[Foundation-l] Fwd: Copyright problems of images from India

Sarah slimvirgin at gmail.com
Wed May 11 04:13:46 UTC 2011

On Tue, May 10, 2011 at 16:09, Ryan Kaldari <rkaldari at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> It's actually even worse than that. Due to the URAA, thousands of works
> which are verifiably public domain in India have had their copyright
> restored in the United States. For example, all of the works of Mahatma
> Gandhi are public domain in India (since he died over 50 years ago),
> however, most of them are copyrighted in the U.S. until at least 2055 (even
> if they were never published here). Thus in order to host the files on
> Commons we have to know all of the following:
> * Who authored the work?
> * What year did the author die?
> * Was the work ever published in the United States?
> ** If so, what year?
> ** Were copyright formalities followed?
> ** Was the copyright renewed? If so what year?
> * If not, did the author die after 1945 (1996 - 50 - 1)
> ** If so, what year was the work first published in India? Was it before
> 1923?
> If you can't answer all of these questions, your image might get deleted.
> Welcome to the insanity of U.S. copyright laws and treaties!
> Ryan Kaldari

There have been similar problems with material from Europe, where
images are generally regarded as PD 70 years after the author's death.
I'd like to see a situation where, regardless of what the Commons
does, the individual Wikipedias are at least allowed to respect local
PD status. But editors who focus on images repeatedly challenge their
use -- forcing us to claim fair use, then saying they're not covered
by the bizarre way Wikipedia interprets fair use. It's a situation
people have tried to draw attention to for years, with no success.


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