User talk:Kareha/PD-Art

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Some problems with PD-Art[edit]

Here are a few of the things I would like to fix by way of a re-drafting of the PD-Art text:

  1. The template is comprehensively misunderstod and misued. There's not a single image, for example, where PD-Art|GFDL has been correctly used. We should simplify, and explain within the template how it is intended to be used. Done. --MichaelMaggs 21:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  2. We should encourage the use of other templates where possible, especially PD-Old. In the US, this template relies on Bridgeman -v- Corel, which could be overturned at any time if a similar case were to be taken to the Supreme Court. It's not even clear that other US courts always follow it. By keeping the number of images using this template as low as we can, we will reduce the number of images that later have to be deleted if the law in the US changes. Done. --MichaelMaggs 21:29, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
  3. The template ought to make it clear in which countries it applies. It definitely does not apply in the UK, but the current text states that Germany has similar rules to the US. We should find out exactly which law or case is being relied on in Germany. Perhaps this even needs a country-by-country list, such as we have at Commons:Freedom of panorama? Done. A new page has been set up at Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag. --MichaelMaggs 15:32, 27 April 2007 (UTC)
  4. It's confusing and inconsistent to allow GFDL as a parameter, when the whole tag is apparently related to art which is in the public domain. Otherwise, why call it PD-Art? GFDL is not any type of PD. Done --MichaelMaggs 20:45, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  5. The translations need to be sorted out. It's not clear how they are supposed to work.
  6. If a variety of parameters is permitted, with the corresponding tag texts embedded within this one, this tag then becomes very difficult to keep up to date. An alternative possibility, which I mention for discussion, would be to remove all parameters and simply require that in addition to using this tag the uploader also uses an appropriate PD tag which shows how the underlying work of art has come to be in the public domain. This tag could then simply say that as a mere reproduction the photo must also be in the PD. This tag would never be used on its own. Decide to keep parameters, per argument of Kareha, below. --MichaelMaggs 20:51, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  7. There's no point in having options such as PD-Art|PD-self, since that must imply that the uploader is also the author of the original work of art as well as the copy which has been made of it. In such a case, PD-self is enough. Done --MichaelMaggs 20:45, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
  8. We should make it clear that PD-Art never needs to be used when the uploader is the person who has taken the photograph since the uploader can and should then license the photo as eg GFDL or CC-by. A separate PD-old tag can explain that the original work of art is PD. Done. --MichaelMaggs 16:50, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Do others agree with me about these issues? Could we start a general discussion to seek a consensus before we start re-drafting? --MichaelMaggs 17:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Your point number two is confusing. If we have taken a digitised image from somewhere on the web, or we're using a photograph of a public domain work, our claim that the digitised image or that photograph is also itself in the public domain is a Bridgeman claim. Changing templates on the image description page doesn't make that any less true or more true. As for point number three, we really should start to work on a list of countries. Why exactly do we think that this applies in Germany? Jkelly 17:38, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

On point 2 I had in mind usages such as on Image:Muybridge, Eadweard(1830-1904) - Animal Locomotion - (1887) - plate 300.gif

In my view, PD-Art was never intended to be used in such a case. It's for use when the photograph in question is a reproduction of some other 2D work of art (such as a painting) which is itself in the public domain. In some countries, such as the USA, a 'mere reproduction' of a PD work of art can't attract a new copyright, since the court has held there is insufficient originality in any such photograph. PD-Art makes it clear that in such cases the photograph must also be PD, as was the underlying work of art. In the Muybridge example, all we have is an old photograph, not of a work of art but of a person. And PD-Old is best used for that.

In the example, the user has tagged PD-Art I think on the basis that the old photo itself is PD, and that the scan that he or someone else made is non-original and hence is also PD. But that's always the case with old photos, in that every 'old photo' on Commons is, of necessity, a copy (or a copy of a copy etc) of some earlier original negative. But we don't need to rely on Bridgeman to assert that. To apply that logic would mean that PD-Art would always be applicable and PD-Old could never be used.

If a PD-old image is copied without alteration from some website, or scanned or photocopied, the tag PD-Old can be used alone since it goes without saying that the act of grabbing the image from a website, or scanning or photocopying, can't, in itself, give rise to any additional copyright that the uploader needs to license. That fact doesn't rely on Bridgeman: such literal exact copying can never create any new copyright, anywhere in the world, so far as I know, as the resultant image is simply not original. We never bother to mention that. But Bridgeman takes this much further and allows us to use a professional photographic image of an old painting, say, when a similar photo taken in the UK would not be allowed. --MichaelMaggs 18:10, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Certainly you're right and I must confess I've missed those inappropriate combination such as with PD-self, GFDL, CC. Even though, still I think we should have parameters for reaons below.
  1. Some parameters, such as {{Anonymous work}} and {{PD-US}}, are still valid.
  2. The template itself can warn uploaders when obviously inappropriate license is indicated.
  3. Also, with parameters, we can sort them in [[Category:PD-Art-{{{parameter}}}]]
--Kareha 15:41, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, yes, I'll go along with that. Do we need to define a list of allowable parameters that can be used? I suppose we do if the template itself is going to warn uploaders when something wrong is chosen (I don't know how that works, but I assume it can be done). --MichaelMaggs 20:50, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

ParserFunctions to warn is now in work, though more helpful warning message needed. My overviewing copyright tags, what we need is the list of inallowable ones. I think it's:
  • PD-self
  • PD-user*
  • PD-link
  • GFDL*
  • CC-by-sa*
Please add something I missed (yes, I'm sure this is not the completed list).

There are vast numbers of tags. Wouldn't it be easier to list the ones that are allowed? --MichaelMaggs 21:39, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Thinking almost country specific PD tags will be allowed, each way we can't have complete function in template itself (I wish we had m:StringFunctions). Now I think we'd better to expand its explaning texts but that's the way what I'm quiet skillless.--Kareha 16:26, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

One template doesn't fit all?[edit]

I guess a big problem with this template is that it is not clear where it should be used. It seems that it was originally meant only for photographs of old paintings. One template for that purpose could be useful.

When it comes to photograps of many different types of art, I doubt if one template makes sense at all. In we then use two template and to {{information}}-boxes: one for the object of the image and one for the image.

Not so "free"[edit]

May I suggest that on this page we restrict ourselves to a discussion of how to improve PD-Art? Please see numbered points at the top of the page. --MichaelMaggs 14:46, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

good point, transferred to Template talk:PD-old. Michelet-密是力 17:30, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Of paintings, photos, and files[edit]

When loading a picture on commons, you have three aspects (at least) to take into account:

  1. (painting) Intellectual property of the artistic work itself (picture by Goya, sculpture by Pigalle,...).
  2. (photo) Intellectual property of the photograph (subject, angle of view, frame, light & focus...).
  3. (file) Immaterial property of the file (.jpg,...) representing the picture.

Whatever the 2D work, we need to know the author & date of death, and date and country of creation/publication (because the duration of the protection depends on the country where the work was first published). Most of the time, these informations are lacking.


The "PD-Art" essentially means "when the picture is that of a painting or a scanning, point #2 is irrelevant". Actually, if "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works are not copyrightable" (which I tend to think), this applies worldwide.

Lack of protection in some obscure barbarian country (for instance the USA...) does not mean that it is not protected elsewhere. See Berne convention], article 5, item 2: "The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights [=Protection of Literary and Artistic Works] shall not be subject to any formality; such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the provisions of this Convention, the extent of protection, as well as the means of redress afforded to the author to protect his rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is claimed." If the picture is taken in the US and a case is introduced in France for a counterfeit with respect to intellectual property, the juge will have to decide wether artistic creation exists per se. If it exists, then the photo will be protected in France, hence cannot be freely used on any site accessible from France, including Commons.

So Wikipedia has to decide an internal policy, about wether potential copyright introduced by "2D > 2D" should be taken into account or not. If our policy is to follow the US precedent, then the mention should be "faithful reproductions of two-dimensional original works are not copyrightable" / period.

Meaning, for instance, that we can freely scan art books, to put it boldly? well, see next point.


A picture has been taken and a file is created. The file is the property of the creator. When it is uploaded on commons, two cases must be distinguished:

  • The uploader is the creator of the file: no problem, he owns it, and can do whatever he wants, including duplicate it and give the property of the resulting copy to Commons, with the right to use it (technically, this is an implicit licence).
  • The uploader has found the picture freely accessible somewhere on the net: he can certainly copy it and use it for his private use (this is the essence of internet), but he can't use it for a professionnal use without a licence from the source, and he has no title to transmit such licence to use to Wikipedia (since he can't give what he doesn't own).

So writing "We should make it clear that PD-Art never needs to be used when the uploader is the person who has taken the photograph since the uploader can and should then license the photo as eg GFDL or CC-by" shows a misconception of the "2D>2D" situation: Either the uploader took the photograph himself, and the only licence tag needed is that of the painting, or he just found the file somewhere on the net, and Wikipedia can't use it because in the first place, the uploader had no right to upload it and give wikipedia the licence to use the file. The problem may be the same when scanning art books, BTW.

PD-Art rule

IMHO, the rule should be:

  • Always indicate the author and date of death, if possible (and if recent enough) date and country of publication (not required if > 200 years).
  • Consider that "2D>2D" introduces no special artistic right, but introduces immaterial property right nevertheless.
  • Always require an indication of the source (where was the picture taken), and if the source is not the contributor (found on the net...) a clear indication that the source allowed such uploading.

Michelet-密是力 06:38, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Comments from Lupo[edit]

Just a four things:

  1. Bridgeman v. Corel being overturned by a U.S. Supreme Court decision is apparently unlikely, as the Supreme Court in Feist v. Rural rejected difficulty of labor or expense as a consideration in copyrightability.
  2. Whether similar reasoning would hold elsewhere is a matter of the laws and the judicial decisions in other countries. "Sweat of the brow" does not give rise to copyright in Germany, and also not in Switzerland (see {{PD-Switzerland-photo}}; the reasoning in the case linked indicates that merely reproductive photos of 2D originals also would not be eligible to copyright in Switzerland). Other countries may have other laws. Maybe a survey similar to COM:FOP would be in order.
  3. Wherever the Bridgeman v. Corel reasoning that plain 2D reproductions of 2D originals are not copyrightable holds, the creator/owner of a graphics file containing a digital representation of such a reproduction has no copyright on that reproduction, and thus I think we can actually use such files (even if found somewhere else on the net) if the original is PD or freely licensed. (Unless the argument was that the file were different from the reproduction... but in the case of digital images, the reproduction—the sequence of bits—is the file...)
  4. Cut. Moved to Template talk:PD-old--MichaelMaggs 20:39, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Lupo 07:24, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

♦ IMHO, the "no copyright in 2D>2D" is a good jugement. The fundamental element for an artistic proprety right is creativity, absent in a simple technical reproduction. This is conform to the Berne treaty, so it should apply worldwise.Michelet-密是力 14:41, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag[edit]

I have started a new page, as above, to explain how the tag is supposed to be used. Then, within the template itself, we can keep the text down by simply referring to this page. Still more work to do. --MichaelMaggs 17:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, this is good idea.--Kareha 15:22, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Examples need fixing up[edit]

Could someone please have a look at the project page and fix up the noinclude tags? I don't really understand what's going on here, and we seem to have self-transclusion which means all the text is being repeated in the examples. Help. --MichaelMaggs 21:28, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Done. I think examples might be better to be moved to Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag.--Kareha 02:53, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

I've done that and some final copyediting. --MichaelMaggs 21:12, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

All done - ready to go[edit]

The new template is ready. I'll leave it a day or so before replacing {{PD-Art}} with the new version in case there are any last minute comments. --MichaelMaggs 21:12, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

I see I have nothing to do any more, it's far better than what I have intended to be. Thanks again to your help.--Kareha 12:48, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Template updated. --MichaelMaggs 16:26, 15 May 2007 (UTC)