Wikipedia:Publicity photos

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Publicity photos, distributed as part of press kits by celebrities, corporations, candidates for political office, and others, may be eligible for use on Wikipedia under the doctrine of fair use. These images are most often photographs of people, products, or events. As with all images uploaded to Wikipedia, the source of the photo must be identified on the image description page, and copyright information, when supplied with the photo, must be included.

Since such photos are distributed for reuse by the media, there may be an implicit license for their use in discussing the subject that is being promoted. This assumption of an implicit license may or may not include for-profit commercial activity, however. Because Wikipedia no longer uses restrictive licenses, their usage on Wikipedia must fall under normal Wikipedia fair use policy restrictions.

If it is possible to replace the publicity image with a new, free, image of similar value to the reader then the free image must be used in preference to the restricted and copyrighted publicity photograph.

Note that the above only applies to photos that are explicitly distributed for publicity purposes, and does not apply to most photographs of celebrities. For example, a wire service photo of a celebrity or a film still from the site for a movie cannot automatically be presumed to be a publicity photo distributed as part of a press kit. Publicity photos come from a very narrow range of sources, and are made available for distribution by promotional agencies, whereas many images that may appear promotional in nature are intended for commercial use by the image's copyright holder.

Most photos that are found on the Internet are not publicity photos. Publicity photos found on the Internet typically have the following characteristics:

  • They are found in a section of a web site called "media kit", "press kit", "press", or something similar
  • The images are available in high-resolution TIFF versions (upload a low-resolution JPEG version to Wikipedia though)
  • There is text on the site asking that the photographer be credited and/or there is licence text permitting reproduction for certain purposes (usually using them to sell products is prohibited).

If you have personally contacted an official promotional agent, modelling agency, or talent agency and have received written support for the use of a promotional image on Wikipedia, please additionally add {{Withpermission}} to the image's description page, along with the relevant correspondence. For how to solicit permission, see Wikipedia:Example requests for permission.

Use of such images on the non-profit Wikipedia, for encyclopedic purposes, is highly unlikely to be contested. Commercial reusers of Wikipedia content should consider whether their use of such photos qualifies as fair use, and whether their use infringes on the subject's publicity rights.

See Also[edit]

Film still