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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.

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Thoughts from WMF Legal about the BUS case in SwedenEdit

Hi all,

You may already be familiar with the recent BUS v. Wikimedia Sverige decision regarding freedom of panorama in Sweden. You can read more of the background in English on our blog or in Swedish from Wikimedia Sverige . We at WMF Legal have been looking into the issue since the judgment, and want to share a few thoughts with you.

First, the Wikimedia Foundation’s position is that, at this time, the Foundation is not under any obligation to remove any images from Wikimedia Commons based on the decision of the Swedish Patent and Market court in the BUS case. If, in the future, we receive a removal request for specific images that complies with U.S. law (see our DMCA policy) then we’ll evaluate the images identified at that time and determine if the law requires us to remove them.

Second, with regard to the images on the projects, I would first note that it is the users on each language of Wikipedia and on Commons who determine the policies for what content is appropriate on each project. In that context, it’s our opinion that it would be good to leave most of the Swedish images on Commons for now, since the copyright status, permissions, or any applicable legal exceptions for any specific piece of artwork have not been determined yet. I think the updated template that has been added is also nice to help assist reusers. I would also note that if specific photographers are concerned about images that they have uploaded and would prefer to have them removed given the uncertainty, it’s of course fine to help those individuals if desired.

Overall, this case had a disappointing outcome, but I’m hopeful that there will be an opportunity in the coming years for the legislature in Sweden and several other countries to reconsider their laws around photography in public places. -Jrogers (WMF) (talk) 21:30, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

What a bunch of Dingdong-judges, allowing commercial printing no permission required and kick free knowledge in butt. Geez.... I will not delete any FOP-SWE media. Period. Idiotic judgements need to be answered with civil disobedience. If WMF legal decides we are obligated to remove media, other story. Until then I think my fellow admins will agree and not touch these photographs. Hopefully Wikimedia Sverige has the tools to lobby the right decision makers to retroactive change this nonsense. (_*_) --Hedwig in Washington (mail?) 01:07, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
They seem to be basing their decision not on Swedish copyright law, but on a European copyright directive [1], 5.3, which says exceptions are permitted for "(h) use of works, such as works of architecture or sculpture, made to be located permanently in public places", but then it says in 5.5 "The exceptions and limitations provided for in paragraphs 1, 2, 3 and 4 shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholder." Is this something that Swedish politicians can fix, short of firing all the judges or leaving the EU? I doubt that the files would survive a DMCA take-down request, since there's no FOP for public art in US copyright law. --ghouston (talk) 07:20, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
The "do not conflict with a normal exploitation" wording is directly from Berne Convention text, so that is larger than even the EU directive. But it can be up to each country to define that scope, since "normal exploitation" is a country-by-country thing. It does seem rather bizarre that a commercial use of such a photo would be OK and would not affect the "normal exploitation" in Sweden, but then a similar photo posted online in a non-commercial setting would. I don't know what the logic is behind that, but obviously the court found some. It is every country's right to define that scope for itself though, so the court's ruling is the state of the law in Sweden. The question is do we want to make this situation an exception to normal country-of-origin policy. We have done that in certain narrow cases before (PD-Art). For photos of architecture, we could definitely do that (since those would not be considered derivative works in the U.S. in the first place, so there should be no valid DMCA requests). For photos of sculpture though, that would be shakier. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:21, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Treaties would normally be implemented in national laws, and courts would work off those laws and not the original treaty text. Things can be different in the EU though. --ghouston (talk) 23:09, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Not in Sweden. In the government bill the Supreme Court made reference to in its decision, the government stated exactly that, that the three-step-test should be used by the legislator and not the courts. The court turned that on its head. According to the Constitution, "[a]uthors, artists and photographers shall own the rights to their works in accordance with rules laid down in law."[2] "Law" means an act of parliament. Courts can't extend the scope of copyright protection, only Parliament can. Edaen (talk) 02:46, 11 August 2017 (UTC)
@Ghouston: In some countries, treaties can be "self-executing", meaning the language of the treaty (once approved) becomes part of the law. The EU directive was not -- that required specific legislation to enact its terms, though like in this case sometimes the language was copied directly -- but Berne may have been. I'm not sure if that is true in Sweden though. Most of the time, I think "normal exploitation" referred to uses of the original work itself -- i.e. a FoP product should not directly compete with the original in the marketplace (like a photo of a photo) and that sort of thing. But the language is vague enough that countries can make all sorts of rules that they like. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:37, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
It's not the case in Sweden that treaties are "self-executing". Sweden still sticks to dualism.
Sverige tillhör alltjämt de stater som tillämpar ett dualistiskt synsätt på ingångna traktatförpliktelser innebärande att lagstiftning krävs för att traktaten ska få tydligt genomslag i svensk rätt.[3]
Edaen (talk) 14:00, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
Having followed the issue and read the court rulings, this statement from WMF Legal is in line with what I would expect. It's important for the community to remember that WMF Legal represents the Wikimedia Foundation. It would be irresponsible of WMF Legal to publicly describe its client's practices as unlawful even if they were. Furthermore, assessing whether hosting of these files is consistent with our licensing policy is not the job of WMF Legal. As an Online Service Provider, the WMF can and should pretty much completely ignore Commons:Project scope/Precautionary principle, but that doesn't mean we do.
Three things to note about the ruling:
  • The court ruled explicitly that Article 24 does not give anyone the right to publish photographs of copyrighted public art on the Internet without the consent of the depicted work's author. It also stated explicitly that the users' uploading of the photos to Wikimedia Commons was unlawful. (Page 21)
  • Anyone in Sweden who does what Wikimedia Sverige did (link to files on Commons) risks prosecution and would be held liable. One cannot argue that such content is free.
  • The situation in Sweden is now much the same as in other countries without freedom of panorama. It would be odd to only ignore the legal situation here.
LX (talk, contribs) 17:28, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
Not exactly the same, since using the same picture for a postcard or a poster would OK, and that's why this judgement is weird. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:23, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I think the WMF is involved. The "database" in question is the Wikimedia Commons. WMF has six months beginning July 27 to take action. See Chapter 59, Section 1, point 2 here. Edaen (talk) 19:11, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I've never heard of any other country with this extremely strange legal definition of "freedom of panorama": as long as you print the image, it's fine - you can sell posters, postcards, pricey coffee-table books with views of protected art located in public space and you don't need permission; but as soon as you upload the same image to an online platform, even if non-commercial, it's not fine any longer, you need permission by the copyright owner. Usually, you either have FoP or you don't have it, regardless of the technical means of reproduction. Gestumblindi (talk) 21:03, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I've heard of non-commercial FOP but offline-only FOP seems like something new. The ruling was about public works of art, there's no evidence that the same conclusion would be reached for works of architecture. --ghouston (talk) 21:40, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
The exception was not all printed matters. Just postcards, and you was allowed to both sell them or give them away. It is still strange but that is how they ruled in the seventies.--LittleGun (talk) 06:48, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, the exception is for all 2D reproductions. See page 264 here and page 167 here. Postcards is just an example. Edaen (talk) 07:09, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

It is a disappointing outcome and a weird ruling. But how is it possible to keep files on Wikimedia Commons that is not free enough to be used on the webpage without paying a fee to the copyright association BUS? Why do we not also allow these kind of pictures from France on Wikimedia Commons in that case?--LittleGun (talk) 15:08, 14 August 2017 (UTC)

1. As we are still trying to find a consensus about what is right resp. what we need to do. 2. As in France there never was Freedom_of_panorama, whereas in Sweden we thought there is. --Túrelio (talk) 07:33, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Required reading: w:Iura novit curia which is the rule in Sweden. There is no w:Stare decisis and courts don't have this kind of law-making power. Sweden's Supreme Court has turned activist lately, it's not just this case. See this from Swedens's public service radio.[4] Edaen (talk) 08:10, 15 August 2017 (UTC)
Whatever the case, these are the courts that are in charge, and who will be judging any future cases that affect Commons users in Sweden. --ghouston (talk) 00:09, 16 August 2017 (UTC)
We're in unchartered waters and it makes it hard to impossible to predict what courts will do. As a law this rule, made by the Supreme Court, fails on formalities and ought not be adhered to by other courts, which are still bound by the law. Edaen (talk) 07:18, 16 August 2017 (UTC)

(arbitrary break)Edit

I am not sure if this is the only place where this is addressed. I try to conclude the arguments above here, I believe some kind of decision is needed on how to handle the ruling. LX listed three facts, and I have tried to conclude the discussions regarding them. Please fell free to add arguments missed:

The court ruled explicitly that Article 24 does not give anyone the right to publish photographs of copyrighted public art on the Internet without the consent of the depicted work's author. It also stated explicitly that the users' uploading of the photos to Wikimedia Commons was unlawful. (Page 21)
  • The ruling itself is unlawful, and we can ignore it. At least until WMF or Commons is sued and have lost.
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose: The ruling exists and Commons usually follow the local ruling.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose the ruling is law in Sweden. we will consider it in decision making, including exceptions to the policy. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, per LittleGun. --Túrelio (talk) 16:34, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, per LittleGun. JoergenB (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
  • The ruling is stupid, and we can ignore it. Civil disobedience is required. At least until WMF or Commons is sued and have lost.
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose: Commons usually follow the local ruling, also when it is stupid. If civil disobedience shall be applied, the uploaders must be made aware of that, and the files should be clearly marked. Just ignoring is not the same as civil obedience. It requires an statement and an conscious act from the individuals.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support the decision is not stupid, merely archaic, and perverse. civil disobedience is when you defy the court and go to jail. this case is a dispute over jurisdiction, and commons policy. if the DMCA takedown occurs, we can advise uploaders what their options are. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose, as they may not sue the WMF, but instead go after weaker parties, i.e. re-users. --Túrelio (talk) 16:36, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
i'm so glad you are looking out for re-users by censoring their options, why not inform them with a blinking stop sign "not safe for Sweden". Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 19:02, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Sarcasm is not needed. Not being able to re-use is a major breach to free content.--LittleGun (talk) 06:20, 25 August 2017 (UTC)
i am only a little sarcastic. when a Swedish court breaches your ideology of freedom, then what is Commons' response? collective punishment by deletion, or letting re-users make their own choices? we have a decade of experience with France and the former. it will take a sustained lobbying effort in Sweden, as in Belgium, to re-iterate the law. does the proposed deletion help or harm the encyclopedic project, and changing the law? Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 18:29, 28 August 2017 (UTC)
I would say deletion would help change the law. Doing nothing would imply all is fine, that there is no law need to be changed, so nothing will happen. The encyclopedic project would loose some illustrations, but those cannot be conseidered free anyway, and accepting non-free content in a free encyclopedia is, if not harmful, at least not good.--LittleGun (talk) 10:46, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
This depends. I'm by no means a principal opponent to civil disobedience. In this case, civil disobedience may be costly. Are we ready for such a fight; and does WMF have resources enough to continue it? JoergenB (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
  • The ruling exists, Wikimedia Sweden (after discussions with WMF lawyers) did not appeal, accepts the fine and have removed the links as they do not want to pay a fee to link to the pictures. As Commons usually follow the local rules of where the picture is taken these pictures must be removed.
Symbol support vote.svg Support: This is how Commons usually do.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose this is what commons usually does, but commons have the option of exceptional cases. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
GA candidate.svg Weak support A reasonably realistic thing to do would be to (a) remove the clear case images from Commons, and (b) to put up a "censor template box" in their place. Here, the "clear cases" are all pictures of Swedish not sufficiently old artworks, where clearly the artwork is the main object of the photo. The Swedish supreme court made some distinction between these on the one hand, and panorama pictures where incidently part of the panorama includes an artwork on the other. We only should remove those clearly of the first kind. A "censor template box" should give the information "Here there used to be an illustration, but by the ... court decision we are not allowed to show it anymore". This kind of reaction is the classical first step journalistic defense against censorship. JoergenB (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2017 (UTC)
Anyone in Sweden who does what Wikimedia Sverige did (link to files on Commons) risks prosecution and would be held liable. One cannot argue that such content is free.
  • Commons does not have to follow Swedish rules
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose: Commons do not have to, but usually follow the local ruling.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol support vote.svg Support the Swedish cannot compel commons to delete items on an american server. there is still the US legal process to play out. you very well could argue the items are as free as PD art, i.e. there are local legal claims that we choose to dispute. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Commons usually follow local rules.
Symbol support vote.svg Support: This is how Commons usually do.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Thumbs-up-icon.svg Great! flogging dead horse. usually, but not in this case. the commons decided in the National Portrait Gallery, London case, to risk lawsuit in the UK over the copyright of scans of PD artwork. it can do so again. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
The situation in Sweden is now much the same as in other countries without freedom of panorama. It would be odd to only ignore the legal situation here.
  • No it is not. Printed matter is OK.
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose: Commons is not printed matter.--LittleGun (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose an adjustment to the Swedish FoP can be done similar to PD-art. it is not odd, and you are not ignoring it, rather you are making a risk assessment. and you are demonstrating you lack of standard of practice. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 16:24, 24 August 2017 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose Actually, even printed matters is not necessarily always OK by this decision. JoergenB (talk) 22:15, 10 September 2017 (UTC)

Rather than deleting the images from Commons, is it possible for them to be hidden in a way that allows for them to be restored by an administrator if this decision is reversed? Verbcatcher (talk) 07:03, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

@Verbcatcher: No problem: every file that is "deleted" at Commons can be restored later (with some very rare exceptions). --El Grafo (talk) 07:45, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Broader proposalEdit

Most of us agree that any kind of legislation against free photography of outdoor architecture is absurd. The Sweden case is particularly obnoxious because it specifically targets online photographs, but at the same time it seems odd to single out Sweden for "foreign civil disobedience". I suggest the following:

  • Add a feature to the MediaWiki software which allows cross-wiki inclusion of files to be disabled through the use of categories or templates (in this case {{NoFoP-France}} etc.). This feature would have other potential applications as well, such as a "family-friendly" non-Wikimedia wiki disabling Commons files which are tagged {{nsfw}}. There could also be software support to facilitate removing the images from print copies, if desired.
  • Change Commons policy to permit freely licensed photographs of architecture, regardless of local FoP concerns.
  • Restore images which have been deleted for this reason and tag them appropriately.
    • We may need an abuse filter restricting these tags to autoconfirmed users, because the ability to disable a file on other wikis via a simple edit on Commons has a high potential for abuse.
  • Allow each Wikimedia wiki community to decide whether or not to disable such images. The global default setting here will require further discussion if this proposal is implemented.
  • If alleged architectural copyright holders have an issue, let them send a takedown notice. I'm confident that WMF Legal will use good judgment in handling such demands.

Guanaco (talk) 08:02, 25 August 2017 (UTC)

Surprising outcomeEdit

I am surprised that this issue get so little attention. I am also surprised of the outcome. As I understand consensus:

  • It is agreed that Swedish court find uploading pictures of public art unlawful. However it is unlikely a user on Commons ever will be tried.
  • It is agreed that any online re-user are obligated to pay a fee to BUS or may be sued. Also this is most likely to affect only Swedish users.
  • It is agreed that normally such pictures would not be allowed to be uploaded to Commons.
  • It is agreed that there should be made an exception for pictures of public art from Sweden, and that such pictures still be accepted.

I think the [Template:FoP-Sweden should be changed to reflect this. For instance, now it says "It is not clear whether freedom of panorama applies to this image." To reflect consensus I think it clearly should state that uploading have been deemed unlawful by Swedish jurisdiction and that the third party BUS have won claim for economical compensation when such a picture have been reused online.--LittleGun (talk) 05:52, 2 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't think it should state that it is unlawful for the reasons I've given above. There is no reason for us to make such statements. There is a risk a court would sentence an uploader or re-user to pay damages, or even found guilty of a criminal offence. Edaen (talk) 06:55, 2 September 2017 (UTC)
Which consensus? And we don't decide stuff like this via some kangaroo vote. Natuur12 (talk) 12:57, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
It was not meant as any kind of vote. Just a summary of the discussion above.--LittleGun (talk) 18:14, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
Hej LittleGun! I agree that the lack of attention is surprising, and frankly, concerning. I do think it's too early to consider the matter concluded, so I disagree with parts of your analysis of the outcome. Mainly, I don't think there is an outcome yet. I've had very limited time to work on the issue since my original changes to the template and COM:FOP#Sweden, which were intended as interim actions while it was still unclear whether the decision would be appealed. Personally, I believe that at this point, deletion is the only option consistent with Commons' mission and policies. LX (talk, contribs) 16:21, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
OK, but if it is not discussed more, what can you do. And as stated above there is none or little risk for the general commons user or WMF. Only for Swedish users and re-users.--LittleGun (talk) 18:14, 3 September 2017 (UTC)
That's not really true. In a sense, I'm not sure that any work poses much risk for the general commons user or WMF, with the exception of child pornography. A simple copyright infringement is going, at worst, to get a DMCA sent to WMF and possibly a lawsuit for the uploader. But a photo of a new statue can be considered as a copyright infringement; I don't know if this ruling changes anything for non-Swedish users, but such a work is not legally safe for users in the US and France and several other countries.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:16, 4 September 2017 (UTC)

How did HD actually argue?Edit

The principal part of the court decision some weeks ago was in my opinion expected and almost unavoidable, given the statement from HD three years ago. The reason for the statement was that the lower court then handling the case decided to ask HD to clarify the disputed interpretation of Swedish law. This was (as far as I understand it) done with the consent of the contending parties; anyhow, neither party complained over the procedure. Moreover, neither party appealed the statement from HD, when it came. (Sweden is a member of the EU, and the highest court in cases such as this no longer is HD, but the European court.) In such situations, the lower courts are bound to follow the decisions of the higher ones, also in Sweden.

The only reasonably initiated person I've heard expressing some surprise is Edaen (talk · contribs); but Edaen seems to argue as if HD more or less tried to commit a w:coup d'état in issuing this statement, and that therefore the lower courts in this case should ignore the statement they asked for as being illegal. However, I think that almost any other initiated observer consider the lower courts as bound by higher courts decisions, and would consider the lower courts taking on themselves to judge whether or not the arguments in certain HD decisions are to be followed or are to be ignored because some of the courts arguments are deemed as illegitime it as a much more clear violation of the constitution, law, and general juridical praxis. Besides, HD's arguments this time really are not that unique. (I'll return to that later.)

First, I think we should try to understand what HD actually wrote. Like all others here, I immensely dislike their decision; but this never should induce us to misrepresent it. I'll provide my own translations from and summaries of the HD statement from 4 April, 2015 in English, as well as I can; but cannot guarantee complete correctness.

The court (HD) noted that it had two questions from the lower court to answer.

  1. Should the concept "depict" in § 24 of the [Swedish] copyright law be interpreted as to allow free transmission to the general public, by means of the internet, of artworks placed in or at public places in the open, without permission from or compensation to the creator [of the artwork]?
  2. Would the answer [to 1.] be influenced by whether or not the transmission was made for commercial reasons?

The court answered the questions as follows.

The Supreme Court declares, that the stipulation in § 24, first moment 1[sic!] of the copyright law, where the infringement of the exclusive rights of the creator is limited to pictures, does not grant Wikimedia[sic!] the right to transmit the works to the general public from its database[sic!] of photographies of artworks, permanently placed in or at public locations in the open. Whether the purpose is commercial [or not] is immaterial.

Below, section numbers refers to the numbered sections in the HD statement. As before, comments within brackets are mine. However, they do not represent my own opinions of the issue, just notes about what (and where) the HD arguments are. JoergenB (talk) 18:09, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

No, I've not argued that the lower court should ignore HD's decision for that reason in this case, I've argued that in future cases courts are still bound by the law. HD has no law-making powers. Edaen (talk) 17:47, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

HD's arguments about question oneEdit

HD noted that WMSE was referring to the stipulation in the Swedish copyright act from 1960 giving anyone freedom to "depict" outdoors publicly placed artworks, and to use the pictures in e.g. postcards. Against this, HD noted or claimed the following.

  • The copyright act in such cases made an explicit exception in the exclusive rights of the artwork creators, about 2-dimensional pictures (whether they be created by painting, drawing, photography, or other techniques), mainly to ensure panorama freedom. [§14]
  • However, already at the time the act was prepared, there were suggestions that the creator ought to get compensation for pictures where the art work [rather than the panorama] was the main object of the picture. The legislators turned down this suggestion, with the arguments that the compensation the artists would get would have been rather small, and that the practical troubles in organising transference of this small compensation would be too great compared to the amounts involved. [§15. Thus, the legislators recognised that this in principle was an infringement in the creator copyrights, but allowed it by purely practical considerations.]
  • There is at present no corresponding exception in the legislation of the other Nordic countries as in the Swedish act, at least not as concerns commercial use of pictures where the artwork is the main motive. Repeated suggestions to modify also the Swedish law exception have been made, but they have not yet been acted upon by the legislators. In the discussion before the 2004/2005 revision of the act, where the compatibility of the exception and the Infosoc directive was questioned, the [Swedish] government stated that the exception is permissible, since it only concerns planar reproduction, and therefore is of little practical importance. However, answering criticism against the law revision proposal for not being in accordance with the w:3 steps rule [given as 5.5 in the Infosoc directive], the government also stated that a general clarification however would be made later. However, such a revision has not yet been effected. [§15, §16]

[HD's conclusion was that the exception in the legislation is not in itself applicable for making pictures of artworks accessible for everyone, at times and places of their own choice. Instead, such actions must be considered with respect to the general copyright rules.JoergenB (talk) 18:09, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

[HD devoted one point (§13) to argue for applying the "three steps rule", i.e., the procedure prescribed in 5.5 in the Infosoc directive. Their argumentation here is criticised by Edaen supra. I myself consider this as either a blunder, or a conscious extension of the power of the courts above the intent of the legislators. I'll therefore give it in extensio. JoergenB (talk)]

13. In legislation concerning restrictions of the copyright the principles in the three steps rule shall be considered (see Proposition 2004/2005:110, starting at page 83). This also should be considered as a directive to court deliberation on how various copyright restrictions are to be interpreted.

[The reason why Edaen and I find this rather strange, to put it mildly, is that the quoted Swedish government proposition, in the precise place given by HD, fairly explicitly states that the three steps rules should be considered in legislation, but should not be directly incorporated into the Swedish law, because if it were incorporated, then the courts might use the three steps rule in their deliberations, and they should not do that. The reason the courts should not do this would be that this would make the effects of the legislation more unpredictable for the concerned parties. Therefore, instead, only the legislator should consider the three steps rule directly, and the courts should then follow the Swedish legislation, where the rule already has been considered in the law text, but without independent direct application of the law itself. (Caution: This is not a direct translation from the proposition, which I do not find at the moment, but my explanation of the memory I have of what it stated.) Thus, the HD referee seemingly interpreted a text explicitly stating that the legislators do not want the courts to employ the three steps rule in their deliberations as meaning the complete opposite. JoergenB (talk)] JoergenB (talk) 19:00, 9 September 2017 (UTC)

OK. I am not sure it is all that complicated. However, still the conclusion is the same as everybody above agrees upon: Sweden cannot be considered to have FoP in the sense Commons define it. That is, if someone, online, reuse pictures of artwork of a certain age located in Swedish public places from Wikimedia Commons they are supposed to pay a fee to BUS. That is what happened to Wikimedia Sweden, and they agreed to pay, and not appeal, after the court order.
So, how should we handle those pictures on Wikimedia Commons:
  • Since Sweden cannot be considered having FoP delete them (as we do with such pictures from France)?
  • Clarify on such pictures that a fee to BUS should be considered?
  • Clarify that Commons dislike the ruling and even though BUS may ask for financial compensation Commons still accepts such pictures to be uploaded, kept, and shared according to CC-BY-SA?
  • Do nothing at all?
  • Do something else?
I am still surprised that we agree on the basis, no one have yet here argued that the ruling is unclear on the possibility to publish such pictures without being liable to pay a fee to BUS, (at lest in Sweden as BUS may have problems reaching any further), but there is no discussion on how to handle this on Commons.--LittleGun (talk) 06:27, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
I still think WMF or WMSE should appeal using the extraordinary remedies available. The ruling is obviously messed up. Edaen (talk) 06:42, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
OK. That is not really an issue for this discussion, as the ruling exists; WMSE had to pay for reusing pictures from Commons online, and the discussion is about how Commons should handle that ruling. Also, the lawyers and advisers to WMSE and WMF have already made WMSE and WMF decide not to appeal and accept the ruling. But please advocate for an appeal to WMF and WMSE.--LittleGun (talk) 13:01, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Irish Lights Commissioners, before 1970Edit

Flag, Irish Lights Commissioners RMG RP 12 35.jpg

I'm in the process of uploading old flags, and this one accidentally got through my date filter. I was going to speedy it, but I'm unsure if there might be a reason to consider it a public domain work. This flag was superseded in 1970, but I do not have a start date for the design. Anyone have insights for copyright of this type of flag? -- (talk) 20:13, 12 September 2017 (UTC)

Decent chance of PD-IrishGov , though not sure if they are exactly a government agency. According to this, the general design has existed for a long time. It is described from a 1961 book there, and the graphic says it is based on a 1939 version. Not sure when the particular graphic in that flag was designed though. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:39, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Mentor of The Face Vietnam seasonEdit

The Exif data for this photo, shows the phrase "VIETQUY-0937178993" as author and the copyright holder while Lankhuefc is described as the author in the summary. Is there any problem? --Mhhossein talk 04:18, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

The same applies to File:Khue Khue LG.jpg. This was also uploaded by Lankhuefc, who has recently uploaded nine images the other seven of which are tagged with licensing issues. Verbcatcher (talk) 04:50, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

@Mhhossein VIETQUY was the photographer who took those photos, however, the ownership of those photos were Lan Khue offcial (registered email: There's no problem with using those photos on wiki — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lankhuefc (talk • contribs) 10:15, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

@Lankhuefc: VIETQUY should be mentioned as the author and Lan Khue offcial needs to contact COM:OTRS and prove that it owns the photos. The files will be removed otherwise. --Mhhossein talk 13:29, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Copyright Appeals Board decisionsEdit

It looks like the U.S. Copyright Office is putting their Appeals Board decisions online, and searchable too.

Previously, would obtain a couple years worth of decisions and put them up from time to time, but these should get updated a lot more regularly, and be easier to find certain subject areas. There are some interesting recent ones, like a Nikon logo. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:53, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Three that stand out for me are and, which are two of the more complex figures (a security camera and a slice of pizza) to be ruled as uncopyrightable, and , which is a two sentence, 27 word joke that's apparently copyrightable. (And , which won't matter for Commons, but it is interesting that pseudocode is harder to copyright than working code.)--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:25, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

Can this image be in cc-by-nc-nd license?Edit

Hello! I'm working on an article and there are some interesting original works from year 1516 that has been scanned by the Government of Navarre and published under a cc-by-nc-nd license. It seems strange for me that an original file from 1516 can be licensed in this way. Are they right or a PD-Old applies here? -Theklan (talk) 08:59, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

@Theklan: Use {{PD-scan|PD-old-100-1923}} for the license. Guanaco (talk) 09:31, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

"All rights reserved" but also free to use?Edit

Can someone please take a look at this page? At the bottom it says "All rights reserved" (Sva prava pridržana) but right underneath it says that "the content of these pages can be used without special permission quoting their source" (Sadržaji s ovih stranica se mogu prenositi bez posebne dozvole uz navođenje izvora). Does that make it okay to use on the Commons/Wikipedia or not? Surtsicna (talk) 16:40, 16 September 2017 (UTC)

A phrase like "All rights reserved" means that the image is protected by copyright i.e. it is not in public domain. However the copyright owner can allow its use under certain conditions. In this case the only condition is attribution. So, it looks broadly compatible with {{cc-by-4.0}}. Ruslik (talk) 17:12, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
@Ruslik0: Do you think that "used" in this context allows for derivative works? Storkk (talk) 17:46, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, that's fantastic! I should also note that we already have at least one file uploaded from that website. It's been here for four years, so I imagine it has passed some tests already or at least been noticed & approved by knowledgeable users. Surtsicna (talk) 18:33, 16 September 2017 (UTC)
"All Rights Reserved" was the traditional phrase associated with the w:Buenos Aires Convention, to indicate that copyright is claimed (and thus exists) on the work. It was often combined with the copyright notice, which was required (for the same basic purpose) by first the U.S. and later the w:Universal Copyright Convention. So, all it really means is that a copyright is claimed -- but of course that copyright can then be licensed as the copyright owner sees fit (such as with CC-BY). The need to make such claims is now basically in the past and their use is more a habit, but there is still some value in keeping with them since anyone who infringes on a work where they were blatantly reminded of the copyright cannot possibly be considered to have innocently or accidentally infringed.
As for whether "used" incorporates all uses, it may well be reasonable to assume so. If you give that license, there does not seem to be a restriction. If you want to not allow commercial use, or not allow derivative works, you would normally need to explicitly say that (define what you mean by "use", if something other than open-ended). The question is if there is sort of an implied standard to such things, and if courts would allow them to qualify such licenses later to be more restrictive. I would suspect that commercial use might be the one most often not considered by someone giving out a quick permission to use. But if an organization (and lawyers) knowingly make such a statement, it may be more reasonable to assume open-ended use. There is rarely ever certainty in such things -- an explicit license like CC-BY always helps if that truly is the intent. Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:00, 16 September 2017 (UTC)


How do think about this file? Are all used logos below treshold or should it be deleted as copyvio? — Speravir – 22:57, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

COM:TOYS questionEdit

Can Commons accept File:Spiker The Cars.JPG, File:McMissile.JPG, File:Profesor Z.JPG, File:Kötü araba - Arabalar.JPG, File:Ford The Cars.JPG, File:Sherrif of Radiator Spring.JPG and File:Çavuş.JPG as licensed per COM:TOYS? They were all uploaded by Vikiçizer as "own work" and I believe that the uploader probably took the photos; the underlying toy imagery, however, might be copyrighted (even if they were uploader's own "models" based upon actual characters from en:Cars (franchise)) thus making them each derivative works. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:00, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

@Marchjuly: These are definitely not okay. We'll have to start a DR. Guanaco (talk) 04:10, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for that, and for starting Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Cars (film).   — Jeff G. ツ 12:38, 19 September 2017 (UTC)
Thank you for checking on these Guanaco. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:40, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Museu Paulista issueEdit

Hi guys, we all know the Jcb and his... temper, posture. And again he is created a issue where, for me and others, there is not.

Could you check this:Commons:Deletion requests/Files from Museu Paulista (GLAM initiative)?

An update, to force a deletion he reverted the merge. So:

Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:José Wasth Rodrigues

Commons:Deletion requests/Files in Category:Henrique Manzo

Same issue, same solution. But divide to conquest...

Just a a small summary:

This is a GLAM initiative, that belongs to digitalisation programme conducted by Brazilians volunteers, is the third museum of the programme and it is one of the biggest in Latin America, unfortunately closed to repairs.

They already digitalised their collection, and now are opening via Commons, we can access their digital collection via a bureaucrat system. They also have a established system to sell the publication/reproduction even with a price table:[5]

As you can see, they have being selling the reproduction, and publications of part of their collection, simply because they have the rights to do it, okay? Okay.

Now Jcb is questioning if they have the right to do it, and requesting absurd as "We need to see a statement from the (heirs of the) artist.". And now start to lying saying: "At this moment we have even nothing at all from the museum", but..

They already provided not only an OTRS, saying that they are sharing their collection to the Humanity, but also published an opened letter in their website:[6] sign by their Director.

It's not our paper questioned the Museum, is our paper guarantee that we have enough documentation to bring free material. If the Museum is not right, after we provide all the information to do the right thing, is out of our scope. When they established the partnership, this project pass trough a lot of hands that analysed the project, and sign for it. The Museum is legally responsible for this sharing here, and they have know-how about their collection and the legal consequences of it, they have people to analyse the use of their material, they know what they are doing.

And even if a problem appears, well, we have all documentation that MP is responsible for it.

-- Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton m 15:27, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

So after tampering with the DRs now you start forum shopping? A museum is seldom the copyright holder of the works they have in their building. In these cases the authors are known and they died less than 70 years ago, so permission has to come from the heirs of the authors, unless we have evidence that the authors transfered the copyright to the museum. Such evidence is currently not in the OTRS ticket. Jcb (talk) 15:42, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Well... I was writing here, and you misuse the sysops tool to force the DR to be divided again, just to votes do not count for both entrances...
Provide sources that I tampered.
Again, is not our paper questioned the Museum after they give documentation. And this is not a "forum for shopping", is to have more opinion, if you let. We already hear from you, now let other provide their thongs.
I know that your aggressivity is a manoeuvrer to stop any discussion, but I will insist.
-- Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton m 15:57, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
what a wonderful "greeting by wall of impersonal deletion notifications"! so good to make policy by DR. why waste words on user talk pages. is it good for you? i guess we will tell all institutions to email Jcb personally for his permission to upload here. then we will all know what is acceptable here: no consensus required. let's add a filter to upload wizard for Jcb permission. clearly we are playing in his sandbox. Slowking4 § Sander.v.Ginkel's revenge 19:22, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Strangely credited photoEdit

Can someone untangle the unclear authorship statement of this file, please? -- Tuválkin 19:36, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Judging from the original upload log text, the original author was Schurl at German Wikipedia. Hieke uploaded a retouched version and that's it. De728631 (talk) 19:45, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

en:File:BMW Sauber F1 Team logo.pngEdit

en:File:BMW Sauber F1 Team logo.png has been uploaded locally to Wikipedia as non-free content. File:BMW logo.svg is licensed as PD and many of the files listed in Category:BMW roundel logos are similar to the non-free one in that the roundel appears to be the only copyrightable element being shown. So, I am wondeirng if there's is any reason why Commons would not treat the non-free team logo also as PD. Just want to make sure before I change the local file's licensing. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:18, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

The logo for BMW Sauber F1 Team is likely to be the threshold of originality in USA and may be even in Germany - it is just a text with a few shades of gray added plus a small BMW logo which is similarly just simple shapes and a text. Ruslik (talk) 20:37, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
@Ruslik0: Do you mean "below the threshold of originality"?   — Jeff G. ツ 01:20, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

File:Oramics Machine & recorded sound by Daphne Oram.ogvEdit

I suspect that the sound track of File:Oramics Machine & recorded sound by Daphne Oram.ogv may be a copyright violation.

This is a video recording of an Oramics electronic music synthesizer displayed in the Science Museum in London. The synthesizer is playing music composed by Daphne Oram (1925–2003). The music is defined by shapes drawn on strips of film that are read by the synthesizer, which were presumably prepared by Oram herself. Do audio clips of music on Commons need copyright clearance from the composer as well as from the performers? Is Oram the performer in this case? There is no evidence of permission from Oram's estate. (ping @Clusternote:) Verbcatcher (talk) 05:48, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

@Verbcatcher: Yes to both. i think it is a copyright violation.   — Jeff G. ツ 01:14, 23 September 2017 (UTC)