Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/02

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Archive This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.



The upload form does not offer any ineligible licenses. As a result, minor experienced uploaders provide the simpliest drawings with complicate licenses; this happens quite frequent. Often I meet really simple geometries, as circles, lines or squares, and think it is reasonable to change the license from e.g. "self|cc-by-sa-3.0|GFDL" to "shape" as I did recently at 5lines pg a.svg and others. AFAIK downlicensing is always possible (if adviced), uplicensing is legally rather difficult.

Doing this, I do not intend to frustrate users when they think their drawings need a strong license. At the moment somebody complains, and BTW I would like to know the opinion of others: is it useful and reasonable to correct obvious too strong licenses — or is that of no meaning at all? -- sarang사랑.svg사랑 13:17, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Images of simple logos are uploaded daily with an ineligble claim, regardless of what the source said. However I will not fight with users claiming a copyright over their creation, even when it is very simple, and I think they are wrong. Just my 2 Rs. ;o) Yann (talk) 13:43, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
(ec) I would rather not provide the "ineligible" licenses on the wizard. The standards vary greatly from country to country, and such licenses can cause uncertainty for use. If something is licensed with a free license, there is no doubt, as the license provides grounds for use in *all* countries regardless of what their courts have said for the threshold of originality. Even for something like the SVG you mention, it's possible that if someone hand-edited the SVG file, it may be protectable as a textual work, even if the eventual graphic image is too simple for protection. So... if you want to change files to be along the lines of "Believed to be PD-shape, but if not, then it is CC-BY", that's OK -- but removing the free licenses is often a very bad idea. And I think it's too complicated for the wizard; I'd rather have the cc-by common license to start with. Experienced users can enter a custom license now I believe, if they know better. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:51, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
My answer: next paragraph -- sarang사랑.svg사랑 14:27, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
No PD-ineligible licences in the upload wizard, please. The threshold of originality varies too much between countries and easily causes confusion. At Special:Upload you can choose not to select any licence at all and manually type in {{PD-ineligible}} in the permission field if you know that it is correct. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:52, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Changing license from CC to PD

Some user recently changed some of my images to PD simple geometry. I did not fight back. But the legal status of my upload remains with my upload license and the change is disputed. As there is no clear LEGAL line to what simple geometry is, I suggest a template with a content abstracted below to be used when a user tries to change a license from GNU/CC to PD. The template will prevent further legal disputes and put the responsibility to file user. Please take this note as a crude suggestion that need further refinement and vote.

The uploader User:xxx has uploaded this file with yyy license. User:zzz has suggested that the file might be in PD because it consists of simple shapes and geometry. You might use the file with the license of your choice.

--Nevit Dilmen (talk) 13:44, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Something along those lines is more appropriate than simply replacing a CC license, correct. The threshold of originality is sometimes fairly well defined, but there is always a subjective element, and in particular the threshold can vary quite a bit between countries, whereas the CC license does not. So if something is licensed CC to begin with, that should almost never be removed -- it ensures an ability for free use around the world -- but it can be augmented with PD-shape or whatever if that is a reasonable tag to add. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:56, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Carl. It seems to be not such an easy decision whether something is PD; and I understand the above that it is of no use to correct a CC-license when it seems erroneously statet for an apparently too trivial drawing.
May I expand my previous question: for an example, all the I Ching hexagrams belong at one hand to Unicode (AFAIK PD), and at the other hand consist just from some straight black lines. Can CC be the suitable license for such a drawing?
Whatever are the meanings, in future I will not touch any licensing even when it seems to me of not much sense. -- sarang사랑.svg사랑 14:27, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
The rendered drawings themselves are almost certainly not eligible for copyright, particularly in the United States. Whether they were hand edited in an "original" manner to qualify for a textual copyright, I can't say. There is an off chance that in the UK, particularly for the entire set, they may decide that it reaches their "skill, judgement, and labour" threshold, though I sort of doubt it. Adding PD-shape or the like would be quite appropriate there, I think. But people do still like to be attributed -- "sweat of the brow" may not give rise to copyright, but credit for the effort is always appreciated. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:13, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by belonging to Unicode. The Unicode standard uses copyrighted fonts to print the standard. For the most part, that doesn't mean much in the US (except stuff like the pictographs probably have some elements that are copyrightable; that Statue of Liberty seems like a good example.) But while it's intended for you to be able to make fonts for Unicode, the font embedded in the code charts is explicitly copyrighted to the extent they can.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:31, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
In the domain of PD-Art images, we addressed this with {{Licensed-PD-Art}}, which points out that the image is in the public domain in some places, but controlled by a CC license in other places. A similar tag for PD-ineligible would be simple to create and most appropriate here. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:39, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
I will give another example. File:DrSuper_super_super_super.svg I created the file and released it under public domain own. I consists of 10.000 triangles of 4 different colors arranged in a spacial way. The license is changed and now it reads. This file is ineligible for copyright because it consists contains no original authorship. In this case we have two public domains but I do not agree with change. It seems like a "Blind Watchmaker" case. I can not accept no original authorship even when the change is from PD to PD. --Nevit Dilmen (talk) 10:51, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Paul Klee paintings - individual copyright review needed

The copyright situation of paintings by Paul Klee is a bit more complicated than usual, but I believe that many more may be in the public domain in the U.S. than currently assumed here, e.g. File:Contemplating.JPG or File:Death and Fire.JPG. The reason for this: Paul Klee, born and raised in Switzerland, then lived for a long time in Germany. However, in 1933 he emigrated back to Switzerland where he then lived for the rest of his life, and died in 1940. Switzerland had a copyright term of 50 years p.m.a. until 1993, and the extension to 70 years p.m.a. made in 1993 did not restore already expired copyrights. As Paul Klee died in 1940, the copyright on his works therefore expired on January 1, 1991 in Switzerland, meaning that works of Klee where Switzerland is the country of origin are in the public domain in the U.S., too - as they were not protected in Switzerland on the URAA date of January 1, 1996. Klee works published from 1923 to 1933 are quite likely to be still protected by copyright in the U.S., as he then lived in Germany and I assume that first publication most often would have happened in Germany. But from 1933, first publication in Switzerland is more likely; however, maybe more research is needed for each individual painting to determine its copyright status in the U.S., as first publication of individual paintings could also have happened much later (posthumously). In any case, tagging all Klee works published after 1922 as "Not-PD-US-URAA" is probably incorrect, certainly several are "PD-1996", if the country of origin is Switzerland. Gestumblindi (talk) 01:25, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

By the way, see also this lengthy discussion of the topic from last January (starting in German, but mostly in English), also explaining why Klee's citizenship (German) doesn't come into account for the country of origin for works published in Switzerland from 1933-1940. As we in most cases don't know when a painting was published first, assuming first publication shortly after creation may be the only workable approach, as Dcoetzee said: "While we can't know for sure that the works were first published shortly after being created, we generally have to assume this unless we have some reason to believe otherwise - otherwise it would be impossible to consider any work to be in the public domain in the US". Gestumblindi (talk) 01:45, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
This is a good analysis, I was unaware of the history of Swiss copyright law. Unless anyone disagrees soon, I would be happy to mark all Paul Klee works dated 1934 or later {{PD-1996}}, simultaneously removing the {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} tag, under the reasonable assumption that they were published before his death. Dcoetzee (talk) 02:14, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
And just in case someone asks for proof that the extension to 70 years p.m.a. in 1993 indeed did not restore already expired copyrights: The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland made this clear in a 1998 decision (BGE 124 III 266), as quoted over in the German Wikipedia ("Aus all diesen Gründen ist Art. 80 Abs. 1 URG dahingehend auszulegen, dass sich die Rückwirkung des neuen Rechts nicht auf Werke bezieht, die nach früherem Recht zwar urheberrechtlich geschützt waren, deren Schutzdauer aber vor dem Inkrafttreten des neuen Rechts abgelaufen war."). Gestumblindi (talk) 02:26, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I could see this. The 1993 Swiss law was not retroactive, so his works were PD there in 1996 (and still are). The ambiguities of course are whether the works were "published" there, but it seems a reasonable assumption to make. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:33, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
That would also apply to works from 1933 onwards when Klee had moved back to Switzerland. I've just reviewed some of those and I think we're facing a little problem here when it comes to PD templates. The usual {{PD-old}} might be confusing when combined with {{PD-1996}} because in 1996 Klee had not been dead for 70 years. Maybe we should have a template {{PD-Switzerland-1993}} for the old Swiss copyright law that states something like "This image (or other media file) is in the public domain in Switzerland because its copyright expired before 1 July 1993." I'd be willing to code that. De728631 (talk) 19:22, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it would be a good idea to add to the inflation of templates. For the similar case of Walter Mittelholzer (Swiss aviation pioneer and photographer, died in 1937), I used PD-old and PD-1996 with an additional explanation in the template, see e.g. File:Mittelholzer-haileselassie.jpg, like this: {{PD-1996|country=Switzerland|date=1996-01-01|reason=The [[:en:Swiss copyright law|Swiss copyright]] on Mittelholzer's work's expired at the end of 1987, since Switzerland had a copyright term of 50 years ''p.m.a.'' until 1993, and the extension to 70 years ''p.m.a.'' made in 1993 did not restore already expired copyrights.}} Something like this can be easily used as a "cut&paste" template, instead of creating another template. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:26, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that it is better to use templates which declares it as free in as many countries as possible, i.e. {{PD-old-auto|1937}} (for automatic year updates) combined with {{PD-1996}}. The special conditions concerning Swiss copyrights could be explained by adding a short sentence explaining that the country of origin, as defined by the Berne Convention, is Switzerland. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:56, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
People still need to be made aware of the fact that the 1993 extension to 70 years was not retroactive, to avoid misunderstandings, I think - especially because similar extensions of the protection term in other countries often are retroactive. Gestumblindi (talk) 02:06, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
That could of course be included in an explanation like Gestumblindi's. {{PD-old-auto}}, however, cannot yet be combined with PD-Art for technical reasons, but I've requested that a second parameter be added to the latter. De728631 (talk) 17:08, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Contradicting terms?

The file File:That '70s Show logo.png is said to be ineligible for copyright and possibly subject to trademark laws. Is it me, or is this contradicting? Moreover, I'd like to know whether this image is appropriate for use in Wikipedia userboxes. Thanks in advance. --Skysmurf (talk) 20:21, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

No, copyrights and trademarks have nothing in common. Since there is no copyright, there should be no problem using it in userboxes unless you break against trademark laws. --Stefan4 (talk) 20:48, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you --Skysmurf (talk) 21:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Question 1: It's you. ;) See also Commons:Non-copyright restrictions for details.
Question 2: This question should probably be asked at the Wikipedia project where you plan to use it.
-- Asclepias (talk) 20:55, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Question 1: Thanks for the reference - it was informative.
Question 2: I was actually sent here from Wikipedia.
--Skysmurf (talk) 21:14, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
At question 2: Okay, then please ask again at Wikipedia. ;-) --Saibo (Δ) 03:26, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I've been bold (at Wikipedia, that is) and created a trial userbox using this image. If it's not ok the image inclusion will (in 99% of the cases) be removed by a bot within a few days, so if that doesn't happen I suppose it's ok. A "thank you" goes out to all respondents; I'm just a stupid computer scientist with little or no knowledge of legal matters, so the patience you have exercised is appreciated. --Skysmurf (talk) 06:49, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Problematic content reuse

Hi guys. I don't know the process here of problematic reuse of content, so hopefully someone can help out. This article by the Telegraph (UK) uses File:Tigerbread.jpg with no attribution. Can someone who knows about process see to this? Cheers, Mattgirling (talk) 14:26, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Commons doesn't hold the copyright, the original uploader does, and that's User:Maniago. But i believe that even of one would contact the Telegraph they would claim fair use, they are using the image to demonstrate the topic not for some promotional reason. Fair use concept does not require that the copyright holder of the work be the same as the owner of the topic that you are representing. VolodyA! V Anarhist Beta_M (converse) 23:08, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Technically, the UK doesn't have fair use, and I believe its "fair dealing" laws are more restrictive. But even in the US, I don't think they've got a hope of a fair use claim. Let's look at w:Fair use:
  1. it's an non-transformative commercial use (fail on point 1)
  2. the work being copied is non-fiction, but it's not like the Zapruder film or the Ford autobiography; it's easily replaced. (I count this as fail on point 2, but a case could be made
  3. the amount used: all. (fail on point 3)
  4. the effect on the potential market: catastrophic. (Where, except cases like this, could this photo find commercial value?) (fail on point 4).
I don't see how it could pass fair use. They're copying all the work in a non-transformative manner for its original purpose.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:32, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons may not hold the copyright, but I think we should start making a practice of complaining to people about stuff like this. We can't wield a big stick, but enough complaints that it's just not right might have an effect.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:32, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
If people wish to complain to authorities, it would also be a good idea to have a page where authorities in different countries are listed. I wouldn't know how to take something to court in a foreign country. Fair dealing in United Kingdom law is more relevant than fair use. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:48, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Not to mention that (IIRC) fair use requires attribution to the author. I'm pretty sure this doesn't pass the muster. This is totally a copyright violation. Magog the Ogre (talk) 02:45, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
It's a civil matter, so it's not obvious who you'd list. In some cases you might have a relevant regulator (someone who regulates the industry) to complain to, but I doubt that would get you very far. Rd232 (talk) 04:06, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
The standard action in such cases is usually to sue civilly. For the life of me, I cannot recall its name, but there is a tiny operating system embedded in many electronic devices as well as Linux distros (they boot into this OS when there is a kernel panic on boot). In any case, the makers of the software sued in court for violation of the GFDL or GPL, and won a settlement. Magog the Ogre (talk) 06:10, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't advocating going to the authorities. Just emailing the offender and telling them we see what they did there, and it's not cool, might have an effect in some cases. And if it had no effect, I suspect that if a copyright holder finally sued, having evidence that these people were serial copyright offenders who had been well warned would have a negative effect on how the court looked at them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Prosfilaes (talk • contribs) 07:35, 2 February 2012‎ (UTC)
I wasn't necessarily advocating that either; just stating what I knew about this type of case. Magog the Ogre (talk) 19:54, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I notified the uploader, who is reasonably active. It would be best if they acted. Rd232 (talk) 01:57, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Completely the opposite at -- File:No-FGM.svg has always been PD, but they treat it as under "(creative commons license)" to be safe, or because they think that everything on Commons is under a "Commons" license... AnonMoos (talk) 10:34, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Sport tickets

Do we have any guidelines on photographs of (sport) tickets? The question was raised by a knowledgeable editor on w:Wikipedia:New_contributors'_help_page/questions#Embedding a picture and it got me thinking. I'm aware of Category:Sport_tickets, but is it really OK to upload a photo of a ticket featuring a lot of artwork such as File:Ticket_2011_World_Figure_Skating_Championships.jpg? jonkerz 23:43, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Update: the image has been uploaded at File:Pécsi_MFC-2011-12ticket.png. It seems like Commons:2D copying is applicable, and it says it is a copyvio. Thoughts? jonkerz 23:46, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how any of these (and we're talking a lot of files here) can be justified. There is no case I can imagine where they really constitute encyclopedic content; and many of them are uploaded with false attributions of "I created this [by scanning a ticket I bought, full of other people's work]". In some countries you might be able to make a valid fair-use claim (though I doubt it); but these don't belong in the Commons. --Orange Mike | Talk 00:22, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Sports tickets should not be a special case: Unless 1) they are text only, or 2) any graphics are to simple to be copyrightable in the US and the country of origin, or 3) they have an ORTSed free license by the real copyright owner, they do not belong on Commons. —teb728 t c 01:01, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, the usual Commons policies and guidelines should apply to this class of files.--ukexpat (talk) 15:20, 3 February 2012 (UTC)
Here, Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Association football tickets, is a mass deletion request consisting of Category:Association football tickets's first 20 images in alphabetic order. More will be nominated once we se how this test run ends. jonkerz 04:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

The Spectacular Feature Samson and Delilah

On January 25, posted this comic book in the Commons, I downloaded the Digital Comic Museum site, but the administrator Denniss put out the cover and the pages, leaving only the advertisements, I looked to see if the sites were public domain, should not have said a preliminary vote, Denniss now and then mark my uploads.Hyju (talk) 01:48, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Is this a request for undeletion? You need to go to Commons:Undeletion requests/Current requests‎. You probably also want to write in your native language instead of or along with English; I have a hard time understanding exactly what you mean.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:30, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
exactly, I can ask for more than 30 images at once?Hyju (talk) 19:56, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Question about Mexico

COM:L#Mexico states that Mexico changed to 100 years p.m.a. on 23 July 2003 and that works created by anyone who died before 23 July 1928 remain in the public domain. This seems to contradict article 7.5 of the Berne Convention, so I suspect that the statement about Mexico is wrong. Is 23 July 1928 supposed to be 1 January 1928? Was the change from 50 years to 75 years retroactive? --Stefan4 (talk) 18:02, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

I'm not exactly sure how retroactive the 100 pma change was, but it did not restore existing copyrights, I'm fairly sure. Some info at en:Wikipedia_talk:Copyrights/Archive_5#Mexican_copyrights (did not extend government copyrights). It's possible they left protection at 75pma (which would expire at the following Jan 1, yes) for authors who died before that particular date. However, it is pretty much moot, due to your second question. The change from 50 to 75 was not retroactive, no. It extended all existing copyrights, but did not restore any (see here, fourth article of the "transitorios" section, in Spanish). That happened effective Jan 1, 1994. The change from 30pma to 50pma[1], effective January 11, 1982, was also not retroactive -- presumably extended existing copyrights, though the transitional section doesn't really say. So... I think the line is authors who died before 1952. Secondly, there was a registration requirement for works published before January 14, 1948 (they had three years to register copyright, or works became PD); when that was abolished in 1948 there was a six-month window for authors of such lost copyrights to register to re-gain copyright, but anything never registered remains PD I believe. That aspect loomed large in this court case, which ruled a couple of films PD in Mexico due to that, and therefore not restored by the URAA either. However, I'm not aware of any real way to check that aspect -- no idea if the old Mexican copyright registrations are online anywhere. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:44, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Category:Banknotes of Iran

It has just occured to me that we have a whole category with images of banknotes from the Iranian Empire but Commons:Currency states that the design of Iranian currency is copyrighted. Does that only apply to money issued by the Islamic Republic or also to the old currency of the empire? De728631 (talk) 21:01, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

See {{PD-Iran}}: if the copyright holder isn't an individual, copyright expires 30 years after publication. Since the Iranian Empire ended more than 30 years ago, I would assume that anything published by that empire is in the public domain because of age by now. Since Iran isn't a member of the Berne Convention or any other relevant treaty, everything (including recent works) is in the public domain in the United States, so US copyright doesn't have to be considered. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:42, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Hubble Legacy Archive

Is it OK to upload images from Hubble Legacy Archive? There are numerous images uploaded from this source, usually tagged with cc-by-sa-3.0 and "ACKNOWLEDGMENT FOR PUBLICATIONS" - but there is no evidence that images from this site can by used in commercial & derivative works (Template:PD-Hubble is different as this template applies to "The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute and for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre under Contract NAS5-26555" but "The HLA is a joint project of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the Space Telescope European Coordinating Facility (ST-ECF), and the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre (CADC). ") Bulwersator (talk) 04:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Any {{self}} license seems wrong for Hubble images anyway. Yann (talk) 07:27, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
No, image can be created from PD licenced data available from NASA Bulwersator (talk) 07:31, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Despite the name... it looks like the Hubble Legacy Archive uses images from various sources, some of them non-Hubble, including ones from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, of which I don't know the license (possibly CC-BY-SA, who knows). Obviously, if any of their images do in fact come from Hubble, those would be OK. I could not find mention of a license, though they do ask for an acknowledgement. Not sure, really. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:06, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Sloan is unfree, "SDSS Images may be used in commercial publications, or for other commercial purposes, only with the explicit approval of the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC). Requests for such use should be directed to the ARC Corporate Office via ARC's Business Manager as follows:" Bulwersator (talk) 14:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Is it possible for sb to send mail and ask about copyright (I can try but I think that it may be better to find somebody that can prepare letter with a proper grammar)? Bulwersator (talk) 14:20, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

So, from e-mail:

"All of the HST/HLA data that you download is in the public domain and you are allowed to use it as you wish. We would appreciate an acknowledgment back to STScI but it is not required.

I should point out one exception – the HLA footprint view images which show the HST image outlines are superimposed on the DSS images which are derived from the Palomar and UKSTU sky surveys. You cannot use a screen capture image of these without permission from the observatories. (see" Bulwersator (talk) 18:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Is it necessary to forward this mail to OTRS to tag HLA images as public domain? Maybe "it is from hubble" is enough? Bulwersator (talk) 19:57, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Wouldn't hurt, but it sounds like stuff which comes from Hubble (obviously) is OK, but stuff from the other surveys mentioned is just as obviously still under copyright. I guess the important part is that work done by that organization is also PD, from the sounds of it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:04, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Y'all let me know here that a former Kroger logo is not copyrightable in the US. Could you please advise on Kroger's current logo? Thanks. --Chaswmsday (talk) 13:57, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Probably copyrightable, due to the work on reflections in the background. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks... but let me ask some dumb questions.
1) How does a simple CGI effect confer copyrightability, while the CBS "eye" and the infamous "Best Western logo" (whether or not that particular element within it is a stylized "W" or a crown), arguably with much more thought given to the design, are public domain?
2) Could *I* alter the reflections and successfully copyright my own variation of this logo? and
3) With many of these logos, are we talking about "copyrightABLE" or "copyrightED"? If I tried to submit this Kroger logo to the US Copyright Office, what result might I expect?
My motivation for asking all of these questions is my serious disagreement over either the interpretation of "non-free fair use" policy in en.WP or of the policy itself. I was hoping some of the logos I want to include in articles would turn out to be PD... Thanks in advance for any input/counsel you might provide. --Chaswmsday (talk) 14:30, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
If the background stuff is the result of simply pressing a button in a graphics program... then possibly not copyrightable. There has to be identifiable human authorship. However, the shapes in the background are not simple to me, so if a graphic artist worked on the image to get the effect they wanted, I'd have to think that would be enough to pass the (low) threshold. That's my opinion anyways, of what would happen if you submitted it to the Copyright Office. Lettering is a bit different; the U.S. does not consider typeface copyrightable, as those are small variations on age-old symbols (such as the "W" in the Best Western logo). There are no such constraints on the reflections; those are pure graphic works. There is no difference between "copyrightable" and "copyrighted", unless the copyright has expired or the copyright owner has explicitly disclaimed all copyright. The existence of copyright is nowadays automatic. Could you alter the PD version with a different effect? Sure, except that your logo would make use of the Kroger trademark, and thus quite possibly be an inherent trademark violation, by making people think the different logo came from Kroger itself when it does not. The fact that something contains a trademark is not grounds for deletion, but something which violates trademark is. If you try to copy their 3-D effects, then it may not violate trademark, but then you get back to copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:49, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Do you have any opinions on how these issues relate to "fair use" in en.WP? The interpretation and/or the policy explicitly goes beyond the legal sense of fair use. Is that anything you've addressed here at Commons, or back in WP? --Chaswmsday (talk) 14:59, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
en-wiki is a separate project and can have their own policy; Commons should have no influence over that. Commons is not allowed to host images under such a "fair use" rationale; see wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy for details. If something is not copyrightable, Commons can host it and any fair use questions are moot. Anything which does need such a rationale must be hosted locally at that project. And yes, they don't have to make full use of the fair use exemptions of U.S. law. They do try to minimize the use, as any such images can inhibit usages in countries other than the U.S. which don't have nearly as expansive fair use type laws, and is somewhat against the concept of a "free encyclopedia". There are times when the "free" part makes the "encyclopedia" part not as good, yes -- but the balancing is a determination by the project itself, so any such discussions should happen over there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
That's the part I disagree with, then. And that policy's strict enforcers over at en.WP generally claim that it makes the encyclopedia better, not so much that it's a necessary trade-off. I think I have some (IMO) well-reasoned arguments toward modifying this, I guess, core policy, but I'll take it up at en.WP. --Chaswmsday (talk) 16:53, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
They might make the "free encyclopedia" better, but often, not the encyclopedia itself. There are people for whom the "free" aspect is also highly important. But yes, that is an en-WP discussion. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:41, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Plus, the US Copyright Office held in Best Western, that interpreted as a crown, the symbol still would not confer copyright. Is the threshold in the eye of the examiner and therefore somewhat arbitrary? --Chaswmsday (talk) 16:14, 4 February 2012 (UTC) --Chaswmsday (talk) 16:26, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
It's always somewhat subjective, yes. They try to be consistent; the Copyright Compendium is the manual they use to try to maintain consistency. Common symbols are still not subject to copyright -- they are not "original". Symbolic value is not considered; only the complexity of the actual shapes. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:17, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course, I had meant to say "not confer" there and re-edited as such. Under Commons:Threshold of originality, Best Western links to this from the US Copyright Office as authority for copyright ineligibility: [2]: "The only other element of the Best Western Logo is the red crown or 'W.' Regardless whether is is viewed as a 'crown' or a 'W,' this element is a commonplace design which embodies insufficient creativity to support a copyright. As a crown, it is a standard, albeit stylized, representation..." This helps explain my confusion about copyrighting/copyrighted/copyrightability. But I'll look at the Compendium you referenced. We edit-conflicted there...I'll save this first. --Chaswmsday (talk) 16:53, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, after browsing the Compendium, still find it somewhat vague. One could argue that the reflection or the glints are not copyrightable on their own, and thus the logo as a whole would fail. But I suppose that's all moot. Thank you for your input. It's helped me close off certain dead-end paths and pointed me in the direction I'll need to go: Off to en.WP -- when I feel strong enough to take on that monster :) ... --Chaswmsday (talk) 17:11, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
The idea of using reflections like that is pretty commonplace, but each particular design of actually making them may well not be -- just my opinion. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:41, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I have my doubts that the Copyright Office would find that logo copyrightable. Seems like the reflection effect fits the "standard representation" criterion implied in the quotation Chaswmsday posted. Powers (talk) 21:04, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Interesting comment, @LtPowers. I had thought I was done here. Don't know if I'm happy or sad to find that it's not settled... --Chaswmsday (talk) 15:44, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Category:Logos of educational institutions in Karnataka

I've been monitoring logos of educational institutions in India for some time now, and today I chanced upon the category Category:Logos of educational institutions in Karnataka. Most of the files here are missing source information, and since they are logos, it is highly unlikely that there will be under any free license. Can any admin take a look at this? Thanks. MikeLynch (talk) 19:51, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

I tagged some as copyvios. Not sure about the others. Might be too simple to get a copyright. Yann (talk) 09:35, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, maybe File:Xime-logo.gif could be the only exception. Can we just delete the category altogether? (Without deleting any files which are valid for use here), because having a category which says "Logos of educational institutions in XYZ" gives an appearance of legitimization of the presence of logos on commons, something which is not legitimate in most cases. MikeLynch (talk) 09:41, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Also hit upon Category:Logos of educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh, Category:Logos of educational institutions in Kerala, Category:Logos of universities and colleges in India and Category:Logos of educational institutions in India. If I had a simple and faster way of tagging for copyvios, I would have done it myself; since I don't, I'll ask you to do it. MikeLynch (talk) 09:46, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Since some logos are accepted, the categories are legitimate. Check your preferences for enabling a gadget for tagging copyvios. Thanks, Yann (talk) 11:33, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, the categories themselves are legitimate, but the presence of the category might encourage new users to upload non acceptable logos here. Never mind, we'll see if that happens. Thanks for the tip. MikeLynch (talk) 11:37, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Is image size part of PD?

If a photographer uploads a photo in low resolution, lets say 400 pixels X 300pixels, does their higher, original, resolution image stay protected? The question comes up because there may be many copyrighted images out there where the photographer might not mind having a low res photo in the commons. An image the size mentioned, for instance, would not be good enough to print or resell, but OK on a web page. This helps the commons and helps the photographer, who gains exposure. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 20:46, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Sure, if they want it to be. Copyright owners can determine exactly what content they are licensing. (Also note that something licensed CC-BY, CC-BY-SA, or something similar is not public domain -- the copyright is still valid, if liberally licensed under certain conditions.) Commons:Bundesarchiv is one example; they typically upload stuff at 800 pixel resolution. Authors can't prevent someone from scaling up the version which was uploaded, but if they don't license any higher resolution then it's not licensed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:02, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. That leads to another question: what if an editor knows a photographer who agrees to let some of their low res images in the commons, but isn't computer literate? Can they allow someone else to do the uploading for them? --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 21:35, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Emails from the photographer following the procedures at COM:OTRS to confirm the license would be the best avenue, I'd think. The email can be specific that only the lower-resolution versions are being licensed. You can then add the tag referencing the OTRS permission to the uploads. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:54, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again! That was all very helpful. --Wikiwatcher1 (talk) 22:11, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

Derivatives of free works

I think it would be a good idea to add a Derivative= parameter to the {{self}} template to make it possible to show why the original is free. Lophotrochozoa (talk) 20:37, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Camera traps


I'm not sure if the statement about the threshold of originality in the licensing box is correct. I previously asked on German Wikipedia, apparently the juridical situation differs strongly from country to country. Does anyone have a qualified opinion on US laws concerning this topics? Would it be helpful to create a page similar to the one about stamps in PD?--Toter Alter Mann (talk) 11:55, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

This was discussed a few months ago Commons:Village_pump/Archive/2011/11#Surveillance_camera_footage_copyright.3F A guidance page could be helpful but I am not dure there is enough clear guidance to create one. Dankarl (talk) 16:39, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
And more discussion at Commons:Village pump/Archive/2011/01#Copyrightability_of_security_camera_recordings. Personally, I think it's most likely copyrightable -- human authors set up the camera, and got the image they were targeting, I'm sure. There may be some arguments with basic security cameras, but to extrapolate that to any situation where the photographer is not immediately behind the camera is badly incorrect in my view, and I don't think we should keep such photos without some backing from a case law. As far as I'm aware, there is very little precedent on this kind of thing, so I'd tread carefully -- and I think hosting this image is anything but careful. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:20, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Template talk:PD-USGov-Military-Army-USAIOH

"Permission to use these images for commercial purposes must be obtained from The Institute of Heraldry prior to their use." - this requirement is based on US law, so maybe we can change this to "Permission to use these images in the USA for commercial purposes must be obtained from The Institute of Heraldry prior to their use."? Bulwersator (talk) 11:48, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Sure, makes sense. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:51, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Why? w:Copyright status of work by the U.S. government says that "The act only applies to U.S. domestic copyright as that is the extent of U.S. federal law. The U.S. government asserts that it can still hold the copyright to those works in other countries." In theory, both commercial and noncommercial purposes require permission for use outside the US.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:43, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
That's a pretty nebulous theory, particularly in countries which use the rule of the shorter term after the U.S. joined the Berne Convention (it was even dubious under the UCC, though possible). The means of enforcement that the IOH uses is not copyright law, but something else specific to U.S. law, which is why I thought the change was OK. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:00, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I see with the rule of the shorter term, but if there's no rule of the shorter term, why wouldn't they have copyright? The Institute of Heraldry is making a world-wide claim to control commercial usage on their website, so I think our license should at least reflect the claim.
I'm curious if all courts would draw the line between copyright and non-copyright restrictions the way we have. This is certainly a copyright-like restriction, and the IOH refers to as copyright on their website.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:21, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
Their claim is specifically using 18 USC 704 and 32 CFR 507 as their authority, not Title 17 (which is copyright law). It sounds like they may also be able to use 18 USC 701 as an authority as well -- the CFR sections are just regulations, under authority granted to them by other law. Yep, indeed, 32 CFR 507.5 cites those two law sections as its authority, so that is the limit of what they can really control (and those are U.S. laws, which do not apply overseas, and are more fraud-related, not copyright). As for overseas, they would have to use copyright, and they are not making that claim (I have seen one two government agencies make the claim, but not them). The possible claim to foreign rights was thought to be enforceable based on a particular interpretation the Universal Copyright Convention; when the question was posed to the Intergovernmental Committee though, the responses were decidedly mixed. The Copyright Office mentions the results in their 1982 annual report (pages 14 and 15), where they say: In the final analysis, it appears clear that the extent to which U.S. Government agencies may exercise foreign copyrights in their works under the UCC can be determined only on a country-by-country basis. The full report is here, if you want to see the responses from the other governments. Since then, of course, the U.S. has acceded to the Berne Convention, which I don't think has the particular language which the previous opinion hinged on, so I'm not sure that nowadays any country would be required to give protection (unless it is deemed the UCC still requires it for those signatories). They might choose to give protection anyways, yes, but it would seem to be uncertain at best. I'm not aware of any concrete test case either, so it remains an entirely theoretical issue. Even in 1976, there was a proposal to allow the NTIS a five-year copyright on some of its publications, primarily to enable it to enforce foreign copyrights, but it ended up not being included in the law. There is another exception though, 15 USC 290e (the Standard Data Reference Act), which allows the Department of Commerce to copyright certain data published under that act -- so if it's important enough, the Congress can act to protect certain works. But from what I see, the USAIOH is not making any claims based on Title 17. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:53, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Disney characters deletion requests


There have been several deletion requests of public domain documents under the pretext that Disney characters are copyrighted. I think that these DR try to introduce new restrictions under the disguise of a DR. This is not the right process. In addition, these DR go against Commons' mission, i.e. to host documents as much as the law allows. This is playing in the hand of Disney against the spirit of the free content movement: trying to impose new restrictions on public domain documents. It should not happen here. It is quite suspicious because the DR were specially targeting old documents, in spite of the fact that we have plenty of new documents: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Yann (talk) 10:36, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/File:"Bear poster" (Disney) - NARA - 513938.tif is not about Disney characters being copyrighted. The poster is a direct copy of the Donald Duck daily newspaper strip from 19 May 1941[3] and the copyright for this newspaper strip was renewed (see the quote of the renewal record in the deletion request). You may also be interested in reading about The Uncensored Mouse. According to the article in that book, the publisher was planning to publish all Mickey Mouse daily and Sunday strips up until 1936, so I assume that those strips may be {{PD-US-not renewed}}, although character copyrights could cause problems. See also #Warner Bro.'s cartoons above. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, if the copyright is still valid, then OK to delete it. But as this was, and still is (AFAIK) republished by NARA, it should be very carefully examined. I mean that the public domain claim does not come from some uninformed contributor. Yann (talk) 11:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
A U.S. 2011 court case made pretty clear that even if the copyright on something like these were not renewed, they could still be considered derivative works of the drawn character, if that was still under copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:06, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a big difference between a copyrighted work because of a copyrighted character, and a PD work with additional restrictions (non-derivative and/or non-commercial) because of a copyrighted character. We need to established clearly in which case these are included. In the former case, we can't host them on Commons. In the later case, I understand that people have said that we can't host them because of the non-derivative and/or non-commercial restrictions, but that is not in the current writing of Commons' requirements.
And there are important consequences beyond these old works, because we may need to delete most of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Yann (talk) 15:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
No, there is not much difference. We delete derivative works all the time, because in that case distribution is dependent on the copyright of the underlying work as well. This is no different. Yes, you could pull out all the non-character parts of the poster, and use those. There was some argumentation before that there was some sort of implied license due to the lack of renewal, and even Warner Bros did not contest the copying of the "poster as poster" (just taking the poster and making a t-shirt), which may have implied that some previous rulings may have indicated that certain uses were OK, but the judge pretty much slammed the door on that reasoning (they only allowed "poster as poster" because of the explicit permission given by Warner). Keep in mind, the three-circle silhouette version of mickey is not at all the same thing, i don't think, and photographs of costumes etc. also may be a different situation. But the straightforward grabs from the Mad Doctor may be an issue, yes. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:57, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, then we need to update and complete Commons:Derivative works and Commons:Licensing. Yann (talk) 18:22, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I created Commons:Deletion requests/File:Mickey Mouse - The Mad Doctor.png for a start, only from the Mickey category. There are probably more. Yann (talk) 19:53, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Los Angeles Times says that grabs from "Mad Doctor" is not only an issue, but is a quite costly issue.
“He would market recreated animation cels from a 1933 Mickey Mouse short called "The Mad Doctor." Brown had discovered that the Disneys failed to renew copyright claims on that film.

But the Disney company sued so quickly that Brown never sold a cel. Although "The Mad Doctor" was indeed out of copyright, that long-ago oversight had not freed Mickey, whose ostensible copyright protection predated the short.

Brown lost. Worse, he was clobbered with a $500,000 judgment.”
Trycatch (talk) 17:26, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I see that the Donald Duck images were moved to wikilivres:Category:Donald Duck. As far as I know, Canada doesn't apply the rule of the shorter term on US government publications, so even if this is {{PD-USGov}} they would still have to wait until they become {{PD-old-50}} until they are free in Canada, wouldn't they? --Stefan4 (talk) 15:23, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, all works were published more than 50 years ago. The copyright restrictions on Disney characters are probably the same under Canadian law through. Yann (talk) 15:30, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

requests to release into the public domain

Are there any procedures for requesting someone to relinquish their copyright on an image? Take as an example this picture; I suppose the steps required are:

  1. ask the club if they hold the copyright to the image;
  2. if so, ask them if they are willing to release it into the public domain;
  3. if so, upload it here.

Is there any guidance about how to go about this? U+003F? 11:52, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Please see COM:OTRS. And do notice that there is no reason to release to public domain, unless they want to. The much more restrictive {{CC-BY-SA 3.0}} meets our needs. - Jmabel ! talk 16:31, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks a bunch, just what I was looking for. U+003F? 19:01, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Government works from British India

What copyright law do we need to consider for stamps and other government works from British India? At File:1937 Official stamps of India.jpg, Philafrenzy uploaded the image claiming it was expired crown copyright as a work of the British government (British Indian stamps were made for the colonial government and published in India), and after I changed the tags to PD under Indian law and the URAA, insisted these should stay. I imagine that since they were published in British India, this would be that of India—and also of Pakistan, I suppose—as the successors to British India. The old laws of British India and those of the United Kingdom could not apply, I expect, at least not in the source countries and U.S., and if works of the British Indian government were crown copyright they are no longer. —innotata 15:42, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

{{PD-India}} applies to material produced in India specifically after the 1957 India Copyright Act, though India does claims copyright for 60 years, so the only grey period could be 1952-1957. Pre-independence is not covered by this act but by Crown copyright because India was part of the empire until 1948, so such stamps that Philafrenzy uploaded and tagged as crown copyright are entirely proper. I have not actually checked all of his uploads. However, I suspect that between independence in 1948 and the 1957 act, crown copyright may have applied, as has been usual for most countries gaining independence from the UK where most laws are inherited until such time as a new law superseeds. This law inheritance happened in Ireland too for most laws, otherwise mayhem ensues. Neither {{PD-old}} nor {{PD-India}} can properly apply to the above mentioned stamp, though {{PD-old}} could possibly apply but why be imprecise when we can be precise. Ww2censor (talk) 17:22, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
India has had their own copyright law since the 1840s; it is generally similar to whatever the UK act was (they kept it updated), but it was separate. They have been a member of the Berne Convention (again separate from the UK) since 1928. It's not a UK work. But, India also had the 50-year term for government works in their law. So, yes, I'd just switch to {{PD-India}}; seems straightforward. India did extend the terms to 60 years effective 1991, but it was not retroactive, so it was PD by then and therefore wouldn't have been restored by the URAA either, if that is a question. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:51, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Assuming Carl is correct, and he usually is, then the {{PD-India}} template should be more specific in its details be pre-independence material. The way if stands that is not mentioned and implies, at least to me, a post-independence copyright law only. Ww2censor (talk) 22:25, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Your statement, Carl, is what I expected from British India's status: I assume from your post you know the copyright term for most works was the same as that under the regularising law of 1957. I made the point about the copyright term given on PD-India on Template talk:PD-India earlier. —innotata 16:35, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


This logo is discussed in w:WP:Media copyright questions#File:Wikimedia-logo.svg about its copyright eligibility.

“Curious: how does this logo meet the criterion for copyright as defined here? Specifically,
"Lastly, a logo is not eligible for copyright if it consists entirely of simple geometric shapes."”

Is this logo supposed to be eligible for copyrights? --George Ho (talk) 21:34, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

It could be possible that the Wikimedia logo is copyrighted in the UK, even if it is not eligible for copyright in the US. -- 20:18, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Expiring copyright

Help, I uploaded (en:File:Som‌Nath‌Sharma.jpg) this image under "use rationale". This is image of person who died 60 years ago. Is it allowed to move this image to commons. A user (en:User_talk:Raghith#Please_assist) asked me for this.

I found (en:Copyright_law_of_India#Duration_of_copyright) this.-- Raghith 07:47, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems that the photo is public domain in India, as the photo is old (1947+1+60=2008), but it is not old enough to be public domain in USA. If the URAA year of India is 1996, only photos from before 1936 are free (those from 1937 will be in 2032), and Som‌ Nath‌ Sharma is hardly only 13 years on the photo. There might have been changes in the law, such that the copyright expired earlier, but they should be identified before moving the image to here. There are no such exceptions mentioned in Commons:Licensing#India --LPfi (talk) 09:38, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Face-smile.svg Thank you for answering my question. -- Raghith 10:20, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Indian photos published before 1941 are public domain under the URAA, see Template talk:PD-India; I'll add something to the template. Since he was commissioned in 1942 I assume that means this is copyright in the U.S., but you should want to know the copyright status for future reference. —innotata 16:40, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. I added this to Commons:Licensing#India, using en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights#Dates of restoration and terms of protection. The old 50-years term probably concerns also other types of work, which can be added using the references in the en-wp article. --LPfi (talk) 11:22, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

French gravestones

Are French gravestones copyrightable? I found en:File:Whymper Grave.jpg when moving some images from Wikipedia to Commons and wasn't sure what to do. Some things to consider:

  • Are regular gravestones copyrightable in France? This would be nice to know not only for this image, but also for images in general in case I stumble upon other images. Since this stone just appears to be an unshaped stone with a plaque, I guess that it would be fine.
  • Are gravestones always anonymous works? This one was erected in 1911, so if anonymous, it would be {{Anonymous-EU}} (and {{PD-1923}} if copyrightable in the United States). --Stefan4 (talk) 00:38, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
    • This one is too simple IMO, but yes, I think there might be a copyright for original gravestones. Effectively, most are anonymous, except some famous ones. See Category:Cemetery Père-Lachaise for examples. Yann (talk) 06:22, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

In most cemeteries in France, taking pictures ("la prise de photo") is forbidden by their internal regulations, which are usually published at the entrance. I know this is not related to copyright, but they will not like if they see you with a camera at a cemetery. The official explanation a particular town hall has given (in refusal of a request to take pictures for an on-line gallery) was "pour des raisons de droit d'auteur et de respect des familles" ("for reasons of author rights and respect of the families"). There are some exceptions to this rule (always check the conditions at the entrance), while it may indeed be irrelevant for Commons and only recommendations similar to those for Museum photography may apply. As there is, however, no Freedom of panorama in France, any work of art, even if situated permanently on a public place (such as a cemetery) might indeed be protected by copyright. And I think that in most cases it's unfortunately difficult, if not impossible, to establish the threshold of origin, the authorship or the date of creation (How can you be sure the particular gravestone was erected in 1911? Tombstones are often erected only some years after the burial, e.g. when the family got enough money, or time, etc.). I don't think many gravestones have name of the architect and year of creation engraved somewhere in the corner, and those that have are probably copyrightable (and if you are not very lucky, it's not that common they would have got out of copyright - 70 years plus rest of architect's life, including any possible war extensions - yet still not out of the cemetery...). Marek BLAHUŠ (talk) 10:58, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Public artworks are, as far as I know, copyrighted in all countries. Freedom of panorama provisions in certain countries merely state that a photo of them isn't a derivative work (and is thus allowed).
Other reasons (such as respect for the dead people's families) are, as far as I can see, only an issue for the photographer. Similarly, many countries may have rules disallowing photography inside military bases (since the photos could be used by foreign spies) and similar places. If the photographer ignores those rules, I assume that the photographer could be fined for this, but I don't see why this would be an issue for Commons. --Stefan4 (talk) 11:24, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, if you have read the museum guidelines I have linked to, the whole thing about ignoring photo prohibition is discussed there in details, with the same conclusions you have drawn. I accept your point related to FoP - I should have written "photographs of any work of art..." instead. Marek BLAHUŠ (talk) 11:43, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree with Yann that this one is too simple, so even if this was erected well after the death year of 1911, I think it's OK here. Speaking as a general rule, I think a suitably original gravestone would be copyrightable. Also, it's possible that a gravestone might incorporate previously created copyrighted elements; for example, people have put Winnie the Pooh (the Disney version), Hello Kitty, and probably many other copyrighted characters on gravestones. cmadler (talk) 19:06, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Consistency in Logo Copyright/Trademark flagging

Given that the majority of logos on Wikimedia are considered non-copyrightable due to Commons:Threshold_of_originality, I was surprised that File:Wiki-commons.png is claimed as Copyright. To me, this seems to break with Commons:Licensing - I would have expected this logo to fit under one of the PD*logo non-copyrightable, while retaining the Trademarked flag. Can someone point me to the discussion on why this logo is copyrightable? Mr. Bene (talk) 18:33, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation claims copyright on the official symbols of the projects. As long as they do, adding a {{PD-ineligible}} is probably not doable. It is a shame that WMF has taken this position, quite contrary to what we try convincing other organizations to do (if trademark law is enough for those others, why not for WMF?). As a result the articles on sv-wp about Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia & co do not show the logos, and likewise any {{commonscat}} give plain text links in the External links sections. Policy of sv-wp forbids using non-free illustrations. --LPfi (talk) 11:40, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
But sv:Mall:Commonscat does show the Commons logo (to the left under "På andra projekt"). --Stefan4 (talk) 11:49, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. We deemed the margins are not part of the articles and that the requirement on illustrations is restricted to the articles themselves. The main Wikipedia logo was also kept, obviously. --LPfi (talk) 06:30, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
It might be interesting if the WMF submitted their logos for copyright registration, to see which ones succeed. However, even if denied, there are almost certainly countries where it does pass the threshold of originality, and the WMF would retain full rights there, so the tag isn't necessarily wrong even if not eligible in the U.S. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:39, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
This is something of a double standard though - given that (1) the Threshold of Originality is applied with minimal examination by non-lawyers to non-WMF logos, and (2) any non-WMF logo (or content) must be shared with a free license. What you're saying suggests that (1) the Threshold of Originality should not apply to the WMF logo even if the US lawyers say that it does, and that (2) the free license requirement should be waived anyway. As far as I can tell, WMF has a very valid claim on their logos as Trademarks - and has actually registered "Wikipedia" (and probably others) with the Trademark office in the US and likely elsewhere. However, the body of other, actively used and trademarked logos hosted on the site considered specifically non-copyrightable because of the Threshold of Originality suggests that there should be a documented decision somewhere about why the WMF logos are exempt. Mr. Bene (talk) 21:02, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
If it does not pass the threshold of originality in the U.S., then obviously any copyright claims are meaningless for uses inside the U.S. I'm not sure if it's above or below the line, honestly. It's close.... the potential copyright would be on the arrangement of the different elements. It would be best to attempt registration, so we'd know, letting us more accurately describe the status. There are almost certainly some countries though where copyright would be valid. Secondly, since this is their own site, a tag may indicate to some people that there is permission to use the trademark as well, which would not be true, and I think such assumptions generally wouldn't be made for third-party logos, who obviously have no ownership or responsibility in the website, and tagging here could not reasonably be assumed to indicate an implied permission. Trademark owners need to actively protect their trademark, and a "public domain" statement on their own site could be problematic (even though the term here means purely in respect to copyright, not everyone will read it that way). It's a touchy issue, of course, and perhaps the tag should also get a registered trademark symbol on the left, to indicate it is partly about trademarks as well. WMF logos are exempt from the need to have a copyright tag on Commons, for practical purposes. That long-standing decision is documented at Commons:Licensing#Acceptable_licenses, with the two (very) old DRs here and here.

Funnily enough, I've recently been trying to clarify these issues, since I found m:Logo quite confusing. There was a recent statement from the WMF about File:Wikimedia Foundation RGB logo with text.svg and related logos at m:Talk:Logo#Commons_discussion_on_copyrightability_of_logos. Rd232 (talk) 01:35, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

That's... fascinating. They own the trademark for the WMF logo, but they may not have received a copyright assignment, so they may not have standing to actually even attempt to register the copyright. And it was possibly GFDL in the first place, though I'm not sure where the original logo was uploaded (at one point it was at meta... were those old image histories retained? An old revision at Neolux's meta page shows it was uploaded as early as 2003, but the original license is not mentioned (and not sure that is the original version); not sure if the upload history is still recoverable. meta:User:Neolux has his design rationale. meta:File:Ncwikimediafound.png and meta:File:Ncwikimediaorg.png are variants he uploaded, without mentioning a license (the formalities in 2003 were different, I'm sure -- maybe assumed that all submissions were GFDL). What fun ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:57, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but where it really gets fun is thinking about the attribution requirement implications of it being GFDL... Rd232 (talk) 15:36, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Note that there are a few very simple Wikimedia logos, such as File:Wikipedia-favicon.png, which are marked as being in the public domain. I suppose that they should also have a trademark statement so that the trademark won't be lost. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:18, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Pay Attention Here - Synopsis!

  • It is implied that WMF has actively sought copyright on certain logos (and other content) - this is stated in the 2005 public consultation on whether to allow the hosting of the copyrighted WMF logos, with the alternative being to not host the logos. Commons:Alter_Wikimedia_Commons_policy_to_allow_Wikimedia_logos.
  • There is a category for content that is copyright by Wikimedia. Category:Copyright_by_Wikimedia
  • Deletion logs related to the logos have split the issue as Delete OR Allow the WMF Copyright here and here (thanks unsigned contributor).

From this, I have two core questions with regards to the logos specifically:

  1. Did WMF seek copyright, or simply claim copyright?
  2. If copyright was simply claimed, shouldn't the Threshold of Originality apply, making the logos ineligible?

Note that copyright-ineligibility does not exclude the trademark claim - and WMF has a very strong trademark claim. Mr. Bene (talk) 16:23, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Ah, there is an argument against using trademark in the Talk section of the Alter Policy link. ref Mr. Bene (talk) 16:43, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
That is:
"That being said, I would like that option best, but don't think it's practicable:
  • trademarks would have to be registered in a great many countries. This is troublesome and expensive.
  • trademarks are hardet to defend than copyright, especially internationally.
  • and most importantly: if a trademarked image is licensed under a free license by it's owner, the terms of the free license and the trademark policy may confligt. In court, the license may well "win" over the trademark, making it uneffective.
Just my 2¢ -- Duesentrieb(?!) 02:00, 27 October 2005 (UTC)"
The same points apply to other entities freely licensing their logos. I have been giving the advice to license them freely and rely on trademark law, but it seems it has been bad advice, and when a company asks why their logo isn't in the article about them, I should tell them that it is impossible due to Wikipedia policy (with exceptions to en and others allowing non-free media), unless they are willing to risk loosing the trademark. --LPfi (talk) 11:01, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to bring this to around to my original implication - the copyright flagging of WMF logos is inconsistent, when compared to the flagging of other logos as non-copyrightable. Consider, for example, File:Sony_logo.svg, which clearly bears the {{PD-textlogo}}. However, Sony claims copyright of this logo (among other things) here, by saying "All materials on this Site, [...] are protected by copyright[...]. There are a number of proprietary logos, service marks, and trademarks found on this Site. By making them available on this Site, Sony is not granting you any license to utilize those proprietary logos, service marks, or trademarks." There's a possibly stronger claim in their usage guide.
That said, if we're going by US copyright law, then we need to look here: "How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo? Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. [...] However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship." This brings it back to my question with regards to WMF seeking or claiming copyright on the logos - if it's just claimed, how does it differ from the Sony logo?
Finally, went to read the Rd232 link above, and will leave a note on Maggie Dennis talk page to this discussion. Mr. Bene (talk) 15:32, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Satellite model

I took a picture of Navid stellite model in Iran University of Science and Technology. Can I uploade it here? I know that it's a derivative work but its shape is really simple and it looks like a simple box! It is eligible for copyright protection? AMERICOPHILE 18:52, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

I have little idea if Iran would consider that a derivative work -- do you think so? Their 1970 law on the web is pretty nebulous about that aspect. If it's a full scale or test model, using actual production parts or has some sort of testing purpose, that may make it more utilitarian. If you, for example, sold a postcard of your photo in Iran, could the author of the model have a valid complaint against you? Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:35, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
It's a test model and has some sort of testing purpose. In Iran copyright is not respected at all and nobody will sue you because of copyright issues! AMERICOPHILE 19:46, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
If you did take the picture, I guess I'd say upload it, under the assumption it's utilitarian. If someone has concerns, it could be discussed later. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:53, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Photos taken on private property

We have recevied an OTRS ticket (2012020510001614) with issues about an en-article (en:Crabtree Hot Springs, California). An particular editor (User:CrabTree13) has edited to article to show that the attraction is open to the public, whereas in fact is not, and is completely located on private property. In addition they have uploaded images taken on that property. The article and some links have been rectified. Am I correct in thinking that as the photographer was obviously trespassing, that these images should be removed?

 Ronhjones  (Talk) 20:02, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

Are you sure it's "private property"? Is there any citable independent confirmation that it was indeed private property? Some links: Aug 2010, Aug 2011, 2007-2012. There's just claims and counter-claims (and some shouting, too), but the last online reports seem to indicate that it is not closed off.
On trespassing, the general theory here is that this is an issue between the photographer and the land owner and doesn't concern the Commons. Whether that theory is or is not correct can only be answered by the WMF legal team. Lupo 20:47, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Yeah, agreed. Google Maps shows it to be within the bounds of the Mendocino National Forest, though I'm sure there is some private property in there, and one of the links Lupo gave above has a user comment which states that one side of the river is national forest, and the other private property. This link is a thread about the road dispute, and has a supposed map of the property. Sounds like it is heavily disputed, at the very least, and claims of "full private property" or "open to the public" on the article should probably come from a reliable source. There also seem to be disputes about a road leading there. In any event, the copyright to the photos is still held by the photographer; they could request removal if it gets them into any unanticipated legal trouble, but our general policy has always been that it's up to them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:28, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Even if this is private property, I do not see why the images should be removed.--Ymblanter (talk) 21:16, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for all that - now I know how to reply. If there is still an issue they will have to take it up with legal.  Ronhjones  (Talk) 21:35, 14 February 2012 (UTC)

In this case, the photos only show nature, so I see no problem. If there was some trespassing involved, that is only an issue between the land owner and the photographer. However, I'm wondering if trespassing might be relevant for US buildings completed after 1 December 1990, since COM:FOP#United States only applies to photos taken from public places. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:23, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Plot 2B Genetic Diversity in Asia.png

I added an image "Plot 2B Genetic Diversity in Asia.png" from the paper "Mapping Human Genetic Diversity in Asia". The image is high quality and represents the cutting edge of genetics research. Permission for Wikipedia use and the high res image was given to me by one of the authors, Prof. Shuhua Xu of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences and the Human Genome Organization. I stated this in the image description. It has been deleted as a copyvio. Can somebody check this out? I have the image to upload again. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 2012-02-15T11:26:44‎ (UTC)

If the permission was only for Wikipedia, that's why it was deleted. Anyone must be allowed to use the image, not only Wikipedia. --Stefan4 (talk) 11:44, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
The paper itself is in the public domain as you can see from the link, so anyone can use the image. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 2012-02-15T11:47:18 (UTC)
Hm? I can't find any public domain notice. --Stefan4 (talk) 12:32, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
The author has given permission for use on the public encyclopedia Wikipedia, and must therefore be aware that people might print it out and stuff, or in other words that "anyone will be allowed to use the image". He gave me permission and a copy of the original image. What more could you possibly need? Do you want to contact him yourself? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 2012-02-15T12:28:00‎ (UTC)
Based on your information, the author has given permission for use on Wikipedia. Period. Anyone can print things out (or take photocopies of the original Science magazine) but that doesn't make it legal to do so. Lots of people like to use file sharing software, but that doesn't mean that the files shared are in the public domain. --Stefan4 (talk) 12:32, 15 February 2012 (UTC)
Then please do me the favor of emailing Prof. Shuhua Xu[4] to confirm. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 2012-02-15T12:37:54‎ (UTC)
Why not ask the copyright owner to mail Commons:OTRS with a free licence? See "If you need to confirm permission" - I think that's how this is usually done on Commons. -84user (talk) 08:47, 16 February 2012 (UTC)
Really? OK I'll do that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 2012-02-16T10:48:30 (UTC)

Photo on Flickr and Wikimedia commons

I have uploaded a photo on Wikimedia commons: File:Amercan Bison2.JPG. I made this picture myself. Problem is that I have also uploaded it to Flickr: Is there a problem of copyright? Do I have to remove the flickr-photo because of copyright? Citypeek (talk) 10:26, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

You have the right to upload your images at different places. However, the one on Flickr is marked as having all rights reserved. It may be necessary to prove that you are the owner of the Flickr account (see COM:OTRS) or you could alternatively change the licence on Flickr. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:32, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Does this grave pass the threshold of originality?

File:Bo Schembechler Grave Forest Hill Cemetery 2.JPG If so, I think we must delete, but I wanted another opinion before opening a deletion discussion. Most of it looks like the natural shape, but there are four straight lines joined by three right angles carved into the upper left corner. cmadler (talk) 16:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

I'd have a hard time seeing four straight lines joined by three right angles ever pass the threshold of originality. If all the rough pattern is natural, then it should be fine.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:51, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Plakat1 klein.jpg / File:Plakat2 klein.jpg

do these yarn bombing pictures need permission by the artist? [5] -- Cherubino (talk) 16:04, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

now {OTRS pending} -- 15:26, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


This document tells that Vanuatu will join WCT on 2 March 2012 and en:List of parties to international copyright agreements tells that Vanuatu currently isn't a member of any copyright treaty, so WCT will be the first one and so I assume that 2 March 2012 will be the URAA date for Vanuatu. I have updated en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights with this information, but I am uncertain of the length of the copyright term in Vanuatu. Some hidden text in the Wikipedia guideline points at this document which (according to the hidden text) states that the term is 50 years p.m.a., but the hidden text also claims that the law apparently doesn't apply yet. According to the law document, the law applies since 8 February 2011. Does anyone know if this is correct or if it was for some unknown reason delayed further? It would be nice to have accurate information in the Wikipedia guideline since I presume that both Commons and Wikipedia users trying to find out the US copyright status of a work will use that table for determining URAA restorations. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:09, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

Hmm. Where does it say they are joining the WCT? That link says they are joining the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, but that is separate from the WIPO Copyright Treaty. For example, Iran is a member of that treaty (see here);I think they participate in worldwide trademarks but have not signed any copyright treaties. Vanuatu is listed there with the date you cite, but they are not present on the WCT list. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:22, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Ooh, according to this, that 2000 act was finally published in the Government Gazette and came into force a year ago (February 8, 2011). So if they have joined an international treaty or not, they do have their own copyright law now. It's on WIPO's site here. Yes, 50pma. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:39, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Dimension of derivative works

Commons:Derivative works seems to make some distinction 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional objects, and how copyright law apply to them. What though, briefly, is this difference? Is this photo a derivative work that would be copyrighted? Arbitrarily0 (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

  • By photographing a 3-dimensional object you create a new 2-D object, the photograph, which is copyrighted to you. However, the sculptor or creator of the object shown in the photo still hold their own copyrights for their work of art. I.e. to publish such a photograph of a copyrighted work, either 2-D or 3-D, you need the original creator's permission. And since toys are legally a form of art and that LEGO spaceshuttle looks very much like a pre-fabricated kit it is most like copyrighted. De728631 (talk) 15:55, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Lex loci protectionis

In a discussion on English Wikipedia about a coin with an unknown photographer, it turned out that German Wikipedia is apparently storing a lot of files made by various governments, claiming that lex loci protectionis makes those files free in Germany, Austria and Switzerland because works made by the governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland are free in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Is this really a correct interpretation of the law? It sounds strange considering that you are obliged to provide protection for foreign works under the Berne Convention. Using the same arguments, it would mean that all works made by any federal government would be free in the United States since works made by the local US federal government are free in the United States. This would mean that {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} could be removed from e.g. some Canadian crown copyright files. --Stefan4 (talk) 18:21, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Commons is not Wikipedia, they make their own decisions on German Wikipedia. Since one could argue that primary audience of German Wikipedia is in Germany and not in the US, they have more chance to get away with working closer with German interpretation of the law than with the US; this is not an option here. VolodyA! V Anarhist Beta_M (converse) 18:45, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Fred Wolf logo.svg

The image File:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Fred Wolf logo.svg was recently uploaded on Commons with the PD-text tag. However, my understanding is that this would not be correct for this image, because it isn't just text. Is this image truly PD-text? - SudoGhost (talk) 00:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Well it's gone now, so the discussion will have to shift to whether it's OK to restore it. It was a very splendidly created SVG, someone must have put a lot of work into it. The site it came from ( has a legal notice on it, but that might be just automatically generated. Soap (talk) 03:28, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

Colombian money

Are photos of Colombian pesos allowed here? Category:Money of Colombia with subcategories contains a lot of images (many of them being recent issues), but there is no entry for Colombia at COM:Currency. COM:L#Colombia states that if the copyright holder is "an official entity or any public institution", the term is 50 years which to me suggests that the images are not OK. --Stefan4 (talk) 00:15, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

FWIW, a similar discussion regarding Madagascar is currently ongoing at Commons:Deletion requests/File:MADBANK.png. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 01:59, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware of that. Unless we get any clarity, I assume that all of the recent ones will have to be proposed for deletion, but I wanted to ask here first in case anyone knows anything. --Stefan4 (talk) 02:03, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Icelandic currency

COM:Currency#Iceland and {{Icelandic currency}} contradict each other. Which one is correct? I'm not sure if this is free enough. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:26, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Apparently the template is correct. The copyright provisions of the Icelandic National Bank state that
    • Reproductions of notes may be used to illustrated printed matter, booklets, advertisements and the like, but all available measures must be taken to ensure that such reproductions are not mistaken for real notes.
    • To prevent conceivable misuse, the Central Bank recommends that reproductions of notes which are used for advertising purposes should be scaled either to no more than half the size or at least twice the size of a real note. Only up to one-third of a note should be shown if it is in actual size. De728631 (talk) 15:38, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
    • Is that a limitation to reproductions on paper (printed matters, booklets and the like) unless it is an advertisement? What about reproductions on the Internet? --Stefan4 (talk) 16:13, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
      • That's a good question since "the following principles apply to the use of such pictorial material in printed matter". They have another term there: "If the intention is to publish pictures of banknotes, for example for educational purposes, in a manner that is not in keeping with these guidelines, written permission shall be sought from the Central Bank with a normal period of notice." So maybe the WMF or some Commons administrator should ask them for permission? De728631 (talk) 16:28, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
      • It does sound like they are claiming protection under moral rights (which they explicitly mention) and also, obviously, anything which may be construed as counterfeiting, but it does not seem as though they are relying on the regular economic right. It seems like the restrictions are primarily about printed versions, though that could apply to a printed version of an encyclopedia article; as printed it sounds like the illustrations should not approach the regular note size. We should probably move the text of some of the restrictions onto the tag. From what I see, the tag was added in 2007 with little change since (wrong formatting for usual copyright tags), and the section on COM:Currency was added without comment in 2008 and not changed since. I think I'd say the tag is correct. Carl Lindberg (talk)
Don't we have to distinguish between copyright rules and rules concerning reuse of images of currency? This is a common feature of many countries. For example, in Singapore copyright in currency notes and coins belongs to the Government, but there are legal provisions allowing limited reproduction of images of currency not dissimilar to the Icelandic ones. The existence of the latter rules does not change the fact that the currency designs are copyrighted as engravings or other artistic works. — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:05, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, certainly -- they mention the copyright act explicitly though, and really only bring up the moral rights aspects as restricting allowed use, plus of course avoiding any semblance of counterfeiting. I think copyright still exists, but this does appear to be permission to use it even commercially provided that moral rights are not violated. It may not be explicitly irrevocable, but overall it seems to me they are mindful of the copyright when giving this permission. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:35, 19 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure the statement indicates that reproductions of Icelandic currency are sufficiently free for uploading to the Commons, for at least the following reasons:
  1. The statement says: "The following principles apply to the use of such pictorial material in printed matter". As Stefan4 and De728631 pointed out, the statement may not cover the use of material on the Internet.
  2. The statement also says: "Attention is drawn to the fact that it is prohibited to alter the pictorial matter of Icelandic banknotes and make derogatory reproductions of them, in print or in broadcasting media. This contravenes the reputation of the author of the pictorial material on the banknotes, cf. the provisions of the current Copyright Act." Does this not contravene our policy that content must be freely modifiable?
By the way, if the currency designs appear in Icelandic acts, regulations, administrative provisions or other official documents, then it may be that they are not copyrighted: see Article 9. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:22, 19 February 2012 (UTC)

The statement that restricts modifiability is more or less the one that is in the law of most EU countries (note that the restriction is not introduced here, the text seems to be only a reminder). The restriction is effective regardless of any licence (at least in Finland and Sweden), unless scope of the restriction of the restriction ;-) is defined. I think Commons accepts the moral rights restrictions. --LPfi (talk) 13:16, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

When you say that we "accept" it, do you mean that restrictions in the nature of moral rights don't prevent us from hosting the material in the Commons? In any case, unless Article 9 of the Icelandic copyright law applies, the general position is that copyright only expires 70 years p.m.a. — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:38, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it means that Commons does not delete due to restrictions base on moral rights. German freedom-of-panorama photos come with very similar restrictions, as do the Creative Commons licenses themselves. I'm not sure this is covered under Article 9 -- doubt it, myself -- but these seem like they are being licensed as freely as possible, provided that moral rights are not violated, and counterfeiting laws aren't violated. It would seem that printed matter is the most liable for counterfeiting issues so that is what they concentrate on, but the final statement says "These guidelines provide advertisers with many possibilities for using the pictorial material of banknotes in a normal manner" so it would seems as though they are trying to license rights as much as they possibly can. The rules are fully cognizant of their Copyright Act, as it invokes the moral rights sections, but (in what seems to be a notable omission) do not seem to make any real claims under the economic rights, unless possibly they could intrude into counterfeiting areas. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:54, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Vatican City

Does anyone know what copyright laws the Vatican City State has? Is the country just mirroring the Italian laws, or do the laws differ in some way? I came across File:Vaticano1 wiki.jpg by it:Pier Luigi Nervi and if it had been in Italy, I would have reported it for deletion because of lack of freedom of panorama, but since it is in the Vatican City State, I'm not so sure. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:02, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Commons:Freedom of panorama#Vatican City (Holy See). -- Asclepias (talk) 23:04, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, didn't see that. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:13, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Adult Entertainment Broadcast Network.jpg

I hope this is ineligible for copyrights, isn't it? The owner tagged the image with CC license, but I changed it to reflect the situation. What do you think? Should there be SVG logo? --George Ho (talk) 21:35, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

It's just text. Not sufficiently original for copyright, so your edit was spot on. HJ Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 22:16, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Newstraitstimes new.jpg and File:New Straits Times.png

Are these images eligible for copyrights in Malaysia? They already do not pass threshold of originality in the US. (w:File:New Straits Times.png and w:File:Newstraitstimes new.jpg) --George Ho (talk) 04:32, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

They look fine to me. They are purely text without any graphics. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:55, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
Where does the law say about originality threshold? --George Ho (talk) 10:08, 23 February 2012 (UTC) Still reading --George Ho (talk) 10:10, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
I think the problem is that no one knows what the threshold of originality is like in Malaysia. They look ineligible for copyright in the United States but are most likely eligible for copyright in the United Kingdom. Since Malaysia is a former British colony, it is likely that a lot of copyright laws are similar to those in the United Kingdom, so I see a substantial risk that the logos might be copyrighted in Malaysia. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:19, 23 February 2012 (UTC) should do the trick. Find "sufficient" and see if these logos are sufficient enough to qualify for copyright protection in Malaysia. --George Ho (talk) 10:58, 23 February 2012 (UTC) Also, Google Books can do the work. --George Ho (talk) 11:00, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
It says: "A literary, musical or artistic work shall not be eligible for copyright unless sufficient effort has been expended to make the work original in character". All copyright laws have similar statements. The problem is that "sufficient effort" is interpreted differently in different countries, so the source you provided does not contain enough information. --Stefan4 (talk) 11:12, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

If I were discussing Commons:Threshold of originality, should this be discussed here or "Village pump (proposal)". --George Ho (talk) 12:31, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Jeet Kune Do

File:JKD.svg (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs)
File:Simbolo JKD.jpg (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs)

File:JeetKuneDo.svg is found to be ineligible for copyrights. Are above images ineligible, as well? --George Ho (talk) 12:49, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

  • File:JKD.svg is probably ineligible for copyright (standard font, ancient symbols). The other two files use fonts which may be seen as calligraphic. This is usually a problem in East Asia, so those might not be ineligible for copyright in the source country. Still, the font looks less calligraphic than other fonts, so they might be fine, although I'm not sure. Certainly ineligible for copyright in countries not copyrighting calligraphy (such as the United States), though. An SVG file might additionally get a literary copyright, at least if you edit the source code manually. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:42, 23 February 2012 (UTC)
    • ✓ Done. Made changes to reflect that. --George Ho (talk) 14:00, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

Cropped version of out-of-copyright image

I cropped File:Kirkdale_Sundial.jpg to produce File:Kirkdale_Sundial_cropped.jpg to use in w:St_Gregory's_Minster. But I can't work out what copyright licence it should go under: it's not "all my own work" but a modified (by me) version of another image. Help! PamD (talk) 14:14, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Usually, cropping is not an act which adds anything to the copyright, so use the same author and license as the original. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:56, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice, and the action - went to add the licence just now and found you'd done so! PamD (talk) 18:01, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Cropping usually does not give copyright, but it may change the image in a way that was not intended by the author. In such cases it is important that it is clearly stated that the current version is not made by the author. A record in the history log is hardly enough. Is there any "best practice" for this? --LPfi (talk) 10:54, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
In this case, not really a concern (it's a book illustration, and the crop just removed some of the surrounding text). However, usually the description and/or source fields mentions it (as it does here, including the title), and I did add the {{Extracted from}} template, which is another way of doing the same. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:01, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

No panoramafreiheit in France: possible copyvio category

I wanted to get a second opinion before I go off nominating most of Category:Galeries Lafayette (Paris) for deletion (all except subcats Category:Views from the Galeries Lafayette (Paris) and Category:Spice display - Galeries Lafayette (Paris)). My understanding is that there is no freedom of panorama in France, and buildings are under copyright for 70 years pma (which extends 70 years from the death of the last survivor in the case of multi-author works). From what I can find, this building was designed by Georges Chedanne and Ferdinand Chanut; Chedanne died in 1940, and Chanut in 1961, so the building itself is under copyright until 2032 (70 years pma). For the night images, there's an additional issue of the lighting display; if the creator of the display lived beyond 1942 -- I'm guessing the display wasn't even created until at least the 1960s -- that is also still under copyright. Am I right that these should be deleted from Commons, or is there another consideration I'm missing? Thanks, cmadler (talk) 15:40, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Ugh, forgot to get back to you on this. I did look into it a little... going to be thorny. From what I could understand, the original building was done about 1908 by Chedanne, and a few years later significant modifications were done by Chanut. That is not a "joint work" exactly, but more like a derivative I guess, which would not extend the copyright of the Chedanne portions. A joint work implies they were working together on the final result. So... you may need to distinguish between the parts done by Chedanne and Chanut, with only photos actually focusing on Chanut portions (or any later architects which worked on it) being the problematic ones. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:14, 25 February 2012 (UTC)

Rule of the shorter term

  • Does the rule of the shorter term recognize copyrights falling out of protection if it was only for failure to perform copyright formalities in the host country (e.g., Mexico, USA)?
  • Does the rule of the shorter term recognize copyrights falling out of protection due to other non-duration factors like works created by the US government?
  • What is the minimum protection usually afforded under rule of the shorter term in most countries? Magog the Ogre (talk) 03:26, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Not positive, but if a country is compliant with Berne, and they declare works are PD in their own country due to expiration of copyright, I don't see why another country would not use that in their calculation of the shorter term. The US Government question is pretty thorny... answer is probably. The questions were once asked of several other nations by the U.S. under the terms of the old Universal Copyright Convention. The U.S. expected they could get protection if desired due to certain wording in that treaty; however the results were decidedly mixed, and the Copyright Office concluded that it would be a country-by-country situation. The report with the results is here, if you're interested. Since then, the U.S. has joined the Berne Convention, which doesn't have that particular language that the UCC did, and it would seem to be fairly likely that shorter-term countries would not need to honor USGov copyright. Really though, there is no way to be sure unless a case goes to court (even the UCC study was the opinions of government employees, not necessarily definitive). I'm not aware of any such test cases. As for the last question... I don't think there is any minimum, other than you'd expect countries to at least have the Berne minimum, but even then there are grandfather clauses for old Berne countries to retain terms which are shorter than the current-day Berne standards. The basic idea, I guess, is that if shorter terms are good enough in their own country, they should not expect to get longer protection elsewhere, though they might at the discretion of other countries. I'm not sure what the situation would be in regard to threshold of originality issues -- that isn't a term calculation exactly. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:07, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Mostly, I'm curious if works like File:Catch22.jpg have fallen out of copyright in countries with shorter-term rules. The item is eligible for longer protection in the US when based solely on term (1923); but it was never renewed, so far as I can tell. Magog the Ogre (talk) 06:59, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
The book Catch-22? Renewal number is RE0000419328 from what I can see. Am I missing something? Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:40, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
That's for the book, not the cover illustration. Anyway, I'm still curious about my original question. Magog the Ogre (talk) 17:35, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't think a court would consider them separately. When you renewed a book, you renewed everything including the covers.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:50, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely they do. The one is an illustration made by one author and only pertains to the first edition; the other is a literary work by a completely different author distributed in many different media. When searching the copyright database, they are treated differently, unless I'm extremely mistaken. Magog the Ogre (talk) 19:04, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
While they are separate works, the overall book can be considered a collective work, containing the book text, cover, foreword, etc. A single notice and registration was generally enough for everything. Now... the renewal is in the name of Joseph Heller, so if he had no copyright ownership in the cover, I suppose you may have a point. But it's not clear if the cover was commissioned by Heller himself or the publisher, of if the publisher gave Heller the rights, or some portion of them. Anyways, if it is PD in the US, I would suspect it would also be PD in shorter-term countries -- unless, of course, they have signed a bilateral agreement with the United States promising to use the host nation's terms (Germany is one such example). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:51, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
So every book edition's cover is necessarily renewed by the literary work's renewal? I didn't think that was the case. If that's the case, then delete it. Magog the Ogre (talk) 20:34, 25 February 2012 (UTC)
No, if there was a new edition with a different cover, that is a separate work and would have needed a different renewal (unless maybe it was in the same year or something), though it could be part of a renewal of the entire new edition (possibly dust jacket text, a new foreword, etc.). However, your cover would seem to be the first edition, and that was what was renewed. This circular goes over registration, and lists who was eligible to file a renewal -- one of them states renewal may be claimed as proprietor of copyright in a composite work, which is a possibility here. The status would probably depend on the contractual arrangements between Heller, the publisher, and the cover designer -- who owned the rights to which portion. It is possible you're right, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to assume it. If the cover had a separate copyright notice to begin with in the book, that would probably require a separate renewal. But if the cover's copyright was covered in the book's overall copyright notice, you'd think a renewal would renew the cover as well. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:27, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Alright; but I still haven't received anything but vague "I think probably"'s on the shorter term rule. Someone must know enough about how this works in most countries in order to be able to comment on it. Magog the Ogre (talk) 19:13, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Unless there has been a test court case, it's never a sure thing. It may also depend on how the law of the specific country is worded -- that can sometimes make things more clear (or make it more ambiguous ;-) ). I seriously doubt that a shorter term country would give U.S. authors longer copyright if they failed to renew, though. Unless, like Germany, they have signed a different treaty specifying different treatment. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:15, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

William Burges architect

I've uploaded three images as contributions to the article on Burges. The images are:

The first image is a photograph of an illustration dated 1875. The second image is a photograph of an illustration from the Yatman Cabinet, which is in the V&A. The illustration dates from 1858. The third is a copy of a photgraph from the 1860s. The original is in the NPG.

Thus, all of the originals are well over 100 years old and I strongly suspect no-one owns the copyright. All can be ontained from the web, as I did.

I would really be grateful for advice on how the images might be licensed and kept. They greatly enhance the article and it would be a pity to lose them. Many thanks. KJP1 (talk) 08:35, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

  • Steep one - identify author and source "Author internet" and "Source internet" is not enough Bulwersator (talk) 10:06, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Please put the dates of the works you mention above (with any URLs which support the information), not the current date. And if the source is the "internet", please put the actual URLs. If the works are as old as you say, they are probably OK as {{PD-old}} or more probably {{PD-UK-unknown}}, but... there is basically no information on the image pages themselves at the moment, whereas you gave some good info above -- that info should be on the image page. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:20, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks. Will add the details on the appropriate pages. KJP1 (talk) 07:49, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Tennessee Football Uniform.png

My apologies if this isn't the right place to put this but I'm not sure where to put it. I have clearly explained why the file is not valid content for the Commons. However, the user has removed the copyright violation tag and claims it is his created content, which just isn't true. Regardless of whether or not he created it, the work contains several copyrighted logos and as such it is invalid content here. I'd like to avoid having to spend excessive time reverting his removals of the copyvio tag (and avoid violating 3RR) so what can I do? --Kevin W. (talk) 06:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Um... I see no problem with the image at all, provided it was drawn by the uploader. The Tennessee logo of "T" is not remotely copyrightable (see {{PD-textlogo}}), and even if there were small copyrightable logos, they would almost certainly be de minimis in that context. Please revert your own speedy tag; there is nothing remotely obvious about any possible violation that you're seeing. If you wish to put up a regular deletion request, then do that so it gets some discussion, but again I fail to see any valid grounds for deletion. Now... if it turns out the basic images were just taken from the internet, and only combined by that user (rather than being drawn), that is a different situation entirely. I see now you say the artwork is from the EA Sports site... OK, then that is a rather good reason. I suppose you could file a regular DR on it, if the user insists on removing the speedy notices, or go to Commons:Administrators' noticeboard/Blocks and protections if it is a persistent problem. But, please note the reason is the copying of EA Sports' artwork, and not the other reasons you note. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:24, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok, you're right about the logos. I've changed the deletion notice to limit the reasoning solely to the TeamBuilder artwork. Thank you for the clarification. --Kevin W. (talk) 07:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Are all photos REQUIRED to be in unrestricted public domain

I thought all photos had to be in the public domain before they could be used in/on Wikipedia/Wikimedia. Several people complained that when I first started uploading photos 5 years ago, that they were not designated "Public Domain." Wikipedians told me they "had to be in pubic domain, or you cannot upload them." I once tried to post something which said I was to be given credit for usage of my photos. Some Wikipedians told me that restricted the public domain status which is required. That was OK with me, but I recently I noticed several photos with lengthy restrictions on the photo's use, such as: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 only as published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License. 1.2 only

This image is not in the Public Domain.

In order to comply with the license this image is released under, any reproduction of this image, in any medium, must appear with a copy of, or full (hyperlinked) URL of the GFDL license. In addition, attribution of this image to "Fir0002/Flagstaffotos" is required and you are required to release the image (or any subsequent derivatives of it) under the GFDL. No other conditions may be added to, or removed from this license without the permission of the author and copyright holder. If you require a less restrictive commercial license please email me to negotiate terms. However please note that some of my images are of people and buildings (eg the War Memorial) which I can't give permission to use due to personality and copyrights.

So, does Wikipedia require all photos be in completely in the public domain, or can these types of restrictions be applied?

Philkon (talk) 18:45, 27 February 2012 (UTC) Phil Konstantin

  • @title - no. See Commons:Licensing ("Wikimedia Commons accepts only free content, that is, images and other media files that can be used by anyone, anytime, for any purpose. The use may be restricted by issues not related to copyright, though, see Commons:Non-copyright restrictions, and the license may demand some special measures.") Bulwersator (talk) 19:09, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
  • You can make some restrictions, like requiring attribution, but you must allow, for example, commercial use. I'm guessing people pointed out conditions that were not allowed. —innotata 19:12, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Accepted on Wikimedia are photos that are offered under a free license or that are in the public domain. For more details, you can see Commons:First steps/License selection and Commons:Licensing. From the photos you have uploaded, I see that some of them you offer under a free license, such as CC-by-sa 3.0, and some others you released in the public domain. When you offer a photo under a free license, you keep your copyright on it and you can require some conditions for its use, like being credited under the name of your choice, depending on the specific terms of the license you offer. For example, the text you quoted above refers to conditions about a photo that is offered under the GFD license. But when you release a photo in the public domain, per definition you give up all possibility of licensing it and then you can't require licensing conditions for its use. I'm guessing that what may have happened in your past experience is if you said that you released a photo in the public domain and then you tried to require licensing conditions about the use of that same photo, then people may have told you that this was a contradiction in terms because you would have been making two mutually exclusive statements. -- Asclepias (talk) 22:02, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

How to crop a photo to remove copyvio?

According to an OTRS check, the permission for File:Fay Kleinman.JPG was only for the photograph, from the photographer, and not from (or on behalf of) the artist, Fay Kleinman, for the self-portrait which features prominently in this photo. This could easily be cropped more closely around Ms. Kleinman to retain the photo of her while reducing the copyrighted material to a de minimis level. What I don't know is how best to do this to preserve some sort of version history without maintaining the copyvio in the history. What is the best way to fix this? Thanks, cmadler (talk) 21:24, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

After a new version without those problems is uploaded (right on top of the existing one, using the same filename), an admin could hide the earlier copyvio version so any normal user would still see its entry, but not the image itself. --Rosenzweig τ 23:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
The crop is done. Can you (or any other admin) hide the earliest version of this image as you've described? Thanks, cmadler (talk) 11:20, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

✓ Done A.J. (talk) 13:00, 28 February 2012 (UTC)


The uploader of File:Joseph-Brodsky.jpg claims that they created the photo, and has licensed it under GFDL and CC; however, the user's three other uploads are of Warner Bros. cartoon characters, also tagged as "own work." TinEye and Google reverse image searches for File:Joseph-Brodsky.jpg don't turn up an obvious source, but given the questionable nature of the other three uploads, should this one be removed as a likely copyvio? Trivialist (talk) 00:07, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

A slightly larger version of this photo can be found on other websites, where they were published before this file was uploaded to Commons. The file can at least get a missing permission tag. (And you could have said the questionable nature of the twelve other uploads.) -- Asclepias (talk) 03:03, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, hadn't seen the user's deleted uploads. Seems unlikely that this one photo actually is original. Trivialist (talk) 19:10, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Parlophone LP PMC 1202.jpg

File:Parlophone LP PMC 1202.jpg (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs)

Is this image of a vinyl still copyrighted by a company or a mere reproduction of a vinyl? Under URAA, this is still copyrighted, isn't it? --George Ho (talk) 20:52, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

The physical vinyl is not copyrightable. The label may be, but as that is all lettering, I don't think it's copyrightable in the U.S. in the first place, so the URAA isn't too relevant. It may or may not be copyrightable in the UK... tougher call, but I may let it slide there as well. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:56, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

British textlogos

I'm thinking of proposing two British textlogos for deletion because they seem to be more complex than the Edge logo, but the logos are currently used on hundreds of pages across different projects, so I would like to hear the opinion of other people first, since an improper deletion could cause a lot of trouble on many projects. The logos in question are the following:

There are diagonal decorations on the logo which are similar to those on the Edge logo and the way the "T" extends a bit below the line also suggests that this may be something which might make a British court rule the logo as copyrightable. Do you think that these would be copyrightable in the UK or not? --Stefan4 (talk) 18:53, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

If this could be copyrighted, then even god could not help us anymore. Even the average signature of our users that usually are randomly put together would surpass this by far. I don't see any creativity involved in the design of this logo. -- /人 ‿‿ 人\ 苦情処理係 19:04, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question Do you see more creativity in en:File:EDGE magazine (logo).svg which was ruled as being copyrightable by a British court? --Stefan4 (talk) 19:33, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Seriously said: A little, since it does more than just extending letters. It invented new forms for them. The Beetles logo is just stretching, which every child and even an ape could do with some kind of extremely simple graphic program.
But be careful. I may be a bit biased since after German law not even a single one of this logos would reach the needed threshold of originality. -- /人 ‿‿ 人\ 苦情処理係 20:12, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Under British law, almost all logos are copyrightable. On the other hand, under German law, almost no logos are copyrightable. --Stefan4 (talk) 20:25, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think we're going to have to delete almost all logos from the UK, though they should probably be moved to en-wp. cmadler (talk) 20:53, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
And while the discussion about the Edge logo is still ongoing, I'm adding all British logos I find to either Category:Logos of the United Kingdom or Category:Logos of companies of the United Kingdom to make it easier to find them at a later point. --Stefan4 (talk) 20:59, 29 February 2012 (UTC)