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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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Adding pictures of Charles Umlauf's worksEdit

Hello, I wanted to upload some pictures of Charles Umlauf's sculptures to his artist page. Some of his more famous (Spirit of Flight, Mother and Child, Father and Son, Torchbearers) and then some of his less well known or not publicly displayed ones. I have pictures that were taken by a photographer hired at one time by the UMLAUF museum and they have copyright over it. I spoke with the curator who said it is ok to use the pics on this page. I couldn't find anything on FAQ pages about what to do w pics that are copyrighted/owned by people editing/ they said it is ok? Can I still upload them? If the Museum owns the pics that should make it ok to use them on Umlauf's page, or would it change if I used it on the Museum page instead? Thank you for the help! I have never uploaded a picture before, so I appreciate the responses. --Kiranina (talk) 20:17, 6 November 2019 (UTC)

Kiranina: There are already four images, though I am not sure even those are correctly licensed, in Charles Umlauf's article who died in 1994. So any works between 1978 and then are copyright until 70 years after his death. Pre-1978 depends on whether there was a copyright notice on the sculptures. Such photos are derivative works and normally require permission from both the artist or his heirs AND the photographer. Besides that issue, any photographs you get from the museum must be freely licensed by the copyright holder, who may not even be the museum but the photographer who took the photos. Additionally, there is likely to be freedom of panorama issues as such sculptures may not be free at this time depending on several factors, such as whether the sculpture has a copyright notice, as mentioned above, and what the year of "publication" was. We cannot use images on the say so that they may be used on a wikipedia page, they must be released under a free license. For further research, several of his works are registered in the Smithsonian Art Catalog. ww2censor (talk) 14:56, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Virginia Cavaliers logo usageEdit

Hello. Can File:Virginia Cavaliers sabre.svg be used on Virginia Cavaliers football page? I have a user saying it can't be used, but per my understanding it is the modern logo for Virginia Cavaliers sports and does not conflict with copyright law per Wiki's non-free content criteria, logo guidelines, and fair use doctrine under U.S. Copyright law. I don't want to question the other user's judgment, but I don't see the issue with using the logo. Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nolanwebb (talkcontribs) 01:19, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

Omnibus is correct. No it can't, per WP:NFC#UUI#17. The football team is a child entity of Virginia Cavaliers. — JJMC89(T·C) 01:40, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
Interesting. So, for the purposes of my understanding, File:Virginia Cavaliers sabre.svg could not be used on Virginia Cavaliers football because it lacks specificity to the page and is rather properly used solely for a parent page. Does this then mean that the sabre logo could be used on Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry because it not a child page of Virginia Cavaliers, but rather a page about Virginia Cavaliers? Whereas it could not be used for Virginia-Virginia Tech football rivalry because it then would be representing the child entity, and thus be improper. Does that follow?
Thanks. Nolanwebb (TC) 10:19, 10 November 2019 (UTC)
It can't be used for either rivalry article. Those articles are about the rivalries, not the athletics teams. See WP:NFCC#8 and WP:NFC#CS. — JJMC89(T·C) 03:43, 11 November 2019 (UTC)
Hi Nolanwebb. Some sports rivalries have been going on for so long that they sometimes receive significant coverage for the fact that they are rivalries and even have their own particular branding. In such cases, it would be OK to use the logo of that particular event (if one exists) (e.g. Iron Bowl) and even possible to use team logos as long as they're not licensed as non-free (e.g. wordmark logos); however, rivalry articles, individual season articles, and individual team articles are for the most part going to be considered to be "child entries" when it comes to non-free use and the primary logos of a school's athletic teams is generally not going to be allowed to be used in such articles. There may be exceptions such as commemorative or anniversary logos used for a specific season or occurrence of an event that might be able to be justified or cases when a new logo is introduced as part of a school's change in branding for a particular season or occurrence, but generally Wikipedia encourages us to try and minimize non-free use as much as possible and use alternative (i.e. free equivalent) ways of presenting the same encyclopedic information. In this sense, Wikipedia policy is more restrictive that what you might be used to seeing on other websites, etc., but that is by design. If you can find a non-free logo specific to the football team, then perhaps it can be used for the main team article; however, even such a logo wouldn't be considered to be OK for individual season articles or rivalry articles. -- Marchjuly (talk) 04:48, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

File:Billie Jean 2008.jpegEdit

I was planning to re-categorize the image (File:Billie Jean 2008.jpeg) as ineligible for copyright and then to transfer it to Commons. However, I read this book saying a signature with more elaborate appearance and creativity would be copyrightable in the US. MJ's other signature, File:Michael Jackson signature.svg, looks harder to read, decipher, and identify, yet it's tagged as PD. If FFD is unnecessary, then what else can I do about it? --George Ho (talk) 20:23, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

I would tend to agree that the clean-up in the new logo vs MJ's own signature is enough to say that there was effort made for using the signature as branding, and thus should not be considered a free work in the Billie Jean cover. Commons says this: If the signature is sufficiently complex to be considered a protectable artistic work in the US (akin to a non-trivial drawing), it cannot be hosted on Commons regardless of the position under local law unless it has been licensed under a compatible license or would have fallen into the public domain under some other rule (e.g. expiration of copyright). c:Commons:When to use the PD-signature tag and that feels like the case here. --Masem (t) 15:14, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

File:1910 photo of German physicist Max Bernhard Weinstein.jpgEdit

If this photo was taken in 1910 and was first published in 1910, then it seems OK to convert to {{PD-US}}, {{PD-old-100}} or maybe even c:Template:PD-Germany-§134-KUG, right? -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:38, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

File:Walt Disney Studios Logo.svgEdit

This seems like {{PD-logo}} per c:COM:TOO United States and c:Category:The Walt Disney Company. Maybe because the logo seems to incorporate a signature it needs to be licensed as non-free per c:COM:SIG#United States as an "artistic drawing"? -- Marchjuly (talk) 07:32, 11 November 2019 (UTC)

This might fall into the same grey area about "fancier" signatures, when you compare the signature we have for Walt Disney to the one embedded in the logo. There's just enough alterations to make this logo version feel cleaner that we should be cautious and not consider it free. --Masem (t) 15:10, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
I would not tend to agree with Masem here. Even if the text is altered, it's still simple typographic variation on common letters. If we consider the lettering as a font, which it essentially would be (even if a single-use one), that's clearly {{PD-textlogo}}. Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:13, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria (WP:FUC)Edit

I have copied a photograph from the web. It derives from the web site I would like to include it as a thumbnail in an AfC (currently a draft,_born_1823) if it is accepted.. The subject of the photo died in 1901. Apparently Wikimedia Commons allows upload of very old images where the date of publication and the author are unknown, but in order to meet this the image must be at least 120 years old. Since the image was created 1901 or earlier, this image falls short of that by two years. Rather than waiting 2 years I wondered whether the photo could be used by complying with the 10 criteria in WK:FUC. Would the proposed use comply with all these? Could you please put a copy of any reply on my talk page BFP1 (talk) 11:22, 12 November 2019 (UTC)BFP1

Hi BFP1. Non-free content cannot be used in drafts per WP:NFCC#9 and WP:DRAFTS#Preparing drafts; so, if you want to upload the file as non-free content, you should wait until after the draft has been approved as an article. If you try use it in a draft or any other pages which are not articles if will be removed; moreover, if the file isn't being used in at least one article as required by WP:NFCC#7, it will be tagged for speedy deletion per WP:F5. -- Marchjuly (talk) 11:39, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. I was looking ahead in preparation (if I am lucky enough to get the article accepted). WP:NFC 7.1.3 example 10 looks relevant to my situation. Please send to my talk page BFP1 (talk) 13:14, 12 November 2019 (UTC)BFP1
@BFP1: assuming you've made efforts to find if there are any out of copyright images of Oliver and aren't just relying on the first image you've found then yes WP:NFCI exception 10 is highly likely to be applicable. Nthep (talk) 13:24, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Nthep. I have seen no other images of the person. I will patiently wait and hope for acceptance. For possible future use, are there any templates for providing the required information in applying for fair use? BFP1 (talk) 14:48, 12 November 2019 (UTC)BFP1
{{Non-free use rationale}} can be used to fill in all the NFC blanks, you can prep this elsewhere in your user space and then when the draft converts to main space you can reuse it - though if you use the Upload Wizard, it will also ask you similar questions to fill it out. --Masem (t) 15:08, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough. For this image {{Non-free use rationale biog}} is probably the one you want to use together with {{Non-free biog-pic}}. Nthep (talk) 15:10, 12 November 2019 (UTC)
Thanks Masem & Nthep BFP1 (talk) 16:01, 12 November 2019 (UTC) BJP1

Just a little questionEdit

Hi friends, well, I'm about to create an article about the (so-called by FIFA) "most corrupt referee the game has ever seen", and I would like to know two things, if there are laws of copyright in Niger and if so, if a screenshot of TV would qualify for fair use even with him alive. Thank you. --CoryGlee (talk) 18:28, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

@CoryGlee:, the basic copyright rules for Niger is lifetime +50 years pma of the author (c:Commons:Copyright rules by territory/Niger) and a screenshot of him is unlikely to meet the non-free use criteria unless you can establish that WP:NFCC#1 cannot be met - the current lack/unavailability of a free photo does not meet this criteria. Nthep (talk) 20:03, 12 November 2019 (UTC)

Nthep, oh, what a disappointment, but well, thank you very much for your clarification. Thank you once again :) ---- --CoryGlee (talk) 20:19, 12 November 2019 (UTC)


This company does not exist anymore, and the owners (a coal company) don’t exist anymore either. Why is the file tagged as non-free? -- (talk) 22:14, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

Hi IP Copyright protection on a company's logo doesn't end simply because the company no longer is in business in the same way the copyright on photo doesn't end because the photographer who took the photo has died, or the copyright on a painting doesn't end because the painter who painted it has died as explained in Copyright law of the United States#Duration of copyright. Intellectual property rights are often retained long after a company goes out of business by either the former owner(s) of the company or anyone who has purchased those rights. Perhaps in some cases, the new owner may intend to re-use the logo, but in other cases they may just want to prevent others from freely using it. Eventually after a certain amount of time has passed (see c:COM:HIRTLE) for more on this), the copyright may expire but until then it's going to be assumed to be non-free by Wikipedia unless there is another reason as to why it shouldn't be treated as such. In this case, File:Montourrr.png looks like it's probably to simple for copyright protection per c:COM:TOO United States and should be OK to convert to {{PD-logo}} and tagged to be moved to Wikimedia Commons. This, however, has nothing to do with whether the company is still in business or how old the logo is, but rather with the complexity of its design and whether that design would be considered eligible for copyright protection. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:38, 14 November 2019 (UTC)

Image of Julia MorganEdit

I am wanting to use the above image [[File:Julia Morgan.jpg]] in the article about Hearst Castle, Morgan's most important architectural work. It is currently tagged as fair use for the article about Morgan, but was removed from the Hearst Castle article on the grounds that she is not the subject of that article. However, it has been suggested that, as the card was produced as a Carte de visite, i.e. multiple copies intended for widespread distribution for business and social purposes, that the image could properly been tagged as Template:PD-US-no notice. I would be most grateful for the views of editors more experienced than I am in this area. KJP1 (talk) 09:16, 16 November 2019 (UTC)