Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 11

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Archive 11


Source country and U.S.

Commons:Licensing states that PD works must be "in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work." Patstuart has expressed doubt at Template talk:PD-1923 that this is policy, and stated that it is not present in translations of Commons:Licensing. He believes that the work does not need to be in PD in the U.S.; I believe that if the works were not PD in the U.S., there would be violations of United States law, as Wikimedia Commons is hosted in Florida. Can anyone confirm this policy? Superm401 - Talk 01:13, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Obviously, we will have to have a major overhaul of the Commons system if we put this into place: it has been a de facto practice that we accept, say, images from Argentina that were published 30 years ago, and clearly don't fit into the system outlined at the top of the page, stating that the photos must be PD in the US as well. Here, we have two issues:
1)The templates are confusing at worst, and redundant at best. We might as well delete several of them, as mentioned, including the Argentina, Iraq, and Tunisia templates, as there are no circumstances in which PD-US would not fit in with these PDs.
2)In fact, other License versions do not mention this text, interestingly (I checked both Spanish and Portuguese, and I think one other language). This makes me wonder if it was inserted by someone, by whom, and (frankly) on what authority, as this is a major policy issue which should be coordinated. And even if the addition was correct, why hasn't this been translated?
Separately, one other issue: if we decide to implement this, we need to make a major announcement and start deleting a lot of files. Apparently the US does not respect the law of least copyright (I can't remember the exact term for the law). Legally, I don't think we'd be in as much trouble though, anyway, seeing as we are only hosting the files saying "they are public domain in X country", and we could (legally speaking) claim fair use for their storage in the US. And as a note, Superm401, I haven't expressed doubt one way or the other about policy other than to say what practice has been up to this point. Patstuart (talk) 22:21, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
You are mistaken in suggesting we wouldn't be in "much trouble" because we are "only hosting". Hosting is distribution, and distribution infringes copyright. Wikimedia Commons, hosted in the U.S., must comply with the laws of the U.S. to the best of our ability. It's that simple. Fair use will not apply in most cases, and Commons has a policy of never relying on fair use. Superm401 - Talk 23:23, 2 March 2008 (UTC)
You said, you "wonder if it was inserted by someone"; the answer is yes. There's no need for innuendo or speculation as to who it was either. The history shows that David Newton inserted a section in March 31, 2006, addressing this and other issues. He stated, "[I]f the material is in the public domain in order for it to be allowable on Commons it must be in the public domain in all jurisdictions relevant." So it's hardly a recent overhaul.
You also say that the Spanish translation doesn't have this policy, so I decided to verify that. The Spanish translation states, "Para que una fotografía sea aceptada en Commons debe estar en el dominio público en Francia, el Reino Unido y los Estados Unidos, o debe haber una licencia aceptable para la misma que pueda aplicarse en los tres países."
I have taken some Spanish, so I know what this means. But let's rely on Google instead, which says it means, "For a photograph accepted in Commons must be in the public domain in France, the United Kingdom and the United States, or there must be an acceptable to the same license that can be applied in all three countries." This is the same point, and it has been present since a May 2006 bulk translate.
Thus, this is already solid Commons policy based on solid law, and there is no reason to change it. I agree that we certainly do need to enforce it better though. Superm401 - Talk 23:23, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

In the case of PD-AR, the thing is this way. There are both a local law and an international convention. The law says that photos are PD after 20 years, while the convention gives a minium of 25 years. So, a photo taken more than 20 years ago but less than 25 would be in the public domain in Argentina but not outside it (a law of Argentina has effect only in Argentina), and so shouldn't be available in Commons (and they are not). A photo of more than 25 years ago, on the other hand, is in the PD in argentina because of the local law, and also in all the other countries that recognize the Berne Convention, wich are those ones (including the US and all Europe) Thialfi 02:06, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

That's not accurate. Let's suppose a photo was published with a copyright notice, in 1980 (28 years ago), in Argentina. Now, let's look at Cornell's copyright chart. It was published abroad after 1 January 1978, so we go to that section of the page. Now, it was not in the public domain in Argentina in 1996 (because it was only 16 years old then). Thus, the chart says it is copyrighted "70 years after death of author." in the U.S. This is obviously just one example of many. Superm401 - Talk 07:51, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • One thing I am confused about is this: are there any cases where foreign country from where the graphics originated claims that it is PD (or other free license) and US claims it is not? The way it usually works is that one has to prove that the work is PD in the country of origin and PD in US is guaranteed by international agreements. For example does US copyright law has opinion about {{PolishPresidentCopyright}} images? A lot of national PD tags also state "This applies worldwide" on the end ( for example {{PD-Sweden-1969}}, {{PD-Polish}} or {{PD-USGov-DOL}}) which suggest that those images should be OK in US. --Jarekt 02:13, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    • If copyright owners place them in the public domain themselves, or license them on acceptable terms, that would be fine. That is essentially the case with many of the government ones, or Polish president. The problems come for images which have expired in their home countries, but a U.S. copyright still exists, meaning the copyright owners could still register the copyright and then litigate in the U.S. As part of the copyright restoration law, images which were PD in their country of origin in the middle of 1996 did not have their copyrights restored in the U.S., and so are fine as well. I think that applies to PD-Polish and PD-Sweden-1969. The (potential) problem images are ones which have expired in their country of origin since 1996, as those are sometimes still under copyright in the U.S. (although anything published before 1923 would also not be copyrighted due to regular U.S. law). Carl Lindberg 02:38, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Government works are a special case. Technically, a PD government work may not be PD worldwide, but in practice governments tend to treat them that way. I am mainly concerned with private works here. Superm401 - Talk 07:51, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
  • The "PD in the U.S." part is non-negotiable. According to Mike Godwin, all works hosted at WikiMedia projects must be legal to publish in the U.S.[1] Since we publish "PD" works without a license, it follows that a PD work must be PD also in the U.S. if we want to host it. Lupo 13:41, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    And it's not about deleting lots of works. Anthère wrote "no one goes into a deletion frenzy". In a first step, we should clearly mark works that are PD in their source country, but not in the U.S. Typically, this occurs if the URAA restorations kick in, i.e., if the work was still copyrighted in its source country on January 1, 1996 (or whatever the date is; see en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights for a list). It can also occur if the foreign work was published 1923 or later in the U.S., and the copyright was renewed. We have tags for this:
    • {{PD-1923}} if published before 1923 (even if published abroad...)
    • {{PD-URAA}} (see it applied e.g. here; see also Category:PD-URAA). A reason should always be given.
    • {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} if a work is not (or possibly not) PD in the U.S. See it in action here (definite case: created or first published 1923 or later, and author died 1926 or later, and the work was thus still copyrighted on January 1, 1996 in its source country) or here (possible case: we don't know the publication history, and it was created before 1923, but the author died 1926 or later, and so it was still copyrighted on January 1, 1996 in its source country). See also Category:Works copyrighted in the U.S. and Category:Works possibly copyrighted in the U.S.
    Lupo 13:58, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    Some previous discussion about this are here and here. Lupo 13:58, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    And I just noticed that someone fiddled around with {{PD-1923}} such that it applies only to works first published in the U.S. That was never the intention of that template! If published before 1923, it's PD in the U.S. (except maybe in the 9th circuit) regardless of where it was published. For U.S. pre-1923 works, use {{PD-US}}. Lupo 14:04, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    Why does, Template:PD-URAA say, "first published before 1978". Per Cornell, that isn't required. See Template_talk:PD-URAA#1978. Superm401 - Talk 19:44, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
  • It seems to me that ideally each image from country of origin other than US, would have one of the tags stating its legal status in US: {{PD-1923}}, {{PD-URAA}}, {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. This set of 3 tags is missing one, covering the case when image never enjoyed copyright protection in the country of origin and as a result there was nothing to restore under URAA rule. I believe all {{PD-Polish}} images fall into this category. For other images how does one check if "U.S. copyright formalities were not complied with" (See text of {{PD-URAA}} ) for any specific image? I guess one can prove that copyrights were renewed in US, but is there any way to prove that they were not? --Jarekt 22:22, 3 March 2008 (UTC)
    • First, the U.S. formalities: we cannot prove a negative. But we can check for the absence of any indication to the contrary. For the images in Category:Walter Mittelholzer for instance, I checked that there were no copyright renewals for "Mittelholzer" in the Stanford database of copyright renewals and no entries for him at the Catalog of copyright registrations and renewals since 1978 at the U.S. Copyright Office. In this case, since the images come from a book, that's a pretty good indicator that indeed the work wasn't published in the U.S. or if so, that U.S. formalities were not complied with. If I had had only the photos without knowing where they were published, I would've been stuck because the Stanford database covers only books. But in most cases (unless it's some famous photo), I think we may assume that relatively obscure non-U.S. photos indeed were not registered for copyright in the U.S. (or that the copyright was not renewed). Lupo 08:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Second, on works uncopyrightable in the country of origin: I'm not sure we need a tag for that case, and I'm not sure we can write a meaningful tag at all. If there's no explicit U.S. copyright on such an item, I think the only question is whether it was copyrighted in the source country on the URAA date. So you could just use {{PD-URAA}}. But note that such items may have an explicit U.S. copyright (though I think that's somewhat unlikely for {{PD-Polish}}-items): there was for instance the case of Japanese toys that were uncopyrightable in Japan, but that were copyrighted in the U.S. (See Hasbro Bradley, Inc. v. Sparkle Toys, Inc. (780 F.2d 189 (2d Cir 1985)).) Lupo 08:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
    • Also note that works that are PD in Poland as per {{PD-Polish}} are not necessarily PD in other countries: Poland was a UCC member since December 9, 1976; the treaty became effective with respect to Poland on March 9, 1977. Any work published in Poland on or after that date, even if without a copyright notice, would have been copyrighted in other UCC member countries that did not require a coypright notice. Which includes all those countries that were also member of the Berne Convention; i.e., most Western European countries. Furthermore, please note that Poland had joined the Berne Convention on January 18, 1920![2] Assuming that Poland suspended its membership (or quit altogether) in 1945 and then re-joined only in 1994, that would mean that Polish works with or without copyright notice from 1920 - 1945 were copyrighted in other members of the Berne Convention and remained copyrighted there even when Poland quit the Berne Convention again! (See article 35 of the Berne Convention.) Lupo 08:32, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

UCC = --Historiograf 17:07, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

First: Mike Gowins opinion is'nt law in the US nor for us. Second: We should not go for the lowest level (Mexico 100 pma, non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter term, etc) we should decide pragmatically to ignore the US protection of URAA-restored works until WMF will be sued by a foreign rights owner. Third: It makes sense to tag the pictures.

We should add another rule: Is the country of origin member of the European Union the 70 years pma directive applies. --Historiograf 17:16, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Agree with that last statement. Within the EU, 70 years applies. Lupo 22:15, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Mike Godwin's opinion isn't law, but U.S. law is, and Mike Godwin's opinion is a correct interpretation of that law. Mexico's PD-100 rule is not relevant for works published outside Mexico. The U.S. rule is. It is illegal and not pragmatic at all to "ignore" U.S. copyright law "until" we are sued. Thus, {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} (which I wasn't aware of before) makes no sense except as a redirect to {{delete}}. Superm401 - Talk 18:06, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Strictly speaking you're right about {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. But see again Anthère's comment: "no one goes into a deletion frenzy". Apparently, the WMF Board wants to think about what to do with such images first. Maybe we'll delete them all in the end, or maybe they can come up with a creative solution. Lupo 19:47, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm not going to go into a deletion frenzy. I just think it's misleading to have a tag for images that clearly violate U.S. law (and moreover, existing policy at Commons:Licensing). Eventually, we're bound to start enforcing it more strictly (whether the board makes us, or we just come to our senses and decide waiting until "WMF will be sued by a foreign rights owner" is not a sound strategy), and that will mean Not-PD-US-URAA will become {{delete}} and the same people objecting now will be outraged then. I would rather be upfront about the need to comply with U.S. law. Superm401 - Talk 20:18, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
I didn't want to say you were (going on a deletion frenzy, that is). But if I had tagged these images as {{delete}}, or made {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} a redirect there, I think my actions might have qualified as such. I just wanted to explain why its not a redirect (yet). For new uploads (say, uploaded after March 1, 2008) I think we should indeed use simply {{copyvio}}. But for cleaning up old uploads, the "tag first" approach is maybe ok. Lupo 22:15, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
Before deleting those tagged {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}, we should coordinate with other Wiki sites to ensure that affected files can be locally uploaded with American fair use claimed. This type of file transferring is like moving those unacceptable here to certain local Wikis to claim American fair use there. Any comments or suggestions?--Jusjih 00:51, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
This has basically come down to arguments based on U.S. law, and arguments that WMF hasn't told us to follow U.S. law yet. That tells me that what we need to do is convince WMF to act on this now. Does anyone know how to make a proposal for the board? Superm401 - Talk 06:57, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Deletion discussion open

All see Commons:Deletion requests/All images not PD in the US‎. Patstuart (talk) 20:00, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

No consensus for Lupo's proposal

I do not see any consensus for "For new uploads (say, uploaded after March 1, 2008) I think we should indeed use simply {{copyvio}}." This is a very serious decision (e.g. for Wikisource projects which have to change their upload policy) which should be made via a poll --Historiograf 22:10, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Just to absolutely clear: that should read "for new uploads (say, uploaded after March 1, 2008) that are not PD in the U.S...." And it's not "fanatism", it's just floating an idea. How else do you propose to eventually keep up with the tagging? Lupo 17:03, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
There is already consensus that images have to PD in the U.S. as well as source coutnry. Before this conversation started, the page said, "that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work." You are trying to change that consensus without justification. Superm401 - Talk 06:44, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

licenses and copyright tags

I am a photographer and I have many photos I would like to upload. I am new to wikimedia and I am having trouble understanding the license and copyright tags. I don't mind if people use my photos. I guess I was just wondering if it were possible to keep my name with it. Are there any suggestions as to which license to select?

I would suggest using the Creative Commons Attribution/Sharealike license (Template:Cc-by-sa-3.0}, which you can add to your images using {{Cc-by-sa-3.0}}. This means that other people should credit you when they reuse your images and that they should include a similar free license with it. You can read more about the license (available in many languages) here. Anrie 21:54, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
To clarify, this means people do have to keep your name with it, so I agree that this license would work for you. Superm401 - Talk 07:41, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

License tags, for cars

I would like to know what is the Commons' stand on license plates (tags)? Not reproductions, but rather pictures of them? For those not familiar with the North American type, they look like these here. Is it the cropping of the picture that makes a difference (e.g. the entire back of a car vs. just the license plate? A car on a highway with a license plate?). Does that count for European and other plates, too? Of course they can be uploaded to the Wikipedia of our choice under en:WP:FU should they not be allowed here, but I'd like clarity. Thank you. MPD01605 20:32, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I think most U.S. plates would be copyrighted, because state government works are copyrighted here. If the focus is clearly not on the plate, it would probably be okay. I don't know what the rules are in Europe for this. Superm401 - Talk 07:42, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

German license question

Can someone tell me what the license for this is: [3]. Thanks. RlevseTalk 12:37, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

It's copyrighted in Germany until 70 years after the death of the artist, who signed in the lower right corner. It was published in 1933. Since it was copyrighted in Germany on January 1, 1996, it's also copyrighted in the U.S. until the end of 1933 + 95 = 2028. Hence the license would be {{fair use}}, which is not allowed on the Commons. Lupo 20:01, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. RlevseTalk 20:04, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Old images in new books

I guess this has been up before, but since I couldn't find the info after searching around, I bring it up here: I would like to upload some historical science images, author long dead and thus the original is in the public domain. However, I don't have access to the originals but only to more recent books (last 10-20 years) from which I made copies. It appears that such copies are also in the public domain in Germany (my country of residence) if the original was "published" (and not hidden or lost). But I don't know for the US (where the servers are) or for worldwide usage. Are such images welcome on commons? Thanks for an answer or a link to a respecitve previous thread --Dietzel65 20:36, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

In the U.S., a faithful reproduction in a printed book would probably not be copyrightable because of Bridgeman vs. Corel. I don't know if Germany would allow copyright for such a reproduction though. If so, the book publisher would hold a copyright, which may also apply in the U.S. Superm401 - Talk 20:50, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
One of the books is actually from the US, another is German. Here is the link to en:Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., have to read it yet, though --Dietzel65 21:33, 4 March 2008 (UTC)
According to Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag#Country-specific rules, it applies in Germany and the US. --rimshottalk 09:34, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the link, I guess that settles it. I'll go ahead then and upload the stuff. --Dietzel65 16:52, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Wait, it matters where the book was scanned, besides the obvious requirement that the book be PD. Was the book scanned in the U.S. or Germany? Superm401 - Talk 07:11, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

drawing portrait from a photograph

Can I freely upload a drawing that I would have drawn from a picture found on the web ?

Pierre --Plindenbaum 17:36, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

That's a little bit difficult to say without being able to compare them. Please read Commons:Derivative works and then judge yourself if your image is derivative. If you have doubts then please don't upload it, otherwise it's worth a try. -- Cecil 17:41, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the link--Plindenbaum 18:11, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Photos from family archives

First off, if this question has been answered somewhere else already, please feel free to point me in the right direction.

I am busy transferring images from the Afrikaans Wikipedia to the Commons. Now and then images like af:Beeld:Hercules jonk.jpg and af:Beeld:Hercules middel.jpg will crop up: an old image from the family archive, given to the uploader by the subject's widow, who has no idea who the author is (well, not the first once, certainly). The uploader has become inactive (largely because I kept nagging at him about crediting his image sources), I have no way of contacting the person who made it available and they do not fall into the public domain, as the are not yet older than 50 years (South African copyright law). Can they be transferred to the Commons, or should they be deleted from our servers? Anrie 15:45, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

They need to be deleted, unfortunately. Physical ownership of a photograph, or the fact that a photo has come from a family archive, does not alter the copyright protection on it. Copyright will still (usually) be owned by the photographer or his/her heirs, even if we don't know who the photographer might have been. So unless the image is old enough to be obviously PD by age we should not host it here. In some countries there are allowances for the use of images where the copyright holder is anonymous (or cannot be found after reasonable search), but even if there are such provisions in South African law - which I suspect there will be - it's unlikely to be sufficient that the uploader happens no longer to respond to queries. So, it's bad news I'm afraid. --MichaelMaggs 16:28, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks MichaelMaggs. I suspected as much, but it helps to have a second opinion. Anrie 10:07, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Template:GWPDA and No license

See Template talk:GWPDA and Commons:Bots/Requests#Images with Template:GWPDA

This is very bad idea to disturb commons-users, instead looking for bot-master, who can write the bot, which can autoretag many of respective images. Alex Spade 00:05, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. Tagging obviously government photos from as early as 1812 is insane, especially since the Crown copyright on all of the ones that old is expired. -Nard 00:08, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Just Checking

I have here in the UK, a book Deep- Water Sail, Harold A Underhill, pub Brown,Son & Ferguson Ltd, Glasgow. Printed 1952, reprinted 1955. Glasgow. Preface dated 1949. Now I was sure I knew the answer, but I am now not certain. When can one reproduce

  • The text
  • The pen and was illustrations (works of art)
  • The attributed photographs
  • The dated photographs Barque in Faversham 1932
  • The agency attributed photographs Nautical Photo Agency
  • Plates. Technical drawings of ships lines.
  • Acknowledged Plates. Technical drawings of ships lines.(Compiled from original yard details by permission of Messrs Barclay, Curle & Co Ltd.) For example.

And while we are about it, there is a companion volume :

  • Sailing Ship Rigs and Rigging, Harold A Underhill, pub Brown,Son & Ferguson Ltd, Glasgow. Printed 1938, reprinted 1955. Glasgow. Preface dated 1937.

This is a thinner text with no photographs, just line drawings and technical drawings.

ClemRutter 18:00, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

You can use the UK copyright chart to find out. Each element (book text, preface text, each photograph, each drawing, etc.) has an independent copyright. The book's text is not OK, but some of the older photographs may be usable under {{PD-Old}} or {{PD-UK-unknown}}. Carl Lindberg 18:56, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

How would you all think if I transwikied this[4] as PD? Y'all think it's actually pd-ineligible? -Nard 03:10, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I suggest - this's PD-ineligible. Also, it can be PD-font, but I don't know what was the font for this logo initially. It can be, that there is not such SW-font. It can be, that Lucasfilm or its subsidaries had developed only letters A,R,S,T,W - and full font is "unauthorized" fans' works. Alex Spade 08:11, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
In the U.S., typefaces are not copyrightable (even custom ones), so I would think that it is indeed PD-ineligible. I think PD-textlogo is worded the way it is because outside of the U.S. typefaces are usually copyrightable. (Note that computer font files are copyrightable as computer programs in the U.S., though.) Carl Lindberg 15:08, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

Template talk:PD-Ukraine

Would somebody like to explain the interaction of US-law and other-countries law for Wikimedia-commons using of this license tag? Alex Spade 17:40, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Are you referring to the "fine print" in the template? If so, it basically says that only pictures that were PD in the Ukraine in 1996 are PD in the US. (Commons pictures need to be PD in both the source country and the US, since the servers are housed in the US.) This is because the US passed a law that allows authors/copyright holders of works entering the public domain after to still register their copyright in the US. That's how I understand it. Anrie 19:05, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Anyone else get confused by US Copyright?

I struggling to discover the copyright status of a picture, and Commons:Licensing#United_States isn't helping much. It's a 1926 picture and the copyright holder is "Acme newspictures" - how now? Anrie 19:07, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the combination of different situations can be confusing. I thought there was a link to Hirtle's chart somewhere on that page, but I can't see it. At any rate, that can help quite a bit. For a published 1926 picture, assumedly copyright was registered then. Acme was sold to United Press (now UPI) in 1952[5]; they would have had to re-register the copyright in 1954. If they did, it is under copyright until 2021. If they did not, it became public domain in 1955. Unfortunately the copyright renewal records from that era (at least for photograph-type material) are hard to search, as far as I know. Carl Lindberg 04:12, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the advice. Having a hard time tracking anything useful down - darn these Nation Geographic collections. They're filled with the most amazing pictures, but I'm having a hard time tracking down the copyright status of each one. *Sigh* - think I'll throw in the towel on this one. Anrie 13:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


Image:Vidarte en Sevilla 1993 Susanne Lieber.gif says Susanne Lieber uploaded the image and released it GDFL. How does one check on whether that was her image to upload? -- SatyrTN 14:29, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

  • Ask? Thats why people have talk pages. -Nard 21:49, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


Dr. Silvia Broggi (Press and Information Office of Quirinale) first said that it was possible to download photos from (the website of the President of the Italian Republic). Then she was made some questions:

  • was it possible to republish photos?
  • which license must be used?
  • was it sufficient to indicate source and copyright?

She answered that it was sufficient to indicate: source Presidenza della Repubblica [Italian Presidence of the Republic], no copyright (OTRS #2006111410007364)
So I propose to create a license template for images from Alternatively Template:Attribution and Template:OTRS could be used... What do you think? --Jaqen 23:59, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that without seeing the full text of the OTRS email it is imposible to comment. I find the no copyright claim questionable without a citation of the relivant area of italian law.Geni 16:44, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
The full text of the email is available here but it is in Italian.. --Jaqen 18:22, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Standard Letter of Request

Prompted by the Quirinale thread:

IMHO, many organisations, photographers, official bodies would be quite happy to release their photographs, and publicity material onto Commons. Amateur web designers attach a restrictive copyright statement because 'everyone does' and it makes the site look more prestigious, but would be quite prepared to attach a CC-BY statement if requested.

Is there a link to a standard letter/email that could be sent to request permission. It should briefly:

  • explain why the request is being made
  • briefly give a description of the license in plain language.
  • provide a statement of agreement that the site owner/photographer should sign
  • provide a selection of image icons that they can attach to photos in future

For me it would be most useful in UK-English, German, French. I am not a legal expert or I would have done one long ago. Any links? Any thoughts? ClemRutter 10:06, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Commons:Email templates is the standard release template. If you wish to adapt it slightly (to encourage them to put a CC-BY notice on a webpage for instance) it should not be hard to do.--Nilfanion 11:26, 22 March 2008 (UTC)
That is a good starting point- it looks if a lot of work has been done on en:Wiki which may or may not be applicable- I have a serious look later on. Any more comments? ClemRutter 17:46, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Radar image

I have a snapshot of the radar reflectivity (With a few overlays) as the supercell that produced the Atlanta tornado Friday night. This was taken with a commercial program, Storm Lab, that uses NWS data. I wasn't sure if I could upload, and if so, what license it would use. Thanks, Southern Illinois SKYWARN 15:11, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Good question. It's a bit hard to give a definitive answer without knowing more about what the image looks like.
Commons does not allow software screenshots to be uploaded except for screenshots of software under a free license, but so long as the image only includes the output of the software, this particular issue might not be a problem. (An image does not become non-free just because it is rendered using a non-free 3D renderer like Povray or because it was edited with a proprietary image editor, such as Photoshop.)
I would assume that NWS data is in the public domain as a collection of facts and statistics ineligible for copyright protection or as a US Government work.
The main question is if there is any component of the image that would constitute an original creative work of the mind. A map overlay may fit this because the abstractions and color-coding required to produce a useful map require creative decision-making. If anything like that is present, it would have to be a NASA satellite image or other freely licensed or public domain map.
If you think that the image contains original authorship, but that it was created by a US Government employee, you may use {{PD-USGov}}. If you think that the image contains original authorship created only by you, you may use {{PD-self}}. If you think that the image does not contain original authorship, you may use {{PD-ineligible}}. It would be a good idea to explain the reasoning on the image description page. LX (talk, contribs) 17:53, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
Alot of questions to answer here. First, it is not a free license program. I slighly edited the image to take out low reflectivity values. All NWS work is in the public domain, I have previously uploaded several NWS images. The map overlays were tornado vortex signature markers produced by NWS algorithims, not by the program. If it is in anyway helpful, you can visit the progam's website. By the way, the program is called Storm Lab. Thanks, Southern Illinois SKYWARN 00:44, 17 March 2008 (UTC)
I would say to go ahead and upload it; it sounds like it is probably OK but we could get better opinions if we could actually see it. If the overlays (or background) contain a copyrighted map, that would be an issue, or if the overlay contains graphical icons (more artistic than basic symbols) which come from the program (and not the NWS) that might also be an issue. Otherwise though it sounds like it is either PD-USGov-NOAA or PD-ineligible. From the looks of the screenshots, they seem to be largely the same as versions from the NWS itself. Don't include the application menu or icons or items of that nature though. Carl Lindberg 15:13, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

For what its worth, you can do this with similar NOAA software.--Nilfanion 16:19, 17 March 2008 (UTC)

I'm afraid I tried, and I could not find any images from any radar sites. Southern Illinois SKYWARN 12:14, 21 March 2008 (UTC)
That software works off archived data (so can be used to create an image for something 10 years ago), as opposed to live data. Assuming you know when and where the tornado you care about was, you should be able to get hold of the relevant data through here. (There is something like a 48hr lag before it becomes available on that site though).--Nilfanion 12:34, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you to all who helped with this, but I do not think any more images are needed for the Atlanta tornado page. Southern Illinois SKYWARN 00:23, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

It still may be a good idea to create an alternative -- the NWS map image currently on the page may be using a copyrighted aerial photo as a base. Carl Lindberg 05:01, 24 March 2008 (UTC)


What's the policy for photos of cosplayers portraying copyrighted characters? Aren't those derivative? (Originally asked on the Help Desk and referred here). --BrokenSphere 15:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

That certainly could be the case. Things to factor in include the originality of the character and the similarity achieved. If you have an already uploaded image in mind, it should probably be put up for regular deletion discussion rather than speedy deletion. LX (talk, contribs) 21:47, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
It would probably be most of the images in Category:Cosplay. I recognize several anime ones and there are a few Star Wars ones in there as well. There's also a pic of Shinichi Watanabe dressed similarly to a character in the anime Excel Saga, which appeared on the main en page when the Excel Saga article was FA of the day last year. BrokenSphere 22:11, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Livestock brands of historic people

I was wondering if it would be ok or not to upload an image, created using the program "Paint", of Ricardo Güiraldes' livestock brand. Others have uploaded images of livestock brands, as seen at Category:Livestock branding, and have licensed them in the public domain and other free licenses; but I'm not sure if the same would apply in this case. Any help/answer(s) would be greatly apreciated, TomasBat 20:30, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

If they are typographical, it's no problem at all. Anything, that consists of letters only is fine. --h-stt !? 07:15, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Specialized CC License for IndiaFM


Based on work done by the m:OTRS group, and Riana in particular, India-FM has agreed to license some of their work under CC-3.0. Riana has set up a mockup of the template on enwiki here: w:User:Riana/IndiaFM. I'd like to bring this into commons, but before I do, I wanted to guage the response of the commons users with more experience than I have, as well as to ask for some pointers on making the template best fit in with the existing CC-3.0 templates. Thank you. -- Avi 17:04, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Since there have been no vocal objections, I have created Template:Cc-by-3.0-IndiaFM - if there are any problems, please let me know. ~ Riana 06:49, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Options when another site uses photos

I am under the assumption that the license I put my photos under, "cc-by-sa-3.0", allows use of the photo as long as I am attributed. Is this wrong? Does my username or Wikipedia/media get attribution? I'm sure this has come up before, but today I found a site using one of my photos, one that was up for Featured Picture a while back, as their logo on every page of their site. The site is in Turkey, but does that matter? I could contact them, but what do I say? Do I have any say? Options?--Patrickneil 17:51, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

Under that licence, any website can use your photos provided that for every instance where they are used, they
  • attribute the work in the manner you have specified (unless you have given specific instructions, the interpretation of this may vary, but should reasonably be similar to what you have written in the author field of the {{information}} template; if this is a pseudonym, one would reasonably expect the licensee to put this into the context of Wikimedia Commons, but Commons is not the author of the work, and since the author must be credited, attributing the work to Commons, Wikimedia or Wikipedia is not sufficient)
  • make it clear to others that the work is freely licensed under the terms of CC-by-sa
  • release any modifications they have made to your photos (and thus the resulting work) under the same licensing terms and make this clear.
Turkey is a Berne Convention signatory, so your works are copyrighted there too, meaning nothing but the licence gives anyone the right to use your works in the manner you describe, and that licence is conditional upon complying with the stated requirements. If anyone uses your works without adhering to those requirements, they are infringing on your copyright, which strictly speaking may legally entitle you to receive compensation.
A more constructive approach, however, is to first contact them and ask them nicely to comply with the licensing requirements or stop using the photos. Failing that, you may send a more sternly phrased cease-and-desist notice with reference to section 7(a) of the licence, or take legal action. LX (talk, contribs) 19:49, 27 March 2008 (UTC)


Recently, US scientists have made audible sound recordings from 1860 that were originally recorded as waveforms on paper (see en:Phonautogram). These are now believed to be the earliest existing sound recordings. The full New York Times story, at [6], features an example recording.

Is it copyrighted? Any copyright on the 1860 recording per se has long expired, of course, but the audiofile generated in 2008 might be copyrighted as a derivative work. I'm inclined to think it's not, because the conversion from paper to audio appears to be completely mechanical: because the scientists sought to reproduce the sound on paper exactly, there was no element of originality involved. What do you think - can we host this brief recording on Commons? Sandstein 19:58, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

I agree with your analysis. US courts tend to be pretty clear about rejecting sweat of the brow arguments since Feist v. Rural. It's creativity that counts. LX (talk, contribs) 20:16, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Uploaded, for now, as Image:Au Clair de la Lune (1860).ogg. Sandstein 21:37, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

About Bridgeman vs. Corel

I was reading the above tread and it brought a point I've been wondering about for a while. Under the ruling of Bridgeman vs. Corel would it means that a scan of any old document falling under PD that could be find on any website (such as eBay) could be treated as PD with no regards necessary of who performed the scan and the online posting since it would be an image of the document content (a 2D object) and not a picture of the document itself (a 3D object)? If it is the case is there any specific template covering this principle? Luccas 12:31, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

I might be in the wrong, but I don't believe so. Basically you just need to still add the original source (the manuscript the document came from), i.e. "First edition of King Lear (1608)", regardless of whether or not you made the scan. If you did find it on the net or a later publication, it's always a good idea to list the url/title anyway, though, for a whole number of reasons. Anrie 14:28, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

To clarify better what I was meaning here. Taking for example this ([7]) eBay item of a 1900 issued Dominion of Canada 25 cents bank note. It's PD in Canada because Crown copyright expires after 50 years and it's PD in the US because it was published before 1923. From the Bridgeman vs. Corel ruling even if eBay user: heggemeier2006 was the author of the scanned picture he doesn't own any copyright on it in the US, and eBay being a US site the scan is published in the US. So since both images on that eBay page fall under PD I could move them here. In this case what should be put for source, the eBay item page as source and user name as scan author? And since eBay deletes pages of sold item after 1-3 months all I could put is a item number as source. I just want to know how someone more knowledgable than me on this matter whould handle this. Luccas 03:38, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I would do it in the following way:
Source: 2-dimensional scan of item sold on e-bay. Original url is [8] (page will be deleted 1-3 months after item is sold (after 10-03-08)).
Author: Canada mint/Reserve Bank of Canada (whatever the case may be, not sure). This particular scan was made by heggemeier2006.
Permission: Public domain in source country: Canadian Crown copyright expires after 50 years. Public domain in US: Originally published before 1923. Also see below.
And then you stick a Pd-art or/and PD-old template underneath that. (The Pd-art one will mention Bridgeman vs. Corel.) Like I said, that's the way I would do it, even though I'm rather sure that's actually more than enough. Anrie 04:45, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, as long as the ebay-watermark (lower right corner) is present, I'm not sure I'd like to see it on Commons.
Fred J (talk) 09:25, 6 March 2008 (UTC)
It may depend where the scan was done. Only if it is done in the U.S. does Bridgeman v. Corel itself apply. Superm401 - Talk 05:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

The position of the Wikimedia Foundation is quite clear: "[W]e've consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes" (Erik Moeller at foundation-l). --Historiograf 17:24, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

  • That statement, if it was ever intended to represent formal worldwide policy, which I very much doubt, has been overruled by the WMF's counsel, Mike Godwin [9]. The "PD in the U.S." part is non-negotiable. According to Godwin, all works hosted at WikiMedia projects must be legal to publish in the U.S. Since we publish "PD" works without a license, it follows that a PD work must be PD also in the U.S. if we want to host it. Lupo has pointed this out to you above. --MichaelMaggs 19:31, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
    • "Legal" in the U.S. is different than "PD" in the U.S.; even though commons does not accept fair use as policy, it could be used to satisfy Godwin's requirement, leaving us right back at being a question of Commons policy. At any rate, Moeller's statement (which I think followed something similar by Jimmy Wales a few years ago) is explicitly talking about bridgeman vs. corel material, which (if it is reproducing a PD work) is PD in the U.S. (and therefore legal) anyways. I think those statements were more for situations where people have dubious copyright claims on that type of material, which is unfortunately pretty common. If an image qualifies for PD-art, that would satisfy the "PD in the U.S" part of Commons policy, so it is then a question of whether PD-art is also applicable in the country of origin. Carl Lindberg 03:03, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
No, fair use can not be used to justify hosting something on Commons. Fair use is always unacceptable justification for inclusion on Commons; there are no exceptions. Superm401 - Talk 07:13, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Right; I was just saying that the fair use rule is due to Commons policy, not Godwin's statement. Carl Lindberg 15:28, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. The position here is now quite clear after Mike Goodwin's comments: all images must be free for use both in the US and in their country of origin. --MichaelMaggs 16:30, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
You're right that the rule against fair use on Commons predates Godwin. However, it is an absolute policy nonetheless. Superm401 - Talk 03:17, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Nonsense. Moellers statement and Godwin's statement are on different topics. Godwin has nothing said on Bridgeman v. Corel and Godwin's statemtn was prior than Moeller's. --Historiograf 23:22, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Mike and Erik's statements are on different topics. Mike's statement was that works we host must be legal to publish in the U.S. under U.S. law; Erik's statement was that plain reproductions should be free. BTW, about "running to the WMF": backfired, eh? :-) Read the answers you got. Evidently the Commons' policy "PD in the U.S. and in the source country" is supported. Lupo 10:30, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Actually, this whole discussion resumes to a very short question: Which law do we apply on Wikimedia projects? No problem to apply US law because WMF is based in USA, but the "source country" has no definitive meaning, so we get into absurb situations:

  1. What is the "source country" for an image scanned in France from a book bought in India by a British publisher (real case scenario)? Ultimately, we publish things in USA when we upload images and texts on Wikimedia servers.

Then we have the opposite situation:

  1. What about a French book published in France in 1935 from an author who died in 1936? If we consider that US law doesn't apply the rule of shorter term, this book is not in the public domain in USA, although it is in the public domain in France, and was never published in USA.

Why not to apply just common sense? Yann 11:08, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

The discussion on foundation-l has shown that I was NOT backfired. Godwin has made clear that he has NOT overruled Moeller. If Moeller says "should be considered" as PD this means that we have to do so because it is the position of the WMF. --Historiograf 17:09, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

Netherlands governmental work

On the front page is stated under The Netherlands: This implies that all programmes of the Netherlands Public Broadcasting service (they are public authorities just like the Silicose Oud-mijnwerkers foundation, ABRS 30 November 1995, JB 1995/337) are not copyright protected. That is a very broad interpretation of openbare macht. Are there any references on this subject? -- Bryan (talk to me) 22:55, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Cartoon question

Posted here. Sorry if this cross-post is unnecessary, I'm not too familiar with the right place to bring such questions up. Delete this if needed.

Timestamping (to archive), this is old.--Nilfanion 16:05, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Template:2MASS and Category:2MASS images

There's a big number of images in this category. Most of them are tagged with {{PD}}. There exists a template, {{2MASS}}, that looks like it could replace the generic PD notice. Now I wonder how this template can be changed, so that it looks like a proper license tag. In particular, given the wording, should it be a derivative of {{PD-author}} or {{attribution}}? --rimshottalk 17:25, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

I've added {{PD-author}}, but I'll hold off on adding it to the 2MASS images until some other opinion has turned up here. --rimshottalk 16:20, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
Another thing, {{PD-USGov-NASA}} (like here) doesn't apply, does it? These images aren't by NASA alone, but from a project that is funded by NASA and others. --rimshottalk 16:29, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
It seems like a form of {{PD-author}}, yes. It's not {{attribution}} though. There is probably no harm in having its own licensing template, if we have a large number of images. The request for attribution, as well as the link to the source page, could be put inside a box to make it more obvious that it is part of the template (either another paragraph in the same box, or a second box, as is sometimes done). While it is not technically PD-USGov-NASA, it was most probably part of the contract for funding that the results would be placed in the public domain. It looks as though 2MASS was a simple source template until recently, when it was converted into more of a licensing template -- its category should change to "Licensing Tags" if it stays this way. Carl Lindberg 14:17, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I converted it to that. Currently all but a few 2MASS images have {{PD}} as only license. Those that used {{2MASS}} used it as only license-tag, that is why I thought it appropriate to change it into one. Before applying it to all those other images, I'd obviously like to get it as suitable for that purpose as possible. --rimshottalk 15:42, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Sure. I mainly meant it is currently a member of Category: Marker templates when it (now) should be part of Category:License tags. I made {{PD-Highsmith}} a while back as a combination of the actual PD-author and a separate info box, but I'm not sure I like it too much. Given that the public domain part was probably a condition of the funding contract, it may be a good idea to make a completely separate template instead of just transcluding PD-author. Making it a license tag is definitely a good idea though, replacing the old bare PD tag. I would go ahead and make those changes, as the 2MASS template itself can be improved down the road, and it seems good enough to use as-is. Carl Lindberg 15:57, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I've worked on it a bit further, I think it's okay to use now. --rimshottalk 10:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Done so far, lots of PD, PD-because, attribution, PD-author and PD-Nasa tags replaced. --rimshottalk 11:49, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Olympics copyrights?

Several of the pics in Category:2008 Summer Olympics are explicitly of advertising, toys, and the logo (they are the focus of the image). Aren't those copyrighted and should be deleted? I don't think there's an issue with the countdown clocks. BrokenSphere 15:59, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The logo is not copyrighted (expired earlier this year I think, if it was copyrightable in the first place), though it does fall under specific legal protection in most countries which goes beyond even normal trademark. We have the {{Copyrighted IOC}} tag for those. China also has freedom of panorama, which may cover some of the others. I didn't look too closely, but many seem OK. Carl Lindberg 05:30, 3 April 2008 (UTC)


Could someone give some input here? I'm a bit confused... Patrícia msg 14:43, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Ineligible for copyright?

Is this PD? Rocket000 23:19, 31 March 2008 (UTC) Carbaryl-xtal-2D-skeletal.png

Maybe it would depend on exactly how it was generated. To me the Naphthalene rings look to be drawn in a non standard fashion however there are computer programs that will generate such images dirrectly from the data (generaly after a bit of playing around in the more complex cases. So if dawn perhaps not if computer generated probably.Geni 23:43, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
Are you're saying that the work put into it determines copyright status, not the expression itself? Rocket000 00:04, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
If it was made in the UK, sure (sweat-of-the-brow concerns). In the more general case still true, maybe not with a skeletal diagram, but much more likely with a Ball-and-stick model. If its computer generated, its much more likely to be uncopyrightable. With the case of this image its PD-self anyway, so just go with that instead of saying its PD-ineligible. The former is a stronger statement (the concerns Geni raised are irrelevant if the author release to the PD) and license categories are not content categories.--Nilfanion 10:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
They are are not content categories, but we maintain them for a reason. Please don't bring other issues into this. The copyright status is all I'm looking for. Rocket000 10:48, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Possibly copyrightable in some jurisdictions. Therefore, use content categories for the content and the most sensible PD tag (If its PD-self use that).--Nilfanion 10:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I believe this discussion over the legal and moral use of PD-self for ineligible works is taking place elsewhere. Rocket000 01:39, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Obviously not PD-ineligible for me! You chose to draw that structure in a the non-standard way that you did, that is creativity (in copyright terms, at least). Physchim62 12:39, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Um, you can't decide that. Copyright is a right that must be given to you by our law-making bodies. Choosing to do something a certain way doesn't necessarily give you those rights. The way you style you hair, the way you trim your bushes, the way you organize your closet, your clothing style... these things aren't copyrighted but you can say they take creativity. Personally, I wouldn't, but it seems you have pretty low standards for what passes as creativity. That's fine, so do our governments, but I doubt they would grant someone exclusive rights to something like this. If they do, then I'm sure this is a derivative anyway. There's millions of chemical structures drawn this way. It's text and a few lines. It's common property. Rocket000 01:35, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not saying the amount of work but the type of work.Geni 21:22, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, ok. Rocket000 01:35, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Can I echo Geni's point: I'm not granting anyone copyright, I am saying that the image shows creativity, which is the prerequisite for copyright protection which we are discussing here. Physchim62 15:50, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I think this isn't copyrightable in any jurisdiction worldwide. --Historiograf 20:52, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Doing a Google Image search on "chemical structure" shows many diagrams in this style, so no, I don't think it is anywhere close to copyrightable. I'm sure it's possible to have chemical structures with enough artistic creativity to qualify for copyright, but I doubt it can be done with just line drawings. Even coming up with a novel way of representing a structure is not necessarily copyrightable -- there needs to be artistic expression in it. Carl Lindberg 14:02, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

The copyright protection of artistic expression is completely independent of its quality. Searching Google, I find many texts which are written using the 26 letters of English subset of the Latin alphabet: does this use of "common property" make them ineligible for copyright protection? ;) Physchim62 15:50, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
It makes them ineligible for copyright as an artistic work, though obviously enough letters would qualify as a literary work. There is a minimum level of artistic creativity needed to qualify, which in my opinion is not even close with these diagrams. It's not a matter of quality here, it's a matter of creativity not being present in the first place. Since the structure determined by nature, that is not creative either, so there is nothing along the lines of a literary work here. Carl Lindberg 16:48, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Are you really trying to pretend that I can't make an artistic work out of a collection of Latin letters? The threashold of creativity exists, of course, but it is passed in some molecular structure diagrams, including the one at the top of this section. The Grand Canyon is "determined by nature", but that doesn't prevent people from making artistic works based on it. The whole argument here is based on a false premise—that if it's "natural", it can't be copyrighted. That's wishful thinking, as I'm sure that many of the contributor's would see if they stopped to think for a second. Physchim62 18:30, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Sure, it's possible. You'd need to be making an original design separate from the letters though. The style of diagram above seems to be quite standard, so there is no originality in using that design for new compounds. The contents and arrangement is determined by the compound, and not creativity, and I don't see where any other creative work can come from. If two people independently drew the same compound using that standard style, could you really tell them apart? I.e. would they each be "recognizably the author’s own" ? I certainly don't see it... Carl Lindberg 05:14, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

The style of the diagram above most certainly isn't "standard". The carbon carbon bond lengths are different, the angles are not shown as 60º, the view of the molecule is not "face-on", etc, etc. A "standard" version would be Image:Carbaryl.png, but many other possible representations can be found right here on Commons. As for the threshold of creativity, see, for example, Justice O'Conner in Feist v. Rural:

"Original, as the term is used in copyright, means only that the work was independently created by the author (as opposed to copied from other works), and that it possesses at least some minimal degree of creativity. To be sure, the requisite level of creativity is extremely low; even a slight amount will suffice. The vast majority of works make the grade quite easily, as they possess some creative spark, "no matter how crude, humble or obvious" it might be. Originality does not signify novelty; a work may be original even though it closely resembles other works, so long as the similarity is fortuitous, not the result of copying. To illustrate, assume that two poets, each ignorant of the other, compose identical poems. Neither work is novel, yet both are original and, hence, copyrightable." 499 U.S. 340 at 345–346, references omitted.

Under the Feist concept of originality, the structure diagram at the top of this page is original, and hence protected by copyright. Physchim62 12:54, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

A protected literary work?

To illustrate the problem, consider the chemical structure drawn on the right. I am happy to concede that I cannot copyright an image of a regular hexagon in any jurisdiction! But would a computer program to draw a regular hexagon have copyright protection? A computer programs is protected in Europe if it is "original in the sense that it is the author's own intellectual creation" (Art. 1.3, Council Directive 91/250/EEC), a virtually identical criterion to "original works of authorship" in 17 U.S.C. 102(a). The image is in SVG format, ie it is a computer program which draws the image. This is an alternative computer program (SVG file) which will draw a similar image, although it is a noticeably different program if you look at the source code. The current version is the work of User:Calvero, the alternative is my work. In so far as they are our own intellectual creations, the SVG files would be subject to copyright protection (had we not both decided to release them into the public domain). Note that this is true even in Germany, which has traditionally had a stricter rule on Schöpfungshöhe, due to the application of the EU directive. Physchim62 13:23, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Interpreting the XML structure of an SVG file as a "computer program" is a stretch. It's just a particular storage mechanism for graphics, incidentally one that must be interpreted by another (real) program for rendering. But that is true even of a simple pixel map. The sequence of numbers in a PNG file could be seen as instructions how to color particular places (pixels) in the output, yet noone considers PNG files "programs". Just like HTML is not a programming language, SVG isn't. It's a description of the graphics, not a program that will create the graphics. Lupo 07:57, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
No computer program operates completely independently, except maybe the kernal software… I was obviously be ever so slightly provocative with the example I chose: however, these are real copyright issues. A PNG file could (in the EU at least) be defined as a database under Directive 96/9/EC (as indeed could a simple table of data): it would fail on the test for sui generis rights in databases, but would appear to pass the test for copyright ("original in the sense that it is the author's own intellectual creation"). Physchim62 11:36, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
Wait.. are you saying that hexagon is copyrighted? (Just making sure, not challenging it.) Rocket000 14:14, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
No, and thanks for making me clarify! Don't worry, I'm not saying that you can't draw your own regular hexagon! I gave two examples of the "expression" of a regular hexagon, one of which was specifically linked to it's chemical significance. You can create your own if you like—it doesn't even matter if your expression turns out to be identical to one of the expressions which has already been made (see the quote from Feist v. Rural above)—but what you can't do is simply copy mine (unless I let you, which I have done). At least I don't think so, although I admit that I have chosen an extreme and provocative example. On the other hand, if you say that any expression of a natural fact cannot be copyrighted, there would be no copyrighted images of the Grand Canyon and no copyrighted London street maps, which seems and equally unlikely answer to the legal question. Physchim62 14:29, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it's about something being a natural fact or not, I think it has to do with the simplicity of the expression (not the idea behind it). The subject matter really has nothing to do with it. At least, IMO. Rocket000 04:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I think I agree with you on that one: if an expression is so simple that there is only one way to do it, it will not be protected by copyright. On the other hand, if there is room for creativity, copyright protection will usually apply. With chemical structure diagrams, there are usually many many ways to draw them, which might not be obvious to someone who only sees a high-quality finished product such as the cyclohexane structure. The example you give at the top of the discussion is relevant here: it is only one of many possible views of the molecule, one which has been chosen by the author of the image to illustrate a certain point. Physchim62 17:02, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the chemical structure of a compound is a fact, and is not copyrightable in itself... that is what I meant by "natural" before. Most of the placement of lines is dictated by the structure, not artistic creativity. The presentation style can certainly be copyrightable, but since the above appears to me to be a very common style to represent compounds, I don't think it's original either -- the author is just following standard practice. The Copyright Office says that among non-copyrightable works are works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources). It seems to me that this standard style of chemical diagram falls in that area. Furthermore, the Copyright Compendium states it is not possible to copyright a new version of a textile design merely because the colors of red and blue appearing in the design have been replaced by green and yellow, respectively. The same is true of a simple combination of a few standard symbols such as a circle, a star, and a triangle, with minor linear or spatial variations. I don't think changing the angles slightly is enough of a variation to support copyright either. It's certainly possible to make copyrightable chemical diagrams, but based on those, in my opinion the above diagrams do not qualify. Carl Lindberg 16:19, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

photo of copyright art work (painting) where copyright holder gives consent for photograph to be distributed

What is the correct tag for a photograph of an art work, where the copyright holder of the painting concerned gives consent for it to be photographed and the resulting image being redistributed freely, but does not give permission for any other image of the work to be distributed? I may be missing something but I don't see what the proper tag would be. The copyright holder is not granting free usage of the original image (painting), but only of that particular reproduction and any further derivatives from it? In this case the photograph taker would presumably have a copyright also, the process taking place in the UK, but assigning free copyright of the photo does not seem to be a problem with a tag. What is needed to explain the interest of the originating copyright holder and waiver of copyright exclusively as it applies to the particular reproduction? Sandpiper 23:12, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Forward the permission of the rights holder on the painting to OTRS, tag the image using the copyright tag for the photo, mention the painting's title and the painter's name (and birth and possibly death years) in the description, and mention in the description that the rights owner of the copyrighted painting has agreed to the free license on the image. Then add under "permission" the tag {{PermissionOTRS|OTRS ticket ID}}. See Image:Babe Ruth statue.jpg for a similar case (photo of copyrighted statue). Lupo 07:46, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

photo taken by british sailor in 1938

If the picture was taken on duty what is its copyright status?--Tresckow 23:35, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Depends were they being employed to take it?Geni 14:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
It was taken during the rescue of Seaman from the sinking spanish cruiser Baleares.--Tresckow 15:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Tricky. Was the photo from goverment archives or from a private collection. If the former then probably crown copyright expired thus PD if the latter hard to say.Geni 15:05, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Photo of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef

Hi. I uploaded a picture of him. You can find the details on my User talk page. Anyone, who can give me some advice please ? Thank you Gary Dee 13:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

THANK U ALL !!! :D Gary Dee 01:34, 8 April 2008 (UTC)


According to this license template, the permission to use images from that website only includes non-commercial use, and for commercial use you have to consult the webmaster. I don't think this is free enough for commons, isn't it? -- 19:58, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

The text for the lincense template was recently changed. It previously allowed commercial use, so all images uploaded under it before the text change are free enough. - Dammit 09:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Agreed - licensing cannot be revoked. – Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 11:22, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Then put a date of the license change on the template, and do not allow it to be used for files uploaded after that date. Carl Lindberg 15:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Plan of a warship

A technical drawing of a cruiser, sunk 1938, would it be public domain? I mean is it a creative work?--Tresckow 15:04, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

It would very likely be regarded as a creative work.Geni 15:15, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Blending GFDL/CC-BY-SA?

I'd like to create a new image blending two images on commons. Basically, I want to take the largest silhouette from Image:Bateaux comparaison2.svg and add it onto the size comparison chart at en:Image:BurjDubaiHeight.png. However, the first is GFDL and the second is cc-by-sa-2.0-fr/cc-by-sa-2.0-de. Could someone comment on whether this is possible and, if so, give me an idea how to fill in the license section of the image I upload? Thanks! Haus 10:53, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

For the record, the discussions here and here seem to indicate that what I wanted to do was impossible. On the bright side, the creator of en:Image:BurjDubaiHeight.png has relicensed it under CC and my problem's disappeared. Cheers. Haus 12:13, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, seems my answer was obsolete by the time by the time I ran into the edit conflict, but here it is anyway:
Combining an image that is only licensed only under GFDL with an image that is only licensed under CC-by-sa is not possible without getting the copyright holder(s) for at least one of the works to change the licensing, because both licenses require derivative works to be licensed as a whole under that licence.
In this case, it is possible to combine the images, because Image:Bateaux comparaison2.svg is CC-by-sa and en:Image:BurjDubaiHeight.png is GFDL/CC-by-sa, so CC-by-sa is the common denominator.
You may therefore publish the work under a CC-by-sa licence (the licences allow you to change the version number and language version). You may not publish it under a GFDL licence or under a GFDL/CC-by-sa dual licence. LX (talk, contribs) 12:20, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Official Letter

Would an official letter concerning information an a missing person dated 1938 be public domain?--Tresckow 14:57, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

From which official organization in which country does the letter come? --rimshottalk 15:12, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Spain, Navy Military Command, Balearic Islands. During Spanish Civil War, Nationalist side.--Tresckow 16:35, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't speak Spanish, but this might be covered by "actos, acuerdos, deliberaciones y dictámenes de los organismos públicos". The letter might also be ineligible for copyright, if it contains a standard text and a simple layout. If these two don't apply, the matter is more complicated. en:Spanish copyright law has an overview of the topic. --rimshottalk 16:53, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Tricky question, yes, but (insofar as the letter is as described) I would say that it would be treated as as a dictamen de organismo público and so exempt from copyright. The question you have to ask yourself is—does the letter only perform a normal function of a public authority? for example, a death certificate or a letter which has the same effect. If the letter contains elements which go beyond standard public functions (eg, political propaganda, military plans), you're in territory which, to my knowledge, has not yet been tested in the Spanish courts. Physchim62 17:53, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Is this really public Domain?

45 Recon Squadron Patch.jpg

Image:45 Recon Squadron Patch.jpg caught my attention. It features a character not unlike Sylvester (Looney Tunes). Okay governmental works have no copyright, but I always thought fanart was a derivative work. I'm not sure and slaming it with a {{fairuse}}-tag just doesn't seem right at this point. --Yamavu 16:09, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, if the US government creates a derivative work, it is still in PD (IMHO). If someone's copyright is infringed, it is the matter between the US government and the person in question. --MPorciusCato 17:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it's probably PD, but for different reasons. Friz Felang does not have copyright on all images of anthropomorphic cats, obviously. He would have to show copying from one of his images to prove infringement. The fact that the (supposedly derivative) work was created by the US government is irrelevant to the underlying copyright, and in this I disagree with MPorciusCato above. Physchim62 17:17, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

Illustrated book: collaborative work?

I have got scans of this book published in Spain in 1919 about this author that died more than 80 years ago: those texts are in public domain in Spain and the EEUU, no problem. But it's a book of poems, and the cover plus some of the poems have illustrations of an artist that dies in 1949. For instance, in the left page there is the text of a poem and in the right page there is a related illustration.

Can I consider the book a collaborative work and therefore can I upload the double page combo "poem + illustration" or should I upload only the images of the poems? Thanks. --Qgil 16:15, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Don't upload the artwork from the artist that died in 1949, because it is still copyrighted. Superm401 - Talk 03:11, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
Wow, I just discovered that I can upload those images since the author is from Uruguay and the law there puts th works in public domain 50 years after the death of the author. He is (was) Joaquín Torres-García and there is one work from him here at commons. Cool! Thanks Uruguay! The poems from Joan Salvat-Papasseit and the illustrations from Joaquín Torres-Garcia can now be published just like they were published in 1919 i.e. 54045. --Qgil 07:55, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think so. Since the work was still in copyright in 1996, it is covered by URAA restorations, so in the U.S. the poems are copyrighted 95 years from first publication. That could be up to 2015. Superm401 - Talk 11:10, 11 April 2008 (UTC)


The rationale given by deleted admin was not satisfactory? Please explain what was the actual problem with this image? --Malluguy2008 06:35, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

It appears to be a copyvio. What is not "satisfactory" Superm401 - Talk 07:08, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Possibly incorrect licensing tag?

I'm brand-new at using Wikimedia Commons. Recently I uploaded an image and I suspect that I did not use the correct licensing tag. This image is derived from a photograph where the licensing is described as follows: "This image is provided by the author under Creative Commons license 2.5 You can use this image for free, even for commercial purposes. Only you have to cite the author's name and to refer to the site -"

What I did to the original photograph was to straighten it and correct the perspective (using Paint Shop Pro). I am not the copyright-holder, but I'm afraid my choice of licensing makes it look that way! Can someone please tell me:

  • what the correct licensing tag is?, and
  • how to correct the tag that is there?

Thank you. — Martha 05:30, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

First, welcome to Commons. You are a correct that you accidentally had the wrong tag, but not for the reason you said. You did attribute the author and source, and the correct tag is allowed on Wikimedia Commons, so that's no problem. However, you put {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0) while the page said "Creative Commons license 2.5" and linked to "Creative Commons Attribution 2.5", which is {{cc-by-2.5}}. Note the different version number, and absence of ShareAlike, which just means modifications don't have to be put under the CC license.
You are definitely not the first person to get confused by the many CC tags, but in general issues can be sorted out easily. I've made the change already by clicking edit next to the "Licensing" section header. Let me know if you have any more questions. Superm401 - Talk 07:08, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually, if you believe that your work on the image involved creative decision making, then you are one of the copyright holders, and it is perfectly permissible to take an image licensed under CC-by-2.5 and publish it with modifications under another licence as long as you attribute the original author(s) and make it clear what the terms are for the original image. LX (talk, contribs) 10:34, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
That's true, but I don't think the OP was intending to do that. It also is considered rude by some to change the license for relatively minor changes. And, I believe CC-BY-2.0 requires you still link to the old license as well as the new if you put your work under a different license, noting that the old one applies to the original ("You must keep intact all notices that refer to this License and to the disclaimer of warranties."). Superm401 - Talk 11:18, 13 April 2008 (UTC)


Are there any licensing issues with autographs or signatures, for living or dead folks? --BrokenSphere 04:47, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, an autograph is a copyright work. During life copyright is owned by the person; afterwards the copyright will generally pass to his/her heirs. So unless the signature is old enough to be public domain a licence is needed. --MichaelMaggs 06:01, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Hm... not sure it is, at least in the U.S. I have heard of some people trademarking their signatures to get some protection for them. Do you know of any cases involving these? In the U.S., they probably fall under the no-typeface rule (similar to calligraphy not being copyrightable). Carl Lindberg 07:13, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Here is a page where someone tried to get cute, and the U.S. copyright office replied that their signature is not copyrightable.  ;-) At any rate, they seem to be covered under the second clause of What Is Not Protected by Copyright?. See also en:Signature#Copyright. Carl Lindberg 07:30, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
That first page appears to be a joke, in that someone has asked whether they can copyright their signature when that signature looks like the 'C in a circle' copyright logo. Not surprisingly, the answer is no in that particular case. It's certainly true that signatures can be protected by trademark law, but that has no bearing on whether or not copyright can subsist. In the UK I would expect an original signature (unless it is very simple) to attract copyright protection as a graphic work (which includes any drawing regardless of artistic merit). I haven't looked to see if there are any cases, though. The Wikipedia statement is based on the other page you quoted which does not, as I understand it, support the statement at all. A signature is not simply to be equated to a name, nor is it a mere variation of typographic ornamentation. Even if the answer really is 'no' under US law, nothing so far quoted bears that out. --MichaelMaggs 17:06, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
The first page is a joke, but I still thought the Copyright Office's response was interesting -- Your signature is not copyrightable, nor is a familiar symbol. You could read that either way I guess... just that his particular signature is not copyrightable because it is a familiar symbol, or all signatures are not. The use of nor seems to indicate that there two separate reasons why copyright was denied, not just the one, but you could read it either way. At any rate, the second link says Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents are not copyrightable, which seems to squarely address signatures -- they are names, and are variations of typographic ornamentation or lettering. The Copyright Compendium says Like typography, calligraphy is not copyrightable as such, notwithstanding the effect achieved by calligraphic brush strokes across a striated surface. I find it hard to see how calligraphy would not be protected but a couple of handwritten words would be. A name is obviously too short for a literary copyright, and the "typeface as typeface" part of the law means it does not qualify as a pictorial or graphic work either, I think. The above quote does indicate that a particular stylized version, drawn over a uneven surface to create a graphic effect or something like that, could be copyrightable, but ordinary signatures would not be. User talk:Matt314#Admin_help_needed also says the same is true in Germany, but doesn't give a reason. Carl Lindberg 14:08, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Might be helpful to bring Matt314 into this discussion. Or maybe raise this issue at the pump? BrokenSphere 14:45, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

All signatures are not copyrightable. These are expressions of individuality but not in the sense of copyright --Historiograf 17:11, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

An uncompromising statement. Some caselaw or legal argument is needed to support your opinion. Do you know of any? --MichaelMaggs 18:14, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Out of curiosity, do you know of any case law where a signature was held as copyrightable? Frankly, it seems to me that writing your own name in your own handwriting is among the least creative things you can do. That's what helps make it repeatable. Carl Lindberg 04:23, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I would have to agree that a signature is not copyrightable in most jurisdictions (although MichaelMaggs's argument for protection in the UK is interesting): there are many ways to protect a signature (fraud, passing off, defamation, just to list some of the common law remedies), but I don't think that copyright is one of them. An electronic signature might be protected by sui generis rights. Physchim62 18:55, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Queried both the US Copyright Office and USPTO re. copyrights and trademarks of autographs/sigs. BrokenSphere 20:22, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Apparently Thomas Edison trademarked his signature in 1899[10], Dale Earnhardt did in the 80s[11], and I'm sure many others have as well. I don't doubt at all that signatures can be trademarked. Copyright would really surprise me though. Carl Lindberg 23:42, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I sent:

Are autographs and/or signatures subject to copyright? For example, if I take a photo of a still living celebrity's autograph, who then has the rights to that photo of it? Thanks. responded:

A signature is not protected by copyright.

--BrokenSphere 15:22, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I sent:

Are autographs and/or signatures subject to trademark? For example, if I take a photo of a still living celebrity's autograph, who then has the rights to that photo of it? Thanks.

USPTO responded:

Dear Sir or Madame:

The federal registration of trademarks is governed by the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq., and the Trademark Rules of Practice, 37 C.F.R. Part 2. The questions raised in your e-mail require legal analysis and a legal determination. Unfortunately, we cannot assist you because the USPTO cannot provide advisory legal opinions. You may want to consider contacting a trademark attorney to assist you. Local bar associations and the yellow pages usually have attorney listings broken down by specialties.

If you have any further questions or if you require additional information, please contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 571-272-9250 and press "0". You can reference the following Service Request number: 1-112284616

--BrokenSphere 18:55, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
That's pretty cool, thanks for the effort. As mentioned, I'm sure the USPTO allows trademarks, but that would not prevent hosting here anyways. Maybe we should add a section to Commons:Image casebook with your Copyright Office info.
  • I would like to upload a signed personal dedication by British-American propagandist William Joyce, given in a German book by him in 1942 to a female fan in Berlin? Is that possible? Regards Mutter Erde 16:23, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


This signature is not in the public domain. Do you agree ? ~Pyb 18:16, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

All ( non-acalligraphic)signatures are in the Public Domain. These are expressions of individuality but not in the sense of copyright --Historiograf 17:09, 13 April 2008 (UTC) Nevermind, linked above. Photographs of sigs may be copyrighted. Rocket000 16:01, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Searching right license for yugoslavian stamps (1968)

Hi! I'm looking for a license, adding it to scans of some stamps, published in former Yugoslavia in 1968 - any idea? Thanks a lot. Greetings --Sir James 19:36, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

The page you need to consult is Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates. For 1968 Yugoslavia you are out of luck because the stamps must be more than 70 years old, unless you can find a shorter time allowed within Yugoslav law. You will have to use a fair-use rationale on the English wiki instead, but only if the article is about the stamp and not the subject of the stamp. Cheers Ww2censor 01:41, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Ok, thanks a lot. Greets --Sir James 21:31, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Japanese film screenshots

It is neccessary to verify if information at [12] and at [13] are truth or not. Maybe it will lead to change of template {{PD-Japan-film}}. Maybe it will lead to delete some of Japanese film screenshot images from commons. Can anybody verify it on official Japanese websites in official Japanese documents, please? --Snek01 10:20, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to request a second set of eyes on this

The Miami Herald used an image recently, which it attributed to "DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE RECORDS". It said it was drawn by w:Ali Hamza al Bahlul.

So, is it PD?

Is evidence considered PD?

Images legally seized by the authorities, PD?

Here is the image: Image:Ali Hamza al Bahlul's boycott sign.jpg

Cheers! Geo Swan 18:53, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't see why it would be PD or free. Ali Hamza al Bahlul is not an employee of the United States government, unless this is an extremely complicated false flag operation. I don't think there's any proof the government seized the copyrights (not just the sign), and released them into public domain.
In summary, I don't see why it would be allowed on Commons. Superm401 - Talk 05:16, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and nominated this for deletion. Superm401 - Talk 05:21, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Copyright violation?

I suspect Image:Hourai bridge.jpg to be a copyright violation from the following website: [14]. Based on the page history of the wikipedia article, (here) I suspect that there is. In the history, we see a link to the page, and then later, the image from the link is uploaded here, and later added to the article. Seems sorta fishy to me. Anyway, I'm not a user on commons, and I'd appreciate the help. Also, I'd prefer if you'd respond on my wikipedia talk page. Cheers, en:User:Spencer 01:01, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

They are identical, and the server last-modified date on the version is June 4, 2007. The commons image was uploaded a month ago. It sure seems like a clear-cut copyvio. Carl Lindberg 03:24, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
That's what I thought, but the downloader seems trustworthy. However, the chances of his picture being on that site are pretty slim. Carl, I'm not familiar with Commons, so if you could report this wherever these things are reported, it would be appreciated. Cheers,en:User:Spencer 10:58, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I went ahead and did so. In the future, you can use the "Nominate for deletion" link in the sidebar on the image page. Carl Lindberg 14:28, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Warnings for copyright violators?

Do we have a set of templates that can be issued to uploaders who in bad faith upload images under false licenses? --BrokenSphere 16:39, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Yes, see Commons:Message templates. --MichaelMaggs 16:52, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Milanx1 has already received a final warning for uploading copyrighted images and I tagged 3 more today. How else can I report them for admin attention? --BrokenSphere 18:00, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
COM:ANB or one of its subpages would be the most appropriate. I've imposed a week-long break from uploading on the user so that they can get some time to read COM:L, and I've also deleted the copyvios. Thanks for helping out. LX (talk, contribs) 18:31, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Outline of geographic area

I've read the material on copyright and derivative work, but I'm still confused. I'm working on extending a Wikipedia stub about a legally-defined area (an American Viticultural Area). I'd like to use some drawings to enhance the article. For example, I'd like to include one that puts the location of this area within the context of a larger area that the reader might be more familiar with. All of the drawings of various areas would be outlines. These outlines would be rough; there would be no attempt to show all of the nuances of the boundaries, but simply to show the general shape.

Since I have not committed the shapes of these areas to memory, I would need to look at a map. Although I'm not sure, I imagine that these maps are copyrighted by someone.

Are my drawings derivative works? Vintagefactor 17:27, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

  • The outline of a political boundary isn't generally copyrightable. Try to base your drawings on public domain materials and they should be ok, provided the work is original. Looking up data in a reference (another map), provided your product is truly your own work, shouldn't be a copyright violation. -Nard 03:03, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure ebay's logo is {{PD-ineligible}}, but I would like to get a second opinion. Rocket000 17:45, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

ineligible --Historiograf 22:50, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. It's here now. Rocket000 00:51, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Why is it ineligible? It doesn't seem to use a standard font. Superm401 - Talk 18:45, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
In the U.S., "typeface as typeface" is ineligible for copyright, standard font or not. The "standard font" wording on the PD-textlogo template is probably more for non-U.S. logos. The only possible copyrightability on this logo may be the relative placement of the four letters, but that seems pretty thin for a copyright claim. Obviously, it's trademarked and that is the primary protection for a logo anyways. Carl Lindberg 20:12, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's the case -- first off, the wording of Template:PD-textlogo is "text in a general typeface", not anything about "standard font". Second, font character shapes are uncopyrightable under U.S. law only insofar as they're functional or utilitarian -- i.e. generally used as elements of text that will be read (rather than as purely decorative elements standing independently). Thirdly, artistic manipulations and customizations of font character shapes can also be copyrightable. Please see the explanation which I've added at Template_talk:PD-textlogo. If the eBay logo is uncopyrighted, it will not be because Template:PD-textlogo can be validly applied to it... AnonMoos 22:08, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
This is not a typeface. Each of these letters was clearly shaped manually for the logo. Furthermore, the color and positioning alone may very well be copyrightable. Finally, I'm not sure why Commons is so eager to include content that is blatantly trademarked. Trademark can make content non-free, just like copyright. Superm401 - Talk 08:54, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
The four letters are intended to be shaped (and read) as letters... that, to me, is "typeface as typeface". If there are additional elements unrelated to the normal shape of the letter, those are copyrightable (some fonts have decorations like that), but I don't think basic letters like these qualify, or even many customizations. For example, calligraphy is not copyrightable either, and those are all customized letters. Color choice by itself probably isn't enough either, at least in the U.S. The positioning might be, which is where the gray area comes with this one. It is just four letters though, which is pretty minimal, and why I would probably lean towards ineligible. It is certainly a distinctive logo, but that aspect is more appropriately protected by trademark. As for why we want them... our definition of "free" is as it pertains to the copyright license specifically (see Commons:Licensing#cite_note-0). Hosting the image on commons allows it to be used on the eBay article in all wikipedia languages, and wikinews as well. Providing resources for use by other wikimedia projects is the primary function for commons, and having the image here (as opposed to only on en-wiki) helps with that. Carl Lindberg 12:37, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
If the four individual letter shapes were originally taken from a "general text typeface" (something which has actually not been established here), then their original unaltered shapes could be individually uncopyrightable under U.S. law -- but each of the letters has been individually reshaped, rescaled, colored, and placed in partially overlapping configurations, something which allows ample scope for individual creativity on the part of the logo designer. And allowing ample scope for individual creativity beyond simply typing in "text in a general typeface" means that Pd-textlogo simply doesn't apply...
Also, how useful an image could be has nothing to do with whether it can be hosted on Wikimedia Commons (except in the one special case of national flags, for some reason). AnonMoos 17:58, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
In the U.S., "typeface as typeface" is not eligible for copyright, whether it comes from a general text typeface or is created fresh. If you reshape and rescale letters of a typeface, you are still left with a typeface, and it is just as ineligible (unless the reshaping makes them unrecognizable as letters, or involves decorations unrelated to the shape of the letter). For this logo, it is still just four letters meant to spell the company name. Changing the colors is also not enough to support an additional copyright, per the Copyright Compendium (Mere coloration cannot support a copyright even though it may enhance the aesthetic appeal or commercial value of a work.) You are left with the positioning, and I'm not sure there is enough here for that -- the Compendium also says that a simple combination of a few standard symbols such as a circle, a star, and a triangle, with minor linear or spatial variations is also not eligible... and if the four letters are ineligible then, it seems to me, this would seem to fall in that area.
As for hosting them, the commons rules are 1) it is useful for wikimedia projects and 2) it has an acceptable copyright license (or is ineligible for copyright, or copyright has expired). A PD-ineligible, trademarked logo for a company worthy of a wikipedia article would satisfy both of those requirements. Carl Lindberg 07:23, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
It's true that applying an overall color to "text in a general typeface" does not cross the copyrightability threshold, so that selecting a font in a word processor and typing in text in, say, a red color (as opposed to black) would not change anything legally. However, quite a bit more is going on in the eBay logo, and I don't see that your remarks lead to the conclusion that Template:PD-textlogo applies. AnonMoos 08:35, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
If you're saying the eBay logo does not qualify for PD-textlogo's reasoning (which applies outside the U.S. too), then I agree. If you're saying that PD-ineligible does not apply (per U.S. rules), then I'll disagree ;-) Carl Lindberg 16:32, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

(Deindent) Actually Template:PD-textlogo is pretty much based on U.S. law -- in most other countries, font character shapes can in fact be copyrighted (regardless of how functional or "utilitarian" the character is). In the United States, the abstract shape of a utilitarian font character (letters, numbers, punctuation etc.) is not usually copyrightable, but a sequence of computer instructions used to produce the character shape is. AnonMoos

Copyright printed in images

Does a printed (c) matter? It might be not nice to look at, but that guy has some gorgeous images.--Kozuch 00:01, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

  • Creative Commons is a form of copyright. So the symbol on the graphics doesn't change the license. -Nard 23:23, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Yep, anything that's not public domain is © including CC and GFDL. Rocket000 00:49, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Watermarks, including copyright notices, are strongly discouraged on Commons, so you should crop or otherwise edit them out before uploading if you can. That's OK so far as the copyright owner is concerned since derivative works are explictly allowed under the CC licence. --MichaelMaggs 16:31, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Actually its a gray area because CC-BY requires any derivative version to "keep intact all copyright notices". Commons usually operates on the assumption that you can remove the notices as long as you place the same text in the image description, but it's not entirely clear that this is okay. There is past precedent on Commons to delete images if the original author complains about the removal of watermarked copyright notices. See also {{Attribution metadata from licensed image}}. Dragons flight 16:46, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
If you can't get rid of the text in a nice way then upload it and tag it with {{Watermarked}} and someone elese will (hopefully) come around and give i a try. /Lokal_Profil 16:54, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Keep copyright notices intact means: Do not remove them from the image. If you will not hold the license you cannot use the picture. Ask creator for permission to remove it --Historiograf 17:33, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Personally I tend to agree with you, but the prevailing behavior on Commons has been based on a different interpretation of the license. Many people here read "intact" as something more or less akin to "present" and suppose that as long as the content of the copyright notice accompanies the image that it doesn't matter where or how it is displayed. Which interpretation of the license is correct is ambiguous. Dragons flight 18:06, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

In any case of doubt a judge would like to give the right to the creator. The creator is allowing re-use, the only right he has is in the frame of the license. Thus the license has to be interpreted "in dubio pro auctore" (German law: Zweckübertragungsregel) --Historiograf 19:01, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Shrug. I hear you. You won't catch me removing any watermarked copyright notices. The risks that other people are willing to take are mostly their business. However, if you want to try and address {{watermark}} and associated pages as a policy issue, I think you'd have an uphill battle given the relative lack of legal clarity. Dragons flight 22:20, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I think the reasoning goes that if we have the right to make any derivative works, which is explicit in the license, then we have the right to remove the watermark. A CC-BY-ND license would prevent that, but commons doesn't accept those (for reasons like this). Carl Lindberg 07:01, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Please read the licenses (e.g. GFDL or CC-BY). You aren't allowed to make all possible derivative works, but rather only derivative works that comply with the restrictions in the license. One of those restrictions is specific language that one may not impact "copyright notices", hence the question about whether a watermarked (C) qualifies and whether you are allowed to alter/move it. Dragons flight 12:20, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Sections 1(a), 4(a) and 4(b) of the CC-by licence show quite clearly that the intent of its authors is not to allow licensors to use attribution requirements to limit licensees' freedom to create adaptions. If keeping copyright notices intact implies that copyright notices may not be moved to a reasonable placement more suitable to the adaption, then there is no freedom to make even basic adaptions, such as applying a tighter crop to a portrait. Such interpretations contradict the aforementioned sections' focus on "reasonable means" and "extent reasonably practicable" and indeed the intent of the licence as a whole. LX (talk, contribs) 13:14, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
A copyright notice is a textual declaration; CC-BY requires you to keep that declaration intact, but allows for that to be "implemented" differently. The credit required may be implemented in any reasonable manner; provided, however, that in the case of a Adaptation or Collection, at a minimum such credit will appear, if a credit for all contributing authors of the Adaptation or Collection appears, then as part of these credits and in a manner at least as prominent as the credits for the other contributing authors. I don't see anything that requires the exact bitmap representation to be left intact. Carl Lindberg 13:37, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I realize this is going to sound pedantic, but the clause is "keep intact copyright notices and provide [various previous authorship credits]" (emphasis mine). The credits you are required to provide may be implemented in any reasonable manner, but I'd say it is ambiguous about whether you can remove/rework unreasonable notices created by previous authors. Given how important some people percieve the embedded attribution notices they create, I wouldn't be surprised to see people fight over ambiguities like this, and it has already happened in at least one case. If the CC license authors wanted to avoid this issue they could just as easily have omitted the first clause and instructed authors only the methods of attribution. Further, in cases of ambiguity, courts often assume that no clause is superfluous which would favor an interpretation that keeping copyright notices is an obligation in addition to the attribution clauses that follow it. Maybe that's not the intent, I don't know, but personally, it's an issue I wouldn't mess with. And that's one of the reasons we have special tags for images that have had watermarks removed to allow others to consider the implications in their situation. I'm not advocating deletion, or anything that severe, just pointing out that these clauses can be read more than one way (and arguably GFDL is even more ambiguous than CC-BY). Dragons flight 16:11, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I still think that interpretation is tantamount to a CC-BY-ND license (which the author explicitly did not choose). I can understand the issue is important to some people, so if that is the restriction they intend, it would probably be best to treat them as CC-BY-ND and remove them. Otherwise, we are restricted from even the most basic adjustments, like cropping in many cases. If a derivative work made by someone else has to contain it, then the notice becomes factually incorrect, as the copyright in the new work is jointly owned by two authors... how do you deal with that to properly note the copyright ownership? What happens when we create a scaled-down thumbnail of the image, to the point that the embedded copyright notice is no longer legible? That is certainly not keeping the notice intact, and it is guaranteed to happen if we use the image on a wikipedia article. In most cases, it is probably best to ask the author for a non-watermarked version, as they may well oblige (or at least agree to let it be removed). If keeping the notice in the image truly turns out to truly be their intent, then I would argue they really intended more of a CC-BY-ND license instead, and we should probably respect that. As for the GFDL, yes, it is even more ambiguous, as that license was not written with images in mind. That kind of restriction would be very much against the FSF's usual spirit though. Carl Lindberg 07:13, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Why don't you just ask the guy referenced to provide unwatermarked images. I personally don't think that removing a watermark would go against the edit policy IF the notice is still provided on the surrounding Html and probably even in EXIF Tags. I think that "intact" means a little more than "present" though, but doesn't limit the ways of reusing. The author could choose to be credited by a special identifier like "Franz from New York City" or "Toothpick@Wikipedia", maybe also force a backlink to his homepage or profile (not sure about this), but that's it. We're talking about copyright notices for the media and not about notices in the media. Watermarking is only done since EXIF Data is a little fragile and images could be found out of context (on the net or a harddisk). Nothing like that can happen here, if a derived work is properly credited and source is provided. --Yamavu 22:25, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Copyright for Stamps

Which kind of licence is for an image of a stamp? --Moschitz 15:06, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

I would wait for someone more knowledgeable than myself, but Ww2censor (above) gave a link for stamps at Commons:Stamps/Public domain templates. That shows we can upload Austrian stamps from any date and use license template {{PD-AustrianGov}}. However your image is a muster (or sample) and may not fall under the stamps rules, hence I would wait for a better reply.-Wikibob 01:51, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your hints.

The stamp above was printed and sold in museums in Austria in 2007 and it is "official" (you can use it for letters and postcards) and "personal", because it was designed and ordered by a private person or company. The word "Muster / sample" was added by me, because I did not know if it is allowed to make an image of a stamp without such an print on it. Who can decide which kind of licence it should get before it will be deleted? -- 06:57, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

It was said on the german WP that Stamps of Austria are free for use within the postal company, but for un-promotional reuse and changing the creator must be contacted. I don't know if this is correct. Just ask the guy referenced here. I think he's the opress agent of the PostAG. --Yamavu 11:40, 18 April 2008 (UTC)
I have asked the offcier at PostAG. The information above is right. For publishing the agreement of the creator who designed it, is necessary. I got it today, but now the uploaded image has been removed ... Thanks for your help. --Moschitz 21:36, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


Derivative? Quotation? I'd like to get a second opinion. --h-stt !? 12:34, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Commons doesn't allow fair use/quotation right. I've tagged it for deletion. Superm401 - Talk 23:20, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Speedy deleted as obvious copyvio. --MichaelMaggs 06:20, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Wrongly credited image

A friend of mine has discovered a photograph he took has been added under someone else's name. This is the URL: He has edited it with a comment about the copyright issue and I have created a discussion page on it. I don't know if this is the right approach or what to do now. I believe he will happily allow use of the image as long as accurate credit is given. I'd be very grateful for advice on this. G Othen.

If that is indeed true, then we would definitely remove it (unless your friend would like to license it freely -- the permission cannot be just for Wikipedia, it must be for everyone). However, I'm not convinced yet that it is true. The photo in question was uploaded to commons on August 18, 2005 (the day after it was taken) and has dimensions of 2,500×2,074. The version on the photobucket site claimed as the source has dimensions of 800x664, and its upload date on the photobucket server is claimed as August 29, 2007, so it is clearly not the original source of the commons image. Furthermore, the camera used is consistent with several other uploads from User:Tysto, but I don't see that same camera type on any other image in your friend's photobucket gallery, and is not the same camera used for the majority of his photos there. The photobucket album has several historical images obviously taken from elsewhere on the internet... is it possible that your friend did the same with this image, but forgot about that fact? Carl Lindberg 14:40, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm not convinced it's true either -- and I'm the friend she speaks of. I spent an entire day trying to prove that the image is mine, and only succeeded in proving to myself that I was mistaken. Among other things, I followed all the lines you yourself just mentioned, which I should have done without flying off the handle to begin with. I've taken dozens of pictures of that building (it's three blocks from my home), and as you kindly suggested, it appears I mixed them up and forgot I didn't take that one. I wouldn't have believed that if someone else had said it! Now I feel horrible, and I'm running around apologizing at fast as I can. The link to my official apology is here:

To you, the real photographer, and everyone else, let me say again how very sorry I am for causing this trouble.

No problem... mistakes happen. Human memory is a fickle thing sometimes ;-) Thanks for coming back quickly and clearing it up, and not leaving it hanging. Carl Lindberg 16:24, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
  • I'm surprised nobody cleaned up the alterations to the image page (including removal of the licensing template) after all this. I went ahead and did that. -Nard 23:49, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
    • Yes, we should have reverted the image page. I'm not so sure of the image discussion page though... that is the appropriate place to discuss it, and is certainly not "vandalism" (just a mistaken claim of ownership, made in good faith, and apologized for). I may restore that, just to document that the photobucket copy is not the original, though maybe with a header to indicate it was a mistaken accusation. Carl Lindberg 14:54, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
    • I agree, so I put back the discussion page. Superm401 - Talk 23:48, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Category:Burning Man Festival

Burning Man artwork is definitely not permanently installed, and USA doesn't have Commons:Freedom of panorama for statues. So we can't host photos of artwork without author's permissions. Any other opinions? --EugeneZelenko 15:04, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I think you're setting up a straw man argument... ;) -Nard 21:36, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

Hallo northern sky

can I (or anyone, realy) upload screenshots from HNSKY software? it's a freeware. here's the website (I'm a castillian spanish speaker) (I'm noob)Comu nacho 05:37, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

I saw no hint on the homepage that the content could be used on Commons. Maybe you write the programmer a mail asking if screenshots can be used free of charge, even for commercial use, and if he wants to put the images under a special license (like GFDL or CC-BY) to ensure that his work is credited.--Yamavu 20:56, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Category:Star Wars

Despite the language re. licensing at the top of this category in 5 languages, its subcats are chockfull of artwork, cosplayers, and other copyrighted aspects of the series, e.g. the logos.

English: Please do not upload pictures of action figures, masks and costumes. Those are considered derivative works and are subject to copyright restrictions. For further explanation, see Commons:Derivative works.

BrokenSphere 21:23, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

Oh my, what a disaster. :\ Who feels like doing a mass deletion request? Lewis Collard! (hai thar, wut u doin) 01:43, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Now at Commons:Deletion requests/Star Wars images‎ (though there's not actually a quick and easy consensus about all images nominated). AnonMoos 14:16, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Image:Henry Rollins 2.jpg

The Flickr page for this image asserts it is "all rights reserved". What gives? Astrojunta 16:47, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Flickr allows their users to change the terms under which they distribute the images and does not keep record of previously announced terms. It has been confirmed by an administrator in April last year that the image did at that time appear with the irrevocable license stated on the image description page, so the Flickr user probably made the change some time during the last twelve months. LX (talk, contribs) 17:12, 29 April 2008 (UTC)
And once it has been published under the most liberal license, it's "stuck" that way? Another noob question: how would WikiCommons go about proving their right to use the images if no records are kept? Thanks for your comments, Astrojunta 16:21, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
As I mentioned, Creative Commons licenses are irrevocable, so yes, it still applies even after the author stops distributing it that way. The record we keep is the assertion of the trusted administrator that verified that the image was free. We can't really do much more without cooperation from Yahoo/Flickr, and this process still provides more documentation than is the case with, for example, uploader-created content and freely licensed content from other websites. LX (talk, contribs) 17:03, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
[edit conflict] The author can change their license on Flickr, but anyone who obtained a copy under the older license can (permanently) continue to use their version under that license. You can't allow people to widely use an image, and then withdraw permission once it gets used... the creative commons license makes that explicit. As for proving it, that is what the Flickr review process is for (it is mostly automated but some users can do it manually). See Commons:Flickr images. Carl Lindberg 17:07, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Troubling. Thank you, chaps. Astrojunta 02:45, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Creative Commons PD dedication?

Would it be appropriate for us to have a separate copyright tag for the Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication? Or is the situation already adequately covered by existing PD tags? Kelly 16:45, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

{{CC-PD}} /Lokal_Profil 22:50, 2 May 2008 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! I'll add it later to the copyright tag page. Kelly 23:25, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Chandra images - not PD-USGov-NASA?

Sorry if this has been covered before - I searched for a discussion but I couldn't find anything.

While trying to improve the source information of Image:Supernova cassiopeia-a.jpg, I've found its description page on the Chandra X-ray Observatory website. And, according to the "Image Use Policy" of that site, "The images on this web site may be used for non-commercial educational and public information purposes." I'm not sure if it means that Chandra images are copyrighted and Template:PD-USGov-NASA is not suitable for them. If the images are copyrighted, the template should be updated to include a warning similar to the one about the SOHO probe. And someone will have to delete everything in Category:Chandra images... --Daggerstab 14:59, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

Image:Sn2006gy CHANDRA x-ray.jpg links to a OTRS ticket so more information can be found there be someone with access. Rmhermen 15:03, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

This is fairly complex... some images at that site are not PD, but most are. Here is an excerpt from the OTRS mail, in which the education/outreach coordinator explains how to decode permissions...

The key to the credits is:

Organization funding or owning the telescope/PI's institution/PI's name.

So NASA/CXC/UC Berkeley/N. Smith et al. indicates NASA ownership of the telescope, we add CXC to indicate Chandra, then the PI's institution and the PI and/team for intellectual credit. If there is only one iteration of these three categories, and NASA is the name indicating ownership of the telescope, then the image or material is public domain. The other places simply give credit for the science discovery. If the first set of three is followed by a comma, and another credit in which the owner of the telescope is not named as NASA, then you have to get permission from the other organization to use that other layer or layers of the image.

This particular image has the credit (permission encoding) "NASA/CXC/GSFC/U.Hwang et al." so it is PD. Maybe we need a special box for these, as there are some very spectacular images there! ++Lar: t/c 00:08, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Photos taken by unknown amateur photographers

I was given some physical photos of a historically-important dead person for which the photographer is unknown. There are casual snapshots, not professionally taken photographs. Can I scan and put these in the Commons, or am I correct in fearing that they would be ineligible? Espertus 05:44, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

If you don't know who the copyright holders are, you may have to wait until it is reasonable to assume that they died more than 70 years ago. If it can be shown that the work was published anonymously more than 70 years ago, that may also be acceptable. LX (talk, contribs) 08:15, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Unfortunately, the photos were taken in the past fifty years. Espertus 18:08, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

Building vs Art UK copyright

This is based on this.

UK law allows pictures of buildings to be taken from public places. This does not allow inside of buildings, artistic works, or signs.

Problem One is this, which is considered by the owner not as a building, but part of an artistic design. It is also for amusement, which isn't a "building" under the law. I am sure they would fight those selling pictures of their work, and the ability to "sell" is a necessary part of the GFDL licensing.

Problem Two is with the rest that are more obviously problematic. This picture is from inside of a building. So is this, this, and this. Also, this is a "mural"/"advertising", which does not fall under the freedom of panorama. This one isn't taken on public property.

This is a difference from having the right to have a picture for your own use (which is just about any picture) and having a picture you can sell (which is "free use" under GFDL). I hope this concern makes sense. 13:44, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I forgot to mention, the statement about what "public" means at the bottom of the UK Freedom of Panorama section was from a book and has no basis in actual law. It would be misleading to follow that, as many books on law have been proven to be wrong on the issue before. 14:13, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
UK freedom of panorama is more liberal than that of most countries in that it is applicable inside museums and all other "premises open to the public" (see COM:FOP#United Kingdom and Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, part 1, chapter 3, section 62(1)(b); in most other countries, FOP does indeed only apply outdoors). As for the London Eye not being a building, do you have any references to back that up? I would assume it required a building permit rather than an amusement permit. ;) In any case, UK FOP applies to all "works of artistic craftsmanship" in public places (cf. US FOP, which only applies to buildings), so whether or not it is a building is irrelevant. As for Image:London 501593 fh000027.jpg, you may well have a point, as that would be a temporary display. The question there is if the inclusion of the advertisements are de minimis, which I would say they are probably not. LX (talk, contribs) 14:29, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, as I pointed out, the basis for claiming the UK is more liberal comes from a source that doesn't have the legal authority to claim such, which is a bad precedence to follow (the wording "if permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public." is vague at best, and "open to the public" is hard to determine from a picture, as a picture could easily be from trespassing or the like). And "artistic craftsmanship" is not the same as art, and if there is a difference between those two, then there is a large gray area that needs to be determined on which this is. I think we need to contact the London Eye people to find out what they consider the work (as a building, as art, as amusement, etc). The law does side on the most part with what the person who owns it feels the work is. I hope this makes sense. I just don't want articles to be screwed over because the pictures caught the attention of someone who wants to push the matter legally (and the London Eye company seems to be very litigious about their copyright, look at how they handle their own homepage's). :) 15:10, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
The basis for claiming that UK FOP applies in all premises open to the public is the wording of the law itself, which I quoted. If it were the legislators' intention for the law to apply only in outdoor places, they would have specified this. (For comparison, see the Swedish Lag (1960:729) om upphovsrätt till litterära och konstnärliga verk, chapter 2, §24 (1).) Instead, the legislators did not stop at the phrase "situated in a public place" but felt it necessary to further add "or in premises open to the public." If this second part were meaningless, it would not be there.
I share your concerns for Commons' legal integrity, but I see no indication on the London Eye website that the owners are particularly litigious or that they make any unfounded copyright claims. As for the law siding with the owner of material objects to allow them to define immaterial rights related to the object, I'm not aware of any principles that would support that. The law sides with itself. LX (talk, contribs) 15:56, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
LX, I just reread the law and ( it says): "This section applies to—(a) buildings, and (b) sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship, if permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public. "
Note that (a) buildings are not followed by "if situation in a public place or in premises open to the public" and this clause is only behind b. That would mean that artistic craftsmanship in a building could be taken pictures of, but not the architecture of the building, unless that is determined to be a separate component (and under another copyright). Unless, however, that can be determined as "artistic craftsmanship" and not the building. This is a very complicated legal matter, and I doubt the UK thought this through in 88. 15:19, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Even if your interpretation that the "public place" provision only applies to (b) were correct, I don't see any indication that the freedom of panorama for buildings would apply only to building exteriors. Again, if that were the intention, that's what it would say. Your doubts notwithstanding, the wording of legal statute is something that tends to get quite a lot of attention and scrutiny. LX (talk, contribs) 15:56, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. I wish that lawmakers would be more explicit and specific when crafting laws instead of doing half of a job and leaving it up for courts to decide. 16:01, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
LX, I want to note that the term "panorama" by definition would not include insides of buildings, as that would no longer be "panorama". A "panorama" picture is about outside areas that would coincidentally include copyrighted objects, but the inside of a building would not have such. The "freedom" is also not a law, but an idea along the lines of "fair use", and even "fair use" has been tested and restricted. 17:39, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
The law doesn't use the term panorama. Fair use is part of US law. Exactly what it means is subject to dispute but it is law. Under UK law there is no way for a photo to infinge the copyright on the london eye be it a building, work of artistic craftsmanship or useful article. If you think otherwise please build a case citeing statute or caselaw.Geni 18:09, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, when it comes to copyright law, the defendant would need to provide evidence as to why the item is not infringed by the picture. "Panorama" is so known as a "fair use" claim because the pictures deal with the "panorama" and coincidentally have the buildings in there, and that the pictures are intended to show a scene and not a building. However, it is obvious that the eye pictures in particular are there to show the Eye and not the panorama which coincidentally has the eye. Under UK law, there are many photos that do infringe on rights, especially if they are determined art or do not classify as buildings. A picture of a car, for example, cannot be "fair use" under "panorama". Furthermore, it is a judge, not a Wikimedia user, who determines what is and what isn't. This is to ensure that Wikimedia is not liable in such circumstances, and they are currently liable for not putting "panorama" justifications on the photos regardless of the specifics, which is troublesome. 23:42, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
I won't comment on all the factual inaccuracies of those statements, but I will highlight the main problem: you're confusing the concepts of fair use, freedom of panorama and de minimis inclusion. They are not the same thing, and they exist as separate terms for a reason. What is usually termed fair use (not accepted at Commons) is mainly governed by sections 29-30, 32-36 and 58-60. What we tend to call freedom of panorama is only governed by section 62. De minimis inclusion is covered in section 31. Note that section 62 places no limitation on the importance of the depicted building or artwork to the depiction. LX (talk, contribs) 00:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Seeing as how none of the terms are actual law, I think you are discriminating between the terms in an inaccurate matter. I have had experience with copyright law, and I know about the actual freedom to use copyrighted works, which, in any case, is termed "fair use" regardless of the fancy words one tries to dress up the action with. They do not exist as separate terms, nor do they exist under UK law. What matters if one has the ability to sell and distribute an item, and what kind of licensing exists. Since there is a copyright under the item, "freedom of panorama" would be dealt with the same as a CC lisenced item. Furthermore, the spirit of section 62 definitely places the importance on the item in question, which is pointed out by its use of "public".
Furthermore, I must question your statements here, since Wikimedia, Wikipedia, et al, require any "Freedom of Panorama" pictures to be described as such and an explanation of such under this freedom, which is not happening, nor have you mentioned a willingness to require this. Such a statement as requirement is explicit that Wikimedia regards such content as not "free" to distribute without such requirements. The fact that you overlooked such an important thing as this is rather troublesome. Why would you ignore this basic requirement to using such pictures? This requirement negates most of what you have stated up to this point on this matter. 01:08, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Either cite statute or caselaw to back your claims or drop them. Nothing in wikipedia or wikimedia policy requires that images that include Freedom of panorama elements be labled as such.Geni 01:15, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
here "If you take a picture of a copyrighted item in a country where freedom of panorama exists and wish to use your photo on Wikipedia, be sure to note where the photo was taken and what the panorama freedom law of that locale states." Care to apologize for being wrong? And you need case law to prove that you are allowed to produce something that is clearly copyrighted, not the opposite. 01:41, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Um that is an essay not policy. Statute law would be acceptable if you don't have any caselaw.Geni 09:05, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
You claimed it doesn't exist. I proved that you were wrong. You can continue if you want, but you have already been proven as wrong and that is enough to satisfy my part in this. 16:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
And if you are thinking that you can dismiss it as an "essay", that is the Wikipedia equivalent to the policy. So really, you can claim one thing, but all you will be saying is that there is no "policy" on Wikipedia for "freedom of panorama" as you claim, and therefore negate any claim that Wikipedia acknowledges such a right. The simple fact that it exists in the Wikipedia's version is telling of the general thought on the copyright issue, especially when there are various countries with various understandings on the matter. 16:22, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Umm essays are not policy in any way shape or form. What part of "It is not a policy or guideline, and editors are not obliged to follow it." do you not get?Geni 20:47, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
  • Note: According to here, "The author of an artistic work has the right to be identified whenever-" "in the case of a work of architecture in the form of a building or a model for a building, a sculpture or a work of artistic craftsmanship, copies of a graphic work representing it, or of a photograph of it, are issued to the public." This means that the original copyright holder must be identified in any representation of "aristic work" which is defined as "4.-(1) In this Part "artistic work" means- (a) a graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, irrespective of artistic quality,

(b) a work of architecture being a building or a model for a building, or (c) a work of artistic craftsmanship." This means that any "Freedom of Panorama" based pictures must have the copyright of the buildings identified if they are still under copyright. 01:48, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

That is a moral rights clause not copyright.Geni 09:08, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, its part of the copyright. You cannot dismiss it simply because it proves you as wrong. 16:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Um no look at the law it is in the moral rights section. Moral rights are not part of copyright in any way shape or form (they don't really make much sense at all under common law but that's the EU for you). Moral rights are a seperate area of IP.Geni 20:49, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Addtionally, we don't need to identify the architect unless requested, per section 78. Doesn't hurt to add it if known, but the lack of it is not really a problem. Carl Lindberg 14:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the clause states that if the author/copyright holder identifies him or herself, then they must be identified in all photographs of it. There is an identification of the architects upon the building, and if they do not hold the copyright, the company that runs the Eye does. Either way, they must be identified. 16:14, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Dear, why are you so keen to have photographs of the London Eye deleted? Do you have some personal interest? Unfortunately, none of your deletion arguments makes much legal sense. English courts typically take a pretty common-sense view, and in my view it is almost inconceivable that they would hold that this is not a building. It required planning permisson as a building, and falls with the Secction 4(1) definition whereby ""building" includes any fixed structure, and a part of a building or fixed structure". And before you raise the point: no, the fact that part of the building is moveable does not take it outside the definition of a "fixed structure". On the all the various other issues you have raised, LX is right. --MichaelMaggs 06:15, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

A mistake

I have imported the image called Image:Canon de la figure humaine d'après Albrecht Dürer.jpg another one is already here and is of better quality. I don't know how to destroy my importation. Could someone be kind enough to tell me? Thanks Jean-Luc W 22:21, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

You can add {{duplicate|name of the other image}}. --rimshottalk 17:14, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Jean-Luc W 20:28, 5 May 2008 (UTC)


Would Image:G-unit UBX.png (a record label logo) fall under Template:PD-ineligible? Spellcast 04:54, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Without a court decision, you can never be 100% sure, but that doesn't seem like an unreasonable assumption to me. I don't think the uploader should claim to be the copyright holder, though, or claim that it's under a license which presupposes the image being copyrighted. (That would be a violation of copyright laws if the image truly is not copyrightable.) LX (talk, contribs) 16:50, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, {{PD-textlogo}} should apply, especially for a U.S. logo. Carl Lindberg 03:07, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

Crazy horse memorial

Since the Crazy Horse Memorial is a private undertaking, not a government project, wouldn't images of it be considered non-free derivative works? Kelly 16:41, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

I think you may be right. Probably a suitable candidate for a mass deletion request. One question to keep in mind is whether or not it's located in an Indian reservation and whether or not that has any implications on the applicability of US copyright laws. LX (talk, contribs) 17:15, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Commons:Deletion requests/Crazy Horse Memorial. Kelly 18:01, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

1912 Swiss postcard: public domain?

Is the bottom half of [16] public domain, or is it not known? Thank you. --NE2 12:34, 8 May 2008 (UTC)

It's PD if the photographer, whose name is given on the backside (upper half of the image), died long ago enough. the photographer was "F. Beeler, Brunnen". "Brunnen" is a city in the canton of Schwyz, at the north end of the road pictured, the Category:Axenstrasse. If the photographer died before 1943, the postcard is PD in Switzerland and in the U.S., and you could upload the image locally at the English Wikipedia. If he died more than 70 years ago, you may upload the image here. If you can't figure out the year the photographer died, the copyright status is unknown. HTH, Lupo 13:17, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
"F. Beeler" was "Franz Beeler". Lupo 13:24, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
And it's PD in the U.S. anyway as it was published before 1923. So, figure out when Franz Beeler died, and if that was more than 70 years ago, it's fine. Lupo 13:27, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
How would I figure out when he died? --NE2 23:46, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
That's the hard part. Parish register of Brunnen, canton of Schwyz, Switzerland? Lupo 06:34, 9 May 2008 (UTC)