Help talk:Public domain

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Just looking this over I see a number of discrepencies with this. Particularly over works published outside the US.--BirgitteSB 13:51, 17 December 2006 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? Much of the information is copied from that table, so there shouldn't be many discrepancies. Feel free to correct the page, if you'd like. —{admin} Pathoschild 01:46, 18 December 2006 (UTC)



War extensions were suppressed by the Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation) in February 2007 cf. French Scriptorium and [1]. Yann 10:27, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

=US Senators[edit]

My question is that can we not count their speeches and floor statements as public domain since they are in the government? Like the opinions of the court or the speech of the Preisdent is considered public domain since it is from the government. 9 June 2007, 9:20pm PST Wabbit98

Speeches from the Senate floor are always PD. Speeches made outside would depend on whether they are acting in their official capacity and it's part of their official duties, which is probably a lot more rare than one would think and would take a lot of careful analysis.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:34, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

US / non-US / cross country issues[edit]

Is it right to read this page giving information about US PD with a big table of indications about other countries? If so we should make that very clear. Filomath 07:40, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it is appropriate to list indicators for other countries for two reasons:
  1. there are elements of US copyright law that are vague/complex when a work is not PD in the country of publication, and
  2. it is important to inform readers what they can do with a Wikisource work in their own country.
In what way do you think clarification is needed; feel free to alter the wording to indicate how you think it needs to be clarified. John Vandenberg 09:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Niger: Copyright legislation[edit]

Looking specifically at putting the constitution of Niger on fr:wikisource. Discovered this, which might be added to the help page. Ordinance N° 93-027 of March 30, 1993 on Copyright, Neighbouring Rights and Folklore: Chapter II, Article 6. Not portected under copyright includes: "Official (government) texts of a legislative, administrative or judicial nature" (p.4 on the pdf included in the link. 19:42, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I've placed this document on fr: fr:Ordonnance n° 93-027 du 30 mars 1993 portant sur le droit d'auteur, les droits voisins et les expressions du folklore. Now we need an English translation. John Vandenberg (chat) 22:40, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I suggest to add the following info for Niger:
According to Ch. II, Art. 6 of the Nigerien copyright law, items not protected are:
* official texts of legislative, administrative or judiciary nature, or official translations of such texts,
* current news items,
* single facts and statements.
Someone with better French education than me might want to double check this translation. In particular, does novelles du jour mean news items are exempt only on the very day they are current?
I failed to incorporate these changes to Help:Public domain because the spam filter was triggered for some reason.--GrafZahl (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
'Tis done now. Pathoschild kindly fixed the spam filter problem.--GrafZahl (talk) 13:11, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

What's meant by "in compliance with US formalities"?[edit]

Under Help:Public_domain#Published_outside_the_United_States. 23:04, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

Under US copyright law, copyright once required compliance with a set of formalities which were almost never respected by non-US authors. These include a copyright notice in the work (like "This comment © Pathoschild, 2008"), registration and renewal, and deposit of copies in the Copyright Office. Which particular formalities they needed to respect depend on the date the work was published; different formalities existed during different periods. (Today, these formalities are no longer in force.) —{admin} Pathoschild 03:14:43, 03 August 2008 (UTC)

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar[edit]

Is this public domain?

  • Author (German edition): Wilhelm Gesenius (d. 1842)
  • Editor (German edition): Emil Kautzsch (d. 1910)
  • Translation to English: Arthur Cowley (d. 1931)
  • First publishing in 1910
  • Republished in paperback by Dover in 2006
  • No copyright notice in the Dover printed book

(Death years from the Library of Congress.)

Thanks in advance. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:21, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Replying to myself: it is public domain according to . --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 09:48, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Exemptions in People's Republic of China[edit]

What about newspaper articles from China, are these public domain. the Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China (1990) article 5 says: 

"This law shall not be applicable to:
  1. laws; regulations; resolutions, decisions and orders of state organs; other documents of legislative, administrative and judicial nature; and their official translations;
  2. news on current affairs; and
  3. calendars, numerical tables, forms of general use and formulas."

Is it correct to read that as meaning news articles are not protected by copyright in China? Commons:Licensing#China, People's Republic of would appear to reinforce this but I hesitate because it seems rather odd to exempt newspaper articles from copyright and this article mentions only the first item in the exempted list. If this isn't the best place to ask specific PD questions, please point me to a better forum. Metal.lunchbox (talk) 01:29, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

copyright and translations[edit]

The following is moved here from Wikisource:Possible copyright violations from this edit:

:::How does the date of death of the translator affects the copyright status? With respect to US and other countries? I am asking this with reference to another work translated from Russian and where the traslator is British and died in 1975. See The_Way_of_the_Cross. --Mpaa (talk) 15:45, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

A translation, being a derivative work which adds creative content, is subject to two copyrights, the copyright on the underlying work (which frequently was never published in the United States or not until many years later) and the copyright on the translation. The translation copyright will frequently outlive the original. In fact, the original could have long since passed into PD before the translation is even conceived - I have thought of translating several non-English works that are in the public domain to English. If I do, I will hold the copyright on those works; since the underlying work is not in copyright, anyone may translate it and publish the translation, but they may not copy my (yet hypothetical) translation. Frequently, though, the copyright periods run concurrently for a time. For example, in the work Reflections on War and Death Sigmund Freud held the copyright to the original from its publication in German in 1918 in the Austrian Empire. This would have lasted for 70 years after his death (1939) according to the law of the EU (which generally restored expired copyrights to make them all the same, so we need not worry for our purposes about the laws of the Austrian Empire, Czechoslovakia, or the Czech Republic). So his copyright in the original did not end until 2009 in Europe. However, it fell into the Public Domain in the United States at some point (when precisely this was is very difficult to determine and not particularly important for our purposes). Because the work was published before 1923, it can be presumed to be in the public domain (although there are a very few strange exceptions) in the United States and to have been so since probably 1993.

Freud apparently licensed the two translators to translate the work into English and they did so, also in 1918, and published the work in New York City. This copyright ran for 75 years and would have also expired in 1993 in the US. It may have lasted longer in some countries, including (only by coincidence) Germany and Austria and could still exist in such places as they apply the rule of the life of the author plus 70 years and the authors we're talking about here are the translators.

Now to get to your specific case; we'd need more information. Where and when was it published both in Russian and in English?--Doug.(talk contribs) 20:18, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

Oh, I didn't see the link, sorry. The answer is essentially the same. The work is PD in the US. The date of death of the author is only relevant to determining non-US copyright in these cases (not so with more recent works where it may drive the US copyright as well); but that is still relevant. Although WMF doesn't prohibit us from putting works up that are in copyright in some countries, we ought to know where our works are not PD as well as we know where they are.--Doug.(talk contribs) 20:43, 24 August 2011 (UTC)
Historically, U.S. copyright was determined by year of publication only. However, when the U.S. joined the Berne Convention, the U.S. had to retroactively restore all foreign works which had expired by virtue of lack of copyright notice or lack of copyright renewal. This was done via the URAA; basically any work which was still under copyright in its source country on the "URAA date" (usually January 1, 1996) got its U.S. copyright restored to the full U.S. term as if it had been renewed correctly (i.e., 75 years from publication for works published 1922 or before, or 95 years from publication for works published 1923 or later). Thus, determining the copyright status in other countries as of 1996 can be important, and most times those are dependent on when the author died. The "source country" is also the country of first publication, not necessarily the country the author is from (or even lives in). For your example above, the author died in 1922, so it was not copyrighted in Russia in 1996 (they had a 50 pma term), so it would not have been renewed. But even if it was, if say the author had died in 1950, since the book itself was published before 1923 it got the shorter U.S. 75-year term so it would still be public domain anyways. As for the translation, it's also published before 1923 so the question is moot. But even if that was not true, it appears to have been first published in the U.S. itself, so the "source country" of the translation is the U.S., and we would not need to go figure out what the 1996 status was in the UK. If the translation was published in, say, London instead, then we would need to go look up the status in the UK. This portion of the law is at United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 1/Section 104A, and you can look at w:Wikipedia:Non-U.S. copyrights for more info. Short answer for yours, since it's published before 1923 no more investigation is necessary for Wikisource, but for the Commons upload they would go look at the Russian copyright (which is also fine), since they also require works to be public domain in their source country. Carl Lindberg (talk) 03:43, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Agreed and a much better explanation. The original question came up around a work by Freud, which only went out of copyright in the country of first publication in 2009 because they follow a 70 year rule. The translation can never have a shorter copyright in the country of first publication of the original. However, both will frequently have much shorter copyrights in the United States.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:22, 26 August 2011 (UTC)
Another example, works by Author:Hermann Hesse: many are PD in the US both in the original and in translation, none of the originals are PD in the country of first publication because Hesse died in 1962, so the translations can't be either, even if the translators died more than 70 years ago. The complication comes when interpreting Commons rules. Under a strict reading of Commons rules, many of the translations could apparently be placed at Commons if first published in the US but the originals could not; which is a bit inconsistent; but that's simply a Commons rule, not a copyright law.--Doug.(talk contribs) 05:30, 26 August 2011 (UTC)

What counts as "publication"?[edit]

I am thinking of a case in which a U.S. citizen (d. 1945) distributed, or allowed others to distribute, fragments of his compositions--think of them as pages from a diary--to his circle of acquaintances, without any notice of copyright. After his death, his heirs began publishing additional material from his archives with a copyright notice, and in the early 1970's, finally published the entire corpus. This raises a number of questions, such as:

(1) What counts as a "work"--an individual quote, that day's diary entry which it was exerpted, or the eventual (multi-year) collection?

(2) What counts as "publication"? In this case, the newsletters distributed during his lifetime had a fairly small readership (a hundred or so). Copies of the diary pages themselves would also circulate informally.

(3) If the selections published during his life are deemed to have entered the public domain, would this affect the larger work from which they were exerpted?

Since life of the author plus 70 years equals AD 2016, I suppose the example will soon become moot, but the issues are still of interest. --Dawud

Greek political cartoon 1920[edit]

There is a Greek political cartoon from 1920 which exists in many forms on the internet, such as [2]. It depicts a voter, representing Greece, voting on a ballot box with "yes" and "no", as two figures (probably Venizelos and Constantine?) encourage votes for each side and War looks over the scene. This form of ballot box was actually used in Greece for approval voting from 1863 to 1911 (and on occasions in 1915 and 1920). It would be a great image for the "approval voting" article on Wikipedia. The cartoon was first published in 1920. Is this public domain? Homunq (talk) 13:33, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Renewal of copyright for books published in 1924-1963[edit]

Nemo 17:10, 2 August 2019 (UTC)