Commons talk:Licensing

Latest comment: 7 days ago by Brianjd in topic Small img of court logo

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to Commons:Licensing.

For discussions of specific copyright questions, please go to Commons:Village pump/Copyright. Discussions that do not relate to changes to the page Commons:Licensing may be moved, with participants notified with the template {{subst:moved to VPC|Commons talk:Licensing}}.

For old discussions, see the Archives. Recent sections with no replies for 14 days may be archived.

Other archives

Seven 2006/2007 discussions organized as subpages, ignoringincl. comments added in 2014:

Hosting the text of free licenses on-wiki, where that text is non-freeEdit

The GFDL is a free license. But the text of the GFDL itself is non-free:

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008 Copyright (C) 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc. <>
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

That doesn’t stop us from hosting that text in Commons namespace; we have some sort of (unwritten?) exemption that allows this. Apparently, we now have such an exemption for files, too; see Commons:Deletion requests/File:GFDL (English).ogg.

At that DR, concerns were raised about whether such exemptions were allowed by the licensing policy and, if so, how they should be documented. It seems clear that such exemptions, at least for files, are not allowed by the licensing policy. What should we do about this?

Pinging @Matr1x-101, Accipiter Gentilis Q., Mdaniels5757, A4531826, King of Hearts, IronGargoyle as users involved in the DR. Brianjd (talk) 05:33, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I don't think the intent here was to prohibit derivative works of the license. The point was that if you change it, then you can no longer call it the GFDL license. - Jmabel ! talk 06:04, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jmabel The GFDL’s treatment of ‘Invariant Sections’ and ‘Cover Texts’ makes it clear what their intent is. Also, the GPL contains substantially the same text as quoted above (the second line is identical) and the GPL FAQ says (emphasis added):
    You can legally use the GPL terms (possibly modified) in another license provided that you call your license by another name and do not include the GPL preamble, and provided you modify the instructions-for-use at the end enough to make it clearly different in wording and not mention GNU (though the actual procedure you describe may be similar).
    A later section says:
    The preamble and instructions are integral parts of the GNU GPL and may not be omitted. In fact, the GPL is copyrighted, and its license permits only verbatim copying of the entire GPL.
    It is reasonable to assume that these attitudes apply equally to the GFDL. Brianjd (talk) 11:00, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My opinion: The only hard requirement we have is that our content must be legal to host in the United States. Otherwise, we allow certain restrictions on freedoms depending on a variety of factors such as practicality and impact on the free-culture movement. For instance, per COM:NCR we allow images of people that you can't use to advertise a product, as well as simple text logos that you can't use to sell a product. I think this is because we have no desire to abolish publicity or trademark rights, or to ask famous people for rights to their likeness under the theoretical possibility that it could be useful in an advertisement. Regarding COM:FOP, we do not allow non-commercial FoP because it is a motivating factor that may cause people to lobby governments to change their laws; there have been some successes like Russia and Belgium, with the Wikimedia movement perhaps playing some role. However, we do allow images that carry restrictions on certain types of derivative works, namely extremely detailed crops of copyrighted works (COM:DM), because we don't want to ban high-resolution panoramas that happen to include an intrusive billboard and don't want to incentive people to make it illegal to photograph PD-old buildings by putting copyrighted sculptures in front of them; there is no substantial harm to the free-content movement by allowing such images.
The GFDL is clearly legal for us to host, per the text itself. So the question is whether allowing this exception to our "100% free" principle helps or harms the movement. My view is that it helps the movement by assisting visually impaired users in understanding a major free license. The text of free licenses is a highly isolated edge case so there's no slippery slope either. -- King of ♥ 06:21, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@King of Hearts, we need to put a disclaimer template on the file page if we want to keep this file. --Matr1x-101Pinging me doesn't hurt! {user - talk? - useless contributions} 15:31, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Matr1x-101 Why do we need a disclaimer? Why isn't the statement that "changing it is not allowed" enough? —‍Mdaniels5757 (talk • contribs) 19:21, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mdaniels5757, sorry if my English wasn't clear enough, but I meant like a red box at the top stating that "only verbatim copying is allowed" and "derivative works may be restricted", linking to this talk page to show consensus was reached (if it is reached). --Matr1x-101Pinging me doesn't hurt! {user - talk? - useless contributions} 21:21, 27 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mdaniels5757 I think what @Matr1x-101 means is that we need a prominent notice stating that this file is an exception to our normal licensing policy, along with a link explaining why that exception is allowed. None of that is currently in the file description. Brianjd (talk) 00:54, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, that's what I mean. --Matr1x-101Pinging me doesn't hurt! {user - talk? - useless contributions} 12:37, 28 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, I've added a red box at the top of the page. Are any other changes needed? (pinging @Brianjd, King of Hearts, and Mdaniels5757) --Matr1x-101Pinging me doesn't hurt! {user - talk? - useless contributions} 13:57, 7 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not surprisingly, a user has just tagged the file as {{Nonderivative}}, which I reverted (with a link to this page). Brianjd (talk) 06:55, 4 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Open Gaming License (OGL 1.0a) should be added to an approved license here on the CommonsEdit

[Removing text of the Open Gaming License 1.0a due to copyright reasons, license text can be found here] --Matr1x-101Pinging me doesn't hurt! {user - talk? - useless contributions} 14:06, 7 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Slinkyw (talk) 01:38, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Simply because a format-mangled paste dump is no way to make a coherent argument in favour. Andy Dingley (talk) 02:15, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Andy Dingley: Per a post on Help Desk (which I've marked as "section resolved", because we ought to have this conversation in a single place) a well-formatted version of the above can be seen in the "Summary" section of en:File:AbilitiesandConditions.pdf. I also did some HTML markup to make the above read more sanely (placed it inside a PRE element). - Jmabel ! talk 03:12, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Andy Dingley and @Jmabel: It's also here in the Description of File:3.5 srd Abilities and Conditions.pdf.   — 🇺🇦Jeff G. please ping or talk to me🇺🇦 03:34, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
which User:King of Hearts nominated for deletion. @Slinkyw: may I presume that is what this is actually about? It would have saved several people some effort for you to say so in the first place. - Jmabel ! talk 03:38, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As they were right to do so (both copies), given that it's not sourced (on en:WP) or licensed.
Nor are we particularly accepting of random unexplained large-text dumps.
Should Commons store the full text of major known licences (if permissible)? I'd support that within SCOPE, as they are useful for Commons' core purpose in hosting content, and content either under that licence, under a related licence, or prohibited because of terms in that licence.
But the question here is still unclear – is the intention to host the licence here, so that inevitable discussions involving it can reference a local copy? Or is it that this OGL (I hate that acronym, we already have an OGL) can be used as a free licence for content here? – which probably needs WMF's agreement anyway.
Also (a contentious issue right now) we can't just talk about "OGL", we have to qualify this as OGL 1.0, OGL 1.1 etc, because there are problematic changes between versions in the air. Andy Dingley (talk) 12:26, 30 January 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Please, I would like to ask for directions on how to make this small image acceptable on Commons. I believe it can be acceptable to move it over here by application of more appropriate tag, but which tag should be applied in img page (it is already scaled down to 195 × 225 px), Or should I simply upload it here with appropriate tagging, if that's a possibility at all in this specific case? Santasa99 (talk) 19:33, 8 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Small size doesn't help in this case. If the original image isn't free – which is clearly told on the file description page – it should not be uploaded on Commons. Only if you find some reason why it wouldn't be covered by copyright (symbols of governmental institutions aren't covered in some countries, if the symbol is old the copyright could have expired etc.) can we proceed here. –LPfi (talk) 11:46, 5 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Santasa99 Commons, unlike some other projects, does not allow fair use. Brianjd (talk) 15:04, 15 March 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Return to the project page "Licensing".