[Wikipedia-l] Stamps, wiki and copyright

Yann Forget yann at forget-me.net
Fri Aug 27 14:36:46 UTC 2004

Le Friday 27 August 2004 15:49, Fred Bauder a écrit :
> 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...

Ok, thanks for your answer.

> 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
> stamp.
> 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.

I fear that is wrong, but IANAL...
If you take photos in a modern art museum where this is allowed (in of most 
them, it is not), you can't release under a free license your photos.
If the painting is in the public domain, then you can release your photos 
under a free license. So the question is whether stamps are in the public 
domain or not. Maybe stamps from the USA are, AFAIK, but for most other 
countries, modern stamps are not in the public domain.

> Fred


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