Template talk:PD-USGov-DOE

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Not all DOE operating units have the same copyright policy; some claim no copyrights while others reserve the right to as part of their contracts with DOE. Please check the site and the unit before assuming PD-USGov.

  • Labs which require attribution of some sort:

Unless otherwise indicated, this information has been authored by an employee or employees of the Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), operator of the Los Alamos National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 with the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has rights to use, reproduce, and distribute this information. The public may copy and use this information without charge, provided that this Notice and any statement of authorship are reproduced on all copies. Neither the Government nor LANS makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any liability or responsibility for the use of this information.

  • Include attribution: "Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy"

Copyright status Documents provided from the web server were sponsored by the U.S. Government under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with UT-Battelle, LLC, which manages the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Accordingly, the U.S. Government retains a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to publish or reproduce these documents, or to allow others to do so, for U.S. Government purposes. Unless otherwise noted, they have been placed in the public domain, although we request the following credit line be used when documents or figures are used elsewhere: “Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.


For images which cannot use a PD tag or are otherwise questionable, consider whether or not they would fall under the "Wikipedia:Fair use" provision of U.S. copyright law.


On the whole issue of DOE sponsored labs who operate as contractors to the U.S. government, I refer you to the CENDI's copyright FAQ, section 4.0. Lupo 08:01, 9 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Looking for the right copyright tag?[edit]

See Wikipedia:Image copyright tags for a full list of tags available. The following are applicable within the United States. The following copyright tags are among those applicable to photographs and graphic images originating from the United States of America and created by people other than the uploader. Please see the text of each tag for specific disclaimers.

General Public Domain tags[edit]

  • {{PD-US}}—for copyright-expired works in the U.S. (mainly those published before 1928). Also for works not eligible for copyright under American law.
  • {{PD-Pre1978}} — for works first published in the United States prior to 1978 without explicit notice of "copyright, year, owner" or "©" attached.
  • {{PD-art-US}}—for images of two-dimensional (flat) works of art published in the United States prior to 1928.
  • {{PD-US-expired-abroad}} — for non-US works first published outside the USA prior to 1928 (certain exceptions may apply in 9th District, US Circuit Court)
  • {{PD currency}} / {{PD-USGov}} — for images of the official currency of the United States. These are in the public domain. (See also {{Non-free currency}} and {{ir-Money}}.)
  • {{PD-US-patent}} — for text and images of United States patents, which are in general are not copyrighted.[17] In specific cases, patent applicants and holders may claim copyright in portions of those documents. Such applicants are required to identify the portions that are protected under copyright.

American Non-Free Files tags[edit]

For a complete set of tags for non-free images, see Wikipedia:File copyright tags/Non-free.
  • {{Non-free historic image}} — for non-free images of historically significant deceased individuals. (Note: Images using this tag must be irreplaceable with a copyright-free image and accompanied by a valid fair use rationale.)
  • {{Non-free USGov-USPS stamp}} — for images of U.S. stamps issued in 1978 or later.

State Government Public Domain tags[edit]

  • {{PD-CAGov}} - for works created by the State of California that are ineligible for copyright.
  • {{PD-FLGov}} – for works created by the State of Florida that are ineligible for copyright.

U.S. Federal Government tags[edit]

General Federal Government copyright tag[edit]
  • {{PD-USGov}} — for images produced by an employee of the United States government in the performance of his or her duties which do not fit under the following specialized tags:
Specialized Federal Government copyright tags[edit]
Collections of US government agencies[edit]
  • {{LOC-image}}—Library of Congress collections (NOTE: This is not a license tag, but a source tag. It must be accompanied by an appropriate license tag.)
    • {{PD-Bain}} — Public domain image from the Library of Congress's George Grantham Bain collection
    • {{PD-Brady-Handy}} — Public domain image from the Library of Congress's Brady-Handy collection
    • {{PD-Harris-Ewing}} — Public domain image from the Library of Congress's Harris & Ewing collection
    • {{PD-Highsmith}} — Public domain image from the Library of Congress's Carol M. Highsmith collection
  • {{NARA-image}}—National Archives and Records Administration collections (NOTE: This is not a license tag, but a source tag. It must be accompanied by an appropriate license tag.)

U.S. Military tags[edit]

General U.S. Military copyright tag[edit]
Specialized U.S. Military copyright tags[edit]

Ambiguous/nonexistent copyright policy institutions[edit]

In my opinion, we cannot assume public domain just on the grounds of a government contract. Therefore, with respect to works of those institutions which do not specify how their works can be used, I think it is better to be conservative about the terms under which we can use them. I have modified the notes above accordingly. However, IANAL, so I’d appreciate comments from those who know about this stuff. Alternatively, would somebody like to e-mail the institutions and ask? —xyzzyn 19:57, 27 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Agreed. According to copyright, unless there is an explicit declaration of free licensing, or it's a work produced by a federal employee while he/she is being paid to do that work, then we have to assume it's copyrighted. — BRIAN0918 • 2007-04-20 12:10Z

There is a lot of good material that is nominally PD-USGov but comes under the contractor or non-free (e.g., "for non-commerical" use) restrictions. So is there any way of getting use of this stuff? I looked for instances of PD-USGov-DOE licenses for PNNL or Oakridge stuff, but the few instances I found seemed quite doubtful. Is there any history here that might be relevant? J. Johnson (talk) 23:54, 15 March 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NREL works published by EERE[edit]

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy publishes some material from NREL and says "Materials on the EERE Web site are in the public domain." For example, see the EERE renewable energy resource maps such as this solar energy map which says "NREL" on it. It seems that the EERE treats some NREL publications as if they are works of the US Federal Government. --Teratornis (talk) 21:46, 20 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Template:PD-USGov-DOE Laboratory image use[edit]


A number of media files from US National laboratories are labeled as {{PD-USGov-DOE}}, though they are not free media and would instead have under the criteria of WP:NON-FREE. To further complicate the situation, a number of images cite both the DOE and the laboratory as the source. The question remains as to how to deal with the thousand or so files which may be incorrectly labeled with {{PD-USGov-DOE}}.Smallman12q (talk) 23:30, 1 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The following was copied from WP:AN (archive)

A discussion has shown that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory images aren't PD. There are roughly 90 images incorrectly licensed under {{PD-USGov-DOE}} or similar licenses. In addition, other images from non-free labratories listed at Template_talk:PD-USGov-DOE also have quite a few images uploaded under the wrong license. Sandia for example has at least 100. There are about a dozen laboratories listed...their licensing would need to be checked. In all, there may more than a thousand images(though I haven't checked them all). These images should either be deleted, a large OTRS ticket file, the template modified, or quite a few non-free image use rationales created.

Any thoughts as to how this should be handled?Smallman12q (talk) 23:02, 20 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First, make a list. Then, go through and find those that fall under the NFCC. Then, contact the labs to see what they think about granting permission. Lastly, do one mass FfD/PUF for the rest. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 02:10, 21 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are at least 600 images, so I don't intend to make the list myself. Perhaps a willing admin would.Smallman12q (talk) 01:26, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't quite know how an admin could do it any quicker, but I'll leave this open to see if someone volunteers. Chase me ladies, I'm the Cavalry (talk) 13:19, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
IDK if this will work, but maybe someone with Toolserver access could compile a list of all images in the template's category whose file pages also say the words or link to the non-free laboratories listed at Template_talk:PD-USGov-DOE? /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 21:44, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's more complex than "LLNL not DOE" - some LLNL work was for hire for the DOE and published by the DOE into the public domain, or DOE republished without any clue as to origin lab and copyright (DOE is better now, but in the old days...).
I am going to contact the PAO staff at LLNL and ask them about image licensing. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 23:37, 22 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I could write a script that would list all the files containing "Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory" or their website and the other labs. But first, it's probably best if we could get the WMF legal counsel to comment. Unfortunately, the post seems vacant atm.Smallman12q (talk) 01:43, 23 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Mike Godwin should still be available for comment, I think. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 03:23, 23 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't believe so. I wrote him some time back about a copyright problem, and although Mike has always been responsive he did not return my letter. (I'm talking weeks.) User:Philippe (WMF) put me in touch with an associate counsel. Of course, it's always possible that my letter to Mike went astray, but I didn't want to bug him about it just in case. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:32, 23 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Godwin hasn't edited since October. Perhaps this should be moved to WP:AN/I?Smallman12q (talk) 13:02, 23 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I recall the Foundation saying he would be with the project for a short time after his departure, but as his userpage email has been changed to a personal address, I suppose he's not with us at all anymore :( /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 01:41, 24 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It did sound like one of those departures under not so good terms. I would not count on help from that avenue.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:53, 24 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
-I've left a note at User talk:WMF Legal.Smallman12q (talk) 13:29, 24 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OVER BOLD - and not precisely correct[edit]

The line 'IMAGES IN THE ABOVE CATEGORY CANNOT USE A PD TAG; THEY MUST BE JUSTIFIED AS "FAIR USE"' is not only overly bold-faced, but categorically overly bold. Specifically, the absolute "MUST BE..." is not true. In fact, permission can be obtained on a case-by-case basis, and I think this option should be pointed out. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:56, 4 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You would need an OTRS ticket then...Smallman12q (talk) 00:02, 5 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. Or alternate formulation: with an OTRS ticket such images can be used. An option excluded by the current language. - J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 20:20, 5 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is any of this correct?[edit]

Reading over the preceding comments, I cannot help conclude this is a case of the blind leading the blind. I don't see any comments from anyone that might be expected to have authoritative knowledge of the topic, although there were attempts. But I do see a race to the bottom that assumes the worse case scenario that all of this should be assumed copyrighted.

Looking about it seems clear that any works completed by employees of the labs while under federal contract, even if those employees are part of a 3rd party organization, are and always have been PD-Gov.

Sure, LLNL has explicitly stated this on their site, but just because Argonne doesn't cannot possibly imply they aren't covered by the same laws. Pages like Sandia's, which clearly state the work is federal and covered by federal copyright and then immediately claim copyright just make me "laugh", the same sort of laugh I emit when I see the Imperial War Museum claiming copyright on images from WWI.

So I'm going to mark all such images PD-Gov unless someone comes up with caselaw.

Maury Markowitz (talk) 13:53, 3 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Here's a list of updated notices:

LANL clearly states the public may use their works, and in fact states that's because its federal, stating that:

The U.S. Government has rights to use, reproduce, and distribute this information. The public may copy and use this information without charge, provided that this Notice and any statement of authorship are reproduced on all copies.


LLNL makes similar statements:

LLNL-authored documents including, but not limited to, articles, photographs, drawings, and other information subsisting in text, images, and/or other media, are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344. Accordingly, the U.S. government retains a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to publish or reproduce these documents, or allow others to do so, for U.S. government purposes. All documents available from this server may be protected under the U.S. and Foreign Copyright Laws. Permission to reproduce may be required.


One might wish to read that last statement to say otherwise, but read it carefully, there is a clear statement that the feds "allow others to do so" and the later statement is referring to the federal laws which they are disclaiming.

EIA is as explicit as LANL:

U.S. Government publications are in the public domain and are not subject to copyright protection.



Documents authored by Fermilab employees are the result of work under U.S. Government contract DE-AC02-76CH03000 and are therefore subject to the following license: The Government is granted for itself and others acting on its behalf a paid-up, nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in these documents to reproduce, prepare derivative works, and perform publicly and display publicly by or on behalf of the Government.


That's enough for now, this language seems rather common. So if the language "prepare derivative works, and perform publicly and display publicly by or on behalf of the Government" means PD-Gov, which is is assumed to in the tag, then these labs are all PD-Gov. Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:15, 3 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As noted above, the Fermilab license does not explicitly grant its license to people who are not acting on behalf of the U.S. Government. Wikiacc () 18:28, 14 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Are images from the NNSA copyrighted? I noticed that they claim CC-BY-ND on the images from their Flickr photostream, but I would think they would be in the public domain as a U.S. government agency. MB298 (talk) 04:53, 2 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is any of this correct? part 2[edit]

What we have here are "best attempts" at trying to understand US copyright law. Editor's comments here and on project pages and deletion discussions are only opinions from non-professionals. What would be helpful is the advice of attoney who solely represets our interest. Sadly, the Wikimedia Foundation has not seen fit to retain a lawyer for such a purpose. If it isn't a priority for them, then why are we stumbling in the dark making policy decisions? Senator2029 ❮talk❯ 13:11, 15 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Senator2029, do you have a specific policy proposal in mind? Wikiacc () 01:01, 20 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]