[Wiki Loves Monuments] WikiLovesMonuments Digest, Vol 19, Issue 32

Peter Ekman pdekman at gmail.com
Fri Jul 20 02:17:30 UTC 2012

Dear all,

Regarding Matthew's question on Freedom of Panorama and copyright of
statues, Katie's answer is correct and pretty much complete.

One of the main reasons that we've pretty much limited WLM-US to NRHP
sites is that statues can have copyright problems.  The NRHP lists are
maybe 5% statues, essentially all published before 1978, and I've
never seen a copyright problem with one.  The Wall, Korean War
Memorial and a few similar mall memorials are not on the list.

To photograph pre-1978 statues in the US please do the following song and dance:
Check with the SIRIS (Smithsonian) site or NRHP data to get the date
it was unveiled to the public (date of publication) - all you need to
do is show the date is pre-1978.
When you photograph the statue, get close up and walk around it,
looking for a visible copyright notice.  If you can't see a copyright
notice, then it's not visible :-) and you are free to upload it to

Can we trust absolute newbies to take this song and dance seriously?
(Yes, I sing and dance all the time)  I don't think the newbies would
take it as deadly serious as some folks at Commons do it.  That's the
main reason Public Art is not on this year's WLM-US agenda.  It's also
a good example of how copyright paranoia effects Commons.

To tell you the truth, I don't think that pre-WWII sculptors
understood copyright in the same way we do now.  Almost no sculptures
from that period have copyright notices, and I believe when they do
they were referring to bronze or stone copies, rather than
photographic copies.  So Remington's 1910-copyrighted statue is one of
the most photographed statues in Philadelphia, and has been since

Buildings, boats, railway locomotives, cornfields, big rocks,
breakwaters and other NRHP sites don't have this copyright problem.

All the best,
Pete Ekman

Message: 3
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:22:32 -0400
From: aude <aude.wiki at gmail.com>
To: Wiki Loves Monuments Photograph Competition
        <wikilovesmonuments at lists.wikimedia.org>
Subject: Re: [Wiki Loves Monuments] FoP and monuments
        <CAE4hJ8dRP_Q4XYpDrFr5KcfLTV=br0PP8z39z_dPXJ_FSPob3A at mail.gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM, Matthew Roth <mroth at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi all,
> In Washington DC after Wikimania, I went on a monument photo walk and was
> very happy with some of the photos I took of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial>wall. Then I started looking at the FoP rules in the U.S. and realized I
> don't think I can upload most of those photos to Commons, given the wall is
> likely considered a statue and is therefore under copyright. Several
> questions:
> 1. Is this accurate? Should I consider the photos as inadmissible?

I believe the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall is okay, however the Vietnam
Womens Memorial and the Korean War Memorial are both copyrighted and it's
been enforced.


> 2. Does anyone have experience in other countries with monuments that are
> on the list but are still under copyright? Will we need to be clear that
> some of the sites on the Register in the U.S. are not eligible for the
> contest?

1978 and 1989 are the magic dates relating to copyright of public artwork


> 3. How does the primary photo<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TouchWall.jpg>on the EnWP article qualify to be hosted on Commons?

Per the freedom of panorama and other guidelines (see above)

Note that the rules vary greatly from country to country.  Permanently
situated outdoor sculpture in Canada is okay for Commons, but not the U.S.
and other places.


> Is there a percentage of a photo that can still contain a copyrighted
> monument and be acceptable for upload to Commons? Or is it a resolution
> issue? It seems there are various photos of the wall that are on Commons
> that similarly display the wall without copyright notices or templates, like
> this one<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vietnam_Veterans_with_Washington_Monument.jpg>
> .
> Any insight would be appreciated.
> thanks,
> Matthew
> --
> Matthew Roth
> Global Communications
> Wikimedia Foundation
> +1.415.839.6885 ext 6635
> www.wikimediafoundation.org
> *https://donate.wikimedia.org*

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