Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2014/06

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Film/TV sets

Are film/TV sets copyrighted or even copyrightable? I'm thinking principally of the files in Category:The Big Bang Theory sets: is the set as an ensemble subject to copyright? --Rrburke (talk) 13:17, 2 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Images like those on covers are copyrighted on creation.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:44, 2 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Prosfilaes. Thanks for your reply. I'm afraid I don't follow: could you clarify? Thanks. --Rrburke (talk) 14:31, 3 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Scribble a picture on a sheet of paper; it's copyrighted. Fold that paper around a DVD; it's still copyrighted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:15, 3 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Prosfilaes: I don't think that's what Rrburke means. He's talking about set design, "set" = "artificial setting for a scene of a theatrical or film production" as Merriam-Webster defines it. He's not talking about DVD covers. Lupo 21:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting question. The UK Intellectual Property Office says that art works used in set design were copyrighted. Kind of obvious. So if parts (or the whole) of the set qualifies as a copyrightable art work (has sufficient originality), then yes (for those parts). Otherwise apparently, no. But the waters appear to be muddy. Two academical papers seem to imply that in general, set are not copyrighted per se: [1] (is more about stage directions, but also mentions set design), and [2]. A UNESCO group discussing the UCC seems to have believed otherwise: [3] (from 1957, see p. 12, section "XI: Protection of Theatre Décors": the Australian representative stated that theatre sets were not protected by copyright (in Australia) and raised the question of whether they should be. The gremium saw no need for action because it believed theatre sets already to be covered by copyright.)
Not really enlightening, is it? Probably just another case where there is no hard and fast rule... The Big Bang sets look rather ordinary to me. Somehow I doubt they could be copyrightable as a whole; they might also fall under "en:Scènes à faire" or be denied copyright protection as a whole as they seem to basically recreate common every-day situations (an apartment, a comic book store, a hallway, ...). OTOH, the set design for The Lion King is probably an art work in its own right.
Finally, [4] points out that a design may be eligible to copyright protection (if sufficiently original), or may get design protection. Lupo 22:44, 3 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, Lupo. Thanks for the info. --Rrburke (talk) 22:05, 5 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Nasa photo of the Dardanelles Can we upload this?Keith-264 (talk) 16:15, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The NASA-Johnson Space Center has a record of this photo in their Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth image database, which can be seen here: STS100-720-7. Yes, you can upload this photo using the {{PD-USGov-NASA}} license tag. has a high-resolution TIFF of the photo, so I'd probably choose to upload that scan of the photo. While you are not legally obliged to do so (as this photo is PD), NASA-Johnson Space Center requests that these images be acknowledged as "Image courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center". So, it would be polite to include that attribution statement in the {{Information}} template in the uploaded image's Summary section. —RP88 19:02, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you very much. RegardsKeith-264 (talk) 19:38, 6 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Diogo Duarte’s Flickr stream

See them all at Category:Files from Diogo Duarte Flickr stream. This Flickr user tagged his photos as CC-BY-SA and they got uploaded to Commons and approved, yet their EXIF (at least those I checked) says this:

Copyright holder
Creative Commons - Non Comercial Fair Use
  1. Diogo Beirão Duarte ©
  2. Diogo Beirão Duarte
Usage terms
You can use the photos for non-profit if you want, just share a link/autoher to the original. Thanks
Copyright status
Contact information

What should be assumed?, what should be done? -- Tuválkin 15:11, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just noticed this in File:Demonstrations and protests in Portugal - OccupyLiaboa (12310964703).jpg:
Date metadata was last modified
22:53, 4 February 2014
Date and time of data generation
14:01, 24 October 2011
Suggesting that this 2011 photo had its EXIF modified later — maybe to document stricter licensing? Maybe the Flickr license tag was forgotten by the author?, maybe considered to me trumped by metadata?, maybe a way to (try to) restrict the availability as CY-BY-SA of the photo(s) to Flickr and bar it from being displayed in Commons? -- Tuválkin 15:16, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably nothing to do here ... in the case of multiple licenses on the same image, so long as one is suitable for Commons, we can keep them. If the Flickrstream owner made a mistake, he would need to request a courtesy deletion.
With regard to EXIF data, I do some work in this area, see Mobile uploads with copyright statement in EXIF data to be checked as an example, and this could lead to deletion if there was a copyright claim in the EXIF data that indicated that the declared copyright holder on the image page was dubious, for example by the EXIF having All Rights Reserved for a named professional photographer who did not match an "own work" statement in the information box. -- (talk) 17:31, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concerning the discrepancies between the EXIF metadata in the photos and the Flickr page info, there is none about the author’s name (Diogo Beirão Duarte vs. Diogo Duarte — that’s pretty much equivalent for Portuguese surnames), only about licensing (what seems to be roughly equivalent to CC-BY-NC v.s CC-BY-SA). Let the less strict licensing win, then. -- Tuválkin 21:00, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could someone check this image, please? The photo is a derivative from flickr, but it's tagged as CC-PD where at the flickr says CC-BY-2.0. I don't know what to do, if I tag it as copyvio, flickrvio, missing permission or change the license. If you could see the other images that the user uploaded also to check if there are more errors. Thank you! --FlávR (talk) 19:07, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The tagging with CC-0 very probably constitutes a copyvio. But the uploader "sourced" it from "Wikipedia", which probably means from en:File:ModernSkinhead.jpg, where it is tagged wrongly with a CC-by-1.0 template, associated with a link to the CC-by-2.0 deed, and sourced (with an absurdly extended url) from the flickr image. So, I'd say change the license to CC-by-2.0 and mention the direct link to the flickr image. -- Asclepias (talk) 19:56, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moved from (Jameslwoodward)'s talk page:

"I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license. " Are you sure? Then, I think we can upload may pictures available for sale at many sites. Moreover, many people already given as a permission for using a very small resolution copy of their very famous works. So, do you think we can host a high resoulution here, depending on that license? JKadavoor Jee 12:49, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

My whole comment:
"Although I could understand an argument that a much higher resolution version is a different image for copyright purposes, I think that is not the case. Therefore, I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license."
is a little more nuanced than your excerpt. No, I'm not sure -- I had to close it one way or the other and I picked what seems to me to be the better way. I do understand that I was creating precedent on Commons, but before you try to apply it wholesale, you might bring it up at the Commons:Village pump/copyright. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 13:04, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't understand anything you said above; so moving to Commons:Village pump/copyright. Thanks. JKadavoor Jee 13:15, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that this partially depends on whether there are copyrightable elements in the image which aren't clearly visible in the small image. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:44, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That would be relevant if we were discussing copyright of something that had been photographed. But here we are discussing the copyright/licence of the photograph itself. 15:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

IMO, James is confusing licence and copyright. The image is copyright by the creator (say) and that is true no matter what size it is, what quality-setting the JPG is saved to, whether it is black and white or colour, whether you have the raw file, a 16-bit tiff or an 8-bit JPG. But the licence applies to the file (JPG) being offered. You only have a licence for that file, which allows you to do certain things with it. Stock photo libraries will licence you for one resolution of a file. They charge more depending on the resolution of the file you purchase and what you are doing with the image. These licence restrictions are quite separate from copyright. In the case of the linked file, Commons only has a licence to host the smaller file. Both the smaller and larger files are copyright the owner. Colin (talk) 15:51, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree with Colin here. Agencies are a good example: they license a certain resolution of an image, not any resolution. Yann (talk) 16:14, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes; otherwise we will be in more troubles. See File:TheoVanGogh.jpg. But we can't use that license for (Just a quick and dirty example.)
I'm not an OTRS volunteer. But assume people will send them original high quality images to claim authorship in case of doubts. But can we think to upload them here since the low resolution version is freely licensed? JKadavoor Jee 16:30, 27 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment. Of course, a simple license applies only to a specific image file, not to any other original of the same image. However, it is quite possible to downsize the image to a smaller size or to upscale it (by an interpolation) to a larger size. These would produce derivative images, which are usually allowed under, at least, CC licenses. However, as I said above, uploading originals of a higher resolution would require a separate licence. Ruslik (talk) 07:11, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes; Upsampling and Downsampling are acceptable as adaptations; but finding a higher resolution file from another location is not acceptable. ("This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the Work licensed here. There are no understandings, agreements or representations with respect to the Work not specified here." [5]) JKadavoor Jee 07:28, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is quite true that stock photo agencies will charge more for a license to a higher resolution image, but their licenses explicitly call out the resolution that is covered. The various CC licenses define "Work" very broadly
""Work" means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including without limitation any production in the literary, scientific and artistic domain, whatever may be the mode or form of its expression including digital form, such as a book, pamphlet and other writing; a lecture, address, sermon or other work of the same nature; a dramatic or dramatico-musical work; a choreographic work or entertainment in dumb show; a musical composition with or without words; a cinematographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to cinematography; a work of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving or lithography; a photographic work to which are assimilated works expressed by a process analogous to photography; a work of applied art; an illustration, map, plan, sketch or three-dimensional work relative to geography, topography, architecture or science; a performance; a broadcast; a phonogram; a compilation of data to the extent it is protected as a copyrightable work; or a work performed by a variety or circus performer to the extent it is not otherwise considered a literary or artistic work." [emphasis added]
Note particularly "whatever may be the mode or form of its expression". I think that if you have a CC license to an image, there is nothing in the license to suggest that you do not have a license to all resolutions of that image. In order to limit a CC license to a particular resolution, that must be specified at the time the CC license is given. If we have an image without any such restriction, then we have the right to use any resolution we may find later.
As a fallback position, I think this is consistent with the rule of law that ambiguity is construed against the drafter. If X offers a CC license to an image and does not specify the resolution, then the question of what resolution is covered is ambiguous. Since X offered the license without clarifying it, he is stuck with the user construing the license to cover all resolutions.
If we do not accept this point of view, I think we are then led inevitably to require that when one of use does a {{Licensereview}}, that he or she record the resolution that was licensed at the source, so that if the source changes the license and resolution later, we have a formal record of what we have free. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:27, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I consent that you have a point, at least about our license review process. So you mean that if a user only wants to give a license to a specific resolution, he has to specify that while uploading, right? Yann (talk) 14:52, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, you don't have a point and this is being misread. There is effectively a full stop after "means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License." The "including without limitation ..." bit is just a long (and non-exclusive) list of the kinds of works that may be licensed. It is not intended to mean that other forms of the work are also included in the licence. Read the whole thing and you will see that your interpretation would imply that a CC radio play also meant the book and the film versions had to be CC too. The v4 makes this clearer "Licensed Material means the artistic or literary work, database, or other material to which the Licensor applied this Public License." So, no the licence is only granted for the thing to which the licence is applied, which in this case is a JPG. Feel free to create a derivative work from that JPG, and upscale it if you like. But don't go copying another JPG and claiming that because they have a raw file in common that somehow you get that one for free to. -- Colin (talk) 15:22, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just downloaded and start reading the ebook from

Page 11: "Worth signed on. They put a Creative Commons BY license on the image and shared high-resolution copies for free online while selling signed prints at various prices and levels of exclusivity. “The most expensive sold first,” said Worth."

Page 26: "When completed, every aspect of the film will be released under two different CC licenses: BY-NC-SA for the high-resolution version, and BY-SA for the low-resolution. "We assume that if you are a movie theater, an on-demand platform, a newspaper, or TV, you will need the high-quality version and reach an agreement with us," says founder Nicolás Alcalá. "But if you’re a small amateur cineclub or a theater in a third world country and you don’t have the money to showcase the film, you can do it with the low-quality version for commercial purposes." JKadavoor Jee 17:10, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think Colin is interpreting "Work" too narrowly. The "Work" in copyright law is not the specific thing, it is the creation. Thus all of the instances of a sculpture are one work, even if made in different materials or even different sizes. If you go to the Copyright Office files, you will not find separate registrations for different sized images, whether on paper or digital. There is certainly no suggestion in "Copyright Basics" that you have to deposit different sizes of images. And, of course, all editions of a literary work are covered by a single copyright. One work is one creation; changing size or form does not make a new work.

I think Jkadavoor's cites are interesting, but not relevant, because in all cases cited, the license almost certainly specifies the resolution. Here we are discussing the case where no resolution is specified. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 22:22, 28 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry Jim; in fact, law works in the opposite way. If nothing is specified, a work is "all rights reserved". Similarly, if nothing is specified, the license is applicable to what shown there.
I think it simple if we follow the concept of "Adaptation". Consider a RAW file that is created on the camera as original work. A JPG file which is "transformed, or adapted including in any form recognizably derived from the original" is an "Adaptation". If I grant a license for the JPG, it will not applicable for the RAW file. If I crop, de-saturate the JPG and grant license only to the new b/w JPG, the license applicable only for the new JPG, and any further downward adaptations. JKadavoor Jee 04:08, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"In order to limit a CC license to a particular resolution, that must be specified at the time the CC license is given. If we have an image without any such restriction, then we have the right to use any resolution we may find later." It seems you passively encourage people to throw away the generic license tags and use a custom tag with as many terms as possible. :( JKadavoor Jee 06:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Once again, Jim, you are confusing copyright with licensing. This is such a fundamental mistake I am concerned you are an admin here. Of course the actual created image is copyright of the creator no matter what its form. By adding a CC licence I do nothing to change that copyright status. Let's be clear: copyright law is quite different from the law governing a licence. The scope and extent of the former is decided by governments. The latter is a legal agreement I make under whatever terms I choose that gives someone rights they wouldn't have otherwise had. Just like the legal agreement I have with Spotify allows me to listen to a compressed audio track on my phone while I retain my subscription, but doesn't give me any rights to the 24-bit master copy in the recording studio. The Spotify terms only apply to the compressed digital file being streamed to me, and only for a limited duration, whereas the artists copyright remains intact, unchanged, and applies to the song in all forms. Jim, when your interpretation of the licence rules is at odds with how the world interprets and uses it, it might be worth considering that you are interpreting it wrongly. The CC licence governs the thing it is applied to, which is a uploaded digital file on Commons, and says nothing about the original master copy or any higher-resolution versions someone might generate and offer under different terms. You seem to expect uploaders to have to describe the key restricted aspects of the variant of the copyright work they want the licence to apply to (e.g. the 8-bit JPG at 3000x2000px compression level 9 uploaded 06:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)) rather than the more obvious interpretation of "see the Commons file this page describes, yes the nice JPG picture of a butterfly, that's what this licence applies to". -- Colin (talk) 08:29, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not confusing copyright with licensing -- I have done a lot of both over the course of my career and I fully understand the difference. However, since the CC license uses the term "Work" without further definition, we must look elsewhere for an appropriate definition. Since the license concerns copyrighted material, it seems to me appropriate to look to definitions in copyright laws rather than the OED.
I don't have a copy of the Spotify EULA, but I'll bet that it carefully specifies that your license is to the downloaded material, nothing more.
Again, I think the rule against ambiguity applies -- if the licensor does not specify the resolution, then the license is ambiguous on that point, it must be construed against the interests of the drafter, and all resolutions are included. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:48, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This use of the word "work" scares me a bit. At least in the Swedish copyright law, a "work" is something which is protected for life+70 years, whereas other things, such as most photos, non-original films (e.g. CCTV films), sound recordings and performances, do not count as "works" but nevertheless get protection (although for a shorter term than works). If someone slaps {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} on a CCTV film, should this then be interpreted to mean that the film is unfree in Sweden? --Stefan4 (talk) 15:05, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see no reason to use another definition than that provided by any good dictionary, just as there is no need to define all the nouns used. The fact that copyright law documents define the "Work" term for their purposes should not be interpreted as saying anything about the use of that everyday word in a CC licence. Just as legal documents often define "The Company" and "The Customer" for the purpose of their contract, but this in no way affects the use of the words "company" or "customer" in other documents.
Jim's interpretation of CC means anyone using it has grated a licence to their raw files and tiffs. And presumably if their image was taken on film and scanned, then it has granted a licence to one's negatives too. And since his definition of "work" includes the artistic creation in all its form, then, as I noted earlier, it would imply a CC licensed radio play also meant the book and the film versions had to be CC too. This is plainly a ridiculous and unacceptable interpretation and would make the CC unusable. Stefan's concern too seems to say that a CC licence in Sweden must be re-interpreted just because Swedish law defines the word "work" for its purposes differently. That's just nonsense. A licence is just a legal document. Read it as such, and don't bring in baggage from someone else's legal document. -- Colin (talk) 15:57, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Version 4 uses the word "Licensed Material" instead of "Work". Further, "Unless otherwise separately undertaken by the Licensor, to the extent possible, the Licensor offers the Licensed Material as-is and as-available..." JKadavoor Jee 16:36, 29 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Forwarded to Legal and Community Advocacy for an authoritative opinion. JKadavoor Jee 10:48, 30 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See The Power of Open by Creative Commons. One example they give is: "the film will be released under two different CC licenses: BY-NC-SA for the high-resolution version, and BY-SA for the low-resolution. “We assume that if you are a movie theater, an on-demand platform, a newspaper, or TV, you will need the high-quality version and reach an agreement with us,” says founder Nicolás Alcalá. “But if you’re a small amateur cineclub or a theater in a third world country and you don’t have the money to showcase the film, you can do it with the low-quality version for commercial purposes.”. Clearly if Jim's interpretation was correct, then this would not be possible, as both are copies of the same "Work" in his opinion. -- Colin (talk) 15:09, 30 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But he argues that (see his comment above) the resolution is specified in that licenses. Similarly we should specify all our conditions in our "File" page too. I don't know how it is possible in sites like Flickr where only an option to choose an option button. :) That is why every CC license states that this license is applicable to THIS WORK/LICENSED MATERIAL ONLY. (I am thinking about adding a disclaimer in my licenses: "This license is applicable to whatever uploaded here by me. See Commons is a no man's land; any one, even an IP can edit this page. So I'm not responsible for whatever done by others. Please don't encroach my home and try to grab my works stored in my PC. They are mine.") JKadavoor Jee 15:47, 30 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I didn't see you had posted that already. I looked into why CC changed from "Work" to "Material" in CC4. The did so to expand the scope to include "sui generis database rights". The key point we are quibbling over is what was "offered under the terms of this License". Well, on the image description page, it says "This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence." So there we have it. The file. The JPG. At whatever resolution and quality and bit-depth you got and were offered. You weren't offered the larger version. And it is a different file. Can we move on now, or does the universe still need to be altered so that Jim doesn't have to admit he made a mistake? -- Colin (talk) 17:11, 30 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In general, I think Colin is right. If a specific version (e.g., a black-and-white version or a low-resolution version) of a photograph is licensed to you, then you do not automagically get rights to every single other version of that same photograph that exists in the universe. Each version of a photograph is its own "work". You may (under the terms of Commons' licenses) modify it (e.g., by adding false color), but "Here, you can have Version #151 of my photograph" simply does not mean that you are entitled to versions #1 through 150 or version 152 through infinity. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:53, 30 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What Colin is saying is clearly correct. Consider two thought experiments:
  • I license you the rights to use a photo of my art studio. In the licensed photo I have covered a painting of mine (to which I also own copyright) with a Gaussian blur. Clearly, you have not gained any rights to a version of the same photo that shows the painting intact.
  • I license you the rights to use an 8x8 colorfield that I have made by downsampling a photo of mine to an 8x8 grid. Clearly you have not gained any rights to the underlying photo.
The latter case is extremely similar to the issue originally at hand: the only difference is that in the original example, the content of the underlying photo is more legible. - Jmabel ! talk 02:05, 1 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:Jkadavoor: That is very interesting. If Creative Commons argued that CC 3.0 and below couldn't be used to license databases in the European Union (because databases aren't works), then you can't use CC 3.0 or below to license the vast majority of all photographs in Sweden, because most photos aren't works either under Swedish law. --Stefan4 (talk) 08:28, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think CC fixed many holes in their previous licenses in 4.0 We can see the summary of various issues they faced, briefly listed at 4.0 and its sub heads. JKadavoor Jee 08:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not so convinced by Colin's argument. Even assuming that the {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} license summary has any legal force (beyond simply linking to the actual license), it mentions "the file" (once), "the work" (four times), and "this work" (once). So its wording seems very unclear about whether the file or the work is meant.
The actual CC license text defines "Work" as follows: '"Work" means the literary and/or artistic work offered under the terms of this License including [...] a photographic work [...]'. Given CC's general reliance on not defining terms too tightly, but allowing local copyright laws to determine their application, this suggests to me that Jim's interpretation would be correct. Unless otherwise specified, what is being licensed is the photographic "work" as defined by copyright law. In most jurisdictions, I think rescaling a photo would not generally be a creative enough act to gather a fresh copyright on just the rescaled version. Perhaps heavy downscaling (e.g. to 8x8 as in Jkadavoor's example) might be an exception, but not more typical downscalings that produce a version of the photo that is indistinguighable from the original at first glance. --Avenue (talk) 14:36, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Avenue, I think Colin's reply is against Jim's argument "if the licensor does not specify the resolution, then the license is ambiguous on that point..." We have no provision to specify the resolution within the legal text; the only possibility is on the file page. Anyway it is complicated and with in the attention of Legal and CC people; awaiting a formal reply. JKadavoor Jee 16:57, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think this whole argument once against demonstrates the foolishness of crowdsourcing copyright and license issues. People are continuing to misinterpret "work" in a way that includes too much and certainly not the material that was licenced. The fact that downsampling may not be considered a creative enough act to warrant separate copyright is quite irrelevant. We aren't discussing whether a smaller image might be covered by the same licence or whether it would be a derivative work or considered the same work. We are discussing whether a larger image that contains more original information is also licensed along with a small one. Going from a small to a larger image is not a simple transform any more than going from the trailer of a movie to the whole film is a simple transform. Folks, when your interpretation of CC law fundamentally breaks it and makes it quite unusable by any professional, you have consider that there's an off chance you are talking bollocks. Let's leave this to people with the relevant qualifications. -- Colin (talk) 18:21, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wrt Avenue's doubt about the legal power of the licence summary to define what is being licensed, see this document that discusses the wording changes from "work" to "material". They say "Licensors may still identify what “the Licensed Material” is, however, just as they may identify “the Work” in 3.0." To my mind, the identification of what is being licensed is abundantly clear even without our licence template saying "the file". I don't see any judge interpreting our file description page as a licence to anything generated from the artists's original raw file. What has gone on with this linked file is unethical, and the amateur attempts to rewrite the law to justify reflects poorly on Commons. Any, this is all still a waste of time. None of what we write matters one jot. Colin (talk) 18:49, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Colin, to me there seems to be a glaring contradiction between how strongly you oppose other's views about the interpretation of the license, and your argument that what we think doesn't matter because we're not competent to have any views on it at all. If you really believe the latter, shouldn't you admit that you are just as likely to be mistaken about what a judge might decide as those you disagree with?
If legal people chime in with an opinion that is relevant and understandable, I'll be happy to apply that. Until then, I think we have a duty to develop what consensus we can about how to proceed with this file and others, and yes, that does depend on what we understand the legalities of the license to be. Trying to understand this does not mean we are trying to "rewrite the law", and I think your choice not to assume good faith there is far more damaging to Commons than our honest disagreement about the meaning of the license. Please keep your rhetoric in check.
Going back to the issues, the fact that the higher resolution image might contain more "information" is not important. What is important (under my interpretation of the license) is whether whatever extra features it might show have enough creative effect to attract copyright, and so make it a distinguishable Work from the lower resolution file. An example: if you knew that a file had been slightly scrambled during transmission so that it differed slightly from the original CC-licensed file, but the changes were visually imperceptible, I think your argument implies that you would have no right to use the version you received (because it is not the licensed file). In contrast, my interpretation of the default meaning of the license would be that differences that have no implications for copyright can be disregarded, whether they are meaningless transmission errors (say) or uncopyrightable detail in a photograph. --Avenue (talk) 20:47, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are right I am as much an amateur here as the rest, which is why I said "we write". However, you may find my interpretation fits with practical use of the licence by many professionals. The conclusion you and Jim have come to would really mean our upload wizard needs to have a strong warning "Beware, if you choose to licence your upload file under CC, you are actually consenting to licence all works derived from your negative or raw file or source video or audio masters". And we will have to tell all professionals uploading low-resolution images, while retaining high-resolution for their paid clients, that their contributions are no longer wise as someone will copy the high resolution image, change the licence on it, and then argue they did nothing wrong. In all my argument about licensing, I seek to discover what professionals believe rather than rely on my own understanding. That may be professionals who use the licence or lawyers who advise. I don't see this as an area where it is helpful for Commons users to speculate, and retaining an knowingly unethically copyied file while speculating is bad. Let's be clear: we know the low resolution version is CC and the high resolution version is "all rights reserved"? Did the photographer just upload a low-resolution version to save disc space on Commons? No. He did not licence the high-resolution version to Commons. We are being unethical, even if some people think he made a legal mistake in choosing CC for a deliberately low-resolution upload of his "work". That makes me sick, to be honest, and not happy to be part of this community.
Avenue, your scrambled version is a data-loss issue just like downsampling. I don't regard it as a relevant argument whatsoever. This is just amateur analogies. The law cannot be worked out from analogies or reason. It is what it is, and what professionals say it is, not us. -- Colin (talk) 22:52, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find it rather frustrating that a load of folk chanted "a free licence is a free licence" not so long ago, in support of a licence specifically designed for "textual works" and which calls the material being licensed a "document". We were assured the judge would know what was meant, and not to worry about the clearly inappropriate words. Yet here we have a licence specifically designed for AV material in a digital age, on a page that clearly states what material is licensed (the file) and yet the rights of the licensor are abused by twisting and misunderstanding the meaning of one word. If we disagree with the restrictions licensors wish to place on their works, then we can choose whether to host them here or not and that is our choice. What we shouldn't do is stomp all over those rights because one or two of us think the wording of the licence could have been a bit clearer. I also think the discussion here is harmed by the fact that the uploader is not one of us, not a friend. That makes us all morally weaker: like the experiment where people are happy to accept a mistake in getting their change where they end up richer if it is in a large chain of shops, yet wouldn't dream of doing that at the local independent corner shop. Is Commons capable of doing the right thing? Silly me. I should know Commons has no moral compass. Colin (talk) 23:24, 4 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Avenue, I agree with you that we should try to understand the terms and express our opinion until the Legal or the CC people expressed their formal opinion. They are taking much time as usual; as their opinion has a huge impact, so should take care while telling something. Hope they answer soon. Remember, your opinion was different, earlier. There you said "This collage is an interesting example. It's released under a CC-BY-SA licenses, so you could chop it up into its component images, and they could also be released under the same CC-BY-SA license - at least at the resolution provided in the collage. Now the component images are available on Flickr under a different, non-free license (CC-BY-NC), in some cases at a higher resolution, and these higher resolution versions cannot be uploaded to Commons." It is the current precedent here; that we followed since years. Now Jim created a new precedent, that can't be acceptable without strong legal support. The intention of this discussion is what Colin said above. It should not affect quality contributions to Commons. If there is such a black hole in a license, we should well advertise it instead of make benefit from it; that is part of ethics. Even CC people are responsible for it; that is why I repeatedly mailing to them. It is unfortunate that even Kat Walsh not responded to this.
See this example, stitched and tonemapped from 24 images. The resulting JPG will be different in every reprocess. Can we claim the copyright for all those 24 images and/or for the resulting JPG which is at least five times bigger in resolution (my guess) than the picture licensed here? We can argue that we are talking about simple pictures that are just downsampled; but how we can prove it? So the policy should be applicable for all. JKadavoor Jee 03:26, 5 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, Diliff's image is an 4x2 matrix so the downsampling is only about 75% which is quite reasonable given the quality-reducing transformations that occur during stitching. The 24 images are a result of each frame having 3 exposures, for tone mapping. Avenues' analogy that downsampling doesn't produce a separately copyrightable work is faulty. It is looking at the transform in the wrong direction. Cropping also doesn't produce a separately copyrightable work. Yet if Diliff added another row of images to his scene to capture more of the ceiling (say -- I now it doesn't really work for this pic), that would produce a larger image. He could sell that "all rights reserved" and Commons couldn't claim it was the same work just because it could be cropped to produce the same image we have here. Same for downsampling -- there is no way to invent the missing pixels we don't have here. We didn't get them licensed to us.
The second fault being made is the continued misinterpretation of "work". The CC licence uses it to describe the kind of thing that may be licensed (something that can be described as a copyrightable work). Since that ran into problems with some databases, and was also subject to national definitions of what was a copyrightable work, they've moved away from that word. It defines the scope of things that may be licensed, not the scope of what is licensed. Greengrocers sell fruit. The sign says "Oranges 50p". When I buy an orange, I get one orange. Even though all oranges are fruit, I can't take another orange for free. That other orange is also fruit and is also the same fruit. That mistake is happening here. I've got a small JPG licensed to Commons. It is a copyrightable work. The larger JPG is not licensed to Commons even though it is also a copyrightable work and even though some people may regard it as the same copyrightable work. You weren't offered it just as the greengrocer didn't offer all oranges for 50p. -- Colin (talk) 08:43, 5 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jkadavoor, the comment of mine that you quote reflects my understanding of the license at the time I made it. Before this discussion I took for granted that larger resolutions were not covered when a smaller version was CC-licensed. I now find Jim's argument fairly convincing, i.e. his argument has changed my mind on this issue.
Colin, the question to my mind is how the two versions of the image would be regarded legally, and in particular whether they are legally the same "Work" as defined by the applicable license. The CC-BY-SA-3.0 license begins by saying "THE WORK (AS DEFINED BELOW) IS PROVIDED UNDER THE TERMS OF THIS CREATIVE COMMONS PUBLIC LICENSE ("CCPL" OR "LICENSE")." (caps in original) Jim and I have both quoted the license's definition of "Work" in our arguments. I do not think the single mention of the word "file" in our {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}} template would trump the license's definition, particularly since the Upload Wizard requires you to state that "I, [username], the copyright holder of this work, irrevocably grant anyone the right to use this work under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license", not the (IMO misleading) license summary in our template.
I find your oranges example at least as unconvincing as you seem to find my error-laden transmission example. Above you give cropping as another transformation that produces a smaller version whose license does not extend to the original image. I agree that this would sometimes be true, e.g. when there are two quite separate copyrightable elements in the original, and the crop removes one of them. However I don't agree this is always the case. Suppose the original photo showed an object (an orange, say) centred on a large white background, and this was then cropped to remove an equal amount of the white background on all sides. If the cropped version was licensed as CC-BY-SA-3.0, I think it's likely that the original version would be covered by the same license, because the extra content in the original probably would not result in it attracting a separate copyright. (I'm giving this example not so much in the hope of convincing you, as to try to make my position as clear as I can.) I think a similar analysis would indicate many downsized versions are not sufficient distinct from the original to prevent CC-3.0-licensing of the downsized version extending to the original.
I agree with Jkadavoor that this feature of the license (along with others) are not obvious and that our documentation of the license should be improved substantially. Benefiting from the feature would seem unethical to me (at least for newly uploaded works) if we failed to do improve our documentation once we were aware of the issue. --Avenue (talk) 12:31, 6 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your white background example is flawed as a white background is not a copyrightable thing. Like silence at the end of an audio recording. If we instead consider an image of a group photograph. Someone crops it to just one person's head and uploads that CC. Later someone finds the original group photo and, using your wrong-way-round argument, uploads that to Commons. All those extra pixels were not included in the original. In the picture we are discussing, the CC image was 48,600 pixels whereas the larger version 623,480 pixels. There are 563,880 copyrightable coloured pixels in the larger one that were not licensed. 92% of the content in the larger image is not present in the smaller image. Same for the group photo. Does it matter that the pixels are evenly distributed or not? They are clearly derived from the same photograph, in the same way that a summary of "The Hobbit" is derived from full work, but you can't get from the summary to the full work without a huge creative step. Whereas one could restore a white background quite easily. So I continue to say you are looking at the issue in the wrong direction. If you had an example the other way, it might be more convincing. Just because your logic appears to work in one direction doesn't mean it works in the other. Anyway, I believe none of this matters. The intent and interpretation of the CC licence text is what it is as determined by lawyers and judges and not by you or I. It doesn't matter one jot whether you can construct a rational argument one way and I can construct one the other. Which is why I think it is stupid of WMF to leave this sort of thing as crowdsourced. If WMF wanted to help uploaders and reusers then they would pay money and document the best advice they can. As it stands, one should consider it foolish for any professional to donate their work to Commons and foolish for any professional to reuse Commons material. They should license their work professionally and purchase media from professionals who will offer proper legal advice and legal indemnities. -- Colin (talk) 11:30, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My white background example was intended as an example of something that isn't separately copyrightable being cropped away. Perhaps it wasn't the best example, since it seems that was ambiguous. But I think your example of cropping an individual person's head from a portrait misses the point.
You say that for the picture that prompted this discussion, the larger version contains "563,880 copyrightable coloured pixels" not in the smaller version. They do not have individual copyrights, so the number of them doesn't seem especially relevant.
Legally qualified advice on such issues would be great to have, but in its absence I don't think we should give up. For issues like this one where opinions within the community differ substantially, a precautionary approach is probably best. Hopefully some more conclusive advice will arrive in due course. --Avenue (talk) 09:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh I know those pixels aren't individually copyright, but they are creative material unlike whitespace or silence. Anyway, your point is you seem to think the CC licence is intrinsically linked to the source "copyrightable work" whatever that may be whereas I think it is linked to the instance of that work that is offered with the licence. One can take that instance and do what you like with it: upscale it, downsample it, corrupt it, but that's the instance that is being licensed. Hence the analogy where you buy one orange but not all oranges. You think you've bought all the oranges. Consider a watermark, if Commons allowed it. If someone CC licensed a watermarked image, would you consider the untarnished version to be CC too? They aren't separately copyrightable works. Or if someone CC licensed the first chapter of their "How to take great pictures for Commons" book, would you consider the whole book to be yours for the taking too? They aren't separately copyrightable works either. Or someone offers a 10 minute recording of the opening movement of an orchestral work as CC, would you consider the whole 60 minute piece to be free? They aren't separately copyrightable works either. So many examples where this thinking fails, or would be horrible if true. -- Colin (talk) 10:03, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, our fundamental disagreement is roughly as you state it, although I'm not sure you really grasp what I think the Work covered by the license is. All but one of your examples seem to address only highly distorted caricatures of this. Oranges - it's hard to see how CC licenses would or even could apply to them. The rest of a book will contain many creative elements that would attract a copyright separate from the copyright of the first chapter, and cannot be inferred even approximately from it, so they wouldn't be automatically covered by its license. Likewise the latter portion of an orchestral recording contains many creative aspects that are essentially separate from those in the recording of the first 10 minutes.
A better analogy to the downsized picture would be downsampled audio. For example, if an initial orchestral recording was made by sampling the analogue signal at 48kHz, and a downsampled 24kHz version was CC-licensed, I think the same license would probably apply to the 48kHz version as well. This is because the essential creative aspects of the performance recorded at 48kHz would also be present in the 24kHz version as well, although at lower quality.
The example you give that I think is on the money is the watermark one. Yes, I believe many watermarks would not obscure enough of the original unwatermarked version to stop it from being covered by the CC license of the watermarked version. I see nothing abhorrent about this. (And Commons doesn't prohibit watermarks; it merely discourages them.) --Avenue (talk) 11:55, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The oranges example is not of course a copyright issue but one of language. You are fundamentally misinterpreting the concepts of "instance of" and "kind of". The licence applies to the instance of a creative work that has been offered. The copyright applies to the source work and extends to all works that can be derived from it without significant creative step (cropping, downsampling, etc). You and Jim confuse copyright and licence here just because both use the concept of a "copyrightable work" in their definitions (one as the thing being copyrighted and the other as the kind of thing that may be licensed. No other licence in the world applies to the whole copyright work. All licences contain limitations on what one has been given and what one can do with it. One cannot take a downsampled thumbnail 8-bit low quality JPG and produce from that a 36-megapixel gallery quality 24-bit tiff. There is no algorithm in the world that can create the missing pieces. Avenue, either you are arguing the licence covers the source creative work or it doesn't. If you have another interpretation of "work" then make that clear. But once you take your interpretation then one has to accept that the whole book is a creative work and the first chapter is not a separately copyrightable creative work. It doesn't matter if, like you say the rest of the book contain copyrightable elements, because the copyright rests with the book as a complete published work, and anything uncreatively derived from it, such as a chapter. Now, your example might hold if the first chapter was written in 2000 and published and then the rest of the book was written in 2005 and published then, then they would have separate copyright. But that's not the case here. We have a photograph taken at once, just as the orchestral piece is played in its entirety. Someone has cropped the recording or downsampled the image and offered that under a different licence. Colin (talk) 13:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You seem to have a more fixed idea of what a work is than I do. For example, you say it would be "the book as a complete published work", not a chapter; "a photograph taken at once"; "the orchestral piece [...] played in its entirety". I think that each of these works could contain many others, at least conceptually. A photograph of a group of people could be chopped up into portraits of each of them, each with its own copyright. A book may contain chapters, poems, song lyrics, paragraphs and even sentences that could be separately protected by copyright, even though they comprise a larger work when combined together. Perhaps I'm wrong, but the interpretation of the license that makes most sense to me is that it covers not just the particular instance or copy of a work that it's attached to, but also other versions of essentially the same work. By "essentially the same work" I'd include things that would not attract a separate copyright, such as (IMO) somewhat larger resolution versions of the same photo, or recordings of the same performance that are identical except for being sampled at a somewhat higher rate. I'd include watermarked versions of the same photo, where the watermark was a simple typeset copyright notice or similar uncopyrightable element, but perhaps not versions signed the photographer (e.g. in jurisdictions like the U.K. where the signature might well be protected by copyright). On the other hand, I wouldn't include an entire group photo where the CC license had been applied only to an individual's portrait cropped from it, for instance. Of course IANAL, and I don't know how people trained in copyright law would see it, but that's what currently makes most sense to me. --Avenue (talk) 00:54, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pictogram voting info.svg Info Diane Peters commented that "Apologies for the silence from CC so far. We're working on a couple of FAQs that should clear up a lot of this. We hope to have those finished early next week. I'll post here at that time." JKadavoor Jee 03:43, 7 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the link. It's nice to see there are others with a similar interpretation to Jim and I. --Avenue (talk) 09:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's nothing "nice" about this. If your interpretation is correct then Creative Commons and Wikimedia are guilty of gross legal incompetence and of misleading professionals into giving up more of their creative material than they intended. CC published a clear example of a low-res low-quality film having a different licence from the high-res high-quality film and clearly intended this to serve as an example to industry. Wikimedia has for years encouraged professionals to donate low-size images to Wikipedia while keeping the studio-quality images for their clients professional use. There should be nothing less than an outcry if it proves CC3 is broken in this regard. Colin (talk) 13:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't seem to find the CC example you refer to, at least not through a quick web search. (The closest thing I've found is on page 34 of this report.) Do you have any links (for CC or WMF)? --Avenue (talk) 13:45, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is actually mentioned twice in this discussion (I didn't notice the first time). See Jkadavoor's comment at 17:10, 28 November 2013 (UTC) and my comment at 15:09, 30 November 2013. The Power Of Open Page 26. This is a publicity document by CC. In addition to the already quoted bit, it says "We hope that The Power of Open, inspires you to examine and embrace the practice of open licensing so that your contributions to the global intellectual commons can provide their greatest benefit to all people" they go onto say "Our tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardized way to keep their copyright while allowing certain uses of their work – a “some rights reserved” approach to copyright.... We’ve worked with copyright experts around the world to make sure our licenses are legally solid, globally applicable, and responsive to our users’ needs." Your document also says "for example, creators release low fidelity or low resolution versions of a work for noncommercial use, but reserve high fidelity or high resolution versions for commercial exploitation." How could these "versions" have different licences if you say the CC is intrinsically (it its very wording) tied to the entire copyrightable "work"? Add do this years of practice on Wikipedia that has gone unquestioned. If your interpretation is right, then not only is this publicity document wrong and legally misleading, but those experts haven't made it as solid and commercially useful as they think, and Wikipedia owes some people a big apology. -- Colin (talk) 16:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't realise that book was from Creative Commons, sorry, even though you said so before. It does seem like a publicity document, not a reference manual, so some important details are no doubt left out. Looking on the website for the movie referenced on page 26, I haven't yet found a low-res version licensed as CC-BY-SA, so I don't know how exactly they've specified that (or even whether they've done what they said they would in the book). The full resolution version is actually licensed CC-BY-NC-ND, although if some third-party material (music and archival footage) is removed the rest is licensed CC-BY-SA-NC.[6] --Avenue (talk) 23:56, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well it isn't just something knocked up by an intern that might be full of mistakes. You have to admit that CC are clearly publicising and encouraging the use of different CC licences for the same copyright work released to different degrees of quality/size (in the same way as cropping length is used for other media to give a sample of the full work). It is hard to escape that if CC was designed to licence the underlying work, rather than the material being offered, then these documents are misleading and should be withdrawn. Wikipedia and Commons have thousands of low-resolution images donated under this understanding. There's a real potential for bad publicity for CC if it turns out commercial photographers have been mislead. -- Colin (talk) 08:25, 9 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See; any one can adapt a CC BY material and claim full copyright for it for the adaptations they made. Then why an author can't claim full copyright for his copyright for the contents in his original work that are not in the freely licensed version? even if a limited edition is licensed freely? Can I buy a Windows RT 8.1 and use Windows 8.1 Enterprise? So many arguments from our side; now it is the time for the CC people to respond, I think. :) JKadavoor Jee 16:11, 8 December 2013 (UTC) (Comment edited. JKadavoor Jee 02:35, 9 December 2013 (UTC))Reply[reply]

Anyone adapting a CC BY work in a minor non-copyrightable way (such as cropping or downsizing) could not claim "all rights reserved" and own copyright on the new work. So the same goes of the author and his own work. They are the same as far as copyright is concerned. Just as one can't publish chapter 1 of "Harry Potter" with a newer copyright date than the original book. However, what one can do with a licence is entirely up to the wording of a licence. The only thing needed for CC is for the thing being licensed to be a copyrightable work (not the whole copyrightable work). The larger picture (high resolution, better quality, more bit depth, etc) is not a minor adaptation of the licensed thing and in fact could not be derived from the licensed thing by any technological or creative means. Microsoft didn't use CC to licence Windows. -- Colin (talk) 16:39, 8 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is just a funny comment to divert from the heat of this discussion. We succeeded to bring this matter into the attention of the CC people; let us wait and see the response they offered. :) Jee 08:51, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
File:Trabalhos.jpg was tagged with {{No permission since}}. I removed this because the image recently survived a deletion request. Multichill (talk) 14:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This has become a popular question, and CC has now published a few new FAQ entries relevant to these topics:

Most of the official opinion of CC should be cleared up by these, but speaking with my CC hat on and restating a few points that are particularly relevant here:

  • Basically, whether a license applies to all formats of a work depends on whether they are considered the same work under the relevant copyright law. In many cases, they would be; there wouldn't be considered to be any new copyrightable expression in the high-resolution copy as the low-resolution copy. In other cases, there wouldn't be. There's no bright-line test for determining when this is the case. I realize most of the arguments over these situations are going to hinge on when a work is considered to be the same work and when it isn't, and unfortunately I can't resolve those questions for you (especially not when I'm speaking for CC).
  • You may always distribute works differently, even when the same license applies. For example, you can release a low-resolution version on a website for free, while only sending the high-resolution file to those who have paid for access. If they are considered the same work, it may be true that a recipient of the high-resolution file could redistribute it under the terms of the CC license even if she had to pay for initial access. You may even distribute things considered to be the same work under different license terms, but if they are considered to be the same work, a recipient of either could use the work under either license offered, as the licenses would apply to both. (If they would not be considered the same work, then it doesn't matter how similar they are: the license applied to one work only applies to that work.)
  • None of this is a change in the 4.0 licenses: it applies equally to works under any CC license, and depends mainly on the underlying operation of copyright law.

Hoping some of this is useful. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 22:06, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This still leaves the problem with such things which are not works in the first place, such as most photographs under Swedish law. What happens when someone licenses a photograph under a CC licence? Is the licence invalid in Sweden as the photograph isn't a work? --Stefan4 (talk) 22:41, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not entirely sure what kind of answer would be useful here, but this explanation applies to any piece of copyrightable material that may be licensed under a CC license, under whatever terms the CC license apply to it. It applies wherever a CC license was applicable to some piece of copyrightable expression to begin with. (If a CC license was never applicable to begin with, of course, then none of this applies or matters.) I'm referring to a "work" here as shorthand; the license text currently uses the term "Licensed Material" which applies to anything copyrightable that a CC license is applied to; in 3.0 "work" is given as a defined term which may encompass things not ordinarily called "works" in the local jurisdiction of the copyright holder. (The licenses are valid in Sweden, to the best of our knowledge and that of our Swedish affiliate team.) Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 22:58, 18 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anything which meets the threshold of originality is a "work" and is protected by the first article of the Swedish copyright law. However, numerous things are copyrighted even if they do not meet the threshold of originality (protected under chapter 5 of the copyright law: related rights). Most important to Commons are photographs: most photographs are below the threshold of originality (and are therefore not "works") but are nevertheless copyrighted thanks to article 49 a. Other examples of things which are not works but nevertheless are copyrighted are databases, performances, sound recordings and non-creative films (e.g. CCTV imagery). What happens if someone tries to use a CC licence for a copyrighted thing which is not a work? --Stefan4 (talk) 14:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Kat Walsh and the entire CC team for the response. So I assume the hosting of File:Trabalhos.jpg is acceptable; even-though whether we should encourage it in Commons is a different question that this community should decide. Jee 02:53, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, thanks very much for responding here, and for the update to the CC FAQ. IMO the legal situation is now reasonably clear, and the first thing we should do is review and improve our documentation accordingly.
I see nothing wrong in general with hosting higher resolution versions than first uploaded here, when the license allows this. Maybe we should allow courtesy deletions when someone complains about a higher resolution version of their image being hosted here, if they misunderstood or were misled about the license when they uploaded the lower resolution one, but I imagine that discussion would be best left until we have a concrete complaint to discuss. --Avenue (talk) 04:15, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The most outdated thing I've found here so far is Commons:Flickr files#Lower quality images. That could be a good place to start. --Avenue (talk) 12:33, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is hugely disappointing and I owe James an apology. Initial thoughts:
  • CC3 is broken and we should add warnings and improve our documentation on what uploaders are releasing when they use that licence.
  • CC publicity has several misleading case studies and comments wrt using different CC licences for different resolutions or qualities of work. These documents should be withdrawn from publication and a notice published indicating the misinformation.
  • Commons and Wikipedia need to raise awareness that CC is not suitable for donating cut-down versions of one's work to Wikipedia.
  • A FAQ on other variants of a copyright work is required. For example, a trailer for a movie, a sample chapter from a book, a "web-quality" stream of a video/song, a movement within a full orchestral piece, a snippet of a pop song. These are all aspects of the same underlying copyright work yet someone may wish to release them under a free licence. It would appear now that CC is unsuitable for that purpose.
  • Are there any other licences in existence that apply to the underlying copyright work. Most license I can think of only extend to the physical material or data stream one is given.
  • I'm surprised that CC4 is considered no different. Part of the move to 4 was to remove "work" entirely from the license to ensure the wording was internationally applicable and could apply to things that in some countries are not considered copyright works. I disagree with Kat Walsh that "work" is merely shorthand for "Licensed Material". The latter has no counterpart in copyright law so is not subject to national variation or wider scope interpretation (as has happened here). I think CC4 has the potential to be useful for licensing the "files" we host on commons if we consider "files" as "Licensed Material". I urge CC to double-check that CC4 is not different to CC3 in this regard.
  • If CC4 is no different the imo it is also broken and we should ask CC to think again. CC is widely used for images and this practice of donating a reduced version is widespread.
  • This is a further example of why we should not accept GFDL-licensed images because the terms of that licence are for textual documents. Wording is important and can't be dismissed as "probably ok". Careful analysis of GFDL licence terms may thus result in those license-usages being regarded as ineligible, and thus no longer free works.
  • There is a need for a free licence for audio/visual media (the files). If CC is not designed to be that licence (the intent is to make one's entire underlying copyright work free) then Commons needs another licence.

-- Colin (talk) 09:34, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I agree with you that we should improve our documentation and CC should withdraw their misleading examples from, and etc. But I don't think it is a problem of CC alone. If CC works on that way, I think all similar licenses (GPL, FAL, etc.) also work that way. It may be disappointing; but if we can educate people, I don't see much problem in future. (Yes; I too apologize to Jim, he did a brave move.) Jee 09:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which of the dozen profiles at do you mean? I didn't see a problem on a quick skim through. --Avenue (talk) 12:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, that was a quick comment; didn't check in detail. So you can read "if any". Anyway the example I quoted earlier from should be removed. Jee 15:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Perhaps CC have not made the situation as clear as I thought. Colin, I am a bit baffled as to why you think that any of your "variants" (except the web-quality stream) would be the same work. To say they are "aspects" of the larger work is a long way from suggesting the two works are the same.
I think the change in CC 4.0 wording to "Licensed Material" (defined as "the artistic or literary work, database, or other material to which the Licensor applied this Public License") just expands the types of material the license can cover. For an "artistic or literary work", the question of whether two versions/aspects/crops/renderings/etc of the work are the same work still comes down to copyright law in the relevant jurisdiction. You could attempt to specify what resolutions you want to license, but I gather CC view that as modifying their license and thus violating their trademark.[7]
Perhaps there's a workaround for this issue, at least in version 4, which says that Licensed Rights are limited to those "that the Licensor has authority to license". Instead of uploading the material yourself, email a friend and grant them the right to sublicense only a low resolution version of the work under the CC license. Your friend then uploads it here, posting a note next to the license saying that they only have authority to license the low resolution version, and forwards your email to OTRS. It seems to me that this approach does not modify the license terms, unlike trying to limit the resolutions licensed directly yourself, so it shouldn't violate CC's trademark. Instead it achieves the same result by simply using an existing license clause. Of course IANAL, so don't just take my word for it. --Avenue (talk) 12:29, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Jee is probably right about this whole issue also affecting the FAL, which talks about the "work" covered throughout. The GFDL applies to "any manual or other work" containing an appropriate licensing notice, so that would also seem to be affected. --Avenue (talk) 12:50, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only possibility for a copyright holder is to keep his original material (digital/film) in his custody; and sell only prints. I think it is applicable to any license of choice CC, FAL, GPL, GFDL.... If anybody 'somehow' come across the original, even if you specifically released it as NC/all rights reserved, they would be within their rights to use it CC BY/FAL/GPL/GFDL if a low resolution version was released in that license earlier. Am I right? Jee 13:23, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I strongly oppose your workaround and don't think it would work -- I think that is to cover a situation for example where you take a photograph of another creative work -- your CC licence covers the photograph but not the other work since you don't have authority over it. Also the "right" you've given your friend isn't sufficient rights to release the "work" under CC (he isn't the copyright owner). Creating personal variants of the CC should be strongly discouraged and I can see why CC would insist such a licence was no longer called CC. Avenue, a 30-second clip of a song and the full 3-minute version of the song are the same copyright work. A DVD of Fantasia is the same copyright work as the Blue-Ray. The first chapter of a book is the same copyright work as the full book. These are all variants, created by slavish means (crop, cut, downsample) from the original copyright work. Since the CC licence apparently applies to the copyright work, and not just to the file/disc/film in your hand, then it extends to all variants for which copyright law does not distinguish. I can only assume the intention is (like FAL says) for one to donate one's original artistic work to others as though they had the same access to the original as you do. This severely limits what CC can be used for.
Do you agree that this appears to make CC unsuitable for donating downsized images or web-quality video clips where the author wishes to retain full control over the high-quality original. Even uploading a watermarked higher-resolution version would not be sufficient protection, as someone from Commons would remove the watermark.
I have problems with v4 being regarded as the same. The word "material" is a physical not conceptual thing. I thought a big point of v4 was to free the licence from country-specific interpretations of what was a "work". To me "material to which the Licensor applied this Public License" seems to give me the power to specify exactly what I'm licensing, which I think for most of us was assumed to be the file. Do what you like with the file, but the master raw file (like one's negatives) are mine.
We now have a situation where size-variants may or may not be free depending on the country and some untested potential case before a judge. This is pretty unacceptable and could be regarded as failing our precautionary principle (aspects of which I am no fan it must be said).
I think we should attempt to contact some pro photographers who have been mislead wrt their donation to Wikimedia. I also believe we require a response from CC as to why their publicity material is misleading. -- Colin (talk) 13:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agreed with your interpretation (i.e. that a copyright holder could release a low-res version under CC and keep the high-res version all rights reserved). However, now that we know the official interpretation, I disagree that it applies to all the examples you gave. I think there is definitely a difference between different-resolution images or DVD/Blu-Ray and taking a chapter from a book or a trailer from a movie. Difference resolutions of an image or video are much closer to being the same "thing" than something that takes out actual "stuff," such as a crop, trailer, or chapter. (I'm being intentionally vague here with my nouns because I'm not sure if calling them "work," "material," etc. is appropriate.) -- King of ♠ 17:51, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know we can think that cropping picture or editing a video are different to downsizing (though all are lossmaking changes from which the reverse transform cannot be achieved). The key is what CC and the law think. See their answer to How do I know if a low-resolution photo and a high-resolution photo are the same work?. Now replace "low resolution" and "high resolution" with "cropped image" or "cut video" or "low quality video" or "sample chapter". What is the underlying copyright work that is behind the cropped image -- the original photograph. What is the underlying copyright that is behind the sample chapter -- the whole book. In copyright law, an excerpt from a book isn't a separate copyright entity. And all the different qualities of a pop song from AM radio to MP3 to CD are the same underlying copyright work. And it is this copyright to the work that CC applies: "Although CC licenses get attached to tangible works (such as photos and novels), the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material." So if I make a movie and extract a single frame from that movie, what is the copyright in the licensed material? It is my copyright for the movie. I don't have separate copyrights for every frame. The Commons upload Wizard says "I Colin, the copyright holder of this work, irrevocably grant anyone the right to use this work under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license". Now if the "work" is the movie and I upload a single frame... Yikes! I think it is ridiculous but to me this seems the logical conclusion to what they have decided. I guess they want us to be 100% free culture fans who are happy to release all our forms and aspects of our creative work. And I'm pretty free myself. But plenty aren't. Now I may be wrong, and have been already, but I think we need CC folk to clarify these examples and explain, in terms of copyright works, how they might differ. I take a photograph which produces a copyright work. The 640x480 thumbnail and the 6000x4000 photograph I generate from this are "the same work under applicable copyright law" according to CC and thus are linked in terms of what I've licensed. The film Fantasia is copyright Disney 1940 and so is a single frame someone takes from it... -- Colin (talk) 18:48, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That text doesn't say "underlying copyright work". The copyright of the book The Wizard of Oz underlaid the movie The Wizard of Oz, but that doesn't mean it's not a separate work. The US copyright office has refused to register things like colorized versions of preexisting black and white pictures, which is the argument behind saying they're not separate works. They've never refused to copyright a movie because part of it was already released; even director's versions of existing movies can get their own copyright. Adding a short story to a collection or expanding it to a novel doesn't tie their copyrights together. There's a difference in proportions between your examples that I think misses the distinctions that are made in law. I agree a cropped image might not have a separate copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The text says they need "to be different works under copyright law". Is the first chapter of Harry Potter a different "work under copyright law "from the whole book? Your short story in collection or expanded to become a novel are clearly different copyright works. A directors cut could be different copyright as (a) some scenes might not have previously been published [this may matter wrt copyright perhaps] and (b) the complex editing process in a movie is not slavish so earns copyright -- whereas extracting one scene from a movie is not sufficient to gain new copyright on the frame. In addition to this unexpected development, we now have the additional problem of determining what changes may or may not constitute a new "copyright work", rather than just accepting the file we got is what we were licensed to use and no other. -- Colin (talk) 20:24, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It then proceeds to talk about "changing the format of a work." Changing the resolution would probably fall under this, but taking a screenshot of a movie can hardly be described "changing the format"; it's not essentially the same work anymore. -- King of ♠ 01:17, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree with Colin that this explanation is a bad developement with unforeseeable consequences. It goes again that usual practice of professional producers, who will rightly regard the CC license has irresponsible and unworkable. In the long term, it may damage the whole concept of free content. Yann (talk) 14:13, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Does this mean that it is risky to take a photograph of a building that you have made yourself and then license the photograph under a CC licence? Does this license the entire building, so that people can construct an identical building somewhere? Also, if a company licenses a single screenshot from a film, does this make the entire film licensed? This could get people who try to get licences from architects of buildings in non-FOP countries into lots of trouble. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:58, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I also agree that this is a terrible conclusion for those of us, including prospective professional photographers who may consider donating their best images to Commons on the proviso that only a low resolution version is licenced for this use. If photographers have no legal recourse when someone decides to connect the dots between the low resolution Commons copy and a high resolution copy found elsewhere that is absolutely not licenced under CC-BY-SA, then I am these photographers will choose not to contribute. The cat truly is out of the bag the moment you release any image under CC, it seems. Only a week ago, I was at the Wikimedia UK Christmas party and met one of the finalists of the Wiki Loves Monument competition. He was keen to contribute more images and has a portfolio that is very impressive. His prime concern was how it is possible to protect your images if they are released under CC-BY-SA and I told him that, as was my understanding at the time, you could always upload a low-resolution image and keep your originals for your own commercial interests. Now it seems we are all wrong about that. As if we didn't already have enough trouble attracting professional photography. This just makes it impossible. Can we get a response from Creative Commons (Kat, or someone else) about their conclusions on the definition of 'work' and the implications for maintaining a semblance of control over the 'master copy' of our own images? I don't think that 'keep it under lock and key' is a very 21st century answer. We wantour content to be accessible! I don't think it's too much to ask for them to be licenced in such a way that we don't hand over the keys to the castle in the process. Diliff (talk) 23:11, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
While obviously this is an uncomfortable development, it's not quite true that "photographers have no legal recourse" when it comes to the misuse of a high-resolution version of an image that has a CC-licensed low-resolution version. The photographer can definitely require that the recipient of the high-resolution version agree to a non-CC license with a damages clause for unauthorized distribution. If the high-resolution version later appears on Commons, presumably the photographer would then have legal recourse against the original recipient of the high-resolution version under the terms of the non-CC license. —RP88 01:21, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well they don't have a legal recourse once the recipient is in possession of the image if we haven't arranged a contract with them beforehand. Your scenario might work if we have a high resolution image available for sale on a website and the terms of sale includes this agreement, but it doesn't work if we, for example, upload your high res image on Flickr under an All Rights Reserved. Once we do that, the photo can be taken from Flickr freely and used as a CC image and we will have no recourse at that point, right? So to avoid this gaping hole in the CC licencing, we have to make sure that nobody can get their hands on the image until we get them agree to additional terms that specifically patch that hole? Ridiculous. Diliff (talk) 08:45, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To clarify RP88's example, let's assume the high resolution image was for sale by a stock photo site. Any sort of conditions could be imposed on that file such as that it is only used for a print run of 500 copies of such and such a corporate document. If the person dealing with that file uploaded it to Commons, then they have broken their contract with the stock photo site. But Commons could legitimately host the new copy as it isn't interested in such private agreements and typically ignores them [e.g. people uploading pictures from sporting events where their ticket forbids commercial photography]. It is possible that someone "stealing" the high resolution "all rights reserved" image from Flickr has broken some "terms of use" on the Flickr site but I don't see Flicrk getting too bothered about that. I agree with Diliff that expecting the pros to keep their better copies under lock and key is impractical. Even watermarking the image is no defence against someone on Commons with a copy of Gimp. -- Colin (talk) 09:40, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There are a lot of points here, so rather than responding to individual comments everywhere perhaps it's better just to reply in big chunks.

In general, a licensor may choose which part of a work the license applies to when applying a license. Licensing a part of something differently than the rest may be confusing, but is possible. The CC licenses do not prohibit this and are frequently applied this way—for example, an author may choose to license one song from an album or soundtrack under a CC license, which does not affect the rest of the album, or a single chapter from a book. It is possible to do this when the portion that is not licensed includes different independently copyrightable expression, which can have a separate copyright from that of the CC-licensed portion.

When we're not considering a portion and a whole, but rather two versions of a file that may or may not be the same work, a similar principle applies. In some cases, there is no independently-copyrightable expression appearing in one item a licensor is trying to license distinctly from a CC-licensed work. For a trivial example, a large landscape photograph which exists in two versions, one where the bottom-right pixel is black and one in which the bottom-right pixel is dark gray. I don't know of any relevant law under which these would not be considered the same work; placing the first version under a CC license would mean that the license also applied to version 2, as the single minimal alteration is not sufficient to be copyrightable on its own. The bar for copyrightable creativity is low, and differs across jurisdictions, but it does exist.

Getting into less-trivial examples is difficult, and starts to reveal differences between jurisdictions as well. When we consulted with our international network of affiliates on the question, it confirmed both the complexity of the underlying laws and the fact that these differences exist. (To briefly switch hats from "CC lawyer" to "Wikimedian": it may even be best to consider the most conservative interpretation when considering what to upload to Commons.)

Colin mentions above that "it matters what CC and the law think"—because the way CC licenses work here depends on the underlying operation of copyright, in general it doesn't matter what CC thinks, only the relevant laws. (There is one clarification we make: specifying that format-shifting is never considered an adaptation for purposes of the licenses. So, for example, if you have a FLAC file you may always convert it to some other audio format without it being considered to be an adaptation; similarly, you may take a digital file to print or print to digital, and it is considered the same licensed work for purposes of the CC license, even in the few cases where it could potentially be considered to be different.)

Some people have mentioned above that the terminology difference between the 3.0 and 4.0 makes a difference; this isn't the case and some of the points made indicate some confusion. All copyrightable material may be covered by a CC license, of any version. The change to "licensed material" is intended to make clear through the terminology that not all licensed things correspond with what would generally be considered "works", and that you can have a work where only certain aspects of it are licensed. However, the practical effect is no change: anything copyrightable may be covered by a CC license. (4.0 expands the scope of the license grant to sui generis database rights also, where those apply.) And as far as we know this applies to any copyrightable work anywhere in the world, subject to what is copyrightable in that jurisdiction and the extent to which copyright applies.

The license grant, in all CC license versions, extends to the exercise of the rights in the material licensed—the language is particular about it being the rights, rather than a specific discrete object. This has not changed, and the effect should be legally identical. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 00:26, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • So is this a "feature" of CC licensing itself, or of copyright interpretation generally? If an artist makes a thumbnail image available on his website under his own license, whatever it may be, or public domain, does the people who interpret CC this way interpret those too to license the full-resolution version? Man, the only thing you can count on about copyright is that it will never make any sense. Wnt (talk) 00:29, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It is still not clear whether a lower resolution photo uploaded to Commons with a CC license also allows the use of a higher resolution version of the exact same photo. Saffron Blaze (talk) 02:35, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks Kat Walsh for your reply. I can see how copyright law would regard songs on an album as being independently copyrightable. And the soundtrack (music bits) of a movie as separate from the video -- after all, some of that music might pre-date the film. But let's say someone wants to donate a 30s clip of "Yellow Submarine" to Wikipedia for our educational benefit. Is that possible under CC without releasing the whole song or film? And what about a single frame from a film. I don't see any judge regarding each frame as "independently copyrightable expressions".
There is a slight misconception that the 1MP thumbnail and the 36MP image are just "two versions of the same file". For professional and serious-amateur work, both may be produced from the same digital negative (the raw file) by a program such as Lightroom. They have a common root, like an old fashioned photograph shares a common negative. But there are creative processes in producing the final JPG just as there were in the darkroom with film. We now have the added complication that we must ponder if two separate JPGs had sufficient creative differences to be considered the same "work". At one extreme, I could use a completely different RAW->JPG software, change the lighting levels, noise reduction, dodge and burn here and there and change saturation levels to produce something I'm pretty sure any judge would regard as a separate work even if people can tell they share a common source. At the other extreme, I have chosen to "export" essentially the same processed work but at two different "preset" options. One for Wikipedia may have small size 8-bit JPG in the sRGB colourspace, high compression, a bit of "for screen" sharpening, some CC EXIF details, and geocoding information. The other, for commercial use, may be a full-size 16-bit TIFF in the AdobeRGB colourspace, lossless compression, no sharpening, no metadata and no geocoding. Someone gets hold of my high-quality TIFF and makes a JPG from it that looks pretty similar to the Wikipedia one just much larger and more detailed. Let's say that in the UK, where the threshold for originality is very low, these choices are sufficient for a judge to consider them separate. But perhaps in the US the judge is not so fussy. Whereas before we thought we knew where we stand -- the licence covered the file uploaded to Commons, we've now got a situation where "what the licence covers" may vary from country to country and may be so uncertain that we may choose not to host it at all. What a mess.
So we aren't talking about taking a CC-licensed image and transforming it (size, format) because that clearly should preserve the licence. We're taking something that wasn't released (so we thought) -- the raw file -- and transforming it in creative ways to produce two separate images. One small, one large. The large one contains things the small one doesn't and never could. And a judge must decide if the two are similar enough to be separately licensed. This isn't practical for Commons.
Is there any way we can consider the two JPGs as like two different performances of the same pop song? Same music, same artists, same lyrics but even if the two performances sounded pretty similar, surely they are considered separate works? Similarly the two JPGs have the same RAW file but each time I export to JPG that's a different "performance"? Because, mathematically and physically, those two JPGs are not transforms of each other -- they are derived from something else. -- Colin (talk) 10:50, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we accept this, then we're accepting that PD-Art is not a valid license. In the US, Corel v. Bridgeman is very clear; just because Bridgeman physically took a picture and turned it into a JPG does not give it a separate copyright from the painting. Lighting levels and noise reduction clearly don't create a new copyright. And copyright is clearly an equivalence set; if two photos of a painting don't have separate copyright from a painting, then they don't have separate copyright from each other.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:40, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now there is also a short thread about this problem at en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Your_license_may_applicable_for_your_original_work. --Túrelio (talk) 20:36, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Licensing files, not works

I think we should find or create a licence that covers the file, not the underlying copyright work. This is similar to how stock photography sites work and how to-consumer licensing works. When you buy a DVD, you don't gain any rights to the film stock in the studio warehouse and the Blu-ray that comes along later. This gives artists the control over what they are giving away. They may choose to give away their raw files or high-resolution originals if they want, but they may also choose to give away a thumbnail, cropped or edited version of the original. At the end of the day, Commons is a repository of free-to-use files that can be freely reused. It does not need stronger rights than that. -- Colin (talk) 13:52, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment As an emergency measure, I have commented out the section "Lower quality images" from Commons:Flickr files. I think that we need a way to be able to license lower quality versions without licensing the higher quality version, but it can cause lots of unwanted consequences if people follow potentially incorrect information. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:05, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I support Colin's suggestion. I think WMF is established enough to create an "own license"; no need to depend CC or provide external links on every file we are hosting. Jee 15:44, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is my nature as a lawyer to never say never. However, I can pretty safely say that WMF will never write its own license for any reason, short of a complete catastrophe on CC's part. The cost is high in several ways: not just the time to us of writing the license, but the cost to others to read and understand our license; the cost of figuring out how it interoperates with CC, etc. And the benefit is dubious: I don't see the solution offhand, but I'm pretty confident we can find better ways of addressing this problem. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 19:19, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I too would rather avoid this situation but the conclusions CC have come to are quite surprising to many people, including presumably, the author's of some of CC's publicity material. I see from your user page that you "help protect Wikimedia's users". Well there's a bunch of contributors to Wikipedia and Commons who I suspect may be rather shocked to learn they've given away a licence to their source copyright work, and not the little JPG they thought they were donating to Wikipedia. Is this development surprising to WMF? We have lots of commercial images that are downsized -- is this the end of that practice? -- Colin (talk) 19:28, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Can you elaborate on "a bunch" and "lots of"? Are there any hard numbers there? One of the many ways that I protect users is by weighing costs and benefits across all users, and not creating new costs for everyone to handle very specific situations for a small number. From what I've seen here, this is one of those situations, but perhaps I'm just not familiar enough with the scope of this practice on commons.
To explain to you a bit the costs from my side, the three recent public license drafting processes I've been involved with all took two years (give or take a few months), and the one I led for Mozilla was the only one that didn't have at least two nearly-full-time lawyers on it. And none of those involved translation. There are then ongoing costs, because you have to answer questions about the license for essentially the rest of time. And, again, that's just the cost to the Foundation- there is also a cost to image uploaders (literally reading more licenses, and making the paradox of choice problem worse) as well as to image users (again, yet another license to parse, understand, and comply with). -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:56, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would certainly be worth investigating before starting any process. I'd start by looking at modern photographic images with OTRS tickets that are less than a few MP in size -- people don't donate small pictures just to save disk space on Commons. They donate small pictures because that's all they are willing to donate. More fool them, it seems. -- Colin (talk) 22:22, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If WMF does seriously consider writing its own licenses, I hope they'll also look for other areas where it could be useful to take a different approach from the CC licenses. For instance, CC licenses have only a weak copyleft property (i.e. Share-Alike is restricted to derivatives), so a media license that provides strong copyleft could be a useful option. --Avenue (talk) 11:28, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is not going to happen. Such an image would require the enclosing article to have the same (or similar) strong copyleft. It couldn't be incorporated into Wikipedia, which only has weak-copyleft for its contents. This is probably why there are no strong copyleft image licences -- nobody could use them other than a few purists. -- Colin (talk) 12:01, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are too quick to dismiss the possibility of such a license. I don't believe it's impossible to have a license that allows typical Wikipedia image usage (i.e. with the components being under various free licenses, in the public domain or allowed under copyright exemptions like fair use or freedom of panorama) while disallowing unfree uses (e.g. to illustrate a news article that is not freely licensed). CC have shown no real interest in this sort of approach, but if we're considering developing our own license, I think this would be a worthwhile feature to aim for. --Avenue (talk) 03:12, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Avenue, but you failed to see the strong relation with CC and WMF. We can't expect anything breaking that relation, now. Jee 03:25, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I did say "if". I wasn't expressing an opinion about how likely the WMF is to start developing new licenses (although LVilla's comments above do suggest that it's unlikely to happen anytime soon). I was just saying that if they do so, there are probably other problems with the CC licenses that would be worth trying to fix. --Avenue (talk) 09:47, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be clear, it really doesn't have much to do with the relationship between CC and the WMF. The open licensing community has long recognized that writing new licenses is generally a very bad idea unless there is a very, very compelling reason for it. I see no evidence provided here that this is one of those (very rare) circumstances. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 22:54, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be clear, a licence where pretty much everyone reacts with surprise when they find out what they have in fact been licensing for free, is "a very bad idea". There are thousands of very compelling reasons on Commons. I just tried "higher resolution" "contact me" on Google and got 51,600 results. And that's just one possible phrasing. -- Colin (talk) 23:17, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I asked you to provide numbers earlier for "pretty much everyone" and you declined; I'm still happy to see such evidence if you have it. I agree that 50K+ files with that sort of text is a lot (though still less than 0.3% of the files on commons), so that's the start of some evidence; I'm happy to see more. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 23:40, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(And on thinking about it some more, I realize this may have come off as dismissive: that's not my intent; clearly 50K pictures + the German contribution is a lot of pictures, and I'll do what I can to help understand the situation and see if we can find a good solution. It's just highly unlikely that a new license is the right solution.) -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 17:05, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You could impose extra restrictions to a licence like this: "You are free to use this work under the terms of CC-BY-SA 3.0, provided that you use the work on a Friday. However, you are not allowed to use the work at all on other days of the week." This would presumably create a valid Friday-only permission. Would it be possible to simply create a new wrapping template to use instead of {{Self}} which places a similar restriction upon the work which basically says that only those parts of the work which are included in the file are licensed, whereas all rights are reserved for all other parts of the work? I'm not sure exactly how to word this, though. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:49, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Creative Commons are arguing on the basis of copyright law, and about what a copyrighted "work" is. I'm not sure that "licensing a file" is even possible, if copyright law doesn't consider an arbitrary file to be a "work". --ghouston (talk) 21:17, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Licensing a file is definitely possible. For example, I could create a file, give it to you and give you permission to use the file as-is, without modification. I have thereby only licensed a file, but not any other copies of the same work. It might get more difficult if you also want to permit modifications. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:57, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not convinced, since you don't need a licence for the file, you need a licence for the underlying work that's actually copyrightable. I could create files all day with dd if=/dev/urandom of=file39483 count=10, but they aren't copyrightable. I guess you could give a licence to a work such as a photograph with a condition that it's not displayed other than as a bitmap at less than 300x300 px resolution, but how does that work for a CC licence that allows derivatives? --ghouston (talk) 22:28, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you chose to apply a file-based licence to a non-copyrightable work then a re-user could choose to ignore your licence -- they don't need it. Someone offering a file-based licence to something they aren't allowed to (for example, they don't own the copyright or haven't got a licence themselves) would be breaking some law just the same as someone trying to offer a file under CC when they don't have the copyright. I'm interested in digital works here, so an image would have a given resolution -- the reuser could downsample/upsample if they wished but what they can't do is try to apply the licence to an actual higher-resolution copy of mine. I don't think a file-based license would work for photographic prints on paper. Most traditional licences are not transferable -- the stock library licences an image to New Scientist magazine but you can't scan the photo out of the magazine and re-use it. I think a digital free file-based licence would have similar limitations once out of the digital domain. Something to think about. -- Colin (talk) 09:27, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Licensing a physical thing is arguably easier than the mess CC seem to have created. Tying the licence terms along with whatever some country decides is a "copyright work" seems to have been a mistake and makes CC much harder to use imo. Stock image sites licence files all the time. And any time you buy a music file from Amazon or iTunes you have a licence of that file and that file only. So file-based licensing is the norm. Adding "share-alike" terms makes things more complicated but is something of a free-culture "thou shalt be as holy and giving as I am" kind of mindset imo. To be honest, CC is more than I need but CC0 gives away more than I want to (if it is also "copyright work"-based). Something closer to "Take this file. Do what you like with it. A credit would be appreciated." is closer to where I'm at. -- Colin (talk) 22:18, 19 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On this point, one thing others have correctly pointed out above but that I want to reiterate is that this is not a difference between CC licenses and other copyright licenses. Copyright licenses will function this way unless its drafters have deliberately taken some unusual effort to make the license apply more narrowly than the applicable copyright laws would otherwise dictate, and I can't think of any who have found it desirable to do that, as it would have other undesirable effects.

When you buy from Amazon or iTunes, you are generally entering into a contract with them, in which they may specify all kinds of terms and restrictions that go beyond simple copyright licensing and are particular to an agreement between a buyer and seller. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 00:28, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is a difference between a licence and a contract but why should a licence necessarily be a "copyright licence". Why can't it concern solely the file it is attached to. What would legally be problematic with a simple licence that let the recipient do what they want with the file but says nothing about any rights to the copyright work in general. -- Colin (talk) 15:13, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Kat, can you be more specific about the "undesirable effects" you believe a narrower license would have? Do you know if these have been discussed publicly before?
Colin, while I don't see so far why a license for a specific file or resolution would be impossible to devise, we currently define free content and free licenses in our project scope and licensing policies using the external w:Definition of Free Cultural Works. As its name suggests, that definition primarily addresses works of authorship, not other objects such as files or images in a specific resolution. (It does specify that works made available in digital form should be in a free format, and requires that source data or files are also made available, but those are the only exceptions I can see.) So even if we did have a file-based license available, I think that would fall outside Commons' scope as currently defined. Of course our scope is not set in stone, and nor is the Definition of Free Cultural Works, but my point is that the problem here goes beyond simply the lack of a suitable file-based license. --Avenue (talk) 00:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A separate license for 'files' isn't needed and just creates confusion. As a photographer I control the commercial use in two ways 1) with the NC license which is good enough to fix most of the problems, and 2) with physical restriction to anyone's access to high resolution files. Size isn't important because if I put up a 1200px image on flickr that is plenty good enough for most commercial usages. Reproduction technology is advanced enough to be able to get perfectly good results at a little over 100dpi. Size is immaterial to reuse. If it is non-commercial it doesn't matter whether the reuser used a 30meg image or a 30K image. Similarly if the reuse is commercial it again doesn't matter whether the reuser had a 30meg image or a 30K image. It is the commercial use that is the issue not the size of the file. John lilburne (talk) 00:19, 24 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What now?

In my understanding, Wikimedia Commons has to deal with two new informations.

  1. Creative Commons interpretes the free licence as applying to higher res image files even if only a lower res file has explicitly been released under a Creative Commons licence.
  2. Creative Commons forbids the use of the CC licence logo and trademark if the copyright holder adds restricting conditions.

How will the Wikimedia Commons community actually deal with this information?
In regard to point #1: Our project sites that ask institutions or professional photographers, film makers etc. for donations, and Wikimedians who ask for donations to Wikimedia Commons should from now on explicitly point on Creative Common's interpretation of their licences in regard to the low res versus high res issue (though there is no court decision known which confirms this interpretation). Even more critical is imho the question how we deal with low res donations that have already been made to Wikimedia Commons. Do we actively inform these donators? Do we give them an choice to withdraw the affected files from Wikimedia Commons, as they donated them under false information given by us?
In regard to point #2: What does the Creative Commons trademark policy mean for files that are uploaded at Wikimedia Commons under additonally restricting conditions, like licensing explicitly only the low res file, or i.e. requiring attribution directly at the image (instead of reasonable to the medium or means in the licence text)? Do we have to remove these files from Wikimedia Commons as they violate the CC trademark policy? --Martina talk 18:50, 20 December 2013 (UTC)/19:51, 20 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's not Commons' interpretation! Wikimedia doesn't give legal advice. You copy a legal license from Creative Commons, the interpretation is up to you, them, the judge, the phase of the moon, but not anybody here. We can warn them but we don't have to take a position about it except for how we would handle third-party uploads of versions they say are copyrighted, which probably is not going to win out on account of the legal uncertainty, no?
It may however be time to reconsider more prominent display or even a newfound acceptance of other options - public domain, GFDL, CC-by-NC, for example. (Not that I know how those are affected by this!) Wnt (talk) 00:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You might want to notice that CC-BY-NC would be affected as well, since the resolution issue is not tied to a certain CC licence. It might be worthwhile to indicate to CC that placing it in the "business model" section is likely to cause ambiguous interpretations. Regards, Christoph Braun (talk) 00:57, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding Martina's point 1: if it's established that someone has uploaded a low-res version under a CC license while reasonably believing that high-res versions wouldn't be covered, I'd hope that we'd reject uploads of any higher-res versions than they uploaded. It might be worth creating a template that can be added to the file description page to indicate this.
I'm not aware of any Commons policies or guidelines that recommend licensing just a low-res version, so I don't think we generally have a responsibility to delete the low-res version. Incorrect advice from individuals doesn't bind the community. I wouldn't object to allowing courtesy deletions for such files though (or at least ones uploaded before this issue came to light).
Advising previous uploaders about the issue seems like it could be helpful, once we've agreed how such images should be handled, although identifying them might not be entirely straightforward. I agree we should point potential future uploaders towards CC's new FAQs when they seem relevant.
On point 2: possible violations of CC's trademark policy seem like a matter between CC and the person who may have violated their policy. I don't see why we'd want to get involved. Such conditions wouldn't usually invalidate the modified license, and I think we need only decide if the conditions are so restrictive as to make the license unfree. --Avenue (talk) 14:36, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't like it when Commons suggests users/photographers can happily break their contracts and as long as it isn't the contract you have with WMF we don't give a damn, and might even encourage it. It is moot because if we attached at CC logo or name next to a licence that was no longer allowed to be called CC or use their logo, then CC could ask Commons to take the page down. It is a really bad idea anyway. We need clarity and simplicity. The "CC BY-SA" abbreviation in an attribution statement offers a very simple way of knowing if a licence is re-usable. -- Colin (talk) 14:57, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Kat for the explanation. Now it is clear (for me, at least) that this new information is applicable to all existing public licenses and they are not going to narrow it. So what we can and should do is to educate our contributors. Jee 03:01, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This new interpretation of CC licensing on behalf of CC goes contrary to what was the prevailing understanding until today and of what we told licensors when they asked about. This means, at least for my jurisdiction, that past CC licensing may be generally invalid or at least contestable, as the license was given based on wrong information and thereby the licensor did not willing agree to what the true extent of the license is. Bad, bad, bad.
As I am not convinced that this interpretation is true also for GFDL, the unvoluntary "re-licensing" of GFDL-licensed works to CC-BY-SA on behalf of the WMF now appears in an even worse light than previously. --Túrelio (talk) 10:22, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This interpretation by CC is completely wrong so we should do nothing to follow them in this wrong way. There's simply no correct way to update a freely licensed (like cc-by-2.0) 800x600 image with a 4000x3000 version found elsewhere under all rights reserved. The higher res version is to be considered a different work where the author in this case has not offered a free license. Plus nobody is able to verify this highres version is based on the free lowres version, they may look similar but may still be based on different source material. --Denniss (talk) 11:14, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
BTW I seriously doubt this strange interpretation by CC would hold if a copyright holder starts a lawsuit vs someone using a non-free highres version based on this CC interpretation. The intentions of the copyright holder have always been valued higher than a misinterpreted license text (regardless who misinterprets it) so if the clear intention by the copyright holder was to release only a lowres version under a nonrestricted free license, anything else is a copyright violation. --Denniss (talk) 13:38, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
CC didn't said the license of 800x600 image is applicable to its 4000x3000 version; they only said it is applicable if they are not eligible for separate copyright. They do not give advice for a particular case (as part of their policy); so we have to interpret how it is applicable here. We need a case example. In my opinion, a 90% downsampled image have only one pixel out of ten pixel in the original. While cropping we remove pixels from a part; while downsampling, we remove the same number of pixels uniformly. Anyway those pixels contains a lot of creative information.
Another difficulty to distinguish low resolution and original work in a print use. We can easily distinguish a digital version; but reuse can be in any media format. Jee 14:09, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that Denniss made a good point. If this interpretation does not hold before a judge, that's the only real thing which matters. Yann (talk) 14:02, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's a fair point (also made by others before), but he also made one very arguable point - that the licensor's intention will prevail. Jim argues the opposite above - that "ambiguity is construed against the drafter". --Avenue (talk) 14:31, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, see Contra proferentem and Ignorantia juris non excusat (I'm no lawyer). I think Denniss's statement needs a wee "cite needed" tag. Particularly now that CC have "clarified" their intention wrt the licence text in their FAQ. I'm fully behind those that think this interpretation is unhelpful, make no sense and has terrible consequences for CC being usable for commercial work. But my opinions don't count, and we would be wrong to suggest folk are safe to upload their downsampled images just because pretty much all users here disagree with CC. They have presumably consulted their legal bods. Commons needs a licence that gives clear instructions to both the donator and the re-user that are internationally unambiguous because our amateur and free situation means neither are protected by a team of lawyers nor by insurance. I'm also concerned that there doesn't appear to be any statement yet from CC that they have up-to-now mislead us (with their publicity material and well-known use on Wikipedia). If this is their original interpretation then their licence text needs some work to clarify it (CC4 is even less likely to be interpreted as they do because it talks of "licensed materials"). Clearly they didn't consult well enough with the Wikipedia/Commons community when drafting this licence. -- Colin (talk) 14:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(ec)To be more explicit about what I said above: Commons isn't likely to accept higher-resolution works found under copyright due to COM:PRP; it's not the general rule to play dice with debatable and untested theories. Commons isn't in the business of giving legal advice, but like every other poor sap posting so much as a 140-character comment online we make legal decisions every time we twiddle with the site. Wnt (talk) 14:48, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You might want to look at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Trabalhos.jpg then, which started this all off. And although we don't officially give legal advice, we have made suggestions that are now ill-advised. See this, as just one example. I reckon there are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of images donated to Wikipedia on this misunderstanding. And even if Commons decides to "do the right thing" for the donator by not hosting the larger versions, the CC FAQ seems to imply someone else could reuse the larger version. So we are "doing the wrong thing" by not warning people that when they "upload a file" they are really releasing the entire copyright work under CC. -- Colin (talk) 15:03, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd guess that it'd be in the tens of thousands. The biggest group I've found so far is the 606 low-res images donated by Erling Mandelmann. --Avenue (talk) 23:44, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I missed Colin's post in the above section giving a 51K figure for one particular wording search. Now I suspect over 100K is not unlikely. --Avenue (talk) 00:42, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll admit I've only skimmed this entire discussion, but as it seems to me, what we have here is simply the opinion. of one lawyer, not any kind of law or court ruling. Per COM:PRP, there is certainly significant doubt that this opinion would hold water in an actual court. Hence we should not apply it. And indeed, the opinion appears absurd according to common sense. Downscaling an image removes information, and that removed information might surely not be released under a free license. It is similar to a text where you remove every other paragraph and release the rest under a free license - just because somebody has found the other paragraphs, that doesn't make these free. darkweasel94 20:21, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think it is just "one lawyer". This is CC's licence and I guess they have consulted their legal team and come up with this response. I can't understand it myself, but I'd say they were more likely to be legally correct about this than anyone here. They seem pretty sure this is how copyright licences work -- you licence the copyrighted work, not the file. And the FAL looks to be similar. Don't get me started on the GFDL, you have to jump through language hoops to even attempt to apply it to image files never mind "copyright works" so all bets are off with that one imo. -- Colin (talk) 21:00, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, but in every lawsuit about a statute's interpretation, there will be one lawyer (or legal team) that was wrong. :) I would say that the licensed work simply does not include some information that is in higher-resolution copies. I do think there remains significant doubt as that term is meant in COM:PRP, and we shouldn't apply it to what we have here, but we definitely shouldn't keep telling people that they can release a lower-resolution copy but not higher-resolution copies, simply because that isn't settled. darkweasel94 21:08, 21 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The closure of Trabalhos.jpg as "keep" prevents us from voting there currently, but given the amount of confusion on this issue I don't think that one formal Keep vote with some back and forth discussion beneath it was sufficient to close the case. It seems best to unclose the debate - even if the main issue ends up getting argued in an RfC or something, it would be better to leave it unresolved for that span. It's not that I'm above welcoming deceitfully obtained content to the public sector if the law allows for it (after all, think how much we have lost to deceit and corruption!) but I believe that what you do should at least either be legal or defensible ... you never want to land in court feeling embarrassed for what you've done. Wnt (talk) 04:43, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
First, it was closed before (and prompted) this discussion. Second, opening another discussion on essentially the same issue as we're discussing here makes no sense to me. Let's sort out what to do in general here, then go apply whatever consensus we've reached to individual works. --Avenue (talk) 08:17, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with darkweasel that we should not apply it to other cases immediately. But I have no doubt on the accuracy of CC's conclusion. As Diane said, "they've concluded on the following three new FAQs having consulted with our affiliates." "Our affiliates" clearly means more than one legal team. Further, I don't think they will update their FAQ without arriving into a firm opinion. They took more than twenty days to answer my question; another point for the integrity of their opinion.
Although their opinion is against my conclusions, I think they are right now. In my opinion their first FAQ is very important: "Although CC licenses get attached to tangible works (such as photos and novels), the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material." Forget the part of digital copy of a photo. How we can (or a court can) distinguish a print from a low resolution and from a high resolution unless we print in large A0 papers? See, these licenses are not defined for a particular types of works or for a particular publishing medium. They are designed for all existing and forthcoming mediums. ( Sorry; no more time to participate here, before Christmas.) Jee 05:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, and if I downscale an image, I have removed some of the licensed material. If I downscale it to 50%, I've removed every fourth pixel from the material I license. The same would apply to printing, there'a concept of resolution there as well (en:dots per inch). And it's not at all impossible to prove that the copy somebody has published is impossible to derive from the material I've licensed and that one has to use a higher-resolution copy. For example, if a certain small text in the photo's background is not legible in the licensed version, but is legible both in the full-resolution version and the version the reuser used, the conclusion is trivial. darkweasel94 09:50, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Previous Commons interpretation

I see some odd interpretations here, so I should just throw this out to make sure we agree on what we thought the law was.
  1. If a photographer takes a 3000x3000 image with great artistic skill, that is a copyrighted work.
  2. If the same or a different photographer uses an image reduction program to reduce the resolution of the first image, traces it out on a piece of paper, takes a second photo meant to closely resemble the first one, etc. that is a derivative work of the first work.
  3. Certain methods of resolution reduction (or increase) may lack originality for copyright: for example, cutting out three of four pixels, creating a jpg image, taking a simple photo of the evenly illuminated 2-D original for purposes of replication (PD-Art). In these cases only the original copyright restricts reproduction of the derivative work -- nonetheless, the derivative work is a new work. In other words, when someone uploads a work to Commons, we expect what we receive to be the work. We don't expect that we are receiving a ghost work full of unseen cropped pixels and margins that we can't see but need to take into account when we consider what we can or can't do with it.
  4. The owner of the 3000x3000 image can license it as CC and those rights apply to all works derived from it.
  5. The owner of a 1000x1000 derivative work produced by any trivial means, such as throwing out 8 of 9 pixels, can license that as CC, and those rights apply only to the 1000x1000 derivative work and things derived from it.
  6. The person who receives the 1000x1000 derivative work is free to make further derivative works of it under CC, even by increasing the resolution to 3000x3000 by bicubic sampling, or by using an advanced artificial intelligence program to predict the shape of every leaf and blade of grass. In some cases this may be difficult or impossible to tell from the original 3000x3000 image. Nonetheless it is permissible provided that the enhanced-resolution image does not literally copy the original 3000x3000 work's originality, i.e. its photographically obtained pixels.
Are we agreed that this is what we had expected the law to be interpreted as? Wnt (talk) 17:31, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Uh, no. The copyright holder of the 1000x1000 derivative work, if they are not the same person as the copyright holder of the original one, surely can't license it in any way without permission of the first - and we only need the second person's permission if their changes are eligible for copyright, otherwise the original copyright holder's permission is sufficient. But yes, if you receive a 1000x1000 pixel work under a CC license, you can do with it what you want, including increasing its size to 3000x3000 and possibly running some kind of artificial intelligence on it to decrease the problems with sharpness that normally arise during upscaling. darkweasel94 17:40, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
By "owner" I meant to imply that he had been given full rights to copy and license that 1000x1000 image. In fact, for this discussion, he generally is the same person as owns the 3000x3000 work; the point is that we expect these to be two different things that a person can license separately, even though there was no extra originality in creating the lower-resolution work. Wnt (talk) 17:49, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. But since downsampling does not create a new copyright, if you have a license for the 3000x3000 work, you also have one for the 1000x1000 work, regardless of who did the downsampling. darkweasel94 18:06, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Indeed, and if we take the CC FAQ information at face value then the converse is true as well: if you have a license for the 1000x1000 work, you also have one for the 3000x3000 work. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:06, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Only if you are able to prove this 1000x1000 version was made via downscaling from the 3000x3000. Note this is only a usage right given by the copyright holder. If the usage right under this given CC license extends only to the 1000x1000 version (as specified by the copyright holder) that's something we have to live with, gathering a higher res version from elsewhere is a copyright violation if this higher res version was not available under a comparable usage right. --Denniss (talk) 23:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • What are you basing that interpretation on? It is certainly not what the CC FAQ says on the matter. In fact they make is explicitly clear that if you want to restrict use of the higher res image you would have to do that contractually. The license affords no protection to various file resolutions. Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:43, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm confused about why you're talking about (the additions to) the CC FAQ, when Wnt's sub-thread here is talking about our previous interpretation of the situation. I've added a section header to split this sub-thread off, anyway, because I think it's a complete tangent to the "What now?" topic of the (previously) encompassing section. --Avenue (talk) 01:09, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a good question for the current CC interpretation: Suppose a photographer took two photos - same tripod, same light metering, same f-stop, one after the other. He shot one at 3000x3000 and one at 1000x1000, and donated the low-res one to Commons. Would they say the CC license applies to the high-res photo? (If no, how is that different from downscaling post-click? If yes, what about if he took the photos on different days and they were just fairly similar?) Wnt (talk) 02:28, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the details of our previous understanding are less important. I supposed it was the file that was licensed and had no specific thoughts about the underlaying work. We probably had no common understanding about what constituted a separate work in copyright law. The change in interpretation is that that underlaying work now is of fundamental importance. --LPfi (talk) 09:44, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Consequences for German Bundesarchiv images?

Without having read the whole discussion: If I'm not mistaken, the huge image donation of the German Federal Archives - Commons:Bundesarchiv - was done under the impression that the CC-BY-SA license only applies to the lower-resolution files uploaded to Commons (for the images that are still under protection; some are PD). Though right now I can't find a Commons page where this is explicitly stated, there's an edit made by the Bundesarchiv's own account in the German Wikipedia's article about the Bundesarchiv containing an explanation to this end ("Für die Bilder, die das Bundesarchiv auf Wikimedia Commons unter CC-BY-SA zur Verfügung gestellt hat, ist daneben auch die gebührenfreie kommerzielle Nutzung dieser niedrig aufgelösten Fotos unter Einhaltung dieser Lizenzbedingungen möglich" - boldening by me). So, the question is: If the license was given under a wrong assumption, is the license not valid at all and do we need to delete all (non-PD) German Bundesarchiv images, which are very widely used in Wikipedia? Gestumblindi (talk) 19:22, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As it was likely "our" side (WMDE?), who told them that such a licensing (CC only for lower resolution version) is possible, we are obliged 1) to notify them about this paradigmatic change, and 2) if they wish so, to delete all these images, as the agreement or "contract" to donate all these images only in the specified resolution under the CC license was based on a wrong information about a highly relevant fact and thereby is void, IMO. However, before doing so, WMDE should order a legal expertise about whether CC's statement is really true for copyright law of Germany and whether there is any legal "patch" to heal this, i.e. exclude higher resolution versions from CC licensing. --Túrelio (talk) 19:48, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I agree, WMDE should talk this over with the Bundesarchiv. I posted a pointer at the German Wikipedia's "Wikipedia Diskussion:Wikimedia Deutschland e. V." page and hope that Wikimedia Germany people are reading this. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:04, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that someone from our movement (probably WMDE) should discuss this with the Bundesarchiv. Whether the license is actually void or not is a legal question that we at Commons might not be qualified to decide, but regardless, if someone from our side did mislead the Bundesarchiv about the possibility of low-res-only licensing, and if the Bundesarchiv wants us to remove all these images from Commons, then I think it would be appropriate to delete them. It wouldn't hurt to explore the possibility of a legal "patch", although I don't have much hope that this will be productive. --Avenue (talk) 20:30, 22 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not necessary or right for us to delete the images. The Bundesarchiv is a serious institution, they have lawyers, and when they sign a CC license that wording is between them and Creative Commons. We have the right under that license to host the pictures. We do not claim the right (because we're not sure we have it, or maybe even because we don't believe in it) to host the high-res versions, so we won't. But deleting the low-res versions serves no purpose. It doesn't un-sign the CC license. It doesn't prevent anyone who can guess that the low-res version was once licensed from pursuing the claim that he has the right to copy and use the high-res version. And we have to remember that our primary educational task of acquiring and holding pictures is worth something, and shouldn't be thrown aside on a gesture. The more we delete, the weaker we look, and the weaker we look the more people will feel contempt for us and try their hand at destroying us for fun and profit. Wnt (talk) 02:34, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think not deleting them if the Bundesarchiv requested we do so, in light of this clarification of the CC license, would be morally bankrupt. I suspect it would also hurt the reputation of the project and likely have long term consequences beyond what is already occurring. Saffron Blaze (talk) 06:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Deleting the low-res versions, if requested, and if we were in some way responsible for the Bundesarchiv misunderstanding the license's implications, would indeed serve a purpose (beyond simply doing what is IMO morally the right thing to do). It would demonstrate that the Commons community is willing to take some responsibility for the actions of its volunteers, when those are in line with the contemporary community consensus, and help convince other institutions that we do not speak out of both sides of our mouths whenever it's convenient. It's better to be thought incompetent than untrustworthy, IMO, and certainly better than to be thought of as both.
Of course it would be better if the Bundesarchiv chose not to request deletion, which is one reason why we should discuss the situation with them. This is a difficult situation, but given the options, I don't see deleting the images on request as making us look any weaker. --Avenue (talk) 07:14, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the Bundesarchiv, a federal institute subordinate to the Commissioner for Culture, releases 100,000 images under a free license, they can be expected to have read the license code. The license code hasn't changed. It's your risk as a licensor that courts may have a different interpretation of the terms than you have, and it's your risk if you believe someone else's interpretation. (In fact, by the way, absolutely nothing has changed. The opinion of CC lawyers populated through some FAQ is essentially irrelevant to the interpretation of the license code.) — Pajz (talk) 21:32, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A less legalistic view might be more appropriate here. As you can see from this 2009 discussion, at 00:59, 31. Mär. 2009 (CEST) Mathias Schindler, who was one of the main players in deals with image donors such as Bundesarchiv AFAIK, stated expressedly that the CC-BY-SA license refers to the provided files. --Túrelio (talk) 22:04, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A judge may consider the licence ambiguous. I don't know who they would side with in that case, opinions differ. But CC have "clarified" the ambiguity in their FAQ. Again, I don't know if this has any weight in law, but I doubt it. Morally, since we now know what CC think the licence should have said, we should no longer advise anyone to use CC for low-resolution images. -- Colin (talk) 22:17, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We may need to prepare a standardized text for the more general case along with one for the various wikipedias if stuff starts to get deleted.Geni (talk) 20:54, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We are far from that stage. We still need to verify whether CC's claim is legally correct in Germany, where this institution is based. --Túrelio (talk) 20:59, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Realistically they are going to be interested in the wider legal spectrum and I'm not sure we have the resources for that many test cases.Geni (talk) 21:58, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In view of the so far near-to-Zero support from WMF, indeed. If it remains at that, then we have the moral duty to notify the image donors about the license "clarification" by CC and wait for their reaction. --Túrelio (talk) 22:08, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WMF has been asked to do two things, as far as I know: (1) help understand the situation (which we did by informing CC about it, which was one of the factors that spurred CC to write the FAQ) and (2) write a new license (which I explained above is not a good option). I'm following the discussion, and as I said above, open to doing more, but I don't see a particularly good solution to the problem yet. -LVilla (WMF) (talk) 21:57, 30 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Old discussion

I found an interesting discussion at It seems that this issue is not completely new. Ruslik (talk) 19:52, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I skimmed that. They refer to two even older discussions (though I didn't find any link). The discussion is similar to ours in that people keep using the downsampling lossmaking transformation example, which is irrelevant as there is no process beyond magic that an take base metals and transform them to gold just as one can't take a thumbnail and transform it to a poster. The CC folk have clarified their intent is that "the license terms and conditions apply to the licensor’s copyright in the licensed material". Shame their actual licence doesn't say this as clearly and leaves open the ambiguity between work (concrete noun, thing, image file) and work (abstract noun, creative product regardless of form). And v4 just makes things even worse using "material" which is much more of a concrete noun, a thing. We are left with the untested problem of whether the high resolution image is the same "copyrightable work" as the thumbnail. Since nobody has tested this, and we fear it may vary from country to country, CC is completely useless for donating small image files. How can they leave such an important aspect of their licence ambiguous and uncertain? What kind of licence document relies on its FAQ in order to be clear? -- Colin (talk) 20:47, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is not so much a question of CC licensing, more one of underlying copyright law. Which means that it might even vary between countries, and there it might become really complicated. darkweasel94 21:01, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, one could argue, being aware of the underlying copyright law they have an obligation to address it in the license. Particularly because people around the world have been relying of CC licenses to make works freely available in lower resolution while retaining economic viability of the work itself. Saffron Blaze (talk) 21:44, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The licence text was ambiguous and has been causing confusion for years, it seems, and most people I would reckon came to the wrong conclusion. Yes the CC licence only covers works that are copyrightable (which is governed by local laws) but what few people thought was that a single licence covers all items that are deemed to be the "same copyrightable work", which also varies by local laws. In CC4 they tried to make the licence more international by dropping "work" to avoid problems with scope. But they insist "licensed material" covers more than just "the thing this licence is attached to". They've really screwed up imo. This doesn't much matter with words in a Wikipedia article, which are the same words whether in Courier or Helvetica and 8pt or 12pt. But it certainly matters for audio visual works. They've got a licence who's ambiguous wording is only clarified in some FAQ few people will read. Just great. -- Colin (talk) 22:14, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The analogous case for texts would be that if you license a text where every second paragraph (or word) is removed, you also license the original where these paragraphs/words are still there. I'm not sure this is CC's fault. If their interpretation is correct, it probably applies to all licenses, not just CC licenses. darkweasel94 22:31, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or to make a more realistic analogy: if you've allowed free distribution of the first chapter of a novel you've written, you've released copyright on the entire etext. Wnt (talk) 20:02, 25 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's more analoguous to cropping, which this doesn't seem to affect. darkweasel94 20:58, 25 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Incidentially I've found an upload from 2012, in which the uploader added a note about restricting the CC license to the uploaded resolution: File:Suworow Gedenktafel Panixerpass 01 12.jpg. Seems a few people were already aware of the CC mess. --Túrelio (talk) 22:26, 23 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Darkweasel94, this affects cropping too. I don't think your "remove every second paragraph" example works. Analogies aren't particularly useful wrt copyright because copyright cannot be worked out by rational means. -- Colin (talk) 21:49, 25 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It affects cropping only to the extent that the cropped out portion would not merit separate copyright protection. For example, CC-licensing a photo of a beach scene with half of the featureless sky cropped off might well extend that license to the uncropped photo. IMO it's very clear that this wouldn't apply for an entire book when just the first chapter was freely licensed, except in unusual cases where the rest of the book was entirely repetitive of the first chapter or was strictly uncreative (e.g. directory listings or other factual appendices). --Avenue (talk) 12:25, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Avenue, I think you are applying common sense. Stop it now :-). If I take a frame from a film or the first chapter from a book, what is the "work of copyright"? It is the film or the book. Disney can't scan a frame from Fantasia at either low-resolution thumbnail size or at a bazillion DPI and claim this is a new work copyright 2013. If they can't generate a new copyright work simply by scanning then neither can we create a new copyright work simply by downsizing or cropping (regardless of whether the crop removed interesting or "featureless" bits). You keep looking at it backwards, thinking that given a first chapter, clearly more original text is a "new work". Unless this is Dickens publishing his book in chapters over months, books are typically published in one go and thus are one copyright work. Same with our RAW files. Some things, like movies, are composed of several copyright works (e.g., the music soundtrack may have its own prior copyrights for each song). The illustrations in a children's book may be done at one time by one publisher and so aren't tied to the written text. The fact that CC have chosen to tie their licence so intrinsically with the copyright work means the meaning of the licence varies from country to country and also relies on completely untested (and possibly never to be tested) legal questions. They could have instead stated what the licence applies to in an unambiguous manner. Or left it to the licensor to state what it applies to. But they haven't left us that option. Clearly they want users to be fully-signed-up members of the Free Culture Club. And that might be find for many of us Commons folk. But commercial donors tend to have a different mindset. Like with our purity against "non-commercial" restrictions, I think this purity here will deny us future commercial and cultural donations. -- Colin (talk) 12:51, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I am trying to apply a degree of common sense, and I'd agree that this can can be risky in legal situations. But I don't agree with your position (if I understand you correctly) that we must therefore avoid taking any decisions that do not have an absolutely firm legal basis. For one thing, deciding when there's a firm legal basis for our actions itself requires the application of common sense, so I think your position is essentially inconsistent. For another, we have relied on applying some common sense to legal issues as long as I've been active here. Yes, this leaves us open to being wrong on occasion, but I think the alternative would be to essentially shut down Commons.
That's not to say we can't do better in identifying and documenting the legal uncertainties under which we operate. We can, and we should.
Your position on the definition of a "work" seems to directly contradict Kat Walsh's post above, where she states that CC licenses can be applied to parts of a whole work when these parts contain independently copyrightable expression. What reasons do you have to think she is wrong? --Avenue (talk) 23:42, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm joking with you Avenue. I tried to understand the logic behind the licence and got that wrong. Turns out the licence is founded on copyright so, wrt logic, all bets are off. I'm now trying to understand it in terms of copyright. Kat only says one can licence parts of a work if these parts are (or can be made) independent from a copyright point of view. The soundtrack of a movie (the pop songs or original orchestral works) are considered independent. But a novel and its first chapter are not independent, and a movie and a single frame are not independent as far as I can see. But a medical textbook consisting of separate chapters by separate authors overseen by a group of editors, now that is something I can see being composed of separate copyright expressions. I can't see how cropping an image (whether one removes interesting or boring bits) makes a new copyrightable work, so the two are linked wrt any CC licence. Kat hasn't responded further to our questions but her comment on the complexity and variation among international experts/laws shows this is a right old mess we could have done without. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not sure if underlying copyright law would have allowed CC to create a license that applies to anything else than a "work". Terms like "file" aren't terms of copyright law as far as I know. darkweasel94 20:30, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Copyright owners can slice and divide the licenses any way they like. If their interpretation is right (which dismays me if it is), and they want "work" to pertain to the original work without any way to limit things, they are absolutely not letting copyright owners do what is within their rights. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 27 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I guess the original licences like GNU/GFDL/CC were set up to challenge copyright with something else (e.g., copyleft). So they spoke about the copyright work. As you say, copyright owners can make a licence or contract to cover their work, or a copy/instance of their work, and impose whatever terms they like. Whether such a licence is suitable for Commons is another matter. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I believe the relevant policies (COM:SCOPE and COM:L) rely on an external definition of free content that is expressed in terms of the work, not specific files or resolutions. I think either we need to modify our policies to clearly allow specific versions of a work, or we should follow what's written there and delete files with such licensing restrictions. I would prefer that we modify our policies, but this might not be entirely straightforward - e.g. would we accept license restrictions that prohibit format shifting? We should probably also work to change the external definition, but I suspect that will be a slow process. --Avenue (talk) 23:42, 26 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would personally like a comment from User:Eloquence wrt how the Definition of Free Cultural Works fits with CC-as-clarified, file-based licences, and restrictions on CC or other standard licences. A licence that is restricted to the file-uploaded, but says nothing (or little) about the underlying copyright work might not meet this Definition. And this would influence the kind of debate Commons has. Personally, I don't see it likely that Commons will deviate from that Definition. So this may be just one more limitation (like no-NC) that we have to accept. It would probably be simplest if Commons went the hard-line route and insisted on a Free licence for the copyright work -- our job then would be simply to warn anyone uploading a file that the licence they use is attached to the copyright work, not the file, and to seriously consider the consequences of that should there be other forms of that copyright work that you don't wish to donate for free. If we went down the file-based / instance-based approach, then I'd be keen on a "do what you like with it" freedom on the file (which would allow upsampling/downsampling/cropping/format changing/derivative works/etc). Imposing any restrictions on what one can do with the file (other than non-copyright issues like personality rights) would be disallowed. -- Colin (talk) 10:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

New discussion on cc-community

There is a new related discussion at cc-community Jee 04:58, 3 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shameless Bump to prevent archiving. Any new info from any side? --Denniss (talk) 10:07, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No; it seems the CC people and WMF legal prefer to keep silence. Do we have anything to do or accept the new CC FAQ as a possibility (even though not sure) and try to make provisions to warn contributors about this? I think it is better to inform our contributors that there is such a possibility that their original works may also affected by the public license they offered for a limited version. :) Jee 10:34, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A constructive approach would be to start drafting a document that explains what is considered "the same work" and what is not (and what is moot). We should document some sort of shared understanding by us, Wikimedia community and Commons community (and Wikimedia Foundation), at least on typical, clear-cut cases. As Kat Walsh mentioned there [8], CC only can say "if two files are considered the same work, then ...". They cannot provide criteria to judge copyright-wise identity of materials. In the meantime, I started Commons:Same work as something minimal. whym (talk) 15:06, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A good attempt. Thanks. Jee 15:38, 11 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I just created a template that can be used as a friendly warning to the re-users and helps to protect the interest of the contributors. I think it serves as a middle ground without breaking the CC license as it doesn't add any additional requirements. (posted at Commons talk:Same work too.) 15:43, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
Jee, as you know CC does not accept the validity of a restriction placed on a CC license. Such restrictions may be ignored as could your template. They go on to say that a license with any additional restrictions cannot be called a CC license (despite their restriction against DRM). Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:53, 17 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's not an additional restriction placed by someone else (not permitted indeed although we tend to not see it in image compilations, permitting a -by image to be used under by-sa license), it's definition of usage rights (this resolution and lower but not anything you find elsewhere and assume it to be a highres master of the lower res image) installed by the copyright holder (and not a third party like CC). --Denniss (talk) 23:15, 17 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jee's template seems somewhat contradictory to me, in that it starts by saying "this License is only applicable up to the highest resolution published here", but later only suggests this would apply "if they [the copies in different resolutions] can be considered two different works under the relevant copyright laws". So I don't think it would be clear enough to rely upon, if one wanted to restrict the licensing to a certain maximum resolution. If we accept CC's interpretation of their licenses, such a restriction would indeed seem to be an additional restriction over what the CC licenses allow (although this could depend on details of the files involved, applicable copyright law, etc).
CC do not allow additional restrictions to be imposed over a CC license by anyone, whether they are the author/licensor or someone else, unless they no longer call their license a CC license, and no longer even mention CC trademarks in connection with it.[9] So CC would presumably be unhappy with any attempt to restrict the license to particular fixed copies or resolutions of the work. Whether we want to start policing violations of CC's trademarks is a separate issue. --Avenue (talk) 03:01, 18 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes; I chose the words carefully not to beak the CC terms. While applying a license to a "Material", one need not bothered about "Other materials" which may or may not available somewhere else. But it is the responsibility of the reuser to make sure whether they are identical or not if they found some "Similar looking material" somewhere else. (I have no plan to use that template; as I have no higher resolution versions so far. It is intended for people who have a difficlty to contribute further to Commons who are very professional and their contributions are very valuable here. Feel free to edit it to make it a "stable version".) Jee 03:39, 18 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well this was raised precisely for this reason. Either the restriction is a violation of CC terms and as such cannot be called a CC license or the restriction may be ignored. So if the former is true and the author does not wish to remove the restriction the CC trademarks need to be removed. If the the latter is the case the option should be given to the author to delete the file, remove the restriction or re-license it in a manner consistent with his/her wishes. In the last instance we may want to look at allowing custom licenses (insert chaos drama fest). Saffron Blaze (talk) 18:00, 18 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm, we are doing serious copyright violations on one side, providing only bare minimum attribution in media use, still prefer to discourage people from protecting their rights. WMF may be just a "yes man" of CC; but we, the volunteers need not. Jee 06:39, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I doubt that all this is true. I think the CC FAQ is wrong on this. Applying different licenses to different sizes of one work is common practice for photo agencies for decades in all countries. Contesting that one can provide separate licenses for differnt sizes (web-version to print version) would break up most of their business model. Unless I see serious doubt in their business model from reliable sources I'd think that providing seperate licenses is possible, and I would not believe what a small movement (CC) on the internet thinks on this topic. --Martin H. (talk) 10:12, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Martin H., do you mean "...CC FAQ is right wrong on this"? Jee 10:30, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the note. In german syntax the verb doubt would apply to both statements. I corrected it by splitting it into two sentences. --Martin H. (talk) 15:38, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • All those stock photo agencies use license terms, or separate contractual agreements, that permit the segregation of various sizes to different price points. What CC has done is said they do not consider additional restrictions on their licenses to be valid. Moreover, they have said if you do find a way to apply a legal restriction then the license must not be called a CC license. Thus it is quite clear that CC will no longer support this common economic model for photographers. So while there are legal means to use licenses to continue to support this common economic model it does not mean CC are wrong in the interpretation of their own licenses. It would be foolhardy for any photographer to use a CC license when they want to use a two license model. CC want people to explore more open economic models. The photographic model they discuss here seems rather dubious to me Saffron Blaze (talk) 19:02, 19 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As Saffron notes, those stock agencies licensed an image file at a set resolution. What CC have said is that their intention is that CC is a licence for the "work of copyright" and not for a given copy of that work at a given size/quality. They have then waved their hands about and shrugged when the follow-on question is raised as to what difference in size/quality would constitute a different work of copyright. What many people on Commons assumed was that CC worked the same way as a stock photo licence/contract, and their own publicity material gives the impression it could. But it doesn't and this makes it useless for any pro photographer wishing to donate a limited copy of their copyright work, rather than donate the whole copyright work at full quality/resolution. -- Colin (talk) 11:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It would also be very useful to know exactly what this means for CC-licensed photographs in the Nordic countries. Under Nordic copyright laws, photographs are normally not works. If the photographer meant that people should be able to use his photograph when he applied the CC licence, I would nevertheless assume that a court would rule that something has been licensed, although that something isn't a work. However, when we get into complex discussions such as whether two different images constitute the same work, then the situation looks very confusing and unclear if the photograph isn't a work in the first place. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:49, 20 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think if this is one reason they removed "work" from CC4. The substitute "licensed material" is as-far-as-I-can-see a legal neologism (unlike "work") that could be interpreted quite openly. I had hoped that one could interpret it as "that file next to the licence, not some other file you found on the internet that looks similar" but they claim there is no intent to change the meaning. Since CC have regional legal advisers (and did have regional editions of the licence) then I suspect those advisers are the ones to ask. -- Colin (talk) 11:13, 22 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interestingly, Getty also use the term "Licensed Material" and define it as "Licensed Material means any still image, film or video footage, audio product, visual representation generated optically, electronically, digitally or by any other means, including any negatives, transparencies, film imprints, prints, original digital files, or any other product protected by copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights (my bold), which is licensed to Licensee by Getty Images under the terms of this Agreement. Any reference in this Agreement to the Licensed Material shall be to each individual item within the Licensed Material and also to the Licensed Material as a whole." So whether any difference in the stand of CC and Getty? Jee 11:36, 22 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Shameless bump. It seems neither WMF nor WMDE are interested in this (as usual) but this requires qualified legal advice what to do with future and past uploads. --Denniss (talk) 09:51, 29 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If you don't want the section archived, then change 2014 into 2015 in the signature. It can easily be changed back from 2014 when/if it has been resolved. --Stefan4 (talk) 19:47, 4 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or use {{DNAU}}. LX (talk, contribs) 19:53, 4 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A real case

A real case just came up: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Clyde River at Herron's Mills.jpg‎. What do we do with that? Yann (talk) 06:00, 31 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I pinged LVilla_(WMF) again. :) Jee 07:25, 31 January 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reminder to everyone: Foundation typically can't weigh in on specific files, only general policies, because commenting on specific files risks making us liable for all copyright problems on the site, not just this one. (Unless we have received a DMCA request.) But we're looking to see what we can do. —LVilla (WMF) (talk) 02:09, 1 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
LVilla we need WMF to weigh in on whether they consider file/copy-based licences to be "free" under the terms of the Definition of Free Cultural works or whether only copyright licences that cover the "work of copyright" are valid for Commons. We also need them to give a statement on whether they are prepared to host images with "licences" that clearly break the legal terms imposed by CC on the licensor (i.e., that they cannot add further restrictions which continuing to call it a "Creative Commons" licence or use the CC logos). It is possible, in my non-lawyery opinion, that WMF may be breaking the CC terms of use by displaying the logo and "Creative Commons" name on such pages. -- Colin (talk) 12:37, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For possible future cases I suggest we treat a higher res version found elsewhere to be on the same CC license but with NC, ND or both restrictions (CC has done this too, see example further above). Unless WMF Legal comes up with a better solution. Still leaves the problem we can't confirm this larger version is just a higher res version of a lower res version under a commons-compatible cc license.--Denniss (talk) 11:17, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do I understand that in the case you are offering the low res is a CC license and the hi-res is ARR but we will treat it as CC-NC or ND? What does that achieve? Saffron Blaze (talk) 23:27, 7 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
CC wants them to have the same license but doesn't give clear instruction what "same" is. So the same license version as NC/ND fits their "same" license instruction + it's the same way they used for some of their own stuff. --Denniss (talk) 15:57, 10 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could someone please post a summary of this?

-mattbuck (Talk) 12:06, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A user who claimed herself as the subject uploaded a 180 × 270 size to Commons with a CC BY-SA 3.0 license. Later Tuvalkin found a higher resolution file in Flickr and uploaded over it even though it was "all rights reserved". I made DR claiming COM:PRP as I believed the free license is only applicable to the small sized version. I further doubted the claim the the common user too as it is the only upload of her in Commons (but it is a different reason; not related to this discussion). Jameslwoodward closed the DR as kept, claiming "The image is apparently freely licensed here. The only issue is resolution. Although I could understand an argument that a much higher resolution version is a different image for copyright purposes, I think that is not the case. Therefore, I think that once a photographer has licensed any version of an image, all resolutions have the same license."
I made a request at CC community for clarification and CC forwarded it to their legal. Upon their opinion they made a clarification/update on their FAQ:
What do the terms and conditions of a CC license apply to?
Can I apply a CC license to low-resolution copies of a licensed work and reserve more rights in high-resolution copies?
but refused to explain further. What they said is everything in a license is defined on the basis of "copyright rules"; so if different resolution files are not eligible for "separate copyright"; the license for one version will be applicable to all other versions even though they are provided in a different place like Flickr. They said further, "only judiciary can say whether different resolution files are separately copyright eligible". WMF legal also refused to comment on this matter. :( Jee 12:44, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should add that, as I uploaded the higher resolution version of File:Trabalhos.jpg, I thought I was merely applying routine policy, and I understood (misunderstood, perhaps), the all-rights-reserved license in Flickr to be not a way to protect photo detail from loosing copyright protection but simply a statement that the contributer/subject wishes to have her material available for reuse from Commons but not from Flickr (which is another naive thing users do but doesn’t hold water in view of the CC linceses legal text). -- Tuválkin 13:57, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Interesting as I do in Flickr (I apply CC BY-SA-NC in Flickr; but CC BY-SA here as I hate bots crawl my works here). Thanks Tuválkin for bring us to this wonderful discussion. I don't want to blame any, even CC; we need a clarification on this matter. I think CC's explanation is good for contributors; otherwise we will continue with our blind beliefs which make our life more unfortunate in future. Jee 14:08, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Many, if not most, people assumed that when they upload a file to Commons and associate a licence with it, then that licence applies to the file. This is a nice neat definition of what the "licensed material" is. But it turns out this is wrong. Existing copyright licences (e.g., CC, FAL) apply to the "work of copyright" and not to a particular copy of that work at a given level of quality/size/length. This distinction has consequences for anyone thinking they can use CC for a low quality or small size version of an image or other media product, yet retain "all rights reserved" or use another CC (such as -NC) for the high quality or larger resolution version. Depending on the jurisdiction, a judge may decided that for a given pair of files at different resolution, that they are in fact the same "work of copyright". Since there is no case law and copyright's view of what is a sufficiently creative act varies wildly from country to country, we are left in a situation where the definition of "licensed material" is in fact nebulous and subject of national variation and judgement on a per-case basis. There may also be some doubt that, given two files, one is merely a larger-resolution version, and doesn't in fact contain some other creative input. While many people can give their opinions on whether two such files can be considered the same work of copyright, CC's lawyers believe that in some cases/countries they might and that in itself is a problem whether you or I think they are correct in their logic.

Further, Creative Commons has stated that they take a dim view of attempts to append restrictions to images using their licences (such as "only at resolutions below X") and forbid the use of the CC logo and forbid calling the licence a Creative Commons licence if such restrictions are added. Naturally, they want to protect what is understood to be a "Creative Commons" licence and not allow 101 variants.

WMF, Wikimedia Commons, GLAM and Creative Commons themselves have all had publicity and policy material encouraging the use of CC for low-resolution or low-quality media while using different licences for high-resolution or high-quality media. Because of this there are tens of thousands of images on Commons that are licensed on the assumption that the licence covered no more than the file uploaded and the limited donation made. This may also apply to some very large donations by institutions.

We remain unclear whether an alternative file/copy-based licence approach would meet the Definition of Free Cultural Works. It seems likely that many image description pages break CC's terms of use (by including additional restrictions) and so we may be unable to host them simply on that basis. Although there appears to be a user-driven demand for file/copy-based licences, there appears to be no interest in such within WMF. Many Commons users are, of course, happy to donate even under the new understanding. But many commercial photographers may find this unacceptable, with consequences for future donations.

Commons should ensure it does not encourage the practice of using CC (or FAL or any other copyright licence) for low-resolution images if the intention is to retain rights in the high-resolution image. But additionally, Commons is unable (both legally per the precautionary principle, and morally imo) to take advantage of this situation by uploading/hosting high-resolution copies of images that have CC licence attached to a low-resolution copy. -- Colin (talk) 13:23, 3 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

nice sentiments Colin, and I agree COMMONS can't, but the trolls that infest the place can and will. They hounded, blocked and drove away from the project a multi-award winning pro photographer over the issue of demanding he upload higher resolution images than those national geographic displayed on their website. Common law is an expression of common understanding, as are most laws around the world. The stealing of higher resolution images will damage the free image movement, as a temporary limited fad, and rest assured trolls will take full advantage. Same deal we see countless times when someone asks for an image to be deleted and get an antisocial reason why it won't be, all it does is prevent future donations as this will. Eventually different resolutions will be re-recognized as different works in most countries even if there are exceptions made by idiots here and there, but the big picture shall prevail so as not to wreck the freebie movement in the long run. Beggars can't be choosers is the lesson to be learned and history shows commons can't learn sh**. Either it will become clearer from outside that they are separate, or a new license will appear outside to accommodate the donations. Mark my words on that one.
As for the creative commons website, it doesn't mean sh**. They are not a court of law and can state that a low resolution image and a fluffy white chicken are the same work and it will not make it so. Tested in each country, they'll be proven wrong. Their idea of what is the same image is laughable. Eventually they will need to recognize that they can't over-rule common understanding or they'll be sidelined while other licenses grow popular. end of story. No point outlining the sensible solution for commons, because history shows commons is never sensible. All you can do is prepare for the trolls who will upset the wide community deliberately by stealing artwork. Penyulap 22:42, 4 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That or you adopt a license that includes a restriction. Saffron Blaze (talk) 04:03, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Penyulap, I agree Commons has a poor track record of behaving ethically and at times seems willing to adopt all sorts of daft and contradictory beliefs in order to justify hosting some images or accepting "f***ing stupid" image licences. But so far, on this discussion, ethical considerations have been the majority and I have some confidence we can adopt some policy against taking advantage of theoretical legal loopholes in CC (at least via the precautionary principle). Contrast this with the unwillingness by WMF/CC to accept they have misled their licence users. I agree also that CC's explanation of why higher-resolution versions might be drawn into the licence scope makes little logical sense but this may be due to poor explaining rather than poor legal advice. I'm sure they have consulted their lawyers. A licence only works when its terms are clear. This is one reason why I'm so opposed to the abuse of GFDL for photographs. The scope of a CC licence is now explicitly uncertain and variable from country to country and image to image. In this digital age, there is no reason why a digital licence can't be signed into a digital file, bypassing the vagaries of copyright terminology altogether. -- Colin (talk) 08:37, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
whole-heartedly agree on all points Colin, screwy licenses, lack of leadership, the reality is that wmf/commons cannot grasp it's own mistakes and shortcomings, so the idea they can compensate for CC's mistakes is (sorry, I have to stop here to have a laugh). THEN what are we going to do, make a proposal that we have a policy to avoid trolling, and who will be asked to vote for this ? Penyulap 09:15, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We desperately need a quick conclusion on this matter

See File:Ruttkay Laura portre ff.jpg :) Jee 03:04, 18 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looks like someone decided what the law is. Saffron Blaze (talk) 03:25, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is a pity WMF legal refused to comment on this issue. So what is the solution now? Jee 04:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I made a request here. Jee 05:12, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sj expressed a wise opinion there. So what about making a policy to disallow hosting high resolution files having no explicit free license? Jee 06:34, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We won't know what the law is, even in the US, until the Supreme Court has decided (and even then there will be doubt). However, I think as a matter of policy Commons should not host images with a higher resolution than the photographer specified. Thincat (talk) 09:03, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that we should have policy disallowing the upload/hosting of high-resolution/quality versions for files which are not explicitly tagged with a free licence, even if a low-resolution/quality version has been tagged with a free licence. This is the ethical thing to do, and the sensible thing to do per Precautionary Principle. I'm glad the above image has been reverted. -- Colin (talk) 13:18, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support to proposed policy.
Even Wikimedia-Germany (WMDE), who has an established business connection to a legal office/consultor, still did not reply to Gestumblindi's question about this matter, which had been posted full two months ago[10]. --Túrelio (talk) 13:40, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support to proposed policy. There is an equal need for a mechanism to notify uploaders of the issue. Saffron Blaze (talk) 17:11, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment I like Thincat's idea, but I would like to see the proposal fleshed out a bit more before we get into a round of !voting. Would we want a standard way to record the photographer-specified resolution on the file description page, e.g. via a template in the Licensing section? --Avenue (talk) 21:38, 24 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support As the most pragmatic solution for now. We discussed a lot, consulted CC, legal and even our board members. It seems Sj's suggestion is very wise. No we can make an ethical decision keeping away the legal possibility. At the same time, we need to educate our contributors about this danger, especially in chapter level attempts to canvass institutions (as happened in a case mentioned above). It will (making a policy as proposed here) bring the confidence of our contributors and volunteers that they are respected and we have no plan to make benefit from a loop hole that "invented" later. Jee 02:46, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pictogram voting comment (orange).svg Comment If we try to develop a Commons (Wikimedia?) policy, where is the the best place for discussion? Issues (1) there can be more than one template but I favour something less legalistic than Template:Limited version – either asserting moral rights or simply expressing the wishes of the copyright holder. (2) for non-templated files (historical and new) do we presume and enforce a limit at the resolution of the file at the time when the licence was granted? (I think yes unless the copyright-holder has subsequently uploaded a higher resolution version). (3) a need to keep other projects on board. (4) foreseen and unforeseen difficult cases ... Thincat (talk) 09:12, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No need of such a template if we have a policy. Just mentioning it at COM:L with a link to Commons:Same work is enough: "Even if higher resolution file of a work can be considered as same work, Commons (as a matter of courtesy/ethics) will not host such files if they are not explicitly tagged with a free licence." (I will be away for a week; so unable to participate further.) Jee 11:18, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support - Not doing so would be a net negative. Sure, we'd have high resolution copies of certain files... but then few photographers would even consider donating. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:11, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Supportwe shouldnt host files greater in size than what the copyright holder uploaded or that which existed at the source location at the time of uploading. Though I vaguely remember a case where an editor was accessing higher resolution photographs of PD artworks through an unorthodox method rather than the online accessible image which we did allow to be hosted here. Gnangarra 15:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support this. First, I agree that serving our end-users free images should be important, but I also believe we should retain as conservative a view of copyright interpretation as possible - and that's guaranteed through the precautionary principle. The reasons for doing so are not immediately beneficial to the end-users per se, but to the uploaders and creators of content, as those are also the people who are most likely to donate free images to the potential benefit of our end-users. By allowing them to retain limited copyright exemptions of their work in whichever form they choose, we provide incentive for and encourage releasing future works under our free licenses, even as they make money from the higher resolution version of the same image. The end-users are able to modify, make derivative works of and even use the image for commercial purposes, provided they credit the original author, while the author is free to use any of their images however they want, and Commons gains a free picture. Everyone's happy. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To be certain of this, our interpretation is that a lower resolution image is a derivative work of a higher resolution image (and thus considered under Commons:Derivative works) while the reverse (a higher resolution image is a derivative work of a lower resolution image) is not true, right? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 04:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Both upscaling or downscaling of the available source file is covered by the license, using a higher res version found elsewhere assumed to be of the same origin is not a derivative work of the available source file. What CC suggest to be OK conflicts with the usage right granted by the author + we can only assume such a higher res file is of the same origin. Even minor differences (series of images with minor changes in position etc) are sufficient to make this a copoyright violation.--Denniss (talk) 07:23, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Denniss: Does that mean derivative works might not be allowed even if the high-res version is under a different copyright than the low-res version? If we make a derivative work of the low-res version, would it also be considered a derivative work of the high-res version? If so, that makes the file non-free, and puts File:Trabalhos.jpg into the eligible-for-deletion category... TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 17:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are free to recalculate the freely licensed lower res image into a lower/higher resolution file and upload it as derivative work. You can't do this from the higher res file fround somewhere else unless it's released under a commons-compatible license. --Denniss (talk) 17:47, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support this proposal, and Saffron's corollary (would a template do?). --SJ+ 12:41, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol support vote.svg Support, late but definitely agree. The author should have an absolute right to limit the resolution of the file being granted for use. Huntster (t @ c) 16:42, 4 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, this proposal seems to go against the interpretation of CC licenses published by Creative Commons. It also creates great amount of confusion as it might be hard to figure out which version of the photograph some derivative work is based on. Photographers should be allowed to upload low resolution images here and try to sell high resolution images, but the high-res images would still be provided under the same license only they would not be publicly available. Same goes with PD works: just because some printed version of a photo was low-res (lets say {{PD-1923}} photo), does not mean that PD license only applies to that resolution. Since some past uploads might have been made with the understanding that the license applies only to some resolution, we might create a template requesting users to honor that (voluntarily). But that should not be something we should encourage in the future. --Jarekt (talk) 17:02, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added at COM:L. Jee 17:34, 9 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that the wording of the addition doesn't match our sentiments. The issue isn't that we think it's "morally/ethically" wrong to upload high res versions; it's just that we have no confidence it is legal. The policy should refer to the precautionary principle, rather than saying this is a choice we've made solely of our own volition. Wnt (talk) 10:58, 26 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was edited later ("It is unclear whether such a distinction is legally enforceable..."). Jee 11:07, 26 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The opposite case

These three:

The origonal uploader, three years after the original upload, overwrote them with much smaller versions. I reverted it saying «Original image released per non-revokable license». Comments? (And what’s with the female glamour models and this particular copyright issue?!) -- Tuválkin 23:15, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

These three files seem to have been uploaded first on 3 March 2014 (not 3 years ago), and replaced with a smaller version less than an hour later. Asking the uploader why they replaced them might be a good first step. --Avenue (talk) 23:36, 11 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oops, what a blunder! I was fooled by the date of the earliest contribution of this uploader. Will revert the reversion. -- Tuválkin 01:03, 12 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Asked. @Tuvalkin: No relation other than that DR trigger this discussion. :) Jee 03:23, 12 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

License for The Al Goldstein collection in the Pandora Music repository at

I need some on a collection license. I got a big nasty copyvio template on a file I uploaded File:Carl Nielsen - Wind Quintet - 3. Praeludium - Adagio. Tema con variazioni - Un poco andantino, Min Jesus lad min hjerte få.ogg. I have described this as an extract of File:Carl Nielsen - Wind Quintet - 3. Praeludium - Adagio. Tema con variazioni - Un poco andantino.ogg. That file has Magnus Manske as uploader (I guess he does not make copyvios). In the permission field he writes: "The license information states that this file is "available for free download subject to the EFF OAL" (Open Audio License), which in turn is interchangeable with the CC-BY-SA-2.0." When I follow these links they are no longer there, — not even the EFF link! There are a number of other files with similar problem. So can someone acknowledge that the license information is (still!?) valid, and where is it? And should the description field be updated on the other files. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fnielsen (talk • contribs)

It's nothing personal; had you copied that page, including a proper license tag, it probably wouldn't have got the template. And it's not a copyvio template; it's pretty nasty, but it's requesting that you add a proper license tag to it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:25, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Assistance, please

I have nominated the Wikipedia article en:Angkor I for Good article status, and I have been told the image needs to be deleted from Commons and given a non-free use rationale. However, I do not know how to do this. Would someone mind assisting with the deletion here, but keeping the image at English Wikipedia with an appropriate license? A million thanks to someone who can help! --Another Believer (talk) 20:34, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've nominated the image for deletion here. That is all that needs to happen on the Commons side; you can upload the image to (even before it is deleted here) with the necessary license and rationale. Эlcobbola talk 20:46, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or add {{Fair use delete|reason}} to the file. That will move the file to free-use-wikis (where in use) and add a deletion tag when done. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 20:58, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The wrinkle is that {{Fair use delete}} results in the bot adding a speedy tag, and FoP issues "need" to go through a full DR. (I say "need" because a number of admins will decline FoP-based speedies -- foolishly, in my opinion -- but the full DR avoids the hassle). Эlcobbola talk 21:02, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmmm, why would someone decline an FoP speedy? Doesn't make sense. Problem is, I'm not inclined to transfer those files by hand to other wikis. FU-tag is very convenient and I usually take care of the deletion my self. ;-) --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 21:14, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for assisting. I added the new file name to the Wikipedia article: Has the issue been resolved, or is more work needed? --Another Believer (talk) 21:28, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done here, just check on enwiki and follow the instructions for Fair Use (You find links on the image page as well). Good luck with the review! --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 21:48, 9 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Autobiography of Charles Wilkes

One of contributors of Russian Wikipedia asked me to help to determine copyrights status of autobiography of w:en:Charles Wilkes. He died in 1877, but book was published only in 1978. Book also contains two images of unclear origins. Introduction and notes were written and book was edited by US Navy History Department. --EugeneZelenko (talk) 14:04, 10 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It has no copyright notice and it was published by the Government Printing Office, so it's probably fine. There are complex rules about common-law copyright, but I gather that under common law, you have to more actively maintain your copyright on something like this, and he doesn't seem to have any heirs, so his common-law copyrights seem to have lapsed into the public domain before this was published. I don't know about the pictures; it's probably safe to assume they were taken for this book and are PD-US-Gov.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:57, 10 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"I notice that the file page either doesn't contain enough information about the license or it contains contradictory information about the license, so the copyright status is unclear."




tHANK YOU — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 15:26, 15 January 2014‎ (UTC)Reply[reply]

Everything's alright now. Seems like the ArchiveBot doesn't know how to handle the date in {{Unsigned2}}, so this comment is mainly to trigger the bot. Or does {{Section resolved}} work here? --El Grafo (talk) 16:01, 11 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyright on Search Warrants

I have a search warrant from an old court case, that pending asking my lawyer about, I'd like to upload to Commons. Does anyone know if search warrants are exempt from copyright? If they are not I can only assume the judge or the court holds the copyright to them, but I would think as a court document they would be exempt. One can't possibly have a free and just society without these sorts of items being public domain. Anyone here with a bit more knowledge in this area know the law/case law on this? Zellfaze (talk) 15:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this a US search warrant? Works of the Federal Government are PD, and a search warrant is a judicial order, so is probably PD no matter what level of the US government.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:04, 12 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a US search warrant, and I have a state level one. Zellfaze (talk) 19:00, 12 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You might be missing the distinction between public information (the right of public to access and/or compulsory disclosure) and public domain (free of copyright). The two are distinct notions, and the latter is not generally related to justice ("just society"), and is inherently contrary to liberty ("free") as a literal monopoly on an intellectual property. Whether a State-level search warrant would be public domain would depend upon various factors including: 1) the authoring State/entity (e.g., Florida generally places official works into the public domain) and 2) the nature of the search warrant (i.e., whether it contains original authorship with a sufficient "creative spark". Facts of the world are not copyrightable. A mere compilation of facts--such as a phone directory, see Feist v. Rural--would not be eligible for copyright.) If the warrant merely lists case caption, jurisdiction, authorized agents, address/items to be searched, etc. it may be public domain. If the format is prose (e.g., a joint search warrant and affidavit), it is more likely to be eligible for copyright. Эlcobbola talk 19:25, 12 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is Template:PD-EdictGov.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:17, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


When I was a child, my parents took me to a photo saloon, and had my picture taken. We paid the guy and went home. The picture is now in my childhood album. Is that picture allowed? If yes, how should I go about this? Provided, of course, my picture will serve some educational purpose. Debresser (talk) 00:36, 12 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The question you ask is one of the instances where copyright law can get annoying complex. You've provided too little information in your hypothetical to answer your question either affirmatively or negatively. It's not clear to me if you are asking for a general discussion of the copyright issues involved or if you have a specific photo in mind that would like to contribute to Commons. Briefly, the first step would be to determine who owns the copyright to the studio photo. The owner of the copyright would most likely have originally been the photographer, but it could have been his employer or your parents (depending on the copyright laws of the country involved). Even if the original copyright was with the photographer or his employer, they may have agreed in a contract to transfer the copyright to your parents. If the original copyright owner has died, copyright ownership may have been transferred to their heirs. However, if it was determined that the photographer still owns the copyright to the photo the correct solution would be to obtain their agreement to release the photo under a Commons-compatible license and ask them to forward that agreement to OTRS before you upload the photo to Commons. —RP88 01:33, 12 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am asking the question in a theoretical way, but I think it is a good question. My layman's understanding of such a situation is that since I paid for my photo to be taken, I obviously had in mind it should afterwards become mine. Including to use it as I wish. I'd take my picture home, and would be very upset if the photo saloon would use it afterwards for whatever purposes without my permission. No photo saloon will ask me to sign any document regarding copyright, nor will - more significantly in this case - any client who is having his photograph taken expect to have to sign any such agreement. I put down my 5 dollars, take my picture and leave. Forever forgetting about who took the picture or even where I took it. Is this layman's understanding of mine of the situation reflected in any copyright laws? Debresser (talk) 00:58, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't heard about these studios reusing such photos for whatever purposes elsewhere. They may need permission from the subjects in the photo to use it for commercial purposes, depending on the local laws, and I'm not sure that there's much of a commercial market for random family photos anyway. More likely they'd just be selling additional prints of the photos to their customers. As far as I know, the copyright will remain with the photographer or their employer unless there was an agreement that specifies otherwise, but again depending on any local laws. --ghouston (talk) 01:23, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Debresser, what you describe is a common misconception. A very readable introduction to this subject is "Copyright and the old family photo". A more technical discussion of this issue as regards to modern studio photographers is included in the copyright guidelines for members of the photo industry. —RP88 01:41, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Incorporation documents (Florida, U.S.)

File:AUF First Page of Incorp. Act Florida.png: presumably the uploader's claim of a CC license has no basis. I presume either this is public domain, or not allowed, but I don't know which. - Jmabel ! talk 03:51, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

If I am not totally mistaken, PD-FLGov should apply. I added PD-FLGov as license, the only thing the uploader has to come up with is a real source since it's not own work. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 13:12, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyright Infringement

Image Used Commercially and publisher not followed license agreement An image of mine was printed on the cover of local telephone book; no reference was made to the CC license and the photographer was not credited; since the copyright agreement was broken should I not be entitled to compensation?

Yes, but it is up to you to peruse it. You can contact them (possibly thru your lawyer), explain how they have not fulfilled the requirements of the offered license and offer them an alternative license agreement. The alternative agreement might request some compensation or possible donation to some non-profit organization (like Wikimedia or CreativeCommons). The first option might make you sound like a Patent troll though. --Jarekt (talk) 18:04, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Bah. There's nothing submarine about a copyright. They had no license to use it; at best they ignored the clear terms of the license they were offered. I don't think anyone should feel guilty about demanding that if someone use their work without a license, they pay for it. Just because you released it under a free license shouldn't make you feel guilty about getting paid for your work from someone with clearly no interest in using your work under that free license.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:48, 13 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Gillfoto 04:50, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Thank You for your suggestions, the fact that its one of my prize images and they didn't take the care or interest following licensing and crediting my image; I will ask for payment. Now I'm considering Wikimedia Commons license, I use "Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike" on all my Flickr images; The confusion arose in the fact Wikimedia does not include the complete definition of CC BY-SA 3.0 with the file page under licensing Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. I am now seriously considering withdrawing my images from Wikimedia Commons now that I know Commercial enterprises can benefit from my labor without payment. Gillfoto 04:50, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Gillfoto.

Indeed, Commons only hosts content that can be used for any purpose, including commercial purposes. This is made very clear (for example) in our licensing policy, our project scope and (perhaps most prominently) the first page of the Upload Wizard. ("By sharing your work on Wikimedia Commons, you grant anyone permission to use, copy, modify and sell it without notifying you.") Withdrawing a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license is not legally possible, because as stated in the legal code (the only actual complete definition of the license), the license is perpetual. You can stop distributing the works yourself, but you cannot legally force anyone else to stop distributing them unless they have breached the license. All that said, it is only legal to use the content commercially if one complies with the licensing terms, and anyone failing to do so is breaching the license, meaning their license is automatically terminated and that they are committing copyright infringement. It is pretty common practice in most places for photographers to invoice infringing uses at the normal daily rate for the actual use of the content to date plus a substantial surcharge for non-compliant use to date, and having published the photo under a free license does not impede your ability to make such demands. However you wish to proceed, I strongly urge you to read the legal code of the license to make sure that you understand exactly what rights you have granted and which ones you haven't given up. LX (talk, contribs) 08:59, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Before you decide to change the license on your Flickr images to add NC, please consider that an NC licensed image has almost no legitimate uses. It cannot be used:
  • On Commons or any WMF project.
  • On any web site that is owned by a profit making entity.
  • On any web site that is owned by a not-for-profit entity if the web site solicits money or carries advertising.
  • In any printed work unless the work does not carry advertising, does not solicit money, and is printed and distributed free of charge. This includes almost all textbooks and other educational material.
  • In any educational institution that charges tuition or fees. This includes almost all colleges and universities, as well as private primary and secondary schools. It also includes public schools which take out of district students for a fee.
  • On any personal web site that carries advertising or that advertises the skills of its owner.
As a practical matter this leaves almost nowhere.
You should also consider that adding an NC restriction will not deter copyright thieves. The local telephone company is likely to have stolen the image even if it had an NC license.
.     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 10:18, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Jim, what he said is all of his images (since a long time) are CC BY-NC 2.0 in Flickr, and he didn't notice the for any purpose, even commercially clause from our vague, out dated license tag. See my proposal above (option 2 & 3). :) Jee 10:38, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Aha, I see that I was confused by the phrasing there, sorry. My point is still good, though -- anyone who uses, or who considers using an NC license should realize that he might as well use "All Rights Reserved". THe NC licnese is likely to be infringed anyway, where ARR is more likely to be respected. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 10:52, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Threshold of originality duration

How long can be an old simple design (logo) (in UK) protected? Here stays somewhat of maximum of 25 years:[11]? And also COM:TOO#United_Kingdom claims us a "very low" threshold of originality. The "EDGE logo" has only changed a very simply streak on a "E" (of an existing font). Very low is not the word, it is almost impossible to go even lower. Therefore, this precedent case I mean is more than questionable. This oddity would still be under w:Threshold_of_originality anyhow? If so then everything is really protected in UK!? Maybe current possible example: Commons:Deletion requests/File:British Steel Logo.svgPerhelion     18:38, 14 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Images from 1922 book

I would like to upload to Commons some images from a book published in US and UK in 1922. The book is on and Gutenberg.[12][13] So, regardless of exactly the publication dates in the two countries, I think the book is PD in the US so I have already uploaded to enwp. The book's authors were British with one Canadian. It was about an expedition organised, funded etc. by two UK organisations (one the RGS). As an example this photograph was taken by someone who died in 1930 (not credited in the book but stated on an RGS website) and the primary book author died in 1963. I cannot find any attribution for some of the other images. (By the way RGS supply hires images for a fee but it is unclear (to me) whether they are claiming copyright.[14][15])

I wonder if, since the photos and diagrams are unattributed in the book, they will by now be out of UK copyright (publication+70) or, if they were originally work for hire to a corporate body, they would also be publication+70? However, if the author(s) had copyright (would that be possible?) or some human in the RGS then it would not yet have expired. Might these images still be in UK copyright and are they suitable for uploading to Commons? Thincat (talk) 23:50, 15 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think all material that was actually published in the 1922 book should be ok for Commons, because it is reasonable to assume that the book was first published practically at the same time in the U.S. and in the U.K., unless someone finds otherwise. If we look at the two "editions", it's really the same book, the same printer, printed identically, etc. Only the name of the publisher is different on the front page and an advertisement sheet is removed near the end. It is likely that they were printed practically at the same time and that the books to be distributed in the U.S. were immediately shipped to the U.S. So, on Commons you can probably use the U.S. copyright situation only, with the PD-1923 tag. For example, if you upload to Commons the photograph of the members of the expedition *that was published in that book* between the pages 178 and 179, that should be ok.
However, note that there are several pictures of the team members taken at about the same time at this camp, and the photograph of the members that you have uploaded to en.Wikipedia and linked above *is not the same picture* as the one published in the 1922 book. The photographs were obviously taken in succession at about the same time. They show the same persons in the same place. But you can see differences in the poses of the members. For example, look at the position of the right arm of Morshead. So, because the photo you linked above was not published in the 1922 book, if you want to upload it to Commons you will have to find when and where that photo was first published. By the way, this information is probably necessary on en.Wikipedia also if you keep this file there. There is also at least a third photo in this series, where the members exchanged places: those who were sitting in the other two photos are standing in this one and those who were standing are sitting.
Regarding the author, well if the RGS says that the author of those photographs is A.F.R. Wollaston, so be it. He is indeed one of the members who took some photographs. It is a little surprising because Wollaston is on those three photos, but the RGS is a source that ought to know, so I think that's the information you should use unless a better source tells otherwise. In many countries, it is the year of the death of the author that is used for the calculation of the period of the copyright, even if the copyright is owned by someone else. It's important to identify the author, more than to identify who owned the copyright back when the photograph was under copyright. Wollaston died in 1930, so his photos should be ok to reuse in many countries where the period of copyright is based on the death of the author, at least the photo that was published in the 1922 book.
-- Asclepias (talk) 03:10, 16 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For the UK copyright, the term is based on the life of the human author. Even if it was a work for hire, and someone else may have owned the copyright, the term is based on the photographer's life. If the photographer is unknown (and "unknown" would require some research to find if the author was made known at some other time), that is when the 70 years from publication would enter into it. If the RGS site has a credited photographer who died in 1930, that photo is fine. From reading the en-wiki article on the expedition, a number of photographs were also taken by Mallory (died 1924, so any of those are also fine), Bullock (died 1956, so not fine), and in separate areas Wheeler (died 1962, so not fine). The UK's copyright law might allow copyright on things like photographs of paintings, so many UK sites will claim copyright on just about any digitization -- for Commons though, that aspect is ignored, so photos known to be by Wollaston or Mallory should be OK to upload. As for the others... the US publication makes things interesting. If it was published in the US first, or within 30 days of the UK printing, then the US may actually be the country of origin and the UK copyright may not matter at all for Commons. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:56, 16 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, thank you both for your very careful replies. I had spotted that a few very similar team photos had been taken at the same time but not that "my" one was not in the book! I had selected pictures in the book and then looked around on the web for the best reproduction. I'll look again because only those in the book would have been "published" back then. I had seen the photographer was in his own photo – and he is looking very calm about it! I'm sure RGS were rushing to publish the book in both countries to attract funds for the 1922 expedition. I had not realised that Commons accepts "US first published" images even if they might still be in copyright in their "source" country. Thanks again, I'll replace the photo. Thincat (talk) 07:35, 16 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It was probably published within 30 days in the US, because they would have had to do that to secure US copyright. I don't know that that makes the US the source country for the purposes of Commons, though.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:08, 16 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hey, all -- I'm more involved with and am fuzzier about Commons. File:Nute_Gunray.png, I suspect, originally had a background and is otherwise copyrighted by Lucasfilm/Disney. Ditto File:Consejo_federación_de_comercio.jpg and perhaps even the logo at File:Logo_federación_de_comercio.jpg. My best recollection is that copyrighted and even fair-use images aren't appropriate for Commons. I'm about to post a notice to the user's Talk page pointing to this section. Advice, clarification, follow-up appreciated. Thanks, all. EEMIV (talk) 23:13, 17 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Postal cancellations: presumably public domain but...

File:El Salvador 4.jpg, File:Argentina stamp type CA1.jpeg, undoubtedly others: I tried bringing this up on the uploader's talk page, but he doesn't seem to have solved the matter. Clearly Richard Stambaugh is in no sense the author of these images (nor is it meaningful to describe himself as the "source" of what he himself calls a "catalog image"). I don't thing the unnamed "catalog" could have any copyright on these, and I'd guess the underlying images are public domain, but the uploader's claim that he is releasing them into the public domain is presumably nonsense. Does anyone know how these should be tagged and what the file pages actually should say? - Jmabel ! talk 16:30, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As you say, Richard Stambaugh claims to be the author of many such franking machine images and clearly does not understand that just because he copied the image from elewhere or scanned it from an envelope, he is not the designer and therefore not the author. Maybe he is a franking machie robot! I highly doubt that all of his images are in the public domain; only those that are old enough can for sure be PD. Either one of two situations seems to apply here. The first is that Argentinian stamps, and these are stamps thopugh franking machine stamps that indicate postage payment so IMHO they are copyright for 50 years per Commons:Stamps/Public domain#Argentina or even worse the general artistic copyright of up to 70 years applies per Commons:Copyright rules by territory#Argentina unless they only comtain simple non-copyrigtable design elements. Many of the modern images, post 1964, used in b:International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog/Argentina appear to be copyright as they include the modern logo of the postal authority and most of these image appear to be from the same uploader. We probably need to review each and every one. I presume that Richard Stambaugh is the Editor Emeritus of the Meter Stamp Society as metioned on I have not checked all the other images in the b:International_Postage_Meter_Stamp_Catalog but suspect he is responsible for most if not all of the images. Any I checked, he claims to be the source and author for most. It looks like an extensive problem to me. Ww2censor (talk) 14:20, 19 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have concerns about this image. I have raised them on the file's talk page, but I doubt I will get a response there. Anyway, the image was sourced from, which claims that "all content on this site are published under the Licença Creative Commons Atribuição 3.0 Brasil". However, the image itself is attributed to Getty Images, which leads me to believe that the original image may not be licensed under Creative Commons as the website claims. Can anyone help sort this out for me? PeeJay2K3 (talk) 22:12, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For your reference, the image can be found here on Getty Images. PeeJay2K3 (talk) 22:17, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unlikely CC, see also Commons:Deletion requests/File:Arena de São Paulo.jpg. Gunnex (talk) 23:15, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
JukoFF (talk · contribs) has apparently heard back from, and Getty Images photos are indeed copyrighted. It looks like most match photographs from the site belong to Getty Images, but some belong to their staff photographers. In most cases, Getty Images photos credit the copyright holder in the metadata. Ytoyoda (talk) 05:16, 20 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Placement of copyright notice

Århus tram #16 on route 1, in August 1969: Great shot.

Kurt Rasmussen donated several hundred photos of European trams of the 1960ies and 1970ies, such as this one (⇨), under a specific permission clause — see {{Kurt Rasmussen permission}}.

My question is: Should this template be added to the file page, as it is now — inside the {{Information}} section as |Permission={{Kurt Rasmussen permission}}, or have it isolated under a separate =={{int:license-header}}==, leaving inside the {{Information}} section a simple |Permission={{see below}}?

-- Tuválkin 15:35, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Both options are fine. I like the current arrangement, because it's more compact. LX (talk, contribs) 16:46, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I thought as much; the only thing that made me consider changing is that this is a boxed template, probably meant to come on the page at full width, and as it is now it stretches its cell in the {{Information}} box more than it is usual, stretching also its neighbouring header cell. -- Tuválkin 19:18, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
+1. Displaying license in the permission field is the long time practice, as documented in {{Information}}. Adding license outside {{Information}} seems introduced by Upload Wizard. Anyway Media Viewer currently handle/display what is written in permission only (under view terms). Jee 17:30, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn’t know that, interesting: So one WMF gadget forces the licensing to be outside {{Information}} and another WMF gadget ignores any licensing outside {{Information}}…? Truely priceless. -- Tuválkin 19:18, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

While it is clear that Swiss Copyright Law does not protect this image, but I see no reason to assume protection would not be offered in the US and so should not be hosted here. Have I missed something ? LGA talkedits 08:43, 15 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See for example Article 5 (2) of the Berne Convention (only US law determines whether the photograph is copyrighted in the United States, and foreign thresholds of originality may not have any influence on this) and Hasbro Bradley, Inc. v. Sparkle Toys, Inc. (Japanese toys are copyrighted in the United States although the same toys are ineligible for copyright in Japan as utilitarian objects). --Stefan4 (talk) 18:25, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Have opened a DR. LGA talkedits 09:01, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Loriot and old German stamps

Hi, I was told that old German stamps might be affected by the Loriot case. I understand that this affects modern German stamps, but how could a court decision in 2012 affect stamps published in 1939, released into the public domain by "Deutsche Reichspost" or entered in the public domain in 1st January 2010? Yann (talk) 17:53, 17 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A list of files in question are here: Commons:Undeletion requests/Current requests#Some files in German Reich stamps 1938-1942 are missed in the undeletion process above.

Old discussion on this subject:

In addition, does the "Alien Property Custodian" affect stamps from the Third Reich?

I also see that there are a lot of modern stamps still here: Category:German stamps review delete. What about them? I don't see a deletion request for them, but they have a "non-free" tag. Yann (talk) 18:31, 17 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It might help if you provide a link to what it is that you "were told" by your correspondent. Or if that is not possible, if you can explain what he said exactly about this subject. It's hard to comment about the rationale of your correspondent if you don't say what it is. For now, the only thing I can guess is that your correspondent may simply have meant that since the Loriot case has confirmed that stamps are indeed subject to copyright in Germany, then, to meet Commons policy, we must, for each case of German stamp, determine if the copyright on that particular stamp has expired or not in Germany, according to the rules of the German copyright law, as applicable to the case of this particular stamp.
For example, when the author of a stamp is identified on the stamp itself, and the year of the death of the author is used for determining when the term of the copyright will end, the calculation is done accordingly. To take one case, the file "File:DR 1939 734 Winterhilfswerk Frankfurter Römer.jpg" shows a stamp with, printed on it, the name of the author, H. Trier, who died in 1999. In the course of the project about the German stamps review, this file was diligently reviewed by a user on 16 July 2012 and it was marked as failing the review and, for this reason, this file was placed in the maintenance category " Category:German stamps review delete ", waiting to be deleted by an admin.
However, as you remarked above, it seems that this category was not emptied very often, and this file just gathered dust there. Until eventually on 22 December 2013 it was listed independently in a different deletion request, which invoked the URAA. Of course, if this stamp was still under copyright in Germany, the URAA had nothing to do with it. In an ideal maintenance situation, the file would already have been deleted because it was in the category of the copyrighted German stamps to be deleted, not included in a URAA request. This illustrates the phenomenon that some deletion requests that apparently invoked only the URAA actually included files that should have been deleted for other reasons than the URAA, so those requests actually meant something along the lines of "those files should be deleted either because of the URAA or because of other reasons". But since they had to be deleted anyway for a reason or the other, it did not matter too much at that time and the nominators of those requests only mentioned the URAA reason by facility, even if the URAA was not the reason for which many of those files had to be deleted. And this is why the recent decision to undelete URAA-related files mandated a procedure by which each file should be submitted to an undeletion request, because each case must be analyzed to determine if the file was really URAA-related or if it should remain deleted because of another reason.
It seems that this mandated procedure has not really been applied, because the way some of those requests have been closed as accepted as soon as they were made, without examining the files and without leaving the time for users to see the requests, much less discuss them if needed, is a mockery and ignores the reasons why the process was established. For example, a request about a list of stamps including the H. Trier stamp mentioned above, was made on 15 June at 11:50 and closed the same day at 17:07. Other requests were closed even quicker, in a matter of a few minutes. This is ridiculous, because obviously the closing admin did not do the job of carefully examining the copyright status of each file to determine if it met the conditions to be under copyright or not, and did not leave time to other users to do it either. Those undeletion requests could not fulfill their role of screening the files. The way it was done, it is just as if the files were mass undeleted automatically, bypassing the reason why examination through undeletion requests was mandated in the first place.
-- Asclepias (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Asclepias: Thanks for your answer. This already explains a lot of things. For the review process, I think it is better to reopen a DR, if the first DR was on another ground. This also allows a better archive and classification of when a specific file will become in the public domain, and when it can be undeleted. It is also much easier to review files which are not yet deleted. I created a DR from this category: Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:German stamps review delete.
Is there is list of engravers/artists of German stamps (I saw that there is one for French stamps)? Regards, Yann (talk) 08:49, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, there are lists on the German-language Wikipedia, in the category de:Kategorie:Briefmarke der Reichspost. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:01, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Does the copyright always belong to the designer, or there are other possibilities? I found here (Category:Richard Klein) a list of stamps for which the design is known and died in 1967, yet these files are tagged as being in the public domain in Germany. So? Yann (talk) 15:32, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, there is the other possibility corresponding to the special case covered by the Template:PD-Germany-§134-KUG. This template states that it is for the special case where the stamp must meet all three conditions: 1. the author was not identified on the stamp itself, 2. the copyright on the stamp was owned by a legal entity (as under the old law before 1966), and 3. the stamp was published more than 70 years ago. -- Asclepias (talk) 16:06, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Maybe we should make it clearer that these stamps are candidates for speedy deletion by either having the review template include {{Speedy}} or at least make Category:German stamps review delete a subcategory of a speedy deletion maintenance category. Until now I was unaware that such a category even exists. Regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 09:13, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it is better to have a standard DR than a speedy deletion. Here is another DR: Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Hann Trier. Yann (talk) 09:23, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Most of the Loriot case was dealt with and a process was put in place to review all such stamps but that process seems to have stalled for quite some time. You may be best off to refer to: Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review as well as Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-German stamps and all it tags 2. It appears that all the images in Category:German stamps review delete have already been reviewed and should be deleted but two years have passed since anything substantial has been done in this regard other than adding them to the category. Rd232, the major editor, has not been active since May 2013 but Christoph Braun seems to be around so maybe contact should be made with him. Rather than starting individual DRs perhaps all the stamps in Category:German stamps review delete should be put into one DR and dealt with together because it looks like they have already all been reviewed. There are also still 9 files in Category:German stamps review - high priority that need review but I am not sure of the status of the 9,000+ stamps in Category:German stamps review which the same two editors mentioned above worked on in 2012. Ww2censor (talk) 15:36, 18 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See also Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review - the Landgericht Berlin decided that § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG only applies for literary works (Sprachwerke) and not for works of the visual arts (Werke der bildenden Kunst). So, if I understand it correctly, according to this decision's reasoning, stamps (as works of the visual arts) were never in the public domain as "official works" in Germany to begin with and this applies to old stamps as well - only those where the usual reasons for PD apply (creator dead for more than 70 years, simple design) are in the public domain. Gestumblindi (talk) 17:23, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Gestumblindi: Thanks for your input. Yes, I read that page before posting here, but there are a few things which remain not clear:
  1. Some files were put in a "delete" category, and stayed there for 2 years. Seeing how some people look for the smallest possible copyright issue, why these were not deleted?
  2. On that page, it says stamps are in the public domain if not signed. So according to that, I assume that stamps by Erich Meerwald are in the PD. However, some stamps in this category, even as they are not signed, were tagged as not in the public domain.
  3. If stamps which are not signed, but for which the designer is known, are not OK, then a DR should be started.
  4. I restored stamps which were not signed, but deleted for URAA reason. Please tell me if there is any issue. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:54, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Yann: 1: No idea, I suppose they should be deleted now. Maybe people thought we should wait until all stamps are reviewed? 2: "On that page, it says stamps are in the public domain if not signed" - where, exactly? I don't see it... also, it would be news to me that the lack of a signature means a lack of copyright. Copyright in Germany is automatic and you don't need to sign your work to receive protection. 3: Yes, I agree. 4: If the creator isn't dead for more than 70 years, they should be deleted IMHO - whether signed or not. Gestumblindi (talk) 19:27, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Gestumblindi: You can see in Commons talk:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review#List of German stamp designers that quite a lot of recent stamps with a known designer were never deleted, not even a DR was created.
here is that claim: Stamps issued before 1942 are in the public domain in Germany, if the name of the author isn't mentioned on the stamp. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:40, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As mentioned above, the Template:PD-Germany-§134-KUG refers to the effect of the transitional provision in section 134 of the Copyright Act of Germany, combined with section 5 and the second sentence of section 25 of the pre-1966 Copyright Act. -- Asclepias (talk) 23:03, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What seems important to me is the article 129. Regards, Yann (talk) 06:53, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How would that article have to do with the old unsigned stamps discussed? -- Asclepias (talk) 14:05, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of emblems/logos in licensing templates

In some PD templates, we use the insignia of the organization (i.e. FBI or UN), as an identifier. This is only cosmetic. However, the image used often has use restrictions and we have the emblem use template. The concern is that by using the emblem on the template, we appear to be asserting that the organization has made the determination about the copyright status, rather than Commons editors/community. For example File:Flag of the United Nations.svg has the Commons:Non-copyright restrictions template but we use it without regard for that. The UN has not made the determination that File:Flag of the United Nations.svg is public domain and I fear using the UN emblem in the PD template implies the UN has endorsed the view. The same is true for the FBI seal. While it is a PD image, its use is restricted. {{PD-USGov-FBI}} uses the image in the template as if the FBI has endorsed the template or the findings of the template. Particularly in the U.S., putting the seal on a template seems to imply that the FBI has endorsed the finding. That is not correct and representing that the FBI was involved in determining anything by using it's seal would run afoul of U.S. law. Example File:Flag of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation.svg uses PD-USGov-FBI template with the FBI seal embedded in the template. The FBI, however, had nothing to do with the copyright determination and Commons use of the emblem seems to imply an authority derived from the FBI. This is not case. --DHeyward (talk) 21:27, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, it is definitely common practice on Commons for license tags to use insignias as a source identifier, for example the FBI seal (File:US-FBI-ShadedSeal.svg) on {{PD-USGov-FBI}}, the US Department of the Army seal (File:Seal of the US Department of the Army.svg) on {{PD-USGov-Military-Army}}, or the UK Royal Coat of Arms (File:Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg) on {{PD-UKGov}}. All of those source files mention that the use of those insignia may be restricted in some countries. I am glad you bring up the issue, because I don't think Commons has ever carefully considered whether our use of these insignia in our license templates is appropriate. I lean towards thinking that Commons using such insignia as a source identifier does not imply the endorsement of the insignia's organization, and thus the use in licensing templates is OK, but I could easily be persuaded otherwise. While Commons obviously can host the insignia files (see, for instance, s:Response from Mike Godwin to David Larson), it may well be the case that Commons has been too liberal with our use of these insignia in our licensing templates. —RP88 (talk) 23:00, 22 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the use on the templates implies any direct involvement by the organizations. The text of the template pretty clearly states why the work is PD; they are PD-USGov, but the tags are just a more specific indication of which government source it is. Government departments do not get any "say" as to whether their works are PD or not (it's explicit in law), so there is nothing to endorse. I don't see an issue for the licensing tags, personally. I don't think there is any implication to the symbols being their other than a simple identification of which government department the work came from. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:36, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Faithful representation?

Wikipedia's "Featured picture" today is Manet's Olympia. Anyone familiar with this picture will recognise at once that the colour registration is far too warm. While Manet did indeed give the skin colour an unnaturally heightened yellow tone, it was nevertheless a cold and clinical tone. A critic at the time commented that the figure was like a cadaver at a morgue expired from yellow fever. The best indication that the editor has tinkered with the colour values can be seen in the attendant's robes, no longer pink because the blue channel has been suppressed, and also in the sheets which now take on a predominantly yellow tone rather than bluish.

The result is frankly horrible, but of course those of us accustomed to looking at images of art works know very well how variable they can be in their quality.

But what has happened in this case is that the editor has taken the original Google Art Project image and simply warmed it to his taste in Adobe Photoshop. On the discussion page for its "featured" nomination, he blithely agrees he hasn't seen the original and asks for input from someone who has. None was forthcoming, and after a few more opinions had been expressed based on existing images, the thing was passed as "featured".

Whatever the merits (demerits) of the result, isn't that procedure in itself a violation of copyright? The community is reproducing the Google Art Project image (such images usually are copyright to an agency) on the basis of US law regarding "faithful representation", and then at the same tinkering with it to produce something which certainly isn't faithful to the original? Isn't that strictly speaking a copyright violation? Coat of Many Colours (talk) 07:32, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is a separate upload (without altering original) and the modification is clearly stated "Source/Photographer: Google Art Project: Home - pic Maximum resolution. Colours edited by uploader". It is enough even for CC BY/BY-SA files. Jee 08:00, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes , exactly and see my following comment. The point is that it's no longer a faithful representation and for that matter not even true to Manet's intentions himself. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 08:13, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addendum: In fact the Google photograph is attributed copyright RMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski where Hervé Lewandowski is a noted fine arts photographer, webpage here, so it really does seem to be a substantial issue of moral rights involved here (a French invention of course, but one nevertheless recognised even in California I expect). I do think the tinkered (i.e. "featured") image really ought to be deleted. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 08:08, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is a featured picture in three Wikipedia(s). So we can't even think about deleting such a file. If the author think there is moral right issues, he can approach WMF for take-down. (As far as I know Wikipedia prefers faithful reproduction than editor preferences. So if you think that review is a mistake, why not try to convince them at Wikipedia talk:Featured picture candidates? You can try a delist too.) Jee 08:26, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, needless to say I don't rate the expertise, regarding this image at least, at "featured pictures". Are you saying that editing colour values is not altering the original? I can understand that editing to restore original colour values might be seen as legitimate, but this wasn't doing that because the editor confessed to not knowing what the original was. In reality he has edited to his own preferences, producing an image absolutely contrary to that Manet wished to convey and misrepresenting Manet's work. It is not a "faithful representation". That in itself is a copyright violation in my opinion. And then we have the photographer's moral rights to consider as well. Just because he doesn't have copyright in US law, doesn't mean he doesn't have moral rights.
There are issues here I really would like to see debated and this should be the place to do it, not at "featured pictures" where in general issues of copyright are not debated. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 09:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think you understand what copyright violation is. Hafspajen (talk) 13:03, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Could you explain what I don't understand please? This is a derivative work, plain and simple. That would be all right since the original is in the public domain (whether it's all right from an encyclopaedic point of view is another matter) if (and this is the crux) the photograph was the editor's own work. But it's not and Wikipedia can only reproduce it because in US law the original (the Google image) is a "faithful representation". What it can't do is manipulate the image in a way that doesn't faithfully represent the original, as has happened here. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 13:30, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Hafs is (I think) referring to Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag and Commons:Reuse of PD-Art photographs, both of which are linked from Template:PD-art, which you seem to understand fairly well. Now, the point of contention here, is whether moral rights (i.e. "the right to the integrity of the work") apply to such PD-art images. I think, if we're saying that no new copyright is created, that means that there would be no new moral rights attached to the image either, and thus the edit would be okay (if the moral rights are those held by Monet, I doubt most files on the internet would be found to comply with them). On the other hand, if moral rights are held to be created (even if a new copyright isn't), and if moral rights are considered enforceable by Commons policy, then that would mean all such scans must be deleted from Commons, as the moral rights essentially become the same as an ND clause (and as such the images would not meet the Four Freedoms). — Crisco 1492 (talk) 13:48, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Here we are. "Non-copyright related restrictions [i.e. moral rights] are not considered relevant to the freedom requirements of Commons or by Wikimedia", per the guideline Commons:Non-copyright restrictions. As such, moral rights would not be applied to any of these files, and thus derivatives are allowed. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 13:52, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) The painting is in the public domain. From a copyright perspective, then yes, anyone can then make any derivative work they want and it's not a copyright violation. There is no additional U.S. copyright in the photograph itself (and likely none in the color adjustments either). The image clearly states that the colors were adjusted by the uploader, so it is labeled as altered somewhat, which addresses the moral rights issue -- those speak more to passing off an alteration as an original work by an author. Those do not give an author the right to prevent derivative works (only the economic right does that). We would not delete on any moral rights grounds anyways; we would just need to more accurately label the image (either add authors, or remove them if requested, or label the alterations more accurately, that kind of thing). Maybe we should add the alteration note into the main description to make it more obvious. There is no copyright or moral right issue here at all -- the idea of "free" is that people have the freedom to make use of the images in derivative works, etc. The colors of a painting can change pretty dramatically based on lighting conditions, so it's pretty common to have multiple photos of paintings up here, which can look a bit different. I would agree that the original photograph would be far preferable as the featured picture though. If a custom color alteration is preferred in some situation, well that is what Commons is here for, but I would think a featured picture situation should not be one of them. But it appears as though the Wikipedia featured picture nomination was completely aware of the alterations and this alteration was voted on. Perhaps that was a bit misguided, and should be reconsidered. But you are misconstruing the "faithful representation" part of the U.S. law -- that simply states there is not enough creative expression in the photograph to qualify for an additional copyright, so the copyright status is exactly the same as the underlying work. If the painting was still under copyright, there would be an issue of course, but it's not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:58, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd be glad to add something more explicit once protection is taken off (or an admin can do it for me). — Crisco 1492 (talk) 14:05, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Apart from Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag, there is also wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy, which "may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored by local policies" and which says that Commons only is allowed to host so-called "Free Cultural Works" under the definition at Freedomdefined:Definition. That definition tells that a "free" licence must stipulate that "There must [...] not be any limit on [...] where the information can be copied." That definition also tells that a "Free Cultural Work" "must be covered by a Free Culture License, or its legal status must provide the same essential freedoms". It would seem that wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy cancels COM:L, Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag and similar pages on Commons whenever the Commons page conflicts with wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:09, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I don't see any conflict at all. Users have the "freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works." The definition has really always been based on copyright law in particular. There are *always* going to be some restrictions in certain situations on the use of basically *any* image. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:27, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Thanks to Carl and Stefan as always. Always happy to concede to experts. Perhaps I was wrong to take the copyright route. I know I'm right from an aesthetic point of view. The featured image is not a faithful representation. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 14:33, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • The problem is that there are restrictions on where the information may be copied, which isn't compatible with Freedomdefined:Definition. Freedomdefined:Definition demands that an image must be freely licensed or in the public domain worldwide, which is not the case here. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:40, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • There are some restrictions on where information may be copied on basically every single work. Taking it to that extreme basically makes it a useless definition as nothing would be free. The WMF is fine with restricting the definition to the copyright (I'm pretty sure they have made that clear from time to time); any other laws still apply as they always would. The freedomdefined definition (and indeed free licenses like the GPL on which the concept is somewhat based) have always applied strictly to just the copyright. Some recent ones drift a little into patent, as a prevention of patent rights rendering the copyright completely useless, but that is about the limit. Moral rights are never licensable or transferable and are often perpetual, so they *always* exist. If their mere existence means we should delete works, then we should delete everything. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:45, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
              • I'm only talking about economic copyright, not moral copyright. Moral copyright may have different rules for expiration (for example, the moral copyright might not expire at all), but always requires that there at some point must have been economic copyright (which may since have expired). Pictures like this are protected by economic copyright in numerous countries, either because the threshold of originality is so low that it is essentially non-existing, or because it is so high that w:related rights have to be used to provide protection to any but the most artistic photos of them all, in turn giving a short term of protection to every photograph regardless of originality. Related rights never have anything to do with originality. For example, there is only one way to record sounds, and there is no method which is more original than some other method. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:47, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            • What happened here is that an editor took a choice high resolution image created by an established and notable photographer commissioned by the museum owning the work and licensed to Google but not placed in the public domain. The image was an excellent and faithful representation of the original, no doubt reflecting considerable expertise on the part of the photographer. American copyright law however does not recognise "sweat of the brow" and Wikipedia may therefore reproduce the image as its servers are located in California. This editor however, who admits he has never seen the original, nevertheless decided to improve the image by transferring it into Adobe Workshop and warming it. To do that he clicked on the relevant feature, was probably confronted with a slider and pushed it to the right, reducing the blue channel by some 30% and compressing the overall tonal range by some 10%, until he he had attained a flesh tone more to his liking, never mind that in the process he ruined the colour balance of the image as a whole and wholly misrepresented Manet's intention. Pleased with the massive contribution he had made to the visual arts with his innovatively creative push of a slider, he nominated the image for "featured picture", and after a debate in which the participants agreed that they did not know what the original painting actually looked like anyway, the improved image was given Wikipedia's seal of approval and officially linked in the work's Wikipedia article.
That sucks and Wikipedia's readers the world over deserve better, whatever the law is in California. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 17:13, 23 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For what it's worth, not many countries recognize the sweat of the brow. And even the UK's position may have to change, as they may have to apply the EU copyright directive's standard, which is higher (some UK rulings have recently been overturned in EU courts, but they were not photography cases, so not directly comparable). It's possible that such photos are not copyrighted even in Europe outside the UK -- it's just that there has been an explicit court case in the U.S. which makes it more clear. Museums routinely claim such copyright (even in the US) but that doesn't necessarily make it true. I would not harp on this angle.
If an uploader makes adjustments to an image to make it look better to him -- that's fine. If other people agree and want to use it in some particular contexts where it seems better, also fine. That's what Commons is for, and people adjust lots of uploaded images all the time. I tend to agree that the painting's article and the featured picture should not have those alterations if they stray from the actual painting, but insulting the uploaders may not be the best way to get it fixed (I'm sure they were well-meaning). You have a strong point I think, but belittling other editors just ratchets up the emotions and could prevent a calm, rational fix. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:09, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I shall have to look out one day, if only out of mere curiosity, at the US case law about this. As for EU copyright law, that has to be a specialist study. I found it impenetrable when I glanced at in connection with the National Portrait Gallery issue. Always grateful to have yours and Stefan's opinion.
I wasn't belittling anyone. When I looked at that image this morning my first reaction was that it was vandalism. It is quite unconscionable that editors take it upon themselves to make these kinds of edits without knowing, evidently, the first thing about their subjects, in this case even seeing the work itself. This, Carl, was a featured image, supposedly representing the best of Wikipedia and given an airing on its show-piece front page, and the image was horrible, simply horrible, a jaundiced parody of what Manet was attempting. To point that out is not belittling anyone. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 06:53, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quotes like Pleased with the massive contribution he had made to the visual arts with his innovatively creative push of a slider pretty clearly have disdain come through -- and that message would be received loud and clear. There were some others on the en-wiki discussion, not over the top but the tone was there. Some people will adjust colors etc until it looks better to them (or maybe brings out some detail in the painting), but not be aware of how much they are distorting the original. The better approach is to educate why such alterations go beyond simply making the photo look better, and why they should not be the featured picture. Which I hope will change. As for the U.S. case law, the direct case was en:Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp.. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:52, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, all right. Point taken. Thank for the case. I'll have a look, but I have to admit I find copyright law pretty hard to make my way through. As I've made clear before, I shall always defer to experts. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 13:52, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Carl, you have overlooked something. According to Article 6 of the w:Copyright Duration Directive, photographs which meet the threshold of originality are protected under the standard EU terms, but countries may also protect "other photographs" at their discretion. As far as I can tell, "other photographs" are always protected under w:related rights. The Swedish related right is provided to all photos (including those which meet the threshold of originality. According to the preparatory works for the Swedish law, this is because there may be some obscure situations where the photographer (the holder of the related right) is different to the author (the holder of the right with the longer term). The photographer is the person who presses a button, whereas the author is the person who arranges light and scenery, very often the same person. According to (19) of the w:Copyright Term Directive, EU countries are free to introduce any related rights they want, as long as the European Union is informed of this. Note that despite the similar names, the Copyright Duration Directive and the Copyright Term Directive are two completely different directives! --Stefan4 (talk) 22:47, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that is true. Some countries might protect photos with related rights (though if it is just to protect photographer vs. author, that implies that a photo was over the threshold to have an author in the first place), or the shorter "simple photo" protection. That can differ more country by country though. I'm not suggesting we ignore any moral rights -- if we are not naming the photographer, we should be, and we should also be making clear any alterations. But there was a fairly clear position from the WMF to apply U.S. law in this situation regardless of what copyrights might exist elsewhere on such photos. It is often going to be the case that some works are "free" in some countries but not yet "free" in some others; more a matter of policy for which countries we pay attention to for a particular work. These are a situation where we differ from the usual country of origin policy, and apply U.S. rules only. We might also ignore "perpetual" copyrights even though those can exist in some countries and make things effectively not "free" there, even if that is the country of origin. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:52, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Could you tell which Foundation statement you are talking about? As far as I can tell, the Foundation has only taken the position that United States law applies within the United States, which is obviously not disputed by anyone. Apart from that, the Foundation has also enacted a resolution, wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy, which says that Commons only may host files which may be used by anyone without restriction on where the files are used, and the Foundation has also stated that Commons may not ignore or violate wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy. Therefore, a statement by the Foundation made elsewhere would not appear to have any effect unless the Foundation changes wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy.
I'm not sure why you are making a distinction between related rights and a simple photo protection. As far as I can tell, the simple photo protection is a related right in all countries which provide that protection, so there should not be any difference between them. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:00, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Commons:When_to_use_the_PD-Art_tag#Why_do_we_allow_the_PD-Art_tag_to_be_used_for_photographs_from_any_country.3F is the statement.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:55, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't think "faithful representation" should be taken to mean that no significant modifications may be made of PD-Art images. Rather, if somebody makes a non-faithful reproduction of a public domain artwork, then their changes may be subject to copyright. Since a Commoner made those changes and subsequently asserted that the work is PD, there should not be a copyright issue. -- King of ♠ 00:52, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I'll have to consider precisely what I wish to argue and have a look at the relevant US case law. I'll leave it for now and thank all for their comments. It's noteworthy that not a single wikiproject uses the very fine image provided by the museum here, while the risibly piss (I choose the word deliberately as best descriptive of this horrible jaundiced travesty of Manet's painting) poor refactoring of it now appears on dozens if not hundreds of wikiprojects. As the popular saying goes, there ought to be a law against it. Coat of Many Colours (talk) 04:35, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maps in German law

According to the preparatory works for the Swedish copyright act of 1961, the Swedish copyright acts of 1919 were largely based on the German copyright acts. See for example SOU 1957:25 p. 58. That is, the Swedish LL and KL copied lots of stuff from LUG and KUG, respectively. Therefore, there were presumably lots of similarities between the Swedish an German copyright laws as of 1919, although the laws seem to have diverged a bit since then.

According to the Swedish copyright act, images whose main purpose is to provide information (such as maps and technical drawings) are classified as literary works, not as artistic works. This has apparently been the case since the 19th century. Therefore, I have two questions:

  1. Are maps literary works or artistic works under German law?
  2. If maps are literary works, can a map be covered by § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG, which, according to Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review only covers literary works? I note that Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:German stamps review delete includes some maps: File:Molenfeuer Sassnitz (timbre RDA).jpg and the ones with file names beginning with "File:Stamps of Germany (DDR)". --Stefan4 (talk) 19:54, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The first article of paragraph two sets forth "categories" of protected works ("Geschutzte Werke"). Maps explicitly belong to "scientific or technical illustrations" (Darstellungen wissenschaftlicher oder technischer Art), a category entirely separate from "literary works" (Sprachwerke)(z.B. siehe § 2 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 UrhG und § 2 Abs. 1 Nr. 7 UrhG). Beyond the implications of explicitly excluding maps from the literary work classification and verbiage of "illustrations" (decidedly non-literary), scientific or technical illustrations are generally understood to be two or three dimensional, graphic or sculptural illustrations that convey information. ("Die Darstellung wissenschaftlicher oder technischer Art im Sinne von § 2 Abs. 1 Nr. 7 UrhG sind zwei- oder dreidimensionale, grafische oder plastische Darstellungen, die der Vermittlung von Information und/oder der Belehrung oder der Unterrichtung dienen.")(Lutz, Peter. (2013). Grundriss des Urheberrechts. Hüthig Jehle Rehm) Эlcobbola talk 20:51, 24 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Stefan4, maps are not considered literary works but Darstellungen wissenschaftlicher oder technischer Art (see elcobbola's reply). Let me add, however, that historically your description is not that far off since maps were protected according to the LUG (not KUG), and the term "Schriften" in § 16 LUG (the "old version" of § 5 UrhG) did also apply to maps (BGH GRUR 1965, 45 -- Stadtplan). However, "literary works" are indeed a seperate category, which is now more clearly spelled out in the UrhG. // Nonetheless, I do think that maps can in theory be covered by § 5 (1) UrhG. I am aware that this is at odds with the Loriot decision but it is in line with the majority of legal commentators that § 5 (1) is not restricted to literary works per se. However, I do not see many cases in the real world to which this would apply, particularly when it comes to maps. If there is legislation exempting a certain geographic area from a statute and a small map is the only means by which this area is identified, I would argue that the map itself also constitutes an official work, and not just the act (including the map) itself. But this bears little resemblence to a scenario where you're trying to justify the copying of a stamp which shows a map. // Further note that maps could in addition be protected as databases (the question is currently before the BGH; the upper regional courts have so far dismissed that argument, but many regional courts and some scholars have supported the assumption). I'm mentioning this because if this should turn out to be the case, there is an even bigger problem given that databases are protected sui generis and the Database Directive (96/9/EG) may prohibit the application of § 5 UrhG to databases (see BGH GRUR 2007, 500 -- Sächsischer Ausschreibungsdienst; the BGH wanted the ECJ to comment on this, but unfortunately the plaintiff withdrew the case before the Court could respond). — Pajz (talk) 19:04, 25 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ownership of an image

I would like to upload a scanned image of a photograph that I purchased from a door to door salesman. We live close to a small airfield and amateur pilots, to keep up their logged air mile, periodically run aerial photography sorties taking images of individual properties, villages and landmarks. When the photographs were developed they were framed and sold door to door throughout the locality. I have no way of knowing if the salesman was the pilot, the photographer or just a salesman and there was no mention of copyright during the purchase. The original photograph was purchased over 15 years ago and since then I have have used, copied and distributed the scanned image of the photograph on many occasions. I have always assumed that the photograph and image are mine. How do I best provide source and copyright information during the upload process? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dwtmill (talk • contribs)

I don't see how it is possible. Photographer is unknown; copyright ownership is unknown; this work of art is probably only a few decades old which means the author can't be long-dead. Commons is, for good reasons, much fussier over these matters than most photo sharing sites. Jim.henderson (talk) 15:04, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The salesman (presumably) didn't sell you the rights to the image. All that belongs to you is the photograph (copy) itself; the copyright (right to copy the image) still belongs to the owner. --Chetvorno (talk) 16:48, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(Edit conflict)Possession of an image does not confer any copyright to the person owning the image unless they specifically bought, or were given, the copyrights during a transaction, even if the image was free. Assuming you are in the USA you are out of luck until about 2100 because copyright for unpublished works by unknown authors are copyright for 120 years from the creation date per COM:CRT#United States. Other countries generally vary between 50 and 70 years pma and are listed on that page. Sorry to not have better news for you. Ww2censor (talk) 16:52, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Per the law since 1978, there is no implied transfer of copyright -- it would have to be explicit as part of your purchase for you to own it, and be able to give permission here. From a practical standpoint, you are unlikely to run into any problems using the photo locally in normal ways, but from a theoretical copyright standpoint, the photographer (or company, if there was one) still owns the copyright. If the photographer is known, the copyright would last their entire lifetime and 70 more years; if not it would be the shorter of 120 years from creation or 95 years from publication (and selling a copy of a photo almost always means publication so that would be the case here). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:30, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this alright for Commons? Precautionary principle says to be careful, but it may be fine. See especially en:Henry Maull.

If it isn't, the low-res copy already here (File:Fanny Bullock Workman.jpg, needs deleted. Adam Cuerden (talk) 17:43, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think that is fine for {{PD-UK-unknown}}. Presumably the LoC would have mentioned if an individual photographer was named on the back (which should be enough to qualify as anon by EU rules but I'm not sure the UK actually enacted that part), but having the initial publication be anonymous goes pretty far per their law. It sounds like the photo was likely made well after the original proprietors left the firm anyways. With just a firm name, it is an anonymous publication. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:18, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this a copyvio?

I discovered several recently uploaded images (e.g., File:Caster-75-96-18509-65-1.jpg) that seem to be copyrighted by virtue of their presence on this web page, which has a copyright notice at the bottom of the page. However, the uploader claims the images to be "own work", so I'm not sure if this really is a copyvio and, if so, what should be done about it. Thanks for looking into this. Lambtron (talk) 18:52, 26 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It lacks confirmation from the company (via OTRS) that the uploader is actually the copyright holder and is able release the company's marketing materials under a free licence. It should be nominated for deletion, along with the user's other upload. --ghouston (talk) 07:14, 27 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

werner schreyer wiki, pictures

hello, i have uploaded some pictures of myself which i have done for campaigns to update the wiki page which has been created from some users some time before. some content was just not right and modified which i corrected... i should know myself better than any user out there. also i would like to show the pictures i have done for my clients and i have the rights for those to use for my own purposes as i want to avoid that any other users upload some bullshit pictures. my user name is Willibald S and my email address is If you need any other information, please send me an email but i would be very thankful if you publish the pictures where i have my own copyrights. many thanks, werner — Preceding unsigned comment added by Willibald S (talk • contribs)

Already replied on User_talk:Túrelio#werner_schreyer_pictures_for_Guess,_Adolfo_Dominguez_etc.. --Túrelio (talk) 21:58, 27 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

File:Arby's logo.png

Does en:File:Arby's logo.png quality to be transferred to Commons under the license {{Pd-text}} --Sreejith K (talk) 19:22, 28 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

From what one can tell, the "cowboy hat" design around the "Arby's" text is not necessarily a simple geometric shape and along those lines the logo may be copyrightable. --Gazebo (talk) 09:54, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree the "hat" is not a simple geometric shape and it should stay over at enwp I have added a FUR. LGA talkedits 11:05, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


On the English-language Wikipedia, it was indicated that the older Econo Lodge logo is uncopyrighted as a case of PD-textlogo. I have uploaded an SVG version of the older logo to Commons; this version was produced by downloading an EPS version from and adjusting and converting the EPS version with Inkscape. The question is, can a vector representation (i.e. EPS or SVG) of an uncopyrighted logo be subject to its own copyright? (The section on logos in the Commons image casebook does not cover the question of whether third-party vector versions of PD-textlogo logos can be copyrighted.) --Gazebo (talk) 09:49, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It might be theoretically possible if you hand-crafted the SVG; that could be a literary or computer program copyright independent of the graphical image. But it doesn't sound like that is the case here. Given the case history on the copyright of vector fonts, there is one ruling which might open the door for a copyright of a particular set of vector control points (since a completely different set could produce the same image). But I have not seen that reasoning go beyond protecting a font vendor's vector font product, and there are more recent rulings that strongly go the other way (selection of control points to slavishly imitate an existing shape in a 3D model) so I don't think I would worry about that in this situation either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:27, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The EPS is potentially copyrightable, and your SVG file is potentially an unlicensed derivative work of the EPS file, but there seems to be very little case law around the threshold of originality of vectorisations. See w:Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc. for one case from the United States, but I think that someone once mentioned some other case from the United States which may have had a different outcome. The source country of the EPS file might not be the United States, so you might also need to consult the laws of some other country. --Stefan4 (talk) 16:31, 29 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]