Talk:ESA images

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Proposals to ESA[edit]


I think that's encouraging, particularly "including commercial distribution of the educative and informational products", because that allows distributing DVD or paper versions of our projects by other entities.

So now the issue is to find the formal way to integrate ESA content with our projects. We have to be creative for that, and not stand for an absolute position (GFDL or nothing). Yann 14:23, 29 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I have added the beginnings of the story so that everyone can quickly catch up the most important steps. This meeting brought up some very interesting and substantial information that I was not able to get previous via email and telephone with the ESA space operation center in Darmstadt. It helped us very much. Thank you all. :-)

So the individual points:

  • ESA does not want its images being used for advertisement purposes.
  • ESA does not want its images used in derived works that misrepresent reality (adding or removing components that do not exist in reality, etc.). This objection, and the above one, are especially applicable with images of astronauts.
  • They may have objections to collages and certain croppings, though that may not be a strong issue.
    Those two points are mainly concerns that personal rights of ESA and individual persons could be infringed. As these rights have nothing to do with copyright they would be mainly left in contact after a free release of the pictures. Regarding adverstisment this wouldn't be so strict anylonger but ads that would seriously harm ESA would be still not allowed.
    Yes, but they feel that, as they do not have the financial and legal resources to go after each infringer of personal rights, they prefer to reduce the problem at the source by not providing high quality images to just about anybody. Makes sense.
  • In the case of some satellites (Envisat, Spot...), some or all of their data production is resold through commercial channels.
    The commercial satellites weren't my main concern as most of their data is not too interesting for us at the moment (this may could change in future, see google maps). Mainly only pictures of ESA press releases of those satellites are interesting to us (e.g. a picture of breaking shelf ice on Antarctica or a global map of the sulfid dioxide concentration in the atmosphere). But anyhow as with those satellites is some big bussiness involved this is except for the press pictures a target for later. We should concentrate on pure scientific only stuff for now, IMHO.
  • In the case of scientific images, copyright is often held by the institutions who own the instruments aboard the spacecraft.
    This is a hard point as ESA itself cannot decide to much on material which is connected with it (like from its space missions as Mars Express or Huygens).
    So I would suggest an opt-in solution:
    • ESA provides a web platform (like its "multimedia gallery" or transforms this gallery gradually) where only free content can be uploaded. This material is explicitely used by ESA for press kits and PR and so on. The individual sub projects that own the copyrights can upload those pictures of their missions that they want to release freely (maybe with the possibility tagging it with either PD or a free CC license).
    • This public gallery would in return be a great PR deal and thus in return a financial benefit for those scientific projects. That projects with the best PR get the most public recognition... So others that hesitate will notice at some point that others get because of that more recognition and in the end maybe every sub project grants free usage of most of their images...
    • As this media repository would need some time to be built up and of course also some high level decisions inside ESA departments it would be best to concentrate at first at one project. I guess the Huygens media files would be a good first example as the copyright owners of these images (University of Arizona, USA) are known to freely and early exchange all their picture data. So if ESA shows interest in this idea it would be probably only a matter of two weeks to iron it out with that University and to set up a starting point of the free repository.

So those are my first ideas coming into my mind. Arnomane 18:14, 29 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Wikimedia licensing policy[edit]

To my best knowledge, our essential goal on Wikipedia is to make a free (in the sense of free speech as well as free beer) encyclopedia with a neutral point of view (or, rather, which does not take sides). All other goals are subordinate to this essential goal — that is, they are mere means to achieve this primary goal.

Similar goals are followed by Wikinews, Wiktionary and other projects.

ESA does not wish to give images:

  • that may be used for advertisements, or endorsements, at least without their authorization;
  • that may be used in collages, "photoshoppings", etc. where the image of their astronauts is improperly used and their dignity not respected;
  • that may be doctored in order to push untruths and misinformation.

Unless I'm mistaken, all of the above are prohibited on all Wikimedia projects. We certainly delete advertisements. We remove images and texts that infringe on dignity (unless we're reporting on some notable infringement, like the Abu Ghraib prison abuses). We do not allow our contributors to doctor images to make a point (though we may report on notable fakes, but then we generally use the fair use doctrine).

Thus: none of these restrictions hamper Wikimedia projects.

Now, some say that we should only allow free material on Wikipedia, and that material released under the above rule is unfree, with free being defined as the freedom to use the material in any way that the users sees fit, perhaps provided that some acknowledgement is granted or some license propagated. Well, we currently have material that does not fit these conditions:

  • On many wikis, we allow "fair use" material. Such material may be legal to use in one article, but illegal in another, since whether some usage is fair or not depends on context. Actually, whether the usage is fair or not may possibly depend on media (free access online vs commercial DVD).
  • We allow, including on commons, the logos, insignia etc. of some US federal agencies, which are in the public domain with respect to copyright law, but whose usage is restricted according to other US laws. For instance,
    Federal law prohibits use of the words Central Intelligence Agency, the initials CIA, the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency, or any colorable imitation of such words, initials, or seal in connection with any merchandise, impersonation, solicitation, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably calculated to convey the impression that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency. [1]
    Federal law also prohibits doing that to any work. The general principle is to disallow the misrepresentation. For example, if someone writes an essay and releases it to the public domain, it is illegal to modify it to argue a different point, then claim he still supports it. This restriction does not, I think, render a work non-free. Derobert 17:44, 31 July 2005 (UTC)[]

In short, we already allow material that may be illegal to use in other contexts than Wikipedia, sometimes already in other articles. Furthermore, even on Commons, we have material for which US law puts restrictions on usage, namely in contexts involving apparent endorsement or advertisement; which is a restriction not unlike that requested by ESA.

So now we should wonder what our goals are:

  • Should commons be a repository of material any of which must be usable for any purposes? (but, we have see it's not, because of content whose use is restricted by US laws different from copyright law) Should it be a repository of material usable in any Wikimedia project?
  • Should individual images on the wikis be "free" for any usage, or should they be free for any usage respecting that wiki's charter?

I think these are important policy questions. David.Monniaux 20:10, 29 Jun 2005 (UTC)

No you're mixing two things:
  • At first there is copyright.
  • Second there are other restrictions beyond copyright (e.g.: personal rights of displayed persons that gave their permission to the publication of the image under a free license or persons that are famous and thus can't permit in principle a publication).
In de.wikipedia we have the strict policy to apply (almost) only copyright aspects. If the image itself is under a free license (or if it is possible to release it under a free license) and if there are certain conditions beyond copyright that need to be taken into account we make a small warning template below the image. E.g. official coats of arms of towns in Germany are always within the public domain regardless what the town administration says (we realized the impact of a nice copyright exception paragraph and some higher court decissions on that topic just recently). But there are certain conditions beyond copyright that need to be respected: You're not allowed to give the impression that this emblem is your personal emblem and you're not allowed to use it to give the impression you're acting in the name of the town administration.
But with ESA they apply their rules as part of their copyright terms. So this is a different situation although you don't see it at the first view. ESA can always say: You're not allowed to use the images because you broke our rules but e.g. a German town can not do this in general: They only can urge you not to use it in certain cases but they cannot force you not to use it at all. Arnomane 12:26, 1 August 2005 (UTC)[]
I of course realize that the US laws restricting the use of "free" logos are not copyright law. However, I point out that they make these logos unfree for a reasonable description of "free". I can take the Mona Lisa and use it in an advertisement; I can't take the NASA logo.
In addition, if we are to nitpick, I may point out that ESA's claims are not based on copyright. ESA's headquarters, and their photographers, are based in Paris. French law does not recognize copyright (a British/American concept) but "author's right" (droit d'auteur), which differs in several respects, most strikingly by the inclusion of moral rights for the author. :-) David.Monniaux 17:02, 15 August 2005 (UTC)[]

ESA multimedia[edit]

I noticed that there is a ESA-multimedia copyright tag, that is not described anywhere and I didn't know about it until I saw it over here. Does this mean that we are allowed to use the images in ESA's multimedia gallery? Maver1ck 09:48, 5 Jul 2005 (UTC)

We're allowed to use them according to the terms of their license shown online, which is not free, but is good for all of Wikimedia's projects. David.Monniaux 17:08, 5 Jul 2005 (UTC)
No it is not good for a large number of Wikimedia projects. de.wikipedia, de.wikibooks. de.wikinews, pl.wikipedia, sv.wikipedia (as far as I know) and for sure some more. Those projects allow only free licenses and will definitly not change their policy. Arnomane 12:08, 1 August 2005 (UTC)[]
These are self-imposed limitations, which put additional restrictions compared to the original goals of Wikipedia and associated projects. Wikipedia is about making a free encyclopedia with a neutral point of view, Wikinews is a free news source with a neutral point of view. As I said above, this does not imply that all multimedia content should be usable for, say, advertisement purposes.
To me, these problems with pl.wikipedia and sv.wikipedia sound entirely self-inflicted. If, say, some Wikipedia project decided that it should refuse all US government content for some kind of political reason (say, "using US government content implies condoning this government"), should we remove all US government content from commons? David.Monniaux 17:08, 15 August 2005 (UTC)[]
Sorry. I had discussed this point several times in de.wikipedia and in Wikimedia Commons and will for sure not do it again. You missed the point: Wikipedia is a free software encyclopedia with freely licensed content. Everything else (beside the neutral point of view thing) is your private interpretation of the very broad word "free". And it is completly irrelevant what en.wikipedia has decided as they can use ESA images anyways (and as far as I know it in fr.wikipedia it is the same). This effort is not about getting images -you can have them already easily (at least those images that are relevant for education, I don't talk about images of commercial earth observation sattelites)- it is about getting them freely licensed. But I promise you within two years they also have only freely licensed images at en.wikipedia. We are very happy with these self restrictions in de.wikipedia as we have currently quite good sucess with it. Beside that: US-Gov ist Public domain world wide (although some people don't believe it). And well I'm sorry it is not my problem if our european governments are so stupid that they loose in comparison to the US in PR-things. To get the record straight: I'm a great fan of our European Union (and dislike the current US politics) and there are many things in the US that are worse, but this partcular thing is very good. Arnomane 12:30, 18 August 2005 (UTC)[]
Some points: the European Space Agency is not an agency of the European Union; besides, the main problem is (as clearly noted in the article page) that ESA, contrary to NASA, does not own the copyright of most of the photographs that it uses. Exactly as US government agencies using external contractors, it buys some rights to the content produced by the contractor; but it does not buy the right to redistribute these photographs for any purposes. I've seen work funded by the US government that the US government could put for free on its web sites, but that Wikipedia can not use because the US government does not have a license to redistribute it.
Apart from that, I hope that people on en,fr and others won't take your personal interpretation of the word "free". :-) I'm very skeptical of your "wishful thinking." David.Monniaux 18:00, 18 August 2005 (UTC)[]

Current status?[edit]

Has any significant progress been made in this area or are there any plancs to persue the steps indicated on the main article? There is currently a topic about the acceptance yes/no of ESA images on Commons and there were are not all ageeing :-). Siebrand 12:19, 30 October 2006 (UTC)[]

The whole Rosetta project seems to use CC BY-SA IGO 3.0 already. But what further progress can be expected within the next year(s)? -AdAstraPerScientiam (talk) 11:01, 1 November 2015 (UTC)[]