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certain anonymous works [...] are copyrighted until 70 years after the death of the author

This needs to be removed or rephrased, because it doesn't make sense now: if the author is anonymous, the date of their death cannot be established. // tsca [re] 19:16, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
If her/his children sue you, you'll know. Syrcro (talk) 15:21, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Language link templateEdit

I translated this tag also to finnish, so I created also a language link template, {{Anonymous-EU/lang}}. So could you include it to the English template, please. --Joku Janne (talk) 18:36, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

  Done--Anatoliy (talk) 23:25, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Is this template valid alone?Edit

Hello I just want to ask what you think: This template doesn't mention the US and I assume all files on Commons need to be free in the US. I fear that most files conforming to this template and created between 1926-1939 are indeed in copyright in the US, because they were still protected in EU on 1996-01-01 which means their copyright were restored with the URAA Act. See en:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights. Probably I'm all wrong - I hope so. Nillerdk (talk) 19:40, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Depends on the country. Common EU copyright rules stem from mid-1990's i think, and some current members did join significantly later so the length of protection at 1996-01-01 varied. Hungarian works, for example, are PD in the US if published before 1943 ({{PD-HU-unknown}} has the details). --Tgr (talk) 13:55, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Unpublished worksEdit

It might be worth mentioning that unpublished anonymous works (such as a family photograph), while still only protected for 70 years in the EU, enjoy 120 years of protection in the US. Also, the first one to publish such a work gets a semi-copyright for 25 years (which is probably only valid in the EU so Commons might or might not take it into account). --Tgr (talk) 13:51, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Wording on the licence not correct for unpublished worksEdit

For European works where the author is unknown and the work is greater than 70 years old and unpublished, the work should be in the public domain at 70 years duration [1]. One would think that this tag would be the one to use, however, looking at the wording used it only seems to consider published works, and ignores the unpublished. As the tag label is appropriate for the work, and there is no other appropriate tag, it would seem appropriate for the wording to consider published & unpublished works. If necessary, one would see that the tag would have options available via parameters if it was seen as necessary to switch between options.  — billinghurst sDrewth 12:59, 30 November 2010 (UTC)

We shortly had this question at the top of this page. If the authorship for a published work has not been claimed 70 years long it is assumed to be orphaned and thus PD. That is a different situation than for works that are now published for the first time and where the author possibly died after 1939 so that his heirs still could claim rights on his work. --Martina Nolte (talk) 18:50, 30 November 2010 (UTC) Edit: "orphaned" could be mistakable, therefore striked --Martina Nolte (talk) 21:33, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
There particularly is a note in the template explaining a special copyright situation in Germany and possibly other countries: In Germany §66 changed since 1. July 1995. Copyright for an anonymous work, created since 1. July 1995, expires 70 years after its first publication or - if unpublished and if the author does not announce his authorship in the meanwhile - 70 years after its creation. But, for works created before 1. July 1995 former law applies whenever prolonging the term of copyright. That is: copyright lasts until 70 years after the authors death (pma) if his name gets known within 70 years since the work's first publication or if the work is for the first time published after the author's death. Publication on Commons of previously unpublished works could thus induce the 70 year pma term; heirs could claim their full rights as long as the authors death hasn't happend before (currently) 1940. That means: Unpublished works of unknown authors have not to be uploaded as PD going back to a creation date in (round about) the mid of the 18th century. The tag can (!) be appropriate for published works, but is not applicable on unpublished ones. --Martina Nolte (talk) 21:33, 30 November 2010 (UTC)
My reading of the link (via a machine translation) is that some of the detail to which you refer is for pseudonymous works, not for anonymous works. Anonymous works are exactly that, and it would seem that we are being overly cautious and trying to put an extremely high bar in place to determine whether a work is anonymous or not. If some has heirs claiming copyright on a work, then they are not anonymous. So does the test come down to how much effort someone spends on putting into identifying whether a work is by an anonymous author. The law says seventy years post creation date for an anonymous work and we should not be trying to put in place a more restrictive rule than exists for works where the author is known.  — billinghurst sDrewth 07:40, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
Which link? There is a WIPO translation of the German UrhG (outdated since 2002, but § 66 UrhG is not outdated): §66 UrhG(en). 70 years after creation (§ 66 UrhG) is only for works created in or after 1995. According to § 137 f UrhG (en) (Where application of this Law in the version applicable as of July 1, 1995, reduces the term of an already existing right, protection shall lapse on expiry of the term of protection in accordance with the provisions applicable up to June 30, 1995.) the longer term of the old § 66 UrhG is applicable to older works (the older term is nearly every longer than the 1995-term). § 66old UrhG denies a special term for anonymous Werk der bildenden Kunst (~ work of visual arts without photographs, § 66old IV UrhG: "Die vorstehenden Bestimmungen sind auf Werke der bildenden Künste nicht anzuwenden."). The German copyright term for anonymous Werke der bildenden Kunst created untill 30 June 1995 is still 70 pma. sугсго 10:13, 1 December 2010 (UTC)
PD files on Commons have to be PD in their country of origin AND in the US. says for unpublished works that have never been registered in the US (independent from their origin): PD as of 1. January 2010 if they have been created before 1890. --Martina Nolte (talk) 01:16, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
@Clindberg: this issue still exists. This template requires the work to have been "made available to the public". How do we solve it? - Alexis Jazz ping plz 16:15, 1 December 2018 (UTC)
EU duration directive article 1(3) and 1(6) (which is the basis for this tag):
3. In the case of anonymous or pseudonymous works, the term of protection shall run for 70 years after the work is lawfully made available to the public. However, when the pseudonym adopted by the author leaves no doubt as to his identity, or if the author discloses his identity during the period referred to in the first sentence, the term of protection applicable shall be that laid down in paragraph 1.
6. In the case of works for which the term of protection is not calculated from the death of the author or authors and which have not been lawfully made available to the public within 70 years from their creation, the protection shall terminate.
So if not made available within 70 years of creation, copyright protection ends as well. It is not infinite. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:53, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

PD-EU-no author disclosureEdit

What is the difference between this template and {{PD-EU-no author disclosure}}? As it stands it's not clear when one should be used rather than the other. /Lokal_Profil 10:33, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

I think that the difference is:
So, the first include works which claim corporate ownership. In the second case, publication rights are expired.--Trixt (talk) 08:46, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
In copyright, made available to the public means published. Neither template covers the situation with works not being published within 70 years of creation, which is the only situation where the the term for anonymous works can be expired without the publication rights having expired long before, since publication rights is only 25 years. So that is not a difference. The two templates cover exactly the same images, as far as I can tell. And {{PD-anon-70}}, too, except that it tries to be less EU-specific. Some merging is in order. 09:13, 23 July 2011 (UTC)
This was briefly discussed before at Commons:Deletion requests/Template:PD-EU-no_author_disclosure#Part_2... but closed without a lot of discussion. There are one or two potential differences... The EU directives in this area use the term "making available to the public" and not "publication"... the two terms are very similar but not necessarily the same (broadcast, I think, counts as "making available" but not "publication"). The EU directive does use the two terms distinctly, so there must be a difference, but I'm not sure that is really enough reason to keep two separate tags though, as the intent appears to have been the same between the two. Even the publication rights section explicitly uses *both* terms, so that is 25 years from the making available to the public as well, so there is no potential issue there either. However, the EU directive, article 1, sections 3 and 4, describe slightly different situations -- the first one is for anonymous/pseudonymous works, which is 70 years from making available to the public, unless the author made their real name known during that period. Anonymous-EU uses that wording. Section 4 is slightly different -- for countries which allow "legal persons" (corporations etc.) to own initial copyright/economic rights, authors had to be disclosed on the copies with the initial "making available to the public" to get the 70 pma term, otherwise the term was 70 years from the making available to the public -- they could not name the author at a later date (unlike human authors, where section 3 applies). I don't recall that latter part actually being part of too many countries' copyright laws, but it's there in a couple at least (many European countries in theory do not allow corporate authorship). So they could be different tags, though the current tags don't seem to be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 11:53, 24 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm unable to identify a difference between the two templates, except some specific legal wording differences i would not be aware of. Though, you guys seems to have look around about anonymous publication copyright status and maybe you could check Commons:Anonymous works and add some informations there ? Maybe we could add a link to it in the templates to provide further explanations on anonymous work ? --Lilyu (talk) 20:40, 24 July 2011 (UTC)


{{editprotected}} Could somebody please transfer the categorization to the documentation subpage and change it to "PD license tags". Thanks --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 15:56, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

  Done, but {{Incat}} is usually not in the doc subpage.--Trixt (talk) 19:51, 3 August 2011 (UTC)

Please clarify "after the work was made available to the public"Edit

What does that mean? For a common case, consider a photo. Let's say I have a photo made by an unknown author over 70 years ago. What does it mean "available to the public"? Is making the photo sufficient? Giving it to someone? Displaying it at a public place? If it was lying in a drawer for 70 years, and I upload it to a website, will I be breaking the law - but also setting a timer on 70 years, so that it would be legal to use it by 2085? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 14:37, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

It means that the document should have been published, usually in a book or a newspaper. See w:publication for more details. So, if your picture lies in a drawer for 70 years, it doesn't count. It is unpublished. Regards, Yann (talk) 14:51, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Some useful linksEdit

Proposed tweak to wording...Edit

{{Editprotected}} The template currently states that "For a work made available to the public in the United Kingdom, please consider using Template:PD-UK-unknown instead." Given that UK law has some specific quirks in how it treats anonymous works, and there is a specific template for it that captures those additional legal requirements, I'd like to propose that the wording on this template be changed slightly to "For a work made available to the public in the United Kingdom, please use Template:PD-UK-unknown instead." Hchc2009 (talk) 08:01, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

So, the proposed change would be:

  • old: For a work made available to the public in the United Kingdom, please consider using Template:PD-UK-unknown instead.
  • new: For a work made available to the public in the United Kingdom, please use Template:PD-UK-unknown instead.

However, to be more exact, shouldn't it even read:

  • For a work first made available to the public in the United Kingdom, please use .. ?

Or is first-publication not relevant here? --Túrelio (talk) 09:08, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

I suspect that "first" would be more accurate. Hchc2009 (talk) 09:10, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
O.k., let's wait for another opinion. I'll take care of the change this evening. --Túrelio (talk) 09:22, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Cheers! Hchc2009 (talk) 09:37, 17 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, what is important is that old UK pictures do not require publication to be in the public domain. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:42, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

How about "For a work from the United Kingdom, please use.."? The issue I'm keen this communicates is that UK has additional legal requirements to the generic EU template, and that the use of the UK template for UK work is therefore important, as it ensures that the uploader, end-user and the Commons is staying within UK law. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:53, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

  •   Not done Stale proposal without consensus. --Jarekt (talk) 12:45, 8 July 2015 (UTC)



To claim {{Anonymous-EU}} you have to prove that the work was, in fact, anonymous.


The author's identity needed to have been made public within 70 years of publication, and not simply recorded in private archives.

Oh, and the 70 years from publication term also holds if the work is created by multiple people, and when the "personal contributions of the various authors who participated in its production are merged in the overall work for which they were conceived, without it being possible to attribute to each author a separate right in the work as created." (Article L113-2). I think they are stating that is the typical situation for military insignia. So it may not even be enough to know someone was involved; they have to be able to identify portions which are solely that person's work. I think 70 years from publication is a reasonable guess as to the copyright term of the original insignia. But there may be a separate right on photographs of them. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:02, 8 March 2015 (UTC)

Be..anyone (talk) 07:54, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Proposed renameEdit

I would like to propose to rename this page to {{PD-anon-70-EU}} to make it more compatible with other PD-anon templates. --Jarekt (talk) 18:27, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

  Support but making a redirect to PD-anon-70 would be even better. Yann (talk) 19:39, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
  • I am fine with redirect to {{PD-anon-70}}, as those 2 templates seem to be just two alternative workings for the same license. Template:Anonymous-EU has more translations, so we might loose some. --Jarekt (talk) 20:03, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
  • We can copy-paste the translations, or ask to be translated again. Yann (talk) 20:07, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
  •   Agree --Jarekt (talk) 20:17, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
  •   Delete {{PD-anon-70}} as it is too unspecific. Each country uses a different definition of 'anonymous' and a template for anonymous works needs to specify which definition of 'anonymous' you have used for determining that the author of a specific file is anonymous. EU law contains two different definitions of 'anonymous', one for some works and another one for some other works, and it is necessary to verify that the author is anonymous according to the correct definition of 'anonymous' or that the author is anonymous according to both definitions. EU law also states that the EU copyright terms didn't have the effect that copyright term of old works was shortened. With respect to Swedish law, this wording has the effect that there are at least four different definitions of 'anonymous' which have to be considered. --Stefan4 (talk) 20:54, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
    • I totally disagree with that. We don't need 3 different templates for the same purpose. Regards, Yann (talk) 21:33, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
      • It's not the same purpose. {{Anonymous-EU}} means that the file is in the public domain in countries applying one definition of 'anonymous' (EU Directive 93/98/EEG Article 1.3), {{PD-EU-no author disclosure}} means that it is in the public domain in countries applying another definition of 'anonymous' (EU Directive 93/98/EEG Article 1.4) and {{PD-anon-70}} means that we do not know according to which definition the author is 'anonymous' and that we therefore do not know in which countries the author is considered to be 'anonymous'. --Stefan4 (talk) 21:44, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
        • I went to read these articles: [2]. First, it's not two different definitions of "anonymous". 2. The slight difference actually doesn't change anything to the result, 3. If that was really the case, this should be mentioned in the template. Yann (talk) 22:00, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
          • First, it's really two definitions of 'anonymous'. Article 1.3 allows the author to 'repair' an omitted credit line by revealing his identity somewhere else, for example in a different edition of the work or in a context otherwise unrelated to the work, whereas Article 1.4 does not allow the author to 'repair' this.
Secondly, if you find that the first edition was published without an author being credited, it is essential to know whether the author had the option to 'repair' this as you can otherwise directly assume that the author is 'anonymous' instead of having to search for other places where the author potentially could have revealed his identity. Article 1.4 also means that it is less of a lottery for people wishing to use the material as there is no risk that the reuser will run into trouble if the author or the author's heir manages to dig up some other, previously unknown, source where the author is credited, whereas for an Article 1.3 work, this situation would mean that the author isn't anonymous at all, meaning trouble for the reuser.
Third, yes, the template should clearly mention this as it is important to differ between 'Article 1.3 works' and 'Article 1.4 works' for the reasons given above. --Stefan4 (talk) 22:13, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
I do not think majority of the users applying those templates would know the difference between 'Article 1.3 works' and 'Article 1.4 works'. I have never heard of them. We have several non-country specific PD-anon templates:

Are some for 'Article 1.3 works' and some for 'Article 1.4 works' cases? What would be the best way to clean up this collection? --Jarekt (talk) 03:32, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

{{PD-anon-50}}, {{PD-anon-70}} and {{PD-anon-1923}} do not reveal which definition of 'anonymous' has been used, so those templates seem to provide incomplete and insufficient information which needs to be provided elsewhere, for example in text form on the file information page.
I also note that PD-anon-50 says that the work was 'made available to the public' whereas PD-anon-70 says that the work was 'published'. Under Swedish law, those two concepts are very different. Under Swedish law, the concept 'publication' implies that you get the author's consent ('making available to the public' does not). 'Publication' implies that copies have been offered to the public whereas 'making available to the public' also covers things such as public display, Internet material and material broadcast on radio or television (which do not constitute 'publication'). Swedish law relating to anonymous works uses the concept 'making available to the public' whereas United States law seems to use a definition which is closer to the Swedish concept of 'publication'.
It seems to be a very bad idea to use templates for anonymous works which do not specify a specific country as the concepts of 'publication' and 'anonymous' differ. It's better to migrate all files using those templates into national templates.
{{PD-anon-auto-1996}} has another problem in that the template needs three dates (creation, publication and URAA date) but only has parameters for two. If a work was created in 1900 and first published in 1960, then it became {{PD-anon-50}} in 1951 (50 years from creation), but it won't become {{PD-anon-70}} until 2031 (70 years from publication). The template mistakenly assumes that a previously unpublished work can't suddenly become published, and then the term changes from 'from creation' to 'from publication', unless the term already has expired (so PD-anon-70 comes 80 years after PD-anon-50 instead of 20). There's also the risk that the author might reveal his identity at some point between 1951 and 2030. In that case, the work is still 'PD-anon-50', but it will never become 'PD-anon-70'. We have no way of telling whether an author might suddenly reveal his identity, so an automatically dated template for anonymous works doesn't really seem to work. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:36, 21 October 2015 (UTC)

Latest revisionsEdit

Lattely User:Yellowcard added highlighted text to the license: "This applies to the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of 70 years after the work was made available to the public and the author never disclosed their identity. Important: Always mention where the image comes from, as far as possible, and make sure the author never claimed authorship. The latter must be proven in case of doubt". To me it makes little sense especially "must be proven" part since it requires an impossible task. It is easy to prove that something happen, but it is not possible to ever prove that something did not ever happen. If a photograph was published anonymously without mentioning a name of the photographer, it is not possible to prove that the unknown photographer never mentioned to anybody that he is the author. So if there is a doubt that image is anonymous than we do have to be able to prove that authors name is not mentioned in the source, but if it was not than to disprove the anonymous claim some have to prove that the photographers name was reviled somewhere. --Jarekt (talk) 19:55, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

To me it makes little sense especially "must be proven" part since it requires an impossible task. – yes, and that is the big problem with this licence template. De facto, it is hardly possible to use anonymous works on a safe basis. It is not enough to be sure that the photographer's name is not mentioned in the source, but their name must not have been revealed during the 70 years after. You are completely right with your conclusions: this licence template is hardly usable. The legislator knows about this problem and has therefore enacted laws for orphan works additionally to the laws regarding anonymous works. By the way: In Germany, there is an Urheberrechtsrolle at the patent office where photographers/authors can register their work as anonymous – then a safe use as an anonymous work is possible. This has, however, been used only rarely. Yellowcard (talk) 00:04, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
User:Yellowcard, I am not that familiar with laws related to this template, but the template is used on 41k files and you just can not be changing the requirements of PD templates which are in use, only create new template for files meeting higher requirements and inspect files using old template to see if it can be upgraded to the new one. You are welcome to to start a new template for files where uploaders can prove somehow that the anonymous authors did not mentioned to anybody that they are authors of given work, but you should leave the files uploaded under lesser requirements alone. Current files using {{PD-anon-70-EU}} were supposed to meet the requirement of no name on the source publication, or when the work was made available to public, and no known cases when anonymous author revealed himself as the author. In case some one does reveal himself we assume than the file will go through the regular deletion process. We have created templates with tougher requirements many times before: We started with {{PD}} which was retired in last few years. We still have {{PD-old}}, while preferred template is {{PD-old-auto}} and {{PD-old-100}}; we also have {{PD-US}} while preferred version is {{PD-1923}} or anything on Commons:Hirtle chart. --Jarekt (talk) 03:59, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I cannot follow your point. This template is not based on a defined free licence given by the author, but bases on laws of the European Union. Therefore, this is not a matter of "template upgrades" and new templates, but it is about one simple question: Are the requirements of the law and the corresponding jurisdiction being met? The laws exist and Commons grounds on them, not the other way round. The licence templates are not making any law, but have to fit in the laws. The requirements of this particular law are extremely strict and are rarely met. Yes, it is a huge problem that this template was kind of misused during the past and noone cared about it. Unfortunately, only few of the 41k files will actually be free according to the law, but we cannot change this fact by some licence template tricks. Once a copyright holder sues you because of a copyright violation, you can argue that the licence template was saying the photo was free – but it won't help you in any way. Therefore, we have to review the files being tagged with this template – and especially make sure that new files are not being tagged too easily with it. Regards, Yellowcard (talk) 15:09, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
User:Yellowcard, you might be right here about the EU laws. As I said I am not familiar with EU copyright laws. However I am familiar with Commons templates and we do not change requirements of existing templates without checking files using given template to make sure they meet the new requirements. And you do that by creating a new license for higher proof standards and changing the license in the files that meet the higher standard. You are also welcome to propose deletion of the files you think that do not meet EU laws. I am going to undo your change and in the future please do not make changes to license templates without disusing it ahead of time and reaching consensus for the change. If there is not much response on the template talk page please start new discussion at Commons:Village pump/Copyright. --Jarekt (talk) 15:54, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
This template is about EU law, as you can see in its title. If you are not familiar with it, please do not revert a clarification that just represents a fact. If you admit you don't know about the facts, it's your turn to collect more information about it, not mine. This is ridiculous. Yellowcard (talk) 16:35, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
@Yellowcard: Please change your language and read COM:AGF and COM:MELLOW. --Steinsplitter (talk) 16:38, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Dear Steinsplitter, in how far is my language not acceptable? In how far do you think I am not assuming good faith, especially considering this edit comment and the fact that I'm not reverting again and seek the discussion instead? And, mostly important, would you maybe take in part in this discussion with regards to contents? I suppose you know of the German laws according Anonymous Works (§ 66 UrhG) and you furthermore know that works with unknown authors are not automatically Anonymous Works but rather Orphan Works (§ 61 UrhG)? We had multiple discussions about that on de:WP:URF, shall I link them here? Cheers. Yellowcard (talk) 16:46, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I would disagree with the addition, unless you can specify what steps have been legally shown as enough to "prove" it. Otherwise, it feels like an attempt to basically make the template unusable, allowing deletion of any work using it under an arbitrary, undefined "proof" guideline. In general, if the initial publication was anonymous, and a search does not reveal any further author information, we have generally accepted that as a likely enough assumption -- there can always be theoretical doubts about works, but we normally base deletions under what is most likely the situation, or if there is a significant doubt. Not knowing the publication history at all is usually a significant doubt leading to deletion, but once you show it was published anonymously, the likelihood swings greatly in the other direction. This is a type of tag which can only be disproved -- i.e., finding author information (and showing that the author was known within 70 years of making available to the public, or 70 years from creation if not made available to the public in that time). If the "proof" part simply refers to Commons policy, then COM:PRP should be enough -- all of our tags need evidence. But we do not delete under theoretical doubts, nor require 100% proof of every situation. Carl Lindberg (talk) 18:13, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
@Clindberg: Obviously, there are no "steps [that] have been legally shown as enough to 'prove' it". This is not how judicial proceedings work. Let's differ a little:
  • In Commons, we use works by third parties in case they are free. Per the Precaution Principle we have to be sure that these third-party works are free, i.e. licenced under a free licence or in the public domain due to laws. Considering this template, we assume the latter.
  • For the assumption that a work is in the public domain, we have to consider the laws and jurisdiction regarding the legal norm we build our assumption on. Regarding this template, the norms are the laws regarding Anonymous Works. So, to obey the Precaution Principle and make sure that both the project and the users will not be subject to lawsuits, the conditions of the corresponding legal norm have to be met. In a nutshell: To be able to use a file on Commons, it is always our job to make sure the works we host are free.
  • Contrary, lawsuits between a copyright holder and someone who used a work are exactly the other way round: The copyright holder will prove to the judge that he is the copyright holder first. Then, the user will have to prove that he has the right of use for the work. Concretely regarding anonymous works, it is enough for the copyright holder to prove that he has revealed his authorship at some point of time during the 70 years after publication of the up-to-then anonymous work. This is an easy job.
  • This is the problem of the legal norm regarding anonymous works for the users: It is easy to prove that a work was published anonymously: In most cases it would be enough if there is no author's name in the source. However, this is only a prove that the work was published anonymously. Anonymous Works are not automatically in the public domain after 70 years, but only if they have stayed Anonymous Works during this period. For Wikimedia Commons it is therefore important that the work has been an anonymous work during the 70 years after publication. The author must not have revealed himself at any point of time or have become public in another way. Just one of those two scenarios is enough that the file is not considered an anonymous file anymore and is protected the usual 70 years pma.
  • This is the big problem: For most files tagged with this template, we don't have a clue if the author has stayed anonymous during the 70 years after publication. This means we simply don't know if the file is free. However, we agree that files that we don't know about if they are free are not eligible to be hosted on Commons, aren't we? We don't talk about some very unlikely scenarios, but a course of events that have happend quite often to up-to-then Anonymous Works. The legislator has recognized this problem and has added a legal norm regarding Orphan Works. Unfortunately, this norm does not make Orphan Works free enough to be used on Commons. This does not change the problem that the norm regarding Anonymous Works is insufficient to be used in practice.
  • I'm not planning to delete some 41k files. I have just added a hint that the template should only be used if you can make sure that the author has not become public during the 70 years after publication. If he has, this is a real danger for all users of the work and that should be noted to protect the users. If you don't like my verbalization, feel free to use another one.
I hope to have made my standpoint a little clearer. Cheers, Yellowcard (talk) 10:14, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
I think you are clear, but I would disagree with your conclusions, which is where my disagreement with the edit comes from. Yes, we have a precautionary principle. That means we delete files with a significant doubt, not simply a theoretical doubt. We can never be 100% sure on a file. Even something marked 70pma, where the author died 71 years ago -- can we be sure that a particular work was not first published in Spain, or Columbia? If it was, then the file is not free in the country of origin, and we almost always have no clue if it was or wasn't. But we make assumptions on the country of origin all the time -- we do the best we can with the information we have. We make assumptions all the time, and you can put some doubt on almost any file we have -- there is risk to re-using almost any of them. So, for theoretical doubts such as that we make assumptions otherwise, and we present to re-users the information we have, and they need to make their own judgement. See Commons:General disclaimer. The percentage of originally anonymously-published photographs where the photographer was identified within 70 years of publication is probably very very small -- while it did happen, and we of course should do some web searches to see if an author is known, I would disagree that such doubt rises to the level of significant doubt (i.e. the precautionary principle). If we have no publication history at all, then sure -- but if we have some evidence of anonymous publication, the most likely place for an author to have been identified, the probabilities swing enough so that, to me, we do not invoke the precautionary principle. Re-users can see the reasons why we think it is PD, but it is up to them to make their own risk assessments. (BTW, orphan works are often those which are known to be under copyright, but there is no way to contact the author in order to license them -- that is a separate topic from anonymous works.) The decision over what is too much doubt for COM:PRP is a policy decision made by the editors here. Your edit seems to be putting that policy on the tag, where the tag should be more related to the law. The law plainly limits the term of anonymous works. If editors here think a work qualifies, then we put that tag on it -- the reasons are stated why. COM:PRP applies to all tags, not this one any more than the others.
Just as much as it's impossible to prove that something wasn't first published in a local paper in Spain, it's also not really possible to prove full anonymity, so it's kind of misleading to make that a requirement for the tag. If you do a search and find out who the author is, or find that the country of origin is different than the one used which changes things, then nominate that file for deletion. General policy has been to allow that tag for works which were initially published anonymously, and no evidence has been found to the contrary, so I think your edit mis-states policy and should not be on the tag. If you want to add an edit that such status is hard to prove conclusively as a warning to re-users, that might be more appropriate. Carl Lindberg (talk) 11:49, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
I think Carl elaborated it perfectly. --Steinsplitter (talk) 12:06, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
Belatedly, I'll support Carl's argument too. Theoretically every second picture could be question - perhaps this random CC-BY picture someone uploaded was not taken by him but by his brother, or a random passerby who used the camera, etc. do we expect undeniable proof he is not lying? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 08:18, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
@Yellowcard, Clindberg, Jarekt: "General policy has been to allow that tag for works which were initially published anonymously, and no evidence has been found to the contrary" is true, but this template is very often used in cases where the image in question has obviously been taken from some random web source or other re-publication. Very often people seem to simply assume "no author is mentioned in my source (on the web, in a reprint), so it must be an anonymous work". And often, they mention no source whatsoever. To me, the minimum requirements (that should be clearly stated) should be: The picture should come directly from the original publication, and the uploader should assert that the creator isn't mentioned there and also couldn't be found with a reasonably thorough search in other publications, if there are any. Just some random examples browsing through images using this template File:Josephine bracken.jpg (taken from the web), File:Fiat Tipo 70 Sedan 1915.jpg (no source given), File:Pavilion Kunstausstellung Leipzig.jpg (taken from the web), File:Ernst Küster.jpg (maybe not anonymous at all, there is something in small print in the lower left corner; too small to read in this scan, but may very well be a photographer's name - similar case: File:Italy by Frank Fox (59).jpeg, there's actually a signature in the lower left corner). It seems clear that the template is used too liberally. However, there are also lots of uses that seem fine, e.g. apparent scans from original postcards, but in these cases I still would like a statement by the uploader that the postcard doesn't mention a photographer (also on the address side, where photographers / photo studios are sometimes mentioned). Also, there's another issue recently discussed in German Wikipedia: Actually, PD-anon-70-EU is too general and we would really need individual "anonymous work" templates for each country, as the (new) EU law only applies for newer works; for works created before 1993/1995 still the individual countries older law may apply, as is the case e.g. in Germany. Gestumblindi (talk) 20:24, 2 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it's abused -- much like "own work" and many others. There are times it's a judgement call -- can depend on the type of work and lots of unique factors. But yes, I would agree that without any real source, files are probably liable for deletion. File:Josephine bracken.jpg -- yeah, not sure of the source, but files uploaded in 2005 can be harder to see original web sources; File:Fiat Tipo 70 Sedan 1915.jpg is {{PD-Italy}} from the looks of it, File:Pavilion Kunstausstellung Leipzig.jpg is taken from an 1897 book -- not the web (looks like the whole book, page by page, was put on the web -- that is a good source); File:Italy by Frank Fox (59).jpeg is a problem (signed painting); File:Ernst Küster.jpg comes from here which looks to be from an original source, and the type of source which would document an author if it was there. So, from that list, certainly one is bad (unable to read a credit is not "anonymous"), and probably a second (photo of unknown provenance, though it's been here over a decade), and I'd probably vote to keep the other three. I do prefer to document the back of postcards, like you mention. As for the one tag being too generic... possibly, though I think for photographs it's pretty rare for any previous terms to be longer. In Germany's case, I'm pretty sure most photographs were at most 50 years from publication anonymous or not (and 50 years from creation if not published), so I don't think there were any terms which could be longer than the ones mentioned on the tag. For non-photographic works, yeah, some older German anonymous works could be an issue if never published. The same is true for the UK though -- photos are usually always shorter than the new terms, though other types of works may have had an unpublished term which was longer -- and I'm not sure we bother with that most of the time (at least to the point of having a specific tag). Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:37, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

German exceptionEdit

This needs to be in English. Saying "see linked German law, last paragraph" is not helpful for users who do not speak German. (Also, the anchor at seems to be broken...). --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 08:12, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Copyright owned by corporationsEdit

I've always been confused what template should be used for works of which the copyright was owned by a corporation. Apparently, it's this one.

Companies are not "anonymous", so could the wording be changed to clarify this template is also supposed to be used for corporate copyright? Also, there are some non-EU countries with similar rules. I'm not sure if they all have their own PD-anon template yet. - Alexis Jazz ping plz 13:15, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

Usually in the EU, if the human author is known, this template is not appropriate regardless who owns the copyright. Per the 2006 directive, Article 1(3), if the human author is known, or becomes known in the 70 years after publication (or creation if not published for 70 years), then 70pma is the term even if a corporation owns the copyright. Per Article 1(4), EU countries where a corporation (or other legal person) is the initial copyright owner by law, the human author must be named on the initial publication to get the 70pma term. For most EU countries, the human employee is technically the copyright owner, but with exclusive licenses automatically given to the company, so that would not apply -- and even some countries where it arguably should apply, like the UK in my opinion, do not implement that clause. But a few EU countries do have that latter condition in their law. Either way, I don't think this template should automatically be used for corporate copyright -- usually just works where the human author was never named (or just a pseudonym) in the first 70 years, which is usually corporate works but can still happen with private works. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:38, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
@Clindberg: so what template should we use? Do we need a new one? - Alexis Jazz ping plz 14:08, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Either this template if it qualifies as anonymous or pseudonymous, or PD-old-70 if the human author is known. For the UK, PD-UK-unknown is the more specific tag, since their law uses "unknown" which is a bit different than strictly anonymous. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:40, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Return to "PD-anon-70-EU" page.