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Copyright discussions

This page hosts discussions on works that may violate Wikisource's copyright policy. All arguments should be based entirely on U.S. copyright law. You may join any current discussion or start a new one.

Note that works which are a clear copyright violation may now be speedy deleted under criteria for speedy deletion G6. To protect the legal interests of the Wikimedia Foundation, these will be deleted unless there are strong reasons to keep them within at least two weeks. If there is reasonable doubt, they will be deleted.

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Index:Civil Rights Movement EL Text.pdf[edit]

2014 work that has been sitting tagged as having insufficient licensing information since 2016. The issue was raised with the uploader at the time, and an alleged email from the author was provided on their talk page, but the OTRS procedure was not apparently followed. The work as such is clearly in copyright, both by the author and by other contributors (cover design etc.), so the question is whether we consider the (unverified) emailed statement on the contributor's talk page sufficient.

e-mail from John Duley to Willl Loew-Blosser 10/9/2014

"Will: Thanks so much for following up on this. The answer to your two questions at the end of your email is yes--​ I would be pleased to have it widely circulated so do not intend to copyright it and would be willing to have it published as you suggest. John"

e-mail to John Duley from Will Loew-Blosser 10/4/2014

"Hi John,

Leslie and I have were very pleased to learn so much of East Lansing history from your monograph. As we mentioned at breakfast I’m looking into putting your monograph entitled "The Civil Rights Movement in East Lansing and Edgewood Village” onto wikipedia. There is a section of wikipedia called wikiSource that holds original works that may be then used in the encyclopedia articles as a source material.


The first question is about copyright. WikiSource does not accept copyrighted works. You do not have a copyright notice on the title page but there is no explicit permission to reproduce or republish either.

My view is that iff we were to accept this as a valid {{CC0}} {{PD-author-release}} dedication, which we would then move to Commons, the chances of it avoiding deletion there would be slim. We need proper verification through OTRS for these cases, not least in order to ensure that the copyright owner understands all the consequences of PD dedication or free licensing. --Xover (talk) 12:21, 1 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I think that the release into PD is clear, and the work could be tagged {{PD-author-release}}. I do not think {{CC0}} can be used because the copyright holder did not explicitly link the work to the Creative Commons Zero deed and legal document. I would perhaps have accepted the notice on the talk page if the editor who posted the notice was themselves the copyright holder. However this is not the case and I am inclined to disallow it without proper OTRS. Is it at all possible to contact Duley directly? —Beleg Tâl (talk) 12:46, 1 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In 2014 the situation was that The author is in his late 90's, quite poor health, and has stopped using e-mail. so I hold that unlikely. And if no followup was forthcoming in 2016, I would tend to think that for internet people to now intrude on an old man with copyright questions would border on being immoral. At least my take is that we have to decide this issue based on the information we already have. --Xover (talk) 12:58, 1 September 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep I also understand it as a clear release into the public domain. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 20:11, 6 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jan Kameníček: If this document was tagged {{PD-author-release}} it would be eligible to be moved to Commons. Pragmatically, how do you rate its chances of surviving a deletion discussion there? --Xover (talk) 06:10, 9 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Xover: I have almost no experience with deletion discussions there, but if we are afraid that it will not survive there for some reasons, we can keep it here. Or, if we move it and they decide they do not want it, we can move it back here then. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 09:20, 9 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jan.Kamenicek: The question was meant to probe the logic behind your conclusion, specifically in terms of the standard of evidence we apply. If we are confident that the available evidence is sufficient to conclude it has been released into the public domain, then we should also be confident that it will survive a deletion discussion at Commons. Since I am not confident that is the case absent confirmation through the OTRS process (and neither is Beleg Tâl based on their comment above), I wanted to check whether you deliberately wanted to apply a different (lower) standard of evidence or whether there was some confusion behind it.
    In practice, in these circumstances, if the consensus is to keep this as {{PD-author-release}}, I would not personally transfer this to Commons because I believe it would be against policy there and would be deleted. But another user very well might move it to Commons at any time, unless we used {{do not move to Commons}} to mark it to keep local. But if we do that we are essentially saying that we do not believe this is properly licensed (i.e. that our {{PD-author-release}} tag is a lie). This is unlike the typical situations where a file is PD in the US but not in its home country: in that case there is a genuine difference in policy between Commons and enWS. In the case at hand the policy is ostensibly the same on enWS and Commons, but we are (I suspect) applying a different standard of evidence.
    And if we are doing that then we should be very conscious and clear about that fact. It sets precedent for future such cases, and it impacts the risk to our reusers, so it is something we should approach with deliberation and eyes open. --Xover (talk) 10:10, 9 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, neither our nor Commons discussions are legally binding, they are in fact both just lay opinions and it is no wonder that our lay opinion can be different from their lay opinion. As written above, I have almost zero experience with these discussions in Commons, but often heard others saying that they are sometimes trying to be more Catholic than the Pope... So by not moving it we are not saying that we are lying about the license, we are simply saying that our lay opinions about some border cases are different than theirs. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 10:26, 9 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ah. Thanks! --Xover (talk) 10:50, 9 October 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]
yeah, i would keep it as PD-author-release, here. commons would view failure to follow OTRS as a deletion rationale. i.e. [1]; [2]; [3]. Slowking4Rama's revenge 16:29, 3 December 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kerry vs. Pickens[edit]

These are by a sitting Senator, but the whole swiftboat thing with Pickens and the SBVT are hardly obvious parts of his official duties. Kerry was at this time a candidate for the Democratic nomination (he hadn't yet dropped out and endorsed Obama), and the SBVT attacks targeted Kerry personally, so these are pretty obviously him acting as a candidate and not a Senator.

On the other hand, we've traditionally given waaaay wide latitude to what we consider to fall within the scope of a Senator's duties (way too much, and I think we should tighten that up going forward).

In this specific case I'd be comfortable with deleting under the former rationale, or tagging them as {{PD-USGov}} under the latter, but I'd like to hear where the community sits on this. Xover (talk) 13:00, 27 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Symbol delete vote.svg Delete I'd definitely agree that these letters were not within (or even remotely discussing) his official duties... they are completely irrelevant to, and don't even discuss the topic of, any legislation that was under consideration at the time. The SBVT thing was purely political theatre, on both sides. Given that I see no way in which these letters would be any different if Kerry had been a candidate who was not in office at the time, it seems obvious that it's not exempt. Jarnsax (talk) 17:25, 28 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The whole SBVT thing was asking about his service in Vietnam which was part of his official duties as a Navy Officer. If it were written at the time as an officer it would count no? If he were an admiral coming up for senate confirmation would we reach the same conclusion it wasn't part of his official duties? MarkLSteadman (talk) 21:26, 28 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@MarkLSteadman: The exemption is specifically for "works of the United States Government...prepared by an officer or part of his official duties." This implies a 'work for hire' (it's a corporate author), so we can also pull in "a work prepared as an employee as part of his employment."
  • Kerry was no longer a serving officer at the time, and thus had no "official duty" to comment about his previous service. While he was still serving, the work would still have to be explicitly "part of his official duties," so something that he was actually obligated to prepare.
  • An officer seeking confirmation from, or testifying before, Congress, would do so only under direction from the Commander in Chief, so it's part of their duty. As the law currently stands (getting into untested ground a bit, here, but as it seems to stand in the US) an Officer of the United States (and thus part of the Executive Branch) they cannot be compelled by the Legislative to testify when it relates to their official duties, as when carrying out those duties they are using "a portion of the Sovereign Power of the United States" delegated to them by the President and are thus eligible for qualified immunity from contempt of Congress for refusal to testify.
  • There is no exemption under statute law for works of Members of Congress.. they are neither officers nor employees of the United States Government (specifically prohibited from being so by the Ineligibility Clause of the US Constitution)
  • The relevant exemption for Congress is instead from the common law, is for "edicts of government, broadly construed" and dates back to an 1830s court case, but was addressed quite recently by the Supreme Court

    For purposes of the Copyright Act, judges cannot be the “author[s]” of “whatever work they perform in their capacity” as lawmakers. Because legislators, like judges, have the authority to make law, it follows that they, too, cannot be “authors.” And, as with judges, the doctrine applies to whatever work legislators perform in their capacity as legislators, including explanatory and procedural materials they create in the discharge of their legislative duties.

    —Georgia et al. v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. (2020)

  • The definition of "law" in this case in extremely broad (this is a principle of the common, not statute law).... "non-statute" materials prepared by Members in the course of drafting legislation, that could be used by judges to construct the meaning and sense of Congress behind the words actually enacted, are "law" in the sense intended, as is the 'administrative law' in the Code of Federal Regulations. The concept is that "actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea" - essentially that you have to be able to know what the law is to commit a crime. Jarnsax (talk) 15:58, 29 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks. My main question was thinking through this in a more rigorous way given that it all seemed a bit wishy-washy. My inclination was that it didn't apply and I was pushing to nail down why it doesn't apply. For example, that {{PD-US-Gov}} is not for legislators. MarkLSteadman (talk) 17:05, 29 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I kinda took it as a request to try to really explain the reasoning behind it... it's why the Constitution starts "We the People" though we know what specific people actually wrote it: because our representatives, when acting as the legislative, are essentially us, we (as a people) are the collective authors of the works it creates, that we give our implicit consent to when electing congresscritters. WE are the swamp, lol. Jarnsax (talk) 17:57, 29 July 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Jarnsax: “There is no exemption under statute law for works of Members of Congress”—actually, that’s not true. “Copyright protection under the Copyright Act is not available for ‘any work of the United States Government.’ … This includes works created by the President; Congress; the federal judiciary; federal departments, agencies, boards, bureaus, or commissions; or any other officer or employee of the U.S. federal government while acting within the course of his or her official duties.” (From the Compendium.) TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:30, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TE(æ)A,ea. You're arguing with the Supreme Court (see quote above, or look up the case). What you are missing is that Congressmen are not Officers (or employees) of the Unites States Government. First sentence of w:Officer of the United States... "a functionary of the executive or judicial branches of the federal government of the United States..." I mentioned above, the Ineligibility Clause... "no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office." They are not "employees" because they are not hired or fired, it's an elective office not a 'job'. The reasoning goes way off into too much depth for here, but 'law' is ineligible for copyright due to a lack of authorship as defined by the Copyright Act. In the specific case, the Georgia Legislature is denied copyright in 'non binding annotations' that were published along with the actual statute. Jarnsax (talk) 02:53, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: This work was published after Public.Resource.Org was decided; it references that case in the paragraph I quoted. Here is the full quote:

“[T]he bar on copyright protection for federal works … applies to works created by all federal ‘officer[s] or employee[s],’ without regard for the nature of their position or scope of their authority.” Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., 140 S. Ct. 1498, 1509–10 (2020). This includes works created by the President; Congress; the federal judiciary; federal departments, agencies, boards, bureaus, or commissions; or any other officer or employee of the U.S. federal government while acting within the course of his or her official duties. It also includes works prepared by an officer or employee of the government of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the organized territories under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

@TE(æ)A,ea. Now read the very next section of the Compendium regarding government edicts, 313.6(C)(2). It tells you the same thing I just did. Jarnsax (talk) 03:24, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To explain a bit more, when it mentions "Congress" in (C)(1) it is referring to Officers and employees of the legislative branch (i.e. Congress) like the w:Architect of the Capitol, who are not Members of COngress and have no legislative authority. Jarnsax (talk) 03:32, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Since this is probably going to go here anyhow, actual "laws" (passed by both houses, and signed by the president) are edicts of Government, as are "rules" (i.e. administrative law) written by agencies with rulemaking authority delegated by statute (like the EPA). That they are not copyrightable is a "principle", it's not written in the statutes, it's common law (England does copyright laws, but they actually passed a law post-revolution to make it that way). Congress can also (and does) create "works of the United States Government" when they do things like pass a simple resolution in the House to express condolences after a former member dies, and those are not copyrightable under (C)(1), but they are also not legislation. Jarnsax (talk) 04:50, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jarnsax: This discussion is interesting, and can have far-reaching consequences for how we treat works by congressmen on the project. I have always been unclear on what exactly the copyright situation for these are.
The executive branch are fairly clear as {{PD-USGov}}, and the judiciary are usually fairly clear as {{PD-EdictGov}}. And Congress as such is normally also producing works that fall under EdictGov, especially after PRO.
But we get a lot of works by individual congressmen that can be anything from speeches on the floor, to press releases, speeches to the electorate, town halls and Q&A sessions with constituents. We have historically given wide latitude to keeping these under the theory that PD-USGov was in effect, and a congressman's "official duties" includes various kinds of schmoozing with constituents. But if there is no PD-USGov exemption for congressmen, that means only PD-EdictGov controls the issue; and EdictGov (even after PRO) will only apply in those narrow circumstances where whatever work somehow bears on a law or other edict of the government. That would eliminate a wide swathe of texts that we currently host.
In other words, this is an issue I believe it is worthwhile spending some time and effort to get right. Xover (talk) 07:56, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xover Yeah, "employees" is obvious, and it's fairly easy to define an "Officer of the United States"... nominated by President, confirmed by Senate, has a physical paper commission, swears an oath to the Constitution.
What's kind of odd is the case to watch right now [4] isn't actually a copyright case, but probably will go towards the point here... if a congressman speaking at Trump's Jan 6th rally was 'acting in the scope of his duties' by addressing the public at a political event. There have been other, similar cases (like Murtha), but I think they are generally more about the Westfall Act (tort law) which has it's own definition of 'employee' that is much broader.
All the copyright compendium really says about "edicts of government" is citing cases where courts have agreed that since the Copyright Act doesn't explicitly create a copyright in them (doesn't mention them at all) then there isn't one (and people have been calling BS on Georgia for years). We're just left with that it should be 'broadly construed' in the public interest. Jarnsax (talk) 09:33, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, after some more digging around, I tracked down the 11th Circuit's decision in Georgia v. PRO here. [5] What's interesting about it is they get to the same place starting from first principles, and essentially create a three part test:

Because our ultimate inquiry is whether a work is authored by the People, meaning whether it represents an articulation of the sovereign will, our analysis is guided by a consideration of those characteristics that are the hallmarks of law. In particular, we rely on the identity of the public officials who created the work, the authoritativeness of the work, and the process by which the work was created. These are critical markers. Where all three point in the direction that a work was made in the exercise of sovereign power -- which is to say where the official who created the work is entrusted with delegated sovereign authority, where the work carries authoritative weight, and where the work was created through the procedural channels in which sovereign power ordinarily flows -- it follows that the work would be attributable to the constructive authorship of the People, and therefore uncopyrightable.

This test (which the SC did not adopt, so it's only precedent in the 11th Cir.) excludes a lot of Congress-proximate stuff. Jarnsax (talk) 11:09, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Jarnsax: This is a test for whether a work is an edict of government, not if a work is a work of the U.S. government made by Congress (or a member thereof). “It tells you the same thing I just did”—it mentions the edict-of-government exception, yes; but it also, separately, mentions that the works of “[the] President [and] Congress” are “‘work[s] of the United States Government,’” which seems to imply there are non-EdictGov works by the President and Congress which are still USGov. In addition, I would say that all resolutions passed by Congress are edicts of government, and fall under that exception (rather than the more general government-work exception). TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 12:25, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TE(æ)A,ea. Wrote a bunch, and wiped it, because I think I know the difficulty here. You are looking at and referring to the Copyright Compendium, which is useful, but does not have the force of law.
From 17 USC §101, the actual statute, "A “work of the United States Government” is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties." That is the sum total of the definition. Actual elected officials are neither Officers of the US nor employees (employee is not defined, so law dictionary meaning. Who is their 'boss' that directs them how to do their job? Not employees.) The Compendium has to be read in context of what the law itself says, it is explanatory of USCO practice, but not 'proscriptive'... in context, they are trying to make clear that they are talking about any officer or employee of any part of the federal government whatsoever, but the restriction "officer or employee" cannot be expanded upon by anything but a revision of 17 USC by Congress. Officers of the United States are created through the w:Appointments Clause, and Members of Congress are prohibited from being an Officer by the w:Ineligibility Clause. Jarnsax (talk) 14:10, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: While engaging in this discussion, I have come to agree with the concerns raised in your position. However, we are neither judges nor legislators, and so (in my opinion) for Wikisource purposes the Compendium is dispositive, regardless of any such potentially serious errors. Unless the authors and editors of the Compendium decide to rewrite it to reflect this concern, or some new law or court case declares it so, we must follow the “leading law” (as much as the Compendium is that) in this case. The introduction to the Compendium gloats about how it has been cited in court cases as “highly persuasive,” and we cannot say that a judge will absolutely disagree with the Compendium’s finding, so, until such a change happens, I say we should follow the Compendium. (Also, because it supports my opinion.) As for your comment evincing a different interpretation of the Compendium, I disagree; I believe the catch-all clause at the end (“any other officer or employee of the U.S. federal government”) would cover officers and employees of Congress whether or no the sentence mentioned “Congress” separately; and I don’t think that the reference to “Congress” was meant to refer to “the officers and employees of Senators and Congressmen but not the representatives themselves”—a distinction they could have made. Regarding the 11th Circuit’s opinion, while it is not a nationwide standard, absent a Supreme Court ruling, I see no reason why Wikisource should not (in a general manner) adopt the finding as interpretive policy for EdictGov, as being more specific than the Supreme Court’s ruling. (By the way, as a separate matter, this discussion should probably be moved to a more general forum; but that can happen later.) TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 15:06, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TE(æ)A,ea. Yeah, I was happy to find the 11th Circuit ruling, also they do a really good job explaining why edicts are a matter of 'authorship', even though that admittedly sounds completely nonsensical on the surface. Regarding the Compendium, though, it does also state (in the intro) that it doesn't override any statute and isn't even binding on the Registrar... it just has the 'force of argument', and doesn't set precedent. We may disagree, but I'm pretty sure applying PD-USGov to anything not authored by an 'officer or employee' would be doomed to fail (though in reality they are probably written by staffers and USGov as works for hire anyhow). I think it's the boundaries of deviant congresscritter behavior (Murtha, anyone?) and what is 'campaigning' vs 'legislative' that's more likely to be an issue. Jarnsax (talk) 15:46, 8 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(as a quick interjection, cases like Murtha - under the Federal Tort Claims Act - are irrelevant to us, because the FCTA has it's own, extremely broad, definition of 'employee'. The criminal case about Jan 6th I linked above is going to hang on if it was part of the MoC's 'official duties', not his 'employee-ness') Jarnsax (talk) 01:42, 9 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@TE(æ)A,ea. It might be helpful to look at the two relevant templates over on Commons, c:Template:PD-USGov-Congress and c:Template:PD-USGov-POTUS. Both (correctly) attribute the works they apply to as those of 'employees'... of Congress on the one hand, and the 'Executive Office of the President' on the other. Works of the United States Government created by employees of "Congress" are works for hire, and per 17 USC § 201 (b) "the employer or other person for whom the work was prepared is considered the author for purposes of this title"... so, the 'author' of works created by employees of Congress is Congress "itself" (as a corporate body) for purposes of copyright. The same logic applies in the other case.. they are employees of the President, so their 'works for hire' are works of the "President" (as an 'office', a 'corporation sole', not personal property ofc). Parsing 313.6(C)(1), they actually say "works created by the President; Congress; the federal judiciary; federal departments, agencies, boards, bureaus, or commissions; or any other officer or employee of the U.S. federal government". All of the items listed before the semicolon are 'corporate bodies' (for instance, it does not say 'judges', but 'the federal judiciary'...stuff like the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). Jarnsax (talk) 03:20, 9 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @TE(æ)A,ea.: By my count you're outnumbered 3:1 on this one; but I don't like closing these on mere majority vote, and especially not for a delete outcome. Would you be very strongly opposed to closing this as delete now and then let the issue of the possible primacy of the Compendium shake out over time in other copyright discussions? Testing the reasoning against different facts and situation often leads to better conclusions and better elucidates an issue. --Xover (talk) 11:09, 28 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • You are mistaken; I have come here to discuss copyright, not to argue for deletion or not. I have not, until after this comment, looked at the actual text in dispute here. I would think that the materials here relate more to then-Senator candidate-for-President Pickens, and thus not be relevant to the general dispute regarding what constitutes the work of a Senator. (Supposing these to be deleted, the Wikipedia page should be updated to reflect that, and also the 10-year-old discussion that deleted the other letters.) TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 13:39, 28 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @TE(æ)A,ea.: Hmm. Thanks for the clarification. However, while I am somewhat prone to extended discussions in abstract myself—as you may have noticed :)—the primary goal of these discussions on WS:CV is to reach a practical resolution for the text in question. In that light, can I assume that if you do not express a direct !vote through {{vd}}/{{vk}} you are discussing abstractly rather than arguing any particular way for the specific work? I want to stress that your input is both helpful and (very much!) appreciated, but I need to try to balance the concerns so the backlog here doesn't grow any longer than it already is. Xover (talk) 06:58, 30 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

General interest (not about a specific file)[edit]

While Googling around copyright matters I found this interesting article [6].... The title "Simultaneous Internet Publication and the Berne Convention" expresses what it's about pretty quote, "This Article recommends that works of foreign origin should still be included in the definition of “United States works” when the copyright holder actively solicits customers in the United States via the Internet" and justifies it pretty well IMO. Seems like the argument (or at least points from it) could be enlightening here....I vaguely recall an Australian case (regarding slander, I believe) hinging on this. (c.e. I seem to be unable to copy a working link.... Google it, its in the "Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal.") Jarnsax (talk) 18:28, 30 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yeah. I don't see where it makes any difference for us, though.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:42, 30 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Net of Faith[edit]

c. 1443 Czech work by Peter Chelčický (c. 1390 – c. 1460), that claims to have been "translated in 1947 as part of a Bachelor's of Divinity thesis at the University of Berkeley." The source is however specified as, which specifies no licensing. The translator is given as "Enrico C. S. Molnár", who appears to have either died in 1999 or may still be living.

@Jan.Kamenicek: I think possibly you may be interested in this work. Xover (talk) 12:52, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Xover: That source is spurious, and a later attribution; that “edition” may be found on IA here. This would be PD-US-no-notice for the thesis, right? TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 13:05, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The source ( was probably right because the IA scan is also a 2006 reprint by What is more, as an IA contributor they mention Tom Lock who runs and with whom I cooperated when saving On Spiritual Warfare by the same author. I agree that we can assume {{PD-US-no-notice}} for the 1947 thesis (if not, then {{PD-US-no-renewal}} is a certainty). If the edition available from the IA is found satisfactory, I will be happy to proofread it. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 14:40, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jan.Kamenicek: Unlike On The Spiritual Battle, which is listed as being translated by Lock and Enns, The Net of Faith is listed as being translated by an "Enrico C. S. Molnár" (whose identity I haven't been able to establish with any certainty in a quick bit of googling, but is once listed with vital years 1913–1999). Thus Lock and Enns do not have the power to license this work, barring some form of copyright transfer from Molnár. Xover (talk) 15:06, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Xover: Of course, I know. I wrote about it only to show how I know that Tom Lock is connected with and that the contributor who added it to Wikisource could really have as their source (because above it was doubted as spurious). --Jan Kameníček (talk) 15:37, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @TE(æ)A,ea.: A thesis submission is just limited publication. In order to be published for copyright purposes some further action must take place, for example if had gotten a license from Molnár or his estate to publish it that would then constitute general publication. Xover (talk) 14:54, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Xover: Is there any official ruling that explicitely states that thesis submission is not considered fully published? I have found two sources which seem to state otherwise: Copyright and Publication Status of Pre-1978 Dissertations, p.825 (it deals primarily with dissertations, but in principle it may IMO apply to any university thesis), and especially Copyright and Cultural Institutions, p. 230). --Jan Kameníček (talk) 16:31, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Jan.Kamenicek: I haven't (re)read Hirtle 2009, so it may contain something of relevance (Peter Hirtle is generally a good source for such things), but last I heard his stance was that general publication could not be assumed for dissertations. Clement and Levine 2011 is an interesting approach, but the article suffers from methodological problems and confirmation bias. For example, they quote a commercial microfilm distributor assuring university publishers that works distributed on microfilm, as a format, are eligible for copyright protection (through fulfilling the deposit requirement iff deposited with the LoC) in order to argue that the works in question can not be protected by copyright.
    But mostly, Clement and Levine do not really make a legal argument (they're mostly doing digital humanities, not law) and consequently ignore Estate of Martin Luther King. In that case the 11th Circuit found that King's I Have a Dream, which was performed before a crowd of thousands, broadcast nationally on multiple networks, and where they handed out the text of the speech in a press tent at the event, didn't constitute general publication. The court sets the bar pretty high and establishes several factors that must be present in order to find that a general publication has happened, not the least of which is that the publication has to be authorised (cf. also Diversey v. Schmidly, 738 F. 3d 1196 (10th Cir. 2013)).
    The bottom line is that while there are circumstances under which a pre-1978 dissertation could have ended up in the public domain, it cannot be assumed; and determining the actual status with any certainty would require specific knowledge of the circumstances of the particular dissertation in question. Xover (talk) 19:05, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Xover: Diversey dealt with a university stealing a student’s dissertation before it was finished, making copies, and distributing those copies in the university’s library. The case also deals specifically with (unauthorized) distribution. The language in this case (which is newer, and thus may carry more weight) implies that once the dissertation was placed on the library’s catalog, where anyone could view it or check it out, it becomes published for copyright concerns. (See p. 13.) [The library can’t claim fair use for distributing copies of a work that was not legally published; by inference, a dissertation is published when placed in the library’s catalog for viewing, a claim substantiated elsewhere in the opinion.] In Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., the issue was that his dramatic reading of his (prepared) speech was a performance, not a publication; although I may be misremembering, as I haven’t read it recently. If my memory is correct, Estate applies with less force here, and Hotaling is more relevant. (Also, thinking about this, these important and discussion-relevant cases should be scan-backed here.) TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 19:45, 3 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The MLK case says:
    We emphasize the summary judgment posture of this case, which necessitates that we disregard evidence that may be important or even dispositive at trial. In other words, in this summary judgment posture, we consider only the evidence with respect to which there is no genuine issue of material fact. This evidence includes only the fact of the oral delivery of the Speech to a large audience and the fact that the sponsors of the event including Dr. King sought and successfully obtained live broadcasts on radio and television and extensive contemporary coverage in the news media. In this regard, we do not consider at this stage of the litigation two potentially important pieces of evidence brought to our attention by CBS. First, an advance text of the Speech was apparently available in a press tent on the day of the speech. According to an eyewitness affidavit submitted by CBS, members of the public at large—not merely the press—were permitted access to the press tent and were given copies of the advance text. However, the Estate has proffered affidavits which contradict the statements of the CBS witness, and suggest that access was controlled by the SCLC within reasonable means. Moreover, the Estate argues that much of the content of the Speech was generated extemporaneously by Dr. King and was not contained in this advance text—an argument that we do not consider but that can be explored by the district court.
    So the court said that if the text of the speech was available to everyone, then that might change things. Since a University library offering works via ILL does make it available to everyone, that clearly distinguishes this from the MLK case. The crowd and broadcast parts are irrelevant for this; it's understood that's not publication. In general, if a dissertion was completed at a US university and a copyright notice-free copy was given to the university for their library, to be distributed to a general audience, I'd say that's a clear case of general publication without notice.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:50, 4 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That they don't rule on those points does not mean they don't consider the associated issues in their reasoning for what they do rule on. They go into significant depth on what factors would be necessary in order for a general publication to have occurred, and as I recall (I'd have to re-read it to be sure), that includes the need for the publication to be authorised.
    Which bears on this case in the sense that consensus in the area appears to be that mere deposit in a university's archive is not sufficient even if a given university is willing to distribute it through the ILL, because 1) ILL may be sufficiently restricted in who can use it and through access agreements, and 2) deposit is required in order to get your degree (I think some places they even specify the number of paper copies you have to submit) but not necessarily agreement to publish beyond academic fair use and archives exceptions. Even Clement and Levine (who, as mentioned, suffer from too much wishful thinking) found that their most optimum selection of "community of practice" saw a significant difference between microfilm distribution (which, AIUI, was a commercial service) and deposit with possible ILL access.
    If you want to persuade me that this particular thesis is PD through some path involving a general publication without notice I am happy to entertain the argument; but that all pre-1978 US thesis and dissertations can be ipso facto presumed PD is a couple of bridges too far. In addition, it would be nonsensical for us to adopt such a crude presumption that directly conflicts with what US university libraries and archives' own practice and guidance is. Xover (talk) 06:59, 4 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • The publication of a dissertation is authorised, because the writer of the dissertation chooses to go to university, enter a program requiring the submission of a dissertation, write a dissertation, and submit it for approval, &c. It is, in sum, the writer’s choice to enter the dissertation program, and thus they must allow (and legally authorise) the publication of the dissertation once written and formally received. “ILL may be… restricted,” but there is no indication here that they are so restricted. That university libraries are more difficult to access than other libraries is not relevant, so long as the library is not a private (whether business or personal) one. Really, I would be more inclined to consider the deposition of dissertation copies as the method in which dissertations are published, and thus released to the academic community. I don’t think that such a policy is in such great disagreement with (then-)contemporary university library practice, either. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 18:28, 6 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I tried to contact Tom Lock but did not get any answer. However, I still think that this work is in public domain, per above. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 21:58, 25 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Xover: Looking through the Compendium, I find some choice quotes, which I believe rather dispositive: “[P]ublication occurs when one or more copies … are distributed to a member of the public who is not subject to any express or implied restrictions concerning the disclosure of the content of that work” (§ 1905.1). “Lending, renting, or leasing copies of a work constitutes publication of that work” (Ibid.). “[P]ublication occurs when copies … are distributed to the public by means of a sale or other transfer of ownership … . Likewise, publication occurs when copies … are distributed by means of rental, lease, or lending” (§ 1905.2). Similarly, from here, “a work is ‘published’ if one or more copies … embodying it are distributed to the public—that is, generally to persons under no explicit or implicit restrictions with respect to disclosure of its contents—without regard to the manner in which the copies … changed hands” (p. 138). The Compendium also discusses how limited a distribution must be to qualify as “limited”—a key, recurring requirement is that the number of people is limited, which is not the case for a book placed in a library’s catalog. It seems quite clear to me that all thesis publications would fall clearly under this definition of “publication.” In addition, the Compendium clearly distinguishes Estate, which was publicly performed, not publicly displayed. Such a difference does not apply, and could not apply, to a work placed in a library’s catalog for loans. Thus, it seems clear to me that all dissertations released into university library systems (and ILL systems) were published, as there is an initial presumption against giving copies of a book to a library for further distribution being somehow a “limited publication.” (The Compendium also discusses offering a work to others, in what would be limited publication, being a general publication when the offer is made “‘for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display’” (§ 1906.1, citing 17 U.S.C. § 101). TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 03:09, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The ransom note by Leopold and Loeb (1924)[edit]

Leopold and Loeb's ransom note for Bobby Franks.jpg

@Billinghurst: because you transcribed a work on this murder case in the past. I was going to enter a transcription of this notable ransom note by Leopold and Loeb, which is on Wikimedia Commons. However, it would almost certainly qualify as an unpublished work, so the rules may be different. According to c:Template:PD-US-unpublished, 1.) This work wouldn't apply to the death pre-1951 rule, because while Loeb died in 1936, Leopold died in 1971, which is after 1951. 2.) A pseudonym is used, so I guess it'd actually apply to the third note, which is that it should have been created before 1901. It wasn't.

So my unfortunate conclusion is that this note is not in the public domain in the US. Unless its publication of the note in newspapers and the like counts as publication...but I don't think that Leopold and Loeb themselves endorsed any of that, and I don't know that the newspapers in that case could be considered the copyright holders per se of the note. What do you think? If this is determined here to be still in copyright, we should bring the discussion to Wikimedia Commons and have them delete the image file. PseudoSkull (talk) 14:56, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • It was as well printed and reprinted to have found its way to The Loeb–Leopold Case (1926); which, being published after the trial, prints public record material. Criminals cannot claim their illegal acts as legitimate for infringement (counter)claims, anyhow. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 16:54, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@PseudoSkull: I have transcribed a lot of works for myself, and others in passing, over the years so expecting me to remember little things that I did can be pushing my recall.

The upload comment on the file mentioned says "Chicago Daily News" so I am guessing it was printed at the time. It is one of those works over which I wouldn't normally fuss about copyright. The heirs can submit a DCMA request, and see how it goes with WMF legal, IMNSHO. — billinghurst sDrewth 23:05, 26 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of the notes by the Author:Zodiac Killer were uploaded under {{PD-Disavowed}}. Not sure this template applies here (or even if we want to encourage use it on enWS) but could be worth knowing about? —Beleg Tâl (talk) 14:48, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beleg Tâl: I placed the template on the transcription of the ransom note. However, I agree something else should preferably be used. Would you say that enforcing a copyright on a work that was made illegally in the first place is virtually impossible? If so, we might want a template like Template:PD-illegal-act which explains the ginormous unlikelihood of a work made as a criminal act having any copyright enforced on it. (It might be appropriate to have this be a proposal in the Scriptorium because I feel like it's a discussion with a lot of legal nuance.) PseudoSkull (talk) 18:27, 3 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am not sure that illegal acts are not copyrightable, see Eldar Haber’s treatise published by Yale Law School. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 22:11, 3 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. The copyright could conceivably be confiscated, as could any actual proceeds, by a court; but there is no general copyright exemption for a work based on its legality or lack thereof (unless we get into terrorism and national security: there are… special cases to consider there). And {{PD-Disavowed}} is nonsense in legal terms, and should not be used except in extremely exceptional circumstances (and I can't think of a good valid example off hand). That a suspected author has disavowed a work simply makes it anonymous, and follows the copyright rules for anonymous works; and if they have acknowledged authorship then they are the author and needs to make a legally valid and binding dedication to the public domain or release the work with a compatible license. {{PD-Disavowed}} tries to pretend that the mere assertion that someone is the author is sufficient to make it so, and that their denial ("disavowal") of authorship is the same as a valid dedication to the public domain.
Oh, and enforcing a copyright on a work that was "made illegally" (I presume we mean "produced in the commission of a crime" or "which is evidence of a crime") is neither impossible nor even particularly difficult. If the crime was notorious you may have trouble because fair use reduces the market for your copyrights, but otherwise all you have to do is sue infringers or enter into licensing contracts. Typically after you get out of jail, but that's unrelated to the validity or enforceability of the copyright. Xover (talk) 13:09, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Has it ever seen publication authorised by the authors? If not then it is unpublished (newspapers get fair use exemptions, and public records are accessible, but none of that affects copyright). That it was published under a pseudonym isn't really relevant since the real authors are known and have been since shortly after it was written. Xover (talk) 15:16, 30 September 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Specifically, publication occurs when one or more copies or phonorecords are distributed to a member of the public who is not subject to any express or implied restrictions concerning the disclosure of the content of that work." Copyright Compendium III, 1905.1 Distribution to the Public. There was no restrictions included in that note regarding its disclosure, nor is it reasonable to read implied restrictions into something like a ransom note. Having it published is a normal reaction, and if Leopold or Loeb wanted to use the force of the law to stop that, I'd think they were obliged to say so.
Also, cf. "DANJAQ LLC MGM UA v. Kevin O'Conovan McClory". They've had 95 years to object to the continuing exploitation of this note, and we are at great disadvantage due to what agreements Leopold or Loeb may have made, informally or formally.
Finally, we're putting in a lot of argument for something that's been published for a long time, that has no economic worth, and de minimis non curat lex.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:03, 1 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Much as I hate to disagree with you on matters like this… While you can make an argument based on level of risk versus amount of effort expended, claiming de minimis specifically here is stretching the concept when we're using all of the work and not as an incidental part of our own creative contribution. And why in the world would we assume any more "intent to publish" for a ransom note—documenting a criminal act—than any normal letter? The doctrine of laches is an affirmative defence, so the mere assertion of it presupposes and admits both the existence of a copyright and our infringement of it. Planning in advance to make use of a laches defence thus makes the infringement wilful, and unclean hands is a bar to a valid laches defence even if it would otherwise meet the criteria. Which this wouldn't, because the clock doesn't start until the owners of the copyright become aware of the infringement, which, barring a lawsuit I'm unaware of, has not yet happened. There is also no reasonable argument to be made that the owner's delay prejudices us in any measurable way, neither evidentially nor economically. But even worse is that, as an affirmative defence, much like fair use, latches would protect us but not our re-users. Even in Danjaq v. McClory there is no question as to latches invalidating or otherwise affecting the copyright itself, only McClury's ability to gain equitable relief for the alleged infringement of it, for the specific alleged instances of infringement by the specific named parties. Xover (talk) 12:47, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's not about intent to publish. It's about "distributed to a member of the public who is not subject to any express or implied restrictions concerning the disclosure of the content of that work." The receiver of the note was under no express restrictions about disclosure, and notices like this are regularly published, putting to doubt any claims about implied restrictions. I'd feel that any demand or threat to a hostile party would lack that "implicit restriction", and certainly one which public policy would against prohibiting the publication of. That's not a full-throated PD-Illegal; just that if you get a note about an illegal act, the implication should be that you should publish it, not hide it, and the copyright law read at the time that if there was no implication the receiver should not further distribute it, it was published.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:48, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Laches may not apply to us, but note that Danjaq v. McClory was clearly not limited to past infringements; laches were applied to the 1999 movie The World Is Not Enough, for which this litigation, started in 1997-1998, was clearly timely. That ruling didn't leave any door open for McClory to sue Danjaq for future infringements.--Prosfilaes (talk) 23:48, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would expect that while sending the letter doesn't convey copyright ownership, it does convey an implicit license to publish it since there is no expectation of privacy in this context as would affect a personal letter. It would seem similar to me as sending to a newspaper editor or magazine, we wouldn't say that a letter written in 1910 to a newspaper wasn't published because we can't find a written agreement conveying the right to publication. So Leopold and Loeb gave an implicit right to publication and the copyright would then have expired without the registration / renewal after it was published. MarkLSteadman (talk) 23:36, 3 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Basically, I agree with the analysis above. Mailing a note to members of the public causes publication because no implicit restrictions (such as a pre-existing relationship), and unlike other examples, such a mailing a manuscript to a publisher covered by "limited distribution": "to a definitely selected group and for a limited purpose", any purpose here is criminal and not a valid purpose and therefore ineligible for limited distribution protection. MarkLSteadman (talk) 17:39, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


As mentioned in a previous discussion on this page, this template is pretty much legal nonsense. Is there any way to fix it and retain the affected works? The works primarily affected by this template are Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride, a work that purports to have been written in 1894 but which is believed by many to be a 1964 hoax; and the writings of the Zodiac Killer (fl. 1968-1969) whose identity is not known. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 13:24, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Zodiac Killer letters are all scan-backed and have various licenses on Commons; they might be hostable under {{PD-US-no-notice}} since they were published before 1977. I have no idea how this would be affected by the fact that the letters were published in newspapers and police files, and not all of them with the consent of the author. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 13:28, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The Instruction falls under this restriction quite readily; for the Zodiac Killer letters, they are probably considered “published;” but are likely under this doctrine, as well. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 13:35, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I don't understand the "published without consent of the author." They were sent to newspapers with the clear intent to be published, but were not published with the correct copyright notice / registration. For more recent works where registration isn't an issue we can get into this debate when it happens, but I don't understand why we would say a letter to the editor printed in 1905 is under copyright because the author didn't consent to have it published when he or she mailed it to the newspaper by signing an explicit consent to publish statement. You mail letters to newspapers to have them published! MarkLSteadman (talk) 16:35, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Beleg Tâl: I can see the argument for "implicit consent" in the sense that if you're going to commit a serious crime like that, you probably know full well that if you ever get caught and evidence is obtained, the evidence will be published in news reports and the like, because the news reports on that sort of stuff all the time; it's their primary source of income. I'd think that's just common sense; even for the most insane of criminals I'd expect they know this. That's not necessarily a legal argument on my part, but just a comment on the psychological bit of it that I'd like to leave here. PseudoSkull (talk) 17:25, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh yes for sure, and I have no moral qualms about disseminating these works freely online; but I also have to uphold our copyright policies, and I don't understand the legal ramifications of such a circumstance well enough to determine whether Wikisource can be the place where such texts are hosted. Fortunately, most of the works in question should be well handled by lack of copyright notice. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 17:35, 5 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Deletion. Instruction and the Zodiac letters to the newspapers / public officials should all be tagged {{PD-US-no-notice}} since they were published pre-1989 with no notice or registration within 5 years. Any remaining works we should discuss individually. MarkLSteadman (talk) 17:15, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: According to what we have transcribed at Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride (assuming it is correct; it is unfortunately not scan-backed), this would fall into the public domain for one of two reasons: 1.) It was actually published in 1894, and therefore is in the public domain for being so old. 2.) It was published in 1964 without a proper copyright notice—assuming in this case it is a hoax, the copyright notice of 1894 doesn't count since it is decades off the actual publication date. To retain a copyright, it would have needed a stated copyright date of 1964. PseudoSkull (talk) 18:59, 4 October 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Should we separately discuss which works to delete? I see several transclusions at Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:PD-Disavowed.--Jusjih (talk) 05:11, 26 November 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Here is a list of all the works with my comments:
    • The Wiccan Rede: mentioned source is Green Egg (1975) IA which was published with copyright notice claimed over entire contents. 1974 Earth Religion News is another possible source. Published in the US but unclear whether the claimed copyright is valid. If not, then these would be PD-no notice, if so then it would be copyrighted until 95 years.
    • Instruction and Advice for the Young Bride: mention about either 1894 (PD-old) or 1964 publication (PD-no-notice). Earliest link to published source is from 1989 (which would be copyrighted without notice). Ideally, find a version to verify the 1964 publication as a source.
    • Zodiac letters mailed to the Chronicle, Channel 9. These seem to me clear cases of PD-no notice as mailing to a newspaper which then published them without copyright claim.
    • Other Zodiac communications, need to determine whether published (and then no notice) or not (in which case copyright for 120 years).
    • Leopold and Loeb's ransom note for Bobby Franks: either contemporaneous publication which would have expired or it is unpublished anonymous work (and hence copyrighted until 2045 (120 years after publication).

MarkLSteadman (talk) 23:08, 16 December 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I!d add Dossiers secrets d'Henri Lobineau it is a blank page just including disscusion of weather it is in copyirght unsigned comment by (talk) .

Agreed. This page has essentially no content, and whatever discussion took place then is clearly done as of now, as it started ~ 14 years ago. I was actually inclined to speedy it until I saw how long it has been there as it is. @MarkLSteadman: What is your opinion on that work's copyright status? PseudoSkull (talk) 14:59, 29 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had speedied it before I read PseudoSkull’s comment. If anybody desires to see it, I will renew it. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 15:06, 29 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My sense on the French work possibilities published abroad before 1977 means that the key question is whether it was copyrighted in France on the URAA date (which would imply publication +95 years):
  • If the copyright lies with the two forgers than the French copyright expire 70 years after the death of Plantard (2070) so past the URAA
  • If the work is considered pseudonymous then they are in the French public domain (2017) but after the URAA date
  • If the work is considered posthumous then it expired 25 years after publication (1992) which is before the URAA date. It would then be in the public domain
  • I highly doubt simultaneous publication in the US so we can ignore that case.
My take is that we consider it pseudonymous which means the US copyright expires 95 years after publication with the French copyright expired. MarkLSteadman (talk) 16:05, 29 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amazing Stories v15n10 and v16n11[edit]

Amazing Stories volume 15 issue 10 and volume 16 issue 11 didn't have their copyrights renewed, but they have a few stories (one in the first, "Invisible Men of Mars"; two in the second, "After an Age" and "Murder From the Moon") that were renewed. I've uploaded new versions of the djvu files removing the copyrighted sections (assuming 95 years after publication per the Hirtle chart), and carefully checked all other issues of this (and some other pulp mags) that are on Wikisource. These two issues are the only ones that are affected. Unsure what's the best way to deal with the pages that have already been proofread (about ten pages in total, volume 15 issue 10 only, including one page that has some text from another story at the start). --YodinT 21:31, 15 March 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've checked them again, and these are the only affected pages containing copyrighted text (all in volume 15 issue 10; none from volume 16 issue 11 were created before the scans had the copyrighted stories removed): pp. 8, 10, 11, 12, 17, 21, 27, 29, 36, 37 (and p. 58, which is the one that also contains another story). I've replaced the copyrighted text on the pages with {{text removed}}, and guess the previous revisions of these pages should be revdel'd (or maybe full deletion of all these except p. 58), along with the previous versions of the djvu files? --YodinT 14:35, 21 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA)[edit]

Although the ECUSA has been very clear that this work as a whole is in the public domain, nevertheless it includes a significant amount of text by ICEL and other sources which are very much NOT in the public domain. While these passages are included in the BCP with permission and/or under Fair Use doctrine, nevertheless they are not appropriate for Wikisource.

Due to the large number and size of these passages, as well as the difficulty of distinguishing them from other parts of this work, I recommend deletion of the whole work, and focus on Book of Common Prayer (1892) as a replacement. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 01:54, 16 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Keep. This book is completed, unlike the 1892 copy, and is quite clearly in the public domain, as the note at the top of the page states. I don’t know how you can doubt such an unequivocal expression as “is not and never has been under copyright.” TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 01:48, 29 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Questions for @Beleg Tâl and @TE(æ)A,ea. It looks like the 2007 work is a rework of the 1979 work. Anything published in the US in or after 1978 is automatically copyrighted. I see claims on Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA) that the copyright has been released, but I don’t see anything in the book scans that show a copyright release. Please clarify (both of you) your source for claiming all or part of this work is PD. Jeepday (talk) 16:59, 20 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Jeepday: There is a message in the “notes” on the header on the page to that effect: what more do you want? There is clear, direct statement that Wikisource can host it; what more do you want? TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 20:28, 21 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • TE(æ)A,ea. assuming that the opening message from "Charles Wohlers" is someone who is authorized to speak for the work. If it was published in 1979 and/or 2007 in the US it is/was copyrighted (unless it also had a PD claim) so the statement "The U S Book of Common Prayer is not and never has been under copyright." is not accurate. If you have something showing the 1979 was in the public domain when published, that would support the argument that the 2007 is PD as well. But a note from someone is not listed in the publication, and is making a statement this not supported by evidence does not support the 2007 work as PD. Jeepday (talk) 01:09, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Opps I had that backwards, have been out of the loop for a while. Help:Public_domain#Published_in_the_United_States in 1979 copyright was not automatic, you needed to actively claim copyright. The 2007 verision is still questionable until we verify the copyright status of the 1979 version. Jeepday (talk) 01:22, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Jeepday: Mr. Wohlers is the man who created the 2007 ECUSA edition of the Book of Common Prayer; no man could be more authorized to speak on the matter. According to the notes, the 2007 revision only changes some factual matters, and not the text of the Book, such items not being included in the work in any case. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:12, 22 June 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment I don't see this discussion addressing post-1989 additions of parts from ICEL and others. Pre-1989 inactivity regarding copyright (which is what the purported email from Wohler expresses) may have led to PD no-notice/no-renewal, but after 1989 such materials need an explicit license from the copyright holder (which will not be Wohler). Xover (talk) 06:21, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

File:MU KPB 033 Rubiat of Omar Rayyam.pdf and File:MU KPB 034 Parsifal.pdf[edit]

These files were transfered from Wikimedia Commons, as it is believed that they are U.K. works which are in the public domain in the United States (see this discussion). If they are U.K. works, then they are unsuitable for hosting on Wikimedia Commons; if they are not, owing to simultaneous publication in the U.S., then they may be exported back. The Rubáiyát (misspelled in the file name: also “Rayyam” instead of “Khayyam”) is listed at being published in 1909, but I have not found any internal or external information to verify that date. Parsifal is given as 1921 in the file, but 1912 on his Wikipedia article. Based on those dates, these works are in the public domain in the U.S. The books are illustrated by Willy Pogány; I have ordered a book describing his work, in the hope that it will have some more detailed bibliographical information. I also ask for the services of Xover, whose searchings through newspaper archives have helped in earlier discussions. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 00:20, 18 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Symbol keep vote.svg Keep These works are {{PD-US}} we can host them. The UK copyright is irrelevant for works hosted at enWS. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:47, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think that it is overly worth the fuss of drilling further, that is more a discussion for Commons. We can host them, and if in dispute there, don't kill yourself over it. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:53, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Transcriptions added by user:Johnson.Xia[edit]

Most of the works uploaded by Johnson.Xia (talkcontribs) appear to be copyright violations. They are not with license templates and many are copy and pastes from a Chinese Government website that clearly states that the pages are copyright. So even if the Chinese language pages are in the public domain, there is no certainty that the translations are in the public domain. Unless this can be quickly demonstrated to not be the case I think that we just have to delete the uploads. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:44, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I would like to cite Article 5 of Copyright Law of the People's Republic of China that most of my works published are either 0"official translations" of "documents of administrative nature" or "mere information about facts or happenings". Also, considering copyright regulations for official websites of governments around the world, I believe that works from Chinese Government are in public domain as well. Johnson.Xia (talk) 15:17, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Speaking of .gov websites, I wonder if documents on are in public domain. Johnson.Xia (talk) 21:21, 9 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Johnson.Xia: Are you claiming that the works are classified as {{PD-ROC-exempt}}? If yes, then they need to be applied to the work, and you have to explain/demonstrate that is the case on the talk page of each work. Use the notes field in the pertinent talk page template. — billinghurst sDrewth 12:00, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Billinghurst: I think you mean {{PD-PRC-exempt}} in this case. Shells-shells (talk) 18:51, 10 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please specify which works are questioned. Even if Chinese Wikisource considers anything absolute acceptable, the translation here requires verifiable source and license. If Chinese Wikisource considers anything a copyvio, then the matching work here must go.--Jusjih (talk) 18:27, 14 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I note multiple issues with lack of licensing, questionable copyright status, improper sourcing (zhWS cannot be a source for a text on enWS), and what appears to be undeclared user translations in violation of WS:T. I am unable to trawl through all their contributions just now, but a quick spot check indicates there is a lot of cleanup to do (large parts may need to be deleted) and Johnson.Xia appears to need guidance on our policies and practices. @Johnson.Xia: please familiarise yourself with enWS policies (you'll find pertinent links in the welcome message on your talk page) before adding any further texts, and ask for help or guidance (at WS:S/H or from an admin) if there's anything that is unclear. Xover (talk) 07:05, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"improper sourcing (zhWS cannot be a source for a text on enWS)", "undeclared user translations in violation of WS:T", please specify it. unsigned comment by Johnson.Xia (talk) 19:05, 24 September 2022‎ (UTC).Reply[reply]
You were clearly able to find it yourself without much trouble. Xover (talk) 18:06, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

CC BY-SA 4.0 texts?[edit]

I have noticed that The Scrum Guide (2020), which is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, has been added to the main page. Wikipedia FAQ states that this license is not compatible with Wikipedia. I've looked at the Wikisource help page and copyright policy, and both say that text must be compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0, which rules out the newer version. However, the copyright tags page lists the CC BY-SA 4.0 as one of the possible licenses. What is the official policy of Wikisource on CC BY-SA 4.0 texts? Alnaling (talk) 18:09, 14 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Speaking as the person who added this text, my understanding of the licensing policy is that anything that permits "free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives", even in terms of commercial use, is fine per our copyright policy. I wouldn't say that CC-BY-SA 4.0 is incompatible with CC BY-SA 3.0 in this way. We have had a longstanding CC-BY-SA 4.0 template and a long history of works being transcribed that are under this license, so without change to current licensing consensus I don't think they will be disallowed. PseudoSkull (talk) 01:29, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@PseudoSkull I agree that CC BY-SA 4.0 is a free license and in that sense it is fine per copyright policy, however, the license compatibility is also an important aspect. For example, the {{GFDL}} tag states that it "must also be dual-licensed with another compatible license" (see Free as in Freedom for an example). Moreover the Terms of Use state that "You may import text [...] available under terms that are compatible with the CC BY-SA 3.0 license (or, as explained above, another license when exceptionally required by the Project edition or feature)("CC BY-SA").". If this project uses another license, then it should be clearly stated, but the footer of the page still links to CC BY-SA 3.0.
As a side note, I also think that CC BY-SA 4.0 texts should be allowed, but if they have to be removed due to legal technicalities it should be done sooner than later to avoid wasted work. Alnaling (talk) 18:13, 15 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Alnaling (CC PseudoSkull): Thanks for bringing this up! We have over the years dedicated far too little attention to details like this, and our guidance and policies are therefore somewhat lacking.
I have struggled to find the cycles to actually look into this issue—in particular, what the differences between 3.0 and 4.0 are that makes WMF Legal say they are incompatible—but there is one clarifying distinction I can make based on a superficial approach: on Wikipedia, all content is collaborative and potentially copyrightable (article content, say), but on Wikisource almost all our mainspace content is by design not actually copyrightable and subject to licensing. The point of the project is to faithfully reproduce previously published textual works, so anything we did that could attract copyright (and thus be subject to licensing) would no longer be faithful to the original. Because of that, the CC BY-SA 3.0 + GFDL default license for contributions never comes into play for our mainspace content, and it doesn't matter what "upstream" license that content is under so long as it is otherwise free.
Outside mainspace (i.e Wikisource:, User:, Help:, etc.) we are more similar to Wikipedia, but in these places it is very rare that we have need to import any external text (except templates and such from other WMF projects) and so an incompatibility with CC BY-SA 4.0 is almost never going to be relevant. Where we do have a potential issue is with our content namespaces were we permit non-faithful / user generated content: Translation: and Portal:. So far we only have (that I have noticed) translations based on public domain originals, and no portals with actually copyrightable elements (lists of facts). But here we could eventually run into this issue.
We really should make these distinctions explicit in our guidance and policies because sooner or later it is going to bite us. Especially our failure to directly address the GFDL deprecation a few years ago has given us a potentially massive content headache that we've so far mainly closed our eyes to and pretended doesn't exist. Xover (talk) 07:13, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xover: Thanks for the detailed reply.
Regarding the incompatibility between CC BY-SA 4.0 and 3.0, I've looked into the text and in 3.b.1 it says that the adapted material must be shared under the same license "this version or later, or a BY-SA Compatible License". Since 3.0 is not a later version and not listed as BY-SA compatible this means that the content cannot be redistributed under this license, hence incompatibility.
I'm not sure I follow your point about the reproduced content being "not actually copyrightable". If I understand correctly, redistributing a faithfully reproduced text is still subject to licensing, regardless of whether we consider translating it to Wikimedia format a transformative act or not. Naturally if the license is free, it allows us to do so. The question is whether we can do this using WMF servers, since its Terms of Use seem to only allow text content compatible with CC BY-SA 3.0 (though I'd like to someone more informed to confirm this). I agree that the reproduced text will probably not be mixed with other user generated content, so it might be possible for WMF to introduce an exception for WS given the boundaries between reproduced free content and user generated content are clearly defined.
I've also noticed that exported books contain an about section that states that they may be used under the CC BY-SA 3.0 + GFDL license, which is also untrue in case of CC BY-SA 4.0 (and even 3.0 only) texts, so this should also be updated if the current licensing consensus doesn't change. Alnaling (talk) 21:03, 25 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There Goes Old Georgetown[edit]

Fight song for Georgetown University athletics teams. Info at w:There Goes Old Georgetown (from where this was cut&pasted in 2009). It is apparently an amalgamation (derivative work) of three earlier songs, one of which has an unknown author and is dated 1930. As such it would still be in copyright until 2026. Xover (talk) 11:35, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Keep. Georgetown University being a U.S. institution, and the songs being published at or around the school, U.S. copyright law likely applies. In such a case, there is a presumption against copyright if there is no license given; and as there is no precautionary principle here, this work should not be deleted without an affirmative indication (such as a notice) which may show a firmer claim to copyright. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 16:25, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The absence of a c:COM:PRP here does not mean we can assume absence of copyright, it just means we don't have a hard default of delete in the face of imperfect or incomplete evidence (which would make my life a heck of a lot simpler). In the complete absence of information about authorship and first publication we're still going to have to assume copyright, and then inch our way towards concluding public domain if sufficient evidence of that probability amasses. Xover (talk) 08:24, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Xover: For a normal work, I would tend to assume copyright first. However, these are all songs made for the university, and were likely published around that time in small college publications. Thus, I find it unlikely that any copyright subsists. If there was any copyright, it would likely be enforced against Georgetown, and would be listed. For the above reasons, I believe it would be unwise to be precautious. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 16:23, 18 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Social Importance of the Modern School[edit]

Article, or possibly a speech, by Emma Goldman. The text here gives English version published by Vintage Books, 1972, originally published ~1935. Online text source from RevoltLib, which in turn is from Anarchy Archives.. RevoltLib gives no further info, but claims it was published in Mother Earth in 1916. Mother Earth being a monthly published by Goldman herself (with contributions from many luminaries). However, I dug up the 1916 issues on HathiTrust (they have multiple copies) and can find no trace of it there. The 1935 original publication is entirely unattested. So the first actual publication I find is the 1972 Vintage Books publication. Unless the claimed 1916 publication, or a 1935 publication without a copyright notice, is located this would seem to be a copyvio.

Incidentally, if anyone is at all interested in this area, systematically proofreading Mother Earth from the first issue looks like it would be a worthwhile project. Let me know if you would like help making DjVus out of the HathiTrust scans. Xover (talk) 14:43, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The “c. 1935” is not a publication date, but an authorship date. Red Emma Speaks gives the following as the source:
    “The Social Importance of the Modern School” (and fragment on sex education), unpublished typescripts, Emma Goldman Papers, New York Public Library, Manuscript Division (n.d.).
This would seem to indicate that the first publication was in Red Emma Speaks, meaning that the copyright for this essay dates to that publication. However, if that publication did not give a copyright notice specific to this previously unpublished work (instead giving a copyright notice for editorial work), then the work is in the public domain for failure to state a specific copyright claim. The new work would also have needed permission from the holders of the copyright in the unpublished work. The case is not perfectly clear; I want to do a little more research first. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 16:25, 17 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Higglety Pigglety, My Black Hen[edit]

Anybody up for doing some research on this one? It was transwikied here from enWP in 2007. The few (very unreliable) references I found in a dumb google search suggested this is 16th/17th-century, so if we can find some reasonably reliable source to back that up we can maybe slap a {{PD-old}} on it and be done. But wise from Happy Birthday and similar situations, we can't really assume that's so without checking. And if it's really 16th/17th-century there has to be a pre-1927 printed collection of nursery rhymes somewhere that includes (so we could even scan-back it). Xover (talk) 18:29, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Maybe 801 on pg. 217 here [7] ? MarkLSteadman (talk) 18:39, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Google won't let me see the contents of that, but Edward Williams Byron Nicholson would seem to be a pretty good source, yes. Does IA have a decent scan of it? Xover (talk) 18:43, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The scan is here [8] of good quality. I see a bunch under Higglepy piggleby or Hickety pickety (e.g. [9])as well. MarkLSteadman (talk) 18:58, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So from some searching, we have numerous versions to choose from. There are:
- ei (talk) 02:53, 24 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Free and Open Software: Paradigm for a New Intellectual Commons[edit]

2009 speech by Eben Moglen, transcribed by an IP from a YouTube recording of the conference. The speech is obviously prepared (i.e. not off the cuff), and there are no traces of any compatible licensing. Moglen has not himself published the speech that I have found. Xover (talk) 14:28, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • See also here; I believe that this work (and many of his works) could be licensed, if we asked, considering his support for free software. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 14:53, 22 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fangs of Gold[edit]

Story by Robert E. Howard, first published as "The People of the Serpent" in Strange Detective Stories in the February 1934 issue. Apparently there was a mixup of the titles of two stories in that issue ("The Tomb's Secret"), and subsequent attempts to remedy by switching titles in later collections (and to make the chaos perfect, there's a Howard collection including related stories titled Strange Detective Stories, but which does not contain "Fangs of Gold"/"The People of the Serpent"). In any case, the 1934 first publication was with a copyright notice.

So… In order to determine the copyright status for this one we'll have to search the copyright renewals, and given the mess of classification, that means both renewals for books and serials (Stanford only has books), and under all the possible titles and/or all the possible registrants (Howard himself, Otis Adelbert Kline, Glenn Lord, Nickel Publications, Ralph Daigh , etc.). Renewal would have had to happen in 1962 give or take a year (so 1961–1963). Anybody up for trawling through it? Xover (talk) 14:13, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Keep. Searching manually though all serial and (books/)contributions publications, there is no renewal of either the magazine or a story under Howard’s name. As renewals are made under the name of the author, not the claimant, there is no need to search through other names. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 15:12, 23 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Multiple unsourced national constitutions[edit]

The following national constitutions lack a source and a license:

As constitutions, the originals of these are definitely {{PD-EdictGov}}, but the translations are so only if they are official translations authored by the same legislative assembly as the originals. They could also be the relevant country's equivalent to {{PD-USGov}} if they are made by some other part of that country's government. Otherwise, it starts to get iffy. If the translations are by a non-government entity they are subject to the normal rules for books (pma. 70, URAA, pub. +95 etc.).

These are very likely to be similar cases, so I'm listing them together, but each will need separate research. Please mark each entry in the list with a {{done}} if you find its status (either way), and comment below with what you found. Xover (talk) 15:59, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Added Armenian National Constitution. --Xover (talk) 16:21, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xover: I do not see any copyright problem with the Armenian National Constitution, as it is scanbacked by a 1901 publication. However, imo it should not be a separate page, it should be a subpage of Armenia, travels and studies. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 18:33, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jan.Kamenicek: That's because I just scan-backed it to that scan. :)
And it should indeed be a sub-page, but the scan hasn't been sufficiently proofread to be transcluded yet so I'm leaving that for future improvement. --Xover (talk) 19:34, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I see :-D --Jan Kameníček (talk) 19:35, 24 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's probably worth noting that some of these may be copied from WIPOlex (the general reference for such translations), and if so may be copyrighted. Their terms of use are at While their translations are most definitely "official", they are not "made" PD by being published there. National copyright laws often specifically address "official" translations, and make them PD, but otherwise such a translation is copyrighted even though a "government work," since it's not the actual edict. Jarnsax (talk) 09:19, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Jarnsax: FWIW, I've seen third-party translations hosted on WIPOLex "by permission". I don't think we can make any assumptions about copyright status of a text merely by virtue of having been hosted on WIPOLex. We can assume that WIPO have not made the text up and have made reasonable efforts to make sure the document is authentic etc., but they specifically disclaim accuracy etc. and we have no guarantee the translations are by the government of the original issuing jurisdiction. Xover (talk) 09:35, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xover Right. I just meant it's a place to check as the possible source, but being there doesn't mean it's PD.... it just might help you track it down. Jarnsax (talk) 09:45, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Stalin's speech on the radio on 3 July 1941[edit]

Unlicensed, from 1941. It doesn't seem to be an edict of a government, and the translator is not mentioned. What is the copyright status of Soviet speeches post-1926? PseudoSkull (talk) 13:08, 29 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I remember an interesting discussion on the {{PD-EdictGov}} at US Supreme Court determination re copyright and government edicts in which I understood that all works of those who are authored to issue laws in the their country, are subject of PD-EdictGov automatically. Unfortunately, the discussion did not have any effect on our template, and so I am not sure if I understood it right. -- Jan Kameníček (talk) 08:58, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jan Kameníček TBH, that news article didn't do a very good job of discussing the case... from the syllabus, "the Court cited a decision by the Georgia Supreme Court holding that the preparation of the annotations under Georgia law constitute an act of “legislative authority.”". Also, "First, Section 101 of the Copyright Act, which lists “annotations” among the kinds of works eligible for copyright protection, refers only to annotations that represent an original work of authorship, which the annotations cannot be when legislators are the authors. Second, the fact that the Copyright Act excludes from copyright protection works by federal officials but does not mention state officials does not lead to the negative inference that state officials must be eligible to be authors."
So, works are not PD "just because" the author was a legislator.... the work has to have been made in the course of their duties, as part of the "process" of developing laws and exercising legislative authority. A legislator who is acting "as a legislator", writing not just law but the "legislative history" (committee reports, crap like that), is acting as an agent of the people, part of the "sovereign authority" and is not an eligible author under the Copyright Act. Jarnsax (talk) 09:18, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's also worth noting that, in the particular case the works at issue were not actually created by individual legislators, they were "works for hire" created for, and edited by, the Georgia Legislature itself. Jarnsax (talk) 09:26, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@PseudoSkull The US didn't have bilateral copyright relations with the Soviet Union until they acceded to the Universal Copyright Convention on May 27, 1973. Any and all Russian works from before that date were ineligible for copyright protection in the US, unless they had an author who was a "national or domiciliary" of some other country that did have bilateral relations. Since Russian is 50 years p.m.a., any work by an author who died on or after after January 1, 1946 was still copyrighted in Russia on the URAA date, and would have (assuming something else doesn't get in the way) a URAA-restored copyright. Given the detail that this is actually a speech, I'll just quote Circular 38B: "Although sound recordings fixed before 1972 were not then protected by federal copyright, those sound recordings will receive the remainder of the term they would have received had they been protected by such copyright when published. For example, a sound recording published in 1925 will be protected until 2020." Obviously, they need to update the thing with a more modern example, but still.... this has a URAA-restored copyright. Symbol delete vote.svg Delete Jarnsax (talk) 09:03, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For the original, keep (I haven’t yet verified the status of the translation). Re: Jarnsax: “Under the government edicts doctrine, [executive officials] … may not be considered the ‘authors’ of the works they produce in the course of their official duties as [executive officials].” Especially given the content and context of this speech, I would definitely consider to have been written in Stalin’s official capacity. There is, incidentally, a court case currently ongoing about this exact topic: Carroll v. Trump, which considers whether statements made by Trump, while President, though at informal press gaggles and in personal interviews, were made in his official capacity as President; they (the Second Circuit) consider the matter sufficiently doubtful to certify the question to the D.C. Court of Appeals. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 12:29, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TE(æ)A,ea. I'm really really dubious about applying the government edicts doctrine to this speech, since it would actually contradict the URAA, but I will look at that case. The real point of me talking about Georgia, though was that the points of the case there were sufficiently different ("works for hire", written by a private company, and edited by the Legislature) that the claimed copyright would have accrued to the legislature itself, as a corporate body. Totally different situation, entirely. They actually wrote about how legislators, when acting to write legislation, can't be eligible authors to get rid of one of the bad arguments that had been made, pointing out that the process of writing and editing the annotations was actually itself written out in state law, so they were obviously acting "as legislators" when editing it as members of a legislative committee, a 'body corporate'. TLDR, the Georgia decision really has nothing to do with this, it was about something else entirely. Jarnsax (talk) 13:15, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: Re: URAA, if the work was GovEdict-covered, then it wasn’t copyrightable in the first place, and thus there was never any copyright which the URAA could restore. Unfortunately, Carroll doesn’t answer the question; it just mentions it (with different phrasing, of course), and leaves resolution for several years down the road. The Georgia case expanded the domain of the government edicts doctrine, and it is for that reason that I mention it. The copyright claim rejected by the Supreme Court in Georgia was more broad than you describe, as it also states that legislators, not merely legislatures, could not claim such copyright. The principles expounded in Georgia apply, even if the facts of the cases are different. Quoting from Georgia: “Under the government edicts doctrine, judges—and, we now confirm, legislators—may not be considered the ‘authors’ of the works they produce in the course of their official duties as judges and legislators.” If this speech was given by Stalin “in the course of [his] official dut[y] as” leader of the Soviet Union, then it seems clear to me that it would be ineligible for copyright. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 13:27, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The term "restored work" is kind of a misnomer, in that it only "restored" copyright to works that had actually been copyrighted in the US, and then became PD due to non-renewal. The URAA also vested a "new" US copyright in works that were from countries that were originally "ineligible", but became "eligible" before the URAA date... which is what happened here. That's the actual law, in [17 U.S. Code § 104A]. It also says "A restored work vests initially in the author or initial rightholder of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work"... so to call this PD, you need to establish that the "government edicts doctrine" was the law in 1940's Soviet Russia. I promise you, I'm not the person who is going to be digging through WIPOlex to prove or disprove that point.
The "government edicts doctrine" is only written down in case law... it's "based on common law", and subject to judicial interpretation, that's why it's called a doctrine. Actual copyright, however, only exists where the law actually says it does, in federal law, which only explicitly denies it to "works of the US Government". It actually remains silent about states, it doesn't explicitly say they get copyright. Extending that doctrine to cover works that US law, in the URAA, explicitly grants copyright protection to, without any 'exception', is quite the stretch, IMO, in order to get a 'keep'. It requires you to ignore statute law in favor of common law. Georgia didn't expand anything, many state governments has been claiming copyright over their laws, for many years, and scholars had written about how such claims were bs, for just as many. Georgia just beat down a bunch of incorrect arguments, that had also been widely repeated, and restated what the common law "had always been" on a point where statute law remains silent.
The common law 'principle' behind the government edicts doctrine goes all the way back to the Roman Empire, and is based on that it is immoral to hold a man responsible to obeying a law if he doesn't know what it is, people have to be able to freely copy it. It only applies to things that "have the force of law"... and the annotations, and stuff created "while writing law", the legislative history used in writing the annotations, is explicitly intended to be used by state judges when interpreting the.... it's the "official copy". That entire doctrine has absolutely nothing do do with "works of the US Government" that don't have the force of law, they are denied copyright in federal law, explicitly. State governments, can claim copyright in stuff (like, say, a directory of offices) that doesn't have the force of law, because federal law doesn't explicitly deny it to them.
Again, nothing to do with a speech given in 1940's Soviet Russia, and "maybe a court might agree with me" isn't the best argument. Jarnsax (talk) 14:21, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: As the Supreme Court explained in Georgia, “when Congress ‘adopt[s] the language used in [an] earlier act,’ we presume that Congress ‘adopted also the construction given by this Court to such language, and made it a part of the enactment.’” This also includes the government-edicts restriction, which applied regardless of country of origin. For example, in Singapore, governmental edicts are copyrighted for decades after enactment; and yet, because of the government edicts doctrine, they can be hosted here. This applies to works which were made before and after the URAA date. This is because, in the case of government edicts, there is no copyright to restore. Similarly, the URAA cannot be interpreted to grant terms of copyright to British works which meet “sweat of the brow” creativity levels but which do not meet U.S. creativity levels. Your interpretation of “restored” copyright also misses the mark. A “restored” copyright is a separate, new copyright which applies to certain works which were already in the public domain in the United States, although I don’t believe that that distinction is determinative here. Again, all of the provisions of section 104A can only apply if the work in question is indepently copyrightable in the United States, because if it is not, then there is no way copyright could have attached to it if it was published in the U.S. (which is what the URAA was created to do). Re: “[a]ctual copyright,” see my earlier quotation. Your interpretation would ignore Supreme Court precedent in favor of an interpretation of a statute; remember that how the Supreme Court interprets statutes is more important than what either of us claim the statute says. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 14:30, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@TE(æ)A,ea. To specifically reply to what you said about "when Congress adopt[s] the language used in [an] earlier act".... the rest is... "A century of cases have rooted the government edicts doctrine in the word “author,” and Congress has repeatedly reused that term without abrogating the doctrine. The term now carries this settled meaning, and “critics of our ruling can take their objections across the street, [where] Congress can correct any mistake it sees.” Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 576 U.S. 446, 456 (2015).[3]" As they said right before that, "But we are particularly reluctant to disrupt precedents interpreting language that Congress has since reenacted." They are talking about "authorship", and explaining why the State was incorrect in claiming that "legislators" could be "authors" under the Copyright Act when acting as legislators.
Looking at the previous paragraph, "That doctrine does not apply to non-lawmaking officials".
And the paragraph before that, "The whole point of the government edicts doctrine is that judges and legislators cannot serve as authors when they produce works in their official capacity."
The "government edicts doctrine" is common law, not statute law.... it is not in 17 USC. The court was dismissing the claim that 17 USC's definition of "authors" included legislators, on grounds that the Court had previously ruled that the definition did not include them, and when Congress revised the Copyright Act they never changed the definition, so the Court isn't going to listen to Georgia's novel theory that Congress "meant" to override that ruling, and just forgot or something. Jarnsax (talk) 17:22, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: My comment in response to that particular was to rebut your URAA claim re: a Soviet government edicts doctrine. If Congress has incorporated a history of “author” such that it didn’t apply to the most recent Copyright Act, that definition holds for the URAA, which means that Soviet works of a judicial or legislative nature, of the broad sort to be subject to the URAA, do not receive renewed copyrights because they are edicts of government. We differ on the next point, which is whether this doctrine has an analogous executive component, and thus whether this speech constitutes etc. etc. as we have argued earlier. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 17:27, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You misunderstand. 17 USC does not have a definition of "author", it just defines certain things that are works of "authorship", and thus eligible. What the Court was talking about was that after previous rulings, when the Court had ruled that legislators and judges were not "authors" when acting "in their official capacity" to create law, per the edict doctrine, Congress didn't add a definition of "author" that included them, so it was nonsense to expect the Court to change their mind now, over a hundred years later, and call them authors in the absence of a new definition that included them. Jarnsax (talk) 18:04, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The URAA addresses it in 104A(b), where it says "A restored work vests initially in the author or initial rightholder of the work as determined by the law of the source country of the work." It also defines a restored work as "an original work of authorship that" and then gives the restoration conditions.
    With no definition of "author" in the statute, you end up with the common law definition (i.e. what the Court said all the way back to the 19th century, and what Georgia again said, that "legislators and judges" are not authors of the laws they write. Jarnsax (talk) 18:21, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Jarnsax: Yes, indeed, I agree with you; and, again, the URAA cannot vest the copyright of a restored work to some one ineligible for authorship. It is my claim that Stalin, acting in his executive capacity, could not have been an “author” for the purposes of U.S. copyright law and jurisprudence, and, thus, there can be no copyright in this speech, as it is a “government edict” under the formulation of that doctrine given by the Supreme Court in Georgia. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 18:24, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      You said: "Stalin, acting in his executive capacity, could not have been an “author” for the purposes of U.S. copyright law"
      In Georgia, the Court repeatedly said "legislators and judges" cannot be authors. The case was not about claims of authorship by judges, but they included them for completeness. They did not, ever, say "legislators, judges, and executive officials". If that was what they meant, they would have said so, and they did not restrict their statements to "just" the legislators that the arguments for authorship had been made about.
      If the "government edicts" doctrine included works by executive officials, there would be no need for the definition to specifically state that works by US government officials are not eligible. The law could have just remained silent, as it does about judges and legislators in the definition of "US government works."
      The discussion of government edicts in the Compendium is the same.... it actually has a paragraph each about how the doctrine applies to lawyers and judges, yet omits mentioning the executive at all.
      That the government edicts doctrine extends to executive officials, yet both the Compendium and the Supreme Court neglect to ever mention them, while discussing at length the logic of who it applies to and why.... just, no. Jarnsax (talk) 18:45, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • Jarnsax: Georgia discussed judges (the basis of the doctrine) and legislators (because that was the issue at hand). They didn’t discuss executive officials because that was not the issue at hand. The law about PD-USGov is entirely separate, both from PD-EdictGov and my comments about executive officials. Before Georgia, the Compendium did not have a paragraph about legislators, because they didn’t have a Supreme Court opinion to point to; and yet, the doctrine still applied. The same is true as to executive officials. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 18:52, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        What this tells me is that you realize that, by trying to extend 'government edicts' to the executive, that you are going beyond case law, and "stretching" really far. Please find me anything other than some random lawyer's essay that successfully attempts to apply the doctrine to the executive.
        From Georgia... "The Court began by reviewing the three 19th-century cases in which we articulated the government edicts doctrine. See Wheaton v. Peters, 8 Pet. 591 (1834); Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244 (1888); Callaghan v. Myers, 128 U.S. 617 (1888). The Court understood those cases to establish a “rule” based on an interpretation of the statutory term “author” that “works created by courts in the performance of their official duties did not belong to the judges” but instead fell “in the public domain.” 906 F. 3d, at 1239. In the Court’s view, that rule “derive[s] from first principles about the nature of law in our democracy.” Ibid. In a democracy, the Court reasoned, “the People” are “the constructive authors” of the law, and judges and legislators are merely “draftsmen . . . exercising delegated authority.”"
        That is a citing cases well over a hundred years old, and using them to talk about judges and legislators (and not the executive), from the "base principles". Judges and legislators draft laws with the "delegated authority" of the people, which is why they can't be authors. The executive doesn't draft laws, or anything with the "force of law", other than the limited case of "admin law", which only happens in cases where Congress has delegated rulemaking authority to some executive official. You need to create a whole new chain of argument to apply this to someone who doesn't draft laws.
        Georgia specifically states that the government edicts doctrine "does not apply, however, to works created by government officials (or private parties) who lack the authority to make or interpret the law". "Make" and "interpret", not "execute". Even when the executive writes "admin law", they are executing the law that Congress passed telling them to do so. Jarnsax (talk) 19:22, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Jarnsax: You seem to have not read the cases cited. The three precedents cited in Georgia, which form the basis of the “government edicts” doctrine, were specific to judges; the Supreme Court, in Georgia, reasoned that the same logic which those cases applied to judges applies equally to legislators; and it is my claim that the same can be understood to apply to the executive, who certainly has no authority of his own beyond what is delegated to him by the constitution and laws promulgated by the people etc. This is not an application to anyone who could in some way be connected to legislative expenditures or executive work, but to specifically the chief executive. The Georgia Court used the “base principles” referenced from the earlier cases (which applied to judges) and applied them to legislators, because it was necessary, in the case at hand, to determine whether that applied to legislators. It cannot be said that something is not the case, only because there has not yet been a court case determining the point. The references to “making” and “interpreting” the law are, of course, references to the legislative and judicial provinces, respectively; there was no occassion to reference the executive province, as it was not present in the case at hand. That does not, however, make the logic inapplicable in this case. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 19:29, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          Yes, it does, because your logic is wrong. Legislators write laws, and so do judges (case law). "Executive officials" do not, and I've already quoted you where the Compendium explicitly says that works of officers of a foreign government can be registered, even if prepared while acting within their duties, in the section about government edicts. If your argument was correct, that statement would be wrong. Jarnsax (talk) 22:49, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          You revealed a gross misunderstanding here, when bringing up Carroll v. Trump, which has absolutely nothing, at all, whatsoever to do with the government edicts doctrine, which does not exist with regard to the US federal government. The common law doctrine is nullified, with regard to the US government, by Congress 'addressing the subject' in statute law, with the "US government works" rule. It has not existed in that context, as a 'thing', since Congress wrote the 'rule' into copyright law. Whatever arguments are made there about 'edicts' by Trump, as part of the case, by either lawyers, armchair lawyers, or you, are egregiously unfounded. Such a case about the federal government can only be about if the subject was or was not a "US government work". Not that it's relevant here... in fact my point is it's not, and your misconceptions are showing. You're also not listening, so I'm done. An admin surely has enough from us here, even if they want to leave it open. Jarnsax (talk) 23:16, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • Jarnsax: Works of officers of foreign governments can be registered, in the same manner as works of officers of state governments (and the federal government but for the restriction against such copyright). There is a difference between petty officers and chief officers, who speak with the power to execute law (in the same manner as judges interpret and legislators promulgate). My reference to Carroll was a reference to that case’s discussion of what constitutes a work of President Trump in his role as President, which is quite close at hand. That Carroll does not, and could not, relate to copyright law, is obvious; and I did not claim that that case related directly, in that manner. You have completely missed my point in bringing up Carroll; and I do not appreciate your attacks ad hominem in that regard. “Such a case about the federal government can only be about if the subject was or was not a 'US government work'.” This is exactly on point, however; whether this work (a speech) is considered a Soviet governmental work, in the context of considering Stalin as an executive subject to the government-edicts doctrine, is entirely relevant and germane to this discussion. Unfortunately for your desire to close this discussion for, if my claim were true, this work would be in the public domain owing to that judicial exception. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 00:19, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
            Saying that you have a misunderstanding or misconception, or that you are not listening, is not an ad hominem. It's not attacking you as a person, it's saying you are wrong and not listening. Jarnsax (talk) 00:36, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          Even worse, looking at the 2nd Circuit's decision in Carroll, five days ago, it's a w:Westfall Act case. It has nothing, at all, whatsoever to do with copyright, not even in the remotest sense. Please stop pinging me back here, this is way past the point of just being off-topic arguing, and you are not listening. Jarnsax (talk) 00:34, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • I have responded to your contentions re: Carroll below, and will not repeat them here. A discussion of your attacks ad hominem is also not relevant to this discussion, so I will not belabor that point. On the topic of listening, you have refused to understand my reference to Carroll, and continue to “prove” that it is not related to a question different to the question for which I introduced it as a reference. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:13, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
TE(æ)A,ea. If you won't believe me, maybe you'll believe the USCO. From the Copyright Compendium, actually quoting Georgia directly, "any “work that [a] judge or legislator produces in the course of his [or her] judicial or legislative duties is not copyrightable,” regardless of whether it “carries the force of law.”" To continue, "The government edicts doctrine “applies to whatever work legislators perform in their capacity as legislators. That of course includes final legislation, but it also includes explanatory and procedural materials legislators create in the discharge of their legislative duties.” Stalin was not performing a "legislative duty", or a "judicial one", the only things discussed by Georgia, when giving this speech... he was neither a judge nor a legislator, and it did not have the force of law.
Later, the USCO says, "Other than works of the United States Government, a work that does not constitute a government edict may be registered, even if it was prepared by an officer or employee of a state, local, territorial, or foreign government while acting within the course of his or her official duties." Are we done?
My interpretation does not ignore a precedent that is specifically about "government edicts", and only government edicts. Like I was said repeatedly, and like the USCO says, this was not a government edict. It was not written by a judge or legislator, and it did not have the force of law. Jarnsax (talk) 14:42, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: I do not claim that Stalin was a judge or legislator; he was the executive, and the government edicts doctrine applies in the same manner as to the executive as to the judicial etc. The Compendium mentions J/L in quoting the Supreme Court, but of course the same logic applies to E. This is not some ancillary material prepared by a lesser governmental worker, which would be a USGov (which has no Soviet equivalent), but the work (very directly connected) of the chief executive. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 15:01, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I just add that the difference between legislature and executive was not so distinct in the Soviet Union as it is in the West. Stalin issued many decrees with the force of law during his rule. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 15:19, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jan Kameníček That's a valid point, though just reading this, it wasn't any kind of 'decree'. A similar thing can happen here in the US, when the President is given the authority by Congress under something like the War Powers Act, or when an executive agency has been delegated "rulemaking authority"... that's when admin law comes from, but nobody cares (in terms of copyright) because of the "US government work" rule, which, being statute law, nullifies the common law doctrine when it comes to the US government. I suspect quite strongly that Stalin had such similar, delegated powers, and we all know he had an immense amount of personal influence, from controlling the Communist Party. Either way, I don't think it matters here.... just read it, it's not an edict, other than "Go fight for Mother Russia!" If some similar work appeared to actually have been intended to have legal force, like a number or named decree, I'd be far more willing to agree that "government edict" might apply. Otherwise, I think it falls into a 'class' that the Compendium specifically says "may be registered", as I quoted above. Jarnsax (talk) 16:35, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For example, w:Order No. 227, issued while him "while acting as the People's Commissar of Defense", and applied only to the Red Army, was IMHO clearly a government edict. Jarnsax (talk) 16:45, 2 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In the United States, there is one office, President, who holds three 'roles'. He is the w:head of state (ceremonial head). w:head of government (executive and administrative head), and w:commander-in-chief (of the military).
Under the Soviet Constitution of the time, these roles were differently defined.... the head of government was one 'office', Stalin held it, as w:Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the Soviet Union, and then as w:Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union, from 6 May 1941 until 5 March 1953. As the 'executive and administrative', this role didn't let him issue 'edicts', just like the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom can't.
He was also commander-in-chief, as w:People's Commissar of Defense of the Soviet Union starting 19 July 1941, then as w:Minister of Defence (Soviet Union), until 3 March 1947. He held the rank of w:Marshal of the Soviet Union starting in 1943, and it's this that let him issue w:Order No. 227, a military order. I call that one an edict, with the death threats and all.
He also held the "legally non-governmental" role, which is what gave him actual power, of w:General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1952. None of these roles was judicial or legislative.
The speech itself doesn't fit w:Edict of government#Definition, and down at the end of the section about public policy, from the USCO, "such material as the laws and governmental rules and decisions must be freely available to the public and made known as widely as possible"... that's not what this speech is, it's rah-rah and PR.
Looking at w:Copyright of official texts, for Russia "official documents of state government agencies and local government agencies of municipal formations, including laws, other legal texts, judicial decisions, other materials of legislative, administrative and judicial character, official documents of international organizations, as well as their official translations" are exempted from copyright. I don't know how different it was back then, but this speech doesn't fit any of that, IMO.
I'm completely convinced that this was copyrighted in the Soviet Union, they don't have an equivalent to "works of the US Goverment", and it's not an edict. Jarnsax (talk) 02:51, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jan.Kamenicek Much later...
I'd actually become very curious about this, a long time ago.
The Soviet Union was, constitutionally, a democracy, not 'incredibly' different from others. The source of power was the People, who voted in whichever candidate they wanted, through a secret ballot.
This "problem" was, it was a single-party state. To run for office, you had to be a member in "good standing" of the Communist Party, and they could kick out whoever they wanted, under their own rules, and they made their own rules. You had to have "their permission". Everyone on the ballot was a Communist.
The People had, constitutionally, created a government under which it literally made absolutely no difference who they voted for, that had zero reason to even remotely care about their opinion, and had actually done it on purpose (the whole idea behind it was nuts). So it was effectively a dictatorship by "boss Commie". Jarnsax (talk) 01:34, 11 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regarding w:Carroll v. Trump nonsense: that is a w:Westfall Act case. The Westfall Act is in a completely different title of US Code (it's about civil torts), and uses a definition of employee that is completely and utterly unrelated to anything encompassed by 17 U.S.C, the Copyright Compendium, or the "governmental edict" doctrine. As a separate Title of the US Code (28 U.S.C.), it is completely independent from copyright law. This is how 'law' works, if the 'particular law itself' doesn't define something, you look at the common law, or then a law dictionary, or then a normal dictionary, to define it. You don't hunt down some definition of a term that isn't even used in the Title you are looking at from somewhere in a completely different Title on a different subject. Discussing it in this context is about as relevant as the tax code. Jarnsax (talk) 00:56, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Jarnsax: Regarding pinging, two items. First, you should not mark your responses as minor edits. Second, I ping editors in discussion, especially when they misrepresent my arguments. As for my reference to Carroll, it was not an attempt to incorporate the Westfall Act’s definition of “employee” (which is not remotely relevant), but the discussion (in that case) of whether certain statements made by the chief executive, while chief executive, in the function of the chief executive, can be considered to have been made by him in his official capacity (as opposed to being made in his personal capacity). The work in question for this discussion is a speech, made by the chief executive of a state; and, as Carroll discussed whether such works qualify as works made pursuant to the official duty of said chief executive, it is a case highly relevant to the point currently in question. The questions you were asking were related to a different question, one to which Carroll is not applicable. The question you seek to litigate—whether Stalin could even be subject to the government edicts doctrine—is an entirely different question to the question in relation to which I referenced Carroll—whether this speech can be considered to be a work made by Stalin in his official capacity. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:13, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You are also completely and deliberately ignoring my third or fourth request that you stop pinging me, which you have now done twice, since I last asked you to stop. It's called harassing someone. Stop. Jarnsax (talk) 02:58, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    A speech such as this, given by Trump, live on the air, to rally the people against a massive armed invasion, with tanks and artillery and bombers and explosions and lots of dead people, would obviously be within the scope of his duties, and the case would have never gone to appeal, the judge in the lower court would have made the obvious decision, and granted the motion to substitute.
    If Carroll v. Trump was about circumstances that were even remotely similar (he was not giving a live on air speech), it is still about the Westfall Act, about if he was acting within the scope of his duties as one of the following: officers or employees of any federal agency, members of the military or naval forces of the United States, members of the National Guard while engaged in training or duty or officers and employees of a federal public defender organization.
    It actually explicitly says so in the Westfall Act, in the definition of "employee" used there, who are the only people it applies to.[10] The only "lessons" you can take, from Carroll v. Trump, that have anything to do with copyright are about "possibly outside the scope of their duties" and thus copyrightable works by the classes of people that the Wesfall Act actually applies to, since that is who the Court was talking about in the decision, and only those categories of people.
    The works created by those people are either "works for hire" of the US government, or works of the US government itself.
    It would ideally have gone without saying that Stalin was not an w:Officer of the United States, or any of the other categories of people explicitly mentioned by the Westfall Act, or at least only need to have been pointed out once.
    It would be far easier to just avoid all this irrelevant arguing by listening to what the USCO explicitly tells us in the Compendium, that I've quoted, which is works by foreign officials are copyrightable unless they are edicts, regardless of if they are within the scope of their duties or not.
    The entire idea is not even wrong. Jarnsax (talk) 05:02, 4 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There are two things that are completely lacking, before any 'principle' related to Carroll and "scope of duties" could become relevant here.
    1. anything like a "works of government" provision in Russia. They only exempt edicts.
    2. anything in US law that creates or extends a "works of government" exemption to anything other than, explicitly, the "works of the US Government" clause, which rather obviously only applies to the US.
    Ignoring that, and imagining that some kind of works of government exemption did exist in Russia, you would be faced with trying to establish if giving this speech was within the duties of Stalin, under 1940s Soviet law, not the duties of Trump, under US law nearly a century later. Jarnsax (talk) 07:54, 4 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The only question which such a 'Carroll-type' analysis could possibly answer is who owns the copyright, and to raise it as an issue presupposes that "a copyright existed", which renders the entire point moot to us. If a copyright existed, the only reason we have to care who owned it is to figure out if it still subsists in the US.
    The reason the Compendium, written by experts who actually know what the hell they are talking about, can make the flat statement about "foreign officials" and "scope of duties", that explicitly tells it "can be registered" unless it's an edict, is because the United States is the only country on the planet that does not copyright it's "own works" other than edicts, and it does not impose the "works of government" exemption on other countries, since to do so would be both "unlawful" (it's not in the Copyright Act), and would violate international copyright treaties. Jarnsax (talk) 21:50, 4 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In a discussion about US copyright, when you are told that your "theory" is flatly contradicted by an explicit statement by the USCO in the latest edition of the Compendium, which is released as a new edition any time a federal court decision actually changes anything, again by experts who actually know what the hell they are talking about, and is the authoritative reference on US copyright law, and the Compendium really does say that, you need to drop the damn stick. You are wrong, and the horse is not only dead, it was never alive to begin with.
    The only routes for this speech to be in the public domain in the United States are if it was an edict, or if it did not receive a "restored copyright" under the URAA. Jarnsax (talk) 22:48, 4 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am writing this to 'summarize' what I've said about this, for the sanity of a closing admin.
Rude comments hidden. @Jarnsax: may wish to express themselves civilly next time, similar impoliteness will not be tollerated. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 11:47, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is not a invitation to start fucking pinging me every five minutes again, to continue an argument between two people that is obviously going nowhere (we disagree, arguing is fucking pointless, get over it) so that you can insist that I see your comment right fucking now across every wiki and you can get your immediate endorphin rush from "proving some guy wrong on the internet". I obviously have this page watchlisted, do not start harassing me about this again. Since pings are visible across all wikis (and this is not my 'home') abuse of that system to harass someone can result in a report the stewards on Meta, and a possible global ban, if local admins don't take action first.
  • Jan Kameníček: Does this mean that I can respond and not get banned? I stopped responding to this discussion only because this user said he was going to get me banned if I kept responding to him. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 14:21, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @TE(æ)A,ea.: I haven't had the spare cycles to actually read through this mammoth discussion, so I may be missing context here, but… Nobody gets somebody banned just on their say-so. At a cursory glance I see nothing here that would make that a relevant factor. That being said… 1) if someone asks you to not ping them (using {{re}} or linking their user page) then you should generally try to honour that request, and 2) in a mammoth thread like this it is likely that the real arguments have been amply covered and further comments only amount to beating a dead horse (that is, additional responses are no longer productive). --Xover (talk) 16:09, 23 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Donald Trump was the President of the United States. Stalin lived in Russia. Even if the Carroll case was related to copyright, it's analysis of what where his official duties would only be relevant to the "works of the United States Government" rule, which would have applied to Trump, and actually 'cares' whether or not something was an official duty.
As I have said way too many times here, there is no route to PD for a work from Russia through the "Works of the United States Government" doctrine. That US doesn't not apply that doctrine to anything but the US federal government (see Georgia), and Russia has no 'similar' rule that would have allowed this to escape into the PD 'at home' and evade the URAA. Russia only exempts governmental edicts, using essentially the same 'definition' as the United States. (see w:Copyright of official texts) It's 'the same' is because it's actually in one of (don't remember which) the international copyright conventions, in almost the same words.
The only path for this to be PD (since it was still within 50 pma on the URAA date) is if it was an edict, which Russia would have not copyrighted, and which the US would not honor the copyright in even if it existed. Since it's not an edict, it's not PD by that route. The "edicts" rule gives not the slightest crap about "the scope of someone's official duties"... to again quote the Copyright Compendium, Chapter 3, about edicts: "Other than works of the United States Government, a work that does not constitute a government edict may be registered, even if it was prepared by an officer or employee of a state, local, territorial, or foreign government while acting within the course of his or her official duties."
All of the rambling about "Carroll" here is completely off topic and grossly misguided. Any copyright issue that could possibly be tangentially related to it (scope of official duties of a federal official) is completely irrelevant to a copyright from 1940s Russia, and would only matter if some kind of works of the government rule existed in Russia, which it does not. The Carroll case is also about the w:Westfall Act, and actually hangs on if Trump was acting 'within the scope of his employment' using the radically different definition of employee of the government given in 28 U.S.C. You don't even need to be paid to fall within the scope of that definition. It's a civil tort case, and grossly irrelevant here.
What matters is if the speech is an edict. It's obviously not, if you read and compare it to an 'actual edict by Stalin, w:Order No. 227.
The work was in copyright in Russia well past 1996 (16 October 1952, plus 50 pma, gives 2003), and was in the public domain in the United States from creation until the URAA date, because Russia lacked "national eligibility" until gaining a bilateral copyright relationship with the US in the 1970s. It's copyright was restored by the URAA.
This is actually a very clear URAA case, if you don't try to stretch a rule that only applies to the US federal government to 1940s Soviet Russia. Jarnsax (talk) 19:30, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Georgia v. Public and {{PD-EdictGov}}[edit]

The {{PD-EdictGov}} template, while not wrong, and used across multiple wikis in the exact same form... is bad. It doesn't actually explain anything, or tell you "why": it only refers to the Compendium. Old conversations, linked from the talk pages of this template across multiple wikis, make it clear that questions about "why", since it's not stated in 17 USC, and "what does this actually mean", since it's buried in the depths of history, and "why are we listening to the Compendium about something that isn't in 17 USC", abounded, and were never really answered.

The decision in Georgia did not change this rule. What the Supreme Court did, in Georgia, is to validate a argument that actually places the "government edicts principle" on a basis that isn't buried in the depths of 200+ year old legal instead divorces the "government edicts principle" from the vague "for reasons of public policy" justification, and places it on the grounds of fundamental copyright principles; giving us, in a way, a test that is actually usable, instead of just having to know "what is or is not an edict" and requiring a knowledge of the incredibly obscure history to actually get it.

Edicts of government are basically the same thing as monkey selfies.

To actually understand this.... unfortunately, the Compendium, and the Georgia decision, and even the English Wikipedia article on "edicts of government" don't give the needed context, which gets into obscure facts of history and the way copyrights actually came into being in the US: the history of "common law" in the US, and the exact intention of Congress when passing the Copyright Act of 1790.

I have started a discussion, on the English Wikipedia, at w:Talk:Edict of government#Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org Inc. and the public policy argument, with what is essentially a long screed, explaining what the Court was telling us in Georgia, what they were actually telling us about this in Wheaton v. Peters, back in 1834, when actually first validating the "government edicts principle" as law in the US, and giving the "common law in the US" context to understand why it's not written down.

I'm mentioning this here, and intend to post this message across multiple wikis, to attract interested editors.... not to canvass for a discussion there, to change the article, but to achieve a consensus there, about rewriting that article so that it is based on something other than "the Compendium says so", that it can be used (the article, and the consensus) to rewrite this template on every wiki so that it actually says something useful, instead of the just "because the USCO says so" that seems to have been the conclusion of most discussions about this subject.

As a footnote, this doesn't apply to most edicts of the US federal government... since the definition of "works of the US Government" specifically says "prepared by", and doesn't require authorship, it includes such edicts. They are denied protection separately. Jarnsax (talk) 22:31, 8 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jarnsax: Changing our template is not necessarily that hard. But I am not quite seeing what change it is you are wanting. Could you sketch out the concrete change to wording you think is needed? I haven't read Georgia v. PRO since it came out, so I am a little hazy on the details. But as I recall the biggest takeaway at the time was that it in effect expanded the test from a narrow force-of-law to a much wider and additional authored by or under instruction of a competent legislative assembly. I.e. that things that are not actually laws qua laws, so long as they would otherwise be authored by (and copyrighted by) a competent legislative body, also fall under the government edicts doctrine. Xover (talk) 09:10, 9 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Xover They go into detail about how the "creators" of edicts are not their authors, that the "we the people" are.. i.e. no "human" authorship.
Edicts, when "made", actually define what the law is. Moving a punctuation mark, or omitting a "the", etc. changes the meaning. So they are not "original expressions of creativity". If they were, they wouldn't be the edict "we" made, they would be a derivative work of it, and misstate what the edict "is".
Edicts do not have to have the force of law. They are "methods of operation" of the legal system, and "methods of operation" are specifically uncopyrightable.
This is basically 17 U.S. Code § 102. The Court said edicts fail all on all three... that's why I called them "monkey selfies". They are not "valid subject matter".
So we can basically just say that, probably much better, and then the Compendium list like we do now, leave the UN stuff alone, and tell people use the other template for US government edicts.
The actual 'applicability' didn't change, and the Court didn't 'overturn' anything to expand it. The existing template was just always vague, because nobody knew why the Compendium said that. It's the same everywhere else, there are long old discussions full of people asking the question. Jarnsax (talk) 01:43, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The whole thing goes back beyond when enwiki was the only one. Jarnsax (talk) 01:51, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The actual "why" was what the first sentence of Wharton was actually saying, in the context of the obscure 200 year old legal trivia I went into over at the article. Jarnsax (talk) 02:02, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Edict-adjacent" stuff, that's far enough away that it's not even a "method of operation", just isn't an edict, and all this doesn't apply... that why they eventually wrote the "works of the US Goverment" rule, to exclude such "stuff" since it is valid subject matter. Some of the later court rulings had also validated that since it was an "obligation" to publish stuff without copyright, anything "not an edict" that was published with it, in it's official version (I think it was headnotes, specifically, without looking it up) also entered the PD... any copyright in it was invalidated, even if it belonged to someone else. They could sue, but just for damages. Jarnsax (talk) 02:23, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wheaton never went into didn't validate that, since the lawsuit was about someone (the old court reporter) trying to claim a copyright in the Court's actual decisions themselves... the new reporter had removed everything but the actual decisions to publish a cheaper copy. It was just never asked Jarnsax (talk) 02:33, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As far as "what is an edict", in general... let's put it this way.
The actual preprinted form, that a policer officer uses, when he writes out a traffic ticket, is an's telling him how to write out a ticket. So is the ticket itself, since it's basically an order to "respond" with the force of law. Jarnsax (talk) 02:54, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All the "legislative sausage" stuff, that goes into writing the statute, but doesn't actually have the force of law (like committee reports)... the "legislative history". One point of "annotations" is when the actual language of the statute isn't clear, courts have to look at that stuff it points at to figure out what the legislature meant to say, the actual "law", so it is actually part of the "edict" as a "thing". Jarnsax (talk) 06:10, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmm. Is what you're saying that edicts, as articulated in Georgia v. PRO, is much wider even than what I sketched above (force-of-law + created by competent legislative assembly)?
The UN stuff in the template is just saying that the UN isn't a government of any kind, so edicts doesn't apply. We could as well have mentioned "all non-government organisations" (and most IGOs), but the UN is an obvious case. Xover (talk) 06:30, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd actually been rereading it, basically to dig this out, lol.
The really specific language is where the Court was describing what had been held in the Eleventh Circuit (and upholding it)... I'm going to yank all the repeated citations out of this so it's readable. The bolding is mine.
  • The Court began by reviewing the three 19th-century cases in which we articulated the government edicts doctrine. See Wheaton v. Peters, 8 Pet. 591 (1834); Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244 (1888); Callaghan v. Myers, 128 U.S. 617 (1888). The Court understood those cases to establish a “rule” based on an interpretation of the statutory term “author” that “works created by courts in the performance of their official duties did not belong to the judges” but instead fell “in the public domain.” In the Court’s view, that rule “derive[s] from first principles about the nature of law in our democracy.” In a democracy, the Court reasoned, “the People” are “the constructive authors” of the law, and judges and legislators are merely “draftsmen . . . exercising delegated authority.” The Court therefore deemed the “ultimate inquiry” to be whether a work is “attributable to the constructive authorship of the People.” The Court identified three factors to guide that inquiry: “the identity of the public official who created the work; the nature of the work; and the process by which the work was produced.” The Court found that each of those factors cut in favor of treating the OCGA annotations as government edicts authored by the People. It therefore rejected the Commission’s assertion of copyright, vacated the injunction against PRO, and directed that judgment be entered for PRO.
(inserted later) This is what the 11th Circuit actually said "Because our ultimate inquiry is whether a work is authored by the People, meaning whether it represents an articulation of the sovereign will, our analysis is guided by a consideration of those characteristics that are the hallmarks of law. In particular, we rely on the identity of the public officials who created the work, the authoritativeness of the work, and the process by which the work was created. These are critical markers. Where all three point in the direction that a work was made in the exercise of sovereign power -- which is to say where the official who created the work is entrusted with delegated sovereign authority, where the work carries authoritative weight, and where the work was created through the procedural channels in which sovereign power ordinarily flows -- it follows that the work would be attributable to the constructive authorship of the People, and therefore uncopyrightable."
So, not just fail, but epic fail. :)
A couple of bits from later on:
  • "Pursuant to “a judicial consensus” dating back to Wheaton, judges could not assert copyright in “whatever work they perform in their capacity as judges.” Rather, “[t]he whole work done by the judges constitutes the authentic exposition and interpretation of the law, which, binding every citizen, is free for publication to all.”"
  • "Moreover, just as the doctrine applies to “whatever work [judges] perform in their capacity as judges,” it applies to whatever work legislators perform in their capacity as legislators. That of course includes final legislation, but it also includes explanatory and procedural materials legislators create in the discharge of their legislative duties. In the same way that judges cannot be the authors of their headnotes and syllabi, legislators cannot be the authors of (for example) their floor statements, committee reports, and proposed bills. These materials are part of the “whole work done by [legislators],” so they must be “free for publication to all.”
That such things "must be free for publication to all" is the old common law "government edicts doctrine"... the first sentence of Wheaton says "the law appears to be well settled in England that since the statute of 3 Anne, the literary property of an author in his works..." when first validating it in US law.
They also apply the "public policy reasons" thing to the case at hand towards the end as an illustration:
  • Imagine a Georgia citizen interested in learning his legal rights and duties. If he reads the economy-class version of the Georgia Code available online, he will see laws (list of crazy old stuff snipped) with no hint that important aspects of those laws have been held unconstitutional by the Georgia Supreme Court. See OCGA ... (available at Meanwhile, first-class readers with access to the annotations will be assured that these laws are, in crucial respects, unenforceable relics that the legislature has not bothered to narrow or repeal. See ... (available at (long url) for $412.00).
If you read the whole thing, they really make the point that none of this is 'new', and that it should have been 'obvious by now' to their audience. They tell the State of Georgia: "A century of cases have rooted the government edicts doctrine in the word “author,” and Congress has repeatedly reused that term without abrogating the doctrine. The term now carries this settled meaning, and “critics of our ruling can take their objections across the street, [where] Congress can correct any mistake it sees.” Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 576 U.S. 446, 456 (2015)." They make similar comments a couple of times.
This is why "the Compendium says so, and always did", as I put it. They just never explained why, and it's really obscure, even to me, lol, and I know all kinds of esoteric trivia.
Regarding the UN stuff, what 104(b)(5) actually says is if "the work is first published by the United Nations or any of its specialized agencies, or by the Organization of American States" then it gets a copyright. We should probably just say exactly that (this does not apply if...) and link Simple is easy. :)
Jarnsax (talk) 07:51, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The State of Georgia just wanted to continue charging $412 a pop for people to find out that stuff like consensual sex between adults who aren't married isn't a serious crime. Jarnsax (talk) 08:15, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I should probably point out, specifically, that in what they actually "held", they specifically said public official. They had applied this to judges, and in this case they applied it to legislators, but they told us it's not about a "job title" at all. Jarnsax (talk) 08:25, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a incredibly obscure point of trivia, about the UN, they actually have their own rules about what parts of their stuff they will actually assert a copyright claim in. Things like UN Security Council Resolutions are in the public domain. It's commons:Template:PD-UN-doc and friends at commons:Category:PD United Nations license tags. Jarnsax (talk) 08:40, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or, more technically, the UN itself, which can probably be trusted, has disavowed that they will every assert a copyright claim in certain "stuff", even if someone says they can. It's their version of US government works. Jarnsax (talk) 09:00, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In England, the "constructive author" of all edicts, period, was "the Crown", the monarchy, not the person, and edicts didn't get a copyright under the statute of 3 Anne. Wheaton told us so, the "sovereign", now "us", the People, wasn't an author under the copyright law. It changed later 'over there' when they made Crown Copyright a thing. Jarnsax (talk) 08:53, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That they are "methods of operation of government/the legal system" isn't really about authorship, it's in next provision of that same Code section:
In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.
So even if they were, somehow, original works of authorship of someone other than "the People"... still no. And it's explanatory. That you can't copyright "how" the government and legal system actually works, it's "method of operation", and the law specifically says you can't. Jarnsax (talk) 09:17, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can, as a person, who "has" authority, but is clearly not "using" it, write your own, unofficial, description of "how" stuff works, and claim authorship in the original bits of that. It's actually called an "official proclamation" in ye olde law dictionary when talking about edicts. Jarnsax (talk) 09:27, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How a Bill becomes a Law, lol, since it's "author" is the House of Representatives, still isn't an edict. It just doesn't matter because of "US government works", unless you are wondering if these are the rules they actually follow, and this document is what made it that way (if it actually is an edict). Jarnsax (talk) 10:07, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The "entire" pile of dead trees that is effectively "us", the People, muttering to ourselves as we make up "our" mind, and then "saying what we decided" as a statute/decision/ruling, whatever you call it; or telling all the little fiddly bits of "our" government what their job is and how to carry it out..... that's basically what edicts are. The stuff you have to read to actually know "the law" in the very general sense. Jarnsax (talk) 19:04, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I keep talking about "the People", like the court did, just because this is all about stuff in a democracy. In a more general sense, it's about the "sovereign authority" of the particular country, whatever person, legislative body, or whatever else it is called. The w:College of Cardinals chooses new Popes, and the Pope is a head of the "College of Cardinals" has the authority to make edicts: it's what they are doing when they choose the new Pope.
If the Vatican wasn't actually a "government" this would not apply. They would still be "edicts" but not governmental ones. That's why they specifically point at UN stuff, to rule out arguments based on "treaties give UN stuff binding force" trying to drag them into the scope of the rule. Jarnsax (talk) 19:26, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The US government has always made it extremely clear (and this come up) that "we" are emphatically not delegating authority to the UN, or to the bodies that write international treaties that we join.
Even if the Senate "accedes to" a treaty, and that treaty actually says "upon acceptance of this treaty by a State, all of it's provisions shall immediately enter into force, as law, in that State"... in the US, it does not happen unless "we" actually say so ourselves, explicitly.
For it to be otherwise would be unconstitutional. The Senate can't make law by itself. Jarnsax (talk) 19:40, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is 'why' 'how' the US doesn't accept the authority of things like the "International Court of Justice", even though the UN "says" it has global authority jurisdiction over stuff like war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc. "We" never said so. Jarnsax (talk) 19:52, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The actual "requirement" that we write all that stuff down.... it's part of that abstract concept that is "the law" in it's entirely, even if not actually "the statute" or "the decision", and (public policy reasons) "secret laws" are vastly worse than "ex post facto laws", since there is no "proof" that they actually exist.
Actually "writing that stuff down", and looking at it later, is part of the "mode of operation" of the government and legal system... the entire "mass" of "governmental edicts" is actually defining that mode of operation. Jarnsax (talk) 20:14, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the best I can get to as a 'definition', at this point is:
Edicts of governments are works of the "constructive authorship of the sovereign power", created by those public officials who have been delegated the authority to make them. Public officials are not the "author" of such works that they create. Edicts include all constitutional and statutory laws, and other such works that "constitute the authentic exposition and interpretation of the law", in it's general sense, by public officials. Such works define and create the "mode of operation" of government and the legal system, and need not carry the "force of law". All edicts of government are not valid "subject matter of copyright" under 17 U.S. Code §102(a), as held by the Supreme Court in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., and are specifically denied copyright protection as "modes of operation" by 17 U.S. Code §102(b).
Jarnsax (talk) 22:48, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Still giving the Compendium list as 'illustration'. Jarnsax (talk) 22:51, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And something like, "Though assertions of copyright protection made by foreign governments, in their own edicts and under their own laws, are not enforceable under US law per 17 U.S. Code § 104(c), longstanding Wikimedia Foundation policy requests that the English Wikisource respect such claims. This does not apply to such unenforceable claims made by sub-national governments of the United States. Most foreign governments do not make such claims." Jarnsax (talk) 23:17, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
People linked the source of that back in the old conversations, it predates the meta page and the stuff that cause it to be written. It's something Jimbo decided while in "God mode", all the way back in 2005 or so. Jarnsax (talk) 23:20, 10 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
All of this is kinda related to the "primacy", as it was put ^up there somewhere^ of the Compendium, since it doesn't have the force of law, and it's come up more than once.
Courts don't have to listen to the Compendium, and actually only consider it as an 'argument with persuasive force.' What actually matters is that the records of the Copyright Office are considered prima facie evidence for what they say... what those records say is "presumed" to be correct, and it's on you to prove otherwise to attack the validity of that copyright in court; that the records actually say otherwise (an ad. int. registration was never perfected, for example), that the USCO actually made an obvious mistake shown in the record (such as, author didn't actually sign the card), that someone actually lied to the USCO (they really didn't comply with the manufacturing clause, the author wasn't a citizen or domiciliary, etc.), or something similar (Feist v. Rural, you can't copyright a phone book).
Otherwise, you have to show the court that this "presumably valid" copyright (in the work as actually deposited, as a "whole", which includes any copyrightable design elements) didn't actually apply to what you copied... the "work as deposited" was really a "compilation" to begin with, and what you copied wasn't "new and original" and wasn't of the authorship of the claimant (or otherwise not "valid subject matter" - see Feist etc.).
Since the Compendium actually details what the USCO thinks the law is, and describes how they apply it... we should listen to them about that because the courts do, and they listen to the Supreme Court and Congress because it's their job.
If you think the Compendium is actually wrong on some point, you are probably in error, or raising something that is actually an "open question" where their 'practice' is to act conservatively (they err on the side of registering stuff, deliberately, and leave it to the courts). When they say "No, we won't register that"... it's not a 'conservative' statement, and we are probably on very firm ground listening to them.
There's usually explicit law or a Court decision behind their opinion, or 'widely held' scholarly opinion that hasn't actually been addressed by Congress or a lawsuit (usually because everyone agrees it's obvious, or the whole history behind Georgia, the Blue Book, etc. - when people just assert copyright claims regardless and say "sue us", which wasn't an issue under mandatory registration). The Compendium reflects hundreds, if not thousands, of "man-years" of accumulated 'corporate' experience, and they actually read the "legislative history". Jarnsax (talk) 21:18, 11 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Threats to the peaceful observance of the bicentennial[edit]

Minutes of 1973 Congressional hearing. Contains prepared testimony of private individuals (researchers, leaders of think tanks, etc.). Public record but not public domain. Xover (talk) 09:47, 19 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Third International After Lenin[edit]

Programme of the Third International (1928), first published in English (it says) in 1929, which lacks a license. It is also not a previously published edition ( calls it their own edition). The translation is claimed to be no-notice, but not the original. Xover (talk) 09:52, 19 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Xover: At least the first part of chapter 1 is identical to the version translated by John C. Wright, first published in 1936 (1957 version: Definitely doesn't match the version serialised in The Militant from 1928-1929 by James P. Cannon. -ei (talk) 12:43, 19 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have requested what appears to be the first English translation of this book. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 13:06, 19 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Xover: I just picked up a copy of the 1936 edition, which has no copyright notice (and would thus be PD-US-no notice). It seems fairly similar to the 1957 second edition above, whose copyright was not renewed. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 19:49, 9 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

De Indis De Jure Belli[edit]

Which edition do we have?

There is a scan of 1917 edition at IA (which I noted). (It also doesn't seem to have a notice, which is promising for a US published edition.)

Nys died in 1920, Scott in 1943 and Bate (the translator) around 1921 based on a very quick search.

Can someone do some checking as it would be nice to have a known scan to back this up? ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 17:25, 21 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@ShakespeareFan00: We have this 1964 reprint A comparison of the preface and introduction shows no changes. - ei (talk) 06:37, 6 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't find any data on John Pawly Bate in a quick search. From where comes the death date? Do we know his nationality?
From my very limited look at this, it looks like this text was originally edited (and probably translated) in Belgian by Ernest Nys (1851–1920), and presumably also first published in Belgium at some point prior to Nys' death. It was then edited by James Brown Scott (1866–1943) with a translation of both the original text and Nys' introduction by John Pawly Bate (????–????), and published in the US. Since we have a 1917 edition we know it was first published more than 95 years ago. It should therefore be PD-old in the US (and so fine for hosting on enWS). Since Nys died in 1920 his Belgian copyright should have expired in 1990. Iff Bate also died in 1921 then any pma. 70 copyright he may have held will have expired in 1991. And if Bate is an American then the translation was never under pma. 70 copyright (just pub. +95 like the work as a whole).
In other words, we need details on Bate to be certain. But even without those details it seems reasonable to make some assumptions that place this work fully in the public domain. Xover (talk) 21:02, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply] says 1921. Gives a birth date of 1857. Free BMD has a John P. BAte who died in 1921 - on a search with the birth year of 1857
I think we can say it's unlikely it's still in copyright. The next question is as to hosting location, This appears to be a multi-lingual work.
ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 22:00, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, awesome. That's good enough for me, and based on previous discussions here I'd be much surprised if anyone else objected.
That being said, you're right: this work has large swathes of non-English text, including the entire original introduction in French and swathes of Latin elsewhere in the work. It seems Multilingual Wikisource would be the appropriate place for it. If nobody objects soon(ish) I'll request a transwiki import over there. Xover (talk) 10:21, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Imported to mul:. —Justin (koavf)TCM 14:30, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Index:PTC 220 MHz Radio- Union Pacific Locomotive 5802 GE C44-9-AC-CTE Locomotive Noise Test Battery Report, June 2012 - DPLA - a614136d0d964d8a2e28c68e2cc5075e.pdf[edit]

Metadata is wrong at Commons. This is a 2012 report, and the license given on page 2 is at odds with the generic PD claim made. I'm assuming a lot of good faith by the uploader (given it's an institutional upload), but as has happened with IA uploads for example, sometimes digging a little deeper on specific works is needed. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 21:45, 7 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Undelete Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music and relevant page:s[edit]

According to past lectures, regardless of the validity of the discussion, new “undelete” discussions are required; thus what is, in my eyes, a duplicate. The above, together with the index (which I saved) and the pages, was deleted, by Xover, without discussion, on speedy-deletion grounds, while a full discussion was ongoing. The file is available here. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 21:13, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@TE(æ)A,ea.: You are free to raise this discussion in any venue you choose, but do not recreate Index:Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music.pdf while the backing file still contains copyrighted material. You had the option to redact the file, or to engage in discussion about the issue, but instead you chose to simply refuse, thereby leaving me no options but to employ the blunt instrument of the admin tools. Please let's try to avoid needing those any further in this process. Xover (talk) 21:23, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Xover: I’m tempted to recreate the article-space page (for ease of reference), but I won’t because of history problems. The Index: helps with getting to the File:, but that’s besides the point. It’s only your claim that it contains copyrighted material; and you gave me no chance to respond to said claim. I have challenged your speedy deletion request at Commons, by the way, and will respond (if I’m allowed to) at a deletion discussion there. Your grandiose sense of self-importance about admin tools and whatnot belies your true actions—deciding the “discussion” which I had not responded to, and had not been given a chance to respond to. I have seen abuses like this on Commons, but had hoped that enWS admins were better, and you especially—but it seems I was mistaken. There is no independent problem in creating the index, anyways, because the pages have been deleted and the file still remains. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 21:30, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's only Xover's claim that it contains copyrighted material? It seems quite obvious that it does.--Prosfilaes (talk) 21:43, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Prosfilaes: It’s “only his claim” for several reasons. First, the user who opened the discussion is an administrator; if the case was so clear, why didn’t the first administrator just delete it. Second, he deleted the files after commenting negatively about the issue and refusing to allow me to respond to the initial allegation. I do not believe that the work is a copyright violation—I uploaded the PDF, created the index, and proofread the text, after all, and I didn’t find a problem. The main problem is not whether his snap judgment will eventually be considered correct, but that he acted without allowing for discussion. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 21:53, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You were pinged to the above discussion on 24 October, by the contributor that raised the concern, but chose not to respond in any way in the intervening nearly three weeks. And when I today saw what it contained I pinged you and gave you a second chance to correct the issue. So by all means keep venting at me, but you were given every opportunity to argue your case. Xover (talk) 21:57, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • You know, it’s hard to lie about timing when the times are publicly available. You gave me all of thirty minutes to respond and, when by chance I was able to respond in that time, you deleted the pages and ignored my comment anyway. If you are somehow implying that missing one message means that I’m not allowed to participate, that reflects more on yourself than me. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 22:23, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I gave you plenty of time to respond in that I did not act (and would not have acted) until I was certain that you had seen it and had the opportunity to respond. That you chose to respond (however quickly) by refusing to either redact the copyvios, or at least make some kind of plausible argument for why I might be mistaken, is on you. Let me put it this way: you were given two opportunities and three weeks more than a new contributor posting the same would have gotten before it was speedily deleted. If you have a good argument to make about the licensing I suggest you make it. It's up to you, of course, but I don't think venting about me is going to convince anyone to your position on the licensing issue. Xover (talk) 22:41, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • This is exactly why I brought this complaint: you unilaterally decided, without the benefit of any discussion—entirely of your own accord—the merits of my PD claim, without bothering to wait for community consensus. It is not my fault that you chose to ignore the long-standing practice of consensus development in copyright discussions, and I find it bizarre that you continue to pin the blame on me for your rash and unprincipled actions. I also don’t see how I was given any advantage over a new contributor, when my statement was entirely ignored and an administrator decided—again, without the benefit of the usual procedure and discussion—the merits of the case. I may as well have been logged out, for as much as my words were heeded. I would have liked to make a good argument about the licensing, but, apparently, your opinion is all that matters. Again, (and also, to an extent, in response to your comment below,) the file has not been deleted at Commons. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:59, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Listen, I get that you're pissed at me. Perfectly understandable under the circumstances, and no hard feelings about that. But the fact of the matter is that had this been added by a new user and spotted while patrolling recent changes it would have been speedied immediately (by any admin), and the uploader mildly or sternly chided (depending on whether it looked wilful or an honest mistake). A new user persisting in uploading such material after being warned not to would be likely to end up blocked. The copyright discussion had been open for nearly three weeks with no opposes, and as such could have been closed as delete as an ordinary copyright discussion. But then I gave you an extra opportunity—because you are a well-established, prolific, competent, and well-respected member of our community—and yet you did not elect to present this "good argument", or ask for more time to put together a "good argument", or indicate your willingness to redact the infringing parts of the file, nor even to temporarily replace the problematic Page: pages with {{text removed}}. This could have been handled collaboratively and surgically, rather than by the blunt instrument of wholesale deletion. So while I am sure you are too frustrated with me and what you see as my poor handling of this right now, I would urge you to consider also how you yourself could have handled this differently. Xover (talk) 10:07, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For context for those without access to deleted revisions: The previous discussion to which TE(æ)A,ea. is referring is WS:CV#Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music lyrical passages. I can't link the file here as it is a copyvio, but the text is the opinion of the court in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music which in two appendices contain the lyrics for Roy Orbison's (1936–1988) "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964), and a 1989 parody of it titled "Pretty Woman" by 2 Live Crew. The text is available online from all the usual suspects (Cornell, Findlaw, etc.) where it is hosted under fair use exemptions. Xover (talk) 22:25, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would vote for it to be undeleted, but only on the condition that the lyrical passages are removed, at least from our transcription, if not also (somehow) from the PDF that Commons hosts. Those two songs are very clearly and unambiguously still under copyright, including their lyrics. And we don't allow fair use (if there is even a possibility of applying that doctrine to a hosting of these court cases). But TEA, you already know all of this, so hopefully will come to agree with what is being proposed so that the text may be undeleted. PseudoSkull (talk) 23:56, 11 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Obviously, as the person proposing the undeletion, and as the person who did all the work, I believe that it should be undeleted. That a court case—a Supreme Court case on copyright law, no less—could be doubted as PD-USGov is bizarre. A denial of this would necessitate the review of, at least, 64,947 works on enWS and 720,167 files on Commons. The file, uploaded at Wikimedia Commons, is available at c:File:Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music.pdf. It is not currently subject to a deletion discussion, on copyright grounds or otherwise. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 02:59, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fact that it's PD-USGov is not what's under dispute; it's that there is content that is derived from copyrighted works contained within the work, which (insofar as we've been able to catch) does not apply to others of the 64K PD-USGov works here. Yes we should carefully review modern works for copyrighted material before submitting them in full to this site. The full lyrics to "Pretty Woman" is not PD-USGov—in fact it's not PD at all in any way—so what's being said is that that single portion of the text should be removed from view on a freely licensed site like Wikisource which does not allow fair use. The text was deleted in full because I guess the deleting admin found it more worth their time to just delete the whole thing than to clean up and add {{Text removed}} to every page in question. It's better to have content containing copyrighted material deleted in full (for now), than for it to linger around for years and for us to get a DMCA for it later. PseudoSkull (talk) 04:46, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed. It is the uploader's responsibility to make sure what they add is compatibly licensed, and even were I inclined to spend my limited wikitime on cleaning up this mess made by someone who really should know better, I in any case do not have the tools for conveniently manipulating PDF files (and there are overwriting considerations on Commons to further complicate matters). As soon as the file is redacted we can undelete the Index:, the non-infringing Page: pages, and the mainspace page as these are unambiguously public domain. In the meanwhile I have added the deletion request on Commons that should have been opened when the copyvio speedy tag was removed yesterday. Xover (talk) 09:43, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I have responded to the deletion request on Commons, and will keep my comments regarding the copyright status of this work there (and keep my objections to your actions here, for that matter). Your complaints about timing are misleading, &c. &c., but that is now besides the point. I wish for this discussion to be kept open, whether or not there is any comment here, until the discussion on Commons closes; and I will acquiesce in the result of that discussion here. Thus, if the file is kept on Commons, I would like all of the pages you deleted to be restored; and if the file is deleted, I will voluntarily close the discussion. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 14:16, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    There's no particular reason this discussion needs to be closed within any particular time frame, excepting of course the need to eventually clean out open threads. But a discussion on Commons is irrelevant, except as reference, for enWS. Even if Commons should end up keeping it for some reason, the infringing parts won't be undeleted here without a local consensus to do so. Xover (talk) 15:13, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I would have called your lack of respect for community consensus surprising, but I have already done so in the course of this discussion. Separately, I also request that, should the file be deleted on Commons, the various links which I added to the Campbell page (in the article space) deleted here be removed, as it is against practice to link to works which are still copyrighted—but of course, such a request will only take effect after the conclusion of the Commons discussion. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 16:17, 12 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hyakunin Isshū[edit]

A reader has noted at Talk:Hyakunin Isshū that it is not the MacCauley 1917 translation as stated in the work's page, but a reworked version copied from . Having checked it I must say they are right. E g. the original lines

Haru sugite / Natsu ki ni kerashi / Shirotae no / Koromo hosu cho / Ama no Kaguyama

were translated by MacCauley as

Spring, it seems, has passed / And the summer come again; / For the silk white robes, / So 'tis said, are spread to dry / On the "Mount of Heaven's Perfume.

while both our text and the text in the linked page go like this:

The spring has passed / And the summer come again; / For the silk-white robes, / So they say, are spread to dry / On the "Mount of Heaven's Perfume".

So, our text is just a second-hand transcription of a revised translation. For details how the translation was revised see . Thus, our text does not seem to be released into public domain, and so is most probably copyrighted. -Jan Kameníček (talk) 10:52, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • There is a scan of the original available here (starting at 903); I think it would be useful to back it to a scan. I don’t think that the modifications are particularly original, but in any case it is much more valuable to have the original copy. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 00:33, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The modifications are substantial, as they often change the meaning. Compare e. g. Spring, it seems, has passed… with The spring has passed… . --Jan Kameníček (talk) 23:37, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Undelete On Righteousness[edit]

The copyright is for the notes only, not the translations, which were published separately, as can be seen here. Are the translations copyrighted? TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 00:33, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes. Translations are derivative works to be separately copyrighted without affecting how their sources are copyrighted. Thus undeleting a translation requires proper licensing of both originals and translations.--Jusjih (talk) 21:56, 27 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Letter to Akhenaten, King of Egypt[edit]

This is one of the Amarna letters: specifically, number 41. There was a scholarly translation of the letters made by William Moran in 1992, which is, of course, copyrighted. This translation actually originated here, a thesis paper (in Spanish) which is not compatibly licensed. The only public domain translation of the letters, to my knowledge, is Knudtzon’s 1917 German edition. TE(æ)A,ea. (talk) 00:33, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]