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Correction of innaccuracy in opening paragraph

The previous wording implied that the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation made a policy decision on this matter in July 2008, which is demonstrably not the case. In fact a board member clearly stated that board policy was unchanged. Commons policy, as long it does not contradict board policy, is determined by Commons. That occurred in this case and my change to the wording accurately reflects this. Note that this change only corrects a statement of fact and does not impinge on the documented policy. 9carney (talk) 21:20, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I reverted your edit, because the statement is quoted in full on the very page. And this quotation is linked in the very paragraph. So I don't understand why you would dispute it. And would you please explain, why you create a new account here on Commons for this one purpose? --h-stt !? 08:54, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Please do not edit warring and assume good faith.--Trixt (talk) 17:21, 18 January 2010 (UTC)

h-sst, I assume that (1) you refer to the paragraph entitled "The position of the WMF" when you say the statement is quoted in full on the very next page, and that (2) you mean that you believe the meaning of that paragraph is that the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation DID make a policy decision on this matter in July 2008.

The policies of the Wikimedia Foundation can be found at: The relevant one is Licensing policy (passed March 2007).

The contribution to the discussion made by Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation Erik Möller (User:Eloquence) is not an official statement by the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Erik's talk page contains the text: "Unless otherwise stated, any edit to Wikimedia projects by myself is an act of a regular member of the community and administrator, not a legal or official action".

But what did Erik actually say? He said "WMF's position has always been..." and "This is neither a policy change (at least from WMF's point of view)..." In short he said that WMF's policy has not changed but indicated that the contentious images are permissable within the existing (March 2007) policy. I suggest that a careful reading of that policy, and the definition of "Free Cultural Works" (authored by Erik Möller) contained within it, confirms the truth of Erik's statement.

The next paragraph says:

"Following this statement, a poll was held to determine policy, and the overwhelming view was that Commons should accept the PD-Art tag as being valid for photographs from any country. In August 2008, policy was changed accordingly."

That's what my change to the opening statement is all about; Commons policy was changed following a poll in July 2008, but there was no change to the WMF policy which had been in place since March 2007.

So if you can improve the opening statement while still keeping it factual then do so, but please don't revert to a version which contains the untrue suggestion that the board of the WMF did change policy when they didn't. 9carney (talk) 23:19, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

I suggest:

"according to an official statement on the position of the Wikimedia Foundation of July 2008."

This is short and to the point. Erik confirmed the official position in the statement at that time. The poll was only affirmative, not normative. --h-stt !? 18:30, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean by "affirmative, not normative". Your suggested wording uses the phrase "official statement" when there was no official statement. It would be true to say that there was an unofficial statement by an official. What occurred in July 2008 was that Wikimedia Commons (not WMF) voted to change their policy, and that should be mentioned. Erik's comments relating to long established WMF licencing policy was of great value to Commons in taking that decision but the only official action was that taken by Commons. No doubt the wording could be made more elegant. If Erik's contribution needs to be mentioned then it should be characterised as expert advice rather than an official statement.

For example

"Commons policy was changed in July 2008 after a vote following expert advice concerning Wikimedia Foundation's pre-existing licencing policy."

9carney (talk) 17:31, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

With affirmative I mean that the poll was meant to confirm an existing policy not create a new one. Therefore the intro should rely on the Foundations policy, not on the poll. Eriks statement was official as it confirmed an existing policy. And I repeat: Your account is single purpose and I flat out deny you to contribute to policy issues for this very reason. Contribute significantly to Commons under this account and come back later or be ignored in policy issues. --h-stt !? 11:29, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Can't we say that WMF's policy was "clarified" at that time, rather than "changed"? - Jmabel ! talk 19:23, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Why should we? What's wrong with my proposal above? But yes, if that resolves the issue make a suggestion along the word clarified. --h-stt !? 20:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

I think this is on the right track:

"The tag can be used on any such photograph regardless of the source country since July 2008 when, following clarification of WMF Policy,Commons voted to make the PD-Art policy less restrictive."

9carney (talk) 01:03, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Example requested

Me too?

I think that the PD-Art tag is also appropriate for a faithful reproduction of a page of a manuscript that has fallen into the public domain, but I see that some might dispute this, as a page of a manuscript might not be seen as a "work of art", a term that is used repeatedly on this page. I could especially see an objection if the manuscript were typewritten. Could someone add appropriate examples on this page that specifically state that PD-Art is appropriate for a manuscript? Tempshill (talk) 00:30, 22 January 2010 (UTC)

See {{PD-scan}} and Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag. They are subtly different, but meaningfully so in the UK (we think). Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:12, 26 January 2010 (UTC)


{{PD-Art|PD-old-auto|1938|1}} does not work correctly. For some reason the number years displayed is too high. --Saibo (Δ) 10:51, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

an assault on the very concept of a public domain

Agreed. One could go further and raise the spectre of fraud under section 506 of the copyright act. See, for example, the last paragraph in this from The Rights and Reproduction Information Network (RARIN). David.daileyatsrudotedu (talk) 17:16, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

3D artwork in public parks and memorials

What is the policy for a photograph which includes sculpture(s) that are permanent installations in a public park or memorial? If the person taking the photograph releases the photo into the PD, but the 3D piece was created relatively recently, is it OK? The question arose over this image (located in Lisbon, dedicated in 1948, though made earlier to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Brazil's discovery in 1500). I was wondering how this would extend to similar works—e.g., the Vietnam and FDR Memorials in Washington D.C. that are recent creations with living artists, etc. I don't see any guidelines that explicitly seem to apply. Astynax (talk) 18:40, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

Recently created sculptures are generally only allowed in a few cases:
  • If the sculpture is in the public domain due to a legal exemption (e.g. a work produced by the U.S. federal government);
  • If the sculpture was released under a free license;
  • If the sculpture is in a country observing freedom of panorama for sculptures and fulfills the necessary terms; see Commons:Freedom of panorama;
  • If the sculpture forms a de minimis part of a larger composition.
Portugal has liberal freedom of panorama for sculptures while the United States does not, suggesting that the first image you linked is probably okay but the the Washington D.C. memorials are not. Dcoetzee (talk) 18:50, 24 October 2010 (UTC)

What about choice of lighting, colour correction et al.

The notion of 2D-art in itself strikes me as naive. Though it applies to any seemingly two-dimensional art take the striking use of pastose brush strokes f.e. in impressionism. There is nothing mechanical about their reproduction. I guess a lot of skill is required, which could be reason enough to impose rights on the pixel end result of the reproducer's effort. Your definitions could be broken.

1. Skill is irrelevant. Copyrightability arises from creative contributions to the digitization. 2. The lighting, colour correction, etc. in a typical digitization does not aim to be creative but to be uniform and accurate to the true colour of the original work. 3. We're concerned with photographic reproductions of paintings here, not painted reproductions, which are another matter. Dcoetzee (talk) 20:19, 28 June 2011 (UTC)


Can we add usage of {{Licensed-PD-Art}} to the instructions on this page? I had no idea that it existed. Thanks! - PKM (talk) 19:24, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

reproduction by painting

Hi, this guideline only speaks of photographs, but the question of 2D-reproductions can arise in connection with paintings too. Commons:Deletion requests/File:Wuestenschwimmer.jpg concerns a painting that is a reproduction of stone age rock paintings. The reproduction was first published in 1937, the painted died in 1951. Please voice your opinion in the Deletion Request. --h-stt !? 13:38, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

USA-centric language

Hi all, I note that the word "abroad" is used to mean (I imagine) "outside the USA". But readers may understand "abroad" to mean "outside one's own country" (which may not be the USA of course), "overseas" or "on another continent". Might some clearer wording be used please? Springnuts (talk) 00:13, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

  Done "abroad" -> "outside the United States". Rd232 (talk) 08:49, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Many thanks :) Springnuts (talk) 09:30, 23 November 2012 (UTC)

Stained glass / frames

I wonder if the stained glass example might include the phrase "under ordinary lighting" -- a photographer might have used or waited for a lighting effect that moves the photograph into the realm of copyright protection, but that under normal sun or gallery lighting, we should be safe. On the flip side, I think that the caution against picture frames is a bit too conservative -- if a painting is photographed head on in order to capture the painting as accurately as possible, I would hardly think that including or not including the frame would give it the necessary creative process to give copyright protection. Mscuthbert (talk) 16:27, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Change license from PD-Art to PD-Art|PD-old

Small discussion here. -- ΠЄΡΉΛΙΟ 18:47, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Add'l Example

User:ClueBot III/ArchiveNow Based on the rationale any photograph of an official portrait of a US Federal Official (and generally, of any 2D artwork (that is PD by virtue of something other than the work's age) I suggest we add this example:

Photograph of an official portrait of the current US President found on the Internet

 OK as long as the image is or appears to be a faithful reproduction of a 2D work, as {{PD-USGov}} applies to official portraits of sitting presidents.

--Elvey (talk) 08:07, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

No, I don't think that will work as this tag is designed for use when a 2D artwork has been photographed. It's the original subject, not the photograph of it, that has to be 2D. The US president is 3D, I believe.--MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:55, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
I doubt you really mean to say that this tag would be inappropriate for a photograph of the Mona Lisa. Lisa Gherardini (its subject) was 3D too. Perhaps you misread what I wrote; the title of this section contains two 'of's. Still, I've changed my mind about adding this one. --Elvey (talk) 01:43, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

More clarification when there is a notice of copyright claim

I faced with one question when I uploaded this picture which is considered to be PD-Art. The source of this picture include an explicit claim with the text that reads, "Images from the collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Not to be reproduced without permission." I posted this questions on Commons:Village pump and all editors who responded think that we don't need to worry too much about that notice, we don't need to ask for their permission and we don't need to include that notice. As a newbie who just started uploading the PD-Art, the notice is intimidating and almost scare me off from uploading. Some suggested adding some little note about it if we want to be thorough. I think it will be great if we have a very clear policy on what to do in this particular case so contributors are more comfortable with the PD-Art thing. If there is an example like below, it will be super clear to us and we will feel more comfortable that we do the right thing.

Photograph of an Old Master found on the Internet, but there is an explicit notice of copyright claim

 OK as long as the image is or appears to be a faithful reproduction of a 2D public domain work of art. As per WMF's position, it is considered to be in the public domain even when there is a notice about copyright claim. The uploaders should not include that notice when uploading to Commons because it could be confusing to people who will reuse the picture.

Any thought? Z22 (talk) 03:15, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

Good one. No 's' in 'uploaders' tho. --Elvey (talk) 01:51, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Clarification of which copyright can be ignored

Looking at Commons:Deletion requests/File:Figurins, Auca del Senyor Esteve, (1917).jpg I realized that the wording of the paragraph describing that foreign copyright can be ignored was not very clear as to which copyright it is talking about. The copyright that we do not care about is the copyright that (in some countries) arises when creating a reproduction. We do, however, care about the copyright of the work which is being reproduced and this needs to be PD in both the US and the country of origin. I tried to clarify this here, feel free to change the wording if you think it is not clear enough. Thanks and regards, --ChrisiPK (Talk|Contribs) 09:35, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Looks fine. I have just made a small change for consistency: exemption -> exception. --MichaelMaggs (talk) 11:37, 9 April 2014 (UTC)


Template {{PD-Art-100}} is not mentioned. Why? I think, it must be mentioned at the beginning of the page.

Timestamp for archive -FASTILY 05:13, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Add a new section on photos of old cave paintings under the "Examples" section?

Given this Village pump/Copyright discussion, would it be useful to add the example "Photograph of an old cave painting found on the Internet, or in a book" under the "Examples" section?

Photograph of an old cave painting found on the Internet, or in a book
Usually   Not OK Cave painting is usually done on a surface that is curved and uneven, which means that the resulting work has a 3D aspect which is different from a normal 2D painting on a flat canvas. As previously mentioned, {{PD-art}} cannot be used for photos of 3D works. (In addition, a photo of cave painting may incorporate creative input with regard to framing if the photo was intended to include only a portion of the original cave painting.) See this Village pump/Copyright discussion.

--Gazebo (talk) 03:40, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

When Not to Use PD Art Tag

This section is helpful. Although it may seem obvious, it would probably be useful to include a blurb similar to "PD art should not he used if the photograph contains any additional foreground or adjacent elements other than the art, such as mounting fixtures, borders, etc... ". There is already a statement about frames, but I would suggest expanding it... Dspark76 (talk) 09:42, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

Scans of coins

Recently Baomi asked me on my talk page if scans of coins can be considered PD-scans and I replied with “no” because coins are considered 3D objects, though I do make scans myself I have requested a large number of site owners if I am allowed to use their pictures 📷 with mixed success. Upon reviewing the policies and guidelines I keep finding the word “photographs” being used and not scans, as with banknotes a photograph isn't allowed as they create a new “creative angle” which is copyrighted, while scans of banknotes are acceptable as PD-scans. To this end I wonder if scans of coins that don’t show the 3D attributes of a coin can truly be considered to be copyrighted or PD-scans? I have personally always guessed them to be protected by copyright ©, but I want to know for sure if they are or not. 🤔📵

Sent 📩 from my Microsoft Lumia 950 XL with Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile 📱. --Donald Trung (Talk 💬) ("The Chinese Coin Troll" 👿) (Articles 📚) 10:49, 5 February 2018 (UTC)

@Donald Trung:no answer, maybe we can ask this question at Commons:Village pump/Copyright.--Baomi (talk) 07:49, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

if the scanned object itself is out of copyright, a scan of it, or even a photograph taken on an angle by you, can be uploaded by you, because you can give your upload a free licence. It is photographs of coins, or seals, or other 3D objects taken by others, that we cannot upload here. You just need to give it a dual licence. One for your creative work, and one for the artwork. --Wuselig (talk) 21:32, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Stained glass window photography

Our current advice says:

Although many materials such as stained glass and fabric possess some three-dimensional texture, at ordinary viewing distances this texture is essentially invisible. As long as the surface is not noticeably curved or tattered/broken, and the original work is old enough to have entered the public domain, it is considered a faithful reproduction of the original with no original contribution.

The reason we argue that PD-Art isn't appropriate for 3D objects is that "there is likely to be sufficient creativity in the lighting arrangements for the photographer to obtain a new copyright on the image." Although stained glass is basically 2-dimensional, the quality of stained glass photographs is almost entirely dependent on lighting. For example, fore-lighting may create glare and reflections, while the color of the back-lighting (neutral mid-day vs. warm dusk) affects the colors of the glass. The photographer could argue that this was a creative choice (however obvious) and thus they have a copyright on that aspect of the photograph, i.e. the lighting. Kaldari (talk) 18:28, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

@Clindberg, Yann, CBM, Jheald: Second opinions? Kaldari (talk) 18:31, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

The same window under different lighting conditions:

Clearly the lighting affects the photography of the glass, but is there enough creativity in choosing the lighting to claim a new copyright? In other words, can we really claim that photographs of stained glass are just slavish reproductions? Kaldari (talk) 18:44, 1 September 2018 (UTC)

If a photo is a straight-on photo of the glass, and nothing but the glass, you could possibly argue PD-Art. The lighting is usually not under control of the photographer, so they cannot claim that as part of their authorship. Possibly they could claim "timing", if they waited for the light to be just so, or something like that, but that seems pretty weak. Once the photo includes other stuff though, such as the three listed above (which have their own angles and framing), of course those photos have their own copyright. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:54, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
The colour of the lighting does affect an image, but this also applies to a photograph of a painting unless it is made under laboratory conditions using a color chart. It makes sense that a simple photo showing nothing but the glass should qualify for PD-Art, something like File:OLEM North window.jpg. However, the inclusion of surrounding masonry should not allowed under PD-Art, for the same reason that 3D picture frames are not allowed. PD-Art images with surrounding 3D content could be tagged with {{Non-free frame}}, but perhaps a variant of this template would be clearer. Also, images with something visible through the window should not be allowed under PD-Art. Verbcatcher (talk) 20:08, 1 September 2018 (UTC)
Return to the project page "When to use the PD-Art tag/Archive 2".