Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 31

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LED images from company

User:Dshavit uploaded files from the and claims that he can release them into public domain. The hompage reservse all rights for any image on the site. -- 20:03, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Hrrm. On a couple of the uploads, he claims to be the owner of that company, and indeed a Daniel Shavit appears to be the owner, with some Google hits to that effect. The user did add the photos as galleries on some en-wiki articles he authored, and also added content to others, which like this one seem a bit too promotional , using one of his own published-elsewhere articles as a reference, possibly leaning towards his company's products, and including a bunch of links to his company's site. Most of that is an issue (if it is one) for en-wiki... for us, not necessarily a copyright violation, as there does seem to be a good chance that person does have sufficient rights to license the images. But, since these were published elsewhere first, we generally prefer to have an OTRS communication from that company to confirm that. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:35, 5 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm speaking to him on his talk page about sending an email to OTRS. Huntster (t @ c) 00:09, 6 December 2010 (UTC)

File:Meta Checkuser.svg

Why is File:Meta Checkuser.svg tagged as copyrighted if it is composed of public domain and other free-use elements? -- Avi (talk) 05:32, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikimedia retains copyright for the official logos of its projects, although for some reason File:Wikimedia Community Logo.svg does not indicate this. Interestingly, the 35px variant says both "public domain" and "all rights reserved", which can't be right. According to meta:Logo the community logo is public domain, though. Jafeluv (talk) 05:44, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Wikimedia may want to retain copyright, but if a logo consists of non-copyrighted/-able elements combined in a trivial way, then Wikipedia is not able to retain it. No more than enterprises with PD-textlogo logos. Here the situation is unclear as history about creator and derived works is documented badly, probably with some steps wrongly attributed (which really is bad - WMF should be a good example). --LPfi (talk) 10:09, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
The logo was created by User:WarX. Looking at the first version, it seems the creator did release it into the public domain. So meta:Logo would be correct in saying that the logo is PD and not copyrighted by the WMF. The derivatives should probably be changed accordingly. Jafeluv (talk) 10:24, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, except for the fact that the magnifying glass is LGPL. So the derivative image is also LGPL. Why people don't use the PD Tango icons for derivatives, I don't understand. Kaldari (talk) 18:34, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Copyright status of Wingdings?

Wingding character code 77

I believe the subject would be a copyright violation. The image seems to me an artistic creation—a rendering of a petard bomb. When I accessed the referred page (source), it struck my mind that Christgau was using Wingdings for his icons, and I was right. This icon is character code 77 of Wingdings. It certainly is not text, and it is not a simple shape; there is what I think artistic choice in presentation.

"Typeface" refers to the "features by which a character's design is recognized", by which a character is a "smallest component of written language that has semantic value".[1] The bomb symbol, having no "semantic value", does not qualify as text. The same goes for the Windows logo (character code 255). Wingdings are in my view a collection of icons and glyphs (some in the public domain from age or simplicity, some copyrighted).

Would I be right to mark this to be speedy deleted? Jappalang (talk) 05:59, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

I wouldn't mark it to be speedy deleted. It's not a typeface, and I don't think it's simple enough to be PD, but I think it could be argued. However, there's literally thousands of uses on Wikimedia servers, and surely we can replace it with another black and white drawing of a bomb; maybe take File:Bomb icon.svg and turn into a B&W png and upload it over this file. Or someone with artistic talent could create one for us.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:28, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Given that Commons:Deletion requests/File:RIT Observatory.gif was closed as keep, I don't see how this bomb image doesn't also qualify for PD-ineligible. Powers (talk) 20:07, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I wouldn't agree with Commons:Deletion requests/File:RIT Observatory.gif or Commons:Deletion requests/File:Croton Dam Muskegon River Dscn1100 cropped.jpg, but I suppose that shows it shouldn't be speedy deleted. In any case, given that it has thousands of uses on the various projects, and many are connected only to the bomb sense, that it should be replaced with File:Rating-Christgau-dud-replacement.png rather then be deleted if it's found to be a copyright infringement.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:30, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
We really are stretching the definition of PD-ineligible these days, IMO. We might as well say "If it looks like a logo, it's PD-ineligible" since that is the de fecto standard. Kaldari (talk) 00:58, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
Oof, the RIT logo wasn't a good keep, in my opinion. This one is actually closer... that has been a symbol for a while, and I believe the Wingdings version was patterned after the old Mac bomb icon. The bomb part itself is a pretty common symbol, and the basic arrangement isn't really original either... I'd say as long as it isn't a direct copy, it's probably OK. But, this one does seem to be a direct copy. Should be easy for someone to recreate though in a way which isn't a copy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:46, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd renominate it, but I fear it'd just have the same result. Powers (talk) 14:26, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I'd most certainly support if renom'd. Like Kaldari, I believe Commons interprets PD-ineligible too broadly. In a case like this bomb graphic, if an unquestioningly free version is available (and it now is), there's no reason to keep this very possibly unfree image. Huntster (t @ c) 03:17, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Done; please comment there. Thanks! Powers (talk) 16:47, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, the original Mac bomb icon was created by Susan Kare in 1983.[2] I am quite certain the Mac OS (and hence its components) were copyrighted and renewed. The Wingdings icons have been licensed by Microsoft as well. Jappalang (talk) 03:10, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
That was a 32x32 bitmap... this icon is almost certainly just a different expression of the same idea (not a straight copy), which is what I was getting at. I don't think the basic arrangement is copyrightable, as it is pretty common, so it should be easy for someone to draw their own fuse and lines. Straight copies however really can't be defended. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:57, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
I do not think it is good process to upload a valid file over a copyright violation (unless an administrator is readily on hand to quickly delete those problematic earlier versions). See Commons:Administrators' noticeboard#Copyrighted versions in File:Anthony Kennedy Official.jpg. Jappalang (talk) 03:10, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Is rendering of Chinese character (unicode U+7206) copyrighted? It's not a letter, it is rather complex, font authors can introduce some creativity in it. But no, it is still not copyrighted, because 1) it is included as a character in a font; 2) it is recognizable by Chinese speakers as an ideogram, i.e. graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept. The bomb symbol in Wingdings, or in any font which has unicode character U+1F4A3 (see [3]), is an ideogram too, and it is not copyrighted by the same reasons: it is included as symbol in fonts, it is universally recognizable as an ideogram with semantic meaning (yes, it has semantic value, and it is similar to those of Chinese character 爆 - both mean "bomb"). The bomb symbol is a valid typeface character and is recognized as such by Unicode, therefore its rendering in any font is ineligible for copyright protection. --M5 (talk) 21:43, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Technically, Chinese Kanji characters are logograms, not ideograms, i.e. they correspond to words (typically) rather than ideas per se. This makes them an integral part of the language, rather than just a symbol, as the bomb is. At least that's my take on it. Kaldari (talk) 21:57, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
The bomb symbol is not a character used in writing a language, which is the distinction I think the US copyright office would use. 爆 is a character used in writing a language, and has the pronunciation bào in Mandarin. If I were reading a text with 💣 (the Unicode bomb symbol) in it, I'd have to stop and treat it as a graphic insertion, not text. More over, that symbol was added to Unicode as part of a huge bunch of graphical symbols; does the fact that U+1F428 is a koala mean that every black and white picture of a koala is a character. I invite people to take a look at , the body of symbols added to Unicode for compatibility with cell phones that include this bomb symbol, and think about where this logic would lead. --Prosfilaes (talk) 22:09, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
爆 does not mean "bomb"; it means explode (explosion being 爆炸). 炸弹 is Chinese for bomb. Jappalang (talk) 08:35, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Wow, I had no idea there was a Unicode character for "Mochi balls on skewer" (1F361), that must be a really popular one :) Kaldari (talk) 22:28, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Well, it can be popular in Japan. Japanese put emoji characters (which is where most characters of U1F300.pdf come from) in lines of text in emails, treating them as any other characters. --M5 (talk) 23:31, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
"does the fact that U+1F428 is a koala mean that every black and white picture of a koala is a character?" is not a valid argument: if I make a black and white drawing of the letter "A" that would be my copyrighted work, if I put letters and other symbols, generally recognizable as typeset characters, in a font and license it to someone, the font would be my copyrighted work, but I would not hold any copyright on works printed with the font. If MS Word substitutes ":-)" smiley faces in my document to "☺" in Wingdings does not mean that Microsoft holds any copyright on such document. US copyright law treats fonts as computer programs, so if I bought MS Office, I can legally use programs "winword.exe" and "wingdings.ttf" to create any works, which would be copyrighted by me and not by Microsoft, including an essay about how I learned to stop worrying and ♥ the Rating-Christgau-dud.png. --M5 (talk) 23:31, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Well played. Kaldari (talk) 23:58, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
If you make a black and white drawing of the letter "A", in the United States, no you would not own copyright unless the graphic included other creative content unrelated to the shape of the letter. It is still typeface, which the U.S. does not consider copyrightable (and yes, that includes all chinese characters, chinese calligraphy, etc.). This may not hold in every country, but it does in the U.S. If you make a font, yes, you own a copyright on the computer program that makes up the font. If you make a font the way they were done prior to computers... then no, there is no copyright. There is likely an implied license to use such graphics in many many contexts, as a result of using the font, but I'm not sure it extends to copying out as a graphic. If you make an MS Office document which uses these characters, yes that is fine but when you send that document to somebody else, it will be displayed with *different* fonts that the other user has on their computer, presumably licensed, which can quite possibly have slightly different graphics. Would the fact that this symbol is now in Unicode make all representations of it uncopyrightable? Not as sure about that. If you notice, the graphic in that Unicode document is slightly different than the one we have here. That is all we really need to do to avoid any issue I think; just redraw the same basic symbol so that it is not a direct copy. This would be an example of a very "thin" copyright, where even slight differences mean the specific, copyrightable expression in the original is no longer there. But yes, nicely played with the graphics ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:00, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
If I make a drawing of a letter it would not be typeface, because typeface implies typography and script is not a typeface, see my reply below. As for sending the document, let's say I make a number of printed copies of it and sell them. Would it be legal to sell prints of my work which uses Windings characters? As for relevance of Unicode also please see my reply below. --M5 (talk) 23:03, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Does that mean that making up a font consisting of this kind of images (medieval leading character) would make all of them free to use as illustrations? (The linked image is a CD cover, forget about the surrounding text.) --LPfi (talk) 09:59, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Symbols or images which are not letters or logograms are not automatically exempted from copyright, AFAIK, so no. Kaldari (talk) 18:58, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Putting something into a font does not change its copyrightability at all. If it was copyrightable before, it is copyrightable after being put in a font. (And likewise, typeface is not copyrightable inside of a font or outside. In the U.S.) Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:25, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed (character code 255 aka Windows logo, anyone?). I think to qualify for the whole non-copyrightable typeface thing, the characters must be of a language (semantic value). Jappalang (talk) 08:41, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
The point was that this is a letter ("A"), just more complex than how the letter usually is written. You could make a font and use such intricate consructions for the first letter of every paragraph in a document. And from what I understand that would change the copyright status of the image. You would be allowed e.g. to print an "A" in that font on a paper and use it as a work of art, wouldn't you? --LPfi (talk) 09:24, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
The outline of the "A" itself would not be copyrightable, I don't think. The rest of it (the decorations on the interior of the letter, the scene depicted in the background) is all copyrightable artwork -- they are unrelated to the shape of the letter itself. That is true if it is in a font or not. So yes, a font of something like this could be copyrightable (though that one is PD due to age). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:24, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Medieval leading character or any other character of manuscript (medieval or modern) is not a part of a typeface by definition, but a script. Typeface is a set of one or more fonts and font is a set of tiny metal types or modern equivalent of it, such a ttf file. And the definition of typeface is the key to the problem of copyright status of dingbat fonts, because per US law "The following are examples of works not subject to copyright and applications for registration of such works cannot be entertained: [...] typeface as typeface" [37 CFR 202.1(e)]. Before computers, you could buy a typeface from type foundry as a set of types, and those contained not only types for letters of different character sizes, but other symbol, such as a manicule ☞ (Unicode U+261E, Wingdings has it too), which represents a pointing hand. Apparently type foundries could sell typefaces with symbols of different sizes see specimen, just like alphanumerics, and if your typography was in U.S. they were not copyrighted and you could print and sell whatever you want with those types. That does not mean that any drawing of a human hand is not copyirghtable, just those that were printed with typefaces legally bought from type foundries. Computer typesetting extended definition of a typeface to include not only physical types, but computer fonts too. That does not mean that symbols "☞" or "☺" in computer typeface should be copyrighted nor does it mean that any drawing of a hand or a face should not be copyrighted. Manicule, smiley and bomb symbol are found in modern analog of mass-produced movable type which includes Wingdings and other dingbat fonts. Also, major typesetting authority (Unicode) recognize those symbols as valid typeface characters. Moreover, a font vendor in question (Microsoft) says that Wingdings is a typeface: "A symbol font is a font family that consists of novelty typefaces of both variable and fixed-pitch fonts. Word uses symbol fonts to insert symbols in your document. Symbol fonts include[...] Wingdings"[4]. Therefore, dingbat fonts, including Wingdings are by all definitions typefaces and exempted from copyright in US. As a additional precaution we could exclude symbols not included in Unicode, especially trademarked symbols such as a Windows and Apple logo. --M5 (talk) 23:03, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
The Copyright Office specifically excludes handwritten letters as well. If you look at File:D'ni Letters Vs Numerals.png, and more specifically [5], the copyright office letter, you'll see a handwritten fantasy script being refused registration. I appreciate the fact that symbols have been used in typefaces since time immortal, but I can't buy that a B&W picture of a koala is copyrighted unless someone vectorizes it and sticks it in a symbol font. This is one of those cases where I think you might get different answers from the same court on the same question depending on how you approached it, and we're approaching it from the wrong direction. If you printed a book and used Wingdings, I suspect the court would dismiss any attempt for Microsoft to exert control over it using copyright. But they might stop short of calling them out of copyright; and if you asked them whether our use of them as clip art separate from using them as part of text, I suspect the court might clearly support their copyrightability in that case.
Part of my problem with using Unicode as a standard here is because I'm familiar with how this particular symbol got encoded. In this case, this set of symbols is most of a large set of w:emoji that were encoded by request of Google and Apple to make it easier to process text messages, and many of them were colored animations, translated into static black and white images only for Unicode. Prior to Unicode, many of these symbols may never have been seen in a typeface.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:55, 12 December 2010 (UTC)
Symbols in a font are copyrightable on their own merits. From one example, the U.S. Copyright Office will not register a claim in lettering, typefont, calligraphy or numbering, or "other sets of letters used in written communication". They also say that pictorial elements that are separate and distinct from lettering may be registered but the lettering itself may not. So, copyrightability does not seem to depend on parsing the meaning of typeface; lettering and numbering are not copyrightable (even if handwritten or otherwise unique fonts, or if you call it a "script"), but pictorial matter is (in a font or not). Whether a figure is in a font or not is a red herring; it does not matter at all. A drawing is either copyrightable on its own merits, or not. One thing that being in the Unicode spec would virtually guarantee though, in my opinion, is that the basic arrangement is definitely common property at this point -- i.e. anyone should be able to draw something that looks very similar, a bomb with a fuse coming out and snaking to the right, with sparkle marks to indicate it is lit. Such a drawing would not be a derivative work, but rather a separate expression of the idea contained in the Unicode spec. However, I still feel that copying the exact, precise outline as found in one particular pictorial font is still problematic -- you are copying the specific expression in that case. Really, it should be easy for us to create our own graphic which looks very similar but is in fact a separate expression of the same idea. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:23, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Measurement images

I am writing an article about a measurement of the eye (Scanning-Laser-Polarimetrie), in German, the englisch article is existing, but has no pictures. I have had made that measurement of my own eyes (and payed for those measurements) and would like to put those images of the eye fundus, thickness of nerves, deviation images and tables to the article, so to Wikimedia. Which license should I use? PD-self?--Apollodino (talk) 20:19, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Sounds very similar to x-ray image discussions we had here. For Germany see de:Bildrechte#R.C3.B6ntgenaufnahmen. Something like that will still be a Lichtbild (protected 50 years) and not free without the creators permission. Not pd-self. The creator must agree to a license, the payment does not constitute a license. --Martin H. (talk) 20:47, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the link, that is very bad news. I will have to draw those pictures by hand --Apollodino (talk) 09:13, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Would this image fall under the threshold of originality? It's nothing more than a five-letter word with a few simple shapes. --Ixfd64 (talk) 05:30, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

WIth permission of living artist, took a pic of his self portrait to add to wiki page on him (Rudi Bass)

Can't seem to figure out what license to give this, or if additional permissions are needed, and how to get it up on Wiki? Help? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davenru (talk • contribs) 09:37, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

You need to ask the artist to send an e-mail using his personal or office e-mail account to confirming that he is the copyright holder of the portrait and consents to your photograph of the portrait being released into the public domain or licensed under a free licence (such as the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC-BY-3.0) licence). See "Commons:OTRS" for more information. When you upload the image, add the {{OTRS pending}} tag to it, and a suitable licence tag depending on what the author permits (e.g., {{PD-author}} if the image is to be released into the public domain, or {{cc-by-3.0}} if it is licensed under CC-BY-3.0). — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:09, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

schemtacis from a standardization document


I try to improve a wikipedia article on a telecommuncation standard. To do so, I'd need to import some schematics from the standardization document published by ETSI (ETSI EN 302 307 that can be found here :

Am I allowed to import these schematics, and under which licence ?

thanks ! --Mmatthieu (talk) 12:00, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

EN standards issued by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI are subject to copyright as pseudonymous works (70 years after publication). The copyright is strictly enforced, as the inocome from sales of these documents is the only income of the national standarization bodies. SV1XV (talk) 12:27, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
thanks for your answer, I'll try to re-draw these schematics on my own. --Mmatthieu (talk) 12:49, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Military images

I found an image that I would like to use here. see. I contacted the flicker uploader to see if I couldn't get the copyright tag changed, but that person seems to be inactive and after months hasn't responded. However, I have been thinking. The image seems to be a photo taken of US military members while on duty (notice the M16's on thier shoulders and the fact that the account is dedicated to a group of deployed military members). Dose this mean the {{PD-USGov-Military-Army}} applies to this image, meaning the copyright claim by the flicker uploader is not correct and the image can be used here?--ARTEST4ECHO talk 15:32, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

No... it's not if taken while on duty; it's only public domain if taking photographs is part of their regular duties (or part of their duties for that day, at least -- i.e. part of their job). Those seem to be personal photos, so ... I would think normal copyright exists. Personal photos published on say may be different... the photographer would be aware they were giving up copyright there, in most cases. But this appears to be a soldier posting some of his own images on Flickr. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:28, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying that for me.--ARTEST4ECHO talk 17:32, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

U.S. Trade Representative

Quick question so I don’t go and get in trouble. Would these from the U.S. Trade Representative be licensed as {{PD-USGov-USTR}} and therefore permissible on Commons? Cheers, Alex.muller (talk) 14:58, 11 December 2010 (UTC)

Sure looks like it. Many of those government Flickr accounts have gotten the "U.S. Government Work" Flickr licensing scheme, but it appears that one has not yet. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:39, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks very much Carl, I’ve gone ahead and uploaded a crop of one. Cheers, Alex.muller (talk) 17:34, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Sudhir Babu Pulipaka

Sudhir Babu Pulipaka is a Production Engineer born on 24-07-1986 at Railway Wagon Workshop Colony Guntupalli near Vijayawada.

Could you please move this entry to your user page, User:Sudhir_babu_pulipaka ? Thank you. SV1XV (talk) 09:21, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


Could someone look at these clarifications I made to the template and tell me if I am on the right track? (By the way, how do I get changes to a template translated?) I ran across this template as linked from the Licensing page, and this concerns me: many (possibly most of the images) in the associated category are from films directed by the very person whose films have still been ruled to be protected by copyright. PleaseStand (talk) 01:59, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

File:Mado Lamotte by Joe Sioufi.jpg

The user has copryight watermark on this images, but has uploaded under the public domain licencing. Can someone take appropriate actions? Active Banana (talk) 17:33, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

The uploader has released the image into the public domain, so you are right that the copyright statement is inaccurate. Tag the image with {{remove border}}. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:38, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

File:Screen shot 2010-12-21 at 8.09.34 PM.png

"File:Screen shot 2010-12-21 at 8.09.34 PM.png" has been listed for renaming. The present filename makes me suspicious that it is a copyright violation, but neither a search using Google nor TinEye has turned up anything. The file is low resolution and lacks EXIF. Should we assume good faith in this sort of situation, or is the filename damning enough? — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:03, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

It also seem pretty clear from the uploader's initial claim that the use is "fair-use" that it is a copyright image for which he knew he has no authority to use. Without a clear source and/or evidence of permission the image must be considered suspect. Ww2censor (talk) 18:40, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, thanks. Missed that. Am nominating the file for deletion as a copyright violation. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:53, 21 December 2010 (UTC)


User:Jcb closed Commons:Deletion requests/File:Lendal Tower, York (21st October 2010) 001.jpg and Commons:Deletion requests/File:The Minster Shop, York Minster (21st October 2010) 003.jpg saying that "not individual, this is an issue about plaques in general, and should be discussed in that way". I wasn't aware that we needed a special rule for each object, but should we add a line saying that "Photographs of plaques that include copyrighted material in a non-de minimis way and aren't subject to FOP must be deleted"? I'm not sure how this will help anything--I thought every one in the discussion basically understood that and we were just arguing about the amount of text that qualified for copyright--but I don't see any other solution.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:28, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm writing up a proposed policy at Commons:Images containing text that is intended to help clarify some of the issues surrounding images like these. Maybe that's what the closer meant, although it seems like an unclear justification for keeping to me (are they saying they should have been nominated en masse?). Dcoetzee (talk) 01:48, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
Good idea. You should add something in the text which states that in some jurisdictions works by government agencies are in the public domain, so this would apply to plaques and signs as well. (You make passing mention of this in one of the image captions, but nothing in the main text itself.) — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:00, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
That's the second time this discussion has been closed with an unsatisfactory rationale in my opinion (though I won't comment on the outcome as such – there are too many unanswered questions which were not given enough time to be answered). There were plenty of issues that have to be individually assessed for this file, and which need to be individually assessed for other files as well. Does the text reach the threshold of originality? (This can only be assessed case-by-case.) Is the sign a work of artistic craftsmanship? (This is pretty much only relevant in the UK.) The list goes on. LX (talk, contribs) 10:19, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
Does the text reach the threshold of originality for a literary work? Yes. Is the sign itself a work of artistic craftsmanship? Maybe, maybe not (probably not), but that is irrelevant in the UK for the photo anyways. The question to me really is, does that particular use of that literary work pose any problem for any other use of the photo, i.e. is there a use of that photo which could be considered a copyright violation of the literary work? I'm really not sure it does, in that particular situation. To me it feels like a very different situation when a photo is a derivative of another graphic work (being a graphic work itself). I may have a U.S. bias, but it feels like a situation where it is either inherently fair use (the fair use is embedded in the photo, so it's fair no matter how you use the photo itself), in which case fair use is a complete defense -- something vaguely like parody, which copies lots of normally copyrightable expression but is still something we could host on Commons because of fair use. Or, maybe a form of de minimis (small amount of text, completely open to the public to begin with, and meant to be seen / read by the general public). As I have mentioned before, people test the boundaries of copyright all the time, so you would figure there would be an analogous case somewhere we can use to back up a deletion if there was in fact a problem with this type of photo. Maybe one exists, but I've never run across one, and have searched (on the Internet anyways) for one on a couple of occasions. I very much dislike deleting people's efforts here with something like "well, nobody has ever gotten in trouble for this sort of thing, ever, but we are going to delete it anyways". We can back up deletions of photos of sculpture, and even photos of buildings, with actual references to court cases. I would prefer to be able to do the same here, if we are going to have a policy of deletion for them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:33, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I made my point very clear earlier. I think it's a good idea to have guidelines for common considerations that can apply to plaques, signposts, or similar. However, we will never have guidelines that are as simple as "all plaques are allowed" or "no plaques are allowed." Guidelines can work as a checklist of consideration, but determining where a particular file stands with respect to those considerations is always going to have to be a case-by-case task.
I must also address the point about keeping files simply on the basis that we didn't get any Google hits for cases of anybody getting in trouble for something similar (which completely goes against COM:PRP. People may test the boundaries of copyright all the time, but most copyright matters are settled out of court – often before they ever make it there and often under terms covered by NDAs, leaving us without both legal precedents and details of the cases. We should not leave the reusers of the files we store to be the ones to test the boundaries of copyright. LX (talk, contribs) 15:33, 22 December 2010 (UTC)
If people were forced to settle out of court on apparently unfavorable terms, or had a judge rule against some of their arguments, that would be enough for me. Or even just sued, without the case getting thrown out right away. On the face of it though, this type of thing does strike me as more along the lines of copyright paranoia, as opposed to being reasonably conservative. Agreed though that it would not apply to all plaques in all situations. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:37, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

File:Smiling yuri.jpg

the uploader clearly indicates that xe is not the original creator of the image, xe simply modified an image they took from the web. Active Banana (talk) 14:16, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

and the same image is up with a claim of having been taken by the uploader. File:Yuri black and white.jpg Active Banana (talk) 17:54, 23 December 2010 (UTC)
Both come from this page. Marked as blatant copyvio. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:50, 24 December 2010 (UTC)


Is "File:1992logo.jpg" simple enough for {{PD-textlogo}}? — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:46, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't see how. It's a 2D drawing artistically styled to appear as a 3D object. Seems quite a bit beyond the threshold to me. Huntster (t @ c) 09:51, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Don't know about "quite a bit" beyond... but probably beyond. The arrangement of the stars in the background may qualify on their own, actually. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:46, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I had ignored the stars because they were so faint. I am concerned more about the round circle and the lines protruding from it. It sounds like we all feel that the image is not sufficiently simple. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:18, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Derivative map

The map of Sverdlovskaya oblast, Russia is the derivate work from the map with not clear copyright status. I tried to contact the owners of website both by e-mail and by regular mail, but got no answer. In fact I sent them letters several times during last 3 years. The creator of derivative map did not contact owners of original map either. What's the policy of Commons on that matter? I like the map, it is used on many Wikipedia pages, but I would really like to clarify the situation. - Игорь Филиппов (talk) 07:50, 9 December 2010 (UTC) (Igor)

Hmm, I think the new one is original enough to not infringe the copyright of the older map. The only recognizable similarity between the two maps (besides the borders) is the crop, which is not exactly the same but similar. The size, colors, line thickness, and even the exact borders are different. Seems OK to me. Kaldari (talk) 00:10, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Does it mean I can take any map and fully reformat it to use it without copyright permission? Is there any guidance on that? In my opinion if you based on something it is a derivative work. I usually use maps not because of format, but for geographical information. Игорь Филиппов (talk) 13:29, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
The geographical information that a map is based on is generally not copyrightable, only the presentation. After all, any two accurate maps of the same location are likely to look similar even if they've been created independently. Jafeluv (talk) 13:58, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Is is true that maps (geographical information) are not copyrightable? Can you refer to some law on that? Игорь Филиппов (talk) 18:01, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
Maps are copyrightable; geographic information isn't. The US law and most other laws and copyright treaties are pretty clear that facts cannot be copyrighted, only their expression can be.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:35, 24 December 2010 (UTC)
I still cannot get how to see a difference between maps and geographical information. Suppose I buy some map that has copyright. How can I extract geographical information from it? Игорь Филиппов (talk) 12:27, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
The geographical information is what is abstract, and that cannot be copyrighted. For example, you can use a map to get the latitude and longitude of a place, and this information cannot be copyrighted. Yann (talk) 15:15, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
The geographical information means that you can go out to the land and make the measurements and make a map, and no other map maker can claim copyright on it. In theory, you can do the same thing based on a map, but you have to somehow not copy any of the copyrighted features of the map, and what you have to avoid is not clearly defined. Specific examples might be if they only show a subset of the cities, you probably shouldn't show the same subset of cities; if they color things in a specific way, you probably ought to color them in a different way, etc. (This assumes a geographic map; a more abstract subway map has its own set of issues.) As I said, it's not clearly defined, so trying to go from a map to geographic information is always a little sketchy.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:19, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Figuring out the author and copyright of an old image

I'm looking at File:PLSclater.jpg and the essentially identical File:Dr. Philip Lutley Sclater.jpg. The former was published in The Auk in an "In Memoriam" article on 1913-12-31 (file page attributes the image to the author of the article), while the latter was published in a 1905 issue of The Condor with the caption "Dr. Philip Lutley Sclater/London" (see File:Condor7(2).djvu, page 9) and no author. Some further research turned this work at the Internet Archive, published by the GPO in 1896, which includes the same portrait on the frontispiece.

What's the appropriate license for this image? Without a proper author, can we assuredly say {{PD-old}}? Given the "London" caption, can we safely assume {{PD-US}}? Given the GPO publication for the Smithsonian, can we assume {{PD-USGov}}? Am I trying too hard? :-) —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:55, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

I looked for a bit, but did not come up with anything more than you did. Given that this person lived and worked in London... seems unlikely that it would have been authored by the U.S. Government. {{PD-US}} definitely applies, so that tag can be there. If that 1896 publication was the first time (i.e. photo taken in the UK, but sent for publication in the U.S.), then the U.S. is the country of origin and that tag is all that would be required, otherwise perhaps {{PD-UK-unknown}} or {{Anonymous-EU}} would be correct, though we would preferably find an earlier UK publication with this photo. I would definitely add these other links to the other_versions section of the image, at least. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:34, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I hadn't thought of treating it as an anonymous/pseudoanonymous work. I switched the images to {{PD-anon-1923}} since the wording seems to jive better with what we know about the portrait than {{PD-US}} alone. Thanks for the advice! —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:31, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Why must pictures be commercially usable?

Many pictures on commons are deleted or are not published based on the concept that all pictures must be commercially usable. Obviously, the world would be better without this restriction :-) - What is the best place to discuss this concept (probably not here)? --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 14:17, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

See the notice fixed at the top of this page, #Explaining_why_Derivative_Work_and_Commercial_Use_must_be_allowed. And, reading your words differently from what you probably mean: not allowing commercial reuse would be a restriction, the world is indeed better without this restriction, so we should be happy that we not have such non-commercial restrictions, otherwise you can e.g. not print an article and give it to students for some money towards expenses (gegen Unkostenbeitrag/Kopierkosten) because maybe this will be comercial reuse in your country. See also Commons:Licensing/Justifications. If you want to change our projects in its very core value from free content to non-free you should discuss it with the board maybe. --Martin H. (talk) 14:52, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Commercial use in a copyright context covers a fairly wide range of activities -- any use where money is earned in any way based on the work's expression, quite often. For example, use by non-profits for fundraising purposes is a commercial use. A more recent explanation is at Commons:Licensing/Justifications. The concept of "free" is not original to Wikimedia either; the concept has been around much longer, and another explanation is at ; in particular . In terms of allowing content here, yes it would be better, but it would not be so great if those same materials suddenly garnered an unexpected lawsuit for using a component in an arguably commercial context, which is normally expected to be fine for anything found here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:45, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Concretely, right now you can get printed copies of Wikipedia articles through Pedia Press. With non-commercial licenses, that would be impossible.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:29, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
So you all feel this _is_ the right place for discussion, okay. The obvious alternative to "all must be commercially usable" would be to _tag_ pictures with different licenses, just as we have it already, only with the added option of "free for Wikipedia use, not free for commercial use". Then we get _more_ pictures available for commons, not less. Okay? So all the arguments of what we might loose are invalid.
The only difference would be that any organisation getting any kind of income from printing or selling articles will have to sort out the pictures tagged accordingly. This can be done automatically, so it's not really a problem. Given that they get all the pictures they get now it's not really a loss for them. But the large majority of users who use the online WP have the benefit of seeing more pictures; plus the authors of pictures have the benefit of having to deal less with far-fetched arguments from hyperactive shysters. It works for Flickr so why not for WP? Benefits for everyone! --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 19:05, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
First, it's not clear that commercial users would not be much worse off. Admins and others spend a great deal of time on the issue of whether a given image can be kept or not. Many of those discussions -- center on whether commercial use is permitted. If we had an NC tag available, laziness would eliminate many such discussions and many images would have NC tags that would have been kept under our present system.
Second, fair use applies on many (not all) WPs, so an image that is not permitted on Commons can be used on most WPs.
As for Flickr, its reality is consistent with the free-wheeling image larceny that goes on throughout the Web. You can bet, however, that major publications do not take images off of Flickr. They do, however, take images from Commons.
The following sounds a little like a parent saying to his child, "Wait til you get older and ask that", so please don't take it badly -- the Counter says you have 51 edits on Commons. Perhaps you'd be good enough to read the wide variety of earlier discussions on the subject and then ask the question again when you have 510 or, better, 5,100 edits.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 19:55, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
Think twice - if laziness _ruled_ WP and Commons they would not exist at all. The time that is now spent on these discussions would go in other and probably more effective (because of less conflict spirit) work.
Talking about edit count - I am actively involved in net projects since 1985, yes that was before we had internet, and I've done around 10.000 edits on (german) WP plus several hundreds on pictures, mostly from my own pictures, albeit less on discussion - before I started a new account with my full name. So you better sit still and listen carefully to my wisdom. --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 13:19, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
It's not that simple... as mentioned, the concept of "free" (including commercial use) is at the core of Wikimedia projects. If you see ; they explicitly mandate that definition for all Wikimedia projects. It is not simply Commons policy which we can change with a vote; it is a fundamental Wikimedia Foundation policy, so the authorization for any changes along these lines would have to come from there. If you also note at that link, that most local projects can define an "Exemption Doctrine Policy" to allow images with more restrictions to be used under certain circumstances; also note that Wikimedia Commons is explicitly prohibited from having one. By this point, users worldwide have certain expectations for images found here, and changing that may not be a great idea, even if it would lets us accept more images. That would help in providing a better encyclopedia, but it would hinder the desire to produce a free encyclopedia. Not to mention, Commons' scope goes beyond that of the encyclopedias... we also support all the non-encyclopedia projects, and are a repository for images which can be re-used outside of Wikimedia projects. While I don't think edit counts matter a whole lot -- plenty of experienced editors may rarely or never make edits on Commons -- it may be good to read through a couple of the links provided above. I completely understand your point of view if coming from a position of trying to make a better encyclopedia, but there are many here who are trying to make Commons a better free image repository, and the latter is more directly the scope and primary aim. It's possible that the Foundation may make an alternative path for this type of image which is inherently unfree (i.e. it's not possible for someone to make a purely "free" photograph of a copyrighted building). But, the setup as of now is to upload those images directly on the projects that need them, and not on Commons. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:38, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
It really isn't that simple - when Wikipedia authors include an image in an article, it becomes an integral part of the article; the text may contain references to it, or the text may ignore an aspect of the topic which is adequately covered by the image. Simply removing images that are not appropriately licensed produces a mangled article that no editor has reviewed and which they would not have produced if the image was unavailable. Dcoetzee (talk) 04:11, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Dcoetzee and Clindberg: Sorry, this is not the reality on WP - in the vast majority of articles the pictures are just an _illustration_, and even if they are more - the cases where the text actually _looses_ sense because it directly refers a certain picture are very rare (this is what captions are for BTW).
The way you all talk about "free"(dom) and its _principle_ sounds a bit like a religion to me - looking for something to identify with, which works better if there is some irrational element included. Yes, the free use of the content (and not the authors sticking to their contributions or copyright) is a main quality of WP. This holds true for texts. But the effect of this principle on the (mis-) understanding of picture licences is more destructive to free exchange than it merits - and could easily be solved with a "non-commercial" tag.
As a perspective, maybe another form of "international picture repository for WP" would make sense, in order not to pollute the purity of commons. For the meantime, Carl, I understood your hint on avoiding commons and will upload my pictures to en- oder de-WP only. --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 13:19, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
You can't upload your pictures to en.WP under a non-commercial license either. All Wikimedia projects only accept free content, with the fair use exemptions only applying to material that can't be replaced by a user; any pictures a user can take can, by definition, be replaced with by a freely licensed photo taken by a user.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:54, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
So, let's have a wikipedia fork that can use Flickr (or similar sites') pictures. With all due respect for this religious movement. --Bernd.Brincken (talk) 23:39, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Go for it; as long as you don't introduce any non-commercial licenses, you can even try to offset the cost of hosting with ads. If you do introduce non-commercial licenses, then you're going to have to worry about whether adding ads violates the licenses.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:03, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
I was presuming the photograph itself would be licensed freely, but of a building where there is only non-commercial FOP (or no FOP at all) -- those should be able to be uploaded to local projects, as it is not possible for someone else to make a "more free" photo. But they would still have to go up under fair use, yes. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama in Kosovo?

Is there freedom of panorama in Kosovo? Article 54 of the Law No. 2004/45 on Copyright and Related Rights adopted by the Assembly of Kosovo states:

54.1. Works permanently placed in public streets, squares, parks or other generally accessible public places may be used freely.
54.2. Works mentioned in the preceding paragraph may not be reproduced in a three-dimensional form, used for the same purpose as the original work, or used for direct or indirect economic gain.

The part that concerns me is in italics. What the above provisions seem to mean is that one can take a photograph of, say, a modern statue in a permanently placed in a public park or a museum, but cannot then use the photograph "for direct or indirect economic gain". Does this mean that such photographs are therefore insufficiently free for Commons purposes? — Cheers, JackLee talk 20:45, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

That was my impression when reading it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:10, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
If that's the case, then there is only a limited form of freedom of panorama in Kosovo, and one that is not useful for Commons purposes. — Cheers, JackLee talk 21:50, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
My reading of this translation is that the "use for economic gain" refers to reproductions in three-dimensional form. Otherwise the "used for the same purpose as the original work" would refer back to the original work, which doesn't make sense. This may also be a poor translation; we need to consult an authoritative text. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 14:59, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Reading it more carefully, I see where you're coming from, but I can't read it the way you do. Literally read, "used for the same purpose as the original work" must refer back to the original work; no other option is grammatical. Since that's incoherent, my tendency is to fix it by inserting "and reproductions may not" before that clause. The other correction, turning "or" into "and", turns a fairly normal FOP law into a very broad one with one strikingly specific exception.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:26, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Note that we are referring to an official English translation of the law. My reading of the English translation is the same as Prosfilaes'. However, the law expressed in its original language (whatever that might be) might be clearer, if someone with the right language skills can find and read it. — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:52, 29 December 2010 (UTC)


Hi, I have asked a question in the help desk. Since it was the first time I uploaded a photo, I just wanted to make sure I have done everything correctly. Since I did not have a certain respond, I also asked some of the admins for help. One of them replied. Since a user is not satisfied, I would like to ask it here for help. Thank you in anticipation. Regards, *** in fact *** (contact) 07:56, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Please use a meaningful name to your images. Yann (talk) 08:22, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Is it possible to change the name ? How ? *** in fact *** (contact) 08:31, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Hi in fact, you uploaded the image almost correctly (please use a descriptive name next time), but there are some concerns about the details of the license. See Commons:Deletion requests/File:16-4-1389 IMAGE634140975038932500.jpg. You can either help with this by volunteering to contact the license holder, or you can leave this part to us. I'll go ahead and rename it for you this time. Dcoetzee (talk) 08:34, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you so much! I am going to email them.(I hope they answer me). By the way, thanks for renaming the file. I think "Surena robots" would be a good name. Regards, *** in fact *** (contact) 08:40, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Dear Dcoetzee, I just sent an email to them asking for permission. You chose a nice name . Thanks. *** in fact *** (contact) 09:23, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
If you do e-mail them, please follow the directions at COM:OTRS carefully. OTRS requires a very specific release statement. Dcoetzee (talk) 09:44, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
  • However, I still think that licensing is OK. Because the website simply states in Persian that : "using the materials of this website is permitted, provided that the source ( University of Tehran ) is mentioned." This is pretty clear, isn't it ? *** in fact *** (contact) 10:52, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that is actually sufficient for us, because the website does not specify clearly what kind of use is allowed. We need a statement which says that materials are in the public domain or released under a free licence (such as CC-BY-3.0), or that people are allowed to do anything they wish with the content, including modifying it and using it for commercial purposes. — Cheers, JackLee talk 21:45, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Could you please have a look at this page? They have also used some photos of Surena robot mentioning the source (University of Tehran). *** in fact *** (contact) 07:51, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Websites other than the Commons may have different policies on the use of images. At the Commons, we are telling our users that the images they find here are free to use for all purposes, including modification and commercial use, so we have to be sure that images that are uploaded satisfy these conditions. Let's wait for the University's response to your e-mail. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:06, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

License question

[6] Is this acceptable under commons policy? Does one need to add the author to the image caption on enwp for example? Or is it just not a free license? 17:27, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

It looks fine to me. As far as I can tell, it's basically equivalent to CC-BY. Attribution of the author on the image description page is sufficient; the author does not have to be attributed in the caption when the image is used in an article. —Angr 20:18, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, now I see it says "(e.g. image: Bob Ionescu in the image caption)". I was just asking because he got attributed in the caption on enwp. It's now removed. Anyone disagreeing ? Thanks 20:25, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

"File:Lord Ram.jpg" and modern images of other deities

I have renominated "File:Lord Ram.jpg" for deletion as I believe that the decision to keep the image in a previous deletion discussion was incorrect. The main argument for keeping the image, which I find unconvincing, is that Lord Ram has traditionally been depicted in a certain manner for many centuries. As this discussion has implications for other modern images of traditional subjects, please participate in the discussion at "Commons:Deletion requests/File:Lord Ram.jpg". — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:20, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Did I do this right?

I uploaded File:LincolnPlant1922.jpg, taken from Ford News via Google Books, and originally marked it with {{PD-US}} because the publishing date Google Books gave was 1922. However, looking closer, the issue of Ford News the image comes from is actually dated September 15, 1923. But the publication contains no copyright notice that I can see (the issue is only eight pages long), so I retagged with {{PD-US-no notice}}. Is this OK? Andrew Jameson (talk) 16:38, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Seems reasonable to me. And one can bet that even if it was copyrighted, it wasn't renewed. So unless anyone feels like splitting hairs, this should be unassailable. - Jmabel ! talk 01:19, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the feedback! Andrew Jameson (talk) 02:49, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Sri Lanka

Is {{PD-Sri Lanka}} valid? I noticed that country is not listed on this page. Ran across it when trying to figure out if en:File:Cey logo1.gif was valid to move here. Kelly (talk) 03:53, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

No, that tag is way out of date. They had a 2003 law (here) which replaced it. It appears that most everything is 70 pma now, although applied art is still 25 years from creation. Also, I don't think Commons generally respects any "perpetual" copyright or folklore-type restrictions; there is no international agreements on those and they are strictly local law. But, I also don't see that stuff at all in the new law, so I think that restriction is now gone even in Sri Lanka. [Actually, the folklore stuff is now implemented as part of performer's and neighboring rights, not strictly economic copyrights.] In terms of this image... argh. Not sure. I can't figure out if the new 2003 law is retroactive (i.e. did it re-copyright works which previously were in the public domain), or not (anything which became PD under the old terms is still PD). The 2003 law encompassed all aspects of intellectual property and the top-level link is here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:41, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, per article 208(4)(b), it appears to be non-retroactive, so if the work had expired by 2003 it is still OK. The earlier 50-year terms may well govern it. If it was an anonymous work, it would have expired in 1993 at the latest. Gut feel... this is OK. I don't think it's a photograph... not sure it is applied art or not (possible), but it could well be anonymous. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:22, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Rediscovery and PD-Art

Hello, There is an interesting case here: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Jehanne La Pucelle.jpg. Does a rediscovery of an old painting gives a new copyright? Does the photograph get a separate new copyright? Yann (talk) 18:06, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

  • I think we respect European 25-year w:publication right (for example Commons:Problematic sources#Lafayette Studio cited some DRs), so if it was published in 1994, it will be free in 2020. Trycatch (talk) 18:38, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
    • This is only the case if the work was not previously published, which is not the case here: it was already published in the 15th century. Yann (talk) 18:49, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
I suppose that is the contentious point. The church is probably taking the position that the artwork was never published in the 15th century because it was an unfinished work and covered up with a layer of paint and later walled up in the 19th century. However, Yann may have a point: according to the e-mail by Jacques Olivier on the church's behalf, the work dates to the 15th century but was only painted over in the 16th century, which suggests that it was visible to the public for at least a number of years, which might amount to publication. — Cheers, JackLee talk 19:09, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Protein Data Bank

I've been working transwiki of en Wikipedia images, and ran across this one sourced to the RCSB Protein Data Bank. The terms can be found here, can anyone tell me if this constitutes a free license? Kelly (talk) 23:20, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

No. Point one specifically mentions that derivative files are prohibited, and we disallow anything that restricts derivative and commercial use. Huntster (t @ c) 00:23, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - I've started the process of removing them from en Wikipedia, but someone may want to check out Commons for images from the same source, as the en ones were old and it's likely some have been moved here over the years. Kelly (talk) 01:49, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
This search indicates there may be up to almost 500 Commons images sourced to the Protein Data Bank. Kelly (talk) 01:55, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, created Commons:Deletion requests/Images from Protein Data Bank. I hope I don't have to go through and tag each individual work. Kelly (talk) 02:05, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
I've already responded on the DR, but I don't see where derivative works are prohibited in those terms. Just that using the exact same filenames (which appears at first glance to indicate an official release) is prohibited if the data is modified. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:44, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, I don't remember seeing that bit before, but I may have just missed it. My apologies. Yeah, that does change things, though I wonder if we ought to contact them for clarification. Huntster (t @ c) 07:34, 1 January 2011 (UTC)


Following a question on the help desk, I thought it might be a good idea if we had a short outline for this type of question. --  Docu  at 05:28, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

It has come up many times now. I think we should have a section regarding heirs on this page, but I know very little about this area. Dcoetzee (talk) 12:54, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we should. — Cheers, JackLee talk 13:45, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Points to consider:
  • Is there one heir or several?
  • Did the deceased explicitly designate a heir for copyrights? For most cases we are interested, this is probably not the case.
The "my father's photographs" question above seems to be a fairly standard one. The nice thing about that one is that the executor knows who inherits and can probably get the necessary authorizations easily.
In simple cases, an email to OTRS with a text like the one on File:IOautoportret.jpg#Summary should do.
In the past, I think uploaders just added {{GFDL-heirs}}, {{PD-heirs}}. For most photographs, this could be sufficient, but for works by artists with Wikipedia articles, it wouldn't be sufficient per #Where_OTRS_conf.. --  Docu  at 14:20, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

GFDL/CC-non-commercial template

Could someone with licensing expertise untangle {{Cc-by-nc-sa-2.0-dual}}? It's a dual GFDL/CC-non-commercial licensing template. I think everything under it was migrated to CC-BY-SA-3.0 but the top of the template still says that images have to to be licensed under the GFDL. Kelly (talk) 03:08, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


Is Template:NGruev a valid license? Kelly (talk) 03:33, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

It appears to have been a valid template once upon a time, though the photographer has since revoked the commercial reuse status. I think the only thing that would be needed is to specify that any image uploaded after X date (whatever date he revoked the ongoing use of the license) may not be used on Commons and are subject to speedy deletion. Huntster (t @ c) 04:25, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Modern coats of arms of Hungary in public domain?

Anyone know whether modern coats of arms of Hungary are in the public domain as government works? The licence {{PD-textlogo}} has been applied to "File:Kfor3.svg" but it clearly does not apply. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:04, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Old maps of Prussia/Germany (Preußische Neuaufnahme) PD? Copyright for scan?

An almost complete set of old maps of Prussia/Germany is available for download at the GeoGREIF sytem of the University of Greifswald, Germany, here. The maps belong to the New Prussian Land Survey (Preußische Neuaufnahme) and have been created between 1877 and 1915. The original creator is not an individual person but a group of (mostly anonymous) cartographers working on behalf of the Royal Prussian Land Survey, a government authority of the meanwhile extinct Kingdom of Prussia. The original copyright holder was Prussia, which was later succeeded by the German Reich, which was later succeeded by the Federal Republic of Germany.

I've got two questions regarding these maps:

  1. What is the correct license for these maps? Are they in the public domain because the copyright has expired?
  2. If a PD document is scanned/digitalized, does the work of scanning "spawn" a new copyright, not for the original document, but for the scan/electronic file? I'm asking because the University of Greifswald has a note in each map file info saying "The utilization of this image for research, teaching and private use is permitted. Commercial use, copying and publishing only with written permission of the Intitute of Geography and Geology of the University of Greifswald" ("Die Nutzung dieser Aufnahme für Forschung, Lehre und Privatgebrauch ist gestattet. Gewerbliche Nutzung, Reproduktion und Veröffentlichung nur mit schriftlicher Genehmigung des Instituts für Geographie und Geologie der Universität Greifswald.") Do they have the right to state any restrictions whatsoever regarding the use of the file when they are not the copyright holder of the original map? Is there any reason why I shouldn't upload the scan file from the University of Greifswald whithout modification to Commons?

On a side note, some scans of maps from the Prussian Land Survey can already be found on Commons in category:Maps by Royal Prussian Land Survey. --Tetris L (talk) 22:15, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

People constantly try to claim copyright because they scanned something, but as far as I understand it, they haven't got a leg to stand on. - Jmabel ! talk 01:21, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
Zu der Frage, ob Scans von gemeinfreien Werken wiederum gemeinfrei sind oder als Lichtbilder i. S. d. § 72 UrhG schutzfähig sind
Zum Schutz als Lichtbild bedarf es einer persönlichen geistigen Leistung. Diese liegt nicht vor bei der einfachen Kopie eines Lichtbildes (BGH – Bibelreproduktion) oder bei einer rein technischen Reproduktion wie dem Scannen (BGH – Telefonkarte):

Denn der technische Reproduktionsvorgang allein begründet noch keinen Lichtbildschutz. … Vielmehr ist ein Mindestmaß an persönlicher geistiger Leistung erforderlich, die dann zu verneinen ist, wenn ein Lichtbild … nicht mehr als bloße technische Reproduktion einer vorhandenen Darstellung ist.

Diese Auffassung wurde auch durch die weitere Rechtsprechung und die einschlägige Literatur bestätigt.
Anders liegt die Sache, wenn es sich nicht um Scans, sondern um Abfotografien handelt. Der Lichtbildschutz ist hier umstritten; die Tendenz geht in die Richtung, dass dieser reprographischen Fotografie Schutz gewährt wird.
Zu der Frage, ob die Karten geschützt sind
Nach deutschem Recht kann Preußen nicht der Urheberrechteinhaber sein. Die Urheberrechte stehen immer dem Urheber zu und sind nicht übertragbar. Nach heutigem Recht würde es sich wohl um mehrere Miturheber i. S. d. § 8 UrhG handeln. Das Urheberrecht erlischt also 70 Jahre nach dem Tod des längstlebenden Miturhebers (§ 65 UrhG). Ob das hier schon der Fall ist, kann ich nicht beurteilen.
Allerdings ist es möglich, dass aufgrund von Übergangsbestimmungen (insbesondere § 134 UrhG) in diesem Fall andere Gesetze anzuwenden sind. Soweit möchte ich mich nicht aus dem Fenster lehnen, hierzu eine Meinung zu äußern. ;)
Ich hoffe, ich konnte weiterhelfen. Grüße, --ireas :talk: 08:10, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
Ja, das war schon mal hilfreich. Ich war - offenbar fälschlich - in dem Glauben, daß die Urheberrechte auf den Auftrag-/Arbeitgeber übergehen, wenn eine natürliche Person ein Werk in dessen Dienst schafft. Das ist aber wohl nicht so. Nun stehe ich nur noch vor dem Problem, daß die wenigsten Miturheber der Karten namentlich bekannt sind. Allenfalls die leitenden Personen könnten vielleicht namentlich recherchiert werden, was aber auch schwierig wird. Hmmm ... mal sehen. --Tetris L (talk) 09:02, 31 December 2010 (UTC)
Bei Werken, die in Arbeitsverhältnissen entstehen, werden dem Arbeitsgeber i. d. R. gewisse Nutzungsrechte eingeräumt; Urheber (und somit für den Ablauf des Urheberrechts verantwortlich) bleibt jedoch die einzelne Person (→ Schöpferprinzip).
Interessant könnte hier der § 134 Satz 2 UrhG sein (vgl. diese Vorlage). Möglicherweise trifft dieser Fall hier zu und die Karten sind 70 Jahre nach der Veröffentlichung gemeinfrei.
Ein frohes neues Jahr wünscht --ireas :talk: 09:00, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
In diese Richtung müßte man wohl denken, denn da die Königlich Preußische Landesaufnahme mehr als 600 Angestellte hatte, die alle als Miturheber in Frage kommen, ist es recht wahrscheinlich, daß einige davon, die bereits vor 1915 dort tätig waren, nach 1940 verstorben sind. --Tetris L (talk) 22:31, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Nachtrag: Für die USA, wo Commons seinen Sitz hat, greift wohl auf jeden Fall {{PD-1923}}, da die Karten vor 1923 veröffentlicht wurden. In Kombination mit PD-§134 sollte das reichen. Ich erwäge, die Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz anzuschreiben, die die Karten im Original verwahren, und um Auskunft zum urheberrechtlichen Status zu bitten. --Tetris L (talk) 12:45, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
{{PD-1923}}... Werke müssen sowohl in den Vereinigten Staaten als auch im Herkunftsland gemeinfrei sein, um auf den Commons hochgeladen werden zu dürfen . Es wär zwar interessant zu wissen, was die Stiftung sagt, ich vermute aber mal, die sagen auch nur, dass die Rechte bei ihnen liegen. Mit anderen Worten, es ist demjenigen der's weiterverwerten will überlassen, den Status des jeweiligen Werks zu klären. Würde mich überraschen wenn sich dort jemand aus dem Fenster lehnte, um genaue Aussagen zu Urheberrechten bestimmter Werke zu machen.
PS, was anderes: die Sammlung von GeoGreif ist zwar eine sehr nützliche Recherchequelle und von dort wurden auch schon öfters kleinere Kartenausschnitte als Illustration übernommen. Aber vom Prinzip her finde ich die Qualität der Scanns eher unbefriedigend und zweifle an der Sinnhaftigkeit einer Massenübernahme nach Commons. Ich fände es zumindest besser, wenn man (wenn schon dann) bessere Scanns hätte. --Alexrk2 (talk) 14:09, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Verschiedenen Einrichtungen (Ämter/Behörden) vertreiben gegen Geld Reproduktionen der Karten, da sollten sie schon wissen, ob noch jemand die Urheberrechte hält. Da es sich bei diesen Einrichtungen, ebenso wie bei der Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, um öffentliche Einrichtung handelt, müßte hier doch eine belastbare Aussage zu bekommen sein. Die Frage ist ja letztlich, von wem wegen Verletzung der Urheberrechte möglicherweise eine Klage zu erwarten wäre. Wo kein Kläger, da kein Richter.
Was die Scans auf GeoGreif angeht, stimme ich dir einerseits zu, daß die Qualität besser sein könnte und daß der Sinn einer Massenübernahme deshalb zweifelhaft ist. Zur Illustration von Artikeln sind die großformatigen Karten eh meist ungeeignet, da sind normalerweise nur Ausschnitte sinnvoll. Auch und gerade als Basis für Ausschnitte wären hochauflösende Scans wünschenswert; diese sind aber leider nur gegen Geld zu bekommen. Solange wir die nicht haben, müssen wir wohl oder über mit den Scans von GeoGreif vorlieb nehmen. Ich habe diese auch in der vorliegenden schlechten Qualität dennoch für mehrere Artikel als sehr nützlich empfunden. Bevor ich aber diese Ausschnitte hochlade, hätte ich gern Klarheit über die Lizenz. --Tetris L (talk) 15:42, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
So wie ich das verstehe, hat die Stiftung die Verwertungsrechte, da kann denen die urheberrechtliche Situation im Prinzip egal sein, oder? Mich würde die rechtliche Situation dieser Karten aber auch sehr interessieren, damit man mal etwas mehr Sicherheit beim Umgang mit solchem Material bekommt. Das mit §134 kannte ich noch nicht ..geht auch über mein Kopf hinaus. Da müsste am besten ein möglichst nicht-hobbyistischer Experte mal was zu sagen. Bauchgefühlsmässig fühl ich mich bei Karten <1900 auf der sichereren Seite. Hab zB kürzlich grad dieses Urmesstischblatt eingescannt. Aber wie gesagt: alles irgendwie grauzonig. --Alexrk2 (talk) 17:17, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Ich denke im Fall der Meßtischblätter ist § 134 UrhG tatsächlich der richtige Hebel, denn die Blätter wurden vor Inkrafttreten des UrhG veröffentlicht, die Königlich Preußische Landesaufnahme ist eine juristische Person und auf den Blättern selbst ist kein Urheber namentlich genannt. Die Frage, die noch zu klären wäre, ist, ob in den zur Karte gehörigen Begleitdokumenten wie Musterblätter oder Erläuterungen irgendwelche Urheber namentlich genannt sind. In der Zeichenerklärung, die hier beim Niedersächsischen Geo-Landesamt eingesehen werden kann, ist auch kein Name aufgeführt. In allen Quellen, die ich gefunden habe wird immer nur die Königlich Preußische Landesaufnahme oder das Reichsamt für Landesaufnahme als Herausgeber aufgeführt aber nie eine Einzelperson als Ersteller. Auch in dieser vom Reichsamt selbst herausgegebenen Übersicht ist keine Person genannt. Interessant ist in dieser Übersicht das Kapitel XXI "Der urheberrechtliche Schutz der amtlichen Karten". Ich vermag nicht zu beurteilen, welche Aussagen daraus heute noch gültig sind, insbesondere ob die Schutzfristverlängerung durch Neuausgabe möglicherweise bis heute fortgesetzt wurde. --Tetris L (talk) 09:05, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Hinweis: Damit die Informationen aus dieser Diskussion für die Interessenten besser aufzufinden sind und nicht im Commons-Archiv verstauben, sollte die Diskussion besser hier auf de: fortgesetzt werden. --Tetris L (talk) 11:59, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Gonna need a PD-old review

The discussion on the VP today highlighted the common misunderstanding that any work whose author died at least 70 years ago is in the public domain in the United States; in particular this doesn't apply to works published beween 1923 and 1977, which are (if all formalities are observed) copyrighted until 95 years after the date of publication (I even forgot about this). The {{PD-old-70}}, {{PD-old-75}}, {{PD-old-80}}, and (worst of all) {{PD-old}} tags are all being widely misused; the PD-old tag is also the default option for tags like PD-Art. I think a comprehensive review of all uses of these tags is called for, which is a daunting proposition; it may be machine assisted by parsing and analyzing the date. But regardless it's going to be a very large (and probably contentious) deletion request. My idea is to add a template or category to all of the affected images and then simply nominate all images in that category. I'd like to get thoughts on this before proceeding. Dcoetzee (talk) 01:50, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Could you run that first sentence past me again- are you saying the misunderstanding doesn't apply to images between 1923-1977 or that the problem is with images between 1923-1977. The double negative makes it ambiguous.--ClemRutter (talk) 02:38, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't understand; are you talking about images with {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} on them? It's not "misunderstanding"; it's not giving a damn about the law in the US for European pictures.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:52, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
No, I'll explain: if a work was first published between 1923 and 1977 in the United States with a valid copyright notice, and copyright was registered and renewed, then it is copyrighted for 95 years from the date of publication, per [7]. For example, a work published in 1930 by an author who died in 1935 would be copyrighted until 2026, not until 2006. Thus, images first published between 1923 and 1977 in the United States which are tagged {{PD-old}}, {{PD-old-70}}, {{PD-old-75}}, or {{PD-old-80}} are not in fact in the public domain unless they are either {{PD-US-no notice}} or {{PD-US-not renewed}}. Many foreign works from this period should be tagged {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} but I'm not going to propose their deletion. Dcoetzee (talk) 13:44, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
If I understand correctly these are images that are PD in the country of origin, but not in the US. My feeling is that few European works have registered and renewed copyright notices, but that - according to the precautionary principle - delete works that are known to be PD over here is unacceptable. If there is going to be such a mass deletion, I think we have to set up the fork in Europe (or wherever) and should be given some time to get it going.
(Deleting images the copyrights of which have been registered and renewed is a separate matter. I understand that they probably cannot be kept.)
--LPfi (talk) 23:01, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Foreign works published 1923 and later were restored by the URAA, provided they were under copyright in the source country on the URAA date. That is the primary concern, not registration and renewal of foreign works. Commons has been more or less ignoring these though for a while if they have since expired in the source country, for better or worse. If we weren't, then {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} would be a link to speedy deletion. But it's not, and it seems for the most part we have just been tagging those with that template in case we decide differently at some point. I guess Prosfilaes is saying it doesn't seem worth it to worry a lot about the use of PD-old, if all of the known URAA-restored images are sitting there. And, also, many works had expired on the URAA date and only got restored in their source country later -- many European countries were 50 pma on the URAA date, for example -- so each one really needs examining to determine U.S. status. Very hard to do by a bot, as we need to figure out the source country of each one. But, anything that we clarify is a definite improvement, and could at least tag them more properly in case we do enforce URAA restored works more, so reviews are always helpful. On the other hand if we are talking about U.S. works, then yes, we should definitely look more closely at them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:17, 2 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually, I was merely referring to what I thought Dcoetzee was referring to. I'm sure there are US images that are post-1923 but life+70, but I've never got the impression that there were enough of them being uploaded to worry about them as a group. I don't recall having ever nominated one for deletion, though I would have been happy to do it. I do think you're misinterpreting the URAA; for any country that had copyright relations with the US on January 1st, 1996, the effective date of restoration would have been then, and once that day passed, any new extensions in the copyright law of those nations would have no effect. is an interesting list of nations; a number of nations, Vietnam, Bhutan, Comoros, Jordan, etc. either first became a WTO member, signed the Berne Convention, or became eligible due to presidential proclamation after 1996.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:56, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I originally thought he was mainly referring to non-U.S. images, sorry about that. As to the URAA, yes, the way you describe it is exactly the way I interpret it -- I did say "provided they were under copyright in the source country on the URAA date" (which is 1996 for most countries, as you say). If anything I wrote gave a different impression, please ignore it :-) I was just noting that the copyright terms for many countries (even in Europe) were often quite different (shorter) in 1996 than they are today, meaning you really need to determine the source country, and not just assume 70 pma when determining URAA status -- if they were PD due to the earlier, shorter terms, then they did not get restored by the URAA (and subsequent non-U.S. law changes do not affect that). Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:05, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
In Finland the terms were changed 1.1.1996, because of an EU directive. I thought the date was no coincidence and that it was coordinated through EU. Am I wrong? Are there EU members (of that time) that changed to the longer term later? Other European countries may of course have different times. --LPfi (talk) 10:52, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Greece increased the term of protection with Law 2557 published on 24 December 1997. SV1XV (talk) 11:03, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
It differs by country. Some were already 70 pma (or more), some increased it to 70 pma on or before Jan 1 1996, and some only did it later. Off the top of my head, Portugal, France, and Italy were all 50 pma (well France had those wartime extensions) on Jan 1, 1996. [I think Greece was 70 pma, according to this. Oh wait... that was not retroactive.... hm.] Also, almost all the countries which joined the EU after 1996 had shorter terms at the time (they were still Berne members, so their URAA date would still be 1996). Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:01, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
No, the 1993 law in Greece (Law 2121) was not retroactive. The December 1997 law (Law 2557) was retroactive however, and it created a mess with the local publishers, who were forced to clear their stock of certain books within a year or sell it for paper recycling. SV1XV (talk) 17:34, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
Ah right, I missed that when I first looked. So, the 1993 law changed? to 70 pma, and the 1997 law made that retroactive (article 11 there). Out of curiosity then, do you know what the terms were prior to the 1993 law? I can't find any reference. It looks like the basic law dated from 1920 (or 1909) but was modified many times, but I haven't found any actual online texts nor found any summary of the durations. I've seen references to law 4254/1962 (or 4264), 100/1975, 3565/1956, 1064/1980, 1597/1986, 1805/1988, and others, but no idea how relevant any of them are. If the pre-1993 terms were less than 70 pma, that would appear to affect URAA restorations, so it would be interesting to find out. By your description, the durations would have had to be less in order for that restoration to affect booksellers. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:15, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
It was 50 years pma (Law 2387/1920, abolished in 1993 with Law 2121), as most of the world outside USA at the time. I have no copies of the pre-1993 laws and it is tedious to find them withnout knowing the exact issue of the Gazette they were published in. SV1XV (talk) 07:35, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Technically, the U.S. has been 50 pma since 1978 and 70 pma since 1998, but that only applies to works first published since 1978. This document lists the Gazette numbers for some of the pre-1993 laws. This page lists them as well, and has copies of the 1943 and 1986 laws (which don't mention explicit terms), but doesn't have any of the others. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:02, 5 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay, I think we have general agreement concerning works first published in the US. I have designed a tag shown at {{Not-PD-US-old-70}}. The idea is to place this tag on affected images first to give the uploaders some time to respond, then later open a deletion request for the lot of them using "What links here". If you have any feedback on the tag please let me know or just edit it directly. As a side note, am I correct in saying that a work first published in e.g. 1930 with full formalities would fall into the public domain in 2026, rather than 2025? Dcoetzee (talk) 07:11, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Tweaked it a bit. And yes, a still-copyrighted 1930 work becomes public domain on January 1, 2026. Carl Lindberg (talk) 08:07, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better to put them in a category distinct from the one Not-PD-US-URAA adds them to, since we're not planning on handling them the same? And I know this is a preexisting feature, but Undelete in 20xx leaves us no way to distinguish between works by countries; if any country changes the law, then it will be impossible to find the affected pictures. (Yes, if they extend the law, they can be checked manually on undelete; what if a country reduces the duration of copyright?)--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:40, 3 January 2011 (UTC)
Re a different category name: I think it would be better but I couldn't figure out what to call it. Feel free to change it. Re finding files to undelete in the event of legal changes: this has always been a problem with "Undelete in" and I'm not sure how it could be resolved. Dcoetzee (talk) 17:17, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I think I am in need of a {{scream}} template. In en:WP we have just had Distinguished New User that fell foul of the Fair-Use Taliban when attempting to upload image from the catalogue of a defunct company (pre WWII)- the rules could not be communicated. What ever tag we use, can we think of the user! It must be understandable. PD-Old has a simple, rememberable meaning even if it actually means something different. Not-PD-US-URAA is impenetrable. As for {{Restore in|year|nationcode}} should give enough information to allow a search. Following that line of thought {{pdcat|year|us-reason|nationcode|nation-reason}} may be a useful way forward- though I wouldn't support it in this raw form.--ClemRutter (talk) 16:44, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

File:Koreana logo.jpg

It seems to me astonishingly unlikely that a corporation would release their logo under suitable Commons licensing. How long do we wait for OTRS response before removing this copyright image? Active Banana (talk) 02:37, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

{{OTRS pending}} is applied with the understanding that "An email containing details of the permission for this file has been sent in accordance with Commons:OTRS." (Emphasis mine.) As no email has been received by OTRS, this image is in violation of our policies and may be deleted. I've already tagged it as No Permission, though No License would equally apply. Huntster (t @ c) 03:07, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
As a note, every image uploaded by that user has the same OTRS tagging. Active Banana (talk) 06:26, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree. In this case, you better tag it with {{copyvio}}. Yann (talk) 09:49, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

PD-old-100 clarification needed

Possibly related to Commons talk:Licensing#Gonna need a PD-old review above (I only skimmed it), I have added a plea for guidance at Template talk:PD-old-100#Clarification needed. -84user (talk) 18:09, 7 January 2011 (UTC)


So do you all think File:GuinnessPint.jpg is a derivative image? It has a logo on it; perhaps we could blur it out. I'd be willing to nominate for deletion but I want to get a second or third opinion. Magog the Ogre (talk) 23:20, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Depends on how old the logo (between 1759) is and some could say de minimis. Bidgee (talk) 23:29, 28 December 2010 (UTC)
Most of the logo is uncopyrightable text, so definitely de minimis. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 02:38, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Worst comes to worst, we could just blur out the harp. Magog the Ogre (talk) 03:11, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

This 1940 Life magazine ad sort of shows the harp in use, and this list of trademark cases mentions the harp being used in 1878. The 19th century ads that show a picture don't show anything like this, though it possibly depends on the bottler. The harp is simple enough that I'm not really stressed about it, but it's complex that I hesitate to dismiss its copyrightability.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:40, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Well if we can first figure out where that harp was published, we're golden. Because if it was a US trademark originally, or was rolled out in the US simultaneously, then it will be {{PD-pre1978}} unless it was accompanied by a copyright symbol on each publication (see COM:CB#Advertisements). If it was first published in Ireland or Britain, then I believe {{Anonymous-EU}} will apply if it was published 1940 or earlier (as of Saturday the January 1st). Then, we could outright upload the logo here. Magog the Ogre (talk) 05:29, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

While I can't help you with a date for initial use of the harp on this glass, I doubt the stylised harp, which appears to a be a modern design, is a derivative work of the one previously used on their bottle labels like this one but older printed glasses that have a harp, like this one, more closely resembles that on the old bottle label but the harp on this photo is not close enough. The printing of glasses, IIRC, is a more modern trend and most likely did not happen before 1978 when most beer glasses in Ireland were mostly plain glasses but I was not concentrating on such matters in those days. Ww2censor (talk) 17:15, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

PD wordmark dispute

I uploaded File:U2 3D logo.png a while ago as a PD image since it is simply a wordmark. There have been no problems with its licensing up until now, where an editor has opposed the article's FAC saying that the image is copyrighted and is incorrectly licensed. It was my understanding that typefaces are no eligible for copyright. This editor is saying that the little "splatter marks" on the image make is eligible for copyright. The wordmark was taken from a copyrighted poster, but do the small marks on the image make it eligible for copyright? I feel like there would have been a dispute about it here a while ago if it was an issue, especially since it was uploaded almost 3 years ago. I'm trying to get the U2 3D article passed at FAC but one editor is opposed it due to "improperly licensed images". Dream out loud (talk) 02:35, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

In my opinion, it is eligible for copyright. Those splatters do not appear to be part of the typeface, and show a degree of artistic intent. Now, if you could track down the typeface, and demonstrate that the splatters are part of it, then that would change the equation, but for now, I'd suggest the onus is on you to prove that. The fact that no one has challenged it before holds no meaning. Huntster (t @ c) 03:57, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
The arrangement of the marks suggest that they are not part of the typeface (they appear to cover a roughly semicircular region). I agree that they may rise to the level of copyrightability. You may be able to upload a downscaled version to En as fair use; or you may be able to create an alternate version omitting these marks as a substitute. Dcoetzee (talk) 04:34, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Unless the reviewer makes a fuss over a "clean" logo not being authentic, option 2 sounds like a good idea. Would certainly be PD then. Huntster (t @ c) 06:31, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Or, if that's a problem, option 1 should be fine. It is very common to use non-free logos in the English Wikipedia under a fair-use justification since logos are clearly important for purposes of identification and by their very nature often cannot be free from copyright. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:51, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
They are free from copyright if they do not contain original expression -- they are judged the same as any other artistic work; the fact they are logos does not help nor hurt their copyrightability (in some countries it may even hurt; there are some jurisdictions which do not like to have trademark and copyright overlap). On this one... I'm unsure. The letters themselves are fine; it's all about the spatter. If an artist did that by hand, it could well be considered copyrightable. If it was a photoshop brush or effect, or even if it was a real paint spatter and was just traced, it may well not. Lacking any knowledge of how it was made, however, it is probably safer to have a version without the spatter. (Looking at Google Images, most versions do have it, but there are a couple which don't, like this one. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:50, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
I see Dream has uploaded a 'clean' version of the logo. If an admin would be so kind as to delete the previous versions as non-free, it would be appreciated. Huntster (t @ c) 03:57, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
✓  Done Yann (talk) 09:35, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Principalities of Kievan Rus' (1054-1132).jpg


Not too sure how to go about copyright problems on this one. The file in question has text inserted which is copyright to a website since 2001 [8].

I have advised the uploader to remove the material from the image as my first message was not listened to User_talk:SeikoEn#Map_of_Kievan_Rus.27.

Chaosdruid (talk) 20:01, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

I think you are right that the two paragraphs in "File:Principalities of Kievan Rus' (1054-1132).jpg" that were taken from the copyrighted source [9] are not de minimis and should be removed as they are in breach of copyright. If the uploader declines to remove the text, then you have no choice but to nominate the image for deletion for copyright violation (click the "Nominate for deletion" or "Report copyright violation" links on the left side of the screen). — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:56, 9 January 2011 (UTC)
I also believe this text is a clear copyright violation. See my proposal Commons:Images containing text. Additionally, images containing paragraphs of text are difficult to internationalize and inconvenient for readers to read, requiring two clicks from the article page and a large download, so it's often appropriate to at least have a version without the text. Dcoetzee (talk) 17:19, 9 January 2011 (UTC)

Major RS using commons image with improper attribution

Its The Atlantic magazine (or at least their website) and they are attributing commons instead of the uploader here: [[10]] and this is the commons original which as you can see is CC-BY-SA...[[11]] 00:25, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

This is a common error by people unfamiliar with the license. Only the original author can send a takedown request, but any of us (including yourself) can e-mail them and request them to update the credit. Dcoetzee (talk) 02:13, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

Pictures of license plates from the web, copyright issue (?)

Afghanistan OT diplomatic.jpg

User Robinsoncrusoe is currently uploading quite large numbers of pictures of license plates. (his contributions) I am worried about copyright issues concerning these images. It seems to me, that he is uploading these images from and I don't think that he is in any way associated with this website. I am quite sure that the picture on the right falls under copyright and therefore must not be uploaded to Commons, mainly because it is a composition of pictures put together as a new one. When it comes to pictures of single license plates I am not sure. Can somebody help? Thank you. --Zaccarias (talk) 22:03, 10 January 2011 (UTC)

These are {{PD-text}} - plain text (albeit in Pashto) in an ordinary font on a solid colour background. There is no copyright issue. I've tagged it as such. While the arrangement of the plates may involve some small degree of creativity, it appears haphazard rather than systematic or aesthetic and I doubt it rises to the level of copyrightability. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:06, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. --Zaccarias (talk) 23:08, 10 January 2011 (UTC)
Still, in this case and especially in cases going forward which may be more complex, it is important that we have the source of the material, not just own, if it's copied off a webpage. I'm not entirely sure I agree with Dcoetzee as to the lack of copyright of the image as a whole, and if someone were to take it to a DR, we need the full accurate information.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:14, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Agree with that, the uploader absolutely should not identify images from the web as their own work, and should indicate a precise source. My apologies for not reviewing the matter more closely. Dcoetzee (talk) 03:15, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

CC legal code: reading is evil

Reading the full "legal code" of CC-BY-SA-3.0 brought some questions...

  1. Persistent use of "Work" (CC-BY-SA-3.0 definition h, CC and PD templates etc.) - photographs that I upload aren't work in any sense: not "artistic" not "literary and/or artistic", not "sweat of the brow" and not paid for in RL (if they were they won't end up on a free hosting site). Their subjects were works, but the images aren't. Did I violate house rules by slapping CC or PD templates or no one here really cares?
  2. The jurisdiction were I live and take photos does not recognize online and/or anonymous licensing. Legally, I can pass my rights only through a written contract under my full name. Does the fact that I breached local laws by issuing an online license invalidate this license here?
  3. A specific question on "original Authors" of live performances (CC-BY-SA-3.0 definition g: "... in the case of a performance the actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and other persons who act, sing, deliver, declaim, play in, interpret or otherwise perform ..."). Does this quoted definition restrict, in any way, uploads of still photos from live performances (just people in stage costumes, but no other identifiable artwork, no Mickey Mouse suits)?

Regards, NVO (talk)

What you upload are considered works. Photography would generally be considered artistic.
Legally, you can't offer a license online? I'd say it's not transferring your rights; you still hold the copyright, you've just offered a license. But I don't know the Russian laws. In any case, if it's not legal in Russia, a Russian court isn't going to uphold the license, though courts anywhere take a negative view of you suing someone who, in good faith, took you up on an offer you made, even if you couldn't legally make the offer. In any country that does accept the CC-BY-SA-3.0 offered online as a legitimate license, I don't think the Russian law is going to matter to their courts. It's problematic.
That's funny; what it seems to mean in the context of the work is that you need to identify them as Original Authors. It doesn't say you need their permission, but you need to credit them and the license gives them moral rights (4d).--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:43, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
The term "work" does not refer to what you think is a work but what the license defines as a works. You may consider your photographs not as works, the license for its own purposes defines it as such. For 2) Prosfileas made an attempt to answer the question, maybe the ported license will bring more light into this, I however not read it. For 3) if a live performance is eligible for copyright the performer will be an author. This will e.g. apply for sound recordings of live performances, it can unlikely apply to photos of stage actors, but we also had deletion requests on this in the past related to different artistic works in context of e.g. an theater: stage design, costumes or masks, artistic make-up... this all can be considered a work under some circumstances and photographing it would constitute a derivative work. --Martin H. (talk) 11:13, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

I'll mostly repeat what Prosfilaes said, but ...
  1. Photographs are works, in basically every Berne Convention country. The terms of protection can be shorter than other types in some countries, but they are works, and they need to be licensed by the photographer.
  2. The United States also requires written, signed documents for a copyright transfer. However, these are licenses, not contracts or transfers. You are stating the terms on which someone can use your copyrighted work, without transferring any rights.
  3. That would depend on the performer's rights laws in the country, which vary considerably (and don't exist everywhere). These are separate from the economic rights, if they exist, and are not owned by the photographer. The author of the photograph must license the economic rights they hold in the photograph (what we normally term as "copyright"), and if performer's rights apply to the photo, then the performers would need to license that separately. I would think that performer's rights would more often apply to video and not still photographs, but the details of the law would have to be looked at, and I'm pretty sure we have deleted some photos on those grounds, even when the economic right was licensed. The CC license definition of "Original Author" though appears to be more about maintaining proper attribution (i.e. moral rights) rather than who owns the economic/performer's right now. Not sure that section of the CC license would apply to a performer when it comes to a photograph, as that would be an artistic work and therefore the "Original Author" would technically be defined as the photographer, but maybe (and attribution is always a good idea). We would not delete on the grounds of something not being attributed -- the fix is to add the attribution. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:08, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Then there's a need for a mass deletion in Category:Street performers ? NVO (talk) 07:27, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Or, since PD does not have any "street dancer restrictions" of CC, - If I relabel own CC stuff to PD, will it solve anything? NVO (talk) 11:29, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Images licensed by heirs of photographers

What's the standard procedure for an image uploaded by an heir of the photographer? Do we need OTRS for {{PD-heirs}} or other inheritance-related licenses? Nyttend (talk) 16:38, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

Thorny question. Sometimes the estate retains copyright, but if the heirs did in fact inherit the copyright, then they are the copyright owners and can license it accordingly. Most of our tags (including {{PD-self}}) state "copyright holder", not necessarily "author", to deal with this (and other situations where the rights are no longer with the original author). I don't think OTRS is required unless the work has previously been published elsewhere. Where it gets more difficult is when multiple people inherit the copyright, so that they are all part owners. In the United States, this situation has historically meant that every part-owner of the copyright has the full right to license it to anyone they wish without consulting the other owners, just that all owners are owed their share of whatever money is eventually made. However, there was a single somewhat recent court case which went the other way when selling an exclusive right (required consent of all owners), and I'm not sure that type of thing has ever been tested when it comes to giving away rights completely (like a PD or CC license). Personally... I think we should accept these type of uploads just as normal own works, unless an objection is made by one of the other part-owners. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:19, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Should we require persons claiming to be heirs to send evidence of this fact (probate documents or letters of administration) to OTRS, or would that be unduly onerous? The alternative seems to be to permit uploads on their bare assertions that they are heirs. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:56, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Just as "own work" uploads are based on bare assertions that they took the photograph, and are who they say they are. If any evidence comes to light to the contrary, that is evidence of acting in bad faith, just like any other normal uploader. Probate stuff is far too onerus for me; we don't require copies of contracts when copyright is assigned by other means. But if first published elsewhere, then I think we should follow OTRS as usual. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:01, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
OK. AGF, I guess! — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:45, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
Evidence of what? My grandfather died in 1991. He had three heirs (heirs by default, he had no will). Estate proceedings only mention his real property, and say nothing about his archives. Two of the heirs are now dead, the third one is out of country. Yours truly (descendant of two of these dead heirs) keeps the archive "cuz I got it". A very simple case, but imagine the kind of investigation necessary to link all the bits together. You'll have to reconstruct three estate processes, none of which actually handled this archive. It's a five-digit legal bill. NVO (talk) 03:20, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
My concern was that it might be too easy for people to claim to be "heirs" when they are not, but I accept that requiring the production of wills, probate documents or letters of administration would be too onerous, and not in line with Wikipedia's general approach of assuming the bona fides of contributors. Nonetheless, we can't rule out the possibility that such documentation may be required in case of a dispute over the ownership of a particular file. — Cheers, JackLee talk 04:25, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay, but at the very least you'd have to be the inheritor of one of those dead heirs to claim partial share in copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:59, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
It's a matter of procedure. If a "very least" bright line is in place (is it?) what kind of evidence should be filed and who is going to review it? The complete paper trail inevitably involved other living people - what about their privacy? If there's no legal review in place, it's back to square one - uploader's integrity. NVO (talk) 07:10, 12 January 2011 (UTC) P.S. Some two years ago my case was resolved "70 years PMA", heir or no heir. No, I don't really want to live till 2061, thank you dear Academy :)) NVO (talk) 07:16, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Wills, probate documents and letters of administration are court documents, and unless they have been sealed for some reason, are public documents that should be searchable upon application (and payment of a fee, no doubt). So I don't think any issue of privacy arises. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:20, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Depends on jurisdiction. Strictly confidential in my case (until it makes it into a court sentence, and even then personal names in searchable texts are replaced with As and Bs). NVO (talk) 07:42, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Music of Maurice Ravel entirely copyrighted

Colleagues, you may remember my inquiries on this page about a month ago about the copyright situation WRT classical music recordings, and a proposal for collaboration between WM Australia and a cultural organisation to upload high-quality sound-files of such. Thank you for the very valuable advice you gave us at that time. We hope to finalise the scheme soon.

On a related issue, I had a look at the page on Maurice Ravel and found a recording listed and available for playing. I was under the impression that all of Ravel's music, whether before or after 1923, is still copyrighted. Is the work an exception? You'll see it listed under Media (Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant (Duo Campion/Vachon)). Thanks for helping in my learning curve. Tony1 (talk) 11:49, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

All recordings have been deleted according to Commons:Deletion requests/Music of Ravel, that one, File:Ravel Duo Campion-Vachon Ma Mere l'oye 1 Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant.OGG was overlooked maybe. Another one, File:Le Tombeau de Couperin triadic planing.mid, exists. Both can be speedy deleted IMO, as a courtesy and for documentation we may list them at the deletion request. --Martin H. (talk) 14:18, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
I thought that the war extensions had been abolished? /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 14:32, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Extension on music is an exception. Trycatch (talk) 14:36, 12 January 2011 (UTC)
Composers got an extension to 70 pma (plus wartime extensions) in 1985 (though I'm not sure if it was retroactive or not -- the law doesn't seem to say, but appears to delegate that to separate orders, and it would be interesting to find out since it may slightly affect U.S. URAA restorations). So, the longer terms were in place before Europe went to 70 pma, and those terms may not have been shortened. However, I'm not entirely sure how to interpret the Court of Cassation decision -- per Commons:Licensing, it says the extensions "were not applicable to works for which an extended protection period (beyond 70 years) had not started to elapse on July 1, 1995". I'm not sure how to interpret "started to elapse"; if that means the term had to already be over 70 years in 1995, then it would not apply to Ravel (as it had been 58 years since he died at that time, not an extended protection). If it means for people who died before 1995 (i.e. the length of the term was then known, and was extended beyond 70), then it would. The cite of still being copyrighted until 2015/6 on the Ravel article seems to come from a 2001 book, which predated the Court of Cassation ruling, so it's possible that ruling did change things. Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-Internationale seems to imply it did. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:24, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

German Patents

Are German patents public domain? COM:L states PD "if they have been published as part of a law or official decree or edict, or if they have been released as an official announcement or for public information." It sounds to me like patents are covered by that, since they are an "official annoucement" of the respective patent office (i.e. the DPMA), but I'm not sure enough to create a template stating that. Second opinion, anyone? Inductiveload (talk) 23:15, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I'm not too familiar with this part of the German copyright law, but the website of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (en:Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt, DPMA) says: "Patentdokumente (Offenlegungs-, Patent- und Gebrauchsmusterschriften) sind ab dem Zeitpunkt ihrer amtlichen Veröffentlichung durch § 5 Abs. 2 Urheberrechtsgesetz (UrhG) vom urheberrechtlichen Schutz ausgenommen" - patents are not eligible for copyright per § 5 paragraph 2 UrhG after their official publication. But unfortunately, unlike official laws, edicts or court decisions that are PD per § 5 paragraph 1 UrhG, § 5 paragraph 2 UrhG (which seems to cover patents) doesn't quite equal PD, as it explicitly forbids derivative works. --Kam Solusar (talk) 20:49, 18 December 2010 (UTC)
Does that mean we can't have them? Sorry for the delay. Inductiveload (talk) 20:52, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
According to foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy, "[a]ll projects are expected to host only content which is under a Free Content License, or which is otherwise free as recognized by the 'Definition of Free Cultural Works' as referenced above [i.e.]." Neither can patent documents be licensed under a Free Content License nor do they comply with which requires "the freedom to make changes and improvements, and to distribute derivative works." As already argued by Kam Solusar, this condition cannot be met for § 5 (2) UrhG in conjunction with § 62 (1) UrhG prohibit the distribution of derivatives of the documents. —Pill (talk) 01:16, 8 January 2011 (UTC)
The definition of freedom defined has never been accepted here on commons and the "policy" does not get enforced by the Foundation because it is impossible to implement in any jurisdiction with strong moral rights and/or droits d'aucteurs. Many laws in several continental European and European based jurisdictions include a restriction of derivatives, we always regard those images non the less as "as free as possible under that jurisdiction". Otherwise all "official works by the German Government", all "Freedom of Panorama" works from Germany, each and every living (or recently deceased) person from Germany would need to be deleted immediately, because all of those carry some kind of restriction regarding derivatives. It is the same in most continental European jurisdictions. German patents are just one of many classes of official works by the government. Frankly: I consider "freedom defined" as extremists in a castle in the sky. It would be nice, but the world simply isn't like that. --h-stt !? 20:25, 11 January 2011 (UTC)
For pragmatic reasons, we basically apply that definition so long as it is due to the economic right of copyright only, since that is something the author is free to license. Restrictions coming from anywhere outside of that, such as moral rights or trademarks or personality rights or other, are treated as commons:non-copyright restrictions and kept so long as the simple act of hosting them here does not violate those laws. I'm really not sure how this applies to German patents, so I won't weigh on on that one way or another, but just wanted to make that point. There is virtually nothing free from *all* restrictions, really. So, the question is if copyright is being used to enforce the restrictions you mention, or something else. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:09, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your comments. @H-stt, I agree with you on the problems of this definition of freedom. It is, however, news to me that images of this kind are accepted here--certainly good to know. I was under the assumption that while images with non-copyright usage restrictions are tolerated (moral/trademark rights etc.), restrictions on creating derivatives were not as they (at least in our case here) arise directly from copyright law (@Clindberg, I think this is what you mean, right?). You are right, however, that this is somewhat inconsequent with respect to "freedom of panorama" works, even though at least in the case of works from Germany, restrictions on creating derivatives of those are much less sweeping than those applying to oficial works protected by § 5 (2) UrhG. Best wishes, —Pill (talk) 21:05, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

White House photo with warning in the meta data

I obtained the image File:White House silence Tucson 2011.jpg from the official White House website, and once uploaded, saw the meta data containing: "Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson" (which looks fine), followed by "The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not otherwise be reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of the White House Photo Office." Would this notice affect the status of this file here? KimChee (talk) 01:41, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

If it's a work by the federal government, then it's public domain. I can really only see personality rights factoring into this image. Huntster (t @ c) 02:40, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! KimChee (talk) 02:44, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Need help filling out a declaration of consent form for a photograph

I am trying to include a photograph of a living person in a biographical article. The photographer who is the sole owner of the photo seems willing to give up all rights except (possibly) attribution. I have sent him the Declaration of consent form found at: He now wants to know which of the Common free licenses at he should fill in. In fact, he said for me to fill in the appropriate license acronym myself and resend the form to him. Which acronym should I use? Do I also delete all the text beginning with "[choose at least one from this page", and ending with "UNLESS YOU FILL SOMETHING IN HERE ].", and just replace it all with the acronym. (And should the acronym be a link to a template like it is at Common free licenses.)

Someone has suggested that CC-BY-SA 3.0 would be a good choice for the Common free license. Do I fill this in, or does the photographer do it? Damn this stuff is complicated!--Foobarnix (talk) 01:16, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

Remind him that he certainly can choose whichever license he wants from that page, but I would agree that CC-by-SA-3.0 would be the best makes reusing simple, and yet gives the photographer proper attribution. Basically, anything in brackets should be replaced with appropriate text, so yes. But remember, the license that's used should be the photographer's choice; don't make it seem like he must choose CC. Huntster (t @ c) 02:46, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
CC-BY is the appropriate license here, not CC-BY-SA. The photographer has no apparent interest in the license of derivative works. Dcoetzee (talk) 05:01, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

One final clarification

Thank you so much Huntster and Dcoetzee. I need one additional clarification: Can I partly fill in the form as below and email it to the photographer asking him to copy it, fill in the date, and return to the indicated email address. Will that work?

I hereby assert that I am the creator and/or sole owner of the exclusive copyright of
URL where the photo can be found will go here
I agree to publish that work under the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0.
I acknowledge that I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product, and to modify it according to their needs, as long as they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.
I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be attributed to me.
I am aware that the free license only concerns copyright, and I reserve the option to take action against anyone who uses this work in a libelous way, or in violation of personality rights, trademark restrictions, etc.
I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the work may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.
DATE OF TODAY, John A Photographer

--Foobarnix (talk) 04:35, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Mmm, if he has agreed to using the Creative Commons license, then that would be fine. Do specify "{{Cc-by-3.0}}", however, since there are multiple versions available and we want to avoid confusion. Make sure he knows *exactly* what needs to be filled in. When you copy the above to the photographer, also make sure to re-add the "@" sign, since the graphical @ didn't transfer when you copied the form from the Email template page (we don't want the email being sent to ""!). Huntster (t @ c) 05:03, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
I added the @, and modified the statement to use the full name of the CC-BY license. Should be good to go. Dcoetzee (talk) 00:27, 16 January 2011 (UTC)


This file is, most probably, a copy of this image: SDSS images are distributed under this license. Is it allowed on commons? --ElComandanteChe (talk) 12:30, 14 January 2011 (UTC)

No. "SDSS Images may not be used for any commercial publication or other commercial purpose except with explicit approval by the Astrophysical Research Consortium(ARC)." We require freedom to use the image commercially.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 13:09, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! --ElComandanteChe (talk) 01:12, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

Copyright status of images of consumer items

I recently nominated en:ZX81, an article about a 1980s home computer, for featured article status on the English Wikipedia (see en:Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/ZX81/archive1). There is a substantial number of photographs of the ZX81 on Wikimedia Commons in Category:Sinclair ZX81, under a variety of licences (CC or GFDL) or released as PD. However, a featured article reviewer has objected to the inclusion of photographs of "copyrighted 3D items", i.e. the ZX81 and other related devices. Commons:Derivative works#Isn't every product copyrighted by someone? What about cars? Or kitchen chairs? My computer case? states that images of utilitarian objects, such as computers, are not considered to be an infringement of copyright under US law. However, the reviewer has stated that this is not sufficient and "at this point we have a number of images taken in unknown countries, and with unknown copyright status. Please state the origin of these images and on what legal basis they are deemed to be free."

This comment suggests that images of consumer items from Wikimedia Commons cannot be used - even if the contributors have released them under free licences or as PD - unless the country of origin of each individual image is recorded and unless the copyright status of every object shown in the image is documented. I note that contributors are not asked for their countries of origin, so this information is not provided for any image unless a contributor has voluntarily added it. The implication is that virtually no pictures of consumer items from Wikimedia Commons can be used on Wikipedia. The logical conclusion would be that all of the thousands of images of consumer items on Wikimedia Commons would have an uncertain copyright status and would presumably have to be deleted. In addition, I can't see any feasible way that an article writer could himself review the status of images that may be years old and come from contributors who have moved on long ago.

I'd appreciate some clarification about this. The featured article candidate page includes a list of all of the images under discussion. Prioryman (talk) 22:58, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

They aren't copyrightable in any jurisdiction I'm aware of. Industrial design is generally handled separately from copyright (for example en:Industrial design rights in the European Union), and has no bearing at all on photographs taken of such items (it is more for competing manufacturers using the same designs). That would be considered a non-copyright restriction even if it did in some way. Some countries do have copyright on "applied art", which can have some differences from U.S. law, but I have yet to see a computer case which would go that length -- there has to be artistic character I think in those countries. If someone wants to point out a court case to the contrary, please do so, but to the best of my knowledge nothing of the sort has ever been brought up, and I would think we would continue with existing "utilitarian" practice unless someone does. I think someone has somewhat of a misconception about what copyright covers (though, given that models and toys are considered sculpture, and photos become derivative works, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch -- but it is, as there are a number of court cases on photos of toys, with nothing on something like computer cases that I'm aware of). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:09, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
This contradicts your recent statement [12]. Where's the difference (apart from that it's not about consumer item) ? NVO (talk) 03:45, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
That DR is a photo of a model... and above, I say the same thing. I don't see what is contradictory. A photo of a real submarine is fine. Toys, models, dolls, etc. have been ruled basically sculpture, and are copyrightable. They do not have a utilitarian purpose. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:05, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
It's precisely the case of game computers: no utilitarian purpose. They were made for games, and aren't much different from, say, rubber ducks. However, Category:Rubber ducks is here and Category:Models from all over the world is here too. NVO (talk) 08:34, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
A computer is utilitarian. The fact it's running a game is irrelevant -- the object itself is engineered to perform a physical function. They do have more fanciful cases I guess, which may get into applied art in some countries (such as that Swedish case below), but again photographs of those seem to be a different matter. The U.S. has a standard of something being "separable" -- i.e. could you logically separate it from the object without affecting the function (a 2D bit of artwork on the surface of the computer, or maybe a sculptural lamp which has little to do with supporting the light bulb -- you can logically "separate" those from the purpose, and they would be copyrightable). There are borderline cases there as well -- a fanciful belt buckle was once ruled copyrightable, and on the other hand there was a piece of art was adapted into a bike rack which looked very very similar, and later a lookalike competing bike rack was deemed to not be a copyright violation as the original was utilitarian. Computer cases at the very least are engineered to hold all the necessary components, keep an air flow through to keep it as cool as possible, etc. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:36, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The ZX81 in particular is not a "game computer" (there's not many games you can play in less than 1K of RAM!). It was designed and marketed as an introduction to BASIC programming. Its design is entirely utilitarian, driven by the specific objective of keeping the cost below a certain price point (hence the weird touch-sensitive keyboard - a cost-saving measure). We're not talking about a piece of art but a machine designed for a specific purpose, just like a cement mixer or a bicycle pump. Would anyone argue that a particular make of cement mixer would be an example of "applied art"? Prioryman (talk) 19:44, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Yet someone did, back at FAC ? you never know until you hit the wall ... NVO (talk) 20:45, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Well, to be honest, I'm not sure what the heck is being argued at FAC. I must admit the concept of a "copyrighted 3D item" is a new one to me. I can understand the case for copyrighting visual depictions of a work of art, but it defies common sense to argue that this extends to examples of industrial design as well, particularly when Commons:Derivative works explicitly says that it doesn't. Think about the implications: you couldn't use any of the existing images of vehicles, machines, consumer products, etc. on Wikimedia Commons. In fact, according to that argument, such images should be deleted from Wikimedia Commons. How many images would that cover? Tens of thousands? Prioryman (talk) 21:25, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
It doesn't work this way. The bulk of "tens of thousands" stays, and only a few are brought to deletion - but usually these are even yours or the finest or the rarest ones. But your trouble is really at FAC, not here. I have no solution to your cross-wiki gordian knot, - try negotiating support from local pro-life heavies. NVO (talk) 21:42, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Here's a bit of a comic relief.... NVO (talk) 21:45, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps, then, the answer would be to nominate for deletion all the images that I would like to use so that their status can be verified as acceptable? Prioryman (talk) 23:03, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Not really. Check out COM:DEL, most requests hang there without response - for months. A well-advertized mass deletion request can attract quite a few users, but it does not guarantee anything. "Consensus" may change, and attitudes in single-file DRs and mass DRs are quite different. See this mass DR that dragged for almost a year and ended "keep", then see how many of these files were deleted later, then you may risk your sanity and try to establish any logic... Not recommended. NVO (talk) 08:45, 14 January 2011 (UTC)
MagLite sued IKEA for copyright infringement on their mini torches, and won in the Swedish supreme court (article in English). The court did say that protection was "limited", and I would guess that this means that a photo is not an infringement. But Commons:Deletion requests/Aalto vases (and earlier Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Aalto vase.jpg) got deleted anyway. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 07:38, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
An interesting case, but it's not directly comparable to the use of a photo. According to the article, IKEA physically copied the MagLite - producing a knock-off product - so that's an issue of infringement through physical reproduction. What we're talking about here is merely a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional object. Prioryman (talk) 08:27, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
Interesting -- I know we have debated (and probably deleted) photos of some artistic vases because we thought they had gotten into the area of applied art, but wouldn't have guessed that flashlight might (that strikes me as more of a trademark or trade dress thing from a U.S. point of view), but OK. As you note though... the ruling does seem to say it is on the very borderline, and is a limited protection, so I would seriously doubt it would have any bearing on photographs of the object. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:36, 13 January 2011 (UTC)
The design of circuit boards are copyrighted in certain countries (Malaysia and China come to mind). The design of computer casings and such, however, tend to fall into another section of Intellectual Property laws (similar to trademarks). Jappalang (talk) 07:03, 18 January 2011 (UTC)