Talk:Legal/Wikimedia Server Location and Free Knowledge

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Deletions on Commons[edit]

Thanks for this post. Some of the material, especially in the second paragraph, is news to me, and I'm looking forward to giving it more thought.

I appreciate the reasons for your position that "WMF does not see a reason to engage in mass deletions of content simply because of general concern about the URAA", and I agree with it. However I believe such mass deletions haven't been seriously considered since the Commons community rejected the idea two years ago, and massive restorations of URAA-affected content have now been proposed on Commons. I think this is because the Board's recent response included a similar statement against mass deletions, without any counterbalancing statement that some community deletions are necessary (like that in your post last year: "The community should evaluate each potentially affected work using the guidelines issued by the Legal and Community Advocacy Department, as well as the language of the statute itself, and remove works that are clearly infringing.").

Does the absence from your post of any such statement about community deletions mean that you have changed your position, and that you now believe such community deletions are unnecessary? I ask because I'm concerned that it will be read this way, and this may not be your intended meaning. --Avenue (talk) 01:46, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

@Avenue: Thanks for your question! I will respond here shortly. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 05:19, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I should clarify that we don't see a need for any deletions – mass scale or otherwise – based solely on a general concern that the work may be infringing. I will remove the reference to "mass deletion" in the post to make this clearer.
Community members should always refrain from uploading content that they know to be infringing. But how community members review potentially affected works is a community decision. And, of course, we can't provide legal advice to community members. Generally, however, community members are not likely to have the facts necessary to make a determination under the URAA. To give you an example, the URAA does not restore copyright in a non-audio work unless the work originally entered the public domain in the US because of: (1) noncompliance with previous copyright formalities, including failure of renewal, lack of proper notice, or failure to comply with a manufacturing requirement or (2) lack of copyright relations between the US and the source country. It would be really difficult to know whether a work originally entered the public domain in the US because the author failed to provide proper notice or comply with a manufacturing requirement. Yet this is information that a copyright holder could include in a valid DMCA takedown notice, at which point we would be required to remove the work. YWelinder (WMF) (talk) 03:39, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the clarification. Your removal of the "mass deletion" part makes the post much more sensible IMO. I'm still a bit uncertain about what would merely constitute "general concern" about infringement, but I should give that some more thought. --Avenue (talk) 13:41, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure what your point with regard to (1) and (2). For each work, there are three options:
  1. (1) or (2) applies, and the work was in the public domain in the "country of origin" on the "date of restoration" (normally 1 January 1996). In this case, the work is in the public domain.
  2. (1) or (2) applies, but the work was not in the public domain in the "country of origin" on the "date of restoration". In this case, the copyright was restored, and the work is protected by copyright in the United States.
  3. Neither (1) nor (2) applies. In this case, the work is protected by copyright in the United States (either because of compliance with formalities or by lack of publication).
For example, take a random photograph from Australia, taken after 1945. It was protected by copyright in Australia on 1 January 1996, so if it had previously entered the public domain in the United States, the copyright was restored, and we have "case 2". On the other hand, if it hadn't previously entered the public domain in the United States, then we have "case 3". In either case, the photo is currently copyrighted in the United States. If the only task is to determine whether the work is copyrighted in the United States, you therefore do not have to differ between "case 2" and "case 3".
On the other hand, if the photograph was taken in 1945 or earlier, then it wasn't copyrighted in Australia on 1 January 1996. In these cases, we would have either "case 1" (not copyrighted) or "case 3" (copyrighted). In these cases alone do we have a problem finding out the correct copyright status in the United States, and in many cases, we will not have sufficient information to tell whether it is "case 1" or "case 3". On the other hand, photographs from this category have typically not been deleted from Commons, unless it has been possible to demonstrate that "case 3" applies (either because someone has digged up a copyright renewal or because someone has been able to demonstrate that it took a lot of time before it was first published). --Stefan2 (talk) 14:21, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
@Stefan2: Why do you think you know better than the legal professionals of LCA? --Elvey (talk) 03:05, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
because he is a wikimedian. he's the smartest man on the internet. there are people who will "break" wikipedia in order to force the foundation to make visual editor not the default.... i see people on commons are closing keep with a link to this page. is that appropriate? might want to incorporate this guidance into some consensus on commons, for the benefit of editors like this. Slowking4 (talk) 13:31, 1 April 2014 (UTC)