Commons talk:Licensing/Archive Ancient

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Commons should accept all redistributable works[edit]

  • Only by accepting all redistributable works will the commons be considered the place to go for redistributable content.
  • Accepting all redistributable works doesn't hurt us very much (a bit of disk space & traffic), but has the potential to boost our reach a lot.
  • Cultural and legal norms are going to change over time anyway, and we shouldn't close off future opportunities.

Commons should accept only "free" works[edit]

Free here means that the only restrictions should be related to requiring attribution and preparation of derivative works. Derivative works that contain the original work in its entirety without modification must be allowed without restriction. Derivative works that modify the original work...[to be determined].

  • Noncommercial-only content is incompatible with other Wikimedia projects.
  • Licenses that require derivatives to be licensed under the original work without an exception for "aggregation" are incompatible with the GFDL and thus with other Wikimedia projects.
    • The creative commons "ShareAlike" licenses contain an "aggregation" exception.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation was formed to facilitate the growth of free works; to expand this project further would be outside the scope of the foundation.
  • Having the ability to contribute under nonfree licenses will cause some people—who would have otherwise contributed under free licenses—to reconsider.
  • Having content under a nonfree license will discourage people from contributing similar content under a more free license.

Fair Use issue[edit]

The Commons will be a resource for ALL wikipedia. There are wikipedia who will not allow Fair use. At this moment a vote is underway on nl: and it will prohibit fair use. The advantage of having only usable material in Commons is that only specifying that it is a Commons picture would suffice for inclusion in a wikipedia. The disadvantage would be that each wikipedia still would have to check if some material is permissable.

FYI the restriction on nl: on fair use is not based on a legal argument. Prudence is dictating this choise. GerardM 12:38, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What is nl trying to be prudent about, if not legal reasons? Does the law in all nl speaking countries make a service provider legally liable for the actions of others who make works available? It doesn't in the US, UK or France, but maybe the countries which speak the nl language are different? In the US, UK and France there's no reasonable chance of successful copyright infringement action against the Wikimedia Foundation for the actions of a contributor. If the project is to be a shared repository for all projects, it needs to include material which is accepted in any of the projects, even if some projects don't want it. Jamesday 17:25, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The Dutch Wikipedia has reasoned as follows:
  • American Fair use rights do not exist in the Netherlands, Belgium and the rest of the EU.
  • Quotation rights do exist, but are far more restrictive than fair use rights.
  • In all likelyness, Dutch and Belgian judges will consider Wikipedia under their jurisdiction because:
    • >>99% of edit activity happens in .nl/.be territory
    • Wikipedia targets at Dutch-speaking territory and should obey laws here, just like foreign companies that are active on Dutch market should obey laws here. (See Lindows-Microsoft case for example.)
  • Even if under American jurisdiction, Wikipedia-NL content should be distributable in Dutch speakting territory.
  • Therefore, all fair-use images on Wikipedia that cannot be used under quotation rigths, cannot be used on the Dutch Wikipedia.

Fair use and fair dealing depend on the context of the use. If the commons is intended to be independently browsable as a source for works, that risks making all fair use or fair dealing works there copyright infringement, even though they are fair use or fair dealing in the context in which they are used in the other projects. To resolve this, something like the list of articles which use the work which is currently displayed, when it works, in the individual wikis would be very helpful. Simply the list of works, independently displayed, is a harder argument, even if it is known that the fair use or fair dealing material is used in individual projects. Jamesday 17:25, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Without advocating for or against inclusion of fair use/ fair dealing-based materials here, I would like to introduce some information about how fair use is dealt with in Japanese Wikipedia and other Japanese projects:

  • US-type fair use rights are explicitly and repeatedly denied in Japanese courts.
  • There are a number of provisions to limit the copyright protection, regarding which types of works can be used in what kind of contexts for what kind of purposes, etc. For example, art works that are permanently displayed outside could be reproduced if the reproduction is not made mainly for the sales of the reproduction. This means, in a more concrete terms, it is okay to take a photo of a public art and display in a personal web site without the artists' permission. Yet it is not okay to sell a postcard featuring the photo of that art work. It is also okay to use it as a part of a book if the photo is not the main content of that book. There are many other provisions, dealing with cases of educational use, governmental use, use related to people with disabilities, etc. but no general fair use right.
  • Quotation is possible where copyright protection is limited. Yet Japanese Wikipedia do not currently accept visual quotation of copyrighted works, partly because of the fact that images are available independenly from the articles, partly because of some legal uncertainties surrounding the copyright & GFDL.
    • One of the uncertainties: there was a precedent that photos of visual arts in a art book (explaining/critiquing those works) were found to be infringing because readers could enjoy those images independently from the main text. It has to do, among other things, the quality of the image. It is not easy to tell how low the quality should be.
  • Japanese Wikipedia operates under the assumption that Japanese law could be applied in Japanese court (for the very similar reasons cited above regarding nl. wikipedia). According to a Japanese law, sysops could be held liable if they knowingly keep infringing images. If they did not know the infringing materials, they are not liable. If they make wrong legal judgment regarding what is infringing and what is not, it seems they are liable. And since we currently do not have much legal knowledge or precedents to base our judgment, we are playing quite conservatively.
  • Quotation of text is also required to be limited only to the necessary amount for the purpose of research, journalism, criticism, etc., and the quoted text should be minor in the work including that quotation in terms of both quantity and quality. Because of this, Japanese Wikiquote is accepting only quotes from public domain texts.

Again, let me clarify that I do not have strong opinion for or against inclusion of fair use materials here, above points are just for your information.

Tomos 09:26, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

In de-Wikipedia we strictly refuse any "Fair use" since the very beginning because first in all nations with German as official language (mainly Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg) this right doesn't exist and copyright owners im Germany are very short patient if you don't remove an image they have the rights on (remember the hitler-image of Ullstein images: We were ultimativly adviced in a very firm email to remove it from all Wikipedias). The second point is: We are a free encylopedia and the images are part of it. So the images have to be free als well (at the moment there is a voting in de-wikipedia about some exeptions in rare circumstances where no other choice is possible). As the Commons get included in very language Wikipedia there is no possibility to allow "Fair use" within the commons. Arnomane 13:21, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Giving up on being THE place to go to find reusable works?[edit]

It appears from the proposed licenses that this project no longer has the objective of being THE place to go to obtain readily redistributable works but is now confining itself to the goal of being only a resource shared between Wikimedia projects. For me, it makes it almost useless on the world stage, so it causes me to completely lose interest - I'll spend any time I have for this type of thing on projects which have a chance of becoming the place to go. To change that view it would need to accept effectively all licenses which allow reuse, since a non-commercial or educational license is far, far better than no work at all, and often, if you have license compatibility issues, considerably better than a copyleft license which makes the work useless to you. Given the current focus, limiting inclusion to only works used in, previously used in, or soon to be used in an existing Wikimedia project seems like the way to go. Jamesday 17:25, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I stand with you Jamesday - the Commons will be the place to find reusable works. There is no reason for it not to be - some have suggested we confine ourselves to "what may be used in the future" - this is pretty much anything. It doesn't take much to simply widen ourselves and let this operate as a standalone object. --[[User:OldakQuill|Oldak Quill]] 18:44, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm somewhat torn on this one. On one hand, I think it would be nice to be the place for everything. But on the other hand, this is really outside the scope of the foundation. One thing I feel strongly about is that content which is not available under any "all third parties" license should be unacceptable. This would include content only available under the doctrine of fair use, or content licensed exclusively to Wikimedia. For content available to all for a restricted purpose, such as non-commercial use only, this is where I'm somewhat torn. Anthony 18:08, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

My position is that we should be relaxed in terms of content inclusiveness, but strict in terms of licensing. "Non-commercial use only" content has no place here, for several reasons, the key reason being that such content cannot, per Jimbo's pronouncement, be used by any of the Wikimedia projects. Non-commercial use only is non-free, plain and simple, and the belief that such content is better than no content at all is fallacious. That's because as soon as we allow such content, people who would otherwise have put their content under a truly free license might now decide that "non-commercial" is good enough. Especially in the area of artistic content, "non-commercial" to many seems like a good option at first glance -- they do not think about the consequences this has for projects using such content (e.g. 90% of our forks would not be able to use such content because they include advertising).

The Wikimedia Commons should be an area of true freedom. All content here should absolutely be usable by anyone, for any purpose. Freedom is not something we should compromise for the mere reason of gaining a little more content.--Eloquence

I assume we're agreed that requiring attribution and limited sharing alike (copyleft) is acceptable. What about restricting modification? Anthony
That to me defeats the whole premise of the commons, i.e. that it provides you with material you can build other works upon. Without the right to modification, even simple operations like scaling or superimposing other images become dubious. If such images should be allowed at all, like fair use, it should be up to an individual project to decide this on a case by case or policy basis. The commons should contain free content.--Eloquence
OK, I buy that *some* modification rights are necessary. While digital scaling probably doesn't fall under modification, simply printing out an image might. Modification rights are necessary, but what about restrictions on modification. Getting specific, what about something like the NHS Copyright, which restricts modification to "accurate reproduction" [1]? Anthony
My take is that 1) we should not allow any restrictions on use which an individual Wikimedia project might disallow, 2) it is essential that all commons materials can be built upon by others, for any purpose. So I would oppose any restrictions like "accurate reproduction". Such images can be allowed by an individual Wikimedia project, but when it's in the commons, that should mean "Do what you want with it" (except for a possible share-alike and attribution requirement).--Eloquence

Site-specific license?[edit]

We should encourage dual or multiple licensing. By the use of implicit agreements or user-interface defaults, the user should be encouraged to upload works under a license written specifically for this site, a Wikimedia Commons License. This license should allow redistribution under various different licenses at the licensee's option. Thus it could be explicitly compatible with GFDL, CC-by-SA and GPL. -- Tim Starling 07:28, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

That sounds like an excellent idea. I would propose to make reference in two fashions: one that allows 'any version' of the license, so if in the future we want to include more compatible licenses, we can do so, and one that allows a specific version, for people who do not trust our choice of future licenses. - Andre Engels 08:42, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I think this is a very good idea. It should also make explicit statement that when images (and other contents) are copied to other wikimedia projects manually, full attribution may not be preserved and link back or similar means to find our the full attribution information. Tomos 22:01, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
There shouldn't be any need to copy images from here to local Wikipedias manually since those projects will be able to directly use images via the commons without re-uploading them.
I agree a site-specific license would be useful. Angela 00:21, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, that's right. I knew it would happen some day, but did not know that it was this soon. So I gradly take that idea back now. Tomos 05:59, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Links on License Disclaimer Templates[edit]

IMHO, we should have the templates for license descriptions point to a wiki page with the license, instead of linking directly to

I'm saying this because Creative Commons was down yesterday, and you have some images under CC licences in here which link directly to their website.

You might wanna also change the copyright notice on the edit page because certain things are on different licences. For example, your uploading a CC-licenced or PD work, and the copyright warning says GNU FDL. KirbyMeister 19:52, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Example licenses[edit]

  • GFDL
    • definitely included
    • requires attribution and sharing alike
    • contains aggregation clause
  • CC-by-SA
    • definitely included
    • requires attribution and sharing alike
    • contains aggregation clause
  • CC-NC
    • "non-free"
  • NHS Copyright [2]
    • requires attribution and "accurate reproduction"
    • whether or not it's considered "free" depends on whether or not unrestricted modification is required
  • TeacherTrainingAuthorityCopyright [3]
    • "non-free"
  • GPL
    • Has an aggregation clause but unclear GFDL compatibility
  • LGPL
    • requires that the "modified work must itself be a software library", probably not acceptable
  • PD
    • Not a license but obviously compatible
  • PD in some jurisdictions but not in others
    • ???
  • Free Art License [4]
    • A copyleft license based on the GPL [5] for every kind of art works (texts, images, musics, etc)

Australian Government Copyright[edit]

According to [6] (pdf), copyright of works with Commonwealth, State, or Territory-owned copyright expires 50 years from the date of creation.

Following that logic, all government-created works created before 19 June 1955 should be in the public domain. Blankfaze 17:55, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)