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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Egypt copyright law (1954)Edit

Hi there. I see User:Ashashyou has placed this image Mahmoud Khalil Al-Housary under public domain by the virtue of Egypt's 1954 law that was applicable on works published prior to 2002.

So, would the Qur'an (audio) recitations of the famous Egyptian reciters (El Minshawi, Al Hussary, Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, Mustafa Ismail) fall under public domain too, especially since most of them published their works well before 2002 regardless of whether anyone claims legal rights to the recitals (record companies or firms that acquired rights to the recordings post their deaths or secured rights in other countries)?


Originally asked here: User_talk:Ashashyou#Egypt_copyright_laws and here Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions/Archive_1068#Egypt_copyright_law_(1954).

The Dawoodi Bohra Geometric Shape and Text Logo CopyrightEdit

Hi, I see that Quora's logo is placed in the public domain because it is not originally creative and has a bunch of text / geometric shape to it (ref: Commons:File:Quora_logo_2015.svg).

I wanted to ask if this logo of could be in public domain, too? The reasoning is: The geometric pattern that forms the central theme of the logo is taken from one of the floral designs uncovered during the renovations of Al Anwar mosque of Cairo (see: Commons:File:Al-Hakim_Mosque_-_Cairo_2.jpg), and the rest of it is text.


If it is really from there, then you are fight, the logo would not have copyright. However the pattern in the mosque photo does differ from the logo, so is there really one the same there? Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:09, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

I want use logo in another articleEdit

I want to use this logo on another article which is about clubs reserves and academy. Is there any way to use the logo in this article .thanksWhiteFalcon1 (talk) 12:09, 11 October 2020 (UTC)

I solved this problem . ThanksWhiteFalcon1 (talk) 16:22, 14 October 2020 (UTC)

What copyright tag for an image from CalTech?Edit

I uploaded an image from CalTech (university). The image is:,_Washington.jpg

The source of the image is CalTech university:

CalTech has this policy on image use:

That policy says: "Unless otherwise noted, images and video on Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) public web sites (public sites ending with a or address) may be used for any purpose without prior permission, subject to the special cases noted below. Publishers who wish to have authorization may print this page and retain it for their records; LIGO does not issue image permissions on an image by image basis. ..."

I presume these images are okay to upload to Wikipedia?

I received a msg from a bot that the image I uploaded is missing a copyright notice. What copyright notice should be used when the image is provided by a college, and they say "anyone can use this image"?

02:44, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

Bumping this. Anyone have any input? Noleander (talk) 00:33, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Having trouble with a Microsoft ScreenshotEdit

I am trying to take a screenshot of Microsoft Minesweeper and it keeps saying that the image should be replaced with a smaller image. However, despite many iterations, I have shrank it to 383x204, and it still says it needs to be smaller. At this size, the text is starting to become unreadable, which is important to the game. Any suggestions? Many versions of this file can be seen on the file's information page as I tried to keep resizing it to get the warning to disappear. As a comparison, another screenshot is 396 x 251, both dimensions which are bigger than mine and it does not have that warning. Any suggestions? Brandenads (talk) 10:16, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

The message won't automatically disappear. Its a template that was placed on the image. - X201 (talk) 10:29, 12 October 2020 (UTC)

I updated the template as per the instructions on it. First time working with non-free images for me.

Organizations' logosEdit

The JJMC89 bot removed from the page Armed, far-right organizations in Italy the images for the logos of the Ordine Nero and Terza Posizione terrorist organizations, giving as reason the following: "Removed WP:NFCC violation. No valid non-free use rationale for this page. See WP:NFC#Implementation." However, not only have these two non-commercial logos been disseminated by the organizations themselves, as widely as possible, in their pamphlets, writings, etc, (they simply denote ideology the same way similar logos do) but the images are already used in the articles for Ordine Nero and Terza Posizione, respectively. We can use them in an article about each organization but we cannot use them in an article about the collective field of these organizations? Something must be amiss. -The Gnome (talk) 11:43, 15 October 2020 (UTC)

Hi The Gnome. Wikipedia's non-free content use policy generally does allow copyright protected logos such as those files to be used per item 2 of WP:NFCI when the logos are used for primary identification purposes either at the top of or in the main infobox of stand-alone articles about the organizations they are supposed to represent, but generally doesn't not allow such logos to be used in other articles or in other types of ways. Non-free logos are not really allowed in list articles, in particular, per WP:NFLISTS, WP:NFTABLES and MOS:LOGO because the logo is almost always just being used to illustrate a single entry in a much larger article about a more general subject and is considered to be more WP:DECORATIVE than not.
The reason that particular bot removes files is because they either fail (1) non-free content use criterion #9 or (2) non-free content use criterion #10c. Most likely the files that removed in this case had to do with (2) and sometimes this can be fixed by simply adding the missing non-free use rationale for the concerned use to the file's page; however, as I stated about, such a type of non-free use is almost never allowed and it's highly unlikely that the remaining nine non-free content use criteria would be considered satisfied even if the issues with #10c were resolved. If you want, you can add a non-free use rationale to the file's page if you think the particular use does satisfy relevant policy; that will stop the bot from removing the file, but another editor who disagrees with your assessment could challenge the use by tagging the file with {{di-disputed fair use rationale}} or by starting a discussion about the file's non-free use at WP:FFD. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:24, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
There were also problems with the way those two particular files were being used in Years of Lead (Italy). There's pretty much no way to justify using a non-free file as a quasi flag-icon in an infobox even once per WP:NFCC#1 and WP:NFCC#8, but multiple times would also not be allowed per WP:NFCC#3a. So, I've removed the files from that article as well. -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:42, 15 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed, helpful pointers, Marchjuly. Much appreciated. Ι believe the justification offered by the original uploader is misguided since this is about a strictly free-to-use image sumbolizing a specific political ideology. The hammer and sickle, for instance, is neither copyrighted nor a non-free image. Same goes for the rose flower used by socialist parties, or the swastika, and so on. There has never been any trade mark or copyright warning to my knowledge about such symbols. Plus, these are logos used by terrorist organizations. By definition, as outlaw entities, these organizations have absolutely no copyright on anything they write or draw. -The Gnome (talk) 10:56, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
You might be right about whether the images are public domain because they are too simple or for some other reason, but I don't know whether being the logos of "terrorist" organization matters when it comes to copyright. That's an interesting question though and perhaps someone else can clarify that. Copyright laws do, however, vary from country to country (sometimes quite a bit) and different countries may also not be in agreement as to who or what is a terrorist organization. Some organizations may have a political wing as well as a paramilitaristic wing to them as well so it might argued the logos are for political parties. Anyway, if you think the files should be PD for whatever reason, you can (1) be bold and change the licensing yourself, (2) ask about it c:COM:VPC to see how Commons might treat such a logo or (3) start a discussion at WP:FFD to see if you can establish a consensus that they're PD. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:09, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
In terms of US law, I'm not aware of any conditions that we ignore copyright from terrorist orgnizations, unless they originate from states that are not in compliance with certain international treaties (see [1]), and even then, Jimmy Wales has stated that WP should presume such works are copyrighted or otherwise apply sane logical principles (eg threshold of originality principles). So just because these originated from terrorist organizations in Italy doesn't make them non-copyrightable, nor does the fact that they use existing imagery make them non-copyrightable. Italy would have a very low threshhold of originality (US is much higher) so these would not be free images, and thus need to be treated as non-free and as such, have to meet NFC for multiple uses. --Masem (t) 14:31, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
There have been some previous discussions about this type of thing at COM:VPC such as c:Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2016/08#Files allegedly authored by rebel/terrorist groups and c:Commons:Village pump/Copyright/Archive/2014/01#«Terrorist organisations» have no Copyright?, but not sure if those help to clarify things. -- Marchjuly (talk) 14:42, 16 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks again, Marchjuly. I went over these discussions and, unfortunately, they are, as you said, not much help. The point contributors here do not seem to understand is that if an organization has been declared as criminal, neither its members nor the organizations itself can lay claim to some legal rights about any aspects of their work, be it the organization's history, its actions, its m.o., the logo, and so on. This situation is arguably the same everywhere in the world. -The Gnome (talk) 07:48, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
Well, I would bet serious money, Masem, that no entity, legal or otherwise, holds the copyrights of these Italian, terrorist organizations, or, for that matter, that no terrorist organization in the world could possess such rights. Any issue of image copyright here, indeed of a non-free image, seems patently absurd. -The Gnome (talk) 07:48, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

@Masem and The Gnome: I've asked about this at c:COM:VPC#Copyright law and illegal organizations to see what the Commons community might think about this. Commons doesn't non-free content of any type per c:COM:FAIR, but there's no reason for files like to the two mentioned above to be treated as non-free if they're not eligible for copyright protection and Commons can accept them. -- Marchjuly (talk) 08:59, 17 October 2020 (UTC)

Copyright belongs to whoever created the logos, not to the organizations in question (unless explicitly transferred to the organizations by contract). Even if the creator belonged to a terrorist organization (which we don't know), that wouldn't have any bearing on its copyright status according to U.S. law. Unless the logos are explicitly freely licensed by the creators, or they are too simple to copyright, we must treat them the same as any other logos with respect to copyright status. Kaldari (talk) 21:24, 17 October 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for the input, Kaldari. Let me just say that the ownership of the logos and symbols has been, historically and explicitly, the organization itself in every case - and this a applies to terrorist or criminal organizations of both the right and the left, in Italy and elsewhere. I do not recall, having studied the issue of terrorism at some length, a specific person, member of said organization or not, ever claiming at any time the creation of or having any kind of intellectual property over a symbol/logo used by a terrorist organization. No fee has ever been paid to such a person either. Media around the world routinely use symbols of terrorist ideology or affiliation (the Red Brigades' flag, the Ordine Nero symbol, the NSDAP's swastika, etc) all the time, without attribution to any copyright - ever! (The only copyright attribution might be to certain artist's depiction of a aymbol. E.g. Andy Warhol's "Hammer and sickle" painting from 1976 is copyright protected.) The issue we're debating here has been resolved decades ago in all sources. There would not have been an issue to discuss if the original files had entered Wikicommons accompanied with the correct description. -The Gnome (talk) 11:33, 18 October 2020 (UTC)
P.S. By the way, since the conversation has been moved to a better place by Marchjuly, I believe it'd be appropriate to keep it in one place. I copied my comment above there, for that purpose. Take care. -The Gnome (talk) 11:36, 18 October 2020 (UTC)

Swapping out a privately held company logo for a new one, on behalf of my employerEdit

Hi, I am trying to replace an old company logo with a brand new one, on behalf of my employer, Inspire The new logo is here: I personally do not own the log, my employer, ClinicaHealth, d/b/a Inspire, does. How do I appropriately disclose that fact, and swap out the old for new? We have filed through our company lawyer to trademark the logo and its variants. We began using this mark in about late August 2020. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

John Novack

JTNwriter (talk) 15:48, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

@JTNwriter: I have added non-free logo, non-free rationale logo, and non-free reduce tags to the file description page. I wanted to add a source to the rationale, but I can't find a source; your file does not match the logo at the website. You should have used a more descriptive name. —teb728 t c 18:46, 21 October 2020 (UTC)

Public Advertisements + Political Campaign SignsEdit

What rules pertain to uploading a photo taken of a publicly displayed physical poster or printed political campaign sign?

Very common in photos with the candidate: File:McCain25April2007Portsmouth.jpg File:20081102_Obama-Springsteen_Rally_in_Cleveland.JPG

And also in photos where the sign is the main subject of the photograph: File:Obama_Sign_Arlington_Virginia.jpg

The design of the sign is sure to have its own non-free copyright. The poster might show a printed non-free photograph taken of the candidate, etc.

Is there a fair use provision here? Freedom of Panorama?

Are these photos "non-free" as a result? Must using them meet every point of the non-free content criteria policy?

PKAMB (talk) 08:23, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

Two relevant things. One is that the posters are very simple, and would be too simple for copyright. PD-simple template would apply. Secondly if they don't make up the main part of the picture, then its inclusion does not matter. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 22:02, 23 October 2020 (UTC)
Marks such as the Obama Logo are not "too simple for copyright"... they're non-free and marked as such on wikipedia File:Obama_logomark.svg
The sign/logo in this photography is the main subject of the photograph, which would be useless without the non-free material. The sign/logo's inclusion does matter. File:Obama_Sign_Arlington_Virginia.jpg
PKAMB (talk) 00:56, 24 October 2020 (UTC)


The Big Ten Network logo has changed as of October 23, 2020. How do I type up the copyright for the new logo without infringing? — Preceding unsigned comment added by David Matoushek (talkcontribs) 23:22, 23 October 2020 (UTC)

Using a figure/picture from a journal article.Edit

Hi there. Looking for some advice. There is a journal article with creative commons licensing that has a figure I would like to add as a picture to wikipedia. Is this possible?

The source article is: Udmale, Parmeshwar; Ichikawa, Yutaka; Nakamura, Takashi; Shaowei, Ning; Ishidaira, Hiroshi; Kazama, Futaba (2016-07-01). "Rural drinking water issues in India's drought-prone area: a case of Maharashtra state". Environmental Research Letters. 11 (7): 074013. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/7/074013. ISSN 1748-9326.

Thanks in advance for any insight and advice! Melansonk (talk) 14:13, 24 October 2020 (UTC)


If I had the copyright typed up correctly, I don't know if I truly did it right. Can you help me see if I got it right? David Matoushek (talk) 21:15, 24 October 2020 (UTC)David Matoushek

I have added a Licensing section to File:Big Ten Network Logo 2020.png with PD and Trademark tags. I don't know where you got the rest of it. It doesn't look much like what I see at t c 03:05, 25 October 2020 (UTC) pinging David Matoushekteb728 t c 03:15, 25 October 2020 (UTC)