VRTS templates

Working with copyrighted media, we usually need to provide the license documents to VRTS. The templates that are currently provided have several troubles. They are created for physical individuals operating their own copyright for the works already uploaded. This means, they do not fit for other situations:

— they do not fit for the corporate bodies,
— they do not fit for the works that will be uploaded in future,
— they do not fit for the works without titles,
— they do not fit for the massive collections of works.

Developing the free knowledge, we need to develope VRTS templates for different situations and different corporate authors.

1 Like

Reitero que esta discussão é importaante também no que se refere à inclusão de imagens no Commons de minorias marginalizadas ou campos específicos do saber, como é o caso de artistas contemporâneos, por exemplo, que possuem extenso trabalho e com grande reconhecimento e, muitas vezes, há pouquíssimos exemplares de suas obras ou de sua própria pessoa no Wikimedia Commons. Creio que a solicitação de inclusão e adaptação feita pela colega será de grande valia a toda comunidade.

1 Like

By VRTS temeplates, do you mean templates on Commons, or boilerplate email text used for emailing VRTS, or templated responses used in the VRTS system?

1 Like

I mean the templates on Commons, these templates are used for emailing VRTS. I do not know about the «boilerplate email text».

This? Commons:Email templates - Wikimedia Commons

@PereslavlFoto just to understand your request. Have you discussed this with the Commons Volunteer Response Team? Or are you part of it and you are asking for help beyond this team and Commons?

If you think or you wonder whether the Movement Strategy implementation can help you and/or the CVR team, let’s talk!

Let me explain in other words. These email temlates are good only in one case: if a human person owns the exclusive copyright for one or several works already uploaded into Commons. These email templates do not fit for these typical cases I work with: — a) if a copyright owner is a corporation or governmental institution, — b) if the works will be uploaded in future, if any, — c) if the works are not collected, if they do not have digital form yet, — d) if the works do not have any titles, — e) if there are several thousands of works. To work with such cases, we need some other templates, and noone knows the correct templates for these cases. VRT team cannot discuss anything, because they do not have spare time. This is why I think the Strategy implementation must find the way out of this situation.

1 Like

@PereslavlFoto thank you for your explanation. Is there a discussion about this on Commons that we can refer to?

I also wonder where in the Movement Strategy recommendations this request would best fit, but this is something we can look at.

Have not seen such a discussion at Commons. What about MS recommendations, this is about (9), innovations about free knowledge.

Let us imagine some typical cases. A state museum wants to upload images into Commons. First of all there must be a permission from the author. The author is dead, so there must be a permission from his heirs. Next step is to find the images that are not collected yet (there was no need to collect them without permission). Being collected, the images have to be scanned, and all the scanning hardware must be bought. As scanned, they need to be retouched, denoised, descripted. This work takes several years before being published, and everything needs to be permitted long before any images appear at all.

Another case. Looks the same, but the copyright holder is a newspaper owned by municipalitу, and the image processor is a state-owned museum. In this case, do we need to get permission from the newspaper body or from the municipalitу body? And do we need to get permission from the employee who shoot the photographs with his own camera for this newspaper? Well, the usual common sense tells that we need a judicial advice from some layer — but there are completely no copyright layers in the whole town. So the only way is to gain some predefined template.

Another case. A CEO of some company makes an image for Commons with his own smartphone. He’s not a photographer, he’s a chief manager. Does he need to explain in details why the company owns this image? What template does he need? — A usual template cannot fit this case, as I know from VRT agents.

I just wanted to show the limits of current VRT templates, and to explain the place where they fail. Thank you.


Hello, thanks for your sharing. I understand your concern. However, it should be discussed on Commons instead of here. This problem you mentioned should be handled by local community and VRTS team. Thanks.

Well, this question is for layers, not for the uploaders on Commons. This is not a technical question. Local community has no layers qualified in copyright laws. VRTS people may check the supposed text and answer that it does not fit, but they cannot provide the suitable text. So this will be an innovation about free knowledge.

The standard boilerplate text for permission emails seems to work fine for most of these cases (of course you would replace “exact URL of the file uploaded on Wikimedia Commons” with some other kind of clear identification of the image), and works with some common-sense modifications for retouching etc. (instead of “[creator] or [sole owner]” you’d put in something like “author of the retouched version” and “have legal authority in my capacity to release the copyright of that work” would change to “have legal authority in my capacity to release the copyright of my changes to the work”).

There’s no URLs at all. The files will be uploaded in some years after the permission is signed. And when the permission is published, there usually are neither files nor prints. In most cases there are films with unknown material in them. Having no permission, there is completely no sense to clean and digitize and descript these films. The current standard permission template does not fit in this situation.

Include some unambiguous way of identifying those future files, then. What else would you want the permission email to include?

Alternatively, just don’t bother with VRTS until the files to upload are available.

When the files will be available, their author and his heirs will suddenly change their mind.

The current VRT template does not speak about the future files. This is its main problem.

I would like the permission email to be suitable not only for 1—10 images uploaded from person, but for 1) numerous images 2) from corporate copyright holder 3) that will be uploaded in future 4) by anyone.

I still don’t see the problem here, just change the email text to say those things.

Though from a legal POV you’ll probably be better off if the permission enumerates the images in some way, instead of just saying “whatever image the institution uploads to Commons in the next year” or something like that - a license given for unspecified works is much easier to challenge.

I fully agree. This is 100% a Commons discussion at this point. If then the CVR team or the consensus there is to look at how the Movement Strategy implementation can help resolve a problem, then sure, let’s talk. Innovate in Free Knowledge is indeed a good recommendation to support the improvement of processes like the one described.

The cases you name as an example could all be very different cases for me as a VRT agent, and a standard boiler template for all might not fit: I would suggest sending the permissions team (permissions-commons@wikimedia.org) an email about the specific copyright question you have (so not requesting a generic template, they most probably will not be able to provide), and to ask them to work out the specific needs from the VRT perspective together with you.
There are some procedures written down for big collections based on case reviews, but they may not be applicable for your situation or language.

Also, just to know: we ‘‘do’’ have people in the Commons community with extensive knowledge of international copyrights, and these topics in general are being discussed amongst Commons admins on one side and VRT agents on the other as well.

1 Like

Thank you very much for your kind and hopeful answer!

This is exactly my point — a standard template might not fit for these cases. Well, as far as I know, the permissions team does not consult on the legal questions. As far as I know, they simply answer, “this is suitable” or “this is not suitable”. Having a bit of experience in reading such answers, I was hoping to see the specific templates for such special cases.

As soon as there are people with extensive knowledge of international copyrights on Commons, could you please advice me those people? I work in Russia, so the legal papers must be in Russian. I remember that there are too few Russian-speaking VRT agents, and it looks like they are quite busy with current tasks.

Once more, I’d like to thank you for your hopeful words.

1 Like

Let me refer you to the collected information we have on the copyright rules for Russia here: Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Russia - Wikimedia Commons
Please read them carefully and research the links.

If you have follow-up questions, you can try to address them on the VRT noticeboard: Commons:Volunteer Response Team/Noticeboard - Wikimedia Commons. I can advise asking the question in English just so all VRT agents and Commons admins watching the page can help in the initial triage of the question, and may be able to assist on non-Russia-specific questions, for instance if they go more into the Commons procedure and not into the copyright.

The complexity with answering questions for VRT is that admins and agents have to combine the local copyright rules with our Commons policies: sometimes things are okay from a general copyright perspective, but still not allowed on Commons because additional restrictions apply.

1 Like