Wikipedia:Fair use images in templates: exceptions

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WP:FU Policy Article 9 currently says:

Fair use images should only be used in the article namespace. Used outside article space, they are often enough not covered under the fair use doctrine. They should never be used on templates (including stub templates and navigation boxes) or on user pages. ...

This is a proposal to modify that rule.

The clear intent of banning fair use images from templates is that each and every use of such images must be legally justifiable. Since we have little control of where templates are instanciated, there is a strong possibility of an image which would have been justified as fair use in one context becoming unfair use when the template is placed elsewhere. This is a good and laudable concept - and in most cases it's a good rule. However, I humbly submit that it has a flaw which I believe we must correct for the good of the encyclopedia.

The exception is when the template is sufficiently complex that the content of the template by itself suffices to support a fair use claim that would be valid independently of where the template is inserted into the article space.

To be very clear: Within the template, there would have to be both a 'Fair Use' image and sufficient justification for the use of that image based only on the content of the template itself. If this criteria is met - then no matter how inappropriately the template is instanciated, the use of the image can still be supported under fair use because it is justified by the content of the template itself.

An Example[edit]

Here is an example (and the original cause of my concerns): Many Wikipedia Automotive articles (eg Mini) contain a template at the bottom of the article relating to the company that made that vehicle (eg Template:Rover). That template helpfully lists all of the other vehicles made by that company. We also use templates to describe the (often complex) history of the vehicle or company.

It has been common practice to include the company logo in that template. Since a low resolution logo used in describing the companies product or history is "Fair Use", there should be no legal problems here. No matter where that template is instanciated - appropriately as in Mini - or even totally inappropriately (eg if you stuck it into the middle of World Jump Day) - the logo is always fairly used because it's supporting the information displayed within the template itself. Since we break no laws in doing this - there is no reason to ban them if they help the reader. Several automotive articles made it through to Featured Article without anyone complaining about these templates being violations of WP:FU. However, the existance of the "No FU images in templates" rule was used as justification for someone to meticulously rip out all of those logos from dozens and dozens of templates and to stir up a hornet's nest of protest as a result. I believe this was detrimental to the quality of the encyclopedia - but it was hard to justify reversion of those changes because the person in question was undoubtedly following Wiki policy. Indeed - you won't find car company logos on those templates anymore.

So it's time to change the policy.

Previous discussion[edit]

There has been widespread support for allowing this (albeit with some objections) in an archived discussion on WP:FU and also in WikiProject Automobiles - but the conversations 'fizzled' without any conclusion being reached:

The Proposal[edit]

My proposal is to leave the present 'no FU images in templates' rule as-is - but add the rider "unless the use of the image can be justified by the content of the template itself".

SteveBaker 13:55, 25 May 2006 (UTC)