Answers to common questions
Why did you delete my image?
The simple answer: I didn't. Someone else did.
The full answer: If you're coming here to ask about an image, it probably was deleted because you forgot to note where you got the image from, or you forgot to indicate the copyright status of the image. See Wikipedia:Image use policy for more information on what you need to do when uploading images.
It says that anyone can copy this image. Why is it being deleted?
The image is not under a free license. There are three things that the image creator needs to permit for an image to be under a free license:
- They need to permit distribution
- They need to permit modification and incorporation into other works (the creation of derivative works)
- They need to permit distribution of derivative works
A permission to copy covers #1, but does not permit #2 (which is what lets Wikipedia use it in an article), and does not permit #3 (which is what permits us to distribute Wikipedia, and what permits people to re-use Wikipedia content).
I got permission to use this image in Wikipedia. Why is it being deleted?
Simple permission is not good enough. The image owner could revoke permission at any time, and the image can't be reused anywhere else: not in Wiktionary, not in Wikibooks, and possibly not in the other languages Wikipedia is available in. It also prevents people from re-using Wikipedia content. Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia, so any image should be under a free license. Simple permission fails all three points of what constitutes a free license.
It says that anyone can use this image for noncommercial purposes. Wikipedia is non-commercial, so that means it's okay, right?
The Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, is registered as a non-profit organization. That doesn't mean it's noncommercial, though: the German Wikipedia, for example, sells copies of the encyclopedia on CD-ROM as a fundraising measure. Further, Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia, so any image should be under a free license. Any license with a "no commercial use" clause fails all three points of what constitutes a free license.
It says that anyone can use this image for educational purposes. Wikipedia is educational, so that means it's okay, right?
Wikipedia articles are intended to educate, yes. But "educational purposes" is a very vague term. The creator of the image could mean that they only want the image to be used by universities and the like, or they might object to Wikipedia's coverage of popular culture. It's best to stay away from images with such vague terms.
Further, Wikipedia is a free content encyclopedia, so any image should be under a free license. Any license with an "educational use only" clause fails all three points of what constitutes a free license.
The web page I found this image on doesn't say anything about copyright. That means it's free to use, right?
Wrong. In the United States, under the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, every tangible work of creative effort created after March 1, 1989 is automatically copyrighted. Including a copyright statement gives you a stronger position if you file a copyright infringement lawsuit, and you need to register your copyright with the Library of Congress to file the lawsuit, but neither step is needed to get a copyright in the first place.
I found this image on the Internet. Anyone can see it, so that means it's in the public domain, right?
Wrong. Anyone can see a book in a public library, or a painting in an art gallery, but that doesn't mean those are in the public domain. The Internet is no different.
The image was created 50 years ago. It can't possibly still be copyrighted, can it?
Wrong. In the United States, copyright lasts a very long time. As a rule of thumb, everything published in 1923 or later is copyrighted.