Commons:Village pump/Copyright

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Welcome to the Village pump copyright section

This Wikimedia Commons page is used for general discussions relating to copyright and license issues, and for discussions relating to specific files' copyright issues. Discussions relating to specific copyright policies should take place on the talk page of the policy, but may be advertised here. Recent sections with no replies for 7 days and sections tagged with {{section resolved|1=~~~~}} may be archived; for old discussions, see the archives.

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Copyright status of Tea Party movement flag[edit]

An image of a flag that is supposed to be one of the symbols used the en:Tea Party movement was uploaded locally to English Wikipedia as en:File:Second Revolution Flag 2x3.svg under a non-free license. As per the description given for the file, this flag is basically the en:Betsy Ross flag with a Roman numeral II added to it. I've already asked an English Wikipedia administrator about this, and they seem to agree with me that this flag doesn't need to be treated as non-free. However, I'd thought I'd pose the same question here as well just to make sure. Is this flag PD or is adding the "II" enough to make it a COM:DW under US copyright law? -- Marchjuly (talk) 03:23, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is probably in PD in USA. Ruslik (talk) 20:43, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agree with Ruslik0. The Betsy Ross flag is certainly PD 186 years after her death. A derivative of her work could gain its own copyright, but the addition of just the Roman numerals would fall under {{PD-textlogo}}. Glrx (talk) 21:59, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you Ruslik0 and Glrx. What license should be used for the TP flag? {{PD-old-auto-expired}}? {{PD-shape}}? {{PD-logo}}? Some combination of licenses (i.e. one for the BR flag and one for the final TP flag)? -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:16, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A combination of {{PD-old-auto-expired}} and {{PD-textlogo}} would suffice. Ruslik (talk) 20:33, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Since English Wikipedia doesn't have an equivalent to {{PD-old-auto-expired}}, I used {{PD-US-expired}} instead for the Betsy Ross flag. The licensing can be changed as needed after the file has been moved to Commons. -- Marchjuly (talk) 13:38, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hi, Back in 2013 File:1986 Dodge D56 Alexander AM "MerseyMini".jpg was uploaded and was under a CC licence on Flickr, That licence has now been changed to "all rights reserved" however we don't have the original uncropped image and for some idiotic reason the Commons uploader had also chosen to blur the vehicle reg plate,

So would I be correct in assuing the now "all rights revserved" licence is irrelevant as it was originally reeased under a CC licence and therefore I would be well within my rights to upload the full non-cropped image?, Many thanks, –Davey2010Talk 08:25, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Davey2010. Creative Commons licenses aren't revocable as explained in COM:LRV as well as here and here on Creative Commons' website. So, you should be able to continue to use the file as long as you continue to abide by the terms of the original license. The catch, if there's one, could be that you may have to somehow "prove" that the image was originally released under such a license if push came to shove. If it's just your word against that of the copyright holder, then there's no way to tell who to believe. However, if there's an archived version of the website or something else (perhaps an email exchange) which shows that the file was originally released under a different license then it's currently released under, then that might be seen as sufficient proof. I'm not sure what Commons would do in such a case since it's really the uploader of a file who's responsible to proving the file is OK for Commons per COM:EVID and a common way this is done with Flickr seems to by providing a link to the page showing the license. If the copyright holder had emailed their COM:CONSENT to COM:VRT, then this would be on file and would support a claim that the license was subsequently changed. VRT verification; however, isn't always necessary as explained in COM:VRT#When contacting VRT is unnecessary which seems like the case here. FWIW, I found what looks to be a 2019 archived version of that Flickr page here, but it shows the license as being "All rights reserved". I couldn't find anything going back to the time when the file was uploaded to Commons. Since you don't seem to have been the person who originally uploaded the file, maybe try asking the person who did (or the person who verified the license) about this. Perhaps, one of them can help sort this out. One of them might also be willing to contact the Flickr account holder to find out why the license was changed. One other possibility might be that a mistake was made verifying the license. Is it possible that the license was never in fact changed but was always as such? Not saying that's the case or implying something improper was done, but rather just trying to consider every possibility. -- Marchjuly (talk) 11:21, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Davey2010 and Marchjuly: License reviewer Leoboudv reviewed it as properly licensed in this edit 07:58, 18 September 2013 (UTC). However, a new filename is recommended, as overwriting Mr.choppers' upload would be unwise per COM:OW.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:32, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey @Marchjuly and User:Jeff G.. , Brilliant many thanks for your help, Apologies totally forgot to mention about the admin reviewing it and that it passed, I'll go ahead and upload that file in full under a new name, Many thanks again for both of your help greatly appreciated :), Thanks, –Davey2010Talk 11:53, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Davey2010: You're welcome. However, please note that Mr.choppers is not an Admin on any WMF project covered by CentralAuth.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 12:10, 30 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jeff G.: FWIW, I wasn't trying to imply that either the original uploader or the license reviewer did anything wrong. I'm just not sure if there's a way of verifying that the photo was originally uploaded to Flickr under an acceptable license that goes beyond the diff left when the license was verified. Is there a way to show that the file was really uploaded to Flickr as such if the Flickr account holder tries to claim it wasn't? The copyright holder probably had a reason for changing the Flickr licensing. Perhaps this reason had nothing to do with Commons, but there's no way of knowing for sure. So, if the uploader is looking for "unauthorized" reuses of their Flickr photos and comes across the ones uploaded to Commons, then they might think they have the right to get them taken down. Could they try to do this? -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:29, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Marchjuly: Anyone could try anything. Overly litigous Flickr uploaders will tend to go the way of Marco Verch. However, I will try to ensure that sources I review positively are archived.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 03:25, 31 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment: The uploader, Mr. Choppers, is very familiar with copyright licenses and I assert that the image was free when I reviewed it Jeff G. & Davey2010 Secondly, there are more than 7000+ flickr images from this flickr account on WikiCommons. I was very active in the past years here but today I have to work a lot in real life and not very active on Commons today sadly. Best Regards, --Leoboudv (talk) 19:57, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Typhoid Mary photo[edit]

I'm unsure what to do about this image. File:Mary Mallon in hospital.jpg The first upload is from an old newspaper, but was then "replaced by the original" (actually a thumbnail). The two images seem substantially different, and the particular variant from the new upload seems to stem from Getty Images as part of the Bettmann collection. [1] Is the Getty version also public domain, or does the scanning from the archive make it its own work? Does it even matter, since the image was ripped off of a website subject to Getty's license agreement? Should we delete the whole thing, revert to the old version, upload the full size new version, or maybe something else?

(P.S. I don't understand the notifications system very well, please mention me to make sure I see it.) Duckduckgoop (talk) 11:38, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Duckduckgoop: If the original photo was published before 1927 it's in public domain in the USA. Just because Getty scanned it doesn't give them copyright to it. Borysk5 (talk) 13:56, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Duckduckgoop: They are both public domain and should be uploaded as separate images. Nosferattus (talk) 19:01, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WHO monkeypox maps[edit]

These two maps, File:Monkeypox cases.png and File:Map don monkeypox multicountry.png are clearly the work of Commons:World Health Organization but were not uploaded by the official user account User:WHO-openaccess. They also do not list the source URL and have a dated copyright symbol ©. Should they be tagged as lacking source and/or permission or is it fair game to re-license as {{World Health Organization permission}}? SVTCobra 18:39, 1 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Certainly not fair game; tagged them as copyright violation. El Grafo (talk) 14:49, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

UK patent illustrations?[edit]

Thoughts? Andy Dingley (talk) 22:05, 2 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Inadvertent copyvio involving reproduction of Fair Use images[edit]

I recently flagged four images from the same uploader for deletion for copyvio. The uploader asked me to clarify the reasons for the request, and since the situation is a little complicated, I thought I would post a brief notice here in case any admin who handles the deletion request has questions. The uploader found the images in an article released online with a CC 4.0 license, and they uploaded them on that basis. But the images were reproduced in that article under Fair Use, and the museum web sites from which they were taken retain the copyright to them. The CC 4.0 license applies to the text of the article, which is the original work of the author, but not to the illustrations, which are not his work, but were reproduced in his article under Fair Use. Such Fair Use images are explicitly forbidden from the Commons. For further discussion see my exchange with the uploader on my talk page.

The files are

I want to emphasize that I intend no criticism of the uploader, Ficaia, who acted in good faith on the assumption that the CC 4.0 license on the article applied to the illustrations as well. The fact that article copyrights very often do not include copyright to the images reproduced in the article is normal in archaeological and art historical publications, but understandably confusing to those who are not familiar with them. Cheers, Choliamb (talk) 14:47, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The second image looks like an exact reproduction of a public domain 2D drawing. So, it could have been retained. Ruslik (talk) 20:24, 4 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Information about permission of depiction of persons in photos[edit]

That the copyright needs to clear of the content uploaded is clear. But what about the depiction rights of persons who are recognizable in those pictures and are not public figures?- I do not seem to find rules about this. - I know it is not strictly copyright but it is a delicate legal issue. - And I do not mean the publication of images of normal people without their permission. - Example; you take a picture of a store. The shop owner and his employee is in the picture. They do not mind, the give permission to the photographer to be depicted. - How do you deal with this in the Commons system? I know it is common that media company's or other entity's who make video or photos ask those people to fill in a permission slip. But there is no indication about a provision to document such a permission in the upload process. Walter (talk) 17:59, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Walter: See Commons:Photographs of identifiable people and Template:Consent. Nosferattus (talk) 19:02, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. Have some reading to do. Walter (talk) 19:16, 3 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is this picture of an UFO taken in 1979 public domain?[edit]

Is the picture on the right public domain?

UFO photographed by Italian pilot Marshal Giancarlo Cecconi in June 1979

It was taken by Italian military pilot Marshal Giancarlo Cecconi from his G-91R aircraft during state/military activity.

To me, this seems like this part of Italian copyright law applies (1979+20=1999) as summarized in en:List of countries' copyright lengths:

20 years from publication (copyright of State, the provinces, the communes, the academies or public cultural organizations, or to private legal entities of a non-profit making character)

or in en:Copyright law of Italy#Duration:

For works in which the economic rights are owned by government, academies, public bodies, and non-profit cultural organizations, the duration of the economic rights is 20 years from the first publication (Art. 29).

The picture has a higher visual (not thermal) image quality than the three confirmed videos of en:Pentagon UFO videos, it's important whether it's in the public domain.

More info can be found in these three pages which I didn't vet for reliability or quality: 1 2 3 where you can find additional images and more info on the event. From source 2 (1985+20=2005):

By June 1985, the Ministry of Defense would respond, essentially confirming the pictures were authentic, including official copies of the three photographs in their reply.


When Ceconni first met with CISU in September 1994, perhaps one of the first things that he confirmed to the team was the three photographs published in Epoca were part of the 80-plus photographs he had taken on that June morning in 1979.

Prototyperspective (talk) 15:29, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's in public domain in Italy, but not in the United States, where it will be copyrighted for 95 years from creation. Borysk5 (talk) 15:41, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What about other countries if that's true? Can it be used in the German and Italian Wikipedias? Prototyperspective (talk) 15:45, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, the rest of Europe it would be 70pma probably. This would only be usable in Italy, in terms of expiration by law in those countries. The one question on Italy's 20-year term for government works, is if they consider that term to apply worldwide. We have no confirmation of that, the way we do for the UK, Canada, and Australia, but that would be the only argument I can see. Not sure that many admins here agree with that take, but it's at least a little arguable. There is of course no precedent for government works like this, in either direction. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:07, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could perhaps argue that when government is placing copyright limitations on itself it's like artist releasing their work into public domain. But that's just a theory. Borysk5 (talk) 20:07, 5 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's the argument, basically -- a form of {{PD-author}}. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:33, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply] photos[edit]

Per Commons:Deletion requests/File:Downing Street, Earth Hour 2021.jpg and Commons:Deletion requests/File:Red in No. 10 Downing Street.jpg, should all photos taken from be removed from Commons?

Neither discussion was able to find any evidence that the content was distributed under an Open Government Licence, as is being asserted, and in some cases the images appear on the government Flickr account as CC-BY-NC-ND, suggesting that a free licence is not intended. Lord Belbury (talk) 10:56, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Lord Belbury: Yes.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:03, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, only the ones that aren't archived by the National Archives.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:32, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Commons:Deletion requests/File:Christmas 2019 Downing Street Decoration (2).jpg has an interesting claim Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 15:13, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mateusz Konieczny: I countered it.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 15:30, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Lord Belbury - Commons:Deletion requests/File:Christmas 2019 Downing Street Decoration (2).jpg suggests that maybe this files can be kept, or at least not all should be deleted. Maybe this deleted files should be undeleted then? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 09:54, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'll look into it, if Jeff's countered claim didn't stand up. Thanks for the considered response. --Lord Belbury (talk) 10:51, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Upload an image of a map published in a 1895 book[edit]

I'd like to upload an image of a map published in a very old book (published in 1895). The book was published in Belgium, and has a single author, Joseph Halkin, who died in 1937, i.e. more than 70 years ago. Given this, I'd think it would be ok for Wikimedia, but given that the repository where the book is hosted has the following licence, I have doubts. Would it be legal to update an image extracted from this book for use in e.g. Wikipedia? EvilNectaire (talk) 22:27, 6 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems to me that this "ORBI usage licence" does not apply for works that are clearly in the public domain, such as this book. The licence states "The present licence is applicable worldwide and for the legal duration of the copyright protection". They cannot create copyrights on works that are in the public domain, otherwise this would be a case of copyfraud. Therefore, you can safely upload the map to Commons. Skimel (talk) 02:19, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! I will upload the picture later:) EvilNectaire (talk) 10:17, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@EvilNectaire: I uploaded the whole book for you as File:Étude historique sur la culture de la vigne en Belgique.pdf.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 11:52, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks @Jeff G.! EvilNectaire (talk) 12:57, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@EvilNectaire: You're welcome! After RL delays, I uploaded File:CARTE DE BELGIQUE.jpg for you, too.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 14:58, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is credible[edit]

I plan to upload to Commons. Please let me know if that is wrong idea because this site is suspicious Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 21:05, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Mateusz Konieczny: That page says the fuel truck icon is licensed "CC0 License". What makes you think "this site is suspicious"?   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 21:14, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree, that site looks like a scam. It only credits the uploader who is not necessarily the licensor. In fact, according to a TinEye search, the icon was first seen here without CC0, but it does come with a free licence that only requires attribution of the source and creator (see "How to attribute?"). You may use {{Attribution only license |nolink=Freepik |text=[ Fuel Truck free icon created by Freepik - Flaticon]}} as a licence tag. De728631 (talk) 21:39, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think the freepik license is free. There are several restrictions on use and it's explicitly revocable. The summary sounds free, but the details, not so much. They use "free" in the sense of "free of charge" for many uses, but they are not really "free as in speech" (as understandable as many of those conditions are). Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:46, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
See Template:Freepik BTW, there are some images claiming to be from Freepik and on CC-* but maybe they used more open license in past Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:04, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I notified via email on their contact page Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:57, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I start with "I am suspecting something wrong with it" as a baseline for websites unfamiliar to me Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 22:45, 7 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mateusz Konieczny: Sadly, uploading it here would be wrong per @Carl, and we can't trust per @De728631.   — Jeff G. please ping or talk to me 04:45, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A question related to Commons:Deletion requests/File:Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences logo.svg. This ruling [2] as listed on the file page seems to state that copyright registration is refused. I have difficulty to interprete the legal text however. Would this mean this new logo can be kept on Commons? Ellywa (talk) 04:02, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

No. The logo is a derivative work (or rather partial copy) of the statuette, as explained in that ruling. What was disallowed was registering the logo as a derivative work, since it only added a triangle to the already-registered statuette. A derivative work must add an original amount of copyrightable expression to an existing copyrightable object -- this did not. Some of the expression in the statuette is here, which is copyrightable, but that expression was already registered for copyright. No new expression was added, so there is nothing additional to register. So, the logo should be fine in 2037 (the statuette was registered/published in 1941, and later renewed). Carl Lindberg (talk) 05:38, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oops, I'm just seeing this now. I've just gone ahead, closed the DR and deleted the file. Sorry if that causes any confusion :-) --Rosenzweig τ 09:04, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Carl Lindberg, thank you. Now this is clear to me. Ellywa (talk) 11:40, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds like the RE/MAX logo listed on COM:TOO to me. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 00:44, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Copyright on currency in Paraguay[edit]

According to Commons:CUR Paraguay it is unclear whether Paraguayan currency is copyrighted. This has resulted in a number of file deletions. Is someone in a position to find out? Cheers, Guido den Broeder (talk) 12:02, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jeno's pizza football cards[edit]


A commenter suggested that I bring this question here after I started it at the Help Desk. There's a category, 1986 Jeno's Pizza, in wide use on NFL pages, as images of players from that time period are hard to come by. After the use of a couple of these in an FA candidate was challenged, I'm seeking guidance on whether their use is valid.

Thanks, Harper J. Cole (talk) 21:09, 8 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Alamy copyright infringement[edit]

I noticed that this image I uploaded to Wiki Commons was also unlawfully uploaded to Alamy here, by a contributor named Jeffrey Grigsby. A quick scan of this contributor's upload suggest that most, if not all, of his images have been stolen from Wiki Commons, e.g.:

Alamy's designated agent can be reached at, and here is a DMCA Takedown Notice template. I have sent them a takedown notice and would suggest that other affected users do the same. Is there anything else we can and should do to mitigate this sort of infringement, which seems to happen more and more with the likes of Alamy, Shutterstock and other stock image services?

Julesvernex2 (talk) 11:44, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not again ... Thanks for your information. --XRay 💬 11:57, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
UPDATE: Alamy has replied with a commitment to quickly delete my image from their platform. I have asked them to do the same to the other images listed above, which they will hopefully do without the need for each author to send individual takedown notices. Julesvernex2 (talk) 11:59, 9 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]