Wikipedia:Media copyright questions

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Media copyright questions

Welcome to the Media Copyright Questions page, a place for help with image copyrights, tagging, non-free content, and related questions. For all other questions please see Wikipedia:Questions.

How to add a copyright tag to an existing image
  1. On the description page of the image (the one whose name starts File:), click Edit this page.
  2. From the page Wikipedia:File copyright tags, choose the appropriate tag:
    • For work you created yourself, use one of the ones listed under the heading "For image creators".
    • For a work downloaded from the internet, please understand that the vast majority of images from the internet are not appropriate for use on Wikipedia. Exceptions include images from flickr that have an acceptable license, images that are in the public domain because of their age or because they were created by the United States federal government, or images used under a claim of fair use. If you do not know what you are doing, please post a link to the image here and ask BEFORE uploading it.
    • For an image created by someone else who has licensed their image under an acceptable Creative Commons or other free license, or has released their image into the public domain, this permission must be documented. Please see Requesting copyright permission for more information.
  3. Type the name of the tag (e.g.; {{Cc-by-4.0}}), not forgetting {{ before and }} after, in the edit box on the image's description page.
  4. Remove any existing tag complaining that the image has no tag (for example, {{untagged}})
  5. Hit Publish changes.
  6. If you still have questions, go on to "How to ask a question" below.
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  2. Please sign your question by typing ~~~~ at the end.
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Note for those replying to posted questions

If a question clearly does not belong on this page, reply to it using the template {{mcq-wrong}} and, if possible, leave a note on the poster's talk page. For copyright issues relevant to Commons where questions arising cannot be answered locally, questions may be directed to Commons:Commons:Village pump/Copyright.

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PD-US-expired?[edit]

File:Alexander Archipenko, ca. 1920, Atelier Riess, photographer. Alexander Archipenko papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution..jpg was uploaded in 2013 as non-free. The file's description says it's a photo from ca. 1920. The source link states the photo's current copyright status is "undetermined". This file has been replaced in the main infobox Alexander Archipenko by a free image; so, if it needs to remain non-free, then it's not needed any more per WP:FREER. Given the photo's apparent age, however, I'm wondering if it's now OK to relicense as {{PD-US-expired}}. I don't know when the photo was first published and if that was after January 1, 1927, then perhaps the photo could be relicensed as {{PD-US-no notice}} or {{PD-US-not renewed}}. Another thing that might need to be taken into account is that Archipenko apparently didn't come to the US until 1923 (he was naturalized in 1929). So, it's possible the the country of origin and first publication are not the US. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:36, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unfortunately, we do not seem to have any evidence that the image was published prior to its being microfilmed and made available to researchers by the Archives of American Art in 1967. See Provenance note and Journal article. If the 1967 date is the date of first publication, automatic renewal would apply with a total copyright term of 95 years. While there is mention that the originals were on deposit at Syracuse University prior to 1967, merely being on deposit without making copies available would not constitute publication as far as I can determine. See Definition of publication ("Generally, publication occurs on the date on which copies of the work are first made available to the public.") 68.189.242.116 (talk) 19:36, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for that. Would automatic renewal still apply to works published in 1967 without a copyright notice? — Marchjuly (talk) 20:02, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we could examine the 1967 microfilm and determine if no notice was included, {{PD-US-no notice}} could apply, but I don't think that the current webpage saying that the copyright is undetermined would suffice to demonstrate that it was originally published with no notice. Perhaps others will disagree. 68.189.242.116 (talk) 21:30, 6 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
At the risk of adding too much information, if the attribution to "Atelier Riess" is a reference to the Berlin studio of Frieda Gertrud Riess (d. c. 1955), German copyright law would protect even an unpublished work created in the 1920s for the life of the author plus 70 years, which would be either until 2025 or 2027, depending on differing dates of death (see, e.g. MOMA). If "Atelier Reiss" might refer to some other anonymous photographer in that studio, German law would protect copyright for 70 years from first anonymous publication, for which our first evidence is still 1967. Even if the 1967 microfilming was the first publication and no US copyright notice was included, the 95 year term from first publication would be honored after the URAA copyright restorations. Commons:Commons:Copyright_rules_by_territory/Germany has a helpful summary of these rules. 68.189.242.116 (talk) 19:20, 7 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for continuing to try and sort this out. The more information the better. It's looking as if there's still quite a bit of reasonable doubt regarding the file's copyright status, which means (at least in my opinion) it's probably best to err on the side of caution and keep the file licensed as non-free. Unfortunately, that means it really can't be kept per WP:FREER, but there's no real away around that given a free image of Archipenko was found and used to replace this non-free one in the main infobox. The file will be deleted per F5 in a day or so if it continues to remain unused and continues to be licensed as non-free. F5 deletions are, for the most part, considered non-contentious and the file can possibly be WP:REFUNDed at a later date if it's copyright status can be furthered clarified and shown to be PD for some reason. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:18, 8 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with your conclusion and am glad if I have been of some help in working through some possibilities. It is a shame to have to lose such a great photograph. 68.189.242.116 (talk) 16:05, 8 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NFCC eligibility of a famous photo[edit]

Please comment at Talk:Jean_Moulin#Suggestion_to_add_"the"_photo. (Summarized: can we include a copyrighted photograph when there is a free photograph for visual ID but the copyrighted photograph is itself the subject of sourced critical commentary?) TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 12:48, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In the exceptional cases where a particular non-free artwork, such as a painting, engraving or photograph, is truly admissible as legitimate fair use for the reason of having attained in itself an iconic status, then the existence or the non-existence of anything else is irrelevant. Because, by definition, that particular artwork itself is the only thing that can illustrate that particular artwork. It is not in competition with anything else.

But if, on the contrary, one is thinking of an artwork as competing with a different image representing some subject also represented in the artwork, then that is an indication that the use contemplated for the artwork may not really be a fair use.

A test can be to ask if the artwork deserves its own encyclopedic article (e.g. A, B) or a major section in an article about its author. IMHO, the photo you refer to may indeed be one of the rare cases that can meet the notion of a work having attained some iconic status, thus usable in fair use to illustrate itself. It has its story and it has been used and derived in numerous monuments, plaques, homages, drawings, stamps, etc. Even its apparenly unclear copyright may be part of its story.

A weak point is that you plan to use it essentially in an article about a subject represented, which may be an indication a non-fair use. Would it be feasible to find enough relevant references to create an article about the photograph, and then mention it in the other article?

By the way, what is known of the copyright status of this photograph? In a quick search, I found these mysterious statements from a 1983 interview [1] of Marcel Bernard, saying he is not officially recognized as the author of this photograph and could never perceive rights on it ("dont il n’a jamais été officiellement reconnu l’auteur et pour laquelle il n’a jamais perçu de droits") and that his interview allows better knowledge of the history of the photograph but it does not clarify the ownership ("s’il permet de bien préciser l’histoire de la photographie, il ne donne pas d’éclaircissement sur la propriété du cliché"). -- Asclepias (talk) 17:21, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, fair use (in the US sense) is almost always going to be OK on Wikipedia - the "purpose and character of use" and "effect upon work’s value" tests are highly favorable. However, NFCC is intentionally more restrictive; to my knowledge, this serves not only to push editors to make an effort to find free equivalents and/or eliminate borderline cases that could get the WMF sued, but also to make life simpler for reusers (i.e. as much as practicable someone should be able to copy images off Wikipedia and reuse them under CC BY-SA terms without a deep inquiry in the license tag). As far as I can tell, for WP:NFCC purposes, whether it’s a standalone article or a paragraph in a parent article does not really matter - the only criterion it could impact is #8 (contextual significance) which is much easier to pass than a full notability test. For instance, we routinely include logos in article about companies or release posters in articles about films without any specific commentary.
In that case, I am not sure a standalone article is plausible. The two sources I cite on the talk page are decent (one museum notice of decent length, one semi-scholarly article), but they are the only sources that I could find which are specifically about that photograph (rather than mention it in passing during a biography of JM). For that reason, it seems to me that a section in the main article is more reasonable.
Regarding copyright status: I assume you are asking for article development rather than licensing purposes; I agree the whereabouts of the physical picture and its attribution history might be of interest but I have found no source for those. For licensing however my WP:OR is fairly clear. There does not seem to be real dispute among historians that Marcel Bernard is the author; nobody seems to claim that it was a work-for-hire kind of stuff either; and France never required registration for copyright to apply. So that puts a term of at least pma + 50years (maybe it’s pma+70years, or pma+50years+war extensions, or something; at any rate it’s not free in 2022). TigraanClick here for my talk page ("private" contact) 12:49, 11 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Travis Scott - Escape Plan.jpg[edit]

My addition of the "Escape Plan "cover art to "Mafia" was reverted, even though the cover art on both is the same, I was wondering why that was the case, no malice, just inquiring, thanks. 4TheLuvOfFax (talk) 21:27, 14 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

4TheLuvOfFax: As the history of the page tell you, there was no rationale for the use in the Mafia article. Each use of a non-free image must have a rationale justifying its use for each article it is used in.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ww2censor (talkcontribs) 22:32, 14 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

restoration needed on public domain image[edit]

I recently updated the file description and license template of File:Asia Magazine Cover October 1921.jpg, which previously had a non-free, fair-use template, and the image was reduced in size accordingly. However, the pre-1923 image has been public domain for quite a while (Asia magazine was published in New York at this time), so the original full size now needs restoring (which should also facilitate easier transfer to Commons). Can an admin do this? Also, is there a better place to ask questions like this in the future? I do a lot of work with images and copyright material on Commons, but am not as familiar with the customary image related notice boards or procedures here on Wikipedia. Thanks. --Animalparty! (talk) 22:42, 14 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There's nothing wrong per se with posting a request like this here since administrators often monitor this page, but you might get faster results by posting at WP:REFUND or even on the user talk of the administrator who deleted the file (if it was done by an administrator) instead. Another possibility would be to simply upload the higher resolution version directly to Commons if that's where it's going to end up anyways. The local file could then be deleted per WP:F8 or via WP:FFD. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:20, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Marchjuly: Thanks for the tips. I try to keep the edit history of a file intact as much as possible during a transfer rather than do a clean start at Commons that completely obliterates the version on Wikipedia. Good for record keeping and attribution. Some tools transfer all the file history and metadata cleanly to Commons, but get snagged when there is potentially unfree content in the previous versions. --Animalparty! (talk) 02:11, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See WP:REFUND#File:Asia Magazine Cover October 1921.jpg for reference. -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:17, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
 Done. Jay 💬 08:17, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

File:Mission San Buenaventura (1866).png[edit]

I'm wondering whether File:Mission San Buenaventura (1866).png needs to be licensed as non-free. It's described a being a photo taken in 1866 but having no known date of first publication, and it's sourced to Museum of Ventura. The museum states its copyright status is unknown and it appears that the museum might be trying to claim some type of ownership (copyright?) over its uploaded version of the photo, but I'm not sure that's really a valid claim under US copyright law. Mission San Buenaventura is in Ventura, CA, and California became a US state in 1850, so this photo seems as if it should be subject to US copyright law. I've got no idea when the museum uploaded its copy or whether the photo was previously published by the museum or someone else in a book or something else. If it needs to remain non-free, then the justification given for it's non-free use in Battle of San Buenaventura seems rather weak given it supposed to have been taken almost 30 years after the battle and the fact that there might be other images of the mission from roughly the same period as this non-free photo which are in the public domain. Moreover, I'm not sure WP:FREER would be satisfied if the only reason the photo is treated as non-free is because it's being digitalized or scanned and then uploaded to the Internet by a museum. If, on the other hand, it doesn't need to be treated as non-free, then it probably should be relicensed, added to the main article about the mission and moved to Commons. -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:00, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

it's a weak rationale. There are free photos from the late 19th century of the mission e.g. this which dates from 1895 and shows as much, i.e. nothing, about the mission during the battle as this 1866 image. The 1866 image is almost certainly PD due to either having been unpublished (and anonymous) before 1987 - assuming the museum digitalisation is first publication, or if previously published is PD due to non-compliance with US copyright laws. I'm not seeing anything on the image that suggests it has been registered and published, but that's me making an educated guess rather than with certainty. Nthep (talk) 15:27, 16 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]