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URAA revisited in 2019Edit

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

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


A timeline:

URAA timeline
Current situation

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Where to go from here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Policy vote?Edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there enough support?Edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current policy, and one way forward?Edit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PD works by branches of foreign governmentEdit

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

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

Logo of Brit Air & KLM CityhopperEdit

Can en:File:BritAirlogo.png & en:File:KLM Cityhopper.png be on commons? I believe that this is below TOO (subsidary of Air France/ KLM, whose logo is commons under TOO). (Talk/留言/토론/Discussion) 15:21, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

@大诺史: BritAir is certainly below the TOO. The Cityhopper simply adds text to the KLM logo, which isn't sufficient for copyright, so if the KLM logo is than this one is, too. I believe it would be because it is only composed of a few common shapes. – BMacZero (🗩) 16:39, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
@BMacZero: I’ve already imported the Brit Air logo into commons. So, can the Cityhopper be here too? I’ll import it later under the same licensing as KLM logo. (Talk/留言/토론/Discussion) 01:49, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
@大诺史: Yes – BMacZero (🗩) 17:08, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

Please don’t archive for the time being. KLM logo under DR, linking back to this section. Thank you. (Talk/留言/토론/Discussion) 23:31, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Possibly under COM:TOO GermanyEdit

Hi, is zh:File:Lufthansa CityLine Logo.svg and en:File:Lufthansa CityLine logo.svg below COM:TOO Germany? Or should they be uploaded to commons as {{PD-textlogo}} & {{Trademarked}} like the old version of the logo. (Talk/留言/토론/Discussion) 13:08, 13 July 2019 (UTC)

I'm leaning towards no. The Twitter bird logo has a similar complexity and has been consistently deleted from Commons. I also believe the threshold of originality in Germany is lower than in the United States. Ixfd64 (talk) 16:43, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

Copypatrol for imagesEdit

Hey All. A few of us are working on a automated image copyright concern detection tool for Commons. Google now has an API we can use. Volume however is not unlimited. Plan was just to run images that are missing EXIF data. Also hoping it can help pick up images that are being Flicker washed. Is this being discussed anywhere else / currently being worked on by anyone else? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:37, 14 July 2019 (UTC)

Estimate is that about 40% of images do not have EXIF data. Will also look at limiting the tool to users with less than 50 uploads. Other thoughts? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:52, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
These are good criteria. These could refine after some testing. Regards, Yann (talk) 17:01, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
What is the number of uploads here in a month? After applying these criteria how many images do people think will be left to go through automated review?
We will need an output page that will list the files of concerns and the matches to the file in question to be checked by a human. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:06, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
@Doc James: In addition to checking files without EXIF:
  1. Check if the uploader is autopatrolled and skip it entirely if true. (should help with performance)
  2. Wait for some time after the upload and check if it's in use anywhere. If it is, scan it.
  3. Scan everything that comes in through cross-wiki uploads. Over half of it tends to be trash.
  4. Always scan files from Facebook.
  5. If the file is more than 3 months old according to EXIF data and claimed as {{Own}}, scan it.
  6. If the file has EXIF data but is less than 1MB, scan it.
  7. If the file is a PNG and over 500KB 0.5 bytes per pixel, scan it.
  8. Search the wikitext for "actor", "actress", "singer", "celebrity" and maybe some related terms (sportspeople?) and scan if found.
  9. Skip uploades tagged with CropTool [1.4]. (thanks Roy17)
  10. Skip everything that's tagged with {{Licensereview}}.
  11. Skip everything that's tagged with {{PermissionOTRS}}.
  12. Skip everything that's tagged with {{PD-textlogo}}. Google will find those, but that means nothing.
  13. Skip everything that's tagged with {{PD-old}} (and variants) or {{PD-US-expired}}. It doesn't really matter if those are found elsewhere.
Does that help? - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:12, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
User:Alexis Jazz perfect thanks.
By this "Over half of it tends to be trash." do you mean they are copyright violations? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:15, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Alexis Jazz: "Always scan files from Facebook" - this make me think that maybe we don't even need Google to get to the source when user correctly points to it. How do we know if a photo in Facebook is copyvio? (automatic rules). Are there major sites for which we do know whether a file is good or not? (I think flicker have good annotation for copyrights; with FlickreviewR 2 already handling it). Thanks, Eran (talk) 17:31, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
@Doc James: Crosswiki uploads: click the link, see for yourself. Copyvio, Crap, copyvio, no source, selfie by non-contributor, no source, possible copyvio. (but only 316KB, so maybe 500KB is too high) One more: search the wikitext for "actor", "actress", "singer", "celebrity" and maybe some related terms and scan if found. Facebook: FBMD. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:37, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Adding to Alexis Jazz's:
  1. Skip uploades tagged with CropTool [1.4] always.
  2. I dont think criterion #5 is good. It's quite common to find people, amateurs or professionals, who discover this website and decide to dig up photos from their hard disks and share.--Roy17 (talk) 17:33, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
@Roy17: yes, that happens.. sometimes. But when people upload pictures they found on the internet, those pictures are often more than 3 months old. You'd have to put it to the test to see how many false positives such a filter results in. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 17:37, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes likely we will want a modular structure to this tool. And than we can see how well each module performs.
We will need to see how many API accesses we can get and than determine how wide we want to cast the net. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:09, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Btw, on the other side of this suggested feature, Google will find lots of matches in those websites that clone wikipedia. wikiwand, revolvy... This match is not useful because Commons is the source of them, not the other way around. So Alexis Jazz's point #2 would be tricky to implement. If you wait too long, google feedbacks have to be filtered.--Roy17 (talk) 20:12, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
You'd only have to wait 5-10 minutes. If someone uploads an image to add it to an article, they'll often do so quickly. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 21:44, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Tool needs to run basically at the time the image is added to Commons. It will not help back in time because yes our content will than mirror around the internet. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:21, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
@Doc James: Very true, but that doesn't happen in 5-10 minutes. Scanning a file directly is fine, but if a file is initially skipped because it doesn't match any other criteria, it should get scanned if it becomes used in mainspace somewhere soon after upload. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 11:33, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Hopefully these will be scanned at the initial upload. Going back and scanning latter will likely result in too many false positives. We can test this eventually of course. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:58, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I think it would be useful to explain what this tool can actually achieve and how reliably it achieves it. It is possible that it turns up far more false positives or false negatives than helpful. I looked at the page today and it highlighted a concern with en:Religion in Spain and Religion in Spain. It is verbatim identical, including the pictures. Yet the wiki article is the product of a collaborative editing project involving hundreds of editors making a thousand edits to produce a 6000-word encyclopaedic article. The Copypatrol tool was concerned with this diff where 100% of 92 words were identical. But the Howling Pixel is just a Wikipedia-scraper that acknowledges and attributes as much, and is presumably kept bang up-to-date with all edits made. It is already known at en:Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks/GHI#Howling Pixel so should have been excluded. This is an example of where the tool has wasted Admin time rather than helped.
Commons images aren't created by diffs. Although some are derivatives of others, that represents a tiny portion of our content. A large proportion of our content is scraped from elsewhere and unlike Wikipedia, we do not paraphrase when uploading. So there is a very real difficulty in identifying who has copied who. The links we have that indicate claimed source will often rot and thus appear dubious with age. Images that get added to Wikipedia articles are nearly guaranteed to be reused elsewhere, not least on Wikipedia scraper sites.
There is a suggestion that images with a source from Facebook be examined by the tool. The example given File:Eschatos Devilstone 2015.jpg looks like a probably copyvio (professional band photo) but a match by Google to that page and others would not actually add any extra information we don't already know. As noted, we already have lots of clues to help make us suspicious, whereas on Wikipedia there may be far fewer clues. Many people can write a decent few sentences on a topic, but very very very few people can take professional photos of rock bands at a concert. It hasn't helped us to know this image exists elsewhere in this case.
I suggest admins consider cases where images have been deleted for copyvio where a genuine original appeared elsewhere online, different to the the indicated source (if any) and prior to the Commons upload. Further, there may be some sites, such as stock photo agencies, or newspaper websites, where the quantity of freely licenced images is close to 0% and so would be much more likely to indicate theft of professional material. Our eyes can quickly judge if a photo is likely to be professionally taken, which I don't think Google can help yet with. Also we have an issue of copyvio where someone takes a photo with their own camera (or smartphone) and the subject is copyright. How could Google help with that? It won't understand de minimis or Freedom of Panorama. -- Colin (talk) 20:55, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
  • CopyPatrol blacklist is in m:User:EranBot/Copyright/Blacklist. (we don't want to be enwiki specific Face-smile.svg). CopyPatrol is different tool as it intend for text, and if we decide to implement something similar for files it will likely implemented from scratch. Anyway, your argument is correct - it is important to get high enough confidence with the tool, otherwise it will waste time for admins and people won't use it.
  • One lesson learned from CopyPatrol that we would like to apply here as well is to limit it to new files only. As you said, it is hard to know who copied from who for old content.
  • File:Eschatos Devilstone 2015.jpg - I agree Google search wouldn't give us added value. Can you please elaborate about "lots of clues to help make us suspicious"? (I wonder if we can translate these clues to algorithm - one of them you mentioned as professional photos)
  • Photo agencies and newspaper websites - this is good point. Do we have a black/grey list of such sites? Maybe we should just assign copyvio probability to each domain (#deleted files from domain/#files from domain) so news agency will have say 95% copyvio, facebook 60% and flickr 20% etc.
Thank you for the good comments, Eran (talk) 22:40, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
Eran I don't know about blacklists (though I think there are blacklists of Flickr streams known to be full of copyvio). The problem isn't that someone steals an image from Shutterstock, or from the front page of The Guardian and tells us by including that link in the "source" field. That would be dumb and no need for fancy technology to spot those. I was thinking more of images without source, that claim "own work", but where a Google Image search produces a match on a professional site where one has an expectation that the images are supplied by professionals and are very much not free. With few exceptions, images produced for stock photo agencies, and by news agencies (current affairs, sports, etc), will not and will never be free. So I think a list of sites that contain mostly non-free images would be useful for your tool to identify possible copyvio. On the other hand, original-content photos on some other sites will nearly always be free (Nasa, US Gov, etc -- other folk will have lists of these because we scrape them regularly). So an image from Nasa that appears on both Commons and newspapers would be just fine.
Generally speaking, professional photographers do not contribute their photos to Commons. While there are a good bunch of enthusiastic amateurs on Commons, their output tends to fit into certain fairly uncommercial categories: flowers, insects, churches, landscapes, etc. While we do get some high quality photos of famous people donated by their agent or taken by Commoners, those are rare. As are images of sporting events or venues like the rock concert. Even on subjects such as landscapes, our own photographers tend towards realistic photography, whereas commercial photographers will tend to process the images towards unrealistic. So it is possible to visually look at a photo and say "This was done by a professional, producing a commercially attractive work". Combine that with clues such as no link to a source, or a newbie account, and we'd be suspicious. Basically, the world of commercial photography concerns itself with photos of people (famous people or attractive models posing) and the world of Commons free images very much does not, statistically speaking.
Other clues about commercial work being stolen are that the image may be simply a thumbnail rather than a full size 24MP photo, and may have had its EXIF data removed. As noted above, sometimes people just do a screengrab and save as PNG. Alternatively, the image might actually retain EXIF tags that give a clue the image is copyright by a named photographer who might be someone different to the uploader.
Is it a plan for your tool to try to examine the image, EXIF, and file description page looking for clues about possible copyvio. Or is it just going to do a Google image search to locate a source? Or both? Would it help if Admins could note that a user's photos look suspicious, and add them to a list for the tool to investigate and return data? I don't know if we already have tools to examine our file pages, and categorise images, or whether the "no source" and similar categories are all added by hand. -- Colin (talk) 07:30, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Just a couple notes:
  • When adding notification about file found elsewhere it is important to say if it's there before it was uploaded to Commons or afterward. these files might be qualify to template {{Published}} in the files talk page.
  • If we can have option of searching photos in Facebook it will be great. -- Geagea (talk) 09:58, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes the plan would be to only list images for which there is likely an image published elsewhere before it was uploaded to common. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:55, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Well if you want to add info about existing files in the net a moment after the file uploaded it is a good idea. Don't think that we need any limitation. It can be added to other versions section. They are not necessarily problem tags, it can be information tag. But it can help to human reviewer to be sure which file uploaded first. In that case Copypatrol should add also notification if the tool did not find any file. -- Geagea (talk) 00:28, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

File:港人燭光遊行至中聯辦悼念劉曉波 04.jpgEdit

I would like some opinions of the licensing of this image. The photographer might have been working for Voice of America, but I'm wondering if the banner imagery shown in the photograph can be assumed to be completely free of copyright or whether that would make the photo a COM:DW. Neither the photo of en:Liu Xiaobo shown on the banner nor the on the cards the marchers are holding were the original work of the photographer; they was just part of the scene he/she was filming. Someone has used the photo to make the cropped version File:Liu Xiaobo.jpg which just shows Liu. If the Commons files can be kept as licensed then there's really no need to keep the local non-free file en:File:Liu Xiaobo.jpg for use on English Wikipedia. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:30, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

The cropped-out is not OK.--Roy17 (talk) 10:29, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Even the whole photo File:港人燭光遊行至中聯辦悼念劉曉波 04.jpg itself is not OK either. Per COM:DM, the copyrighted work (portrait of Liu) is a key part of the subject (e.g. it is the reason for taking the photo), and removing it would make the derivative work radically different. --Wcam (talk) 14:40, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Roy17 and Wcam for the input. The cropped version has been deleted. As for the whole photo, I agree that it's likely a derivative work. The question then is whether the file can be tagged with {{Dw no source since}} or should it be COM:DR'd instead. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:17, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
It is de minimis. If someone doesnt like it, Liu Xiaobo's photo could be blurred. If someone still insists, Liu Xia's could be blurred too.--Roy17 (talk) 10:04, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Joggling deletionEdit

File:Hungary ajka toxicspill october9 2010 dg.jpg and File:Chile mine oct13 2010 dg.jpg should have the same fate. (Commons:Deletion requests/File:Hungary ajka toxicspill october9 2010 dg.jpg)

Tagging involved users @Digitalglobe, Lamiot, Jeff G., Elcobbola, Yann, Gbawden:.--Roy17 (talk) 10:29, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

Hi, I don't understand why this file was deleted. It has a validated permission, so there is no reason for deletion, let alone speedy deletion without any warning. See also Commons:Undeletion_requests/Archive/2019-07#File:Chile_mine_oct13_2010_dg.jpg. Regards, Yann (talk) 11:17, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
The OTRS ticket we have says "I work at Digitalglobe" which is not the same as "I am a director/officer/agent authorised to license IP on behalf of Digitalglobe". We require the latter--the ticket does not address copyright issues at all - . It's worrisome Jeff G., an OTRS volunteer, does not know this, and even more so that he refiled a request when the first was closed as not done for that reason. w:WP:OTHERPARENT? Эlcobbola talk 12:25, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Эlcobbola: The title "Corporate Imagery Manager" isn't good enough for you?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:00, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
No, it's not. Indeed, COM:OTRS says, under "I am an employee of the copyright owner", "Please send us a clear statement from an email address that shows that you act for the copyright holder, stating that you are authorised by your employer to release the work, under a specific free license." I'm not making any truth claims; perhaps the sender does indeed have authority, but that authority would not come by virtue of title (manager, even of "corporate imagery" is not a director or officer position) and neither you nor I know as they made no assertion whatsoever regarding copyright authorisation--which they must. This is a role account ticket, not a copyright permission ticket. Эlcobbola talk 13:16, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
The client also says "I do represent DigitalGlobe". This is OK IMHO. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:38, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Эlcobbola: "Please send us a clear statement from an email address that shows that you act for the copyright holder, stating that you are authorised by your employer to release the work, under a specific free license." has only been there since this edit 12:35, 8 December 2018 (UTC) by @Andy Mabbett. The previous language "Please send us a clear statement from an email address that shows that you act for the copyright holder and that you are empowered to release the work, with their permission, under a specific free license." was modified by me (insertion of "and") in the previous edit and added by the same user in the second previous edit, both 7-8 December 2018. Do you want to reconfirm this 8+ year old ticket ex post facto with modern requirements?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:41, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
The ticket did not address copyright when it was sent in 2010. It was not a permission ticket then; it is not a permission ticket now. This is not a "reconfirmation" or an attempt to apply requirements retroactively--I'm not the one trying to restore an image in 2019 using as a basis an antiquated ticket not appropriate for that purpose. Эlcobbola talk 14:25, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Эlcobbola: I requested actual permission.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 01:54, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
@Jeff G.: Are you suggesting that I changed the meaning of the text, rather than simply clarifying the wording? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 15:29, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
@Andy Mabbett No.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 01:54, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
This is a role account ticket... What role is that? Judging from the account's 3 edits in total, it's here to upload those two photos. (Please undelete the 1 remaining edit, which I believe is a former revision of User:Digitalglobe.)
The version of COM:OTRS this account saw was special:permalink/45391213.--Roy17 (talk) 13:53, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, the former version of the user page was deleted as spam. I don't think we need that anyway. Regards, Yann (talk) 14:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

File:The full achievement of arms of fitzwilliam college cambridge.jpgEdit

I noticed another issue with this file by another user. "I am very dubious about the application of the PD-Coa-Germany license tag for a British university coat of arms. If it is the depiction contained in the 1979 official grant, it is still protected in application of the crown copyright. Kathisma (talk) 16:49, 19 October 2013 (UTC)" I'm wondering if they are correct, this licensing doesn't seem correct if it was granted in the UK Aloneinthewild (talk) 21:18, 15 July 2019 (UTC)

The licence is wrong, but en:Fitzwilliam_College,_Cambridge#Coat_of_Arms says that it first came into use in the 1880s... The result was a combination between the University coat of arms and the lozengy shield used by the Earls of Fitzwilliam. Initially, the design was used unofficially... some 80 years later, that it actually applied for a Grant of Arms. The design was formally recorded by the Duke of Norfolk on behalf of the Queen-in-Council in the late 60s... so its copyright should have expired under UK law.--Roy17 (talk) 10:04, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
But that version claims to have come from the Grant of Arms, which I'd expect to be the version formally recorded in the late 1960s. Versions drawn in the 1880s might (barely) be out of copyright by now, but if there's any originality in the 1960s rendition then I'd expect it to have its own copyright. --bjh21 (talk) 14:03, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
See Commons:Deletion requests/File:The full achievement of arms of fitzwilliam college cambridge.jpg. Regards, Yann (talk) 15:09, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

Can a map from a Peruvian government report be used on Wikipedia?Edit

I understand that most publications of the U.S. government are public domain. How about reports of other governments? In this particular case, I would like to put a map of a national park in Peru on wikipedia. The source of the map is an official report of the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture. The report is posted on the internet. There is no indication in the report than it is copyrighted, nor any language in the report that indicates any restrictions on the use of the material. So, can I post the map on the relevant pages of the English wikipedia? Smallchief (talk) 11:29, 17 July 2019 (UTC)

@Smallchief: I'm afraid not, please see COM:PERU#Excluded from protection.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:13, 17 July 2019 (UTC)
Note that "official texts of legislative, administrative or judicial character" might mean that you have some hope if the map is attached/embedded to some law (such as a law establishing the national park). Nemo 14:12, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Book (covers) created in the GDR copyrighted?Edit

I obtain some books released in the former GDR and I want to ask if it is possible (and allowed) to publish parts of the(or the whole) book under a Creative Commons license?

Ich besitze einige Bücher aus der ehemaligen DDR und wollte fragen, ob es erlaubt ist, Teile dieser Bücher (oder theoretisch das ganze Werk/Buch) unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz zu veröffentlichen.

Grüße/Regards, PantheraLeo1359531 --PantheraLeo1359531 (talk) 10:34, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Normal German copyright applies. That is, if it is above the threshold of originality and if the creator died less than 70 years ago, it is copyrighted and a Creative Commons license would need permission of the copyright owner (might be the heirs), preferrably via COM:OTRS. A simple title page containing nothing but author, title, publisher information might be {{PD-text}}, but any cover image - and, of course, the text of the book itself - is very likely copyrighted. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:09, 18 July 2019 (UTC)


I need help here - i.e. an explanation of what I am expected to do. OK, it's been 10 years or so, but I'm still willing to learn. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 21:33, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Two things: First you are using a permission template in some cases for files from authors that are not mentioned in the ticket. Second some of the files do not have a license template. Jcb (talk) 22:44, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
Let's let administrators chime in here while our tempers are still under control. --SergeWoodzing (talk) 00:07, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Photos of old paintings?Edit

I want to upload some of the images of artwork from The original paintings are old, so public domain. But, these are modern photographs of the paintings. What's the copyright status here? RoySmith (talk) 01:53, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

If it is just the painting, no frames, no room around the photo, etc. Just the painting and nothing else then {{PD-Art}} along with whatever PD template goes along with that particular piece (see template documentation). Other instances might be more complex so I would need to know exactly which one you are talking about. --Majora (talk) 01:56, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. The two in particular I'm interested in are:
both of which seem to fit your description. Hypothetical question; what if the photos had included frames? Would I be good to download the images, crop out the frames, and then upload the cropped images to commons? RoySmith (talk) 12:54, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Please see the policy. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:44, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
To put the link provided by Asclepias into, perhaps, more helpful words, RoySmith you have made the correct assumption. The problem with frames is that they are often much newer then the work inside of them and due to the complexity inherent in most frames they would carry their own copyright. So if a PD work of art is inside a non-PD frame that would be a problem. The removal of the frame solves that and since the artwork is still PD-Art then you would still be fine upload just that. --Majora (talk) 20:30, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Two different people uploading the same logo under CC BY-SA 4.0Edit

I've started a discussion more than 2 weeks ago tagging both people, but still haven't gotten a response, so turning to you guys. I suspect that none of them may actually own the copyrights to the logo they uploaded, plus I'm pretty sure Commons is not place for uploading logos anyway. –Turaids (talk) 06:08, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Likely just copyright violations of images copied from the many variations published by the organization, for example on their official facebook account. The context of the uploads to Commons typically suggests copyvios. Small images, dated from the date of upload, no real name. Can be speedy deleted. If the actual copyright owner was to upload the work, evidence of identity and license would be required anyway. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:20, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
✓ Done Both files deleted. Yann (talk) 14:28, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Eric Longden's workEdit

I just came across Eric Longden and googled his name. He has described himself in his LinkedIn account as a "professional filmmaker from Los Angeles, CA". In his Viemo account, among other things, he has uploaded an Adidas AD with CC BY 3.0 license. I'm just skeptical if he has the authority to issue the license of this Ad clip. Any thoughts? --Mhhossein talk 08:07, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

We can't tell the contractual arrangements between the filmmaker and the client unless we see the contract or unless we ask one of them, or both. You could assume good faith and that the author did not transfer the copyright. Or you could assume that he made a mistake. Perhaps you can contact him and obtain details. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:38, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
See Commons:Assume good faith#Good faith and copyright. I don't think assuming he made a mistake would be correct. --Mhhossein talk 15:43, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Hm... I'm not sure I understand what you are implying. You say you are "skeptical if he has the authority to issue the license" but you "don't think assuming he made a mistake would be correct". So, what is it you're concluding? -- Asclepias (talk) 16:00, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Bad Flickr authorEdit

Hello! I recently uploaded File:Kräcker.jpg for seed cracker (Q65548218) but the author is listed at Commons:Questionable Flickr images. The file also can be found under free license at the author's website. Can we keep it? Thanks for the answer and I apologise if I did something wrong. Best regards, Bencemac (talk) 14:57, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

@Bencemac: Am I still not allowed to say Marco Verch is a bastard? Well, you can see where I'm coming from. It's not an unreasonable thought, even if I'm not allowed to say it. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 15:07, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry Alexis Jazz, I did not know about that. I found the picture via Google's free imagine option. Bencemac (talk) 15:23, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Photograph of/by Postal workersEdit

The following image [6], taken in 1937, is posted on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum site [7]. Description is "Gold trains at Fort Knox, Kentucky are preparing to unload bullion from the train cars into the trucks. The soldier kneeling at the rear of the truck at left is adjusting the brace. Courtesy United States Postal Service" I believe this image would be free from copyright per 17 USC § 105 since it is a work of the United States Government. Am I safe in assuming it is?--Work permit (talk) 18:46, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

I think so. Ruslik (talk) 20:51, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you.--Work permit (talk) 23:30, 19 July 2019 (UTC)
It's not so clear cut, and extreme caution is urged: the U.S. Postal Service is currently a "quasi-federal" independent agency within the Federal government that does not operate on tax dollars. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics apparently doesn't consider postal workers federal employees. [8][9]. But the USPS falls with the Executive branch, and is a Government agency. [10]. Whatever the legal status of current works made by postal workers, works made prior to the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act may have different criteria. Until more conclusive statements or case studies specifically regarding copyright eligibility for postal workers are found, the precautionary assumption should be that the works are not in the public domain (although they may be for other reasons, such as publication without notice or prior to 1923). Lastly, media labelled "Courtesy United States Postal Service" doesn't necessarily mean "created by an employee of the United States Postal Service". It may have simply been provided by the USPS from an archive of memorabilia. --Animalparty (talk) 18:21, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

File:תמונה משנת 2006.jpgEdit

I nominated the above file for deletion as in the source i find the license says Public Domain Mark 1.0. but checking files from the same site, some of them have {{Attribution-FLGov-PhotoColl}}. Does this file qulify under this license? does all the files from the source can be under same license? -- Geagea (talk) 21:00, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

I doubt that anything produced in 1974 can be in public domain unless released by the author. Ruslik (talk) 13:53, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Commons:Copyright rules by territory/United States is pretty clear; many works produced in 1974 in the US are in the public domain. This one is probably too hard to say, unless there's a good clear original source.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:41, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Ok, only if published without a notice. Ruslik (talk) 16:29, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
@Geagea: I think that all files from that site qualify for that template, and that state law overrides that site's errant choice of PDM.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 17:00, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Photograph of a copyright free photo scanned from a bookEdit

I have a photograph I believe is free from copyright per 17 USC § 105 since it is a work of the United States Government. Specifically, it is a photograph from 1941 of "Archibald MacLeish and Assistant Librarian Verner Clapp, with help from a guard, sealing and securing the original signed and engrossed Declaration of Independence in preparation for its relocation to a safe and secret location to protect it from a feared enemy attack on Washington, D.C.". The photograph is attributed to the Libarary of Congress, and was published in the book "American Treasures" by Stephen Puleo. The book, of course, is copyrighted. Am I allowed to scan the photograph in the book and post it?

FYI, the Library of Congress does not have it available on it's website. There happens to be a (bad) version of the image available on the history channel [11]. Work permit (talk) 22:10, 19 July 2019 (UTC)

Is it this photo? FWIW, Getty attributes it to George Skadding for Life magazine [12]. Also, they date it from 1944, which is when the Declaration returned to the Library, not 1941 when it departed. That could be a good thing because Life issues in the year 1944 are in the public domain (copyright not renewed). However, in a summary search, I didn't find this photo published in the Life issues of early October 1944. -- Asclepias (talk) 00:05, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, that is the photograph! Strange that the book would give a different date, and attribute to the Library of Congress. Looks like I have more research ahead of me.
Would you happen to know, in principle, if a PD image is published in a copyright protected book, is a copying the image from the book a copyright violation? --Work permit (talk) 00:59, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
If the original image is PD and it is reproduced without creative modification in the book, it remains PD and you can reproduce it. If the version in the book was modified in a creative way, the modified version acquired a distinct copyright and you can't reproduce it. To determine if the original Life image is PD in the first place, we must know if it was published at the right time. If you find it published in one of the issues listed there, it's good. -- Asclepias (talk) 01:26, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Thank you, that is very useful. So, HAD the photo been really from the LOC I would have been good to go. But now that it is apparently from LIFE magazine, I need to do research. The google host for LIFE images claims 97% of the images on their site have never been published. So, if the the image was never published, then am I out of luck? --Work permit (talk) 02:52, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Found it! Life, October 16, 1944, page 44. -- Asclepias (talk) 02:58, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
THANK YOU!!!!--Work permit (talk) 03:30, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
There may be one other detail to check. I seem to vaguely remember a similar discussion where someone asked if we could freely reproduce a larger version with a better resolution than originally published in the magazine, or if we were limited to the same small version exactly as published in the magazine. I don't know. -- Asclepias (talk) 03:49, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I couldn't find any discussion specifically regarding Life Magazine. Looking in general for discussions on "expired" and "resolution" didn't pop up anything either. But I certainly understand how it could be an issue. If no one else responds to this thread I'll start a new one. Worse come to worse, I can upload the low res photo from the magazine scan.Work permit (talk) 04:28, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
There's been a lot of discussion about people who want to license a low-res version and charge for the high-res version, and whether a CC license covers both at the same time. If they're low res and high res versions of the exact same work, I think they fall under the same copyright. If there's cropping going on, I'm not sure if the copyright in the full original would have been extinguished by the cropped version going into the public domain.--Prosfilaes (talk) 04:56, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Here is the low res copy from the magazine which I've just uploaed [13], and the high res [14]. The low res has been cropped. The high res has a LIFE logo on it. I could crop the high res photo, which would eliminate the logo and be true to the original print. But I'm not at all sure that is legit. --Work permit (talk) 05:43, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
Looks like this may be an image from Life magazine, taken in 1944 on the documents return from the fort. Here is a google Archibald MacLeish (C) unscrewing the documents from the case.. So now the question is can this image be posted to wikimedia? The photo may never have been published. --Work permit (talk) 01:17, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

UK Copyright Act 1911 Section 21 Provisions as to photographsEdit

It states that

The term for which copyright shall subsist in photographs shall be fifty years from the making of the original negative from which the photograph was directly or indirectly derived, and the person who was owner of such negative at the time when such negative was made shall be deemed to be the author of the work, and, where such owner is a body corporate, the body corporate shall be deemed for the purposes of this Act to reside within the parts of His Majesty's dominions to which this Act extends if it has established a place of business within such parts.

The Design and Artists Copyright Society explains that, according to this provision, photos produced between 1 July 1912 and 31 December 1945 would be PD in UK so long as the photographer was not a national of other EEA state and the photographes had not been published in a EEA state before entering into PD (because Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995 would revive copyright for works still protected on 1 January 1996).

What do you think? If the community sees fit, please amend COM:CRT/United Kingdom.

Copyright Act 1911 also has far reaching effect than just the UK. For example, COM:CRT/Israel says something similar for photographs before 2007. en:Copyright_law_of_Hong_Kong#Copyright_Ordinance, and Hong Kong too.

This issue was brought to light by User:Hrishikes: special:permalink/358762557#File:Krishna_Govinda_Gupta.png.--Roy17 (talk) 01:53, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment -- Also under discussion at Commons:Administrators'_noticeboard#Images_by_Walter_Stoneman -- Hrishikes (talk) 02:19, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Symbol support vote.svg Support I propose that we amend COM:CRT/United Kingdom with the above information.
Then should we create a new template, and change (and eventually renamed) {{PD-UK-unknown}}? Regards, Yann (talk) 08:36, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Symbol oppose vote.svg Oppose I do not see the claimed exception at the DACS link. Their summary seems correct to me. Photos expired 50 years after creation under the 1911 Act. The 1956 act (effective June 1957) changed to 50 years from publication, except existing photographs continued to be based on year of creation. The 1988 act (effective 1989) changed to 50pma but again did not change the term for existing photographs. It was the application of the EU directive, effective Jan 1 1996, which restored basically everything to 70pma. If a work was protected in *any* EEA state as of July 1995, it got restored to 70pma in the UK. Germany and others were already 70pma, and Spain was effectively 80pma. I don't think we have identified any work which was less than 70pma but was not protected in at least one EEA country, meaning effectively everything got restored. Carl Lindberg (talk) 11:58, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
@Asclepias: DACS says copyright for those could be revived, not would. DACS doesnt say what exact criteria lead to restoration. A deduction of why someone's photographs would be protected in another country would be either the person was a citizen of that or the photo was published there. If these were true, it could; otherwise it could not. This issue involves a great deal of photographs (a window of 33 years, and maybe longer in other countries). However, most COM:CRT guidelines are not aware of this special provision. At least I didnt know about old photos from HK could fall under this.--Roy17 (talk) 15:45, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Protection of the work in any EEA country as of July 1, 1995 would lead to restoration, per the law. The DACS explicit example is of a 1930 photo from a UK author who died in 1940, being restored because it was still protected in Germany (among others) in 1995, such that its copyright was restored and valid until 2011. That page states what the law does... I see no discussion of your interpretation at all. You would have to show (for each EEA country) why each one would not protect a British work, given that all of them were Berne Convention members, who would protect works from other Berne Convention countries. The only hope I see is if a country uses the rule of the shorter term, which was optional under Berne -- but if just one EEA country did not (and I don't *think* Germany did before 1995), then it was still protected in that country under that country's terms. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:53, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Are photos in wanted posters in China eligible for {{PD-PRC-exempt}}?Edit

Are photos of suspects in s:zh:公缉【1999】0102号(Source: and s:zh:北京市公安局搜捕“高自联”在逃分子通缉令 allowed to be uploaded here? --神樂坂秀吉 (talk) 05:46, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Photos from wanted posters do not fall into any of the three categories mentioned in {{PD-PRC-exempt}}. So, the answer is no. Ruslik (talk) 13:42, 20 July 2019 (UTC)
I consider any attachments part of the documents, but as you can see some users diagree with that.--Roy17 (talk) 15:45, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Landsat 8 imagesEdit

Can they be used here? Is their copyright ok? Miraceti (talk) 18:52, 20 July 2019 (UTC)


I already discussed this on the English Wikipedia here, but was told to discuss it on Commons if I were to find out about the copyright status of the logo in Finland, the logo's country of origin. It is a learning experience for my future reference in this case.

Essentially, the logo is a composition of a somewhat wavy checkered racing flag and impact text with solid gray lettering added below for a 3D effect. A black border is added around the logo. While I am convinced that the logo is free in the United States, even after reading TOO Finland, I cannot decide what Finland thinks of it. The impact text is very likely free there, and I think so is the 3D gray lettering, but I am not certain whether the checkered flag counts as being artistic and thus copyrightable. I can probably get away with uploading it locally to English Wikipedia, but if I were to benefit other Wikimedia projects, I would like to hear opinions on whether it is free in Finland and allowed on Commons. Gamingforfun365 (talk) 19:58, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

Images taken at Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique eventsEdit

The accreditation terms of FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique) are available here. In part, the terms that are agreed to read:

"I agree that all photos and moving images taken by me at the event shall be used solely for personal and non-commercial purposes unless prior written consent is obtained from the FIG."

It would seem obvious to me that images taken at FIG events are therefore compatible with our terms, specifically that files "must be freely licensed or public domain". Images uploaded by DerHexer from 1st FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships 2019 display a template that states "This template was created during the 1st FIG Artistic Gymnastics Junior World Championships 2019 thanks to an accreditation of the International Gymnastics Federation". If DerHexer was accredited then he agreed to the terms of the accreditation that any images he took would be "used solely for personal and non-commercial purposes" and therefore incompatible our terms.

In an earlier discussion regarding Olympic Games accreditation, some editors expressed the view this was a contractual issue between the individual photographers and the IOC. Any legal actions would be against DeHexer, not the WMF. This is a similar case, but perhaps worth discussing to see if opinions have changed. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 23:47, 20 July 2019 (UTC)

There was a recent decision on these topics here: Commons:Deletion requests/User:Stepro/UEFA. Apparently, opinions haven't changed, so snowball close, thanks. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 07:49, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
That deletion request was about a specific template which included usage terms that were incompatible with Commons. The template was kept after those usage terms were removed. The discussion about the Olympics accreditation was muddled by claims that the IOC gave a special accreditation to you and other photographers. The agreementt was never produced. This is a more clearer case with only one photographer and no claims of "special arrangements". World's Lamest Critic (talk) 14:09, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Your manhunt on other contributors is unbeleavable. No wonder, that Wikimedia projects lose so much editors, when they are cursed like this. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 07:46, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
A discussion about licensing isn't a "manhunt" or a "curse". It's just a discussion. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 14:03, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
"It's just a discussion" is a cop-out. Harassment is often a series of "just discussions". I wouldn't call this harassment yet, but when you reopen a discussion admitting that a conclusion had been reached and say "perhaps worth discussing to see if opinions have changed", it should be obvious why this is annoying to other users. I don't see any reason to keep this discussion open.--Prosfilaes (talk) 15:56, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
For the record, I am not reopening a discussion. This is a different organization and a different accreditation. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 03:45, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
Commons should not be getting involved in interpreting agreements between third parties. Only they know what the agreement is. If User:DerHexer is violating his agreement with the FIG, it's up to the FIG to deal with it directly with that person. Nobody else is bound by that contract. If User:DerHexer requests deletion in order to avoid legal issues, I would respect it, but not deletion for any other reason (at least where that user owns the copyright) or on request by someone else. In general, many commercial companies get their photographers accredited, and sell the photos (like Associated Press), so a non-commercial copyright restriction makes no sense whatsoever. Unless, of course, the FIG is referring to only publicity rights, which means it's not a copyright issue at all. More likely, those are generic rules for people allowed access for a variety of reasons, and the agreement with media companies is probably a bit different. If you can convince User:DerHexer that you are correct, and he asks for deletion under those grounds, then cool. Otherwise, we will probably assume he knows more about the contractual situation than we do. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:02, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
There's no need to speculate. We know what DerHexer agreed to. I quoted some of the terms and linked to a PDF that you can read. This is not a personality rights issue, so please do not cloud the discussion with that assertion. I believe that we should not be hosting these images, based on COM:PRP. World's Lamest Critic (talk) 03:57, 22 July 2019 (UTC)
I would assume that DerHexer is legally in the clear here, given his prior statement on IOC accreditation. A boilerplate template should not be used to automatically invoke PRP, just like we don't need to respect a public park's declaration on its website that photographs are for personal use only but make no attempt to restrict entry. We don't know what specific agreement DerHexer had with the FIG. -- King of ♠ 05:06, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

Author after watermarkEdit

Can anybody identify the watermark on the right side of this photo? The photo was taken in circa 1920. --Regasterios (talk) 07:13, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Some more context would really be helpful. This shows István Pártos, Hungarian violinist Wunderkind, died in Amsterdam in 1920. You're looking for a Dutch photography shop "Atelier Groen..." active 1918-1920, probably in Amsterdam. Lupo 19:15, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I know who is on the photo. I would like to know if it is PD. --Regasterios (talk) 20:14, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

No free licence claimEdit

File:Gen. bryg. Krzysztof Radomski.jpg is claimed to be under CC0 licence, however despite the lack of All Rights Reserved sign on the source page, I can't spot any free licence nor PD statement either. Have I omitted something? ~Cybularny Speak? 13:17, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

@Cybularny: I tagged it accordingly.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 13:30, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Derivative work of image with "No known restrictions on publication"Edit

I've uploaded an image from the Library of Congress. The rights advisory indicates "No known restrictions on publication". The upload can be seen here [15]. Reading policies and seeing examples, I assume it was ok to upload this image. I would like to upload a retouched version of it. Am I allowed to create such a "derivative" work and post it? I briefly looked for examples of derivative works whose source indicates "no known restrictions" but couldn't find any. --Work permit (talk) 23:35, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Yes. -- Asclepias (talk) 23:58, 21 July 2019 (UTC)

Review photosEdit

I just uploaded two images that are not my property under Law 11.723, Article 34 as amended, and Berne Convention Article 7 (4)) of Argentina (Template:PD-AR-Photo) but I do not know if it's okay, because I do not have the publication number of the magazine's delivery and I'm not sure if the law is valid outside the country, so the picture was taken in South Africa but the magazine is from Argentina. Thank you. --Adriel 00 (talk) 01:30, 22 July 2019 (UTC)