Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 12

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Archive 11 |
Archive 12
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Film trailers

Per this license template Template:PD-US-not renewed- is it OK to assume that all trailers published in the U.S. with a copyright notice up until December 31, 1963 are in the public domain?

Can someone also confirm whether or not simply the name of the movie studio on the trailer qualifies as a copyright notice? Thanks Gustav VH 23:28, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

Country of origin with derivative works

Policy requires: "Uploads of non-U.S. works are allowed only if the work is covered by a free license valid in both the U.S. and the country of origin of the work".

I want to ask about an exotic case. Work A is published and subject to copyright in the EU. As a matter of law, Work A in PD-ineligible in the US. An author takes Work A and creates a derivative Work B published in the US. That author releases Work B under a free license (with the intent that this apply globally). However, in the EU, this would be a problem since the underlying Work A was still subject to copyright.

Nominally the country of origin for Work B is the US, so the letter of the policy would be satisfied, though arguably the spirit of the policy is not.

Should Work B be allowed on Commons or not? Should we worry about the country of origin of all component parts of a work, in addition to the final composition? Dragons flight 04:59, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Based on this, would it be suitable for me to license an image from under a free license? J.delanoygabsadds 18:47, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Don't think so. The only thing I can read out of this is that findagrave doesn't claim any copyright on the images that were uploaded. And that they are not responsible for any copyright issues concerning the uploads. But that doesn't change the rights of the uploaders of the pics (and that some of them upload pics where they don't have the rights). -- Cecil 19:00, 12 May 2008 (UTC)

Warren Commission Report

Commons:Deletion requests/Image:CE369.jpg is about Image:CE369.jpg, but is likely to have an impact on a lot of material under Category:Assassination of John F. Kennedy for instance. As I understand it, a government report such as the WC report is PD, non PD being the exception, such as possibly (see en:WP:PD#U.S. government works) a work produced by a contractor. In other words, in order to reject the PD tag, one should have to determine that the work was produced by a contractor and that the contractor retained the copyright on this work. Feedback anybody? Bradipus 10:09, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

A photograph is a US government work if it is produced by an employee of the government or by a contractor under a contract that explicitly states that the outcome will be a work for hire. This must be demonstrated for the PD tag to be considered valid.
Inclusion of a copyrighted photograph in a work produced by the government does not void the photographer's copyright. The government can exercise fair use like anyone else, but exemptions from copyright protection only apply to otherwise copyrightable elements of creativity introduced by the government employees (for example, the text of the report).
In this case, the modifications made to the photograph by the author of the report most likely do not merit copyright protection, regardless of the author's status as a government employee or contractor, because of the low level of originality. Consequently, it becomes a question of whether the photographer is a government employee or a contractor producing a work for hire, neither of which appear to be the case. LX (talk, contribs) 10:51, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, this is a much too narrow conception of PD (or a much too broad conception of the exceptions to the PD). The photograph was not produced by a photographer working as a contractor, but brought to the WC as part of the testimony of the photographer. Why would the photograph be copyrighted and not the words of the photographer during his testimony? Besides, in this case, the cropped and marked version is a derivative work in my opinion: this is not just cutting the picture and marking it, it is transforming the picture into an artefact supporting a specific point adressed by the WC. Bradipus 11:12, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
If it were true that entering a copyrighted work into evidence would have the effect of placing it into the public domain, then we'd end up with the absurd situation that taking a copyright matter to court would be an entirely self-defeating act. As for the image being a derivative work: derivative works are subject to the copyright of the original work in addition to rights associated with any copyrightable modifications; it's a cumulative process, not a subtractive one. This is why we do not allow derivative works based on non-free original works at Commons. LX (talk, contribs) 13:00, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
I was trying to sort out information on copyright...US laws sure are funny, but hard to grasp. OK, Altgens picture was published for the 1st time in the US probably before 1964. Does it make a work that could be submitted to this? Bradipus 15:18, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
After some more research, I finally found this page in the WC Report, which I struggle to understand. It contains copyright notice for some reproduced stuff (such as this one), but no copyright notice (just "credit") for others (such as the full version of the Altgens picture. I do not clearly understand why some pictures have no copyright notice, or the impact of the absence of any notice at all for the reworked version of the Altgens pic, or to what extent the absence of copyright notice implies something in relation with this or the above referred "pre-1964 exception". Bradipus 16:07, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the federal government of the US can own copyright on materials, if the copyright was transferred to them from a contractor or third party. For example, the U.S. Mint owns copyright on a number of coin designs used in collector pieces. Generally though this is the exception rather than the rule. Dcoetzee 23:09, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
There is a difference between "public record" material (where anyone has a right to examine the material, but not necessarily a right to sell, make derivative works, etc.) and "public domain", which is a complete lack of copyright protection. Court evidence is public record, but its copyright status is unchanged. Material created by government employees (and often contractors) is public domain; this would include the text of the Warren Report but any included images etc. are separate works with separate copyright. Obviously, the evidence should easily qualify for fair use on en-wiki, if nothing else. If the photograph in question was published in 1963 (seems likely) and copyright was not renewed by the AP in 1991, then it is public domain. If it was renewed, then usual copyrights apply. Carl Lindberg 14:17, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

sustainable photography

I thought about introducing a new policy called "sustainable photography" or the likes. For example, in many old places, taking photography with flash is forbidden. Images that have been uploaded using flash in places where it is known they shouldn't be should be deleted. Or would this fall under general Commons policy anyways? Also how about animal pictures "No animal or living being was hurt while taking this image" or something like that? Gryffindor 21:34, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

It isn't commons's job to enforce conservation policies. Animal rights issues are also not within our mandate nor are human rights issues.Geni 21:42, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Geni. Also, since we're not paying people for photogrphs, we're doing nothing to encourage inappropriate behaviour (like tabloids encourage paparazzi, by paying them). Anyways, I would like to hear your reasoning for adding warnings like this or this. I don't see what support that has in existing policy. I hope nothings been deleted under such a warning. --Rob 22:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
Agreed as well... commons should not police these photos. If you wanted to add a note to an image which politely points out the damaging effect of light and therefore why flash shouldn't be used in many museums and similar places, in order to discourage people from taking such photos in the future, that might be OK (or a template to that effect). You could also try to get wikipedia projects to use alternate non-flash photos in preference to them. In the end though, those are editorial decisions, and commons does not make those, so I would not support any effort to delete them. Carl Lindberg 03:21, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Why would you want Commons to do that? Personal beliefs? Please do not add warnings like that again. We have no such policy and never should. Rocket000 06:38, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
While I don't think Commons should adopt such a policy, I appreciate your concern about the ethical behaviour of Commons photographers. Perhaps we could write a guideline about it: don't use flash on fragile objects, don't attempt to photograph endangered species without knowing what you're doing, respect people's privacy, etc.
Concerning museums, I have serious doubts concerning many flash forbidding policies. There seem safe and sound for old tapestries, frescoes and so on, but you also see such warnings for stone sculptures or in places continuously lit by direct sunshine. I would be very interested by an detailed explanation (a Wikipedia article, perhaps?) of the effects of flash photography on museum exhibits. Jastrow (Λέγετε) 07:49, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, we should at least have an ethical guideline. Gryffindor 11:06, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I've thought that it would be helpful to have something like this, however more along the lines of that photographers should exercise reasonable care and prudence when taking or attempting to take photos so as not place themselves at undue risk of bodily harm, getting into legal trouble, etc. for taking photos of x. It isn't Commons' job to police these things, but we don't want people getting in trouble with the authorities for example, and their excuse is "I was trying to take a photo of x for the benefit of Wikimedia Commons." However it is still up to the individual photographer (s) if they themselves want to put themselves at risk, and Commons shouldn't be liable for their actions. That could turn up a bigger can of works re. liability now, but does it really apply to Commons photographers since we're all volunteers? BrokenSphere 16:22, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

note: Category:Galleria degli Uffizi has been protected by User:Gryffindor to keep the warning, threatening deletion. I strongly object to one admin inventing deletion policy. --Rob 14:41, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

That's been reverted now. See also COM:VP#Edit war and admin protection on museum dispute. --MichaelMaggs 17:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it raises liability issues as we are all volunteers. Now, if we became an accredited photographer on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation: that'd be a different story; but in this sense I do not believe we are agents of the WF and therefore the WF is not legally responsible for our actions. --Bossi (talkgallerycontrib) 20:35, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
The argument can always be made that the photo was taken in a personal capacity, then the photographer later decided to upload it here. Although recently I have been deliberately taking photos with the intent before I pressed the shutter button that this would get uploaded. BrokenSphere 20:50, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

This is a non-issue. What people do outside of Commons is none of our concern. Everyone has their own ethical standards and their actions will be based on those alone and not someone else's. We're not responsible for what some photographers decide to do—we're not telling them what to do. So let's not start now. Rocket000 04:30, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

There's a related issue, though. By observing the restrictions, photographers generate less-than-ideal images. They may still be the best available usable image. There should be a way of tagging them to indicate that the image quality compromise was made for a good reason. LeadSongDog 16:22, 7 May 2008 (UTC)

That's implying everyone agrees what a "good reason" is. For example, I think sometimes it's justified to do something that some may consider wrong, i.e. experimenting on animals, if it serves a greater good, i.e. curing cancer. A similar parallel can be made with photographing. Providing the world with images of things they would never normally get to see or otherwise experience may be the motive in some situations. Maybe the person just doesn't care about certain rules and will continue to take those photos regardless of whether we use them or not. By not using them or using one of less of lesser quality/value we are only screwing ourselves to make some kind of ethical stand. There are sacrifices. And when and where we make those are entirely subjective. It's best to stay neutral. Rocket000 17:13, 7 May 2008 (UTC)
A guideline on photographer ethics is perfectly reasonable, but there's no reason we should prohibit certain types of images, particularly because a large proportion of our images are not taken by Commons members. If museum staff take a single "official" photo of a painting using flash and then release it under a free license, we want to use it. If a Flickr member takes an unethical picture and releases it under a free license, the damage is already done and nothing we could have done would have discouraged them, as they don't even know about us. The very fact that we're constructing a diverse archive allows contributors to at least target photographs of things that haven't been already photographed, instead of flashing the same artwork thousands of times. Dcoetzee 23:00, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyright question (vague, much?)

Regarding Image:Van Wouw met twee hoekfigure.png. A picture taken in Rome between 1896 and 1899 by an unknown person. It was only ever published in South Africa, but at the time of publishing it was already in the Public Domain, as far as South African copyright law is concerned. I have no idea how te determine the international copyright status of the picture, or which licensing tag(s) to add. Any advice would be appreciated. Anrie 08:16, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Photos from the French Government

We have a lot of photos from various French government agencies ([1], [2], [3], [4] etc.) May I nuke them on sight per Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Borloo- Fillon - Lagarde Une 500.jpg, or do I need to open deletion requests? --Kjetil_r 00:16, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Nominate. It's a case-by-case thing - just like an individual, the French government may elect to make certain images available under more liberal terms (although it appears that they're rarely inclined to do so). There's certainly nothing wrong with mass-nominating images from a single source, covered by a single license statement - this would help expedite things. Dcoetzee 02:51, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Publishers identification of illustrations as "copyright free"

I have a copy of this Dover Publications book. The linked publisher's site mentions that it has "400 royalty-free illustrations". The book itself (on its back cover) says: "Accompanied by a scrupulously researched and well-documented text, these copyright-free illustrations not only offer general readers an intriguing and authentic insight into a past age...[etc]". Many booksellers show the complete blurb printed on the back cover of the book including [5] and [6]

The illustrations are sketches of medieval art and artifacts, made by Eduard Wagner, who died in 1984. The book was first published in Czechoslvakia in 1956, then the English language edition published in London, 1958. The US Dover edition, from which I wish to make copies, was published in 2000.

Presuming I can take the publishers' word about the copyright status of the illustrations, what tag will I use? I presume it is one of the public domain ones? (But which?) Many thanks. Gwinva 23:22, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

That would be on a case-by-case basis. Some (I suspect most, if not all) will be {{PD-old}}. If they aren't covered by this, you can use {{PD-because}}. Lewis Collard! (hai thar, wut u doin) 02:59, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Photos of paintings from a UK location

According to Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag, the {{PD-Art}} tag should not be used for photographs of paintings taken in a country (such as the UK) where faithful photographic reproductions of 2D works of art are generally considered to be protected by copyright. Most likely the majority of the photos of UK paintings on Commons were taken in the UK in which case the photos are not automatically in the public domain unless it could be shown that the photos were taken outside of the UK. Many of the uploaded photos of UK-based paintings either use either PD-Art or PD-Old. Should these photos be kept on Commons or should they be deleted until a license is obtained from the copyright holder? -- 13:01, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

When you put an image on a server that can be viewed from the US copyright wise you are effectively publishing in the US. Or at least that is the line of attack I've tended to follow.Geni 13:40, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
So which template would you use to upload a photograph of a UK-based painting? If one takes a look at Template:PD-Art, there is the sentence, This photograph was taken in the U.S. or in another country where a similar rule applies (for a list of allowable countries, see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag#Country-specific rules). Following the link one scrolls down to the rules for the UK. It seems copyright is granted to the photographs of UK-based paintings. So in principle, we would need to get a license for every copyrighted photograph of a UK-based painting. -- 14:26, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Because the UK grants a copyright on the photograph, an image of an old work of art would need to establish that the artwork was out of copyright (e.g. {{PD-old}}) and that the photographer releases their potential copyright by making a free license declaration or similar. If the photograph was taken by a Wikimedian, it is usually pretty easy to obtain such a release. If the image was copied from a museum website or similar third party source then it may need to be deleted. Dragons flight 14:35, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
Let's take concrete examples old works of art then. There are a large number of photographs of paintings of English royalty such as [7], [8], and [9]. Most do not say where the photographs were taken. But I would guess that it would be easy to find the museum where the original painting is kept (and is likely the place where the photograph was taken). So if the paintings are in the UK would these images be candidates for deletion because we do not have a license from the unknown photographer/copyright holder? If so, then there are a lot of images of UK paintings that would be candidates! I find this to be a bit worrisome. Or do we just leave them in Commons until the copyright holder demands that it be taken down? -- 15:10, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
These are indeed problematic, as the were probably taken in the UK by someone other than the uploader and we have no licence from the photographer. {{PD-art}} cannot be used in the UK. If it can be shown that the paintings are held in a non-UK museum where {{PD-art}} is allowed, the relevant information should be added. Absent that, there's a high probability that they are copyvios of the work of a UK photographer and should be deleted. I have nominated them. --MichaelMaggs 06:47, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
It was not my intention to start a campaign of the wholesale deletion of photos of UK-based paintings. There are a significant number of such photos and simply removing them would seriously damage all the encyclopedias. The photos have been sitting in Commons for at least two years. Would it not be better to start a campaign to either obtain alternate photos or to obtain licenses for the current photos? I think a gradual replacement programme would be less disruptive. -- 10:05, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
Both are imposible Galleries will not freely license and many of the paintings are in storage/on display with photography banned. Instead we simply take the view that if such an institution puts the image online they effectively put them in the US where their use is not a copyright violation. It would in any case not be the first non us copyright law we judge to be unreasonable and ignore (an italian law creates simular issues).Geni 11:30, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
So now we have two possible solutions: either delete photos of all UK-based paintings without a license as MichaelMaggs has started to do or assume that the UK law does not apply as the servers are based in the US as Geni suggested. I would be interested to know what template to use in the latter case so that the hosting of the images are legal. -- 14:44, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
No, actually, we don't have two options. The argument that we should apply only US law has been specifically excluded by the WMF Counsel: see m:User talk:Anthere/archives14#Ping?. Our policy is clear: the image must be free or licensed in both the US and the country of origin: see Commons:Licensing#Interaction of United States copyright law and foreign copyright law. There's no need to do a mass-delete, but as we come across these we should make a real effort to find which museum hold the painting and delete if the local law requires the photographer's licence. --MichaelMaggs 17:05, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
If so, then this really ought to be raised to the wider Wiki community. There are a lot of photos of UK-based paintings. And a lot of articles rely on these photos. The ones you nominated for deletion are used as the major picture at the top of their respective articles. Doing a creeping-delete of these images will result in a lot of unnecessary wiki-drama. We should either find a general solution or announce to the community that this delete programme has started so that people can arrange alternate solutions. -- 17:15, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

(←) Well, strictly speaking, we don't delete those files wholesale because we were told not to go on a deletion spree. Our revered Board is still pondering these issues, and Anthère even proposed once to discuss these problems at Wikimania in Alexandria. I don't know if this item is really on the agenda, though. If I were going (I can't, unfortunately), I would have made sure it was discussed there. Basically we're still holding off in the hope that the WMF can come up with a creative solution that would allow us to keep these images while still satisfying the legal constraints.

We're also not mass-deleting images taken in UK museums because some such images may actually be perfectly fine. If a Wikipedian takes a photo of such a painting, the copyright is his, and he's free to license it freely. (We don't care about museums' house rules as we—the Commons and the WMF—are not party to any contract with the museum, if there is one at all.) If he's American and publishes his photo on the U.S. servers of the WMF, there's no doubt that Bridgeman applies. Images from UK museum websites (or from other websites where we must assume that the image originally came from a UK site or a UK photographer other than the uploader) are critical, though, and when we become aware of such images, we usually open a deletion request for them.

There isn't much wikidrama about these cases. This annoying aspect of UK copyright law is pretty well accepted here. A simple solution to salvage such images is to move them to the English Wikipedia (and tag them there with {{Do not move to Commons}}). That may sound schizophrenic, especially since the file will remain physically on, but the English Wikipedia operates exclusively under U.S. law and can thus apply Bridgeman across the board also to foreign photos. We can't, because images here also must be free in the source country. Lupo 20:29, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Ah, ok, so to avoid drama, if a image is removed off of Commons, then it can be reloaded on It sounds like a solution based on a technicality and appears somewhat fragile. I do hope a general solution can found. -- 18:12, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Revise our interpretation of UK law, ignore all claims of copyright for faithful reproduction, set up a small legal defense fund (litigation in UK is not that expensive) and keep all images. We are here to fight for free content, were are not here to duck and cover because of a single stone age verdict, that is interpreted in various ways by legal scholars, has not been challenged in decades and might or might nor be upheld by today's courts. Legal scholars in the UK are not unanimously supporting the claims, so we should stand on the side of free content and be prepared to fight for it. In court, if necessary. We already ignore much better documented and supported parts of UK copyright such as the the perpetual copyright of the King James Bible for the crown. We host a copy of that at Wikisource, despite it is clearly illegal in the UK. --h-stt !? 10:11, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyright in Germany- Jugendstil Stained Glass

Can ask for second opinion on these images - 2. I am assuming Panoramafreiheit, as I was legally in a public building that is open daily. I cannot find any opinions to say that these interiors are restricted- but cannot see a reference to glass in German Wikipedia. Any thoughts? ClemRutter 17:58, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Panoramafreiheit (freedom of panorama) only applies to photos taken outdoors, not inside buildings. I guess the copyright status of this window depends on whether the creator died more than 70 years ago. If not, its still copyrighted and the images need to be deleted unfortunately. --Kam Solusar 00:38, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

Attribution of Images in Broadcast Graphics

If someone wanted to use an image from Wikimedia Commons in a broadcast television graphic, what are the options for attribution? It is impractical to attach the attribution to the graphic itself. Could the attribution be in the final credits of the show? Could a URL be displayed at the end of a show directing viewers to a site that displays the attributions?

Thanks. --Gblau 19:34, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

It depends on the license that the images are under, and if/how the author requests attribution. Have you got a specific image in mind? In general, have a read of the text of the license; that will give any attribution requirements. You could also try contacting the image creator to ask for their views on how they would like to be attributed. Mike Peel 09:11, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
The details would be in the text of the licenses, which may not have been written with films in mind (especially the GFDL). Placement in final credits is most likely fine (since that is where credits usually are). You probably would need to include the basic attribution info directly in the film though, and the GFDL may be especially problematic (I think there is a requirement for the entire GFDL text to be included). But, you probably could not use GFDL images unless your film was licensed under the GFDL as well, so that may be a moot point (same goes for commons cc-by-sa; cc-by images should be fine though). Carl Lindberg 02:14, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyright Question, Museum Photos

Hi Folks, I'm very new to Wikipedia Commons so please excuse me if these questions are not appropriate for this talk page. I'm also very new to copyright laws - so help would be greatly appreciated.

I am interested in using two images from Wikipedia Commons in a commercial computer game (distributed in North America and possibly Europe). Below, I have referenced the two images and some of the questions I have.

Image:Hannibal Slodtz Louvre MR2093.jpg Supposed license: Public Domain This is a photo of a statue from the Louvre. I believe the uploader took the picture himself.

I contacted the Louvre about licensing and they redirected me to a company called RMN Photo. RMN Photo has yet to respond to three requests for information. I suppose this isn't surprising since they sell their own photo of the exact same statue. Why would someone buy their version of the image when a public domain version is available for free??!

Is it ok to use an image like this (someone's photograph of a Louvre statue that they then have put into the public domain)? What are people's feel for the risk associated with using this image in a commercial project?

Image:Zama.jpg Supposed license: Public Domain This is a photo of the Battle of Zama by Cornelus Cort. I contacted the Art Institute of Chicago (current owner of the painting) to ask them what they thought of this image being public domain. They responded with this statement, "[the museum] does not currently claim to own the copyright for the underlying painting, although we do own the copyright for any digital images of the painting created by our museum."

I asked the user that uploaded Zama.jpg where the image came from. He was not able to provide the original source.

Is it possible that Zama.jpg has a copyright holder somewhere out there (much like the museum claims they would hold the copyright to their digital version)? What are people's feel for the risk associated with using this image in a commercial project?

Thank you in advance, Cranke boy 22:40, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, you're more than welcome to use both without any worries (yes, even for commercial purposes). That's the whole point of the Commons. Anrie 06:11, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Zee first is fine the second would depend on where you are.Geni 13:19, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
For the first, the Louvre does not own any copyright (RMN Photo would not either), so there is no copyright issue with your using the photo. You probably want to credit the photo author though to preserve their moral rights, and according to Commons:Licensing#Works_of_arts.2C_including_architecture.2C_exhibited_in_public_spaces, the Louvre may oppose a use if it results in an "abnormal disturbance" to them. There is no copyright issue though. For the second, per Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp., exact reproductions like the one above are not copyrightable in the United States (despite the museum's claims). However, some other countries might recognize a copyright, and if your use is in one of those countries, the photographer could in theory raise an objection there. Of course they would have to prove that it is their photograph and not just something very similar, plus that it would not be covered under fair use/fair dealing/etc. The risk seems to me to be extremely remote at most, but I'm certainly no lawyer and also have no idea how you intend to use it, and so on. Carl Lindberg 16:46, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Images of SS Great Britain

Several years ago I uploaded some images of the en:SS Great Britain under CC-By-SA 2.5. I've just noticed that the SS Great Britain website says that "Reproduction of photos for commercial use is not permitted" [10]. I've sent a message to the SS Great Britain Trust asking whether they have an objection to the photographs, but I have yet to receive a reply. As far as I understand it, because the photographs were taken on private property, the owners of that property have the right to put constraints on the image license, which would mean that I would have to relicence them as CC-BY-SA-NC. I believe that this license is not allowed either here nor on Wikipedia, meaning that the images would have to be deleted? Thanks. Mike Peel 09:24, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

In general, copyright belongs to the photographer -- not completely sure about the UK, but that would be true for this situation in the US. They could argue some form of trespass, or some sort of implied contract, though that is not too likely. See v:Museum_photography#House_rules:_legal_and_psychological_aspects. If they did not make that restriction clear to you when you actually visited (i.e. an obvious sign, or announcement, or something like that), then there is no chance of even that -- a notice put on a website wouldn't count for those. In any event, the situation is between the photographer and the museum -- it is not a copyright violation to host them, so if the photographer still wants to upload them, we will keep the photos. That said, if you feel you want to respect the museum's wishes, or feel uncomfortable about them being on commons, then we will typically let them be deleted. If you wanted to change to CC-BY-SA-NC, then yes they would have to be deleted. Carl Lindberg 03:04, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
The images are perfectly OK as the ship itself has no copyright and the copyright status of the photographs is not affected by any private contract made between the site owners and the photographer. Please see Commons:Image casebook#Museum photography. --MichaelMaggs 05:57, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
As I haven't received a reply from the SS Great Britain Trust, I'll assume that they are fine for now. Thanks for the help. Mike Peel 09:03, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
From my own visits there, I have not seen anything telling you about a photo policy. -mattbuck (Talk) 12:16, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Copyright in Hungary

According to Hungarian copyright law (translation available from unesco), only "artistic" photgraphs are covered by copyright. Anyone know what definition of "artistic" they are using? Does this mean historic photographs taken for documentary rather than artistic purposes are Public Domain? - Themightyquill 17:09, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't think we know... some countries have the meaning as snapshots vs. photographs which are artistically set up, lit, etc.; other countries have the line as photocopies vs. something just slightly more involved. See User:Lupo/Simple Photographs for some thoughts on the matter. If you know of any specific examples or further information on what Hungary considers "artistic" vs. "non-artistic", it would be appreciated. Carl Lindberg 04:00, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Couldn't there be a new PD-image template set up for Hungary here, for "non-artistic" photographs? - Themightyquill 16:27, 21 May 2008 (UTC)

Belgian Army military insignias

Many images like Image:BE-Air_Force-OF1a.gif (can be seen right of this text) are tagged with the old Military-Insignia template ("Military-Insignia identifies the work as being an insignia of a military rank. However, this is not an automatic indication that it is public domain."), while others, e.g. Image:1MR_BNC.jpg are marked as GFDL or CC. How is the legal situation about images of Belgian Army military insignias a) in Belgium and b) on Commons? --Mgmax 15:28, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Is PD-shape appropriate for a vectorization of such a picture? --Mgmax 15:31, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

Usually, the copyright is owned by whoever drew them. If they were copied from a Belgian government website, that is a problem (unless Belgium has a law exempting them from copyright as a few countries do), but if they were drawn by the uploader then they can be licensed however the uploader wants. I don't see the GFDL license; you gave the same image name twice. It is entirely possible there are additional non-copyright regulations with insignia like that in Belgium; if so the {{insignia}} template should be added to indicate this. The one image you mentioned (Image:BE-Air_Force-OF1a.gif) is probably PD-ineligible... it's just horizontal lines. If an appropriate licensing template cannot be determined though, images may have to be deleted. Carl Lindberg 15:34, 24 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer, I changed the second image link in my question and added another question below. --Mgmax 15:42, 25 May 2008 (UTC)
Yes, PD-shape is probably a good choice. The GFDL license on the other image seems dubious -- it would appear copied or cropped from another image -- but since it's nothing but a chevron, that would be PD-shape too. Carl Lindberg 14:30, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Photos of pd-art

Image:Portrait of Dona Isabel de Requesens.jpg. I have a question about media which are on one hand in the PD and on the other hand taken by with a camera. Is that reproduction automatically covered by PD-Art? --Mattes 19:00, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

No, because the work of art is situated permanently in Italy. See Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag and Commons talk:When to use the PD-Art tag#(repost) Italy.--Trixt 21:19, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Older US celebrity images

Can we please have a look at the matter of older images or film screenshots of celebrities which some users are trying to claim are in the public domain either because they haven't had their copyright renewed (Template:PD-US-not renewed) (I can't believe they have checked) or alternatively by claiming that an image was published without a copyright notice (Template:PD-US-no notice)- the problem in that case being that we see scans of negatives that were never published, or an image may have had a copyright notice in its original context which has been removed in an uploaded scan. Gustav VH 17:55, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

This is difficult, and will probably have to be done on a case by case basis. You're right that some images are undoubtedly tagged inaccurately. Suspicious files should be nominated for deletion. However, given constant copyright extensions, we should publish works that have actually expired. Superm401 - Talk 13:57, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your response, one lot of such images are here Commons:Deletion requests/Howard Frank Archives images, and another one Commons:Deletion requests/Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant image. The first are images originally uploaded to wikipedia by a photo archive. The problem is the archive admitted they do not own the copyright to the items, only the negatives. The last image is a publicity or on set photo of a film that has fallen into the public domain. While the film may be public domain, I don't see that this necessarily applies to all publicity photos. Gustav VH 17:50, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Superm401's comments - it is difficult and it may need to be looked at on a case by case basis. In regards to the two examples given, I agree with you. Are there others that you are doubtful about? Rossrs 13:37, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I'd appreciate if you could contribute to the deletion discussions above as there seems to be a lack of people paying attention these ATM. There are also these images Commons:Deletion requests/Voice of America, all taken from the Voice of America website. If you look at the website terms & conditions (under copyright statement), it specifically excludes images from being public domain. Going slightly off topic, another image taken from a radio website Image:Jean-Marie-Lustiger.jpg may be equally dubious. Gustav VH 17:05, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
I've commented on the Voice of America discussion. I don't feel qualified to comment on the Howard Frank images - I'm just not sure what the correct answer is. Here's another example - Image:Audrey Hepburn 20.jpg is claimed to be from the film's trailer. It's not. Even comparing it with other images from the trailer, it lacks the grainy "film" texture and looks more like a promo photo. The trailer is viewable on various sites so it's easily verified. Rossrs 13:51, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Look at what the original uploader themselves stated in the license page they created for the images here he states:
"We only can grant copyright rights to their fair use in editorial or non-commercial contexts. "
I think the uploader simply didn't understand that commons images had to be completely free to use without fear of having to pay royalties which is clearly not the case with these images as stated by their own uploader. Gustav VH 22:46, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
That section seems to be purely about {{personality rights}}; obviously the copyright holder of the photograph does not own those. That is true no matter who owns the copyright (or even for PD photos); use in advertising or other particular commercial contexts would not be OK for photos of people without a model release (though many commercial usages are OK as well), but since that is always the case commons still accepts them provided the copyright is OK. If you feel the uploader is further restricting their copyright license in those situations (so that a use would be both a personality rights violation and a copyright violation), then that is a problem. Many commercial usages (say, putting it in a for-sale book) are fine though; it is just advertising, using it in a defamatory way, and similar situations which are a problem. The copyright licensing statement above that section seems a bit problematic though -- is that a wikipedia-only license or not (are users of secondary works created by wikipedia users OK, and what about other wikimedia projects?) -- but I think the section you mention is just a verbose way of saying what the personality rights template does. Carl Lindberg 01:28, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Belgium railway timetable from 1933

I have in my personal collection a railway timetable from the summer off 1933. There is a lot off usefull information I can take a foto off and upload on the commons. My reading is that this is in the public domain, because the book is older than 70 years ago. Which licence code do I use? Al codes talk off authors having died, wich is not applicable in this case. The company which pusblished the timetable, The Belgian railways, stil exists.

Greetings, Smiley.toerist 12:28, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

It's not necessarily public domain. Current Belgian law indicates a copyright term of 70 years after the author's death. Absent another reason, we have to assume the book is copyrighted. Superm401 - Talk 17:23, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
If the author is known, I think it is still 70 years after his/her death. If there is no author credited in the publicaiton, then {{Anonymous-EU}} probably applies. Carl Lindberg 17:53, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

The Watchmen style smiley face

This question might be a bit dumb, but I was wondering if the bloodied smiley used in the Watchmen comics enjoys some sort of trademark protection or something. I've drawn a replica or a smiley that pretty much resembles the Watchmen smiley, and now I'm wondering as to how freely it could be used. --Methem 11:15, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't know if trademark protection would apply or not, but it would definitely be protected under copyright. So the answer to your question is not very freely at all. Probably only fair-use would apply, and that isn't permitted on Commons. Regards, Ben Aveling 12:11, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. --Methem 13:35, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

PD-scan & UK law

I have some doubts on the validity of PD-scan in the UK. Please have a look at Commons talk:When to use the PD-scan tag#UK_Law. --Jaqen 14:11, 1 June 2008 (UTC)


I have seen a site with images produced by themselves, wich has the symbol "copyleft © 2005" at a corner, and below it states "La información vertida está sujeta a cambios debido a que la investigación sobre su paradero aún no concluye. Se permite su reproducción siempre y cuando se cite como fuente:". Translated to english, it says "The information is subject to changes because the investigation about her whereabouts is not over yet. Reproduction is allowed as long as is cited as source"

Are the images hosted in the site free for being uploaded to Commons, or do I need to ask for futher permission? Thialfi 17:49, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

As you may know, copyleft refers to "viral" or share-alike licensing terms, and may imply the four freedoms, but it's not a license in itself. Interpreted cautiously, the statement does not permit use of modified copies of the works. I suggest contacting them to obtain a clearer licensing statement. My suggestion based on the existing statement is {{attribution}}. LX (talk, contribs) 20:53, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

cc-by-nc-nd-2.0 modified

hello, I have a question regarding the license of this image. The original picture ([11]) (which include a people arms opened) was published under cc-by-nc-nd-2.0 licence... so User:Riana_dzasta posed an template in june 2007 ... but User:Para, a year earlier, cleaned the photo (removed the people)... so in this case what we should do ? PS: Some better image already exist for this building... so a deletion wouldn't be a problem --GdGourou - °o° - Talk to me 09:34, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, by the look of it the image was uploaded but not flickr reviewed for over a year, so there's no evidence the licence was correct at the time. I think it should probably be deleted. -mattbuck (Talk) 09:45, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, it was also my first impression... perhaps I would wait some over advice to engage a Deletion Request... --GdGourou - °o° - Talk to me 10:26, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

CoAs of Austrian municipalities

Does anyone know if {{PD-AustrianGov}} covers coat of arms of Austrian municipalities as well as that of states? /Lokal_Profil 03:10, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Only for Vienna as far as I know. The rest of austria (with the exception of State Coat of Arms and State Flags) might be restricted by local law of the state or district or even the town.
Normally restrictions apply on modifications that go against the state or district. So it's not totally free, but authors in Austria and elsewhere usually also reserve the right, that works of their own might might not be used against their creator's personality rights. But some towns have really strange regulations on their coat of arms. --Yamavu 07:57, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
OK, then I guess {{Coat gaertner vbg}}, {{Coat gaertner sbg}}, {{Coat gaertner ooe}}, {{Coat gaertner ca}} and {{Coat gaertner tirol}} and all images tagged only with these tags (and all derivatives) should be deleted. /Lokal_Profil 18:51, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
Regulations on coats of arms are almost always OK... we tag those with {{insignia}} to note the restrictions, as this is a restriction outside of copyright which applies no matter who the author is. The question is where did the images come from... if there is no law which deems them automatically public domain from a copyright standpoint (or PD as a government work), then the copyright is the property of each author -- they can be drawn and licensed by uploaders as normal, but can't be copied from town websites, etc. since they are likely still under copyright (or the status is unknown). Carl Lindberg 01:58, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
The above mentioned templates all got deprecated because the source wasn't free (see Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Coat gaertner). They later on got replaced by {{Coat of Arms}} which is not a license template. Currently (almost) non of the iamges with these tags have a proper license tag. I guess they could all be tagged by "no license" but I'm sure there must be a more efficient way to do that then to go image by image. /Lokal_Profil 14:28, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Reading through the original discussions I'm quite shocked. If these images were indeed drawn by Fahnen Gärtner and co. then these images are indeed copyrighted and the original deletion of the licence templates was unjustified. Again, the question is who drew the images, if it was a government source then we have to look into Austrian law. If it was a private source then whichever licence said source requested applies. It's once again the confusion between the blason (text description, which cannot be copyrighted) and the image (which is covered by copyright). Of course if Fahnen Gärtner's original licence was inappropriate for commons (for instance if it forbade commercial use) then the images should have been deleted, but not the licence changed/deleted. I haven't looked at these images thoroughly for some time, but I believe they are clearly from a single source, so we need not worry about them being from different artists from different municipalities (so either government or private source). Note, if the images have to be deleted new versions can easily be created by the various heraldic projects (I don't think german language wikipedia has a heraldic project yet, but I'm sure they could find some or else seek help from french of spanish language wikipedias which both have such projects).--Caranorn 16:35, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
How 'bout w:de:Portal:Wappen and concerning Austria: w:de:Wikipedia:Wappen/Österreich. --Yamavu 07:09, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
Didn't know about those two. The first indeed seems to create occasional new images but it's definitelly not its main purpouse. But I expect they would have sufficient experience to undertake the work if all those Austrian coats of arms had to be replaced. The second link on the other hand only seems to repertorise and the like, they are also the ones who uploaded the Gärtner and co. coat of arms (so they are directly concerned by this discussion). Hopefully both groups can work together.--Caranorn 11:21, 23 May 2008 (UTC)
So I guess I'll have to start a deletion request for these templates and all images tagged with it. Get around to it when I get back or when the wireless is back up. /Lokal_Profil 20:05, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Changing licenses

Last year when I didn't really know what I was doing, I uploaded some of my pictures with the GFDL license, but now I want them to be in the Public domain. So, can I change them over to PD without any problems? — DanMP5 17:48, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

In a word: yes. In a few more words: you can't revoke an appropriately issued GFDL or CC license or otherwise attempt to make the terms more restrictive, but putting a work into the public domain does not impose any new limits on anyone's ability to use the work, so that is fine, just like adding licenses to a work without attempting to revoke an old one. However, for the reasons already mentioned, you cannot change it back once you have put it into the public domain. LX (talk, contribs) 18:48, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. — DanMP5 19:31, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Possible copyright infringement

A few years ago i made some diagrams (Image:Toothed Whale Physical Characteristics.svg and Image:Baleen Whale Physical Characteristics.svg). I based them on some diagrams i found at the American Cetacean Society website ( Since then they have changed into svg format and i don't think the original PNGs are available, which i think had links to the sources. Anyway i got a message on my wikipedia talk page from the original creator.

Since this isn't a direct copy is this still a copyright infringement. I will at very least put the the source information back onto the image pages (they have also created other language variants), but was hoping not the delete them if its not necessary to do so. Chris_huh 21:59, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Images with source

If a creator has agreed to release his images for all usage, but only if the source is always indicated, can these then be uploaded to commons? Rune X2 12:37, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes. COM:L. Rocket000 12:57, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Images with copyrighted artwork in background?

Commons talk:Derivative works#derivative works of files from Wikimedia:Commons - always allowed?

On 28 May I posted the above query as I was confused by the concept of a Commons image with acceptable license (say GFDL), having parts that were copyrightableed. So that if I was to crop the GFDL image and upload it to Commons (following the same GFDL), the cropped image would be rejected because it was copyright. A US image with US contents, to keep it simple and avoid complex international differences.

I am still confused. User:Luxo kindly commented out one confusing statement in Commons:Derivative works and suggested we await other opinion.

Commons:Image_casebook#Art (copies of) appears to imply that a photo containing copyrighted posters is not allowed, and yet I was told that it is Ok as long as it is in the background. ?

Anyway please see the details in my post above. -Wikibob 16:47, 3 June 2008 (UTC) (copyright-ed not -able-Wikibob 16:50, 3 June 2008 (UTC))

Let's assume we have a photo with a copyright-protected poster in the background. There are two copyrights involved: that of the photographer and that of the poster-designer, and both may subsist independently. In taking the photo and uploading it to Commons, the photographer will of course be making a copy of the poster design, and without consent that will generally be an infringement and hence not allowed. The fact that the photographer has created a copyright of his/her own does not prevent the poster copyright from being infringed.
However, if the poster is entirely incidental to the overall subject-matter of the photograph (eg if the poster takes up a very small part of the image, or is largely hidden in the background), it may be considered de minimis: that comes from the phrase de minimis non curat lex: usually translated as "the law does not concern itself with trifles". In other words, a court would not be quick to uphold a claim of copyright infringement just because a photographer happened to include accidentally and incidentally a copyright-protected poster. In some countries - France comes to mind - a rule of this general type (but not in the same words) is set out explicitly; in others, it is just a rule of the court.
Be careful though: if the poster forms an essential part of the overall photographic composition, or if the photo was taken deliberately to include the poster, there is likely to be copyright infringement, and it is no defence to say that the poster was 'just in the background'. A useful test may be to ask whether the photograph would be as good or as useful if the poster were to be masked out. If no, then it is difficult to argue that the poster is actually de minimis.
Now, even if the photographer has personally escaped infringement on the de minimis principle, that does not negate the poster-designer's copyright. If I take the photo and crop it so that only the poster remains, the de minimis defence is not available to me, as of course the poster design is an essential part of my crop. So, the cropped version infringes and cannot be allowed on Commons. --MichaelMaggs 17:31, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for that clear explanation, Michael.

This means that Commons free images can contain minimal non-free parts in the background. And that a person making a derivative needs to be aware that cropping does not guarantee creating a free image. The Commons "Upload your own work" form indeed emphasises that images containing copyright works are not permitted. Also, the Commons "From Flickr" (where one of the CC-BY images came from), has "Keep in mind that Flickr users often don't know about copyright.", which I believe should be put in bold and made more obvious. The Commons "a derivative work of a file from Commons" leads to a tool that seems to simplify attributing a derivative image, but does not warn the user that cropping may lead to copyright infringement (for the reason you gave). Now, the first photograph was of an actress (out of focus) with a poster of that same actress in the background (in focus but poorly framed). It could be questionable but I do not think the photographer intended the poster to be in the frame, and it could indeed be greyed out without affecting the photograph.

But it seems the photographer of the tramstop had no choice at all because the posters are all over it, greying them out would radically change the nature of the image. It was shot obliquely such that the 2D hoardings are skewed and would not make good crops anyway.

In conclusion I accept that some images lie in the questionable area between fully free and "contains non-free parts so be careful"! Wikibob 10:29, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

I have drafted a new page for discussion about this. See Commons:De minimis. --MichaelMaggs 15:57, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Building/floor evacuation plans

If the building address is not explicitly stated or not, is it OK to post these (or pics of them), or not? --BrokenSphere 16:41, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Generally not. Floor plans can be copyright in the same way as any other image, whether or not the building is identified. If they are plans you have created wholly yourself by mapping the building they will be OK provided the building is old (eg an old church), but if more recent they may infringe the copyright in the original architect's plans. --MichaelMaggs 06:28, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Medical images

Has the issue of who has copyright to medical images been discussed on Commons?

A radiology image was deleted from Commons recently because it was determined the user who claimed copyright was a medical student, hence could not possibly own copyright to the image because a medical student has no own patients. This concerns me on several grounds. This reasoning presumes (1) author and copyright holder are one and the same and/or (2) physicians own the copyright to images of their patients. What about the patient? what about images authored by a radiology service? Some radiologists with whom I have discussed this say the original films belong to them, but the copyright belongs to the patient. The physician has no part in this paradigm. (In this digital era, there now may be no original films.) --Una Smith 15:41, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't think there is any caselaw. The answer would depend on what exactly was considered work for hire and who did the hireing.Geni 02:45, 6 June 2008 (UTC)
I know I deleted a load of images last week that came from "Radwiki" or something like that. My reasoning there was that a wiki is a wiki and anyone can upload stuff, and there was no source information to show where the images originally came from. As for the actual law about who holds copyrights, I'm uncertain. -mattbuck (Talk) 10:33, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Is this template valid?

I have some doubts on the validity of Template:PD-PEGov. My reasoning is explained in detail at the template's discussion page. It would be great if more people could look into this issue. --Victor12fromWikipedia 01:13, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

As someone else called for the deletion, and the deletion request gives me some hints, the license only works for actual text documents and not for images. Delete away. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 04:48, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

copyright of an audio-file from 1935 ?

I want to place this file in an article. The composer died in 1971 - the piece is from 1935. Is it possible? Thank you! --Metzner 06:13, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

It depends in which country the recording was made. Gustav VH 13:19, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

United States government images - Civil Air Patrol

An anonymous user posted on the image description page for Image:Civil Air Patrol US Air Force Auxiliary Command.png, "The CAP command patch is NOT in the public domain. It is protected under 36 U.S.C. Section 40306. The CAP command patch is generally used only on CAP uniforms" on September 17, 2007. I looked at 36 USC Sec. 40306. The text is below.

   36 USC Sec. 40306                                           01/02/2006

   Subtitle II - Patriotic and National Organizations
   Part B - Organizations

   Sec. 40306. Exclusive right to name, insignia, copyrights, emblems,
     badges, marks, and words

     The corporation has the exclusive right to use the name "Civil
   Air Patrol" and all insignia, copyrights, emblems, badges,
   descriptive or designating marks, words, and phrases the
   corporation adopts. This section does not affect any vested rights.

Am I correct in assuming that this does not affect the image's copyright status? Or does "exclusive right" mean exactly the copyright we can't use, and therefore this comes under fair use (and therefore not allowed on Commons)? This applies to all images related to the Civil Air Patrol, including grade insignia (35 images on Commons (34 are actually 17 similar images as both .gif and .svg)), awards and decorations ribbons (~50 images, not sure if all are on Commons), logos (5 images, not all on Commons), photographs (7 images), and art (1 image). I've probably excluded something, but anyways, this would be the scope of what we're dealing with. scetoaux (talk) (My contributions.) 05:20, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

This does not affect the copyright status. This sounds as though the restrictions are more along the lines of {{trademark}}, but since it is a specific law, then probably {{insignia}} should be used instead, as these restrictions probably do not expire like regular trademark. Each image should have that tag and a link to the law, if possible (such as this or this). We would only delete them if usage on a wikipedia article would violate the law in question. Carl Lindberg 14:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

United Kingdom Ordinary copyright unknown author over-simplified?

If the author is unknown then the basic time period to bear in mind is 70 years. If the work has an unknown author and was created after 30 August 1989 copyright expires either 70 years after creation or if during that period the work is made available to the public 70 years after that. If the work is a photograph with an unknown author taken before 1 June 1957 then copyright expires 70 years after creation or if during that period the work is made available to the public 70 years after that.

The above appears in the second section of Commons:Licensing#Ordinary copyright, and does not seem to reflect this flowchart linked to later.

It seems to omit works created between 1 January 1969 and 1 August 1989.

The flowchart tells me copyright for such works expires 70 years after creation, or 70 after made available.

I found it difficult to compare the logic of the flowchart against the text but it seems this is missing:

If the work was created AFTER 1969 with an unknown author then copyright expires either 70 years after creation or if during that period the work is made available to the public 70 years after that.

In other words duplicating the text for works created "created after 30 August 1989".

Is this correct? If so, then it looks like the attempt to simplify the flowchart may have over simplified. If I am not correct then I do not understand the text! -Wikibob 16:41, 8 June 2008 (UTC) simplifying section header -Wikibob 16:46, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, this all needs radical re-writing. I think the correct position is set out in the template {{PD-UK-unknown}} (see legal basis on the discussion page), but subject to any overriding Publication right which may exist. In practice, Publication right will often override the first of the bullet points listed. --MichaelMaggs 17:19, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

scans, negatives, prints treated as photographs?

Some follow-up questions.

1. is a (unenhanced, straight) scan of a flat photograph found on the internet treated the same as the original photograph? From archived Commons Talk discussion I assume yes.

2. is a scan of a negative (or emulsion or glass plate) treated as if it is a photograph? For example a photo studio takes negatives in 1900 (of airships) but does not create prints and does not "publish" them until 2008 when it (or its inheritors) put it on the web. Is it correct that the web image will be copyrighted until 2039? Or has copyright expired because a negative is a photograph and it is now 70 years after it was created? I think the latter, but I am unsure!

3. Last question, using a real example. Alexander Jamieson drew a star chart which was published in London 1825. This company sells scans of a star chart (and many others going back 200 hundred years and more) in 2008 and displays low resolution samples on the web with a copyright marking as watermark. It appears to be purely mechanical scan (from Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag), so it seems if uploaded it could be tagged with {{PD-Old}}. Ie, unless I see evidence of personal creative input should I really ignore the company's blanket copyright claims? I ask because I was first astonished they would claim copyright on stuff from w:en:John Flamsteed's Celestial atlas published 1776 (he died 1719).

That's all my questions for now. -Wikibob 16:41, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

  • 1. Yes
  • 2. It is treated the same way as a photograph. If taken in 1900 but never published until 2008, the image will remain protected for 25 years from publication, ie until the end of 2033. That assumes publication first occurred in the UK or another EU country so that Publication right applies. The rules elsewhere will be different. --MichaelMaggs 16:57, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see this 25 years is also in Country-specific rules for unpublished works for EU countries. So the 1900 UK unpublished photo's copyright had expired in 1970. But when the company publishes the image (by offering it for sale) it gains this 25 years publication rights. I have since understood that "putting on the web" is not publication. Thanks for all three answers, by the way.-Wikibob 17:45, 8 June 2008 (UTC)
Making an image available on the public web does count as publishing for this purpose. In the UK, for example, see Statutory Instrument 1996 No. 2967: The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 1996, 1996. Paragraphs 16 and 17 define the publication right. Amongst other things, para 16 states that publication includes "making the work available by means of an electronic retrieval system". It would not count as publication only if it were done without the consent of the owner of the physical medium in which the work is embodied or on which it is recorded (subsection (3)). --MichaelMaggs 16:26, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
  • 3. You can use the {{PD-scan}} tag. Publication right does not apply as the chart has previously been published, and if the scans on the web are - so far as you can tell - indistinguishable from raw scans, Commons can accept them with that tag --MichaelMaggs 16:57, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

Images from

What is the copyright status of images from The website is in Portuguese. Thanks --Kimse 04:48, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Can someone other than the copyright holder upload an image under GFDL?

I wish I had known this forum existed before, I would have saved evryone lots of trouble. Please see Image:Necromouse.jpg. I nominated it for deletion a few times over a period of time, certainly not intending disruption but wanting to dela with with the copyright issues it has. It was uploaded by Alkivar under GFDL, which shows him as copyright holder, however on the page itself (under "Summary") he says he did not take it. So far, almost every discussion has simply been shut down and closed as "kept" without dealing with the issue, and a significant amount of bad-faith assumptions. It seems everyone should be subject to the same rules, so why can't the friend of Alkivar send the pertinent info in to OTRS? In fact, that was the result of the last deletion discussion, and it has not happened. Now someone is looking through my logs and nominating my images for deletion whether they merit it or not. I'm not trying to cause problems, I'm trying to close a gaping hole in this image's licensing, and I don't understand how any of this helps Commons. Night Ranger 06:53, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Author/photographer/creator and copyright holder are not necessarily one and the same. The copyright status of the photo in question has been evaluated and the verdict is to keep the photo. That means the evidence provided was sufficient for OTRS. Let it go. --Una Smith 02:02, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Images from Category:Nikolai_Getman

Images from in this category are uploaded from and License tag is CC 3.0 but there is no indication of this license on the Jamestown foundation website. Moreover it is not clear, if Jamestown foundation have rights to publish this works under CC3.0 without a permission of descendants of the author. Can someone clarify this issue?DonaldDuck 05:28, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Delete them all, since we don't have permission from either organization to publish the images here as CC 3.0. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 07:17, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
There is an OTRS ticket linked to on several of them (maybe all; I only checked a few). The contents of that ticket should be consulted before any deletion is done, to see if that permission is sufficient. Carl Lindberg 14:10, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Also, the en:Nikolai Getman article has more background. Reading that, the author may well have given permission for something like that; he worked with the Jamestown Foundation for a number of years before he died. Carl Lindberg 14:17, 9 June 2008 (UTC)
Can someone check this ORTS ticket?DonaldDuck 03:48, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Ineligible or not?

What do you guys think to this? Ineligible or not? Lewis Collard! (hai thar, wut u doin) 12:36, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

To me from a UK perspective highly identifiable logo belonging to the government - can't see it being licensable? --Herby talk thyme 12:44, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Mmm. It's just that I'm not sure if the design itself would be eligible for copyright. This is one of those interesting borderline cases, I think. Lewis Collard! (hai thar, wut u doin) 12:52, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Point taken but I'd still say highly identifiable - be interesting to hear other comments, cheers --Herby talk thyme 12:55, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Copyright (or not) of flag images

I'm tryng to understand how copyright works with respect to flags. I see on recently created flags such as Image:Flag of Kosovo.svg and Image:Flag of Iraq.svg use a PD licensing tag that states I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. How is it that the person who created the SVG image is the copyright holder? Wouldn't those nations have copyright over their own flags? I note that Image:Flag of NATO.svg was deleted from Commons for copyright reasons and is used for fair-use only on individual wikipedias, so what is the difference? Can a multinational organization have copyright over their flags and symbols but individual nations do not? Any explanation would be most helpful! —Andrwsc 19:13, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it depends on the exact rules of the country in question. A lot of flags would qualify for PD on the basis that their flag is more than 70 years old. Also, some may be ineligible for copyright as being very simple - for instance the flag of France. -mattbuck (Talk) 22:43, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I'm specifically asking about recently created flags such as the two I mentioned. Both were introduced in 2008. I understand the lack of copyright for very old flags, but I am unclear about new flags. Other recent examples are Image:Flag of Lesotho.svg and Image:Flag of Venezuela.svg, both introduced in 2006 as shown. The Venezuela flag uses the {{PD-ineligible}} tag, but all the other examples I mentioned use tags that claim the "author" of the image is releasing it, and I don't understand how that is possible. Should they all be PD-ineligible...? Andrwsc 23:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It's a tricky question, because you're dealing with two separate components:
  1. The copyright status of the original flag design, dependent on that country's copyright law
  2. The copyright status of the reproduction, assuming the original design is in the public domain
IANAL, so take this with a grain of salt. I don't know enough to comment about #1, but as far as #2 goes, some countries (such as the US) require originality for copyright. Others (such as the UK) do not. For example, if you take a "faithful reproduction" photograph of a PD 2D painting in the US, you do not own the copyright. In the UK, you do own the copyright of this photograph. I believe this would extend to drawn copies. From Copyright law of the United Kingdom:
"The UK copyright distinctively emphasizes the labor and skill that has gone into the work, which is why some of its basic principles are referred to as the 'Sweat of the Brow' doctrine. This stands in contrast to the usual emphasis on creativity—most countries have adopted copyright laws that do not consider labor and skill as relevant."
So, if my logic is correct, it takes "labor and skill" to produce an accurate SVG reproduction of a flag, thus it would be copyrightable in UK, but there is no creativity involved so it would not be in the USA.
Remember though, IANAL. – flamurai 00:19, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Of the four examples I'd say only Lesotho might be a copyrightable image (outside countris like the UK, though even there the shear simplicity would I expect prevent copyright). But there the question is whether the charge on the middle stripe is an original creation or a faithful copy, obviously the later would once again prevent copyright (outside the UK and similar). Also to note, the age of a flag would not play a role here, it's simply a matter of whether the representation here is original or not.
Lastly, I think it plays no role whether an image is licenced as PD due to ineligibility for copyright or PD because the author (whoever assembled the file) declared it PD. A problem would only arise if a non PD licence were used on an image not eligible for copyright...--Caranorn 12:13, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, so how do I judge whether or not a particular flag is ineligible for copyright because of simplicity? Can anybody point to some guidelines? Would the flag depicted on this website be eligible for upload here? (I mean: not that specific jpg lifted from that website, but a new SVG creation that looks like it.) Andrwsc 16:42, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Cartoon screenshot

I am writing an article in which a certain Bugs Bunny screenshot would be valuable. I looked at some existing ones claimed to be in the public domain in Category:Bugs Bunny but it is not obvious to me why they are. For example, Image:Bugs, hunter.JPG claims to be PD. It isn't 95 years old, and its authors must have been alive when it came out so it can't be more than 70 years since any author was alive since 70 years from its release date would be 2011. So, in order for me to understand whether I can upload a similar screenshot, can you please explain why this past one is in the PD by example? If it's simply a matter that the cartoon was specifically released into the PD by its authors, how would that be found out? It certainly isn't clear from the image information. I understand, of course, that the image may simply be improperly uploaded here, but not yet deleted, and if that's the case, that would serve as a form of answer as well.-- 12:38, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

You might want to take a look at Commons:Deletion requests/Cartoons. I am convinced that most of these cartoon character images are in fact not PD at all. Lupo 13:04, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Got ya. So my reading of PD was correct; they must be 95 years old or all authors deceased more than 70 years ago, and the examples existing are here improperly. I wish it were otherwise, because the screenshot does not qualify as fair use at Wikipedia for the purpose I wish to use it. Guess I'll have to live without. Thanks.-- 13:11, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
The copyright should be the same as the film it came from; apparently copyright on the film was not renewed (per U.S. copyright law of the time) and so it is in the public domain. Lupo is arguing that the film is a derivative work of the Bugs Bunny character, and even though the film has expired, the copyright on the character has not, meaning there is some copyright interest still existing in the film (and thus the still). I'm not entirely sure he is correct; the precedents cited were for cases where the film was based on a written (copyrighted) book or play (and in one case involved a broadcast of the work, not a straight copy, which may be different). I don't think you can copyright the concept of a "character" outright; you can trademark it but copyright is different unless it is embodied in an actual expression (such as the text of a book). He may be correct though if the actual drawing of the character is considered a derivative of an earlier (still copyrighted) Bugs Bunny depiction; that portion of the copyright may remain. Carl Lindberg 14:53, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Okay, that helps but, what I want to know is how do I find out if the copyright on another bugs bunny cartoon I want t use a screenshot from was not renewed. You say this one wasn't; where does that come from, how would one check? An assertion that a copyright hasn't been renewed, withut some type of transparent evidence of the same, is very dubious.-- 15:01, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
The article on en:All This and Rabbit Stew says copyright has expired. Copyrights (and renewals) had to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office (part of the Library of Congress); basically you need to do searches of that material to see if copyright was renewed during the calendar year 28 years after the first publication. You can pay the Library of Congress to do a search, or (for some material) you can use or other online searches at The Library of Congress typically publishes this stuff, and pre-1978 material is becoming more available online (such as U.S. Copyright Renewals 1950 - 1977 at Gutenberg); so you can search in there. Presumably this has been done for the film in question. Carl Lindberg 16:11, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Maybe but I doubt it has been through the courts. Thus while we can claim in good faith that we think the thing is PD it is posible there there would be a way of putting together a legal challange from an angle we missed.16:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
That could be said of virtually any image :-) If the film's copyright was not renewed, that would at least be the majority of the copyright. Determining derivative works can be much more difficult, and that is always a possibility (with these images more than most). That is much murkier though, with questions like does the expression of a previous literary work exist in a still image (which contains no text or dialogue from the original), if the use of a single still from an entire film which is mostly in the public domain is more then de minimis use, wether the fact that a movie has been online and sold by third parties under assumption of PD without any previous claims to the contrary has any bearing on your use, and a raft of other questions. There is always an element of risk; the question is how much you want to take. Obviously, I would not use a still from another film without doing a registration search on it (or at least a strong indication that others have and found none). Carl Lindberg 17:34, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
I would think it should be policy here that if you are going to claim something is in the public domain because the copyright was never renewed, you would have to cite where that information is verified. The article on Wikipedia is just shy of useless as it is a completely unverified article. Over at Wikipedia (where I'm an administrator) we require all information be referenced (*eventually*) through reliable sources, because of the nature of an encyclopedia being a tertiary source written by anonymous people. For all you know, that uncited statement could have been inserted in the Wikipedia article for the very purpose of claiming PD here. Anyway, thanks for the links to sites where I can attempt to look up the copyright status.-- 22:24, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Sure. It is pretty common knowledge that many of those copyrights were not renewed, so I didn't look into those as carefully -- they are high-profile and should be easy to disprove, just find the renewal notice in the available sources -- so they would be more likely to have been nominated for deletion by now if anyone had concrete information they were not PD. Better sources are always good of course, so, here is a page which lists PD cartoons (and some that are mistakenly thought of as PD sometimes). The license should probably be changed to PD-US-not_renewed instead of using PD-because though. Carl Lindberg 04:05, 12 June 2008 (UTC)


I notice that this policy hasn't covered Vietnam's Intellectual Property Laws, I have proposed some changes in Template talk:PD-Vietnam. Can any of you take part in the discussion? Vinhtantran (talk) 15:47, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Wrong tagging

I think that Image:Nuvola apps filetypes.svg as a derivative work from an LGPL-licensed original must again be licensed LGPL, doesn't it? I was looking for a standard template like "Possibly-wrongly-licensed-images" but didn't find any. Hope I'm not bothering the wrong page/people here. Thanks. --chris 14:45, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

You won't find a template like that; in the case of incorrect licensing, either they're blatant and should be deleted, or they just need to be fixed. In this case, it needs to be fixed. I have unilaterally corrected the license tag, because it's clear to me that vectorising an image does not create a new copyright (and so I'm not relicensing *his* work as such). Lewis Collard! (hai thar, wut u doin) 16:32, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Will do it myself next time. Thank you. --chris 10:52, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

My recent uploads

So I uploaded three photos from flickr, being under the impression that the depicted video game scenes were permanent. Turns out they are not (post-its). I guess this is a problem, isn't it?

By the way, what about these two photos. Do they infringe copyrights?--PtM 23:05, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Humm, it's an interesting problem. I'd be inclined to say that Freedom of Panorama applies, but I'm not certain. -mattbuck (Talk) 00:03, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
When this came up in the past we decided no.Geni 08:47, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Where did it come up? And what about the Pokémon planes? I've seen another photo on Commons, but am still unsure.--PtM 10:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
When De was useing one of the planes at the top of it's pokemon article.Geni (talk) 13:32, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I really don't think so. I'm not aware of any country where freedom of panorama applies to anything but works permanently placed in a public place. The Post-It note works are clearly temporary, and the US does not have freedom of panorama for anything except buildings. The airplane liveries are works painted relatively temporarily on a vehicle, the placement of which is not permanent.
Also, while airplanes are utilitarian objects, the livery goes beyond functional purposes, much like if the characters had been printed on a t-shirt. If it walks and quacks like a way to find a loophole to illustrate a copyrighted, non-free cartoon character, chances are it's an unacceptable derivative work. LX (talk, contribs) 20:52, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Ah, the Pokemon aircraft question again. Images of these aircraft are fine if the aircraft is the main object of the image. As soon as you zoom in on the Pokemons it becomes derivative. --Denniss (talk) 23:27, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

New copyright templates

The following copyright templates have been recently created by users.

I have not (yet) reviewed any of their claims for validity, I just think that new copyright related tags should be reviewed. --Gmaxwell (talk) 16:50, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

The last one should be renamed as Template:PD-US-Pre1964 or a better name. /Lokal_Profil 19:05, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
The last one is equivalent to (already-existing) {{PD-US-not renewed}} and I have redirected it. -Nard 19:47, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
The ones from Cuba are not intended to be used yet, and it's clearly told on top. I'm spliting the tag {{PD-Cuba}} into specific cases (the current one is valid for 3 possible different chances), and I was going to show them here for approval before categorizing and linking them. Thialfi (talk) 20:52, 14 June 2008 (UTC)


I ask Commons administrators and users to look into the actual legal basis of this template. The trouble is that the template is based on the Agreement on succession issues between Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Slovenia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which does not seem to deal with regulating public domain issues of the former Yugoslavia (SFRY). It entirely refers to the shares of the above new states to inherit the rights and interests of the former SFRY, including the rights for having an access to the former SFRY State archives. The law defines the former SFRY State archives within the time period between 1st December, 1918, and 30th June, 1991. What is most important, I don't see any statement of this law that would permit to use freely any former Yugoslav state symbols and signs or to move them to the public domain, with no copyright coverage. Now we can see that this template is erroneously used to download many images of former Yugoslav flags, coats of arms, banknotes, stamps and even photographs. I suggest to fix this problem. Thank you. --Michael Romanov (talk) 08:49, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Street in Belgrade

I have a question about this image from Flickr. Its license allows it to be used on Commons. What about the copyrighted poster itself, how do we go around this issue? The photo is taken in Serbia, can COM:FOP#Serbia be applied? --Kimse (talk) 08:02, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

No. Posters are not "permanently installed". Lupo 09:01, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Okay, thanks Lupo. So, under no other license can it be uploaded to Commons? --Kimse (talk) 04:10, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

derivative of works licenced under CC-BY-SA or similar


I've been noticing a lot of images here on commons which are derivative works of other commons images which were originally published under a Creative Commons licence including the SA (share alike) clause. Yet a number of these derivative works are themselves licensed less restrictively (GFDL, CC-BY (without SA), PD etc.). As far as I understand it, this makes the derivative works copyright violations (as the CC-BY-SA licence becomes invalid when a derivative work is published under a non identical licence). How do we handle these types of files (I only deal in images, therefore I don't notice other media files, but I expect the problem extends there as well). So far I've directly contacted the author of the derivative work and tried to explain matters to them, but to little effect. But considering how wide spread this effect seems to be I think a more concerted approach might be necessary.

Also note, a number of the images I mention above are under dual licence GFDL and some sort of CC. But as GFDL only covers text, it should be of no importance in these cases (so GFDL is not a less restrictive licence on which one can base ignoring the CC-BY-SA licence for the image or other media file). At least that's my understanding of the matter.--Caranorn (talk) 11:39, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

If a work is dual-licensed CC-BY-SA and GFDL, a derivative work can use either license (or be dual-licensed itself). That is one reason why we recommend dual-licensing (GFDL can be used for images, though it is a bit more awkward). I think CC-BY-SA does allow "similar" licenses for derivative works, but I don't think GFDL qualifies. Otherwise though, you are correct... a derivative of a CC-BY-SA work cannot be CC-BY/GFDL/etc., and a GFDL derivative can only be GFDL. I think a CC-BY derivative can be CC-BY-SA though. I'm not sure of a good place to point people... maybe we should have a section on this topic on Commons:Derivative works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
While I'm no specialist I'd say that the GFDL is not useable for images themselves unless one were to consider the image code text. In the preamble of the GFDL licence itself it's clearly stated:

But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book.

Bolding by me. Though reading further through the licence I find mention of images as part of the explanation of transparent copies, but I'm not certain whether this applies to non-text files. This later part could indeed mean my interpretation is incorrect (I was assuming that dual licences as we use apply the CC part to the image or other media and GFDL to the text on the image page). Anyhow here, is the direct link to the GFDL licence documentation just in case.--Caranorn (talk) 13:47, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
The preamble of GFDL is not legally binding, except possibly to inform interpretation of the rest of the license. There is nothing to prevent using GFDL for images. Of course, you are correct that people must follow copyleft. If they do not, please nominate the image for deletion. Superm401 - Talk 15:03, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
As mentioned, we most definitely use GFDL for images. Dual licensing is so that others can choose either license, depending on the situation. Derivative works can be licensed with either (or both). Derivative works which do not retain the licensing either need to have their licenses changed, or be deleted -- notifying the users first is a good idea. Also, due to incompatibilities between the licenses, I believe it is not currently possible to combine a CC-BY-SA image with a GFDL image into the same derivative work (another situation where dual licensing helps). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:22, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
Derivative works of copyleft-licensed works (CC-by-sa or GFDL etc.) must preserve the licensing terms of the original work, as nothing other than abiding by the licensing terms gives people the right to distribute such derivatives. Changing the copyright terms is a copyright violation. If the uploader of the derivative has added a license, that can be removed as invalid. If they have changed the license, they need to explicitly approve their modifications being licensed under the same terms as the original work. If they don't, the derivative needs to be deleted. LX (talk, contribs) 14:45, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Page on non-copyright related restrictions

I placed a proposed page on commons at Commons:Non-copyright_restrictions which discusses the implications of non-copyright related restrictions. I propose it be used as a reference for the existing licensing pages. Please comment on the talk page at Commons talk:Non-copyright_restrictions. I'll announce this on the village pump soon providing no one provides a serious material dispute. --Gmaxwell (talk) 23:21, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Good stuff. And long overdue. --Dschwen (talk) 23:26, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Alps' Roads

These images are claimed to be public domain because of the text "If you would like to use any photo on this website, you may provided I am the photographer, but please give credit, and if applicable, please link to my site or at least the page from which you took the image." I don't believe this is sufficient for our use; is that correct? --NE2 (talk) 03:59, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Correct; the website must explicitly declare a free licence compatible with Commons. --O (висчвын) 04:02, 18 June 2008 (GMT)
Hm... that sounds pretty close to {{attribution}}, and may be OK. Normally though we like an explicit declaration that commercial use and derivative works are also OK, to be sure that the copyright owner is aware of the scope. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:54, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
It's definitly not PD (it's in copyright, and attribution is required), but the requirements sound like they are compatible with commons. As has been said above, it would be good to have it released explicitly under CC-BY, or at least have a clear statement about deriatives and commercial use. -- 09:18, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

I think the problem is in the meaning of "use" - does that include any use, or simply reprinting as-is? --NE2 (talk) 18:15, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Any and all uses, commercial and derivatives. --O (висчвын) 21:02, 18 June 2008 (GMT)
I know what Commons requires; I'm talking about why the statement on the website is not sufficient. --NE2 (talk) 02:10, 19 June 2008 (UTC)
That text does not mention any usage restrictions, if there even are any. If there are no usage restrictions, then that text must explicitly mention that there are no restrictions. --O (висчвын) 02:57, 19 June 2008 (GMT)

So what happens now? Do I tag them with a template like {{nld}}? --NE2 (talk) 23:59, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

Send them to DR. If at some point you or other users forward a more detailed permission to OTRS or if Alpert updates the statement, the images may be kept. --O (висчвын) 00:19, 20 June 2008 (GMT)
I think it would be worthwhile to contact the website owner, and explain the situation, and see if he considers his permission the same as {{attribution}} (or cc-by), or would be willing to change the permission accordingly. If the owner disagrees with that, then they could be speedied. If no response, then a DR is probably in order. I would usually recommend trying to contact first without stirring up the bad blood of a mass DR if it can be avoided. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:44, 20 June 2008 (UTC)


Per this, the Smithsonian is now releasing its images on the Flickr Commons. Should we have a new {{PD-USGov}} license for images from the Smithsonian? Kelly (talk) 04:13, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Many of them sound like they were not created by the US Government, and some look like foreign works. I'm sure they are PD in the U.S.; we just need to make sure they are PD in the country of origin. Some may be PD-USGov, some PD-US, some PD-Old, some Anonymous-EU, etc. I don't think there are any "new" reasons for them being public domain (i.e. the Smithsonian is not releasing copyrights they would otherwise own, I don't think) so I'm not sure any license tags are necessary. A source-type tag (like LOC-image) would probably be fine though. This seems like a welcome change of direction for the Smithsonian (from things like this and claims like this). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:13, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
Sounds like a minefield. I think the copyright of each of these images should be judged on its own merits, so I am with Carl in thinking that we can use the existing copyright tags, but a template for the source would be handy.
For a couple of examples of the minefield, here would be my logic if I was considering uploading 2 of these images:
  1. this image's Flickr page has the text No known copyright restrictions, (ok so far), but that text is hyperlinked to which imposes restrictions on commercial use (not ok). However, the photo is attributed to Harold Dorwin, and it seems to have been taken in the course of his duties as a Smithsonian Institutions staff photographer[12] (ok again), so {{PD-USGov}} applies.
  2. By contrast this portrait on Flickr was made by an unknown photographer in an unknown location, in 1934. It has the same contradictory No known copyright restrictions. Life of author + 70 years is unlikely to have passed (not good), but if the photo was taken in the US and copyright was not renewed we might be ok. In some other countries there are extensions for previously unpublished works, as far as I recall (not good). So this would be fine if I made an educational website, and might meet the EDP of some of the Wikipedias, but I (personally) would not feel comfortable uploading it to Commons, as I don't know enough about copyright law.
Having said all that, I think that Wikimedia Commons presumption should be to keep uploads from this Flickr collection, until further enquiry throws an individual image into doubt.
--InfantGorilla (talk) 07:27, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Someone beat Kelly to it, and made the template yesterday, and there is already a Deletion Request:

Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Flickr-no known copyright restrictions

Sadly, I voted delete. I suggest you continue the discussion there.

--InfantGorilla (talk) 14:23, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

One thing which would be usefull (independent on copyright status) would be a template similar to {{LOC-image}} to indicate that the image came from the Smithsonian and to add the Image ID #. /Lokal_Profil 14:43, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Money of Egypt


We have quite a few images of bills and coins from Egypt. Commons:Currency doesn't mention the copyright status of these images, and I wasn't able to find that information online. Does anyone know what the status is? Thanks, Pruneautalk 16:59, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

České poštovní známky

Dobrý den, chci se zeptat, jak je to s obrázky českých poštovních známek. Děkuji--Acoma (talk) 17:27, 22 June 2008 (UTC)

Stručně řečeno: nevím o žádném důvodu, proč by neměly být plně autorskoprávně chráněny (a vztahují se na ně tedy běžné časové lhůty, kdy se stanou volnými). --Mormegil (talk) 13:57, 23 June 2008 (UTC)


This former picture of the day has been used on this page as an example under the section on multi-licensing since way back in 2005. It depicts a sculptural fountain in Lithuania, where there is no commercial freedom of panorama. According to the German Wikipedia entry on Klaipėda, this is a post WWII reconstruction, which I'm guessing qualifies for copyright protection. Does anyone know any more about the details of the copyright status of this image?

In any case, I think it might be time to replace it with a more straight-forward example with higher resolution, geocoding, more translations and cleaner categorisation. This is the document we nag everyone to read; it should show off the best of the best, and we've come pretty far since 2005. Any suggestions? LX (talk, contribs) 13:18, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

On Image:Tharau.jpeg: the fountain was re-built in 1989.[13] The figure is a replica of the original, which was removed in 1939 (apparently it had to make way for a Hitler bust).[14] Other sources just state "lost in WWII". The original figure was made in 1912[15] and was the work of sculptor Alfred Kühne (? - ?). The new replica from 1989 was done after a rediscovered copy (apparently a plaster cast of smaller size, see [16]) that was done by sculptor Arnold Haake (? - ?).[17] Lupo 14:04, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

PD-Art in the UK: Call for revision of our policy

Hi, I believe we all got the UK law on originality in reproductive photography wrong. Recently I found a decision by the Court of Appeal from 1997 where Lord Justice Aldous quotes Lord Oliver from Interlego AG v Tyco Industries Inc (1989) AC 217 at page 262, a judgment that is unfortunately not online - or I couldn't find it yet -, as follows:

"It by no means follows, however, that that which is an exact and literal reproduction in two-dimensional form of an existing two-dimensional work becomes an original work simply because the process of copying it involves the application of skill and labour. There must in addition be some element of material alteration or embellishment which suffices to make the totality of the work an original work. Of course, even a relatively small alteration or addition quantitatively may, if material, suffice to convert that which is substantially copied from an earlier work into an original work. Whether it does so or not is a question of degree having regard to the quality rather than the quantity of the addition. But copying, per se, however much skill or labour may be devoted to the process, cannot make an original work. A well executed tracing is the result of much labour and skill but remains what it is, a tracing."

A smaller part of this quotation was already included in s:Bridgeman Art Library, Ltd. v. Corel Corp, where it was uncontested, that under UK law the change of medium from a painting to photography was immaterial. By my understanding, this is precedent on that issue and therefore binding. We obviously were wrong, when we excluded PD-Art in the UK, and we should open that license template to works made in the United Kingdom from now on. What do you think? Anyone here, who has a learned opinion on that issue? --h-stt !? 16:40, 10 June 2008 (UTC) PS: I posted the same two weeks ago at Commons talk:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK - Call for revision of our policy and got no reaction. So I try it here now.

The policy was drafted very much with that case in mind, and the quote you give is very well known to UK specialists. Unfortunately, it does not support any suggestion that the rule set out in the US case of Bridgeman would be applied in the UK where the required level of originality is very much lower than in the US. Lord Oliver was referring there only to the case of exact copying, eg by tracing. A photograph taken from a distance is an entirerly different beast as originality will normally be generated by choice of lighting, lens and filters. I know of not a single practitioners' copyright manual in the UK that suggests that a photograph taken from afar of a work of art would not be copyright-protected. I do understand that that conclusion may be difficult to accept, as it at first sight seems so obviously "wrong", but I assure you that we do have the legal position correct.
Actually, the Interlego v Tyco case is more relevant to the issue of how much work does a scan or photocopy need to have done to it in order to be copyright-protected. You can read more about that on Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag, where that case is cited. --MichaelMaggs 06:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
Answered at Commons talk:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK - Call for revision of our policy and I am strongly convinced, that you and those who made our policy get the decision wrong. Lord Oliver writes: "It takes great skill, judgment and labour to produce a good copy by painting [...], but no one would reasonably contend that the copy painting [...] was an "original" artistic work in which the copier is entitled to claim copyright." So if, according to Lord Oliver, copying a painting by painting(!) a copy does not create an original work and is therefore not protected by copyright under UK law, reproduction by photography can't possibly be original. Let's revise our policy and allow reproduction of two dimensional works by faithful photography from the UK, as those reproductions are not protected by copyright there. Or show me where I am wrong in interpretation Lord Olivers decision. --h-stt !? 11:19, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I suggest continuing at Commons talk:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK - Call for revision of our policy. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 12:45, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
Update: Yesterday I added the result of my research on the discussion linked above. --h-stt !? 05:33, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Template:PD-US-not renewed

Can someone explain to me how we can be sure that copyrights were not renewed without checking at the U.S. copyright office? Are we just guessing? As an example, how can we be sure that the copyright for the North by Northwest trailer has not been renewed? Gustav VH (talk) 11:01, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Does PD-US supersede copyright expiration?

Yesterday I deleted Image:SheridanMonumentDC.jpg as a derivative work, but now a user has contacted me on my talk page requesting it being restored as it's old enough for {{PD-US}}.

Personally I have just about no knowledge about what applies for PD-US and what not. So who does that? --|EPO| da: 15:13, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I don't really understand what you mean by PD-US superseding copyright expiration. If the copyright of a work has expired (such as by the mechanisms outlined in {{PD-US}}, then derivative works are not affected by the copyright of the original work (because it has expired). In other words, anyone is free to create derivatives of copyrighted works. For three-dimensional works, the photographer is free to select a license of their choice. For two-dimensional works, {{PD-Art}} applies. LX (talk, contribs) 18:31, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Pictogram voting info.svg Info The statue was erected in 1908 and sculpted by Gutzon Borglum, who died on March 6, 1941.
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment IANAL, but "A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication,"[18] thus the statue probably falls under the rule for unpublished works: life of the author plus 70 years. It will not be PD until 2011. (You might want to get an actual legal opinion, though.) – flamurai 19:22, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing that out. I was a bit fast creating the question, so I forgot some of the informations. But my concern was that the author of the statue died in 1941, which would make his works' copyrights expire in 2011. But the PD-US template states that works before 1923 becomes PD under certain criteria. I suppose a "regular" published work in the US will be PD (hence PD-US) even if the author has been dead for less than 70 years.
But I have no idea under what category a statue falls, so I thought I might give a try here to seek help. --|EPO| da: 20:50, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
There are other copies of the statue (such as en:Image:SheridanGutzonBorglum.jpg in Chicago), which I think would constitute publication for statues.[19] Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:39, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm... it's difficult to say here... The code also states: "A “work of visual art” is— [...] in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author"[20] It would help to have a copyright lawyer's advice here. – flamurai 02:38, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
I would agree that it qualifies as a work of visual art, which is what the above says, but according to the previous definition it was also "published", so the copyright term should follow the older U.S. rules for published works (and not be dependent on when the author died at all). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:10, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
When it comes to photographs of statues, the following applies according to the WP "Copyright FAQ" page: "For pictures of statues (which is, effectively, a translation of a three dimensional work into a two-dimensional copy) the picture taker has creative input into which angle to take the photographs from. Therefore, a new copyright is created when the picture is taken." [21]. The copyright status of the statue would therefore seem immaterial and the deletion argument ("Artist died in 1941, which makes the copyrights expire in 2011. Hence this is a derivative work")[22] irrelvant, unless it refers to the death of the photographer (and concerns an unpublished photograph by this photographer). If the photographer (which according to the license is a person named "Einar Einarsson Kvaran") has released into the public domain a picture of a 3-dimensional artwork permanently displayed in a public place, the idea that his picture constitutes copyright infrigment is moot. Antomic (talk) 08:06, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
You got that wrong. The last sentence you quoted from en:Wikipedia:Copyright_FAQ#Derivative_works should read "Therefore, a new copyright is created for the picture when the picture is taken in addition to a possibly existing copyright on the depicted work." (BTW, we have our own page on derivative works.) The photo's copyright does not cancel a copyright on the statue. Furthermore, the so-called "freedom of panorama" (permission to freely take and publish pictures of 3D artworks permanently situated at public places) applies in the U.S. only to buildings, but not to statues and sculptures. Lupo 08:59, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Lupo, I would agree - if this was Cloud Gate. But the Sheridan statue has been photographed for close to 100 years. Three things: 1> We can hardly leave Borglum's Mount Rushmore sculpture in the article if his statues or sculptures (which have been permanently displayed in public places for the last 80-100 years, and which have been frequently photographed and featured in various published media since the early 1900s, and which, when it comes to the Sheridan statue, is a reproduction of another much photographed statue made by the same artist) cannot be used on Wikipedia because of copyright concerns. The reason I think this deletion quest is overzealous does not only relate to the Cloud Gate images, taken in the same city and uploaded to Commons - it is also related to issues described in this Nolo article, which states that art is deemed published if it was exhibited before 1978 at a place in which the public is permitted to photograph or copy the artwork. It also states that art is published for copyright purposes whenever copies are made available to the general public - for example, photographs, postcards, prints, lithographs, castings from a statue, and other reproductions. That would appear to apply to Borglum's sculptures. (See also the ruling regarding "publication" of Chicago's Picasso statue.) 2> If WP:EN's "Copyright FAQ" page should not read as it currently does, it needs updating, preferably with reliable sources that deal explicitly with the issue of when/if photographs of older, long and frequently copied sculptures like Borglum's Mount Rushmore and Sheridan statues, which are located in public places and extensively photographed, can be judged permissible to upload to WP:EN. For example, would a picture published in 1912 of a statue in a public place, with the copyright of the image long expired, be permissible as a replacement for a newer photograph of the same statue by a Wikipedian? 3> I consulted the WP:EN copyright FAQ page and not "our own" DW page simply because the images under discussion are not Commons images (where "Fair use" is not allowed), and the discussion is not related to whether or not the images can be transferred to Commons, but instead if they must be deleted from WP:EN because of copyright infringement concerns. Fair use tags are not unheard of as an alternative to deletion on WP:EN, as long as the images are not transferred to Commons, no? For the Sheridan statue, the fact is that photographs of the work have been appearing published in different media since the artist won a contest in 1908 - the Chicago statue is a 1920s copy of the original statue. Since the photograph uploaded to WP:EN is of unimposing size and quality, it would seem a good candidate for fair use in order to demonstrate the public art created by this sculptor in the article about him - if the concerns are that the image constitutes copyright infringement because the artist has only been dead for 67 years (and if we ignore the fact that there are other ways for a sculpture to become part of the public domain). Antomic (talk) 18:40, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Under further review, this topic gets "interesting", as most copyright issues seem to ;-) I had never seen the pre-1978 assertion before, so I dug around some. Under current law, 17 U.S.C. 101 says: “Publication” is the distribution of copies or phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication. A public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication. Since in this case the original is considered a "copy" as well, just selling a sculpture (or even offering to sell it) means it is "published". This is discussed in this PDF document. Once published, then usual U.S. copyright laws are followed. Since the original statue was sold (it was a contest which Borglum won the contract), then it was published. Additional copies were made later, if there is any doubt. However, if a sculptor places a work in public without ever offering it for sale, then it can remain unpublished.
However, the major wrinkle is that the above definition of "publication" was only made in the 1976 Copyright Act (effective Jan 1, 1978). The older copyright law had no real definition of the term (despite its extreme importance), so courts were left to determine it. Naturally, different courts went different directions. The 1978 law only applies to works published after that date; it was not retroactive, so the previous law is still relevant for these older works. Ugh. This PDF document goes into the situation in depth. It says that in s:American Tobacco Co. v. Werckmeister, the Supreme Court ruled that a public exhibition of a work of art does not constitute publication "where there are bylaws against copies, or where it is tacitly understood that no copying shall take place, and the public are admitted to view the painting on the implied understanding that no improper advantage will be taken of the privilege." It also says that The negative implication appears to be that exhibition without such express or implicit restrictions on copying could, in an appropriate case, constitute publication; not surprisingly, some courts have interpreted American Tobacco in precisely this way. The implication there is that a statue put up permanently in public was assumed allowed to have pictures taken of it, and thus would be considered published. One ruling which cited this case was s:Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. v. Public Building Commission of Chicago, where an exhibition of an upcoming Picasso sculpture (the en:Chicago Picasso) was done complete with a miniature version and (uncopyrighted) photos in pamphlets. The court considered that as being "published", and since there was no copyright notice on the items or statue, it was ruled to be in the public domain. The PDF does note that some people's opinion would be that the original item would only be published if the copyright owners themselves were the ones distributing uncopyrighted photographs. There is a lot of info in there (all headache-inducing). For more fun, the Sheridan statue predates even the 1909 Copyright Act.
Given that this particular statue would be (almost certainly) considered published under both current and 1908 law, I think PD-US clearly applies to the statue, and the photos are OK. There is one photo (which was deleted without discussion) on commons, and another marked for deletion on en-wiki. Even if it was a derivative of a still-copyrighted work, fair use would definitely apply to the en-wiki image, so there is no reason for deletion there.
It also seems reasonable to follow the old court precedents for all pre-1978 U.S. works, since that is per U.S. law. Public scuplture erected before 1923 could be considered PD-US, works erected from 1923 to 1964 would be "published" and thus PD if not renewed (determining that is always hard though), and works erected from 1964 to 1978 would be published (and thus PD only if they had no copyright notice on them.) Works from 1978 to 1989 would follow the new definition of "published", and of course would only be PD if they were published without a copyright notice. Anything newer would still be under copyright though, mostly under the newer 70 years p.m.a. terms. There are always some gray areas though, so what do other people think? Should we follow that assumption of "published" for pre-1978 public works (which does NOT necessarily imply PD for 1923 and later)? Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:39, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • We've got a fairly interesting precedent in Image:Toft-spirit-of-contemplation-statue-vbig.jpg when a UK statue was taken to the US for the World's Fair in 1904. The photograph is PD-US but the statue is NOT PD in country of origin. The deletion request was closed as keep. -Nard 16:34, 28 June 2008 (UTC)


I have no idea what this license means. The English link takes you to the template's talk page, which I can't understand. I found en:Copyzero but that makes things more confusing and all the links are in Italian too. What exactly does this mean for reusers? Google appears to return unrelated or non-English sites. I'm sure the info's out there (I didn't search for very long), but for common users we shouldn't make it this hard for them to figure out what they need to do. Now I know how non-English speakers must feel half the time. From the looks of it (green ©), I would say it's similar to {{copyrighted free use}} but the name I would guess it's public domain like {{CC-Zero}}. Rocket000 (talk) 21:56, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

  • Copyzero itself appears to be a mechanism for digitally signing files to prove authorship. I believe the license referred to here is actually Copyzero X[23], which as far as I can see is just a Copyzero grant with all the options checked. It does contain a viral sharealike clause and a restriction on DRM, but these are restrictions to maintain freedom and hence generally accepted on Commons. The only discussion I can see on topic is from 2005 at[24] where they decided not to use the license because it wasn't GFDL compatible. Of course we've matured in our understanding of image licenses since then and accept any manner of free licenses, even ones not strictly compatible with GFDL. I do not like this license simply because it is not necessarily free, ie someone has to X all the boxes for it to be free. Anything licensed with it would need to be doublechecked, the item could easily be Copyzero but not Copyzero X. -Nard 17:12, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

How explicit do permissions need to be

Having encountered lots of images from webpages permitting "free" use of them. I have my own oppinion about how explicit such a statement needs to be in order for them to actually mean free as Commons defines free. Most often it's unrestricted commercial use (i.e. putting it on a t-shirt as opposed to in an article) by anyone and derivative works that are the issue. Therefore I figured I should probably ask here to check that I'm not seeing problems where they aren't any. Therefore please comment on the following formulations and say if you think that they would be free enough or if an OTRS permission would be needed. If the latter then please also point out whats lacking from their statement. Please feel free to add similar examples you might have encountered (prefereably ones which were later found to be definitly free/unfree). /Lokal_Profil 12:09, 27 June 2008 (UTC)

    1. All these materials can be used freely providing they are attributed to the Example Organisation.
    2. [the images] are of course at your disposal
The problem is that some people think "free" is a license. When handling/requestion OTRS permissions, I always check for three things.
  1. The sender must clearly identify himself as the author/copyright holder.
  2. The specific media needs to be identified ("all images from [URL]", or "the image uploaded as example.jpg", etc.)
  3. The license should be explicity mentioned. If it's not GFDL, or a compatible CC license (or something similarly explicit), the sender must mention whether or not derivatives/commercial use is allowed. (The thing is, many institutions/individuals do not understand the "re-usable" policy of commons, so they think "free to use" automatically exludes commercial use. I've seen a number of instances of this in the past.)
If an OTRS-letter or regular tag leaves any room for doubt, that is not a good thing. Anrie (talk) 12:45, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
Your criteria are correct. Terms like "free use" is something thrown around by PR people, who rarely mean what they say or say what they mean. In their vocabulary, "free" tends to mean "free to use in unmodified form under fair use provisions in a limited set of what we deem to be relevant, noncomercial contexts". I learned this by being utterly wrong (see Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Members of the Riksdag), something that happens rarely but is usually very educational. ;) Your other requirements are just as relevant, if there were any doubts about that.
Furthermore, the assertion needs to be just that–assertive. There's zero room for phrases like "I see no problem" or "I think" in contract law, and "sure" is not a clear enough indication of a meeting of the minds. The licensor needs to make an active statement about the work, not just idly acknowledge the request in general. LX (talk, contribs) 14:08, 27 June 2008 (UTC)
To follow up, if you saw the following on a web site press pack, would you reject it for Commons?
Please click on any of the images below to download high resolution versions for print production (300 dpi RGB JPEGs).
All images are copyright of the University of ****, and may be used free of charge, provided all uses are credited to the University.
My interpretation of the outcome of Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Members of the Riksdag is that the university press pack images are ok to keep, until the university contacts a wikimedia project 'clarifying' the permission with more restrictive terms.
Is it likely that the PR people who make such media pack web sites don't have the authority to commit the organisation to a contract, and they think that "may be used free of charge" is not a contract but just some vague encouragement to make 'fair dealing' or 'fair use' of the images? Shouldn't they feel the need to run the wording of such a short donation of permissions to (whomever) past a lawyer on retainer? (above, unlike the Swedish example, was from a common law jurisdiction, if that makes any difference.)
--InfantGorilla (talk) 11:04, 28 June 2008 (UTC)
Personally I would have required an OTRS permission for derivative works and commercial use (non of which are mentioned). But then I'm of the belief that licensing problems should be sorted (as much as possible) before the images go onto Commons. If we wait untill afterwards then we get into the situation of Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Members of the Riksdag and the similar one for which result in loads of articles suddenly sprouting red links to images. /Lokal_Profil 14:51, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

US Embassy Photographs

Would pictures taken by employees of a US Embassy be in the public domain such as these images from the US embassy in London Million Moments (talk) 11:18, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

If they were done as part of their official duties (as opposed to personal snapshots on their own time), then yes. is a U.S. Government website, so the assumption for anything on there would be public domain unless otherwise specified. Those images look to be fine; they would be {{PD-USGov-State}}. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:25, 29 June 2008 (UTC)


Hello. I've stumbled upon this Image:Swaythling Cup.jpg. I checked the website's copyright and it says that it prohibits commercial activities, including publications and other items for sale[25]. And the email from the above template does not specify the webmaster's agreement to waive this prohibition. Should a request for OTRS be required for this and any other image from this website, and should the template be changed? Thanks --Kimse (talk) 03:50, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

That permission statement is definitely insufficient. A proper permission statement is required and needs to be sent to OTRS. "I would say that there is no problem of using them" is not the same as asserting that one controls the copyright and allows anyone to use it in modified or unmodified form for any purpose. The statement seems more like a guess ("I would say") that fair use might apply, and there's no indication that the IT manager is authorised to speak on behalf of ITTF and/or the photographers regarding copyright matters.
I also notice that several of the images using this tag do not even name the photographer, as required according to the tag. LX (talk, contribs) 10:59, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
  • There are several table tennis pictures on ITTF Photo gallery. When you "Click on the picture for a bigger scale" the following message appears: "You are free to use photos in this section with one condition that you state the photos are "by courtesy of the ITTF". Please contact for higher resolution photos which are for sale." Maybe we should just change the template. Or only an {{attribution}} is necessary. Tosqueira D C 20:53, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
That statement does not say anything about commercial use and use of derivative works, both of which must be explicitly permitted per Commons:Licensing. Speaking from experience, "free use", upon further inquiry, unfortunately tends to be PR-speak for "intended for use in original form in a limited set of what we deem to be relevant contexts"–essentially fair use. LX (talk, contribs) 21:18, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Patient images

Wikipedia's WikiProject Medicine would like to discuss once and for all what the copyright status of patient images is. Anyone interested or knowledgeable in this are is requested to comment on Commons:Patient images. --Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 13:18, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Help re Commons policy etc would be appreciated; please see Commons talk:Patient images. --Una Smith (talk) 03:14, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Allmusic logo = {{PD-textlogo}}? Spellcast (talk) 15:59, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Yes. Unsure if they consider the logo {{trademarked}} or not... does not seem to be registered though. "All Music Guide" is registered. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:31, 30 June 2008 (UTC)
Thx. Spellcast (talk) 10:25, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

Image from a journal article.

Ok, I'm fairly confused with this one. Image:Fawcett exp.png is an image from a paper by Philippa Fawcett, published in 1894 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. All information I've read on copyright is generally "author death + x years", but as far as I know, copyright belongs to the publishing journal when it comes to academic papers. Is it possible to use this image? Cheers, Ben (talk) 00:18, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't know what the practice might have been in 1894, but the current practice you refer to involves the author assigning (transferring) the copyright to the publisher. The duration of the copyright in such cases would still be based on the life of the original author - it doesn't transmogrify into an anonymous work-for-hire. As Fawcett died less than 70 years ago, this image is probably not PD. I think it would be allowed on the English wikipedia, though, as only U.S. rules (pre-1923 publication = PD) are used there. --dave pape (talk) 03:03, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Academic journals generally require that the author transfer to the publisher copyright in the article; copyright in an image used in the article is not transfered. However, details are important. Ben Tillman, do you have a scan or photo of an original image, that was used in an article? Or, do you have a scan or photo of the article, cropped to show only the image? If what you have you obtained from the article, then you can contact the publisher and request they license the image so that it can be used on Commons. --Una Smith (talk) 03:08, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
By the way, the publisher might still have the original line art! Or be able to help you find it. Go ahead and ask; it can only help. --Una Smith (talk) 03:11, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Davepape and Una Smith. I cropped the image out of the paper as you guessed, so I sent an e-mail to the publisher. Their reply was
Thank you for your email. Material passes out of copyright 70 years after the death of the author. In view of the age of the material in question it is highly likely that the material is out of copyright and I do not therefore have to grant you formal permission. You are free to use the material in the manner described in your email. There will be no fee involved.
Now I'm still not sure if I can use it. It hasn't been 70 years, but I think they have given me formal permission just in case. What do you think? Thanks again, Ben (talk) 10:53, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Not good since it doesn't allow for reuse and derivatives. If you want images from Royal society stuff you need to go back to about 1860 and before.Geni (talk) 11:28, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, reuse and derivatives? The message I sent them included
I'd like to use the image to illustrate the Wikipedia article on Philippa Fawcett (found at In particular, I'd like to store the image on the Wikimedia servers in the SVG format so that it can be placed in the Fawcett article.
So that covers it, no? Cheers, Ben (talk) 13:08, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
No since that is a wikipedia/wikimedia only license. Doesn't allow for reuse by third parties.Geni (talk) 17:22, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

We want to use the diagram in the Fawcett article. We've been given permission to use the diagram in the Fawcett article. But you're telling me I can't. Why does 3rd party reuse have any bearing on this at all? I'm sorry if this is all very obvious, but I wouldn't have brought the problem here if I knew the in's and out's of this. More importantly, maybe you can tell me how to fix the problem too. Ben (talk) 04:28, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

If you get permission to use, that covers only the site on which the image is uploaded; but images on Commons are intended to be used on Wikipedia (over 260 of those now, each one regarded as a separate site). So that all Wikipedia can use the image, Commons requires that all images on Commons are public domain or licensed in such a way that re-use and derivative works are allowed. There are many images on the English Wikipedia that can only be used there, and perhaps only in a single article too; they cannot be copied to the other 260+ Wikipedia. --Una Smith (talk) 14:59, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
Images are required to be free which means they need to be useable by anyone for anything includeing derivatives and comercial use. The journal will not give such a release thus there isn't much you can do.Geni (talk) 11:05, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I had no idea that permission to use wasn't enough. Sorry about that, and thanks for your time. Ben (talk) 12:20, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Don't assume that what Geni says is true of this journal. Look at Commons:Email templates and ask the journal to grant a license. Make it easy for them by filling in the file name and a license. --Una Smith (talk) 14:59, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

New territory; bringing over "licensing" issue from English language Wikipedia

The image Image:Elijah Abel drawing.png was listed as a copyright problem, here on Wikipedia, but we don't host it there. Evidently the description of the image is in dispute, and the person who noted the dispute argues that it is falsely licensed as public domain, since the (alleged) artist died in 1989 (that detail I gleaned from a quick google search of the artist). I'm not sure how this would be handled here, and I'm hoping that I can pass it off to somebody familiar with this neighborhood. This place is similar enough to "home" and yet so different that I feel like somebody has switched out the lenses of my glasses for a different prescription. Very disorienting. :) I'll check back. If you need to contact me in the meantime, please drop me a line at my Wikipedia talk page, here. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 21:41, 3 July 2008 (UTC)


I am not sure if this is the best place for this, but it appears that the {{PD-user-en}} template is broken... When ever I try to use the template, nothing appears. I have been having this problem when transferring images from to commons. If someone replies to this, please drop me a note on w:User talk:Admrboltz it would be appreciated. Thanks --Romeo Bravo (T | C) 23:23, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

The template makes use of another template {{PD-user-w}}, which "has been temporarily disabled due to an infinite-loop error". It looks like Denelson83 (talk · contribs) was displeased with some edits made by OsamaK (talk · contribs) and "disabled" the template, effectively removing the copyright information from thousands of images. I've instead opted to revert the template to a version from last month. I suggest thoroughly testing modifications to such extremely high use templates before going live (and not disabling them if they break; they're important). LX (talk, contribs) 23:41, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I saw that disabled message, I found it to be highly annoying, but at least its fixed now. Thanks! --Romeo Bravo (T | C) 23:45, 1 July 2008 (UTC)
I have put nowiki tags around that template call in the section header as it was messing up the display of this section. -Wikibob (talk) 00:14, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

NASA & Copyright

Can anybody clarify whether it is possible or not NASA material from a specific mission? Link to copyright overview?

  1. SOHO (seems to be deleted as copyrighted and NASA&ESA coop)
  2. Stereo (only NASA, but same copyright note: [26])

May I upload STEREO? License? Tnx, Sebman81 (talk) 18:34, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

In terms of "STEREO", NASA states:
The use of STEREO images or data for public education efforts and non-commercial purposes is strongly encouraged and requires no expressed authorization.
So uploaded these pictures is legal, as wikipedia is non-commercial.
Works of ESA are copyrightet, however you can ask the for a permission:
But concerning SOHO, the copyright terms are the same as in other NASA missions (cf. quote above):
--Wikibert (talk) 15:27, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
"So uploaded these pictures is legal, as wikipedia is non-commercial." - No, commercial use must be allowed, see Commons:Licensing. --Kam Solusar (talk) 21:10, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
I guess the role in STEREO of a federally-funded research institute under government contract (JHU/APL) is enough to mean that the {{PD-USGov-NASA}} status does not apply, unless they voluntarily place it in the public domain, which they didn't. Correct me if I am wrong. --InfantGorilla (talk) 21:53, 9 July 2008 (UTC)
The pictures are on an official NASA-site, so the best thing would be to ask NASA: (talk) 23:23, 9 July 2008 (UTC)