Wikipedia:Media copyright questions

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Media copyright questions

Welcome to the Media Copyright Questions page, a place for help with image copyrights, tagging, non-free content, and related questions. For all other questions please see Wikipedia:Questions.

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:File 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 Publish changes.
  6. If you still have questions, go on to "How to ask a question" below.
How to ask a question
  1. To ask a new question hit the "Click here to start a new discussion" link below.
  2. Please sign your question by typing ~~~~ at the end.
  3. Check this page for updates, or request to be notified on your talk page.
  4. Don't include your email address, for your own privacy. We will respond here and cannot respond by email.
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.

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Golden langur region1909 IGImap.jpg and 2 other related files[edit]

Hello. Can these three files under the Category:Out of copyright in 1991 be transferred to Commons with their changed "licensing"? For some reason (perhaps the indicated licensing on those three files) I cannot transfer them thru FileExporter.

The author of the subject, John George Bartholomew, died in 1920, so according to this section of a WikiCommons page about copyright rules in India, the subject should be in PD since 1980 (60 years after his death, and +1 = 1981, but for some reason it was categorized under 1991). I'm thinking of changing the indicated licensing of these three files to {{PD-India}} and Commons:Template:PD-old-auto-1923 (maybe indicate |deathyear=1920), because I suspect the FileExporter doesn't work (giving warning message). But I might need second opinion to say that I will do the right thing. Thanks for the response. JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 12:42, 24 July 2020 (UTC)

Pinging (for attention) @P199 and Finnusertop: et. Al. JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 08:56, 2 August 2020 (UTC)
@JWilz12345: you are correct about the public domain status (although the country of origin could be also UK instead of India, but that doesn't change anything). See the tags I placed on File:Golden langur region1909 IGImap.jpg that now allow it to be exported (FileExporter doesn't always recognize all of our en Wikipedia tags, because there isn't always an exact match on Commons, even when the files are free). You can swap {{PD-old}} for Commons:Template:PD-old-auto-1923 once the files are on Commons if you like. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 21:23, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

@Finnusertop: I transferred all 3 files to Commons thru FileExporter. I begin to think of adding a "3rd PD tag" which is Commons:Template:PD-UK-posthumous-non-photo-1996. Would this be fine or could cause complexity (and unwanted problems) because of the existence of 3 PD tags? JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 04:15, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

@JWilz12345: I don't think it would cause any problems. You can write a note in the Permission field that you are unsure which is the country of origin and hence the two different tags. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 04:33, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

File:Business Development Bank of Canada Logo.svg[edit]

This seems quite simple with the only possible copyrighted element being the red maple leaf. The maple leaf shape in general is probably simple and generic enough to not be eligible for copyright on it's own, but a bit of a 3D effect seems to have been added to it in this logo. Does that 3D aeffect push this over c:COM:TOO United States? Even if it's not PD per c:COM:TOO Canada, the file could still be licensed as {{PD-ineligible-USonly}} if it's considered PD in the US. -- Marchjuly (talk) 02:24, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

It seems to me that by comparison to the Best Western example, it is public domain in the United States. In Canada, I think there might be some legitimate question about whether the decision to stylize the maple leaf in that unconventional form was a creative act. (Is it a reference to a typographical asterisk? A simplification for artistic purposes? Does the bifurcation represent a conceptual duality, or is it intended to represent the physical form of a leaf?) I'd say that if it is unlikely that we will learn the designer's intent and whether it was indeed a product of skill and judgment, {{PD-ineligible-USonly}} is the better option. Either way, I think this is a low-risk decision. TheFeds 10:16, 31 July 2020 (UTC)

Distribution of Races on the Balkans in 1922 Hammond.png[edit]

Hello. Can this file (File:Distribution of Races on the Balkans in 1922 Hammond.png) be transferred to Commons? Is the PD-tag on that file sufficient for it to be transferred to Commons? JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 02:07, 1 August 2020 (UTC)

Pinging @Finnusertop: sorry for disturbing again hehe. I can still remeber your response here before, and I thought you have ample insight on media copyrights. Also, it seems that my query is ignored. JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 10:45, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
No problem, JWilz12345. C. S. Hammond & Co. means that the country of origin is the US, and since the map has been published in 1923, its copyrights have expired. I changed the license tag to the slightly less ambiguous {{PD-US-expired}}. That's the only tag the file needs to be moved to Commons. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 10:54, 7 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks @Finnusertop:. Keep safe in the midst of the pandemic :-) JWilz12345 (Talk|Contrib's.) 10:56, 7 August 2020 (UTC)

File:Portion of mural Tragic Prelude, by John Steuart Curry, Kansas Capitol, Topeka.jpeg[edit]

I came across this photo via WP:THQ#How to format Infobox Artwork when work requires two images. It’s a photo of part of larger mural called Tragic Prelude. There are two other photos of different parts of the mural uploaded to Commons under PD licenses and one of them is claiming that the work is c:Template: PD-US-no notice. If that’s correct, then the entire mural should also be PD as well, right? If it is, then any non-free photos of it would likely fail WP:NFCC#1. This photo, however, isn’t really a case of c:COM:2D copying since it’s not really a straight on photo of a single wall, but more of a photo that has some depth showing multiple walls; so, I’m not sure whether it might qualify as a WP:Derivative work even if the mural itself is PD. That would mean a separate license would also be needed for the photo and that it can’t be used with the WP:CONSENT of the person who took the photo. Is the mural itself PD and can this photo be kept if it is? — Marchjuly (talk) 13:06, 2 August 2020 (UTC)

The issue seems only to be that the photo in question is "Posted by Kansas Historical Society on public information site about the Kansas Capitol." A freer photo can be made of it, someone just has to walk in and take it which outside of COVID issues should be possible at any point. There's no special "3d" aspects here, the mural spanning 3 standard rectangular walls is not adding special artistic stuff too it (contrast to , say File:Felice Varini - 'Nine dancing triangles', France (Chateau Chasse-Spleen, Moulis en Medoc 2012. Photos by André Morin. Photocollage by Gil Dekel.jpg types of optical illusions (and even those may be PD). Its definitely not an architecture problem, as the Kansas Capital was completed in 1903 so that's out of copyright. It's just the need for a free image to be taken, which is fully possible. --Masem (t) 23:04, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for taking a look Masem. Do you think tagging with {{rfu}} would be OK here or would it be better to discuss at FFD? Another possibility might be to see if the uploader can get the WP:CONSENT of the copyright holder. I can ask and point them to WP:PERMISSION, but I'm not sure how that will play out. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:15, 3 August 2020 (UTC)
Given that it is easily replaceable (just not at the immediate time) I doubt a CONSENT is needed, I'd just rfu it. I'd only use that if it was a case of a hard-to-reacquire possible free image. --Masem (t) 23:47, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Egypt copyright law (1954)[edit]

Hi there. I see User:Ashashyou has placed this image Mahmoud Khalil Al-Housary under public domain by the virtue of Egypt's 1954 law that was applicable on works published prior to 2002.

So, would the Qur'an (audio) recitations of the famous Egyptian reciters (El Minshawi, Al Hussary, Abdul Basit Abdus Samad, Mustafa Ismail) fall under public domain too, especially since most of them published their works well before 2002 regardless of whether anyone claims legal rights to the recitals (record companies or firms that acquired rights to the recordings post their deaths or secured rights in other countries)?


Originally asked here: User_talk:Ashashyou#Egypt_copyright_laws and here Wikipedia:Teahouse/Questions/Archive_1068#Egypt_copyright_law_(1954).

The Dawoodi Bohra Geometric Shape and Text Logo Copyright[edit]

Hi, I see that Quora's logo is placed in the public domain because it is not originally creative and has a bunch of text / geometric shape to it (ref: Commons:File:Quora_logo_2015.svg).

I wanted to ask if this logo of could be in public domain, too? The reasoning is: The geometric pattern that forms the central theme of the logo is taken from one of the floral designs uncovered during the renovations of Al Anwar mosque of Cairo (see: Commons:File:Al-Hakim_Mosque_-_Cairo_2.jpg), and the rest of it is text.


Discussion at WT:NFCC § Colorized photos/screenshots[edit]

 You are invited to join the discussion at WT:NFCC § Colorized photos/screenshots. -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:02, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

It would be nice to get some additional input on this because additional files keep getting updated by colorized versions. The faster is can be resolved the less of a chance that lots of cleanup will be needed. Many of the files being updated are non-free which means it won't be too long before the bots start flagging the now unused versions for speedy deletion per WP:F5. -- Marchjuly (talk) 06:05, 3 August 2020 (UTC)

Help regarding [[File:Mark Greaney at Rhodes College.jpg]][edit]

Hi there,

I am writing to ask for advice regarding File:Mark Greaney at Rhodes College.jpg on behalf of a friend, CarverSindile. CarverSindile is fairly new to Wikipedia and unfamiliar with the norms and protocols here. We just needed some advice on how to ensure that the image complies with Wikipedia policies including whether it is replaceable and what sort of licensing we can use for the image. Personally, I don't know whether the image can be used legally on Wikipedia. Was wondering if someone could advise us on how to resolve this matter. Thanks. Andykatib 10:02, August 4, 2020 (UTC)

Hi Andykatib. Non-free images of still living persons are pretty much never allowed per WP:NFCC#1 because it’s almost always consider reasonable for a free equivalent image that can serve the same encyclopedic purpose as a non-free one to be cremated or found per WP:FREER. There are sometimes exceptions to this allowed like those specified in item 1 of WP:NFC#UUI, but I don’t any of them would apply to this photo. So, unless you can get the WP:PERMISSION of the copyright holder and have them email their WP:CONSENT to Wikimedia OTRS, this file is likely going to end up be deleted as replaceable non-free use per WP:F7. Please note that for Wikipedia’s licensing purposes CONSENT basically means that the copyright holder is agreeing to allow anyone anywhere in the world to download the file and use it for any purpose (including commercial reuse and derivative use). The copyright holder can require that they be properly attributed by anyone reusing the file and that it be used under the terms of the license it’s released under, but that’s about it. So, “for non-commercial use only” or “for Wikipedia use only”, etc. types of licenses are not going to be accepted. Non-copyright related restrictions will not be accepted as well. Please refer to c:Commons:Licensing for more specific information. — Marchjuly (talk) 11:09, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
Hi Marchjuly. Thanks very much for your advise. Will pass this on to CarverSindile. The best idea would be to seek permission from the copyright holder. If not, it will probably have to be deleted per Wikipedia policy and process. Andykatib 11:16, 4 August 2020 (UTC)
  • @Andykatib: You're best bet here may be to contact a representative of the subject, which it looks like you can do via It's a bit "in their own best interest" to have a Wikipedia article, and so they may be willing to release a photo under a Creative Commons license for use here. I...probably get a response 30% of the time I ask. But it's still better than nothing. GMGtalk 11:19, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Hi, CarverSindile here, I emailed/messaged them but not sure if they will see it or reply to it. CarverSindile (talk) 00:00, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

1856 map[edit]

This 1856 map could be uploaded under {{PD-art}}, correct? Best wishes, Eddie891 Talk Work 18:24, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Eddie891: You would probably be better off using {{PD-old-100}} because that also covers countries outside the US. Convert the pdf to highest quality jpg or find original jpg or tif file and then upload that. ww2censor (talk) 11:10, 5 August 2020 (UTC)

Use of court documents from California hosted by the Department of Justice[edit]

Hi! I am interested in determining if this document is in the public domain (PD), as well as whether individual photos in it are PD. In general I believe that documents released by the Department of Justice are PD. Though this particular document is labelled as from California, rather than the DoJ, I think this is usually not an issue either--California has very generous provisions.

The reason why I'm hoping to get a second opinion on this is that public records get tricky when they're court documents or related to criminal investigations (as I think this one is). Is this document in the PD? Are the included images?

If yes, then users have expressed interest in using at least one image.

Thanks for your help.

(Note: this question has been copied from Commons:Help desk) Jlevi (talk) 11:47, 4 August 2020 (UTC)

Adding a magazine cover[edit]

Can someone help with how to format Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards so that it lets me keep the image that was auto-deleted? I thought I used similar code from the parent article Comics Buyer's Guide but the JJMC89_bot didn't like it. I'm trying to include the image as an example of the magazine's cover that announced that year's winners. This previous version of the fan awards page is what I'm going for. Thanks! Wizardimps (talk) 04:49, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Hi Wizardimps. The bot removed the file because it was lacking the separate specific non-free use rationale that's required by WP:NFCC#10c for the use in Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards. That's why the bot included a link to WP:NFC#Implementation in the edit summary it left when removing the file. So, all you need to do is provide a non-free use rationale for that particular use and the bot will stop removing the file.
Now, the question then is whether a valid non-free use rationale can be provided for such a use as explained in WP:JUSTONE. Generally, non-free magazine covers are allowed per item 1 of WP:NFCI when they're used for primary identification purposes in the main infobox or at the top of stand-alone articles about the magzaines they represent; however, "Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards" seems to be more about a type of award than a type of magazine; so, perhaps it would be better to use a logo for the awards (if one exists) than a image of a magazine issue about the awards. -- Marchjuly (talk) 05:23, 6 August 2020 (UTC)
Wizardimps: I highly doubt File:Cbg1600.png can pass the all 10 WP:NFCC policy criteria for use on Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Awards as Marchjuly suggests. Unless they had a special issue just for the awards, you are out of luck. Besides which not all article need or have images and as an encyclopaedia, illustrations are there to supplement the text not as decoration. ww2censor (talk) 10:09, 6 August 2020 (UTC)

Screenshot from a webpage.[edit]

I think the answer is no, but, I want guidance here. Trying to add some information to Air India Express Flight 1344, which is a developing story right now.

Specifically, I was thinking of a screenshot from FlightRadar24, of the playback data before the crash. Link to map here. The Screenshot will be zoomed into the crash site and will offer approx last 30 minutes view on the map, as a static image.

My preliminary view is that this is not allowed, but, I wanted to seek your guidance.

Ktin (talk) 19:06, 7 August 2020 (UTC)


This screenshot is nothing but colored text on a light blue background which seems simple enough for {{PD-simple}} or {{PD-logo}}? Is there some reason it needs to be non-free? -- Marchjuly (talk) 09:36, 8 August 2020 (UTC)


Can someone with more knowledge than me check this out and confirm if the public domain tags on it are applicable to this image.

  • The logo is for an organization set up in 1971 so the pre-1925 usage will not be valid - what else does this tag allow?
  • The not original enough template - according to Wikipedia:Logos, if an image created of simple text and simlple shapes is constructed to form a larger image then it is not free. The image CAMRA part of the logo forms a stylized tankard - is this sufficient to be original enough?

noq (talk) 16:53, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Going off of U.S. Copyright Office decisions (as seen here), it definitely looks to be OK in the United States. The British TOO, however, is lower, so it may be under copyright there. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 02:45, 11 August 2020 (UTC)


File:Plymouth (automobile_logo).jpg might be PD. Do you think it is? --BlueCrabRedCrab (talk) 17:46, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

It is indeed PD-ineligible. -BRAINULATOR9 (TALK) 02:39, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

Removal of a Fair Use Image[edit]

Can anyone explain me the removal of the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit poster from the article about the Farrah Fawcett red swimsuit poster? Redrobsche (talk) 08:27, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

@Redrobsche:. If you look at the edit summary left by the bot and then look at the file’s page, you should see why it was removed. A non-free file needs a separate specific non-free use rationale for each use, and this file only has such a rationale for the Farrah Fawcett article. Perhaps whomever added the file to the poster’s article wasn’t aware that another rationale specific to that particular use needed to be added to the file’s page, but the bot has no way of knowing that. It only checks to see whether there’s a rationale for each use and removes the file’s from those articles lacking rationale per WP:NFCCE. So, if you think the non-free use in the poster article satisfies all ten WP:NFCCP, add the required rationale to the file’s page and then re-add the file to the article. That should stop the bot, but even then that doesn’t automatically make the file’s non-free use WP:NFCC compliant per WP:JUSTONE.
My personal opinion is that the file’s non-free use should be OK in poster’s article, but this in turn might mean that the file’s non-free use in the Farrah Fawcett article is no longer OK per item 6 of WP:NFC#UUI; that is something, however, which might need to be further discussed at WP:FFD by anyone who feels the file isn’t needed in both articles. — Marchjuly (talk) 09:19, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for your answer, Marchjuly. I'm the guy who added the image to the article since I'm the guy who has written the article. So far, I almost exclusively worked in the Germany Wikipedia, so I'm not familiar with the Fair Use policies here. I changed the file description page and added the image to the poster article again. It is surprising for me that a bot deleted the image because I added it last year to the Pro Arts article without doing anything to the file description page and it was not deleted (until this month where a user deleted it because of the newly created article about the poster). --Redrobsche (talk) 09:49, 10 August 2020 (UTC)
You’ll need to ask the bot’s operator JJMC89 any questions about how it finds files like this. Perhaps it checks files being used in newly or recently created artIckes first, or maybe the file was removed by a human editor from that other article before it showed up on the bot’s radar. Finally, for future reference, non-free content and fair use aren’t exactly the same thing when it comes to English Wikipedia’s non-free content use policy. — Marchjuly (talk) 10:02, 10 August 2020 (UTC)