Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 13

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Archive 13


Which Tag for licensing issue

I just found a grafic that claims to be self-made, but that is clearly derivative from another one: Image:Preahvihear.jpg, supposedly by User:Sunnyphlong (Talk | Contributions) clearly has as its source Image:Plan-preahvihear-1.png by User:Hdamm, only the Khmer name was added. How should it be tagged: as a copivio, or with nsd? --Hk kng (talk) 17:03, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Neither. Just add the original source, and tell the user to remember to attribute in future. -mattbuck (Talk) 17:14, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Done. --Hk kng (talk) 17:42, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Newspaper article

I have just found a newspaper article from 1935 in an old book. The newspaper, "Breslauer Neueste Nachrichten" is no longer published, moreover it was published in Germany, whereas Breslau (Wrocław ) now belongs to Poland. What are the copyright terms of newspaper articles?

--Wikibert (talk) 15:38, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Both EU countries so probably life+70.Geni (talk) 08:46, 11 July 2008 (UTC)


This template currently offers one of two copyright rationales. I'd like to split it into {{PD-1996}} and {{PD-URAA-Simul}} for clarity's sake, and mark PD-URAA as deprecated. Please discuss at Template talk:PD-URAA. --Padraic 15:34, 12 July 2008 (UTC)


Could I post these pictures ? --Tomdu91 (talk) 09:29, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

No. "©2005 Harrah's License Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved." LX (talk, contribs) 09:42, 14 July 2008 (UTC)


It's hard to analyze this because the FBI doesn't give a source, but it's apparently his passport photo. I don't know if it's from Germany or the U.S. Does anyone know any details? Does it matter? --NE2 (talk) 18:21, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Let L410UVP-E16 Góraszka 2008.JPG

Could someone have a look at Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Let L410UVP-E16 Góraszka 2008.JPG. To me, the copyright situation is very unclear, but apparently it's not to User:Szczepan1990. Jan Arkesteijn (talk) 22:43, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Please complete Author Information

I did a svg based on Image:Lydia.jpg. When I uploaded it it asked me for author information. Sure enough this map does have a notice saying it lacks author info. However it is derived from Image:Lydia original area of lydia.jpg which had no such notice. Again I hit the same request. What info is it asking for? How can I check that an image here doesn't have such a problem so I can avoid using images/maps with such problems?Dejvid (talk) 07:57, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

I have fixed the problem. By the way, maps should be uploaded as png or svg files not jpg. Anonymous101 talk 15:35, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of Panorama

Hi, I made the picture "Ein Mann geht durch die Wand" and uploaded it. I'm not sure about freedom of panorama anymore. In Germany it is allowed to publish this one. I'm not sure whether it is in France. So I'm not sure how to handle it in the commons. Should it be deleted and only given in the German Wikipedia? For me the copyright situation is now unclear. This is true also for pictures I took in Germany, because here we have freedom of panorama, but can they be published in the Wikipedia international pages? --Hutschi (talk) 12:31, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

French copyright will apply to any photograph taken of an artwork in France, so unless the original sculpture is in the public domain in France, I'm afraid derivatives cannot be accepted on Commons, nor on any Wikipedia edition that does not permit non-free content. In other words, you cannot apply a different country's freedom of panorama principles to a work taken in France. LX (talk, contribs) 20:46, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
Well...his picture may indeed be legal to publish in Germany but not on Commons. -Nard the Bard 21:59, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
I doubt it. Germany's freedom of panorama only applies in Germany, that is: the freedom granted by German copyright law to create derivative works of works publicly displayed in Germany naturally does not extend to works displayed in other jurisdictions. LX (talk, contribs) 23:13, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
It is legal to use it in Germany because of international contracts. But the internet is international. I will ask to remove it from Commons. I was not aware about the problem before. Thanks. --Hutschi (talk) 15:04, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
Please, all of you, read Commons:Freedom of panorama. Thanks! --Fb78 (talk) 13:37, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for the link. --Hutschi (talk) 06:19, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

uncertain copyright

hi ! could someone tell me if images from this site are legal here? there is a copyright warning when one clicks the image with right button, but i am interested in paintings of old masters like bellini. thanks in advance. tetraktys (talk) 23:13, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Any exact copy of a painting published in the US 1923 is likely to be public domain in the US (and can be used on commons). You can use {{PD-Art|PD-1923}} to indicate that on the image page. Hope this helps, Anonymous101 talk 15:33, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

thank you!tetraktys (talk) 16:45, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Image:Castlest01.jpg Image:Water04.jpg

These are my images and I have copyright. However, another person is claiming to have taken them and has released them into the public domain. I have attempted to contact the person through his discussion page - Is there anything else I can do?
Thank you for any advice. Scouserdave (talk) 10:29, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Where did you publish the image? In other words: where did Bobsmith040689 get the image from? --rimshottalk 13:46, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I took the shots in January 2007. and
Scouserdave (talk) 14:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Clear-cut copyvio... the server dates on that site pre-date the Bobsmith040689 upload to en-wiki. They should be deleted. Unless of course you want to license them to allow us to use them; in that case we would change all the author and license information. Are either of Image:Victoria Street, Liverpool.jpg or Image:Liverpool city centre skyline.jpg yours as well? Those are his other two images which have been transferred to commons, and they now look like copyvios too. In fact all of Bobsmith040689's image uploads on en-wiki look like copyvios... all his others are of Iraq. Ah yes, en:Image:Green Zone Mosque.jpg comes from a Flickr image by a James Gordon. That is licensed CC-BY on Flickr though, so the licensing/author info there can just be fixed. Still, at this point I would consider Bobsmith040689's uploads in bad faith. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:30, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Carl. I'd like them to stay on the Liverpool page, so please adjust all the author and license information when you have the time. The other images you mention are not mine, but I recognise them from other websites. Many thanks for the prompt response. Scouserdave (talk) 16:52, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

What license would you like? Keep in mind that it must be licensed for everyone (including commercial users), not just Wikimedia. See Commons:Email templates for examples of what we normally like from third parties, to make things explicit. The license can have restrictions (share-alike, or printing-full-text requirement) which can limit some of the potential commercial uses, but not all of them. See Commons:Choosing a license#Common_free_licenses and pick one (or more... we prefer to combine GFDL with one of the others, to give us options in some technical situations, though just one is fine too). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:07, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Policy for logos?

Do we have a specific policy for logos somewhere? I know that in the German Wikipedia virtually any logo is accepted, due to the very high "Schöpfungshöhe" (threshold of originality) required by German law to gain copyright protection. This means that most logos aren't protected by copyright in Germany; however, they can be trademarked. It is also known to me that trademark protection doesn't preclude uploading here (we have the Template:Trademark) as we don't use them as a mark. But how much "originality" is accepted here? In the United States, some logos that aren't eligible for copyright in e.g. Germany could be copyright protected. I think I read somewhere that Commons accepts only purely typographical logos like Image:AXN.png (unless the uploader is the copyright owner and able to release the logo under a free license). But how far does "purely typographical" go? For example, is a logo consisting of two words forming a cross, and a circle around them, already too original? (This is the former logo of an old Swiss company which I think could be interesting). Certainly no problem in the German Wikipedia and I can upload it there, but if it's possible to upload something at Commons, I always prefer Commons. Gestumblindi (talk) 14:35, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

Our policy states that images must be copyright-free in their country of origin and the U.S., so yes, they would have to be PD-ineligible by U.S. rules as well for us to host them (as you say, trademarked only is OK). Purely textual logos are okay in the U.S., and often other countries as well, so those are easiest. Common shapes by themselves are not copyrightable in the U.S. either though, so some of them may be OK -- it becomes a matter of judgement, which is always difficult. Here is some guidance from the U.S. Copyright Office: A certain minimal amount of original creative authorship is essential for registration in Class VA or in any other class. Copyrightability depends upon the presence of creative expression in a work, and not upon aesthetic merit, commercial appeal, or symbolic value. Thus, registration cannot be based upon the simplicity of standard ornamentation such as chevron stripes, the attractiveness of a conventional fleur-de-lys design, or the religious significance of a plain, ordinary cross. Similarly, it is not possible to copyright common geometric figures or shapes such as the hexagon or the ellipse, a standard symbol such as an arrow or a five-pointed star. Likewise, mere coloration cannot support a copyright even though it may enhance the aesthetic appeal or commercial value of a work. For example, it is not possible to copyright a new version of a textile design merely because the colors of red and blue appearing in the design have been replaced by green and yellow, respectively. The same is true of a simple combination of a few standard symbols such as a circle, a star, and a triangle, with minor linear or spatial variations. By that, the logo you just described would probably be OK. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:41, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you. Shouldn't there be a specific template for logos, instead of just using {{PD-ineligible}}? There seems to be a {{Logo}} which, however, is a "speedy deletion" notice (because this media is a logo or a derivative work thereof, which are always presumed non-free unless they are simple enough to be non-copyrightable); I'm thinking of a template for exactly these cases - logos that are simple enough to be non-copyrightable. A specific template would be better than just PD-ineligible in my opinion, because PD-ineligible says nothing about the reasons. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:06, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Logotypes are not in the public domain by virtue of being logotypes; the same rules that apply to any other image also apply to logotypes, so I think it is reasonable that {{Logo}} defaults to a copyvio tag. Template:PD-ineligible#Specific PD-ineligible tags lists some alternative tags which do provide reasons. LX (talk, contribs) 22:05, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Ah, Template:PD-textlogo from the list you linked to seems to be what I was looking for. It seems that this template is also suitable for logos including simple geometric shapes like Image:Vonroll2.jpg, as it explicitly states "Simple geometric shapes are also not protected". Gestumblindi (talk) 23:10, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

By the way, I uploaded the logo which I described now: Image:Vonroll2.jpg. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:24, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

New Biographer on Wikipedia

Hi, I am new: MsTopeka writing an article on Akiane as my first article. My username is the same on the encyclopedia, and I have a sandbox that was set up by a nice person that adopted me. Now I need some pictures. If you can find my sandbox from here, I would like to know whether the thumbnails from Akiane's website are public so that I can deposit here and link back to the encyclopedia. Better yet, maybe someone here will adopt me and we can deposit some pictures together. I have seen these thumbnails on other websites, but I don't know if it was done right. Akiane is commercialized and who knows what will happen if I call them and ask for permission to use her thumbnails. Here goes four of these things: MsTopeka (talk) 04:10, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

The Akiane website has a copyright notice on it so, unless you can get them to give you images with an appropriate licence that should be freely licenced, such as public domain, or some of the Creative Commons licences but not all, for you to upload it to the commons, otherwise you are likely out of luck, but you can look around flickr and see if there are some appropriately licenced images there. Hope that helps. Ww2censor (talk) 05:44, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
Images of paintings would need permission from the artist directly. Thumbnails can often be used under a "fair use" rationale, which is why you see thumbnails on other sites. This is a U.S.-only rule though, and Commons does not allow images under that rationale (since we serve wikis for all countries, not just the U.S.), so unless you get that explicit permission (for everyone, not just Wikipedia -- see Commons:Email templates for examples), they cannot be uploaded here. en-wiki does allow fair use images, so you could upload thumbnails there, giving a fair use rationale along with it. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:56, 20 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Censor and Carl. It looks like I will have to make direct contact with her publisher. She's also a child, so I don't know if someone has to sign for her, too. MsTopeka (talk) 01:52, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

freedom of panorama/derivative work?

I photographed this label from the top flap of my rucksack to illustrate the Alpine Emergency Signal article. Would it be OK to upload it to the Commons? I'm not sure with the copyright remark on the label. If not, would it be OK to design a similar "cheat sheet" myself? TIA -- Gerolsteiner91 (blubb?) 13:31, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama certainly doesn't apply to a rucksack. I think the text on the label is probably copyrighted, so uploading either a photograph of it or repeating it in a self-created document would probably constitute a copyvio. —Angr 15:35, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Image transfer question

I've created a SVG image of a Dragonball and would like to share it to other Wikipedias through Commons. The depicted object is "free" in Germany because it doesn't have enough Schöpfungshöhe (what would be similar to the Threshold of originality in US-law I think). Therefore, I distributed it for free usage without any restrictions.

Before I rush to transfer the image I'd like to ask if the image is free "enough" for commons as the depicted object was shown in the manga and anime series en:Dragon Ball. I wouldn't like to move it back to German Wikipedia and then copy it to other language versions where it might be used. --Defchris (talk) 15:13, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I think this file is a typical case of de:Vorlage:NoCommons, so the answer would be no. -- Prince Kassad (talk) 21:20, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Alright, thanks for the answer. Defchris (talk) 10:37, 22 July 2008 (UTC)


I am wondering if this image is fair use, instead of free use. At the English talk page, we are having issues deciding this is fair use or free use, because some Coat of Arms are copyrighted. I am e-mailing the embassy and forwarding the response to OTRS, as soon as possible. Thanks. miranda 02:26, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

The copyright belongs to the artist (whoever drew it), and they can license it as they want. Coats of arms are typically defined as a w:blazon, a special written description of the design. Artists can then make their own versions, each of which has a separate, original copyright (they are not derivative works of the blazon). There are usually trademark-like laws pertaining to usages of the arms -- that is what {{Insignia}} indicates, and is how countries control their use, but those are restrictions outside of copyright. The difficulty comes with artists who pattern their version after another -- is it a derivative work? Bitmap versions copied from websites are copyvios like any other work, so they will often be deleted -- but that does not mean that *any* version of the same coat of arms is a copyright violation. Using a bitmap image as a tracing source would usually make it a derivative work, unless none of those outlines remain in the final work (a derivative work has to contain portions of the original expression itself). Seals and coats of arms are particularly hard, since there is often a sort of "standard" way to draw heraldic elements, and different versions are supposed to look somewhat like each other. This is a pretty simple design to begin with... if it was drawn by hand to mimic a bitmap version, it may be OK. The lion is probably the main bit to be worried about, everything else is pretty simple. If the version on the embassy website is the source, then it seems similar but still a bit different to me. I think I would consider the SVG to be its own work, and fine. You may also want to use Image:Coat_of_arms_of_Burundi.svg, which appears similar (nicer) and further changed. It looks like it was renamed from another commons version which was then deleted as a duplicate. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:43, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Modifying policies regarding reproductions of 2D works

In light of statements by Mike Godwin and Erik Möller, would anyone object if I modify the policies here? Kaldari (talk) 23:20, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I have to say that I do. What they are saying is essentially that UK law doesn't matter if it hasn't been tested. That is incitement to break the law. Until such time as the UK law is changed - hell, WMF can sue the fuck out of NPG to get it done - we should abide by it. It is not for us to decide which local laws we can break. If this goes through, then what next? Freedom of panorama restrictions out of the window for one. Allowing this would be dismantling the structure on which commons has been built. If it's not free under local law, it shouldn't be here. -mattbuck (Talk) 01:13, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Without taking a position one way or another (I haven't had time to sit down and fully consider it), I might note that those statements don't seem explicit enough to serve as a proper basis for policy. Godwin seems to be merely saying that hosting the images is unlikely to expose the foundation to litigation. This is distinct from whether or not the images are public domain, a consideration his statement does not address. To the extent that the statements imply hosting on foundation servers is acceptable, they do not contain considerations of project space. If we assume, for example, that the images are indeed inappropriate for the Commons, they would still be acceptable on (i.e. the images would not be at odds with the statements, as they would still be eligible for hosting on foundation servers, just not the project that requires confirmation of public domain status in the U.S. and originating country). ЭLСОВВОLД talk 02:11, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
  • There is also this statement by Jimmy Wales in his personal capacity. The WMF Board is clearly telling us that we can/should ignore UK law in this case, and I agree that the policy should now be re-written to reflect that. They are the ones that may end up being sued and I suppose they must have the final say about what they want on their servers. This position does mean, though, a re-think of another Commons policy that is often quoted: that we keep images that are demonstrably free rather than what we can get away with. Wales's statement, in particular, does appear to encourage the hosting of content that is known to infringe copyright, which I find surprising. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 06:37, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that we are rather starting to be more relaxed both US and source country requirement, which I find OK. It's not like this is the only case where we ignore the rule. Samulili (talk) 06:42, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
It's somewhat disturbing that his argument focuses solely on the paintings being in the public domain (which is not being contested) and not on the reproductions (which is where the UK's skill-based–rather than originality-based–copyright supposedly kicks in). Furthermore, none of the statements would negate the legal accountability of the actual uploaders, who, from a PR perspective, would also more acceptable targets for litigators.
I'm not above civil disobedience as a means to protest silly copyright laws, but that's not what this project is about. There are plenty of sites that engage in low-risk, large-scale copyright infringement. We don't need to be another Pirate Bay. LX (talk, contribs) 07:10, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I do not think that we are turning Commons into a Pirate Bay by considering that even in the light of UK law 2D reproductions require much less skill than in previous decades. A simple scan or the application of simple procedures with specialized equipment do not require skill beyond an initial introduction. Here I am pointing to a paper that details how top quality reproductions were performed by some student assistants after some initial introduction to the equipment. --AFBorchert (talk) 08:58, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Regarding whether or not unoriginal photographic reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works are copyrightable in the UK, I'll reserve judgement for now, but if the desire to change COM:L is only based on interpretation of UK law, changing Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK is perhaps a more appropriate approach. If, instead, this principle is also extended to all such reproductions irrespective of country of origin, our policy would unquestionably encourage violation of copyright laws of countries such as Sweden, where photographic images are explicitly protected for a shorter term if they are not eligible for full copyright protection. LX (talk, contribs) 10:28, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
As I understand it, the WMF is not suggesting that we engage in low-risk copyright infringement. Rather, their position is that publishing these images is not a copyright infringement at all, and that faithful reproductions of 2D paintings are PD in all countries. Pruneautalk 10:14, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't mind if we changed our policies to only consider US law and ignore whether non-US images are copyrighted in their country of origin. But changing things in a way that is specific to reproductive photographies or to the UK or to laws that haven't been tested or whatever, would in my humble opinion be too arbitrary and potentially very confusing. Hemmingsen (talk) 08:52, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Hemmingsen. Our policy has to be consistent. Either we apply the law of the source country and US law or we apply only US law and that would then apply to all and any media files here. We cannot pick the laws we wish to abide by and those we intend to ignore only because Mike Godwin thinks we will not be prosecuted.--Caranorn (talk) 12:08, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The position of the Wikimedia Foundation, as far as I understand it, does not contract our position, i.e. that we follow US law and the law of the country of origin. All statements from Wikimedia make clear that they think that these images are also PD according to UK law even if there exist deviant opinions. In summary, we do not need a new policy but we should accept the legal opinion of Wikimedia Foundation even if this has not yet been contested in court. Here are some quotes:

  • I propose that we ignore any illegitimate and unjust false claims to copyright in these things, unless and until they are willing to take us to court. --Jimmy Wales (see here)
  • My strong belief is that there is no compelling reason to remove the National Portrait Gallery-associated images unless there's some kind of evidence of a legal problem for the Foundation. Thus far, there has not been such evidence. --Mike Godwin (see here)

--AFBorchert (talk) 13:13, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Logo of a city

What is the license status of city logos. How can I use it?

File:Limassol logo.png

Thanks! Piraeus (talk) 11:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Same as any other drawing; the copyright is owned by who drew it, or if it is a derivative work, then also the authors of the original work. There may be trademark or other legal restrictions as well, but those do not prevent them from being uploaded. The copyright though would follow usual rules; there is nothing special about them. Some countries have explicit laws which exempt official seals, etc. from copyright protection; I have no clue about Cyprus. Since this appears copied from the city's website, it would appear to be a copyvio, unless there is such a law, or it is just a straight copy of version old enough for normal copyright to have expired. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:20, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

PD-ItalyGov correct for 1944/1964 text on a memorial plaque?

I took a photograph of this World War II memorial plaque in Rome in 2005. It contains text from both 1944 (possibly 1964) and 2001. I suspected my photograph would not be permitted, so I asked at Commons talk:Image casebook and MichaelMaggs answered in the negative, due to the 70 year rule. I was about to request its deletion when I noticed Template:PD-ItalyGov implies Italian government works published before 1976 are in the Public Domain. So, my questions are:

  • if I crop the 2001 text away, and the upper plaque is from 1964 or 1944 would this image be acceptable?
  • am I correct to deduce the upper plaque was made in 1964 from the Italian text "A CVRA DEL COMITATO NAZIONALI PER LE CELEBRAZIONI DEL VENTENNALE DELLA RESISTENZA" (which I translate to something like "edited by the national committee for the 20 year celebration of the resistance")?
  • is such a committee considered as a part of the state as explained in Template talk:PD-ItalyGov?

-Wikibob (talk) 00:56, 26 July 2008 (UTC) (fixed section dates)-Wikibob (talk) 00:59, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Author rights

The author has the right to delete his own work. Pérez (talk) 01:07, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

In order to upload work to Wikimedia Commons, the author releases it under a free license. It can then be published by anyone, including Commons, permanently. The author has no special deletion right. Superm401 - Talk 19:15, 27 July 2008 (UTC)


I've tried to figure out the exact rules of when works created in Mongolia fall into the Public Domain because of age. The following is a quick summary of the legal situation as far as I was able to figure it out, based on the Law of Mongolia on Copyright combined with information found here. Based on the results, I've created mn:Template:PD-Mongolia, which is already in use there.

The good news is that Mongolian copyright has very short expiry times for photographs, but it still gets complicated.

In Mongolia, images fall into the public domain:

  • 50 years after the death of the creator(s)
  • 75 years after publication for anonymous and pseudonymous works
  • 75 years after creation when created by a legal person (organisation, business, authority)
  • 25 years after creation for photographic works and works of applied art

Combining this in an optimal way with US regulations, works created in Mongolia can be uploaded as PD-Mongolia in any of the following cases:

  • Any photographic image created in Mongolia before 19711972 (PD in Mongolia before 19961997)
  • Any pseudonymous work if it was published more than 75 years ago (Mongolian law)
  • Any work by a legal person if it was created more than 75 years ago (Mongolian law) AND published before 1964 (US law, no renewal)
  • Any other work if the creator(s) died more than 50 years ago (Mongolian law) AND it was published before 1964 (US law, no renewal)

If we can show that the original publication was made without a copyright notice, then the 1964 limit moves ahead to 1989.

Unless anybody discovers any fundamental flaws in my reasoning, then I'd like to add this information to the project page here, and create an equivalent template for the affected media. There are a number of images on mnwiki that could then be moved to the Commons. Comments? --Latebird (talk) 19:17, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

I have just glanced over the text and all this seems to be correct. Some remarks:
  • There is apparently no consideration of a threshold of originality, i.e. applied art including any kind of photographic reproductions profits from copyright protection, albeit under a shorter term. (Article 3)
  • The creator is to be named even when his copyright expired. (Article 17, (5)) This will be enforced by the Intellectual Property Office. (Article 25)
  • The copyright can be transfered to the state of Mongolia when it expires, i.e. checking the number of years since the author's death alone is not sufficient. You have to be sure that the work was not declared to be a national treasure. (Article 18)
  • Orphaned works are under the care of the Intellectual Property Office. (Article 25)
--AFBorchert (talk) 05:19, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Minor correction: The magical restoration year for Mongolia is 1997, not 1996, see en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S._copyrights#Dates_of_restoration_and_terms_of_protection Haukurth (talk) 06:24, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Another minor point -- there is no mention of what a "national treasure" means. It does say that copyright would be expired in that event, so that would be a non-copyright restriction anyways, so I don't think that point is particularly relevant to the copyright licensing. Also... I don't think that copyrights restored through URAA provisions have any relationship to PD-US-not_renewed (that is only for works actually published in the U.S.); restored copyrights are assumed "renewed" essentially, so those cases should probably be 1923 and not 1964. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:32, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Looks like I meant the "before 1996" to read "inclusively"... Thanks for catching that.
At least the moral rights part seems to be inspired by German law, so the "inalienable" (even after death) clause is no surprise.
The "national treasure" stuff is probably meant to protect the "inviolability" of a work, given it has enough national significance. This may primarily restrict the owners of physical objects (eg. historical artifacts), so they can't modify or destroy them.
They also have freedom of panorama, when a work is "displayed in public places" (16.7). The law doesn't spell out whether this includes "visible from public places" (we can hope, eh?). There's also a strange limitation on commercial use. Does the latter mean it is unsuitable for the Commons? I certainly don't hope so, because that would prohibit all images of newer buildings and monuments.
--Latebird (talk) 07:23, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
The limitation of commercial use knocks us out of the water as far as freedom of panorama is concerned. It is similar to that in many other countries. Haukurth (talk) 08:46, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Country by country breakdown page of copyrights?

Reading the Mongolia section above got me curious--do we have a big old page that breaks this down country by country? rootology (T) 06:41, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Commons:Licensing? Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:49, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
This is a perfect example of why I shouldn't stay up late... rootology (T) 06:52, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Creative Commons 3.0 licenses for german legal system

The Creative Commons 3.0 licenses (by, by/sa) for german legal system were released today. Does anyone see any reason to do not accept them as "Aprooved for Free Cultural Works"? ...Forrester 16:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Uhh no, we already had the great "Is CC-BY-3.0 non-free" debate, inconclusive. There were concerns about moral rights clauses... ViperSnake151 (talk) 20:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but you will find the "Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights" clause in the (currently used) unported as well as in the de version of CC 3.0. --Túrelio (talk) 15:14, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
We should accept them --Historiograf (talk) 23:31, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Noone wants a long discussion... ...Forrester 12:59, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Here is the CC-BY-SA 3.0-de license text on the CC-website. --Túrelio (talk) 15:11, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
accept. this issue has been cleared up a year ago on the mailing list. --Dschwen (talk) 18:11, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Good. I do not think we need to say anything more. ...Forrester 20:44, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Note: It's now also accepted on german Wikipedia. ...Forrester 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Copyright status of commemorative Austrian currency

I got a request on my en-wiki talk page from a user asking about non-standard Euro currency issued by the Austrian mint. Basically, they are looking on getting the list article en:Euro gold and silver commemorative coins (Austria) up to featured status, but there are a number of objections being raised over the fact that the majority of the coins on the page are listed as copyright and are thus being used under en-wiki's fair use policy, which specifically discourages the overuse of non-free content.

I responded as best as I could, but unfortunately my answers were not encouraging. Since it seems to me that the only real way to help this user is to confirm whether or not these images are free, I thought I'd come here and ask for additional opinions. My understanding right now is that these images are not free because they a) are not subject to public domain in Austria and b) are issued not by the European Central Bank (which would make them eligible for {{Money-EU}}) but rather by the Austrian mint, which apparently retains the copyright. So, would someone be so kind as to prove me wrong about this? --jonny-mt 14:43, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Jonny for bringing this topic here. I just want to add that these images are images of coins, and they are legal tender in Austria (meaning I can pay my coffee with an Austrian 5 euro coin). However, because their bullion value is usually higher than their face value, they are not used as a means of payment; hence they are called "collector's coins" because they always finish in hands of collectors and investors. I do not know if that helps to solve the issue.
Also, I found this line in the Austrian Mint in several places (although they do not have a "Legal" section and this line may be difficult to find among the so much information on it): "Leagal statement: All pictures can be published without naming the Austrian Mint as the holder of the copyright". Does that help? Miguel.mateo (talk) 00:56, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Racing videos

I have taken several short (1 lap long) videos of different types of racing, I have uploaded one video Image:Figure8RacingWIR07192007.ogg showing figure 8 racing. Before posting any more, I wonder if there might there be any copyright issues with these videos with respect to the race track possibly owning the copyright to any work taken at their track, similar to what musicians have with their concerts or television networks have with their programs. The racing program is what they are selling. I'm not talking about national/world touring series like NASCAR or Formula 1, although this discussion could be extended to them. As far as I am concerned, I (as the creator) am willing to use the CC-by-SA licensing. I opened a discussion on this topic on the English Wikipedia, and I did not get responses. It would be good if a U.S. copyright attorney reviewed this situation for a legal opinion.

In cases like this, I would love to see short videos of a person or object because it gives the reader a better understand for the subject than a picture. It's much easier for the reader to understand Figure 8 racing when he/she sees the cars racing on a track shaped like an "8". The reader also gets to see and hear the relative power of the race cars. Royalbroil 15:04, 13 July 2008 (UTC)

I don't think a race is recorded in a tangible medium before it happens though, its not like its a play or something. ViperSnake151 (talk) 00:11, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
If you took the video, you own the copyright. I think you would have to sign it away explicitly in writing to be otherwise per 17 U.S.C. 204 (other countries may have different rules though). A video of a musical performance would include the copyrighted music, etc., which is different (though photos are often OK there). House rules are more a matter between you and the venue. If the venue has a no photography or no video restriction and you ignore it, they could certainly prohibit you from attending future races (or eject you if they caught you in the act). It is possible they could argue that you broke an implied contract, provided they made the restriction very clear up-front, but proving that (and damages) may be difficult... that is impossible for us to judge. See en:v:Museum photography#House_rules:_legal_and_psychological_aspects for some similar discussion. For those situations, we leave it up to the uploader -- if you are comfortable uploading it, then we will take it. But ViperSnake151 is correct; there is nothing copyrightable in that video (other than incidental advertising and things of that nature), so you own the copyright to the video and can choose the license. A competition is not a scripted performance, and so there is no pre-existing copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:09, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you both for thorough explanations. I've never seen a track that had a "no video" restriction. Royalbroil 12:35, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Images of Lara Bingle

I have uploaded some images released by the Flickr uploader, though I am increasingly concerned that he is not the copyright holder, despite the fact that he agreed to release them. It seems suspicious that this uploader has so many images of this model, one or two of which clearly seem not to be his work. They all seem to have the same date, which seems to me to indicate the dates might have been made up. I should have been more skeptical that these were his images when uploading; I haven't come across copyvio uploads before there. I have mailed the uploaded twice privately and for some reason he is not responding. Should we delete the images, or keep them and assume that he took them? Richard001 (talk) 23:58, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Delete them; almost certainly all copyvios. An original of one is here; there is some EXIF data in that version which says "LIBRARY: 14/11/2006. Lara Bingle in still for new Channel 9 Ashes cricket campaign. Picture supplied by Nine." So, that is a copyright violation of an Australian TV station's image. Another one is here. Another is the exact same (bit-for-bit) as the image on this page, and the EXIF information for the same image here says it is "Christmas in the city. Fashion. Thursday October 5, 2006. Lara Bingle, Outfit 1. SHD SUPPLEMENTS .Pic by Fiona-Lee Quimby". Another was taken from here, where the caption (and EXIF info) say the author is Pat Scala. Couldn't find the last one but it looks like it probably was taken from the website like all the rest. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:33, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Should have had a better look for them myself... Why would someone agree to release rights to something they know they don't have rights to? I'll have to be much more careful in future. Richard001 (talk) 07:30, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
It's called flickrwashing, and it's a recognised sport in many countries. -mattbuck (Talk) 10:04, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
It's called Flickr-washing my friends. What this means is that images that sure as hell are copyrighted, but users upload the images on flickr and give it a free license. Thus, this allows the images to be on the Commons. It happens a lot, so don't blame yourself man. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 10:06, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Images deleted. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 10:18, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Image licence query

I came across an image licenced under {{BSD}} yesterday. I tagged it as missing permission, as it stands to reason that you can't licence an image under a licence for software. However, I was informed by the uploader (an en.wp admin) that it is fine, and that we in fact have a category for such images. So, my question is WHY do we allow this? I mean, I can understand if it's an image used in software (an icon, etc), but for a photo? -mattbuck (Talk) 14:30, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

It's still a free license. We accept GPL images as well, although both are discouraged since neither are well suited as image licenses (and you can argue that BSD is much more suited than the GPL), but that does not mean it is impossible. If it can work for an icon it can work for any image. For that matter, the GFDL is not well suited either (it was originally meant for documentation). Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:29, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Consider policy change to apply US law only, for all Commons files

The approach of the WMF Board in dealing with the {{PD-Art}} issue is one of policy rather than law. The Board is clearly comfortable with their servers hosting media that may fall foul of copyright laws outside the US, and indeed they already do that via the English Wikipedia policy which considers US law only. Although the particular trigger in this case was UK law, the Board's position appears to be independent of the laws of the other country involved, and also independent of the strength of any copyright arguments that may be made under local law (short of the copyright owner making legal difficulties for the WMF).

That leads me to propose what may be a radical departure for Commons: that we should ditch the rule that every file must be free in both the US and in the source country, and switch to using the same rule as the English Wikipedia, namely that US copyright law only is relevant. I propose that this rule should be applied for all media.

This would have a number of advantages:

  1. It would go a long way to reducing the annoyance that users of other Wikis feel when we tell them that we cannot host a particular image but that they can do so themselves if they like.
  2. It would make it easier for other Wikis to consider Commons as being the place to store their media (rather than only in certain legal circumstances that very few users understand or care about).
  3. It would make our policies here hugely simpler to maintain and enforce, and it would substantially reduce the number of hours spent explaining to users of the English Wikipedia, especially, that we have different policies to them. That would result in a significant saving of admin time (always at a premium).
  4. It would reduce the number of deletion requests that are difficult to deal with because of a lack of knowledge of some obscure local law, allowing us to reduce or even perhaps eliminate the backlog, and it would make the outcomes of deletion requests much more predictable.

All of this would enhance Commons' reputation, and drive more media here for us to look after on behalf of the Wiki communities.

The main 'disadvantage' I can see is that the French language Wikipedia (to take an example) may then end up with many illustrations hosted on Commons which are legal in the US but which are still under copyright in France. But does that actually matter? Such images have long been hosted on the WMF servers (eg for use on the English Wikipedia), so there will be no greater exposure for the WMF under US law. The French language Wikipedia is not restricted to France, and undoubtably has French-speaking editors from around the world, so why should French law specifically apply as opposed to, say, Belgian?

The other possible difficulty relates to Freedom of Panorama, where we are currently hosting images such as photographs of public sculptures that would not be allowed had those photographs been taken in the US (US law is significantly more restrictive on this than is the case in some other countries). But that is not really an issue. A US court, asked to determine the copyright status under US law of, say, a photograph of a statue taken in the UK, will not judge that issue on the hypothetical basis that the statue was actually photographed in the US. Instead, it will ask itself where the photo was taken and what the local law has to say. Since under UK law the photo is allowed, the US court will follow that determination. It is unlikely that a US court would be prepared to uphold a claim to US copyright by a foreign national against a US defendant where under the foreign national's local law no copyright action could possibly be entertained.

I am not a specialist in US IP law, though, and it may be that others may be able to point to some US case law to confirm or refute that. But even if I am wrong, moving to a "US law only" rule cannot make things worse. If photos of UK sculptures taken under UK FOP rules actually are copyright-protected in the US, then such images already breach our existing policy of "free under both US and local law" and should be deleted forthwith.

I am not suggesting of course that any other Wikis should change their policies: simply that Commons should become as open to new international content as is consistent with US law and with what the WMF Board will allow us.

Waiting to be shot down in flames .... --MichaelMaggs (talk) 14:37, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I fully support this proposal. It is simple and consistent and it will allow users of English Wikipedia to rely on the Commons with greater ease. It also avoids the awkward situation where we have to transwiki image collections to English Wikipedia because the policies there are more permissive.
I'd also like to point out that this won't lead to us completely ignoring, say, French copyright law. The copyright status of a French work in France is often relevant when determining the copyright status of that work in the US. Haukurth (talk) 15:15, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, indeed. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:20, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree with this, because if we go by US law only, we may gain some files but we'll lose a lot. Consider the countries where PD-old is at 40 years rather than the USA's (current, pending next need to keep copyright on beatles/elvis/mickey mouse) 70. -mattbuck (Talk) 17:24, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Bang, bang! :) Well, I'm not sure I agree with the proposal, or not. I'm not even sure such a decision should be ours to make. I also feel that having this discussion on at least three different pages makes the whole thing very difficult to follow... :( Samulili (talk) 17:31, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
The left half of my brain says Yes to this, because it would streamline some things, but the Right side of my brain says No, since it would mean some of our content may not be free everywhere. And since I'm right-handed, I have to say no right now. rootology (T) 17:33, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'm uncomfortable with this proposal. Currently, Commons is defined as "a repository of free media". This would make it "a repository of media free in the US for use on Wikipedias". In the current situation, an image on Commons is free in the US, the country of origin, and therefore in all the countries which follow the rule of the shorter term - that's a lot of places. People from pretty much anywhere in the world can reuse images found on Commons. If this proposal comes into force, only people from the USA will be able to use our material. If we go down this slope, why not allow Wikimedia-only, educational-only and non-commercial licenses too? After, they are fine for use on Wikipedias. Pruneautalk 17:49, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely oppose this. The reason things are as they are, is to ensure maximum re-usability, globally, as Rootology and Pruneau point out. But we all know that any reasonable argument is going to get drowned out in the zerg rush of Strong supports to follow, so whatever. Lewis Collard! (lol, internet) 17:54, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely not. This approach would in many instances be downright illegal for reasons detailed above. LX (talk, contribs) 18:01, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Maximum re-usability is a must. Furthermore, Wikimedia's goal is to give "free access to the sum of all human knowledge" to "every single person in the world". Making the change to United States law only would contradict that goal. Facepalm (yellow).svg. --O (висчвын) 18:28, 24 July 2008 (GMT)
I agree with LX, Lewis and O, i.e. I likewise suggest to keep the policy that we consider the law of the country of origin but that we accept the opinion of the Wikimedia foundation regarding the situation in UK, i.e. we should adapt Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag#UK but not our general approach. In addition, it might be useful to add a template to designate images where we keep them even if the actual legal status is disputed but not yet contested in court. This would make any risks apparent to anyone who is going to use these pictures outside of Wikimedia projects. --AFBorchert (talk) 19:27, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
You seem to want a policy requiring images to be free everywhere in the world. That's a far cry from what we have. We already have lots of images which are essentially only free in the United States. Those used under Template:PD-US are often free in the US and only in the US. Or try Category:PD US not renewed. Haukurth (talk) 20:06, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
{{PD-US}} applies for US works only and not for works created and published elsewhere. Similarly {{PD-US-not renewed}} is restricted to works that were published in the US between 1923 and 1963 with a copyright notice. --AFBorchert (talk) 20:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. And those typically won't be free outside the US. Nor does the PS-US-Gov stuff apply outside of the US. Haukurth (talk) 20:59, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
To make it clear: I support existing Commons policies that we consider US law and the law of the country of origin only. Yes, that means that there are images that are perfectly in harmony within our policies but which cannot be used in some countries on our planet. Neither me nor Commons suggest or have a policy requiring images to be free everywhere in the world. Hence, everyone who uses images hosted at Commons might have to check local law as well. In the case of {{PD-US}} and {{PD-US-not renewed}} it is clear that these are excemptions that are not necessarily valid outside the US. But so far, you might have gotten the impression that under the consideration of our Commons policy that you do not need to worry if you are residing in the US or the country of origin. Regarding the actual discussion, however, a user in UK who downloads and redistributes images of the National Portrait Gallery from Commons might want to know that this is not guaranteed to be 100% risk free. --AFBorchert (talk) 21:28, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, but this proposal seems to be borderline WP:POINT to me. The issue is not that we want to willfully ignore UK law, but that some people (apparently including the foundation) just don't share your interpretation. Sweat of brow is not without limits. And when it comes to the kind of reproductions in question (as we are hosting them on commons now) the argument is that these do not consitute high quality reproductions which may be eligible for copyright in the UK. --Dschwen (talk) 20:07, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
Dschwen, that's not the intention at all. This is a serious proposal the aim of which is to increase the availability of media on Commons, not to reduce it. I don't think it would be right to say that the Board has considered the analysis of UK law and rejected it on the basis of their contrary analysis. Rather, they have sidestepped the legal issues entirely made a policy decision that "old paintings are PD", and are asking us to work with that. One option is simply to allow {{PD-Art}} to be validly used for all countries. I am trying here to see if we are able to go more broadly than that. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:58, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I haven't seen any indication from the Foundation that they disagree with Michael's analysis. Haukurth (talk) 20:09, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
And I do not see any indication that the Foundation has asked us to violate UK law if its the country of origin. --AFBorchert (talk) 20:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I don't think that's a good idea and agree with Lewis Collard and LX. There are many images that are free in the US but are not in the respective countries of origin. If images are hosted on Commons you just can't prevent users from using them in articles (there are local image blacklists, but those aren't intended for large heaps of images), which might put not only Wikipedia in legal trouble, but foremost the people that reuse our content in good faith. And that's one of our prime goals - creating free content that anyone can use. And (re-)users of content of the non-english Wikipedias are primarily from non-US countries and have to adhere to their local copyright laws. --Kam Solusar (talk) 20:47, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Hmm, an interesting response. Maybe someone can explain what our policy actually is, then, and put me out of my misery. As I understand it, current policy has two parts:

  • A: Must be free in the US
  • B: Must be free in source country.

The policy requires (A AND B). So, if we switch to A only, how can that possibly mean we have to lose any media? (A AND B) is always a smaller set than A.

Perhaps the answer is that in some cases we are getting away with B only. If so, we would appear to be hosting images that are unlawful under US law, which is a real no-no.

Please note that FOP does not fall into the B only category for the reason I have explained above. In that case, a US court will accept a determination of copyright made under local law. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Short answer: I strongly doubt that the community of Commons may be allowed to take such giant step as to choosing wich laws to respect and wich ones to ignore without the active intervention of the Foundation itself. Thialfi (talk) 21:10, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Thialfi. While it seems like a potentially good idea (and probably legally sound), it should be a decision for the Foundation. Superm401 - Talk 00:35, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
It's a decision they've pretty explicitly delegated to the Commons community. Check this post from Godwin.[1] Haukurth (talk) 13:24, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I read it. He says he's willing to let Commons interpret Bridgeman v. Corel. Nowhere does he generally address the much broader issue of PD in source country. Superm401 - Talk 23:52, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

A new proposal

Since this proposal does not appear likely to reach consensus (judging by the comments so far), I have created a modest compromise proposal. Kaldari (talk) 21:11, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

UK is not enough

"[W]e've consistently held that faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works which are nothing more than reproductions should be considered public domain for licensing purposes" (Erik Moeller at foundation-l). See also

I have serious doubts that the position of Nordic countries is appropriate described with No-Bridgeman v. Corel. There is no such detailed discussion we have for the UK. We should add "and possibly in other countries" to the Compromise template und follow the Moeller statement "ohne Wenn und Aber" --Historiograf (talk) 23:30, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

I would support the creation of a {{PD-Art-Undetermined}} or similar template if other editors would be willing to go along with it. I do like keeping a completely separate {{PD-Art-UK}} template, however, since this country in particular has been a continuous issue on the commons. Having it as a separate template let's us do two things: centralize discussion of UK-related copyright issues at Template talk:PD-Art-UK and mass delete them all in the event that a court case settles the issue in the UK specifically. Kaldari (talk) 23:40, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree. If we must make changes in policy (and I'm not sure it's necessary), let's make small ones. Can we agree to take the discussion there? Lewis Collard! (lol, internet) 01:15, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with that, too. Do not change our general policies, take a look at each country (or group of countries like the Nordic ones, for example), and, if it is to be relaxed by WMF policy, make the implications clear within a specialized template for the case that it is going to be used in the country of origin. --AFBorchert (talk) 06:39, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

See specific proposals on this at Commons talk:When to use the PD-Art tag#A little more on PD-Art. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 06:43, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Image:Williamsville 1927 (39869995).jpg

Hi, the image is licenced with creative commons, thats not correct. The original source is given (, is it pd or pd-usgov? I think the image decription is not needed, can enyone give a better description? Grüße, --Martin H. (talk) 14:46, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Erie County is not part of the Federal Government, so pd-usgov does not apply. Sv1xv (talk) 15:20, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 without a copyright notice

I was just looking at a bunch of screenshots from The Black Swan (e.g. Image:Tyrone power black swan 4.jpg) which were uploaded recently using the PD-US-no notice template, indicating they were "published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 without a copyright notice". I was under the impression the film was copyrighted and not in the public domain, and I was wondering how one goes about double-checking such things. Google wasn't any help. Thanks in advance for any assistance you can render. one dead president (talk) 18:27, 15 July 2008 (UTC)

  • The film itself probably is still in copyright. Movie *trailers* came out months or years before the movies were released, and were often published without a copyright notice. It's often hard to tell, since the only pre-1978 copyright records online are of books. Furthermore I'm sure it would be extremely hard to locate the very first promotional reel sent out of the movie trailer, which would be the key to determining if it were published without a copyright notice...what was on the very first reel. If you sent out just one without a copyright notice but then millions with one, under the old law you had published your work directly into the public domain due to that small oversight (harsh, yes). See the copyright claim at [2] for example. Stills from the trailers are generally accepted on Commons. If you wish to research the claims yourself, you will have to pay someone to visit Washington DC and search the records[3] and try to locate a first edition movie trailer reel. I'd advise against contacting the movie studio because they will not give you an honest answer. They will tell you that of course their work is copyrighted, whether or not they actually complied with the formalities back in the day. -Nard the Bard 21:56, 15 July 2008 (UTC)
    • So basically all images from film trailers for movies released prior to 1977 are fair game for Commons? You are blowing my mind. one dead president (talk) 01:21, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
      • Weelll...yes and no. The trailer must have been published without a copyright notice. Studios caught on after about the mid-60's.[4]. To be sure you should view the trailer yourself and look for the notice before uploading such images. -Nard the Bard 01:30, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
        • Okay, right, that was kind of my question in the first place. I should amend my statement to: "So basically all images from film trailers for movies released prior to 1977 that do not have a physical, visible claim of copyright in the trailer itself are fair game for Commons?" Is that closer to being correct? one dead president (talk) 01:52, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
          • They would have to have been first published (shown) in the US. Anything that was first shown overseas may subject to stronger protections (depends where it was first shown). Basically you are probably okay for films made and first shown in the US - but anything non-US may or may not be still protected. See hirtle Megapixie (talk) 03:06, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
              • one dead president.... this is another link that explains the situation in more detail. Rossrs (talk) 07:49, 16 July 2008 (UTC)
                • Okay, so the salient point here seems to be this: "There are 2 ways for a work to go into the public domain: 1) either through not placing a copyright notice on it in the first place or 2) through not renewing it." What I'm getting from this discussion (viz Nard the Bard and "Stills from the trailers are generally accepted on Commons", above) is that trailers for American films pre-1978 are very, very often in the public domain, and even if they aren't, accurate records for them are extremely difficult to access so they are de-facto considered public domain here. Like, if people upload trailer images that originally had copyright notices as "not renewed for copyright", should those images be listed for deletion if no suitable proof can be presented that that copyright was not renewed? There seems to be a widespread consensus that these images are okay, but the rationale for this seems highly iffy to me. Ford MF (talk) 16:56, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
                    • The rationale isn't perfect but I don't think it means that we're saying that a poverty of accurate records is more or less the same thing as public domain. I think that's a very different thing. Publicity photographs and historical photographs for example are never accepted as being public domain by Commons (even though some of them probably are) just because it isn't proven one way or another. The creative clearance website says "industry custom and practice has been to use trailers prior to 1972" - as public domain. Industry custom isn't using them in relation to fair use laws, which they could probably justify. I think it is also supported (though obviously not proven) by the fact that companies such as Sabucat have been selling access to old film trailers for years, apparently without any copyright claim being made against them. Rossrs (talk) 03:22, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

I wanted to ask if the same license {{PD-US-no notice}} that is used in Image:Bill Gates mugshot.png can be applied to Larryking.jpg, so it could be copied to Commons.--Kimse (talk) 05:34, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Russian national anthem

Image:Russian_Anthem_chorus.ogg may well be covered by the tag given, but it's not certain.

While it appears to be a governmental recording, conducted by the person commissioned to write the music, it's not entirely clear if the performance itself is covered, even though the anthem clearly is. Can someone have a look? Thanks, Adam Cuerden (talk) 21:32, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

From what I was told, the recordings were created soon after the anthem was adopted, and were first published on websites connected with the Russian Kremlin and Duma. This recording is what is present on the websites of Russian authorities, including embassies. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 23:14, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
That's the impression I got, but do all Russian governmental works enter the PD, or just a few specified types? Adam Cuerden (talk) 09:52, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Few, and it is specified on the template that this media file is using. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 19:08, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. I suppose it might come under symbols of the state, but it's at best a stretch to presume that the performance itself is covered by that. Can someone who speaks Russian write to the sites using it and seek clarification? Because this is looking copy-vioish. Adam Cuerden (talk) 19:42, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
If we need to delete the vocal file, that is fine. We have several copies of the instrumental track, so I am not too concerned. I have the full musical credit of the record, so if you need that, let me know. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 22:38, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
It might be useful. Certainly, it would help to figure out if it was released into PD. Does it have any copyright notice? Adam Cuerden (talk) 17:39, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Here and here are the first two places where the recordings were published. There is an official sheet music notation by Pavel Ovsyannikov on the internet, but the copyright on the presentation of the sheet music was made in 2001. The sheet music itself is public domain, due to Russian law. I see nowhere about copyright on the actual performance. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 19:08, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Image confusion

I've been a wikipedian for several years (I'm an admin there), but I'm still very confused about uploading images to commons. I just uploaded Image:Kingkongposter.jpg which I think is PD, but I can't seem to find any guidance about how to figure that out, and what the appropriate tag is at commons. On top of that, I seem to have used an image name that is being used by a different image at Wikipedia. So it looks like it needs to be moved and perhaps deleted. How is someone supposed to figure out how to tag these images correctly, name them correctly and upload them to the correct place? If I'm getting confused, after being here for quite some time, first time uploaders must be very baffled. Sorry if I screwed up. It seems that there should be just one unified place to upload pictures for all Wikimedia sites, and during the upload process the user should be led through questions that will determine where the picture ends up (Commons, Wikipedia, etc...), the appropriate tag, and if there are any naming conflicts. The current process is just halfway there. -- Sam (talk) 08:58, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

The fact that a file on English Wikipedia has the same name - is the problem that they'll have to deal with if they want to be able to use this image. As the tag there suggests, the file at the local Wikipedia has to be renamed. Regarding its license, some images on Commons are hard to prove to be freely licensed; the usual procedure is to check the uploaders' history and log to see if they are trustworthy, new. However, posters and screenshots are mostly copyrighted, thus a research and prove is needed. For this particular image, I've checked the posters at IMDB and found several links [5] [6] [7] [8] that mention this poster being made for 1933 movie. Posters are usually made before the official release of the film, so it's safe to say that it was created before or in 1933. Hope I was helpful. --Kimse (talk) 05:26, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Lucky Strike towers logos - copyright violation?

I took these two photographs of the Lucky Strike towers (chimney, water tower) in Durham, NC and they were declined QI status in part due to possible copyright violation. These are historical landmarks in a public place. Is this not covered by freedom of panorama? What should I do in this situation? --Specious (talk) 23:26, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

I'd say that the logos qualify for de minimis, so it should be OK. -mattbuck (Talk) 00:49, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
The logo itself does not qualify for copyright anyways (see {{PD-textlogo}}). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:50, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that's great news for me! --Specious (talk) 15:10, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Image:WilliamPaterson.jpg copyright tag

This image is tagged with {{PD-old}}, however according to [9] the portrait is by C. Gregory Stapko, who died in 2006 (see [10]). This being a work by Stapko is backed up by [11], which claims it was commissioned by the Court. So, this may be in the public domain for another reason, but I do not think {{Pd-old}} is accurate. AWeenieMan (talk) 18:16, 31 July 2008 (UTC)

You appear to be correct that it was painted recently. Thus, it does not seem to be PD or free, and I've nominated it for deletion. Superm401 - Talk 23:49, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your assistance. AWeenieMan (talk) 17:52, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Hulton picture library, claims of copyright

It seems the Hulton library lays claim to copyright on a number of old images in its collection. For example,[12]. This is an image which the description states was created 1900 by an unknown photographer. It seems to me this means it is now out of copyright. However they universally lay claim to copyright on every image in their collection. Does anyone know more about this situation? Sandpiper (talk) 09:38, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Turkish copyright law

Could someone help me determine whether it would be acceptable to upload works created in the Ottoman Empire such as this? Is Turkish copyright law binding in this case? If so, article 27 says:

The protection period continues during the lifetime of the owner of the work and for 70 years after his death.
For works becoming publicized after the death of their owner, the protection period is 70 years after the date of death.
In cases stated in the first paragraph of article 12, the protection period is 70 years from the date that the work becomes publicized; provided that the owner of the work discloses his name before the expiry of this period.
In case the first owner of the work is a corporal person, the protection period is 70 years from the date that the work becomes publicized.

Article 29 says "The protection period for handicrafts, minor works of art, photographic and cinema works is 70 years from their date of becoming publicized."

--Adoniscik(t, c) 05:20, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, according to {{PD-TR-Gov}} and {{PD-Art}}, copyright expires after the life of the author plus 70 years, or the first publication must be 70 years ago - whichever is later. Therefore, due to their age (1908) and the old Ottoman caricatures are now Turkish national heritage, it's safe to assume that their copyright has expired. --Kimse (talk) 06:15, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

The issue is that we are dealing with two countries. Are they the same legal entity? --Adoniscik(t, c) 03:12, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

According to the Treaty of Lausanne, the Republic of Turkey is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, thus owning the legal rights to the Ottoman intellectual property. --Kimse (talk) 20:44, 4 August 2008 (UTC)


hallo, I'm unsure about that: it gives Quelle: selbst erstellt Fotograf/Zeichner: Benutzer:ThyssenKrupp Datum: 04. 2006 (“Source: self made fotographer/designer ..”) - I do not believe its done 2006, and is categorized Old maps, but 70 years old?

right place here? what else to do? greetings --W!B: (talk) 11:18, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Is is dated sometime in the mid 1930's, before the Anschluss. Sv1xv (talk) 11:42, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
(sorry for beeing late) ah, no, “Besatzungszonen” means (allied) Occupation Zones after the war 1945 (till 1955 at all) --W!B: (talk) 13:38, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Death of artist 1938 France

I have been looking at the public domain 70 plus old images. There is something I do not quite get. There seems to be some inconsistency as to when artwork from an artist can be published on this site. I understand works of art, illustrations, paintings, become in the public domain 70 years after the artist's death. An artist who died in France in 1938, do his works fall in the public domain as of January 1 2008, or as of December 31, 2008?

Normally, it's January 1st of the next year, e.g. 2009 in your example. Of course, any works deleted under that issue should probably be kept in a list to be restored on 2009, as should their links on the Wikipedias. =) Adam Cuerden (talk) 18:35, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
In France there have been copyright extension due to the world wars (see Public domain#France). This means that the artwork in question might still be copyrighted, as it is not clear whether these extensions are still in force. --rimshottalk 18:59, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
If fr:Prorogations de guerre is correct, the French wartime extensions were superseded by the normal copyright term extension to 70 years in 1995 (EU directive 93/98/EEC) and can be safely ignored except for musical works. Lupo 08:02, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your answers. Does this mean that the artwork (paintings, illustrations) found on commons.wikimedia by French artists who died in 1938 and later and very clearly marked and identified as "Public Domain older that 70 years after death" on this site, are stored in a special section "to be restored as of 2009" and are presently not being used?
I have read the several articles concerning the time extensions because of the two WW, and it seems that the new 70 year rules overrides the old extensions, since beforehand work would fall in the public domain a lot earlier in France
No, they are not stored there. I'm just saying that if there's only a couple months to go, we should probably seek to minimise disruption while, at the same time, removing them immediately until such time as they're free to use. This means noting where they were used, etc. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:59, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Note that there is no official Wikimedia repository of "almost" PD works. Thus, you should consider keeping such a folder on your own computer. Superm401 - Talk 06:44, 6 August 2008 (UTC)


My question here is whether a map such as this (Image:Circumcision_by_Country.png) violates the WHO's copyright. Someone (originally Emilfaro, I believe, with an earlier version of the image on en:wikipedia, which has been deleted) made this image using data from a WHO document, using a different map projection etc. from the map in the WHO document. I just want to check whether it's considered OK to do that, as far as the WHO's copyright is concerned. (Tangentially relevant discussions are at Circumcision and prevalence.) Coppertwig (talk) 12:55, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

  • Data is not copyrightable. The map projection is different, the colour-scheme is different - there's no apparent problem. WilyD 15:35, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
    • And finally i have the proof. The first version of the map that now says it's RasterB's is not created. Every other normal image says "edit this page" not "create this page". Emilfaro
File:The Proof.png
The fakery proof
      • That says "create this page" because the Wikipedia page has been deleted, as is usual after an image has been moved to Commons. No "fakery" going on. —Angr 12:35, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your answer, WilyD.
If I understand the situation correctly, Emilfaro is raising a separate issue: that the first version of the map, now deleted, was created by Emilfaro, but subsequent versions based on it do not give credit to Emilfaro. I believe this can easily be corrected by editing the image description files, as I've done on one of the versions of the map. Coppertwig (talk) 12:40, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
How to Fake an Image in Wikipedia
  1. Find an image you want to fake (it must not be on Wikimedia Commons)
  2. Upload an image you want to end up with on Wikimedia Commons (it must have the same name)
  3. Upload a new version on Wikimedia Commons, which is actually the old one original you are faking
  4. The image on wikipedia (original) is now going to fall the victim of speedy deletion
  5. Now revert to the first version on Wikimedia Commons and end up with it :-)

Enjoy! Wikipedia is dead. Emilfaro

What do you mean with “fake”? Sure, you can change an image by overwriting it with a different one, but you can do that even without all those magic steps, just click Upload a new version of this file on any image description page. --Mormegil (talk) 09:09, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah that would work fine as long as Commons has no real way of identifying the content of an image and checking against deleted versions of ALL other Wikimedia Projects. Luckily if these images are obvious copyright violations or fair-use they might be found too (especially if linked to the article where the original image resided), even faster than when distributed under different filenames across some Wikipedias. --Yamavu (talk) 20:00, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Licenses Change

Hello folks,

I would like too change the cc-by-sa licenses of my pictures for cc-by licenses. This should be no problem. Or is there? Is there a Bot that can do this?

Thanx --Morray (talk) 09:42, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

That should be no problem (though going the other way -- from cc-by to cc-by-sa -- would be a problem). No idea about the bot. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:58, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Austrian Stamps

Could someone please elucidate whether Austrian stamps fall under PD as Official Works? It seems doubtful, but not certain either way according to the language on COM:L#Austria. Thanks, Storkk (talk) 19:35, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

There's a special regulation for this, see Category:Stamps_of_Austria--Yamavu (talk) 08:48, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Aha... so unfortunately Image:Ernst_Happel_Stamp.jpg and others need to be nominated for deletion? I had a nice one that could have illustrated w:Friedrich Emich, but oh well. --Storkk (talk) 10:17, 30 July 2008 (UTC)
Actually, the Austrian stamps are PD and the template to use is here and is on the image page already. Storkk are you suggesting this is wrong? Cheers Ww2censor (talk) 04:28, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting anything originally, however it's difficult to ignore the contradiction now. I was at first curious as to what clause of COM:L#Austria they fit under (since they don't seem to quite fit anywhere) the relevant text is: "published as part of a law or official decree or edict, or if they have been released as an official announcement or for public information". Please also see the language on the first answer above. Are you still relatively sure that they are automatically PD? Can there be some consensus on this specific issue--if not here, where should I take it up? Cheers & thanks for your time, Storkk (talk) 11:35, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
You could discuss it here with other philatelists. Ww2censor (talk) 23:36, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Argentina stamp

I happened to notice the licence on this stamp and think it is more likely inaccurate use of this PD-author. There is no specific stamp template here except for the PD-old template that would suit this image and I have not seen any specific discussion either here or here about Argentina stamp status. If someone can confirm the Argentina stamps are PD, then we should note that on the stamp pages, otherwise this needs to be removed or tagged more appropriately. Thanks Ww2censor (talk) 17:01, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

This is now up for deletion at Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Tanguitoestampilla.jpg, so please contribute there. Ww2censor (talk) 16:12, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Tourist wall maps captures copyright

Hi! Image:Beach Street Penang Dec 2006 014.jpg and familiar photos about maps aren't copyright violation?? The main subject did not made by photographer. --Beyond silence Sort both.svg 22:10, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

This photo should be covered by Malaysian freedom of panorama. See the Malaysian Copyright Act of 1987 (Section 13 (2d)). --rimshottalk 06:10, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok, but what about general laws? We have got copyright problems at Hungarian Wikipedia and somebody referenced the similar commons photos... Thank for help! --Beyond silence Sort both.svg 14:24, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Freedom of panorama is applied according to the jurisdiction in which the photograph was taken. Furthermore, the diagram depicted in this particular photograph is probably {{PD-shape}}. LX (talk, contribs) 14:47, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Nonsense. FOP is applied according to the jurisdiction of the nation of the photograph --Historiograf (talk) 21:11, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Copyright / usage status of olympic emblem

I notice this was discussed on commons-l in April (first post:, but I'm not sure whether the response given was completely correct. To summarise, images of the Olympic rings, including Image:Olympic flag.svg, claim to be PD-70 because the original creator died in 1937, however they also have a number of warnings on them suggesting that they aren't, in fact, PD. In particular, there is a link to the Olympic Charter mentioning Chapter 1, Rules 7-14 and its Bye-law. The same link and rule is given on the official web site of the International Olympic Committee, in their FAQ which I quote below:

Can I use the Olympic Rings?

The Olympic rings are the exclusive property of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and cannot be used without the IOC's prior written consent.

You will find the rule about this subject in

The Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, Rules 7-14 and its Bye-law, p. 20-26 (from [13])

In the charter itself[14], this is the relevant bit of the referenced rules:

Chapter 1, Rule 7, Section 2: The Olympic symbol, flag, motto, anthem, identifications (including but not limited to “Olympic Games” and “Games of the Olympiad”), designations, emblems, flame and torches, as defined in Rules 8-14 below, shall be collectively or individually referred to as “Olympic properties”. All rights to any and all Olympic properties, as well as all rights to the use thereof, belong exclusively to the IOC, including but not limited to the use for any profit-making, commercial or advertising purposes. The IOC may license all or part of its rights on terms and conditions set forth by the IOC Executive Board.

The bye-laws then explain under what circumstances the Olympic properties may be used by the IOC, a National Olympic Committee, or by an authorised or licensed third party. In other words, it seems pretty clear to me that the IOC owns the rights to the olympic rings, or at the very least acts like it does. So should we really be hosting these images on Commons? ConMan (talk) 01:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Of course, the IOC has no power to create any such law. Is there any reason to believe (Greece, presumably) their home country or the U.S. allows them special copyright provisions? They no doubt still own a trademark, for which there's template:trademark, but if the creator died in '37, it seems more likely they're just asserting copyright over something they don't own. If I had a nickel for everyone who did that, I could easily buy the rights to every copyrighted work. ;) WilyD 04:16, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
There are specific laws which go beyond even trademark in many countries (a precondition for holding the olympics). However, these are not copyright restrictions... and commons is concerned about the copyright status specifically. Restrictions based on non-copyright laws are permissible. We have a {{Copyrighted IOC}} tag to note those (which is now incorrectly named... the logo is probably PD-ineligible to start with, but is PD-old now in any case). Still, those other laws exist -- we just need to make sure wikimedia's usage does not violate them, which I don't think it does. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:10, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
The IOC is based in Switzerland, not Greece, therefore the Swiss copyright law should apply.
Sv1xv (talk) 11:41, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
The country of origin would relate to the person who created the work, not necessarily the organization. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:55, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
And creator of the rings is a French national. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 18:54, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Akaine's publisher sent me an email that said it was OK to load her images here. What do I do with that email? What kind of license will that be? MsTopeka (talk) 02:03, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Depends on the contents of the email. Was it permission only to use the images on Wikipedia? If so, that's not enough to upload here and you'll have to follow the instructions at Commons:Email_templates. Those instructions will ideally get you consent for 1) commercial re-use and 2) derivative works, the two primary criteria of all commons licenses. If the permission is already sufficient, forward it to the email address on that page (permissions-commons at wikimedia dot org) and we'll take care of it. If you're not sure, go ahead and forward it and hopefully you'll get a nice volunteer who will consider it a learning experience. ;-) Cheers.--Chaser (talk) 04:35, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
The Commons licensing policy also has some clarifications if you're curious about something specific.--Chaser (talk) 05:13, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
Chaser, I'll email this section's link to the publisher, because they too need to think about the ramifications of the license they are granting. Hopefully, they will proceed. The thing that is sort of strange is that Ms. Topeka is obviously not my real name, and it doesn't seem very legal. (I doubt if the bank would give me a loan under that name!). Do you think that it would be best for Akiane's publisher to communicate via email with 'you' at (permissions-commons at wikimedia dot org)? Thanks again. MsTopeka ( ) 11:44, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
You can cc me on correspondence or let me handle it, but I use a pseudonym even for OTRS work (many volunteers do). I've just sent you my email address.--Chaser (talk) 06:13, 7 August 2008 (UTC)
Chaser, Akiane's publisher just called me. They are talking it over with her parents (and probably a copyright lawyer). I suggested that they release three thumbnail images into the public domain: Jesus, Eve, and Akiane's self portrait. Rather than having two people with fictious names from Commons doing this (and I don't know as much as you), why don't you try to contact Mark S Kramarik at Art Akiane LLC. He is one person answering email at <redacted (spam)>. I think I should step out of this process, now, because you know the licensing side and can talk them through it. I don't monitor MsTopeka's email account regularly, so if you proceed, please let me know in this section or else drop a note on my talk page. I think we can quote one sentence from her poetry per image description under fair use. If you are willing to get the copyright clearance and upload, I'll take care of the one sentence quote and go to the encyclopedia to upgrade her article. I also have her book within reach if you don't. OK? MsTopeka (talk) 22:07, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
I'll take care of it.--Chaser (talk) 16:40, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

No source allowed?

According to The Project Gutenberg License, If an individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg are removed. So does that mean I can't reference them as the source if I don't abide by their trademark restrictions (which includes non-modifiable text and not a restriction I would voluntarily add to public domain works)? Rocket000(talk) 03:53, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I think these restrictions are about removing references to Project Gutenberg from the work itself. There is nothing stopping you from saying where you got work. If the work itself, however, still references PG, then this looks as if they endorse that version of the work. Understandably, they do not want that. --rimshottalk 06:11, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Ok, I was thinking that after I posted. The language doesn't make it very clear. Some of these files we have contain "Project Gutenberg" in the title. Rocket000(talk) 07:01, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Questionable copyright?

How do you deal with an image that has questionable copyright attached to it? Is there a process to investigate or do you simply nominate for deletion? RichN (talk) 21:24, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Nominate for deletion. This is our process for investigation. Lupo 14:00, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

satellite image from

Hi, may I use satellite image form as background to the svg map of old roman road. Image:Bavay_-_Gembloux.svg used there fr:Chaussée_de_Bavay_à_Cologne. Jean-Louis Hens (talk) 10:40, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes you may, so long as it's NASA and other US-Governmental organisations alone. US Government work is PD. Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:42, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


Is this shortcut really a good idea? It seems to have unfortunate alternative meanings. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:48, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

En uses it and it doesn't appear to cause problems.Geni (talk) 13:44, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Different versions of Creative Commons

Quite a few images are uploaded from Flickr onto Commons under a slightly different CC license than the original one. For example, an image licensed as CC-BY-SA-2.0 on Flickr might be uploaded as CC-BY-SA-2.5 here, which is against the SA part of CC-BY-SA-2.0. When the image here is exactly the same as the original Flickr image, that's not a problem: the reviewer can correct the license. But what to do when the image has been cropped? For example, Image:Ben underwood.jpg was under CC-BY-SA-2.0 on Flickr, so that's the only version a derivative can be licensed under, but the user doing the crop presumably has some authorship claim, and they only agreed to CC-BY-SA-2.5 (whatever the difference is). Would it be acceptable to mark the file as CC-BY-SA-2.0, or do I need to re-do a crop of the original image, and accept to license my crop under the correct license? Sorry for being so picky, but I'd rather get it right before listing dozens of images as reviewed. Pruneautalk 13:07, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Its not a problem. To quote the cc-by-sa-2.0 legal code: "You may distribute, publicly display, publicly perform, or publicly digitally perform a Derivative Work only under the terms of this License, a later version of this License with the same License Elements as this License". As long as the crop attributes the author correctly it can be licensed under cc-by-sa 2.0 or later.--Nilfanion (talk) 13:15, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Great. Thanks for your help! Pruneautalk 16:32, 13 August 2008 (UTC)


A few months back, I uploaded a picture of a can of Budweiser. This was deleted due to, and I quote, "Copyright violation: Speedy delete. Obvious copyvio of printed design on can".

I presume this means that a bottle/can of beer with a label on it is considered a copyrighted utility object. If so, are you going to delete everything in Category:Beer bottles, Category:Beer cans and Category:Beer glasses, not to mention soft drinks, wine bottles, all packaged food products, ...? Jpatokal (talk) 05:32, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Not all packaged products, just those that have copyright designs on the packaging or on a label. It is the printed design that is the problem, not the bottle/can itself. See COM:CB#Product packaging. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 05:37, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
So, aside from the two pictures taken in a factory, all pictures in Category:Beer bottles should be deleted then? Because as far as I can see, they all have labels with printed designs. Jpatokal (talk) 11:56, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
One or two designs are too simple for copyright protection and one or two have designs that are probably now old enough to be out of copyright. But yes, the majority should be deleted and no doubt they will be when someone gets round to it. But it's not an argument for keeping a copyvio that there are other copyvios on the system. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:28, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Care to point me to the discussion where this was enshrined into policy? A strict interpretation of this will have fairly massive ramifications, and IMHO existing content that falls afoul should be transwikied into en-wikipedia (where it's perfectly usable under US fair use laws), not nuked outright. Jpatokal (talk) 18:08, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
COM:L. Only free media is allowed here. This has always and will always be policy. No discussion will change that. Rocket000(talk) 19:58, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
It seems to me that when it comes to bottles, s:Ets-Hokin_v._Skyy_Spirits_Inc.#2._The_Bottle_Is_Not_Copyrightable is relevant. Case law in the U.S. at least treats bottles in general as non-copyrightable utilitarian objects, and in Ets-Hokin vs. Skyy the judge even wrote that since the photos were not just of the label but of the bottle as a whole, the photos were not derivative works (since the object depicted—the bottle—was not a "work" to begin with). If we follow that reasoning, the beer bottle shots in Category:Beer bottles should be fine. The Arabic Budweiser can image though was clearly intended to show primarily the (copyrighted) label/printing on the can, not so much the can as whole, and thus it was not ok. A photo of just the label on a beer bottle also would not be ok if the label was copyrightable. Lupo 21:58, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
That seems to get referenced a lot. For some case examples, check out these past deletion discussions. Rocket000(talk) 22:51, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
What this shows is that there is no consistent handling of such cases. Some were kept (like Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Absolut vodka es.jpg), some were deleted (e.g., Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Aberlour single malt scotch 10 year.jpg). In both cases, we had what I'd qualify as "product shots", and the labels were equally visible... Lupo 06:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
So would you agree that such images should not be eligible for speedy deletion? Please see Commons talk:Deletion guidelines#Speedy deletion of images with possible content licensing issues. Jpatokal (talk) 11:56, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
For a current deletion request see Commons:Deletion requests/Image:OB Blue beer (Flickr).jpg. TimVickers (talk) 17:16, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Film trailers

One Commons contributor has been uploading stills from U.S. movies under the theory that the frames were rendered public domain because no copyright notice appeared when the trailers aired. I'm a bit concerned about this because it seems plausible that the argument is flawed: movie trailers themselves are derivative works of films, and multiple levels of copyright would seem to apply. Would like to have input on this. See Category:Film trailer screenshots for examples. Is this sound practice? Durova (talk) 23:15, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

First off, that law was only in effect for a certain period - I think The Night of the Living Dead becoming public domain due to an error was one of the last few works to fall afoul. So we'd have to determine what period it applied to as a first step, before looking at the merits of the logic. Adam Cuerden (talk) 23:44, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Basically - per logic at Sabucat . Trailers were actually the first publication of the material and would require separate registration, copyright notice, etc. However this only applies to material first published in the US - and then not published overseas for 30 days - i.e. only US movies. Megapixie (talk) 06:47, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
And how does Sabucat rate as a reliable source? Has this theory ever been tested? Durova (talk) 07:43, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
The theory is sound in so far as stuff that first appeared in trailers during the relivant period is PD.Geni (talk) 13:12, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Not just one contributor, but I've contributed a significant number of them. There has been previous discussion, but I haven't been able to find it. This guideline was given as an example in a previous discussion, which is still on my talk page - and it goes into more detail than Sabucat. I don't know how reliable Sabucat is and their website doesn't look very convincing, but this one does give more information and explanation. My understanding is that although the trailer is (sometimes) derivative of the film, its public distribution prior to the registration of the film, rendered those sections of the film as being in the public domain. Rossrs (talk) 15:05, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I've seen the assertion mentioned numerous times, including on movie-industry websites, I'm pretty sure. It does make sense -- the trailer comes out first, and is thus the first work (often in a different calendar year, meaning the copyright term itself would be different), and the full film is therefore a derivative work of the trailer. Under old U.S. law, I don't think there is really any other way it could work. Video clips are more problematic though, since they could contain dialog etc. which could be derivative works of earlier books or screenplays, which are separately copyrightable -- there have been court cases preventing distribution of full films where the film itself became public domain (the visual part at least) but was a derivative of a still-under-copyright book and/or screenplay. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:33, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) With respect toward the hardworking volunteers who responded, the two sites that have been cited here are one mom-and-pop, plus a site that appears to be run by one person who has a bachelor's degree in film from USC. Neither of those are qualified to be offering legal opinions and they don't name any court case where their theory has been tested. If the studios object, those outfits may not be worth the trouble of taking to court, but WMF could be. I did my graduate work at USC in the writing division of the film school where a course in related law was required curriculum, and this has the earmarks of something I'd really like to run by qualified legal counsel. If Mike Godwin gives the thumbs up then terrific. Yet I do want to comment that we're discussing an industry where fringe outfits have been known to play fast and loose with the law. They may be sincere, and their ideas may become a meme, but they may be wrong all the same. I'd just like to make sure we're in the clear here. Durova (talk) 18:36, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

The trailers were published before the film. If they were published without a copyright notice during the relivant time period there isn't a way for screenshots at least to qualify for copyright (music and dialouge may be another matter).Geni (talk) 19:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Durova, I think running it by legal counsel is absolutely a sensible thing to do. After all, our best interpretations of the material available to us, and our good intentions, mean nothing if it turns out we're wrong. Rossrs (talk) 20:37, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Not just photographs

I really, really wish people would remember that we host video and sound recordings, and not write "photographs" when they MEAN everything. Adam Cuerden (talk) 20:48, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Possible copyright violation of multiple images

Hello, I wish to report my belief that many of the images that User:Nggsc has uploaded were not taken by himself, as he has stated. I have found the following images on :

I don't know whether he took the images and also uploaded them to Baidu Baike, or he just found them, saved them and uploaded them onto Commons, so I did not ask for deletion but I felt the need to notify my concern. --Joowwww (talk) 17:58, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Judging by the fact that those images which have metadata all report different cameras, I think it's safe to say copyvio. Thanks for the heads up. -mattbuck (Talk) 19:55, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, I was just going to go with a warning for those 6, but seeing the other images he's uploaded, I will ban for 1 week. -mattbuck (Talk) 20:02, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

photo research advice


I am currently photo researching for a chemistry text book and we would be very interested in using a hi res photos from wikimedia commons . I was wondering if someone could give me general advice on usage from the site, it is advisable?

Please do get in touch with any questions.

Kind regards,

Steve Fairman

Please see Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia. If you have specific questions about specific images, ask again here or at the help desk. Lupo 11:06, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Old images without an author

There are a lot of old images here without an author. For most of them, it is impossible to know who is the author. Looking at what was already uploaded, the impression is that these images were accepted on Commons. However some recent debates swho that is not the case for images which date from 1850 to 1935. Some people have argued that we need to wait for 150 years after the publication for accepting images whose authors cannot be known. Up to now, there is nothing in the policy about this, and it is quite strange, seeing the numbers of images concerned. I think that we need to have an official policy, so that deletions are not made according to the interpretation of admins. Now there is another problem arising from the first: if we adopt a restrictive policy of 150 years, will it apply to images already uploaded? That means that a lot of images will have to be deleted, many of them already used. Yann (talk) 20:29, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

We should do like English Wikipedia and accept everything published before 1923 since that's sufficient for it to be in the public domain in the United States. Haukurth (talk) 21:21, 9 August 2008 (UTC)
For anonymous works the copyright generaly is for 70 years from the date of publication. Therefore for most of them there is no problem.
Sv1xv (talk) 03:43, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Most of them aren't truly anonymous in the sense of the law. More usually the uploader just didn't do any research. "I don't know the author" is not the same as "anonymous work". Haukurth (talk) 07:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
It seems most non-artistic photos before about 1910 are really anonymous and research would be expensive without poducing any results. If there is a strong indication they are not anonymous, images created before 1923 can go to the English WP until the issue is resolved.
Sv1xv (talk) 09:15, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
The problem with anonymous works is: if you are like to make it properly, so you should bring an evidence that it is anonymous - and this is not possible. So the better way is to wait 150 years since the first publications (on cssource we use 140 years - see template -, I think the German Wikipedie does the same from the same reason, i.e. 2x 70 years). -jkb- (cs.source) 14:12, 10 August 2008 (UTC) (comment added about 13:19, not signed)
It is a difficult question, though 150 years seems excessive. "Anonymous" generally means published anonymously from the outset, not just currently unknown, though those laws were more designed for books where there was an obvious place to put the author's name. For the U.S., anything published before 1923 is PD, so that works for items published there. For the UK, there is an explicit {{PD-UK-unknown}} license, but to use it, I think it must be documented elsewhere as an unknown author, or some effort must be made towards finding an author. Similar is {{Anonymous-EU}}, which is a 70 year limit which could be used in some situations, though that is more for directly anonymous works. Unless something has changed, I believe that the German wikipedia uses a 100-year rule of thumb for old images, though Commons has never chosen a policy like that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:05, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Anonymous does not mean "I can't figure out who it is". It means the author was never disclosed to the public. As for the 1923, this is not Commons policy, and would require a major change well beyond this scope. Superm401 - Talk 17:24, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, it's a change we should make. It's such a hassle when some images from a given book can be hosted here and some can only be hosted at the English Wikipedia. Let me give you an example. For the past few days I've been working on identifying the artists who made the pictures in Fredrik Sander's 1893 edition of the Poetic Edda. It turns out that many of them are by Jenny Nyström who died in 1946. See en:User:Haukurth/Sander's Edda. Under current policy those will have to be moved to English Wikipedia. But that's not all, it turns out that the guy who made most of the woodcuts lived to be a 100 years old and died in 1944 so his stuff will have to move to enwiki too, even when the artist who made the original drawing or painting has been dead for more than 70 years. See en:User:Haukurth/Sander's Edda xylographers. It will be so inconvenient to keep some of the images here and have most of them over there - that means I won't be able to keep them in the same categories and enwiki just isn't designed to be an image repository. Haukurth (talk) 18:25, 10 August 2008 (UTC)
Interesting argument, because I think many photos could be included with the fact that the author was never disclosed to the public. In many cases, the photographer was only known to a very small number of persons, i.e. the editor and his collaborators, and the person(s) on the photo, if any. If the photo was used for a postcard or a newspaper, the public was rarely informed who is the photographer.
This leads us to another argument: before a certain date (1888 ?, first camera by Kodak), it could be argued that all photographs are "work for hire". At that time, only professionals owned a camera. Whenever there was a need for photo, a photographer was commissioned. So before that date, all works could be considered as a "work for hire". Yann (talk) 12:05, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
(EC with Rama & Haukur below) I think now you're going off on a misleading tangent. What if early photos were "works for hire"? At least in the EU, copyright vests initially in the author and runs based on the author's life, even if the author signed over his economic rights in an image to an employer or the customer who ordered the picture. Whether something was a "work made for hire" or not is interesting only for U.S. works. And besides, it's easy to find photos taken before 1888 that can be attributed to a known photographer and that were taken apparently not for someone else. Just consider the landscape photos of Charles R. Savage. Lupo 12:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Rules like "anonymous work" or "work for hire" are not made as lame excuses to shop around for images. Such statements must be backed by serious sources. You cannot "consider" things, you have to prove them. Rama (talk) 12:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if the author was never disclosed to the public we're all set and I'm sure that this applies to many pictures in theory. But we can't just have uploaders blithely asserting this - they'd have to provide a citation to a reliable source or provide a really, really convincing argument. Haukurth (talk) 12:12, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. We should accept claims for "anonymous work" only if there's some verifiable evidence to that effect. For postcards, the very least would be to also require a scan of its backside to be uploaded. But it's still possible that an otherwise unmarked postcard is part of a series of which the photographer is actually known. Specialized literature on old postcards and their makers exists. Anon works are difficult: what amount of verifiable research do we consider sufficient to have crossed the line from "I/we don't know the author" to "the author is unknown in general"? Lupo 12:26, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I would say until a source explicitly stating "anonymous work" is found.
"Anonymous" has often been used as an easy excuse to upload about anything, while it is in fact like a normal author, only more difficult to source. "Anonymous" is not easy. Rama (talk) 12:38, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Given that most countries have life + 70, and some less, isn't 150 years a bit excessive? I'd say that presuming length copyright persists after death + 50 is ample. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:08, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

The exact policy depends on the real objective of Wikimedia Commons: Is it to create a collection of undisputably free/PD media or to create a collections of as much free/PD material as possible? Sv1xv (talk) 07:22, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, some people may think 150 years was a bit excessive, others may think it was too low a limit. Maybe an explanation where this number comes from is in order: with a copyright term of 70 years after the death of an author and assuming that an author may have lived another 80 years after having created a particular work (for instance, created the work at 20 and died at 100, or created it at 15 and died at the age of 95), you arrive at 150 years: works created 150 years ago are pretty certain to be in the public domain in 70-years-p.m.a. countries even if you don't know anything about the author. Of course, if the author and his or her death date are known, many more recent works are also PD. These 150 years are a rule of thumb for cases where we don't know anything about an author. Now, one could say that few authors live another 80 years after having created a work, but note that the more you lower that number, the easier it'll get to find counterexamples where an author indeed did live longer. If you wanted to be ultra-safe, you'd use 170 years.
Trying to lower this number by looking at 50-years-p.m.a. countries instead is IMO not a good idea because many of our clients (the non-English Wikipedias such as de-WP, ru-WP, nl-WP, pt-WP, es-WP, ...) are indeed targeted at 70-year-p.m.a. countries and thus couldn't use such "50-year"-images anyway.
In any case, this rule of thumb only works for works published during their initial copyright term. For old works published only after the original (possibly extended or even restored) copyright had expired, beware of the publication right! The U.S. has even the rule that works created before 1978 but first published 1978-2002 (inclusive) are copyrighted in the U.S. at least until the end of 2047. An example might be a photo from the U.S. Civil War that was published for the first time in, say, 1992... Lupo 09:12, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
We do need to explain to people that
  • images cannot be said to be "anonymous" merely because the author is unknown (aka "I didn't bother to look it up")
  • 100 years old material is typically not under the public domain.
A filmmaker was sued for having a character whistle a few bars of the Internationale in a very confidential film. Low-profile people getting sued for more-than-a-hundred-year-old work are a very real and present issue. And in any case, Commons is about building a repository of Free material -- not a repository of get-away-with-it material.
I have drafted a template on this issue. If people care to comment on it, maybe we can have the "official policy" that Yann craves so much. Rama (talk) 11:22, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
To be sure not to forget it: the links to other lanbuages that the template contains links not to the exact translations but to templates like "no source". -jkb- (cs.source) 14:42, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, I removed that. Too much copy-paste. Rama (talk) 15:25, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Actually there are two issues here: 1. What definition of "anonymous" Commons accepts? 2. If we can't find the author, how long do we wait for considering an image in the public domain? I separated these below. In both these cases, I would prefer that Commons be not too strict, but more importantly, the decision needs to be made by the community. The worst would be that no consensus is made, and that admins delete images according to their own interpretation, which is a bit what's happening now. I am going to make a list of all concerned images. In addition, I was asked to provide a proof that an image from 1931 was published. AFAIK this is nowhere mentioned in the requirements to the uploader. Yann (talk) 16:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

The worst is not that "admins delete images according to their own interpretation", because that is quite consensual, as numerous episodes on the mailing list, Village pump, RfD, etc. have shown. Also it tends to remove copyvios, which is a good thing.
The worst is to have a minority of people refusing to understand the rules and keeping uploading potential copyvios, until are given a chance to vote on something which is in any case not for Commons to decide. And even worst is having admins-bureaucrats-stewards screaming blooding murder and "admin cabale" when copyvios are deleted, encouraging newbies to upload potential copyvios, and unilaterally restoring images deleted after due process.
If an explicit policy can prevent this, we should have one. Rama (talk) 12:14, 12 August 2008 (UTC)


Rama made a proposition. Would this be a consensus here? Do we have one rule for all, or do we break this by country? Any other idea? Yann (talk) 16:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

  • OK for me. And more over I would say (according to similar rule in the multi.source), one rule in commons is enough, no necessity to split it to country rules. -jkb- (cs.source) 16:53, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
  • "anonymous" means that a source stating "anonymous work" is provided (unless "long enough" of course, see below). Work whose author is merely "unknown" must be deleted on sight (i.e. nsd-ed. It must be made clear that provided a source for the medium is not enough. See my template suggestion at User:Rama/anonymous_author). This includes old postcards where only the editor is mentioned, unless specific laws are cited to the effect that the editor becomes the owner of the rights. Rama (talk) 12:14, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree, that "provided a source for the medium is not enough", but on the other side, even if there is the date of the publication etc., the source must be given as well, just to be able to control this. So, source must be given in every case. -jkb- (cs.source) 13:53, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, a source is necessary but non-sufficient. Rama (talk) 14:00, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Dissent for both options. My suggestion is "no rule at all". I don't see any serieus problem with the current state of the things (as far as I undertand it), that is policy pages staying mute on this subject, leaving each case to be treated according to the sensibilities of such or such sysop. Touriste (talk) 21:52, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
"No rule at all", the current state of things, would be fine if people were willing to accept the law for what it is. This is however not the case. If we want to put an end to recurrent discussions on the mailing list and talk pages, and in some cases reckless and abusive behaviour by people like Yann, we must have a rule. Rama (talk) 23:51, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
"No rule at all" for me too. Beside, what about this one rule : No personal attacks. -- Perky (talk) 04:32, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Stop your bossy attitude. There is no personal attack in stating the political purposes of someone who very openly acts upon them, and there is no personal attack in calling "reckless" the advise to newbies to upload potential copyvios, or "abusive" the unilateral restoration of duly deleted images. A personal attack is, for instance, calling someone an "incompetent cow-boy" [15] for supposedly erroneous deletions of images, which soon turn out to have been adequate[16].
If you like rules so much, here's one for you: Wikipedia is not a democracy. Rama (talk) 09:26, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Who's bossy ? That old story that you use and abuse about "incompetent cowboy" was about another topic. But you are not going to deny that you do not love guns ? Wont you ? I have looked at your work.;-) -- Perky (talk) 10:23, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, so there are specific topics on which it is all right to insult people without even trying to understand what they do and never issue any sort of apology, and other topics where it is unacceptable to report open actions of people. I had no idea.
No, I don't have any particular fondness for firearms. I just contribute to Wikipedia and Commons. I happen to like cameras, but I do not like guns more than toilets; I make images of these simply because I am willing to go out of my way to do something useful. Rama (talk) 10:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Rama on what I see as the main point, "images cannot be said to be "anonymous" merely because the author is unknown (aka "I didn't bother to look it up")". This is already policy though, so no change needs to be made (though policy may need to be more heavily enforced). Superm401 - Talk 02:16, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

How long is enough?

  • Long enough is [length of post-mortem copyright] + [time after which the author cannot fail to have died after publishing his work]. I suggest 170 years for +70 years countries, which gives us 100 years after publication. 200 might be preferable to be iron-cast certain, but this will likely be deemed overly cautious. Rama (talk) 12:14, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Not 170 and NOT 200. The average life expectancy today is about 76 to 80 years, this for newly born and for Canada, central Europe and Australia. That means, when today a photograph is born, when he make a photo that will be published anonymously at his age of 80 (i.e. 2088), so it will be PD 2158, i.e. in 150 years. If it will be published later so never mind, if somebody recovers his identity, so he died 2088 (approx. life exp.) and it is OK. BUT, we do not speak here about photos or works of today born people, but people that made photos somewhen in the first half of the 20th century or earlier (more over: who did not create their work at the age of 5), and then we have to assume not 75-80 years of average life expectancy but less. Therefore, 140/150 YEARS is enough and also iron-cast certain. -jkb- (cs.source) 14:12, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
yes, but the problem is precisely that we are dealing with individuals here, not whole populations. So an average is totally meaningless, you have to take the average and the standard deviation. You also have to take into account the was the average is measured: child mortality was higher in the 19th Century than now, contributing to lowering the average life expectency; one who grows old enough to publish works would have had a longer life expectency. In the end, what matters is not the average, but the exceptional, precisely: take the oldest person, use his age as a basis, and then you are certain. Anything less will not be certain. Rama (talk) 14:50, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, that's right as well. But then we must take 300 years to be sure :-). So the life expectancy in Japan some 100 years ago was about 65/70, today it is about 80+, and last month or so a japanese woman died at the age of 105. That is a difference of about 40!!! (105 happened - 65 average). What does it mean to be sure: to be sure strictly mathematically / statistically, or to be sure according the copyright law? I think that when we take 150 years, and if we think not about the whole world but about wikipedia and commons only, so it will happen once a million years that there will come somebody and will say: Hi, guys, there is a photo of mine that is not PD... So, then we still can have a talk to him/her. But if we take 200 or something like that so we shall have to delete and to forbid a huge amount of images. Not very good idea. Say: no risk no fun :-) -jkb- (cs.source) 15:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
It's not really that bad: it is not stretching things to say that someone who creates a notable work must be at least 20. From this assumption, the question of "lifespan after creating work" is then "how long could you possibly live after 20". Taking 170 years provides enough room for 120-year-old people, or 100-and-something young Mozarts.
Taking 150 years gives you only 80 years of lifespan after creation of the work, which is already much more dangerous. I would tend to strongly prefer 170 years.
One thing at least is certain: 100 years is a ridiculously insufficient margin. With this, you are almost certain to have actual errors, and you have absolutely no assurance that anything actually is PD. Rama (talk) 15:31, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
The longest case I've actualy run across is Leni Riefenstahl who racks up a a 141 year copyright on Das Blaue Licht. If we consider absolute theoretical maxiums then in 1955 the oldest person record was held at 113 years. If we assume that no one who died before that date is going to have lived longer and be well enough documented to make a legal claim then we end up with a 183 year maximum with the cut off date being 1825. Making the normal 20 year ajustment for people to start working we reach 163. This being the case 160 appears safe and I am yet to hit an actual case breaking 150 years. If we consider that there may be some copyright on Leni Riefenstahl's acting work work then she racks up 147 years.Geni (talk) 16:34, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
So that would give us 160 for most cases, and 190 for cases like Mexico, right? Rama (talk) 17:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
An argument could be made for those lengths yes.Geni (talk) 17:09, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Above I argued against country exeptions. OK, I see the problem of countries like Mexico, the difference is too great and should be taken into consideration. -jkb- (cs.source) 08:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
People don't make things as 1 year olds that we want to upload here. I'd say that +50 or +60 is ample, so 120 years for life+70 countries. Minimum 100 years from publication, to be safe (see below)
  • This may let in a few errors, but as they would, by necessity, be pre-1923. So Wikimedia could not be sued for any errors.
  • The number of works from 1888 - and even moreso 1879 or so that are, in fact, in copyright will be a very small percentage.
  • People don't make works as 1 year olds, it's ridiculous to treat it as if they did.
  • +100 puts us at 30 years longer than the longest-running copyright we know of. That excludes an awful lot of valid work to exclude the thousandth of a percent of works that might have a copyright of that length.
Hence, I'd say +50 or +60 is fine. +70 at the absolute maximum. Of course, if we find out a work isn't in copyright after all, we delete it, but let's engage in sane inclusion policies for which 99.99% of work will be out of copyright and deal with the vanishigly small exceptions as they come up, particularly as, because of American copyright law, there is zero penalty for errors. Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:27, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
We do not consider 1 year olds publishing things. The 170 years threshold it there is accommodate people living into their 120s (which does happen -- rarely but is does) and having published things at around 20, which is in no way unreasonable.
The US law is not the only one to which we abide, so we cannot hide behind things like "1923" or "zero penalty for errors" ("zero penalty for errors"? Are we talking of the same USA I know?)
I strongly disagree with the "99.99%" notion. Nonewidstanding that an actual 99.99% would be unacceptable (that would set us at 30,000 copyvios, a point where I think we can drop the "Free" from "database of 3,110,586 freely usable media files"), if you open that door, people will keep pushing the threshold higher and higher, and the arguments will go on on the mailing list and everywhere.
Commones does not play copyright Russian roulette. Commons is not "a database of 3,110,586 get-away-with-it usable media files". Things must be demonstrably Free, and 100% is the only acceptable certainty. Rama (talk) 11:41, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
170 covers people into their 110s or people starting work early. 120s is unreasonable because it has only happend a handful of times. Oldest person is current 115.Geni (talk) 12:16, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Picasso's very early work in 1893 generates 150 year copyrights. can't find a case breaking 160 yet.Geni (talk) 12:16, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Well once more this approach: we do not speak here about people and their works today but people and tjeir works some 100 - 150 years ago. The life expectancy at that time was pretty lawer than today. And, do not consider my remark above "no risk no fun" as serious, that was a joke obviously. But I do not hink that a serious rule here must consider all possible cases for the whole future. Therefore I would support a sollution with about 150 plus minus years and I would see it as not only sufficient but very certain. -jkb- (cs.source) 12:28, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
life expectancies are not helpful for this sort of problem since they are so driven by infant mortality. Historical records suggest that there have always been a certian number of people makeing 90-100. And of course people may have started working younger.Geni (talk) 13:10, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) I agree with Rama: the only possible limit is one that gives us 100% certainty. Two cases I've found: w:Hermann Ottomar Herzog (1831-1932) was already painting in 1848; his work became PD in 2003 (155 years). w:Louis Maurer (1832-1932) was doing litographies in 1851; his work became PD in 2003 (152 years). Note that I haven't managed to find their first works. 160 years after creation seems safe enough. Pruneautalk 12:29, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Completely disagree. Nothing is ever 100% certain, especially when it comes to copyright. The goal of commons is to support wikipedias and other wikimedia projects, and overly restrictive guidelines do not help in that goal. I am a bit leery of such a guideline being badly abused if put in place, but I would not support an explicit guideline of an extremely long term like that. The German wikipedia policy of 100 years seems like a reasonable compromise, or maybe the U.S. rule of 120 years since creation (made for similar reasons) at the outside edge, if a policy is actually made. If individual authors are identified, then obviously we follow those rules, but deleting masses of virtually-certain PD images just to try to attain 100% perfection is (to me) directly harmful to the project, and helps almost no one. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:20, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I also disagree with the extreme views expressed here about anonymous works and I agree with Carl Lindberg. My approach is that most of the anonymous works affected (mainly postcards, ephemera, photographs etc) were meant to be anonymous for whatever reason - mostly because in the period they were created they were not regarded as "artistic". The anonymity was the result of choises made by the creator and the publisher and there is no need for research to identify the artist. Sv1xv (talk) 14:53, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
You are mixing up "anonymous" and "unknown". With an anonymous work, we do not request that the author be identified, but we require that the claim that the author was anonymous be backed by sources. In this case, specific rules, much shorter than 100+ years, apply.
"Unknown" authors are cases where we do not even know whether the image was anonymous or not.
Commons exists support wikipedias and other wikimedia projects by being a repository of Free media. You do not help anyone by building a repository of random, sometimes-copyrighted stuff picked up on the Internet. The idea behind "Free" is not "we don't pay and we hope to get away with it". Noone will be helped by a repository which turns into a legal minefield. Rama (talk) 11:59, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with the extreme views expressed here about anonymous works. Legal rules on such works would be useless if such views were valid. In the German Wikipedia we have since years a pragmatic solution: If the work is anonymous or the dead of the author isn't known after a diligent search, we accept n-100 years old works, 2008 including 1908 works. On an experimental basis there is a new 1923 rule for materials published before 1923. We should have here a similar rule: 100 years are enough for orphan and anonymous works. --FrobenChristoph (talk) 18:49, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

We don't have the rescources for more than a handful of diligent searchs.Geni (talk) 19:07, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
I read it as follows: "If the work is anonymous" OR "If the (date of) death of the author isn't known after a diligent search". Therefore a diligent search is needed for non-anonymous works. For most creators dates of death are known, such diligent searches are exceptions. Sv1xv (talk) 19:21, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
You'd already need a diligent search to assert that a work would qualify as an "anonymous work". That's the real problem: we're not talking about "anonymous works" or "orphan works" here. We're talking about the myriads of "old" images (and old can mean things as recent as the 1950s (!!) up to things several centuries old) that get blindly uploaded with some PD rationale without any research into where the image really came from. We're talking about cases where we don't know anything about the author or the year a work was first published. Not even the negative results of a "diligent search" (whatever the requirements for a "diligent search" might be).
For cases where we can find a reliable source that indicates that the work was anonymously published and that the author is unknown, we have rules we can go by. Lupo 21:52, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
A 100 year rule, assuming a 70-year copyright after death, amounts to saying that it is impossible to live more than 30 years after publishing a work. This is evidently false. 100-year or 120-year limits are mere wishful thinking that noone will sue. It is also in direct contradiction with the aim of Commons as a repository of Free material -- that is demonstrably Free material, not "maybe-get-away-with-it material". Commons does not play the legal Russian roulette, and I fail to see why it should be bound by decisions taken on the German Wikipedia. Rama (talk) 23:57, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
How about 130 years? If we presume a minimum of 20 years old at time of composition, that will make us safe from all but 80-year olds - which are exceedingly rare in that time period, before modern medicine. Adam Cuerden (talk) 00:50, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
80 year olds are not that rare. Modern sanitation and medcine meand you get few people dying aged 5. It has a rather lesser impact on the number of people who haveing survived childhood make it to 80. Particularly when you consider that most works will not have been done by manual labourers who also tended to bring the life expectancy down.Geni (talk) 01:52, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Because modern treatment of heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer won't have improved survival into old age? Adam Cuerden (talk) 02:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Modern treatments just help bringing more people up into high age. Those who need this kind of treatment would have died early and thus pressing down the life expectancy average. But not everybody needs that kind of treatment, there are lots of people everday who survive without that and get old, and they also existed 100/200/... years ago. -- Cecil (talk) 05:24, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
The goal is not to eliminate any last shred of possibility that the author has been dead for 70 years. That cannot be done (since you also have to know with absolute certainty that no one has altered the work enough in the meantime to create a newly copyrightable derivative work... not possible). We don't have that kind of certainty on any of our media. Anything published (anywhere) before 1923 is public domain in the U.S., so we already accept American works that old -- the discussion is only for non-U.S. works anyways. By the same token, as a U.S. entity there is no legal risk for the foundation since these works are PD and thus "free" there -- just third-party re-users of the work, from outside the U.S. So, this is a philosophical thing (which is fine). But to my mind, we just need to have a very solid basis to believe that the work is PD in the country of origin -- to within a high degree of probability. The same is true for any upload -- we assume good faith that uploaders own the copyright, but a certain percentage do not. The best we can do is delete them when better information becomes available, and the same would go for old works -- if an author becomes known, then we change to using their date of death as the determinant (for pma-based countries anyways). Copyright tries to be a balance between encouraging creation of new material, and the march of progress by having other people reuse that material to create new material. Your proposed policy has no balance whatsoever -- you are arguing to delete 99.9999% of works which are actually PD, and thus perfectly fine for us to use and further the projects, to protect the 0.00001% that are not (and which can be easily corrected once better information becomes available). The U.S., when they implemented their 70 p.m.a. rule, made a 120-year-since-creation limit for this case -- that was the balance they chose (and for corporate authors, 95 years since publication). I'm almost in favor of no policy -- judge each image on its likelihood of being PD according to the law in its country of origin, with prejudice against images where the uploaders have made no effort to find background info about the picture. But there is no way I would support a hard policy of anything near the limits you are proposing. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:01, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, we are indeed arguing that in order to respect the law, we should delete some files that might actually be legal, though that is not known and cannot be proved. I hardly find this shocking at all.
Your "high degree of probability" is both subjective and impossible to evaluate. I have heard all sorts of percentages, from 99.99%, 99.997% to now your "99.9999%", but these are still unacceptable. What you are doing here is suggest a number for the files which are actually copyrighted and that we will consider to be public domain. I am sorry but the only possible value for that number is exactly zero.
The "good faith" has nothing to do with it. What you are proposing is not the equivalent of assuming good faith, it is the equivalent of saying "Oh, that image was uploaded with a GFDL licence and an AP watermark, but that must be valid because we Assume Good Faith, right?". Well we don't do that, and never have. I see no reason why we should do any different with uncredited images.
Your point about "no rule" is also off the mark. We do take local laws into consideration, that is why we calibrate depending on 50-year, 70-year or 100-year port-mortem copyright. The point is not to have one unique value for all files, it is to put a definitive end to the lengthly discussions on mailing lists and acts of political activism which regularly occur on this topic. Rama (talk) 10:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Given that we know, for a fact that some of the items on Commons are going to be copyright no matter what we do, because people will lie about the licencing, or claim they took it when they didn't, or claim they release into public domain something they have no right to release into public domain, I fail to be convinced by your argument that some of the best-checked files, which have a .01% chance of being in public domain, should be thrown out, because of that tiny chance, until such time as we get lawyers scrutinising every single upload. And, even then, best ban all original work, because, you know, they might be lying about who took it.
Your views are admirable, but their idealisticness ignores Commons realilty.
And, to point this out again, the big difference is that, since the servers are in america, these definitely copyright-breaking things are things we could be sued for, while the ones you're panicking about, to the point of wanting to throw out hundreds or thousands of good files for every problematic one, we could not be sued for. Does anyone else see a problem here? Adam Cuerden (talk) 10:37, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
My views are firmly grounded in Commons reality, in which copyrighted files are claimed to be in the Public domain, and in which files which we know nothing about are claimed to by anonymous. Nothing in these images autorises us to claim that they are Free in any way.
Non-Free images uploaded and swiftly erased is one thing; non-Free images being accepted while we know full well that they have insufficient sources are quite another. Rama (talk) 12:21, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Commons actually seems less stringent than the German Wikipedia: an anonymous work can be accepted 70 years after publication (see {{Anonymous-EU}}). This is not the point we are debating: the question is about what to do for works where no research has been done and which we therefore cannot call anonymous. The 1908 date suggested above would mean that someone could scan a postcard of The Dessert: Harmony in Red, not bother to check the back of the postcard for the name of the painter, list the author as "unknown" and have the image accepted on Commons, even though the painter, Matisse, died in 1954. That can't work. Pruneautalk 08:49, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Your exemple is unlikely to happen. It is a bit like fearing that someone can steal your clothes hanging dry on the line. It does happen, but that is quite exeptionnel. So, are we gonna close tight just in case something improbable might happen ? -- Perky (talk) 10:25, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, you are claiming that any clothes left hanging on a line are "likely" to be unwanted and won't be missed by their owners. The unlikeliness of being caught does not make stealing legal.
And for your information, there are very real instances of famous photographs by famous photographers being uploaded as "anonymous". I have caught things by Robert Capa or by Richard Peter (the one you see on [17]).
I find it striking to see the number of non-sysops trying to teach what A Day in the Life of a Commons Admin is. Believe it or not, but we do have experience. You might not. Rama (talk) 12:30, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Meaning you think we have no experience either? :-) Obviously if we know something is under copyright (known author), we delete it. After that, we are always dealing with only a probability of being correct when we think it is PD, or freely licensed. There is no such thing 100% certainty, when it comes to copyright. We know that a few uploaders lie about licensing... the only thing we can do is delete them when we become aware of it. The only way to be 100% sure that Commons is not holding any copyright violations whatsoever is to delete the entire database. Once you have a couple thousand pictures, you are guaranteed to have a copyright violation somewhere, just not discovered yet. This is also a matter of perspective -- anything published in the U.S. before 1923 is PD there, so it is "free" from their perspective. Commons has a guideline that it must be "free" in both the U.S. and the source country, which (usually) prevents images which are PD in only one country but still copyrighted in all others. However it is still quite possible to be free in both the U.S. and the source country, but copyrighted in many others, so from their perspective it is a copyvio -- what should we do? And on the other hand, we don't want a situation where it is free everywhere but a few countries to mean we can't host it. The "U.S. and the source country" rule tries to balance those needs. I don't see any balance in your proposal... it seems more of a rule to cut off discussion in deletion requests. Copyright law can be quite alluring with it's white-and-black lines (i.e. copyrighted one day, unambiguously PD the next, at least in some jurisdictions). The certainty of those situations is nice, but copyright law is also very poor in dealing with works such as these where attribution is lost, or authors vanish from the public eye and their death is not recorded, etc. The uncertainty is discomforting, but we can never get rid of it completely. The question is how much to balance it, and I don't think your proposal balances it much at all. It's not a matter of "we hope they won't sue"' -- if it was published before 1923 there are be no grounds to sue. This proposed rule would also only apply to non-U.S. works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, excuse my poor understanding of the matter, but I dont trust you, and dont like your bully manners. I tried here to discuss but obviously you don't understand my pov. -- Perky (talk) 12:41, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I do understand your point of view, and I think it is uninformed and misguided. You distrust people who disagree with you, and you don't think that experience or knowledge can entail a better point of view than yours. That's fine in elections, but Wikipedia is not a democracy, and what we are discussing here are hard facts, not opinions. Your approach makes as much sense as having laypeople vote on string theories or heart surgery.
We cannot change the laws to which we a subject by discussing them on Commons. The discussion is about what we can do within their framework, and it is all too obvious that you know too little about them to comment about this. Yes, that is technocratic. Rama (talk) 13:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Laws are facts, but social practice around these laws and how they are actually implemented in the real world is also factual, though harder to document and to organize scientifically. I am myself a scientific by formation, not a practitioner of law ; I am ignorant of the personal background of each person intervening in this debate, except (and very roughly) Rama, whom I know through his editing on :fr.
I have however a feeling to be here among people used to work on abstract schemes, and who don't fully feel how different state laws are from the laws of nature. The law of gravitation acts eactly the same way on feather or on lead ; laws relative to intellectual property, by their implementation though not in the way they are formally stated, don't act the same way on Robert Capa or on John Doe who produced a set of postcards in Suffolk in 1925. I fear legal formalism is a bit overvalued by some of the people intervening above. Touriste (talk) 13:29, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. There is something you don't grasp, Rama : social practice. That's what we call coutume in France, or droit coutumier and it has force de loi. -- Perky (talk) 13:52, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
You are completely wrong. France is a civil law country. You are mixing things with the USA and Great Britain, as I have already told you after your reference to jurisprudence.
Anyway, your entire argument is irrelevant: the fact that people steal does not make stealing legal. Rama (talk) 14:00, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely OK with Rama for his first paragraph. But much more critical of his the fact that people steal does not make stealing legal -> I really think it is mistaken to appreciate "legality" on the sole grounds of legal formalism, might it be legislation or jurisprudence. I know very little in legal sociology, none at all indeed, but (browsing Wikipedia !) I visit a page like en:Eugen Ehrlich. I think this kind of theory of law should be mixed in some way in the furnace where we cook our policy decisions. I find it utterly naive to see law as a purely formal construct ("contact a member of Parliament if you want it changed"... yes of course much of the power lies in Parliaments and governments in our contemporary states, but there remains quite a lot in society proper, that's perhaps why our non-totalitarian countries are not too un pleasant to live in). Touriste (talk) 14:15, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
You seem to think that flirting with limits of the law (or more exactly flirting with limits of the extend to which law is enforced) can be a reasonable policy. This is not the case, the question is when we are certain that we do not infringe anything.
That some people occasionally get away with it, or that some countries will some day change their laws after looking at Commons (hardly likely) is irrelevant. I am thinking of the poor bloke who shall one day be sued or get thousand-pound invoices for copyright infrigements after uploading things on Commons with those non-limits of yours. You should think you him too. It could even be you. Rama (talk) 14:21, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
and you too. But let be realistic, the cost to go to Court in money and time is frankly not worth it. -- Perky (talk) 14:59, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Victorian ephemera

Let me clarify my worries: I work mainly in Victorian ephemera - particularly the illustrated newspapers that began to appear in 1840, peaking in about 1870 or 1880, I try to avoid going much beyond 1880 for copyright reasons.

Now, there's three situations you end up with these sort of things:

  • Date of birth and death indeterminate: Example: D.H. Friston, who, after a lot of work, I was able to identify as David Henry Friston) had an exhibition of paintings in 1853, became very prominent in the Illustrated London News in the 1860s and 70s as their theatrical artist, also did a lot of work their spinoff, the Illustrated Sporting and Drama tic News, up to about 1890, during which time he also did the first illustrations for Sherlock Holmes. After that, he pretty much completely disappears from the record.

That's awkward enough, however, it gets worse:

  • No information but name and date of one, or a handful of illustrations. Research turns up no further details. The standard situation. Made worse by engravings often doing a poor job with capturing signatures, often leaving only a doubtful attribution.
  • Same, but only a surname. Worst case scenario: Surname is "Smith". Example: A Mr. Solomon, credited as one of the ILN's special correspondents for the Franco-Prussian war (1871). Solomon is a common Jewish surname.
  • Initials only: This can occasionally be expanded to a name through further research into the newspaper - if you find a signed engraving where the initials match and the way of writing the letters is the same - but requires a broad search of multiple years of the newspaper.
  • Nickname: Example: signed all his engravings as "Bab". The default situation in the illustrated weekly "Fun".
  • Symbol: Example: John Tenniel's monogram. These usually can be placed with research.
  • Nothing: Not all that infrequent for small, incidental illustrations. Example: Image:Punch_-_Offenbach_elegy.png/350px-Punch_-_Offenbach_elegy.png Ironically, I know more about the text than the art in this case: It's by Clement Scott (1841–1904). That engraving is pretty generic, and could be by any of a dozen artists then working for Punch. Happily, all the artists for Punch are very well documented, so, if necessary, it's possible to check every single one. This is not the case for any other of the Illustrated Weeklies.

This is for illustrated weeklies, the situation is made even more difficult for even more ephemeral ephemera, such as illustrated theatrical programmes, music covers, and so on, for which the artist is either not listed (most common) or attributed to some long-defunct obscure engraving company.

As you can see... the situation for someone trying to work with such things, even one quite knowledgeable about them - I believe I can say that about myself - is not so simple as it's being presumed. Frankly, if too burdensome of requirements were put in, I would be rather upset, particularly as I've spent hundreds o f pounds acquiring thigns for Wikipedia.

If we wanted to cut it off at, say, 120 years, I'd be fine with that. Even 130 years would not be unduly burdensome. 150 years would cut off all subjects I'm interested in researching, the entire heyday of popular engravings, and make me have flushed hundreds of pounds of money spent on acquiring originals and other research for wikipedia down the toilet. Adam Cuerden (talk) 13:37, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

This is a series of very interesting points. Let me drop a couple of ideas there:
  • Obviously, for a person who publishes things in 1853 and later in 1890, the 160-year limit would be counted from 1853, not the 1890s
  • A specific project to identify authors could be started to identify authors, particularly contact the newspapers to have access to their archives.
  • If research in the newspaper archives do not turn out anything, in the case of unnamed authors, the "reasonable research" clause might be invoked in much better faith that if a quick googling around doesn't turn out anything.
Rama (talk) 14:15, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying the archives of the newspaper as in the bound copies, or as in the building in London that may or may not have some of the Victorian financial records? If the latter, that's ridiculously burdensome. Also, you do realise that 1853+160= 2013, in other words, you're proposing to delete all my work on that author. Adam Cuerden (talk) 05:10, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I was more thinking of the financial records, but I do not suggest that you should go there yourself with a thermos of coffee and a blocknote. That is the sort of projects for which the Foundation should be able to provide support, by paying employees of the journal to do the research for instance.
Of course the bound copies might be a less burdensome way to find this information, and there too Foundation support might be requested (purchase and lease of copies, "official" request for a lease, etc.). Rama (talk) 06:17, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Adam, you're not alone with these problems. I face similar troubles trying to identify early photographers (mostly online research; my local library is very poor on that subject; most recent problem: life dates of the photographers Erich Sellin and Ernst Sandau in Berlin, c.f. User talk:Lupo#Mal wieder Original Research), or trying to find sculptors (see Please add the sculptor's name; lots of open questions, most recent one: who was Peter Grant (sculptor in Dublin), and when did he die? All I know is that he was alive in 1945.) So a more coordinated project to identify authors and record the results would be most welcome. Different people have access to different libraries: it's possible you could easily get access to a reference work that I just can't get (or vice versa). And research is dearly needed. There are books on early photographers (for instance, I'm pretty sure the life dates of German photographer Ferdinand Urbahns senior (c.f. User talk:Lupo#3 Fotografen) are mentioned in Jan S. Kunstreich, Frühe Photographen in Schleswig-Holstein, Heide in Holstein 1985 (ISBN 3-8042-0299-3)[18], but I just cannot get that book) and also books on early postcard publishers that frequently identify photographers. Where and how do we start such a project? I've collected a (very rudimentary) list of on-line resources at User:Lupo/resources. Lupo 16:17, 15 August 2008 (UTC)