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.
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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:Luna Mortis.jpg[edit]

Apparently this file was deleted by Aka, due to Copyright Vio, but the image (Assuming it was the same one) was uploaded by me after receiving authorization for release from the band themselves. Anyone know what the issue was? Sephiroth storm (talk) 04:45, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

You uploaded it to Commons, and there, we require the image to be completely free (CC-BY, etc.) To show this, it is not sufficient for you to say that you got permission from the band, but instead you have to have the band to authorize the use of the image under a free license. I know for we have WP:CONSENT, a process by which the owner of the photo can send their approval to the Open Ticket Request System as to document the allowance, I'm not sure if Commons has the same, but we would need this approval by the band directly in any situation. --MASEM (t) 05:21, 17 August 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. Could be difficult to get them to do it now, but I may be able to swing it, anyone know the process for this on Commons? Sephiroth storm (talk) 07:59, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

The Commons process is detailed at commons:COM:ET ("e-mail templates"). Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 19:35, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

I am working with an artist who is giving me his personal photos and I don't know how the copyright works.[edit]

I am working in developing an artist page that I am in touch with and he sends me his own personal photos.

They were never copyrighted but he allows me to post them here.

What should I do when I upload them?

Thank You for making Wikipedia a great place to be!

Filmman3000 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Filmman3000 (talkcontribs) 23:44, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Assuming that they are letting you post them as freely-licensed images, you should follow the instructions at WP:CONSENT , as this requires that you have the artist email the OTRS to indicate this. --MASEM (t) 23:52, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
The problem is that the copyright in the pictures remains with the person(s) who took them, not with the subject or the photos, or the person who owns the film and/or prints of those photos. Who took them? Have they waived their rights, or else licensed them in a way we can use here? Are they photos of the artist, or of his/her works? (Or by "artist" do you mean a performer of some kind?) --Orange Mike | Talk 23:53, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks to both. They are just his personal photos. I think Masem nailed what we need to do. Filmman3000 (talk) 00:44, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Foreign Newspaper Article Copyright Vs Public Domain[edit]

I am trying to get a response on an issue which is important for my article I am working on. I have uploaded an image (advertisement) from a newspaper (Pakistan Observer) dated 17 July 1959. I created this file with an upload wizard while I was practicing on creating article in my sandbox. I was not aware of copyright vs public domain issues at that time. Several volunteers have questioned about the copyright issue. After researching I found the following information:

1. American Newspaper Articles published between 1923 and 1977 without a copyright notice. For this time frame, if there wasn’t a copyright notice in the newspaper, it’s in the public domain.

2. The situation with foreign works is in some ways simpler but also more complex. For most of its history, the U.S. expected foreign works to follow the same rules that U.S. works had to obey. In order to secure copyright protection, works first published between 1923 and March 1, 1989, had to follow a series of formalities. Failure to comply with the formalities (publication with copyright notice, renewal of copyright, manufacture of some works in the U.S., deposit of copies with the Copyright Office) could limit the copyright owner’s rights or, in some cases, even end copyright protection. Few works published abroad complied with these requirements, and so it was assumed that most of them were in the public domain.

I checked the Newspaper (Pakistan Observer) thoroughly and did not find any information about copyright protection. Based on the above information, I believe that it is in the public domain. If I am correct on this, how do I change the information on the file (from Source and author) to the public domain? Morahim (talk) 14:49, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

As I understand Pakistan copyright law, according to c:Commons:Copyright rules by territory#Pakistan 50 years pma is the basic number and becuase this would be a corporate work the individual author is unlikely known, so, as 50 years have passed you may well be ok but for the commons it must also be freely licenced in the US. You may want to refer to the 1992 copyright amendment act linked from this WIPO page. ww2censor (talk) 15:43, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I have to make a correction. The advertisement was published from Pakistan which was East Pakistan that time. It is now Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh copyright is a subject-matter of statutory protection of intellectual property. Prior to 1962, there were no specific laws as regards copyright in the Pakistan or East Pakistan (later Bangladesh)Morahim (talk) 18:18, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
For the Bangladeshi copyright you need to read this page. As is fairly usual with colonies they retain the previous laws until they make their own, so it is likely the copyright rules for pre-1948 Indian copyright laws apply, which would be 60 years pma in this case unless the new 2000 law says otherwise. If 60 years is the time you are out of luck but if 50 applies, you are most likely ok. This is a tricky one unless some other editors know differently. You may want to pose the question on the commons licencing page. Good luck. ww2censor (talk) 20:36, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate your input. I think got my answer and I don't have to ask the question to Common licensing page. Bangladesh copyright act of 2000 is largely based on Pakistan's Copyright Ordinance, 1962. The term of the copyright is "50 years from the beginning of the calendar year next following the year in which the author dies (p.m.a.; s. 18)." Based on this, I can safely say that the article is in the public domain. Please confirm. My next concern is, how do I change the uploaded file images (advertisement) with wrong source and author to PD?Morahim (talk) 23:06, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
This was under copyright in its source nation in 1996 and therefore the Uruguay Round Agreement Act restored it to copyright in the US, and since its 95 years haven't expired in the US, it's still under copyright in the US.--Prosfilaes (talk) 20:12, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Graphic designer for the journal cover images has the copyright, but it's commisioned to her by us based on the journal content[edit]

Hi, I've recently created a Wikipedia entry for the Journal Cytometry Part A. I also uploaded the cover image of the Journal. We commission the cover images for Cytometry Part A to our graphic designer based on the Journal content, which are then published in every new issue of the journal. I got the following message from Stefan2:

Thank you for contributing to Wikipedia. We always appreciate when users upload new images. However, it appears that one or more of the images you have recently uploaded or added to a page, specifically Draft:Cytometry Part A, may fail our non-free image policy. Most often, this involves editors uploading or using a copyrighted image of a living person. For other possible reasons, please read up on our Non-free image criteria. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. See WP:NFCC#9. --Stefan2 (talk) 13:57, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

We always upload the content with the full permission from the authors, and all cover images are created for a sole purpose of appearing on the cover of the journal. Our designer's name appears in each issue's image description, so the entire process is 100% fair in use. Is there a way we can publish a license containing our graphic designer's name and the rest of the license information will remain as is? Please advise. Many thanks in advance! — Preceding unsigned comment added by WileyLS AnaM (talkcontribs) 14:07, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Hi, The message you received appears to be about a technical point. On Wikipedia, images in a context of "fair use" are allowed only in articles. The message you received invokes the fact that your draft is, for the moment, still in the "draft namespace" of the Wikipedia website. It is not yet an article in the "main (article) namespace" of Wikipedia. The user who sent you the message hid the display of the image but left the filename in the code of the page. This seems to imply that if and when your draft is moved from the "draft namespace" to the "main namespace", thus becoming an article, then you can display the image. -- Asclepias (talk) 14:47, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
@WileyLS AnaM: I've left a note on your draft asking the reviewer to restore the image if the article is moved to the main article space. Please note that you have yet to submit the draft, and nothing will happen until you do. Good luck with the article.  Philg88 talk 19:28, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Many thanks for this info, Philg88 and Asclepias! — Preceding unsigned comment added by WileyLS AnaM (talkcontribs) 21:49, 24 August 2014 down for maintenance August 22-25[edit]

Search "The Copyright Office Online Public Catalog will not be available between 5:00pm U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, August 22 and 6:00am, Monday, August 25 while the Library performs maintenance." We hope (talk) 17:23, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Street art[edit]

Hi, I have a query re street art. The Banksy article has a number of photos of his works—the uploader states he is the author and has released them into the public domain. Playing devil's advocate, surely that is creation of a derivative work and therefore a breach of copyright? Or does street art somehow fall under Freedom of Panorama?  Philg88 talk 17:56, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

I would follow what has been a subject of discussion at commons which you can find over here: [1] (or Commons:COM:GRAFFITI). Assuming the graffiti is unauthorized/illegal (as Banksy's), but is original art, then per commons, regardless where painted one can make a free photograph of it. That said, we do also consider if the graffiti incorporates original works. As an example, there was an image of graffiti of an image of Kim Jong-Il, based on well-established press photo of the leader. Thought it was painted in France (where graffiti is more in the free than elsewhere), the derivative work of the graffiti was a problem and the image considered non-free as a derivative work of the original photograph. Similarly, copyrighted characters would trigger similar issues. --MASEM (t) 18:05, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Masem, I suspected that the illegal aspect would scupper any copyright claim and you've confirmed that. I wanted to check with regard to the second image in the Van Ray article (not the duck :)), but I don't think that the subject of the work is identifiable, unlike Kim Jong-Il. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.  Philg88 talk 19:47, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
I would presume it is okay, as I cannot recognize the image it is based on. If sometime down the road we find there was an original basis that was still in copyright, then that would be an issue., but for now, this should be fine. --MASEM (t) 20:50, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

File:International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions logo.png[edit]

I uploaded a logo under Fair Use, but I'm not sure I added the Licensing information the right way. What seems to be very easy in my home-Wikipedia, turned to be a bit difficult here (I'm used to uploading files to the Commons and adding them to articles here but this is the first time I upload a logo). Can you please check it and fix what's needed, if needed? I will be appreciated. Thanks in advance, Ldorfman (talk) 20:40, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

I don't think that it passes the originality threshold to even qualify for copyright protection. Looks like {{PD-text}} to me.--ukexpat (talk) 20:52, 22 August 2014 (UTC)
Its definitely {{PD-textlogo}} in the US but as the organization is based in the Netherlands, it may not be below the threshold of originality there. According to Commons:COM:TOO it seems like it would be, but I'm not sure. We may need to err on the safe side and list it as {{PD-ineligible-USonly}}. Thoughts? TLSuda (talk) 22:23, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

File:Depression Quest screenshot.jpg[edit]

I've just uploaded this screenshot for use in the Depression Quest article, but I'm wondering if I made a mistake by uploading it in the original resolution. My thought was that since the screenshot is all text, it would be pretty much useless if readers can't read it because the resolution is too low. However, I've realised that this might put me foul of WP:NFCC 3. Should I upload this again with a lower resolution? — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 02:06, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

It's one of those non-standard cases; it's nearly all text and whatever graphics there are can't be copyrighted (but the text can), but from the standpoint of explaining the user interface, you need the shot. I would reup at a size where you don't lose the small text's readability. Maybe 400px width? 500px? --MASEM (t) 02:34, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
I've reuploaded at 600px width. At 500px the text was a little too small to read - hopefully 600px will still be ok for NFCC 3. Thank you for your help! — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 13:16, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

Modifying and uploading an image in the public domain.[edit]

I would like to modify a map in the public domain, produced by the U.S. Marine Corp in 1955. I have uploaded this original map onto Wikipedia: Table of Distances from Okinawa.jpg.

May I remove items from this public domain image (such as the table of distances), add information (such as larger place names on certain islands) and upload this as a new file with a new name?

If so, is this still public domain or is this my original work? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Emerdog (talkcontribs)

Yes, you can do that with a PD image. We would expect that an image you made from something like a PD source carry a free license - it doesn't have to be PD, it can be CC-BY or CC-BY-SA, but it does need a free license.
When you upload your final image, you should make sure to indicate it is a derivative work of the original by adding a link to the original image (the link to the file: space version here) in the file description page for your upload, as well as describe briefly what you might have changed. --MASEM (t) 16:18, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Photocopy of a newspaper article[edit]

Hi I am editing my first page on Wikipedia and had a question. I was given a photocopy of a newspaper article published in 1956 can I upload the image to Wikipedia - thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by Z987 (talkcontribs) 17:08, 24 August 2014‎ (UTC)

Hi, Z987. If it is simply text and not a photograph, there is no need to upload an image of it to Wikipedia. You simply need to cite it as you would any other source, which means giving information like the name of the paper, where it was published, the exact date of the article that has the information, and so on. Sources do not have to be available online. Notifying User:Z987 Anon126 (notify me of responses! / talk / contribs) 19:21, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Thank you - the newspaper article carries a picture, so I was thinking about the photocopy. I am not sure if that is acceptable and doesn't violate copyright principles. Your advise would be appreciated - thank you again
@Z987: Most likely the image is copyright, maybe a press agency photo or the paper's own photographer, so you would not be allowed to upload it unless you can clearly verify it is freely licenced. We really need more details so we can offer you more advise. I notice that you uploaded this image to the commons claiming it to be your own work but I suspect that you did not actually take the photo of Raghbir Singh Bhola. If you took your own photo of the image from the newspaper you refer to above you are not the author of the image, just of the copy, so it is most likely non-free and we do not accept non-free images of living people. I have tagged the commons image for deletion here but it might be free but we really need more information. ww2censor (talk) 10:05, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Which country is the newspaper from? --ɴõɴəχүsƚ 11:32, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Acceptable to Wikipedia?[edit]

File:Francis Poulenc & Wanda Landowska.jpg is unquestionably public domain in its country of origin (the National Library of France vouches for that fact), but I wonder if it is PD in the United States? I can see no evidence that it is, and would be glad of an expert view. Tim riley talk 17:16, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Can we figure out the date on that photo? Based on the subject's lifetimes and their age in the photo it is like before 1923 which would make it clear PD in the US. --MASEM (t) 17:21, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Poulenc was born in 1899 but I don't think he looks like he was in his early twenties in the photograph. I'd rather not assume that this was pre-1923. And don't forget that US copyright is based on publication but not on the date of creation. Even if the photo was shot prior to 1923 we wouldn't know if it was published immediately after. De728631 (talk) 18:07, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Poulenc didn't meet Landowska (with whom he is shown in the picture) until early 1923. Tim riley talk 18:30, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

file photo[edit]

What is the copyright status of a portrait of someone, when, it is used either without attribution or as "file photo" on multiple news sites? MarciulionisHOF (talk) 19:43, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

That depends entirely under what copyright licence the image was released, if it even was. However, we do not accept non-free images of living people because a freely licenced image can be made. News sites may use images under a fair use claim but our non-free policy is more restrictive. Exactly what image are you talking about? ww2censor (talk) 20:25, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
There's a couple of bad portraits I've seen, where the article's subject was shaking hands with someone else. MarciulionisHOF (talk) 21:35, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
Often, because US work for the Federal Government is freely licensed (well, in the public domain), you will find images on Wikipedia with the subject shaking hands or standing next to a US official. Eg at Bob Hawke the lead image is cropped from this. For images on the web used without attribution or marked as "file photo" I think we have to assume the image is not freely licensed. Eg here is a file photo, but, like nearly every image on that website it is under copyright (in this case by AAP). As suggested above we need to see which images in particular you are talking about. I hope this answer is helpful, I was not 100% sure I understood the question.--Commander Keane (talk)

Is a link to map in WP allowed?[edit]


I want to compile a (e.g.) List of rivers in the Antofagasta Region using the GeoNames geographical database. The list includes a link to a map where geonames locate the river. For example

It is a geonames server, but down right in the map appears the terms of use of Google. Can WP use this link in its articles?. --Keysanger (Talk) 21:54, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

I would recommend following the practice from WP:GEO, in which if you provide the lat and long. coordinates via the {{coords}} template, then the reader can click and be taken to a toolserver page that gives about few dozen options for mapping (which does include geonames and Google maps), eg: 57°18′22″N 4°27′32″W / 57.30611°N 4.45889°W / 57.30611; -4.45889 --MASEM (t) 22:00, 24 August 2014 (UTC)
It isn't the same service. includes the Unique Feature Identifier (3872600) therefore the map includes some administrative information about the feature as well as other features near and wikipedia pages regarding the sector. --Keysanger (Talk) 14:43, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

File:La Cueva (1920).jpg[edit]

This is a 1920s work by Venezuelan painter Armando Reverón, who died in 1954. I am unsure whether the applied PD-US (or PD-Art maybe) actually applies. Can someone confirm? Deadstar (talk) 15:29, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

File:Lisa Head.jpg[edit]

This is significantly higher resolution than would normally be considered acceptable under WP:NFCC#3b but the uploader believes it would be a violation of the licence (MOD News Licence v2.0) to rescale the image. Should this be a consideration given that we're using it under fair use rather than the MOD's licence? January (talk) 20:54, 25 August 2014 (UTC)

  • I believe that it should be a consideration. Wikipedia's rules require a fair use rationale, but I don't think Wikipedia's rules are actually incompatible with the MOD News Licence, unless we resize the image. So in this case I think it's in the encyclopaedia's best interests to decide that the "minimal resolution" under NFCC#3b should be the smallest size that doesn't break the licence terms.—S Marshall T/C 21:59, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I get what you both are saying, but I disagree. Let's say this is a copyrighted image. Copyrighted images are not allowed (by their copyright license) to be modified, reproduced, edited, etc. We take these copyright images (under fair use) and we still minimize resolution per WP:NFCC#3 thereby violating the copyright license. Fair use trumps the copyright license as we are meeting all of the legal requirements of fair use law, and our policies are often even more strict. Whether or not this file has an MOD license should not be of any concern, as, in my opinion, if we are using it under fair use, we should treat it the same way that we would a copyright image. That being said, we might need someone from the Legal and Community Advocacy team to weigh in on the legal side of this. Cheers, TLSuda (talk) 23:08, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Yes, you're probably right about the Legal and Community Advocacy people. Can we actually claim fair use on something when the owner's given us (and everyone else) a licence? And even if we can, is it really in the encyclopaedia's best interest to violate the licence?—S Marshall T/C 23:25, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • When items are released as CC-by-SA-ND (no derivatives) we minimize them, regardless of the fact that it is a "Free license" (just not free enough for us). We treat it the same way as we treat copyright content (as long as it meets fair use requirements). If we are using it under fair use which would trump any other license, I don't see why we would need to keep from minimizing it. I would even go further to say that scaling any image under any non-free license isn't really breaking any license terms as long as it keeps the same look. For instance, would using one of these images in a newspaper qualify for modification? (The image is 800 x 600 pixels at 72 dpi would be a 11.11" x 8.33" image, printed) And lets say the newspaper prints the image only 8" x 6" (same exact scale, just smaller) would this be a modification and a violation? TLSuda (talk) 23:38, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Although I agree with the substance of what you say (see my post below), the nitpicker in me wants to point out that most print media are 300 dpi+. Newspapers are an exception and they generally print at 150-ish dpi. 72 dpi is really more of a screen/home printer resolution than something you'd get out of a modern printing press.—S Marshall T/C 23:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • @S Marshall: You are correct. My wife does marketing and advertisements and uses this all the time. But. Look at the EXIF data on the image page. It is currently saved in 72dpi. Changing it (even for printing) would be no different than would scaling. In fact, changing the dpi would exactly be scaling the image. TLSuda (talk) 00:41, 26 August 2014 (UTC)
  • I don't see how the MOD license has any relevance, since our use is going to violate the restriction allowing use "for the reporting of current news only". I also suspect that the license terms wouldn't be read that strictly, however, since virtually all uses by broadcast and print media would likely change the size and/or resolution. But, since the license expressly recognizes fair use standards, those are all that matter to us wrt the license. The Big Bad Wolfowitz (aka Hullaballoo) (talk) 23:33, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
  • Well, "current" to the MOD definition appears to be within 5 years. After that they move the image to the National Archives. So yes, I think this is current news. However, you're right to say the licence recognises fair dealing and fair use (I missed that part when I read it earlier), and I'm also coming to the view that you and TLSuda are probably right about re-scaling. I withdraw my objection.—S Marshall T/C 23:53, 25 August 2014 (UTC)
Has anyone contacted the MOD IP rights unit ( ) to see if the MOD news licence is still approriate or whether as time has now elapsed this image is released under the OGL which is CC-BY-SA compatible? Nthep (talk) 13:10, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Photo provided by subject, not photographer[edit]

I tried to upload the following file [2] which has since been removed due to lack of copyright material. I'd like to re-upload it again and do it right, but I'm afraid I need some help.

The image was a photo portrait of Phillip Jacobson. He provided a hard copy of the photo to me, which I subsequently scanned and uploaded. Unfortunately I'm not a lawyer, and copyright isn't straightforward, so I guess my question is what do I need to do in this situation? Do I need to provide an email from Mr. Jacobson saying that he agrees to Wikipedia's terms and conditions?

Thanks & Regards, RedIrony (talk) 23:52, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

@RedIrony: Copyright is originally owned by the photographer. Sometimes photographers sell or transfer the copyright when the session is purchased. Often times, especially in my personal experience, photographers retain the copyright to keep their work from being used to generate income they do not partake in. If you submitted only permission from Mr. Jacobson it would not be accepted. If you can get the photographer to either release the image under a free license (per WP:CONSENT) or sent an email saying that they've given the rights to someone else, and then an email from that person releasing the image. Cheers, TLSuda (talk) 00:28, 27 August 2014 (UTC)