Govt of Tamil Nadu regularly pays Tamil Scholars and writers or their
legal heirs some lump sum amount and then declares that all their works are
"nationalized". Then, everyone is free to publish and sell their works.
This is actually putting those works in public domain before they
automatically enter public domain by Indian Copyright laws.
For example, a press release from Government can be seen here -
The problem is even after this process, the books continue to carry the
usual copyright declaration or at least they do not explicitly state that
the book is released in public domain.
So, when it comes to uploading these to Wikimedia Commons we do not have a
proper document that says these works are under public domain.
So, how do we handle this situation and give a proper legal interpretation
for this "nationalized' status?
It is very difficult to get anything in written from Government regarding
this. Even if they give something, the right to declare public domain
status remains with the authors. Since many of the authors have passed away
and many are not reachable, it is near impossible to contact each author.
Scanned copies of 2218 nationalized books are made available here -
If only we can get a legal confirmation, we can proceed to upload them in
WikiSource or Wikimedia Commons.
Once we clarify about the situation in India, I can write to the legal
counsel of WMF or CC to have a global understanding of this issue.
Another interesting perspective is that this nationalization process has
been ongoing for decades even before concepts like Creative Commons
evolved. It is only proper that the licenses provide space for interpreting
these traditions instead of asking the age old traditions to comply under