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Scans/Photos from books in copyright

These are two images that people have scanned from books and put in the public domain. Yes, the artists themselves are more than 100 years old, but the books are recent and copyrighted. I don’t think scans of photos from books (unless the books themselves are old) are eligible for free licensing, and in any case, they have been screened for publication to 300dpi and therefore are not very useful anyway. Delete them?

I suggest a line be put in the Tutorial "What's not allowed in Commons": scans or photographs of illustrations in books in copyright Gleeb (talk) 10:57, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

If a public domain photograph is put in an otherwise copyrighted book, the copyright status does not change. It's still a public domain photograph. We would not care about the copyright status of the rest of the book, just what is uploaded. If those photos are indeed licensed OK, then yes they are indeed useful (as borne out by their wide usage on wikipedias). No scope issue. Now... we have to get back to the question of the photographs. The pictured works of art are very old, but photographs usually have their own separate copyright, and that needs to be licensed (this is the part which may feel wrong to you... a modern photograph of an old work). File:Woven_silk,_Western_Han_Dynasty.jpg might be a {{PD-Art}} situation. Not as straightforward as a painting, but the photo may not have enough creativity to qualify for copyright. If not, the scan is OK. Somewhat debatable. As for File:Horse_of_Han_Wudi.Western_Han_dynasty._Maoling_Museum.jpg, the photograph definitely has a copyright and we need a license for it. There is a claim of "own work", but if that refers to the scan of the photograph (which is what it seems like), then that is not OK and it should be nominated for deletion. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:46, 11 May 2014 (UTC)
DR created: Commons:Deletion requests/File:Horse of Han Wudi.Western Han dynasty. Maoling Museum.jpg, and yes, the other one may be PD-Art. Regards, Yann (talk) 18:58, 11 May 2014 (UTC)

OLD picture postcards

How old postcards have to be, to freely use a scan ?--Stillo (talk) 09:04, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

It depends. ;oD
For European postcards, the basic rule is 70 years pma, and many postcards are signed. So you have to find who is the photographer, or show that they are not signed (also look at the back).
For US postcards, everything before 1923 is OK. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:38, 18 May 2014 (UTC)
Essentially, a postcard is no different from any other published image. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:07, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

{{PD-old-100}} and {{PD-old-90}}

Licenses {{PD-old-100}} and {{PD-old-90}} have text "This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less." {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-75}} use similar text but without claim of PD in US. {{PD-old-70}} use similar text except that substitutes "European Union" for US. I looked at Commons:Hirtle_chart and could not find anything that justify the change of the text between {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-90}} to claim PD in US. Also if {{PD-old-100}} was sufficient in US than we would not need {{PD-old-100-1923}} and {{PD-old-100-1996}}. I would like to propose to replace {{PD-old-100}}, {{PD-old-90}}, {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-75}} main message with text from {{PD-old-text}} used by {{PD-old-auto-1923}} template family. That would unify the language and provide a single place for translations. --Jarekt (talk) 14:38, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

I support your proposed change for {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-75}}. However, I'd suggest that {{PD-old-100}} and {{PD-old-90}} need slightly different handling. I would support your proposed change to {{PD-old-90}} if you also add the "also include a United States public domain tag / note about Mexico" warning from {{PD-old-80}} when changing the main message.

Unfortunately, {{PD-old-100}} is a special case because of history between Commons and English Wikipedia. On en.wp en:Template:PD-old is "PD in US plus life+100" while on Commons {{tl|PD-old} has been "life+70" (it's been deprecated for a long time though), so in the past {{PD-old-100}} was often recommended as the replacement for en.wp's PD-old when moving content to Commons from English Wikipedia. This license transform may still be in place in some of the Commons transfer tools. I would support your proposed change to {{PD-old-100}} only if you both add an "also include a United States public domain tag" warning and propose a plan for updating the hundreds of thousands of images that are only tagged with PD-old-100 to instead use {{PD-old-100-1923}} or {{PD-old-100-1996}}. —RP88 19:06, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

An additional thought — I would not be averse to the idea of introducing {{PD-old-100-not-us}} (or perhaps call it {{PD-old-100-source}}) that clones {{PD-old-100}} but includes your proposed changes along with an "also include a United States public domain tag" warning. Along with your other proposed changes this could be used in place of {{PD-old-100}} in the implementation of {{PD-old-auto}}, fixing the current weirdness of {{PD-old-auto}} where it starts claiming the tagged work is PD in the U.S. when the years since the death of the author reach or exceed 100. —RP88 19:58, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
{{PD-old-100}} is a special case. For example, I have no idea how to check the publication history of this Leonardo da Vinci self-portrait which would be needed for evaluation of its US copyrights, but the assumption is that it is in PD in US as well as in the rest of the world. However the fact that we assume PD in US does not mean that {{PD-old-100}} should claim PD in US. If we can replace {{PD-old-100}} with {{PD-old-100-1923}} or {{PD-old-100-1996}} we should, but in most cases PD-old-100 images are paintings or sculptures in which case I have no clue what "publishing" means. I do not see any chance for successful "plan for updating the hundreds of thousands of images that are only tagged with PD-old-100 to instead use {{PD-old-100-1923}} or {{PD-old-100-1996}}", since if I it is not clear how to do a single one we will not be able to convert thousands of them. I also do not see how the fact that en:Template:PD-old is wrong is relevant to corrections on Commons. "PD-old" templates there (and here) are often used without much thought, for files that "must be too old" for copyrights, like this file.
As I said, I would like to propose to replace {{PD-old-100}}, {{PD-old-90}}, {{PD-old-80}} and {{PD-old-75}} main message with text from {{PD-old-text}} which is used by {{PD-old-auto-1923}} template family. I was not planning on changing the "notes" and warning portions of those licenses, but we could use the warning Template:PD-old-70 uses.--Jarekt (talk) 13:37, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
I'll address your points one at a time:
  • Regarding the Leonardo da Vinci self-portrait, a reproduction appears in Del Cenacolo di Leonardo da Vinci by Giuseppe Bossi, published in 1810. I'll update the image license to {{PD-old-100-1923}}.
  • Regarding your statement that {{PD-old-100}} should not claim PD in US, I agree in principle that this is awkward, but that doesn't change the fact that it has claimed so for many years and countless uploaders have undoubtedly relied on its statement of "PD in US AND life+100" when they chose it to apply to an upload.
  • Regarding how "publishing" applies to objects like paintings or sculptures, see Commons:Publication and (for the U.S.) Commons:Public art and copyrights in the US. Basically, the U.S. considers works that have been placed in a public location without restrictions on copying prior to 1978 to be published (after 1978 such works are only published if tangible copies of the work have been distributed to the public).
  • With regards to your claim that en:Template:PD-old is wrong, I have to disagree. While it is true that license tag may well have been misapplied on en.wp to many images, there is nothing inherently wrong about it being a "PD in US AND life+100" license tag.
  • Only two of the PD-old-N tags lack the "also include a United States public domain tag" warning, namely {{PD-old-100}} and {{PD-old-90}}, presumably due to their origin as "PD in US and life+N" tags. I do think if you change the main message to the one from {{PD-old-text}} you need to add warnings to these two, however the warning from Template:PD-old-70 would not be correct. The warning from Template:PD-old-80 would be fine for {{PD-old-90}}. The warning from Template:PD-old-80 without the comment about Mexico and Côte d'Ivoire would be fine for {{PD-old-100}}, if we go through with that change.
In summary, I think you've misunderstood my concern. I am very supportive of your idea to clean up the weird inconsistencies in the PD-old-N tags, I'd be happy to assist you in the effort if you'd like. My only concern is {{PD-old-100}}. Every PD image on Commons needs a US copyright tag and a source copyright tag (if of a non-US origin). Some PD tags are only source tags (i.e. PD-old-70), some are only US copyright tags (i.e. PD-1923), and some are both (i.e. PD-old-70-1923). For odd historical reasons, PD-old-100 has been a "both" tag, despite this being inconsistent with the other PD-old-N tags. I would not be surprised if thousands of images on Commons were tagged with PD-old-100 with the understanding that it was a "PD in both US and source" tag. Admittedly, I would not be surprised at all if there are also thousands of images tagged with PD-old-100 only because of the years since the death of the author, with no thought given to the US copyright status (despite the PD US claim in the current text of the tag).
If we change the main message of {{PD-old-100}} to the text from {{PD-old-text}}, many thousands of images will no longer have a claim of PD in the US, despite that claim being there at the time the uploader chose it for the license. These images would suddenly, because they now lack a PD US claim, be potentially eligible to be nominated for deletion. If you want to change the text, one possible plan for dealing with existing images tagged only with PD-old-100 (instead of changing them to either PD-old-100-1923 or PD-old-100-1996) would be to, at the very least, get community consensus that while all new uploads tagged with the new version of PD-old-100 would also need a PD US tag, old uploads would be "grandfathered" and not immediately be eligible for deletion. —RP88 16:42, 20 May 2014 (UTC)
  • Thank you for the link to Commons:Publication, I added it to bunch of licenses wherever word "publish" is mentioned. That way It will be easier to find in the future.
  • About en:Template:PD-old and {{PD-old-100}} I do think they are wrong since 100 years from author's death does not make work PD in US, as the template implies. It also does not change anything in US legal status from lets say 99 or 70 years from author's death. However it seems to me that most {{PD-old-100}} files are either:
  • unpublished and can use {{PD-US-unpublished}};
  • were published in the author's lifetime (before 1923) and can use {{PD-1923}}, or
  • were published outside of US in years 1923-1978 and can use {{PD-1996}}.
So most {{PD-old-100}} works are also PD in US - we just do not know why.
  • I hear your concern about {{PD-old-100}}, that "Every PD image on Commons needs a US copyright tag and a source copyright tag (if of a non-US origin)". And if there were some people tagging files with {{PD-old-100}} that were thinking about US copyright they did not share those thoughts with us and did not use more specific tags. I for example changed many thousands {{PD-old}} to {{PD-old-100}} if creator died more than 100 years ago and transcluded {{Works of authors who died more than 100 years ago}} template. I do not worry about mass deletions of {{PD-old-100}} files if we remove the US part: we do have thousands of {{PD-old}} or {{PD-old-70}} files unaccompanied by US specific tags, and they are "grandfathered" in.
  • If you would like to help you can tackle updating warnings in the PD-old-X templates. In the mean time I am trying to unify wording and help with translation of many of our templates by use of {{PD-old-text}}, {{PD-1923-text}}, and {{PD-1996-text}}. I am also looking at multitude of overlapping templates that are used for PD works, see Commons:Multi-license copyright tags and trying to cut down on number of parallel solutions. --Jarekt (talk) 13:23, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the time to discuss this with me. You've convinced me that changing the text on {{PD-old-100}} will be OK; hopefully if this triggers any deletions this discussion can be pointed to regarding "grandfathered" status of these images. If you change the text on {{PD-old-100}} and {{PD-old-90}} I will add the appropriate "needs US copyright tag" warning. I guess we still disagree about how to interpret the meaning of the current text of en:Template:PD-old and {{PD-old-100}}. When I read these I don't interpret a meaning of "This work is PD in any country whose copyright term is life+100 and because of this it is PD in the US", instead the meaning I interpret is "This work is PD in the US (for an undisclosed reason). This work is also PD in any country whose copyright term is life+100 or less." —RP88 13:42, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
The wording of en:Template:PD-old and {{PD-old-100}} is a little like en:My Wife and My Mother-in-Law drawing, you either see one or the other but it is hard to see both. I always interpreted the text as "This work is in the public domain in the United States, and other countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less." just like {{PD-old-70}} text where EU replaces US. But you are right it is ambiguous. May be {{PD-old-100}} "note" section should have invitation to use {{PD-old-100-1923}}, {{PD-old-100-1996}} or {{PD-US-unpublished}} (which should be probably merged with {{PD-old-auto}} to create {{PD-old-auto-unpublished}}, if we have enough files using it). The "note" of PD-old-XX files should advise the use of PD-old-auto, if used directly. --Jarekt (talk) 14:39, 21 May 2014 (UTC)

Copyrights on vector images of "simple designs"

Under the "Simple design" section, it is mentioned that simple designs (i.e. logos) which are either too simple for copyright or old enough that the copyright has expired are accepted on Commons even if the design is trademarked. This makes sense. An issue worth considering, however, is whether a vector image file (i.e. EPS or SVG) of an uncopyrighted design can have its own copyright with regard to the vector data. In particular, sites such as carry vector images of logos that almost certainly include logos in the {{PD-textlogo}} category. For these, there is the question as to whether converting an EPS from to SVG would implicate copyright on the original EPS file. There is also the issue wherein vector images of fonts can be copyrighted in circumstances where a raster rendering would not (from what one understands); some of the info on the talk page for {{PD-textlogo}} may also be relevant. From what one can tell, it may be that there is no one clear answer that covers every situation and it may depend on the specific markup of a vector file and/or the specific design represented by the vector file data. Along these lines, one possibility to consider is adding something like the following to the "Simple designs" section before the "Fonts" subsection:

Raster renderings (i.e. PNG images) of uncopyrighted simple designs can themselves be regarded as being uncopyrighted. For vector images (i.e. SVG files) of uncopyrighted simple designs, the question as to whether the vector representation has its own copyright is less clear; see the English Wikipedia copyright information about fonts and the {{PD-textlogo}} talk page for more information.

--Gazebo (talk) 04:38, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Any thoughts...can the above wording be improved?-it would seem useful to address the issue somehow. --Gazebo (talk) 09:08, 18 July 2014 (UTC)

Multilicensing with accepted and non-accepted licenses

Let's say that I want to dual-license an image, making it available under a version of cc-by-sa and cc-by-nc. Such a thing is explicitly permitted here (all we care about is that it has one Commons-acceptable license), but how would this be done from a technical perspective? For example, {{cc-by-nc-2.0}} redirects to a speedy deletion template, a good idea in most cases, but very bad in an acceptable dual-licensing case. This page currently doesn't explain how this is done; it ought to give an explanation or (even better) a link to a technical help page explaining how to do this. Nyttend (talk) 00:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Some users create a cc-by-nc template in their userspace. See for example User:青子守歌/cc-by-nc. --Stefan4 (talk) 00:21, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I think such standalone tags are not allowed (to reduce our housekeeping jobs). But User:青子守歌/own_work/license is OK. Nyttend, you can create a new multi-license tag like Template:GFDL or cc-by-nc-2.0 under Category:Multi-license license tags. Jee 02:37, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that User:Jarekt has a bot which finds files which do not have any copyright tag at all. Does that bot find files which only use User:青子守歌/cc-by-nc? It would be convenient if it does. --Stefan4 (talk) 02:56, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
I think that tag is not used in any files. It is used only in the other tag I mentioned above. Jee 03:04, 11 December 2014 (UTC)


The "Open Content - A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences" published on Meta and available here as PDF could be added in the "See Also" section. Normally I'd try a SoFixIt, but on a policy page + IANAL + only read a review on somebody else has to decide if that's a good idea. Be..anyone (talk) 07:58, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

  Done, one witness posted no objection, there's now also a gallery. –Be..anyone (talk) 15:56, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

BD-propagande picture

That's actually a minor issue, but why File:BD-propagande colour en.jpg is not shown by {{LM}} in some translated versions of this policy? It should since translated images exist --Nastoshka (talk) 10:43, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

only non-free-licensed exception

The site currently states

The following restrictions must not apply to the image or other media file:

  • Use by Wikimedia only (the only non-free-licensed exceptions hosted here are Wikimedia logos and other designs which are copyrighted by the Wikimedia Foundation).

This seems to be not true, as I can not find any "Wikimedia logos and other designs" on Commons which are not under a free licence. So all of them are allowed without this exception. Therefor I'm suggesting to drop the part in parenthesis. --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 16:02, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Some context here: wmfblog:2014/10/24/wikimedia-logos-have-been-freed/ --Jeremyb (talk) 16:16, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
I've now removed the nolonger correct part. --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 21:07, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

Image copyright violations on

On this commercial site many images used seemly without regarding the rules and rights: On its first (landing) page grabbed photographs from wikipedia and also from other community sites are in use. (eg.: which is published originally on,_Bankpalota_SF.jpg) I think this behaviour is unacceptable and against the rules of wikipedia and also against international and Hungarian laws. How can we inform the owners of the photographers?

You can inform the uploaders (which is often the same as the photographer) on their talk pages. The image in question was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by User:Pataki Márta, who might be interested in this image use. You can also inform the Web site that what they are doing might be against the law, they will often not be aware of that. Many people don't understand the difference between a free license and public domain. Of course, the site might have gotten permission to use the images without attribution, only the copyright holders would know for sure. --rimshottalk 22:17, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

A quick but not entirely accurate introduction

This edit caught my eye.

If a newbie cannot use the graphic safely it needs to go.

Yes- it is fine, to remove the gory detail and legal shenanigans for a panel designed for the unsure, and nervous. But it must err on the side of safety- so if it is wrong, what is wrong. Newbies are put off by thinking they have done it all correctly then having their work zapped.

Does the graphic need to be redrawn?

A little discussion please?ClemRutter (talk) 22:05, 26 January 2016 (UTC)

Ecxel's screenshots

Hello, can u help me? I want to upload some images from another project, can u check this page. Images from the page are ok for commons or not? Iniquity (talk) 16:35, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Please read the instructions on top of this talk page. Your question belongs here. --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 17:33, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
Thx. Iniquity (talk) 17:38, 2 February 2016 (UTC)

Licensing of the images

In the Wikimedia Commons you can upload images with a free license(Share alike), with the ability to change/adapt image and use I'm commercial purposes. I'm at a loss why the image must have permission to use for commercial purposes and to change?
1. I know, that images on articles usually aren't in default size, so you change them. But, according to this: "In 2002, the court in the US case Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation ruled that it was fair use for Internet search engines to use thumbnail images to help web users find what they seek.", you may use smaller images.
2. Text from projects Wikimedia (I don't know about Wikinews) is published under free license, that warns text from using in commercial purposes. And Wikimedia is completely free, so why do images must have ability to use in commercial purposes.
So I propose to change the image upload rules, allow to unload images with the licenses that bans changes and using for commercial purposes Ігор Пєтков (talk) 15:32, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

1. Thumbnails possibly, but Commons wants full size images. Secondly, fair use is U.S. law, and other countries might have less protection.
2. Wikinews is free just like Wikipedia. And yes, you can use that text for commercial purposes -- if you can't, the text would not be allowed on Wikipedia or Wikinews, just like here. CC-BY-NC text is not allowed there.
3. This requirement is not something that Commons can change; it is part of all Wikimedia projects and is mandated by the Foundation. See wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy. Note that Commons is specifically barred from using any fair use rationales. Both commercial use and the ability to make derivative works are part of the Definition of Free Cultural Works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:26, 16 February 2016 (UTC)
Ігор Пєтков, please read Commons:Licensing/Justifications and Commons:Fair use, which explain the problems with non-commercial restrictions and why fair use does not apply to general-purpose media repositories like Commons. There are prominent links to both these pages from the policy itself. LX (talk, contribs) 21:22, 16 February 2016 (UTC)


I would like to upload a book on wikimedia for a further use on wikisource. Author died more that 70 years ago but the book has been published in France in 1923. Am i allowed to do so, due to the 1923 rule?

Thanks and Regards

--Bob isat (talk) 18:17, 19 March 2016 (UTC)

Bob isat: Bonjour,
Le copyright dépend de l'année de décès de l'auteur. Le livre est dans le domaine public aux Etats-Unis si l'auteur est mort avant 1936. Cordialement, Yann (talk) 21:37, 19 March 2016 (UTC)
Yann:Bonjour Yann et merci pour votre retour.

L'auteur (en l'occurence Michel Corday) est mort le 12 Janvier 1937. Sachant que le roman qui m'occupe a été publié en 1923, ne puis-je donc pas l'uploader sur Commons, pour l'appeler ensuite sur Wikisource?

Merci pour votre aide.

--Bob isat (talk) 13:04, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Bob isat Bonjour, Dans ce cas, il vaut mieux l'importer sur Wikisource. Cordialement, Yann (talk) 14:12, 20 March 2016 (UTC)

Indian Army Licensing

Is the media released or posted in Indian Army website are free to be uploaded to Commons are per the their copyright policy. If yes what is the template? <bɾ> Copyright Policy of Indian Armyː --Krishna Chaitanya Velaga(Citizen of the RoIN) Talk 14:39, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Including Public Domain in the options of licensing

When I post a photo, I would like to be able to release it in the Public Domain (PD). I understand there is a reluctance to implement that because in some countries Public Domain doesn't even exist. Well, if we look at things that way, then I suspect there are countries where the Creative Commons license is illegal or inapplicable. What are we doing with the Public Domain photos hosted at Wikimedia Commons? We can't use them in articles because in some countries PD is not even defined? So that should not be an argument against PD.

At very least, the creator should have the alternative of releasing their work with "dual licensing": Creative Commons or Public Domain, leaving the user the choice to use the work the whay they wish, and as allowed by the local laws. This is nothing new, I've seen programs released with dual licensing (GPL and a commercial license). Also I've seen public domain works and posting and using do not seem to be problematic out there in the world. —  Ark25  (talk) 20:40, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

What does public domain gain you over the {{Cc-zero}}?--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:51, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I haven't noticed that option until now, thanks! —  Ark25  (talk) 10:28, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Creation for template of Indian Air Force

I propose to create a template such as that is created for Indian Navy Template:Indian_navy, to license the images that uploaded which have been taken from the Indian Air Force Website. Because the site features the copyright statement asː
Material featured on this site may be reproduced free of charge in any format or media without requiring specific permission. This is subject to the material being reproduced accurately and not being used in a derogatory manner or in a misleading context. Where the material is being published or issued to others, the source must be prominently acknowledged. However, the permission to reproduce this material does not extend to any material on this site, which is explicitly identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned. It can be viewed in the usage policy of the website.Krishna Chaitanya Velaga(Citizen of the RoIN) Talk 10:04, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

Unless they explicitly say they are licensing it under a CC-BY license, we cannot assume that. The tag needs to have the licensing text as-is. The fact they don't mention derivative works might make some users nervous about the terms, though even derivative works generally "reproduce" expression so that could be implied there. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:20, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
The Navy licence doesn't appear to allow modifications, which is essential for the Commons. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:02, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
@Krishna Chaitanya Velaga, Clindberg, Hchc2009: {{Attribution-IAF}} already exists. Per the discussions on its talkpage (Carl Lindberg, you have a short memory :) ), the freedom of it seems to be disputed. Personally, I agree with Hchc2009 and think that the accuracy requirement is an NoDerivatives restriction – maybe the discussion should be revived in a request for deletion?    FDMS  4    13:12, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Ah, right. The proposed template should be deleted then; that is a better one. "Accurate" usually refers to moral rights to me (don't make a misleading modification and claim it's the original, stuff like that) -- but I figured that is where there might be some opposition. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:46, 6 June 2016 (UTC)

Yep. There are licences which require "accuracy" (i.e. not misleading anyone) but allow modifications. But equally many licences allow reproduction, but not modification and derivative works - these are different rights. The IAF doesn't seem to allow derivatives. Hchc2009 (talk) 06:30, 7 June 2016 (UTC)

@Hchc2009: Actually, modification / derivative works are forms of reproduction -- you are reproducing some of the original expression in some form. A copyright license can certainly prevent those types of reproduction, but this one does not necessarily prevent them. The concentration on "accuracy" seems to point to moral rights in particular, which is OK. It's more a question if you read "reproduction" as more of strict duplication, or in the more general sense of any reproduction of the expression. It's not always an easy question, so there can be differing opinions. India's copyright law does include the concept of "adaptation", but that seems to be narrower than the concept of derivative works (which is not a term used in India's law). Rather that seems to be altering or abridging works for the needs of a different format -- seems to more often apply to literary, dramatic, and musical works. As part of the rights of copyright, it includes the right to reproduce the work in any material form including depiction in three dimensions of a two dimensional work or in two dimensions of a three dimensional work -- which would be a derivative work in the U.S. definition, but their law uses the term "reproduce" there. On the other hand, making "adaptations" and making "translations" are separately listed rights granted under copyright (with "translation" not having an explicit definition). Their law does not define "reproduce" either, though it does define "adaptation". So, the license they give is more a matter of how you interpret their wording -- they do allow reproduction in any format or media, which could imply "adaptations" as well as the quoted clause, and certain does seem to imply something beyond straight duplication. For graphic/artistic works, "reproduce" would seem to cover most stuff in their law anyways. But I can understand reading the term as being more restrictive, or at least ambiguous. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:14, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Help with image licensing

Hello. I'm here from English Wikipedia. Anyway, I've been communicating with a new user, w:en:User:Sandy Montoya, on my talk page, w:en:User talk:Gestrid about an article she's drafting, w:en:Draft:Scott Nute. She used images that she apparently uploaded to Commons (which is why I'm coming here instead of the English Wikipedia's counterpart) under the wrong license. At the moment, I'm not sure which license would be the correct one, but she says she has permission to use the images. I'm still communicating with her on the matter. Is there a template I can use to say they were put up under the wrong license and that the correct one will be up soon? Would it be best to delete the images so she can upload using the correct license? If it comes to deleting the images to re-upload them under the correct license, I'd rather that not happen until I've had a chance to notify the new user. Also, feel free to join the discussion on my talk page if you feel like you need to. -- Gestrid (talk) 01:33, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

@Gestrid: Hi, I tagged all their uploaded files as "no permission". The copyright holder of these files should send an email to the OTRS. Thanks, Poké95 03:25, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you, Pokéfan95. I'll tell them to have the people who own the copyright to do that. -- Gestrid (talk) 14:11, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
How would he/she know who to contact, Gestrid, and why would the copyright owners do what they are asked – unless of course the editor has a w:WP:Conflict of interest? Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 14:21, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
I'm not entirely sure, Justlettersandnumbers, but she assures me she got permission. As I said, she's new to Wikipedia. It's also possible she herself has the evidence needed, but just didn't know what to do with it. Even I am confused by all the copyright policies, and I've been an editor on Wikipedia for several years. -- Gestrid (talk) 14:30, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
UPDATE: I've asked the editor if she has a w:WP:COI and, as a follow-up question, if she is being w:WP:PAID. -- Gestrid (talk) 14:38, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
UPDATE 2: The editor says they do not have a conflict of interest and they are not being paid. -- Gestrid (talk) 20:16, 10 July 2016 (UTC)
For Wikipedia in English, that is probably a good thing. For Commons, neither is relevant. We are glad to have people upload images for whatever reason (as long as the images themselves are in scope and properly licensed/PD), on free time or professionally. I hope you get the evidence (sent to OTRS or otherwise). The most common problem with "having permission" is having permission just for using the images on Wikipedia, not for releasing them under a suitable licence. --LPfi (talk) 13:08, 11 July 2016 (UTC)
While that may be the case for images on Commons, the COI and PAID questions were concerning the draft the user is trying to make, not necessarily the images they tried to upload. As far as I can tell, Wikipedia doesn't have a problem with COI and PAID unless it has to do with an article. -- Gestrid (talk) 16:03, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Currency in Zimbabwe

I noticed we have Template:PD-ZW-currency which links to Zimbabwean copyright law from 1967; however, it seems Zimbabwe has a new law from 2004, and I am unable to find any similar clause limiting copyright on demonetized money and coins in the new law. Could somebody take a look and… either update the template, or IDK, nominate all Category:PD-ZW-currency images for deletion? --Mormegil (talk) 14:02, 29 July 2016 (UTC)

It would seem they would probably get the government copyright, which seems to be 50 years from publication (article 15). Carl Lindberg (talk) 19:42, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
Or somebody could send a mail to the authorities to check weather the old copyright law still applies until that date and so the currency is still PD or not.--Sanandros (talk) 20:37, 30 July 2016 (UTC)
The old law only said banknotes were PD when they were demonetized. Carl Lindberg (talk) 02:23, 31 July 2016 (UTC)

Copyrighted before 1923 whether published or unpublished

Copyrighted before 1923 whether published or unpublished. Even if a work was unpublished but was labeled with a copyright notice, it is in the public domain. The same would hold true for works mailed to the copyright office prior to 1923 to prove copyright. All the rules on the page licensing page use the word "published". Unpublished but distributed copies, such as those distributed by news agencies and distributed by publicity departments before 1923 are also in the public domain. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 20:01, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

If a work was registered with the copyright office while unpublished, yes, that started the copyright clock. This is mentioned on the {{PD-1923}} template. I don't think putting a copyright notice on an unpublished work would automatically start the clock -- I think the law just says when published with notice, which was general publication, not limited publication. But it would be rare to put a notice on an unpublished copy (or one not meant for publication), so it's probably safe to assume that if one exists, then the copyright clock started at that year. Distribution, most of the time, would be the moment of general publication, so I'm not sure what you mean by "unpublished but distributed" distinction.
The issue was that unpublished works were not covered under federal copyright protection, but rather per-state common-law protection -- which could be unlimited in duration, but was much weaker. At the moment of general publication, common-law protection was extinguished and the federal rights took over, which had a limited duration but was much stronger with more explicit penalties. If an author wanted the stronger protection, they could register an unpublished work with the Copyright Office, which would then also stop common-law protection and become federally protected. I'm not sure the law allowed any other mechanism to switch over from common-law protection to federal protection. Carl Lindberg (talk) 20:51, 2 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that back in the day, a copyright notice on an unpublished work would have at least set the clock once the work was published. There was one movie that had a copyright notice that was 10 years too earlier, and the court ruled that that's when the clock started for renewals; I suspect if "unpublished" authorized copies were floating around with a copyright notice, that copyright notice would be taken as gospel. Modern courts seem more generous, though, even ruling on the same laws.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:31, 3 August 2016 (UTC)
Yes, once published, if an erroneous year is there in the notice which is earlier than actual publication, then that becomes the starting date. If dated more than one year later than actual publication, then the entire notice was considered invalid. But if a work only saw limited publication, technically I don't think the presence of a copyright notice would matter. It's just that with a notice, the presumption is that it was published, and it would be rare to impossible to identify such a work (unpublished and unregistered) today, I'd guess. Limited publication was in some courts was defined as distribution to a limited set of people for a limited purpose with no further right of distribution -- all three had to be satisfied -- though some circuits had a slightly different definition. But overall yeah, I'd say the presence of a copyright notice would be all the evidence we need for PD-1923. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:41, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Invitation to copyright strategy discussion

Hello! I'm writing from the Wikimedia Foundation to invite you to give your feedback on a new copyright strategy that is being considered by the Legal Team. The consultation will take the form of an open discussion, and we hope to receive a wide range of thoughts and opinions. Please, if you are interested, take part in the discussion on Meta-Wiki. JSutherland (WMF) (talk) 23:25, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

People in Pictures

Is there a special license to obtain before uploading pictures that I personally took of people in groups, for example a group picture of people attending a conference, or of people at a public event? Drbones1950 (talk) 02:35, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

Not from a copyright perspective, but you should read Commons:Personality rights. LX (talk, contribs) 15:55, 18 September 2016 (UTC)


Unfortunately, the example we give of a free image is not free. The sculpture in the photo is from 1989 and there is no FOP in Lithuania. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 09:55, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

நான் சொந்தமாக எடுத்து இணைக்கும் படங்கள் எந்த வகையில் Copyright violations ஆகிறது?

நான் சொந்தமாக எடுத்து இணைக்கும் படங்களை ஏன் நீங்கள் நீக்குகிறீர்கள். அவை எந்த வகையில் Copyright violations ஆகிறது. புதிதாக யாரும் கட்டுரையோ படங்களையோ இணைக்கூடாது என்று நினைக்கிறீர்களா? எங்களுக்கு வேறு வேலை வெட்டி இல்லை என்றா நினைத்துக்கொண்டு இருக்கிறீர்கள்.... நீங்கள் அனுப்பிய இந்த செய்திக்கு என்ன பொருள். எதற்க்காக last warning. உடன் பதிலை சொல்லுங்கள் திரு. ஆலன்O.

"Hello Velu66. It has come to our attention that you have uploaded several files that are copyright violations. You have done so despite requests from editors not to do so, and despite their instructions. See Commons:Licensing for the copyright policy on Wikimedia Commons. You may also find Commons:Copyright rules by subject matter useful.

This is your last warning. Continuing to upload copyright violations will result in your account being blocked. Please leave me a message if you have further questions."

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Durai.velumani (talk • contribs) 13:34, 25 October 2016 (UTC)


If as stated in {{PD-old-100}} the author has been dead for more than 100 years, and assuming this is the correct reason, it must has been published before 1916 (posthumous publications follow different rules, but the point will be essentially the same). Thus, the work is PD in the US, since "Copyrights prior to 1923 have expired" (see Cornell reference) - so why is there a warning saying "You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States." ? Michelet-密是力 (talk) 13:06, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

If it was never published until the 1900s, it could still have a U.S. copyright. Before 1978, in the U.S. there was no copyright limit on unpublished works (they were common-law copyright -- U.S. federal copyright protection started upon publication). So while really unlikely, it is possible for a very old work to still be under copyright protection. If first published after 1922 and before 2003, it is theoretically possible at least. The Cornell link goes over those possibilities. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:01, 10 November 2016 (UTC)
Indeed, same thing in France for example, and everywhere under the Berne convention : works are protected only insofar as they are published, be it by the author or after his death. And the protection of posthumous works (if any) always start at the publication date. But that is not the point:
  • If the template is relevant, then its statement is true : "This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less." And that is the reason of its being PD.
  • In this "PD because Death>100", this reference to the author's life is only relevant if the work has been published while the author was living. Otherwise the formulation would be incorrect, you would have to mention the publication date irrespective of the author's date.
  • Therefore, as long as the template states the correct reason, the file is PD in the US. And if it is incorrect in the US, it is incorrect elsewhere as well.
Posthumous publications need special treatments whatever the country. So, why bother mention anything about the US ? Michelet-密是力 (talk) 10:32, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
The term of protection of posthumous works under the Berne Convention is life+50. Last I checked, Canada, for one, gave posthumous works no longer protection. It's possible the template needs specification to non-posthumous works and maybe a list of countries that don't give extra time to posthumous works, but it shouldn't say nothing about the fact it doesn't always apply in the US and many other countries.--Prosfilaes (talk) 02:16, 12 November 2016 (UTC)
Agreed with Prosfilaes... I don't think there is anything in the Berne Convention which automatically has unlimited copyright for unpublished works. It mandates 50pma, but that would seem to be it, regardless of being published (or the distinction of "making available to the public", which can be different than publication, which is used for anonymous works -- but even then there is a limit based on date of creation). Even the EU no longer has any infinite limits, really -- other than the 25-year publication right, which is not owned by the author but rather the publisher, and it's not clear that would be recognized outside the EU (nothing in the Berne Convention about that). The U.S. no longer has infinite limits -- only the special case of pre-1978 works published between 1978 and the end of 2002 could have a longer term than the normal 70 pma or (for corporate works) 120 years from creation. If works were still unpublished as of 2003, their copyright went poof unless still within 70pma. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:50, 12 November 2016 (UTC)

Chartres - Coronation of the Virgin - ca. 1215.

{{PD-old-100}} obviously.

Surprise - Why in the world would Commons tell me "You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States"  ??? It's been hanging there for eight centuries...

Context : My concern comes from my using {{PD-old-100}} on the Chartres stained windows, where the comment "You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States" is ludicrous : when America was discovered, these windows were two and a half centuries old ! Obviously there is no need to add anything, and the comment is irrelevant - at least in that case. There is nothing else I "must include".

  • My point is that the remark ""You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States"" is irrelevant in all cases, as long as the {{PD-old-100}} is correctly used.

The Berne Convention (BC) only protects published works, and says little about posthumous works (which are not "works published with the consent of their authors", -BC§3(3)- ). Indeed, since it is of general interest to have posthumous unpublished works both published and protected, laws will give some protection to the "discoverer", but it is not directly related to the BC. And anyway, that protection never exceeds that of works published by their authors (Prosfilaes's remark).

  • Your consideration of posthumous works is relevant as far as PD is concerned for Commons, but (1) the problem is not limited to the US, and (2) if there actually is such a problem, the tag states an incorrect reason for the work to be PD, so the tag is incorrect in the first place. Unless posthumous works are given no protection at all (and that by itself is dubious and worth mentioning), the publication date should at least be mentioned as the reason why the work is PD in its country of origin. Repeat : in those cases where an additional tag is actually needed, the {{PD-old-100}} alone is incorrect, and should be changed or completed even in the country of origin.

In my opinion the US warning is irrelevant and can altogether be suppressed, without changing the accuracy of Commons licensing tags - if it's truly {{PD-old-100}} anywhere, "why this work is in the public domain in the United States" is that the author has died more than a hundred years ago, so the "US tag" called for should be {{PD-old-100}} as well - it's already there.

To take into account your concern about posthumous works, and state the correct reason why such a work is PD, the tag can be rephrased so as to include such concern :

“For more than a hundred years, both the work has been published, and its author(s) has died. This work is therefore in the public domain in its country of origin, and any other countries where the copyright term is under those limits.”

It wouldn't change anything substantial in the Commons database : if the author has died more than 100 years ago, but the work is posthumous and was published less than 100 years ago, then its PD status should be separately checked and asserted anyway - which is already the case, due to that warning. The "worst case" would be that the statement is false and the work is PD anyway. But in that case, once you've checked and found that the tag is incorrect, the hard work is done and you know how to correct the tag anyway (just do it).

Michelet-密是力 (talk) 08:25, 12 November 2016 (UTC)

Yes, if a work was actually published that long ago, it's fine for the U.S. It's just that PD-Old-XXX does not definitively say that the work was actually published -- in many countries it can become PD without being published -- so that tag alone is not necessarily enough. That is why there are combined tags like {{PD-old-100-1923}}, {{PD-old-70-1923}}, etc., which also indicate publication before 1923, and the better one of {{PD-old-auto-1923}} where you can supply the year the author died and the number will adjust as appropriate. Commons policy is that works must be public domain in the country of origin and the United States, which is why the U.S. tag is more necessary than those of other countries. In virtually all cases, PD-old-100-1923 would also be valid, but you can find a theoretical case where PD-old-100 was valid but PD-1923 was not. That is all the tag is saying (and the wording is copied from all other PD-old-XXX tags). U.S. law has a particularly convoluted definition of "publication", especially before 1978 when it was defined by case law, so it is prudent to still have the separate tag.
The Berne Convention protects all works, published and unpublished. There are several clauses in there which deal with unpublished works. The term is 50pma regardless. It just considers the right of first publication particularly important, so it uses that definition in some clauses. But there is nothing in the Berne Convention regarding publication which changes the term of the copyright (outside of anonymous/pseudonymous works), whereas it does in United States law. Some countries may additionally have longer protection for unpublished works -- but that would mean the PD-old-100 tag is incorrect in the first place, as it would not serve for the country of origin. You seem to be saying that is true for all countries, but it is not (far from it) and is definitely not mandated by the Berne Convention. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:19, 13 November 2016 (UTC)
"You seem to be saying that is true for all countries" : no, I'm saying that in no country the term is >100years after publication in the case of posthumous works (A => B dos not mean B => A). Michelet-密是力 (talk) 10:18, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

OK. Given the argumentation above, is it OK to make that change on the {{PD-old-100}} text?

“For more than a hundred years, both the work has been published, and its author(s) has died. This work is therefore in the public domain in its country of origin, and any other countries where the copyright term is under those limits.”

The template is 100pma (100 years after the author's death), which is (nominally) the term in Mexico. The template does not indicate anything at all about publication -- in many countries, unpublished works expire at 70pma etc. regardless. A separate U.S. tag is technically needed to indicate publication. If you want to indicate publication as well, just use {{PD-old-100-1923}} and don't use this tag. But using PD-old-100 and {{PD-US-unpublished}} together may also be a somewhat common pairing. I would not agree to any change in the wording. Carl Lindberg (talk) 22:35, 19 November 2016 (UTC)

Free license only for lower quality version

This paragraph (previous edit summary refers to this section on VP/C) needs to be discussed again, judging by the arguments on COM:AN. Oliv0 (talk) 09:39, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

1/ The formulation was poor, but the legal aspect is clear.
An author can license both his work and its derivatives. In that case, if a photographer takes a photograph, publishes a high resolution and licenses only "copies under 300px in any direction" as being free, then only copies under 300px in any direction are free under that condition. Nobody can say that because the author has (1) allowed low-quality copies, and (2) published a high quality version, that (3) he has lost author's rights on the high quality version, which would allow it to be freely copied. For author's right, anything that is not formally released is retained (this is an author's right problem, not a "lack of copyright mention").
But the formulation "Even if higher resolution file of a work is available in a different source, Commons (as a matter of courtesy/ethics) will not host such files if they are not explicitly tagged with a free license." is misleading, since for instance a museum may state this kind of restriction on photographs of paintings that are PD in the first place. You must own the author's right in order to be able to state restrictions. And anyway, it is not a matter of courtesy, it is a legal point: if you go beyond the author's will you are outside the law (and may be punished for that).
I would suggest :
  • A free license associated to a published file applies only to that specific publication, not to the work it represents. As long as the work itself is protected, the published license cannot be extended to a higher resolution file of the same work, that would for instance be available in a different source, even when the higher resolution publication is made without any explicit restriction.
The phrasing could probably be fine-tuned, but the idea is correctly stated. Michelet-密是力 (talk) 11:10, 11 November 2016 (UTC)
2/ As for the meaning of "CC-BY-SA-3.0 with some restrictions: "exact citation (year of publication, picture number), and size under 300 px in both directions"" : the author authorizes a CC-BY-SA-3 on 300x300 versions of his file, not on the file itself. You may therefore make (by yourself) a 300x300px version, and tag it with the CC-BY-SA-3, conforming to the author's will.
On your file, you may remove the ", and size under 300 px in both directions" clause, since your file is conform to that. After that, you may even legally enlarge the picture to a 3000x3000, as long as you can prove that it is a derivative from the 300x300, not from the original file, but this would be awkward and is best avoided, of course.
The part "exact citation (year of publication, picture number)" is to be respected anyway, whatever the license.
Michelet-密是力 (talk) 11:17, 11 November 2016 (UTC)


The statement "A free license associated to a published file applies only to that specific publication, not to the work it represents." is simply not true. The policy text does not need changing and the deletion did not actually affect that policy text.
Oliv0 you are confusing two things. The policy refers to "while applying stricter terms to higher quality versions" with the implicit assumption that those stricter terms are documented off-Commons along with this higher-quality version. For example, a higher quality version at a stock photo website with "All rights reserved" and very restrictive usage terms upon payment of a fee. What the policy does not describe is authors writing such terms onto the Commons File Description page in an attempt to make a previously free CC license no longer free. If the File Description page says, effectively, that high-resolution versions of this work-of-copyright are not free then that means the author hasn't actually released the work-of-copyright with a genuinely free license.
In other words, when you release a work with a free license we will document that free license. What you do with versions of that work on other websites is none of our business. You can try to charge for high-quality/resolution versions if you like. But what Commons won't do is to acquire that higher-quality/resolution version and upload it here unless it is clearly labeled with a free license. There are just too many legal doubts that two random files on the Internet are actually the same work-of-copyright. -- Colin (talk) 15:49, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
@Colin: "A free license associated to a published file applies only to that specific publication, not to the work it represents" can be wrong for CC but right in general for a non-CC free licence "BY-SA + low-res", that is why I said in that RFD that "allowing a file scanned at some size and not another file scanned at another size still seems to fit all of the definition of a "free license" for the file allowed" (link from COM:L), and that "the copyright holder's intentions" advocated by COM:L are "certainly better respected if the license is rephrased not to be contradictory [= to non-CC "BY-SA + low-res"] than if no freely distributable version is left.". Oliv0 (talk) 16:43, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
In general, a copyright owner should be able to license their own work (or a portion of their own work) however they like. In that case, the "work" would be the chunk of copyrightable expression that they own, that they wish to license, as identified by the copyright owner. So, I certainly feel that an author can license just a lower-resolution version (though they cannot mandate that nobody can enlarge that particular version -- just that they can't assume the same license on a higher-resolution version found elsewhere). However, Creative Commons came out with a very (*very*) odd decision on that matter, where they say they "encourage" this lower-res licensing but say that it may not be legally enforceable everywhere -- that a copyright owner can only license the entire, full work. That may be based on the wording of the Creative Commons license, but I have never understood their interpretation -- to me, a copyright owner can partition a work however they like, so long as there is copyrightable expression they own in the result, and just license that. However, given the CC statement, we have chosen to be ambiguous as well, thus the edit. Now, if someone worded their restriction such that you are not allowed to enlarge the lower-res version that they license, well then that interferes with derivative works and would be a non-free addition to the license -- it is more than simply defining the "work", it is restricting what you can do with it, and would be a modified license. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:24, 16 November 2016 (UTC)
@Clindberg: on this last point what I said in that RFD about "the copyright holder's intentions" advocated by COM:L was that "the aim of the [low-res restricted] license is a limit of quality so it refers to the original size scanned, which allows further derivation to bigger sizes since this does not improve the image quality". Oliv0 (talk) 07:32, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I can also add here what I said on AN: contrary to the idea that COM:L implicitly means "stricter terms to higher quality versions" are given on an external site, so that giving on Commons a free license with such stricter terms can still be forbidden, I think COM:L explicitly says that "hosting only the lower quality version" is allowed, and that respecting a restriction made on an external site while forbidding the same restriction made explicitly on Commons makes no sense. Oliv0 (talk) 08:55, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
Wrt you last sentence, it isn't as daft as it sounds. An external site can say things we have no control over. Images can be licensed under different terms elsewhere. For example, a user could upload their image here with CC BY-SA and upload what appears to be the same image to Flickr with CC BY-SA-NC. It isn't straightforward for us to prove both images are the same work-of-copyright. The "respect the copyright holder's intentions" clause is more concerned with the fact that CC/WMF misled copyright owners for years, and it would seem particularly unkind if we were to take advantage of that and acquire these higher-resolution images based on a misunderstanding of WMF's own making. -- Colin (talk) 10:15, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
@Clindberg:, I don't understand your statement that CC "encourage" copyright owners to "licence just a lower-resolution version". I think both CC and WMF used to encourage this (there were links in the old discussion) and that's very poor of them, but their current FAQ does not encourage that or even claim it is possible. What they claim to "support" is releasing a lower-resolution version + making the "work" availble under CC, and then arranging quite separate contracts for the purchase/usage of any high-resolution file. CC made it quite clear to us that their licence applies to a "work of copyright" and also that the Definition of Free Cultural Works that Commons is built on similarly considers the "work of copyright", not individual files, photographs, recordings, etc. While I agree with you that a copyright owner may create a licence for a file, photograph, recording, etc, that is not the same as what CC and Commons are built upon. For example, when I buy a DVD then Disney licence me to play that recording in my home, but not to play it in public or to make copies of it, and I gain no permission to their master copy of the movie. It could be possible to design a file-based licence scheme for JPGs and such, perhaps using digital signatures, though that might be difficult without some kind of DRM which most free-culture advocates disaproove. So I think we are stuck with the "work of copyright" scope of any free licence that CC applies to or that can be used on Commons. I believe the image Oliv0 was concerned about comes from a book and that image can be scanned and uploaded here at whatever resolution the person scans it. But it turns out the photographer wanted to restrict that resolution to thumbnail size. Thus that restriction did not permit the "work of copyright" to be free. -- Colin (talk) 08:46, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
@Colin: -- OK, I guess "encourage" is a bit strong -- they say For example, you may publish a photograph on your website, but only distribute high-resolution copies to people who have paid for access. This is a practice CC supports. But, that does not explicitly say that the higher-resolution version would still not be covered under the free license once access is paid for, just that there could be an additional contractual restriction be put under the hi-res version at that point. I firmly believe that the author gets to choose the "work of copyright" and can license just that portion. If they make a painting, they can choose to only license the left half, or something like that. They are choosing the content which is being licensed, and that is the "work". I have seen some conjectures that uncropped versions of newspaper photos in archives may be an issue -- the portion originally published may be PD, but the uncropped portions may not be. When I think about what "work" means for photographs though, it could get messier for low vs high resolution versions, and maybe I understand CC's position a bit more. For a photograph, the copyrightable expression is typically in the angle, framing, timing, lighting, etc. -- aspects attributable to the photographer, and *not* the actual subject matter. So for snapshots, you may argue that all of those copyrightable aspects are present in the low-resolution version just as much as a high-resolution version, and as such the license on the low-resolution version gives you the same license to that same expression in the higher-resolution one. All of the extra detail in the hi-res version would not be copyrightable expression, thus all of the expression is still licensed. For a painting, I would firmly say a lower-res version license would be just fine -- a higher resolution version would contain a lot more of the original expression than a low-resolution one, and all that extra expression is still copyrightable, so I think an author would be OK there. And for a photographer who additionally controlled the subject matter -- they may have a stronger argument than a normal snapshot (though even then, if just selection and arrangement copyright, that may also be present in the lo-res version). So, that may be CC's caution there -- but it's an aspect not really tried in court so it may be hard to say. And subtle differences in wording can make a license non-free, versus wording which is just trying to define which expression is licensed vs that which is not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:56, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Carl there were several analogies discussed in the years-ago debase about what makes a separate work of copyright. Such as cropping a photo or the chorus of a song or one episode of a series or the trailer of a movie. And there is the complication that different jurisdictions may treat things differently. I can see that if someone in Photoshop Lightroom does "Export at 4000px" and then "Export at 500px" then it is hard to argue the resulting JPGs are different works of copyright -- after all, media wiki and other web sites frequently resize and crop images automatically. But there is a complication for two apparently similar photos, that we don't know how they were made and even if they came from the same negative/raw file. Photographers may release to their clients proofs, early drafts, in low resolution for them to review and choose which to buy. They may then do more work on the chosen frames such as retouching skin blemishes, altering colours, etc, which is likely to be a creative act enough to generate a new work of copyright. Then the tiny proof and the finished high-resolution image are separate works. I don't think we get many paintings on Commons that are not themselves out-of-copyright. So the conclusion from the debate for us was that (a) photographers would be unwise to think that they can be confident to keep their high-resolution image safe from someone trying to apply a CC licence they thought only applied to the low resolution image -- that might not work everywhere and (b) Commons can't be confident that they are the same work-of-copyright so best to avoid upload and (c) photographers were historically misled by CC/WMF. My personal feeling is that using analogies is dangerous because it is an attempt to rationalise the law from one's own amateur understanding -- when all that matters is what judges somewhere have decided, even if you think it is irrational. And none of this gets tried in court. So the best we can do is take the "advice" from CC/WMF-legal. -- Colin (talk) 18:23, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
@Colin: Yes, but that is conflating what could be a derivative work (amount of copyrightable expression added to existing work) versus a partitioning of the work by the original author, and is not the same thing. I.e., is there a way the author can partition their work such that version B still contains copyrightable expression not found in version A -- in which case they can freely license version A as a "work", but still not license version B. Somebody else cropping a work would not create a new derivative work -- the license remains the same as the original. But the original author making a crop, then only licensing the crop, that can be OK -- the crop is licensed afterwards but the full original is not, presuming the original contains copyrightable expression not present in the crop. If it does not, then licensing the crop also has the effect of licensing the original. So, that is the key question -- where countries draw the line on what exactly is the copyrighted expression. For a painting, a crop would be no question -- the portions not seen in the crop are still separate copyrightable expression, so you cannot use the original based on a license of the crop. For a photograph, it may depend much more country-by-country -- a court could decide that the angle, framing, etc. was identical between the two, and thus all expression was licensed via the cropped version. I do think that could be a real issue now that I think about it, and we shouldn't be too sure -- but also, since it's possible a judge would allow that type of restriction, we should probably follow those wishes. But we probably should repeat the CC warning. I think I originally read their opinion as being based on what makes a derivative work, but now I think that interpretation is wrong -- it is more a matter if the author can actually make a version which contains only a subset of the copyrightable expression -- that may depend on the type of work, and is perhaps less likely for photographs. Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:48, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
A photographer often makes technical choices to get a sharper image, this is a subset of the copyrightable expression which is lost in low-res. Oliv0 (talk) 07:51, 19 November 2016 (UTC)
A possibility... but if there is only one aspect, that may not be enough. For the U.S. at least, it's not simply that a choice was made -- there has to be creativity involved. For similar reasons, the U.S. will generally not copyright based on a color -- the author was going to choose *some* color, and the choice is arbitrary (aesthetic attractiveness is not a copyrightable aspect), so that aspect is not copyrightable in a drawing -- it would be based on the actual lines drawn. And in this area, very small details matter, as I'm guessing the judge would be looking for a way to rule in the author's favor (the general trend in such cases), but there may be arguments in favor of all expression being licensed in certain cases. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:37, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Discussion of AN & RFD requests ?

@Jcb, Steinsplitter, Jameslwoodward, King of Hearts, Fauvirt: it is about time to ping users who contributed to the AN request or the RFD but not here. Oliv0 (talk) 08:51, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

I am by no means expert in the very fine points of US copyright law, but as I understand it, a photograph is a "work" as that term in used in the law - that is to say, when you expose the film or the digital film, you create a "work" and it is that work that is licensed. You can create a separate work by, for example, colorizing the image, but simply printing it (on paper) at 8x10 inches would not create a different work from a 16x20. Thus, I see no way that you can license an image one way at one size and another at a different size.

In fact, the whole question of what resolution means is ambiguous. Thirty years ago, I was one of the founders of Iris Graphics which made the first high quality ink jet printer. Our first model could print only one of the three primary colors or black to each pixel. We achieved a range of colors by dithering, so it took a block of four pixels on a side to produce a range of colors and although our first printer put down 300 pixels per inch in each direction, the image was not very good. The breakthrough for the company came when we were able to control the size of the dots, so that we could achieve any color on any single pixel. The same thing happened in laser printers. Originally they were 300 dpi, but each dot was either on or off. Now, the dot size can be controlled and 300 dpi is a much higher quality print.

Therefore the effective meaning of "300 pixels per inch" or a "three megapixel image" has changed dramatically over the last thirty years, from low quality to good quality. It will certainly change again in the future. Offset printing, by far the most common means of printing on paper for newspapers, magazines, books, and almost everything else, uses a halftone screen to control the look of images. The most common screen size for good quality magazines and books is 135 (holes per inch). The very best quality is 180. It is possible that computer printer makers will find a way to use screen technology to make better prints and then 135 per inch would become a good quality image.

Copyright takes a very long view of things -- after all, a copyright may easily last 120 years -- so that trying to license something using today's terms is little like someone in 1960 saying that he will license a postcard one way and a 16x20 inch print of the same image another way -- those restrictions are more or less meaningless today. Similarly, trying to license a digital image by using today's language will undoubtedly be meaningless in the future.

So, my bottom line is one exposure, one image, one work, one copyright, one license for all sizes and qualities. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 13:53, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Jim, I think your description is useful to explain why resolution/size restrictions are hard to apply to one's concept of what a "work of copyright" is. However, as Carl says above, a copyright owner can choose to licence and sell their work in any way they wish. The purchase of a postcard gives one rights that are rather restricted to the little piece of card. A broadcaster may transmit a piece of music that is free for anyone with a radio to enjoy, but only (legally) at that time and only once. And so on. When one makes a purchase of an image from a stock photo agency, very often there are different fees for different sized JPGs, and paying for the low-resolution copy does not give one a licence for the high-resolution copy (assuming one found a way to get hold of it).
I think the important thing is that The Definition of Free Cultural Works which underpins Commons, requires the "work of copyright" to be free. It isn't about giving away "free copies" such as playing a recording free, distributing prints for free or offering fixed-resolution JPGs or low-quality MP3s for download for free. Additionally, for Creative Commons licences to satisfy our Definition, they also apply the licence to the "work of copyright". That's the scope of the licence and we choose not to accept a smaller scope just as we choose not to permit -NC or -ND files.
In the past, quite a lot of us thought that the CC licence applies only to the file being uploaded to Commons or Flickr, and some material from CC/WMF also mislead people in the past, as it encouraged artists to upload low-quality images/sound/video while thinking the CC licence did not extend to their higher-quality copies. Even today, the Upload Wizard is unhelpful: "This file is my own work. I __ the copyright holder of this work, irrevocably grant anyone the right to use this work under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 license" seems to define the work in terms of the file. It would be better if it contained a link to a definition of "work". -- Colin (talk) 17:38, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Jim, I don't think that is quite correct. You seem to also be conflating a "derivative work" with "work". Take, for example, a painting. That is one work. If an author wants to license just the top right corner, that portion is also a "work" -- it contains original expression by the author, so that author can license that. But the rest of the painting would not be licensed in that situation -- as there is separate expression in the rest of the painting. The crop would not be a derivative work, of course, but they are still both "works", where the expression is owned by the original author, by law. CC cannot prevent such partitioning (nor would they want to) -- the author gets to define the "work" in question. For a painting, I think a high-resolution version would likely contain expression not seen in a lower-resolution version -- in which case, the license on the lower-res version would not license *all* of the expression in the original, thus the author can still claim full copyright on that original. I would agree that specific "300 pixel" wording can be nonsensical -- but if they provided an image file, than that is the work which is licensed. We should only upload another version of the file only if it does not contain additional expression not present in the licensed version. Now, when it comes to a photograph... that is where the definition of "expression" in law gets more problematic. For a photo, that is elements like the angle, framing, etc. -- and most of the time, those same elements are equally present in a lo-res version. So, it's very possible that all of the original expression is licensed even in a lo-res version, meaning there is no unlicensed expression for the author to fall back on, and that is a danger that authors should be aware of when licensing such works (and I think is the basis for CC's wording -- it comes down to what the relevant law defines as the "work", and if the law would consider the hi-res version as containing additional copyrightable expression). But it would be a risk without actual court judgements to assume that this is always the case for photographs, so per COM:PRP I would not assume there is definitely no additional expression in a higher-res version. There should not be any restrictions on what we can do with a file once licensed, so if the wording could be construed as a restriction on usage, that would make it non-free to me. But I think a lot of people (myself included) originally read CC's wording as relating to what defines a "derivative work", which is why it made little sense to me at first, but thinking about in terms of what exactly constitutes the copyrightable expression -- i.e. a "work" -- it does make more sense. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:12, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
Of course a creator can license a work in many different ways. I have done that myself as the creator. In a different context on Commons, I have pointed out that that it is typical for a novel's first serial rights to be licensed to magazine A, US hardback rights to publisher B, paperback rights to publisher C, UK rights to publisher D, audio book rights to E and movie rights to studio F. This is done with a separate agreement for each. And yes, of course, chapters from a book or a crop from an image can also be licensed separately from the whole work. You probably can even license a Large Print Edition to publisher G. Seven licenses and I haven't mentioned Australia, or translations.
The issue here, though, is different. The same image in two different resolutions is not two different works and the CC licenses cover the "work" as the USCO and its counterparts around the world define it. I doubt very much that the USCO would register a copyright for the same image at two different resolutions. This assumes, of course, that they are the same work -- that if you resampled the high res version down that they would be identical (ignoring compression artifacts). If the photographer makes a copy of the file at low res and then goes in and creatively Photoshops (even if it is subtle) a high res version, then they are, indeed, different works, but that is not what we are discussing here. .     Jim . . . . (Jameslwoodward) (talk to me) 14:53, 21 November 2016 (UTC)
Yes, a larger resolution version can be a separate "work". It cannot be a "derivative work". The USCO, when it comes to registrations, will just based on "derivative work" status. If you register a painting, you can then license half the painting -- but keep full copyright on the other half. It does not matter that the USCO would not register the half work separately (since the original was registered) since all of the expression has already been registered -- but since the full painting contains expression not licensed in the one half, you can still have a perfectly valid free license on half the painting. Again, this is the difference between "derivative work" and "work", which are defined differently in the law. CC is referring to "work"; USCO registrations will register based on "derivative work". It comes down to the question of does version A of the work contain copyrightable expression not found in version B -- and if so, then a license for version B cannot be valid for version A, since there is additional expression which must be licensed. This is a question the USCO does not have to deal with, so none of their decisions are helpful. Not sure there has been a court case, either. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:25, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

This seems pretty clear-cut to me. Per The Definition of Free Cultural Works includes "the freedom to make and redistribute copies" and "There must be no limit on the amount of information that can be copied." Given that the Definition talks about works, and different resolutions of the same image are considered the same work, any license that does not allow free copying and reuse of instances of the work which are in high resolution, is not a free license and inappropriate for using on Commons. What the CC license does or does not say is irrelevant; this is a more fundamental issue.

Thus, yes, the policy should be changed to say that Commons does not accept images with low-resolution restrictions. (Or it should be changed to make it clear that we do not fully adhere The Definition of Free Cultural Works.) Such images should be deleted (presumably after giving time for wiki projects with a compatible EDP to copy them). --Tgr (talk) 00:45, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

An author can define the "work" being licensed -- always. If they take a portion, they can license that freely, and that should be OK. They should not be able to restrict what you do with that work once licensed. So, sloppy wording can change something from the first situation (simply defining the work being licensed) into the second (trying to restrict what you do with it). If, by law, a lo-res version contains all of the expression -- then yes that would also license the hi-res version. But if, by law, there is additional unlicensed expression in the hi-res version, then we cannot. It is a very complicated determination, and given the lack of court precedents, it's one that we should not make. You are assuming that "different resolutions of the same image are considered the same work" but that is absolutely not always the case. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:16, 21 November 2016 (UTC)


There is a lot of misreadings in this argumentation. When discussing a legal point you can't just pull out a sentence out of a reference text and make inferences on it, disregarding the rest. A legal discussion must always take into account all the available text(s). Otherwise you come out with a statement that indeed is literally true in its context, but is heavily context dependent. And usually the basic error of "armchair lawyers" is to extend that partial statement as a general rule, use it outside of its context, and try to solve another context with a radically unfit tool. The legal meaning is what a judge says it is, not only a matter of inferences on literal formulations, but essentially a matter of meaning, taking into account the whole context.

  • "A free license associated to a published file applies only to that specific publication, not to the work it represents".

If a thumbnail version of a professional photograph is released with a CC license, and a poster version of the same photograph is published under "all rights reserved", the two published files are derivatives from the professional photograph, but the right holder has only released the thumbnail file under a CC license, AND he can do whatever he pleases with his rights, AND if you do not respect his will then you infringe his rights, pay the fine and go to jail. But when it comes in front of a judge, "respect his will" does not necessarily means respect the literal formulation he has used.

You may use the thumbnail CC file and do whatever you want with it, including changing the picture format to a poster size - the point is that in that case, whatever you do, you will not have the same level of details as the "all right reserved" version. What you cannot do is take the poster version, and pretend that since the thumbnail has been released under a CC license, the CC is transferred from the thumbnail to the poster version, because it is "the same work". No. If you want to use the thumbnail file under CC license, all you have to do is to be able to prove, that what you are using is indeed the thumbnail version - not the poster one. In that case, the legal discussion will boil down to a proof of origin. If you can prove that your file can be derived from the thumbnail version, you win. If the right owner can prove your file must be derived from the poster version, he wins, you pay and you go to jail. Easy enough.

The whole point is about being able to prove the link from your derivative to the thumbnail, and/or disprove any link from your derivative to the poster. This may be theoretically impossible to do in some cases: is someone is perverse enough to release a 1000x1000 thumbnail version under a CC license and reserve all rights on a 1001x1001, logically there is no way you can prove that your poster-size photoshopping comes from the 1000x1000 version, not the other one. But the cases we are discussing are usually clear-cut : if both a thumbnail (low resolution) and a poster (high resolution) have been published, then examining the small details will easily show which version has been used in a derivative work. "Resolution", in that case, does not mean the number of pixels, but the level of details - a thumbnail increased to a poster size will never look like the published poster. And if the difference can't be made, then basically the low resolution may be assumed by the judge - and that is all that matters.

  • "Can I apply a CC license to low-resolution copies of a licensed work and reserve more rights in high-resolution copies?" : this FAQ discusses the case where a file is associated to a "CC but low-res only", and simply says that the additional restriction is not part of the CC, and if you do not respect that restriction, "you may be breaking the terms of use of the site, but you are not infringing the CC license". If a poster is published with a "CC for 300x300 thumbnail versions", all you have to do is make such 300x300 version, store it (for instance, publish on Commons) under CC for reference, and do whatever you want with it - including increase it to a poster size. (1) Your CC thumbnail respects what the license owner has stated, and (2) you will be able to prove that whatever derivative has been made with the thumbnail version.
  • What makes a separate work of copyright ? Indeed, "releasing a photograph under a CC license will give the public permission to reuse the photograph in a different resolution" - but be careful, what can be reused in that case is the same file. As stated in the FAQ, the point is "digitally enhancing or changing the format of a work" : you can increase the resolution and make some pĥotoshop improvement on it, and the question discussed by the FAQ is whether the result is "the same work" or a "derivative work" with respect to copyrights law - the point is irrelevant for our discussion. And what "resolution" means at that point of the FAQ is not "level of detail", but "number of pixels".
  • "permission under a CC license is not limited to a particular copy" - true enough in the general case, but don't forget the rest of the sentence : "someone who receives a copy in high resolution may use it under the terms of the CC license applied to the low-resolution copy". The reverse is not true: someone who receives a copy in low resolution under the terms of the CC license may not apply it to the high-resolution copy.

    As said above, the legal point boils down to being able to prove the origin of your derivative. If you use a poster-size non-free file to make a 300x300 derivative thumbnail, and a thumbnail is elsewhere available under CC, then you can pretend your derivative is the thumbnail and use it as CC. Theoretically that is illegal, but since nobody can make the difference, the judge won't make any difference, so nobody cares - that's what the FAQ states. But then, what's the point of doing that? if the thumbnail is available under CC, just use it and forget the poster-sized version.

  • "the image comes from a book and that image can be scanned and uploaded here at whatever resolution the person scans it" - no. Unless the book releases the image under a CC license, that specific version is not free and you may not use it. If the book specifically states that 300x300 scans are CC but other rights are reserved, then you may do exacly that : a 300x300 scan, and place it under CC, and then make any derivative you want as long as you can keep the proof it comes from your 300x300 version. If the book says nothing and a thumbnail version is available somewhere under CC licence, use the thumbnail - you won't be able to prove your scan version does not come from the book.

Michelet-密是力 (talk) 08:42, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

I don't buy your interpretations. Certainly you say ""someone who receives a copy in high resolution may use it under the terms of the CC license applied to the low-resolution copy". The reverse is not true: someone who receives a copy in low resolution under the terms of the CC license may not apply it to the high-resolution copy." but in fact that's exactly how I read that sentence; if there is a copy of the low-resolution version under the CC license, you may use the copy of the high resolution work under that license.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:27, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Don't we need an official professional advice here? I believe the WMF has money for things like hiring a lawyer if they need it, now what is the right place to require such a thing? Oliv0 (talk) 09:27, 29 November 2016 (UTC)


OK, given the previous discussion, the problem probably lies in the {{PD-old-warning-text}} :

You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.

  • An additional tag is needed only if the work was published after 1923.
  • If the work was published after 1923, there may be a problem in the US, but also in the publication country.

So it seems to me the real warning should be :

If this work was published after 1923, you must also include a public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain both in the United States and in its country of publication.

Michelet-密是力 (talk) 11:44, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Any opinion? Michelet-密是力 (talk) 14:57, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
I'll make a new section but feel free to add something in that one if you feel those points need clarification. Michelet-密是力 (talk) 10:11, 4 December 2016 (UTC)


Of course I agree that if a {{PD-1923}} is added to a {{PD-old-100}} then we can be assured that there is no problem, or that a {{PD-old-70-1923}} tag implicitly shows that there is no problem in the publication country: As far as I know, the USA is the only country where posthumous works published less than 50 years ago can still not be PD. But that is not my point,

I'm concerned (1) by the {{PD-old-100}} tag used alone and (2) its warning formulation.
  • For virtually all PD files eligible for Commons that are labeled PD-old-100, the {{PD-old-100}} means the publication is old enough, and a {{PD-old-warning-text}} is unnecessary. So in that case, the warning should not be "You must also include a United States public domain tag" which is false 99.9% of the time, but a more friendly "If (though PD-old) this work was published after 1923 [then check further]". This being done, all "normal cases" can rest in peace, and the further checking is limited to recently published works.
  • The further checking should not be limited to the US, since a (recent) posthumous work may be not-PD under the publication country's legislation. So the warning should itself not be limited to the US, but also include the publication country.
You may be under the impression that if the US problem is cleared, then the publication country will cause no problem - that is dead wrong. If for instance an unpublished US geological survey photograph taken in 1903 is published in 2014 in the French publication "Pour la Science", then this photograph has no protection in the USA (since it is the production of a federal agency) BUT it is protected under French law until 01/01/2040 (the normal protection delay -be it collective or individual work- has expired without it being published, so the new protection after publication is publication date+25 years). In such a case, the {{PD-old-100}} would be legitimate, a {{PD-USGov}} would be fine, but an expected {{Posthumous-PD|France|2014}} tag would incorrectly state something like "Though published after the legal protection delay has expired, this work is PD in France, because it was published in 2014" - the template can easily check by itself that "France" is associated to a 25-years protection, or a bot can do the same thing.
Michelet-密是力 (talk) 10:11, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 100 years or less.

  You must also include a United States public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States.

So, after (lengthy above) discussion :

  • For the {{PD-old-100}} tag, the warning should be something like "If (though PD-old) this work was published less than 100 years ago, you must also include a public domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain both in the United States, and in its country of publication."
  • A {{Posthumous-PD|Country|date}} tag can add "Though only published in '[Country]' in [date], this work is PD in [Country], because in this publication country, unpublished work is [protected nnn years]." (the "nnn" part can be automated).
  • A {{Posthumous-PD|Country}} tag can easely default to "Though only published in '[Country]' in [date], this work is PD in [Country], because in this publication country, unpublished work is not protected.".

Can there be an agreement on that? Michelet-密是力 (talk) 10:11, 4 December 2016 (UTC)

I just don't see the problem with the PD-old-XXX series. They are all treated identically; not sure what is special about the -100 version. If used, it is the "country of origin" tag, and it implies there is no publication issue in that country -- if there is, then the file should be straight-out deleted regardless of U.S. status. So, I don't see the need for the other posthumous tags. However, most tags are specific to one country's laws, and we have a completely separate set of tags for U.S. copyright status, since there is so little overlap. So in general, yes, most files should have two tags, given the "PD in the country of origin and the US" policy. For very old works (i.e. well beyond the 100 years, and ones that often predate copyright itself), the PD-old tags are often just given alone, since the distinctions are highly unlikely to matter, and people seem fine with that. So yes, the tag will still have that verbiage, since it's included in all the PD-old-XXX tags via templates, but realistically the U.S. portion would only have possible issues if it's still relatively close to that 100 years -- anything significantly older almost never would. If you are advocating a "PD-veryold" type of tag for works say before 1800, where all copyrights (including those based on publication) are presumed expired in all countries as they often predate copyright protection itself, maybe that would make more sense. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:20, 5 December 2016 (UTC)
You don't see ?!?
  • Please read again and try to understand what has already been written above, after "I'm concerned (1) by the {{PD-old-100}} tag used alone and (2) its warning formulation." The problem is stated as clearly as possible. Is it too complicate for you? Is my English unclear? Can you single out the sentence(s) you fail to understand?
  • My concern is about the {{PD-old-100}} because this is the one that is used for "very old" works ; and that is the one for which " "You must also include a United States public domain tag" is false 99.9% of the time". That is not true for other tags. What happens to other tags is none of my problem. Please do not bring them into that discussion, you are complicating things without necessity.
Your statement "If used, it is the "country of origin" tag, and it implies there is no publication issue in that country -- if there is, then the file should be straight-out deleted regardless of U.S. status" is wishful thinking, unrealistic. The tag implies nothing of the sort. How would the uploader detect the previous example is problematic (unpublished US geological survey photograph taken in 1903 is published in 2014 in the French publication "Pour la Science") if he has always heard of the 70pma rule and never a thing about the <.01% exception: a potential publication problem? the file will be flagged by the {{PD-old-100}} licence tag in good faith, he will read the text, ascertain himself that the author died more than 100 years ago, and end his researches. A honest contributor would thereby be fooled, "unaware of the problem and in good faith", showing that the present warning is inefficient and incorrect. And once the mistake has been done, how would you know the tag is incorrect and the file should be "straight-out deleted"? With my proposed warning, he would have the missing indication that he must also check the publication date, and if he nevertheless leave things as is, it cannot be "unaware of the problem and in good faith". My proposition would help honest contributors to avoid mistakes, that would otherwise be nearly unavoidable. And the Posthumous-PD tag is neded since the warning has stated the rule that "If (though PD-old) this work was published less than 100 years ago, you must also include a public domain tag" - that's the one that allows the honest contributor to fulfill that obligation.
"in general, yes, most files should have two tags" may be true in general, yes, but not in the PD-100 case, and that's the one I'm dealing with (remember?) - don't mess up the cases.
"For very old works [...], the PD-old tags are often just given alone" is indeed true, and that shows that the warning ""You must also include a United States public domain tag"" is a false statement. My point exactly. The contributor is in no obligation to do anything of that sort, in the PD-100 case, and that's the one I'm dealing with (remember?). Then why does the present tag officially states that, as if it were a community rule (you must)?
Michelet-密是力 (talk) 15:34, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Additional licensing replacement

It is possible to replace simple my additional license for my own uploaded photos from CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 to CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0 without problem? Or is it better to add the new license? --Alchemist-hp (talk) 14:34, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

I assume you are talking about files like File:Prof. Dr. Dieter Jahn HP 22818e.jpg where you are using multi-licensing to license a photo in at least one Commons-comptabible license (in this case {{FAL}}) and one or more non-compliant licenses (in this case CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0). Removing the license from your custom license template at {{User:Alchemist-hp/CC-BY-NC-ND}} would be very unfriendly, as existing reusers of your photos may be linking to the file pages on Commons as evidence that they are permitted to resuse your photos under the terms of the CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0. Updating your template will break that evidence trail (this is why custom user license templates are discouraged, updating them leaves no evidence on file pages of the change). Even if you did remove it, Creative Commons licenses are not revokable, so the CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 license will remain valid even if you were to remove the license tag from these older files. You, however, are free to add licenses to files you've already uploaded if you like. You could add CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 to your template {{User:Alchemist-hp/CC-BY-NC-ND}} so your old photos have both 3.0 and 4.0 and create a new template, say {{User:Alchemist-hp/CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0}} that only includes 4.0, and switch to using this new template on any new upload. —RP88 (talk)
Thanks for the answer, I understand. My decision: I'd like to add this new license: CC-BY-NC-ND-4.0 --Alchemist-hp (talk) 15:28, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Cut-off date for Public Domain files

Relevant discussion currently going on here: Commons:Village pump/Copyright#Cut-off date for .7B.7BPD-old.7D.7D. Sebari – aka Srittau (talk) 17:25, 11 February 2017 (UTC)

User contributions to the National Heritage List for England

The National Heritage List for England recently introduced a feature to its website to allow users to "enrich the list" by adding additional information and photographs. The terms for submitting photos to the list can be found here. The section dealing with licensing of the photos states:

"By submitting your Contribution (which for the avoidance of doubt includes photographs submitted by you) you grant to Historic England a non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable word-wide licence together with the right to grant sub-licences, to publish and use your Contribution (or any part of it) on or in connection with the List, the Website, and on or in other Historic England websites and publications, in any media, in any context and at any time for commercial gain or otherwise.

You (or the copyright owner) remain the owner of copyright in your Contribution but in addition to clause 5.3 (see paragraph above) you agree that users of the Website may copy, modify, edit, reproduce, display, publish or otherwise make use of all or part of your Contribution on a royalty free basis.

This seems to me to be a free enough license for the content to be re-used here. If that is agreed to be the case, which license should we use? An existing one, or should we create a custom template for photos from this source? Kelly (talk) 23:25, 5 January 2017 (UTC)

It is a pity no one has replied here. I think that is "free" for our purposes. I suppose a custom template would be desirable but not essential. Thincat (talk) 19:20, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

Droit d'importer la couverture d'un document officiel et public?

Bonjour, Dans le cadre du wikiMOOC, je prépare un article sur la charte de la personne hospitalisée parue le du 6 mars 2006. Je voudrais illustrer mon article avec la couverture du texte de la charte (qui est très colorée). Ai-je le droit? Je dois rendre mon article avant dimanche 9 avril minuit. Merci de votre réponse. --Astre06 (talk) 15:41, 4 April 2017 (UTC)

Bonjour Astre06,
Qu'entendez-vous par « très colorée » ? Ce document est-il visible en ligne ? En principe, tout document a un droit d'auteur, et il faut donc l'autorisation de l'auteur pour l'importer sur Commons. Si le document est très simple (que du texte factuel, ex : File:Gallimard Bibliothèque des Histoires.jpg), il n'y a pas d'originalité et pas de droit d'auteur. Cordialement, Yann (talk) 16:09, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
Merci Yann pour votre réponse. Voici la page en question, c'est uniquement la couverture que je souhaite importer sur Commons : Il s'agit d'un document public, puisqu'il est distribué à toute personne hospitalisée   Qu'en pensez-vous?--Astre06 (talk) 20:55, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
A priori, non. La couverture est complexe et possède un droit d'auteur. La seule possibilité serait que le document soit publié sous la « Licence Ouverte / Open Licence », mais je n'ai pas l'impression que ce soit le cas. En tous cas, aucune mention ici. Désolé. Yann (talk) 21:20, 4 April 2017 (UTC)
ok merci pour votre réponse, j'apprends   Thank you. et je viens de reposer la même question sur la page Commons Service d'aide, car j'avais oublié que j'avais une liste de suivi! J'apprends encore  --Astre06 (talk) 09:03, 5 April 2017 (UTC)

Question about Swedish Copyright

From what I think I know already, are there two separate laws regarding images. 1. "Photographic art" - with a long time of copyright - which isn't my problem - but 2. "Journalistic images" , pictures from newspapers which in principle could have been taken by anyone else at the time. (Or pretty much inline with that). I'm not certain but I think there is what's known as an "agreement", that stipulates pictures published (in newspapers and journalistic magazines) before 1967 now are free to use. But I have later noticed that the year now is changed to 1969. Here's the external link to the image I have learned this from
As the year has been changed, at least once, I wonder if this isn't about a fixed year at all - but 45 years ? And if so, would pictures from 1971 (or 1972 ?) now be free to use. But I'm not at all certain. I would very much appreciate help about this matter. Boeing720 (talk) 03:21, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Before 1994, "simple" photographs were protected 25 years from creation. This meant that photographs created before 1969 were in the public domain in 1994. Then the term was extended to 50 years after creation (49 a § URL), but it was not applied retroactively to photographs already in the public domain. Since 1969 is less than 50 years ago, that is and always has been the relevant date since the law was changed. More recent photographs will start to fall into the public domain each year from 2020 onwards, starting with photos taken during 1969, unless the law is changed again. LX (talk, contribs) 08:33, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
Hugh thanks for this excellent explanation. So a picture taken (and published in a newspaper) in 1971, is Public Domain by 2022 !? Extra thanks for that external link! Cheers Boeing720 (talk) 01:59, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Yes, (after some counting on fingers and toes) I reckon 2022 should be the year. :o) LX (talk, contribs) 06:06, 26 June 2017 (UTC)
Keep in mind that post-1969 images will have their U.S. copyright for 95 years from publication (or 70pma for non-corporate photos published 1978 or later), as they would have all been restored by the URAA (unless also published in the U.S. within 30 days of their publication in Sweden). So the "and free in the U.S" part of policy would not be satisfied. But since all the current pre-1969 photos were also PD in Sweden in 1996, none of those were restored. Carl Lindberg (talk) 12:33, 26 June 2017 (UTC)

Files by blocked accounts

Why do files by blocked accounts that were within scope and used on wikipedia get deleted as copyright violations even when there are none? 2405:4800:148C:91A0:E0EC:49C9:6ED6:9097 00:13, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Why do you ask?   — Jeff G. ツ 04:13, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, I was wondering the same thing. - Jmabel ! talk 04:51, 3 August 2017 (UTC) - clarification: I was wondering whey we systematically delete such files, not why the anonymous user asked. (I can guess all too well why the anonymous user asked.) - Jmabel ! talk 14:41, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
@Jmabel: It seems that the files directly uploaded by users who then violated our rules so egregiously as to then be blocked no longer deserve AGF. Files uploaded by their socks seem to deserve ABF.   — Jeff G. ツ 16:45, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
I'd say it should depend on the reason for blocking, surely? If a user was blocked for uploading multiple copyright violations, then, yes, it would make sense that we assume other files they upload to also be suspicious. If the user was blocked for being rude and obnoxious to other users, but believed in our free content mission, then I wouldn't think that would be a reason to assume their content contributions would necessarily be copyright violations. --GRuban (talk) 17:01, 3 August 2017 (UTC)


User:Hockei/license-4.0 has been listed at Commons:Deletion requests so that the community can discuss whether it should be kept or not. We would appreciate it if you could go to voice your opinion about this at its entry.

If you created this user page, please note that the fact that it has been proposed for deletion does not necessarily mean that we do not value your kind contribution. It simply means that one person believes that there is some specific problem with it.

Please remember to respond to and – if appropriate – contradict the arguments supporting deletion. Arguments which focus on the nominator will not affect the result of the nomination. Thank you!

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This is a license up for deletion, I thought you might like to know.   — Jeff G. ツ 17:57, 4 August 2017 (UTC)

Cartoon does not explain why Commons does not accept "noncommercial" licenses.

The cartoon does not explain why Commons does not accept "noncommercial" licenses. It merely argues that you should consider not releasing material under a "noncommercial" license because "by forbidding commercial applications you are forbidding your photographs from being used on inexpensive DVDs and books published by Wikipedia". It doesn't even mention Commons, and it doesn't explain why this is the case. (Possibly because it is not the case?) I suggest that the caption be revised. Hawkeye7 (talk) 00:28, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Why what is the case?--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:03, 6 June 2017 (UTC)
ASFAIK, the decision not to accept material licensed only under a non-commercial license on Commons was taken in the very early beginning of Commons and likely by our "founding fathers". Already in 2004, our policy-page COM:L mentioned that non-commercial licences are "incompatible with other Wikimedia projects"[1]. Every now and then this decision is debated, as it excludes us from a lot of high-quality content by professional photographers. On the other hand, the seemingly clear definition of "non-commercial" actually isn't that clear in court, as a number of verdicts have shown. --Túrelio (talk) 06:36, 7 June 2017 (UTC)
The goal of the Wikimedia movement was from the very fist steps not to collect "high quality" content but free content (what doesn't exlude high quality indeed). Free not in the meaning of "no money" but free in the meaning of freedom. Basically the same idea as with free software (Linux etc.) in the IT world. -- 12:27, 12 June 2017 (UTC)

@Hawkeye7: I was just trying to figure out why we do not accept noncommercial licenses, came across the comic, and got really confused. I fully agree that it does not explain why we do not accept noncommercial licenses. To be honest, I still do not know why we do not accept non-commercial licenses (unless the IP above me is the reason, which seems like a really poor reason IMO), so it would be good to clarify in this page. If that is the reason, I think this page would be a good place to put it. Kees08 (talk) 01:35, 2 August 2017 (UTC)

It's as it says; because forbidding commercial applications is a big limit on what can be done with the files. There are philosophical reasons, as well; I'm sorry if you don't see philosophical reasons as valid, but they do undergird how things are made. I, and many other people, wouldn't be here if it were yet another NC licensed thing that couldn't be copied freely.--Prosfilaes (talk) 05:32, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
Yes, it is the "free software" type of idea. Policy does link to which may explain it better. The cartoon is not great, but it does try to explain it a little. A non-commercial restriction is actually a very serious restriction on the use of such works -- it is not limited to for-profit companies, but is more defined if anyone (including non-profits or individuals) uses it to raise money in any way. The definition makes it harder to find works we are able to host, but it also means the ranges of possible subsequent uses of the works is far, far greater. The emphasis is on that latter aspect. Carl Lindberg (talk) 15:04, 2 August 2017 (UTC)
I guess the disconnect for me is that if we can use the images on Wikimedia, because the license allows us to use it on Wikimedia, we should use it on Wikimedia. An explanation which seemed more logical to me is that certain Wikimedia Foundation projects which use these images do not allow for non-commercial licenses. Since they do not permit media with non-commercial licenses, and one of the goals of Wikimedia Commons (set forth by the project scope) is to be a media repository for the Wikimedia Foundation, Wikimedia Commons cannot use content with non-commercial licenses. The other portion of the project scope, "that makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to all", is in-line with the comic, but I think including half of the scope in the comic and leaving the other half out is confusing. I think it would also be beneficial to include information that non-commercial is inline with the project scope, and to link to the page. I recommend that we add a non-commercial section to the aforementioned page, and describe in more detail why Wikimedia Commons does not allow it by including information from this discussion (assuming I understood this all correctly :) ). I can help write it up, or at least try to write a draft, if there is interest. As of right now, it looks like it was tacked onto the page later, with wording such as "Media licensed under non-commercial only licenses are not accepted either." Hope I did not ramble too much, I am interested in making things more clear if possible to help out future confused individuals! Kees08 (talk) 00:30, 3 August 2017 (UTC)
Right, the policy goes beyond what is simply legal for Wikimedia to use, as it is intended to only host "free" works. The concept of "free" includes commercial uses, so a non-commercial restriction means it is not "free". Wikipedia is "the free encyclopedia" -- the "free" in that description directly references that concept of "free", not simply free of charge -- Wikipedia content should also be free works. You can not import CC-BY-NC text as part of an article. Technically, CC-BY-NC images would be legal to use on Wikipedia itself (since they are not derivative of the article text but are separate works), but they are normally not welcome there because that would impact the ability for others to copy articles (as Wikipedia content should be usable elsewhere for commercial purposes -- that is the point). They would only use such images if the use also conformed to their fair use policy. Since basically all Wikimedia projects have the "free" concept at their core, there is not much use for NC images etc. on Wikimedia projects at all, so hosting NC works would not help any of those projects either. The WMF licensing resolution specifies that all Wikimedia projects should only host "free" content. Individual projects are allowed to have limited exceptions which may be needed for a reasonable product (such as fair use on Wikipedia), but if you look Wikimedia Commons is explicitly barred from any such exceptions. So the prohibition actually goes beyond project policy -- it is mandated by the WMF. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:54, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
The whole argument is circular: we don't accept non-commercial works because we don't; we don't consider non-commercial works to be "free" because we don't. For me, and for most people, "free" always means "no money". The reasons may well be ideological as you suggest. I welcome Kees08's suggestion. A lot of us have to deal with CC-BY-NC works on a regular basis, and I think there would be great benefit from having the reasons clearly and forthrightly explained. Hawkeye7 (talk) 01:04, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
The cartoon goes a little bit into why the WMF made that decision initially. However, yes, the "free encyclopedia" means en:Free content, not free of charge. If you go to Wikipedia, and find the "free encyclopedia" slogan at the top, and click through the word "free", that is where you get. See also en: Definition of Free Cultural Works. For better or worse, that concept has been at the core of all WMF projects since the start. A non-commercial restriction very much impinges what you can do -- perhaps even making a disc or printed version of article entries, then selling them to either raise funds or even just to recoup the cost of printing, could be an issue. The "free" movement has generally decided that non-commercial restrictions are too restrictive. The general idea is that you should not *have* to worry about how you use it for works that you find here; just the attribution (and possibly the license of what you make, if a share-alike license is used). That would not be the case of a non-commercial restriction -- you are then restricted as to where and how you use your resulting work. If that works for you, great, but that does not work for the philosophy of Commons and other WMF projects. I don't like the cartoon all that much, especially as a non-commercial restriction may make a lot of sense for many authors for perfectly valid reasons -- the cartoon seems to indicate it's always a bad idea, which I would disagree with. However, this is not the site to upload those works. I'm sorry if you took "free" to mean "free of charge", but that is not the definition used, and never has been -- that was a formative decision made by the WMF (and other open content movement folks) many years ago, and it is a bedrock policy for all WMF projects, most especially Commons. It is the "free as in speech", not "free as in beer", as goes one of the more common disambiguation examples. See en:Gratis versus libre -- that goes over the differences, and the (all too common) misunderstandings of such. Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:10, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
Just to be clear, myself (and I believe Hawkeye7) understand you completely. However, we both came to the talk page because we were trying to figure out a full, well-defined reason that Wikimedia Commons does not accept non-commercial works. A comic, which you admit you do not like, is the main explanation that currently exists. I am offering to type up a more clear explanation, and have you folks look at it to verify its accuracy, and then we could add it as a section to this page. Does that make more sense? I just did a search for non-commercial and for noncommercial on the page, and there is not a single explanation on the page outside of the comic. Let me know, I would be happy to type up the first draft! Kees08 (talk) 06:39, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I don't see any point in duplicating Commons:Licensing/Justifications, but feel free to make improvements there or suggest them on its talk page. LX (talk, contribs) 08:52, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I also came seeking an explanation, not because I don't understand you, but because I have to explain it to other people. And in Australia, commercial speech is not considered free speech, so the free beer/speech example often does not help me. Hawkeye7 (talk) 23:47, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I found a better essay here. I talks about an "ideology of free culture" and there is a counter-arguments section that convincingly rejects it. Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:45, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Also, if anyone uses it to raise money in any way does include the WMF with those large fundraisers, right? --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 19:07, 4 August 2017 (UTC)
Only if we use those images to fundraise, like if we used them in the banner. Kees08 (talk) 17:27, 5 August 2017 (UTC)
I just searched for how german courts interpreted the NC module of the CC licences, and actually it’s even worse than I thought: OLG Köln (higher regional court of Cologne) decided (Az. 6 U 60/14) that "non-commercial" means "private-use only". --Nenntmichruhigip (talk) 21:13, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
The court noted differences between the German-language licence and the English one, so the ruling does not apply in English speaking countries. In the United States, a court ruled that unless commercial use is prohibited, Getty can charge third parties like Commons for hosting the images. [2] Hawkeye7 (talk) 22:57, 7 August 2017 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Licensing/Archive 38".