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}})
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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.

Specific attribution requirement of CC-BY-SA-4.0 unsuitable for WMF?

Question: can a CC-BY license be so demanding that it is not suitable for WMF sites?

File:1022 Muscle Fibers (small).jpg is an image taken from an OpenStax CNX textbook. The textbook page with the image is at Skeletal Muscle. The textbook is CC-BY-SA 4.0; see How to Reuse & Attribute this Content (attribution tab at bottom of page).

CC-BY requires that "You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor". OpenStax requires the following attribution for parts of its work:

If you redistribute part of this textbook, then you must retain in every digital format page view (including but not limited to EPUB, PDF, and HTML) and on every physical printed page the following attribution:
Download for free at http:[email protected].

The Commons File: page does not have the required statement (or even the required URL), so it seems to violate the attribution requirement.

In addition, the attribution-statement-on-each-digital-page-view requirement appears to conflict with the attribution that WMF requires to be sufficient for a text contribution. For text contributions, a hyperlink must be sufficient attribution. See WMF Terms of Use.

To put a fine point on it, any (large) chunk of CC-BY text content from OpenStax is NOT suitable for WMF sites because a hyperlink is insufficient attribution. An editor who copied a section of the text and then inserted only a <ref> tag with a {{cite web}} to the page with the text would be following WMF expectations but violating OpenStax' attribution requirements. WMF would not accept such text.

WMF requirements for non-text are more vague:

Non-text media: Non-text media on the Projects are available under a variety of different licenses that support the general goal of allowing unrestricted re-use and re-distribution. When you contribute non-text media, you agree to comply with the requirements for such licenses as described in our Licensing Policy, and also comply with the requirements of the specific Project edition or feature to which you are contributing. Also see the Wikimedia Commons Licensing Policy for more information on contributing non-text media to that Project.

I don't know if it is stated explicitly anywhere, but my sense is WMF wants all the required licensing and attribution information to be on the File: page and not on each page view. I get that sense from the above comments and from Licensing, which states

Note: The GFDL is not practical for photos and short texts, especially for printed media, because it requires that they be published along with the full text of the license.

Admittedly, the OpenStax attribution statement is much shorter than a GFDL license, but it is very likely that editors will just link a Commons image and omit any attribution that is required on the page. Hyperlink-sufficient attribution for an image would involve just clicking on the image and letting MW take the reader to the File: page, which should have the relevant licensing and attribution.

Does WMF accept per-page attribution requirements?

Glrx (talk) 21:56, 14 June 2017 (UTC)

WP:COMPLIC does not specify why the licenses are not compatible. May want to prod WMF Legal about this. Jo-Jo Eumerus (talk, contributions) 22:15, 14 June 2017 (UTC)
  • Regarding specifically "File:1022 Muscle Fibers (small).jpg", the first version was uploaded from in 2013 under its license CC BY 3.0. In 2013, the attribution requirements of were:
"If you reuse this work elsewhere, in order to comply with the attribution requirements of the license (CC-BY 3.0), you must include
the authors' names: OpenStax College
the title of the work: Anatomy & Physiology
the Connexions URL where the work can be found:"
The Commons description page complied with those requirements from 2013 until 2016 [1]. It could have remained like that. Any modifications made later to the licensing and/or attribution at the source would not be retroactive on reuses made validly from the 2013 version. The Commons user uploaded a "new" version in 2016, with a new license and a modified description [2]. It looks like basically the same image. The user also added in 2016 the template "Self" in a way that makes it look like he now claims ownership of the copyright, which does not seem correct. Anyway, if there's any problem with the present version of the description page "File:1022 Muscle Fibers (small).jpg", regarding the attribution requirements for the "new" version of the image, or the validity of the licensing of the "new" image, or otherwise, we can always revert to the image version of 2013 and to the corresponding version of the Commons description page.
  • Regarding the present licensing and attribution requirements at [email protected]:[email protected]/Preface, it depends if the wording of the condition "retain in every digital format page view and on every physical printed page" can be interpreted as compatible with section 3(a) of a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. If it can, then the presence of the required attribution on the description page of a Commons file would be consistent with the policies and practices of Wikimedia and a citation of text might be fine if it satisfies section 3(a)(2) of the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. If it can't, then it's not a CC BY-SA 4.0 license. It would be a special license, perhaps "free", but with a clause that makes the material unusable or difficult to use on Wikimedia. In other words, it depends if wrote their attribution requirement to depart or not from the terms of the CC BY-SA 4.0 license, in particular its section 3(a). It could be a good thing to ask them.
-- Asclepias (talk) 20:25, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, you've focused the issues for me.
The CC-BY license 3(a)(1)(A)(i.) seems to allow the licensor to specify how his identity is retained by the licensee (e.g., specify using real name Samuel Clemens or psuedonym Mark Twain), but it does not seem to control the manner of stating the license (such as putting the attribution on each page or a specific statement such as "download for free at xyz"). The licensor may require a URI to the material. (v)
Section 3(a)(2) says the licensee may satisfy the attribution requirements in 3(a)(1) by any reasonable manner. That is the licensee's choice and not something that the licensor may dictate. If reasonable, the manner of attribution may be a hyperlink.
For printed matter, OpenStax clearly requires the attribution notice on each page. That violates 3(a)(2). OpenStax does not want a printed book that has an appendix that gives attribution (e.g, states figure 14 on page 382 came from OpenStax...).
Given the printed matter requirement of visible attribution on each page, I can only read the page view requirement as displaying the required text (without following a hyperlink). That is outside of 3(a)(2) because it disallows other reasonable methods.
Consequently, OpenStax is not offering a compliant CC-BY-SA license. It is offering a different license that WMF has neither accepted nor rejected.
Glrx (talk) 21:21, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

Copyright question about a link to copyrighted academic work

A university press may publish the work of academics in pdf format. The work is copyrighted, yet freely viewable by the world in pdf format on the university's website. May a WP editor use this pdf link as a citation in a WP article? An example:

The University of Melbourne has published a pdf copy of a work by Davies, Harrison, and Wheatcroft at the above link. May an editor use this link to the pdf copy as a cite in an article, or is this a copyright violation?

Thanks for your help, Santamoly (talk) 07:51, 15 June 2017 (UTC)

You can cite and link to a source, as long as the work is published legally at that source. -- Asclepias (talk) 17:17, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
Can we assume that a university press (i.e Melbourne University Press, in this example) is publishing legally, or do we have to prove the legality of each cite? Do universities engage in illegal publishing? I'm not sure how to prove the legality of the publication of an academic paper by a university press. Santamoly (talk) 20:26, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
@Santamoly: I would be personally comfortable with using that link because the author of the scanned PDF article is apparently the same person who is running the website. To answer one of your general questions, I'm sure that people at universities sometimes post scans they are not authorized to scan. Without contacting the publisher, I doubt there is any way to be 100% certain that any particular scan was posted legally. Calliopejen1 (talk) 20:37, 15 June 2017 (UTC)
The link's legitimacy is far from simple. The link looks like a straight up WP:COPYLINK violation without substantial digging.
First, the link is a scan of a book rather than a professional PDF. Crappy book scans are likely copyright violations. Legitimate publishers usually have access to the publication source and could post high-quality PDFs.
Second, the original publisher of the work is Cambridge University Press. Nothing suggests the website is controlled by CUP. The copyright statement identifies a press syndicate that has a Melbourne address, but 10 Stamford Road, Oakleigh, Melbourne, 3166, Australia is 20 km from the University of Melbourne. It looks like a CUP office rather than something associated with umimelb.
Third, nothing suggests that URL is Melbourne University Press. It is just some organ inside Nothing on the landing page suggests CUP or MUP.
Fourth, university sites often have personal sites and course sites that contain copyright violations. A student might copy some references to his space; a prof might make some research article available to his class. Even if those copies are fair use, their exposure to the outside world is a copyright violation.
All of those make the link look bad. There is an out.
The authors of journal articles are often allowed to publish their work on websites that they control. If any of the three authors controls the website, then it may be a legit publication. The editors are R. W. Davies, Mark Harrison, and S. G. Wheatcroft; the chapter authors are Davies and Wheatcroft. The control of the subdomain is Stephan Wheatcroft. I'd guess that S. G. and Stephan are the same, and it should be reasonable to assume that S. G. would not violate his publisher's copyright. However, the republication rights are usually for journal articles and not books. The republication is a chapter out of a book, and the chapters have identifiable authors, so it is similar to a journal publication. Still, it is not a journal article.
Maybe the republication is legit, but I'm not comfortable with it until something is found that states CUP allows Wheatcroft to republish chapters of his book.
Glrx (talk) 17:20, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Using pic of a map placed in public location

Hi, I have clicked an image File:GulabBagh Map.jpg which a map of a public garden. This pic is actually placed at the entrance gate of that public garden Gulab_Bagh_and_Zoo. Since this is a public place, and map is also kept open for public, i don't think taking a picture should be any problem. Still i would like to know if i need to update the image copyright, or need any other action for the same. All help and support would be appreciated. Vishal0soni (talk) 05:09, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

Hi @Vishal0soni: Just because something is freely visible to the public, either in real life or online, does not mean that there is no copyright to the design. In this instance you have a photo of a map, which is a derivative work, so it requires two permissions; one from the photographer and one from the artist or designer. Most likely this map was created by the organisation that runs the park or was commissioned by them and they would be the copyright holders, so their permission is required for us to keep the image. Indian copyright generally lasts for 60 years pma and this does not look that old, besides which freedom of panorama does not apply to 2D items per c:Commons:Freedom_of_panorama#India. Sorry but you are out of luck on this one. However, someone could make a new drawing based on the information in the map and that would be fine, so long as it is not a slavish copy. ww2censor (talk)

PD-logo question

Does File:Vancouver Sun logo 2016.jpg qualify as a public domain logo? Thanks! Daylen (talk) 20:48, 18 June 2017 (UTC)

Copyright status of an anonymous 1920-photograph where first publication date is unknown

At Talk:Ulsda railway stop#Non-free photo, there is a question about the copyright status of a photograph taken in 1920 in the Netherlands. The author of the photograph and date of first publication are unknown, but cannot be later than February 2007 and is likely much earlier. I cannot find what the rules are in this situation. Thryduulf (talk) 10:22, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

Is it really 1920? This commons page c:Commons:Copyright_rules_by_territory#Netherlands states that: expires 70 years after 1 January of the year following that in which the work was first lawfully communicated to the public, so the question will probably be determined by finding out, if possible, when the picture was first published. If the image has never been available before its recent online page then you are well out of luck but if you can find information it was published or available in some public way more than 70 years ago, it will be ok. You might just better trying to use it as a non-free image. Not easy. ww2censor (talk) 11:20, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
It can't be used as a non-free image. In the article where the question says it would be used, there is no substantial commentary on the merits of this photograph or on the work or career of the photographer. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:52, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Discussion of the photographer or photograph is not the only reason for non-free content. If it was used as non-free it would be to illustrate the station building, which is a permissable use if it significantly enhances the understanding of the subject (I have no opinion currently whether it would or not). Thryduulf (talk) 20:18, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
We can't use a non-free work to illustrate something other than that work (or to show an example of the work of its author). Wikipedia having a non-free content policy does not mean that we can ignore copyrights and use a non-free image whenever we don't have a free image. "Enhancing the understanding of the subject" does not mean of any subject and it is not a standalone condition that would allow to ignore all other requirements. A first step is to make sure the illustrative use if about the right subject, that it is about the non-free work in question. After that condition is met, then the use must also meet additional conditions, such as being useful to enhance the understanding of that subject. In the present case, what is the non-free work in question here? It is the photograph. Thus, the basic requirement is that the illustrative use must be about this photograph or about its author. If there was an article commenting this photograph, then the additional requirement of enhancing the understanding of this subject (the subject being the photograph) would be easily met. -- Asclepias (talk) 21:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Absolutely it must meet all the criteria, not just this one (and I have not looked to see if this image does or not), but (when other conditions are met) we do allow non-free images where the encyclopaedic discussion is about what the image depicts rather than about the image itself or the photographer/artist) - e.g. File:Weirdalclassic.jpg, File:Hadley Lodge after the fire.jpg and File:Garden Bridge - London - Arup Image.jpg. Thryduulf (talk) 22:47, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
The photo can't be from 1920 if the building pictured on it was built in 1930. The source says 1932. Not much can be done without information about the photographer and the publication year. -- Asclepias (talk) 15:52, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
@Asclepias and Ww2censor: There are two images being discussed, the first is from 1932 but the second is clearly labelled as 1920. The building was built in 1905, moved in 1930 and demolished in 1950. Thryduulf (talk) 20:18, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
Ah, ok, I see, thank you for the explanation. So, the question is if the 1920 photo of the Westerbroek stop can be used to illustrate the article about the Ulsda stop. Well, a 1920 photo has a better chance to be considered free in the United States, if a reasonable indication can be found that it was published before 1923. Still, it must be found to be free, not used as a non-free image. -- Asclepias (talk) 21:59, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
The main question is actually, "what is the copyright status of the 1920 image?" because if it is free then there is no way the 1932 photograph (which is definitely not PD in the USA as an anonymous work) could be used under fair use. If the 1920 image is non-free then the replaceability criterion is met for the 1932 image and it is worth looking to see if the other criteria are also met. I don't think anyone is seeking to use the 1920 image under fair use on the Ulsda article (although "This is the station building at Westerbook, before it was moved to Ulsda." is relevant enough to be at least considered rather than an obvious failure of NFCC 8). Thryduulf (talk) 22:47, 19 June 2017 (UTC)


I do not understand why I continue to get a warning about uploading this image that belongs to me? — Preceding unsigned comment added by NicholsZIP (talkcontribs) 12:55, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

The first copy, File:ANBest.jpg, which you had uploaded at 14:38, 1 May 2016, was the object of the message left on your talk page at 17:05 the same day, 1 May 2016, by the ImageTaggingBot, as an information that the description page did not include a copyright status template. This means that even if you possibly had mentioned the copyright status in the page, you probably had forgotten to add a template, which is necessary to be detected by the system. This first copy was deleted eight days later, on 9 May 2016, since no tag had been added in the meantime. The message from 1 May 2016 is still on your talk page because contents of talk pages are not automatically deleted. If old messages from 2015 and 2016 on your talk page bother you, you can archive them. The third copy File:ANBest2.jpg, which you uploaded on 19 June 2017 under a CC by-sa 4.0 license, has a deletion warning because it is an identical duplicate copy of the second copy File:Ashton Nichols.jpeg, which you have already uploaded on 4 May 2016 under a public domain release, and also of the fourth copy File:ANBest.jpeg, which you uploaded on 19 June 2017 under a CC0 public domain declaration. It is recommended to upload only one copy of an image. Identical duplicates are likely to be deleted, in particular a copy that mentions a more restrictive copyright status than another copy. -- Asclepias (talk) 16:55, 19 June 2017 (UTC)
@NicholsZIP: All the identical images have been deleted and File:Ashton Nichols.jpeg is now the only image that remains and it is one the commons but it requires your attention over there because it does not have any evidence of permission, so you may want to address that otherwise it too will be deleted. It is also missing other details. Good luck. ww2censor (talk) 09:15, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Online magazine cover upload

Please advise how to upload a cover (image) of an online magazine to Wikipedia, in regards to license. Thank you Parviziskender (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:28, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Demolished building

Can I use a 1932 photo of a demolished building? (full question and discussion) – Editør (talk) 10:50, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

@Editør: This image is being discussed in the post on this page just 3 posts above this one. ww2censor (talk) 11:59, 20 June 2017 (UTC)

Image of K. Anders Ericsson

I tried uploading a picture of psychologist K. Anders Ericsson last year. The picture is a portrait picture take for his bio profile at Florida State University. The picture that I was going to use I was able to find on other free image website, so it acceptable for free use on Wikipedia, if I understand the terms correctly. I tried uploading the picture to the Ericsson Wikipedia page, but I uploaded it incorrectly and it posted to the Tale Page. I did leave an entry on the Talk Page that if anyone could correct it to do so. The picture was removed from the Talk Page, but it wasn't inserted to the Main Page.But, it is a good thing the picture was not added. I've gone back to Ericsson's FSU bio page and there is probably an updated picture. I used the right tag, I just uploaded the picture to the wrong place. Now, when I look at the tags, I don't know which tag to use now.

RayGhost-Use way as no way; Use limitation as no limitation 09:22, 21 June 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rayghost (talkcontribs)

I'm sorry you had trouble with your upload but it was deleted as unacceptable and per the note left on you talk page at the time there was no licence for the image. Even if a new image is available from the same website (I presume you mean the one on this webpage) you cannot use it because it is copyright to someone and you don't have their permission to use it. That's what determines what licence tag get applied. Basically most images you find on the internet are copyright and without any clear evidence they are freely licenced they will be deleted if you upload them. Sorry but you must try to either, get permission from the copyright owner and have it verified by them by them following the procedure found at WP:CONSENT or you have to search for a free image somewhere else. Flickr does not seem to have any free images of him, so you may just be out of luck. ww2censor (talk) 10:18, 21 June 2017 (UTC)
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