[Foundation-l] At least 500 images will have to be deleted from the National Portrait Gallery

John Vandenberg jayvdb at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 04:28:07 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jul 24, 2008 at 6:18 AM, Michael Maggs <Michael at maggs.name> wrote:
> Mike
> Could I just check, please, whether you were just replying to an
> out-of-the-blue email from Klaus or whether you have replied after a
> review of
> [[Commons:Deletion requests/National Portrait Gallery images (first
> set)]] where your email has now been publicly quoted.
> The policy we at Commons have been working to is that images must be
> free in both the US and in the source country.  I assume that is still
> the WMF general position?

I sincerely hope this will not be the general position of WMF _ever_.
English Wikipedia for one accepts PD-1923 content even if it isnt PD
elsewhere, as does English Wikisource where the images are highly
relevant to the project mission.

I firmly hope the WMF will continue to define its copyright policy in
a precise manner where the cases are simple (obvious violations are
not acceptable), and sensibly where the situations are not so simple.
The definition of "free content" is quite different to "public
domain", despite considerable overlap in the clear cases.  It is silly
to think that everything that even the most conservative person calls
public domain can be backed by laws in two jurisdictions, and it is
ludicrous to have WMF force projects to remove content because it
might not be considered PD in the future, based on a presumed court
case that hasn't yet happened, or due to lack of information that is
unlikely to come to light.

For example, "This Land" by Woody Guthrie only became clearly PD after
people pulled out all stops to prove it was, spurred on by a copyright
case.  It was however PD all along.


John Vandenberg

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