Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria (Human Readable Version)

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Welcome to the sequel to the smash hit Wikipedia:Criteria for speedy deletion (Human Readable Version) (though I'm not quite sure it was a hit either). This time, it's the Non-free content criteria, with 75% less legalese. Note, to be used on the English Wikipedia, a non-free image must pass all the listed criteria.

1. No free equivalent[edit]

You wouldn't use this to sell computers, so why would you use the logo of the company who trademarked this to represent apples in general?

Think about it, when you consider putting a non-free image of something in an article, can you or someone else reasonably make their own picture, or get someone who took a picture of it to donate it to the Wiki-cause? If a picture is "replaceable fair use", that means free picture can easily be made of its subject, and you cannot use it on Wikipedia no matter how many fair use claims you make. For living persons, unless you are absolutely sure you cannot get a picture of the individual, it has to be deleted.

Let me use that apple example from WP:SOSUMI again. We know for a fact, you shouldn't use ANY picture of an apple to sell computers or publish records, cause that's trademark infringement. To flip things around is also not allowed on Wikipedia, you cannot use the logo of Apple Inc. to depict an apple, cause we already have quite a few pictures of apples already.

2. Respect for commercial opportunities.[edit]

To be legally considered fair use, one of the factors is "the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work." This means that it must not be usable as a substitute for the original image, text, etc. This is why non-free images must be scaled down, see number 3 for more details. Anyway, this also rules out any fair use of press agency photos, because unless the photo ITSELF is notable, we are using it for the same purpose it was designed for, so that's not fair use.

3. Minimal Extent/Minimal Usage[edit]

One of the other factors is "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole". We have to use as little as possible, which is where the uniquely Wikipedia term "decorative fair use" comes into play. Why litter an article on the cast of some cartoon with separate images of everyone when you can just have one cast photo of them all instead if possible?

Also, size matters. High resolution non-free images also violate this clause, and must be reduced in size, again with the "must not be usable as a substitute" part.

4. Previous publication[edit]

Okay, I do not personally know what it means, It may have something to do with "The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors" or transformation, but I've rarely seen it used as an excuse to delete an image though, if you know, there's that nice Edit button right to the side here. If you're going to publish an image on Wikipedia and you made it, it would be better to use a free license anyway.

5/6. Content/Media-specific policy[edit]

7. One-article minimum.[edit]

A non-free image must be used in at least one article. If it is not used, it is "orphaned", and will be deleted in a set period of time unless it is used again.

8. Significance[edit]

Okay, out of all the NFCC criteria, this one is the most open for interpretation, and people frequently argue about it because its very loose. So, let's see,

Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic.

But, what is the definition of "significantly increasing readers' understanding of the topic"? My interpretation has always recently been, "Non-free content is only used when it is directly the subject of the article (which passes it for logos, a screenshot to represent a show article, cover art for a single/album), or if not, be something that is critically discussed in the article". This means you cannot for example, use album art or a book cover on the article on its author, because the book cover or album cover does not receive critical commentary in the article, and it is not the subject of the article either. I call it a "Two-step test" of sorts.

9. Restrictions on location[edit]

You may ONLY use Non-free media in the Article namespace. NOT ON TEMPLATES, OR USERPAGES, OR ANYWHERE ELSE.

10. Image description page[edit]

You must declare the source and copyright holder of the image, put a fair use tag to make a basic claim of fair use, then you must also declare why the image complies with the Non-free content policies. Your fair use rationale must be separate for each use of an image, and it must explain why it must be used in an article, and have a unique reason for every use. You must also link to the articles its used in, or BetacommandBot will go crazy (he's our official "fair use cop", we all dislike him for some reason)

Even though they may be loaded up with legalese, these tags like {{Non-free logo}} are surprisingly in some cases, NOT sufficient enough. We should really fix that...but for now...