[Wikimedia-l] Fwd: Fwd: Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Wikimedia Servers and Copyright Issues

Achal Prabhala aprabhala at gmail.com
Sun May 12 14:57:08 UTC 2013

Hi David,

On Sunday 12 May 2013 07:33 PM, David Cuenca wrote:
> Hi Achal,
> For those cases there is a Wikisource clone called Wikilivres, whose server
> is in Canada and it is operated by a Canadian citizen.
> http://wikilivres.ca/

Thank you - I've seen it, and think it's great.

> It is not very fast, but it serves as storage for such cases since the
> Canadian copyright law is quite permissive in that regard (50 years after
> author/translator death).
> Then you can link the works from the Wikisource author page to the work
> page in Wikilivres as some Wikisources do.

So while I'm glad there's a relatively central source for such things, I 
guess there'd be no problem hosting such content on Indian servers, say, 
for work that's gone into the public domain on the basis of Indian 
copyright law. My earlier email (and the originating question) was to 
how to mesh Wikimedia Commons and Wikisource with such work - and 
whether we could. Hence the interest in the law and its workarounds.

> If you have time, take also a look to the proposed improvements for
> Wikisource. Thanks!
> https://wikisource.org/wiki/Wikisource_vision_development/Applying_the_WS_values

This looks great, and I was wondering if the last point on the list 
(working with other entities) also includes finding a way to placehold 
works that have gone out of copyright in other countries, and are hosted 
on, say, Wikilivres. That is, for people who consider themselves to be 
working on Wikisource, and are dealing with such works, is there 
anything you can offer them even if they have to host elsewhere?

> David  ---User:Micru
> On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 5:27 AM, Achal Prabhala <aprabhala at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Of relevance here: http://www.publicdomainday.**
>> org/sites/www.publicdomainday.**eu/files/World_copyright-**terms.jpg<http://www.publicdomainday.org/sites/www.publicdomainday.eu/files/World_copyright-terms.jpg>
>> -------- Original Message --------
>> Subject:        Re: [Wikimediaindia-l] Wikimedia Servers and Copyright
>> Issues
>> Date:   Sun, 12 May 2013 14:51:27 +0530
>> From:   Achal Prabhala <aprabhala at gmail.com>
>> To:     Wikimedia India Community list <wikimediaindia-l at lists.**
>> wikimedia.org <wikimediaindia-l at lists.wikimedia.org>>
>> Hi Balasankar,
>> The question you raise is a very important one. The solution, however, is
>> not likely to be to host content in India (I don't speak for the Wikimedia
>> Foundation, but there are sound legal reasons why all Wikimedia content is
>> hosted in the US; mostly liability risk and freedom of expression and this
>> is unlikely to change).
>> The default across Commons and Wikisource, the two projects that host the
>> bulk of public domain content (images, videos, sounds, books) in Wikimedia,
>> is the US copyright term - it's the only yardstick that matters for what
>> qualifies as public domain by virtue of being out of copyright. You are
>> absolutely right, however, in that there's a big difference btw US
>> copyright terms and those of other countries, for instance:
>> For photographs, while the binding limit (Berne/TRIPs) is 25 years from
>> the making of the work, India is life of photographer + 60 years after
>> death, and in the US it is life + 70.
>> For literary works, the binding limit (Berne/ TRIPs) is life + 50 years,
>> whereas in India it is life + 60, whereas in the US it is life + 70 or
>> 120/95 if made on work for hire.
>> (The binding limit is the WTO mandated term that country members - US and
>> India and 150 others - have to follow. As you can see, typically, most
>> countries exceed the limit for reasons of their own, which they are allowed
>> to do, with the US exceeding in far greater amount than India.)
>> In short, there can be a difference of between 10 and 40 years between the
>> time a work goes into the public domain in a country with shorter terms
>> than the US (any number of countries in the non-Anglo-European world) and
>> the US. This seriously affects even 'Indian' works (where India is the
>> first country of publication) because of the copyright protection granted
>> to such works in the US, thus effectively placing them under copyright for
>> our purposes within Wikimedia long after they've gone in to the public
>> domain in their source country.
>> The case to consider here is Golan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/**
>> Golan_v._Holder <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_v._Holder>
>> A summary of the US Supreme Court decision in this case is - US law trumps
>> international agreements, so the US copyright term holds within US
>> territory, and restores copyright protection to any works that have gone
>> into the public domain by virtue of a shorter copyright term in another
>> country. Because Wikimedia servers are based in the US, Golan applies to us.
>> But your question is an extremely pertinent one, and if we were to find
>> unusual solutions to it, they would seem to lie in:
>> 1) Whether hosting on US servers for a global audience makes any
>> difference, since we do not serve readers only bound by US law (Wikimedia
>> reader numbers bear this out, ie US readership = minority percentage of
>> whole) and whether we specifically have anything special on the basis of
>> which to mount some kind of strategic litigation on the issue of allowing
>> us to exploit the shortest possible route to public domain anywhere in the
>> world for all or some of our readers.
>> 2) Whether hosting on US servers but using publicly audited geolocation to
>> switch off for readers from IP addresses where the material in question is
>> still under copyright is a legally and operationally feasible workaround
>> (connected to whether Wikimedia Tech thinks this is both doable and worth
>> our while to do)
>> 3) Whether, if all fails and there is no getting around this in any way,
>> Commons and Wikisource (if there is sufficient interest in those
>> communities) should be interested in looking at a way of allowing external
>> links to chapter-managed local sites from the US-served base to see the
>> material in question; and if this is something, say, the India chapter
>> wants and is willing to do, whether this route poses any legal risks.
>> In any case, I passed around your question to a few friends for comments
>> and suggestions - as well as to Geoff Brigham at the Wikimedia Foundation,
>> who is not too hopeful for a solution but is very receptive to looking into
>> it and getting back to us - and I'll tell you when I know something.
>> Meanwhile, if you have other ways of looking into creative solutions
>> around this problem (not at all easy to crack, but the benefits are
>> significant) - or if anyone else on this list does - you should.
>> Cheers,
>> Achal
>> On Friday 10 May 2013 10:20 PM, Balasankar Chelamattath wrote:
>>> Hi Srikanth,
>>> I didnt quite understand what you meant by example.
>>> An example for a work which is in public domain in India and not in US -
>>> Works by Changampuzha Krishnapillai ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/**
>>> Changampuzha_Krishna_Pillai<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Changampuzha_Krishna_Pillai>).
>>> He passed away in 1948, and hence it is 65 years after the author's
>>> death. So the books are copyright-free in India as of now (in pubic domain).
>>> But they
>>>   1. were not published before 1923
>>>   2. were not in the public domain in India as of 1 January 1996 (
>>>      because criteria of "60 years after author's death" not satisfied
>>>      on 1996)
>>> Hence they are not in public domain according to US Laws. So we cannot
>>> store them in US servers.
>>> The main problem is India considers copyright based on date of author's
>>> death and US does it based on date of publication.
>>> Regards,
>>> Balasankar C
>>> 2013/5/10 Srikanth Ramakrishnan <srik.ramk at wikimedia.in <mailto:
>>> srik.ramk at wikimedia.in**>>
>>>      Hi Balasankar,
>>>      Can you point out specific instances and show when and where the
>>>      book or publication was first published? If the works are still
>>>      copyrighted in India, then they should be copyrighted in the US as
>>>      well, generally speaking. The term India awards to creators is
>>>      lesser than the one provided in the US under copyright laws.
>>>      Regards,
>>>      On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:31 PM, Balasankar Chelamattath
>>>      <c.balasankar at gmail.com <mailto:c.balasankar at gmail.com**>> wrote:
>>>          Hi all,
>>>          As most of you know, the Indian copyright law says that a book
>>>          gets relieved of copyright after 60 years from the author's
>>>          death. But this is not the case with US Law. As given here
>>>          <https://upload.wikimedia.org/**wikipedia/commons/9/9b/**
>>> Copyrightterm.pdf<https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/Copyrightterm.pdf>
>>>          , of all the works published outside US, only those published
>>>          before 1923 are directly in the public domain. The ones
>>>          published between 1923 and 1977 without compliance to the US
>>>          formalities will be in the public domain only if they are in
>>>          the public domain in their source country as of 1 January
>>>          1996. Almost all the other categories of published works will
>>>          not be in the public domain until 95 years after publishing.
>>>          This induces a confusion and when looked in a legal
>>>          perspective, most of the books in Indian Wikisources, are
>>>          still not in public domain and hence must be removed. This
>>>          makes a huge negative impact on the hard work done by
>>>          contributors. Their contributions are wasted which may cause
>>>          them to stop contributing. In short, this may be a negative
>>>          impact on Wikimedia's image in the society.
>>>          The only solution to this problem is to *host the servers of
>>>          Indian Wikimedia services in India*, so that the data we
>>>          upload is stored under Indian Laws. Can Wikimedia India
>>>          Chapter do anything on this? We can plan and conduct a
>>>          fundraiser in India to raise money for the hosting expenses.
>>>          Please consider this issue with maximum priority as it
>>>          involves legal procedures and related headaches.
>>>          Regards,
>>>          Balasankar C
>>>          https://ml.wikisource.org/**wiki/User:Balasankarc<https://ml.wikisource.org/wiki/User:Balasankarc>
>>>          Regards,
>>>          Balasankar C
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>>>      Treasurer,
>>>      Wikimedia Chapter [India]
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