Wikisource:Copyright discussions/Archives/2006-08

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This is a discussion archive first created in August 2006, although the comments contained were likely posted before and after this date.
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Falling asleep of the Mother of God

Appears to be copied from an excerpt of a copyrighted publication-"These Truths We Hold - The Holy Orthodox Church: Her Life and Teachings". PoptartKing 07:22, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Man/Boy Love and the Gay Movement

This text was recently added, but according to Wikipedia's entry on David Thorstad:

Summaries of Thorstad's views appear in his articles "Man/Boy Love and the American Gay Movement" in Male Intergenerational Intimacy: Historical, Socio-Psychological and Legal Perspectives (Theo Dandfort et al, editors, Harrington Park Press, 1991), and "Homosexuality and the American Left: The Impact of Stonewall," in Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left (Gert Hekma et al, editors, Harrington Park Press, 1995).

It would appear that this text is still under copyright, and would thus be a copyright violation. Jude (talk) 05:13, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

The Coming Technological Singularity

The article was deleted due to copyright violation. However the original text as distributed by the author license it as follows: (C)1993 by Vernor Vinge. Verbatim copying/translation and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

Is this not GFDL-compatible? Tarcieri 03:07, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I am not a lawyer, nor an expert on copyright, but it would seem that the license does not specifically allow for modification or commercial redistribution, which means that it would not be GFDL-compatible. I believe that unless something is specifically stated (modification and commercial redistribution), copyright automatically does not allow for it. Jude (talk) 03:34, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

It also does not allow for mere parts to be distributed, as the license only covers the work as a whole. Unless the author releases this under a license which allows for distribution by parts, it will likely have to be deleted.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 13:29, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Humorous Poetry

I can't find this poem anywhere, so I'm guessing it's likely a new (i.e., contemporary) poem and should be deleted.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 14:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

American Pie

The eight-minute Don Mclean song. Recorded in 1971.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 13:08, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

OK. I must admit that I have absolutely no idea about the copyright violation rules. Am I not allowed to add the song lyrics to Wikisource? Can somebody please explain why not? Especially since the lyrics are plastered all over the internet, and Wikipedia has an in-depth analysis of basically every line... Ackatsis 14:17, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
You are allowed to add song lyrics, so long as they are in the public domain or released under a GFDL-compatible license. This, however, is not the easiest thing to determine (i.e., a song's copyright), and most of them anyway are protected under some copyright or another. Basically, for a very long time, we will not have many song lyrics on our servers. Just because the lyrics are all over the internet does not mean it's not infringing someone's copyright. And for a project of a Foundation on the scale of WMF, we need to be extra cautious about copyright, since we allow people to take our material and distribute/edit them for any purpose whatsoever; we don't want to tell people "you can distribute this" when in fact we don't even have permission to distribute it. And, in terms of Wikipedia, they can claim fair use for using the lyrics as they are academically analyzing it. We could not claim fair use, because we are doing nothing but publishing the piece. Hope this clears a few things up. Feel free to ask if you have anymore questions.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:06, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
No worries. I just wanted to clear that up. Thanks for taking the time to explain it. Ackatsis 06:05, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Window of Opportunity

Copyright 2005 by Roger Iverson.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 13:21, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Merry Noel

Another Roger Iverson work. Copyright 2002.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 19:37, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Amandla Festival Speeches

Lyrics of Bob Marley songs --Samael775 03:39, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

Boreal Forest Conservation Framework

This is a cut & paste job from this website which claims copyright.--BirgitteSB 01:46, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

This is a translation by Anthony Giddens. Weber's original (in German) would be in the public domain, but this is not. Jkelly 04:54, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, it seems you're right. Giddens was born in 1938. Odds are it's still protected.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 13:30, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
Deleted.Zhaladshar (Talk) 13:48, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Nouméa Accord

This work would probably be considered an internal French document. From what I was able to determine, French copyright law does not exempt governmental works from copyright (like the U.S. does), so the copyright for this would be held by the appropriate French ministry (see here). - illy 17:17, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, if it's some legal document enacted by the government or parliament, there is no copyright on it. Yann 12:43, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Certain French official texts are in the public domain,. See also commons:Commons:Image_copyright_tags_visual#France. However, translations may not be in the public domain. This should be deleted if there is no objection to do so. We cannot let it hanging around forever.--Jusjih 15:26, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Deleted --BirgitteSB 02:02, 25 August 2006 (UTC)


Various suicide notes

We have various suicide notes in Wikisource, some of which have been written relatively recently (see suicide notes). I found this discussion in the archives where Zhaladshar states they might be protected by copyright. The following list includes suicide notes written in 1977 or later. Since suicide notes usually don't have a copyright notice, the earlier ones should be in the PD.

--GrafZahl 10:13, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Suicide notes are by nature public domain, falling under something similar to the reasoning of Template:PD-manifesto, in that the author has purposely written it to be released without any attempts to profit or limit its useage. For the example of the Hunter S. Thompson suicide note, look at how many newspapers and media outlets quote the entire text verbatim - if something is copyrightable, you are only allowed to quote a small piece of text to illustrate the tone, or for critical analysis. I have never once heard of a single case of anybody's estate trying to claim copyright over a suicide note, and given the number of prominent artists, actors, musicians and other celebrities-with-large-lawyer-bases, that pretty much guarantees that these are in fact acceptable as PD. Z's exact quote is to be careful to check whether any of the notes have had claims of copyright, and as I said, I have been unable to find an example of even a single instance - though if you are aware of any, please inform. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 11:39, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Sorry again for not contacting you earlier. The manifesto tag looks good as regards Thompson's suicide note. I've updated copyright and Wikisource in this regard because I completely overlooked that possibility at first. Your newspaper/media outlet reasoning, however, I find not that convincing. The news simply have more possibilities than us; given the terseness of a suicide note they might just reproduce the whole note and claim fair use. Also, what about suicide notes with usage limit, for example when they address a specific person? What about suicide notes published outside the US? Granted, I'm somewhat taking the part of a devil's advocate here and I'm not implying that everything which looks only slightly suspicious should be deleted. But such material should at least have an appropriate licence template in order to avoid confusion.--GrafZahl 13:42, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Newspapers couldn't claim "Fair Use" if they publish the entire piece, is my understanding - and I am speaking as a journalist/reporter myself (albeit one who's just finished his internship). As per the audience it addresses...
It's also worth pointing out that Bartha was the subject of a lawsuit as a result of his attempted sucide, Cobain had a public inquiry iirc, Simpson had a large trial, and Vince Foster's death was handled by the FBI, so chances are that most those were even released to public by court order as evidence. I'm not against the idea of making a separate template for them, explaining similar to {{PD-manifesto}} what the rules are, if you feel that helps - but yeah, as I said before, if all the lawyers protecting all the estates of all the famous people who killed themselves can't successfully claim copyright to a suicide note, than I doubt anybody can. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 14:35, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

I've gone and created Template:Suicide, and added it to all relevant pages. Hopefully this settles the issue somewhat, if there aren't any complaints, I'll remove this discussion from the page (no archives?) in a few days. Thoughts? Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 00:15, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

I think that's a good idea in principle, but I would change some things:
  • Rename the template to Template:PD-suicide for consistency, and add pages to a new Category:PD-suicide (possibly in addition to Category:Suicide notes).
  • Change "in most countries" to "in most English speaking countries" or something. There are some fundamental differences regarding copyright in some countries. For example, in most countries of continental Europe, where copyright comes with certain moral rights and obligations automatically which the authors and their heirs cannot lose/disclaim except through expiry 70 years after death, works cannot be released into the public domain and a licence explicitly allowing the use may be required. Then, I'm no lawyer and I might be wrong.
  • Change "is only used" to "should only be used".
--GrafZahl 08:43, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
I did the third suggested change, I'll wait for more opinions on the other two, unless you feel like Be Bold yourself. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 07:32, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I think the first two points sound like good ideas, as well, for the reasons given by GrafZahl.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 14:33, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I've renamed the template and created the category under PD assumption. // [admin] Pathoschild (talk/map) 17:07, 14 August 2006 (UTC)


Template:PD-manifesto seems completely wrong. We can't assume public domain because we have no license information. The whole category needs to be cleaned up. If I write a speech and give it in public, I am fully entitled to protect my copyright on it, and I don't have to declare it. Ed g2s 21:02, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

If you give a speech, as in verbally saying something to an audience, then you have no copyright to protect. Copyright only applies to tangible things. That said, it is one of the more ambiguous areas of copyright. If you know of someone who is actually claiming to be a copyright owner of the text of a speeeh please be specific, this is not an area where general speculation can lead us to any answers.--BirgitteSB 21:33, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
To give one obvious example (already removed from Wikisource), I have a dream. Ed g2s 22:10, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
That particular text was distributed in written form to reporters prior to it's delivery. This is the basis the King estate used to sue for copyright infringement. The courts gave out conflicting opinions before the suit was settled out-of-court so even this case is ambiguous. I know this from my own enquiries of the WMF legal team. I have permission to forward the email along to anyone interested. An attachment of the MLK case is included in this email. Please email me if you would like to have a copy forwarded to you. That said I believe we should remove any speeches where a party asserts that they own the copyright, but otherwise avoid paranoia. --BirgitteSB 02:01, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
I would like to see the email, yes. I think it's wrong that we assume things to be public domain, when we simply don't know if they were written down or not. Our general copyright policy is to assume something is unfree until proven otherwise. Ed g2s 16:42, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
I disagree, I think that WMF's Avoid Copyright Paranoia was in the right lead, though times change for WP specifically. I think a good example would be the United Nations documents that we hosted for ages - it was nominally understandable that we believed them to be PD, but when we were informed they were not, we began removing the ones that violated copyright. Nobody is going to (or able to) sue us without first serving us a w:Cease and Desist informing us that their copyrighted work is being displayed and demanding we remove it - and in such cases where somebody comes forward and claims copyright, I believe we're quite liberal in giving them the w:benefit of the doubt and removing it to be safe. So in summary, it's my uneducated belief that the trick is to balance Wikisource's usefulness at storing such texts, with the legal security of always being genial, accomodating and polite any time an outsider brings up any dispute with us. I also think that because we're a small handful of people compared to WP, that's a lot more easily accomplished, and one of the things that makes WS great...for now ;) Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 20:16, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Avoid Copyright Paranoia was not published by the Foundation. Our policy is that all sources and license information must be verifiable. "Possibly public domain" is not acceptable material use. Ed g2s 22:57, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
Copyright paranoia doesn't bring any good here. It leads to unecessary fear and suspicion. Please don't go on with that. Yann 12:57, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Paranoia is excessive or irrational fear. There is a very good reason for concern here, as it is quite possible that the works aren't public domain. We should only be providing content which we know to be free of usage restrictions. Knowingly publishing a possible copyright violation is against the fundamental principles of this project. Ed g2s 17:55, 4 August 2006 (UTC)
Why do you believe that to be the fundamental principle of this project? The community here is working hard to approach copyright in a responsible manner. There are many things that it is impossible to know the exact copyright status of. Impossible not because of lack of research but because of lack of case law. I do not see a need remove areas where it is quite likely, but not certain, they are free of restrictions. Especially when certainty will never exist.--BirgitteSB 23:55, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Permanent Revolution

This was written in 1930 and translated in 1931. I can find no information regarding copyright status of the translation.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:44, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

See commons:Commons:Licensing#Former_Soviet_Union. So perhaps the original text is public domain (assuming it was written in the USSR), but that doesn't explain the translation. --Spangineerwp (háblame) 20:27, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
The theory of public domain outside the Soviet Union is disputed. There has not been any exact answer.--Jusjih 15:31, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not so much concerned about Soviet copyright as I am about the copyright of the translation. Who did it? Where was it done?—Zhaladshar (Talk) 15:40, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
When looking at the page history and searching Google, I have found that John G. Wright translated it into English (1931 when he was in the USA). Based on [1], he died on June 21, 1956 in New York, USA. Running a search of the US copyright renewals, I see 4 renewals of "Permanent Revolution". Do any of them match John G. Wright's translation?--Jusjih 16:52, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
That's all I needed. Published 1931 in America. That puts it in the public domain.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 21:45, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Jews of Rhode Island

According to notes with the text this was written in 1985. - illy 18:00, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

I'd tend to say that a single-edit that put up a small little-published book is probably the author, so we should push him for CC or GFDL, but I see says the author is from Rhode Island, and the IP address that posted it comes from Boston. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 18:32, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
I had the page put up by my student, since I couldn't understand the directions! I am on the Board of the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association, and the information was published by us in 1985, and we own the copyright. I had previously put it up on Wikipedia, but was told that it belonged on Wikisource instead. Thus, the copyright is OK, since we own it. Ruth Breindel <eMail address removed just for the sake of possible spambots, still available in Page History>
Ruth, by putting this up here you are agreeing to allow the work to not only be altered and redistributed but also to allow commercial use. The idea behing the GFDL is: "to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially." I suggest you take a look at the page here on GFDL and see if you can agree with the provisions of it. - illy 14:04, 19 July 2006 (UTC)
We are happy to have anyone use this information for research, etc. People are free to copyand redistribute it. Could you give me some more information about someone editing it? Thanks, Ruth
By editing, they are able to take this work, make any changes they want (whether such changes are factual or just stupid), translate it, use it as a base for a different work, etc.—Zhaladshar (Talk) 16:47, 20 July 2006 (UTC)
For the time being, the Rhode Island Jewish Historical Association would like to have our article, Jews of Rhode Island, on Wikisource so that others may use it. If there are any other questions, please contact me. Thank you, Ruth Breindel
Tossed her a final eMail, just doublechecking she understands it has to be licensed under GFDL, will post hre reply here if she doesn't return herself. Cheers. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 00:16, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
If she does understand the GFDL, could you forward the email to permissions at wikimedia dot org? That way, it's lodged with the legal team, and I can get someone from there to post a note on the talk page with the ticket number, etc. Jude (talk) 01:40, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Forwarded, and article reverted. Sherurcij (talk) (CRIMINALS ARE MADE, NOT BORN) 16:13, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

An Autobiography or The Story of my Experiments with Truth

I didn't clear this one because it was added by an admin, but it was published in 1927 and 1929, and thus doesn't appear to be in the public domain in the US. See Talk:An_Autobiography_or_The_Story_of_my_Experiments_with_Truth; the uploader says that it might not be public domain but that it's commonly reproduced elsewhere. Meanwhile, the page itself says "This work is in the public domain in India", commented out at the top. Not sure what to do about this one. --Spangineerwp (háblame) 22:01, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

As mentioned in the talk page, the copyright owner (Navajivan Trust, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad - 380014, India) doesn't enforce its copyright. It doesn't care about it. While in Ahmedabad, I asked them permission for translating some of Gandhi's works, they said "Why do you ask? Just do it!" For me, it's like they release the works under a free licence or in the public domain. So I think we shouldn't enforce copyright when the owner itself doesn't. Yann 12:36, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
Interesting. The message on the talk page doesn't come accross with as much confidence as you do now (for example, "AFAIK, the Indian publisher do not mind it"), so that's why I posted here. Anyway, I guess it would be a pretty big switch for them to suddenly want to sue us for copyright infringement. However, is it possible to contact them and get them to explicitly release the work? --Spangineerwp (háblame) 13:04, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
The postal address is above, but right now, their web site is not available ( I found a mail on [2]. Mail sent. Yann 11:45, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
The Book is in public domain in India. In fact, the publishers lament that there may not be many takers for the book given the modern Indian society's current favorable disposition with material things, something which Mahatma Gandhi, through this book, forcefully preached as evil. The complete book is scanned and available on [3]. Wikisource should have no hesitation in reinstating the work on its pages. EyeMD 15:41, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
If the publishers indeed lament that the work has not achieved greater distribution, they'll have no problem releasing it into the public domain in all jurisdictions. It's better to get that assurance first, rather than speculate on their wishes. --Spangineerwp (háblame) 16:54, 31 July 2006 (UTC)