Wikisource:Copyright discussions/Archives/2006-05

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This is a discussion archive first created in May 2006, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date.
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Works by J.D. Salinger

This discussion concerns the following texts:

These texts are published commercially and written by J. D. Salinger, who is still alive. The text of the Bananafish discussion list makes it clear that these works are copyrighted:

Please do not post copyrighted material or work whose distribution would be in violation of U.S. copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) to this list. Please! Anyone who posts substantial passages (of published or unpublished work) by J.D. Salinger may be removed from the list of subscribers.
"Bananafish" exists to discuss Salinger's work, not to distribute Salinger's or anyone else's writing without permission. (We can't predict the responses of other writers, but Salinger, through his agents and attorneys, has made it clear that he will not tolerate unauthorized reproduction of his work, and we don't want this list to end up in the proverbial garbage can -- or for any of us involved to end up in a legal quagmire.)

// [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 07:42, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Delete. I think we may have gotten Salinger works before. It might be beneficial to make a note that we can't accept this work.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 17:35, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Copyvio. --BirgitteSB 02:38, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
All involved pages have been deleted.--Jusjih 16:23, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy

This is a excerpt of the script for the "See it Now" broadcast on CBS-TV on March 9, 1954. I'm not sure what the copyright status of this would be. - illy 13:54, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure it is an excerpt, it looks complete to me. I think that as it is a transcript we can host it here & not breach CBS's copyright. AllanHainey 12:38, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Transcripts are copyrightable, however. I would guess that this would be copyrighted by CBS. Clearly Murrow is not a government employee, so nothing he does is automatically in the public domain. Also, reading the transcript, it seems almost as if when it cuts to McCarthy or Eisenhower, that it's not them speaking live with Murrow but maybe sound bites or video clips that Murrow plays. This would not make the broadcast a public domain broadcast, though.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:04, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
It is archive footage of McCarthy & Eisenhower which is played. They gave McCarthy an episode at some other time for a rebuttal. I had thought as it doesn't appear the transcript was made by CBS, but by someone else transcribing a public broadcast, it wouldn't be copyrighted in this format (obviously the actual show would be copyright of CBS though).
Aren't investigations by journalists into issues in the public interest automatically in the public domain?, I don't know but I think a case could be made that they are (and presumably has been by journalists in various court cases). AllanHainey 15:48, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
I am unsure whether the Senator was on or off duty. As it was published in 1954, it is still copyrightable in the USA only if it had copyright notified and renewed. Otherwise, it is in the public domain in the USA. I am unsure which one applies.--Jusjih 16:11, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
It's extremely difficult to figure out whether the copyright was renewed or not for any item. We might e-mail CBS whether it was renewed, but I doubt checking the copyright status of a 50-year old broadcast is not very high on their list.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:36, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Formula Dé: 1999 League Schedule & Rules

This article has the following statement:

The following pamphlet was distributed to players for the 1999 Formula Dé Tournament League.

I doubt this was distributed with a GDFL compatible license. --BirgitteSB 03:11, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

There was no copyright statement on the pamphlet, and as I understand it, rules can not be copyrighted. The pieces may be trademarked, the graphic look of the rules may also be protected, and long passeges of decriptive text can be copyrighted, but the mechanics of the rules become public domain once the game is published. game rules copyright law. Any one can make and sell their own Monopoly game for example as long as the do not use the Monopoly logo's or the corner spaces (which are a trademarked design) —MJBurrage 15:04, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
This is a passage from the website you refenced:
Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable.
The idea of the rules cannot be copyrighted, however the text describing them can. You could write a description of the rules in your own words without violating copyright. However when you copy the words written in a pamphlet that is a copyright violation.—BirgitteSB 16:03, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I was under the impression that the descriptive text that could be copyrighted was the large amounts of text in many rulebooks that explains the background of the game, including the setting and the story (if there is one). Not that I would not be happy to paraphrase a set of rules, but the photocopied single page that was handed out back when the company still ran tournaments themselves is already pretty terse. Once you say for example that you can use one engine point to move one extra space once per turn, then that is sort of that. The full rulebook has much more detail on Formula One racing, the tracks, the pros and cons of the optional rules etc. I was/am pretty sure that this was terse enough already to not be an issue. If you still think there is a problem I will rephrase the sentences, but given how short the content is it can't be that different. —MJBurrage 17:23, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I think the verbatim coping of a published pamphlet is a copyright violation regardless of how terse the wording is. Lets see what other people think about it. Rephrasing the information would clear up copyright concerns, but would not be an acceptable aritcle for Wikisource. Because wikisource includes verbatim copies of existing documents (with a GDFL compatible license). I think your best bet would be to make a Wikipedia article about the rules or else add the information as a section of a larger Wikipedia article.--BirgitteSB 18:11, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I believe the presentation of the work can also be copyrighted. Meaning, if the rules are already very terse (like we couldn't paraphrase the rules without already saying the exact same thing), the manner/order/layout/style/etc. of how the rules are presented is also subject to copyright, being part of the "creative process." Without an actual copy of the document to look at, I must err on the side of caution and suggest deletion.Zhaladshar (Talk) 22:20, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Longer quote from U.S. Copyright Office - Games

Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or playing of a game. Once a game has been made public, nothing in the copyright law prevents others from developing another game based on similar principles.
Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game, or the pictorial matter appearing on the gameboard or container, may be registrable.

That bold sentence, in the first paragraph, pretty clearly covers the whole content of this 1-page handout that I called a “brochure.”

Now the Formula Dé Rulebook is a separate multi-page document with more non-copyrightable rules, and notes on the game, and longer explanations of the rules with detailed interpretations. This extra material is what the second paragraph refers to.

I will also submit that while I am not a lawyer, I did study U.S. vs. E.U. Copyright and Trademark law while I was in Maastricht working on my MBA. And while I might be fuzzy on how one release license is, or is not, compatible with another—written copyright I am reasonably clear on. As such I am confident that there is not enough literary content in this document to make it copyrightable (as text), and I did not reproduce the design or formatting. (The handout used the games graphics and logos for the Circuits at the end for example.)

If anyone is still uncomfortable, I (or they) could rewrite items 3H, 3G, and 4, (which do use a paragraph structure) making the document my (or their) interpretation of the original. I did not do this before, because I do not believe myself that it is required under copyright in this case, and because the users who play the game would want the original wording (of the rule) if possible for the rules arguments that some love and some hate :-)

MJBurrage 15:34, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Some material prepared in connection with a game may be subject to copyright if it contains a sufficient amount of literary or pictorial expression. For example, the text matter describing the rules of the game I cannot understand what sort of rules could expect to be copyrighted if these are exempt. These rules are explanatory paragraphs. Rewriting the article would make it unacceptable for Wikisource. This really needs to be deleted. Please look over Wikisource:What Wikisource includes and Wikisource:Copyright carefully. I hope you can find an area where Wikisource's goal and your own interests overlap so you can continue contributing here enjoyably. --BirgitteSB 01:45, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Case law on game rules:
A quick search turns up the following material, which confirms that rules (and lists) can not be copyrighted. Even the wording of most rules can not be copyrighted. Lengthy discussion of the rules, such as examples of their interpretation, may be copyrighted (but not the rules themselves). In some cases there could patents or trademarks but that does not make the rules copyrighted. Hence my assertion that it is allowed content on a Wiki. As for whether it fits the wiki license, Since derivative works, based on Game rules are allowed, and are not a copyright violation, that would allow the free use (or editing, or adaptation) need for a wiki article.

As for whether it belongs on Wikisource in particular, It is Reference material, and as such I thought it was more appropriate here than Wikipedia. —MJBurrage 03:39, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

This Paper on Game Copyright by ethesis list a number of cases on the topic over the last hundered years:

Baker v. Selden, 101 U.S. 99; Affiliated Enterprises v. Gruber, 86 F.2d 958; Burk v. Johnson, 146 F. 209; Whist Club v. Foster, 42 F.2d 782; Downes v. Culbertson, 275 N.Y.S. 233; Russell v. Northeaster Pub. Co., 7 F.Supp. 571; and Seltzer v. Sunbrock, 22 F.Supp. 287; Midway Mfg. Co. v. Bandai-America, Inc., 546 F.Supp. 125.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals - ALLEN v ACADEMIC GAMES

A copyright only protects a particular expression of an idea and not the idea itself Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201, 218 (1954). Thus, ideas contained in a copyrighted work may be freely used so long as the copyrighted expression is not wholly appropriated. This is often the case with factual works where an idea contained in an expression cannot be communicated in a wide variety of ways. Landsberg v. Scrabble Crossword Game Players, Inc., 736 F.2d 485, 488 (9th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 103 7 (1984). Consequently, the notions of idea and expression may merge from such "stock" concepts that even verbatim reproduction of a factual work may not constitute infringenent. Accord See v. Durang, 711 F.2d 141, 143 (9th Cir. 1983); Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions, Inc. v. McDonald's Corp., 562 F.2d 11 57, 1163 (9th Cir. 1977); Aliotti v. R. Dakin & Co., 831 F.2d 898, 901 (9th Cir. 1987).
  This doctrine of merger is particularly applicable with respect to games "since they consist of abstract rules and play ideas." Midway Mfg. Co. v. Bandai-America, Inc., 546 F.Supp. 125, 148 (D.N.J. 1982); see also Anti-Monopoly, Inc. v. General Mills Fun Group, 611 F.2d 296, 300 n.1. (9th Cir. 1979). A similar logic has been applied to rules of a contest where most subsequent expressions of an idea of a rule are likely to appear similar to the words of a related rule. See Morrissey v. Proctor & Gamble Co., 379 F.2d 675, 678-79 (1st Cir. 1967); Affiliated Hospital Products, Inc. v. Merdel Game Mfg. Co., 513 F.2d 1183, 1188-89 (2nd Cir. 1975). Here, Allen has not shown that it is possible to distinguish the expression of the rules of his game manuals from the idea of the rules themselves. Thus, the doctrine of merger applies and although Allen may be entitled to copyright protection for the physical form of his games, he is not afforded protection for the premises or ideas underlying those games. To hold otherwise would give Allen a monopoly on such commonplace ideas as a simple rule on how youngsters should play their games. The preceding unsigned comment was added by MJBurrage (talk • contribs) 03:39, 18 April 2006.
  • Delete. It is my opinion that the wording in the pamphlet is more than verbose enough to involve sufficient creativity to allow copyright. A simple test is to ask yourself this question: given the official handbook of rules, could another pamphlet designer or author create text almost exactly similar to this one? The rules themselves are not copyrightable; the wording the author used to describe them in this case is. // [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 13:18, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    • If rewording a rule (while keeping the same meaning), can only be done in a way that would result in wording that is similar to the original wording; then the original wording cannot be copyrighted. This means that the rules themselves for pretty much every board game ever sold are in the public domain. There are, in fact multiple companies that produce legal, unlicensed, derivative copies of Axis and Allies™ and the rule wording is the same as the Parker Brothers Rules. Xeno Games™ is one example. Another example is that the rules for Monopoly™ are not copyrighted. The corner spaces and the logo are trademarked, and the portions of the rulebook that are about the game (but not the rules) are copyrighted.
      Along those lines we have pages on wikipedia with the full rules for wikibooks:Monopoly/Official Rules, wikipedia:Rules of Settlers of Catan and many others. Even verbose rules cannot be copyrighted if there is not a very different way to say the same thing. This is covered in more detail in the case I cited.
      It seems like there is the opinion, that because it is written, it is copyrighted. This just is not true for the rules of a game. There are only so many ways to say what this says, and they would all sound like the original. Hence the original cannot be copyrighted because it is the rules for a game. The non rules material or a lengthy discussion of the rules (but again not the rules themselves) can be copyrighted. For a rare example of rules long enough to be copyrighted, check out the 300 page rulebook for a role-playing game.
      Now I could move this public domain information to wikibooks or wikipedia, but I thought that since it was not already on the net, and it was not a complete set of the rules, it fit here better. —MJBurrage 16:42, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Delete I understand from the above quotes that someone could create a race that has the same rules as the 1999 Formula Dé, and that if they wrote the rules, it would look similar to the 1999 phamphlet. However, we would still need to rewrite the rules; we cannot keep this phamphlet verbatim. --Kernigh 20:41, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Deleted. The contributor has failed to establish the usability of the work to the satisfaction of the community, as demonstrated by the consensus to delete (the contributor notwithstanding). // [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 03:25, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

The Dope Fiend by Lavie Tidhar

An anonymous user blanked this page with the following message:

The use of this story without permission is a copyright violation. It has been removed at the request of the author, Lavie Tidhar.
Ellen Datlow
(editor of the story on SCIFICTION).

// [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 22:20, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Unless the author Lavie Tidhar] has expressly release this work into the public domain or licensed under a GFDL-compactible license, I have to err for deletion.--Jusjih 14:32, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
  • Deleted while no argument for retention.--Jusjih 14:52, 13 May 2006 (UTC)


This is a translation of a song by russian singer Vladimir_Vysotsky. The song itself is most likely in copyright and there is no information on the translator. - illy 14:44, 3 May 2006 (UTC) The Tattoo falls into the same category. - illy 00:55, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Deleted while the singer died in 1980.--Jusjih 14:57, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

Bert Acosta

The last part of the document is clearly still under copyright to Time Magazine (with the "Used with Permission"). The first part is uncertain. - illy 15:18, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Deleted.--Jusjih 15:18, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Blanche Stuart Scott

As the article says:

  • Source: Associated Press, October 03, 1928
  • Note: Used wih permission

This definately seems to be a copyright violation. - illy 15:41, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Many items on this page were created by User:Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ). I first suggest you leave a message on his talk page asking him what kind of permission we have to use these. If the permission is for redistribution/derivative/commercial use, it might not be too difficult for him to get some of the copyright holders to license the work under a GFDL-compatible license. Some of them might have to go, some could probably stay. We just need to know what "permission" means.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:40, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
    • Done. I'll hold off posting any more of his pages until we've heard back from him. - illy 17:03, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
      • Deleted while the uploader never responded.--Jusjih 15:24, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Alex Lifeson CNN Interview 2002

The transcript may belong to CNN, and thus be under copyright.--Politicaljunkie 20:16, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Left of the Dial

This is a story that was serialized on in 2004 but it is still copyrighted by the author per that site. - illy 02:06, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Deleted per your notice.--Jusjih 12:41, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

InfoWorld joke programming languages

This was marked in march by Inge but never added here. An article from InfoWorld published in Oct. 1982. - illy 15:54, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Deleted.--Jusjih 12:43, 14 May 2006 (UTC)


Published in 2002.--Politicaljunkie 20:16, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

This is most likely to be a copyright violation, because it is an English version of a Turkish government document. It is likely that someone translated it from Turkish and holds copyright. The original Turkish version could also be copyrighted. --Kernigh 20:46, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Deleted.--Jusjih 12:46, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

Roy Edward Disney resignation letter

That text contains no license info and the author is still living. / 18:27, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree, this looks like a copyright violation. --Kernigh 21:16, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Deleted.--Jusjih 12:48, 14 May 2006 (UTC)
The page just popped back and I just deleted it again. Is there any way to protect it from poping back as a copyvio again?--Jusjih 17:01, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Four Quartets

This a work by TS Eliot published in 1945.--BirgitteSB 06:40, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Copyright violation. Wikipedia:Four Quartets says that the book was published in 1943. By the US before-1923 rule, this is copyrighted, but the older works on Author:T. S. Eliot are not. I will update the author page. --Kernigh 20:51, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Deleted as a copyvio against [1].--Jusjih 12:51, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

The Doctrine and Covenants/Official Declaration 2

(See full text here)

From the text The vote to sustain the foregoing motion was unanimous in the affirmative.

Salt Lake City, Utah, September 30, 1978.

Declaration 1 is dated around 1831, and the only source I can find online for the actual content of the text (here) lists the latest text as 1918, so these should be fine (published in the United States before 1923), however, this text is date as 1978, which, unless it's public domain, means that it's a copyright violation, unfortunately. Jude (talk,contribs,email) 01:23, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Deleted this is a definite violation. --BirgitteSB 13:46, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

I would have tagged this with {{PD-manifesto}}, except that it was first published in Jyllands Posten--Shanel 18:52, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Copyvio This was discussed on the Scriptorium to the affect that we would need explict permission. I had asked Soufron about it on IRC. --BirgitteSB 03:20, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

UN Security Council Resolutions after 1 March 1989

I would like to continue Wikisource:Possible_copyright_violations/Archives/2006/04#UN_Security_Council_Resolution_1154. I have counted 270 resolutions after 1 March 1989 (numbered 633 and onward) that would be copyrighted by default and the non-commercial UNCopyright is no longer acceptable per WS:COPY unless the underlying texts have been prepared by the US Government. I have gathered a list at my user page under "Recent UN Security Council Resolutions to be deleted". Unless their full texts are available at the US Government Websites (suffixed .gov), shall they be speedily deleted? I can copy my gathered list hereto upon request, to be archived together with this case.--Jusjih 17:38, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Yep. We should speedy these, as we did with the first batch.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 01:35, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Shall we notify the contributors why we delete them? What I have sent to contributors when deleting UN Resolutions after 1 March 1989 can be found through [2] dated 17 March 2006. You may use the following as you wish:

Subject: United Nations works after 1 March 1989 no longer acceptable at Wikisource for being GFDL-incompactible

SORRY, but due to Wikimedia Foundation's requirement that results in the copyright policy prohibiting non-commercial licenses, UN works published after 1 March 1989 are copyrighted for 95 years since publication by default and Template:UNCopyright with non-commercial license is GFDL-incompactible here, so unless available at the US Government Websites (suffixed .gov) without additional copyright restrictions, they have to be deleted.

THANK you for your past contribution anyway.

PLEASE ask any administrator for temprorary undeletion if you need their copies for your private use after deletion. --Jusjih 12:58, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

[3] seens to be a UN General Assembly Resolution as well. I am searching Google to see if US Government Websites have any texts of the following. If I see none, I will delete them. If anyone finds any text of the following at any US Government Website, any administrator may simply undelete with any explanation, but non-admins should appeal at Wikisource:Proposed deletions.--Jusjih 14:05, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Recent UN Security Council Resolutions to be deleted

The following resolutions have been filed after 1 March 1989, copyrighted by default unless the underlying texts have been prepared by the US Government:

All have been deleted other than those specified otherwise.--Jusjih 14:29, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Transwiki:Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

This can be found on the author's (Swami Krishnananda) website where there is a declaration: "All books on this website are copyright of The Divine Life Society" - illy 17:41, 17 May 2006 (UTC)