>If the flag is correct, and I would create another
>correct flag, however, it would be exactly the same, and
>it would be free. Legally, drawing the same flag again,
>pixel for pixel, would alter its license, wouldn't it?
I think this would a copyright violation as long as you
immitate an existing copyrighted work to create another
without permission. Similarly, for example, if you
draw a painting which looks like someone else's,
and it is not a coincident but a result of an influence,
it could be a violation. Degree of similarity matters,
but in this case, we are talking about exact reproduction.
>If so, can I let an image program do this? Suppose I find a correct flag
>in .gif format, download it, convert it to .png. It then is a different
>flag with the same content. If the license of the source is unknown,
>what do I know about the license of the new .png?
Converting a file into different format, or taking a
picture of, say, copyrighted painting, copying a text
from one format to another (from PDF to RTF), are
usually considered reproduction, not derivative works. And
rights to reproduce, as well as to create derivative works
are exclusively held by authors or other copyright holders.
Finally, I have not checked if flags are copyrighted, and
who are the copyright holders. Quite a few flags exist since
long before, so they might be in the public domain
already. As you know, copyright protection expires. I think
investigating that is a shorter way to get copyright free flags.
I also wonder if all flags are copyrightable. Some flags are
very simple, so I am not sure if they are copyrightable at
all. If a country has a simple blue recutangular flag
with 3:2 proportion, is that recutangular copyrightable? I
don't think so. What if there is a flag with two colors -
a recutangular and a circle in it? I don't know.
Well, I know only Japanese and American copyright laws,
and I am not a lawyer, so I could be wrong.
I am not sure why no-one has responded, but many of your ideas sound very good.
I think there are many people who have a large amount of photos and other media files to offer, some already on the web under free license. But they might feel hesitant to upload one-hundred picture.
I, with help from others, am indeed creating some sound files for each of basic Japanese letters and some compounds to be used in Japanese language wikibook. There are about 100 of them. I am very sure there will be others, if not yet, doing very similar things for similar projects. So I find a batch uploader would be very helpful for others like me.
Wikimedia Commons currently insists all images to have a free license. I
completely agree with this policy. However, I have a question about the
license of a flag.
A flag is a sort of drawing. If I find a flag somewhere on the internet,
it may not be free. If the flag is correct, and I would create another
correct flag, however, it would be exactly the same, and it would be
free. Legally, drawing the same flag again, pixel for pixel, would alter
its license, wouldn't it?
If so, can I let an image program do this? Suppose I find a correct flag
in .gif format, download it, convert it to .png. It then is a different
flag with the same content. If the license of the source is unknown,
what do I know about the license of the new .png?
It may be a derivative work, but the result would have been exactly the
same if I would have followed the exact instructions at
http://www.freewebs.com/mahabadassociation/flag.html . It confuses me:
can a flag be licensed at all?
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In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the
military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of
misplaced power exists and will persist.
-Dwight David Eisenhower, January 17, 1961
Wikimedia desparately needs more artists. Projects like Wikijunior - a
collection of Wikireaders for kids - need high quality illustrations in
order to flourish.
In my opinion, the Wikimedia Commons should become the central artistic
hub of the Wikimedia community.
What can we do to make it so?
Well, there are a few technical changes that will help:
- New upload form that makes it easier to choose licenses and write
descriptions. I'm planning to hack something together here soon, but it
won't be the super-ultra form that I've created mock-ups for in the
original Commons proposal.
- An external media manager to collect files and batch-upload them to the
Commons, with a nice Windows GUI to boot.
- A better discussion page system. The whole Image talk:, Commons talk:
etc. wiki page system is confusing for newcomers and difficult to track
But except for the first one, these changes will take months. There are a
few things we can do right now:
Create portals for different communities
- 2D artists
- 3D artists
- sound experts
The purpose of these portals would be that we can pass on these URLs to
people who know nothing about Wikimedia. Each portal should give a brief
description of the type of files that we want - useful to Wikimedia
projects - and the free content principle. It should also highlight a few
of the existing works in that category as examples, including links to the
Wikimedia projects that use them.
Featured content separated by category
Successful community art sites have some kind of comment and feedback
process. For us right now, that is [[Commons:Featured picture
candidates]]. I think we need to create this site in all the categories
mentioned above, and link the individual featured content candidate pages
from the portals.
Catalog and systematically approach existing projects
The largest community art website I know is deviantart.com. Much of their
content is not of interest to us as it is purely artistic. However, they
have many excellent photos. Alas, most of them are not under an open
First, we need a list of these projects.
Second, for each of them we need volunteers who search existing content
and browse new content. Virtually all of them have contact forms. In cases
where the content is useful to us, we could post standard messages:
your picture [bla] could be useful for the Wikimedia project [abc].
In order to use it there, we would need it under an [[open content]]
license, such as the GNU Free Documentation License.
Would you be willing to put your picture under such a license? I would
then upload it to the Wikimedia Commons, our shared media repository.
If you want, you can also upload it there yourself - see the
[portal link] for further instructions.
I think if these messages are sufficiently personalized, they will not be
Once we have the portals more or less in operation, we need to start
working on our first real press release. One good occasion would be the
50,000th media file. I'm picking a reasonably high number so we have some
time to prepare this properly.
This press release would include a real press kit, with examples of our
media and information about the Wikimedia projects. It would also
prominently describe each of the different portals. We could create
variant versions to send to different communities - e.g. photo magazines,
artist weblogs etc.
Rules of exclusion
During all of this, we need to make it very clear that the Wikimedia
Commons is for Wikimedia projects. People will be pissed off if we delete
excellent artistic works that have no relation to anything we do.
Maybe in the future, art itself will become one of our missions, but right
now it isn't. Anything that's created needs to be tied to the distribution
of knowledge. So that should be emphasized on all the portals.
Getting all of this off the ground will be a huge undertaking, especially
since our community is still small. I will be occupied by Wikinews in the
next few weeks, so I would appreciate it if anyone else took the
initiative to start working on this.
The purpose of this mailing list is to have a single place of discussion
for the needs and organization of the Wikimedia Commons project, as well
as a good way to alert its members of important developments.