Commons talk:Threshold of originality

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Forstmann label[edit]

Also, the Forstmann 100% Virgin Wool label with inwoven fleur-de-lis was was not eligible for copyright (Forstmann Woolen Co v J.W. Mays Inc). /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 20:24, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Finland: Coat of arms of Uusimaa[edit]

Here the CoA of Uusimaa is taken as an example of something that does not meet the threshold of originality. The problem is that it is not the CoA in itself that does not meet the threshold, but the work of the person drawing the official version of it. The image here is not the official version (but a SVG-version of it, made by somebody here, with later corrections), nor is it compared to the original old CoA (the copyright of which has expired, if ever under copyright).

The referenced statement says that Uusimaa chose to use the historical CoA, but redrawn to be in the same style as other regions. It was the changes introduced at that time that were tested for originality.

--LPfi (talk) 19:55, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

This svg version closely follows the version adopted in the 1990's, it is almost a tracing. The differences with the historic versions are much more significant. In particular, the historic escutcheons of Nyland that I have seen all have a very schematic small boat, almost symmetrical. The copyright council did not regard this version with a rudder as having sufficient originality. That is why I chose this one of all the examples in the council's decision. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 20:04, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
It would be good to have the old version here for comparison, as it is the differences that are important (was the boat in the new designed borrowed from somewhere else?). Funny enough, I cannot find any image of the old CoA here, other than those that seem to be derived from the new design. --LPfi (talk) 23:43, 29 May 2010 (UTC)
I now found one with some detail here. But generally they look like File:UudPr lippu.jpg. The Copyright Council compared the new designs to those in a book from 1982 (Suomen kunnallisvaakunat - Finlands kommunvapen). It would be interesting to upload those ones too. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 23:53, 29 May 2010 (UTC)


Hi. I translated this policy to spanish but I need to put the lenguage headline. Do someone knows how to do it? Thanks. Cheers. --Andrea (talk) 22:33, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Above the threshold in the US[edit]

There is a problem with a gallery of borderline cases like these: it does not show what is deemed to be above the threshold. I intend to collect here some examples of what actually did get registered for copyright, but for recent cases, it will be impossible to show the images here. I will give links to the image, and registration numbers for looking this up on

/Pieter Kuiper (talk) 23:54, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Please do, that would be very good. The ipmall appeals stuff has a few that were decided in favor of the registrants (i.e. allowed a registration after lower level folks denied one) but not too many. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:07, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
I skimmed some recent registrations, searching the Copyright Office register for "logo". One of the things that came up was VAu001042236 of the Conservative Forum for Hawaii. If that design is the same as the logo on their web site, the threshold is lower than I thought. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 22:36, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Interesting, that'd be a good approach -- and yes I would have thought that particular logo would pass. Close, but it looks like there are some custom bits in there -- the portion on the right side looks original enough to me, by itself, and that's all it would take. Another which may surprise you is looking at the "CCC" decision -- while they hint that the CCC portion would not qualify by itself, they do show the original work from which it was extracted, which did get a valid registration -- it's really just a somewhat fancy border around that, which I guess was enough. The threshold *is* low, no doubt. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:44, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I'm unsure if this is the right place for this note, but first I agree that such a collection would be helpful, and second, from Commons:Deletion requests/File:Justus Lipsius Building enterance.jpg I have linked to the Architecture section to help decide whether that image (and others) might fall under the threshold. 84user (talk) 20:10, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
"Blue boy" (Bell vs Catalda) is another decision that shows how little originality US courts required for originality. But maybe Alfred Bell have not renewed their copyrights? /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 09:47, 26 December 2011 (UTC)
I have done the search now, and I am convinced that it is {{PD-US-no renewal}}; see right. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 18:30, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Found this randomly browsing in the weird part of the Internet -- Simple human stick figure + simple text, VA0001766451, shown on (archived). Maybe it's time to re-nominate File:Croton Dam Muskegon River Dscn1100 cropped.jpg. Trycatch (talk) 07:11, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm guessing the briefcase is what pushed that graphic over the edge. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:26, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
File:Croton Dam Muskegon River Dscn1100 cropped.jpg seems to be more complex than the "no soliciting" sign, so I have renominated the file for deletion: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Croton Dam Muskegon River Dscn1100 cropped.jpg. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:08, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Logo collection[edit]

I do not find it interesting to include stuff like File:Dow Wolff Cellulosics (DOW).svg. The DR gives no new insights, I do not see any problem with it. If someone wants to collect such decisions (dozens have been nominated as a preemptive measure to "protect" them), please start a different page about kept logos. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 18:40, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. IMHO it is a good idea to collect borderline cases (on the “OK side”) to provide a basis for future decisions. --Leyo 07:21, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
That kind of collections could suitably be done as a subcategory of Category:Sorted deletion requests. (But I won't do it, I was banned once for making such kind of galleries.) /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 19:06, 15 September 2011 (UTC)
A Category with DRs gives no visual overview. Anyway, thanks for your comment, Pieter. I do not intend to collect all - but a set of decisions on both sides of the border. We could move the section (it wasn't started by me, was it?!) to Commons:Threshold of originality/Commons or similar. But then one will need to have to look at two pages if thinking about a new logo. So I would prefer it as is. Do you have any reason why you do not want them here? Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 04:02, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
The page will be overwhelmed by Commons decisions. It is much easier to keep that kind of collection in a category. And for a visual overview, the images that were kept after DR can be collected in an image category. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
I also think that we need to collect borderline cases (on both sides) to provide a basis for future decisions. Yann (talk) 05:03, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
We cannot show the images that were deleted. But for the DRs and the kept images, one can have a subcategory of Category:France FOP cases/kept (excellent initiative!). That is much easier to maintain, and it would not flood this gallery of decisions by national authorities. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:35, 16 September 2011 (UTC)
But we can link to deleted images (somewhere on the web or locally in other wikis). The gallery of legal decisions (which is much more important for us) is a different gallery and section. And: there we also can only show the non-copyrighted ones. The same as with our cases. You are mentioning "flood". Well, I would suggest to restrict the number of images to about 15(?) for kept and deleted and push out the ones which are more far away from the imaginary border. Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 20:49, 16 September 2011 (UTC)


File:English Pokémon logo.svg was kept at a recent deletion request, but I don't think it should have been. I believe the logo does not consist of text from a simple typeface, but is stylized beyond the threshold of originality (much like Scholastic's Harry Potter logo, with its lightning-shaped P). Since the previous deletion request (which barely generated discussion) was only last month, I'm reluctant to file another one right now, but would like to ask what others think. --Paul_012 (talk) 09:01, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

The same goes for the stylised signature that makes up the Walt Disney Company's logo (File:TWDC Logo.svg), among others. --Paul_012 (talk) 09:13, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
The "simple" typeface wording may be a bit misleading -- U.S. copyright law does not allow copyrighting any typeface, custom or not. Something like fancy initial capitals, if they have lots of decoration outside the shape of the letter itself, may be different but most of the time typeface-only designs are not copyrightable. Stylizing generally does not make a difference, from reading the decisions of the Copyright Office (aesthetic effect has no bearing on copyrightability). Really, the "simple" in the tag more refers to fonts that are letters; fonts like Dingbats with symbols instead of letters can of course be copyrighted (the specific wording on what is not copyright is typeface as typeface, so if the lettering is meant to be read as letters, it would seem to not be copyrightable). Other countries can differ on this though. See a couple of the examples on this page, such as File:DUB Magazine Logo.jpg or the New York Arrows logo. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:36, 20 September 2011 (UTC)

PD-exempt has nothing to do with originality[edit]

Magog restored sections about PD-exempt for laws etcetera for some countries. That is a totally different concept, it has nothing to do with any threshold of originality. Of course, laws are sophisticated creations of the mind. But they not copyrighted just because it is better for society that way. I will revert again. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:36, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

This I tend to agree with. Pretty much all copyright law specifies that copyright does not cover ideas, and that sort of thing. TOO is not quite the same concept -- it really is about which types of work are too simple to qualify for copyright, even though they are a class of work which is often protected. Those are not those countries' versions of the threshold, rather they are just documenting (fairly typical) classes of work which is not covered by copyright (the U.S. law, UK law, etc. have similar clauses). Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:07, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Galleries of deleted images does not make sense[edit]

Saibo restored galleries of deleted images that I had deleted because it does not make sense. It does not make sense, there is nothing there to see. I will delete again. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:40, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

It probably does not make sense to use the gallery tag itself, but *some* illustration of images which are above the threshold are just as important as ones which did not qualify. I would prefer to limit them to court cases or other similar external things though, not simply Commons DRs, so this is an objective page. We could do it in table form, and link to example images on the web (and possibly DRs). Having the gallery tag is an odd way to do it, but you can click on the image, which gives you a pointer to the DR or other deletion reason. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:12, 12 January 2012 (UTC)
The gallery layout as one big advantage: it is easy and you can see the pics. --Saibo (Δ) 03:55, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
It makes sense - as I have described in my edit comment. Stop your vandalism. --Saibo (Δ) 01:40, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree it makes sense and should stay (although I think Saibo's definition of vandalism is pretty flimsy - w:WP:HITLER). Magog the Ogre (talk) 02:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Pieter gets a ";-)" in addition. Better? And please read it just after this sentence by him "I will delete again." He knows that he shouldn't. Cheers --Saibo (Δ) 03:55, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Stop the stupidity. Exemptions for laws are not related to originality. I set up this page to show images that had been deemed unoriginal in court decisions. If someone wants to make a page about PD-exempt, they can do that somewhere else. Also, galleries about Commons decisions should go somewhere else. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 06:29, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
"Exemptions for laws are not related to originality." - well of course they are, because the threshold of originality doctrine is itself an exemption from the standard copyright principle. However, "exemption" is clearly more general than "threshold of originality", which is effectively a type of exemption. I'd say we should have a separate page for exemptions. Countries that don't have a "threshold of originality" can be listed here as such, with a link to the other page if relevant. Rd232 (talk) 10:18, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Wrong. Stuff below the threshold of originality is not an exemption from the standard copyright principle. Not everything is copyrighted, only certain works of art and literature. Hexagons and flowers are not the subject of copyright, because they are nobody's original creations of the mind. Nor are letters and words, even if someone just came up with an original and new word; there needs to be a threshold somewhere. But "exceptions and limitations" is a completely different concept in copyright law. But by all means, set up pages for other stuff. Illustrated court decisions about FOP might be suitable for a page with galleries. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 12:46, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, I guess you're right. Being more precise than I was before: copyright is basically protection for original creative works. TOO in a country's law defines the required level of originality. PD-exempt exemptions are in some cases quite similar to TOO, but in other cases cover things which should clearly be considered creative works, and are excluded from copyright for other reasons than lack of originality. PS Examples for FOP would be nice; COM:DM has a section at Commons:DM#Examples (more would be nice). Rd232 (talk) 13:43, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
@Saibo: that was supposed to constructive criticism. Fine, instead read w:WP:DV. That doesn't have a stupid name. I'll even transwiki it if you'd like so that it pertains to Commons.
@Pieter: you now have three people telling you you're wrong. Can't you just let it go? If you want to start your own page with the different examples, then do it. Otherwise, this information is very valuable to contain all in one place, and some of us like the information that way. Magog the Ogre (talk) 19:48, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Pieter did start this page. I'm not sure what portion this discussion is now about... I agree that we need to give and link to examples of items that courts ruled as over the threshold of orginality. I'm not sure that the gallery tag to deleted images is the most appropriate -- maybe link to the DRs, but in many cases we wouldn't have had the image to begin with, and we need to link to those as well. We should not have the items which copyright laws make exempt, in my opinion -- that is not part of the "threshold of originality" concept at all, but rather both are under a larger "not copyrightable" umbrella. "Threshold of orginality" is really over the precise definition over the word "original" or similar concept usually found in copyright laws, which is hardly ever defined (or defined well). Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:55, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. Perhaps the next step would be to create Commons:Copyright-exempt (or similar) as a summary of exemption laws and cases, since nothing like that seems to exist. Once it does, the two pages can link to each other and with an appropriate description everything should become clearer. Rd232 (talk) 04:00, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Well where does one start and the other begin? In the US, all calligraphy is apparently below the threshold; but calligraphy can be quite artistic; is this "exempt" or is it "threshold of originality"? How about where copyright laws state that data is exempted (such as calendar data, in China)? If you ask me, it's all relevant to threshold of originality, save where certain entities (normally, the government) receive different treatment than other entities. Magog the Ogre (talk) 00:08, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
There are some blurry lines, sure -- lettering like calligraphy also gets more into what is utilitarian, but I can see that being related enough to be on this page (such embellishments are not original enough in the U.S., but are in some other countries). It's definitely not a specific exemption. The fact that ideas and data are not copyrightable are nearly universal though, and stated in virtually every copyright law -- I don't see the need here. That is more the en:idea-expression divide; not the same thing, and not related to the concept of "original". Other exemptions like text of laws and official documents really have nothing to do with this though; those are quite clearly above the threshold of originality in most cases but are denied copyright for other public policy reasons. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:57, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Right; works by specific entities which are exempted should go on the exempt page. That is why government works are not a threshold of originality issue. But where a specific type of work is considered blanket not copyrightable by any entity (such as text in the US, or logos in the Ukraine), then that is threshold of originality applies because said works are, by law, below the threshold. That's why you notice there is a photograph in the Austria section; it clearly has nothing to do with text, but is below the threshold in Austria. Just because the word exists in German (who term it "threshold of originality") and not Ukrainian doesn't mean we should only include the Austrian example. Magog the Ogre (talk) 03:22, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Well... it's about what makes something a "work". If an entire category of works is exempted, that is generally different. While bare text is not copyrightable, there exists a certain point where added elements make something a "work" even though it contains uncopyrightable elements. It's about identifying that line. Some countries (like Germany) make that higher for logos, as countries can decide they do not want trademark and copyright to overlap much, but even then there is usually a point where something goes over the line. This line exists on different types of works... what makes something industrial design vs sculpture (such as the UK case on the stormtrooper helmets)? Photographs can be particularly interesting; in some countries there is the line of "simple" photographs vs photographic works; technically in those countries simple photographs are not "works" subject to the EU copyright directives, but still get some protection. (BTW, what Austria section? Did you mean Finland?) As for the Ukraine... they exempt state symbols but that has nothing to do with originality, rather that is a public policy thing (their law even notes that drafts of official symbols are considered protected works before they are officially approved -- so that non-copyrightability has nothing to do with originality). If there is a point where business logos are copyrightable despite their logo status (perhaps they are using a full-up painting or something), then that would be relevant. Ukranian law does mention "originality criteria" without really defining it. Most of the time, the best guidance is going to be court cases, and not the text of the law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:12, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree that it is necessary to have some examples of works which are deemed to be above the threshold of originality on this page. If you try to figure out if a specific image is above or below the threshold of originality, you need some examples of both things, and this is where you would look for it. However, it might not make sense to put deleted images in a <gallery> tag; it may be better to present them in some other format since the images won't appear anyway. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:06, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

Maybe keep a gallery on enwp in en:Threshold of originality? Where the images would be fair use if such a gallery could be kept in article space. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 21:14, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

More than one month has passed since this discussion started and everyone except for one person supports the restoration of the deleted section, so can it be re-added now? It's much more difficult to find relevant references when it's necessary to look at the history of the page instead of looking at the current version. --Stefan4 (talk) 00:40, 26 February 2012 (UTC)


According to Commons:TOO#UK the EDGE logo isn't allowed yet it is displayed directly below as an example. That's almost as silly as the law. I thought we decided UK's extreme copyright-public-domain-art-and-even-plain-old-text stance has no jurisdiction in the US, and by consensus, Commons. Why are we now saying it's not allowed? What changed? Rocket000 (talk) 13:48, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Nothing's changed. Commons:Licensing:

Wikimedia Commons accepts only media

  • that are explicitly freely licensed, or
  • that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work.
Rd232 (talk) 14:37, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Rocket000 here. Yann (talk) 15:23, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
We did decide PD-Art was an exception, yes. Not sure we decided to ignore their threshold of originality in other areas (like signatures). In any event, this page is trying to document their threshold of originality, whatever it actually is. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:23, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Commons, by policy, requires all files be in the public domain in their home country. IIRC, this policy was dictated right down from the top, from the Wikimedia Foundation. The exception for {{PD-art}} also came straight from the WMF. We, as a community, do not possess the authority to create an exception and overrule anything from the WMF. We can try, but we'll need a centralized discussion on the issue, and we might get smacked down by them. Magog the Ogre (talk) 17:26, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting anything here but am trying to understand the current situation as I've been away for a bit. Also, wanted to point out the contradiction of providing a Common-hosted example of what is not allowed here. I disagree with "we do not possess the authority" as the policy of requiring files to be in public domain in their home country is a community-developed policy. The PD-Art exception was too, although the WMF did issue a statement regarding their stance on the matter and we embraced and framed it as a direct mandate to end the ceaseless debate about it (it worked ;)). The policy page even says "Following this statement, a poll was held to determine policy...". Sounds like we decided, not the foundation. Anyway, that's not important here as I'm not wishing to change or redefine any policy.
The PD-Art exception is for allowing work that lacks originality and ignoring the "skill and labor" thing some countries have. PD-art photos and simple text both attract copyright in these countries (I guess) based on the same "skill and labor" criteria we have chosen to ignore. But upon rereading the policy/discussion, I was reminded of how narrowly we do in fact apply the PD-art exception. Specifically, I forgot the application of it is content-based (art reproductions), instead of copyright-based. Rocket000 (talk) 22:18, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Commons:Simple photographs[edit]

I've started Commons:Simple photographs - the idea is the page would serve a similar function to COM:TOO. Please see discussion at Commons:Village_pump/Copyright#Commons:Simple_photographs. Rd232 (talk) 21:45, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Use of File:CarCreditCity.png as an example[edit]

The copyright decision quoted says this image is not acceptable for copyright registration because it is not sufficiently different from their already copyrighted logo. Does this not imply that their current logo (I'm not sure or exactly which that is) is copyrighted and this is a trivial derivative? In which case our use of this logo infringes their copyright on their original logo? --Tony Wills (talk) 00:31, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

It's very slightly problematic, but the decision carefully stated to not make that inference. They basically get out of explicitly ruling non-copyrightable by stating that an earlier work which incorporated it was copyrightable (which was that logo embedded in some surrounding linear stuff, along with "Car Credit City" in a curved banner-ish section -- it's on the first page of the decision PDF), which combined *was* enough for a registration, and therefore simply cropping out one part was not enough for a subsequent registration. That was the primary basis for the final denial. However... they basically *did* rule it was not copyrightable enough. The initial registration, on both the more expansive logo and the CCC part, was denied on threshold grounds. They appealed, and on appeal, the Copyright Office granted a copyright on the larger logo, but explicitly stated the "CCC" portion alone did not pass the threshold: With respect to the work CCC LOGO, Ms. Giroux concluded that the work did not contain a sufficient amount of original and creative artistic or graphic authorship upon which to support a copyright registration. She described the work as three crescent shapes in black coloring positioned horizontally and diminishing in size from left to right, each shape representing the letter "C." She also stated that the letter "C", or any minor variation thereof, is a common and familiar shape, which was in the public domain. Moreover, Ms. Giroux asserted that the fact that the shape may be stylized in length, size, thickness, and orientation does not, in itself, mean that it is copyrightable. Then, the company appealed that decision, which was denied primarily on the fact the entire logo was incorporated in an earlier work, and it amounts to a crop. However, for the question on the CCC portion itself, the report also states: The Review Board agrees with Ms. Giroux's conclusion that the work CCC LOGO is not copyrightable in itself for the reasons she stated in her letter. So, it would almost certainly have failed registration had it been the only thing registered in the first place. The ruling is kind of interesting, in that the other graphic in there is something which is just barely above the threshold (was originally denied, then allowed on appeal), so it's an instructive example. However all three reviewers basically said the CCC portion alone was not copyrightable, even though it was not a primary reason for the third denial (though it was for the first two). Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:19, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
Ahhh, that's a relief :-) (I don't know how people manage to absorb all the ins and outs, obviously I am not a lawyer ;-). But that does bring up something that I hadn't thought about - it is therefore possible to make a derivative work of a copyrighted work, and claim that portion wasn't copyrightable (eg the ear of Mickey Mouse, or a closeup of part of a building that is as a whole copyrighted (where there is no FOP)  ?), and this is without invoking a de minimis argument as such --Tony Wills (talk) 04:54, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
If the portion used is not copyrightable, then yes the second work is OK -- it's not derivative in that case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:40, 4 April 2012 (UTC)


I've seen that the Chevrolet logo was deleted from Commons. I thought this could be ineligible for copyright protection so the logo is only made of simple geometric shapes (as Ford logo does). Fma12 (talk) 12:30, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

The basic outline, definitely agree with you. It was published before 1923 anyways (see here). I can't see the image though -- are there other elements, like gradients, or simulated reflections, and that sort of thing? Those could elevate it to being copyrightable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:59, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd say you're right. Based on the file name, it's probably a copy of en:File:Chevypnglogo.png, which is clearly and correctly marked as non-free and which should not be transferred to Commons. File:Chevrolet logo 1990.JPG is fine, though. LX (talk, contribs) 19:30, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
From my opinion, the Chevrolet logo should be considered the same as Ford which also has gradients but was not considered eligible for copyright. Fma12 (talk) 17:10, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
Those two logos aren't really comparable. The Ford one has a single horizontal gradient; the Chevy logo linked above has significantly more stuff than that -- they aren't really comparable. The details matter. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:06, 8 April 2012 (UTC)

New Copyright Office decisions available[edit]

Looks like has reorganized their page on Copyright Office Appeals Board rulings, and updated through some 2012 rulings. Previously they had ones through late 2009. Just started looking, but a few logos were denied registration:

  • Geek Squad[1] (en:File:Geek Squad.svg)
  • A Three Card Poker logo[2]
  • A shirt with a slogan[3] (contains a drawing of a person, which was originally granted a copyright, but after it was made clear that was from a different author and/or PD, there was nothing copyrightable left)
  • An Avenue of the Saints sign, with fleur-de-lys[4]
  • Designs using state outlines and common symbols[5]
  • Amerigon logo[6]
  • A specific product packaging[7]

There may be more; just skimmed a few so far. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

It looks like we've been interpreting TOO pretty accurately when it pertains to US copyrights. Does the site have any examples that were borderline but that were granted copyright? It's not nearly as useful unless we can see things that did gain copyright protection. Magog the Ogre (talk) 02:01, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
There are a few (marked as "Accepted" on the per-year pages). Appeals at this stage have been rejected twice, so it's relatively rare for them to change their minds, but they could. I'm not sure I see any new reversals on pure drawings at first glance; there are a few on jewelry and the like, which can be instructive in that area. The decision regarding the CCC logo, already on this page, included another version with several additional borders and other elements, and *that* was given a registration, although they did mention the "CCC" portion alone would not qualify, which does give something of an idea. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:21, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
So, um, what are the links for the accepted ones? Magog the Ogre (talk) 03:07, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
They are available in the per-year links at the page I gave above.
  • 18 rings denied, 4 accepted [8]
  • Another one for jewelry, but no discussion and no pictures [9]
  • Couple of Zappa album covers, but issues were related to copyright notice and procedural grounds, not threshold, and only under "rule of doubt" [10]
  • Jewelry, approved after more photographs submitted, but no pictures in report [11]
  • Some designs on leather, no pictures [12]
  • Picture frames, rejected 26 and accepted 2 [13]
Looks like years before 2006 don't have the easy accepted/rejected annotations ;-) Here is the old index, with everything on one page. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:42, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Facebook's like thumb[edit]

There have so far been three attempts here at Commons to delete our copycat Facebook like and dislike thumbs (Commons:Deletion requests/File:Facebook like thumb.png). What seems to be the situation is that several editors with knowledge about the TOO want these images deleted, yet they are overrun by other editors who seem not too keen on considering this presumptive key relation. Could we perhaps have a little discussion about this situation here at this juncture? __meco (talk) 20:20, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

There seems a presumption in those discussions that just because something is small, it must lack creativity. But designing icons (images specifically intended for use at small sizes) certainly does involve creativity, as I know from experience in dealing with the icon in {{Facepalm}}. I see it suggested in those DRs that the thumb icon used wasn't created by Facebook, but I see no evidence for that. It seems to me that COM:PRP applies, even without the very substantial concerns about the way in which the icon is used. Rd232 (talk) 22:30, 30 June 2012 (UTC)
Are there any free clipart sites we could google for similar images? I doubt facebook paid anyone to make one and just googled for a free image to use.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:03, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
I have made a free image myself, and incorporated it into a button that could replace the current "Like" button, avoiding any future concerns about copyrights. Compare:
The free thumb pic is located at Adjwilley (talk) 19:02, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

You could try overwriting the image on commons with yours. If someone reverts it, then edit war until you are all blocked. After the blocks expire then seek consensus. I think that is the normal procedure on commons.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:47, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

  • Facebook is being sued over 'like' button by Surfbook: [14], [15], [16], [17]. ShunmCloie (talk) 20:42, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
    That's a patent lawsuit. This page is about copyright. I've reverted your blanking of this section. It's still relevant. LX (talk, contribs) 21:06, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
    I've also reverted your speedy deletion taggings. The lawsuit is not about copyright, and it has not been ruled on yet. LX (talk, contribs) 21:15, 28 February 2013 (UTC)


Someone at the pump was wondering about France. It would be nice to add if someone wants to look into it.--Canoe1967 (talk) 18:54, 8 July 2012 (UTC)


  • I just noticed a bunch of links to .pdf files at the bottom of the site. It may be best to start with those? I will create a France section on the main page here with a source link to the above site. Feel free to edit if we learn more.--Canoe1967 (talk) 20:13, 8 July 2012 (UTC)
It would be nice if we could get a link to an image of the word "paradis" in gold-lettering that it talks about in that document. The rest of the document seems to wax poetical about the nature of the French system and how it compares to the English one, but gives us precious little concrete to work with. Anyway, if there's one thing I take from the document, it's that the French TOO is probably somewhat low: certainly lower than Germany's or Austria's, and probably lower than the US's. Magog the Ogre (talk) 00:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
Did that image lose in court as non-copyrightable? We could show a picture of it with a "This image was found to be below TOO in case law" type thing.--Canoe1967 (talk) 19:53, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
From what I can tell (Google translator does an excellent job of translating it), no, in fact it won in court as copyrightable. Magog the Ogre (talk) 22:33, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
It seems France is the same as UK then. I don't think it would be worth adding a link to an image that we can't host here then, like the UK section does. I will de-tag the French help template above. Should we leave the wording as is in the France section or put a same as UK type statement there?--Canoe1967 (talk) 23:06, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
France is higher than the UK, in general -- it's not sweat of the brow like the UK is. From reading that article, it won because of the specific texture on the letters, and also the setting it was placed in (i.e. the word was only part of the work which was protected). Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:29, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
No, that's the whole point of the page, that it's not the same as the UK. But it is certainly lower than Germany and probably lower than the US. Magog the Ogre (talk) 00:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Any thoughts as to how to word the France section of this page then? Level 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 type thing? It seems that judges make the decisions on a case by case basis. We could do the same here as images come up for deletion but it would still be nice to have a sample image from a court case.--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:24, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Another thing: see COM:FOP#France. It seems that some buildings are ineligible for copyright. I assume that it might be appropriate to mention this somewhere. COM:TOO is not only about logos and the like. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:17, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

I added the link and bar placement between Germany, US, France, and UK levels. Feel free to edit, adjust, delete, ignore, laugh at, etc.--Canoe1967 (talk) 22:41, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Jastrow specifically said that the French courts are lenient about originality in architecture. Yann (talk) 04:40, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Australia threshold really low[edit]

How low is the threshold of creativity in Australia? Lower than that in the United Kingdom? This deletion nomination prompted me to look for other possible candidates, accordingly I have nominated these this for discussion: File:Allen and Overy.svg for the UK and File:Kmart Australia logo.svg for Australia. -84user (talk) 01:38, 5 August 2012 (UTC) (striking through the nomination I made in error -84user (talk) 02:18, 5 August 2012 (UTC))

  • I'd want to know how Australian courts have ruled on text logos consisting of modified letters/fonts. I know the UK has found them to be copyrightable, as in the case of the "Edge" logo, but I'd try to find out something about how Aussie courts have ruled on the matter before nominating logos for deletion. cmadler (talk) 10:03, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

X rays[edit]

Discussions that pertain to "threshold of originality" is taking place here [18] and we have a case which states that X rays do not meet this threshold in the United States. [19] James Heilman, MD (talk) 13:28, 20 August 2012 (UTC)


Can we try to establish what the threshold is in Canada?

This is what we know so far:

  • Other English-speaking countries in the Commonwealth of Nations have a very low threshold.
  • Canada is physically and culturally close to the US, so it might inherit some legal precedence from it (it's not unheard of for legal ideas to cross borders like that).
  • Canada uses a "compromise" version between the sweat of the brow doctrine like the UK and the creativity doctrine like the US or Germany (see comments by Vipersnake at Commons:Deletion requests/File:TSN2 HD.png, and see this paper).

Magog the Ogre (talk) (contribs) 21:28, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Here's another paper that briefly discusses the Canadian standard. "In Canada, a Canadian Federal Court of Appeal withheld protection from a telephone directory arrangement, even though other cases restricted the Tele-Direct (1997) precedent to compilations and generally defined originality in more traditional common law terms (Hager, 1998)." The first part of that statement has the following footnote: "See also CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada (1999) 2 C.P.R. (4th) 129 (Fed. Ct.) (in which a compiling reported judicial decisions, even adding headnotes and other matters, have been found as lacking the ‘creative spark’ essential to a finding of originality). By contrast, in another case, different facts, such as the selection of information useful for the community, the court has allowed to distinguish another telephone directory as original (Ital-Press Ltd. v. Sicoli (1999) 86 C.P.R. (3rd) 129 (Fed. Ct.) (telephone directory of Italian–Canadians in the Edmonton area))." cmadler (talk) 12:36, 22 August 2012 (UTC)


Hi. Please have a look at this rfd. −ebraminiotalk 22:24, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

And this. I want to make sure about my claims :) −ebraminiotalk 22:27, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
Also, also, I want upload this, this and this to commons! :) −ebraminiotalk 22:44, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
en:File:JIRA logo.svg is Australian, so it's definitely not OK. OpenJDK logo moved, see File:OpenJDK logo.png. --Stefan4 (talk) 23:15, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Cover art[edit]

This cover art can be uploaded with threshold of originality?--Migols (talk) 00:17, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Definitely not. The photo is very complex. --Stefan4 (talk) 00:25, 10 March 2013 (UTC)


Interfaces — especially virtual interfaces — need to be addressed by this page.   — C M B J   08:34, 29 May 2013 (UTC)

What do you mean interfaces? As in the look and feel of human-thing or human-computer interaction, as in the button layout of a TV remote control or the layout of an on-screen menu? Or am I completely misunderstanding you? 14:28, 29 May 2013 (UTC)
Comparing #1/2/7 with #4/9, our handling of interfaces makes little sense. Pictures of the former are almost always accepted as being ineligible for copyright, but pictures of the latter are almost always assumed to be copyright violations. This is very unsustainable model in a world where basic gauges become graphs, switches become icons, and physical accents become pixels. For example, is #9 a copyright violation according to our policy? If not, how many more virtual knobs away are we from all common cockpits and dashboards and similar interfaces becoming contraband?   — C M B J   08:29, 30 May 2013 (UTC)


This page says: "The logo of Boeing is not considered a "work of authorship" because it only consists of text in a simple typeface"

Is the typeface original? If so, then I would expect the typeface itself to be entitled to copyright protection, and so the logo is indirectly copyright protected (as well as trademark protected).

Regards, Ben Aveling 05:51, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

U.S. copyright does not protect "typeface as typeface". It does protect a computer font as a computer program, but that is different. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:09, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Wierd. A (computer) font is not a program. But it is a creative work. Or should be. Cheers, Ben Aveling 02:00, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
That's unfortunately what happens when ruling bodies have little or no understanding of what they're dealing with, which happens unbearably often, especially in matters of technology because of generation gaps in computer literacy. William Haskell Alsup is a rare example of someone who actually had the integrity to sit down and learn Java so he could make an informed decision in Oracle v. Google.   — C M B J  
But fonts predate computers. What is the treatment of physical movable type? Ben Aveling 07:55, 2 June 2013 (UTC)
It is typeface and not protectable by copyright (see w:Eltra Corp. v. Ringer) -- they are industrial designs which must be protected if possible in other ways (presumably a design patent -- see w:Intellectual property protection of typefaces). Congress considered protecting them in the 1976 Copyright Act but explicitly decided not to do so (or at least defer the decision), so there is not much question about it. It is not simply a case of a judge not understanding things; it is the intent of lawmakers to not protect them via copyright, at least to date. There was an attempt in the early 1970s to create an international convention to protect typefaces (via separate means than copyright); it failed as only two countries signed on (France and Germany if I recall). A computer font (vector anyways) was deemed to have kerning and other instructions such that the Copyright Office was persuaded to allow registration as computer programs -- it was close enough. A few subsequent court rulings have upheld that (w:Adobe Systems, Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc.). Bitmap fonts are different, as those were the subject of an earlier Copyright Office decision to not allow them. Vector fonts were considered computer programs which generated a typeface, not quite the same thing. There have been further cases confirming that. The decision to allow registration is here which gives their reasoning but of course the courts are the final authority on the scope. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:50, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

The result of this is not quite as it seems. Computer generated type faces are PD. It is only the generating software that has a copyright. This means that you cannot use Adobe or MS typeface software without a license. It is, however, legitimate to copy the typeface itself. It would also be legitimate to give a copy of the typeface itself (not the software) to an expert in typeface software and have him or her write new software which would generate the typeface. Although that software would likely be very similar, perhaps identical, to the copyrighted software, it would not be an infringement because copyright only protects works from being copied, not from being recreated de novo. The best example of this technique is the Phoenix BIOS which made it possible to produce the first clones of IBM PCs, see Phoenix Technologies. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 12:24, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

"Powered by Verisign"[edit]

After this request, I think it would be a good idea if anyone here could take a look at the images uploaded by User:Fenestride. Do they comply with the rules of Commons? --Juncensis (talk) 19:36, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Below the threshold in the US[edit]

You have a link: to the "No Soliciting" signs on my website and you have them listed as (These are Not OK). They are in fact copyrighted and the registration numbers are shown on my web site ((Registration numbers: VA 1-769-063 & VA 1-766-451)) So exactly what criteria are you using to determine that "These are Not OK?" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 22:13, 22 June 2013‎ (UTC)

I removed the link on the project page and then it was restored by user: Davidwr No explanation given. Why? Do I have to ask someone who is "in with the in crowd" to do this for me, or at least explain why my edit was removed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk • contribs) 00:30, 23 June 2013‎ (UTC)

"Not OK" means that it is not OK to upload these images as they are copyrighted. However, it seems that the "no soliciting" signs aren't as interesting as we thought. If you look up the records at, then you see that someone has registered the file names as "titles", so the author registered the JPG files and not any real signs. The JPG files contain rather artistic borders which clearly are copyrightable. Better examples are needed. --Stefan4 (talk) 01:18, 23 June 2013 (UTC)
I restored it for the very reason that Stefan4 said: The logic you used to remove them, Removed No Soliciting signs from section that says "These are Not OK." In fact these images are copyrighted and the registrations numbers are right there on my web site below the images, indicates that they are in fact valid examples of what is NOT okay to upload to the Commons. Davidwr (talk) 00:08, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Is there some legal case where all "no soliciting" signs are somehow inappropriate, even if they only consist of the plain text "no soliciting" in a simplefont? Or is it just the signs from this one company? This seems a bizarre example without an explanation. --McGeddon (talk) 10:52, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
The explanation is given at the linked website: these two JPEG files, including the somewhat creatively drawn frames, are copyrighted as there are copyright registration numbers below the images. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:04, 4 November 2013 (UTC)
So we're not actually saying "no-soliciting signs are not okay on Commons", we're just saying "no-soliciting signs which have copyright registration numbers are not okay"? Would it not be clearer to say "sign with simple geometric shapes and text which have copyright registration numbers" here? --McGeddon (talk) 11:52, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Better? LX (talk, contribs) 18:27, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Much clearer! Thank you. --McGeddon (talk) 16:01, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Does international copyright matter on us:WP?[edit]

Per COM:URAA and some other recent decisions, works that are clearly PD in their country of origin are being bulk-deleted, as there is a legally-arguable US-only issue that claims them to still be under copyright. As WMF's servers are in the US, this US ruling is being applied across Commons. I have already lost hundreds of 1920s and 1930s book scans.

In such a case, does the long international section on this page have any relevance, other than academic interest? It's interesting that this File:Automotive alternator.jpg 1993 German image (maybe earlier, but it's in my Robert Bosch handbook) is claimed to be 2008 PD in Finland, owing to an obscure Finnish interpretation. However does that mean that I can use in on en:WP? Andy Dingley (talk) 11:59, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

It is my understanding that the section on international law on this page is still relevant, because the ex post facto extension of copyright terms and massive revocation of works from the public domain effected by the URAA only applies to works based on their copyright status in the source country on a given date. A work that is ineligible for copyright protection in the source country would not be affected by the URAA. LX (talk, contribs) 18:09, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Are you sure about that? URAA doesn't apply if the work is in the public domain in the source country due to expiration of a copyright term. If an image is in the public domain in the source country because it is below the threshold of originality, then it is in the public domain for another reason. On the other hand, there was a case where a US court found that certain Mexican films were in the public domain in the USA because they were in the public domain in Mexico on the URAA date due to failure to comply with Mexican copyright formalities, and copyright formalities are separate to copyright terms. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:02, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

Street signs[edit]

Do photos of street signs, such as this meet the threshold of originality? The C of E (talk) 08:42, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

This direct photograph would probably meet threshold of originality because there are choices of what else is included and what lighting to use to get the best effect. The sign itself is probably below the threshold, and therefore not copyrightable, assuming it's a standard government sign format with a layout not unique to that sign. (I'm making it conditional on it being a standard sign, because Hong Kong courts may still retain a British idea of how little extra work is needed to meet the threshold of originality, so if there is anything uniquely creative about it, it could end up being close by UK standards.) --Closeapple (talk) 09:22, 25 January 2014 (UTC)

Images from COM:TOO deleted?[edit]

Here's a DR - Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Tripp Trapp. I don't understand, it has its permission PDF. --Rezonansowy (talk) 00:45, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

As explained on this page, courts found that the chair is a copyrighted artwork. Photos of the chair were therefore deleted. --Stefan4 (talk) 12:43, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

More descriptive form[edit]

I think we should provide a simple readable rules what is OK and what not, rather than only provide a bunch of images. --Rezonansowy (talk) 00:53, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

How would those "simple readable rules" be written? --Stefan4 (talk) 12:44, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
That's exactly a subject to discussion, but for example:
It is confusing for me that the first logo is below the threshold of originality and the green robot is above it. I think that the Best Western logo is more complicated (see red lines) so why the green robot logo is considered as more complicated? --Rezonansowy (talk) 14:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
In the USA, there is a rule that you can't gain copyright protection merely by writing letters. The Best Western one is mainly letters, whereas the robot one is something else. I guess that's the difference between these two images. No idea if you can get copyright protection for 3D letters (e.g. those in Category:Axelsberg Metro station), but I'd assume that you can easily get protection for a photo of one of those letters even if you remove everything else from the picture. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:51, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
@Stefan4: I mean these red lines placed above the text. IMO they're not simple. --Rezonansowy (talk) 17:11, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
I think I see what Rezonansowy means: at first glance the red lines above "Best Western" appear to be a transformed W typeface, but they are not, neither are they two intersecting "V" shapes, they're more complex. However, page 6 of the linked United States Copyright Office letter here persuaded me that those stylised elements fall below the threshold. -84user (talk) 20:14, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
@Stefan4, 84user: Exactly! The problem is that probably everyone on COM:DR would consider this as too complicate, so we need more examples or maybe some guideline to avoid mistakes. May we will ask US Copyright Office for this guideline? --Rezonansowy (talk) 18:25, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess that these two images are exactly at the threshold and that it is much more difficult to make an accurate assessment when something is very close to the threshold as the outcome is going to depend on tiny non-obvious details. Maybe there even are some differences depending on which court judge or copyright office employee is handling the case... --Stefan4 (talk) 15:35, 8 February 2014 (UTC)

The case listed in China (PRC)[edit]

The case is more likely due to the fact that calligraphy is copyrighted in China. In fact, the Chinese copyright law does not mention the threshold of originality. Should we mark that section as unclear instead? -Mys_721tx (talk) 20:32, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

At s:zh:中華人民共和國著作權法 (2010年)#第一章 總則, "第一條" to "第三條" tell that copyright protection applies to "作品" (i.e. works), implying that things which aren't works aren't copyrighted. In "第三條", there is a list of different kinds of "作品". In many copyright laws, the threshold of originality is disguised in ambiguous words such as "作品" or "work". As protection only applies to "works", this implies that there is some kind of originality requirement, although you need to look at other documents (for example court rulings) in order to figure out exactly how courts in that country argue when they need to determine whether something is a "work" or not. Therefore, it is typically necessary to list lots of examples of court rulings from each country in order to make accurate judgements about the originality in that country. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:26, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Stefan4 is correct, in the PRC a "work" is defined to require “originality.” While the word "originality" does not appear in the literal text of the primary PRC copyright act, it does appear in the regulations enacted by the PRC to implement copyright protection. In particular, Article 2 of the Regulation for the Implementation of the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China defines the term “works” used in the Copyright Law as “original intellectual creations in the literary, artistic and scientific domains, insofar as they are capable of being reproduced in some tangible form.” —RP88 03:28, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Age of Empires III, logos/"flags"[edit]

I have been asked to vectorize (request) these three logos/flags de:Datei:Logo der Azteken AoE III.png, de:Datei:Logo der Sioux AoE III.png, de:Datei:Logo der Irokesen AoE III.png from the game Age of Empires III, but to me they are protected.
The requester means that they are not and I'm not sure what to do. IF I do work on them I will upload them to commons, so that's the bottom line.
I hope for feedback from people who knows about those things, thanks. --Goran tek-en (talk) 09:08, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

These are symbols consisting of geometrical shapes, which is the classic example of what doesn't pass the threshold of originality. So I'd say these are okay. See here: meta:Wikilegal/Copyright threshold of originality for logos. --Gnom (talk) 21:54, 6 April 2014 (UTC)


I propose that w:File:Hillary.png falls well below the threshold of originality, as it is merely an exceedingly common arrangement of public domain elements. BD2412 T 17:07, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Note: I have posted a request for review of this file at w:Wikipedia:Non-free_content_review#File:Hillary.png. Cheers! BD2412 T 18:06, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

South Korea[edit]

Does this state that the textiles Le Desire and Le Basket (pictured on the linked page page) were approved for copyright registration by the United States Copyright Office, but refused copyright protection by the South Korean supreme court and only granted protection for w:design right/w:design patent in South Korea? --Stefan4 (talk) 18:47, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Partial copying or cropping of copyrighted works[edit]

The Gorr Vidal novel cover image caption reads "This image of the front cover of a novel is public domain because it only copies uncopyrightable text, copyrightable contents of the book itself or the back cover. (DR)" and links to Commons:Deletion requests/File:Burr by Gore Vidal - first edition cover.jpg. The DR did not mention "copyrightable contents" - is this a typo? I cannot imagine that a long text extract would become magically uncopyrightable merely by virtue of appearing on a book cover. -84user (talk) 01:20, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Are you refering to File:Burr by Gore Vidal - first edition cover.jpg? This cover contains only 5 words, which are surely not copyrightable. --Túrelio (talk) 13:59, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
This is about the caption from Commons:Threshold of originality#Partial copying or cropping of copyrighted works, isn't it? That caption is written badly. I will re-write it. The lesson of that file is: There can be an uncopyrighted fraction of a copyrighted work. The dust jacket of that book had prose and material on the back cover that was eligible for copyright, but the front cover has only short phrases in a practical typeface (which is not copyrightable in the United States). This image is only of the front cover, so it is public domain when it is by itself, even though it is physically attached to the back cover. --Closeapple (talk) 17:42, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
I see what happened with that caption: I think the original author of the caption simply forgot the word "not". I've clarified it. --Closeapple (talk) 17:48, 10 November 2014 (UTC)

Case for texts in Germany[edit]

This case was pointed to in a deletion request about letters. It seems to mean that some business letter are below COM:TOO in Germany. Maybe it would be useful to add it in the German section of this page. I am not able to do it myself, because I do not speak German. Thank you for your help. BrightRaven (talk) 15:01, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, very generally speaking, the point can be made that the text of a typical Wikipedia article is not protected by German copyright law. However, Commons is maybe the wrong place to discuss this. --Gnom (talk) 21:02, 30 August 2015 (UTC)
I think it can be relevant here too, because Commons also host texts (letters of notable people for example, or any other relevant documents). If this can be used to detail the level of the threshold of originality for texts in Germany, I think it can be useful. BrightRaven (talk) 08:47, 31 August 2015 (UTC)


Following this, I think this page needs an update (a new section?) from the Venezuela law regarding logos. In short, there not such thing like a "Threshold of originality" that allows to use logos freely in Commons, specially regarding local enterprises. Cheers --Oscar_. (talk) 22:04, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

What if the logo is "trademarked" in a very narrow business market but is "free" in other business markets? For example, in the USA if my last name was Taco could trademark "Taco Chlorine" within the narrow business of swimming pool supplies, and use a logo in 12-point Courier. This would be "pd-simple" and copyright-ineligible. But that won't stop someone named Mr. Chlorine from opening up a Mexican-food place with the same name and a plain-text logo 12-point Helvetica font. Newspapers who report on either company would use their "house" font that could easily be identical to either of our logos. Because they are in the news business their use of the logo would not infringe on trademark laws, and because there is no copyright it would not infringe on copyright laws (even if it did, it would likely be "fair use"). Are you claiming that such a situation would be copyright infringement or have to rely on Venezuela's "fair use" rules if a newspaper mentioned either company in an article that was printed in either 12-point Courier or 12-point Helvetica font, and therefore neither logo could be hosted on the Commons? I hope I'm sounding as ridiculous as I intend to sound, because if this argument holds, then it's ripe for abuse by unscrupulous companies in Venezuela who want to do a "trademark/copyright land grab". Davidwr (talk) 22:41, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
This logo is clearly too simple to have a copyright (except in UK?). Copyright and trademarks are two different things. I don't read Spanish, so but I think you could ask undeletion, and see what comes. Regards, Yann (talk) 09:54, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Which section of law says that putting up a logo for illustration purposes is automatically a copyright infringement? Trademark rights are entirely different than copyright, and the term "use" is construed very differently in the two contexts. The fact that someone owns a trademark does not automatically mean there is a copyright. With Google Translate, I see nothing in Chapter XII which indicates that -- simply normal trademark. In fact, the "Intellectual Property Law" seems to have nothing to do with copyright at all -- that is for trademark, industrial design, and patents (i.e. forms of intellectual property other than copyright). The law on copyright seems to date from 1993 (see here); it is that law which any "threshold of originality" is based on. It also seems there was a "Law Relating to Copyright of November 29, 1962" which that one superseded. I don't think the reasoning in that deletion request had any merit -- not that I have any idea over what the threshold of originality in Venezuela really is. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:20, 26 September 2015 (UTC)
Personally, I don't think the reasoning in that DR is sufficient to suggest that this pages' section for Venezuela needs to be updated. The discussion at that DR links to Venezuela's Industrial Property Law (Ley de Propiedad Industrial), not to Venezuela's Copyright Law (Ley sobre el Derecho de Autor). I think the commenters at the DR simply erroneously conflated trademark with copyright. —RP88 (talk) 15:35, 26 September 2015 (UTC)

Android robot bad example. Remove?[edit]

There are plenty of examples for which we have evidence that ToO was or was not met, according to a ruling. This is not one of them. There's a claim that it's been registered with the copyright office, that failed verification.--Elvey (talk) 01:37, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

I search and get these results:
Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Number / Date: VA0001789579 / 2011-10-05
Application Title: ANDROID Robot Design.
Title: ANDROID Robot Design.
Description: Electronic file (eService)
Copyright Claimant: Google Inc. Address: 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, 94043.
Date of Creation: 2007
Date of Publication: 2007-11-05
Nation of First Publication: United States
Authorship on Application: Google Inc., employer for hire; Domicile: United States; Citizenship: United States. Authorship: 2-D artwork.
Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:56, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) A search for registration number VA0001789579 at the U.S. Copyright Office does, in fact, show that the Android robot has been successfully registered (see VA0001789579). Your search failed because Google does not index the contents of the U.S. copyright registration database, you have to use the Copyright Office tools. If you want to search the post-1978 database, go here. As far as I am aware, the Android robot is literally the only modern logo officially known to be above TOO in the U.S. that is actually hosted by Commons (by virtue of the fact that Google not only registered the design with the U.S. Copyright Office but also licensed the design under a free license). We definitely should not remove it. —RP88 (talk) 02:24, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for catching my mistake, guys. I spread the info around a bit.--Elvey (talk) 10:23, 21 November 2015 (UTC)


I think we should have a section on maps. See also Commons:Derivative works#Maps. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 17:35, 31 January 2017 (UTC)

This page is organized by country. Are you thinking of adding a sub-section on maps to every relevant country section, or are you just interested in the U.S. threshold of originality for maps? The U.S. section has a "see also" that points to Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter, you could add another "see also" in the U.S. section that points to Commons:Derivative works#Maps (since that section on the DW page is mostly about the U.S.). Alternatively, the main "See Also" section at the bottom links to a few other pages that incorporate discussions of the threshold of originality, so you could add a "* [[Commons:Derivative works#Maps]] - on the level of originality needed for a map to be protected by copyright" line after the other two. —RP88 (talk) 10:30, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

South Africa[edit]

I could not find information about South Africa on Commons:Threshold of originality, so I searched and came across and article which mentions that level of originality required for copyright protection in the South Africa is very low, similar to that of the United Kingdom, it stems from the English influence on South Africa's copyright law. See: Determining originality in creative literary works by Sunelle Geyer, submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of DOCTOR LEGUM at the University of Pretoria, 2006 (2.1.1 Origins of originality requirement in South African law and 5.1.1 Legal requirements for originality). It states: "The low threshold of originality which is evident in South African law is thus not a universal requirement, but clearly stems from the English influence on our copyright law." Can someone add a section on South Africa on Commons:Threshold of originality, based on this information? Regards Ossewa (talk) 07:06, 20 June 2017 (UTC)