[Wiki Loves Monuments] WLM photos are deleted on Commons

Alexander Tsirlin altsirlin at gmail.com
Thu Sep 8 10:00:49 UTC 2016

Dear All,

We have a severe problem with some of the photos uploaded during Russian 
WLM. As some of you may know, Russia has Freedom of Panorama (FOP) for 
architecture, but not for sculptures. Therefore, photos of recent 
(post-WWII) sculptures are not eligible for Commons, although they are 
OK for Russian Wikipedia and Wikivoyage where they are stored under fair 
use. From technical point of view, it is difficult to separate no-FOP 
monuments from the rest of the monuments, because Commons follows a very 
strict policy about no-FOP images. For example, they consider a small 
sculpture on a building (which is part of an architectural monument) as 
a separate object that is not covered by FOP. This has been a matter of 
debate and contention for long time, because the majority of 
Russian-speaking users tend to go for a softer interpretation and treat 
such things as architecture (i.e., eligible for Commons), while the 
minority of Russian-speaking users sitting on Commons is generally 
hostile to other Russian-speaking projects and tries to create us as 
many problems as possible.

Last year we found a reasonable procedure that was agreed upon by 
several Commons admins. Out of 23700 photos uploaded in Russian WLM 
2015, about 1900 photos were identified as "no-FOP". We reviewed these 
images, linked many of them in other projects, and eventually 
transferred 1280 images to other Russian-speaking projects under fair 
use. Subsequently, nobody bothered to delete these photos from Commons, 
one year passed, and of course no legal problems appeared, but from our 
side we did everything we could do and we spent an enormous amount of 
time on doing this.

The only request from our side was that no WLM photos are deleted before 
October 31, 2015, because image transfer is a slow process and it should 
be done carefully. Last year several Commons admins supported this 
strategy and closed the most outrageous deletion request:


which was submitted by a guy previously expelled from Russian Wikipedia. 
He wanted to delete about 200 photos all at the same time, and he tried 
to covertly delete some photos of 18th-century monuments as being "not 
covered by FOP in Russia"...

So this year a similar story happens again:


Another user - now the one who published defamatory articles about 
Russian WLM organizers last year - accuses us in severe copyright 
violations and writes nonsense that we have not done anything about 
no-FOP photos from 2015. You can check my response to him in the same 
thread, where I write explicitly how images were sorted and transferred. 
Once again, we spent days and hours of our time on doing this.

What we need now is the general support of the community against such 
freaks and assholes who spoil our life and try to undermine the WLM 
process. The strategy of the Russian team is that all cultural heritage 
monuments are important for the project. We do not encourage people to 
upload "no-FOP" photos, but of course people upload them, and our goal 
is to use these images in the best possible way. Last year we did a lot 
of work to achieve this goal, and we are ready to do the same this year 
unless all relevant photos are deleted from Commons immediately, as some 
of the Commons users suggest. If this happens, I am afraid that WLM will 
not make any sense for us, at least not on Commons.

Sorry for the long e-mail, and I am looking forward to your support.


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