[WikiEN-l] Public Domain and Non-Commercial at the same time

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Sat Oct 14 21:34:09 UTC 2006

On 14/10/06, Bogdan Giusca <liste at dapyx.com> wrote:
> There's a peculiar copyright case for the governmental works
> from Philippines.
> Apparently, they are at the same time in the Public Domain
> and under a Non-Commercial/Permission license, or at least
> the current template claims so:
>    "this work is only available in the public domain under a
>    non-commercial and permission-based license"
> Also, it claims that the images should be used "in accordance with
> Wikipedia's fair use policy", but none of the 500+ images have any
> fair-use rationale...
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:PD-PhilippinesGov

This may well be a mistranslation or misconception. "Public domain"
only means "free without restrictions and out of copyright" when used
to talk about copyright; however, it's perfectly possible to, say,
call a recent publication "in the public domain" in that it is
*available* to the public, it's not restricted by secrecy legislation
or the like.

In other words, it can mean "is not copyrighted" or "is not an
official secret" or - often - both.

I see this a lot with various Freedom of Information / Access to
Information legislation - the laws themselves, or the explanatory
material, often talk about "putting material in the public domain"
without ever mentioning copyright issues, and people jump to the
conclusion that it means the former and not just the latter, because
we communally get a bit hung up on copyright and assume people are
talking about it all the time...

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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