Wikisource:Copyright discussions

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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.

When you add a work to this page, please add {{copyvio}} after the header which blanks the work. If you believe a work should be deleted for any reason except copyright violation, see Proposed deletions.

If you are at least somewhat familiar with U. S. copyright regulations, Stanford Copyright Renewal Database as well as University of Pennsylvania's information about the Catalog of Copyright Entries may be helpful in determining the copyright status of the work. A search through or Google Books may also be useful to determine if the complete texts are available due to expired copyright. Help:Public domain can help users determine whether a given work is in the public domain.

Quick reference to copyright term

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Philosophical Writings: Translators modern unpublished translation, or possible gifted translation[edit]

This work was provided in 2010 by an IP address. The author is a known modern translator [1] though the source is unknown, and unproven that the translation has been published, and if published whether it is in the public domain, or not.

It is possible that the translation has been done and gifted to the web. I can see that the person has edited at Wikipedia and from an IP address. If we do wish to determine that is the case and determine to retain the work, then I would suggest that we move the work to the Translation namespace, and de-identify the author. — billinghurst sDrewth 23:58, 23 July 2019 (UTC)

Since Larrieu is a published author, and the uploader is anonymous, I would assume copyvio over gifted translation. I would suggest reaching out to the translator, but he died in 2015. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 02:23, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Larrieu made several edits to Wikipedia in 2006, and the IP address geolocates to roughly the same area that the IP address that added the text here does, albeit from a different ISP (Verizon vs. Cox). In their edits on Wikipedia they exhibit a level of competence with wiki editing roughly commensurate with the text added here. They also expressed interest in finding online verified copies of certain old texts, in response to which a Wikipedia editor referred them to Wikisource!
Based on this I am actually personally convinced the text was added by Larrieu himself, and that he intended it to be freely available.
However, despite this conviction, I don't think we can keep this work: simply because the necessary formalities were not observed. We don't know that it was Larrieu that added it, and we don't know that they understood the licensing consequences; because there is no OTRS ticket confirming the identity and intent, and the added text did not contain explicit copyright tags. So, reluctantly, I think we need to delete this.
We could reach out to Larrieu's heirs, but the odds of them knowing anything about his wiki activities are pretty poor. --Xover (talk) 08:48, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Suggest we move it to Translation: namespace and make appropriate notes on talk page. — billinghurst sDrewth 13:11, 6 August 2019 (UTC)

I believe the participants so far are in disagreement over how to best handle this issue due to the uncertainties involved (I don't believe a clear-cut right—wrong answer is obtainable with the available information). I would therefore request that other community members (the more the better!) chime in with their opinion so that we can more accurately gauge the community's consensus on how to handle this. --Xover (talk) 10:32, 17 August 2019 (UTC)

My opinion is still Symbol delete vote.svg Delete: assume copyvio over gifted translation without evidence to the contrary —Beleg Tâl (talk) 13:15, 22 August 2019 (UTC)
I agree and thus also Symbol delete vote.svg Delete. But I take billinghurst's above proposal of "move to Translation:" as an implicit {{vk}}. Since the issue is not clearly settleable on the facts, I think we need wider input to determine our course of action. --Xover (talk) 06:58, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep 2010! They met our requirements at the time, and we didn't have a translation: ns back then. There is suitable evidence that the author did edit, and with this translation left their name on the work appropriately to our style. The text is not findable on the web, so it is unlikely to be a copy and paste job. If anyone had done that in the Translation ns: today, then no one would be batting an eyelid about keep it unsigned comment by Billinghurst (talk) 09:15, 24 August 2019 (UTC)‎.
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep per billinghurst --Zyephyrus (talk) 09:39, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

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)

  • 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)
    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)
  • 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)
    @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)
    @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)
    @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)
    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)
    Ah. Thanks! --Xover (talk) 10:50, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
yeah, i would keep it as PD-author-release, here. commons would view failure to follow OTRS as a deletion rationale. i.e. [2]; [3]; [4]. Slowking4Rama's revenge 16:29, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing[edit]

2013 statement issued by multiple parties on OA publishing, each holding copyright in the collective work. The statement is published at under the terms set forth in the Terms of Use for DASH Repository. These include -NC and -ND restrictions, and so are not compatible with our copyright policy. --Xover (talk) 07:26, 3 September 2019 (UTC)

  • Symbol delete vote.svg Delete per nom —Beleg Tâl (talk) 14:12, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep pending further investigation. The fact that the work was posted in DASH does not mean that DASH holds the copyright to the work. Indeed, the work has appeared in multiple locations online which purport to apply different policies: for example, at this site which states that all content is CC-BY 3.0 unless otherwise stated. Different repositories have different copyright policies, but only the actual copyright holder’s views (usually meaning, those of the author or authors) govern. I agree that it most likely makes sense to view the statement as a work of joint authorship by the conference participants (rather than the work of an individual author), although the document does not actually so state. More information about authorship and the provenance of the work seems to be needed here. Tarmstro99 17:18, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
    Suber also states that he is not an official spokesman for this document, so his claim of CC-BY is no more credible than the DASH claim to NC and ND restrictions. If any organization owned the copyright it would be HHMI, who convened the meeting and invited the participants. However, as the text itself states, the authors contributed as individuals rather than as representatives of their organization, so joint copyright seems to be the correct assumption. Because of this, in order for us to keep the text, it will be necessary to find an explicit release issued by all contributing authors. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 19:59, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
    @Tarmstro99: If we agree that all the actual licenses provided in the different repos and sites in which this appears cannot be trusted, then we need to examine the known facts to determine its status for ourselves. Do any of the observable facts support a free license or a copyright exemption (public domain)? If not, the default state is that it is protected by copyright owned by its authors. --Xover (talk) 06:17, 9 October 2019 (UTC)
    it is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of standard terms that are added to all content. you should not imagine that organizations will make copyright determinations for you, they will present a "no known copyright" or "for educational use" or NC, as a fallback. we have seen some progress with our partners, but legal departments remain recalcitrant. Slowking4Rama's revenge 13:08, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
    An observation..."find an explicit release" (per Beleg Tal) and "examine the known facts" (per Xover) seem to me to be mere restatement of what Tarnstrom originally suggested, i.e. "further investigation." -Pete (talk) 17:51, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
    @Peteforsyth: Not quite. I'm saying that the default assumption for all works are that they are protected by copyright. Tarmstro's argument that we cannot trust the copyright statement provided by the hosting repository (by pointing at a different statement in a different repository) simply means that we have no credible indications to support a deviation from the default. The available facts are that it is a work of joint authorship by the conference participants, who hold copyright in the joint work, and who failed to actually license this particular work in line with the goals of the statement itself (the irony). Unless someone can unearth facts that credibly support compatible licensing, this is clearly copyvio. --Xover (talk) 18:35, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep pending further investigation, to which I'm happy to contribute. Per what @Tarmstro99: says, I believe the original license was one acceptable to Wikisource, and it may be that the statement has been republished in other places which apply licenses that are not. I will see what more I can learn and report back. -Pete (talk) 17:48, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
    Thanks. My own research did not suggest any likelihood of finding information credibly supporting compatible licensing, but I am very grateful for all contributions towards the best possible determination we can achieve. --Xover (talk) 18:35, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
  • Pictogram voting comment.svg Comment For what it's worth, version 3 of the CC licenses launched in 2007, several years after the publication of this statement. Version 3 is the first version compatible with Wikimedia TOU. -Pete (talk) 18:53, 19 January 2020 (UTC)
    @Peteforsyth: Have you been able to unearth any further information on this? --Xover (talk) 17:54, 17 July 2020 (UTC)
    @Xover: Thanks for the ping. I'm sorry, I realized that I had this document confused with a related one, and got stuck. Reviewing it again now, I do know several of the signers, and I will reach out to them. If you feel it should be deleted in the meantime, I don't object, assuming that an affirmative outcome would mean it could be restored. Or, if you're OK with waiting a couple-few weeks to see what responses I get, that's cool too. Sorry for the delay. -Pete (talk) 18:16, 17 July 2020 (UTC)
    @Peteforsyth: It's been sitting open since September last year: a few more weeks makes no difference. Please keep in mind though, that we'll need something more than just one or more of the co-authors saying they think that X is the case. If we can't find anything solid that's been published, we'll need the full OTRS dance for all the co-authors (which is a pretty tall order 7 years after the fact). --Xover (talk) 19:09, 17 July 2020 (UTC)
    @Xover: Yes, I fully understand that -- I'm looking for either (a) clarification that there is a provable compatible copyright license or release from 2003 that we've somehow overlooked, or (b) somebody from that group organizes a poll of all authors and can generate a new license. (I don't know whether all signers were authors or not...possible that the number of authors is lower than it appears, so I wouldn't totally rule that out as a possibility.) I realize it's a tall order, but because of the irony you acknowledge, I think it's worth the effort. Thanks, -Pete (talk) 19:27, 17 July 2020 (UTC)
    I've had a helpful reply already, though no "quick fix." Still looking into it. -Pete (talk) 21:55, 18 July 2020 (UTC)
    Just a small update for now -- emails are underway, my inquiries have been redirected to more appropriate recipients twice now, and I hope for a definitive answer by the end of this week. Peter Suber did confirm to me that the initial publication (as far as he knows) was on his personal website, predating the DASH publication. Also, as far as he knows, the NC and ND provisions of DASH would apply only to materials subject to Harvard's open access policy, which as far as he knows would not cover this document. So it would seem that the current status is "unclear, perhaps no general license was ever formally applied" rather than CC-BY-NC-ND. Again, hope to have clear affirmation of a general license, or at least affirmation of the status quo, in short order. -Pete (talk) 17:03, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
    Small development, and @Xover: you may be interested in this part: The leader of the institution representing the original lead author has stated their understanding is that under U.S. copyright law any one copyright holder may assert a non-exclusive license (like CC BY) for a work. That position is spelled out in some detail here. (Hat tip @Bluerasberry:.) They have not yet made that formal assertion of CC BY (which I expect will entail some internal deliberation) but that is the theory they will be working under. -Pete (talk) 23:15, 14 August 2020 (UTC)
    @Peteforsyth: Far be it for me to argue with the Berkman Center, but I am not unreservedly willing to buy that theory for this purpose.
    An "undivided ownership share" is a concept related to title to land and ownership of real property, where selling your part or letting someone else use it does not deprive the other sharers of their economic benefit from the land (and when you let someone else use it you must account to the other sharers for the profits). In a traditional copyright situation a similar mechanism applies: each joint author may license the work and derive economic benefits from it, and it does not deprive the other sharers of their benefits beyond that implied by multiple parties owning a share to begin with. But when we are talking about intangible property (digital intellectual property, where you can make perfect replicas at effectively zero marginal cost) a copyleft-style license has the same practical effect as an exclusive license: it deprives the other sharers (authors) of the potential for economic benefit. Think of it as analogous to trespass to chattels or even conversion, if you like. And copyright is primarily an economic right (the right to commercially exploit, with some moral rights tacked on to various degrees in various jurisdictions).
    In fact, I believe (but don't hold me to it) that in the UK (and probably other Common law jurisdictions, but I haven't checked) such ownership constructions are held to legally create a trust, regardless of whether you take other affirmative steps to create or act like one, for the specific purpose of imposing a duty for the trustees to always act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. I believe the standard example is the house you own jointly with your spouse: for legal purposes both of you have the roles as trustee and beneficiary and neither of you can unilaterally sell the house (as a trustee) unless it is in the best interest of the other (as beneficiary).
    But the above is strictly speaking just a hypothetical right now. We'll have to assess the actual facts if and when they are presented. I would be much much more comfortable with an assertion from a trustworthy source that all the joint authors had agreed to the licence. And what counts as a trustworthy source for this purpose would be either directly from each author (like a joint statement), or some inherently trustworthy institution (roughly by the same assessment as a "reliable source"-type assessment on enwp), or something similar. The same claim from just one of the authors I would be less comfortable accepting (no offence to Suber, but I don't know him from Adam and there are far far fewer checks and balances in place for individuals then there are for organisations, and much greater incentives to misunderstand, misrepresent, or skimp on due diligence).
    PS. Not trying to draw any bright line here, by the way. I'm just outlining my thinking and understanding now so that it's clear going in, rather than pop up like a moving goal post after the fact. The actual facts and intervening arguments may alter my thinking significantly before the end.
    PPS. I just noticed that Diane Cabell was one of the signatories of this, while she was a Director at the Berkman Center, and until 2014 she was at Creative Commons. If she's not one of the people you're talking to it might be worthwhile to reach out. I imagine she'll see the problem immediately, and identify potential solutions. And, speaking only for myself, she is someone I would be extremely hesitant to argue a legal question with (appearances to the contrary aside, I don't actually enjoy looking like a blithering idiot). :-) --Xover (talk) 10:21, 15 August 2020 (UTC)


  • I see two issues here - one is the general case of whether one copyright holder has the authority to issue licenses when there is a group of equal stakeholders. I think the answer is yes, and I think that the above legal explanation from DMLP / Berkman / Harvard confirms any one copyright holder has the right to issue non-exclusive licenses of any sort, and I think that Xover is taking a minority position in opposition to that by saying that individual copyright holders in a group cannot issue CC licenses without unanimous group permission. Responding to group copyright does seem like a common situation in the Wikimedia space, and we should have clarity on how to respond, and I am unaware of any published on-wiki guidance for addressing this. Xover, positions aside, are you aware of any established wiki guideline on how to manage copyright from groups? Is this idea of requesting permission from everyone in a group documented somewhere? If not, we should write something to clarify, right? Should we go to Commons Pump Copyright, or what would you propose?
The other issue is this particular case. I see this case as unique because this particular document is foundational to Wikipedia's copyright licensing practices. The copyright license for this document is the document itself. The document itself defines what a free and open license is, and it does this in the modern sense of understanding this, and the signatories are all understood to be the founding experts who defined the concept of the free and open license for creative media including the output of Creative Commons. The correct copyright license for this document is this document itself. There are a lot of signatories, and while we have not talked to all of them, the ones we have talked to obviously support free and open media including for this document. Noawadays the Creative Commons licenses themselves have Creative Commons licenses upon them, but 20 years ago when the Bethesda Statement came out, the explicit language of this document calling for free and open media everywhere was self explanatory enough for it to freely go into circulation with many people taking action with the understanding that they should republish, translate, and remix this document without anyone even imagining that the text of the document would not apply to the document itself. To question the license of the document now is to apply a contemporary reimagining into a time and situation where obviously subject matter experts of the time did not feel a need to comment. I am comfortable treating this document uniquely and recognizing its open license as a special case, even while for other cases we seek other opinions about the general case in Wikipedia for how to respond to shared licenses.
Xover, can you make a proposal of how to proceed? Pete and I have talked with a few people already. Among all the signatories, is Diane Cabell really the person whose authority you would accept, even after we already have a license from the copyright holder which hosted the meeting which produced this document? I support getting this in order, but I want to avoid a situation where the asking proceeds indefinitely without an identified end. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:58, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: I get the feeling you are ascribing to me positions and stances that I do not actually hold. But I am out of time to respond in depth just now, so I'll just quickly address a couple of key points.
Regarding the Cyberlaw guidance on joint authorship, they do not actually address this situation directly. They have certain implicit expectations about the context in which their advice will apply, and copyleft deliberately subverts those expectations. It may still be valid, but we cannot just assume that it applies.
Regarding we already have a license from the copyright holder which hosted the meeting which produced this document, this is the first I'm hearing about this. Details?
Regarding The correct copyright license for this document is this document itself… Keep in mind that if we accept the document itself as its own license, it cannot be hosted here for at least two reasons: 1) unlike the CC licenses, it is not actually an approved license (and unlikely to ever be so, due to…), 2) the terms of that license are incompatible with our licensing policy since it imposes -NC style limitations on reuse. Open access and copyleft are related and overlapping, but their interests are not identical; and absent clear licensing we cannot just assume that all the signatories would agree to use the terms in our particular copyleft licenses. For the same reason you should not assume that I would license my open source software under the GPL: I have philosophical objections to some of its terms even though I for the most part agree with its goals. --Xover (talk) 19:43, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
@Xover: Excuse me me for attributing any position to you - there never was a reason for me to do that, and if I misstated something then it was my own lack of understanding.
  1. About the license - yes, we have a license statement for this particular from someone at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This is a recent development since the start of this conversation. They say CC-By. Is there a Wikisource OTRS process, or do you use the Commons OTRS process here? We could tag OTRS permission on the talk page of the document, assuming that you would recognize a representative of that org as suitable permission.
  2. I disagree with the claim that copyright licenses need advance approval for acceptance into the Wikimedia platform. We have a standard for compliance, Commons:Commons:Licensing, but anyone can meet that standard with the license of their choice without pre-approval. I recognize that anything uploaded should meet that standard, but I would not agree with dismissing by default a license which lacks pre-approval. Wikimedia projects have always had tolerance of a lot of weird homebrew licenses at Commons:Category:License tags. I would support you or anyone else contesting a license, if it comes to that, but maybe having the above described permission is sufficient.
  3. This might be a tangent if the above described permission is sufficient, but I do not see the NC restrictions in the Bethesda statement. I see no restrictions except attribution of copyright holder. I agree that the text is weird in places, but to me, the Bethesda statement seems CC-By interoperable. If it ever happened that we had Bethesda-licensed text to import, then that seems fine to me.
Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:00, 15 August 2020 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: Still short of time but trying to squeeze in some responses in the interest of not stalling progress. Apologies.
On OTRS, so far as I know we don't even have a separate queue in OTRS, and definitely not our own procedure. But I have to admit to treating OTRS as a bit of a black box so I may not be entirely up to date on that.
On the restrictions in the document… First I think it is important to stress that this isn't actually a copyright license (at best it is an indication of intent), so the issue is rather hypothetical. But with that caveat, the restriction is in the first section or thereabouts where they place a limit on "printing out a reasonable number of copies for personal use" (an entirely reasonable limitation when talking about open access to research and journal articles). I haven't checked in detail what else is there, so this is just an example of why we cannot simply assume that the interests of people concerned mainly with open access will always align 100% with those concerned mainly with copyleft and free culture. They may, but it's not certain and it may vary from case to case.
On the license statement from Howard Hughes Medical… That's great news! I am, personally, not immediately convinced that's sufficient, for the reasons outlined previously, but that's something concrete and it is not at all unlikely that the community will consider that sufficient to retain this document here (I tend to the more conservative end of the spectrum on these issues). At the very least if we make it contingent on the outcome of some kind of process to clarify this issue in general. Preferably involving WMF Legal, or at least people like Clindberg or Michael Maggs over on Commons, but something with broader attention and input than an individual copyright discussion on enWS. As you say, the question isn't specific to Wikisource; and it would eliminate a lot of uncertainty and needless back and forth to have specific guidance either way on these cases. As a practical matter, enWS tends to rely rather heavily on the guidance on Commons for copyright issues (modulo the direct differences in the respective copyright polices). --Xover (talk) 15:15, 17 August 2020 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry, @Peteforsyth: I have still not found the time to really dig into this issue. But I have managed two things: 1) thinking at it from a few different perspectives, and 2) a superficial search for any legal precedent or case law that address this situation directly.
To take the latter first… I have found absolutely zilch in any of the sources I have access to that actually addresses this issue. I feel this must be my failure and that surely this must be an issue that has cropped up somewhere at some point, but finding it would take someone more qualified than me (hence my desire to get WMF Legal on the case). Which means that my analysis above is a prima facie novel legal interpretation; and novel interpretation from some random Internet person (even if that person happens to be myself) is not a good basis for decisions on legal issues. So, with my community member hat on I'm going to change my !vote to neutral on this.
Which brings me to the #1 mentioned initially. Putting my admin hat on and trying to look at this from a "how do we progress this towards a resolution" perspective, my assessment is that the community has not shown itself willing to accept the document itself as its own license (and keep in mind the pitfall I sketched previously for that) , but… based on previous discussions I hold it very likely that they would accept your proposed OTRS license statement from one of the co-authors' institution. The devil is in the details (which institution, under what circumstances, what are they actually saying, etc.) but my guess is that the general principle is one the community would consider sufficient.
So, absent other input, my suggested way forward is that you proceed to get OTRS permission as you have been planning. Once that is in place we make a new subsection of this discussion with a brief summary (so people don't have to wade through this mess), and ping previous participants. If over a week or two we either get no feedback, or a normal consensus assessment of what !votes we do get supports keep, I close this thread as keep. (I propose a short-circuit in there because it's really hard to get sufficient numbers of participants to properly assess consensus in these complicated threads).
Once we've landed this specific case I would like to try to get some guidance on the general issue. First by trying get WMF Legal to look at it, and failing that (or if their statement on it is not clear cut), in a discussion on the Commons `pump. The goal of the latter would, to my mind, be to establish clear guidance, and not primarily the legal issues. And I would very much appreciate your involvement in that effort, if for no other reason then at least to make sure more perspectives are reflected in the formulation of the issue.
Thoughts? Does that sound like a sensible approach? --Xover (talk) 10:23, 5 September 2020 (UTC)
  • I agree, the argument about "this document is its own license" is odd. I will table that one.
  • I started a discussion at the Commons village pump some time ago and it has answers. See commons:Commons:Village_pump/Copyright/Archive/2020/08#Multiple_copyright_holders;_one_person_grants_CC_license. My read on consensus here is that any one copyright holder can apply CC licenses without permission from other copyright holders. Please look that over and tell me the extent to which you think my phrasing and question apply to this case.
  • About expert opinions and precedent - We have a few opinions from Commons. That is a start. I started to compile Commons:Commons:Joint authorship. Would you please post any comment to the talk page there about the extent to which that essay addresses this issue? My view on Commons noticeboards and WMF legal is that they will not draft text, but they will respond to drafts. People are more likely to respond as a proposal is more developed. I did that first draft and got a little response. We could escalate this if need be, but my feeling is that WMF will not respond until and unless there is some community development. I agree with you - either Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons past discussions should have raised and addressed this issue many times. I have been unable to find prior documentation and discussion. I have not looked extensively, but I think that at least that essay page I drafted is the first guideline-style documentation anyone has made on wiki. If anything exists off-wiki, maybe I have not found it, and I have not searched wiki discussions at all.
  • The permission we have is from a person who was hosting the Bethesda conference. I do not want to send this to OTRS prematurely, but yes, my view of their statement is that they understand CC licenses and said they right now apply one to this document. If you / consensus can accept that, then I can either send it into OTRS or we can discuss more details if there is anything ambiguous.
All of this is conversation trying to get to a resolution. What do you think of all this? Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:01, 6 September 2020 (UTC)
@Bluerasberry: (and courtesy CC to Pete) Meh. I wish I'd been aware of that discussion when it happened. I disagree with your assessment that that discussion demonstrates consensus that any one copyright holder can apply CC licenses without permission from other copyright holders: of the four people participating, Asclepias and King of Hearts jump straight to the same concern I outlined above (it was apparently not so novel after all), and Brainulator9 expressed a different but related concern, so only Jeff G. unequivocally supported that position.
On that basis I would say we definitely need to pursue a general resolution to this issue, including both what (if any) position WMF Legal takes and a community-anchored guideline for applying it. And I think that process properly belongs on Commons: we don't have the capacity or expertise, and in most cases we will be working based on files hosted on Commons anyway. In the mean time I'm in no rush to close this discussion (beyond providing progress and resolution to those who care about its outcome specifically), so my proposal is to just leave it open until we have some actual guidance to base a close on. --Xover (talk) 06:23, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep consistent with established Commons and OTRS practices of accepting licenses from anyone who we can show has a right to issue them. It's a little late to do otherwise and require licenses from all copyright holders, heirs, successors, and assigns; doing so without input from WMF Legal would be reckless and foolhardy, would waste much volunteer time, and could bring accusations of "copyright paranoia" and being "more Catholic than the Pope". Doing so retroactively could cripple the movement. @Xover: Thanks for the mention.   — Jeff G. ツ 13:50, 7 September 2020 (UTC)

Index:Tumors of the pituitary gland.djvu[edit]

1998 work and author is still alive. I do not see that we can call this {{PD-USGov}} and I don't see that there is any legitimate licensing that would allow us to retain this work.

Note that I have started the pairing conversation at WikimediaCommons. @Rajasekhar1961: uploader. — billinghurst sDrewth 09:35, 28 March 2020 (UTC)

w:Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (established in 1862) published series of books of good teaching value for medical persons. The Institution is closed in 2011. Some of their publications are available in Archives under Public domain licence. They are published by USGovernment. Hence may be considered as {{PD-USGov}} to be used in Wikisource. I am interested in this work, and would like to upload the other books in the series, if it is acceptable to Wikimedia foundation.--Rajasekhar1961 (talk) 14:02, 28 March 2020 (UTC)
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology is the publisher, but not the author. The author is not an agent of the US government and did not write this volume while working for the government. An author retains rights to their work unless the author releases them. --EncycloPetey (talk) 14:23, 2 April 2020 (UTC)
  • Symbol keep vote.svg Keep Hang on… This scan was uploaded to IA by an archivist at the National Institutes of Health Libraries and is included both in the NIH Library collection and the Federal Collections collection at IA (and the NIH links to it and a copy on Google Books from their catalog). The work contains no independent copyright statement (which is not required by the copyright act but is common practice in publishing all the same, when copyright applies). The series has been published in multiple editions (at least three that I've found), all of which by AFIP, but with different editors. The edition preceding this one has multiple scans fully available on HathiTrust (who are notoriously even more Catholic than Commons on copyright). All of which strongly suggests that this is a product of the AFIP that just happened to be produced as a work-for-hire: that is, the "author" is listed for academic credit, not copyright purposes. The history of the work, which is given in a preface, also describes it as a product of the AFIP, in particular due to drawing on the expertise of their employees and the materials in their archives.
    Bottom line, the balance of probabilities here strongly favours this being a {{PD-USGov}} work. --Xover (talk) 08:31, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
did you try contacting the author to find out if it is a work for hire? (there are also four copyrighted images.) don't know why you would speculate that authors for a US government publisher would retain rights: different year, same USGov methods. Slowking4Rama's revenge 11:29, 13 May 2020 (UTC)
I should make clear, when I say "bottom line" I mean "bottom line for me". This is not a case where there is an unequivocal right or wrong answer: but for me the balance of the evidence (absent new information) falls down on the side of it being PD-USGov. The opposite conclusion is equally valid, I just don't find the arguments for it persuasive. --Xover (talk) 08:29, 27 May 2020 (UTC)

Sinews of Peace[edit]

Unsourced, annotated, ("etc.") 1946 speech by Winston Churchill. In 1946, Churchill was no longer PM or held any government post; he was the leader of the opposition and MP for Woodford. The speech is a prepared political speech (warning against Soviet expansion and the Eastern Bloc) delivered at Westminster College in Missouri. As such it is in copyright in the UK (pma. 70) until 2036 and in the US (pub. + 95) until 2041. --Xover (talk) 10:29, 30 May 2020 (UTC)

It is true that Sir Winston Churchill was, at the time of this speech, the leader of the opposition and no longer PM; but this does not change the fact that he was PM and was the principal negotiator with Franklin D. Roosevelt, US President; and Joseph Stalin, USSR General Secretary at Casablanca, Morocco (1943-01); Tehran, Iran (1943-11); and Yalta, Crimea, USSR (1945-02) - although Stalin was absent from Casablanca due to the Battle of Stalingrad. As such, Churchill spoke with, first hand, deep knowledge and authority on the historic and critical strategic dialogue that took place between Allied leaders during WWII. I am not a copyright expert, but I think it is reasonable to suppose that, in practical terms, that it has long been in the public domain. If there are technical copyright issues, I have little doubt that these can be addressed starting with Churchill College, University of Cambridge; Archives or International Churchill Society or other authority. I would be surprised if permission to host the transcript of this speech (text and/or audio) is not granted.
Enquire (talk) 21:43, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
Revision as of 14:44, 10 April 2017 includes an unverified transcript, plus a (broken) YouTube link (user account no longer exists). I found, what appeared to be an authentic full audio transcript (YouTube v=DZBqqzxXQg4) Introduction by President Harry S Truman, with Churchill's speech starting at 08:42 in 55:54 audio. This speech was delivered at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri as the seventh John Findley Green Foundation lecture series (1937 to 2019, ongoing). If YouTube is not a trusted audio transcript host, I have no doubt that a trusted audio archive can be found, either to be embedded in Wikisource, or else to be added as an EL. In any event, this is a significant speech that should be included as a Wikisource.
Enquire (talk) 22:19, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
It would appear that the text transcript (although not, apparently, audio) can be found here: Sinews of Peace, 1946 Enquire (talk) 22:37, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I note that the YouTube (v=DZBqqzxXQg4) audio credits: Licensed to YouTube by SME (on behalf of Sony Classical); EMI Music Publishing, and 8 music rights societies
Enquire (talk) 23:09, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I am afraid that neither Cambridge nor any other university own the copyright to Churchill’s works. According to information given at International Churchil Society Curtis Brown Group Ltd and its agents represent the Estate of Sir Winston Churchill and handle all copyright permissions. It would be great if they agreed with publicating the speech under some of our free licences, but it seems that their attitude to commercial usage is not compatible with our licenses, which explicitely allow commercial usage :-( But it may be worth giving it a try. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 23:27, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
@Enquire: I feel your frustration: copyright laws around the world tend to be completely out of touch with how normal people view what is reasonable. In the UK the main term of copyright protection is for 70 years after the death of the author (so 1965 + 70 = 2035 for Churchill, and terms are counted from the end of the year in which the author died). In the US, the copyright term for such works is 95 years from the date of publication (so 1946 + 95 = 2041 for this speech). Many copyright systems have exceptions making some or all works by that country's government ineligible for copyright, but that does not apply when the author in question is no longer in government (and besides, the UKs is one of the more regressive laws in this respect). In US copyright there is also an exception for extemporaneous speech (getting copyright protection requires a work to be "fixed" in some tangible form) that has sometimes been relevant to (impromptu) speeches hosted here, but that does not seem to be applicable here (there is no way Churchill didn't prepare this speech ahead of time). Wikisource policy is that works hosted here must, at a minimum, be in the public domain (either ineligible for copyright, or copyright must have expired) under US copyright law.
As for getting permission to host it… Nothing would be better than getting such permission, but keep in mind that getting such a permission that would actually work is a pretty tall order. Our licensing policy requires a free license, where the word "free" refers more to "freedom" than being without fees. Our main license is the {{CC-BY-SA-4.0}} (Creative Commons Attribution+Share Alike) or the {{CC-Zero}} public domain dedication license, which permits others to freely redistribute, reuse, and modify the work, including for commercial purposes. So by licensing this speech for use on Wikisource, the owners of the copyright would in effect be permitting anyone that wants to to exploit it commercially. This goes a lot farther than a mere permission to host it somewhere for academic and educational purposes, and is not generally something copyright-managing organisations are interested in.
If you do get in touch with them about this, please also keep in mind one final "bureaucratic" hoop that must be jumped: we are going to need some way to verify that any such permission has indeed been provided (not just an individual contributor's say-so), for which we have the m:OTRS process. In essence, if the copyright holders are willing to freely license this work, you will need to get them to email the appropriate email address listed on the OTRS page, and the volunteers there will verify that the copyright holder releases the images under an allowable license, that they do so clearly while understanding what that means, and that they actually are allowed to license the images in such a way (e.g. they hold copyright). And the copyright owners must communicate with OTRS directly: forwarding their emails will not be sufficient. --Xover (talk) 05:09, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
Just a small note to OTRS: I think it is not necessary that the organization contacts directly our OTRS. When somebody gives me a permission in similar cases, I usually simply forward our correspondence to OTRS and if the correspondence includes everything needed, the OTRS volunteers approve it. --Jan Kameníček (talk) 11:47, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
It is distinctly preferred, I believe, since a direct communication is more verifiable than a forwarded version of one, which is easily faked.--Prosfilaes (talk) 19:25, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
@Xover: I do not doubt that what you wrote is true and it is obviously true that we need to ensure that whatever is published has the appropriate permissions. What I am trying to convey is that this transcript (text & audio) is already, in reality, in the public domain. Furthermore, it is profoundly in the public interest for it to be hosted on Wikisources. In any case, unlike commercial media, I doubt that obtaining permission would be a major barrier and, as we know, apparently Sony/EMI have already granted permission for the audio to be hosted on YouTube. That is, assuming that they hold copyright, rather than the International Churchill Society or the John Findley Green Foundation who host the Green Lectures. If anyone, I would have assumed that the JF Green Foundation would be the original copyright holders. Regardless of the details of copyright, what is the procedure to secure such permission?!?
Enquire (talk) 21:31, 31 May 2020 (UTC)
@Enquire: "available to the public" is a different concept from "public domain". In terms of history, education, world heritage, academic study, etc. etc., then, yes. But in terms of copyright, which is the aspect that our policy cares about, the copyright is owned by whoever is the successor in interest to Churchill's estate. "Public domain" is the status of a work that is either ineligible for copyright protection, or whose term of protection has expired. Since neither applies here, it means the only way we can host it is for the current legal owner of the copyright to license it to us under a compatible license (typically {{CC-BY-SA-4.0}} or {{CC-Zero}}). Any copyright owner that is actively managing their copyrights is extremely unlikely to do that, because it hurts their ability to commercially exploit the copyrights (and copyright is primarily an economic right).
The speech as such is Churchill's copyright, passed to his heirs. The recording of the speech has a separate copyright, owned by whoever did the recording. The license tags you see on Youtube are in regards the recording and not the speech itself. The recording permissions are provided to Youtube and others (radio stations etc.) through compulsory collective licensing deals: it is not a license for that individual work, and we cannot get a relevant license through the same channels.
The Churchill Estate (which is not the same as the International Churchill Foundation) owns the copyrights, and they have chosen to use the Curtis Brown Group Ltd to handle licensing. This in itself is a strong sign that they care about commercially exploiting the copyrights, which in turn suggests it is unlikely they would be interested in anything that interferes with those commercial interests (such as a free license).
But if you want to try, you need to start by contacting Curtis Brown. If they are, despite my misgivings, willing to license the speech under one of the licenses mentioned above, you will need to get them to send an email confirming that to OTRS (see the link above for the address). OTRS will need to see that they understand the implications of the license (anyone can use it for any purpose, including commercial purposes!) in addition to confirming that they are willing to release it under that license. Note specifically that it is not sufficient to "get permission" (too vague) or to get a license for use "on Wikisource" (people need to be able to reuse everything we host here).
I don't mean to be discouraging, and nothing would be better than being able to host this here; but in my experience it is extremely unlikely they will be positive to such an approach. --Xover (talk) 09:48, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
@Enquire:Those aren't arguments we use or accept. Lots of things are commonly out there that aren't in the public domain copyright-wise. I know of one instance where something was so much not in the public interest that we rejected it, but in general it doesn't matter; if it's copyright-legal and someone uploaded it, it stays. Sony has granted permission for the audio to be hosted on YouTube, in exchange for the ad revenue on that video; that's purely a commercial issue.--Prosfilaes (talk) 11:24, 1 June 2020 (UTC)
Symbol delete vote.svg Delete Clearly not PD in the UK or US per Xover's analysis. "Because it'd be really nice to have it" doesn't quite cut it. If someone could sweet-talk the rights holders into releasing it under an acceptable licence and they send OTRS an email, sure. But I'm not holding my breath. Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 18:54, 5 July 2020 (UTC)

Seems to me that it's probably {{PD-US-no-notice}}, as there was an advance text of the speech that was provided to the press, apparently without limitations on use, as it was printed in full in many newspapers without any copyright notice. For example, it was published here in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the same afternoon (which must have gone to press before Churchill even delivered the speech). Probably {{PD-US-no-renewal}} too, though I did only a cursory check for renewal. However, the page would have to be edited to conform to the advance text, as the publication status of any additional material that was added by Churchill would be unclear (unless someone can find a transcribed version of the speech that was clearly published with Churchill's authorization). Toohool (talk) 01:16, 8 July 2020 (UTC)

Here are a couple of sources that mention the advance press copy and the differences with the speech as delivered: [5] [6]. And here is an auction listing showing a copy of the text that was distributed at the lecture - no way to tell if it had a copyright notice, but it supports that there was an authorized general publication in 1946, and therefore there would have to have been a renewal around 1974. Also, I found that Churchill published the speech in a book in 1948, which was presumably eligible for URAA restoration, so the verbatim version of the speech appears to be under copyright until 2043. Toohool (talk) 05:21, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Toohool: hmm, interesting. My inclination to delete the unsourced version we have stands, since I think it's more likely to be from a book or something via some website. It's certainly some other version than the paper has: the very first line: "President...., I am very glad" (WS) vs "I am glad" (SLPD).
However, assuming this newspaper was published without a copyright notice (since you have access and mine is pending review, perhaps you could have a quick look at the first and last page for such a thing), does that mean the text on that specific page is PD? Or would we also have to show the advance copy was provided to the paper without such a notice? Presumably such an advance copy wasn't actually published as such, rather it was more a private correspondence between Churchill's people and the papers, so would it matter? A newspaper reprinting under licence an excerpt of a book that was registered and later renewed would surely not drop that excerpt into the PD just by the the newspaper not following copyright formalities, right? My brain hurts. @Xover: any clue what is needed for confidence in this case? Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 08:53, 8 July 2020 (UTC)
@Inductiveload: Things are a bit simpler if we focus on {{PD-US-no-renewal}}, to avoid any questions about copyright notice. I checked the CCE for Type C renewals ("Lectures and other works prepared for oral delivery") for 1973-1975, and also Type A renewals (in case it was registered as a book or pamphlet), and found no trace of Churchill or "Sinews of Peace".
So the only possible point of contention I see is whether there was truly a publication of the advance text. With your point about it being a "private correspondence", you're getting at the question of general publication vs. limited publication. Distribution of copies to a defined group of people, for a limited purpose, with limits on their right to reproduce or distribute the work, is a limited publication, which, for the purposes of copyright, is no publication. In this case, it seems that last element is lacking, as some of the media (at least the Associated Press and United Press) promptly distributed the entire text to their member newspapers for publication. To find that this was limited publication, we would have to believe that both of those organizations violated limits that were imposed on their use of the text. Journalists generally have a practice of honoring embargos and off the record sources, so I don't think we should assume that such a violation was committed, without evidence. We would also have to discount the evidence that the text was distributed to attendees of the lecture, which would undoubtedly have been a general publication (though I admit the evidence of that, the auction listing I linked above, is thin).
As for whether it's better to edit the existing page to conform to the published advance text, or delete the page and start from scratch, I'm indifferent. Toohool (talk) 22:23, 11 July 2020 (UTC)
If we make the determination that the SLPD version is an un-renewed work that is separate to any copyrighted version (e.g. the 1948 book, assuming that is copyrighted), the best option IMO is to delete or rev-del the page and start again from the page image(s). All three versions are a bit different, so it seems there are at least 3 versions sloshing about. We'd need a full proof-read to switch to either the 1948 book or the SLPD in any case, rather than just slapping down a PD version over the top of the existing version.
WS version SL Post-Dispatch 1948 book
No headings News-style headings (e.g. US at Pinnacle) No headings
President McCluer,... America:
I am very glad I am glad I am glad
somehow or other is somewhat is somehow
So, in fact we have In fact we have
It is also an honor, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps almost unique It is also an honor, perhaps almost unique It is also an honor, perhaps almost unique
However, I suppose if it was that the SLPD version is based on (with editorial changes, e.g. to fit it on the page) one of the copyrighted versions, then it is also copyrighted? Despite being "published" earlier in the same day (assuming we take the day of the speech as "publication" of the lecture materials). Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 16:20, 21 July 2020 (UTC)
@Inductiveload: I'm having trouble following the discussion here, but a couple of points…
First, the speech, though it exists in multiple versions, is a single work. There are disco-dancing angels hiding in the copyrights for the various modifications made at different times, but de minimis non curat lex: what matters in practice is when the work was first fixed into a tangible form, and when was it first published (and as Toohool points out, "published" in copyright means "general publication"). Later republications, with out without modifications, need not concern us overly for copyright purposes.
And in general, a given newspaper's failure to include a copyright notice does not affect Churchill's copyright. It's not an article he's written for them, it is notionally a transcript of the speech (his people are just giving the newspapers a perfect transcript so they won't mess up their own transcript, and to make it easy for them report the speech). And newspapers have various fair use and "news of the day" exceptions for such reporting.
As such, I don't think it is clear when "first publication" happened for copyright purposes (it may have happened much later and in the UK → URAA → copyright until 2041). And since we don't have clear provenance for the text currently on Wikisource anyway, my inclination is that we delete what's there and if anybody wants to re-add it from a specific source they have the burden of explaining the theory under which it is public domain. We cannot clearly say that it's a copyvio, but neither can we clearly show the opposite, and the default presumption is that works are copyrighted. --Xover (talk) 06:27, 13 August 2020 (UTC)
@Xover: Indeed, that makes sense, hence the !vote delete stands.
I guess my real side-bar question is: when does it stop being a newspaper reporting the news of the day (in which case it's some sort of fair use and doesn't affect the underlying work's copyright) but from a written source for accuracy/speed and when does it start being Churchill publishing his speech through a newspaper (along side other channels)? Is that "general publication"? And does that differ, from, for example, someone serialising or excerpting a novel in a newspaper? How easy is it to "slip up" and accidentally drop something into the public domain in that period where copyright notices were required? Inductiveloadtalk/contribs 10:41, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Anthem (Rand)[edit]

Novella by Ayn Rand first published in the UK in 1938, and subject to an effective pma. 70 term there. Rand died in 1982 so it will be in copyright in the UK until 2053. Being a work first published outside the US that was in copyright there on the URAA date (January 1, 1996) its US copyrights were restored to a pub. + 95 term so it will be in copyright in the US until 2034.

There was a significantly rewritten version of this work published in the US in 1946 that is often held to be in the public domain in the US due to failure to renew the copyrights, but that issue would only affect the changed material: as a derivative work of the 1938 edition, that edition's copyright would still apply. I am not aware of any other editions of this work that could plausibly have a differing copyright status. --Xover (talk) 09:01, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

At the time, Ayn Rand was a national of, and domiciled in, the United States. As per United_States_Code/Title_17/Chapter_1/Section_104A#(h)_Definitions, a restored work "has at least one author or rightholder who was, at the time the work was created, a national or domiciliary of an eligible country", where eligible country explicitly excludes the US. So the URAA wouldn't have restored this.--Prosfilaes (talk) 08:37, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Ah, indeed, that makes sense. Thank you! --Xover (talk) 11:19, 7 September 2020 (UTC)

Hossbach Memorandum[edit]

The w:Hossbach Memorandum is a 1937 memo written by w:Friedrich Hossbach (1894–1980) summarising a meeting where Hitler discussed foreign policy. The meeting was an official one, and Hossback, as Hitler's adjutant, was acting in his official capacity, but the "official works" exemption in German copyright law is narrow and essentially only applies to laws (it works like PD-EdictGov, not PD-USGov). This document, as a mere summary of a meeting, does not meet PD-EdictGov in the US. In addition, German copyright law always vests copyright in the natural person who created the work, so the term of protection for this work is pma. 70 calculated from Hossbach's date of death, that is until 2050. In the US it is thus in copyright until 1937 + 95 = 2032. --Xover (talk) 19:36, 5 September 2020 (UTC)

The one thing I'm sure on is that it's not 1937 + 95, since it wasn't published in 1937. It seems to have been first published in 1945 at the Nuremberg Trials, but presumably not with any permission of copyright holder. There's a letter from him to an American history professor in 1953, which my German is insufficient to read, so it's possible he published at some point, which may be first publication, or it was still technically unpublished in 2002 and thus out of copyright in 2050 in the US.
Are you sure German copyright law always vests in a natural person? Can you imagine a company having to go around to the secretaries after every meeting and license the meeting notes from them? Yes, it's PMA the natural author, but if it was owned by the German government (likely) and was owned by the Alien Property Custodian (unlikely), it'd be PD. Or if it was just owned by the German government, it's likely they authorized publication at some point, which may change publication date.
I always feel so frustrated over stuff like this, that's clearly functionally PD, but apparently not technically.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:04, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
Certain is perhaps overstating it, but I am convinced it is so. It is an aspect that is stressed repeatedly in all the sources I looked at while researching this, including the text of the law itself: I had a devil of a time figuring it out because I couldn't find anywhere in the text that actually addressed organisational copyright (looking for anything that would calculate the term from date of publication rather than pma.). The situation seems to be that the basic assumption is author's rights, where some are inalienable, but rights to economic exploitation etc. can be licensed through mechanisms like employment contracts. But for our purposes here, where we don't really care what happens during the term when the copyright applies, the salient point is that this effectively makes all terms for German works pma. of the natural person.
But let's put this a different way… Do you see any set of circumstances regarding date of publication that would actually put this in the public domain now?
For whatever that's worth, the best I've been able to find is that it "was discovered after the war and presented in evidence at the Nuremberg trials." Presumably it sat in Nazi archives until then, and I'd be perfectly comfortable assuming that constituted publication for copyright purposes (by assuming it was released, one way or another, by the legal successor to the Nazi government and that they had whatever permission they needed to do so). --Xover (talk) 12:43, 7 September 2020 (UTC)
No, I don't see any set of circumstances that would put this in the public domain now. I'm guessing we're looking at 1945 + 95, then.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:22, 13 September 2020 (UTC)

Translation rights[edit]

I recently uploaded to the Greek Wikisource a small text (about 10 lines) which is a translation of a 1772 italian text, published (the translation) in Greek in 1940. The author and translator died in 1971. The uploaded text is a very small part (about 1%) of the whole published translation. The article was proposed for deletion on the grounds of "possible violation of translation rights". Is this a legitimate reason to delete the article? Thank you.--Skylax30 (talk) 11:03, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

@Skylax30: Yes, a translation which was published in 1940 by an author who died in 1971 is protected by copyright in many countries. You will need to check the copyright rules of Greek Wikisource, and the copryright laws of any relevant countries (probably Greece and the USA) in order to confirm whether the translation is still protected by copyright. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 14:18, 18 September 2020 (UTC)
More specifically: Kōnstantinos D. Mertzios died in 1971, so anything he wrote (including translations) that was published in Greece is protected by copyright in Greece until January 1 2042, unless Mertzios or his heirs explicitly stated otherwise. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 14:27, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

OK, thanks.--Skylax30 (talk) 08:34, 21 September 2020 (UTC)

My Urals and Round the Ai river I went[edit]

There is no indication that these translations are freely licensed. The uploader was asked to provide more info nearly a year ago with no response. I myself could not find any indication that these translations are not copyright. —Beleg Tâl (talk) 15:56, 18 September 2020 (UTC)

Decision upon the request for recusal of a judge, 1973-10-08[edit]

The original work in Japanese may be in the public domain, I am not so certain about the translations. The source of the site says copyright Copyright © Supreme Court of Japan. All rights reserved. That page also says "This translation is provisional and subject to revision. Translated by Judicial Research Foundation."

Other pages that I see probably face the same issue

@JOT news: for your comment.

billinghurst sDrewth 00:28, 22 October 2020 (UTC)