Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 25

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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.


Sorry if this is not the most appropriate place, but with regard to raster images of typefaces, would be considered ineligible for copyright? It is not scalable (per se) and was created entirely with an existing font (created by this author), despite its flowery appearance. Does it need to be rendered as a jpg file or do any other changes need to be made for PD eligibility? Thanks! Huntster (t @ c) 05:34, 23 January 2010 (UTC)

Not a regular font, but one created especially for Evanescence's artistic use. I'd like to hear from someone with expertize in US copyright law about this, as it seems to be beyond our usual typeface questions. --h-stt !? 18:06, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Why? Calligraphy isn't covered either. The law does not say "regular fonts", it says typography.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:21, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Here are the relevant points of law:

  1. The design of a typeface cannot be protected under U.S. copyright law according to House Report No. 94-1476.
  2. Textual matter cannot be copyrighted unless the text "aids or augments" an accompanying graphical illustration, according to Ets-Hokin v. Skyy Spirits Inc.

Kaldari (talk) 20:43, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

The logo in question is a complex graphic composition with custom designed shapes (that also happen to represent characters), and can neither be reduced to a "typeface" nor to "textual matter". It is clearly eligible for US copyright protection. --Latebird (talk) 21:14, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
"That also happen to represent letters" means it is typography, and not copyrightable. Custom letters as well as regular fonts fall under that. Chinese calligraphy is one of the examples the U.S. Copyright Office uses of non-copyrightable typeface. However, you can make a copyrightable arrangement of uncopyrightable elements, and that is a possibility here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:24, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
I would suggest we move it to and stick a fair use tag on it to be safe. Kaldari (talk) 18:41, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
It's already at The non-character graphic elements can be easily removed and still represent the logo, and at the same time render as PD-font. That is my current plan. Huntster (t @ c) 05:11, 29 January 2010 (UTC)
Am I understanding this right? Do you really plan to modify and misrepresent a copyrighted and trademarked logo? Even besides the legal problems, what educational purpose would that serve? --Latebird (talk) 14:09, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
It is not misrepresenting anything if you take the original font and type out characters to recreate the logo, just without the little frilly bits. No legal problems associated with that either. Again, just a font. Huntster (t @ c) 12:28, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the result is not copyrighted. However it is unsuitable for the purpose of identifying the company in an educational Wikipedia article. There is a good reason why logos are allowed on en-wiki under fair use without much discussion. Sv1xv (talk) 13:20, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Wofford College logos

Several clearly copyrighted logos of en:Wofford College are shown at Wofford College. Each has a {{CopyrightedFreeUseProvidedThat}} permission with similar wording: to take the example of File:Wofford Seal.png, we're permitted to use it as long as "it is used in a consistent and accurate manner that properly represents Wofford College". Is this really in line with what we want as far as derivative works? I get the impression that a logo available under any license that we deem free would permit it to be mangled to represent the logo's owner improperly, even in ways that wouldn't be protected as parody. Nyttend (talk) 03:42, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

The seal is most likely PD-1923. The monogram is PD-textlogo. They should all be tagged with {{trademarked}}. The other graphic ones... I think we would require OTRS permission for them. I'm not sure we should read their statements that way. At any rate... it would seem to be a trademark license if anything, and not really copyright. As for the derivatives comment... if it were licensed, a derivative would have to be modified enough so that nobody would associate it with Wofford College, as otherwise it would be a trademark violation. While technically OK from a copyright perspective, Commons cannot host images which are inherently trademark violations. But, we can host images which are trademarked, provided the copyright is licensed OK, even if there is a practical restriction on any derivatives which violate the trademark. But I would agree that I do not see good enough evidence for the claimed copyright license. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:47, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

London Map license

Hi all, I uploaded a scan of a 1681 map at File:London_actually_surveyed_by_Wm_Morgan_1682.jpg but was wanting someone to check whether the license I've put there is correct. The map is from 1681 but the scan is from a 1904 reprint by "London Topographical Society" and the scanned image is by the US Library of Congress (more info in the summary on the image page). Help much appriciated! Js12 (talk) 20:40, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Scanning a public domain document does not create a new copyright, see {{PD-Scan}}. I'd mark it {{PD-scan|PD-old-100}}. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:46, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Ah, ok, thank you - i'll update the tag. Does that also mean that for example the scanned maps on this site: like actually have the same PD-Scan license? The only modification seems to be the adding of a copyright notice watermark to some of them. The website also claims "Copyright © Sara Douglass Enterprises Pty Ltd 2006 No material may be reproduced without permission" Js12 (talk) 12:54, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Yup, those are PD-Scan too, and the watermarking and copyright mark are blatant copyfraud. Be sure to mark them with {{watermark}} if you upload them without removing it, so that someone else can later. Dcoetzee (talk) 10:54, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

U.S. copyright terms for works with multiple authors?

This may be a silly question, but here goes.

As we know, copyrighted works in the United States enter public domain 70 years after the author's death. However, what about works with ssignificant contributions from more than one person? For example, James Cameron wrote and directed Avatar. Of course, Cameron could not have made the film alone; it involved thousands of actors, CGI artists and technicians. How long does the term of copyright last for such works? Who would be considered to be the "author" of Avatar? (The Wikipedia article about the Copyright Term Extension Act mentions 120 years for coporate authorship, but I'm a bit confused.) In other words, if Cameron dies tomorrow (but hopefully not), will Avatar enter public domain on February 9, 2080? --Ixfd64 (talk) 00:40, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

In the U.S., the 70 years after death thing is only for works made by individual authors first published 1978 or after. For old works, it is 95 years from publication, provided renewals were filed correctly etc., and published prior to 1923 is public domain now. As for the above question, I'm pretty sure a motion picture would be a "work for hire" of the movie studio, and would expire 95 years after publication (so, in 2105). For European countries, and many others with similar terms, they define the authors of a movie as the principal director, the author of the screenplay, the author of the dialog, and the composer of the music (if specifically created for the film). Some countries may vary that list, and many countries follow that type of formula. The film would not expire in those countries until 70 years after the last of them dies. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:56, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
If I remember rightly, all copyrights expire on January 1, regardless of the day of the year on which they were published. Nyttend (talk) 03:53, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, the January 1 following the 70 years (or 95 in the U.S.), if you want to get down to the day. That is why I said 2015 2105 for Avatar (a 2009 film). Odds are pretty good copyright laws will change by then of course :-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:13, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure the copyright terms will continue to be extended so long as Mickey Mouse's copyright is threatened with expiration. Unfortunately, the free culture movement can't compete very effectively against the deep pockets of the media industry. Don't expect to see any movies fall into the public domain during your lifetime. Kaldari (talk) 18:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
That type of defeatism frustrates me hugely; We the People can tell our representatives what to do in our name, and if even a small percentage of the people involved in the free culture movement fight, the "deep pockets" of the media industry just won't be deep enough.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:05, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Facsimiles of printed plays

I recently came across a Swedish project called Dramawebben. It's a project for making public domain plays available freely online. All of the works appear to be PD (author have been deceased for more than 70 years) but all of the material has been made available only as PDF facsimiles of printed editions of the various plays. Some contain illustrations that are still copyright proected, like Trollgubben i storberget with images by Aina Stenberg (1885-1975) while others, like Bergtagen with images by Gerda Tirén (1858-1928), are PD.

Scans of books don't appear to have any copyright protection in Sweden (even if Dramawebben claims copyright even for the plays themselves), but what about the actual books? Is the layout or typography copyrighted? If so, who is the "author"?

Peter Isotalo 13:47, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

They must be trying to claim copyright on the scan as a "fotografisk bild". /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 00:17, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
They're technically claiming copyright even to the content itself, since they say that you're not allowed to use the plays for commercial purposes (except for theater performances). A very odd thing to say and it seems like they're somewhat misinformed about how copyright law works. I'm more interested in the copyright status of books than dubious copyright appropriation. Is the specific book format in which a text is published copyrightable?
Peter Isotalo 11:21, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
In the US, the layout of a book, the typography, is not copyrightable. In the UK, it earns a special 20 or 25 year copyright. I don't know about the rest of the world.--Prosfilaes (talk) 13:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Swedish copyright does not have any blanket exemptions or special protections for typographical layout. The general principle that copyright protection requires originality when compared to other works of a similar type still applies. As an aid in assessing originality, one can also apply the test of whether or not it is probable that two authors working independently could produce the same work.
The script linked to uses a standard serif typeface, and the pages are set in a manner customary for scripts for plays. It does not seem improbable that another author would arrive at essentially the same result working independently. My impression is that the typesetting at this example does not qualify for copyright protection.
I speak Swedish and consider myself fairly well read on the topic of Swedish copyright for a layman, but I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. LX (talk, contribs) 19:02, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Question Regarding Copyright status of the Atomium

The tag on the image used in the w:Atomium article states "This is a two-dimensional representation of a copyrighted sculpture" and quotes USC 17 § 106. I don't think it is really a sculpture but is actually a building and copyright claims should therfore be considered under USC 17 § 120, which allows pictures. The official website describes it as a building. So, is it a building and if so can the w:URAA provide copyright protection which it wouldn't be entitled to if it were in the US? Thanks. 9carney (talk) 01:18, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

For more info, you can try Category:Atomium, which has an explanation about copyrights regarding the atomium. -- Deadstar (msg) 09:28, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that does report claims of copyright. I would like to find out if they have a legal basis or are merely unwarranted assertions. I'll raise the question on the talk page of the image in question. 9carney (talk) 11:04, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

questionable license on Chip Esten photo

  • File:Chip Esten on 10-17-09.jpg aside from being squashed by the original uploader (I could fix that by re-uploading, I think), I'm really nervous about the licensing on the photo, which says "and use is as it is intended and that is on Wikipedia..". To me, that implies the photo is meant for Wikipedia-only. I'm new to working on Commons, but I wanted to bring it to the attention of people who know better. Tedder (talk) 06:45, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
The source of the image indicates that it is licensed "© All rights reserved". In view of the {{Flickr-no known copyright restrictions}} licence I also checked the Flickr Commons, but could not find this image on it. I see insufficient evidence that the uploader, Fishhead2100, obtained permission from the Flickr uploader Andrea Guy (moodylady) for the photograph to be licensed to the Commons under a free licence – there is no OTRS verification. Even if moodylady had agreed with Fishhead2100 for the photograph to be used "on Wikipedia", that is an insufficiently free licence for the image to remain in the Commons. I suggest you either contact moodylady through Flickr and ask her to retag the image CC-BY-2.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.0, or ask Fishhead2100 to ask moodylady by e-mail to confirm that she is willing to release the photograph to the Commons under a free licence and forward that e-mail conversation to OTRS for verification. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:19, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, JackLee. Tedder (talk) 07:29, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I messaged Andrea Guy aka moodylady on Flickr and specifically asked and requested that picture to be used here on Wikipedia. I wasn't going to jack the picture and call it mine like a lot of people do. I refrained from uploading it till I got a response from here. My request was Wikipedia only. That was the purpose behind by saying Wikipedia. But here is her response "That's fine as long as you credit me when using. Andrea Guy." I sufficiently credited her and linked back to that picture. I couldn't find the right template for no copyrights and that is best one I found. Mr. C.C. (talk) 17:50, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately a Wikipedia-only license is not adequate. The image must be either public domain or available under a free license. Sv1xv (talk) 18:07, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Copyright on images created using the Crystal Viewer Tool

A number of images have been uploaded containing images created using the Crystal Viewer Tool available on ( The images in question were uploaded by Beatnik8983 (click here for the contributions). All of the images are referenced to the tool and a url is also visible in each image. However, I don't think the images were uploaded by the true copyright owners and I'm not convinced by reviewing the website that images created using the website can be published in the public domain. I have asked the uploader if they are the copyright owner on their wikipedia talk page. However, some comment by some more experienced editors on the copyright status of these images would be appreciated. Regards, Jdrewitt (talk) 20:26, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Copyright is not affected by the tools used to create a work. The creative effort is contributed by the person using the tool, which makes them the author and copyright owner. If a tool creator tries to tell you otherwise, then they are misinformed. However, in this case the images also show some parts of the user interface of the tool. Those parts (and only those) are copyrighted by the tool maker. It will be necessary to crop them away, so that the images only show the actual graphics and maybe the diagram scales where appropriate. --Latebird (talk) 15:08, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I will inform the user who uploaded the images and request the images be cropped. Jdrewitt (talk) 18:16, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
The interface is pretty basic from the couple I looked at... not sure it qualifies for copyright. Cropping wouldn't hurt though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:21, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Note that in some limited cases tools do embed creative works produced by other parties - an example would be a "pattern brush" or "pattern fill" that paints an image with copies of clip art from a collection. But in this case that's not an issue. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:07, 12 February 2010 (UTC)


The graphical user interface that operates most of the tools is based on Rappture. Rappture is an open source package and is integrated with the science software to generate input and output mechanisms. Rappture easily enables the comparison of various simulations and the automated ramp-through of images. In a sense it is a critical element in the creation of the images. Since it is open source, we believe that there should not be an issue with the posting of the overall framework including the Rappture frame.

If you feel it is necessary to credit as an open source software with the tool images, we can do that.

Gerhard Klimeck, Director Network for Computational Nanotechnology

Please let us know there exists any further questions! Beatnik8983

Inconsistency between guideline and template

Could someone knowledgeable please have a look at {{copyright claims}} and "Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag#UK", and resolve the inconsistency between them? The template states:

While Commons policy accepts the use of this media, one or more third parties have made copyright claims against Wikimedia Commons in relation to the work from which this is sourced or a purely mechanical reproduction thereof. This may be due to recognition of the "sweat of the brow" doctrine, allowing works to be eligible for protection through skill and labour, and not purely by originality as is the case in the United States (where this website is hosted). These claims may or may not be valid in all jurisdictions. [Emphasis added.]

On the other hand, "Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag#UK" states:

Contrary to what is sometimes assumed, it is not the case in the UK that artistic copyright can be generated merely by dint of wholly unoriginal and mechanical hard work – even a lot of it. Commentators sometimes make misleading reference to a so-called Sweat of the Brow doctrine and imply that the UK courts uphold copyright protection on the basis of hard work, even without originality. That does not accurately reflect the UK position. UK copyright relies not on Sweat of the Brow but on a Skill and Labour test. [Original emphasis.]

Thanks. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:46, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

It is, in all likelihood, the template that is incorrect (or rather, oversimplified). I think it'd be better to make the template even more generic, and have it merely emphasize that in the United States, reproductions of public domain works do not attract copyright, whereas in other nations this is unsettled. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:42, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Potentially misleading copyright information, Template:PD-India

Template:PD-India was altered following an edit request in this 2008 edit to include the words, "Text of laws, judicial opinions, and other government reports are free from copyright". I believe this change may be misleading, as the laws governing copyright status of judicial opinions and other government reports is complex. I've detailed some of the complexities at Template_talk:PD-India#Clarification, where I requested alteration of that line at least to read "Text of laws, judicial opinions, and other government reports may be free from copyright", but the reviewing administrator felt that additional review would be appropriate. I think we need to be careful to avoid misleading contributors who trust the text of these templates, since there are some circumstances wherein the explicit release of copyright does not apply. I do not propose detailing the complexities, since we really shouldn't be giving legal advice anyway and since text is not the typical province of Commons. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:24, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Even today, a substantial percentage of commons is scans of books. Given that a lot of space on the English Wikisource is devoted to law already, it wouldn't be surprising for someone to show up and start uploading Indian law backed by scans uploaded to the Commons to it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:47, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
If there is agreement that the text should be changed to "may be", would somebody mind? Not being an admin, I can't do anything about it. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:56, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

File:Fary tales.jpg

The file File:Fary tales.jpg looks for me as it is just copied from the website (reason: watermark, low resolution). What shall I / we do? I have informed the user, who uploaded this, with a post at his discussion page, but when I look in his logs, I don't get the feeling he is very active. --UnreifeKirsche (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

According to "This site and all the artwork and content copyright (c) 1995-2003 by Anry Nemo. All rights reserved." There's insufficient information on the image description page to show that the uploader is the artist, Anry Nemo, or someone authorized by him or her to license the image to the Commons under CC-BY-3.0. I will nominate the image for deletion. I suggest you leave a note on the uploader's talk page asking him or her to request that Anry Nemo or someone else with an e-mail address to send an e-mail to confirming the identity of the copyright holder and the fact that the copyright holder consents to the image being released to the Commons under CC-BY-3.0. — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:51, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I have linked this posts to his userpage, so he will be able to read your recommendation directly. But I'll do it this way with future issues. Thank you. --UnreifeKirsche (talk) 08:55, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Kim Novak-Pal Joey2.JPG

Could someone take a look at the licensing of File:Kim Novak-Pal Joey2.JPG? I notice it was also uploaded by a banned user. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 04:45, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Status of the uploader is irrelevant, provided the licensing checks out, which it seems to. I do not see any copyright notice in the source trailer, just as claimed. What do you think the problem is? Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:57, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Status of the uploader is relevant if the uploader has a history of uploading problematic files and this happens to be one of them. The image is a screenshot of a famous scene from the 1957 film, taken from the trailer. How in the world could this possibly be a free file? Viriditas (talk) 07:25, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
What do you mean with claims as relevant if the uploader has a history of uploading problematic files.... Name 1,2,3 examples of problematic files. And why do you have changed the real source? 13:11, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
IMDb is not a real source for anything, and the trailer appears in full without the added paid advertisements at Internet Archive, and I've replaced the commercial link with the free one. Viriditas (talk) 10:21, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
See {{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-not renewed}}. The US was a very different place in 1957, when it came to copyright. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:44, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't answer my question. Are you saying all U.S. film trailers from 1957 lack copyright? The original linked this site, which doesn't say anything. However I just found this. I'm going to go ahead and replace the old link with the link to the Internet Archive, but I would still like to know how this film trailer came to be placed in the public domain. Viriditas (talk) 10:06, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Any work which did not bear an explicit copyright notice in 1957 was public domain in the United States. There are various small exceptions to this, but this isn't one. See [1] for all the messy details. Dcoetzee (talk) 10:14, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
It isn't that simple. Parts of the trailer do not appear in the film. However, the screenshot that is being used is from a famous scene in the film that is protected by copyright. Viriditas (talk) 10:30, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
But the trailer was published first. The fate of anything first published with that trailer rises and falls with that trailer, no matter what is true about materials that were published later, like the film.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
It didn't matter even if the trailer came second :-) All copies had to have a copyright notice; if there was none, even if earlier versions of the full film had one, then the portions in the trailer still became public domain. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:47, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
If the film trailer lacked a copyright notice, then yes it became public domain immediately upon publication. Those were the U.S. copyright rules at the time. The source has the full trailer, and it is easy to see if there was a copyright notice or not, and I didn't see one. (So, do not change the source in the image description; it is rather important to keep that.) Ironically, it may be a bad idea to upload the trailer itself, as contained dialog may be a derivative work of a still-copyrighted screenplay or source novel, and contained music may still be copyrighted, but those don't apply to stills -- the visual part of the trailer became PD. For a 1957 trailer, even if there was a copyright notice, then the copyright to the trailer (a separate work from the film, as it was released and distributed separately) needed to be renewed, and many movie studios forgot to do that. Since the renewal would have had to be in 1984 or 1985, you can search for the record on, and if you can't find it, then it is like PD by that route anyways (but PD-US_no_notice happened first by the looks of it). The uploader has made arguments on the edge of copyright law, and a number were deleted after discussion, but at least they were arguable -- I don't recall any which were blatant copyright violations. The reasons for banning had nothing to do with uploaded content, so there is no presumption of bad faith. And even then, it is still irrelevant, since the copyright status can be independently verified without relying on the uploader's judgement. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:05, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I've restored the link to the trailer at the Internet Archive, as the IMDb link contains more than just the trailer, including paid advertisements added to the trailer and the website link itself. It is not important to keep a link to IMDb and their paid advertisements, so I'm not following your argument. The Internet Archive link hosts the actual, unmodified trailer unlike the IMDb site which has added commercial advertisements. Viriditas (talk) 10:25, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
And I have changed it again to the original source. Btw: Even the webarchive is referring to IMDb.
Unless you give some sources for your crude claims as above, I also will give a note to the admin's board because of your trollism and vandalism, including libelling. It might help you, that you are not the only one. 21:21, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid you are mistaken. The Internet Archive site refers to a plot description from the IMDb, not the file, and it allows users to download the trailer in various formats without advertisements. The IMDb site is a commercial site that forces the user to watch advertisements and does not allow any downloads of the trailer. It even says "video begins after advertisement" at the top of the video screen before the commercials start. I'm not sure I understand the rest of your comments so I will ignore them, but I will restore the link to the Internet Archive downloads as they are commercial free. Unless you can give a valid reason as to why you are restoring links to commercial advertisements on Commons, I will assume that you don't have one. Viriditas (talk) 02:30, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Please don't mess with source statements -- it's possible the version is a lossy re-encoding, and slightly different (I have no idea). We are documenting the exact source the image was taken from, not following external link policies. The source field is now stating a falsehood. It is a good idea to point out the other one, so I had added it as an "other version", but you reverted that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:42, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
It's the same trailer, and the Internet Archive files (MPEG4, Ogg Video, 512Kb MPEG4) offer superior versions and multiple downloads. IMDb offers nothing but commercial advertisements; You can't even download the trailer. Why are we linking to commercial advertisements? Viriditas (talk) 02:52, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Because it is the source of the image, regardless of advertisements and if it's of lesser quality, as I think it is important to document the actual source of the still. That is what the "Source" field is for. Is the Internet Archive version the same exact encoding? If the version is better quality video, by all means make another still and upload it. The version was not added there until November 2009, a full year after the still was uploaded here, so it obviously wasn't the source (and the IMDB original may have slightly better image quality). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:15, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Upload in progress... Viriditas (talk) 04:04, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Note: The MPEG4 hosted by Internet Archive is so superior in quality to the IMDb version that comparing them would be a waste of time. However, it should be noted that the version User:Mutter Erde uploaded appears to have been manipulated; Not in a bad way, but in order to best present the person in the frame. In other words, the file currently in place does not represent the source. It's not only cropped, but certain details have been removed. I'm sure this is acceptable, but it is hardly representative of the original source. Viriditas (talk) 04:26, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
It is still the source :-) Obviously improving the image for use here is good, but that doesn't change the source. If the still seems substantially inferior to the (changed) source, people may wonder why -- and people may jump to conclusions about the named uploader (or wonder what the actual source really was), which are further reasons the source should be left. Uploading a separate, better image from the newer source is better for all involved... ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:38, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Congrats, you have good buddies [2], although everybody can see now in the history, that these screenshots are totally different - from one source, according to your claims. Furthermore I have asked at the Administrator's noticeboard, whether your own uploads have also real sources. But that's not so simple to prove as here. 22:13, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
    • I'm sorry, I still have no idea what you are trying to say, but I'll try and steer my answer back on topic. The only thing different about the screenshot, is that I cloned out the rope like the previous uploader (you?). If there is consensus to upload the entire frame as it it appears, unchanged, I would be happy to do so. Otherwise, I was just following the precedent set before me which was to remove the rope from the frame as it was distracting the viewer from Novak's face. Viriditas (talk) 00:56, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Somebody took a photo for me and I paid for it. What about license?

Via an organization somebody took a photo on my request at a place in a country where I could not go to. I paid for it and have received the electronic version of the photo. How about the license? What should I mention? Thanks, Wouter (talk) 15:37, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

It depends on the law of the country in which the photograph was taken, and whether you agreed with the photographer that the copyright in the photograph would be owned by you. I suggest you contact the photographer by e-mail, get him or her to confirm that you hold the copyright to the photograph (or that he or she agrees to transfer the copyright in the photograph to you since you have paid for the photograph), and forward the e-mail conversation to the OTRS ( — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:07, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
This person appears to be in the Netherlands. I don't know whether they have work-for-hire laws, but they don't have inalienable copyright like Germany; and they do have neighboring rights (naburige rechten) entitling them to a royalty for exhibition of the work. Most likely, a release statement will have to be obtained from both the copyright holder and the photographer. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:15, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
To be more exact: the organisation is Sendamessage. Palestinians write a message you ask them on the wall in Israel. You receive 3 photos in electronic form. Wouter (talk) 14:16, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Wow, that is one cool idea. But a headache for the Commons, because what is the relevant copyright law, if any, in the Palestinian territories? It appears that the Palestinians are spray-painting the messages on the West Bank side of the Israeli West Bank barrier. Does Israeli law apply since the West Bank is under effective Israeli military occupation? The organization's website says: "You'll find names and bio's of our Palestinian partners at the 'Projects in Palestine' page. If they are open for e-mail exchange, or have a website you can visit, you'll find it here. Feel free to have your say, or ask a question." I suggest you try contacting them to get an e-mail confirmation that they are agreeable to transferring all copyright in the photographs to you since you have already paid for the photographs. Forward that conversation to You can then license the photographs to the Commons under a free licence of your choice. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:07, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Is there anyone who can confirm that I have licensed this image correctly? The source is in Spanish, and as far as I understand (using a translator), everything but content by other agencies is free to use. "Archivo" is "Archive", which would mean that it's by "". Thanks. Nymf (talk) 17:20, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Being in their archives doesn't necessarily mean they created it themselves. El Mundo and Xinhuanet both say it's a Reuters photo. --dave pape (talk) 18:27, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. It should probably be attributed as "Foto: 20MINUTOS.ES" for it to be valid then, like with File:Christina_Ricci.jpg. Any chance you can delete my upload? Nymf (talk) 19:22, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Done. --dave pape (talk) 03:58, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I think the source site uses "Archivo" whenever they use an image that is already under copyright. Tabercil (talk) 15:54, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Pre-1945 UK photographs

Hey all.

I thought I had a good grasp of UK copyright. However, today, I read (on some obscure website or other) that any photograph shot on or before 31 December 1944 was already out of copyright by the 1996 EU harmonisation, and would therefore now be public domain.

Is this based in fact? I don't think it's mentioned anywhere here on Commons and it sure would be useful, but neither I have I seen it referenced on any major (reliable) website. THe only supporting evidence for this view isthe following:

(1) Copyright subsists in an existing work after commencement only if copyright subsisted in it immediately before commencement. (2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not prevent an existing work qualifying for copyright protection after commencement - (a) under section 155 (qualification by virtue of first publication)...

But the 1956 Act would still need to be considered. Thanks, Jarry1250 (talk) 13:04, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

It's true only for UK photos that were not copyrighted in another EEA country on July 1, 1995. Photos that were copyrighted in even just a single other EEA country on that date are copyrighted even in the UK, even if taken before 1945. See Statutory Instrument 1995 No. 3297, part III: Savings and transitional provisions, article 16(d); the whole part III makes it very clear that the implementation of EU Directive 93/98/EEC did revive already expired copyrights.
Both the UK and Spain were members of the Berne Convention long before, Spain has an effective copyright term of 80 years for works from that period, and Spain has a low threshold of originality. Therefore, my conclusion is that such photos were copyrighted in Spain, and thus are copyrighted (with a 70-year term, beginning at the author's death) in the UK, too.
AFAIK there are no court cases in the UK about this precise issue, possibly because the matter was settled before it ever arose in the UK by the European Court of Justice in response to similar cases from Germany.
Lupo 13:57, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Print by Turner

Does anyone know the copyright situation regarding prints by the painter Turner? I want to upload a file from Turner's Liber Studiorum for the Unknown Sailor page. He died in 1851 - does this mean that these prints are in the public domain or is copyright owned by art galleries that contain his work?

BTP51 (talk) 14:51, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Clearly, the published work is in the PD by now. In the US, it predates 1923, so it is a go, and in jurisdictions where life of artist plus 100 years. -Andrew c (talk) 15:29, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Electronic image of 19th-century fresco

I would like to upload this image if it is permissible to do so. The image is an electronic copy of a fresco, Galileo Galilei che mostra l'utilizzo del cannocchiale al Doge di Venezia, in the Villa Andrea, Varese, Italy, painted by Giuseppe Bertini, who died in 1898. It seems probable to me that the image falls into the category of a scan of a photograph of a public domain two-dimensional work of art, and should therefore be uploadable under the {{PD-Art}} tag.

The one possible fly in the ointment is that none of the four websites where I have found copies of the image ([3], [4], [5], [6]) give any details of where they got their copies of it from. It is therefore at least possible that the reproduction from which any of these images was made might not be a photograph of the original, but a photograph or scan of a manually painted reproduction which might still be in copyright. Is this a problem?
David J Wilson (talk) 15:21, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

It's good that you're thinking about these cases - realistically we can't hope to distinguish good painted reproductions from the original without forensic analysis. I'd like to think that such a reproduction, despite the fact that it was produced with a brush and not a camera, should fall under PD-Art anyway because it was intended to be a slavish copy with no original contribution. I also think it would be pretty unusual to find images of a copy in wide distribution, but not the original, although it could happen. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:08, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the response. My understanding of the PD-Art guidelines is that the tag can only be applied to mechanically reproduced (i.e. photographs , photocopies etc., or scans or photocopies etc. of such photographs) faithful copies of out-of-copyright two-dimensional works of art. At any rate, if I had any evidence that the image I wish to upload was not such a mechanically reproduced copy I wouldn't even consider trying to upload it, and wouldn't be seeking the advice of this forum.
Unfortunately, the only image I have seen which I know to be a mechanically reproduced copy of the original is a screenshot of an oblique view of it, partially obscured by a chandelier, which appears in the flash video at the Ville Ponti website. The only differences I can detect between the image in this screenshot and the image I wish to upload would appear to be due to the obliqueness of the angle of at which the former was taken, possibly automatic digital enhancement of the latter, and differences in the ambient lighting used when the images were made. But obviously there's no way I can be certain of this.
David J Wilson (talk) 04:09, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
As you say, practical issues make it impossible for us to tell when we are dealing with a hand-painted copy rather than the original. Generally we assume that paintings are what the uploader says they are, unless evidence to the contrary arises, since otherwise we wouldn't be able to upload any paintings at all. One can seriously raise the legal question of whether a hand painted copy is a mere copy or an original work, but that's a debate that hasn't arisen yet on Commons. Dcoetzee (talk) 09:44, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
You are confusing PD-Art with PS-Scan. PD-Art refers specifically to photographs of any two-dimensional work of art. So it is perfectly OK to lift any of those images and upload them here. If you don't want to expose yourself and/or your account to any hassle, create a new account that can't be connected with your person and upload them under this account. --h-stt !? 19:15, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your response. I had presumed PD-Art would have to be the appropriate tag to apply here because the original work is a fresco. My understanding is that PD-scan only applies when a photocopy or scan is made directly from the original, and this would be effectively impossible for a fresco. By whatever process the electronic images were created, the first step would have to have been a photograph (or possibly a manually drawn or painted reproduction) "taken from a distance", as the When to use the PD-Art tag article puts it. Of course, the electronic images available on the web might have been derived from scans of such photographs, but they might also have been derived from directly downloaded digital photographs. On my reading of the When to use the PD-Art tag and When to use the PD-scan tag articles the PD-Art tag would still be the appropriate tag to use here even if the images were made by scanning a photograph of the original, but if I am wrong about this I should appreciate being disabused of my error.
David J Wilson (talk) 02:16, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
PD-Art is the appropriate tag here - I think h-stt is confused. Dcoetzee (talk) 11:30, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
To be fair to h-stt, my sloppily worded parenthetical list of examples—before I refactored it—did inappropriately lump together photocopies of original works, for which PD-scan would be the appropriate tag, with photographs and scans of photographs for which (as I understand it) they wouldn't. That may have been all he was referring to.
David J Wilson (talk) 11:59, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

I finally stumbled across a site which has an image specifically identified as being of the fresco itself, and I have now uploaded it.
David J Wilson (talk) 17:02, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Nice image :-) Let us know if you have any other questions. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:22, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

License question

Hiya... thought I'd bounce this off the folks here before I start uploading. I had emailed the PR person for Hockey Canada looking for some pictures of the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team:

Hi, I am one of thousands of volunteer writers for the free encyclopedia Wikipedia. I am presently working on improving an article related to the Canadian Women's hockey team at the Olympics and the various players that are on it. Unfortunately, many of them currently contains no freely-licensed photos. I was wondering if Hockey Canada might be willing to provide a few images to be used to illustrate these articles.

His reply (in full, emphasis mine):

Hey there,
I've sent a zip file with the head shots for the woman's team. Pleas note that the link will expire in two days so please download when you get a chance.
These are the only shots we're able to supply liscense free.

Now - is his statement of it being "license free" sufficient for Commons? On the face it seems to be, but I just want to get all the excitement over license issues out of the way first. Tabercil (talk) 15:52, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Normally we need a more specific statement, that mentions a license by name (or states "Public Domain"), and acknowledges possible re-use, modification, and commercial use. I know it may be a bit inconvenient, but perhaps you should send them our disclaimer template and ask them to fill it out . (COM:EMAIL), -Andrew c (talk) 19:44, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I find most people who are releasing files will be happy to fill out the formal license form if you fill it in with the right information for them. Just pick a license like CC-BY. The "license free" statement shows intention but is not really enough. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:21, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
What I half-suspected would be the answer... so off I go to see what I can get. <G> Tabercil (talk) 23:12, 18 February 2010 (UTC) template screenshot

I want to upload this modified template as an image: (the one less compact)

Which licence is it and what do I have do to do? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Toothestone (talk • contribs) 22:54, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

The template is Wikipedia content and all Wikipedia content is "available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License", as the statement at the bottom of each page states. I'd say license it under CC-BY-SA-3.0. You mentioned that you wanted to create a screenshot of the template. Since it consists entirely of text, it may be better if you create an SVG file (though I have no idea how to do so – see "Commons:SVG" for information and leave a message at "Commons:Graphic Lab" for help from other editors). Finally, do remember to sign and date your posts by adding four tildes at the end ("~~~~"). — Cheers, JackLee talk 04:16, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, I think image will be enough. Sorry about the forgotten sign. --Toothestone (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Old statue?

If something's over 100 years old, is a picture of it allowed here? I'm wanting to make sure, you see. --Neptunerover (talk) 04:41, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

It depends on several things:
  • Where exactly is the statue located? Which country is it in? Is it on permanent or temporary display? In some (but not all) countries there is a concept called "freedom of panorama", which allows people to freely take photographs of artworks such as statues if they are permanently installed in a location where the public has access. However, if the statue is definitely over 100 years old (what evidence do you have of this?), it is likely that the creator of the statue no longer has copyright in it, so this may not be too much of a problem.
  • Are you taking the photograph yourself? If the creator of the statue no longer has copyright in it because it is very old, there is usually no problem if you personally take a photograph of it and license that photograph to the Commons. However, if you have found a photograph that somebody else has taken of the statue and want to upload that, that is not allowed as the photographer has copyright in the photograph (even if the artist no longer has copyright in the statue itself).
Hope that is helpful. See "Commons:Image casebook#3D art (sculptures etc.)" for more information. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:29, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, yes. Is it then required that I put information with the photo I took stating how it qualifies under the freedom of panorama? --Neptunerover (talk) 07:25, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
FOP is only an issue if the statue is still under copyright. If so, state where it is located, and check the list at COM:FOP to see whether FOP is applicable. If you could also state who the sculptor was and when he lived, that'd be great. To provide evidence for a PD-claim on the statue you'd need to give location, sculptor and his life dates, and the date the statue was made/unveiled. BTW, could you please provide a geolocation for File:HorsePost.jpg? Lupo 07:48, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, sorry if I wasn't clear enough about this. If the statue itself is already out of copyright because it is very old, then freedom of panorama is not an issue. — Cheers, JackLee talk 10:03, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying that for me. Geolocation? Not on the Internet. I can imagine somebody seeing it and wanting to steal it or something. Who knows? It's not mine, so I wouldn't feel right divulging its location. It's meant just as a photograph of a subject at a non-specific location, which is one of its elements. I like the vagueness of 'Planet Earth' as a location, though I'm sure some people would view that as a smarty-pants statement, so I refrain from claiming that on the photo information. --Neptunerover (talk) 10:09, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Which country is it in, at least? Don't need geolocation, but the country is important, otherwise we wouldn't know which laws to apply. That may be enough. If it's a mass-produced type of statue, it may also be OK given the age. If not... the artist really should be named, if it is at all possible to determine. If it is more like 120-150 years old, instead of 100, that may be enough too. If the statue is not the focus of the photo, it may be OK as well (hard to say without seeing the photo). But, not providing any information at all won't get you many good answers :-) The country is a first step, as that would at least give is an idea of which further information would be required. At this point... maybe it's OK, maybe it isn't. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:51, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
As Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons are about education we need as much information on our images as possible. In case of a statue, we need the artist, the time of creation, the title, information on the style, location and ownership. If some of that is missing, we can live with it, but images where you deliberately withhold standard information, are not really useful and therefore not welcome here. So either you offer an appropriate set of information or please don't upload the images. --h-stt !? 15:08, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Brown Lady ghost photo

I'd like to upload the Brown Lady ghost photo for use on the wikipedia 'ghost' article, but I can't figure out what the licensing on it is. it was taken and published in the British magazine 'Countrylife' back in 1936, and has been broadly reproduced in multiple forms of media - can this be considered public domain? --Ludwigs2 (talk) 22:01, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Did Country Life indicate the source or copyright status of the image? — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:15, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
It was apparently made by a separate photography company -- Indre Shire Inc. -- and the photographer was Captain Hubert C. Provand. According to the reports I could find on the web anyways. You'd have to find out when Provand died (I couldn't), and UK copyright would expire 70 years later. Most likely still under copyright. And the U.S. copyright would definitely still be valid, and would last until Jan 1, 2032. There may well no longer be a legitimate copyright owner to actually bring lawsuits, but Commons doesn't use any reasoning like that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:08, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
BTW: the image had once existed as en:File:Brownlady.jpg, but was deleted in 2008 as a "possibly unfree image", since apparently nobody could figure out the life dates of this Captain Provand. Lupo 13:19, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
well, since the image is such a famous one, I may try uploading it to wikipedia directly under fair use. I'll check out the details of the policy there. thanks for the info.  :-) --Ludwigs2 (talk) 23:34, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Dictionnaire touareg – français

I would like to upload a scan of Charles de Foucauld’s Dictionnaire touareg – français. Since I’m new to Commons, and would like to avoid uploading 2000 files just to find that I misunderstood some copyright issue, I would just like to make sure there are no problems.

Foucauld has been dead for more than 70 years; and there have been no complaints about this page from the Dictionnaire. I have not scanned the original manuscript, though, but the facsimile edition published by the Imprimerie Nationale de France in 1951/52. Does this have any impact on the copyright? There are some photos as frontispieces in this facsimile edition, and a foreword which was not written by Foucauld; I am not going to upload these.

I hope this is the right place to ask … thanks in advance for your help! — Linus (disk) 21:14, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

I'd recommend uploading this in .djvu format, rather than as individual files. See Help:Creating a DjVu file. Dcoetzee (talk) 03:46, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the DjVU file has 175 MB, even at 300 dpi resolution. If I split the file, the page numbering won’t be correct anymore. Any advice? — Linus (disk) 14:03, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, since there seem to be no objections, I have uploaded the scan: Category:Dictionnaire touareg – français. — Linus (disk) 16:24, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Opus3Artists license

Hello, as you can see the website of this booking agency has downloadable images of the their artists, there are links to download images in tiff format freely, is it necessary to contact them and asking of a license? Free download doesn't imply free use? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Letame (talk • contribs) 05:53, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunately, free download does not imply free use for all purposes. It is not clear enough whether the copyright owner intends only personal use, or use for all purposes. I note that at the bottom of the web page the line "© 2010 Opus 3 Artists. All Rights Reserved." appears. The Commons can only host content that users can download and freely use, including modifying the images and using them for commercial purposes. Try contacting the website owner to see if it is willing to license the images under a free licence: see "Commons:Email templates" for more information. Oh, and don't forget to sign and date your messages by adding four tildes ("~~~~") after them. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:01, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

No rights reserved

What's the best template to use when the copyright holder says "No rights reserved". I'm thinking {{copyrighted free use}}, since I feel that in order for something to really be "public domain" the copyright holder must explicitly say it is, but "no rights" essentially means "no copyright", which is the definition of PD (at least in the US). Rocket000 (talk) 14:24, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

It really doesn't matter too much. In fact, in the United States and other countries where individuals cannot place works into the public domain, the distinction is irrelevant. This is why the tag {{PD-author}} contains the text: "In case this is not legally possible: {{{1}}} grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law." I would use either {{PD-author}} or {{copyrighted free use}}. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:28, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
If the author can be contacted to make {{CC0}} explicit (about page), that may be work too. But assuming that license would probably not be a good idea. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:09, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. In this particular case I had, it actually had a © by their name, e.g. "© Rocket000. No rights reserved." So I went with {{copyrighted free use}}. :) Rocket000 (talk) 14:51, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Russian/Ukrainian copyright

Hey, could someone with more licensing knowledge verify this comment. I'm not sure this is correct, so help would be appreciated. Thanks, --The Evil IP address (talk) 21:54, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

File:Ougree 16.jpg

This photo is taken from this site, but on the site's licensing page, it states the license as CC-NC. It doesn't look like the uploader is the photographer.--Farrokh Bulsara (talk) 22:30, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Mark it as a {{copyvio}}, or nominate it for deletion, as you prefer. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
That person's site used to be licensed under the GPL, at least until late 2004. It looks like the site got hacked, and content was only gradually replaced. This photo was put online in 2005, and uploaded to en-wiki not long after. I can't find any license statements on the archived versions of his site from that era, although the linked blog (on a different site) was CC-BY-NC-ND. The explicit CC-BY-NC license for the photos was not put up until 2007. It's possible there is a version of the page which does have the license, which the wayback machine doesn't have, or maybe it was emailed permission (the rules were different in 2005). The original uploader was en:User:Vb; perhaps that person can be asked. The author does appear to be quite aware of free licenses and the variations; seems like there is a reasonable chance the license was OK, but there is no evidence of that right now. It would be good if someone could look at the original en-wiki page to see if there is any better evidence there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:01, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
The original enwiki content was "François Schreuer available from [7] within the creative commons [8]". Does that help? Jarry1250 (talk) 15:45, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
  • The CC-BY-NC for photos appeared as early as June 21, 2006, see [9]. Unfortunately there appears to be a gap in 2005 in archive coverage, annoyingly enough. If you look at his page on August 31, 2005[10] (just a few days after the images were uploaded to You'll see this photo page linked, but unfortunately it loads a copy cached in 2006. A few of the other links do load copies cached in 2005, however[11] and the cc-by does appear on them. -Nard the Bard 21:48, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
    • Ah, nice digging. That makes it quite likely that this image was similarly licensed, at the time. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:39, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
      • I put a license review on the image linking back to my evidence. I hope nobody minds. I'm going to start doing this in the future for images like this. -Nard the Bard 22:46, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

CC attribution

What does the CC attribution requirement mean in practice? Typically, when someone uses a CC image from Commons, there is a link back to the description page, but no actual attribution. (An example I just stumbled into: File:Thomas Bresson - Fort de Roppe (abri-caverne) (by).jpg which explicitle requests crediting by name, but the photographer's name does not appear in the POTD subtitles or the images subtitles on the wikis where the image is used. Is that legal or not? --Tgr (talk) 21:28, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

It is our standing practice that linking the image to an image description page giving full attribution is sufficient. It is technically possible to modify image inclusion so that the author is credited in the caption, but this would be a software change affecting millions of images uses, and I expect that we would only do it if we had reason to believe our current method of attribution was legally insufficient. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:51, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Product of the UN?

Do I remember rightly that works of the United Nations are PD? A file is currently at Deletion Requests with the rationale that UN images aren't free. Nyttend (talk) 05:48, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

No, generally they're not. U.S. copyright law, for instance, explicitly also covers works published by the UN or its suborganization, or by the OAS. See 17 USC 104(b)(5). The UK treats works by UN employees just like any other works, and even in the rare cases where such works would not otherwise be copyrighted (for instance, first publication in Afghanistan), they still may be copyright through section 168 of the Copyright and Patents Act.
That said, the UN does place some of their works in the public domain; see {{PD-UN}}.
In case you're talking about File:Credentialspic.jpg, it's even unclear to me whether that is a UN photo. On first glance, it doesn't seem to be covered by {{PD-UN}}. Isn't the official mission of Palau to the UN an entity of Palau, not of the UN? Lupo 17:42, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
I knew that UN-created works would be eligible for copyright, but I was thinking perhaps that the UN explicitly released all of its works into the public domain. This is the image; I didn't bother looking into its Palauan source, since I figured that it would be best to ask about works of the UN here first. Thanks! Nyttend (talk) 21:23, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Public Domain → Free License

Hello. I was wondering if it is possible to take an image that is in the public domain that is of one's own work, then re-license it under a different license, for example CC-BY-SA? I've heard that I can, but there is no "grandfathering" effect; anyone who used the image and re-released it while it was in the public domain does not have to do anything about the image, but anyone using the image after the change needs to follow the new license. Is this correct? Thanks, ~Kevin Payravi (Talk) 23:56, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't quite understand the question, but if an image is in the public domain, you can't "relicense" it under any license, because you're not the copyright holder (a public domain work has no copyright holder). Modifying a license statement does not revoke the original license, and anyone can continue to use the work under the original license (although if challenged, they made need to prove that the work was ever released under the prior license). Dcoetzee (talk) 01:12, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see. That answers my question. Thanks, ~Kevin Payravi (Talk) 01:30, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Copyright expiration of anonymous Swedish artwork?

I really know very little about Swedish (or EU, in general) copyright law, so I'm having trouble answering the "Book cover" section currently at the Help Desk. A user is asking about the status of the cover of a book published in Sweden in 1909; s/he says "there is no information on who did the cover, nor when the cover was made." The book cover includes some artwork; it's clearly not PD-text. As an anonymous work, is this cover now PD in Sweden? Transferring to en:wp and marking as PD-US isn't really an option, since the file was uploaded for use at sv:wp. Nyttend (talk) 21:27, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

Sweden is an EU country, so if it is truly anonymous, then it would expire 70 years after publication. Use {{Anonymous-EU}} if that is the case, and also {{PD-1923}} for the U.S. status. Hopefully the person has a copy of the book so they know there are no credits, as opposed to finding the image on the web -- that is usually not enough evidence for "anonymous". Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:52, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The person has uploaded a self-taken photo of the book; see File:Handbok i varukännedom.JPG. Nyttend (talk) 04:44, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I have the book myself. I'll add the templates. //Tanzania (talk) 14:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Media published prior to 1923

Hello. I was wondering whether this picture of actor Harry Carey is eligible for the {{pd-US}} model. It was taken prior to the 1920s, considering his hair. The same question goes for screenshots from Bucking Broadway, a movie he made in 1917. I'm quite confused with licensing so if anyone could help I'd be grateful. Liorek (talk) 23:09, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Spanish banknotes

I don't see any special status listed here for Spanish banknotes or other comparable documents, but clearly there are currently at least a dozen or so images in Category:Banknotes of Spain that are too new to be out of copyright if the normal rules based on death of author pertain. Many of these have absurd rights claims like "own work" with copyleft releases.

I don't know nearly enough about Spanish copyright law to know what exactly is OK and what is not, but clearly at the very least some of these have the wrong licenses. - Jmabel ! talk 23:54, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

If you find out, please add it at Commons:Currency. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:30, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


I'm really unsure about this change in the template. It seems to me that the previous version could be applied to post-1948 works that were in the PD anyway, although the new version imposes pre-1948, which makes it more restrictive. --Eusebius (talk) 12:31, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I just discovered the existence of the {{PD-Algeria-photo-except}} template, and after carefully reviewing the provisions on which it is based, I think this is the template we should keep. {{PD-Algeria}} was wrong and remains wrong even after my edit, because it does not take into account the existence of the old 1973 ordinance, by virtue of which all photographs published prior to 1987 remain out-of-copyright both in Algeria and in the United States (because they were in the public domain on the URAA date). {{PD-Algeria-photo-except}} is clearly worded and provides references to official legislative texts. I think we should redirect {{PD-Algeria}} to it. --BomBom (talk) 15:38, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Okay, per that template, it looks like the 1997 law was not retroactive. Could you also see exactly when the 1997 law took effect? If it was not until 1998 sometime, that may add another year of PD works. At any rate, it basically means that Algeria is still in the period where works do not expire, as the terms increased by quite a bit (at least 25 years in all cases, so far as I can see), so everything which is PD in Algeria now is also PD in the U.S. (since they would have been PD there in April 1998), so there is no URAA difference until 2022 or 2023 or so. I don't think we should redirect the template, since we should document the status of works other than photographs as well (which was more than 10 years... I think 25 usually under the 1973 law). Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:41, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) It looks like it is trying to also incorporate the PD-in-the-U.S. part of Commons policy, whereas the previous template only documented PD status in Algeria itself. Currently, photos become PD 50 years from creation, but the 2003 law was not retroactive (i.e. works which were PD prior to enactment remained PD). From my reading (and Google translating), the 1997 law had a term of 50 years from publication for photographs, as mentioned. However... it *seems* to also be not retroactive per the transitional provisions. I may be completely missing the retroactive part though, since typically the Berne Convention (which they officially joined in 1998) requires retroactive measures to at least minimum terms of protection (50pma, and 25 years from creation for photographs). Could someone who can read French check the above link, in particular article 159? If not retroactive, the previous law was Ordonnance no 73-14 du 3 avril 1973 relative au droit d'auteur, printed in the April 10, 1973 Journal Officiel, where photographs (page 346, article 64) had a term of 10 years (and the rest of the calendar year) after publication. The general terms were 25pma as well, which increased to 50pma in 1997. I presume I'm missing something, but if not retroactive, then pretty much all works PD in Algeria now are also PD in the US. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:34, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I completely rewrote the {{PD-Algeria-photo-except}} tag, and answered all of your above questions in a Notes and references section. I hope everything is clear now. I do think that we should redirect {{PD-Algeria}} because all of the images using it are actually photographs. --BomBom (talk) 00:44, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Looks very good, thanks. I hadn't thought about the one tiny URAA loophole (works created but not published), but that would seem to be correct. In Algeria, a photos is PD if it was published before 1987, or created before 1960, whereas the U.S. status depends solely on the first part (publication). As for other works... I'm sure photos are the most common, but we could conceivably upload video, audio, and also (say) PDF or .djvu scans of original documents and other media, so it is good to have a tag to cover all of them, I think. Maybe a simplified version -- photo published before 1987, video/audio published before 1972 or whenever it is, or if the author died before 1972 for anything else, with a mention that the other tag should be used for photos (as it more carefully defines the intricacies specific to them). There can also easily be photos of artwork, which would use 25pma and not the photograph term I think (since the photo would be a derivative of a work protected for longer). Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:03, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

Serene Music's uploads

Serene Music (talk · contribs) has uploaded a load of images from this Photobucket album (and added them to en:User:Serene Music/Serene music, now deleted, which is where I came across them). I'm not that experienced on Commons and know nothing about Photobucket's copyright status so I don't know if the appropriate response is "please prove that you own the album", "we've deleted your images" or something in between: hopefully someone here can deal with it appropriately though. Thanks! Olaf Davis (talk) 16:48, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

File:Il Castello di Neuschwanstein.jpg

Could an experienced admin have a look at this picture please? It is currently used by several Wikipedia language versions, but before I use it on wikipedia:Neuschwanstein Castle I would like to be sure it is legitimate. I'm a bit suspicious that it might be a reproduction of a poster:

  • Very high quality of image composition, but with some parts cut off.
  • Photo taken in just the right hour: in autumn and with a bit of theatrical fog in front of the building.
  • Metadata says early June when the photo was clearly taken some time between late August and October.
  • Photo was taken with a flash, and there is a circular reflection right in the centre of the image.
  • Photo seems to be too blurry for an original photograph, even taking into account the obvious camera shake.

Also note the blurs from camera shake, visible at high contrast edges. They are most visible at the left edge of the rectangular tower, but also on the right hand side of the leftmost mountain. The amount of blur seems to be roughly similar in both cases. I don't know how to interpret this, though.

In any case it seems clear to me that this photo was not taken directly at the location, but is a reproduction. It could still be legitimate if the uploader held the rights to the original photo or poster. What's the normal way of dealing with this? Hans Adler (talk) 11:39, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Good catch. It is a poster. Witness [12], where the photographer says it was a poster on sale for €4.50 at some kiosk in Hohenschwangau. Also witness its use in the brochure downloadable from this Indian site, where you can even see a fold in the paper. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Il Castello di Neuschwanstein.jpg. Lupo 13:23, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks a lot! It's a pity we don't have a legitimate photo of this type, though. Hans Adler (talk) 15:51, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
I saw this photo while deleting other files from this uploader. There was obviously something wrong with it. But thanks for your thoughts about the reproduction, please don’t get tired to do such a great work to identify copyvios on Commons. It's too sad that we kept this photo for over one year. --Polarlys (talk) 15:55, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
@Hans: well, it's a view from the East. There's no road there, AFAIK, so anybody who wanted to take such a picture is in for a short hike. Maybe a Wikipedian from Garmisch or from Munich could be motivated to try to take such a shot for us on a nice day? Lupo 16:13, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

{{Polish coats of arms by Tadeusz Gajl}}

Hello. I have some doubts regarding this template. Isn't the pixel limit in contradiction with the free license? Isn't this limit obsolete, because of the svg versions? Avalokitesvara (talk) 20:17, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't seem to be a problem to me. As of the November 2005 date, the author is only licensing images from the source site which are 150px by 150px or smaller. Anything larger, they are simply declining to license. That restriction did not exist prior to that date, it looks like. Derivative works may be larger; the original author cannot limit that. There should not be any SVGs which use this tag, unless they are derivative works by someone else starting from an original bitmap upload which has this tag. As a separate matter, only images uploaded before November 1, 2008 can be cross-licensed to include the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license (though that is almost moot, as CC-BY-SA-2.5 was already granted). Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:39, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Thank you for the answer. I have another question, though. Would it be possible to create new template, dealing with SVG's, containing cc-by-sa-3.0 AND a limitation stating something like "all raster derrivatives used outside the Wikipedia can only be 150x150px, unless the original author's permission is granted". Wouldn't cc-by-sa-3.0 be in contradiction with this limitation? I'm asking this, because this template is somewhat obsolete - no one uploads the scans now - SVG's are being created based on original illustrations from the book. Avalokitesvara (talk) 22:04, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
    • There are no such restrictions on derivative works. The template is only stating which files from the source can be licensed GFDL/CC-BY-SA-2.5 in the first place. Once licensed that way, derivative works simply need to be licensed GFDL or CC-BY-SA or both, and the original author mentioned -- technically, I guess we probably shouldn't be using this template for derivative works at all since it only directly deals with images taken from the site. If people are making derivative works from a book, that can get a lot dicier, and this template (and permission) would not apply. On the other hand, there is {{PD-Polishsymbol}}, which may apply to lots of these -- if they are municipal coats of arms, they may not be protectable by copyright (in Poland) in the first place. Also, determining if an SVG as a derivative work of a bitmap can get considerably dicier; you aren't directly using the bitmap, so the determination would be based on how closely the actual outlines and other small details were followed from the original, and that kind of thing. The basic design is not really copyrighted; see Commons:Coats of Arms for general info. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:15, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

National Science Foundation grants

Hey all. I'm sure I've seen this discussed recently, but this is a big case so bringing it back up. While reviewing Picasa images I came across this category containing 169 files from a Picasa set. They're marked "all rights reserved" on Picasa but the album is described as follows:

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0542238. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

The uploader appears to have concluded that this makes them eligible for {{PD-USGov-NSF}}. I'm skeptical. Thoughts? Dcoetzee (talk) 05:26, 28 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't know where right now, but I know I've had this discussion either here or on Wikisource. If you go back to the published Senate commentary on the passing of the 1978 law, they were pretty clear that federal grants by default do not make the works public domain and that the license on the results could be set by the government as part of the grant contract if necessary.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:45, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
Good enough for me. I'll nom the set for deletion. Dcoetzee (talk) 06:07, 28 February 2010 (UTC)
That's accurate. Just because the federal government pays for something doesn't make it public domain. Kaldari (talk) 21:09, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

These files were nominated for deletion. Please see Commons:Deletion requests/Images by Pieter Pelser. The license was corrected to CC-BY after permission for use under that license was granted by the author and verified by OTRS. About 30 other related files (from the same source website) were by other authors and were deleted. I closed the deletion discussion yesterday. Walter Siegmund (talk) 17:27, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Probleme - "latest files" - PRO

See today jimgeorge85 on 08:11, 10 March 2010

Not a licensing issue, but in any case it's been listed here. Jafeluv (talk) 11:08, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Public domain restrictions

Can someone take a look at {{PD-Colombia}}? It says "Nevertheless, its author and source must be acknowledged", which doesn't sound very public domain to me... Rocket000 (talk) 08:35, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

Moral rights that do not expire. Something similar with {{PD-Sweden-self}} - the user has an obligation to mention the author. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 08:38, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but that's not a copyright issue nor is it international. I think we need to add something like {{PD-Sweden-self}} has to clarify. Rocket000 (talk) 09:02, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
The restriction is written into Colombian copyright law and isn't waiverable. Colombia has no unrestricted public domain, the best you can do is sort of like cc-by 80 years after the author's death. It is a licensing restriction, it is compatible with Commons, and the template does need to mention it. -Nard the Bard 15:33, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
Ok, but it should say why that's there and the fact that it only applies to that country like {{PD-Sweden-self}} does. Rocket000 (talk) 05:45, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

File:Globi gross.gif

The upploder and the owner of the rights are not similar. I'm not sure, if the licence is okay. Can somebody take a look there? --Brian (talk) 13:14, 12 March 2010 (UTC)


Before I use it to illustrate an article, can someone check the copyright looks right? There isn't much detail on it, it's unclear if it's genuinely PD or merely claimed to be so. Rather than assume, I'd like to check views. FT2 (Talk | email) 04:50, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Pretty unlikely. The uploader claims "author" on all their uploads, even some which clearly they aren't (very old prints). File:Port-messalina-louvre.JPG, another of that person's uploads, is taken from this page (server date of the image 2002, and Internet Archive confirms it was there long before Commons' version). File:Agrippine Jeune.gif is from that same source page. File:Statue de Britannicus.jpg, another of the person's uploads, seems to have originated on this page (server date 1999, and Internet Archive shows it was there in at least 2006, two years before being uploaded here). The image you are interested in I haven't found specifically (other than a version on Flickr copied from here), but given that track record, I'd say copyvio. And the "source" basically says it was taken from the internet and modified (cropped I would assume; the other images above have slight crops from their sources). I would say the uploader is basically unfamiliar with the tenets of copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:33, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
If other views agree, then probably something needs to be done. I don't know Commons processes, can someone else take a look and if needed, take care of them? FT2 (Talk | email) 12:33, 16 March 2010 (UTC)


  • I received a bot warning for not specifying a license for the above-mentioned file. Could anyone please help me choosing the appropriate license? I added a citation from Protein Data Bank policy page with a link to it into the Permission field of Description, but I failed to interpret whether the data are PD or some other open access license. Thank you. --Abanima (talk) 14:00, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
    • Where does the actual graphic come from? I couldn't find it by following the source? The image can have separate copyrights apart from the data used to construct it. Kaldari (talk) 20:15, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
      • I transferred it from English Wikipedia (see Date). As of today, the local copy is still there, licensed as public domain. As I understand, it is extracted using special software from the data available by following the link. --Abanima (talk) 23:42, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Image question

File:SamSloancrosshatch.jpg was uploaded recently and listed as PD with a copyright date of 1907. The subject died that year, but it's not clear that the image is from that year, and the creator of the image is listed as unknown. I am not fully versed in copyright status; would appreciate opinion(s) on the matter. I came to this image from w:Samuel Sloan (railroad executive). Frank (talk) 05:26, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

If it was published before 1923 (rather likely), it is PD in the United States and can be kept ({{PD-1923}}). That said, there is no evidence for the PD-Old tag currently on there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:57, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Interaction of United States copyright law and non-US copyright law - amendment needed

This section contains the statement:

Exception: Faithful reproductions of 2D works of art that are in the public domain are an exception to this rule following a WMF position statement in July 2008 to the effect that such photographs are themselves considered to be in the public domain. For more information, see Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag.

For reasons of clarity and accuracy I think it would be better re-written as:

Exception: Faithful reproductions of two-dimensional works of art, such as paintings, which are in the public domain are an exception to this rule. In July 2008, following a statement clarifying WMF policy, Commons voted to the effect that all such photographs are accepted as public domain regardless of country of origin, and tagged with a warning. For details, see Commons:Policy on photographs of old pictures.

The reason a change is needed is that the original quoted statement could be interpreted to the effect that it was the WMF which amended their policy in July 2008, instead of the fact that it was the Commons community which voted to "Make the PD-Art policy less restrictive" on that date. The statement from WMF Deputy Director Erik Möller made it clear that the WMF's existing policy did not require amendment.

Note that Erik's original comment on the talk page of Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag can not be characterised as "official" as all such communications are explicitly declared unofficial at Erik's user page.

A statement from Erik which I would describe as "official" can be found in the Foundation listserver archives here Point number 3 makes it clear that there was no explicit Board-level policy statement and that the decision rests with the Commons community whether to allow these exceptions or delete then to remain "maximally free-as-in-freedom".

The terms of the July 2008 poll explicitly states that "We would be creating an exception to our licensing policy (public domain in U.S. and country of origin)". Note that this exception breaches WMF's definition of free content. However the WMF's licensing policy (passed March 2007) does not require Wikimedia Commons to accept only free content, instead it states that projects are expected to host only such content, which I suggest is marginally less proscriptive and the reason why it did not require amendment in July 2008. To reflect this I suggest that the words "With rare exceptions". should be inserted at the top of the article before "Wikimedia Commons accepts only free content"

I hope this is of interest. Your thoughts? 9carney (talk) 10:40, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

I could see the rewrite of the first paragraph -- seems accurate to me. But not the latter one -- they are still perfectly "free" in most countries; the exception is to Commons policy only, from what I see. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:06, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
If it breaches the free content policy, so does the choice to host material that's only PD in the US and the source nation, since there are nations with stuff like life+100 and no rule of the shorter term, like Mexico.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:57, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
This does not apply on Commons, only on, media uploaded on Commons must be free in the country of original publication. Images published in Mexico which are not 100 years pma yet are not acceptable. SV1XV (talk) 19:04, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Not to divert too much, and I may be wrong, but just to note, I don't think the Mexican 100-pma change was retroactive, so it is not up to the full 100 years (yet). It was 75 pma, but amended mid-2003 to extend to 100pma. I think then that works by Mexican authors who died in 1927 or earlier are OK (unless I'm missing a still-earlier extension of the law... 75pma was done in 1996, and no idea what preceded it). Meaning, Mexico is I think effectively 83 pma right now (increasing each year). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:35, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Mostly that's gone over my head. If there are other exceptions to the "PD in both source and US rule", which are accepted Commons policy but not in this text, then I'd say that they too deserve a paragraph in the "Interaction of United States copyright law and non-US copyright law" section. For the moment, can I ask your opinions just on my rewording of the paragraph at the top of this section? 9carney (talk) 22:15, 14 March 2010 (UTC)
Sv1xv, the point was that there's stuff on Commons that is free in the US and its country of original publication that's still under copyright in Mexico. With or without this rule, not all the material in Commons is free worldwide.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:15, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
This is acceptable, according to the official policy. SV1XV (talk) 03:51, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Commons should move to a country that applies the en:Rule of the shorter term. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 22:22, 14 March 2010 (UTC)

I understand that moving the media content (or part of it) to servers located in Canada is an option which was discussed in the past and is still open.SV1XV (talk) 03:51, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't get the argument for moving servers. If the content is legal to host in the US then it's purely a matter of commons policy whether Mexican non-native copyrights are respected or not. Fact is they are not, and that is an exception to the very strict definition of "free" which requires equal freedom in all countries. Can anyone point me towards any discussion of the Mexican issue in the archives? 9carney (talk) 08:48, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Canada doesn't have the rule of the shorter term for Mexico and the US; see w:Canadian copyright law#Duration.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:28, 15 March 2010 (UTC)
Canadian native copyright is still shorter than Mexico's though. It's de facto rule of the shorter term, even if it's not de jure. -Nard the Bard 21:24, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
But it's not shorter than the US's; there are a number of works that are PD-US but not PD-life-50. Some estimates have 90% of US works not renewed, many of which would still be under copyright in Canada.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:20, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
The new wording looks good to me. I would support changing it. Kaldari (talk) 20:24, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

The official definition of free works is not really used in practice. Technically, it would exclude anything that does not provide source files (which would include most diagrams and animated images), and everything that has some legal restrictions on it in some country (Nazi flag in Germany, image of Tiananmen protests in China etc.), which is hardly doable. --Tgr (talk) 06:31, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Commons:Non-copyright restrictions deals with this subject 9carney (talk) 20:32, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


Hello, I'm new here. I'm not shure wether I can upload the logo of the World Commission on Dams to Commons in order to use it for some wikipedias. The Commission does not exist any more so I cannot ask them. Are there any general rules concerning logos like this? --Scholten (talk) 12:21, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Hi, auf Commons geht dieses Logo nicht, da hier nur Text-Logos und sehr simple geometrische Formen (Kreise, Dreiecke, etc) zulässig sind. Grüße (en summary: not on Commons) --h-stt !? 08:49, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Vielen Dank. --Scholten (talk) 12:44, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Images from Google Books?

Can you tell me what licensing issues, if any, might be involved in uploading images copied from Google Books? The publication I'm looking to pull images from was published in 1889 (thus public domain) but the illustration scans were done by Google Books. Do they have some sort of proprietary rights to those scans or are they public domain? Thanks, Historical Perspective (talk) 15:00, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

No, Google or anyone else who just scans an old public domain work does not get a copyright on the scan. Lupo 16:24, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Good news. Thanks. Historical Perspective (talk) 17:02, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
See Template:PD-Scan, Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:03, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

US sound recordings

Greetings. We don't seem to have a section in the policy for United States sound recordings. The only thing we have is the template {{PD-US-record}}, which gives misleading information about common law copyright: it implies that the common law copyright protection only applies in New York, while in reality most states have similar legislation. In addition, the wording of the template raises the question of whether or not such a file can be considered "free content", since its use is protected in at least the state of New York, and most likely elsewhere. See also the earlier discussion at the Village Pump here.

What I'm proposing is adding a section to the policy that clarifies our position on pre-1972 United States sound recordings. Here are two options from pretty much the opposite ends of the spectrum (the first part is common for both):

Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not protected by United States federal copyright law. However, some states may protect the common law copyright to these recordings. On February 15, 2067, United States copyright law will supersede state law and the recordings will enter the public domain.[13]

  1. Commons only accepts free content. Since sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are protected by at least some U.S. states, such recordings cannot be considered free content in the U.S., where Commons servers are located. Such recordings should therefore only be uploaded onto Commons if they have been explicitly released under a free license.
  2. Since sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not protected under United States federal copyright, they are considered by Commons to be in the public domain in the United States. This only applies to recordings where neither the composition nor the text used in the recording is under copyright. The licensing template {{PD-US-record}} can be used for sound recordings.

Now, #1 is the strictest alternative, which would mean that a lot of recordings currently hosted at Commons would have to be deleted or uploaded locally to free-use wikis. It's also the legally safest alternative, albeit admittedly with a serving of copyright paranoia. #2 is the least restrictive interpretation, which would allow a lot of commercial recordings to be uploaded here as well. The optimal solution is probably somewhere in the middle. I'm not sure how to achive this, though: maybe add a "common sense" provisio and advice uploaders to "respect commercial opportunities", without specifying the boundaries exactly? Or maybe we want to set a bright-line limit – something like "Recordings before 1920 can be uploaded and tagged with {{PD-US-record}}, but later recordings should only be uploaded if they have explicitly been released under a free license"?

In any case, {{PD-US-record}} should be rewritten to match the decision here. So, what do you think? Jafeluv (talk) 02:10, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Many countries (and the Berne Convention) set a period of 50 years for neighboring rights for sound recordings where copyright does not apply. I think we should start with that as a minimum. That would make the work free for our users all over the world. -Nard the Bard 02:47, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Just a side note -- I don't think neighboring rights are part of the Berne Convention at all. There is the Rome Convention, which mandates minimum 20 years protection, but while several European nations are members there aren't many other signatories (and the U.S. is not). Many countries (including the U.S.) have signed onto the Geneva Phonograms Convention, which is also a minimum 20 year term, but that is more for the actual sound recording copyright, and has nothing to do with performers. The EU has neighboring rights directives which are 50 years I think, but that is not necessarily worldwide (though many countries are adopting them). But, the EU also uses the rule of the shorter term. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:05, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for correcting me. Oops. -Nard the Bard 01:45, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
As for the sound recording thing... I think we do need to be somewhere in between, but it is not an easy thing to define. They are technically PD-ineligible from a federal copyright perspective, but any commercial recording would likely be protected in some way, even if we consider common-law copyright a non-copyright restriction, so we can't host them. Also, rule of the shorter term may not apply for those in other countries (since there is no defined U.S. term to consider). Also, as the New York case showed, state common-law protection can exist on foreign recordings too, even when expired overseas, so a strict #1 approach would mean that we would have to delete *all* pre-1972 sound recordings regardless of source country, which also seems like overkill. #2 as an absolute rule also won't work; there are too many commercial recordings. Common law is supposed to be more of a "common sense" type of thing to begin with... so as messy and inconsistent as that may be, we may have to something along that approach. (All of this is aside from other possible entanglements -- if there are songwriting copyrights, lyric copyrights, neighboring rights in the source country, or similar, they may be issues even if the song recording is PD or licensed. Bootleg recordings, i.e. taken without permission of the performers, are particularly problematic as there are specific laws against that.) Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:05, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
One thing that makes the old common law copyright different, besides the myriads of state laws, is it's not a strict liability tort like copyright is. Exceptions apply, and Commons usually falls into them. We host pictures of the NASA logo and Smokey the Bear that are free from copyright but that would be totally illegal for just about anybody else to use. Why? Because they are free from copyright and the non copyright exceptions don't apply to us. What makes these sound recordings any different? -Nard the Bard 01:45, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Some of those laws and situations would make it illegal for Commons to host them, yes -- bootleg recordings have specific laws against them, and if something pretty obviously violates common-law copyright, then it would be illegal to distribute (and thus host), etc. But, we could treat them more like a non-copyright restriction, deleting based on actual court precedents and probably commercial value, rather than assuming the usual "everything is copyrighted" associated with statutory copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:04, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
The only thing I dislike about that approach is it flies in the face of what Commons is about, ie truly free works. The current practice is to host these works on a copyright technicality until and if we get a takedown notice or other complaint from the copyright holder. The same practice we take for high resolution photographs of artworks in museums where photography is permitted. The same practice we take for orphan works from 1939 and before. The same practice we take with now allowing pre 1978 US statues without copyright notices, and we also effectively ignore URAA. This is a direction Commons has slowly been moving towards. We can put warnings on templates, we can make confusing rules for our users, but we're starting to blur the lines we started with. The bright line in the sand we carved that said "ye shall not post non-free content" and now we're saying "ye can post content with heraldic restrictions, trademark restrictions, content that may ambiguously be treated as published without a copyright notice, content that may be subject to perpetual state laws, content that we don't know the author of and it's unlikely anybody else does either but you never know, content that could be copyright restored in the US but you'd have to get sued to find out for sure" etc. Where do you stop? Having said that, I personally see nothing stopping us from hosting this content. If someone asks us to take it down and they have a reasonable claim to do so we should of course oblige. -Nard the Bard 02:20, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Ah, well that comes down to the definition of "free", which is a pretty loaded word ;-) Commons' practice is really not our invention; the FSF (which invented the term "free" and the basic philosophy in the first place) treats it the same way (as purely a function of copyright) too. For example, the GPLv3 license has been declared fully compatible with the Apache 2.0 license, despite a trademarks clause . The FSF document (PDF) (page 9) spells this out, stating why this clause is compatible with being "free"... the GPL 3.0 license permits addition of terms that decline to grant rights under trademark law for use of trademarks. We have no objection to such terms, since they do not limit the rights of users beyond what applicable trademark law would itself require. However, mandatorily-worded trademark clauses that purport to use the power of copyright or contract to affirmatively prohibit users from exercising rights otherwise available under trademark law continue to be incompatible with the GPL. They state it again in their GPLv3 quick guide: For example, some licenses say that they don't give you permission to use certain trademarks. That's not really an additional restriction: if that clause wasn't there, you still wouldn't have permission to use the trademark. We always said those licenses were compatible with GPLv2, too. So, a file like File:ASF-logo.svg is "free", as is it unambiguously licensed under the Apache 2.0 terms, even though use is still severely limited by trademark -- "free" licenses are structured around copyright, and separate restrictions on particular uses do not affect that status. Being pragmatic about other types of restrictions is the only thing we can do; once you get into visual works, you are very likely to depict something which has some restrictions in some way. If we wanted to be a "royalty-free" database, we would have to delete a majority of stuff we have, and would not be very helpful for building other wikimedia projects. As for other stuff above... photos of pre-1978 statues is following copyright law. Photographing a PD works is fine, and the U.S. had explicit rules about what was PD and what wasn't, which have not been retroactively changed, and that is just following them -- of course they are completely free, and there should be no copyright holder (other than the photographer) who has the legal standing to send a takedown notice. High-resolution photos should be fine, if the depicted artwork is PD. I admit to not being very comfortable with sort-of-ignoring the URAA, and I also wouldn't like ignoring copyright on orphan works, unless you are referring to following explicit clauses in copyright law which limit the copyright term on anonymous works (again, that is following copyright law). Common-law copyright is unfortunately really nebulous (technically, it may exist for anything which is explicitly not copyrightable under federal copyright law), and there are no bright lines -- common sense may be the only approach we really can take. It is a particular problem because it barely exists outside of sound recordings, and there may not be many new court cases on it, which (in common law) are the only ways to really know what is OK and what is not. And nobody is likely to start a court case unless there is commercial value in a work to begin with. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:25, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
Some very good thoughts on the question. I agree especially with Carl Lindberg, that common sense may be our best guideline. In interpreting the common law on sound recordings, state courts will probably consider whose commercial interests are being infringed, and to what extent, and whether common-law copyrights have common-sense duration limits. On the last question, I think the courts would probably reference what we have come to accept for federal statutory copyright on post-1972 sound recordings, as a guideline for what we should accept for common-law copyright on pre-1972 sound recordings. The idea of a perpetual copyright on a published work is contrary to all modern trends in copyright law. With that in mind, I propose that Wikipedia Commons use 95/120 duration limits for sound recordings. It is a reasonable compromise. WC can always remove a specific sound recording outside those limits for which there appears a legitimate infringement claim. Too restrictive? All right, allow all sound recordings published before 1923. — Walloon (talk) 21:53, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
To refine my proposal: (1) Allow all sound recordings published before 1923 or published more than 95 years ago, whichever is shorter; (2) allow all unpublished sound recordings fixed more than 120 years ago; (3) allow all sound recordings created by the U.S. federal government; (4) allow all sound recordings whose owners have intentionally placed them in the public domain; (5) allow all U.S. sound recordings first published from 15 February 1972 through 1977 without a proper copyright notice on the recording or its cover. Of course, these rules apply only to the sound recordings themselves. Separate rules apply for the underlying works recorded (songs, speeches, plays, etc.). — Walloon (talk) 23:44, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
I could support this. It's close to what we do with other kinds of files, so it's clearer for the uploaders and probably results in less confusion. I think there's value in explicitly defining what is allowed, even if the actual common-law copyright does rely on common sense. Explicit rules are much easier to learn and enforce than common-sense ones, and we're of course allowed to make our own policies as long as they don't conflict with the law. It needs to be stated clearly, though, that this is just Commons policy and not a restriction imposed by copyright law.
I guess the question is, how many pre-1923 recordings are there that would be protected under common-law copyright. Removing specific files when there seems to be a legitimate claim of infringement is not what Commons usually does, but it may be our best option here, since otherwise we may end up having to remove every sound recording that wasn't released under a free license by the author. Jafeluv (talk) 08:23, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
There are currently 39 sound recordings at Wikipedia Commons from pre-1923 Edison phonographs. But keep in mind that beyond the pre-1923 recordings are all the recordings that would come under my category #4 above, recordings intentionally placed in the public domain by their owners. Those form a large portion, maybe the majority, of the sound recordings at WC. — Walloon (talk) 19:26, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
Is there a way to advertise the discussion for a wider audience? I'm not familiar with the procedures for policy change around here, but I assume it requires input from more than just a handful of people. Jafeluv (talk) 11:16, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Let me add another category to the five I listed above: (6) Allow all sound recordings that were in the public domain in their country of origin as of 1 January 1996. — Walloon (talk) 22:46, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
Makes sense. Also, #4 should cover any free license accepted by Commons, not just PD. Jafeluv (talk) 08:39, 17 March 2010 (UTC)
Ugh, completely forgot to get back to this. So... your proposal is to treat them as if they were protected by federal copyright law just as newer recordings are, with the same limitations. That is an interesting suggestion... while I don't know of any court case following that logic, I have seen members of the public make that assumption (i.e. upload pre-1923 recordings to under the assumption they are PD). If enough people make that assumption, then common law could shift that way. I'm not sure that completely works though -- there is one particular example which disproves it, the New York case of Capitol Records, Inc. v Naxos (more readable summary here), where 1930s UK recordings, where the UK copyright expired in the 1980s, had their U.S. rights licensed to a U.S. company in 1996, which put out remastered versions. A UK company (Naxos) did their own remasters of original copies, and sold them both in the UK (legal) and in the U.S. (where they got sued). The New York state court decided that the common-law copyright still existed in New York, despite the fact the recordings were PD in the country of origin, and ruled against Naxos. Basically, the state courts were very label-friendly -- if the original studio is still selling recordings, or a company has purchased a license from the original studio and is selling them under that license, the courts are very likely to side with them. Which is why commercial-type recordings we need to be very careful with, regardless of when or where they were recorded, and regardless of what their status in their country of origin is. By the same token, such extreme protection is unlikely to exist on *every* type of recording, which is why I was recommending more a common-sense approach based on commercial value, which seems to be more in line with existing court cases. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:21, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
We seem to agree that commercial recordings are the ones that we need to be concerned about. But let's say that I want to upload a recording to commons – say, this one. How can I tell if the recording has enough commercial value that it can be assumed to be protected under common-law copyright? Is the only way to know for sure upload the file and see if someone sues me or the foundation? How would you formulate the common-sense rule so that the uploader, who might not be that knowledgeable about the specifics of US copyright law, clearly knows what kind of material is okay and what is not? Jafeluv (talk) 15:03, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Images uploaded by User:Stiluuus

Not sure if this is the right place to bring this, but the images uploaded by User:Stiluuus all look to me like they may have copyright issues, but I'm not sure. I have no idea of the relation between the author & the uploader, I don't know where in the world these are, I have no idea what language(s) this user might speak, and I suspect some of these (e.g. File:Boris Bernaskoni HORIZON-01a.jpg) are significantly post-processed. If someone has more idea than I do how best to proceed on this, please do. And if anyone just has suggestions, please remark here. - Jmabel ! talk 05:56, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

You mean this one? As it was published elsewhere, one would tag it with "permission missing". If the uploader is the copyright holder, a permission would be sent to OTRS and a corresponding tag added to the uploads, otherwise they would be deleted after one week. -- User:Docu at 06:18, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Uploads have been marked with {{No permission since}}. Bidgee (talk) 06:53, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

He later added about a dozen more. Still no OTRS for any of this. I've tagged those, too, but this is getting tedious. - Jmabel ! talk 16:35, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Museum pictures of PD stuff

The Tokyo National Museum allows pictures for personal use but does not allow distribution etc (see [14]). Should I care about what the museum says, or can I upload pictures of old PD objects taken at the museum by myself? bamse (talk) 10:29, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

This is at best a contractual obligation of the visitor (and photographer). If you wish to ignore it, you might want to use an account that is not tracable to you as a person. --h-stt !? 12:16, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
See Commons:Non-copyright_restrictions#.22House_rules.22. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:02, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
I see. Does the fact that pictures for personal use are allowed change anything? bamse (talk) 21:41, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Nope. Basically all they're saying is that if you use your pictures for personal use only, they're somewhat less likely to throw you out next time you visit. Dcoetzee (talk) 02:52, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Copyright status of published in the UK in 1914

Images such as File:Scharnhorst class cruiser diagrams Janes 1914.jpg are taken from the 1914 edition of en:Jane's Fighting Ships, which was published in the UK. Obviously the images are PD-US, but are they PD in the UK as well? Nyttend (talk) 21:53, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

I should note that we really don't know the identities of the individuals who composed the drawings or wrote the text; the books are pretty much entirely anonymous corporate works. Nyttend (talk) 21:54, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
If you can show reasonable enquiry, yes: {{PD-UK-unknown}}. Jarry1250 (talk) 22:35, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Also, I think I read a while back that you could assume (if there was no better evidence) that the author/editor of the collection (the name on the cover, so to speak) was responsible for all the illustrations - copyright speaking. In which case, you'd also be fine. Maybe someone could confirm/refute. Jarry1250 (talk) 22:38, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Since reading your responses, I've looked through a hard copy of the 1914 edition. I can only find two names: Fred T. Jane, the editor (died 1916), and a different man who is responsible for a section on merchant vessels that's quite distinct from the rest of the book. Many photos are credited to different individuals, but the drawings are consistently without credit. Curious, too — does UK law treat an image differently if the copyright is owned by a company and a work-for-hire? Many of the photos are credited to photography studios instead of to individuals. Nyttend (talk) 01:44, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
UK Copyright law states:
"Normally the individual or collective who authored the work will exclusively own the work. However, if a work is produced as part of employment then it will normally belong to the person/company who hired the individual.
Freelance or commissioned work will usually belong to the author of the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, (i.e. in a contract for service)." [15].
Duration under UK copyright law is:
"For literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works:
70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last remaining author of the work dies. If the author is unknown, copyright will last for 70 years from end of the calendar year in which the work was created, although if it is made available to the public during that time, (by publication, authorised performance, broadcast, exhibition, etc.), then the duration will be 70 years from the end of the year that the work was first made available."
"Crown Copyright:
Crown copyright will exist in works made by an officer of the Crown, this includes items such as legislation and documents and reports produced by government bodies. Crown Copyright will last for a period of 125 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made. If the work was commercially published within 75 years of the end of the calendar year in which it was made, Crown copyright will last for 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which it was published."
"Parliamentary Copyright:
Parliamentary Copyright will apply to work that is made by or under the direction or control of the House of Commons or the House of Lords and will last until 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was made."[16]
Hope that this helps. Jezhotwells (talk) 03:40, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Music Performance

I recently was a ringer for a group that performed Children's March, by Percy Alridge Grainger. The music was published pre 1923, so the music is PD. How would I licence it. I think the performance itself is copyrighted. If it is, who owns the copyright to get permission from? NativeForeigner (talk) 00:16, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

This is a more difficult question than it first appears. Percy Grainger was an Australian who spent parts of his career in Germany, in the U.K. and in the United States. So unless that work was first published in the United States it would fall under the life plus seventy years rule which those other countries follow. First please check the location of first publication for this music to see whether the underlying work is public domain. If it is, the performers also have copyright. Check with OTRS about getting permission from a group chorus. Durova (talk) 01:00, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
He was fact in the United States. [17] [18] [19] [20] It premiered at Colombia university. NativeForeigner (talk) 01:19, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
To answer the original question, I really have no idea who can claim copyright to or license a large group performance. Do the individual performers have a joint copyright? If the performers are paid, is this a work for hire and so the one paying everybody receives copyright? Dcoetzee (talk) 02:54, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
If the Grainger music itself is in the public domain, then public performance of it does not breach any copyright that the Grainger estate used to hold in it as it has expired. However, some countries have created a performance right which is separate from copyright. For example, under section 182(1) of the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (1998 c. 48), "[a] performer's rights are infringed by a person who, without his consent — (a) makes, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, a recording of the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance, or (b) broadcast live, or includes live in a cable programme service, the whole or any substantial part of a qualifying performance". Section 206(2)(a) states: "The reference in the definition of 'qualifying individual' to a person's being a citizen or subject of a qualifying country shall be construed ... in relation to the United Kingdom, as a reference to his being a British citizen ..." If this law was applicable in the situation mentioned by NativeForeigner, the performers of Grainger's music have a right to control the use of their performance, independent of any copyright in the music performed. Thus, the performers would have to license their performance right, probably individually. It will be necessary to ascertain what jurisdiction the performance took place in, and whether the law of that jurisdiction creates a performing right. — Cheers, JackLee talk 03:38, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Performed in the United States NativeForeigner (talk) 06:07, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Someone familiar with the subject will have to comment further on whether there exists a separate performing right in US law. I can't really help there. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:51, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Doubted copyright status

I doubt that this is 'own work' as the image dates to circa 1940: File:Ricardo14.jpg, a non-free version of it exists on Wikipedia [21]. I'm not familiar with tagging/deletion procedure on Commons if someone would like to have a look, many thanks. Nimbus227 (talk) 11:59, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

I think it's a copyright violation. The image also appears at, and there is a clear message at the top of the page that says: "Information, pictures and site link by kind permission of, and © Ricardo Consulting Engineers Ltd". Nominate the file for deletion by clicking on the "Nominate for deletion" link on the left side of the screen. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:08, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Of course, given the uploader's name, that could well be him. - Jmabel ! talk 19:57, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
True and he/she appears to have uploaded more Ricardo images, they need better tagging perhaps. I would be reluctant at the moment to replace non-free Wikipedia images with any of these, they would certainly be thrown out during a Featured Article review (having just been through two of these). Cheers Nimbus227 (talk) 23:31, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Try contacting the uploader and verifying the situation. — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:47, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Map data and copyright

I am a member of the map workshop of the french graphic lab, and I have a couple questions about the copyright of map data.

Those questions were posted on WP:FR, on Commons in French, but I stil don't have any clear answer.

  1. Is it legal to redraw a floor plan of an old building (assuming its architect died 70+ years ago), based on a copyrighted floor plan image ? One can assume that any accurate floor plan of a building, following the standards and conventions of floor plans, would end up looking essentially identical. In this case, it seems that it would lacks originality, and as such not copyrightable ?
  2. Is it legal to redraw a copyrighted map showing the location of, let's say archeological sites ? We assume that we use a free map background, and that the only thing from the original map we use is in fact the same set of archeological sites.
  3. In general, in which cases "copying the data of the map" is allowed or not ?

I have a some examples of such cases :

  1. France Brie-Comte-Robert church floor plan.png assuming we didn't get OTRS authorisation, Plan ND.JPG
  2. Archeological sites - wine and oil.svg

Thanks, Pethrus (talk) 11:19, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

In the US, data cannot be copyrighted, but the original presentation of data can. This means that in the case of maps, so long as the style and presentation of your map is not copied from someone else's work, you can show the exact same information. In the case of the floor-plan, I don't quite understand how the floor plan image is copyrighted if the architect died 70+ years ago. What exactly about the image is copyrighted? If the plan itself is public domain then of course you can redraw it. Kaldari (talk) 20:25, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the answer. This issue about floor plans is that there often only one correct "style and presentation", it's the field standards.
About old plans : in many cases, plans of old buildings (typically churches or castles) are copyrighted although the architect obviously died centuries ago : should we assume the copyright isn't valid ? --Pethrus (talk) 08:15, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I would think that drawings of the floor plan are independent works and should be copyrightable, choosing how much detail to depict and how to depict it, so I'd normally say the photo is a problem -- but if there is a completely standard convention for doing so, that may blur the situation -- the depiction may not be creative, depending on the country. Agreed on the map though -- some countries do protect a database, but the U.S. generally doesn't, so the copyright is on the representation itself, so if you make your own representation of someone else's data, as appears to be the case above, that is usually fine in the U.S. European countries do protect databases though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:52, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Image Copyright Question

File:Primus_71L.jpg is an image from a promotional advertising catalog from the early 1950s by a Swedish company (Bahco) that no longer exists. The question is what the correct copyright tag for this image should be. Thanks! John Fogarty (talk) 16:39, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Ugh... it's rough but I *think* it might be PD. I'm reading a Google translation of the swedish article on Copyright in Sweden (Upphovsrätt i Sverige), and this seems to be the relavant part:
"Copyright for photographers added to the Copyright Act 1994th. It had previously settled in the Act (1960:730) on the right of the photographic image, in force since 1 July 1961"
Now, for items predating that, I would guess the Berne Convention would apply, which Sweden enacted in 1904. That set a minimum term of 25 years from the year the photograph was created. So assuming that Sweden didn't have a longer copyright term for photos, and assuming that Primus_71L.jpg was indeed created during the 1950s, that means the copyright expired as late as 2000. But I'd want to try and nail down those two assumptions first. Tabercil (talk) 17:41, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
According to {{PD-Sweden-photo}}, a "photographic picture" is PD if it was created before 1969. A "photographic work" (which I assume means works of art) is only PD if either the author died before 1944 or the author is not known and the work was published before 1944. Jafeluv (talk) 12:54, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

Copyright question for "recreated artwork"

An "impossible object" can be found on a Swedish stamp honouring the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvärd; see here. It is an engraving by Czesław Słania based on one of Reutersvärd's images. However, it is not a straightforward copy; Reutersvärd's images were much more abstract. In this case the source for Słania's engraving is apparently the work by Reutersvärd shown here in the fourth row, last column, but note that left and right are swapped and that Słania chose different colors.

I have made an "abstract recreation" of Słania's engraving, not using the work in any other way than by looking at it. It is abstract in the sense that it is more in the style of Reutersvärd; it is a recreation in the sense that it uses the orientation and is closer to the colour palette found on the stamp. I'd like to use my image to replace the Penrose triangle illustration in the Oscar Reutersvärd article on the English Wikpedia.

Question: Can I upload this image under "Own work, all rights released (Public domain)", or does the copyright probably owned by one or more among the Reutersvärd and Słania estates and Posten AB somehow also apply to my recreation?  --Lambiam 12:19, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Redrawing a copyrighted work by looking at the original creates a derivative work. The copyright of the original on which it is based applies to the result as well. LX (talk, contribs) 16:46, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
Not necessarily -- derivative works depend on the expression from the original being present in the second work. But, it makes derivative being much more likely, and if you are trying to recreate the original, then it will almost always be derivative. Swapping left to right and changing the colors usually are not enough to create a derivative work -- that would be more of a copy (and either way would be subject to the original artist's copyright). In the case above... yes, derivative. It is still a near copy. Copyright is usually more about the actual outlines and placement, rather than the aesthetic effect. Those are essentially identical in your version. I don't think yours is a derivative of Słania, but would be of the original. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:40, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
I suppose the question is whether this simple geometric figure, stripped of incidental details like color and texture, is complex enough to be eligible for copyright as such. I would suspect that it's probably not; the U.S. Copyright Office specifically states that "simple geometric figures or shapes" are not copyrightable (Compendium II of Copyright Office Practices, section 503.02(a)), and there's also the general principle of the "merger doctrine" which essentially says that if there's only one way to express an idea, then you can't claim copyright on that expression. If that's the case, the appropriate tag to use would be {{PD-shape}}. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 21:14, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Maybe this is bad legal reasoning, but I think you'll start on the wrong side of a judge when you design something to use it on Reutersvärd's page. That says nothing so much as an intent to copy what is creative and distinctive about the original. I don't like the fact that everyone has the same nine cubes, but I guess you can't go fewer, and there's no reason to go more. Ilmari Karonen's versions I'd be much happier to argue for, but that's in part because they aren't good copies of Reutersvärd, and whatever process brought the inspiration, it abstracted the original quite a bit.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:39, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
BTW, I thought that image looked familiar — it seems I drew a couple of versions of it in ASCII art back in 1997 or so. (I'm pretty sure I posted it in alt.ascii-art back then, but I can't find it there now on Google's archive; their Usenet search has gone shamefully bad in the last few years.) I can't claim independent reinvention, though, even if I'd never heard of Oscar Reutersvärd before; I'd based the picture on a similar one drawn by someone else, which was probably based on yet someone else's picture and so on, quite possibly going all the way back to Reutersvärd. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 21:26, 1 April 2010 (UTC)