This page offers guidance regarding the fair use of images within comics articles. Much discussion has already taken place regarding this issue at WikiProject Comics and Wikipedia Talk:WikiProject Fair use, and we have drawn upon those discussions in formulating these guidelines. These attempt, as far as is possible, to offer a reasonably comprehensive approach to the fair use of images within article regarding comics, as comics is an inherently visual medium and the use of images to illustrate article subjects and points contained within would be beneficial to Wikipedia.

Please discuss any issues with the guidance offered on the Talk page

Guideline edit

As comics are a highly visual medium, it is sometimes necessary to illustrate articles with images drawn from the publications. Since comics are a relatively new medium, with most major works created since the mid 1930s, most of the material is under copyright, and as such any use of images sourced from comics is going to be copyrighted and may only be used on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, where it qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law.

Please see Wikipedia:Non-free content for a rationale of how a specific usage of an image qualifies as fair use. This document details Wikipedia:WikiProject Comics guidance specific to the issue of fair use and comics.

Cover scans edit

For general comic book, graphic novel and trade paperback covers, it is generally accepted that, like Compact disc or DVD covers, they can be used under fair use reasoning for the purpose of identification, as long as the image of the comic book cover is clearly captioned, identifies the series and issue number in question, credits the artists, and is used in an article containing commentary or analysis of the issue or series in question.

Interior art edit

Since interior pages are actually the content being sold, they have to be used sparingly. For example, we can not create a written version of the Death of Superman story arc and illustrate it with small scenes from each part of it -- that would be too much and border on people not actually needing to purchase the original at all to appreciate the story and artwork. However a single famous or extremely important panel or series of panels, (a scene), is acceptable under fair use provisions when used in an article to which the image pertains and which makes a critical point about the scene or panel in question, and the point is more clearly made if illustrated. Please ensure the caption identifies the series, issue number and page number.

Note, it is important to use an insubstantial amount of the total comic book because the amount of the original work copied and the impact of the fair use on the commercial value of the work are critical considerations in US case law.

Images which cannot be "fair use" edit

Due to the non-free content policy of Wikipedia, which states:

  • The material should not be used in a manner that would likely replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media; our use of copyrighted material should not make it so that one no longer needs to purchase the actual product.

it has been decided that images derived from the following sources:

are not allowable on Wikipedia, as their use here would indeed directly compete with the commercial value of the original fan reference work containing that image.

Images for decoration edit

All fair use images must be used as a part of a commentary on the material in question; it is not acceptable to use fair use images for mere decoration.

Resolution edit

Fair use images should strictly follow the non-free content criteria policy and the guidelines at non-free content. Any deviation from this should be discussed first with other contributors to determine how best to address any concerns over insufficient quality.

Uploading edit

For information on how to upload an image, see Wikipedia:Uploading images.

When uploading art for use in comics related articles please enter the following information upon the image's description page.

  • Physical source of the scan, i.e. if sourced from a web-site the actual paper source, Awesome Super Duper Comixxxxxx #874 (June, 1942), on page 39.
    • Note: Not all comics have numbered pages, therefore please count only the story pages - i.e. exclude the covers, any ad pages, letter pages etc.
  • The source of the scan - if scanned in by uploader, say so; otherwise give link to the website.
  • The resolution of the image.
  • Copyright information of the owner.
  • The artists (and writers for interior sourced images) of the image in question.
  • A fair use rationale.

In addition, the scan should be altered if necessary to focus upon the specific aspects of the image which are being discussed, rather than merely reproducing the original in digital form.

Rationalising fair use edit

It is important that the usage of the image in a particular article is rationalised, will help later users under the GFDL to determine if the "fair use" is broad (for further encyclopedia use) or perhaps not even applicable to Wikipedia. It will help if the basis of the "fair use" is explained (briefly). See the Wikipedia article on fair use for an explanation of the topic.

This should be done in two places. Firstly, add the following hidden text in the article:

<!-- FAIR USE of IMAGENAME.jpg: see image description page at for rationale -->

Secondly, add rationale text to the image description page, beyond the information mentioned above. This fair use rationale text can be in the following format (the following are just basic examples, you must write your own specific text, do not copy this text for that purpose):

== Fair use for [[ARTICLE NAME]] ==
The image picture-fair-use.jpg is being linked here; though the picture is originally copyright I (~~~) feel it is covered by fair use because:
# it is a low resolution copy of a comic book cover;
# it does not limit the copyright owners rights to sell the comic book in any way;
# copies could not be used to make illegal copies of the comic book;
# the particular cover is considered significant because it was the first issue of the publication;
# the panel in question illustrates a noteworthy aspect of the character [[name]];
# the scene in question illustrates an important and noteworthy aspect of the style of the artist, [[name]].

The information should be as specific as possible, i.e. why you need to use the image as part of the article. Remember to put any information about the copyright owner on the image page after you upload the image and mark it "fair use." The rationale text should be mentioned in the actual article so that it is part of the article and anyone editing the article can see it but it is in the text not the talk page. It can also be mentioned on the talk page for a discussion with other Wikipedia contributors). Adding this information is no guarantee that the image will not be later removed, but it will demonstrate a rationale to others that you may have a valid justification for including "fair use" materials that can be used under the GFDL.

Remember there is no "general rule" about fair use, each "fair use" must be explained and a rationale must be established for that specific use.

Fair use templates edit

We have created the following template to place on fair use scans. Please see for information on how to upload scans and what information to include when doing so.

Comic covers and panels edit

{{Non-free comic}}

Graphic novel and trade paperback covers edit

{{Non-free book cover}}

Copyright notices edit

Please place these copyright notices on images where appropriate, and adapt them for other companies.

DC/Wildstorm edit

All DC and/or WildStorm characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright DC Comics and/or WildStorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Note: Some Vertigo and WildStorm publications are not copyright to DC but to the creators in question, DC maintains a list of such exceptions here. It is believed this list may not be exhaustive, and it is best to check the indicia of the comic book or graphic novel in question.

Also, these general use templates are available:

{{DC-Comics-trademark-copyright}}:All DC Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are TM & © DC Comics. © 1935-2024 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

{{DC-Wildstorm-trademark-copyright}}:All DC and/or WildStorm characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1999-2012 WildStorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

{{DC-Charlton-trademark-copyright}}:All Charlton Comics characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof were originally Trademarks & Copyright © 1944-1983 Charlton Publications.

The characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof were acquired by DC Comics in 1983 and are Trademarks & Copyright © 1983-2012 DC Comics, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Marvel edit

{{Marvel-Comics-trademark-copyright}}: All Marvel characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are Trademarks & Copyright © 1939–2024 Marvel Characters, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Dark Horse edit

Artwork published by Dark Horse Comics, Inc., characters and their distinctive likenesses are trademarks of and copyright the respective Licensor, [[name]].

  • Note: Dark Horse Comics publications tend not to be copyright to Dark Horse but to the creators or licensors in question. It is important the copyright is correctly attributed.

Image Comics edit

All Image Comics characters are trademarks of and copyright 2008 Image Comics or their respective owners.

2000 AD edit

Based on individual communication with Rebellion, the owners of 2000 AD and all related copyright, artwork from the 2000 AD series can be included in Wikipedia articles as long as the author is credited and the following text is included:

  • [ 2000 AD] and ''Character's Name'' copyright Rebellion A/S 2012.

Note: You may wish to use the template {{2000AD-trademark-copyright||[[Judge Dredd]]|year of image}}

See also edit