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The goal of the multimedia department of WikiProject Films is to guide editors who want to add multimedia such as images, audio samples, and video samples to film articles. For each multimedia category, instruction is provided for locating, preparing, and uploading the media. Examples of each multimedia category are provided to give the editor an idea of what to aspire to. The distinction between free and non-free content is also explained since different criteria will apply. Cleanup of non-free images is particularly encouraged due to the excessive number of such images without rationales on Wikipedia.


Free vs. non-freeEdit

Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia, so whenever possible, articles under WikiProject Films should contain free content. The reality is that many films are copyrighted works, so content from these films are not free. If editors wish to use non-free content in film articles, they must ensure that the content complies with the non-free content criteria, which is a Wikipedia policy informed by legal considerations.

The Wikimedia Foundation is based in the United States and accordingly governed by United States copyright law, so there exists a set of films that are in the public domain in the United States (see List of films in the public domain in the United States). Screenshots, audio samples, and video samples from these films will usually not require non-free licensing. The exception to the rule is when films in the public domain are remastered; multimedia from remastered copies is non-free content.



Freely licensed images can be found at Wikimedia Commons. If a useful image is found there, there is no need to save it. Copy the file name and follow guidelines at Wikipedia:Images to include the image in the proper format.

The website Flickr hosts many images and allows Creative Commons licenses. If you find an image on Flickr that you would like to use on Wikipedia, first determine if you believe the author actually took the image. Many copyrighted images are uploaded to Flickr that may not belong to the person hosting the images. Use your best judgment to determine if the image was taken by the author. You can then message the owner of the image and request it be released under a compatible Creative Commons license. When asking the author if the image can be used for Wikipedia, you must receive permission stating that it can be used under either the Creative Commons Attribution or Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license.

If you can convince the author to change the license, the author will need to change the image's settings in the "Additional Information" section to reflect one of the two licenses. Make sure that the author does not say the image can only be used for Wikipedia as the two free licenses could allow the images to be used on other websites, newspapers, books, etc. (as long as those mediums properly attribute the author). It is best to eliminate any confusion for the author, so be polite and clear in your requests to increase your changes of finding an image. If you receive the proper permission, you can upload the image to Wikimedia Commons and tag it with {{Flickrreview}}.

Some images on films and actors (including film sets and premieres) are already released under a compatible license. These images can be searched by Creative Commons Attribution and Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike. Again, use your best judgment, as images are often improperly tagged. If you have questions, ask other editors to take a look. If the image does not comply with license requirements, it may be deleted.


  • Use an image editing program to resize the image to a lower resolution. As a rule of thumb, the shortest sides of the image should be at most 300 pixels.
  • Rename the image to include the film's title and a brief description of the image. If the title is long, use a brief form instead.


Before uploading images, please read Wikipedia's image use policy. Below are instructions for uploading images.

  1. Save the image to your hard drive as a JPEG or PNG file.
    If the image is non-free, it needs to be low resolution to be permitted for fair use. As a rule of thumb, one of the image's dimensions should only be a maximum of 300 pixels. Decrease the size of the image using an image-editing software program.
  2. Go to Wikipedia:Upload and click the relevant link for uploading the image. Read the description before uploading.
  3. Choose the source filename.
  4. For destination filename, name the file so it includes the film title (in brief form) and a brief description of the image.
  5. In the summary text box, complete the fields to inform about the image. If the image is non-free, read the Template:Non-free use rationale documentation. Some fields are clarified below:
    • Source: If the image is online, provide a link to it. If you took a screenshot from home video, explain this briefly.
    • Portion: Write "Small portion of commercial product".
    • Low resolution: If the image is low resolution, write "Yes". Otherwise, resize the image and choose the source filename again.
    • Purpose of use: Per policy, the image should be "used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding". In particular, film screenshots should be "for critical commentary and discussion of the cinema and television". The written purpose must meet this criteria.
    • Replaceability: Explain why the non-free image cannot be replaced by a free image. For example, a screenshot showing special effects cannot be replaced, but a screenshot of a public location like a national landmark can be replaced by a free image.
  6. Choose the proper licensing template. If the non-free image is a production still, add the template {{Non-free fair use in}} at the bottom of the summary box and, without choosing a licensing template from the drop-down menu, upload the file.

Cleaning upEdit

Non-free images in particular have been uploaded in the past without proper description and licensing. If you are cleaning up the image description page of a non-free image, please paste the following template:

{{Non-free use rationale
| Description       = 
| Source            = 
| Article           = 
| Portion           = 
| Low resolution    = 
| Purpose           = 
| Replaceability    = 
| Other information = 

Read the documentation at the {{Non-free use rationale}} template for guidance on completing the fields. Below the template, please add the proper licensing, which will likely be one of the following:

If non-free images are too high resolution, two approaches may be taken. One approach is that the template {{Non-free reduce}} may be added at the description pages of susceptible images. This will categorize it at Category:Wikipedia non-free file size reduction requests. The second and more proactive approach is to save the image, resize it with an image editing program, and replace the old image with it by clicking on "Upload a new version of this file" on the old image's description page. When this is done, the template {{Non-free reduced}} should be added to the image description page so the previous version(s) can be deleted. The page will be categorized under Category:Rescaled fairuse files more than 7 days old.

<Guidelines on renaming bad file names>

Audio samplesEdit

Sound files on Wikipedia generally use the Vorbis audio format, which is contained in an Ogg file. This is analogous to other formats used to play digital audio and video such as MP3 and MPEG. The difference is that Ogg formats are completely free and open for further software development. However, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X do not support these formats by default, and require additional software to play them. See Wikipedia:Media help (Ogg) about installing audio and video software.




Video samplesEdit

Video files on Wikipedia generally use the Theora audio format, which is contained in an Ogg file. This is analogous to other formats used to play digital audio and video such as MP3 and MPEG. The difference is that Ogg formats are completely free and open for further software development. However, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X do not support these formats by default, and require additional software to play them. See Wikipedia:Media help (Ogg) about installing audio and video software.

If you intend to use a non-free video sample and have not used one before, it is strongly advised to discuss the sample with other editors to ensure that the sample would meet Wikipedia's non-free content criteria. A video sample is a much larger portion of the commercial product than a screenshot, so there is a much higher expectation of contextual significance. See examples of non-free video samples that meet the criteria to understand how your intended sample should qualify.


Some freely licensed videos can be found at Wikimedia Commons. If a useful video is found, there is no need to save it; copy the file name and follow Wikipedia:Creation and usage of media files#Video usage to include the image in the proper format.

Wikipedia allows limited use of material under copyright when accompanied by a valid fair use rationale. These can be sourced from DVD rips, television or web captures. Note: Wikipedia's limits of use on non-free content are stronger than current United States copyright law. As such, ensure the ten policy requirements are met before uploading copyrighted videos.


There are several ways to prepare your video for upload. If the video is on DVD, it will first need to be ripped to your hard disk. Several programs are available, but good results can generally be had with DVD Decrypter, which will rip the entire film to the VOB container format.[nb 1] At this stage, a conversion tool such as HandBrake can be used to extract the relevant chapter into a format usable by video editing tools, such as M4V for use in Quicktime Pro. See this list of video editing software for free and non-free alternatives. Trim the file to the length you need and save.

With the Mozilla Firefox browser installed, the final step (creating the .ogv file) can be carried out by using the Firefogg add-on. Install the add-on and click the "Make Web Video" option on the Firefogg homepage. Select the video file and you will be presented with several encoding options. You may need to experiment with different settings, especially frame rates to ensure correct playback speeds (try to match that of the original file), but in general the default settings should be fine. Click "Save Ogg", choose a filename and the conversion should now take place.


Internet ArchiveEdit

The Internet Archive hosts a moving image archive, which includes films and trailers in the public domain. The archive hosts multiple feature-length films that are in the public domain because they were released before 1923. The archive also hosts trailers for films between 1923 and 1977 that are in the public domain because they were published without a copyright notice. Screenshots and video samples may be extracted from these files and uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. For example, numerous screenshots from Casablanca's trailer are available there. The two most pertinent links are below:



  1. ^ Please note that in some territories, including the United States, breaking copyrighted DVD encryption can be illegal. Allowed uses under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act include "Nonprofit library, archive and educational institution exception (section 1201(d)). The prohibition on the act of circumvention of access control measures is subject to an exception that permits nonprofit libraries, archives and educational institutions to circumvent solely for the purpose of making a good faith determination as to whether they wish to obtain authorized access to the work."

See alsoEdit