Wikipedia talk:Image use policy/copyright

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Please consider to ask at Wikipedia_talk:Copyrights or at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions if you like to get a quick answer

Do Images on Wikipedia need to be under the GFDL?[edit]

see also: meta:permission grant extent

It doesn't have to be placed under \: If you do decide to upload the images, make sure that their copyright status is clearly marked on the image description page, as described in wikipedia:image use policy. Talking of which, I've made a suggested change to the policy on image copyright at wikipedia talk:image use policy which would benefit from extra eyes... Martin don't simply say "can we use it", but you also say "will you release it under GFDL". Difference within there is. -º¡º

Yes, now you know why there are so many 19th century drawings and engravings illustrating articles. Sending more email asking for GFDL permission is on my to-do list - serves the dual purpose of getting the image, and advertising wikipedia's existence to more people... Stan 20:48 Apr 15, 2003 (UTC)

You also know why World War I can have a lot of photos.

I still don't understand while photos make such debate. The situation is simple. You write a text it belongs to you, you take a photograph it belongs to you. You can paste text from the 1911 encyclopedia because it has fallen in public domain, you can upload a photography made by Nadar because it has fallen in public domain. You could paste a text from Microsoft Encarta if Microsoft allows you to do this you could also upload a photograph by Helmut Newton if he allows you (you can try IMO you have more chances than with M$). Of course you can also paste any text that is already under the GFDL and upload any picture that is already under the GFDL. Etc... etc... etc.... Ericd 20:59 Apr 15, 2003 (UTC)

I'm learning quickly, finding new pages. There are lots of contributors above with very diverse opinions on photograph copyright but I don't see any person signing as a United States attorney. I would like to possibly insert some pictures with biographies. There must be a legal policy set down by whoever owns this web site, otherwise they would be subject to the risk of very costly litigation. Where do I find the legal facts instead of this collection of very diverse opinions? User:JoanB

A statement written by an attorney is no more binding than that of any other user. Attorneys disagree frequently and the result is often a court battle, and telling a judge that "an attorney told me it was ok" won't protect you. I think that most everybody here would go along with the following statement:
There are images that it is clearly safe for wikipedia to use, such as those which are in the public domain and those which the copyright holder has explicitly released under the GFDL. There are also images that it is clearly unsafe for wikipedia to use, such as a commercial works where inclusion in wikipedia diminishes the value to the copyright holder. Then there is a huge vaguely defined middle ground called "fair use", where most of our wikisquabbles center. -º¡º

Copyright rules are essentially the same for text and pictures read Wikipedia:Copyrights. Ericd 15:49 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

Problems arise with several things but the reality is that Wikipedia:Copyrights is written by users, not the owner. With respect to lawyers varied opinions, a lawyer is legally liable for their opinions. Universities, banks, insurance companies, and every business pay for a legal opinion that they rely on. However, none of us as far as I can see is qualified to discuss this. At least not me. User:JoanB

JoanB, there is no one "owner" of wikipedia as such. There is an owner of the machine that hosts wikipedia, but they do not own the content within. -º¡º

We don't need to be experts we just have to apply the rules. They're adequate to give an encyclopedia licensed under GFDL. Ericd 16:26 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

The GFDL was written by experts. The rule are just requiring to complies with the GFDL. And as we are not expert we should have a very restrictive understanting of the rule. You made the photo it's yours you can release it under the GFDL. You should be aware that by doing that you loose your own copyright. If you did'nt made the photo it's better not to post it here. Ericd 16:44 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

WHOA! Wait right there Ericd, you do not "lose your own copyright" when you release something under the GFDL. You instead grant a license under the GFDL, but you most certainly remain the copyright holder of whatever you write. -º¡º

I can't claim to be a legal expert, but after 15 years of working with GNU professionally and talking to lawyers about it from time to time, I have some sense of what's OK and what's not. Lawyers' advice isn't a magical yes/no - sometimes it's a "you can probably get away with this", because there's no law or precedent. One of the advantages of the GFDL is that it's been vetted by real lawyers such as Eben Moglen, who is also responsible for the GNU license. Stan 16:47 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

75 years old is OK see Ericd 16:59 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

That information, regarding the copyright act of 1976, is out of date. In 1998 congress extended the terms of copyright to 95 years, which is why the Mickey Mouse cartoons from 1928 still have 20 years of protection ahead of them. -º¡º

This made in 2003 80 years in the USA and 75 years in most other countries isn'it ? Ericd 17:12 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

There is no one answer to how long a copyright lasts in the US Ericd, but 80 years is not one of the options. A copyright can last for the life of the author plus 70 years, 95 years from date of publication, 120 years from date of creation, or 95 years from the date a copyright was secured. -º¡º

Holy Cow! You are back where we started and everyone who is not qualified giving opinions. GFDL has nothing to do with copyright infringement, it is the after use granting. But, again, no one here (so far) is qualified or legally entitled to impose their rules. That is why I said that the owner (responsible party) of Wikipedia must have a policy in place. User:JoanB

And you can grant use only for things that belongs to you or to nobody or everybody. -Ericd 17:25 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

JoanB, the simple policy is this. Do not post anything that is protected by copyright unless YOU created it or the copyright holder has EXPLICITLY released it under GFDL. Fair use is a slippery slope that we could argue about forever. -º¡º
Fair use doesn't even exist in France for instance.
Ericd 18:02 Apr 16, 2003 (UTC)

"GFDL includes the right of charge money or even make a profit with the information, fair use, i think, not (correct me if I'm wrong)..."

Making money is a factor in fair use, but it's complicated. You can make money, but you are on shakier ground when you diminish the money-making potential of the original work. You are even allowed to do that, if you're doing a parody -- what you can't do is swipe the essential heart of the original work purely to make money.

ridetheory 1 Feb 2003

The Wikipedia: Copyrights article currently states:

If you use part of a copyrighted work under "fair use", or if you obtain special permission to use a copyrighted work from the copyright holder, you must note that fact (along with names and dates) on the description page of the image or in the talk page of the article. It is our goal to be able to freely redistribute as much of Wikipedia's material is possible, so original material licensed under the GFDL is greatly preferred to copyrighted material (even used with permission) for our purposes.
[ . . . ]
If the Wikipedia article you wish to use contains text, images, sounds, or other material from external sources used with permission or under fair use, you must comply with the separate copyright terms for that material as well. For example, if we include an image under fair use, you must ensure that your use of the article also qualifies for fair use (this might not be the case, for example, if you were using a Wikipedia article for a commercial use that would otherwise be allowed by the GFDL.

A discussion about this is currently underway at the Village Pump. On this note, I'm all in favor of noting when copyrighted work is used with permission, but it makes no sense to declare the fair use of copyrighted work which is being used without permission. Rather, we should just cite the original source and be done with it.

My understanding of the GFDL is that an affirmative defense of fair use of copyrighted materials *IS* inherited by derivative works which comply with the terms of the GFDL. This is because fair use is *NOT* a license to use copyrighted materials. Rather, it is an affirmative defense to a claim of copyright infringement which presumes that a plaintiff has already established his or her prima facie case in a court of law. Moreover, a determination of fair use is not defeated by virtue of the fact that a derivative work is commercial in nature.

"[T]he more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use." Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 510 U.S. 569, 579, 114 S. Ct. 1164, 1171 (1994).

In other words, if Wikipedia's use of copyrighted content is fair use, it should remain fair use when it is distributed for profit under the GFDL. If not, we shouldn't be using that content in the first place.

[Note: This is *NOT* a legal opinion.]--NetEsq

If Isis thinks that declaring on an image that it is being used under fair use might actually have some negative consequence, then I'm certainly open to changing that policy. As you say, such a statement has no legal effect, and simply mentioning the source should be enough. But I'm still concerned with the mechanics of maintaining the Wikipedia itself--specifically with the fact that we must remove images and text that clearly are copyright violations (we could not, for example, include drawings from a textbook, as much as we might like to). So because we must delete /some/ images, a simple note on an image that it is being used under fair use serves the other /sysops/ here to inform them that it isn't necessary to delete it. In other words, the note is for us, not for the readers/users. I also think the copyright/GFDL statement in general should continue to clarify that it applies only to the original contents of Wikipedia, and to the work as a whole. --LDC

We already have the check box on image-uploads where contributors say they're not violating any copyright, and no number of repetitions of that assertion is going to stop over-zealous sysops from removing images they decide may be infringing uses. My suggestion is to (1) make sure the Wikipedia copyright language makes clear that we are not purporting to affect the copyright status of any images incorporated into the work, and (2) educate all the contributors (including sysops) so they understand that appropriate use of relevant images does not infringe a copyright, so IF they are in doubt they should provide in the image description whatever they know about the image: That may be a copyright notice on the source they're using, or identifying info such as the title and publisher of a book or the Internet cite and properties of a digital image. In other words, don't ask contributors to opine on the legal effects of using the image, rather, if they are not sure it's okay, just have them tell us the facts about where they found it. -- isis 9 Sep 2002
Please note that I have made some comments which are relevant to this dicussion in the Meta Wikipedia discussion, Avoid Copyright Paranoia.--NetEsq 6:19pm Sep 9, 2002 (PDT)

Thanks, I think some buzzwords like "tell us what you know" and "avoid paranoia" would be good for the policy statements. I'll figure out some way to reword those (I'm more a law groupie than a lawyer, but I am a writer, so I sould be able to make the legal issues and policies understandable to contributors). --LDC

I think it's important in your explanation to emphasize the difference between images and text, that for both it's the originality/creativity of the presentation that's protected, not the info presented, and that for images the info is usually, "This is what X looks like," so a picture anybody could walk up and take of X is fair use. So most photos are okay as they stand (but drawings may not be), whereas most text isn't okay as it stands (but can be rewritten to present the info differently). -- isis 10 Sep 2002

I have access to some useful images which are copyright. The copyright owner is happy to allow their use on Wikipedia but is not prepared to place them in the public domain: i.e., he is willing to grant unlimited use of the images to Wikipedia, but not to any third party. As I understand the rules, this means that I can't use those images here. Do I have this correct? (Sorry if this has been asked a hundred times already.) Thanks. Tannin 14:22 Jan 10, 2003 (UTC)

Anyone? Tannin 17:51 Jan 11, 2003 (UTC)

Your understanding is correct. The copyright owner must license them under the GFDL, or make them public domain, or license them under some GFDL-compatible license. Licensing under the GFDL is normally the easiest thing to get. See Wikipedia:Boilerplate request for permission. If you can't get that, then you probably can't use the images on wikipedia, because of the GFDL rules on merging. Martin

I just saw this on another website and thought of Wikipedia and our "fair use" claim for use of some images:

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of educational, HISTORICAL, environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I and my lawyer believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

IMO we should have some similar text on this policy page (what I and several others have written isn't as clear as the above statement). What say you? --mav

That is an excellent idea. -- NetEsq 21:23 May 1, 2003 (UTC)

Have we had paid legal advice on the matter like this person apparently has? Martin
No we haven't, so we wouldn't say that. But paid advice like that will probably come after the Wikimedia Foundation is set-up. --mav

I asked to use the United Methodist Church's cross and flame logo (see on the UMC article. They would (of course) not license it under the GFDL, but they will allow use of the image on Wikipedia only. Is that violating the GFDL? Would a better solution be to link to the image on their server? Geoffrey 23:42 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

IANAL: This would be "special permission" and is covered on this policy page. In short: It would not be OK at all for text (becasue all text here must copyrightable under the GFDL or used under very strict fair use -- such as obvious and short quotations. You in fact agree to this every time you hit "Save page"), but we do not require any specific license for uploads. So "special permission" images should be fine. But make sure the image's description page makes this very clear and has a link back to the website where you got it. --mav

from village pump[edit]

Is Image:Tibetmap.png copyright violation? The user has altered the image by adding a thumbnail (is this image also violation?).

If you do think that the user has violated copyright, does it mean no matter how much or how little one has modified an image, so long as it is originally a copyrighted image, it is copyright violation? -- 23:50 Mar 26, 2003 (UTC)

That's what we call "blatantly removing the copyright notice and making a couple of scribbles -- oh look it's all new!" That's roughly as acceptable from a copyright standpoint as ripping the "property of Joe Blow, please return if found" tag out of a pickpocketed wallet and calling it your own. I've deleted the image (a sad rip-off of [1]). At least trace over them yourselves, people... geez. --Brion 00:24 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)
Actually, I found the image without any copyright information. Thus, the image will remain on wikipedia. If you wish to argue with me, email me, and we'll arrange a court date.user_talk:hfastedge 01:35 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC).
Ach, fuck. This pre-emptive, disrespectful behaviour of deleting the image, now see us without a Tibet map at all, as it is deleted from my own system.
Since you found the image without copyright information, you could have argued to a court that you didn't realise the image was copyright. Since you've now been told (by us) that it is copyright, that defence is no longer available to you. --- Tim Starling 01:43 Mar 27, 2003 (UTC)

(end from village pump)

I have a very good new for Wikipedia it seems a lot of photos by Yousuf Karsh are PD and can be found at These photos can illustrate a lot of articles.

Do you see why it's useful to investigate copyrights ?

Ericd 21:12 Apr 18, 2003 (UTC)

It says "noncommercial use" only here. Where do you see public domain? Tuf-Kat

It should be verified by photo here is a sample url : (snipped: the URL caused page widening... :-() Ericd 21:25 Apr 18, 2003 (UTC)

Nice. -º¡º
Very nice. Tuf-Kat

Be careful some photos by Karsh have their copyright expired but not all. Ericd 21:38 Apr 18, 2003 (UTC)

If Karsh had children I'm a little bit worried about their mental health. Ericd 21:40 Apr 18, 2003 (UTC)

add it to Wikipedia:Public domain image resources
Make some reserves not all photos are PD

Moved from Village Pump[edit]

Help! Please go to Panavia Tornado and click where it says "Click HERE for a picture of a Tornado GR-4". The picture comes up OK but there is then no way the reader can get to the copyright information except by noting its file name, going to the Image List and clicking on Descr. Clumsy! Should I therefore make the pic a proper Wikipedia page so that the pic can then be clicked on and the description will come up as normal? Thanks Adrian Pingstone 17:37 29 May 2003 (UTC)

Replace "foobar" in Image:foobar with image name, i.e., Image:Tornado.gr4.750pix.jpg.
  • SNIP*
Those terms are clearly at odds with the GNU Free Documentation License, which requires that people who receive a work be able to redistribute both unmodified and modified versions. Feel free to provide hyperlinks to the pages with the images if they are publicly visible on the web, though. (IANAL) --Brion 02:00 29 May 2003 (UTC)
  • SNIP*
So, why are we using this image at all? I request it be deleted. MB 20:49 29 May 2003 (UTC)
We allow fair use (see Wikipedia:Image use policy), and this is very similar. It does not impede distribution of Wikipedia or its forks substantially (fair use style laws exist in most countries), but deviates from the FDL. This is OK, but suboptimal. If a public domain or FDL image can be found, it should be used. What we cannot allow are conditions like "Permission granted to Wikipedia, any further use requires a separate request", because this would make forking impossible.
Brion may disagree with me here, but as long as we allow fair use at all, semi-restrictive licenses like that seem acceptable to me. See also the image in Carl Sagan. Given how hard it is to find free images, and how important they are, we have to make compromises. --Eloquence 21:31 29 May 2003 (UTC)
We very firmly disagree; I'm strongly of the opinion that so-called "fair use" images and even more so these explicit restrictions are inherently incompatible with our license and must be kept out if "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia" is to be anything but a sham, a lie, and a fraud. But, that's just my opinion. :)
I very strongly recommend replacing "fair use" images with actual free ones whereever the opportunity arises, and I very strongly recommend not uploading non-free images to our server at all. Simply provide external links to the websites that show them if they are not explicitly GFDL-compatible, or go out and take some pictures yourself! Or make a nice artist's rendition if the subject is no longer available. Please don't take shortcuts that undercut the project's honesty and reputation and place additional burdens on the reusers and redistributors that a "free encyclopedia" is intended to provide material for, and which may or may not render our license void. (Lawyers, please...) --Brion 23:53 29 May 2003 (UTC)
My point stands -- if we allow fair use, which we do, it would be logically inconsistent not to allow equivalent licensing conditions. We all agree that non-free should be replaced with free whenever possible. --Eloquence 00:00 30 May 2003 (UTC)
While our license appears to forbid both releasing material with ambiguous or unknown additional license requirements (assumable to be "all rights reserved"), and taking material explicitly encumbered with additional license restrictions, I find that the second seems ethically much more reprehensible. It's a willful act, in which one deceives both the copyright holder (by the implication of intent to follow the license requirements they spelled out upon inquiry) and the receiver of the supposedly GFDL'd work one is incorporating it into (by the implication that the work is redistributable, reusable, and modifiable under the GFDL, which it is not unless the infringing portions are removed). IANAL, grains of salt, all that. --Brion 04:17 30 May 2003 (UTC)
We have never stated that all our images are under the FDL or in the PD, and they are clearly not. Not even on eo:, where I've seen many images simply taken from en: with no further copyright explanation. --Eloquence 13:19 30 May 2003 (UTC)
Yet we do claim that of our articles. Yet some of us insist on modifying our articles by embedding material that is not redistributable under the terms of the GFDL license, making our articles not redistributable under the terms of the GFDL license. (Please let me know which images on eo: are in question and I'll remove them.) --Brion 16:57 30 May 2003 (UTC)
OK, Ill revert the following articles I've illustrated, all from the BAe source talked about above. I'll leave doing so for a few days in case anyone decides I shouldn't. The articles affected are:
Eurofighter Typhoon
Saab Gripen
Hawker Siddeley Harrier
Panavia Tornado
HMS Ocean
Invincible class aircraft carrier
I sure won't make that mistake again!
Adrian Pingstone 08:19 30 May 2003 (UTC)
Except for Image:Euro.typhoon.250pix.jpg, where it is unclear what "permission" means, I see no reason to delete these images. ".. are made available for publishing and personal use" clearly implies that distribution, commercial and non-comercial, is acceptable, so they can be used here, more so than the images which we have uploaded as "fair use". --Eloquence 13:19 30 May 2003 (UTC)
>snip<Feel free to provide hyperlinks to the pages with the images if they are publicly visible on the web, though. (IANAL) --Brion 02:00 29 May 2003 (UTC) >snip< - Whereas I am a copyright lawyer - you guys know that there are copyright problems with hyperlinking too, right? For more info do a Google search on the Shetland News/Shetland Times fiasco. I'll do an article on legal problems with hyperlinking (if its not already addressed in the Wiki) - David Stewart 11:48 30 May 2003 (UTC)
Hyperlink copyright? So many forms of copyright lawas! Sounds interesting. Can't wait to read it. --Menchi 12:00 30 May 2003 (UTC)
I don't like the idea of uploading images that I can't edit how I see fit (Like I would be able to under the GPL). So I think linking to images we are legally allowed to use under the GPL is far better. Since these (and other non-GPL images) can't be edited, there is no real point in including them in the wiki. MB 17:53 30 May 2003 (UTC)

Stuff below moved from Wikipedia:Votes for deletion by Wapcaplet 17:32 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the below suspicious activity,User:Joe_Canuckis under a hard ban. This alert posted by Rickyrab 11:28 21 Jun 2003 (UTC)

User:Joe_Canuck has been uploading images since he joined wiki recently. He refuses to offer any sources for most of them, or state other than there was no copyright mention visible and its isn't his legal responsibility to establish if they are copyright-free. Repeated requests by a number of users for clarification have met with a refusal to answer, abuse and the deletion of any requests for information from his talk page. In view of this I have been advised to remove the images from their pages and place them here for deletion. (It is worth mentioning for background information that a number of wiki members who have had the 'pleasure' of dealing with this user strongly suspect that he is banned user DW, who like Joe Canuck had a tendency among other things to download images in these areas, refuse to supply source information and get abusive when challenged. When challenged on this accusation, Canuck simply gets abusive.) A small number of images that seem OK have been left in location, mainly album and book covers that I think are OK (if not, please add to here). A notice as to each image's status has been placed on each image page. Given the tendency of the user to delete 'unwanted' information, the image pages have been protected to prevent the removal of the note that states that they are listed for removal and not to be reinserted in articles pending clarification of their copyright status. FearÉIREANN 02:06 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

  1. "I have been advised" - who advised you? A long list of users I asked for advice. All without exception said they should be immediately listed for deletion.
  2. protected pages - please list them on wikipedia:protected page. I had not got time to last night. I will be doing that tonight. FearÉIREANN 17:07 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Thanks. Martin 08:37 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

The following images he lists as fair use but gives no indication of source, a requirement to protect wiki should any dispute arise over whether they are indeed covered by fair use.

The following image he lists with the questionable justification that it belongs to the Government of Canada as is as a result public property.

IMO we should delete the lot of them. Better to be safe than sorry plus it gives a clear message that coprighted material will not be tolerated.Theresa knott 09:02 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)

While I try to avoid copyright paranoia in general, User:Joe Canuck's behavior tends to prompt suspicion. I would agree; delete the lot of them. -- Wapcaplet 17:13 19 Jun 2003 (UTC)
If the user does not provide explicit proof of copyleftness after other Wikipedian's requests, or become ballistic and all defensive. There's no alternative than deletion. --Menchi 02:45 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
The above photos were placed in Wikipedia by me in FULL compliance with the legal requirements set forth by the owners of Arbitrary removal of these photos by any person here constitutes a violation of my rights to use in accordance with the owners regulations and the licenses under which it operates. I am not legally bound to answer any questions about photos I place here from other Users who show up here to use this site under the same equal terms and conditions as I. I am obliged only to obey the regulations set down by the owners under an open website license. Any person who disagrees with my position is welcome to take up the matter with the owners of and I will obey their ruling without question. But, any individual who, without the express written authority of the owners of this website, violates my right to free and equal use and enjoyment of this open website will be held liable for their actions. Joe Canuck 03:36 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
This is the sort of obnoxious threat this user has been making towards anyone who touched his pages. Though it doesn't belong on this page it probably should be left so people can see the sort of person they are dealing with. BTW, for all his legal talk (!!!) he apparently isn't a lawyer at all. FearÉIREANN 03:41 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
This is just un-Wikipedian and wholly unproductive.
The bottom line is that we just can not have ambiguous photos on Wikipedia. And the user offers just that: Ambiguity, amongst threats and misinformation.
--Menchi 05:05 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
Reply to Joe: as I pointed out on User talk:Joe Canuck, we are not required to let you post whatever you want just because it is legal for us to do so. Your "right to free and equal use" does not exist in the sense you define it. Every time you make an edit you are warned "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here". The "editing" which you have thus implicitly authorised, includes the deletion of images which we feel may infringe copyright. This has all been discussed before on Wikipedia talk:Image use policy. (See my user page for an IANAL statement) -- Tim Starling 05:16 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Joe please stop going on about the "owners of", you keep using that inall your arguments. No-one owns the content of Wikipedia. - fonzy

I have already stated that the measures taken by the person going by the identity of User:Jtdirl, who is not the owner of this site, with respect to the photo images posted by me are an illegal intrusion into my right to use and represents a personal act of discrimination and continued harassment directed against me intended to deny me the right to use an open website. Further, the person going by the identity of User:Jtdirl has included the following statement:

  • This image is listed for deletion due to a suspected copyright breach. Unless its copyright status is clarified within one week it will be deleted from wikipedia. Any attempt to place this image onto any page in the absence of a clarification of its copyright status will be reverted and will be reported. It may be viewed as a bannable offence.

I will be reinstating ALL of the images posted by me that were removed by the person going by the identity of User:Jtdirl who is a volunteer user only and someone who has no authority to ban any User at If the person going by the identity of User:Jtdirl wishes to suggest banning me to the owners of, he/she is free to do so at anytime. Please be advised that once I have reinstated ALL my legally posted photos, any further unauthorized removal will constitute additional deliberate harassment and discrimination against me. Joe Canuck 13:23 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Joe Canuck's behaviour does seem both boorish and childish. The responsibility for ascertaining whether something is alright in copyright terms for posting to Wikipedia is with the contributor. That means that any liability for copyrighted images being posted would be with the person who posted them; ie in this case Joe Canuck. As for User:Jtdirl's actions being illegal, well Joe must have a very different definition of illegal to the rest of us!
Removal of copyrighted photographs would constitute discrimination alright. Joe Canuck presupposes that discrimination is necessarily a bad thing, which is an incorrect assumption. Discrimination against someone who posts copyrighted materials without permission, and thus breaks the terms of Wikipedia's licence is not only correct, but it is necessary.
In short, if the photos are, or appear to be dodgy, get rid of them. If Joe Canuck persists with inane and patently ridiculous comments dressed up with legalese, and keeps re-uploading the material, a ban is in order. David Newton 15:57 BST 20 Jun 2003
I would oppose a ban. If making "inane and patently ridiculous comments" were a banning offence then I would be the only person left here! [JOKE]. We may disagree with him but he is entitled to express himself. Questionable uploads can be deleted easily enough. GrahamN 16:50 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
I did not say that inane and patently ridiculous comments alone were a banning offence. I combined that with continuing to re-upload the material. However, I would say that making comments like he has been making is hardly a mitigating circumstance! David Newton 20:19 BST 20 Jun 2003

(Comment moved from User talk:Joe Canuck, since apparently he doesn't want it there):

From the Wikipedia:Overview FAQ:

Who owns Wikipedia?

The owner of the server and the domain names is Bomis, Inc. However, the articles are released by their authors under the GNU Free Documentation License, so the articles are open content. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Wikipedia articles are Bomis' property. See Wikipedia:Copyrights and Wikipedia:Readers' FAQ for information on how you can use Wikipedia content.

So, when you keep referring to the "owners" of Wikipedia, you are talking about you, me, Tim, Martin, FearÉIREANN, and anyone else who contributes. -- Wapcaplet 15:22 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)


You say you would never do anything to jepordize wikipedia, yet you refuse to clarify the copyright status of the images you have uploaded. Why? If you would just write something along the lines of "I took this photo myself" or "The person who took this photo has given me permission to upload it to wikipedia" I would willingly withdraw my vote to have your images deleted, and I am sure that many others would withdraw their vote too. Theresa knott 15:09 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

What is or is not legal copyright here at is not for you or anyone to make an arbitrary judgment on. protected itself, it did not mandate users to be copyright lawyers. When a group of users form a cabal to impose their views, that is in fact discrimination and doing it selectively and repeatedly constitutes harassment. A user to Wikipedia is entitled to use the site in accordance with the owners terms -- not yours or mine. There are many "brave" loudmouths who hide behind their non-USA residence who don't worry about harassment because the prime and serious damage will be to, not themselves should a provoked user or rights group decide to protect themselves from abuse. In this regard, I find it incredible that you are willing to think that a totally unknown and unverifiable person logged into Wikipedia under any user name they choose can simply say: "I took this photo myself" or "The person who took this photo has given me permission to upload it to wikipedia and you accept it. Mind boggling that you would accept such implausible claims as adequate legal protection. The DMCA was created just so innocent website operators couldn't be held liable for the actions of the uncaring few. Joe Canuck 15:31 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

OK Joe you ke saying you will contact the "owners of". Then why not e-mail Jimbo Wales?? I am shore he will agree with me and everyone else that you are wrong. -fonzy

I vote to delete all those things Joe uploaded. Hello, Joe. I'm afraid I don't follow your reasoning at all. If somebody objects to their work being reproduced here, there is nothing stopping them coming and deleting it themselves. For what it's worth, I'm in totally in favour of deleting all copyright violations, not out of respect for the notion of "intellectual property", but because I think Wikipedia should be written (and photographed) by Wikipedians, and nobody else. GrahamN 16:38 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

GrahamN - you are entitled to an opinion but not to judge what is or isn't copyright. Nor do you have the right to impose your unfounded opinions on others. Deleting my legally posted photos violates my right to use Wikipedia as specified by the owners. What if a group shows up here (User:Vikings was called a group, I think?) who think all users should sign an oath to pray to their God? Do you go along, or go away, or argue against it because that is not what the owners intended? And if that small group intimidates others, do you quit? WEikipedia needs users, and the volunteer Administrators had their banning powers removed for a very real reason.

True. I am not entitled to impose my opinions on you. Equally, you are not entitled to impose your opinions on me. You don't seem to have grasped the nature of Wikipedia at all. Why have you come here? What are you trying to achieve? GrahamN 17:23 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

To User: Ms. Knott - Sorry, Ms. knott, but you and I are not allowed to arbitrarily judge. Wikipedia wasn't created to make lawyers out of users nor to create arguments for no just cause. Photos are non arguable, unlike text where there will always be differences. When we usurp's rules and impose our personal legal opinions on another, we only insult users and turn them away, all because we "think" or its a "possible" copyright violation. The law doesn't work on "I think" or "gee, maybe", it works on fact. Morality isn't the issue here, otherwise User:JHK would not have left. There are articles tat too, disgust me. (And oh yes, the unchallenged clitoris photo is a copyright violation, in my opinion.) I see you posted an image that you claim you created. The fact is, you cannot prove it. Do you plan to post your full name, proof of identity, full address etc to support your claim? I can assure, does not want that and that is why you or anyone can check in under any name you choose. And, it is an absolute fact that copying images off the internet is legal in hundreds of thousands of cases. Are you qualified to judge which photo is or which isn't? Who says Album covers, that studios paid tens of thousands to have designed, are okay to copy? Check the image list. Look at the number posted with no explanation while others make claims that can't be proven. Can you judge one of USER:Jirl's as to whether he actually took the photo, that he is who he says he is, and that he actually owns that photo? He “claims” he took them, but can he prove it? You can't, I can't and no one else her can either. That is why the DMCA exists. Delete one of Joe Blow's and he will demand all labeled as "taken by me" to be deleted because the claim cannot be proven. And how about Image:Espresso.jpg. -- Wapcaplet ? Can he prove copyright? I know a painting of a cup of coffee that sold for $7 million and a photo of an apple that sold for over $200m. As to the morality involved with photos, that is what an open site means can happen if people choose. But, is not at risk under any circumstances and they certainly don’t expect you or me to be forced into a legal position we cannot defend. The risk, is when some nutcase starts harassing people. must, repeat must, be named as co-respondent in any action(s) against that User. And, there are users here whose sole purpose is to satisfy a need for power that has nothing to do with morality or the law. Support them if you like, but believe me, those kind of abusers with their arbitrary actions and conduct are the real and potentially terminal risk for not a photo that they have no liability for. The reputation of Wikipedia is indeed harmed by gaining a reputation of an illegal cabal harassing sincere users who in fact obey all regulations established by the site owners. You said:

  • But if we do not insist that the person who uploads an image states that they have permission to upload someone else's creation, we are condoning theft. Fact: you can’t upload an image into Wikipedia without ticking the box that affirms the right of use. Joe Canuck 16:59 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
All of these are perfectly good arguments in favor of deleting the images you've uploaded. We may have no legal liability for these potentially copyrighted photos, but we try to avoid infringing if possible (since such infringement would endanger Wikipedia). Since we do not know the origin or copyright nature of the photos, it's better to be safe (by deleting them) than sorry. Nobody's judging whether they are, or aren't, in actuality, copyrighted. We have no idea whether they are. For photos that other Wikipedians took themselves, and uploaded, obviously they're in a pretty good position to judge whether they're copyrighted. And yeah, obviously we have to take their word on it. But in general, we don't consider such photos as much of a risk as the ones such as you have provided - we do not know where they came from or who took them. All we know is that they have come from other sources on the internet, and, to the best of our knowledge, were of an undetermined copyright status. As someone has mentioned, the original photographer by default has copyright permission to the photos, and, barring explicit statement by the copyright holder of the images' public-domain or otherwise free status, we have to assume they're copyrighted. You have implicitly stated (by checking the box upon upload) that they are licensed under the GNU FDL, but you have provided no evidence, nor even a convincing argument, nor even the slightest indication or suggestion that you have the legal authority to release them as such. (and we need to move this discussion elsewhere; it is cluttering up the VFD page.) -- Wapcaplet 17:17 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Sweet and simple: You have no right to judge or to create YOUR rules. My photos were posted in accordance with the rules established by the ONLY authority: the site owners, NOT YOU. So, please stop ranting and move on because I am tired of those who wish to impose their views. As I said, delete my photos and you will have violated my rights. I looked at your photos, Arpingstone's, JTDirls, Maverick149 etc. None are proveable as to copyright ownership. And no, there is no such thing as "less" violations or "more acceptables". If you don't like my actions, then ask the site owners to review the matter and, as promised by USER:JIRl, demand I be banned. Also, I remind you for the last time that you should check with the owners before you take arbitrary actions because the consequences could be severe. That is, if you care about And, by the way, I am not some complaining nut who fills up his/her user contribution list by creating meaningless little edits to articles. I back up my words and beliefs in the value and integrity of Wikipedia by doing quality, in-depth articles to the best of my ability. Joe Canuck 17:32 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I don't recall anyone accusing you of being "some complaining nut who fills up his/her user contribution list by creating meaningless little edits to articles." And you may also recall the statement that you agreed to with each of your contributions:
Please note that all contributions to Wikipedia are considered to be released under the GNU Free Documentation License (see Wikipedia:Copyrights for details). If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here.
I believe this disclaims you from any "right" to have your contributions untouched by other editors. Sorry. -- Wapcaplet 17:38 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I agree 100%: "If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here." But photos are fixed, unalterable objects that are given a specific legal authorization as an upload by the owners of End of discussion on my part. Joe Canuck 17:44 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I have some software that lets me alter photos... -- Wapcaplet 17:47 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)
And if you want to be picky, here's what it says on the image upload page:
Please note that as with Wikipedia pages, others may edit or delete your uploads if they think it serves the encyclopedia, and you may be blocked from uploading if you abuse the system.
-- Wapcaplet 17:48 20 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Given the history of DW/Black Widow/Joe Canuck in returning to wikipedia even after banning, I think it is fair to presume that the banning of Joe Canuck will not mean an end to the danger that these images may still be used by him. The odds are that he will return in the near future and if the images still exist, reinsert them. To ensure he can't, I would suggest that the image be deleted immediately the seven day waiting period is over, which means that they should be deleted as soon as possible after the 26th of June. A question: given that the user who downloaded them and so knows their source is now banned (and it is unlikely anyone else on wiki will be able to trace their source), do wiki rules allow in such circumstances for their deletion ahead of the 7 day waiting period? As the person who put them here I will not be the person who deletes them in any case. FearÉIREANN 09:24 21 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I have voted against User:Jtdirl’s statement that the images posted by User:Joe Canuck should be deleted. And I gave the reasons on the Wikipedia:Votes for deletion page. ChuckM 20:08 22 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Comments below moved from Wikipedia:Votes for deletion by Wapcaplet 21:15 22 Jun 2003 (UTC)

I have been on vacation and returning today I learned of the ban of User:Joe Canuck. I logged on to Wikipedia because of my interest in sports and because of what I thought was User Joe Canuck’s real good stuff being done on the different years in sports. I read the list above and have some questions about the photos that User:Jtdirl says should be deleted as well as statements he has made.

User:Jtdirl says: The following images he (User:Joe Canuck) lists as fair use but gives no indication of source, a requirement to protect wiki should any dispute arise over whether they are indeed covered by fair use.

My question to User:Jtdirl is: What requirement, and how could there ever be a dispute? If a copyright owner gives the required legal notification to Wikipedia of an infringement, there is no dispute, the photo is removed. It is simple and no big deal and no risk of any kind to Wikipedia who cannot be held liable if someone uploads a copyrighted photo because they have, as User:Joe Canuck, pointed out, registered for protection under the DMCA. By actually reading what User:Joe Canuck said, I can understand his point is that any disputes are by Wikipedia users, all with their own opinion that repeatedly contradicts one another. The discussion pages are filled with hundreds of opinions. And that is a waste of time, involving people arguing unnecessarily that only confuses Users as to right legal policy. I found where User Maverick149 said we are pretty liberal on fair use, User Eloquence gave his opinion, Brion Vibber a different opinion, and so on. User Stan Shebs asserts that stamps are okay to upload, another person says maps are okay, and User:TUF-KAT has loaded dozens of Album/CD covers saying these are fair game for copying. The Epopt says the magazine covers he uploaded are okay to copy. Then, like Maverick 149’s image of Strom Thurmond that he only labelled as: Public Image. I found articles where some photos got a label: Image of the profile of the Roman Emperor Constans from a coin I own.Then the poster at Stop Esso campaign says: Stop Esso campaign leaflet by Greenpeace, Freinds of the Earth and People and Planet. Who says this is not copyright? Can you get permission? I doubt it, because they worry if someone copies and alters it or uses it unfavorably? Another photo lists the information as (Photo of the children's writer J.P. Martin) . Repeatiung the photo title is proof of copyright? And there are lots like that. And, many photos are uploaded by someone claiming they took the photo themselves including User:Jtdirl doing it many times. Who is right in all these claims? User: Joe Canuck's photo uploads are exactly the same as many of these but he never claimed he took any himself. So why are his photos the only ones being questioned?

User:Jtdirl (James Duffy) stated on his e-mail to [WikiEN-l]: He (User:Joe Canuck) systematically downloaded a series of images to wikipedia, many of which may well have been copyright.

Do we delete photos because they may be copright? And if so, who is qualified to make that judgment? And what about all the other mays? I looked at one photo User:Jtdirl) uploaded at the same time as Joe Canuck’s of Glasnevin Cemetery. User:Jtdirl claimed he took the picture(s). I don’t know, but I think I saw at least one or two somewhere on the Web months ago. Should it be banned? Should we just accept User:Jtdirl’s word? That would be a big legal risk wouldn’t it? If we accept his, then we must accept the word of everyone who makes such a claim. All this really makes for the possibility of a lot of abuse because who can prove what? Maybe Joe Canuck took all those photos or they are his inherited property. I have some excellent sports photos of celebrities I took myself at the US Open and elsewhere. Do you take my word, if I post them by simply saying I took them. If so, how do you know if I am telling the truth or not?

And what makes me mighty nervous is that what User:Jtdirl seems to be doing here, is questioning one person, but not others. That was what Joe Canuck complained about so I have to question User:Jtdirl’s motivations. Maybe he can explain why he has not wanted to delete the many other questionable circumstances surrounding photos being posted by others while User Joe Canuck was doing his thing. And for User: Jtdirl to demand all his questions be answered in fact is silly and a contradiction of the openess at Wikipedia to insist that any user is obliged to answer any questions at Wikipedia on any subject. That leaves the door open to masive abuse. Wikipedia was created so you can come here and be free to edit as you see fit. There is no condition that you spend your time answering any question from the thousands of users here.

I took a minute and went through the last 500 images posted. There are plenty uploaded in the exact same manner as those of User Joe Canuck. But, on the person’s page or on this votes for deletion page, I cannot see any one that has been questioned. Why not? User Joe Canuck does seem to be targeted and I note that User:Jtdirl said on this page:

  • Given the history of DW/Black Widow/Joe Canuck in returning to wikipedia even after banning

I may be stupid, but how can User:Jtdirl say that without providing proof? I note that Wikipedia owner Jimbo Wales most definitely did not agree with that unproven statement. User:Jtdirl using innuendo seems to contradict common decency, particularly when a he has someone banned who then cannot respond to such remarks on this page. And it was User:Jtdirl who had User Joe Canuck banned on his unproven words to Mr. Jimbo Wales without allowing User Joe Canuck to defend the accusations. Accept photos from some without question but delete those of others uploaded in the exact same manner is certainly questionable conduct. Then to ban someone without trial, making slanderous accusations is unacceptable and intimidation against all users. I see too that User:Jtdirl (James Duffy) also stated on his e-mail to [WikiEN-l] Re: Joe Canuck : When a number of users asked him (User:Joe Canuck]] to clarify their status, he became highly verbally abusive, issued legal threats and then deleted the questions.

I read all of User Joe Canuck’s staements and this statement by User:Jtdirl appears to be a complete falsehood as I found no such abuse or threats of any kind. What I saw was repeated harassment that User:Joe Canuch complained about. What User Joe Canuck did do was point out the possible legal ramifications for Wikipedia if a User publicly uses this website to libel another User. Perhaps I missed it so User:Jtdirl can provide the proof of these statements because if untrue they do cause great risk to Wikipedia and all of us who only want to enjoy working here.

Below are just a tiny few of many photos that have recently been placed in Wikipedia while this matter has been going on. Why were none of these questioned? And with all the differences of opinion, who is right? If I upload a photo to Wikipedia, I don’t want someone deleting it just because they may not like me or for any other personal reason they have. Users photos should not be deleted based on the opinions of a few unqualified people. And, I am certain the owners of Wikipedia who set the rules for uploading photos, are just like the many other websites licensed by the DMCA that are fully protected and risk-free from an actual copyright infringement if it ever occurred. Look at the image details for these:

  • (desc) Pionniers_de_la_révolution_small.jpg . . 24329 bytes . . User:Wapcaplet . . 01:17 22 Jun 2003 (smaller version) History of Burkina Faso
  • (desc) Redmond_small.jpg . . 12996 bytes . . User:Wapcaplet . . 01:28 22 Jun 2003 (smaller version) [Image:Redmond small.jpg]
  • (del) (cur) 08:34 22 Jun 2003 . . Leanne (11767 bytes) (Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy cover) Houses of the Holy
  • English Electric Lightning read what Arpingstone says about uploading this on the image page?
  • Here’s another from Arpingstone:
  • (desc) . . 22140 bytes . . Arpingstone . . 16:17 18 Jun 2003 (Swiss glacier)
  • (del) (cur) 07:43 26 May 2003 . . Maveric149 (14843 bytes) (public domain image)
  • (desc) Bluetit48.jpg . . 16296 bytes . . Jimfbleak . . 13:17 17 Jun 2003 (Blue Tit from 1905 enc)
  • (desc) PaulWhitemanColumbiaLabel.jpg . . 26003 bytes . . Infrogmation . . 17:50 17 Jun 2003 (late 1920s Columbia Records label with caricature of Paul Whiteman)
  • 05:21 25 May 2003 . . Maveric149 - [Image:Linnaeus.jpg] the claim is

Image in the public domain, from

However, for User:Maveric149's claim to public domain for the [Image:Linnaeus.jpg] at article Carl Linnaeus, this is what the website states:

  • IHM Copyright & Permission Information - The Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) database is a catalog of the prints and photographs collection of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The purpose of the database is to assist users in finding illustrative material for private study, scholarship, and research. The NLM does not own the copyright to the images in the database, nor do we charge access or permission fees for their use. We do request, however, that published images include the credit line "Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine." Since the NLM does not own the copyright to the images, it is the responsibility of anyone using the database, or ordering reproductions based on information in it, to ensure that use of this material is in compliance with the U. S. Copyright law (Title 17, United States Code).

And there are lots more uploaded images to consider. I may just be a sports nut who can’t make contributions to nuclear physics but I know what I see. And no, I am not Joe Canuck or any other person in the history of Wikipedia and he was the only guy interested in doing the big job to include sports highlights in Wikipedia. And, in my opinion, something smells. ChuckM 20:06 22 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Having participated in the discussion leading up to User:Joe Canuck's ban, I believe that the best reason many of us had to suspect these images had less to do with the images themselves than with Joe's reluctance to clearly state their origin or copyright status. Had the images been legitimate, or had Joe taken the photos himself, I (for one) find it extremely weird that he would become so defensive when asked about their origin. And of course, finding the images on other sites (usually commercial in nature) was not encouraging evidence in favor of their ostensibly public-domain or GNU FDL nature. -- Wapcaplet 21:23 22 Jun 2003 (UTC)

No, I think you are wrong. What I read, and I did read every single word, is that he says it is not a legal requirement to provide details on photos. Note above from the list, many others including you, Wapcaplet conduct themselves in the same manner as Joe Canuck did and not a word is said. Do you have special privlidges here that the rest of us don't? And just so you understand the law: this site is the property of Open content means if they choose to pay the bills and keep it on the Web, others can freeely copy your contributions. You and I certainly don't own it. Plus, I think User: Joe Canuck tried to help by telling us that if someone sues another User for libel, it means Wikipedia will automatically be named and will be dragged into court and pay lawyers. The lawsuit against Kazaa was against them asking the Court to order Kazaa to release the Users true Id's. If you or I abuse another Wikipedia User we risk dragging Wikipedia into a lawsuit. Post a copyrighted photo either deliberately or in honest error and no harm of any kind can come to Wikipedia. That is indisputable fact. And, I read some things on User:Jtdirl, this guy has repeatly said libelous things to others that are the real danger here. I'm not interested in arguing this. Everyone here can make their own decisions but I'm not going to start picking on one person or make false statements about them that could get me and Wikipedia sued. ChuckM 22:20 22 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Could you please point out a situation in which I conducted myself in a similar manner to Joe Canuck? I do not recall any instances in which I was so abrasive with other users, or in which I made veiled threats as he has done. I am not a lawyer, so I do not know the legal implications when a user posts a copyrighted photo, but it is customary at Wikipedia to at least try and avoid the possibility of legal problems (which is why these are listed for deletion). I also don't know the legal implications of one user abusing another, but if any abuse has occurred in this situation, it is the abuse, by Joe Canuck, of other users of Wikipedia. Read the contents of this page, and of User talk:Joe Canuck, if you have any doubts about that. Anyhow, that is beside the point. What is your specific objection to the deletion of the images uploaded by Joe Canuck? -- Wapcaplet 00:11 23 Jun 2003 (UTC)
Referring to JC=Wapcaplet comment: don't let him bait you.
ChuckM: And just so you understand the law: this site is the property of
You accuse us of not understanding the law and then you come out with a legal statement as naive as that one? can't own anything -- it's not a legal entity. (IANAL statement on my user page) -- Tim Starling 00:30 23 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Computer screenshots[edit]

I have a copyright question that, as of yet, no one has answered (I hope this is the right place for it). Is it permissable to use a screen shot from a computer program? Is this considered fair use or copyright infringement? I know this is a tricky question, but since the 'pedia has so many articles about 1000's of peices of software, it could really benefit from some images of them running.

Before someone answers right away, "No! It's copyright infringement! Go away!" I remember a case several years ago regarding Electronic Arts and their program Deluxe Paint. EA claimed that they had a copyright on every image created with DP since they owned the copyright for DP. The courts struck them down saying that they did have the copyright for DP, but not for content created by the tool. Couldn't the same reasoning be applied to screens of software running? For example, if I author a letter with MS Word, I've used it create an image of my letter, so is taking a screen shot of it a copyright violation?

I really do want a definitive answer to this, as I'd like to enhance a lot of articles with pertinent (quality) screen shots. But I also don't want to violate any copyright laws or put the 'pedia in jeopardy. Can anyone give me (or point me to) a qualified answer to this? —Frecklefoot 16:13 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I am not a lawyer, but this has got to be fair use. Hopefully someone has a solid legal answer. -- Wapcaplet 16:27 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Found Microsoft's policy on screenshots (towards the bottom), which seems pretty restrictive, but could probably work with Wikipedia's purposes. Apparently Duke Nukem has restrictions on what can be screenshot. It could get tricky. -- Wapcaplet 16:39 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Thanks, Wapcaplet. That covers Microsoft products! I'd love to hear a definitive answer which covers all software products. Anyone else? —Frecklefoot 16:50 10 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Not a lawyer either, but had to consider the issue several times, being an open source developer myself. And I say that's definitely fair use. Take a look here: Using Screen Shots Without Permission: A Risk Worth Taking. If you're in a hurry, here's an excerpt worth considering:
The limitation [to the copyright law] we hear most about is fair use; anyone is allowed to use a work in a limited manner, "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." -- Gutza 0:34 12 Jul 2003

I am not entirely sure what you mean by "use a screen shot from a computer program", but I understand that you want to create a screenshot of some software running on your machine. That's just fine: copyright protects works. Now, if you create a screenshot of Microsoft Word, you're not even making a copy of the work "Microsoft Word" because the work is the software which is, itself, not copied. (This would be like saying Microsoft owns all documents that you wrote with Word.) It's not even a question of "fair use" because that would only kick in when a work has been copied. – Of couse, if you steal a screenshot from a Microsoft web page, you are making a copy of a picture, which is something that might be a work of authorship, and that's a different issue.

That's not always the case, though; it may depend what is on the screen when the screenshot is taken. Microsoft, for example, prohibits the use of screen captures of any boot-up screens or other splash screens unless you're writing documentation about Microsoft technology. Company logos, copyrighted icons, or other copyrighted material (words or pictures) may be on the screen at the time. It may also depend on what you do with the screen capture - modifying it may have repercussions; again, the Microsoft agreement states that you aren't allowed to modify the screen image after capturing it. You also can't use screenshots in a way that disparages Microsoft. So you may not be able to, say, take a screenshot of Microsoft Word and add a caption saying "Look how crappy their interface is!" (which seems dubious to me, but that's how their agreement reads). Once again, IANAL... it'd probably be a good idea to look into the software manufacturer's license agreements on the subject before using any screenshots. -- Wapcaplet 15:44 12 Jul 2003 (UTC)

You are correct that things become more complicated if the screenshot itself contains a work of authorship like artwork – of which the user would make a copy then. However, then I'd say fair use applies, especially if the shot is scaled down. – The other issues you bring up need some clarification. 1) The question was about copyright; when logos or the "Microsoft" name are involved, we may run into trademark issues. That's a different can of worms. 2) As you mention license agreements, Microsoft only has the right to impose restrictions on you with these if you need a license in the first place, because the law protects something: a license gives you rights you would otherwise not have. If there is no work of authorship copied, or no trademark (or even patent) infringed, you don't have to give a rat's ass about license agreements. Microsoft cannot define when copyright or trademark law are in effect, as much as they'd like to. Now, how they think they can prohibit screenshots of the boot process, I'd think, would be a trademark issue because their logos are prominently exhibited, but again, that's not a copyright issue in my view. 3) Disparaging Microsoft is yet another thing regulated by competition law. Of course you, as a Wikipedia contributor, may write a review of a piece of Microsoft software and say that it sucks. Whether IBM may do it is something different. – So yes it's complex, but what I was saying is copyright only kicks in when you make a copy of a work of authorship, and you usually don't.

IANAL. The situation is further complicated by the presence of end user license agreements (EULAs) - you

Civil War Pictures[edit]

Are any and all pictures of Civil War (i.e. 1860-1865) pictures taken before 1920 in the public domain, whether the site hosting them states explicitly that they are in the public domain, or not? Like, [http://www.



Photos of old and public sculptures[edit]

I don't think I have seen any discussion concerning copyright of photographs of 3D artworks.

Here I am guessing that a photograph of any sculpture would be a creative work and so any photograph of a sculpture published pre-1923 would be OK as {{PD-US}} and any photograph released GFDL (or similar) would be OK.

However, could there also be copyright on the sculpture itself (or would that only apply to a 3D reproduction of the sculpture). Are there any differences if the sculpture or artwork is in a public place ([2] this link draws some distinction for public art). -- Solipsist 20:17, 10 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Pre-1923 Images from original sources[edit]

I have scanned numerous images from original pre-1923 books, magazines, postcards, etc for use in Wikipedia. The vast majority are from U.S. sources. What criteria can be used to determine when I can simply mark them as "PD" (public domain) as opposed to "PD-US" (which marks the image page "This image is in the public domain in the United States and possibly other jurisdictions")? I have asked this before, and have yet to get an answer. Is this image of Gen Ludendorff scanned from a 1918 US magazine public domain? Or this 19th century view of the Palace of Westminster scanned from a US stereopticon card? How do I tell? I'd like to mark many images as simply "Public domain" rather than PD-US if there is some way to tell when that would be allowed. -- Infrogmation 15:16, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Old non US sources?[edit]

On a related note, how can I know if I can use some of my old postcards, stereocards, etc printed in the UK or Germany? Is there a date similar to the US pre-1923 that is safe to assume public domain? -- Infrogmation 15:16, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes. Creators must 70 years dead. -- 15:44, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Image copyright question[edit]

Please see Wikipedia_talk:Copyrights#Copyright_question, thanks, (Sam Spade | talk | contributions) 16:15, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)


I photographed some objects from a local (US) museum. I assumed that that would mean I owned the rights to the photographs (especially as the items in question are a couple centuries old, and therefore in the public domain), and could therefore upload them, but then I checked the museum's website, where I found this quote:

Still photography of the permanent collection, taken in existing light, is permitted on condition that the photographs are for personal, non-commercial use.

Well, Wikipedia definitely qualifies as non-commercial, but personal? I'm thinking that's not going to fly. What do you think? Do I have to give up on uploading these pictures? --Iustinus 01:43, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Did you explicitly agree to this rule of theirs when you entered the museum? Was it prominently displayed where you bought the ticket? - Haukurth 19:53, 16 July 2005 (UTC)
WP does not qualify as non-commercial as stuff has to be released under the GDFL, which includes commercial use. See GFDL#Materials_for_which_commercial_redistribution_is_prohibited. Your only option then is fair use. pfctdayelise 14:33, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I have another museum question. I took these photos at museums in China: [3] [4] [5] (these are low-res versions not hosted on WP). I am now back in Australia. I also asked this on commons ( see Commons:Village_pump#Pictures_of_museum_exhibits) but it seems like no one is sure. :| Any advice would be appreciated. I'd love to use the last one especially. pfctdayelise 14:33, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

It's likely the case that whoever phrased it as "personal, non-commercial use" was not considering GFDL, CC*, or other free licenses. Some museums realize a bit of extra revenue by charging commercial photographers specially, but you'd have to ask to find out if that's what's going on. In any case, it's up to each uploader to decide respect museums' rules, it's irrelevant to image legitimacy. Stan 22:24, 21 November 2005 (UTC)

Editing free use covers, etc.[edit]

Hi, forgive me if this has been covered anywhere, but I can't find it. Does it still fall under free use for an album cover, book cover, etc. to edit it? For instance in an article on Joe Blow, can one provide a picture of Joe Blow cropped from the cover of the book the Life of Joe Blow, captioned as "picture of Joe Blow from cover of The Life of Joe Blow" under free use? Does it matter at all if the book is referenced in the article? Gzuckier 14:44, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

OK, now I've got somebody who doesn't like the use of even the intact unedited image of an album cover, well attributed, in a context where it is not the direct subject of the article.[6] Anybody else have a personal preference they would like to share with the class? Gzuckier 14:45, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
I think your friend is right, although there are many editors who don't bother to make the distinction (and I am usually one of them). See Template:albumcover, which I assume the covers are being uploaded under, namely solely to illustrate the album or single in question. Just go to Jow Blow's official website, find a picture that looks vaguely press-release-style, and upload it under Template:Promotional or Template:promophoto. pfctdayelise 14:26, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

Image of £1 coin on Forth Bridge (railway) article[edit]

The image is there becase the design on the coin features the Forth Bridge, so it is relevant to the article. However, the {{currency}} license template says "their use on Wikipedia is contended to be fair use when they are used for the purposes of commentary or criticism relating to the image of the currency itself". Is the use in the the article fair use or not? Thryduulf 15:18, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

IANAL disclaimer - sounds good for me.--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 11:24, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Please recommend the best tag[edit]

I recently found two untagged images (now using permission, which is better then nothing), that I have confirmed where uploaded by their creator (a professional book cover artist). I have contacted him and he wishes for them to remain on Wiki (and is willing to upload some more), but he is not sure which tag is the best for him. He wrote: I am still confused--now that I am able to examine the permissions, is there any one I can use that doesn't give up my copyright to the work? I am happy to let Wikipedia use it, but it is still a valuable intellectual property for me that I regularly re-sell, so i don't want to put it into public domain, or give up the copywrite. I just want to give permission for it to be used in this one instance, but i don't see any permission that does that. Can you advise how to proceed without giving up everything? I know we don't accept permissions anymore. What do you think can be the solution? Perhaps he can release under a copyleft a low-res version, and keep full rights to a high res ones, like we did with Template:Polish coats of arms by Tadeusz Gajl?--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 11:03, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

Template:CopyrightedFreeUse should be deprecated[edit]

I have proposed at Wikipedia talk:Image copyright tags that {{CopyrightedFreeUse}} should be deprecated in favor of {{NoRightsReserved}}. Please comment there. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 10:31, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Images from magazines[edit]

Sorry if this as been asked before, but what is the proper tagging of a photo taken from a magazine? I know there is a tag for magazine covers, but what about a picture inside the mag? --Jaysscholar 14:42, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Trademark question[edit]

Earlier today, I had this conversation at the Help Desk:


Does anyone know if there's a forum to discuss copyright status on WP images? I'm having a little trouble finding a place to ask my question. In particular, I'm concerned that WP doesn't use the Commons template (Commons:Template:Trademarked) for trademarked pictures such as pictures of products, etc. Does anyone know about this, or know where else I can ask this question? tiZom(2¢) 19:07, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I just noticed that we do have Template:Trademarked, but it is not nearly as widespread as it should be. I guess I'm just curious as to why... tiZom(2¢) 19:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

It's pretty hard for me to figure out a use on Wikipedia that would violate the trademark (other, perhaps, than things like a "this user Hoover(tm)s up vandalism" userbox or something equally cretinous, all of which would violate the copyright anyway). If the template is intended to warn users about the non-wikipedia use (its wording is rather wooly) then it doesn't belong, as we're not here to offer legal advice. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 19:49, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

So if someone takes a picture of a trademarked product (let's say for argument's sake Image:Pepsicup.jpg), and licenses it under GNU free doc license, then anyone can use this picture for any use (which may even involve commercial use), so long as they simply credit the photographer (User:Appraiser) Something about this just doesn't seem right... unless I'm missing something - which is often the case :o) tiZom(2¢) 20:08, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

The Help Desk typically isn't that great for ongoing conversations since people tend to look only at the most recent topic. At any rate, I did a little bit more research and found this page. Can anyone help me with my most recent comment up there? Thanks! tiZom(2¢) 02:10, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Aha! I just found Wikipedia:General disclaimer#Trademarks. Case closed. tiZom(2¢) 20:39, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

If I took a photograph of a musician performing in a concert from my seat, what copyright do I have of this?[edit]

So I have an image of a photograph of a musician on stage, and I took this photograph from the audience area. What likely is its copyright status? Can I release it to the public domain on Wikipedia? Please advise. Thanks, AppleJuggler 03:12, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Image copyright question[edit]

There is an open Rfc page on image use policy & copyright which can be found here, Wikipedia:Requests for comment/FC Vorskla Poltava image. --Palffy 21:25, 21 May 2007 (UTC)


I took a picture of a 3 dimensional objects that have a logo. Can I use this pic in Wikipedia?

Image use policy It says: "Photographs of three-dimensional objects almost always generate a new copyright in addition to copyrights of objects."

File:Scientology Symbol 2.jpg
The Scientology Symbol

There are many instances of the logos apearing in many pictures. Bravehartbear 23:03, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

This image (which is wrongly labelled, btw) is of a logo copyrighted by the Church of Scientology. It can only be used under fair use provisions, since no permission has been given. It must comply with the rules set out at Help:Image page#Fair use rationale. Fair use images can't be used in templates, as that's incompatible with the fair use requirements. They can only be used in an article (emphasis added!) about the topic that the logo represents. -- ChrisO 23:25, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

fa:Image:Persian wikipedia poster.JPG[edit]

I'm the creator of this image. Is there anyway to publish this image on my user page? Is this a derivative work? Hessam 23:00, 5 August 2007 (UTC)