Tolkien Gateway

Forum:Copyrights and licenses need clarifying

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Tolkien Gateway > Council > Copyrights and licenses need clarifying

Hello, I just registered after looking at the images here. I found this site following some links from Wikipedia's Middle Earth project talk page:

Let me first apologise for this next part coming across as bureaucratic (from working too long with wikipedia copyright issues).

Specifically, I was reading Ted Nasmith's reply to a request to use his images under the GFDL (see last link above). His reply makes it clear he is against signing away his commercial rights to his own art. This means for example that wikimedia commons cannot host any of his images (because all its images must be "free"), and also that the english wikpedia can only use his images together with a "detailed non-free use rationale". An example of this fair use is here (click on the Lúthien image for details):

This fair use is only allowed in the USA (and maybe only a few other countries).

Now, I am no expert but it seems that tolkiengateway's copyright notice:

"All content available at this website, unless otherwise stated, is available under the GNU Free Documentation License."

is insufficient because it does not mention images that do not fall under GFDL. I do not believe that the artists whose work is shown here have released their work under the GFDL.

Maybe the Tolkien Gateway has obtained a non-exclusive license from the artists (similar to the Creative Commons non-commercial license), in which case there should be some notice on the image description page or closely associated with it.

For details see

I can see that John Howe provides a non-commercial license with four conditions, that, as far as I can see, are met by tolkiengateway, except that his license is not shown on the category page. This means that there is a fair use defence possible (but not assured).

As far as Ted Nasmith, though I could find no such licence on his website.

So in summary I believe these changes are needed:

1. "Content is available under GNU Free Documentation License."

should be changed to something like

"Content, excluding images, is available under GNU Free Documentation License."

and 2., where the copyright owner has provided license conditions, then those conditions should be shown in the category page or the artist page (ideally on each image description).

For now I will add John Howe's conditions to his category. --Wikibob 10:22, 29 March 2008 (EDT)

Hello Wikibob, thanks for your input. There are still quite a few images which we have yet to add the proper copyright notice to. This is something which definitely needs to be completed as we don't intend to imply they are released under the GNU FDL. I have modified Tolkien Gateway:Copyrights to specify "content created by Tolkien Gateway", opposed to "all content available at this website". Unfortunately we can not state "excluding images" as there are some images which are indeed released under the GNU FDL. Thanks again for your help. --Hyarion 15:07, 1 April 2008 (EDT)