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.
  6. If you still have questions, go on to "How to ask a question" below.
How to ask a question
  1. To ask a new question hit the "Click here to ask your question" link above.
  2. Please sign your question by typing ~~~~ at the end.
  3. Check this page for updates, or request to be notified on your talk page.
  4. Don't include your email address, for your own privacy. We will respond here and cannot respond by email.
Note for those replying to posted questions

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

Information taken from the federal government

Hi! I was wondering, what tag would someone use if they were using content published by the federal government that is in the public domain? I've rarely used material that's fallen into the public domain with my main account, so I haven't really had a reason to remember the proper template. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 11:13, 12 May 2017 (UTC)

@Shalor (Wiki Ed): Which country's federal government? If you mean the United States, their public domain material should be uploaded to the commons, so other language wikis can use it, and all the copyright tags are listed at c:Commons:Copyright tags#U.S. Government agencies along with other country copyright tags. Which one you use depends on the source. ww2censor (talk) 13:32, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
  • LOL, sorry - I completely derped there for a moment! I did mean the United States federal government. The materials I'm thinking of are FEMA documents. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 16:59, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Would there be a document/data version of c:Template:PD-USGov-FEMA anywhere? Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 17:26, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
{{Department of Homeland Security}} is the closest I could find. – Train2104 (t • c) 22:06, 12 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Out of curiosity, can I create a template like this if the material falls in the public domain? I'm running into more and more cases where students are using content that falls within the public domain with a particular government agency, but there isn't a template that really covers it, like this report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of the Surgeon General. Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 13:13, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
  • Whoops, missed the HHS template. In any case, I did find Template:Include-USGov. If I can't find anything else to fit, can I use this as sort of a plug and play with things released by the US Government that fall within the public domain? Shalor (Wiki Ed) (talk) 13:18, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
Shalor (Wiki Ed) Because these are public domain templates you should really be dealing with this issue on the commons rather than here but there are several HHS templates, sush as NIH, DCD, etc., at c:Category:PD-USGov license tags. If you can't find one for the OSG, you could ask here: c:Commons:Village pump/Copyright. Good luck. ww2censor (talk) 13:27, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Uploading new version of non-free media

I am interested in uploading an updated version of a non-free image, a logo for an organization: File:Pittsburgh_Marathon.svg.

My question is: do I need to create an entirely new file (with a new name) and delete the old non-free image from Wikipedia, or can I upload a new version of the same file? If I upload a new version of the same file, will the old version not still be available in the "version" history of the file (meaning that a non-free image without a 'use rationale' will not exist for the previous file)?

Hope this makes sense, thanks for any assistance. --Best, Weatherman1126 (talk) 15:39, 13 May 2017 (UTC)

@Weatherman1126: Opinions differ on this, but unless you are talking about minor tweaks to the existing logo, my opinion is that an entirely new filename should be created along with a rationale. (I do see that the currently used logo appears to be used on the current official page so I'm puzzled what might be different.) Unless you are an admin, you won't be able to delete the old one but that will take place semi-automatically.--S Philbrick(Talk) 16:17, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Media_copyright_questions/Archive/2017/April#New_logo:_Upload_as_a_new_version_of_the_old_image_or_as_a_separate_image.3F – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 16:29, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
@Weatherman1126: It looks like the current source website logo has a black background around the DICK'S text instead of green as in the current logo uploaded here, so in that case it seems like rather a minor revision, so I would just overwrite it, though others will no doubt disagree. The current logo will still be available until an admin hides it as being unused but it can always be restored if necessary. Overwriting also keeps the entire history of the non-free logo together in one place. ww2censor (talk) 21:58, 13 May 2017 (UTC)
@Ww2censor: Thanks, this makes sense, I will go this route. Yes, you are correct the changes are subtle – nonetheless the previous logo is no longer used to identify the organization. --Weatherman1126 (talk) 03:41, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Speedy deletion of longstanding image without effective notification - how to get it back + fix?

A number of images I uploaded some time ago were apparently speedily deleted without properly notifying me. (I don't log into wikipedia every day, and no-one seemed to think to email me to alert me to it). I have a message on my talk page asking me to add more information that wasn't requested at the time I uploaded it, but I can't seem to do that as the images have been deleted. How do I go about getting the images back so I can add the extra information that's now requested? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gagravarr (talkcontribs) 21:37, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

@Gagravarr: You were duly notified about the images on your talk page as per protocol. We don't email people. If you want to set up emails on talk page messages that option is in your preferences. The notice on your talk page also contains information on how to proceed. You have to read, consent to, fill out, and sent in the WP:CONSENT form to our OTRS team at --Majora (talk) 21:49, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Images from a paper supported by an NSF grant

This paper says it was partially funded by the NSF. Does that mean the pictures in it fall under commons:Template:PD-USGov-NSF? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 19:47, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

No, PD-USGov only applies to employees of the US government performing their official duties. Merely being funded by it does not make anyone an US government employee or on official duty thereof. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 19:50, 20 May 2017 (UTC)
OK, that makes sense. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 20:04, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Land reclamation Thorndon.JPG

Hi, I'm pleased to see I did not upload this file. Is it one of those files which may be uploaded and kept in Wikipedia? I am keen to use it because it illustrates so well something I have been trying to describe. Eddaido (talk) 00:03, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

As a non-free image it can only be used when it has a fully completed fair-use rationale which it has for the Reclamation of Wellington Harbour article . If you want to use it elsewhere it will have to comply with all 10 non-free policy guidelines requirements as well as having a specific rational for that new use. ww2censor (talk) 13:43, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Copyright for images not already on the internet

Hello, I am writing an article about a 20th century Canadian painter named Carle Hessay who died in 1978. I am in contact with the holder of the artist's estate, who owns copyright over all images of his paintings until 2028, and she owns as well as most of the personal photographs of the artist. She has emailed me some photographs of the artist that I might wish to include in the article, but with the exception of two photos, these are not available on the internet. The photographer will be unknown for the majority, if not all, of these photos. If the photographer is unknown, can I send her an email asking for a free license to use a particular photo, if I attach it to the permission email with a description? Thanks. Curiocurio (talk) 00:39, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

@Curiocurio: Forwarded permissions are not generally accepted at OTRS because it is really easy to just throw together an email and say it was "forwarded" from the copyright holder. You will probably be asked to have the person contact the volunteer response team directly. It would be better to have them fill out the consent form at c:COM:ET and have them email it in themselves. --Majora (talk) 01:02, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. My understanding of images of paintings is that I can send a permission email to her, containing URL links to paintings she has posted on the artist's official website. Is that correct? That would be easiest. Or does she have to fill out the consent form at c:COM:ET for those as well? The paintings have individual names, and photographs can be described, so are descriptions adequate, rather than having to also use cumbersome URLs? I'm going to be asking for about twenty images in total. Curiocurio (talk) 01:29, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Curiocurio: If I understand you correctly, each image has to be explicitly stated but only one form is necessary. You can tweak the form to fit whatever they want to do. They can either attach all the images to the email, place them all on a subpage of a website and state that one URL, etc. If they are already uploaded it would be nice if they could include the file names they were uploaded under so the OTRS team can easily find them. While that last part isn't 100% necessary (OTRS is generally very good at finding what image you are talking about) it would be very nice and would speed things along. --Majora (talk) 01:33, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
So it's best for OTRS to first upload the images to Wikicommons and then provide those links? That would be my preference as I will want to amend the titles of a few images. Or I can provide links to the copyright holders website. Either way works for me. Thank you. Curiocurio (talk) 01:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Curiocurio: If you do upload first please make sure to add {{OTRS pending}} to the file pages. That way image patrollers at Commons will know that permissions have been sent and you aren't trying to violate copyright. --Majora (talk) 01:56, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Perfect! Thanks for all your help Majora. Curiocurio (talk) 02:11, 22 May 2017 (UTC)


I want to upload a logo of a software product which comes under free content. Can I upload? or Is there any specification for it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pavan at sapplica (talkcontribs) 10:44, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

@Pavan at sapplica: - If the logo is copyright, it can only be uploaded under our strict non-free policy and only when there is an article in mainspace for it to be used as indentification of the topic/subject and it may not be used on a draft or sandbox page. Depending on the country of origin, the logo may be too simple to be copyrightable, such as very simple text and shapes, in which case it can be uploaded at any time and preferably to the commons, so other editors can use it. ww2censor (talk) 11:18, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Ww2censor: I think what is being asked is if a software is free and open source or similar, is its logo as well, but I'm not sure. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 11:26, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
@Finnusertop: I think Paven is actually talking about File:Sentrifugo icon.png. ww2censor (talk) 13:37, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Royal Green Jackets Museum

On 21 May two images were deleted from this page by JJMC89 bot. The reason stated was 'WP:NFCC#10c: Non-free use rationale missing for this page.'

The first image is : "Due to restrictions detailed in its copyright notice (specifically that its material is freely available only for the purposes of private research and study), Crown Copyright images obtained from the British Army are not considered available under an acceptable free licence. Because of this, a detailed fair use rationale has been added to the image to allow for its continued use on the English-language Wikipedia. However, should you wish to use the image for commercial purposes, you must first obtain explicit permission from the copyright holder." "This work is protected by British Crown copyright. Limitations on its distribution are defined at the original site of publication, and are not altered by its reproduction here. Those terms may include, but may not be limited to, its reproduction being accurate, free of charge in any format or medium, and not used in a misleading context. The source of the material must be identified and the copyright status acknowledged. HMSO has explicitly stated in official correspondence that material under Crown Copyright may not be relicensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Thus, this is a non-free license for the purpose of Wikipedia, as modification is not permitted."

Fair use rationale for Royal Green Jackets (and Royal Green Jackets Museum): > The image is being used for informational purposes only, and its use is not believed to detract from the value of the original photograph or its copyright in any way. > The article in question is about a military regiment, and benefits greatly from an image of its regimental insignia.

The second image is : As can be noted in the text, the RGJ were deployed in Northern Ireland as part of Operation Banner - there is a link to this page. There are similar copyright restrictions on the use of this image for Wikipedia.

Fair use rationale for Operation Banner (and Royal Green Jackets Museum) : Purpose of use - To show a British Army roadblock in Operation Banner > The image is being used for informational purposes only, and its use is not believed to detract from the value of the original photograph or its copyright in any way. > The article in question is about a military regiment, and benefits greatly from an image of its regimental operations - similar to the other images at the foot of the page.

Please advise why these two images cannot displayed on the page Royal Green Jackets Museum. Richard Tennant (talk) 15:53, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

@Richard Tennant: the use of non-free images is deliberately restrictive to keep as much image use as possible to free images. To comply with the Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria all non-free images have to comply with all 10 of the criteria set out at that page. The images were removed by a bot from the article on the RGJ Museum because at this time they both failed to meet WP:NFCC#10c in that the image files do not contain "The name of each article (a link to each article is also recommended) in which fair use is claimed for the item, and a separate, specific non-free use rationale for each use of the item". To remedy this you must make out a fair use rationale for each image and add it to the image page. The capbadge shouldn't be too difficult but the checkpoint image might give you more problems when it comes to meeting WP:NFCC#8. Nthep (talk) 16:49, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Please accept that I am a flintstone-era military historian - I had to check out what a 'bot' is !
You state A.'make out a fair use rationale for each image' and B. 'add it to the image page'
I agree that this would appear to be preferable to bringing in the same images afresh just for use on our museum page
Would you mind pointing me in the right direction on both of these required actions.
The RGJ cap badge is essential, however there are several other images on the pages 'Operation Banner' and 'The Troubles' which do not appear to be so restricted and would probably do - although not so well.
Richard Tennant (talk) 20:47, 22 May 2017 (UTC)
Hi Richard Tennant. Just some general stuff before commenting on image use. You referred to article Royal Green Jackets Museum above as "our museum page". Does this mean you are connected to the museum in a professional way or have been asked to make edits on its behalf. If it does, then I suggest that you take at Wikipedia:Plain and simple conflict of interest guide for reference. While Wikipedia does not expressly prohibit conflict-of-interest editing, it is something which is highly discouraged and COI editors are generally expected to follow certain guidelines. Also, it might be a good idea for you to take a look at Wikipedia:Ownership of content and Wikipedia:Promotion. Articles are not owned by anyone in particular and the subjects of articles do not have a particular final say over which information is added and which information is removed. Content, including images, is required to be in accordance with relevant policies and guidelines, and a consensus needs to be established via article talk page discussion when there are disagreements. In other words, just because you want an image to the article does not mean that another editor can feel it is not needed. So, if that happens, the best thing to do is to try and resolve things through discussion.
The basic concern about image use has to do with its licensing because how an image is licensed will essentially determine how it may be used on Wikipedia. As Nthep pointed out above, non-free content use is highly restricted on Wikipedia and each use much satisfy Wikipedia's non-free content use policy. There are 10 non-free content use criteria which need to be met, and non-compliance with even a single one means that non-free use is not justified. The way to show compliance is to provide a non-free use rationale which clearly states how these criteria are met. In some cases, this can be fairly straightforward and basically involve just adding relevant information to a template, etc. In other cases, it can be quite tricky and require more thought than simply filling in the blanks. Probably the most subjective and hardest of the criteria to justify is WP:NFCC#8. This is because it requires a really strong contextual connection between article textual content and the non-free image. Generally, this is considered to sourced critical commentary or other content which necessitates that the non-free image be actually seen by the reader for the relevant content to be understood. Simply adding non-free images to galleries or for show like in Royal Green Jackets Museum#Exhibits is typically not allowed because such use tends to be seen as more "decorative" than "contextual". So, adding a non-free use rationale does not automatically mean that non-free use is policy compliant, and if there are any other similar, but freely licensed or public domain images, which can serve the same basic encyclopedic purpose, then Wikipedia encourages us to use them instead per WP:FREER. -- Marchjuly (talk) 22:03, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

File:Chainer icon red.png

Is this logo original enough for copyright in the US? --George Ho (talk) 03:54, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

how to remove the tag from image's page

File:BHOS new campus opening.jpg

For this media file I have added tag |{{PD-author|Photo by AzerTac . How can I remove the tag "Unspecified source/license for File:BHOS new campus opening.jpg"from the image's page.  ?(Bhos17 (talk) 12:07, 23 May 2017 (UTC))

Bhos17 If you are asking how to remove the "no license" deletion notice on the image page, then you have to provide all the details in the blank {{information}} template I added AND very importantly you must specify under what license the copyright holder is releasing the image to us, which was the main reason that notice was added. As of now, you have not provided any details to allow us to review the copyright status of the image. ww2censor (talk) 14:39, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Nonfree book cover on author page

Greetings; I was directed here from the Teahouse with a question about a page I started, Marcia Joanne Bennett. I had a low-res infobox image there including the cover of one of her books ( here's the archive of that), which was recently removed by an editor who said the use was a content violation (link to this from the Teahouse discussion above). Ms. Bennett is notable enough for a Wikipedia article, but she's a fairly obscure author, and I doubt that her individual books will ever have their own articles. I felt the image added a worthwhile element. The Teahouse editor suggested that criterion 8 might be relevant: "Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the article topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding." I believe this to be the case, but am somewhat new to all of this and am hoping to learn what I can from more experienced editors. Thank you! Stevenarntson (talk) 15:48, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

@Stevenarntson: A photograph of the book cover would not normally pass the nonfree content guidelines for an article about the author. It would generally be acceptable to have one cover image in an article about the book, but if no article is possible about the book, there's nowhere to put it. The one exception would be if the reliable sources about the author also substantially discuss the book cover; if for example the cover were widely hailed as exceptional or were extremely controversial, and that cover was a substantial part of the author's notability. But including it just to "have it there" in a biography would be replaceable and decorative, and so fail NFCC #1 and #8. Instead, in the biography of the author, we should use a free photo of the author herself, if such is available. If not, articles aren't required to have images at all, so we can wait until one is taken. The editor who told you this is quite correct. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:29, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
@Seraphimblade: thank you for that additional information--I appreciate it! I'll abide by this. More generally, though, it does seem to me that the article is made less effective by the deletion, and that WP as a whole might benefit by a relaxation of policy here. Are such policies ever re-evaluated? Thanks again, Stevenarntson (talk) 22:50, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Quoting an entire very short poem

Hello, I am writing an article about a 20th century Canadian painter, and a group of poets wrote about his abstract paintings that were published in a book. One of the poems which I'd like to quote in full is a 3 line poem by bill bissett. See my draft quote box in the Legacy section of my draft article in User:Curiocurio/sandbox/Carle Hessay

I can likely get in touch with the poet through the editor of the book the poem was published in. Would the poet have to email a consent permission letter to Wikipedia with the text in the letter? The editor thinks he will give informal verbal permission, but is something more formal necessary? Thank you. Curiocurio (talk) 18:34, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

Fair use of self-made maps

In older role-playing video games from the 80s and 90s you often had to create your own maps on graph paper. My question is, would uploading one of these maps constitute a copy-right violation if the game is a commercial one? Thanks. SharkD  Talk  04:32, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Moved from WP:VPP. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 05:20, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

File:St. Bonaventure Script Logo.png

Can this file be converted to {{PD-logo}} or does it need to be {{Non-free logo}}? If it can 't be converted to PD, then it's non-free use in all the articles it's being used in does not really comply with WP:NFCCP. -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:44, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

Doubtful but that does not even look like the current logo per the banner from their mainpage, so should be replaced anyway, however, each use will require its own rationale. ww2censor (talk) 10:53, 24 May 2017 (UTC)
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