[Wikipedia-l] Stamps, wiki and copyright

Fred Bauder fredbaud at ctelco.net
Fri Aug 27 13:49:48 UTC 2004

Certain articles lend themselves to philatelic coverage, for example,
Stellaland, after all, most folks who have ever heard of Stellaland first
encountered it with respect to its stamps. Illustrations of a few
representative stamps could be added.

A complete stamp catalog might be going a bit far, but if the energy is
around, which I doubt, it could be a sister project, Wikistamps...

If you take a photograph or scan a postage stamp that image is not
copyrighted even though the underlying design may be. Sometimes a nice
image, for example of a butterfly or bird or even a person can be included
in Wikipedia in that way. The Japanese stamp you reference is just a
photograph or scan of a stamp which anyone can make and publish, although
perhaps, in Japan, there might be some restriction as it is a Japanese

It occurs to me that there is a sort of disconnect here. If you take a
photograph of painting in an museum or someone's home that is copyright free
but if you scan a reproduction of a painting in a book it is not, yet there
is very little difference in what you have done.


> From: Yann Forget <yann at forget-me.net>
> Reply-To: wikipedia-l at Wikimedia.org
> Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 14:19:33 +0200
> To: wikipedia-l at Wikipedia.org
> Subject: [Wikipedia-l] Stamps, wiki and copyright
> Hi all,
> In the discussion Wikispecies, there were a few mentions of the possibility to
> enlarge Wikipedia with coverage on postage stamps.
> While some articles on famous stamps may easily find their place in an
> encyclopedia, an extensive coverage of stamps seems outside of the scope of
> Wikipedia. So I would like to know what people think about that.
> A few years back, I started a project on Savannah to offer data about postage
> stamps under a free licence, but with no success. Maybe a wiki would be more
> appriopriate. I have a MySQL database about French stamps to start with.
> AFAIK, there are no other project to provide data about stamps are under a
> free licence.
> Articles about stamps obviously need an illustration with stamps scans and
> photos. But it seems that most modern stamps can be considered as artitic
> work and could therefore not be reproduce without the permission of the
> author.
> cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Postage_stamp_thumb.jpg
> AFAIK, the information provided on this page is wrong. This image can't be
> under a free licence. Can a lawyer can confirm or refute that?
> I asked this here but got no answer:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_talk:Postage_stamp_thumb.jpg
> Best regards,
> Yann
> -- 
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