Wikipedia:Media copyright questions

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How to add a copyright tag to an existing image
  1. On the description page of the image (the one whose name starts File:), click Edit this page.
  2. From the page Wikipedia:File copyright tags, choose the appropriate tag:
    • For work you created yourself, use one of the ones listed under the heading "For image creators".
    • For a work downloaded from the internet, please understand that the vast majority of images from the internet are not appropriate for use on Wikipedia. Exceptions include images from flickr that have an acceptable license, images that are in the public domain because of their age or because they were created by the United States federal government, or images used under a claim of fair use. If you do not know what you are doing, please post a link to the image here and ask BEFORE uploading it.
    • For an image created by someone else who has licensed their image under the GFDL, an acceptable Creative Commons license, or has released their image into the public domain, this permission must be documented. Please see Requesting copyright permission for more information.
  3. Type the name of the tag (e.g.; {{GFDL-self}}), not forgetting {{ before and }} after, in the edit box on the image's description page.
  4. Remove any existing tag complaining that the image has no tag (for example, {{untagged}})
  5. Hit Save page.
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Note for those replying to posted questions

If a question clearly does not belong on this page, reply to it using the template {{mcq-wrong}} and, if possible, leave a note on the poster's talk page. For copyright issues relevant to Commons where questions arising cannot be answered locally, questions may be directed to Commons:Commons:Village pump/Copyright.

File:Boxline Logo1.png

There's not much information given on China's TOO in c:COM:TOO#China (PRC), so I'm not sure whether this would be considered protected in the country of origin, but it seems like it might be OK as {{PD-ineligible-USonly}} and kept locally on Wikipedia. If this does need to be non-free then it is missing a non-free use rationale and was only previously being used in User:TonyHuang/sandbox. This means it will either eventually be deleted per WP:F5 or WP:F6, Any feedback would be appreciated. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:42, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

I don't think these small deviations from standard lettering would create a copyright in the US, so I'd concur with PD-ineligible-USonly. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 14:55, 15 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Jo-Jo Eumerus. I've gone ahead and converted the licensing to "PD-ineligible-USonly". Please correct any mistakes I made or add anything I might've forgotten to add. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:45, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Pictures of my Grandfather for an article about his life (Archie League)

Dear Wikipedia,

Why do the pictures continue to be deleted with no comments?

First some were deleted and some were saved, then the others were deleted with no further explanation.

I would like to challenge this opinion as I have received permission from the newspaper they were copied from to publish them on Wikipedia.

Others pictures were family photos taken by my Uncle (now deceased). What are the next steps.


William Byrd

Bestword57 (talk) 20:35, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

Images are almost never deleted without comment, although if you are not able regular editor you may not have realized where the comments appeared. Are you talking about these images?:
If so, the deletion discussion is here:
Commons:Commons:Deletion_requests/Files_uploaded_by_Bestword57--S Philbrick(Talk) 21:39, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

When I click your link, I get the message: This page does not currently exist. You can search for this page title in other pages or create this page.



Sorry, I malformed the link, now fixed. --S Philbrick(Talk) 00:17, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

Bestword57 (talk) 21:56, 18 September 2017 (UTC)

@Bestword57: the link you want is Commons:Commons:Deletion_requests/Files_uploaded_by_Bestword57. Nthep (talk) 22:15, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) ::@Bestword57: William, Nthep has provided the correct link, but you replied on 13 August last. You will see that the deleting admin tells you to send the permission to the commons OTRS team but you will have to be patient as the OTRS are currently backlogged at 47 days. ww2censor (talk) 22:26, 18 September 2017 (UTC)
@Bestword57:Just as an FYI, and sorry in advance for what may be discouraging news, if I were to see the permission statement from Mark Russell in an OTRS permission filing I would not accept it. I do understand that you asked for permission to reprint the article and you got a response that says "this is fine. Permission granted." But that newspaper may have no idea that you are not simply looking to reprint it personally or in a blog, but wish to post it in one of the most highly trafficked websites in the world, and furthermore that it can be subsequently reused by anyone for any purpose anywhere for whatever reason. It is not uncommon for a newspaper to grant permission to an individual thinking it is a not a big deal but reconsider when they find the scope of the license. The copyright holder must fill out a permission statement consistent with the wording in the box on this page (and it is best to use the exact wording):OTRS

File:BMW Sauber F1 Team logo.png

If the primary BMW roundel/logo (File:BMW.svg) is considered to be PD, then it seems that the BMW Sauber F1 logo should also be PD since the the only possible copyrightable element is the roundel itself. Is there a reason the team logo needs to be non-free content, while the files in c:Category:BMW roundel logos are not? -- Marchjuly (talk) 01:43, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

I think you have a pretty good grasp of {{PD-logo}} as evidenced by your other questions here. For cases like this where the only question is whether it applies or not your judgement is clearly good and you can probably be BOLD and make the changes yourself going forward. There is always a margin of uncertainty but your analysis above is exactly right afaikt and as you say no reason it should be considered non-free based on our current policies. AlasdairEdits (talk) 18:47, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

File:Seal of the California State University.png

Does this logo for California State University need to be treated as non-free content or can it be converted to {{PD-CAGov}}? It will have to be removed from Template:Portal/doc/all per WP:NFCC#9 if it needs to be non-free. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:36, 19 September 2017 (UTC)

PD-CAGOV is pretty ambiguous and hard to understand. My instinct says it is not covered by PD-CAGOV but think we would need someone familiar with CA copyright law and state law to get a proper answer say which we are unlikley to get. As a starting point it would be good to find out when was the seal designed? if the CU system has been in place since 1857 there is a goodce it is just PD by reason of age. AlasdairEdits (talk) 18:49, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
The seal was designed in 1962 and CSU asserts copyright here. StarryGrandma (talk) 19:39, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks AlasdairEdits and StarryGrandma for taking a look. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:11, 21 September 2017 (UTC)


Not sure why this needs to be licensed as non-free content when it seems simple enough for {{PD-simple}} or even {{PD-logo}}. Even if it's copyrightable in Finland (the home of HIM (Finnish band)), it still seems OK to be {{PD-ineligible-USonly}}. Any reason why this needs to be non-free? -- Marchjuly (talk) 05:01, 20 September 2017 (UTC)


The licensing for this image indicates that it has been effectively placed into the public domain by the copyright holder. Indeed, the image has also been tagged (possibly by a bot) as being an image that would be OK to copy to Wikimedia Commons. At the same time, it is not clear that the SoundEdit software icon was in fact placed into the public domain or that the uploader is the copyright holder. Right now, the icon is used in the main infobox in the SoundEdit article. (I recently added an infobox to the article though the icon was present in the article before then.) Would it be possible to treat the image as non-free content (such as with the {{Non-free use rationale icon}} rationale and the {{non-free icon}} license tag)? --Elegie (talk) 12:18, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

Yes, Elegie. Please convert the license to use the non-free license tag and rationale. There is no evidence that the copyright holder of SoundEdit has released this into the public domain. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 13:28, 20 September 2017 (UTC)
Finnusertop Thanks for the feedback. The license info for the image has been adjusted accordingly. --Elegie (talk) 23:02, 20 September 2017 (UTC)

File:Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney.jpg

This file is licensed as {{non-free biog-pic}} and I've tagged it with {{rfu}} because of File:Portrait of Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney.jpg, but given the fact that Carney dies in 1908, it seems likely that the file might be PD. Unfortunately, the source provide for the image seems to be a possible Wikipedia mirror of some kind and I can really tell anything about the image other than it appears to be quite old. If anyone can figure out a way to sort this out, please remove the rfu tag and change the licensing accordingly. -- Marchjuly (talk) 05:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

I've replaced the image in the article with one (a less good one) from Commons PD because it was published in 1903. Thincat (talk) 12:12, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Fair Use

File:DrThaddeusLottSr.jpg This is the image I intended to add to the Thaddeus S. Lott, Sr. page. How can I correctly tag this image under fair use considering that he passed away in 2015? Thanks. a_cloud 06:28, 21 September 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by ACloud (talkcontribs)

Hi ACloud. Wikipedia does allow the use of copyrighted images as non-free content. It's similar to and based upon the concept of fair use, but it's more restrictive by design. Per item #10 of WP:NFCI, Wikipedia does allow non-free images of deceased individuals to be allowed to be used as the primary means of identification in a stand-alone article about the individual, but there is a bit of a caveat. Each use of a non-free image is required to satisfy all ten of the non-free content use criteria listed in WP:NFCCP. One of these criteria is WP:NFCC#1 which requires us to use a freely licensed/public domain equivalent image when one is available or when there is a reasonable expection that one can be created. For a living individual, this pretty much means that a non-free image is almost never allowed except in certain cases such as explained in item 1 of WP:NFC#UUI. This is because it is assumed that in most cases even if no freely licensed equivalent images already exists, there is a reasonable expectation that one can be created by someone at some point in time, possibly by even taking a new photo. Obviously for a deceased individual it's impossible to take a new photo, but that does not necessarily mean that a previously taken photo has not be been released under a free/PD license or can be released under such a license. All Wikipedia asks is that you make a reasonable effort to find such an image. The definition of "reasonable" is a bit subjective, but it usually means something more that a quick Internet search for images; some editors actually reach out to copyright holders of images per WP:BRP to see if the copyright holder can be persuaded to release the image under a license suitable for Wikipedia per WP:DONATEIMAGE. Of course, Wikipedia does expect you to go around pressuring people to release their copyrighted content, and things tend to be OK as long as you make a reasonable effort. Anyway, the EXIF data of the photo you've uploaded says that the copyright holder is someone named Rocky Kneten. Perhaps there's a way for you to contact the copyright holder to ask that the image be release under a free license? If not or if you already tried this and were unsuccessful, then licensing the file using the template {{Non-free biog-pic}} might be an option. If you do license the file as non-free content, you're going to also need to provide a non-free use rationale explaining how the file's use satisfies all ten of the aforementioned NFCCP criteria, and you will need to provide such a rationale for each use of the file. Please note that all ten criteria need to be satisfied for each use as explained in WP:JUSTONE. There are various templates you can use for rationales and template {{Non-free use rationale biog}} probaby would work well for this file. This is a lot of information to digest, and non-free use can be a bit tricky, so if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them here. Someone will help you out. -- Marchjuly (talk) 10:44, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
This website looks like it is the photographer in question from Houston, where the subject of the photo was the School District Superintendent per the HISD in the metadata. Try contacting him but that image is certainly copyright but it's use as non-free most likely fails WP:NFCC#2 because he is a professional photographer, so commercial consideration must be taken into account. You could also ask the school district is they have any freely licensed images of him. Good luck. Do remember that even though it is nice to have a photo in an article it not actually necessary nor a requirement; many biographic articles don't have any image of the subject. ww2censor (talk) 11:13, 21 September 2017 (UTC)
Hi again ACloud. It appears that you previously uploaded this same photo to Wikimedia Commons as c:File:DrThaddeusLottSr.jpg. It also looks as if someone (perhaps you?) sent in a premissions' email to c:COM:OTRS, but that the file was eventually deleted because the photo's license could not be verified. Anyway, the OTRS ticket number file is 2017052310005911, so if you feel that file might have been deleted by mistake or that you can further clarify it's licensing, you can ask for help at c:COM:OTRSN. Otherwise, you can (as Ww2censor suggests above) try and contact the school district to see if the there might be another photo which it holds the copyright on that it wouldn't mind releasing under a free license. Non-free use might still be an option in the end, but you should try to find a free equivalent first. Regardless of any of this, the file will be deleted if it remains without a copyright license. -- Marchjuly (talk) 00:10, 22 September 2017 (UTC)
Thanks Marchjuly and Ww2censor for all of this information, I did not know that I still had access to the deleted photo page, so I will remove the other copy. I did send in the email and I will continue with your advice to OTRS and/or to the other options you have given. a_cloud 05:00, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Photos of toys

Japan considers toys to be utilitarian objects, but the US considers them to be protected by copyright (see c:COM:TOYS for reference). File:Mego Acroyear Red Number 1.jpg, File:Microman Clear M101 George Number 5.jpg, and File:Magne Power Microman 001 Arthur Number 1.jpg are all photos of toys from someone's personal collection. The photos themselves can be released as PD by the photographer, but the toys are obviously the focus of the photos so de minimis cannot be argued. Would these toys be considered copyrightable thus making the photo a derivative work requiring permission from the toy manufacturer for any image of it to be released under a free license? -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:03, 22 September 2017 (UTC)

Hi Marchjuly. The answer is yes, not just copyrightable but already under copyright. I've worried about toy pictures myself. c:COM:TOYS says When uploading a picture of a toy, you must show that the toy is in the public domain in both the United States and in the source country of the toy. In the United States, copyright is granted for toys even if the toy is ineligible for copyright in the source country. The reference given there is to a decision that says Since the toys were authored by a Japanese national and first "published" (i.e. sold) in Japan, they enjoyed copyright protection under United States law from the moment they were created. StarryGrandma (talk) 22:42, 23 September 2017 (UTC)


I don't think this is the uploader's own work; It looks more like non-free content. However, I am unable to find any information about the file which might make it possible to convert to {{Non-free logo}}. I find the file used on a come of webpages, but nothing official looking and they probably took the image from Wikipedia. Any suggestions on what to do here? -- Marchjuly (talk) 11:29, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

Is the logo used on the article Tencent Games, c:File:Tencent_Games_Logo_Resized.png licensed appropriately for use on enwiki? The uploader claims it as "Own work" which seems unlikely. Can this be used under fair use instead? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mduvekot (talkcontribs) 23:46, 23 September 2017

Probably not and yes to both questions. If you want to use it in the enwiki article you will need to upload it here as a non-free image. I'll tag it for deletion on the commons. ww2censor (talk) 22:20, 23 September 2017 (UTC)

Guilden Morden boar drawing

Guilden Morden grave goods

Would someone please help me with the appropriate US tagging for this drawing? It was drawn between 1882 and 1883, by (most likely) someone who died in 1891, and was first published in 1977, in the United Kingdom. In the UK it became PD in 1961, due to life + 70. My sense is that the correct US tag is {{PD-US-URAA}}, as it was first published outside of the US, never registered in the US, and PD by 1996 in the UK. However, as the US rule on unpublished works is life + 70, I wonder if a different tag is warranted; if the drawing was also PD in the US by 1961, it would not have been subject to copyright protections when first published (in the UK) in 1977. The Guilden Morden boar article is currently a featured article contender, so trying to make sure I nail down the appropriate tag. Thanks in advance for any help! --Usernameunique (talk) 03:03, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

While this work is very likely in the public domain in the UK, it may, or may not, be in the public domain in the US. The first question to consider is if this drawing has ever been published in this or any other work with permission of the copyright holder or their heirs before 2003? If not, then for the purposes of US copyright, it is an unpublished work, and as such can use the {{PD-old-auto|deathyear=1891}}{{PD-US-unpublished}} tags on Commons. If the 1977 publication in Medieval Archaeology was without the permission of the heirs but it was published later in some other publication with the permission of the copyright holder or their heirs, then it may still be protected by US copyright, as an unauthorized publication would not be the first publication.

If the 1977 publication of this drawing was an authorized publication, then we have to consider US copyright formalities. The URAA restores copyright protection to works first published outside the US that lost their US copyright due to failure to comply with US formalities. I think you are correct that as this work was PD in the UK in 1996, it would almost certainly not have been eligible for copyright restoration by the URAA, so I think we can ignore the URAA. Thus, if the drawing was published in 1977 with authorization, all we need to know is if the work retained its US copyright protection because the work did comply with US copyright formalities. For example, did the 1977 publication of Medieval Archaeology contain a valid copyright notice? If not, and the publication of the drawing was authorized, then you can use the {{PD-old-auto-1996|deathyear=1891}} tag on Commons. —RP88 (talk) 04:01, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

Thanks very much for explaining that, RP88. This will require some guesswork, but here goes. As far as I know (and having researched the boar extensively), the only publication that contains that image is the 1977 Medieval Archaeology publication. It simply said that "The British Museum has" the drawing, without stating how it was obtained; the most likely explanation is that when the actual boar in the drawing was donated to the museum in 1904, the drawing was donated along with it. It seems quite unlikely that the family, 73 years later, would have been asked for permission to publish the drawing, although I suppose theoretically copyright could have been donated to the BM along with the drawing.
Leaving aside the issue of authorization for now, the 1977 Medieval Archaeology journal contains two mentions of copyright. First, on the inside front cover are the words "All contributions to Medieval Archaeology are COPYRIGHT. Applications to reproduce them, in whole or in part, should be addressed, in the first instance, to the Secretary, Society for Medieval Archaeology, University College, Gower Street, London, WCIE 6BT." Second, an otherwise blank page preceding the contents states "© World copyright—The Society for Medieval Archaeology". Would that constitute a valid copyright notice? If so, what other steps would Medieval Archaeology have had to take to solidify the copyright of the drawing? As far as I can tell, they did not register the journal in the US in 1977 (Copyright Entries). --Usernameunique (talk) 04:28, 24 September 2017 (UTC)


I want to upload a picture (really well taken)-for an article-that I found on Instagram, which was uploaded there by someone I can contact via e-mail. Is there a format to send this person for the permission? How should I do? Cornerstonepicker (talk) 06:26, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

@Cornerstonepicker: assuming they are the copyright holder, which is usually the photographer and not the subject of the image, get them for follow the procedure found at WP:CONSENT but please be patient as the OTRS Team are very backlogged almost 50 days. ww2censor (talk) 13:58, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

File:Barton Boars (Barton College) - Logo.png

This is licensed as {{self}}, but it looks non-free. The file's description states "This was used by the Barton College in the 1990s, however was privately designed and never copyrighted. This was printed on the back of the 1994 copy of the Bartonian in the form of a white outline which was digitised and coloured in 2017." which may be true, but I'm not sure that does not necessarily mean "not copyrighted" or "self"; moreover, if the original white outline is really protected by copyright, then the colorized version itself may be considered a WP:Derivative work but the original copyright cannot be ignored. I am aware of {{PD-US-no notice}}, {{PD-US-not renewed}} and {{PD-US-1989}}, but none of those apply to works published in 1994. If the logo was privately designed, then the person who designed the logo should still hold the copyright on it, right? -- Marchjuly (talk) 12:15, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

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