Commons talk:URAA-restored copyrights

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RFC to disavow URAA for public domain foreign works[edit]

I'm tired of this pithy US law affecting so many files that are no longer copyright in their country of creation, because AMERICUH has decided it is the copyright protector of the universe. If the file is in the public domain in the country of its creation, and especially if the creator acknowledges that it is public domain, then we should not be endlessly lawyering the images. The URAA should be disregarded as the slimy world-police law that it is. Note that URAA is not enforced on other wikimedia projects, rightfully so. There has yet to be any issue. This application of the precautionary principle is an over the top practise on commons, and I'd like to see how much of the community actually feels it should be taken into consideration moving forward. - Floydian (talk) 22:18, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

I've just had several sets of images deleted under this rule, and the rest of my book scans (and there are several hundreds) are now tagged for deletion. I was given the patronising comment that they have to be tagged with a "Commons compatible licence", linked as Commons:Copyright tags – however they always had been. It now seems that the PD tags listed at Commons:Copyright tags are not acceptable to the new "educationally distinct" Commons. Non-US PD sources are fair game for deletion. Our admin teenagers must be delighted at the new opportunities for making themselves busy. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:03, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
As much as I despise Commons, I prefer to take a good faith leap regarding the community and administrators; the status-quo is simply following the law in the US, where wikimedia servers are located. However, I believe this is a case where we need to weigh the gains with the risks. In my opinion, there is little to no risk in keeping files that are PD in their country of creation and an insurmountable amount of valuable imagery to lose. - Floydian (talk) 14:56, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Let's start with this hate screed. Never mind the facts; never mind the fact that the UK created the Berne Convention and Europe forced it down the throat of every country in the world. Never mind that it's an isolationist law, not a world-police law; the lack of a rule-of-the-shorter term means that you don't have get involved in telling the British or Chinese what their law says about the copyright status of a work. Never mind that the servers are on US soil and the US enforcing US law on US soil can hardly be world-police. Never mind that the rule-of-the-shorter term is a tool of the copyright maximialists; if two countries don't have he rule of the shorter term, increasing copyright lengths does so on just your citizens, who have a voice in a democracy. If both do, raising your copyright terms increases the length of time money will be coming in from overseas for your works, so both nations have a motive to raise their copyright terms.
Oh, and both the English Wikipedia and English Wikisource obey the copyright laws they have to, and not all these foreign laws they don't. You are in effect demanding that we write our own set of copyright laws that are looser then the ones we have to follow in some places and tighter in others; what madness.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:10, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually I am proposing that when a work is in the public domain in its country of origin, it be tagged as such, but not deleted. The practice on the English Wikipedia is this, and I've never even seen a fair-use rationale imposed on this use of imagery. Madness is moving files en masse to Commons only to find some copyright issue months/years down the road; are the deleted image reuploaded to a local wikipedia? Hah! - Floydian (talk) 07:56, 18 July 2013 (UTC)
That's not policy on the English Wikipedia; w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights says "This page in a nutshell: Copyright status of a work in its home country is often important in evaluating its copyright status in the United States. Nevertheless, a work that is in the public domain in its home country can sometimes be under copyright in the United States and so can not be used on Wikipedia." Copyright issues are copyright issues, whether or not the files have been moved to Commons, and I've seen a number of files deleted because they weren't free in their source nation. It would be nice if files getting deleted here got reuploaded on Wikipedia more often; that doesn't seem connected to this discussion, however.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:22, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
Not directly within this discussion, no... but I agree and would like to see some policy enforcing such behaviour. - Floydian (talk) 23:06, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
I've had whole bookfuls of scans deleted already, many of which were in use in WP articles. Fastily doesn't even consider the validity of the URAA claim, just blanks the lot with a boilerplate message (which he clearly copy-pastes across everything) that images need to have a clear licence tag on them (which these did), from the accepted PD set (which they did). Tens of hours of work for a contributor, moments for an admin. It's clear just who is the more important on Commons. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:48, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
  • User:Sherurcij, a very prolific contributor, stopped contributing to WMF projects three years ago. One of the strong factors that triggered his departure was that he felt User:Fastily was tendetiously targeting him, tendetiously targeting the images he had uploaded. I am disturbed to read that another contributor has concerns over Fastily's deletion efforts that may echo Sherurcij's from three years ago. Geo Swan (talk) 03:37, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
I stopped scanning and uploading here some time ago. The atmosphere to content contributors was poisonous enough already. Andy Dingley (talk) 14:52, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
See also w:Template:PD-Australia. There certainly are files that are PD in the country of origin and not the US on Wikipedia, but I don't think that's practice as much as mistake.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:31, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
And also w:Template:PD-Canada. As much as the copyright lawyers here would be shocked and appalled, it's common practice at least on the English Wikipedia. Policy may indicate otherwise, but in such a case the policy needs to be updated to reflect the common practice. - Floydian (talk) 23:06, 24 July 2013 (UTC)
What's your point with PD-Canada? It clearly states the US rules right there.
Common practice is always inconsistent when unstandardized. And few understand the copyright law, and many people want to upload old pictures, whether or not they would technically be PD in any country.
To change the rules to store copyright infringements under the law of the country that Wikimedia must obey, let's stop acting like the copyright law matters to us. Throw out PD-Canada and whatever else, and make our own rules about a consistent life+50 or 75 years from publication or whatever we want.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:14, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
Are we supposed to take this RfC seriously or it is just a rant? Kaldari (talk) 05:16, 25 July 2013 (UTC)
They ask whether we, the community, should enforce URAA. I, personally, will neither enforce nor deal with an ill-considered U.S. law. Works that are re-usable around the world but just not in the U.S. are free enough for me. It would be a waste of my valuable time examining and deleting them. -- Rillke(q?) 08:56, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Because you don't like a law doesn't make it ill-considered. The previous signers of the Berne Convention demanded the US pass the URAA, and we did. I stand by my argument that, among other problems, the rule of the shorter term's requirement that a court in one land parse law written in foreign lands in foreign languages under foreign systems to be completely untenable.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:54, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
It would be excellent if the community were legally able to support this, but unfortunately ignoring US law - much as we might dislike it - is not a feasible option, at least while the servers remain based in the US. Were we to agree as a community to start ignoring aspects of US law, the WMF would have no option but to enforce that requirement. The URAA is pretty disastrous for Commons as a repository, as is the emerging issue of DMCA takedown notices being used to remove Freedom of Panorama images that are perfectly free in the host country but which would not have been allowed in the US had the building in the photograph been based there instead of in a more liberal country. One of the talks at Wikimania this year suggests two technical solutions:
  • Moving the Commons servers to another country (UK or Germany)
  • Displaying the images outside the US but not in the US
Both options would allow us to host many more internationally free (except in the US) images than we can at present, but would need WMF involvement and agreement. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:17, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
It is my understanding that solution 1 was rebuked by the WMF Legal and Community Advocacy team on meta:Legal and Community Advocacy/URAA Statement.
Solution 2, like mostly everything else, was discussed at length on Commons:Deletion requests/All files copyrighted in the US under the URAA.
Jean-Fred (talk) 11:29, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
interesting. Thanks. MichaelMaggs (talk) 13:10, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
The conclusion of that appears to have been, "It seems clear that we do not want to delete all tagged files en masse. "
So why are we now deleting files en masse? Even files that are in use, and with no option to move them to WP (even where fair-use could apply)? Andy Dingley (talk) 13:54, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
As far as I know, we are not. If we were, we would have fired a bot long ago to nuke all the files in Category:Works copyrighted in the U.S.. Heck, we could have scripted the deletion of all subcats in Category:Paintings by year after 1923 for non-US works. The RFC concluded that we did not want to do anything along those lines. URAA files are deleted (or not) when they are brought up in deletion requests − see Category:URAA-related deletion requests. It happened that some users might start more DRs some days − it happened last January for example − which might have given you this impression, but as far as I can tell there has been nothing close to "mass-deletion" (per Wikimedia Commons standards anyway).
Remember that being is use is irrelevant when a file is deemed a copyright violation (which is how URAA files are generally perceived here).
As for local upload: my understanding of the RFC discussions is that being uploaded on Wikimedia Commons or on local projects comes down to the same thing, since both are hosted in the United-States. This supposedly ends the discussion for projects like the German Wikipedia. My understanding is that this discussion then crystallized around these projects who do not have fair use, so it is unclear to me if we really talked the situation for FairUse local projects (eg en.wp) through. I confess I have no idea whether the URAA files are acceptable under fair use on, say, English Wikipedia (I suppose they are). I guess such files could be tagged with {{Fair use delete}}. Note that you can always request the temporary undeletion of the file for transfer purposes.
(If you ask for my opinion: as a Commons sysop and user, I have already too much on my plate for having the time and the will to hunt down such controversial files like the URAA ones − It’s so low in my priorities here that deleting these files will most certainly never make it to my todo list. I know several fellow sysops who basically feel the same way)
Hope this helps, Jean-Fred (talk) 14:48, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I've had getting on for a couple of hundred of my book scans (and more to come) deleted in the last couple of weeks - all by one admin. Not all of these images were in use, but many were and had been scanned specifically to illustrate particular WP articles. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:46, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I hardly see how it's fair to ding an admin for deleting files that were up for DR that violated applicable law.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:05, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
In most cases, it's damn-near impossible to delete a file (even the grossly inaccurate) if it's in use on en:WP. en:WP is also very ready (far too ready, IMHO) to host files under the weakest case for NFCC. Yet here, with this URAA, in-use files are being deleted in their hundreds and this is being done with no discussion, no explanation, no consideration of their value and no thought given to alternatives to deletion, such as fair use. It is no coincidence that one of the admins most involved in doing this is Fastily, a Commons admin with one of the lowest levels of editor confidence for his past enthusiasm for bulk deletion.
Yet again, providing work therapy for teenage hikkomori has become a more important purpose for a WMF project than the supposed encyclopedia project. This is not supposed to be why we're here in the first place! Andy Dingley (talk) 09:37, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
You seem to be confusing two things. We delete files for mainly two reasons − the Commons founding policies : licensing issues and scope issues. Being in use on projects basically implies being in Wikimedia Commons scope − so yes, in other words, we do not delete on Scope grounds a used file, because it simply does not make sense. On the other hand, copyright violations are copyright violations, whether in use or not.
URAA is a licensing issue.
As for the purpose of a Wikimedia project, you might want to re-read the WMF Mission statement: “to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.” − emphasis is mine.
(and yet again, I would politely ask you to refrain from name-calling other members or sub-groups of the Wikimedia Commons community, as I do not think it helps with having a calm and productive discussion here. Thank you.)
Jean-Fred (talk) 16:51, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
If you claim that WMF operates under a free licence and does not use fair-use, then you are simply wrong (at least at en:WP).
As to name-calling, then why is it acceptable for me to be called a "scumbag" by one WP editor (and a few well-known others have had worse recently, from the same source), with no recourse (even when it goes to ArbCom). Andy Dingley (talk) 17:16, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
A big issue I have here is the way things are carried out. A file that would be deleted on commons is uploaded to wiki. A bot tags the file as "eligible for transfer to commons", a user copies files tagged as such en masse to commons, the file is subsequently deleted from wikipedia (and can't be reuploaded because of our dumb "let's rely on Crapmons to host things, nothing will go wrong there!" idealism). On commons, the file is tagged months later, often with no notice posted to the pages that use the file nor the original uploader (i.e. not the person that transfered the file). It is subsequently deleted, and not a damn person in the Crapmons chain of garbage takes responsibility to reupload the file to en wiki. Because of this and the OTRS, I tag all my files as "keep local"; I was the top uploader to en.wikipedia until a month ago when a bunch of my files were tagged, moved, and deleted in a matter of minutes. Somebody here at Crapmons take some bloody responsibility to something other than your internet dream of being a lawyer. - Floydian (talk) 15:47, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
<sigh> You know, reading you calling my project names like “crap” and implicitly badmouthing the community I am part of does not exactly help with trying to help with the issues you raise… Anyway…
Yes, what you describe happens − well, let’s rather say I read several people complaining about it, but not sure how that compare to the amount of files hosted here or transferred from en.wp ; so yes the problem exists, but I am unsure of its actual extent.
Now let me tell you how your story looks to me: either the file was ineligible to be hosted on the Wikimedia projects in the first place (because copyright violation creeps everywhere, with URAA or derivative works with subtleties like Freedom of Panorama or Threshold of originality…), or in the few cases where it would be allowed on English Wikipedia and not on Commons − I believe these are only Fair use stuff and PD-US stuff − you fail to tag it appropriately, probably misattributing the work in the process, putting reusers in jeopardy or violating Wikimedia core values in the process. So from a Commons perspective, it is all your responsability in the first place. :-þ
So now that I have derided your project and work nearly as much as you have criticized with mine, let’s move on and make suggestions to improve that suboptimal workflow, shall we? {Keep local} is hardly a solution.
By the way, I have no doubt you can throw at me cases where we Commonists srewed up and deleted stuff that should not have been ; but I sincerely believe that 99% of the time, when transferred stuff is deleted here, it should be, and it survived a while locally only because it did not come under the appropriate scrutinity there.
Jean-Fred (talk) 16:26, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Or because this particular project over-scrutinizes. Local projects do not have such a hard and fast "MUST BE FREE EVERYWHERE!!!" take on imagery, and so imagery used for an educational purpose and noted as public domain in such and such a place are often given the pass. Several of my images that are under the URAA have been scrutinized then quickly given the green light by FAC reviewers. These images have been speedily transferred to commons and deleted on with such speed that I can't even prevent it when I am online at the time the actions are being carried out. As for berating your community, perhaps your community should work more in-line with the Wikipedia projects that it owes its existance to, and develop a positive reputation with the people that upload massive quanitities of imagery rather than with fellow policy makers. There is a disconnect between the citizens and the politicians. - Floydian (talk) 18:50, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
Every file is PD somewhere, given that Iran doesn't have international copyright relations with the rest of the world. Our following of copyright law shouldn't be a farce; if we're not going to follow the law that binds us, we shouldn't be wasting our time chasing down Somali law and obscure cross-border FOP issues. That's penny-wise and pound-foolish. Or straight-out deceptive; "we follow the copyright law" "which ones?" "the ones we feel like".--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:37, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Yes but the issue is not whether the files are public domain somewhere, but rather in the country where they were created. For example, government works in Canada have an explicit copyright term of 50 years from the end of the year following publication. How can a US law then supercede the terms set by the creator? If anything, it seems like the US government is applying copyright terms to works that they didn't create. - Floydian (talk) 16:13, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
If the creator has explicitly put the work in the public domain, then we accept that as binding in the US. That's why we have British Crown Copyright works, because we have notice from the UK that they regard Crown Copyright works as begin PD worldwide. We assume that Canada and other countries may reserve the right to prosecute their copyright in the US. There's a case otherwise, but I think that discussion should be separate from this discussion.
As per the text and spirit of international copyright agreements, the US offers the works of foreign authors all the rights of and all the duration of the works of American authors. The Berne Convention offers the option of the rule of the shorter term, to deprive foreign authors of some of the duration native authors would get in certain circumstances; the US declines to use that rule. I fail to see why that choice is worthy of outrage.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:04, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
The only solution that I have found so far is to reupload such images to Wikilivres Canada, an unaffiliated project owned and operated in Canada, which observes the rule of the shorter term. I have tools to help do this, and if you need specific deleted files moved, please contact me at User talk:Dcoetzee, or simply add the deletion request to Category:URAA-related deletion requests/deleted which I review regularly. Per meta:Legal and Community Advocacy/URAA Statement, US law applies to the WMF and they will not host any work that is copyrighted in the United States. There are no exceptions to this, and as far as I know the WMF is not planning on implementing any system for circumventing US law (nor is this possible, as far as I know). I have striven to inform local users of deletions in advance and recommend that others do the same. For works that are in use, I also recommend using my User:Commons fair use upload bot to return them to local wikis as fair use candidates. Dcoetzee (talk) 13:58, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Addendum: if you want to help archive and preserve these files, I need help at Wikilivres Canada categorizing them and creating categories for them. See Category:Media from Wikimedia Commons needing category review. Thank you. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:01, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Asking the question in another way[edit]

To the extent that the proposer is asking Wikipedia editors if the project should advocate breaking the law, this isn't something that is up to editors, but rather the Wikimedia Foundation. Their lawyers will rightfully say "no, you can't do that, there is a serious risk that this will mean the end of the project."

The right questions to ask fellow editors are:

  1. Should the Foundation lobby Washington to change the law (i.e. renegotiate or abrogate the treaty), and/or
  2. Should the Foundation consider moving non-US-centric projects abroad and put them under the control of a non-US entity, and simultaneously provide for multiple "commonses" that are in different political jurisdictions, controlled by local entities, but which can transparently "feed" files into Wikipedias in the same way that Commons File: files "feed" into the various Wikimedia-project Wikipedias today?

Davidwr (talk) 23:48, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't believe the URAA treaty required anything in this area besides the US restore copyright to foreign works still in copyright in their home nations. It would merely require that we pass the rule of the shorter term, which again, I oppose strongly. On a legalistic perspective, I don't believe US courts can properly interpret British law, much less law not written in English and not derived from a common legal tradition. (The dissent on w:United States v. Wong Kim Ark argued against Ark's citizenship based on a 150-year-old French translation of Chinese law.) On a copyright minimalist perspective, a nation that has the rule of the shorter term like the UK has told other nations that they can control the length of copyright of their works in the UK by passing laws. Copyright holders have thus explained to Congress that if we increase copyright length in the US, it will increase the length of copyright in the UK and other nations. (Increasing copyright is obviously a mixed economic good at best, taking from some citizens and giving to others. Taking from foreigners and giving to citizens, on the other hand, will almost always been seen as a pure economic good.) The rule of the shorter term encourages copyright extension.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:32, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

What about the copyright renewal that used to be required, mid-term?[edit]

There is an old aphorism counselling against "trying to be more Catholic than the Pope". I am often struck by arguments based on the precautionary principle, that seem to me to be ill-advised attempts to be "more Catholic than the Pope."

If I am not mistaken US copyright law used to be far less generous to the holders of copyrights -- required copyright holders to file and pay for a copyright renewal, at the 28 year mark. This is how the films It's a wonderful life", "Old Yeller", and about 10,000 other old Hollywood films fell into the public domain -- the copyright holders didn't pay the fee to file the copyright renewal.

So, how does this 28 year rule affect the copyright of intellectual works whose copyright might have been re-instated by the URAA?

The Toronto Public Library (TPL) has an extensive collection of historic images, which they are slowly putting online. I had never heard of URAA until a year or so ago. I came across a photographer named James Victor Salmon. The TPL's archives contain 15,000 images from Salmon's personal collection. I uploaded a few, which the TPL archivists listed as being in the public domain, only to have them challenged on copyright grounds, due to the URAA.

Salmon died in 1958. I was told that if Salmon had placed the images in the public domain, and donated them to the Library, prior to his death, or if his heirs had placed them in the public domain, and donated them to the Library, then they would have been in the public domain in Canada when the URAA was signed, and so would then have been in the public domain under US law as well. I was told, however, that if the TPL archivists listed Salmon's photos as in the public domain now because the copyright in Canada expired in 2008 -- fifty years after his death, they would still be considered public domain in the USA for decades.

I contacted the archivist responsible for the Salmon collection, who said that the Library had bought Salmon's collection from his widow, and the images entered the public domain fifty years after his death. The Library was not concerned over theoretical US intellectual property rights.

So, what about that 28 year renewal clause? Am I correct that when Salmon snapped photos he owned the IP rights, and that his literary heirs owned those rights, after his death, but that they would have fallen into the public domain at the 28 year mark, if his literary heirs didn't authoroize an agent to pay the renewal fee for those images? Am I correct that that agent would have had to pay an individual fee, and file an individual copyright renewal for each separate image?

Am I correct that these renewal records have been retained, but they are only paper records, and cannot be searched electronically?

If and when these renewal records are made available to be searched electronically I strongly suspect we will find practically no foreign archives ever took the steps to renew the US copyright on images in their collections. I think we will find that practically no foreign individuals bothered to renew the US copyright on their images.

So why shouldn't we treat these images as if they were public domain, until we get a DMCA takedown request? Geo Swan (talk) 16:43, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

I'm with you on this. I have never been able to understand this notion that masses of photographs that are in the public domain in their country of origin could be considered to be copyright in America, without any evidence of a registration of copyright in the USA. Secondarywaltz (talk) 18:13, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
The law specifically says that's not needed. What's hard to understand about that?--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:09, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
Virtually all these renewal records have been scanned. But they're only relevant for US works; works that weren't first published in the US or by a US author got restored to copyright regardless. That's what the URAA means. You found a Canadian library that didn't care about US copyright; likewise I can find American libraries that don't care about Canadian copyright. Has something to do with the treaty that ended the War of 1812, I believe.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:09, 7 September 2013 (UTC)
  1. You write: "Virtually all these renewal records have been scanned." That sounds great. How about being helpful and providing a link to information about these renewal records and those scans?
  2. You write: "But they're only relevant for US works; works that weren't first published in the US or by a US author got restored to copyright regardless."
    • This is an important point. If you actually have an informed opinion on this I strongly urge you to respond more fully, to not simply dismiss this with a sarcastic quip about the War of 1812, or the War of American Independence either.
    1. Specifically, should your comment be interpreted as disputing that, up to a certain date, copyright holders were obliged to file a renewal?
    2. Are you asserting that while the copyright holders of "US works" had to pay a fee to file a renewal, to retain their US intellectual property rights for the full term, that copyright holders of non-US-works would retain their US intellectual property rights without filing a renewal?
    3. If you know the details of these renewal records would you be so kind as confirm something that I inferred from the decisions of the Hollywood studios to not file renewal requests? Do you have any reason to question my conclusion that a separate renewal was required for each separate intellectual property?
    4. If you know the details of these renewal records, do you know whether they distinguished between US-works and non-US-works?
    5. If you know the details of these renewal records, could you let the rest of us know whether the records require a mere brief verbal description, insufficient to uniquely identify the photo?
    6. If you know the details of these renewal records would you be so kind as to let the rest of us know roughly how many renewals were filed? What if US citizens only bothered to renew the copyrights of a tiny fraction of the eligible US-works? It seems to me, for instance, that if only a tiny fraction of the individuals and institutions who held the IP rights to US works bothered to file renewals it would be pointless, quixotic, an absurd exercise in being more Catholic than the Pope, to treat all foreign images as if they were protected by copyright on the exceedingly thin chance that the image was one of the extremely rare instance of a foreign image where the foreign rights holder bothered to renew their US rights.
  3. You write: "You found a Canadian library that didn't care about US copyright..." It is not helpful to use straw arguments, and mis-characterize the points those we disagree with are trying to make. You have implied something that isn't even remotely close to what I meant. Please be more careful.

    Yes, goofy foreign employees who don't respect US copyright would be irrelevant. But foreign institutions with no interest in exercising intellectual property rights they retain in the USA over theoretical rights they might retain to works that are in the public domain in their home countries is highly relevant, thank you. Geo Swan (talk) 02:37, 8 September 2013 (UTC) Since they're not relevant to the matter of this page, I'm not going to go into their details here.
I'm not getting the impression that you read Commons:URAA-restored copyrights. Foreign rights holders retroactively did not have to file or renew.
You want to overturn COM:PRP? I think it a little distracting to bring it up here, especially without clearly marking it, and I don't see why the URAA is especially relevant here.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:27, 8 September 2013 (UTC)
@Geo Swan: If there is an entity that truly wishes to surrender any US copyright they may retain to works that are in the public domain in their home country, then let them explicitly license those works under a Commons-compatible license. Surely if they have no interest in defending those rights, they would have no problem with this. The fact is, copyright holders of some foreign works can and have defended their US copyright in those works even after their home copyright expired, and we have even gotten takedown requests of this nature. I don't trust anyone who says they don't intend to defend their rights who isn't willing to actually relinquish those rights, and I certainly don't trust speculations on which people would or would not defend their rights. Dcoetzee (talk) 22:47, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
In Canada, at least, the laws surrounding government copyright are legislated. It is an impervious bureaucracy to penetrate and request any sort of action. Explanations are easy to come by, but change requires political process. It would be nice to see a group of editors devoted to persuading elected officials in various jurisdictions worldwide to enact copyright legislation that exempts Wikimedia or allows the free distribution under open-source licencing. - Floydian (talk) 02:33, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Handy route for trolling[edit]

Fancy deleting batches of a user's images, just because you can?

Tag them for URAA and they'll be speedy deleted, no discussion and no questions asked.

Michaeldsuarez is a long-banned WP user, Mancunium is Alexander Montagu, 13th Duke of Manchester a bigamist and convicted fraudster (and a duke), who recently took exception to his uncomplimentary but BLP-compliant article at WP and had his WP friends from Wikipediocracy delete it for him.

Andy Dingley (talk) 09:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

We do not speedy-delete works based on the URAA. All such deletions must proceed through Commons:Deletion requests and be carefully justified. Prior discussions were very clear on this. If you could give me a filename I could examine why it was actually deleted and if it was out-of-process. Dcoetzee (talk) 14:03, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
My talk page lists several per-book categories already deleted by Fastily. See section above for my main concern, that we're bulk deleting under URAA for in-use images that meet NFCC and could be kept despite.
Do please look at the Wikipediocracy link to see the immediate trolling. The trolling is best explained through the linked AfD (as to why Mancunium@WO is trolling), although this is a long story and also involves ArbCom's recent refusal to address the growing problem of trolling from WO.
The actual comment posted on each speedy was
This media file may meet the criteria for speedy deletion.
The given reason is: Uploader's request. Copyright violation.
For filenames try: File:Supercharged Austin Seven engine (Montagu, Cars and Motor-Cycles, 1928).jpg or the parent cat of Category:Scans from 'Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Cars and Motor-Cycles, Vol III', 1928 You might find {{Scans from 'Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, Cars and Motor-Cycles', 1928}} useful for the citation record of the source
After so many of my scans have already been deleted recently, I was warned to delete them myself or be blocked as a serial copyviolator. Accordingly all of my scans are listed at CfD (if you insist I walk the plank then that's one thing, but I'm not submitting thousands of individual deletion requests).
Andy Dingley (talk) 14:50, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Uploader request means you requested that we delete the files, so we did - we usually perform courtesy deletions provided that the files are not in use and this does not require discussion. The examples you listed above seem to fall into that category. I'm disconcerted that you received threats of blocks, when your uploads were clearly in good faith and you were not continuing to upload files affected by the URAA after the warning. If you wish you can put Category:URAA-related deletion requests/deleted on your deletion request, and I will transfer the files to Wikilivres Canada (I can do this even though they're already deleted). You can upload additional such images at that website yourself. I can also assist with transferring images back to local projects as fair use candidates, but it would be up to local users to provide a fair use rationale. Dcoetzee (talk) 15:07, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Many of this category (and the other categories) were in use at en:WP. If I've scanned anything in the last few years, it was because I needed it there and then. Also these are all scans that have been challenged under URAA, not that I've requested speedy deletion of them (and db-u1 user request isn't even a policy at Commons). I'm so glad to see that a contributor's opinion still counts for so little against that of a site-banned troll. Andy Dingley (talk) 15:25, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
To clarify (post gloating at Hedwig's talk) – none of these were ever deleted per "user request" (which isn't even accepted at Commons anyway, as licences are rightly considered irrevocable), they were listed at Cfd because I was fucking well told to do so or be banned forthwith. To see Commons admins siding with the Island of Broken Toys at Wikipediocracy and then joining in their victory dance afterwards is fucking disgusting. Andy Dingley (talk) 22:28, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Clarification needed - preliminary tests - pre-1990 buildings[edit]

The current text is

“Works not copyrightable in the United States are not affected by URAA restoration. The main exception is architectural works (i.e. buildings) constructed before December 1, 1990.”

It's unclear if this means that architectural works constructed before 1990 that were copyrighted and constructed in other countries that are otherwise URAA-eligible are an exception to the "are not affected" rules and therefore DO have copyright restored, or if, because they are not copyrightable in the USA, they are an example of an exception to URAA copyright restoration and their copyrights are NOT restored.

The same questions apply to architectural works constructed in the USA before 1990 but which were, for whatever legal reason, copyrighted in another country.

I recommend re-wording it as whichever of the following is legally accurate:

  1. Works not copyrightable in the United States are not affected by URAA restoration. A major exception to this test is that some architectural works (i.e. buildings) outside the United States constructed before December 1, 1990 and which have a non-US copyright are eligible for a Untied States copyright.
  2. Works not copyrightable in the United States are not affected by URAA restoration. A major exception to this test is that some architectural works (i.e. buildings) constructed before December 1, 1990 and which have a non-US copyright are eligible for a Untied States copyright. This applies even if the work was constructed in the United States.
  3. Works not copyrightable in the United States are not affected by URAA restoration. A major example of this is that architectural works (i.e. buildings) constructed before December 1, 1990 are not eligible for a United States copyright under the URAA.

Davidwr (talk) 23:35, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Number 3 is the accurate wording. The Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act of 1990 states: "The amendments made by this Act apply only to architectural works created on or after the date of the enactment of this Act." The URAA states: "Any work in which copyright is restored under this section shall subsist for the remainder of the term of copyright that the work would have otherwise been granted in the United States if the work never entered the public domain in the United States." Buildings constructed before 1990 would never have been granted copyright in the US, thus they have no US copyright term to restore. I also checked to make sure there are no explicit exceptions in the URAA regarding architectural works. Kaldari (talk) 22:47, 2 August 2014 (UTC)
What is the difference between buildings and sound recordings?
  • Pre-1972 sound recordings are ineligible for federal copyright. However, from what I have understood, URAA nevertheless "restored" federal copyright to pre-1972 non-U.S. sound recordings.
  • Pre-1990 buildings are ineligible for federal copyright. Wouldn't pre-1990 non-U.S. buildings nevertheless be restored by URAA, based on the sound recording logic? --Stefan4 (talk) 13:32, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
The law specifically says that restored works include those that are public domain due to "(ii) lack of subject matter protection in the case of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972". Title 17, § 104A (h)(6).--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:32, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

m:Wikilegal/Use of Foreign Works Restored under the URAA on Commons[edit]

FYI: m:Wikilegal/Use of Foreign Works Restored under the URAA on Commons was published by User:RPatel (WMF) on 20 December 2013. --whym (talk) 06:59, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

I am working on this now, and will put up a proposal to amend policy on Commons in the next day or two. It is of particular relevance to UK Crown Copyright works, among other things. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:43, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
User:MichaelMaggs, can you also take a look at the related discussion about Canada at Commons talk:WikiProject Public Domain/URAA review#Canadian Crown Copyright? --Stefan4 (talk) 16:55, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
Noted, thanks. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:57, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

New policy proposal: Hosting of content released to the global public domain[edit]

Please see the related proposal at Commons:Hosting of content released to the global public domain. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:56, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Accepting URAA-restored public domain works as "fair use" at Japanese Wikipedia[edit]

I would like to let interested Commons users know about that Japanese Wikipedia has started the 6-month experimental phase of ja:Wikipedia:日本で著作権が消滅し、米国で著作権が消滅していない画像の利用方針 ("policy on the use of images with copyright expired in Japan but not in the United States of America"), a non-free content policy to accept URAA-restored Japanese public domain works as "fair use" regarding the restored copyright in the USA. I'm also wondering if this can be a (partial) solution more broadly to the URAA-affected files on Commons.

At Japanese Wikipedia, the goal of the new policy is to accept, without hassle, more of those almost free files that are affected by URAA. A quick summary of the policy in experimentation is that ja.wikipedia now accepts a file if: 1) its source country is Japan, 2) the copyright of the work in question expired in Japan, and 3) it is used on Japanese Wikipedia in a way that can be considered "fair use" (in the interpretation mostly equivalent to enwiki's); that is, it needs to be small enough, and needs to be displayed on a closely related article to illustrate the subject. Prior to this, the copyright policy on ja.wikipedia had been that, to be accepted, any file needs to be free both in Japan and in the USA, except for another class of non-free content regarding freedom of panorama. Files accepted under the new policy are categorized into ja:Category:日本ではパブリックドメインにあり、米国でパブリックドメインにない画像 ("images in the public domain in Japan but not in the United States").

I think an implication of this to us (Commons users) is that we might want to move or copy some of the applicable files, or suggest doing that to Japanese Wikipedia users. In particular, if a Japanese work whose copyright expired in Japan but was restored in the USA is subject to deletion on Commons, then Commons users might want to consider such options of moving. I also would like administrators to know that users from Japanese Wikipedia might request temporary undeletion of applicable non-free files for moving it over to ja.wikipedia, more frequently than before.

Note that this does not need a non-US fair-use rationale based on the local law, as long as the work in question is in the public domain locally. whym (talk) 05:59, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the announcement Whym. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 22:12, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Except that anything uploaded there is practically crippled. We can't use it anywhere. --CyberXRef 15:19, 9 March 2014 (UTC)
The point, I would assume, is to have a place to keep the files so they are not lost. Any other wiki that has fair use could then make a copy (reduced in size if necessary by policy) for use on that Wiki. --Trlkly (talk) 10:44, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Would the Stroop Report be an example of wartime "alien property"?[edit]

Under "Exceptions", one of the exceptions mentioned is that of wartime "alien property". Among the content that is actually on Commons, at least some of the material from the Stroop Report has been marked with the license tag {{PD-US-alien property}}, among others. If the Stroop Report is a case of wartime "alien property" for the purposes of the URAA, then it might be useful to mention the Stroop Report as an example in addition to (or instead of) Mein Kampf, given that material from the Stroop Report has actually been uploaded to Commons. --Gazebo (talk) 05:49, 9 May 2017 (UTC)