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Submissions/Freedom of panorama and Wikimedia Commons

From Wikimania 2011 • Haifa, Israel

Presentation Media

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Review no.


Title of the submission

Freedom of panorama and Wikimedia Commons

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)

Presentation and workshop

Author of the submission

Christopher Cooper

E-mail address or username (if username, please confirm email address in Special:Preferences)

CT Cooper

Country of origin

United Kingdom

Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

I am a member of Wikimedia UK, though they are not directly involved in this submission.

Personal homepage or blog

None, except my English Wikipedia user page

Abstract (please use no less than 300 words to describe your proposal)

Many people have difficulty understanding that a picture of a building or of a statue in a street could be copyrighted, but the Berne Convention makes this so. Many countries, including Germany, Austria, and the United Kingdom, have exemptions in their laws which allow members of the public to take photographs of copyrighted architecture and artistic work if it is permanently located in a public place, in a right known as freedom of panorama (FoP). However, some countries have no FoP provision at all (such as France and Italy), and others only have one for only non-commercial use (such as the former Soviet Union), something which has caused great difficulty on Wikimedia Commons, where images currently have to be free both in the source country and the United States.

Following the deletion of hundreds of potentially educational images, some contributors are asking if the line between meeting strict copyright standards and the ambitions of Commons is well placed. I intend to do a presentation explaining the controversy and giving some details on what is a complex subject, with this then followed by a discussion on the best ways forward. Some questions that could be asked include:

  • Should Commons handle deletion of violating images differently?
  • Should Commons only ensure that photographs of architecture and artistic works are free in the United States, and create an exemption to the requirement of needing to be free in the source country as well?
  • Should Commons be more relaxed on countries where there is no known history of case law in this area, such as the United Arab Emirates?
  • Should Commons continue treating the issue as it does now in a dura lex, sed lex style approach?
  • Should the Wikimedia Foundation provide advice on the best way forward?

Please see the talk page for further discussion and ideas.

Track (People and Community/Knowledge and Collaboration/Infrastructure)

Wikis, free knowledge and copyright law: Copyright laws and wiki

Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?

Possibly, my attendance is more dependent on the result of my request for scholarship. Yes, my attendance is now confirmed.

Slides or further information (optional)

Interested attendees

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  1. Delphine (notafish) 08:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Georgiasouthernlynn 22:52, 2 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  3. DrorK 03:35, 3 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  4. WereSpielChequers 15:54, 12 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  5. Haxpett 00:01, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Ireas 07:29, 25 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Tinucherian 23:38, 26 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Spiritia 18:54, 2 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  9. odder 11:51, 3 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  10. Steven (WMF) 02:54, 4 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  11. Marcus Cyron 15:13, 19 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  12. MetalBrasil 15:41, 22 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Hindustanilanguage 06:54, 25 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Ezarate 18:29, 26 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  15. Lvova 04:35, 27 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  16. Kaldari 00:14, 30 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  17. Patricio.lorente 22:18, 30 April 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  18. Blahma 12:56, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  19. Saintfevrier 21:34, 1 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  20. MotherForker 18:31, 3 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  21. Vibhijain 07:09, 8 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  22. ProtoplasmaKid 20:54, 24 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  23. Elekhh 11:53, 26 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  24. Geraki 05:47, 15 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  25. OrenBochman 20:14, 11 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  26. Ravpapa 07:21, 24 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  27. Ra Boe 08:53, 24 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  28. Ruslik 08:51, 25 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  29. Missvain 14:18, 27 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  30. Raystorm 17:46, 30 July 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  31. Zvika 13:55, 2 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]