's Twitter account, so it seems possible that he took the photo himself. My concern was whether his tweet is sufficient enough of a declaration of consent. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:31, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

File:Vintage sci-fi poster.jpg[edit]

Could someone familiar with comics take a look at File:Vintage sci-fi poster.jpg? The claimed license is clearly false, but depending on the publication details it may well be {{PD-US-no notice}} or so on. The presence of the image in many poster reprint stores suggests it is likely PD. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 22:21, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

When was it published? Ruslik (talk) 19:57, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
According to fr:Captain Future, it was in 1946. De728631 (talk) 23:09, 28 February 2017 (UTC)
It's not a poster, it's the cover of the winter 1946 issue (Volume 13 No. 1) issue of Startling Stories. Originally registered in October 1945, B669345, and renewed by CBS in 1973, R556894. Seems like it would be under copyright unless we can find solid evidence the cover was actually distributed as a poster in that old time frame. If used as a modern poster, that doesn't change the copyright status. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:50, 1 March 2017 (UTC)


Drawing attention to Commons:Deletion requests/File:Borussia Dortmund.png. --XXN, 23:38, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Flickr photo of Jen Wang and Cory Doctorow[edit]

Could this photo (or a cropped version of the photo) be uploaded to Commons? The photo was uploaded on Cory Doctorow's Flickr stream under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, but it is not clear that Doctorow is the copyright holder since he appears in the photo and the photo's metadata indicates that the photo was taken with a smartphone. --Gazebo (talk) 08:40, 25 February 2017 (UTC)

This is a surprise. Cory Doctorow is very knowledgeable about copyright and things -as he writes about it and is a published author to boot... This seems to have past below his omnidirectional radar. Email him for confirmation! We don't normally give out email address but as CR has declared he can cope with his email address being publicly available, Why I have a public email address. Here it is : >doctorowATcraphoundDOTcom<. We wait with baited breath as to where things got confused. It must be an oversight. Included this link: [9] so that he can instantly understand the context of your email.--Aspro (talk) 20:31, 26 February 2017 (UTC)

Nigerian naira banknotes[edit]

Looking for some help assessing the copyright of the w:Nigerian naira banknote. It's not listed at Commons:Currency and there are no examples or talk page notices at Category:Money of Nigeria. Central bank's website is czar 05:33, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Nothing on the site suggests that it's free, and Commons:Copyright rules by territory#Nigeria says that government works in general are non-free. So for anything published 70 years ago or less, it's not looking good. LX (talk, contribs) 13:30, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Copyright on logo of ceased organization[edit]

I uploaded a letter and an envelope from Radio Moscow (both showing the logos). The organization ceased in the '90s, it was state-owned (USSR). The state does not exist anymore. How about the copy rights ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gjhufken (talk • contribs) 22:20, 27 February 2017‎ (UTC)

See Commons:Copyright rules by territory#Russia and former Soviet Union. The copyright laws of the Soviet Union's successor states still apply to Soviet-era works. clpo13(talk) 22:28, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

Some problem in licence[edit]

Let it to be brought to the notice that Rahuldeshmukh101 (talk · contribs) has some uploaded files which I find them on which links to a YouTube channel There is no creative Commons license on the youtube videos as well as other videos have Maharashtra government watermark on them. Do assist whether to delete such files under COM:SD or COM:DEL or keep them under any other license --Tiven2240 (talk) 11:41, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

✓ Done Files tagged, user warned. Yann (talk) 12:09, 28 February 2017 (UTC)

File:Sporting Rosiori Logo.jpg[edit]

File is licensed as {{PD-textlogo}}, but I am wondering if the soccer ball imagery is something typically considered simple enough to not be eligible for copyright protection. Country of origin appears to be Romania based upon [[:en:CS Sporting Roşiori], but there's nothing listed at COM:TOO for Romania. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:08, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

This is a matter of opinion. Ruslik (talk) 20:27, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

File:EFN Network logo.svg deleted[edit]

I've almost given up on Wikimedia commons. Please explain to me how to correctly upload files. I've uploaded our logo File:EFN Network logo.svg which is licensed CC-BY-SA 4.0, as is all the contents that's produced by EFN. The logo was used in the infobox about us in the page no:EFN. I was contacted by User:Mifter on User_talk:BFG and answered back within 4 hours. I also sent an email to explaining that this was a work for hire. I explained that I do not own the copyright, but as the managing director of EFN who owns the copyright, I'm the highest authority to act on behalf of EFN should any permissions be needed. I simply don't understand how to correctly upload an image when acting on behalf of the copyright holder. BFG (talk) 16:49, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

@BFG: If all works of the organization are licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0, the easiest way to resolve the problem is to simply note that on the organization's website. - Reventtalk 18:07, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
As in [10]? BFG (talk) 19:11, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Як вставити фото особі на сторінку, якщо фото цієї особи чомусь захищено авторським правом ?[edit]

Сторінка:Алекс_Новодворскі, сторінка особи: фото: Завантажив, та ваші модератори його блокують. То як добавити це фото, коли інших нема ?