Commons:Village pump/Copyright

Community portal
Help deskVillage pump
Administrators' noticeboard
vandalismuser problemsblocks and protections
↓ Skip to table of contents ↓       ↓ Skip to discussions ↓       ↓ Skip to the last discussion ↓
Shortcuts: COM:VP/C· COM:VPC
Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

This Wikimedia Commons page is used for general discussions relating to copyright and license issues, and for discussions relating to specific files' copyright issues. Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days and sections tagged with {{section resolved|1=~~~~}} may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

Please note
  1. One of Wikimedia Commons' basic principles is: "Only free content is allowed." Please do not ask why unfree material is not allowed at Wikimedia Commons or suggest that allowing it would be a good thing.
  2. Have you read the FAQ?
  3. Any answers you receive here are not legal advice and the responder cannot be held liable for them. If you have legal questions, we can try to help but our answers cannot replace those of a qualified professional (i.e. a lawyer).
  4. Your question will be answered here; please check back regularly. Please do not leave your email address or other contact information, as this page is widely visible across the Internet and you are liable to receive spam.
  5. Please do not make deletion requests here – instead, use the relevant process for it.

SpBot archives all sections tagged with {{Section resolved|1=~~~~}} after 1 day and sections whose most recent comment is older than 7 days.

Is this logo too complex and over British threshold of originality (TOO)?Edit

Harris + Hoole logo.svg

Some DR for reference: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Northeast airlines uk logo.svg Commons:Deletion requests/File:BBC.svg Commons:Deletion requests/File:HSBC.svg Commons:Deletion requests/File:Supergrouplogo.png.--RZuo (talk) 09:33, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

@RZuo: That logo seems to me to be on par with the others you linked, and therefore fine, though you've only linked DRs that were kept and none that were deleted, so it's hard to get a full picture. – BMacZero (🗩) 04:08, 25 July 2020 (UTC)
For one, I cant see deleted files. For two, there is just no such simple logos that could attract copyright and be deleted on Commons.--RZuo (talk) 09:56, 28 July 2020 (UTC)

Commons:Deletion requests/File:Harris + Hoole logo.svg.--RZuo (talk) 09:34, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

1924 Photo of DushanbeEdit

I'm improving the Dushanbe article on English Wikipedia, and while researching I came across a very interesting photo of a panorama of the city in 1924. I don't know much about copyright, but would the photo be in the public domain by now (and would a similar photo taken in 1932 be in the public domain as well)? This is a link to the page with the photo, and this is a link to the photo itself Zoozaz1 (talk) 04:16, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

Although it is quite possible that these photos are actually in the public domain (in the United States and the country of origin), determining this with high confidence can be a surprisingly difficult task. It's important to try to gather as much of the information below as possible. You may want to consider uploading it to the English Wikipedia under their less restrictive policies instead, for reasons I'll describe below.

To check if it is still under copyright in the U.S., first consider the dates: you have sources saying 1924 for one photo and 1932 for the other. Consulting the Hirtle chart, it is evident that the place of publication and nationality of the publisher can matter. And there is even disagreement on whether publication online constitutes publication in a particular location. I won't enumerate all the possibilities here, but let us know if you think any of those cases or special cases are relevant. For now, can you be reasonably sure of the date, location and nationality of the first publication (hopefully with authorization of the copyright holder)? Following the chart, can you trace a path indicating that it is out of copyright in the U.S.?

That said, maybe we can assume for the purposes of discussion that these works were published domestically (and not in the U.S.) by a non-U.S. person, at around the time of their creation. If so, what was the jurisdiction at the time, and what were their copyright laws? Around 1924, it could have been one of a couple former Soviet republics (that were being administratively and substantively reorganized at the time), like the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic, Tajik Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic or Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic. Since none of these had directly adopted international copyright treaties, and neither did the USSR as a whole, it is possible that copyright law of the time poses difficulties. Even if we assume that the law of post-USSR successor states would apply retroactively, it might not be clear whether to apply that of Tajikistan or Uzbekistan—since both might be successors to the jurisdiction in place at the time the work was created, despite Dushanbe currently being in Tajikistan. (As far as I know, this isn't a universally settled question—but maybe there's an instructive example from WWII-era Poland, Germany and the USSR.) Let's assume it is Tajikistan, and apply its law. It is possible that 50 years since the death of the author have not elapsed, and the work could be in copyright still. Even if it is out of copyright in Tajikistan, did it become public domain before March 9, 2000 (the earliest date of Berne Convention/WTO/WIPO treaty accession for that state), or was its copyright in the U.S. restored by the URAA?

Current Commons consensus is to use conservative estimates of these uncertainties. By contrast, English Wikipedia allows upload if it is public domain in the U.S. (regardless of other countries), and also has some options for fair use of non-public-domain material. (You might have some luck there in asserting fair use on the grounds that the photos are representative of some particular historical aspect of Dushanbe, and no free alternative is likely to be available.) TheFeds 07:07, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

Thanks for the comprehensive response, copyright of Central Asian Emirates seems way too complicated for me. Anyway, I do not have any relation to the photo (or Tajikistan for that matter) besides seeing it on the web, so I don't know much more than you. However, in my research online about Dushanbe, Gafur Shermatov appears fairly regularly as a publisher of photos of old Dushanbe "Tajik historian Gafur Shermatov regularly publishes photos of old Dushanbe". The article with the photo was an interview with Shermatov, and along with the fact that other photos of the article were taken by Shermatov I would think it's likely that the 1924 photo was an unpublished photo given to Fergana News by Shermatov, a Russian newspaper. Would this mean the photo would be copyrighted? During the time photo was taken it was either in the Bukharan PSR or the Tajik ASSR. Zoozaz1 (talk) 00:45, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
I will also note that this photo on commons seems to be in a similar situation but is claimed to be in the public domain. Zoozaz1 (talk) 18:06, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Bandcamp licensingEdit

File:The Secret History of the Moon thumbnail.jpg and File:The Secret History of the Moon artwork.jpg were each uploaded under a {{Cc-by-3.0}} license. The files were tagged with {{Npd}} and the uploader subsequently added a link to a bandcamp page which has a "Some right reserved" license visible on it. Does this license cover all content appearing on the page including images or is it just for the audio tracks. I asked a Commons admin about this and he wasn't totally sure and suggested a DR to try and resolve things. The file's uploader, on the other hand, seems quite sure that the license covers everything on the page. If this is the case, then I can go back and remove the npd tag; if not, then I can either leave the tag or start a DR about the files. -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:34, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

According to this and this, authors can mark the license to each track. If the licenses of all tracks are the same, then bandcamp puts the license at the album level, which is seen on that page. By that, it would seem to imply just the music is licensed. The graphic on the cover is from the video, which I do not see similarly licensed at youtube. I'm not sure if bandcamp lets you specify the license of the cover art and other bonus uploads, though. Maybe they do and those also need the same license for the album-level license to display. Or maybe it is implied by licensing all the music tracks, and also uploading the cover art there. I guess that's a long way of saying I'm not sure either. I don't think it qualifies for speedy deletion -- or even close as it's far from obvious. Worth a discussion at the very least; I would at least remove the npd tags, and start a DR if you think there is significant doubt on the cover art. Perhaps asking the author would also be a good idea. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:34, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
I appreciate you taking a look at this. When I mentioned to the uploader that Explicit (the Commons admin mentioned above that I asked to look at this) felt similarly, the uploader responded (also here) that the bandcamp license covered everything as per the intent of the copyright holder. The statements in the files' descriptions (here and here) say as much, but again it's not clear if that's what the bandcamp license actually covers. I could start a DR about this, but the uploader appears a bit frustrated (here) that so many of their uploads have been flagged for review so I'm hoping there might be another way to sort this out. -- Marchjuly (talk) 21:34, 1 August 2020 (UTC)
I removed the npd tags and started a discussion about this at Commons:Deletion requests/Secret History of the Moon files. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:08, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Category:Royal coats of arms of Norway (Sverre Morken)Edit

Why are these files allowed on Commons? Category:Royal coats of arms of Norway (Sverre Morken) contains 11 copies of the Norwegian Coat of Arms where there is no context.
- Usage of the Norwegian Coat of Arms is restricted in Norway. Even the official authorities are not at liberty to use "riksvåpnet/riksvåbnet" as they please. Usage (how and when to use) is regulated by Res. om Noregs riksvåpen FOR-1937-03-19-3728.
- Usage of the official coat of arms is further regulated by Forskrift angående bruk av Rikets segl og Riksvåbenet. FOR-1927-05-20-3729. Usage is restricted to "3. Riksvåbenet må kun benyttes av Statens myndigheter i utøvelsen av deres offentlige virksomhet." (must only be used by Norwegian official authorities in their official capacity).
- Further it may be reproduced under certain conditions "4. Det er intet til hinder for at Rikssegl og Riksvåben gjengis i plastisk fremstilling eller f.eks. malet, tegnet, vevet eller brodert, når kun den gjenstand hvorpå seglet eller våbenet er gjengitt, ikke benyttes til skiltning, annonse eller reklame m.v., men kun til dekorasjon, belærelse eller lignende. Avbildingen må heller ikke anvendes på en sådan måte at den uriktig gir inntrykk av at den som benytter den, innehar noen offentlig stilling eller tjeneste." It is legal to use as a decoration, in teaching or likewise, but illegal to use for posters, signs, advertisements or in marketing, i. e. commercial usage is illegal. These files are not possible to publish with Commons:Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License.
- Furthermore in some cases the illegal usage is punishable by law, see Lov om straff (straffeloven) § 165. Last time someone was fined for illegal usage was in the decision HR-2018-871-A of 9 May 2018. The fine was NOK 7200. The files I have looked are tagged with Template:PD-Coa-Norway which only states that some usage is punishable by law in Norway.
- The image is not possible to copyright for obvious reasons, the image belongs to someone and the owner have made a law restricting the usage.
- 11 of the files in the category (example File:Coat of arms of Norway.svg) is very clearly not a picture of "riksvåpnet/riksvåbnet" in a context where it in some cases would be allowed (for intance it is smaller part of the motif (not the main motif) or covered by freedom of panorama)).
- I think the files possibly would be allowed on English Wikipedia and other WPs offering a fair use license and it would be a pity to lose them in the rest of the WPs, but I do not understand why these files are allowed on Commons? Which rule is applied? Does anyone care to enlighten me?--  Dyveldi    12:16, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

In general, these are Commons:Non-copyright restrictions which only exist within Norway itself. Commons:Licensing is about commercial usage being restricted by the copyright itself. Similarly, many logos are trademarked, which laws still fully apply meaning you cannot use them under many circumstances -- but they are still "free" if the copyright, specifically, is licensed OK. We typically have the {{Insignia}} tag to note there are often local restrictions on the use of such images, which should of course be followed. Additionally, "commercial use" in a trademark/insignia/personality rights context typically refers to using a mark or insignia to imply sponsorship, whereas it has a completely different and unrelated meaning in a copyright context -- it's more about using someone's copyrightable expression to make money in some way. It's only a problem if the copyright explicitly is being used to control commercial use, not if there are other laws or rights which restrict uses in their own ways. A "free" copyright license is not a license to break other laws ;-) Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:39, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

another fish photoEdit

I got another one .... can we keep him pleeeeeeeeeeease?

This is similar to Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2020/07#can_i_upload_this? ... the page is and it says that all of the photos were taken by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which means it's the US government, so I think the photos are public domain. I will crop out the watermark unless there is some rule saying that photos from the US gov't must remain entirely untouched. Thanks, Soap (talk) 00:20, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

If all credible evidence points to a photo being created by a Federal Government employee in the course of their duties, then {{PD-USGov}} (or in this case, the more specific {{PD-USGov-FWS}}) applies, barring theoretical but in practice very rare circumstances like a personal snapshot taken on a lunch break. Works created by the Federal Government are public domain, so you can do whatever you'd like to them: visual credits or watermarks are discouraged per Commons:Watermarks (not an actual policy), but in any case the author and source should be indicated in the file metadata/file description. --Animalparty (talk) 01:41, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Okay Im glad to hear that. I published it as file:Dolly_Varden_in_hand.jpg. Since you implied cropping was okay, I cropped out a lot more than just the watermark. Also I changed it from PNG to JPG to cut down on load time. I shouldnt need to ask for help next time. Thanks, Soap (talk) 17:23, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

File:Sunil freeman 0593.JPGEdit

This is a 2014 image which has just been added to the Wikipedia article en:Third-party and independent candidates for the 2020 United States presidential election. It doesn't seem to have been used anywhere else prior to that so perhaps nobody ever really looked at the license. It seems to be stating that the file has NC limitations placed upon its reuse. Such a license, however, seems to be expressly not allowed by COM:L. Is there something about this file's license which makes it OK for Commons? Is the "If you require a less restrictive commercial license please email me, to negotiate terms." considered a sort of COM:NCR? Does explicit attribution need to be given in the Wikipedia article for this file to be used or is it simply enough just to attributed the image in an edit summary or on the article's talk page? The uploader seems to have been indefinitely blocked so I'm bringing this up for discussion here instead of directly asking them on their user talk page. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:53, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Q1: "Is there something about this file's license which makes it OK for Commons?". A1: Yes. The fact that the file was uploaded before 2018 with the GFDL.
Q2: "Is the "If you require a less restrictive commercial license please email me, to negotiate terms." considered a sort of COM:NCR?" A2: No. It relates to copyright and, in itself, it's not a restriction.
Q3: "Does explicit attribution need to be given in the Wikipedia article for this file to be used or is it simply enough just to attribute the image in an edit summary or on the article's talk page?" A3: Neither. The attribution is in the file description page.
-- Asclepias (talk) 06:26, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you for clarifying things Asclepias. Just one last question about your answer to Q1. Does that mean files uploaded with GDFL on or after 1 January 2018 are not OK? -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:40, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Not exactly. It's GFDL as the only free license and the precise date is 15 October 2018. For details, please see No longer allow GFDL for some new uploads. -- Asclepias (talk) 13:05, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Youtube screenshotEdit

This image seems to be a Youtube screenshot, so I doubt the license. Can someone please check? -- 23:38, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

It's fine, you can see the Creative Commons license on Youtube. From what I can tell the Youtube account appears genuine. -- King of ♥ 23:41, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

File:FIFA Best Awards.jpgEdit

This image has been reported as copyright from the Draft:Tom Nolan page however the image was directly from Tom Nolans official website where in bold he clearly states all images on his website are copyright free and free to use. This shows use of the image is well within all copyright laws so I would like to request this copyright complaint is removed against the image. Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tnfan99 (talk • contribs) 00:07, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

@Tnfan99: It was deleted as a copyvio.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 22:14, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: The deletion occurred at my request since he had previously uploaded it as a CC-BY-SA-self. However, the link given above states that, and I quote, "Images are copyright free, please feel free to use", which should theoretically count as a {{PD-author}}, if a somewhat informal one. It is also worth noting that he has already reuploaded the image at File:Best awards copy.jpg, again under CC-BY-SA-self, but theoretically it could be kept if the {{PD-author}} license was applied properly. Nathan2055talk - contribs 17:04, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@Tnfan99, Nathan2055: I doubt Tom Nolan took that photo and has the right to state it is "copyright free". Please have the photographer post Commons:Licensing compliant permission for such work on their website or social media presence or send the photo and permission via OTRS with a carbon copy to you.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 05:46, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Pinging @Pi.1415926535 as deleting Admin.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 05:51, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Agreed with Jeff here. Permission from the photographer is needed. Pi.1415926535 (talk) 07:51, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@Tnfan99, Jeff G., Pi.1415926535: Given this discussion, I've gone ahead and tagged File:Best awards copy.jpg, File:Tom Nolan Man Utd .jpg, File:Tnfreestyle.jpg, File:20180924 164749762 iOS.jpg, and File:20170626 013313630 iOS.jpg as having no evidence of permission. If someone can get an email from Tom Nolan and/or the photographer verifying its license status, that can be forwarded to OTRS and the photos reuploaded. Otherwise, we just have to assume that they're still all rights reserved. Nathan2055talk - contribs 05:19, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
@Pi.1415926535, Nathan2055: Thanks!   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 08:14, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Copyright of video call screenshotsEdit

Who should have the right to re-license these screenshots? The person who set up the camera (usually same person as the person depicted), the video call service provider, or the person who took the screenshot?

Examples: File:Mrs Olutu in red in MTV Shuga 2020.png File:Scientific Forum 2001 (01118923).jpg.

A similar situation is, very often the person speaking at a conference is projected onto a big screen at the same time. A photographer takes a picture including the big screen, like File:Nancy Pelosi at MSC 2020.jpg. Does this violate someone's copyright? What the big screen displays is obviously not the photographer's work, but since it's live, it's actually just like part of the photo magnified.

If we consider an analogous situation which involves no electronic but only mechanical modes of transmission (like mirrors, telescopes...), obviously neither the person depicted nor the equipment provider would enjoy any copyright in the photo produced. If we consider televised programmes, the television/broadcast companies own the rights of the footage transmitted, right? But it feels wrong to me that by this analogy Skype/Youtube/Zoom/Twitch... would get the copyright. :/ --RZuo (talk) 09:34, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

  • In the US and most other countries the copyright applies at the moment of locking the work into some sort of tangible thing. Something that exists non-transiently. Some courts went as far as to rule that snow sculptures are not covered by copyright (I think that goes too far, but it illustrates this particular point). I am sure that given that fact any temporary storage needed for transmitting the conference call would not be considered to be copyrightable. You could theoretically argue that this was "performance" which also has copyright, but placing a screen in a hall or having a person sit in another room and speak would be definitely scènes à faire and as such not copyrightable. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 06:00, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
    • However, the person who takes a screenshot can argue that they hold copyright, if they have exercised their creativity in determining when to take a screenshot. Think about it this way, the video is running, if you just generate an algorithm that takes screenshots of each speaker at exactly 21 seconds from start, that is not copyrightable; however, if you stand there with a camera in front of the screen and think about what shot will be best, then you hold perhaps some copyright... maybe. Keep in mind that I am not a lawyer, so if somebody with a law degree will disagree with me, then I will definitely be wrong, but it does seem to be the case here. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 06:06, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
      • A possible issue that comes to mind is if one of the call participants is operating a a camera and is also recording the video footage that is being captured by that camera. Would that mean that the video footage from that camera now exists in a tangible (and copyrighted) form? In particular, there is this previous VP/C discussion about Jumbotron display images and this other VP/C discussion which may be of interest. --Gazebo (talk) 06:46, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
        • True. But the question is this: Is the photograph of the screen a derivative work of that other copyrighted work, or are they both derivatives of a live transmission. So we can have (live transmission/pd)->(photograph/copyright) and (live transmission/pd)->(video recording/copyright). Or we get (live transmission/pd)->(video recording/copyright)->(photograph/derivative copyright). And in this case we really need a lawyer to comment on that. I cannot even attempt to approach this from all reasonale angles to predict the outcome. This really annoys me about the copyright law, it is a strict liability, which means that you are guilty even if you read the law, did everything possible to follow it, but just accidentally got it wrong; and yet it is written so vaguely that there is no chance to ever be 100% sure. At least we don't allow fair use, which is even worse hell-hole. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 15:33, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Copyright on old charts at Stanford LibraryEdit

I've just uploaded these files:

I've uploaded quite a few Admiralty Charts from Stanford, and when I checked the copyright status they have always showed as no known restrictions, as expected. I'd already uploaded these before I noticed that Stanford claims copyright on them and only allows non-commercial use. The originals are clearly out of copyright (PD-UKGov), and having read accounts of previous disputes my understanding is that faithful copies of PD material are also fully PD.

What is the policy on this? Delete them, add a note of Stanford's copyright claim, or do nothing? Copyright text is:

Property rights reside with the repository, Copyright © Stanford University. Images may be reproduced or transmitted, but not for commercial use. For commercial use or commercial republication, contact This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. By downloading any images from this site, you agree to the terms of that license.

Thanks Kognos (talk) 16:03, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

@Kognos: If the original images are out of copyright, you are correct that faithful copies are as well. I believe we generally just disregard these types of claims if they are invalid. You could wrap the license template with {{PD-scan}} to emphasize the situation. – BMacZero (🗩) 20:20, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@BMacZero: Thanks, I've added this template. Being a cautious person, I'm inclined to also add a note of the Stanford copyright text to the description. Is this frowned upon? Kognos (talk) 21:23, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
You could do something like this, more or less:
{{Licensed-PD-Art-two|PD-UKGov|PD-US-expired|rawphotolicense= *'''[ Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)] by © Stanford University'''. }}
There is no Licensed-PD-scan wrapper template, so this is one from the PD-Art group, but it may do as well, because this image is probably not an ordinary scan but comparable to a photographic reproduction.
-- Asclepias (talk) 22:38, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
This looks perfect as it is. I've no problem with a chart as a work of art. I've made the changes. Thanks both for your help. Kognos (talk) 09:13, 9 August 2020 (UTC)


Flag bearers for Iran at the 1952 Summer Olympics.jpg

Please check the copyright of these images

Thanks--Persia ☘ 19:00, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

@Persia: The actual copyright status of these images will probably vary widely based different parameters such as the country in which each image was originally published. Can you be more specific about which images you are interested in? – BMacZero (🗩) 20:12, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
@BMacZero: this picture--Persia ☘ 20:48, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Remaking a map from a previously deleted fileEdit

I'm planning to remake File:Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas-Expressway01.jpg using OpenStreetMap as a base map instead of Google Maps (which was the case for the deleted file). Is it okay to upload the remaked map in Commons and if yes/no, why or why not? Looking forward to your responses. -Ianlopez1115 (talk) 10:51, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

@Ianlopez1115: Yes, it would be okay to create a map using OpenStreetMaps and upload it here. This is because OpenStreetMaps uses a free license for their maps that allows re-use by anyone. Google does not, reserving all rights to their maps. You just need to credit OpenStreetMaps on the page of your new file, in accordance with [1]. – BMacZero (🗩) 20:03, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Photographs by Jenny de VassonEdit

Question for our specialists of the U.S. law. The photographs in Category:Jenny de Vasson were scanned from a book published in 1982 in France. I asked the uploader if he could find more details and he has kindly replied. But some details of the situation may still be missing. Here are the facts, as far as we can tell. The photographs, several thousand of them, were taken by Jenny de Vasson, a rich woman who took photographs as a hobby and who died in 1920. The photographs remained unpublished until circa 1982. Leaving aside for the moment the possibility that such photographs may not have been copyrightable in France under French law, and assuming for the purposes of the discussion that they were copyrightable, then, under the version of the French copyright law then in force, the initial copyright (50 pma + extension), owned by the heirs or successors, would have expired in 1979. The 1982 book says that the photographs were "discovered" in April 1979 (oh, what a coincidence) in one of the houses previously owned by the family de Vasson and that they were shown in June 1979 to Jean-Marc Zaorski, a photographer and publisher. Zaorski and others wrote a book, published in 1982 in France by the publishing house Herscher. The book includes reproductions of 100 of the photographs. The copyright notice of the book reads "Copyright éditions Herscher 1982". Under the French copyright law, the first publication of a previously unpublished work, after the expiration of the initial copyright period, grants a copyright for 25 years after that publication to the person who owns the physical copy of the work and publishes it. That copyright would have expired in 2008. It would have existed on the URAA date, in 1996, if that makes a difference, but I'm not sure if it does. It is unclear who owned the photographic plates and the family albums at this point, in 1979-1982, and authorized the publication of the photographs. It may have been either the heirs of the de Vasson family, or the owners of the house, if the house had been sold to them with its contents, or Zaorski or someone else, if they bought the objects. The book suggests that the photographs were in the possession of Gilles Wolkowitsh, said to be a distant relative of the de Vasson family and possibly one of the present owners of the house and one of the writers of the book. Anyway, both the initial copyright (if it ever existed) and the subsequent copyright (if it ever existed) are now expired in France. The unknown is what is the copyright status of the photographs in the United States. The Hirtle chart seems rather confusing about material published outside the U.S. between 1978 and 1989. Did the publication with a copyright notice in 1982 in France preserve a U.S. copyright and to whose benefit (including if the publication was authorized by the owner of the 1982 French copyright who was not the same person as the owner of the pre-1980 French copyright who at this point presumably still owned the U.S. copyright on the unpublished photographs)? If there was or is a U.S. copyright, who owned or owns it and in what year did it or will it expire? 1991, 2048, another year? Thank you in advance for your lights. -- Asclepias (talk) 17:28, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

Ooof. Hrm. I don't think the publication copyright enters into this, nor does the URAA. The original French copyright had expired (probably in 1971, since I think works had to be published to get the extensions) and I think that is all the URAA would be based on. For the U.S., copyright would have been preserved though because it was unpublished. If they were published with permission, and with copyright notice (even with an incorrect name), then the U.S. copyright was still valid, even if not enforceable by that publisher. For works created before 1978 but first published from 1978 through 2002, there is a special clause which makes the U.S. copyright last until 2048 (it's the later of 70pma, which had already passed, and that date.) If however the photographs were published without permission from the original author (or someone who owned the copyright by that point), then I think they were still technically unpublished from a U.S. perspective, and it would have expired in the U.S. in 2003.
Since the author's copyright had expired, I don't think anyone actually needed permission to publish them in France -- whoever had possession of the physical photos could do it. So that important question may be very thorny -- it's a question of who was the heir of the original author, i.e. the person that owned the copyright from the U.S. perspective. The U.S. would recognize any French rules regarding transfer/inheritance of the original copyright, but I don't think they would recognize the 25-year publication right at all. To me, the only way they are still under copyright is if the French publisher got a permission to publish from the legal heirs, which they didn't actually need to get. The notice is in the publisher's name, so they were using the publication right in France, but that doesn't give any hint as if they got permission for the (expired) original copyright which still existed in the U.S. It sounds like that's still a guess, but to me it seems unlikely that a publisher would have bothered. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:02, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@Asclepias: This one is a real doozy. First, it must be mentioned that the copyright term in effect for these photos in France at the time of their publication in 1982 was not 50 pma, but 50 years from the date of publication.[2] In 1997 France enacted a new copyright law (retroactively effective to July 1, 1995) which changed the term for posthumous works to 70 pma (and created the 25 year right for the first publisher as well). Up to 1997, these photographs were protected in France by the 50 year from publication term. After 1997 (due to the change in law), these photographs were in the public domain in France since they were published within pma + 70 (i.e. by 1990) and thus not eligible for the 25 year term.[3] Any of the photographs published after 1990, however, were entitled to 25 year copyright protection by the owner (within France). According to the Hirtle chart, any of the photographs published in the book would be protected in the U.S. until 1 January 2048 (See "Works Published Abroad After 1 January 1978"), assuming the publication was authorized by Jenny de Vasson's heirs, which isn't at all clear. However, any photos published after 2002 would be in the public domain (since the term would be pma + 70). So, in conclusion, the Jenny de Vasson photographs that are public domain are:
In the U.S.: those published after 2002
In France: those published before 1991
In other words, none are eligible to be hosted on Commons. The ones published in the book will be eligible on 1 January 2048. Any photos published after 2002 will be eligible 25 years after publication (2028 at the earliest). Kaldari (talk) 01:05, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@Clindberg: I posted my reply simultaneously to yours. Can you look it over and see if it makes sense? Notably it's based on a different copyright term in France and the assumption that the book publication was authorized by the heirs (which may not be the case). If the book publication was not authorized by the heirs (as you propose), I agree the book photos would be public domain in the United States and thus OK to host. Kaldari (talk) 01:57, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@Kaldari: I had forgotten about the older infinite unpublished copyright in France. However, per that law, the original copyright owner only had rights if they were first published in the 50pma period. After that, rights went to the physical owners / publishers like today. So it was sort of a 50-year publication right at that point, meaning they probably did not need to get permission from the original author's heirs, still. I'm less sure as to what that would mean for the URAA, but since there was a copyright notice, I think that's still irrelevant. It might however change the status in France, since I think the change to 70pma also said that any existing terms which had started running were still valid if longer than 70pma, so they may still be under French copyright until 2033. In general I think you're right -- your point may make getting permission from an heir more likely, and even if not (since it was not required), the U.S. might follow those older French copyright ownership rules anyways, which would make the 1982 photos protected in the U.S. until 2078. If the U.S. still considered them published without permission though, then they expired in 2003. Any ones not published until 2003 are of course PD in the U.S. now. But it's still a tough call even with all that info on the 1982 ones. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:00, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you to both of you. If I understand you correctly, in 1982, the owners of the U.S. copyright were the persons who were the heirs under the French successoral law, irrespective of the fact that the French copyright may have been owned by a different person under the French copyright law. For the photos that were published in 1982 and uploaded to Commons by the uploader, he should try to find who the heirs were in 1982 and find if the publication was authorized by them, even if they were not the owners of the French copyright. If yes, those photos are under copyright in the U.S. until 2048. If not, they are in the public domain in the U.S. since 1991, because they are considered legally unpublished even if they were actually legally published by the person who owned the French copyright, and therefore the publication did not preserve the U.S. copyright.
With the 50 years after publication copyright, reminded by Kaldari, the situation of the French copyright seems more complex than I thought initially. The owner of the 1982 copyright was entitled to that copyright until 2032. The transitory provisions of the 1997 law, article 16, paragraph II, provided that the law did not have the effet to shorten the protections that had already begun. It would seem strange for the law to shorten the protection expected by the owner of the 1982 copyright, while at the same time the heirs obtain no benefit from the retroactive extended duration, because even that extented duration was expired by then. Since the 1997 law did not change anything for the heirs, who neither gained nor lost anything from it, there doesn't seem to be a reason why the law would have the effect of depriving the owner of the 1982 copyright from the remaining duration of it which was expected to last until 2032. Well, from the perspective of the copyright owner, not from the perspective of our preference for free works. (@ Carl Lindberg: I'm confused by your last comment. I missed a step in the reasoning. How might the "older French copyright ownership rules" change the conclusions about the U.S. copyright? Everything else being equal, how might those rules, by themselves, cause the photos to acquire the 95 years after publication U.S. copyright until 2078, if they would not otherwise acquire it?) -- Asclepias (talk) 13:45, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Per Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc., the U.S. will follow foreign copyright ownership laws. I tend to suspect the current-day publication right is outside of those bounds -- the copyright expired, and the other is a similar but different right that can start at an arbitrary time owned by someone else. What happens if the URAA date is after one expires but the other begins? I'm not sure the URAA would respect that right being in force -- probably just the original copyright, since that *had* expired and that is the Berne Convention stuff that the URAA was more concerned with. The wording in the older law is a bit fuzzier though. I'm honestly not sure if the URAA would respect that older 50 year right once it was beyond the original author, or not. Granted, the U.S. had a similar law, though it didn't automatically give the rights to someone else. But it was published with a copyright notice -- so does the U.S. ignore that due to transferring to someone not the author, or do they respect it? I really don't know. If they do though, then the 95 year U.S. clock started in 1982. If not, then they are PD. If there was a legitimate heir among the publishers in 1982, I don't think there would be any question. I tend to agree about France itself though -- sure seems as though they would be under publication right there until 2033. Unless that older, non-author right is not considered part of the "droits d'auteur et des droits voisins" which terms were preserved. But you'd think it would be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:13, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Publication in 1982 in France created a new copyright, owned by the publisher, and lasting for 25 years. So copyright of these pictures expired in France on December 31st, 2007. The copyright expired 70 years after the author's death or 25 years after publication, which ever is longer. Copyright of the pictures published before the author's death (1920) expired in 1978 (50 years + war extension). Regards, Yann (talk) 11:35, 9 August 2020 (UTC)
Wasn't it a publisher right for 50 years by the law in 1982 ? Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:55, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Ship's Bill of LadingEdit

Are these things subject to copyright? I doubt it but who knows. Thanks.Crook1 (talk) 23:03, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

@Crook1: I think it's likely they would not be, because they are only recorded factual information, but if they are particularly ornate or include logos they might be. Do you have a link to a specific image you are considering? – BMacZero (🗩) 20:07, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
don't see any logos. Here it is. Crook1 (talk) 21:47, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Nothing creative there. Well below the threshold of originality. Rodhullandemu (talk) 22:36, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks, what would be appropriate copyright template for the image? Crook1 (talk) 17:29, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

Is Template:PD-DCGov correct???Edit

{{PD-DCGov}} claims that works of the Washington, D.C. City government are public domain as it is a sub-entity of the federal government. But the linked statutes on the template make no mention of such a thing and I can find no basis for that claim anywhere. {{DCGovWork}} is a similar template, and covers things specifically from the website, where the city has voluntarily granted a cc-zero PD declaration for the material on their website. But I can't find anything validating that all DC-authored works on other websites are public domain. en:Government of the District of Columbia claims, "The District Government is within the Legislative branch of Federal government, which makes the government a Federal agency", but the citation given makes no such claim. Virtually all DC websites other than itself have copyright statements on them. So I'd love to see some validation that that works of the DC city government are public domain ... I sure can't find it. --B (talk) 11:31, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

  • Hmm. This is an interesting question. I don't know the answer, but I'm keen to see what it is. I know Congress holds sway over DC policy. But I'm not sure how that would translate to say, an accountant for the city necessarily being a federal employee rather than an employee of a sub-national entity. But that's just my intuition. GMGtalk 12:11, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
  • The guidance in the Copyright Compendium on this matter has changed over time based on the version. The current third edition, section 313.6(C)(1), states that U.S. government works include works prepared by an officer or employee of the government of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the organized territories under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The second edition of the compendium though, section 206.02(b), states: Works of the govern­ment of the District of Columbia, as now constituted, are not considered U.S. Govern­ment works. (Link to 1984 version, but same text was in 1998 version.) I really don't know what changed in the meantime. The first edition, supplement No. 9(V)(c), from 1973, states: Publications of the government of the District of Columbia will be treated as publications of the U.S. Government. I also have no idea what changed between the first and second editions (other than the 1976 Copyright Act, but I don't see any mention of the District of Columbia in the legislative notes). Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:18, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

Simple drawing to illustrate a building shape, based on the architect's drawingEdit

(I asked this earlier in the Commons Helpdesk, and was advised to ask here instead.)

I have created a very simple outline drawing of the floorplan of a building (church), to illustrate the shape of the building which is otherwise difficult to describe. The original architect's drawing (obviously much more detailed and complicated) is from the 1970s, so about 40-50 years old in case that matters. Is it okay for me to upload my drawing for use in a Wikipedia article, or does it violate some copyright or policy because it's based on somebody else's work?

My drawing is here, and the original architect's drawing is here, so you can see how similar (or not) they are.

Any advice much appreciated! :) TIA, -- DoubleGrazing (talk) 16:22, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

DRs in need of attentionEdit

The following DR has been open for more than two months: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Gwalior fort - panoramio - Gyanendrasinghchauha… (12).jpg.

There is another DR of a file (which is copied from Facebook): Commons:Deletion requests/File:Maharaja bijli pasi.jpg. That one has been open for nearly one month. So they need a bit of attention. Thanks. - NitinMlk (talk) 20:48, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

@NitinMlk: That's minor, Commons:Deletion requests/2019/12 still has contents.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 05:32, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: Oh, my bad. I should have waited till the next year.Face-sad.svg On a serious note, the two DRs pointed out by me are seemingly straightforward. In fact, the second one could be CSDed as well. But I guess the Commons admins are quite overburdened. - NitinMlk (talk) 19:00, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
@NitinMlk: I agree, and tagged both files.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 08:10, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
Dobar.svg NitinMlk (talk) 20:35, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Need to revisit COM:COSPLAY and possibly delete most of Category:CosplayEdit

@Yuraily Lic, Nightscream, Taivo, Jameslwoodward, Fitindia, Elcobbola: We need to clarify COM:COSPLAY, because right now we have a direct conflict between the recent slew of nominations by User:Yuraily Lic, such as

and I have no doubt many others, and older decisions such as Commons:Deletion requests/Images of costumes tagged as copyvios by AnimeFan and the very explicit statement by Wikimedia Counsel Mike Godwin: "Suppose someone dresses up as, say, Spider-Man, and has a photo taken. The photo is neither a copyright violation nor a trademark violation."

We either explicitly say we no longer follow Mike Godwin's statement, and delete 99%+ of the thousands and thousands of files in Category:Cosplay, which are almost all cosplay of copyrighted characters, or we don't, but we can't go through these one deletion request at a time, we need to make a policy ruling. Pinging people who participated in these discussions. This is a big deal. --GRuban (talk) 12:56, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment @Brainulator9: Needless to say, masks (in other words, we can't see the faces of the people inside) are point. So, the deletion requests I've submitted are for the characters that we can't see the faces of the people inside. I think that the admins have also checked that. --Yuraily Lic (talk) 06:18, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mass deletion per Nightscream and Gone Postal. I don't have anything to add to what they said. I also Symbol support vote.svg Support the restoration of any images of people merely cosplaying. ···日本穣Talk to Nihonjoe 17:21, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Coment We explicitly say we still follow Mike Godwin's policy statement. Evrik (talk) 17:27, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mass deletion per Nightscream and Gone Postal. Symbol support vote.svg Support the restoration of any images of people cosplaying. Evrik (talk) 17:27, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment @GRuban: Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Anime North 2018 This DR doesn't include costumes or cosplays. Those are statues and toys. Why did you list it here? --Yuraily Lic (talk) 17:58, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Ack! Sorry, I think I got it confused with another cosplay deletion request you made. Striking. Would you like to list all the cosplay deletion requests you have made recently? It might be a relevant (and large) list. --GRuban (talk) 18:17, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, GRuban. And, Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:First Order Stormtroopers, as far as I remember, this DR also included statues, action figures and film props that had nothing to do with costumes or cosplays. --Yuraily Lic (talk) 18:40, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mass deletion, Symbol support vote.svg Support restoration of files that show people cosplaying, per Gone Postal and Nightscream above. –Davey2010Talk 18:40, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mass deletion, Symbol support vote.svg Support restoration of files that show people cosplaying, per Gone Postal, Nightscream and Evric. If we still follow Mike Godwin's policy statement I see no reason to delete them. Electron   18:58, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment About Mike Godwin's email,
In 2009, Mike Godwin advised via email about a discussion regarding photos of cosplayers.
However, in 2011, the Wikimedia Foundation legal team issued the statement regarding costumes, intended to supplant earlier advice given by Mike Godwin.
One of the admins, Sebari, says that "Mike Godwin's email is clearly marked as obsolete everywhere it's quoted" in Com:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Darth Vader (21 December 2019).
In short, it is pointless to bring up Mike Godwin's email (and the judgement based on his email) now.

--Yuraily Lic (talk) 02:00, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

  • Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose mass deletion, Symbol support vote.svg Support restoration for files which have no other problem than somebody dressing up as a fictional character. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 00:48, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Graffiti and URAAEdit

While we're at it, two other things which are in a grey area are COM:GRAFFITI and {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. I often see cases at COM:DR and COM:UNDEL go either way, so we really need to agree on a consistent interpretation of policy.

Our graffiti guidance is currently wishy-washy, not saying whether it is OK or not. While that might be the most accurate answer as far as copyright law is concerned, we need a more explicit stance when it comes down to keeping or deleting images at Commons. We should update the guidance to say either: 1) pictures of graffiti are generally not permitted on Commons, unless they are freely licensed or fall within a suitable provision such as COM:FOP, COM:DM, or noncompliance with copyright formalities (US only); or 2) pictures of graffiti are generally permitted on Commons so long as they are reasonably believed to have been done illegally.

Likewise, for URAA-restored files uploaded prior to 1 March 2012, we need to say either: 1) they should be deleted if research shows that they are still copyrighted in the US; or 2) they should be kept, with the {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} tag to warn reusers. -- King of ♥ 19:44, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

I feel those are good questions, though I think {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} was discussed at Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2020/01#URAA revisited in 2019 but ended up stalling out with no resolution. I'd also like to revise COM:PACKAGING and COM:CSM#Vehicles with respect to Ets-Hokin v. Sky Spirits, Inc. and Latimer v. Roaring Toyz. That said, those, too, feel like RFC things, though I could see the former being a bust. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 00:44, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
I support the need to clarify those, particularly the latter two. Ping User:Buidhe, I think we had some discussions on this not that long ago? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 00:49, 8 August 2020 (UTC)
With URAA it is very arbitrary, some admins will keep URAA affected files regardless of when they were uploaded. That is a very unsatisfactory situation and inconsistent with COM:LICENSING, which states: "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." Wikimedia servers are located in the US, so if anything we should give more priority to following US law rather than the source country's laws, which we follow as a courtesy. Buidhe (talk) 01:02, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

File:Real Madrid CF.svgEdit

Copyright violation property of Real Madrid Pincheira22 (talk) 19:21, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

Deleted per [4]. I think the current (2001) design is similar enough to the 1997 design to not constitute a new work, but I think the modifications from the 1941 design exceed COM:TOO. The color change is not copyrightable, but the shape of the crown is substantially different. -- King of ♥ 19:48, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

File:DñaCasilda.jpg Public domain? Own work?Edit

File:DñaCasilda.jpg says that it is the uploader's own work, but it doesn't seem to be the case. A comment left to me on the English Wikpedia states, "here's a different issue you might want to have a look at, and I'm not enough of an expert in this area to tell you. It's that really excellent infobox image. I love the image. But when I look at it on Commons, it's missing information (I think) about the copyright. Obviously, it's an old painting. You can tell by the texture on it that it came from another website. The uploader says it's their own work, but I have my doubts. Probably should get this settled if it's going to be used in the article." SL93 (talk) 23:07, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

I'm the one who left that message for SL93 on the DYK talk page at English Wikipedia. When the you look closely, the image looks as if it's being viewed through a screen netting, which would seem to be a tip off that it's a copy from some website. Besides which, this looks like a really good painting and might actually be the work of some renown painter. We should check it out. Maile66 (talk)
Whether it's copied from some website doesn't matter. Per COM:PD-Art, the only thing that matters is the copyright status of the original work. Because Spain's copyright term is 80 years, we can't quite use {{PD-old-assumed}} just yet, unless we can establish that the painting was definitely completed prior to August 1890. -- King of ♥ 20:57, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Copyright status of images published in 1936 in the NetherlandsEdit

Hi, I am not familiar with copyright laws in the Netherlands, and I want to know if the images published here on 21 August 1936 from the yacht Chahsevar are free to use. Pahlevun (talk) 18:13, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

I think Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Netherlands may be your best bet. Note that as far as US law is concerned, it probably won't be free until 2032. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 19:40, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

Is this image "PD-US-no notice"?Edit

I found a newspaper photo published in the US in 1976. [5] I am wondering if I can upload the image (more specifically, a higher quality version converted to greyscale [6]) Some points to keep in mind:

  • I checked for copyright notices in every page of the newspaper that the photo was published in as provided by; there were no copyright notices
  • The photo illustrates the filming of a pilot episode of a television series. However, the photo may not be a publicity photo where we have to check the front and back side for copyright notices:
    • The photo was published in 1976, before the television series began airing in 1978.
    • The pilot episode was most likely never aired. According to [7], the boy pictured in the photo did not appear in the series. This newspaper clipping [8] states that if the pilot episode was successful, the series will air in 1977. The series aired in 1978, not 1977. Thus we can conclude that the pilot episode was unsuccessful and was not aired.
    • I could not find any other newspapers on that has the same photo. Given that the photo was published in a Ligonier newspaper, the location where the pilot episode was filmed, the photo may very well be published only in that one newspaper.

FunnyMath (talk) 06:28, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Philippine buildings before 1972Edit

At Commons:Undeletion requests/Archive/2018-01#File:Philippines National Museum.jpg and File:Supreme Court of the Philippines.jpg, Clindberg secured the undeletion of two files with the argument that Philippine copyright law prior to 1972 was based on US copyright law, which at the time did not grant copyright to architectural works, and when the 1972 law came into place, it was not retroactive, so all buildings completed prior to 1972 in the Philippines may be freely photographed. This issue has come up again at Commons:Undeletion requests/Current requests#File:Life Theater Main Facade.jpg. Can we confirm that this interpretation is correct, and if so add it to COM:FOP Philippines? -- King of ♥ 16:56, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

It's a reasonable guess, but it's just a guess. Technically the Philippines joined the Berne Convention in the 1950s, which should have mandated architectural work protection then. Before that they basically used U.S. copyright law which did not protect buildings. But I wasn't able to find any law which explicitly mentioned buildings, or define the contours of the protection, etc., until 1972. Buildings from before 1951 are almost certainly fine, and buildings completed before 1972 may well be. Photos of old buildings may not have been an issue anyone has considered (and if there have been no lawsuits about them, no reason to). Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:29, 9 August 2020 (UTC)