It is important to clarify a few issues here. The images that can be hosted on Wikimedia Commons are restricted by only two things:
1. The laws of the United States
2. The policies that have been approved by the Commons community
By policy (not law), Commons accepts media
Commons does not respect EU database rights or any other non-copyright laws outside of the U.S.: "non-copyright related restrictions are not considered relevant to the freeness requirements of Commons or by Wikimedia, and the licensing policies are accordingly limited to regulating copyright related obligations."
- that are explicitly freely licensed, or
- that are in the public domain in at least the United States and in the source country of the work.
Because the "source country public domain" requirement is policy-based and not a legal requirement, the Commons community has chosen to create an exception for reproductions of public domain works which are claimed to be under copyright (even if these claims are enforceable in the source country). It should be noted, however, that such claims are not limited to Europe. Google and various institutions in the U.S. make such claims routinely. These claims are not respected by either Commons or U.S. law, however.
That said, it is important for us to have positive relationships with cultural institutions who are still making questionable copyright claims over public domain works. For these institutions it is important to emphasize the benefits that sharing such works bring to the institution (and that sharing works widely is not counter to good stewardship), rather than an approach of antagonistically leeching what they put on the web. Otherwise we are not creating incentives for digitization and are actually limiting what gets shared in the long run.
On 6/21/11 2:26 AM, Tomasz Ganicz wrote:2011/6/20 Andrea Zanni <email@example.com>:I'm having different news from all over the places about the "copyright of scans". Some say "what is in PD remains in PD", and this is WMF position, and it appears that American and European legislation go in this direction. Some other (well, all the GLAMs I know) say there is at least the copyright of the scan, that is 20 years (as a photographic image).At least in Poland (and I guess in many other EU countries) - scans are not copyrightable at all - as they are just mechanical copies of the original work which is actually PD. However, there is an additional intelectual property right for database (even if a database is a collection of digital copies of PD works it can be copyrightable as a whole) and for "first publication of not yet known archive materials". The last one - lasts in Poland for 20 years after the date of the first publications. For example - if an archivist finds an unique, not yet known work of Beethoven, which has not been already published - the archivist has a rights similar to copyright that works for 20 years after first publication. But it only applys if the work was never ever published already - for example old uknown yet manuscripts, paintings nad photos which were never exhibited in public etc.. In Poland it is called "first finder rights".In fact, every digital library write down in their footer that they have copyright of the images, and nonetheless Commoners and Wikisourcians download them all. Internet Archive itself has a bot that crawls Google Books Search and grabs the grabbable.I guess Internet Archive can grab from Google mainly because in US there is no database copyright regulations similar to the European ones. http://www.iusmentis.com/databases/us/
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