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The template should be moved to "PD-URAA-date" because it is a more appropriate name.

Discuss away or I will move the template. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 13:47, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

  • It's not clear to me that it's a better name. Of the 172 countries that have a restoration date, it's 1996 for the vast majority of them (148 countries). When it comes to templates, I always think about what makes the most sense vis-a-vis novice users rather than what may or may not appeal to the logic of more experienced users (who already know what tags to use). In an overwhelming majority of cases where this template would come into play, 1996 is a key year for novice uploaders to know, and the current title helps to reinforce that far better than the acronym. I'm also not aware of any confusion caused by the current name (although point me to it if I've missed it), so I'm not sure why we'd change a heavily used template. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 14:14, 5 August 2011 (UTC)
Having said that, if the clear consensus is to rename, "PD-URAA-date" is as good a name as any. But I am still not convinced of the need for change. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 14:19, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

First of all I don't get what the "heavily used" is meant to imply. People will quickly get used to the new name or keep using the deprecated {{PD-URAA}}. Secondly the novice you are talking about has to be genetically engineered first. Unless you already know what the URAA is the number 1996 does not mean anything to you. Thus the change of name. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 16:09, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

  • For a whole host of reasons (stability, familiarity, etc.), significant changes to heavily-used templates should be clearly necessary. As for the novice, I was that novice, and I see those novices every week. Newer users learning the ropes as they go. There is a lot of licensing information for them to absorb, and lots of tags and rules for them to memorize. As a helpful cue, 1996 is more meaningful than URAA, as that's one of the actual years they need to keep in mind to determine if something is allowable on Commons. It doesn't mean that they don't need to understand the main principles behind URAA, it just means that they can focus on its practical implications (was it public domain in the source country prior to 1996?) rather than trying to remember the acronym for an almost 20-year old statute. For non-U.S. works, it's usually a choice between PD-1923 and PD-1996, and it's helpful that both templates are named after the years.

    As for people supposedly getting used to the new name, I'm not sure why they would need to as there is no compelling reason to change the name. It has no real practical benefit. And I don't think that increasing the likelihood of people using the deprecated {{PD-URAA}} is a good thing. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:46, 5 August 2011 (UTC)

Since you didn't really address what I said I propose an experiment: Go outside and ask people if they know what the relevance of the year 1996 with respect to copyright is. If, and I'm generous here, more than 30 % of the ones knowing don't mention "URAA" or "URAA date" than we don't move the template. Btw PD-1923 should be moved to PD-US-1923. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 09:28, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Sorry for the delay in responding. I obviously missed this on my watchlist.

I responded directly to what you said - it's not about knowing about URAA or not (they will obviously come across it), but rather keeping a template name that is focused on the practical implications of URAA.--Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:56, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Sorry this was exactly your argument that users would rather know 1996 than URAA. And again without knowing what the URAA is the number 1996 does not make any sense. There is for example {{PD-India-URAA}} and {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. According to your logic these should be renamed to {{PD-India-1996}} and {{Not-PD-US-1996}}. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 17:08, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
My argument is not that users would rather know 1996 than URAA. I am assuming novices at a level where they will have encountered URAA and its principles. I have never said that they would not be aware of URAA. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 17:14, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
So when I don't understand why you oppose the move. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 17:21, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
The two reasons I stated above (and I apologize if I was unclear). First, no compelling need. Second, new users have a tremendous amount of copyright information to learn, both in terms of actual laws and the practices here on Commons - lots of dates, acronyms, criteria, rules, templates, etc. It's easier to reinforce those rules, and to have novices using correct templates, if the focus is on the practical effect (public domain in the source country prior to 1996) rather than the acronym of a statute. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 17:36, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

The reason is that "URAA date" actually means something whereas "1996" is just an arbitrary number. New users don't know how the templates are named and they can't guess it either so it does not matter to them. --Cwbm (commons) (talk) 18:57, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

1996 means a lot more, in my opinion, for the reasons I have explained a few times now. And of course users who are using the templates know what they're called. Anyway, we are not going to agree on this one, it appears. These discussions where two people come at an issue from completely different perspectives and view the problem completely differently can be frustrating for everyone involved, so I am sorry about that. Hopefully we will encounter each other again in the context of something more positive. Cheers. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 19:33, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Correction of {{PD-1996}}Edit

One thing I would like to see is a correction of {{PD-1996}}. Basically, the "reason" option needs to be made mandatory, because there are so many different ways for {{PD-1996}} to apply:

  1. Canadian works first printed in 1923 are in the public domain in the United States if they were in the public domain in Canada on 1 January 1996 because Canada didn't have copyright relations with the United States before 1924.
  2. Canadian works first printed in 1924 are in the public domain in the United States if they were printed without a copyright notice and/or without a copyright renewal in addition to being in the public domain in Canada on 1 January 1996.
  3. Canadian works first printed in 1924 with a copyright notice and with a copyright renewal at the United States Copyright Office are not in the public domain in the United States even if they were in the public domain in Canada on 1 January 1996.

It seems that people frequently forget about or are unaware of the third case. A solution is to design {{PD-1996}} as a wrapper template (cf. {{PD-Art}}) which takes {{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-not renewed}}, {{PD-US-1978-89}} or a new {{PD-US-no treaty at time of publication}} as an argument so that the public domain reason is properly documented. I'm not sure how often people outside the United States bothered renewing their US copyrights, but there are probably lots of cases where publications were printed with a copyright notice (relevant for e.g. simple photos which tend to have a short term).

The syntax could be something like this:

Stefan4 (talk) 15:04, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Wording fixEdit

The recent post here at Commons:Village pump/Copyright appears to indicate that this template's wording needs fixing - the current wording is confusing enough but I cannot suggest appropriate wording myself. Can anyone help here? -84user (talk) 23:07, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

This template has problems. It is one of the most complex copyright templates I know of, so I'm not sure exactly how to fix it. --Stefan4 (talk) 00:22, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Sound recordingsEdit

Why does it say "Please note that this tag should not be used for sound recordings"? What tag am I supposed to use for sound recordings? Kaldari (talk) 04:24, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

See the end of COM:HIRTLE. The copyright rules for sound recordings are very different to the rules for other kinds of works, so I assume that we need completely different templates for this. It also seems that the exact copyright rules are different in different US states, which doesn't make things easier. I don't know if there are any templates for all different situations. --Stefan4 (talk) 10:49, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

Surplus line breakEdit

{{Edit request}} This template produces a surplus line break when transcluded, please remove the line breaks before the <noinclude> tag. --Patrick87 (talk) 18:38, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Done by Jarek Tuszynski -- Rillke(q?) 20:25, 26 June 2013 (UTC)


I switched the template to use {{PD-1996-text}} as a source of the translation of the main message. {{PD-1996-text}} is used by a bunch of other templates and that way we will have a single uniform text across all those templates. --Jarekt (talk) 13:51, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

"date" and "reason" parametersEdit

I would like to propose phasing out "date" and "reason" parameters. Date is being looked up automatically based on the country using {{URAA-date}}. "Reason" does not seem to belong inside a localized template. A better place would be in the "Permission" field of the {{Information}} (or other) templates. Thoughts? --Jarekt (talk) 17:39, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

"Date" is redundant to country information.
A reason is always needed. A precondition for {{PD-1996}} is that the work fell out of copyright in the United States for some reason before the URAA date. The work may have fallen out of copyright in the United States before the URAA date for three reasons: publication before a copyright treaty was established between the United States and the source country, publication without copyright notice before 1 March 1989 or publication without renewal before 1 January 1964. If none of those reasons applies (for example if the work was unpublished as of the URAA date, or if it was published in compliance with full US copyright formalities), then the template doesn't apply. A better choice may be to adjust the reason parameter so that it takes three different values (one per PD reason) and complain if the reason parameter contains something else. That way, it would be possible to automatically translate the reasons. --Stefan4 (talk) 14:21, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
The "reason" parameter seems to be unused at the moment. I created temporary maintenance category to see how it is being used by different PD-1996 templates: Category:PD-1996 (with a reason) and so far the category is empty, but I am still waiting to see if it will get populated. I am quite puzzled by your interpretation of "reason" parameter: I always thought that it is for explaining why the work fell out of copyright in source country before the URAA date. Unfortunately whoever added it did not document it's purpose very clearly. Template:PD-anon-auto-1996 has more of the explanation and en example. Clearly it is a free text field where you suppose to write an essay on subject of copyrights, and as such it is ignored by most (if not all) users. --Jarekt (talk) 17:28, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Looking at the implementation of {{PD-old-X-1996}} (used by {{PD-old-auto-1996}}) until recently setting the reason parameter suppressed the warning ""Note: in addition to this statement, there must be a statement on this page explaining why the work was PD on the URAA date in its source country (second case). Additionally, there must be verifiable information about previous publications of the work." So I think Jarekt is right, it seams to have been intended to explain why the image was PD on URAA date in source country. I think changing the reason parameter to a boolean parameter would be acceptable. If set to anything it would just suppress the PD at source on URAA date warning (text quoted previously seems fine) and maybe also suppresses a warning about the necessity of explaining why the work fell out of copyright in the United States before the URAA date. —RP88 17:44, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I started a search of PD-1996 files and there are some files that use this parameter, like File:Nicolae Vermont - Plaja (la Dieppe).jpg. So let's wait and see how it is used. --Jarekt (talk) 17:47, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
It looks like a similar "PD in source country on URAA date" warning used to be in this template if there was no reason supplied, but it was removed in 2011. Whether or not we choose to keep the reason parameter as it is, or change it, I think expanding the warning displayed if it is not set to "Please include a statement explaining why this work was in the public domain on the URAA date in its source country and why the work fell out of copyright in the United States. This tag should not be used for sound recordings." would be reasonable. —RP88 18:14, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree, a message that is always there and is the same among all PD-1996 templates. --Jarekt (talk) 18:43, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
I did a null edit on a couple of images to force them to appear in Category:PD-1996 (with a reason). No telling how long other images might take to appear in that category (I think it depends on the degree of backlog in the job queue. —RP88 19:28, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
There should be ~168 files there in about an hour. --Jarekt (talk) 19:46, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
So we seem to have ~140 files using "reason" parameter out of ~14000 PD-1996 files. That is about 1%, and most of the files in Category:PD-1996 (with a reason) belong to one or two mass uploads of aerial photographs by Swiss photographers. I think we should retire this parameter and move it's content to the "permission" field of {{Information}} template that way we could more easily deal with calling PD-1996 and PD-old-auto-1996 from other templates like {{PD-Art}}. Other possibility would be to keep it, but than we should figure out some way for people to actually use it. Thoughts? --Jarekt (talk) 15:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I don't think you've correctly captured all the files using the "reason" parameter. I use it routinely, and only a small handful of images I have edited are included in Category:PD-1996 (with a reason). To assist, File:Osgoode Hall intercollegiate football team, 1925.jpg is an image that should be in Category:PD-1996 (with a reason), but does not appear to be. Not sure what the problem is.

As for deleting the parameter, I'm not closing my mind to the idea, but I don't really see any compelling reason to do so. What problem would we be solving? --Skeezix1000 (talk) 16:30, 28 May 2014 (UTC)

I was under impression that it was not used, by anybody but it is parameter that need to be added to {{PD-Art}}, {{PD-scan}}, {{PD-Art-two}}, end other envelope templates so it can be passed to PD-1996, if used. Also since in the current version of the template we do not actually use the "date" parameter, which is automatically looked up (and internationalized) based on the country, we could retire this one also. However if it is used, than it should stay and it should be properly documented. I looked at File:Osgoode Hall intercollegiate football team, 1925.jpg and apparently it uses "reason" as a numbered argument instead of named argument and those were not handled correctly. User:Skeezix1000 thank you for pointing it out. --Jarekt (talk) 17:49, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
That would have been me not handling it correctly. Happily, I see you've had a bot do all the necessary fixes, which is great. Thanks. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 20:50, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
I've just done a purge with a forcerecursivelinkupdate=1 to get all pages which transcluded this template to be added to the job queue to be reparsed to see if more pages will appear in the category. I'm inclined to think if a bunch more appear that keeping the reason parameter is a good idea (basically if present, display the text of the reason parameter in place of the warning). —RP88 18:17, 28 May 2014 (UTC)
RP88, thank you for that purge. Either it or my edits to many Canadian images busted number of images in Category:PD-1996 (with a reason) to over 600. I guess I will leave the "reason" parameter as is. Although since the parameter is supposed to explain why the image was in "PD in source country on URAA date", the explanation used my majority of the images is that that is so because: "Image was public domain in Canada prior to the URAA date". There is zero information content in that "reason". I will try to:
  • fix the documentation of PD-1996 templates
  • retire "date" parameter, which might require switching from numbered parameters to named parameters.
  • fix and unify warnings across languages and templates.
--Jarekt (talk) 19:16, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Information about PD status in Canada should be in the template dealing with Canada, not this one. --Skeezix1000 (talk) 18:39, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
  • The problem with this template is that it tries to merge all United States public domain reasons with all non-United States public domain reasons into one single template. There are also errors in the statements in the template. Those errors have been discussed numerous times, but due to the complexity of the template, the template has never been fixed. In some way, it would be better to split the template into multiple templates, or turn it into a wrapper template which requires other templates as parameters.
A user who adds this tag to a file needs to provide five things:
  1. The source country, according to the definition in the copyright law of the United States. The file should also have a copyright tag for the country which is the source country according to the definition in the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention and the copyright law of the United States usually, but not always, identify the same source country. Unless I have misunderstood something, the two definitions will only differ when a work was published within multiple countries within 30 days after its first publication, at least if we are talking about published works (but the template can't be used for unpublished works in the first place). We will probably never have enough information to show that the Berne Convention source country is different to the United States source country for any specific file.
  2. The "date of restoration". Can be derived from the source country if the source country is identified.
  3. An explanation as to why the file was in the public domain in the United States source country on the date of restoration. There should be a tag which identifies why the work currently is in the public domain in the Berne Convention source country, but the reasons on the date of restoration were sometimes different. For example, according to the Indonesian copyright law, photographs entered the public domain in Indonesia 25 years after publication as of the date of restoration, but the copyright to Indonesian photographs has since been restored and the term changed to 50 years from publication. Also, many European countries have switched from life+50 years to life+70 years after the date of restoration.
  4. An explanation as to why the file entered the public domain in United States before the date of restoration. At the beginning, the United States did not recognise copyright in foreign works, so all foreign works automatically entered the public domain in the United States upon publication. See w:Bilateral copyright agreements of the United States and w:List of parties to international copyright treaties for dates when the United States established copyright relations with other countries. If the work was first published before a treaty was established, then this is the reason to why it entered the public domain in the United States before the date of restoration. If the work was published after the treaty was established, then the country nevertheless had to comply with all United States copyright formalities, and the work entered the public domain in the United States if these formalities weren't followed.
  5. Evidence that the work was published before the date of restoration. The template can't be used for works not published before the date of restoration. It can never be used for unpublished works. For those, {{PD-US-unpublished}} is the only reason which applies.
As for the errors in the template:
  • "it was first published before 1978 without complying with U.S. copyright formalities or after 1978 without copyright notice,"
This does not correctly identify the post-1977 copyright formalities. For the correct reasons, see {{PD-US-1978-89}}.
  • "Note: This tag should not be used for sound recordings."
This tag should not be used for sound recordings fixated before 15 February 1972. It is perfectly fine to use it for sound recordings fixated on 15 February 1972 or later. On the other hand, there might not be any such sound recordings which satisfy the other requirements in the template.
Note that the source country may change when countries join or leave the Berne Convention and other international treaties. I don't think that a change of the source country would put a work in the public domain in the United States, but it may probably cause restoration of the copyright in a work. I don't know how to explain this in the template. --Stefan4 (talk) 17:41, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Is it "and" or is "or" and when should it be published?Edit

With this change the "and" was removed. The German version Template:PD-1996/de and tbe Danish version Template:PD-1996/da have the word "and" included to make it very clear that all three requirements must be met. Would a native English speaker be in doubt?

The template does not say when it should be first published. Should it be published before 1996? Or what if it was first published in 2002 would that be ok? Or what if it was first published in 2014? --MGA73 (talk) 21:23, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

The current version of the English template is wrong. A corrected version could look something like this:
  1. it was first published outside the United States,
  2. it was in the public domain in its home country on the URAA date (January 1, 1996 for most countries), and
  3. at least one of the following statements is true:
    • it published without copyright renewal before 1964, or
    • it was published without a copyright notice before 1978, or
    • it was published without a copyright notice before 1 March 1989 and without a subsequent copyright registration within five years, or
    • it was published before the home country entered copyright relations with the United States.
However, the template is more complex than that. If it was published in the United States within 30 days after publication, or if the author was a U.S. citizen residing within the United States, then point 2 does not need to be true. Stefan4 (talk) 23:50, 27 December 2014 (UTC)
  • I made an attempt to fix this error in {{PD-1996-text}}, but I only fixed the English version of the template. All translations need to be corrected too. --Stefan2 (talk) 15:21, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Stefan2, I am sorry but I reverted your changes for time being. I would like to have more people agreeing with the change before we change text of a license used on 44k pages is changed. --Jarekt (talk) 17:03, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Consensus for the need to change the template seems to have been established at Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/08#Some_questions_about_.7B.7BPD-1996.7D.7D and possibly other places, but the changes were not implemented until now. The errors in the template have created a lot of confusion in a couple of deletion requests where files have satisfied the text in the template without being in the public domain in the United States. --Stefan2 (talk) 17:06, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) The change you made was to replace second bullet "it was first published before 1978 without complying with U.S. copyright formalities or after 1978 without copyright notice" with "it was first published before 1 March 1989 without copyright notice or before 1964 without copyright renewal or before the source country established copyright relations with the United States". The original condition was unchanged since template creation in 2008. --Jarekt (talk) 17:14, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
And that condition has caused extra unnecessary discussion in deletion requests where it is unambiguous that a file is unfree in the United States but the second bullet point is satisfied. Commons policy requires files to be freely licensed or in the public domain in the United States, and users upload files under incorrect public domain claims when templates provide incorrect information. This error has been pointed out numerous times but hasn't been fixed until today. --Stefan2 (talk) 17:28, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
I read Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2012/08#Some_questions_about_.7B.7BPD-1996.7D.7D and agree that there seems to be consensus at least between you and Carl Lindberg, which might be all the people willing to talk on this subject. Stefan2, lets do this, lets advertise on Commons:Village pump/Copyright and Commons:Village pump that those changes are coming, wait a few days and if there are no credible objections (I doubt there will be), than lets do the change and ask for help with translations. --Jarekt (talk) 17:50, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
The rule before 1996 was that publications in other countries had to comply with all United States copyright formalities ({{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-not renewed}}, {{PD-US-1978-89}}), in which case the full United States copyright term applies. Additionally, United States copyright law states that the source country must have copyright relations with the United States as of the date of first publication, or else the work enters the public domain immediately upon publication (see {{Copyright notes}}). The main error is that the template currently doesn't provide correct information about copyright formalities. --Stefan2 (talk) 18:04, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

So for the record the new proposed wording of PD-1998, with bold changed section, will be:

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it meets three requirements:

  1. it was first published outside the United States (and not published in the U.S. within 30 days),
  2. it was first published before 1 March 1989 without copyright notice or before 1964 without copyright renewal or before the source country established copyright relations with the United States,
  3. it was in the public domain in its home country on the URAA date (January 1, 1996 for most countries).

--Jarekt (talk) 17:57, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

I would suggest, where mentioning 'copyright relations with the United States', including a link to USCO Circular 38A (it's at ) as a reference, since it gives the official list. Revent (talk) 18:52, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
Sounds useful, yes. --Stefan2 (talk) 23:28, 4 November 2015 (UTC)
It might be worth just copying that information to a page on commons for easier reference. - Themightyquill (talk) 08:05, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
The information is also available at w:Bilateral copyright agreements of the United States, w:List of parties to international copyright agreements and w:List of parties to international treaties protecting rights related to copyright, but in a form less useful for the purpose of this template. We might as well upload the PDF file to Commons. --Stefan2 (talk) 12:12, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
  • So, can the template be corrected now? --Stefan2 (talk) 13:40, 29 January 2016 (UTC)
  Done I also modified polish version. All other versions are out of synch. --Jarekt (talk) 16:46, 29 January 2016 (UTC)

{{edit request}}

  • It looks like you guys missed the point of the original message— we need to have the word "and" inserted after the second bullet point, because all three conditions must be met, n'est-pas? It still reads ambiguously. KDS4444 (talk) 18:19, 29 August 2017 (UTC)

That is what the template is saying now. Before the bullets you have "it meets three requirements:". I do not think there is anything ambiguous about it. --Jarekt (talk) 04:00, 30 August 2017 (UTC)

No disagreement on that, though I think adding the word "and" would make it just one degree clearer for others, don't you? KDS4444 (talk) 18:47, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
I prefer to to keep it brief and I personally do not like bullets ending with ", and". The sentence reads differently. But that is just my opinion. Other opinions? --Jarekt (talk) 19:50, 30 August 2017 (UTC)
  Not done I agree with Jarekt and I aligning the De version to the En. -- User: Perhelion 21:46, 27 September 2017 (UTC)

transitioning Template:PD-1996-text to Template:PD-1996-text/i18nEdit

Template:PD-1996-text is used on a lot of pages and the page just run out of "Lua Memory". A solution might be to transition it to use {{Autotranslate}} and Extension:Translate. Template:PD-1996-text has great many translations which have to be moved to subpages of Template:PD-1996-text/i18n. Can people familiar with various languages help me move the text and verify it at the same time. --Jarekt (talk) 03:30, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

Return to "PD-1996" page.