Licensing of pictures containing other non-free images?
3 votes c/freepost Posted by zPlus — 3 votes, 3 commentsSource

In the case of a picture, or a video, that portraits another non-free image, can it be freely licensed? For example if I take a picture of a libreboot laptop but there is the ThinkPad logo, or a video of a city center where there are all sort of ads images, or a picture in a museum but there is a painting. Or even another example: if a video from fossdem is freely licensed, does it mean that somebody else can cut out the face of any participant and use it freely?

A good example that I’ve found: picture of Times Square. One of the many permissively licensed CC images. To what exactly does CC apply to here? Surely I cannot cut out the TDK logo and claim it’s CC-BY.

After a bit of research, what I gather is that these kind of works cannot be shared/reused at all, simply because they are considered derivative work. The copyright holder of the original work retains full control over it. So, yeah, the “derivative work” should remove the copyrighted content. Then there are exceptions. Exceptions means that the derivative work can be shared regardless of what the copyright holder want. The case for this is fair use (= limited usage of the copyrighted work when strictly required to produce the work, like quoting a book), or so-called “panorama exceptions” (can take photos in public spaces). However even when allowed, it’s still copyrighted content “embedded” into the derivative work, so it’s not allowed to cut out a logo for example, because it’s taken out of context (the context seems to define if it’s fair use or not).

I tried to ask the same question in #wikimedia on IRC and somebody suggested that the picture might fall under de minimis.