Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 7

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Architecture in Belgium

In the NL version of the Belgian copyright law, I couldn't find anything about architecture. If something is not protected, we wouldn't need a FoP exception to take pictures of it. Maybe people with more knowledge about the Belgian law could help us to get more clarity in this? Jcb (talk) 22:57, 18 February 2011 (UTC)

I asked in the NL village pump for somebody with knowledge of the Belgian law to take a look at this case. I hope somebody will come and help us. Jcb (talk) 23:01, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Architecture is protected, see for example here (in Dutch). /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 23:11, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Architechtural works are subsumed under "artistic works" in Belgium. See for instance here (in French). Lupo 23:13, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, this is helpful. My French is not so good, but the Dutch link is clear enough. Would it be an idea to mention this at Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#Belgium? Architecture is a common issue at Commons. Jcb (talk) 23:42, 18 February 2011 (UTC)


Here is the original Mongolian version of the Law on Copyright: [1].

Article 24 (Зохиогчийн эрхийн зөрчилд тооцохгүй байх онцгой нөхцөлүүд, "Exceptions for copyright violations"), 24.1.6 ("болсон үйл явдлыг нийтэд мэдээлэхтэй холбогдуулан нийтийн эзэмшлийн гудамж, талбайд байршуулсан уран барилга, дүрслэх урлаг, гэрэл зургийн бүтээлүүдийг тухайн орчны байдлыг үзүүлэх зорилгоор нийтлэх") states that buildings, artwork, and photographs located on public streets and squares are ineligible for copyright if the representation for purpose of showing events and such to public.

According to 24.2., the above is valid if the work if for non-commercial use.

The current link for Mongolia is of a 1999 law, the link I specified above is from 2006.

--Chinneeb 06:10, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Commons contain commercial use. so cannot be included....--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 10:41, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
The actual wording is "ашиг олох зорилгогүй байх" which is "intent to use commercially". --Chinneeb (talk) 12:48, 20 January 2011 (UTC)
A native speaker should translate this...--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 15:48, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

One relevant question here would be if the simple existence of a building should be considered a "display", and if a photograph of a building is a "reproduction of a work". The Mongolian law is closely modelled after the German one, where architecture is exempt from FOP restrictions. However, the Mongolian phrasing is generic enough to be ambiguous in this point. Are there any court decisions to clarify such matters? Has anyone in Mongolia ever paid royalties to the architect for publishing a picture of a house? As far as I'm aware, France is the only country explicitly imposing FOP restrictions on architectural photographs, while everybody else seems to take into account the inherent immobility of buildings. --Latebird (talk) 16:37, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Germany also ruled a photograph of a building was a derivative work (one taken from a non-public place, which eliminates the German FOP provision). Given the Berne Convention and the general concept of derivative works, we usually assume that unless there is a FOP provision that photographs are derivative works. There is a wide-ranging fair use, but it sounds like even in the new law, the Mongolian one has restrictions on commercial use, which would seem to make it non-free. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:47, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

What a waste of time. Of course a building is not displayed simply by its existence, and of course merely photographing a public building is not reproducing a work. Of course you can post pictures of buildings on the Commons. Lord. Vidor (talk) 03:53, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I wish it were different, but there have been rulings in multiple countries which decided otherwise -- i.e., photographs *are* derivative works of an architectural copyright, and photographers have lost those lawsuits. I'm not aware of any court cases which have gone the other way (determining a photograph was *not* a derivative work in the absence of an explicit copyright law provision which deals with the subject). Most countries today are members of the Berne Convention, and most of that kind of thing is standardized. The real difficulty comes when countries have "OK for noncommercial use" clause... that means that it is absolutely legal to use them on Commons/Wikimedia, since we are doing educational projects, but we have a self-imposed limitation that works must be "free" -- i.e. we need to be able to use them for commercial use as well, and if we can't, then we are not allowed to host them on Commons (that is a directive from the Wikimedia Foundation). You technically can't license such photographs CC-BY or CC-BY-SA in the first place. And anyways, the scope of usages which fall under "commercial use" is pretty wide when it comes to copyright -- say, a fundraiser for a non-profit agency would be considered commercial. The old Mongolian law even explicitly says that photographers of buildings must negotiate and pay royalties for commercial use of those photographs -- not sure if the new law is that explicit, but again there is a mention of "OK for noncommercial use only". It's beyond frustrating I know, but that is the real situation in courts. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Vidor wholeheartedly. I think we can all agree that putting the architectural designs of a building would be copyright infringement, but a mere photograph of a side wouldn't be. Indeed, if FOP is enforced everywhere, there will be no photographs of any buildings in Mongolia. And Carl, you said "The old Mongolian law even explicitly says that photographers of buildings must negotiate and pay royalties for commercial use of those photographs". Where is that? --[chinneeb|talk] 14:51, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
The (English translation of the) law linked in the Mongolia section says: In the following cases it shall be permissible to make for the public benefit, without the author's consent and without payment of any remuneration, a reproduction of part of a work which has already been made available to the public, provided that mention shall be made of the source and of the name of the author: [...] reproduction of works displayed in streets, squares and other public places. In case of such reproduction for the purpose of commercial advantage, the author's consent should be sought in advance and the amount of royalties payable to him or her should be agreed upon. I don't know if that language is still in their law, but the quotes above indicate it is (or something like it). As usual, the definition of the term "works" includes all copyrightable works, including "architectural works" -- the Berne Convention requires that all countries protect architecture. In the Commons:Freedom of panorama#France section, it is mentioned a court did say that for protection the buildings need to have a "definite artistic character", so at least it is not *all* buildings. For another case, see the one mentioned in the comments on this page. Austria has a specific exemption for pictures taken of buildings. Germany does too, except they require that the photo also be taken from a public place. Someone was selling a poster of an Austrian building (the en:Hundertwasserhaus), but I think it was taken from a (second or higher story) window of a building across the street. This was fine in Austria, but then the photographer also sold the poster in Germany. The photographer was sued there, under grounds the photograph was not taken from a public place and therefore did not qualify for the exemption, and the German supreme court ruled in favor of the architect. (In another recent case, a second architect won the right to be equally recognized I guess on moral rights grounds, so that building was renamed to include that architect's name as well). Many countries have explicit provisions that allow photos of buildings (i.e., they are not considered derivative works of the architect): Austria does, as mentioned above, as well as the U.K., Canada, and the United States. The U.S. never protected architecture, but were forced to when they joined the Berne Convention, so buildings completed since 1990 there are now protected -- however, when they added that law, they explicitly said that pictorial representations are not derivative works. People living in those countries may then often be of the opinion that photos of buildings should then always be fine, but in some countries that is just not the case. The U.K. also allows photos of public sculpture, but the U.S. has no such exemption language for those, so it would appear that photographs of sculpture can be a problem, and indeed just last year a photographer lost a case when a stamp was made out of his picture of the Korean War Memorial on the Mall in Washington D.C.; the sculptor of the memorial sued him and won. Given the number of countries which have explicit provisions to allow photographs of buildings (or all works), it would appear that such language is required for photographs to be fine (some even explicitly specify that the exemption is only for the outer surface of an architectural work), and in the absence of any exemption then photographs would appear to be derivative works. Many more countries (like Mongolia here, and Russia and pretty much all the ex-Soviet states) explicitly say it is OK but only for noncommercial use. There, use in an educational context (like an encyclopedia) is quite legal, but the Foundation-imposed condition for hosting on Commons is that it be "free", which needs to include the right to use commercially. If you want to argue that this is only for buildings of "a definite artistic character", i.e. mundane buildings do not pass the threshold of originality, that may be a possibility -- but those are often not the buildings we want to illustrate most. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:30, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm not reading any of that, but the contention that you can't take a photo of any building in Mongolia is absurd and clearly not the intent of the law. Clearly a waste of time, borne of a desire yo make the Commons worse. Vidor (talk) 23:16, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Heh :-) Well, that's a shame, since I went to a bit of effort to try to explain why. It's hard to have conversation if one side isn't listening ;-) The short answer is, yes, you are correct, that is not the intent of the law -- it is pretty clear that in Mongolia you can take a photo of a building and do all sorts of non-commercial things with it without any possible interference from the architect. But if you put it on a postcard and try to sell it, the situation changes quite a bit. And that last part is a problem for hosting on Commons. The current situation is, those photographs must be uploaded to the local wikipedias directly, for use in that context and that context only. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:15, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
If you are aware of such court cases, it would be maybe good to put it on a page (something like "List of FOP court cases") which than can be used to direct new editors to see what the potential implications are. Otherwise you have to explain it over and over again since is very counter-intuitive. As an architect it wouldn't cross my mind to claim benefit from postcards with images of buildings I designed: firstly I would be very happy that my building is that popular, and second, the potential minor financial benefit would be of no relevance relative to a typical designer fee. --ELEKHHT 01:55, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Whatever the reasons put in this talk page for keeping Mongolian FoP from {{NotOK}} to {{OK}}, necessary law evidences should be produced by the participant as photograph of a mongolian building can be used by anybody for any purpose either commercial or remix, Untill such time there is no evidence of an updated law, Mongolian FoP section in commons not going to change, and mongolia is not the only country having this restrictions....--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 07:26, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that is a good idea. I had thought the German one was listed here, but I guess that is only on other project pages (or discussions). In many countries, architects don't have the option at all, which I agree makes it seem counterintuitive for many people, and even in countries where architects can, most don't use it (as you say) so people often aren't expecting this to be an issue. But by all indications they do appear to have this option in some countries, even if they don't use it, and that does create licensing issues. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:37, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

The short answer is, yes, you are correct, that is not the intent of the law --and we'd all be better off if you and yours had stopped here. Obviously the law is not meant to make it illegal to take a photograph of a building in Mongolia. Obviously no copyright is being violated. Obviously there is no possible way for an architect to even claim royalties for a photograph of a building. This is an absurd misreading of the law and a waste of everyone's time, and I recommend that this discussion be closed and deletion notices be taken off all photos ASAP. Vidor (talk) 22:25, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I can't stop there because the law doesn't stop there. It says that photos of public works are OK... but then, according to the translation given above, also says "the above is valid if the work if for non-commercial use". So... that would imply the above is invalid for commercial use. What are the rules then? That seems to imply the legislators specifically considered the question and put a limit on commercial exploitation. Please, if you know of any court cases, or even opinions from legal experts, or even can better describe a de facto situation which is at odds with the written law -- please let us know. Most of us are only residents of one country, so when it comes to other countries, we really can only go by the laws that we can dig up on the web. The Berne Convention mandates a certain uniformity in how all this stuff is treated, so when we see the same phrases in the laws of different countries, we will generally assume the treatment is similar. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:06, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
There is no scope for a Non commercial use in commons..please come to this talk page with some evidences that can show, commercial use is allowed.......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 06:20, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I don't need any more evidence. You have supplied all that is necessary. You have admitted yourself the obvious intent of the law. You have admitted that the law you quote does NOT specifically forbid the use of pictures of buildings for commercial use, but rather that you are reading a meaning into it that the words do not say--see your use of "imply". I shouldn't even have to mention how asinine is our contention that the Mongolian Parliament had this situation in mind. Have you ever been to Mongolia, or are you talking out of complete ignorance? Do you know that Ulaanbaatar is filled with commercial use of photographs? Postcards? Guidebooks? Souvenir t-shirts? Do you think that the man who built the State Great Khural (Parliament) building is getting a check everytime someone buys a postcard of it at a souvenir stand? Obviously commercial use of photographs of buildings is permitted in Mongolia because it happens all the time, everywhere. You have admitted that there is nothing in the law that specifically forbids photographs of buildings. You have failed to show in any way any manner in which posting a photo of a building violates a copyright. You can't even speak the language of the law you are desperately trying to stretch as part of some weird crusade to strip Wikimedia Commons of every picture of a building in the nation of Mongolia. Why you have embarked on this destructive quest is anyone's guess, but hopefully people with calmer heads and better sense will intervene and stop you. Vidor (talk) 08:46, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Other's thoughts about this situation is welcoming..but it should be backed with an evidence of updated Mongolian copyright, otherwise all these reasoning will not be able to consider and cannot be incorporated on the commons...and please be civil with the comments...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 09:18, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Saboteurs don't deserve civililty. And it isn't me that needs to bring evidence of updated Mongolian copyright. It's you that need to show clear and unambiguous evidence that the law forbids pictures of buildings, since common sense and the obvious intent of the law say otherwise. You have completely failed to do so, which is why you have to use words like "imply". Vidor (talk) 18:17, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

  • No evidence of an updated law is available for the public, if such evidences are not present there is no point in discussing a never ending subject..
  • Current FoP provision can only be challenged if a new amendment or a major change in the law happened on the country where, it allow FOP
  • Currently the law remains the same, and FoP limited to 'non-commercial' use only....Captain......Tälk tö me.. 03:45, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

If you people want to reinforce the FOP policy rigirously, are you willing to delete all the images in this category? : Category:Government_Palace,_Ulan_Bator --[chinneeb|talk] 12:06, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Spoils of war: once it was Finland

Which section of COM:FOP, Finnish or Russian or ???, governs images of buildings built by en:Eliel Saarinen (d. 1950) between 1918 and 1940 in the territories that were then Finnish, and were annexed by the Soviet Union in 1944 ?? NVO (talk) 17:35, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Just by gut feeling (IANAL), I would say Finnish copyright law, because the territory was Finnish at the time when the buildings were built. --Túrelio (talk) 17:37, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
COM:FOP is our policy, not law. And I would think FOP would always be the location of the photographer and object, not where the object was created. Do we have to worry about whether the w:Chicago Picasso was created in France or the US? Because it's quite possibly not PD in France.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:05, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
There are legal reasons for the policy, which should be held in mind when interpreting the policy in less obvious cases. I presume the policy means I can use any photo found on Commons without worrying too much about foreign laws, as the only laws that matter for me are the laws of the country of origin (mostly already taken care of by Commons) and the laws of Finland where I live and where I am going to use the photo (US laws are relevant only to Commons/WMF itself).
If we interpret "country of origin" in some other way than that of the relevant treaties, then I have to worry also about possible other countries of origin, which might not be obvious from the image description and the laws of which I know nothing about. (The images could be uploaded on Finnish Wikipedia, though, regardless of Russian legislation, if they are allowed under Finnish law, and vice versa if ru-wiki allows.)
--LPfi (talk) 10:32, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
But I think this specific question is clear: if you take a photo of the building, then you need no Russian FOP. Photos of buildings are explicitly allowed under Finnish copyright law and a I have a hard time imaging the Finnish heirs of a Finnish architect making copyright claims on his works based on Russian law, especially as the photographer probably is Finnish. --LPfi (talk) 10:43, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Is a Scottish author suing over a translation of a Russian work in the Netherlands too much? I think our Precautionary Principle is against "I have a hard time imaging [a suit]."--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:24, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I know too little about international law, which should govern the decisions (your example is not far fetched). But Finnish law regulates not only what happens in Finland, but also has bearing on Finnish citizens abroad. This may mean that they cannot sue in such cases based on Russian law (and that they have no right they can transfer to somebody Russian). I also wonder whether (or under what circumstances) transferring a work abroad gives the author rights to the work they did not have before. --LPfi (talk) 09:29, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't know of any countries that would stop its citizens from exercising rights they have in Russia in Russia. If you were an Afghani citizen in 1975 and your work was first published in France, you would have gotten all the moral rights and life+70 in France, plus if you followed US formalities, you also would have had 95 years in the US; provided it wasn't in English, no copy of the work would have ever had to make it to the US. When the life+70 ends, your heirs could still sue in the US over copyright infringement if it was still in copyright in the US, Afghanistan or France notwithstanding.
Likewise, in a 1948 case, France ruled that Soviet composers had moral rights in their work even without copyright treaties, and stopped an American movie from releasing in France using their music. The fact that the Soviet Union had no such moral rights--I guess they had rules against anti-Soviet movies that would have acted the same in this case--didn't stop French law from protecting them in France.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:00, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Personally, I think most photographs first uploaded to Flikr or Commons would have as their country of origin (= country of first publication) the United States, since it's being first distributed to a general audience, including Americans, based off copies made on an American server. But the place where the photograph was taken, if it was taken post-1944, was surely Russia.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:24, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Which would mean you could publish photos of the Louvre Pyramid, wouldn't it? But the photographs discussed here are derived works of works first "published" elsewhere, which complicates matters. --LPfi (talk) 09:29, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
LPFI: clarification: the question is not only about "if you take a photo" (present tense). It's also about photographs made (by anyone) when the territory was Finnish (1918-1944). NVO (talk) 07:00, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I see no reason those old photographs would be encumbered by restrictions in Russian law, with a possible exception of use in Russia or by Russians. Otherwise you could use no photo without checking that the subjects of it still are in the original jurisdiction. --LPfi (talk) 16:37, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
I'd guess the answer to the initial question depends on what county it was at the time of the photograph. If the building was in Finland at the time of the photo, then Finnish FOP would permit the photo; conversely, if it was in Russia, then Russian rules apply and restrict the use of the image.--Nilfanion (talk) 16:59, 7 March 2011 (UTC)


What you have listed on Iran is incorrect. The link to Parstimes should be removed, because there seems to be mistranslations in it. Item 7 of Article 2 is not about FOP. The original Persian document reads:

"7. Architectural works such as building designs and maps."

It's not talking about the building itself. The entire document mentions nothing of sorts of a rebuttal of FOP.--Zereshk (talk) 11:24, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Zereshk is correct here. This translation is not accurate; according to the original text which is available in Persian Wikisource, maps and designs of buildings are copyright protected, not the buildings themselves. Huji (talk) 15:17, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
This would be great. --Túrelio (talk) 16:50, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Good info, how we will believe this translation as you have a link from government website in persian language..??? ...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 05:26, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I'd hope we can trust the wikisource document. Iran is not a signatory to the Berne Convention, so it is entirely possible their treatment of architecture is completely different. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:27, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Point number 7 says Architectural works... is copyrighted...such as maps is an how we will deal...from where the wikisource got this info, as clarity on the informations cannot be relied on wiki, as it does not guarantee the credibility of the information......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 08:43, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
The official English translation of the Iranian copyright law of 1970 as communicated to the UNESCO in 1970 is a bit old, but clearly states that buildings were works. I don't know what changes were made to the Iranian copyright law since then, and what effect, if any, such changes had on the copyright status of Iranian buildings. Just note that in legal texts, anything introduced by "such as" normally is just an indicative list, not an exhaustive list. Do we have access to any Iranian legal commentaries that might help clarify whether or not buildings are still considered "architectural works" in Iran? Lupo 09:44, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
I will note that the US copyright office uses the phrasing "An original design of a building created in any tangible medium of expression, including a constructed building ... is subject to copyright protection as an “architectural work”"; so at least one copyright office uses design to include what's copyrightable about a building.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:19, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Here is the original document, from Iran's National Legislative Assembly website, so we wont have to rely on Wikisource.--Zereshk (talk) 15:17, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

The English translation is wrong and thus the Iranian copyright doesn't say anything about take photo of any building , and therefore the FOP is not applicable to these images. I also requested roozbeh (fawiki founder and enwiki admin to comment here) Mardetanha talk 22:36, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
But does it say that buildings are/may be copyrighted? If they are not copyrighted, FOP is not necessary. --Túrelio (talk) 22:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
It says "7 - اثر معماري از قبيل طرح و نقشه ساختمان." which almost means "any Architectural works such as plan and design of building is copyrighted" nothing mentioned about photography Mardetanha talk 22:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
A photograph of a building is a derivative work of that building. --Carnildo (talk) 23:13, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
But nothing is mentioned about the building itself, it is all about the design and plan of the building. --Wayiran (talk) 00:02, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
Let me repeat: the law says "such as", which introduces an indicative list, not an exhaustive list. From that text of the law one cannot conclude that concrete buildings were not architectural works. Lupo 07:23, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
The term از قبيل is not an indicative tool. It is a tool of specificity. Instead of "such as", a more accurate translation would be "of the likes of". If you notice, whenever they wish to use an indicative form in the the sentence, they use the word هر نوشته or هر گونه which is an all-inclusive device (meaning "all works of whatever form pertaining to") as in items 1, 2, 6, and 12. Item 7 is merely talking about plans, cross-sections, elevations, etc employed by architects in the design process. Item 7 is actually being very specific.--Zereshk (talk) 13:45, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
While I totally understand your interpretation of the word "such as" here, I think the local interpretation is different. Media in Iran is showing/publishing pictures of buildings on a daily basis and no copyright infringement cases are ever mentioned based on that. Lacking a background in law, I believe we can deduce that since the governmental and private sector media in Iran are actually taking and sharing pictures and videos of these buildings without copyright issues, we can do the same in Wikipedia. Huji (talk) 14:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)
I haven't seen the examples you're referring to, but I expect the key reasons why they have no trouble with images of buildings are "de minimis", "fair use", and a healthy dose of "I don't care" from the copyright holders.
  • De minimis: if you take a picture of your friend Bob making faces in front of the Louvre pyramid, it doesn't matter that you've included part of the pyramid in the background of the image. The degree of copyright infringement is too small for the courts to care about.
  • Fair use: I don't know Iranian law on this, but almost every copyright law has some provision for using a portion of a work when discussing the work.
  • "I don't care": most copyright holders are not interested in chasing down every minor infringement of their copyright, because the effort involved vastly outweighs the gains. We can't use this on Commons, because we don't want to burden downstream users with the question of "is my use too small to be sued for?".
--Carnildo (talk) 00:14, 26 February 2011 (UTC)

The use of images of buildings etc. in Iran is so widespread that it cannot easily be limited to categories such as "de minimis", "fair use" or "I don't care". I will stress again that copyright law in Iran does not cover buildings themselves, but is clearly referring to "Architectural work of the likes of plan or map of the building". Thus, if you ask any Persian speaker or translator, they will confirm that the law is clearly about the building's plan or design (on paper), and not about the building itself. --Wayiran (talk) 11:44, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

Anyway, if Wikimedia Commons wishes to be cautious because they assume FOP might not exist in Iran, then that's another thing. But as far as the document provided here for Iran, the Farsi text simply doesnt say anything about buildings. The text is clear and is not an "indicative" statement. I think all Farsi wikipedia admins are also in agreement about this, including its founder.--Zereshk (talk) 20:53, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

No clear challenges are made for a revision of existing Iran's law (interpretation) in commons FOP, till any new evidences came, this situation will not change.....Captain......Tälk tö me.. 08:03, 8 March 2011 (UTC)


We say that there is no FOP in Japan except for architecture and cite Japanese law:

"(Exploitation of an artistic work, etc. located in open places)
Article 46. It shall be permissible to exploit artistic works permanently located in such open places as mentioned in paragraph (2) of the preceding Article and architectural works by any means not falling within any of the following items:
(i) multiplication of a sculpture and offering it to the public by transfer of ownership of its copies;
(ii) imitative reproduction of an architectural work and offering it to the public by transfer of ownership of its copies;
(iii) reproduction of a work for the purpose of locating it permanently in such open places as mentioned in paragraph (2) of the preceding Article;
(iv) reproduction of an artistic work exclusively for the purpose of selling its copies and sale of such copies."

I read this to prohibit:

(i) making copies of a sculpture
(ii)copying a building (that is to say, building an identical building)
(iii)reproducing a work with a copy in a public place
(iv)copying a work in the same form and selling the copies

none of which will trouble us.
Obviously the interpretation of (iv) is the issue. If photographing a sculpture and selling copies of the photograph is prohibited by (iv) then we are correct that there is no FOP, but I don't read it that way.
So, it would be good if one of our Japanese speakers could read the original and advise us on this.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 22:36, 27 February 2011 (UTC)

I think we have been reading it that (iv) applies to photos of sculpture, i.e. it is not restricted to the same form (as opposed to part (ii), the one on architecture, which is why we allow photos of buildings). Some old discussion at Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 1#Japanese_law (which references Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Kobe yusen bld01 1920.jpg) and a bit more rambling one at Commons talk:Freedom of panorama/Archive 1#Architectural_works_in_Japan, which (in a subsection) includes the opinion of a Japanese lawyer which also seems to indicate that photos of public sculpture cannot be used commercially. Agreed though, it would be best for Japanese speakers to look at the exact text and make sure our interpretation is right. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:40, 28 February 2011 (UTC)
Also, note that it states "exclusively for the purpose of selling" (emphasis added). Obviously, having the images here on Commons is not exclusively for the purpose of selling, even though that may happen. ···日本穣Talk to Nihonjoe 17:12, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Its only commercial, commons cannot use it.....Captain......Tälk tö me.. 08:04, 8 March 2011 (UTC)


I've seen a number of pictures from Romania nominated for deletion under the pretext that Romania has no FoP. There is an older conversation here: Commons_talk:Freedom_of_panorama/Archive_3#Romania. I share the view with the last answer which makes perfect sense. I think that the interpretation that pictures of buildings or statues from Romania cannot be hosted here is a big stretch and seems unreasonable to remove all such images. I don't think the law is broken, defies common sense and it will impact many articles.

Also, the link to the Romanian copyright law from Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#Romania is broken, so I am not ever sure what guidelines are even in use at this time. But I found the law here. And I went through the mentioned section several times. The intention is to protect the architect or the artist, from copying their work, but the photo of the work itself is not copyrighted and people can take pictures in public places and do whatever they want with them. One provision says "it shall be mandatory to mention the source and the author's name if it appears on the work used, and, also in the case of works of three-dimensional art or architectural works, the place in which the original is to be found.", which I think can be easily satisfied and it is beneficial for Commons to specify the location anyway.

Please share your thoughts.

Regards, --Codrin.B (talk) 04:36, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

You missed one bit from the relevant FOP provision at 33 (h) "The following uses of a work already disclosed to the public shall be permitted without the author's consent and without payment of remuneration [...] the image of an architectural work [...] permanently located in a public place, except where the image of the work is the principal subject of such reproduction, circulation or communication, and if it is used for commercial purposes;" (my emphasis). That exception to the exception is in conflict with the current Commons policy (the later being also in conflict with Wikipedia's educational mission). --ELEKHHT 07:32, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Why would be this be commercial use? Pictures with statues of national heroes, poets and important buildings can't be here and showcased in corresponding articles? The educational mission fails terribly here. Important information gets lost and article quality suffers. And those internal Wikipedia conflicts don't seem to make sense at all. --Codrin.B (talk)
Because Wikipedia and the rest of Wikimedia is free content.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:50, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

UAE FOP cases category created

Based on Category:Russian FOP cases, I have created Category:UAE FOP cases which functions in the same way, except it is for deletion requests on UAE architecture and artistic works rather than Russian ones. It intends to record FOP related DRs for the UAE which result in deletion of images. I have already added in all appropriate DRs for images from LoverOfDubai (talk · contribs) and myself, and there are probably lots missing which should be added over time. Unfortunately speedy deletions cannot be added. This category serves a purpose in (a) keeping some records on the level of deletions, for instance see Talk:Submissions/Freedom of panorama and Wikimedia Commons, and (b) allowing easier restoration of the deleted images if the situation on FOP in the UAE is ever changed, or Commons approach to the issue changes. CT Cooper · talk 16:32, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

A good idea. Thanks. --Túrelio (talk) 06:39, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
"which result in deletion of images" - must include all cases (deleted, kept, pending - split by status if the number of DRs is large enough). Nicely demonstrates the level of consistency here. As for speedies, perhaps Commons:Deletion_policy#Speedy_deletion needs a clarification - does alleged fop vio fall under "obvious copyright violations" or not? I'd strongly suggest that it should. NVO (talk) 07:08, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
I only included cases involving deletion as that was the case with the Russian version, though it could be expanded to deal with all cases. In such circumstances I would recommend creating some sub-categories since the category is going to get very large. On the issue of speedy deletion and FOP issues, I would say there isn't full agreement on the issue. Template:FOP-cv was deleted following a unanimous deletion request as it was felt that FOP issues has too many factors associated with it to be suited for speedy deletion, as well as the use deletion requests allowing easier categorisation. However, I believe FOP is still listed on the administrators drop down list when speedy deleting images. CT Cooper · talk 14:26, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
It will receive some good response, but it will not be usefull to keep all the image..the entire defenition of FOP in commons need to be changed......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 15:43, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

For the record, I have now split the category into two sub-categories, one for DRs resulting in deletion, the other for DRs not resulting in deletion. CT Cooper · talk 00:28, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

Saudi Arabia

Source: The Copyright Law detailed in the Royal Decree No. M/41, 2 Rajab, 1424 (30.08.2003) and the Implementing Regulations of Copyright Law

From the first link, I see the following excerpts seem to be relevant for photographing buildings. Doesn't this mean photos of buildings is OK?

Chapter One Protected Works

Article 2: Original Works This Law shall protect the works created in the fields of literature, art and sciences, irrespective of their type, means of expression, importance or purpose of authorship, such as: (5) Drawings, works of plastic arts, architecture, decorative art and artistic embroidery and the like.

Chapter Four Lawful Use

The following uses of the copyrighted work, in its original language or in translation, are lawful without obtaining the permission of the copyright owner. These forms of use are:

(1) Copying the work for personal use, excluding computer software, audio and audio-visual works.

(3) Using the work by way of clarification for educational purposes, within the limits justified by the intended objective, or making a copy or two for public libraries or non-commercial documentation centres on the following conditions:

( ) Shall not be commercial or for profit.

( ) Copying shall be restricted to the requirements of activities.

( ) Shall not impair the material benefit of the work.

( ) The work is out of print or is lost or damaged.

(10) Taking new photographs of any previously photographed object or work and publishing these pictures, even if the new pictures have been taken from the same vantage point and under the same circumstances of said pictures.

-- User:Ali_Imran

There is no change in the law, 'non commercial' use cannot be accepted in commons......Captain......Tälk tö me.. 03:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Captain. What about other works licensed under a creative commons non-commercial license? Will they be removed from Commons and Wikipedia as well?

-- User:Ali_Imran - March 8, 2011

There should be none on Commons, and as a matter of practice very few have slipped in. There should be none on Wikipedia, but we don't control Wikipedia.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:24, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi, again. Got a reply back from the Saudi Embassy, which is as follows
In June 2005, head of the Saudi tourism commission, Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, announced effective May 2006, taking photographs in public places will no longer be prohibited. However, major civilian, military and industrial institutions have the authority to set their own rules. There are no issues of copyright when it comes to publishing photographs of the two holy mosques.

--User: Ali Imran

Provide a link to this statement, i.e a royal website link.....Captain......Tälk tö me.. 03:38, 23 March 2011 (UTC)

Is every depiction a subject of copyright?

This survey seems to be based on the presumption that in all countries things are so that every depiction of a work is considered to be a encroachment on copyright - and that only an explicit legal formulation of FOP can to except some types of depictions.

I think that law of many countries defined copyright limits with some word which means rather "replication" than "depiction". As an example can be named the word "rozmnoženina" in Czech copyright act which have a narrower meaning than the English word "reproduction" (a photo of a man or a building or sculpture can be hardly considered as his or its "rozmnoženina" unless it is intepreted as some bureaucratic newspeak). Maybe, in some countries a pure depiction (not replication) of some work doesn't fall into protection by copyright. Btw., in some counries have the socalled "FOP" exception nothing to do with "panorama" concept. I think, the analyse of law in several countries shouldn't be so superficial as it is. --ŠJů (talk) 22:15, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Reading law is hard, and often the only way laws make sense is if you already know what they mean. Bureaucratic newspeak is frequently the language laws are written in. "Publication", for example, has a meaning in US copyright law that is arbitrary and doesn't bear much relationship to what it means outside of copyright law. I would love to have copyright lawyers in various countries give us advice, but I think that interpreting copyright law from the literal meanings of the words is more superficial then trying to interpret them in the light of the copyright law of nations we have case law and good documentation for.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:50, 17 March 2011 (UTC)

anything new about South Africa copyright law?

As of our entry COM:FOP#South_Africa, FOP is not usable for images from South Africa simply because photography wasn't mentioned in the copyright law, when it was reviewed. However, as copyright law of South Africa was likely influenced by copyright law of U.K., which has a very broad FOP exemption, it would be unexepected that South Africa is far more strict. Could a legal expert check whether there have been any later amendments to the law or any court decisions that clarified the point about FOP or no-FOP for photographies of artistic works (includ. architecture)? Otherwise most of the content of Category:Ivan Mitford-Barberton will have to go. --Túrelio (talk) 07:49, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Unfortunately, I do not see anything in the Copyright Act 1978 of South Africa (as at ) that provides for freedom of panorama for photographs of artistic works. The relevant provision appears to be section 15:
15. General exceptions from protection of artistic works
(1) The copyright in an artistic work shall not be infringed by its inclusion in a cinematograph film or a television broadcast or transmission in a diffusion service, if such inclusion is merely by way of background, or incidental, to the principal matters represented in the film, broadcast or transmission.
(2) The copyright in a work of architecture or in the relevant drawings shall not be infringed by the reconstruction of that work on the same site in the same style as the original.
(3) The copyright in an artistic work shall not be infringed by its reproduction or inclusion in a cinematograph film or a television broadcast or transmission in a diffusion service, if such work is permanently situated in a street, square or a similar public place.
(3A) (a) The copyright in an artistic work of which three-dimensional reproductions were made available, whether inside or outside the Republic, to the public by or with the consent of the copyright owner (hereinafter referred to as authorized reproductions), shall not be infringed if any person without the consent of the owner makes or makes available to the public three-dimensional reproductions or adaptations of the authorized reproductions, provided-
(i) ... [Sub-para. (i) deleted by s. 2 (1) (a) of Act 13 of 1988.]
(ii) the authorized reproductions primarily have a utilitarian purpose and are made by an industrial process.
(b) ...... [Para. (b) deleted by s. 2 (1) (b) of Act 13 of 1988.]
[Sub-s. (3A) inserted by s. 2 of Act 66 of 1983.]
(4) The provisions of section 12 (1), (2), (4), (5), (9), (10), (12) and (13) shall mutatis mutandis, in so far as they can be applied, apply with reference to artistic works.
Sorry. I have updated "COM:FOP#South Africa" to make it more emphatic. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:18, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Works visible from public places in Mexico

COM:FOP#Mexico makes no mention of the works having to be permanently located in a public place for FOP to apply, it just says works visible from public places. Is it correct? Can anyone take a picture of a copyrighted work temporarily located somewhere visible from a public place, and use it freely? If that's the case, we should emphasize that aspect in COM:FOP#Mexico, as it is quite unusual compared to other countries. But I would find it quite surprising if it was the case. (It's today's POTD that made me wonder if such a situation would be covered by FOP in Mexico.)Tryphon 15:51, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

  • You appear to be correct. And that picture of Spongebob appears to be perfectly legal, as much as I want to mouse-click delete on it. It only says the work must be visible from a public place, not that it be located in a public place or how long it must remain there. -Nard (Hablemonos)(Let's talk) 16:05, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

are amusement parks in the United States "public places"

Category:Disneyland shows many copyrighted buildings (which are under US FOP generally) but US FOP requires that these "[...] photographs of buildings [are taken] from public places". You need to pay an entry fee to get in the park. Is this really considered a public place then under US law? If yes we should add a sentence (incl. a reference) about such private public (my term) places to the section of the US.

In Commons_talk:Licensing/Archive_19#Disneyland apparently the conclusion was that photos in Disneyland are okay unless they show sculptures as a main object of the photo. Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 14:18, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

Yes, "public places" mean places the public is invited into; the fact that it's private property is irrelevant. The presence of an admission fee does not change the nature of the place for legal purposes. Backstage areas of Disneyland would probably not be included, unless perhaps it was on an official tour. Powers (talk) 18:07, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks - the reason I am asking is since it is not the same with e.g. German FOP. There is no explanation/source of this in the enwp article (if I see correctly). Do you know one somewhere? Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 19:29, 29 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure I read it somewhere, but I don't recall exactly. Powers (talk) 17:14, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
The related definition of public places when it comes to performances is "at a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered"; I believe we assume that is pretty much the definition for the FOP part as well. Also, there is no requirement that the photographs actually be taken from a public place -- that is in German FOP, but not part of the U.S. law either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:05, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Completed buildings weren't even covered under US copyright until 1990, due to the US coming into full Berne compliance. I think you'll find most of the Disney structures are completely public domain. -Nard (Hablemonos)(Let's talk) 16:07, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Statues images

Hi. I post again because I think I do somethong wrong the first time, I apologize. I use to upload pics of cars or places, but now I want to upload photos of public places like statues, squares or public buildings, but I don´t know the licence to do it. Also, can I do it as "own work"? I ask because of this. Everything is in Montevideo, Uruguay. Thanks. --Andrea (talk) 15:06, 18 May 2011 (UTC)

Hm, looks like we don't have a Uruguay section. Photos of entire city squares, streets, etc. should always be fine, but in some countries, photographs directly of statues and that kind of thing can be considered derivative works of the statue itself and thus subject to the permission of the author of the statue. I think Article 45(8) of the Uruguay law says the following is allowed: La reproducción fotográfica de cuadros, monumentos, o figuras alegóricas expuestas en los museos, parques o paseos públicos, siempre que las obras de que se trata se consideren sólidas de dominio privado. That seems to say that photographs of permanently-placed works of art in public places (including paintings) are completely owned by the photographer, and not subject to the author of those works. Could you translate that sentence to make sure I'm reading it right (I really can't speak Spanish)? If so, then yes, the photographs you took are fine, and you should use "own work" on them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:04, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
OK, the Law says: "Article 44 - Of Ilicit reproduction:

C) Sculptures, paintings, engravings and other artistic, scientific or technical:

The copy or reproduction of a portrait by any means, without the consent of the author.
The copy or reproduction of a statue or portrait photography, representing a person, when it has been custom made ​​and is not authorized to copy or reproduce it.
The copy or reproduction of flat fronts or architectural solutions, without the consent of the author."
"Article 45: Of free licit reproduction:
8) Photographic reproductions of paintings, monuments, or allegorical figures displayed in museums, parks or public places, provided that the works in question are considered proprietary solid"
So, I understand than I´m free to choose the licence and use "own work". I´m I right? --Andrea (talk) 22:59, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not completely sure what "provided that the works in question are considered proprietary solid" means -- doesn't make much sense to me as an English reader. If that is a Google translation of "permanently placed", that would make sense and is similar to laws in other countries. If it is referring to only allowing private or noncommercial use, then there may be a problem. But it seems fairly likely that such photos are OK, and yes, you need to license your photograph itself anyways, so use "own work" for that. If it turns out that such photos are subject they could be deleted in the future (unless, of course, the copyright on the statue itself is also expired or that kind of thing). Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:58, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure neither, because in spanish says exactly that, "propietario sólido", "proprietary solid" or maybe "solid proprietary" (I´m not sure wich one is right) and I don´t understand about legal terms. However, as you said, it is possible to upload the pictures (in good faith) and then deleted, if there´s any problem. So, that´s what I´m going to do. Thanks for the advice and the text of the law. Cheers. --Andrea (talk) 00:38, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Hi, again. I asked about this in Wikiproject:Law in es:WP. They told me than there´s a mistake in the text: it is not "sólido" (solid) but "salido" (out) see here. The user check the original law written in 1937 see here. An interpretation could be: "está permitida la reproducción de obras que se expongan en los susodichos sitios (museos, parques públicos, etc), salvo que éstas pertenezcan a un particular y los derechos de propiedad intelectual no hayan caducado." In other words, it is allowed to take pictures of buildings, squares, museums, etc. The exception come when this things belongs to a private owner ("particular") and still have the CR (75 years after death, etc.). So yes, there is FoP in Uruguay for public places. Cheers. --Andrea (talk) 21:20, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama in Spain

According to the guideline, freedom of panorama in Spain applies to "[w]orks permanently located in parks or on streets, squares or other public thoroughfares". Does this include indoor locales that are accessible to the public, such as churches and museums? — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:08, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

By a plain reading of the above, no, doesn't sound like it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:27, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, then photographs like this could be problematic. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:48, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Can some explain "no FOP?"

I noticed through English Wikipedia that File:Burj_al_Arab_2009.jpg is up for deletion because of "no FOP in UAE." Because I rarely visit Commons, I am confused as to what needs to be done to fix this and keep the file. Does it only need to be mentioned in the description that "photos of buildings in Japan are covered by FOP?" Or does it take something more or different? Would this issue be void if the image was moved to English Wikipedia (the only place the image is being used?) — CobraWiki ( jabber | stuff ) 01:17, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

The photo wasn't taken in Japan, it was taken in the United Arab Emirates. The photo is a derivative work of the architecture pictured. A work of architecture, like most creative works, is considered a copyrightable work; therefore, the photograph is a copyright violation, just as a photograph of a painting would be. (Freedom of panorama is a special exception to copyright law that allows photographs of architecture in public, but UAE law does not have this exception.) Powers (talk) 01:29, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
According to the template used at w:File:Burj Khalifa building.jpg, architectural images from countries with no FOP do not meet the Wikimedia Foundation's definition of free content, and hence can only be kept over there as non-free content with a fair use rationale. Non-free/fair use content is not allowed on Commons at all, hence the need for deletion. I do note however, after looking at a number of Dubai articles, that this is not being very well enforced. CT Cooper · talk 10:37, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
We don't know how the UAE will treat such photos, but copyright laws tend to be fairly similar across countries, and it appears that UAE does not have this explicit exception in their copyright law that many other countries have. It seems absurd, but there have been a couple of cases where photos of buildings were in fact deemed derivative works in (European) countries which did not have this clause in their law, so we usually follow that logic. As for moving it to en-wiki, yes that may work. en-wiki uses U.S. law, which does have the exception, and it is very possible (though not guaranteed -- it's never been tested in court) that they will not consider the photo a derivative work inside the United States. So yes moving to en-wiki is probably an option. I would tag it with their {{Do not move to Commons}} tag if you do, or unless we ever change policy on this stuff. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
w:Template:Non-free architectural work specifically states that such material is "not classified as free content under the definition used by the Wikimedia Foundation. In this case Wikipedia policy requires a fair use rationale for each use in exactly the same way as for an image which is copyright in the United States." So this template is either wrong, or any such images on Wikipedia must be treated as non-free. I'm not a copyright expert, but from what I have read, I believe the template has got it wrong, and hence needs to be corrected. The definition of free content used by the Wikimedia Foundation doesn't mention the need to be free in the "country of orgin" at all, and Wikipedia policy at w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights states "While Wikipedia prefers content which is free anywhere in the world, it accepts content which is free in the United States even if it may be under copyright in some other countries", which seems to me to clear the path for photos of architecture which are free in the US, but not the country of origin (e.g. the UAE). CT Cooper · talk 16:07, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Interesting. en-wiki can certainly make their own policies. In general, I believe they follow U.S. law only, but they can make exceptions, and it looks like they did in that case. That tag does explicitly note that the photos are "free" inside the United States. The "country of origin" rule is more for Commons, and is not a Wikimedia-wide rule (I believe the German Wikipedia, for example, allows all photos of buildings, regardless of where they are, using the exceptions under German law). The definition of "free" is dependent on which country use is being claimed in; since Commons crosses all of that we adopted the country of origin rule, but many local wikipedias follow rules of their most associated country. en-wiki could choose to accept such photos, under U.S. law, but they (as a matter of policy) could also choose to not host them I guess. They aren't forced into it either way; that is a community call there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:24, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
I can find nothing in English Wikipedia's policies to suggest that they made an exemption for architecture, nor can I see the logic in there being one, as the English Wikipedia is already happy to treat images in other areas as free which cannot be moved to Commons. w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights is clear on the point that "while Wikipedia prefers content which is free anywhere in the world, it accepts content which is free in the United States even if it may be under copyright in some other countries". I think what has happened is the author of w:Template:Non-free architectural work have simply confused the English Wikipedia's policies with Commons' policies. w:Template:Freedom of panorama is also wrong in the small print for the record. Both these templates have been around a long time, but neither are that widely used, and with the complexity of the issue clearly nobody has noticed the errors.
So, assuming that we have established that the English Wikipedia only needs images to be free in the US - are we actually sure that UAE building images are not copyrighted in the US? I have gone through w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights and it talks about how non-US works can have copyright protection in the US "restored" in some circumstances. Do the FOP provisions in the US apply to such "restored" works, or do they inherit the FOP (or lack of it) in the country of orgin? CT Cooper · talk 19:19, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
The building itself is copyrighted in the U.S. -- you can't build a copy or "substantially similar" building, and models of it could also be problematic. However U.S. law makes clear the copyright in the building does not have any derivative rights control over photographs or other 2D depictions of that building, and I don't consider it likely that U.S. courts would grant foreign buildings greater protection than U.S. buildings. They would be protected to the same extent U.S. buildings are; that is the typical path of U.S. copyright law. It's also consistent with the "freedom of panorama" case in Germany, which applied its own rules to a photo taken in another country (in that one, a legal photo in Austria was deemed illegal in Germany, due to where the photograph was taken from, a condition in Germany's law but not Austria). There is a U.S. court case (w:Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc.) which gives a tiny bit of similar guidance. "The court held that to determine whether a claimant actually held the copyright on a work, the laws of the country of origin had to be applied, but that to decide whether a copyright infringement had occurred and for possible remedies, the laws of the country where the infringement was claimed applied". So, the copyright ownership is determined by the foreign laws, but U.S. law would be used for the actions, and it would seem that the act of distributing such a photo would therefore not be infringement.
As for the tag, it was substantially edited partway down the line. The original versions said flat-out they were non-free, and were entirely incorrect. Then another user (9carney, in March 2010) edited to clarify the position in U.S. law, that they are in fact likely OK there, but did not change the "free"ness declaration, I guess assuming that was policy and trying to find a reason for it. As it stands, yes that tag is at odds with the w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights policy, and that could probably be brought up. Or, maybe just changed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:38, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the information. I will try and raise the issue on the English Wikipedia at some point in the near future. CT Cooper · talk 19:59, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Please. This remains as silly now as it was when it started. "Architecture" is considerably more than the external appearance of a building--architecture is the whole of the building, like how it was built, its structural supports, the materials used, etc. There is little to no precedent in law for pictures of the external appearance of a public building to be considered subject to copyright. If what a building looks like is a "creative work" then anything is a creative work. Can't take a picture of me unless I'm naked because my shirt is a "creative work". Can't take a picture of a bowl of soup because the garnish the chef put on it is a "creative work". How absurd. Wikimedia Commons would be better off if people put effort into building it up rather than working to tear it down. Vidor (talk) 05:58, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

There are indeed precedents in Europe, unfortunately, and no counterexamples. Shirts are different, as are your other examples. Architecture is explicitly protected by the Berne Convention and yes, in several countries that includes photographs of its external appearance, if the subject of photo is the building itself (photos of skylines, or of the street the building is on which happens to contain the building, those are OK). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:00, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
The claim that we are working to "tear [Commons] down" is highly objectionable. We are trying to protect the project, legally. Powers (talk) 17:36, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Well... hardly any use of this stuff in educational contexts would violate any laws. We are trying to protect the "free" aspect of the project, mostly, as it is only commercial use which could really be an issue. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:18, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
You are tearing down the commons. You tear down the commons with every photo you delete. You are all highly destructive and dangerous, and the commons would be much better off if you would find something better to do with your time. It remains absurd that commons users with nothing better to do can confuse "architecture" with a photo of a building's external appearance. Please, do the project and the world a favor and go away. Vidor (talk) 23:36, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
If you persist in personal attacks you will be blocked. If you have an objection to our standing FOP policy you should describe it here calmly and not refer to other editors as "highly destructive and dangerous". This is your final warning. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:09, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
How the hell is Vidor's statement considered a personal attack? I agree with him wholeheartedly, FOP and the deletionists' reign are tearing the commons apart. The countries where you claim FOP is not allowed, barely have a functioning copyright system, let alone an official policy regarding FOP. Contributors with no legal background on the countries they claim FOP is not allowed, are allowed to have a free reign with the deletion requests while the people trying to find actual evidence for FOP (which is scarcely found) in the countries are attacked by threats of being banned. You claim to be protecting the project. How can you say you are protecting the project when you delete valuable materials from it, with no legally concrete evidence that they are copyright violations? Protecting the project would be finding actual bases for FOP, or the lack thereof, (I dare you to do this. I dare you to spend countless hours examining the laws and policies of nations like Mongolia, or Iran. See if you come up with actual evidence for FOP, actual up-to-date, explicit evidence) or at the very least even adding disclaimers to photos using the French example --[chinneeb|talk] 14:03, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
While I don't agree with Dcoetzee that Vidor's statement is a personal attack, I don't think it is constructive, either, and it would have been better if he hadn't made it. And, as several of our colleagues have pointed out, shirts and soup are utilitarian, so are not themselves covered by copyright, though it is certainly possible for a shirt to have a copyrighted image on it and I wouldn't be surprised if a complex garnish would support a copyright claim.
As it happens, I have read the Monogolian copyright law (in translation, to be sure, not in the original) and it is very clear that while FOP does exist "for works displayed in streets, squares and other public places", it is also clear that commercial use requires advance consent and payment of a royalty. As it happens, it is more broadly worded than the similar law of France or the USA, saying "works of architecture and construction design" rather than just "works of architecture".
More broadly, I have consistently had trouble understanding why some of our colleagues, Vidor, for example, have no problem honoring the copyright on sculpture but somehow would like to ignore it with respect to architecture. It is true that architectural works have been added to most copyright rules rather recently, but they are clearly included now. So why is a photograph of a modern sculpture a derivative work, but a photograph of a building is OK?      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 14:22, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
We have a discussion regarding mongolian copyright law but it ended up without any valid links to the exisiting copyright released by the government, and no challenges have been made for the existing law..user's like vidor and chinneeb can bring some evidences to this board so that discussion can be extended further or else it will again go for some false language uses as noticed by Dcoetzee--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 16:39, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Vidor: this is not a photo hosting site, nor a library nor an encyclopedia. This is a social construct where people play games. Some upload, some delete. It's designed this way. You're taking it all too seriously. Deleting content "cuz it's fun" is not destructing commons, it's just fun. Either accept it, or join the party, - there's no third way. NVO (talk) 08:42, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Valid links? There is a link to the law on the very top row of the discussion. Please at least spell my name right. Also, challenges? I've been challenging that there is no Explicit statement regarding fop in mongolian law since the beginning. Want to go for a vote before any other evidence comes forth? --[chinneeb|talk] 07:56, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Please read your statement again in the old discussion page 'According to 24.2., the above is valid if the work if for non-commercial use.' - Commons cannot accept non-commercial use.....Captain......Tälk tö me.. 08:13, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Please read my statement: "intent to use commercially". Full text of the article concerning what doesn't count as copyright infringement:

24 дүгээр зүйл. Зохиогчийн эрхийн зөрчилд тооцохгүй байх онцгой нөхцөлүүд
24.1.Нийтлэгдсэн бүтээлийн зүй ёсны ашиглалттай зөрчилдөөгүй, эрх эзэмшигчийн хууль ёсны ашиг сонирхлыг хөндөлгүйгээр ашигласан дараахь тохиолдлыг зохиогчийн эрхийн зөрчилд тооцохгүй:
24.1.1.хэвлэлийн тойм бэлтгэх зорилгоор нийтлэгдсэн бүтээлээс ишлэл авах;
24.1.2. эрдэм шинжилгээ, судалгааны бүтээл, шүүмжид болон мэдээллийн зорилгоор ишлэл авч хэсэгчлэн ашиглах;
24.1.3. архив, музей, номын санд ашиглагдаж байгаа бүтээлээс хэсэгчлэн хуулбарлах;
24.1.4.эдийн засаг, улс төр, шашны холбогдолтой цаг үеийн асуудлаар сонин, сэтгүүлд хэвлэгдсэн нийтлэл, эфирт дамжуулсан бүтээлийг хуулбарлахыг тусгайлан хориглоогүй бол нийтэд мэдээлэх зорилгоор сонинд нийтлэх, эфирт дамжуулах, утсан болон утсан бус холбоогоор мэдээлэх;
24.1.5.хурал цуглаан дээр хэлсэн үг, илтгэлийг мэдээллийн зорилгоор нийтлэх;
24.1.6.болсон үйл явдлыг нийтэд мэдээлэхтэй холбогдуулан нийтийн эзэмшлийн гудамж, талбайд байршуулсан уран барилга, дүрслэх урлаг, гэрэл зургийн бүтээлүүдийг тухайн орчны байдлыг үзүүлэх зорилгоор нийтлэх;
24.1.7.хараа болон сонсголын согогтой хүмүүсийн хэрэгцээнд зориулан ашиглах;
24.1.8.амины хэрэгцээнд зориулан бүтээлийг хуулбарлах;
24.1.9.эрүүгийн байцаан шийтгэх, иргэн, захиргааны хэрэг хянан шийдвэрлэх ажиллагааны зорилгоор хуулбарлах.

24.2.Энэ хуулийн 24.1 -д заасныг тодорхойлохдоо дараахь нөхцөлийг харгалзан үзнэ:
24.2.1.ашиг олох зорилгогүй байх;
24.2.2.бүтээлээс ашиглах хэмжээ болон ашигласан хэсгийн ач холбогдолтой шинж чанар;
24.2.3.бүтээлийн үнэ цэнэ, ашигласан хэсгийн зах зээл дэх үр нөлөө.

24.3.Энэ хуулийн 24.1-д зааснаар бүтээлийг ашиглахдаа зохиогчийн нэр, эх сурвалжийг заавал дурьдана.

The following will be considered when determining 24.1 of the current law:
-no intent to use commercially
-amount of use of the work and significant nature of the part used
-the value of the work and effect of the part of the work on the market

--[chinneeb|talk] 12:50, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Looks like WIPO now has an English translation of the 2006 revision of the Mongolian law. That states:
Article 24. Exceptions and limitations
24.1. The following circumstances where the works were used without contradicting the normal exploitation of published works and without affecting the legal interests of the right holders shall not be deemed as copyright infringement:
24.1.6. To publish works of architecture, fine arts and photography located in public places in order to show the surrounding areas of events while reporting the events to the public;'
24.2. The following conditions shall be considered in determining the circumstances provided in Section 24.1 of this law:
24.2.1. To have a non-profit purpose;
24.2.2. The extent of use and the importance of the used parts;
24.2.3. The value of the work and the effect of the used part on the market.
24.3. The name of the author and source must be mentioned when a work is used under Section 24.1 of this law.
Are those reasonable translations? It seems less stringent than earlier versions (which explicitly forbade commercial use), but... it is still difficult to me. It is undoubtedly legal to use such photos in something like Wikipedia (as it was before). However... we do intend for works on Commons itself to be able to be used commercially, and not have it restricted to various purposes (the definition of "free", again). Even if the "intent" wording is true, you seem to be arguing that if a photo was not originally intended to be used commercially, that means that subsequent commercial use is OK -- not sure about that, sounds like an odd loophole. If you took a photograph of a building, or sculpture, and put it on a postcard to sell it, would that be OK by the above law? It doesn't sound like it to me, unfortunately. The 24.2 section sounds very much like the "fair use" section of U.S. law, applying common sense rules depending on each actual use. They are very similar to the conditions surrounding photos of copyrighted U.S. sculpture, which are OK in most real-life cases but generally not commercial use, and due to that we don't host those either. Commons is supposed to be a repository of "free" media, not media only OK for educational use. Wikipedia is supposed to be a "free encyclopedia", and these are situations where the "free" and the "encyclopedia" parts are in direct conflict. Commons in particular though really tries to stress the "free" part, as there is no implicit inclusion in an encyclopedia simply by being here; the Foundation has forbidden us from using "fair use" type arguments in most cases, as sensible as they can seem. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:45, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. Looks like a good translation to me. You are right in saying that the law seems pretty ambiguous. Anyhow the eligibility of FOP in Mongolia is not for us to decide isn't it? The deletionists seem to think that their opinions count more than those who wish to, and are actively working toward, keeping the photos where they are now. I've therefore sent an e-mail to the Intellectual Property Office to resolve the issue, I'll get back here when I hopefully get a response. --[chinneeb|talk] 14:39, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Such email will not make a change, untill its published for public...using the official websites of mongolia--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 15:21, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
It might, depending on the answer. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:37, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
Clindberg is right. I probably wont get an answer from the IPO ( , the english version unfortunately doesnt seem to work) until Monday, but to the Captainofhope: If you had read Article 26 of the law concerned above, you would know that The Intellectual Property Office shall be responsible for implementation of the public policy to protect copyright .... Why are you so averse to implementing a commons policy that would potentially enable a great deal of valuable photos and media files from Mongolia to be newly hosted (as well as save a great deal of photos from being deleted by your and your colleagues' valiant efforts) to the project? I had taken you as an enforcer of law here on the commons, now I am partial to the realization that you are simply a troll. --[chinneeb|talk] 19:15, 4 June 2011 (UTC)
This is just my opinion, but calling someone a "troll" doesn't seem to be very conducive to having a discussion.--Rockfang (talk) 02:10, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Throwing something to other's opinion will not end up, if you think i am 'troll' keep it within yourself and your argument that relates similar to such, who is willing to keep all the copyrighted images in commons...and that will never happen.--...Captain......Tälk tö me.. 11:24, 12 June 2011 (UTC)