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:Image 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.
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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.

Copyright question: 1915 Swedish painting / 1938 "fair use" Swedish painting[edit]

A discussion had started at Talk:Einar Jolin#Works of art by Jolin, would you please comment on the questions. I'm a little confused about a 1915 Swedish painting and 1938 "fair use" Swedish painting. Thanks much!--CaroleHenson (talk) 16:36, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Textile scans: date of publication?[edit]

I'm looking at the Google Art scans of some textiles ( for instance) and was wondering if, since these are museum specimens, we would assume a PD status in terms of age of publication. There's previously been consensus that carpets and the like are 2D for copyright purposes, so I'm just wondering about the age. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 10:14, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

Not everything in museums is old enough to be PD. (Consider the Museum of Modern Art...) I see no information about the age of the textile specimen; perhaps there's information in the description that makes it obvious to someone familiar with such works that the work is so old that, say, {{PD-old-70}} applies? Without that, it doesn't seem to be evident that it's PD. --{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 22:21, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
  • The patterns themselves are old ones (evident in both the description and [for those familiar with, say, batik] the motifs), but also still produced. I doubt they would be really modern specimens (i.e. after the 1940s), but the precautionary principle wins out. Thanks. Shame, then. Only one of the 15 or so textiles was even tentatively dated. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 01:19, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Aware of any new info regarding PD-NJGov legalities?[edit]

Anyone aware of any new info regarding PD-NJGov legalities? since the TfD of a year and a half ago (or the DR of 13 months ago)? (I still think it's clear that in "anyone may view, copy or distribute State information found here without obligation to the State," the "without obligation" verbiage is a blanket permission for all uses, and hence makes the content PD.) I'm at a loss as to how to identify what the ambiguity in "without obligation" is, in order to "thrash it out".--{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 21:35, 9 September 2014 (UTC)

NJ's terms are missing the allowance to modify "without obligation" (read: without the need to get permission) so we can't treat it as free. --MASEM (t) 21:47, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
We disagree. I think your language comprehension is lacking. You're just rehashing a point that's been argued over, at the links above. I'm asking for new info.--{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 22:27, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Unless there's been a change in NJ's law on public records, then there's going to be no new information. --MASEM (t) 22:30, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
LOL. --{{U|Elvey}} (tc) 05:58, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

Checking if this image would be okay[edit]


I just wish to use an image from this page -

I'm uncertain if I can.

Most of my images come from peer-reviewed journals. Am I allowed to utilize those, granted I of course provide source information?

Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jarslan (talkcontribs) 02:49, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

We take copyright status very seriously and that document is clearly marked as copyright on the last page, so unless you get the permission from the copyright holder, you cannot use the image here. Other images from journals are also most likely copyright and they too reqire permisssion unless they are clearly marked or known to be in the public domain as are most images you find on the internet or in publications. You may find it useful to read my image copyright information page. Good luck. ww2censor (talk) 09:08, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

who owns the copyright[edit]

If I submit work that has been published elsewhere but I still own the copyright will I still keep the copyright if accepted by wikipedia? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:47, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

See Wikipedia:Copyrights. Contributors retain the copyright of material they submit, However contributions are only accepted under the conditions of a license which allows copying, distribution and/or modification of such text on Wikipedia and elsewhere, under a Creative Commons license - you effectively lose control of potential reuse of the text. In practice though It is unlikely that most material published elsewhere will be suitable for Wikipedia - it needs to be written in an appropriate encyclopaedic manner, to meet our requirements regarding citations, a neutral point of view etc. It will of course also be potentially subject to later editing by other Wikipedia contributors. AndyTheGrump (talk) 17:59, 10 September 2014 (UTC)

Possible weird attribution issue?[edit]

So I came across John Cigarini and took a look at its initial revision. Figured I'd do a copyvio check. I came across File:Wikipedia entry.pdf, dated a few days before the article was created. What do we do with this? Keeping the file at Commons is probably not the right answer, but there might be some attribution issue. The file was uploaded by User:John ‎Cigarini (no visible contribs), while the article was created by User:‎Cigarini (I'm guessing one and the same). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 06:18, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

This might also be a licensing issue since the Commons text lacks the dual CC/GFDL licence required for direct import to Wikipedia. I guess we need an OTRS ticket for this. De728631 (talk) 03:38, 14 September 2014 (UTC) > Utagawa Kuniyoshi Suikoden Image Copyrights[edit]


After scouting through the Internet regarding public domain usage of Utagawa Kuniyoshi Suikoden Japanese Wooden Block Printing Series images, I found out that the web link has matching images I would download and then upload for Wikipedia usage. For instance, I would like to use the image ( in the Wiki article since it is the portrait of the character.

Now, regarding the image copyrights, according to, the author of web site suggested that all images in his web site should technically be under public domain, citing Bridgeman Art Library v. Corel Corp case (

If this is the case, am I breaching any copyright laws to download and upload the Suikoden images from for Wikipedia usage?

Please advise


Hienz Quynh Hienzquynh (talk) 05:48, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

My understanding is that, whether or not the people who created the images hold a copyright in some jurisdiction, Commons (and I think by analogy Wikipedia) is willing to host images of public domain two-dimensional artwork. See Commons:When to use the PD-Art tag. Thincat (talk) 08:45, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Right, with the note that "Created the image" means "made a faithful scan of" the 2D image. Modifications (say, giving the Mona Lisa a wicked unibrow and buckteeth) would have their own copyright. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 09:49, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Is there a reason why you would want to make a copy of a copy from that website instead of making a copy of the image at the original source at the website of the museum? If not, the closer you stay to the original source, the better. Also, you can use preferably the "artwork" template, filling the fields with the information from the museum's page. Please preserve or link to copyright statements that might be valid somewhere. While Wikimedia accepts that reproductions of public domain 2-D works do not generate a distinct copyright in the United States, potential reusers have a right to be informed of anything that might affect the image in their country, and Wikimedia is not into the business of concealing information. -- Asclepias (talk) 19:28, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi, Thincat / Crisco / Asclepias - Thank you so much for your prompt replies and advices. I do not want to sound ungrateful but I am still a bit undecided since I am not clear what the best direction I should take in this case. Since I am new to Wikipedia, can you or someone recommend me what the best direction is for me to do in this case? Should I just upload the images with due credit / link / copyright statement? Or put them in Wiki Commons? Or fill in as individual "artwork" templates? Since the articles are written about characters in the famous Chinese novel - Water Margin and they are written in various languages (such as Chinese / English / Japanese / Korean / Vietnamese), I would assume these images will sooner or later be replicated in these associated articles. Please advise me the best course of actions to save time and efficiency since there are 108 characters to edit / write in each language. Thanks. -- Hienzquynh (talk) 21:41, 12 September 2014 (UTC)
The site where to upload the files would be Wikimedia Commons. For the description of the relevant informations about this type of images, the template "artwork" is better suited than the general-purpose "information" template. The fields should be filled with at least the usual necessary informations (source, etc.) and ideally also the other fields, using the informations available from the sources. Descriptive templates like those are only tools to help format the informations. You still must indicate the copyright status. For that, you can use one of the many variants of the PD-Art template, as hinted above, which you will parameter with at least one other template stating why the original artwork is in the public domain. If the makers of the reproduction (e.g. the museum) states a copyright claim on the reproduction, you can link to their relevant copyright webpage, unless it's already obvious in the webpage linked as the source of the image. Although you probably already checked the Commons:Category:Utagawa Kuniyoshi and its relevant subcategories, it goes without saying that it will save you time to not duplicate images that may already be available on Commons, unless better versions can be uploaded. -- Asclepias (talk) 01:11, 13 September 2014 (UTC)


If I photograph a painting created in 1938 and hanging in a museum then publish the photograph am I violating copyright?

Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gvritzenfrit (talkcontribs) 18:18, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

While we cannot offer you legal intellectual copyright advise, it depends on the country of origin and when the author died. ww2censor (talk) 21:17, 13 September 2014 (UTC

Country of origin is U.S. Painter died in 1942

In that case it depends on when the painting was first published and if that was done with a copyright notice or a formal registration. Renewal of copyright might also have happened, so without knowing the name of the artist and the work there's nothing specific we could tell you. This chart may help you though. De728631 (talk) 03:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Citing Wikipedia images[edit]


I am planning to use several Wikipedia images in a book I am creating. The book is NOT for sale, but for family members and friends. Is there citing language for images. I see that there is citing language for text in the left-hand column of the page. What about images>

Thank you.

Kerry — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kerridanm (talkcontribs) 20:49, 13 September 2014 (UTC)

There is no standard way for citing images, and also the sources in Wikipedia articles are always cited according to personal preferences of the first author or the most active editors. However, for most images you should at least mention the creator (photographer, painter) and the type of licence, which is actually required for licenses such as Creative Commons and GFDL. If the images are in the public domain then you could use them without attribution, but it would be a courtesy to mention the creator. De728631 (talk) 03:23, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
Please note also that many images shown on Wikipedia are actually kept at Wikimedia Commons, so that should be mentioned as your source. An attribution could be as simple as "Image by John Smith. Wikimedia Commons, CC-by-3.0". De728631 (talk) 03:27, 14 September 2014 (UTC)
To add, not all Wikipedia images are necessarily available for you to use. You must check it has an appropriate license rather than being used here under the fair use provisions. QuiteUnusual (talk) 13:40, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Railway tickets[edit]

Edmondson tickets are PD Ineligible aren't they? However, the status of File:1066 ticket front.jpg (and by implication File:1066 ticket back.jpg and File:Electrification of the Hastings to Tonbridge Railway. April 1986.jpg) has been questioned at talk:Hastings Line, due to the British Rail double arrow and 1066 Country logos. I uploaded the first two files, the third was uploaded from Flickr way back in 2011 as having been on a CC-by-2.0 licence. Does the presence of these logos mean the we need to apply FURs for the use of these images, or are they still ineligible for copyright? Mjroots (talk) 17:50, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Comic saucy seaside postcards by Sapphire (e.g. artist "Quip")[edit]

Are these under Copyright? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:35, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

That depends on several factors but firstly you need to determine when they were published and when the author died. The back of this eBay lot clearly shows a copyright notice, and I presume they all have it, but they are not dated, so how long ago were they published. You may find it useful to read c:COM:CRT#Ordinary copyright for more details about UK copyright. ww2censor (talk) 09:54, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Appropriate fair use sample size for bad recordings[edit]

I'm trying to add audio files to illustrate some of the issues mentioned in the fraud section of Leslie Flint's article. People are making subjective comments based on their own interpretations of the media (comments which are being deleted), but the reader has no reference with which to interpret the claims of the article's subject and the researchers of his work.

He is dead. His 'foundation' have a large selection of recordings of his works from the 1950s and 60s. Trouble is, the sound quality is awful. Usually I wouldn't take more than 30 seconds from the beginning of this sort of file to establish context and illustrate the subject. 30 seconds is probably not going to cut it in this sense.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how long a sample size would be appropriate? PanydThe muffin is not subtle 18:43, 15 September 2014 (UTC)


how to upload images from the google to wikipedia page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jekevin (talkcontribs) 22:13, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

See the upload page but note that you can only upload free media or rely on fair use in limited circumstances. You should read Wikipedia:Image use policy first. QuiteUnusual (talk) 11:16, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

1891 Ordnance Survey maps[edit]

Hello, I am currently working on an article about an English town, Sleaford, and I have found that the 1891 Ordnance Survey maps for this area are available online, here and here. It would useful to use these to create a summarised and much more simplified vector map of the town; however, I am unsure about the copyright restrictions on these images - I would assume that they are Public Domain, but I could do with some advice on using these scans as the basis for a derivative work. Many thanks, --Noswall59 (talk) 10:41, 17 September 2014 (UTC).

"Ordnance Survey mapping is protected by virtue of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Our mapping is protected for 50 years from the end of the year in which the map was published. For example, a map dated 1942 would have gone out of copyright on 31 December 1992." from the official Ordnance Survey site QuiteUnusual (talk) 11:13, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
Ok, thanks for the quick response. So it looks like there shouldn't be any issues with me uploading a work derived from that map? --Noswall59 (talk) 11:19, 17 September 2014 (UTC).
I agree with your analysis, yes. QuiteUnusual (talk) 11:21, 17 September 2014 (UTC)
In that case, how should I tag it? --Noswall59 (talk) 11:46, 17 September 2014 (UTC).
I suggest you should say it is "own work" but in the description say what you have done, just like you have done here. Give the source, etc. and if the original is still visible in your final map give two liences, one PD for the original map and one CC 3.0 for your work. If, as I expect, the original map will have been removed completely, one licence will be enough and simply to credit the Ordnance Survey will be sufficient. Thincat (talk) 12:02, 17 September 2014 (UTC)