Wikimedia commons

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Kate
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Wikimedia commons

Post by Kate » Thu Dec 06, 2007 1:44 pm

I am downloding some images from Wikipedia to use in a museum display (educational). As far as I can make out, provided the artist who created the original work has been dead for over 70 years and the following statements apply, I can use this image (ie put it on public display) without seeking permission. Is this right?

Statements:

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons. Commons is a freely licensed media file repository. Wikimedia Commons [is]a database of 2,215,793 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute

and

This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. The original image comprising the work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason: This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.[/b]This applies to the United States, Canada, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.

Have I misunderstood. Do I still need to go to the gallery/musuem where the original picture is to get permission or is this really a free source of images?

Kate

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:14 pm

Hi Kate

It really depends on the license that wikimedia stipulate for the images you are using - if they are public domain then you are free to use them.

Most donated pictures in Wikimedia Commons will have a license attached but as long as you abide by that license you should be fine.

Kate
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Post by Kate » Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:10 am

At the risk of being really irritating...It sounds like you are sugesting that Wickimedia Commons itself is meaningless?
the way I have understood it so far is that, because the image had been donated to Wickimedia Commons by the copyright holder, it was 'freely usable' (whatever that means). I imagine this to be possible because the photograph in question was taken before the law about copyright of photos of original artworks was introduced. I thought that the licence that is attached to the image, on the whole, refers to the original work of art. unless it specifies that is is referring to the photo of the original.
I need to get to grips with this as I am trying to acquire a large number of images (many of which are works of art) for a visual time line project and I need to get at least some of them for free to make the poject financially possible.

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Post by CopyrightAid » Fri Dec 07, 2007 7:12 pm

I don't know what you mean by 'meaningless' - Wikimedia Commons is a vast collection of images that are generally free to use.

When you look at images on Wikimedia Commons, every one has a license stating how it can be used.

Here's an example:
"This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License. In short: you are free to share and make derivative works of the file under the conditions that you appropriately attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this one."

When the copyright owner places images on Wikimedia Commons, he/she is allowing you to use there work provided you abide by the license they have specified. If you abide by the license you can use the image.

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