Template talk:PD-USGov

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US States[edit]

There's a pretty fundamental problem with the way U.S. Government copyrights are being characterized here. (No, I don't work for the government. Yes, I am a copyright lawyer.) The problem is that 17 U.S.C. sec. 105 applies domestically, but under TRIPs, Berne and so forth, copyrights are entitled to national treatment. That means that 17 U.S.C. sec. 105 has no legal effect abroad, and the protection offered internationally under the conventions only places copyrights on par with homegrown copyrights, meaning that the protection offered to U.S. government coprights internationally is not protection "under this title," in the words of 105.

Long story short: while conventionally the U.S. has not asserted international copyright ownership, it isn't true that (1) it is in the public domain (because the statute doesn't purport to release it into the public domain, but merely denies domestic protection under U.S. law, which has no effect internationally because of the way the agreements have been written) or that (2) it applies internationally (because the domestic treatment standard removes the international effect of what is being used as the basis for the assertion).

There's precedent for this, too, and calling the Copyright Office should bring more details on it, but Japan called and asked for special permission to reprint the Starr Report. Although the Office found the question somewhat baffling (because they hadn't ever bothered to parse this out themselves until Japan's lawyers asked them to), they offered special, one-time permission to reprint the Starr report. In effect, they pulled something like a "judicial review"-style slight-of-hand trick and asserted the substance of what I'm articulating above. Junkmale 16:17, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

I would agree with the above on first reading; which public figures should we write to for this problem to be fixed? Also, are there exceptions for works of US states, as noted on the template, or perhaps matching laws on the state level? This can be a blurry distinction for some agencies that are half state related and half federal. GChriss 21:15, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
Those issues would have to be handled as they present themselves. There is, of course, no single blanket template for all copyrights. --tomf688 (talk - email) 11:38, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
If you understand Japanese, see also ja:アメリカ合衆国政府の著作物#アメリカ合衆国外での扱い. --Mitsuo 03:51, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand Japanese ;) What's that say? Junkmale 14:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
There are indeed blurry distinctions, even among federal agencies such as NASA (which subcontracts so much of its work that huge chunks of things you'd expect to find available aren't actually owned by the agency). I noticed in the revision history that the definition was reverted back to the incorrect "this applies worldwide" version with the note that this is "commonly accepted here." This is precisely the type of revision that gives us (as Wikipedians) a bad name. If you want an incorrect definion on the template, by all means, revert it again, but for a community that purports to care about copyright violations, the absolute refusal to accept the basic untruth of this template indicates that the community is ripe to be sued for copyright violations of this nature. Normally I would say that is unlikely, but with the state of the Justice Department as it is, I'm not sure it's such a remote possibility; and when and if that day comes, I'll be unable to defend Wikipedia, because as things stand, Wikipedia likely should be sued, because it's publishing works worldwide without a license. Junkmale 14:11, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I am late to this discussion, but I have a question. When NASA or CIA on their web site says that their stuff is not protected by the copyright (see NASA's statement and CIA World Fact book's FAQ), they do not say that their statement applies only to the U.S. citizen or derivative works created within the U.S. It seems unconditional, and therefore effective as a statement of their will that they will not try to claim damages in court. Do you think that these statements are just reiteration of the (U.S.'s) statutory provision as opposed to global license to treat the material as public domain materials? Tomos 01:45, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

links to translations not visible[edit]

I've noticed that links to some translations, such as the french one, aren't showing up. What's the deal? The code is there, but the links aren't visible... --Zantastik 19:03, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Its 2007 and French now shows up but it s complete misplaced in the alphabet - can someone move behind Español! 02:03, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
I aphebetized the languages by language code, they should be fine now. -- Editor at Largetalk 02:07, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

US territories and Commonweatlhs[edit]

Hello yall!

I have added the words 'territory' and 'commonwealth' to the T/P since it appears their stuff is c/righted as well. See the notices at these sites:

There are nine other territories. eight of them are in the Pacific and one is the Caribbean. There has never been a government on the islands, since they are no indigenous inhabitants. Here's a list of the islands & their previous and current owners (a glossary follows; links are to the en.wiki, UnFree sources are in bold):

  • KINGMAN: USN (to 2001); DOI; FWS, NWR
  • MIDWAY: USN (to 1993); DOI; FWS, NWR
  • WAKE: DOI, USAF, USA (unclear!)
  • NAVASSA: USCG (to 1996); DOI; FWS, NWR


I hope this helps. Hoshie 08:10, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Polski's redlinked[edit]

Polski's become redlinked in the produced text. -- JHunterJ 21:00, 7 June 2007 (UTC)

SVG Version[edit]

what such to substitute the image of the Great Seal for version SVG?

There's the Image:US-GreatSeal-Obverse.svg that could be used, but is it wise to substitute it? Do we gain anything from using the svg instead of the png? PatríciaR msg 23:20, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

This might not be in the public domain worldwide[edit]

When looking at [1] under "2. Protection of foreign official material in the U.K." it seems that even if official works are public domain in the source countries, others are not required to release them from copyright in the same way, meaning that this might not be public domain in countries that neither accept the rule of the shorter term nor release official works from copyright. While raising awareness, I would like to request an edit before I do it myself.--Jusjih 03:56, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

In current form, it doesn't say it's in the public domain worldwide. What edit are you proposing? Superm401 - Talk 17:53, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Red link[edit]

Instead of a red link to the United States Postal Service, perhaps an inter-wiki link to Wikipedia could be added, as in United States Postal Service. I'm not an admin on Commons, or I would make the change myself. Best, Happyme22 (talk) 21:21, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, good idea. I'll do it straight away, thanks! Patrícia msg 21:43, 17 August 2008 (UTC)


Please add Template:PD-USGov/eo. ThomasPusch (talk) 08:41, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

No need to request here, ask in the /lang subpage (as you already did) and add {{editprotected}} in order to get the attention from administrators. In any case, for the record, it was already added. --Waldir talk 23:17, 18 May 2009 (UTC)


{{editprotected}} I think it should be noted that, despite being allegedly part of the Federal government, the national laboratories and the Post Office are not PD producers, see Template_talk:PD-USGov-DOE. 23:45, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Do we really need to make note of everything that is not part of the federal government?  — Mike.lifeguard 19:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
 Not done. Multichill (talk) 12:44, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Translation in Bengali[edit]

I am from Bengali wikipedia. I want to translate all major template to Bengali language. What to do now.Jayanta Nath (talk) 14:17, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

Hello, for each template you'll have to follow these steps:
  • find the English version of the template (usually, a /en subpage), for example: template:please tag images/en
  • copy the source code of it
  • create the Bengali version of the template, by replacing /en with /bn in the address bar of your browser
  • paste the English version of the source code in the newly created template
  • translate the required items (items to be translated are generally the fields of a /layout template)
  • don't forgot to change the lang= field to bn :-)
  • save your work and check that the template is correctly displayed
  • go on the the page that lists all the language versions of the template: in the example, template:please tag images/lang
  • generally, the /lang pages are edit protected: go on its talk page and add something like:

{{editprotect}} please add "bn" language (Bengali). -- ~~~~

  • if the /lang page is not edit protected, just follow the instructions to update the list it contains
Please note that Commons:Template i18n provides access to the main template lists.
I hope this helps :) Good luck and best regards from France, -- AlNo (discuter/talk/hablar/falar) 14:15, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

PD Rationale[edit]

Please note the dicussion here explains/establishes why even images using this tag that the federal government claims are not PD are sometimes PD.--Elvey (talk) 21:36, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Dutch translation[edit]

There is a small yet nasty error in the Dutch translation of the text of this template: Deze sjabloon should be Dit sjabloon. I can't edit the template myself, could anyone make the correction? Thanks. nl:Gebruiker:Netraam 04:43, 11 august 2009 (CEST)

✓ Done -- AlNo (discuter/talk/hablar/falar) 13:53, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Improving the text[edit]

The current text reads:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States Federal Government under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. See Copyright.

Note: This only applies to works of the Federal Government and not to the work of any individual U.S. state, territory, commonwealth, county, municipality, or any other subdivision. This template also does not apply to postage stamp designs published by the United States Postal Service since 1978. (See 206.02(b) of Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices). It also does not apply to certain US coins, see The US Mint Terms of Use.

This is too complicated and contains too much information. Some points:

  • The whole "under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. See Copyright." part should be dropped, en:Copyright status of work by the U.S. government explains this. Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The first line would be "This file is a work of an employee of the United States federal government, taken or made during the course of the person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the file is in the public domain." Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Agreed. I was surprised the template doesn't already say this. Kaldari (talk) 22:21, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The note is also very specific. I like the first part, could be tweaked to: Note: This only applies to works of the Federal Government and not to the works of any other subdivision of the United States like an individual U.S. state, territory, commonwealth, county, municipality. Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Sounds good. Kaldari (talk) 22:21, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • As for postage stamps part of the note. Isn't the 1978 cutoff because of the situation explained at Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US and {{PD-US-no notice}}? This note is very specific. I would rather drop it. Maybe create a specific stamp template and replace this template to the new template on stamps. Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Yes, this is due to the Copyright Act of 1976 going into effect. I think it's a useful note, as stamps are one of the most confusing copyright situations uploaders have to deal with, so any guidance we can provide on this issue is useful. Kaldari (talk) 22:21, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • US mint part of the note is also very specific. If a US federal goverment employee makes a derivative work it's not suddenly public domain. I rather drop this note.
    • I'm not sure what the basis of this note is, so I'm not going to comment on it. Kaldari (talk) 22:21, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC) Please reply inline to the points. Multichill (talk) 11:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Interwiki remove[edit]

{{sudo}} Please delete all interwikis migrated into Wikidata. Thanks. --레비ReviD✉CM 07:49, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

✓ Doneebraminiotalk 20:31, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Template Wording[edit]

The wording on this template should change as it is currently misleading. The issue is with the statement that the works are in the "Public Domain", this is not an accurate statement. In reality works prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties are not offered protection under US Copyright Law (see 17 U.S.C. § 105) however they can and do get protection in other jurisdictions. For more information see here and US House Report No. 94-1476 p.59, ("The prohibition on copyright protection for United States Government works is not intended to have any effect on protection of these works abroad. Works of the governments of most other countries are copyrighted. There are no valid policy reasons for denying such protection to United States Government works in foreign countries, or for precluding the Government from making licenses for the use of its works abroad.").

I propose that we change the wording by removing references to "Public Domain" and to make it clear that the works while not protected in the US, maybe protected in other jurisdictions.

I would welcome comments and suggestions from others. LGA talkedits 00:15, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I think it's a good idea to add the information that the images could be protected in non-US-countries according to the raw law-text.
The hard - and I think more interesting - question now is, if other countries really can protect a work that is (quasi-)PD in the country of origin or which was made by a US gov member. Person '123' works for country 'ABC'. The law of ABC says that 123's images are not offered protection under ABC's copyright law. Why would country 'XYZ' then decide to undo the PD status if the country, for which 123 is working, did not decide to do that (ABC could have used CC0 (as PD replacement) or CC-BY(-SA) )?
--D-Kuru (talk) 12:57, 12 June 2014 (UTC)
They do not necessarily get protection elsewhere. The cendi.gov link and the House Report relied on the answer by the Copyright Office to a Congressional question from the early 1970s; the answer was based on some very specific wording in the Universal Copyright Convention treaty (whether the UCC considered all "government works" as a class, or was "U.S. Government works" their own class of works). That answer caused concerns among other countries after the 1976 law went into effect and was brought up in UCC meetings, so the Copyright Office did a further survey in the late 1970s, with the results being all over the map -- a few countries agreed, but many disagreed, so the results were basically that protection could differ country-by-country (it was not guaranteed for the U.S. Government). Since then, the U.S. has joined the Berne Convention (which does not have the "class" wording at all) and agreed to those terms, so I'm not sure they are guaranteed protection anywhere anymore -- it is probably up to the courts in each country. The U.S. has specifically made an exception to the general PD-USGov rule in a place where they wanted some copyright protection (see 15 USC 290(e), which covers some standard reference data produced by the government). They also talked about a 5-year copyright for NTIS works in the House report, but I'm not sure that was ever put in the law. Of course, I am unaware of any actual copyright lawsuit brought by the US government on its works in a foreign country, so whether there is protection or not is completely theoretical, and it's not necessarily just up to the US Government to decide. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:37, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
For reference, here is a link to the final report of the UCC's inter-government committee on the matter, from 1981. It contains the responses from a number of countries, with decidedly mixed opinions. The entire discussion also was based on the wording of the UCC treaty, and now that the U.S. is a Berne member, they have agreed to that wording, which is different, which could make things even less likely to be protected. The basic rules are documented at w:Rule of the shorter term. And finally, note that the discussion was about whether countries were required to provide protection -- even if no country is required, they may choose to do so. But it's probably a country-by-country decision. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:47, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Please add Machine readable datas[edit]

{{edit request}} As per m:File metadata cleanup drive/How to fix metadata, please add these

|class = licensetpl
|text = <span class="licensetpl_long">''This work is in the ...(tl;dr)... See [[:en:Copyright|Copyright]].''</span>
<div style="display: none">
<span class="licensetpl_short">PD-USGov</span>
<span class="licensetpl_link">{{fullurl:{{FULLPAGENAME}}}}</span>

above. --Liuxinyu970226 (talk) 02:37, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support, 2nd edit today: COM:MRD should be a guideline, 1st edit was COM:REDCAT should be a guideline, now looking for a policy.:tongue:Be..anyone (talk) 18:42, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

@Liuxinyu970226: Adding where exactly? Please be moor specific. --Steinsplitter (talk) 10:23, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
The TL;DR part is the top of the text=... in Template:PD-USGov/en. If you change it there you have to repeat the exercise for all languages, so this might be not the best option and "just add a class=licensetpl row to a wikitable found in obscure language subpages of an obscure template" is also unconvincing. Plan B, move class=licensetpl into the hidden div…
<div style="display:none" class="licensetpl">
<span class="licensetpl_long">''This work is in the ...(tl;dr)... See [[:en:Copyright|Copyright]].''</span>
<span class="licensetpl_short">PD-USGov</span>
<span class="licensetpl_link">{{fullurl:{{FULLPAGENAME}}}}</span>
…and then put this COM:MRD cruft once into Template:PD-USGov/layout directly before the <noinclude>. Obviously untested with excellent chances to kill all Mediawiki servers. –Be..anyone (talk) 06:26, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
I belive this is no longer needed as the template is adding Machine readable data. --Jarekt (talk) 15:28, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

German translation[edit]

The German-language translation of the template says

“Dieses Werk ist in den Vereinigten Staaten gemeinfrei, da es von Mitarbeitern der US-amerikanischen Bundesregierung oder einem seiner Organe in Ausübung seiner dienstlichen Pflichten erstellt wurde und deshalb nach Titel 17, Kapitel 1, Sektion 105 des US Code ein Werk der Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika ist.”

which contains a mistake. In German the term "Bundesregierung" (English "Federal Government") is female, but "seiner Organe" ("its institutions") is a male wording form. Correct would be e.g. "ihrer Organe". I propose the wording

“Dieses Werk ist in den Vereinigten Staaten gemeinfrei, da es von Mitarbeitern der US-amerikanischen Bundesregierung (oder einem ihrer Organe) in Ausübung ihrer dienstlichen Pflichten erstellt wurde und deshalb nach Titel 17, Kapitel 1, Sektion 105 des US Code ein Werk der Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika ist.”

(Suggested changes are bold.) The use of brackets and the change from "seiner dienstlichen Pflichten" to "ihrer dienstlichen Pflichten" would be to keep the connection to the government, otherwise the meaning of the term "of that person’s official duties" would be tendencially sophisticated by referring to "einem ihrer Organe" ("one of its institutions"). --Partisan1917 00:18, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

Oops, I just noticed that the decisive part of the sentence is not "Bundesregierung" but "Mitarbeitern der Bundesregierung" ("employees of the Federal Government") which is a plural form. So the use of brackets would be unnecessary because the plural form "ihrer dienstlichen Pflichten" refers to "Mitarbeitern" and not to "Bundesregierung". Please pardon my mistake - in German the singular "she" is the same as the plural "they": "sie". So the suggestion of change actually would be

“Dieses Werk ist in den Vereinigten Staaten gemeinfrei, da es von Mitarbeitern der US-amerikanischen Bundesregierung oder einem ihrer Organe in Ausübung ihrer dienstlichen Pflichten erstellt wurde und deshalb nach Titel 17, Kapitel 1, Sektion 105 des US Code ein Werk der Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika ist.”

We have the saying "Deutsche Sprache schwere Sprache" which literally means "German language difficult language". Even for ourselves its hard to master our own mother tongue. --Partisan1917 00:35, 8 October 2015 (UTC)


This may be a ignorant question, but is there a reason there are so many of those per-agency templates? It appears the only difference between many of them is the logo and name of the agency, but not the actual meaning, that the file is in the public domain as a US federal work—since works are not generally treated differently in terms of copyright no matter what agency produced them. So why is the agency name not just an optional parameter of this main template, since this would seem (in most cases) to provide all the necessary information? Sorry if this is already explained anywhere; it's actually not obvious to me. Dominic (talk) 19:23, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

Nope, no real difference. The more specific tags are mainly for categorization, and (in some cases) giving advice on some specific pitfalls likely to be found on that agency's pages (like {{PD-USGov-VOA}}, {{PD-USGov-NASA}}). But the legal reason is identical. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:40, 12 April 2017 (UTC)

NARA mapping[edit]

The US National Archives (NARA) preserves the records of the United States federal government, and thus has many PD media files from all of the agencies with PD-USGov templates. In an attempt to improve future uploads, I am creating a mapping of NARA record groups to PD-USGov templates. This will allow us to generally use the correct license template, if one exists, for any record created by the US government when performing future bulk uploads from NARA's holdings. NARA's record groups are arranged (roughly) according to top-level agency, though there will not be a one-to-one mapping, since some sub-agencies have Commons templates.

If you would like to help, I have created a wiki table of all NARA's record groups at User:Dominic/PD-USGov. Please feel free to add the correct Commons template for each agency, if one exists. Once completed, I will convert this to a CSV that the bot can use as a directory while uploading. Thanks! Dominic (talk) 16:53, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Please use HTTPS for Compendium URL[edit]

{{edit request}} The purpose of this edit is to provide increased privacy and security for users by having the template use an HTTPS URL for the link to the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices section. In particular, the URL http://copyright.gov/comp3/chap300/ch300-copyrightable-authorship.pdf generates a 301 Moved permanently redirect to https://copyright.gov/comp3/chap300/ch300-copyrightable-authorship.pdf. In the template, please change http://copyright.gov/comp3/chap300/ch300-copyrightable-authorship.pdf to https://copyright.gov/comp3/chap300/ch300-copyrightable-authorship.pdf instead. Thanks. --Gazebo (talk) 15:41, 17 December 2017 (UTC)

✓ Done --Jarekt (talk) 13:36, 5 January 2018 (UTC)

JPL requires credit?[edit]

The JPL image policy to which the template links states that "By electing to download the material from this web site the user agrees: ... 2. to use a credit line in connection with images." Can this requirement be ignored (since the images should not be protected by copyright)? If so, should this fact be explicitly mentioned in the template? --Drummyfish (talk) 14:55, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

JPL stuff would normally use {{PD-USGov-NASA}}, not this tag. Secondly, technically, 17 USC 403 does require that US Government works be identified (under penalty of limiting the legal effect of any other copyright notices). But otherwise, not sure how they would enforce the credit ask. But may as well use the credit when needed. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:20, 21 February 2019 (UTC)