Training sessions/Proposals/Understanding copyright/notes

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
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Thanks for User:Mr. Zabej for creating the Piratepad and documenting most of the discussions. The content of this page is copied from the Piratepad.

What copyright is to Wikimedians?

Being a Wikipedian doesn’t necessarily mean that one would, by default, know what the standards of copyright are, what is intellectual property and how it relates to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. One of the well-known incidents related to copyright was about the Monkey selfie case. While Wikimedia Foundation rightly claimed that the selfie is in public domain, however, more than a half-million editor from around the globe would have been unaware of how it was exempted of copyright if not described to them. A training session on how copyright is applied on Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects is what currently been demanded by Wikimedia India community in a global conference. So that, like Wikimedia India community, other community coming from other parts of the world would know how Wikipedia copyright policies are related to the real world governing policies about copyright. As you might have guessed, most people are aware of copyright but they are not 100% aware of how it’s applied on Wikipedia, it is a broad topic, and a session on this topic is really important.


In our session, we would describe fundamentals of Copyright, Exclusive rights, Berne convention, Copyleft, Creative Commons (CC0), Public Domain, Fair use, Copyfraud etc. And how all of them are related to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. In our session we would also outline why it’s important to allow Freedom of panorama in countries (Belgium and France) which prohibits freedom of panorama and how amending such Intellectual property law and Intellectual rights in those countries will benefit Wikimedia Foundation and the readers of Wikipedia. We will also discuss and enlighten smaller communities on how to frame policies related to non-free content on their projects (Currently, in Just Indian language Wikipedias, including Konkani Wikipedia, Urdu Wikipedia, Tulu Wikipedia etc. don’t have any policies related to non-free content).

Notes from the session (contributed by multiple participants)
  • Everything is copyrihted. (Well, not quite everything, but it's a safe assumption to think like that in several cases ;-)) Yep
  • Each country can own specific relating to "fair use", for example, dealing with pictures, but not only with pictures
  • There are some narrow limitations (especially in common law systems)
  • One of criteria of launching copyright - creative approach - depends on interpretation.
  • Bern convention provides "minimum standards" of protection (
  • In Switzerland: protected X-ray pictures... ? in some countries it can be in public domain...
  • In Italy: People scared by a certain degree of legal uncertainty about which pictures are actually in public domain. In principles, technical pictures, like orthogonal reproductions of objects, are not creative so not protected at all.
  • In several countries there are rules for "simple/mere pictures" - which are not supposed to be an intellectual product, but just a simple reproduction of reality - which are protected for just 20 years.
  • If logo takes more than (or around) 20% on background it is better to crop it otherwise it can be deleted...
  • Avoid "recent" pictures in museums... because of copyright
  • Commons follows US Copyright Law (!!!)
  • Fair use is not allowed on Commons, it is allowed only in Wikipedia (in specific language edition (article) and use download and upload approach)
  • "Fair use" is discouraged in wikiprojects but it is better than nothing.
  • Logo of university. - so you cannot use for "commercial" and "art" purposes, but for other you can.
  • If the objects are not in copyright focus... for example, screening street. you can.
  • 20% - is more for better understanding what is the main part (target) of picture...
  • OTRS: if you upload someone else work... 1. Scan Image of permission letter.
  • Reproduction of classical music is under "related rights" protection.
  • Derivative work (i.e. modify public domain work).
  • Fresh German case: to protect with copy right "pulic domain" pictures uo to 20-year term. (for example in museum where were created modern pictures.)
  • Have you tried to collecting material for wikidata? Big challenge because of universality of wikidata project on all wiki languages editions. It should be use under CC0 (standard donation content).
  • CC BY is not accepted to download in wikidata. CC BY does not create new rights. Description in 20 rows is copyrighted.
  • Paradox: if you are in Europe and extract some data from database (structured) in US you can do it, in Europe it will be unde sui generis rights (database protection)
  • In Italy: National statistical office. Is it possible to upload population by Bot to wiki the material wich is under CC BY (to CC0).
  • CC BY is very popular in Italy. They what steel to be controlled it (foe instance agianst wrong reasons)... (opinion).
  • France debate: non-commercial freedom of panarama (FoP).
  • Turkey, Greece, Italy: FoP related to specific cultural heritage purposes. They think about specific law


   *Size of image doesn't affect copyright; if a logo makes up a few % from a 500MP picture (meaning you could extract a high quality logo from it), the highres image still doesn't violoate copyright. If someone made that crop, that person probably would violate copyright.
  • How can we use "three steps test" in wikiprojects?
  • What is "too short" for copyrights? How to measure.... when copyright start to work... it depends on country and interpretations.
  • Is it applicable "three step test" in wikiprojects? Not, directly but from exceptions and limitations.