Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 37

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


Attribution of works for hire

When someone is hired to create a work that is then released under a Creative Commons attribution license, what is the correct way to attribute the work? Do you need to attribute both the artist and the person who hired them, or just the person who hired them? Does it depend on what country you're in (especially for countries that have moral rights)? Kaldari (talk) 09:53, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

If you are talking about the legal requirement in the Creative Commons license, the attribution is completely up to the copyright owner. The human artist in that case would have no say in the matter, and no rights to require it, I don't think. I'm less sure about moral rights; companies may not have an obligation to note the name of the individual employee which created a work, and for countries which have work for hire, the human artist never had any interest in the copyright to begin with (since they are not the "author"). Even countries where that is not the case would be likely to respect that aspect for foreign copyrights (the U.S., for example, would use foreign law to determine the copyright owner of a foreign work, and not try to apply U.S. law on validity of transfers and that kind of thing). However if the person is known, it probably should be mentioned somewhere even if not a legal requirement, as it could affect the term of copyright in some countries. If the copyright owner gave no guidance on attribution, I'd probably mention both the company and person if known, and if they did, just use the specified attribution, but somewhere else in the image description note the actual person. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:42, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
I think there are several answers, depending perhaps on national laws. In Germany for example you may create a work for hire and the question if you have to be named or not has - always - to be dealt with in a contract. The author can sell restricted or unrestricted, exclusive or non-exclusive usage rights with or without duty to name him. Credit may even vary by kind of usage. News agencies i.e. often release press images where credit goes to the agency, but usages outside actual news require credit to the author. In any case, their is no "automatic" loose of being named. --Martina talk 21:27, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
Is your question in regards to the requirements faced by the licensor (i.e. the commissioning party) or the licensee (i.e. someone reusing the work)? The former would primarily be governed by national law (as discussed above), while the latter would primarily be governed by the licensing terms. Quoting from section 4 (b): "[You must provide] the name of the Original Author (or pseudonym, if applicable) if supplied, and/or if the Original Author and/or Licensor designate another party or parties (e.g., a sponsor institute, publishing entity, journal) for attribution..." In other words, the license provides for cases where the attribution includes the author, the commissioning party, or both, and the licensee has to provide whatever attribution the licensor has stipulated. LX (talk, contribs) 19:50, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

How explicit does a license need to be, when uploading files from another source?

As the discussion Commons:Village pump/Copyright#How_explicit_does_a_license_need_to_be.2C_when_uploading_files_from_another_source.3F may also affect Commons:licensing I encourage people who watch this page, to participate in the discussion as well. In kind regards, heb [T C E] 12:43, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Free in the U.S. and the country of origin of the work

The Licensing policy says that:

"Uploads of non-U.S. works are normally allowed only if the work is either in the public domain or covered by a valid free license in both the U.S. and the country of origin of the work."

I was trying to find the discussion that lead to this policy. En-wiki only require that the file is free in the U.S. and I would like to read more about why Commons has a different policy. If someone has a link I would be happy :-) --MGA73 (talk) 20:18, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

Interesting question. I guess you could look back at the history of the page. I think it started out that since Commons was hosting images for all the Wikipedias, it should have a more international outlook. Following U.S. law is a requirement because that is where the organization is, but it looks like there was some desire to ensure works were free in at least much of the world as well, not just the U.S. It looks like this edit was when the "country of origin" stuff was first put in; the point being that if something was PD in its Berne country of origin, then it would also be PD in any country which follows the rule of the shorter term -- thus, being PD in a good many countries. For similar reasons, fair use images were not allowed from near the beginning from the looks of it, as that is U.S. law only and Commons needed to support several wikis which did not allow fair use at all. While en-wiki follows U.S. law, other projects more follow laws according to their intended audience. The country of origin rule is a very good one I think. For a while, actually, Commons was actually not following the U.S. part all that much because of the lawsuit over the URAA, resulting in the {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}, but since it was fully upheld we will probably be needing to remove those soon. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:38, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Oh my God! Do you realize what you're asking? (Experienced as you are, I'm guessing that you do) ;) If one reads through the entire history and archives of Commons talk:Licensing (and of Commons:Licensing), I think one might conclude that there is no real answer to that question.
Historically, back when Commons walked its uncertain early steps and proceeded to draft some licensing policy, users wrote a policy requiring that a work had to be free in its country of origin only. Why? For me, that is clouded in mystery. it is possible that in those early times, some users were still unfamiliar with what the German call the Schutzlandprinzip of the Berne convention. Anyways, in the discussion archives, one can see that at some later point someone lightened up to the fact that Commons must probably conform to U.S. copyright law, and then it was proposed to replace the requirement "free in the country of origin" by the requirement "free in the U.S." A good idea, if you ask me. However, the way things turned out, someone suggested to add the U.S. requirement "free in the U.S." but, oh well, let's also keep the requirement "free in the country origin" too. That's about all you'll really find about it. Why was the requirement about the country of origin kept? No deeply thought analysis. No real reason. I get the impression that, basically, the old requirement "free in the country of origin" was kept merely from inertia and the force of habit, even if people didn't really know why it was there in the first place. After the fact, each of us can try and rationalize the policy, with our own personal good or bad ideas about why we think the policy is what it is. If you ask any number of users, you may well get as many different answers.
Like any other user, I too can think of some personal rationalizations for the policy, for what they're worth. I can also think of negative effects of the current policy. The negative points may be more important that the positive points. (I may develop my comments later.) I would welcome a reasoned collective evaluation of the policy, so we could at least have a more solid basis for it and a good answer ready the next time someone will ask the question. :) -- Asclepias (talk) 22:42, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
It may be definition of project, so Erik Möller is right person to address this question.
If I'm not mistaken, it originated from German Wikipedia, which issued or considered to issue CD/DVD form of Wikipedia of that time.
This requirement seems completely reasonable for me. So it's good idea to ask why English Wikipedia and some other projects doesn't follow such policy. Editors live around a world, content is definitely used outside USA, as well as some servers located not in USA - for example, replication on Toolserver.
For me USA laws-centrism seems wrong policy for international projects like WMF ones.
EugeneZelenko (talk) 14:42, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Eugene. On projects of this nature, it would seem absolutely necessary that an image be PD in the county of origin (it's actually the U.S. part that I have mixed-feelings about, regardless of where servers might happen to be located). The en.wp policy, however, is just bizarre. Imagine a Canadian is taking an image created in Canada off a website based in Canada and uploading it locally to en.wp - yet the fact that the image is copyrighted in Canada is immaterial and all that matters is that it is considered PD in the U.S. If I were the copyright-owner in Canada, I am not sure that I would find the en.wp policy defensible. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 18:18, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
The WMF is a U.S. organization, and despite the international reach, it's not unreasonable to conform to U.S. standards for it. The said copyright owner in Canada would not be a copyright owner in the U.S.; they have no more rights to prevent U.S. usages and they should hopefully be quite used to that. Same situation can also go the other way; Canadian rights can expire before those in the U.S. In the end, following one rule or the other results in more material available (and thus a better encyclopedia) than the Commons dual rule... I'm pretty sure de-wiki follows German law quite a bit, it-wiki probably uses the Italian 20-year rule for photographs regardless of their status in the U.S., etc. The country-of-origin rule makes sense to me for Commons, but in a practical sense the U.S. rule is also close to unavoidable -- we are directly subject to DMCA takedowns and the like, so it's not something we can easily ignore. We could potentially host free-in-other-countries-but-not-the-US images under fair use rationales, but that may not go over too well and won't help with DMCA takedowns that much. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:36, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Also, the Canadian uploader would be violating (Canadian) copyright in uploading such an image, even if Commons isn't violating (American) copyright by hosting it - so they would still have recourse in suing the Canadian uploader. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 01:15, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
That'd also be true if that Canadian uploaded some Commons-free files; Canada doesn't apply the rule of the shorter term to US works for example. And practically thinking, individual people aren't good targets; they're hard to find and rarely worth much to sue.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:24, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I find country of origin rules horribly confusing. Imagine a Iranian taking an image taken by a German solider in what is now the Ukraine, then Russia, from a server in Italy and uploading it to a US server (en.wp). By the Berne Convention, what's the country of origin? Trick question; it's the country of first publication! Let's say that it was first published by a Yugoslavian publisher who had offices in Sarajevo (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), Zagreb (now Croatia), and Belgrade (now Serbia). That's just not that unlikely in a project of this nature. You want to worry about all of them, there's laws in 9 languages you might want consider. I'd rather consider copyright in most places overbroad and accept the restrictions we have to.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:08, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
 :-o Perhaps we should skip the "country of origin" and only care about the US ;-) --MGA73 (talk) 15:04, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Different projects define "free" in different ways, often based on the countries where the project's language is spoken. Italian Wikipedia seems to allow any photo which is at least 20 years old (see e.g. it:Serie A 1976-1977: the photos in the article are {{PD-Italy}} but also {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}), German Wikipedia seems to applying German FOP to all countries in the world (see e.g. de:Datei:Günter Grass - Butt.jpg) and so on. Even if the Commons definition is changed to match the English Wikipedia definition, it will still contradict with the definitions used on other projects, so it is no real gain, and would probably just create extra problems for other projects since they would have to prevent many Commons images from being used due to the images being unfree locally. Besides, one purpose with Commons is that anyone should be able to reuse Commons files. By ensuring that files are free in the country of origin, you will know that the file is free in most other countries too. However, if it is free in US but not in the source country, it might only be free in the US, creating problems for reusers. Thus, keeping the "free in source country" requirement would make things much easier for reusers. The "free in the US" requirement won't help reusers at all (unless they are based in the US), but obviously needs to be kept for legal reasons. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:55, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
Even what we consider free other projects do not. The best example I can think of is the Japanese Wikipedia doesn't accept PD-USGov (it marks it for deletion and tells the uploader to go to the Commons for those photos). User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 18:50, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
My impression was that the reason for disallowing some licences is to simplify things for Japanese Wikipedia admins so that they won't have to know about all different kinds of exotic licences while still treating them as free for article use. Why would a project see CC-BY 2.0 as unacceptable but CC-BY 3.0 as acceptable when the CC-BY 2.0 licence clearly states that you are free to increase the licence version number from 2.0 to 3.0? Anyway, let's not mess with the definition of "free" on Commons since it could cause problems for other projects when taking into consideration the definition of "free" on those projects. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:27, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Thank you all for the info. The reason I wanted to know more is that it would be much easier if we had the same policy (except for fair use). If we allowed files that was not free in the source country they would ofcourse need different templates that the files that is free in both countries. What gave me the silly idea to ask is this discussion on en-wiki + related DR's :-) --MGA73 (talk) 19:47, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

  • I think what is needed more than a change in our licensing requirement is better clarification and explanation of the meaning of the "source country". First, Commons:Licensing#Interaction of United States copyright law and non-US copyright law, states -- I think improperly -- that by "source country" we mean the location of the uploader and the location at which the uploader found the work. It gives the example "For example, if a person in the UK uploads a picture that has been saved off a French website to the Commons server, the upload must be covered by UK, French and US copyright law. For a photograph to be acceptable for upload to Commons, it must be public domain in France, the UK and the US, or there must be an acceptable copyright license for the photograph that covers the UK, US and France." I think the only jurisdictions that matter are the US and the Berne Convention country(s) of origin for any potential or expired copyright. For example, the Australian Aboriginal flag, was created by an Australian and probably first published in Australia. Although it is almost certainly PD in the US and many other countries, regardless of the nationality of the creator of any specific image, we can't host it here because Australia is the true source country, and it isn't free there. On the other hand, if a file is PD in the copyright country of origin and in the US, I think we can host it regardless of the copyright status in the jurisdiction of the uploader or any other (though of course, uploaders might be liable for violating copyright in their locality). The second area in which we could improve is to give a better explanation of how to determine the Berne Convention country of origin. cmadler (talk) 15:32, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Anonymous pre-1923 US photos

Can some look at en:Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Yogo sapphire/archive1‎‎, a FAC discussion, and advise on proper licensing for the photos? IMHO two would be PD due to being anonymous and over 95 years old. Thanks. PumpkinSky talk 15:55, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Stefan2 has responded there. PumpkinSky talk 21:00, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Why do we need files to be free in the country of origin and the United States

I am wondering if we should allow files that are PD in only the source country but not in the United States (unless if the United States is the country of origin). I would really like some opinions on this matter. C3F2k (Questions, comments, complaints?) 17:03, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

Well, is a start. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 17:14, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
Commons can't do that. Wikimedia is based in the U.S. and wants the contents of its projects to be legal in the U.S. -- Asclepias (talk) 19:38, 19 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, I see now. C3F2k (Questions, comments, complaints?) 20:13, 19 June 2012 (UTC)

CERN copyright information

There was a lengthy discussion at Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 28 about CERN's copyright status. The result at that time was that CERN was reviewing their copyright status and so nothing new should be uploaded. I checked today and apparently their review is complete. CERN has updated their copyright status here: new status. As such, the Wikipedia copyright tag for CERN images should be updated, such as used here.

I've also uploaded a new image from CERN [1], reflecting the new copyright status as best I could. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Egumtow (talk • contribs) 09:21, 5 July 2012‎ (UTC)

Those terms are completely non-free and not acceptable for files to be hosted at Commons. Content must be free for any use. Their terms are limited to educational and informational use only. (This is already permitted as fair use under law and cannot be prohibited, so effectively, they're not granting any rights to anyone.) They also explicitly prohibit redistribution (making the content available for use by third parties) and selling the content. LX (talk, contribs) 10:21, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
OK. Well, this is a disappointing result for me. After researching the issue for some time I feel like CERN recently updated their terms of use specifically with Wikipedia in mind, hoping to allow Wikipedia to use their images. But it turns out their wording may instead disallow use on Wikipedia, and I doubt that was intentional. I will contact CERN and ask if perhaps they can re-update their terms. Unfortunately this will be another year+ process, and for the time being we are stuck with images from 2005. Egumtow (talk) 19:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
Message delivered to CERN. I will try to update this thread if/when I hear back. Perhaps also periodically check in case the terms are modified without notice. Egumtow (talk) 20:02, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
The thing is: creating terms specifically for Wikipedia, Commons or Wikimedia is probably the wrong approach, since we only accept content that can be used by anyone for any purpose. It's strongly advisable to use an existing, well-established license such as {{cc-by-3.0}} or {{cc-by-sa-3.0}}. CERN is no stranger to licensing their work freely (Tim Berners Lee considered the GPL for WorldWideWeb, but eventually waived all copyright), so hopefully they can find the way back to their roots. LX (talk, contribs) 21:56, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Template:PD-Brazil-media confusing

I see File:CapaVidasSecas 1ed.jpg has been tagged for speedy deletion with the reason "While this may be out of copyright in Brazil, it would seem to be still in copyright within the United States as it was published after 1922 and was not published within the US concurrently", which at first glance appears reasonable. However, is the text in Template:PD-Brazil-media text correct? Is it complete? Should the template state that an additional license template is required, for example one that declares the image was published before 1922 (or maybe 1936, I could not fathom the legal spaghetti)? Should we review the other images using that template? -84user (talk) 18:17, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

The work in question is not a photograph nor a visual work either, so the term may be 70pma. While Brazil's term on the URAA date was 60 years... if that was first published in 1938, 60 years still takes it past 1996. Should have been tagged {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} really. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:04, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

how to proof the license of a foto by somebody else ...

concerning, we were wondering how to document the fact, that rocky's wife rachael sent the foto to oral who then uploaded it. there are so many upload and license pages, but i could not see where one should put or send such a free license permission. --ThurnerRupert (talk) 06:33, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

On the file description page, Oralofori claims to be the author and copyright holder of the photo. He shouldn't claim that if it isn't true. The author of this photograph is the photographer (Rachel Samuel, according to, and she is most likely the copyright holder as well. For Commons to be able to host the file, the copyright holder must agree to publish the photo under a license that allows anyone to use it for any purpose. Please use our standard permission template and send it in to our permissions archive (see instructions on those pages). LX (talk, contribs) 16:41, 10 July 2012 (UTC)


According to Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights, photographic works in Indonesia were protected by 25 years after first publication at the time of the URAA in 1996, as Law No. 6 of April 12, 1982 concerning Copyright, as amended by Law No. 7 of September 19, 1987 was in effect at the time. As such, could someone add an explicit notice to the above template, or create a new template, noting that Photographic works first published in Indonesia before 1971 are in the public domain in the United States? Thanks. (Not sure where to post this)Crisco 1492 (talk) 13:32, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

{{PD-IDOld-Art30}} only tells whether something is free in Indonesia and should in my opinion not provide information about the copyright status in other countries. The copyright status in the United States is determined from other templates such as {{PD-1923}} and {{PD-1996}}. Besides, Indonesian photos taken before 1971 may be copyrighted in the United States if they are unpublished (i.e. not published before 1 March 1989) or if they were published with a copyright notice. Most photos in private photo albums are unpublished, and the United States copyrights such photos for life+70 years (or sometimes creation+120 years) even if they were in the public domain in the source country on the URAA day. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:38, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
  • I already indicated "first published" above... I am quite aware of the distinction between having a photograph taken and having it published. So, in your (or another editor's) opinion, is the addendum at File:Oerip Soemohardjo 5 November 1947 KR.JPG sufficient for indicating why PD-1996 was used?Crisco 1492 (talk) 01:04, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I think your note in the parameter is a good explanation. (I usually place such explanations in the permission field and outside the PD status template, as I think it makes the explanation more visible, but your method is fine too.) About your initial suggestion, I think that a short reminder about this situation could be useful somewhere, perhaps on the discussion page of the PD-IDOld-Art30 template or at Commons:Licensing#Indonesia? -- Asclepias (talk) 01:34, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Old photograph

What is the policy for old images where the author is unknown? The image I'm referring to specifically is this taken sometime in the 1930s and featured in this article. Bahraini Activist (talk) 06:46, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

If the photo really is unknown, it is in the public domain in the United Kingdom. However, unless the photo was made by the British government, it is still copyrighted in the United States, so it can't be uploaded here. Someone, presumably the photographer or the photographer's heir, is the copyright holder. If you can't identify the copyright holder, bad luck. --Stefan4 (talk) 08:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Without knowing the date of publication, the location of first publication, or the identity of the photographer, it's pretty much impossible to determine the copyright status of the image. Thus, it probably can't be uploaded to Commons. Kaldari (talk) 22:13, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Files not in the public domain in the United States

According to Commons:Licensing, “Wikimedia Commons accepts only media [...] that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work.” This excludes very many media which are in the public domain elsewhere, but not in the US. For example, works published in the European Union after 1922 by authors who died before 1942 are in the public domain in the European Union, but not in the United States.

The reason given for this policy is “Commons is an international project, but its servers are located in the U.S.”. But this is only half the truth: Wikimedia has servers in the United States and the Netherlands (which are a member of the European Union). Why not host files which are in the public domain in the Netherlands, but not in the US, on those Dutch servers? -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 23:49, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I think legally a US foundation serving files to people in the US can be sued in the US for copyright infringement no matter where the servers are located.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:15, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Then these files should not be served to people in the US. Or (some of) the Dutch servers in the Netherlands should not be run by the US Wikimedia foundation, but by a legally independent European entity. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 05:39, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Wrong forum. As Prosfilaes says, so long as the WMF is involved, it has to abide by U.S. law. If you have some work-around, it should really be proposed to the WMF, not to Commons - or perhaps more appropriately to the WMF legal counsel. There's Wikimedia Forum for the former and for the latter. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 10:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing that out. I have posted my proposal on the Wikimedia Forum. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 11:37, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Medieval seal copyright

Hello! I would like to know the true copyright status of Terbelliou.jpg and its derivatives. It is a photo of an early 8th-century seal, probably scanned from a book like this. When reproduced here, for instance, it says "Photo: Dumbarton Oaks, Copyright 1996". Does copyright really apply to this picture, which is after all a mere black-and-white image of a 1300-year old object? Constantine 11:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Hi, the seal itself is surely old enough to be out of copyright. Under certain circumstances, photographs of old pieces of art are not copyrightable (see COM:ART). However, this is not a flat painting but a 3D object, so the photograph of it is probably in fact copyrighted – see COM:ART#This does not apply to photographs of 3D works of art and COM:ART#Photograph of an old coin found on the Internet. A deletion request might be appropriate here. Greetigs, --El Grafo (talk) 13:15, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I was expecting that, but the problem is the wording "When a photograph demonstrates originality (typically through the choice of framing, lighting, point of view and so on)". I know I may be splitting hairs, but this photo is really a "photocopy" of the seal, if there's any artistic input here, then I'm blind. In other words, the seal is essentially reproduced as if it where a 2D object. If the board's opinion remains that it should be deleted, however, I'll go ahead with a deletion request. Constantine 14:38, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
And I just now noticed that a decision here affects quite a lot of files (cf. Seals of Bulgaria). Oh dear... Constantine 14:43, 27 July 2012 (UTC)


where is Moldova? I didn't found it this list. Add an article and for this country. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dani XXN (talk • contribs) 2012-08-14T16:33:53 (UTC)

Here is the WIPO Lex entry. The law is only available in Moldovan and Russian. LX (talk, contribs) 16:25, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

copying formerly non-free media from local wikis: is permission from the original uploader required?

Suppose Alice uploads a screenshot (let's call it X.png) of a non-free software application to the English Wikipedia, which allows fair use files. Bob wants to upload X.png on Wikimedia Commons and manages to obtain permission from the author of the application. Does he need to obtain permission from Alice as well, or can he upload it directly (because Alice isn't really the "author" of the screenshot)?

Thanks in advance. --Ixfd64 (talk) 23:36, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

That depends. Was there any creativity involved when Alice created the screenshot? If so, she also has a copyright on the image and Bob needs to obtain her permission. Regards, -- ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 08:16, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Unlikely -- somebody does not gain rights over an image simply by uploading it. In the case of screenshots though, if there are a number of elements arranged, there is a slight possibility of a copyright on the specific arrangement. But one would hope that that aspect would have been considered freely licensed already; en-wiki would allow non-free use of the application itself, but I can't imagine they would allow a screenshot covered by a selection and arrangement copyright as well when it would be very easy to create one without such encumbrance. It would take a certain amount of arrangement to get such a copyright I think -- if there are only 2-3 elements, I don't think that would qualify anyways. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:57, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the input. In the case of generic screenshots, I'm guessing Bob can go ahead and re-upload the image to Commons as long as he has permission from the program's author? --Ixfd64 (talk) 02:05, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Colonial copyright and URAA

For works such as films or whatnot, does the copyright exist in both the colonising country and the colony, or only one, for the purposes of establishing URAA extensions? For example, File:Lily van Java scene.jpg was released in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1928. Indonesia became independent in 1945. In Indonesia, the film would have become public domain in 1978 and thus not been extended by the URAA; however, in the Netherlands the image only became public domain in 1998 and thus would have fallen afoul of the URAA. How did the US apply the URAA in such situations? Crisco 1492 (talk) 08:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Why do you think that the film entered the public domain in the Netherlands in 1998? The earliest possible date would be 70 years after creation, i.e. in 1999. However, en:Lily van Java lists a film director (who is, I believe, one of the people seen as co-authors according to EU rules), and I can't find any evidence that he died before 1942. --Stefan4 (talk) 08:35, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Sorry, forgot it was 70+1 (as an easy way to count, not in legalese). Nelson was inactive by 1934 although I have also been unable to find a reliable source to his year of death (there's generally a clause in the laws about that, right?).
Now, would it have been considered Indonesian or Dutch by the URAA? Even if this particular film weren't PD in the Netherlands, this and other old films would generally be free enough for Wikipedia (G. Kruger's Eulis Atjih comes to mind, which was definitely PD in the Netherlands by 2006 and PD in Indonesia before the URAA).Crisco 1492 (talk) 08:55, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the Dutch East Indies was part of the Netherlands, but rather a colony. The Dutch copyright law was applied there, and such works would be protected today in the Netherlands (their law still says This Act shall remain in force in respect of all literary, scientific or artistic works published for the first time by or on behalf of the author prior to 27 December 1949 in the Dutch East Indies or prior to 1 October 1962 in Dutch New Guinea). But if the movie was truly released in the Dutch East Indies, and not the Netherlands proper, I think the URAA would use Indonesia's law (same if they are considered to be simultaneously published in the two countries). So I think it went out of copyright there at the latest in 1979 (films had a term of 50 years from publication). Interesting that Indonesia joined the WTO in 1995 but did not join Berne until 1997 (the URAA date is still January 1, 1996 because of the WTO). Per this book, it seems as though the UK at least treated the Dutch East Indies as a separate foreign country when it came to relations under the Berne Convention). Note that Curacao, treated the same way at the time, has a term of 50pma today despite being a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands -- the 70pma extension applies only for the EU portions of the Netherlands. I think the movie is fine here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 11:50, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
  • So if I've got your post right, so long as the film is not known to have been published in the Netherlands than Indonesian copyright probably applied in terms of the URAA
That would make many images free enough for the English Wikipedia, but wouldn't the Netherlands still have copyright on certain works (known author who died 1942 or later, unknown author published after 1942?).Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:07, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
If it wasn't published in the Netherlands, the Commons isn't really concerned about its copyright there. Just the US and the country of origin.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:35, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Alright, I know where my free time will be spent today.Crisco 1492 (talk) 00:52, 22 August 2012 (UTC)


If someone can read French fluently, I believe the copyright laws for Madagascar can be found through the two links on this page: UNESCO Collection of national copyright laws

Madagascar is currently not on the list. – Maky « talk » 17:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The current law is also in English at the WIPO site. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:56, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

X rays

What is the communities opinion on the comments here [2] that X-rays are not copyrightable? Does this mean that I can use any X rays I find online?James Heilman, MD (talk) 13:49, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

That page only seems to explain the copyright status in the United States. In some countries, such as the Nordic countries, all photos are copyrightable simply because they are photos. In Switzerland, I suppose that most X-ray photos aren't copyrighted, given COM:TOO#Switzerland. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:19, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
There is some discussion on Commons:Patient images; it's a hard question. It sounds like Germany may protect them with their lower-term simple photo copyright, which indicates they are below the threshold of the EU copyright directives, but they still may be protected. No idea on the U.S.; I could see arguments both ways. There are of course significant medical records laws and privacy issues surrounding such images as well. The court decision linked at your site is interesting, but it involves digital 3D models made of cars which were in turn made from precise computerized measurements of the physical cars themselves, with further hand massaging for elements they could not measure well. The company claimed copyright on that hand massaging and was denied. They actually had obtained a copyright registration, but the court decided the particular process used to create the model did not involve enough creativity. The copyright on photographs are on things like the lighting, angle chosen, arranging the subject to get a desired effect, and that sort of thing. Another case described it as elements of originality in a photograph may include posing the subjects, lighting, angle, selection of film and camera, evoking the desired expression, and almost any other variant involved. Most of those would not exist in an x-ray setting, and perhaps none, though one might make an argument for arrangement of the subject to get the desired result. There was the Bridgman decision where the photograph was essentially a copy of a 2-D original painting, and that was not copyrightable, but this is a little different. Most photographs are protected, and photographing 3D objects usually involves a little bit of creativity, so we usually assume those are copyrightable in the absence of a ruling to the contrary. These aren't normal photographs though. I guess that it's very possible they are not protectable by copyright, but we may prefer a more solid court precedent or copyright office ruling before assuming they are OK to upload (and I would not upload them from countries which appear to protect them under simple-photo copyrights unless those terms have expired). For the US, it may be possible to find x-rays created by the federal government (such as the NIH) and use those, to avoid the question. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:36, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes so the question is could one take an xray from a textbook published in the USA and add it to Wikipedia because they are not copyrightable in that jurisdiction?James Heilman, MD (talk) 00:43, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
And I guess the short answer is, we may be hesitant to do that absent a more specific ruling on the subject, or some other legal commentary which shows there is some consensus on the matter. It could even be the situation that normal patient X-rays are not copyrightable, but certain X-rays made specifically for a book or other publication (i.e. there was a targeted aspect they were trying to illustrate) could be copyrightable. That's kind of the problem; without a ruling, we don't know what the legal boundaries are, and we tend to be conservative. Do most doctors consider them uncopyrightable or does the subject really never come up? I can't find any commentary at all on really. If you know of any other court cases or other literature which could give some clarity, that would help. I can't say for sure they would be deleted if uploaded, but they might be. X-rays made by the U.S. federal government would be fine though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:01, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
Here is one US court case on the topic [3]
There are a number of options regarding who owns the copyright if anyone. They include:
  1. The person who takes the image (X ray tech)
  2. The doctor who ordered the image
  3. The doctor who reads the image (radiologist)
  4. The hospital who owns the equipment / employees the X ray tech
  5. The person/institution who paid to have the image taken
  6. The government /shareholders who owns the hospital
I have uploaded a number of X rays to Wikimedia Commons. The question is am I as the ordering physician able to release them under a CC BY SA license? The images have patient identifiers removed and thus concerns of patient confidentiality do not apply (already had this discussion with legal here in Canada and they are happy). With respect to copyright this never comes up. We all simply use them for teaching and publication without any real though. James Heilman, MD (talk) 11:23, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
See Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/07#Strange clause?. It seems that the copyright holder to a Canadian photo might be the one who, at the point of photography, owned the equipment used for taking the photo, or perhaps the one who at that time owned the storage medium (negatives, memory cards etc.). Not sure if that helps you identifying the copyright holder. --Stefan4 (talk) 11:40, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
X rays are not photos as there is no creativity. They are taken based on specific procedures. More like a photocopy. James Heilman, MD (talk) 12:36, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I would somewhat question that position, as by adjusting the voltage (in effect, the power) of the x-ray tube and by choosing an specific angle you do influence the resulting image. The fact that another person using the identical settings on the identical object/subject would result in an identical image is also true for classical photography, except for the influence of the available light. --Túrelio (talk) 12:42, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The powers and angles are specified and not up to the person using the machine. I guess the question is, is the WMF legal team interested in testing this. James Heilman, MD (talk) 13:04, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
But specified by the radiologist. IMO you could compare that to the not-so-rare situation when person A asks person B to take a shot of him/her, after person A has made all the settings and choosen the position from wheree to take the photo, so that person B only presses the button. --Túrelio (talk) 13:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

No, not specified by the radiologist but specified by the profession. Certain x rays are always taken in certain ways. By the way the legal case on this issue is here [4] James Heilman, MD (talk) 13:30, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

It appears we have had a number of these images deleted already [5] and [6] I have send a note to the WMF legal counsel to get his opinion on this. James Heilman, MD (talk) 13:47, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Surely some of such images were deleted, for example because they were taken in Germany, where they are legally protected for 50 years. --Túrelio (talk) 14:03, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
These images where from radswiki. I know the person who runs the site (which he started while in Canada). He trained at my University and has released a number of the images under a CC BY SA license when asked. James Heilman, MD (talk) 14:13, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, no, the images I had in my head when answering, were uploaded by a Wikipedian from Germany whom I even know in RL and they had been made by his own doctors. --Túrelio (talk) 14:16, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The images I was referring to in the case was these [7]. James Heilman, MD (talk) 14:23, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I think the question there was that if copyright had not actually been transferred to the owners of the site, then the site owner had no authority to release them under a CC-BY-SA license in the first place. Only the copyright owner can do that. Just like Wikimedia has no right to further license most of the works on Commons -- the copyright is still owned by the original copyright owners, and can only be used under the terms they allowed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:45, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
That case does agree that slavish copying (particularly when automated) is not copyrightable, but it is not a case directly about X-rays. It's about a computer 3D-model made of an existing object (a car) using an automated process (i.e. little human authorship to begin with). The copyright owner of an X-ray would be whoever the employer of the technician is, unless there is a written agreement to the contrary (if the X-ray was taken before 1978, which is when a new copyright law went into place changing the rules on copyright transfer, the situation is not as clear, but it would be either the employer of the technician, or the person who paid for the X-ray, or perhaps the owner of the negative). It is of course very possible that X-rays are not copyrightable in the U.S., since at least most of the aspects associated with authorship of photographs are not present. Even the voltage and angle thing may not count, if they are standard industry practice. In his old copyright books (often cited by the courts), Nimmer mentioned two situations where a photograph would not be copyrightable. One is "slavish copying", e.g. photographing another photograph, making a print, the Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. ruling (which cited Nimmer's book), or the case you just linked to. The second is where a photographer tries to re-create the elements of an existing photograph. X-rays don't clearly fall into either category, although as Nimmer was mainly using existing case law as a guide, it may just mean the X-ray situation has never been tested in court. Without such a ruling, we may be hesitant to keep them -- it's possible that they are below the threshold of originality, but it's also possible that there could be creativity involved in trying to highlight a particular area of the body with an X-ray. I think they are definitely below the usual European "creation of the mind" threshold, and thus not subject to 70pma over there, but they have been mentioned to be protected by the shorter German "simple photographs" term (50 years). Several European countries do have shorter terms for "simple" photographs like that, and some other European countries may not protect them at all. Those questions would come up if the X-rays are from those countries. The question for U.S. X-rays though is what the U.S. would do, and it would be nice to have a more on-topic case to have better certainty. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:09, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Sure however it would be very unfortunate to simply delete all X rays as we have no firm idea of whom owns the copyright. And if its is the employer the employer at what level? The radiologist, the hospital, the health region, the government, the shareholders? When textbooks / journal publish radiology images they attribute the physician. But this of course does not mean they are right. James Heilman, MD (talk) 14:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The company who pays the technician, by default (it's a work for hire), unless there are contracts in place which specify something different. Not knowing the copyright owner is not relevant to a PD-ineligible theory of keeping X-rays; they are either copyrightable or not, and if so, we would delete. It may be a question if someone does claim copyright ownership and licenses it; they would have to be the owner for the license to be valid, and that is a very different question. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:45, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
When Xray images are published in textbooks or journals they credit a doctor. This doctor is typically not the employer of the Xray tech. They however do not state that the doctor has copyright. And the journal / textbook does not request permission from anyone else (hospital or government).
I guess the big question is, if there is no legal precedent, do we just follow what is done in the rest of publishing (the images are provided courtesy of someone involved be it physician or patient) James Heilman, MD (talk) 14:53, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Okay found some sources. This textbook from 1997 states "ownership of medical images has been in dispute for as lon as X rays have existed: the patient who paid for the images, whose body parts are the subjects have insisted that they own their own images, and the medical world has insisted that they belong to the physician under whose care they were made"[8] The next question of course is which physician? The images I have uploaded where patients under my care thus I should be good I hope. Should we go with both. :-) James Heilman, MD (talk) 15:04, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

The sentence you quoted is about the ownership of the images. It may be related also to personality rights, like the right to the image of persons, etc. It is not about the ownership of the copyright on the images. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:22, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I feel it might be helpful for Commons or the WMF to look at how online open-access journals like PLoS One [9] and BMJ Open [10] ([11]) operate. From a publishing perspective, it seems to me there are some useful analogies there with our own situation. —MistyMorn (talk) 16:12, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Ownership of the physical X-rays is separate from ownership of the copyright (if it exists). Before 1978, some courts allowed an implied transfer in some situations, but not since then, where 17 USC 202 applies. On the other hand, if medical journals allow X-rays to be published with the sole authorization of the doctor, that may be something we could look to as a precedent (though they could always claim fair use if the copyright is contested, something which is harder for us). If you believe you are the copyright owner of the X-rays, then you should be able to license them. I'm just cautioning about taking any available X-ray off the internet under the theory it is not copyrightable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:00, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I would think that any slight amount of creativity would be completely and inherently inappropriate for a medical xray or any other standard medical test.--Taylornate (talk) 17:24, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
There would be expected medical uses for those, and for sure copyright would not intrude on any of those. When it comes to illustrations for medical articles though, that is a more typical copyright situation. It's entirely possible such things are below the threshold of originality, but it'd be far better to have a court ruling to back it up. For example, if someone is writing a medical article, and takes several X-rays to illustrate a particular aspect (i.e. not in the course of normal medical treatment), is that enough? How does that differ from a normal photograph? Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

The most recent full article on the subject I've been able to find in a peer-review medical journal is Copyright law and academic radiology: rights of authors and copyright owners and reproduction of information. EJ Stern, L Westenberg - American Journal of Roentgenology, 1995. Since then, academic journals don't seem to have found it worth providing guidance beyond their own instructions to authors. —MistyMorn (talk) 17:57, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

That's a very good overview of copyright law (terms were increased by 20 years since that was written, but the basics are all the same). But it does not raise the issue of whether X-rays are copyrightable at all; it mostly deals with situations where they assume works are copyrightable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:47, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
Per the editor and chief of MedPix "However,for the purposes of publication, the permission or "copyright assignment" almost always comes from the authors of the article manuscript - who are usually not the referring physicians, and are often not even the Radiologist who made the initial or original interpretation "read" for the patients clinical record." It seems that the first one to send it for publication get copyright out in the real world. Strange yes.James Heilman, MD (talk) 16:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)
In the real world of academic publishing, regular use of illustrations of original radiological images is essential for both research and educational purposes. Authors are expected to provide images of suitable quality that have been completely anonymized [12], and are free from potentially misleading artifacts and any inappropriate manipulation. These are real issues, as is signed patient consent to anonymous publication of the data. Copyright concerns that authors are expected to address are generally confined to reproduction of previously published material, rather than de novo publication of original images. Major journals clearly deal with such questions on a day-to-day basis. It seems to me that a practical way forward could be for WMF to contact an open-access online publisher such as PLoS to inquire about any cautionary steps (appropriate permissions etc) which need to be taken when publishing original radiographic and other clinical images on the internet for educational purposes with a Commons license. 2c, —MistyMorn (talk) 16:56, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

I've posted a piece on things to consider when determining if a particular x-ray image is protected by copyright: Copyright of X-Ray Images. I hope that this provides some useful guidance. Pholm (WMF) (talk) 19:11, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

Plans (building documents)

I would like to know if there is the possibility of uploading simplified plans (building documents) on Wikimedia Commons. I'm wondering if they fit under "Simple design", as they are composed of simple geometrical shapes. Regards; Felipe Menegaz 20:41, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Do u mean something like that? Or do u have a link? I can't imagen what u want to upload--Sanandros (talk) 22:02, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
If you're talking about architectural plans, no, those are protected by copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:46, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
I wanted to create maps for the venues of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. You can see those architectural plans here. On page 29, there is an architectural plan for the Olympic Park, and I was wondering if it is still a copyright violation even after removing most of the details. Actually, I would just use the venues shapes superposed on an OpenStreet map. Felipe Menegaz 23:52, 26 August 2012 (UTC)
Removing information from a copyrighted work creates a derivative work, and to the extent that it still retains any of the original work, it is still protected by copyright. On the other hand, if you derived the shapes from open sources and plotted then on an OpenStreet map, you should be good to go.--Curtis Clark (talk) 03:50, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Detailed building plans almost always reach the threshold of originality required for copyright protection. Just the birds-eye outline of a building typically does not. So while you can't copy complete building plans, the intended use that you describe sounds okay. LX (talk, contribs) 16:53, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Sry i misunderstood u. Yea if u just take the information u create basically then an own work.--Sanandros (talk) 18:54, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. It is not a detailed architectural plan (with the building insights), but a bird's-eye view. In this case, can I include the projected streets and lakes? Felipe Menegaz 04:14, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes that's possible--Sanandros (talk) 10:07, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

COM:VP discussion

Please see Commons:Village_pump#Commons:Licensing. Thanks. Rd232 (talk) 17:38, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Promotional pictures

Are promotional pictures, like headshots of celebrities, automatically considered to have been published at or around the date of their taking? I asked at Wikipedia and was told that it was impossible to generalise, although the commenter suggested that such a consensus could be built. Since a consensus to that regard would have the greatest impact on Commons, I'm asking here.Crisco 1492 (talk) 07:05, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

"The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display, constitutes publication." [13] So if, for example, I take a promotion photo of my garage band and send copies to 10 local newspapers, with the hope/intent that they will use the photo in an article about my band, that probably constitutes publication whether or not any of the newspapers actually use the photos. Based on that, I'd be inclined to assume that any such promotional photo has been "published". cmadler (talk) 14:23, 4 September 2012 (UTC)
  • For those who need a concrete example, if publication for a promotional picture is considered soon after its taking, File:Potret Roekiah1.jpg would be PD in both the US (per this discussion) and Indonesia (not in the Netherlands, the colonial government) as she died in 1945 and her last film role was in 1944. Images such as this from Moestika dari Djenar (1941) would also be free. Crisco 1492 (talk) 15:56, 4 September 2012 (UTC)

The "BD-propagande colour en" cartoon

As someone who has been struggling to understand licensing, I have found this cartoon really off-putting. The first time I came across it, I came close to abandoning my attempt to contribute images to Commons. I would like to see it removed from the page.

The cartoon conveys two messages. The first is "so you are struggling to work out what license to use. That is not good enough. You ought to use two licenses". I still have no idea why anyone would use two licenses, or how they would choose them. What is the effect of having more than one license? Do we get all the restrictions specified by any of the licenses? Or all the freedoms permitted by any of the licenses? Or is there a choice? and if so, who makes the choice?

But the second message is the real problem. It is "so you are struggling to work out what license to use? Even children can understand that - and they don't just use one license, they use two". This is so insulting to well-meaning readers of the page.

Maproom (talk) 18:38, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

I don't think either the Creative Commons cartoon (BD-propagande) or the NonCommercial cartoon (BD-propagande-2) are very helpful. (And you can't read the cartoons without clicking on them anyway). Plus the first one is basically obsolete anyway (it's now pretty rare to get GFDL-only uploads, AFAIK), while the second one is a somehow a complicated and slightly condescending way of explaining why Commons doesn't allow non-commercial licensing as the only option for a file. However I don't think the cartoon is giving the messages you suggest in terms of "not good enough" and "even children understand that"; it's trying to be helpful (and not really succeeding, IMO). NB Commons:Multi-licensing maybe explains better why multiple licenses can be helpful. Rd232 (talk) 19:35, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
I remember that some users said that BD-propagande-2 helped them understand the idea about the NC restriction. I'm not sure why, but it did seem helpful for them. -- Asclepias (talk) 23:46, 17 September 2012 (UTC)
If someone wants to use the cartoon about the GFDL-CC comparison, they should use the original black and white version (File:BD-propagande.jpg), which at least conveys the correct message. It was one tool among others for explaining the idea that, in some circumstances, it is easier to reuse images under a CC license than under the GFDL, although the current context may now make the use of the cartoon somewhat obsolete. However, IMO, the colour version of that cartoon (File:BD-propagande colour en.jpg) should never be used. It shows a bad example to unsuspecting users. At best, it is confusing and hopefully users will ignore it. The last frame of the colour version poses a problem of internal consistency in the cartoon, because it contradicts the intended message. The intended message is that a reuser who reuses an image with only a CC license does not need to annex the whole text of a license. That message is correctly conveyed in the black and white version. The colour version, however, confuses it by adding the mention "GFDL" in the last frame, where it should not be. The last frame of the colour version also poses a problem for the whole file, as it is derived from a montage, which itself is derived from other Commons files. The resulting colour cartoon file is incompletely credited (that can be fixed) and it seems somewhat wrongly licensed. (One of the licensing options offered on the description page of the derivative doesn't seem possible. File:Veronica chamaedrys2.jpg was originally offered under the GFDL only, and although the migration added the CC-by-sa 3.0, it can't be reused under version 2.0). Using questionable licensing for a file that is supposed to teach something about licensing does not seem a good idea. Asclepias (talk) 23:46, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

PD-USGov-NASA for non-NASA images

Please see my concerns about problematic wording at Template talk:PD-USGov-NASA#Problematic wording. -84user (talk) 23:50, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Educational purpose

The site often has pictures like this one and states that "This image file may be freely downloaded and used without permission of the copyright holder for educational purposes only. If the image file is to be used for any other purpose other than educational use (including commercial purposes), permission must be obtained directly from the copyright holder." Now would using it on commons and wikipedia count as "educational purpose" and thereby the picture under free license for this purpose?--Inugami-bargho (talk) 06:05, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia, yes. Commons, no. See Commons:Licensing. Rd232 (talk) 09:38, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Well if it is only possible to use it in wikipedia it is not an ideal situation, but it is omething I can work with for article improvement (there are simply so few pictures of these dingo-hybrids/wild dogs). Thank you for the quick answer. --Inugami-bargho (talk) 17:48, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Proposal re Licensing for new Featured Picture Nominations

Please see Commons talk:Featured picture candidates#Proposal: Change to FP criteria for new nominations: disallow "GFDL 1.2 only" single licensing as it is not practically free for images. -- Colin (talk) 15:46, 7 October 2012 (UTC)

US periodicals 1923–1963

Not sure where this type of link belongs, but I found a resource listing what periodicals do have at least some copyright renewal from before 1964. (Without this renewal, the work passed into the public domain 28 years after its publication.) Also: here is an article and chart. NB: if it was published before 1977 in the US without a copyright notice, it's in the public domain. Groupuscule (talk) 00:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Question about GFDL 1.2 only

Here's a question for licence experts. What is the benefit to commons, to commons users or to re-users when a picture's sole licence is "GFDL 1.2 only" (or if dualled with a CC NC licence). This historical licence is being explicity chosen by some users in order to approximate an NC licence due to the burden it places on re-users, particularly in print -- I'm not interested in discussing how overly burdensome this is or whether the law respects it, the fact is that it is there and it is used as such because of the burden or perceived burden. Is there anything about the GFDL 1.2 that gives extra benefit to these three groups -- if we ignore for now any opinions that havnig an NC licence is a benefit (because it is axiomatic that commons disallows NC as it is a media repository for everybody). I understand that dual licencing e.g., CC-BY-SA or Free Art Licence with GFDL 1.2 is potentially useful if the reuser is using GFDL for their own work. The issue is where GFDL 1.2 is not combined with a practically free-for-anyone licence.

Second question is what is the difference with GFDL 1.3? Is it less burdensome?

At this point, I just want answers to those questions, not anyone's opinion on whether Commons should allow such licence options -- that can wait for another day :-)


Colin (talk) 08:00, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

All the answers are in your question. As you explicitely say that you do not want to start yet another round of discussion about it, I don't know what more you expect. -- Asclepias (talk) 18:47, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

no-commercial-use restriction now allowed?

After stumbling over File:Cattedrale.JPG and the attached disclaimer


Further authorizations required by the Italian "Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape" (Codice Urbani), under Legislative Decree No. 42, dated January 22, 2004, and its subsequent amendments, regarding the reuse of the picture.

This image reproduces a property belonging to the Italian cultural heritage as entrusted to the Italian government. Such images are regulated by Articles 106 et seq. of the Italian Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape under Legislative Decree No. 42, dated January 22, 2004, and its subsequent amendments. These regulations, unrelated to copyright regulations, establish a system for the protection of Italy’s historic and artistic heritage and its standards of dignity. Among other things, these regulations provide for the payment of a concession fee by those who intend to benefit economically from reproductions of property belonging to the Italian cultural heritage. Reproduction of this image is permitted for personal use or study. A further authorization by the Italian Ministry of Heritage and Culture is required for reproduction for any other purpose, and particularly for commercial use. Such commercial use includes, but is not limited to, use in (a) any form of advertising, and (b) any company name, logo, trademark, image, activity, or product.

I wonder why do we allow upload of images from buildings etc. which are regulated by MiBAC, which expressedly restricts them to educational and personal use, but forbids commercial use. --Túrelio (talk) 20:32, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

I think it's considered a non-copyright restriction, since MIBAC doesn't hold the copyright. Rd232 (talk) 20:41, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Because Italian laws do not apply outside Italy? -- Asclepias (talk) 23:10, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
It's a hard compromise not to make. Are we seriously going to think about deleting all pictures of Italian antiquities? We may be able to quibble stuff as not having a source country of Italy, but I see even 500 year old drawings of these buildings as being controlled under this law. Greece and Egypt have similar laws, and again, I do not see it as at all practical to start deleting all those file.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Nowhere did I ask for deletion of these images. However, in the end, images with this template are equivalent to CC-NC (or even more restricted). --Túrelio (talk) 06:31, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
images with this template are equivalent to CC-NC (or even more restricted) - practically equivalent in some situations, yes. Legally equivalent: no. The restriction is not one created by the work's author; it is a non-copyright restriction. The restriction is unlikely to be enforceable outside Italy, whereas CC-NC licensing would be. Rd232 (talk) 14:28, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Only in Italy.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:19, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
Does the written law state this? Or is there any case law in which claims from Italy were put down in another country? --Túrelio (talk) 11:50, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
It's a non-copyright claim. That means that other countries have not agreed to enforce it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:56, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
This sounds like a typical non-copyright restriction, and such restrictions are typically ignored for other types of images. For example, pornography can't be used commercially in the United States if you don't have a lot of information about the subjects of the photos, but Commons still hosts lots of pornography without caring about that information. See also {{PD-PhilippinesGov}} (can't be used commercially in the country of origin) and {{Nazi symbol}} (can't be used at all in the country of origin). If we start looking into non-copyright restrictions, we'll soon start deleting images of Falun Gong since non-copyright restrictions disallow you to use them freely in the People's Republic of China, which is often the source country. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:02, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

tag for manual copy of old English map?

I am relatively new to copyright issues, so here's a question for the experts. A 17th-century English map was photographed and then manually copied (both with permission), the copy was uploaded with CC tag. Does the original map need mentioning with additional copyright tags (for UK- and US-copyright for English Wikipedia) and which? It's obviously "old" (author is known, created 1649), but i am not sure about the correct tagging. Thanks for any insights. GermanJoe (talk) 13:33, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Some details are ambiguous. It would help enormously if you would tell what file you are talking about. From the list of your contributions and a few clues in your question, I'm guessing it might be about File:Salthouse ancient channel map.jpg. The information and the tag on the description page of this file look fine to me. Unless the original map was kept secret and unpublished by its original author and by his heirs until recently, it doesn't carry a copyright. If you feel that you must make the public domain status of the original map clearer in the description page of the file, to distinguish it from the status of the redrawn reproduction, you can add a "PD-old-100" status tag. That is not absolutely necessary, as the age of the original map should be obvious, but it doesn't hurt either if you want to add an additional tag anyway. However, a useful additional information would be the year of publication of the original map, if you know it, or the clarification that the documented year of its making was also the year of its publication. This information would help obviate the caveat mentioned above about unpublication. But the more serious issue is that of the copyright status, if any, of the modern redrawing. Taking together the informations in your question, in the description page of the file, on the website linked from it and in the original upload to Wikipedia, it looks like the redrawing was made by the person who uploaded the file to Wikipedia and that person considers that the drawing generated a copyright and he/she offers the image of the drawing under a free license. Please correct this summary if I missed something. If the summary is correct, some people might argue if the drawing did actually generate a copyright or not, but I think that in general we probably would not argue with the decision of the drawer to consider that he/she added some creativity to the drawing, by comparison to the original map, and consequently to tag the file with the free license of his/her choice. Hence my conclusion that the current tag on the description page is fine, as it states the position of the drawer-uploader. If an external reuser wants to dispute it, that would be a problem between him an the drawer, without the users of Commons getting involved into it. (Nota: For future discussion of this nature, please use the page Commons:Village pump/Copyright or the page Commons:Help desk. Cf. the notice at the top of this page.) -- Asclepias (talk) 21:20, 16 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for your detailed thoughts - yes, the map in question was the salthouse map - and for the additional help links (guess, one should read a talk page from the start :) ). GermanJoe (talk) 06:17, 17 October 2012 (UTC)


If someone can read French fluently, I believe the copyright laws for Madagascar can be found through the two links on this page: UNESCO Collection of national copyright laws

Madagascar is currently not on the list. – Maky « talk » 17:22, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Enacted 1995. Moral rights are in perpetuity (after expiration of copyright, moral rights are exercised by the Minister of Culture), published works are covered for the life of the author plus 70 yrs, anonymous works 70 yrs from the calendar year of publication. Multiple authors, 70 yrs from the last date of death of the surviving authors. Cultural property (folklore and such) is also covered under copyright, in similar terms as any other work. Clothing is also covered under copyright. Phonograms and videograms are covered for 20 yrs after the date of fixation. Oaktree b (talk) 03:12, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

Broken link

The link EU Council Directive 93/98/EEC on the harmonization of copyright terms in the EU. is broken. Please fix :) Siddhartha Ghai (talk) 13:49, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Also ECAP: Copyright laws of ASEAN countries.. Siddhartha Ghai (talk) 13:50, 28 October 2012 (UTC)


Is inclusion in a passport publication under the US definition of the term? Another editor and I were looking at this, which would have been used in 1919.Crisco 1492 (talk) 04:19, 7 November 2012 (UTC)

I don't think so. According to en:Publication, the distribution of copies to the general public with the consent of the author is required. A passport is not issued for distribution to the general public, but for a limited group of persons. If photograph was made by a government photographer (was there such a thing?), crown copyright might apply. According to Commons:Copyright rules by territory/United Kingdom, that would be 50 years from creation, and not require publication. Even an anonymous work would have been PD before 1996 (URAA date), if it was not published during that time. --rimshottalk 20:53, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Maybe :-) And it may depend on the country, as mentioned above. For the U.S., the definition changed in 1978. Prior to that, there was no definition in the copyright law, so courts gradually came up with their own definition, leading to the concept of "limited publication" (distribution to a limited number of people for a limited purpose, which was not really "publication"), and "general publication" (which was). A passport-size photo is definitely distributed by the photographer to a limited number of people, but it's not clear (in fact unlikely) that it was for a limited purpose. If there were no restrictions on further distribution, then it might have been considered general publication. If the photo was sold, then there is a higher chance of publication. I don't remember seeing a court case along these lines though -- where a photographer tries to claim a sold photograph is unpublished because it was made for one person. Alternatively, some might claim that it was a commissioned work, which prior to 1978, may have cause the purchaser to own the copyright as a work for hire, in which case there would probably not be any distribution at all. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:36, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
Wouldn't British law apply here? --rimshottalk 20:22, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
  • I thought she was American, and the passport picture was to go to the UK. American law would presumably applyCrisco 1492 (talk) 23:29, 22 November 2012 (UTC)
    • No, she was British. Ezra Pound left the US in 1911 and did not return for decades. They married in the UK, and left for mainland Europe in 1920 or so it looks like. Of course, if by UK law it was unpublished, then the country of origin may be the country where it did eventually get published :-) UK photos at the time had a term of 50 years from creation, so publication did not matter, and it would have expired by 1970. However the EU renewals mean that its copyright was potentially restored; if the photographer was unknown, then the term is 70 years from publication, but only if it was published within 70 years of creation, in which case copyright expires 70 years after publication. If it's a known author, then it's their lifetime plus 70 years. If it was Crown Copyright, then it's PD now -- those are 50 years from creation, for photos taken before mid-1957. So, if going by UK rules, it's probably PD, unless it's a known private author, or it was an unknown private author and was first published between 1942 and 1989. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:14, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

How to be able to use illustrations I've made in my work for my company?

Hi, I've tried to find the answer to my question, but failed. So, here comes my question:

I work as a technical illustrator for a huge technical company. Now I want to improve the Wikipedia section about Technical Illustration, and I would like to use one of the illustrations I've made for the company - what do I need to do to get this to work?

Is it enough to get a verbal permission from my closest boss, or do I have to have an official waiver from the legal department? I assume it requires something in between. Please help me! /Lars

This depends on who owns the copyright, which may depends in part on what country you work in and on the nature of your employment agreement. Let's start with what country you work in and what would be considered the "source country" for the copyright (usually the country in which the work was first published)? cmadler (talk) 13:07, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Hi, That's a question you must ask to your company, because it depends on who, in its internal organization, has the authority to release the company's copyrights or to contractually bind the company. Find that person inside the company, obtain his/her consent to a free license for your work, and ask him/her to send an e-mail with the relevant informations, as explained in the page Commons:OTRS. A verbal permission is not enough because the reusers of your work will want to be able to keep this writing from the company to prove that it has agreed to the license. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:54, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
Not necessarily. If he made the illustrations, depending on the country and on the nature of his employment agreement, he might be the copyright owner himself. cmadler (talk) 15:08, 21 November 2012 (UTC)
I would be deeply surprised. Being an employee of a company and creating something on their request on their time and dollar usually pretty clearly makes that their property. Even if the laws aren't as clear in the US, the company is going to (quite reasonably) sew it up in the employment contract. If it were a small company maybe, but not a big company. In any case, I'm sure Commons and his company will be happier if they formally waive their rights.--Prosfilaes (talk) 16:47, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

PD-1996 and sound recordings

Since early 2009, {{PD-1996}} has stated "Please note that this tag should not be used for sound recordings." The editor who added this note is no longer active, so I would like to ask if anyone has any clue as to why this note was added? It seems bogus to me, but if anyone knows otherwise, please let me know. I'm also curious as to what tag we are expected to use for this situation for audio if not {{PD-1996}}? Kaldari (talk) 04:34, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

I went ahead and removed the warning from {{PD-1996}} and {{PD-India-URAA}}. If anyone knows a reason it needs to be there, please feel free to restore it. Kaldari (talk) 05:02, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
I'm guessing that some answers could be found in the sound recordings section there. -- Asclepias (talk) 05:04, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
So you don't know why the warning is there, and when no-one tells you within half an hour, you remove the warning you don't understand, which has been there for 18 months? Nice. Commons:Hirtle_chart#Sound_recordings explains that sound recordings have different copyright rules (most relevantly, pre-1972 recordings are not covered by federal law). My only hesitation in restoring the warning is that it's a warning which could be applied to very many templates: I'm not sure there are any US PD tags that currently cover post-1923 sound recordings. Oh and BTW you only changed the English version of the templates. Rd232 (talk) 11:13, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
Yep, that's what I did. Maybe it was foolish, but considering that Commons has never made any effort to restrict or remove audio files from before 1972, at least it's consistent. It looks like this is a fairly hairy copyright situation, though, so I'm going to get some guidance from WMF Legal on it. Stay tuned... Kaldari (talk) 11:24, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't know of many audio files on Commons with PD claims, which may be why there hasn't been any coordinated effort to remove them.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:10, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
OK, thanks. Any guidance would be welcome. Rd232 (talk) 17:37, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
It's not post-1923; even pre-1923 recordings are under copyright-like protections in the various states. There are no sound recordings that are PD in the US due to age.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:10, 26 November 2012 (UTC)
Oof. I assumed the "PD-before-1923" rule was absolute. Are you quite sure? Rd232 (talk) 17:36, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Sound recordings were not considered copyrightable (by the federal copyright law) until 1972. Thus, for decades the music studios had to sue in state courts to establish a common law copyright for them, which became pretty much set in stone (and there is usually no set duration for common-law copyright). It's a messy situation... common law copyrights would follow a bit more of a common sense approach, and probably would strongly weigh on whether there was still commercial viability to them; some recordings might be considered not protectable (or no longer protectable) by common-law copyright but I'm not sure there is a case to give any guidance on that matter. The URAA *did* explicitly restore foreign recordings, but even if not restored under federal law, such works could still have their common-law copyrights. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:01, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Sound recordings are their own ball of mess, as they weren't copyrightable under federal law. is a report (also stored on the Library of Congress website) that goes over ten states and their laws protecting sound recordings. It specifically mentions nonprofit organizations, but I would think it would be hard for us to claim that we didn't act "with the intent to sell or cause to be sold, or to use or cause to be used for a commercial advantage or private financial gain" and still claim it to be Free. In Capitol Records, Inc. v. Naxos of America, the New York courts asserted that all pre-1972 sound recordings were covered under New York common law.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:53, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks to both of you. I guess we're clearer now on the complete lack of clarity! Rd232 (talk) 11:18, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
Still waiting to hear back from WMF Legal, but they are researching it. I imagine their analysis will be similar to the above (i.e. the status is uncertain). Unfortunately, I didn't know about this obscure legal situation and have been uploading pre-1923 sound recordings for years. It will be very disheartening if they have to be deleted. Kaldari (talk) 05:09, 6 December 2012 (UTC)
You can see here for the Copyright Office's page on the proposal to bring such recordings under federal copyright law, I think with a 95 years from publication term (though I also think that could include pre-1923 recordings). The earlier reports on audio preservation (several of them focused on the copyright situation, one of which Prosfilaes linked to above) are all listed here. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:55, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

alguem me diga se esta pagina está apta a ser aceita no commons?

alguem me diz se esta pagina está apta a ser aceita no commons?

[brasao ]posted 21:48, 22 December 2012 by Forgot to sign

Previous post in portuguese. I think he/she means to ask whether the page File:Brasão do Municipio de Presidente Vargas MA.png is ready to be accepted. This seems to be the coat of arms of Presidente Vargas, Maranhão, so there's 2 details:

  • the source given: Computador Pessoal ie personal computer, that's not really the source
  • the author given Horacio, that's not really the author

@ a origem que destes em File:Brasão do Municipio de Presidente Vargas MA.png é Computador Pessoal, na verdade o campo Origem de Template:Information neste caso, creio, deve ser preenchido com {{own}}. Além disso o autor não pode ser Horacio. Vede, por exemplo, File:Coat of arms of Brazil.svg em que o autor é Brazilian Government ou File:Arms of Rio de Janeiro.svg em que o autor é Cidade do Rio de Janeiro. O autor neste caso será Município de Presidente Vargas, Maranhão? Garsd (talk) 20:37, 11 January 2013 (UTC)

Smithsonian contributions

So the Smithsonian is donating pictures that are free to use for personal, non-commercial educational purposes, consistent with fair use. We allow fair use images on Commons now? How do we allow an institution to donate things like this, and we give users such a hard time over fair use and non commercial donations? I can't see the logic here. Oaktree b (talk) 03:27, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Would it be too much to ask to ask for a link to something that might give some context to this?--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:59, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
It sounds like a replay of Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/12#Query on Smithsonian Institution Archives template. -- Asclepias (talk) 04:32, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
We don't allow images which are otherwise copyrighted but have that as the only license. However, it may be that the institution explicitly released the copyright, and the "non-commercial" term really refers to other non-copyright restrictions (such as personality rights) which do not affect our "free" determination, or that the image no longer has any copyright, and a copyright claim is meaningless, or something along those lines. The Smithsonian is also an interesting case because much (though not necessarily all) of the content created by its employees is PD-USGov. Most of their employees are federal but some are not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:38, 18 January 2013 (UTC)
I was quoting from the paragraph at the bottom here: Oaktree b (talk) 03:17, 19 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that is mainly referring to {{personality rights}} and possibly some others. The tag does say that to the best of everyone's knowledge, there are no rights based on copyright law which could give issues to re-use, but (which is also true of all images on this site) there can always be rights based on other areas of law which could be problematic with particular uses (see Commons:General disclaimer). It is also a hedge in case it turns out they were wrong about the copyright (at which point we'd delete it, just like any of our images where information comes to light which indicates a copyright determination was incorrect). It is very very different from knowing the copyright exists and only allowing its use on a fair use or non-commercial basis -- they are just saying their own use is non-commercial in case anyone comes after them. In most cases, the Smithsonian is not the copyright owner of the works anyways, so it's not really a license itself (reasons 3 and 4 are a license, but 1 and 2 are basically a synonym for some form of PD-US or PD-USGov). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:19, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

English legal decision from 1896?

What's the proper copyright for this document? It's an 1896 decision of the Queen's Bench published in [1896] 2 Q.B. 44. I was thinking {{PD-UKGov}}, but that seems to exclusively refer to images/artistic works, and also probably wouldn't refer to commercial reporting, which may have been the situation at that time in history. It's unclear to me who reported the opinion; there's the initials "A. P. P. K." at the end. Any advice? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 15:02, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Clause two of PD-UKGov refers to stuff like this. At least in the US, the law is clear that commercial reporting of stuff like this gains no copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:30, 23 January 2013 (UTC)



as there is no Commons suitable freedom of panorama in Slovenia (material rights are preserved) I got a permission to publish a photo of a local school under a free licence (see OTRS ticket 2013011410006791) by head of the school. The permission was not accepted as agent T. Menart thinks that a writen permission is not enough. I already provided with proofs that the school is public, so the school as an organisation owns the building and that its legal representative is its head.

Similar files Commons:Deletion_requests/Files_in_Category:Stadion_Ljudski_vrt were already kept after recieving OTRS confirmation, so can you please review the ticket.

Best regards, --Miha (talk) 15:20, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

My proposal would be to take this to Commons:OTRS/Noticeboard. --Eleassar (t/p) 16:03, 30 January 2013 (UTC)
Well, I think it is already resolved after your useful input on my talk page. To summarize: if not stated differently in copyright treaty, both author (architect) and the carrier of material rights have to agree when passing on these rights to a third person. --Miha (talk) 20:52, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

PD-Look update

Back in October 2009, there was a discussion about the {{PD-Look}} template, which led to the creation of {{PD-Look/BadPhotographer}}. However, as of now, the individual photographer "Rights and Restrictions Information" pages (e.g., [14] – I checked every single of the links that User:Jan Arkesteijn provided) no longer state These photographs may not be used for "advertising or trade purposes", but instead now only have the general Cowles’ desire that the photographs are “Not to be used for advertising or trade purposes” request that applies to all photographs in the LOOK collection. As such, it appears that we no longer need this sub-template and that PD-Look can be used for all LOOK magazine staff photographers. howcheng {chat} 21:00, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Discussion is taking place at Template talk:PD-Look. Please, join there. Jan Arkesteijn (talk) 10:30, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Logo on GFDL template is wrong

The logo on the GFDL logo is currently the gnu image, yet this isn't the correct logo, see GNU_Free_Documentation_License. Can someone update the template ? KVDP (talk) 12:48, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

edit request

-Wikimedia Commons does ''not'' accept [[w:fair use|fair use]] justifications: see [[Commons:fair use]]. Media licensed under ''non-commercial only'' licenses are not accepted as well.

+Wikimedia Commons does ''not'' accept [[w:fair use|fair use]] justifications: see [[Commons:fair use]]. Media licensed under ''non-commercial only'' licenses are not accepted either.

Rybec (talk) 00:55, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

✓ Done. Thanks! LX (talk, contribs) 16:28, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

List of Well-known licenses

The list of "Well-known licenses" on this page appears almost totally unrelated to the list at the special uploads page. This is discouraging for anyone who is considering contributing their work under anything other than "all rights waived", and had been hoping to find an explanation of the choices offered on the uploads page. Maproom (talk) 10:00, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

How do you figure? That upload form offers the following options:
  • Multi-license with CC-BY-SA-3.0 and GFDL
  • Multi-license with CC-BY-SA-3.0 and older and GFDL
  • Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
  • Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
  • CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, all rights waived (Public domain)
...while the Well-known licenses section lists Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike licenses and the GFDL first and mentions that public domain works are also accepted. Multi-licensing has been explained in the section immediately above it. So how is it "totally unrelated"? LX (talk, contribs) 09:45, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

How-to links?

This page suffers from a surplus of useless descriptive info, and no "how-to" links for somebody who wants to add material. How does one obtain permission from an image author in a form that Wikimedia will accept? That simple question is unanswered here. Lot's of "don't do this," but no "how to."ElijahBosley (talk ☞) 15:40, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

There is Commons:Permission and Commons:OTRS. --Túrelio (talk) 16:20, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

If you are still not aware of this

If you are still not aware of this discussion you probably should be. Sinnamon Girl (talk) 03:49, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

How to attribute license properly?

I have an issue, because I'm not certain how to attribute works that have been released with two licenses GNU and CC like for example . Is it fine if I attribute it with CC BY-SA 3.0?

Another question concerns BSD license like for example . The license seems fine otherwise, but does it demand me to use the disclaimer and conditions if I publish it? It would be very unpractical, because the long disclaimer and the text would look bad under the figure. Would it be enough just to state it's BSD license?

See Commons:Reusing content outside Wikimedia. You need not to attribute "a license", but the author/photographer/creator. However, the license needs to be mentioned/linked, depending on its terms. If an image is dual-licensed, you can pick the license that fits to your choice and/or kind of use and then only mention that license. --Túrelio (talk) 10:00, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Exception missing. False sentence.

There's an exception note at the bottom of There should be an exception note at the bottom of as well; see {{Useful-object-US}} and its talk page. Draft:

Exception: Useful articles - objects with an intrinsic utilitarian function, even if commercial designs, are not subject to copyright protection in the US. Consequently, images thereof are not W:Derivative works under US law. For details and applicability of this exception, see the Supreme Court’s decision in W:Mazer v. Stein, and {{Useful-object-US}}.

--Elvey (talk) 23:00, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

There are lots of things which are not in the public domain for some reason. Why should specific kinds of things be listed there? It just causes confusion. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:42, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
Providing false information causes confusion too.--Elvey (talk) 17:09, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

False sentence

The second sentence in this paragraph is false and wordy:

For example, if a person in the UK uploads a picture that has been saved off a French website to the Commons server, the upload must be covered by UK, French and US copyright law. For a photograph to be acceptable for upload to Commons, it must be public domain in France, the UK and the US, or there must be an acceptable copyright license for the photograph that covers the UK, US and France.

I propose to change the second sentence to the following, which I think is true:

That is, for this uploaded file to be acceptable for Commons, it must be seen as free by France, the UK and the US.

I believe this doesn't change the intended meaning of the sentence, only the actual meaning thereof. --Elvey (talk) 23:00, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree that the current wording is wrong. A file might be in the public domain in France and the UK but copyrighted and freely licensed in the US and thus not covered by the above, as the current wording seems to require the same copyright and licensing status in all countries. However, your proposed wording looks very confusing and probably won't help any newcomers who are trying to read the page. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:42, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I guess you still think my proposed wording is less confusing than what it would replace. If not please explain why you think it's even more confusing, or suggest an alternative.--Elvey (talk) 17:09, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Appropriately Licensed

Please comment at Commons:Requests for comment/AppropriatelyLicensed. This is a proposal to amend this licence policy to disallow future uploads where the sole licence is inappropriate for the media (e.g., GFDL). Please read the FAQ. Thanks -- Colin (talk) 22:32, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

Overly hasty marked for translation

Please, can we establish a process of proofreading before marking something important like that for translation? -- Rillke(q?) 15:14, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

It'd be nice if people used the preview function or at least checked the result of their edits to core policies. Or is the external links section really supposed to look like that now? LX (talk, contribs) 17:21, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
It still looks like that almost a month later, so I guess the answer is yes. Yes? Personally, I think the [[<tvar|3>:s: stuff looks rather ugly and distracting, but I guess it's just me. LX (talk, contribs) 18:27, 25 June 2013 (UTC)
The answer is "no". I just tried to wrap them in <translate></translate> tags (so they are parsed to proper variables) and got [b7ba472e] 2013-06-25 18:50:44: Fatal exception of type MWException. After editing the whole page it worked, however. I don't mark the page for translation, yet because Elvey's change was not broadly discussed, does not cite a diff-link, is U.S.-centric and is covered by COM:DW. Consequently all translations will still look that ugly (until someone who is bolder than me takes care of this). -- Rillke(q?) 19:11, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Why Wikimedia Commons requires a commercial and derivatives license


I think there could be more information on this page about why commons requires a license that allows commercial use and derivative content, am happy to make a start, perhaps it exists somewhere that I haven't found ?

-- 20:24, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Works in the public domain in the USA but copyright-restricted in a few source countries with unusually long copyright terms

Based on w:List of countries' copyright lengths, most countries copyright general works for life plus 50 years until year end, and most countries copyright general works for life plus 70 years until year end. Our licensing policy that "Wikimedia Commons only accepts media" ...... "that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work" does have to be applied to forbid works still copyright-restricted in these countries even if in the public domain in the USA.

However, in case of works in the public domain in the USA but still copyright-restricted in a few source countries with unusually longer copyright terms, like life plus 71 years or more, only very few countries in the world outside the USA copyright these works.

Commons:Deletion requests/Internationale melody is an example of this situation. The Internationale melody was first published in 1888 in France, composed by Pierre De Geyter who died in 1932. Its ongoing copyright restriction in France is unusually long, that the only other country also copyrighting it with unusually long term is Côte d'Ivoire (unless any other places do enforce French term while longer than their domestic term).

Therefore, I would like to request comments on whether it is still desirable to allow very limited case-by-case exceptions of our licensing policy for works in the public domain in the USA but copyright-restricted in a few source countries with unusually long copyright terms.

Finally, we do have works in the public domain in the United States and in their source countries, but still copyright-restricted in countries rejecting the rule of the shorter term.--Jusjih (talk) 22:13, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Was the Côte d'Ivoire extension to 99pma retroactive? Pretty sure their previous law was the Bangui Agreement, which was 50pma, until late 1996. If that was not retroactive, then the Internationale would have fallen out of copyright there and not been restored. I'm not positive it is protected there either, even if it was retroactive -- bit fuzzy if they would use the wartime extensions or just allow a straight 70pma; might depend on how long France would protect Ivorian works. On the other hand, if the song is still protected in France, then it would be protected throughout the EU I'd think. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:57, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. If anyone can prove that unusually long French musical copyright term, if published before the World War I, also makes The Internationale melody copyright-restricted throughout the European Union, I will quickly arrange to transfer all affected files to Canadian Wikilivres: (life + 50 years). If so, even Billy Bragg, a Briton, would have to pay Le Chant du Monde to sell The Internationale album of his dated in 1990.--Jusjih (talk) 16:08, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I had thought I had read that the EU uses the longer term between members, and the shorter term for anyone else. But in looking for a reference, now I'm not so sure. France probably has to give the same terms to any EU national within their borders but it may well be that other EU countries are required to respect anything longer than 70pma. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:58, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you mean paragraph 2 of Article 10 of the Directive 2006/116/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 [15] to provide the rule of the longer term among EU member states.--Jusjih (talk) 01:29, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't read anything about a "rule of the longer term" there. It makes it pretty clear that there is no rule of the shorter term between EU countries, but it doesn't say anywhere that foreign works override domestic copyright law of any EU member state. -- Liliana-60 (talk) 23:38, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

2008 United States presidential primary ballot papers

I would like to collect a number of 2008 United States presidential primary ballot papers, and have uploaded three that are unquestionably in the public domain under state law, and created Category:2008 United States Democratic Party presidential primary ballot papers to house them. I can not imagine any regime under which ballot papers would not be in the public domain, both as a matter of public policy, and because there is virtually no copyrightable material in a listing of candidates qualified to appear on the ballot, listed either alphabetically or through some legally determined formula, in a standardized form with a circle to be filled in to indicate preference. Other primary ballots or sample ballots that I have found include:

2008 Alabama Democratic primary ballot
2008 Delaware primary ballot
2008 Georgia Democratic primary ballot
2008 Idaho primary ballot
2008 Illinois primary ballot
2008 Michigan primary ballot
2008 Missouri Democratic primary ballot
2008 Nebraska primary ballot
2008 North Carolina Democratic primary ballot
2008 Ohio Democratic primary ballot
2008 Oregon primary ballot
2008 Pennsylvania Democratic primary ballot
2008 Puerto Rico primary ballot
2008 Tennessee primary ballot
2008 Texas Democratic primary ballot
2008 Vermont Democratic primary ballot
2008 Virginia Democratic primary ballot
2008 Washington primary ballot
2008 West Virginia primary ballot
2008 Wisconsin primary ballot

Although these are technically produced under the authority of the individual state governments, I do not believe that it should matter whether the state is one that releases its documents into the public domain. If it permissible to upload these here, I would like to know what sort of license to indicate during the uploading process. Cheers! BD2412 T 00:14, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Just looked at Texas and Washington. Both are text only = PD IMHO. --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 01:32, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks - I am going to go ahead and upload some of the text-only ballots as non-copyrightable works. Cheers! BD2412 T 15:19, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Paradiso Canto 31

Is Paradiso Canto 31 free content for Commons? If so, please transfer it to Commons. If not, please transfer it to Czech Wikipedia (or tell me how to do it). Thanks Šárka Praha (talk) 15:51, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

File:Paradiso_Canto_31.jpg is already on Commons, and yes it's fine. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:02, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Thank you very much. Šárka Praha (talk) 15:11, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Flag of the United Nations.svg + PD-UN + commercial use = ?

Currently File:Flag of the United Nations.svg is tagged with {{PD-UN}}, which as far as I can see, seems to be okay given the templates current text. However when I then looked at File talk:Flag of the United Nations.svg, Template talk:PD-UN and Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 5#Flag_of_the_United_Nations I got a bit confused, as the last discussion (but please read them all) links to a UN source stating that "[o]n no account shall the flag or a replica thereof be used for commercial purposes or in direct association with an article of merchandise". This could be a license issue (in which case we have a problem, but I doubt that this is the case) or it could be a limitation similar to that of the requirement for consent for commercial use of some photographs taken in some countries. I strongly suppose it is the latter, but I am wondering if {{PD-UN}} shouldn't be amended about the commercial clause (like we have {{personality rights}}) for aforementioned photographs) or if {{trademarked}} could be considered enough, even though it is not really a trademark-protection issue? I also noticed that w:en:File:Unfpalogo.png is listed as fair use, which may not be the case (I was considering converting it to a SVG for commons, when I discovered this). --heb [T C E] 09:35, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

CERN releases photos under a Creative Commons licence

There are some news about licensing of some of CERN photo collections. SV1XV (talk) 02:16, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

I took a look at the images in Category:PD_CERN-CMS and unfortunately none of them appear in the recently released batch licensed under CC-BY-SA (besides File:CMS Higgs-event.jpg mentioned in the article). So while very promising, it doesn't immediately resolve an lingering issues with the problematic CERN images (previous discussions in 2010 and 2012). —RP88 03:11, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Can I suggest that you write to CERN and have them confirm that these photographs are either in the public domain or licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0? — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:53, 18 October 2013 (UTC)
Endorse idea. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 08:17, 18 October 2013 (UTC)

Spirostachys africana

Can i use the picture on [16]? The license is called: No Rights Reserved. Greetings, --M. Krafft (talk) 10:38, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

Wrong talk, now in Villagepump. --M. Krafft (talk) 12:27, 30 December 2013 (UTC)


--Super Sintex (talk) 02:47, 10 February 2014 (UTC)Super Sintex
Okay how exactly do we know what is "copyright" and is what isn't copyright?
Now I'll try my best not to upload images or videos that violate copyright and avoid lawsuits usually their will be a little notification of the image telling the author/owner listing the year and why it is copyright.
--Super Sintex (talk) 02:47, 10 February 2014 (UTC)Super Sintex

Generally we do not know and thus cannot upload. Uploads are allowed only when we know specific circumstances making the work out of copyright, not covered by copyright or licensed in a way appropriate for us. The notification on some works give valuable information, but it missing does only mean we have to get the information in some other way.
The safe thing to do is to only upload own works (and then only when they are not affected by privacy law or any contracts, e.g. with an employer or regarding an earlier release). When uploading works by others, one has to have some grip about copyright law.
--LPfi (talk) 07:19, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Änderung der Lizensierung von Public Domain (PD) hin zu Creative Commons bei kleineren Änderungen an einem PD Werk

Wie sind Änderungen von PD Werken zu bewerten, an denen nur kleine Änderungen vorgenommen wurden und die dann unter der Creative Commons Lizenz erneut als "eigenes Werk" eingestellt wurden zu bewerten. Konkret habe ich da Ableitungen von topographischen Karten im Kopf, auf denen z.B. eine neue Abgrenzung (nach) gezeichnet wurde und diverse Namen eingetragen wurden. Fällt soetwas unter "Schöpfungshöhe"? Dürfen solche Lizenzänderungen mittels kleinerer Änderungen vorgenommen werden? -- 08:26, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Grundsätzlich gibt es bei Public Domain keine Einschränkungen und Anforderungen: man darf damit (aus urheberrechtlicher Sicht) machen was man will. Wenn die eigenen Änderungen die nötige Schöpfungshöhe erreichen, um urheberrechtlich schützenswert zu sein, kann man eine beliebige Lizenz vergeben. Wenn man aber ein gemeinfreies Werk als eigenes Werk ausgibt, ohne entsprechenden eigenen Anteil daran zu haben, ist das Urheberrechtsanmaßung und strafbar. Ob Änderungen die Schöpfungshöhe erreichen, ist eine Einzelfallentscheidung. Beim Nachziehen von Linien würde ich das eher verneinen, ein Gericht könnte das aber anders sehen. Auf der sicheren Seite ist man, wenn man bei Zweifeln an der eigenen Urheberschaft keine Ansprüche stellt und die Public-Domain-Lizenz beibehält. Von anderen kann man das kaum verlangen, außer in eindeutigen Einzelfällen, wenn z.B. ein Bild nur skaliert oder beschnitten wurde. --rimshottalk 18:12, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Gute Frage, ich hatte schon beim Lesen der watchlist den Eindruck, dass das ein interessanter Angriffsvektor sein kann: Fass irgendeine PD-Datei an, und hinterlasse was weniger Freies. Lizenzänderungen werden hier nicht speziell überwacht, wer damit ein Problem hat, muss mit permalinks und zugehörigen Wiki-Werkzeugen hantieren, und ein right to fork (zurück zu PD) haben wir auch nur bedingt. –Be..anyone (talk) 01:48, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Quick English summary: Changing PD (or CC0) to something less based on own major or minor modifications is a problem; it could be justified, dubious, or a form of attack.Be..anyone (talk) 02:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

Higher resolution file

This information is added per the consensus at Commons:Village_pump/Copyright#We_desperately_need_a_quick_conclusion_on_this_matter. Jee 17:32, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

I know there's been a big brouhaha about this, but I hardly think this belongs in the summary at the top. In the grand scheme of things, it really is a minor point. Situated right after a point about public domain works, it's also invites confusion with regards to high resolution versions of public domain works that some institutions illegally claim copyright over. LX (talk, contribs) 17:50, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I'd see the linked discussion as consensus that something needs to be added somewhere, not that this particular version should be added in that spot. There is a somewhat fractious discussion of various proposals underway at Commons_talk:Project_scope#Copyright_holders.27_wishes_about_high_resolution_files. --Avenue (talk) 02:46, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I've no problem in moving it to a more suitable location. At first, I thought to add it just below the first bullet ("that are explicitly freely licensed") as it is just an explanation of it. That said, it is dangerous if we hide this information from public as we already aware of it now. I saw the other discussion that is going on; but it is more about whether different resolution files can be considered as "same work". I don't wan to comment on it as it is a too professional matter. Even CC and WMF legal refused to comment on it. On the contrary, this addition is a policy decision by Commons (by the participants), and IMHO, and we should practice it unless overridden by another community consensus. :) Jee 03:07, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
See the new discussion too. We can't spend our energy to answer every question again again with these types of marathon comments. We need to brief our current policy/practice in one place. :) Jee 03:27, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
And marathon discussions. I'm afraid I'm tired that Commons still doesn't get that it is a wiki. Jkadavoor has been bold and edited. Which is absolutely necessary if Commons is to have living breathing policies and guidelines rather than fossils from an age before many of us even joined the project. Now go edit and improve it. Move it to where it might be better. Expand it and refine it. It isn't hard and can be fun. I believe someone managed to create a whole encyclopaedia that way. :-) -- Colin (talk) 08:02, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Fair point. The reasons I held back was that this is such a central policy and that I didn't really have a better proposal to offer at the time. I've had a shot at a different wording and placement, but I'm not married to it. It feels like it could use another sentence to spell out what this means in terms of what we will and will not host, but I couldn't find a simple enough wording. It's all too easy to get tangled up in ifs and buts and considerations for upscaling etc. LX (talk, contribs) 19:04, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I've tried to make it a little clearer. I don't think all the details of what variants we might host need to be spelt out in the policy. --Avenue (talk) 21:46, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

This should have been introduced on this talk page or at Commons talk:Project scope in the first place, not kept on some subpage of the village pump. The third sentence at the top of Commons:Village pump/Copyright says explicitly "Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here." The third sentence at the top of Commons:Licensing says explicitly "Except for minor edits, please make use of the discussion page to propose changes to this policy." and points to its own talk page here. Those instructions weren't placed there arbitrarily for wikilawyering; they are there because of previous experiences, and there is a good reason for them: A lot of people don't watch Village Pump pages because they're pretty noisy. This policy edit in the last 24 hours may be the first time anyone watching Commons:Licensing has even heard of this issue even if Commons:Licensing has been on their watchlists for years. Basic official policies, especially Commons:Licensing or Commons:Project scope, are not pages one should be "be bold" on when the edit appears to amend the guidelines themselves. This proposal carves out a special case for Commons:Licensing, just as the PD-Art exception does or Commons:Licensing#Uruguay Round Agreements Act the URAA exception used to. (I can understand User:Colin's wish to avoid rehashing things repeatedly. But the people watching Commons talk:Project scope have only been involved since February 27, and people watching Commons talk:Licensing weren't given a heads-up until this section was created in the last 24 hours.) --Closeapple (talk) 00:10, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Good point; but I failed to find a better place for that discussion as the topic is not just COM:L or COM:SCOPE. Probably Commons:Commons policies is the right place. (We discussed it at VP and people said it is not the right place because VP exists in several languages so not all people participate there. We discussed it at AN and people said it is not the right place as it is not a matter that admins can decide. We discussed it at meta legal and they said they can't give legal advice to the community. We discussed it with CC and they replied through a FAQ update. We discussed it with Jimmy per the Open door policy. We discussed with the Board and Sj gave a wise advice. Let me know, I'm willing to discuss it anywhere.) Jee 02:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's a perfect place for the broad discussion. But I do think that specific changes to this policy that are this important should be proposed on this talk page first. (I don't mean that we need to post 25 successive variants on whatever's proposed, as occurred recently at Template talk:Personality rights#Template as is is alienating for image use, but editing it in place here seems at least as good as doing so on the policy page.) I don't object strongly enough to the process or the current version to revert the addition, but I do agree that the process hasn't been ideal. --Avenue (talk) 03:55, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
I somewhat agree although it seems we don't have a "discuss first" policy as encountered here. It is difficult to keep all policy pages in our watch list, so a centralized policy discussion page may ideal. Category talk:Commons policies not sounds good due to the prefix word category.
In this particular case, we discussed a lot and starting again from the beginning is boring and wastage of time. Further, I didn't see even a single person oppose the point added (not about the exact wording) as we have no better option now. Jee 05:23, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Added a notice at Template:Centralized discussion. Jee 05:38, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

Unclear changes of the project page

Sometimes, authors wish to release a low quality version of an image or video under a free license while applying stricter terms to high quality versions. It is unclear whether such a distinction is legally enforceable, but Commons' policy is to respect the copyright holder's intentions by only hosting the low quality version.

AFAIK if I stumble over a better version of an image hosted by commons I'm supposed to upload it if the license permits this. This page isn't suited for personal opinions about what licenses should permit or not permit, or is it? –Be..anyone (talk) 12:26, 11 March 2014 (UTC)

"if I stumble over a better version of an image hosted by commons I'm supposed to upload it if the license permits this." But how we know if the license permits it? First, it should have a license statement. Second, the license should have "free enough". Here we are talking about images that are not explicitly licensed. "Wikimedia Commons only accepts media that are explicitly freely licensed, or that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work." Making assumptions or using magic wands to determine whether it is free enough is not our job. :) Jee 12:41, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Fine, now let's please restore the page to the last known good state two days ago: IANAL, but I hate legalese and instruction creep. –Be..anyone (talk) 13:19, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
No. I see from your previous edit elsewhere you've got an itchy revert trigger finger. This is a wiki. There is no "last known good state". There is always room for improvement. You may have missed the discussions from the last few months but there have been plenty of them. You don't seem to have understood the issue and framing this as someone's personal opinions just shows you haven't been keeping up. You can use buzzwords like "instruction creep" all you like, doesn't make them valid. A policy statement on this matter is most certainly required. All that the community needs to work on is how to word it, and that can be done on-wiki. -- Colin (talk) 13:30, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, we shouldn't assume all readers will have kept up with our marathon discussions. I've added a link to the closest thing to a summary I'm aware of. It would probably be worth writing a standalone summary focussing more on the issues than on the particular case that prompted this. --Avenue (talk) 19:51, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
As is the former policy degenerated into an invitation to submit free low quality pictures here, while demanding money for the real pictures. –Be..anyone (talk) 07:54, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I think WMF has a neutral point of view in this matter. It needs reasonably good good quality works, without demanding to sacrifice all the benefits of its contributors. See WMF Legal's opinion in this matter: "Wikimedia movement has selected a creative commons license that permits contributors, of any age, to freely license their work and also sell it for a profit to others, if they so desire. The CC FAQs specifically provide that an author can license a work under a free license and also sell it under the regular copyright regime. Indeed, this cc license was designed “to encourage creators and rightsholders to experiment with new ways to promote and market their work.” The user can therefore promote his work by distributing it through the Wikimedia projects, which have around 500 million unique visitors per month, and then sell copies." Unfortunately CC had given a bad advice through for years and many of us blindly believed it is true and practical which is challenged now. So the one possibly in front of us is to start educating our contributors and make a stand that we are not going to make benefit from the bad advice we already provided for years. Jee 08:32, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
There is no change in policy. WMF, GLAM and CC have always encouraged professionals and institutions to donate their work even when those donors wish to retain some commercial opportunities. They have unfortunately suggested using copyright-licences like CC which actually licence the "work of copyright" rather than the donated file. This has recently been clarified by CC though the legal ruling as to whether any two given files are the same work-of-copyright is not at all certain nor likely to ever be, to be honest. Many on Commons feel that for both legal (precautionary principle) and ethical/moral reasons, we shouldn't host images that aren't clearly and explicitly associated with a free licence by the copyright-holder. While we may wish that all donors gave their best work, the reality is that those who earn a living from their photos are unlikely to do so, for the obvious reasons that this is what puts bread on their table. -- Colin (talk) 18:42, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
The main problem is that we don't know exactly how to define "work of copyright", and that it may differ from country to country. For example, see case B 15363-12, sv:Södertörns tingsrätt:
“Åtalet avsåg ursprungligen 29 filmverk men justerades vid huvudförhandlingen till 513, alltså ett väsentligt högre antal. Anledningen till detta var dock enkel; den ursprungliga siffran avsåg antalet säsonger av olika tv-serier medan den nya avsåg antalet avsnitt (jfr bilagan till stämningsansökan). Att varje avsnitt är ett verk instämmer tingsrätten i.”
That is, someone had violated the copyright to 29 seasons of various TV series, in total consisting of 513 individual episodes. Initially, this counted as 29 works, but was later in the process changed to 513 works. If even legal scholars disagree on how to count, how can we possibly do it correctly? Also, if the law of country A allows higher resolution images whereas the law of country B doesn't, then accepting higher resolution copies risks causing lots of trouble for reusers in country B. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:06, 16 March 2014 (UTC)
I truly believe that CC have not fully thought this through. There are so many things that break when the scope of the licence is a "work of copyright", in addition to the uncertainty as to what that really means. It really kills any notion of making part of a work free (either edited portion such as a frame from a movie or sound clip) or reduced-quality versions free. The concept is creaking and not fit for the 21st century. Instead we need a digital definition using digital signatures. I think at some point there will be pressure for file-based licensing where the licence has a code that is mathematically linked to the file being licensed. But until then, I agree that the scope of CC/FAL/GFDL is so vague that the "precautionary principle" should be our main reason for rejecting unclear-licensed images. -- Colin (talk) 08:59, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Note that sound clips aren't "works" under some copyright laws (such as the Swedish one) as operating sound recording devices isn't "creative" or "original" and doesn't meet the threshold of originality. Instead, copyright laws refer to sound clips as something else, for example "sound recordings", which doesn't require originality in order to be protected by copyright. This makes it even more difficult to understand what the notion "work of copyright" refers to in such situations. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:34, 17 March 2014 (UTC)