Wikipedia talk:Copyrights/Archive 6

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I can't think of a better place to ask this, so I'll come here. Do we think that {{pd-art}} applies to two dimensional works on non-flat surfaces, such as vase paintings? I'd like to upload a number of Greek vase paintings to illustrate articles, but I'd also like to make sure we're clear legally before I do that. Thanks, RobthTalk 06:19, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Featured list candidates/Starfleet ranks and insignia

There is a level of disagrement on the copyright status of images on Starfleet ranks and insignia.

The debate currently tries to determine weather or not redrawn rank insignias are releasable with a free licence.

I would like to invite all parties interested to join the debate.

--Cool CatTalk|@ 13:38, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Image copyright tag query

Is the West Point military yearbook considered a work of the US Army for purposes of copyright? Would it be appropriate to tag an image from this yearbook with Template:PD-USGov-Military? ˉˉanetode╡ 18:46, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

British Library Copying

I recently ordered some copies of manuscripts dating back to 1820 from the British Library in London. The copies arrived with the following copyright statement..

Please note that the British Library owns and retains at all times the copyright on all reproductions reproduced. Customers may not reproduce any materical supplied for any reason, (including academic or personal, and whether for profit or not) without prior written permission from the British Library.

Is this copyright statement legitemate? It doesn't seem to comply with the statement relating to crown copyright on this project page. But then again the term 'crown copyright' isn't used anywhere in the letter.

Factoid Killer 17:17, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

This is pure legal BS, and I would dare that they try to enforce this copyright... especially on a U.S. server in a U.S. court. This is no different than the people who claim copyright on the 1911 Encyclopedia Brittanica. The British Library is simply calling your bluff and trying to scare people, asserting a right they really don't have.
I wish I had some case history to back this up, and unfortunately you might find a judge that agrees that the library does indeed control the copyright. This is not the only library that is asserting this copyright protection, as are many museums and even zoos that claim copyright on even the film in your own camera if you are taking pictures of their animals. Art galleries are claiming copyright status over reproductions of clearly ancient works of art, like the Mona Lisa or DaVinci paintings. This is more of a continuium of this same argument. --Robert Horning 07:07, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Here and at Commons we accept the NY Bridgeman v. Corel decision. Pure reproductions are not copyrightable. UK lawyers might not accept this but the NY court has taken into account also UK law --Historiograf 03:30, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Is Wikipedia wasting a wealth of materials due to paranoid infringement fears?

I have encountered a fair deal of opposition from self-appointed "vigilantes" when I have tried to contribute images or texts based on materials that I've found elsewhere. They invariably insist that I should get permission from "the copyright holder" and go through the mess of 'image tags', 'text tags'. or any other type of 'content tags', in order to comply with a strict, almost paranoid set of intricate rules devised to avoid copyright infringement problems. Trouble is, there's a huge world out there, that has never heard of, and couldn't care less about, U.S. Copyright Law. And trouble also is, there's a universe of materials that have never been copyrighted. The webpage of the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office itself, defines Copyright as:

Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress.

[hopefully I've not stepped over anyone's toes by copying the two paragraphs above, you never know, as things are getting in this Enclyclopedia]

If a publishable item needs to be registered in order to have a valid Copyright atached to it, then by force whatever materials that have not undergone such registration process are not protected by any 'copyright law', right? Then why so many Wikipedians stubbornly insist in deleting, or in harassing contributors otherwise, arguing that everything must have some kind of 'copyright', whatever the country or region of origin, when such assumption is often utterly false?

If, for example, I want to write or expand an article on ophidians, and I find a color picture of a South American snake in a fourth-grade, government-printed Biology book in Spanish language having no author name, no indication of a Copyright whatsoever, no photographer names, etc., and then I scan it, enhance it, and upload it to the Wikipedia itself or to the Wikipedia Commons, I can bet a million to one that there will appear many a zealous creatures, seeking some kind of recognition from Wikipedia 'authorities' I presume, that will in due time (that is, less than a couple of days) post a threatening tag or sign or warning in my article or picture saying that I must get "the permission of the Copyright holder", when in reality such entity does not exist at all: the book, much less the pictures in it, were never copyrighted. The worst comes when that same person goes on and actually deletes my article or an image thereof, thus doing Wikipedia harm --instead of a valuable service-- (and irritating me in the process). To destroy is a lot easier than to contribute. Hence, in my humble opinion, no 'awards' should be granted to their kind, they should be reprimanded instead!


AVM 23:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree entirely. The mission of Wikipedia is distance education (that's what we told the US government in applying to be a tax exempt organization). Limits that weaken our mission are of negative value. Some people want total "freedom" for commercial users years in the future. The cost of that "freedom" is severe and unnecessary limits on Wiki right now--that is, un-freedom. Rjensen 23:45, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
You need to understand the provisions of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which no longer requires any registration of material in the U.S. in order to gain a copyright on it. Rmhermen 23:48, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
You are absolutely and completely wrong about U.S. copyright law, and you are absolutely and completely wrong about why people care about keeping Wikipedia legally in the clear on copyrights. Here is a relatively simple table showing when you can assume things to have entered into the public domain under U.S. law, another good resource is the Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center. Under the Berne Convention copyrights are assigned automatically to authors without registration being needed or notice being listed.
No awards are ever given to people who try and make sure that Wikipedia is kept legally safe. Instead they get an ocean of criticism from people who are completely ignorant of copyright law and who believe that Wikipedia absolutely cannot survive without their beautiful copy-and-pasted content. You talk up the virtues of "creating" over "destroying" and yet from what I can tell you are just taking other people's creative works and pasting them in without attribution. Doesn't sound like you are "creating" anything (and certainly doesn't make me feel sorry for all the effort you must put out with your Control+C and Control+V), and in the long run a copyright problem will do more "destruction" than anybody deleting a few pictures of various snakes you have scanned out of textbooks. --Fastfission 00:34, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Contributors to Wikipedia

As far as I can tell for years all contributors to Wikipedia have been contributing their own material submitting from a page which links to this one. This page clearly says "If you contribute material to Wikipedia, you thereby license it to the public under the GFDL (with no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts). In order to contribute, you therefore must be in a position to grant this license, which means that..."

Note this says material, not text. Material includes images. Yet a few people put up their own images and claim they are under a more restrictive licence (e.g. Creative Commons). This matters hugely because when putting together a CD version 1.0 like the [Wikipedia CD Selection] whereas it is fairly clear you can name authors and creators by telling people where to find the author details (e.g. on which page on Wikipedia they are [Copyright & Disclaimer]) under creative commons 2.5 some people argue that you should have the (Nick) name of the author burnt on the CD. Getting a list like this together is a serious botting task which is all for the handful of non GFDL licences. There is no way of distinguishing CC licenses from the rest of WP except by hand-sorting.

So is it fair to assume all WP images are GFDL unless the creators protest otherwise? It is easy excluding images on request but generating the list is a headache --BozMo talk 11:56, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

First: I do not think that CC licenses are more restrictive. Second: It is a copyvio to assume CC pictures as GFDL unless the creator has explicitely consented (e.g. by duallicensing). Third: In my interpretation it is a clear copyvio (by not respecting the ESSENTIALS of the GNU FDL) NOT to name creators on a CD. It is NOT sufficient to give a link to the Wikipedia --Historiograf 15:32, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

This isn't at all clear to me. I respect your point of view but somewhere there needs to be a less dogmatic discussion about what these licences actually say. There is a deal of difference between an attribution and an advert, and as an academic I am used to having to trace back through the reference pages on reference pages on reference pages to find the original (properly attributed) source for research for example. Valid attribution doesn't require advertising, just acknowledging and attributing. --BozMo talk 09:06, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Song Lyrics

I plan on creating some articles for songs which my choir sings. They are notable and I have heard them other places, and I believe that they are notable enough to become articles. That is not my point however. I was wondering if it would be against the copyright to include their lyrics in the articles to illustrate the message of the songs more. Would it be fair use? Thanks for your advice, zappa 23:30, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I do not think so. --Historiograf 15:42, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

It depends on how old the lyrics are (if they are from before 1923, you're fine), how much you quote (if it's just enough to illustrate a point, you probably have a good fair use defense), etc. Same issues as any other material written by someone else. - Jmabel | Talk 17:15, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Soviet copyrights

Where the project page says "Currently it seems dubious…", what seems dubious? The preceding sentence? If someone understands what this is about, and can write English well, please rewrite this very confusing passage. - Jmabel | Talk 05:39, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

It's not dubious, it's plain wrong. See Template talk:PD-USSR and the discussions linked there. The problem is that all we know for sure is that the reasoning that "works published pre-1973 were PD outside of the USSR because the USSR was not a member of international copyright treaties before that year" is wrong (one reason being that the UCC applied to all earlier works that were still copyrighted then), but we do not know what Soviet works would be PD by now. From discussions I had per e-mail with a foundation lawyer, it seems that works published in the former Soviet union must be considered simultaneously published in all successor states of the USSR because all these successor states were retroactively considered members of the UCC with an effective date of 1973 when the Soviet union was dissolved. Thus it is not even sufficient to look only at the Russian law (current and older) to try to figure out whether something would be PD, but one has also to take into account the laws of all the other successor states. And, of course, former Soviet laws. The issue is complicated even more because a number of these successor states (at least Russia, last amended in 2004, and the Ukraine in 2001) passed retroactive copyright laws. In view of all this, I have rewritten this section by completely removing it. I think anyway that this is not the right place to list country-specific PD rules. Such country-specific rules should be mentioned at Wikipedia:Copyright situations by country. For a more in-depth view of some complexities of the "public domain", please see WP:PD. Lupo 08:33, 20 April 2006 (UTC)


Hi, I've significantly paraphrased a work for an article, History of machine translation, see discussion on talk page. I have made some enquiries and no-one I have spoken to thinks it counts as a copyvio. But I would like to get some more opinions, and if it is judged to be a copyvio I would like to see it {{copyvio}}'d. Thanks :) - FrancisTyers 18:54, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

You may wish to examine your paraphrasing in light of Macmillan Co. v. King. Quoting the decision there:
The words so quoted are taken direct from the book. Instances of such quotation are frequent throughout the sheets. They are generally short, consisting of one or two words only; the words selected being usually such as would be likely to catch the attention and remain in the memory. Instances of [*866] entire sentences quoted are not so common, though there are several of them. The language of the book is sometimes followed, without being distinguished by quotation marks, though not for more than a few words at a time, so far as I have noticed.

...there is frequent quotation of words, and occasional quotation of sentences from the book; the topics treated are topics treated in the book, the attempt is made to reproduce in abridged and paraphrased form (so far as such reproduction is possible within the very narrow limits adopted) the author's treatment of the topics selected, and the author's order and arrangement of topics within the portions of the book dealt with is followed, except for a certain amount of transposition or repetition.

It is true that the whole book has not been thus dealt with; but the copyright protects every substantial component part of the book, as well as the whole. Though the reproduction of the author's ideas and language is incomplete and fragmentary, and frequently presents them in somewhat distorted form, important portions of them are left substantially recognizable.

If your paraphrase is less closely connected to the original than that, it's probably fine. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:22, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
So would you say that currently it is too closely connected to the original? Basically I think the only things that could be said for "the same words" are the names of countries. - FrancisTyers 12:51, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

If I learn the copyright status of an image, how do I assign that status to the image?

I uploaded an image without knowing its copyright status. I recently learned that status. How do I assign that status to the image? EvaXephon 20:14, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Go to the image page, click "edit" at the top, change. Just like any other page. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:22, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

Thank you very much!

EvaXephon 03:45, 26 April 2006 (UTC)


I've created a tag for prospective use of morgueFile images on Wikipedia, {{morgueFile}}. Their license is a little confusing, and I'd like advice on how I've represented it and generally whether or not their images can be used here. If someone could drop by Template talk:MorgueFile, that would be great. Melchoir 20:09, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

The site itself seems to be a bit dead right now, but if Template:MorgueFile is correct, the images cannot be used on Wikipedia. The license prohibits distributing images on their own, and it has a clause prohibiting uses "which may be considered offensive, indecent or objectionable", a very broad, vaguely-worded prohibition on certain types of use. Wikipedia requires that images be freely distributable, and that they can be used for any legal purpose. --Carnildo 06:16, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Noting "names and dates" in fair use

In the section "Using copyrighted work from others" it says, "If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use" ... you must make a note of that fact (along with names and dates)." What names and dates? The name of the wiki editor and the date of the edit? Where do you note it - in the article or in the Talk page? Or should this instead read something like "you must cite the source"? Nurg 05:44, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Can a group of Wikipedians vote to violate copyright?

I listed {{Indiancopyright}} on TFD as it's a license tag that says "This media file is copyrighted to an Indian domain and all rights reserved by that domain" -- basically, that our use of the image is a copyright violation. It was closed as a 2-2 no-consensus "keep". --Carnildo 01:10, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

That, I would say, is the problem with Wikipedian polls: they're totally unrepresentative of Wikipedians and therefore can give outright absurd results at times. I've updated the template appropriately, so I suppose all this means is that we have one extra worthless template lying around on Wikimedia's hard disks. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 18:14, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

PD flowchart

I started work on a page, Wikipedia:Can I use this work?, that will hopefully be useful once it's done. I'm basing it mainly on this chart. Any thoughts? —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:56, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

very good idea. Emphasize that most items copyright `923-63 were not renewed and became public domain. Rjensen 04:32, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
OK, good work. But, in general, the biggest difficulty is knowing the original date (and place) of publication, if the author's date of death doesn't do the job. The chart might want to address unknown pub dates as it does unknown date of death (which is, after all, much less likely to be unknown). Finally, I'm not aware that there is a clear answer to the question of whether US law is the sole determinant. -- Mwanner | Talk 14:13, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I sort of forgot about that, as you can see.  :) If the original date/place of publication is unknown, then pick the least favorable possibility (i.e., be conservative). As for US law, it's the sole determinant for the purposes of the English Wikipedia (except that our policies may, of course, be stricter).

Anyway, I'm contemplating improvement of the current copyright upload form to give this little quiz instead of just letting people pick from a list (how many people would read the page I created anyway?), but that's a very long-term project. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 21:54, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

Is the wikipedia logo, that image of a sphere made up of puzzle peices, copyrighted? What are the requirements for using it on derivative wikis? Nygdan

The Wikipedia logo is copyrighted (and most likely trademarked as well). If you want to use it somewhere, you need to get permission from Jimbo Wales or the board of the Wikimedia foundation. --Carnildo 05:41, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
It is indeed copyrighted, but at least some instantiations were released under the GFDL by the author. It is also apparently trademarked. But regardless, it's friendly to not use it, so that there can be a clear separation between Wikipedia proper and other projects (even though they might use the same content). — Matt Crypto 08:15, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
No work based on the logo can be released under the GFDL. You would need either explicit permission or a fair-use justification to use any such work.

And by the way, Nygdan, it's conventional to place new sections at the bottom. You can use the plus sign to the right of "edit this page" to add a section more easily. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:35, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

I disagree; I believe that some instantiations of the logo were released under the GFDL by the designer. IANAL, but trademark law likely prevents them from being used outside of how the Wikimedia Foundation wishes them to be used anyway, so it makes little difference. — Matt Crypto 20:52, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the Foundation required that all copyright to the logo be handed over exclusively to them. That would mean that if User:Nohat or User:Paullusmagnus created alternative versions, those would be derivative of the Wikimedia-owned logo. Or else the Wikimedia-owned logo would be derivative of them, in which case they would have had to hand over the copyright on the base work too if they were to fully transfer ownership. So either way, no go. Where are these GFDLd logos?

Trademark restricts nothing that wouldn't cause confusion for consumers. If trademark were the only issue, the logo could be used freely as long as no association with Wikimedia was implied. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:55, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Unless they were GFDL'd before copyright was assigned to the Foundation[1][2][3]. — Matt Crypto 05:50, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Apparently all new logos must not be GFDLd. Old ones may have been grandfathered in, but some things would suggest the Foundation doesn't accept that, or at least User:Anthere (vice-chair of WMF Board of Trustees) doesn't think it does. It may be that they're wrong, of course, hoisted by their own petard when Nohat uploaded it to Meta; it seems likely to me, in fact. They certainly own the copyright, so they don't have to follow the GFDL in distributing their logos, but others can reuse them without permission in a non-confusing manner. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:33, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

SVG and fonts

It has been suggested to me here, that uploading copyrighted fonts in converted outline form in a SVG file would still be a copy vio. Others seem to disagree with this here. I was wondering if anyone knew whether it is OK to upload the shapes of fonts in SVG format, or if we have to use a raster image such as PNG to avoid copy vio? Thanks.--Andrew c 14:26, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

In the US (and for the most part this is the US only), fonts lie in a very kooky place with respect to copyright law. Congress, the US copyright office, and the courts (Eltra Corp. V. Ringer, 1978) have held that a "typeface", which for the most part can be considered the rasterized representation of a font, is a utilitarian object which does not qualify as an artistic expression subject to copyright [4]. However, many of these same bodies (e.g. Adobe v. SSI, 1997) have held that the internal description of a scalable font is a "computer program" that is subject to copyright. This creates the bizarre circumstance that one can apparently blow up a font to enormous size, rasterize it, retrace the edges, and create a new description of the font that while functionally identical does not infringe the original copyright. Similarly, as copyright attaches only to the internal representation of the font, the use of a font on any print media can never, in and of itself, constitute an infringment in the US, as such media does not redistribute the internal representation.
So where does this leave SVG? Well that would depend on whether the SVG file will describe the same set of reference points and shapes as the original font file (which it probably does). If the SVG format copies the same internal descriptors as the original font file, then its use would be restricted by copyright. It is worth knowing for sure, if anyone has a way to find out. However, your safest bet would be to rasterize the font as this would be copyright exempt in the US.
Now there is a huge caveat hanging over all this. US copyright law with respect to fonts is bizarre from the international perspective. Most other countries consider font designs copyrightable in general, and so in other jurisdiction the use of a rasterized image could also be subject to restrictions. If you are going to be making a lot of these, we should probably create a special licensing tag just for fonts to describe their unusual position in US law. Dragons flight 15:22, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply and the info. Right now most of the fonts in the Categories:Typefaces already have sample images. Myself, along with a couple of other editors (I believe) are trying to update and standardize the format. One editor had been using SVG, so there are already a number of uploaded images of type samples in this format. I like your idea about creating a special licensing tag for these images. However, like I said, I do not know enough about copyright laws to come up with an appropriate wording. Any suggestions?--Andrew c 20:35, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
I make fonts which I give away as freeware with an End User License Agreement, and others which I sell for money with a different EULA. By neccessity I am intimately familiar with copyright laws and restrictions applying to fonts.
Apart from uploading vector type outlines in SVG format (definitely unauthorized distribution of the copyrighted vector outlines), the only real copyvio that can occur with font samples in Wikipedia is unauthorized use of a font when the sample is made using a font without the authority granted by the End User License Agreement. Permission to use a digital font is usually granted in writing by the font's EULA, and most EULAs specifically state that use of the font without purchasing it from the authorized distributor (i.e: pirated commercial fonts, commercial fonts obtained for free off the internet or bogus CDs containing thousands of such pirated commercial fonts) constitutes a breach of the font's EULA.
Font samples made from a font without authorization by the EULA are not "illegal" in themselves, but the act of uploading the sample constitutes unauthorized distribution of the type design (regardless of the image format, vector or bitmap).
This is an issue for the person who makes the sample. If you acquired the font with software you purchased legally you can use the font for whatever purpose you wish, including making samples for Wikipedia. Same usually applies to fonts purchased stand-alone from a font vendor site. They all come with an EULA that stipulates what you're allowed to do with the font. Many "free" fonts (freely distributed) also come with an EULA stipulating conditions of use.
My advice is: make samples only from fonts you are authorized, by the the font's EULA, to use. Please respect the conditions of use set out by distributors and the people who make fonts. Good fonts take hundreds of hours and immense skill and knowledge to make. Uploading samples made from fonts acquired illicitly does no financial harm to the person who made the font, but it is an abuse of that person's wishes, trust and good will, and a violation of the fundamental of copyright—the creator's right control distribution of his/her intellectual property.
If you make a sample from a font acquired illicitly and place it in a Wikipedia article, don't be surprised if the font vendor or independent font maker traces it back to you and complains. After all, it's their prerogative, not yours.
If you're not sure where you got the font from, or confused by the copyright situaion regarding font samples—don't do it. Instead of assuming everything will be's like driving a car on public roads without a driver's license or knowledge of the road rules..."Oh sorry, pardon me officer, I don't know what the rules are so I just started driving and assumed it would be okay."
Andrew c, the best way to work out the wording for the special copright tag for font samples is to visit Make yourself a login and post your question on the General discussions forum. It will be tricky because copyright applying to fonts varies from country to country. In the U.S copyright law is a farce. But in Australia (where I am) our legislation recognizes that the design of a typeface is copyrightable, and therefore the fonts I make (for example) are protected internationally because other countries, including the U.S, are obliged to respect international copyright law as well as that of other countries.
P.S. Anyone who says they "don't believe in intellectual property" is a fool, contradicted by millions of writers, musicians and other artists arcoss the globe who say otherwise and assert their IP rights every day. Our rights to control distribution of our work are regularly upheld by courts of law. If there was no such thing as intellectual property or intellectual property rights to control distribution, Wikipedians would have no "content" to write about, and the people who create original works would all starve to death.
Arbo 12:02, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
I suspect anyone who says they don't believe in intellectual property is using a different meaning of "believe in". They don't mean they don't believe it exists (the "believe in God"/"believe in fairies" definition), they mean they're morally opposed to it (the "believe in capitalism"/"believe in Communism" definition). Angr (talk) 16:22, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
A couple points. 1) A EULA is likely to be unenforcable on third parties. So while the uploader might get in trouble, third parties would necesarily be bound by copyright law, not the EULA. 2) Though I know of no cases involving fonts, case law in the US has tended to hold as void any contractual restrictions placed on the use of public domain works. So it would appear likely that the EULA restrictions on the use of the typeface design are entirely unenforcable. So in my opinion, it really is an issue of what aspects of the font are copyrightable and which aren't, at least if you live in the US. 3) Your statement that it is protected internationally because you work in Australia is just plain false. The Berne Convention establishes that foreign government must provide you with equal protection as if the work had been produced locally. This can never give rise to more rights than a local artist would have. Hence your font designs will not be protected in the US, even though they are in other jurisdictions. I will agree however that respecting the author's intentions is generally to be prefered whenever possible. Dragons flight 17:52, 4 June 2006 (UTC)
Surely an EULA is not just likely, but certain to be unenforceable on third parties? Anyway, I agree that Wikipedia should respect the work that people put into making fonts, even if we're technically within the law. (Having read the case everyone cites that establishes vector fonts as being protectable—a district-court case with no mandatory authority, by the way—I'm of the opinion that it was decided on the basis of severely faulty technical knowledge, probably due to poor defense. That the judge consistently referred to vector fonts as "programs" was a bad first sign.) We already do the same for works made in countries not covered by our copyright treaties, IIRC, by Edict of Jimbo, although I could be wrong.

First thing, then, is to remove the proprietary font from Image:Wiki.png.  :P —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:56, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Apparent contradiction in copyright terms?

Old discussion, copied here from wikipedia:village pump (policy) archives [5]

According to Wikipedia:Copyrights "Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts."

Alternately, whenever someone adds content to Wikipedia, it says underneath "Content must not violate any copyright and must be verifiable. You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL."

The issue is that the people are agreeing to release their entries under the full GPL GFDL while the Copyrights page says that Wikipedia texts are available under a restricted version of the GFDL, .

To further muddy the waters, the release statement links to the Copyright page (which includes the information that a restricted version of the GFDL is used) but in a different context ie. in the "do not violate copyright" context rather than the "this is the licence you're releasing under" context, making it arguably not required/expected reading before release like the GFDL link. Irrevenant 02:45, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

About the second problem: perhaps "copyright" should link to Wikipedia:Copyright FAQ instead of Wikipedia:Copyrights? Wikipedia:Copyright FAQ starts with the "do not violate copyright" context, and it's easier to read. Melchoir 07:36, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually, the Copyright FAQ appears not to say anything about invariant sections et. al. either; only Wikipedia:Copyrights. As I see it there are basically two issues: (a) update the release statement to release under the restricted GFDL (probably by pointing at a new disclaimer page rather than directly at the GFDL) and (b) figure out what to do about the stuff already released under the standard GFDL. Irrevenant 11:57, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, GFDL is by no way the same as "full GPL". Is that perhaps the origin of your misunderstanding (in fact I don't understand what you misunderstand... the wording you use to explain your alleged problem are anyway self-contradictory - that doesn't help others to understand what you think is going wrong)? Note also that both GPL and GFDL currently use the copyright mechanism. Without copyright... no GPL, nor GFDL. And that's also a copyright you're not allowed to violate when adding content to wikipedia. Copyrights of GFDL'ed or GPL'ed content can be violated when adding them to wikipedia (typically, e.g., by not mentioning the source of such copylefted sources, or other abuses of the license conditions of the original source). Wikipedia's copyright conditions include not to allow invariant sections to be imported in wikipedia (which is Wikipedia's copyright conditions). You have a problem with that? In that case: don't contribute. The copyright terms are explained in wikipedia:copyrights, which is linked from every content page, including in edit mode (so never say of a wikipedia content page that it doesn't link to its copyright terms, or that different pages link to different copyright conditions). Also, if the following would have been your problem: "full GFDL" implies that the publisher of the source indicates if there are invariant sections et. al.: "full GFDL" assumes there to be none of such sections if not mentioned... adding invariant sections etc. is a restriction of the full GFDL conditions. --Francis Schonken 12:39, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Apologies, I never meant "GPL". That was an (unfortunately very misleading) typo; it should have read "GFDL" all the way through. The problem as I understand it is this:
(a) When you submit text to Wikipedia, you agree to do it under the complete text of the GFDL ie. you automatically agree to allow invariant sections in derivative works.
(b) The Copyrights page states that Wikipedia Texts are released under the GFDL excluding invariant sections and cover texts. This is arguably freer (and IMO the best option for Wikipedia), but it adds conditions to the licence that contributors didn't agree to when they submitted the text. Irrevenant 00:52, 9 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, you still appear somewhat confused to me...
  • Section 4 of the GFDL says (among other things):

    If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant.

  • If you don't comply to that, you don't comply to GFDL (the permission for derived works to add their own invariant sections is not something for which any type of exception is possible, as long as you say that you publish under GFDL).
  • But you can say whether the original version has invariant et al. sections. You can even use the standard formulation for that, which is given in the "appendix" of the GFDL (How to use this License for your documents): "Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. [...]" - this is exactly the formulation wikipedia uses.
Note that there is a difference (and for all that I can see that is what your confusion stems from) between saying that your original document (in this instance wikipedia) "has no invariant sections", and forbidding derived documents to add their own invariant sections (which one can't forbid under GFDL, neither do the wikipedia copyright terms attempt that, by sticking rigorously to the copyright terms formulation advised in the GFDL document). --Francis Schonken 06:58, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
If I understand you correctly, you are saying that Wikipedia:Copyrights is illegal, since it forbids adding invariant sections. If you are correct about that (and I don't know enough legalese to confirm or deny), it should be changed, which will fix the inconsistency.
OTOH, we presumably still want text to be submitted under the conditions described at Wikipedia:Copyrights; otherwise people could conceivably declare their submissions to be invariant. Irrevenant 08:34, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
No, I only implied you were kinda clueless. Wikipedia:Copyrights uses the standard formulation advised in the GFDL, I even made a link to that part of the GFDL text above (repeating that link, non-piped: Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License#How to use this License for your documents). You still seem unable to make the difference between not having invariant sections in the original document (which is true for wikipedia and which is the most generic implementation of GFDL), and, on the other hand, not being allowed to forbid invariant sections being inserted in derived aka modified works that are published elsewhere (which the wikipedia:copyrights text doesn't forbid, nor would it be allowed to do so). So you can download the full wikipedia content, or as many separate pages you like (as laid down in Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks), and publish such content under GFDL applying invariant sections et al. where you like, according to the general GFDL provisions I quoted above (for clarity: here also the unpiped link: Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License#4. MODIFICATIONS). --Francis Schonken 10:07, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
You appear to have still misunderstood my point, so I'll clarify. Firstly: The issue is purely internal to Wikipedia and has nothing to do with publishing Wikipedia documents elsewhere. Secondly: The GFDL allows both verbatim copying and distribution of modified versions. The GFDL does not grant any right to modify the original document; only to distribute modified copies. As such, commiting a change to Wikipedia cannot be modifying the original, it must be releasing a derivative work (that is graciously distributing for you). To restate: Current Wikipedia is a derived work built upon derived work many levels down to the original work. Thirdly: Wikipedia is stating that Wikipedia is free of invariant sections et. al. however, the derivative work (the commited change) was released under broader terms. Fourthly: This is an inconsistency. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know how much legal hassle this inconsistency causes (hopefully none) but it is an inconsistency and should be corrected. Irrevenant 11:49, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
oops, I'll restate: as far as I can see you're completely clueless. No offense intended. If this can be any comfort to you, you're not the first (nor will you probably be the last) struggling with the GFDL legalese.
If you are correct about this, then noone is being granted licence to modify the work on Wikipedia and all the modifications are taking place without legal permission. That's a much bigger problem than the one I originally raised. Irrevenant 11:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
  • For wikipedia, we're all working on the same *original*, that is a *database* somewhere located in Florida (or other places, depends on language too). When I click the "save page" button in a few seconds, I'll be modifying that original, and I'll not be (re)distributing a copy or a derivative work. I modify the "original". Before that modification, the "original" was different, and after the "save page" instruction initiated by me reaches the Florida servers, the previous version of the original will be outdated. By the time (for example) that someone downloads a database dump, that database dump will be a no longer up-to-date copy, while it is the "original" that is continuously modified (as can be followed in "recent changes").
Can you back this up? As far as I can see, the original is that document at the very beginning of the history. Irrevenant 11:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
  • "The GFDL does not grant any right to modify the original document" – of course not, but that's how the wiki system works. It's not possible to build the content of a wiki-system without allowing to modify the original. So, indeed, no, the right to continously modify the original document (as long as you're not banned etc), does not *derive* from GFDL, it is *inherent* to a wiki-system. Your reasoning that we're not changing the "original" because of something-to-do-with GFDL, is incorrect.
Okay, this completely misses the point. Obviously the technical ability to modify the document comes from the wiki software. But I'm talking about the ability to legally modify the document. If that's not coming from module 4 of the GFDL, where is it coming from? Irrevenant 11:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Further, for wikipedia's *original*, the distributor always remains the same: the WikiMedia Foundation, Florida-based non-for-profit organisation. So, for these modifications of the original (a new version published every few milliseconds - or longer time-interval if considering publication by webpage) section 4 of the GFDL about modifications does not apply, while that section is only about modifications distributed by a different distributor: that section is written in the "you" form, where "you" is in that section described as the one "receiving" a *copy* of the original, and distributing that copy with or without modifications: editing wikipedia does not change the distributor, i.e. the Wikimedia Foundation, so section No. 4 of the GFDL has nothing to do with copy-editing the original. Section 4 of the GFDL is, for wikipedia, covered by what is explained in wikipedia:mirrors and forks (which is also a link I already gave above).
  • What was correct in your previous remark is the end of it, where you come down to something like: the "no invariant et al. sections" provision of wikipedia's copyright document (as per standard GFDL implementation), avoids that invariant et al. sections are smuggled into the original. Such additional sections are only allowed for publications elsewhere, for wikipedia: outside the servers serving the WikiMedia wiki's.
Don't know if this helps. You're right anyhow, it has some (unavoidable) complexities. But no, there are no inconsistencies. --Francis Schonken 14:21, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I still see a problem. Francis doesn't. Can a third party please weigh in here? Otherwise this could go on indefinitely. Irrevenant 11:05, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, yeah, no problem, you've got your mind set to "seeing" a problem, even if there's none.
But what shocks me, is that you're not prepared to give Jimbo Wales, and the Wikimedia Foundation, and those who put their money in it (tax-deducible or not), any credit for doing something *in excess* of what is required by GFDL and underlying (copyright) laws, that is: opening some webservers and databases, and allow the content of these to be filled via a wiki system open to anyone who can connect to internet. No, you're not going to find in GFDL that they *have* to do that.
Don't put words in my mouth. Of course I credit Jimbo et. al. for going 'above and beyond'. I just want the legality of the whole project to be clear. For example, who owns the copyright on my contributions? Obviously, anyone's free to use them under the terms of the GFDL, but what if I want to reuse them personally under a different licence. If, as you say, the whole of Wikipedia is the original document (presumably copyright Jimbo Wales & Co.) then by contributing to their original am I giving them the copyright to my work? If I was releasing a derived work under the GFDL, then it would be clear; If the GFDL modification clause isn't in effect then what is the legal status of contributions? Irrevenant 01:55, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
GFDLed documents have been produced without wiki systems, just sending documents via e-mail, or placing them on static webservers (all of these are systems where you can exclusively work with copies of documents). GFDL does not imply you have to allow people to work on a common original document, and provide the infrastructure to have every modification distributed within milliseconds worldwide. The GFDL allows you by, among others, its 4th section to make a *copy* and distribute that copy, modified or not, with your own resources via the channels you think fit (like Wikinfo did). GFDL does *not* oblige the publisher of the original document to also distribute the modifications you and I make to it. But the Wikimedia Foundation does that. There's no law or license document that forces them to do that, but nonetheless they do.
Yes, I see you're going to continue to imply that it's the GFDL document that makes them do that. Sorry to disappoint you, it is only their free will, and no law or license document - well, that's where your reasoning takes a bad turn. --Francis Schonken 23:54, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
You keep trying to make this issue be about other things but it's honestly not that complicated; the question is simply on what legal basis are contributions to Wikipedia handled? And for all your lengthy commentary and personal insults you still haven't managed to (apparently) recognise, let alone answer that basic question. Irrevenant 01:55, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, sorry, no, it's you who complicate things:
  • "Your reasoning that we're not changing the "original" because of something-to-do-with GFDL, is incorrect" (simple, no?)
    • Your answer: "Okay, this completely misses the point."
      • Sorry, my comment was spot-on. You're still looking for things in the GFDL that aren't there.
  • Your question: "on what legal basis are contributions to Wikipedia handled?" has been handled long and in depth. It's only you that don't like the answers you've gotten, because you're craving for something more complex, and you've made it clear you won't rest before you've got this immersed in a multitude of redundant complexity.
    • Short answer to your question: see wikipedia:copyrights.
    • Somewhat longer answer: wikipedia:copyrights (in conjunction with the GFDL text linked from there) settles it all for contributions stored on the WikiMedia servers/databases. Section 4 of the GFDL has no effect on contributions sent to the WikiMedia servers/databases (while for these edits to the WikiMedia servers/databases it is not the "you" as described in the GFDL that becomes, in a legal sense, the distributor of the modified version). Section 4 of the GFDL relates to what is described in wikipedia:mirrors and forks.
Please proceed to find an answer different from the one I gave above, if you think there is a need to unnecessarily complicate things. --Francis Schonken 10:06, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay, let me take a shot at this. I'm not a GFDL expert, but from reading most everything (though skimming a lot), I think the source of the confusing lies in this passage: ""Permission is granted to copy... with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts." What I think might be the case from Mr. Schonken's position so far is that the "with no..." clause modifies what may be copied from Wikipedia, not what the copier may create themselves. So Irrevenant is concerned that the passage is forbidding the addition of invariant sections, front-cover texts, and back-cover texts, while what the passage is really saying is that no invariant sections, front-cover texts, or back-cover texts may be copied from Wikipedia.

Is this right? If so, the text for that notice that is recommended by the GFDL is really confusing, because Irreverant's reading is what I got from it too. — Saxifrage 20:36, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

There's more to it. The standard GFDL/copyright statement (which indeed might confuse if not reading the whole of the GFDL text, which is also legalese, but blame RMS/FSF for that),

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation;
with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

ALSO implies that at no point in time there could be found Invariant Sections or Cover Texts in Wikipedia's content. While, if there would be Invariant Sections or Cover Texts in Wikipedia, the formulation would need to be different, still according to Wikipedia:Text of the GNU Free Documentation License#How to use this License for your documents:

If you have Invariant Sections, Front-Cover Texts and Back-Cover Texts, replace the "with...Texts." line with this:
with the Invariant Sections being LIST THEIR TITLES, with the
Front-Cover Texts being LIST, and with the Back-Cover Texts being LIST.
If you have Invariant Sections without Cover Texts, or some other combination of the three, merge those two alternatives to suit the situation."

So you'd have to keep lists of these types of sections, which Wikipedia doesn't do currently. And certainly no copies of these lists are included in the copyright statement.

The problem is, that this also implies (as long as wikipedia keeps to the No Invariant Sections/No Cover Texts copyright statement) no (other) GFDL documents containing Invariant Sections or Cover Texts can be added to wikipedia, while Invariant Sections or Cover Texts remain Invariant Sections or Cover Texts when joined in another document. The only possibility (but then you'd need to be copyright owner of these documents or at least you'd need express permission by the copyright owner to do that) is to copy the text of such Invariant Sections or Cover Texts in Wikipedia agreeing that they lose their statute of being Invariant Sections or Cover Texts, while Wikipedia has no means to protect that statute ("invariant" means that that text should be "literally" kept in every copy of Wikipedia's content, and should be listed as such in the copyright statement; the same for Cover Texts – read the GFDL). Which doesn't happen. And that's why currently the copy of Wikipedia's content at the WikiMedia servers/databases can not accept "Invariant" or "Cover" content according to what these concepts mean in the GFDL.

Note that anybody can copy Wikipedia content, add Invariant or Cover matter according to the GFDL (section 4 et. al.) and distribute such modified versions. But that person can not impose on the Wikimedia Foundation to distribute such version that includes Invariant or Cover texts. Unless, when the GFDL/copyright statement of the WikiMedia projects would change so that the Invariant and Cover Texts are listed, and on top of that there would be a system with which to protect such content in designated places (won't happen in any foreseeable future afaik). --Francis Schonken 15:28, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Pizza Pops

I just uploaded Image:Pizza Pops.jpg for use in the above article. Could someone check and make sure I used the correct copyright tag. Thanks. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 20:57, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Ignore this I had forgotten about Wikipedia:Media copyright questions and I posted the question there. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 21:19, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Newspaper Articles

I just uploaded two copies of newspaper articles as reference for a new article I started. Would someone check and let me know what I need to do from a permissioning/citing/tagging perspective?

Thanks. --Irishkevin2 06:31, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

First of all, I would suggest you use a format such as JPG in the future, since most browsers won't display PDF files inline (so you have to click on them and wait for Adobe Acrobat to load, then go back to the article). Second of all, the articles you uploaded are copyrighted, and it's illegal for us to host them here, so I'm going to put them up for deletion. However, you don't need to upload the actual materials to serve as references—you can just add citations using a standard template such as {{cite news}}. While online or otherwise easily-accessible resources are useful so that readers can find the information more easily, they're not compulsory, any more than in print sources.

Hope that helps. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 18:22, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Is it fair to say that if that newspaper gave me specific permission to use the article here on, I would be OK?

--Irishkevin2 22:04, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

No, I'm afraid not. The content must be released under a free license such as the GFDL or a suitable Creative Commons license. It can't be only for use on Wikipedia, and it can't be only for commercial use. That's the idea behind free software. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:04, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Copying fictional encyclopedias

There's an interesting problem posed by The World of Kong, which is an encyclopedia for fictional creatures existing within the fictional world of the Peter Jackson King Kong film. Someone has added a complete list of every creature described, and most of them now have individual stub articles. Problem is, these are all creatures that are only described in that book, so "describing" the creatures does not mean describing their depiction in works of fiction, but simply copying The World of Kong. It's different when a character is actually used in one or more works of fiction, because the article then transforms the expression that it copies by providing real world context and objective description. But if the fictional subject only exists in that one fictional encyclopedia, then we're simply taking fiction, changing some words, and omitting the pictures, and then directly competing with the original. I don't think there's a fair use article here, nor do I think that what is copied are merely "facts," because the encyclopedia of fiction is hardly an informational source about fiction when it's introducing the subjects in the first place. Postdlf 22:42, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

If I understand correctly (correct me if I'm wrong), you notify about at least two problems that intermingle in this instance:
  1. Copyright of lists published in one source only: there has been prior discussion (in Village Pump and so) that indeed this rather should be avoided in wikipedia, for copyright infringement risks. Listing all the characters that appear in the Peter Jackson King Kong film should however not be a problem as such: that can be verified by the film, its script, maybe additionally an IMDb entry, and probably other sources, much the same as for example this list exists w.r.t. some Asimov novels. The only added problem regarding the Jackson film, is that films themselves have a bit of a lower esteem as far as the reliability of the source is concerned, see WP:RS, I think the issue is still explained there. The problem is that "I've seen this or that happen in a film", is a bit dodgier as a reference, than "this or that is described on p. xxx of book Yyy". But when there is as well the film, an external printed reference (which should have an ISBN mentioned in that case, which is not present in the World of Kong wikipedia article currently), and maybe some other sources, that confirm each other in a WP:V way, I don't think there is necessarily a problem.
  2. Descriptions of the list entries: these can present copyright problems - if The World of Kong is their only source, and the descriptions are literally copy-pasted to Wikipedia: is that the case? Well then, if so, this can be cleaned out, with proper references to the World of Kong book on each of the sub-articles. Whether each of them would "deserve" a separate article, is a notability issue, I suppose covered by the WP:FICT guideline. But the problem you seemed to hint at is that many of these descriptions present "separation of fact from fiction" issues, in that case the problem is similar to the ones we have currently with List of legendary kings of Britain. In that case, for example, {{fiction}} can be used on top of the article(s) until the descriptions of *real* pre-historic animals are separated from *fictional* descriptions (or fictional additions to what we know about these animals in a more scientific way). This can be a tough and/or time-consuming process, but I don't think the template should be removed in such case before the descriptions are thus that readers are not led astray about what are real descriptions and what are fictional descriptions. Note that including "real" characteristics of prehistorical animals in the "fictional" ones (saying it's all fictional) is not a clean separation of fact from fiction either in that case, while that would be misleading too. --Francis Schonken 08:59, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
No, I'm assuming the creatures are entirely fake in the book, rather than a mix of actual dinosaurs and fictional (or fictionalized ones) and I'm not talking about a list issue.
The problem as I see it is more like the difference between The Onion and The New York Times. The Times is reporting about real events, and because you can't copyright facts you could publish your own newspaper, using only the Times as a source, as long as you sufficiently rewrote the information so that you weren't using their phrasing and article structure any more than was necessary to convey the information. The Onion, however, is reporting about fictional events, so that despite its format as an informational source, it's really just a short story in newspaper article form; copying the underlying "facts" into one's own "newspaper" would be the same as paraphrasing a novel.
Applying that to fictional encyclopedias, we can still separate informational books on fiction such as The Star Trek Encyclopedia, which have compiled information from the television series, movies, and books of the Star Trek franchise, from books such as World of Kong, which have instead created things anew (we assume here) to connect to other works of fiction. If the subjects only exist in the encyclopedia, don't we just have what is effectively a short story in encyclopedia format, just as an Onion story is not news about fictional events, but instead pure fiction? With no prior referent, that "encyclopedia" is not an informational source, but is itself original fiction. Wouldn't making a new encyclopedia article "about" that creature just amount to copying or making a derivative work of the original fiction? Postdlf 15:02, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

The key case is one in which the Seinfeld Aptitute Test, a book of trivia questions about the show, was found to be a copyright infringement because by copying "facts" from the show (really just describing incidents and dialogue) it substantially copied creative expression and did not sufficiently transform it to constitute fair use.

"Unlike the facts in a phone book, which do not owe their origin to an act of authorship, each ‘fact’ tested by The SAT is in reality fictitious expression created by Seinfeld's authors. The SAT does not quiz such true facts as the identity of the actors in Seinfeld, the number of days it takes to shoot an episode, the biographies of the actors, the location of the Seinfeld set, etc. Rather, The SAT tests whether the reader knows that the character Jerry places a Pez dispenser on Elaine's leg during a piano recital, that Kramer enjoys going to the airport because he's hypnotized by the baggage carousels, and that Jerry, opining on how to identify a virgin, said ‘It's not like spotting a toupee.’ Because these characters and events spring from the imagination of Seinfeld's authors, The SAT plainly copies copyrightable, creative expression." Castle Rock Entertainment v. Carol Publ'g Group, 150 F.3d 132, 139 (2d Cir. 1998)

Though our intention is to provide information rather than entertainment (as in the case), by making an encyclopedia article about a fictitious subject that only exists in another encyclopedia article, we haven't transformed the expression in the slightest. I think there can be no fair use here. Postdlf 15:17, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Never knew American judges had such exquisit sense of humor... This one got me floored laughing in tears:

The SAT’s plain purpose, therefore, is not to expose Seinfeld’s “nothingness,” but to satiate Seinfeld fans’ passion for the “nothingness” that Seinfeld has elevated into the realm of protectable creative expression. (quoted in

Well, if The World of Kong equally qualifies as “nothingness” [...] elevated into the realm of protectable creative expression., let's get rid of it...
An article on The Seinfeld Aptitude Test, explaining the court case (didn't we have a series on copyright law? - ah, here it is: {{Intellectual property}}), would however be an enrichment of Wikipedia, I think. That would be providing both information and entertainment, if quoting the excellent prose of the SAT court decision. --Francis Schonken 16:45, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
We should have an article on the court case (the book itself was not notable); I first read it in a copyright law textbook, so it's gotten significant attention. Maybe I'll tackle it if I get bored writing new SCOTUS articles. Postdlf 18:29, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Checking something

If I take an article I wrote, using versions where I had been the sole editor, I don't need to bother with this, do I? - SoM 15:21, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Can you be more specific? Do you mean an article you wrote somewhere else that you would now like to move to Wikipedia? It's not a problem to use it, but you might want to make a note on the talk page giving a link to the original source and saying that you yourself are the original author. Otherwise someone might google a sentence or two of the Wikipedia article, find your original source, and tag it as a copyvio. Angr (tc) 15:33, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Other way round - some articles I originally wrote for WP that I'd now like to use somewhere else. Preferably, with as few hoops to jump through as possible. - SoM 15:40, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Oh. That I don't know. I don't see why it should a problem, though. Angr (tc) 15:54, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
You still hold the copyright to the articles you wrote and can distribute them freely without abiding by the GFDL. You just can't stop other people from distributing them as long as they do abide by the GFDL. You don't have to inform people it's released under the GFDL, either; only people who actually want to use it under the GFDL have to do that. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:59, 21 May 2006 (UTC)
That's pretty much what I thought, but I wanted to be sure. Ta. - SoM 04:04, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Personal Articles from Unknown Newspaper

I would like to write a couple articles about some members of my family, but of course I'd need references to back them up. I have a number of articles and obituaries for members of my family, but in some cases they are just very old clippings from newspapers that don't have any information as to the newspaper publisher and are post-1922. Given that they are articles about my own family, are they still subject to copyright laws? I'm going to assume "yes", but even the obituaries? After all, my own family would have been the author's source of information... it'd be a reference loop: I'd reference him; and he'd theoretically have referenced me. Thisisbossi

Setting aside our general discouragement against anyone writing on a topic with whom they have had a personal relationship, simply using something as a reference for information does not implicate copyright, because facts are not copyrightable. What is copyrightable is the manner in which facts are expressed. A word-for-word, letter-for-letter copy of an obituary is going to be copyright infringement. A fact-for-fact use of an obituary to write an article in your own words is not. If you're missing the publication information from the obituaries, then you're just going to have a problem verifying the information, but it's not legally necessary to give credit to a source from which you have learned a fact. That being said, if an obituary is the only print reference in which information about these individuals can be found, you might have a problem meeting our notability guidelines for articles about people. See WP:BIO. Postdlf 22:23, 22 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Especially an obit in an unknown paper. A New York Times or Pravda obit would probably be pretty good evidence of notability in and of itself. - Jmabel | Talk 00:57, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the help. I understand the concerns with regards to writing about kin, which is why I want to provide verifiable sources along with any articles I modify or create. I'll see if I can track down these sources. --Thisisbossi 03:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
With date and location in hand, it shouldn't be too hard to work out what newspaper something actually came from. Not trivial, but well within feasibility. - Jmabel | Talk 00:57, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Orthodox icons

One diligent editor has uploaded a few scans of Eastern Orthodox icons, but I question his tag. Here's an example. He asserts that it must be public domain since they are "hundreds of years old" and/or, as here, "copies of copies" and thus not copyrightable. There may be other examples of this kind of thing which I have not located, but these were handy.

Now, while it's true that icons are "copies of copies" and that their types are often centuries old, icons in this style are painted by hand right up to the present day, and these in particular look new. While the iconographer must stay within the canons of the subject, there is considerable room for individual expression. For example, compare the first example above with this icon of the same subject. In many cases, I can't help but think there may be copyright considerations.

Several factors complicate the issue. First, authorship and copyright are very often not asserted over icons, and it is a common practice that they are not even signed. Sometimes an icon's creator can be identified by style, but often not. Second, they are very often work made for hire, and absent a contract to the contrary I believe this means the copyright is held by the commissioning party. Third, once an icon has been sold, the artist generally has no expectation of further income connected with it whether specially commissioned or not -- but then, they are not usually commercially exploited. Fourth, occasionally icons are signed and the artist does have an expectation of further income if reproductions of the icon are produced and sold.

The second icon linked at the top appears to fall into that fourth category. Its source is here, which gives the artist's name and carries a copyright notice. Its use here is, I think, is fair use at best.

I take it there's no question that a simple photograph of a very old icon is not eligible for copyright per WP:IUP#Public domain, as a reproduction of a public domain 2D work of art. But I think some clarity for other situations would be helpful. TCC (talk) (contribs) 06:37, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I can’t help but take exception to one point in the previous paragraphs. There is not “Considerable” room for personal expression in traditional icon painting. While there may be some “Artists” who impose their creative style in painting images of a biblical nature, these images cease to be “Icons” once such personal expression becomes overtly manifest. What you do find in Icons are subtle differences in technique and style, but these differences might indicate which monastery or workshop in which the Icon originated; but the monks who paint the icons follow nearly identical patterns. Modern icons are mostly still painted in the traditional style following set patterns that have existed for centuries. There are, of course, new icons all the time, even as there are new saints. Once an Icon is approved for a particular saint it is meant to be copied. This may be the very reason icons cannot be copyrighted – they are meant to be copied, and no one has ever required permission from the original iconographer to make such a copy.--Phiddipus 06:43, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
But this isn't exactly the case. There are fairly exacting canons for a subject, yes. But if there wasn't any original expression, it wouldn't be possible to distinguish icons by style, and you clearly can. It's even possible to identify some works of genius among them. I linked to an different Pentecost icon to show how they can vary.
Now, ideally you're right. Icons are and ought to be for veneration only, and questions of ownership of an image shouldn't enter into the matter. However, some people obviously are asserting copyright and seeking to exploit them commercially. I linked to an example of that above too. Whether they're right or wrong in doing this according to Orthodox ethics, they may well have the law on their side. TCC (talk) (contribs) 08:34, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

copyright of contributions

An editor seems to be claiming copyright of her submission, here: Biological patent. What's up with that? -Freekee 05:00, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I removed the authorship statement at the bottom of the text and added a cleanup tag. Dragons flight 05:44, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
That may have been a copyvio, although not from an online source. The editor was anonymous, and it wasn't a statement of authorship so much as a copyright notice, perhaps listed from the source publication. Lana Nimri is a known expert on IP rights in Arabic countries, a attorney and member of Arab Society for Intellectual Property. Unless she came here personally and edited the article anonymously, the text doesn't belong there at all. TCC (talk) (contribs) 05:59, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
In my experience if someone signs something by adding a copyright notice after their sig then they are almost always the original author. That the text doesn't seem to be copied from the net seems to support that. But by all means feel free to write to Lana Nimri to confirm. I suspect though any meaningful cleanup is going to dump much of the text anyway. Dragons flight 06:08, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Unless we can determine that the author posted her own work, shouldn't the text of the article be removed also? -Freekee 03:45, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

"No modifications" type restrictions on images

Do we accept it or not? I though we didn't and commons don't, but I notice the various {{cc-by-nd}} type license tags are still around. They have that little "This is an unfree license" message on them, but they don't seem to have been "retired" like {{permission}} and {{noncommercial}} where, and I notice the "must allow modifications" clause have been removed from the {{CopyrightedFreeUseProvided}} template too. The reason I ask is that I ocationaly run across images with statements along the lines of "This image can be used freely as long as it is not modified" and then tagged with {{CopyrightedFreeUse}} or whatever, and I'm abit unsure wether that's ok or not. And isn't there entire classes of crown copyright that also does not allow modifications and stuff? Just curious about wether we have a policy against it or not, I would think such a restiction would be incompatable with GFDL and therefore not allowed, but I can't seem to find anywhere where it's written down that images must allow modifications to be allowed, so maybe I'm just confused... --Sherool (talk) 13:42, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

They're not free, so no, they're not allowed. The cc-nd licenses are kept mostly as traps to catch any images uploaded under those licenses. The Crown Copyright tags are intended as "fair use" tags with the copyright holder listed on the tag. The whole issue of "no derivarives" has been pretty much ignored because images with that as the only restriction are much less common than restrictions of "no commercial use" or "educational use only". --Carnildo 18:06, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

1959 movies in the public domain?

Just came across a screenshot from Plan 9 from Outer Space tagged as PD-US so my gut reaction was to change it to movie-screenshot, but then I sniffed around a bit and the entire movie is available from Google video labeled as Public Domain... Is this some kind of special case, failure to renew copyright before some key point in time or whatever? Because I can't figure out why it would be PD, the director didn't die untill 1978 so by the "normal" life +70 rule this one should be copyrighted untill 2048. Is Google way of base here or have the movie been released into the public domain at some point deliberately? --Sherool (talk) 17:02, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

In fact Category:Public domain films is full of rather suspect cases, I'm guessing the intent is to only put stuff into the 1888 - 1924 range subcats, but it's full of movies from the 40s and 50s too. --Sherool (talk) 17:09, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Anything published/released prior to 1963 for which the copyright was not renewed by the author is now in the public domain. It's a Wonderful Life is a notable example of such a film (though it is still under licensing restrictions only because it is derivative of a work that is still copyrighted). I have no specific knowledge of whether this is also true of Plan 9. Copyright renewal is now automatic, which is why there's a 1963 cutoff. Postdlf 17:29, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Most of the films in the category that I checked explained the issue in the article. See [6] for all the different copyright expiriations. Rmhermen 17:35, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Ah, that would probably explain it yes. I got the 1923 date confused with the copyright renewal stuff since that's the only year mentioned on the {{PD-US}} template. --Sherool (talk) 18:03, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
We might do well to have a distinct template for this, explaining the basis on which these works are PD. - Jmabel | Talk 01:02, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Virtual Earth

Query on usage: Assuming a user used Virtual earth to locate a point on the planet, zoomed in and rotated the image to a specific viewpoint, then made a screenshot image, using Ctrl, Alt, PrtSc, and overlaid the cropped image with marks and indicators to give information about a place on the image, then saved that combined image again as a new image. Would that final image be permitted for use on wikipedia? If so under what licence? Richard Harvey 06:29, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Would the original, undoctored image have been copyrighted or public domain? If the original was copyrighted, then the user can't claim authorship of the modified version (a derivative work). If the original was public domain, then the user can claim authorship of the modified version and license it as he will (though he should still mention the source of the original and point out it's PD). Angr (talk) 08:05, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Virtual Earth appears to basically be a ripoff of Google Earth, incorporating satellite data (presumably all free) to form a composite image. Unless the composition is novel enough to warrant copyright, it should be okay, but I'm uncertain on that point. The composition is done by computer, but after all, the computer program requires creativity to write. I'd guess it's no good if it's a composite image, but IANAL. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:11, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
I don't see any reason to assume the original content is not copyrighted. If you do want to add maps or whatever, I would suggest you look into NASA World Wind. AFAIK, most of the content there is free or released under the NASA Open Source license. However I don't know this that well, so look into NASA's copyright section before you add anything. Nil Einne 12:08, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Any work made by an employee of NASA in the course of his duties is in the public domain, as with any US federal agency. I suggested that Google Earth's stuff (meaning the satellite images only, which I didn't say) was presumably free because all NASA images are free and therefore there's no reason not to use them. Actually, though, I think they did in fact license it, because I recall reading copyright notices as I scrolled around, way back when. I would personally suspect that the copyright on any satellite image taken perpendicular to the Earth's surface is just as uncopyrightable as a picture taken of a public-domain image from a perpendicular angle, but it hasn't been tried in court, so we might not want to rely on that. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:22, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

what to do with implausible copyright tags?

What should I do when I come across images like this one? (be warned: that's a porn photo) It's certainly possible that the copyright owner has released rights; it's just far more likely that the copyright tag is a lie. Should I put it up for deletion? Delete the copyright tag? Or simply leave a message on the picture's talk page? Thanks for any help; I've been seeing a lot of such images lately. Also, whatever the answer is, it might be helpful to say it explicitly in some help page or other (sorry if it's there and I just missed it). --Allen 23:23, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

When the license tag is clearly wrong (say, an image tagged {{no rights reserved}} when the original website says "all rights reserved"), I strike out the tag and add {{no license}} and a comment as to why the license tag is wrong, and watchlist the image until it gets deleted. For an image with no reasonable use on Wikipedia (such as most porn), I tag it with {{db|No encyclopedic use}} instead. --Carnildo 23:48, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, "No encyclopedic use" isn't a speedy criterion so the above tag is invalid. Instead, go to the source provided, make sure it doesn't say anywhere "All images may be used freely for any purpose" (which of course it won't), then do a strikethrough of the claimed license and replace it with {{subst:nld}}. Angr (talk) 04:59, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
{{db|no encyclopedic use}} may not be a speedy criterion, but it's still pretty good at getting rid of gratuitious porn. --Carnildo 08:31, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Copyrighting my own image

I have a photograph I took myself which I would like to use on an article I'm writing. I don't mind uploading it onto Wikipedia, but I don't want people to be able to use it for commercial purposes or on other websites.
I looked through the different copyrights, but can't seem to find what I'm looking for. Then again, I could have just missed it... Does a copyright like this exist, or can I make up my own?
Thanks in advance!
Editor at Large 19:50, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, but Wikipedia doesn't allow images with that sort of restriction. The goal of Wikipedia is to create an encyclopedia that follows the free content philosophy: people can freely modify the content and use it elsewhere. Images that can't be re-used or used commercially get in the way of that goal. --Carnildo 20:29, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Carnildo is quite right. However, if you license your image under the GFDL only (and not under Creative Commons), then the only way someone can use your image commercially (or at all) is if they attach the entire text of the GFDL with it. This pretty much guarantees your image will only be used in an encyclopedia, and not for example on a tee shirt, because no tee shirt manufacturer is going to print the entire text of the GFDL on the back of the tee shirt just so he can use your picture on the front. Angr (talk) 06:09, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
It can be a bit more widespread than that. The GFDL works for websites and for large printed works such as books. --Carnildo 08:32, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Great, thank you! Editor at Large 17:00, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
They could also include it on a CD/DVD etc I believe Nil Einne 11:58, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Wiki guidelines on copying non-copyrighted material

The article on Tony Tether was copied directly from a US government website. I've seen things like this multiple times. Although the material appears to be in the public domain, it doesn't seem proper to copy-and-paste into Wikipedia what others have written. Are their any policies or guidelines about this? Thanks! -Medtopic 00:13, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

This is done often with this sort of public domain material. Of course, it should be edited for NPOV and encyclopedic style, as well, it needs to be wikified. Rmhermen 02:05, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
In academia, it would certainly be improper. Here, we usually give attribution if the borrowing is substantial (see my newly-created Category:Attribution templates; I know there are templates somewhere for government works too). —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:07, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Attribution is certainly encouraged. Sorry I forgot to mention it. The tag for 1911 texts was one of the first instituted on Wikipedia. Rmhermen 17:15, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Copyrighted images?

I see this template being used to tag certain images {{CopyrightedFreeUseProvidedThat}}. Is this compatible with WP copyright policy? There is no statement about being able to use these images for commercial or non-commercial use. Can somebody clarify this? Thanks. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:35, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

It has a little tag on it saying "NOTE: The following conditions may not include terms which restrict usage to educational or not-for-profit purposes or prohibit derivatives." (The "or prohibit derivatives" part was just added.) "Educational or not-for-profit purposes" covers noncommercial use pretty well. Otherwise I guess you have free rein. ("This image is copyrighted. The copyright holder allows anyone to use it for any purpose, provided that they stand on their head while singing 'O Canada'.") Angr (talk) 20:16, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. But my question was related to how do we deal with these images and their conflict with the GFDL. Clearly these images do not fit the license we tell users of WP. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 20:52, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
It depends on what the conditions are that the person has written in. Creative Commons Licenses aren't exactly compatible with the GFDL either, but we still allow CC-BY and CC-BY-SA. So long as there are only reasonable conditions of use (author must be attributed, derivative works must be licensed the same way, etc.) and not general restrictions on use (no commercial use, no derivatives, etc.), they're okay. If you come across an image with this tag whose conditions seem incompatible with being free content, I guess either tag it for speedy deletion under I3 if that applies, or else take it to IFD for "discussion" (although discussion at IFD is pretty rare). Angr (talk) 05:13, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

old(ish) photos

I'm looking for some help determining whether a few images are in copyright or not. It's a bit long but I'll try to keep it as short as I can.

  • I'm looking for a photo for the Jim Hall (boxer) article. He died in 1913, so any photos of him were obviously taken before then.
  • This photo is the one I've seen used most often. The "Dana Photo SF" on the print refers to Dana Studio in San Francisco, who specialised in boxing photos from 1900-1916. The photographer, Percy Dana, was born circa 1865. There doesn't seem to be any indication of when the photo was published.
  • {{PD-US}} says images published before 1923 in the US are PD only in the US. {{PD-old-50}} says the same thing, and the author died 50 years ago (1956). I haven't yet been able to determine when Dana died (he would have been 91 in '56), but I'm not sure if it is OK to assume the photo was published before 1923 (since the photography studio closed in 1916).
  • Alternatively there is this ("circa 1895", no info about the ownership of the photo though), this (published in 1910 - but in Britain) and this (no info i could find)

So in short my question is whether (1) it is OK to use the first, under the assumption it was published before the photography studio closed and/or the subject died; (2) either of the second lot i've listed (in particular, the British one) are OK; (3) it's best to make no assumptions and try to find a new photo/concrete info; or (4) this is completely the wrong place to ask this question... Thanks — AlbinoMonkey (Talk) 13:18, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Use the 1910 Britain photo, with {{PD-US}}. Any work first published before 1923 anywhere in the world is in the public domain under US law. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 05:55, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Will do. Thanks Simetrical. — AlbinoMonkey (Talk) 07:21, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Wiki Mirror violating GFDL?

Site mirrors Wikipedia in several languages (English, German, French, probably more). URLs are <article-name>.<language-symbol>, e.g. . There is no remark on GFDL on these pages. Looks like a violation of GFDL? --Anastasius zwerg 20:39, 21 June 2006 (UTC)

At the bottom of the page, I see "This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article 'Word' it is used under the GNU Free Documentation License. You may redistribute it,verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the GFDL." —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 01:14, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Anyway, the place to take these up is Wikipedia:Mirrors and Forks. - Jmabel | Talk 01:06, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Are all pre-1923 US publications public domain?

I just want to double check to make sure that all pre-1923 publications from the United States are now in the public domain. Is that true even if the author died less than 70 years ago? I found some really nice line drawings of Cordyceps in a 1911 issue of Mycologia, published at that time by the New York Botanical Garden. The author of images is Fred J. Seaver, who died in 1970. I just want to be absolutely sure these would be considered public domain images before I go through the trouble of scanning them. Peter G Werner 02:53, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

yes all are PD. Rjensen 02:55, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
Not only all U.S. publications but all publications anywhere in the world before 1923 are PD in the U.S. (except maybe in the 9th Judicial Circuit). Here's a handy table: [7] Rmhermen 16:03, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Images in US Government publications noted as "courtesy of..."

One other question about public domain. I'm told that US government publications are public domain. I was thinking of doing some hi-resolution scans from Handbook to Additional Fungal Species of Special Concern in the Northwest Forest Plan vols. 1 & 2, published by the US Forest Service. Both volumes are without copyright notice and have no page clarifying the copyright status of the images within. Each image, however, is tagged "Photo courtesy of <author>". Here's a link to one of the publications in question. My question is, does this "Photo courtesy of...." mean that the photographer has retained copyright, or is the publication simply acknowledging the photographer? Peter G Werner 03:21, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Some of these pictures are credited to David Arora, an independent mycologist born in 1957. He doesn't seem to be a U.S. government employee, and thus I would assume that the credit lines actually are copyright acknowledgements. Lupo 06:30, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm familiar with most of the names credited and most of them aren't government employees (most are academics affiliated with various universities). That's beside the point – I'm wondering if once the photographers have contributed something to a government publication whether that image then is public domain as well. (I'd note that I'm sure that they retain rights to the original full-resolution image – I'm just referring to the version of the image that shows up in the government publication.) Looking more closely at one of the pages (scroll down to the bottom of page 6), I'm now inclined to think that most aren't copyrighted. The image I just referred to reads "Copyright Michael Beug" across the image itself, while most of the other images in these books have no such notice. That would seem to designate that the images in these two books that are copyrighted are the exceptions. Peter G Werner 16:19, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
US government publications are not public domain. Works prepared by an employee (not counting contractors) of the United States federal government in the course of carrying out their official duties are in the public domain. Unless you can verify that this is the case (for instance, many government works will note which parts are PD), you can't take stuff from a government publication. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 03:09, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Question regarding copyrights

If a (copyrighted) book attributes an image to the government in the caption, is it appropriate (or even desirable) to use a scan of that book as a wiki image, since the image is Public Domain even if the book is not? These are rather old so I doubt digital versions exist. Secondly, how should the image be cropped? I presume that ideally it should be cropped to only show the image, but how would I justify the attribution if the caption is omitted? --Mmx1 15:42, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

If by "the government" you mean the Federal Government of the United States, I would say it's appropriate to scan it and tag it {{PD-USGov}}. For the source, I would say "Scanned by user Mmx1 from ABC, where it is credited to XYZ." Then for ABC I would give the complete bibliographical information of the book (author, title, year, publisher with location, ISBN, page number), so that anyone wishing to verify the information knows where to look, and for XYZ I would copy the attribution as it stands in the book. User:Angr 15:51, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Something that may or may not matter to Wikipedia

Aparently, a Japanese court has made a ruling about public domain and pre-1953 films.[8] I doubt it has anything to do with anything that we do, but I thought it might be worth sharing. Cheers. youngamerican (ahoy-hoy) 16:54, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Page Protection

Why is this page protected? --Karldoh 17:30, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I believe that policy pages are normally semi-protected. I think the idea is that if you're that new, you probably don't know enough about policy to edit policy pages. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 21:44, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Well I don't have any plans to change WP policy, but my account is older than 4 days which seems to be the sprotect rule. --Karldoh 01:10, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Sculptures in public places

I've asked a question at Wikipedia talk:Fair use#Sculptures in public places that may be equally relevant to this page; rather than duplicate my question, I'm just linking here. - Jmabel | Talk 21:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Assumption of Copyright

This isn't a question about copyrights, but rather a suggestion for changing the copyright policy page. I recently created an article by copying some text from a personal website (which I was using because it provided an accurate summary of various biographies of Dionýz Ilkovic) that didn't say anywhere it was copyrighted. After reading this policy page, it seemed fine to do that because the page only talks about not copying from work that states it's copyrighted. But that article was then deleted for copyright violation, and it was explained to me that "All work, whether they be paintings or text on websites, are protected by copyright unless the author explicitly releases those rights." While I'm not disputing this rule/policy, I do think it needs to be stated more clearly on the Copyright policy page, because as I said, I never would have guessed it had it not been explained to me on my talk page. --Edward Tremel 00:10, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Is the current version clearer? (For future reference, comments go at the bottom of the page, not the top.) —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 19:21, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Shift some of the redundant stuff out?

The subsections of Wikipedia:Copyrights#Image guidelines and the entire Wikipedia:Copyrights#Comments on copyright laws by country seem much too specific for this page, and duplicate info at Wikipedia:Public domain (except for the "Celebrity photographs" bit, which would duplicate stuff from WP:FU if it weren't flat-out wrong). Shouldn't we either attempt to maintain a comprehensive list here of what country-specific copyright law is, as at Wikipedia:Public domain#Country-specific rules and Wikipedia:Copyright situations by country, or leave the comprehensive lists there and refer the reader there? This duplication of some info but not all is kind of pointless, as well as confusing. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 19:37, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Memory Alpha

Some recent contributions taken from Memory Alpha have been defined as copyright violations by various people, and some fairly robust messages left on the contributors talk pages. I'm pretty sure these aren't copyright violations per se, but a license compatibility issue. Wikipedia uses GFDL licensing, while MA uses Creative Commons licensing. Are MA lifts copyright violations or not? exolon 22:01, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Memory Alpha is under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which is incompatible with the GFDL (which permits commercial use). Therefore, any use in Wikipedia is a copyright violation. --Carnildo 22:57, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

User:Dhruvsk and Martin Dillon (musician)

My attention was drawn to Martin Dillion article earlier. I found most of it was a copyright which I removed. At the same time I found that there were 5 images uploaded by Dhruvsk. All of them had been tagged as as {{GFDL-self}}. Of these I was able to find that 2 came from here and one was a CD cover shot or from [9]. These three I have deleted. I have not yet been able to find Image:Martin DillonTails.jpg or Image:MartinDillonFidelio.jpg but they do not look like user created images. Because I am not sure where they come from I did not know if I should remove the GDFL-slef tag or not. Thanks. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 08:35, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Put them up on WP:PUI. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:30, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Indirect copyright?

We have been having a discussion at the WP:RS talk page regarding "convenience links" (ie citing to the original document or image, but providing a link to the website that contains a copy because, say, the original is not available on-line) and a question has come up that is probably better asked here... A private web-page includes a copy of a copyrighted document or image ... there is no disclosure or indication that the copying page has been given permission to copy the document or image. Now, I think most of us would agree that the web-page is probably in violation of copywrite laws. My question is this... To what extent are we limited using this page as a convenience link? I know we are not the "copywrite police", nor (I think) are we in direct violation of the law since we are not placing the document or image on Wikipedia, but simply providing a link to it. But do we have an obligation to the copywrite holder to link to an approved version? I suppose I am asking if we would be in "indirect" violation (and does such a concept exist?) Blueboar 13:01, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

In the US, courts have supported the view that knowingly and intentionally linking to material that infringes copyright is a form of contributory infringment. Essentially they found that you can't get around the fact it is illegal for you to host something by simply directing traffic to some other site that is illegally hosting the same material. There is not really a bright legal line on how much care one should take in choosing links in order to ensure that targeted site is legitimate, but I would suggest that if reasonable people look at the site and they feel it is unlikely to be legitimate, then we probably shouldn't be linking to it. Dragons flight 15:18, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
This very project page prohibits linking to infringing works. It can generally be assumed that the copyright holder has not released his rights, and any third-party posting of a work is presumptively infringing. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:32, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Photographic derivatives of sculptures under German copyright law

If that header didn't frighten everyone off... Two photographs at German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin are of models of the actual aircraft carrier. Under longstanding U.S. copyright case law, a scale replica of a three-dimensional object can be copyrightable even if the original object is not, because there are necessarily creative choices involved in deciding how to reduce the object and simplify its features for the smaller scale. The model is at the Cuxhaven Aeronauticum, a naval aviation museum in Cuxhaven for which I cannot find an article on or I do not know if this is a government-run museum, or if that makes a difference. When I posted a comment on the German-language uploader's userpage (thanks chiefly to Babelfish), someone else stated (I think) that a model is not an independently copyrightable work under German law.[10] Is this the case? If so, why, and does that determine whether U.S. courts would nevertheless extend copyright protection to it? Postdlf 21:59, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Could you possibly have asked a more complicated copyright question? The essence of the Berne Convention is that a foreign works published here is to be granted the same legal protections as any similar work that had been created here. So nominally, US law will govern the image's use in the US. So, if as you say, scale models are protected works in the US (I've never heard of such a thing, but it seems plausible), then the photogragh of one would, I believe, be treated as a derivative of a protected work in the US.
However, the Berne Convention has a proviso that nations may choose to terminate copyright locally if the term of the copyright has expired in the country of origin. If this applies, and models are in fact copyright exempt in Germany, then it would appear to be public domain. However, my recollection is that the US did not implement this proviso of the Berne Convention (any one know for sure?, it is a very important point). In which case the length and copyrightability will depend solely on US law, and which would allow the model to be protected in the US even if it is exempt in Germany.
So at present, my best guess is that the image is protectable in the US. Dragons flight 23:29, 3 August 2006 (UTC)
Are works of the German government public domain, as they are in the U.S.? If it's a government-run museum then the gov't may be the author of the model. Postdlf 20:18, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
My understanding has been that Germany has a much narrower public domain clause than we do. While we release the works of all federal employees, I believe they limit it more to just laws and administrative materials, but I am not an expert on that. Dragons flight 21:03, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Works that existed on 1 January 1996 and were out of copyright in their home country then are not copyrighted in the US, but that's the only concession we make to the rule of the shorter term. Other than that, foreign and domestic works are treated identically post-1977. That's my understanding, anyway: [11]. It would seem to be protectable. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:35, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, that is not even really a concession to the rule of the shorter term because one of the requirements of the URAA scenario is that the work have lapsed into the public domain in the US due to failing the previously existing technical requirements (e.g. registration). In essence, the URAA eliminated the registration and other technical requirements associated with the application of US copyright to foreign material, provided that the material was still under copyright in the country of origin in 1996. However, someone who had properly registered a foreign work in the US could have continually maintained a US copyright even beyond the expiration of the copyright in the country of origin. Dragons flight 23:17, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
It's a partial concession to the rule of the shorter term, because in some circumstances (however circumscribed) works are in the public domain in the US if and only if they're PD in their home country. But that's really a quibble. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:36, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

The above is my understanding of U.S. copyright law as well: only U.S. copyright law applies in the U.S., none of these nasty foreign laws ;) Hence a work could still be under copyright in the U.S. even if it is out of copyright or ineligible for copyright in its source country (so long as it was under copyright on January 1, 1996 or published after March 1, 1996). Models are definitely copyrightable under both U.S. and German law, the photo is probably copyrightable in its own right as well. Physchim62 (talk) 14:12, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Old photos

I would like to upload some black and white photographs from a book published in England in 1926. No photographer is credited, and the publisher G T De Frane and Co. Ltd no longer exist. The book, however is the anual journal of the Buckinghamshire Archaelogical Society who do still exist here [12], they do not seem to answer emails! Will these fotos still be in copyright? Any ideas Giano | talk 12:02, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

They are protected until 70 years post mortem auctoris --Historiograf 12:52, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes but if no author or photographer is mentioned, how is one to know? Giano | talk 20:10, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
They're protected until 95 years after the publication date, unless they were in the public domain in England in 1996. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:39, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
70 years PMA only applies to unpublished works and works published after 1977. Works from before then, if still in copyright, are generally given protection for 95 years after their publication. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 22:39, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks - looks like I can't upload them then! Giano | talk 06:25, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

"Linking to copyrighted works" section asks for citation

Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page. Whether such a link is contributory infringement is currently being debated in the courts,[citation needed] but in any case, linking to a site that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on us. If the site in question is making fair use of the material, linking is OK.

If we want to reference contributory infringement then I'll suggest this: , Section II. Challenges of Emerging Technology - B. Facilitation.

But, if we want to cite "being debated in the courts", then that is looking a little thin to me: , which shows nothing but P2P and piracy cases. I'm not saying "being debated in the courts" is not a fact, but after considerable online searching I am having trouble giving veracity to it. And if someone wants to read every document at EFF, they might find an on-going court case. --Charles Gaudette 20:48, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

I suggest the section be changed to reflect the similar content at WP:EL:
External sites can possibly violate copyright. Linking to copyrighted works is usually not a problem, as long as you have made a reasonable effort to determine that the page in question is not violating someone else's copyright. If it is, please do not link to the page. Knowingly and intentionally directing others to a site that violates copyright has been considered a form of contributory infringement in the United States (Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry). Also, linking to a page that illegally distributes someone else's work sheds a bad light on us (see Wikipedia:Copyrights and in particular Contributors' rights and obligations).
Dragons flight 20:54, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
I went ahead and copyeditted that section to closely follow the above. Dragons flight 23:33, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Works for me! I did tweak it a little. --Charles Gaudette 00:58, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Model Release

Wikipedia considers some of it's projects like the CD to be commerical projects, and also requires that photographers release rights to their images for publishing. Being that the CD and the books would be considered commerical products wouldn't that mean that Wikipedia would need to obtain a model release from the photographers for all photos featuring people for both it's CD and book? PPGMD 15:48, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

As I understand it, one does not need a model release for a photo of a public figure or a person participating in a public activity. Imagine what that would do to newspapers! - Jmabel | Talk 06:14, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
It depends. Almost everywhere, you don't need a release for a public figure. For ordinary people in public places, it varies from one country to another. --Carnildo 06:22, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
At least in the US (which the I believe the foundation is based in), it's my understanding that I need a model release for using pictures of a person in public (other then a public figure) for commercial purposes.PPGMD 13:46, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Using long passages from an article in another article

I suggest adding to the policy "Reusers' rights and obligations" as follows. An article that incorporates much text from another article must include a note similar to Wikipedia:Copyrights#Example_notice as follows:

This article uses material from the article Yitshak Salkinsohn (retrieved March 22 2005). Both articles are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Furthermore, a translation of another article must include a note as follows:

This article uses translated material from the equivalent Hebrew-language Wikipedia article (retrieved March 22 2005). Both articles are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

Better yet, five principle authors (or all authors, if there are less than five) of the original article should be named (pseudonymously) as well. I am not a lawyer. I'm not sure whether the ability to find the original article's edit history online is enough to comply with GFDL.

Previously I have used a different form of note as recommended by Wikipedia:Cite_sources/example_style#Other-language_wikipedias and Wikipedia:Translation_into_English#Instructions. However, all that gets me is a bunch of high-minded editors who want to yank out my note on grounds that Wikipedia can't cite itself. They overlook the GFDL requirement to acknowledge the original work.

I really think that we need to make it as easy as possible to reuse the best writing from other-language Wikipedias. It's a great source of free encyclopedic text, particularly for the purpose of countering systemic bias. --Hoziron 12:40, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I see two aspects:
Copyright/GFDL aspect 
Should preferably be dealt with in the Edit summary:
Note that for both examples the date doesn't need to be mentioned: the edit history takes care of that automagically.
Regarding "mentioning of principal authors": preferably use the talk page for that, if you want to do that. Note that there is no rule that this *should* be done, except when *deleting* the edit history of the page where you're copying from (if you do that from one wiki to another, that is called a "transwiki" procedure, see m:Transwiki#Page history). As that is not what you're talking about, no need to list authors anywhere: their names are kept in the history of the page you copied from, and that is one click away from the link you left in the page history of the page where you copied to, e.g. [13]).
"Reliable source" aspect 
Wikipedia pages cannot be used as reliable sources. The two major reasons for that are:
  1. Wikipedia content is not above all suspicion reliability-wise: there was a relative success with the report published in Nature late 2005, but errors in Wikipedia are still legion. One of the tactics against systemic bias is not copying something that *might* contain errors (while then there's a chance you reproduced the same error, which turns a "one time error" in a "systemic" one).
  2. Wikipedia:Avoid self references: Self-references should be avoided for various reasons, one of these reasons is countering systemic bias. If you're looking for an example: at Wikipedia talk:Categories, lists, and series boxes#Lists and references it is explained how it took several months for discovering an error in a list: the error was based on a faulty version of an article that had been corrected months before.
All data in Wikipedia need external references. Even if at some point in the future Wikipedia would be 99,99% error-free, self-references should still be avoided in order to avoid that 0,01% errors would be multiplied into systemic errors. This doesn't mean that text can't be copied from one article to another. But always make it verifiable to an external source. In that case you avoid to make systemic errors. Or at least the systemic error won't be Wikipedia's but the external source's.
  • For your first example at least also copy the source references that belong to the text you're copying. Or find better ones, that suit better in the article you're copying to.
  • For your second example, there need to be sources too in the en:wikipedia article you're copying to: either copy the source references from the original he:wikipedia article (then also provide translations as described in WP:RS#Sources in languages other than English if these sources are not in English), either find new/additional ones.
In neither case the article where you copied/translated from needs to be mentioned in the body of the article where you copied/translated to. This information should be contained in the edit history. The self-reference (including the "interwiki" self-reference in your second example) has other disadvantages: the text you copied/translated may be removed from the article where you posted the copy/translation. In that case you generated an error, if the reference ("This article uses material from...") isn't deleted also. Also here the edit history does the work automagically, and is never wrong: the diff between the edit where the material was introduced (which you can recognise from its edit summary listed in the edit history) and the latest version will show what part of the material is still present in the current version of the article. --Francis Schonken 15:10, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, that gives me another perspective. Perhaps it's not necessary to mention the original-language article in the text after all. However, I have a couple of remaining questions.

But first, regarding the "Reliable source" aspect: I never said that Wikipedia was a reliable source in itself. I said that it was a good place to get encyclopedic text. However, thank you for keeping the "reliable source" aspect separate. In my previous discussions about this matter people seem to get hung up on that and use it as a reason to ignore anything that I may say about the other aspect.

Now, regarding the Copyright/GFDL aspect: How does your recommendation take care of GFDL section 4 point B concerning the five principle authors?

It doesn't (how's that for a honest reply...). Neither does Wikipedia:Copyrights#Reusers' rights and obligations recommend that kind of strictness in other cases where Wikipedia content is copied.
The problem is known though, and afaik there are two major strategies to get it solved:
  • Negotiations with Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation to get an updated version of the GFDL (which can always be applied retro-actively, per "...or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation" now enclosed in the Wikipedia's copyright statement) - the current GFDL (v. 1.2) has other issues that don't work too well in Wiki surroundings (although a Wiki is currently the "largest" implementation of the GFDL, the GFDL was written before these Wiki-specific issues surfaced). There are other issues with the current phrasing of the GFDL, e.g. that PDFs are characterised as a good example of a "transparent" copy, while nowadays PDFs are par excellence used as "opaque" copies. And RMS called Adobe (the owner of the PDF format) a bunch of crooks (or something in that vein...). Afaik, there are currently no tangible results of these negotiations with RMS/FSF. They seem currently rather occupied with their proposed update of the GPL (which has no effect on Wikipedia).
  • The "Primary contributors" list as a software implementation (currently Beta software). Can be reached via "cite this article" link in the left column of every main namespace article, then click "view the list", and you get something like this: [14]. As far as I can see not yet installed on he: wikipedia (the "cite" functionality is, but apparently no listing of "primary contributors" yet via he: Wikipedia - but here is the list, directly from the tools server: [15], with a replication lag of only 20 minutes!). For en:wikipedia the backlog is apparently 65 days... Anyway, this is the functionality that should in the future allow to easily generate lists of primary contributors, that could be inserted anywhere. But ANYWAY, currently – looking to the transwiki instructions – , in wikipedia the info would go to the associated talk page, and not to the article. --Francis Schonken 10:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

What if the original article is deleted and the article that incorporates material remains? In that case I suppose that the incorporating article is not thereby released from the GFDL of the original article, and yet we can no longer claim that the original article's edit history (now deleted) constitutes the incorporating article's compliance with GFDL 4(I).

Short answer:... accidents will happen.
There are a lot of considerations that could be given in this respect. The most important seems to me: don't copy material from an article that is eligible for deletion. Well, you don't know that in advance, do you... So either don't copy, either develop some intuition which articles are almost guaranteed to stay. If it gets deleted nonetheless, there is a procedure to bring back the edit history of a deleted article (you need to be admin to effectuate it), etc. --Francis Schonken 10:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that the incorporating article needs to mention the original article's date (and sometimes time of day) due to a reason that you mentioned: because a later version of the original article may not contain the material that was used.

I think I already replied to that one: go to the edit history of the article where you copied from, and select the version just before the time of the introduction of that material in the target article (this "Time" information should be available from the target article's edit history). --Francis Schonken 10:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Also, I'd like it if Wikipedia policy would somewhere provide a clearer explanation of how GFDL should be applied to Wikipedia: Each article is a GFDL "document", right? What part of it is supposed to be its GFDL "title page"? Are Wikipedia mirrors (the ones that care about GFDL compliance) aware that they have to host a copy of each article's edit history?

I refer to what I said about necessary updates to the GFDL (and the related negotiations) above. Note that Wikipedia:Mirrors and forks has a clear set of instructions and is workable. Note for instance step 4 of the Non-compliance process on that page: this can only be done by *individual* contributors whose contributions are used in a non-compliant way by third parties. --Francis Schonken 10:07, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

--Hoziron 04:46, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Coats of Arms on User Pages

Just to make sure, images tagged with the copyright tag seen here are eligible for use on user pages, correct? -- tariqabjotu 17:50, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Never mind; the question is moot. As intimidating as that copyright template is, it's from Commons. -- tariqabjotu 17:51, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, there's also the template on this image. Some clarification for those more knowledgeable about copyright would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. -- tariqabjotu 18:00, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I imagine that the (non-copyright) restrictions in question would have to do with not showing disrespect for national emblems, but I could be mistaken. Does anyone know more on this? - Jmabel | Talk 01:40, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

News release images?

A question has come up regarding a photo I've uploaded, and I'd appreciate some feedback, especially from a knowledgable administrator. I've checked the archives and didn't find specific info regarding my question. The question is, when an entity releases an image as a part of a news release, can it be used on Wikipedia under Fair Use? It seems to me in reading the US copyright code that it can. If a copyright holder releases an copyrighted work for general distribution where republication is implied, then they cannot discriminate then or later as to where it is published. The image in question is part of a Northrop Grumman news release regarding the flight of a new type of radar. The image was subsequently published in a number of industry publications, and is still available in the News Release section of the Northrop Grumman website. Thanks! Akradecki 18:58, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

People keep kicking this one around. Some people seem uncomfortable with the merely implicit license this gives. I think that's copyright paranoia myself. I'd like to see us come up with a clearer policy on press release materials: after all, it isn't just a matter of "is it legal?" but, if legal "do we want to do this?". After all, it would be perfectly legal for us to use "non-commercial use only" materials, but we choose not to do that. - Jmabel | Talk 01:43, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Personal websites with copied news articles

There is a personal website with a copy of a news article and at the bottom the news agencies' copyright notice clearly says that unauthorized publication is forbidden. The personal website makes no indication of permission to copy. Do we assume that it is not a copyright violation? --HResearcher 09:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Sadly, it is almost certainly a copyright violation, unless that site has a clear fair use justification. - Jmabel | Talk 06:11, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Response to common objection

Is there an essay anywhere on Wikipedia that contains a standard rebuttal to the common objections of "I don't think the copyright holder is going to sue Wikipedia, so we shouldn't worry about the fact that this image is copyrighted" and "We should keep this image until the copyright holder complains, because it's a good illustration for such and such an article"? —Bkell (talk) 23:20, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't know if there is an essay, but essentially those arguments are the same as "Theft is no problem, the only problem is getting caught." If those are really someone's views, there isn't much chance of convincing them on a moral basis, but the policy is clear: the Wikimedia Foundation owns the site, and does not welcome copyright violations. - Jmabel | Talk 04:14, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

How do you obtain a Copy right?

Is it a simple work of innovations?

It require no special effort, all original (not based on someone elses work) creative works you make are automaticaly copyrighted by you. --Sherool (talk) 06:06, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
If you "publish" them and as long as you create them on your own time (not employed to create them). Unpublished original work falls under slightly different rules. Rmhermen 18:56, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


A good deal of content was taken from here. It was marked as "copyright". I didn't see any indication that this was done with permission, but was hesitant to just remove it, in case I'm mistaken. Waitak 09:23, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

What about torrents? Torrent search engines?

Hi, someone recently objected to my removal of links, saying that torrent sites and search engines do not distribute illegal links themselves. Would you say this is a valid line of logic? I'd say it makes Wikipedia look bad, and should be discouraged anyway.

IMHO something needs to be added to the Copyrights Policy to prevent such disagreements. --Kjoonlee 02:01, 6 September 2006 (UTC)