Course “On the Road to the Free Digital Society” is available in Moodle and IMS Common Cartridge formats now

If you are interested in launching your own instance of the Stallman’s course “On the Road to the Free Digital Society”, I have good news for you. I have published the course in Moodle Backup and IMS Common Cartridge formats.

The files are available in the “Download” section of the course website.

I will be happy to hear your feedback about the course!

Don’t forget that we need your help in several areas:

Check “Support” section of the course website for the details.

Original blog post


Copyrighted monuments in Finland. Why Finnish works of art are not widely represented in Wikipedia

(Copied from my personal blog).

What are you talking about?

Monument to Tapio Rautavaara in Åggelby (Oulunkylä)
It can be a huge surprise for most of Finns but a lot of statues and monuments installed in public places in Finland are copyrighted. Unfortunately this is not only a curious fact. It has serious affect on the rights to publish photos of these works of art.

I have recently faced this problem when I shot a photo of the beautiful Tapio Rautavaara’s statue installed in Åggelby in the capital area and uploaded it to Wikimedia Commons (this repository hosts most of the images used in Wikipedia articles). My contribution was almost immediately marked for deletion. In fact, Wikimedia has a lot of deletion requests based on the same reason.

This was a surprise and pushed me to investigate the situation deeper. At the end, I managed to find a way to publish my photo in Finnish Wikipedia (but not in Wikimedia).

I hope my findings can be useful for others facing similar issues in Finland and other countries which lack “freedom of panorama”. Besides all, it is a good illustration that even Europe is still on the way to a free digital society.

This article is written in English because it’s content (as I believe) can be beneficial for the foreigners who visited Finland and want to contribute their photos to Wikipedia.

Copyrighted monuments. What is this?

Copyright length for statues in Finland is 70 years from the authors death. It means the statue is free from copyright in Finland if the author is died before 1945. Statue is free from copyright in both US and Finland if the author is died before 1926 OR if the author is died before 1945 and if the statue is published before 1923.

So, if the monument is free from copyright in both US and Finland you can make its photo and upload it to Wikimedia without any difficulties.

But what to do if it is not free from copyright? Is it possible to upload them to Wikimedia? No, not at all. Is it possible to upload them to Wikipedia? The answer is — it depends. Sometimes yes, sometimes no and always depends on the rules for specific Wikipedia project (I will clarify what does “Wikipedia project” mean further).

No Freedom of Panorama for artistic works in Finland

First we need to understand the root of the problem which sits in the Finnish legislation system.

Quoting Wikipedia article on the matter:

Freedom of Panorama is a provision in the copyright laws of various jurisdictions that permits taking photographs and video footage and creating other images (such as paintings) of buildings and sometimes sculptures and other art works which are permanently located in a public place, without infringing on any copyright that may otherwise subsist in such works, and to publishing such images. It is an exception to the normal rule that the copyright owner has the exclusive right to authorize the creation and distribution of derivative works.

The image below shows the status of this Freedom in different countries:

Freedom of Panorama world map

Finland is shown in yellow color which means that freedom is given to the buildings only. More details can be found in the corresponding Wikimedia article.

What can I publish in Wikimedia?

WARNING to the web surfer: This section is applicable only to Finland!


If the statue is free from copyright (see the conditions in the first section), it’s completely OK to publish its image in Wikimedia. If it is not copyright-free, you simply are not allowed to do it. The reason is that the images published in Wikimedia can be used for commercial purposes. And Finnish law does not grant this right for the copyrighted works of art.


It’s completely OK to publish images of buildings in Wikimedia.

What and how can I publish in Wikipedia?


First, we need to understand that there are several Wikipedias. E.g., Finnish Wikipedia, Swedish Wikipedia and English Wikipedia are different projects which might have different policy towards publishing non-free works. This is why it is always easier to publish in Wikimedia which is the common multimedia repository used by all the Wikipedia projects.

Status of non-free content for different wikis is summarized here. For Finland it is:

Non-free images or music samples are allowed if 1) they are not replaceable by free content considering the purpose which they are serving in the article and 2) they are used in accordance with the quotation right of the Finnish copyright law. Historically significant non-free images are forbidden, as they could be replaced. Also non-free images of living people are forbidden.

In in doubt, you can always ask your question in the Finnish Wikipedia discussion page. Finnish Wikipedia community is very friendly.


To upload your image to Finnish Wikipedia you need to use toiminnot:Tallenna template and fill the following information:

{{Tiedoston tiedot
 | Kuvaus = Title of the work. It's a good practice to include here also the name of the author (sculptor) and creation year.
 | Lähde = Own work 
| Päiväys = Date when the photo was taken 
| Tekijä = You

{{Taideteos|name of the article where picture is used|{{oma|cc-by-3.0}} }}

You can check Tapio Rautavaara’s monument page as an example:

== Yhteenveto ==
{{Tiedoston tiedot 
 | Kuvaus = Monument of Tapio Rautavaara / ''Kulkurin uni'' in Oulunkylä (Åggelby). Monument is made by [[Veikko Myller]] (2000).
| Lähde = Own work
| Päiväys = 2 September 2015
| Tekijä = [[user:Vitaly repin]] (photograph)
| Tekijänoikeuksien haltija = 

== Käyttöoikeus == 

{{Taideteos|Tapio_Rautavaara|{{oma|cc-by-3.0}} }}

In order to use this image from a (Finnish) Wikipedia article you need to insert this code into the article:



[[Tiedosto:Monument to Tapio Rautavaara in Åggelby (Oulunkylä)_1.jpg|thumb|Veikko Myller, ''Tapio Rautavaaran muistomerkki / Kulkurin uni'', 2000, Oulunkylän torilla.]] 

It’s important to understand that you can’t use the image from Finnish Wikipedia in other Wikipedias (e.g., English). You will need to upload an image there as well.

Can’t we change the legislation?

As you see, it is not always impossible to share the Finnish work of art you liked through Wikipedia. But it is not that simple and requires certain level of motivation.

I am interested to know which benefits current legislation brings to the Finnish economy and recognition of the Finnish culture around the globe. As of now, I see only drawbacks of the current system:

  • Less visibility of the Finnish works of art in Wikipedia
  • Complexities with promotion of Finnish cultural heritage through campaigns like “Wiki Loves Monuments” or “Wiki Loves Public Art”. The scope of such campaigns in Finland shall be limited to non-copyrighted monuments and buildings

I personally much more like the legislation in our neighboring country of Sweden where sculptures and 3D art are covered by Freedom of Panorama. May be it’s something for Finnish Pirate Party and SFP/RKP to look into? It’s not always a bad idea to copy Swedish ways of doing things to Finland (with pride, of course!) 🙂

P.S. It’s pity I didn’t know about this problem while preparing Stallman’s course about the free digital society. This is a really good example of copyright in action in the modern world.


Road to Free Digital Society. New MOOC is launched.

New course about free software and free digital society is launched today:

Download Introduction video.


Week № Subject
Wk. 1 Introduction to the course. Human rights in Computing, Four Essential Freedoms. How do we define Software Freedom? What is GNU/Linux history? Why GNU? Introduction to the computational ideas patents.
Wk. 2 Threats to the Free Digital Society. We will go through the most dangerous threats to the Free Digital Society: SaaSS, Universal Backdoors, Censorship, Sharing, Precarity and more.
Wk. 3 Copyright and Copyleft: How to make software free? Copyright, Copyleft, non-Copyleft and weak Copyleft. Software licenses in the real world.
Wk. 4 Works of Authorship in the Free Digital Society. History, Philosophy, Practice. Discussion on the licenses to select for your works of authorship (including documentation)
Wk. 5 Digital lifestyle to support freedom. How can we contribute to the Free Digital Society? Practical steps on the way to the Free Digital Society.

Course is freely redistributable. When the first iteration is over (hence, all the videos and quizzes are tested on the first students) it will be published in Common Cartridge format. The goal is to distribute as wide as it is possible.

Help with translations and promotion is needed:

First iteration started today at Eliademy platform:

Join us there!


Hello world!

My first blog post about othing. Just a test