Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/12

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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.


PD-Art and mosaics

High-resolution mosaic from Google Art Project.

There are a lot of ancient mosaics on Google Art Project, art formed by arrangements of stones. I've generally been uploading these works on the theory that, like paintings, any texture they have is very shallow and not substantially affected by lighting. File:Centaur mosaic - Google Art Project.jpg is the highest-resolution such image. I have some uncertainty about this and wanted to verify with others that we think mosaics are okay. Some other images:

Thoughts? Dcoetzee (talk) 02:08, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

The relevant page is Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag, which notes that if a picture is framed, then the fame must be cropped. Some of the images you posted are of chunks of a building and the photograph also shows part of the background behind the mosaic. I believe these should be cropped to show only the mosaic. Additionally, the PD-Art page says the tag can be used on stained glass windows or tapestries provided they do not have any significant curvature. But it also says they should not be tattered or broken. Probably all old mosaics are worn. But I would think as long as it is a faithful reproduction of what is substantially a two-dimensional piece of art, such as File:Св. Дмитрий Солунский - Google Art Project.jpg or File:Church aisle mosaic - Google Art Project.jpg, it should fall under the PD-Art criteria. Without cropping out the background, I do not think File:Detail of a mosaic floor from the triclinium (dining room) of a Roman villa - Google Art Project.jpg would be considered PD-Art. However, I would wait for another opinion to be sure. --Odie5533 (talk) 04:18, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm aware of that - that's why I added the {{non-free frame}} tag to certain images (I don't have time to crop/edit them all myself, there are 30,000 images involved here). I'm a bit hazy on at what point a tapestry or carpet becomes too tattered for PD-Art - it seems clear that if the ends are frayed but most of it is there that it should be okay. In general I've seen a lot of frustrating borderline cases. Thanks for your opinion though. Dcoetzee (talk) 07:50, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Visipix Template and Images

Hi. I think the {{Visipix}} template and the images that transclude it should be deleted. The Visipix website does state on the home page, "in Visipix all copyrights are free.", but if you click the Copyrights link on the right there are some rather harsh restrictions which I think exclude the images from the Commons. I checked the archive of the site from Nov. 2005, around the time the template was created, and the site still had the copyright page up so it's not as though they have changed their license. --Odie5533 (talk) 04:05, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Old Korean photos

User:Sienc uploaded a number of old Korean photos (eg File:Pak Hon-yong.jpg; see Special:ListFiles/Sienic) where the copyright status is not clear. In some cases there is Korean text that may clarify, but mostly it looks like dubious claims of "out of copyright because creator died 50 years ago" even though author is not known. Can someone with Korean language skills help clean this up? Rd232 (talk) 12:53, 1 December 2012 (UTC)


{{PD-NL-gemeentewapen}} says

Everybody is allowed to make a drawing of the arms (on paper or electronically) in his/her own style based on the Royal Decree and claim it to be the arms of the municipality and uses it within the restrictions shown above. But there is copyright on each individual representation of the arms. This copyright lies with the artist that made that specific drawing based on the Royal Decree, not by the municipality.

This is just standard coat of arms freedom of heraldic representation. How is it the basis for a PD tag?? Rd232 (talk) 13:48, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm going to nominate this for deletion if nobody can give me a reason not to. Rd232 (talk) 12:54, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Symbol keep vote.svg Keep the municipality holds no rights of creation of the coat of arms. The part after that should probably just be removed. -- Liliana-60 (talk) 21:31, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
A weird translation; the Dutch is (I think) de gemeente heeft geen auteursrecht op het wapen [1]. Well anyway that's still just saying the municipality doesn't have the copyright; it doesn't mean there is no copyright. However the letter overall suggests there is no copyright, because it would be odd not to mention it if there were. Maybe a Dutch speaker can read the letter and comment. Rd232 (talk) 21:41, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Category:Obelisk of Buenos Aires

There are photos of the sculpture, Obelisco de Buenos Aires, in Argentina. However, according to COM:FOP#Argentina, scultupes are not to be reproduced in any way, like photograph or painting. There are too many photos, and I wonder if there is a way to nominate most of them for deletion. --George Ho (talk) 16:42, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't think I'd consider that a sculpture. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:51, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it is a natural rock formation. Delicious carbuncle (talk) 17:17, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Good answer, but I think the key issue is if this non-natural object is original enough to be copyrighted in Argentina.
Furthermore, FOP for buildings in Argentina is widely accepted despite of lack of any positive FOP provision in Argentinean law. The obelisk is less original than buildings, so it might be accepted on the same ground.--Pere prlpz (talk) 17:51, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
That's quite a pair of leaps. I find the concept that FOP for buildings is accepted despite any sort of legal support concerning. Moreover, FOP for buildings usually appears to derive from the fact that they're utilitarian, not decorative, and the cost of restricting photographs of city scenes is more then the value of letting architects profit from their photography. Originality is not part of it.
I do question whether it's original enough to be copyrightable. The photos where you can read the text need to be evaluated for textual copyright, but an obelisk is a simple geometric form that's been erected for millennia.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:23, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
I think it would fall under the definition of "building" in the U.S., certainly. It is designed for people to go inside. The term “building” means structures that are habitable by humans and intended to be both permanent and stationary, such as houses and office build­ ings and other permanent and stationary structures designed for human occu­ pancy, including, but not limited to, churches, museums, gazebos, and garden pavilions.[2] That would seem to cover things like the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial (the structure), etc. I would also question whether an obelisk is copyrightable, as well. It's not a natural formation of course, but that does not mean something is copyrightable. Lots of things are not natural formations yet are not copyrightable; that is not a criteria in any way. Photos of it would not be derivative works in the U.S. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:34, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Are there any doors into the obelisk? I can't find photos of them. --George Ho (talk) 03:46, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

They have a staircase going to the top and windows when you get there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:32, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

NASA images

File:International Space Station star trails - JSC2012E052677.jpg and about 50 more like it are in Category:Copyright violations at the moment. They're tagged as NC on Flickr, but does this matter since they're by a NASA employee? INeverCry 19:36, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Update: I've converted the speedies into a mass DR to prevent them from being deleted before we can discuss them: Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Copyright violations. INeverCry 20:04, 1 December 2012 (UTC)

Copyright issues for beginner

Hi Having trouble removing the copyright status error on the image below

Any suggeggestions what I have done wrong or nned to add

Any help welcome

Is there any proof that the CEGB released this image under the given licensing terms? A source is also missing: was this image downloaded from somewhere, was it scanned? --rimshottalk 23:26, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Mexico anonymous works

File:Huerta y Orozco.jpg is from Mexico from 1913, apparently anonymous. We don't seem to have any applicable PD tags (or information) for the Mexico copyright status. Anyone? Rd232 (talk) 10:23, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

The only reference to "anonymous works" I could find in the entire Mexican legislation is Article 153: "The use of the work of an anonymous author shall be free provided that the said author does not reveal his identity or that there is no recognized owner of economic rights." I don't quite understand the implications, though. -- Liliana-60 (talk) 10:40, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

Maurice Ravel

There's a copyright-related question that has been suspending for many months an upload request at Commons:Batch uploading/Works of Maurice Ravel. It could probably use more opinions to help users there decide what to do one way or the other. Maybe a notification here can help advance the discussion there, as upload request pages may not be watched by the same people who usually watch copyright-related pages. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:55, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Nobody wants to offer an opinion? -- Asclepias (talk) 21:20, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Well it needs French speakers, because it's trying to interpret French judgements and commentaries about whether the wartime copyright extensions are still valid. My impression is that it's still not really certain, but best to assume that they are. Rd232 (talk) 22:13, 3 December 2012 (UTC)


This is an extremely unhelpful trap template, that expects you to add another template as well. Can't even the slightest bit of simplification happen here? Adam Cuerden (talk) 16:07, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

What do you want to happen? We can't change a template that's used on thousands of files to say something it doesn't.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:39, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Many, even most, PD tags don't apply in both the US and the source country, and per Commons:Licensing the files therefore require at least 2 PD tags, one for the US, and one for the source country. "Combined" PD tags are collected in Category:PD US+source license tags; all other PD tags are not combined. Incidentally, it is an extremely unhelpful template which is widely misunderstand and misused, and I did recently try to deprecate it so that it would gradually be replaced by more specific tags. That didn't go anywhere. Rd232 (talk) 17:48, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Somewhat extensive recent discussions at Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/11#Wojciech_Kossak.27s_works, Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/11#Restart:_What_will_have_to_be_done_if_the_interpretation_of_the_URAA_which_makes_PD-old-70_almost_completely_useless_is_correct, Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/11#template:PD-Art -- as a result of which nothing changed... AnonMoos (talk) 13:59, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

It's frustrating for you to say that "as a result of which nothing changed"; what do you want, and why can't you change it yourself? Some of us have been fighting this issue, and are tired of the kickback.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:10, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Well as a result of AnonMoos' post I was prompted to modify {{PD-Art}} so it now squawks a red complaint when not given a parameter. It's a start. Rd232 (talk) 22:58, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Prosfilaes -- The upload forms and template structures of commons are completely out of line with with the claimed post-Golan-v-Holder interpretation of U.S. copyright law, and in fact actively encourage uploaders to do the wrong thing with respect to the claimed post-Golan-v-Holder interpretation of U.S. copyright law, and no meaningful progress is being made in dealing with the tens of thousands of images (at least) which are possibly problematic according to the claimed post-Golan-v-Holder interpretation of U.S. copyright law. You tell me how that's not a problem?? Even if I had admin powers (which I don't), I could do little by my own solitary effort to implement significant changes which would be needed. AnonMoos (talk) 01:13, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
It would be helpful if someone could figure out some concrete proposals for uploads forms, in terms what needs to change. That would be a starting point at least. Rd232 (talk) 01:22, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
For that you need someone who knows the ins and outs of such things as {{PD-art|PD-old-auto-1923|deathyear=1929}} (to mention a tag you recently added to File:"In the Artist's Studio", (1889) by Édouard-Antoine Marsal.JPG‎), and I don't... AnonMoos (talk) 01:44, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
The claimed interpretation? I've pointed to the US copyright office where they explain that that's exactly how it works. I'm not telling you that's not a problem; I'm telling you that complaining about it is frustrating when you act like someone else should fix the problem. At the very least, a clear statement of what needs to be changed needs to be made.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:36, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Whatever, dude -- I simply do not have the legal sophistication or knowledge to at all easily understand the details of the new interpretation, and even if I were to effortfully torture my brain to try to understand its details, my opinion would still merely be the opinion of a person who knows very little about the law (in any professional sense). I do a fair amount around here (including fixing many hundreds of SVG files), but I really lack the detailed legal knowledge and/or admin powers to do much to actively fix the Commons' PD-70 problem. I can clearly see that the Commons template structure and upload procedures are completely out of whack with claimed post-Golan-v-Holder interpretation of U.S. copyright law, but I really can't be the one to take the first steps to actively change things, or to cross the t's and dot the i's of the various legalities. My semi-detailed proposals, such as they were, are at the link Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/11#Restart:_What_will_have_to_be_done_if_the_interpretation_of_the_URAA_which_makes_PD-old-70_almost_completely_useless_is_correct. If you're disappointed that I haven't done more than make those particular suggestions, then you will remain disappointed, since I'm simply not in a position to take direct actions much beyond what I've done already... AnonMoos (talk) 02:00, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

German pre-WWII and WWII photographs

Recently, I purchased the book Rundfunksender auf Rädern by Bernd-Andreas Möller, published in Germany in 2003. It contains a treasure of photographs from the 1930's up to 1945 or thereabouts. In the copyright section of the book, the author states that the copyright belongs to whoever owns the photograph (Alle Bildrechte liegen bei den genannten Personen und Institutionen). However, I am not convinced that it is quite so simple. Most photographs in the book (if not all) lack any mention of an author/photographer, and are obviously taken roughly 1930-1945. So, I cannot check if PD-Old-70 is applicable and therefor, the use of that template must be ruled out. What remains is the Anonymous-EU template. However, Möller also uses images from sources like Deutsches Technikmuseum in Berlin, Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv Frankfurt am Main, Bundesarchiv Berlin and Museum für kommunikation in Berlin. So, can these institutions still claim copyright, or are they more or less bound to agree to license the images as Anonymous-EU? The latter would mean that we could use these photograps on Wikimedia servers. But, I need help to make sure this works. Riggwelter (talk) 12:49, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

You can not assume Anonymous-EU just because you can not check the author. Ask the book publisher and the institutions about the authors. --Martin H. (talk) 19:03, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
That is exactly why I posted a question here. I was thinking of asking the guys who worked with the Bundesarchiv donation if they could help out, since they are somewhat more fluent in German than I am, at least for this purpose. Any idea of whom I should talk to? Riggwelter (talk) 15:47, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
There is also another problem. All German photos taken in 1926 or later were still copyrighted in Germany on 1 January 1996. This normally means that the photos are copyrighted in the United States for 95 years since publication and thus can't be uploaded here. --Stefan4 (talk) 16:02, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Panoramic shots and FOP

This image appears to have been deleted here. However, the closure is very different to the closure in other cases, such as Commons:Deletion requests/File:Downtown Burj Dubai and Business Bay, seen from Safa Park.jpg and File:Burj Khalifa 005.JPG. Time for an undeletion request, or is there a misunderstanding of COM:DM laws in the United Arab Emirates? --Stefan4 (talk) 14:55, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

I restored it. (Treat this as if you had filed a request at COM:UNDEL and I agreed to it.) -- King of ♠ 22:46, 3 December 2012 (UTC)

File:Thomas Matthews Rooke North End House, Rottingdean.jpg

I uploaded this file by the artist Thomas Matthews Rooke who died 27 July 1942, which makes it just past 70 years. The artist is from the UK and the painting has always been in the UK. Now I am not sure this is PD for US. The only publication I am aware of was in 2001. Help? - PKM (talk) 01:04, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Under the old interpretation, it would not be OK to upload files by him until Jan 1st. 2013. Under the new post-Golan-vs-Holder interpretation of the URAA, it may be more complicated... AnonMoos (talk) 01:49, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
As AnonMoos implies, in virtually all life+ jurisdictions, you have to round up to January 1st of the next year. In the US if it was first published with permission of the estate in 2001, it will be in copyright until 1/1/2048. If it wasn't published before 1923, then it will still be in copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:05, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I will ask for it to be deleted. Thanks. - PKM (talk) 02:07, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Files uploaded by User:Prankpatel

These files, uploaded by Prankpatel (talk · contribs), are quite precisely redrawn from Chapter 9 in Versteeg, H. K.; Malalasekera, W. (1995), An introduction to computational fluid dynamics, ISBN 0-47-023515-2 (see here for a preview):

Their sources are marked as "PowerPoint". The diagrams were used in en:Boundary condition implementation in CFD which had the before-mentioned Chapter 9 as its text (and has been deleted as copyright violating). Can these figures be at Commons (if proper reference to their source is added), or are the also to be considered as copyvio's? -- Crowsnest (talk) 13:44, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Files by User:Monča Pixie

All the uploaded files seem to be copyvios. Gumruch (talk) 02:02, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

all deleted now. Rd232 (talk) 10:03, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

apparent conflict in permissions between file here and at source

The source of File:Labrys-prometheia-51.jpg appears to be this page on the organization website. That page, however, is covered by a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 release which prohibits commercial use. Am I correct in assuming that this is insufficient rights for commons? I suspect that the uploader may be someone sufficiently linked to the organization so as to be able to authorize the release of rights given here, but I haven't yet gotten a response from them about other issues with the Wikipedia submission. Mangoe (talk) 13:39, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

If it was actually uploaded by the author, then it is OK, as the author can certainly add additional licenses. However you are correct that we do require further evidence when it comes to photos already published on the internet; the author should follow the procedures at COM:OTRS to send an email (preferably from an email address associated with the website) to confirm the license. Otherwise, it should be nominated for deletion I think. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:01, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Help needed selecting correct copyright/licence description

Can someone help me out, as I'm doing this for the first time and finding it a bit daunting.

I am improving an existing page relating to a famous sculptor who is deceased. To illustrate the page, I have photographs of the artist and some of his work, which have been donated by the gallery that represented him. The photographs were taken by the original owner of the gallery, who is also deceased, and were offered to me for use on Wikipedia by his grandson, who now runs the gallery.

I am uploading the first photo, a picture of the sculptor and have selected the, 'Other reason, not mentioned above', option to describe the release rights.

Where I am experiencing difficulty is with constructing the correct Wikitext to describe the licence. I believe that cc-by-sa-2.0-uk is the correct licence in this case, but am not sure about copyright tags or other descriptions which should be included.

Once I get this photo correctly uploaded, I will then need to upload photos of several sculptures, the origins of which are exactly as described above for the picture of the artist.

Any guidance would be appreciated.

Gewitty (talk) 12:07, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

The copyright owner picks the license. If they didn't say cc-by-sa-2.0-uk, you can't put cc-by-sa-2.0-uk. If they were offered for use on Wikipedia, you need to get a specific free license for the image.
The sculptures have an additional problem; if the artist is not dead 70 years (for the UK), and 70 years in 1996 or the works were published before 1923 (US copyright law), the artist's heirs still has copyright in one of two nations, and we can't use pictures of them, unless they are permanently situated on premises open to the public. ({{FoP-UK}}).--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:47, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. Can you clarify what you mean by, "you need to get a specific free license for the image", please.
Gewitty (talk) 09:27, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
When you are uploading on behalf of someone else, there are often later issues with demonstrating the wishes of the copyright holder and verifying that they are the legal copyright holder if acting on behalf of an estate. If you are uploading several images of artworks then it is probably best to ask your friend to send you an email (from a verifiable work address is best, such as from the email they use for the gallery) or a letter that you can scan, and send a copy on to so that an OTRS ticket number can be added later to any uploads (which can also keep the verified email and supporting details confidential if they prefer). A statement from the copyright holder similar to Commons:Email templates/Consent would do the job nicely and avoid future challenges. The licence has to be a suitable free release, so a Creative Commons CC-BY or CC-BY-SA would be easy to understand, but any other licence that allows for unrestricted re-use but with a possible requirement for attribution should work. If you get stuck, feel free to leave a message on my talk page and I'll take a look over your shoulder.
One last wrinkle, the copyright of the photograph and the copyright of the artworks being photographed are separate issues. You need to ensure that the photographer has released their copyright in the photograph, as well as the estate of the artist having given permission for the photographs of the artwork to be taken and released. Thanks -- (talk) 10:31, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You can't say "cc-by-sa-2.0-uk" if what they've told you is "you can use this on Wikipedia". They need to explicitly say "cc-by-sa-2.0-uk" before you can put it on Commons with that license.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Korea Tourism Organization

I am now working in Wikivoyage preparing files for transfer to Commons, and I came across an uploader who has a number of uploads credited as created by employees of Korea Tourism Organization (for instance, this one or this one. If this would be a US government agency, the images would be free, but I have never heard anything about Korea. Does anybody knows anything about this? Thanks in advance.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:24, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

  • Now found the permission [3]. Would it be acceptable on Commons?--Ymblanter (talk) 19:34, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Personally I think that would be enough -- it sounds like they were aware of the CC-BY-SA-1.0 license and were fine with it. I would probably submit that PDF to OTRS and then tag the associated images with the OTRS number once processed. They do say "this map" so I'm a little more doubtful about the second link there (a photo) , but if there was a more general agreement at the time... Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:46, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. In the end of the letter, they also mention other materials, so that probably a photo would be fine.--Ymblanter (talk) 19:49, 7 December 2012 (UTC)


I'm reposting the following thread, as it was archived without any action being taken.
I repeat my unanswered question:- how do I get someone to delete these 4 files?
--Arjayay (talk) 19:32, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

I am concerned about the licence claim for File:Mdsa046558m.jpg. This is a movie poster which the uploader claims to be their own work, and has licensed under the "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license". The Metadata shows it to be from Photoshop.

This bears no resemblance whatsoever to the poster previously used on the Mugamoodi article i.e. this which is on en-wiki with a fair-use rationale. This user has uploaded 4 files to commons, all four with a claim that it is their own work. Arjayay (talk) 17:48, 26 November 2012 (UTC)

It's either a copyvio or if self-created, out of scope as a non-notable fanart. -- King of ♠ 03:21, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Agreed - so, how do I get someone to delete these 4 files? - Arjayay (talk) 08:45, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Mark them with {{speedy}}--Ymblanter (talk) 19:35, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you - I have now marked all 5 files accordingly - Editor had added another file in the interim. Arjayay (talk) 18:36, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Author uploads of Nature Publishing Group figures

If the author of a journal article published by the Nature Publishing Group (ISME Journal) wanted to post figures from their own paper to wikimedia commons, would that be allowed?

NPG is granted upon publication an exclusive licence to publish, though the copyright is left in the hands of the author. The NPG website says:

Ownership of copyright in the article remains with the Authors, and provided that, when reproducing the Contribution or extracts from it, the Authors acknowledge first and reference publication in the Journal, the Authors retain the following non-exclusive rights:

c) To reuse figures or tables created by them and contained in the Contribution in other works created by them.

This says to me that the figures can be uploaded as long as the image metadata includes a link to the DOI archive on the ISMEJ website.

I'm not sure if it makes a difference if the NPG allows the upload to Wikipedia, if wikipedia won't allow it to be uploaded with the creative commons non-commerial license.

I really don't know if I am interpreting this correctly. Any help would be much appreciated.

"in other works created by them"; does not give them the right to permit others to use the figures, etc. Dankarl (talk) 23:30, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Image erroneously described as 'public domain'?

I would like to draw attention to a question here about the licensing of an image that I uploaded to Wikipedia in 2003. Thank you.
GrahamN (talk) 03:12, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Greek bridge

Is the en:Rio–Antirrio bridge a work of architecture protected by copyright? If yes, can the files in Category:Rio-Antirio Bridge stay or not, considering Commons:Freedom of panorama#Greece says “not ok”? --Rosenzweig τ 05:52, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

I think in some countries bridges are not considered copyrightable architecture, but in others they are. Burden of proof would be on those arguing not copyrightable in Greece. Rd232 (talk) 17:42, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Permission clause

After a discussion on my talk page, two user pages now have been altered to contain a permission to use the images there. The pages are [4] and [5], and the permission reads (in Spanish and English):

(*)Sobre el uso de las imágenes de esta pagina de autor: Las imágenes que en ella aparecen han sido cedidas inequívocamente por el autor y titular de los derechos de las mismas para su uso libre en la comunidad de Internet para cualquier propósito. Quedan por lo tanto cedidas al dominio público. El propietario del copyright de las imágenes de el mismo publicadas en esta página web, Miguel Angel Garcia-Sanchez, autoriza el uso de las mismas para cualquier propósito, siempre dichos copyright le sea atribuido debidamente a su propietario y titular. Redistribución, trabajo derivado, uso comercial y cualquier otro están permitidos.

(*)English: The copyright holder of the images of himself that are published in this webpage, Miguel Angel Garcia-Sanchez, allows anyone to use them for any purpose, provided that the copyright holder is properly attributed. Redistribution, derivative work, commercial use, and all other use is permitted. Attribution: Miguel Angel Garcia-Sanchez

resp. Attribution: Yolanda Palomo del Castillo.

Is this a sufficient permission for our purposes? I'm not sure, so I ask here. --Rosenzweig τ 23:26, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it is sufficient providing that they own the copyright. Ruslik (talk) 08:17, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not so sure. Can this consent for usage be revoked, and how critical is this? I feel we should develop clearer guidelines regarding the extent of consent we need (although maybe that'd be better discussed at Commons talk:Photographs of identifiable people).
On copyright, I'd be a bit happier if the statements said explicitly that the photographer had transferred their copyright to the subject. (This is based mainly on the English version; I don't fully understand the Spanish version, where e.g. the attribution requirement and the "dominio público" part seem to me to clash.) --Avenue (talk) 12:03, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Moral rights continue to exist even for public domain images. Ruslik (talk) 07:40, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
True, and they would prohibit derogatory use, mutilation, etc, so the permission given for any use may not extend that far in reality. But that is different from the concern I raised above (which also applies to copyright, now I think about it). The free licenses I'm familiar with (e.g. CC-BY-SA, GFDL) are very explicit about them being perpetual licenses (up to the duration of copyright), as long as you follow the license conditions. The statements above make no such promise, so I wonder if it's possible for the copyright holder and subject to rescind their permission at any time, without requiring any reason. Maybe this could even be done by merely changing the notice on their Amazon user page. If so, wouldn't that be a problem? --Avenue (talk) 12:05, 11 December 2012 (UTC)


I have uploaded this picture from tractors.wikia, and am curious if there are any possible concerns regarding copyright? Ed Roberts (the photographer of this car) has uploaded hundreds of brochure scans, but always with a mention that they are not his own work. I would like to go ahead and upload all of his valuable photographs, but would like to ensure that they would not be under threat of deletion before I go through the trouble. Thanks, mr.choppers (talk)-en- 06:29, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

These images do not have license compatible with Wikimedia Commons. Ruslik (talk) 07:19, 11 December 2012 (UTC)

I have Los hijos de la Malinche permission to use their logo for Wikipedia and an official document to prove it. Where should I send it to? — Preceding unsigned comment added by F.h.drouais (talk • contribs) 02:13, 12 December 2012‎ (UTC)

Please see Commons:OTRS. Please note that the permission must not be limited to Wikipedia (which is a different project from the one you are currently at), Commons (this project) or Wikimedia (the foundation that manages both projects). It must allow anyone to use the content for any purpose. LX (talk, contribs) 10:28, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Term for Spanish anonymous works

According to this document, the copyright term for works by authors who died before 7 December 1987 is determined by the 1879 law. That law doesn't seem to make any copyright term difference between works by anonymous authors and works by identified authors. Does this mean that the Spanish copyright term for an anonymous work is 80 years p.m.a., provided that the anonymous author died before 7 December 1987? This looks a bit strange, but Germany is similar, using 70 years p.m.a. for old anonymous artistic works. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:22, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Article 26 covers anonymous/pseudonymous works... but I'm not sure what the Article is really saying. Something about assigning rights to editors of such works, but under what circumstances or on what terms, I don't understand. Rd232 (talk) 17:39, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but the section doesn't seem to have anything to do with the copyright term of such works. It only seems to identify the copyright holder of such works, if I've understood it correctly. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:46, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
You understood. The section states that the editor is the copyright holder of anonymous works until the author is disclosed. I can't find anything explicit about copyright term of anonymous works. I guess that when the author is unknown, the copyright term is also unknown.--Pere prlpz (talk) 18:35, 10 December 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've created a testcase at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Álvaro Fdez. Miranda.jpg. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:39, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Advice on copyright re poster

The Commons Help desk suggested I post my question here. I would like to upload this image: The site belongs to Calvin College, Michigan. On the professor involved states that he has "no claim to the images". There is no mention of an author on this site and I found no mention of an author anywhere else on the internet. Since it is an image of a 1936 poster, is it possible to upload this image to Commons, using the Anonymous-EU license? Or should I use another license? Can anyone provide guidance, please? Encyo (talk) 18:42, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

The link doesn't work so it isn't possible to tell what you are trying to upload. Anyway, {{Anonymous-EU}} can normally not be used for anything made in 1926 or later as such works normally are copyrighted in the United States for 95 years since publication. --Stefan4 (talk) 18:50, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
That's a strange link. Sometimes it doesn't work and sometimes it works. If it doesn't work, retry or try through the parent page -- Asclepias (talk) 20:58, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
That worked. This is clearly copyrighted in the United States, so US law prevents upload to Commons before 2032. Additionally, German law prohibits upload to Commons before 70 years after the death of Max Bletschacher, whenever that is. Thus, the image can't be uploaded to Commons for the moment. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:01, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
The Bundesarchiv identify the graphist as Max Bletschacher and the publisher as "Gebrüder Jänecke, Hannover". (Search Bletschacher in Bundesarchiv picture search.) -- Asclepias (talk) 19:12, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Max Bletschacher died in 1972 according to So the poster is not free of copyright and I shouldn't upload it. Thanks for your help. Encyo (talk) 21:06, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Advice on copyright re image of postal stamp

The Commons Help desk suggested to post my question here. Is it possible to use an image of a postal stamp like I found it on Based on the guidelines I'm not sure if it is allowed to upload such an image. If it is allowed, what license should I use? Thanks for any advice. Encyo (talk) 18:46, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

This is a German stamp. You need to verify that the stamp is in the public domain in both Germany and the United States.
  • Germany: Copyright expires 70 years after the death of the artist. It doesn't matter if the artist can't be identified: the copyright still expires 70 years after the death of the artist (see de:Anonymes Werk (Urheberrecht)#Frühere Rechtslage in Deutschland / Übergangsrecht). You have not provided any evidence that the artist has been dead for at least 70 years. There is a possibility that the drawing is ineligible for copyright, and in that case it is already in the public domain in Germany. There are some examples of logos which are in the public domain in Germany because they are too simple at COM:TOO#Germany. However, I seem to understand that the rules for logos are different to the rules for other artworks, so the examples might not be useful for determining whether this image is "simple" or not, unless it can be regarded as a logo.
  • United States: The general rule is that works from Germany are copyrighted for 95 years since they were first published. This was published less than 95 years ago. If this is in the public domain in Germany as being ineligible for copyright, things may be a bit ambiguous and may need a separate discussion (see below soon). --Stefan4 (talk) 19:08, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Stefan. According to the link provided (Übergangsrecht), the copyright expires 70 years after publication if the artist is not known. This stamp is made in or before 1936, so more than 70 years have passed since. According to German law the image is consequently in the public domain since 2006. Does American law prohibit uploading to Commons nevertheless? Encyo (talk) 20:28, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
Hm? That's not what it seems to say (unless Google Translate messes it up). If I've got things right, the "70 years after publication" rule only applies to text and photos, but this is a drawing. Exceptions are works created on or after 1 July 1995 and certain anonymous works which were first published posthumously, but you don't know if this was first published posthumously or not. --Stefan4 (talk) 20:44, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
I don't know whether the stamp was used by the post office posthumously or not. Possibly the Google translation is not correct. The German text is § 66 Anonyme und pseudonyme Werke (1) Ist der wahre Name oder der bekannte Deckname des Urhebers weder nach § 10 Abs. 1 noch bei einer öffentlichen Wiedergabe des Werkes angegeben worden, so erlischt das Urheberrecht siebzig Jahre nach der Veröffentlichung des Werkes. It should be translated as: if the true name or known pseudonym of the author is not mentioned according to § 10 Abs. 1 nor mentioned at a public reproduction of the work, the copyright ends 70 years after publication (Veröffentlichung) of the work. § 10 Abs. 1 (Wer auf den Vervielfältigungsstücken eines erschienenen Werkes oder auf dem Original eines Werkes der bildenden Künste in der üblichen Weise als Urheber bezeichnet ist, wird bis zum Beweis des Gegenteils als Urheber des Werkes angesehen, dies gilt auch für eine Bezeichnung, die als Deckname oder Künstlerzeichen des Urhebers bekannt ist.) does not apply here.
That's why I think it is in the public domain in Germany. What kind of license should I use for uploading it? Encyo (talk) 21:32, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Some odd things about URAA

According to s:United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 1/Section 104A#(h) Definitions (6) (B), the copyright to a work was restored by the URAA, unless its copyright term has expired in the source country. There are some special cases which I'm wondering about:

  • In some cases, a work might be below the threshold of originality in the source country but not in the United States. If a work is below the threshold of originality, there is no term at all in the source country, so can you really argue that the term has expired? Was the copyright to such works restored? Also, it says that "A restored work vests initially in the author or initial rightholder of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work." If the source country claims that the work is ineligible for copyright (i.e. that it isn't a "work"), then the copyright law of the source country doesn't define any "initial rightholder" which could make things more complex.
  • In Poland, photos may be in the public domain because they were published without a copyright notice (see {{PD-Polish}})). If you publish a photo without a copyright notice, you can hardly argue that the copyright has expired by the expiration of a term. Was the copyright to such photos restored? --Stefan4 (talk) 19:20, 12 December 2012 (UTC)
The first question is especially interesting with regard to photos from Switzerland, see en:Swiss_copyright_law#Lack_of_originality and {{PD-Switzerland-photo}} - there are supposedly many "unoriginal" photos from Switzerland that therefore never had any term of protection there... Gestumblindi (talk) 01:21, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Somalia and FOP

Somalia has no copyright law. Thus, File:Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan.jpeg is in the public domain in Somalia.

The United States has no copyright treaties with Somalia. Thus, the photographic aspects of File:Sayyid Mohammed Abdullah Hassan.jpeg are in the public domain. However, the statue is unpublished (i.e. erected after 1977), so it is fully copyrighted in the United States (see s:United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 1/Section 104#(a) Unpublished Works.). Does the photo of this statue violate the copyright of the statue in the United States? --Stefan4 (talk) 19:26, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Why do you think the statue was erected after 1977? My reading of the file's information page is that the photo was published in a government pamphlet during the 1980s, and the statue looks more than a few years old in the photo. --Avenue (talk) 00:57, 13 December 2012 (UTC)
Ah, "1980s" is the date of photography. I mixed it up with the year of the statue. Sorry. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:08, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Advice on image copyright

I want to upload a picture of a Chinese movie but i am unsure about the copyrights. here is a picture of it

I have found multiple pictures of the same kind everywhere on the internet so it is a movie campaign but I'm not sure if I am allowed to upload it. I want to use the picture to put in a Wikipedia about a movie called A Chinese Odyssey as it has no picture on it. Megabombs (talk) 20:02, 12 December 2012 (UTC)


hello everyone! excuse me, please, just cannot figure out how to license it right... but it does seem to me, that having just {{CopyrightByWikimedia}} tag is not okay... i'd like to know how to attribute correctly, as it consists of a PD-ineligeble one (though copyrighted) and a Cc-by-sa-2.1-jp one plus some text... i've happened across this file File:Автограф Лубченко Карточка ПРЕСС СЖУ 2001.JPG, where every object used has it's own tag, it seems. well, need help here ;) --antanana 22:03, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

Copyright of recast bust

Josiah Mason bust - 2011-04-30.jpg

This bust, situated in the UK, was cast in 1952 by William Bloye (d. 1975). However, according to the William Bloye article, it was recast from an original statue by Francis Williamson, who died in 1920 [6]. Does the copyright belong to the William Bloye estate (in which case FoP UK applies - at the moment), or can it be considered an original work of Williamson, in which case it is out of copyright as PD-90 and therefore FoP is not applicable?  An optimist on the run! 11:13, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

It sounds like the bust was created to replace the deteriorated original statue.[7] It's hard to say for sure without seeing the original statue (which was apparently destroyed after the bust was done), but I think I'd lean towards it being a Williamson work. At least in U.S. terminology, it sounds like the bust was (or was meant to be) a "slavish copy" of the original statue, which would not carry its own copyright. Unsure about UK law, but they do have the requirement that something be "original". Part of the UK's low threshold of originality is their definition of that term, which in an old case[8] held that the Act does not require that the expression must be in an original or novel form, but that the work must not be copied from another work — that it should originate from the author. I.e., original simply means originating from the author (a different definition from the U.S. and many other countries). But even with that definition, it's hard to claim that it was original, unless it departed from the original statue significantly, since it *was* copied from another work. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:53, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
This has some relevant thoughts. It appears to me that at the least it could be considered a "slavish copy" of the Williamson bust, and possibly not even a copy but an "original" by Williamson. cmadler (talk) 17:30, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks - This confirms what I subsequently found at Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter#Replicas of PD artworks. I'll add background info to the images, and remove of FoP tags as not applicable in this case.  An optimist on the run! 19:48, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Transfer of copyright

Sometimes copyright is transferred from the initial author. We see situations like this every so often, and it may be helpful to have a specific page to collect information about this issue, so I've started Commons:Transfer of copyright. Comments and contributions welcome. Rd232 (talk) 18:19, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Maybe we can help things along with a question: how do we handle File:Eduard Imhof - Passo di San Giacomo.jpg - an apparently unpublished image (unpublished until upload to Commons, that is) scanned from a letter from de:Eduard Imhof (1895 - 1986) in a private archive? It's possible the uploader had en:publication right and released it into the public domain; but what can we say about whether they had the copyright? Rd232 (talk) 12:29, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

In this case, ask the uploader? He's an active and experienced user. Gestumblindi (talk) 16:05, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
I did; he didn't reply. (I've also notified him of this thread.) Rd232 (talk) 17:07, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

I was looking for certain photos of Halemaʻumaʻu

These photos appear on the National Parks website, specifically this page, but no one has seemed to upload them here. Are they non-free? 04:09, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Files marked "NPS photo" on the NPS website can certainly be uploaded as {{PD-USGov-NPS}}. Rd232 (talk) 12:18, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Please upload: 21:03, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

Category:United States Bicentennial materials in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Hi, the Ford Presidential Library has uploaded photos of gifts made to Gerald Ford when he was President of the United States. The photographs are "PD-US-gov", but I am not so sure about the underlying objects. Most of them were sent by ordinary citizens and have both an utilitarian and an aesthetic dimension. Are they acceptable ? --Zolo (talk) 07:14, 12 December 2012 (UTC)

Generally, yes, they're acceptable. here are quotes from the relevant laws and an accounting of the intent of the Committee that drafted the laws. It's clear that they're mostly not copyrighted, with two exceptions: the ones that lack any intrinsic utilitarian function -, the Necklaces, Plaque, Figurine, Pin and Buttons, and the 2-dimensional art on the pillow and some containers may be subject to copyright, and not free. But the photographs of these things would be appropriate to upload to en - the English Wikipedia and use under fair use guidelines. Clothing, such as a dress Mrs Ford wore has an intrinsic utilitarian function, and therefore is NOT subject to copyright.--Elvey (talk) 12:00, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
I suggest you move the photographs of the items I mentioned to en ASAP. I've asked here if there's a tool to make it easy. --Elvey (talk) 12:13, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the guidance. So non-utilitarian gifts upload to en, and the utilitarian gifts upload to Commons, do I have it right? Will this then apply to ALL the other non-utilitarian gifts that the presidents receive during their time in office? There will be lots of plaques, necklaces, pins, buttons, etc. Most gifts to a president are non-utilitarian. Thank you for the tool, too. Bdcousineau (talk) 17:26, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Cambridge Modern History Atlas

I've just collected files from Cambridge Modern History Atlas (1912) in Category:Cambridge Modern History Atlas, and I'm concerned it may not be PD in the source country (UK). It has 3 "editors", of which two died 1922 and 1924 respectively, and one 1938; and one "assistant" (see File:Cambridge Modern History Atlas title.jpg) who died 1952. I've found one file, File:Map of Poland and Lithuania after the Union of Lublin (1569).jpg, marked {{PD-UK-unknown}}. Any thoughts? Rd232 (talk) 12:13, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Hmmm. Anything attributable to the three editors would be fine. They would not have the copyright on the maps themselves though; that would belong to whoever created them. The preface page you link says that en:Ernest Alfred Benians (died 1952) did write the introduction, so that should not be uploaded. It does says that he did the "general work of constructing the maps and revising them during reproduction". However in a bunch of the map images, they all seem to be credited to Stanford's Geographical Establishment, en:Edward Stanford's company, which had been producing maps for many decades by that point. While it's possible that some of the modifications might have been enough for a derivative work copyright, I think given the lack of credit on the maps themselves to anyone else that the likelihood is that they were copies (perhaps with uncopyrightable modifications) of earlier maps. I'd think PD-UK-unknown is the most appropriate license for the individual maps (at least those with the Stanford credit), and PD-old-70 for the preface page (with PD-1923 being the U.S. license). But it does seem the arrangement copyright (along with the introduction) would be by Benians, and the book as a whole should not be uploaded. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:50, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
credited to Stanford's Geographical Establishment - yes, I see that now. Doesn't that mean the copyright (probably) belonged to the company, for maps created by its employees? Did/does the UK not have corporate authorship? There are indications of that at en:Copyright Act 1911 (point 14). We don't seem to have PD tags for that expiring... Rd232 (talk) 17:01, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, it does mean the company owned the copyright, usually for a number of years from publication. The EU copyright directives restored all that though, and now the company's copyright would last 70 years after the individual creator's death. But per UK law, if the individual creator is not known (which seems the by far most likely situation here), then the term is 70 years from publication, which is what {{PD-UK-unknown}} is for. The EU directive contained a provision that for the type of corporate (i.e. "legal person") copyright ownership that UK law allows, the company would only get the 70pma term if the employee's name was credited on the initial publications, otherwise they just get 70 years from publication. Not sure that the UK implemented that specifically, but the PD-UK-unknown portion of the law is pretty close to that (and their law does say unknown, not just anonymous). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:46, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
OK, I think that clarifies the atlas, thanks - I made a note on the category page (I've seen that elsewhere and it seems a good idea!). However I think {{PD-UK-unknown}} could use some work, because it's not clear enough how it relates to what you've just said. Rd232 (talk) 01:02, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, the EU directive states that the name of the author has to be given "in the versions of the work which are made available to the public".[9] This could mean that the author has to be credited in all published copies of the work and not just in the first one. However, if you find that the author isn't credited in the first print, that should be enough. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:08, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Prague Metro announcements

File:Prague metro 01.ogg to File:Prague metro 04.ogg are recordings of announcements on the Prague Metro. This doesn't feel entirely kosher, even though the clips are short and hard to make out. Anyone? Rd232 (talk) 01:15, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

If they are recordings of recordings of announcements, I think that the uploader needs to obtain permission from the person who did the initial recording. Compare with Commons:Deletion requests/File:Fröken Ur.ogg. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:26, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that was my instinct. Rd232 (talk) 11:14, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Template:Flickr-no known copyright restrictions

Please see Template_talk:Flickr-no_known_copyright_restrictions#Template_is_wrong. Rd232 (talk) 11:11, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Large number of non free files from en.WP CCI

During this CCI, we found a lot of files that were either uploaded or transferred to Commons which have no proof of their PD status. Need to also explain that the user is currently blocked for sockpuppetry and uploaded files under at least two user names. The list is here for all files of this type. Am wondering which is easier/better-to list them in one block or to list them individually as DRs? Thanks, We hope (talk) 14:07, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

A mass nomination is appropriate if the relevant facts and the rationale are identical for all the files in the nomination. Considering the introductory line on your list, it might be the case, if the files all come from the same identified sources, with the same PD status tag, and your implied rationale, as far as it can be guessed, is that you are disputing their PD-US-no notice status tag because you doubt the absence of copyright notice in the sources. So, yes, in that case, a mass nomination could be appropriate. However, do not include any files for which the facts or the rationale would or could be different. The idea is to have a discussion that remains focused. That is why you should not include files that would or could require the discussion to drift in several different directions.
I know I could wait for you to actually start a request before I comment on the matter itself, but before you go through the trouble of starting a deletion request, please consider the following. It is relatively easy to find online many websites that have integral reproductions of sales brochures of cars from those years. It is possible to verify that many of those brocures were published without copyright notices. Here are examples of General Motors brochures from that era : LeMans full (last page) and Pontiac line full (last page). You can probably find online a large proportion the brochures that were used as sources by the uploader and verify if they have copyright notices or not. Also, the uploader was blocked on en.wp apparently for disruptive editing, however his file uploads and tagging seem generally accurately documented. His tagging of those files as PD pre-1978 no-notice seem plausible and many of them can probably be easily verified from other sources. Is there a particular reason to doubt it or do you have examples of him deliberately uploading known copyvios?
-- Asclepias (talk) 16:54, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
As long as I have a source for research into some of the old car brochures, I'll do my best at trying to determine which ones might be able to be verified. While working on the CCI, I did find at least 3 instances where there was a copyright notice on the photo and the uploader claimed it as own work.
Let me see what I can find at the site you pointed me in the direction of before going further with deletions. Thanks, We hope (talk) 17:10, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

File:Bill Gates mugshot.png

The licence says it was published without copyright but it wasn't published by the copyright holder. Does the US copyright law specify the difference? I am wondering if it is legally in the public domain.--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:03, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

Why wouldn't it have been considered published in 1977? It would have been public record, available to all. But yes, it does matter if something was published without authorization -- that would continue to be considered unpublished. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:10, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I was thinking of a recent similar deletion of a mugshot from the State of Colorado. The file was deleted because if I recall, only Florida and California states have PD mugshots. The source is a website with no cite to the source of the photo. If the magazine had a copyright when printed in 1977 then I would think that that should cover it as well.--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:19, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I guess the question might be if New Mexico distributed copies without a copyright notice before March 1989. If they appeared in a magazine, copies would have been distributed to the magazine first, and (unless there was a notice on those copies) they would have become PD before the magazine was ever printed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:17, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
I assumed there was a magazine. I was wrong. It seems The Smoking Gun started as a website in 1997. They claim to have much of their data from the freedom of information act. Since the photo was taken on Dec. 13 of 1977 can we believe it was actually published before the end of the year?--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:43, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
March 1, 1989 is the first date that publication did not need a notice, not 1978 (the rules changed some then, but not completely). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:08, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Ok, thank you for time and wisdom. I will resolve this section then. Section resolved

Why? If they obtained the photo at the earliest in 1997, 1997 is still after 1989. -- Asclepias (talk) 16:26, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Should we tag it as copyvio or deletion discussion then? There is no evidence of when it was published and whether it had a copyright notice.--Canoe1967 (talk) 17:59, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

It depends why you started this discussion. The uploader explained his interpretation and his reasoning (convoluted as it is) on the description page. You wrote "it wasn't published by the copyright holder", which means that you disagreed with at least one (or more) assumption(s) and/or step(s) of his reasoning. You may be right or he may be right. The uploader believes that the photo was published by its copyright holder, even if the only existing photo remained undistributed and stored until 1997. Clindberg seems to prudently suggest that it would have been published only if two more conditions were met: 1) if copies were actually distributed, and 2) if such actual distribution occurred before 1989. That, as you said, has not been documented. Maybe you should explain your own view in more detail. I don't have the knowledge to form an opinion on who is right. The matter seems unclear enough. Nobody will blame you if you decide to start a deletion request. Or you can just continue an informal discussion here. You could also search if there were past discussions about this file. -- Asclepias (talk) 21:07, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I brought it up because I have seen files deleted on precautionary principle with more proof that this one has. I can accept that it was published before 1989 but how do we know if it was published without notice. I see many images that have the first upload as both sides of a photo as proof then overwritten with the full crop for use. Does this image need similar proof? I would tag it myself but I fear that others may counter me out of spite for my other actions on commons an wp:en--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:26, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Were copies of the mugshot offered to anyone who walked into the police station (or court or whatever) asking to see it? That's how it works in Sweden (all court material is available to everyone, at least after the court ruling), but maybe things work differently in the United States? Does it matter if anyone had any interest in obtaining a copy or not? A lot of court material is probably totally uninteresting (meaning that no one asks to obtain a copy of it). If you take a mugshot of anyone, it is obviously for the purpose of including it in material for a potential court case, so I assume that you agree to handling the image in the way court material usually is handled, meaning publication with consent by the photographer, if mere distribution by a police station or court counts as publication. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:04, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
The question of a copyright notice would become relevant only if one does not accept the reason why the uploader says the photo was published. His reasoning is that is that the photo was published at the very moment of its creation. This was in 1977. The negative photo could not get a copyright notice immediately upon creation. It is even reasonable to assume that the employees who printed, manipulated and stored the print did not see a reason to write a copyright notice on it, as long as it slept in their files and actual distribution was not envisioned. Therefore, if one accepts the uploader's reason for saying that the photo was published at the moment of its creation, then automatically one accepts that there was no copyright notice at the moment of publication. On this point, the uploader's reasoning conveniently makes the problem of a copyright notice vanish. Depending on the point of view, I guess that can be said to be a strength or a weakness of his reasoning. -- Asclepias (talk) 22:32, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
It is actually a common assumption that all mugshots are in public domain. Ruslik (talk) 12:05, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Checkmark This section is resolved and can be archived. If you disagree, replace this template with your comment. --Canoe1967 (talk) 00:36, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

It seems that it has been discussed a few times: The main argument for keeping is that NM law in 1961 made all records public/published at the point of creation. I doubt they filed any copyright on them. Does anyone know how to add a {kept} tag that will link to the entries?--Canoe1967 (talk) 00:36, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

Good find. I'm not completely convinced that the argument of the uploader is solid, but if you're satisfied to let the matter rest as it is, that's fine. Yes, it could be useful to simply add a note on the talk page with the above link. Probably better to not use the kept template, however, as the file did not go through a regular deletion request and discussion. It was only a reversal of a speedy deletion. The uploader was not opposed to the eventuality of discussing the matter in a deletion request. Apparently, nobody has felt the interest to open one. -- Asclepias (talk) 01:26, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I opened a proper deletion discussion on it. I feel we should seek consensus, even if just as an example of future files that may have similar issues. Does anyone know how to add a 'moved' tag to this thread or is one even needed?--Canoe1967 (talk) 01:57, 19 December 2012 (UTC)


According to Commons:HIRTLE#Sound_recordings, no US sound recordings are PD due to age. File:NobodysDirtyBusiness.ogg is declared PD by several sources. The only clue I can find is en:Mississippi John Hurt saying the company that recorded his work in 1928 (Okeh Records) went out of business in the 1930s. Um... anyone? I'm trying to replace the {{PD}} tag with something sensible. Rd232 (talk) 00:52, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Actually, it seems that the copyright status differs from state to state and that some sound recordings are in the public domain in some US states but not in other US states. The rule is that a work has to be in the public domain in the country in which it was first published. If US rules differ from state to state, does this mean that sound recordings need to be in the public domain in the US state in which it was first published and that it is irrelevant if it is in the public domain in different states, or do we want sound recordings to be in the public domain in all states? --Stefan4 (talk) 01:21, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
The old answer would be that the laws of Florida would apply; not sure that's the case now... AnonMoos (talk) 16:41, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
What about {{PD-US-record}}? -- Liliana-60 (talk) 16:55, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
It's wrong. There are laws in many states about this, and in those that aren't common law copyright may or may not come into play. is just one example of such a law, though it's fairly typical of the one's I've looked at.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:23, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I wasn't aware of PD-US-record, but looking into when Liliana mentioned it, it looks like a can of worms. Rd232 (talk) 01:33, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/File:NobodysDirtyBusiness.ogg. Rd232 (talk) 17:59, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Austrian and Slovenian stamps

Austria doesn't have an entry at Commons:Stamps/Public domain. Given the issues over German stamps, we shouldn't assume too easily that {{PD-AustrianGov}} applies. Can we try and clarify this? Rd232 (talk) 18:04, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

While we're at it, Slovenia doesn't have an entry either. Rd232 (talk) 19:58, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
de:Wikipedia:Briefmarken. The copyright on Austrian stamps belongs to the designer of the stamp. --Martin H. (talk) 20:40, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've added Austria. Rd232 (talk) 17:46, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Possibly a misunderstanding of the de.wp text or my misunderstanding of the Commons:Stamps/PD text. The text in de.wp not reads "stamps can be used for sale, manufacture and advertising" in general. The text says that the austrian post can grant licenses to depict the copyrighted work for selling the stamps, producing the stamps and for merchandising them. Using the stamp under a free content license is not merchandising of the stamps, therefore they cant grant a license. --Martin H. (talk) 19:48, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
The precise meaning about what purposes stamps can be used for isn't entirely clear to me either; but it does seem clear that the Österreichische Post's copyright claim is enough that the stamps are not PD. Rd232 (talk) 11:24, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Narine Dovlatyan

I want to give credit to the owner of File:Narine Dovlatyan.jpg‎ but I can't find out who that is. This is the website of the owner.

And for future reference, is there a way of telling who the copyright holder is for any photo? --TheShadowCrow (talk) 21:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

As Materialscientist told you, it is not enough just to credit the copyright owner, they have to agree to release it under a free license. cmadler (talk) 00:33, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
How can I find out who the owner is? --TheShadowCrow (talk) 21:10, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

Question of "Public Domain" and Intellectual Property.

Dear Sirs,

I had used the Superman-Obama image, which is stated to be in the public domain in Wiki, and when I presented new compositions together with this image to Zazzle they said that I was in violation of copyright and intellectual property. They also specified their relations with DC Comics.

Do these restrictions continue to apply if my compositions are submitted to a company for commercial purposes, a company that does not have relations with DC Comics, precisely because the image that I would be using is still in the Public Domain?

Sincerely yours, Dr. Stanley Wesolowsky Ph.D. Princeton University 1972). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stanwesolowsky (talk • contribs) 14:19, 21 December 2012‎ (UTC)

If you mean "File:Barack Obama with Superman cropped.jpg", I think the photograph may not be free and thus may have been wrongly uploaded to the Commons. While photographs taken by employees of the Federal Government are generally in the public domain, this is a photograph of a copyrighted statue. I do not think the fact that it has been photographed by a federal employee means the photograph is somehow not a breach of the copyright in the statue. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:44, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
It seems that this statue was created in 1993, and is therefore automatically copyrighted without need for formalities. I've nominated this image and several others of the same statue for deletion. Thanks, cmadler (talk) 09:35, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Written permission.

I have written permission from the creator of some files to upload them to Wikipedia. How do I attach/ associate this written permission with the files themselves ? There doesn't seem to be an attachment feature in the upload process. --Obkiribati1 (talk) 09:02, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

You could include the permission statement in the "Description" field, but the best way is to use "OTRS"... AnonMoos (talk) 09:56, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

Images with strange description

I have some doubts regarding the uploads of this user:

Images are all taken from: where are published as "Copyright © Jaap van der Veen".

AFAIK the description is wrong: JaapV has uploaded them as CC-BY or CC-BY-SA but in the description he says: "Het gebruik van de foto is toegestaan, mits hierbij vermeld wordt: "Het copyright van deze foto berust bij Jaap van der Veen. Meer informatie is te vinden op de website 'Bergwandelen in Europa',", with automatic translator:

"The use of the pictures is permitted, provided this is stated: "The copyright of this picture belongs to Jaap van der Veen. More information can be found on the website" Mountain Biking in Europe ', http://www.jvdv.demon. en".

AFAIK if he publish as CC-BY/CC-BY-SA, the description "The copyright of this picture belongs to Jaap van der Veen" is not correct. Some of the rights (like attribution) belongs to Jaap van der Veen but not all copyrights after using CC-BY/CC-BY-SA. Am I wrong? What's more these images should have OTRS permission. --Rotpunkt (talk) 12:39, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

If I understand correctly, it is fine, although you are correct that OTRS would be good. If he took the photos himself, he would own the copyright, and this must be the case before he can license them under CC-BY or CC-BY-SA. Perhaps you are thinking that by licensing under Creative Commons he somehow loses the copyright, but this is certainly not the case. It certainly seems likely that our User:JaapV is the same as Jaap van der Veen who operates that website and claims copyright on the photos. OTRS would clarify this, so that should be encouraged. Have I misunderstood your concern? cmadler (talk) 14:16, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. I'm not seeing a standard user message template for this case, eg {{Please use OTRS}}; maybe this would be helpful. Rd232 (talk) 14:48, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation, I read that "The copyright of this picture belongs to Jaap van der Veen" as a "all rights reserved", instead of a more correct "some rights reserved" that applies to CC. --Rotpunkt (talk) 14:51, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
"The copyright of this picture belongs to..." is a simple statement of fact. As I said, he must own the copyright to be able to license it using Creative Commons (or any other free license). It's also worth noting that the phrase "all rights reserved" was formerly required as part of a copyright notice, but since current copyright laws do not require any registration or notice, it seems to have no current legal meaning. cmadler (talk) 16:17, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again, cya. --Rotpunkt (talk) 17:11, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
"All rights reserved" certainly has a meaning: it would be to underline that no free license has been granted. But that's a completely different issue than an assertion of copyright, which is all that is made here, and which is fine. - Jmabel ! talk 18:26, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
I disagree that it has that meaning at all; as w:All rights reserved points out, for copyright and thus a free license other than public domain to exist at all, in certain countries in the 20th century, "all rights reserved" or similar language had to be used. I don't think we can interpret it at all.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:32, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the explanation Jmabel and Prosfilaes. Cya. --Rotpunkt (talk) 21:54, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

New template?

Can and/or should we write a CC-BY template for files from this BC Government database? It reads to me like cc-by.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:05, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

No. It's obviously not a Creative Commons-by licence. It is the Open Government License for Government of BC Information v.BC1.0. But you coud write a template referring to that licence, if Commons has files that use it. -- Asclepias (talk) 22:33, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
It looks like an acceptable license (similar to CC-BY), so if there's any use for it, yes, there could be a template like {{OGL}} for UK Open Government License. (Sidenote: how cheeky to have the UK Open Gov License at simply "OGL"...) Rd232 (talk) 23:51, 23 December 2012 (UTC)


I've just made {{heirs-license}} for heirs versions of license tags (eg {{{CC-BY-SA-3.0-heirs}}). Any comments, anyone? Rd232 (talk) 00:58, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Furuya Company

Any thoughts on the copyright status of this one: ? I want to use it for Masajiro Furuya.

The Flickr page grants a CC license and says "Unrestricted access; use with attribution." However, the phrase "More information on the commercial rights for this photo" on the Flickr page links to, which is rather discouraging in its broader discussion and quasi-claims.

It's not clear how the Wing Luke Asian Museum would really have the copyright, or whether there is any surviving copyright to hold (would have required a copyright notice at time of issue and a renewal in the late 1950s).

So. Experts here, care to weigh in about what I should do with this one? - Jmabel ! talk 20:51, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

This link says the creator is unknown so I doubt anyone can legally claim a copyright.--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:43, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
I uploaded it File:Furuya Company employees, Seattle, ca.jpg, so I could test the new UploadWizard feature, which does not work with Chrome BTW. Yann (talk) 07:53, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Copyright help for old photograph

I have an old photograph I would like to upload. The picture was taken in the 50's or 60's in Japan by a serviceman and is currently in the library of our dojo. The image is of an old judo teacher who is no longer with us. I was hoping for help in selecting the correct copyright information or possibly information that I should not upload such an image. Thanks, Bilrand (talk) 20:57, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

Unpublished works from the 50's or 60's are in copyright for life+70. Without permission of the photographer or his heirs, you can't upload such a photo.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:13, 14 December 2012 (UTC)
If it was published before 1956, then {{PD-Japan-oldphoto}} would apply. Otherwise... the copyright should still exist, and it's as Prosfilaes said. Copyright lasts an incredibly long time nowadays, and a photo 50 years old may be relatively "young" in copyright terms. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:36, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. How does copyright pass between individuals? The collection of photographs the picture comes from was given by the original photographer to our dojo library. Does the copyright pass to us or is passing on a copyright a separate action? Bilrand (talk) 15:10, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
It's a separate action – physical possession does not imply copyright ownership. This is easiest to understand if you consider copyright as applied to books - just because you are given a book doesn't mean that you have the right to copy it. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:50, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Copyright can be transferred by entering into an agreement with the copyright owner. In some jurisdictions, the agreement may have to be in writing. A copyright owner can also bequeath copyrights to his or her beneficiaries in a will, or if no will was executed the copyrights will pass to the deceased owner's descendants by operation of law. — Cheers, JackLee talk 10:59, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
In *some* jurisdictions, the copyright is sometimes considered transferred if the primary physical means of making copies is transferred (such as a photographic negative, or a master sound recording). The U.S. went away from that approach in the 1970s in favor of explicit written copyright assignments but it still may exist elsewhere. No idea about Japan. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:17, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Didn't realize that, but it makes sense. Good to know. – Philosopher Let us reason together. 22:17, 25 December 2012 (UTC)
Excellent, that clears things up. It doesn't look like we have the copyright or can find the person who does. Also the photo is not old enough to be covered by the Japanese old photo copyright clause. Thanks for all the help. Bilrand (talk) 15:15, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Query on Smithsonian Institution Archives template

This may have been raised before and consensus reached (in which case I'll leave it be!) but I think there's a discrepancy between the Template:SIA-no known copyright restrictions used on the Commons at the moment, and the wording on the Smithsonian's website.

The template, used to justify a lot of images on the Commons, states that the "SIA asserts that there are no known copyright restrictions because the Smithsonian has determined, based on research, that the image is not covered by copyright and most likely resides in the public domain." The template suggests that this may be because it is in the PD, is in copyright but has been licensed for wider use by the SIA, etc.

The SIA website referred to by the template, is much less robust and, in its current form, doesn't use the same language as the template. The SIA's website notes only that "the Smithsonian has determined, to the best of its ability based on available information, that the Content is unlikely to be protected by copyright interests and, in all likelihood, is in the public domain... but that... restrictions may still exist." Further, "the Smithsonian makes [this] content available for personal and non-commercial educational uses consistent with the principles of fair use. If you decide to use the Content for commercial or other purposes without undertaking to clear all rights, you will be responsible if someone else owns the rights and the owner objects to your use."

My concern is that there is a real gap between "unlikely to be protected by copyright" and "not covered by copyright". We normally ask uploaders to provide evidence (publication date, author etc.) to justify a particular license to avoid having to argue probability of copyright (i.e. we can't argue that a photograph from 1920 is "probably not in copyright"; indeed it probably isn't, but we still need to explain why, e.g. explaining when it was published, or when the photgrapher died). Furthermore, as a rule, the Commons doesn't accept material under a fair use justification, and the warning about its commercial use is worrying. I'm wondering it would be safer to ask that images uploaded to the Commons from the SIA on a "no known copyright" tag were also supported by a standard copyright tag to explain specifically why they are suitable for the Commons (e.g. combine a SIA tag with a pre-1923 publication tag or similar, appropriate, label)?

As noted, if this has been discussed before, I'm happy to leave it be. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:03, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

I agree with you: given the wording at the SIA website, the SIA tag alone doesn't seem to be sufficient, and its wording should probably also be changed. Gestumblindi (talk) 17:39, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
I've updated the SIA tag with the latest wording from the SIA website. Hchc2009 (talk) 16:34, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, that's an improvement. Still, I propose to classify this tag as "not a valid copyright status tag" (given the SIA's wording) and make the addition of specific copyright tags mandatory, otherwise delete affected files. Gestumblindi (talk) 22:00, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
In general, a respected institution asserting "no known copyright" ought to be enough for us; COM:PRP only goes so far. As long as we are clear enough so that potential reusers can make their own assessments, I think it's OK to host them as "probably PD". (Arguably all "PD" files on Commons are actually somewhere on the "probably PD" spectrum, some very close to probability=1, some slightly further away. But doubts can probably be engineered for most, if not all files.) Rd232 (talk) 01:13, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
My suspicion, looking through a number of these, is that there is a fundamental difference between how the SIA and the Commons deal with anonymous, unpublished photographs. I'm beginning to think the SIA may be using the "no known copyright tag" (NKCTs) (quite fairly from their perspective) on this category.
Many institutions work on the principle that they'll apply NKCTs to anonymous works if they've done due diligence in trying to find the author. If a copyright owner turns up out of the blue, then their liability is very low, particularly if the "fair use" approach has been taken, and no commercial benefit derived. Many publishers do the same thing. It isn't unprofessional or in any way dubious.
The Commons doesn't take this approach, because we have a strict requirement for PD or explicitly licensed images. US law often protects anonymous, unpublished works for many years; a 1919 photograph in this category is copyright until 120 years after creation, for example, or until 2039. We couldn't usually accept such a picture.
Take File:(left to right) An unidentified woman (possibly Alice Haskins) sitting with Lucia McCulloch (1873-1955), Clara H. Hasse (1880?-1926), and Mary K. Berger (5494402384).jpg as an example. Going back through the SIA source files, there's no date (although it's probably 1920s), no suggestion of publication and no photographer listed. Same with File:(clockwise from left) Agnes J. Quirk, Helen Morgenthau Fox (1884-1974), Florence Hedges (1878-1956), unidentified woman, and Edna H. Fawcett (b. 1879) (5494540142).jpg. Another example would be File:Alice Brown (1857-1948) (3358890123).jpg - an anonymous, undated photograph, with no suggestion of publication (I can't check the underlying SIA source file, as it's been deleted by the SIA). The SIA is very good about updating details when it has them, so if it knew the creators, it would no doubt be giving their names.
With these sorts of examples, I can't easily see how they're not covered by copyright under US law from a Commons perspective. You can't acquire the rights to an anonymous, copyrighted photograph, as far as I'm aware (I'm happy to be corrected by any lawyers out there!) - although you can buy or be given a physical copy of an image, of course. I can see how an institution, from its own perspective, would class them as NKCT, if it had done due diligence in looking for an author and wasn't profiting from the circulation of the image.
NB: In some cases, the uploaders have added additional details not covered in the original file. For example, File:Charles Greeley Abbot at Age Eleven.jpg is an anonymous photograph from 1883; the underlying source file form the SIA gives no evidence of publication. The SIA source file doesn't suggest this is NKCT and requires additional permission before use, although the Commons version claims it to be PD, possibly on the basis of an unspecified pre-1923 publication date. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:08, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Looking at some of those in particular, those appear to come from the Science Service archives. The odds of publication are very high; they were a news service. They appear to be prints, which means copies were made at the time. Unless the Science Service was actually the author, the simple fact that the Science Service had a copy basically means they were published. The collection is described as "morgue files", which also indicates they were external material. Secondly, the donation to the Smithsonian would probably have constituted publication even for Science-Service authored material. The odds are pretty overwhelming that those are either PD-1923, PD-US-not_renewed, or PD-US-no_notice (and likely at least two of the three). There is some worry with post-1923 material there but if they have a photographic print with no copyright notice (probably a given if they can't identify an author, as the notice would have included that information) then it's pretty close to 100% that those are PD by U.S. rules as PD-US-no_notice. As for last one, if that was presumed to be a private 1883 photograph which eventually made it into the SI personnel files, then the moment it was placed in those files may well have constituted publication, regardless if it was used in publicity material or not (which is fairly likely itself, as there was probably a reason the photo was provided in the first place). Lastly, the SI writeup indicates they once owned the negative but it was since lost -- that may well have transferred copyright ownership to the SI if the negative was given to them. That would not be true under post-1978 rules, but often was considered a transfer of copyright in that era. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:52, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Having recently had a couple of images I uploaded from Flickr Commons deleted, despite being assessed and released by the archivist at the London School of Economics as NKCR, I am concerned that there are no guidelines for interpreting the differences between a good NKCR and those where we ought to be going back to the GLAM institution to ask more questions before batch uploading. Perhaps this is a good time to create a more general discussion about either removing NKCR altogether as an unacceptable variation of Fair Use, or we set assessment criteria for the institution's supporting licence statement and are prepared to stand by the criteria when questions are raised. Thanks -- (talk) 08:40, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Sounds a sensible suggestion to me. I worry that otherwise we end up taking on risk over copyright issues because of varying standards and criteria, or alternatively irritating the institutions and uploaders who are volunteering their time and energy in releasing the material. Hchc2009 (talk) 09:11, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
If an institution says that it knows no copyright, I don't see why we should question that. The institution is certainly in a better position than us to ascertain if there is a copyright or not. Yann (talk) 09:23, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Communally we know more / are more careful than some institutions (I can prove this if need be)... but that's not really the point. The main thing is that we need to know something about the analysis they have done and/or have a means of questioning them. --99of9 (talk) 12:41, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
"No known copyright restrictions" is the Library of Congress' terminology when they think something is public domain. It's a bit more accurate label, frankly, and basically the same thing as our "public domain". We don't think any of those works are covered by copyright, but there could always be something we have overlooked, or a future court ruling could change the landscape, etc. There is no real gap between "unlikely to be protected by copyright" and "not covered by copyright" in this case I'm pretty sure; that wording comes mostly from the Library of Congress who are typically pretty cautious. In addition, "public domain" is often taken to mean no meaningful rights restrictions, not the strict sense of "no copyright" as used on Commons. In general I don't think we should question those "no known copyright restrictions" determinations, unless there is something obvious such as a derivative rights issue, or the institution is basing their PD status on their own country's laws whereas Commons policy requires we take into account some others as well, and the work is not PD in those other countries. (Many of their images are {{PD-USGov-SI}} as they have lots of federal employees but those can be hard to prove; if they place the "no known copyright restrictions" tag on a work obviously produced by them, that can quite often be the main reason.)
I personally think it would be easier if we asked material released under a No Known Copyright Tag (NKCT) to be fully tagged with a specific justification (e.g. "first published in US pre-1923"), as per a normal contributor would be asked for, accompanied by the information that would usually be required to support the claim (e.g. the date of publication or creation, author etc.). In addition to avoiding any mistakes or misinterpretation, this would ensure that material released under a NKCT label from non-US institutions are justified under US law, and combinations of US and non-US law (e.g. a photograph first published in the UK, held by a US institution) were properly tagged up for the Commons. It would also avoids problems, as per the above case that started the discussion, where material is only released for personal or non-commercial purposes using a NKCT justification. Hchc2009 (talk) 14:55, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
It would be nice, but that is what we have. It's a situation where someone else has done the copyright research, and has access to more pertinent information than we do (the donor agreement, that sort of thing). They are being circumspect; when they are saying "non-commercial use only" they are mainly referring to personality or privacy rights, and perhaps trademark, where "commercial use" has a completely different meaning -- and we are actually no different here (see the {{personality rights}} tag for example). We only worry about commercial use when it comes to copyright specifically, and it would appear these works are no longer protected by copyright (only possibly by other rights). Often it's possible to figure out the specific reason something is PD, particularly if something is from before 1923. The Library of Congress has direct access to the renewal records so stuff they mark that way may more often be PD-US-not_renewed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:29, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
I think I'd see that statement as the heart of the problem - that is all we have in some cases. A "glass half empty" description of the problem would be that someone (nfi), in this case admittedly in a respected institution, has done some research (nfi), applied a set of criteria (nfi) and concluded that copyright may not exist over an image, for an unspecified reason (nfi). They're not certain about this, so won't advise that you use it for commercial purposes without checking further in case you are sued.
That's fine, unless there's a potential discrepancy in the criteria that are being applied and what we'd look for, or if there's a potential error. Then this becomes quite difficult to resolve.
There's been a long running, amicable discussion over one such image on Commons since September, for example, where the image appears - at first glance - to be an anonymous image, covered by US copyright for a few more years to come. After several months discussions, including the institution's representative (and, btw, many thanks indeed for their help!), we still haven't been able to bottom out the reason why the initial no known copyright tag was put on it and if this was in fact correct, although we're getting closer to a potential answer. I'd prefer it to turn out to PD, so we can all use it, but a system that doesn't provide this kind of information on uploading is problematic. There are quite a few such images out there with this issue, as noted above. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:37, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
It's imperfect, but there is uncertainty even with the tags which we do have. If we can bring further information to light which clarifies things, either showing there is copyright or helps explain why not, definitely make more decisions then. But these institutions are in the best position to make the determination -- they know the provenance better than anyone else, and may in many cases own the copyright outright (depending on how they obtained the material) and therefore may be in a position to grant PD status. This is especially possible if they own the negatives to photographs. If we can bring up a serious reason which places significant doubt on the PD claim, it's worth a deletion discussion. That goes especially if the institution is making the determination based on US law but the country of origin is something else, or it's PD in the country of origin but not in the U.S. But otherwise... I don't think I'd bring them up much. Knowing the specific reason why something is PD can be important for use in other countries, which is why we prefer it, but to deny us the use of images we are virtually sure are PD in the US, even if we don't know which of the possible reasons why, I think is going too far. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:33, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Where someone (an individual or institution) owns the copyright on a photograph and is releasing it as PD (or any other license) on the Commons, I would normally expect them to do so explicitly. Where they are uncertain about copyright, that's a bit harder. I still think that asking the uploader to choose a specific tag would be much more in keeping with wider best practice on this site, and would not exclude images that are properly free from being uploaded and used. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:16, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Absolutely. But in the Flickr Commons case where they are providing PD files without regard to Wikimedia Commons policy, I don't think we should delete photos lacking that specificity, unless there is something which casts significant doubt upon their determination. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:15, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Perhaps folks here should talk directly with the Archives. They worked with me, when I served as Wikipedian in Residence, to develop that template and they released all those images for us to use through that license. THey're also in the process of updating the language on their website to be more open. If you anyone wants to talk to them, just let me know. I wouldn't have sat around and manually uploaded any of those images if I was fearing copyright violation. (And right now i have very limited time to invest in this, but, I'm happy to put people here in touch with staff members if they'd like). Sarah (talk) 07:06, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Sounds a great idea - thanks Sarah. Hchc2009 (talk) 08:48, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Flickr images and Getty

I observed that some images in our collection that were obtained from Flickr have been subsequently sold by the copyright owner to Getty Images (which gets an exclusive license and reverts the images to traditional copyright so it can profit). Since no new licensees can use them anymore without paying Getty first, should these images be considered non-free? 00:31, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

All Flickr-sourced images on Commons should be either PD or licensed under a non-revocable license - see Commons:License revocation. So while the copyright-holder can remove all information about the old licenses, they can't actually revoke them, and anyone who knows or finds out about the old licenses can rely on that licensing. (Of course this would only apply to existing versions; the owner might eg license higher-quality versions to Getty, and those would not be covered by the old licenses.) Rd232 (talk) 01:02, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Licensees who obtained the photos and the free license when and where it was, or still is, validly available can still use the photos under the terms of the free license. And the terms of a CC license obtained by a licensee provide that the use of the work by that licensee include an offer of the work under the free license to new licensees. Therefore, new licensees can use the photos and obtain the free license, as long as they obtain them through an uninterrupted chain of valid licensees. People can not obtain the photo under a free license anymore at flickr or at any source where it has ceased to be so offered. But the cessation by the copyright owner to offer the work under a free license at the original source does not change the terms of the licenses validly obtained. The transmissibility by valid licensees remains intact. -- Asclepias (talk) 02:09, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
So a Flickr image that has been reproduced on Commons can be licensed CC by Commons? 19:33, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
If the image ever was tagged with a CC licence on Flickr, and if it was legitimately uploaded to Flickr, then you can still use the image under the CC image. This applies to all images, not only to the ones which have been copied to Commons. Of course, a court may require you to present some evidence that the Flickr page mentioned a CC licence at some point. I'm not exactly sure what kind of evidence a court would require, and it could maybe vary from country to country. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:48, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
@ Do you have any examples? Just curious. --Rosenzweig τ 20:29, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Copyright Canadian Plaque photos

Does this image qualify for copyright? 2D image of a plaque with no threshold of originality, FOP is allowed in Canada for statues etc. The licence says no commercial use but does Commons:TOO overide that?--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:43, 25 December 2012 (UTC)

I don't think there is a copyright for the plaque, but there is still a copyright for the photo. Yann (talk) 07:28, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I was wondering if a croppped version would qualify under Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag as a photo of a PD work that has no threshold of originality because after the crop there would be no artistic addition.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:38, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Photo of bas-relief

Adam Eck - Allegory of vanity

Hi, I have a question. Is photo of basrelief, older than 100 years, under copyright, or it's reproduction of 2D work where I can use PD-Art-100? Dominikmatus (talk) 02:11, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

If it would look very different if the lighting were at a slightly different angle, then it would seem likely to me that you would need permission from Georg Janßen (if he's the photographer). Of course, I am not a lawyer... AnonMoos (talk) 13:17, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
I would consider a photo of a bas-relief to be akin to a photo of a coin. Given that WMF General Counsel Mike Godwin has indicated that coins should be treated as 3D artworks, for which PD-Art does not apply, I'd say that a bas-relief should also be treated as a 3D work, not a 2D work. cmadler (talk) 14:00, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Ok, thank you. I'll try to get OTRS. Dominikmatus (talk) 18:23, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Upload question

This photo has no copyright marks on it and was issued by 20th Century Fox for Valley of the Dolls. There's also another Fox photo that they didn't mark, so it seems obvious that Fox is/was the owner and didn't choose to apply copyright markings. The headshot, however, is found as part of the John Springer Collection at Corbis. A little research on Springer indicates he was a press agent to many stars, and not the photographer. My thought is that the photo belongs to Fox and that the Corbis/John Springer copyright information isn't factual, but before I upload, I'd like the opinions of others. Thanks, We hope (talk) 16:11, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Photos of marching bands?

As I'm getting ready to upload various photos I've taken this fall, it's just occurred to me to wonder about the copyright status of photos of marching band halftime shows. Certainly some formations would be uncopyrightable due to lack of originality (e.g., File:TTUband.jpg or File:2008 Ohio State marching band.jpg), US law about typefaces (e.g., File:Longhorn band 2006 TAMU at Texas.jpg or File:2011 DiamondOhio.JPG, both trademarked but PD logos), PD-US-no notice, or PD-US-1978-89. But others are more complex formations (e.g., File:EastSide1 -OUUAB 2006.09.02.jpg), plus there's the issue of photos taken between "sets". One analogy might be a still image from a film, which is of course not allowable, but I don't think it's really that simple. I think better comparison would be a photograph of another live performing art, such as ballet or theater (but ignoring the additional issues those present of copyrightable scenery). But what would the status of such a photo be? In another environment one could make a strong fair use argument, but of course that doesn't apply here. Thoughts? cmadler (talk) 19:18, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

There might be some sort of performance right that is legally protected, but I don't think there is copyright in such formations created by marching bands. Copyright as I understand it requires works to be fixed in a medium (the "fixation" requirement). — Cheers, JackLee talk 19:27, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Would drill charts count as fixation? They would normally only be distributed to band members, not published, but it seems like they might. cmadler (talk) 19:50, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Also, what about situations where a band is video-recorded and either broadcast (TV or webcast) or video is made available to the public for purchase. Would this constitute a fixation suitable to establish copyright over the entire marching band show, or would only that video-recording be copyrighted? cmadler (talk) 19:55, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I'd say a drill chart itself is complex enough to be capable of sustaining copyright as an artistic work, but the fact that a drill chart has been created doesn't mean that any performance based on the drill chart is thereby copyrighted. As for the recording and broadcasting of a drill performance, yes, that amounts to fixation, but the copyright is not owned by the marching band but the person who made the recording and the broadcast. The copyright is of that particular recording of the marching display. It's rather like a statue in an art gallery. Everyone who takes a photograph of it owns a separate copyright in his or her own photograph. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:33, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
I think that a photo like File:EastSide1 -OUUAB 2006.09.02.jpg could violate the copyright on a drill chart, in much the same way that writing down the lyrics or transcribing the main melody of the chorus of a song performed live could violate the copyright on its sheet music. There are also performers' rights, although I think a single photo of the show wouldn't usually violate those. --Avenue (talk) 12:55, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, that's the concern I have. I'm looking at uploading images similar to [10] or [11]. cmadler (talk) 13:33, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
No, I don't think that would be a derivative work. The copyright in the drill chart is a drawn work; I don't think a photo of the placement of people like that is necessarily derivative. The plans of a building have always been copyrighted, but there was never a copyright on the completed structure until 1990 (and even then its nature is different than the copyright of the architect's plans). I don't think there is a serious issue with things like this. If you get into photographs of choreographed performances it may get a bit dicier but I don't think I've heard of any court case along the lines of something like this. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:21, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
  • (Bump.) Anyone? cmadler (talk) 20:38, 27 December 2012 (UTC)


I have today uploaded two files: a) a copy of a handwritten letter sent by the Anti-Apartheid Movement to Tony Hollingsworth on 12 June 1988; and b) a transcription of the same letter.

Both files were given to me personally by Tony Hollingsworth. a long-time friend and business partner, who told me that he wanted to release the contents into the public domain.

What licence is appropriate here? What procedure should I follow?

The difficulty here is that the copyright in the letter as a literary work is not owned by Tony Hollingsworth but by the letter-writer. You'd have to get the letter-writer to license the text of the letter under one of our free licences like {{cc-zero}} or {{cc-by-3.0}}. If you can obtain this consent, e-mail it to For more information on the procedure, see "COM:OTRS". — SMUconlaw (talk) 12:35, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

I am a bit surprised. I would have thought that when someone sends a letter to someone else, without putting any restrictions on the use to which the letter can be put, the recipient is free to use the content as they like. Surely they dont need to go back to the letter writer? In this case, recourse to the letter writer is impossible since the main author of the letter, Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, died in 1998, and The Anti-Apartheid Movement ceased to exist as an organisation after the first democratic elections in South Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wireless1917 (talk • contribs)

Under Common Law, it's been the case for a long time (definitely before 1988) that the letter-writer remains the copyright owner. When has writing a letter been an implicit grant to the recipient of the letter to make unlimited public use of the letter? Not in the U.S. or U.K. in modern times... AnonMoos (talk) 13:21, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Subject to the terms of any will that Trevor Huddleston left, all copyrights held by him devolve to his descendants. I'm afraid you will have to identify and contact them and obtain their permission. Assuming the letter is unpublished, the copyright in it won't expire until 50 years from the end of the year in which the author died, that is, after 31 December 2048: see "Commons:Copyright rules by territory#South Africa". It will only enter the public domain after that date. If your main aim is to make the contents of the letter known, you could publish it on some website other than the Commons, relying on a fair-use justification (which Commons does not permit). However, you have to take the risk that Huddleston's descendants might object on the grounds of a breach of their copyright. — SMUconlaw (talk) 15:03, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
Also, it needs to be in the public domain in the United States too, where it enters the public domain 70 years after the death of the writer, assuming that the letter is unpublished. --Stefan4 (talk) 16:12, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
references? See also Commons:Transfer_of_copyright#Transfer_through_ownership_of_physical_item and feel free to improve. Rd232 (talk) 01:42, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Uploading photos owned by me

I am a new user in the U.S. and have recently placed an article on Wikipedia about a local singer, who died about 65 years ago. I have several photos of her I'd like to upload. Most were given to me (without restrictions) many years ago by some of her descendants, who themselves are no longer living, and I, in fact, am one of her descendants. Is there any reason I can't freely use and upload these photos?

K828 (talk) 17:01, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

You need to present more information about the history of the photos in order to determine whether you are allowed to upload the photos. For example:
  • Who took the photos?
  • Were the photos taken as part of the photographer's work? If so, who was the photographer's employer?
  • When were the photos taken?
  • Have the photos been published? If so, when and where? --Stefan4 (talk) 17:12, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
(ec) Unfortunately, absent some written agreement to the contrary, the copyright holder would have probably been the photographer (not the subject of the photographs), and ownership of the copyright would have passed to the photographer's heirs if s/he died, not to the subject's heirs. If the photographs were previously published, the copyright status will depend on when they were published and possibly on whether copyright formalities (notice and/or registration) were followed; if unpublished, copyright duration is 70 years from the death of the photographer, or if anonymous, 120 years from creation. (This is a simplified explanation, and it might not be even this simple.) So, you probably can't upload them to Commons. However, English Wikipedia does accept images based on some fair-use claims, and given that the subject has been dead about 65 years, you might be able to upload some photos there. en:Wikipedia:Non-free content describes the criteria for that. Thanks, cmadler (talk) 17:17, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
See also Commons:Help desk#Uploading photos owned by me. -- Asclepias (talk) 18:18, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Logo question

I have a logo that was uploaded here with a claim that the uploader has the rights to it. No other documentation (for instance, that the uploader is who he/she claims) has been provided as far as I can tell. I have uploaded a low rez copy of this document to WikiPedia to use in the article under fair use, but my understanding is that such use is not allowed in Commons. The Web site with the logo is here. I mostly work on Wikipedia. \ Some help with process here would be appreciated. Thank you. Donlammers (talk) 16:03, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

The uploader claims to be the one who made the logo, but provides no evidence that this is the case. The uploader's user name contains the word "zoo", which could suggest own work by the uploader, but we need OTRS permission to confirm this statement. Tagged "no permission" so that the uploader is given a week to provide permission if the uploader really is the logo designer. --Stefan4 (talk) 16:19, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. In the meantime I have uploaded a small version to Wikipedia with "free use" rationale, which also loads much faster (1MB for this one vs. 6KB for the new version). Donlammers (talk) 17:11, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

I looked through Category:Advertisements by year and I see very few which are not very old, so I assume that there is some restriction against uploading old advertisements, but I thought that I would ask.

I have an 1938 advertisement from a popular magazine which is still publishing today. I see the Commons:Hirtle chart and it says that if the work was published under copyright but then not renewed, then Template:PD-US-not renewed would apply to it.

What presumption does Wikimedia Commons make about copyrighted renewals? Are all publications presumed to be renewed? What about in this case - the publication of the advertisement is in a popular still-running magazine? The advertisement happens to be about a still-existing product. I presume that the manufacturers of the product have the copyright to the advertisement, but I do not know. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:16, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure about the general questions about presumptions, but old advertisements (pre-1977) without copyright notice would normally be {{PD-US-no notice}}. Whether the publication is still running isn't relevant; copyright would be with the advertiser. Rd232 (talk) 00:37, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
You have to do some sort of search to verify that a work was not renewed before uploading it here. Nothing matters but that renewal; some of the most worthless books and movies were renewed, and some classics (DOA) weren't. With advertisements, at least, the magazine is irrelevant. Actually, if you look at the advertisement, and it doesn't have a copyright notice, it's PD. (This is all assuming this is a US publication.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:11, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Pre 1989 advertisements in magazines and newspapers (collective works) required a copyright notice from the advertiser. The same advertisement would run in several publications so the copyright belonged to the advertiser not the publications. A vast majority of these early advertisements are public domain (no notice). See Commons:Image_casebook#Advertisements -- Swtpc6800 (talk) 18:29, 30 December 2012 (UTC)


NAINTOUR (talk · contribs) is a serial copyright violator on Wikitravel (I have been cleaning up images on the Wikivoyage import, and there are a lot of files of suspicious origin amongst the many uploads). This is just a heads-up to keep an eye on their uploads (I don't know if there is a more appropriate place to post this message). See the Wikivoyage WTS Pub for discussion on this issue. This, that and the other (talk) 11:13, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for this information. Please create a deletion request. It is also polite to inform a user when you create a public discussion about him/her. I did it. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:30, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I should have done this. Thank you. This, that and the other (talk) 23:51, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Also, if you're planning to create a deletion request, you might wish to add mw.util.addPortletLink('p-tb', 'javascript:importScript("MediaWiki:VisualFileChange.js");', 'Perform batch task', 't-AjaxQuickDeleteOnDemand'); to your common.js file and then use the "Perform batch task" link from your toolbox. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:16, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. Is it possible the uploader is from the site ("Na'in Tours")? I did a spot check on File:PirNia museum.jpg, which was uploaded to wikitravel in December 2011, and its main internet source does seem to come from the above site here, although it has a January 2012 date on that site. It's certainly possible that image was collected from elsewhere but I don't see a source. Secondly, in August 2012, the same user uploaded a larger version of the same image at . I don't see an internet source for that larger version with a quick Google Images search. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:59, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
It is possible that some of the uploads are legitimate. However, there were some questionable things on Wikivoyage which made us tag the whole set as potential copyright violations. For example, see File:NA'IN CARPET 1.jpg ("Courtesy of:") and File:HAMAMTOP.JPG ("Photo Taken by Christophe from France, April 2007"). --Stefan4 (talk) 15:51, 29 December 2012 (UTC)
Yeah I would not keep anything like those which obviously did come from other sources. They may have gotten rights to use them on their site but we'd need to hear from the copyright owners before assuming a CC license. Those seem clearly labeled as such at least. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:32, 29 December 2012 (UTC)


File:Johnny Ramone's grave at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.jpg. I came across this looking for a Fay Wray statue. A deletionist may wish to go through category USA graves. Thoughts?--Canoe1967 (talk) 08:52, 30 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, it needs a review. I would rather have someone who did not self-identify as a 'deletionist' do this sort of evaluation. There are a couple of common issues to consider where a deletionist might automatically assume the worst case, yet a wider community view may differ:
  • A faithful reproduction of a statue that is/was on permanent public display in a non-USA location may be usefully argued to be covered by FOP in the home country - I had such a case for a Polish statue where the original had been destroyed but a copy persisted in the USA.
  • Some memorials where the designer(s)/mason(s)/metalworker(s) may be alive or have died within the last 70 years, can be argued to have insufficient creative content for copyright to apply. This may be true for part of a monument, for example a plinth inscription consisting of little more than lists of names of those who died in war action along with other factual information, would have no appreciable creative content and have significant value for open knowledge.
  • Reproductions and arrangements of classic statues (such as angels) with minimal variation or less creative masonry, such as inscribed stelae with basic geometric patterns and geometric shapes, may be argued to be below the Threshold of originality. This may not be an obvious evaluation.
  • A photograph of a cemetery with some more recent statues in it but with no statue being the main focus, may fall under De minimis, this is another tricky area to assess.
Thanks -- (talk) 09:29, 30 December 2012 (UTC)