Template talk:Non-free magazine cover

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WikiProject Fair use    (Inactive)
WikiProject icon This template was within the scope of WikiProject Fair use, a project which is currently considered to be inactive.

Since individual issues of comics are periodicals, I'm going to move them under this template instead of Template:Bookcover. Collections (trade paperbacks and the like) should stay under that template. grendel|khan 19:59, 2005 Apr 28 (UTC)

Y'know, I've changed my mind. Look for Template:Comiccover just as soon as I can write it. grendel|khan 21:43, 2005 Apr 28 (UTC)
I changed the wording a bit (images is a scan -> image features) so it makes more sense when showing this such as [1]This user has left wikipedia 15:58 2006-02-03
How about "This image is of..."? JYolkowski // talk 23:27, 3 February 2006 (UTC)

Fair Use question[edit]

There are lots of Magazine Covers images on Wikipedia that are used solely on articles about the person depicted on the cover, and not on articles about the magazine itself. As of my understanding, this is not Fair Use and should be avoided. Am I missing something?

Examples of such uses are Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Marilyn Monroe, Naomi Campbell, Pamela Anderson, Anna Kournikova, Anna Nicole Smith just to name a few.

Thanks, --Abu Badali 18:14, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure it's been addressed before, but my thought process was always that in articles about models, like the ones we've been discussing, the use of those images might be justifiable, as they're indicitive of the person's career, not just simply used to identify the likness of the person. AriGold 20:31, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
The use of the cover in the article is acceptable if the portion of the article in question discusses the issue in question. So, if the article discusses the fact that So-and-so appeared on the cover of such-and-such on such a date, then it qualifies as illustrating the issue in question and so would be fair use. Otherwise, it likely isn't. If you see a magazine cover that isn't, it should be removed from the article. JYolkowski // talk 23:56, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
So, would that mean the use on Peyton Manning is invalid? --mtz206 03:57, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I would say it's completely invalid. --Abu Badali 18:35, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
Posting a cover of any magazine is free advertising for that magazine. The underlying question on all fair use discussions is "Where's the harm?" So, where's the harm in giving free advertising to a magazine? Wahkeenah 12:52, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that lack of harm is not relevant. United States copyright law makes the use of a magazine cover to illustrate something, when the article is not substantially about the article, invalid. While it's true that one could say this gives a magazine 'free advertising', it is still an invalid use, and is not unlike someone committing securities fraud, and saying 'But hey, look, there's an upside. Lots of investors made a lot of money because I pushed the stock price up fraudulently.' Or, jaywalking: 'But, I got where I was going faster, and there were no cars around. What's the harm?'
Unless the actual interpretation of what fair use of a magazine cover means changes - in other words, US copyright law changes - free advertising won't do as a reason. The magazine company in question would have to release their images under Creative Commons, public domain, or other similar licenses so Wikipedia isn't liable for their use. A company not being inclined to prosecute an infringement today doesn't mean it won't tomorrow; they own the copyright. If the current law is in place and we use magazine covers in an infringing way, I think Wikipedia can only wait until a company decides it doesn't like the practice, and threatens to sue. Skybunny 13:15, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
You're going to have your work cut out for you, going through every article and weeding out every magazine cover, DVD cover, CD cover, VHS cover, etc., many of which are being used incorrectly by your narrow definition. And the way I read your gobbledygook fair use description, the main issue in copyright law seems to be "Where's the harm TO THE PUBLISHER?", not to the one using it, as you seemed to interpret my earlier comment. I'd like to hear about an actual case where a publisher sued someone for giving them free advertising. My guess is they'd be laughed out of court. Wahkeenah 14:39, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
This sort of 'going through every article' work has already been attempted. See Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Ta_bu_shi_da_yu_2. Suffice to say I wouldn't take this upon myself, but that this is already a debate, and one being taken seriously; the best course I can think of is to err on the side of caution to avoid the problem. (See also Wikipedia:Fair use review, which seemed to be one outcome of the above discussion.) Skybunny 15:04, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Commentaries on commentaries, like a legalistic equivalent of the Talmud? No thank you. It just goes to show how confusing the fair use doctrine is, and how slippery a slope it is legally. I insist that the "do no harm" rule is what it boils down to, and the only rule that makes sense in that entire fair use megillah. Wahkeenah 15:28, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
So, if the Peyton Manning article had a statement like "Manning appeared on the cover of SI x times", then fair use would then be ok? --rogerd 05:22, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Roger, Roger. So, do we have clearance, Clarence? Wahkeenah 05:38, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
I would say that it would not. The best example I've seen so far as to what 'fair use' means with respect to a magazine cover or baseball card is that the discussion has to be substantially about the image, and not what the image depicts. (Please see Wikipedia:Fair Use#Counterexamples, specifically, the example of the Barry Bonds baseball card.)
For example: Let's say that there was a Sports illustrated article about Peyton Manning's performance on week 7 in the 2005 season. I don't think it can be included simply because it's the Peyton Manning article, or even by saying 'Peyton Manning won in week 7' underneath the image. There must be critical discussion about the image itself, like 'This image shows Peyton Manning in a New York Jets uniform, a point which has been disputed by numerous sports commentators,' - and show that yes, it's a Jets uniform, which is why the image is there. The image has to have a value to the discussion at hand.
Even if the image were included in the article, I'm pretty sure you can't put it in the infobox, which by definition has no discussion context; it's simply a list of facts. It would have to be included in the context of the discussion - in the example above, in a section devoted to Manning's win in week 7, or his New York Jets uniform controversy I just made up. I would also like to simply pose the general question of why it is critically important that these articles have images that are of disputed copyright, when we can simply, at some point, find images with less copyright restrictions. My interpretation, Skybunny 05:44, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

I would like to state for the record at this point that I don't want to continue to be the only person on this side of the discussion. I am not a copyright lawyer, and the best I can do is make what I feel are appropriate interpretations of what Wikipedia already has, and admit outright that I try to err on the side of caution, on the notion that a lifetime is a very long time, and images for many of these articles will eventually filter in through the public domain or other means. I would greatly appreciate discussion from more voices at this point. Granting this, further discussion on my (sole) part will only create another long and confusing thread, the sort that Wahkeenah above said would best be avoided and doesn't decide much - and with which I agree. I will simply close with this, and I'll be taking this article off my watchlist, in the hope that someone with more copyright expertise can take it up some time in the future:

Wahkeenah, above: Commentaries on commentaries, like a legalistic equivalent of the Talmud? No thank you. It just goes to show how confusing the fair use doctrine is, and how slippery a slope it is legally.

That is the reason I have been cautious, because I am not the expert to know at what point we have slipped too far and Wikipedia will have a mess to clean up. I'd rather not use it at all than use it improperly, particularly when it means potentially hundreds or thousands of articles. Best of luck, Skybunny 06:14, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Conditions for Fair Use[edit]

There are a number of magazine covers being added to celebrity/athelete articles. While I understand the fair use value is somewhat disupted (above), I have a question about the conditions spelled out in the template:

  • to illustrate the publication of the issue of the magazine in question,
  • with the publication name either visible on the image itself or written in the image description above,
  • on the English-language Wikipedia...

Must all these conditions be met in order for a magazine cover to be considered "fair use"? The wording of the template is ambiguous, and I think some editors are claiming just one condition as sufficient. (see [2] and other images loaded by this editor). --mtz206 20:11, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

No simple answer but for the most part yes they generaly all need to be met. The exceptions are not that common.Geni 04:40, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, they must all be met in general. Specifically, it is not acceptable to use magazine covers as the lead picture in an article about a celebrity. It might be fair use to use them later in the article directly in connection with the publication of the magazine (e.g. in a "scandals" section, where a magazine broke a big store). Stifle (talk) 10:30, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

avoid unnecessary restrictions[edit]

There are no legal or practical reasons to restrict Wiki editors to use of low-resolution images or to require that the article discuss the magazine itself. Fair use allows the use of images to illustrate the content of the article--for example, a biography is illustrated by a portrait. If someone has legal cases to the contrary please provide the situations. The Chicago Manual of Style has a good discussion of the fair use rights. Rjensen 14:45, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

The question of "low resolution" is a non issue. The typical magazine cover--TIME, say-- is about 8 by 10 inches. at 200 dpi (which is rough-edged) that comes to 1600x2000 . Wiki images are usually in the 500x800 rance, that is, less that 1/8 the resolution. The supposed need to have the article comment on the magazine issue is somebody's invention. It is NOT part of fair use law. The fact that Wiki has an article on a particular subject means that any illustration of that subject is a transformative use of the image, and will satisfy the most stringent commercial cases. Rjensen 16:52, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
As fair use discusses in great detail, the legal concept is deliberately fuzzy. As we do not have deep pockets with which to hire lots of lawyers, we instead choose to set policies that are more conservative than what the full scope of fair use might allow. For instance, one of the things we're mindful of is downstream users of our content; publishers who are OK with fair-use images on a web page will likely object if those same images show up in bookstores in a printed encyclopedia (not to mention the photographers who just got ripped off). There is also the principle that WP is supposed to be a free encyclopedia, which can't be achieved if people keep coming up with new reasons to allow nonfree images. Stan 00:04, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
I think Wiki should look to its own legal rights first. They are very strong when it comes to fair use of images, because we are a nonprofit educational institution. (People seem to miss that basic point. The Foundation signed an agreemnent with the IRS to that effect in order to get its tax exempt status.) No encyclopedia can exist without fair use regarding text--that is pretty obvious. In my opinion Wiki can't be a good encyclopedia without use of pictures. Rjensen 00:14, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
A lot of people would say that we can't be a good encyclopedia while allowing non-experts to edit. Being free and reusable is a central to what Wikipedia exists to provide. Jkelly 00:33, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Well no--Wiki exists to provide online distance education. That's what the Foundation agreed to to get its tax exempt status. Rjensen 00:45, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
The German Wikipedia exists quite nicely without any fair-use images at all, and a printed version is AFAIK in the works. There's really quite a lot you can do with only public domain and freely licensed images. Angr (tc) 06:39, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. And as for "Well no" - actually "Well yes!" Why do you think it's called the "free encyclopedia"? It's meant to be as free and reusable as possible, which is why mirror sites get encouraged rather than sued, for instance. Making use of "fair use" provisions is a pain for those mirrors that don't feel able to make the same claim. TheGrappler 15:02, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Mirror sites speak up--we are imagining your legal status and crippling Wiki to meet your needs, whatever they are! If these sites have an interest they can speak up now. Rjensen 15:32, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Getting rid of rampant copyright violation is hardly "crippling Wiki". Get real. Angr (talk) 16:06, 27 May 2006 (UTC)


If the image is used in an article that is not about the publication in question, and that article does not specifically mention this cover image, or the mention of this cover image does not add non-trivially to the article text, then it does not qualify under fair use.

I've noticed that some articles are trying to get around the fair use issue by adding a piece of trivia saying "<so and so> appeared on the cover of <magazine> on <date>", so the article discusses the publication specifically. I would like to add that if the mention of the cover appearance is only a piece of trivia and nothing more, the trivia and the image should both be deleted.

By the way, do you think bolding the entire last line of the boilerplate would help? Seems some people just don't read it. TheProject 17:44, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Why delete them both? Let pretend for a moment I got on the cover of Times. I'd regard that as one of my major highlights of my entire life! Certainly worthy of being mentioned, and if it has been mentioned might as well include the image too of it. Of course being on the cover of Times ia bit extreme, but the general point still applies in other cases. Mathmo 19:52, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Use of images to depict magazines generally[edit]

An editor been removing some magazine cover images from articles about the magazines, claiming that fair use does not apply when the image is used to represent the magazine generally, but only when depicting specific issues. I believe that this is incorrect, and that images depicting specific issues can be used to show the general magazine, as in for example People (magazine), Time (magazine), and Fortune (magazine).

Also, the editor has been marking for deletion images that have only Template:Magazinecover and the source of the image on the description page. He/she comments that no detailed fair-use rationale is given. It seems to me that assuming the conditions listed in the template are met, they provide sufficient rationale without the need to go into more detail on the image page.

Anyone care to comment? PseudoAnon 07:44, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

The editor making those deletions is wrong. Fair use does not have specific usage requirements. The Wiki justification is educational and covers any usage of the cover to promote education. Rjensen 08:06, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
Wait a moment... so even though the template says, "To the uploader: please add a detailed fair use rationale for each use, as described on Wikipedia:Image description page, as well as the source of the work and copyright information", this is actually a pun and no detailed fair-use rationale is required? And what about "to illustrate the publication of the issue of the magazine in question"? Is that also a pun? --Yamla 14:13, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
If you look at the edit history of the template, it's disputed whether that restriction is valid. I found some more discussion at Template talk:TIME. At any rate, there's certainly no consensus for deleting images that are used to illustrate a magazine generally, regardless of what the template might say. IANAL either and until we have an informed legal opinion I don't think the images should be deleted. PseudoAnon 07:20, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
You're completely wrong, Rjensens. Fair use is obviously about usage. We have to justyfy how the image being used is important to our educational goals, and why it can't be replaced by a free alternative. --Abu Badali 14:19, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
The law does not require us to explain " why it can't be replaced by a free alternative." There are no free alternatives to most TIME or NEWSWEEK covers.Rjensen 08:15, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
When we are talking about the publication of the issue of a Time magazine, there's surely no such thing as a free alternative. When we are talking about some celebrity depicted on some cover, the existence of free alternatives is completly viable. That is to say, it depends on the use.--Abu Badali 16:14, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
PseudoAnon, I believe magazine covers may be used in articles about the magazine in general. --Abu Badali 14:19, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
On what basis, Abu badali? The template text does not permit this, it says "of the issue of the magazine in question". --Yamla 14:36, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
I'm actually expressing my understandings of what fair use is meant to be (IANAL). I agree with you that the template wording doesn't seems to allow this. --Abu Badali 15:09, 19 June 2006 (UTC)
The template is wrong in suggesting that fair use requires some sort of discussion of the magazine itself. There is no bases in statute law or case law or anything else. Some non-lawyer made that up. Rjensen 22:15, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy is intentionally more restrictive than U.S. copyright law. This issue here is what complies with Wikipedia:Fair use, not what complies with fair use. User:Angr 07:15, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

So what is the consensus here? Seems to me a pic should be provided to allow the reader a quick understanding of how the mag looks and what type of material they put out. that seems to be fair use to me. --Jaysscholar 20:31, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I think a caption should be put telling what specific issue that pic is from. But its FU is to generally describe the mag.--Jaysscholar 20:32, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
No, the consensus is that Wikipedia policies are more restrictive than U.S. copyright law and that a magazine cover may only be used to depict the specific issue of the magazine in question, not to illustrate the magazine generally. --Yamla 21:15, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Wow ... cant use a mag pic to describe a mag. I know wiki is trying to cover their asses but that really is stupid. I think this is a case where wiki is just playing too safe. Not having a pic there makes it harder for the user to get a feel of the mag. how xcatly would one go about changing this? Not the copyright law, the wiki policy, since theyre different.--Jaysscholar 21:57, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
You may place your thoughs at Wikipedia talk:Fair use. --Abu Badali 23:02, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
  • I believe fair use law and out policy both allow us to use a cover of a magazine to illustrate the periodical in general, not just the specific issue of the magazine. It is wrong to remove these images if they are being used to illustrate the magazine in question. Johntex\talk 16:42, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
Fair use is allowed anytime we have a serious commentary. the law does NOT link fair use to depictions of the magazine--that is not one of the famous four factors and should be dropped. There seems to be no reliable source for the claim. Rjensen 16:52, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
This is not just out the law. It's about Wikipedia policies and (even more) about it's mission. --Abu Badali 18:33, 2 August 2006 (UTC)
If the mission is to have a highly informative encyclopedia, the Wiki must use "fair use." Otherewise it will offer much less in the way of useful content. Rjensen 18:22, 5 August 2006 (UTC)
It is reasonable to allow fair use magazine covers in articles about that magazine. In the article about the person on the cover, no. Stifle (talk) 21:25, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
because of person on the cover: yes that is fair use. It meets the broader goal of educating the world via Wiki. It meets the legal 4-criteria and is inherently fair to the magazine--which will not be losing any money because of Wiki's action. Rjensen 22:11, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
First, you don't seem to understand how broader our education goal is. We want to allow people to redistribute our knowledge as much as possible, in any media. Second, your reasoning of the magazine not loosing money is limited. Suppose Time Magazine wants to publish an interview with mega-famous celebrity John Smith and they decided to have him on the cover. They will spend money with a photographer, a studio, with visual designers, photoshopers, etc... then Wikipedia also wants to talk about John Smith ... and we use their picture. It just doesn't sounds fair. Besides that, we are building a free encyclopedia, and we need to gather/produce as much free valuable information as possible. --Abu Badali 22:58, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
The mission is to build a free highly informative encyclopedia. I believe Fair use is necessary for this goal. But I also believe that fair use abuse is the greatest hindrance to that goal. --Abu Badali 22:28, 8 August 2006 (UTC)


Please add interwiki link for Serbian Language Wikipedia. The link is

[[sr:Шаблон:Насловна страна часописа]]

Thank you. --Branislav Jovanovic 11:53, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done --  Netsnipe  ►  08:59, 10 October 2006 (UTC)

Please add RU-wiki

[[ru:Шаблон:Обложка журнала]]

--Alex Spade 22:47, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Suggested phrasing: we take entire cover and not crop the photo[edit]

I'm looking at Wiki's use of Time magazine covers and it appears that in every instance the editor uses the entire cover, and does not crop merely the photograph. That is the editor is saying in effect, "Time Magazine editors in the issue of xxx decided that subject XYZ was important enough to be the person of the week." I suggest that formulation shows explicitly that the Time issue is being talked about (in particular the authoritative judgment of the editors), rather than merely the photo or painting.Rjensen 20:27, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed "illustration" text[edit]

I just removed the following newly added text from this template:

* to illustrate the magazine's presentation of a topic directly relevant to an issue of public interest

I couldn't find any discussion regarding this change and it is not at all clear that this meets the Wikimedia Foundation's policy declaration on licensing and fair-use (here). It is also not at all clear that this fits into the legal requirements for fair-use, though Wikipedia of course has a much stricter guideline for acceptable use. --Yamla 16:34, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Apparently statement of this type of topic-related fair-use of a low-resolution magazine cover needs a clearer description and some standard US case law to back it up. This is something I don't have time to do at present, but will try to address later at WP:NFC if I can find the time. ... Kenosis 18:02, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
It's not primarily US case law, it's whether it meets the foundation's policy which is much more restrictive. --Yamla 18:19, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Sure, this isn't the first time around these parts for me. And WP is substantially more restrictive than the Board's March 2007 resolution. Indeed, WP has gotten substanitally out of control in that some of its participants seek to have bulletproof rationales, where copyright law generally does not permit bulletproof rationales. It has thereby succeeded at the moment in denying itself the use of the vast majority of presently existing public domain material and other material squarely falling within both fair-use and indeed even the 10 NFCCs, at least within the set of interpretations hacked out in the past several months. This, of course, after WP played itself to its donors with the catchy invitatioon to imagine what it would be like to have online access to all the information in the world. But this broader policy discussion will need to play out elsewhere, and I'll deal with this specific issue later, as I said, if I can find the time and with appropriate evidence in support. ... Kenosis 18:45, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia has no problem with public domain material. This falls entirely outside our fair-use guidelines. --Yamla 20:14, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

That's a nice fantasy and I wish it were true. Unfortunately, WP presently is seriously deficient with respect to what the "image-management community" regards as public domain. With respect to worldwide standards, not much from the 20th century is being permitted at present. W.r.t. US standards, presently the interpretations are driven more by myths and misapprehensions of copyright law than they are by realistic, knowledgeable interpretations of the statuory and case law in the US. I trust that with time that will change, as WP policy wonks become more familiar with relevant statutory and case law.

Part of the problem at present is that no one has the right to confer "free license" upon anything in the public domain, and with the insistence of some advocates that WP be "only free content". Another part of the present problems is that images after 1923 are presumed to be under copyright, when in fact about 90% of the material originally registered with the Copyright Office between 1923 and 1963, and possibly over 99%, of the total material published between 1923 and 1963, is now in the public domain. So the way the PD templates are written is based upon outright erroneous interpretation of copyright law.

Similarly, with fair-use and WP:NFCC, low resolution images of such things as book and magazine covers are normally fair-use for any purpose relating to conveying to readers a sense of what the copyright holders were publishing, period. This is as differentiated from taking the material from within a copyrighted book or magazine and using it in a way that would create a situation where no one would need to buy the product in order to avail themselves of the content. And even the NFCC are not the issue in this case; the issue here is what WP users decided to write into the present template for "non-free magazine cover", an interpretation which is based, as I said, upon misinterpretations either of fair-use case-law, or of the NFCC, or both. There are other issues w.r.t. both public domain and fair-use/fair-dealing, but I don't have adequate time to get into them right now.

At present, it is actually easier for people to misrepresent free-licenses in WP than it is to include useful encyclopedic material that is in the public domain, or low-resolution images under fair-use/NFCC. While I understand and respect the desire to be cautious, IMO it would better serve the project in both the short term and the long term if templates and other criteria were based a little more on fact and a little less on myth. ... Kenosis 21:02, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Specific versus general uses of magazine covers[edit]

Please seee Wikipedia talk:Non-free content#Wording of Template:Non-free magazine cover for a discussion of specific versus general uses of magazine covers. Carcharoth (talk) 01:08, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

“a point about the publication”?[edit]

The present statement of the template is that magazine covers could be used in case of direct illustration of a point about the publication of the image. Could some one explain exactly what "a point" and "the publication" mean, they're so vague. Can an image of a magazine cover with a celebrity on it be used for the article of that person, as he makes the magazine more appealing which raise up its publication at the same time? --Symane TALK 04:37, 27 December 2009 (UTC)