Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 6

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

The Swedish law relating to so-called "Skyddsobjekt" was changed last year, and all such objects must now have a separate photography ban (often clearly communicated), according to the Swedish Wikipedia page on Skyddsobjekt. Can anyone confirm this? 14:43, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

There is a link to the new law (on an unofficial but probably reliable website) in the Wikipedia page. Photography is not banned at every "skyddsobject" and a photography ban can be declared without any other restrictions. Old restrictions apply to the end of 2014. Is there some special aspect of the law you want to have confirmed? --LPfi (talk) 09:00, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Update: UAE FoP situation under dispute

The discussion on this has gone quiet recently so I have summed up all the arguments made so far and drawn some conclusions, which can be found at File talk:Dubai 051.JPG#Summary. Note there is a shorter version in bullet points for those that see it and feel like tl;dr. The aim of providing this summary is to encourage debate to continue, or for a conclusion to be reached. CT Cooper · talk 17:06, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

The following was copied over by me (Túrelio) from File talk:Dubai 051.JPG, where this discussion had started:

Old interactions

  1. This photo was taken by meProducer (talk)
  2. Nasib Bitar and Producer are one...
  3. This photo is on Jumeirah Beach Road I was sitting opposite in the Dome Cafe.
  4. I live in Dubai
  5. I am from Dubai
  6. I have taken many photos of Dubai, some of which were by request of some group in Wikipedia
  7. I have worked at Dubai TV for 32 years
  8. My father was the legal advisor of Dubai
  9. I am well aware of Dubai Laws, and this certainly is not a violation of the law.
  10. After all the photos I have uploaded here this what I get, instead of a trusted user, you are deleting lawful photos I have uploaded.
  11. If this was uploaded, I want every photo I have uploaded to be deleted
  • I am angry, because I think that whoever added this remark does not well know the laws of Dubai--Producer (talk) 10:17, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

There is a serious misinterpretation of the law. I have been appointed by Dubai Courts as an expert in cases that had to use this law. I have the original copy in Arabic and it applies to architectural designs and models, but not ready open air public structures. What is happening is wrong and crazy, and I will have to report this further, or you get a lawyer to explain to you what the law means...--Producer (talk) 14:01, 31 October 2010

The request was filed based on our current information Commons:Freedom of panorama#United Arab Emirates. If you have solid and well-sourced evidence that architectural works of art in the UAE are either not copyrighted (and thereby any photographical reproduction is allowed) or that the UAE have a sort of freedom-of-panorama provision (see COM:FOP for the meaning), that allows commercial use (as required by Commons' policy), then you are welcome to draft a proposal to correct our current FOP-information about UAE. Nobody on Commons likes to delete good images, but sometimes we are forced to by local laws. --Túrelio (talk) 14:13, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
That's is applying to architectures...As per article (2), 2.9.if there is a court ruling, again that is subjected to case by case basis not in general..and law is coming from UAE gov(Supreme council) (Not from dubai courts)--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 14:24, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Well this is your interpretation, and it shows how little you know about the Emirates. Each Emirate has its own set of laws, and that is supported by the UAE Federal Government, and the (Supreme council) and Dubai Courts are independent from the Federal Government. And if you have to know my father wrote the constitution of the UAE in 1971. Alkso being Emirati I think I know more about the laws there than all of you. I am not talking about this photo only but all photos of Dubai, from all uploaders.--Producer (talk) 21:01, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
In the July 2002 revision (publication in the Official Gazette of UAE Federal Law No. 7 of 2002) the above mentioned section is on 5.9..--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 14:30, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Why was my statement removed from the page of the File. The law is in English and in front of you, re-read it yourselves. I feel very insulted, because I am a person who is dedicated to Wikipedia. I am not in Dubai to send you what is required, I am under Cancer treatment in Jordan. But putting so many photos of Dubai for deletion is simply either a serious misinterpretation, or an act of destruction. Not only my photos that are targeted but other photos. The Law is in Arabic, and that is what is accepted in the UAE and not English. So I demand that you either take away the speedy deletion, from this photo or put all my photos for deletion. After all this time one would have thought to be treated as a trusted user, instead of removing his photos. Refer to an Arab Administration. Thank you.--Producer (talk) 15:01, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Your protest statement was moved to the talkpage, to where it belongs to allow discussion and input of others, as you might know yourself. --Túrelio (talk) 15:05, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Dear Producer, don't take it personal...its a law and commons need to follow that, More peoples from many countries already checked that law before putting into the FOP section..upload the pictures of dubai (Execept the buildings)--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 15:18, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

I believe that user Kalarickan has misunderstood the UAE law here. As Producer says, the law is in Arabic, and translating it into English is dubious in the first place. Even if the translation should be correct, the law is quite obviously open to interpretation. Has it been tested by local courts? Have anyone ever filed a complaint or a lawsuit against the hundreds of photos that you want deleted? There are thousand of photos taken in the UAE every year, and people post their photos both at Flickr and Commons. Have we ever - during our ten years of existance - recieved just ONE communication from UAE authorities that complain over the existence of the photos? Rather, when looking at global practice, I would assume that the publication of photoes of newer UAE buildings is explicitely LEGAL. For example, have a look at this webpage. It is a commercial utilisation of pictures of Atlantis, which again is an architectural work in the UAE (Dubai). The photos of the hotel are not published by a broadcaster, on the contrary they are published here by a commercial company for the purpose of making money. If your interpretations were valid, this webpage should be violating UAE law. The owner of Atlantis (Richard Branson) is one of the major western businessmen in Dubai, and I am quite confident that his lawyers are familiar with the law. Or, have a look at this webpage - it brings photos of 125 buildings in Dubai with the purpose of commercial gain, and it publishes the photos to a global audience. Again, I can not see how this business would have been viable if there was not Freedom of Panorama in the UAE. So, until you produce better argument, I am 100% in line with Producer - we are "shooting our own leg" by applying more harsh interpretations than what the rest of the world is doing - including the UAE itself. Suggestion: - Contact the UAE Ministry of Information or Ministry of Law, and make an inquiry as to whether or not the publication of street scenes and buildings on Commons is possible. Bjoertvedt (talk) 18:42, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

@Bjoertvedt, even if an image is copyrighted due to the depicted object, one can ask the rights holder of the original work of art for permission. But none of the uploaders has done that. --Túrelio (talk) 19:07, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Though I've to repeat myself, these deletions are based on our current information Commons:Freedom of panorama#United Arab Emirates, not on Kalarickan's interpretation of something. In fact our current FOP-in-UAE-policy was written by an Arabian native speaker[1]. Anyway, I've asked him for comment. --Túrelio (talk) 19:00, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
I am sorry, but I can hardly see how this passage is of any relevance. From the two links I presented, I have proved that the commercial exploitation of Panorama in the UAE is quite widespread. I have presented services belonging to one multinational company and one local company, none of them are broadcasters. They both publish photos of buildings worldwide. It is quite obvious that they would not have continued to do so if it was against the law. I am not a lawyer myself, but I have worked extensively on legal issues during my carreer. The provisions of the law is not a matter that can be read single-mindedly out of the semantic legal text. It must be added by both the lawmaker's stated intentions, legal testing through the courts, and presidence through empirical use of the provisions. I can only see one solution, and this is that CC makes contact with the Government of the UAE and files a request for clarification. Bjoertvedt (talk) 19:14, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
How can any one Túrelio interpret the photo of a clock tower of a mall as a piece of ART?--Producer (talk) 19:57, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
@Producer, it could be seen as a piece of art in the legal sence since architecture is a form of art (again, legally). But, since there are thousands of depictions of UAE buildings and street scenes on the Internet, there is nothing that indicates that your depiction of the clock tower is illegal. Bjoertvedt (talk) 20:25, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
No the Law means projects and Architectural models, but not finished buildings, because you are indirectly interpreting the law according to your understanding, which is a translation. The Law is originally Arabic, refer to Tarawneh who is An Arab Administrator. Plus Dubai is facing a crisis regarding real estate, do you logically think that they want to sell property, or not. If you say not, I think you are in the wrong place, and to do that they allow photographs freely of buildings and housing complexes !!!!???--Producer (talk) 20:38, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
From a certain perspective I would be very happy to find out that Commons had got it wrong with FoP in the UAE, given how much trouble the current interpretation of the situation there has caused for me and others when trying to upload images. If Commons position on FoP in the UAE is going to change for real it will require much wider discussion at places such as Commons talk:Freedom of panorama given how many images, deleted or otherwise, are involved, plus significantly strong arguments that do not conflict with established Commons policy on copyrights and project scope. Arguments along the following lines are unlikely to work:
  • "The images are found all over the internet so its okay to upload them to Commons."
  • "The copyright holders will certainly want us to upload them because of the economic situation in the UAE or some other reason."
  • "Nobody from the UAE government/copyright holders has told Commons that we must delete these images, so they're probably okay."
  • "Based on how much these images are used Commons' interpretation of the law is either wrong or the law is not enforced."

The reason why the above arguments will fail is that they violate the spirit or letter of the precautionary principle, which is part of a core policy on how Commons operates. CT Cooper · talk 20:57, 31 October 2010 (UTC)

Hi, Sorry for jumping a bit late here. I just checked the matter out. The original text is:
المصنف: كل تأليف مبتكر في مجال الآداب ، او الفنون ، او العلوم ، اياً كان نوعه او طريقة التعبير عنه ، او اهميته او الغرض منه .
الصور التوضيحية ، والخرائط الجغرافية ، والرسومات التخطيطية ، والمصنفات ثلاثية الابعاد المتعلقة بالجغرافيا او الطبوغرافيا او التصميمات المعمارية وغيرها .
It is very clear in Arabic. The law clearly stats that the paper work is copyrighted. Nothing there suggests that the Actual structures are copyrighted. Unless someone thinks that he can hold the copyrights of the the mountain structures in the UAE, or the shoreline curvature in DUBAI :P. What is clearly copyrighted from the original Arabic text is ( again ) the paper work that follows. All the Arab gulf states are panorama free. AFAIK, up to last summer no new laws where introduced to change that fact. I posted User:Diaa abdelmoneim the user who added the UAE English based info into the FoP page. I need to make sure that I am not outdated. And just to be extra safe I just emailed a friend of mine in the ministry of interior in DUBAI, once I get a confirmation I will start working on fixing Any help there is greatly appreciated. --Tarawneh (talk) 21:27, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
I can't speak Arabic, so I don't have an opinion on if this new interpretation is correct, but I will watch this development with interest. If the current legal interpretation of the FoP situation in the UAE is found to wrong then it will mean that a lot of images will have been deleted for no good reason, for instance look at User talk:LoverOfDubai (including the archives). The only way I can see in restoring that many images (200+ plus just for that one uploader!) will be with a bot, so any change could result in a lot of work for users. In any case, it is important that a solid interpretation and consensus is made of FoP in the UAE so hundreds of images are not left stuck in limbo. I created {{NoFoP-UAE}}, and it could easily change to something like {{FoP-UK}} if Commons:Freedom of panorama#United Arab Emirates is changed. CT Cooper · talk 21:48, 31 October 2010 (UTC)
Wow, if the new change brings some twist in the existing FOP, it will benefit all, at least i can upload many of files resting on the hard drive...we need to open a specific page for discussing about that FOP issue..--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 03:35, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
Some more inputs
  1. The first ever UAE Copyright Law and its Implementing Regulations came into force on 12 April 1993 and 1 September 1994, respectively. This Law was repealed on 14 July 2002 by publication in the Official Gazette of UAE Federal Law No. 7 of 2002 regarding Copyright and Related Rights and enforcement has continued ever since.
  2. Some useful links are listed below
Hope this will help whole for published photographs, but still nature of work need to be concluded
What is the term of copyright protection?
Terms of protection vary depending on the nature of the work. They are as follows:
  1. For the lifetime of the author and for 50 years thereafter.
  2. 50 years from the date of publication for:
  3. Works of performing artists;
  4. Works created by juridical persons such as corporations;
  5. Works published under Pseudonyms or anonymous works (until the author is identified);
  6. Works published posthumously;
  7. Works of producers of phonograms;
  8. 25 years from the date of publication for works of applied art.
  9. 20 years from the date of broadcast for Broadcasting Authorities.
As noticed from Tarawneh's message, Dubai is not the one to over-rule this situation, Decision is coming from UAE Gov i.e Supreme Council of all the ministers or from His.Highness office. Any change to this will come as a decree issued by rulers court for the affecting emirates (If i am not wrong)
Moreover this image is showing the picture of a recent structure KALARICKAN | My Interactions 04:06, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
KALARICKAN, I just got off the Phone with Al Tamimi & Company. from your list. They told me that, in addition to the paper work, 3D models for buildings, Topography, etc... are copyrighted. Makes sense. Still I was told to call again in a few hours to chat with a another lawyer called Khaled working in Amman branch. --Tarawneh (talk) 10:26, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
3D also..?? It will be many files here...let the document come..we will wait..--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 10:52, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
  • I inserted the information based on the wording "Architectural works" and in Arabic the exact wording would be Architectural designs. However, I'm not a lawyer but it's very ambiguous as to whether the pics of Architectural structures are protected or not. If you can find good proof for it then I would agree. A lawfirm is of course convincing enough, but it would be best if u ask them to send to otrs. It would be in my interest to have FOP in UAE, since there are many images I wish I could upload...--Diaa abdelmoneim (talk) 16:51, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
I dont know about the idea behind an OTRS here... These are all the available law in UAE...Architectural works & Architectural designs are also included, as per Tarawneh, 3D work's also..think that no scope for an FoP...if there is an FoP i can upload 1000's of files resting on my hard drive..--KALARICKAN | My Interactions 16:59, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

Original copyright law of UAE

When i reviewed, copyright includes Architectural works (مصنفات العمارة والرسوم والمخططات الهندسية. 7-)

More details from UAE public prosecution department (Government)

For non-arabic viewers
  1. From the 3rd drop down menu, Look for this wording -- قانون اتحادي رقم (7) لسنة 2002 في شان حقوق المؤلف والحقوق المجاورة - (last one in the list)
  2. Once you click it, another drop down box will appear
  3. Select the second item from that, which shows the coverage of copyright..
  4. You will get a text similar to this
    المادة(2) يتمتع بالحماية المقررة في هذا القانون مؤلفو المصنفات واصحاب الحقوق المجاورة ، إذا وقع الاعتداء على حقوقهم داخل الدولة ، وبوجه خاص للمصنفات الآتية : 1- الكتب والكتيبات والمقالات وغيرها من المصنفات المكتوبة . 2- برامج الحاسب وتطبيقاتها ، وقواعد البيانات ، وما يماثلها من مصنفات تحدد بقرار من الوزير . 3- المحاضرات والخطب والمواعظ والمصنفات الاخرى التي لها طبيعة مماثلة . 4- المصنفات التمثيلية والمصنفات التمثيلية الموسيقية والتمثيل الصامت . 5- المصنفات الموسيقية المصحوبة او غير المصحوبة بكلمات . 6- المصنفات السمعية او البصرية او السمعية البصرية . 7- مصنفات العمارة والرسوم والمخططات الهندسية . 8- مصنفات الرسم بالخطوط او بالالوان ، والنحت ، والنقش ، والطباعة على الحجر ، وعلى الاقمشة ، وعلى الخشب ، وعلى المعادن وأية مصنفات مماثلة في مجال الفنون الجميلة . 9- المصنفات الفوتوغرافية وما يماثلها . 10- مصنفات الفن التطبيقي والتشكيلي . 11- الصور التوضيحية ، والخرائط الجغرافية ، والرسومات التخطيطية ، والمصنفات ثلاثية الابعاد المتعلقة بالجغرافيا او الطبوغرافيا او التصميمات المعمارية وغيرها . 12- المصنفات المشتقة ، دون الاخلال بالحماية المقررة للمصنفات التي اشتقت منها . وتشمل الحماية عنوان المصنف إذا كان مبتكرا ، كما تشمل الفكرة المبتكرة المكتوبة للبرنامج الاذاعي .
Article (2) enjoy the protection prescribed in this Law, the authors of works and owners of related rights, if an attack on their rights within the State and, in particular the following works: 1 - books, pamphlets, articles and other written works. 2 - computer programs and their applications, databases, and similar works prescribed by the minister. 3 - lectures, speeches, sermons and other works that have a similar nature. 4 - Dramatic works and musical works of representative and mime. 5 - musical works, accompanied or not accompanied by words. 6 - workbooks, audio or visual or audio-visual. 7 - Architectural works, drawings and engineering plans. 8 - Works of drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving, lithography, printing and textiles, and wood, metal and any similar works in the field of fine arts. 9 - photographic works and the like. 10 - works fine and applied art. 11 - Illustrations, geographical maps, diagrams, and three-dimensional works relative to geography, topography or architectural designs, and others. 12 - Derivative works, without prejudice to the protection granted to the works which they were derived. Include the protection title of the work if an innovative, also includes an innovative idea, written for the radio.
You can use any available translator for this...such as google translate..or babylon..
Kalarickan | My Interactions 06:35, 13 November 2010 (UTC)

No FoP in UAE

Moved from User talk:CT Cooper

File talk:Dubai 051.JPG Can you look at the new additions...and if its possible the disussion can be taken to a common FoP area for a broad view from all...Kalarickan | My Interactions 11:43, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

I've already left a note on the talk page of COM:FOP at Commons talk:Freedom of panorama#UAE FoP situation under dispute. I don't speak Arabic so I can only use the translation for interpretation. Part seven of the translation seems to be the relevant part, and it says: "Article (2) enjoy the protection prescribed in this Law, the authors of works and owners of related rights, if an attack on their rights within the State and, in particular the following works: ... Architectural works, drawings and engineering plans." The "Architectural works" part could be interpreted to mean the buildings themselves, which would mean there is no FoP in the UAE, and based on what I know I think this is the correct interpretation. However, someone that speaks Arabic will need to verify this interpretation; it is not impossible that by "Architectural works" it only means models of buildings or similar, and not the buildings themselves.
To complicate things further though the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works explicitly includes architecture as being copyrighted for all countries that signed the agreement, which includes the UAE. This means that even if UAE copyright law does not mention architecture, it is still copyrighted because the UAE signed the Berne Convention. See Commons:Freedom of panorama#Legal status states for more information. CT Cooper · talk 20:48, 28 November 2010 (UTC)
 !!! Who will finalize and close this topic...??--Kalarickan | My Interactions 17:34, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't know. For reasons I have given above I'm not sure I'm the best person to do it. CT Cooper · talk 19:24, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
Can i move the above discussion to the heated talk page, so that others can see and finalize this...Kalarickan | My Interactions 05:00, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I've now moved it. CT Cooper · talk 11:30, 1 December 2010 (UTC)


As you can see above Binukalarickan originally asked me to give a conclusion on the discussion so far, and I was at first reluctant to do so, but since this is going nowhere, and I have a bit more free time for the moment, I am going to summarise the debate as I see it so far and give a conclusion. This dispute first originated over the deletion of File:Dubai 051.JPG, and quickly grew into disagreement with the entire approach Commons has taken to FoP in the UAE as shown at COM:FOP#United Arab Emirates.

A key point which needs to be considered here is the precautionary principle which states: Commons’ users aim to build and maintain in good faith a repository of media files which to the best of our knowledge are free or freely-licensed. The precautionary principle is that where there is significant doubt about the freedom of a particular file it should be deleted. Please note that this is an official policy of this project which all users are expected to follow. The first implication of this policy is that those arguing to delete an image need to show that there is "significant doubt" that the image is free, but this also means absolute proof that an image is not free is not required. Some arguments that have been made on this page in calling for images of architecture in the UAE to be kept appear to be on similar lines to those which are considered unacceptable per the precautionary principle including:

  • “The copyright owner will not bother to sue".
  • “The copyright owner will not mind/should be pleased that we have disseminated his/her work”.
  • “The file is obviously common property. It can be found all over the internet and nobody has complained.”

Arguments which clearly contradict policy have to be dismissed (except in rare and very exceptional circumstances) when considering the position Commons takes on FoP in the UAE, unless community consensus is found to change the relevant policy.

The second main argument presented is that the interpretation made of UAE law is wrong, particularly as it has been translated from Arabic to English. The relevant section is "7 - Architectural works, drawings and engineering plans" (quoted from above), and it has been suggested that this section actually just refers architectural designs and models. If clear evidence of this was presented, for example through test cases, then it would be enough to refute the "significant doubt" of the precautionary principle required for deletion. However, simply re-interpreting it another way without evidence is not removing doubt. Per my interpretation of the precautionary principle, in cases in which law is unclear and there are two competing interpretations of the law (one for keep, and one for delete), "significant doubt" still exists, and hence the result should be to default to delete.

Another factor which has not been considered in this debate up until now is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which explicitly includes architecture as being copyrighted for all countries that signed the agreement, which includes the UAE. This means that even if UAE copyright law does not mention architecture (or the interpretation on it only mentioning architectural designs and models is correct), it is still copyrighted because the UAE signed the Berne Convention. Therefore, it is required that a specific exemption for pictures of architecture in public places or similar (i.e. a freedom of panorama exemption) be written into UAE copyright laws before pictures of architecture can be considered free by Commons. No evidence has been presented showing that such an exemption exists. See Commons:Freedom of panorama#Legal status for more details on this.

To summarise:

  • The precautionary principle requires that images be deleted if there is "significant doubt" on if they are free.
  • Only arguments which do not contradict the precautionary principle can be considered when reviewing the FoP situation in the UAE.
  • Re-interpreting existing UAE law without strong evidence that this new interpretation is correct and the existing Commons one is wrong does not remove the "significant doubt" on images of architecture in the UAE being free.
  • The UAE has signed the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works which means that architectural works are copyrighted except in cases where an exemption has been written into the country's laws.
  • No evidence has been presented that such an exemption exists.

So it can be concluded, that there is no freedom of panorama in the UAE, and hence I recommend that deletions of violating images continue as necessary. However, speedy deletion of images on FoP grounds is controversial in all cases, see Commons:Deletion requests/Template:FOP-cv, and I have myself recommended it be ended. I am obviously not infallible, so if you think there are some holes in the conclusions given, please point them out. CT Cooper · talk 17:00, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Symbol keep vote.svg Agree - Now its clear, and the link for the law which i showed is from the official websites of UAE and google translation clearly identifies architectural works as 7 - Architectural works, drawings and engineering plans. + 3D in section 10...and google or any other web translation will not be wrong and even human translation also, as i discussed the above quote with my arabic speaking friend (off wiki)...Kalarickan | My Interactions 07:41, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Can this clarification be added to Freedom_of_Panorama#United_Arab_Emirates? --MMuzammils (talk) 12:46, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes! it can be addedd..I already requested Turelio to watch that...--...Captain......Tälk tö me 13:35, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I think copying and pasting it all would be a bit much, but the UAE section could do with updating following this debate and I will make the update myself if little more happens. CT Cooper · talk 22:15, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

Conclusion to be added into the FoP section of UAE

Freedom of Panorama is not permitted in the UAE as per the federal law (7) 2002, Federal law # 1 of 1972, Federal law #15 of 1980, Federal law # 40 of 1992.

The law describes in the chapter 1 (Scope of protection) Article 2 (7) as 7- Architectural works, and engineering drawings and layouts.'

Links to the law

  1. Public Prosecution-Law Library
  2. Abu Ghazaleh-Copyright attorney (Translation)

--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 12:13, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

That seems like a good conclusion, though I would say that "There is no Freedom of Panorama..." is more accurate than "Freedom of Panorama is not permitted...". CT Cooper · talk 12:44, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes! it can be changed like that, i have notified Turelio to have an update on this issue and post a note on his page, may be he is on vaccation...(After 21 december) I don't know i can edit that FoP section or afraid to do so..--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 06:55, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
No! It cannot be changed like that! The UAE law does not say anything in particular about FoP. We treat it as if there's no FoP in accordance with the precautionary principle. In fact, if you take the law literally, Architectural works are excluded from item 1 in article 22 which allows for "one single copy of the work to be personally used by the reproducer himself, for non-profit and non-professional purposes" except for the purpose of broadcasting (item 7). Which means that every resident or tourist who dared to take a photo of a building has broken the law and can be sued. That is obviously not the intention of the law. The only thing that can be said about Fop in the UAE is: they haven't really considered it while drafting the law. Until someone produces a) a precedent or b) an official clarification, we cannot claim to know its status. -- Orionisttalk 14:43, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Non-profit is not acceptable in commons, and the original law details came from UAE public prosecution law library, government law we have to believe that..--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 17:11, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes your right Captainofhope, though what I believe what Orionist was saying is that there are absolutely no exemptions to architectural copyright in the UAE - meaning that even non-profit/non-commercial use is not allowed. The issue here is that freedom of panorama issues are simply not mentioned in UAE copyright law, and as Orionist is saying, was probably not thought about by UAE lawmakers. As a result of this, it is best to avoid wording that implies that FoP was thought about by lawmakers and then rejected. CT Cooper · talk 18:29, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
I think considering Orion's comment into the FoP of uae is not possible, but it can stand for non-FoP related deletion requests or as per some Fair use in local wiki's..--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 05:35, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Wording proposal for the policy page:

United Arab Emirates

X mark.svg Not OK ({{NoFoP-UAE}})

There is no usable FoP provision in the copyright law of the UAE (federal law (7) 2002, Federal law # 1 of 1972, Federal law #15 of 1980, Federal law # 40 of 1992) Arabic, English.

UAE copyright law discusses an FoP like provision in article 22 (7) [2], but it is restricted to "broadcasts".
--Túrelio (talk) 15:38, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Apart from some possible copy editing, this proposal seems okay to me. CT Cooper · talk 16:24, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Looks good...this {{NoFoP-UAE}} will stand for a deletion or a warning..???--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 16:31, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Feel free to copy-edit, add or correct anything else. (I will be off-line from now til January 7th.) --Túrelio (talk) 16:33, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
I've given it a quick copy edit. The appropriate use of the {{NoFoP-UAE}} is the same as {{NoFoP-France}}. In short: it is for alerting uploaders and image users to FoP issues on relevant images, whether the images themselves are in compliance or not. It is not a deletion template, and speedy deletion for FoP reasons should have ended with the deletion of Template:FOP-cv. Deletion requests is the preferred place to go. Full usage instructions are included on the documentation page. CT Cooper · talk 17:38, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

Okay, since nothing more seems to be happening, I have implemented the changes per above. CT Cooper · talk 20:12, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Copyright Cases

Final nail in UAE's no FOP coffin, people are being fined and jailed for illegal photography, I contacted the reporter of this article even he admitted he didn't know about UAE's no FOP. - Clarity needed on anti-photo laws: judge, follow-up story - Two fined for taking Yas Marina racetrack photos --MMuzammils (talk) 14:09, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for this update. It seems they want to kill tourism in UAE. However, the relation to FOP is only incidental, as FOP does only refer to copyright, not to other restrictions for photography. Even in a full-FOP country, taking images of military installations, for example, is likely prohibited. There seems also to exist a strange competition between laws: "Publishing images can be legally confusing as well, experts said. The Emirati lawyer Jousline Khairallah said that ownership of a photograph under UAE law belongs to the subject of the image, while copyright law gave ownership to the photographer."[3] --Túrelio (talk) 14:38, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Good info..poor guys crucified...due to the unknown provisions in the law..and the law is not common to all.......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 21:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, these are all security-related cases, and they were all brought before the State Security Court. As for the competition between laws mentioned above, I don't think there's any in this particular case, although it maybe confusing to the reporter of the story. Article 43 in the UAE copyright law is clear:
Any person taking a photograph of another, in any manner, may not maintain, exhibit, publish or distribute the original or copies thereof, without permission from the person appearing in the photograph, unless otherwise agreed upon. Nevertheless, the photograph may be published:

i) In incidents that have publicly taken place;

ii) If the photograph is related to official or public characters; or national or international celebrities; or

iii) If the competent public authorities have permitted such publication for the purpose of public welfare; with the proviso that the exhibition or circulation of such photograph, is not prejudicial to the status of the person appearing in the photograph.

The person appearing in such photograph may authorize the publication thereof in newspapers and other publication means, even if the photographer did not permit such publication; unless otherwise agreed upon.

It's mainly a privacy provision, or a much stricter version of personality rights, that vests publishing rights in the person appearing in the photo, which effectively gives them ownership of commercial copyrights of the photo. Regards, -- Orionisttalk 19:32, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Missing authors

What's the commons policy on counting "XXX years PMA" for the people who just disappeared ? In some public cases like Rudolph Diesel the person was pronounced legally dead shortly after the disappearance. But thousands of authors vanished without trace in world wars, civil wars etc. - no one cared, and now it's too late. A biography goes to great length describing work and lifestyle, and then the person just disappears in the fog of war. - ?? Assume a genuine, irreparable void in history (rather than sloppy research) - if a professional biographer didn't find it, it's gone. NVO (talk) 09:13, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

Hmm, the talkpage of Freedom of panorama might not be a good place for that question. --Túrelio (talk) 09:15, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I think this question is related to copyright duration..??? --...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 11:04, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Commons talk:Licensing would therefore be better... this page is about a very particular aspect of copyright law, while that question is more general. The answer though is it is impossible to say, since laws usually give no help whatsoever in that situation. This is one form of "orphan works". If we can make a reasonable case that the term would have expired had the author lead a long life, that may do it, just arguing on common sense grounds. Every bit of information -- birth date, dates of other works from the same author, etc., can help with that. I'm not sure there is any real policy. If a biographer can't find something... maybe assume death around the time they disappeared, or something. That'd be a unique case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:13, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
In most societies there is a need to establish that somebody has died, to be able to deal with property, marriage and responsibility for children. If the person has no relatives and no property, perhaps nobody cares, but still many (most?) countries keep official records that need to be updated (you do not want to have some 150 years old people hanging around there). So mostly you should have an official death date, regardless of whether anybody knows the person really died. Is there some particular author for which such information is missing? --LPfi (talk) 08:50, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama should be abolish

Recently, I have received a message that there are some photos of the buildings for example,(Tour_Montparnasse_Closeup.JPG) have been listed at Commons:Deletion requests. It seems that recently, most of the buildings (especially skyscrapers)in France are lack of photos in the Wikipedia. Dubai is also in this case. Which make me and some people feel that Wikipedia is too much concern in the copyright issue. I think that keep the photos of building is no problem, since the government and the owner of the building not really care about the photos in the Wikipedia. However, there still have some people want to protect Freedom of panorama and delete several good quality images of the building, which is not respect to the people who upload the file and make me feel that Wikipedia is not good as I think about. It also not good for the development of Wikipedia and the quality of the article become worse.--WiNG (talk) 03:53, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it is tragic these images must be deleted, but unfortunately Wikipedia is not above the law, and we want people in France and Dubai to be able to reuse our content without fear of retaliation. See Commons:Precautionary principle. French architects have a noted history of litigiousness towards people using images of their buildings. I advise you to take up your concerns with lawmakers in these nations. Dcoetzee (talk) 05:24, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes!!! that's better please write to the governments of these nations to change the copyright law for permitting FoP, So that the image will be appeared in commons......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 06:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yep. There are indications that Russia is considering removing the "non-commercial" part of their law when it comes to pictures of buildings (though leaving it for pictures of sculpture); I certainly hope that happens (and that nearby nations follow suit, as almost all of them have the same language). Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Wing: It's quite simple. Don't rely on an unreliable hosting service - you now know that commons is not reliable. If a wikipedia article needs a photo, upload one direct to wikipedia. Or just hotlink from wikipedia to an external storage. No big deal. All this fop nonsense is just a game - hey, what can we delete next? If this is not your cup of tea, just stay aside. NVO (talk) 09:17, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
when a photographer takes a photo they expect commons and re-users to respect copyright terms like attribution, as expect such we cannot then ignore the rights of others Gnangarra 10:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps some actually do; not me. Get real: if it's online it's "free as beer". And don't expect casual users to actually read and understand "free licenses" (commons sysops certainly don't comprehend them, neither does your average web user). NVO (talk) 12:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Dcoetzee is incorrect to suggest that it is a matter of law. Wikimedia is Hosted in the US and is thus only subject to US law. As a signatory to the Berne convention the US extends protection to foreign works to the same extent as it does its own. Photos of buildings are solely copyright of the photographer in the US and most other countries. Therefore, if licenced by the photographer, any US based website can host them freely with no fair use rationale needed. Deletion of images of modern buildings from France and Dubai is purely a due to the policy made by Commons, and in my opinion that policy undermines our primary mission as an educational resource.9carney (talk) 10:13, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
It is a matter of law for our content reusers located in those nations. I would not lightly seek to exclude them. Dcoetzee (talk) 10:31, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
True, but the present policy excludes everyone. It other cases where the laws of a few countries are out of step it has been deemed acceptable to put a warning notice on the image to prevent embarrassment of reusers in those countries. 9carney (talk) 11:07, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay, it's true that warning notices might be an acceptable alternative (although I'd first seek clarification on whether the US exception for buildings apply to buildings located outside the US), but that would amount to a new exception to the "public domain in the source country" policy which so far has only one exception (PD-Art). If there was consensus around such an exception I'd get behind it, but I reasonably expect some objections. Dcoetzee (talk) 11:24, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Let me ask a more fundamental question. We do not have any problem honoring the copyrights of Pablo Picasso, Ansel Adams, and Alexander Calder for their paintings, photographs, and sculpture. We give similar courtesy to their colleagues who are much less well known and, indeed to all such works.

Why are some of us so unwilling to extend the same honor to the work of Eero Saarinen, Frank Lloyd Wright, I. M. Pei and their less well known colleagues? Do they really think that architecture does not have the same creative quality?

Do they believe that somehow when, for example, the French copyright law says

Article L112-2 7° "Les oeuvres de dessin, de peinture, d'architecture, de sculpture, de gravure, de lithographie;"
Article L112-2 7° "works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving and lithography;"

that the word "architecture" is not really there, or that we should ignore it, or place requirements on it that we do not place on other works. Why, in short, are buildings different from drawing, painting, sculpture, engraving and lithography?

Certainly we can wish it were otherwise. I wish there were no taxes and that I could drive 80mph (135kph) on the highway, but the law says otherwise where I live. So why do we have such trouble obeying the law with respect to this one set of creative people?      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 15:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

  • "Why are buildings different" - here's a hint. Ask your local legislators about it. Perhaps they will enact an "architectural tax" on any real estate resale - just like today every resale of art <in certain jurisdictions> is accompanied with an "artists' trust" tax. Or maybe a monthly royalty for merely living in a building. Ah, no, they won't - this will be a political suicide. The interests of other people who hold a stake in real estate carry far more weight than architect's rights. Monetary and social stakes invariably change moral attitudes. NVO (talk) 15:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, in most of the United States (real estate laws vary from state to state) there is a tax on the transfer of real estate but nowhere in the USA is there a tax on the transfer of art. There is, of course, an income tax on any profit on the sale of either.
And, you ask about a monthly royalty for living in a building -- that's hardly political suicide -- it is called a real estate tax here, or "rates", I think in the UK, and is certainly true in many other jurisdictions. There are annual personal property taxes in some states, but they apply to everything one owns, not just art.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 22:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
The state of California enacted "artist's trust tax" (or, specifically, "Arts Council Tax") on resale of fine arts. I'm sort of curious where you've found a similar "architects' tax" on resale of buildings - definitely does not exist in Connecticut where I was licensed (but then it was many years ago). Not even France. Rates in UK are a public tax - it's not an architect's royalty (and I strongly doubt that rates ever contained a royalty component, given Britain's ultra-socialist record). This should go on top of rates. I mean, you live in a house and don't pay royalties to an architect? I don't care that it's your own house, I don't care that the architect is unknown - pay! NVO (talk) 03:38, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
We misunderstand each other -- all of my examples were local or state taxes, not money that would end up in the hands of architects. It is true that I do not know of any government imposed fee which ends up in the hands of the architect.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 11:36, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Why do we prohibit images because they are copyright in another country? We upload plenty of images that fit the shorter term copyright rule; these images are definitely copyright in other nations around the world. We allow them, however. Why is the same not done with freedom of panorama. Its legal in the states, wikimedia is in the states, most users are in the states. If you are in France and are about to use a picture of a French building to make an advertisement, you're a dumbass if you don't check the copyright laws in your country. That is for people using the image to deal with, and a simple notice to the effect of "this is still copyrighted in these countries" would suffice. However, to the other 138 countries its still a free image that can be used without any copyright restrictions. Our goal as an educator should supercede crazy psycho copyright rules which are easily stated in the image description. - Floydian (talk) 16:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree in that Freedom of Panorama should be treated as an exception, not as a rule. We have some french nuts that gave copyright protection to the night lights on the Eiffel tower, right, that means we shouldn't upload images of the eiffel tower at night. That's different from saying that there is such protection for all buildings at all countries unless proved otherwise. I suspect that if we change the angle, and apply those restrictions only at the countries where we can prove that there is case law specifically giving copyright protection to buildings, the number of countries where this rule applies would fall to tiny numbers. Yes, I'm aware of the precautory principle, but I don't think it requires us to go beyond case law. Belgrano (talk) 16:32, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree with the users above who say that limitations of Freedom of Panorama should not apply to Wikimedia Commons. Wikimedia Commons is based in the United States, so only American rules should apply. If you don't think a picture of the Eiffel Tower is OK in France, then that rule should apply to the French Wikipedia only, unless the servers for the French Wikipedia are in the United States, in which case it shouldn't apply for that either. The law should apply if a Frenchman decides to download a picture of the Eiffel Tower from Commons and make a poster out of it and offer that poster for sale in France, NOT before. It really makes precious little sense that any website should have to take into account the differing laws of every country on earth. Those laws apply for each individual country, not all of them. Vidor (talk) 18:16, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

"French law to the French Wikipedia only" is unacceptable. French wikipedia is not "wikipedia of France", it's wikipedia of all French speakers, from Canada to Gabon to Reunion island, as well as French-speaking expats and non-native-speakers learning the language and culture. Why subject these people to French (Canadian, Swiss, Gabonese) laws? They've got plenty of their own. National borders don't quite work here. NVO (talk) 20:08, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I was using the French Wikipedia as an example on the assumption that its servers are in France. In fact I do not know where they are. But for the French Wikipedia, the English Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, or all other Wiki projects, the only laws that should apply are for whatever country the server for the website is in. French law should not affect Wikimedia Commons any more than French criminal law should affect me if I, a citizen and resident of the United States, go out and murder my neighbor. Vidor (talk) 20:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

As for the post above asking "why are buildings different", well, the answer is obvious. Buildings are by their nature public and anyone can look at them. Persons who walk up to a building don't have to write a check to Frank Lloyd Wright for the privilege of looking at it. So nor should people who take photographs of that building. If we were to believe otherwise, then we could not look at a photo of any building anywhere without digging up the architect or his descendants and sending them a royalty. This is absurd. Vidor (talk) 18:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't think "looking at" is the issue - I think it's "profiting from" that is the issue. There are sculptors in the United States who have successfully sued to stop people from selling postcards showing their work. I guess architects are given the same privilege in France. It's human nature to get a little touchy when other people profit from the creative work that you do. And anyone is allowed to profit from anything posted to Wikimedia Commons - that's one of the core philosophies of the project, like it or not. Wknight94 talk 20:40, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, super. But the issue would be with the person making profit from the photo, not Wikimedia Commons for making it available. In other words, the violation would be a violation of French law in France by the person selling the Eiffel Tower postcard, and the prosecution would be by a French court in France of that postcard-selling person. Not Wikimedia Commons, based in the United States, which was in no way involved with the production, marketing, or sale of the postcard. Vidor (talk) 20:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
And even beyond the problem of applying French law to an American website, I still say that architects are not entitled to any royalty from visual depictions of their work, due to the nature of their work as being something out in public for everyone to see. If I take the plans of a Frank Lloyd Wright house, and then I get a job to build that house and sell it, I have infringed on Wright's copyright and I can be held liable. But if I take a picture of Wright's house then the picture of the house is mine, not Wright's, and I can do with that picture what I like, because Wright's house is out there in public and available for pictures for anyone who wants to take one. Vidor (talk) 21:05, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
My question remains, why are buildings different? Being in public isn't enough to justify it -- I'll guess that you would not claim the right to reproduce an Ansel Adams photograph, or a Picasso painting just because it was in a public place -- in a museum, for example? Or do you propose ignoring their copyrights also?      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 22:42, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Another hint: Let me ask ya, are you willing to pay royalties to a person who drafted floorplans of your place? but not to the engineer who designed foundations and structural supports, neither to the engineers who designed HVAC ductwork and electrical wiring, nor to the foreman who actually run the site etc.. Is this a correct understanding of your intent? Here comes a question, what makes one professional involved in construction superior to other professionals involved on the same project? How's creativity in laying out floorplans is different from creativity in placement of cold water pipes? [btw. the latter is no joke - balancing water pressure is frequently regarded as art]. NVO (talk) 03:58, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

@ Jim, "Why are buildings different": because they are large 3D "creatures" which endure a long time, hence a 2D photograph which records a small detail in a particular moment is very far from being a copy of architecture. This is common sense and basic architectural theory. It is also the reason why many countries do explicitly consider 2D images of 3D art as not being a copyright infringement, and even more countries do so for architecture. The problem here is that the "precautionary principle" as currently applied on Commons, went to the extreme of considering as potential copyright infringement images of buildings in countries where there never has been a single court case confirming that in the absence of a very explicit legal provision on the matter it could be a copyright infringement. This makes Commons to be on the world-wide forefront of suggesting most sever copyright restrictions on architecture in countries where such restrictions never have been applied. Also the current interpretation of Commons "precautionary principle" makes us appear like a grandma afraid of getting out of bed, to avoid the risk of hurting herself. Along with other editors I perceive this current practice as damaging to the mission of Commons. I think the idea flagged above of "relaxing" the precautionary principle to allow FOP images in countries where there is no explicit prohibition and no case law, to be kept on Commons with the condition of appropriate disclaimers, would be supported by the community at large. -ELEKHHT 22:29, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

By the way, I would strongly support a change in policy -- to apply only US law to images of buildings. I simply object to bending the law and our current policy.
Of course, what we really should do, is adopt Anglo-Germanic law -- that is, allow images of flat art and sculpture as well as buildings, both outside and inside in places accessible to the public.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 22:48, 26 January 2011 (UTC) (in case anyone wonders, the second paragraph is a joke)
Unfortunately for that interpretation, the Berne Convention would seem to disagree with you. The U.S. did agree with you, but they were forced to make that change when they joined the Berne Convention. As an artistic work, by default, other artistic works can be derivative of that work. There is nothing in the basic definitions of those terms which limit it to where it is placed, or how long it exists. Public sculpture is also artistic work, visible to the public, and can last for just as long as buildings. And that can also be just as much a problem -- the properties you list are not unique to buildings and do not defeat copyright. Yes, the adverse affects on people taking pictures in public, etc. are often deemed to be too much, and will limit the scope of the authors on derivative works taken in that situation, absolutely. But without that explicit language in the law, then they are derivative works, and can quite easily be copyright violations depending on how they are used. Freedom of panorama itself *is* the exception to the rule. Some countries do this for both buildings and sculpture, some for just buildings. Some limit it to non-commercial use (making commercial use every bit as problematic as any other infringement). Some even limit it to the outer side of building specifically. The Berne Convention allows countries to determine the scope, as this is a very common exemption. But, just because *some* countries have it, doesn't mean that *all* countries do, and we can't just claim that -- particularly when the language of the law plainly states that they are problematic. These sections of law wouldn't exist if by default photos were fine. As I have said before, in several cases they have been *ruled* as violations -- you are essentially claiming those court decisions are wrong and we should ignore them. I am personally against using the "precautionary principle" without some evidence of court cases proving there is an actual problem. If courts themselves are divided on an issue, then we should steer clear (that is my belief of where the "precautionary principle" should apply), but beyond that I think it gets into paranoia. But in these cases, we have several examples (in countries without this specific exception) where such photos were ruled violations, and to the best of my knowledge, no court cases going the other way (please let us know if you are aware of any). To my point of view, claiming they are not ever problems is simply ignoring the evidence. Most countries make adding images like that to an online blog or an encyclopedia *legal* -- it is educational and non-commercial -- but we have a self-imposed requirement that our images be legal (or, at least, not copyright violations) for commercial use as well (see -- this definition was not invented by Wikimedia). That is where the problem lies, and the source of the frustration.
All of the above said... the fact such photos are very likely OK in the U.S. probably gives us some wiggle room on policy, such as PD-Art did. Uploaders can still be liable in their own country, but if they want to take that risk, maybe we could alter policy in some way to allow them -- as it is definitely quite damaging to wikipedias. Perhaps we could allow photos of buildings (sculpture is still a problem, given U.S. law), under this exception to usual Commons policy, and let architectural copyright holders in non-FOP countries request that we taken down any photos of their buildings -- at that point we will only block buildings which we are specifically requested to, and not as a blanket rule (and we should still ignore such requests from countries with full FOP). Or, perhaps do the above only for countries which have non-commercial FOP (which is most of the ones which don't have full FOP). I'm sure that would result in an explosion of new warning tags, but better than deleting them. If you can gain consensus for a change like that, I would support it too. I just haven't seen any attempt to do so, and I have no idea how well it would go. Failing that though, the commercial-use-must-be-allowed-in-country-of-origin rule *is* policy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the extensive and detailed explanation, I appreciate that. Indeed I missed some of these. ELEKHHT 00:31, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Being in public isn't enough to justify it Yes. Yes it is. I'll guess that you would not claim the right to reproduce an Ansel Adams photograph, or a Picasso painting just because it was in a public place This is a false comparison. An Ansel Adams photograph is not outside forever. A Picasso painting is not outside forever. In fact they are probably rarely if ever outside. A building can never be hidden from public view. Nor can you charge admission to look at the outside of a building. (And as far as Ansel Adams goes, God help him and his estate if any of the photos he took happened to catch an image of any man-made building. Under the theory that some folks are advancing on this page, Adams would have to pay royalties to any woodsman whose cabin happened to pop up in the corner of an Ansel Adams photograph.) Vidor (talk) 00:06, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Being in public is not enough, emphatically (at least in some countries). Sculpture is also often just as permanently in public, and that is not fine in many countries. See this where a judge completely disagrees with you. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:15, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

I've read more about the Berne Convention than I ever care to, but that doesn't change the fact that it's completely irrelevant. Wikimedia Commons is a website based in the United States. It is therefore subject to American law. If anyone takes a photo from Wikimedia Commons and uses it in a certain country in a manner that is illegal under the laws of that country, that is not a problem for Wikimedia Commons. It is a problem between the person that used that photo and the country he used it in. Every photo I have taken of a building in Mongolia is hosted on my Flickr page and is public domain. If someone takes my picture and uses it in Mongolia, that's a matter for them and the Mongolian police. Vidor (talk) 00:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

And beyond that, if one is to take these photos off the Commons the burden of proof lies on the people who want to take them off. Nothing I have read on this page convinces me that there's any reason to take a photo off of Wikimedia Commons because someone in France or Mongolia might take that photo and use it in a manner inconsistent with the laws of France or Mongolia. And, further, there is no proof that anyone's financial interests have been damaged by use of one photo of a public building. Google Street View has been collecting images of public buildings for years. No one, anywhere, has challenged their right to do that. Vidor (talk) 00:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

And finally, I'd like to see one demonstration of a court case, anywhere, ever, where it was held that the person who designed and built a building had some sort of continuing right to control photographs taken of that building. Not sculpture, thank you--because sculpture, even if it's displayed in public for a very long time, CAN be uprooted and moved and stored in a private place, whereas a building cannot. Vidor (talk) 00:22, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

COM:FOP#France lists some examples (and a case where it was ruled OK; a photo of the entire Louvre plaza did not infringe the copyright of the Louvre pyramid since the photo was of the entire area, but a photo of just the pyramid would. In my long reply which you said you wouldn't read, I described the case surrounding the en:Hundertwasserhaus -- the architect of the Austrian building sued someone selling a poster of it in Germany, and won (even though the photo was actually OK in Austria itself, as it fell foul of a technicality in the German FOP law). This isn't just made-up, theoretical stuff. If you had read my original long reply, which detailed the actual problems people have had, maybe some of this could be avoided. There have been reports of legal threats from architects in other European non-FOP countries as well. While rare, it appears to be within their rights to do so. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:11, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
The Louvre pyramid is a sculpture, not a building. Nice try. And the building you reference has a unique artistic facade--a sculpture, in other words. Another nice try. This is totally made-up, theoretical stuff. Vidor (talk) 02:00, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but you're wrong with that one, you can go inside the pyramid and discover it is the roof of the entrance space to the museum. It was designed by architect I.M. Pei. --ELEKHHT 02:18, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I've been there, and I am not wrong. The pyramid is a sculpture, an artistic creation, which also forms the entrance to the building. Of course, like any sculpture, it could be picked up and moved, while the Louvre as a whole cannot. Vidor (talk) 02:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
No, it is the architects suing, not the builders. I think the court itself called it a building, and the Austrian one is definitely a building. Highly distinctive? Yes. But architectural works are artistic works, and unless the law specifies different treatment, all artistic works are treated the same way. The possibility of moving a work has absolutely nothing to do with its copyrightability -- that is something you are inventing. Many countries do treat them differently, but not all do. There is more discussion on France's situation at fr:Droits d'auteurs sur les œuvres architecturales en France; they mention a few people who have sent legal threats (including the architect of the en: Stade de France). The architects of the en:Tour Montparnasse apparently went to court over a postcard of the building; if I'm reading it right, the suit was dismissed, but only because the building was a secondary element in the postcard (implying that if it was the primary element, it would not have been OK). Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd recommend not using works "art", "artistic" - these seem too subjective, too uncertain. The w:Seagram Building looks like a run-of-the-mill highrise. But it is a landmark work of art. A plain concrete column of a Le Corbusier building is just a dull grey cylinder. And yet it's protected by fop - or, at least, it was deleted here. Too much uncertainty here. Are B-roads artistic simply because they were cross-signed by district architects?
Another point of uncertainty is that the whole set of authors is never known. Consider the case of the former w:Hundertwasserhaus, - which became Hundertwasser-Krawinahaus eight years after Hundertwasser's death. This degree of uncertainty makes "precautionary principle" useless: precaution against every contingency is equivalent to a blanket ban, which just won't work. But then the commons policy on fop is just as useless. NVO (talk) 16:37, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
We have to use those words since that's what the law uses. Granted, I think they consider most any work of architecture as a "work of art" -- any considerations of "ugly" don't matter. Same goes for paintings -- a child's scribble is just as copyrightable as a masterpiece painting, at least in the U.S. The French court case mentioned said that buildings there must have a "definite artistic character" -- so those are the words we have to go by, unfortunately. As for authors... no, we should not be trying to guess what might happen; we should be basing things on what has happened (use the best knowledge we have as to who is the author... if that knowledge changes later, like that did as the result of a court case, then we deal with the changed situation then). I don't like using the precautionary principle if there is simply doubt raised by users here -- there should be doubt present in the legal world at large (divided court cases, or near-evenly divided opinion from actual legal experts, things like that). It is way too easy to create doubt in people's minds when it comes to this stuff. Unfortunately for buildings, there are examples of this being a real issue in some places, and no good counterexamples. Well, the French cases indicate that simply not being the primary subject of the photo is enough to avoid derivative work issues (pictures of the entire area, etc.). If we can find references of legal experts saying that there are no issues with pictures, that can help -- I think the Argentina status was based on one of those, and not the wording of the law. It is always possible the de facto situation is different. But, we generally try to respect the law as it actually is in the country of origin, not what we wish it is, or what seems "right" to people used to different copyright rules from living in other countries. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:36, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Interesting examples. Would you like to start Commons:List of FOP court cases ? It appears to me that both examples are among the most popular late-20th century architectures in the world, while 99,99% of what is deleted wouldn't have the chance to earn a single penny to anyone. Would there be any way to avoid this sacrifice of 100% of theoretically risk exposed images for the benefit of less than 0.01% ? Is the current level of precaution reasonable?--ELEKHHT 01:51, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
No, the current level of precaution isn't reasonable at all. It's completely absurd. Vidor (talk) 02:00, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Strictly following a *legal* standpoint (i.e. must be legally "free" in country of origin)... you could argue on threshold of originality grounds I think (though copyright protects a lot more than that 0.01%, and if it's copyrightable, the protection is exactly the same as that 0.01% you mention). The French section does mention that to be copyrightable, the buildings must have "a definite artistic character", and cannot belong to a series (i.e. just another example of a standard design). So, there are many, many buildings which would not qualify for copyright, and photos of those are fine. Outside of that, taking a picture of the entire area the building is in is usually OK (the building is a secondary element), so sometimes that can be used (which won't necessarily stop over-zealous deletion requests, or even deletions, but it's at least a good argument. The trouble when you get unexpected and seemingly crazy court decisions like this is that people aren't sure what is and what is not protected, and will be overly cautious. The worst of it is, they might be right too. Outside of those though, a policy change is probably the only way. We may hate copyright law, but it doesn't change the fact that it is there, and that we follow it. The "free" part of Wikimedia is right at its core, way more than just a Commons policy, so that is not something which will be easy to change. But there may be a reasonable chance of a limited policy change, when it comes to photographs of buildings (they are likely completely "free" in the U.S.). Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My concern is that what I've read of US law, and US court cases about the law, is that architecture copyright in the US is designed to protect tract houses. It's designed so that if you go into a house and like it, you can't just have someone copy it, you have to go back to the original architect. In other words, the law is designed for that 99.9%.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:51, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Right, the law protects other architects from designing a building too similar to protected ones -- from memory that is what the cases thus far are about. Or, an architect getting fired partway through the project, and the firing party using the plans anyways, stuff like that. When the law decides that pictorial representations of the building are not derivative works, other buildings (and models, I guess) become the main places copyright protection (via the derivative work clauses) would kick in. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

All that gabbing is a wordy way of distracting from the fact that that there aren't any court rulings where an architect has rights to photographs of a building. Period. The poster above seems determined to strip Wikimedia Commons of a huge number of images--really, we are talking an enormous number of images, just think about it--from a highly dubious, entirely theoretical, logically fatuous micro-examination of international law. I have read nothing in this entire discussion that answers my concrete examples. Google Street View, anyone? The right of Google to post photographs of every public building they can find has never been challenged. I also have never heard an answer as to why Wikimedia Commons should even be interested in laws of any nation other than the United States. "We may hate copyright law"--sorry, there is no copyright law that says architects can control pictures taken of their builidings. There just isn't. I beg an administrator, someone with the power to end this discussion, to please do so. Close this discussion, lift all the "nominated for deletion" notices on affected photos, and encourage the people on this page who are out to gut Wikimedia Commons to do something more constructive with their time. Vidor (talk) 18:26, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

As long as you ignore all the cases where someone has sued to stop people from using the picture of a building and won, you're right, there are none. I really don't know how you could interpret a law that says that pictures of buildings for noncommercial purposes are an except to the copyright law as saying anything but pictures of buildings for commercial purposes require the permission of the copyright owner.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:51, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Easy. It doesn't say that unless it says that. Unless it says, in positive language, "pictures of buildings for commercial purposes require the permission of the copyright owner.", then they don't. That's even granting that there is law dictating that anyone can hold a copyright for the external appearance of a building, which there isn't. And that's also granting that Wikimedia Commons should be responsible for copyright law in every country in the world, which it shouldn't. Wikimedia Commons, again, should only be concerned with copyright law in the country in which its servers are located. You people are working hard to wreck the Commons but you have nothing to base this attack on. Vidor (talk) 21:48, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Is there law dictating that anyone can hold a copyright for the external appearance of a statue? Because the law gives copyright to "..., architectural and sculptural works", so if we believe that pictures of statues are derivative works (and there's much case law to show it), we have to conclude that pictures of architectural works are also derivative works.
If you want Wikimedia Commons to stop being concerned about every copyright law in the world, then stop complaining about FOP and say that. It's a decision that was made by vote and would have to be overturned by one, and I don't find it likely, but if that's what you are unhappy with, then go after it. Otherwise that's just the way things work.
I'm getting tired of the lack of assumption of good faith. The fact that we believe Commons should be guided by its policy and the laws behind it, and that we interpret those laws differently, don't mean we "are working hard to wreck" Commons, and claiming that we are is offensive.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:47, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
@ Carl: I like you PD-Art example, since that is an attitude consistent with Wikimedia's mission. In contrast, the conservative implementation of "doubtful" FOP cases (no explicit national law and not tested in court) goes the other way, making Commons appear schizophrenic rather than advocate of free-use. So wouldn't be the simplest way to reverse this, by an adjustment to the precautionary principle policy implementation guidelines? The current implementation is de facto that any doubt is considered reasonable and results in deletion. Shouldn't be this balanced by allowing for the "reasonable assumption" that if there is no explicit prohibition in a country, and no court case, and de facto free use of images of buildings are permitted, than such images under a free license from the photographer be retained (with any necessary precautionary disclaimer regarding future implementation of the Berne Convention in national law - Since the Berne Convention allows countries to determine exceptions, and possibly laws in those countries do already do so withouth our knowledge since no case has been tested in court)? I understand the second option, would be to argue that considering COM:SCOPE there should be an exception introduced to the principle of free license in the country of origin, when this depends on the absence of explicit FOP in that country. --ELEKHHT 23:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't solve anything in many cases, since many countries are pretty clear about their lack of FOP in certain cases, like France and Germany. If copyright protects architecture, then it should deal with buildings just like sculpture unless it says otherwise.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:51, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
The question wasn't about what it does not solve but whether it would be a move forward. --ELEKHHT 00:01, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Before implementing something, I like to know what it would fix. There's a certain cost to making a change like this, which is so close to the precautionary principle and makes our FOP policy more complex and more exceptional (then just using our best understanding of FOP in the country). A consensus that FOP doesn't apply in, say, Russia would be a lot different, because it wouldn't be exceptional.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:26, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Right -- it seems rather apparent that, by the usual default definition of "derivative work" in laws, pictures can be derivative works. Laws need these exception sections to "fix" the situation for photographers (if they feel it is in need of fixing, which most countries do to some extent). There are usually similar sections for libraries, etc. Since the Berne Convention mentions it, and I'd think WIPO's "template law" has something on it, you would think legislatures would have almost always considered this question -- if the exception is left out, it may well be intentional. We can only go by the wording in the laws... every country has its twists, so we always need to look at the specific wording, but there is an awful lot of similarity between countries at this point. Wikimedia's mission is centered on providing "free" content, and the definition of "free" is itself rooted in copyright law, so it is not something we can just ignore -- if you make a derivative work in the eyes of the law, you cannot control its distribution, and have no permission to license it freely. When it comes to this type of situation which isn't anywhere near universal... it gets "interesting". Things can be "free" in one country but not another. Since Commons covers usage in all countries, we usually primarily follow the law in the country of origin (and the U.S. as well, since the Foundation itself is subject to that). PD-Art was one exception though, where despite the fact that some other countries may give copyright to photographic copies of paintings, a consensus was formed (after a Jimbo declaration that such things should be free) to ignore any possible ramification in other countries. Uploaders in those countries still need to be careful, as they could be found liable, but we do keep them. That is the only way I can see to change things (short of convincing countries to extend their freedom of panorama exceptions to cover commercial use too) -- acknowledge that there may be copyright issues in some (not all) countries for a few works, but we will keep anyways based on U.S. law (which does not recognize the derivative rights of architectural works to extend to pictorial representations), under the grounds it is too harmful to the other educational missions. It may not carry quite the same weight, as PD-Art was seen as a way to combat the effective extension of copyright on items which have themselves expired, and this is ignoring (possible) copyrights owned by modern-day authors, but maybe it would fly. It aggravates everyone, to be sure, but some are more rooted in the desire for "free" content, and accepting the limitations on illustrating articles where quirks in copyright law throw up barriers. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:08, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Polling isn't evil in this case. As WMF accepts that de.Wikipedia accepts FOP for all countries according German law Commons could accept that FOP is a general rule --Historiograf (talk) 20:55, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

acknowledge that there may be copyright issues in some (not all) countries for a few works, but we will keep anyways based on U.S. law (which does not recognize the derivative rights of architectural works to extend to pictorial representations), under the grounds it is too harmful to the other educational missions There we go. Finally. Vidor (talk) 21:52, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I have just discovered this thread. I've read most, but not all of it. I apologise if I'm repeating what other people said. There are several French court cases where editors have been condemned for selling postcards of a building without paying royalties to the architect. Some of them are listed in the :fr article about FoP (w:fr:Liberté de panorama). I have no doubt we can find similar court cases in other countries.
Regarding the application of US law only, are you aware that it would effectively remove hundreds of pictures of outdoor artworks from Wikimedia Commons? Some countries recognise FoP both for buildings and artworks in public space. Such is the case for Germany and The Netherlands; it is not so for the United States. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 14:13, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I think this would be limited to pictures of buildings, not sculpture. There are some arguments that FOP pictures of sculpture in foreign countries are still OK in the U.S. (regardless of the situation for statues *in* the U.S.) though that almost certainly won't hold up for countries without FOP; we should leave the status quo on those. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:20, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
So basically the proposal is: let's recognise only those parts of copyright law that suit us? Jastrow (Λέγετε) 15:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I'd say, yes. Anything short of a total ban will infringe this or that law; no one can suit the wishes of every government on earth. Wikipedia does not abide by the laws of sharia, or the pronouncement of Chairman Kim, or the British take on 2D-art. It's like "don't ask, don't tell": a restrictive policy that no one even tried to enforce en masse (no resources, no competence, no will). This ANI thread hints that nothing will change. Come back five years from now. NVO (talk) 15:59, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
With any law other than copyright, we just make sure our own (educational) usage is legal, not worrying about ramifications of other usages. Copyright is different though, since that is how "free" licenses are enforced, and if such images are subject to derivative rights, then photographers may not have the right to license photographs using a free license, meaning we can't host them. Of course in this situation... they have that right in some countries but not others. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:40, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec) As with PD-Art, yes. I'm not completely convinced that such a proposal would fly, but maybe -- it comes down to the definition of "free". These are "free" in some parts of the world, but not others (just like PD-Art photos); some may feel the situation is too damaging to the educational purpose, and given a reasonable legal option may take it. Argentina, as mentioned, apparently allows such photos per an opinion of a legal expert, although there is no such exception in the law itself. Even France, where they are plainly non-free (thanks for that link, btw), the 2006 law added an exception meaning no permission is needed for la reproduction ou la représentation, intégrale ou partielle, d’une oeuvre d’art graphique, plastique ou architecturale, par voie de presse écrite, audiovisuelle ou en ligne, dans un but exclusif d’information immédiate et en relation directe avec cette dernière, sous réserve d’indiquer clairement le nom de l’auteur which sounds (per Google translate) like it would make usage on wikipedias etc. completely legal. We could limit a proposal such as this to countries with an explicit non-commercial clause (I was thinking that would exclude France, but that exception above comes very close), or perhaps to countries with no demonstrated history of successful lawsuits in this area (which would definitely exclude France). Or, allow them unless architects from non-FOP countries object, for specific buildings, and only delete photos of those buildings. Local wikipedias can certainly host such pictures already... apparently, per the above, the German wikipedia allows pictures of buildings regardless of where they are, and presumably the English wikipedia could do the same (since it uses U.S. law only), so Wikimedia is hosting them (legally it would seem) already. It really is a matter of policy, and so is subject to consensus here, whatever that may be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:40, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
PD-Art is a whole different kettle of fish. The UK ‘sweat of the brow’ provision is inconsistent with the very principle of copyright; such is not the case with FoP. What you're arguing for is Fair Use; it's simply not allowed on Commons.
Also, I deeply believe trying to finagle our way to avoid non-FoP legislations is doing a disservice to our cause. On the contrary, we should be more strict on local Wikipedias and explain people that strictly enforcing copyright legislation leads to utter madness. Such is the case in France where copyright has been granted for instance to a tablecloth. Yep, an ordinary, run-of-the-mill tablecloth even *we* would allow on Commons without giving it a second thought. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 20:24, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry for stupid question, but since which times US law universal beyond USA boundaries? Folks who don't like FOP provisions of their countries copyright laws should demand changes in parlaments of their countries, not here. --EugeneZelenko (talk) 16:37, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't, but there is one precedent (PD-Art) for policy here. And this stuff is "free" in a great many countries more than the U.S., and also OK (for non-commercial use) in a great many countries beyond that. To me this really is a policy question, on what we determine is "free". I can completely respect though opinions which want to keep the current situation, respecting the law in the country of origin, and requiring that works be "free" there. One option could be to only have this apply only to countries where there are no clarifying court cases (i.e. it is not clear what the real situation is). Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I can't see how policy could contradict basic principle of project: respect copyrights law of country of origin. Again, right place to propose this change - parliaments of countries where copyrights laws doesn't make it free. These are places where efforts of local Wikimedia chapters and individual users should be applyed. --EugeneZelenko (talk) 17:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
PD-Art does exactly the same thing. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:20, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Pictures may be moved between different countries (in theory) :-)
If justification for proposed changes are educational mission, why don't just open another media repository which will allow non-commercial images? MediaWiki suppost multiple media repositories.
EugeneZelenko (talk) 16:06, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Again, right place to propose this change - parliaments of countries where copyrights laws doesn't make it free. This is silly. We'd be waiting until the end of the world. Clearly the thing to do is for Commons to change policy. The alternative is a devastating blow to the educational mission of the Commons. Vidor (talk) 02:32, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't have a strong opinion on the issue, but "devastating blow" is overstating quite a bit. The current policy has been in place for as long as I can recall, and I have not witnessed any devastation so far. Some bewilderment and scratching of heads maybe, but no devastation. Wknight94 talk 03:47, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Neither overstatements nor understatements help. Current policy implementation of FOP affects the illustration of a broad range of articles on architecture, cities, public art etc. relating to the last ca. 150 years in 45 countries including France, Italy, Russia and UAE. That's certainly more than "scratching of heads", is substantial, affecting a very large number of articles, many with high impact (for instance the Burj Khalifa has over 300,000 views per month). It's not devastating to the whole project, but for the above mentioned fields, it is. -ELEKHHT 04:08, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but I have to stand by my characterization. What is the real downside to this policy? Readers have to make one extra click to see a gallery. Not even a photo, but a gallery. w:Burj Khalifa has a photo - just not a large gallery of the full building. (BTW, you'll notice English Wikipedia mostly uses the same policy as us - they just allow for fair use of one picture of such buildings). Of 95% of readers, many won't even notice, and the rest will say, "Okay, I'll go elsewhere for photos." Some may investigate further and find COM:FOP and say, "Gosh, that's interesting - I never thought of architecture being copyrighted. I guess I learned something." And I bet my characterization is more accurate than the characterization of "devastating blow". Otherwise, the longstanding policy surely would have changed by now. Wknight94 talk 12:10, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
You really think that the best way to convey that architecture is art, is by hoping that readers will ask themselves why can't I see pictures of this building which is described as remarkable? I can't accept that as an argument, sorry. --ELEKHHT 22:37, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
The real downside is in that it requires the projects who want these photographs to have both an EDP to cover it, and have local uploads enabled. As things stand, it is not possible to illustrate es:Burj Khalifa with an image of the finished building. EDPs aren't encouraged either, and at a practical level its better to have one image here than dozens of the same image across the projects. The fact en has fair use does not mean all projects do, and does not mean all projects should have an EDP just to get around the idiosyncrasies of Commons. And, it severely affects Commons in its function as a media repository, not its purpose as Wikimedia's image bank (Commons is a project in its own right not an adjunct to WP).--Nilfanion (talk) 13:08, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
So far it's wishful thinking. Commons is the image bank of wikipedia (audio and video subsets are too thin to be considered here). Any other uses are tertiary, not even secondary. These "other uses" may be a convenient fundraising prop for the Foundation, but they aren't critical to its survival. Only core products matter. This, of course, is my own uneducated guess. So may I suggest focusing on a single use: writing an encyclopedia. NVO (talk) 16:42, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
You really want to drive away all the people who work on Wikisource and Wiktionary and Wikinews? meta:List of Wikimedia projects by size says they're a lot larger than you think. But go ahead and alienate those you're arguing to; no skin off my back.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:25, 2 February 2011 (UTC)
If you want to do fair use--and I'm personally surprised that any encyclopedia wouldn't--then you're going to have to have an EDP and local uploads. It's not possible to have a picture of modern statuary--e.g. w:Charging Bull--on any Wikipedia without an EDP, so I don't see why buildings are a especially important case. I'm not a huge fan of our international copyright rules, especially in practice, but this seems to be a logical outgrowth of them.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:25, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

but "devastating blow" is overstating quite a bit Well, everybody's opinion is their own, but I can't see how this campaign to erase thousands of pictures from Wikimedia Commons and gut the Commons' ability to host photographs of public buildings all over the world is less than devastating. This will make the Commons much the poorer, and all based on extremely debatable, unconvincing, hyper-conservative hypothetical interpretations of copyright law. You'd think at times like this that a simple idiot check would end these discussions. Of course no one's copyright is damaged by a photograph of a building. Of course the external appearance of a building is not the same as "architecture". Architecture is the entire structual plan of a building, not the appearance of its external facade. And as I pointed out above, in all these countries where the deletionists want to strip the Commons of thousands of photos, pictures of buildings are sold all the time. I assure you, if you go to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, you will be able to buy postcards featuring public buildings. If you buy a postcard of the Parliament House, no one will arrest you, and no one will demand that you pay the fellow who designed and built the Parliament House. This is all based on absurd misreadings of law and we must stop this effort to damage the Commons, lest we find ourselves in a situation where persons can't post photos of any buildings in entire countries. That seems like a "devastating blow" to me. Vidor (talk) 04:18, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

For the thousandth time, this is based on very real court cases in France.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:21, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

I would suggest the following:

  • There is no deadline to delete things that are legal to keep online in the U.S. We don't have to start a crusade against these images while we decide whether to host them or not - this is a policy decision, not an act of legal compliance.
  • Uploaders deserve our accommodation on legal matters. When we use the PD-Art tag, often it amounts to an American editor looking up the site of some museum and copying out the pictures. Whatever stupid policies those countries may have passed, they're not enforceable against the uploader unless he actually lives there and goes to photo the old painting himself. The balance here could be different - more people will come from the source countries, and in theory I suppose the American tourist could get pulled out of line at the airport, his laptop hooked up to spyware to record everything he has on it (which actually happens, though it's my impression it usually it's at the U.S. end), and the French could prosecute him for taking unauthorized pictures of the Eiffel Tower. My feeling is that if Wikimedia Commons is going to allow or encourage people in other countries to make illegal uploads, that they deserve
a) fair warning
b) to be allowed to upload via anonymous proxy, at least for a specific session and under close scrutiny
c) to be able to request removal of an upload, at least for a certain term after they've uploaded it. (nothing in this should be taken to prohibit someone from another country from copying the image from an online mirror or from our deleted files, with admin assistance, and re-posting it under his own name, once the legal case has cooled down and our friend has shown the authorities that he is a dutiful citizen)
  • The scope of copyright law is an arbitrary decision. We don't honor foreign laws against showing Muhammad's image, or pornography, or images that bring the king or the country into disrepute. We don't honor "sweat of the brow" laws on PD-Art. We don't even call personality rights or "database copyright" copyright law. What makes the (lack of) freedom of panorama a copyright law? They call it copyright, in their country, yes, but other countries use other definitions. I say that we shouldn't call something a copyright law, or give it a status of "courtesy censorship" that we don't give to the other national laws, unless it is an American copyright law, or one that they recognize. Some people don't want to go that far, but we still need to be clear, it's an arbitrary decision. There's no reason to automatically offer the same status to the laws against photoing a building. It's up to us. Wnt (talk) 19:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
What makes a lack of freedom of panorama a copyright law is because it is copyright. It is a law saying that because parts of a copyright object exist in a photograph, the photograph is a derivative work of those objects. It's based on copyright theory and it's stated in copyright terms. Laws against showing Muhammad or bringing the king into disrepute aren't copyright laws because they aren't based on copyright theory or stated as copyright. You could state privacy laws as copyright, stating that each person had a copyright interest in themself, but I don't know of any country that has.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:31, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The moment that a country somewhere in the world does express it in those terms, will we delete every photo potentially subject to personality rights in its home country? Or will we continue to go by the U.S. definition that these are separate from copyright, when deciding whether or not to begin a program of courtesy censorship? Wnt (talk) 15:02, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
But the US does define this in copyright terms. The US law explicitly states, as an exception to the normal operation of copyright, that photographs of buildings are not a derivative work of the building. It's like the US definition say that works more than 95 years old are separate from copyright; the whole point of Commons policy here is to "courtesy censor" works that are copyright in their home nation, but not in the US.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:20, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I see pictures of Mongolian buildings are being deleted. Congratulations, folks. This campaign to gut Wikimedia Commons of images and badly damage the project seems to be progressing quite nicely. Vidor (talk) 12:38, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

There is no requirement for a wikimedia commons will accept only free contents, Mongolia is not the only excempted country...UAE, KSA, Bahrain...fance..italy also having these restrictions..--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 13:42, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
The Commons will not be gutted. Keep in mind that only relatively modern structures in a small number of countries are affected. I wonder why you're not as upset about the prohibition on uploading derivative works of artworks on public display in the U.S. (for instance)? The fact remains that buildings are copyrightable, and we cannot blithely violate those copyrights except in those countries where it is specifically allowed by statute. Powers (talk) 18:25, 21 February 2011 (UTC)
I see your campaign to abuse and harass people who are trying to make Commons walk a path consistent with the laws and Common's policies is progressing quite nicely, too.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:14, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

The fact remains that buildings are copyrightable This is not a "fact" at all, but a made-up contention. As I posted many, many times, those who are campaigning to gut the Commons of images of buildings simply can't demonstrate that laws are applied in the way that they contend they are. Again, go to Mongolia and buy a postcard with a picture of a building on it. I promise you won't be arrested. And the Commons will be gutted. The user who posted right above you listed six countries in which, by this absurd contortion of misreading law, the Commons cannot host any pictures of any buildings. If that's not gutting, I don't know what is. And for what it's worth the Commons policy of prohibiting the uploading of derivative works is equally absurd. I wish cooler heads and rational thinkers had prevailed. But they didn't. Let the deletion parade begin. Vidor (talk) 02:32, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

A made-up contention? The US Copyright Office says "An original design of a building created in any tangible medium of expression, including a constructed building or architectural plans, models, or drawings, is subject to copyright protection as an “architectural work” under section 102 of the Copyright Act (title 17 of the United States Code), as amended on December 1, 1990."[4] I suppose you'll ignore that just like you ignored the French court cases and everything else we've pointed out to you.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:14, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

We can disregard French court cases if we so choose because this project is only subject to US law. The oft-quoted statement that "Commons only accepts free content" reflects a policy that was abandoned long ago. If we adhered to the official definition of free content used by the Wikimedia Foundation we would have to delete all images of modern buildings because of the laws of Lebanon (both non "FoP" and non "rule of the shorter term"). Bizarre but true. There is also the exception for PD-art where we use US law alone. Better to use the term "maximally reusable" to reflect the necessary compromises in our licensing policy. The "Fair use" doctrine in US law is is only relevant to content which would otherwise would otherwise infringe copyright to upload eg. album covers. It has no bearing in this case as a photographer uploading their photo of eg. the Burj al Arab can infringe no copyright by doing so. Instead of playing at lawyers we should us common sense and established precedent to modify this policy to benefit the primary purpose of the project. 9carney (talk) 23:16, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

"We can disregard French court cases if we so choose because this project is only subject to US law." - This is definitely not true. Various jurisdictions apply. For example if you are located in France, you will normally use Wikimedia servers located in the Netherlands, making Dutch laws an issue. Also if you are located in France, French laws will apply to all of your uploads, unimportant where the servers are located. Jcb (talk) 23:23, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
To the extent we theoretically care about the law, we have completely ignored Dutch law. Depending on the rule of the shorter term in the Netherlands and other issues, any number of works could violate Dutch law. (In practice, we don't even care about US law.) Furthermore, we've never cared about the law of the uploader, which applies to the uploader, not us, and is impossible to check, short of exposing more information then we've normally permitted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:01, 26 February 2011 (UTC)