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Wikipedia:Media copyright questions

Media copyright questions

Welcome to the Media Copyright Questions page, a place for help with image copyrights, tagging, non-free content, and related questions. For all other questions please see Wikipedia:Questions.

How to add a copyright tag to an existing image
  1. On the description page of the image (the one whose name starts File:), click Edit this page.
  2. From the page Wikipedia:File copyright tags, choose the appropriate tag:
    • For work you created yourself, use one of the ones listed under the heading "For image creators".
    • For a work downloaded from the internet, please understand that the vast majority of images from the internet are not appropriate for use on Wikipedia. Exceptions include images from flickr that have an acceptable license, images that are in the public domain because of their age or because they were created by the United States federal government, or images used under a claim of fair use. If you do not know what you are doing, please post a link to the image here and ask BEFORE uploading it.
    • For an image created by someone else who has licensed their image under the GFDL, an acceptable Creative Commons license, or has released their image into the public domain, this permission must be documented. Please see Requesting copyright permission for more information.
  3. Type the name of the tag (e.g.; {{GFDL-self}}), not forgetting {{ before and }} after, in the edit box on the image's description page.
  4. Remove any existing tag complaining that the image has no tag (for example, {{untagged}})
  5. Hit Publish changes.
  6. If you still have questions, go on to "How to ask a question" below.
How to ask a question
  1. To ask a new question hit the "Click here to start a new discussion" link below.
  2. Please sign your question by typing ~~~~ at the end.
  3. Check this page for updates, or request to be notified on your talk page.
  4. Don't include your email address, for your own privacy. We will respond here and cannot respond by email.
Note for those replying to posted questions

If a question clearly does not belong on this page, reply to it using the template {{mcq-wrong}} and, if possible, leave a note on the poster's talk page. For copyright issues relevant to Commons where questions arising cannot be answered locally, questions may be directed to Commons:Commons:Village pump/Copyright.

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(For help, see Wikipedia:Purge)


Quick ideas for a visit tomorrowEdit

Thanks for this page existing. What a worms nest. I'm working on the article William Barnes, an American who lived 1860–1930. I am visiting the city where he lived tomorrow and the library has a file on him. His former workplace may also have some images. Roughly, what images can I use? I know this is a complicated question, but I'm hoping I can get some quick ideas. Thank you. SchreiberBike | ⌨  19:04, 11 June 2019 (UTC)

Hi SchreiberBike. I'm not sure whether this response comes too late, but perhaps it might still help. It's hard to advise you on which files you can use without knowing more about the files themselves. Bascially, how a file can be used or whether it can be uploaded is determined by its copyright status as explained in Wikipedia:Image use policy. There are basically two types of files you find used on Wikipedia: "free" and "non-free". A "free" files is one which is either considered to be within the public domain for some reason or one which has been released under a free license that Wikipedia accepts per Wikipedia:Copyrights#Guidelines for images and other media files or c:Commons:Licensing. A "non-free" file is one which is still considered to be protected by copyright which is unploaded and used in accordance with Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. Freely-licensed and public-domain files are generally preferable to non-free ones because they are much easier to use not only by Wikipedia, but also by readers of Wikipedia who might wish to use the file in some other way; non-free files can be uploaded and used, but the relevant policy has been set up to be pretty restrictive , with non-free files generally considered to more of an exception than the rule, and limited to cases where there's no reasonable reason to expect that a free equivalent (file or text) can neither be found nor created to serve the same encyclopedic purpose as a non-free one. Sorry for being so general, but it's hard to say more without knowing more. If you do find a specific file, you'd like to use and not sure about its copyright status, you can always ask for help here or even at c:Commons:Village pump/Copyright. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:52, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Marchjuly: I've been there and back, but I appreciate your detailed and well-linked response. At the library I was able to get one really good image of the subject of the article, but the library doesn't know who took the picture or exactly when, only who they got it from. I will try to contact the people who gave the library the picture to see if they have more information, but I doubt it. I remember that 1928 is important in image copyright, but I don't know the details. From the age of the person in the picture, I am pretty sure the photo was taken before 1928, but I have no documentation of that. This is a complicated area of law and Wikipedia rules, so I appreciate your help. SchreiberBike | ⌨  02:02, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Hi again SchreiberBike. The brightline year is currently 1924, not 1928. You can find out more specifc details about various scenarios at c:Commons:Hirtle chart, but generally all photographs taken and first published anywhere prior to Janauary 1, 1924 (in which the photographer is known) are generally considered to be Template:PD-US. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:16, 13 June 2019 (UTC)

Correct Procedure for Marking Image for Deletion due to Image Having Known False Copyright ClaimEdit

Could someone please tell me how to correctly mark an image for deletion when the image almost certainly has a known false copyright claim?

Should I follow the usual procedure, or should I report the image and wait for an experienced editor to follow up before marking the image for deletion? I don't wish to needlessly or unfairly report a user, but I contacted the photographer of the image following the guidelines and they very politely made it clear they did not want their photo on wikipedia. I have recently noticed the image has appeared, so while the photographer may have changed his mind in the last few months and could be the user claiming copyright, it seems much more likely a wikipedia user is falsely claiming their photo as their own work (especially as the photo has been cropped). Given the photographer was kind enough to take the time to politely respond, it would seem fair that the image be deleted (should the user claiming the photo as their copyright not be the photographer I previously contacted).

Thanks very much for any advice, and my apologies if the procedure for this sort of thing is written somewhere; I've searched but have not been able to find it. Heron5110 (talk) 21:58, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

Hi Heron5110. If you feel an image is an unambiguous copyright violation, you can mark it for speedy deletion per WP:F8WP:F9. If you're not sure, but still think the image qualifies for speedy deletion for one of the reasons given in WP:FCSD, then there are speedy deletion tags specific to each of those criteria as well. It's hard to elaborate on this next part further without knowing which file is being discussed, but a typical copyright version would be something like the uploader finding an image whose copyright is held by someone else somewhere (eg. website, book, newspaper) and then uploading a file version of it to Wikipedia under a free license as their "own work" or under a claim that copyright holder has given their explicit consent when they actually haven't. If the photographer of this particular file feels that their copyright is being violated, then they contact can directly contact the Wikimedia Foundation per wmf:DMCA takedowns and request that the file be removed from all of Wikipedia.
There are some copyrighted files, however, which are uploaded to Wikipedia as non-free content; these files are not really being claimed by the uploader as being "freely licensed" and usually provide information about the original source and copyright holder of the image. Non-free files typically don't require the consent of the copyright holder to be uploaded (most of them don't have such permission) and can be used as long as their usage complies with Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. This type of file would not be considered a copyirght violation per WP:F8, but might be subject to deletion for some other reason such as WP:F7.
Sorry, for speaking only in general terms, but someone might be able to give you a more specific answer if you could provide a link to the actual file. -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:16, 13 June 2019 (UTC); [Note: Post edited by Marchjuly to provide correct FCSD link. -- 04:25, 13 June 2019 (UTC)]
Hi Marchjuly, thanks very much for the help. I'm almost certain the image has been uploaded under a false copyright claim as the photographer/blogger I contacted was very clear about not wanting the image on wikipedia. I'm going to mark the image for speedy deletion as suggested, but before I do, may I just check that I should mark it as WP:F9, rather than WP:F8? You reply was really helpful - it's just when I read the reasons given in WP:FCSD, I saw that 'unambiguous copyright violation' was listed as WP:F9, so I just wanted to check. For reference, this is the image I'm referring to.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Heron5110 (talkcontribs) 03:21, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Heron5110: I should posted F9 not F8; my apologies for the confusion. However, if the file you're referring to is File:Standard_Child_Harness.png, then that is a file uploaded to Commons which means it needs to be taken care of by Commons; so, none of WP:FCSD is applicable to that file. What you can do is add c:Template:Copyvio to the top of the file's page. You have to add the template to the file's Commons description page though, not its Wikipedia description page. Another option would be to go the file's Commons page and click on "Nominate for deletion". A box will open for creating a c:Commons:Deletion review. Just complete the steps and the software will do the rest. Finally, one last option would be to tag the file with c:Template:No permission since; this is sort of an delayed speedy deletion option in that it gives the uploader a chance to prove they are the copyright holder or that the file has been released under a free license by the copyright holder. They are given about a week to do so before the file is deleted. The main difference between the three is that files tagged as a copyvio may be deleted at anytime by an administrator, files tagged as lacking permission are usually given seven days before being deleted, and files sent to deletion review can be discussed by others to determine whether a file should be deleted (the discussion is reveiwed by an administrator who tries to figure out what consensus was reached). -- Marchjuly (talk) 04:25, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
@Marchjuly: Thanks very much again for the help - there's no need to apologize at all; I appreciate the advice. I've gone ahead with the commons processes you mentioned to mark the image for deletion. Thanks again for the help.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Heron5110 (talkcontribs) 00:20, 14 June 2019 (UTC)

Washington University Bears footballEdit

Why was the logo removed from this page, Washington University Bears football? It is the athletic logo for the university. It was not removed from the Washington University Bears page. Across Wikipedia, the football pages include the athletic logos. Help me correct the copyright error, if there is one. Americanfootballupdater (talk) 19:07, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

@Americanfootballupdater: Each non-free image must have a separate fair use rationale (FUR) for each article that it is used in (WP:NFCC#10c). As the logo has no FUR for use in Washington University Bears football the bot removed the image. Add an additional FUR to the logo page and then you can re-add it to the article. Nthep (talk) 19:24, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Nthep: Thank you. Americanfootballupdater (talk) 19:35, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Nthep: Does it appear that I have added the FUR correctly? Americanfootballupdater (talk) 19:43, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Assuming the logo is used by the football team then yes. Nthep (talk) 19:45, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
The logo should not be used in the football article per WP:NFC#UUI #17. — JJMC89(T·C) 22:08, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@JJMC89: Then why is it acceptable for Alabama Crimson Tide football or Ohio State Buckeyes football or any other program that you look up? I am trying to follow the rules and policies but I do not understand how this would violate. Americanfootballupdater (talk) 22:30, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
I did read your WP:NFC#UUI #17 but I would not view an individual sports team as a child entity. They represent the university in a single sport wearing that logo. Each team wears the same logo. They are all the child of the university, Washington University in St. Louis, that has a different logo. Americanfootballupdater (talk) 22:40, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@JJMC89: @Nthep: How can I change the licensing section for this image to be "This image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain. Although it is free of copyright restrictions, this image may still be subject to other restrictions. See WP:PD#Fonts and typefaces or Template talk:PD-textlogo for more information." like the logos of Ohio State, Alabama, Colorado, and others? Americanfootballupdater (talk) 22:45, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Hi Americanfootballupdater. There are basically two types of files you find used on Wikipedia: "free files" and "non-free files" and how these files can be used depends upon their licensing. A "free file" is one which is considered to be in the public domain for some reason, or a copyrighted file which has been released by its copyright holder under a free license. A "non-free file" is a copyrighted file which has not been released under a free license, but has uploaded for use as non-free content. All files used on Wikipedia are subject to Wikipedia:Image use policy, but non-free files are further subject to Wikipedia's non-free content use policy, which is quite restrictive. This means that free files are generally much easier to use than non-free ones, and why it's hard to compare files just based upon the fact that they are used in a similar way in similar articles. The logos of the two examples you mentioned above (Alabama and Ohio State) are not licensed as non-free content (you can check this by clicking on File:Alabama Athletics logo.svg and File:Ohio State Buckeyes logo.svg, and checking the licensing of the file's page), but File:Washington University Bears athletic logo.png is, which means only it is subject to Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. The Wikipedia non-free content use policy strives to keep non-free content use as minimal as possible; there have been some previous discussions about this type of logo use and the consensus appears to be that files like this are generally considered acceptable in the main article about a school's athletic department since that's where any sourced critical commentary about the school branding, logo, mascot, etc. is most likely to be found; such files, however, are generally not considered OK for individual team, sport, season, etc. articles unless they are specific to said team, sport, season, etc. per item #17 of WP:NFC#UUI. There might be examples where you'll find a non-free file being used in this way, but that's not necessarily an indication that it should be being used in this way; it could just as easily the file was re-added despite being previously removed, or that the file's non-free use was never assessed.
One thing about the Washington file is that it actually might be considered to be too simple to be eligible for copyright protection per c:COM:TOO#United States. Sometimes editors upload files as non-free content when it might actually not have been necessary to do so. The Washington logo is basically text with different colors, which are things not typically eligible for copyright protection (at least in the United States, the country of origin for the file); so, a possible way to resolve this would be to convert the file's licensing to {{PD-logo}}. @Nthep and JJMC89: Can either of you think of any reason why this file can't be converted to PD? -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:06, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
The license has already been changed. — JJMC89(T·C) 23:38, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the update. Converting it to PD seems fine to me. @Nthep: Are you OK with this? Unless someone disagrees about this being PD, this file probably can be either moved or re-uploaded to Commons instead since there's no need for it to be kept locally if it's PD in the United States. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:49, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
@Marchjuly: How can I go about the process of deleting and re-uploading to commons? Americanfootballupdater (talk) 00:27, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

I uploaded to commons and moved the upload log from the Wikipedia file. I changed the 2 references so that everything points to the commons file. Americanfootballupdater (talk) 01:02, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Canadian coinageEdit

This file File:Canadian Dime - reverse.png was removed from Schooner by User:JJMC89_bot for WP:NFCC violation. According to its page "Non-free media information and use rationale for Coins of the Canadian dollar: usage is allowed by the RCM's intellectual property policy". What is the violation, and what can be done to put the image on the page? --Cornellier (talk) 09:27, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Hi Cornellier. JJMC89 bot is operated by JJMC89 so you can ask him if you want to be 100% sure, but basically the bot removes files from articles where they are lacking a non-free use rationale. Each use of a non-free file is required to have a separate specific non-free use rationale by Wikipedia non-free content use criterion #10c and those missing a rationale may be removed per WP:NFCCE.
Sometimes this issue can be resolved by simply adding the missing rationale to the file's page, but there are actually ten non-free content criteria which need to be met for each use; so, sometimes even providing a missing a rationale is not sufficient to meet the other nine criteria.
For coins, I think that non-free use is generally considered acceptable when the file is used for primary identification purposes at the top of or in the main infobox of an article about the coin itself, or perhaps in an article about the country's currency in which the coin is a part of. In other articles or other types of non-free use, it can be much harder to justify the non-free use of the file because the context for non-free use required by non-free content use criterion #8 is lacking. Generally, it takes some sourced critical commentary about the non-free file itself so that the reader's understanding of the subject matter is significantly improved by seeing it to the degree that not seeing the file would be detrimental to that understanding. Most of the time a wikilink to the relevant article about the coin is considered sufficient per WP:FREER and item 6 of WP:NFC#UUI.
The file was being used in an image gallery in Schooner#Gallery, and this type of non-free use is pretty much never going to be allowed per WP:NFG because NFCC#8 is almost never met in such cases. The primary reason the file was added seems to be just to show that a schooner appears on the Canadian dime, but there's no content at all (sourced or unsourced) about that anywhere else in the article, and it seems more than sufficient to simply link to the coin's article (if necessary) instead of using the file. If you disagree and feel the non-free use in the article does meet all ten non-free content use criteria, provide a rationale explaining why and then re-add the file to the article. If another editor disagrees with your assessment, they can dispute the rationale or nominate the file for discussion at WP:FFD. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:21, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
Hi Marchjuly thanks very much for your excellent explanation. It was I who added the image, the intention being to document the importance of the schooner in Canadian culture. Does this (to cite criteria 8) "significantly increase readers' understanding of the article topic"? Probably hard to argue, and as you point out, the statement could be made without the image. --Cornellier (talk) 16:26, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
To your original question:
In the case of a two-dimensional pictorial representation (such as a photograph or illustration) of a three-dimensional work of sculpture (such as a the design/engraving on a coin), there are two distinct copyrights: there is the copyright on the design/engraving (the result of the creative work of the designing/engraving artist) and there is the copyright on the particular photograph or illustration (the result of the creative work of the photographer or illustrator who took the particular photograph or made the particular illustration of the object).
In the case of images of the boat side of the Canadian dime coin, as regards the copyright on the design/engraving, this design/engraving is generally considered by Wikimedia to be in the public domain. This design was created by artist Emanuel Hahn and it was first issued on coins in 1937 [1]. This makes images of it accepted on Wikimedia Commons (and on Wikipedia) as both PD-Canada and PD-US (for more details, see the box at the top of Commons:Category:Coins of Canada), on the condition that the other copyright, the copyright on the image, photograph or illustration, is also cleared, i.e that the particular images, photographs or illustrations, are free.
Specifically about the file "File:Canadian Dime - reverse.png", the reason why this particular file is not free is not because of the public domain design/engraving, but it is because this particular photograph is not free, because it does not have a free license from the photographer. The matter is confused by the fact that the original image was overwritten by another one, but none of the versions were free. According to the statement by the uploader of the original version, User:Keith Edkins, that version was his own photograph [2]. If that is the case, he could have released it under a free license. However, he did not. Apparently, he did not consider the design/engraving as free and he wrongly believed that he could upload his own photograph without a license. The current image was uploaded by User:Joeyconnick, who merely sourced this image as taken from "Royal Canadian Mint", without a specific link [3]. The file "File:Canadian Dime - reverse.png" should not even be accepted on Wikipedia, because it is a non-free photograph. (A free photo of a non-free sculpture can be a fair use illustration in the article about the non-free sculpture. But this is a non-free photo of a free sculpture.)
Because the design/engraving is free, you could simply, yourself, take a photograph of a dime and upload your own photograph to Wikimedia Commons with a free license and then use it in any Wikipedia article where it would be relevant. You can also find a free image and use it. Currenly, Wikimedia Commons does not seem to have images of the dime where the boat is very clear. It is surprising. It is possible that Commons had other free images of it that may have been deleted by mistake. -- Asclepias (talk) 20:11, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
@Asclepias: Yes, you're correct about the there being two copyrights in play. If the coin imagery itself is really PD, then Wikipedia shouldn't keep this or any similar non-free files per WP:FREER if the only reason it's non-free is because the photographer wants to claim copyright ownership over their photo. If the uploader and photographer are the same person, they can simply release the photo under a free license; a PD copyright license can be added for the coin, and a CC (or whatever) can be added for the photograph. I think the best that the photographer/uploader can do in this case is to require attribution. If the uploader and the photographer are not the same person, then the file cannot be kept without the WP:CONSENT of the photographer. Since this file has multiple versions, I cannot see the original version which was replaced. I also can't tell whether the newer version is also a photo or comes from a website. If it's also photo taken by the editor who uploaded it, then I think what I posted above still applies. If it's a photo taken from a website, then things get a little trickier. It's possible that a photo from an official Canadian government website taken by a Canadian government employee might be PD, which means the photo might be able to be kept; however, if the image can from some other website, then the photograph would likely be considered protected by copyright, which means it cannot be kept with the photographer's CONSENT. I'm going to ping Keith Edkins who uploaded the original file and Joeyconnick who uploaded the latest version to see if they can help sort this out. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:40, 17 June 2019 (UTC)

How could I use an image for more of one related article?Edit

Hello. I write because I knew there've been so many misunderstandings about capying and pasting an image from one article to another that was related to the same subject. I need to if there's a possiblity of using one same image in several related articles. Thank you.— Preceding unsigned comment added by F. E. Puricelli (talkcontribs) 05:22, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

Hi F. E. Puricelli. It sort of depends upon the file you want to use is licensed. If the file is licensed as public domain or a free license, then basically all you need to worry about is Wikipedia:Image use policy#Adding images to articles. If, on the other hand, the file is licensed as non-free content, then the way you use the file is going to have to satisfy Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. There are ten non-free content use criteria which need to be met each time a non-free file is used. A non-free file must be used in at least one article per non-free content use criterion #7, but it can be used in other articles if the respective uses are considered to comply with relevant policy. Generally, Wikipedia prefers that freely licensed or public domain images be used whenever possible, but there are some exceptions made for certain types of non-free usage (see Wikipedia:Non-free content#Acceptable use); however, since a single non-free use is already considered an exception so to speak, it can become increasing harder to justify each additional non-free use in some cases. This doesn't mean that it can't be done, just that can be a bit hard to do. It would be easier to provide you with more specific feedback if you can clarify which file you want to use and where (i.e. which article(s)) you want to use it. -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:02, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
The image File:Revolution, IDW Publishing and Hasbro, May 2016.jpg for Hasbro Universe and Hasbro Comic Book Universe. -- F. E. Puricelli (talk) 08:43, 18 June 2019 (UTC)

I'm having the same problem with File:Valmieras FK logo.png on Valmieras FK and Valmiera Glass Via (basketball). Both the football club and the basketball club use the same logo, but the bot has automatically removed the logo on the basketball one twice now. AngusWOOF (barksniff)

To be fair, the bot did leave a good edit summary with a clear explanation of why (No valid non-free use rationale for this page.) with links to a number of locations. You need (i.e. MUST have) a non free use rationale on the image page for every article that the image is used on. That image didn't have a usage rationale for the basketball team, so it was removed. - X201 (talk) 10:12, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) @F. E. Puricelli and AngusWOOF: Did you check the WP:NFC#Implementation page that JJMC89’s bot left in the edit summary when it removed the files? Non-free use is not automatic and each use of a non-free file is required to meet all 10 non-free content use criteria listed in WP:NFCCP. One of these criteria is WP:NFCC#10c which requires that a separate specific non-free use rationale be provided for each use; so, if a file is non-free file is used multiple times, it needs a rationale specific to each particular use. Files missing rationales can be removed per WP:NFCCE which is why the bot removed the files. Whether a rationale can be written for these additional uses depends on whether all ten non-free content use criteria can be satisfied as explained in WP:JUSTONE; so, just adding the missing rationale to the file’s page doesn’t automatically mean the particular use is policy compliant and the file’s you may be challenged by another editor or nominated for discussion at WP:FFD. You can probably ask JJMC89 about this on his user talk page. — Marchjuly (talk) 10:31, 18 June 2019 (UTC)
Marchjuly, thanks, I put in the second rationale on the image file page. Hopefully that's what is expected. AngusWOOF (barksniff) 15:18, 18 June 2019 (UTC)