Wikipedia talk:Images of living people

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In biographies: based on the discussion here

Comments please?--luke 09:30, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Just one- what is so significant about living people that they have to have specific legislation? Borisblue 15:10, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
You might as well propose a policy which bans fair use altogether, as there isn't anything here specific to images of living people. At the moment the entire justification is "free content is good" which is fine but is not really much of an argument when it comes to what forms of "fair use" claims we do or don't allow. --Fastfission 15:12, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback. I remind you of what was said earlier in this thread on counterexample #8:

For my part, I can think of 2 reasons to tighten up on images of living people (both of which I mentioned earlier in this forum). I can see a case for banning images completely in Wikipedia biographies of living people to create a level playing field as I outlined here (07:11, 26 October 2006) and secondly to facilitate cooperation in producing a World Wikipedia - see here - by adhering strictly to the GFDL in all articles.
If our intention is to improve the Wiki, we need good reasons for selectively or completely abandoning 'fair use', a settled policy in the English language Wikipedia under which (AFAIK) the project has become very popular, the most popular by far. Otherwise we will be sacrificing our hard work for no practical benefit. A World Wikipedia would be such a reason in my view, and so would creating a level playing field for biographies of living people.

Clearly all fair use images should be banned in Wikipedia if you feel such a policy will lead to benefits for the project and accord with our principles to create a free-content encyclopedia. Looking forward to your further responses.--luke 04:58, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

New proposal[edit]

Official portraits and promotional shots seem like they are relatively safe from a "fair use" legal point of view—they are expected to be distributed and as such they don't cut into any real market. What if we distinguished between these and generic unlicensed photographs (i.e. magazine spreads or things like that)? It might be a good way to logically/legally divide up this issue. This doesn't really address the "living" aspect of things (which I honestly find to be a rather silly distinction — there is no legal basis, and only a weak policy basis), but may make the sorting out of the "images of people" aspect a bit easier. --Fastfission 16:49, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

As I understand it, there is no 'legal' problem with fair use- it just contradicts with our principles, to create a free-content encyclopedia. That is why images that are uploaded to Wikipedia 'with permission' without being released under a free license are Speedy Deleted- although legally, they pose no threat to the project since the owners have given permission. Borisblue 21:39, 31 October 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia is a part of the mass media. Electronic Press Kits are explicit licenses to use the material on Wikipedia and on other mass media. For that we do not need a fair use rational. We can even store and distribute (and I think we should) the original high-resolution press images on Wikimedia servers. (A technically feasible solution is to upload the original hi-res photo and immediately replace it with a low-res version for "fair use".)
The issue here is not about use but about reuse. The proposal is not done from the point of view of Wikipedia, but for the interets of (commersial) reusers of Wikipedia content. The license to use and distribute does not give Wikimedia the right to sublicense these rights to reusers. The fair use rational is only needed so that reusers can distribute the content without receiving the original press kit and the associated license. --Petri Krohn 20:44, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi there, I'm a bit confused - did you mean the GFDL there, because otherwise I don't understand exactly..I'm not sure fair use permission can be carried over to reusers and then reusers of reusers by such a rationale (as permission could, on the other hand, by the GFDL)...luke 18:41, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
No, I am not refering to the GDFL. How is it relevant here?
You wrote: I'm not sure fair use permission can be carried over to reusers...
This is exactly what we are trying to do when claiming fair use. There is no reason for us to claim fair use, as we have already received explicit permision for use. The reason why we claim fair use, and limit the use of promotional photos to cases where fair use can be claimed, is so that mirrors of Wikipeadia can claim fair use without receiving the original explicit permision, and without going through all the images to make their own decisions on which images are usable. This is dictated by our policy of free content.
If you disagree, that promotional photos in press kits carry an explicit license, that is another issue. In that case, we need to split this question in two: 1) photos with explicit license, 2) photos without explicit license.
As I understand it, we are now discussing option 1. --Petri Krohn 01:21, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi - In the case of a press kit why do you think we shouldn't just give details of the press kit involved and the explicit license, rather than make any claim; then reusers will be able to see for themselves as well and with less effort on our part. thnx.--luke 07:55, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

There's only so far such a policy can go before it damages the overall quality of the project. Promotional photos designed for purposes compatible with Wikipedia's mission but not necessarily with the free licensing aspect put in mind, they shouldn't be removed.

Because, honestly, the bulk of Wikipedia's information comes from copyrighted articles which are not free by nature, but we source and credit. Why can't we do the same with photographs? All this is going to do is dilute the quality of the encyclopedia which a number of people have worked so hard to build, all for the purpose of following the mission statement just a little too closely.

I'm all for Utopian ideals to a degree, but this smacks of an unrealistic and unreachable goal that punishes many articles but benefits few. It smacks of the same sort of questionable licensing practices that keep Debian so far out of the mainstream. Wikipedia's well in the mainstream; let's not change that by following the interpretation of the mission statement so literally. - Stick Fig 09:44, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi there, and thanks for your informative comments. You may care to look at Wikipedia_talk:Fair_use as well, where these issues are also discussed. ...luke 21:06, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Exceptions for certain living people[edit]

I would like to propose the following exceptions to be made case-by-case:

A nonfree image to illustrate a living person may be used only if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The person falls into one of the following groups, as attested in reliable sources:
    1. People who are currently, and for a long or indefinite period into the future, being kept under private supervision, such as prison, house arrest, or lengthy/permanent hospitalization (examples: Aung San Suu Kyi, Peter Sutcliffe, Manuel Noriega)
    2. People who have completely withdrawn from public life, or who refuse to be photographed (examples: Elián González, J.D. Salinger, Captain Beefheart)
    3. People whose whereabouts, or their status as living/dead, are unknown as a result of their being fugitives, in hiding, or abducted (examples: Osama bin Laden, James J. Bulger)
  2. No free image exists to illustrate this person;
  3. The image otherwise complies with fair use guidelines.

There should also exist a page called Wikipedia:Contested fair use on which claims could be contested and debated in a centralized environment, rather than on the talk pages of images themselves.

Also, the term "copyright images" in this proposal to refer to unlicensed images should be changed, since files licensed as GFDL, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA are under copyright. Andrew Levine 20:58, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi and thanks for the feedback. Re the use of the term "copyright images" it might help if we look at an instance in which it is used...
Wikipedia strives to produce and distribute free content which is perpetually free for unlimited distribution, modification, and application for all users and in all mediums. This goal could best be met by completely disallowing all copyright images where a particular living person is identifiably the main subject of the image.
Maybe, to make things clearer, you might like to alter "copyright images" to a wording which will take your concerns into account. On your main point, however, why should people who have completely withdrawn from public life, or who refuse to be photographed, prisoners and fugitives become 'entitled' to a non-free image on Wikipedia. I could possibly see a justification for those suffering house arrest in a dictatorship, but nevertheless what makes it right to override fundamental policy, as I'm trying to clarify the issues involved so we can make an appropriate amendment. Thanks.--luke 04:28, 5 November 2006 (UTC)
It's not overriding fundamental policy. The fundamental issue here is that fair-use images be non-replaceable, and for this very small subset of people, it is. The guidelines I propose, as Ned Scott below and I'm sure others agree, are strict enough to not be abused. And I don't understand your implication that Aung San Suu Kyi should be treated differently from Osama bin Laden by this policy. Having a fair-use picture on Wikipedia isn't a privilege that we accord for heroic behavior and revoke for criminals or anti-social types, it's based on the inaccessibility of that person to public photographers. Andrew Levine 15:49, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
This is a pretty strict proposal (re: Andrew Levine's specific proposal above), so I think there's little risk for it being abused. (which helps this stand out from other proposals for our fair use policy). I think it makes a more than reasonable argument for these exceptions and this sounds like a very good idea to me. -- Ned Scott 06:27, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

:I understand the original proposal but I don't understand the proposal if you add the above exceptions. We already disallow non-free images if a free alternative exists and of course we need to comply with fair use guidelines. So what's the point of the proposal if you're just going to say the same thing all over again? As I understand it, the intention of the original proposal was to try and force people to make free images available. By ensuring we only ever use free images of living people and given that we should be able to get a free image of a living person, we are trying to encourage people to provide free use images. Exception 1 is probably warranted but exception 2 and 3 just defeat the whole point of the proposal (and as I've stated we already disallow non-free images when we have free images) Nil Einne 14:12, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Sorry ignore the above I misunderstood. These additions make sense IMHO Nil Einne 14:18, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry I didn't explain what I meant by fundamental policy. By 'fundamental' I meant User:Jimbo_Wales/Statement_of_principles #5 ...also see m:Foundation issues. Does that perhaps help?--luke 19:11, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Number 5 on that list has nothing to do with entirely refusing non-GFDL images. If it did, Jimbo wouldn't have come out on several occasions since then in favor of (limited) fair-use images on the English Wikipedia. Andrew Levine 21:38, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
Well the wording is unambiguous on applicability in eg the recent draft GFDL ("...The only kind of work for which this should not be used is software. ...") And Jimbo says "..This page, like all Wikipedia pages, is a living, dynamic document, which I will update and clarify as legitimate questions arise. .." But the only change in #5 since it was first set down in 2001 is the removal of emphasis on the word 'viral' (and the addition of a hyphen in 'long-term' and comma after 'closed') Hopefully others can come in on this, maybe even Jimbo himself....luke 07:39, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
You're still speaking about generalities with regard to licensing. You haven't addressed what, specifically, is objectionable about my proposal, and also why we should apply different criteria to Aung San Suu Kyi and Osama bin Laden, who are both in unphotographable situations for the entire foreseeable future. Andrew Levine 19:20, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
Firstly, I would never wish to characterize this amendment as objectionable. Secondly, please look at the wording of the preamble to the proposal and also how it is referred to *here*. Permit me to say that this is a matter of principle, but it's a principle I think many contributors share. If it turns out I am wrong then what purpose does your amendment serve? Please don't misunderstand me, that is meant solely as a question to elicit your thoughts. Thank you--luke 08:03, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
"If it turns out I am wrong then what purpose does your amendment serve?" It serves to allow us to keep fair-use images of people who are in practice unphotographable, within the framework of the proposal you have outlined. I think that is pretty explicit. I read the RfC and I don't see what that has to do with the exceptions to your proposal which I'm suggesting be made. Andrew Levine 17:30, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Why should we allow of exceptions, when we are trying to build a free content encyclopedia, especially when fair use is so contentious at the moment (see *here* and *here* as examples.)
The clearly understood principle of the proposal is to move this class of images (images of living people) to free-content only at the very least, as a first stage in reforming Wikipedia's image use policy. This is also in accord with Jimmy Wales's Principle #5 which states:- "The GNU FDL license, the openness and viral nature of it, are fundamental to the long-term success of the site. Anyone who wants to use our content in a closed, proprietary manner must be challenged. We must adhere very strictly to both the letter and spirit of the license." -- luke 07:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Fair use is not leaving the English Wikipedia anytime soon, so that crusade is not going to lead anywhere. We already permit fair use images that cannot be replaced, such as images of deceased people, and you have already yourself stated that an exception can be made for people who are under house arrest. Additionally, we have several exceptions to the fair-use restrictions already listed in the counter-examples section of WP:FU (numbers 3 through 7 all have "counter-counter-examples" included). And if we are going to play the "Jimbo has said" game, Jimbo has also explicitly said that the Elian Gonzalez picture we have should be allowed as an exception. Andrew Levine 00:07, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Fair use on wikipedia is a dogs dinner at the moment - do a search for 'dinner' on talk:fair use, and while you are at it look at all the kerfuffle that we have there at the moment. This was perhaps indirectly caused by Jimbo's intervention, where, as you say, he advocated keeping fair use only in exceptional cases. But this is in direct contravention of his own clearly stated principles quoted above. So this is not a crusade...I'm simply advocating that we keep to Jimbo's own fundamental principles for Wikipedia in the case of living people. This will have the added benefit of an easily interpreted policy, not subject to the differing 'common sense' views of admins as to how it should be put into effect.
"you have already yourself stated that an exception can be made for people who are under house arrest." - not so. I said "I could possibly see a justification for those suffering house arrest in a dictatorship, but nevertheless what makes it right to override fundamental policy" and I never got a proper reply to the fundamental question, then or since...--luke 06:50, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
As I've said already, I think your interpretation of Fundamental Principle #5 is flat-out wrong; the statement just says that the GFDL's terms must be adhered to by those who reuse Wikipedia's content. The reason you think that Jimbo advocating for fair use in rare, exceptional cases, as I am doing, is is "in direct contravention of his own clearly stated principles" is because you are misinterpreting what he wrote in those principles. Contradiction resolved. And besides Jimbo's opinions are not primate at Wikipedia. We already make rare exceptions to the "no fair use images of X" policy as outlined at Wikipedia:Fair use#Counterexamples. This is just another one. And you are the only one on this talk page who thinks this runs counter to Wikipedia's principles, without yet providing an explanation why these exceptions are any worse than the other "counter-counterexamples" like the Elian photo, the Billy Ripken baseball card, the Guernica painting, the magazine cover exception, etc. Andrew Levine 18:49, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
Huh? How do you get from Jimbo's "We must adhere very strictly to both the letter and spirit of the license" to, as you put it, "the statement just says that the GFDL's terms must be adhered to by those who reuse Wikipedia's content". I could see that interpretation if the word Jimbo used was "they" instead of "we", but it isn't. The plain meaning of the words is that we must adhere very strictly to both the letter and spirit of the license. Furthermore, notice the emphasis....Jimbo says "letter and spirit", and also "very strictly". And why should he possibly be referring only to people who reuse, but not those originally contributing to Wikipedia - that doesn't make any sense. Can you find anyone else who agrees with your interpretation?--luke 07:13, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Find me someone who agrees with your interpretation (an intepretation which, by your own admission, would contradict Jimbo's more recent statements). There's nothing in the statement about original contributions to Wikipedia. What is important, according to the statement, is that future copies of Wikipedia not be made proprietary. Anyway, I think this conversation is fruitless until more people come here and start commenting on this amendment. Andrew Levine 17:45, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

You are absolutely totally wrong if you interpret principle #5 to state anything about free use images. This was said in 2001. The only thing it states, is that Wikipedia should choose the GNU FDL license over a list of other possible licenses. We can now see that this was a wise choise. (As was the choice of GPL made by Linus in 1991.) --Petri Krohn 12:37, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Clearly this is something you feel strongly about. But the plain meaning is :-We must adhere very strictly to both the letter and spirit of the license (meaning the GFDL). Is your point that there is no mention of images, or otherwise could you explain? Thanks.--luke 17:21, 18 November 2006 (UTC)


I don't quite understand this proposal; the second phrase "This goal could best be met by completely disallowing all images of living people" reads like a non sequitur to me. Please tell us what real problem (as opposed to a hypothetical problem) you're trying to solve here, and please note that for legal advice we tend to turn to our official lawyer since by far the most Wikipedians are not schooled in law. >Radiant< 23:04, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi - the quote is " completely disallowing all images of living people in their Wikipedia biographies. ...", and the reason is as follows: This point occurred to me because I was trying to find a freely licensed image for the Derek Laud article to replace the fair use image that was there for about year previously. As a final step I contacted his agent, but it occurred to me at the time that Derek may have been unhappy with some points which were made in his Wikibiography (and maybe also about his characterization in another Wikipedia article.) I'm specifically referring to a drink-driving conviction, which I've recently edited out (see 23 October edit) since it's nine years old now. Well I guess - under the circumstances - it was to be expected that Derek hasn't provided a suitable image. Of course there maybe other reasons for him not providing a pic, but he hasn't even contacted me so I assume the worst. That's the real life case which led me to think about images in bios in particular. If a biography is kind to a celebrity there is a risk, however slight, that a suitable image is more likely to be provided, and also the reverse case. Well maybe you believe this point isn't worth consideration, so please let me know and maybe we should amend the proposal. Thnx--luke 06:13, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
So because some people will likely refuse to provide free licensed images of themselves we should just outright ban all images of living people? I don't quite follow that logic, if someone would rater not have theyr image appear in theyr Wikipedia article then frankly that's theyr "problem". I don't see the need to "balance the field" on this, some bios will have pictures and other not, how is that a problem? --Sherool (talk) 09:14, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, some editors may be influenced to write a biased biography in order to persuade the subject to pose for a picture. I hope that editor peer pressure is sufficient to prevent bias, as the pride in having a nice illustration of an article you edit is hopefully outweighed by the pride in having peers complement you for the balance and comprehensiveness of your prose. It won't work in every case, and some editors completely ignore peer pressure, guidelines, policies and even the five pillars, but, there are established means of reducing bias, and much more powerful motives for bias than images. This policy proposal has far too much collateral damage. In the words of a cliché, it is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 09:30, 12 November 2006 (UTC)


The idea of banning all pictures, including, say, US government pictures and other public domain images, from articles on living people seems totally mad. So I won't particularly comment on that. The idea of forbidding all copyright images would at least have the virtue of being clear, as compared to current policy, which appears to wish to forbid all copyright images of living people without anyone ever having weighed in on the subject. I still think it's silly. The idea that using promotional images which were created entirely for the purpose of identifying the subject in various media is "against wikipedia's principles" seems ridiculous to me. Wikipedia's principles of course indicate that we should be creating a free content encyclopedia, but there is no particular reason to hold this ideal as being the most important thing we can possibly do on wikipedia. If use of some particular category of images is clearly legal, as it appears to be with promotional images, then I don't see why we need to be proactive about going around and deleting them. The logic that is usually made in such cases - the idea that if we delete non-free, but legal, images, this will lead to people immediately creating or acquiring free images - may work in some cases, but it certainly doesn't always work, and even so, as I've said before elsewhere, the whole rationale seems kind of Leninist. By the same logic we should delete shitty articles, because it's more likely someone will create a decent article if they see a red link than a blue link.

A free content encyclopedia is obviously the ultimate goal of the project, but in the meanwhile, there is no greater quantity of free content in an article with no picture than there is in an article with a non-free (but legal) picture. So, anyway, I oppose this. john k 10:25, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Agree with john k. I find this proposal to be detrimental to producing a good encyclopedia. ···日本穣? · Talk to Nihonjoe 00:44, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree with John Kenney's above comments. Badagnani 05:20, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree as well. (I know this is not a poll.) There needs to be a balance between producing a free-content encyclopedia and producing a good reference work. The former is a noble goal, but the latter is much more important re: WP's face to the general public. – flamurai (t) 07:44, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree with John's comments above. We've already gone way too far in restricting images within Wikipedia and this will only make matters worse. -- ChadScott 18:47, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I Agree with John K. Some people seem to have forgottent that our main purpose is to make an encyclopedia. We should be making the best encyclopedia that we can make and including legititate fair use pictures (such as publicity photos) is a help in that. We already have commons to be a place for completely free photos. We should not try to be so restrictive here. Johntex\talk 02:48, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I Agree, Wikipedia should be able to use promotional images and other press material. We are a part of the media. --Petri Krohn 19:42, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
  • I Agree per above Alex Bakharev 12:09, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Agree with every fiber of my being. I have outlined the problems and shortsightedness of this policy in several places, but what really gets me was the way the people behind it didn't even think to solicit the opinions of the people who have uploaded a lot of these pictures. This was wrong in so many ways. Daniel Case 01:58, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Absolutely agree. We cannot completely neglect content, this is too extreme. --Irpen 04:25, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Multiple uses[edit]

It is not clear to me whether either of these proposals allow an image which is currently used according to fair-use to represent a fictional character (and as such, the image cannot be replaced by a free image), to also be used to depict a living person. Currently, this situation is not allowed by WP:FUC. The image may be used to depict the fictional character as it is not replaceable, but not to depict the living person as a replacement free image could be found there. The proposed wording seems not to make a statement where an image is used for multiple articles. That said, this may not be the intention of the proposal; if WP:FUC still stands, the multiple-uses issue would be dealt with by that instead of by your proposal. --Yamla 18:40, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I had noted the discussion. However this proposal would apply to all fair use images under the stated conditions, as it is intended to implement the principle of free content, although in a very limited set of circumstances for the reasons I gave earlier. This could include eg a book cover from an autobiography which is used to identify a person for an article, where there is no discussion of the book in the article. Comment:- I think these discussions indicate the absurd complexity which our current guidelines have reached--luke 05:33, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

some relevant examples ....[edit]

I didn't add the list. But I tagged 2 of these for review since I didn't feel they were giving an adequete rationale and the rationale for the template didn't appear to qualify them Nil Einne 11:47, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Rationale for the proposal[edit]

This proposal is in accord with Jimmy Wales's statement of principles of October 2001, for the case of a strictly limited set of images. At the moment under WP:FUC it seems to be completely arbitrary as to which fair use images of living people are allowed. This is entirely wrong, and is the cause of much debate and argument, especially as apparently the criteria are interpreted so strictly in some cases, yet not at all in others. The proposal will clear the air, and in the process start to take us back to one of our core principles. ...06:38, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Are you refering to #5 of the principles (The GNU FDL license, the openness...)? In that case, it seems you have misunderstood the principle. The GNU FDL is adopted as a guard against copyright commandeering by reuser, not to limit the content of Wikipedia. -- Petri Krohn 19:58, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I feel the plain meaning is clear (as was discussed above too).--luke 10:08, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

....and against[edit]

Fair Use is a longstanding allowed usage under US common law. English Wikipedia is by far the most popular of all online encyclopedias, and one of the reasons that makes it successful in terms of both contributors and readership has been its lawful use of images from all sources. ...07:14, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Note: If you wish please feel free to add to the rationale (for or against), and any relevant examples. I will finalize the proposal shortly.--luke 07:14, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

wording for the proposal[edit]

The David Attenborough article uses a book cover to depict David, and the book ("Life on Air") is referred to at one point in the article as follows:- His contribution to broadcasting was recognised by the 60-minute documentary Life on Air, transmitted in 2002 to tie in with the publication of Attenborough's similarly titled autobiography. Now, should this be allowable since it seems to me that the main use of the illustration is as an image of David Attenborough, not of the book? If it shouldn't be allowable then the best wording to cover this case would seem to be:-

Wikipedia strives to produce and distribute free content which is perpetually free for unlimited distribution, modification, and application for all users and in all mediums. This goal could best be met by completely disallowing all nonfree (copyright) images where the significance of the image is that it serves to identify a particular living person

but there maybe other examples where this form of words would not be the best... Any thoughts please.--luke 16:10, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

For now I will rationalize the proposal page with this wording. However comments are still welcome. --luke 10:21, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
For all my hemming and hawing about this, we have never allowed book-cover images to be allowed to illustrate articles about the people depicted. It's not fair use. Find another picture. Daniel Case 01:46, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
It certainly qualifies as fair use if the book itself is a topic within the article. None of our articles are only "about" the title subject, and just as adding the title Apocalypse Now to an article whose content had nothing to do with the film would not somehow enable us to use images from the film in that article, that an article is titled "Martin Sheen" would not prevent us from claiming fair use for such a screenshot where the film is a topic within that article. Furthermore, for obvious informational reasons the article's layout should seek to arrange the images as close to the relevant content as possible, but I can't think of a reason why the failure to do this would disqualify fair use. Postdlf 01:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The image should be near the section discussing the book, then. I did the same with J.D. Salinger and found a very commonly-used fair-use image (that will never be deleted due to Salinger's reclusiveness making replaceability impossible). Daniel Case 03:27, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
(For information - I've written trying to get hold of a free image for David. Maybe the BBC will oblige)--luke 19:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Something I still don't understand[edit]

Why the particular attention to living people? Are these images somehow more threatening to wikipedia than other fair use images? I'd actually understand (and might possibly support) doing away with non-free media entirely from wikipedia, like the german wikipedia does. I don't understand what this "compromise solution" achieves. Borisblue 07:59, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi. this is what I said earlier:
In brief, the root of the debate is free content, but I'm confining the guideline to nonfree images of living people for 2 reasons - this has been a particular source of contention recently and secondly for practicality...luke 08:51, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
People will (rightly) question why a fair-use image of a cartoon is OK but an actor is not. I still find this double standard puzzling. As much as possible, there should be a consistent, coherent policy across the board for all images. Frankly, I think a proposal to use free images exclusively will be more likely to gain support. Half-measures= bad Borisblue 09:53, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, there will be inconsistency, but at least we will be making a start and establishing the principle in an important type of image - a type that is a source of contention. At the moment there are numerous inconsistencies even within this type of image..(see the examples above for some cases). That is a cause of disquiet too. At the current time I would support a proposal such as you suggest--luke 10:18, 18 November 2006 (UTC) / p.s. If you wish me to make such a proposal, with your support, I will be happy to do so. ...luke
It is imposible to create new cartoon content thus it is imposible to create free images of cartoons. it is posible to take photos of living people.Geni 15:57, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Shallow and reductionist[edit]

Some seem to hold the assumption that all pictures that "identify" a living person or "show how they look" are interchangeable. This ignores that the appearances of human beings are not stable or context-independent, such that different pictures taken at different times will provide greatly different information which is highly relevant to individuals whose notability is established through visual media. Bettie Page is still alive. Is a current octagenarian image of Page really interchangeable with an image of her from her modelling career in the 1950s? Is a current image of Madonna really interchangeable with any image of her during her career? Even for non-entertainers, would we really consider a photo of a 95 year-old, retired scientist to provide the same relevant information as one taken during the height of his career? One-size-fits-all, mechanical policies are too thoughtlessed to apply to content in this manner. Whether an image we can obtain of a living person would provide substantially the same relevant information as a free use image we have is necessarily a case-by-case editorial judgment that requires knowledge of the subject matter, rather than a regurgitation of some policy statement. It's obtuse and pointless just to ask if any picture of a subject could be obtained, when what is needed is a substantive and informed consideration of how the images are being used for that particular subject. Postdlf 22:46, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

Amen to the point about unrepresentative images. I took the opportunity of Diana Coupland's recent death to add a picture of her to the article. Since her death made all images of her unreplaceable, I was able to use fair use to justify a picture of her from the height of her career 30 years ago. Had she not been dead, I would have been told to accept a picture of her that neither she nor anyone else save the free-use Falangistas would likely have liked.
I would also like to add that a poorly taken photo, free use or not, does not IMO adequately convey the same information as a good-quality one. Does this picture of Diane Farrell, all blurry and underexposed, really convey the same impression of her as this now-banished image from her campaign website did? The former, frankly, is a free image not only in terms of licensing but in that no one at any professional media outlet in their right mind would pay anything for it. No offense to the shooter, who was trying to do their job, but the two images are just not equivalent.
If we're going to have a policy that says almost all images of almost all living people must be free-use since they're theoretically repeatable, it is irresponsible to make that change without first having detailed replaceability guidelines in place. And I think one of those should strongly consider whether or not a free image could reasonably be created that would convey the same information as to the appearance of the subject.
Perhaps I should just go ahead and write the replaceability guidelines I've been meaning to instead of just bitching about this. Daniel Case 01:43, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Representativeness needn't just be a matter of the subject's age[edit]

Consider this image of Britney Spears that's used in the infobox to identify her. I'm glad we found a free one, and that it's reasonably good quality. But how representative is it? If that were the only picture in the article, would you be able to tell what she looked like? She doesn't walk around all the time with her hair like that (well, maybe that's whay Kevin Federline left her, but anyway...), and so I wouldn't consider that image a representative one. Daniel Case 05:47, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

She dumped K-Fed's ass, not vice versa. But otherwise I agree. john k 05:24, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
How representative is any image though? People generaly don't walk around looking like they do at a promo shoot, in music video or at an award ceremony either. Anyway that's no reason to use unfree images since free licensed photos are evidently possible to get hold of ;) --Sherool (talk) 07:03, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
If we aren't going to disallow fair use images of living people (and I concede this now seems unlikely) then at least we need a sensible policy, since free content as a principle seems to have been abandoned (even in this narrowly defined type of image)--luke 07:18, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

You might want to join a relevant discussion on Image talk:Katherine Moennig.jpg, over whether an in-character publicity shot of Moennig for the L Word is potentially "replaceable." I'd prefer to see a screenshot as that would be even more informative of that role, but the objector is apparently thinking there's no need to consider anything outside of whether the subject is alive. Postdlf 00:02, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

Rights clearing[edit]

Anyone who uses Wikipedia free pictures to publish something in the future will still have to check that they are rights-cleared, especially if they are used for profit. Just because a picture is loaded by someone and released to Wikipedia, doesn't ensure that another person in the future will not claim a copyright for that picture. Any good lawyer can make a claim. Any for profit publication will have to go through the same rights clearance process, picture by picture, that other books use.

I would rather have a useful encyclopedia here online, than an emasculated version someone can use for profit in the future.

--Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 03:12, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, but no[edit]

From the many objections on this talk page, it is clear that this proposal is not supported by consensus. (Radiant) 14:32, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Desegregation wasn't supported by consensus either, but it was still the right thing to do. —Angr 14:46, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
    • Unlike the real world, Wikipedia is run by consensus. I believe your analogy is somewhat too hyperbolical to be helpful. (Radiant) 15:14, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
      • Wikipedia isn't always run by consensus. If a consensus of editors agreed that some article didn't have to be NPOV, they'd still be wrong. Being a free content encyclopedia, like being NPOV, is one of the nonnegotiable basic tenets of Wikipedia. —Angr 15:41, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
        • And yet, unless you manage to convince Jimbo of such, not using copyrighted images of living people is not a nonnegotiable basic tenet of Wikipedia. (Radiant) 16:11, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
        • Are you claiming that being a "free content" encyclopedia means that Wikipedia must remove all fair use content? Postdlf 16:22, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
          • I do believe Wikipedia will not really be a free content encyclopedia as long as it includes fair use content, yes. But this proposal doesn't go that far; in fact, this proposal doesn't say anything current policy doesn't already say. The current fair use criteria already say that fair use images can only be used if they could not be replaced by free equivalents, and this proposal says no more; it just clarifies the issue a bit with specific reference to living people. —Angr 16:29, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
            • I don't know what it clarifies, as I don't know what it means for a photo to "only" identify a living person; this only seems to encourage the wrongheaded thinking that "A photo of X is interchangeable with any other photo of X," and no further considerations are required. RFU (and sensible editorial judgment) require that the replacement "adequately provide the same information," not merely identify the same subject. If what you mean to say is that a photo of an individual is replaceable if it provides no information relevant to the particular subject that a free alternative cannot, then say that; this proposal fails to make that clear if that's what you're going for. Postdlf 03:09, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
    • Comparing this discussion to segregation or desegregation is offensive. Johntex\talk 03:25, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
      • I've notified Andrew Levine to check here, but remember that there are 2 versions of the proposal. I'm going to try to revise the first shortly, in the light of developments.--luke 08:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculous, and over the top[edit]

While I can appreciate the motivation, I think this policy is too extreme. I've no problem with a preference for free images over fair use where quality options for either exist, but to remove all fair use images in one go is simply too much. It's obvious there is no consensus for this, and I don't see any legal need for such a hardline policy either.

Lankiveil 07:44, 2 December 2006 (UTC).

errm, there are 2 proposals - to which are you referring? And btw, some advice (from a Dr Karl fan): it's not nice to use a word such as "ridiculous". --luke 08:38, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
The only sentence in either that I agree with is "Wikipedia strives to produce and distribute free content which is perpetually free for unlimited distribution, modification, and application for all users and in all mediums". And I do not use "ridiculous" as a personal attack or insult levelled at those who have proposed this, but the proposal is, in my opinion, quite absurd!
Furthermore, the argument being peddled by some supporters of these proposals that "oh, we don't need consensus because we are right" is a little disturbing, and definitely against the Wiki spirit, I think. I appreciate people's passion, but lets step back and gain some perspective on the whole affair! Lankiveil 08:55, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

impasse on fair use - perhaps the way forward[edit]

To start I would like to ask a question. What are the advantages of the GFDL for Wikipedia compared to other libre licenses....see eg this essay, BSD and GPL licensing, Alternative terms for free software 10 common misunderstandings about the GPL, 1.The GPL is viral and there are many more refs on Wikipedia. The question of commercial reuse is often raised, so maybe one of the BSD type licenses would have been more suitable. Just a question, that is. Because I just read that Jimmy Wales is currently involved in talks on the future of the GFDL, and someone I admire a lot can do almost anything with FreeBSD ;)

I wrote the next bit on this discussion @ 08.07 UTC on 27th November:

There is a little more on free content *here* as well.--luke 07:49, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

What exactly is the problem for downstream use?[edit]

As I understand it, the argument against fair use images is that while fair use images are, legally speaking, free within the context of U.S. law, they may not be equally free in downstream uses, that is, subsequent uses of Wikipedia content. Could someone please explain to me exactly what these uses might be, and why the laws which allow us to use copyrighted images under fair use would not apply to them? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 11:20, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Forks, basically. The nebulous "print version" is also a consideration. In the former case, of course, it's not really our problem if a body that is not Wikimedia decides to violate copyright, and in the case of the latter, I fail to see why we can't simply strip out all images that have a fair use tag.
Basically, it's not really an argument at all. Lankiveil 11:42, 10 December 2006 (UTC).
I crossposted this to Wikipedia talk:Fair use#What exactly is the problem for downstream use?, and there's more discussion going on there. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:13, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
Hi - to a significant degree I think Lankiveil is right. The real argument is libre v gratis, but I'm still not sure what precisely underlies the conflict - especially when the talk is allowing commercial reuse of Wikipedia..luke 04:46, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
I agree with him too. So the question is, what's the big solution? How are we going to balance the need for the free images (as in beer) the same way as the free images (as in speech)? Both are necessary. It's not like we can use crappy pen drawings for every page.
The free solution I liked the most was working towards using standardized illustrations of biographical subjects (with a similar purpose, but not style, as the Wall Street Journal), but we need to find a way to balance this need to be libre with ths need to use gratis. - Stick Fig 18:46, 12 December 2006 (UTC)