Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 7

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Archive 6 |
Archive 7
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Yun Free Stock Photos USER LICENSE

Is these terms [1] suitable for Commons? Alex Spade 13:33, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

  • No. Forbidden storage(2), redistribution(3), can be cancelled any time (5)... It's far away from free licensing. A.J. 17:27, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Refactoring of {{PD-Arab}}

So I went ahead and implemented the conesensus of the deletion vote on {{PD-Arab}} that it should be split into country specific templates. I'm going to set about reasigning images, but I would love for someone who speaks arabic to go over all of the sources (my translations weren't great) and just make sure that my summaries make sense. For easy of seeing all of the templates I will transclude PD-Arab below.

Public domain

Warning sign
This tag is obsolete and will be splitted. Use a country-specific tag, if it's available.

According to Arab Committee For Protecting Intellectual Property and Arab Law Group, images are protected for the periods shown below after being initially published.
Because the terms are over, this image is either in the public domain in the following countries:

{{PD-Algeria}} — 50 years starting from the end of the publication year
{{PD-Egypt}} — 15 years starting from the publication date
{{PD-Iraq}} — 5 years starting from the publication date
{{PD-Jordan}} — 50 years starting from the end of the publication year for photographic work produced after 1979. Photographic work produced before 1979 is PD
{{PD-Kuwait}} — 50 years starting from the end of the publication year
{{PD-Libya}} — 5 years starting from the date of first publication of the work.
{{PD-Morocco}} — 50 years starting from the end of the publication year
{{PD-Saudi Arabia}} — 25 years starting from the publication date
{{PD-Sudan}} — 25 years starting from the publication date
{{PD-Syria}} — 25 years starting from the end of the publication year for photographic work produced after 1994. Photographic work produced before 1994 is PD
{{PD-Yemen}} — 10 years starting from the beginning of the publication year

Attribution is still required for the following countries:
{{PD-Lebanon}} — 50 years starting from the end of the publication year
{{PD-UAE}} — 25 years starting from January 1 of the publication year
{{PD-Oman}} — 50 years starting from January 1 of the publication year

--Selket 05:22, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

And I have just replaced the copyright templates on almost all the images that were previously tagged with PD-Arab. There is however, one picture left from Bahrain, for which we don't have a template and some pictures were unsourced or without country information, although it's very possible that they are PD (they look old enough). I marked them as unsourced. --Botev 08:15, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I see the Bahrain template now is already there. --Botev 09:07, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Why can't this template also be written in Arabic? It seems to be a good idea because I would guess many Arabic speakers don't speak English, and most users of the template are Arabic speakers.
Fred Chess 08:33, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
I think translating it is a good idea. There is a template on Arabic wikipedia that seems to be an equivalent of the now obsolete PD-Arab, and that is PD-Arabic. Unfortunatelly I don't speak Arabic myself so we should ask somebody for help anyway. --Botev 09:07, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
It looks like, if anything our PD-Arab was a translation of theirs. I have asked Tarawneh, the only Arabic fluent admin, to give it a look over. I couldn't think who else to spam. --Selket 17:45, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Portrait of Bartolomeus Eustachius.

I have an uncredited portrait of Bartolomeo Eustachius, which I got out of a 1909 book (there's a link to the Google Book Search page from the image description). From the style, it looks old, but I don't have any information other than that it was first published in 1909 or earlier. Was uploading it okay, and does anyone have any information about where it may have come from, so I can change PD-Art|PD-US into plain PD-Art? grendel|khan 22:27, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Subject of illustration died in 16th century; if a contemporary portait it is PD-Art. Tell us more about the book-- does it use old engravings, or were new illustrations made for it? If the latter, is the author dead more than 70 years? -- Infrogmation 15:53, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
The title page of the book says only "with 104 engravings and 20 plates". There's no separate statement of copyright for the images and no specification of an illustrator; it only says that it was written by Vincenzo Guerini and copyrighted by the National Dental Association. If it's a reproduction of an earlier print (like an engraving from Eustachius' original book), it doesn't say so. There's a Google Book Search link on the image description page; you can see for yourself. grendel|khan 08:05, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Berry White portrait

[2] what's the license? the preceding unsigned comment was added by Gloaming (talk • contribs)

If there is no info about credit/copyright/licencing on the website, there is no documentation that it is under a free licence, so it is irrelevent and unusable by Commons. -- Infrogmation 15:41, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Le Mans metropole on Commons

Hi, I would introduce the logo of the city of Le Mans. I know that the rights are restricted, but they are the same as this picture for example: I don't know how to put them with my picture upload, I haven't found them on the list. Can you help me to download the picture I want to? I m a bit lost in all the licences. Thanks a lot. --Trowa Barton 17:30, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

This logo is used on the French Wikipedia under "fair use." This is not a license, but somewhat similar to the right of citation. We only allow images under free licenses on Commons, and explicitly disallow fair use. So the image is not allowed on Commons. -- Bryan (talk to me) 17:57, 6 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I understand. So I will see on Wikipedia France. Thanks a lot for these informations Bryan! --Trowa Barton 18:21, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Photoimages form Austria

What law must be applied to photoimages from Austria on period from Anschluss (12 March 1938) to 19 December 1945 (the second Austrian republic established)? Austrian ({{PD-Austria}}) or German ({{PD-old}}, 70 year after author death)? For example, the image Image:Voting-booth-Anschluss-10-April-1938.jpg is {{PD-Austria}}, coul I put same license tag on Image:64403Vienna1938.jpg, Image:1anschluss.gif and w:ru:Image:Anschluss.jpg? Alex Spade 15:46, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Austria is a EU country, 70 years p.m.a. applies (as even the ext link in the tag states). The tag is utterly wrong and should be deleted. Lupo 22:10, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
It appears this tag was created mistakenly through a confusion between Austria and Australia, see its history. Lupo 22:12, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
{{PD-Austria}} now redirects to {{PD-old}}. Note, however, that these images from 1938 are not PD-old yet. Sorry you were misled by a wrong template. Lupo 08:52, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
No problem. But I think that redirect to PD-old is bad choice, better we should delete them and retag images manually. Alex Spade 14:30, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
There's just some COAs, apparently all drawn by someone who died 1919. The two 1938 images have been listed for deletion. Which is why I thought redirecting would work just as well. Lupo 14:41, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Museum lobby and freedom of panorama

File:SAM lobby 02.jpg
Seattle Art Museum lobby: example image

I have numerous pictures I've taken of the lobby of the new Seattle Art Museum. I've uploaded a typical example image. I'd like to upload about 8-10 of these, but I figured I'd first ask whether people think there is a copyright issue. The lobby is dominated by an installation by artist Cai Guo-Qiang, which consists mainly of a large number of Ford Taurus cars, most of them suspended from the ceiling. Clearly, in the U.S., freedom of panorama allows me to photograph the building. Equally clearly there is no issue with photographing a car as such. The question is, do we have an intellectual property rights concern about photographing cars that constitute part of an art installation? I certainly hope not, and I would think that images like this should not present a problem but, again, there is just enough shadow of a doubt that I figured I'd start the discussion here first. I'll check back in about 5 days; if anyone needs further clarification from me before that, please ping my user talk page, either on Commons or on the English Wikipedia. - en:Jmabel | talk 02:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm... this is a tricky one. I'm not sure one can characterize the main subject of your photo as being the artwork (ie. car suspended from the ceiling). It seems like the main focus of the picture isn't necessarily the art but that the car is minor in the scope of the whole picture. I'm not sure, it's borderline and in borderline cases we're usually inclined to say it isn't allowed. Yonatan talk 09:05, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Then I'll hold off for now on similar images of the space. The thing is, there is virtually no way to take any meaningful picture of the space without getting some portion of the artwork in view, because it dominates the room.

I'd appreciate it if some others could comment. I'd like to have a meaningful consensus on this, so I know whether to upload (for example) pictures of the dance party that was part of the opening. I have pictures of a DJ and musicians that don't raise any issues, but they also don't give any impression of the room. The pictures of the dancers (e.g. taken from above) are all going to show at least parts of this artwork. - en:Jmabel | talk 23:31, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

The cars by themeselves are not artwork, but the car disposition in the hall is, protected just like a sculpture or an architectural conception would be, and exposed as such. Now, since Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#USA does not allow to take pictures of exposed work of art included in public buildings, it cannot be allowed on commons given local rules. Michelet-密是力 05:41, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
I would consider it a borderline case. I personally wouldn't call the car disposition in this particular image artistical. In any case, images taken from a dance party, where the cars or other objects are incidental parts of the image, should be acceptable. / Fred Chess 11:53, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Michelet, clearly I can't take a picture that's mainly of the work of art just because it's in a public building, but I think I can take a picture that's basically of people or of the space and happens to have some art visible in it. Otherwise, you could never (for example) use a photo taken in a restaurant with art on the walls (out of focus doesn't make the work less derivative), or take a picture on a street where there was a billboard or an advertising kiosk anywhere in sight. Or maybe even take a picture of anyone with a visible tattoo! Or carrying an identifiable post-1923 book, or in front of a bookcase, etc.

I'm beginning to think this is going to have to be on a case-by-case basis. I'm going to upload some others that I think should be OK or, at worst, borderline, and I'll make a little gallery here so no one thinks I'm trying to slip something by, and I'll leave it to others to work out what we can keep. - en:Jmabel | talk 18:39, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Here we go. I've tried to put these roughly in order from what I think raises the least issue to what I think raises the most. I have some others, but they go past what I think is the borderline. That is, I think the last of these is right about on the borderline, and the ones that show more of Cai Guo-Qi's work than this, I'm not even uploading. If none of these are OK, maybe some thoughts on cropping them?

If these aren't OK for Commons, what do people think about fair use in the English Wikipedia in writing about the museum?

- en:Jmabel | talk 19:08, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

I would say that all except the first one primarily show the copyright artwork, and therefore can't stay on Commons. Unfortunately, cropping would leave nothing much else in the images. These are exactly the sort of pictures we would love to have, but can't host because of copyright concerns. Fair use on the en_W may be ok, but that would again be on a case by case basis, depending which pages you want the images to illustrate. --MichaelMaggs 19:27, 13 May 2007 (UTC)
Now done. --MichaelMaggs 17:02, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

{{BSD}} missing disclaimer?


Is our BSD template missing the standard disclaimer for any particular reason? (see w:BSD_license#Terms, or [3])

I want to take screenshots of software licensed under the BSD license... with disclaimer intact. I guess we can either

a) Add the disclaimer to this license, or b) create {{BSD-disclaimer}}.

Is this a valid BSD license as it stands? I wonder if people have been using it thinking it was the standard BSD license? For those who use it to license their own work, will it concern them if we add the disclaimer?

--pfctdayelise (说什么?) 09:58, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

Few reasons why I omitted the disclaimer: often objects such as images and sounds were tagged with the License and the disclaimer doesn't really fit (it talks about "SOFTWARE", "WARRANTIES" (how do you warrant an image?), "LOSS OF DATA" (images can cause losses of data?) and "FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE"; secondly, including the entire disclaimer verbatim would bloat the template. What we could say if we must link to it is "The standard disclaimer listed at the OSI version of the BSD license applies", or something.
In any case, if these licenses are functionally different when we apply it to objects such as images and sounds (I don't think it really is different unless we talk about software or source code), this license would be compatible within the BSD license as it stands elsewhere. Dysprosia 10:00, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, BSD is clearly meant specifically for software, but now that it's here and people such as yourself are using it...
It can also be used for screenshots of BSD programs (which is actually why I want to use it). But the terms of the license say Redistributions [...] must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer. Chopping off that last clause makes it not the BSD license any more, in my eyes.
Bloating the template is just a fact of life we have no choice about.
Anyway, since {{BSD}} is worded actually like BSD-self ("belongs to the uploader"), I propose we leave it, but amend {{BSDu}} to reproduce the license text exactly. what do you think? --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 11:04, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
We might wanna rename {{BSD}} -> {{BSD-no-disclaimer}} and have new uses be under {{BSD}} which will be your proposed {{BSDu}}. They're doing something similar on en now with {{GFDL-with-disclaimers}}, {{GFDL}} and {{GFDL-no-disclaimers}} except they're actually getting rid of the disclaimer. If we were leading people to believe that they were releasing their uploads under the BSD license, and not our modified version of it, the disclaimer might apply anyway and we'd be in violation of the license since we aren't keeping the disclaimer. Then again, I don't really know and I don't think there's a definitive answer. Yonatan talk 09:01, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Well I just made Template:BSDwithdisclaimer, with all 3 parameters. If we want to bother switching them around I guess we can do that. it's a pretty minor concern anyway. pfctdayelise (说什么?) 12:07, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Why not either: add a link to the disclaimer or create a "click-to-expand" section to reveal the disclaimer? That would be a nice solution to avoid template bloat, and wouldn't be such an intrusion to put straight in the master BSD templates? Dysprosia 10:12, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

U.S. Gov pictures

I know pictures by the U.S. federal government are public domain, but how do we determine if they were taken by an employee of th federal government or not? Specifically, I'm trying to figure out whether or not the picture here can be uploaded. ShadowHalo 05:41, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

The photo was likely taken by a member of Bono's staff, and if so would be public domain. I recommend you contact the Congresswoman's office and see if they can verify whether one of her staffers (or at least another Congressional staffer) took the photo. Andrew Levine 06:45, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Free-use legacy tags

I think, that next license tags must be obsolete obviously (obsolete, not for deletion),as for example it had been done with {{PD}} (white background instead blue and word obsoleted).

The reasons are next:

  1. Small problem. The words Free use bring in the misunderstanding between free license and free use (free use only, which is deprecated). The many new users are confusing these terms, and there were many images, which had been deleted because of that, and there are many other images, which should be deleted, for last example Image:Dk adm regions 2007.gif (there is permission for free use at the original site, but there are not words about and commercial use obviously).
  2. Small problem. In the past these tags (some of them) contained only free use text. For example Attribution was made at En-wiki on Jan.22 2005, and only on Dec.28 2006 ([4]), the text about commercial use and had been included obviously. Same on commons [5]. There are 23 months (on En-wiki) and 6 months (on Commons), when images can be loaded under inaccurate terms. Who can guarantees, that and commercial using are allowed for these old-loaded images?
  3. And the main large problem. These license tags are not exactly license in comparison with PD, GFDL, CC and some others. When work is publicated under PD,GFDL,CC-licenses, the author (copyright holder) cann't make the terms of use tougher (for example CC-BY --> CC-BY-NC), he can make terms more free (CC-BY-SA --> CC-BY) or add additional lic.tag (GFDL--> GFDL + CC-BY-NC). In case of above-mentioned license tags, copyright holder doesn't assume the duty for nochange of terms of use, nothing confuses him to change of terms. For example, the deprecated (by another reason) tag {{}} contained the next very impotant phrase - without restriction on the amount of material and time of publication. Above-mentioned license tags doesn't containe such terms.

Alex Spade 08:21, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Agree. These license tags are often abused. Uses of {{Copyrighted free use}} should either be {{PD-self}} if they're uploaded by the author or be accompanied by an OTRS permission, for which we can create a separate template. The {{attribution}} template obviously isn't as good as a hard-coded non-revocable license such as CC-BY or GFDL (all uploads should be multi-licensed under the GFDL anyway as there currently isn't a legal compatibility between CC-BY-SA and the GFDL). Anybody who agrees to release something under {{attribution}} should have no problem with uploading under GFDL or both GFDL & CC-BY. {{Copyrighted free use provided that}} leaves an opening for someone to add an unacceptable term because TBH, we pretty much only accept attribution as a term, in which case what I stated above holds true. {{CopyrightedFreeUse-Link}} should be replaced by {{PD-Link}} for own uploads (or actually, link should be a wrapper, as in {{WPLink|PD-self}}) and, well, I don't see anything other than own uploads using this template. Yonatan talk 08:56, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree completely that these tags should be phased out. There is really no reason to use them. Not everyone may like CC licenses, but the drawbacks are less than the drawbacks of the unclarity associated with these tags. --rtc 10:36, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I was under the impression they were already phased out. There is no reason any Wikimedian should be using them for their own work, that's for sure. The only reason to use these is for websites with non-specific licensing terms (ie they don't say "this is CC-BY", they say "you must credit us" or similar). And while we all hate those cases and they are often problematic, AFAIK there hasn't been a push to disallow all non-specific licenses altogether. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 12:10, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
People still use them when they shouldn't. Were it not for the important point Pfctdayelise bring up I'd say we should phase them out right away. Is there a better way we can handle the websites which we believe are free enough but which use such non-specific terms without creating an attractive nuisance? I don't have any great ideas. --Gmaxwell 14:42, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
The solution can only be to require one specific tag to be created for each and every indivudual web page from which pictures have been taken from, even if there is only one picture from that web page. Then the validity can be discussed separately for each one. --rtc 20:54, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
I think that {{Copyrighted free use}} should definately be renamed, it causes so many misunderstandings. However, I don't think that it should redirected to {{PD-self}}. Public domain being a legal term that doesn't relly exist in many jurisdictions.
Attribution is a perfectly fine license, it just shouldn't shouldn't be easily available. Samulili 16:51, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Reproduction rights

I have been unable to find any info regarding reproduction rights. If I find a dowloadable photo on the web that is well and truly out of copyright (in Australia) but there is a notice that the "reproduction rights" are held by a State Library, for example, is that image ok or not? Thanks? Baby ifritah 13:50, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

North Korea copyright

There have been issues with using symbols from North Korea, specifically their coat of arms, and a suggestion that because the country has copyright law that the image can not be used on wikipedia. The United States law on international copyright is very clear:

  • "There is no such thing as an “international copyright” that will automatically protect an author’s writings throughout the world. Protection against unauthorized use in a particular country basically depends on the national laws of that country. However, most countries offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions that have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions. There are two principal international copyright conventions, the Berne Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Property (Berne Convention) and the Universal Copyright Convention (UCC)." [6]

With specific regard to North Korea, the United States has no copyright relations to protect the use of works from North Korea by either the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention, nor by any bilateral agreement: [7]

Therefore, you can quite simply say that works from North Korea have no protection under US copyright and so use of images (specifically their coat of arms) or any "derivative" of this original image is not protected by copyright.

I hope this will put an end to the debate over what to do with this country specifically. The whole issue is a separate thing but specifically for North Korea this is a mute point. Icactus 17:12, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

  • We do make attempts at protecting copyrights external to the United States. We are an international project. Others can chime in here, but the practice has not been solely based on U.S. copyright law. If North Korea believes the image is copyrighted, and there's no evidence to suggest they've released it under a free license, then we respect that. --Durin 17:31, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
  • This may be a personal assessment but at the end of the day it is not a violation of copyright law in the US or International sense. If the use of an image (and you are right, the current coat of arms hosted here needs to be replaced with someone's own version of it) is not protected by copyright then it should be allowed to be used. I don't see how anyone benefits from not using this image if it is not protected. My original comment"proves" the image is not protected by copyright and so there is nothing to be assumed here. I just think it would be bad policy for Wikipedia to start saying it will protect images on their own when they are not protected by law. We should provide information and content when it is available and legal to do so and in this case it is both available and legal. Icactus 17:56, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Your initial statement with the quote from the US Copyright Office is largely irrelevant to this situation. If North Korea claims copyright to the image, it's likely that we'll respect that. Barring proof that they are not claiming copyright, we assume they are. Your interpretation of the legality of it does not provide any proof that North Korea has released their rights to the image. --Durin 19:39, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
  • First off, North Korea has signed the Berne Convention, which entered into effect with respect to that country on April 28, 2003.[8] Second, please read en:WP:PD#Countries without copyright treaties with the U.S.. And third, while we're a U.S.-based project, we do serve a much wider audience and thus should look beyond the U.S. Please also note that Circular 38a gives the state as of January 2003, later developments are not accounted for. Lupo 19:47, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
  • well then that takes care of that. thanks for providing the links to the wiki policies - i had tried to find them with no success. I guess i'll have to go back to my strategy of phone-calls to the DPRK. the never return for some reason... oh well. Icactus 20:08, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
What US official laws is relatively irrelevant for the project, the only issue they solve is whether a publication on a US server may be legal or not. If north Korea has signed the Berne Convention, the North Corean copyright must be respecter including by US. But ... ♦ Respect of works published before the Berne Convention signature is not mandatory, accoring to the Berne convention, and is determined on a case-by-case basis. The coat of arms has been published before 2003, and therefore is outside the Berne convention. ♦ Coats or arm are protected not by the Berne convention, anyway, but by the Paris convention atr. 6 ter. Specialia generalibus derogant, when a special law applies, the general law dosen't. According to this convention, reproduction is forbidden only insofar as it can confuse with an official use; it can be freely reproduced otherwise. Michelet-密是力 20:10, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
    • You wrote: "The coat of arms has been published before 2003, and therefore is outside the Berne convention." The Berne Convention disagrees. The Berne convention applies to all works from a country still copyrighted in that country on the day that country joins. The only exception is when works from that country already were copyrighted in other Berne states and that copyright has already expired on that date. Works that were not copyrighted before in the other BC countries become eligible to copyright there on that date (since there was no earlier copyright that could have expired). See §§18(1), 18(2) BC. It's the very reason that the U.S. implemented 17 USC 104A. (Note: I'm not arguing that this COA was a work subject to the BC, nor am I arguing it wasn't. I'm just clarifying to what preexisting works the BC applies when a country joins the BC.) Lupo 15:15, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I think is the law that we are looking for. As for the "policy" on dealing with North Korean images, I personally apply the same rules that Jimbo Wales stated for dealing with rules from Iran: follow their laws because it is morally right to do. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 06:04, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
From reading more on that page, the national emblem should be protected by copyright for at least 50 years (since it was designed by the state). I personally have no idea who made the emblem, other than the state, and how long it has been used. But, if the term is expired, I could attempt to make an SVG version (but it will be hard to do). User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 06:10, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Here is the line from the constitution about the copyright for state designed objects: Article 24. The property rights to a copyrighted work or a copyrighted visual art work whose author is an institution, enterprise or organization shall be protected for up to 50 years from the moment of its publication.

The coat of arms was declared in the 1948 Constitution under Chapter VII, Arcticle 168: The national emblem of the DPRK bears the design of a grand hydroelectric power station under Mt. Paektu, the sacred mountain of the revolution, and the beaming light of a five-pointed red star, with ears of rice forming an oval frame, bound with a red ribbon bearing the inscription "The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea."[9] As 50 years has past, the coat of arms legally is in the public domain (as is the case with any other country who's emblems are used on wikipedia after the period of copyright expires). Unless people still have valid objections i hope you can make an SVG for us to use! Icactus 16:31, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, is going to be a toughie to draw in SVG, but gotta give it the college try after finals. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 19:53, 14 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Icactus, what you are quoting/describing is the blazon, not the coat of arms. Coats of arms are expressions of blazons. The blazon may have been established in 1948, but the coat of arms from that description could have been made last month for all we know. We need to know when this version of the coat of arms first came in use, not when the blazon was first described. --Durin 12:53, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Can someone not make an image from the description of a blazon? - i thought blazon's were specifically vague as to particulars for that very reason. I think the legal caution of this is bordering on silly - to suggest that the country created a coat of arms but not an actual image of it doesn't make sense. Is it an issue of knowing when the copyright for the image of the coat of arms was specifically filed? In which case is it then not good enough even if an image dating from 1950 was found of the coat of arms to prove it was rendered? Icactus 14:16, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Sure. Anyone can create a coat of arms from a blazon. No issue there. I'm sure North Korea created a coat of arms from the blazon in 1948. What I'm not sure of, and what we have no evidence of, is when this particular coat of arms was made. Coats of arms are changed all the time by various entities. If there is documentation showing that this version of the coat of arms was exactly the same as the one in 1948, or any other one from 1957 or earlier, then there's no issue. But, we lack that evidence currently. I'm still unclear as to why this is so important for w:Template:Politics of North Korea when the North Korean flag does just fine. Why does this matter? --Durin 16:56, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
  • On that series of templates, flag images were used before; but it got swithced to coat of arms for reasons I have no idea why. Anyways, it seems that if the deal with Vector-Images doesn't work, many of the images we have for coat of arms would probably be deleted from here, so a lot of these templates will be having a lack of arms. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 18:25, 15 May 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm not particularly concerned about having the coat of arms for the politics template as much as i am concerned about finding ways to provide information without tripping over copyright issues and this (at least for me) is more about learning the extent of the function of copyright and for that i appreciate the clarifying information you've provided. As for this specific coat of arms, on principal i just think its important to not get scared of the idea of copyright and actively work to provide as much publicly as possible - this just got me interested in the whole thing. (or maybe i'm just trying to save face.... :) Icactus 14:44, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
  • And it is not a big problem; many users didn't understand copyright issues at all, so you are not the first nor the last. Anyways, you're still welcome to provide as much you have, media wise, of North Korea and welcome at en.wikipedia to send in whatever you know about North Korea in general. We are lacking a good coverage of the country. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 15:23, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Changes to hundredfold used licence templates

Changes to heavily used licence templates like [10] on PD-self are highly questionable. People cannot simply change user-selected licences. Just as people can't change the conditions of a contract unilaterally. Even if there is necessarity to design further versions of a template why should the highly unhandy GFDL should be the default licence? Whereever applicable we should use a CC option.--Wiggum 23:32, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

It's because of a concern that using an image with GFDL text (ie. almost all Wikimedia projects) creates a deriviative work which must therefore also be GFDL. It's not clear whether or not this is actually true. It's one reasonable interpretation, though. But I agree with you that CC licenses are better because they are more flexible. That's why in general we recommend a combo of GFDL+CC-BY-SA above all.
Because Gmaxwell added a clause that says "after May 12 2007", for images uploaded prior to this date it hasn't changed. So I think this is an OK change. --pfctdayelise (说什么?) 02:52, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Nobody retroactively changed the license but rather did so for future purposes. Since the user's essentially stating they released the file into the public domain, we can add as many statements as we want without legal consequence. Of course, this won't help us if someone decides to sue someone else [in France] who uses such a picture saying that the contract should be nullified due to the contract being unilateral, only the text that was previously on Template:PD-self would apply, but it won't make us any worse off. I don't know where you're getting the, "whereever applicable we should use a CC option" approach but that certainly doesn't reflect many people's opinions. I don't see the need for the clause that says, "after May 12, 2007" which was added by DaB, as I stated above. Yonatan talk 02:59, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
GMaxwell has no business changing the declarations of others, retroactively, *regardless* of the legal implications. IANAL, and don't pretend to know the law (so I assume GMaxwell's change is legally ok). But, we ought to show some respect to our contributors, and let them write their own words. GFDL and PD are entirely different. Mixing them is absurd. GFDL demands attribution, and copying a license text. What if somebody not only doesn't demand attribution, but specifically doesn't want it (e.g. "use my pic, but keep my id out of it"). Also, while it's esay for us, to look up the old wording of the tag, some users, particularly readers of a mirrored page, would see the "substed" text, and assume what's written is what the uploader originally wrote. I find it frustrating, that some people just don't get how wrong it is, to change the words of another person. The tag is written in the "first person", starting with the word "I". Of course, this is a wiki, and editing text written by others, is allowed. But, such editable text, should be written in the third person. Gmaxwell, you are not me, and have no business putting words in my mouth, and no business speaking in "my voice", period. I see this as a breach of trust. --Rob 05:36, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
The template just says now that if the previous two releases (into the public domain and then, any use is possible) are invalidated, the uploader agrees to release it under the GFDL. Nobody's saying all PD releases are actually releases under the GFDL, just providing another backup in case the previous two releases are invalidated (people using files with PD-self who know how to comprehend it properly, will know that it *should be* in the public domain rather than under the GFDL). Yonatan talk 13:02, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

The "after May 12 2007" was added by DaB. later, i didn't see it before. However this does not fix the problem that such extensive changes undermine the reliability of our templates. People who are familiar with the common tags will continue to use it without noticing the changes. Since there are jurisdictions where people can't forfeit the copyright, PD-self has to be treated as a licence. Please consider that such changes might invalidate the licences issued before the change. Even though the practical implications might usually be insignificant i plead with you to carefully think about the consequences of such actions.--Wiggum 11:44, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

The license still says you released the work into the public domain. It then says, that if this is not legally possible, you allow anyone to use the file for any use.. <snip>... After that, the latest clause is that if the aforementioned clause is invalidated, you agree to release it under the GNU Free Documentation License. This of course doesn't apply to previous releases under PD-self but will apply to future releases and keeping it there doesn't do anything. It just means that if the previous two releases are deemed as invalid in a court of law, this text won't provide backup for it since it wasn't there when the person agreed to release it under PD-self originally. This text doesn't invalidate anything. Yonatan talk 13:02, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
What if people want to give up all their rights to an image but don't want to release it under the GFDL which is a lot more restrictive than PD? -- 14:15, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
Anybody who agrees to release a picture into the public domain or "give up all their rights to an image" shouldn't have a problem with releasing it under the GFDL *IF* the previous two releases (into the public domain, and allowance of any use) are deemed as invalid by court. Nobody's saying you're releasing it under the GFDL but rather, you're releasing it into the public domain and if that's not possible and it isn't possible to concede all rights you have you have to the image (ie. anyone can use it for any purpose) then you agree to release it under the GFDL so other people can use it. The GFDL only replaces the PD release if the latter is deemed as invalid, and if someone agrees to release something into the public domain, I'd assume they want people to be able to use it. Yonatan talk 14:22, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
How likely is it that a court denies a person the right to release his work into the public domain or allow anyone to use it, but allows releasing the work under the GFDL? -- 17:02, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
"denies a person" woah woah. That is not the threat we're concerned about. Specifically we are concerned because the law and general direction of the law in some countries (France most notably) is incorporating "artist protection clauses" because of over expansive corporate contracts. In particular, the law in these places is tending towards the position that any release which removes all compensation from the artist is a form of unconscionable contract and is invalid. The result of this is that people could release as PD-self, then later turn around and successfully sue anyone using their work.
The position held by a number of people, ones far smarter and more experienced with the law of other nations than I, is that copyleft preserves compensation for the artist... that the requirement for derivatives to also be freely licenses is a benefit to the creator of the work. Since it's not hard to show that copyleft licenses do cause the release of additional works under a free license, it's not hard to show that the creator benefited from the arrangement.
As far as changing the template goes for PD-self the complaint is invalid. Because the creator of the works released the copyright on their works we are free to distribute copies of their work under whatever license we choose. We could, if we were evil, redistribute all PD uploads as all-rights-reserved. If you don't want people changing the license on your works you should not release your copyright completely. Both PD and CC-By options allow anyone to add further restrictions to your work.
As such "after date X" is not strictly needed for revisions of this template, although for works before the change the court's invalidation of the original PD release would probably also invalidate any relicensing done by a third party which depended on the PD release. --Gmaxwell 18:35, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I understand this is only a backup, but why did you choose GFDL instead of, say, CC-BY-SA, which seems closer to the original user's intent and more practical to use? (I read your user page, so I know why you don't like CC-SA). Jastrow (Λέγετε) 19:38, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
My selection didn't have anything to do with my like/disklike of CC-By-SA. Rather, Creative Commons is now telling people that cc-by-sa isn't copyleft .. that you can integrate cc-by-sa works into totally non-free works (some call this 'weak copyleft' but I think the term is somewhat misleading). The text of by-sa doesn't really support this view at this time but creative commons can revise the text. As such cc-by-sa might not have the tit-for-tat property of copyleft in the future which is needed in this case. Since the extra release only comes into play if the PD release is invalidated, this entire change will hopefully never matter, but if it does ever become an issue we want to make sure that the change has the intended effect. We can best achieve that by using the most restrictive license that we currently accept. I don't agree that any of the standard licenses are close to what is intended by a PD release.. they all require a lot of things that a PD release doesn't, but what is intended may end up invalidated so we want to be confident that the works will still be fairly free if that happens. --Gmaxwell 21:53, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

That isn't a valid GFDL release; the text should be changed from "If that release is invalidated for any reason I also grant permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation if I upload the picture after May 12 2007." to "If that release is invalidated for any reason I also grant permission to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License"." --Iamunknown 18:53, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

There is no requirement to use the additional text, it's merely the recommendation of the license. 0_o Next will people suggest that something is an invalid release under the GFDL if you're not wearing RMS's disk platter on your head? ;) If people want the additional text, I don't see a problem of including it the next time the template is changed, but I don't see a reason to pump the workqueue for this.--Gmaxwell 19:37, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Can I get a citation on this "using an image with GFDL text creates a deriviative work which must therefore also be GFDL" idea? I must say I got a rather nasty surprise when I uploaded an image and found the license tag had been made substantially more complex. I PD release my work precisely because doing so makes it simple to know what you can do with it: anything. Adding an "oh, or maybe what you can do is highly restricted... perhaps" to the license tag eliminates this simplicity. Mike1024 (t/c) 07:56, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm not following you. In this case the GFDL only comes into play if some court decides that a release of all rights would be unconscionable. It prevents the work from becoming entirely non-free in that situation. It comes into play if and only if the PD release is invalidated. Since *anyone* could take your 'PD' work and release it under the GFDL if they wanted to, it shouldn't cause you concern, i.e. legally I could just re-upload all PD images on commons and GFDL them and if you don't want that to be possible then you don't want a PD release, you want a copyleft license.
If a work is available only under the GFDL, then derivatives are only legal if they are also under the GFDL (although that may someday be changed to 'any other equally free license')... this is a product of the plain language of the license, but it's not really material for these images unless a court throws out the PD release. --Gmaxwell 13:34, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
I had not notice the change in {{PD-self}} and I reverted. People are used to PD-self meaning exaclty one thing from one project to another. What should be done, if there is such a concern, is to make another template for this purpose. Samulili 14:18, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
To make matters worse, there is the version of 12 May which is the presumption in the discussion above, and then there is the version of 14 May 20:50 which says nothing about GFDL only coming into play if some court decides that a release of all rights would be unconscionable.
It would make a lot of sense to discuss these things before acting on one's own. Samulili 14:41, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
The change clearly should have been discussed first. Whether it's legally helpful is one thing, but the appearance to the uninitiated that someone is trying do do something tricky and retrospective to their images is unfortunate. --MichaelMaggs 20:32, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
(re: not following) I was referring to this comment, though on rereading it I realised I might have misread it. My point is: A change was made to a template saying "There is a concern that in some jurisdictions[...]". I hoped to get some sort of citation on this - a book, a cunning legal mind, or something. This is interesting to me because of the implications for the MIT License, BSD License and other permissive licenses. MS Windows and OS X both include BSD code, so the implications could be substantial. (If I must have a second backup license on my work, I'd prefer a more permissive one than GFDL, but that's another story...) Mike1024 (t/c) 07:20, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Here is one reason why we can't unilaterally and suddenly change PD-self in Commons, fr:Modèle:Domaine public perso: “Modèle équivalent sur Commons : Commons:Template:PD-self.” Driving on the left side of the road is just as ok as riving on the right side. You just can't change the rules overnight without educating the public.

At one point I tried to get PD-self ({{PD/Oma}}) removed from fi.wikipedia because releasing to PD means absolutely nothing in Finland, but I failed. If Commons started a campaing for discouraging the use of PD-self, we might be able educate the contributors and to get other projects to do the same. Samulili 07:46, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

(reverted template discussion)

The template has been reverted and protected, which I was about to do anyway. The whole discussion is surrealistic: the clause "unless such conditions are required by law" makes the surrender of artistic property right perfectly legal and universally valid, in any legal system, since anything that might be considered illegal and outside reach of contractual decision is put outside the licence. This clearly means "I abandon all that is legally possible to abandon (and don't care for the rest, even if I can't legally abandon it)" Michelet-密是力 18:27, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I can't in good conscience allow that change to stand. I do agree that cool cat's edit was bogus. If you are unwilling to still allow the use of your content under an acceptable free license should the attempt to unconditionally release all rights fail, then your content is not welcome on commons. --Gmaxwell 18:40, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Gregory, I'm really not sure that "*anyone* could take my 'PD' work and release it under the GFDL if they wanted to". Well, they could, but would that new license hold any water? If it does, how come we disregard coyright claims about PD-old and PD-art material? Jastrow (Λέγετε) 18:58, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Gregory, this is not the point, and I had to revert your changes. The "PD-self" template essentially means that the contributor is the owner of intellectual property rights, and wants to relase them in the public domain. The small-print details are irrelevant as far as his expressed will is concerned. If some rights cannot be dismissed due to some local law, it's OK for the right-owner, but then the corresponding rights are simply excluded from the licence, and that's that. there is NO need to add a subsidiary licence. Michelet-密是力 20:23, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
It'd be better if we don't state things as fact when we're not sure of them. A contract is much more likely to be nullified by a court when it's substantially one-sided. Free licenses such as the GFDL try to deal with this problem to prevent the release from being invalidated in a court (especially a French court). There is therefore no reason for us not to say that if the previous releases are canceled, we agree to release under the GFDL, which is less likely to be nullified by a court. Yonatan talk 21:38, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, Yonatan, then, check the french definition of what a contract is: see here. A PD-licence statement is not a contract (there is just one person involved), so there is no reason for it to be nullified by a court. Putting a work in the public domain is attached to the "right of the author to divulge his work" (see art. 121-2 CPI). The law says "The author alone shall have the right to divulge his work. He shall determine the method of disclosure and shall fix the conditions thereof" = if an author wants the conditions to be "public domain", he is free to say so. Michelet-密是力 07:43, 17 May 2007 (UTC)


Hmmm.... I have uploaded here a poster under GDFL and CC licence, but on the poster there are copyrighted logos. Can I offer this poster under these licences? See: Image:Poster Wykiwersitet 2007.jpeg --Juan de Vojníkov 15:18, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

No since it contians material copyright the wikimedia foundation. might be able to get around this to an extent by editing out the logos but then you have to remeber the mediawiki interface is GPL not GFDL.Geni 23:18, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

So it means that if I have any work and I recive rights to use any copyrighted files - my work should be aslo copyrighted.--Juan de Vojníkov 15:31, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Depends on the exact wording of the rights but generaly it would be unlikely that you could release it under a free lisence.Geni 18:52, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Stamps from Uganda

I want to upload some self-made scans of stamps of Uganda. It is a series of flower plants. There is no year printed on the stamps; I guess 1970ies. Which license is the correct one, or are these stamps copyrighted and not uploadable to commons?--JFKCom 09:27, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Almost certainly copyrighted with all rights reserved, that's pretty much universal. Uganda being ex-British, probably has an equivalent of Crown Copyright and 50-year term before going PD, but without a law to quote, can't know for sure (often even the country's postal officials don't know). Anybody up for a trip to Kampala to hit the law library? :-) Stan Shebs 20:09, 17 May 2007 (UTC)
Until 2006, the copyright law of Uganda was a copy of the British Copyright Act as of 1957. (Cap 215 Laws of Uganda, enacted in 1964). See this paper, discussing an overhaul proposal (Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Bill of 2004). That bill apparently became the "Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act 2006", an omnibus revision of the law that repealed the 1964 law. See also section 3.4.2 of this paper, and also this report. Lupo 23:05, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your answers. Ooh, seems to be complicated. Can somebody explain this for me w.r.t. my Uganda stamps?--JFKCom 18:10, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

Copyright on stolen property ?

I’ve made some photos of large displays with blown-up photos inside the Memorial of the Fort van Breendonk, a memorial site for victims of the Nazi regime in Belgium. The original photos were taken away from an unidentified SS-soldier, taken prisoner by the Allieds in August 1944. The guard, who took the roll of film realised the historical significance of the photos and donated them to the Memorial of the Fort van Breendonk. These photos are now on display with a copyright sign with the name of the Allied soldier. This was the explanation given to me by a guide of the Memorial.

My questions :

  1. Can this Allied soldier claim copyright on what is, technically speaking, stolen property ?
  2. If not, can I upload my digitally enhanced photos to the Commons Category:Fort van Breendonk and under what license ?
  3. If not again, can I upload them to the en.wikipedia under a less strict license (such as PD) ?
  4. Or, can’t I upload them at all ?
  5. Additional question : I’ve also made photos of photos of SS war criminals who were executed in Belgium in 1946. Is there any copyright on the original photos ?

JoJan 13:14, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

    1. No
    2. No
    3. Ask on en.
    4. Exactly. They are copyrighted until 70 years after the photographer's death, in Europe, that is.
    5. Yes. --Fb78 14:17, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
  • Interresting case; dear colleague.
    1. No, it was not his own work. The copyright belongs to the SS-soldier(s?) that took the photograph.
    2. No, even if the SS-soldier died in 1944, and/or they can be considered as "published anonymously", the copyright still holds until 2015. The status of anonymous publications and of unpublished documents is different, though, but more information is needed for a precise answer, its beeing PD before 2015 is unlikely anyway.
    3. Probably under a "fair use" argument. btw, fr: has a fr:modèle:Titulaire inconnu (unknown copyright holder) that acts as a licence for this kind of situation.
    4. On a case-by-case basis, depending on the "fair use exception" policies of local wikis.
    5. Yes, the situation is exactly the same. The copyright of the original photos is transferred on the pictures you took.
    Michelet-密是力 05:30, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama

Yesterday one of my pictures showing possibly copyrighted artwork permanently displayed in a public place in Germany was deleted. I think both Commons:Licensing and Commons:Freedom_of_panorama could be more explicit on the fact that German "Panoramafreiheit" is not sufficient for publication in Commons. RalfHuels 06:25, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

You are right, and it's a known issue: see the long discussion at Commons:Village pump#Freedom of Panorama issues. The question of whether we need to apply US as well as local law is currently before the WMF Board, and a decision is awaited. I believe they are seeking their own legal advice. --MichaelMaggs 06:32, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
What, isn't Panorama Freedom valid on Commons anymore? When and how did that happen? / Fred Chess 21:11, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
It didn't. Not having seen the image, I'm flying blind here, but apparently it was a photograph of a sculpture (from a still-living sculptor) on a grave. Fine by German FOP, but the U.S. has no FOP for sculptures. Apparently the image was deleted because of this. Lupo 07:14, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Close. The biography of the sculptor is unknown (I've seen a claim, that he died in 1916, but have no reliable source). The image is at now. BTW: as the sculpture was created in 1904 shouldn't it be ok under US law as well, cf. 1923-01-01? RalfHuels 10:59, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
If you can show that it was published before 1923, yes. Sculptures are not "published" by being erected, though. If it is an unpublished work of an unknown author, its copyright in the U.S. runs until 120 after the year of creation. See Hirtle's chart. Lupo 15:26, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Sculptures are not "published" by ..: how they are "published" (related to copyright) then? -- Túrelio 12:33, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
"Publication" = "distribution of copies of the work to the general public with the author's consent". See 17 USC 101. The Berne Convention also uses such a definition, see article 3(3). Lupo 21:50, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
This is clearly original research by Lupo which should not be allowed here. According German law it is clear that such sculpures are "erschienen" (= publication/Berne) when permanently exposed on public ground. Lupo should cite a court case which has treatened with "unpublished" sculptures on public grounds before inventing law --Historiograf 22:33, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
Not OR, I'm afraid, but note that I didn't say anything about what German law says on that. Australian law, for instance, also uses a slightly different definition of "publication" (IIRC, it includes broadcasting a work as "publication" in some cases, but I would have to look it up to be sure). Russian law distinguishes between "publication" in the sense given above, and "disclosure", which includes "publication" but also covers ephemerally making available a work such as through a performance, a speech, or a broadcast. German law indeed considers a sculpture to be issued ("erschienen") if the work or a copy thereof has been made permanently accessible by the public with the author's consent (§6(2)). That differs from U.S. law, which explicitly says that "a public performance or display of a work does not of itself constitute publication." You know, Histo, instead of making unfounded OR accusations, it would be more helpful if you just pointed out the differences in national laws. Lupo 06:43, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! Still confused, but on a higher level  ;-) -- Túrelio 07:07, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
The U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40 spells out the definition of "published" for visual arts (including sculpture) in the U.S.; actual copies of a statue must be sold or otherwise "publically distributed" to be considered "published". Carl Lindberg 07:17, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
As (at least simple) sculptures or grave stones (of non-famous people) are never sold or distributed as actual copies, the US law position means that such sculptures can never fulfil the "published" requirement. -- Túrelio 08:24, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's not just the U.S.... Minor update on Australia: on sculptures (and buildings), section 29(3) of the Australian Copyright Act states that "...the exhibition of an artistic work, the construction of a building or of a model of a building, or the supplying (whether by sale or otherwise) to the public of photographs or engravings of a building, of a model of a building or of a sculpture, does not constitute publication of the work." The UK Copyright Act defines "publication" in section 175: it's complicated, but it appears that sculptures are "published" only if 3D copies are made available to the general public, or if the sculpture is structurally integrated in a building, also when the building is constructed. But exhibition, making available of 2D copies (photos), etc., are not "publication" of the sculpture in the UK. Lupo 08:45, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
That makes the "publication" aspect even more "useless" for (images of) most sculptures. That should be incluced/explained in the related policy. -- Túrelio 10:25, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
What was the original filename? --Dschwen 19:01, 27 May 2007 (UTC)
I guess it was Image:Dortmund Ostenfriedhof Grabmal.jpg (log). --32X 16:41, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Let me say this clear: There is no consensus yet and no decision of the WMF foundation about the non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter terms. FOP pictures of sculptures are allowed here as common practice here since years --Historiograf 15:37, 27 May 2007 (UTC)

Ok, why not? The Commons is an US-american project, it is no international. All Wikipedias save her Files and the game Commons ist over. -- 09:50, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

I've taken the liberty of adding a warning to the Germany/FOP section. Thanks, everyone. RalfHuels 12:58, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


Can I upload the picture [11]. Wikihobby

no.Geni 17:57, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Case of Copyvio

This picture: 40px has been taken from []. The other pictures of User:Jakub225 are probably not kosher either. --Atirador 19:20, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Images from digital libraries

I would like to get a second opinion on this before uploading any substantial number of these images. This image - Image:Band of the 2nd Virginia Infantry c 1890s.jpg - is from Virginia Tech's digital library - Imagebase has tons of photos, some very old, some very recent. Their conditions of use [12] unquestionably prohibit redistribution, commercial use, etc. In the case of images that are unquestionably public domain (eg, anything published pre-1923), can I assume that these terms of use are invalid and we free to disregard them? --BigDT 19:54, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

If they are unquestionably public domain: Yes. See by the way. --Polarlys 10:13, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Bjorn Socialist Republic

Can anyone confirm the licence of images listed below? They all have no author and source information, only a PD tag that say This image is made in the BjornSocialist Republic and is according to the local laws not protected by copyright, and is thus in the public domain. This applies worldwide. Is it a joke?

--GeorgHH 15:57, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

The uploader is a known user on Swedish Wikipedia, who has invented his own religion / political party. So it's not a joke. / Fred J 17:30, 28 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd say it amounts to a PD-Self. Michelet-密是力 18:22, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

George Grantham Bain (?) photo from the early 20th century

I have found an image of Congressman Louis T. McFadden (1876-1936). The description page states that “no date recorded on caption card.” The photo comes from the now defunct Bain News Service, and the LoC page states that “the bulk of the collection dates from the 1910s to the mid-1920's.” I would guess that McFadden was relatively young at the time of this photo (compare him to a photo from 1931).

Is it reasonable to believe that the photo was published before 1923, thus making it {{PD-US}}? Kjetil r 23:09, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

The Bain collection was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. The Bain News Service didn't survive long enough to renew copyright on any published pictures (and presumably the LoC didn't after purchase) so all of this would be PD-US. And if not (i.e. not published in the first place), the LoC would have released it to the public domain. Their rights page for the collection says they are pubic domain ("No known restrictions" is the phrase they use for that). PD-US would definitely apply if published, otherwise a released-to-PD tag would apply. There is an existing {{PD-Bain}} tag that was added recently, so I'd use that, and add PD-US too if this was a published picture (seems almost certain, and would be extremely difficult to be sure beyond what the LoC page says). Carl Lindberg 05:07, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you, Carl. I uploaded the image as Image:Louis T. McFadden.jpg. Kjetil r 15:36, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

lukeisback photos

Can I get some advice on what to do with a question about copyrights and the Creative Commons as they pertain to images on Wikipedia? I had gotten the owner of a website ([ to license his photos under the Creative Commons - see en:User:Tabercil/Luke Ford permission for the original discussion that led to the images becoming CC licensed. Now I see that the new images he's uploading to his site have a clear "© LUKEISBACK.COM" tag placed on them. My questions are twofold:

1. Would these new photos qualify under the earlier permission for use on Wikipedia? (My thinking: I don't think so, but I'm not sure)

2. How should I go about getting the new photos to be CC licensed??

Thanks in advance... Tabercil 23:13, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Please note that (c) copyright is not in contradiction with the Creative Commons, rather, you cannot license a image you don't own the copyright on! As for the new images, I wouldn't know. A friendly email to luke asking whether his new images are also CC may clarify. -- Bryan (talk to me) 16:22, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. I did just that and Luke replied "absolutely" to it. So I've forwarded that email over to permissions to make it clear what was happening. Tabercil 00:27, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Creative Commons 3.0 Licenses (again)

I invited Creative Commons staff member Mike Linksvayer to weigh in on the discussion of CC-3.0, and he's left comments. The conversation has again gone stale since then: Commons talk:Licensing/Creative Commons 3.0. When are we going to move towards allowing CC-3.0 licenses, and who makes the decision? Are we just going to ignore it while there are lingering doubts? For people who want to allow Wikipedia to use their material, it's enough trouble to explain that they have to use BY or BY-SA licenses, and not the others listed on But it's just going too far having to say "you need to hunt down an outdated creative commons license... one which isn't even listed at". The 3.0 licenses create no new conditions which don't already exist in law. Let's take them on already. [those are my thoughts, not CC's] Pengo 05:39, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the real important question is "who makes the decision?" But yes, it seems to me that the don't accept them camp can always win by stalling. Meanwhile, more and more free content appears on the web under CC-3.0 that we can't use. --Selket 06:17, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

When to use the PD-Art tag in UK

Hi, we say here : The level of originality required by the UK courts is very low, and there will very probably be sufficient originality in the photographer's selection of lighting arrangements, exposure, filters and so on. Ok for a painting. But does it works with a simple scan of a page's book ? I prepare the upload of the complete list of Plates from La Geometrie Pratique. I need to be sure to have right to do it. Petrusbarbygere 17:24, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

No, there can be no new copyright in a simple scan, even in the UK. So you are OK. --MichaelMaggs 19:34, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I came across a media which had used an image from this site. I think this is questionable viewing, but i would welcome you opinions on this. Teun Spaans 05:27, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, it says "You can NOT ... redistribute the Content as clip art, images, web art ..". If they use images from Commons that are licensed under CC-SA, that would be a violation. Could you eventually specify the above mentioned image (URL in Commons?). -- Túrelio 07:53, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
To avoid confusion: One of our volunteers has used a part of an image from to make an illustatrion. The illustration was made years ago, and the volunteer contacted me with the question if that was OK. If you second my opinion, I'll contact him and see that his image is replaced ort deleted. Teun Spaans 18:52, 2 June 2007 (UTC)
has used a part of an image, I think this would qualify as derivative, not as redistribution. Anyhow, if the image is valuable for Commons, wouldn't it make more sense to ask whether they have any objection. -- Túrelio 19:03, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Copyright on the Margaret Sanger papers--is there research I can do in order to use this image?

Does anyone know the restrictions on the Margaret Sanger papers? We have one photo of her, but the LoC has another, which is listed as being created in "192-"; it's part of the Margaret Sanger collection at the LoC. There's no information about who owns it or if there are restrictions on publication. Do I have any options from here? grendel|khan 14:39, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

The rights page for the collection is here. Basically, they don't know. The original donation placed her writings in the public domain, but since the included photographs were taken by other people, those copyrights would still be owned by the original (and usually unknown) photographers and thus could not be made public domain. If any of them was published in the U.S. prior to 1923, then it would be OK, but otherwise it's impossible to be sure. In addition to the one we have, the LoC does have a few others that we can use: [13][14][15] and a couple more. It's probably easier to just go that route. Carl Lindberg 03:56, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Doubtful copyright

I have in my private collection some material on which I think copyright has lapsed. For example I have a book by Dionysius Lardner who died in 1859. I'd like to be able to give you some scans from this to illustrate the article.

I also have some computer handbooks from the 1970s which cover areas, particularly PDP-11 DOS/BATCH, for which there are no articles. Sadly the companies that published these have long since ceased trading so there is no real possibility of getting permission to use the material.

Is there any way that this material can be legitimately contributed?

(1) The book by Dionysius Lardner (whoever he is...) is public domain (70 years since death = 1929...), use {{PD-old}}. (2) tricky. ♦ If you can prove that the companies have disapeared without anyone to inherit of the copyright, even the state (quite unlikely), the thing is in public domain because it has become a res nullius - property of no-one (quite unlikely indeed). ♦ You may want to argue for a kind of "fair use" that would amount to "the rightholder can't be identified and chances are that if one exists it will never show out", which would allow for a {{no-rightholder}} tag. Personnaly I would agree, but this is not the Common's policy, so you may want to discuss the legitimacy of such a copyright tag in the first place. Michelet-密是力 19:19, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
(2) might be tricky to track down properly, but if the manual was from DEC (the manufacturer of the PDP-11): what remained of DEC in 1998 was bought by Compaq, which itself was later bought by HP. See w:Digital Equipment Corporation#Closing DEC's business... In that case, I'd guess the copyright for that manual would be held by HP now. Lupo 22:31, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. FYI Lardner was a contemporary of Brunel and regularly engaged in public disputes with him. Lardner, despite being a very good mathematcian, had no feel for engineering and an uncanny ability for being spectacularly wrong. As to the DEC material, I'll see if I can find anyone in HP who can give me an answer. Robertthebilling 07:25, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Image:Caïffa poster.jpg

User:FLLL uploaded this French poster from 1921, labeling it PD-Old. I thought that something was wrong and tagged it as missing information. As it turns out (told on Image talk:Caïffa poster.jpg), the poster was designed by the uploader's grandfather (who died in 1946). The image used was drawn by an employee of his. Question: is there a way to keep this image? The important element regarding copyright, in my opinion, is the drawing, the lettering most likely is not copyrighted. Can we assume the uploader's grandfather acquired usage rights for the drawing made by his emplyoee, which his descendants (uploader) may have inherited? Or is the sole copyright on the side of the creator of the image and his potential heirs? I don't know what to say right now. Regards --Rosenzweig 18:09, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

The drawing is not an independant piece of art, but a work for hire. The heirs of the designer "Mr Cahen" can spread the poster as they want to. I don't know how copyright is inherited, but since FLLL (talk · contribs) uploaded the picture, he/she should have inherited the picture itself, and I find it safe to assume that he also inherited the copyright of it. Thus, FLLL can release the image under the license of his chosing (e.g. {{cc-by}} or {{GFDL}}). But {{PD-Old}} is misleading, and should not be used. / Fred J 16:27, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
If this were an American work, the case would be clear then. But is the work for hire concept valid in French law as well? --Rosenzweig 23:01, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
There is no work for hire concept in European copyright law. Kneiphof 21:35, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

No, {{PD-Old}} seems to be correct. The work has been published anonymously, and according to french law, the author's right protection is of 70 years after publication in that case (see french code on intellectual property, Article L123-3. Michelet-密是力 20:08, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't {{Anonymous-EU}} be more appropriate? Carl Lindberg 00:16, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Uploading a public domain picture on behalf of a third party

I have asked the copyright department of a commercial organisation to send me public domain pictures (of buildings and a person) for use in WP articles related to them. They are happy to send some and understand that the pictures in question will have to be in the public domain. Will I be able to upload pictures I receive from them and select an appropriate license, or will the pictures need to be uploaded by people in the organisation itself? I would like to upload the pictures for them, since they are busy, but I am not sure if and how I can release their pictures into the public domain on their behalf. Would appreciate advice. Jayen466 15:05, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Get the email that states that they release the pictures into the public domain, note which images this applies to, and forward it to OTRS. See instructions on that page on what to do after that. howcheng {chat} 16:31, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

CC-BY-SA 2.5-Israel o.k.?

Is the Israel-localized Creative-Commons license BY-SA-2.5 [16] suitable or o.k. for Commons? -- Túrelio 22:13, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Derivates of my work

hi, I don't have anything about derivates of my work,but could you please check Image:HDTV example - Fish 40x46 squares.svg, that is a derivate of this Image:Raster graphic fish 40X46squares hdtv-example.png (which ist propper licensed and my name and stuff is mentioned), that is alsoa derivate of my Image:Raster graphic fish 40X46squares hdtv-example.jpg here! the svg also has a further license tag of gnu fdl, that isn't in my first one. so, what to do? could please anyone check it? as I sai, I have nithng against derivates, but it should stick to the licence. greets,--Andreas -horn- Hornig 18:15, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

You are correct, the other author cannot license the image under the GFDL, since the cc-by-sa and the GFDL are mutually incompatible with each other. I have removed the {{GFDL}} license from the other image. However I would recommend you multilicensing with the GFDL. It adds no addional restrictions to the image, but allows users to also use the image under the GFDL. -- Bryan (talk to me) 18:25, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
hi, I do, but this was one of my first pics here, and i don't want to alter it afterwards. thx for you help anyway. greets, --Andreas -horn- Hornig 19:02, 12 June 2007 (UTC)

Irish Government Photos

I want to upload a photo, which the source says, is "Irish Air Corps Photograph" (and hence would have been copyright to the Irish Government), and owing to the subject was taken in 1940 or earlier (the last aircraft in service was written off in 1940). According to, Irish government expires after 50 years - so the copyright on this should be expired. Is this correct? If so, what is the appropriate tag? Nigel Ish 20:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it appears so. I think we need a {{PD-IrishGov}} tag. There seem to be two flavors; "Government copyright" and "Oireachtas copyright", both of which expire 50 years after creation of the work (at the end of that year). I don't see much difference between the two, except that Oireachtas Copyright includes sound or video of Oireachtas proceedings no matter who makes them. Otherwise, the copyright applies to any work made in by employees of the respective bodies in the course of their duties. Bills and enactments (which usually don't apply for media uploadable to commons, but just in case) are considered copyright by the Oireachtas and expire 50 years after being made available to the public. So, any Irish government photos taken earlier than January 1, 1957 are public domain. I don't see that we have any tags for this purpose though, so we need to create one. Carl Lindberg 13:42, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Jules Verne maps

Hi all. I found a great collection of maps from the original editions of Jules Verne's books. Since Verne died in 1905 and the last of his novels was published in 1910, these maps are in the public domain. One map, Image:Map from Journeys and Adventures of Captain Hatteras by Jules Verne.jpg, has already been uploaded by another user.

Now, I know that in the United States there is Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. that would prevent anyone from claiming ownership of the images, but the site is hosted in the Netherlands, and the site owner states that "These maps may not be reproduced for commercial purposes." I found Van Dale/Romme-arrest which is supposed to be similar to the Corel judgment, but I can't read the article. Does anyone think there'd be a problem uploading these images to Commons? ~MDD4696 19:06, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

I see no problem. The court decision let conclude that B.v.Corel principle is applicable in NL --Historiograf 00:27, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
The Van Dale/Romme-arrest follows the line of Corel/Bridgeman. I would say they are okay. -- Bryan (talk to me) 18:28, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
  • For each image by itself I would agree with Historiograf and Bryan. Copyright on the original works has expired and the reproductions do not constitute an original work. But the site you discovered might claim protection of its content under the EU database directive. A reasonable interpretation of the statement you quote is that if you get images from this site you accept the limitation to non-commercial use. That would imply you are not in a position to license them properly for Commons. The safest course would be for us to find the original works and make our own reproductions. Yes, that probably is quite an investment in time and money, but that is precisely what the directive was supposed to protect. If the site is not updated we could also wait 15 years until the database rights expire. We might of course ask the owner of the site for permission. And if we feel lucky, we can just go ahead and hope that either my interpretation is to strict or no one will notice anyway.
Stuart LaJoie talk2me 06:58, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
+1 ♦ the "suis generis" right must indeed be taken into account. ♦ Furthermore, in principle, the map was not created by J.Vernes, but by an another artist, whose rights must also be taken into account. (In the present case, the picture seems to be anonymous, though). Michelet-密是力 17:42, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Arguing with sui generis database right is nonsense because taking small portions of PD content is in no way a violation of db rights --Historiograf 20:22, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Besides, to be accorded sui generis rights there must be a substantial investment, and British Horseracing Board/William Hill (European Court of Justice, 9 November 2004) says that only the investment in collecting the content must be considered, not the investment in its creation. The scanning process is thus, as far as I can judge, not part of the time and money that should be counted towards the substantial investment necessary for the database to have protection. - Andre Engels 09:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Possible copyright violation

While I'm an administrator on the English Wikipedia, I'm new to the commons and still figuring out how things work here. The image here is most likely a copyright violation of a news image (possibly AP or Reuters). I saw the image on a news site earlier in the day but can't find the link again. Can anyone who can read the licensing info on the image check it out. Also, is this the place to handle this type of issue? Thanks, --Alabamaboy 19:38, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, this Flickr user's photostream is full of copyvios. The best thing to do is nominate the image for deletion. Or if you are able to find the link again, use {{copyvio|url}}. howcheng {chat} 20:21, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Logo taken on the street

Hi, I would like to ask, why was the imagine Stella Artois logo(Beer).jpg deleted as a the copyright violation? It was a picture of a logo, but taken on the street. I think there are more pictures like this on commons, which are still present in here.--Juan de Vojníkov 19:27, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Images of unfree copyrighted logos should all be deleted. But sometimes not. See COM:FOP. -- Bryan (talk to me) 19:36, 18 June 2007 (UTC)


This license tag is at least inaccurate, it should be some form of {{attribution}}. Moreover, commercial use and derivative work are not explicitly mentioned. So I wrote an email, which returned the following answer:

Dear Sir,

You can use our photos as they appear on the website. They are free of
charge but must be credited "photo: European Parliamen".

Best regards,

Catherine Juckler

-----Original Message-----
From: Bryan Tong Minh
Sent: 18 June 2007 21:57
To: JUCKLER Catherine
Subject: Images from

Dear madam,

I have a question regarding the rights of the images on
<>. On
it is written that the images can be freely used. Does that also mean
that I can use the images in commercial work and modify them?

Thanks in advance,
Bryan Tong Minh

Is this sufficient? -- Bryan (talk to me) 10:14, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

You can use our photos as they appear on the website.
Seems nonderivative to me. --|EPO| da: 10:44, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I overread it. I have send a new mail and if that one is negative as well, I will (speedy)delete the template and assosiated images. -- Bryan (talk to me) 11:22, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Probably best that way :) --|EPO| da: 11:39, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
No you can not modify them.
Catherine Juckler

I'll list them for deletion. -- Bryan (talk to me) 12:55, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Interesting because the PDF file on their website which the tag links to says they are "copyright free", according to the same person who replied to your emails. You may want to point them to that and have them fix/clarify their PDF file, as "copyright free" would mean that derivative works are not restricted. It may just be a bad translation on their part. Carl Lindberg 15:20, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Highsmith collection tag

I recently came across the Carol M. Highsmith collection at the Library of Congress; she is a living photographer who has donated 2500+ photographs to the Library and released them to the public domain.

We (unsurprisingly) already have a number of photographs from the collection on commons; they mostly seem to use the {{PD-author}} tag which is appropriate. However, would it be a better idea to have a specific tag for the collection, as we are likely to get many more of these photographs? If so, should it be a standalone tag with its own wording, along the lines of {{PD-Look}} and {{PD-Bain}}, or should it just incorporate PD-author with an extra box with a link to the collection? Having its own tag could help with subcategorization of PD-author. Carl Lindberg 16:51, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Against DRM 2.0

Against DRM 2.0 is a free license according to the Freedom Definition:

This template must be edited (deleting the part below):

This template must be edited (deleting the part below): 16:50, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

photos from British Natural History Museum

Photos inside of British Natural History Museum (Natural History Museum is London) are problematic. See template: Template:NHM. There are many photos like this at commons. Everybody can take photo there for personal use but commercial use is forbidden. --Snek01 18:38, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

The museum does not control copyright on photos it does not take. If the photos are of a copyrighted object, that may be a problem, but otherwise the copyright belongs to the photographers. If the users are comfortable uploading the photos here despite the position of the museum, that is the uploader's choice and the uploader's responsibility. The copyright status is fine though. Carl Lindberg 19:04, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
I Disagree
Since "Taking photographs in the museum for commercial use is forbidden", putting photographs taken in the museum under a licence that allows for commercial uses is an infringement of the contractual term (acceptance materialized by the entrance ticket). The museum may bring the case in court anywhere the infrindgement is observed, against the contributor that uploaded the photograph with an illegal licence, and win. ♦ Now, this is not necessarily limited to the uploader. You may have anywhere in the world a law against "recievers": see here. By using the picture obtained illegaly, Commons may be implied as taking advantadge of this infrindgment, and punished as such. I know this is not the case under french law (because a contractual infrindgment is not technically a "felony" according to french law), but are you 100% sure this is the case in all penal law of all countries? the safe side is to stay on the legal side. We are not pirates.♦ So, when photographs are not "free", they cannon be placed under a free licence. Michelet-密是力 19:40, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
IANAL, but to my knowledge, a contract is only valid when it is signed by both parties, and purchasing a ticket cannot constitute a contract (just like how the "contracts" written on the back of parking garage tickets and dry cleaning tickets are meaningless). howcheng {chat} 22:04, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Increase your knowledge, then
this kind of contractual situation, perfectly legal and well defined, is technically called an "adhesion contract": the contractual proposition is fully defined by the commercial offer (including the small-print conditions), and the contractual relationship is formed when the customer manifests its consent by some manifestation of its will: buys a ticket (for museum entrance, a plane travel), orders a meal (in a restaurant), ... for commercial everyday exchanges, there is no need for a signature, of course (have you ever bought a hot dog? this is an elementary contractual exchange...). Parking garage and dry cleaning tickets are valid contracts, the problem they have is that they often include abusive responsability limitations: this is the part that is judged to be "meaningless" and declared void of effect (when contested), because the customer cannot be supposed to give its conscent to such a one-sided contractual redaction. Michelet-密是力 19:50, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
We can't know what the agreement is between the uploader and the museum; it's entirely possible they have a separate arrangement. It's also hard for us to tell whether that is a legitimate restriction under UK law, nor what the penalties under UK law are. I would imagine different countries vary wildly in their legal treatment of this area. Copyright infringement, however, is not at issue here. I'm pretty sure in these cases Wikimedia considers it the uploader's responsibility, as they are the only ones who would (or should) be fully aware of the terms. It may be a good idea to make sure the uploaders are aware of the museum's position and to delete them if the uploaders want to do so at that point. But as you note, these types of contracts often contain abusive terms, and I am not at all comfortable in acceding to any and all of them as a rule on Commons. Assuming the uploader does own the copyright, I would rather assume good faith on the uploader's part. I'm pretty sure this issue has come up before but I can't find the discussion(s). Carl Lindberg 01:45, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
The problem certainly is not a copyright infringment (since there is no copyright), indeed, but it is a legal problem nevertheless. The law is not limited to copyright, you know? ;o) The WMF policy is to limit itself to legally obtained sources. There is no problem to check if a rightowner authorises a given publication, this is done all the time on Commons:OTRS. Michelet-密是力 05:20, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Even if we accept that there is a binding contract between the museum and the photographer, how would that contract be binding on a third party? In other words, if I take a photo there, I may be enjoined contractually from myself using it for commercial purposes, but there is nothing stopping me from releasing all of my rights to the photo and thus, someone else, over whom I have no control, might use it for their commercial purposes. In terms of copyright, these images are free. In terms of contractual obligations, one person on the planet (the photographer) cannot use the photo commercially and 6 billion people can. --BigDT 02:22, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

There may be responsability even outside a contractual relationship, of course. If the picture is used, the photographer will be in an (illegal) infringement of a contractual relationship. 6 billion people may be tempted to take advantage of the picture, which would be neither a copyright infringement, nor a contractual one, but nevertheless an illegal use of someone's private right causing a tort. The owner may put the case in court, and may win... Using something illegally obtained may bring you into trouble. Michelet-密是力 17:53, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
That would depend on what terms the photographer agreed to. I agree with Howcheng below - we need to know the terms. If the terms are simply "you agree not to use photos you take for commercial purposes" or some such thing, that could not possibly be a bar on a third party using them for commercial purposes. --BigDT 00:32, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Please make a difference between Immaterialgüterrecht and contractual law. Contractual law which makes damages to the PUBLIC DOMAIN cannot accepted from WMF projects as binding. See Jimbo Wales on 10 (or so) things which should be free (National Portrait Gallery is the same case.) It is the responsability of the uploader to respect the contract not our. For German law see [17]. If the photographer put the picture on a non-commercial website with a free license everyone can use it. There must be a contractual additamentum like The photographer asserts non-commercial use and that he will not make it available under a free license which allows commercial use --Historiograf 20:19, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Question: How are museum visitors informed that photos may be taken only noncommercial use? Is it printed on the ticket stub? Are there signs all over the museum? howcheng {chat} 23:45, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Follow-up: I read up on w:Adhesion contracts and I've been in contact with en:User:BD2412 who is a lawyer. He says that in the U.S. at least, the visitor would have to be made aware of the "no commercial usage of photos" provision before entering the museum in order for that to be legally enforced. So the question of how visitors are notified of this restriction is of the utmost importance. Then again, it could be argued that for the purposes of Commons, it's better to respect the museum's wishes and not have the images here than it is to be playing legal games. howcheng {chat} 18:39, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

No we cannot respect the wishes of owners of PUBLIC DOMAIN works --Historiograf 18:47, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

I just said, "it could be argued" -- I didn't mean to imply that I feel this way. :) howcheng {chat} 20:12, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

>Historiograf, you're making a confusion between "public domain", "author's rights" and "free to reproduce". Ubi lex distinguat, distinguere debemus (when the law introduces a difference, we must respect that difference).

If I own a very rare and 500-years old alchemy book, for instance, the "patrimonial author's rights" on the pictures are certainly dead as stones: this is what is called "public domain", OK. But the book itself is my property, I can use it, and make any kind of profit I want with it; and any action that comes into the way of such freedom is a tort and can be sued. The pictures may be public domain as far as author's right are concerned, but nevertheless, nobody can argue to have any right to see it, not to mention take picture of it. I can do whatever I want with it, including keeping it in a safe and not allow anyone to see it. I may allow friends to see it, putting whatever conditions I want. I may allow visits and prohibit pictures. I may allow public visits and private pictures and prohibit a commercial usage of the pictures: this is my right. The pictures are PD, clear enough, but it's irrelevant and I don't care: the point is, the book is mine - I own' it.

If you don't respect my conditions on the basis of author's right you may get into legal trouble, because you interfere with my property right, and that's that; pretending otherwise is just wishfull thinking and quite an irresponsible attitude. There is much more in law than just "copyright vs. public domain", you know? Michelet-密是力 06:27, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Consider also that the museum display itself (a display case, exhibit layout, placards, etc. for example) can be copyrighted as a whole (it's as much an original, creative work as any statue). Therefore a photograph of the display case(s) would constitute a derivative work and thus comprise a copyright violation just as much as a photograph of a newly sculpted statue on public display. For more information on the subject of copyrights, I highly recommend the "Legal Handbook for Photographers" 2nd edition by Bert Krages, Esq. I know his work has been cited and recommended elsewhere in Commons. Krages is a photographer as well as an intellectual property rights lawyer well known as a photographer's advocate. Rklawton 18:59, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Michelet's property theory is pure nonsense as Lupo has already remarked --Historiograf 23:35, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

New copyright tag (Public Domain)

A few days ago, on Italian Wikipedia, has been created a new copyright tag named (there is an English translation on the template). It is for image files from, the official Italian Government web site (portal). Its copyright note is:

«Contents of the site [...] are protected by copyright.

[...] (something such "trademarks are owned by or licensed to website", not important)

For commercial purpose it is allowed to use, copy and distribute documents and relative images available on this site only under written permission from the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, except eventually third party rights. Copyright note, authors and source must be cited on publications.»

So, it seem that the images are not in the public domain. But a written permission (with OTRS registration) from the webmasters said that "images are not copyrighted", and "the citation of copyright note and source is only a suggestion." (obviously not third party works, that are copyrighted).

Can we consider that the images from this website (except third party works) are in the public domain? And, if yes, can we import this template on Commons and upload here the images? We are talking about (potentially) thousands images.


  • This cannot be used, because is a third party work (there is "Foto Ansa")
  • This cannot be used (there is "Foto Associated Press")
  • This can be used because the photographer, Stanislao Migliore, is the official, institutional photographer [18]

Thank you --Trixt 00:48, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

I think the question is "are works of the Italian government generally in the public domain?" If so, then there shouldn't be a problem. If not, then IMO the OTRS ticket is still questionable; the webmaster may not even have the authority to provide such a release. -- Visviva 04:25, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
While I do have OTRS access, I cannot read Italian. However, we need to find out if the images can be modified, used commercially by us and third parties (unless they plan to release all rights to the image and make it public domain). We should do this before any image, and the template, gets uploaded to the Commons. User:Zscout370 (Return fire) 10:14, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Works of Italian governemnt are not generally in the PD. But I asked to the OTRS operator that released this OTRS ticket. The text of the mail (from is (translation is mine): «Published material on Government website is not copyrighted, but Internet netiquette said that source must be cited». Further, there is a disclimer with "Service supplied by informative system of Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri". I think that should be assert: "images are in the public domain". --Trixt 23:05, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Hmm... I really don't know, but I have my doubts. The broader question of Italian government works has been discussed before; see Template talk:PD-ItalyGov. Italian law seems to be fairly clear that the copyright in government-created works subsists for at least 20 years (and it appears that it may even revert to the individual creator thereafter). Given this, it seems unlikely that anyone could provide a valid free release without an act of parliament. But I am neither Italian nor a lawyer. -- Visviva 09:12, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
I know the question, but in this case we are talking about files from that website only, not about all works created in the name of the Italian government. We have an official permission from Italian government, that is the copyright holder of that images (material is on order, and the photographers work for the government). Could they write: For commercial purpose it is allowed to use, copy and distribute documents and relative images available on this site only under written permission from the Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, except eventually third party rights. if they aren't the copyright holder?--Trixt 02:41, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Ask them to clarify. Their rather officious copyright statement (in Italian) clearly allows commercial uses only with written authorization. This is at odds with the e-mail reply from the web redaction, which claims the images were not copyrighted. (Italian governmental works are copyrighted. They may waive some of those rights, ok, but the moral rights including the right to attribution still remain valid. Methinks the e-mail came from someone not knowing about copyrights. It's not "netiquette" that requires attribution, it's the moral rights.) The e-mail is not good enough. They will have to explain the discrepancy. Try to get hold of someone in their legal department. Lupo 07:12, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm agree with you, there is a strong discrepancy between copyright note and e-mail, but I think that the permission is valid. However, I'll try to get a more clear permission.--Trixt 21:32, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

The email is clear. Anyway, if you don't want images like these on Commons you're not obliged to have them. Bye --Jaqen 15:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

@Jaqen: they (we) want those images, but we must be sure that the images are really free. --Trixt 21:32, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
I wrote again to them to clarify the situation, because of the obvious contrast between the email and the copyright statement. I'll keep you informed. Cruccone 21:48, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Template:US state seal

Recently, a minor dispute erupted on en.wikipedia regarding the use of state seals on w:Seals of the U.S. states. I removed a number of seals that were tagged there as being used under fair use. A user began retagging all of the images with a duplicate of the subject above. The duplicate is problematic of course in that if the images are really public domain, they should be here on Commons. But, that issue aside...

At Category:State seals of the United States, we've got seals for 49 of the 50 states. All of these (I think) are tagged with the template noted in the subject of this section. The one exception not in this category is Image:Minnesotaseal.png.

The template contains references to a copyright notice from the U.S. German Embassy website. In particular [19].

The template was nominated for deletion in February of this year. See Commons:Deletion requests/Template:US state seal. It was closed by the nominator as lacking sufficient support for deletion. However, I believe that deletion request was flawed. In particular, that deletion request refers to these state seals as being federal works. They are not. They are state works. Thus, the usual case of U.S. federal works being public domain does not apply. Also, on the deletion request an anon-ip contacted the U.S. German Embassy and indicated they would report back with any feedback received. That anon-IP never reported anything back, though continued editing otherwise.

I believe that these works are state government works, and must be treated on a case by case basis. Some state seals are in the public domain by virtue of age. Some are not. Some are public domain by state law, some are not. Each of these seals needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. As an example of why this must be done, I refer to the court of appeals of Alaska case Robart v. State (01/23/2004) ap-1914 [20] which found that Alaska held copyright to their seal and could disallow commercial use. This makes Alaska's seal incompatible with our licensing here, and throws into doubt the embassy's authority to release such rights. This case also further raises the issue of whether an old seal can still be protected from commercial use by states, making these non-commercially licensed images if the state so wishes to protect their works (and many do). This creates a problem; are these images PD by age or are they still protected?

Regardless, it seems clear that the images in question are not, in fact, in the public domain by declaration of the U.S. German Embassy, and this template is in the wrong. Further, images tagged with this template must be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Thoughts? I think perhaps it's time for a second deletion request, but would like some input. --Durin 21:29, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Addendum: I've contacted the Lieutenant Governor's office of Alaska regarding this issue. Text of the e-mail may be seen at User:Durin/Letter to Alaska. --Durin 21:49, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
You need to be careful about the copyright on a particular rendering of the seal and the concept of the seal itself. It's like the difference between a blazon and a coat-of-arms. The copyright is generally held by the person who drew it (unless they used an existing rendering as a direct guide, in which case it's derivative). If the embassy employed artists to draw the seals themselves, then that particular image would be PD. If you take an image of the seal off of the state's website, then you can only use that image under fair use, as that particular image is copyrighted by the state. The case you cite is about a particular law to prevent abuse of the seal, i.e. you can't use the seal to make it appear as though the state is endorsing your product. That is a common restriction on seals and state symbols (and federal symbols for that matter), but it exists outside of copyright, more along the lines of {{trademarked}} (which can be allowed on commons). It is a restriction that users must be aware of and not break, but does not preclude it from being hosted here. Commons can't accept the image off of the state's website, but if someone drew it independently, that person can choose a free license and post it here (though use is still restricted by that law). Carl Lindberg 02:07, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Durin, again, I have to question your legal analysis. The court in Robart v. State held that Alaska could disallow commercial use of their seal despite not owning copyright or trademark in the seal. To quote:

"Robarts position is that the state seal can only be protected by the federal copyright statute. Based on copyright law, he argues that the state seal is now in the public domain and can be used freely by the public. ... The States position is that AS 44.09.015 is not preempted, because it falls within the preemption exceptions ... The State argues that a state seal, because it is the symbol of a sovereign, is not a type of work that comes within the subject matter of copyright. We agree with the State copyright law does not preempt the Alaska statute limiting the commercial use of the state seal. We believe it is clear that states have the power to protect symbols of their sovereignty. ... [W]e cannot find a single federal or state case discussing the application of federal copyright law on laws protecting state seals. Nor have we or the parties found any other evidence that Congress intended to preempt the states ability to protect and regulate their state seals. Moreover, state seals appear to be more akin to trademarks or service marks than they are to the type of work Congress intended copyrights to cover. The federal trademark statute unlike the copyright statute specifically provides for state flags, coats of arms, or other insignia by prohibiting them from being registered."

In other words, state seals are public domain as far as federal law is concerned, but states can pass laws that have nothing to do with intellectual property to protect fraudulent use of the instruments of government. Since these laws don't cover what Wikimedia is doing (Wikimedia is saying "this is what the seal of X looks like", not "State X endorses Wikimedia"), the seals may be used across all Wikimedia projects. Mareino 02:14, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Your further message on my talk page [21] seems to want to make the case that since something is not of federal making, but of state making, that it can not be copyrighted. Thus, all works made by a state of the United States can not be copyrighted. I'm sorry, but this just isn't the case. --Durin 12:25, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
    • That's not what I said on your talk page. I said that state SEALS cannot be copyrighted -- which comes straight from that quotation from Robart v. State of Alaska. I never said that states cannot own copyrights. I said that states cannot make copyright laws. If you don't think that that is an obvious conclusion from Robart, then I refer you to Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, reserving to Congress the power "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries". Mareino 14:00, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
      • Let's please remember that Commons hosts images that can be used for commercial purposes. It is clear from the above cited case that commercial use WILL be prosecuted. I don't think we should be endangering ourselves to this position, claiming a free license, when we can just as well host such images on en.wikipedia and use them under terms of fair use. What gain do we have for claiming free license? None. Risk? Significant. --Durin 14:11, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
        • Not quite -- commons does not accept images with a noncommercial restriction as part of the copyright license, as that leaves the possibility that we could obtain a different photo without that restriction. In the case of a specific law or a trademark, there is no such possibility, and the image is as free as we can possibly get. A similar restriction would go for pictures of celebrities; if we can get a copyright-free one we can host it, but if someone uses that image to promote a product without that celebrity's permission then they are violating the personality rights and can be sued. There is no problem hosting such an image on commons, but users still have to be aware of how they use it, to not violate other laws. The most commons can do is say that such use is not a copyright violation. By the way, the U.S. government has a similar law barring commercial use of several of its seals, and commons hosts images of those as well. As the text of the ruling you linked to states, the "noncommercial" aspect of copyright versus the noncommercial restriction of trademark or these seals is a bit different -- trademark (and this law) is typically meant to bar uses where a consumer might believe the government (or third-party trademark owner) is endorsing the product in question, as opposed to preventing making money off of it in any way. Since seals cannot be trademarked (by U.S. law), states (and the U.S. federal government) need to have specific laws to get the same type of protection for them. Using such an image as part of a wikipedia article would not violate that law, even if other uses would. Carl Lindberg 14:43, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
          • Would you like to pay Wikimedia's legal costs for being dragged into court over this? Alaska already won once. I'd rather not risk it. --Durin 15:45, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
            •  ? That case was over someone selling a physical product imprinted with the seal; rather different than what we do. As I mentioned, the U.S. government has pretty much the exact same law covering a lot of its seals, and we have them hosted here as well. There's nothing special about the Alaska law, and Wikimedia's use is not in violation of it. Carl Lindberg 16:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
              • Then perhaps we should re-evaluate what we are doing with such seals. If we can not use them as we see fit, they are not free as in libre, but restricted use. --Durin 18:34, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
              • Durin, if we did that, we would have to take down every single image in Wikimedia -- they all could be used for illegal purposes, that is, for fraud, by someone sufficiently clever and unscrupulous. I agree with Carl Lindberg: if it violates no intellectual property law, then Wikimedia has done its review and the image can stay. Mareino 17:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

See Paris convention

  • The rules are given by article 6 ter. This is not a "copyright" problem, and the restriction problems are roughtly the same as for official coats of arms. The easyest way out is to point to this article 6ter as a warning in "state emblems - like" licences, and that's that. The central restriction is "[forbidden if the use is] of such a nature as to suggest to the public that a connection exists between the organization concerned and the armorial bearings, flags, emblems, abbreviations, and names, or if such use or registration is probably [...] of such a nature as to mislead the public as to the existence of a connection between the user and the organization." Michelet-密是力 16:16, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Free as in libre. That's the point. The state seals do not meet that under the arguments being given here. --Durin 17:01, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
      • The "free as in libre" condition is just for copyright though, not laws that extend beyond that. See Commons:Licensing#_note-0. So long as it has an acceptable copyright license, and its use on Wikimedia projects does not violate any of these other laws, we accept them. If others want to use them, it is their responsibility to comply with their local laws. Using these seals as an illustration is OK (even in a commercial work), but using them to promote a product (a different commercial use) is not OK. Similarly, photographs of people can be used as an illustration in a book (commercial use that is OK), but also cannot be used to promote a product (commercial use that is not OK; it would be a violation of personality rights). Commons will host seals, and photos of people, provided the actual image itself has a valid copyright license. Note that it is possible to have a copyright restricted version of the seal; each person who makes an independent image of it would own the copyright on their particular image. Taking a U.S. state seal image off of the state's website would likely not be OK, as the copyright would be owned by the state on that particular .gif/.jpg file, but if a U.S. federal government artist did the same, it would be OK (or if a regular user made their own, and licensed it here). Carl Lindberg 01:14, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
  • I've received a response from the Lieutenant Governor's Office of the State of Alaska indicating they are investigating the matter and will provide a thorough response on the copyright status of the state seal. I think at this point there's really just two ways to clarify this; get lawyers involved and/or get clarifying information from the states in question. Also of note is a related thread of discussion from 2006 on my talk page on en.wikipedia, regarding the seal of Nebraska. See [22]. This discussion with that state resulted in a similar situation to that being described above; local laws may affect usage. I'm still not comfortable with the idea that we should willingly place ourselves in a situation where we could be dragged into court. Seems were dancing a very thin line. --Durin 12:41, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Yes, the situation is similar to that of Nebraska, and most if not all states (and most other countries for that matter). I disagree that we are anywhere close to the line, and if there was any problem it would be resolved long before a court case. The (printed, for sale) Encyclopedia Britannica also has the seal (see here), and that is not a problem for them. The design dates from 1910 from an "unknown" designer (according to this page), and the textual description of the design would be part of state law (and thus not copyrightable anyways). Each independent rendering could be under copyright, and we do need to be careful about that (there is usually no single "copyright status" of the seal). Using the seal for advertising would be a problem, but we aren't doing that. If a third party wants to use the image in a different context, it is up to them to follow the law. We should definitely mark it with {{insignia}} or something similar on the page to indicate that. Commons' non-commercial restriction is only related to the copyright license. Carl Lindberg 16:29, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
    • I would think that the drawings are also public domain because, if they are accurate renderings, then they represent no added creativity on the creator's part, and so they build nothing upon the underlying, copyright-free statutory description of the state seal. Now an inaccurate seal would be a creative work, but hopefully we don't have to deal with that problem. Mareino 17:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

The line is not that thin. Of course, there is restrictions of usage, caused by the very nature of the thing: the legal problem in using a state emblem or seal is not to make anything official-like. This would be severely punished (see for instance in France: "The unlawful use of the seal of the State [...] is punished by seven years' imprisonment and a fine of €100,000") OK, so what? An illustration on wikipedia is clearly outside this usage - no problem. If someone wants to reproduce wikipedia for commercial usage, it is still OK: commercial usage is OK. If someone wants to print it on a tee-shirt with some humouristic subtitle, it will be a derivative work - still OK. If someone is foolish enough to print it on a fake diploma, he will get the seven years in jail, but this is cleraly not a copyright issue. Once the obvious restriction tag (about misleading usages) is added, there is no problem with respect to wikipedia policy: no authorisation is required, commercial reproduction is not a problem, and derivative work is OK. So the licence should be OK as well. Michelet-密是力 18:46, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

  • Forgive me, but I remain at a loss as to understand how we could willingly put ourselves in this situation. We know, for a fact, that a person who used the seal of Alaska for commercial purposes was tried and convicted for that use. Images here on Commons are refused if they can not be used for commercial purposes. Yet, we are saying this image is ok to be kept here, when we know damn well it isn't as the lawsuit proves. What gain do we get from hosting such an image whose usage we know Alaska is willing to defend? This is insanity. It's like sticking a whopping big sign to our backsides saying "kick me!" I'm awaiting feedback from the State of Alaska regarding this issue, but regardless it's quite evident that hosting this image here is perilous (at best). --Durin 11:28, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
    • The Alskan state seal is in no way different from other insignia, flags, and emblems. I think there's a difference between showing (an image of) a seal and using a seal. If we replaced our Commons logo by the Alaskan state seal, we'd be using it, and indeed we might into trouble. But other than that, I think we're fine. And so are our downstream users, unless they use the image in ways that imply some endorsement by or affiliation to the Alaskan government when there is no such endorsement/affiliation.
    • The WMF licensing policy limits itself to the aspects of free cultural works specific to licenses (quote from Erik; he has stated that twice at least). We'll just have to accept that there exist freely licensed images of things that are not universally free, and that such images cannot be used for all purposes, even though there are no copyright restrictions on them. Did you know that there's a trademark on the design of the Empire State Building?[23] Did you know that Image:HH Polizeihauptmeister MZ.jpg isn't free for all purposes? (It cannot be used in advertising without the consent of the subject; c.f. personality rights.)
    • It is our long-standing practice to only consider copyrights, and at the most, to inform our users about possibly existing other usage restrictions outside of copyright. I see no reason to change that. If we did, we'd have to remove not only most other insignia and flags, but also e.g. images of people and design-protected items.
    • Provided there are no copyright restrictions on the Alaskan state seal, I would suggest to keep it and to tag it with {{Insignia}}. Lupo 13:28, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

>Durin: you are (imho) making a confusion between a "commercial use" consisting in using a seal to make consumers beleve that a product has an official approbation [=bad], and a "commercial use" consisting in selling an encyclopaedia with the seal used as an unambiguous illustration [=OK]. These uses are different, and deserve a different legal approach - indeed, the corresponding law is different. I hope you can make the difference; If you can't see the difference, sorry, but then your're out of this kind of discussion. ♦ We don't need theoretical, absolute, & extremist considerations here, but pragmatical examination of what is involved by wikipedian reproductions, and possible restrictions for other (mainly documentary) usages. That's all. Restrictions of use are obvious for some kind of materials (for money reproductions, logos, signatures, seals,...), this does not mean that these materials involve author's right consideration when reproducing them, be it for commercial purpose: no authorisation nor payment is needed to use them in a "fair use" context, even in derivative or commercial contexts, & that's all that is needed here. Michelet-密是力 19:44, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

  • I understand the line you are drawing. I thank you for complimenting me as an extremist. I goes a long way to buttress your position. I'm sorry I was so silly. Now that I know I'm extremist, I can see the light of your argument and please forgive me for questioning it. I thought helping Wikimedia avoid an obvious threat of lawsuit was a good thing. How silly of me. I see now that is a bad thing. I'll try not to be extremist in the future. I'm still awaiting feedback from the State of Alaska. See User:Durin/Letter to Alaska. I'm also in contact with the State of New Hampshire on the same issue. I'll possibly contact all states on the issue. I'd rather trust their position on the matter than either mine or anyone else's here who is not a lawyer. All of us are taking shots in the dark on things we know not, extremists, centrists, or otherwise. --Durin 20:07, 22 June 2007 (UTC)
    I didn't say you were an extremist, sorry if you understood it that way. My point was simply that the argument, against which I was arguing, was imho too extreme, that's all ;o) - nothing personal. Michelet-密是力 05:32, 23 June 2007 (UTC)
    • I can understand how you jumped to conclusions, and I don't think you are an extremist, though your position on this (if we followed your reasoning) would indeed be extreme. You say, We know, for a fact, that a person who used the seal of Alaska for commercial purposes was tried and convicted for that use. Yes, he was convicted for selling a medallion with the state seal on it without permission. His defense was that the state cannot make a law restricting something in the public domain, i.e. that copyright law preempted the state law, and the court (obviously) disagreed. His use of the medallion conveyed the impression that the state of Alaska endorsed the product, which was not the case. His use of the seal was completely different than ours and the ruling really has no bearing at all on us. The judge's ruling even describes the difference of "commercial use" as it pertains to copyright, and the "commercial use" as it pertains to trademark (and this law is basically equivalent to the trademark version). Images here on Commons are refused if they can not be used for commercial purposes. False. Commons does not allow images if there is a non-commercial restriction in the copyright license itself, which is an important distinction. The GFDL is based around copyright, so the copyright license is of paramount importance -- a noncommercial copyright restriction is incompatible with the GFDL and that cannot be compromised. Noncommercial restrictions of laws outside of copyright do not make them incompatible with the GFDL; we have to live with them and Wikimedia simply must make sure our use is not violating the law. Our use is not even commercial, let alone of the type of "commercial use" that causes problems with trademarks or seals. We are not placing ourselves in any danger. If a third party uses it, it is their responsibility to obey the law -- if they break it, they will be sued, not Wikimedia. It seems to me the problem is that you equate the "commercial use" of trademarks and the "commercial use" of copyright as the same thing, which is not the case. It also seems that you assume that the non-commercial rule of commons applies to restrictions which come from sources outside copyright, which is not the case.
    • You have also implied that if an image cannot be used for whatever use a third-party user wants it should not be hosted here; that is an extreme position which would invalidate a majority of our existing images. As I've said, a photo of a person (any person) can be used illegally; if it is used in the same manner as Robart used the Alaska seal, that use is just as illegal and would likely invite a lawsuit. Thus we cannot use pictures of people any way we want, as there are other legal restrictions, so we just have to make sure our use does not violate personality rights (and it doesn't). The situation is essentially the same with the seal. Carl Lindberg 04:33, 23 June 2007 (UTC)

Agree with Lindberg and Lupo. --Historiograf 18:39, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Category:Library and Archives Canada

Dear administators. Please check free copyright status of the most images from this category. According to - there are three types of images from Library and Archives Canada.

  1. PD-Images - This is complex question accordind to template:PD-Canada.
  2. Images, which are belong to a third party - These images must be fast deleted as {{copyvio}}, if they have not free status.
  3. Images, which are belong to LaAC - These images must be fast deleted as {{copyvio}} - the modification is clearly depreceated (You do not manipulate and/or modify the material reproduced).

For example:

Alex Spade 12:24, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Australia Copyright info

The information on Australian copyright law is incorrect. Although the information is correct in saying that the term is 70 years after the death of the author, in reality all material published before 1955 is now out of copyright - the Copyright Act was changed in 2005 from 50 years to 70 years; but all material released into the public domain before that remains out of copyright. So the dates given should say 1955, not 1937. Do a Google search and you will see what I am talking about. JROBBO 13:46, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

Johann Bessler

Hallo, >I want to copy a picture of the English article "Johann Bessler" into the French article. It has already been there, but Bibi Saint-Pol has deleted it. I do not understand why, because, as it is already in the English and in the German article, I do not think there are any legal problems. Can anyone copy it into the French version, please?

✓ Done ([24]) --Kjetil r 08:31, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Copyright National Museum of Archaeology equivalent to PD-USGov-DOS?

Photo Image:MantoParacas.jpg is copyright National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru, see [25]. Information about release to PD is missing. Roar Johansen 08:06, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for pointing his out, I think it is not PD, a permission is missing since it explicitly states that the image is copyrighted. --Matt314 16:18, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

PD-Old images that aren't

Is there something I'm missing about Commons policy that allows this to be kept? Celithemis 19:22, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

It should not have been kept. You are correct in that, if we do not know information regarding country of publication and death of author, we have no claim to PD-old. The image may qualify as an "anonymous work", but that would only be after diligent research, which unfortunately seems to me to be unverifiable (i.e. someone could claim they diligently researched for the necessary information, but how can we at Commons verify that they actually did?). --Iamunknown 19:25, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. What should I do now that it has been closed keep?
This also touches on another issue, the transwikiing of non-US works that are tagged PD-US on the English Wikipedia. I don't know how to stop people from doing this, but it sure creates a lot of problems. It would be very easy for an image to be transwikiied here, deleted on en, then deleted as a copyright violation here -- wasting everyone's time and losing free content in the process. Celithemis 02:22, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm in contact with the closing administrator, see User talk:Quadell. If nothing satisfactory happens, I suppose you could relist it :\. On the other issue: I only recently became aware of the issue, but I realize now that it is a serious issue. I am not sure how to stem the flow of works from en.WP not first published in the United States but tagged with {{PD-US}}. More explicit text on the template, maybe? Or maybe getting Magnus to add some type of warning to CommonsHelper or an admin to add some warning to this upload page. That and simply educating individuals who upload (and en.WP admins who delete) such images is my best guess. --Iamunknown 05:56, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Now deleted. --Iamunknown 20:11, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
The best thing would be to tag those images on with a new tag like {{PD-US-foreign}} which would have a big disclaimer saying that the image isn't allowed on Commons./Lokal_Profil 16:54, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, there is a special tag on fr: to cover this kind of situation; fr:modèle:Titulaire inconnu which means that the copyright owner can't be identified (and hence, can't give permission). But this is apparently not admitted on commons... Michelet-密是力 19:47, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Argentinian coats of arms: export opinion needed

Please check Image:Escudo-Ciudad-de-San-Juan-Argentina.gif. It has been tagged {{PD-AR-Anonymous}} and I slapped a {{no permission}} on it. Is the license correct? Cheers! Siebrand 17:36, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Probably not. The oat of arms itself may be 50+ years old, and public domain (see {{Coat of Arms}} for that kind of stuff), but the image is obviously not. The image indeed laks permission. Michelet-密是力 19:41, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Input wanted on Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Gv 19471029 24 04.ogg

Please give input on Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Gv 19471029 24 04.ogg. This DR is related to {{PD-Speech}}. Thanks. Siebrand 17:10, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Freedom of panorama and "permanent"

From Commons:Undeletion_requests#Image:Escultura_de_arena_1_Valladolid_2006.jpg. When can we consider an art work to be permanently placed? I guess one week will not suffice, but 6 months, a full year, 10 years... ? -- Bryan (talk to me) 11:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Open to interpretation. AFAIK, the basic criterion is whether it was clear, at the time the work was placed, that it would be removed after some time. If so, it's not permanent. If the work was placed "open end" or for an indefinite time, it's permanent. So it's not so much a question of absolute time but one of intentions. Ice sculptures (to take up a related question from that undeletion request) are not permanent (it's clear from the very beginning that they will be removed/not remain indefinitely). Anna Livia is "permanent", even though it has been removed in the meantime, because the intent for sculptures is typically to have them remain indefinitely. It wasn't erected in the first place with the intent to have it removed in 2001. (If so, it would not be "permanent".) The fact that new construction plans caused it to be temporarily removed from the public space does not affect this. No opinion about the Valladolid sculpture; never having seen these images, I have no idea what they were about. HTH all the same. (And, of course, IANAL :-) Lupo 11:41, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Bryan, Lupo. Thanks --Piolinfax (Tell me) 03:12, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Lupo has no sufficient knowledge of national laws to say something about "permanent". Ice sculptures are according German law CLEARLY permanent. --Historiograf 12:57, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Thank You, who can help with this then, or do You know if sand sculptures are "permanent"? Thanks in advance, --birdy geimfyglið (:> )=| 18:09, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
According to what German law, Historiograf? --Iamunknown 19:28, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Histo, you may well know more than me about German law. In case you didn't notice, I didn't refer to German (or any other) law at all, but made a general statement that is correct as far as I know (AFAIK). If it's not even more or less correct in the general case, feel free to correct me. But the brief comments you have lately taken to make (in the style of "Agree with X" or "Y doesn't know enough. He's wrong.") are not helpful at all. Would you please make the effort to actually explain the reasoning behind your statements, and provide verifiable sources for them? Thank you. (Incidentally, I am puzzled why German law would consider ice sculptures "permanent". I'd really like to know why.) Lupo 07:31, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Schricker, Urheberrecht, ³2006, § 59 UrhG Rdnr. 15 --Historiograf 22:37, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Did some research myself, and indeed ice sculptures etc. can be "permanent". The criterion in German legal literature is whether the intention was to leave the work at the public place indefinitely or at least for the whole natural lifetime of the work. If so, it's permanent. Hence even street painting, or sculptures made of ice, sand, or snow, all of which have a strictly limited and rather short lifetime before they disappear, can be permanent and thus fall under FOP. But if the intention was e.g. to leave an ice sculpture at the public place only for a few hours and then put it in cold storage, then the sculpture was not permanently placed.[26][27] Makes sense. I guess COM:FOP should mention this. Lupo 15:25, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Done. Lupo 15:38, 6 July 2007 (UTC) --Historiograf 21:41, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

3d-views and drawings of historic airplanes

what copyright would apply if I were to draw a set of 3-d views (front, top, side) of a historic aircraft? I mean, for each aircraft I wold probably have 3 to 4 set of 3-d drawings in various books, but the ones I would make would be entirely my own with some texts by the side. Yet it would be a 3-d drawing of an existing aircraft and therefore look just like the 3-4 sets in above mentioned books. ... and what if I were to start from a set of photos to make my own drawing of a specific aircraft (or car, for that matter)?

It could be a problem if your drawings are copies of existing drawings. Ben Aveling 06:34, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

w:Heinrich Hoffmann photos

A vast amount of Heinrich Hoffmann's photos were seized by the U.S. government during WWII (this image for example). Ordinarily they would not enter the public domain in Germany until pma 70 years (or January 1, 2028). However, here's the kicker. The German heirs sold their rights to an American, who then sued the US government trying to recuperate his copyright, and lost. Since the rights to Hoffmann's photos are now owned by an American, and the American courts have adjudicated his rights worthless, would that make these images free to use in Germany (and hence usable on Commons)? It should be noted that in the Department of Justice's brief opposing cert (appeal) to the Supreme Court, the following appears "In the first place, petitioners' argument cannot be reconciled with the Convention on the Settlement of Matters Arising Out of the War and the Occupation (Settlement Convention), Oct. 23, 1954, 6 U.S.T. 4411, T.I.A.S. No. 3425. In the Settlement Convention, Germany waived "claims of any kind" of its nationals "arising out of acts or omissions * * * which took place in respect of Germany, German nationals or German property" between June 5, 1945, and October 23, 1954. Gov't C.A. Addendum 22a (ch. 9, art. 3, para. 2 of Settlement Convention). The Settlement Convention supersedes any general principles of law on which petitioners purport to rely. Cf. Radzanower v. Touche Ross & Co., 426 U.S. 148 (1976) (specific statute controls over general)."[28] (appeal denied June 3, 2002[29]). Apparently the German government waived the rights of its own people with this agreement.CBS News analysis. -Nard 00:39, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Glass windows in Stanford Memorial Church

What is copyrights status of glass windows in en:Stanford Memorial Church? According to article they were created before 1906. Could {{PD-US}} be applied? --EugeneZelenko 14:48, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

If they were published, yes (and I think that means copies made), otherwise no. In looking this up, I did run across Leicester v. Warner Bros, which held that since U.S. buildings finished since 1990 were now copyrightable, elements that are part of the building are no longer separately copyrightable, and thus pictures can be taken of them if they are in public. Previously, individual artistic elements of buildings (gargoyles, stained glass windows, etc.) were generally considered sculpture and thus copyrightable. This was the 9th circuit though, and there was one dissent. In the Stanford Church's case though, the building is old, so the windows would count as sculpture. According to the church's history, the windows were done by Frederick S. Lamb (1863-1928) so they are PD-Old anyways. Carl Lindberg 02:19, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I also read in history page, that watercolors for mosaics was created by Antonio Paoletti (probably 1834-1912). But {{PD-old}} could be applied only if Frederick Lamb was European artist. --EugeneZelenko 14:25, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
PD-Old (70 pma) is the term for new works created by individuals in the U.S. as well. It is also the term for previously unpublished works which have been recently published. Carl Lindberg 02:19, 26 July 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for help! Images are in Category:Stanford Memorial Church now. --EugeneZelenko 16:03, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
  • They are PD-US because they were published in the US before 1923, and without a copyright notice anyway. You should be fine. -Nard 16:01, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
    • They are not necessarily published -- that requires copies to be made and distributed (see here). Just because it is on public display does not mean it is published. If no copies were made, then it is still unpublished, and the term would be 70 pma (which has also passed). They are PD whichever way you look at it. I would use the PD-Old tag since it is true, and is more widely applicable anyways. Carl Lindberg 02:19, 26 July 2007 (UTC)