Commons talk:Copyright rules by subject matter

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Info non-talk.svg This page is for discussing improvements to Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter. For discussions of specific copyright questions, please go to Commons:Village pump/Copyright. Discussions that do not relate to changes to the page Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter may be moved, with participants notified with the template {{subst:moved to VPC|Commons talk:Copyright rules by subject matter}}.


Patent drawingsEdit

Patent drawings (at least in the US) I am pretty sure are almost always PD (they use {{PD-US-patent}}) but a writeup of one of the exceptions and how to tell it is an exception might be a good topic for this casebook, as there are some cases where the diagrams have other rights... ++Lar: t/c 23:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

  • I keep meaning to do that, and then forgetting. I have made myself a note now! Will try to do this soon.

--MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:19, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

  • ✓ Done Section on patents added. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:16, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Hi I'm wondering if you can use diagrams from biology/chemistry books that you have modified and/or traced.Thanks in advance,Mmm_Daffodils

I've updated the section to reflect Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-US-patent-no notice and inform that technical patent drawings published after March 1, 1989 should be always assumed copyrighted. --hydrox (talk) 23:56, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Museum photographsEdit

I am in strong disagreement with the "museum" section on this page. We are currently discussing this at Commons talk:Licensing#Metropolitan Museum of Art. --Elonka 23:04, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

  • (The conclusion was that the current wording is accepted by the community) --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:19, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
if the museum has a private policy giving it the rights to any photographs taken at museum, and such is a condition of entry, then copyright would be I question. Precident was established by how images at "Burning Man" are treated. Consensus was term and conditions of tickets to Burning Man create copyright to ticket issuer. This section needs to be reconsidered in light of Burning Man consensus.
Nope. Copyright transfers require an explicit, written, signed statement, per U.S. law, which cannot be accomplished by a ticket stub. There was no such consensus -- in fact it was the other way around. (Special photography tags at Burning Man may be different, since those involve signed contracts, but not ticket stubs). Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:56, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Fireworks displaysEdit

Are fireworks displays performances? If so, I think we'd need to state that people should not upload videos of fireworks displays. (Photos may be fine, though, in analogy to this.) Lupo 13:42, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

GraffitiEdit

I find the argument here regarding graffiti very unconvincing. Please see discussion at the Village Pump. Superm401 - Talk 02:54, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I have improved the wording. --MichaelMaggs 06:27, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
What a coincidence! Just yesterday William Patry posted about copyrights in illegal art here! Note that the case mentioned is not a blanked "uncopyrightable" decision, there are quite a few specifics attached to it. The comments to the post appear to be going in the other direction. Maybe we should try to contact Mr. Rychlicki to get his paper? Lupo 11:33, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
Sounds interesting. I have emailed him. --MichaelMaggs 16:44, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
No reply. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:28, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Interesting. However, it appears the focus of the English v. BFC&R East 11th Street LLC decision was moral rights, and that copyright was addressed only tangentially. I still disagree with the graffiti exemption described on this page. Superm401 - Talk 23:00, 8 June 2008 (UTC)

After being directed (as of this rfd) to the Graffiti-"exemption" and reading it the first time, I have to say that's really of the style "they can't sue us, so we don't need to follow the law". Was this ever checked by the Wikimedia lawyers? --Túrelio (talk) 08:19, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

There is more at #Graffiti policy (2). It is not nearly as simple as you think; there are common-law maxims against profiting from crimes which very well may apply to some extent in these cases, at least in many countries. Certainly pre-1989 graffiti was PD in the U.S. because it lacked a copyright notice, but it has gotten cloudier since I'm sure. Patry's article (linked above) shows a case where the provisions of VARA (artist's rights) were disallowed, even though they may have otherwise applied, because the works were installed illegally. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:11, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Plaques in public places in some countries?Edit

Are plaques in countries without a Freedom of panorama acceptable? I am concerned about my upload of this World War II memorial. There are two plaques: one made in 1944 the other in 2001. I also added the text to the description page.

Could plaques be considered in the casebook? See Category:Plaques by country for more examples.

I interpret the panorama rules to allow plaques in Switzerland, but I see difficulty in Italy (and Belgium for that matter). -Wikibob (talk) 16:03, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Generally not OK, I think - even if permanently in a public place (unless PD). Most of these examples will have copyright on the text (as "literary works") which is an entirely different class of copyright to the type of copyright usually included within FOP: "works" is normally restricted to "artistic works", of which buildings are one example. Needs more research, though, and we may need to build a country-by-country list (oh dear, not again ..) Lupo should be able to help on Switzerland. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:34, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
The Swiss law says exactly what is written in English at COM:FOP#Switzerland. There is no restriction to "artistic" works, the law just mentions "works". I take it that this means that Swiss FOP also applies to 2D works (graffiti, murals, plaques). Same for Germany, BTW (COM:FOP#Germany is incorrectly worded): the law generally allows the reproduction by painting, graphics, photography, or film of "works"; there is no restriction to "artistic" or "3D" works. Austria explicitly excludes graffiti and murals (generally: paintings), Austrian FOP applies only to "works of the fine arts" and buildings, which presumably excludes plaques and their text. Lupo 07:52, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Inside Rome station with posters and logos as exampleEdit

Rome station ticket machines

Could my photo taken inside w:en:Roma Termini railway station (designed by a team in 1947, built 1950) be used as a casebook example? Could an expert suggest changes? It does not matter if it is deleted as it's rather poor in any case, but maybe it could be modified to act as an example for countries which, like Italy, have no Commons:Freedom of Panorama.

  • Architecture - shows interior of building whose architect has not been dead for at least 70 years
    • building could be cropped away
  • Posters - background shows parts of two copyrighted posters (Star Wars)
    • after cropping the posters are practically unrecognisable and unusable?
  • Trademarks - several logsos are seen but are quite small

-Wikibob (talk) 16:49, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

Why crop? Architecture: no significant part of the railway station is shown. I seriously doubt any court would consider this a derivative work of the building. Posters & trademarks: incidental and unavoidable inclusion, de minimis? People: agree. Also, it's not a portrait, these people just happened to be present at this public place when the photo was taken. If something like that were not ok, we'd have a hard time publishing any photograph of any public place. Lupo 08:00, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Graffiti policy (2)Edit

I also think that current graffiti policy is legally questionable.

This is not that obvious that the illiceity of the support (the wall) would uphold the rights of the artist. A similar question has been raised in the case of exchange of music files, and is formulated as such: does the tribunal has to consider the liceity of the source of the music file to judge the right that the network user to use the music? (the user might have the right to possess the music file, for example if he owns a CD which was damaged and tried to download the equivalent music file)[1]. Government, specialised lawyers, politicians... disagree on that point and no tribunal at the moment had to decide on it. I just mean: it's not obvious that an illegal act would prevent the application of unrelated rights (the right to use a wall is unrelated to the right to create an artistic work).

But to be more specific, it has been judged that graffiti are eligible to copyright. See Court of appeal of Paris, Sep. 27, 2006. The Court recognized graffiti as a legitimate artistic movement,[2] even when painted without the consent of the support owner, with the restriction in the latter case that the legal owner of the support is entitled to destroy the artistic work by cleaning his property.

A specialized lawyer office notes that consequences of the decision includes that the publication of a derivative work of the graffiti without consent would infringe rights of the artist.[3] In other words, as far as we are concerned, pictures of graffiti created in France (as soon as they qualify as an artistic work as a consequence of their originality) cannot be published under a licence that allows derivative works.

In the special case of stencil paintings, the artwork previously existed in a legally copyrighted manner: the stencil metallic matrix is itself a copyrighted work. The fact that somebody (possibly not the artist himself) publishes new copies of the artwork by applying paint on the stencil matrix does not cancel copyright on the initial artwork. The stencil painting aiming at the fair reproduction of the matrix, and the picture aiming at the fair reproduction of the painting, our picture qualifies as a reproduction of a copyrighted material, or as a plagiarism is one considers that it is not perfectly identical.

I would then suggest to reason on a country-by-country basis to determine our policy:

  1. Does the country has a specific laws or case laws about graffiti?
    yes → follow those rules. End of questions.
    no → go to the next question...
  2. Does the graffiti qualifies as artistic for its originality?
    yes → go to the next question...
    no → can be published. End of questions.
  3. Does the graffiti display copyrighted material on which presumabily the graffiti painter does not own copyright?
    yes → do not pusblish. End of questions.
    no → go to the next question...
  4. Does the picture author show evidence of being allowed to publish such pictures of graffiti?
    yes → publish under a licenced selected by the picture author.
    no → go to the next question...
  5. Does the country where the picture has been taken have freedom of landscape?
    yes → publish under a licenced selected by the picture author, with explicit mention that the work displayed on the graffiti still belongs to its author.
    no → do not publish.

To begin the list with one country: France. It has been judged (see references) that graffiti attract copyright and that the person displaying derivative works should seek agreement from graffiti author. It is not clear whether an exact copy needs agreement or not, which implies that in the best case, graffiti are eligible for non-derivative licences on the projects allowing such content (which is not the case of Commons).

Please note that an administrator knowing French law deleted for copyright violation (on July the 2nd) a picture of a graffiti made in Paris, although the picture, by plain application of current graffiti policy, was kept just a few weeks before.

To give a few more examples in Category:Graffiti (and subcategories) of infringement of point 3 above:

  • Image:Mayor BoJo.jpg shows (downright corner) a copyrighted character from a famous cartoon.
  • Image:MushroomStencil.jpg, copyrighted by a Japanese company.
  • Image:RNC 04 protest 104.jpg quite obvious that the picture of New York is copyrighted by someone, presumabily not the graffiti picture author.
  • Image:Stencil disneywar.jpg imitates a character protected by usually nasty litigiators.
  • Image:Stencil Graffiti at Drewniana Street in Warsaw (2).JPG, same case.
  • Image:Stencil Graffiti at Topiel Street in Warsaw.jpg another copyrighted character from movie.

...

(I will make an exhaustive listing and show infringement of other points later on when I have time.)

Jérôme (talk) 08:49, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

  1. See this report to the French minister of Culture: Jean Cédras, Le téléchargement illicite d'œuvres protégées par le droit d'auteur, April 2007, page 22. source.
  2. Jugement reads: « Le mouvement « graff » est né il y a environ quatre décennies sur tous supports dont des trains et avant même qu’une presse spécialisée soit née ; il est reconnu à la fois comme phénomène de société et comme mode d’expression artistique » which translates as (relevant excerpts): “The graffiti movement was born about forty years ago on all supports [...]; it is recognized as [...] an artistic expression modality” source.
  3. Relevant sentence is : « Si la juridiction de second degré n’a pas admis que la SNCF puisse s’opposer à la publication de photographies de trains tagués, qu’en serait-il de leur diffusion par la SNCF sans l’accord des tagueurs ? Cette publication, sans autorisation, serait une atteinte à leurs droits patrimoniaux, de même qu’à leurs droits moraux, si la SNCF modifiait, en les reproduisant, les couleurs des graffiti. » which translates to: “Although the appeal court did not agree that the SNCF [train company] could oppose to publication of pictures of trains showing graffiti, what would happen in the case of the publication of such pictures without consent of the painters? This publication without authorization would infringe moral and property rights if SNCF would change the colours of the graffiti in a picture reproduction.” source.
I would basically agree with this, with a couple caveats. First, the threshhold for originality is very low in most countries, and does not necessarily require what most people consider art. Second, freedom of landscape/panorama may not apply if the graffiti is not intended to be permanent. Superm401 - Talk 21:57, 4 July 2008 (UTC)
If you know better, be bold! The best would build a page like COM:FOP with country-specific rules. Jérôme (talk) 14:15, 6 July 2008 (UTC)
A page at Commons:Threshold of originality could be useful, but it would be more difficult to fill out than COM:FOP because this part of law is often bound by precedent more than statute. Superm401 - Talk 10:03, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
Disagree on freedom of panorama -- they are permanent, since they can never be shown somewhere else. Sort of like an ice sculpture. Freedom of panorama should apply. Unsure about the stencil argument... that would imply that the stencil owner has a copyright ownership in everything where they are used, which may exceed the expected scope when you buy one (otherwise the purchaser has to get additional permission every time they used the stencil they bought... I think that is probably implicit in the purchase). Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:23, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

I suspect it will be difficult to be more precise than we already are without some more case law on this. I'm fairly confident of the existing policy so far as the major Common Law countries are concerned, but Civil Law countries may indeed be different, and we should try to deal with that if we can. A country-by-country approach seems the best.

One difficult point is the distinction between murals (legally painted) and graffiti (illegal). We host many photographs where it is impossible to tell whether the painter had permission or not. At present, admins just have to guess based on any available information there may be, but is there any way of doing better? Probably not unless we decide to delete photos of all wall paintings, of whatever type, that do not have the artist's consent.

FOP is a red herring, in my view, as in almost all countries (with perhaps a very few exceptions) FOP does not extend to 2D works of art such as paintings, printed notices and the like. Even in a 'relaxed' country such as the UK, FOP extends to buildings, sculptures and to "works of artistic crafstmanship" only. The phrase "works of artistic crafstmanship" excludes both paintings and text.

I agree with Carl Lindberg that purchase of a stencil probably does carry an implied licence to use it, but that licence is unlikely to extend to using the stencil to make an illegal artwork. Also, bear in mind that stencils are not necessarily shop-bought. High-end artists such as Banksy make their own. MichaelMaggs (talk) 16:36, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Many countries which do not derive from UK laws have freedom of panorama which allows photos of 2D (and other) works if installed in public places; it would apply for graffiti in many places. Some countries have a narrow restriction on reproductions which can "be used for the same purpose as the original", i.e. making a 3D sculpture of a public sculpture, or taking a photograph of a publicly-displayed photograph (which amounts to more of a straight copy), but that should still allow photos of graffiti. There are probably other blurry lines, such as does the work almost count as part of the building (thus allowing photos where freedom of panorama exists for buildings), especially in cases where it is on more than one wall or on uneven surfaces (and thus not purely 2D). In the U.S., any building artwork (graffiti or murals) prior to 1978 would be considered published, so if there is no copyright notice actually on it, those would be public domain as well. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:05, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Medical patient imagesEdit

Contributors to wikipedia medical articles are grappling with this topic. See Patient images and en:WT:MEDMOS, among others. --Una Smith (talk) 05:42, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

The correct link would be Commons:Patient images. --Túrelio (talk) 09:50, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

The US case of Ets-Hokin v. Skyy SpiritsEdit

Hmm, not sure I should be adding this commentary here, as this is supposed to be an easy-to-understand introductory guide. Maybe we should have a page or pages of commentary on frequently-cited cases that we can then link to? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:58, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

CostumesEdit

I've added a section on costumes that still needs to be refined. There is ongoing discussion currently at Commons:Undeletion_requests/Current_requests#Commons:Deletion_requests.2FImages_of_costumes_tagged_as_copyvios_by_AnimeFan. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:17, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

“Costume” is IMHO a too general word. I don't know if Mike Godwin's statement will ever be applied to any photo of costume on here, but for example, only this statement permits the Category:Fursuits to exist, GreenReaper (talk · contribs) used some goods arguments, and asking for authorization from every fursuiter can lead to nonsense. Diti the penguin 00:02, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Material not subject to copyright.Edit

What do you guys think about analyze this section and put some links on this page?

§ 202.1 Material not subject to copyright.

The following are examples of works not subject to copyright and applications for registration of such works cannot be entertained:

(a) Words and short phrases such as names, titles, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering or coloring; mere listing of ingredients or contents;

(b) Ideas, plans, methods, systems, or devices, as distinguished from the particular manner in which they are expressed or described in a writing;

(c) Blank forms, such as time cards, graph paper, account books, diaries, bank checks, scorecards, address books, report forms, order forms and the like, which are designed for recording information and do not in themselves convey information;

(d) Works consisting entirely of information that is common property containing no original authorship, such as, for example: Standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, schedules of sporting events, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources.

(e) Typeface as typeface.

[24 FR 4956, June 18, 1959, as amended at 38 FR 3045, Feb. 1, 1973; 57 FR 6202, Feb. 21, 1992]

From United States Copyright office

I would suggest having that on a different page, as it's more a summary of US law than a specific list of cases. It's useful to have but would fit better into a series of pages (not yet written) setting out in simple terms what copyright is and listing these sorts of exceptions. Of course, these points relate to US law only, and we must bear in mind that to be hosted here a file has to be free not only under US law but under local law as well. In many countries, the rules on non-copyrightable material are quite different from these. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:08, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, you're right. But it's good to have it archived anywhere if we need it someday. Brazilian law is not that different.

Art. 8º Não são objeto de proteção como direitos autorais de que trata esta Lei: (These are not subject of protection like copyright of this Law talks about:)

I - as idéias, procedimentos normativos, sistemas, métodos, projetos ou conceitos matemáticos como tais; (same as B from US law)

II - os esquemas, planos ou regras para realizar atos mentais, jogos ou negócios; (complementin B)

III - os formulários em branco para serem preenchidos por qualquer tipo de informação, científica ou não, e suas instruções; (same as C)

IV - os textos de tratados ou convenções, leis, decretos, regulamentos, decisões judiciais e demais atos oficiais; (same as D)

V - as informações de uso comum tais como calendários, agendas, cadastros ou legendas; (complementing D)

VI - os nomes e títulos isolados; (same as E)

VII - o aproveitamento industrial ou comercial das idéias contidas nas obras. (the industrial or commercial use of the ideas contained in the works.)

From Planalto.gov.br. If we gather some laws from several countries we can make things easier to upload or not. Mizunoryu 大熊猫❤小熊猫 (talk) 18:35, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Very few of those items are uploadable directly; most media is copyrightable. The ones that may not be come up with arguments surrounding the {{PD-ineligible}} tag (or {{PD-shape}} or {{PD-textlogo}}). Another aspect is discussed at Commons:When to use the PD-signature tag, and w:threshold of originality. It is a difficult concept to summarize across countries, and the edge cases can be decided in different ways in different countries when it comes to particular courts. Some countries have different copyright terms for "simple" vs "artistic" photographs, with widely varying definitions of those distinctions, which can result in all kinds of other complexities (User:Lupo/Simple Photographs tries to summarize that). Some countries try to not let trademark protection overlap with copyright, others (such as the U.S.) allow both on the same work. Most of the concepts above are the same across countries, but there can be some large differences, and the real problems usually come with the borderline cases which aren't explicitly spelled out by the laws. I don't want to dissuade you -- a page could certainly be helpful -- but it is an immense topic with a ton of subtleties. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:13, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, but there's still some simple typefaced/shaped logos and simple inelegible albuns/books covers that go for DR or Speedydelete. These kind of media files are very problematic. I actually think we should do a proper page for them. And there are countries who are very restrictive but their law can say that if the work is not nacional the mother country law is the one that must be applicable. Portugal for example has a law like that. You are right, I just posted these as examples. But I still think we should have a page for these kind of things. Mizunoryu 大熊猫❤小熊猫 (talk) 02:31, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

COM:CB#Concert photographyEdit

Please see Commons:Deletion requests/Bausch pictures. I think this particular RfD is a useful demonstration of the fact that the wording of COM:CB#Concert photography probably needs to be clarified and a more sure definition given. It would be of benefit if someone with the needed knowledge or expertise could chip in and provide this section of the page with a better explanation as to what falls under this branch and what does not. After all, a policy is useless if it is too ambiguous to be implemented with any rigour. Thanks, —Anonymous DissidentTalk 14:26, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Scale modelsEdit

The current section only redirects potential uplaoders to Commons:Derivative works, which confuses them. A clear guidline must be added which must cover at least the following four cases:

  • Models of any type built by someone else.
  • Models built by the photographer from scratch.
  • Models built by the photographer from kits of parts.
  • Cast models and figurines only finished and painted by the uploader.

Sv1xv (talk) 09:56, 3 June 2009 (UTC)

In view of the broad disambiguation for en:Model you might get a little bit more specific. --Túrelio (talk) 10:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
The section (Commons:Image casebook#Models) refers to w:en:Scale models. I renamed the current header as well. Sv1xv (talk) 10:43, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Have a look at the files of the Category:Papenburger Werftsmuseum. The models of these ships are built to check the engineering drawings. That is the way to find out engineering mistakes in an early stage, not during the construction of the ship herself. [Saying that as former head of electrical engineering of a Shell petrochemical plant. In my time we built plants on scale before starting the real construction.] I cannot see why I am allowed to make fotographs of the original ships as a result of the engineering (the drawings will have copyrights) and not of the models. The same ships, built by the same drawings, but just on another scale, not 1:1 but say 1:100.--Stunteltje (talk) 10:29, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Logos in devicesEdit

Hi. What happen with this kind of images? (See their logos)

Are they unnacceptable in Commons? Thanks. Emijrp (talk) 17:24, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

Usually they are acceptable and the display of a copyrighted logo is characterized as de minimis, See Commons:De minimis or COM:DM. Sv1xv (talk) 17:56, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks :) Emijrp (talk) 16:57, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

Jewellery peices, Clocks and watchesEdit

In reading through the Image casebook, I've not found anything about what rules to apply in respect of the items mentioned in the header.

Although, some peices are too generic or simple, other peices may represent signifcant artistic effort on the part of a designer, and a lot of skill in respect of the Jeweller/goldsmith that manufactured the item.

Clocks and watches are related items.

The artwork on a watch face would presumably come under the same rules as any other 2D art? Sfan00 IMG (talk) 16:56, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Pre 1978 Advertisements in the USEdit

I added a section on public domain advertisement from the United States. I have more details on my talk page. User_talk:Swtpc6800#Most pre-1978 magazine advertisements are likely in the public domain.

-- Swtpc6800 (talk) 04:04, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Press photosEdit

Hello,

I have just added a new section for press photos at COM:CB#Press photos. Please proofread or revert if you think this is not necessary. Teofilo (talk) 06:45, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

AntiquitiesEdit

The section on antiquities is very unclear and appears to contradict itself. It says that some countries have laws regarding the protection of ancient sites, and implies that these laws may make images of them non-free in that country (e.g. photographs of Greek antiquities might be non-free in Greece). It then goes on to say that such photographs are acceptable to upload because they need to be free in the US, the jurisdiction where the photograph was taken and the jurisdiction they are being uploaded from. Obviously if an image taken in Greece is non-free in Greece then it isn't free in all three jurisdictions and so isn't allowed on Commons. Obviously an image cannot be both allowed and disallowed on Commons so this section needs clarifying. Thryduulf (talk) 01:32, 9 December 2009 (UTC)

I believe we consider those Commons:Non-copyright restrictions and thus they can still be "free". Internationally-recognized copyright has a limited term, which has obviously passed for antiquities, so they can't be protected via copyright really -- just other laws. It is an issue in that country, of course, but not enforceable anywhere else. Our definition of "free" is, generally, strictly as it relates to copyright; other restrictions are more case-by-case (such as privacy issues, which may make it illegal to publish at all), and usually are just noted with a tag if there are special issues we can warn about -- usually they just restrict particular uses. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:05, 9 December 2009 (UTC)
That makes sense, but the section on the page needs to be clarified so it says that. Thryduulf (talk) 01:18, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

I followed Carl's suggestion and have updated this section accordingly. --AFBorchert (talk) 17:53, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Re: MapsEdit

Under Commons:Image casebook#Maps & satellite imagery, the advice seems pretty much to be no tracings or re-drawings of copyrighted maps, period.

Based on that, I argued on en:Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Banksia cuneata/archive1 that File:Banksia cuneata map.png is a copyviolation: the detailed coastlines are identical to the IBRA 6.1 and 5. The contents (maps and datasets) of the Australian Government website are copyrighted.[1] Hesperian, however, argued that data are non-copyrightable and he states that his use of the IBRA dataset is perfectly okay.

Searching around, I find that there is support for his opinion: Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 23#Using Australian Electoral Commission GIS data states that copyright only applies to expression, not data; Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 21#Potentially large problem with licensing states geographical lines are data, while state boundaries are knowledge. Hence, it seems perfectly fine to use the IBRA 6.1 dataset regardless of the government's claim of copyright.

However, Commons talk:Licensing/Archive 16#copyright of maps brings up copyrights on database. I also found that Australia permits copyrighting of databases (datasets) and a recent case law points that although you cannot freely reuse the entire database data, you can use an insignificant portion.[2]): "Any person who wishes to use all or a 'substantial part' (that is, any part that is important, essential or distinctive; it need not be a large part, and is judged more by the quality of what is taken than the quantity) of the database in any of the ways discussed above will need the permission of the copyright owner, unless copyright has expired (that is, generally the life of the creator plus 70 years) or a special exception applies." It seems that since the IBRA datasets are released in sectors of the country, File:Banksia cuneata map.png is not using an insignificant amount of the database.

Can anyone help to englighten on this? Jappalang (talk) 12:03, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

It is a fundamental tenet of copyright law that what is protected is the creative expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. I obtained a spatial dataset, and rendered the spatial relationships specified therein into a raster image, making my own design decisions with respect to composition, background colour, line colour, line thickness, etc. Comments about similarity with some other image are irrelevant: the similarity is due to the same (or rather, very similar) spatial relationships underlying both; yet the map design, which is the copyrightable component, bears no comparison. Comments about "no tracings or re-drawings of copyrighted maps" are irrelevant; this has not occurred. Comments about copyrighting of databases are irrelevant; I have made use of data, not a database. And even if we did conflate "data" with "database", the spatial information embedded in a 699×936 raster image is surely an "insignificant portion" of the high-resolution vector data set. Hesperian 12:58, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Using geographical data to construct maps should not be an issue in Australia. Australia has no database rights, only copyrights. While it is true that Copyright law in Australia is more amenable to the "sweat of the brow" doctrine than in the United States, a map is not a "reproduction" of a database, it is a unique derivative of data. Here are some important quotes from the article you link to above which may help to clear up the issue:
  • "Australia has no specific law protecting databases so databases may only be protected if they fall under general copyright law."
  • "...copyright can subsist in compilations of data where the compilation is a product of a persons skill and labour in gathering the material for inclusion in the compilation and arranging that material in a unique way. However, copyright does not subsist in the individual pieces of data that make up the compilation."
Kaldari (talk) 18:23, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Sports strips?Edit

Since I have no idea what a "sports strip" is I decided to look it up. As there was no information on Wikipedia, I searched Google. The top matches were all for little electrolyte strips you put in your mouth. Why exactly are these copyrighted and why do we care? Kaldari (talk) 23:32, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Interesting question; no idea either. But I think the "kit" is referring to the uniform; maybe "strip" is another term for that but I've never heard it. And I'm not sure about the conclusion in there, either, if that is correct. Logos may we be protected, but... clothes usually aren't. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Certainly in British English a "sports strip" is the design (team colours, team logo, ant sponsors logo, etc) used on the of kit a sports team. The team and any sponsors logos are very likely to be under copyright, but the question is whether the design as a whole is copyrightable. I would be surprised if it were different to the copyrightability (or otherwise) of designs on t-shirts, etc. My uninformed guess would be:

proabably PD-ineligable

Resenbrink.jpg

probably PD-ineligible

possibly copyrightable

possibly copyrightable

I suspect that many clubs will claim copyright over their strip as selling replicas is big business. Thryduulf (talk) 14:13, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
They are most certainly a trademark, and making and selling replicas would not be a good idea without licensing that trademark :-) Some of the logos may be copyrightable, of course. Clothes in general are not copyrightable (they are utilitarian), and any photos of the players should be fine. Making a graphic with the design may hit a gray area for some of the complex designs, but should often be fine too. But thanks for clarifying the term; I had never heard that particular bit of British English before ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:40, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

US Federally Funded ArtEdit

Is a work of art that was entirely US federally funded in the public domain? (In particular, I am thinking of the federally funded murals during the depression area.) --Dtkinzer (talk) 20:59, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

If they were employees of the U.S. government -- which I believe was the case with much of the depression-era stuff -- then yes, for works they did on the job. For works produced under federal grants, I would think usually not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:51, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
As Carl Lindberg says, the depression eras projects actually put the artists on the Federal payroll, so they are clearly PD-USGov. More recent projects may or may not be. While current US copyright law has a work for hire provision, we would have to look at the question of whether a particular work's copyright was owned by the government on a case by case basis.      Jim . . . . Jameslwoodward (talk to me) 11:06, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
We'd have to look individually at the question of whether the work was indeed a work made for hire for the U.S. government, in which case there is no copyright on the work and it falls under {{PD-USGov}}. If the work was not a work made for hire for the U.S. government, it does not fall under {{PD-USGov}}, even if the U.S. government should happen to own the copyrights on the work (for instance through assignment). The U.S. government may own assigned copyrights, but that doesn't mean that such copyrights cease to exist or to be enforcable. For such works, we'd still need a statement by the relevant U.S. government agency that they, as the owners of the copyright, place the work in the public domain or license it freely.
For works resulting from the WPA's Federal Art Project, the artists indeed were employed by the WPA (not just contracted), and thus {{PD-USGov}} should hold for the works created under the FAP. But for instance the New Deal Art in U.S. Post Offices is apparently a different case, as the artists were not employed by the government. The crucial question is whether the artists were employed by a government agency, or whether they were just contracted. Lupo 14:27, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
A clear example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War_Veterans_Memorial#United_States_postage_stamp_court_case the artist retained copyright. He was given compensation (although he asked for 10% of 17million and got 5,000) QuentinUK (talk) 23:02, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
News:(from en.): On September 20, 2013, The United States Court of Federal Claims awarded Gaylord $684,844.94 in damages. [3] …. Wait,… that's a dead link. vandalism? No. Real. --Elvey (talk) 03:36, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Local News: In enacting 17 U.S.C. § 105, Congress’ documented intention was to prevent a government official or employee from being able to restrain anyone from disseminating government works as a form of safeguard against censorship, and that special cases, where the production and publication of important works necessitates an override, will be handled by specific legislation, agency regulations, or contractual restrictions. Except in these special cases, "it can be assumed that, where a Government agency commissions a work for its own use merely as an alternative to having one of its own employees prepare the work, the right to secure a private copyright [is] withheld." This is documented at http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?req=(title:17%20section:105%20edition:prelim). So, just because they're contracted doesn't mean they retained copyright. Based on this record of congressional intent, if there's no discussion of copyright, then, where a Government agency commissions a work for its own use merely as an alternative to having one of its own employees prepare the work, the work is in the public domain. I hadn't seen this record of congressional intent 'till recently, and I bet a bunch of regulars 'round here haven't either. It came to my attention via WMF legal staff. Looks like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_status_of_work_by_the_U.S._government#Works_produced_by_contractors and the history section there need updating. @Clindberg:Whaddya think? --Elvey (talk) 03:14, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not a fan of selective quoting. Just after the sentence you quoted, they continue: "However, there are almost certainly many other cases where the denial of copyright protection would be unfair or would hamper the production and publication of important works. Where, under the particular circumstances, Congress or the agency involved finds that the need to have a work freely available outweighs the need of the private author to secure copyright, the problem can be dealt with by specific legislation, agency regulations, or contractual restrictions." Which I take to mean that unless there are such "special legislation, agency regulations, or contractual restrictions", contractors' works are not PD-US-Gov. Lupo 06:43, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
@Lupo:I'm not a fan of it either, when the intent is to deceive. And yet we've both quoted selectively. Every quotation is a quote without some context because you can't quote absolutely everything. I see why you bring up part of what I did not include. But I still take the whole piece (including the bit you quoted that follows the bit I quoted) to mean that unless there are such "special legislation, agency regulations, or contractual restrictions", it can be assumed that contractors' works are PD-US-Gov where a Government agency commissions a work for its own use merely as an alternative to having one of its own employees prepare the work. I think the phrase "However, there are almost certainly many other cases where" is important to understanding the whole, but you seem to ignore it. The phrase makes it clear to me that the part I did not quote is merely noting an exception to the rule. You haven't provided any argument for ignoring the part I did quote: "it can be assumed that, where a Government agency commissions a work for its own use merely as an alternative to having one of its own employees prepare the work, the right to secure a private copyright [is] withheld."
On the other hand, I will grant you that the document's consistency would be greater if last sentence had read, "Where, under the particular circumstances, Congress or the agency involved finds that the need to have a work freely available is outweighed by the need of the private author to secure copyright, the problem can be dealt with by specific legislation, agency regulations, or contractual restrictions." As it stands, the report is quite a muddle of inconsistency. <sarcasm>Thank you Congress, esp. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Kastenmeier ! Good job creating more jobs for lawyers. </sarcasm> I think we need to look at the work product of some of those lawyers, of which I bet there is no shortage, to settle this. --Elvey (talk) 02:23, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Graffiti 3Edit

From the casebook:

Graffiti are essentially murals that have been painted illegally. Photographs of graffiti have long been allowed on Commons. As artistic works, copyright in graffiti will theoretically belong to the original artist. However, it is unlikely that the artist would be able to enforce the copyright since that would require a court to uphold the validity of an illegal act as the basis for damages or other relief against a third party.

I think that this goes against the other policies of commons such as COM:PRP, COM:L, COM:FOP and generally our rule that "just because the copyright holder probably won't try and sue us doesn't mean we should host unfree images". I accept that in countries where there is FOP for 2D images public graffiti can be considered PD, but in countries where FOP applies only to 3D works (eg the UK) then the graffitier clearly holds copyright of the image, whether or not they choose to exercise that copyright, and whether or not it is enforceable. Moreover, the rationale given, that such an act is illegal, would require statement that the property owner did not give permission (innocent until proven guilty) which, especially in the case of abandoned buildings or ones which have changed hands would be rather tricky to find. I would therefore like the note amended to something along the lines of:

Graffiti is treated as with any other 2D public work - if there is a 2D freedom of panorama exemption in that country then it is OK, but if not it should be deleted unless it falls under de minimis guidelines.

Comments? -mattbuck (Talk) 11:32, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

There were news reports about the United Farmers Union sueing Corbis over murals in San Francisco (source). Probably, Corbis settled. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 11:51, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I think this is a tough issue, legal graffiti is copyrighted (as is any other legal artwork) with countries who do not have FOP for 2D artworks but illegal graffiti is the problem. I think it is an untested part of the law (IE: are illegal works copyrightable or gain copyright protection) in most if not all countries that don't have FOP for 2D artworks but we all know if a illegal graffiti artwork has say a cartoon character it is a derivative work (most cartoon character are protected by copyright, no question about that). Bidgee (talk) 13:08, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
In the US, at least, any work eligible for copyright is protected from the moment it is placed in tangible form. That a work is illegal would have to be adjudicated, which would imply that it would lose copyright protection. And if the finding of illegality were overturned on appeal, one would presume that it would regain copyright protection. IANAL, but this doesn't make a lot of sense. I agree with Mattbuck that the current wording is based on "won't try to sue us" rather than any clear lack of protection.--Curtis Clark (talk) 13:38, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
The essential problem with graffiti is the orphaned works problem. No illegal graffiti artist is ever going to license their work under a free license, or even sign it with their real name, as it would incriminate them. Even for FOP, it's difficult to argue that a work of illegal graffiti is "permanently installed" in any sense of the word, which is a requirement in most FOP nations. There are certain circumstances in which it's obvious that the work was created illegally, and if this does create a copyright exemption then I don't think we need to worry. If it doesn't, maybe we should look into getting a release from the one of those artists who paints on "legal graffiti walls" where people are allowed to paint graffiti. Dcoetzee (talk) 16:10, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
It's a little more than that, even -- there is a general common-law reluctance to let people profit from crimes. Also, prior to 1989, there was no issue at all -- it would have lacked a copyright notice and thus would have been PD immediately. This is a rather new (probably mostly untested) situation in the last 20 years, for the U.S. anyways. In general, people were "used" to not worrying about copyright on such things. Anything done with permission though isn't "graffiti", they are murals, and would be copyrighted now. I believe User:MichaelMaggs was pretty confident about the existing policy in regards to the UK even though they don't have FOP for it (my memory of an older post of his; this has been discussed before). Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:26, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
How about a modern day Sidewalk Sam who does "graffiti" in chalk? Sidewalk Sam, Robert Charles Guillemin, signed and dated his work. File:Sidewalk Sam Boston July 1974.jpg -- Swtpc6800 (talk) 20:16, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Today would be an interesting case. Could depend on where it was placed and how it was photographed (and it may not be illegal in the first place, done that way, either). In that particular case though, while signed, there was no copyright notice, so no copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:38, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi. This has recently come up at Wikipedia, at the Public Domain guideline. I'd like to call attention to this 2007 article in the New York Times. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 19:52, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure I lump artwork on the scale mentioned in that article as "graffiti". Those sure sound like murals, done with permission, and were apparently signed as well. Commons:Image casebook#Murals spells that out differently. Illegality is the only reason we could even think to keep them; "legal graffiti" we would consider "murals" for purposes of the guideline. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:39, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I see the distinction better now. FWIW, I've managed to get my hands on this article in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Pracitce, but due to stupid real life work (stupid real life! :P) have not had time yet to read it. I doubt there's anything definitive in there, but it may have some implications about its subject ("Legal questions about illegal art") worth considering. I'll bring back anything I take out of it, though since it's available to subscribers, others may have managed to read it and find anything worthwhile before I do. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:05, 26 October 2010 (UTC)
William Patry discussed that article here, but I haven't seen the content. That was in the wake of the case where elements of VARA (artist's rights) were disallowed because the work was installed illegally. That was a case though where allowing VARA restrictions would seriously inconvenience a landowner when they didn't ask for the works in the first place; pure copyright may be different. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:54, 26 October 2010 (UTC)

(resetting indent) Okay, I've read through the article. It's not as useful as I had hoped it would be. :) It is more by nature of an opinion piece with some summary of existing legislation. Rychlicki's opinion is pretty clear: "Each of these jurisdictions [Poland, UK, USA] defines an object liable for copyright protection quite broadly. It may thus be assumed that, if a piece of graffiti features individual, creative, and materialized characters, it is protected by copyright law. Additionally, neither moral nor public order circumstances, which might potentially determine whether a graffiti work is recognized as a protected work, are mentioned in them." He also argues that "It cannot be assumed that graffiti cannot be recognized as a work to which the author waived his rights on the sole basis that it is illegal and such works do not enter the public domain immediately. Nor is there any presumption that the author agrees to any licence in the absence of clear evidence of his consent." He points out that there have been legal challenges to copyright based on the legality or morality (obscenity) of content: English v. BFC&R E. 11th St. LLC is referenced (the case you mention above, of course), but draws no conclusion about the pure copyright issues. I can't access the court documents, so I don't know specifically if the court address the issue.

I don't hang out much on Commons, but it seems like it might be useful to generate a licensing tag to be associated with images of graffiti, since the legal question has not evidently been resolved. (At least as of 2008.) This would facilitate addressing them if it should in the future be nailed down to permit copyright protection, and it would also alert reusers that there are unresolved legal questions that may impact them and their use in the future. That seems like responsible stewardship while at the same time not being overly cautious. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:42, 28 October 2010 (UTC)

I have (belatedly) acted on this suggestion by creating {{non-free graffiti}}, which I will advertise at COM:VP. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:34, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

DrawingsEdit

Commons:Image_casebook#Drawings_based_on_photographs says that "...A drawing made from a copyrighted photograph is a derivative work...Drawings based on several photos are derivative works of all of them...".

Is the part about several photos correct? If you see Commons:Deletion requests/File:KGerstein.jpg and Commons:Deletion requests/File:Richard Perle-2b.jpg then most of the comments are something like "Keep" and "Stop this copyright madness". So either the DR's are wrong or the Image casebook is wrong.

I also think that we should "demand" a source so we can verify that image is free. So uploader should either link to one or more images that has been used as source or claim something like "I met the person on the street and draw the picture by memory." or "Saw the person in TV and made the drawing based on that.". --MGA73 (talk) 21:07, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

I don't see any derivative works there. Making a drawing using photographs to just get a general idea of what a subject looks like is fine. Copyright protects specific expression, not someone's general likeness -- i.e. the specific angles, lines, shadows, etc. specific to that particular photograph. A drawing would be a derivative work only if it contained those same specific lines, shadows, etc. from one (or more) source photographs. As for requiring sources... eh. While helpful, it's no different than other photographs where the author claims "own work" and gives no source. If we discover a source photograph too close to the drawing, nominate for deletion then. You can use photographs as general guides just fine -- they do not own copyright in objects or people they depict, only the specific expression in the *way* they are depicted, so drawings are only a problem if they copy some of that precise expression. As for the guideline, "based on" may be too vague. It really means if copyrightable expression is copied. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:09, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Strange. The legal situation is clear. Shephard Fairey was forced to settle with the photographer of the Obama portrait (the judge told them so). /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 21:00, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Yup, and these are different to me. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:16, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
File:Richard Perle-2.jpg is probably based on http://www.nndb.com/people/354/000022288/ - the angle, shadow, all that. It is the same for the drawing of Kurt Gerstein, where there are fewer photos known. The contributors to Commons are not in general greatly talented artists, they keep the same angle (maybe with a flip) and shadows, they cannot change much more than for example the pattern of a tie. They only make the drawing because they want to illustrate an article, but free photos are lacking. It is just trying to circumvent the rights that photographers have to their work. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 21:34, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I would disagree that that is a derivative work as well. Separate expression of the same idea to me. In looking at the small details, I don't see any copied. Vaguely the same angle of the face, and vaguely the same angle of the light, but that's it. I don't think that's enough to carry a copyright. I don't see any copying of the specific placement of hair, same shape to the eyes, etc., etc. You have to identify stuff specific to that photograph, not simply that a photograph was used as a reference to make a drawing. I don't see it on the Gerstein one either; again that seems to be an original drawing. It is certainly possible to make a drawing that is derivative of a photograph (we've deleted some), but these, to me, are examples of drawings that are OK. The Obama one is quite different; that is most definitely using that specific photograph as a source -- note that a very similar photo was thought to be the source for a while, but those two photos are not derivative of each other, and a drawing which differs by at least that much is also not derivative to me. The Hope poster however used many of the fine details and did achieve a similar look because of it. Photographers do not get a copyright on someone's face; something is derivative by copying the very specific expression found in the particular photo -- I'm looking at specific outlines, particular tufts of hair, that kind of thing, whereas different lines in vaguely similar positions does not do it for me since those are an artifact of the pictured person and not any expression attributable to the photographer. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:57, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

MedalsEdit

I've had to look this one up quite a bit. It would be really nice if someone knowledgeable on the subject could add it. Mainly I was referring to military medals, but we might want to include medals of all types just for clarity. My guess is that military medals will follow the rules for the military of any given country: from what I can tell, only the US grants PD status to military works (although works-for-hire are of course not PD). Magog the Ogre (talk) 05:48, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Butter sculpturesEdit

Dumb question, but aren't the images in Category:Butter sculptures derivative of copyrighted 3D art? Most of these images were taken recently in the United States. Kelly (talk) 01:41, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Yes, yes they are - and they should be deleted unless the original artist released their sculpture under a suitable license. I've created a mass deletion request at Commons:Deletion requests/Images in Category:Butter sculptures. Dcoetzee (talk) 06:57, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Language subpagesEdit

To foster translations and to make this more usefull to all people I suggest to move the individual topics to language subpages and to transclude them here so that any user

  • will read the casebook in their language, if available, and otherwise will read the image casebook in English (fallback language) if no translation exists
  • will be able to understand the instructions if a help link COM:CB#Album_covers will be given to them, and will not skip to read the help because of not understanding English language and continue copyvio uploading - so people can link to the relevant language without caring what language the user they try to inform speaks
  • can easily swith between languages without leaving the page, this can be done with a langswitch at the top of the page I guess
  • can translate a small portion of the casebook into their language

To allow for maintenance I suggest not to move the cases into translated subpages such as Image_casebook/Werbung for a german version of /Advertisements but keep the original case in english and make it Image_casebook/Advertisements/en and Image_casebook/Advertisements/de and so on. Headlines can be part of the translation, we can and should set various {{Anchor}}s here on the main transclusion page to allow linking. This idea might be helpfull on this help page as their will not exist an "official" versions like in policy pages. --Martin H. (talk) 14:43, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

SlideshowsEdit

I have created Commons:Image casebook#Slideshows with a recommendation to upload standalone photographs and then use derivativefx.

For example File:UCET slide show-show0.ogv has just been uploaded, and it is very difficult to say if "own work" refers to the making of the slideshow or to the taking of each photograph. Apparently it is OK because at least one picture was provided as a standalone one, but the use of derivativefx would make such checking easier and systematic. Teofilo (talk) 15:07, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Request for Comment at CFD: Canned beveragesEdit

Any thoughts or suggestions would be helpful: Commons:Categories_for_discussion/2011/03/Category:Canned_beverages. - Themightyquill (talk) 06:54, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Fixed medium - ice sculpturesEdit

Much like butter sculptures (see above) - however, this is even less of a "fixed medium" than butter sculptures. I'm not terribly familiar with the term though - Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter#Fireworks displays states that something must be on a fixed medium. Would ice not qualify as "fixed"? Magog the Ogre (talk) 04:20, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Product PackagingEdit

Wikipedia has dozens of articles about various types of package structures. The articles discuss the package types and their functions but there is clarity added by pictures of the relevant packages. Often the pictures also have graphic content but the use of the picture is to show the package structure to Wikipedia readers. How can we both 1) use good descriptive pictures of packages to show package structures and 2) keep the spirit of copywrite requirements? Rlsheehan (talk) 18:39, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Photos of Banners outsideEdit

Some questions on banners:

  1. Are Photos of banners outside on a building allowed on commons?.
  2. Which licence do i have to use ?
  3. What about the author? is it enought to name the organisation using that banner?
  4. Do there exist some helpful links on this topic on commons ?

--OneDayPeace (talk) 21:35, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

You're more likely to get a useful response if you head over to Commons:Village pump/Copyright, especially since the short answer is "it depends, tell us more about the photos." --Philosopher Let us reason together. 12:27, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

GraffitiEdit

For your information, there is a discussion about graffiti going on at Commons:Deletion requests/Template:Non-free graffiti. This partially seems to contain statements by people who want the current graffiti practice to be changed. --Stefan4 (talk) 11:03, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

I made some minor clarifications to the Graffiti section. It seems to me that the act of painting graffiti in a public location, by its very nature, grants a license to the general public to view the work. Additionally, absent any clear indication of restriction on the license, we should assume the license broadly unless notified otherwise. Should a real person (i.e. an identifiable person not an anonymous user) object to their artistic work being displayed on Commons (and it is reasonable that they could be the artist) we should remove the artwork pending a determination of the competent authority for the jurisdiction in which the graffiti is located regarding (1) whether the artist truly owns the work, (2) and that the work is subject to copyright protection. --Trödel 15:46, 5 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how a 'licence' to view the work is particularly relevant. What matters is whether it implies they are either giving up on the copyright, or allowing the artwork to be reproduced significantly freely that it would quality as free on the commons, or by their actions make their work ineligible for protection. Obviously in countries with a broad freedom of panorama for 2D artwork, it may be that freedom of panorama will make any claimed copyright of the artwork moot (although it may get complicated, e.g. in Germany is it considered a permanent display?), but this doesn't apply to all countries. In this vein, it's the same as in other cases. E.g. a public an advertisement on a billboard is clearly intended for the public to view, it doesn't mean that the advertisment has no copyright protection. In other words, as always, it's copyright that matters here, not whether the photographer was legally allowed to view whatever they were viewing.
Note that the specifics of copyright protection of graffiti is sometime discussed on occasion, e.g. [4] [5] although I'm not aware of any specific case law. (It's not clear to me whether the graffiti on this was an anonymous vandalism or labelled and done with permission and [6] was settled and had a fair use consideration.)
Incidentally, I've seen people elsewhere suggest elsewhere that by the act of painting on property without permission, the copyright is transferred to the owner of whatever it was painted on. I don't know if there's any real legal basis for this, but even if true, it doesn't help us unless the new copyright holders of the artwork agree to release the image under a free licence. In fact, it may make it worse.
Nil Einne (talk) 14:24, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Granting a license is what we require on Commons - so it is very relevant. When someone allows the use of an image on commons they are not giving up their copyright or there is not a determination that that they are ineligible for protection - what they are doing is licensing their work for use on commons.
Similarly, by painting graffiti in a public place, possibly illegally, one is granting a license to the general public to the work. Whether this license is broad enough (and specific enough) to qualify as a "free" license for commons purposes may be argued, but that the owner granted the license is relevant. --Trödel 19:45, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I wasn't intending to suggest people have to give up copyright to release work on the commons. My point was and is there's no evidence that someone painting graffiti is 'granting a license to the general public to the work' as you now state. All we have evidence for is (if you want to get technical) they are granting a 'licence' to view the specific instance of the work (unless further legal restrictions are imposed, as the owner of the work allows) as in most cases when a copyright holder makes or authorises a work based on their copyright (whether a painting, a building or a packet of chips) but that's irrelevant to the commons. (I feel this is a fairly confusing description but if you want to use it, so be it.) We IMO have zero evidence they are granting a licence that is sufficiently free for commons, which requires that they licence people to make reproductions, derivatives and doing this commercially etc and not just view the specific work which is obviously not even what we have on the commons (but rather a reproduction of the work). Nil Einne (talk) 18:28, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
I disagree - we have evidence that the vandal clearly is licensing the work for public display by the very act of the painting graffiti. Secondly, who is the owner of the work, in the United States, in my legal opinion, it is the owner of the property that is vandalized, which, in the case of vandalism to public property, puts it in the public domain.
Finally, we have no one that can exercise any right to the work. We don't know who the artist/vandal is, and they don't identify themselves: there is no one to protect - no one to exercise the copyright. Although notice/registration is no longer necessary to secure rights in a work. Howe can a right exist when there is no one to exercise that right. --Trödel 16:11, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

There is now a second discussion at COM:UR#Graffitis. --Stefan4 (talk) 15:41, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Body art and tattoos?Edit

I came here partially because of Commons:Deletion requests/File:OC.jpg but I'm interested in the wider issue. We have a fair number of Category:Body tattoos but have we sufficiently considered the copyright issues here? From [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] issues surrounding copyright and tattoos haven't really been tested in court possibly in any country but there's it's not clear that they have no merit and there have been settled cases. Or to put it a different way, I don't know if you can say we have clear cut reason to believe tattoos are ineligible for copyright. Or that a person with a tattoo, where the intention is clearly to show the tattoo rather then simply an incidental appearance, is able to grant a free licence i.e. allowing reproductions including derivatives and commercial use without permission of the putative copyright holder (which would seem to suggest someone can base their tattoo designs on the image or otherwise reproduce it in contexts outside images of the original tattoo).

Like in graffiti cases, I don't think we should ignore such concerns simply because of the unlikelyhood of being sued or the fact the artist probably didn't even think of their copyright. (And of course, unlike in graffiti cases, the designer is usually not initially anonymous and doesn't generally have to worry about criminal or civil action, except possibly for stuff like gang and prison tattoos.) Some of these may be works for hire or old enough that any copyright has expired, other's may be sufficiently simple to be ineligible for copyright and yet others may be designed by the uploader (I noticed in at least some cases the uploader appears to be a tattoo artist or something of that sort) or the uploader may have received permission from the designer to release their artwork under an appropriate licence. But I'm not sure if these issues have been considered in all cases, some appear to include fairly distinctive artwork and it's not clear the uploader is the designer or had permission of the designer to grant such a licence. In some cases multiple designers may be involved.

Deleting current images may be controversial, but should we at least consider getting stricter with new images and perhaps including discussion in the casebook? (If we do, I think perhaps some brief explaination or links relating to work for hire would be helpful since it's often misunderstood, something we also get with professional photographs.) Or at the very least, perhaps a template similar to the graffiti one where we effectively tag those images as possibly being unfree. Some people may get angry if we tell them we have concerns about copyright over something on their body (although I don't think the person with the tattoo is always the uploader) but I don't think that's sufficient justification for us to ignore copyright concerns. For those having trouble thinking of copyright when it comes to the human body, perhaps we can provide an hypothetical example of a tattoo of some copyrighted content. (I tried thinking of examples but couldn't off the top of my head, as examples like Mickey Mouse aren't the best due to additional trademark concerns.)

Nil Einne (talk) 19:14, 26 March 2012 (UTC)

I would rather have court cases to point to when deleting stuff like that. There's all sorts of theoretical, possible stuff regarding copyright in lots of areas, but until something gets beyond that, I'd leave them be. I'd have to think they would be fair use in all but the most extraordinary circumstances, and even then it may be OK. Really, this is more sliding down the slope of copyright paranoia. It's a sticky issue there because tattoos are so personal; to suggest the tattoo artist has an ownership interest of something that's part of your own body is a very messy path to go down. Deleting pictures of statues and buildings is bad enough, and we do have court precedents for that stuff. There was a tattoo artist who sued Rasheed Wallace of the NBA for something surrounding a tattoo he did for him, but I don't think the case went well for him, and they settled. That particular case may have been more problematic, since Wallace may well have been considered a co-author, which changes things completely. But in my opinion, let's wait until someone proves there is a concrete, actual problem with such stuff in court, rather than giving legitimacy to all potential copyright claims. If a tattoo artist has an issue with a particular image here, let's deal with it individually. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:52, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
Notwithstanding the lack of case law in this area, it seems evident that in the large majority of cases the bearer of the tattoo is not the copyright holder of the tattoo. I can only think of a few cases where they would be: if they did the design and the tattoo artist copied it with no embellishments; if a contract transferred copyright to them; or if it was a work for hire in a nation where such transfers occur implicitly (i.e. not the US). In many cases tattoo artists draw template drawings of the tattoos that are available and merely have the customer pick one - clearly in such cases the work was already in a conventional fixed form before it was ever tattooed. Complicating notes: Many cases, including kanji tattoos, should qualify as {{PD-text}}. In some cases, with particularly popular tattoos, tattoo artists share designs without a license (or even permission), or create tattoos that are derivative works of non-free copyrighted works or characters. Dcoetzee (talk) 23:27, 26 March 2012 (UTC)
If the person wearing the tattoo had input on the design, they could very well be at least a joint author. That changes things significantly -- even under copyright law, they would not need the tattooer's permission for most things. But any such cases would involve a good deal of other common law stuff I'm sure; following copyright law blindly may end up with undesirable results -- judges may not go that far. Which is why I'd rather wait for actual court results before changing any policy on them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:00, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

VehiclesEdit

Recently, File:FGWL-train-with-London-2012-artwork-01.jpg and File:FGWL-train-with-London-2012-artwork-02.jpg were deleted as derivative works. To me, these two deletions to me set a dangerous precedent. They are images of a livery (admittedly nonstandard) which was applied to a train. Our policy has always previously seemed to be that trains are utilitarian objects, and thus ineligible for copyright, and we extend that to what is painted on them.

As far as I am concerned, there is no difference between a nonstandard livery which advertises the London 2012 olympics, and a standard livery which doesn't, but is certainly not PD-simple. Take for instance the three images below, these are all standard liveries, and all clearly complex enough to not be PD-simple, especially given the low threshold of originality in the UK. The deleting admin later stated on his talk page I see a significant difference between a livery -- decoration of a utilitarian object to identify the owner of the object -- a bus, truck, train, airplane, or ship -- and applying an independent work of art to a surface that happens to be one of those. These images are essentially advertisements and I think we need to treat them as if they were on billboards, even though the billboard happens to be a train. That is different from a livery. I completely disagree with this. I mean, where do we draw a line. Is it still "just a billboard" if the same image is applied to all the trains of a particular operator? At what point does it change from mural to livery, and why does it being a livery mean it's ok? I hate myself for saying this, but we need to make a decision. Either we accept that anything you paint on a train is eligible for freedom of panorama, or we delete every single image of a train which is not a single colour, which, given accessibility regulations for colour schemes, is all of them. -mattbuck (Talk) 17:23, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree with you. These 2 images should not have been deleted. Yann (talk) 18:10, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
A livery is utilitarian as a standard thing for identifying the operator. A special livery advertising the Olympics is still utilitarian, still carrying out that function, but additionally an advertisement. It's a grey area, and it's not unreasonable to apply COM:PRP. Rd232 (talk) 16:24, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Indeed, the deleted images were not photos of trains as such but close-up photos specifically of the non-free images on the sides of the carriages. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:51, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Does this meet the threshold of originality?Edit

File:Jayne and flowers.jpg
The image in the picture-frame is a Playboy image (February, 1955)

Please check. This would be a great help. The image was taken by the flickr uploader and released as cc-by-sa. I have uploaded it as the same. But, that doesn't say anything about the threshold of originality. I am aware that playboy is very sensitive about copyright matters, and rightfully so. Therefore, this needs and experienced or learned opinion. Mine will not do. Sigh. Aditya (talk) 09:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Unless the photo of Mansfield is public domain, I don't think that photo is OK here. Doubt it would count as fair use either. It's a very intentional part of the larger photo. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:19, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
Since the image within is not in public domain (no Playboy image is), can someone help me to get it removed? It would be funny if I take my own upload to deletion request. I'll support a delete nonetheless. Aditya (talk) 22:27, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
You mean you've checked the copyright was renewed on all Playboy images? It's a US image from 1955 - the copyright has expired if it wasn't renewed. Probably it was, but... Rd232 (talk) 16:20, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Marching band shows/formations?Edit

Please comment at Commons:Village pump/Copyright#Photos of marching bands?. So far we have two contradictory opinions. Thanks, cmadler (talk) 17:03, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Balloons, Batmobile, 2nd LifeEdit

Recently an image was deleted of a hot air balloon in the shape of w:SpongeBob SquarePants. I just uploaded File:Energizer Bunny Hot Air Balloon 2009.jpg to kick around as well. We also have images in Category:Batmobile (1966). There was a court case that seems to state that it is copyrighted even though it is a vehicle. We also have images from w:Second Life that are 3D versions of copyrighted works from real life. File:Yellow Submarine Second Life.png is one example. Do we need new sections on the project page to clarify some of these issues? SpongeBob Second Life, Batmobile Second Life, Storm Trooper Second Life, Mickey Mouse Second Life.

  • Unique hot air balloons and FOP
  • Copyrighted vehicle designs
  • Second Life images of real life copyrighted works
Thoughts?--Canoe1967 (talk) 21:22, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
I can't see any reasonable grounds on which we could keep the images you mention as they all clearly seem to be copyright-protected. Are there any counter-arguments? --MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:33, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Purpose and format of this pageEdit

The original purpose of this page, when first written, was to provide very simple and easy-to-use non-legal information on the acceptability of various type of subject matter. As the page has developed it has become rather more legalistic, and users have added details of court cases and links to deletion requests to back up the basic information. To my mind, that is all very good, and the addition of legal supporting material should always be encouraged. Not only does it help the more sophisticated users understand the basis for the guidelines here, it also helps to show that our rules are based on secure legal principles and are not just 'made up'.

As more support material gets added, this page is in danger of getting very long, and unless anyone objects I'm intending to go through it and to try to separate to the text for each country into two parts:

  1. A short non-legal statement of what is allowed here, and
  2. Supporting material, including legal analysis where available, with links to court cases and to relevant DRs on Commons.

--MichaelMaggs (talk) 09:47, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Graffiti 4Edit

If we are considering that the original graffiti artist can not enforce any copyrights as the act itself is illegal in most of the places, do we need permission from the photographer? Its a derivative art, but if the derivation is not worth of any artistic nature that it may be copyrightable, why do we require permissions from these photographers for their release? Indirectly, i mean two questions here. (1) Can i upload any pic of graffiti found on flickr, panoramio, or any website, even if explicitly copyrighted? (2) If the work is not copyrighted, shouldn't all the images of graffiti be in Public Domain rather than CC-BY-SA-2.0, 3.0 or whatever? §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {T/C} 10:27, 23 April 2013 (UTC)

The original graffiti artist often doesn't have any evidence of authorship, so this person is unable to enforce any copyright in most cases.
In the event that the graffiti artist does have evidence of authorship, the copyright normally expires 70 years after the death of the graffiti artist. It would be unwise for the graffiti artist to sue anyone over copyright infringement during the first few years (say, 1-10 years depending on country) because this would mean that the graffiti artist would be sued for vandalism by the property owner. However, once that time has passed, the property owner can't sue the graffiti artist due to prescription, so the graffiti artist is free to sue anyone for copyright infringement during the remaining years of the copyright term.
In some countries, graffiti may be covered by freedom of panorama rules. For example, in Sweden, you are free to take photos of artworks which are permanently installed in a public place outdoors. This should cover most graffiti. Also, in the United States, there was a court case (Leicester v. Warner Bros.) which concluded that artworks which can't be separated from a building are counted as a part of that building. This may mean that some graffiti is covered by freedom of panorama in the United States, at least as long as the building doesn't satisfy {{PD-US-architecture}}. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:42, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I have a questions now. So in cases where 2D art is not covered under FOP, there is chance that original artist may enforce copyrights. For example, in Australia, 2D art is not allowed and this graffiti File:Street Art Painting Retro Sign Richmond.JPG is on a board that is attached to a building and thus can be separated. So, we should delete this? §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {T/C} 06:27, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I think we must. This is more akin to a poster than graffiti, and seems to me to be a clear copyright infringement. FOP does not cover this in Australia. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:24, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
This is a case where COM:PRP typically is ignored and where unfree images are accepted. The topic is discussed once in a while (see for example #Graffiti above), and the typical outcome is to keep these images, at least if the art is anonymous. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:45, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

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Coming to the second part of my main question. What should be the license of most of the graffities? Many of these are 2D copying and hence the copyright holder would either be the creator, if known, or no one. In such cases, shouldn't all such images be converted to PD rather than other licenses where the photographer demands a wrongful attribution. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {T/C} 07:08, 26 April 2013 (UTC)

When making a copy of a 2D work, the person making the copy is the copyright holder in lots of countries, so please don't remove any licences. Illegal graffiti is supposed to be tagged with {{Non-free graffiti}} unless the graffiti is in the public domain or the reproduction is covered by freedom of panorama. --Stefan4 (talk) 13:32, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
A photograph could contain a graffiti work as an element in the overall work. The photographer could claim a copyright on the overall work. Here is an example File:Sidewalk Sam Boston July 1974.jpg -- Swtpc6800 (talk) 16:51, 26 April 2013 (UTC)
@Stefan: No! I am not changing any licenses without discussing here with you. And even if you agree, i think i will require more people to agree on this before such licenses are changed. For 2D copying, if you say in some countries that can allow creating copyrights, it should be so mentioned at Commons:2D copying. This page of ours says that the copyier has no rights.
@Swtpc: That example of yours is right. I myself have uploaded this image File:Jesus is coming, look busy.JPG which is not a 2D copying but more a image which has the graffiti in it. In such cases, the photographer can release under a license of his choice. But for images where its mostly like a 2D coping, like File:Detroit Graffiti.jpg, i don't understand how the photographer gets to decide the license. §§Dharmadhyaksha§§ {T/C} 07:25, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
Hello @Dharmadhyaksha: @Swtpc6800: @MichaelMaggs: @Stefan4: I'd like to revive this discussion as at least for me, there is still some confusion. COM:GRAFFITI seems to imply that, under most circumstances, graffiti made in the United States after 1978 should be considered non-free and have the {{Non-free graffiti}} template. Yet while sifting through Category:Street art in the United States, I was unable to find any image with this tag. Also COM:L#Acceptable licenses states no non-free media other than WikiMedia logos should be on Commons... does this not apply if the {{Non-free graffiti}} template is used? Thanks — MusikAnimal talk 00:38, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

It seems that Dcoetzee created the {{Non-free graffiti}} template in 2011, but it has not been much used. Photos of graffiti have long been allowed on Commons without any problems, and while you have identified a problem with the template, or its usage, I don't think the template's existence changes the community understanding that graffiti are normally OK to be hosted here. It's probably true that not all editors agree with that position, but in spite of the odd grumble there has so far been no serious attempt to overturn community consensus on this. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 08:55, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
@MichaelMaggs: Are images of graffiti still considered non-free, then? If so there are issues that must be resolved on the Wikipedias, where use of non-free media must be minimal. However, since these images are on commons, I feel like they must be safe to use in any capacity? Thanks for the help! — MusikAnimal talk 17:02, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
The consensus is that they are Ok on Commons, which means that they can then be used on the Wikipedias. As with any images, no guarantees are given to re-users, but I'm not aware of any particular issues in practice. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 17:23, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
In regard to this, recently a number of graffiti have been deleted from Commons, see Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Graffiti in Ljubljana etc. Perhaps these should be brougt up for undeletion at COM:UDR, otherwise our general stance should be reviewed. --Eleassar (t/p) 17:39, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
You're now talking about the specifics of certain images rather than the default position, and of course in any specific case there may be additional legal or factual information which can change the default. The DR you mention seems to have largely focused on local legal opinion, which is as it should be. I'm not familiar enough with local laws to say whether the closure was correct, nor whether you have any chance at UDR. The apparently knowledgeable opinions on local law may be difficult to overcome. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 18:47, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

InterfacesEdit

Notably absent from this list are various types of interfaces, esp. computer.   — C M B J   23:49, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

They would fall within the Screenshots section. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 03:24, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Press photosEdit

Did we seek consensus that press photos released to newspapers for publication is actually considered publication even though the papers may not have printed a version? Sample: File:Jeanne Cooper 1977.JPG. See also w:Film_still#Copyright--Canoe1967 (talk) 14:10, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Publication before 1978 in the U.S. is very broad: Before the "new" copyright law took effect in 1978, "publication" was basically leaving an authorized copy (including the original) in any location where people could reproduce the copyrighted part of it, including any public display: See en:Chicago Picasso#History and the related court case Letter Edged in Black Press, Inc. v. Public Building Commission of Chicago, in which the sculpture, even though it had a copyright notice, lost copyright because the previous, publicly-viewable models of it had no copyright notice. Even from 1978 on, transferring authorized duplicates to outside parties is "publication". (But only publication before March 1989 makes a U.S. first-publication lose copyright; I haven't seen any evidence that works first published since 1989 are public domain.) --Closeapple (talk) 09:13, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

FYI: Commons:Deletion_requests/Template:Non-free_graffitiEdit

I suggested the deletion of the above mentioned template, which would come along with a change of Commons:Copyright_rules_by_subject_matter#Graffiti. Feel free to join the discussion over there. --Isderion (talk) 23:06, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Replicas of PD artworks - 2DEdit

The section "Replicas of PD artworks" says "[...]However, the photographer still has rights to the work; see 3D art above." Shouldnt this include that Replicas of PD 2D artworks is PD? Christian75 (talk) 14:19, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Last modified on 7 April 2014, at 18:47