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Scope of WP:NFCC#3b Enforcement - Requesting Community Input!

Hi all, there is a ongoing discussion regarding the use of bots in WP:NFCC#3b enforcement at Wikipedia_talk:Bots/Requests_for_approval#Fbot_9. In a nutshell, a bot is being used to flag oversized non-free media files for size reduction. There is however, some disagreement on the maximum size of non-free images (without violating WP:NFCC#3b, and thereby requiring a size reduction) and the method of determining what files should be exempt from WP:NFCC#3b. -FASTILY (TALK) 19:59, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

NFCC 8 clarification (again)

Should criterion 8 be reformulated to make it more objective? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 08:40, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Detailed description

I propose to change the wording of WP:NFCC Policy 8 from

  • Contextual significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.


  • Verifiable contextual significance Non-free content is used only if that content is directly referred to by text in that article. That text needs to be supported by citations.

Now I am aware that this formulation is somewhat 'weaker' than the current formulation, but it is also more objectively enforceable.

Rationale behind this change: The current formulation of 8 makes an enforcement based on that criterion impossible and I do not see the benefit of a policy (or part of a policy) which is mostly unenforceable due to broad room for interpretation. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 08:16, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Comment. While I agree with your intentions, we need to make it clear exactly what needs to be referenced. There are two valid uses of non-free media - where the non-free media itself is discussed in the article (as for example at Nick Ut); and where the subject the media depicts is discussed in the article (as for example at Phan Thi Kim Phuc). A change such as you propose needs to make it clear that in the first instance it is the photograph that needs to have referenced discussion, but in the second case it is the subject that needs the referenced discussion. I can't off the top of my head think of a good way to phrase this. Thryduulf (talk) 12:14, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
I think you have a valid point.
  • Verifiable contextual significance Non-free content is used only if at least one of the following conditions is met:
a. that content is directly referred to by text in that article and that text is supported by citations or
b. the article's topic is the specific content itself (such as an article about a notable photograph)
How is that? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:46, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
It's not going to fly, as this immediately breaks the use of cover art (in whatever form) that is accepted, and that's just one case. I certainly can argue that on the guideline page (WP:NFC) that we can talk that outside of the NFCI cases, all non-free media must be supported by sourced text, but we cannot change NFCC#8 to focus on the aspects of text without breaking a lot of things. NFCC#8 has been long-running an accepted standard and really we have no reason to change it. --MASEM (t) 14:00, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
WP:NFCI 1 says: "only in the context of critical commentary of that item"and further "not for identification without critical commentary". I do not see how that is in contradiction with this proposal. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:13, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The "item" in question is the published work, not the cover of the work. The most common use of cover art is to put it into the infobox and say nothing else about it. This use directly fails both of your suggested changes (it is never referred to by the text, and the article is about the work , not the art). I strongly discourage trying to change this because this will fracture the community on NFCC issues. The current wording is sufficient even if it is subjective because that at least gets people to think about why they are using images. --MASEM (t) 14:20, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you are correct. I figured that out myself while trying to formulate a 2nd reply. I am mistaken. Obviously per NFCI 1 you can discuss the item the cover art is taken from without actually discussing the cover art itself. This proposal would contradict with such a use. Thanks for pointing that out. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 14:26, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
It might be possible to work cover art and similar into a condition c if you want to go down that route (something like "a topic of the article is represented by the content (such as album cover art in an article about that album or a corporation's logo in an article about that corporation)". As for condition b, it's not quite there as in the example I gave the article Nick Ut is not about the photograph, but about the person. It is a section of the article that discusses the photograph (it's "a" topic of the article, not "the" topic of the article. Compare Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima). Thryduulf (talk) 14:40, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
The trouble with cover art is that there is no real way to justify it under the current wording of the NFCC, but at the same time album are is indeed accepted by common practice. It's similar to the fact that we allow certain articles to exist even though they do not really follow the general notability guideline. This problem, that the policy is already out of sync with practice, is one of the things that makes it hard to improve, because any improvement would probably also be out of sync with practice, and thus subject to that criticism, but a change to bring NFCC in line with practice would be viewed as too liberal. — Carl (CBM · talk) 14:47, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
NFCC#8 as currently written (not the proposed change) works just fine with the accepted use of cover art per NFCI#1. When we have an article on a published work, the consensus is that cover art helps the reader to associate that work with whatever marketing/publication imagery has been used in conjunction with that topic itself, ergo meeting NFCC#8 to that degree. That's why I'm strong against changing it, even trying to take the suggested wording and working in how to include cover art, because it's not necessary. --MASEM (t) 16:49, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes, we have a system that works OK in practice, and consensus does say that cover art helps readers identify works, but that does not change the underlying fact that using cover art for identification fails NFCC#1 and NFCC#8. Instead we have a de facto (but unwritten in NFCC) consensus to ignore those requirements for cover images (e.g. this). The fact that this exception is not present in NFCC is the reason there is not just a simple template for the non-free use rationale for cover art, even though we know that in practice exactly the same rationale is valid for the primary cover art of any album or book. In other words the NFCC claim "There is no automatic entitlement to use non-free content in an article or elsewhere on Wikipedia" is directly at odds with the actual practice regarding cover art.

I am not trying to change any of this. I am just pointing out on reason why it is very difficult to make any changes to this policy, because attempts to change the wording either upset those who are in favor of the automatic pass for cover images, or upset those who wish that the cover images were not given an automatic pass. This has been the case for several years now, and there is no clear way to fix it. — Carl (CBM · talk) 18:01, 23 November 2011 (UTC)

Point taken and agreed, though I see it more that we have come to understand how NFCC#1 and 8 are met with cover art even though it is non-verbal/not written down anywhere (mind you, I'm on the side of removing undiscussed/unconnected cover art but definitely don't want to tip the boat). On that specific point it might be worthwhile to have an essay or section somewhere to describe the cover art allowance in detail so that's understood to all how all NFCC points are taken. --MASEM (t) 18:15, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Not just cover art but logos, insignias, pictures of performers, etc. This proposal would turn NFCC on its head by prohibiting just about any use for identification purposes, which is by far the most preponderant use of nonfree images in the encyclopedia. - Wikidemon (talk) 22:08, 23 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support the proposal  Good fences make good neighbors.  Unscintillating (talk) 12:54, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose the existing wording goes to the heart of the matter. Typical uses (logos, covers, pictures of people) are things humans recognise from images and are therefore important to the understanding of the article (oh.. that album, that ship, that actress). The proposed wording would just raise arguments over whether an image of the cover is of the album (althoguh I don't recall anyone asking if the image of the skin and hair is of the person) or of the cover or indeed an electronic image that was made from the same file that was used to create the plates for the cover.. etc etc. There is no such thing as "objective", this just moves the target from "understanding" to "directly referenced", and is too weak,, even for my liberal tastes. Rich Farmbrough, 17:45, 26 November 2011 (UTC).
  • Oppose - WP needs to be insulated from legal threats, and our non-free-use criteria must be above reproach. Asking that the image "significantly increase understanding" is a valid and defendable threshold of importance. I concur that the proposed text is clearer and easier to validate than the original text; but the ten non-free-use criteria also serve the purpose of helping WP's attorneys fight battles ... and they need decent weapons. Also, per Rich Farmbrough. --Noleander (talk) 14:49, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Tag-along query

Having just undeleted a non-free photograph used to identify a deceased person following an exam of three direct discussions that went *Keep & *Keep & *Keep & <<deleted>>, I'd like to toss in a request for greater clarity here. I've not been active, aside from some trivial uploads, for quite a while, so my restoration could well have been in error, but the *only* reason for deletion that I ran across at the final ifd was a vague reference to NFCC#I8. And if there is indeed a consensus no. 38 on talk:NFCC archive subparagraph whatever, then kindly state what exactly it is. The current wording does not. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 15:45, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

For the record, the pic Anetode has restored is that of Anna Svidersky now appearing in the infobox, which looks entirely appropriate to me. Closing admin SchuminWeb (talk · contribs) has also indicated he would not now oppose reinstatement of a picture at Murder of Jesse Dirkhising. This should probably be taken in conjunction with the RfC on pictures of deceased persons at the top of the page. Jheald (talk) 15:57, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

"Non-free Content" vs Free Knowledge Values

Discussion started by indefinitely banned user. --Hammersoft (talk) 03:18, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Been involved in a discussion over a single image that prompts the following responses that need to be reflected in this document:

  • Our top priority is to operate morally under human rights / international law / generally "Don't be Evil"
  • Our second priority is operate in accordance with US law.
  • Our third priority is to meet the information needs of the world as best we can, to the fullest extent of the law.

In addition, there are some "distant' priorities we need to consider.

  • Our fourth priority is to try to promote free-license content OVER fair-use content. This is a secondary priority.
  • Our fifth an final priority is to delete informative images that are LEGALLY in use

I do not values reflected in the policy or how it's being applied to specific cases. Judging from my very limited experience, it seems like The Wikimedia's goals are backwards-- first delete any fair use images on site, and only if they can be absolutely proven to be legal and informative are they to be even be considered.

There is a huge gulf between what we can legally use and how NFCC is being applied. NFCC shows little understanding of the law, it imagines that the laws are the publishing industry's wet dream of what they wish the laws were.

Right now, Wikipedia wants to be the best info source on the world. Unfortunately, some people also want to delete all fair use content, using whatever justifications necessary, legality of it be damned. These goals are not compatible.

Before you come to us and beg for even more money to promote free knowledge, look in the mirror and see if the application guideline, when disputed, is helping the create a better encyclopedia or whether it's just helping to pursue an agenda or make a few people feel important.

The basic idea-- if it's against the law, don't use it-- simple. You guys have made something very complex, very gameable, very far from the law, and even further from making a good information source. I won't argue over the wording, I'm just saying, I can see from how it's being used taht this page has a problem. Correct it, put the encyclopedia FIRST-- or at least stop spamming with banners where you pretend to put Free Knowledge first only to delete that knowledge at the slightest possible schizoiphrenic-grade justification for copyright deletion. Randomcommenter (talk) 13:59, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

It doesn't do the encyclopedia any good if it gets sued because it was publishing copyrighted pictures. The WP Fair use policy is a good balance: it permits reduced resolution photos of historical events, provided that no free alternative exists. The image you are referring already has a thoughtful discussion happening here, which is a Good Thing, when you think about it (if such discussions were prohibited, now that would be something to complain about). --Noleander (talk) 14:08, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
The focus must stay on "Not Being Sued" & "Making the best Encyclopedia". The discussion I see are ignoring those questions entirely, focusing on policywonk bureaucracy and maybe even an unstated idea that "The only good fair-use image is a deleted fair-use image". --Randomcommenter (talk) 14:26, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
We don't worry about legal aspects on WP unless set forth by the Foundation. Their Resolution on non-free content is only one of two mandates for all projects (the other being on biographies of living persons to avoid slander) to avoid legal issues, and we work under the mantra "Until the Foundation tells us there's a legal issue, we edit within consensus bounds". So the legal issue not one of concern here. --MASEM (t) 14:36, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
The Foundation has set the bar above and beyond fair use law in the US through its Resolution. It's not just that follows that but all of the Wikimedia projects. --MASEM (t) 14:10, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
See, that's exactly what I was afraid somebody would admit. They're not even trying to make the best encyclopedia, they're not even trying to not get sued, they have some weird third agenda, Wikipedia has stopped being "pro-free images" and they've started being "anti-fair use" images.
I doubt this goes all the way up to the foundation though. Read the donation banners-- lots of talk about the importance of a fair, neutral encyclopedia. That's only possible with extensive and liberal use of fair-use images. If you think the foundation is "anti-fair use", you're wrong or they're lying to us to get our money for ulterior ends, knowing they have no intention of making the best possible information source-- I can't accept that as a realistic possibility, and neither should you. It's far easier to assume that nobody intends this to be as anti-Fair Use as some people are interpreting it. Randomcommenter (talk) 14:35, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
The Foundation's goal is to make a "free (as in speech) content encyclopedia" - that technically means zero fair-use (anything restricted by copyright and IP laws). They have acknowledged that to make an effective encyclopedia a minimal amount of non-free content is needed, and thus set guidance to determine when we can make exceptions for non-free content to aid in visual and aural presentation of material. Yes, that means that other works that don't have such a standard may be more liberal with fair use images, but that is not our goal. Note that we are rather open to including historically important images like the UCD pepper spray photo (indicated above), but the case specifically for that image is that there's a possibility of getting a free image from one of the several other people watching and taking photos of the event. We can't be sure there are other photos out there for it, but if one does become available and made free, we have to use that to meet the Foundation's goal. --MASEM (t) 14:41, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Basically you and Hammer have made my point for me-- some people aren't trying to write the best article, they're trying to delete images wholly apart from how that affects the article. This, boys and girls, is what we call a "problem".
You say this problem goes all the way to the top, but you'll have to point me to a resolution or something that says the problem is widespread, though. I just see straightforward calls to abide by the law and some simple, flawed guidelines towards explaining that. I don't see the call for jihad that is taking place. Randomcommenter (talk) 14:51, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Not at all. I work to support the mission of this project. Sometimes that means removing things. If removing things was a problem, then we wouldn't have the ability to remove things. By the way, the issue isn't the law. As previously noted, our policy is deliberately stricter than the law. Jihad? What? --Hammersoft (talk) 14:53, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Jihad may be a poor choice of terms. I merely meant that I was correct that there are people who will intentionally degrade an article to a less-educational state, even when issues of legality aren't at stake. Your "holy crusade" against fair use images is a great experiment for a wiki too, but there are real people out there trying their best to use Wikipedia to educate each other, and fair use jihads are making that more difficult for us to do.
I applaud the german wikipedia for going the 100%-free-license route-- I think it'd be a great idea for people to make a 100%-free-license English version too. But, outside of wikipedia world, there's a real world that is very desperately trying to make sense of things. They need a Wikipedia with up-to date info, fair use or free license. It's not morally better, it's educationally better, and it's already looking outdated. You people play your deletion-of-good-faith-legal-content games for another two years, you'll find yourselves admins of Myspace. The world pays us for Free Information, not lectures on Free License Fanaticism. If Wikipedia isn't trying to be the best anymore, convince me that's really how people feel and I'll leave it alone to join the ranks of one-hit-wonders. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Randomcommenter (talkcontribs) 15:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Calling those efforts to comply with our m:Mission a "holy crusade" and "fanatacism" is hardly helpful. People have been forecasting the death of Wikipedia for 10 years. Yet, Wikipedia remains one of the top ten web properties in the world. The world doesn't pay us a dime. The world donates money to us. That's because they believe in us. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:28, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • @Randdomcommenter; our top priority is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. What you have written as our priorities is inaccurate. Please see m:Mission. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Mission statements are PR fluff, let's investigate our values starting with your mind.
IF we could delete all LEGAL fair use images from the projects, at substantial educational cost, is that plus or a minus to our mission? This isn't an abstract question, I wanna know, because it gets gamed constantly. Are fair use images wanted here, or are they a cancer you're trying to eradicate?
It sounds like the later, in which case I think the readers&donors&editors find themselves with one set of educational needs and a few vigilant admins find themselves with different recreational/political goals. --Randomcommenter (talk) 14:40, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • If you want to ignore our reason for being, you do so at your own expense. Maybe you think it's PR fluff. It isn't. It is the very underpinning of everything we are trying to accomplish here. You postulate two extremes. With the community as is right now, neither extreme is acceptable. Of note; the German wikipedia does hold one of those extremes. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:48, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
"If you want to ignore our reason for being"-- I'm debating whether really the reason for being-- mission statements come and go, but the values remain. Pointing to the mission statement like a biblical literalist and using it to deduce "our" values isn't how it really works, ya know?
To me, Wikipedia's reason for being was to be the best legally we could be (without being extra risky or without being evil). You claim a very different "puritanical" goal: We're here for free license info only.
This is a pretty big point to clear up, I think, and that's why I'm talking about it here rather than on the specific image this issue arose-- regardless of what happens to that image, the editors/readers/admins/and foundation ahve got to get on the same page about what English Wikipedia is, don't you agree?
And that answer can't be dictated by a mission statement or a settled by a board vote, ya know? -Randomcommenter (talk) 15:02, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Uh, yes it can. The Foundation, a non-profit, owns the servers and pays for the electricity and data line use. It is their rules for this sandbox. One of their rules is that we minimize non-free use to stay true to the free content mission. Doesn't matter if 99% of the editors on want different, that's "the law" as far as we are concerned. --MASEM (t) 15:05, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
Cite needed. You may be right or wrong depending on who your definition of "we" is, i can't tell. Randomcommenter (talk) 15:26, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Cite needed? For what? Do you not believe the Foundation owns the servers, etc. that support this project? Or that they've insisted on minimal non-free use? Look at Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy, item #3. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:30, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • To you, yes, Wikipedia should use what we can legally use. But, that isn't our purpose here. You're using terms like "puritanical" and "jihad" to criticize people who disagree with you. I'm finding this conversation to be pointless. You're obviously not a brand new user, yet you're hiding behind a new account. You come to this talk page attempting to...what, tear down WP:NFCC policy? What exactly are you trying to achieve? Regardless, the Foundation's board oversees this project, like it not. Their resolutions do control our actions. If you would rather they not, you can make your case to them at Foundation:Contact us. I'm sure they would be happy to hear your well reasoned explanation as to why the Foundation should no longer have control over this project. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:09, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
On this one I'm certain you're mistaken. Projects make their own policies and consensuses, even their own mission statements. I think you told me earlier that the German Project reached a consensus to try the "opposite-of-English-Wikipedia" route, right? And some projects aren't even encyclopedias. Like it or not, it's up to the readers editors adn donors what our values are, and I wonder what the perncentages actually are. --Randomcommenter (talk) 15:32, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Please see Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy. Please observe near the top where it says "This policy may not be circumvented, eroded, or ignored on local Wikimedia projects." There is no choice in the matter, and I am not incorrect. Projects such as this one must adhere to that policy. Now, again, what is your purpose here? --Hammersoft (talk) 15:35, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • This was explained better, years ago, at WP:VEGAN. Our goal is to be a free-content encyclopedia. Kind of like a vegan picnic. — Carl (CBM · talk) 15:21, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Section heading, getting down to real discussion

Okay, here is the crux of things, I think.

from above
Cite needed. You may be right or wrong depending on who your definition of "we" is, i can't tell. Randomcommenter (talk) 15:26, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Cite needed? For what? Do you not believe the Foundation owns the servers, etc. that support this project? Or that they've insisted on minimal non-free use? Look at Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy, item #3. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:30, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Thank you good sir-- I realize the cite needed was vague, but you still got me to where I needed getting. :) thanks.

Here's basically what I wanted:

Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP), A project-specific policy, in accordance with United States law and the law of countries where the project content is predominantly accessed (if any), that recognizes the limitations of copyright law (including case law) as applicable to the project, and permits the upload of copyrighted materials that can be legally used in the context of the project, regardless of their licensing status.
[Fair Use Images], with limited exception, should be (1) to illustrate historically significant events, (2) to include identifying protected works such as logos, (3) or to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works. "
"may not allow [Fair use Images] where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose. ... [[Fair Use Images] must be replaced with a freely licensed work whenever one is available which will serve the same educational purpose. "}}

My take

All this is essentially what I take to be my status quo. We use fair use images when it helps the article and when it's legal & moral for us to do so. I see whole classes of exceptions spelled out as examples, two of which even touch on commercial intellectual property. I see, essentially, that we're given wide latitude to determine try to make the best article we legally can.

That's it's for the "The Foundation"-- be legal & don't be evil, and have a policy.

English Wikipedia's Values

German Wikipedia has different values, what's this projects?

Question: When deleting a legally-used fair use image degrades overall article quality, should it be deleted?

  1. No! if it's legal (and not evil), use it.
  2. Yes! If it's fair use, it's not free license. Delete it.
  3. Other! This situation can't ever come up? I dunno?

What our are values?

A lot has changed since 2007. Do we have any sense of what percentage of people would answer "#1" to that question? It matters, you know. --Randomcommenter (talk) 15:57, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • All this boils down to is this; you want more liberal inclusion of non-free images. This isn't going to happen. Sorry. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
    • More importantly, given the way the current discussion is going on the Occupy UCD photo, I don't think its in danger of being removed save in lieu of an equivalent free replacement if one can be found or obtained. Arguing the point here is not going to change what happens there. --MASEM (t) 16:33, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
      • See, to me, it's not more importantly. The specific image that prompted the discussions will work itself out. What concerns me more is how we handle this in general-- and I see deleters applying criteria robotically or even enthusiastically, even when there's no legal threat, even when if it comes at the obvious expense of the project's educational quality. There will always be gray, but I shouldn't be hearing "Yes, deleting legal images will make the article worse, we know our articles would be better if we had a saner policy. Still not going to happen, sorry". That's unacceptable. --Randomcommenter (talk) 21:39, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
"All this boils down to is this; you want more liberal inclusion of non-free images. This isn't going to happen. Sorry."
I would like a more liberal inclusion of fair use content in those cases where it makes for a more educational and legal encyclopedia. What makes you so certain that won't happen? Because somebody important says so, or because you think there's a strong consensus that this is the best way to do things? If everyone basically agrees with your approach, fine. If you say your way is simply not up for debate, then you're just blindly driving us off a cliff until an adult takes over.--Randomcommenter (talk) 21:35, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
We cannot override the Foundation's desire. Period. People have argued for being at the legal level of fair use, but it always comes down to the fact that the Foundation set a bar specifically more restrictive than fair use. You want to change that, you need to appeal to the Foundation.
Note that when images are universally central for understanding a topic, we have no problem including them; that's the cases we actually want to have. But we seek to minimize particularly when images can be replaced with free-er content or do not aid significantly in reader comprehension. --MASEM (t) 21:50, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • And now Randomcommenter, who is hiding behind an account, infers that we might be children and need to wait for an adult to come around. So, we're "puritanical", on a "holy crusade", on a "jihad", and are apparently children too. Not to mention the fact you are now edit warring WP:NFCC in an attempt to force policy to what you want it to be. Enough is enough. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:54, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Upgrading the language

I'm going to be going through and fixing up the language. I will not be changing anything substantive (intentionally) but I am going to try to explain the background of the policy, and most importantly I am going to try to "de-adversarialize" it in tone. Recognizing, of course, I have no authority to make substantive policy changes.

I see this is going to be a very long-haul process, even non-controversial things are getting reverted on sheer principle, so let's back up.

Anyone actually TRYING to make this sound adversarial and hostile? Or do we at least agree that to the extent I can help people work together to understand and comply with existing policy, that would be a good thing? --Randomcommenter (talk) 21:58, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • STOP what you are doing and seek consensus for changes FIRST. I don't believe you are the person that can "help people work together", given your penchant for insulting people (holy crusade, puritanical, jihad, etc). --Hammersoft (talk) 21:58, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

I've stopped, but I'm not taking "Because I said so" for an answer on something as trivial as nettiquette. The board didn't dictate the language on this, so back away from Ownership on it.

So, let's take it slow. #1 Is it good etiquette for experienced editors to help inexperienced editors construct rationales? I worry the current text sends the message "Delete anything you can", and believe an ettiquette statement would help. Do you disagree? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Randomcommenter (talkcontribs) 22:03, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • I am owning nothing. The reality is that the NFCC policy is a highly, highly contentious area. Past precedent clearly shows that even trivial changes generate massive controversy. Engaging in a day long attempt to force what you think should be the appropriate wording on to the policy is entirely out of line. That's not anyone here claiming ownership. That's all of us pleading with you to stop being disruptive to the policy's wording. Seek consensus first. That's all we're asking. Response to #1; this has been hashed out before, and it utterly failed. People enforcing NFCC are not required or expected to write rationales. Yes, I strongly disagree. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:06, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

"Response to #1; this has been hashed out before, and it utterly failed. People enforcing NFCC are not required or expected to write rationales."

I didn't not propose adding a statement requiring anyone to write a rational to enforce policy. You are objecting to a phantom.

Let's try again and see if you still have an objection. I believe it would be good etiquette for people to TRY and help inexperienced users write rationales BEFORE they try to delete them. I believe this is good manners. Obviously, I do not believe this reverses the "burden of proof".

Do you have any objection to my inserting a statement about manners/ettiquette/kindness/keeping things cool by HELPING the inexperienced? Are we intentionally hoping the inexperienced will trip up so we can game the system? These are some very non-controversial changes that should not affect anything unless we're hoping to actually upset people by deleting their images that could be saved with a little courtesy --Randomcommenter (talk) 22:19, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Yes, I do. As I noted, this was previously debated and failed. The problem here is your wording shifts burden away from those wanting to use non-free content onto the shoulders of those trying to uphold our non-free content policy. In one fell swoop, you effectively vacate the policy by way of making it unenforceable. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of NFCC #10c violations out there, and many more being added every day. We're not making headway on this problem as is. But, you would make it so that we can't enforce it. I don't accept it, and won't. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:23, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Reply — Preceding unsigned comment added by Randomcommenter (talkcontribs) 22:31, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Cite trying it and failing please.
  • Secondly, listen again and consider these following words: "If you know how, it would be nice of you to help inexperienced users construct rationales if they don't know how".
  • Thirdly, consider if you really have a problem with us asking people for help with that.
  • If you do, quit. You're fighting a battle, not writing an encyclopedia--Randomcommenter (talk) 22:30, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Please avail yourself of the archives here. I did listen the first time. I'm telling you what you're asking NFCC enforces to do makes NFCC enforcement impossible. If every time we encounter an editor failing to write a rationale and have to walk them through creating a rationale, NFCC becomes impossible to enforce. I don't have a problem if someone asks for direction on how to do it. I direct them to WP:FURG. I have no intention of quitting. I do have every intention of seeing the NFCC policy upheld, in whatever form consensus agrees it should be in. You're fighting a battle that is impossible to win, that of liberal inclusion of non-free images to within legal limits. If I'm wrong in that summary of your efforts, please feel free to correct me. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:35, 1 December 2011 (UTC)


So, your assertion is that including the phrase "If you know how, it would be nice of you to help inexperienced users construct rationales if they don't know how" would render this policy unenforceable? Are you suggesting you are unable to enforce this policy while complying with the tenets of WP:DICK?

if you know how to write the rationale, you should write it if you have the time, not just delete it and be a dick. I mean, that's indisputed, right? Or are you really going all out to make Fair Use images hit ZERO at all cost?

Issue one remains: Insert a statement saying "If you know how, it would be nice of you to help inexperienced users construct rationales if they don't know how" --Randomcommenter (talk) 22:43, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

  • For me, issue one does not remain. It shifts burden onto NFCC enforcers. I will not support it. Thank you for calling me a dick. How many other personal insults do you plan on hurling at people who oppose your views here? --Hammersoft (talk) 22:50, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
  • And now you're going around undoing my edits and apparently accusing me of being a bot? [1]. Wow. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:55, 1 December 2011 (UTC)
I didn't call you a dick, I question why you feel a reminder not to be a dick would render the policy unenforceable. Why does a kind request for a more collaborative environment calling for the experienced to help the inexperienced threaten you? If it would destroy the policy to even ask people to try to help newbies, the policy's already broke. ---Randomcommenter (talk) 23:03, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

ArbCom election reminder: voting closes soon

All editors are reminded that voting closes for ACE2011 in just over a day's time (Saturday 10 December at 23:59 UTC). To avoid last-minute technical logjams, editors are asked to vote at least an hour before the close, that is, by:

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For the election coordinators. Tony (talk) 14:10, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

With regards to File:UCLA Bruins.svg and File:UCLA Bruins Logo.png, a discussion has occurred at File talk:UCLA Bruins Logo.png regarding the copyright status of these images. An edit war is occurring. I'm incapable of effectively working with User:Buffs. Other eyes please. --Hammersoft (talk) 03:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

RFC: Clarifying policy on pictures of deceased persons

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
Most of the support is landing for #1, and with it being already 'common practice' (as commented by voters), it seems that the consensus is reasonable to continue as per option 1. WP:NFCI has been modified accordingly. -- DQ (t) (e) 11:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

For the purposes of clarification, I am proposing that one of these three actions be taken:

  1. To WP:NFCI (the acceptable use for images section) add the following numbered point: "Pictures of deceased persons, in articles about that person, provided that ever obtaining a free close substitute is not reasonably likely"
  2. To WP:NFC#UUI (the unacceptable use for images section), add the following numbered point: "Pictures of deceased persons, even if no free close substitute can likely ever be obtained. (This does not necessarily apply if the person's physical appearance was extraordinary and a proper subject for commentary in the article, or if other elements in the picture are a proper subject for commentary in the article.)"
  3. Neither, no change.
The use of "close" was struck through on 15:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC), on the basis of general consensus that this is better. This does not materially affect the discussion to any great extent.

The !votes sought here are "support #1" or "support #2" or "support #3". There is no reason for an "oppose" !vote since #3 is no change (unless, I suppose, an editor wished to !vote along the lines of "oppose #3, either #1 or #2 would be OK" in the interests of resolving the matter). Herostratus (talk) 02:35, 6 November 2011 (UTC)


  • Option 1 is pretty much as I understand it the status quo, though we should perhaps flag that such photos should not have commercial value: it is NFCC #1 that is less sharp an issue for dead people, but that doesn't cut into NFCC #2 where such photos have particular commercial value due to their quality, rarity, or simply the fact that they are in somebody's commercial library and they are actively being marketed. Jheald (talk) 02:42, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
    • It's not the status quo, see here, which is being used (for example here) as a precedence case for deleting other such photos. If it should be the status quo then we should so state, or if not, then we should state that. Herostratus (talk) 05:46, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
      • We've long held that an image of the subject of the article itself should normally satisfy NFCC #8. Those closures look to be inappropriate. Jheald (talk) 10:13, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
        • Maybe, but in these two cases the images in question were not illustrating the subject of the article in which they were used. CIreland (talk) 11:27, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
          • That's fair, given the article was called Casey Anthony trial at the time. But now the article has reverted to the more typical BLP1E title, Death of Caylee Anthony, I would have thought an image of the subject would be appropriate. Similarly for Murder of Jesse Dirkhising, which was the article title when its image was removed. Jheald (talk) 11:41, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
            • Hence the subject of the article was the death and/or trial not the victim. While there will often be a strong case for including a picture of a victim, we shouldn't assume that such would automatically pass NFCC#8 as we would for a biography. CIreland (talk) 11:52, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
              • I find it hard to envisage a murder article where it wouldn't. Jheald (talk) 12:19, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • SUPPORT Option 1, to clarify that this really is our policy. --Pete Tillman (talk) 07:17, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Neither 1 nor 2 in the present form. Version 1 is indeed close to present practice, but not quite: the legitimate interest in showing a likeness of a deceased article subject does not always override other prohibiting factors, most notably that of NFCC#2 in the case of commercial news agency pictures. Fut.Perf. 07:31, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support #1 with any appropriate tweaks to address FPAS's objections. Jclemens (talk) 07:36, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose #1 while the phrase "free close substitute" is in it. We don't need people saying "no, we should use the non-free image, as the free image is not a close substitute". J Milburn (talk) 12:02, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose #1 per JMilburn, absolutely no need to put another phrase into NFCC that people can wikilawyer over. If the free version is completely worthless as a substitute it shouldn't be contentious anyway.. Black Kite (t) 12:06, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
  • support #1 though I can live with a change to address NFCC#2 as needed. Hobit (talk) 03:55, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support #1 on the basis that we are an encyclopedia, and all other rules are subservient to that. We must obey copyright legislation, but the encyclopedia is located in the US, where fair use would permit almost all such uses of images in an educational resource like ours. We must obey even the resolutions of the Board, but we are allowed to interpret them. and should interpret them in the way that we think best balances the need for freedom with the need for information. The wording of the title of an article is not the limitation on what the article is actually about, and I interpret "about" to mean, a substantial subject critical and central to the article. DGG ( talk ) 04:21, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment; If we can tweak this to take NFCC#2 into account, and remove the word "close", I think you'd probably have very quick consensus here. Black Kite (t) 07:29, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support #1 per DGG. Beyond My Ken (talk) 07:48, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I support #3. I oppose #1 as written but would support if the word "close" were removed (in which case I would see #1 as merely a clarification of #3).—S Marshall T/C 17:37, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I'm largely fine with that suggestion too. I do think that, for example, a free baby picture wouldn't cut it. But I'm not sure how close "close" is. Hobit (talk) 19:11, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
      • Yeah, that's the problem; it's too wikilawyerable. If we have a free image of someone aged 20, and a non-free image of them aged 60 (which is when they were murdered) then that's one thing. But even if we have a fairly poor image of a murder victim that is free, it should usually be preferred. Black Kite (t) 19:22, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
        • I agree. Hobit (talk) 02:52, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support #1, which is the status quo ante - the recent deletions of these images are a new and wholly inappropriate phenomenon. Remember the reason we require free images is to encourage the creation of more free images, which is patently impossible when the subject is deceased. --Philosopher Let us reason together. 02:47, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment from RfC initiation: would it be OK to strikethrough the word "close" at this point? It's not usually OK to change proposals while in progress, but given the thrust of commentary here it might be OK I think? At any rate, removing "close" is fine with me and I think that that 1) the person closing the RfC should remove the word "close" and 2) everyone should assume that word "close" won't be in the final text (if it's accepted). (I was only trying to avoid situations where an editor would claim that a picture of person's house or whatever was a "substitute" for a portrait, but apparently this was not a good choice of words.) Herostratus (talk) 07:23, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
    • I think it would be fine. Also mark the discussion showing at what point the strike occurred perhaps? Hobit (talk) 20:59, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
      • OK then, I struck through the term at 15:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC). All comments above this point referred to the non-struckthrough version, all the ones below to the struckthrough version. I'll add a double line to emphasize this. Comments above to the effect "OK, but only if the word 'close' is removed" should be considered to have been addressed. Herostratus (talk) 15:42, 9 November 2011 (UTC)

  • Support #1. (Proposer, but hadn't expressed an opinion before now.) My reasons are twofold:
    • Lots of times it's good to avoid having specific rules, but in this case I think it's worthwhile to clarify this and avoid future contention, so I can't support #3. #1 seems to be general usual practice, and it's best when rules codify usual practice, if this can be supported.
    • To the question of whether a picture "significantly increase[s] readers' understanding". Humans are attuned to the human face above all other objects in the universe. This is true across all cultures and is seen in newborns. Rightly or wrongly, we believe that the merest variation in features and expression carries meaning. I suppose a lot of this is bogus when it comes to features (e.g. a receding chin supposedly indicating weak character etc.) but no so much when it comes to expression. The forward-thrust chin, the fey slight turning of the head, the grim-set jaw, the furrowed brow, the shy half-smile, the guileless grin. Setting and clothing also. We believe that these things may reveal something of the person, and there's something to that, I think. So yes I guess that pictures that show the person reasonably clearly do meet WP:NFCC#8.
As to WP:NFCC#2 (Non-free content not to usurp items with market value), note that "Acceptable use -- images" (where this text is proposed to be added) says "All non-free images must still meet each non-free content criteria; failure to meet those overrides any acceptable allowance here". So I don't see this as an issue. If use of an item fails to meet WP:NFCC#2 it's out, period, and you never even get to this text. Appending "provided it does not fail the non-free content criteria regarding respect for commercial opportunities" (or just more broadly "provided it does not fail any criteria of the non-free content criteria" is perfectly acceptable to me, but redundant and inelegant. But if it'll get the proposition accepted, then fine. Herostratus (talk) 03:51, 12 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose #1. This goes too far. The parallel examples in this section (#s 1-7) all deal with subjects under copyright (not simply images), where no free equivalents can exist (absent a release of copyright), and where general rules can be reliably stated. The Wikimedia Foundation's governing resolution makes special provision for use of nonfree content with regard to those subjects. Images of deceased persons involve rather different considerations, and case-by-case analysis retains its particular importance. It is not at all reasonable to presume that images of deceased persons will meet all of the necessary NFCC criteria (while it is reasonable to presume that for most of the examples currently listed); the experiences we've had with disputes over the uses of TV episode screenshots should serve as a caution against including overly broad classes of examples. Fundamentally, it's a very bad idea to change the examples in order to influence discussions of the application of NFCC policy. If the policy itself remains unchanged, no case is made for modifying the policy language, and no evidence is presented of widespread error in its application, then there's no reason for making such a change. If we we have to add the disclaimer proposed, that's a strong signal that the class of images is really not generally acceptable under NFV policy. (And yes, that means I don't think example #8 was well-selected.) Also oppose #2. which goes too far in the opposite direction. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 23:03, 17 November 2011 (UTC)
    • Very well. But as a practical matter what you are saying, I think, is that arguments along the line of "In this photo, the person is just looking at the camera, fails #8, delete; while in this photo the grim-set jaw and clenched fists helps us see why the person was called "The Mussolini of Nebraska" and inspired fear, passes #8, keep" are functional. Right? In theory this would be great, we could all discuss the two photos and reach consensual agreement on content that one is in and out. But I dunno. I think in the best case this leads to a lot of time and effort on discussions that, at the end of the day, come down to subjective opinion. In the worst case it leads to an editor deciding that portraits don't pass #8 period and deleting them. Image-deletion discussions are not well attended, but even if they were, if an admin believes that portraits do not meet #8 discussion doesn't matter, he is required to delete them immediately regardless of any other considerations. And this apparently does happen. Herostratus (talk) 17:40, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support #1, Oppose #2, largely per DGG. The needs of the encyclopaedia should be paramount, as that is the most important aim of the project. Supporting and encouraging the creation of free images and other free media is a very important goal too, but it has to be secondary to the needs of the encyclopaedia. For living people the balance between free and non-free images is nearly right to prohibit non-free media in almost all circumstances (I think it needs relaxing very slightly in certain circumstances, but that's a different discussion). For deceased people the creation of free images is not possible, and so we don't need to put a great emphasis on encouraging it. As such we should use non-free media if no free media is know to exist that represents the subject within a reasonable timeperiod of their notability (e.g. if they're notable for something they did as a 60-year old a photo of them in their teens isn't representative (nor vice-versa). Thryduulf (talk) 15:53, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Neither 1 nor 2 in the present form. as per User:Future Perfect at Sunrise - and oppose 1 as per User:Hullaballoo Wolfowitz - Off2riorob (talk) 10:52, 19 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support 1 - I see this as a matter of prioritizing Wikipedia as an Encyclopedia first and a free content activism platform second. This project is popular because it is useful, because there is a universal demand for concise, objective coverage of a multitude of topics. In that respect, we as wiki contributors are akin to journalists, researchers, scholars. Our goal should be to consider and work toward the best way of conveying information. If there is no opportunity to create new free-content alternatives to identify biographical subjects, no amount of wishful thinking in the world will magically force copyright holders to release content under a free license. To discriminate best editorial practices on the basis of holding an important aspect of biographical coverage hostage in exchange for a free license does a disservice to the goal of neutral coverage. As a non-profit educational project we have privilege under US copyright law to claim fair use in certain circumstances. It is important to note that US copyright law also extends the very concept of copyright as a legal privilege meant both to promote prosperity and serve the public good.
I presume that there is little debate on the value of visual information in aiding human understanding, from the simplest neurocognitive basis of learning about people by recognizing and later referencing their physical likeness to the oldest established tenets of scholarship as evidenced by the very fact that drawings and/or photographs accompany historical records of every sort. Portraiture isn't mere window dressing, let's keep that clear. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 18:15, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Support 1 only. That's the status quo and it may help to state it explicitly. A couple things, though. The correct wording is "no free equivalent is available". That's equivalent, not substitute. So far we don't have any defined concept of what a substitute is. Second, the following phrase proposed below is empty verbiage: "provided that all non-free content criteria (including but not limited to respect for commercial opportunities) is met". That's basically true of all policy here and rule-drafting in general. A rule either overrides other rules or it doesn't. Restating after every rule that the other rules still apply is clutter, and hurts interpretation. If necessary we should say at the top of the section rather than in connection with each rule that these are merely examples of files that are usually found to meet certain criteria, not rule exceptions to say that the rest of NFC/NFCC doesn't apply. - Wikidemon (talk) 19:15, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
    • You're entirely correct regarding the empty verbiage, but several editors insisted that their support was contingent on inclusion of a clause to that effect, redundancy notwithstanding. It's too bad, but there's nothing to be done about it. Herostratus (talk) 19:33, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
      • I wouldn't oppose any rule on purely stylistic grounds, but maybe we could put the extra verbiage in a css class that appears on their browser but not ours? :)
        • I moved it down into {{Cref2}} tag, where it would appear in the References section (with a link to it directly in the material). This seems better, and since the material was just moved and not changed I hope and assume that this wouldn't effect an previous statements of support. Herostratus (talk) 03:43, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Additional note: The word "picture" should be exchanged with "photograph" in the proposals. The whole argument about the significance of portraits is only valid for authentic portraits, i.e. typically photographs. There might be an occasional case of a portrait drawing/painting (e.g. by an early 20th artist, made of a contemporary subject), but those would be rare and special cases and don't need to be covered in our examples list. The misunderstanding we need to avoid is that there could be a license also for a non-free fictionalized portrait, e.g. a modern painter's or book illustrator's imagined portrait of a medieval figure. We often do see editors demanding the inclusion of such items, which are never legitimate. Fut.Perf. 18:55, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
    • This makes sense, there would be few cases where there's an accurate drawing but no photo, where the drawing is still under copyright, so I changed it to "photographs". I'm pretty sure that this won't affect any previous declarations of support or non-support, so I think that that's OK. Herostratus (talk) 03:43, 3 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support option 1, which I understand is current practice.  Sandstein  16:22, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


I guess the basic question is: do portraits and similar pictures fail NFCC#8, or not? (When no free substitute is likely possible.) In other words, does a portait "significantly increase readers' understanding" of a biographical article, or not?

In certain cases it probably does: Cyrano de Bergerac for instance (that is the reason for the "physical appearance was extraordinary" clause). Most certainly a photo of an architect that also shows a important destroyed building that is discussed in the article. Arguably a baseball player showing his characteristic stance, or a rock musician showing a characteristic style (Pete Townhshend windmilling for instance), or an inventor shown using his unique apparatus, and so on, providing that these are discussed in the article or reasonably could be (that is the reason for the "other elements in the picture" clause).

But if it's just a portrait or portrait-like picture? I don't know, but it seems like something that there ought to be general guidance on.

It's frustrating to me if editors are in favor of clarifying this but are opposed to the precise wording. @Fut.Perf.: well of course if the image fails other criteria beyond NFCC#8 it's not allowed. @J Milburn: The point of "close substitute" is to precisely to deny Wikilawyering arguments on the line of "It's reasonably likely that crowd shot with him in it might surface" or something. As it stands, NFCC#8 is open to endless contention (Wikilawyering if you will) over whether or not a portrait " "significantly increase[s] readers' understanding". It's not possible short of an overly-long exposition to detail every case of what or is not an acceptable substitute. Perhaps it should say "substitute" instead of "close substitute", but then you have "well, I have a free picture of his house, and since portraits are essentially decorative, that's a reasonable substitute" or whatever. And after all, this is just a change to the "Guideline examples" section which says "These examples are not meant to be exhaustive, and depending on the situation there are exceptions".

The point raised re Jess Dirkhising was "Well, why haven't the pictures of Matthew Shepard and Larry Forbes King and so forth also been deleted"? and with no clear answer given I infer that the answer is "Well, we just haven't gotten to those yet".

One other thing -- I guess "Oppose #1" means "Support #3"; if editors support #2 they should make this clear. Supporting #3 is OK, to leave the answer to question unspecified (or, if you will, vague). The advantage of that is it allows greater leeway for persons to interpret NFCC#8 re portraits of dead people. The disadvantage of that is it allows greater leeway for persons to interpret NFCC#8re portraits of dead people.

I note that the Jess Dirkhising discussion was not heavily populated (this is typical for IFD discussion), and FWIW the sole !vote was "Keep" and the image was deleted anyway. So this leaves a lot of leeway for the closing admin to apply his personal opinion on whether or not portraits of dead people are OK or not, and thus these two conditions seem to appy:

  • Some are in and some are out, depending basically on chance.
  • And all are subject to endless discussion on a case-by-case basis even though all the cases are basically similar.

Neither of these is healthy, I don't think. Herostratus (talk) 18:56, 6 November 2011 (UTC)

There's a simple resolution here: On articles of a deceased notable person X, we allow a non-free image of that person if there is no reasonable free equivalent. If it is on any other article that is not solely about that person, then, no, the use of a non-free image is not immediately allowed, though there may be some justification. You're trying to argue the case for using an image of person X on any other article but X. --MASEM (t) 19:11, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm still waiting two days later for an explanation as to why the non-free images of Shepard and King remain. Those two images are not free so why are they still here? User:SchuminWeb nominated the image of Jesse Dirkhising for deletion (it was deleted by User:Fastily without consensus) claiming the murder victim's image wasnt free. Yet Schumin has no issues with the non-free images of Shepard and King? It makes zero sense to me. It appears as a double standard. As long as the victim represents a special interest group their pictures remain. If not, they are deleted. That's how I see it. Otherwise the images would have been deleted long ago. Caden cool 21:37, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
You are doing yourself absolutely no favours whatsoever by suggesting that the images of King and Shepard remain because one was gay and one was black. There are hundreds of images of white heterosexual murder victims that haven't been deleted, as a quick trawl through Category:Murder victims would confirm. It would be far better to concentrate on why the Dirkhising one was deleted rather than why others weren't. Black Kite (t) 23:50, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
To a point we can't and shouldn't use WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS to complain about why some images are deleted and some are kept. However, given what we would normally say, the image of King should be deleted because the article is about the shooting. The problem with the Shepard article is that the editors have made it a bio focusing on the victim rather than the crime; that article probably fails WP:BLP1E and should be renamed to be on the crime, thus nullifying the picture itself. --MASEM (t) 23:59, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree about King. Not so much Shepard; that particular story has spread so much from the original murder that Cultural depictions of Matthew Shepard had to be split out of the article, and there's the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, that I think it would probably be pointless to try to rename it back to the crime. Black Kite (t) 00:17, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
Ok, I'd agree to that point, but argue that the article still is approaching the crime which likely should be a separate article to keep the bio appropriate. (so yes, not a BLP1E issue). --MASEM (t) 00:20, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • The precise choice for name of an article is normally chosen not as much to indicate the subject, but to avoid BLP implications--or BLP-inspired technical notability limitations in the case of the deceased. An article tiled "Murder of X" is about X in every meaningful sense of the word, just as an split from a very large article about X titled "Death of X" would be DGG ( talk ) 04:33, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
    Actually, it's rather important. Most of the time, we are using non-free images of deceased persons in the same vein as cover art - for identification without commentary of the image itself. On an article that is strictly about that person, this is putting it in context of discussion of the person itself. If the person is only discussed in context of a larger topic, and the image of that person is not discussed at all, that's failing NFCC#8. I can understand the empathic approach of having images of victims in articles about the crime, but I'm positive that past FFDs have always fallen in favor of removing non-frees of victims that are otherwise non-notable outside of being the victim. (Black Kite points out the Sheppard case above as an exception where the victim became notable after the crime due to the motive and impact). --MASEM (t) 14:47, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'll say something; when flicking through our articles for examples today, there's a hell of a lot of non-notable biographies of murder victims out there - have a look at Category:British murder victims for a start. Being murdered doesn't make you notable. Black Kite (t) 19:13, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Whereas ironically Murder of Lesley Whittle is an easily notable case (it was utterly notorious), yet Whittle is a redirect to her murderer. Anyway, this is nothing to do with NFC, so I'll stop there. Black Kite (t) 19:19, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • To an extent there is some NFC overlap here, but its more in the court of BLP/BLP1E. We don't want bios created on murder victims just so that we can have a non-free image of that person per NFCC/NFCI. I have a feeling that if we starting pushing this, people would try to go against BLP/BLP1E to make this happen. There are other reasons besides the NFC aspects, but that's just one point that's showing a larger problem. Still, to that end to the RFC above, this is why the NFCI as given is fine and no clarification is needed, because it's not here that is the problem. --MASEM (t) 20:06, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • If we have a "Murder of X" article, I would think in general an image of X is appropriate, since they are so central to the story, and (per what you've just written) this should usually be the substitute for a separate bio article on them (BLP1E minus the L). Jheald (talk) 20:53, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • There is a very slippery slope that follows that if you say a non-free picture of X on "Murder of X" is appropriate even if X is only simply identified by name, age, and profession, and not given much other discussion, that we should have the same on multiple murders, or serial killer pages, or mass murder events (eg Columbine) for every victim. You can argue that this slope shouldn't go in that direction, but it can and will be argued it you make the allowance that is being asked for above. At somepoint, too, we have to worry about WP:NOTMEMORIAL; unless the person is more than just the victim, showing the photo of the victim without other discussion would seem to fall into line of trying to gain sympathy for victim, what NOTMEMORIAL cautions against. For most crimes, it is not the victims that are of encyclopedic manner beyond the facts that they were the victims; its the resolution of the trials and appeals and following changes in law enforcement or the like that result.
  • I'm not dismissing that in some very select cases that the murder victim becomes a very recognizable figure even if we don't have a page specifically dedicated to that person. Matthew Sheppard is one such case and I'm sure there are others. But really, I think it's pretty obvious that if a victim X falls into the case of BLP1E and as such can only be discussed in a larger article about the crime, then using a non-free image of that person on that crime article simply isn't appropriate. (This does not nullify any free image use, of course) --MASEM (t) 21:58, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm sorry, but I don't think that's obvious at all. If you were to try to remove the image of Meredith Kercher from Murder of Meredith Kercher you would run into a firestorm. In very many cases a sense of the victim's style and appearance very much helps anchor the crime and add to reader understanding. Jheald (talk) 22:42, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • That's exactly the type of case where we don't need the non-free image of the victim. The victim as a person is described all in about 3 sentences in the first section in the body, and certainly is not notable prior to the event, and this clearly falls into BLP1E territory for justify why there's no article about her. So as for the picture does it aid in any understanding of the event? Nope, once you've identified it as a young adult Caucasian female, that's sufficiently descriptive for the rest of the article which is highly detailed on the events of the crime and trial. Of course, I'm not going to be pointy and do anything about it, but its clear that the picture is not meeting NFCC#8 here. --MASEM (t) 01:21, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • We'd have to agree to disagree on that; I'm very dubious the community would agree with you. Jheald (talk) 02:08, 8 November 2011 (UTC)
  • What is the notability criterion for murders / murder victims ? (And yes, I've looked at WP:CRIME). You say that there are a "hell of a lot" of non-notable bios; but there is (and long has been) a thriving interest in the true crime book-genre, which may cite very many of these. I see that you have now redirected George Francis (suspected mobster) to Brink's-MAT robbery, but if you're going to do that, shouldn't you transfer over some of the content too? What we've got as it stands now is a redirect to an article which doesn't even mention the subject of the redirect. Jheald (talk) 20:45, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Likely WP:NEVENT and WP:BLP1E are primary guidance. Eg, I know there are murders in my local area on a weekly basis, but I wouldn't consider most of them even notable for WP. Instead, cases that attract national attention (and moreso beyond tabloid-like coverage) even if they are a local event are the types that lend to notable crimes and/or victims. And for a victim to be notable, there needs to be significant change or influence in law or the like following said even that is directed tied to the victim; otherwise, again, it's just part of the crime. Redirects from victim names to crimes, are, of course, completely acceptable. --MASEM (t) 22:01, 7 November 2011 (UTC)
  • The significance of portraiture in increasing the reader's understanding is because this is how we process information. For instance, I've volunteered in teaching kids with cognitive disabilities where in one case we kept a photo-book around because a student had trouble recognizing names. This is an extreme example and I'm not suggesting that Wikipedia has any responsibility to cater to any conceivable cognitive disorder, just that it is pretty common knowledge that faces play a prominent role in learning. In this respect I don't see the reason for the rampant dismissal of the importance of visually identifying a biographical subject. While there are learning styles which place little importance in visual information, identifying photographs continue to have a tremendous inherent value as visual mnemonics. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 18:33, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Summary, current of as of November 29 2011

This discussion is still open, but only for a few days, and there haven't been any comments for ten days, so before CluBot IIII tries to archive it again, let's see where we stand.

Even if the discussion was expired I couldn't close this since I commented, but if were closing this, and taking into account all of the discussions, I think it would be fair to say that proposed option #1 be amended to read something like:

Pictures of deceased persons, in articles about that person, provided that ever obtaining a free substitute is not reasonably likely, and provided that all non-free content criteria (including but not limited to respect for commercial opportunities) is met.

(At the suggestion of editors, I (Herostratus (talk)) on (03:35, 3 December 2011 (UTC)) replaced "picture" with "photograph" and moved second clause into a {{Cref2}} note, where it will appear in the References section. This does not materially affect the matters at hand, and results in this tweaked version:

Photographs of deceased persons, in articles about that person, provided that ever obtaining a free substitute is not reasonably likely.[A]
  1. ^ Provided that all non-free content criteria (including but not limited to respect for commercial opportunities) is met.

Several people expressed support for changing the wording along these lines, and I think it fair to say that adding the latter clause would not change the opinion of anyone who supported option #1 as previously written.


Support #1

12, depending on how one counts. One could remove User:Future Perfect at Sunrise from this count, but then one could add User:Caden, and there are a few others who are arguable. I tried to count the comments as fairly and accurately as possible. (Updated to 15:48, 9 December 2011 (UTC): 15)

These are: User:Jheald, User:Tillman, User:DGG, User:Beyond My Ken, User:Herostratus, User:Thryduulf. Also User:Hobit, User:Philosopher, noting that these two suggested (not required) the removal of the word "close", which has been done. Also User:Jclemens, provided the addition of the second clause, which has been done. (Updated to 15:48, 9 December 2011 (UTC): also User:anetode, User:Wikidemon, User:Sandstein)

User:Black Kite commented "If we can tweak this to take NFCC#2 into account, and remove the word "close", I think you'd probably have very quick consensus here". Both of these have been done, and I think it's fair to say that "you'd probably have very quick consensus here" in context indicates support.

User:S Marshall. Supported #3 but his comment was: "I support #3. I oppose #1 as written but would support if the word "close" were removed (in which case I would see #1 as merely a clarification of #3)". Since the word "close" was removed I'm putting him in the support camp.

User:Future Perfect at Sunrise, arguably. His comment was "Neither 1 nor 2 in the present form. Version 1 is indeed close to present practice, but not quite: the legitimate interest in showing a likeness of a deceased article subject does not always override other prohibiting factors, most notably that of NFCC#2 in the case of commercial news agency pictures". His comment "is indeed close to present practice" does not necessarily mean that he approves of present practice. As a practical matter, though, this comment looks to be supportive of #1 provided that the concerns he noted were addressed, which they have been.

Support #2


Support #3

2. They are User:Hullaballoo Wolfowitz and User talk:Off2riorob. 4, If one includes User:CIreland and User:Masem, which in my opinion is probably not called for (see section "Other", below). (User talk:Black Kite was opposed to the term "close substitute", which has been struck. Based on his later comments I put him in the "support" camp.)


There were some others that I didn't include in the headcount, although of course their arguments were considered.

User:J Milburn was opposed to the term "close substitute", which has been struck (his comment was "Oppose #1 while the phrase 'free close substitute' is in it"). However, it's not entirely clear that striking the word "close" is sufficient to have moved him out of the "support #3", nor that since it was struck it's fair to keep him in that camp, so I didn't count him either way.

Based on User:Caden's comments (to the effect "why are some in, and some out?") and his comments elsewhere, I'm pretty sure that he is in the mind of supporting #1, but he didn't make this entirely clear so I didn't count him.

Since some of the example articles under consideration were of the type "Murder of Joe Smith", there was some discussion around this. This is a secondary issue, whether Joe Smith is "the topic" of an article entitle "Murder of Joe Smith". This could be clarified, but not here.

User:CIreland and User:Masem made comments indicating that they are concerned that #1 not apply to articles other than those consisting solely of a person's name (and title or similar words that are effectively part of the name, and disambiguation info as needed). (Others disagreed). But I didn't see a clear expression from them on the question at hand. It's possible that User:CIreland and User:Masem could be inferred to be in the mind of "Support #3, unless and until the meaning of "the topic" is clarified". However, they didn't !vote in the Comments section so this is not entirely clear, and I didn't think it fair to include them in the totals.

Headcount summary

12-0-2, depending on how one counts. Another person might count it as 10-0-4. 12-2 is a clear supermajority. So is 10-4, but not as strong. (Update to 15:48, 9 December 2011 (UTC): 15-0-2 (or 15-0-4)).


User:Hullaballoo Wolfowitz presented the argument in favor of #3, which is basically that we should be conservative in making any exceptions to Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria, which is an important policy with legal ramifications. The Wikimedia Foundation's governing resolution makes special provision for use of nonfree content and portraits are not included under those provisions, so portraits should be discussed on a case-by-case basis and not given a blanket exemption.

The arguments in favor of #1 are basically:

  • This is current accepted practice.
  • Photos of persons increase "readers' understanding" of the person and so pass criteria #8.
  • One of the points of the non-free-content restrictions is to encourage the creation of free content, which is basically a dead letter if the person is deceased.

Having commented, I'm not going to weigh these arguments and I'll leave that to the person closing the RfC. (Whether photos of persons increase "readers' understanding" is basically a subjective opinion and can't really be proven or disproven, but if there is consensus either way then this be considered "proven" or "disproven" as a practical matter, I would say.) Herostratus (talk) 18:09, 29 November 2011 (UTC)


At about 15-0-2 (by my count), the RfC having run a month and seeming to have died down, and no strength-of-argument advantage for the minority view (in my personal opinion), I'm going to assess this as "proposition #1 passed" and add the material to the page. If anyone disagrees they can ask for a formal close by an uninvolved person. Herostratus (talk) 15:48, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

If this is now policy, could we make a non-free image tag to track these? Would be useful to have something premade for editors' convenience (instead of selecting historic, etc.) and it could provide guidance as to the sorts of images likely to be acceptable (official headshots and promo photos yes, photo agency images no). Calliopejen1 (talk) 02:41, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
This "headcount" is utterly nonsensical. Counting only "support" !votes for option 1 without regard to the expressed oppose !votes is ridiculous, as is suggesting that enforcement of Wikimedia Foundation policy can weakened simply by counting heads. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 22:11, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I have posted a request at WP:AN asking for and admin to review this RfC and close it. --Noleander (talk) 07:36, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

NFCC enforcement is fun

[2] [3] [4]. Should I bet on what the outcome of this will be? Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 13:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • The use of the image in the infobox as was being done is a blatant violation of WP:NFCC #8. I'll keep an eye on it. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Requiring reduction for free license photos of 3D artworks

"brief verbatim textual excerpts" revisited

I do understand the fair use allows "brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media", and we are deliberately not defining "brief" with a specific word count, for several reasons. I do understand it can be context sensitive. While I am particularly interested in a specific situation at the moment, this is one example of a dozen related examples I am looking at, so I'm looking for both feedback on my specific plan, and feedback on general principles, to the extent possible.

I started the right way, I did a search of the archives. The phrase "brief excerpt" gets a lot of hits, unfortunately, many of which assume it needs no further explication.

One recent exchange discusses In the Bedroom where Masem suggests that "2-3 sentences" is not too long. That's longer than I would have guessed, but I'm happy to hear it if supported by others.

Another exchange at Excerpts of copyrighted text highlights some general principles, such as the allowable length may depend on the length of the original, e.g. an excerpt from a short poem may need to be shorter than an excerpt of a longer poem.

One issue I do not see discussed is whether the length of the excerpt should be compared to the length of the article in which it will be placed. I've recently removed some material who length was longer than the rest of the article after removal, or appeared in footnotes, and exceeded the length of the (admittedly) short article. However, I don't know whether this is a generally accepted metric, so I'll ask: is the length of the material in question relative to the length of the article ever an issue?

A second general question is whether the use of the material in the article, versus the use of the material in a quote in a footnote makes any difference? In other words, would we be expecting that quotes in footnotes would be generally shorter (my view, but not firmly held), than if the same excerpt were to be included in the main text of an article?

On to the specific. In New York House of Refuge there is a quote in the footnote which is six sentences, and 120 words long. I'm struck by the length in comparison to the article length: two sentences, 28 words. I'll understand if others view this comparison as irrelevant.

My plan is to chop the quoted excerpt at the end of the first sentence. It is supporting a claim, and that is achieved by the end of the first sentence. I understand that the rest of the paragraph is interesting, but I don't see that as an acceptable reason for inclusion. I'd particularly like feedback if I am being too harsh, and a quote of this length is perfectly fine.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:42, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

The use of that text exerpt is completely wrong. In fact, what should happen is to paraphrase and summarize that source as text in the article body; there's no need to even quote that.
Text excerpts should be used primary when we're talking specific creative works to demonstrate a style, a plot element, or other non-factual aspect. They should be also used when opinion is stated and the context of the original opinion is needed to avoid altering its meaning in paraphrasing. But they should not be used to replace the proper job of summarizing factual information into an article. We have no copyright problem doing that as long as it is proper paraphrasing and not straight-upright copy without quotes or sourcing. --MASEM (t) 22:50, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I think half of your definition of "copyright problem" is really a style decision. An article can be a "quote farm" in the eyes of some editors without actually violating copyright, especially where it summarizes a discussion among scholars or other people. Take The Autobiography of Malcolm X. the article has a number of 2-3 sentence quotes from various sources (and had even more before it was submitted to FAC) and I would be very upset to see our policy on copyright treated that article as violating NFC. Protonk (talk) 23:12, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, in that article, glancing at the quotes, they aren't "factual" statements but read as personal experiences or opinion; paraphrasing them would be either impossible or damaging. And thus direct quote with citation is completely fine, as well as the fact they are taken from several different works and not just one. Effectively, that article isn't a copyright problem. The example specifically given by Sphilbrick is one that can and should be fixed, however. --MASEM (t) 00:13, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

───────────────────────── I tend to agree with Masem here; although I think there are cases when they may be used simply to present fact, there should be clear reason why we need to. In terms of brevity, it's helpful, too, to consider how central the quote is to either document. If you quote four lines from a song as part of a larger body critically discussing the song, that's one thing; four lines from a song by themselves aren't transformative. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 18:39, 17 December 2011 (UTC)

I guess my fear is that the closer NFC gets to style or content questions the more contentious the guidance becomes and the less pleasant (and more importantly, consistent) application becomes. I know we aren't suggesting a high bar like NFCC8 does for images, but just be aware that extending our guidance too much has a non-linear effect on enforcement. Protonk (talk) 03:17, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
For all purposes, I don't think WP:NFC should be giving advise as to how much quote to use, because this is a far different aspect of copyright than what non-free embodies. I don't know if there is a page, and if there isn't, there should be to describe when to use quotes, how much quote to use, and when not to use quotes but instead paraphrase. We can make reference to that here, in that text taken from such must meet fair use restrictions, but that's it. --MASEM (t) 16:05, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

An aspect that also may be important is the proportion of the quote vs. the full article. In this example[5], the quote from Bloomberg (via the NYTimes) was perhaps at first glance not extremely long, but when checking the source, it copied the whole (short) article[6]. Surely that can't be the intention of the fair use rules? In general, I agree with Masem here that (long) quotes shouldn't be used simply for referencing, but mostly for style, opinions, ... Fram (talk) 15:28, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

Using the quote parameter in citations

The above discussion seems confounded, since "brief verbatim textual excerpts" includes quotes added to the body of articles, and as far as I know the purpose of this discussion regards the use of the quote parameter in Template:Cite.

Currently using or support use

  • IMO, the judicious use of the quote parameter is a valuable tool that enhances an article for the reader.  IMO, most Template:Cite usages should try to include a quote.  Doing so gives the reader a sense of the material to be found if the citation is obtained.  One of the primary uses for such a quote is to identify the reference being used in the article, and when used for this purpose the reader can get a quick sense of the authority behind the material in the article.  Used skillfully, the quote can also be used to draw attention to aspects or an idea that is not mentioned in the article.  And, a quote survives a deadlink.
If an editor doesn't like the length of a quote, he/she should consider reducing its length, but totally removing the quote is IMO vandalism.  Taquan Air is an example of a well-cited article where most of the references use the quote parameter.  Most of the quotes are one sentence, but one goes to three sentences, and one goes to four.
In the long run I think we will see a more extensive linkage between citations and the supporting material, possibly through indexes into  Unscintillating (talk) 18:52, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I support quotes in references. The quote parameter supports the most important principle in Wikipedia, verifiability. 1) It also allows references to remain after the link is dead, otherwise the reference gets deleted and then the fact may be deleted. 2) It allows the article being quoted to be found again if the link dies and it has not been archived by Wayback. The New York Times originally stored all their archived abstracts at Proquest then they were moved to the New York Times website. All had to be refound and relinked and many were never found again because there was no text to search on. The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine are now behind a paywall and the quoted original material is no longer available for free. Having a quote in the citation allows the fact to be found in a long magazine article. A New York Times magazine article can be 10 pages of un-numbered text, a person verifying the fact only needs to cut and paste the quote to find it and be able to read it in situ. My favorite example was a reference someone added to an article I was reading to support whether someone was gay or not gay. I had to read the 10 page New York Times magazine article 4 times to find this: "But so far as Mr. Schine is concerned, there has never been the slightest evidence that he was anything but a good-looking kid who was having a helluva good time in a helluva good cause. In any event, the rumors were sizzling away ..." You cannot use the control-f find feature because no exact synonym was used for "gay". 3) When paraphrasing a fact, a person may use a synonym that may change the context of the sentence slightly causing semantic drift in the fact. Twice, with semantic drift, I have seen where people have rewritten "attended college X" to "graduated from college X", where it was incorrect, they never completed a degree or they transferred to another college to complete a degree. Having the exact quote allows the reader to see the original language. I have seen several articles where people misinterpreted place names where people were born or died, where there was more than one place with a similar or the same name in another county. Seeing the exact name as it appeared in the original allowed me to find the proper city in the proper state and correctly link to it. Having the quote in the citation lets the person verify I made the proper correction. 4) You cannot always refind Associated Press articles in other papers since the article headline varies from paper to paper, but if a snippet of text is available you can find versions on other news sites to replace a dead link. 5) It certainly is not copyright infringement, it is usually the same or less of the amount of text used by Google in Google News under fair use in what they call a "snippet". I do not think we need to reinvent a more restrictive definition of fair use than Google. 6) We also should be making Wikipedia as self contained as possible since we do not know what will be available in 50 years or 100 years. We have link rot and whole swaths of reference works are disappearing from the web and going behind paywalls. I live in NJ where there still is not a complete online archive of our current newspapers. which archives some NJ new stories does not appear to have a long term archive, articles stay on the website for a few months or a few years, it appears to be almost random. Links in my earliest articles are now dead that used as a source. I had to replace them with references in the New York Times. 7) We do not have a crystal ball to determine which references are important to readers, so removing them on an ad hoc basis does not improve the article. It is just a way of saying "I don't find it important or useful, so no one else should either". I do not find categories useful, but I do not think we should be deleting them. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:06, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I support quotes in references. For the reasons listed above. So, let me quote Richard Arthur Norton "Having the exact quote allows the reader to see the original language." :) Quoting is at the heart of Wikipedia's policy of verification since it helps a second user check the references of a first one. While contributing here, what I've learned is that quoting should be used judiciously, such that we pick off enough information to help a person checking the facts, but at the same time do not quote so extensively that it could be seen as copyright infringement. And distinguishing limited quoting-for-reference from extensive quoting-as-copyright-infringement can be sometimes a tough call. I try to keep my quotes within citations to a sentence (or two sometimes) at most, and chop out any material which is not necessary.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 14:06, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Do not support use

  • I strongly disagree with including quotes for every cite template, particularly when there's no question of the meaning of the original text relative to its inclusion in WP. Not only does this start to encroach on exceeding fair-use (particularly if one source is used repeatedly), but it's also not in line with WP:V. Undertstandably, there's cases where quotes should be used (original foreign language translated to English; to identify non-printed information, repeating information from a rare source), but we generally avoid adding quotes for every citation to avoid the copyright problems. --MASEM (t) 19:08, 24 December 2011 (UTC)
How exactly is it a "copyright problem" if it is the same amount of text, or less, used by Google in their snippet? Why do we have to redefine fair use to be more restrictive than Google? By your standard every New York Times Book Review issue would be a copyright violation. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 13:40, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
As a search engine, Google has a different function than we do. We cannot compare. For instance, Google's use of small images in their Google image search has been determined as fair use. If we took those same images and used them to decorate articles, we would be making an entirely different use of them. Likewise, Google's search is intended to enable people to find the original documents, not to make use of that information. Fair use is very context-dependent. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 14:07, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
On the contrary, we also allow people to find the original document by providing a link along with the text. There isn't a parameter in Fair Use doctrine that concerns for what "function" the end-user uses the quoted text. Having us redefine Fair Use to be more restrictive than Google, makes no sense at all. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 18:27, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. The function of the text is central to fair use defense; the first test of fair use is "the purpose and character of the use". Our purpose and character is different from Google's or any other search engine's. They are not superseding the originals, but directing people to the originals. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:04, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I would be quite grateful if a couple of the regulars took a glance at some of the examples, to see if the advice makes sense in context, and if my edits conform to the advice. It is highly likely that there will be hundreds of examples with this issue, and I'd rather find out sooner than later if the advice needs tweaking.
--SPhilbrick(Talk) 17:07, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't see a consensus here for removal. It is probably better to wait for consensus to form rather than removing them on an ad hoc basis.

Because this is more a question on citation as opposed to non-free content (though there's an element of that to it), I've asked this over at WT:CITE). --MASEM (t) 15:11, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Aren't you all confusing the extraction and presentation of specific material from a source – quoting or quotation – with the "|quote=" parameter? For all that quoting is a good practice (or not??), this is quite independent of how the quotation is presented. And you really don't need to use "quote" at all. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 01:27, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

For purposes of NFC, whether its a direct quote embedded in the body of the article, or a quote attached to a cite template quote parameter, it is the same issue. Now, whether we should use significant amounts of direct quote in the quote parameter, that's an issue at CITE. --MASEM (t) 01:44, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
As MRG says above, "Fair use is very context-dependent."  So it appears that the two usages are different.  Unscintillating (talk) 20:44, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, it's context-dependent in the terms of the overall goal of the work, not within the work. But even intra-work, I would argue that the use of quotes in cite templates becomes even less appropriate for fair use compared to quotes within the article body (where relevant discussion is located nearby.) --MASEM (t) 20:48, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
"'s context-dependent in the terms of the overall goal of the work, not within the work" is a proof by assertion.  And the next sentence contradicts the previous premise that the two usages are not different, and in doing so counter-asserts that context matters.  I'm sticking with what MRG said, "Fair use is very context dependent."  Unscintillating (talk) 21:24, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
But you're taking MRG's statement out of context to compare within the work. The comparison between WP and Google Books is one thing where there is clearly a difference in what fair use implies and potential legal ramifications; and the difference between locating a quote in the article body versus a citation template within WP. --MASEM (t) 21:39, 2 January 2012 (UTC)
MRG also states, "the purpose and character of the use" is a test of fair use.  Given that part of the use of the quote parameter at Wikipedia is characterization and identification of the original source material, that use is nowhere close to any use that would appear in the body of the article.  The point remains that the two usages do not have the same fair use considerations.  Unscintillating (talk) 21:59, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

Conversation fractured

This conversation has been fractured, with fair use allowances in quotes now being discussed at Wikipedia talk:Citing sources#Use of quote parameter in footnote - a proposal to provide better guidance. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 21:12, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, my (naive) thinking was that the fair use issues were largely resolved, but the editorial issues were very open, so I thought it made sense to discuss the open issues over there. Not surprisingly, there are discussions of both aspects at both places—if anyone has a better idea how to address the issues centrally, please let me know. Until them, be aware that both places may have some relevant discussions.--SPhilbrick(Talk) 22:32, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
I think it's most important that we make sure that people remain aware of both conversations at this point. We could hat one with a pointer to the other? --Moonriddengirl (talk) 22:36, 1 January 2012 (UTC)
That's a GREAT idea. Fractured discussions impede consensus. I am going to assume that the current & immediate future discussion will be hosted at Citing sources and not this one. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 17:47, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

TV intertitle discussion

Since it is—at heart—an NFC discussion, I wanted to point folks here to this discussion at MOS:TV where Masem (talk · contribs) and I are discussing the use of TV interstitial title screenshots v. libre-licensed logos in TV series infoboxes: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Television#Series infobox images - logos over interstitial titlesFourthords | =Λ= | 23:50, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

Change to NFCI for stamps and currency

I modified the language for use of stamps and currency from

Stamps and currency: For identification of the stamp or currency, not its subject.


Stamps and currency: For identification of the stamp or currency, not the subjects it depicts.

because while the original language is fairly clear with respect to stamps and coins where the image is singular and primary, it is not clear for notes where there may be multiple images and they are often secondary to the denomination and other content. I found the original language confusing but if I'm not representative of the editing community in general, then please revert it. Jojalozzo 22:30, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

I don't see a problem with this. Good clarification. --MASEM (t) 22:32, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Good change. Thanks Jojalozzo. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:51, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Potential re-evaluation of foreign images that are in US "public domain" to be copyright-protected

Today the Supreme Court ruled that Congress does have the right to alter the copyright of material in the public domain, specifically focusing on a case involving works that may be copyrighted in other countries but would (previously) be public domain under the US's copyrighted terms; because COngress agreed to bring US copyright law into line with international ones, several works that were in the US PD are now enforced by the copyright of the country of origination.

This will likely affect commons more than, but we need to be aware that there may be images on commons that may need to be moved here as NFC. --MASEM (t) 05:47, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I can't imagine that this changes anything for us. The SCOTUS decision merely upheld as constitutional amendments to the copyright laws Congress passed in 1994. Unless or Commons have been acting as if those amendments were unconstitutional pending this decision (not likely), we should have been observing those changes for the entirety of this project's existence. postdlf (talk) 06:02, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if it does, and since it was a passed law and challenged without being overturned, I assume we're all doing it right to start here and commons, but it is a point that came up today. --MASEM (t) 06:45, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually many community members here and at Commons are ignoring this law. That's why the {{Not-PD-US-URAA}} tag exists. See section below. Dcoetzee 10:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

URAA affirmed by US Supreme Court - deletion request opened

The Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) is a 1996 US law that restored copyright to many foreign works that had fallen into the public domain in the US. In a 6-2 decision, SCOTUS affirmed the decision of the district court. The principle findings were: "1. Section 514 [of the URAA] does not exceed Congress’ authority under the Copyright Clause. [...] 2. The First Amendment does not inhibit the restoration authorized by §514." Supporters were Ginsburg, Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Sotomeyer. Breyer and Alito dissented. Kagan recused. See SCOTUS Blog.

For some time, Wikimedia Commons has been accepting images that are copyrighted in the US under the URAA, on the theory that it would be held unconstitutional. Such images were tagged with {{Not-PD-US-URAA}}. I've opened commons:Commons:Deletion requests/All files copyrighted in the US under the URAA and invite your opinions there. Please post your opinions regarding deletion there. Please don't post here to avoid dividing discussion, as I'm posting this notice in multiple locations. The English Wikipedia has also borrowed the template and the practice, but I have not yet opened a deletion discussion on the English Wikipedia. Dcoetzee (talk) 18:14, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Image editing for non-free images

Can non-free images uploaded be edited to change background colours, such as File:Pm oxide.jpg and File:Polonium.jpg? Double sharp (talk) 06:46, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, of course. Just make sure you clearly identify the changes you have made. postdlf (talk) 08:08, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. I only wanted to clarify this. Double sharp (talk) 12:25, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

WikiProject proposal

I made a WikiProject proposal at Wikipedia:WikiProject Council/Proposals/NFCC Enforcement where this policy is relevant. Feedback is welcome. Thanks. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 10:31, 23 January 2012 (UTC)


Hi. This image was in the Heart (band) article, and I removed it due to fair use concerns. An editor added commentary on the cover art into the band article, so I'm reluctant to remove it again, but the fair use rationale still doesn't include the band article as why it should be allowed fair use. I asked the other editor to be sure to update the fair use rationale. Should I remove the album from the band article again? The Mark of the Beast (talk) 01:10, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

There is no rationale for the artist page, just the album, see WP:NFCC#10c ΔT The only constant 01:15, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I know, that's why I asked my question. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 02:25, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

So, should I remove it from the band article? The Mark of the Beast (talk) 19:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

I went ahead and removed the file. Toshio Yamaguchi (talk) 21:04, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. The Mark of the Beast (talk) 21:20, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Archiving fix

I've fixed (I hope) a hiccough with the archiving, which had started filling subarchives of Archive 52. If I've got it right, the current archive should now be Archive 55, and archiving should now store to there in the way it should. Jheald (talk) 18:38, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

NFCC #9 stud over the last day

Ok, so who was the NFCC #9 stud who removed more than 200 #9 violations in the last day? (no, it wasn't Dashbot) Impressive. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

RFC on non-free content handling, in particular in history revisions

There is a clear consensus, that non-free images in old revisions doesn't constitute a problem and removal of the image by editing is sufficient. There were at the end of the discussion ideas for a software change, to not display images in old revisions. However there were not enough discussion about it to form consensus. If this is desired, than this can discussed later in more details for example at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical). Armbrust, B.Ed. WrestleMania XXVIII The Undertaker 20–0 16:12, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

NFCC states as policy (#9: "Restrictions on location") that display of non-free images isn't allowed on any page on Wikipedia other than mainspace articles and a few administrative exemptions. It doesn't say how they should be handled. Sometimes such revisions should be deleted or removed from public view. But against that, there is probably a practical and reasonable limit, we don't want to encourage well-meaning but disruptive rampant ransacking of the entirety of Wikipedia page history looking for and deleting any non-content revisions displaying a non-free image. (At least, not without consensus).

Criteria for deletion tools is being discussed elsewhere and clarity at NFCC would help - the issue is best resolved by consensus on best practice of NFCC handling. Sometimes revisions displaying NF content may need to be deleted and not just edited out - but when? What criteria? How narrow?

WP:NFCC is mute. It just says it's not allowed, but not whether, when or how they may be removed if they happen. The policy doesn't say whether removing a displayed free image (by editing the page) is usually sufficient or if it must also be removed from history like any copyvio. If the line isn't at either extreme but somewhere in-between, or specific circumstances may affect the decision, then there is no guidance on best practice.

This RFC is to ask users interested in NFCC to help draw up brief guidance in WP:NFCC for appropriate handling/removal of non-free images that breach policy #9:

  1. When is editing to remove the displayed image sufficient? When is deletion appropriate (or not)?
  2. Are non-free images in page history ok or should they be deleted sometimes? When if ever would it be appropriate (or not) to selectively delete a revision from page history that breaches NFCC restrictions on display? (they can't be removed by editing)

FT2 (Talk | email) 02:17, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

I think this is actually covered, for non-free images. NFC is quiet on free image issues, but to summarize:
On 1, a non-free image on a user page should be removed by editing out the wikitext that included the image. If this happens to leave the image an orphan, the normal policy (7 days) is granted before the image itself is deleted. The "when" is basically whenever it is discovered - though one should use common sense to see if the page is a userspace draft being prepared to be returned in the very short term back to mainspace.
On 2, there is zero need to revdel edits that add non-free images to user pages. Yes, technically that means I can permlink to a version of a userpage that has a non-free image that wasn't orphaned on it, but I would equate the existance of such with the fact that we have to display images for non-free image maintenance categories. --MASEM (t) 02:52, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
The reason for this RFC is in order to have certainty in the discussion on deletion tool criteria:
  • If deletion tools should never be used to remove from public view a revision showing non-free content, then can NFCC policy say so;
  • If there might be cases where they can/should be used then can NFCC policy provide guidance.
The difficulty is that we do have at least one policy which says deletion tools should be used for at least some pages that display non-free images. So RevDelete policy and Speedy Delete policy both approve deletion tools for non-free content on at least some pages and in some circumstances, but they're oddly incomplete or inconsistent (for example CSD says that images may be speedy deleted in some forbidden pages but not others; it's also clear they may be deleted if they constitute a "gallery" but if they are anything else it's left to ad-hoc decision and IAR). It raises a question when else exactly they may/should be used, and when not? NFCC says that no Wikipedia page outside content/limited admin pages may display non-free images. In principle and as an ideal, NFCC implies that deletion of offending history pages is appropriate or possibly expected ("images may only be displayed..."). If they shouldn't ever be, or shouldn't normally be, then brief policy guidance would help.
So... well, you see the problem. We can't easily reach consensus over deletion tool criteria which we'd like to tighten, without an idea what's desirable for NFCC, Right now this whole area is wide open to varying interpretation concerning NF images in other forbidden pages and their history. I agree with you most of the time but I can imagine there will be some situations where we do want to delete them, and some where guidance is needed. But when (and when not)? Easiest non-contentious solution: - ask users interested in NFCC to discuss what they want the box to say :) FT2 (Talk | email) 03:51, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it's making too much of a problem of a non-issue. The only reason we ask for the deletion of unused non-free images is per the Foundation Resolution. But this is specifically about the images themselves, and not the wikitext surrounding their implementation. We do have a near non-allowance for non-free content on user pages, but that's specifically an factor.
Or to put it another way: rev-del should be used to remove edits that are harmful to WP - BLP violations, intra-editor slander, outings, etc. The display of a non-free image in userspace is far from harmful of these cases. We don't allow it as it hurts the free content mission, but the odd exception here or there is not going to cause a lawsuit to come down on WP. So it seems overkill to worry about revdel'ing an edit that a user, unintentionally or not, adds a non-free image to a user page. --MASEM (t) 04:13, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
"The difficulty is that we do have at least one policy which says deletion tools should be used for at least some pages that display non-free images." - If we are to follow this, it'll simply create too much work. Simple removal of the image should be enough, it'll be an enormous workload if we delete every revision outside of the article space that, at some point in time, contained a non-free image. —Dark 05:05, 11 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Masem and DarkFalls. When we find non-free files outside of the article space, we remove them. In fact, we have a bot that does it for the userspace. If that orphanes the files, they get put up for deletion. If the files are used elsewhere, they stay around. As to the second concern, revdelling revisions that contain links to non-free images would be an enormous timesink that would serve absolutely zero purpose. Sven Manguard Wha? 05:10, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

I would just say to make sure that the image is not displayed in the page where it is not allowed to be displayed. Comment out the imagename or the display code, or replace it with an alternative image, or put an image with some 'non-free image removed'-text in there. As a follow up, an attempt should be made to tell the editor who included the image there. If the editor persists in putting the image there (for whatever reason, including not understanding what the problem is) then alternatives may be in order. If it leaves the image orphaned, then other rules on the image start to apply. I would not go into revdel, page deletions or oversight until there are real problems e.g. in terms of copyright claims or BLP issues.

I think that the main problem is in the term 'delete' - 'I deleted your image' and 'I deleted the image you display on your page' .. the former meaning to remove the file, the latter that you deleted the code that makes the image display, while the file itself is not deleted - still both are deletions. I'm also afraid that many angry editors mainly get angry because the latter is done, and the former is understood. --Dirk Beetstra T C 05:53, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

  • I disagree with the word "display" being thrown around here. Ultimately it's just a link to a file, buried in dead revisions. Nothing is being "displayed". It's taking the NFCC too far to say that we must sanitize every old revision that might violate copyright in some way. We don't delete old revisions of articles that include too-long quotations of a copyrighted site, for example. We just edit them out and move on. Gigs (talk) 14:39, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I think the visibility of nonfree files in edit histories is a complete non-issue (legally and otherwise), but it would be "solved" by a change that would have definite benefits. There should just be a software change that prevents images that are tagged with NFC licenses from displaying on any page outside of article space, substituting a generic NFC thumbnail instead. That would allow userspace drafts to work with the correct image links rather than having to remove them and then replace them again, a difficult task if one is rewriting a whole article given that it's not marked within an article's code what is nonfree and what isn't. An even better solution would be to create a Nonfreefile: space and migrate all nonfree files there, which would make it very easy to have it not display outside of article space, and also highlight the nonfree file code for both editors and downstream users. postdlf (talk) 16:24, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't believe that the MediaWiki would be able to tell the difference between free and non-free without introducing a magic word in the wiki code to mark it as such. But the idea that all File-space media (free or non-free) would not be displayed when viewing the history would do the same job. ad hoc links to the images (eg the colon prefix) could be made by the software for these, so that someone reviewing the history can verify the files used. But again, I think that its mostly a non-issue that someone can view a non-free image on a userspace page that only exists in the page's history; its not hurting the free mission and far from the damage that revdel usually needs for justification. --MASEM (t) 16:56, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
Right, as I said it would take a software change, and it wouldn't be for the non-issue of history viewing; the benefit as I noted would be so that we don't even have to patrol non-article space for nonfree files because they wouldn't display there, and if there is a dedicated "nonfreefile:" space created, it would highlight such files in article code for both editors and downstream users. Even without such a filespace, however, because we use particular templates for nonfree file "licensing" those would easily contain your "magic words" for the software to identify. postdlf (talk) 17:03, 13 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree with Gigs: It's too much of a stretch to consider links lost in old revisions to be "display". A link is simply a textual reference to a uniform resource locator that a user could use, voluntarily, to find something. It's not the same thing as posting it for public display. There's actually U.S. case law from the 1990s about this (bogus copyright claims that inlining images from one site with content of another, or putting frames from one site around content from another, without actually hosting copied content, have been shot down again and again). — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒〈°⌊°〉 Contribs. 22:21, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A simple question

I have tried to understand the usage of images on Wikipedia but the language is always too complicated to understand, or the instructions too hard to follow. My question-

  1. If I am dealing with the picture of a person (living or dead) and the picture is displayed on several news related websites, free to view for all but the website says that content cannot be duplicated without permission (which is generic EULA statement of all websites), am I allowed to then use this image on Wikipedia, with proper citations to source etc.? Note that the pictures are not being sold as commercial property, nor has the person in question requested anonymity and I am not using the picture for any commercial purpose, just a general Wikipedia article.
  2. The same picture is being displayed on three different websites, free for view for all but all three websites have the same (cannot be duplicated) condition? --Wikishagnik (talk) 11:53, 24 February 2012 (UTC)
  • If the content cannot be duplicated without permission then this is a non-free file. You may not use a non-free image in Wikipedia without ensuring that if meets all the criteria of WP:NFCC. In the case of a living person that would almost always mean the image cannot be used, because a free image is capable of being created (WP:NFCC#1). In the case of a dead person one would have to evaluate this on a case by case basis as to whether an equivalent free image exists. Also, if the image is to be used on any article other than a biographical one about that person, it would normally fail WP:NFCC#8 (although again, there may be a few exceptions). So in general, the answer is "No". What is the image and where did you intend to use it? Black Kite (talk) 12:17, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Non-free screenshot tags

Was doing some rationale work yesterday and came to a screenshot for an iPhone app. Intended to change the tag to screenshot from non-free promotional, but it looks like nothing we currently have in the way of screenshot tags fits for smart phone apps. Do we either need a new tag for smart phones or to change the computer screenshot tag to include them? We hope (talk) 17:20, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Is not {{Non-free software screenshot}} sufficient? Being rendered on a smart phone doesn't change the fact its software and/or a screenshot. Is there something else that I may be missing here? --MASEM (t) 17:27, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Had intended to use this but didn't because it mentioned computers only--maybe I took it too literally. We hope (talk) 17:35, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, I would use it for that. I dunno if we have the categories the docs suggest for mobile devices, but I'd definitely use that instead of creating a new tag to start with. --MASEM (t) 17:39, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Will change it from promotional and use for this in future-thanks! We hope (talk) 17:53, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Cover art

In an article about an album (or single), may (and should) editors use low-resolution cover art in the infobox without any "critical commentary" on the physical CD (or equivalent marketing or distribution medium) whatsoever? I found Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 49#Courtesy section break in the archives; however, the earlier discussion gives no clear answer. Are these images merely decorative, or do they really enhance readers' understanding of Wikipedia articles as required by WP:NFCC #8? What does "that item" in WP:NFCI #1 refer to, the actual songs or the disc they are recorded on? PleaseStand (talk) 02:34, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

The argument is that the cover art is implicitly part of the branding, marketing, and identification of a work of art, even if that is not explicitly discussed. That point has been disputed but consensus is set on the allowance as listed in NFCI#1- we accept them and they are not considered decorative. The "item" would be the album in question if it was an album cover, or the single if a single disc cover. --MASEM (t) 02:50, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

Copyright infringement

I have tried to find where to report this but find the whole Wikipedia images/copyright business hugely confusing - so many pages to look through and I'm still not sure how to flag this up. Anyhow, I'll try here for want of finding clear instructions anywhere about what to do (they may be there, but I can't find them!)

The photo illustrating the Mee family on the We Bought a Zoo page (File:TheMeeFamilyatDartmoorZoo.jpg) is taken from the Dartmoor Zoological Park Website: [7]. Clear copyright infringement. (talk) 08:57, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting this. I've nominated the file for deletion. By the way, I also agree about the image pages being confusing. There are just too many of them, with unclear scopes and topics, and readers are always in danger of being led round in circles. Fut.Perf. 09:16, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Non-free content overuse?

Hi, guys. An IP dropped this at my talk page, but it's not really my area and I don't really have time to work with the article contributor at the moment. This weekend, I want to try to catch up as much as I can at WP:CP. :)

The article Cavalia is dripping in images. Some of them are free, but there are a number of large non-free images (though the bot is helping with the "large" issue) - I would imagine more than WP:NFC can support:

  1. File:Cavalia mirror.jpg
  2. File:Carrousel.jpg
  3. File:Odysseo Les Voyageurs.jpg
  4. File:Acrobat Troup Odysseo.jpg

I've placed a tag on the article and feel like I ought to remove a couple of images, explaining why to the uploader, but I don't really have a clue which ones I would choose to retain, if any; it would be great if somebody who works more consistently in this area and has a better feel for community standards on 3(a) of NFC could look into this. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 10:28, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

NFCC patrol; Wikipedia's ghost town
  • The company has a flickr photostream, including a group of cc-by-sa-2.0 images in "Free to use Cavalia | Odysseo". Three of the above images (#1, #3, and #4) are in that set, making them free for our purposes. #2 is not. I've re-tagged #1, #3, and #4 as free. For the last, #2, I fail to see the point of the image being in the article at all. While the uploader made a valiant effort to comply with WP:NFCC, the rationale fails to include any reason for its use on the article, and the article doesn't mention the image in any respect. It should be removed and deleted.
  • I compliment you on the find and the query. Were all of these four images in fact used under NFCC, they would all have to go from the article. But, the sad reality is there are more than 1300 articles with more non-free use than this article would have if those images were non-free.
  • I don't wish to stir any pots, so I'll keep this abstract; Events over the last few months has resulted in NFCC patrolling being vacated. NFCC #9 abuses are at a two year high. NFCC #10c violations are just about to eclipse the 10k mark for I think the first time since records were kept. Non-free overuse on articles is skyrocketing, and nobody gives a damn. There are now more than 437000 non-free images on this "free" encyclopedia. Activity on this page, which used to be the vibrating hub of NFCC patrolling, is at its lowest level nearly since the page began more than six years ago. The NFCC patrolling efforts that previously existed on this project were an absolute joke, pure spitting in the wind of an EF-5 tornado. They've utterly failed. Nobody really cares anymore about NFCC and trying to keep the project in line with its core ideals. So, while your concern is a noble one, the reality is it is a tumbleweed blowing through a ghost town. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:36, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I think it would be nice if users were required to use a fair use rationale template for all fair use rationales. That way, it would at least be possible to patrol criterion 10c by a bot by tagging as "no fair use rationale for article foo," delete from the article if not added in a week & list the image as orphaned if no longer in use. There is still the issue with WP:NFCC#3 and WP:NFCC#8, of course, and that is much more tricky. --Stefan2 (talk) 15:42, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • There used to be a 10c removal bot. It was destroyed too. There used to be people who did 10c removals manually. They were routinely harassed, insulted, called disruptive, and dragged before various inquisition boards. Also, template fair use rationales are often vacuous, uncomprehending attempts at complying with NFCC and miss the point entirely. Adding a template rationale complies with 10c, but doing so just whack-a-mole's the problem into another area; that of incredible weak rationales. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:48, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
    • 10c is a problem unless the image can be tagged as {{di-no fair use rationale}}. If it has a fair use rationale for at least one article, it tends to be difficult to get rid of it in the other articles. The pseudo-speedies "replaceable fair use" and "disputed FUR" are pretty much useless; I just get complaints and opposition when I use them, and I notice that FfD is the only thing which works, although it still tends to result in a long and tedious discussion. Very annoying. I wish that English Wikipedia could be adjusted to work as the Swedish and Spanish Wikipedias. Seems to be the only working solution... --Stefan2 (talk) 22:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

A good place to start for addressing any image use issues or questions (e.g., "what purpose does this image serve?") in Cavalia might be Talk:Cavalia. postdlf (talk) 15:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Usage of photos

I have come across certain photos. The links can be seen here and here. For the former, I refer to the only image in the news article. For the latter, I refer to the second and fourth images present in the interview.

I would like editors experienced with image copyrights as to how I am supposed to license these images in Wikipedia. Certain editors have pointed out about a number of policies that confuse me, so I would like some clarity and a solution here. Regards, and thanks in advance. ~*~AnkitBhatt~*~ 12:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Well, strictly speaking, if you are not the author of those photos then you cannot "license" them. What you might be able to do is come up with a rationale for using them as non-free content within articles, which we can't answer in the abstract without knowing the article(s) in which you intend to use them, and what important information you think they convey relative to the article(s). It isn't enough that the image is relevant to the subject when the image is non-free (not freely licensed); any use would have to satisfy the criteria listed at WP:NFCC, so please read through that, and then see if you still have any specific questions. postdlf (talk) 13:04, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
My intention is to use the photographs in the article Ra.One, mostly as a replacement to the current "Filming locations" photos in the article. The images will be used in the filming/post-production/visual effects section, depending on the photo. Well, the photos are important because they show - 1) The actual superhero suit without the VFX; 2) certain filming scenes. Some editors had pointed out about NFCC, and they felt that filming photos can be freely licensed. However, an administrator User:Moonriddengirl felt that the images can't be free as per US Copyright Law. Please help :( ~*~AnkitBhatt~*~ 13:11, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

Photo agency images and NFC#UUI7

On June 20 2011 Damiens.rf made the following change to unacceptable use criteria 7:

A photo from a press or photo agency (e.g., AP, Corbis or Getty Images), unless the photo itself is the subject of sourced commentary in the article.

I can't say I agree with this change. I can't find any discussion of the change in the archives of the time, either (Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 52 is the closest, and someone quotes the change after it was made, but that was it). Would there be complaints if I reverted it? What's the rationale behind this extra restriction above and beyond the current NFCC?

It's true that photo agencies make money off pictures, but frankly that isn't Wikipedia's problem. The Fair Use rules mean that the resolution will be lowered regardless, and there'll be a link to the actual copyright holder. The entire point of fair use rules are that the copyright holder doesn't have to "give permission" so long as certain rules are followed to not reduce the value of the photograph. I'm not sure why we'd want to be willing to use a single photograph of a deceased person if the copyright holder is an independent photographer (who perhaps is also seeking to monetize their copyright, just as Getty is), but not if that photographer later sold the rights to his or her picture to Getty Images. We should have the same policy for big fish and little fish; if we think it's within Wikipedia's fair use guidelines, we can use it, if we don't, then we don't use the picture.

(Context: Speedy tags were recently placed on File:Dominique Strauss-Kahn perp walk.jpg, which survived two FFDs before, and File:Rev Nico Smith crowd.jpg, a photograph of a dead person which is not realistic to replace with a freely licensed photograph. Both were uploaded before the Getty Images restriction was added. That said, this issue is obviously larger than just those two images, hence my raising the issue here.) SnowFire (talk) 16:53, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I can confirm that this rule has always been applied equally to press agencies such as AP and to photo agencies such as Getty. The central argument about commercial interests applies to both equally. Of course, neither of the two are completely excluded: if an image is genuinely the object of our encyclopedic coverage (rather than just a convenient vehicle for illustrating something else), then our use is clearly transformative and we can legitimately claim fair use. There is also no issue about unjust treatment of "big fish and little fish". We actually do apply the same standards to the small fish too (e.g. individual photographers, if there is a reasonable expectation there is a commercial interest at stake). The only difference is that with the known large agencies, we can safely assume such an interest as a matter of default, and therefore go for speedy deletion without further deliberation, whereas with the other cases there is some room for individual scrutiny, hence they typically go through FFD. Fut.Perf. 17:15, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The 2011 change mentioned above was noncontroversial, just making the NFC text more consistent with parallel texts like the one at F7. As the extensive discussion of the relevant revision to F7 in November 2010 demonstrates, there wasn't much disagreement over the substantive policy, just whether such images were to be deleted "on sight" or through the FFD process. Recent discussions like this one [8] indicate the policy is not controversial. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 17:52, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Unforunately, as is too often the case with many aspects of this policy, it has been enforced by editors who have less grasp of its subtlety and nuance than, say, bots, but with considerably greater free time and enthusiasm. I suspect the wording was added specifically to have something to point to when newbie uploaders complain that a picture is used "everywhere".

This kind of superficiality then begets its opposite: patrolling editors who miss the qualifying language about rationales and assume, falsely, that we must delete all press-agency photos without further argument just because ... well, they're press-agency photos. What? What's this "rationale" thing? You mean I actually have to read more than two words at a time, maybe even the article itself and ... think critically about what all those words mean? That's too tough, and as a result we see some of the sorriest flailing around in XfDs, ever, trying to find a retroactive reason to delete the image (I swear I heard there was once an FfD where the purported press-agency photo actually came from Commons to begin with, and the nominator, apparently trying to preserve their "perfect" streak of getting everyting they nominate deleted, actually argued that because it had been used by a press agency it had been "transformed" beyond the point where we could use it).

Honestly, maybe we should limit nominations under certain of the criteria (like 8) to editors who can demonstrate expertise and competence in understanding and applying it (like, at least, editors who've written successful rationales themselves?) Daniel Case (talk) 18:41, 12 April 2012 (UTC)


@Future Perfect: I understand there is a "respect for commercial opportunities" clause in the policy. However, I believe that policy in the case of images is already being upheld by all the other restrictions & roadblocks on fair use images, and there isn't a particular need to figure out if the copyright holder intends commercial use. In other words, in my view, Wikipedia *already* assumes there might be a commercial interest involved for all images, and the rules about minimal extent of use / low resolution / portions of images / etc. already guard that. This policy seems to indicate that there are images we've uploaded that are policy-compliant and within fair use restrictions, but if the photographer were to pop up and say they were selling the photo, and said photo was not a subject of direct note, then the image suddenly becomes non-compliant. (Not that I'm asking Wikipedia go on a deletion spree, of course, but rather the reverse, that we allow images from Getty under our usual restrictions, which should be sufficient to not dilute commercial opportunities.)

@Hulabaloo: In the linked FFD, the majority of the arguments are conducted on normal fair use grounds. (The deleting admin also, possibly through poor choice of phrase, says that Getty Images are blanket prohibited no matter what.) Regardless, not contesting that the deletion wasn't compliant with the current phrasing of the policy, but the policy is what I'd like to change. SnowFire (talk) 21:08, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

The special attention to situations where images are subject to active commercial marketing is a central part of the policy, and always has been. It's worth looking at the precise wording of NFCC#2 here, because it attempts to capture an important distinction: non-free images are not to be used "a manner that is likely to replace the original market role". This means that in order for an image to be legitimate, we must show that either (a) our manner of using it is crucially different from the types of functions it is normally marketed for, or (b) it doesn't have a significant market role to begin with. Option (b) is when we assume that there is no active marketing and any commercial stakes somebody might have in an image are negligible (e.g. private photographers who might never have thought about selling licenses for their snapshots). Option (a) applies when we have a clear case of transformative use, i.e. typically using the image as the topic of encyclopedic coverage. Where that is not the case, i.e. where we are using the image merely to illustrate something else, the situation you describe may well occur: if a photographer came forward and told us that our assumption of option (b) was wrong, we'd have to delete the image. Fut.Perf. 21:22, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Legally I think that is wrong; the commercial value of the image does not depend upon who owns it but upon what the image is in and of itself (including its authorship, if that adds to its intrinsic value as in the case of art or other collectible photography). No image has more potential commercial value in the context of copyright/fair use law just because it is owned by Corbis, notwithstanding the fact that Corbis may be more capable of exploiting that value than your average private citizen. Maybe I'm missing something, but if I am wrong, please show a cite that explains why. In any case in which we use an entire photograph (where the photograph is the whole original work, in contrast to for example a screen capture of a film) we are supplanting the potential market of the original, and just because the photograph is owned by an individual rather than a company like Corbis has nothing to do with that image's potential.

Regardless of who owns it, if we are to use a nonfree photograph we should only use so much as is necessary for our purposes: crop it down to just the information we are using, reduce it in resolution as much as , and make it black and white if color is not a necessary part of its information. Unfortunately, these important methods of minimizing our use and mitigating impact on the original's commercial value get ignored in favor of the simplistic binary of "we either use it or we don't."

And here's a point I don't think I've ever seen expressed on WP: wherever there is a nonfree film or video that would serve the same purpose as a nonfree photograph we wish to use, we should use a single still frame of that film/video rather than the photograph. This is because proportionately that single frame/screen capture will obviously be a much smaller part of the work as a whole than a copy of an entire photograph. postdlf (talk) 21:54, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

I wasn't saying commercial values exist or don't exist depending on who owns a work. However, our practice has been to attempt a common-sense estimation of how much of a potential commercial value there might be, and in the case of images owned by one of those agencies the reasonable assumption is always that such a is of a significant nature (otherwise why would the company bother keeping the work), whereas with other types of owners it might or might not be. I also don't quite agree with your statement "In any case in which we use an entire photograph [...] we are supplanting the potential market of the original". If our use is clearly transformative, we are not. Fut.Perf. 22:38, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I find this suggestion that we consider the relative ability of the rights holder to exploit the image's commercial potential when assessing compliance with the policy a dangerous road to go down. In essence, we are saying to our editors "look for little rights holders to take stuff from." The policy should treat all rights holders equally.

Given the underlying values of the Wikipedia project that were repeatedly invoked when the policy was adopted, I find this particularly disturbing, to say nothing of outwardly hypocritical. Daniel Case (talk) 03:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

How often do I have to repeat it? We do treat all rights holders equally. The difference is not about the ability to exploit an image, it's in the intention to exploit it. Once we have reasonable grounds to assume that a rights holder wants to use an image for commercial purposes, we respect these rights no matter who they are. With commercial agencies, we know in advance that they do, so it doesn't need an FFD discussion to establish that. Fut.Perf. 06:38, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Everyday objects

This page seems to say nothing about taking a picture of an object (other than a building). Surely a picture of a toaster is more replaceable than an image of George Clooney? Manufacturers will often release rights to promotional images to have coverage on Wikipedia (for example), but there is no leverage if we allow their promotional images as fair use (for example). ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 18:59, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

As far as I remember we have typically removed promotional pictures of such items. For example, I think manufacturers' pictures of handguns have been removed. Your assessment of the NFCC #1 position is I think quite correct. Jheald (talk) 19:07, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
The NFUR claim for the promotional image you link to above is that the product has not yet been released to the public and so the image is not replaceable (obviously a NFUR claim with an expiration date regardless of its merits otherwise). Generally though, you're right that we do not permit use of a nonfree photo that is replaceable, as would be the case with any readily available object that any Wikipedian could photograph. postdlf (talk) 19:12, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Neither product has been released to the public. I emailed the first manufacturer (as I was writing the article) and told him I needed the image to be released as CC-BY-SA to use in on Wikipedia. He released the entire press pack as CC. Manufacturers that haven't launched yet need all the publicity they can get. If we allow images like this there is no reason for manufacturers to release images under a free license, the same reasoning we use for living people. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 19:33, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
To put it another way, have you ever heard of a company that didn't want a Wikipedia article about their products? Isn't that why we are deleting so much spam every day? That's a pretty big bargaining chip from a company's point of view. ▫ JohnnyMrNinja 19:36, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
The one thing to be careful of - not all everyday objects can be photographed freely. Yes, copyright law prevents copyright of a shape that is designed for utility, so a car's or toaster's shape can'be be copyrighted and thus photographed freely; on the other hand, a toy re-creation of a car can be copyrighted since a toy has no utility. Furthermore, if the object does have significant branding on it in terms of labels, even if the shape is utilitarian, the branding can make it copyrighted and a photo a derivative work. --MASEM (t) 00:32, 30 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed; that's the word I was looking for when I said everyday, utilitarian. Can we put something in about utilitarian objects? Even if the item is not released yet or hard to come by, manufacturers will release free copies if asked. At least independent manufacturers will, as long as we don't use non-free images.▫ JohnnyMrNinja 05:47, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Lack of effective freedom for sexually explicit photos on Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia:File copyright tags, "For a file to be considered "free" under Wikipedia's Image use policy, the license must permit both commercial reuse and derivative works." Let's consider how that requirement interfaces with sexually photographs and videos such as the ones used in ejaculation. To comply with the regulations issued per 18 USC 2257 in the United States, "primary producers" and "secondary producers" must keep certain records to establish that all of the performers were adults at the time the depiction was created. OTRS and the WMF are not in the practice of keeping such records. That's fine for us, because the WMF does not qualify as a "primary producer" since it does not actually generate the material, and isn't a secondary producer because it does not distribute the content for commercial purposes. However, the moment a third party takes one of our "free" sexually explicit images and uses it for commercially, without performing the nearly impossible task of obtaining the required records from anonymous contributors, they are breaking the law. While it's obvious that certain commercial uses of our content are extremely unsympathetic, there are legitimate cases. If a college professor teaching a course on human sexuality modifies our text and our images to prepare readers for students, a copy shop cannot print the results since they would be paid for their services. I submit that sexually explicit photos and videos of actual humans on Wikipedia are constructively non-free, as it matters not whether the commercial use restriction is derived from copyright law or some other source, where the non-copyright restriction only exists because the WMF hasn't insisted that uploaders provide it with the necessary records. We have chosen prepare the materials in such a way that they can never be used commercially, and cannot feasibly rectify the problem for content that has already been uploaded. Since all of our sexuality explicit photos and videos of actual people are non-free, the policy should reflect a goal of replacing them with diagrams, paintings, computer renderings, or other free content whenever possible. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 20:32, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

You would need to take this to the WMF. The issue of provoctive images has been one addressed several times by the WMF and they would be aware of their position per 18 USC 2257. We at can't make that distinction. --MASEM (t) 20:51, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Though I will say that because for free images, we license by CC-BY (read: retain attribution), the primary producer of the work is always known, even if a third party publishes it commercially, so it is always possible to attempt communication with that person. --MASEM (t) 20:52, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that the anonymous producers of sexually explicit images are willing to hand over their real names, addresses, and anything else contained on images of their photo IDs, which they would need to provide. You can always ask... Of course our insistence that commercial use of images be allowed is accompanied by a requirement that no permission need be requested from the copyright holder. Regarding contacting the WMF directly, the precise contours of content freedom are normally decided by the community. The NFCC certainly implement foundation policy, but isn't beholden to it in every detail. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 22:47, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
A commercial reuser of a sexually explicit free image would become a secondary producer under the scheme above. If they can't verify the information - either because they can't communicate with the original uploader or the original uploader refuses to give details, then they shouldn't be using the image. That doesn't make the image any less free - there are no IP rights that are negated by that, just legal rights. The Nazi symbols discussed below are a good example of what we expect from free content - nothing that is limited because of a specific person or company demanding IP rights over the content yet obviously concern when national laws come into play. --MASEM (t) 23:19, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
Anyway, this discussion isn't held at the correct place. This is the talk page of a policy regulating fair use on Wikipedia, but even if you try to apply fair use on an image depicting nudity, I would assume that you would still have the same identification issue when attempting to use the Wikipedia article commercially. Thus, fair use or not doesn't seem to affect whether the images are free or not. Furthermore, this isn't very much of a Wikipedia matter as most images related to nudity are held on Wikimedia Commons instead of Wikipedia. Try to take up the matter at Commons:Commons talk:Nudity instead. --Stefan2 (talk) 23:25, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
The NFCC cover all uses of non-free content on Wikipedia, and are not simply coextensive with legal fair use. For example, if an image has a non-commercial license, Wikipedia legally can use it, without relying on fair use as a legal defense, but the NFCC nonetheless sharply restrict the circumstances under which this is acceptable. Conversely, an image with no license at all might be acceptable under fair use law, but prohibited by the NFCC. It is an interesting view that all determinations of content freedom made on Commons are binding on Wikipedia. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 00:07, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) This is not a copyright restriction. The general practice seems to be to ignore other restrictions, such as limitations on the freedom of speech. There are other ways in which sexually explicit material may be partially non-free (i.e. disallowed for some purposes). For example, many countries have age restrictions on sexually explicit material, and in those countries, such material can't be used in publications intended for children. In my country, you can't send pornography to random people unless they've given you prior permission to do so, so you can't include pornography in regular ads sent out to everyone living in some area.
Compare with {{Nazi symbol}}: various Nazi signs are illegal in Germany, but they are still allowed here.
In China it is illegal to oppose the Chinese government, but Wikipedia articles are still allowed to mention such opposition. Wikimedia Commons tries to respect the laws in the country of origin but still allows all of these kinds of material. --Stefan2 (talk) 21:18, 5 May 2012 (UTC)
We've normally responded to various legal issues, such as Nazi paraphernalia which is banned in Germany, by reference to "the laws of the U.S. state of Florida where Wikipedia's main servers are hosted." What we're talking about here is whether content can ever be used commercially, in Florida, or any other part of the United States. Legal restraints which prohibit some, but not all for-profit uses, such as not sending material unsolicited, or targeted towards children, etc, are hardly of the same magnitude. Even personality rights have exceptions where necessary for First Amendment purposes. We consider allowing for-profit use such a touchstone of free content that non-commercial only images are candidates for speedy deletion. Moreover, like a non-commercial copyright limitation, the 18 USC 2257 restrictions aren't an inherent property of images themselves so much as the form in which the uploader submits them. If the required records were provided on the file pages for sexually explicit photos, there would no difficulty with commercial reuse, although this obviously won't happen. It seems excessively formalistic to say that images uploaded without a commercial copyright license are non-free, but those without some other piece of information absolutely necessary for any commercial use, which the uploader could have provided, but won't, are still free content. We shouldn't be accepting any tivoized material. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 22:47, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Alessandra Napolitano your argument is such a stretch that I can't help but think that your interest isn't in compliance with the law but with trying to impose your own personal views against such images on the rest of the community. Maybe I'm wrong about what you're trying to do, but as it stands, I'm not having any of it. Sven Manguard Wha? 23:43, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Then why do you suppose commons:template:2257 exists? Commons is basically acknowledging that, with a certainty of 99%, any commercial reuse of the labeled images in the United States is illegal. They just don't care. Alessandra Napolitano (talk) 00:07, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Through your logic, nothing on commons should be tagged with 2257 because if it was, it fails to be "free". The problem is that your definition of free is not what we consider free. It is free of IP restrictions, but legal laws are not IP restrictions in this case. --MASEM (t) 00:43, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

With a zillion countries in the world, each with its own set of laws (e.g. against covering bad stuff the government did, against homosexuality material, against showing women driving cars or being seen without veils) you can pretty much figure that everything in Wikipedia is illegal somewhere. The only way to be 100% legal everywhere is to delete the entire Wikipedia. A different practical/pragmatic standard needs to and does apply. North8000 (talk) 00:16, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I have trouble taking Alessandra Napolitano's argument seriously. Even if commercial reuse of sexually explicit images by third parties may infringe US law, that is not our concern. We are not responsible for what people do with our content. There are many other ways in which our content may be used illegally, and we are also not responsible for that. In addition, people outside of the US are not bound by US law regarding the use of sexually explicit images, so the matter is even less of an issue for that part of our public.
Because nobody else seems to be taking the argument seriously either, I'm removing mention of it from WP:CENT.  Sandstein  05:49, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Require help for artist:Eija-Liisa Ahtila

Hi. I was searching Google Images for "Eija-Liisa Ahtila" to upload some of her works for Fair Use in Eija-Liisa Ahtila, but didn't know which of them I could upload. It would be great if anybody could help.--Taranet (talk) 19:41, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

Copyrights of lists

Based on how Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition monsters was closed (and 99.99% DRV will be happening), I think we're going to need a bit more discussion to brighten the line for when articles that include lists based on creative works step over the copyvio line.

The tl;dr of the above article was that it was a complete list of each creature defined in the 1st Edition books for D&D, with very brief information about it.

The AFD was closed based on the likelihood of a copyright violation per WP:Copyright in lists, a topic that's been discussed before. This argument, that is supported by counsel from WMF, suggests that recreating the full list of, say, the Time 100, within a single article is improper unless permission is granted (as is the case for the AFI 100 lists)

Some questions myself that I came up with in trying to differentiate things (playing devils advocate):

I personally think I know what the line is but not to taint discussion, I'm leaving it open. But the question needs to be asked in context of U.S. fair use law - and considering what the Foundation would want to avoid. I suspect if/when the DRV for the above AFD is opened, we may get more qualifications to help. --MASEM (t) 06:06, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

The leading case in general for copyright of lists is going to be Feist v. Rural (1991). As our article summarises,

"In regard to collections of facts, O'Connor states that copyright can only apply to the creative aspects of collection: the creative choice of what data to include or exclude, the order and style in which the information is presented, etc., but not on the information itself."

This addresses the Time 100 issue, and various similar lists that have come up from time to time e.g. from Rolling Stone magazine. If the list represents a work of subjective judgement, then it is copyright. On the other hand, if the selection criterion is objective, such as largest 250 companies in the United States, then there is no copyright in the selection, even if "sweat of brow" work has had to be put in to gather and verify the information.
The new issue here is "what about facts about fictional creations"? I think a reasonable line to draw is to ask: was the list itself part of the fictional creation (and a fundamental part, at that) ? In the case of the AD&D monsters, I would say: yes. The original handbook is basically such a list, and our taking that list essentially supplants its original market role.
In the case of the Pokemons, TV characters and TV episodes, I would say: no, because in those cases the lists are derived from the original fictions, rather than being the essential nature of the original fictions themselves. Presenting such a list is therefore transformative in a way the AD&D list is not. It is also only a comparatively small taking from those original creations; and not likely to impact at all on their original market roles. The J.K. Rowling case is perhaps useful: it was ruled that it was acceptable in general to produce an Encylopedia of Harry Potter; but what was not acceptable was to substantially reproduce what essentially was itself an annotated fictional listing, viz the content of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, nor to closely reproduce actual prose from the original novels. That was the material that had to be heavily re-written before the book was re-issued.
A list which indexed only notable AD&D creatures would again I think not be a problem. It would not be an exhaustive re-creation, supplanting the role of the original; it would have a transformative aspect; and, perhaps fundamentally, being forbidden to present and discuss items and concepts which had achieved a real-world notability would be an unwarranted interference with 1st Amendment free-speech rights, which is one of the fundamental underpinning drivers of U.S. Fair Use. Jheald (talk) 09:50, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
Hear hear. Jheald has summed up these concerns so eloquently. :) In discussing the debate, I did have in mind the court's opinion in Warner v. RDR that more infringement existed between the proposed reference guide and Rowling's companion books than the primary fictional series, since there is less transformation there. (I wish they had addressed the question of the website, but Rowling didn't come in pursuit of that.) I am myself far more comfortable with works where creative material is heavily supported by critical analysis or other factors that would support a claim of fair use. The more we seem simply to be abridging another document, the more uncomfortable I become. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 10:35, 10 May 2012 (UTC)
So perhaps one way to sum up the difference is to consider where such a similar list has been first published and if so by whom and in what means: things like episode lists are generated as a show progresses, and similarly a character list is usually something not found directly in a creative work. In the case of the deleted D&D list, the book itself was the original complete printing of that information, and thus there's no derivation by anyone else, ergo the copyvio is there; while a list of notable D&D, which may encompass some of the same information, is a list derived here on WP and likely multiple sources, and thus would be ok.
Or as a different example: reprinting a specific Time 100 list would be a problem since the list is presented in one published work, while a list of Time's Person of the Year over the decades would not be since it would be derived from multiple sources and something Time doesn't publish in one place. Does this gist make sense? --MASEM (t) 12:54, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

Gordian knot cutter

Proposed: Articles wanting to use five or more non-free media items must have approval for the use, agreed upon by consensus at WT:NFC and logged at WT:NFC/Overuse exceptions.

Have an enactment date, say one year in the future. All articles using five or more non-free items will have a notice placed on their talk pages. Editors interested in seeking an exemption have one year to make the case. After the year has expired, all articles without such an exception will have their non-free media stripped. Requests for exemptions may be raised at any time, and consensus can change. If no consensus exists for an exception, editors are free to remove non-free media, noting on the article's talk page the lack of exception.

Discuss. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

As soon as you set a number, people will use up to that number and bitch when you try to enforce below it. There's a possible mechanism here, but I don't think this is the right way here. --MASEM (t) 02:44, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
  • See my comments in the section above. This isn't an entitlement. It's an attempt to address the worst abusers. --Hammersoft (talk) 02:46, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Dealing with non-compliant NFC

Relating to an issue that came up at ANI, I'd like to put language to identify how one should deal with NFC that doesn't immediately fail NFCC (eg: it has a license and rationale, but the rationale may be disputed).

The first way is to take it to the talk page before removing. That never hurts.

The second way is to go to FFD to gain consensus, particularly if it is the only use of that image. If FFD is used, the image should not be removed from the page to allow the image to be judged in context.

The final way is to be BOLD and remove the image, and if this makes it an orphan, letting automatic tools mark it for deletion if it is not restored. However, if the image is restored, the only next appropriate steps are either to take it to the talk page or to FFD, again not removing the image while either is going on.

I would also encourage editors to remember that several facets of NFCC are subjective, and hence removal without discussion when these NFCC criteria are at issue is troublesome. NFCC#1 can be seen objectively, but NFCC#8 absolutely cannot be. Removing images on NFCC#8 claims are likely going to be contentious so it is recommended to use talk pages or FFD if appropriate rather than being BOLD. --MASEM (t) 04:31, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

You want to actually write that into the policy? No way. Mandate discussion before removal? Absolutely unacceptable. Only if it also includes mandatory discussion and consensus before uploading a new image. Same for prohibiting repeated removals: only if such an 1RR also goes for those who restore images. We can't have a mandatory foundation-level policy here but then skew the editing environment against its enforcement by systematically placing obstacles on edits intended to implement it, but not on the edits that potentially break it. I also object against the proliferation of the silly myth that NFCC#8 is always "subjective". While of course it often is, there are plenty of cases where NFCC#8 failures are so obvious no reasonable observer could argue about them. Fut.Perf. 05:06, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
No, you notice it doesn't mandate discussion before. The last option is to be BOLD and remove, but if you're reverted, you better discuss somewhere if you believe the image should be removed. And edit warring removals is just getting us back to BetaCommand territory. 1RR needs to apply to image removal or removal.
As to NFCC#8 being subjective, it is. I'm sorry if you feel it's not, but it is highly subjective. Often a NFCC#8 rationale that seems bad can be improved by improving the rationale or the article to justify its inclusion better. That's why discussion before immediately removal is recommended and even if you remove BOLDly, any subsequent reversion will need discussion to determine how to improve the NFCC#8. --MASEM (t) 05:16, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
I get daily cases like this: a picture of a football player in the kit of team soandso, uploaded with the NFCC#8 rationale that it "provides proof he played for team soandso". There is absolutely no discussion to be had over the fact that this is objectively, irredeemably wrong. Fut.Perf. 05:29, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
That's fine, and I don't deny there aren't some cases that are questionable, but 9 times out of 10, NFCC#8 cannot be determined as obviously objective. And even in the cases you describe, while removal is an appropriate first step, you don't edit war if it is reverted and added back in; you take it to FFD. --MASEM (t) 05:49, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Why does your draft not also contain language advising against reinsertion without prior consensus? Fut.Perf. 06:03, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Because, like article creation, that would go completely against the goals of the open nature of WP to have any type of restriction there. Yes, it is probably not a bad idea to check on a talk page to see if a NFC is needed in situations that aren't directly outlined in WP:NFCI, but as long as WP has the open nature, we can't stop people uploading NFC. --MASEM (t) 13:04, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict) :Option #3 is what reflects the current wording of WP:NFCCE. NFCCE is clear in that if the rationale is disputed, the burden to show that the rationale is valid or the burden to create a valid rationale are on the users wanting to retain the file.

I'd oppose Option #2 as it would be a source for a lot of controversy since it contradicts the 4th bullet point at WP:NFCCE.

I don't see the purpose of Option #1, as I don't think a consensus for removal would form. In my opinion this will just result in a heated discussion. Those who want to have the file included would insist on the NFCC enforcers to add a valid rationale instead of removing the file (that's what I predict from my experience). -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 05:20, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Masem's point (as I understand it) is that if you are doing NFCC 8 management properly, you should be using ALL of these routes, each depending upon the circumstances.
If somebody vigorously contests your assessments, the best place to take it is WP:FFD, and put it before the community. You can't expect to be judge jury and executioner all at once in your own cause. Jheald (talk) 21:22, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. NFCC#8 - and to some extent NFCC#1 and NFCC#3a - are not bright line tests in all cases. You can certainly challenge an image that you feels fails it, and if no one objects within a 7 day period, it can be removed and deleted. But as soon as there's some resistance to removing a file from a page, either you talk about it on the talk page to reach consensus, or take it to the larger venue, FFD, to get consensus for removal. The actions from the ANI that triggered this are where the image was removed, restored by another editor, and then removed again by the first editor and then taken to FFD. Baring common sense cases, images should remain on the page in question to justify their use in context if the reason for deletion is NFCC#1, 3a, or 8.
Now, I'm only saying that sometimes you can get more flies with honey by talking about removing an image first before actually doing so, but as pointed out, that's not a requirement. But knowing how touchy the general WP populace is when NFC "avengers" swoop in to clean up NFC issues, I would want to make sure editors know this is a valid option before being BOLD. If you are going to be BOLD, however, you need to know when not to figure in edit-war mode and instead switch to standard dispute resolution methods as described here. --MASEM (t) 22:11, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
"But as soon as there's some resistance to removing a file from a page, either you talk about it on the talk page to reach consensus, or take it to the larger venue, FFD, to get consensus for removal."
That is not what WP:NFCCE says. The burden to show that a particular file meets the NFC criteria is on the editors who want to use the file. There is nothing saying the NFCC enforcers have to show a file does not meet the criteria before removal. NFCCE says a non-compliant file can be removed and there is nothing in the policy that requires the NFCC enforcers to reach a consensus before removal. Those who want to use a non-free file have to show the file meets the criteria, otherwise the NFCC enforcers can legitimately remove it. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 06:34, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
I think the point is what happens when they believe that they have shown that the file meets the NFC criteria, but you disagree. In that situation it is generally not a bad idea to take the file to FFD; that way they can feel that their case has been heard by the community as a whole. Jheald (talk) 09:47, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
I think it is irrelevant (at least regarding NFCC 10c) whether some particular editor thinks they have shown that the file meets the criteria. 10c is actually like a Boolean data type: either it has a valid rationale or it doesn't. If it doesn't, WP:NFCCE says the file can be removed. As for your statement that it would be a good idea to take the file to FFD, that is completely subjective and not a requirement. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 11:44, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
There are objective NFCC criteria that can't be argued: you're either in main space or not, you either have the article name in the rationale or not. However, except for NFCC#9, these are also the ones that are trivial to fix, so flatout removal without warning (via tagging) is not acceptable (we've been there before). NFCC#9 is the only one that does allow for outright removal and to revert those that attempt to readd, since it's pretty clear. I'm more worried on editors attempting to judge the subjective criteria, #1, 3a, 8, and possibly a few others, for themselves. Hence why a single BOLD removal is fine, but once you've been reverted, you must take it to discussion where, yes, those wishing to retain the image must demonstrate why it should be kept. --MASEM (t) 13:04, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
"Hence why a single BOLD removal is fine, but once you've been reverted, you must take it to discussion...."
Where is this written down? -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 18:22, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • This all presumes NFCC is enforced. It isn't. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:07, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Comment We can argue this over and over and over again. Hammersoft is correct, the NFCC aren't enforced and as such pretty much useless. I therefore think it would be the best option to probably replace our (the English Wikipedias) EDP with something else or rewrite it (especially get rid of NFCC#3a and 8). I know that I'd have the support of The Foundation in doing this as I brought up the idea of conducting an RfC on this matter with the community liaison. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 17:41, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Further comment I'd propose to start an extensive thread regarding this matter on VPR. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 18:03, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

  • I think the best option is to replace the EDP with a statement that the use of non-free imagery on the project must comply with U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, 17 USC 107 ("Fair use" law), and that downstream republishers are responsible for legal compliance for their own use. As an educational resource, we have a liberal hand in the use of non-free imagery under that law, which the WMF's own legal counsel has agreed with. The idea that we limit non-free image use here is farcical; we have more than 440 thousand non-free images here now, and constantly growing. The NFCC policy is a charade. Given that we don't enforce NFCC, and we are already accepting non-free content essentially to the limit of U.S. fair use law, we should drop the pretense that we limit non-free use. A policy that isn't enforced isn't a policy. "Wikipedia's policies and guidelines are pages that serve to document the good practices that are accepted in the Wikipedia community". NFCC policy does not document reality anymore, if it ever did. It documents what the Foundation wants us to say, but is very far removed from reality. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:04, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
    • Hammersoft, I am aware what you're saying in that you feel that the project allows too much NFC or when contested, often in favor of keeping NFC, or the whole with with Beta's handling/restrictions on NFC. Let's figure out exactly what is wrong with NFC today, on the basis that otherwise NFCC and NFC are accepted policy/guidelines that fall within the WMF requirement, instead of moaning and (sarcastically) suggesting a give-it-up solution. Maybe we need a better (re)education of users via the Signpost on NFC (something Tony suggested to me about a month ago). Maybe we need a specific process for NFC (one user above suggested having a requirement for discussion to include NFC before uploading, a bit exaggerated but a possible foundation for an idea). NFC is still important for the project, and while I know there are parts of NFCI that I myself would not agree with (like cover art), there is at least reasonable consensus on all parts of these. So lets figure out where the gaps are to make NFC use more like the Foundation wanted it instead of just letting it all go. --MASEM (t) 18:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Let's be clear here. I am NOT sarcastically saying we should vacate the current NFCC policy. Drop "sarcastically" and it is accurate. The suggestion of having some sort of vetting process before non-free content is included in articles has been discussed before. It's never gained a smidgeon of consensus, and never will. Above, I described reality; this project liberally accepts non-free images to the extent of U.S. fair use law. There is a vanishingly small cadre of editors who attempt to enforce NFCC, but this cadre has never been able to effectively police non-free content usage. The efforts have generated an enormous amount of antipathy. The effects have resulted in more non-free content on the project than ever before, in a greater ratio per article than ever before, with more abuses than ever before. En.wikipedia is carrying on a farce; that we have an NFCC policy and adhere to it. We have it, but we don't adhere to it. The scale is enormous; it's as if there were a 10km/hr speed limit on every highway in Europe, and every vehicle on those highways averaged in excess of 200km/hr. As a project, we are incapable of upholding NFCC. We've proven that, after years and years of trying. Plenty of ideas have been tried. All of them have failed at one level or another. I stopped almost all of my NFCC enforcement because it is an utter waste of time. Personally, I think the few people left attempting to enforce it should give it up. Why? Because what little effort there is in enforcing NFCC is only delaying the inevitable discussion of just what we do (other than current practice) with non-free content needs to be had. The middle ground we have assumed has failed. Given that an overwhelming majority of editors would prefer liberal inclusion of non-free content, I believe that is the direction we should go; limiting it to just what is acceptable under fair use law. Add a caveat about downstream republishers being responsible for legal compliance, and we're in the clear. The problem is then solved. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:22, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
        • There is a vanishingly small cadre of editors who attempt to enforce NFCC, but this cadre has never been able to effectively police non-free content usage. The efforts have generated an enormous amount of antipathy. The effects have resulted in more non-free content on the project than ever before, in a greater ratio per article than ever before, with more abuses than ever before. And this is identify the problem - that NFC enforcement is seen with resentment. I know that Beta's overall actions as a whole (not just restricted to NFCC) did not help the cause, but that's not to blame him for that.
        • It is not the case that the guidelines aren't enforced. Unfortunately the only regular place for review of images within an article as a whole is at WP:FAC. (GA and DYK does some of this but because only one person reviews it, it's not a great solution.) This, to me, suggests a pipeline problem in addition to the apathy. One can upload an NFC image, use it as long as it doesn't trick any of the image check bots, and be out of compliance for years (say, a non-free image of a living person). Now, it is impractical to call for a consensus before an image can be uploaded, but I could see better use of WP:New Page Patrol for images, tagging those that potentially fail subjective NFCC criteria appropriately (after giving enough time for the uploader to attach rationales/use the image, etc.) Right now, using Special:New Pages on the File: namespace gives every change to any filespace article which isn't helpful - we need a NPP that is better amendable to say what images were uploaded and to what pages they were inserted into - giving, say, 24 hr for the editor to get everything fixed in place. That addresses a front-end problem that we don't presently have. Mind you, I'd seek consensus for this, with the understanding that tagged files is just like tagging articles from NPP - they can be challenged and the like and aren't meant as a single answer.
        • But I think the larger issue is to make sure that NFC is not treated apathically. Right now , NFC handling is attached to specific editors that the community does not trust, and thus, perhaps irrationally, they don't stand behind the NFC requirements. We need to correct that, re-establish that the NFCC are required by the Foundation, and go from there. Regain the community's support - and if that means we have to be more touchy-feely with NFCC matters, so be it. --MASEM (t) 18:42, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
          • I believe your optimism is misplaced. I also believe that laying any blame at the feet of NFCC enforcing editors over the years is misplaced. It has not mattered who enforces NFCC. But let's say I'm one of the most abusive NFCC enforcers out there, as a thought experiment. I gave up NFCC enforcement some months ago. It would seem to follow that antipathy towards the policy should then go down, and we should have more compliance? I assure you this isn't the case. I gave up NFCC enforcement about the time the Δ case closed. So, multiply that effect times two...and non-compliance has risen, not gone down. Frankly, I don't care anymore that it's gone up. But, any argument based on the notion of being more touchy-feely is a non-starter. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:53, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Re to Masem regarding"So lets figure out where the gaps are to make NFC use more like the Foundation wanted it instead of just letting it all go."

Yes, lets go back to the Foundation Resolution and check the EDP against it. Then we can look at the issues with the current wording of WP:NFCC and perhaps start a discussion to reach a consensus in which direction to change it. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 18:32, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Again, I really don't think it is the case that the NFCC is a problem, outside of NFCC#8, which is purposely subjective, and hard to reword without pointing to specific examples from NFCI. We could have a community question to ask "if you could change anything about NFCC, what would be it (understanding that the Foundation has a set requirement for it)." --MASEM (t) 18:42, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • That the Foundation has a set requirement to limit non-free usage has been no impediment to heavy abuse of that dictum. I've raised the issue with the Foundation before, and received no response. They don't care either. Look, I fought in these trenches for years. I tried desperately hard to enforce NFCC policy. I am extremely well versed in its history, the arguments that have erupted, etc. It is my (not being arrogant here, but factual) extremely well informed opinion that any middle ground option where we include non-free content more restrictively than fair use law has absolutely no chance of working. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:46, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • See, I disagree, but it is perhaps that I have avoided getting too , er, devoted to defending NFCC in the face of rising emotions and trying to go towards consensus. There was a period between when the Foundation issued the resolution and after tagging articles that there was at least a good understanding of why NFC was being tagged, though the how was challenged due to multiple editors' (on both sides) attitudes. The point is that when NFC enforced started to become more strict - or more likely, more of a "no questions asked" attitude, those against the NFC or that didn't understand it fought back, and then we get the whole ArbCom/Beta issues effectively slapping the hands down on hard enforcement.
  • Fine, we can't be hard-nosed about NFC save for specific cases, but we still can enforce it. No, we don't need to be wimpy about how we enforce it "Oh, I think that fails, but I'm not going to do anything about it", but we can have a process as I described above for how to do standard dispute resolution that falls within other similar processes, allows us to be assertive but not overbearing on failures of NFCC, and work to re-making NFC an understood process. --MASEM (t) 19:12, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Masem, with all respect (and I have a hell of a lot of respect for you) and with no pejorative intent, the naivete of this statement is quite humorous to me. I have nothing else to say in response to it, except to state you are welcome to try, but I'll be absolutely floored if NFC issues are better even a year from now. They will get worse, I guarantee it. But, since I'm part of the problem apparently, you don't have to worry about me; I already stepped out of the arena. I'm just in the bleachers now watching the three ring circus. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:18, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Question Why do we need 3a and 8 at all, I still don't see it. What purpose do these two criteria serve? -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 18:56, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Fair use in US Law is evaluated on several factors, two being how much of the original work is used, and the type of purpose it is being used for. #3a addresses the first part to assure minimal use of a work (and also helps on the commercial reuse aspect of fair use that we aren't providing massive resolution images). #8 addresses the purpose, making sure that it is actually integral to the article. Without either, we would end up with Wikia-like image use which one could argue falls with US Fair Use law but fails the Foundation's stricter requirement. --MASEM (t) 19:12, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • The effort is commendable certainly, and I don't mean to take anything away from it, but it is utterly futile. For example, placing Flags of the U.S. cities will fail, unless you intend to also have all of Category:Lists of flags deleted, as well as Category:Flag image galleries. For other cases, it's an infinite game of whack-a-mole. You might 'fix' Egyptian Air Force ranks, and even if that stuck there would be numerous articles taking its place. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:45, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • By the way, I voted on the flag article AfD; my comment there has nothing to do with the NFC concerns, and I refused taking a position on the NFC issue on that article. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:57, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • For some of these, when I see them come up, I see a strong intense and worthwhile (even if there are entrenched sides) for NFC use -- and then they just peter out with no resolution - until the next event happens; heck, I don't even remember a satisfactory conclusion to the sports logo bit even if that went to the next level of DR. I think we can do better than that by having a more formal, structured discussion that would be closed by an non-involved admin. I wouldn't do these in one fell swoop, but like, instead have a RFC on currency articles to establish the baseline.
  • What I think we also have to fight against is OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. New users see, say, the US banknote article full of images, and think they can do the same with their fandom article. Say we have a RFC on banknotes and consensus says that all banknotes regardless of NFC can be included (a stance I don't agree with and one that conflicts with NFC right now, but let's take that consensus changes). We need to be clear that this is an exceptional case in including that in NFCI. --MASEM (t) 20:01, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Like I said, you're welcome to try. I find it humorous. All of it has been tried before, and it's all miserably failed. Every scrap of it, all of it, stunningly fails in the face of long term WP:ILIKEIT. There is not a single argument in favor of NFCC enforcement that can survive in the face of that single force. The fundamental underlying principle beneath that is there are far more people wanting to contribute to the encyclopedia who do not care about free content from a philosophical view, and instead are very content with gratis arrangements, as opposed to libre arrangements. This is why middle of the road solutions to contain NFCC are not just doomed to fail, they've already failed before they've even begun. In short, nobody gives a rat's ass, no matter how noble the idea or effort. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:09, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
Re to Masem: That means in theory these two criteria are actually those that ensure that the uses of non-free files here at Wikipedia stay inside the borders defined by law. That seems to be a strong indicator that these are the criteria that actually should be enforced, whereas the other criteria only aim toward Wikipedia internal matters. Perhaps we should try to formulate an EDP based on those two factors and try to formulate that in an objective way (if that is possible, I have no idea whether it is). -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 19:30, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Point by point; The points of NFCC that are there because of fair use law are #2, #3b, 4, sort of #8 (going to transformative use). The rest are there only for Wikipedia purposes. For example, the restriction on location being in the mainspace is a purely Wikipedia construct; if a person is working on an article in their own userspace, it is extremely unlikely they would be in violation of fair use law due to that work. Yet, we prevent people from doing that anyway. Also, understand; objective measures under fair use law are deliberately absent. It is intended to be grey and in case law is judged on a case by case basis. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:48, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
What we need is a rule regarding how to properly handle a single case. If there were a policy saying that if the fair use claim on a specific file is questioned, those questioning the claim have to take it to some venue (something like Wikipedia:Disputed fair use claims) so that fair use claims can be judged on a case by case basis with requiring from those who want to use the non-free content to show it meets the criteria I wouldn't have a problem to use such a venue. But that is not what the current EDP says or requires from NFCC enforcers.

(See proposal below). -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 10:20, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Case example of why NFCC fails

With all the debate above about whether NFCC is viable, I give you a case example. Over the last several months, there's been a rather large number of attempts to force a non-free and/or copyright violating image onto a BLP page. A number of attempts have been made via Commons as well. The issue has been debated several times. Yet, even now, there's a person on the article's talk page insisting that we must have a non-free image of this individual. See for yourself. I, playing the part of the NFCC enforcer in this case, am the unreasonable, the person incapable of defending their position, the person who is utterly wrong. If I didn't have an interest in this article, the WP:ILIKEIT crowd would win, and we'd have a non-free image of this person on the article. Enjoy, --Hammersoft (talk) 00:48, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't see what I've done that merits being held up as some kind of case study. When I suggested you could invite others to the discussion, this certainly wasn't what I had in mind. I hope people keep an open mind if they're minded to comment on seeing this. I take issue with you trying to portray me as someone pushing a rock up a hill. You cited just one past debate in your "not acceptable" post, and in it the majority were actually against you. The single person supporting you totally undermined their own case by suggesting that emailing the Supreme Leader to ask him to upload a pic to Wikipedia is something that falls on the side of a reasonable expectation of what could be done. That debate was archived without any impartial conclusion, so where your confidence comes from in the above is beyond me. If this has been settled before properly, and not just in your opinion, then just point that discussion out, and I'll be on my way. But I will not stand for being characterised, marginalised or ignored in any way, shape or form, as a replacement for you not wanting to debate the issue properly, and that includes any kind of patronising comment in response to this post that you may be contemplating.
I also take issue with you trying to transpose my fair characterisation of your points as unreasonable, into some sort of personal comment on your character. Calling your positions unreasonable doesn't translate to me calling you unreasonable. I stand by my statements about your inability to defend you position, as I think it's self-evident that you have ignored multiple points of mine, and your own points have been largely generic and evasive/authoritarian, rather than being an attempt to persuade me with reasoned debate in full consideration of the facts of the matter and the issues I raised about your post. Whether you consider yourself an enforcer or not (with your writing style it's quite hard to separate sarcasm from normal speech) is no concern of mine. As far as I'm concerned, you're just one editor like anyone else, whose opinion doesn't automatically command any greater respect or belief in its accuracy than anyone else's. Krolar62 (talk) 15:51, 16 May 2012 (UTC)


I hereby propose we create Wikipedia:Disputed fair use claims and change the wording of WP:NFCCE such that NFCC enforcers are required to take violations to that board. The burden to show a specific fair use claim is valid by showing the file meets the criteria would be on the people who want to use or retain the file. This would make it possible to judge NFCC violations on a case by case basis. The file transclusion could be commented out while the use of the file is at Wikipedia:Disputed fair use claims.

My arguments in favor of this are:

  • It would leave the burden to show a file meets the NFC criteria on the users who want to use non-free content.
  • It would make the NFCC enforcers look less like 'NFCC zealots'
  • It could be a place for the NFCC enforcers to coordinate their efforts without (hopefully) 'militarizing' NFCC enforcement

-- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 10:54, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

This is what WP:FFD exists for. --MASEM (t) 12:59, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • One of the main problems with NFCC enforcement is the repetition of arguments in similar situations. The case I noted in the section above is a classic example of that. Similar arguments, similar antipathy towards NFCC, similar rebuttals. It happens over, and over, and over again. This proposal would actually make this worse, in that all enforcement would have to go through this board. I've done more than 5000 edits in NFCC enforcement. If I had to take every single one of these to some board, it'd be impossible to move forward. If I didn't bring it to this notional board, people would be angry that it wasn't, and restore the violation until there was a discussion. This would permanently logjam NFCC enforcement. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:02, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) WP:FFD can only be used if the image fails WP:FFD in all articles where it is used. Banknotes of the Australian dollar has too many non-free images, but the images can't be taken to FFD because many of the images are used elsewhere, for example in Australian one-dollar note. My understanding is that it would also be possible to use the proposed page for cases where images only need to be removed from some articles but not from all of them. Currently, you can't really do anything apart from just removing them from the articles, which might cause people to re-add them again, creating edit wars. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:09, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I could have sworn I've seen FFD used before for contesting NFC use on a partial set of articles an image was used for, but can't find said examples. Not that I would be opposed to a board specifically designed to discuss NFC problems of specific or multiple related images, but I would reiterate Hammersoft's fear that if every single image deletion had to be handled that way, the burden is far too high. When challenged, sure, but I wouldn't be surprised if a majority of image removals by various means go unchallenged. --MASEM (t) 13:14, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I often tag several images per day with {{di-replaceable fair use}}. It would really be too much trouble to take all of them to a discussion board, formulating arguments and so on. Photos of people who are still alive or of buildings which still exist are very trivial cases. Sure, WP:NFCC#8 is more difficult and might need to be taken to a discussion. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:20, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
(edit conflict) (after having read Hammersoft's comment) Can't we just adjust the proposal a bit? When I tag a file with some DI tag (such as {{di-replaceable fair use}}), users sometimes add a tag claiming that my tagging is disputed. If a file is deleted from an article (for example because it fails WP:NFCC#10c in that article), users sometimes dispute that by immediately re-adding the image again. How about deciding that whenever an action is disputed, it should be taken to that discussion place? As I wrote, WP:FFD only works if the file fails WP:NFCC in all articles using the image, but we run into problems if an image appears to pass WP:NFCC in at least one article. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:16, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
We're coming right back around to what I wrote at the start of this, save for the final resolution step of where it takes place. Several removals can be done without any comment after tagging, as after 7 days without dispute they end up on admin maintenance lists and then are removed. Other removals can often be handled on talk pages. When that dispute fails, then there needs to be a point to elevate the result. FFD is, as noted, if that's the only use of the file, but a separate noticeboard or the like (MCQ wouldn't be a good place) to discuss either larger-scale problems (eg the banknote issue from the past) or cases where one specific use of several for an image needs to be removed. So whatever this NFCCE or noticeboard is, it is just a proper step in dispute resolution of non-free images. --MASEM (t) 13:25, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm wondering if the proposed noticeboard wouldn't just be a new WP:NFR, i.e. a place where you initiate a discussion and get no reply for several months... --Stefan2 (talk) 14:00, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    • Either that, or a second parallel WP:FFD. Would a discussion on this proposed new board be able to lead to an enforceable delete consensus? Or would an FFD need to be run after it? Fut.Perf. 14:10, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
      • My idea is that a discussion on that board would always result in the removal of the file transclusion unless someone can for example bring a convincing argument that shows the use of the file is acceptable under NFCC#8. If then there is a consensus that the use is acceptable under 8, it would be retained, otherwise it will be removed. -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 14:55, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Banknotes of the Australian dollar

As an aside, I tried adding {{non-free}} to the Banknotes of the Australian dollar three times. Each time, it gets removed. The last two times was because administrator Aaron Brenneman insisted there had to be accompanying discussion on the talk page otherwise it's just a "tag and run". Just as an experiment, please do not comment on the article's talk page, or edit the article, and (experiment over) observe what happens when I remove all of the non-free images from the article, properly noting the appropriate policies and guidelines; done. Might take a few days or weeks, but I'd bet the images will be restored. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:48, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

  • HAHAHAHAHA Holy crap that was a hell of a lot faster than even I thought it would happen!!!!! --Hammersoft (talk) 14:04, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • So now administrator Aaron Brenneman, who has been on this project for nearly seven years, who has been an administrator for more than six years (i.e., someone who should know better) has initiated a discussion at Talk:Banknotes_of_the_Australian_dollar#Images. We now have to go through a long discussion on why the images are not acceptable for use like this, and the article needs to look something like this. We'll crawl through the discussion, and maybe, just maybe (in a good case scenario) the images will be removed from the article per WP:NFTABLE and WP:NFCC. After all that effort, it will be one down and more than 2500 overusing articles to go. Sigh. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • And to top it off, I'm now being accused of slow motion edit warring. Isn't this pleasant? --Hammersoft (talk) 14:12, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    • To be honest, there's no way that this would be held to be anything other than perfectly acceptable fair use, either by us or by a verbatim commercial reuser. I really don't see why you think that there is a problem. This is useful content, precisely the kind of thing that our readers turn to Wikipedia for, for full encyclopedic coverage. At the moment we do a good job of satisying that, which we should be proud of. Who is supposed to gain, and what, if we tear down this encyclopedic resource? I only see people losing. Jheald (talk) 14:27, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Hm? Compare with the similar article ja:日本銀行券 (JPY banknotes). That's a perfect example of how you can design an article like this without using a single non-free image anywhere in the article. The corresponding English article does, of course, suffer from the same problem as the Australian article. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:54, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
        • This all points back to an unresolved discussion on banknote images, where we (being those backing NFCC) generally believe that you can use one set of front/back notes (NFC) as an example to extrapolate to all other banknotes of the same style, using tables to identify differences in color, the person/landmarks/other imagery on the front/back that likely have free media elsewhere on WP, ergo meeting NFCC#1 and #3a. The problem is, this discussion just petered off with no sound resolve. This is where we need to have a more formalized process that involves a final end-point judgement by an uninvolved admin to assert what is the case. There is some necessary aspect of the banknote case because the implication that some use that OTHERSTUFFEXISTS is pretty much the anti-thesis of NFC - what works or is appropriate for some cases is not true for other equivalent cases. Maybe there is a reasonable consensus for allowing numerous banknote images on a page about it, but we have to make sure that that consensus only applies to banknotes and not to, say, flags, discorgraphies, etc. --MASEM (t) 15:11, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
          • This particular article is the 5th highest user of non-free images on the project. If there's agreement that this use is acceptable, I dare say there's really no grounds to object to discographies having album covers. It's virtually identical nature of use. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:19, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
        • @Stefan: Except the Japanese currency images are hosted on Commons. Not really sure if they are PD by law though, as I think the template applied does not apply. I've started a discussion on Commons about this. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:19, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • And (meant with all respect Jheald, please) Jheald demonstrates why enforcing NFCC is impossible. There is no way forward that allows for a "middle ground" of NFCC enforcement such that NFCC use is actually limited. Including the 30 non-free images is perfectly in line with Fair Use law. I 100000% agree. It's not at all in compliance with what the Foundation wants us to do, but the Foundation's dictum on the issue has been completely eroded and we are no longer compliant, if ever we were. This is the attitude that is firmly ensconced within the project. It's time to stop the charade and delete WP:NFCC. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:35, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    • Wonderful. And after the deletion, we'd just make sure that Wikipedia complies with wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy#Resolution §6. --Stefan2 (talk) 14:54, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    • This is the type of attitude that I alluded to above that pro-NFC maintainers will take that makes the appearance of NFC enforcement an ugly mess. This is why I'm trying to propose something that is 1RR before standard dispute resolution takes in. Barring flagrant problems with images, no matter how right you are, if an image removal is questioned, discussion should happen. It would be better if that discussion took place at a common location where NFC-knowledgeable people would provide their experience (read: some type of noticeboard), as otherwise you get the isolated cases like the Kim-Jong Un case that Hammersoft pointed out above. As pro-NFC maintainers we should not consider ourselves better than any other editor, and that is why to some extent many editors disregard or pish-posh NFC because of the holier-than-thou approach. (And to be honest, yes, Hammersoft, what you did just with this would fall into that category, but this is not to say you're the only one that has that approach). We don't need to go soft on NFC enforcement, we just need to be more relaxed about it and use established processes to avoid battleground mentalities. --MASEM (t) 15:18, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Masem, I know you didn't mean it but I'll take the insult and run with it...literally. I'm not going to fight the reinclusion of the extreme overuse of non-free images on the Aussie banknotes article. Tell you what; you do it. When you're done, please report back how much effort it took in order to accomplish the minimization of non-free images on that article. Then, please take it to another similar currency article and see how much effort it takes that previous decision to stick on the next article. You will then perhaps see the enormous amount of effort it takes to make any headway whatsoever on this issue. I once ran an estimate of this, and found it would take over 20 years to bring the project into compliance. If you think your system will work, then by all means try it. PLEASE. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:22, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
        • The problem is that addressing such articles one at a time by trying to tag non-free or outright removal is a long long game, and again puts everyone into battlefield mode. An RFC to try to conclude the previous discussion from about a year+ ago in one direction or another would be the right approach. That addresses all the currency articles at the same time. And then we actually would have a document to point back to - regardless of which way the RFC closes - to say how images in such lists should be handled. I can't assure it would remove the bulk of the images, but I can assure that whatever decision there either is aligned with all other list-type articles, or specifically narrow to only apply to banknote/currency lists. --MASEM (t) 15:26, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
          • We already had an RfC. It got nowhere. But, if you believe a new RfC would give us a baseline to refer to, please start one. I will guarantee you this is not the way forward, as it will fail and fail miserably. Even if by some miracle consensus is achieved to get rid of such mass overuse of non-free images in currency articles, you will face a very steep road in trying to apply the decision. You will lose Masem, I guarantee it. We've been trying for years and years and years now. Enormous amounts of work have been expended to try to solve the issue. NOTHING has worked. NOTHING. All those years of presumably intelligent people, and all their ideas failed. If you believe you have the one solution that will cut the gordian knot, I have a bridge for sale I'm sure you'd be interested in :) --Hammersoft (talk) 15:39, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
            • My point on that RFC is it just petered out. No non-involved admin closed it, or provided recommendations. That leaves the question in the air still. Another RFC, though at a venue like VPP or this proposed noticeboard, and getting a non-involved admin to affirm they will close the RFC and make a decision at the start, would settle the matter - though I can't promise it would settle it on the removal of images. And it would be important to make sure that the RFC addresses the fact that images on tables like that are generally not appropriate and why would banknotes need a distinguishing allowance for it. Yes, if the RFC ends up in favor of keeping the images, I would be disappointed but would stick to it, just as I don't believe that NFCI#1 (cover art) is really a fair allowance but I don't find the consensus for that that we did have an RFC for some time ago. But, if anything, if the consensus is allowance for banknote images on such lists and such lists only, the means to carve out that exception is helping to strengthen the requirements for the use of NFC elsewhere; eg, out of the cover art RFC, it was clear there is still strong validity to the NFCC#8 requirement even if it is implicitly provided. --MASEM (t) 15:47, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
              • Go for it. If this sort of use is determined by the community to be acceptable, then there is absolutely zero reason why such a consensus for inclusion can not also apply to discographies, episode lists, etc. Please, please, please start the RfC. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:53, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
    • It seems to me that NFCC is achieving exactly the purposes intended for it. It's making sure, at least so far as we can, that the content here is legally safe for WP and verbatim reusers under U.S. law; and that images are not accepted here if they might inhibit people producing fully free images. And it's giving WP a reputation for caring about those things. That's what the NFCC are for, and for the most part they work very effectively -- including focussing legitimate debate where there is legitimate debate to be had. The difference between now and 2005, before the NFCC, is enormous. And frankly, if the images you're most concerned about are ones you 100000% agree are legitimate fair-use, then in itself is a testament to just how well the NFCC have worked -- and are working. Jheald (talk) 16:05, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
      • Right, which shows that WP:NFCC is really just our statement on fair use and how we handle fair use claims, and has nothing at all to do with our free content mission I.e, the charade. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:12, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
        • 3,950,000 articles on en:wiki and approaching 14 million images on Commons are testament to our free-content mission, just how much we've done to pursue it, and just how much we've achieved. It's no charade. But en:wiki is not and never has been a free-content only encyclopedia. The decision was taken a long time ago that we could best advance our free content mission by appropriately using non-free content where it was legal and where there are no free media that could replace it. The NFCC are the sound and stable basis by we achieve that -- and, I reiterate, in my view have been an extraordinary success. Jheald (talk) 16:41, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
          • In your 16:05, 16 May 2012 comment, you made it rather clear that if it passes Fair Use law, then inclusion here shouldn't be a problem. Am I wrong? --Hammersoft (talk) 16:56, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
            • In my view there are three key things: first that the content must be legal under U.S. Fair Use law, not just for us but for commercial verbatim reusers as well; second, that there are no free media that could replace it, that it might dissuade people from producing; and third, which is perhaps a little less concrete, Wikipedia's reputation and how people see WP. In the case of the Australian bank-notes, they are (according to you) 100000% fair use; they clearly can't be replaced by free media doing the same job; and in my view having them adds to WP's reputation for being comprehensive and thorough, a good place to turn to find things out, and so a place that it is worth contributing to. I don't think we are using them lightly or wantonly, I think we're using them in a way which recognisably satisfies a legitimate query. Historically those were what the NFCC were created to defend, and I think the NFCC have done -- and continue to do -- that job well. It goes a bit wider than just "confidently passing Fair Use law", though that's certainly an important part of it. Jheald (talk) 17:27, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
              • You'll have to walk me through this carefully. I don't see how this is at all any different than allowing any image so long as it passes fair use requirements and so long as no free image can replace it? --Hammersoft (talk) 17:31, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
              • The flaw in this argument is "they can't be replaced by free media doing the same job". We can't 100% replace the non-free with free media, but we can easily reduce the amount of non-free by showing an example non-free image with additional text to explain the differences that extrapolates to all. This is the point Hammersoft's been trying to make is that a critical part of the Foundation resolution and NFCC is to call for minimal use of non-free works, not just assuring that such uses pass fair use allowances. I completely agree, 100%, that including all the images of the banknotes falls under fair use as an encyclopedia is concerned, but that's not the last line of logic that the NFC works under. It is particularly nuanced and seems counter intuitive, but this is what the Foundation requires us to do is to seek out how to reduce non-free works. --MASEM (t) 17:57, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
                • Yes, I understand that that is Hammersoft's view of what the Foundation requires. But I'm not sure it's necessarily the Foundation's. Kat Walsh, who was there, explicitly told us that the purpose of the Foundation resolution was not to tighten up the NFCC policy en-wiki had developed; rather it was to recognise that en-wiki's development of the NFCC policy had been a very valuable step, fixing what previously had been a serious problem, and it was something that other wikis needed to have something similar to if they were going to have NFC. But she specifically rejected the notion that the resolution was intended to change standards which had already been adopted on en-wiki. As for the word "minimal", I think it is possible to overinterpret this. I suspect the Foundation resolution deliberately echoed the word exactly because it is used so frequently in U.S. fair use discussions with a very particular meaning, "no more than needed to achieve the purpose identified", rather than to establish a separate standard in contrast to U.S. fair use. Indeed, it's quite hard to come up with a workable alternative meaning of the word minimal, apart from no use at all.
                Hammersoft asked what the third of my factors above contributes. As I said, in my view it's more impressionistic, harder to be concrete about than the first two. But there is a certain austerity in the way we use fair-use images -- not in userspace, limited in some lists, only after jumping through certain hoops -- which in my view does make sense because it does affect how WP is perceived, our reputation. Compared to much of the rest of the net, I think it's an enormous asset for WP to be seen to be holding back a bit, not to be taking such material 'wantonly or lightly' as I put it above. I think the community was right to end the largely decorative illustrating of episode lists, for example, even if there might not strictly have been a legal problem; and I think we do the right thing by concentrating cast lists into group photos. It's about the perception that we're being conservative and not taking any more than really does help satisfy people's legitimate queries. But I don't think the Foundation is requiring us to remove the Australian banknote images; I don't think it's something they would even particularly wish us to do. Jheald (talk) 18:57, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
                • I completely appreciate that point and acknowledge it. The problem is that we have a user base that cries out OTHERSTUFFEXISTS at the moment where one article is allowed to use a large amount of non-free and another cannot, even if there's a long established case history of this happening. One way to counter this is how I've suggested, where we can minimize non-free to fewer numbers non-free, which puts articles on par with each other. The other option is a much more social one, where we recognize that in an encyclopedia, an article about the banknotes of a country should have images of each banknote, even if this greatly increases the number of non-frees on that page, while other list-style articles (discographies) aren't allowed that. If there is consensus among experienced editors that this dichotomy does exist, we have to make sure that the exceptions or differences are spelled out in crystal clear language so that a less-experienced user doesn't come along with a OTHERSTUFFEXISTS flag raised high to demand multiple non-frees on an article where consensus has otherwise previously agreed it doesn't make sense. This might be a worthwhile conversation in light of NFC and NFCC#8 in particular, but its also a harder solution to obtain, I feel. --MASEM (t) 19:32, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a real danger in becoming too obsessed with numbers -- "the numbers of non-frees on the page" etc. Almost always, it seems to me, with NFC the real questions that focus should be directed to should almost always be about the qualities of what's being done -- what is being used, what sort of content that is, how it's being used, why it's being used. Those qualities are what discussion of NFC should focus around. NFCC #3 is of course valuable, particularly the principle of not using more non-free images if the same information could be conveyed with less. But I have real unease about the likes of Hammersoft's proposal below, which seems to implicitly lead towards a presumption that it's all about numbers -- that 30 non-frees, or even six, are by default a problem: in a case like the banknotes article they may well not be; whereas five are automatically okay: again, absolutely the wrong impression to be conveying. That's not the right way that people should be thinking about NFC. A case has to be made out for every single image, if it is to be used; but on the other hand sometimes very many images simply aren't a problem. I'm far less concerned about 30 banknotes than a single questionable historical image, and that's the kind of perspective that WP:NFC should be communicating.
So I think your second approach, which is the way we've traditionally done things, is the right way to go, even if it is more challenging. All in all, I don't the project is in bad shape as a result of it so far. And sometimes it will simply be, where a call is 50/50, that the community has simply decided to go one way rather than the other. Discographies for instance. It is (or should be) a hard call, because sometimes -- for a band like The Beatles or Yes, for example -- seeing all the covers on one page really does tell a story about the visual style of the band, and/or how it developed over time, which is lost if they are diffused over 1001 different pages. I certainly argued that at the time. But the community took the view that in this case a bright line was better, and I can respect that. The information about the covers for particular albums is still available, and given the levels of non-free content use in 2005, I think the fact that the site may now seem rather more austere in its use of NFC is no bad thing. But NFC management absolutely ought to focus on the qualities of the objects, and the qualities of the way they are used, even if it is more challenging, because it's the assessment of those qualities that the NFC issue is really all about and that the NFCC rightly try to capture. Jheald (talk) 23:45, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree that obsessing with the number of NFC items on a page is the wrong approach. The problem is a userbase that doesn't realize the subtleties of the NFC numbers. They see an article that validly uses 10 or more NFC and cry that their article is told it can't have as many. That is a more uphill battle but it is one that we can possibly take. --MASEM (t) 00:58, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
  • The "traditional" way of doing things has utterly failed, by any metric you care to use. Abuses of NFCC are rampant, and on average getting worse in virtually every category day by day. Whatever checks there were to prevent obscene levels of growth in non-free content have failed. The point of my proposal below isn't to entitle articles to have up to four non-free images without cause for concern. The point is that articles that are the worst abusers don't get a free pass like the banknotes article has. --Hammersoft (talk) 02:21, 17 May 2012 (UTC)

Fair use of photo of statue?

What are the WP guidelines about uploading photographs of modern statues? E.g. File:Lone-sailor-statue.jpg which is a photo of a statue: the statue is copyrighted, I'm sure, but can any person take a photo of such a statue and upload it? Or, are such photos limited to "fair use" only within a single article: article on the statue itself? --Noleander (talk) 12:47, 18 May 2012 (UTC)

You will need to refer to the guidelines at Commons:Freedom of panorama to determine if the country has freedom of panorama and thus if a photo can be taken freely. That will determine if a free image can be taken or no. --MASEM (t) 12:52, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I had seen that, and it says:

For artworks and sculptures not OK. ...For artworks, even if permanently installed in public places, the U.S. copyright law has no similar exception, and any publication of an image of a copyrighted artwork thus is subject to the approval of the copyright holder of the artwork....

I was trying to get more detail, as in: (1) Is the photo File:Lone-sailor-statue.jpg violating copyright? and (2) is there a fair-use exception available for WP (not Commons) if the photo is illustrating an article about the sculpture. Maybe I'll post a query on the Panorama page. --Noleander (talk) 13:09, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I see. Assuming the installation is 25 years give or take, it is very likely copyrighted and thus no free image can be taken per US FoP laws. So yes, being marked as PD is likely wrong. {{non-free 3d art}} is the right license tag.
That doesn't prevent its use on as a possible non-free image, but usually that means it either needs to be in an article about the statue itself, or possibly the subject if no available free imagery exists, but that's a subjective call there. --MASEM (t) 13:18, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Of note, most of the images on Commons related to this statue have been tagged for speedy deletion on Commons as copyright violations. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:19, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • The singular valid use would be if the image was uploaded here on the enwiki and used in the article about the statue itself The Lone Sailor under a fair-use claim. Under fair-use it will fail all other uses. It is too modern to be freely licenced. ww2censor (talk) 14:48, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

Competition among non-free architecture tags

Tag {{Non-free architectural work}} has been nominated for deletion, and I have nominated {{FoP-USonly}} and {{FoP-US}}
As well as the deletion discussions, you might want to read the initial discussion at Template talk:FoP-USonly
I think it would be worthwhile to try avoid duplication of tags for this subject and to ensure that the tag used accurately expresses the relevant law and policy in clear language. When that's finished we can start a debate as to whether or not there should be any changes to our policy on this issue. 9carney (talk) 07:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

The post by User:9carney is factually wrong:
  • It is not a competition. It is about getting tags presenting an accurate situation under United States copyright law.
  • It is not about non-free architecture tags. It is about one free tag and one unfree tag.
Stefan2 (talk) 12:20, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

NFC rules of thumb

I am considering, based on this discussion if we should include a section on "typical NFC usage", moreso than the broad cases that NFCI allows and the more specific cases that NFC#UU denies.

For example, as per the above convo, there seems to be an agreement that for visual artists, NFC should be capped at about 3-4 images. Now, before going further, we need to remember that NFCC#3a aims to minimual use, so this needs to be considered a "cap" and not an allowance for 3-4 images. Keeping that in mind, for a prolific artist that has had many notable works, perhaps several with their own articles, as we cannot always display them all, the 3-4 limit is a reasonable point to have such images available while reading about the author with some visual reference. Of course, each image still needs NFCC compliance particularly NFCC#8, so just dropping an image without context doesn't qualify. As I called it, it is a "gentlemen's agreement" that seems to exist at FAC, it can go over if the artist is truly well known with a vast array of styles (eg Pablo Picasso), but for your more average artist, the 3-4 cap is reasonable. This type of logic can be applied to musical artists and sound clips, though I believe there the number would even be fewer (2-3 as a cap).

Now, there would need to be specific wording to the above, but that's not exactly why I started this section: I'm trying to see if there are such similar "gentlemen's agreement" of NFC usage that is not readily clear from NFCI or NFC#UU to work from. If this is the only one, there's no point in making a special section, while if there are several, a new section is warranted. --MASEM (t) 15:25, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Images of chemical formulas generated via a software

If an image is created with a software that says for personal, home and educational use only, then such an image could only be used under a fair use claim right? In the specific situation however I believe those images would fail NFCC#1, since I believe it is reasonably possible to create a free version of the image that would serve the same purpose (see WP:HD#Chemical structures, help on copyright status for the discussion). In the case at hand, additionally I am not sure whether the images are eligible for copyright protection at all. Can someone else shed some light onto this? -- Toshio Yamaguchi (tlkctb) 13:00, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

Tricky. First I think you have to ask yourself what in the image is expressive rather than simply functional (and whether that expression is creative -- ie does it represent some particular choice or selection (even if haphazard) out of all the diagrams that could be presented, that goes beyond e.g. just choosing a standard typeface, or a standard lighting plot). Then you need to ask to what extent that creative aspect was pre-rolled in the software, rather than being a user choice. You don't get copyright in a sculpture just by selling chisels, similarly you don't get copyright in a digital drawing just by providing low-level digital drawing tools.
If you find that there is a creative distinctiveness to the images produced by the software (i.e. they're not just functional and generic), and that that creative distinctiveness can be directly attributed to creative choices made by the software designers, then the next thing you need to look at is the documentation, EULA, etc that comes with the tool -- because it's quite possible that the developers may specifically renounce any claims on the results of using the tool, because their interest may be in selling copies of the tool, rather than trying to claim anything from its output. If the developers' position is not clear on this, then it is worth contacting them directly, because it is potential users of the tool need to know where they stand.
It's only if there is creative distinctiveness, and it's attributable to the tool, and it is credibly claimed by the toolmakers, that an NFCC #1 issue could arise. In which case, yes, the image would need to be replaced, unless the toolmakers agreed to release their interest in it. Jheald (talk) 14:19, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
It looks like you've had some quite good advice in the attached thread. Jheald (talk) 14:24, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
Return to the project page "Non-free content/Archive 55".