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Copyright rules define when an image or other work is subject to copyright, and when a copyrighted work goes into the public domain and may be freely used for commercial purposes, a requirement for any work uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. A few general information pages in Wikimedia Commons cover topics common to copyright in all countries, while over 200 pages give rules specific to one country or territory. The general and country-specific pages are mostly included in the translation system, so they can be translated into many different languages. Consolidated lists, which are also translated, hold groups of country-specific pages, or extracts from country-specific pages that cover a topic such as freedom of panorama or stamps.

This page describes the overall organization of pages that provide copyright information, describes how these pages are marked up for translation and transclusion into consolidated lists, and lists the main templates that support the pages. It may be useful to administrators and developers.

General information pagesEdit

General information pages hold information on concepts or principles that apply to most countries. They may include links to consolidated lists of information extracted from a given section in many country-specific pages, and may include selective lists of country-specific information. They are:

Page Topic
Commons:Copyright rules by territory General concepts that apply to the laws of all countries, with links to pages for specific countries
Commons:Copyright tags Copyright-related templates to be used on files uploaded to Wikimedia Commons
Commons:Currency When images of coins and banknotes are allowed
Commons:De minimis When "minimal" or incidental inclusion of copyrighted work is allowed
Commons:Freedom of panorama When buildings and artistic works permanently displayed in public may be depicted
Commons:Stamps/Public domain When stamps may be reproduced.
Commons:Threshold of originality How "original" a work must be for copyright to apply.

Country-specific pagesEdit

There is a page for each member country of the United Nations, and for some former countries, associations and special administrative regions. E.g.

Sample page Type
Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Burundi Sovereign country
Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Manchukuo Former country
Commons:Copyright rules by territory/European Union Association of countries with some common rules
Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Macao Special administrative territory

Each page may have:

  • An "Other languages:" bar at the top if it is translatable
  • An infobox at the top right
  • A short introduction
  • A background section giving a brief history relevant to copyright laws, listing treaty membership and listing relevant laws. Typically this section has citations that link to the WIPO Lex database, which holds online copies of most copyright laws
  • A section giving general rules on copyright durations
  • Sections on topics such as unprotected works (e.g. government works, folklore) or paying public domain
  • Sections on copyright tags, currency, de minimis, freedom of panorama, stamps and threshold of originality. These sections are "transcluded" to consolidated lists, so they should not be renamed
  • Backmatter sections like "See also", "Citations", navigation box and categories

Shortcuts link to the country-specific pages:

Sample shortcut Target
COM:Botswana Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Botswana
COM:BOTSWANA Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Botswana
COM:CUR Botswana Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Botswana#Currency
COM:DM Canada Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Canada#De minimis
COM:FOP Canada Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Canada#Freedom of panorama
COM:TOO Canada Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Canada#Threshold of originality

Consolidated listsEdit

VTE Copyright rules by territory
UN geographical subregions

See Category:Copyright rules by territory transclusion lists for all the consolidated lists.

Country pagesEdit

The country-specific pages are "transcluded" into consolidated lists by region (see box to the right). These may be useful for maintenance purposes. Each region list is a translatable unit holding a set of entries like:

<!-- Érythrée --> {{{CRT Country|Eritrea|type=}}

Each entry expands into a heading, box linking to the source, and the source of the country-specific page. A template like {{CRT format Western Africa}} is provided with each region list that helps the translator sort it into the right sequence for their language. The translatable unit has documentation like: "See Commons:CRT Country Help for instructions on how to sequence this list using {{CRT format Western Africa}}".

For transitional reasons, the country-specific pages are also "transcluded" into alphabetic lists. The alphabetic lists are not translated, since it would be meaningless to provide an Arabic-language list of countries whose English names start with "A" or "B". The English-language alphabetical lists are:

Selective page section listsEdit

Information from sections on specific topics is transcluded into consolidated lists. These may not be complete, since a contributor may add a section on the topic to a country page but not to the selective list.

Unselective page section listsEdit

For Currency, Freedom of panorama and Stamps sections there are also "unselective" lists of transcluded sections, organized by continent. These lists have entries for each country in the region whether or not the section exists.



The ideal would be to have versions of all pages in all languages. This may not be practical, but we should try to at least have the more widely used pages translated into the more common languages, and the country-specific pages translated into their local languages. When a user has chosen to view a page in a given language, all the content on that page should ideally be in that language, whether or not it is the user's preferred language. When they select a link, they should be transferred to a version of the target page in the same language as the current page if it exists, in their preferred language if not, and to the page in English only as a fall-back.

The rationale for placing the current page language ahead of the user's preferred language is that many users have a native language that is not well supported, but can understand another, better-supported language. This may not be English. If someone who prefers Catalan is viewing pages in Spanish, they should be able to navigate easily between Spanish-language versions. The system should not keep trying to find a Catalan version of each linked page, then falling back to English.

The English versions of pages are "marked up" for translation by a translation administrator. The mark-up identifies "translation units" such as section headings or paragraphs, which may be translated one by one into other languages by anyone fluent in the target languages. When looking at a translated version, the English text will be shown where a translation unit has not yet been translated. The text will have a pink background if the English version of the unit has been changed since the unit was last translated.

Markup includes:

Markup Function
<noinclude><languages></noinclude> Renders the "Other languages:" bar at the top.
<translate> ... </translate> Delimits the start and end of text to be translated
<!--T:16--> Marks a translation unit

Do not change the mark-up. Only a translation administrator should do this since errors can have unexpected effects.

Traditional and simplified ChineseEdit

Chinese is written in the traditional character set in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but is written in the simplified character set in mainland China, Singapore and elsewhere. The translation extension only supports one Chinese language code: zh. Some of the translation templates support the artificial codes zh-hk and zh-tw for use in section transclusion (see below). By default, the transclusion templates look for sections in the page language code, but this can be overridden to look for sections in another language code. So if the current page language is zh,


Some text should not be transcluded to the consolidated lists. It is marked off using <noinclude> ... </noinclude> tags. This may include non-translated text, as with:

</translate><noinclude>{{Comseealso|Commons:Stamps/Public domain}}</noinclude><translate>

Do not change this mark-up either.

Templates and modulesEdit

Templates are used extensively to handle standard formatting and linking functions.

Country page templatesEdit

Refer to the documentation on the individual templates for details on usage.

Template Function
{{CRT editnotice}} Appears at the top of a country page in edit mode: warns about transclusion and translation mark-up
{{Infobox copyright rules}} Placed at the top of each country page. Holds a summary of the copyright rules for the country.
{{CRT format/countrycode}} Renders a country name as an ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code. Strips off leading "the" if present.
Used by {{Infobox copyright rules}}
{{CRT format/ISO3166-1 codes}} Renders a country name as an ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code.
May render a bogus code preceded by * if the CRT territory does not have a valid code.
Used by {{CRT format/countrycode}}.
{{CRT list2}} Placed at the foot of each country page. Provides links to all the other country pages. Does not display on mobile devices. The lists of countries are held in templates such as {{CRT format Africa index}}. Commons:CRT index help gives instructions on using these to create language-sorted lists to include in the translation units of {{CRT list2}}.
{{CRT shortcut}} Placed at the start of a section that may be reached by a shortcut. Gives the shortcut name in a box to the right, and a link to the general topic page. Thus the section Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Burundi#Freedom of panorama can be reached by shortcut COM:FOP Burundi. The general topic page is Commons:Freedom of panorama.
{{CRT pagelink}} Renders a link to a CRT country page, giving the name of the country in the current page language, and linking to the version of the target page in the current page language if available.
{{Pg}} Formats a link to another page or category. Links to a version in the current page language if available, or else in the user's preferred language, or failing that, in English.
{{Sref}} Formats a short reference to a section in a copyright law, e.g. [149/2012 Sec.13(c)]. Normally a link to the complete text of the law will have been given in the "Background" section of the page.

Consolidated list indexesEdit

Template Function
{{Copyright navbox}} Navigation box for the top-level pages (Copyright rules by territory, Copyright tags, Currency, De minimis, Freedom of panorama, Stamps/Public domain, Threshold of originality)
{{Copyright index}} A box that holds links to the top-level pages (Copyright rules by territory, Copyright tags, Currency, De minimis, Freedom of panorama, Stamps/Public domain, Threshold of originality). Included in {{Copyright navbox}} and {{Copyright rules by territory}}
{{Copyright index/entry}} A link to one of the top-level pages, in the current page language if available
{{Copyright index/pagename}} Name to be used for a link to one of the top-level pages, the translated page name if available
{{CRT region index}} An index to regional transclusion lists of complete country pages.
{{CRT index entry}} An entry in {{CRT region index}}.
{{Currency region index}} An index of regional transclusion lists of "Currency" sections.
{{Currency index entry}} An entry in {{Currency region index}}
{{FOP region index}} An index of regional transclusion lists of "Freedom of panorama" sections.
{{FOP index entry}} An entry in {{FOP region index}}.
{{Stamps region index}} An index of regional transclusion lists of "Stamps" sections.
{{Stamps index entry}} An entry in {{Stamps region index}}
{{TAG region index}} An index of regional transclusion lists of "Copyright tags" sections.
{{TAG index entry}} An entry in {{TAG region index}}
Commons:Freedom of panorama/table A summary list of Freedom of panorama rules
Commons:Freedom of panorama/Shortcuts A list of all "COM:FOP country" shortcuts.

Page/section transclusion templatesEdit

Template Function
{{CRT Country}} Transcludes a country page.
{{CRT Country/color}} Returns the heading color depending on type of country (regular, limited recognition, other)
{{CUR Country2}} Transcludes content from the "Currency" section in a country page.
{{DM Country}} Transcludes content from the "De minimis" section in a country page.
{{FOP Country}} Transcludes content from the "Freedom of panorama" section in a country.
{{Stamps Country2}} Transcludes content from the "Stamps" section in a country page.
{{TagsCountry}} Transcludes content from the "Copyright tags" section in a country page.
{{TOO Country}} Transcludes content from the "Threshold of originality" section in a country page.
{{CRT section}} Used by the above to transclude content from a given section in a country page.
{{CRT section/transclude}} Wrapper for the #section-h transclusion

Templates that translate widely-used text fragments using LangSwitchEdit

When introducing translations in a new language, the following templates should be updated:

Template Function
Commons:CRT disclaimer Translates the standard "you are responsible" warning at the foot of each country page.
{{Comseealso}} Formats a translated "See also" link to another page.
{{CRT translate/Copyright}} Translates the term "Copyright"
{{CRT translate/Copyright rules by territory}} Translates the term "Copyright rules by territory"
{{CRT translate/Copyright tags}} Translates the term "Copyright tags"
{{CRT translate/Currency}} Translates the term "Currency"
{{CRT translate/De minimis}} Translates the term "De minimis"
{{CRT translate/Freedom of panorama}} Translates the phrase "Freedom of panorama"
{{CRT translate/limitedtext}} Translated the phrase "Limited international recognition"
{{CRT translate/Others}} Translates the sub-heading "Others"
{{CRT translate/otherstext}} Translated the phrase "Not a fully-independent country"
{{CRT translate/Region}} Translates region names like "Eastern", "Middle". Used by {{CRT region index}}
{{CRT translate/Stamps}} Translates the sub-heading "Stamps"
{{CRT translate/Threshold of originality}} Translates the sub-heading "Threshold of originality"
{{CRTtransfoot}} Translates the message "Some citation text may not have been transcluded" at the foot of a transclusion list
{{CRT section/Msg}} Translates "Text transcluded from"
{{CRT section/text}} Translates "No information available"


Module Function
Module:TNTExpandByCountries Used in consolidated lists by continent to generate the list of transclusion templates such as {{CUR Country}}. The list is sequenced according to the page language of the consolidated list