[Foundation-l] [Commons-l] Wikimedia Foundation's help to the projects

Birgitte SB birgitte_sb at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 14 16:30:52 UTC 2006

--- David Monniaux <David.Monniaux at free.fr> wrote:

> Yann Forget wrote:
> >For my practical use, is a photograph taken in
> India in 1908 by a Indian
> >photographer is public domain in USA (first
> published in India)? and if
> >it is taken in 1920? in 1945? and if the
> photographer is American (first
> >published in USA)? and if the photographer is from
> a third country,
> >England, for example? (Indian copyright law is
> "public domain 60 years
> >after publication" for photographs and sound
> recordings).
> >
> Two major problems here:
> * In many cases, copyright questions may be resolved
> only on a
> case-by-case basis. For instance, in many countries,
> copyright only
> protects "works of the mind" with no exhaustive and
> clear definition of
> what a work of the mind is, and it is possible that
> certain technical
> photographs are not works of the mind that can be
> protected by
> copyright. However, deciding whether this is the
> case for a particular
> photograph will entail examining details related to
> the photographic
> process, and thus no clear-cut global answer can be
> provided.
> * In many cases, what we intend to do simply has not
> been tested in
> court. People often mistakenly believe that there
> are things that are
> "legal" vs things that are "prohibited" and thus
> that lawyers can tell
> us which is which. In reality, there are things
> clearly legal, those
> clearly illegal, and things in between for which a
> lawyer may only give
> some kind of educated guess of whether that would
> fly in court (which in
> turn depends on how well we argue our case in
> court).
> Both of this clash with the expectations of many of
> our users and
> admins, that is, to get black and white "yes / no"
> answers to legal queries.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l at wikimedia.org

I don't believe you understand how useful it would be
to just have some one say "That particular case is
unknown.  The most similar case to this is Foobar."  
Even if there were a table of questions that people
have asked in the past with yes/no/unknown and no
futher advice would be extremely helpful.  I think it
a false expectation of yours that we are expecting
clearcut answers.  Really we have been mucking through
copyright questions as best we can for some time; we
are all well aware there are often not answers only
arguments.  Just being able to eliminate some
arguments as invalid would be very helpful.

Birgitte SB

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