Copyright of the swiss administration

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Copyright of the swiss administration

dake
Hi Swiss fellows,

I had sent a few months ago a mail to admin.ch to know what was the
exact license of the official goverment material (pictures and texts).
Unfortunately, I didn't get an answer hence this post. For example,
the picture on this page (we all love this site, trust me, it was
randomly picked up :))

http://www.vbs-ddps.ch/internet/groupgst/fr/home/generalstab/dergeneralstab/generalstabschef0.html

I know in France the gov. has a special (non-free) license for such
contents. In USA, gov. material is mostly P.D as you probably know. It
would be interesting to have a clear answer to this point for Switzerland.

Cheers,

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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

Michael Bimmler
Hello.
What I've figured out so far is, that laws, protocols of decisions and
decrees are not protected. However I completely failed to figure out
how the situation is for text and images provided on admin.ch, they
don't even provide a copyright-section.
Can I ask you where you sent your mail to? You  might have sent a mail
to "webmaster at admin.ch"
However if you haven't received a reply:
There is a special section "Elektronischer Behördenverkehr" (section
cyberadministration, part of "Federal Chancellery = Bundeskanzlei" ),
which is responsible for operating www.admin.ch and www.ch.ch
As far as I understand it, they provide the contents for the two sites
and have also the redactors for them. On the page is mentioned a
responsible person for "Information and Communication": Julia Glauser
"julia.glauser at bk.admin dot ch"
It might be worth a try to send her a mail.
Regards
Michael

On 3/31/06, dake <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hi Swiss fellows,
>
> I had sent a few months ago a mail to admin.ch to know what was the
> exact license of the official goverment material (pictures and texts).
> Unfortunately, I didn't get an answer hence this post. For example,
> the picture on this page (we all love this site, trust me, it was
> randomly picked up :))
>
> http://www.vbs-ddps.ch/internet/groupgst/fr/home/generalstab/dergeneralstab/generalstabschef0.html
>
> I know in France the gov. has a special (non-free) license for such
> contents. In USA, gov. material is mostly P.D as you probably know. It
> would be interesting to have a clear answer to this point for Switzerland.
>
> Cheers,
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikimediach-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediach-l
>


--
Regards
Michael Bimmler
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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

dake
Thanks for your answer. I had actually sent the mail to the webmaster. I
will drop a mail to J. Glauser.

You are right about the laws and the protocols. I add there is something
interesting about swiss law compared to french/belgian law concerning
the buildings as it seems (my non-professional interpretation) that
making a picture of a recent building, statue, etc. is allowed while in
France/Belgium, it is not (see the "Atomium" story).

Well, some advices about swiss law in general regarding the copyright
would be nice. There was a question today on the french wikipedia about
the flags of cantons, communes and districts. On :fr, we have tons of
references about the french law, nearly nothing about swiss law, I'm
trying to collect some references :)

Regards,
Dake
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilisateur:Dake

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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

Frédéric Schütz
In reply to this post by dake
On 3/31/06, dake <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I had sent a few months ago a mail to admin.ch to know what was the
> exact license of the official goverment material (pictures and texts).
> Unfortunately, I didn't get an answer hence this post. For example,
> the picture on this page (we all love this site, trust me, it was
> randomly picked up :))
[...]
> I know in France the gov. has a special (non-free) license for such
> contents. In USA, gov. material is mostly P.D as you probably know. It
> would be interesting to have a clear answer to this point for Switzerland.

There is none, at least none in the law; as far as I know, each
department/service can decide whatever they want.

I have been lucky with the Parliament, from which I got the
authorisation to use all the (beautiful) images on their web site
basically as if they were in the public domain (many of them have
since been uploaded to commons, mainly by en:User:Lupo).

With other attempts (in particular concerning with the finding of
documentation about the motto of Switzerland, with the Federal
Military Library), I have had technical problems (people who stopped
working there, follow-up addresses that were incorrect, etc). I should
probably give it a try again soon.

I guess one of the first things that Wikimedia CH could do after it is
born is identify a couple of documents that would be worth having on
Wikipedia, and send an official letter asking for the policy of the
Swiss government.

In July, the new law on transparency will be in effect, and everyone
will be allowed to ask the administration for any document (barring
private or security-related stuff, etc), for free if the cost is less
than 100.-. This will probably weaken even more the case for having a
strong copyright on documents created by the administration (if anyone
can get it for free, you can as well make it available publicly).

Frederic
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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

Frédéric Schütz
In reply to this post by dake
On 3/31/06, dake <[hidden email]> wrote:

Obligatory disclaimer first: IANAL, but I have done a bit of research
on this topic.

> You are right about the laws and the protocols. I add there is something
> interesting about swiss law compared to french/belgian law concerning
> the buildings as it seems (my non-professional interpretation) that
> making a picture of a recent building, statue, etc. is allowed while in
> France/Belgium, it is not (see the "Atomium" story).

Clearly allowed in Switzerland if the statue if permanently fixed in a
public place (of course, this is trivially the case for buildings);
see article 27 of the copyright law (231.1) on admin.ch.

> Well, some advices about swiss law in general regarding the copyright
> would be nice. There was a question today on the french wikipedia about
> the flags of cantons, communes and districts. On :fr, we have tons of
> references about the french law, nearly nothing about swiss law, I'm
> trying to collect some references :)

I have tons of references about the Swiss law. Creating an article on
this topic in en: is on my todo list. Give me a reference of the
relevant page on fr: (and maybe some precise questions) and I'll try
to add pointers to what I know as well.

> Well, some advices about swiss law in general regarding the copyright
> would be nice. There was a question today on the french wikipedia about\
> the flags of cantons, communes and districts.

Where was it ?

>From the copyright point of view, most of the flags are in the public
domain (except _maybe_ for a few flags made for new municipalities
after mergers). Otherwise, the laws under number 232.2 protect their
use (basically: don't use them in bad faith).

Frederic

PS. Content de voir un autre francophone sur la  liste...
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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

dake
> I have tons of references about the Swiss law. Creating an article on
>  this topic in en: is on my todo list. Give me a reference of the
> relevant page on fr: (and maybe some precise questions) and I'll try
>  to add pointers to what I know as well.

The question about armoiries raised up in the "bistro", section
"poulpisme"
(http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Le_Bistro/31_mars_2006)
I actually gave references to 232.21

On Commons, these pictures are marked as "CC-BY-SA-2.0". I am wondering
if this license conflicts with law 232.21

You could probably enhance or integrate the following article :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_protection_of_photographs_in_Switzerland

There are not *so* many questions about pictures in Switzerland (the
swiss community on :fr is still small, most questions came out of my
mind) but we can make a parallel with the questions that are often
raised for France. Those are usually :

* photographies of recent monuments, buildings, architectural work, etc.
* copyright of agencies related to goverment
* copyright and rules when one takes a picture of a known person (there
were some discussions about a picture of Zidane in an airport, one could
consider this as "private" life.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Zidane_Paris_CdG.png)
* screenshots of softwares
* pictures of military buildings (eg for Switzerland :
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Bunker-suisse-aviation-p1010146.jpg)
* pictures taken during major events (for Switzerland, a good example
could be pictures taken during Eurocup 08)

Last week, someone asked me by mail about this case :

http://bpun.unine.ch/IconoNeuch/Portraits/Portraits.htm

The pictures should be in public domain, but a copyright has been added
by the Bpun. I asked the SSA about this issue (for me, this content
should be marked as PD) and they were surprised, they have forwarded my
question to another society (Pro Litteris), I am waiting for a clear answer.

----
Nous avons bien  reçu votre courriel et nous nous sommes en effet
interrogés sur le © que la Bibliothèque a inséré sur l’oeuvre non
protégée. Il couvre éventuellement les droits du photographe qui a
reproduit l’oeuvre afin qu’elle soit numérisée.Mais nous avons constaté
en général que les bibliothèques souhaitent être indiquées en tant que
source, et que, si elles facturent quelque chose aux utilisateurs, ce
sont leurs frais de recherche.
----

Voilà ;)

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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

Frédéric Schütz
dake wrote:

> The question about armoiries raised up in the "bistro", section
> "poulpisme"
> (http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikip%C3%A9dia:Le_Bistro/31_mars_2006)
> I actually gave references to 232.21
>
> On Commons, these pictures are marked as "CC-BY-SA-2.0". I am wondering
> if this license conflicts with law 232.21

It does not. The CC licences (and the criteria for inclusion in commons
in general) are concerned only with the copyright of the images, and
these images are likely to be in the public domain (except for rare
exceptions, as I wrote earlier). The law 232.21 is unrelated; in any
case, it does not restrict copy or modifications of the images.

Here is a similar example. By law, all bank notes are in the public
domain in Switzerland, so one is allowed to make copies of them.
However, it does not mean that one is allowed to copy them in order to
make counterfeit money !

Another example is the combination of trademark and copyright law: a
company's logo may well be in the public domain from the copyright point
of view, meaning that one is allowed to copy it, but it may still be
protected as a trademark, meaning that you can not use it as you wish.

> You could probably enhance or integrate the following article :
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_protection_of_photographs_in_Switzerland

Thanks for the pointer; I missed its creation. It's an excellent start;
it has been moved to en:Copyright law of Switzerland, and is being improved.

> There are not *so* many questions about pictures in Switzerland (the
> swiss community on :fr is still small, most questions came out of my
> mind) but we can make a parallel with the questions that are often
> raised for France. Those are usually :

We could probably write a FAQ about these...

> * photographies of recent monuments, buildings, architectural work, etc.

No problem, as discussed earlier.

> * copyright of agencies related to goverment

No set rule, as discussed earlier.

> * copyright and rules when one takes a picture of a known person (there
> were some discussions about a picture of Zidane in an airport, one could
> consider this as "private" life.
> http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Zidane_Paris_CdG.png)

No problem from the point of view of copyright. I don't know enough from
the point of view of private life, but my guess would be that it is not
a problem when this is done in a public place, as long as the
photographer does not harass the person in order to take the photo.

> * screenshots of softwares

Probably not original enough to be copyrighted; the program itself is
copyrighted, but the simple placement of widgets and windows on the
screen probably isn't, except if there is something really special about
it (like a photo displayed on the screen, etc). In any case, a
screenshot can probably be considered as a citation for purpose of
reference, and covered by art. 25 of the law.

> * pictures of military buildings (eg for Switzerland :
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Bunker-suisse-aviation-p1010146.jpg)

No problem from the point of view of copyright.  The photograph could
still be prosecuted for violation of military secrets, but the bunker on
the photo above is probably not a secret. There has been a few examples
(including an appeal just last week) of silly cases where everyone knows
that a certain building is a hidden military bunker, but mentioning it
and publishing a picture accompanied by the location is considered a
violation of military secret.

> * pictures taken during major events (for Switzerland, a good example
> could be pictures taken during Eurocup 08)

No problem either &mdash; nobody owns the rights of what happens during
a soccer match.

> Last week, someone asked me by mail about this case :
>
> http://bpun.unine.ch/IconoNeuch/Portraits/Portraits.htm
>
> The pictures should be in public domain, but a copyright has been added
> by the Bpun. I asked the SSA about this issue (for me, this content
> should be marked as PD) and they were surprised, they have forwarded my
> question to another society (Pro Litteris), I am waiting for a clear answer.
>
> ----
> Nous avons bien  reçu votre courriel et nous nous sommes en effet
> interrogés sur le © que la Bibliothèque a inséré sur l’oeuvre non
> protégée. Il couvre éventuellement les droits du photographe qui a
> reproduit l’oeuvre afin qu’elle soit numérisée.Mais nous avons constaté
> en général que les bibliothèques souhaitent être indiquées en tant que
> source, et que, si elles facturent quelque chose aux utilisateurs, ce
> sont leurs frais de recherche.
> ----
>
> Voilà ;)

C'est du pipeau, a mon avis ! Just digitalising an image does not
produce an "original" work (quite the opposite: when you digitalise an
image, your goal is to be as close as possible to the original one), so
this is unlikely to be protected by copyright. See the "Meili" case
referenced at the page you cited above (now en:Copyright law of
Switzerland). Have you tried asking the Bpun ?

As I wrote earlier, IANAL.

Frederic
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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

dake
Damn interesting thread :) (even if IANAL)

> Here is a similar example. By law, all bank notes are in the public
> domain in Switzerland, so one is allowed to make copies of them.
> However, it does not mean that one is allowed to copy them in order to
> make counterfeit money !

What about the "specimen" text above the notes ? Do we have to put it on
the pictures to avoid the "counterfeit" stuff ?

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Swiss_bank_note_security_text.JPG

"Banknotes are not protected by the Swiss Federal Copyright Statute.
However, individual works reproduced on banknotes are subject to
copyright protection provided they have not been reproduced recognisably
as a part of the banknote. The works protected under copyright law may
only be reproduced and adapted with the permission of the copyright holder."

hmm..this is quite ambiguous. Let's take the example of the 200 note
with Ramuz. The big photography of Ramuz could be copyrighted, it is a
recognizable part of the note. If I can scan the whole note, I cannot
put it with the PD license on Commons.

> No problem from the point of view of copyright.  The photograph could
> still be prosecuted for violation of military secrets, but the bunker on
> the photo above is probably not a secret. There has been a few examples
> (including an appeal just last week) of silly cases where everyone knows
> that a certain building is a hidden military bunker, but mentioning it
> and publishing a picture accompanied by the location is considered a
> violation of military secret.

I have a better example from Commons. It is by far less visible than the
other picture (though I guess everybody knows about it). Probably a
"silly case" candidate :

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Panzerturm.jpg

> No problem either &mdash; nobody owns the rights of what happens during
> a soccer match.

I asked that because I know there were some restrictions during the
Olympic Games at Turin (pictures for private use only, not commercial,
blabla). Same for the US Open or another major tennis tournament.


> C'est du pipeau, a mon avis ! Just digitalising an image does not
> produce an "original" work (quite the opposite: when you digitalise an
> image, your goal is to be as close as possible to the original one), so
> this is unlikely to be protected by copyright. See the "Meili" case
> referenced at the page you cited above (now en:Copyright law of
> Switzerland). Have you tried asking the Bpun ?

I haven't tried yet, I will send a mail. Note that I have often seen
these "copyright" on PD pictures or/and disclaimers. I was very
interested in the pictures of the BIUM. Example :

http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/monstres/moyen/491.jpg

But :

Toutes les images de la banque sont © BIUM.
Leur reproduction est strictement réservée à l'usage privé
du copiste et non destinée à une utilisation collective

I will send a few mails there and there, also on the legal list of
Wikimedia, just to see their point of view.

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Re: Copyright of the swiss administration

Frédéric Schütz
dake wrote:

>> Here is a similar example. By law, all bank notes are in the public
>> domain in Switzerland, so one is allowed to make copies of them.
>> However, it does not mean that one is allowed to copy them in order to
>> make counterfeit money !
>
> What about the "specimen" text above the notes ? Do we have to put it on
> the pictures to avoid the "counterfeit" stuff ?

It is not an obligation. It is up to the person who reproduces the
banknote to make sure that the reproduction can not be mistaken for a
real note. Even the Swiss National Bank can not give a definitive answer
on this topic, because it is up to the justice to decide if someone is
counterfeitinging or not. However, they *believe* that if you follow
their guidelines (http://www.snb.ch/e/banknoten/merkblatt_e.pdf: add
"specimen", do not print in the same size as the original, etc) you will
be in the clear. But you may also be in the clear without following
their guidelines, or you may be violating the law even if you follow
them (unlikely, though).

> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Swiss_bank_note_security_text.JPG
>
> "Banknotes are not protected by the Swiss Federal Copyright Statute.
> However, individual works reproduced on banknotes are subject to
> copyright protection provided they have not been reproduced recognisably
> as a part of the banknote. The works protected under copyright law may
> only be reproduced and adapted with the permission of the copyright holder."
>
> hmm..this is quite ambiguous. Let's take the example of the 200 note
> with Ramuz. The big photography of Ramuz could be copyrighted, it is a
> recognizable part of the note. If I can scan the whole note, I cannot
> put it with the PD license on Commons.

The wording above is maybe a bit confusing. If you scan the whole note,
then the picture of Ramuz is part of the banknote, and you can copy it
--- and put it on commons. If you zoom in on this picture only, it is
still clear that it is part of the banknote (because of the special way
in which the picture is printed), so you should be in the clear. What
you can not do is find the original picture somewhere else, and copy it
without restriction (or do some image processing on the bank note image
so that it does not look like a banknote anymore).

It is a more general problem: a picture could be PD (or free), but this
does not mean that all its parts are PD. For example, take a random
picture somewhere in the street. The copyright clearly belongs to you,
publish it under a free licence --- no problem. Now look at your
picture: if there is a poster somewhere in the background, and you zoom
on it until you can see it clearly, it does not mean that the resulting
zoomed-in image will be free too !

It is probably not a problem in normal life, but Hollywood lawyers spend
hours and millions of $$$ making sure that anything that could be
copyrightable in a scene of a movie is either PD or has been properly
licenced. This includes posters, but also the design of a chair, and
that sort of things (I had an article about this, I could probably find
it if someone is interested).

> I have a better example from Commons. It is by far less visible than the
> other picture (though I guess everybody knows about it). Probably a
> "silly case" candidate :
>
> http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Panzerturm.jpg

Yeah, probably a silly case which should be all right. The problem with
military logic is that there is none; they tend to put the word "secret"
on anything that they believe to be important (it probably makes them
look important too...) even if it has been common knowledge for a long
time. They are usually worried about "big things", however: a secret
document, or a picture of the bunker for the Federal Council along with
the exact street address.

Note however that it is likely that only the first person who publishes
a military secret is liable; obiously, once it has been published, it is
not a secret anymore... so even though the Sonntagsblick is under
investigation for having published the Egyptian fax intercepted by the
Swiss Secret Services (Onyx), it should be no problem to have published
it on en: (under fair use).

>> No problem either &mdash; nobody owns the rights of what happens during
>> a soccer match.
>
> I asked that because I know there were some restrictions during the
> Olympic Games at Turin (pictures for private use only, not commercial,
> blabla). Same for the US Open or another major tennis tournament.

*If* you manage to take the photo, you can do whatever you want with it
afterwards. What they can do is prevent you from entering the stadium
with a camera, or with anything that looks too professional (e.g. a
tripod, or a big zoom).

There was a discussion of fr: about a similar issue: photography in
museums (in particular the Louvres in Paris). The paintings themselves
are not protected by copyright (PD), but the museum has no obligation to
let you enter its premises with a camera to let you take a picture. I
have never tried that in Switzerland, though.

>> C'est du pipeau, a mon avis ! Just digitalising an image does not
>> produce an "original" work (quite the opposite: when you digitalise an
>> image, your goal is to be as close as possible to the original one), so
>> this is unlikely to be protected by copyright. See the "Meili" case
>> referenced at the page you cited above (now en:Copyright law of
>> Switzerland). Have you tried asking the Bpun ?
>
> I haven't tried yet, I will send a mail. Note that I have often seen
> these "copyright" on PD pictures or/and disclaimers. I was very
> interested in the pictures of the BIUM. Example :

Yes, people like to put this (c) on anything, even when there is no
chance whatsoever that it is copyrighted. Does not make the life of
users very easy.

> http://www.bium.univ-paris5.fr/monstres/moyen/491.jpg
>
> But :
>
> Toutes les images de la banque sont © BIUM.
> Leur reproduction est strictement réservée à l'usage privé
> du copiste et non destinée à une utilisation collective

The situation is France seems to be quite different; there, even a
simple copy (photo of a picture) can be protected and the author of the
photograph have copyright on it. There are some references on fr:.

Frederic
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