COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

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COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Patrick-Emil Zörner-2
Since Eric was posting a hint on all common admins talk pages I use
this opportunity to talk about a subject I strongly feel about.

BTW I am subscribing to this ML and have been since the beginning. The
reason I have not been reading the ML or making posts here is a
completly differnt one.

When I was trying to go through the deletion tags to dispose images
that are against the commons policy I found the following:

http://commons.wikimedia.org//wiki/Template%3ASlovakCityCOA

Concerning COAs my believe always was that we have to care about:

1) Copyright(, Urheberrecht,...) whatever it may be in your country
2) It must be commercial.
3) People must be able to modify it.

To 1) in most cases we do not need to care about that dealing with
COAs since they are ooooooooooold.
However the points 2) and 3) make me feel uneasy and I know there was
a long discussion on de WP.

Concerning point 2) some of you might know that the german newspaper
"Die Zeit" was using the COA of the federal state and city Hamburg and
needed to change the COA on the front cover because of a senat
decision in Hamburg. Personally I think that such a behaviour is
silly. I mean it is not like they have been printing toilet paper with
the COA of Hamburg and selling the stuff. Even printing the COA of a
town on t-shirts and selling them could cause legal trouble IMHO.

To 3) the Brockhaus Multimedial (a germen encyclopedia on DVD) uses
stylised COAs. I totally do not get why they did that. What I am
saying is that this could be interpreted as a modification plus
commercial use. Modifing a COA and selling the stuff on some
merchandising items could cause legal problems too IMHO.

Summary: I do not think that COA go 100% with wikimedia project
policies concerning points 2 and 3. Personally I even think that COAs
as a picture in an encyclopedia are nice to have but not necessary.
But since they seem accepted in the Wikimedia projects commons should
keep them all and without exception since they are PD with some legal
framework attached to them. Therfore I suggest that in cases like the
slovak COA we ignore the terms of use and leave it up to the one that
uses these images to read the terms of use. The slovak terms of use do
not even seem very strikt as far as I can understand the language.

Last but not least I think that the wikimedia projects had the wrong
approach dealing with COAs. They should IMHO have waived using them.
Only COAs that had 100% leagal permissions from the city/country
should have been used. While the WM-projects were growing there could
have been an open window to leagaly enforce WM-projects to use the
COAs because the cities would have wanted us to use them because
without saying the WM-projects make even the smallest town known in
the internet.

What do you think?

greetings

Paddy



               
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Zachary Harden
Dear Paddy,

I just think it depends on the nations that the coat of arms are registered
in. Some might have Public Domain status granted to them since Day One of
use, while others have to sit through the test of time. While I am not
familiar with Slovak law, I would wait and see what it says before we take
any action.

Rgds, Zach


>From: Patrick-Emil Zörner <[hidden email]>
>Reply-To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
>To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
>Subject: [Commons-l] COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..
>Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 09:01:00 +0200 (CEST)
>
>Since Eric was posting a hint on all common admins talk pages I use
>this opportunity to talk about a subject I strongly feel about.
>
>BTW I am subscribing to this ML and have been since the beginning. The
>reason I have not been reading the ML or making posts here is a
>completly differnt one.
>
>When I was trying to go through the deletion tags to dispose images
>that are against the commons policy I found the following:
>
>http://commons.wikimedia.org//wiki/Template%3ASlovakCityCOA
>
>Concerning COAs my believe always was that we have to care about:
>
>1) Copyright(, Urheberrecht,...) whatever it may be in your country
>2) It must be commercial.
>3) People must be able to modify it.
>
>To 1) in most cases we do not need to care about that dealing with
>COAs since they are ooooooooooold.
>However the points 2) and 3) make me feel uneasy and I know there was
>a long discussion on de WP.
>
>Concerning point 2) some of you might know that the german newspaper
>"Die Zeit" was using the COA of the federal state and city Hamburg and
>needed to change the COA on the front cover because of a senat
>decision in Hamburg. Personally I think that such a behaviour is
>silly. I mean it is not like they have been printing toilet paper with
>the COA of Hamburg and selling the stuff. Even printing the COA of a
>town on t-shirts and selling them could cause legal trouble IMHO.
>
>To 3) the Brockhaus Multimedial (a germen encyclopedia on DVD) uses
>stylised COAs. I totally do not get why they did that. What I am
>saying is that this could be interpreted as a modification plus
>commercial use. Modifing a COA and selling the stuff on some
>merchandising items could cause legal problems too IMHO.
>
>Summary: I do not think that COA go 100% with wikimedia project
>policies concerning points 2 and 3. Personally I even think that COAs
>as a picture in an encyclopedia are nice to have but not necessary.
>But since they seem accepted in the Wikimedia projects commons should
>keep them all and without exception since they are PD with some legal
>framework attached to them. Therfore I suggest that in cases like the
>slovak COA we ignore the terms of use and leave it up to the one that
>uses these images to read the terms of use. The slovak terms of use do
>not even seem very strikt as far as I can understand the language.
>
>Last but not least I think that the wikimedia projects had the wrong
>approach dealing with COAs. They should IMHO have waived using them.
>Only COAs that had 100% leagal permissions from the city/country
>should have been used. While the WM-projects were growing there could
>have been an open window to leagaly enforce WM-projects to use the
>COAs because the cities would have wanted us to use them because
>without saying the WM-projects make even the smallest town known in
>the internet.
>
>What do you think?
>
>greetings
>
>Paddy


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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Cary Bass
In reply to this post by Patrick-Emil Zörner-2
Paddy brings up something very interesting with regard to the newspaper's use.  

A coat of arms consists of two different things: the heraldic definition and the graphic representation.  Typically,  where a city has a copyright on its COA, it is only a graphic representation that the city or locality has copyrighted.  A heraldic definition may be artistically interpreted, thereby circumventing the city's copyright on the COA.  The legal definitions vary from country to country.  

For instance, in the United States, the graphical representation that most states use as seals are the copyrighted property of the US state in question, and therefore are not considered free.  However, a graphical representation of the seal may be used in its place as the "state seal".  

This, of course, will not satisfy a good many of our end users, who will see anything but what the state/city uses, to the exact pixel, as "wrong", thereby eliminating its use at any project that disallows "fair use" images.

It also should be noted that an artistic representation of a COA is copyrightable, and therefore must be released prior to upload.

Cary Bass
"Bastique"

>
> From: "Zachary Harden" <[hidden email]>
> Date: 2006/07/06 Thu AM 05:03:55 EDT
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [Commons-l] COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..
>
> Dear Paddy,
>
> I just think it depends on the nations that the coat of arms are registered
> in. Some might have Public Domain status granted to them since Day One of
> use, while others have to sit through the test of time. While I am not
> familiar with Slovak law, I would wait and see what it says before we take
> any action.
>
> Rgds, Zach
>
>
> >From: Patrick-Emil Zörner <[hidden email]>
> >Reply-To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
> >To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
> >Subject: [Commons-l] COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..
> >Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 09:01:00 +0200 (CEST)
> >
> >Since Eric was posting a hint on all common admins talk pages I use
> >this opportunity to talk about a subject I strongly feel about.
> >
> >BTW I am subscribing to this ML and have been since the beginning. The
> >reason I have not been reading the ML or making posts here is a
> >completly differnt one.
> >
> >When I was trying to go through the deletion tags to dispose images
> >that are against the commons policy I found the following:
> >
> >http://commons.wikimedia.org//wiki/Template%3ASlovakCityCOA
> >
> >Concerning COAs my believe always was that we have to care about:
> >
> >1) Copyright(, Urheberrecht,...) whatever it may be in your country
> >2) It must be commercial.
> >3) People must be able to modify it.
> >
> >To 1) in most cases we do not need to care about that dealing with
> >COAs since they are ooooooooooold.
> >However the points 2) and 3) make me feel uneasy and I know there was
> >a long discussion on de WP.
> >
> >Concerning point 2) some of you might know that the german newspaper
> >"Die Zeit" was using the COA of the federal state and city Hamburg and
> >needed to change the COA on the front cover because of a senat
> >decision in Hamburg. Personally I think that such a behaviour is
> >silly. I mean it is not like they have been printing toilet paper with
> >the COA of Hamburg and selling the stuff. Even printing the COA of a
> >town on t-shirts and selling them could cause legal trouble IMHO.
> >
> >To 3) the Brockhaus Multimedial (a germen encyclopedia on DVD) uses
> >stylised COAs. I totally do not get why they did that. What I am
> >saying is that this could be interpreted as a modification plus
> >commercial use. Modifing a COA and selling the stuff on some
> >merchandising items could cause legal problems too IMHO.
> >
> >Summary: I do not think that COA go 100% with wikimedia project
> >policies concerning points 2 and 3. Personally I even think that COAs
> >as a picture in an encyclopedia are nice to have but not necessary.
> >But since they seem accepted in the Wikimedia projects commons should
> >keep them all and without exception since they are PD with some legal
> >framework attached to them. Therfore I suggest that in cases like the
> >slovak COA we ignore the terms of use and leave it up to the one that
> >uses these images to read the terms of use. The slovak terms of use do
> >not even seem very strikt as far as I can understand the language.
> >
> >Last but not least I think that the wikimedia projects had the wrong
> >approach dealing with COAs. They should IMHO have waived using them.
> >Only COAs that had 100% leagal permissions from the city/country
> >should have been used. While the WM-projects were growing there could
> >have been an open window to leagaly enforce WM-projects to use the
> >COAs because the cities would have wanted us to use them because
> >without saying the WM-projects make even the smallest town known in
> >the internet.
> >
> >What do you think?
> >
> >greetings
> >
> >Paddy
>
>
>
>

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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Rama Neko
It might be a little bit more subtle than this. Actually things happen
as if we had two copyrights :

1) the copyright on the design of the Coat of Arms
2) the copyright on the implementation of the Coat of Arms.

The question is mostly, "is 1) Free by our standards so that we can
make our own free implementations of the coat of arms".

 - A typical coat of arms is from the Middle Ages (say, the coat of
arms of the city of Paris). There is probably no possible copyright on
this (the notion of copyright did not exist), but there might be
issues with trademarks.

 - Then you might have more recent coats of arms, from times where
copyright existed. I have had problem with people uploading coats of
arms from Tolkien's universe. There, the design itself is clearly
copyrighted.

  -- Rama

On 7/7/06, [hidden email] <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Paddy brings up something very interesting with regard to the newspaper's
> use.
>
> A coat of arms consists of two different things: the heraldic definition and
> the graphic representation.  Typically,  where a city has a copyright on its
> COA, it is only a graphic representation that the city or locality has
> copyrighted.  A heraldic definition may be artistically interpreted, thereby
> circumventing the city's copyright on the COA.  The legal definitions vary
> from country to country.
>
> For instance, in the United States, the graphical representation that most
> states use as seals are the copyrighted property of the US state in
> question, and therefore are not considered free.  However, a graphical
> representation of the seal may be used in its place as the "state seal".
>
> This, of course, will not satisfy a good many of our end users, who will see
> anything but what the state/city uses, to the exact pixel, as "wrong",
> thereby eliminating its use at any project that disallows "fair use" images.
>
> It also should be noted that an artistic representation of a COA is
> copyrightable, and therefore must be released prior to upload.
>
> Cary Bass
> "Bastique"
> >
> > From: "Zachary Harden" <[hidden email]>
> > Date: 2006/07/06 Thu AM 05:03:55 EDT
> > To: [hidden email]
> > Subject: Re: [Commons-l] COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..
> >
> > Dear Paddy,
> >
> > I just think it depends on the nations that the coat of arms are
> registered
> > in. Some might have Public Domain status granted to them since Day One of
> > use, while others have to sit through the test of time. While I am not
> > familiar with Slovak law, I would wait and see what it says before we take
> > any action.
> >
> > Rgds, Zach
> >
> >
> > >From: Patrick-Emil Zörner <[hidden email]>
> > >Reply-To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
> > >To: Wikimedia Commons Discussion List <[hidden email]>
> > >Subject: [Commons-l] COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..
> > >Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 09:01:00 +0200 (CEST)
> > >
> > >Since Eric was posting a hint on all common admins talk pages I use
> > >this opportunity to talk about a subject I strongly feel about.
> > >
> > >BTW I am subscribing to this ML and have been since the beginning. The
> > >reason I have not been reading the ML or making posts here is a
> > >completly differnt one.
> > >
> > >When I was trying to go through the deletion tags to dispose images
> > >that are against the commons policy I found the following:
> > >
> > >http://commons.wikimedia.org//wiki/Template%3ASlovakCityCOA
> > >
> > >Concerning COAs my believe always was that we have to care about:
> > >
> > >1) Copyright(, Urheberrecht,...) whatever it may be in your country
> > >2) It must be commercial.
> > >3) People must be able to modify it.
> > >
> > >To 1) in most cases we do not need to care about that dealing with
> > >COAs since they are ooooooooooold.
> > >However the points 2) and 3) make me feel uneasy and I know there was
> > >a long discussion on de WP.
> > >
> > >Concerning point 2) some of you might know that the german newspaper
> > >"Die Zeit" was using the COA of the federal state and city Hamburg and
> > >needed to change the COA on the front cover because of a senat
> > >decision in Hamburg. Personally I think that such a behaviour is
> > >silly. I mean it is not like they have been printing toilet paper with
> > >the COA of Hamburg and selling the stuff. Even printing the COA of a
> > >town on t-shirts and selling them could cause legal trouble IMHO.
> > >
> > >To 3) the Brockhaus Multimedial (a germen encyclopedia on DVD) uses
> > >stylised COAs. I totally do not get why they did that. What I am
> > >saying is that this could be interpreted as a modification plus
> > >commercial use. Modifing a COA and selling the stuff on some
> > >merchandising items could cause legal problems too IMHO.
> > >
> > >Summary: I do not think that COA go 100% with wikimedia project
> > >policies concerning points 2 and 3. Personally I even think that COAs
> > >as a picture in an encyclopedia are nice to have but not necessary.
> > >But since they seem accepted in the Wikimedia projects commons should
> > >keep them all and without exception since they are PD with some legal
> > >framework attached to them. Therfore I suggest that in cases like the
> > >slovak COA we ignore the terms of use and leave it up to the one that
> > >uses these images to read the terms of use. The slovak terms of use do
> > >not even seem very strikt as far as I can understand the language.
> > >
> > >Last but not least I think that the wikimedia projects had the wrong
> > >approach dealing with COAs. They should IMHO have waived using them.
> > >Only COAs that had 100% leagal permissions from the city/country
> > >should have been used. While the WM-projects were growing there could
> > >have been an open window to leagaly enforce WM-projects to use the
> > >COAs because the cities would have wanted us to use them because
> > >without saying the WM-projects make even the smallest town known in
> > >the internet.
> > >
> > >What do you think?
> > >
> > >greetings
> > >
> > >Paddy
> >
> >
> >
> >
>
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> Commons-l mailing list
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> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/commons-l
>
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Matthew Brown-5
On 7/9/06, Rama Rama <[hidden email]> wrote:
>  - A typical coat of arms is from the Middle Ages (say, the coat of
> arms of the city of Paris). There is probably no possible copyright on
> this (the notion of copyright did not exist), but there might be
> issues with trademarks.

Generally we don't concern ourselves with trademark issues, though.

-Matt
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Daniel Kinzler
>
> Generally we don't concern ourselves with trademark issues, though.
>
> -Matt

Yes, we do. There's a strong bias against having trademarked logos on
commons. This resulted from a lengthy discussion on this thread some
months ago, and word from Jimbo.

-- Daniel

--
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Brianna Laugher
On 09/07/06, Daniel Kinzler <[hidden email]> wrote:

> >
> > Generally we don't concern ourselves with trademark issues, though.
> >
> > -Matt
>
> Yes, we do. There's a strong bias against having trademarked logos on
> commons. This resulted from a lengthy discussion on this thread some
> months ago, and word from Jimbo.
>
> -- Daniel

I think this is one of many unresolved issues that continues to plague
a standardised implementation of Commons policies.
As I have said before, any guidance from the lawyer-folk would be welcome.

Brianna
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Matthew Brown-5
In reply to this post by Daniel Kinzler
On 7/9/06, Daniel Kinzler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Generally we don't concern ourselves with trademark issues, though.
>
> Yes, we do. There's a strong bias against having trademarked logos on
> commons. This resulted from a lengthy discussion on this thread some
> months ago, and word from Jimbo.

My recollection of that (maybe inaccurately) was that that came down
to copyright issues, not trademark?  A photograph or redrawing of a
logo still infringes its copyright, after all.  I don't remember any
of the disputed logos being out of copyright.

I believe I am correct that Commons does not generally concern itself
that the appearance of a trademarked element in a photographed scene
may make a photograph unusable in some (but not all) commercial
contexts, however.

-matt
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Matthew Brown-5
In reply to this post by Brianna Laugher
On 7/9/06, Brianna Laugher <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think this is one of many unresolved issues that continues to plague
> a standardised implementation of Commons policies.
> As I have said before, any guidance from the lawyer-folk would be welcome.

Lawyers hate giving legal advice, for good reason - they know the
unreliability of the law and thus that advice, and are unwilling to
make blanked proclamations about the legality or illegality of actions
without talking only about specific cases.

It's not just a legal issue, though, but as much (if not more) a policy issue.

-Matt
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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Daniel Kinzler
In reply to this post by Matthew Brown-5
To clarify: I'm not sure trademarks apply to coats of arms at all. The
Paris Convention explicitly exempts at least national insignia from
trademark protection (and, by extension, possibly from copyright).

Most countries have separate laws for protecting insignia from misuse -
which we do indeed not concern ourselves with (see {{insignia}}), as
long as the use on commons itself is legal, and it's possible to legally
use them on some Wikimedia project.

> My recollection of that (maybe inaccurately) was that that came down
> to copyright issues, not trademark?  A photograph or redrawing of a
> logo still infringes its copyright, after all.  I don't remember any
> of the disputed logos being out of copyright.

As far as I remember, we decided not to have any trademarked logos,
copyrighted or not. Many logos could be considered PD because they are
trivial - in fact, the German WP allows such logos, and is quite liberal
with the interpretation... a dangerous course, IMHO.

> I believe I am correct that Commons does not generally concern itself
> that the appearance of a trademarked element in a photographed scene
> may make a photograph unusable in some (but not all) commercial
> contexts, however.

Yes - logos appearing in a larger context are OK. Just *how* large that
context must be is subject of interpretation... a street scene that
contains some logos somewhere is probably ok. A picture showing nothing
but a Coca Cola can? Not sure about that.

-- Daniel

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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Daniel Kinzler
Relevant thread from september 2005:
http://mail.wikipedia.org/pipermail/commons-l/2005-September/thread.html#103

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Re: COA copyright policies and other legal stuff,..

Matthew Brown-5
In reply to this post by Daniel Kinzler
On 7/9/06, Daniel Kinzler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Yes - logos appearing in a larger context are OK. Just *how* large that
> context must be is subject of interpretation... a street scene that
> contains some logos somewhere is probably ok. A picture showing nothing
> but a Coca Cola can? Not sure about that.

Trademark, being a lot more context-dependent than copyright is except
for fair use / fair dealing, makes things complicated here.

For example, many everyday objects have on them the trademarked logos
of their creators.  Sometimes very prominently.  In addition, the
shape of a designed object can be trademarked under some
circumstances, and in addition can carry some copyright as well, in
addition to such concepts as "design rights".

Thus, pretty much any photograph of a human-made object is not
completely free - there are always things that could be protected, and
in a world where people increasingly seek legal protection for things,
this is going to come up more and more.

-Matt
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