[WikiEN-l] Creation of user photographs

Peter Mackay peter.mackay at bigpond.com
Sun May 21 22:02:12 UTC 2006

> From: wikien-l-bounces at Wikipedia.org 
> [mailto:wikien-l-bounces at Wikipedia.org] On Behalf Of Arwel Parry
> I think we need to apply a modicum of common sense when handling 
> copyrights, particularly when determining who is the actual copyright 
> holder is inherently indeterminable.
> For example, if I had sufficiently bad taste as to upload the primary 
> school portrait of me at age 7, taken in 1966, I would consider it 
> reasonable for the subject, me, to release the photo under 
> GFDL, or PD 
> or whatever, as:
> - I have absolutely no idea who took photographs of primary school 
> children in Denbighshire, Wales forty years ago,
> - my parents paid good money for that photo (possibly as much as a 
> shilling or two),
> - it is highly unlikely that the two unpurchased copies of 
> the portrait 
> survived more than a couple of years in the photographers' files,
> - the photographer is unlikely to still be in business,
> - I cannot conceive of anyone possibly objecting to the use 
> of the photo 
> (except on grounds of artistic taste!)
> Do you contend that some pictures can never be used in 
> Wikipedia under 
> any circumstances, even in similar circumstances where the 
> theoretical 
> copyright holder cannot be traced despite any conceivable amount of 
> tracing effort?

In the case you outline, I would suggest fair use. Releasing a photograph to
which you do not hold the copyright into the public domain is morally
indefensible, even if it is a very small sin and you will get away with it.
But fair use to illustrate a user page seems reasonable to me.

Pete, stealing the moral high ground

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