Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 26

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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.


UK Ordnance Survey mapping data

The new licensing for data from OS OpenData supply states:

You are free to:

  • copy, distribute and transmit the Data;
  • adapt the Data;
  • exploit the data commercially whether by sub-licensing it, combining it with other data, or by including it in your own product or application

You must:

  • acknowledge the copyright and the source of the Data by including any attribution statement specified by the Data Provider. If no specific statement is provided please use the following:
Contains [insert name of Data Provider] data © Crown copyright and database right
  • include the same acknowledgement requirement in any sub-licences of the Data that you grant, and a requirement that any further sub-licences do the same;
  • ensure that you do not use the Data in a way that suggests the Data Provider endorses you or your use of the Data;
  • ensure that you do not misrepresent the Data or its source. OS licensing page.

So can a new licensing tag be created for this? Jezhotwells (talk) 00:45, 2 April 2010 (UTC)

Looks good to me. Probably should make a tag. They also note at the end that they specifically crafted it to be interoperable with CC-BY-3.0. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:41, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

White House photograph

Can this image from flickr be uploaded to commons? On the one hand, it is tagged as a U.S. Government work, which normally makes it free. On the other hand, the caption says, "This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House." That restriction would appear to make it non-free. Jonathunder (talk) 21:37, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

The restrictions are referring to {{personality rights}}; not a barrier to uploading. Use {{PD-USGov-POTUS}} as the license tag. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:35, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. I will do so. Jonathunder (talk) 00:47, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Proposal to change this policy: Symbols protected by Geneva Conventions (red cross etc.)

This intends to outline the problems in licensing of the emblems protected by the Geneva Convention, and to outline a related change in licensing policy. This applies to all files containing the emblems in some form.

Legal background

The first Geneva Convention of 1949 defines the red cross, red crescent and red lion and sun as protected emblems in Article 38. The third additional protocol of 2005 adds the red crystal to the protected emblems in Article 2.

The use of these emblems is restricted by Article 44 of the first convention:

“With the exception of the cases mentioned in the following paragraphs of the present Article, the emblem of the red cross on a white ground and the words " Red Cross" or " Geneva Cross " may not be employed, either in time of peace or in time of war, except to indicate or to protect the medical units and establishments, the personnel and material protected by the present Convention and other Conventions dealing with similar matters. The same shall apply to the emblems mentioned in Article 38, second paragraph, in respect of the countries which use them.”

as well as in Article 53, with an even stricter wording:

The use by individuals, societies, firms or companies either public or private, other than those entitled thereto under the present Convention, of the emblem or the designation " Red Cross " or " Geneva Cross " or any sign or designation constituting an imitation thereof, whatever the object of such use, and irrespective of the date of its adoption, shall be prohibited at all times.

These restrictions are extended to national legislations by Article 54

“The High Contracting Parties shall, if their legislation is not already adequate, take measures necessary for the prevention and repression, at all times, of the abuses referred to under Article 53.”

As of present, all states have signed and ratified or accessed this treaty (list of state parties). All states should have prohibited the illegitimate use of the emblems. This includes the United States where the restriction is codified as 18 USC § 706 and was amended in 2006. The emblems are property of the state parties (not the Red Cross societies or any other organizations).

The problem in licensing

The examination of the legal protection of the red cross, red crescent, red lion and sun and red crystal emblems gives rise to a big problem related to licensing. Files are eligible for Wikimedia Commons, if they are explicitly freely licensed. Three out of four of the essential freedoms are not fulfilled:

  • The freedom to use and perform the work: The licensee must be allowed to make any use, private or public, of the work. For kinds of works where it is relevant, this freedom should include all derived uses ("related rights") such as performing or interpreting the work. There must be no exception regarding, for example, political or religious considerations.
  • The freedom to study the work and apply the information: The licensee must be allowed to examine the work and to use the knowledge gained from the work in any way. The license may not, for example, restrict "reverse engineering".
  • The freedom to redistribute copies: Copies may be sold, swapped or given away for free, as part of a larger work, a collection, or independently. There must be no limit on the amount of information that can be copied. There must also not be any limit on who can copy the information or on where the information can be copied.
  • The freedom to distribute derivative works: In order to give everyone the ability to improve upon a work, the license must not limit the freedom to distribute a modified version (or, for physical works, a work somehow derived from the original), regardless of the intent and purpose of such modifications. However, some restrictions may be applied to protect these essential freedoms or the attribution of authors.

As of now, most of the files containing the emblems in some form have an {{IHL Symbol}} tag. The tag is not applied to photographs, however.

Proposed solution

One option is to remove and not accept any files containing these emblems in Commons. As some of the files are excessively used, this seems a bad solution. Also, the legislation does not say anything about photographs of the emblems, and it would not be smart to remove all those files. But these restrictions should apply to drawings of the emblems. A radical, but fair solution would be to retain and protect only few drawings of these emblems (such as only Flag of the Red Cross.svg, Flag of the Red Crescent.svg, Red Lion with Sun.svg and Flag of the Red Crystal.svg), and remove all others. This would apply all drawings resembling the emblems, such as a red plus. I don't know what people here are going to think about this but I think this is a legitimate issue.


Feel free to discuss the proposal. --SaMi (talk) 23:21, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Please see Commons:Non-copyright restrictions. All your above stuff applies to places where copyright law, specifically, is being used as the basis for the restrictions. Laws outside of copyright we treat differently. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:11, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Some of the symbols are very old or is a simple design, so they will not be eligible for copyright. If the ICRC did not want us to draw the symbols, then why they put construction sheets online for me and others to draw them with? Plus, with the case of the Red Lion, it is not even used anymore because of Iran's change of government. Honestly, do not change anything we have and these images will not be removed. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 03:23, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
The red lion is no different in legal terms. And that ICRC has information like that doesn't mean we could use it in whatever way. There are millions of people that are allowed to use the emblems, and the information is mainly for those. I'm not going to change anything without a consensus. --SaMi (talk) 09:07, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm uncertain. The Canadian Red Cross infamously sent legal threats to videogame developers, who use the symbol to indicate health containers. Quote: "The crux of the problem is that the misuse of the Red Cross in video games is not only in contravention of the law, it also encourages others to believe that the emblem of the Red Cross is `public property' and can be freely used by any organization or indeed for commercial purposes." [1]. Are these people on crack? Dcoetzee (talk) 07:19, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Although the symbols are not necessarily eligible for copyright, they still may not be in public domain as stated. A quote from Public domain "A creative work is said to be in the public domain if there are no laws which restrict its use by the public at large." By that definition the emblems are not in public domain because of extensive legal usage restrictions. This is a problem. What I think is that Wikimedia Commons should not have this content be because it is not free. That is what it states as the basis of all licensing in Commons. --SaMi (talk) 09:07, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
On Commons, "public domain" refers to the copyright sense only, i.e. "no copyright restrictions", not that more general meaning which some others may use. See Commons:General disclaimer as well. This, again, is because we are concerned with copyright only when determining "free" status; any other restrictions we allow so long as the simple act of hosting them on Commons does not violate the law. It has always been like this. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:33, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Non-copyright restrictions: This is a recurring question and has been answered numerous times. We ignore all non-copyright restrictions like trademarks, the Geneva Convention, the protection for the Olympic Rings, governmental insigniae. It's totally legal because we use those insigniae for their products and services, not any of us. Regarding our reusers: In the relevant license tags we state that non-copyright restrictions may apply and it is the duty of the reuser to comply with them. So it's legal to use them here, we are open to our resuers, so there is no problem at all. This discussion is resolved now until the next concerned newbie asks the same question again. --h-stt !? 09:35, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It is a shame this issue cannot be discussed seriously without the discussion becoming personal. I don't consider myself a newbie since I have been around in Wikimedia projects since 2005, but if you do, let's keep it outside of this.
One of the problems is that the usage of those files are not restricted. You still can use Olympic rings, insignae, red cross and so on anywhere although you weren't allowed to do so in any context. And I still doubt you can have symbols whose use is prohibited by anyone not authorised. It is weird that it seems only copyright laws and not any others apply to Commons.
Those pluses are in the scope of the treaty and national laws, as it is not dependent on the name or any other detail but the shape and colour whether they are protected emblems. I have not written the law so don't blame me, please. --SaMi (talk) 15:15, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It's not meant to be personal, but this basic topic has been brought up many times, and you put in a rather substantive post without appearing to be aware of several policy pages. Given the wording on the site I can see the confusion, but interpreting it that way is simply not practical -- there are a vast array of restrictions on possible uses which would mean we would have to delete a large majority of the works we have, and would become pretty much useless to supporting other Wikimedia projects, which is our primary goal. For one example, you can't create advertising using the image of a recognizable person without that person's permission; do you suggest we need to remove all photos with recognizable faces in them? There are many other examples as well. What you are talking about is more termed a "royalty-free" database, which Commons is not. Furthermore, the FSF (the creators of the "free" concept in the first place) also restrict their definition to copyright only; works which have trademark restrictions can still be "free". The main reason is that copyright is the mechanism through which the philosophy is enforced. We try to inform about other possible restrictions as a courtesy, so the IHL Symbol tag is a good idea on the majority of the images you tagged, but it is up to potential re-users to be aware of the law in their own jurisdictions and to follow it (we can't possibly ever know them all). And I would disagree that the generic "add" icons need the tag; those are obviously not related to the protected symbol (either by having other elements, not being a solid color, etc.). If you have reference to the Red Cross or anyone suing software developers over using icons like that, please provided a reference ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:48, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
If you want to see the kind of restrictions that a royalty-free database considers, see this page. They have 203 items listed, some of which may be legally debatable, but many which aren't. And that list likely doesn't come close to covering all of them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:18, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for a relevant answer at last. I'm aware that this relates to other policies as well, but admit not to have read them thoroughly. Not only the causes confusion, but also this policy page. The current wording is "Wikimedia Commons accepts only media that are explicitly freely licensed, or that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work". This definition doesn't include the said emblems as they are neither free nor in public domain, but still it seems they are eligible for Commons. I admit many types of files can be generally be defined not free but good for Commons, but I'm concerned about this issue because it is a special case of protection. A side note: does't all content in all Wikimedia projects fall under jurisdiction of Florida as defined by the location of servers, so we don't have any need to be concerned of other legislations?
If you think a tag is not suitable for an image, you can remove it. A good reference for the "red plusses": "Misuses appear in movies, on television, and in computer software and games. -- In addition, plus signs have become popular symbols in trademark applications by companies that wish to promote their products as new and improved or superior to those of their competitors. When these plus signs are thickened and colored red, they are indistinguishable from the Greek red cross. And, of course, the Internet is the newest arena for infringement. -- The Red Cross' approach to addressing misuse centers on educating others about the Geneva Conventions and the federal law providing protection of the emblem. In most cases, misusers voluntarily cease coloring their crosses or pluses red. Only infrequently is it necessary to resort to legal action. -- Those contacted about misuse of the Red Cross emblem often cite the Lanham Act in defense of their use. They argue that there is no likelihood of confusion, that the Greek red cross is in the public domain, or that their use is permitted by other Lanham Act provisions. What they fail to understand is that 18 U.S.C. §706 takes precedence over the Lanham Act. Arguments regarding continuous use or incontestability do not apply unless the owner can establish use back to 1905. Distinctions as to the class of goods or services for which the mark is used are irrelevant. -- The test to establish infringement under the criminal statute is whether the mark is "a Greek red cross on a white ground, or any sign or insignia colored in imitation thereof." There are no other tests of whether there is likelihood of confusion between the Red Cross' emblem and the potentially infringing mark. (originally published by Legal Times, 1997; Our emblem and history)" A long quote, but it discusses many of the issues arisen here. Note that it is not only about the plusses in ads. But this is not about suing anyone, and I hope there won't be any legal threats here either. --SaMi (talk) 16:51, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
There won't be. I remember one image, the ICRC actually sent us a better image to use and let us use it on the Commons without issues because the image is old enough to be in the public domain. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 17:11, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Part of the law is only if it is for the fraudulent purpose of inducing the belief that he is a member of or an agent for the American National Red Cross. The other part, yes, is quoted that way (and is indeed different than trademark, which it overlaps with). It does have the word "use" though, which is one of those interesting words which has completely different meaning in a copyright vs. trademark context (and the meaning there is likely more like trademark) -- "use" in a trademark context implies there is intended meaning behind the symbol intended to associate with the trademark-owning organization in some way. But, any old plus sign is not necessarily the "Greek Red Cross" (rounded corners, glossy finishes, etc. may distinguish it), and adding other elements (like a circle around it) often may mean it is a different symbol. Some of those you tagged, I feel, are expanding the definition beyond what the law intends. The "+" sign has been part of day-to-day usage since long before the Red Cross existed. That said, it is good to know, and a lot of usages can (and probably should) be altered so there is less chance of confusion. If there was any real problem, I'm sure it would be handled long before litigation. That is more a matter for the Foundation itself though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:25, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
It is not about what the author of the image has intended it to mean (plus or red cross or anything), but it is the actual use of the image that defines whether it is against the US law or not. Thus the tag should be there to advise users. See also my reply below. --SaMi (talk) 12:05, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
The law specifically says for the fraudulent purpose of inducing the belief that he is a member of or an agent for the American National Red Cross. So yes, intended meaning has a very important part. The word "use" also implies a secondary, intended meaning is present. The standard would probably be what a normal individual would perceive, not necessarily what the user claims is the meaning, but there does need to be some intended association. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:24, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
No problem with that part of the law, but please read the whole law. Whoever -- other than the American National Red Cross -- and agents and the sanitary and hospital authorities of the armed forces of the United States, uses the emblem of the Greek red cross on a white ground, or any sign or insignia made or colored in imitation thereof is the part we are considering relevant to Wikimedia. I would see it includes all such signs excluding only a clear plus that is stylised in some way (but that depends on its use). --SaMi (talk) 17:48, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
A "colorable imitation" , per 15 U.S.C. § 1127, means to be likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive. That does, usually, imply intent, and even if not I don't think that a few of those images are "likely" to cause confusion. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:51, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
As for the "freely licensed" part, there used to be a footnote which explained the phrase relates specifically to the copyright license. That was deemed a little "hidden", so the Commons:Non-copyright restrictions link was put into the following sentence, to try and make that more obvious. But, maybe it's not. "Free" itself is a really, really loaded word though. As for non-U.S. laws, yes, technically we aren't subject to them, but we try to respect the ones in the country of origin of a given work. Consensus can be to ignore certain ones though, if felt to be overbearing. We can't ignore U.S. restrictions though, so far as our own use goes (we do not in any way try to prevent works which are only violations in outside uses, other than the copyright license specifically). Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:36, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Is it really necessary to slap {{IHL Symbol}} on everything red and plus-shaped, like File:Gtk-add.svg or File:Contribs icon.svg or File:Nuvola apps kcmdrkonqi.png? What's next, putting it on any page where someone types "+"? Anomie (talk) 11:42, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

The current {{IHL Symbol}} tag is a bit too general and might cause confusion (or be totally ignored). Could it be chaged so that it would e.g. specify what in the image is protected, how you can use it and what law applies to your country. It could be done as a simple sub-page, and include the description and a link to national implementation database? Or alternatively as a help page? I think the first one is better. Do you feel there is a need for this? This could help people use the files correctly, as there now are many uses that would be against these laws in different Wikimedia projects. --SaMi (talk) 19:00, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
I think this could easily go too far, e.g. putting it on the Swiss flag. Trademarks are specific to a particular type of product, and so we'd only have to worry about Red Cross trademark restrictions if we were attempting to compete with the Red Cross as a charity and causing consumer confusion. The fact that the Canadian Red Cross is overzealous in trying to prevent anyone at all from using the symbol is no concern of ours, as the symbol is far too simple to be eligible for copyright. Dcoetzee (talk) 21:25, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
Yep, though one technical note -- 18 U.S.C. 706, which restricts the symbol, is separate from (and additional to) trademark law, so typical trademark defenses do not necessarily apply (the U.S. uses common law though, so a judge can always apply some common sense depending on the situation). This is more a special case of {{insignia}}, much like the Olympic Rings, which also have their own separate legislated protection. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:28, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
The Olympic rings are also public domain due to age. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 03:42, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Oh, I would think they were likely PD-ineligible in the U.S. to begin with, but they are definitely no longer covered by copyright (in the U.S. and most everywhere else). So, "public domain" as far as our definition is concerned. But, beyond trademark, there is 36 U.S.C. §220506 which protects their use in the U.S. (The IOC requires similar protection laws be passed in any country which hosts the Olympics; for example I believe Australia granted a perpetual copyright there on the symbol). These restrictions are also separate from copyright, so we just need to make sure that Wikimedia does not violate that law when it uses them (usually not an issue.) We used to have a template for that with a really misleading name, {{Copyrighted IOC}} if I recall, but it got deleted rather than being renamed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:21, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Just a note: As you wrote yourself above about the word "use" as a terminus technicus in copyright law: We don't "use" the Red Cross or any of the other symbols in question, we merely show them. And that is completely legal. --h-stt !? 11:54, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
It is usually not that simple, and we cannot define the difference between "use" and "show" like that. Consider an example, if a red cross is "shown" in an unauthorised ad or an armed combatant "shows" it. The emblem law is not about trademarks or copyrights. All "uses" of those emblems are just "showing" them. --SaMi (talk) 13:43, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Not quite; if they are used in a context where there is an intended meaning, that is a "use" -- depicting it on an article about the Red Cross is not a "use", as far as I have read, or at least that is our understanding (en:Wikipedia:Copyright on emblems is one place where it is discussed). And yes, that distinction is why there is no problem displaying trademarks, etc., and why there is an educational purpose for hosting them here. (Oh, and by the way, the Swiss flag is separately protected by 18 U.S.C. 708). On the other hand, having some as stub icons could be considered a "use", although the implied meaning is a generic medial one rather than trying to associate with the American Red Cross. Also, see below. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:20, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually there has been at least one court case about the meaning of the term "use" in this context, namely in the Netherlands, where the wording of the law is almost the same as in the US. --SaMi (talk) 20:07, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
That would be a "use" as far as I would be concerned... putting it on a car (especially) may well make someone assume there was meaning, even if none was meant. Even if driving an historic car which still had the symbol on it, its original use most definitely had a meaning (the precise meaning contemplated in the Geneva Conventions), and I don't know why the driver would assume differently. That would absolutely be "likely confusing" as well. In the context of an encyclopedia article, it is a completely different situation. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:38, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't see why we couldn't put the tag to borderline cases. The US law on the emblem is a bit sketchy but in some legislations it is much stricter. So this would inform users from other countries that the use of for example a glowy plus can be illegal there. As for the Swiss flag, it is defined in the Geneva Conventions, but it's protection is limited to prohibiting uses harmful to the Swiss. There is a clear difference between the Swiss flag and the red cross, but not between the cross and a plus. For example this and this use it to mean a red cross, which might be illegal, but many other uses of that image as a plus are not. This looks even more like a "red cross" when it is small in size, and there is a possibility of misuse, so there should be a tag. This plus and this cross are almost exactly the same (the size or the proportions of the red cross are not strictly defined for it to be protected). Btw, the "injury icon" would almost certainly constitute a misuse. --SaMi (talk) 12:05, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Could you point out some of the laws of other countries? I'd be interested to see them. As for the U.S., the protected symbol is explicitly the "Greek red cross on a white ground". Any deviation from that, either by adding or removing elements, unless someone was obviously trying to indicate an association with the Red Cross organization, I'm pretty sure. This document is interesting; Johnson & Johnson (who had a pre-existing trademark on the symbol) tried in 1995 to trademark a red cross on a blue ground. It was initially denied, but that document is an appeal result where the trademark office decided to allow it, since it was not on a white ground. They explicitly refused to determine whether it was a violation of the 18 U.S.C. 706 law or not, but decided there was enough of a chance that it wasn't that they allowed the trademark. As they note, It is important to note that inasmuch as 18 U.S.C. §706 is a criminal statute, it must be strictly construed. So, adding distinctive elements, like the circle surrounding it, may very well mean that it is no longer the same, protected symbol but rather another. Rounding the corners, and using stylized colorings, may also move it further away from being the specific protected symbol (maybe that is no longer the "greek cross"). I'm not sure there has ever been a court case on it -- would be interested to see -- but courts may well judge based on possible confusion with the American Red Cross organization, and how precisely it matches the described symbol. I guess I was applying what seemed like common sense to me -- icons clearly not meant to imply the Red Cross I would avoid placing the tag on. I would rather not be overly alarmist, and even if the Red Cross claims rights over everything even resembling a red plus sign, that doesn't mean they actually have those rights. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:20, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
See for example an extract from the German law here. It indicates that there every use of a red cross on white ground needs authorization. Also the shape is not defined as a "Greek" cross but just as a cross. Also, did you look at the examples I provided? I just tried to point out that it depends on the context whether a red plus is a "red cross" and that it doesn't matter whether an image was created as a plus if it used as a cross illegitimately. And many people around here don't seem to realise the intention of protecting such signs. The main users are medical services of armed forces, and the Red Cross is only an exception to the rule and is allowed to use the emblems. If the use of the emblems is not controlled they would lose their protective value. --SaMi (talk) 17:27, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
  • So in summary, the only thing protected is the actual Red Cross symbol, a red Greek cross on a white background, and the U.S. does not enforce any other restrictions. {{IHL Symbol}} should be updated to reflect this and/or be removed from any image that is not an actual Red Cross symbol. -Nard the Bard 19:00, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
We cannot yet sum up like this, because it is not yet agreed what use is against the law here in Commons. What you try to insist is that the law only deals with the corporate symbol of the Red Cross movement. The U.S. law does enforce additional restrictions to this and these are now being ignored. The law (18 U.S.C. §706) defines as unlawful all cases where whoever "uses the emblem of the Greek red cross on a white ground, or any sign or insignia made or colored in imitation thereof". Now these plus signs would fall under category "any sign colored in imitation of the Greek red cross", as "imitation", as defined in the context of distinctive emblem misuse in international humanitarian law is "the use of a sign which, by its shape and/or colour, may cause confusion with the emblem" (ICRC). Now here it clearly causes confusion (some "plus" images are used to illustrate medicine articles in general; the red cross emblem is restricted to military medicine, any other use being unauthorised). Also, please don't remove the IHL tags because it might apply in some countries even if it doesn't in the US. --SaMi (talk) 20:07, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Given the broad range of First Amendment freedoms the US constitution gives, the "imitation" clause would probably be interpreted by the courts very narrowly, and would probably require proof of malice. US courts are not allowed to use international law except where it's directly applicable, and since there's already a specific statute defining what the US does protect anything providing extra protection in international law would be ignored. But then you get into slippery slope territory, and as you state hiding behind the first amendment and the fact that US courts ignore international law doesn't make these works any freer in the rest of the world. -Nard the Bard 20:14, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
When it comes to the US Constitution and that kind of stuff I'm lost. And I think we just cannot make the decision on what symbols can or cannot be used based on my or any other's opinion about the interpretation of 18 U.S.C. §706 and §706a. Can we use some legal advisory to resolve this issue, as it is important to be sure we really can have those images here and because there is not much idea for us to argue here? --SaMi (talk) 20:31, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
There are a large number of other insignia protected by similar laws in the U.S. (and elsewhere); this one is hardly unique and we have always taken the position that they are OK to host (because in most cases we are not *using* them). What Nard the Bard is saying, particularly because the law is a criminal statute (i.e. people can go to jail), the Constitution would require courts to take generally narrow interpretations on what is a violation, whereas you are taking about as expansive an interpretation as possible. The above document notes this as well, It is important to note that inasmuch as 18 U.S.C. §706 is a criminal statute, it must be strictly construed, citing a court case which discusses that principle. That means that the protected symbol is the Greek red cross on a white ground -- a perfectly valid way to interpret it is if either element is missing, it is not the symbol, and use (which is also beyond what Commons does) is not a violation, and also if other significant elements are added, that again likely distinguishes it from the protected symbol and would not be violations. I.e., the symbol is a red cross on a white ground, not a red cross with a circle around it on a white ground. That is "narrowly" interpreting the law, which in most cases would be required. Particularly because that law is part of Title 18, I would imagine intent would enter into it -- the user would have to have fraudulent intent with the use (which, again, Commons really doesn't do except, maybe, the stub icon thing, and that is the one with a circle, an arguably different symbol). The German law (thanks for that, by the way) also specifies only the "distinctive" symbol -- if elements are added or taken away, then it may well be a different (non-protected) symbol. The image which Pieter Kuiper shows below is a German road sign symbol; presumably the German government would not violate their own law, so it would seem that adding a big blue border is enough to distinguish it from the protected symbol. Basically, I would limit adding the IHL_Symbol tag to images which are meant to be that symbol, and perhaps others which are essentially identical. Transparent backgrounds (i.e. no white ground), or where other significant elements are added, and the like, probably means they are different enough symbols. It is certainly possible we have a couple which are too similar, even if they were not intended to be used as such, but not all that you did tag in my opinion. As for what is legally OK, please look for court cases where people were charged under the law, whether they were convicted or exonerated -- that should give a decent idea of what situations are OK or not. If there are no relevant court cases, that would be another indicator that hosting them here is nowhere near a problem. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:44, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for the post, it shows you have considered this thing a much. Even though I partly agree with you, I tend to disagree in some points.
First of all, the reasons behind the legal protection have to be taken into account before making presumptions about the uniqueness of the symbol(s). Their first and foremost meaning is to protect the helpers of the wounded on the battlefield, and as such the value symbols must not decrease in the eyes of the public (if it did, lives of many would be under risk). This is now the main reason, and the legal protection is there to limit the possible uses of the symbol, so that it is not seen so often in "wrong" contexts (from the intended meaning). This contributes to the uniqueness as well as the fact that all of the symbols enjoy worldwide legal protection. That is why the interpretations should not be limited to US law. Which by the way is vague, for which there can be various reasons; I personally admire certain parts of the US laws on freedom of expression, but there are problems with that, too.
But now it comes to the interpretation of "violation"/"misuse". This is a thing I think should not be left to the discussers here to decide. There are guidelines to interprete different cases, both international and also case laws from the US. The definition of the ICRC (the authority provided by the Conventions) is a division to imitation, usurpation and perfidy. A strict interpretation of this is not valid, however, as the decision you mentioned rules out the red cross on different coloured backgrounds (transparent is a tricky case). But the addition of elements is a different thing, but the general interpretation is that it qualifies as imitation (examples from HK). If you add a thick border around a, say, US flag, isn't that a US flag anymore? Also, there doesn't need to be "fraudulent intent with the use"; unawareness is mostly behind misuses, as far as I know. But for that I cannot find any US reference. (There is also unawareness of the fact here on Commons; I think we should act on the use of emblem here to signify e.g. medicine, i.e. to educate.) All these combined, it seems inevitable that there will be problem with legislation, as it differs from country to country. I don't see why we shouldn't include the tag in controversial cases: it is mostly intended for visitors outside the US, as can be seen here. --SaMi (talk) 18:21, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Actually, the trademark office eventually decided a red cross on a blue background was a different enough symbol that they allowed a separate trademark to be registered. They initially rejected it, but in the end allowed it (that is what that document is about). A border around a symbol doesn't necessarily change it, unless it appears to be an integral part of the symbol itself, and thus different. That is probably a "you know it when you see it" kind of thing. I would be borderline on the German road sign below, but the ones with a thick red circle around it is a different symbol to me. A "colorable imitation", per 15 U.S.C. § 1127, means to be likely to cause confusion or mistake or to deceive. I agree that the purpose is to protect the helpers of the wounded on the battlefield, and the use there is a very distinctive symbol -- red cross on a white (usually square) background with no other elements. Using it as an organization's logo would also be rather different than using it, say, on an "add" button in a computer interface, particularly when there are variations (typically not a white background, which is why transparent backgrounds are very tricky). I would therefore limit the use of that tag to images where it is likely to cause a mistake. Not the ones with a similar-width red circle around it, or others where most uses would result in no confusion with the distinctive Red Cross symbol. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:51, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
It seems like a good compromise. I was actually talking about the same thing with the trademark office decision, but maybe my choice of words was... tricky. So it seems a cross with different background is not an "imitation" by the law. The thing about the roadsigns is a special case. GCI: Art. 44. -- As an exceptional measure, in conformity with national legislation and with the express permission of one of the National Red Cross (Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun) Societies, the emblem of the Convention may be employed in time of peace to identify vehicles used as ambulances and to mark the position of aid stations exclusively assigned to the purpose of giving free treatment to the wounded or sick. That roadsign is used to mark public hospitals providing free emergency treatment in at least Germany and the Nordic countries. It is legal in those countries to use it like that, the US law can well be interpreted not to allow that. I really don't know what to do with that, but I hope these signs could be retained. To avoid confusion, I would suggest that recolouring is the best option for crosses with border, if possible. But if an image is clearly seen as being allowed by the US law, it should be retained. For the rest of the world, the tag should be there, however. I don't see any problem in adding the tags "just in case". If you disagree, please give a good reason for that.
Btw, the wording of the law is interesting. In the first part, the symbol we are talking about is named "the sign of the Red Cross" and in the latter part just "the Greek red cross on a white ground". So that seems like a different thing. According to that interpretation, it is totally allowed to use the sign in articles about the Red Cross (organisation) if there is no "fradulent purpose". But on the other hand, in other cases the use of just the Greek red cross (symbol) would not be permissible for any purpose. --SaMi (talk) 22:46, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, these hospitals certainly do not exclusively offer free treatment. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 22:53, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, sometimes that is the case in Finland as well, but here the law is much stricter, so it would be unlegal. The German law on the emblem use is a bit vague on who is authorised to use them: (1) Ordnungswidrig handelt, wer unbefugt das Wahrzeichen des roten Kreuzes auf weißem Grund -- benutzt (OWiG § 125). I don't absolutely know where it refers to in that legislation, the only thing I know is how it is internationally codified. --SaMi (talk) 00:01, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
The first part is mainly about wearing such a symbol to impersonate a Red Cross employee; it really has little bearing on possibile uses on Wikimedia. But even for the second part, placing them on a Wikipedia article for discussion is not a "use"; there at least needs to be symbolic meaning behind where it is placed for that. And in most cases, many of the images are easily distinguishable from the symbol (by adding other elements), and probably would not be a violation at all (i.e. they are not likely to cause confusion). I'm not suggesting deleting any image; I was discussing which ones to put the tag on. That said, if changing some of the icons to be further away from the Red Cross can be done without real loss of what it is trying to connote, that would probably be good. [Side note... I don't think the U.S. uses road signs with that symbol; a blue sign with a white "H" is the usual symbol for hospital.] Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:26, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
The US law would not allow hospitals to use the emblem; here it is used on public hospitals (not private). The first part is also about displaying, and that is what hosting the files here is (I'd assume). Do you categorise putting it to illustrate "Medicine", "Nursing" or "Injury" etc. on Wikipedia (look at e.g. uses of File:Cruz Roja.svg) to be of "symboling meaning"? I still think all kind of displaying the emblem is "use": look at some image here and it will say "The following other wikis use this file: ...". Where I think the border should be drawn between an emblem and a non-emblem is whether it is (1) a Greek cross (all arms of equal length), (2) red and (3) on a white background (this could exclude all images, where the red is next to any other colour than white at any point). All these should be "used" to illustrate only the allowed cases, and not for any other purpose. But the tag should still be in all images that have a Greek red cross. For the good of users from other countries, to be aware while using the image. --SaMi (talk) 20:58, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
The first part of the law bars someone who "displays the sign of the Red Cross or any insignia colored in imitation thereof for the fraudulent purpose of inducing the belief that he is a member of or an agent for the American National Red Cross". Not just any display, a display for that particular purpose. It really has no bearing on Wikimedia's use. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:31, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I was just mainly commenting on the two different meanings of the emblem. It is an organisational symbol and a protective emblem, and these distinct uses come straight from the Conventions. The impression I get from the law is that using the sign to illustrate the ARC without a fradulent purpose would be more acceptable than using it otherwise. Anyhow, that's my interpretation and is not so significant for commons. It seems you ignored some of my post; I'm trying to come to a conclusion with this. --SaMi (talk) 19:29, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
It would be quite absurd to ban traffic signs like Zeichen 358 - Erste Hilfe, StVO 1992.svg. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 20:40, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes it definitely would! But I don't see any reason for that. The Geneva Conventions make possible for states to allow marking hospitals/aid stations with the emblem in the peace time, given is a strict condition: to be able to use the sign the aid given has to be exclusively free. But as the government and law allows that sign, and the warning sign is included, there shouldn't be any problems. --SaMi (talk) 18:21, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

It seems there has not been much interest on the topic lately, but that doesn't mean this problem would be solved in any way. I try to work more on this as soon as I have a bit free time. --SaMi (talk) 18:37, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Licensing in Algeria link

Link to country-specific laws - Algeria has expired: link Kudlaczov (talk) 14:08, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe a link to the relevant text in the WIPO CLEA can help out, --Martin H. (talk) 17:26, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

La isla de México en el siglo XVI


According to this discussion, it seems that those two images must be deleted : File:Tenoch2A.jpg and File:La isla de México en el siglo XVI (Luis Covarrubias).JPG.

El ComandanteSkull and crossbones.svgHasta ∞ 18:46, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Recopyrighted works from Argentina

I have a slew of scientific drawings published in 1945 by the Museo de la Plata in Argentina that I was hoping to put on Commons. In Argentina these drawings became public domain on January 1996. However, in 1997, Argentina passed a law attempting to "recopyright" these works:
"Las obras que se encontraren bajo el dominio público, sin que hubiesen transcurrido los términos de protección previstos en esta ley, volverán automáticamente al dominio privado, sin perjuicio de los derechos que hubieran adquirido terceros sobre las reproducciones de esas obras hechas durante el lapso en que las mismas estuvieron bajo el dominio público."
This basically translates as:
"Works which have passed into the public domain, but which meet the terms of protection under this law [extending copyright to 70 years], automatically become private domain, without prejudice to the rights that others have acquired over the reproductions of those works made during the period when they were in the public domain."
Anyone have any ideas or opinions on whether such a law is valid or enforceable? What if I found someone who photocopied the drawings in 1996? Would the photocopies be public domain? Would a 2010 scan of the 1996 photocopies be public domain? Anyone know any Argentinian copyright lawyers? Kaldari (talk) 19:54, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

No idea about Argentina specifically, but in general, uses made at the time they are PD are fine (you can't sue retroactively), and continued use of something started when the original was PD are usually treated more leniently (the U.S. calls them "reliance parties" for URAA-restored works). Any new uses, however, are usually fully subject to copyright law. And yes, plenty of countries do pass retroactive copyright laws, bringing old works back into protection (see the EU, for example). I have not looked for this case, but there are often a set of "transitional" regulations, often towards the end of the text of the law, which go over some of these questions. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:13, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Category:Blue screen of death

Hi, as you can see, we have a few images of the famous BSoD, most of which are tagged with {{PD-text}}. It seems perfectly fine for files such as File:BSOD-ACPI-Vista.PNG, with very short, meaningless text; but others, like File:Windows XP BSOD.png, contain much more text, readable by humans, and seem eligible for copyright protection. What do you people think? Where do we draw the line? –Tryphon 12:00, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Error messages are deterministic in nature and do not have any creative input. They are because they are. To me they are not copyrightable at all and these files have survived deletions requests handily. -Nard the Bard 23:48, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
    • But they do have creative input, at the very least as much as a map does. Compare and contrast File:Windows XP BSOD.png with the Sad Mac, for instance. No two people would write even substantively the same message; give a class the assignment to translate a chunk of text of the same size, and you'll see far less variation, even though that's pretty clearly copyrightable.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:13, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure I follow your reasoning; how does deterministic equals lack of creativity? A movie is deterministic: every time you see it, it's exactly the same. A book is deterministic too. In fact, very few copyrightable items are non-deterministic. But the thing is, someone had to create them to begin with, therein lies the creativity; just like these error messages, someone had to write them at some point. If I were to write a program producing a drawing based on coordinates I hardcoded into the software, it would always spit out the same image and I would be the copyright holder of it (the matter would be different if the coordinates were random, generated each time by the program; in that case it would be non-deterministic, and probably non-copyrightable). –Tryphon 13:55, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

Does this logo qualify for copyright?

Since in Columbia works of the government are copyrighted for 50 years, is File:Logo del Bicentenario de la Independencia de Colombia.svg copyrighted? I would not consider the logo to be merely "simple geometric shapes and text". Also look at Category:Logos for more that could be questionable. PleaseStand (talk) 01:18, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Obvious for me: yes, it is. --Martin H. (talk) 01:46, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Seems creative enough to merit copyright. NativeForeigner (talk) 05:29, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Tagged it as having no permission per above. Just so I can get a better idea of Commons standards, how about File:ACC-Logo-CMYK-Black-Base.png, File:Angry Planet Logol.jpg, and File:Anrceti1.jpg, just to pick a few? PleaseStand (talk) 07:16, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The first logo is no way simple in design or shape. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 07:29, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The second image is a copyvio. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 08:54, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Commons tries to follow the law; see w:Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices (and the links there) for U.S. Copyright Office standards. As a personal guess, File:Anrceti1.jpg may be arguable, although that is a Russian logo and they may have other standards. Of the other ones you list, I would think they are all copyrightable and should be deleted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:36, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Transferring Images from the Korean Wikipedia

I was writing and cleaning up articles on professional starcraft. I was looking into writing a new article about an Esports stadium in South Korea. I found an image over on the Korean Wikipedia tagged with a compatible CC license. The source is a Naver blog, but I somehow missed that. I then was going to sheepishly report the image I transferred (File:Herocenter.png) for copyvio after realizing this, but then I saw사용자:박승현/사진/저작권/아나님 which is a huge gallery of images that if truly freely licensed would be extremely useful for commons. At the top there is a notice which theoretically says that they are hence licensed under a CC license, but I'm not sure how that qualifies, and whether they would need to deal with OTRS. What do you guys think? If they seem fine for commons I'll transfer all of them, as there are tons of articles without images that could be filled in with these, but I'm not sure of their suitability at this point. NativeForeigner (talk) 03:08, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

The individual image description pages indicate that the images have been licensed under a CC-BY-SA licence, so I think they are suitable for transferring to the Commons using a tool such as CommonsHelper. The photographs look self-made, so I think it is all right to assume good faith and not require OTRS verification, though of course if you are able to get the user to send an e-mail to OTRS confirming that he or she took the images personally and is agreeable to licensing them under CC-BY-SA that would be great. There are a few images which feature large screens or TVs with images on them. I don't know whether these would be considered as derivative images in breach of the copyrights in the programmes being shown on the screens, or whether the infringement is too minimal to be worth bothering about. Perhaps someone else can comment about this. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:20, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

I want to upload a animated version of the Ukrainian flag, Would like to know if pictures are really copyright free

... I think so but cause the last time I uploaded a picture I thaught was copyright free I got banned. So I would like to know is this one copyright free (it is if I understand the disclaimer on the same web page right), or this one (it is if I understand the disclaimer on the web site right) or this one (it is if I understand the disclaimer on the web site right). Please let me know which one I may upload and if not what can I do to make them up-loadable. — Mariah-Yulia • Talk to me! 08:53, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Neither of those sites seems to mention modification of the media. By "free" they almost certainly mean "free of charge". It is possible that the owners of some of the sites do not know what "free content" means. "" says "The animations and 3d animated gifs have either been presented with permission or assumed that no copyright or license exists.", which says nothing about any particular image (e.g. what is permitted). To me, the disclaimers are not enough to copy here anything copyrightable from those sites. --AVRS (talk) 14:33, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
It's been said already in the deletion discussion of the file from Commons:Deletion requests/File:3D animated flag Ukraine.gif. --AVRS (talk) 14:43, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
File:Ukraine animated flag.gif. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 05:36, 15 April 2010 (UTC)


This photo, which I uploaded for the page on Seymour Siegel, comes from an old Oct 6, 1972, copy of Life Magazine, in the letters to the editor section. There is no note about copyright for the photo in particular, although I imagine the original content in the magazine, like articles, are copyright. Siegel died in 1988, and I don't think Life Magazine exists any more. The photo looks like a personal photo, not a professional one, but of course, I cannot be sure. Because it was printed so long ago (1972) without a specific note about copyright, is it allowable to use this photo on the Seymour Siegel article? Floridarabbi (talk) 16:32, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

There isn't enough evidence to tell whether the photograph is in the public domain in the USA yet as we do not know who the photographer was or whether he or she is still alive. I note that Siegel died in 1988; I'd say upload the image to the English Wikipedia and use it under a fair-use licence on the basis that it is not replaceable since it is no longer possible to take a fresh photograph of him and license it freely to Wikipedia. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:09, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
If Life Magazine can be considered the copyright owner, then the copyright notice on the magazine itself would suffice to cover the included photograph. If it was by another author, and the copyright was not transferred, then it would have probably needed its own copyright notice. But if we have no information at all on a non-Life source, then we probably shouldn't presume that there is a different copyright owner. Life is owned by Time, Inc., and the contents are still fully copyrighted. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


File:Blender OpenScreen 2.47.jpg is a screenshot of some GPL image-creating software that shows a picture created by the uploader and tagged as GFDL-with-relicense. Since the image shows the logos and other parts of the program itself, not just the drawing made by the uploader, should the entire work be tagged as GPL? I don't understand the permissions page on the software developer's website — they specifically mention their logo being GPL in the "What about the splash-screen and icons?" section of the page, but I'm not sure what to do here. Nyttend (talk) 04:42, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Eugh... that looks like a mess. The page you linked to says that "Usage of the Blender Logo is only GPL too when used within the context of screenshots of the GUI with or without splashscreen", but I don't think the GPL actually allows such a conditional release. The question is then whether that invalidates the license, or whether the Blender developers have accidentally fully GPLed their logo. I would generally assume the former, but there's some funny language in the GPLv3 section 7 (specifically, "If the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.") that just might imply the latter, assuming that it would hold up in court. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 02:09, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


Should this image be deleted? I don't see any problem that it is tagged as PD-textlogo.--Wcam (talk) 01:28, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

I agree, this looks like a textbook example of a {{PD-textlogo}}. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 01:44, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
I removed the {{no permission}} tag; {{PD-textlogo}} applies without a shadow of a doubt. –Tryphon 05:40, 16 April 2010 (UTC)


I would like to make some maps and I have certain concerns over copyright policy and its application to maps. If I took a copyrighted map and would make according to it my *own* map, would it be considered as violation of copyrights? For instance – original copyrighted map [[2]] and common‘s version [[3]] . It is very confusing, could anybody advise on situation?

Maps are generally considered to be subject to the same copyright rules as any other illustration; if you are making a derivative work, it must be based on a freely licensed map to be allowable on Commons. Powers (talk) 13:09, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
It seems that there is no yes/no anwers. See Commons_talk:Image_casebook#Re:_Maps and Commons_talk:Licensing/Archive_25#Map_data_and_copyright. --Pethrus (talk) 14:30, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, it seems to depend on just how the original is used to create the new. Tracing is, I believe, a no-no. It's safest to use a PD map as a source, or to use geographical datasets and construct a map from that. Powers (talk) 20:42, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Hey thanks for the clarification.

Bogotá pictures

Is the image File:Bogota legal.JPG, uploaded by Jumamuba 22 (talk · contribs), then added to the English Wikipedia by Jumamuba22 (note lack of space), in fact compliant with Commons policy and copyright or is it a copyvio? I ask this because Jumamuba (talk · contribs), who had repeatedly uploaded similar, infringing skyline pictures (no proper attribution or licensing) had created a sockpuppet, David1588 (talk · contribs), and I want to know whether deletion and/or suspicion that this new account is a sockpuppet is warranted. Note that one of the photographs in the above-mentioned image got a TinEye match, but please check Commons and the Spanish and English Wikipedias. PleaseStand (talk) 23:18, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Dubious Ownership Details

Hi there. On advice from the helpdesk, I reposting this request here (after originally posting it at the Village pump and getting no replies). I’ve been getting a little concerned about a few images being added to a gallery and I was hoping that someone with more experience on wikicommons might be able to look into it for me.

User:Medcroft has uploaded about 31 images to Mark 8 Landing Craft Tank, and has marked himself as the author and source of all of them (I think). However I’m starting to have my doubts. Aside from the fact that the images span a twenty-year period, several of them seem to have been taken directly from the web. From dealings with him on Wikipedia I’m aware that Medcroft actually served on two of these craft in the seventies, so I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the colour ones are his, but several others seem to have come from this website in particular.

File:L4061 (HMAV Audemer) 1.jpg, File:L4061 (HMAV Audemer) 2 - after modifications.jpg, File:L4128.jpg, File:L4073 (RASCV Ardennes).jpg, File:L4073 (RASCV Ardennes).jpg, are all on the various pages of the above site. They exactly match the image sizes (in pixels) of those images and look to me like exact copies. Most of them are also attributed to individuals. File L4128 had also previously been uploaded onto Wiki with the source details marked as unknown (it was therefore deleted)

File:L4074 2.jpg, File:L4074 2.jpg, File:L4164 1.jpg, File:L4164 2.jpg are also on the site, but are slightly smaller sizes on wikicommons. I suspect though that most of them have been cropped a little (on the above website they all have borders or are at angles). Given the similarity in the images (scratches, exposure etc…) I suspect they are just cropped versions.

File:HMS Counterguard (L4043).jpg is on this site where it appears with a copyright. I’m worried that on the commons version there appears to have been photoshopping in the top right corner (notice the horizontal line next to the black dot).

Medcroft and I have had what might be described as a ‘run-in’ on Wikipedia, mainly about the content of the article en:Mark 8 Landing Craft Tank. At the root of it there seems to be a genuine misunderstanding as to what Wiki is. Medcroft seems to think of the page as a personal webhost and was insistent about adding inappropriate, unsourced personal observations (see for example this edit or this warning to other users). Various users have tried to help and he seems to be getting better, but I’m worried that he might also misunderstand copyright and public domain matters on wikicommons as well. I’d be grateful if someone would be kind enough to have a look into this and give me a second opinion. I have asked Medcroft about the matter on his user page but haven’t received a reply (I’m not expecting one either I must admit).

Thanks in advance, Ranger Steve (talk) 20:16, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

If you have cogent reasons to suspect that the images are copyright violations, go ahead and nominate them for deletion if you haven't received a satisfactory response from the uploader on his talk page. — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:44, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

File:Map of Great Plains.svg

Speaking of maps, I found File:Map of Great Plains.svg today. It's listed as "own work, based on PD image from" but the image at that link is a PNG. The SVG map base had to come from somewhere, and I believe it's File:Map of USA without state names.svg, which is not licensed public domain. The two maps are identical except for the green area and red line of longitude on the derivative map.

See previous discussion of U.S. map licensing at Commons_talk:Licensing/Archive_21#Potentially_large_problem_with_licensing_--_multiple_levels_of_derivation.

Does the Great Plains map need to be deleted for having the wrong licensing?

-- Powers (talk) 20:42, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Not deleted; all the new changes are PD, which doesn't conflict with the licenses on the original. Just copy the old licenses over and note the changes.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:54, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
The base map (outlines) is most likely PD-USGov, when you read that discussion you linked to. The original map uploaded to en-wiki was just adding state names; that is the only part which was licensed. And a cc-by license was removed somehow leaving only cc-by-sa. I wouldn't worry about it much. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:22, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

File:America Black Vulture-Turkey Vulture-silhouettes fr.jpg

Somebody can tell me what I did wrong with the importation of this file? Thank you --Cephas (talk) 16:20, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

It appears the {{PD-author}} template does not work properly inside a {{self}} template. I replaced it with {{PD-author|author}}. There is some talk about other problems at Template talk:PD-author.
I found another way, below, but it seems clunky, maybe an expert could add helpful usage documentation?
{{PD-self|author=Example author|license={{PD-author|Example author}}}} produces:
Public domain This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Example author. This applies worldwide.
In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:
Example author grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

-84user (talk) 04:13, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

File:Tabriz avicenna 01.jpg

Are portraits created on tapestry copyrighted the same way as though it would be a painting? The file File:Tabriz avicenna 01.jpg is an example. Thanks. -- Deadstar (msg) 15:42, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, I think so. The person who created the design of the tapestry holds the copyright in it. — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:41, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely. That image is a problem, if there is no permission of the tapestry maker. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:23, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the input - I'll nominate it for deletion. -- Deadstar (msg) 08:06, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

File:Orson the Bear Polar.JPG

Is there any chance this is in the Public Domain ? (By the way I don't understand the insistance that this is a balloon, as looks more like a statue). Teofilo (talk) 19:45, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Not really. It looks like a balloon to me, though, one of the large inflatable character balloons.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:02, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Could be de minimis. And that is an inflatable figure, not a solid sculpture. And apparently that basic company mascot dates from 1902. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure about the de minimis point, as the inflatable figure is arguably not that "simple". Can't rely on freedom of panorama as in the US it applies only to buildings. — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:06, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

photo of out of copyright work.

I would like to upload this photo to use in an article. This is a photograph of a painting that was created in 1904 therefore putting the painting out of copyright. Is this a case of selecting the "a photograph of an out of copyright work is not considered eligible for copyright" license? I'm not sure of the exact license wording but I've seen it used before in this type of situation. --Brad101 (talk) 06:31, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, {{PD-Art}}. (Artist died 1906.) Regards, /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:41, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for that. What spurred my search for a new image of this ship was that an editor has called into question File:USS-President.jpg which carries the same license. Editor claims that Nick Clarke is still living. I have not been able to verify the status of Clarke. Searching google was no help. Did you have a source for determining if Clarke is still living? --Brad101 (talk) 08:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Looking at the history on the painting is confusing and concerning. It says the original uploader was "Artist.nickc at en.wikipedia", a user who apparently no longer exists. It was originally uploaded to Commons under the GFDL/CC-SA license, attributed to Artist.nickc at en.wikipedia. Which editor are you talk to? My best guess is that he is alive and uploaded the original work to WP. I've reverted the license to the old licenses; if it's wrong, they're still listed under free licenses, if it's right, we've been claiming the work of a living artist is PD.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:03, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes the whole history of that photo leaves the correct license at best a guessing game. The issue was raised here as I'm trying to pass the USS President article through the Featured Article process. --Brad101 (talk) 11:17, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Refine {{PD-US}} and {{PD-1923}}

Previously, I was under the assumption that publication was a must for pre-1923 material to be in the public domain. I now learned that pre-1923 registration of copyright also qualifies (Pirates and copyrights). Looking through the PD templates and their discussion pages, it seems clear to me that {{PD-US}} overlaps with several specific templates ({{PD-1923}}, {{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-1978-89}}, and {{PD-US-not renewed}}), and is oft misused (without proof of publication or registration, or of copyright expiry). I suggest we:

  1. deprecate {{PD-US}} and,
  2. change the wording of {{PD-1923}} and Commons:Licensing#United States to add "registration before 1923".

Thoughts? Jappalang (talk) 01:45, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Personally... feels like way too much trouble, and not much gain. Very few works were registered but not published, but yes that started the federal copyright clock the same as publication. Changing the text I could see, if it is a small change. Change "published" to "published or registered" or something like that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:41, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
"Very few works were registered but not published": Actually, from what I read of the Library of Congress's Catalog of Copyright Entries (such as Vol 15 and 16), there was a substantial number of registered but unpublished works, especially those of paintings (since exhibition does not constitute publishing, and a painting in sole existence cannot be published unless sold or has its rights transferred). Jappalang (talk) 02:19, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Copyright collision

Russian museum law is called "Федеральный закон Российской Федерации от 26 мая 1996 года N 54-ФЗ, О музейном фонде Российской Федерации и музеях в Российской Федерации". Russian museum law is more specific that Russian Civil codex, so it has more priority and wight. Article 36 states: "Производство изобразительной, печатной, сувенирной и другой тиражированной продукции и товаров народного потребления с использованием изображений музейных предметов и музейных коллекций, зданий музеев, объектов, расположенных на территориях музеев, а также с использованием их названий и символики осуществляется с разрешения дирекций музеев." Translation: "Production of artistic, printed, souvenir and other replicated products and consumer goods that use images of museum objects and museum collections, buildings, museums, sites located on the museum grounds, as well as using their names and symbols is carried out with the authorization of the museum." In this case a photo of museum building in Russia cannot be published under free CC license.--PereslavlFoto (talk) 10:19, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

The Russian Museum Law appears to be a non-copyright restriction. A person is not allowed to use images of museum objects and collections; buildings, museums and sites on museum grounds; and the names and symbols of museums on artistic, printed, souvenir and replicated products and consumer goods without authorization by the museum in question. But it does not appear to be a breach of copyright for a person to, say, photograph an object exhibited in a Russian museum. The photographer would own the copyright in the photograph (assuming that the object is not itself copyrighted), and would be fully entitled to license it to the Commons. Furthermore, Commons users would be entitled to download the photograph and use it for a variety of purposes without breaching copyright. If a user put the photograph on a T-shirt, that would violate the Russian Museum Law but it would not amount to a breach of copyright. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:45, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
So you mean we can put such photos under CC terms without any law violating, yes? The only trouble will appear if someone starts making some material goods of such photos? Thank you for the explanation.--PereslavlFoto (talk) 20:25, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that is my understanding of the Russian Museum Law based on the translation in your earlier message. You may want to create a template similar to {{personality}} to warn people that there may be restrictions on what they can do with the images, but that is just a courtesy warning. We cannot control what people do with images that are otherwise legally licensed to the Commons. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:25, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Deutsches Museum press service photos

On this page the en:Deutsches Museum offers photographs for the press, with the following notice:

"Rechte: Foto frei zur Veröffentlichung nur mit dem Vermerk: Foto: Deutsches Museum."


"Rights: Photo free for publication only with the notice: Photo: Deutsches Museum."

The collection includes a high-quality photo that would be excellent for en:Pigeon photographer. Does this notice somehow translate into a copyright licence that is acceptable for Commons, or is it not usable here? Hans Adler (talk) 13:00, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think so. The website's Impressum page also states:
Alle Inhalte, Bilder oder Grafiken sind urheberrechtlich geschützt und dürfen nur mit schriftlicher Genehmigung des jeweiligen Rechteinhabers verwendet werden.
Ausnahme: Die Verwendung von Bildern und Grafiken aus dem Internetangebot des Deutschen Museums ist natürlichen Personen für eigene wissenschaftliche und schulische Zwecke hiermit auch ohne schriftliche Genehmigung gestattet, sofern innerhalb einer wissenschaftlichen- / schulischen Arbeit nicht mehr als fünf (5) Bilder verwendet werden und diese erkennbar und zuordenbar mit einem Copyright-Vermerk "© Deutsches Museum" versehen sind. Rechte aus dieser Ausnahme sind jedoch nicht auf Dritte, auch nicht auf Arbeitgeber, Verlage etc., übertragbar. Von Vornherein nicht von dieser Ausnahme umfasst ist jede Verwendung von Inhalten, die in unseren Seiten mit einem fremden Copyright-Vermerk / © gekennzeichnet sind.
Das Zitierrecht bleibt bei Einhaltung der Voraussetzungen des § 51 UrhG natürlich offen.
Google Translate tells me that in English the above says something like this:
All content, pictures or graphics are copyright protected and may only be used with the written permission of the respective copyright owners.
Exception: A natural person may, without written permission, use images and graphics from the website of the Deutsches Museum for his or her own scientific and educational purposes, provided that within a scientific or academic work not more than five (5) images are used, and the images are identified [as belonging to the Deutsches Museum?] and labelled with the copyright notice "© Deutsches Museum". However, rights under this exception are not transferable to third parties, including employers, publishers, etc. Any use of content that is listed on our web pages with a foreign copyright notice (©) is not covered by this exemption.
Images may also be used in compliance with the requirements of § 51 UrhG. [?]
I think the notice makes it clear that use of the images is only for non-commercial purposes and a downloader may not assign the right to use the images to third parties. This is not compatible with the free licences that Commons images must be licensed under. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
As I read the passage you cited, it refers to use of images from the site in general. But these images are provided in a ZIP file, in very high resolution for download by journalists and use in publications. The only restriction is that they have to attribute them with "Foto: Deutsches Museum". It doesn't say you have to be a journalist to use the photos, it doesn't say you can't modify them or you can't sell them etc. It appears you just have to make sure they are not used without the requested attribution. The photos do come complete with written consent for using them, for example, in Wikipedia, so long as the caption includes that string. Thus the main problem is whether it's free enough for our purposes, and if so, what licence to use. (A related problem would be whether it would be required/allowed to translate the attribution for use in a different language.) Hans Adler (talk) 22:32, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Personally, I'm not sure the short statement "Foto frei zur Veröffentlichung nur mit dem Vermerk: Foto: Deutsches Museum" is a sufficiently clear licence releasing the images into the public domain subject only to attribution. Just because an image is in a press pack does not mean that it has been freely licensed for all purposes. For instance, it could be argued that "photograph free for publication" does not mean that a person can modify the image and publish the modified image instead (and images uploaded to the Commons must be freely manipulable). I suggest you contact the Deutsches Museum's Head of Press and Public Relations, Bernhard Weidemann, at and ask him whether the images may be downloaded for subsequent modification and commercial use. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:39, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. That makes sense. Hans Adler (talk) 17:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Stamps copyright

Hello, I'm trying to figure out whether I can upload stamps from North Korea and Peru respectively. The two countries are not listed on Stamps/Public_domain. Can anyone tell me what I might do? Apdency (talk) 18:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

You will need to find out what the copyright law or other relevant laws in North Korea and Peru are. Peru is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization, so you can look up the relevant laws here. I don't see North Korean laws on that website, I'm afraid. In both cases, you may want to try asking for help on the talk pages of the English Wikipedia's WikiProject Korea and WikiProject Peru, and perhaps at the Village Pump of the Korean Wikipedia and Spanish Wikipedia. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:51, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Apdency (talk) 10:38, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


I have just discovered Worldwind, as recommended on Commons:Free media resources/Map. All the information published here and here assures me that Worldwind images are public domain. When I ran the map viewer today it has a layer marked "MS Virtual Earth". Sounds suspiciously like Bing maps to me, in which case not PD. Can someone confirm whether or not this layer is copyrighted? Thanks Cnbrb (talk) 08:27, 21 April 2010 (UTC) says: Please note this imagery is owned by Microsoft (MSFT) and may only be used for non-commercial purposes. Any other use must be coordinated with the Microsoft Virtual Earth team. All imagery obtained using this plug-in is copyrighted and may not be redistributed in any form. /Ö 09:05, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Note also that the images in the "ZoomIt!" layer may or may not be PD. Powers (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
WorldWind is a NASA project, but I believe can be targeted to different image datasets. Most of the (original) images were from NASA, USGS or other US Government agencies I think, but it looks like it can point to others, and the MS Virtual Earth images are probably not PD. See w:NASA World Wind#Datasets_available. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks folks. Worldwind came with the Virtual Earth option already installed so I reckon there's a danger of other users thinking it's part of the NASA package and OK to use on Commons. Could someone update the commons documentation to explain this? I think it's a bit misleading at the moment. I was all excited thinking I had found satellite views of cities in the public domain, but they don't seem to exist. Cnbrb (talk) 08:02, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
I've taken a stab at updating the linked page. Powers (talk) 15:50, 22 April 2010 (UTC)


This file is marked as copyright protected on de.wp (wikipedia:de:Datei:GloriaBass1.png).-- 15:42, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Illegal Pictures

Some pictures of German electronic music artist Jan Jelinek have been uploaded to Wikipedia. The have even been given a CC license. This is to inform you that Jan Jelinek has never granted his permission to the photographer to publish and distribute the pictures on the internet. Neither in FlickR nor in Wikpedia. The pictures therefore violate Jan Jelinek´s personality rights and should be instantly removed. Press pictures of Jan Jelinek can be obtained from the German Wikipedia article or from Jan Jelinek directly at ( 14:01, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps if you were to link the offending images, we might be able to provide some assistance. Also, you need not spam the same message to multiple locations; one notification is sufficient. Powers (talk) 14:10, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
It's likely about the ones in Category:Jan Jelinek. However, it seems they were taken at a Festival in Vancouver. --Túrelio (talk) 14:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
If these pictures where taken at a public show, by someone else than him, Jan Jelinek cannot forbid the publication of the pictures. --GaAs11671 14:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Just FYI, the available other photo of Jelinek is over at :de, de:Datei:Jan jelinek serie4 3.jpg, though it still needs permission clearance. --Túrelio (talk) 14:24, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I was not forbidding anything. Jan Jelinek simply does not want unauthorised pictures of him to freely float around the net. Please respect his personality rights. Proper press picures can be obtained if needed. BTW. In Germany publishing pictures like this even taken during a concert is violating personality rights and therefore illegal. And: The picture in the German article comes from JJ. It was given to me for uploading yesterday.-- 14:29, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
@, as you are obviously not Jelinek, he himself should send a short take-down request to, without any formalities, but identifying himself and either in English, German or any other major language. --Túrelio (talk) 14:31, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for being so helpful and unbureaucratic;-) He asked me about this favour to take care of this since I have an account in the German Wikipedia and are a bit more familiar with the procedures there. What in the world do you want? He gave me an authorised picture and I uploaded it. All he is asking is to substitute it for the other which he doesn´t like and want to be used. Please see also German discussion page where he uttered the same request on 24. Okt. 2009 (CEST). Why does someone who doesn´t want to have anything to with Wikipedia have to beg you on his knees for respecting his personality rights? He´s not a big figure of public interest. Simply respect a small wish for privacy and take the authorised picture which can be used without objection on the internet and let it be done with this.-- 14:42, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
P.S. If in doubt you can of course contact him and verify his request under info(at) (faitiche is the name of Jan´s label (see under contact). It´s Wikipedia which wants to make use of his image, not the other way round.-- 14:52, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
What's so complicated in sending a simple email? If you think we are bureaucratic, you likely never requested the same from Picasa, there you see what is bureaucratic.

For the others: the direct request by the depicted, as mentioned by the IP, is here. --Túrelio (talk) 14:58, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I've filed regular DRs: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Jan Jelinek2.jpg and Commons:Deletion requests/File:Jan Jelinek.jpg. --Túrelio (talk) 15:08, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

(ec) What exactly in German law would prevent these images from being published? Personality rights protect dignity and privacy, but these images are neither humiliating nor an intrusion of his privacy (it was a public event). Besides, arguing that there is a replacement provided by the subject doesn't solve everything; what kind of encyclopedia would rely only on material provided by interested parties for its articles? –Tryphon 14:59, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Furthermore, the images were taken in Canada, and I believe Flickr is American, so German law would not apply here. Even if Mr Jelinek were to request a takedown, I would send this to DR rather than speedy - a festival is a public place, and so it's reasonable to expect photos to be taken. -mattbuck (Talk) 15:04, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) @Tryphon, in Germany every non-public person has rather strong rights over her/his own image, as elaborated on de:Recht am eigenen Bild (German, only). As to my knowledge, that is quite different to other countries, especially to the US. However, the event where the 2 images in questions were taken, was likely a public event, a festival. Therefore, legal problems might only exist for the use on :de. But as there is a replacement, a courtesy deletion would be o.k., IMHO. --Túrelio (talk) 15:08, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Thanks for the pointer; although I'm still not convinced these images would be illegal, even under the more restrictive German law. But as mattbuck pointed out, German law is probably not even relevant in this case. I'll comment on the DRs. –Tryphon 15:18, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Dear Tryphon The law in question is called Recht am eigenen Bild. There is an article about it in the German Wikipedia. It´s not up for anyone else to decide what someone finds offending or humiliating or simply doesn´t want to be published. The German term is "Informationelle Selbstbestimmung". Besides: Who needs a picture anyway. Jan certainly doesn´t want a picture in the article at all! All he is asking you is to be polite and take one that he feels comfortable with. Or do you seriously think that the one in question provides such vital and valuable information about him that it is of such importance for the article that it can´t be replaced. The press picture was a sign of good will, an offer. What´s so damn difficult about being polite and respect a simple wish: Please do not float the net with someone´s pictures who does not want that. Jan Jelinek is a living person who has all the right in the world to keep at least a little control of his image. And if an image is really desired please take at least one that is authorised. This is an enzyclopedia for heaven´s sake and not The Sun..-- 15:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

As said above, German law doesn't apply in this case. And yes, I think the other images are much more valuable. They show him performing his work, what he is known for. The low resolution press picture on the other hand looks completely artificial. –Tryphon 15:22, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Great! As if German Law mattered on the internet. I was simply calling on your decency. Thanks for your kindness and respect of a culturally differnt understanding of this aprticular matter, Tryphon. I´m sure you are American?!! I hope that you will never encounter a situation where someon else can decide over your image and it´s usage in public.-- 15:31, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I'm Swiss, not that it's relevant here. You opened a thread called illegal pictures on a page about licensing issues, so don't be surprised if people reply using legal arguments. –Tryphon 15:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
See mattbuck and Tryphon, no legal reason here. Additional Commons is not the creator nor the original source of this image, its from flickr, see Bothering Commons with such request (maybe just because it actualy has a community that you can contact with such requests?) is a waste of time for all, it is nothing more because the removal of this image from Commons will actually have no effect on the availability of the image on the internet. Also the upload of an image to de.wikipedia (de:Jan Jelinek) doesnt give a reason to not offer different images of that person. --Martin H. (talk) 15:33, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Oh oH I am such an idiot (in my country it is illegal to spread pictures of someone else without his consent) ...sorry for "bothering". (I would have thought the only one who has a right to feel bothered is the person which can be seen on the image.) Anyway: Like I said: You´ve been very kind and helpful. Never mind.-- 15:43, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

One last word: Nothing against "taking" pictures for your own private use during a public event/concert in Canada, America or elsewhere. Jan only opposes against spreading them mindlessly on the internet. And of course it would help to reduce the number of copies floating around if Wikipedia took them off the site, since many people use the site for information and it´s quite likely that some download them and distribute them further.-- 16:05, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

We're not mindlessly spreading them, we're spreading them with the express purpose of educating people. As for downloading and spreading, yes, that's one of the main purposes of Commons. I generally agree that if we have a fair number of as good or better replacement images then deleting an image is not a big deal. But we at Commons do not currently, we have those two and no others. We don't mean to antagonise, but it seems reasonable that if you're some sort of famous person, people will take photos of you, and maybe post them on the internet - it comes with the territory. -mattbuck (Talk) 16:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes I see. Of course it´s only a matter of educating people, educating them what that oh-so famous Rockstar Jan Jelinek looks like in a maybe not overly flattering pose is surely more important than the vain and absurd wish for control over one´s images. Public interest is definitely a high value here. And it has absolutely nothing to do with a rather voyeuristic interest. Who gives a shit about personal feelings. Shouldn´t have become a musician if he didn´t want to see his stupid face on the internet. Like I said: These pics must be of such value to you that you are happy and willing to violate somebody´s personal rights (meaning: when it comes down to it you don´t give a damn about the depicted person´s feelings towards his "informational self-determination" - a concept that has a high standing in the society he lives in - well he does not live in the internet -, and the fact that this particular person would have in his own native country the right to legally "force" you to take the pics off the site). Now instead Wikipedia is forcing Jan Jelinek quite martially to deal with its terms and accept whatever it pleases to do - regardless. It´s a bit like being taken hostage. This picture must be of such utmost validity and importance to Wikipedia that not even the well-meant and friendly offer to replace it with one the depicted feels more comfortable with could change your mind or - to put it rather lyrically- could soften your heart and make you give in to a small private request of a humble begger - because that´s what you turn Jan Jelinek into: a petitioner. I understand that the pictures in question (which were taken without Jans permission and consent) are so indespensable and add so much content and grace to his article that showing simple politeness and respect by removing them from a popular platform is totally out of question. The fact that somebody has become a "some sort of famous person" apparently turns him into somebody you I am sure would not want to be: Someone who has forfeited his right to control his images in public. Appealing to courtesy and friendliness has never been an overly promising enterprise when addressed to an anonymous power. But well, Jan tried. Hope, noone of you ever becomes even a little bit famous. You might end up finding your picture in Wikipedia showing you picking your nose or making a stupid face and people will tell you this is important information about you which is essential. You might not mean to antagonise or hurt, but I can assure you by keeping the pictures in question you do.-- 17:53, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Yes, the desire to control all pictures of one's self is vain and absurd. By being born, you have forfeited one's right to control your image in public; on day one, you form an image in a doctor's mind that you would probably rather erase. You didn't appeal to courtesy and friendliness; you started with legal threats and have degenerated to sarcasm.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:14, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Jeez, someone wants to give us free-licensed publicity shots to replace our crappy ones and we accuse them of being "vain and absurd"? That's a great way to build our PR. Kaldari (talk) 23:29, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
The choice of words wasn't mine, I was merely agreeing with the (sarcastically-intended) statements above. The primary thrust of the above has not been the giving of pictures; it has been removing the current ones that were generously uploaded to us, that you denigrate as crappy. Frankly, given where most of our valuable pictures have come from, I think dismissing the current pictures as crappy is much more costly to our PR where it counts.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Just to make this clear: I did NOT start with legal threats and never uttered any during the discussion: "This is to inform you that Jan Jelinek has never granted his permission to the photographer to publish and distribute the pictures on the internet. Neither in FlickR nor in Wikpedia. (That´s a fact.) The pictures therefore violate Jan Jelinek´s personality rights (I should have added: they violate Mr. Jelinek´s personality rights at least in the country where he happpens to live in) and should be (not must!) instantly removed. Press pictures of Jan Jelinek can be obtained from the German Wikipedia article or from Jan Jelinek directly at (" I cannot see a threat here. Yes, they were generously uploaded to you not by himself but by someone who by doing this was executing a power over him without his permission or consent, which actually happens to be illegal in the country of the artist´s origin. That´s the ruling concept in at least some part of the world outside the internet. I said it before: This is a question of manners and courtesy. And it is really starting to make me sick and angry how power over an individual is executed here by total strangers (which you all are to Jan Jelinek). What is happening now is that he gets degraded to a petitioner who must beg foreigners to respect his privacy. He feels - and I agree like probably most people in our society - it should have been Wikipedia´s (and the FlickR- guy´s) duty to ask for permission before publicly exposing this particular picture on the internet (that´s at least how things like this are handled in our culture). Since the internet works across national borders it´s obvious that national laws might not apply in the same way as they do in Germany and it would be naive to threat anyone with them. But I understand in this case your apparently voyeuristic publictity interest for Jan Jelinek stands higher than him feeling uncomfortable about being exposed in such a way. You inform him that he "by being born" (and since internet came into existance) he in your eyes has lost a right which he would naturally have in his home country. You´re making it a matter of principle, now you are creating a precedent. So, tough luck, Mr. Jelinek, grin and bear, it´s Wikipedia deciding, not you. As if your life depended on the picture. (BTW I am sure if you wanted more pics of him, he´ll be more than happy to give you some others than the one offered. Just check with Google there are more authorised pics.) I find that discussion actually scary. But it´s kinda easy and cheap to be unyielding when your life and feelings are not involved! Congratz;-)-- 06:59, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

You started by claiming that the images were illegal. We don't live in the middle ages; we no longer believe that the graphic image of a man gives me the power to work magic on him. Thus, having pictures of him is not power over him. He wants to have power over us, over how we can share the images that we see. He wants to define how others see him; he does not have that right. I don't know where this concept of "informational self-determination" comes from; if it does exist, I'd like to remove everything on the internet that depicts me as being less than the most charismatic person on Earth. In reality, I have to deal with people making an impression from what I've actually written, and would have to stop making public appearances to stop people from forming new impressions.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:37, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Again: It IS actually illegal (yes illegal) in the country where I live in! That´s a fact I cannot help. It is absolutely of no importance if you find that incomprehensible. Please respect that in some parts of the world this issue is seen differently from maybe where you live - period. I am sorry if this obviously stupid little word irritates you so much. But please try at least not to be so patronizing. This matter has nothing to do with voodoo or magic but with a valid legal concept that is as appropriate as an anglo-saxon one. See here de:Recht am eigenen Bild If you cannot read German maybe you have someone translate the article for you. (In Thailand people find it indecent to show the naked soles of their feet to others. Who are we to laugh about that? I am very sure I could dig up some idiosyncrasies in your culture, too, that are unexplicable to the rest of the world.) I referred to this German law not to threaten anyone but to explain that Jan´s request is rooted in a special cultural condition (excuse me if my English is not good enough to make myself understood). But I generally feel it´s not up to you to define which feeling a certain action or situation evokes in the individual who´s immediately affected is proper or not. It is - forgive me - none of your business to speculate about the legitimacy of somebody else´s feelings. I am not willing to endulge in useless philosophical arguments with you (or anyone else for that matter) about how clever this concept is or not. We will obviously not come to terms about this here and now so let´s spare ourselves the effort. You might think I am an annoying idiot - granted - or maybe that all Germans are backward idiots in general who live in the Middle Ages because they have a cultural peculiarity that makes them touchy about the use of their pictures in public (and here I mean actual pictures, photographs - not the virtual image. But I´d like to remind you: This is not about me here. I am speaking on behalf of a third person who has voiced a certain feeling of uneasiness that actually seems to concern him. He (not me) is asking you kindly to politely substitute the picture with another one. He offered a replacement for the picture in question. (and I am sure you can have more if that´s your wish). You are not asked to sell or give up any Wikipedia ideals. The picture illustrates what Jan Jelinek looks like and makes him identifiable if that´s the intention. You care so much about copyrights - protecting the rights of authors. All Jan is asking to consider his personality rights, the right of the depicted person- regardless of what you personally think about them. This picture can´t mean more to you than it means to him. Jan Jelinek does not belong to Wikipedia. Wikipedia only wants to inform about him (and not even this he does need). So it should be Wikipedia respecting him. Why on earth are you turning this into such a big deal? What´s the point in being so self-righteous about a picture that neither belongs to you nor depicts you. Don´t you have other problems? I saddens me to get the impression that appealing to someone´s courtesy is asking too much.-- 13:41, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Folks, this has gotten much too complicated and antagonistic. If Mr. Jelinek wishes the pictures to be taken down, he should send us a takedown request, and most likely we will do so as a courtesy, especially if appropriately licensed substitute images are available. Conversely, we have no reasonable way to know that a posting on here from an anonymous IP address accurately represents his wishes. Also to reiterate one thing that was said above: while we will most likely do this as a courtesy, the section header "illegal images" was, at best, misleading. There is no issue of illegality here, any more than there would be an issue of illegality in driving faster on the Autobahn than is legal on a North American freeway. - Jmabel ! talk 15:55, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Agreed, the proper way to handle this is to direct people to OTRS, not to get into arguments with them. Kaldari (talk) 19:19, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

The following text can be found here: [[4]] "In the U.S., publicity rights allow individuals to control how their voice, image or likeness is used for commercial purposes in public. These rights are relevant to any work that contains human subjects, such as photographs, audio or video interviews, plays, songs, and other spoken or visual content. When transmitting this sort of content, including the voices or images of anyone other than yourself, you may need to get permission from those individuals if you are using their voice or images for commercial purposes. This is a distinct and separate obligation from obtaining the copyright license for the works itself, which only gives you a license from the author (or photographer) but not from the subjects. A Creative Commons license does not waive or otherwise affect the publicity rights of subjects. Jurisdictions outside of the U.S. may have rights that are similar in effect to publicity and privacy rights. You may need to consider those other rights before using a CC licensed work that embodies a person's image, voice, or related spoken or visual content." May a native speaker please explain if this applies in the case discussed here? Is Wikimedia a "commercial purpose"? But even if not I get the impression that at least something similar to the mentioned "Voodoo" and medieval magic exists not only in Germany but also in the USA.-- 10:00, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

To notify re-users of this problem we have the warning-tag {{personality}} which is/should be added to all images showing only 1 person or a very small group of clearly identifiable people. --Túrelio (talk) 10:19, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Wikimedia is a non-profit, not a commercial organization. Even among commercial uses, I don't think this applies to stuff like encyclopedias or newspapers; it's all about using someone's face to sell something, from which they deserve their cut.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:52, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
No; those are typically in relation to advertising or promotional activities. Usage on Wikipedia and other educational sites would almost never get involved with those issues. They are not considered as a reason for deletion (they are not related to copyright); rather we make sure that Wikimedia's own use does not violate those laws. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:44, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Honestly, I am not convinced. This way of looking at it ("it's all about using someone's face to sell something, from which they deserve their cut") is just too capitalistic and American to my ears. Other cultures might see this in a different light. Wikimedia regulations state explicitely: "Jurisdictions outside of the U.S. may (sic!) have rights that are similar in effect to publicity and privacy rights." Similar to me means they might not be restricted to commercial purposes only. As a matter of fact some countries seem to view this from a wider scope.(Besides: As mentioned many times now: This is not a copyright issue if the photographer has given his permsission but an issue of [[5]]personality rights). So what does Wikimedia´s recommendation "You may (sic!) need to consider those other rights before using a CC licensed work that embodies a person's image" actually imply here? Are we considering these rights now or are we plainly denying them to Mr. Jelinek? We have been informed that one of "those laws" (the German "Recht am eigenen Bild" is actually concerned - I don´t want to say violated because that again might fuel this "legal or not legal-discussion"). Why should Wikipedia have a warning tag, if it was clear from the start that it is non-commercial and the issue was therefore obvious and unquestionable? I can´t help but get the impression that you all want to brush any doubts about the legitimacy off here. Frankly, "I don´t think" or "would almost never get involved" sounds very POVish to me. Is anyone here a legal expert on this matter who could clarify this for once and all or are these all layman´s opinions?-- 19:13, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

You want a legal opinion, hire a lawyer. If you need a legal opinion that applies directly to Wikimedia, you'll need to hire one that works in Florida, USA. This is not Wikipedia; whether or not Wikipedia has a warning tag is irrelevant here. This is the Wikimedia Commons, a collection of free media for many uses, particularly educational, and we note personality rights primarily for reusers outside the Wikimedia community. I can tell you positively that any attempt to prohibit all use of someone's image without their permission in the US would fall in a First Amendment challenge; freedom of the press is taken seriously here.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:01, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
We don't remove images because particular uses might be a problem in particular countries. The "free"ness is strictly related to copyright, so we follow that beyond fair use and normal bounds, but not other laws -- we will remove if Wikimedia's own use is a problem, taking into account U.S. law, and often where the photograph was taken/published. While yes, it appears Germany has a much stronger right to one's own image, that type of thing is often significantly limited when it comes to public personalities -- I would be surprised if they have a wholesale right to prevent publication and distribution in all contexts the way copyright does. The photograph in question however was not taken in Germany, but rather Canada, so if anything we would look at Canadian law. That is the effect of appearing in public in other countries -- you are subject to their law at that point, like it or not. Obviously, we have no particular desire to use a photo that the subject hates, most especially if there are other (properly-licensed) alternatives available (as we like to have *some*), and frequently respond to special requests on a case-by-case basis. Calling something "illegal" though from the outset is pretty strong, and is going to cause people to get their defenses up rather than really listening. Also note that deletion is a lot more extreme that simply not using it on a Wikipedia article; normally Commons likes to have as many photos of a subject as possible, so editors on various Wikipedias (which we do not control) can choose the one they like best. The quickest way to improve the image on the person's page would be to get a better photo (or several), with proper copyright permissions, uploaded to Commons, at which point Wikipedias can quickly switch. That is not always realistic (photographers would have to agree of course), but the issues can also be discussed on the talk pages of the wikipedia articles themselves. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:39, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Ganz ehrlich, ich bin es leid, mit Herrn Prosfilaes zu diskutieren und möchte ihm auch keine Gelegenheit mehr geben, sich wegen meiner Beiträge zu erhitzen, da er offensichtlich nicht bereit ist, unvoreingenommen und sachlich (und ohne chauvinistische Resentiments) zu argumentieren. Meine oben gestellte Frage ist durch ihn ohnehin nicht beantwortet worden: Offensichtlich stehen die beiden Projekte nun doch in einem Zusammenhang - sogar der Name impliziert das. Wenn nun Wikimedia Bildmaterial für Wikipedia zur Verfügung stellt (Ich verstehe das wie eine Art zentrales Bildarchiv) und in seinen internen Regeln und Empfehlungen ausdrücklich darauf hinweist, dass die nationalen Gepflogenheiten und Rechtslagen zu dessen Verwendung zumindest zu berücksichtigen sind, dann wird doch wohl die Frage berechtigt sein, warum Persönlichkeitsrechte zwar in Wikipedia - aber nicht in Wikimedia - ein Thema sind. Warum weist man in Wikipedia per Tag auf die Problematik hin, unterlässt dies aber auf der Seite, von der die Bilder großflächig auf die nationalen Seiten verteilt werden? Mir ist nicht klar, warum hier in der Diskussion die Anwendbarkeit oder wenigstens der Respekt vor von nationaler Rechtsprechung kategorisch verneint wird, während das zitierte Wikimedia-Regelwerk dies ausdrücklich nicht so sieht. Die englische Formulierung may need to consider drückt zumindest die Möglichkeit einer Berücksichtigung aus. Ich würde insofern schon gerne erfahren, warum diese im vorliegenden Fall garnicht in Betracht kommen soll.-- 22:01, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I find it quite offensive to change languages on the forum to try to exclude some people from the conversation. Worse yet, it's pointless; ever heard of Bablefish and Google Translate? As Clindberg points out, the national tradition that Commons would recognize here would be that of Canada, since that's the origin of the picture.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:20, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

In any case, as the poster says. "in Germany every non-public person has rather strong rights over her/his own image". A notable musician, with several album releases, who does public performances, is not a non-public person, is he? This is total bullshit and (although the term isn't quite right) copyfraud. Adam Cuerden (talk) 04:14, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Die Beschränkung auf non-public persons ist falsch. "Das Recht am eigenen Bild oder Bildnisrecht ist eine besondere Ausprägung des allgemeinen Persönlichkeitsrechts. Es besagt, dass JEDER Mensch grundsätzlich selbst darüber bestimmen darf, ob überhaupt und in welchem Zusammenhang Bilder von ihm veröffentlicht werden (§ 22 Satz 1 Kunsturheberrechtsgesetz (KUG/KunstUrhG)).

Dazu führte das Landgericht Frankfurt am Main in seinem Urteil vom 19. Januar 2006 (Az.: 2/03 O 468/05) aus: „Unter Bildnissen im Sinne des § 22 KUG versteht man die Darstellung einer natürlichen Person in einer für Dritte erkennbaren Weise. Zumeist ergibt sich die Erkennbarkeit aus der Abbildung der Gesichtszüge. Es genügt aber auch, wenn der Abgebildete – mag auch sein Gesicht kaum oder gar nicht zu erkennen sein – durch Merkmale, die sich aus dem Bild ergeben und die gerade ihm eigen sind, erkennbar ist oder seine Person durch den beigegebenen Text oder durch den Zusammenhang mit früheren Veröffentlichungen erkannt werden kann (vgl. BGH NJW 1979, 2205 – Fußballtorwart; Prinz/Peters, Medienrecht, Rz. 827). Nicht notwendig ist, dass der Abgebildete tatsächlich von bestimmten Personen erkannt wurde. Das Recht am eigenen Bild ist bereits dann verletzt, wenn der Abgebildete begründeten Anlass zu der Befürchtung hat, er könnte identifiziert werden. Nicht erforderlich ist, dass schon der flüchtige Betrachter den Abgebildeten auf dem Bild erkennen kann, es genügt die Erkennbarkeit durch einen mehr oder minder großen Bekanntenkreis (vgl. BGH NJW 1979, 2205 – Fußballtorwart; v. Strobl-Alberg in: Wenzel, Das Recht der Wort- und Bildberichterstattung, 5. Aufl., Kap. 7 Rz. 15). Entscheidend ist der Zweck des § 22 KUG, die Persönlichkeit davor zu schützen, gegen ihren Willen in Gestalt der Abbildung für andere verfügbar zu werden. Der besondere Rang des Anspruchs darauf, dass die Öffentlichkeit die Eigensphäre der Persönlichkeit und ihr Bedürfnis nach Anonymität respektiert, verlangt eine Einbeziehung auch solcher Fallgestaltungen in den Schutz dieser Vorschrift (vgl. Peters/Prinz, a.a.O.).“

Dies gibt die deutsche Rechtslage wieder. Es ist zwecklos, dies zu ignorieren, weil man der deutschen Sprache nicht mächtig ist. Es gibt Ausnahmen, welche sogenannte "Personen der Zeitgeschichte" betreffen. Jan Jelinek ist definitiv keine Person der Zeitgeschichte.

Um das zusammen zu fassen: 1. Wikimedia/Wikipedia schließt die Möglichkeit einer Berücksichtigung anderer als US-amerikanischer Jurisdiktion ausschließlich nicht aus. Das tun im vorliegenden Fall lediglich die an dieser Diskussion beteiligten User. 2. Der Fall betrifft nicht kanadisches Vervielfältigungsrecht, sondern deutsches Persönlichkeitsrecht. Der Hinweis auf den Ort, wo das Foto geschossen wurde, ist irrelevant. 3. Einige User haben zum Ausdruck gebracht, dass Jan Jelinek zwar einen persönlichen Löschantrag per Email einreichen könne, man aber diesem aber wahrscheinlich nicht stattgeben werde, da Wikimedia/-pedia mindestens ein halbes Dutzend Bilder zu jedem Thema sammeln möchte. Das könnte am Ende bedeuten, dass Jan Jelinek sich zwar dem Prozess unterzieht, freundlicherweise weitere Bilder freizugeben, man ihm im Gegenzug dafür aber noch eine lange Nase zeigt und keines der beanstandeten Bilder austauscht. Das wäre inakzeptabel. 4. Jan Jelinek hat den Upload weiterer von ihm autorisierten Fotos angeboten. Trotzdem wird so getan, als würde man wichtige Informationen aufgeben müssen - ja geradezu als würde man sich einer Zensur beugen -, wenn man die fraglichen Fotos austauscht.

Die Bilder im deutschen Wikipedia-Artikel stehen im Grunde kurz vor der Freigabe und Lizensierung durch Jan Jelinek. Es stellt sich jedoch angesichts dieser Diskussion die Frage, warum er sich überhaupt weiter dafür einsetzen sollte, dass die Fotos von Erik Weiss für die Wikimedia verfügbar werden, wenn von dieser Seite zu keinem Zeitpunkt ein gewisses freundliches Entgegenkommen signalisiert wurde. Wenn das Löschbegehren von Personen wie Prosfilaes bearbeitet wird, scheint es ja ohnehin zum Scheitern verurteilt. Möglicherweise endet die Sache so, dass die Bilder in Wikimedia verbleiben und in Zukunft auf eine Illustration des Artikels (nach deutschem Recht) verzichten muss.-- 07:51, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Dubious Ownership

Hi, I believe the image here: that is claimed to be the work of 'JPRW' is not and is owned by the Mail on Sunday, see here for evidence: I flag it here but do not know about licencing so if you examine the licence and feel that does not exempt the falsehood of claimed ownership then perhaps you will take this forward, please? I do not know how. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 20:28, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

I think you're right – it looks like the uploader has taken the image from the website you indicated. It is possible that the uploader, Jprw, is authorized to license the image to the Commons, so I've left a message on his or her talk page asking for verification of this. If no response is forthcoming, the image should be nominated for deletion. To do this, what you do is retrieve the image at the Commons (in this case, "File:Peter Hitchens in Iraq.jpg"), click on the "Nominate for deletion" link on the left panel, and follow the instructions. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:15, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Legality/Usability of photos from trainstations in Germany

On Commons:Forum#LA auf deutsche Bahnhoffotos (German-language village pump) a discussion has been started about whether photos taken in/on trainstations in Germany are still suitable for Commons as the formerly government-owned german railway company Deutsche Bahn claims rights and requests permission for any commercial use (a provision not compatible with Commons policy). Users with expertise are invited for comment. However, this is not a sort of voting. --Túrelio (talk) 07:45, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Germany has Freedom of Panorama. I don't see how they could actually legally enforce such a rule. Copyfraud? Adam Cuerden (talk) 04:16, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like a non-copyright restriction. If Deutsche Bahn (DB) owns train stations in Germany, it is within its rights to insist that, as a condition for entry on to its property, photography in train stations only take place under certain conditions. However, a person taking a photograph in a train station would own the copyright in the photograph and would be entitled to license it to the Commons. He or she would be acting in breach of DB's terms and there could be consequences (theoretically, I suppose DB could sue him or her for breach of contract if it could prove that it had incurred some monetary loss, and DB could presumably bar the photographer from entering its property), but that would be a matter between DB and the photographer and would not involve the Commons. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:47, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Question about copyright status

Can Paramount/New Line Cinema copyright or trademark this image of the Friday the 13th lettering? Ignoring all the people in the picture and just talking about the title, but I was curious if that fell under public domain since it's basic block lettering of the title. Isn't there something that says you cannot copyright such basic designs (e.g., you cannot trademark a simple circle)? Anyway, I was asking because it would be nice to be able to have a free image for Wikipedia for templates (or potential front page visits) that was easily identified as F13 without breaking any copyrights. Bignole (talk) 15:24, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Seems to be covered by Template:PD-textlogo. --h-stt !? 19:53, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Bignole (talk) 20:56, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

All rights reserved... but verified as CC?

The image here was verified by FlickrReviewR as licensed by cc-by-2.0, but the source says "All Rights Reserved". Could the original author have changed his/her mind at some point? Or am I missing something? – Keraunoscopia (talk) 21:59, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

That indeed seems like the most likely explanation. It happens sometimes. That's one of the main reason why we have the Flickr review system set up. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 22:37, 26 April 2010 (UTC)
Okay, and it turns out CC licenses are non-revocable, which I didn't know. Image information has been kindly updated by Martin H. (talk · contribs) – Keraunoscopia (talk) 00:36, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Copyright for a drawing made in 1930 by someone who died in 1979?

Hi all,

I would like to upload into Wikicommons to insert in a Wikipedia article, the scan of a drawing published in 1930 in a book from a publisher that disappeared in 1966. The author of the drawing died in 1979. How should I proceed?

Thank you very much,


Where was the book published? If anywhere but the U.S., it is probably still copyrighted. If in the U.S., then... it depends on if the book was renewed in 1957/1958 or not. The publisher may have sold their assets when they went bankrupt... Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Battle of Quebec image

I'm investigating the provenance of File:Canadian militiamen and British soldiers repulse the American assault at Sault-au-Matelot.jpg. The listed source page [6] is dead, but a search yields a page with a description of the image and its author. However, there is no substantive information documenting age, rights ownership, or copyright (crown or otherwise) of the image, and the site's contact page is broken. I'm dubious about the assertion made on the file page by the uploader that the artwork was created in 1775; I suspect the artwork to be a 20th century work. Suggestions welcome on how to deal with this; I'd hate to lose the image. Magic♪piano 22:05, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Well, I'm guessing that Allan Daniel is not the artist, since he seems to be a major collector of art. It's been around since at least 1977 (and ours is a little cropped on at least one side); see this cover art on Amazon. (If you're not convinced they're the same image, look at it on the Tineye search.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:15, 27 April 2010 (UTC)
Our library's copy of "Canada Invaded" (the book on Amazon) is missing the cover jacket, but inside includes the credit "Cover: 'The Fight at the Sault-au-Matelot', From a colour drawing by C. W. Jefferys". From that, I've found a more complete version of the image as the frontispiece of "The Father of British Canada, Vol. 12"; that copy includes Jefferys' signature. C. W. Jefferys is probably Charles William Jefferys (1869-1951), in which case it ought to be {{PD-Canada}}. --dave pape (talk) 19:01, 28 April 2010 (UTC)
The original page is still in the Google cache; the original image is also still on the site. The caption on the original page read: Canadian militiamen and British soldiers repulse the American assault at Sault-au-Matelot. This scene shows the climax of the assault by American general Arnold's column. Canadian militiamen (at left and right, wearing red caps) and British soldiers of 7th Regiment of Foot (Royal Fusiliers) (at right, wearing fur caps) defend a barricade at Sault-au-Matelot (in Quebec City's Lower Town) during the night of December 31, 1775. The defenders all wear warm winter clothing, in contrast to the attacking rebels, who suffered badly in the cold. Note the British officer with sword and pistol, wearing his crimson sash over his capot. Reconstruction by Allan Daniel. Not exactly sure what is up with the credit; nice work above finding the actual author. Would appear to be {{PD-1923}} for the U.S. and {{PD-Canada}} for country of origin, and thus fine to keep. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:26, 29 April 2010 (UTC)
Thank you all for your assistance; it's much appreciated. This was just what I needed. Magic♪piano 12:29, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

Acceptability question

Hi. I came across images copied from this website and wanted to know whether the site's statement at the top, While not being "good" photo's, they are good photo's of British Railways at work, taken at a moments notice when something good appeared. Please enjoy and feel free to use them in whatever way you wish constitutes PD, or at least Attribution in your opinions. My personal thought was no, but someone else disagreed so I decided to ask. -mattbuck (Talk) 09:54, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Sounds as free as {{WTFPL}}. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 10:03, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree with Pieter, though I'm not sure whether {{WTFPL}} applies (first time I've heard of this!) because the website owner did not specifically say that this licence applies to his photographs. It may be better just to use {{PD-author}} or {{PD-copyright holder}}. If you want to be extra sure, contact the website owner for confirmation, and send the conversation to OTRS. — Cheers, JackLee talk 10:32, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Works of the Japanese government

Aren't works created by the government of Japan automatically PD due to Chapter I, Section I of Japan's Copyright Law (Google Translated)? —Ed (talkcontribs) 07:58, 1 May 2010 (UTC) is the works not protected by Japanese copyright. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 08:43, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

File:Fred Roe 01.jpg

What is the status of this image? Given that the painter died in 1947, {{PD-UK-known}} would suggest it isn't in the public domain. I'm not familiar with U.K. copyright law, however, and wanted to ask here. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 11:20, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Add {{copyvio}} to the description page. --GaAs11671 11:55, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Does PD-art apply to reproductions of old mural paintings?

I refer to COM:ART:

the photograph can have no independent copyright as it is simply a faithful reproduction of an old, public domain, two-dimensional work of art

Does this apply to photographs of mural painting of Antiquity, like this one?

  • I ask the question because it doesn't sound as an evidence to me, the "2D thing" is not totally fullfiled (the original work was 2D, but time created a bit of 3rd dimension).
  • Sorry if the answer is somewhere in the Commons pages (but if not I think it should be added).

Thanks for your answers. --GaAs11671 15:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

I say this image is fine under PD-art, as the mural as such is flat and only the depiction of this is relevant. We get into a gray area with cave paintings on not flat surfaces, but here I see no problem. --h-stt !? 08:52, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Derivative of US Federal Govt. Maps.

I would appreciate help with choosing the right licence: Univ. of Austin, Perry Castaneda Map Collection offers large number of US Army maps, public domain. They ask to acknowledge them as a scan of the source. So far all clear. Now, I create a derivative map - cut a small piece, mark a place of interest, add a description. Now, is it correct to add it as "own work" with all the sources (original map number etc., Austin Uni as a scan source etc) duly listed? What would be the correct licence, the same as for original map (US Fed. Gov)? Or I'm simply not allowed to do so? Thanks in advance--Felis domestica (talk) 19:59, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

If it's public domain, you can do what you want. I don't think Commons has been big on seeing cropping as a copyrightable modification, but other changes would let you license under whatever license you felt like.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd say the rule to follow is "if in doubt, give all the details". In this case, you could just fill in the source as something like:
  • Original map by the U.S. Army (etc. details)
  • Scanned by University of Austin, Perry Castaneda Map Collection
  • Cropped and XXX label added by User:Felis domestica
For the license, if I were you I'd just use {{PD-USGov}} (or the appropriate subtype thereof), possibly together with {{PD-retouched-user|Felis domestica}} if you think your modifications might be eligible for a separate copyright. That's assuming you want to release the result as PD, that is — as Prosfilaes notes, if you take a PD work and make a derivative that's original enough to be eligible for copyright, you can legally license it any way you want. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 08:50, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Thank you both kindly. All the info about the origins I spelled earlier in as much detail as I was able :) but didn't want to run foul with licencing. I followed your advice --Felis domestica (talk) 12:35, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Creative Commons license without any version information

This issue was brought up in a Russian-language discussion about a recent deletion request.

Suppose an author states that a certain work is available under the "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike" license. However, the author does not state the version of the license (e.g. 3.0 or 2.5), does not state the jurisdiction (e.g. "unported" or "UK") and does not provide a url where the license text may be found. As a result, it is impossible to determine the precise license text under which the author intended to distribute the work.

Can such a work be uploaded to Commons? And if it can, what license should be used for it? --Tetromino (talk) 07:52, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

An interesting question. IANAL, but my guess would be that a court would probably not consider the missing version number to be a significant issue, given that the different versions are all substantially similar and that, despite this formal mistake, the author appears to have shown a clear intent to freely license their work and an understanding of what this implies. Still, that leaves open the question of what we should do with the files; Commons policy does often reject files that we could legally keep just fine.
However, I'd think that the simplest solution to this particular case would be just to contact the author and nicely ask them to specify a version number. One could even ask for a formal confirmation of permission via OTRS. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 08:40, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Author was contacted by Ctac on April 26 (see discussion in Russian Wikipedia) with request to clarify license, but AFAIK there's no reply yet. --M5 (talk) 10:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Official licensing policy of Fedora Project is: "A GPL or LGPL licensed package that lacks any statement of what version that it's licensed under in the source code/program output/accompanying docs is technically licensed under *any* version of the GPL or LGPL..."[7]. If code licensed without specific version is accepted into major Linux distributions, why we shouldn't do the same with content clearly licensed to CC-BY-SA? By the way, text of summary (license deed) for CC-BY-SA 1.0, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 is technically the same. It never hurts to ask author, but until we get a reply from him we should 1) Keep the images; 2) State in the image description that it was licensed to CC-BY-SA without specific version; 3) Keep {{cc-by-sa-3.0}} tag since this version is most relevant there. --M5 (talk) 10:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Нет, версии 1.0, 2.0, 2.5 и 3.0 отличаются. 1.0 не разрешает лицензирование производных произведений под более поздними вериями лицензии, версии до 3.0 не было международной версии, а предлагалась американская (=Generic), а вот уже с 3.0 появилась Unported. -- TarzanASG +1  13:27, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Translation of the above comment: "No, the 1.0, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 versions are different. 1.0 does not allow derivative works to be licensed under later versions of the license; before 3.0 there was no international version and the American (=Generic) variant was offered by default, but starting with 3.0 there is an Unported version."

My reply: I think that the lack of forward compatibility in 1.0 does not matter. On the Creative Commons website, the official page with the list of licenses does not show version numbers. If the author does not state the version number, shouldn't we assume that he meant whichever version of the license that was linked to from that page at the time when he published the work? (In this case, CC-BY-SA-3.0, since the photographs in the deletion request were taken in January 2010.) --Tetromino (talk) 15:49, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Вообще это, конечно, логично. Но меня смущает то, что это именно многоступенчатая логика, а не прямые факты. Нет факта разрешения использования по CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported, поэтому это большая опасность для Фонда Викимедиа. -- TarzanASG +1  16:00, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
If Fedora feels confident to follow that interpretation, then I suppose we probably could too. As it happens, we even already have an appropriate license template: {{cc-by-sa-1.0+}}. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 13:13, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Version actually matters for BY-SA if version is 2.0 or newer are foreword compatible and can be merged with any other version newer or equal to 2. Version 1 can only be combined with other version 1 images.See Commons:Collages#Combining_different_Creative_Commons_versions--IngerAlHaosului (talk) 05:22, 4 May 2010 (UTC)