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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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Reproductions of patent text and illustrationsEdit

The issue of whether text and illustrations from patents (and patent applications) fall within the public domain (or are subject to copyrights) has been discussed before (see Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-US-patent-no notice and Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2014/02#Do_US_patents_have_copyright_protection?). But confusion remains on the subject.

I believe a fundamental misunderstanding has resulted in flawed community policy. As a result, licensing templates for patent images are in error, and numerous images of patent drawings have been improperly deleted (including images I have posted). I am hoping a rehashing of the topic will result in relative clarity, improved patent drawing licensing templates, and fewer improper image deletions.

Improper conflation of utility patents and design patentsEdit

Utitliy patents, including their text and drawings are typically not subject to copyright restrictions.

Based on my reading of past discussions I believe most of the confusion has stemmed from the improper conflation of utility patents and design patents. Those two types of patent are distinct, with different application requirements and intellectual property protection. Current Wikimedia Commons copyright/licensing policy does not appear to adequately reflect that important distinction.

When people refer to patents, they are generally talking about utility patents. Utility patents stake claims to the intellectual property of inventions based on novelty, usefulness and non-obviousness. A utility patent grants its owner the right to exclude others from making anything based on the claims contained in the invention (and the supporting specification and drawings), for a specific period of time. Patents are granted in exchange for the disclosure and benefit of the invention to the public. It is for the benefit of the public that the inventor gives up copyrights to a patent when its application is published. It is for the benefit of the public that utility patent applications must be instructive enough to allow reproduction of the invention by others. That is the basic legal structure by which myriad patent applicants freely reproduce the content of existing patents (prior art), by which various resources freely publish patents online, and by which industry freely reproduces others' inventions (after patent terms have expired). Only in rare exceptions is certain content of a utility patent subject to copyrights (see 37 CFR 1.71(d) and 37 CFR 1.84(s)).

Design patents, which are relatively unknown and uncommon, help safeguard the visual design of utilitarian objects from unauthorized reproduction. The functional item in a design patent need not be novel in and of itself, unlike inventions claimed in utility patents; only its decoration (e.g. shape) must be. And, unlike inventions claimed in utility patents, design patents need not include any claims (technical descriptions of the scope of the intellectual property). The United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals ruled in Yardley, 493 F.2d 1389 (C.C.P.A. 1974) that "Congress has not provided that an author inventor must elect between securing a copyright or securing a design patent." For that reason, some have reasonably argued that the content of design patents may be subject to copyrights.

Incorrect licensing templatesEdit

Confusion between utility and design patents has resulted in an erroneous claim in the following patent licencing templates: Template:PD-US-patent and Template:PD-US-patent-no_notice.

The licencing templates correctly state that the text and illustrations of US patents generally fall within the public domain. But a note in the templates incorrectly states that images published after April 1989 “are most likely copyrighted”. That note is overly broad because it most certainly does not apply to utility patents, the most common type of patent. I also question the note's relevance to design patents, but that is not my primary concern.

Unfortunately, the incorrect patent licensing templates have been in place since 3 February 2013‎. Who knows how many images have been improperly deleted, or never uploaded at all, as a result? Not until recently, when images I uploaded were deleted, did I notice that the templates are misleading.


I have the following suggestions for review and comment:

• Correct the patent licensing templates
• Allow uploaders adequate time to object prior to file deletions
• Restore improperly deleted files

I hope the community chooses to adopt these changes, as patents are an amazing public resource.

Thanks for your time. —Catsquisher (talk) 19:51, 9 October 2018 (UTC)

It certainly does apply to utility patents. What the patent describes may not be copyrightable, but the textual description and illustrations themselves are.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:32, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Hi Prosfilaes, thanks for your response. As I noted above, inventors effectively give up copyrights to their utility patents from the moment the applications are published. That includes text and illustrations. From Patent It Yourself, 14th Edition, 2009 (Nolo), by Patent attorney David Pressman, on page 181: "...feel free to plagiarize! Patents are not covered by copyright..." —Catsquisher (talk) 21:08, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
37 CFR 1.71(d) which you mentioned above says that inventors may put a copyright notice on a patent, presuming they also include the text "A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever." That is more or less a CC-BY-ND license, and not allowed on Commons. 37 CFR 1.84(s) says the same thing. What's more, since 1989 whether or not a work has a copyright notice on it is irrelevant for copyright law, and these statues talk about a "copyright notice", not copyright itself. Letter of the law seems to be that if there is no copyright notice on a modern patent, you may not even make facsimile reproductions (except for fair use)! Nothing I see says that patents lose their copyright when published, therefore copyright law says they're copyrighted.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:38, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
You appear to be confused on the meaning and implications of 37 CFR 1.71(d) and other sections of patent and copyright law. 37 CFR 1.71(d) functions to allow patent applicants to include copyrighted material in their applications as long as the owner of the material has given permission for its reproduction "...but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever." In such cases a notice is required to point out that copyrighted material is being included in a document (the patent) that is not typically subject to copyright restrictions. Please see my quotes above and below regarding "patents lose their copyright when published". —Catsquisher (talk) 22:14, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
Also, from the USPTO website [1]: "Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e) and 1.84(s), the text and drawings of a patent are typically not subject to copyright restrictions." —Catsquisher (talk) 21:21, 9 October 2018 (UTC)
When you write a patent application, then it will be copyrighted automatically like any other document. Until you submit it to the patent office, it's not even technically a patent application yet. Is there anything in US legislation (I assume we are only talking about the US, other countries will differ) that says that documents lose their copyright when submitted as patent applications, or is it just a custom to ignore copyright issues? --ghouston (talk) 01:36, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
Hi Ghouston, thanks for your response. You are correct about an unsubmitted patent application automatically being subject to copyright. That copyright may even be preserved up to the publication of the patent application, typically 18 months after submission. But, as I addressed above, the application and publication process effectively releases the application document into the public domain. I wouldn't characterize that as "just a custom to ignore copyright issues." That process is part of the bargain struck with the patent office in order for an inventor to acquire the exclusionary rights bestowed by an issued patent. And, after a patent is no longer active, the invention itself enters the public domain. Patents are commonly considered to solely benefit inventors, but their initial intent was to benefit society at large, by sharing technology that might otherwise not be developed or see the light of day (e.g. trade secrets). —Catsquisher (talk) 03:23, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
I noticed recently, for Commons:Deletion requests/File:Aus Pat 15624-1909.pdf, that the Australian patent legislation has some wording that suggests you can reproduce patent documents without worrying about the copyright. But I'm not sure if that's sufficient for Commons. In particular, it may not permit all kinds or derivate works and commercial use, and presumably wouldn't give any rights in other countries where Australian law doesn't apply. --ghouston (talk) 01:41, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
I cannot speak with much authority about international discrepancies in patent and copyright laws. That said, many treaties are currently enforced in an international effort to standardize intellectual property protection. So, for example, both Australia and the United States have laws placing documents created by their governments (which, believe it or not, technically includes patents) within the public domain. —Catsquisher (talk) 04:04, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

For further reference, a good rundown on the issue of copyrights in relation to patents can be found here: [2]. —Catsquisher (talk) 04:04, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Symbol support vote.svg Support The language seems pretty clear on the issue of utility patents. {{PD-US-utility-patent}} (or similar) can and should be created allowing the uploads of those patents or excerpts from them. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 05:19, 10 October 2018 (UTC)
Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question Hey Postal, won't creating new templates for existing Wikimedia files create extra work and confusion? Why not correct the existing templates? —Catsquisher (talk) 18:40, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Pictogram-voting-question.svg Question But how are we going to distinguish what is copyrighted from what is in public domain in any given patent application? Ruslik (talk) 10:21, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Hi Ruslik, thanks for responding. Patents containing copyrighted material require a notice at the beginning of the specification, as well as at the relevant portions of text or drawing that are copyrighted (see 37 CFR 1.7(d) and 37 CFR 1.84(s)). Please refer to patent license template Template:PD-US-patent-no_notice which addresses the issue: "The text and illustrations of US patents published before March 1, 1989 are in the public domain unless the patent text contains a specific notice that portions are copyrighted." The template is correct that text and illustrations are generally in the public domain unless the patent contains a copyright notice. The template is currently incorrect in stating that only those patents published before March 1, 1989 are in the public domain. Text and drawings from patents published after that date also fall within the public domain. —Catsquisher (talk) 13:56, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Symbol support vote.svg Support Correct the existing templates and restore the deleted utility patent files. (Begin by restoring the most recently deleted utility patent files -- correcting the templates will solve this issue going forward.) - tucoxn\talk 19:15, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I contacted User:MGodwin regarding the issue. Mike Godwin has extensive experience in copyright law and was general counsel (and later consulting attorney) for the Wikimedia Foundation from 2007 to 2012. Mike has given me permission to quote from emails he just sent me. He wrote the following:
"It seems worth mentioning in your discussion that the whole point of the patents process is disclosure. Disclosure of patents necessarily requires reproducibility both of patent descriptions and patent diagrams. Researchers have to be able to make copies of prior art. (And, of course, in practice this is done all the time.) There's some blurriness with software patents, but typically the solution has been to disclose a chunk of the code (but maybe not the whole code) as part of the patent filing, and that I believe becomes findable and duplicable when the patent is granted. (Quite commonly, software is patented and also copyrighted.)"
Mike also referenced the following quote from the USPTO website [3]:
"Patents are published as part of the terms of granting the patent to the inventor. Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e) and 1.84(s), the text and drawings of a patent are typically not subject to copyright restrictions. The inventors' rights to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States for a limited time is not compromised by the publication of the description of the invention. In other words, the fact that a patent's description may have been published without copyright restrictions does not give you permission to manufacture or use the invention without permission from the inventor during the active life of the patent. See MPEP § 600 - 608.01(v) regarding the right to include a copyright or mask work notice in patents."
Catsquisher (talk) 22:54, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
About the original Requests:
Correct the patent licensing templates: Symbol support vote.svg Support
Allow uploaders adequate time to object prior to file deletions: I am confused here. I believe images going through regular DR process usually allow adequate time to discuss, so I would Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose this as it is worded at present.
@Jarekt: Thanks for your comments. To my knowledge my account was not notified prior to the deletion of the following files by User:Magog_the_Ogre:
File:Serapid LinkLift Patent.jpg
File:RigiBelt Patent.jpg
I don't understand why standard notifications to uploaders prior to deletion of files would be problematic or undesirable. —Catsquisher (talk) 20:12, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
@Catquisher: You weren't notified because you didn't upload them here. I did notify you on English Wikipedia of the discussion. Magog the Ogre (talk) (contribs) 22:58, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree with Magog the Ogre that at the moment the best we can do is to notify the uploader, ifen if that person might not have much to do with the image. I do not think you can write a tool to figure out the who is the actual author, so we can notify them, based on often really mangled wikitext produced by some transfer bot. Hopefully with Structured data we might be able to keep track of this better in the future. --Jarekt (talk) 01:53, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Restore improperly deleted files: Symbol support vote.svg Support in general; however it might be a lot of work to find such files.
Catsquisher do you believe we have any images of non-utility patents which should not be covered by the improved license? --Jarekt (talk) 19:39, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
@Jarekt: I am not aware of any patent image files on Wikimedia that are subject to copyrights. Perhaps a js bot could be developed to help retrieve improperly deleted patent files? —Catsquisher (talk) 20:12, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
I do not know much about JS bots, to work with deleted files you need admin rights and almost no bots are granted admin rights, since an admin bot not working right can do (potentially) a lot of damage. Your best bet finding such files would be to search deletion requests for specific licenses or words related to patents. --Jarekt (talk) 01:37, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Music Modernization Act and U.S. pre-1923 sound recordings.Edit

President Trump is expected to sign the Music Modernization Act either later today or tomorrow. The Music Modernization Act will free up some older sound recordings to the public domain while sound recordings from 1957 to 1971 still have to wait until 2067 to become public domain

For pre-1923 sound recordings in the U.S., Trump signing it opens a new 3 year countdown for those to finally enter the public domain

"PRE-1923 RECORDINGS.—In the case of a sound recording first published before January 1, 1923, the transition period described in subparagraph (A)(i)(II) shall end on December 31 of the year that is 3 years after the date of enactment of this section"

2018+3 is 2021 so it would expire on December 31, 2021 (so becomes public domain in 2022). Abzeronow (talk) 16:07, 10 October 2018 (UTC)

Was about to come here to ask if Commons or other WP projects would be affected by the MMA, which is now law. Basically, I don't know enough if any state failed to pass copyright protection to recordings pre 1972 that it is possible to have a recording between 1923 and 1972 that is in the public domain due to the state it was recorded in (and if we'd have any files that would fit that), since as I read that part, it pulls those recordings back under federal copyright. --Masem (talk) 16:28, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Not a lawyer but my basic understanding is that state laws essentially didn't need any notice or registration & protection fell under common law. MMA supercedes state laws so stuff actually begins to enter public domain in 2022. 1923 sound recordings enter PD in 2024(95 year term + 5 year transition period for 1923-1946 sound recordings+1). Started a DR on a 1915 United States sound recording (although my personal preference would be to keep) to see what Commons consensus will be on this. Abzeronow (talk) 18:25, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Yes, section 202 of the Classics Protection and Access Act does include US federal preemption for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. However, our existing US templates like {{PD-1923}}, {{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-not renewed}}, etc. will not apply to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 and first published in the United States. As a form of compensation for losing state statutory and/or common law protection sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 get a transition period that provides protection for few years beyond the normal term of protection of 95 years after the year of first publication.

Now that the law has been signed, effective immediately with regards to sound recordings fixed (i.e. created) before February 15, 1972, if first published:

  • pre-1923, US copyright ends on December 31, 2021.
  • 1923–1946, US copyright ends on December 31 of the year that is 100 years after the year of first publication.
  • 1947–1956, US copyright ends on December 31 of the year that is 110 years after the year of first publication.
  • 1957-1971, US copyright ends on February 15, 2067.
  • 1972-1978, US copyright ends on December 31 of the year that is 95 years after the year of first publication.
  • post-1978, US copyright ends on 70 years after the death of the author.
We're going to have to give some thought to what to do with the ~400 files using the {{PD-US-record}} template as it is clearly no longer applicable (see Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-US-record). I'm inclined towards deleting sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, published 1923 or after, and using the {{PD-US-record}} template (with appropriate "Category:Undelete in <year>" tags). I lean towards grandfathering the sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, published before 1923, and using the {{PD-US-record}} template. The DR at Commons:Deletion requests/File:17929A-Lucia di Lammermoor.ogg seems premature until we've had time to discuss how to handle the {{PD-US-record}} template (which that 1915 file uses).

I think I understand how this will interact with the URAA. Under the URAA sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 first published outside the United States were granted US copyright protection despite the lack of subject matter protection in the US. This copyright expires 95 years after first publication. However, despite being granted a federal copyright that would eventually expire, these foreign works were still eligible for state statutory and/or common law protection as US copyright law previously did not preempt state protection until 2067. It appears that these foreign works are now no longer protected by state law, but they will be eligible for the same transition period as US works. So while {{PD-1996}} will not be applicable to to sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 and first published outside the United States, it appears that they will be free of both US federal and state protection on the same schedule as sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972 and first published in the United States. —RP88 (talk) 19:36, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

I could request the Lucia di Lammermoor DR be withdrawn and just file a new DR on the now obsolete template so we can figure out how to apply the Music Modernization Act to the 400+ sound recordings that are under that template. Abzeronow (talk) 20:25, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

CC alterationsEdit

An image that I posted to Wikimedia Commons as Creative Commons-Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 has been taken (uncredited) by a political candidate. They've placed their head over the panoramic image.

Sharealike says: "If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one."

Does that mean this candidate has inadvertently released their headshot as Creative Commons? -- Nick Moreau (talk) 11:18, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

If there is no CC-BY-SA license provided it is a copyright infringement. If this candidate provided the image under CC-BY-SA the portrait is released under CC-BY-SA. --Hannolans (talk) 11:36, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Media form the Slovenian governmentEdit

Is there something I'm missing on files like File:Zdravko Počivalšek-za splet.jpg from User:ModriDirkac. Is media from the Slovenian government free somehow and we've just not added it to our guidance at COM:CRT? GMGtalk 18:57, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Hi. You are missing OTRS permission. I usually get unformal approval, then I upload pictures and then prepare OTRS statement with links on the donation for the authors. It usually happens within 48 hours from upload; this time it may require patience until Monday. Kind regards, --ModriDirkac (talk) 21:15, 11 October 2018 (UTC)
Hey ModriDirkac. Thanks for clearing that up. You may want to tag these with {{OTRS pending}} when you upload them, so someone reviewing it will know that confirmation has been sent. GMGtalk 00:15, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
Good idea; this was usually done by someone else for me. I'll keep this in mind for next time. krgrds --ModriDirkac (talk) 21:05, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Hjælp til at undgå sletning af billedfiler. har angivet Template:PD-arvinger, men alligevel nu igen sletningstrussel i artikel Elisa Maria Boglino-Edit

— Preceding unsigned comment added by HNBS (talk • contribs) 19:38, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Photograph of subject of articleEdit

The subject of an article I'm creating, upon my request, sent an image to which she owns the copyright. How do I legally (licensing), responsibly (with Wikipedia/Wikimedia's blessing) upload and post it for use inside an infobox? It was 1:00 into this video that I realized this photo doesn't seem to meet the criteria presented: [[4]] As recommended, I have not attempted to upload it. Thank you. PaulThePony (talk) 21:20, 11 October 2018 (UTC)Paul

Hey PaulThePony. You can contact the subject, and have her follow the directions at COM:CONSENT in order to license the picture for free public use, meaning that it can be used on Wikipedia. But you need to be sure she actually owns the intellectual property, which usually means either she took the picture herself, or she contracted with a photographer, and part of their legal agreement was that she would own the copyright of the photos they took. GMGtalk 00:19, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Thanks, GMGtalk! I know the latter is the case with the photo: she gained the copyright from the photographer. So the photo is 'hers'. But I'll direct her COM:CONSENT. Thanks again. PaulThePony (talk) 04:49, 12 October 2018 (UTC)Paul

International Bank of AzerbaijanEdit

Can someone more experienced than me when it comes to derivative works take a look at File:IBA-bank-cards.jpg? While this set of images does appear to have been uploaded by an employee of the actual firm, I find it implausible that a financial institution genuinely intended to Flickr-wash their logo and promotional materials under CC BY-SA for anyone to reuse for any purpose, and in the case of File:IBA-bank-cards.jpg I very much doubt they could release material prominently featuring the Visa and MasterCard logos, even if they wanted to. (The uploader hasn't contributed to Commons for three years and has never contributed anything other than advertising for this bank, so I haven't attempted to discuss it with them first.)iridescent 03:17, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I have no opinion on the merit of this specific case, but I find it plausible that a company may want to release its advertisement under the free licence in hopes that it will help it to disseminate (I do not, however, know how much it would help). The issue of Visa and MasterCard, however, is something I can comment on: They are trademarks rather than copyright limitations, if you look we even have Category:Mastercard and Category:Visa Inc.. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 05:10, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

File:Nevz 8G-100 electric locomotives.jpgEdit

Can this 2008 which was uploaded in 2008 be passed as a grandfathered file? Wikipedia's standards for permission was different 10 years ago compared to today and many older image files have been grandfathered. Or should it be deleted? The uploader left Commons in 2009 and I am surprised that the internet links still work. Best, --Leoboudv (talk) 08:42, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Vlad, if he is the copyright owner, says "TIMES-D-SHAY! I AUTHORISE THE USE OF WIKIPEDIA FOR ALL MY PICTURES! BECAUSE I LOVE WIKIPEDIA! I USE IT ALL THE TIME! I am! VLADISLAV NIKITENKO" It is a 2008 permission and I think wikipedia was more flexible with permission then. The COM:OTRS system existed in 2006 but perhaps some leeway can be given to a single 10 year old photo. Any thoughts? --Leoboudv (talk) 08:47, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Best, --Leoboudv (talk) 08:59, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I am split on this. On one hand I really think that we need to assume good faith as much as humanly possible. On the other hand let's say some person uses the picture to make a T-Shirt (I have no idea why everybody is screaming about making t-shirts out of pictures on here, but ok, I will do that too), and Vladislav Nikitenko sues her and demands 1 billion dollars... wouldn't we be at least partially liable for distributing this file under a free licence that the author never specified? Even if he said "I let Wikipedia use it under CC licence" I would say we can probably keep, but there was no mention of the licence only the permission to use it in an article. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 20:10, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't think the lack of OTRS is a problem: this is a permission notice posted next to the image and that's fine. The problem is that the licence granted isn't the one we need (and it definitely isn't the CC BY-SA 3.0 that's claimed). It's only a licence for use on Wikipedia, and that's not good enough. Commons:Grandfathered old files relaxes the rules on how to get permission, but not on what permission we need. It looks like vlad_hunrider was active on LiveJournal in 2015, so maybe someone who speaks Russian could try getting in touch with him. --bjh21 (talk) 21:56, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

Cabo Rojo Lighthouse imageEdit

The image located at the following URL is incorrectly identified as being a photo taken by a government official and therefore copyright free. This is a photo I captured in 2005 and shared with the Coast Guard to use on their lighthouse page. However, I still own the photo and have not given any permissions beyond that for it's use.

Luis Lebron. —Preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:51, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

You should follow instructions on Commons:OTRS#Licensing_images:_when_do_I_contact_OTRS? (last item). Ruslik (talk) 17:40, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

Is this stone arrangement sufficient to create its own copyright in Russia?Edit

I am looking at File:Unnamed Road, Krasnodarskiy kray, Russia - panoramio (1).jpg and I believe that the arrangement of stones is not done for utilitarian reason, but as an act of self expression. In a sense it can be akin to a sand castle. I believe that it constitutes something that is copyrightable and copyrighted. But I do not want to nominate for deletion right away, since sometimes files are deleted not because there is a consensus, but simply because nobody bothered to look at the file the second time to object. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 20:52, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

From COM:FOP#Russia I guess this hinges on whether it’s a sculpture (not OK) or a landscape design (OK). I agree it doesn’t seem utilitarian; if it were a cache- or trail-marker I’d expect the stone-piles or cairns to be larger and more stable-looking.—Odysseus1479 (talk) 21:44, 12 October 2018 (UTC)
There is another aspect. Such stone arrangements are often not made by a specific individual, but rather people make them as a tradition of sorts. It is not a form of expression of the specific individual, but is much closer to a folk art of the specific place, and folklore is an exception in Russian copyright. However, I believe that the most likely way a court could rule on that would be that the generic expression of arranging stones is folklore, but the specific arrangement is the work of an individual. In other words if I were to arrange stones to represent something, I could not be sued for lifting a previous stone arranger's style just because I also have arranged stones. However, let us leave that out for a second and concentrate on Sculpture vs Garden design. I have found the article on landscape design in the Large Soviet Encyclopaedia. I know that it is not a legal document, but it is notable enough to argue that the law-makers must have been aware of it when drafting the law and using the concept «landscape design». I would like to draw attention to the part that shows ««Английский сад» парка в Пушкине близ Ленинграда. 1771—80. Горка из «дикого камня».» (translation: ««English Garden» in Pushking park near Leningrad. 1771-80. Mountain from «wild stone».») Here we definitely have a difference in size, but I believe that the size is not the main issue here, but rather the fact that the stone arrangement is made from the stone found in nature rather than stone being given specific form according to the personal expression. On that ground I believe that this is an element of landscape design. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 01:48, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

Long-term licensing (licenses of deceased authors that will enter the public domain)Edit

I often photograph subjects which have some overlap with another contributor, he used to be a very active contributor to Wikimedia Commons until he one day died ☠, this contributor’s images are still on Wikimedia Commons and could be accessed today by those who wish to use his images educationally. His death is a known and recorded fact on Wikimedia Commons and we know when he died (on December 30th, 2011 and his final contributions to Wikimedia Commons were on December 29th, 2011), but if I would take one of his images like File:Henk Ridder Thesinge 01.jpg you would find that it has no mention of his death, this isn't a bad thing as we don’t want to be constantly reminded of the death of a colleague, sure. However 70 (seventy) years after his demise his works will be in the public domain, let’s assume that Wikimedia Commons is then still around, will there be a bot then that will tag of of his work and replace the license with a public domain one?

We're “lucky” to know when he died, Flickr photographers or a lot of other contributors who don’t let their loved ones inform us when they die 💀 will mean that some works will be in the public domain but we have no idea when. Is there a way that we can solve this? --Donald Trung 『徵國單』 (No Fake News 💬) (WikiProject Numismatics 💴) (Articles 📚) 08:59, 13 October 2018 (UTC)

I don't think it would be appropriate for a bot to replace existing licences with PD statements, since the existing licences will be useful (e.g.) in countries with non-standard copyright expiry terms. Adding a PD statement would of course be fine. Obviously where we never find out about someone's death, we can't do anything about it, but I don't think this is a serious problem: using works in accordance with the licence will still be OK. --bjh21 (talk) 09:43, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
There's no such thing as "standard" copyright expiry terms. So long as huge nations like China stick with life+50, and India sticks with life+60, there will be no one term most people in the world are subject to.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:08, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
You're quite right. I apologise for not thinking broadly enough. --bjh21 (talk) 10:28, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
I agree that we need to develop some sort of approach for: 1) Record the known death of a contributor in order to assertain when their work enters public domain, 2) Applying public domain tag when it comes to an image that is licenced freely. Please see Commons:Deletion requests/File:50th Anniversary of UAZ (3116916489).jpg for the case similar to number 2 (although not due to death). ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 10:02, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
For (1), I think we already have half an approach: people with Wikidata items or Creator pages have their dates of death recorded there. Other deceased Commons users have their dates of death recorded on their user page or user talk page. There is a question about what to do about non-notable Flickr users and suchlike. If they have more than a few works on Commons, I think those should be collected into a category so that information about the author (including their date of death) can go in the category description. See Category:Photographs by Ben Brooksbank for an example. I'm not sure what to do about authors who don't merit a category. We could put the date of death in the "Author" field of {{Information}}, I suppose. --bjh21 (talk) 10:27, 13 October 2018 (UTC)
Hi, I think all authors should have a category, at least when we have precise information. The category can be hidden if it is not essential. With Structured Data, this will be recorded anyhow (but it is not clear yet where).
But we have to think broader about updating this kind of licensing information. Authors' works who died in 1918 are now with PD-old-70, but next year this should be updated to PD-old-100. This should be done every January, but I am not aware that this was done for authors who died between 1905 and 1917. Regards, Yann (talk) 04:57, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
I don't think structured data will give any way to store data about Flickr users. All you'll get will be a link to their Flickr page. --ghouston (talk) 08:29, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
@Ghouston: And why not? We still need to record the author's name, at least to comply with a CC or attribution license, or moral rights. If you check discussions about Structured Data, you will see that there is a provision for storing that information, although it is not clear where. Regards, Yann (talk) 10:34, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, there's one place the data could be stored: in an item for the author on Wikidata. However, random Flickr users are unlikely to meet Wikidata's notability policy. There's no provision in structured data for having data items on Commons itself. The author field (as I last saw it specified) will consist of text for the attribution and a link to the external site (Flickr user page). --ghouston (talk) 19:51, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Opinion please - 1867 photoEdit

The Wisconsin Historical Society is claiming ownership of this photo of Kate Newell Doggett in the Rights and Permissions section of the page. I think it is a generic claim that shows up on all items in their collection. I think that a photograph taken in the United States in 1867 is in public domain in 2018. I will upload the photo to the commons if I can get an "expert" to agree with me. I would be inclined to use the PD-1923 tag. Thanks in advance. WomenArtistUpdates (talk) 19:25, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

{{PD-1923}} is only applicable for works published before 1923. For unpublished works {{PD-old-70}} should be used. Or if it was published from 1 March 1989 through 2002 the copyright will last until 2047. See Commons:Hirtle_chart. Ruslik (talk) 20:04, 14 October 2018 (UTC)
Thanks Ruslik0! PD-old-70 it is. Best WomenArtistUpdates (talk) 20:56, 14 October 2018 (UTC)

Clarity of "15 October 2018" toward GFDL-only contentEdit

The Commons:Licensing was updated to no longer accept GFDL-only content uploaded/licensed "on or after 15 October 2018". However, I'm unsure which time zone we must go by. Is it UTC or a local time zone? For example, File:StJamesEpiscopalChurchMarshallMN.jpg was uploaded on that date but goes by the UTC zone; locally, the date would be 14 October at the same time. Is the rule violated by uploading it on the UTC time zone? --George Ho (talk) 03:41, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment Are you serious? Everybody jumped at me and at everybody else who defended the right to upload under all the free licences, and you are trying to start an argument over whether or not somebody uploading on 14th of October has technically uploaded after 15th of October. I would understand if we were talking about somebody uploading a file to their server 2 days ago and in a month copying it to Commons, we could say that there is little evidence that it was first published under the free licence before the 15th and there would be some controversy… but there is no controversy here. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 04:21, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • @Jonathunder: I hope you are aware of this discussion. And, although I am not the one who has started it, I wish to apologise to you. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 04:27, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • @Gone Postal: Thank you for letting me know about this. I never saw the original discussion until after it happened. @George Ho:, since you called out one of my photos, you might have notified me. It would be expected on the English Wikipedia, but I realize things are different here. I have had problems accessing my photos until today, but I got some work done on this computer to make sure I could upload my backlog today, 14 October 2018. If you are determined to get them deleted because they don't meet the deadline in your part of the world but they do in mine, does that help the projects and readers we serve? These will likely be the last photos I upload here. A poorly advertised discussion decided the license I prefer, while free as in speech and free as in beer, is no longer welcome here because it's not free enough. So be it; do as thou wilt. Jonathunder (talk) 05:41, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • We always use UTC on Commons, so you are gaming the system by uploading a lot of images on October 15th, but still 14th in your area. Regards, Yann (talk) 05:44, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Jonathunder, having it deleted is the last thing I want to do to the images you uploaded. Can you do compromises, like shrinking some of you images to lower resolution to conform to a more acceptable license, like CC-BY-SA or {{FAL}}? George Ho (talk) 12:34, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • The choice of highly obstructive "GFDL-1.2 only" combined with the message "Please review and respect the license. If you wish to use it outside Wikimedia projects and the terms do not meet your needs, you may email the copyright holder to negotiate special arrangements." is very much why we decided to ban this licence choice. Threats to leave don't impress me much -- there are countless photographers who would contribute if we permitted "-NC" licences. We're a free-content image repository for everyone, not just Wikipedia. George Ho, shrinking the images is no help -- WMF legal have already explained that an simple resize does not create a new work-of-copyright -- after all, the MediaWiki thumbnailer does it all the time. For what it's worth, I support UTC as the deadline. -- Colin (talk) 12:59, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Colin or Yann, if either of you wish to take some of his images to DR, then please feel free. BTW, I don't know which discussion or statement the WMF legal provided. Can you give me a link please? Thanks. George Ho (talk) 13:03, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • CC FAQ has a brief remark. I'd have to search the VP for the WMF legal discussion. -- Colin (talk) 14:23, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • I am sitting on the edge of my sit, after all tomorrow, after 15th of October we are going to have thousands of t-shirts starting to be printed from the free images found on Commons. After all apparently the existence of GFDL on this site is what kept them from doing it all of this time. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 14:07, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • GP you've made your point that you are unhappy about this, and now you are just trolling. George asked a fair question, and people get upset when their photos are deleted on some policy/legal matter all the time. -- Colin (talk) 14:23, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Fair enough, I will attempt to not comment on this thread unless I have a constructive proposal. ℺ Gone Postal ( ) 15:15, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Interesting question. I didn't quite expect anyone to upload dozens of photos right on or over the deadline. I'm going to give this some thought. Edit: I have and will share my thoughts later today once I've written them down. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 16:08, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
Just leave them. If we're not going to delete any of the old images, a few new ones won't hurt, so there's no reason not to let a few images arguably within the deadline go, in order to help smooth over ruffled feathers on a controversial decision.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:57, 15 October 2018 (UTC)
  • Alright.
The goal of the proposal was to stop new uploads of content types not suitable for GFDL licensing with only a GFDL license. Part of that proposal was a grace period of one month. This was needed to inform the community, change templates, provide time for bots to be updated, etc. I was well aware some people might use the grace period to mass upload/license content from their archives with only a GFDL license. Obviously the grace period wasn't provided with that purpose in mind, but this was allowed. In the long run, it hardly matters. All existing files were grandfathered, so a few hundred more uploads during the grace period doesn't make that much of a difference. What matters is that the switch has been made.
Now for this particular case. I have indeed failed to specify a time zone. In Dutch law (possibly other countries as well), when a contract is ambiguous, it needs to be interpreted the way that is most beneficial for the party who signed it. While this isn't a contract and Dutch law doesn't apply, this doesn't seem unreasonable. Which would mean that in this case we follow the time zone of the uploader. But had the uploader been from Japan, UTC (which is the time zone most commonly used on Commons) would have been followed. Also keep in mind the proposal was never limited to Commons. While Commons generally uses UTC, the uploader could have also uploaded the photos to English Wikipedia, where one may have their local time zone configured. Or they could have uploaded to another place not related to Wikimedia at all with any time zone. That content would still be allowed to be transferred to Commons, assuming it can be reasonably proven to have been licensed before 15 October.
@Jonathunder: "A poorly advertised discussion decided the license I prefer, while free as in speech and free as in beer, is no longer welcome here because it's not free enough."
First, on Commons w:WP:CANVAS is followed rather strictly. I don't always agree with that, but it's a choice. So we advertise nothing. I also know someone who would have almost certainly voted in favor of the proposal. I never told them about it and they didn't cast any vote.
Second, it's not so much that GFDL isn't "free enough", it was simply never designed (or suitable) for photos. You are still allowed to use GFDL as an additional license. You may want to have a look at a template for informing re-users that I overhauled some time ago: {{Not public domain}}. I hope you won't stop contributing media completely, but if you do I respect that choice. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 23:01, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Flowchart copyrightEdit

Jmabel did a mess and took a conversation that the main issue was copyright from a talk page and included in Help Desk...

Moved from Commons:Help desk#Help: How to add a flowchart from an article

Hi everyone, I have a question regarding adding a flowchart to a wiki page form an article. The flowchart is an illustration of a theoretical model and I'm not able to contact the theorists for the copyright. said that you can't "create a picture that is created and inspired by others", which means any change to the flowchart is "inspired" from the original one (and I don't want to make changes to the flowchart in the first place). Is there anything I can do to upload the original flowchart and cite it appropriately?Yvette72 (talk) 17:01, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

END: question moved from talk page - Jmabel ! talk 23:56, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

@Yvette72:: I've moved your question here from the talk page; presumably this is where you meant to post it. - Jmabel ! talk 23:56, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Jmabel this should be here: Commons:Village pump/Copyright.
Yvette72 how complex is this flowchart? Normally they are free, as they are {{pd-shape}}, that means that the shape is not eligible for copyright, but may be the text is. Do you have a link to the flowchart be evaluated by the community?
-- Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton m 03:55, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
The flowchart is complex (on page 126). I think it is copyrighted. I find that someone on the ELM page has upload one version of it to the wiki as his own work. S/he didn't change the text but re-create the flowchart ( which made it not accurate and clear). My intention is to upload the original copy created by the theorists in their article and cite them. Or, to change it as little as possible. Thanks for the helpYvette72 (talk) 13:59, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
And added at least one misspelling.
Yes, that looks like a copyright violation to me. You can feel free to nominate it for deletion.
As for citing the original: you can't upload a copy to Commons, but you can cite it like any other document. - Jmabel ! talk 15:24, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
Of course, it would be welcome here if you can successfully go the COM:OTRS route and actually obtain a free license for it. - Jmabel ! talk 15:26, 16 October 2018 (UTC)
For me the chart uploaded here (File:Elm-diagram.jpg) is different enough to be considered another media.
Using the same principal that we use at Wikipedia, rely on a source, but write it with other words, normally simpler.
Yvette72, if you are unable re-write it, I do not recommend you upload a version of it, and at the limit, you will be creating just a modify version of the chart, also a copyright infringement. Only attributing the author means that the license is a free license, that what we Wikimedia work with, the author however, published it under a all rights reserved license, so to use it you will need a formal authorization to reproduce, another authorization to modify, another to distribute, or, and to use here, change the license to a free one.
-- Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton m 18:26, 16 October 2018 (UTC)

Copyright for File:GEC_Plug_and_Socket,_1893.jpgEdit

w:en:File:GEC_Plug_and_Socket,_1893.jpg same file was recently uploaded as File:قابس_ومقبس.jpg I would like more comments from others on the validity of the license of commons version. one of these may be eventually deleted. regards. --DBigXray 19:17, 17 October 2018 (UTC)

Hey DBigXray. If the information is correct, and it was first published in the US prior to 1923, then it would be in the public domain. The version on can be deleted en:WP:F8, and categories as well as an English language description should be added to the file on Commons so that it may be more easily located and used. GMGtalk 19:59, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
@GreenMeansGo: except CC0 is bullshit and the picture appeared in a British catalog. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 20:31, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
Ah. Good on you Alexis Jazz. I must have been looking at the image license. Yes, CC0 is clearly bunk, and the image should be public domain, regardless of whether it was published in the US or the UK. I'm not sure how we're determining that it was a British publication, I just knew that GE was a US company. GMGtalk 21:17, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
General Electric (Q54173) and General Electric Company plc (Q1208203) are different companies in different countries. "GEC" here appears to refer to the latter. --bjh21 (talk) 11:12, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Decades ago I worked for part of GEC. The catalogue would have been a UK publication. GEC had offices around the world, but they were tiny compared to the core companies in the UK. -- (talk) 11:29, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
I should get answers wrong more often, I'd learn a great deal more. :P GMGtalk 12:08, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Unknown German authorsEdit

Can someone explain in plain language what the law actually states about the expiry of copyright in works where an (apparent) German author is unknown and unknowable (i.e. the only existing publications that can be found by research do not name any author or a pseudonym)?

Current templates like {{PD-anon-70-EU}} point to de:Anonymes_Werk_(Urheberrecht). In that Wikipedia article it does not appear to say anywhere that Germany is an exception to the normal anon 70 EU rule where the author is unknown, or the work has not been published as anonymous (i.e. attribution of "anonymous" or equivalent with the publisher knowing or having known who the author was). My reading via translation of the section in "Rechtslage in Deutschland", is that German copyright law actually states that copyright expires 70 years after publication in these circumstances.

The problem I have is that my use of PD-EU-anon-70 for published old works with no published author or anonymity statement is invariably getting reverted for German works, yet this seems to be based on a misunderstanding of the law based on what I have read. When challenged, those reverting tell me to read exactly what I have read, so I'm none the wiser. -- (talk) 11:04, 18 October 2018 (UTC)