Wikisource:Possible copyright violations/Archives/2010-09

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Warning Please do not post any new comments on this page. This is a discussion archive first created in September 2010, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date. See current discussion or the archives index.

Kept[edit]

The Diary of Jack the Ripper[edit]

The following discussion is closed: Kept, it is either {{PD-Disavowed}} or {{pd-old}} in any case it is PD. Jeepday (talk) 21:43, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Tagged as {{PD-Disavowed}}, but has twice been tagged for deletion by an IP, on the grounds that this rationale is bogus, and the work remains under copyright. Hesperian 23:30, 9 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep, a random IP tagging it means nothing. There are two possible authors for it, one is Jack the Ripper, who died more than 100 years ago, making it public domain...the other is Michael Barret, who explicitly stated that the document was public domain due to its age when he released it. Either way, PD should win. In addition, the lined-up published canceled the books release when it was suggested that it was written ~1921. I'd say this definitely falls in the "safe to host due to no copyright" even though the incredibly strict sometimes suggest that "no copyright" and "public domain" are not similar. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Week: Author:Thomas Carlyle. 02:54, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Keep If it is real, then PD; if it is faked and has been published and disavowed, then PD. Lots of varying argument can be had about which tag (on the work's talk page) with the same result here. Keep. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:29, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Pedantically speaking, if it is the work of Jack the Ripper, it was published before 2002 and thus is under copyright in the US until life+70 or 2049, whichever is later. And we don't really know when Jack the Ripper died, though pre-psychiatric medication, I think it's safe to say that he either died by the 1890s or was locked away for a long time, given the cessation of the murders. His heirs could make a claim, but how without evidence like an appropriately authenticated diary I don't know how they could prove it.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:00, 10 March 2010 (UTC)

The Young Moslem Looks at Life[edit]

The following discussion is closed: Kept, {{PD-US-not renewed}}
Published with a copyright notice in 1937 in the U.S. by an author who died in 1964, so there's no a priori reason to assume it's out of copyright. It's only out of copyright if the copyright wasn't renewed. If deleted, its subpage The Young Moslem Looks at Life/Glossary should go too. Angr 00:14, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
I can't find a rewewal here. Sure looks like {{PD-US-not_renewed}} to me. Carl Lindberg (talk) 01:32, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
Also no renewal here, or here (for 1962-1964). I'm saying keep, not renewed. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 02:24, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle[edit]

The following discussion is closed: {{CC-by-3.0-us}} — billinghurst sDrewth 13:56, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
1998 report of a conference. I do not see any evidence that the conference proceedings have been released into the public domain.

Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment — All work by SEHN is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License [1] (see footer)

  • keep — The content is available at the SEHN site under the above license [2] George Orwell III (talk) 09:14, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Optimism (Keller)[edit]

The following discussion is closed: speedy keep, published before 1923 — billinghurst sDrewth 08:27, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Symbol keep vote.svg Keep That was easy. It was first published in 1903 so its {{PD-old-30-1923}}. I guess over the years no one looked because no one wanted to be the one who had to delete Helen Keller! ResScholar (talk) 07:55, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

I'm sure this work has inspired a lot of people, too. One copy of this book available on the Internet Archive was downloaded over 11,000 times! ResScholar (talk) 08:03, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Deleted[edit]

Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta[edit]

The following discussion is closed: Deleted, no evidence of license status. Jeepday (talk) 21:48, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Swami Shankarananda is alive, he lives in Melbourne, Australia. Assumption has to be, this translation is copyright by him, and the copyright has not expired - there is no evidence he has given permission, or released it under a permissive license, or placed it in the public domain. Until such time as someone can confirm one of those, this has to go. --SJK (talk) 08:40, 11 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete as per presented reasoning, no evidence of licence provided nor that it is released to the public domain. — billinghurst sDrewth 06:49, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Pope Benedict XVI's address to China[edit]

The following discussion is closed: Delete, not a Edict Jeepday (talk) 22:08, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
This April Billinghurst has removed the above for discussion too. Keep in mind its a statement, not by a religious leader, but by a Head of State...if that is relevant here for copyright purposes. Formosa (talk) 15:44, 11 April 2010 (UTC)


  • Delete in any case, this particular address is not a court case, legal code, or anything of the like.--Prosfilaes (talk) 18:01, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
  • Delete Purpose of the edict of government exception is presumably so that information about the state and a citizen's right to comply, or otherwise, should not be protected by copyright. It is a descriptive document. Policy, press release and speeches are the rhetoric that surrounds it. — billinghurst sDrewth 09:47, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Meaning of the term "Edict of Government"

It is not relevant whether someone is or is not a head of state as that does not affect copyright under US law, and nor should it; the requirement of that law is that it is a requirement that it is an edict of government. — billinghurst sDrewth 03:52, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
ResScholar - I am unclear about this....Is the "state of the Union" address an edict of Government? If not, why is it not copyright protected. If it is an edict of Government, why is this not Papal address copyright free? Formosa (talk) 23:02, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
The State of the Union address is a work of the US government, which has generously waived its copyright.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:51, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
So are you saying that the edicts of other Governments (e.g. the Vatican's) are copyright protected? Formosa (talk) 17:08, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Works in general are... the U.S. will not recognize copyright in laws, edicts, etc. but presumably any other works (speeches, basic documents, etc.) are fully copyrightable (and most governments do copyright them). The dividing line may be more along the lines if the edicts directly affect citizens -- anything which defines the law which applies to citizens should not be restricted (in the U.S. view) in their distribution. I'm sure there are lots of things which blur the lines, but the Vatican is probably a special case as well. I'd guess this would not be considered an edict (speaking as a church representative, not a head of state anyways). Carl Lindberg (talk) 21:17, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
Re. "I'd guess this would not be considered an edict (speaking as a church representative, not a head of state anyways)." Could you consider that again. I could not agree with that. If you look at the speech (it is still there - just look at the original verion). The speech is entitled "ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI TO H.E. Mr WANG LARRY YU-YUAN NEW AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO THE HOLY SEE". In it, the Holy Father formally welcomes the Republic of China's diplomatic representative to the Holy See. This, in my view, is very clearly the Pope speaking in his capacity as a Head of State, not a church representative - ambassadors are not appointed to the Heads of Churches or welcomed as such by Heads of Churches. Do you agree? and does it make any difference if the Pope, was as I suggest, speaking as Head of State? Formosa (talk) 05:40, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
It isn't an edict, it is a speech and copyright whether they are head of state or not. An edict is a formal tool/declaration/decree/etc. If there is a grey line, we should not be pushing it, we err on not breaching copyright. — billinghurst sDrewth 05:51, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Couldn't agree with you more as regards pushing any rey lines. The law is the law. I am learning about what the relevant law is here. I am surprised no one has responsded on the Margaret Thatcher speech - as it looks even more blatant....Formosa (talk) 19:01, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Billinghurst. The Pope's speech of welcome to the Republic of China's ambassador was pretty "formal" (documented in a press release etc); and was a formal declaration of, inter alia, the Holy See's goodwill towards the Republic of China and its Government's efforts in responding to humanitarian emergencies around the world. I am not arguing with you but I would like to know why it does not meet the criteria you mention. Is it a requirement that an Edict must have legal effects? Your guidance would be appreciated. Formosa (talk) 19:05, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
You are missing the crucial point, it is not about formality. Take the step back and recognise what copyright is, it is the protection of intellectual property & artistic merit, so one would think that the US copyright position around edicts of government is to enable laws of governments, and their legal interpretation and determination by courts, to be able to be freely reproduced, and is in respect to open government (no artistic merit overriding right of access to information and to reproduce). Whereas a policy position of a person or the diplomatic aspects of countries, and statements by their leaders should not be stripped of their rightful copyright position. These are statements of individuals and are their property. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:26, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
Billinghurst - my reference to formality was in response to yours. You said "An edict is a formal tool/declaration/decree/etc." By that criteria, the Pope's address to the Republic of China'a ambassador might well qualify as an "edict". As I said it was a "formal" statement and it could well be interpreted as a "declaration", as in it the Holy See declared several matters concerning its policies: e.g. its respect for the Government of the Republic of China and its welcome for the efforts that Government were making to improve relations with Mainland China etc. You were the person who emphasised formality. I merely responded to that. I do not think you need to tell me about what copyright is, however eloquently you might put it.
So lets get back to what I actually want to discuss - not what is copyright - but rather, what is an "Edict of Government". You first said it was a "a formal tool/declaration/decree/etc.". Now, you are adding (perhaps in contradiction to your earlier definition) that the "US copyright position around edicts of government is to enable laws of governments, and their legal interpretation and determination by courts, to be able to be freely reproduced, and is in respect to open government (no artistic merit overriding right of access to information and to reproduce)." That, as it stands alone, appears to indeed an answer my question. I asked whether for something to qualify as an "Edict of Government" it must have legal effect - Clearly, on the basis of the foregoing the answer is yes - which seems to me to go against what you said earlier where you said a mere "declaration" might qualify as an Edict of Government....
You then go on to state further that, inter alia, a statement of policy by a Government leader is not an Edict of Government and would (presumably outside the US and a few other jurisdictions) be copyright protected.
In summary, going by your response above, I take it to be your understanding that for something to qualify as an "Edict" of Government:
  • the statement must be made by a Government (a minister speaking, say, on the Government's behalf won't do); and
  • the statement must be one that has legal effects.
Have I misinterpreted anything you have said. If that is the position, that is crystal clear and there are quite a few articles on this Site that need to come down. Its really important that we get to the bottom of what is considered here to qualify as an "Edict of Government". There may be some cases where there will always be a degree of uncertainty but if the above is the criteria there are lots of articles on this site that clearly are not "Edicts of Government" (although labelled as such). Thanks. Formosa (talk) 20:00, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Comment − Just to be clear, there is no Federal Law that uses or defines the term Edict of Government as far as I know. The term and any application of that definition comes from the Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices section 206.01 Hosted Online. My understanding is that it is intended to be used primarily by the Copyright Office staff internally, as a general guide to the Copyright Office policies and procedures. Wikipedia does not cite any instances where this internal manual or the definitions found within it has been given any legal standing in court or specifically used as anything other than the guide it was intended to be used by Copyright Office staffers. George Orwell III (talk) 20:20, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
    • It doesn't have direct legal standing, but the Copyright Offices uses it heavily in determining which works can be copyrighted, and such a registration, if they give one, is I think considered prima facie evidence that copyright exists. A registration is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, and if registration fails, then the only way a copyright can be obtained would be to convince a judge that the Copyright Office erred. So... while the language is not legally binding, it is probably the best guideline to go by in these situations, as the language will be the guide used in giving the author a registration in the first place. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:36, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
      • Heck it doesn't even have proper Executive Branch authorization. NOTHING in the Code of Federal Regulations bestows any such "power" to interpret the law as the Office deems fit. If you ask me, this entire "edict" justifcation, or lack thereof, is a product of group think started by some person early on in some WP article and the torch to utilize it has been passed from one situation to the next, giving it the appearance of real credibilty over time -- not because anyone has provided a single example, citation, etc. of the guideline(s) even being mentioned in any U.S. court court case. George Orwell III (talk) 13:55, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
        • Well... someone has to interpret the law :-) if there are ambiguous areas (and in copyright, there are plenty). If you look at some of the results of the copyright appeals process, the decisions quote heavily from the Compendium, and use its precise language when determining to allow registration or not on a work. So, the language in that document has a very significant real-life effect. You can appeal to the Copyright Office twice, but if those fail, then the only way you can get a registration on a work is to sue in court and convince a judge that the Copyright Office was wrong (at which point they would have to adjust the Compendium language). Since the current Compendium is already based directly on decades of judicial decisions and legislative changes, that probably doesn't happen too much. Several judicial decisions, many in the 1800s, set the precedent that rulings, laws, statutes, etc. are not copyrightable (the public interest overrides that). Since that language is in the compendium, it basically means there hasn't been any binding court case or law which contradicts it. 17 U.S.C. 411 requires a registration as a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit; if registration is refused (which would follow Compendium guidelines) a suit can still be filed, but the Copyright Office itself has a chance to argue its logic if they want -- i.e. it gets an awful lot harder to win. So yes, de jure or not, the Compendium has a large de facto effect, and since it is trying to answer the same question we are ("what is an edict of government"), with many many times the experience and knowledge that any of us have, it seems quite silly to ignore it. It is the best guidance we have on the matter, really. Carl Lindberg (talk) 23:46, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
          • Not buying what your selling. The law is Title 17 not the Compendium. The law says no work created in the course of official duties of a Federal worker can be copyrighted. There is no hard definition of what compromises a Federal employee's official duties. The debate, if any, should circle around that definition (i.e. on the Federal payroll? - its reasonable that work is not copyrightable). If the Compendium was meant for public consumption - where can I get a print copy or download from the Copyright Office exactly? Why aren't the same "rules of thumb" given in the Compendium found in CFR 202.1? George Orwell III (talk) 00:40, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
            • The concept that the law is Title 17 is a bit naïve; the law is what the law is in practice. There are huge sections of copyright law that can only be understood in the light of case law. It's not just federal law; courts have ruled that state law isn't copyrightable. Recently--I wish I could find the case--a court ruled that copyright did not protect a large volume of law that was designed by a private association for governments to sign into law. (Housing regulations, I believe.) It might be nice to have everything written out in Title 17, but it won't happen. Barring that, I believe we've dotted our i's and crossed our t's here, and if it comes to the matter of a court, we can stand behind our theory of the law.--Prosfilaes (talk) 03:01, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

← Not sure if you meant Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress Int'l, Inc.. I never said anything to the contrary either way. George Orwell III (talk) 04:00, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I think that was it, yes. As Prosfilaes noted above, Title 17 is just where the law begins -- as you note, they leave many things without a hard definition. That means that harder definitions need to be hammered out over time, which is typically done by judges as specific cases come up. The 1976 Copyright Act actually didn't change much of existing copyright practice, other than the length of the terms -- a lot of it was simply codifying existing judicial practice which had never been actually legislated before (for example, the entire concept of "fair use" grew out of case law, before being codified in 1976). Some of it was resolving questions the courts were having a hard time with (i.e. contradictory rulings) -- for example a definition of "publication", which the 1909 Copyright Act did not have, leaving that to the courts with messy results. The Copyright Compendium then is the result of 170+ years of copyright decisions, and statutory law. Obviously nothing in there can contradict Title 17, nor any of the major court rulings on matters. They are charged with registration of copyright, and they are not allowed to register something which is not (by law) eligible for copyright, so they have to make these kind of decisions constantly (a lot more often than judges). So, the Compendium is a result of that, and since Wikisource/Wikimedia constantly tries to make similar judgements, it only makes sense to follow the guidelines of the experts. As for "edicts of government", that derives from a few landmark cases in the 1800s, I'm pretty sure. The lack of copyright on all Federal government works is a separate matter, coming from the same tradition, but is different and only applies to the U.S federal government, not state, local, nor foreign governments. "Edicts" are much narrower in scope, but courts have ruled -- repeatedly, and as you linked above, recently -- that the text of law is not subject to copyright (in the U.S. anyways), and the Copyright Office is bound by those decisions. Their definition is the "best fit" of existing rulings. Carl Lindberg (talk) 04:49, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
170 years and not a single person can build a simple bridge of case law getting us to today, huh? Who exactly was unclear that we are strictly talking about the Federal side of government works again? Even the Veeck decision and dissenting opinions seem to have more along my POV than the champions' of Edicts Only. Look, if the accepted understanding around here is to use this Edicts Only argument not to host every silly little that every goof-ball Federal politician or worker says or does -- that's fine; the community has spoken and I'm in the minority. Until somebody proves it's validity in the same manner that most other legal questions have been answered in the past, my conscience will most likely not let me allow it to pass unchallenged in the future either. Sorry in advance. George Orwell III (talk) 06:43, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Huh? I don't understand what you're claiming at all here. The fact that works of the US Federal Government are PD is a completely separate issue, and not relevant to the work of the Vatican listed here.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:21, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I didn't muddy the waters -- somehow the U.S. Federal Law was thought to apply, erroneously, to edicts created by foreign governments. Then the notion was introduced that similar U.S. "works" as those foreign ones put in question throughout the page should also be tagged for CopyVio as well. The attempt then to separate the U.S. works which may be considered edicts from works created in other countries, and thus fall under a completely different set of standards, took off from there. Besides, I thought we left the Vatican speech soon after the start of this sub-section (why else would you bring up the Veeck case?) George Orwell III (talk) 12:50, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
Whoah. I think there is a large misunderstanding here. There are two issues -- 1) "edicts" of governments in general, and 2) works of the U.S. Federal government. The "edicts of government" part goes way back in case law; see w:United States copyright law#Federal_and_state_laws_are_not_copyrighted for several cites. Wheaton v. Peters, one of the earlier copyright cases in 1834, alludes to it, and was apparently made much more explicit in Banks v. Manchester (1888) and even more in Howell v Miller (1898). Others are Banks & Bros. v. West Pub. Co. (1886) and Davidson v Wheelock (1866, on Minnesota statutes). This page gives blurbs on those cases, and a bunch of others, which follow the same patterns. Those are the basis for {{PD-EdictGov}} and the "edicts of government" section of the Compendium, and are pretty well-founded. There are continuing court cases on the boundaries of that, such as the status of externally-authored works which are incorporated into the law (Veeck), or merely referenced, but the basic principles have been reiterated consistently for over 170 years. I'm not sure that is explicitly codified in Title 17 at all, but it is the law. (Obviously, this is only within the United States itself -- many foreign governments claim copyright over their laws, which is enforceable elsewhere, but not in the United States). Along the same lines, Congress decided to disavow copyright in all works of the U.S. federal government, whether they are edicts or not. That was explicitly codified in the law, today at 17 USC §105. That applies to all works where the federal government would be considered the author (same concept as "work for hire" of corporations), and is way way wider in scope than just "edicts". That part, however, only applies to U.S. federal government works, and not to those of any other government (state, local, or foreign), which can still be copyrighted in the U.S. That is a completely separate reason for PD status, and is the basis behind {{PD-USGov}}. If either PD-EdictGov or PD-USGov applies to a work, we can host it here, since we are following U.S. law. Obviously, if this Vatican work was marked PD-USGov, that is incorrect. I also don't think it counts as an edict; the principle there is that citizens should not be limited in copying any part of actual law which directly affects them by copyright monopolies. This Vatican piece is, to me, a simple work of a foreign government, and I think the U.S. would treat it as copyrightable (again going by the Compendium guidelines). So, I think it should be deleted. But {{PD-EdictGov}} is very much founded on the law, regardless if it is explicitly codified in Title 17 or not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:06, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I get it - 17 U.S.C. § 702 doesn't really apply; only the Compendium does. The Compendium guidelines trump U.S. case law and Federal regulations too. Speeches made by anybody recieving a Federal paycheck are always off-the-clock and never made in the course of their official duties. 170 years of court decisions and none cited so far pertains to anything but Federal or State 'edicts of government' - not that they shouldn't being that some foreign Minister's Proclamation, other nation's Parliamentary product or whatever you like here is basically on par with any other foreign created work, be it a poem, a short story, a novel, etc, in the U.S. & subject to the same international agreements/treaties as those other types of foreign works are (the way I read it). >sarcasm off< As for the Vatican piece - it should be deleted regardless of it being an edict of the Vatican government or not. George Orwell III (talk) 17:22, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I fail to see why you think sarcasm will help make your point, or why you continue to conflate government edicts and works of a federal employee in the same post.--Prosfilaes (talk) 17:54, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I feel my point was made - Nothing in U.S.C. or the C.F.R. mentions or defines any such differentiation as an 'edict of government' - foreign or domestic. Within the U.S.C., the current law stipulates, in short, that all Federal works created by Federal employees or Federal entities are not copyrightable - this includes most, if not all, Federal 'edicts of government' by default ( not by any confabulation ). How can something be an edict of [the U.S.] government and not be a work created in the course of a Federal employee's official duties at the same time? There simply is no applicability or controversy at the Federal level ({{PD-manifesto}}s aside) here.
Case law over the decades has expanded on that Federal notion, inline with fostering a sound public policy & interests, recognizing the people are the ultimate owners of their laws and so on, to include State statutes as also being exempt from copyright protections - this includes most (but probably not all) State & Local 'edicts of government' via the sum of all the relevant court decisions to date. It is near certain that State statutes and Local court decisions qualify for non-copyrightability, but not so much when it comes to departmental reports or committee investigations of said State not based in, or convened under, some existing statutory authority for example.
How any of that can somehow legally extend non-copyrightability to works, be they literally or legally defined as edicts or not, created by some other national government just doesn't jibe for me. This idea has yet to been shown as valid by citing statute(s) or providing examples in practice by the same manner as the before mentioned Federal, State and Local definitions of and applications for that have been provided throughout. Just because 'edict of [a foreign] government' is mentioned in some internal manual is means little -- especially when there is no corresponding definition of or application for found in any U.S. volume, series, collection, etc. of legal work or standing that anyone can point to. George Orwell III (talk) 19:52, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
The Veeck case shows us how an edict of the US Government could be not a work created in the course of a federal employee's official duties. For all your arguments, I think we can make a good case for it, and it's not an issue we'll have issues over, unlike our liberal use of non-renewal licenses and US copyrights.--Prosfilaes (talk) 22:47, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe you are mistaken. Peter Veeck, his “Regional Web” web-site, the adopted [Texas'] Standard Building Code(s), Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc., the counties of Anna and Savoy, Texas -- all not Federal entities. If none of the before mentioned were officers of the Federal government and the building codes eventually adopted applied locally not nationally, how does Veeck illustrate . . .
how an edict of the US Government could be not a work created in the course of a federal employee's official duties
. . . exactly? George Orwell III (talk) 23:57, 1 May 2010 (UTC)
I said illustrate, not was an example of. I suspect a number of our federal laws are written by lobbyists and merely enacted by Congress already, even if they aren't brazen enough to claim copyright in them.--Prosfilaes (talk) 01:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I guess I still don't understand where you are coming from. The "edicts of government" principle came first, pretty much set in stone by the courts in the 1800s. The principle is that the public interest in knowing the law overrides any copyright interest in them. There is nothing in that principle whatsoever which limited it to federal or U.S. works only; it was a general principle applied to legal texts from all governments, even if the majority of actual cases happened to be about state laws. Obviously yes, U.S. federal law text would definitely come under that as well. However that principle did not necessarily extend to all works of government; the beginning of that was the Printing Act of 1895, and it was not completely codified until the 1909 Copyright Act I believe. It came out of the same tradition, but disallowing copyright in all government works (or "all publications", as it was worded then) ended up being legislated by Congress in statutory law, not really coming from case law (which was primarily about legal texts). Thus, that "all works" part only applies to U.S. federal government works, since that what was the law said -- non-legal-text works by other governments were still fully copyrightable, since that section of the Copyright Act clearly didn't apply to them, but again nothing changed the status of legal texts, so previous common law rulings on those still stood (and still do). Thus, U.S. federal government works are treated very differently than works from other governments. The U.S. Copyright Office is mandated (by Title 17; §410) to only register items which are copyrightable by law, so naturally, they need to figure out what the law is. Obviously they are bound by and start with Title 17 text, but also by case law which resolves any ambiguities. [Congress can specifically override aspects of case law in later statutory law of course; the mechanics of copyright transfer would be one example there, where the 1976 Copyright Act text was different than the usual previous case law, although there had been some very contradictory cases in that area I think.] The Compendium is a result of that -- decades of research and experience, figuring out what the dividing lines are based on Title 17 and any later clarifying court cases. For situations which haven't been litigated, they obviously need to guess based on their own legal expertise -- and since they have to make way way more decisions along those lines than courts do, it is not surprising that they have developed more detailed dividing lines than courts have. You are correct that they are not official regulations, and are not legally binding -- that means that judges are not constrained by the language in there at all. For that matter though, judges are not restricted by the language in case law either, unless it was from a court directly above them in the hierarchy -- they can choose to rule differently if they disagree with other rulings, or if they feel times have changed, etc. The Title 17 text is technically the only real limits they have, but obviously most judges will try to follow and account for previous precedent if applicable. When choosing a practical dividing line for Wikisource (and Wikimedia Commons too) however, the Compendium seems an obvious guideline for us to follow as well -- since those are legal experts trying to decide the exact same thing (figure out what the law is when it comes to copyrightability), and they know way way more than us. Everything in the Compendium should be based on actual law (be it statutory or case law); they can't invent anything they like. I guess you just don't think that previous case law covered legal texts from other countries, but I think it is pretty clear that it did. Of course, other countries can have completely different "copyrightable" lines than the U.S.; things which are copyrightable here may not be in foreign countries, and vice versa. The standards there can actually be pretty different, and obviously the law in those countries applies inside their borders, and the U.S. dividing lines are irrelevant. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:02, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

←I guess it boils down to if you believe an edict of whatever you like here, at its core, is of a promulgating nature rather than a proclaiming one? I still think the basis for non-copyrightability of foreign govermental works similar in nature to their understood U.S. counterparts comes from Berene and/or similar agreements rather than our common or statutory law(s). In my view, Supplement 16 in Compendium I (in concert with Sec. 8 of the 1909 Act in effect at the time) left less room for this kind of debate.... and prefaced itself rather nicely with clear disclaimer too. George Orwell III (talk) 05:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

I guess that would be one way of putting it (promulgation). Citizens are supposed to know the law (ignorance is not a defense), so in pursuit of that, there should be no restrictions on access to that law which people are supposed to follow, whatever form it takes -- and since copyright would have such a restrictive effect, those types of works have been deemed uncopyrightable, regardless of who authored them. I disagree that it has anything to do with Berne -- the principle and case law existed before Berne or the UCC did, and the U.S. explicitly notes that the text of the Berne Convention has no legal effect in the U.S.; only Title 17 (and case law) does. The old Compendium I has basically the same guidelines as they do now -- U.S. Government works are not protected, due to the old Sec. 8. They note explicitly though that Sec. 8 only applies to federal government works, and not works from state or other governments, so works by those entities are copyrightable -- but "public ordinances, court decisions, and similar official legal documents" are still not copyrightable, due to the separate reason of "public policy" (i.e. the long-standing case law and doctrine). That is the same thing as the current "edicts of government", really, it seems to me. A further section repeats the same regarding works of foreign governments -- they are generally copyrightable, as Sec. 8 also did not apply to them, but "statutes, court decisions, and similar official legal documents" are exceptions considered "inherently uncopyrightable in the United States" -- the same sort of material, and uncopyrightable for the same reason. Carl Lindberg (talk) 06:23, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
We're covering the same ground for no reason - nothing in your last is misunderstood here. My only point was at the very least, the old guideline manged to say basically the same thing as the 1980 guideline does without injecting a new "undefined" term (edict) to do it. Anyways - it's still just a sloppy inter-agency guidebook IMHO. George Orwell III (talk) 08:36, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
Merriam Webster defines "edict" as "a proclamation having the force of law". Seems about right. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:07, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure it does. West's Encyclopedia of American Law Copyright © 1998 gives me...
  • A decree or law of major import promulgated by a king, queen, or other sovereign of a government.
  • An edict can be distinguished from a public proclamation in that an edict puts a new statute into effect whereas a public proclamation is no more than a declaration of a law prior to its actual enactment.
  • Under Roman law, an edict had different meanings. It was usually a mandate published under the authority of a ruler that commanded the observance of various rules or injunctions. Sometimes, however, an edict was a citation to appear before a judge. George Orwell III (talk) 17:45, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Modern speeches by members of the British government[edit]

The following discussion is closed: All Deleted, Several articles, none appear to meet copyright requirements for posting on Wikisource
I took the liberty of subordinating these works under one heading, since they seem to share a common copyright principle in their nominations. I think it would be good if Formosa recapitulated his understanding of this principle here in his own words, so this discussion can stand alone as its own discussion, in case related discussions are not archived in the same month. And I do not wish to put words in his mouth. ResScholar (talk) 05:51, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Charles Kennedy Resignation Speech

I think the above may infringe copyright and I wanted to hide it and in its place insert the usual possible copyright violation logo. I can not edit that page, I think. Why is that? Formosa (talk) 19:45, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

London Mayor's Statement of 7 July 2005

I think the above may infringe copyright and I wanted to hide it and in its place insert the usual possible copyright violation logo. I can not edit that page, I think. Why is that? Formosa (talk)

Seems like a fair number of "locked" articles were subsequently deleted per copyright violation. Seems like this one fits the pattern but 2006 was well before my time on WS. George Orwell III (talk) 08:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
This too should be deleted....Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:02, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

A Drink Problem

I think the above may infringe copyright and I wanted to hide it and in its place insert the usual possible copyright violation logo. I can not edit that page, I think. Why is that?

They are protected texts and cannot be edited except by admins. I found a discussion similar to these three cases, decided by Jusjih if anyone wants material about the pros and cons of the issue according to our knowledge in 2007: Wikisource:Possible_copyright_violations/Archives/2007-08#10_May_2007_Tony_Blair_resignation_speech. ResScholar (talk) 06:49, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
ResScholar - I am not an admin. But it seems very clear to me that the hosting of this speech on the WikiSource website is a violation of copyright. There is no copyright tag on the article either. ResScholar, as an Admin (I think you are one?), please can you remove this article from WikiSource or atleast 'hide it' in the usual way? You will I am sure appreciate that the discussion you pointed me to concerning a speech by Tony Blair did not include any substantive discussion of copyright issues and really doesn't help clarify the legal position which is that this speech by a British politician is not material we can host here unfortunately....Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:15, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
It wasn't just for you, it was for any interested participant in these discussions. I think the discussion tended to explain the lack of clarity of us on our good faith efforts to resolve these issues, and its eventual resolution by deleting due to a lack of a good license. If you wish to engage in a discussion about what you think are violations, it would probably help if you enunciated why you think the law applies to the case you present. Speaking of which, how are you advancing in learning about the California law you thought would be helpful in discussions here? ResScholar (talk) 04:46, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
I see you did enunciate on some relevant matters above. I don't mean to be a stickler, but even a brief recapitulation would help. It has to do with the way we archive the discussions. ResScholar (talk) 04:57, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
On second point, I am involved in a few discussions above - which one do you want me to reput? Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:04, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
10 May 2007 Tony_Blair resignation speech

The following is the Tony Blair discussion ResScholar has pointed me to above (so we are all clear on what it says. ResScholar - you say "I think the discussion tend[s] to explain the lack of clarity of us on our good faith efforts to resolve these issues". ResScholar - I am unclear - what in this discussion is of any help? Am I missing something? I don't think it provides any guidance whatsoever on copyright law. Am I missing something? If so, please explain what, and how whatever it is can be applied to the 'A Drink Problem' speech? Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:10, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

I was curious if this falls under the Crown copyright since Tony Blair was still a PM when he made this speech or does the Crown copyright not affect speeches? I am sorry if this came up eariler. Wabbit98 02:58, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

I can't imagine this speech wasn't prepared in advance, which means it would be copyrighted.--BirgitteSB 14:03, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
With something as widespread as British Crown Copyright, and speeches by UK politicians, I can't imagine there would have never been a legal suit against a publisher if it were the case that it's illegal to host these works. But then, I seem to gradually be becoming more and more liberal in my definition of what belongs on WS. Sherurcij Collaboration of the Weekhave you done your part? 16:27, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Please feel free to ask me any questions that might help clarify my position for you. Maybe it's not illegal to host a copyrighted work under these circumstances, I don't pretend to understand the issue completely. I am also baffled by the constant publication of things which my own understanding would determine to be copyright violations. However I do think it has become clear that writing something such as the composition in question would result in a the creation of copyright. And I truly cannot imagine an announcement such as the one in question would not have been composed in advance.--BirgitteSB 22:58, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Well the Crown copyright is confusing, at least to me, I know that Acts of Parliament is covered. But I do not remember reading about speeches given by Prime Ministers while they are in office. It is hard to catch all those that might be violating a copyright issue since there are not a lot of us and the issue can be unclear at times. Wabbit98 04:04, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I suppose my interpretation in this case is that the oration was merely a derivative performance of a written work. The written work would be either under Crown Copyright or under the author's copyright prior to Blair's public oration.--BirgitteSB 13:53, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
    • Deleted while there is no reason to believe it properly licensed.--Jusjih 18:12, 15 July 2007 (UTC)


Formosa, I can't help but notice you didn't reproduce the complete discussion. Although we use a kind of shorthand language, it is indeed about copyright and understandable to those who know the context of the laws. ResScholar (talk) 06:37, 22 April 2010 (UTC)

Oops, I did indeed omit some text at the end (I must not have selected it all when I was copying and pasting). I have added them now. I still find the discussion of no use. Please explain how it can assist me with the copyright questions relating to the current work under discussion. Please also explain why you have not "tagged and hidden" the works in question? Formosa (talk) 16:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Disccussion of A Drink Problem resumed

ResScholar: Re. "If you wish to engage in a discussion about what you think are violations, it would probably help if you enunciated why you think the law applies to the case you present.". No problem. Thats fine. Here goes. The speech in question is copyright protected. If it is not copyright protected and I am wrong, then its a basic principle here on WikiSource that it is for the editor who publishes (or others if they wish to 'pitch in') the piece on WikiSource to show that it is not copyright protected. In the absence thereof, the article must be presumed to be copyright protected and should be 'taken down' in the usual way. The burden is on the publisher, not me. Do you disagree? If not, please can you take the piece down now? Formosa (talk) 19:32, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

The exact same logic applies in respect of the Margaret Thatcher, London Mayor speech above too. Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:35, 21 April 2010 (UTC)


The question of Crown vs. private copyright is irrelevant; either way it is copyrighted and should be deleted. (Personally, I think it is not a crown work -- the law now says "in the course of one's duties"). The 1988 UK copyright law is pretty clear that speeches are protected under copyright (more ambiguous before that, but probably protected too). Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:10, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

We must build a kind of United States of Europe

There is no copyright tag on this page and I think it could be a copyright violation. As I understand it, its for the publisher to show that it is not copyright prtoected. Formosa (talk) 19:42, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

By the way, the speech was made in Zurich, Switzerland....(in case the argument that it had crown copyright which has since expired is raised....). Formosa (talk) 19:56, 21 April 2010 (UTC)
The location of the speech does not change the *author*. PD-UKGov is a special case of PD-author, really, so country of origin may not really matter in this particular case. Churchill was not Prime Minister at this point, but he was still a member of Parliament and drawing a government salary, but I'm not completely sure if it would be considered a government work or not -- but if so, it should be PD-UKGov despite the location of the speech. Also, in general, be a bit careful of speeches -- they can be thorny copyright wise in some cases. For instance, the U.S. does not protect speeches per se -- they have a "fixation" requirement. If the speech was written down beforehand, that would count, but not for something said off-the-cuff. But the U.S. also had a "general publication" requirement for a copyright clock to start, and determining that for speeches was difficult -- there was a case between Martin Luther King Jr's estate and CBS which got rather "interesting". Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:09, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
On the specific point concerning whether or not this is an "Edict of Government" and so qualifies for the "PD-UKGov" tag, your assertion is directly contrary, as I read it, to that of AdminBillinghurst further above. A discussion has begun above concerning what is in fact an "Edict of Government". Your views would be welcome there. Until we have clarity on what is considered an "Edict of Government" here, I believe there is a question mark over the copyright status of this speech.
On the second point, if you are raising the argument that this is a speech and therefore does not attract copyright, please raise it directly, otherwise, as I say, I would really welcome more voices at the "Edict of Government" discussion (its at 1.45.1 of the current index to this page). Thanks. Formosa (talk) 19:50, 22 April 2010 (UTC)
Nope, you are misunderstanding quite a bit. en-wikisource uses the U.S. copyright status. "Edicts of government" are not copyrightable there, so no matter what the claimed status is elsewhere in the world, wikisource will host them. This speech is not an edict of government though, not even close. The U.S. also has a requirement for "fixation" yes, but for this type of speech, they are almost always written down beforehand so that is not an issue either. For foreign works, due to the URAA, the U.S. status then often depends on foreign copyright laws. Normally yes Switzerland would be the country of origin, but the speech was made by Churchill, and he is the author, no matter where it is published. I think you are completely misunderstanding the PK-UKGov copyright tag -- that is "Crown Copyright", or when the actual author is an employee of the Government. It is exactly the same as PD-IrishGov really (it lasts for 50 years). Please read w:Crown Copyright. While Churchill was not Prime Minister at the time, he was still Opposition Leader, which is a paid government position, and he was a member of Parliament still. I'm a little fuzzy on where that puts him in terms of Crown Copyright, which was pretty far-reaching at the time -- it applied to any work prepared or published by or under the direction or control of His Majesty or any Government department. The 1988 UK law narrowed the scope a bit to "performed as a course of their duties" but before that it covered a lot more than that. Churchill was apparently drawing a government salary at the time, so if this would count as a government work, then worldwide copyright (regardless of country, as the author has made this clear) expires after 50 years, and this is fine. If it is considered a private work by Churchill, then yes, it would still be copyrighted in the U.S. I put the PD-UKGov tag on content which was obviously UK government works produced more than 50 years ago; more recent works are still problematic (many of which you have been identifying). Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:46, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I now understand that you are not claiming that the speech is an Edict of Government. The matter of "fixation" etc here is a red herring (neither of us, as I understand you, are suggesting that this work did not attrach copyright because it was not written down). You are esentially claiming that because Churchill was an elected politician, copyright in any work he made vests in the Crown (and that that Crown Copyright has expired) - although you have not put it in such clear terms. This is extremely similar to arguments raised further above (around Edicts of Government - in that context the term "Edict of Government" was being used to create a nexus between a Goverment and a speech - you have established no nexus here either) on this page. Those arguments were rejected. I see no distinction between this case and those above. I do not see any case for claiming that the Crown held copyright in this speech by Churchill. Where is there even a nexus between the Crown and the speech? After all, you even agree that it is not an "Edict of Government". Are you claiming that the speech was prepared by a Government Department? If so, on what basis - Churchill was not even a member of Government in 1946. Formosa 09:08, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, "works" of government are completely different (and far far more numerous) than "edicts" of government. This speech could have been considered as being made as part of Churchill's Opposition Leader position -- it is an overtly political speech. Not so much today, but Crown Copyright of that era covered quite a bit of material; not nearly as much was left for individual works by government employees. But, I'm not entirely sure either, so it may be best to delete it for safety in the end. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
  • delete Crown copyright applies to works of the Crown, or published under its direction. So that would not apply for a work given in a person's own right as not being part of the Government's business. — billinghurst sDrewth 10:14, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Crown copyright will exist in works made by an officer of the Crown
Parliamentary Copyright will apply to work that is made by or under the direction or control of the House of Commons or the House of Lords

http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law

"Parliamentary copyright" was a new creation in 1988; before that everything was called "Crown copyright" even if made by members of Parliament, and its scope was wider than what it is today. This seems like fundamentally a political speech... do you think this was probably just Churchill's own opinion, or made with consultation of other members of Parliament or government? The scope of Crown (and Parliamentary) copyright was much limited in the 1988 UK copyright law, but previously it covered a lot more. I'm certainly not intimately familiar with UK copyright, particularly older revisions (this would have been under the 1911 Copyright Act; the 1956 Copyright Act expanded Crown Copyright even more), but it is at least possible. But there is also probably significant doubt, and I do see "The Estate of Winston Churchill" claiming copyright in some of his speeches. So, I could see deletion as well. Carl Lindberg (talk) 17:02, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Ann Richards's keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention[edit]

The following discussion is closed: deleted — billinghurst sDrewth 14:20, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
Symbol delete vote.svg Delete Not an edict, and not PD-USGov. Only hope is if it was published without a copyright notice, but that is not too likely (and has no evidence for it, and would be hard to prove). Carl Lindberg (talk) 07:30, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Symbol delete vote.svg Delete ResScholar (talk) 05:25, 25 August 2010 (UTC)

no evidence presented that is in the public domain

Author:George Orwell[edit]

The following discussion is closed: deleted. Moved to Wikilivres ResScholar (talk) 22:40, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Ironic Poem about Prostitution

Written by George Orwell. According to a bibliographical website in Russia, it was written in 1925, and bears the alternate title "Romance". This thorough website cites "BC" or biographer Bernard Crick as a source of the bibliographic information; the abbreviation is decoded if you follow the link entitled "Legend" at the bottom of the page. If anyone is in love with it, it can be moved to Wikilivres. ResScholar (talk) 09:37, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

The Spike

Another one first published in Adelphi magazine in London, April 1931, according to the same webpage as above. ResScholar (talk) 07:44, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

The Lesser Evil

The Wikipedia bibliographical article calls "The Lesser Evil" a 1924 work, as does orwell.ru. The first cites The Cambridge Companion to George Orwell as a source. ResScholar (talk) 10:57, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Other[edit]

Not a Nomination - General Point[edit]

The following discussion is closed: part kept, part deleted Jeepday (talk) 21:59, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I am putting this exchange here so its implications can be thought about more widely:
I think some or more of these might not be in compliance with WikiSource copyright rules...What do you think?
there could be more...you might need to take these down. Thanks for your vigilence. Formosa (talk) 18:16, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
The first falls under {{PD-USGov}}; and you are probably right about the second, and as it is a longer standing work, it should be nominated at Wikisource:Possible copyright violations and you should reference that it seems to have been missed after the cleanup of {{PD-Manifesto}}. — billinghurst sDrewth 22:44, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
So a speech by an American politician can be put up on WikiSource but a speech by a politician of any other country cannot. Is that correct? Formosa (talk) 11:38, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Is the answer to my last question Yes (i.e. Only American Speeches. Thank You.)? Formosa (talk) 11:45, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
Material must be copyright-free or otherwise released under a free license before we can host it. The US puts the work of federal government employees in the public domain. The various states of the US don't, and neither do most non-US governments. So speeches by an politician in the US federal government can be put up, as can any Iranian speech, but not most others.--Prosfilaes (talk) 14:50, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
That is really disappointing. There is already an overwhelmingly disproportionate coverage of things American on Wiki sites and on the Internet generally. WikiSource looks set to perpetuate that 'mono-cultural' trend. But the law must be respected. As I understand it WikiSource is governed by US law and therefore must comply with US law (and no other Jurisdiction's law). Formosa (talk) 18:01, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
The head of Wikimedia spoke of setting up a computer server in a country with the least-restrictive copyright policy. If you think there's a problem with underserved nations and cultures, you might want to go to Meta and ask a question in their discussion area about how this proposal has advanced, if it has at all. There was some talk from a Wikisource admin at Meta several years ago I believe about the anticipation of American laws changing and having to move a lot of works, and that was the head's response. English and French Wikisources have become better at mastering U.S. copyright law (I would hasten to add, not as the result of experience, but from the arrival of experts, most recently, Prosfilaes) and the lessening of unknowns has withdrawn Wikisource from any kind of copyright discussions at Meta, if the English Scriptorium is any indicator.
Also check out Wikilivres which is in Canada, a country with less restrictive copyright laws. ResScholar (talk) 20:32, 10 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't disagree with anything here. If copyright has to be respected then thats that. I accept it fully. I think this discussion is over. We all know the principles now. No one has respondend to me (above) on whether Margaret Thatcher's speech has to come down. I would be happy if others, more expert than I, could have a look at it. Formosa (talk) 14:04, 11 April 2010 (UTC)