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URAA revisited in 2019Edit

In the context of restoring files newly in the PD at the beginning of this year, there was some discussion about the restoration of files now in the public domain in their country of origin (like the Netherlands, Germany or other countries with a protection term of 70 years after the creator's death), but still protected in the USA for several (up to 25) more years because of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA).

Some were in favor of restoring them, others (me among them) for waiting with the restoration until the files are free in the USA as well, as it is still Commons policy to only host files that are free both in their country of origin and the USA (Commons:URAA-restored copyrights: "If the end result of copyright evaluation is that there is significant doubt about the freedom of a file under US or local law, the file must be deleted in line with the precautionary principle.")

Timeline

A timeline:

URAA timeline
Current situation

I hope I've included all relevant events in the timeline. My conclusion is that regarding files affected by the URAA, we have a mess on our hands, and this has been the case for years. The WMF basically says that we should respect US law and delete infringing files, but the WMF itself will only act when forced to (like by a takedown request), else it will look the other way. The German wikipedia has hosted files affected by the URAA (but PD in Germany etc.) for years without any problem from the WMF as far as I know.

Meanwhile on Commons, there's a bit of a confusion. Some argue in favor of deleting/not restoring URAA affected content, others argue to more or less ignore the URAA. Users are constantly uploading new files still protected in the USA because of the URAA, some tagging them with {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}, which says the template shouldn't be used for newly uploaded files.

I filed several deletion requests for such URAA-affected files (PD in their country of origin, but still protected in the USA), which wasn't received well by some users at the German wikipedia and here. Several of the files were uploaded recently, so they are not remnants from the years before 2012 when many users basically thought the URAA would be struck down by the US Supreme Court.

One of those requests, Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Hugo Erfurth, was closed by Jcb as "Keep" with the rationale "see COM:DIU - the hypothetical copyright in US is only imaginary. In line with the WMF point of view, the vast majority of admins does not delete files for this reason."

This

  • despite the (later) outcome of Commons:Review of Precautionary principle which concluded that there is no community agreement to host files affected by the URAA (on Commons).
  • Despite the fact that the WMF has actually said that infringing content should be removed (but it would only act when being forced to).
  • And despite the fact that the URAA is enforced by US courts (thanks to User:Clindberg for these examples, originally from here):
    • Toho v. Priority Records: This was on some Godzilla stuff. There was some infringement of some sound recordings which did not need to be restored in the first place, but there was additional infringement of a restored musical composition copyright as well.
    • Toho v. William Morrow: More Godzilla; the films never lost copyright (and the character was infringed), additionally some publicity stuff was ruled to be restored, and also infringed.
    • Troll Co. v Uneeda Doll Co.: This was on some troll dolls which lost their U.S. copyright due to lack of notice (1965 case ruling), but then got restored. The restoration was not being contested, but was more about if the defendant was a "reliance party" (they were not).
    • Dam Things from Denmark v Russ Berrie Co.: This is on the same troll dolls; the dolls were restored but the case was remanded to a lower court because they did not properly evaluate the derivative works status in regards to being a "reliance party".
    • Peliculas Y Videos Internacionales v. Harriscope of L.A.: This was on some Mexican films which got restored. The ruling was again more based on whether the defendant was a reliance party (they were for 22 of the 29 films).
    • Alameda et al v. Authors Rights Restoration Corporation et al: More Mexican films; the District Court ruled infringement on 81 of 88 films. The appeal addressed the remaining seven; they were ruled PD in Mexico in 1996 (by virtue of being produced before January 1948 and thus PD in Mexico due to failure to comply with Mexico's own registration requirements at the time), and thus ineligible for restoration. The infringement of the 81 others was upheld.
    • Elkan v. Hasbro: This was on the Stratego board game. It was ruled simultaneously published in the U.S. and Canada, and thus not eligible for restoration.
How to proceed?

So how should we proceed? As I see it, there are three options:

  • 1) Do nothing. Not the preferable course of action in my opinion, the confusion would continue.
  • 2) Delete files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin.
    • Advantages: Compliance with US law, which is mandatory for Commons because of the ties of the WMF to the USA. Protection of content re-users in the US from potential legal trouble when re-using content not PD in the USA.
    • Disadvantages: Not giving users outside the US (that includes various wikipedias) files which are PD in their respective source countries. Angry users from those countries.
  • 3) Allow files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin.
    • Advantages: Giving users outside the US (that includes various wikipedias) files which are PD in their respective source countries. Happy users from those countries.
    • Disadvantages: Non-compliance with US law, which is mandatory for Commons because of the ties of the WMF to the USA. Potentially exposing content re-users in the US to legal trouble when re-using content not PD in the USA. Files could still be deleted when the WMF is forced to act because of a takedown request or similar.

There's probably a million more things to say, but I'll stop here, this is already long enough. Thoughts, additions, proposals? --Rosenzweig τ 14:24, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Comparing your 3 options with m:United States non-acceptance of the rule of the shorter term#Statement from Wikimedia Foundation, your option 2 resembles hard enforcement and your options 1 and 3 partially resemble no active enforcement. Similar to Chinese Wikisource, I would like to modify your option to better resemble no active enforcement by negatively allowing (not positively encouraging) affected works only with some conditions:
  1. Tag Template:Not-PD-US-URAA as amended to warn that hosting these files is only provisional, subject to copyright holders demanding taking down with no permission.
  2. If copyright holders openly allow us to host the files with permission not compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL, like allowing Wikimedia to host but not commercial, derivative, or subsequent usage, then allow them here only when properly tagged.--Jusjih (talk) 04:34, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

DiscussionEdit

Another option: Move the servers to a more friendly country, where such massive deletion of free information is not necessary. All this extreme anglocentrism of this project is here again detrimental to our goal of free and open information. This pictures are only in one country not usable, so there should be made provisions by the WMF to comply somehow for this single country without restricting the whole wikiverse. The WMF has more then enough money and personal ressources to cater for that, it's their core task to do so. Information destruction for 98% of the wikiverse should not be an option. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:43, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

That has been discussed at length before. Bottom line of the discussions: You would (perhaps) solve one problem, but create others instead, because you most likely couldn't host files that are free in the US (but not elsewhere) on such servers in another country. --Rosenzweig τ 14:48, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
And? Why should this single country get a special treatment? Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:51, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Probably because the Wikimedia Foundation is based in the USA and a substantial portion of the users of the Wikimedia projects are from there too. --Rosenzweig τ 15:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
So move it to another country, it should not be that difficult for an international enterprise to move around to more friendly countries. A move would not implicate a move of employees as well, but I expect the vast majority of those will work somewhere around the world anyway, at least if the WMF really gives anything about the proclaimed diversity, and those are not just meaningless words. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 15:30, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
That would help nothing most likely -- the WMF is a U.S. institution, so we are directly subject to U.S. laws either way. We can't exactly tell the WMF to go move countries. And that would probably create a lot more problems then it solves -- it could just mean there is a third country we'd have to respect the copyright laws fully. This type of suggestion is really not anywhere close to being reasonable. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
MaW: Mir geht Fair Use am Allerwertesten vorbei, wenn Durch damit tatsächlich freie Inhalte gelöscht werden sollten. Fair Use, sprich die wissentliche und willentliche Missachtung von Lizenzen aus recht egoistischen Motiven, hat deutlich weniger Wert als ein möglichst umfangreiches Portfolio an wirklich freien, und tatsächlich fair zu benutzenden Inhalten. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 14:57, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
This is not about fair use. Fair use files are not allowed on Commons at all. It's about content that is in the public domain in the USA. --Rosenzweig τ 15:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

The whole point of international copyright conventions is that countries are respecting the copyright of works from other countries. For works where the copyright has expired in their country of origin, there is no point in claiming some imaginary copyright in the US. That's why I, together with the vast majority of admins and in line with the WMF point of view, do not delete such files. Jcb (talk) 14:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

The US copyright is not imaginary, it's real. And the WMF point of view is that we should delete files that infringe on US law. BTW, how do you quantify "the vast majority of admins"? --Rosenzweig τ 15:03, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
U.S. copyright law is not imaginary. The URAA restorations are just as real as the EU restorations which happened at the same time. Should we respect those? It would be nice to just decide to use, say, UK law from 1990 rather than what the courts would use today. But we generally don't do that. If we want to change policy to only use copyright in the country of origin, while deleting anything which a DMCA request happens and/or a deletion request from the copyright owners, then that would be a valid discussion. But as long as policy is to use U.S. law, that includes the URAA. We could also just as easily decide to use U.S. law alone, meaning anything published before 1924 is fair game, rather than having to do research on authors and delete an extra 25 years worth of stuff when we can't find a death date, which would be much easier to explain. I tend to agree when it comes to knowing whether it was actually published or not it can get tortuous, and I would not delete on those grounds unless there was specific evidence something was not published until much later -- that would be an "ambiguous" situation the WMF was angling to keep. But the URAA is not imaginary nor easily separable from the rest of U.S. law -- it is the law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:06, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

Hi, Thanks for starting this discussion. Seeing WMF position, and that the legal risk is very low, I think that we should change our policy to allow URAA-affected files. We should allow files which are in the public domain world wide, except in the USA. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:20, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

"In the public domain world wide" could become problematic in a few years. Accd. to en:Rule of the shorter term#Worldwide situation, Mexico with its 100 years pma term (the currrently longest such term AFAIK) does not apply the rule of the shorter term. If I understand Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Mexico correctly, the Mexican 100 years pma term starts to take effect for works of all authors who died in 1952 or later, so instead of allowing such works in 2023 (or up to 25 years later, depending on year of publication, if respecting the US copyright), we'd have to wait until 2053 if we really wanted "in the public domain world wide". --Rosenzweig τ 15:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
OK, so Mexico and Côte d'Ivoire are the countries with a copyright term longer than 70 years which do not use the rule of the shorter term. This would be a clear limited exception. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:37, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
You mean do _not_ use the rule of the shorter term I guess? And Côte d'Ivoire actually went back to 70 years pma in 2016 accd. to Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Côte d'Ivoire, which would mean File:World copyright-terms nokey.svg is outdated. --Rosenzweig τ 16:45, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, right. So it would be an exception for 2 countries only. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:58, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I believe Colombia is 80pma with no rule of the shorter term. That is likely the longest actual term right now -- both Mexico and Cote d'Ivoire were non-retroactive increases. Mexico was 30pma until 1982, and their increases have been non-retroactive, so they are effectively 66pma now (increasing by one each year). Plus they had a registration requirement before 1948, which is probably impossible to research but most stuff before then is probably PD in fact. Similarly, I think the Ivory Coast went from 50pma to 99pma non-retroactively in 2004 or so. And for Spain, while they use the rule of the shorter term, I think the rest of the EU would respect the 80pma for their stuff. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:14, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not a fan. It's treating life+70 as the one true rule, where it's not. If we're going to ignore the US law, why are we going to pay attention to EU law for Canadian, Indian or Japanese works?--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:23, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

If a file is PD in Germany (for example) but not in the US, it would be possible to upload it locally to de.wp, de.wikt, nl.wp, so that it can be used in WM projects, that while they can be accessed from the US are not meant to be accessed from the US (but because of the language from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Norway, ...). If this is the case, then how about creating a shadow-commons.wikimedia.org site, that cannot directly be accessed by users, but is added with the instant-commons extension to de.wp, de.wikt and so on? --C.Suthorn (talk) 15:32, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

This shadow-commons should for those countries with such restrictive laws, like the US. Commons is for the whole Wikiverse and thus has the duty to serve all the Wikiverse with free content. If a single country differs, a shadow-commons should be created for this single country, not the whole Wikiverse. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 15:35, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
All the proposals about moving the servers, establishing additional servers for affected files etc. are rather pointless IMO unless it is clear that the WMF (or someone else with the WMF being okay with it) is actually prepared to do it. Accd. to m:Legal/Wikimedia Server Location and Free Knowledge, the WMF isn't really willing to do it. At least they were not 5 years ago. --Rosenzweig τ 16:04, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and that would not help Wikipedias which do not allow local uploads, i.e. Spanish Wikipedia which serves all of South America except Brazil. Regards, Yann (talk) 16:13, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I do not think it would be a problem, if (one or more because of different copyright-realms) shadow sites was physically located in the US, if it only delivers its contents to specific WM-sites that address a chosen copyright-realm. Also the instant-commons extension was made to avoid local uploads (therefore no problem with spanish or other sites). I do not know, if instant-commons supports one or more image-sites, but it should. Then, if the qqx.wp-site wants to show the example.jpg file in an article, it would look for said image in commons, then if not found in shadows1, then shadows2, then locally. As far as I know, WMF has backup datacenters (proxies) outside the US, so if all else fails, a shadow site could be located in one of those. Five years ago the US government was all for freedom of information, today the focus of the US government is more with the car industry and coal mining, eyeing the internet more of a threat that might need to be regulated and gated, maybe in a way that conflicts with the way WM works. --C.Suthorn (talk) 16:31, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Correct me if I'm wrong please, but my understanding is that de.wiki is special since it's actually hosted in Germany, correct? GMGtalk 16:21, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
To my knowledge, de.wp is hosted along with all other Wikimedia sites in the US. There are some cache servers in the Netherlands and Singapore accd. to m:Wikimedia servers. --Rosenzweig τ 16:38, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is what I'm being told on IRC also. They have servers (? I dunno, I'm not tech savvy) in the Netherlands that route traffic to the actual host location in the US. So they didn't decide as a legal matter that they were going to host files locally according to German, Austrian, and Swiss law, they just did it as a matter of local policy. GMGtalk 16:40, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I will read the whole text above later, but here's how it is in my never too humble opinion:
  • Stop being overly worried about the WMF. The WMF has only one legal responsibility: deal with DMCA takedown requests. Nothing else. PD-US is not required.
  • To host a file on Commons, some rationale to host it in the US is required. This doesn't require a free license, any fair use rationale will work. "I can get away with it" and "the copyright holder won't care!" are also valid rationales.
  • You know who is legally responsible for files uploaded to Commons? You are! The uploader. You didn't know? Well now you do.
  • We don't give a shit about files being PD in the US or not. We somehow assume German FoP magically also applies to the US, which it doesn't, and this occasionally results in DMCA takedown requests which are honored by the WMF. In case of costumes, the Commons community has flat out given WMF legal the finger.
Long story short, I support undeletion for files that are PD in their source country and have any rationale (including "we can get away with it!") to host them in the US. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 16:22, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
i think it is great, that you want to re-open the URAA can of worms. keep in mind this is the consensus currently: "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion."[1] per m:Legal/URAA Statement. but i see there is a continuing movement among a minority to flout the consensus. i look forward to the migration to German servers, and the subsequent mass deletion of swastikas. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 17:11, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: see Commons:Licensing#Interaction of US and non-US copyright law:

"If material that has been saved from a third-party website is uploaded to Commons, the copyright laws of the U.S., the country of residence of the uploader, and the country of location of the web servers of the website apply. Thus, any licence to use the material should apply in all relevant jurisdictions; if the material is in the public domain, it must normally be in the public domain in all these jurisdictions (plus in the country of origin of the work) for it to be allowable on Commons."

This text is flawed: "the country of location of the web servers of the website" is nothing but repeating "the U.S." earlier on in the list. It follows with a fallacy, that the same "license" must apply in all jurisdictions. First, this is false. We can perfectly have a non-free "license" (like fair use, CC BY-NC or "we can get away with it") for the US while having PD for the source country. Second, nobody ever in the history of Commons gave a shit about the residence of the uploader. Uploaders best move to Sealand. Bring biscuits. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:50, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: The point of my introductory remarks above (timeline etc.) is that there is no real current consensus. There's "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion" that you cited, but there's also "it is my understanding that at this time there is no community agreement to host files affected by the URAA." from Commons:Review of Precautionary principle a few months later. --Rosenzweig τ 18:05, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
i think it is great you are trying to develop a consensus. i do not think this community is capable of agreeing to one, hence the talking past each other impasse. but by all means repeat the precautionary fear-mongering. what is the history of DMCA takedowns based on URAA? do those facts change anyone's mind about what the risk of hosting URAA content is? Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 19:27, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: I looked at the DMCA takedowns at https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:DMCA and found none of the kind we're discussing (PD in the country of origin, but still protected in the US because of the URAA). There are two, https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/DMCA_Pappa_Fourway for a 1955 UK image, and https://foundation.wikimedia.org/wiki/DMCA_Jimi_Hendrix_by_Gered_Mankowitz_1967 for a 1967 UK image; both images are still protected in the UK, but probably would not be protected in the US if not for the URAA. But that's a speculation really. --Rosenzweig τ 21:02, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I see no need to re-open the discussion about URAA. m:Legal/URAA Statement is still valid. Raymond 17:43, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Raymond: So you think we should delete the files affected by the URAA, following WMF's conclusion "The community should evaluate each potentially affected work [...] and remove works that are clearly infringing." from that statement? --Rosenzweig τ 18:00, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
No, because you have forgotten the more important part (my POV): "However, if a work’s status remains ambiguous after evaluation under the guidelines, it may be premature to delete the work prior to receiving a formal take-down notice, because these notices often contain information that is crucial to the determination of copyright status. Due to the complexity of the URAA, it is likely that only a small number of the potentially affected works will be subject to such notices. These guidelines differ from the more proactive systems currently used by the community for other copyright violations, but the complexity and fact-intensive nature of the URAA analysis makes a more active approach imprudent." Raymond 18:12, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Raymond: I have not forgotten that part, I just think that usually the copyright status of works affected by the URAA is not "ambiguous" because we have the necessary facts to determine said status. When is the status "ambiguous" in your opinion? --Rosenzweig τ 18:16, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
One concrete example: File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, author is Hugo Erfurth, a German photographer who died in 1948. The work was protected in Germany until the end of 2018. It was protected there on the URAA date, which is 1996-01-01. The US copyright was restored and lasts for 95 years from 1929, so until the end of 2024. Is there anything "ambiguous" here? If so, please tell me. Thanks. --Rosenzweig τ 18:24, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
So it's completely fine for any german language project to use it, and it's the duty of the WMF with it's multimillions of dollars, to make the use of this completely legitimate free content possible and not to hide behind the laws of some random country from the Wikiverse. Those pictures must not be deleted, the very minimum is a move from here to all projects, where they are legitimate. The free content has to be protected, not deleted. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 18:45, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Rosenzweig: If we want to claim public domain you also have to check for every country where and when this photograph was first published legally according to the local copyright law. We also should compare if the photograph is published in the US less or more than 30 days after publication abroad. For some countries it might the outcome the photograph is never officially published officially, or much later than the creation date. So even for old paintings public domain is not sure. --Hannolans (talk) 18:56, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Hannolans: So what is your conclusion from this? Should we only allow works here that have had their publication history thoroughly checked and for which we can say with absolute certainty that they were published on day (or at least year) X in country Y? In that case, we probably would have to delete whole droves of files, and not only files that are perhaps/probably/possibly affected by the URAA. --Rosenzweig τ 19:06, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Rosenzweig: I strongly say see keep, unless there are legal outcomes that proof a particular work is not public domain. Recently we had this situation with the diary of Anne Frank due to legal claims. In this situation you should check sentence by sentence the public domain status as some sentences where published in 1947 while other sentences not. To make your check even more complicated: if we really want to check public domain, for each work we should also check if the work is inspired by an earlier work and if so, if that was an accident or copied and if that work is pd as well . This is for example an issue for music, where some artists could claim they first created a tune used in a work. So, let's focus on real situations. We should respect the rights of artists and photopgraphers who created a work and who need a fixed term of copyright, but not the theoretical legal loops --Hannolans (talk) 20:01, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

┌─────────────────────────────────┘
@Rosenzweig:

Where to go from here:

  • Declare ourselves to be idiots. Seriously. We are not legal experts (any of us who IRL actually are legal experts are off the clock, so you don't count) and shouldn't claim to be legal experts. We cannot determine whether or not a work is in the public domain.
  • Create COM:We are idiots. (I'll be more than happy to if it doesn't get deleted!)
  • Start undeleting.

Questions?- Alexis Jazz ping plz 19:14, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for creating this discussion, Rosenzweig. I also agree that the status quo is untenable if only because there is no consistent URAA policy so you have deletions and tense undeletion requests. Alexis Jazz makes some excellent points in that the United States also has no Freedom of Panorama and yet we routinely ignore U.S copyright in allowing German FOP to be the rationale to keep modern sculpture in Germany. Just as we leave to the WMF to handle DMCAs for those sculptures, it would be better if allowed files that are public domain in their countries of origin to remain on Commons and just let WMF handle any potential DMCA takedowns. Deleting because of URAA also exacerbates the orphan works problem (something that countries have dropped the ball on). Commons is intended as an international, multilingual project and yet we keep on forcing anglocentric policies on the rest of the world. That needs to stop. The current administration in the United States is also rather unpredictable. We've seen leaks about pulling out of NATO, pulling out of the WTO, and the United States has exited UNESCO https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/israel-formally-quit-unesco-190101094104787.html So, let's admit that we are not lawyers nor copyright experts and let's allow WMF to do the heavy lifting as far as worrying about U.S. copyright. Because otherwise, this is not an international project but an anglocentric repository dependent on the whims of the United States government. Abzeronow (talk) 21:05, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
let's come back to Rosenzweig's concrete example: File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg from above. Author is Hugo Erfurth, a German photographer who died in 1948. The image is clearly out of copyright since January 1st, 2019. Probably not in the USA. I respect the copyright terms of Germany, where I live. But why should I have any interest or responsibility to enforce a US law that, even if WMF does not care about it? Raymond 21:19, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
My actual question was whether it is really "ambiguous" that the photograph is, for the reasons I outlined above, still protected by US copyright until the end of 2024? And if so, why? You did not answer that. --Rosenzweig τ 22:16, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
@Rosenzweig: We are idiots. We need to "remove works that are clearly infringing". This would be, for example, the latest Disney movie and the Harry Potter books. Is a century-old photograph of which we are not exactly hurting it's commercial exploitability a copyright infringement? Or is it fair use, in which case it's not an infringement? I don't know. You don't know! We're idiots! Most legal experts probably won't be able to answer that question right away. So let's wait for a DMCA claim in those cases and let WMF handle it. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 23:51, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
Well by that logic, why bother following any copyright law? :-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:43, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
@Clindberg: I'll write a small essay about that. I already have the title! - Alexis Jazz ping plz 01:59, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

@Sänger, Abzeronow: When you write "anglocentrism" and "anglocentric", I think you really mean "Americocentrism" and "Americocentric", respectively.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 22:06, 20 January 2019 (UTC)

Yes and no ;) The trigger for the current discussion was a deletion spree by Rosenzweig against perfectly legal end free pictures from and for German projects, but this discussion is taking place in english instead of the natural language for this discussion: German. But...of course the underlying legalese is us-centrist (America is a continent, no a country, and most of America speaks Spanish or Portuguese) indeed. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 22:48, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
This is not perse a German discussion either, files from most European countries are in the exact same situation. Jcb (talk) 23:08, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
There was no "deletion spree". I didn't delete, I filed deletion requests. --Rosenzweig τ 00:18, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
<quetsch>You've got an (A) behind your name and started a mass deletion process of perfectly legal and free pictures, I call that a deletion spree. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:23, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
don't be pedantic. you openly flouted the URAA consensus here, because "you know better", even though there has not been a DMCA for such an example. do not create a load of drama wasting everyone's time, keeping URAA files, especially when there is a DR backlog. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 03:15, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, he was being pedantic -- that is going deletion hunting, which is never popular. However, he was not flouting URAA consensus, which is to delete if there is significant doubt as to its PD status in the U.S., including if restored by the URAA. That is the current consensus. If we want to remove the "and the U.S." part of Commons policy, and make it just the country of origin, that would be another matter. The discussion you point to on the URAA though was overruled just a couple months later, and is *not* the consensus. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:19, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
i see a new wave of "significant doubt" recently, in DRs that have not resulted in a deletion. i would suggest those persons with "significant doubts" do not have a consensus based on URAA alone. they should stop. this abuse of "significant doubt" tends to undermine the credibility of the commons at other projects such as Hebrew and German. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 13:07, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
"Significant doubt" is the wording in the Commons:Licensing policy. You are basically suggesting to ignore copyright law because it is inconvenient. There is really no doubt as to a lot of these; the effects of the URAA are well known and they are fully copyrighted in the US. I get that users are frustrated by following a copyright law that does not apply in the country where they live, but that doesn't change the law. Also be aware that uploaders are technically liable; they are uploading a work to a U.S. website, so they are actually the violators if it's illegal in the U.S. Yes, we have DMCA protections where it can be removed before it gets into more serious legal territory, but you could also ignore all copyright laws with that argument. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:14, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
no, i am not suggesting ignoring copyright law, rather i am saying follow the WMF legal guidance: "However, if a work’s status remains ambiguous after evaluation under the guidelines, it may be premature to delete the work prior to receiving a formal take-down notice, because these notices often contain information that is crucial to the determination of copyright status." and i doubt the credibility of the recent increase of "significant doubt". what facts have changed? where is the evidence of a copyright violation? i get that editors are frustrated that their interpretation of US copyright law is not shared by WMF legal. maybe they should come by American University Washington College of Law, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property for some counseling. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 23:25, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
We are following WMF legal's guidance. Their words: The community should evaluate each potentially affected work using the guidelines issued by the Legal and Community Advocacy Department, as well as the language of the statute itself, and remove works that are clearly infringing. So that is what we do. We carefully go through the URAA questions, ask things like was in copyrighted in the source country on the URAA date per their law at the time, and did it lose U.S. copyright due to lack of notice/renewal etc., and if the end result is that the file is clearly restored by the URAA we should delete. WMF Legal did *not* say to keep such works until a DMCA is filed. They do have a point on ambiguous stuff, for example something created before 1924 but we don't know if it was published then or not -- it's hard to answer the URAA questions at that point, which details are often present in a DMCA request, and when in that type of gray area we should probably assume early publication and keep the files. That situation would amount to theoretical doubt, not significant doubt, usually. But never did the WMF say to simply ignore the URAA when it's obvious a work was restored. The fact that something was restored by the URAA does not automatically make it "ambiguous". Any works created 1924 or later do not have the publication date ambiguity. The current Commons:Licensing text follows basically that. We should not do bulk deletions, but go case by case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:39, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
"We are not recommending that community members undertake mass deletion of existing content on URAA grounds, without such actual knowledge of infringement or takedown notices." and yet we see mass deletion nominations increasing recently, with no actual evidence of infringement, merely "significant doubts", resulting in this tl;dr discussion. you might call that "following WMF legal's guidance", i do not. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 14:44, 23 January 2019 (UTC)
Right, but when we have good knowledge of a source country's copyright law on the URAA date, and we know the work was under copyright in that country on that date and it's from 1924 and after, then we basically know it's copyrighted in the U.S., and its presence here is knowledge of infringement. Mass deletions are discouraged because there could be a lot of different details for each work (mass restorations would then be similar). It can be hard -- I just commented on a Malta one where we really don't have enough knowledge of the copyright law in 1996 to really say (in fact it appears the terms were much shorter then); we should not be deleting without such knowledge. But the URAA is law and it's not impossible to evaluate it. What situation would be enough for you to think we should delete on URAA grounds? Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:54, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
right, when the image is findable either off-line or on, with an affirmative "all rights reserved". that would be actual evidence. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 02:43, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
America is not a continent; this idea that two huge continental bodies, North America and South America, stuck together by a tiny isthmus, is one continent and yet Africa, Asia and Europe are three is ludicrous. The name America is problematic, but it is a standard name in English, and Germany / Deutschland are hardly unproblematic, given that it's not the only country with Germans or Deutsch speakers, though it has historically used that justification to invade other countries with Germans or with Deutsch speakers. Instead of nitpicking the name of our countries, let's just accept the normal names of these countries for the goal of communication.
For the WMF, German law is irrelevant for legality. It has to abide by US law. I find myself quite frustrated to have to dig through death dates and be stopped from uploading works that are perfectly legal for me and the WMF because of not finding death dates or finding that they died many years too late for me to upload them. Commons is going to have to end up with compromises.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:15, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't think the WMF would permit Commons to introduce policies that say US copyright law can be ignored, unless there are sufficient doubts about the legal status. The situation with FoP, according to Commons:Freedom of panorama is that "The question of what country's law applies in a freedom of panorama case is an unsettled issue." So, the WMF isn't explicitly permitting the hosting of copyright violations. It can't do the latter, since it's a requirement of the DMCA safe harbor that the site operator isn't aware of any particular violation of US copyright. The DMCA safe harbor is also an advantage of hosting a site like Commons in the US, when in many other countries the site operator wouldn't be shielded from lawsuits. Maybe the current situation, that the Commons policy is a little unclear, and some files are kept when strictly they should be deleted, is the best that can be done (from the point of view of wanting to host files that are public domain in many countries.) --ghouston (talk) 02:51, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
    • Yeah, that's kind of what I am afraid of. Changing policy to "PD in the country of origin" would help the URAA restorations, except we'd be knowingly hosting stuff under copyright in the U.S., which could lead to some rather sticky situations (having to explain that policy, etc.). But, it's *possible* that PD in the country of origin would mitigate that, since works would still need to be pretty old. But we'd have to respect any DR or DMCA from a copyright owner. I'm just not sure that's a good policy to change.
    • On the other hand, I probably would be in favor of arguing that foreign *government* works should expire per their own country's law -- you could at least make the argument that they are a form of PD-author. The government could make a longer term for their own works if they so choose (I believe New Zealand does), so that is sort of like a copyright owner deciding when something becomes public domain. I'm not aware of any government bringing a copyright lawsuit in another country, especially when it has expired in their own, so to me that enters a wide "unknown" area. However, when asked about that, in this meta discussion on the URAA, they suggested it was still better to get a statement from the government that they consider their term expiring to apply worldwide (like we had from the UK then, and have gotten from Canada and a couple others since). So if they are not willing to ignore potential URAA rights of foreign governments, I really don't see where we should be ignoring them from private citizens where the rules are well established with many court precedents. I would be in favor of that, though. It's probably a similar gray area to the current FoP policy. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:42, 21 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks, that's an interesting and useful input. But you can't claim that deleting files affected by the URAA is a "consensus". Yes, it is written on the page you mention, but not only there is no general agreement about this, and as it seems lately there is not even a majority for that. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:22, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree that there is no consensus on URAA. Seeming by this thread, it's difficult to say how we are going to reach a consensus. Going back to one of Alexis Jazz's comments, would it be possible to do a quasi-noncommercial license for works public domain in their source countries but likely still have an enforceable copyright in the United States (and note, allowing German FOP pictures since those sculptures would also have had restored copyrights in the US is "we can get away with it")? Going back to the concrete example of File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, is there even someone who can enforce the possible US copyright of Hugo Erfurth's works? It could be an orphan work for all we know since European copyrights are automatic and US copyright has only been automatic since 1989. Abzeronow (talk) 16:50, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • For File:Gerhart Hauptmann by Hugo Erfurth 1929.jpg, yes there is someone who can enforce it. Hugo Erfurth's heirs got the restored copyright, and can enforce it (per the URAA, the ownership of the restored copyright is the author or initial rightholder of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work, so it can revert to the original owner). There are some examples of determining that in the case law listed above. The restored U.S. copyright will last until 2025. The painting is also still copyrighted in Spain and Colombia until 2029; whoever owned the painting's copyright (heirs, or possibly someone else if the economic right got transferred) can still enforce it there. The FoP situation is different; we don't really have any U.S. case law to go by there -- it's at least quite possible that a court would take foreign law into account in those situations, and are more difficult in the first place as they are derivative works. It's a lot more than simply "we can get away with it". We have plenty of case law on the URAA however. We delete orphan works too (which are works known to be under copyright, just perhaps not knowing who the copyright owner is or there being no way to contact them). Laws give no protection over violating orphan works, unfortunately. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:12, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, if he had heirs. I can't find any mention of children in the EN, FR or DE wiki pages for Erfurth. And yes, I am very much aware that there are no legal protections for orphan works. An international travesty as lawmakers are often beholden to the 1% and not the general public. And since the United States has no FOP, pretending that German FOP law is the be all and end all is "we can get away with it". As referenced above, works hosted here under German FOP have been taken down under the DMCA, so there is no current legal basis for us to host works merely protected by German FOP, and yet we do because that's what the community decided. We can and should do the same with the URAA. If not, let's invent some sort of compromise measure like works in their last 20 years of U.S. copyright (1924-1943), or allow CC-BY-NC-ND to only apply in the United States or let's just pretend that works were simultaneously published in the US . Abzeronow (talk) 17:25, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Heirs don't have to be children -- it would be following the laws of inheritance in the country of origin. Often things will go to parents or siblings or cousins, etc. If the law of that country says there is no inheritance beyond children, and he had no offspring, and there were no heirs designated in a will, then that may be OK. But most countries have well-established laws for inheritance of property, which probably deal with situations where no direct descendants are living, and the copyright would follow those. We generally assume there is *some* owner, somewhere, until the copyright term expires. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:32, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Some of Hugo Erfurth's photographs are available via Getty Images – so I doubt they are "orphan works". In fact, his heirs sold his "Nachlass" (works he left behind) to a museum in Dresden in 2009 [2]. --Rosenzweig τ 18:22, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the information, Rosenzweig. Learned something new (which is always good). Abzeronow (talk) 21:37, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Yann:, policy has *always* been "public domain in the U.S. and the country of origin". Restored files are copyrighted in the U.S., full stop. There is nothing different about them, legally, than if they had a copyright notice and were renewed, unless you are a "reliance party" (which we are definitely not). Following the "massive restoration" discussion where you claimed consensus, you changed Commons:Licensing to say that URAA can not be used as a deletion reason. That got an immediate reaction, and Commons:Review of Precautionary principle was started with a wider audience. That was closed with a summary that consensus was still to delete such files, and Commons:Licensing was therefore updated with this edit (and tweaked right after to this wording), which indicated the new community decision and remains to this day. There are obviously people frustrated about the law -- it sucks for us, no question -- but I'm not as sure they represent "consensus". As long as the policy is "public domain in the U.S. and the country of origin", you really can't claim you are following that policy if you ignore the URAA. Where there is some gray area -- say something created before 1924 but we don't know whether or not it was published before 1924, I would say that would be theoretical doubt and not significant doubt, so we should keep those. But for stuff which the only hope is simultaneous U.S. publication, I think we should need some concrete evidence of that. If there is consensus to change policy to only be "PD in the country of origin", which would be a massive change, then that would eliminate the URAA basically. Short of that though, I don't see a way and say with a straight face that our policy is not not keep stuff which is copyrighted in the U.S. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:53, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • There is a consensus on the general policy, but there is certainly no consensus on its application for URAA. One of the reason URAA is really a problem is the retroactive application to files which were already in the public domain. That's a big change compared to usual legal practice. When the copyright duration was extended in Europe, it only applied to files which were not already the public domain. AS the WMF says, determining if URAA applies or not can be quite complicated. And the potential legal risk is much much lower than for a copyright in the country of origin. All this combined leads to the current opposition of deletion of these files. That's why we should applies a different policy for these than for others. I am looking for a compromise where some files can be kept. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:09, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • Are you claiming the EU restorations to 70pma were not retroactive in exactly the same way? That is quite false. The EU directive quite explicitly applied to files which were already in the public domain. The UK's happened on the same day, even. Hard to say why we should respect one and not the other. I would certainly love to use the UK's old terms of 50 years from creation for photographs. But those got restored in the UK the same day the URAA took effect. Obviously, you can't go back and claim infringement on actions which took place before the works were restored -- no laws are retroactive in that way -- but they can re-create a copyright going forward, which is what both the URAA and the EU directives did. The EU only restored works which were protected in at least one EEA state, but that is pretty much all of them (Spain had 80pma terms). The US only restored works still protected in the country of origin, so was more limited. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:17, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
  • @Yann: Your claim "When the copyright duration was extended in Europe, it only applied to files which were not already the public domain." is not true, or not for all countries. Germany in 1995 restored copyrights for photographs that were already "gemeinfrei" (in the public domain). See s:de:Oberlandesgericht Hamburg - U-Boot Foto 1941 for a 2004 court case about a concrete example – a photo of a submarine which was published in 1943, had its copyright expire in 1968 (the therm of protection was 25 years after publication then), only to have the copyright restored in 1995, now for 70 years pma. The photographer was still alive in 2004 btw, so the initial term of protection was extended for 100+ years. --Rosenzweig τ 18:41, 22 January 2019 (UTC)
The restoration of copyright by URAA was accepted by the Supreme Court in en:Golan_v._Holder. If the WMF is not contesting take-down requests on FoP grounds, it doesn't mean that the legal situation is clear. It may also mean that they are not sure if they would win such cases or not in court. If the decision went the wrong way, and the legal situation was "clarified", the carnage on Commons of FoP artworks would far exceed the URAA issues. Better to just to delete the few images that receive a take-down demand. --ghouston (talk) 00:29, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

And moving the Wikimedia host servers to Germany has unfortunately the consequence, that some files would have possibly to be renamed, even if the formerly auspicious symbol now associated with Nazism ist not also found in its image contents. --84.63.177.155 11:34, 24 January 2019 (UTC)

And the Category:Sheet music copyrighted in Germany would have to be deleted with all of its contents. --84.63.177.155 20:26, 24 January 2019 (UTC)
  • We are in a strange situation as Wikimedia projects grow in influence. No one is documenting social changes, but there are cases where policy on Wikimedia projects leads interpretation of international copyright law. The community consensus here could become the interpretation of what is normal for the next generation. I agree with Carl's point about non-US government works having an expired term of copyright, even if those works are under that government's copyright in United States copyright law. If the copyright holder themselves takes action to put their own work into the public domain in their own primary jurisdiction, then that sort of release is the kind of permission which Wikimedia projects typically seek for mirroring in Wikimedia Commons. It is not reasonable to expect that any country's export of published works into the United States decades ago was an intent to govern the work globally under US copyright law rather than the law of the government which sought a shorter term for its own works. Something new that is developing is that to a modest extent, we might have greater near-future access to some policy opinions from the meta:Internet Archive. After the Wikimedia Foundation, the IA is the friendliest and most knowledgeable organization to advocate for the Wikimedia community and our style of publishing. While no one at IA has promised to participate in our community discussions, if we ever drafted a position on something, then they do have a policy team and since 2016 they have been seeking out Wikimedia partnerships. We are beginning to establish as common knowledge that the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive serve complementary roles toward the same goals. I can imagine the IA publishing an opinion if we asked, and if they agreed with what we proposed, and if it seemed useful to establish a coalition statement. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:17, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
    The rule of the shorter term is bad for global copyright policy. Copyright maximalists have frequently gotten copyright extensions based on the fact that Country B has a longer copyright term than Country A, but due to the rule of shorter term, Country A's works have a shorter copyright length in Country B than they might. One little tweak by Country A, and more money is going to flow from Country B to Country A? Lawmakers jump at it.
    It is reasonable to expect that a country's export of works into other countries was in respect of the international copyright treaties, which make caring about the original country's copyright duration a optional feature. These non-US governments did not seek a shorter term for their own works; we'll wait until 2047 for Agatha Christie's works to leave copyright, some of which have been PD-US for 20 years, and by which point most of her writings will be PD-US. If we're worried about social changes, we should worry that we're about the only site on the web that worries about copyright laws that we don't have to.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:04, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

Policy vote?Edit

It seems the users who wanted to contribute to this discussion have done so now. From what I gather, most (not all) of them would support a Commons policy change to accept works that are in the PD in their country of origin, removing the requirement that they are also free in the US.

The only way to achieve that IMO is a policy vote. Some will probably say there's no need for that, because one of the earlier votes or one of the WMF statements support whatever is correct in their view. The problem with that is that we have two contradictory earlier Commons votes, and the WMF statements are deliberately vague so people on both sides of the argument can find sentences in there to support their particular point of view (like, we should consider each file invidually and delete clearly infringing files, but also there's no need to do that really). This is precisely what created the current mess we're in.

A URAA policy vote has been tried before from what I can see (like here), but without any real success. The vote I have in mind would be a choice between two of the options outlined above: option 2 (delete files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin) and option 3 (allow files that are still protected in the USA because of the URAA, despite being in the PD in their country of origin). Nothing else, no discussion about moving the servers to another country, creating some kind of "Shadow Commons" etc., because all of that would be outside the scope of a Commons policy vote.

What do you think? Would you support another attempt to clear up the current situation – that there is no real consensus, as shown in the discussion above – by a vote? --Rosenzweig τ 13:26, 27 January 2019 (UTC)

@Rosenzweig: I support that. Also, I strongly suspect the reason for the WMF to be vague is because they are not in the position to really condone anything. If you were to ask them "hey, is FoP okay?" or "hey, is DM okay?" you would also get vague answers. The uploaders are legally responsible (always have been), WMF could easily shoot themselves in the foot if they say out loud X is allowed, because it would shift (part of) the responsibility to them. So they won't. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:49, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
I support a vote on this. Abzeronow (talk) 18:56, 27 January 2019 (UTC)
The problem is, that Commons is proclaimed the central repository for pictures in the Wikiverse, and uploaders are taken here automagically. They upload perfectly legal and free content for their (and hundreds of other) projects, just to see them deleted because of some for hundrets of projects completely irrelevant foreign country laws. How will those, who want to mass-delete perfectly legal pictures, guarantee, that they will be transferred to all projects, where they are perfectly legal? How should the upload process be changed, so that normal uploaders wuld become aware of those looming mass-deletions of perfectly legal and free pictures, and how could they get them to all projects, that could use them, in one click?
The use as the central repository for all projects of the Wikiverse is the most important use case for Commons, everything else is at most secondary, if not tertiary. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:30, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Murder on the Links, by Agatha Christie, is a perfectly free and legal book for me. I still can't upload it here, because it's still in copyright in the UK. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and its translation into German by Maria Lazar, are completely free and legal for you. It is still in copyright in the US. There is no way to have a multinational project and coherently obey any copyright laws and not have some users have the files deleted because of foreign (to them) copyright laws. Removing the requirement that files be free in the US will still force people to deal with foreign copyright laws that are irrelevant to them but are relevant to the work.--Prosfilaes (talk) 07:32, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
@Prosfilaes: you could actually upload Murder on the Links to English Wikipedia as PD-USonly, but indeed not here. I think we should either drop the PD-US requirement or start allowing PD-USonly, reduce the complexity. Legally, it doesn't make all that much of a difference despite the server location. Dropping the PD-US requirement is more sensible from the perspective of the enduser and better fits the multinational profile of Commons. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 08:56, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Legally, uploaders are liable -- so if something is copyrighted in either the country they are in, or the U.S. (the country of the site), they could be committing infringement. Commons:Licensing does explain that. The DMCA would likely protect the uploaders from the U.S. half of that, but technically that is the case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 09:58, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
As far as I know, Commons always has to ask users to upload only files that are free in the USA. If they ignore that, it's not required that other users or administrators delete their files, but if they receive a few DMCA take downs, their account will probably be deleted. They can also face legal action in their country of residence, if they are identifiable and if the files aren't free in that country. The other issue is that Commons is supposed to be a repository of freely licensed files, and ignoring copyright violations doesn't achieve that. Otherwise, there'd be no need for any deletion process, beyond DMCA take-downs. But files that are free in quite a few countries, even if that doesn't include the USA, it doesn't seem like such an issue. If a file was labelled as free in death+70 countries, but said nothing about its US copyright status, it wouldn't bother me. I think adding "not free in the USA" templates would be questionable. But you still have the issue of what to do when such files are nominated for deletion because they aren't free in the USA. Asking administrators to ignore US copyright law isn't a good idea. --ghouston (talk) 06:01, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
@Ghouston: administrators should abide by US copyright law.. when the USA is the source country. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 08:56, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure that source country should make so much difference. Files from the USA that are still under copyright in the USA can be public domain in much of the rest of the world, so are still worth hosting if there's a work-around for the legal issues. --ghouston (talk) 09:53, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
The work-around that I'm thinking of is to separate the legal requirements from the "volunteer deletion policy". The legal requirements are the users shoudn't upload any material that violates US copyright. They should be warned of the consequences, that if their uploads receive 3(?) DMCA take-downs then their account will be banned. They should also be advised not to violate the copyright laws of their country of residence, to avoid personal legal difficulties. The volunteer deletion policy, on the other hand, doesn't exist to enforce US copyrights (that's handled by the DMCA). It exists to maintain Commons as a source of free files. That can be done by deleting files that are not either freely licensed, or public domain in a significant part of the world. That could be defined as either free in the USA, or free in death+70 countries (including the subset of the latter where FoP is accepted). --ghouston (talk) 10:17, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
you really want to ban people after 3 DMCA's? for example, you could have 3 images of the same FoP germany sculpture which gets a DMCA. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 13:10, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@Slowking4: this is just the current policy, as I understand it. I'm not sure if it's exactly 3 images. I think it's required by the DMCA. See en:Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. It also says that the website operator (Wikimedia) must not be aware of "presence of infringing material or know any facts or circumstances that would make infringing material apparent" and "must reasonably implement a policy "that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances" of "repeat infringers", must inform their users of this policy, and must accommodate standard copy protection systems." This limits somewhat their freedom to ignore US copyright law, but doesn't require active enforcement by volunteers. --ghouston (talk) 01:31, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
actually, "repeat infringers" = 3 is not policy; but by all means go for a proposal. you realize that 3 out of 30000 would be nonsense? the management by numbers, and specifying punitive measures in advance, and "the DMCA made me do it" is sad. WMF have a safe harbor; they are not ignoring anything. but by all means propose filters for uploads without a permission from getty. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 02:15, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
For some reason I had the idea it was 3. Whatever, I'm happy if it's as lenient as the law/courts allow. If it can be set at say a million or a billion. I'm fine with that. "Repeat" on it's own isn't good, since you could be banned on the 2nd "offence". --ghouston (talk) 02:48, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Here's what WMF says (not much): [3] Here's another interesting link from the EFF: [4]. --ghouston (talk) 03:01, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
If you search the web for something like "requirements for a dmca repeat infringers policy" you'll find that a million or a billion won't cut it. There have been court decisions on the topic, e.g., against Cox Communications [5]. --ghouston (talk) 03:20, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Do I get this right? Commons is not an international project, but a US-only project? That seems to be the gist of most deletion-happy people here. Then why have commons at all, if it doesn't cater all projects? Decentralised Upload and cross-project usability could be a solution. If I upload a perfectly legal and free picture to deWP, currently it's unusable for any other german language project, it has to be uploaded everywhere again, thus perhaps up to hundred times. The very reason for the creation and maintaining of commons was and is to give a central repository for all projects of the Wikiverse. Besides as well let others use the pics also, but that's just a nice add-on, nothing central. If Commons is no longer able to do it's main job to be the central repository for the whole Wikiverse because of restrictions by any random country, why not decentralise it? Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 16:18, 28 January 2019 (UTC)

The WMF is always going to delete files that get a take-down request, if they consider it valid. There's nothing we can do about that. But we have no obligation to delete files voluntarily, if we consider them in scope for some other reason (e.g., free in the rest of the world outside the USA.) Works by authors whose heirs are sending take-down requests or lawsuits would be exceptions that should be deleted on sight. --ghouston (talk) 22:03, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
We are the Wikiverse, the WMF is just a service organisation from our midst, that was created to do tasks for us. We should say what we want, and the WMF has to cater us. If we want to be international, not just US, the WMF has more then enough ressources to come up with a good solution for that, and a headquarter in SF is nothing of value, it's just the current place, nothing more. Commons is as well primarily a service for all projects in the Wikiverse, as is WD. It should be organised in a manner to cater all projects in the Wikiverse (and perhaps even some outside, but that's nothing central) in the best possible way for all projects. If that means decentralisation, and/or better licence tags for different projects, so be it. The deWP cannot use any Fair Use stuff, as the concept of Fair Use is not legal in the German language projects, but of course the deWP will tolerate for them illegal Fair Use pictures in Commons. The same approach is necessary for pictures, that are free and legal in de German language projects, just not in the USA. Some projects must be prohibited to use them, but they need to be tolerated in the international picture depository for all language versions. And the highly paid legal department should come up with a viable solution, that keeps those pictures in the data base, but restrict the usage for different projects. USA-centrism must never be allowed, that is nothing compatible with an international project. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 22:58, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I think this is the wrong place to propose moving the WMF to Germany. I don't even know what the right place would be. I'm not convinced anyway that Germany or the EU in general has more favourable copyright policies than the USA. Do they even have an equivalent to the DMCA safe harbor, or do you just get sued directly when users upload copyright violations? Isn't the EU always proposing new draconian policies like forcing sites to install upload filters? --ghouston (talk) 23:05, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
I never said that. A complete move to Germany would make the deletion of all Fair Use material necessary. It would not be a problem for deWP, as we can't use it anyway, but it would probably be a problem for enWP. Here with this exaggerated usage of URAA against usable pictures for dozens of projects in the Wikiverse it's the other way around. As an international project we have to either follow all laws at once, or all laws just for the projects they apply to, and Commons is not a project restricted to a certain land, it's by definition international. If URAA-deletions should take place because of enWP, Fair Use deletions must follow because of deWP. no project in the Wikiverse is anyhow more equal then the others. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 23:17, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Fair use material is already not allowed on Commons per COM:FAIRUSE. Local projects, like enwiki, can host fair use material under certain conditions, as allowed for by meta:NFC. clpo13(talk) 23:27, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
Also, despite being an international project, Commons has to abide by the laws of the country it's based in, which is the United States. See en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights, Commons:Licensing#Interaction of US and non-US copyright law and m:Legal/Wikimedia Server Location and Free Knowledge. clpo13(talk) 23:31, 28 January 2019 (UTC)
And if that land is not suitable for a lot of projects, a move to a better suited is the best option. Yes, currently the illegal Fair Use is possible, while the perfectly legal pictures, that where the reason für this discussion could be deleted. For a lot of projects the loss of Fair Use will not change anything, only enXY profits from that, so why not make it the other way around? Host Fair Use in the projects themselves, and move commons to a country that abides to other laws. Grüße vom Sänger ♫ (talk) 05:21, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Wherever you move, you just shift the problems around. It would probably be worse in a number of aspects, moving anywhere else. We may as well suggest you move to the U.S. and solve the problem that way ;-). A policy change is a separate matter though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:13, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
There's nothing illegal about fair use; it's an exception under law. As I said above, many perfectly legal pictures for me and many other people around the world are deleted because their European source nations consider them under copyright. meta:Non-free_content#Exemption_Doctrine_Policy shows the fair use rules for Wikimedia projects; looking at just the first screen of the Wikipedia section, the Arabic, Belarusian and Bangla Wikipedias are all described as having policies "similar to enwiki".--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:32, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
"illegal Fair Use" yeah a profound misunderstanding of the law. when all the federal judges agree, then by definition it is legal. see also w:Lenz v. Universal Music Corp. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 22:54, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
To propose moving WMF's servers to Germany, ghouston, you should try to create a subpage of meta:Requests for comment. Well, the proposal to move the servers to Iceland failed, but that doesn't mean the same for moving the servers to Germany, does it? George Ho (talk) 08:02, 29 January 2019 (UTC)
Nah, I prefer Iceland. --ghouston (talk) 09:42, 29 January 2019 (UTC)

Is there enough support?Edit

A week ago, I asked who would support a policy vote. Two users responded that they would. In my opinion, that is not enough.

The problem is that, as I see it, a fair number of people (probably including the Wikimedia Foundation) do not really wish a change of the status quo because they fear that the change would be for the worse (from their respective point of view). So they prefer the situation we have right now, where they can point to whatever statement or decision supports their point of view.

That is why, to be meaningful and have any chance of success, such a policy vote would have to be well-prepared, or it would end like the 2017 vote I referred to above (3 supporters and a number of people who were opposed to the vote per se). A vote definitely needs more than three participants if you don't want it to be derailed or dismissed without further discussion.

In order to achieve this, the policy vote must not be a casual affair somewhere on one of the village pump pages, probably unknown to most potential voters. It would have to be on a separate page, there would have to be announcements on Commons and at the other Wikimedia projects, and it all would have to be in several languages. English is the de facto working language of Commons, but obviously the URAA problem affects users from lots of other countries. Not all of those speak English, but if you want the vote to be meaningful, those users need to be able to participate, and they need information they can understand, in a language they can read. Besides English, that would probably mean the other major European languages, like Spanish (which would cover Latin America as well), Russian, French, Italian, German, Portuguese (because of Brazil), possibly also Dutch, Swedish, Polish, others. As for non-European languages, probably Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, others?

All of this would be quite an effort, and a substantial number of supporters would be needed for the translations and the announcements at the various village pumps, forums etc. both on Commons as well as on the projects.

I'm willing to proceed with a vote, but not on my own. As I explained, quite a number of supporters would be needed to do the work. So far two have said they would support the vote. Unless we get more, option 1 from above ("Do nothing") is unfortunately the likeliest outcome of this debate. --Rosenzweig τ 14:41, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

Current policy, and one way forward?Edit

This issue has actually been settled for some time, and we do have a formal policy on it, which was updated following the initial very extensive discussions. It appears within COM:L at Commons:Licensing#Uruguay_Round_Agreements_Act and reads:

Files nominated for deletion due to the URAA should be evaluated carefully, as should be their copyright status under US and local laws. A mere allegation that the URAA applies to a file cannot be the sole reason for deletion. If the end result of copyright evaluation is that there is significant doubt about the freedom of a file under US or local law, the file must be deleted in line with the precautionary principle.

What sometimes causes confusion is the fact that an admin closed a discussion with the ambiguous summary "URAA cannot be used as the sole reason for deletion." But that does not and never has meant that the community has granted itself exemption from the US copyright extensions that resulted from URAA. At the time Commons was facing multiple DRs based purely on a statement that URAA applied, without any detailed legal and factual review of the individual files, and the community decided that that was not good enough. But as Carl Lindberg says above, URAA has since that date become an integral and legally unchallengeable part of US copyright law, and the Commons community is simply not competent to come to any consensus to ignore it.

That is clearly reflected in COM:DR which notes that "Any expressed consensus will be taken into account so far as possible, but consensus can never trump copyright law nor can it override Commons Policy".

Insofar as there may be a 'mess' here, that seems to derive not from Commons policy, but from editors who repeatedly argue it can be ignored. To be clear, unless and until Commons files are hosted outside the US, it is unlawful under US law to host any file that we are aware infringes US copyright of any type, including that created by URAA.

Where an editor lodges a DR, whether for a single file or for a group of files, each should be reviewed against our hosting policies in the normal way. It is not enough for an editor simply to allege that URAA applies, but if on a review of the facts it is found that the file(s) are infringing then they must be deleted. Once again, consensus to the contrary - or editor anger - can never override the law.

One unhelpful issue fact, perhaps, is that Commons interprets COM:PRP very, very strictly in many cases, and deletes many files that the WMF would be a little more relaxed about. Retaining more files shouldn't mean ignoring the law, and could be done by adjusting the rigour of COM:PRP to prevent deletion for fanciful, far-fetched or even paranoic reasons. As it will be hard to get any consensus for changing the simple wording of COM:PRP as it stands, an easier option might be to add some agreed explanations that define more precisely what the community means by significant doubt in different classes of case. An RFC along those lines could allow more images to be held while still complying with the law and the requirements of the WMF.

That could make a real difference. URAA copyright applies only when the work meets a variety of factual qualifying criteria, and whether those criteria are met is frequently unknown and sometimes unknowable. Rather than assuming the worst possible situation ("the file has to be deleted because we can't prove unknowable facts"), Commons could use a more nuanced and practical test of the extent of significant doubt. MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:23, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure that would really help. To ascertain if it could, I'd like to see concrete examples of works that could be kept. Let's use Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Hugo Erfurth, which was closed as kept by Jcb because "the hypothetical copyright in US is only imaginary". Of the 22 files contained in this DR, are there any that you think could be kept when NOT applying any of the "fanciful, far-fetched or even paranoic reasons" you mention? Or would they still have to be deleted? --Rosenzweig τ 20:01, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
I'd suggest a wide-ranging discussion to get views on suitable wording. That may take some time and should have a variety of examples up for discussion. It shouldn't be based solely on one specific set of facts, ie on one DR. I'm putting the proposal up for initial consideration, and wouldn't want to jump too quickly into specific drafting. In that specific case the stated closing rationale appears contrary both to policy and to US law. MichaelMaggs (talk) 20:12, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
The only chance for 1924 and later Hugo Erfurth stuff would be if any of his works qualified for Lichtbilder; those may be slightly ambiguous since Germany's terms did not change much (just changing any remaining 25-year simple photos to 50-year) but (per later court rulings) they seem to have changed the qualifying level for them, beyond what the EU directive seems to have required. Or I guess if they were simultaneously published in the U.S., but that should require some evidence to support it. For that list, File:Der Maler Richard Müller mit Modell im Atelier. Foto von Hugo Erfurth.jpg would seem to be the only one which might fall under the simple photo stuff, and even that seems dubious to me (though the date is not known, which makes restoration unclear). For other works, one area could be works where the creation date was before 1924 but we don't know when the publication date was -- those probably fall under the "ambiguous" part of the WMF guidance, part of current policy, meaning we probably should not delete under that uncertainty, but rather treat that as more of a theoretical doubt and keep them under assumption of PD-US-expired (unless we have specific publication info or have some documentation that it was kept unpublished until at least 1924). Of the Erfurth ones, File:Corinth,Lovis 1858-1925.JPG does not have a creation date -- just that it obviously needed to have been before the subject's death in 1925. If that was from 1923 or before, it could be OK. File:Painter Kete Holvits by Erfurt G.jpg also does not have a date -- was that before or after File:Käthe Kollwitz by Hugo Erfurth 1925.jpg, taken of the same person? If before, that could be pre-1924 and also be OK. As User:MichaelMaggs says, we could treat stuff which has a significant chance of being OK (possibly even if there is a significant doubt as well) as "ambiguous" under current policy and keep them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:42, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
According to this, the Richard Müller photo is from 1921. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:59, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks, I added the year to the file description. --Rosenzweig τ 15:26, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
I followed Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Italy that say 70pma, at first view... Christian Ferrer (talk) 06:22, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Right, which documents the situation today. But the URAA restorations applied based on public domain status on the URAA date, which was 1996 for Italy. Italy applied the EU directive in Legislative Decree No. 154 of May 26, 1997, but that was after the URAA date and therefore does not affect the URAA. The law in effect in 1996 is here, which was 50pma. And for non-retroactive laws, sometimes you need to go back even further because sometimes parts of older laws still apply. There are some details at en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights in the Italy row. Portugal and France also had lesser terms on the URAA date, as did most of the eastern European nations which joined the EU at later dates. Carl Lindberg (talk) 09:13, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks you I added a note at our text. Christian Ferrer (talk) 12:03, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

@MichaelMaggs: Do you plan to actually put up that RfC you mention above? Or did you have something else in mind? --Rosenzweig τ 16:20, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Hi Rosenzweig, while I was suggesting that this might be a possible way forward, I'm afraid I'm no longer closely enough involved with Commons to commit the rather large amount of time that would inevitably be involved to lead the idea. I would certainly support it, and perhaps could help with some of the final drafting, but I don't think I'm the right person to push this forward. MichaelMaggs (talk) 19:21, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

PD works by branches of foreign governmentEdit

It's quite common to find government copyright that lasts for 50-75 years after creation, but this is still shorter than the US duration of the earlier of 95 years after first publication, or 120 years after creation, if author is unknown or corporate authorship. Can we keep these files? It seems rather absurd if those governments/parliaments/courts/other public bodies would attempt to restore their copyright in US while they dont protect it in their own countries.--Roy17 (talk) 01:53, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

The UK has declared that UK Crown Copyright falls into the public domain worldwide. If we could get assurances from the countries that their works leaving copyright world-round, that would be best.
IIRC: The US, which doesn't have copyright for federal works, floated a question in the 1970s to the signers of the Universal Copyright Convention, about whether it could enforce its copyright in federal government works in their countries. The majority were against it, especially (and unsurprisingly) the Soviet Union. It actually makes great sense to let your own citizens use a government work and yet use it to extract money from abroad. (Lots and lots of quibbles with that, but I'm sure that mant politicians would accept that sense.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:08, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

File:Dana Plato's official death certificate.jpgEdit

Even though this is only part of a death certificate, it seems very unlikely that the uploader is actually the copyright holder. Moreover, I'm not sure whether documents such as this (i.e. basically "blank" forms which can be completed as needed) are eligible for copyright protection by the municipal government offices that create them or make them available them for use. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:49, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Blank forms are PD-ineligible, correct. Per 37 CFR 202.1: 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. Think this would be in that area, and doubt adding the factual information changes anything. Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:18, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks checking on this Carl Lindberg. It can't be a CC license then if it's just a slavish copy then, right? I don't think watermark-like contact info the uploader added to the bottom of the image is allowed as well per COM:WATERMARK. Would it be OK to relicense the file as {{PD-ineligible}} and crop out the contact info? -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:01, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Probably, unless they are claiming copyright on the paragraph at the bottom, which would be more appropriate in the image description. Don't think we should keep someone's email address like that at all. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:08, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I think the bottom paragraph can absolutely be omitted, as it has little to no educational use as a visual aid. One might consider omitting the social security number as well: while in this case the subject is deceased, non-public primary sources with personal information should be scrutinized with extra care. Commons is not a tabloid. --Animalparty (talk) 16:24, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
@Clindberg, Animalparty: The editor who uploaded the file hasn't edited (at least not with the same account) since the end of 2008, and they only uploaded one other file. I could ask someone at COM:GL/P to remove the contact info and black out the social security number, and then convert the licensing to "PD-ineligible"; however, the older version would still be visible, wouldn't it? -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:39, 5 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, unless someone deletes the old revision specifically. Still better than having it front and center. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:24, 5 October 2019 (UTC)

Pictogram voting info.svg Info Per ticket:2019100710005197, Oklahoma State Department of Health says that Oklahoma records and its information are confidential and “should not be displayed on the public domain. Such disclosures to the website and on the website are unlawful under 63 OS § 1-323”. Bencemac (talk) 19:22, 10 October 2019 (UTC)

Interesting, yes, per that law they say "death certificates shall be considered publicly available records seventy-five years after death". Before then, they are illegal (in Oklahoma). On the other hand, this is only a crop of the death certificate, which displays pretty much only information which was publicly known before. So, seems likely that enough information has been omitted to avoid the core reason for that law. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:00, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
@Bencemac, Clindberg: The file was cropped and the social security number was obscured by someone at COM:GL/P. The older revision was then "hidden" by an Commons administrator, but it can still be seen by administrators, oversighters, etc. Perhaps it needs to go as well, but an oversighter will have to do that. As for the legality of the file, I wasn't aware of the Oklahoma law and perhaps the uploader wasn't aware of it as well (assuming good faith here). I only came across the file after it had been added to en:Dana Plato and wasn't unsure about it's licensing. It has since been removed from that article by another editor for different "encyclopedic reasons", but it's still being used in fr:Dana Plato. If there's a "legal" reason the file cannot be kept, then I have no problem with it being deleted. -- Marchjuly (talk) 22:12, 10 October 2019 (UTC)
My reading of the relevant Oklahoma statue is that the State of Oklahoma will not allow anybody to inspect the death registers or to take copies from the register, unless they are authorised to do so. This is quite common in many jurisdictions. However, in many jurisdictions there is nothing stopping the person who registered the birth or death from publishing their copy of the extract from the register. This suggests that if a state offical facilitated the copying of this record, then that state official is breaking the law and could face criminal sanctions. If however ther copy that was issued to the informant was published, no law has been broken (assuming of course that copyright has not been breached). Martinvl (talk) 21:58, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

US Holocaust MuseumEdit

Commons is hosting content from https://www.ushmm.org, on the basis that media was published by Federal employees. Checking the website I can find no evidence that copyright would be PD for website photographs unless they are explicitly stated to be. Based on webarchive, there used to be a generic disclaimer about copyright, but this did not specifically release the website content under a CC license, though that impression is given in some uploads like File:Massdeportations.gif. Does anyone have more information to hand? Thanks -- (talk) 10:24, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

Related:

-- (talk) 12:44, 8 October 2019 (UTC)

On this topic, the information at Commons:Problematic_sources#United_States_Holocaust_Memorial_Museum may be relevant. (With regard to the page about problematic sources, an issue worth considering is whether the information about the USHMM and copyright is still accurate (as opposed to being outdated.) There is also the issue as to whether the information can be improved or made more clear.) --Gazebo (talk) 06:51, 13 October 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. It provides a useful summary and a good place for any new information to be added. -- (talk) 12:26, 13 October 2019 (UTC)

Related:

Useful Search link. -- (talk) 07:34, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

[China] works that are included in a cinematographic work or a work created in a way similar to cinematography and can be exploited separatelyEdit

(official copies of the current PRC copyright law: Chinese, English)

Several Chinese movies have been uploaded to Commons. I am concerned that users may get in trouble for reusing these files for a number of factors:

  1. URAA problem. They are probably still copyrighted in the US.
  2. Article 15 of the law states that The authors of the screenplay, musical works and other works that are included in a cinematographic work or a work created in a way similar to cinematography and can be exploited separately shall be entitled to exercise their copyright independently. As such, I believe songs used in the movies whose composers and lyricists died recently or are still alive are still copyrighted in China, not to mention the US. Some Commons users have cut and uploaded the song segments e.g. File:We are the Communist Successors (1961).webm.

I started Commons:Deletion requests/File:The East Is Red (1964).webm, but it was closed by User:Ellin Beltz without addressing Article 15. Could you please help review the problem? Are these movies really free?--Roy17 (talk) 13:15, 12 October 2019 (UTC)

New uploads with GFDL migration=relicenseEdit

I just noticed the license for File:York montage.png is {{GFDL-user-en-no-disclaimers|migration=relicense}}. Considering this collage was created in 2018, relicensing is obviously impossible as the migration from GFDL to CC BY-SA 3.0 was a one-time event in 2009.

What to do when that happens? Simply change it to migration=redundant and add the CC license? Nominate for deletion? Ask the uploader? (I did, but uploaders may not always respond) - Alexis Jazz ping plz 23:23, 14 October 2019 (UTC)

As it is a collage of CC BY-SA images, you can add this license. Ruslik (talk) 19:28, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Re-license CC0 to WTFPLEdit

I have a number of files I let into the public domain using the CC0 license. Is it allowed to re-license them with {{WTFPL}} which is also a public domain license? Like here. Thanks. Please tag upon reply. Gikü (talk) 12:05, 15 October 2019 (UTC)

Hey Gikü. Probably not, no. WTFPL requires that reusers change the name of the media, and this is not required by CC0, which simply waives all rights entirely to the greatest extent possible. In an nutshell, the content cannot be legitimately relicensed under any terms that are more restrictive than the original, no matter how minor those restrictions might be. Besides that, even if we could, I'm not entirely sure why we would want to relicense them under WTFPL, which seems all together less professional and comprehensive than CC0. GMGtalk 12:55, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: Thank you for replying. But where did you get this from exactly? "requires that reusers change the name of the media". I was assuming this is the license terms, and it says "0. You just DO WHAT THE FUCK YOU WANT TO" (sorry for verbatim). And, just to assure you and other participants in the discussion, I am not intending to spoof Commons licensing by starting this thread. Gikü (talk) 13:05, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
@Gikü: Oh. Sorry. I misread. I need to drink more coffee. The renaming requirement is in reference to the text of the license itself, and not the media so licensed.
Still, the question remains why we would want to relicense the content under WTFPD in the first place. The description here also is a bit misleading, since it appears to imply the endorsement of the Free Software Foundation, while glossing over the fact that they explicitly don't recommend use of the license. Incidentally, it appears the license is not recommended by the Open Source Initiative either. It's also not clear that WTFPD couldn't be interpreted as waiving certain non-copyright related restrictions which are not necessarily waived by CC0.
We might be able to sort out whatever issues there may be, but we would need a compelling reason to do so. GMGtalk 13:27, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Gikü Yes you can! I had a similar problem with IRL stuff. You can add the {{WTFPL}} to your files but you must not remove the public domain license tag. Once you release something in PD(or any other license), it is Irrevocable. You own the file and it's totally fine to release a file under different licenses. For example: If you have a video you can license the 720p version with CC-BY-SA to attract customers and still sell the 4K version to make a profit (If anybody uses the 4K version without paying you, they can be sued). I hope it helps. PS: I AM NOT A LAWYER -- Eatcha (talk) 13:44, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    @Eatcha: Thanks! After I re-read Commons:Multi-licensing I got the part about Once you release something in PD(or any other license), it is Irrevocable – I was assuming that PD licenses are revocable when replacing with a similar license. I will go ahead and add {{WTFPL}} to desired own works instead of replacing the existing license. Best, --Gikü (talk) 13:52, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
    @Eatcha: not even a wikilawyer I guess. COM:L: "Sometimes, authors wish to release a lower quality or lower resolution version of an image or video under a free license, while applying stricter terms to higher quality versions. It is unclear whether such a distinction is legally enforceable, but Commons's policy is to respect the copyright holder's intentions by hosting only the lower quality version." - Alexis Jazz ping plz 15:22, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
I would say no. Since Commons accepts pretty much any wording for a declaration of free licensing when an author first uploads a file and issues a declaration, one may be under the impression that all declarations could be equivalent or even interchangeable. But they're not. The CC0 is a carefully worded statement, intended to be clear, undisputable, and which covers all cases, including a public domain waiver and a fallback free license. The WTFPL is a very ambiguous license statement and thus has potential for being the source of problems and disputes. Think of all it leaves in the dark. Superficially, it may look attractive and funny. But in this area, simplicity, good understanding and maximal freeness of the files come not with brevity but with clarity. The CC0 declaration states that both the public domain waiver and the fallback license are irrevocable. If by relicense you mean to remove the CC0 dedication and place only some license statement, it can't be done. If you mean to leave the CC0 and add an alternative license statement, it is incompatible in the jurisdictions where the CC0 public domain waiver applies, including on Commons, because it would be incompatible to attempt to reclaim copyright ownership through the WTFPL. In jurisdictions where the CC0 fallback license applies, adding a different license could cause confusion. In all cases, it would still be a very bad idea. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:09, 15 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes and no. You can't revoke the licence you previously granted. But you can additionally grant another licence, and that could be WTFPL. Andy Dingley (talk) 00:20, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Gay Play Stacker Building Set gameEdit

Can anyone work out a date for the "Gay Play Stacker Building Set" game? There are 3 photographs uploaded from the Auckland Museum, and so long as the game was made before 1969, we can apply {{PD-New Zealand}}. The Company was "Falcon Plastics" which started in NZ back in 1935 and the game very much appears to be using 1950s design. Thanks -- (talk) 07:08, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Lt. Roberts Middle Eastern Magic Lantern Slides CollectionEdit

Hey all. What is copyright of "Lt. Roberts Middle Eastern Magic Lantern Slides Collection"? can be see here. Can i upload them?--Ruwaym (talk) 06:58, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

I just uploaded one, File:Portrait of Abdullah bin Hussein.png. --Ruwaym (talk) 07:09, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
According to the source, the images were collected by Roberts from various sources ("some of the pictures most likely were postcards or reproductions" ... "The collection was probably assembled for a lecture"). It can be assumed that they were published before 1924 and are in the public domain in the United States (PD-US-expired). However, the policy of Commons requires also free status of the images in the countries of origin. So, a research is required on a case by case basis for each image to find its country of first publication and its photographer. -- Asclepias (talk) 13:13, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
@Ruwaym: As a courtesy, at File:Portrait of Abdullah bin Hussein.png I've replaced the static image URL with a link to the page hosting/describing the image so that the image provenance can be more fully evaluated, e.g. https://www.wdl.org/en/item/18818, not https://dl.wdl.org/18818.png. --Animalparty (talk) 16:31, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
--Animalparty Oh, thank you. I actually forgot that. That collection is about politics, while i am into literature. I hope i can find some free pictures of those poets who i created their articles in ArWiki. Arabs are poet people! --Ruwaym (talk) 19:22, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

The Amazing World of GumballEdit

I'm not sure, but I think many character images of The Amazing World of Gumball may be copyrighted, and shouldn't be on Commons:

I don't want to open a deletion request without knowing their license. Thanks. --Tinker Bell 19:14, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

@Tinker Bell: These are definitely copyrighted. I have nominated them for speedy deletion. GMGtalk 19:18, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Picture taken by me of text in bookEdit

I would like to upload an image that was taken by me of some text from a book (taken with my camera phone of a part of the page). Does this qualify as an image created by me, or would copyright constrictions apply? Thank you. Skllagyook (talk) 02:08, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Copyright of the book would probably apply, depending on the book and the text. See Commons:Derivative works. --ghouston (talk) 00:33, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

copy right information plzEdit

  1. My cemara phone, taken by photo x person. Who is the copy right Holder.?. I am upload photo in commons?. Which copyright apply?.
  2. one group photo. I am part this group.

Not selfi, photo taken by x person. Who is the upload commons?. who is copyright holder. ?. --Lokesha kunchadka (talk) 13:50, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

@Lokesha kunchadka:, x (the photographer) is the person who determines the copyright. WhisperToMe (talk) 14:43, 19 October 2019 (UTC)
my device used in taken by photographer. I am upload commons?, or photographer upload commons?. Who is the copyright holder?. --Lokesha kunchadka (talk) 02:24, 20 October 2019 (UTC)
@Lokesha kunchadka: The person who held the camera (or phone), composed the shot, and pushed "click" to take the photograph is the copyright holder (except in very rare cases where you hire someone to take a photo, with a contract stating who owns copyright, or you compose all elements of the shot before anyone pushes a button). It doesn't matter if it was your camera or theirs. If you want to upload a picture taken by someone else, you should have them upload it with their own account, using {{Own}} for the source. If you upload a photo taken by someone else, you need to have evidence of permission: see Commons:OTRS#If you are NOT the copyright holder. --Animalparty (talk) 04:01, 20 October 2019 (UTC)

Images of three-dimensional artEdit

I'm trying to follow the Hirtle chart, but I can't reconcile it with Commons tags. I want to upload four photographs of three-dimensional artwork taken in 1915 in Italy by the artist herself, an Australian who died in 1948. The art was not put on display or otherwise photographed because it was left unfinished as a result of a dispute.

So far as I know, the four photographs were not published in the artist's lifetime, but they have been published within recent years on an art-gallery website in Australia. The images are PD in Italy. Are they PD in the US, and if so what is the correct US tag? {{PD-old-70}} needs a US tag. {{PD-art-70}} is for two-dimensional art and needs a US tag. {{PD-US}} is pre-1924 publication or lack of notice or renewal. Hoping someone can advise. SarahSV (talk) 00:08, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

If the photos were first published after 2002, they'd be PD-US-unpublished. If the underlying artwork was unpublished, I don't think it would matter.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:21, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
Prosfilaes, thank you, that's extremely helpful. SarahSV (talk) 00:41, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

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Prosfilaes, would you be able to advise about another image? It's the same artist, but this time it's a photograph of her, File:Dora Ohlfsen, 1908.gif, and again the issue is that I don't know what the right US tag is.

The photograph was taken in London in 1908 by a professional photographer, Mabel Shadwell Clerke, who died in 1923. I've searched through newspapers and I can't find this image anywhere (except published recently on Obituaries Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales website), which surprises me because the artist regularly gave interviews and images of herself to newspapers.

The artist did send the photograph to someone in November 1908; she signed the frame in this version: "With best wishes for the New Year, from Dora, Rome. 22.11.08". Does that count as "publication": taken by a professional photographer, then sent to a third party?

Or should I use {{PD-US-unpublished}} because I can't find examples of publication within the author's lifetime? SarahSV (talk) 23:07, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

I don't think there's a clearly correct answer, but it seems most probable that it's PD-1923 or PD-1996. Merely sending it to one person wouldn't be general publication, but it seems reasonable enough to assume it's PD in the US.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:53, 21 October 2019 (UTC)
Prosfilaes, once again, thank you for the help. SarahSV (talk) 00:21, 22 October 2019 (UTC)

Can I upload the source code of an image?Edit

The images used here have attribution given to Dan Copsey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shallow_water_equations

However, he seems to have vanished from the internet. A long time ago, he had a personal website I somehow was able to find but can no longer even remember now. In that website, he had a Fortran program for generating those waves. I downloaded that source code long ago and yesterday I was able to mostly recreate the video in the article: https://mathstodon.xyz/@JordiGH/102998504788285261

Can I upload the source code? When Dan Copsey gave us permission to the image, did that include permission for the source code that generated that image? JordiGH (talk) 17:13, 21 October 2019 (UTC)

File:Advertisement for Purple Pamphlet published by Johns Committee.jpgEdit

I'm not sure this file is licensed correctly. I can't find any CC license on the source website, but it might possibly be OK as {{PD-FLGov}}. Can Commons keep this as is, a PD license or does it really need to be deleted? -- Marchjuly (talk) 04:29, 22 October 2019 (UTC)