Commons talk:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review

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German stamps review[edit]

First revision of this page was copied from

After the preliminary injunction regarding the Loriot stamps, there's now a final decision by the Landgericht Berlin, published 27 March 2012: File:Loriot decision.pdf. This court decision against the Wikimedia Foundation says clearly that stamps are copyrighted in Germany, citing newer legal commentaries, so the stance here that stamps are PD in Germany, based on older decisions and commentaries, has become insupportable. For convenience, I'll quote what I wrote regarding this matter over at Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-German stamps:

I changed Commons:Stamps/Public_domain#Germany according to the new situation. The decision by the German court (Landgericht Berlin) dated 27 March 2012 states indeed very clearly: "Von § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG werden nur Sprachwerke erfasst, nicht aber Werke der bildenden Kunst" (as Peter Weis says: applies only to literary works). Furthermore: "Auch $ 5 Abs. 2 UrhG ist für Postwertzeichen nicht einschlägig. Postwertzeichen werden nicht im amtlichen Interesse zur allgemeinen Kenntnisnahme veröffentlicht, da kein amtliches Interesse an der freien Verwertung besteht. Denn sie werden nicht zur allgemeinen Kenntnisnahme veröffentlicht, sondern zum allgemeinen Gebrauch im Geldverkehr herausgebracht." I.e. stamps are not considered a work that is published "for the attention of the general public" (zur allgemeinen Kenntnisnahme) as a matter of official concern ("im amtlichen Interesse"). Forgive my rough translation, I'm not well-versed in translating German legalese into English... Anway, all this means that stamps are not in the public domain in Germany, except individual cases where other reasons for them being in the public domain apply (e.g. creator dead for more than 70 years or just a simple design). E.g. I think that File:Stamp Germany 1999 MiNr2041 Deutsche Briefmarken.jpg probably is still copyright-free (as it only reproduces stamps of 150 years ago and some simple text), or File:Stamp Germany 1996 Briefmarke Europa Paula Modersohn-Becker.jpg (a self-portrait by Paula Modersohn-Becker who died in 1907). The latter would be PD-Art, I think. But most German stamps on Commons are copyright violations and should be deleted quickly, as well as this template, of course.

So... most files in Category:Deutsche Bundespost stamps and in Category:Deutsche Post stamps are copyright violations, as well as in many other subcategories of Category:Stamps of Germany, but not all. Certainly many are still PD due to age (there are very old stamps, too, e.g. from the 19th century with very-long-dead creators) or as PD-Art as the Modersohn-Becker example above (only reproducing public domain art), but those would now need the appropriate fitting templates (PD-old-70, PD-Art...). As we now know, however, that most stamps are a copyright violation, is there a way to delete the files quicker than usual? Gestumblindi (talk) 21:40, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

We could use Commons:WikiProject Public Domain to help organise it, if necessary. Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/URAA review is a similar task which hasn't got that far (!) but it does have a sensible To Do list that may be helpful as a starting point. Rd232 (talk) 22:13, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
According to a transclusion count the template is used 1237 times. That's the group of items we need to focus on. While other German stamps might feature wrong licences as well (CC licences and GFDL for 2D scans or wrongly attributed with {{PD-old}} even though the author is unknown), those 1.237 items are directly affected by this situation. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 23:15, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
That's a good start. But we probably don't want to just delete them all immediately - German Wikipedia doesn't have Fair Use, but some other projects do, so we should consider notifying projects using the files (non-fair use projects can at least know what happened, and try and find an alternative). Rd232 (talk) 23:28, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Not all of them, anyway, as several of them are probably in the public domain for other reasons (e.g. the Modersohn-Becker one mentioned above is using this template, but probably PD-Art could be applied). Gestumblindi (talk) 00:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
A procedural question: changing the licence templates for those stamps which can still remain on the Commons for the reasons mentioned above is rather easy. But what about those images which will be affected by the sentence? Do we tag them? Do we create a category? Do we individually nominate them for deletion? Thanks for your feedback on this issue. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 07:31, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Regarding stamps, what about those tagged with {{PD-German Empire stamps}}? Pre-1942 stamps are out of copyright due to their age and we should have a bot replace those templates with PD-old. But stamps from the era 1942-1945 also refer to the "official work" claim that has been turned down by the court. I guess we should therefore also delete {{PD-German Empire stamps}} and those images of Third Reich stamps that are still copyrighted. De728631 (talk) 19:15, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

That's just wrong. {{PD-Old}} applies for 70 years PMA, not for 70 years after publication. A case by case decision is required here as well. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 21:05, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
You're right, I confused that. We're talking about individual authorship now. De728631 (talk) 21:16, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Additionally, if the artists of the 1940s German stamps didn't die before 1926, the stamps are copyrighted in the United States because of the URAA, and so they need to go away anyway. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:16, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
That means we can already dump all stamps with a portrait of Hitler or other Nazi officials on them. De728631 (talk) 14:02, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

The key words here for me were This court decision against the Wikimedia Foundation. I propose the following necessary action:

  • Rapidly marking any stamps as obvious new copyright violations for speedy deletion. If nobody is prepared to "triage" the relevant categories then all images in categories such as Category:Deutsche Post stamps should now be marked as eligible for deletion as copyright violations.
  • For those that want to help with triage, then a hidden category to create a backlog list of stamps requiring review against the criteria of the court decision should be created, now, so that we can show we are actively reviewing the copyright of any stamp which requires assessment. At least at that point we can size the problem and decide how widely we need to advertize for more volunteers to help sort this out.

If no action is taken soon (such as over the next week) then we should do the honourable thing and formally ask for WMF office action (or visible non-action, and it then becomes their fault for doing nothing rather than the Commons community). Thanks -- (talk) 18:37, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

  • As far as I have understood, there has already been an office action, resulting in the deletion of some stamps in November last year. I seem to understand that this court decision against the Wikimedia Foundation was related to some specific stamps by some specific artist (en:Vicco von Bülow), and the stamps by that artist have now been deleted. Lots of stamps by other artists should of course also be deleted, but as long as other artists haven't started lawsuits against the Wikimedia Foundation, I would assume that we could handle them using the normal methods ({{Copyvio}}, {{Delete}}). See Special:Log/WMFOffice for logs related to the office action. --Stefan4 (talk) 18:49, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
    • Thanks for this procedural input Fae. I think it's not about triaging the right content categories (such as Category:Deutsche Post stamps), it's about selecting the appropriate templates and look for. While content categories feature a lot of other problems (URAA restoration issues, copyfraud through CC and GFDL assessments for 2D reproductions or lacking OTRS tickets if these claims should be justified, etc.), it's the files affected by certain templates we need to focus on. The court pointed out §5 UhrG Abs. 1 of the German copyright law, when explaining why the Loriot stamps can not be official works (Amtliche Werke) and therefore not part of the public domain. The court's argumentation says that §5 UhrG Abs. 1 applies for literary works (Sprachwerke) only, excluding works of the visual arts (Werke der bildenden Kunst) - the latter was true for the Loriot stamps and hence they are not subject to §5 UhrG Abs. 1. If browsing through the German stamps categories one will notice that a lot of these feature artworks, photographies and other Werke der bildenden Kunst. The aim is to discriminate between files we can keep for other reasons than §5 UhrG Abs. 1 and files we have to delete for various other reasons. In a best case scenario all German stamps would be reviewed, yet we need to keep things real and stick to our objectives.
In a nutshell: only images claiming to be in the public domain due to §5 UhrG Abs. 1 need to be reviewed in accordance with the court's decision.
Here's a short idea on who to actually proceed (non-exhaustive, feel free to edit):
Pictogram voting question-blue.svg Request Could someone with technical skills create the hidden Category:German stamps review based on files that are using either {{PD-German stamps}} or {{PD-German Empire stamps}}?
  • Delete if: either none of the possible templates above does not apply, the file is fully copyrighted in the USA (due to URAA restoration; will apply for authors who died between 1926 and 1942 in most case),
All in favour, yae or nay? Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 22:42, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Support Thanks for thinking it through Peter. This looks like some of this might be usefully done by a request on Commons:Bots/Work_requests. -- (talk) 22:46, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support but can you use {{PD-1923}} instead of the less specific {{PD-US}}? --Stefan4 (talk) 23:06, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
    • I never got the idea why they co-exist... Changed as requested. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 23:16, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
Does it matter in any way that the court restricted its decision to German jurisdiction? On page 2, paragraph 1: "[the interim injunction] is upheld with the proviso that the prohibition is declared merely for the area of the Federal Republic" (Dies gilt unter der Maßgabe, dass die Untersagung lediglich für den Bereich der Bundesrepublik Deutschland ausgesprochen wird.) Should non-German Wikipedias which apply fair-use rules be notified with a view of transferring such stamps? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:46, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
It doesn't matter for the Commons via Commons:Licensing#Interaction_of_United_States_copyright_law_and_non-US_copyright_law. Since Germany is the country of origin for most underlying artworks or stamp designs, we must not use material that can not be covered. Furthermore many uploads were done from Germany and hence German law applies in those cases as well. Nonetheless it seems wise to find a "safe haven" for stamps which are about to be deleted - fair use would require to limit resolution and quality in a lot of cases. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 10:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

It will take a while to sort this out properly - I think it best to move discussion and management of this to its own page. I've created Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review as an overview. Discussion can go to Commons talk:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review. Rd232 (talk) 09:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I moved the discussion. Hope that's done appropriately. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 09:47, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I changed the formatting, because if the conversation is going to continue above, then the "start copy" / "end copy" will not be correct any more. A link to the first revision of the page, showing the copied content, is enough, I think. Rd232 (talk) 10:06, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Thank you everyone for taking the time this year to treat this situation properly. I tried to address it five years ago, but the result was keep. It is a shame that it took a court decision to tip the scales.   — Jeff G. ツ 03:31, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

Free City of Danzig[edit]

There are lots of stamps issued by the Free City of Danzig but tagged with PD German Empire stamps. That is however inaccurate since Danzig at that time was not a formal part of the German Empire but was administered by the League of Nations as a semi-autonomous entity. The original Danzig stamps were not issued by Deutsche Reichspost but the city of Danzig, however, there are Reichspost stamps with "Danzig" printed on them afterwards. After German occupation during WW 2 the city was then ceded to Poland.

How are we to deal with such stamps? Since Danzig/Gdansk is now part of Poland I suppose that Poczta Polska is the legal successor for those publications. And judging from the fact that there are no recent Polish stamps on Commons they are apparently unfree. There are however Polish stamps up to 1939. So what's the threshold here? De728631 (talk) 16:26, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I have noticed that even stamps from the Free City of Danzig published in 1921 (so before 1923!) have been nominated for deletion. I always thought that anything published before 1923 was not copyrighted anymore. I understand less and less about your copyright policy... Sijtze Reurich (talk) 06:06, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

@Sijtze Reurich: Hi,
The 1923 date is for US works. However these stamps might be OK for another reason. Can you give a link to the deletion request? Regards, Yann (talk) 07:17, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Here is one of them: File:Danzig 1921 53 Kogge.jpg. The other eight stamps of the same series have been nominated too. The stamps were designed at Druckerei J. Sauer, the firm that printed them. Kind regards, Sijtze Reurich (talk) 07:39, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
The stamps are not signed, so I think they should be covered by {{Anonymous-EU}}. I don't see any DR. The warning means that the license should be fixed. You can do that. ;o) Regards, Yann (talk) 08:35, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks a lot for your suggestion. I changed the license to {{Anonymous-EU}}. The Danziger air mail stamps of 1921, which have also incorrectly been tagged with PD German Empire stamps, were designed by Max Buchholz. I have not found out the year of his death yet. Sijtze Reurich (talk) 15:28, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
A Google search throws up a birth date, 13 February 1878, for Max Buchholz but the djvu file found here appears blank when I download it so I cannot see if there is other infomration about him. Maybe someone else can try. Ww2censor (talk)
Yes, I found his birth date too and I cannot open the djvu file either. The relevant thing is the year he died, but that data is still missing. Sijtze Reurich (talk) 20:27, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
  • If a stamp comes from the Free City of Danzig, then you first need to identify the source country of the stamp. I believe that the Free City of Danzig never was a member of the Berne Convention (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). This means that the source country is the country where the author is or was a citizen or resident. Some countries seem to use the present country (or the country at death if the author is dead) whereas other countries seem to use the country at creation. The Berne Convention is not clear on which country to use if the country at creation and the present country are different. This means that the source country depends on the country in which the rights holder decides to sue. I'm not sure how Commons handles the situation where there is not a unique source country but where different countries have different opinions on this. Also, many citizens of the Free City of Danzig later became citizens and residents of Nazi Germany or Poland. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:35, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

1945 post-war changes[edit]

Similar to the Danzig stamps above there are original German Empire stamps which were seized by non-German governments after the end of German occupation, e.g. File:BuM1945Domazliceovpt.jpg which has a Czechoslovak imprint on it. Although designed by German artists and issued by the German postage, these stamps have apparently changed their legal authority. So should they be dealt with according to the law that applies in the "country of imprint"?

Per Commons:Licensing#Interaction_of_United_States_copyright_law_and_non-US_copyright_law we rely on the "country of origin", hence the "country of imprint" does not matter. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK

Review edit summary[edit]

May I suggest that instead of the currently recommended edit summary "+review via" the following be used because it creates a clickable link in the edit summary:

"+review via [[Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review]]"

This will assist editors who see these edits on their watchlist. It is also shorter. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 17:37, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Good idea. De728631 (talk) 18:23, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
✓ Done Rd232 (talk) 22:09, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Tag for future undelete[edit]

Is it possible to apply a tag/template to deleted files which indicates the time when they can be undeleted? The Category:German stamps review delete currently contains three stamps designed by Ferdinand Spiegel who died in 1950. Will they become PD in 2020? That's not very far away. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 17:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

See for example: Category:Undelete in 2021. --Túrelio (talk) 18:00, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Can the instructions be amended to this effect? Or is that part of the later deletion process? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 18:16, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Good point. Maybe we can make a subpage which can then be included in each year category, eg Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review/undelete in 2021 would list files to be undeleted in 2021, and that page would be categorised in Category:Undelete in 2021. Rd232 (talk) 22:29, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Go ahead. Suggesting to add undeletion tags where appropraite seems to be fine. Yet, these stamps do not quality for the aforementioned category. Due to URAA restoration rules, these stamps will be public domain in the USA for 95 years after publication, and hence fall into the public domain in the 96th year. Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 22:38, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Hum. Right now the furthest we're looking ahead is Category:Undelete in 2080... Well I've created Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review/undeletion as a holding page (we can create year subpages later) and added a note. Rd232 (talk) 22:50, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Review procedure[edit]

Commons:WikiProject Public Domain/German stamps review#Review procedure for 2D reproductions of stamps, point 2, currently reads: "Remove {{PD-German Empire stamps}} or {{PD-German stamps}}". I assume this is meant only for cases where any of the three PD templates suggested in point 3 are applied in the process. That's how files in the Category:German stamps review delete have been processed so far. On the other hand, maybe the templates should indeed be removed and some other, non-free, template applied.
Nitpick: The second step 1 asks to change the Category:German stamps review to one of the keep/delete categories; there is no such category to be found in those files because it is inherited from the two templates mentioned above. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 18:12, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

You can always add the relevant new category directly to the file page. Just insert [[Category:German stamps review keep]]. De728631 (talk) 18:22, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I've changed the templates and procedure to improve this. Category:German stamps review delete files should be removed from Category:German stamps review - so I've made |reviewdelete=yes as a parameter for the stamps templates which does this. (I hope the revised procedure is clear.) Rd232 (talk) 22:26, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
Could you add a |reviewdelete=no option that does the same for Category:German stamps review keep? Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 23:32, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I considered that, but I thought it better to just remove the old template, and add the "keep" category manually. That way, we'll eventually get to a point with zero transclusions of the old templates, and we can then change them into a simple "this is no longer a valid license tag" template (with explanation) which transcludes {{Copyvio}}. Rd232 (talk) 15:07, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Stamps tagged with Template:PD-Deutsche Bundespost Berlin stamps[edit]

Hello Experts,

just FYI: Did you realize that there is another widely used license template for german stamps apart from {{PD-German stamps}} and {{PD-German Empire stamps}}? {{PD-Deutsche Bundespost Berlin stamps}} refers to § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG too, but does not put the images in Category:German stamps review atm. Greetings, --El Grafo (talk) 12:22, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. ✓ Done Regards, PETER WEIS TALK 22:13, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Found some more: {{PD-Deutsche Bundespost stamps}}, {{PD-GDR stamps}}, {{Bild-PD-Amtliches Werk (Deutsche Briefmarke)}} and {{PD-DBZ stamps}}. All of them are for stamps and they all refer to § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG, so the images tagged with them should probably checked too, right? --El Grafo (talk) 11:54, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
sure, PD-GDR stamps and PD-DBZ stamps have always been completely baseless; despite multiple requests from my side, nobody has ever been able to show me that those stamps even were published in an Amtsblatt.Pill (talk) 12:45, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
<quetsch>My english is very poor, so i write in german. Please translate.
Hallo Pill, wo bitte hast du mehrfach nach einem Beleg im Amtsblatt gefragt? Das de:Portal:Philatelie ist aktiv, dort jedenfalls warst du nie. Bitte Butter bei die Fische und Difflinks, oder unterlasse solche Aussagen.
Hier ist die Abbildung der ersten Sondermarke der DDR 1949 in einem Amtsblatt, hier die der letzten 1990. Die dazwischenliegenden Amtsblätter kannst du dir in der Philatelistischen Bibliothek Hamburg ansehen. Gruss --Nightflyer (talk) 19:57, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Frage: willst du damit sagen, dass die DDR-Briefmarken eine Ausnahme sind? Rd232 (talk) 21:14, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Nein. Es war eine Antwort auf Pill. Ich hab mich nur um mein Gebiet gekümmert, also DDR. Welche Vorgänger (SBZ) oder BRD/Saarland/Berlin dort vorhanden sind, weiss ich nicht. Die Bibliothek hat nur Dienstags und Donnerstags auf. Wenn es als sinnvoll erachtet wird, fahr ich wieder hin. Dann bitte einen Hinweis an mich. Gruss --Nightflyer (talk) 21:46, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
✓ Done - plus {{PD-German postmarks}}. Rd232 (talk) 15:03, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
ok, {{PD-German postmarks}} beats them all in terms of absurdity; luckily, much will be PD-ineligble, I suppose. —Pill (talk) 15:27, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

We're now at 8,225 files in Category:German stamps review... Rd232 (talk) 15:08, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Stamp designers[edit]

I've gone ahead and deleted all the stamps in Category:Erich Meerwald (d. 1973) - which left it empty, so I deleted the category. If we look in Category:Designers of stamps, that's probably more efficient than reviewing the big Category:German stamps review: a decision about one file will apply to all the files in the category, unless there's reason to think the designer wasn't the main author. There are examples of that in Category:Herbert Stelzer, where 4 stamps by Stelzer are based on work by Creator:Veit Stoß, so I've marked them PD-Old. Comments? Rd232 (talk) 19:26, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Did you follow the review procedure? I would like to have a look at Category:German stamps review delete before the files are actually deleted. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 11:56, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
I was following it, but using VisualFileChange I couldn't get the mass replace to quite work, so I used it to mass delete instead. I realise it's not ideal, which is why I didn't do any more, but I'm confident those deletions were correct. Rd232 (talk) 12:43, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
The approach you are trying to use is not really efficient, since your decision seems to rely solely on 70 years PMA. While authors could have created designs that fail to meet the threshold of originality or may remain on the Commons for other reasons, you would also unnecessarily delete these designs. There's no way around individual review. Regards, Peter Weis (talk) 19:49, 6 July 2012 (UTC)
Deleting files based on a single editor's assessment is not the Wikipedia way, is it? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 04:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
It can be where obvious copyright violations are involved. Rd232 (talk) 08:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I reviewed files individually for threshold of originality and indications that Meerwald was not the primary author. Rd232 (talk) 08:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
In Category:Herbert Stelzer there are more than just four stamps which could be kept, because they show works of people more who have died more than 70 years ago. Maybe it was the same in Category:Erich Meerwald, but there is no way we could know now. May I request that you undelete these images, so that we can at least have a look? -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 07:44, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
I mentioned the first four in the Stelzer category because I reviewed those. I have not reviewed the others. This was not the case for the Meerwald category - the designs appeared to be all original to him. I don't intend to restore copyvios, but you're welcome to ask another admin to review the deleted files. Rd232 (talk) 08:25, 7 July 2012 (UTC)
See User talk:Rd232#Wiederherstellungsbitte. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 21:23, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

List of German stamp designers[edit]

Rd232 (talk) 14:13, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Rd232 (talk) 14:28, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Category:Deutsche Bundespost stamps[edit]

Doesn't this category (and its associated template) give a completely incorrect statement about the copyright status of the images? --Stefan4 (talk) 12:22, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes. I've added {{PD German stamps warning}}. Rd232 (talk) 13:39, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
...and added {{PD-Deutsche Bundespost stamps}} to the review list, which brings us to over 10,000 files affected... Rd232 (talk) 13:56, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

PD-GermanGov and related[edit]

And what about other things which are not stamps? For example, Category:PD Germany seems to consist mostly of files with {{PD-GermanGov}} which claims that the file is free because of "§ 5 Abs. 1 UrhG". This project page states that "In the Loriot stamps case decision the Landgericht Berlin decided that § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG only applies for literary works (Sprachwerke) and not for works of the visual arts (Werke der bildenden Kunst)." However, most of those "§ 5 Abs. 1 UrhG" files seem to be artistic works, so doesn't this mean that there are additionally around 30,000 other files (not stamps) which also have to be reviewed which may only be kept if they are old, simple or literary works? --Stefan4 (talk) 19:03, 9 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm afraid you're probably right! And presumably the same applies also to {{PD-Flag-Germany}} and {{PD-Coa-Germany}} and possibly {{PD-BW}}, making over 60,000 files to review (including the 10k stamps already covered, as the stamp templates categorise into Category:PD Germany too). Oh my. Rd232 (talk) 19:28, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Should we set up a separate page for these non-stamps affected by the Loriot decision, or include them here? Rd232 (talk) 17:18, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

There seem to be three big categories: philately, numismatics and heraldry. Maybe it would be a good idea to have separate sections for each category so that experts in one of those topics can go to a section dealing only with that topic? For example, the designers of money and stamps are presumably usually known (for example listed in specialised catalogues), and experts might be able to locate the names in those catalogues. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:57, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
That makes sense, but I'm not sure how easy it is. I've edited the stamp templates to put stamps in Category:PD German stamps instead of Category:PD Germany, so they're out of the way. For currency: Commons:Currency doesn't even have an entry for Germany... :( For heraldry: I suppose we can apply {{PD-Coa-Germany}} instead of {{PD-GermanGov}} - it's wrong, but at least it'll put the file in Category:PD Coa Germany‎. Rd232 (talk) 19:09, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Bundesbank has some details here about reproduction on websites with "SPECIMEN" across the banknote. I'm not sure what the conclusion is though. Rd232 (talk) 19:16, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I've raised the currency issue for wider discussion at Commons:Village_pump/Copyright#German_currency. Rd232 (talk) 13:25, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

This is nonsense. There's only one judgment depending stamps - there are also others (an these say it in an other way). The next court could see it in another way. As long as nobody want's us to delete things and goes to the court, we don't neet to change or delete here anything! It's sometimes strange, how fast some users try to end the freedom at Commons! Marcus Cyron (talk) 20:57, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Just FYI: In Germany we don't have case law. A juridical decision only applies to the case it is referring to. Even if it is making a broader statement. --Saint-Louis (talk) 21:08, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
The 1986 Munich decision appears an aberration; the academic literature supports the 2012 Berlin decision (see de:Amtliche_Briefmarke_(Deutschland)#Rechtsprechung). It's true in Germanic civil law the academic literature plays a significant role (more so than precedent), but on this basis, it's not likely another court will interpret the meaning of the statutory law differently at least in regard to stamps. In extending the logic of the court's argument beyond stamps it would be helpful if we knew more about what the academic literature said about that. Rd232 (talk) 22:07, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I think, Marcus, that there are no users participating in this discussion out of a desire "to end the freedom at Commons". It seems to me that there are two conflicting basic views, which however both intend to strengthen Commons: Those who tend to keep material with disputed or (to us) unclear legal status think that it's best for Commons to have as much material as possible, and that interpreting any copyright law and any court decision in the way most favorable to keeping more material at Commons is furthering the cause, maybe some see it also as part of a fight for a more liberal, open copyright. Those wo tend to delete in doubt are following COM:PRP. This is based on the assumption that it's best for Commons to have only material which is as securely and guarenteed free as possible, minimizing the risk for uploaders, Wikimedia, and especially the re-users. Those using Commons material should be able to do so confident that all Commons material is truly free and using it according to the given license (or PD statement) will surely not infringe on any copyright. Well, you see that I'm of the latter camp and pretty much favour COM:PRP - Commons is a huge repository of fascinating and helpful material, and it will continue to grow and get more helpful, even if we delete all German stamps or similar material where there are doubts regarding the freeness. Following COM:PRP, imho, strengthens the "freedom at Commons". Gestumblindi (talk) 00:47, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
+1. Rd232 (talk) 09:10, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

First, you have to make a difference between old stamps published before the German post office was privatised and those published thereafter. Both the Berlin judgement and the literature you refer to deals only with the latter case. And then, you may not mix up stamps with other material that is in the public domain under the said clause of German copyright law. Stamps are a different matter, as the Berlin court explicitly said.--Aschmidt (talk) 22:26, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

The Berlin judgement makes no distinction before/after privatization that I can find, and the "Hauptzweck Wertraeger, nicht Informationstraeger" argument (main purpose is store of value, not provision of information) speaks against it, since that's no different before and after. See page 11, IV 1.(a). Rd232 (talk) 00:03, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
You have to have a basic understanding of German law in order to understand this recent case. It deals only with the Loriot stamps that have been published after the privatisation of the German post service. What's more, it deals only with the legal charges raised by Loriot's daughter in respect to these stamps. So, it does not deal with other German stamps, nor does it deal with stamps published before the privatisation of the German post service.--Aschmidt (talk) 00:08, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
But you can't deny that the court says, IMHO in utmost clarity, that according to their opinion § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG isn't applicable for images at all. Yes, the decision is dealing only with the Loriot case, but isn't it very likely that other courts would judge similarly in similar cases? Gestumblindi (talk) 00:22, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) As I read the Berlin judgement, it makes no difference whatsoever whether it's about stamps before or after privatisation. Firstly, they say clearly that § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG isn't applicable because it applies only to "Sprachwerke" (i.e. text), not to images. This is a very general statement and they don't say this only with regard to stamps. And then, they say, in this case stamp-specific, that $ 5 Abs. 2 UrhG is applicable neither, because "kein amtliches Interesse an der freien Verwertung [der Postwertzeichen] besteht. Denn sie werden nicht zur allgemeinen Kenntnisnahme veröffentlicht, sondern zum allgemeinen Gebrauch im Geldverkehr herausgebracht". I don't see where they would make any distinction between pre- and post-privatisation stamps. - Anyway, if Commons is to follow the Berlin decision, I'd say that {{PD-GermanGov}}, which refers to § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG, can only be used for text - not for images of any kind. If $ 5 Abs. 2 were applicable, the media would be non-free for Commons purposes still, as Abs. 2 clearly says that modifications are forbidden ("Änderungsverbot", referring to § 62). For Commons purposes, modifications must be allowed. Gestumblindi (talk) 00:06, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
As I've already said, you have to have a basic understanding of German law in order to understand the case.--Aschmidt (talk) 00:28, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
That's a very fine argument and a helpful answer indeed, thank you ;-) Gestumblindi (talk) 00:33, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

I would like to ask you to refrain from any further deletion of the files discussed here for the time being. I have asked Geoff Brigham for advice. Of course, he is out of office at present, travelling to Wikimania. Could you please wait to hear his opinion? We should ask a legal expert who really knows what he is talking about before destroying many hours of work by German Wikipedia volunteers. – Thanks.--Aschmidt (talk) 00:26, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Brigham is American, and in any case the WMF doesn't offer advice to the community. There are no plans to delete files immediately, so we can wait for a reply, but I don't expect much. I would point out as well that these issues were discussed at de:Wikipedia_Diskussion:Bildrechte#Text.C3.A4nderungen_Briefmarken in late 2011, before the Berlin court decision. PS You commented at Commons:Loriot Signature Background; I don't know why you expect Geoff to give a different answer than the one he gave there. Rd232 (talk) 00:39, 12 July 2012 (UTC)
Any news? Rd232 (talk) 22:34, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Because of the community ongoing interest in this complicated topic, we decided to work with German counsel to provide this general note on copyright in German stamps. As you know, we cannot provide legal advice to the community (since we only represent the Wikimedia Foundation); nevertheless, we hope that this note - which is open to editing and comments by the community - might assist as one starting point as the community discusses and elaborates on the issue in its effort to move towards a consensus on this issue. Geoffbrigham (talk) 17:47, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I've added a note about the legal commentary on the 1986 case. Rd232 (talk) 22:23, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
You're right. We are drafting a paragraph or two to address the 1986 case. I hope to have it posted within 48 hours. Geoffbrigham (talk) 00:45, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
It is now up. Cheers. Geoffbrigham (talk) 23:04, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I think it's very interesting: The Berlin court is consistent with the vast majority of the legal commentators. It appears likely that this view does not relate to, or depend on, whether or not a particular stamp was published in the official gazette of the competent ministry (pre 1995) or on a website or other publication of what is now the Deutsche Post AG as a private enterprise (post 1995). Neither the Munich court (because it applied only § 5(1)) nor the Berlin court makes any such distinction. Indeed. I found Aschmidt's assumption that there's some difference between pre- and post-privatisation stamps not very convincing from the beginning. Gestumblindi (talk) 01:10, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Not even all official text is an Amtliches Werk[edit]

The Landgericht Berlin decided that § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG only applies for literary works (Sprachwerke) and not for works of the visual arts (Werke der bildenden Kunst). Now here's a bombshell for you: per de:Amtliches_Werk#Deutschland, not even all official text is an Amtliches Werk. § 5 (1) is said to be about laws and official announcements and decisions ("Gesetze, Verordnungen, amtliche Erlasse und Bekanntmachungen sowie Entscheidungen und amtlich verfaßte Leitsätze zu Entscheidungen"). The more catch-all § 5 (2) ("other official works") requires the public interest to need the widespread dissemination of the work and exceed the interests of the author ("Das öffentliche Interesse muss gegenüber dem Verwertungsinteresse des Verfassers des Werkes überwiegen und die möglichst weite und von Urheberrechten freie Verbreitung erfordern."). Rd232 (talk) 22:34, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

You're right, but that's not exactly news. Not every pamphlet, every website, whatever issued by the German government is an official work (amtliches Werk); that category was always rather restricted to laws, regulations, court decisions and the like. --Rosenzweig τ 23:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Well it was certainly news to me. And I think it strengthens concerns about Commons' liberal use of § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG, since it helps clarify the law-makers' intent. Rd232 (talk) 00:16, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
Wherein do you see "Commons' liberal use of § 5 Abs. 1 UrhG"? Template:PD-GermanGov only has that group of works and nothing else: "This image is in the public domain according to German copyright law because it is part of a statute, ordinance, official decree or judgment (official work) issued by a German federal or state authority or court (§ 5 Abs.1 UrhG)." --Rosenzweig τ 16:31, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The template, yes. But look at Category:PD Germany, which the template categorises into. Some are written textual official things which the law clearly intends to cover. Most are currency, coats of arms, military symbols and the like, and it isn't clear at all that these are covered. Rd232 (talk) 17:00, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
The official coats of arms covered by Template:PD-Coa-Germany are normally part of announcements which make them official, so they are covered by § 5 Abs.1 UrhG. You can read a lot about that at Template talk:PD-Coa-Germany. Some may not be, but then they are most likely either quite old or lack originality or both. That may be true for a lot of the other coa too. The military symbols are part of some official Bundeswehr regulations/announcements I guess, but I don't know exactly about them. The stamps were until recently considered to be covered by this too. As you well know, even a court decided so. Unfortunately, another court recently decided otherwise, and lacking a decision from a court that ranks higher than those two courts, it seems they'll be deleted. --Rosenzweig τ 17:39, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
OK, I read the Coa discussion and Lupo/Steschke discussion and added a note on the template page; this makes sense to me now. But use of the specific Coa template would be much preferable for those files. Assuming the military symbols are covered by {{PD-BW}}, the files should use that (and if they're not, are they covered by PD-GermanGov??). That mostly leaves currency, which is a problem I've not found any answer to. Rd232 (talk) 10:05, 26 July 2012 (UTC)


Please note:

" § 4 (1) UrhG: (1) Sammlungen von Werken, Daten oder anderen unabhängigen Elementen, die aufgrund der Auswahl oder Anordnung der Elemente eine persönliche geistige Schöpfung sind (Sammelwerke), werden, unbeschadet eines an den einzelnen Elementen gegebenenfalls bestehenden Urheberrechts oder verwandten Schutzrechts, wie selbständige Werke geschützt."

The deletion of this stamp-collections [1], [2], [3], etc is an infrigement of german law. --A. Wagner (talk) 19:45, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Assuming that those pages count as Sammelwerke, the quoted law means you have an independent copyright of them. But in creating those pages on Commons you've licensed that collection on the same CC-by-SA terms as all contributions. So yes, you can require attribution if someone copies the whole collection; no, you can't require Commons to host it. Rd232 (talk) 20:04, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
Nur weil die Zusammenstellung geschützt ist, bricht damit nicht der ursprüngliche Urheberrechtsstatus weg. Und das Löschen dieser Werke ist sowieso kein Verstoss gegen deutsches Recht. -- 20:06, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Notifying the articles[edit]

It seems that following the images reviews one thing missing it that there does not appear to be any consideration given to posting a deletion notice for each usage of the offending images. Notifying each wiki which files are due for deletion will likely fly under the radar of editors who may have an interest in local uploading for their individual appropriate uses on wikis that allow fair-use. Many stamps are used in biographies, either as full stamps or cropped images, and the deletion may happen without any notice which page watchers might see for article that contain not ok images. Perhaps this is rather complex but we have the Commons Notification Bot that places a deletion notice on article talk pages which might indeed do though it would be better to modify image captions with a notice instead as I even miss such talk page notices on pages I watch. Ww2censor (talk) 03:31, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Pre-1942 stamps[edit]

Stamps issued before 1942 are in the public domain in Germany, if the name of the author isn't mentioned on the stamp. Please do not delete any of these stamps. Stamps issued from 1926 to 1941 may not in the public domain in the United States. But instead of deleting them, they may be moved to, where we bother only about German, Austrian and Swiss law, but not about US law. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 21:51, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

Have you told the foundation that you ignore US law?Geni (talk) 01:22, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Is there a rule that not only all files on Commons, but also all files on all Wikimedia projects must be in the public domain in the United States? For the rules applied on the German language Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Bildrechte. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 14:36, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Have you read the link you cite?
Es gibt Anzeichen, dass die Wikimedia Foundation diese Grundregel auch für die anderen Projekte als verbindlich erachtet, soweit diese keine Ausnahmeregelung beschlossen haben. Es liegen dazu Äußerungen von Mike Godwin und Anthere vom November 2007 bzw. Januar 2008 vor auf Meta. Dies bedeutet, dass keine Inhalte auf Wikimedia-Servern geduldet werden, deren Veröffentlichung gegen US-Recht verstößt.
In short, yes, German Wikipedia needs to follow US law too, and German WP acknowledges that. Hence Commons:Requests for comment/Commons Abroad and related ideas as an attempt to consider ways to avoid that need. Rd232 (talk) 15:01, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Es gibt Anzeichen, but there isn't a rule yet. -- Robert Weemeyer (talk) 17:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Dies bedeutet, dass keine Inhalte auf Wikimedia-Servern geduldet werden, deren Veröffentlichung gegen US-Recht verstößt. ist doch wohl deutlich genug ausgedrueckt. Da ist kein wenn und aber! Rd232 (talk) 18:26, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

US law says that for the URAA to apply, "at the time the work was created, at least one author (or rightholder in the case of a sound recording) must havebeen a national or domiciliary of an eligible source country.". Therefore pre-1942 stamps without a known author are indeed in the PD in the US, and should not be deleted.-- Darwin Ahoy! 04:40, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Revenue stamps[edit]

The files in Category:Revenue stamps of Germany can't be {{PD-GermanGov}}, can they? Certainly the NSDAP ones aren't even government works (are they?). Is there any license those files can have? Rd232 (talk) 19:33, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Apart from the NSDAP stickers, all those are actually government stamps, e.g. File:Wechselsteuermarken 1988.jpg for stamp duty (Wechselsteuer), or tobacco tax stamps like this. And all stamps in that category seem to be too simple to be copyrighted. De728631 (talk) 13:19, 7 May 2013 (UTC)


Is the review still in progress? The last proper edit to the project page was made more than half a year ago, so I'm thinking the whole review process has slowed down a lot. De728631 (talk) 13:23, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

It seems tragically stuck without any real solution... see also: Commons:Stamps#Germany ... meta:Wikilegal/Copyright of Images in German Postage Stamps#Conclusion ... --Trofobi (talk) 14:58, 3 June 2013 (UTC)

See new discussion here: Commons:Village pump/Copyright#Loriot and old German stamps, and 2 DRs. Yann (talk) 17:33, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

and a undeletion request


Please see Commons:Village_pump#What_to_do_with_German_Stamps.3F--Jarekt (talk) 20:24, 30 September 2015 (UTC)

Archived at Commons:Village_pump/Archive/2015/10#What_to_do_with_German_Stamps.3F -- Ke4roh (talk) 12:39, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

FYI: "high priority" CFD[edit]

German stamps review - high priority can be discussed on Categories for discussion/2017/02/Category:German stamps review - high priority. – 14:25, 27 February 2017 (UTC)

"Review procedure for 2D reproductions of stamps" references 1923 and {{PD-old-auto-1923}}[edit]

In the "Review procedure for 2D reproductions of stamps" subsection, the content includes the following:

    • {{PD-Old}} (or if published before 1923, {{PD-old-auto-1923|YYYY}}, where YYYY is the author's year of death): The author's identity and death date is available and the stamp's underlying artwork is subject to this template.

It might be useful to change the text to use {{Not-PD-US-expired-min-year}} instead of 1923 and to refer to {{PD-old-auto-expired|YYYY}} instead of {{PD-old-auto-1923|YYYY}}. --Gazebo (talk) 07:41, 9 August 2019 (UTC)