Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 20

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


Wikimedia Chapter Copyrights

This policy page currently states:

“the only non-free-licensed exceptions hosted here are Wikimedia logos and other designs which are copyrighted by the Wikimedia Foundation”

I'd like to suggest that this exception is broadened to cover those designs that are copyrighted by recognised chapters of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Chapters - which are legally independent organsations that support the aims of the Foundation - are increasingly looking to generate images for uploading into Commons. They may have copyrighted logos created in connection with those initiatives and may want to use and store those on Commons.

The spirit of the rule is that we only make an exception for the Wikimedia community. This community is now larger than just the Foundation and this technical change reflects this development.

I will advertise this discussion on the chapters email list among other places.

AndrewRT (talk) 16:53, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

Hm, I thought, but correct me if I'm wrong, that the idea behind this exception was that the WMF was the owner of the servers anyway :) Effeietsanders (talk) 17:05, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, why would their proprietary stuff be needed anywhere else than on the chapters' own pages. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 17:27, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
It would be helpful to provide a more concrete example of where this is currently needed. If no such example exists then we should defer discussion until it is actually needed. I'd be hesitant to grant this generally, although logos-only sounds fairly non-problematic. I'd also like to see evidence that this wouldn't be an endrun around the policies of our customer projects and that the WMF wouldn't consider it a violation of their content licensing policy. --Gmaxwell (talk) 17:19, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
I believe this proposal was prompted by the outcome of Commons:Deletion requests/File:Pikiwiki logo.jpg. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 17:22, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
This doesn't appear to be the logo for a chapter itself, but rather a logo for some a chapter-sponsored initiative. Is my understanding correct? --Gmaxwell (talk) 17:36, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's apparently the logo for, a free picture collection project by Wikimedia Israel. (And if you've managed to miss all the recent drama on the admin noticeboard about it, lucky you.) —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 17:51, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm slightly of two minds about this: on one hand, I feel it's silly for the Wikimedia Foundation, as an organization dedicated to promoting free content, to assert copyright protection for their own logos (most of them based on user-contributed artwork, anyway) rather than simply relying on trademark law to protect their visual identity. On the other hand, as long as the WMF itself insists on doing so, we can hardly begrudge the local Wikimedia chapters for following their parent organization's example. Thus, as much as such license hypochrisy frustrates me on a general level, I would find it even more petty not to Symbol support vote.svg  Support extending to the local chapters the same exceptions to our licensing rules as we allow for the WMF itself. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 17:22, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
The rational has been, in part, that you can't claim to be exercising the active control required by the law for the maintenance of your trademarks if you're freely licensing them blindly with no guidelines on their use. As far as I can tell this appears to have a sound basis in law, even if it does end up being inconvenient for our purposes. What do you think about extending this copyright permission only to works where it can be shown that a registered trademark exists *somewhere*? --Gmaxwell (talk) 17:36, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd expect (though IANAL) that saying that "we don't claim copyright on these logos, but they are trademarked and we'll sue you if you abuse them", or something to that effect, should count as due diligence in maintaining your trademark. After all, surely no sensible law can require one to diligently protect a mark against uses which that law itself permits. But I suppose we should take this discussion somewhere else if we want to continue it? —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 17:51, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that what the Apache Foundation did though? Their logo is licensed with their 2.0 license, copyright-wise, but they (very) explicitly retain all trademark rights. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:50, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I support this as part of the principle that Commons is, as well as a stand-alone repository, a service project for the rest of Wikimedia. (And if that isn't a stated principle somewhere, it should be. I feel it's far too often forgotten by Commons habitues.) - David Gerard (talk) 18:15, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
As far as I can tell the only relevant portion of your comment is "I support this". The rest is hardly helpful, as you should well know.  — Mike.lifeguard 18:58, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
I also think that Commons is a service project for the rest of Wikimedia, and that is often forgotten by contributors here. Yann (talk) 09:58, 6 June 2009 (UTC)
My comment to the mailing lists

For some time Mediawiki has had the technical capacity to use more than one shared media repository simultaneously. My personal opinion is that non-free materials owned by the Foundation (or chapters, or other authorized uses, etc) should really be shunted to a separate repository with Commons reserved for truly free works.

This could be accomplished either by setting up a new wiki specifically for that purpose or by converting an existing wiki, such as Meta, to also serve as a shared repository. The latter is my preference. Move all the unfree content to Meta and configure the shared repository settings to also pull from Meta so that the various logos and what not would still be accessible to all the projects exactly as they are now. I think the advantage of clearly separating free and unfree content outweighs the disadvantage of having to maintain two repositories. Dragons flight (talk) 18:21, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

If it is technically feasible, I think this is a very good approach. Only problem would be file name clashes. To avoid such problems, perhaps a file naming convention is needed for the copyrighted logos. Sv1xv (talk) 18:29, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, using Meta for this purpose has long been a suggested course of action. I don't know why it takes such massive problems to spur action, but at least we're here discussing it now. If it's not possible to use Meta as a secondary remote repository for copyrighted works which we still want access to (WMF and project logos, chapter logos and media, etc) then COM:L should be expanded to allow their inclusion. Ilmari is correct that the status quo seems unnecessarily petty.  — Mike.lifeguard 18:58, 4 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I oppose the suggestion of expanding what non-free content can be allowed on Commons; any at all is contrary to the basic purpose of Commons. The exception for non-free Wikimedia logos, while understandable from the standpoint of "they need to go somewhere" has always been awkward and objected to by some. I support the suggestion of setting up a repository for non-free Wikimedia project related media at Meta, or some similar repository that will allow Commons to be a repository for free licensed media only as was its original intent. -- Infrogmation (talk) 03:59, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm told that unfortunately Meta allows non-free media. So either we remove the "official" non-free media from there, or say "the Wikimedia Foundation and its recognized chapters." ViperSnake151 (talk) 11:56, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
What is the problem? Isn't the point exactly to give a home to the official non-free media without having to store it at Commons? Dragons flight (talk) 15:08, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Can I summarise the discussion: generally there is some support for the limited extension proposed; one person said it shodul extend to all organisations who have a copyright agreement with the Foundation (presumably that would include projects like The only disagreements were from those who thought all non-free images should be moved to meta. No one supported keeping the status quo where WMF owned images are allowed but chapter owned images are not allowed.
Moving all images to meta requires a further discussion both here and on meta. I'm happy to start such a discussion but I don't think that this change should be delayed whilst that discussion is on going. Therefore, I suggest this proposal is adopted for the interim and the wording is changed to:
“the only non-free-licensed exceptions hosted here are Wikimedia logos and other designs which are copyrighted by the Wikimedia Foundation, by Wikimedia chapters or by other organisations which have copyright agreements with the Foundation”
AndrewRT (talk) 19:13, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

A photo I clicked at a museum

I clicked an ammonite fossil's picture with my camera at the American Museum of Natural History in NewYork, they allow all visitors to click pictures. am I allowed to upload my picture on wikimedia commons? Does it classify as "my own work"? Lilaac (talk) 17:34, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

If it's a real fossil (not an artistic recreation) there is no problem and it is your "own work". Sv1xv (talk) 17:58, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes it is a real fossil, many thanks for your response, I'll now upload it! Lilaac (talk) 18:13, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Yes, they're entirely your own work, and you're very welcome to upload more of such photos! FunkMonk (talk) 18:52, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
One last question please, I read through the list of copyrights/licences, and chose "{{GFDL-self}}{{cc-by-sa-3.0}}" for these images, is it ok, I am so confused on which is the best choice? Lilaac (talk) 19:17, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Currently it is the recommended choise for Commons and it allows a wide compatibility while keeping the copyright. It is preferably specified as {{self|GFDL|cc-by-sa-3.0}}. Sv1xv (talk) 19:31, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks a ton! Lilaac (talk) 19:40, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
The issue of "artistic recreation" might be complicated for exhibits like skeletal mounts of dinosaurs (especially mounts of incomplete specimens) where the "bones" are almost always cast and painted replicas of the original fossils mixed in with recreations based on scientific estimates of the missing bones. Are the casts copyrighted works? What about the recreations of the missing elements? For that matter, what about the mount and it's armature as a whole? Where does public domain science end and copyrighted sculpture begin, especially when concerned with the products of commercial scientific enterprises like the Black Hills Institute? And is a photograph of one of these skeletal mounts original or a derivative work? I certainly don't know the answers to these questions. — BespokePalæontology (talk) 02:39, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
Now that I think about it, this is a really intriguing question. If the casts are produced to be slavish copies of the original fossils, they could hardly said to carry originality, but their arrangement and support structure, whether or not intended to be realistic, may carry significant originality. It would be intriguing to see a case like this go to court - I'm not about to guess the outcome. But I will say at least that the people who build these things don't generally go around plastering circled C's on them, so they haven't demonstrated intention to enforce. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:25, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Meanwhile, the recreations of missing elements are nothing but originality. Granted, they are based on the best scientific guesswork possible as to what the missing bones are supposed to look like, but each one is still ultimately the product of some sculptor's art. I suppose this in just another of those tricky legal questions that will only ever be decided when someone gets sued over it; which may come sooner than later what with the current fashion among corporations to buy skeletal mounts, put their brand name on them, and then lend them to museums. I think a letter to the Black Hills Institute to ask their opinion might be in order. So in the meantime, do we continue putting photos of skeletal mounts on commons even though the whim of some judge might very well declare them unfree derivative works? — BespokePalæontology (talk) 07:54, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
It would be hypocritical of me to assert that untested theories of copyright should not be applied, but I can tell you now that a deletion on one of these images would not go the way you want it to, due to the inevitable impulsive revulsion at the idea of copyrighting prehistoric relics. The first step would be to gather some hard legal advice on the matter from a professional with experience in the area and then do a very careful writeup about it. It's also important to consider whether the creative elements fall under exceptions such as de minimis. Dcoetzee (talk) 09:29, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "the way I want it to." In any case, I asked a patent attorney, and while this isn't exactly his specialty, he thinks a skeletal reconstruction, including recreated missing elements, might qualify as a three dimensional form of a more traditional scientific work such as an article published in a journal. In other words, copyrighted as a whole, but traditionally subjected to very libertarian "fair use" interpretations of copyright law for anything short of a blatant plagiarism. As such, it's almost definitely acceptable to upload such an image to Wikipedia itself, though the fact that such images might only qualify under "fair use" means they might still be unacceptable for uploading to the commons under the commons' own more exacting requirements. — BespokePalæontology (talk) 04:03, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
This is your own work - and moreover, would have been your own work even if the museum did not permit photography. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:44, 5 June 2009 (UTC) copyright

There are at least two images (here and here) from on Commons which are licensed as {{Copyrighted free use}}. I listed one for speedy deletion because copyright is claimed on all Carthage pages by one of the contributors. However, they have a somewhat cryptic copyright policy here which made me reverse that. Does their policy appear compatible with the licenses on those images, and Commons policy in general? The "non-commercial website" blurb leads me to believe it's not. I think the air photo is a copyright violation on their part, but I can deal with that depending on how this discussion goes. - Gump Stump (talk) 22:35, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

  • Here's my verdict: first of all, only images marked "©**" are supplied under the stated license, so others are probably not okay. Additionally, the "are not a commercial website (with e.g. advertisements)" provision amounts to no-commercial-use, which is prohibited by Commons and Wikipedia projects in general. Equally problematic is their provision "if you want to use it outside the world wide web, you will have to write us." This restriction on print works is completely unacceptable. As such, these works cannot be uploaded here. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:33, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
    • We have deleted one of their images before for similar reasons (see Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Motya.jpg), although one of the authors is somewhat active on Wikipedia and have explicitly licensed a couple of their images CC-BY-SA, so asking them about specific images may be helpful. I would agree that their license does not meet Commons' requirements. It was discussed before at Commons:Village_pump/Archive/ The first of the two images above is highly likely to be authored by someone else anyways. I can't find it on the current site. Ah yes, it was once used but no longer, and it was marked with their copyright code of "comes from a book or bought from a museum". Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
      • In agreement, basically none of the Livius images can be used as is; express permission must be obtained from the original authors. Jappalang (talk) 01:26, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
        • Thanks for the responses--I have left a message on Jona Lendering's talk page about the Carthage map; I will wait a while for a response, considering their intermittent contributions. I see the aerial photo has already been listed for speedy deletion too--kudos to Carl Lindberg for being a fantastic detective. - Gump Stump (talk) 01:31, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

International Court of Justice copyright

File:Public hearing at the ICJ.jpg was taken from the ICJ website some time ago, and the link to the page with this particular image no longer works. I'm trying to determine the proper copyright tag. Is the PD-UN? Other? I didn't see any notice that all contents were public domain at the front page of the ICJ website. If we can't determine, I guess this will have to go to deletion requests. -- Infrogmation (talk) 14:32, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

PD-UN is for documents etc., UN photos are explicitely non-commercial because commercial reuse is against this organizations mission. So it cant be PD-UN. --Martin H. (talk) 14:47, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
The source page has apparently moved here. They say it is OK for educational, magazine, or newspaper use only. Move it back to en-wiki I guess. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:51, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. To Deletion Requests it goes, along with a few other ICJ images. -- Infrogmation (talk) 14:36, 14 June 2009 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA attribution request by User:Daviss

Do you think that this licence is OK: MS-Paint Base 1 Daviss (talk) 16:29, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

The "Information" template was broken due to improperly placed }} braces. I fixed it and removed the "no license" template. Sv1xv (talk) 16:36, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

Parts of maps

I know that I can upload old maps as PD-Art. How about parts of old maps? Can I upload a small part of an old map under the same license? bamse (talk) 23:05, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Yeah. It applies to the whole work. ViperSnake151 (talk) 19:15, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Any alternatives? bamse (talk) 00:16, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Why alternatives? Its perfectly fine to upload whole digitalization or parts of it. Cropping does not provide any new copyright. The only idea here: Maps are usualy not digitized as a photographic work in terms of Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag but scanned in terms of Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag. Some doubt that photos of 2D Artwork is not under copyright for the photo, but no one doubts that scanning does not provide copyright. Indicate the public domain status with PD-old (or an applicable license) and use PD-scan only in cases you feel that it is required. --Martin H. (talk) 16:52, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Maybe I was not quite clear. I don't have the original (paper) version of the old map. What I want to do is take the scan of an old map from the World Digital Library, crop out a part and upload this part of the map to commons. I guess I am allowed to do this, just wanted to make sure. bamse (talk) 16:35, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Still no problem, if the original map is free for whatever reason (old age, expired copyright, US Government, part of a legislation text etc). It is important to include enough information to identify the original map (type, publisher, issue, year), so you don't have to defend it against deletion requests afterwards. Sv1xv (talk) 19:25, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. bamse (talk) 09:09, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

flickrreview, but for Picasa

I think that it might be useful for someone to write a template like {{Flickrreview}}, but for Picasa. I would do it, but I have no idea how to even begin.--Blargh29 (talk) 20:56, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

It already exists: {{LicenseReview}}. Lupo 21:57, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
So it does. Thanks. Then, let me suggest a [[User:FlickreviewR|FlickreviewR]-style bot for Picasa. I image that would be possible? I have no idea how to do that, but maybe someone reading this might be so inclined.--Blargh29 (talk) 03:42, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Suggesting revision of PD-old-70 template

Currently, the wording of {{PD-old-70}} strongly suggests that all works whose authors have been dead 70+ years are PD in the US, which is obviously untrue, not withstanding the caveats listed on the template page. I'm going to make the argument that PD-old should never be used for US public domain works - if it's published before 1923, it's {{PD-1923}}. If it's published 1978 or later, it won't be public domain until at least 2048. If it failed to satisfy technicalities, that's {{PD-US-not renewed}} or {{PD-US-no notice}}. Since all cases are covered, I suggest rewording PD-old-70 as: "This work is in the public domain in those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years or fewer. This does not include the United States." The same applies to {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-75}}. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:38, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

There is the case of publishing, first-time post-2002, the works of an author, who died in 1931 or before. In that event, the 70 years pma does apply for US.[1] Jappalang (talk) 06:27, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Which is covered by {{PD-US-unpublished}}. My point is that every case where the rule applies in the US is a special case already covered by other templates, and it's more specific and less misleading to use these templates for the purpose. Dcoetzee (talk) 09:12, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

German photos free for use on attribution?

Does "Fotos honorarfrei bei Namensnennung" (Google translate: "Photos free of charge for Attribution") mean the photos can be uploaded per {{Attribution}}? Website in question: Jappalang (talk) 06:30, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

The translation is correct. However, for such images to be kept at Commons we need to be sure that derived works are permitted. I suggest to contact the photographer and to ask for a free license like {{Cc-by-sa-3.0-de}} and to forward the permission to our OTRS team. Regards, AFBorchert (talk) 07:30, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Plastic surgery images

User:Paravis has uploaded several images of plastic surgery with a claim that he is the author with a source of the website of Dr. Michael Schwartz of California though I cannot actually find any of the images on the website. There is no actual evidence that Dr. Schwartz has given permission for these images to be used other then the uploader's claim on his user page. Should the uploader be notified that an OTRS ticket is needed to confirm that the images have in fact been released by Dr. Schwartz? Otherwise they would seem to be clear copyright violations.

There are more plastic surgery images uploaded by User:FacialSurgery which all, except the Cessna image, look like advertising from the source links which is a plastic surgery practice of an identical name as the uploader. How best do we deal with these images or do these images also require an OTRS ticket? Thanks Ww2censor (talk) 03:57, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
User talk:MichaelMaggs‎ is going to email the uploader to try and confirm the images as freely licenced. Ww2censor (talk) 14:59, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Hubble images

For Hubble images, we have a specific template ({{PD-Hubble}}), because it is not operated by NASA only, so {{PD-USGov-NASA}} wouldn't fit. However, it states that Hubble images are in public domain, whereas this page claims that Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported applies. Did the situation change only recently? Should we modify {{PD-Hubble}} for all images, or just the ones uploaded after a certain date? –Tryphon 15:22, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Interesting. I wonder when they changed that. We should probably change the template to images created after a particular date. I don't know when it was changed... the latest date the Wayback Machine has is October 27, 2007, which has the old PD statement. There is another hubble site which still has their (STScl) work as PD though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:27, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
If they changed it, it looks like we have to base the claims by date (i.e. PD for photos published before the change and CC for photos thereafter)? Jappalang (talk) 14:20, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

They did change it (I remember it saying PD), but I don't know the date (I noticed it on 7 March 2009, as I didn't like the move away from PD, and got told that "Releasing the material under CC-BY is exactly "releasing it into the public domain" in my interpretation (i.e. giving the users the ability to use the material)."). My understanding is that CC only applies to images released on the domain, and it can't apply retrospectively, so the template shouldn't be changed completely. Perhaps a Template:PD-Hubble-ESA is needed? Mike Peel (talk) 22:46, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Internet Archive sadly only runs to 27 October 2007, at which point the page said copyright-free. Mike Peel (talk) 22:49, 20 June 2009 (UTC)


Can someone with proper language skills update this template according to w:en:Template:PD-USGov-Military-Army-USACMH? At the moment the template claims all images from USACMH into the public domain, that see to be incorrect. Images are not public domain because of some websource but because of their creator - an employee of the US federal government in this case. I found this via File:Hammo1.jpg, a maybe not public domain image from that source (without a propper sourcing like weblink or publication number or anything like that). --Martin H. (talk) 22:19, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

Images of structures that are not buildings per se, FOP in the US

Please consider a file such as File:Sorcerer Hat.jpg. Are photographs of this structure/sculpture/building/thing allowable under the provisions of U.S. copyright law? It is located in a public area in Florida. It is not really a building per se, but it shelters a retail location. Is it a sculpture or a structure? Or something else entirely? Powers (talk) 13:26, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Structures like bridges etc. are not eligible for copyright protection at all, I'm pretty sure. This one blurs all the lines, which is always fun. But, since its primary purpose is to provide shelter, I'd probably go with a building. I think the photograph is fine. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:04, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Strictly speaking, its primary purpose is to serve as a focal point for the theme park, something to draw the eye and lead guests inward. In that respect, it resembles a sculpture more than anything else. Powers (talk) 15:13, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
I tagged it with FoP-US - the existing justification was rather dubious (FoP works are still derivative works, etc.) Dcoetzee (talk) 00:50, 18 June 2009 (UTC)
Not of buildings -- the law explicitly states that an architectural copyright's protection does not extend to photographs of the work, so they are not (in a copyright sense) derivative works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:20, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

OK, so the consensus is that images of this feature are allowed, then, because it is a structure and not a sculpture? Powers (talk) 12:59, 18 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes? No? Powers (talk) 17:27, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

Question about licensing

I'm trying to upload a logo for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Its website has a page where it lets anyone download its logos, and I'm wondering if this allows me to use it here? Ltwin (talk) 04:57, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

No, just offering an image for download is not enough. The website would have to state that the images are available under a free license. Such statement could also be forwarded per e-mail to COM:OTRS. --rimshottalk 06:06, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Simultaneous first publishing, which is the country of origin?

In 1919, a book and its images were simultaneously published in New York, Toronto, Melbourne, and London. The publisher's main office is in London. The authors of the text and the images are British or Europeans. Which is the country of origin? Jappalang (talk) 08:07, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

From Article 5:
(4) The country of origin shall be considered to be:
(a) in the case of works first published in a country of the Union, that country; in the case of works published simultaneously in several countries of the Union which grant different terms of protection, the country whose legislation grants the shortest term of protection;
(b) in the case of works published simultaneously in a country outside the Union and in a country of the Union, the latter country;
The U.S. was not a member at the time, but now is. Not sure if "country of origin" can change if a country later joins Berne. "Simultaneously" means published with 30 days, not necessarily just the same year. Apparently that definition has changed too: in the 1928 Berne revision, it meant within a day or two; the 30-day period did not appear until the 1948 revision.[2] The 1908 version apparently didn't define "simultaneously" at all, but it still had the basic provisions listed above. For unpublished works, typically the nationality of the author is used, and there are special cases for architectural works and erected sculptural/artistic works (using the country where the works exist). Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:26, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps since the US was not a full party to the Convnetion until 1988, it would not be considered as part of the Union for a "simultaneous" publishing before 1988 (meaning we would ignore it for first publishing)? The issue of my query is for the illustrations in the 9 volumes of John Cassell's History of England (printed 1902–1909), see Cassell's History of England. They are simultaneously published for US, Canada, Australia, and UK; although some of the illustrations (namely the line drawings) are reused from older publications, much (namely the ones that are more detailed and "modern", e.g. File:Battle of Bannockburn - Bruce addresses troops.jpg—found out who is the artist—) are fairly new for that time (from c. 1880 and on) and hence unlikely to be PD in UK or Europe. Unfortunately the woodcut engravers are pretty much unidentifiable from their initials. If the US is accepted as the country of origin, then I can upload other of its illustrations to here... If not, they (including some of those currently here) have to go on Wikipedia until the acceptable time for them to be PD in UK has expired. Jappalang (talk) 02:07, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I think you need to put some context to the question; specifically, under which nation's law? Even though we have the Berne Convention definition of "country of origin" and "simultaneous," in most countries, the BC is not self-executing; that is, the Convention is treated as an agreement among countries, akin to a contract; but the actual applicable laws are those of the individual nations who implement the BC by having laws consistent with it.
In the United States, the actual step of determining a "country of origin" is for the most part moot (other than for restored copyrights). Instead, the U.S. looks to, for example (in § 104(b)(2)), whether the work was first published in a country that is a treaty party. In the case of a simultaneous publication, as I read the statute, it would be enough than any of the countries in which it was simultaneously published was such a country. The statute does not require determining a country of origin.
The above is referring to the current version of § 104, from the 1994 URAA; but the one added by the Berne Convention Implementation Act was similar in this regard. In terms of simultaneous publication, it looked only to whether the work was "simultaneously first published in a nation adhering to the Berne Convention."
Now, for restored copyrights, the U.S. has a concept of "source country," which is analogous to the country of origin. For simultaneously published works it is the country that "has the most significant contacts with the work" (§ 104A(h)(8)(C)(ii)). But that definition is used only for determining whether a copyright is restored, based a couple issues. First, whether the source country is eligible to participate in the restoration scheme (based on its adherence to an appropriate copyright treaty); and second, whether the work is still covered by copyright in the source country.
Does that clear things up, or make it muddier? TJRC (talk) 17:18, 24 June 2009 (UTC)
I think you have cleared things up. My concern was that Commons asks for "free" works in both country of origin and the US. The books concerned (and their art within) were published simulteously as stated above. Since the works are by British and Europeans, I was concerned if we had to take the URAA into consideration as well as the possibility of artists who have not died more than 70 years ago. If we take US as the country of origin, then every content in those books would be okay (pre-1923 in US). Thanks to your explanations, the "country of origin" is the one that "has the most significant contacts with the work", so UK (Cassell's and most of the artists' nation) is the home country in question. Jappalang (talk) 03:04, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
As TJRC notes, most of the technical U.S. definitions only apply to URAA restorations, which are irrelevant here because it is PD in the US either way. As a question of Commons policy... not sure we have it explicitly defined, but we generally go with Berne's definition I think. Still, the "most significant contacts" may be a good way to go here anyways. I see some versions of Cassell's history go back to the 1850s and 1860s, so it is possible many illustrations were previously published there. Anonymous-EU and PD-UK-unknown may come into play, but it sounds a bit muddy. As a side note... is it true that the Berne Convention is not self-executing in most countries? I know it's not in the U.S. and probably not most common-law countries, but I thought it was in many others. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:38, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that in most countries it's not self-executing. I do know that in some of the Scandinavian countries, it is self-executing, although I can't remember which ones or where I read that some 10 or so years ago. <opinion> Non-self-executing seems to me to be the better interpretation in any event, since the whole basis of Berne (national treatment) is to look to the local laws for substantive law. </opinion> TJRC (talk) 16:34, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Copyright on PD-old

I need a picture for the article and found a good one on flickr - it is a photo of a Joseph Cornide drawing published in 1792. I want to upload it but the copyright mark on the photo troubles me. I assume it is a PD-old - it is OK to upload? Thanks. --Monfornot (talk) 22:51, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I cannot imagine that a claim of copyright on such an image would have any validity. Who's going to enforce it — someone who has been dead for 250+ years? I'm sure that this is okay. Nyttend (talk) 23:02, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Ok, thanks. I meanwhile found an original. =) --Monfornot (talk) 00:02, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
You can tag such photos with {{PD-art|PD-old-100}}. See Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag for details. Pruneautalk 08:52, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Precise licensing

File:Organ school house.jpg, a photograph from the USA from 1900 plus its caption, is licensed as {{PD-self}}, although that's plainly wrong, since the oldest currently living person was only six years old at the time. As a faithful reproduction of the photo, I'm sure that this counts as PD-old if the photo does. Is there any way that this photo could still be copyrighted, such as if it were published by the copyright holder decades after it was taken? I've never been clear on the privately-taken-and-not-published-for-a-long-time criteria. Nyttend (talk) 23:07, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Also consider File:Organ constable office 250.jpg, apparently taken in 1898. Nyttend (talk) 23:10, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
The determining factors are whether and when it was first published.
If it was first published prior to 1923, it would be PD by now.
If it was published (with copyright notice) between 1923-1963, it got a 28-year copyright term, renewable for a second 67-year term. In other words, it would be copyrighted today only if it were renewed.
If it was published (w.c.n.) 1964-1977, it would have effectively gotten a 95 year term, even if not formally renewed.
If it was published (w.c.n) 1978-2002 (actually, copyright notice would not matter as of March 1989), it would have a copyright that lasted for the later of the standard life+70 term or through 2047. 2047 is the smart bet here.
If it was never published, or never published until 2003, it would have a copyright that lasted for life+70. Depending on the photographer's date of death, it could still be under copyright. For example, if the photographer was 20 when he took a photo in 1900, and died at age 70 in 1950, and the work was first published by his grandchild in 2003, the work would have a copyright through 2020. TJRC (talk) 00:38, 27 June 2009 (UTC)
Yep, all true. The old U.S. laws started the clock ticking only when it was published (or registered for copyright). However sometimes people think that by scanning a PD photo and uploading the scan, they are the author of the scan and license it accordingly. That appears to be the case here. The copyright of the scan is the same as the copyright of the original. PD-US would be the better license here though, not PD-Old. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:07, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Is permission necessary here?

The file "Casta Diva.ogg" File:Casta Diva.ogg seems to be ripped from commercial disk. While it has a licensing informaton, can it be vaild without an OTRS ticket? 23:02, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Any previously published work requires either an OTRS ticket, or an easily accessible license statement. So unless the CD shipped with a license statement, or one is on the artist's website, yes, such permission would be required. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:27, 1 July 2009 (UTC)


Fyiünstler_(1924) --Historiograf (talk) 15:01, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Most pre-1978 magazine advertisements are likely in the public domain.

Because a typical advertisement runs in several magazines, they are not included in the magazine copyright. Each ad needs its own copyright notice. See this 1974 ad for KOOL cigarettes, copyright Brown & Williamson Tobacco The tobacco companies often placed copyright notices in their ads.

This is from the Copyright Notice Circular 3. Page 3, Contributions to Collective Works. (In copyright speak a magazine or journal is known as a "collective work".)

A single copyright notice applicable to the collective work as a whole serves to indicate protection for all the contributions in the collective work, except for advertisements, regardless of the ownership of copyright in the individual contributions and whether they have been published previously.

A notice for the collective work will not serve as the notice for advertisements inserted on behalf of persons other than the copyright owner of the collective work. These advertisements should each bear a separate notice in the name of the copyright owner of the advertisement.

Here is the law. U.S. Code title 17 chapter 4

Works published before 1978 required a valid copyright notice or the material was in the public domain. Advertisements relying on the copyright notice of the magazine are treated as a notice with the wrong name.The 1909 copyright law considered this a defective copyright.

As a practical mater, an advertisement with a famous copyrighted photograph might result in a challenge. This would be unlikely for a typical advertisement with an in-house photograph of the product with a utilitarian description and price. See this circular saw ad.

Here is a 1985 federal court case that affirms that advertisements require an explicit copyright notice. 759 F2d 493 Canfield v. Ponchatoula Times Here are a few other cases.

Here is an interesting page, the calculator advertisement half is public domain but the magazine subscription advertisement half has a valid copyright because it is by the magazine publisher. Popular Mechanics ad.

A search of the Internet Archive for Public Domain Rule 5 advertisement shows that they post advertisements that do not have an explicit copyright notice. [3]

Public domain advertisements should be a valuable source of illustrations. Here is an example: File:MITS Calculator 1200 Series 1973.jpg. This shows the calculators that MITS produced before making the Altair 8800 computer. Microsoft was started when Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote software for this computer.

-- Swtpc6800 (talk) 03:03, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Here is an article about Duke University's efforts in obtaining copyright permission for "7,000 advertisements printed primarily in U.S. newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955". With student labor they tracked down the owners for the ads. In the article's conclusion, they state this may not have been necessary.

"An alternative to the process we followed in searching out the companies would have been to check with the Copyright Office to see if any of the ads had been registered when first created. The copyright law of 1909, under which the ads in the project originally fell, required that a notice of copyright be affixed to each copy (or forfeit copyright), and that the item be registered with the Register of Copyrights (noncompliance possibly causing a fine or the voiding of copyright). (8) Every magazine and newspaper in which the ads were printed most likely carried a copyright notice; this notice, however, fails to cover the advertisements not originating from the magazine or newspaper itself."
Lynn Pritcher (February 2000), "Seeking Copyright Permissions for a Digital Age", D-Lib Magazine [4]

-- Swtpc6800 (talk) 18:44, 3 July 2009 (UTC)


All this would apply of course only to U.S. advertisements in U.S. magazines. Advertisements from foreign companies may have gotten their copyright restored by the URAA, and ads in non-U.S. magazines published in countries other than the U.S. might be copyrighted under the laws of that other country. Lupo 13:14, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Seems right though pre-1978 stuff is a bit fuzzier; 17 U.S.C. 404(a) was only explicitly made part of the 1976 Act (effective 1978) and notices were required until March 1, 1989, so this is definitely the case in that period (though it may be possible for an advertiser to have reclaimed copyright by registering it with the Copyright Office within 5 years) . Pre-1978 cases you linked to do indicate that ads are not covered under the general copyright of a newspaper (or were text-only and PD-ineligible) but don't explicitly mention the notice part, though that would seem to logically follow. And yes, this is purely a U.S. thing, for U.S. ads first published in the U.S. {{PD-US-no notice}} or {{PD-US-1978-89}} would apply. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:41, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Is their explanation valid?

University of South Florida's Educational Technological Clearinghouse (ETC) has been taking many US public domain illustrations and restoring them. They, however, release the restored products as non-commercial only.[5] Is their statment—"However, by the time we have scanned, cropped, cut out backgrounds, fixed broken lines, simplified, sharpened, and otherwise cleaned up the original drawing, the result is a new artwork derived from the earlier drawing."—correct? A sample of their works here. Jappalang (talk) 05:57, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Personally, I seriously doubt it. No way to tell for sure without seeing the originals, but I don't see how any of the work they are claiming would count as creativity -- they are still copies of the original, albeit cleaned up with some skill. That said, I also personally respect their wishes and don't take anything from their site, and most especially think a bulk upload would be a bad idea. But I don't think I'd delete anything already uploaded either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:30, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I looked at their physics collection. Those do not look like "new artworks". The good thing is that they give sources, and quote good descriptions from the sources. But that is not something that would attract copyright, as I understand it. Maybe they could claim some kind of catalogue protection? That would exclude a bulk upload. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:53, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
Most of these would not in the United States qualify as original works - their minimal modifications don't meet the threshold for creative original work, and so fall under {{Modifications-ineligible}}. However, I would still treat them on a case-by-case basis - some of them may have received extensive restoration work, and it's really hard to tell without having the original handy for comparison. There is no "catalog" or "database right" protection in the United States. Dcoetzee (talk) 07:25, 2 July 2009 (UTC)

Detailed explanation of noncommercial

We really need a section / page explaining why we want our content non-non-commercial. File:BD-propagande-2 (en).jpg is great but I feel a bit silly when I am sending an email to an academic and all I have to back my argument up is a cartoon :) Please note that as far as I know nowhere in the project a justification of non-commercial is present... --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 19:12, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I agree. It would also be great to have stronger arguments for why Wikipedia-only licenses are not allowed, why no-derivative licenses are not okay, and so on. The cartoon doesn't do a great job of explaining anyway. I could write some of this. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:31, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
I have created Commons:Licensing/Justifications for this purpose. Feel free to edit and let me know what you think. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:50, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
That looks pretty good actually. But I would replace all mentions of "Mediawiki" (which is the name of the software) with "Wikimedia" (the name of the Foundation). Many sites use mediawiki software which are not controlled by the Foundation ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:16, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, switched them in my head :-) Dcoetzee (talk) 02:22, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Mainly it is philosophical -- it is part of the "free software" movement as well, which is the ancestor of a lot of these licenses. From a more practical standpoint, there are many uses which would be considered "commercial" which already take place with the content (such as fundraising by non-profit organizations). There is some (old) discussion at Commons talk:Licensing/Explaining why Derivative Work and Commercial Use must be allowed, linked higher above on this page, and some (really really old, and archived) discussion at w:Wikipedia talk:Image use policy/Noncommercial-use. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:16, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Um, we don't want our content non-commercial. In fact, we require it to be able to be used commercially, don't we? Powers (talk) 13:03, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Everybody seems to have assumed that Piotrus meant to write "non-non-commercial" :-) Lupo 14:35, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, corrected :) What I want is a page/section to which I can point out people when I am telling them why their CC-NC license is not good for Wikipedia/Commons. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:32, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Template:PD-North Korea

This template is without any reference. Discussion was started at Commons:Administrators'_noticeboard/Archive_7#Very_very_suspicious, but it only says: "[...] ordinance, decision or directive, current news and bulletins". We have this exemptions in other countries too - and it is obviously not related to photographs (photographs are not current news). Also the template was mentioned in Commons:Deletion requests/Images uploaded by user Dprk48. Originally the template was created by NKorean General (talk · contribs) and was used shortly after creation in File:Pyongsong.jpg. --Martin H. (talk) 15:29, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Any answer would be appreciated, restored this from the Archive. What to do with a license template that is not based on any information source or law? --Martin H. (talk) 17:03, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
back from the archive :( --Martin H. (talk) 10:31, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
The quote comes from north korean law. Of course since it is rather questionable to what extent the rule of law functions within north korea it is rather hard to tell what it means.Geni (talk) 16:56, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
A detailed summary appears to be in this blog posting. There is an Article 12 which says copyright does not protect "documents for state management, current news or information data" unless "commercial purpose is pursued". Which is an odd way of stating it. If someone who knows Korean (i.e. not me) wants to see the actual law, there is a link to a .hwp file in this blog post. The link is now dead, but has a copy of the original download page, and you can reconstruct a link to which still works (this is an HWP file, I believe a particular Korean word processor). Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:34, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
I would take "copyright does not protect 'documents for state management, current news or information data' unless 'commercial purpose is pursued'" as a non-commercial use clause, which is not public domain. It would appear North Korean works are copyrighted or restricted in their use. The template is not accurate. Symbol delete vote.svg  Delete ? Jappalang (talk) 22:29, 2 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Delete per restrictive licensing. Current template is wrong. feydey (talk) 23:21, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


(I was directed here from the "Wikipedia: Media copyright questions" page by a user of name ww2censor. I am reposting what I posted there. )

The reasoning that this image is in the public domain does not seem to be correct. There is no evidence that this photo is a work of the United States Federal Government as claimed. (Whenever would have they made this photo anyway? The page linked to by the uploader guesses the image at 1942, but Shostakovich would have been hunkered down in Russia then, and had not travelled to the USA yet. I highly doubt the "Office of War Information" hired a photographer to take a portrait of Shostakovich in Russia in the midst of WWII.) Regardless, the page is clearly stating that the photo is merely a holding in the Office of War Information Collection of the Library of Congress. If you follow the link on that page saying "How to obtain copies of this item" (I can't link it because Wikipedia parses it wrong, which may be a bug someone may want to look into), you will see that it says first and foremost: "The Library of Congress generally does not own rights to material in its collections and, therefore, cannot grant or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute the material." This image is probably a copyright violation, what dost thou in charge think?--Atethnekos (talk) 05:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

The Library of Congress page does not let you click to get the higher-resolution version, which is one of their indications that it may still be copyrighted, or at least not evaluated. Presumably obtained by the U.S. government at some point. On the other hand, it is not just a print, it is a "copy negative". Not sure if that means it is the original, or a negative created from a print or something. It is possible the negative (and therefore possibly the copyright) was purchased (or otherwise obtained) by the U.S. Government, which then placed it in the public domain, but outside of that it is almost certainly still copyrighted. And there isn't much evidence of that (as the Library of Congress does not declare this to be PD). Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:28, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
It is indeed the same photo as the one at the Library of Congress, but in our version, somebody has retouched away the curtain in the background. It says "photographic print" on the image description page at the LoC. The photo is part of LOT 11640 (D), containing "Photographs collected by Office of War Information from various sources.", and the LoC states on the whole lot "No known restrictions on publication." The full 1087×1536px TIFF file of the LoC image doesn't reveal anything more (no photographer's mark or so, no EXIF data either). The TIFF file was created 1999-03-30 at 02:30:17.
BTW, the TIFF was scanned at 1200dpi, giving a print size of 23×32.5 mm. Assuming that this is the size of the original, I'd say it's a passport photo, which is consistent with the background curtain and the pose (looking slightly left, exposing one ear: such a pose was for a long time prescribed for passport photos in Europe—nowadays, they tell you to look straight on and not to smile, and avoid reflections from glasses). As a passport photo, it might even be {{PD-ineligible}}, even if taken by real photographer, since there's very little freedom of expression for passport photos. Lupo 08:08, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
In any case, it is certainly not a work of the U.S. government. If the photographer is truly unknown (and I have found no indication of a photographer's name anywhere), the image might be PD in the U.S. because it was PD in Russia on 1996-01-01 (term was 50 years since publication for anonymous or pseudonymous works under the 1993 copyright law), and its U.S. copyright was not restored. Under current Russian law it might or might not be copyrighted: if truly published before 1943 and anonymous, it'd be PD in Russia, too (copyright expired before 1993, and thus the image did not benefit from the restorative term extension to 70 years from the new 2006 law), but if it was published 1943 or later, it'd be copyrighted. Assuming that the dating at the LoC (they state "[1942?]") is an upper bound, I think we may presume that this image indeed is PD in Russia and in the U.S. In other Berne countries, it'd be PD if it was PD in Russia when Russia joined (i.e., in 1995), which, for an anonymous work, would mean published before 1945. So it seems this should be fine. (Unless the photographer is actually known.) Lupo 07:53, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Interesting, somehow I missed the "photographic print" and only saw the "copy negative" at the bottom. I also forgot about the 1993 limit to the retroactivity of the Russian law. Thanks for the reminder ;-) But yes, definitely not a USGov work, but may well be PD anyways given the above. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:38, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Kopimi license

I found this old deletion request Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Kopimi and noticed that the Kopimi website has gone off-line. I discovered that it has moved to the .com domain, now it is here: I closed the DR with a "Keep", as this license template is used by many files. Please comment here if this is a valid free license. Sv1xv (talk) 05:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Ontario Power Generation wholly owned by the government of Ontario, Canada. I want to use a couple of their hydroelectric power plant photos for [6] and [7] from their website [8].

At [9], they say this:

You may use and reproduce any information in this Site solely for educational or non-commercial purposes, so long as you do not change any such information and so long as you include with all such information the following, “Copyright © 2009 Ontario Power Generation Inc., all rights reserved. This information is subject to the general terms of use set out in Ontario Power Generation Inc.’s web site (”

So, what do you think? Can I use the pics?--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 06:24, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Of course you may not upload them here at the Commons. The images are copyrighted, all rights reserved. Maybe you can use some under a "fair use" claim, uploading them locally at the English Wikipedia. Lupo 06:49, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you.--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 07:42, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
To be a bit more specific, the problems are the "educational or non-commercial" and "do not change" parts in the license. See Commons:Licensing#Acceptable licenses and freedomdefined:Definition for why licenses forbidding commercial use or modification are not considered free enough for Commons. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 23:39, 8 July 2009 (UTC)


Hello. Some days ago I uploaded this image, which received a missing essential source information warning. The image is my own work, as I wrote in the file description, so which kind of information is needed to make the file right and the warning removed? Thank you. --Antenor81 (talk) 11:55, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

It may have been an inappropriate tag to add, but since the image is pretty obviously a grab from a video (or a photograph of a video being played on TV), then the person believed that the source video should also have been mentioned. The video has a separate copyright, and if it was not taken by you, then you would have no right to upload the image. I see that you posted videos of the performance to youtube (here and at least one other). If the videos were taken by you, I would mention that the image is a grab from a self-taken video and remove the tag. If the video is from some other source, or something you recorded from TV, then you would not own copyright to the image and thus could not license it, and it should be deleted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:08, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much, I added the missing information as you suggested. In fact it is a grab from a self-taken video.--Antenor81 (talk) 17:12, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

question about PD-US-no notice

File:RIT art - Sundial.jpg is a photograph of a (functional) sculpture that was erected in a public space (albeit on private property) in the United States in 1968. Is {{PD-US-no notice}} likely to apply in this case? Powers (talk) 23:33, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, this SIRIS entry says it is not signed at all. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:23, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
So pre-1978, works had to be signed to be considered copyrighted? Powers (talk) 12:29, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the author's name (or at least initials for a sculpture) was a required part of a valid copyright notice. Without it, there is definitely no notice. The SIRIS Art Inventories database is usually very good about mentioning copyright notices if present, at least for their well-documented ones where they list all the inscriptions, which is why I typically check there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:21, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Okay, then my additional question, is does the simple erection of the sculpture in a publicly accessible space count as "publishing"? Powers (talk) 00:57, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Before 1978, yes we think so. After 1978 that gets cloudier. See the notes at Commons:Freedom of panorama#United States, and the footnote. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:02, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Thank you; I'd read that section but was looking for verification that my interpretation was in the ballpark. =) Powers (talk) 12:58, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Allowed or not ?

I’ve made more than one hundred photos of photos (printed on glossy pages in a book about art) of paintings of which copyright has expired (the artist has been dead for more than 70 years). Most of these paintings are still in private collections and cannot be seen by the public. The book states clearly that all content is copyrighted and reproductions are forbidden. Considering the policy Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag and Commons:Reuse of PD-Art photographs, does this policy also apply in this case and when I upload the images not from the USA but from Belgium ? Are there any other legal restrictions that apply in this case ? JoJan (talk) 12:49, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Quite possibly OK, copyright-wise, but it depends on the country of the paintings and maybe the book you used as well. If the paintings were unpublished until recently, they may still be copyrighted in the U.S. and UK and probably some other countries (where the copyright term didn't start until publication, or there is a separate publication right). If the photos in the book are from the UK, then they may consider the photos to be separately copyrightable at least inside the UK. No clue whatsoever about Belgium. It is also impossible for anyone here to know all the corners of the law, court case results, etc. in all these countries so none of this is actual legal advice... uploaders still bear responsibility. Commons would not delete them if you want to upload them, though -- that is what the policy is more about. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:52, 11 July 2009 (UTC)


File:Maroc-Atlas-Casbah.jpg Sole contribution to Commons by this user. Account of the same name exists on fr-wiki, but sole action there was to add this photo to an article there. Claim of copyright and "own work" is almost certainly bogus (looks almost certainly old enough to be public domain, though). A source is linked, but I can't find it there. (Could very well have been formerly on that site, though, it fits in with what they do.) It's used in articles on fr and sk Wikipedias. If someone knows how best to proceed, please do. - Jmabel ! talk 06:27, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

See here: [10] and here [11]. Sv1xv (talk) 06:36, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Ah. And the French headline on the former translates as "A casbah: but which?", and a comment tentatively identifies it as the casbah of Ouarzazat in the 1920s. If the date is, indeed, that late, this might not be public domain. I'd guess, though, from the printing style of the postcard that it is no later than 1910. But I'll update the source with appropriate links.

In any event, the claim of "own work" is almost certainly bogus. How should we proceed? - Jmabel ! talk 23:42, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

There was apparently a Marcelin Flandrin, a photographer based in Casablanca. I can't find birth/death dates yet, but the mentions I see basically seem to fit with the era. That would open up {{PD-Morocco}} as a possibility. He may have at some point been the photographer for the royal family.[12] (based on Google Translate) Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
Hm yeah, based on this similar page, this was definitely the guy. Marcellin Flandrin. He was a member of the French Army during World War I, and settled in Morrocco as a photographer after the war. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:09, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
"Photo Flandrin" is the commercial name for Marcellin as in this newsletter by a postcard organisation. Quote: "Both cards are attributed to "Photo Flandrin," or Marcelin Flandrin, one of the most important photographers and producers of postcards in early 20th century Morocco." We still have to prove the date of publishing is pre-1946 (creation does not equate to publication, avoiding the URAA and all that), but since no. 447-112 of the series is published in 1929.[13], I would be inclined to believe the subject is published in the late 1930s at the latest. Jappalang (talk) 03:29, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Copyright from defunct french companies

There is an interesting discussion if images from defunct french companies are in public domaine. I hope someone can clarify this situation. See: Commons:Deletion_requests/Images_of_Frenchfashion --Avron (talk) 18:12, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

File:Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg

File:Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg has been moved, or re-uploaded. The original copyright, which I own, is not respected. The original copyright was "© Denis Moyogo Jacquerye, CC-BY-SA License, 2006" but now User:Anuskafm claimed the copyright with the GFDL 1.2. See File:Armoiries de la République démocratique du Congo - 2006.png for reference. --moyogo (talk) 08:16, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Pasted from my talkpage, can someone help with user's concerns. -- Deadstar (msg) 09:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Copyright question....

This is a point which I'm kind of confused about. There are a bunch of photos on Flickr issued under a license which we can use on Wiki Commons... however, the photos were taken at an event but of a large screen which is meant to help audiences further away from the stage see the performers. Here is an example of one: does this effect the copyright status of the images or can we still use them? Rezter (talk) 02:43, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes. I'd argue that anything that showed up on the screen was almost certainly recorded, which makes it in a "fixed form" and assigns copyright to whoever the contract says gets copyright of the recorded performance. Such screens are only permitted in an image in cases where they are de minimis. Now, if the screens were live and no recording was done, you've got a more interesting case there that I won't speculate on. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:06, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Well those photographs are at a music festival. At a live performance. Those images are broadcast on a large screen live at the even to help people who are further away from the stage see the performance. Rezter (talk) 20:24, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Not only can one reasonably speculate that the performance on the screens is being recorded for future use, but the people operating or setting up the cameras offering that view can be said to have a creative input. There's simply no way I'd consider photos making those screens their central subject to be okay for Commons. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:21, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Discussion about U.S. work from 1712 first published (?) in 1999

There is a discussion about File:Charles Carroll the Settler.jpg at en:Wikipedia:Media copyright questions#300 year old paintings under copyright in US??!. I would appreciate if someone familiar with the finer points of copyright before the current system would weigh in. Thank you. --NE2 (talk) 00:35, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Kurosawa screenshots

A user posted Commons_talk:Deletion requests/Mass deletion request#Kurosawa screenshots. Does it apply to all Kurasawa films or only a limited set of films ? Are other Japanese filmmakers concerned ? Teofilo (talk) 07:14, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Which takes precedence - public domain or non-commercial?

I am looking for help with the copyright status of some images that have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons from a website of the Smithsonian Institution ( An example is File:Colima volcano.jpg. The Smithsonian's copyright policy, which can be found at , includes the following text

"Unauthorized commercial publication or exploitation of text, images or content of this website is specifically prohibited. Anyone wishing to use any of these files or images for commercial use, publication, or any purpose other than fair use as defined by law, must request and receive prior written permission from the Smithsonian Institution. Permission for such use is granted on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of Smithsonian's Office of Product Development and Licensing." The web page also states "The images must remain unaltered".

The Wikimedia Commons licensing details on e.g. File:Colima volcano.jpg state " Source - Author - James Allan, Smithsonian Institution Permission - PD. Smithsonian Institution is administered by the U.S. government. Photos taken by Smithsonian Institution's employees are thus without restriction. (confirmed by Mr. Edward Venzke from Smithsonian Institution). This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code."

I found no mention of public domain on the Smithsonian's copyright web page, nor proof of Edward Venzke's confirmation there or on Wikimedia Commons.

If the image is public domain due to a US Government employee taking the photo, does that take precedence over the copyright restriction of non-alterable, non-commercial in the Smithsonian's own copyright policy? GeoWriter (talk) 16:42, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Assuming it is public domain, then yes that takes precedence. Dragons flight (talk) 17:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Yes it would. The Smithsonian has claimed copyright on stuff where it had no business doing so (essentially copyfraud). *Most* Smithsonian employees are federal government workers, so their work would be PD-USGov, but not all their employees are, so there is some chance that Smithsonian works are copyrighted. See here and here for some background. They have fixed some of the more egregious examples I used to see, and they also now contribute a lot to Flickr Commons (where their submissions are listed as PD), but they have never altered their overall copyright statements (which may well apply to some of their images). But if an image is PD, then the Smithsonian would really have no rights to restrict copying or derivative works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:09, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

BioMed Central Open Access articles

The articles like this one - is it allowed to upload pictures from them to the Commons? Nowadays they clearly state CC-BY-SA-2.0 in their articles, but the ones from several years ago have this vague "Open Access" statement.. Best regards, --CopperKettle (talk) 16:41, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

The terms seem to be spelled out on this page, which isn't vague at all -- derivative works and commercial use is explicitly allowed, provided they are properly attributed. So yes, anything under that should be fine. Just be sure that the pictures are original to the article; otherwise they would have a different license. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:10, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Tnank you! --CopperKettle (talk) 07:43, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
  • P.S. There are several images that I've uploaded that have "courtesy of" and "reproduced with permission from". Should they be deleted as "not original to the article"? Here's the list:
  • I would say that these are not released under the CC-BY-SA-2.0; they are used by biomedcentral under the permission/courtesy of their copyright holders. Jappalang (talk) 03:41, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  • You could always e-mail the author(s) and ask. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 04:43, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
  • P.S. Feel free to add deletion proposal, if the mentioned files are in in breach of copyright here. --CopperKettle (talk) 12:21, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

A stranger takes a photo of me with my own camera, who owns the copyright?

Ref: US Copyrights Chapter 2: Copyright Ownership and Transfer

Picture this: standing in front of a sculpture, I hand my camera to a stranger, asking him to take a photo of me and the work of art (let us assume the sculpture is in the public domain). He obliges, and moves around for an angle. He fidgets and finally takes a visage of my grinning self. The image is wonderful, more artistically possible than if I was the photographer.

Now, who owns the copyright to that image? Copyright inherently belong with its creator or his employer. Am I the employer in this case? Was it a case of "work made for hire"? Even photo studios in some(?) countries these days retain the rights to portraits taken by them (transferring them to the subjects who pay an additional price). Thinking about this, I am not surprised Switzerland requires a work to be of individual character to receive copyright...

Continuing on, while I was talking to a friend, that stranger starts taking various photos of the scenary (including and excluding me and my friend). He apologises, saying that the mood and moment got to him, quaint little man... Now, his artistic works reside on my camera. Do I hold the copyrights for these works?

Does it mean that by handing my camera over to someone else, I would not hold the copyright to the images taken by them?

Opinions? Jappalang (talk) 06:00, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

In the US, unlike Australia, I don't believe copyright is automatically assigned to the client, particularly in a case where the relationship is spontaneous and informal. Since the photographer is choosing the angle, lighting, and framing, among other artistic factors, they receive the full copyright. Being the subject entitles you only to personality rights. Owning the device entitles you to no rights other than the simple property right that they gotta ask you for copies of the pictures if they want them. You couldn't publish, etc. the images though. When it comes to casual snapshots pretty much everybody ignores this and nobody cares - on Commons we have to be more careful. Dcoetzee (talk) 14:56, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Ugh, I see quite a few valid-CC-licensed snapshots on Flickr that show the uploader and a notable person together in a pose. Now it seems the uploader might not have the rights to allow for publishing even. Jappalang (talk) 22:05, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
But I got slapped for Commons:Deletion requests/File:Wm2007 DrorK and Bastique (with troll).jpg. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 22:33, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I think that in most case, the copyright belongs to the camera owner. Yann (talk) 22:43, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd presume that, unless he actually says something at the time, it would be impossible for said stranger to claim copyright after the fact, particularly as he'd never be able to prove he was the stranger. Academically, maybe he'd have a claim. Practically, a copyright claim he could never substantiate isn't a copyright claim. Adam Cuerden (talk) 22:53, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Note that it's impossible to tell the difference between a picture taken by a friendly stranger and a picture taken using a timed camera setting and tripod (in the latter case, the copyright would belong to the person who set up the camera, who probably is in the picture). Dcoetzee (talk) 23:18, 16 July 2009 (UTC)
Not to mention how hard it is to tell the degree to which the camera-owner gave direction. For example, I had a recent picture of me taken with my camera where I certainly had far more input than Andy Warhol did to many artworks that are considered his. (OK, maybe that isn't saying much...) - Jmabel ! talk 01:48, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
While I agree that tripod shots are hard to tell apart from stranger-taken shots, there are some cases that would not substantiate the use of a tripod, e.g. shots taken at crowded reception or places, spontaneous shots (e.g. shaking the hands of a celebrity, "Hey bud, help me get a shot with her!!"), etc. I feel like I am opening a can of worms here, but I would like some definite answers in case I run into a case of notable person in someone's CC-licensed portrait shot on Flickr. Jappalang (talk) 02:08, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
In France in a "Bridgeman vs Corel"-like court case involving photographs of paintings, the book publisher won, because he showed that the suing photographer had received directions and that he did not have enough artistic freedom at that time to enjoy authorship right. In the united states for a work to be a work for hire, the conditions are not met very easily. For example the employer might have to show that he controls the working hours of the employee, or that he paid social benefits (retirement, pension) to his employee. If you are interested in American "work for hire", you could read Peter W. Martin, Topic 4 - CCNV v. Reid - Determining when a work is a "work for hire",, 2000. In any case, the work for hire situation is never a "friend" relationship where the person takes the picture for free. The photographer must receive money for his work. Teofilo (talk) 06:24, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
A copyright rewards the creative work, not the mechanical processes. You selected the location and approximate camera angle, choose the lighting (time of day), select the costumes (your clothing) then had some random person press a button. Who did the creative work? Assuming you did not bring along Annie Leibovitz, a snapshot like this was not done by a professional as a "work made for hire." There was no commercial relationship between you and this stranger. Swtpc6800 (talk) 18:20, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
The important, and actually the definitive answer, was made by Adam Cuerden above: for a copyright to exist, there needs to be a copyright holder. If the stranger can't prove that he took the picture, which would be the case most of the time, he doesn't hold any copyright. Yann (talk) 19:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Interesting reasoning... let us apply it to all old photos with unknown authorship. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 21:01, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
That's what I have always said, and it doesn't concern only old images. That's also the case of recent anonymous works (graffiti, etc.). If the author can't be proven, there is no copyright. Yann (talk) 22:39, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Not quite. The law covers works by "anonymous" or "unknown" creators, which typically grants 70 years since creation if all research points to an unidentifiable person. Jappalang (talk) 02:08, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, Swtpc6800, in my example, the stranger is the one who chose the angle, lighting, etc (albeit he cannot choose my clothing). The "work for hire" angle seems to be definitely out; what about joint authorship? Jappalang (talk) 02:08, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Amusment rides - Luna Park, Sydney

In relation to :

Australian rules on FOP say 3D 'artworks' have to be on 'permenant' display.

So a clarifcation please:

  • Does an amusement park ride count as 'work of creative art' as opposed to

an industrial design?

  • Does the fact that an amusement park ride is nominally removable mean

that it is 'temporary' and thus can't be considered under FOP?

The notes on Luna Park, Sydney seem to suggest that the rides are on a fixed site, even if they are nominally based on 'travelling' ride designs. Sfan00 IMG (talk) 10:45, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Most things are nominally removable, but if it's on a fixed, indefinitely permanent site, then I'd say it's permanent display. I won't try to answer the other question.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:02, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
The decoration can certainly be counted as 'work of creative art', but there are de minimis here. Otherwise, it is just a machine with a purpose: entertainment. Yann (talk) 11:30, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
The form of the ride itself is determined primarily its functional purpose, so it wouldn't fall under copyright. Any designs on the ride are probably de minimis. A good comparison is photos of cars, which are generally permitted. I don't anticipate a problem. Dcoetzee (talk) 13:05, 20 July 2009 (UTC)


For future reference, can fractal art be (C) ? Sfan00 IMG (talk) 21:24, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't see why not; even in simple cases, there can be more choices than are involved in taking the picture of, say Notre Dame Cathedral. I'm not sure why it would ever be worth arguing about; if we can't replicate a computer-generated picture, that just goes to show that there's significant creative input or after-image editing.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:56, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
It depends. While a fractal itself cannot be copyrighted, since it's a simple mathematical construct, many renderings of fractals involve significant creative choice. The colourful ones typically vary their hue depending on the number of iterations required for convergence, and the correspondence of iterations to hues is determined by the user. On the other hand, if you simply generate a trivial black and white version of a fractal, like this one, I think it'd be as about as eligible for copyright as a plot of a function (which is to say, there's very little creative input and I remain uncertain about eligibility). Dcoetzee (talk) 03:57, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

License enquiry.

Just a qucik query, File:Dofficer-console-mens-side.jpg is under an obscure license, Is this compatible with Commons? Sfan00 IMG (talk) 11:31, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Mathematical formulas drawings, PD ?

Mandelset hires.png

I was wondering if mathematical drawings, drawn by computer programs are considered PD or copyrightable.--Diaa abdelmoneim (talk) 13:15, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Only so much as their input is. No one would ever argue that Toy Story isn't copyrightable.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:24, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Image review - File:Syracuse war cemetery.jpg

A contributor to Wikimedia Commons has noted that this image is in need of attention, but would prefer a more experienced contributor aids or undertakes this.

Issue: Does this count as building for FOP purposes?Sfan00 IMG (talk) 14:29, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Derivative works of images on Commons

There is an article Commons:Derivative_works, but I can find no article that deals with how one should license images that are derivative of other images on commons. Obviously it depends upon the original license, but some guidance is needed. I often see derivative works with more restrictive or more expansive rights than the original, neither of which seems appropriate. Eg people add a GFDL license and a cc-by-sa-3.0 license where the original had a cc-by-sa-2.0 license. I expect that they are licensing their changes, but surely they must in fact license the derivative image as a whole, so the resulting license choices must be restricted by the original.
If they can license their changes, how is this to be expressed to make it clear that other restrictions also apply. That is - in a derivative work, if ones specifies a 'self' clause (eg {{self|cc-by-2.0}}) can this be taken as the copyright on the changes and what should be shown on the image to reflect the licensing requirements of the original?
Is it always safe to license the derivative with the same license as the original? --Tony Wills (talk) 06:37, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Copyleft licenses such as Creative Commons licenses with the share-alike restriction and the GFDL indeed require that all modified versions be licensed in whole under the same terms. Since modifications are inherently dependent on the original work, different restrictions may not apply to the original work and to the modifications.
For CC licenses, changing the numerical version is typically interpreted as permissible. For GFDL, it depends on whether there is a "or any later version" clause.
Provided that the original license is valid, using the same license as the original for the derivative should be fine. The original author should always be credited.
A few more concrete examples:
  • You can modify a CC-by-sa licensed work and publish the result under CC-by-sa
  • You can modify a GFDL licensed work and publish the result under the GFDL
  • You can modify a CC-by-sa/GFDL dual licensed work and publish the result under CC-by-sa, GFDL or a CC-by-sa/GFDL dual license
  • You can modify a PD or CC-by work and publish the result under a license of your choice (provided that your modifications are copyrightable)
  • You may not modify a CC-by-sa licensed work and publish the result under the GFDL
  • You may not modify a CC-by-sa licensed work and publish the result under a CC license with nc or nd restrictions (even outside of Commons)
  • You may not modify a GFDL licensed work and publish the result under a CC-by-sa license or a CC-by-sa/GFDL dual license (except as provided by the temporary provisions of the GFDL designed to allow the GFDL to CC-by-sa migration)
  • You may not modify a CC-by-sa, GFDL or CC-by-sa/GFDL dual licensed work and publish the result under a CC-by license or place the result into the public domain
LX (talk, contribs) 09:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, that helps greatly :-). There are quite a few derivative images that need licenses fixed. Can we make this into a page or incorporate it into Commons:Licensing (maybe a section on the end of Commons:Derivative_works) ?
One question : "modify a CC-by work and publish the result under a license of your choice", means that a derivative of a "CC-by" has to give attribution, but derivatives of the derivative need not have any acknowledgement of the original source, or in fact anything that leads back to the source (if say the derivative was licensed PD) ? --Tony Wills (talk) 12:12, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, many users seem to be ignoring these principles when creating derivatives of free works, and it's not something that I think should be taken lightly. Failing to preserve copyleft conditions or to credit the original author constitutes a copyright violation, and when dealing with free works, it's essentially exploiting a gift.
There is, however, one problem with fixing licenses. If a CC-by-sa work by one user is modified by a second user and the result is incorrectly CC-by licensed, a person noticing this cannot legally change the tagging of the derivative, because the user who introduced the modifications did not place their modifications under that license. The derivative does not automatically become CC-by-sa licensed. Instead, it's simply a copyright violation until the second contributor licenses their modifications correctly.
A guide on how to license derivatives of free works sounds like a useful document. It would also tie in with Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia. Feel free to use my response as a basis for such a page. Commons:Licensing is too long as it is, though, so please don't add it as a section there.
From a licensing perspective, my understanding of the CC and GFDL licenses is that no link to the original is required. However, Commons requires a source for verification purposes. Only a link to the version upon which the work was directly based is required, but links to previous incarnations are helpful. As a matter of licensing, one must also credit all the authors who contributed to the work (not just the last one or two). Copyright laws in many countries also requires that authors (unless anonymous) must be credited even for works in the public domain. LX (talk, contribs) 14:23, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
If a CC-by-sa work by one user is modified by a second user and the result is incorrectly CC-by licensed, a person noticing this cannot legally change the tagging of the derivative. How do you figure that? I don't see any issue with changing the license to CC-BY-SA, while noting that the additional expression by the second author is licensed CC-BY, so it can be used (if separated from the original CC-BY-SA work) under that license. For example, if an SVG includes components from a CC-BY-SA SVG but licensed CC-BY, the entire work must be CC-BY-SA but the second author could still mention that additional elements are CC-BY, so those individual elements could be used in a separate CC-BY SVG by a third author. The changing of the license would be fixing the license per the contributions of the original author. Furthermore, I thought those licenses were intentionally compatible so that a CC-BY work could legally be used in a CC-BY-SA derivative work without need to mention which portions were CC-BY -- which does not feel too different a situation. Maybe I'm missing something though -- is there guidance from Creative Commons on that? I just don't see deletion (i.e. considering it a copyright violation) as the most logical solution in that situation. I think I would just consider it a derivative of the original CC-BY-SA work, plus CC-BY additions, in a CC-BY-SA derivative work. Agree with all your other points though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:56, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
You are of course correct that CC-by modifications to a CC-by-sa work can be corrected to CC-by-sa, since the CC-by license is more permissive (in that it's permitted to turn a CC-by work into a CC-by-sa work). Bad example from my side. The problem does arise with a CC-by-sa work with modifications incorrectly licensed as GFDL, though (at least in the general situation, not sure what would happen during the license migration). LX (talk, contribs) 16:10, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Slightly off topic, and probably not the best place to discuss this, but I'm in a hurry, please move it to the right place: Commons seems to be full of copyright violations where a derivative of a free imnage is put under an incompatible free license (random example - LGPL derivative put under PD). These are extremely problematic, because the permission of the author of the derivative is needed to change the license, so if he becomes unavailable, the image cannot be salvaged (even though the intent of the author is obviously just to make the image free under whatever license). Is there any systematic effort to fix these? --Tgr (talk) 13:54, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

That example is not a problem to fix; if he's releasing it as PD, he's obviously releasing his changes as PD, and PD changes are compatible with any Free license. So just correct the license to LGPL. In general, if a license is compatible with the original more restrictive license, then the new work can just be placed under the original license (or both of them in certain cases).--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:28, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Egyptian unpublished+unknown author images

I wondered how long the copyright lasts for works whose author is unkown and it wasn't published until recently (2009), for Egyptian photos. This isn't explained in {{PD-Egypt}} nor {{PD-Egypt-1996}}.--Diaa abdelmoneim (talk) 08:57, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

File:Mishuga Zaspivaj meni moju pisnu.ogg

I'd like to ask for some third opinions on the sourcing and licensing of File:Mishuga Zaspivaj meni moju pisnu.ogg. The original uploader did not indicate a source, but given some web searching, I very strongly suspect that it was ripped from this CD. In any case, however, the singer died in 1922, so the recording seems almost certainly {{PD-Ukraine}}; the only possible exceptions I can think of would be if the recording had remained unpublished until long after the singer's death (but why make a recording, if not to publish it?) or if the compilers of the CD has altered it sufficiently to create a copyrightable derivative (which seems unlikely, judging by the sound of the recording). I suspect that the liner notes for the CD might perhaps shed some light on the subject, but I haven't been able to find anyone else selling it except for the site I've linked to above, and they seem to be out of stock. :(

Anyway, I've listed the suspected source on the file description page, noted that it's in any case a "reproduction of an old recording whose copyright has expired", and tagged it as PD-Ukraine. What's your opinion: is that sufficient, or does it still fail our sourcing requirements? —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 12:26, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Releasing a copy on CD does not extend the copyright of the recording. It is hard to fathom any recording made in those days remaining unpublished (they cost quite a bit to make). Also, the performer would not necessarily own the copyright to the recording. It even sounds like it would have been PD early enough to not be restored by the URAA (and was almost certainly published before 1923), avoiding the really messy U.S. side of things. The only possibility would be if the digital recording was altered enough to be considered a derivative work. That seems unlikely, as that is usually not creative, but who knows about Ukrainian law. Our "sourcing" requirements are mainly just to have enough info for evidence of public domain; it sounds like this has enough to me. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:21, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Commons 2.0 help

Can't find a summary at Commons or on the English Wikipedia, so I'm asking here...I'm making a map (to upload here) based upon a screenshot from OpenStreetMap, which uses Creative Commons 2.0. I understand that I must credit OpenStreetMap as the author, but is there any other requirement that must be followed in the image description? I plan to add a notice to the effect of "my modifications to this screenshot are public domain", which I expect is permitted, since the entire file will still bear a 2.0 copyright tag. Nyttend (talk) 22:15, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I should note that I've read the CC human-readable summary, but I'm still not clear. Nyttend (talk) 22:17, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Actually, OpenStreetMap is not the author; all the contributors who edited that part of the map are the authors. So a link to that particular view on should be provided (using the Permalink at the bottom right of each view), so that the names of the authors are accessible through the history tab. The appropriate license tag is {{cc-by-sa-2.0}}, and a comment saying that your modifications are in the public domain is just fine. –Tryphon 23:04, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
File is uploaded as File:Beaver Historic District map.png; could you check to make sure that all is right? I'd already planned to use the permalink (simply to show the origin of the map itself), but I didn't know that it would help with the credits. Nyttend (talk) 23:21, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. –Tryphon 23:34, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the input; hopefully I can remember this when I next upload a derivative of a CC2.0 image. Nyttend (talk) 23:55, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Applicability of US FOP (and related)

In checking some back transfers, I noted these, which on checking I'm not entirly sure are Commons compatible. I'd like some opinions.

The list:

Sfan00 IMG (talk) 22:57, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I looked up a few and they all seem OK. Works like that had to have a copyright notice before 1978, and I haven't found any that have. A couple appear to be US Government works too. It is extraordinarily rare to have copyright notices on reliefs on buildings, anyways. But you can find detailed descriptions of most public sculpture on the SIRS Art Inventories site; if you find one with an explicit mention of a copyright notice, or it was first put up (or otherwise published) 1978 or later, there may be an issue. See COM:FOP#United States. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:13, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Contributions of User:LRBurdak

Someone might want to look through the contributions of User:LRBurdak. As far as I can tell, they are all claimed as "own work", but I'd be astounded if that is true. Some unlikely examples: File:Jal Mahal Deeg.JPG, File:Ranabai1.jpg, File:Chhatrpur Palace Behat.jpg. - Jmabel ! talk 05:48, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

No one seems to have followed up on this, so I am remarking again. - Jmabel ! talk 23:04, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Those do seem unlikely. At the very least the image description pages should give some information on how the user created the files in question. Have you tried confronting the user about this? Haukurth (talk) 00:12, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Ethiopia, proposal

Proposed text

According to the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Protection Proclamation No. 410/2004 published in the Federal Negarit Gazeta, 10th Year, No. 55, June 19, 2004, the copyright term on works in the literary, scientific and artistic fields lasts the authors lifetime and fifty years following the date of the authors death. In a work of joint authorship the term of fifty years shall be calculated from the date of death of the last surviving joint author. Works published posthumously shall be protected for fifty years after the date of publication. Works published anonymously or under a pseudonym are protected for fifty years after the work was first made available to the public or first published, which ever date is the latest.

Shorter terms of protection apply for photographic and audiovisual works. Photographic works are protected twenty-five years after the making of the work, audiovisual works are protected fifty years beginning from the date of making of the work or communication of the work to the public, which ever date is the latest.

Any official text of a legislative, administrative or of legal nature, as well as official translations thereof are not subject to copyright.


  • My writing above may contain typographic or grammatical mistakes.
  • According to Art. 6. Requirements for protection: there are some requirements for photographic works to enjoy protection. I can hardly imagine a source that not fulfills this requirements (books and collections exempted, photos in newspapers are work for hire and the newspaper should contain an address - or they are not work for hire but bought from someone else, so we cant say if they where first published without the requirements or not)
  • The expiration terms are all in Art. 8.
  • Freedom of Panorama is granted only for personal purposes in Art. 9.?
  • In general the law is only applicable for resident or national artists or works published first or simultaneously in Ethiopia, see Art. 3. That worth mentioning as many PD tags with a short term for photographs are used incorrect/abusive on Commons. A source and author must be given, in case of anonymous work it must be reasonable excluded that the work is created by a foreign artist.
--Martin H. (talk) 06:22, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

GFDL to GFDL-1.2 license changes

Hi, I have opened a thread at the village pump regarding changes of licenses on file pages from GFDL 1.2 or later to GFDL 1.2 only. Please voice your opinion there, if you are interested. --Slaunger (talk) 20:03, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Images of user Gtom84

I think, there is problem with images uploaded by User:Gtom84. Please see File:Logo xcamp.png, where author is "Marián Brcháň (Ever)", and File:Plakat-xcamp-2009.jpg, where author is "Marek Moškoř". But there is license text "Já, autor tohoto díla…" (I, author of this work…). So how is possible, that one user has two names? Please see another images in his gallery. --Ragimiri (talk) 01:28, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

How to dual license with one free and one cc-by-nc-sa license?

I am having a dialogue with Fir0002, where I have arranged with him, that I should let my SlaungerBot (if it is approved) run over all his files to extract a {{GFDL-1.2}} license (he has chosen to opt-out of the license migration) from a transcluded user template of his and place it explicitly on each file page. The objective of this would be to comply with Commons:User-specific galleries, templates and categories policy#Regarding licenses. Now, that we are at it, Fir0002 has stated that he would like to also license all his images under the CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 license, such that there is a CC alternative to GFDL licensing for reusers. As I understand this should be perfectly acceptable as long as there is one free license (the GFDL 1.2). However, {{cc-by-nc-sa-2.0}} redirects to {{Noncommercial}}, so it is not an option to use this template. I guess this redirection has been done to avoid users using CC-BY-NC as the only license? Anyway, the way Fir002 has proposed it to be done is to replace his currently transcluded user template (with embedded GFDL1.2) with

{{cc|Attribution '''NonCommercial''' ShareAlike 2.0|by-nc-sa/2.0/|nowarn=yes|category=}}

in all his images, thus using the {{cc}} to effectively make a cc-by-nc-sa. However, it is adviced in the template documentation for {{cc}} to consider making a dedicated template for the purpose, when it is used in many instances (more than 1700 file pages in this case). Therefore I feel a little uncomfortable making such a mass replacement, and I would like to get a second opinion on the procedure here.

One idea I have is to let a license template coder remake a {{cc-by-nc-sa-2.0}}, but only let it render as a "real license" if an extra parameter, i.e.,


is explicitly set to avoid good faith abuse as a standalone license? Without the parameter set to true, it could behave as today.

For further background see

--Slaunger (talk) 13:18, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

{{GFDL or cc-by-nc-sa/2.5}} is a GFDL-1.2 version --Tony Wills (talk) 10:19, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I did not know of the existance of such combined license templates. The latter one seems to be the closest to what Fir0002 wants, only the ver of the cc-by-nc-sa should be 2.0 and not 2.5. I'll ask him if the 2.5 ver. 2.0 is important for him, otherwise I guess we need to make a {{GFDL-1.2 or cc-by-nc-sa/2.0}}. --Slaunger (talk) 10:26, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
For new files, it's recommended to use 3.0, although if Fir0002 has some reason for using an older version (I'm not sure what's different between them), then that's fine too. Rocket000 (talk) 16:17, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Ubisoft agreement

Hello, I would like some input about {{Attribution-Ubisoft}} for three questions. In case you are not familiar with this agreement, it states that « Ubisoft allows the users to publish screenshots of all their games under a free license. They allow redistribution, derivative works and commercial use. They still hold the copyright. Attribution must go to "Ubisoft" ».

  • Does this statement also cover games where Ubisoft have not acted neither as developer nor inital publisher, but merely as publisher in Europe or North America ? For example, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, of which we now have a bunch of screenshots in Category:Star Ocean, has been developped in Japan by tri-Ace, published by Enix, and published in Europe by Ubisoft.
  • In Commons:Deletion requests/File:Ubisoft logo.png, Belgrano asks « when applied to videogames, does the term "screenshot" refer to screenshots taken during gameplay, or to any screenshots taken anytime during the software execution? ». Any ideas on this general question ?
    Specific question : can we have some input on whether logos (of companies and games) can be uploaded here using this agreement ; I asked so in this page some months ago, but without answer.
  • Some input on Commons:Deletion requests/File:Assassin's Creed - Leap of Faith.ogg would also be appreciated.

Thanks, Jean-Fred (talk) 19:32, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

Er, someone ? Jean-Fred (talk) 15:54, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

File:CPI Logo.gif

I noticed this logo of the International Criminal Court and I'm a bit confused about what to do with it: probably it cannot be licenced with GFDL, as it is at the moment, because there is no source information. However, there are several duplicates of the logo in several Wikis claiming different things about it. In the Finnish Wikipedia it is marked as ineligible for copyright, as is the SVG version of the same logo in the German Wikipedia, as far as I understood correctly. In the English Wikipedia the SVG version is marked as PD-UN. However, there is no source information in there either, and I think it can hardly be presumed that it would be PD-UN, because "the ICC is legally and functionally independent from the United Nations" (ICC in en-wiki). Additionally, the ICC website says that all rights are reserved ([14]). Could the licence information of the GIF version be changed to PD-ineligible and could the SVG version be uploaded to Commons with the same copyright info? --Herra Maka (talk) 08:31, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

Copyright is about the author of the artwork. It probably falls under trademark or similar insignia restrictions, but that does not necessarily imply authorship of a particular graphic image. The wreath portion appears to be taken directly from the U.N. logo, so that part would indeed be PD-UN I would think, as authorship of that part really was the U.N. and not the ICC (and it is a pretty common symbol itself). The balance is close to PD-ineligible, but not entirely sure -- the rendering of the scales is really common, not as sure about the base. Overall it is a very very common symbol for justice though. If the bitmap was taken directly from the ICC website, that may not be the best (sometimes there is arguably a very thin copyright on the precise bitmap itself), though a user-drawn SVG may similarly qualify for "own work", as a (very thin) derivative of a PD original. And that may differ by jurisdiction. The GFDL on the .gif seems unlikely, unless it was generated from a GFDL SVG (using the very-thin-copyright argument). But marking it PD-ineligible, and partially PD-UN, is arguable too. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:30, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer. Judging by the details, it really seems that the SVG version is drawn by User:Afrank99. So even the wreath isn't exactly the same as the wreath in UN logo, but that probably doesn't even matter, because it is free anyway. My personal opinion is that the balance is PD-ineligible: even I could draw that with Inkscape. However, as informative as your answer was, I don't think that I have enough experience as a Commons user to do anything to these files. Maybe I'll just copy this conversation to the discussion page of the image, if anyone more confident doesn't take any action. --Herra Maka (talk) 19:50, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
Completely tangentially, does anyone know where the boilerplate text on the ICC "Terms and Conditions" page comes from? It seems to be quite popular.Ilmari Karonen (talk) 18:22, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

unknwn date of the death

May I upload drawings by Eugène Stanislas Guillaume Duval (born 1845 France, died ????) that were published in a book by Eduard von Martens (1831–1904) in London in 1901? I do not know the death date. --Snek01 (talk) 00:57, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Let's see... he would have to have died before 1939. It's definitely PD in the U.S., so no legal issue for us, but reusers in the U.K. may have a problem if the guy lived past 94 and someone's around to sue on his behalf... Are these engravings by any chance? Rocket000 (talk) 01:37, 31 July 2009 (UTC)
It's all PD in the US by {{PD-1923}}. As for the UK, I generally presume people live at most 90 years, so I'd call this one clear. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:42, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Especially back then when the life expectancy was like half of what it is now. Rocket000 (talk) 16:42, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Question on a print

I have uploaded File:Birth of the Irish Republic.jpg, which was painted by an artist who died in 1936, so (hopefully!) there's no copyright issues there. However there's also a print version which can be seen on page 17 here. Is the print sufficiently similar to also be PD, or is it sufficiently different to not be PD (details of when it was made are unknown)? Thanks. One Night In Hackney (talk) 12:43, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Note: discussion on :en here: en:Wikipedia:Media copyright questions#Prints?. Powers (talk) 15:07, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
You'd have to compare with the original painting.... just turning it black and white would not, but if there were additional changes, then maybe. Engravings and mezzotints have been found copyrightable before (though they change the appearance somewhat). According to this PDF (page 4), the print was made by Thomas Kiersey in 1916, and he did claim copyright at the time. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:20, 6 August 2009 (UTC)


This image has no licenses but does have the text: An email containing details of the permission for this file has been sent in accordance with Commons:OTRS. Can anyone clarify whether such an email has been received and whether it is OK to use the image in a Wikipedia article? I am conducting a Good Article review for English Wikipedia for an article on the band Butthole Surfers and would appreciate any help in identifying the status of this image. Thanks. Jezhotwells (talk) 01:15, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Any image that has received permission through OTRS should bear a template referencing a specific OTRS number, unless it is still in progress. If it has been a while, you should mail the OTRS e-mail address yourself to check on status, and if the image was not approved and the original uploader has vanished it can be deleted. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:40, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Please don't e-mail OTRS asking about past tickets. Instead, in the future, please post at COM:ON. I'll check OTRS for an e-mail about that image. -Andrew c (talk) 20:50, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
I've searched, and couldn't find any tickets referencing that file name, the butthole surfers in general, nor Matt Broiler (except for the e-mail you sent 12 hours ago). Looks like OTRS was never sent. The speedy deletion template has been applied since July 22, so it is ready to be deleted. Also, I've closed the e-mail you sent OTRS as I've replied here. Remember COM:ON for the future! Hope this helps. I'd be glad to help further if there are other issues.-Andrew c (talk) 20:57, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll remmebr COM:ON for future reference. Jezhotwells (talk) 23:03, 7 August 2009 (UTC)


I believe at least two of this contributors images are copyvios, File:Flying suit 033.JPG (own work? check previous version and no metadata) and the one that raised my suspicion File:Chipmunk3.jpg which says source BRNC Dartmouth (MOD, Navy training college) and the author is one 'Horatio Hornblower'. Not sure about the rest, mostly tagged as own work, wish I could draw a coat of arms like that. Sorry but I don't buy it. Nimbus227 (talk) 23:03, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

I note that a vandal is responsible for the Hornblower bit but there is still something wrong here. Nimbus227 (talk) 23:10, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Apparently "Stephen Lord Harrison" (supposed subject in both images) is a man who is heavily doubted on his credentials and claims.[15] Debates on the forum seems indicative that the subject is "advertising" himself via the web (many of his sites has since been taken down) and that certain photos he hosted were taken from other sites or publications. File:899 Shar Yeovilton.jpg another such photo and it seems User:Britpilot might possibly be part of "Stephen Lord Harrison"'s campaign to establish a presence on the web. I would favour deleting all images contributed by Britpilot as it seems certain that they were taken from sites once set up by "Harrison" (whether he be Walt or Stephen). Jappalang (talk) 03:10, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
This is "Stephen Lord Harrison"'s blog, which shows File:Chipmunk3.jpg. Note that Harrison's antics are denounced and exposed in the forum thread above. Another forum states that organizers for a military talk cancelled Harrison's appearance on learning his true credentials.[16] In the first forum thread, there is mention that Harrison managed to bluff his way to some areas to take photos, so possibly some of these photos are copyrighted to him; however, as also mentioned, some are not taken by him. Jappalang (talk) 03:16, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
That is ...bizarre. He has uploaded vastly different images over original ones... and all caption info is likely bogus based on the above info, and any personal images are outside scope anyways. Agree with deletion. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:45, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
I thought something was 'fishy' about it all (excuse the weak pun). He did produce an article on himself for WP which was swiftly deleted. Just thought I should highlight the problem, it's all very strange. Nimbus227 (talk) 08:45, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

I added a "no permission" tag. Yann (talk) 09:41, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Are licenses inheritable?

On this site the first photograph states "Robert, Adolph und Hermann (1847)" Owing to the fact that the picture is taken in 1847, the licence PD-old would be at stake. Nevertheless, the heirs state here down at the page in red that all the photographs on the website hold copyright. Is that true? Or is the photo of the three brothers free of rights? Davin7 (talk) 16:26, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Copyright is indeed inheritable. However, it still expires after a certain length of time, so PD-old certainly applies in this case. The family may retain control as far as personality rights, of course. Powers (talk) 20:05, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Personality rights also expire - often sooner than copyright, unless you're in Indiana. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:30, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your help. I've uploaded it meanwhile. Davin7 (talk) 13:45, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't copyright start from the date first published even if the author is dead? If these are from a private collection, perhaps never published until put on the website ... --Tony Wills (talk) 20:17, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
The United States (and UK) used to, but not anymore, though it is still used for old U.S. works (i.e. the only ones which can be public domain right now). Several countries do have a (relatively) short "publication right" though, for previously-unpublished material -- I think the EU (and therefore Germany) does, of 25 years. That could be an issue. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:31, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Side-note: US grants a minimum 25-year protection to images (never before published) first published during 1978–2001. Only works first published (or still unpublished) in 2002 and later would fall under the 70-year pma consideration.
On topic, this seems to be a German photo/work so like Carl said, we would have to consider German laws... Jappalang (talk) 05:55, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Publication right states (with source) that Germany bestows a 25-year publication right for never-before-published images. This is likely a family photo (Schlagintweits)... Jappalang (talk) 05:58, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

File:Luftbild Dresden Theaterplatz um 1900.jpg

I have added the author's name and date of death to this file. Now, it seems that the licence is no longer usable. How should this be dealt with? Thanks, --KilianPaulUlrich (talk) 06:03, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Hello, I'm afraid the right place to "ask" is Commons:Deletion requests. It would be useful, if you could give a source of your information that the photo is indeed by Walter Hahn. I couldn't find it online at If we don't have a permission from his heirs, we can't host the file.Nillerdk (talk) 19:45, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Here is one reference. This page (at the bottom) has a different Dresden aerial photograph by Hahn. Aerial photographs would have required balloons in 1900 (the previously assumed date); not impossible but a 1930s photograph seems a lot more plausible. So, I think it needs to be deleted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:59, 10 August 2009 (UTC)


hi, i want to upload MP3/OGGs to commons. i've seen pages with audio clips and was wondering how it is done.

i need info. on what is copyright accepatable to upload. ie. can i upload an internet radio segment, or recorded (using computer recording) audio segment from youtube? i may be able to contact one of the companies that provides CDs but would need exact info/instructions on what to ask and what they have to agree (legally) to in order to proceed. what if i use a CD from a company that has went bankrupt, ie no longer around.

Any help or info. is most appreciated. Thanks!

J929 (talk) 15:21, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

See also your question on COM:HD#OGGs, however, this goes much more in details ;) --Martin H. (talk) 16:22, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Regarding license revocation and legal proof

Related to the above discussion, there is an issue that I feel has never been adequately addressed. Say we add an image from a Flickr user who has marked their images CC-BY. The image is verified and tagged. Later, they decide to attempt to revoke that license by marking the images "all rights reserved." They proceed to sue anybody who uses them. If we're accused, our verification process simply doesn't meet any kind of legal standard - they can easily say that the user (or bot) who tagged the image verified did so without actually verifying it. Even if that user is not the uploader, a conspiracy of two isn't hard to come by. Flickr does not, as far as I know, record the history of the license field, and in any case would not produce that information on our behalf.

This is a difficult problem to solve, and probably one cryptographers would have some fun with. One can easily imagine a system in which a trusted third party can be given a URL, and they will retrieve that web page, compress and timestamp it, then sign it with their signature and send the result to you. Such an object still falls short of a signed release form, but it would be much more compelling evidence. However, no such system exists at present. Dcoetzee (talk) 04:30, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

If worst came to worst, I presume at least for the bot-reviewed files, the source code of that bot plus its SVN version history might be entered as evidence in court that indeed the bot worked as advertised and didn't just blindly approve a file.
The problem exists, however, definitely for human reviews. Not just for Flickr, but also for panoramio and other sites. Which is why I rather re-schedule a file for automatic review than review it myself. Of course, if the automatic review is inconclusive, there's no way around a human review. Lupo 07:47, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
The FlickreviewR bot source code is (or at least normally is; the link at User:FlickreviewR/source seems to be broken at the moment) available for anyone to read. Given that the media distribution industry has somehow successfully managed to use screenshots as evidence in criminal trials, I'd say the steps we take to record the licensing status, in combination with the fact that the currently indicated license on Flickr is no reflection of previous indications, is more than enough to show in a civil suit, that on the balance of probability, its tagging is correct.
If we're going to start second-guessing the FlickreviewR approach, we might as well start worrying about Commons users claiming the file histories here are fabricated and that they were told they could reserve all rights when they first uploaded their works here. LX (talk, contribs) 07:53, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Most things can be forged (documents, photographs, recordings), someone asserts they are true/correct (eg a witness to their creation) or false/forged (eg handwriting expert) - we rely on people. Acceptance of that evidence is based on the credibility of the person so attesting. A human reviewer may be easier evidence to present, than the source code, revision history and timestamps of a bot. I suppose it would be good to have an independent (independent of wikimedia) person verify the source code and operation of the bot from time to time --Tony Wills (talk) 11:16, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The system does exist at present, it's called - that's exactly what it's for, ensuring a Flickr image was properly stamped Creative Commons at a given time. --GRuban (talk) 17:50, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Hooray, I'm glad I'm not the only one who can think of these things. "The timestamp proves you obtained the image under that license and you can show it to others using a unique permalink." Looks like it's quite a new service. As a demonstration, I've taken the liberty of adding an ImageStamper timestamp to this recently uploaded image.
I'd like to seek wider discussion on this first, due to the large number of images involved, but my idea is to add a parameter to the Flickr verified templates for the ImageStamper permalink URL, and run a bot through all of our existing CC images to add this URL. What do you guys think? Dcoetzee (talk) 18:17, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
They are only offering 1000 free stamp records per account, so if a bot was to use it we would have to purchase a 'premium' service - perhaps someone could negociate free sponsorship of wikimedia with them :-). But I can not see any harm in using it. Perhaps go through any high use or featured images that are from flickr and stamp them. A standard template to wrap around it, that also adds a category would make it easier to check which images are time stamped. Nothing to stop creation of multiple accounts there, perhaps one for every Commons user :-). Of course we can not rely on such a service continuing to exist forever, so it would only be a backup confirmation. --Tony Wills (talk) 20:45, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm in touch with them regarding dealing with large numbers of images - my impression is that the 1000 limit isn't so much a premium thing as a defense against abuse (they haven't yet introduced their premium features, whatever they will be). I hope they'll find the exposure attractive enough to collaborate on this. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:54, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
We could also probably register the Flickr image page with WebCite (, which could serve a similar purpose. This is all implying that our own automated solution is not trustworthy while pretty much the same service on the other site is (though I guess they capture a thumbnail of the image as well). Still, the more evidence the better, so I don't see any downside. We should continue with ours, of course. Sometimes Flickr image pages get archived by as well, but there is little way to control that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:40, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
Right, authority and trust are tricky issues. They get some amount of credibility just by being a third party who specialises in this area. WebCite also looks like a good option, although it's not exactly their original intended purpose. And yes, we should certainly keep the existing verification system as well. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:42, 13 August 2009 (UTC)