Chinese on Commons

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Chinese on Commons

Brianna Laugher
While browsing in my Special:Preferences today, I noticed that we
apparently support no less than five variants of Chinese:

zh
zh-cn (simplified, as used by the Chinese mainland)
zh-hk (traditional)
zh-sg (simplified)
zh-tw (traditional)

In translating the Commons namespace pages and templates, we seem to
most commonly have zh-hans and zh-hant, corresponding to simplified
and traditional characters. I think the "han" is to qualify the
language as Mandarin (also known as Hanyu, literally the language of
the Hans) rather than, say, Cantonese (zh-yue) or any other variety of
Chinese. I have noticed that people seem to have stopped using zh-tw
and zh-cn. Which makes sense: the country distinction is not what's
important in this choice. AFAIK there are no major differences between
Chinese as written in mainland China and Singapore, so I don't know
why we offer that distinction.

I don't even know why we still have people doing the man-hours of
'translating' between traditional and simplified when zh.wp is, after
all, using some automatic converter. Should we ask for it to be
installed for Commons? I don't know why it wasn't in the first
place... I have a small suspicion that the traditional folks enjoy
maintaining their translations, why is why no one's raised the issue,
but it's just a hunch.

Any thoughts?

Brianna (user:pfctdayelise)
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Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Fredrik Josefsson
This issue has been discussed for a while now. First
on English Wikipedia, now on Commons.

The discussion on Commons can be found at:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Deletion_requests#Official_paintings_held_by_the_U.S._Government

A lengthy debate on English Wikipedia is at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images/US_government_portraits

The debate in short: The paintings are not Work of the
United States Government, they were made by artists on
commission. Can they be used as public domain?

/ Fred
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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Jimmy Wales
I think there is no easy answer.  It would be best to contact the exact
office or institution which commissioned them and ask for a letter
clarifying the copyright status.

It is possible that the government purchased both the copyright and the
physical object, but also possible that the government merely purchased
the physical object.

Fredrik Josefsson wrote:

> This issue has been discussed for a while now. First
> on English Wikipedia, now on Commons.
>
> The discussion on Commons can be found at:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Deletion_requests#Official_paintings_held_by_the_U.S._Government
>
> A lengthy debate on English Wikipedia is at:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images/US_government_portraits
>
> The debate in short: The paintings are not Work of the
> United States Government, they were made by artists on
> commission. Can they be used as public domain?
>
> / Fred
> _______________________________________________
> Commons-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/commons-l
>

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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Jim-60

Someone questioned, Bill Alman, the White House curator who said:

Generally, the portraits are property of the federal government and are in the public domain. In the case of the White House portraits, the photograph of the portrait may have copyright restrictions, but that it should be generally okay to use the images as long as the publisher of the electronic image is credited.

The problem is that for some reason people in the discussion, are focusing on the fact that copyright and ownership are seperate rights - and refuse to acknowledge that the curator was clearly identifying the ownership of both property rights by saying "the portraits are property of the federal government [ownership of the portraits] and are in the public domain [copyright status]."

The curator then showed a very sophisticated understanding of US copyright law by making a distinction between the copyright in the work itself (which is in the public domain), and the copyright of a photo which may or may not be copyrighted depending on your view of the line of reasoning in Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. which held that exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright because the copies lack originality. Where there is signifant originality there would be copyright in the photograph seperate from the portrait.

The curator seems, very wisely, IMHO, to refrain from giving an opinion about the copyright of any reproductions (photographs) of the portraits while drawing the attention to the questioner that this could be an issue. He even very clearly identifies that the only copyright issue in question is whether one is claimed by the "publisher of the electronic image."

Thus, the portraits themselves being properly commissioned by the US and having the copyright transferred to the US govt - thus becoming "public domain" as identified by the curator are public domain works. The only issue is whether the photo itself is copyrighted.

This is also resolvable in one of 2 ways:

  1. Determination that the photos lack sufficient originality, thus the photographer can not claim copyright in the photo of a public domain work (following Bridgeman)
  2. Assuming that there is sufficient originality, so we need to find the copyright status of the photo seperate from the one in the portrait:
    1. If they are photos posted by the US govt and copied to wikipedia from there - then those are clearly in the public domain as a work of the US govt.
    2. If the photo was taken by a contributor - then we should refer to his license in uploading the work.
Personally, my review of the photos in question indicate that they clearly fall under the Bridgeman decision and the photographer can not claim a copyright in them as there is not the sufficient originality by the photographer

Jim

On 6/3/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think there is no easy answer.  It would be best to contact the exact
office or institution which commissioned them and ask for a letter
clarifying the copyright status.

It is possible that the government purchased both the copyright and the
physical object, but also possible that the government merely purchased
the physical object.

Fredrik Josefsson wrote:

> This issue has been discussed for a while now. First
> on English Wikipedia, now on Commons.
>
> The discussion on Commons can be found at:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Deletion_requests#Official_paintings_held_by_the_U.S._Government
>
> A lengthy debate on English Wikipedia is at:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images/US_government_portraits
>
> The debate in short: The paintings are not Work of the
> United States Government, they were made by artists on
> commission. Can they be used as public domain?
>
> / Fred

--
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even appreciated, but love is never wasted"
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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

W. Guy Finley
Re: [Commons-l] Official paintings held by the U.S. Government I’m usually very conservative on this type of issue (siding with copyright holders) but I agree with Jim 100% and this email does a great job of clarifying a muddled situation.  I think too often Corel is thrown out there in Fair Use debates but I think is one of the first correct applications of it that I have seen.

--Guy  (En & Commons: Wgfinley)

On 6/4/06 11:22 AM, "Jim" <[hidden email]> wrote:

Someone questioned, Bill Alman, the White House curator who said:

Generally, the portraits are property of the federal government and are in the public domain. In the case of the White House portraits, the photograph of the portrait may have copyright restrictions, but that it should be generally okay to use the images as long as the publisher of the electronic image is credited.

The problem is that for some reason people in the discussion, are focusing on the fact that copyright and ownership are seperate rights - and refuse to acknowledge that the curator was clearly identifying the ownership of both property rights by saying "the portraits are property of the federal government [ownership of the portraits] and are in the public domain [copyright status]."

The curator then showed a very sophisticated understanding of US copyright law by making a distinction between the copyright in the work itself (which is in the public domain), and the copyright of a photo which may or may not be copyrighted depending on your view of the line of reasoning in Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgeman_Art_Library_v._Corel_Corp.> which held that exact photographic copies of public domain images could not be protected by copyright because the copies lack originality. Where there is signifant originality there would be copyright in the photograph seperate from the portrait.

The curator seems, very wisely, IMHO, to refrain from giving an opinion about the copyright of any reproductions (photographs) of the portraits while drawing the attention to the questioner that this could be an issue. He even very clearly identifies that the only copyright issue in question is whether one is claimed by the "publisher of the electronic image."

Thus, the portraits themselves being properly commissioned by the US and having the copyright transferred to the US govt - thus becoming "public domain" as identified by the curator are public domain works. The only issue is whether the photo itself is copyrighted.

This is also resolvable in one of 2 ways:
  1. Determination that the photos lack sufficient originality, thus the photographer can not claim copyright in the photo of a public domain work (following Bridgeman)
  2. Assuming that there is sufficient originality, so we need to find the copyright status of the photo seperate from the one in the portrait:
    1. If they are photos posted by the US govt and copied to wikipedia from there - then those are clearly in the public domain as a work of the US govt.
    2. If the photo was taken by a contributor - then we should refer to his license in uploading the work.
Personally, my review of the photos in question indicate that they clearly fall under the Bridgeman decision and the photographer can not claim a copyright in them as there is not the sufficient originality by the photographer

Jim

On 6/3/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
I think there is no easy answer.  It would be best to contact the exact
office or institution which commissioned them and ask for a letter
clarifying the copyright status.

It is possible that the government purchased both the copyright and the
physical object, but also possible that the government merely purchased
the physical object.

Fredrik Josefsson wrote:
> This issue has been discussed for a while now. First
> on English Wikipedia, now on Commons.
>
> The discussion on Commons can be found at:
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Deletion_requests#Official_paintings_held_by_the_U.S._Government  <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Template:Deletion_requests#Official_paintings_held_by_the_U.S._Government>
>
> A lengthy debate on English Wikipedia is at:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images/US_government_portraits  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images/US_government_portraits>
>
> The debate in short: The paintings are not Work of the
> United States Government, they were made by artists on
> commission. Can they be used as public domain?
>
> / Fred


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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Anthony DiPierro
In reply to this post by Jimmy Wales
On 6/3/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I think there is no easy answer.  It would be best to contact the exact
> office or institution which commissioned them and ask for a letter
> clarifying the copyright status.
>
> It is possible that the government purchased both the copyright and the
> physical object, but also possible that the government merely purchased
> the physical object.
>
And in either scenario it's possible that the work is not in the
public domain.  As is stated in 17 U.S.C. ยง 105, "the United States
Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights
transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise."
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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Jimmy Wales
In reply to this post by Jim-60
Jim wrote:

>    1. Determination that the photos lack sufficient originality, thus
>       the photographer can not claim copyright in the photo of a public
>       domain work (following Bridgeman)
>    2. Assuming that there is sufficient originality, so we need to find
>       the copyright status of the photo seperate from the one in the
>       portrait:
>          1. If they are photos posted by the US govt and copied to
>             wikipedia from there - then those are clearly in the public
>             domain as a work of the US govt.
>          2. If the photo was taken by a contributor - then we should
>             refer to his license in uploading the work.
>
> Personally, my review of the photos in question indicate that they
> clearly fall under the Bridgeman decision and the photographer can not
> claim a copyright in them as there is not the sufficient originality by
> the photographer
The problem is that Bridgman was only a district court case, not a
circuit court case, and it is unclear that the reasoning in Bridgman
will be followed by other courts.  It is not much of a precedent to rely
upon.

--Jimbo

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Re: Official paintings held by the U.S. Government

Jim-60
On 6/4/06, Jimmy Wales <[hidden email]> wrote:
Jim wrote:

>    1. Determination that the photos lack sufficient originality, thus
>       the photographer can not claim copyright in the photo of a public
>       domain work (following Bridgeman)
>    2. Assuming that there is sufficient originality, so we need to find
>       the copyright status of the photo seperate from the one in the
>       portrait:
>          1. If they are photos posted by the US govt and copied to
>             wikipedia from there - then those are clearly in the public
>             domain as a work of the US govt.
>          2. If the photo was taken by a contributor - then we should
>             refer to his license in uploading the work.
>
> Personally, my review of the photos in question indicate that they
> clearly fall under the Bridgeman decision and the photographer can not
> claim a copyright in them as there is not the sufficient originality by
> the photographer

The problem is that Bridgman was only a district court case, not a
circuit court case, and it is unclear that the reasoning in Bridgman
will be followed by other courts.  It is not much of a precedent to rely
upon.

--Jimbo

Agreed, but we still have option 2) identify the source of the photo of the public domain work and find out whether they will clearly grant a license acceptable to WMF. Unfortunately, the only issue being discussed is whether the works are public domain or not. The US govt clearly owns both the physical objects and the copyright in the work - thus it is public domain.

So, if as Jimbo indicates we should assume that Bridgeman is not controlling, we should focus on the source of the photos and determine whether the photographer is claiming a seperate copyright in the photo.

Jim

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