Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 16

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A simple exercise

Here's something I'd really like participants in this debate to do: Pick up a copy of a magazine published somewhere in the English-speaking world outside of America--a music magazine, perhaps, or a fashion magazine or a men's magazine. Take a look at the images inside. I can pretty much guarantee you that you'll find fair use images therein--probably covers, almost certainly some publicity photos, maybe some screenshots.

What's more, I can tell you that there was not a lot of handwringing inside the magazine when they put those images in. No editor, seeing that a publicity photo is included in the layout, is saying, "Do you think we're going to get away with this? Are we going to get sued this time and maybe lose the magazine? Are we being critical or just identifying? Maybe we ought to use this photo I took at a concert with my cellphone instead." In the real world, there are types of fair use that are literally taken for granted--no one gives a moment's thought as to whether they're legitimate.

And you know what? No downstream user of Wikipedia material is going to have to worry about these things either. They can use such images and sleep easy. So despite all the rhetoric about freedom, by removing such images we're not actually making anyone more free to do anything. We're just giving them an encyclopedia that is less well-illustrated. It's really kind of perplexing why that would be so appealing to so many people. Nareek 05:10, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Free content is one of the five pillars of Wikipedia. Alexa reports all of eleven other websites with higher ratings than this one (and several of those provide free stuff, too). Or we could be just like all those other publishers, but I fail to see why we'd want to copy the losers. Rklawton 05:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I have to say, that takes the cake for nonsequiturs. People sells a lot more copies than The New Yorker; is it therefore a better magazine? If WP was the number one website, would it be absolutely perfect? As far as I'm concerned, I look at Wikipedia and see a lot of room for improvement--it's what keeps me coming back. Nareek 06:21, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
With some of the magazines, they either got permission to use the photos in the magazine or bought them from a press agency. That is how newspapers also get their photos is by buying the pics. Wikipedia, if we get our act together, could actually liberate content. We done it with the US Holocaust National Memorial Museum, we can do it for others. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 06:26, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Magazines indeed pay for some of the photos they publish, but they do not pay for publicity photos or cover images or screenshots, nor do they ask permission. I feel there's a great urge to believe otherwise, because people need to believe that there is some lurking problem with using such obvious fair use images, otherwise they wouldn't be crusaders for freedom when they delete useful images, they'd just be vandals. And who wants to be that? Nareek 06:52, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
No one is trying to be vandals in all of this, so just please relax. I think the problem we have is that since I joined Wikipedia almost 2 and a half years ago, a lot of the image policies, including fair use, have changed. There are some people who followed along, there were some who didn't like it. Some people still see us an encyclopedia and think we could use any ol image and call it fair use. We are still trying to draw a line in the sand to say what is fair use or not, but given how unknown most of the fair use is, there will be some images that could easily be fair use, but it would have to take a court case or two to find out for sure. Fair use a very grey area for us, so I think we should take the wiser position and just stick to our foundation's goals and to listen to the people who actually run the place. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 07:01, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
If I had a mandate to try to solve this problem, as opposed to just arguing about it, I'd be inclined to recommend some institutional method of organizing volunteers to request permission on behalf of Wikipedia. Many copyright holders would respond favorably to an organizational request, where they might be just as likely to ignore a request from an individual user. Set up some form emails, have people collect data, have an admin approve the outgoing mail. A lot of shows have a lot of fans contributing WP content, so it wouldn't be hard to find volunteers. But if there's an easy institutional way to do this now, nobody's talking about it. Avt tor 07:25, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
We have the form emails set up already, not sure what their location is. There is a group of us that download photos from Flickr and put it on the Commons or here. As for the mail being ok'ed or not, we have a group called OTRS that deals with the permissions letters. Pretty much, we got methods already in place to get free content, but just not enough people are using it. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 08:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
"WikiProject Image Replacement" aimed at that. -- ReyBrujo 20:24, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
The comparison between Wikipedia's "12th most visited site" reputation and that of our lower-rated competitors is irrelevent. We are already the best of our kind. What we should be asking is whether the Wikipedia-of-today's 12th-most-visited reputation will stack up against the Wikipedia you are proposing to have in the future. We know that Wikipedia-of-today has quite a lot of fair-use imagery and despite that is one of the most popular sites on the web - and THE most popular site of it's nature. Will the Wikipedia-of-next-year be higher rated because it has fewer fair-use images? I don't see how that's remotely possible when the vast proportion of our readers have no clue about copyright law. They just see pictures in the articles. If we have fewer pictures - or worse pictures - then maybe we slip down a few places? SteveBaker 00:57, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Publicity photos are under a condition, explicit or implicit, of "you say nice things about us, and we'll let you have these pretty pictures to use". Try this: Pick up a copy of a magazine. Take a look at the pictures inside. Count how many of the publicity photos are with articles saying unkind things. --Carnildo 09:03, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
If you look, you will find publicity photos and cover images accompanying negative reviews as well as positive ones. That's why the justification is fair use rather than implicit permission--because fair use is a right and not a privilege. Nareek 13:46, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok then IWA's "Waterways". I'm not seeing these supposed fair use images.Geni 11:59, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Magazines have publishers with legal departments, and very often the same corporate parents as the sources of their images. The legal folks don't pass on every image, but the department's very existence is a deterrent, plus they are the negotiators should disputes arise. The magazine analogy isn't very good though, because WP is more like a book, and there have been suits over books that have so much copyrighted material that they take away from the holder's ability to publish the same kind of book. WP is becoming sufficiently popular that people are going to it for info rather than to the bookstore, so it's just now starting to hit copyright holder's revenues; things are going to change in a hurry the moment middle management sees lost book sales. As I've said before, people who are absolutely 100% sure that WP will never ever get in trouble over fair use should put their money where their mouth is, and post a bond. I've invested thousands of hours (and a couple thousand real-life dollars) in WP, I'm not willing to throw that away for the sake of an illustrated list of Seinfeld episodes. Stan 15:23, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Honestly, it's like listening to people talk about how if you sail out of sight of land you're going to fall off the edge of the world. I can assure you as someone who works for a small, independent magazine with no legal department that it is not any kind of legal muscle nor corporate connections that allows us to use promotional photos, covers etc. without fear of legal consequences--it's the fact that copyright infringement claims based on such uses are for all practical purposes impossible.
And the idea that we're playing with dynamite by envoking fair use is really needlessly alarmist. The fact is that Wikipedia does frequently violate people's copyrights--people who misunderstand fair use in a too lenient rather than too restrictive direction post photos that photographers really have a reasonable expectation that they should get paid for. What happens is they send an email to WIkipedia, Wikipedia takes the image down, end of problem. WP should try to avoid such violations before the copyright holders notice them, but the notion that a fair-use image (or textual quote, for that matter) is some kind of ticking timebomb has no basis in reality. I can't help but think that we have an excess of knights looking for dragons to protect us from. Nareek 01:16, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Then great, you should have no trouble posting that bond, eh? Right now you don't have anything at stake; if you're wrong, you can just shrug and walk away. WP is already out of sight of land, there's nothing at all like it in the world; in fact, the fair-use image repository is possibly the largest publicly visible collection in existence. Stan 06:42, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I need my money to pay my rent, I'm afraid. I hope that doesn't disqualify me from discussing Wikipedia policy. Nareek 20:04, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
It does kind of blow a hole in your argument though - if there's really no risk as you say, then why are you afraid to bet your rent money on it? Stan 21:43, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
With all due respect, Stan, that's nuts. You have to pay money to post a bond. I, like most people, don't have the kind of money lawyers get paid lying around--and if I did, I'd give it to somebody who actually needed a lawyer, not put it in escrow in order to prove to you that I actually don't believe it will ever be needed.
I do, in fact, depend for my livelihood on a magazine that uses fair use extensively--and is sent to countries all over the world. So I do actually risk my rent money on my understanding of fair use--it's been working out well for the past 17 years or so. Nareek 22:08, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Does this anonymous magazine have the readership numbers and general visibility of WP? How many fair-use images are in each issue? WP is not like a magazine with a few dozen images used according to rules that everybody in the magazine business understands. If you know fair use, then you also know the lawyers' standard answer on fair use in general - "it depends". To use your sailing analogy again, we already know the world has an edge off which to fall, which is that a group of editors mass-uploads all of Getty and Corbis and tag-teams to keep them there even after C&Ds, insisting that fair use allows it over copyright holders' objections. Another edge is where a copyright holder discovers WP articles are so good that nobody is buying their Seinfeld-episode encyclopedias or whatever, and that the articles are lavishly illustrated with their copyrighted material. With real losses to show, that inevitable first infringing upload after a C&D will be all the excuse they need to bring action - very much like the Napster case. There's no way for you to prove that these can't happen, and similar court cases have already happened. So you're wanting me to take the risk that my work will go down the drain if WP suffers Napster's fate, and offer nothing to make it worthwhile for me to take that risk. Stan 02:39, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
A minute ago magazines weren't a good analogy to WP because they were big and powerful, unlike WP; now they're not a good analogy because they're little and insignificant, unlike WP. When you find yourself shifting your argument back and forth like that, you might ask yourself whether you actually care about the reality or whether winning the argument has become an end in itself.
As long as Wikipedia follows a few simple rules that all publishers follow, the repurcussion of accidentally violating copyright is that WP will be informed by the copyright holder and will take down the offending material. This is not speculation; this is already happening and will continue to happen.
This is all about people's work going down the drain--work that improves the encyclopedia but is destroyed based on ideologically-based misconceptions about the law. Nareek 12:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
If you are claiming "fair use" then it isn't your work.Geni 12:29, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Under law, the transformation of copyrighted material through fair use is seen as a valuable product in itself--that's why the law recognizes fair use. But on a more practical--and human--level, you ought to recognize that people put a great deal of effort into finding, selecting and displaying fair use images to make Wikipedia a better encyclopedia. Nareek 13:58, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
in most cases it is little more than a google image search. Othertimes is involves search existing galleries. To take say this image was rather more of a challange since I had to make the thing. Other people have traveled long distances to take free photos often in less than ideal weather conditions. Throw in the cost of the camera equipment and that is a fair commitment. No the work of those uploading "fair use" images (and we have a bit over 300K of them) really isn't that great in comparison.Geni 15:13, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
"Great deal of effort"? That's just not true. Haven't you ever done image patrol? We're ecstatic when the uploaders even take the trouble to say what it's a picture *of*, let alone where they got it from. Anyway, on magazines, my point is that irrespective of readership, magazines fit into an agreed-upon model of publishing. WP doesn't follow that model, so your assurances are not going to convince me. Now if you could point to Britannica using fair use, that would be an interesting data point. I'm pretty sure they license some images, and rely on fair use for others - what are the percentages? Stan 15:29, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

No one is saying that taking original pictures isn't work. But to do something like the much-denigrated Seinfeld episode screenshots is work too. There's a page I created that refers to a number of books, and another editor came along, scanned a bunch of covers, formatted them and made the page look a million times better. I'd include a link, but given the anti-fair use fanaticism that abounds on this page, I have no confidence that calling attention to it won't result in the page being trashed.

The laws of copyright do not depend on the format--they're the same across platforms. Nareek 17:06, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

This has nothing to do with respecting the effort of our contributors. If someone contributed top-quality essay they'd spent weeks on that completely ignored NPOV it would deleted without hesitation. As for your last statement that is just completely wrong. ed g2stalk 01:23, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
To what are you referring? I'm thinking of the Supreme Court's four-factor test for fair use, which doesn't mention platform. Nareek 12:29, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
That would come under the nature of the work section.Geni 12:39, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Advice on image resolutions

I'd appreciate it anyone over here could give advice on image resolutions here, as that page seems to be fairly low-traffic. Thanks. Carcharoth 13:54, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Advice received. Thanks. Carcharoth 14:06, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

I think this is a legitimate issue here, as the term "thumbnail" certainly doesn't (IMHO) fit with many of the fair use images here on Wikipedia. Certainly a 400x600 pixel image could hardly be called a "thumbnail" or "low resolution" from standards of computers from about 10 years ago. I still have a computer that had a maximum resolution of 640x480 pixels... so this is saying an image which fills up the entire screen is low resolution here?

I don't think this can be justified. OK, if you are using a monitor with a resolution of 6000x8000 pixels, it might be "low resolution" compared to some of the other very high resolution images you might be working with.

When used for "critical commentary", the standard is to have essentially a "thumbnail" sized image used when fair-use rationale is the only justification for its inclusion. To give a comparison, Google Images uses a maximum resolution of about 150 x 150 pixels.

I do think that if an image is being used on Wikipedia, its resolution within the article should be no different than what is essentially uploaded and stored on the Wikipedia server. Note, this is not necessarily the same issue when dealing with free images, as having a "higher resolution" image may be more reasonable to have, as there may be reasons to have it reprodued several times throughout Wikipedia at different sizes and available in high resolution for off-line reproductions. --Robert Horning 22:00, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Actually, what you are talking about here is screen resolution. For our purposes, even fair-use images need to be viewable at a reasonable size on a computer screen. That doesn't stop people nicking "fair use" pictures off websites and copying them all over the web and sharing in e-mail and stuff like that. But the reason people don't clamp down on that is that these pictures that you can nick off websites are not suitable for printing. For a high-quality A4 or A3 print, you generally need a file size of several MB, not just a few hundred kB. And those large files are the ones that can be blown up to large sizes and small bits cropped out to use elsewhere, and used in the print media. Those very large files are the ones that are jealously guarded by those that sell photos to newspapers and book publishers. The web-sized versions are just smaller versions of the originals. In contrast, if you zoom in on even "hi-res" Wikipedia images, they usually pixellate fairly quickly. As you say, free images are different, as print-suitable files (very high-res) may be needed for some off-line reproductions. Otherwise all these 'hi-res' pics will just be literal thumbnails in a book version of Wikipedia. Carcharoth 02:35, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Corbis have been going after people useing web resolution images[1].Geni 13:22, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
That story says they went after a business that used "small photographs" to "decorate" its commercial website, hardly our situation. As no one has ever said making the copies small is sufficient to make a valid fair use claim, I'm not sure what your point is. Postdlf 20:41, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
I was answering the claim that people don't clamp down. I think that counts as fairly soild evidence that they do (I've run across reports of getty doing this in the past but not Corbis before).Geni 21:03, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
Our fair use policy requires that we get something unique that couldn't be added any other way. The idea is to use as little as possible, so use the smallest that conveys the same information. Sometimes it takes more than a thumbnail to get that, but that's why we don't have a strict resolution requirement. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 03:02, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Should there be a footnote or something of the like specifying what is considered high-resolution? I know there's no clear boundary, but it might be helpful, especially for new users, to say something that lets them know that 400x400 is considered low enough or that 600x600 is considered too high. As it stands, it's a little too ambiguous. ShadowHalo 11:49, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
I was actually thinking of proposing something like this. Yesterday I went through Category:Fair use size reduction request and reduced several hundred images. I reduced them to 300px wide (maintaining aspect ratio) and 72x72 px/inch. Some where quite large (3000x2000! with 300x300 px/inch!). I picked 300px wide because WP:IMAGE states no image should be used on an article larger than 550px wide, and that images used alongside text should be used in thumbnail form, for which the maximum size is 300px (if they set that in the user preferences) where most have it (by default) set less than that, and most images are controlled in the article to sizes less than that. Thus, 300px is plenty to have for a fair use image. There may be exceptions, especially with screenshots of web content where the text is important to read, but this would be the general rule. 72x72 is a standard web-resolution quality, and using anything more is useless, especially with the size of images we're using. Though, 76x76 isn't really much more helpful and doesn't NEED to be reduced, but it should be in the long run, especially if someone is reducing the overall size anyways. I'd like to add this to the "policy" as #11. Any thoughts, complaints? --MECUtalk 15:34, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Some of my work yesterday has been reverted, wrongfully. Look at Image:NewEnglandPatriotsOld.gif. Why do we need a 545x545 image maintained? The image used on the article is 150px wide. I think my reduction to 300px was completely okay. --MECUtalk 16:39, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The Guardian article also alludes to a problem with claiming 'fair use' on 'unique' images. To wit, the article says,
Copyright was the key: images that tell powerful stories, like Nick Ut's famous photograph of the napalmed nine-year-old girl fleeing her Vietnamese village, may be reused thousands of times over decades. Professional photographers' livelihoods depend on the fees they get for such reuse, which traditionally they split 50-50 with the agents who represented them and personally promoted their work.
Those 'unique' images are valuable to the copyright holders because of the fees they are paid for use of the images. Claiming 'fair use' of such images in Wikipedia does indeed cause a loss of compensation for the copyright holder. That means we had better have a damned good justification for the 'fair use', certainly more than the 'uniqueness' of the images.
Further, I would urge everyone following this discussion to read the article at [2] (if you have not already done so). Corbis is aggressively pursuing unauthorized use of its images on web sites, and they are not just requesting that such images be taken down, they are invoicing businesses for use of the images prior to Corbis' discovery of the usage. If Corbis should invoice the Foundation for even a few dozen images, Wikipedia would be deep in the cess-pit. Yes, Wikipedia could claim 'fair use' as a defense, but it would be quite expensive to mount that defense. And I suspect that no court would uphold a 'fair use' defense for every image that Corbis could find on Wikipedia. There are way too many shakey, and even risible, claims of 'fair use' on Wikipedia. I think we have two choices; either we become much stricter on the use of 'fair use', or we give it up altogether. -- Donald Albury 23:30, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
That was a very interesting article. But there are two notable differences between Wikipedia and the "cab company": 1) We're not trying to make money off the use of the image and 2) we give credit to the original source and the "cab company" was likely not. I'm scared that they are digitally watermarking the image and could scour WP and see "you have 50,000 images that are owned by us" which would be a huge problem. I wish there was a way to request they scan our images and let us know which ones they own, and if they do and we're not using them under fair use, to remove them, in hopes the volunteer of the problem. But using images under "fair use" does give us some protection, as that's the point of fair use: We know we don't own this image and it's not free, but we must use it because there's no other choice. Also of note (and getting focus back to my point) is they charge by the size of the image, thus reducing all fair use images to 300px wide and 72x72px/inch would reduce our liability. It seems I should post this up more formally since it's getting lost in the clutter of this section. --MECUtalk 15:37, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I propose this to change to 400px max if anything, 300px still seems too small

As for 72 x 72, that is tiny. Soxrock 17:18, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

72x72 refers to the resolution, not the size. A resolution of 72x72 pixes/inch is common for web formats, 300x300 is common for print. Having even a 150x150 px/inch image isn't needed, since we're digital, 72x72 is sufficient. 400px is pointless, since someone would have to view the image directly to see that increased size. The point of a (fair use) image is to give the general idea of the picture, not allow them to use it or see every detail. If they want more information, they can go look at the source. --MECUtalk 20:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Mecu, I don't believe that the images "resolution" or "pixels per inch" is relevant to what we're talking about here. That figure only comes into play when printing an image and acts more as a configuration setting for printing and graphics software. On the web, the only 2 figures that matter are the height and width in pixels. The "resolution" isn't used as well. I put "resolution" in quotes because the same word is used interchangably for different things (the height and width of an image; the number of pixels per inch for a printed image) and I think that's what's been confusing.
I tried raising the issue before of image max-width for fair-use and I suggested 400px wide.--Jeff 15:46, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
To clarify, I guess what I'm saying is Soxrock just misunderstood. I know you know the difference.--Jeff 15:47, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

48 hour policy

Are we actually implementing this anywhere? ed g2stalk 12:13, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

no.Geni 12:27, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, my question really was 'why?' ed g2stalk 15:35, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Because it is hard to implement within present systems. Not imposible but not really worth the extra effort.Geni 15:46, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how that could be the case... please elaborate. ed g2stalk 16:15, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
we currently have a bunch of cats that result in things being listed for deletion once they are 7 days onld. spliting those cats would be a pain and given the backlogs unlikely to make much difference.Geni 17:04, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
It wouldn't require any category splitting - the categories are defined by when the image should be deleted. If we just adjusted the tag to add 2 days instead of 7 days the changeover would be seamless. ed g2stalk 01:06, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
A lot of things that get tagged replaceable fair use were uploaded before the cut off date.Geni 01:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Then create an rfu2 template. As the categories are automatically populated I still don't see how it would cause any problems. ed g2stalk 11:46, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
No, with some exceptions, and we're very contradictory. WP:CSD generally allows seven days, as do various tags like {{Replaceable fair use}}. The WP:CSD page's image section is based on the premise of deleting blatantly bad fair use (e.g. no source, no rationale, etc...). It says little or nothing about insufficient/inadequate claims. But WP:FUC makes clear, any failure warrants 48 hours deletion. WP:FUC even calls for instant deletion of unused fair use. It seems different people are editing WP:FUC and WP:CSD. These two policy pages need to be made consistent, and then all the "fair use problem" tags need to be updated as appropriate. --Rob 12:30, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
The policy was brought in months ago - so it's about time we did something. No source/no license images should also be subject to this, but there's no reason why {{orfud}}, {{rfu}} and {{nrd}} shouldn't be fixed immediately. ed g2stalk 15:35, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
A significant number of images that recive those tags were uploaded before the cutoff point.Geni 01:09, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
A hand full of templates have been updated, as well as WP:CSD, to reflect the 48 hour deadline, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. -- Ned Scott 02:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Perfect timing, this user is about to expire on his 48 hour notice. A message like this worked almost every time I've used it, IIRC. The problem is that most users are not aware that they can give this deadline, etc. -- Ned Scott 02:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Libby0-2.jpg and Cynthia_watros0-2.jpg have now passed their 48 period. -- Ned Scott 05:50, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

See Image:Jdokic.jpg for a test of {{rfu2}}. ed g2stalk 12:14, 4 February 2007 (UTC)


Can someone clarify this sentence for me:

From WP:FU#Publicity photos

"Fair use on Wikipedia only applies if it is not possible to replace such publicity image with a free image"

Does this mean fair use doesn't apply when a free Image is available on Wikipedia or does it mean it's not fair use when there is a free Image on the Internet? semper fiMoe 21:28, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

No it means when it is not posible to make a free image.Geni 21:44, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
So we delete Fair Use images based on the fact that no one has made a free alternative yet? semper fiMoe 21:48, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Yea, that's what they are doing thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 21:59, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
We delete unfree images on the basis that it would be posible to create a free one.Geni 22:15, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
It all seems rather silly to me. All that makes it seem like is encouraging people to go buy a camera and do it themselves. Why delete Fair Use images when free ones aren't available right then. semper fiMoe 22:24, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, you would almost think our mission was to produce free content or something. Jkelly 02:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

We are encouraging people to contribute their own content. If you allow professional shots people will be less inclined to replace them with their own inferior quality (but free) images. Furthermore Fair Use was only ever supposed to be a compromise for situations where we had no alternative - not as a placeholder for yet-to-be-created free content. ed g2stalk 01:11, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

On fair use images and the GFDL license

I've been thinking more on this issue, after the above discussion under a couple headers, and I believe that the issue of whether fair use images in GFDL articles violates the GFDL license is completely a non-issue, because the images aren't actually "in" the articles. The article markup language is the relevant "document" that is licensed under the GFDL; the end result that we see as formatted and incorporating images is simply how the Wikipedia website and our web browser process the instructions given by that markup. Image tags just tell your browser to "retrieve and display the image by this name right here," but this doesn't include or define the content of the images themselves within that markup. The tags are just pointers with no fixed or internally defined content, and so whether those pointers happen to point at any given time to the name of a GFDL image, a fair use image, or a copyright infringing image is completely independent of the article markup and therefore irrelevant to the licensing for that markup. This is also why we can consider the markup text and the images on Wikipedia to be merely "aggregated" (as that term is used within the GFDL licensing text) rather than part of the same document.

Does this make sense? Postdlf 21:55, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

No - the image database is part of the release. Do you think if we included copyrighted text through templates we'd be okay? ed g2stalk 01:04, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
We already include copyrighted text in-line with other GFDL text, in the form of quotations and paraphrases, under fair-use rationale and we are ok. Soo, what's your point? Are you suggesting we remove them?--Jeff 02:30, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Ed, each image and each article is separately licensed, whether GFDL, CC, or whatever. There's no such thing as an "image database release." Unless I'm confused by what you meant... And actually, yeah, I do think that text that only shows up in an article because of a template tag is not part of the article for purposes of that article's GFDL license, because that works the exact same way as an image tag—to point to external content and tell a browser "display the content from this other document in the same browser window when you read this tag." What that other document is and how it is or isn't licensed is in no way determined by markup links to it. Please also note that I'm not talking at all about what separate legal justifications or licenses there are for uploading that linked-to image or text to Wikipedia at all. My only point is that mentioning them by name in the markup cannot release them as part of the article license or hinder that article license. Postdlf 04:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The interpretation is plausible, but at the same time there are so many loopholes I bet it's an hour's work for a lawyer to convince a judge otherwise. For instance, if the text refers to the image in such a way that the text becomes unintelligible if the image is not there, that sounds like more than just aggregation. A good shyster could probably even turn it into a nasty catch-22 - if it's fair use, then it must be essential to the text and therefore violating GFDL, but if it's just aggregated, then it's not a fair use. :-) As I said before, we're just one wealthy free-content ideologue away from a great deal of turmoil - pray that John Gilmore doesn't take up WP editing... Stan 02:13, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think this undermines fair use because the images are essential to the semantic content of the article (which is relevant to fair use), but not to the markup instructions. The browser will do something with the image tag instructions regardless of what image is actually uploaded by that name and even if there is no image by that name. Postdlf 04:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I find extreme irony in this, given that I strongly disagree with Jimbo's stance on fair-use in Wikipedia... But that the pages on Wikipedia are aggregates and seperately licensed items is the position of Wikimedia foundation and Jimbo himself. Wikipedia:Verbatim_copying#Images.
Also aside from that and even if that didn't exist, the GFDL makes very plain and clear in section 7 an allowance for aggregates. WP:GFDL section 7.--Jeff 02:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Don't try to get cute with copyright law. The most common outcome when an amateur tries to do an end-run around copyright law is that they just get sued for even more. --Carnildo 02:31, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Before the anti-fair use brigade get too excited about this - let's recall that the Wikipedia logo is copyrighted and yet is referred to by the HTML we sent to each browser. If you take this interpretation then no Wikipedia page can pass the GFDL's rules. SteveBaker 02:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
QED. Well played, Steve.--Jeff 02:41, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
There are certian elements of certian free lisences that have uncertian elements for the time being (don't read the free art lisence it will only upset you).Geni 02:57, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm a little confused now which comments were responding to my thoughts, and which to subsequent comments, but I'm pretty sure not everyone understands my point, which I think naturally follows from the nature of markup language: it is only the markup language that is released under the GFDL when we hit "save page" because that's all that the article editor has typed out and has control over in that action. The licenses for the images (or templates—thanks for pointing that out, Ed) are completely separate because their content is not actually part of that markup. Only the image tag is part of the markup, and what file that tag refers to is completely dynamic and independent from the point of view of the markup (see my above response to Stan). There is no monolithic document called "Wikipedia" that is licensed under the GFDL; the markup for all article edits are individually licensed under the GFDL, and every image is also individually licensed. This is why, as SteveBaker pointed out, that image tags that happen to refer to non-GFDL images such as the Wikipedia logo do not invalidate the GFDL. And this is why a user can upload his images only under Creative Commons, for example, and not have inadvertantly released them under the GFDL by adding an image tag to an article. Postdlf 04:51, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

One thing that might throw a wrench into your thought process is that, according to {{Wikipedia-screenshot}} anyway, the the interface design of Wikipedia and all other portions of the MediaWiki software are licensed under the GPL, but the actual contents of Wikipedia are licensed under the GFDL.. Now, what's most confusing, is that the markup is wholly inseperable from the text that is covered under the GFDL.... So, what's going on here? Is it the rendering of the GFDL markup is governed under the GPL? ...confused.--Jeff 05:02, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
That's a red herring. Section 0 of the GPL explicitly states:
The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
So basically, the output from a GPL'ed program is not covered by the GPL (unless it does something bizarre like printing out it's own source code). So the HTML that's written out by MediaWiki isn't covered under the GPL. SteveBaker 05:46, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
This is tangential to the point you're trying to make, that images are not covered under the GFDL, and probably should be ignored.--Jeff 05:08, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it is tangential, but I think it's still a good illustration of the multiple and parallel layers of content that we deal with as part of writing a website and so relates in that sense. From what you've italicized above, I would think what is GPL is the wiki software environment that converts the GFDL article wiki markup (everything we submit into the edit window) into html markup, which our browsers then render as the formatted combinations of words and images we see on our monitors. And "interface design" seems pretty straightforward to me—basically the menu bar, the buttons, etc.—the visible, constant framework of the Wikipedia website. Postdlf 05:22, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Right - the first paragraph of article 7 of the GFDL makes this all abundantly clear - and let's quote it here just so we all know it:
A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation's users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.
So unless you wish to try to claim that these images are not "separate and independent" - you are forced to admit that a Wiki page as our readers see it is an "aggregate" under the terms of the GFDL. I'll assume that we can all agree that pictures are separate and independent from the text - they are stored in separate files and they may be used independently in a number of articles - or even used somewhere outside of Wikipedia/WikiCommons.
OK - so what we have here is an "aggregate". That being the case - so long as the license of the picture doesn't prevent the GFDL'ed text/markup file from being freely copied, etc - the GFDL does not apply to the aggregate. So this whole preposterous claim falls to the ground.
This should come as no surprise. The GFDL is a spin-off of the GPL license that free software is licensed under. The situation here is identical to the 'linking' rules for GPL'ed software - there is nothing to prevent you aggregating the code for FireFox (GPL'ed) with (say) the Microsoft Windows media library (under the god-awful MS-EULA). The terms of the EULA don't affect the license terms of FireFox - so this is a legal aggregation under GPL. Same deal with photos and GFDL'ed text.
I don't see how you can argue with's spelled out explicitly right there in the license terms for precisely this reason. SteveBaker 05:36, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The "aggregation" rule was added to address people's concerns that installing a GPLed compiler on their system would force the OS to be GPLed (I had to personally reassure people on this dozens of times in the early days of free software). It's really really stretching intent to say that images flowed together with text on a page is just an aggregate; for instance, one might argue that multi-paragraph text is an "aggregate" of the paragraphs, but that goes against the stated intent of the GFDL, which is to preserve integrity of the whole document. Stan 08:31, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it's a stretch at all; it's a necessary consequence of how Wikipedia works that determines what we must consider a single "document." User:A types out and submits an article that reads "This is a picture of a beach.[[Image:0001.jpg|thumb|250px|Beach.]]." At the time User:A submitted that article, 0001.jpg was a GFDL picture of a beach. User:B subsequently uploads a Creative Commons-only licensed photo of a beach under the name 0001.jpg. User:C then uploads the DVD cover for The Beach to 0001.jpg, claimed under fair use. User:C's image is then deleted (and by accident, all prior images under that name), leaving no image on Wikipedia by the name of 0001.jpg. Throughout all of this, the text that User:A submitted under the GFDL has not changed. What has changed is what image is designated "Image:0001.jpg" on Wikipedia, and whether there is one, by acts that are completely independent of the GFDL document. This will only change how the aggregate of the article markup document and the image document appear on your browser at home, after the MediaWikia software renders that GFDL document into html, and your browser sends for whatever document is named Image0001.jpg, displaying a redlink if there isn't one. It's the article markup that is GFDL, not the final rendering on your monitor at home, because the actual markup text is all we have contributed and have control over when we write articles, and the image is all we have control over when we upload images. What actual content the image tags call up from within an article's markup, and what articles have image tags in their markup that refer to a particular image, is all independently determined and independently licensed. Postdlf 19:23, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
"It's really really stretching intent to say that images flowed together with text on a page is just an aggregate" - WHAT?!?! You don't get to define what "aggregate" means in the context of the GFDL. It's defined right there in the license. It's an aggregate if other independent and separate documents (like our images) are released with the GFDL'ed docuement. These pictures are obviously separate (look - they are different files on disk - that's as separate as the compiler on your OS is) - and independent (yep - you can display just the picture by itself - or with this text - or with some other text). So within the terms of the GFDL, they are aggregated - no matter what you judge that term to mean - or what it means in the world as a whole. It's a definition of the word one is supposed to use when interpreting the GFDL - that's how this legal stuff works. SteveBaker 00:33, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Like I said before, I think a competent lawyer could demolish these lines of argument in a matter of minutes, and that's what's going to matter, not repeated statements on a talk page. Stan 21:35, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
That's hardly a constructive comment: "I can't explain why you're wrong, but you still are." And it also seems to reflect the belief that this whole project page is a complete waste of time, if "competent lawyers" (which some of us are, actually) are the only ones who can speak intelligently on these issues. So why are you here? Postdlf 22:01, 6 February 2007 (UTC)


I don't buy the argument that Wikipedia pages are presented with text and images as independent entities. The images and links, including external links, are presented as an integrated whole. On the other hand, I would call the whole of the article, including the images, text, and other media including audio clips, movies, anamated images and more to be perhaps related to at least the philosophy of the aggregate works concept.

Still, and this is where my point about fair use and the GFDL still apply, you can only distribute that aggregated work under the terms of the GFDL. If any part of that aggregation violates the GFDL, it must be removed from the whole collection. Or to the point here on Wikipedia, you shouldn't include fair use images (or text for that matter) that would not be permitted under the terms of the GFDL. In particular, fair-use justifications for non-commercial and educational activity are in particular excluded explicitly because of the GFDL, as you couldn't redistrubute the aggregate work under the GFDL if they are included. This is not changing the terms of the license of those images, but it is stopping their use and would therefore have a very strong justification for deletion from this project. Fair use in particular would simply be a copyright violation if the only justification is educational applications.

If in an agggregate work something doesn't work with the GFDL, it must be removed.

I know there is an alternative philosophy here on Wikipedia that would suggest that perhaps the licensing of images is completely independent of the text, and the only real concern here is if the image is legal at all on Wikipedia. Each Wikipedia image is under this philosophy a completely seperate work, and can be viewed without context to any Wikipedia article. I don't know how you can justify fair-use under this sort of rationale, as such an independent image is simply a copyright violation, but that is a seperate issue.

This philosophy encourages Wikipedia contributors to push the limits of fair use to the very edge, and is giving us the current situation we have today. I believe that fair use on Wikipedia is way overdone, and I know I'm not alone here. At the same time it seems as though the people who are trying to scale back fair use have as the only substantial argument that fair use should be eliminated completely. And there is a very substantial body of Wikipedia users (and even more general Wikimedia users) that feel this is the best option.

For myself, I would like to strike a more middle ground between what is currently accepted and those who would simply kill all fair use. I am insisting that fair-use content can (and should) be used in conjunction with GFDL'd content, but the number of situations where this is done is substantially and strongly limited in part by the GFDL itself. In addition, as as a matter of official policy on Wikipedia, the number of applications and scope of fair use ought to be substantially reduced from even what might be permittted under the terms of the GFDL. We should not be riding the very edge of fair use doctrine, but rather use a very much smaller group of fair use images that would be permitted in nearly every country, and for en.wikipedia in particular should be something that nearly every predominently English speaking country would find acceptable under similar situations. In this case I'm merely trying to suggest that as a first step the GFDL be the major limiting factor and to kill, for once and all, any notion that the non-profit status of the Wikimedia Foundation be used as a rationale for fair use.

There are whole categories of fair-use images that I am not comfortable with, and I have called for their deletion. But that is for another fight on another thread. Perhaps I'm totally wrong here, but I don't feel comfortable about trying to include some of the images when it seems to me that they are simply a copyright violation instead. --Robert Horning 16:29, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Fair use images that violate Rule #9 on user pages

Suppose we have users that put fair use images on their page. If they refuse to remove it, obviously, we could remove it for them. But what do we do with users that insist on restoring the images? Is there a warning template that I should use? Will (Talk - contribs) 05:06, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

It's a very clear violation of policy (and they are quite possibly breaching the original image's copyright too) - so this should be a matter for admins to deal with. This person needs to get a series of formal warnings - then an outright block/ban. I'd take it through the Wikipedia dispute resolution system. You'll win easily. SteveBaker 05:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I regularly remove fair use from user pages and I haven't had a complaint in quite a long time (some have even thanked me..). There's no need to ask first when the policy is so clear cut. ed g2stalk 12:27, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Publicity photos, redux

I thought it was time to revive an old arguement because I have a new tack in my crusade here. I ran into a veritable gold mine of high quality images, that we'll never be able to use on Wikipedia thanks to the anti-fair-use folks, from the Coca-Cola website. Check it out. They are all super high quality and these are the types of photos I argue for including on Wikipedia.

As many others have argued, far more eloquently than I have, publicity photos are ours to use and we shouldn't hesitate to use these great resources, perhaps even at their highest resolution. The most frustrating thing is something I just realized recently. Arguements as to their replacability are inherently flawed; we will never ever ever have non fair-use images of products (well, modern ones anyway). According to copyright law, the original copyright holder has exclusive right to authorize derivative works of their copyrighted items (packaging, item design, etc. Anything. Especially since items don't need a copyright notice to be copyrighted). This makes photographs of copyrighted products, even the ones you take on your stupid cell phone camera, an unauthorized derivative and therefore ineligible for release under any license or into the public domain.

I spent time today tagging a bunch of photos for deletion because they were amateur photos of copyrighted soda cans and bottles improperly licensed under GFDL or released into PD. Of all the people to complain about deleting things, Chowbok chose to get all up in mah grill over it.

I feel emboldened now in my efforts to restore fair-use publicity photos. The only thing this policy has encouraged is wholesale reduction of quality in the material we present to users. There's never been a good reason to eliminate publicity photos. Not one justified by law, and now as far as I am concerned, especially not one justified by morality, or a quest for freedom (YOU WILL NEVER TAKE, MAH, FREEEEDOM -William Wallace). Especially since now it's become evident that the quest for GFDL images has led to blatant, wanton misinterpretation of copyright law by atleast one of the very crusaders who seek to reduce Wikipedia's utilization of fair-use. And I don't even want to get into these poor guys who decided to take photos of Coke bottles and think they can release it into the public domain. Not sure where they got that idea but it's an incorrect one.--Jeff 05:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Oh, didn't finish that thought. Improperly licensing photos under the GFDL is far worse than just embracing fair-use, at least when it comes to abiding by the law.--Jeff 05:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
But when we use publicity shots of copyrighted product packages, we're not only making use of the product copyright, but the photography copyright as well, and how do we claim fair use for that? When we have reasonable access to the product, we should remove that extra level of copyright we'd have to justify the use of and just take the photo ourselves. See Template:Statue, for a template used for user photos that claim fair use to the derivative depiction of 3-D copyrighted objects; the uploader will also need to license the photograph itself.
As an aside, many product packages are too visually simple to be copyrightable, but are rather only protected as "trade dress" (a form of trademark protection). However, we're probably better off always assuming it is copyrightable and just treating the photo of the package as a derivative. Postdlf 05:55, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Wait, wait, wait. It simply cannot be the case that any photograph containing a copyrighted work falls under that copyright.
  • If I take a photo of my house and a passerby who is drinking a can of coke walks into the corner of my shot and there is a four-pixel image of the CocaCola logo in the corner of my 3 megapixel image - then for sure there is no problem with me doing whatever I want with my photo (that must be possible because it's becoming hard to point a camera in any direction on our planet without getting a corporate logo in the shot somewhere).
  • On the other hand, if I take a full-frame photo of that same Coke Can such that I have an essentially perfect image of the Coke logo - then, yes, I'd better have pretty good fair-use grounds for using that image even though I photographed it myself (if that were not the case then any copyright could be breached easily just by taking a photograph of the image you wanted to copy).
Somewhere between those two extremes there is a grey area where you'd end up arguing about it in court if you ever got called on it. SteveBaker 05:58, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Steve, IANAL by any stretch of the imagination, but in my readings of the US Code, they seem to say that copyright holders have exclusive rights to the depiction, reproduction and derivation of their copyright. Having some companies logo in a shot of yours does, technically (probably) make it illegitimate to license in anyway, lest you crop out the offending logo. Atleast, that's how I read section 106 and how I've interpreted a few of the cases I've read. I'm not sure if this very scenario has ever came before a court, though, but I can imagine it will in the future, surely.
One great instance of this is in an episode of Heroes, the first one I think. Heroes airs on NBC. General Electric is NBC's parent company. Claire mangled her hand in a non-GE garbage disposal. GE got sued on a few different grounds, but copyright was one of them. any rebroadcasts of that heroes episodes have the garbage disposals identification blurred.--Jeff 06:08, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Read up on de minimis. As a rule of thumb, if the incorporation of copyrighted work is incidental to the image (such as the can of coke in the picture of your house), then it has no effect on the copyright of the image. --Carnildo 06:07, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks that is very informative.--Jeff 06:10, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Interesting points. Here's my take. There is no copyright redundancy (Dual copyright, or whatever you may call it). There's only one copyright holder over an item, work of art, whatever. The copyright holder can license the existence and use of an image, but any derivative of a copyrighted item will always be subject to the exclusive rights held by the copyright holder.--Jeff 06:03, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what your point is there, but let me state how it works: Let's say photographer A takes a photograph of sculptor B's sculpture. Though A is the copyright holder of the photograph, A's photograph infringes B's copyright unless he has permission or can claim fair use, because it incorporated elements of B's work. However, though A's copyright is subservient to B's in that manner, B will infringe A's copyright if B uses the photograph without permission or a fair use justification for what the photograph creatively adds to the sculpture it depicts. And finally, encyclopedist C will infringe the copyrights of A and B if the photograph of the sculpture is used without permission from both, or a fair use justification that applies to both the use of the sculpture in the photograph and the photograph itself. Postdlf 06:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok, let me try to restate it. My understanding is that there can only be one copyright holder. Say I make a wholly original work. I hold the copyright of that original work. I LICENSE someone to take a photo of my copyrighted work and use it in brochures or whatever. By my interpretation of the US Code anyway, the photographer does not have copyright over the work because it is a derivative of my original work. His photograph is not an original work. Thanks to section 106 of the copyright code, it says that I retain exclusive rights granted by my copyright of my original work, like the right to authorize derivatives and reproductions etc. Just because someone takes a photo of my copyrighted work, even under license does not grant them a copyright exclusive to them. I am the original copyright holder, and any dilution of that fact harms my copyright.--Jeff 15:25, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Moving on to practical applications of what this interpretation means. There were 2 images that I did not delete, but instead re-tagged and gave fair-use rationale because their quality was significant. Image:Pepsi Fire limited edition.jpg‎ and Image:Newspritecan.JPG. These are photographs that Wikipedia contributors captured without a license. They are unlicensed derivatives, and as such can still be retained under fair-use rationale, but the original "creator" is not allowed to claim their own copyright or apply their own license.
I might imagine this right extends to any unauthorized derivative. If you find on the web, a photo of say a statue still under copyright. Despite any claims to the contrary, the photographer does not hold rights, and we could, theoretically, lift the image and use it on Wikipedia under fair-use rationale. That's admittedly a fight I don't want to pursue just to be clear. It's just a hypothetical that I think we could get away with if we were so inclined. :)--Jeff 15:31, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
No, there are separate rights in the photograph, even if it was unauthorized. If I translate Stephen King's The Shining into Esperanto and publish it without his permission (as translations are derivatives), he can sue me; but if he turns around and publishes my Esperanto translation, I could then sue him for that. That's what makes it a derivative instead of just a copy: the derivative adds enough to the original work it makes use of such that those additions are separately protected by copyright—the angle of the photograph, the composition, the lighting, etc. If we're dealing with a photograph of a 3-D object, we always have to worry about both the object and the photograph. Postdlf 19:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Hi Postdiff. I did some research and found a case that disagrees with your point of view. "But not all artists have lady luck on their side in the courtroom. In 1985, muralist Jack Mendenhall painted a photograph originally taken by advertising photographer Hal Davis. A federal court awarded the Davis $11,000 in damages, $4,000 in legal fees, and granted him the painting's copyright. In essence, Davis was entitled to compensation for all future use of Mendenhall's painting.". [3]
This is a perfect case because it shows that the original copyright holder was given damages and copyright over the derivative work.--Jeff 21:34, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Steve is right about there being a grey area; my comments of course assumed that the photos were full-frame, as the subject of the photo. Assuming that the CocaCola logo is copyrighted (it isn't; Image:Big coca-cola.PNG should actually be marked public domain, because it dates to 1885, for one reason; the logo is only legally protected as a trademark), your four pixel example would qualify as de minimis (legally insignificant) copying as it probably wouldn't even be legible. But if it is legible, then it might require a fair use rationale, even if it is incidental and in the background. There was a court case (I can't remember the name, or which court) involving a copyrighted wall decoration visibly used in the background of one scene in a television episode without permission. The court ruled this constituted copyright infringement, because the decoration was purposefully placed on the set and included in the camera's frame because of its creative expression. Postdlf 06:40, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
(Ringgold v. Black Entertainment Television.)Nareek 12:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
If it was purposely placed on the set, then the appearance in the scene is not incidental. --Carnildo
You might be right, but I need to read more before I'm comfortable with how substantive "incidental" is. Postdlf 19:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Indeed, one of the things that commons scrubs out is photos of objects with copyrighted designs, though not without debate as to as to the percentage of image that triggers infringement. No GFDLing stuff you don't own! Stan 08:16, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Postdlf - I, too, have been raised on the "two rights holders" othrodoxy - usually, both the photographer and the subject (whether a person or trademarked/copyrighted object) have various rights. But if a publicity photo is released by a corporation, of an object that is fully rights-owned by that corporation, isn't it most likely that the photographer's rights, such as they are, have been taken care of under whatever work-for-hire arrangement they made with the corporation? If Coke hires a photographer to take pictures of a Coke can (or, even if they have a staff photographer for just these sort of assignments), then why would Coke allow the photographer to retain ANY rights to the photos? I believe the simple answer is, they don't -- unless you're dealing with extraordinarily hypothetical cases in Wikipedia Copyright Law 101. If I'm hired to take photos of a Coke can, for the Coca-Cola corporation, I'm certain that at the end of the day, they own ALL rights to the photos. If companies are releasing photos of products they own, worrying about the copyright concerns of the work-for-hire photographer is deep in to "monster under the bed" territory -- it's just not something that should be considered as a reasonable fear. Jenolen speak it! 11:00, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

See my above response to Jeff. And it really doesn't matter if the photographer retains the rights or the object owner or both; someone has separate rights in that photo on top of the rights in the object of which it is a derivative. And having a fair use claim to show what Coca-Cola's can looks like (once again, assuming it is copyrighted) does not mean you have a fair use claim to use how Coca-Cola's photographs showed what the Coke can looks like, particularly when you can take your own photo. Postdlf 19:44, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
someone has separate rights in that photo on top of the rights in the object of which it is a derivative... Hmm. Well, I thought pretty surely that Coke promotional photos are a classic example of a "work for hire":
A work made for hire (sometimes abbreviated to work for hire) is an exception to the general rule that the person who actually creates a work is the legally-recognized author of that work. According to copyright law in most countries, if a work is "made for hire", the employer—not the employee—is considered the legal author. In some countries, this is known as corporate authorship. The employer may be a corporation or an individual.
This would seem to obviate the need for concern over the photographers rights in a legitimate Coca-Cola promotional photograph. On the other hand, we are talking about the infinitesimal legal jeopardy posed by using photographs freely distributed for promotion on a not-for-profit, educational website. :) I know some people see copyright problems everywhere, but again, I think we are deep in to "MOTB" territory. Not a real concern, but an interesting legal point, to be sure. Jenolen speak it! 06:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

So far I am the only one quoting case law that seems to go against the "two copyright holders" idea. I'd like to see some cases that support the idea because I can't find any that ruled that way at all. I call shenanigans!--Jeff 21:38, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

The case you referred to didn't contradict the idea that there may be multiple copyrights at issue in one work; from that account, the court just granted the remedy of awarding the copyright in the derivative mural to the photograph copyright holder, a result that only makes sense if 1) the mural infringed the photograph's copyright, and 2) the mural nevertheless had a separate copyright of which the court could transfer ownership; absent that court order, the muralist would still own it. It's obviously a different situation when the derivative is authorized by license; see below. Postdlf 16:44, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
The concept of a 'dual copyright' certainly exists in the case of music. If someone composes a piece of music, they can own the copyright on that - then if someone performs that music and records it, there is a separate copyright on the performance. Hence, whilst a Bach fugue will be out of copyright, that doesn't entitle you to copy a CD containing that fugue as performed by a modern orchestra. It can even go one stage further if someone films the performance of the music - then there is the copyright on the film, the performance and the music itself to consider. The issue of the copyright on that statue and the photograph of the statue must be the same deal. SteveBaker 00:47, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
There can also be a separate copyright on the arrangement of the piece used. Similarly, choreographies for ballets fall under copyright. So, a you might have a copyright on the original composition, a copyright on a specific arrangement of the composition, a copyright on a performance of the music, a copyright on a choreography for a ballet based on the composition, and a copyright on a video recording of a performance of the ballet. That would be five layers of copyright, quite possibly held by five different entities (the ballet might be performed to a recording of the music). -- Donald Albury 01:16, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Steve and Donald are correct. Every recorded song we buy has two copyrights at issue: the "musical work," or written music of the lyrics and notes; and the sound recording, which is the recorded performance.
Movies and television series are another good example: the screenplays will have a separate copyright from the audio-visual work itself, and it will differ from project to project whether this is handled by licensing the screenplay rights to the filmmaker or assigning them. Then there are screenplays that are themselves adaptations of other literary properties, such as James Bond novels or Spider-Man comics, for which the owners of the literary properties will license the right to make films. There will then be a copyright in the novels/comics, the character itself (yes, fictional characters can be copyrighted), in the screenplay making use of those stories and character, and in the film that uses the screenplay. The consequence is that Marvel and Sony cannot make use of Sony's Spider-Man films beyond the terms of their licensing agreement, as both have rights in those films. And if the agreement did not change this, they could both sue you if you illegally copy the film. Postdlf 16:44, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Good points, thanks!--Jeff 17:06, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Case law concerning copyright of utilitarian objects

Over at commons, someone pointed out ETS-HOKIN v SKYY SPIRITS, INC. US 9th circuit court. I wanted to post it here because I found it very interesting and informative. The case deals with whether a bottles' shape is copyrightable. The court found that a shape is not copyrightable and that derivative works of sky vodka bottles were indeed welcome to their own copyright. However, in the case, they make it very clear by stating "In this case, the district court did not identify any artistic features of the bottle that are separable from its utilitarian ones." that they were only discussing the shape. Coke bottles, etc, do have artistic works that are separate from their utilitarian function, so this case does not seem to apply to the situation involving coke bottles or cans with art on them.--Jeff 15:57, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah - but I believe that the distinctive grille pattern on the front of a Jeep was successfully defended as a registered trade mark. Urgh. SteveBaker 00:47, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Even in this opinion (and the dissent) its' acknowledged that courts just seem to rule differently and in conflicting ways. I don't think we'll ever really know.--Jeff 01:01, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
remember tradmark isn't copyright.Geni 16:30, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
‘Over at commons’ presumably means Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Pepsi cappuccino.jpg; I’ve posted my opinion on the applicability of the case there. —xyzzyn 01:15, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
trademark is not copyright though.Geni 16:30, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
For the record, I knew that and did not assert or imply the opposite. —xyzzyn 16:51, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Same idea, different page. Commons:Commons:Deletion_requests/Image:Dietcokecherry.jpg--Jeff 02:50, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Heh. So, any dissenting opinions on this stuff or do we add a section about photographs of labels somewhere? —xyzzyn 11:20, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it is a common enough problem on en for us to need a special mention as yet.Geni 16:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I think it's very important people know what they can and cannot license. It's gross negligence if we don't make it clear in policy that just because you take a picture of an object does not mean you can license your photo, necessarily.--Jeff 17:09, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

What the website says

I looked at the Coca-Cola website Jeff linked to, and it says:

"The trademarks listed are owned or used under license by The Coca-Cola Company and its related affiliates, as of December 31, 2006. These trademarks may be owned or licensed in select locations only. © 2007 The Coca-Cola Company, all rights reserved."

How does that square with those proposing to use them under fair-use?

I would say we can write about the history of the different images, where you can find the history, and link to the images. What an encyclopedia would really do well in all this is in describing the history of the brands. When was each one introduced, which country, what the names of the brands are, what the names have been said to refer to, critical reception of the advertising campaigns, critical reception of the drinks, market share, and so on. If, and only if, you research, source and write enough about each brand, then you might be able to justify fair-use under the commentary clause. Just identification alone is not enough. I've looked over the material about Coca-Cola, and there is a lot of commentary and information there, which in some cases justifies fair use of images like this. Carcharoth 12:10, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

IANALs and policy

I notice that Jeff (above) has replaced the GFDL (etc) tags on some images with "Fair use". Before we go further, let me show that I accept this is fair in some cases, e.g.

  • This image that I had already de-CCed earlier this year as it was blatantly a direct reproduction and nothing more.
  • I also de-GFDLed an image of a box- now gone- where its intended purpose was clearly to reproduce a photo on the box which *wasn't* GFDL).

However, the question is how far this goes, and how expert those discussing the subject above are in interpreting the law. In short I Am Not A Lawyer (IANAL) and I assume neither are most of those contributing to the discussion.

For something that has very wide-ranging implications on WP's use of images and of their ownership, we should have a consistent policy based on informed legal opinion. At present, it looks more like a bunch of IANALs trying to interpret law (common on the Internet and a poor substitute for legal advice).

With respect to Jeff, are you an expert on copyright law and/or how do you decide to draw the line when you are replacing the tags on images? Perhaps it would be a good idea to make clear when the license on an image had been replaced by other than an the original photographer (e.g. by scoring out the claimed license, or by pointing out that the license was changed by other than the original uploader) if there is any grey area whatsoever. If nothing else, it makes the status/history of the image clearer.

In short, I am very uneasy at the prospect of people's GFDLed and CCed images being opaquely retagged (and the attribution possibly lost) when the basis for doing so is open to any doubt, which is why we need a consistent and well-grounded policy here.

Fourohfour 15:25, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Derivative images query

Over at the Doctor Who WikiProject, we're talking about creating a WikiProject award. We know that any image used in a barnstar or similar award has to be freely licensed (which excludes the first offered attempts, here and here — they were derivatives of BBC copyright photos). What I'm not clear on is whether a user-created drawing or CG image of a police box would be equally problematic, as a derivative of a BBC-trademarked design. (And yes, the BBC does own the trademark to the police box design: see police box and here.)

If a police box image is problematic, what's the difference between that and the images here (used in Star Trek stub tags), here (used in Stargate userboxes) and here (the Stargate barnstar, derived from the previous one)? This one is particularly interesting, as it seems to have been uploaded to Commons by a user from the German Wikipedia, where as we all know they're much stricter about fair use.

This whole area seems quite muddy to me, and I'd appreciate any clarification. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 06:34, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I guess the real question is, how does trademark law and policy fit in with all this? I've been wondering about this myself about a few images. I don't think the trademark would stop the use as long as there is no copyright on the image itself. I'm very curious about what someone more familiar with these topics has to say. I can think of a few examples of where images have been released under CC or GFDL, but where the trademark can reasonably be still attributed to the "owner". -- Ned Scott 06:54, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Trademarks are protected only in relation to the set of products or services for wich it is registered. As long as we do not use it to sell Dr. Who merchandise (or otherwise use it to compete with the BBC on the time traveling alien storrytelling market) we should be ok (AFAIK, IANAL etc.). See for example the Apple vs. Apple case. --Sherool (talk) 09:05, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
You bring up a lot of good points. First, that's very interesting that that image came from German Wikipedia. I think their outlawing of fair-use has led to a wider interpretation of what is licensable under the GFDL. In my interpretation of US Copyright law, that depiction of the stargate would fall under the "unauthorized derivatives" category and be ineligible for licensing by anyone, as the original producing entity maintains copyright over the likeness of the stargate, in any form.
I'm only knowledgeable about US copyright. I've no clue about crown copyright or trademark laws so I'm afraid I don't have much to say about that. But in the Dr Who article, you'll notice that it's a trademark issue, not a copyright issue. I'm sure that's a key distinction; but I don't know what that might mean for you using images of police boxes, and then add the UK layer on top of that and I'm out of my element :).--Jeff 15:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
To be honest we have generaly tired to avoid the issue of trademark so we have no really firm policy on what to do about them. Legaly it could be problimatical since you are useing them in the context of Dr. Who.Geni 17:15, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
It's always fine to use a trademark to refer to the trademarked product, or trademark owner—this is called a "nominative" use. What constitutes trademark infringement is when you use a trademark to refer to a different and potentially competing product, such that consumers are likely to become confused about whose product it is (it should be obvious from this why we as article writers typically don't need to worry about trademarks here). An example of an infringing use of the police box would be if you were to advertise your own science fiction program with a police box prominently displayed. Postdlf 18:29, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Any case would likely be based around confusion between wikipedia amd an official Dr.who guide. No idea how far that one would get mind.Geni 18:33, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and it wouldn't get far at all. I'd think it would only be an issue if Wikipedia were insufficiently branded itself—lacking a strong mark like "Wikipedia" for a name, lacking the logo, lacking the website's distinctive formatting, etc., and then used Dr. Who logos and the police box image in its content such that it wasn't clear that this was not an authorized fanguide. Even under those hypothetical circumstances, however, I think we'd even have to go out of our way to try and appear official for anyone to reasonably think we were, given the sheer number of unauthorized fansites on the web. Too much would have to change for that risk to even be remotely plausible. Postdlf 18:47, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
But this isn't even some hypothetical confusion between a Wikipedia article and an officially licensed guide book. It's potential confusion between an award given to one Dr Who expert by another Dr Who expert and...something the Beeb might put out. There really can't be any scope whatever for confusion here. I don't think you have a problem with an image you make yourself. SteveBaker 19:57, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I think we'll be OK. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 06:47, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Proposal to clarify Policy #3

Number 3 currently states: "The amount of copyrighted work used should be as little as possible. Low-resolution images should be used instead of high-resolution images (especially images that are so high-resolution that they could be used for piracy). This includes the original in the Image: namespace. Do not use multiple images or media clips if one will serve the purpose adequately."
I would like to amend: "Images shall be no larger than 300px wide and 72 x 72 pixels/inch in resolution."

I went through Category:Fair use size reduction request and reduced several hundred images. I reduced them to 300px wide (maintaining aspect ratio) and 72x72 px/inch. Some where quite large (3000x2000! with 300x300 px/inch! - PRINT QUALITY!). I picked 300px wide because WP:IMAGE states no image should be used on an article larger than 550px wide, and that images used alongside text should be used in thumbnail form, for which the maximum size is 300px (if they set that in the user preferences) where most have it (by default) set less than that (180px), and most images are controlled in the article to sizes less than that. Thus, 300px is plenty to have for a fair use image. The idea is that the image should give the general idea, but if they want to see complete detail they should follow the source that is provided (it is always provided). A 300px image stored is quite satisfactory in giving the general information that the image needs to on "what it looks like" and "teach the fundamentals" of what it's suppose to teach/inform. Especially since in most articles, images are only used generally from 100 to 200 pixels wide, how does retaining a 1000x500 image help, when all most people will see is the 100x50 image? Also, this would reduce the liability of Wikipedia, as image companies charge by the size of the image used. Using a 500px image vs. a 300px image is quite a difference in price (See [4], originally posted above by Donald Albury and Corbis website (registration required to get pricing)) I went through Corbis and picked a sports image, larger than 150x150 with 3year+archive usage and it was $270, 150x150 is not a "standard" size cutoff, there are different sizes for different usages, 300x200 over/under was another one).

There may be exceptions, especially with screenshots of web content where the text is important to read, but this apply generally, and an image requiring an exception would need to be explicitly stated in the rationale why the stored image needs to be retained larger.

72x72 is a standard web-resolution quality, and using anything more is useless, especially with the size of images we're using. Though, 76x76 isn't really much more helpful and doesn't NEED to be reduced, but it should be in the long run, especially if someone is reducing the overall size anyways.

Yes, a bot could be created to reduce all fair use images, though this is neither a request for bot approval or statement that a bot is currently in development (to my knowledge) to accomplish this. I would encourage some language in the fair use tags that images should be this size or smaller and even in the upload text, if this is generally accepted.

Here are some examples of the difference between 500, 400, 300, 250x 200, 150, 100 and 50 px wide, as there is likely to be some arguments over whether an image is okay at different size, and why 300 and that 400 would be better. Consider that in articles, images are often used between 100 and 200. (Yes, this is a free image, one I took actually and I put it on that subpage to keep the loading of this page down) --MECUtalk 16:22, 6 February 2007 (UTC)


Support as nominator --MECUtalk 16:22, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Strongly Support - I think this helps to define an unfortunately grey area in the current policy, yet allows a little bit of flexability. --Robert Horning 16:35, 6 February 2007 (UTC)


Oppose. What is reasonably adequate for a given purpose will vary with the image in question. Sometimes fair use is applied to graphics and images that include text, and in many cases that text would be barely legible at 300px. Contrarywise, I can think of a variety of logos and things where even 300px seems excessive. Nor does this proposal deal well with images that might have a large aspect ratio (e.g. 1200 x 200). Deciding what size is reasonable is a judgment call, not simply one size fits all. I don't think we are benefitted by inserting specific numbers into the policy. Dragons flight 17:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Conditional Oppose I only oppose because I believe the inclusion of "72x72 resolution" is a mistake and misunderstanding. If an image is 300 pixels wide, it is 300 pixels wide. The resolution is simply a configuration setting that has to do with printing an image. Besides being unnecessary, would be impossible to tell in a browser if an image complies or not, and is confusing to users who are unfamiliar with the idea of resolutions outside of "width * height". I would also like to see the width limit raised to 400px because 300px is too small for images that are wider than they are tall, but I'm not as vociferous about this point. With some small changes, I change to supporting this amendment.--Jeff 18:04, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I hope you can forgive my technical ignorance with this: Is the resolution used to save any additional information within an image? That is, would an image saved at 300x300 px/inch be larger than one saved at 72x72 px/inch, whereas they both were the same size? If so, then the 72x72 should be used, if not, then I would be happy to drop this proposal. I agree it's difficult (if not impossible) to tell from the browser what the resolution is, but it would only be a secondary consideration. The devs could probably add the capability to the image description page to show the resolution of an image. As for 400 vs. 300: I stated my reasons for the non-random 300. Why 400? Because you can see it better? If you wanted to see it better, you just click on the source URL (for about probably 90% of images) and see the larger size. Why do we need the larger size hosted here on WP? (I'm not trying to be argumentative, just pushing the issue, I apologize if it sounds like I'm being confrontational, it is not intended) --MECUtalk 20:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
No problem. The answer is no; the "print resolution" aka "pixels/inch" setting of an image has nothing to do with the data or how that data displays on a monitor. It's only a configuration to allow the translation of images to a physical medium (paper) easy and accurate. Say you have a 5px * 5px image and then you define "5 pixels per inch". On the screen and in the data, that image would by only 25 pixels total, but when you print it to paper it would print 1 inch wide and 1 inch tall, despite being only 5px wide and 5px tall.--Jeff 21:09, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Oppose now what is exactly the reason for this except to bother our readers? Does fair use law mention resolution anywhere? Why 300px and not, say 500px? Because both look equally small on my LCD monitor. Totally arbitrary, unnecessary and paranoid rule. I just have to wonder if you wake up in the middle of the night thinking up this sort of stuff. Grue  08:11, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
300px is not arbitrary, I explained above. Your comment directed at me is borderline not civil. --MECUtalk 13:36, 8 February 2007 (UTC)


I would rather go for:

"Images should be no larger than 300px wide and 72 x 72 pixels/inch in resolution unless there is a good reason for them to be larger" .Geni 17:06, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

In either case, it should read "no larger than 300px on its longest side." Postdlf 16:54, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I think generally there is little call for keeping fair use images at a size larger than how they will appear in the article. Procedurally, the solution must be to replace them with a smaller version and then delete the larger ones. This may seem obvious, but I have seen IFD listings of fair use images where the sole justification was "too large to qualify as fair use." Postdlf 17:20, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

I support these ideas, but if we're going to state in the policy that we allow exceptions, I would like it to be required that the exception is justified in the fair use rationale. Thus, someone saying "This logo needs to be 1500x1200 to represent the logo!" is clearly not a rationale that justifies the larger size, but "This image needs to be 1500x1200 so that critical text may be read" is okay. I would say that a movie poster claiming critical text is the words typically found at the bottom isn't critical, but a slogan or title perhaps is, and then one can argue why not 800x600? It's possible to see/read the text at that size. And if the text is that critical, would it be better to crop it at the larger size where it's probably not possible to read it in the article size anyways? --MECUtalk
Adding artificial limits is generally moot, what if the image is SVG? From what I know SVG has an infinite resolution? It also seems like unneeded copyright paranoia. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 18:05, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Excellent point about SVG. These images are of course excluded since resizing them is irrelevant. I don't see how this is copyright paranoia. Can you justify a reason that images should be larger than 300px (wide or in the longest direction) for all images? There are certainly exceptions, as in text, but otherwise? --MECUtalk 18:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Can you justify why they shouldn't? I've always taken the linking of image files from articles to offer a larger resolution image as well as information. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 18:21, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Why they shouldn't? Hmm, maybe because of our fair use policy... -- Ned Scott 18:23, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Because the larger they are, the more likely they can compete with some commercial value of the original, and threaten the legal fair use claim. We always have to explain why the image must be a certain size and can't use them any larger than our fair use purpose calls for. Postdlf 18:28, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
tab reset

I agree with Postdlf's statement above that there is little call for keeping fair-use images larger than we are actually using them. However, Matthew Fenton brings up a good point about SVG and other vector-image formats. I don't believe we can arbitrarily specify a maximum size; there are just too many times where it may be appropriate to break the maximum, and then the problem with vector images. Perhaps a wording such as "Images shall be no larger than strictly required", though I don't think that's any better. --Yamla 20:32, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe we shouldn't have non-freely licensed vector images. Has this been discussed before? Postdlf 20:42, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Briefly above: #Fair use SVG images. --MECUtalk 20:52, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't say the H&R Block logo (used as an example above) is even copyrightable, just protected as a trademark; it's only a green square with some text. Do we use SVG for anything that is complex enough to be indisputably copyrightable? Postdlf 21:02, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It's been discussed a lot before that too, we just never seem to get anywhere. Usualy just 2-3 people disagreeing and then it dies down and get archived. Various logos keep syceling between SVG and PNG versions depending on who has been going by lately. Some people are replacing PNG logos and such with SVG versions in good faith because our image use policy says that linart should be SVG. Other people are going around replacing SVG logos and stuff with PNG versions in good faith because the fair use policy says to keep fair use low resolution, and around and around it goes. Can't recall any real "fights" over it, but it probably would save some wasted effort if we could make up our collective mind about it. --Sherool (talk) 21:07, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I found at least one SVG logo that is probably pictorial enough to qualify for copyright protection. I would recommend that we make it policy to not use SVG for any fair use images. Is there a good argument against this? Postdlf 21:10, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I like this philosophy so far as the emphasis is that it should be no larger than as defined on the website in the article where it is being used. This guideline can be heavily abused if you say that the image needs to be substantially larger if it is going to be used in a print version of the article... putting us back to where there is no limit at all. One of the keys here as well is that a reasonable fair-use justification is to have a thumbnail of an image, and the size limits need to be defined to ensure that what we are dealing with here really is a thumbnail. While you may like a larger image in the article, you should seek a free image instead if you really want to see the details that a larger image will present. --Robert Horning 18:29, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

A Good Example of Bad Photos; Super Copy-right Free Photos

Gosh, the main page right now shows two doozies... Image:Dolphinsmiamistadm.png has little or nothing to do with the event it purports to illustrate (it looks more like a SimCity stadium, and has no Super Bowl connection I can see), and Image:Alison_Krauss_crop.jpg is blurry and out to focus. Maybe we'll just have to accept that illustrating living people -- or popular events -- is simply beyond the current mission of Wikipedia. That makes me sad... I certainly wish our fair use policy would allow a nicer, professional photo of Ms. Krauss. It's just odd to me that the "encyclopedia" mission is getting trampled by the "free" mission. C'est la...

So we know that a copyright-free photo of Alison Krauss exists. Are there any copyright-free images of the Super Bowl? Specifically, Super Bowl XLI? Can any be created? Jenolen speak it! 07:31, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Well the 100px thumb of Alison on the front page doesn't look too bad actualy. The bigger version in the article itself does reveal a rater poor focus though. Still better than nothing. IMHO a ensyclopedia should be judged by the quality of it's prose forst and foremost. The cries that Wikipedia is wrecking it's credibility as a ensyclopedia by removing some (ok, ok a lot of) fair use images is getting tiresome (there are far bigger problems to it's credibility than the lack of glossy photos). How does the Britanica or Encarta articles on Alison Krauss look? Well I won't bother subscribing to find out, but Encarta doesn't seem to have anything at all and the Britanica one is aparently only 487 words long, and the 75 word "teaser" contains no images but quite a few weasel words though. And yeah, the fact of the matter is that coverage of currnet events is sort of beyond our mission, Ensycloipedias are traditionaly not the place to look if you want up to the minute info on current events. Granted Wikipedia is not a traditional ensyclopedia, but coverage of current events, extensive as it often is, is not our core mission. Wikinews on the other hand... --Sherool (talk) 09:02, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Two bad examples, sure. Actually, the first stadium one is a satellite view, so I like those, but anyways. There are many good examples of great free images. You can sure find "bad" examples if you look for them, but there are "good" examples if you look for them as well. "You can only find what you're looking for." Look for bad, you find it; look for good, you find it. Isn't it better to know that you're not treading on someone's professional work just to make the article look prettier? Now we have a free image, bad as they may be, that will forever be with the image. So even if someone makes a CD of the article, they can still have the free image too, instead of trying to figure out if they can still use fair use images and their legal rights (just one example of many).... That, in the end, is better than having a glossy picture. --MECUtalk 13:26, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Even if you give the same weight to the ""encyclopedia" mission" and the ""free" mission", you have to agree that using an prettier-unfree image does a greater harm for the ""free" mission" than the harm done to the ""encyclopedia" mission" by the use of non-pretty free images.
But of course, when we believe the ""free" mission" is a superfluous eccentricity that should never intervene the ""encyclopedia" mission", our fair use policy seems to have been written by nuts. --Abu badali (talk) 15:24, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I've never interpreted them as two separate missions. It's not free, encyclopedia. Our job is to provide a free encyclopedia. To me it seems, as if by definition, we are tasked to build an encyclopedia that is free for anyone to use. Fair-use content is perfectly acceptable under that definition. :)
Of course, I know there are people that disagree with me, but that's ok.--Jeff 15:48, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
For the record, I agree there's a place for fair use on a free encyclopedia. Even more, and I believe we need fair use for building an encyclopedia. But that's because I want us to be able to write about Star Wars, Lenna and Bulbasaurs, and not to for making celebrities look as good in articles as the they do in photo-studios. --Abu badali (talk) 16:11, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

I hope I don't offend anyone by oversimplifying their position, but "His photograph is better than mine" isn't a relevant fair use justification. Postdlf 15:54, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

It IS a relevant fair use justification if the photograph is released as a publicity photograph with copyright retained and usage restrictions that are incompatible with the commons. It would NOT, as you say, be a relevant fair use justification if the photograph was being sold commercially by the photographer to news organizations. That is why source information and licencing tags are crucial. -- 23:59, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Invalid Fair Use Rationale?

Just wanted to ask. If the fair use rationale for the following picture (there are many that use the same rationale) valid? It says "To encourage the readers to watch it." Aren't we not supposed to have ads on wikipedia? I believe the rationale goes against what WP stands for. Shrumster 20:00, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

That 'rationale' is so bad, it's not even wrong. --Carnildo 21:51, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
I looked into this a little bit and it seems to be as though the source article that this image is used for, Star Cinema is subject to a rather extensive self-promotional editing. Wikipedia isn't meant to be for self promotion, so one would think that image (and many others on that page, and possible most of the article itself) could be justified for deletion. This battle isn't one I wish to wave a banner for, so good luck with that one.--Jeff 22:25, 7 February 2007 (UTC)


Every reader of this page should read Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Kat Walsh's statement, an important notice regarding fair use that all administrators should see. It seems that the careful deliberations on this page will soon be made obsolete by a Foundation-level diktat. Very soon, all Wikimedia projects will be forbidden from having media rules any less restrictive than those of Commons.

I've expressed my views (and asked a few questions about implementation) at WP:AN, but I thought that editors here deserved to know what was afoot. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 08:10, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

It doesn't appear to be as strict as Commons, but it will be greatly reduced. My initial reading is that the acceptable fair-use tags are {{art}}, {{statue}}, {{HistoricPhoto}}, some uses of {{logo}}, some uses of {{music sample}}, and a few uses of most of the rest of the tags.
At the same time, the remaining uses of {{permission}}, {{noncommercial}}, and the like will need to go. --Carnildo 08:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
As suggested at the other thread, let's wait for the full "formal declaration" they promise before actually rewriting our policies. Dragons flight 08:48, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Most of this seems like an affirmation of our existing policies, with some restrictions on stuff like living persons images or news photographs for example. (Waiting and dumping.) --GunnarRene 10:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I really understood Kat's message completely to be honest - is she saying the foundation wishes to massacre for example television screen shots and album covers, etcetera? Because these of course exhibit historical significance, etc. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 13:57, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Basically, yes, they are going to be massacred (your words, not mine), and no, television screen shots of every episode of every random series do not exhibit historical significance. --Cyde Weys 17:47, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

"The resolution will seek to clarify something that has been true for some time" - I'm not going to say "I told you so", but I did tell you so ;). To address Matthew's question - I imagine each screenshot and album cover will need to justify why it is historically significant. Album covers might be okay but lots of screenshots won't. ed g2stalk 14:59, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Upon reading it, it doesn't appear to change anything from what's here already - we're still cutting our nose off to spite our face with this lunacy, except that the Foundation supports it now - but that may change with the "final" product. --badlydrawnjeff talk 15:04, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The Foundation has always supported it, and it's always been policy - it just hasn't been worded clearly enough. If you think trying to create an encyclopaedia using only free content is "lunacy" perhaps you're in the wrong place. ed g2stalk 15:55, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think so, no. It's the misguided belief that fair use stands in the way. --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:06, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I see some people here are mentioning screenshots - but the real white elephant of fair use abuse on Wikipedia is over-detailed plot summaries. That will cause a problem long before the use of screenshots on most of our articles about fiction.--GunnarRene 15:19, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

There is a general elephant in the room of textual fair use -- technically, every quotation of copyrighted material, including newspaper articles, reviews, etc., is permissible onlyprimarily, if at all, based on a fair use rationale, as is every plot summary, whether detailed or not. The fair use question then becomes whether the use of fair use in the text of the article is "too detailed" for the specific use of Wikipedia, which is a thorny mess. The current fair use guideline is directed almost entirely towards images, and doesn't offer much guidance on text, which isn't surprising, because you could probably ask 4 media law professors what the guiding line is on text and get 4 different answers, all of which would be variations on "it depends." (None of that means we shouldn't address it, only that it's hard.) TheronJ 15:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Not quite true that only fair use rationale is applicable. De minimis is also available, merger doctrine, copyrightable subject matter, and so forth. (I'm not trying to justify detailed plot synopses -- just wanting to not have in the record that fair use is the only applicable question.) --lquilter 16:48, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the qualification -- that's a fair point and I shouldn't have been so absolute. I've tweaked my original statement. TheronJ 16:58, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Before all this stuff is deleted, I hope someone starts a commercial fork with fair use and permissions enabled. IMHO it will be very successful and (with enough ads) profitable.  Grue  15:26, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Good luck with that. There hasn't been an image dump in 15 months, obstensively due to lack of sufficient hardware to support it. Dragons flight 15:32, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I can't imagine it being very difficult to slurp the images from Wikipedia, I imagine it would be intensive however. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 15:51, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
As of November, Wikipedia used nearly 800,000 images. Assumming you obey the 1 download per second rule (the stated limit for screen scraping), it would take at least 10 days to mirror Wikipedia's images. (And probably twice that given that one needs to resolve the ambiguity of whether a referenced image is local or on Commons.) Dragons flight 16:02, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Realistically I can't imagine this doing any good whatsoever, the fact of the matter is do we really want to turn into the German Wiki"p[a]edia"? We are trying to build an encyclopaedia here, fair use is naturally needed to make be comprehensive within our goals. I imagine if someone was to pull the plug on 95% of the fair use "pop culture" that it would cause a massive split between Wikipedia and it would seem likely that split would lead to the creation of a new Wiki (much like the Spanish/Esperanto/Italian (whatever language it is) split, maybe? but likely on a larger scale)
The repercussions I imagine would be devastating to this encyclopaedia as a whole and as a project, the split would cause editors to leave articles that they once had interested in maintaining/writing to head to other projects and soon the articles would fall into a decrepit state, vandalism would likely be harder to control as well if a split like that happened. What people fail to realise is that fair use images are: a) Encyclopaedic and b) Needed. I'd also like to point out that there is nothing stating those that wish to fork a Wikipedia article must use the fair use image, nor does using an image undermine Wikipedia's goal to be free, naturally the text will always be free. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 15:51, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  • We'll have to wait for the foundation's final word on this, but realistically, you can't fight city hall. I will hate to see the contemporary book covers go, but this seems to be a foundation level dispute, not a wikpedia level dispute. (OTOH, at the foundation level, I would *much* rather see a solution where we tag fair use image links as "necessary," "important," or "illustrative," so that people copying the material for distribution could set a switch on how much fair use material they let through). TheronJ 15:57, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
  • The foundation owns the Wikipedia trademark, so any fork would have to be re-branded.--Jeff 16:06, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
* What about Wikipaedia? or would that be a "derivative"? thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:10, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Couldn't be more of a disaster. I'll wait to see the decree, but if it's that bad I'm done with WP.--Jeff 16:00, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Most of the images I have uploaded are fair use covers, and most of the articles I work in (books and albums) will be massacrated. However, other than a small period of confusion during my first months here, I have always understood freedom as a foundation and not as a goal. While undoubtedly many users will leave once this is confirmed (which personally I don't think will be done in the near future, maybe in a couple of months to make people get used to this idea), it will surely end discussions and prevent wikistress. -- ReyBrujo 17:56, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, yes, many of us have already thought this through to conclusion (perhaps even considered web hosting services and organizational structure?) from the moment we first heard somebody seriously suggesting killing fair use. But let's not hold the funeral, hold a name contest and crown the new king in haste :-). See Blackadder, sit back, relax and take off that Spider-Man costume.--GunnarRene 16:14, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I say, isn't that Dr. House on the right in this picture?--GunnarRene 16:17, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

MatthewFenton: Actually, the German wikipedia is widely seen as being higher quality than the english wikipedia. Do you think this might help us catch up? --Kim Bruning 16:27, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

{{citation needed}}. d:-P --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:29, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Elian always teases me. One of the things De has managed (and we haven't) is to create a DVD release, as well as print many wikireaders. We can't do so much with our current policies in place. Would you like me to bring the reliable sources rules into this? ;-) --Kim Bruning 16:41, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
So is that an indication of higher quality or simply a different set of country-specific goals? --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:44, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
De is able to publish offline. We are much less able to do so. That's a fairly significant difference in capability. (and offline published sources are often seen as more reliable than online sources <evil grin>) --Kim Bruning 16:47, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
But the question is why? Certainly not due to fair use - that's not what holds our publication ability back. You don't even hear people talk about publication right now. We could make a publication right now of all FA-level, A-level, and GA-level articles and have a pretty decent start, no? But it's not really on the immediate goal list, although it is a goal. --badlydrawnjeff talk 16:54, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
((incorrectly) claimed) Fair use makes publication difficult to impossible, in the real world. --Kim Bruning 16:57, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
incorrectly claimed copyright status makes publication illegal. Commons is littered with examples of photographs people think are theirs but are not. They are, in fact, unauthorized derivatives. Many people who are anti-FU are under the mistaken idea that just because you take a photo of something, you can license your photo. This is not the case. I feel that eliminating fair-use only encourages people to improperly license their derivative works. Solving one "problem" (problem in the eyes of the anti-fu folks) simply creates another.--Jeff 17:00, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Improper licencing is a next step. But at least this second group of people is showing good faith, which still counts for something, even in court. --Kim Bruning 17:08, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
So, if someone acts in good faith, it's ok to improperly license photos? aren't you invoking a traditional fair-use defense to defend the blatant and wanton disregarding of copyright law? atleast the fair-use folks work within the law. You seem to just want to dismiss it.--Jeff 17:16, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
At the very least we can honestly claim that we believed these people when they committed their misrepresentation. And of course we should hold people who lie to us liable. But we should not assume that we will always be lied to. --Kim Bruning 17:27, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure you'll want examples. Commons:Image:Stargate-color.png, Commons:Commons:Deletion_requests/Image:Pepsi_cappuccino.jpg, Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Dietcokecherry.jpg. Any similar picture of a copyrighted work is the same.--Jeff 17:07, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Commons is already weeding some of those out. This is a continuous process. They do seem to be relatively fast and efficient about it. (as I learned the hard way one fine day ;-) ) --Kim Bruning 17:11, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Your faith in commons is misplaced. Please see this example of people who don't understand copyright law voting to "keep" an image that violates copyright. Commons:Commons:Deletion requests/Image:Dr Pepper Can.jpg.--Jeff 17:16, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
You're a lawyer? -Kim Bruning 17:19, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Pshaw, of course not. We all know that lawyers don't have time to dink around on Wikipedia. I am well researched and my fiance is a second year law student. We spent an hour interpreting the U.S.C. and then some more on research on finding some interesting cases.--Jeff 17:23, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Fine, then I expect you'll be able to make a stronger argument on commons, and convince the 2 keep people. --Kim Bruning 17:29, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The foundation claims safe habour provisions under the DMCA. While haveing people upload copyvios is less than ideal it is something we have to accept will happen. It has no bearing on fair use. As for people missunderstanding the law it is up to those who do understand to educate and make the correct information easy to find.Geni 18:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I am very sorry to inform you that you are wrong, the sad thing is few people actually agree with your point (well it's not really sad actually). Last time I spoke to the big guy upstairs he told me "Son, there are two kinds of people the non-FUP and the FUP. The FUP are wrong, always 'av been 'n' always will be." - His words are Holy, lets take them as gospel. thanks/Fenton, Matthew Lexic Dark 52278 Alpha 771 16:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, de is further along, at any rate. That's not the case, according to you? --Kim Bruning 16:47, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
"Further along"? They're publishing a hard copy, but that's only one aspect of "further along". As a reader, given the choice between a superior encyclopedia that can only be accessed online and an inferior one that can be "published", guess which one I want? And based on this recent decree, it's still not going to make WP "publishable" since it still allows (vaguely) some fair use stuff which would have to be weeded out before publication anyway. What is really going to piss people off the most about this is that it's such a big change after wikipedia has been around and people have put a ton of work into it (much of which will be thrown away now). At least if they would have declared fair use off limits from day one, editors would have known what they were getting into and not wasted a huge amount of time and energy. I think Matthew is being conservative - instead of articles just falling out of date, I wouldn't be surprised if editors took the content they wrote elsewhere and put up those articles for AfD on the way out on the basis of "fair use". --Milo H Minderbinder 18:08, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, many people I've talked to in fact think that de is superior to en for some reason. You disagree? --Kim Bruning 18:49, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I certainly do. I don't know where that perception comes from, nor am I certain that the perception held by many is in fact a reality. --badlydrawnjeff talk 18:52, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
To reiterate Jeff's earlier point, [citation needed]. I certainly feel that an article that puts an image to good use is superior to that same article without the image. To cite an earlier example, for someone who forgot what the smurfs were, a single image is going to be more useful than any amount of text. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:08, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The point about textual fair use is well made. It is much harder to police textual fair use though, and always will be. It is also a key point that rather than paraphrasing or explaining something, you sometimes have to quote to avoid misrepresenting the point. Quoting is a necessary part of the encyclopedia toolkit. Drawing the boundary is more difficult though. Taking works of fiction. If you quote and summarise the plot in a fannish style, trying to get people excited about whatever got you excited about that work of fiction in the first place, then that is clearly wrong. If you quote and summarise in a dispassionate way, always keeping the aim of the encyclopedia article in mind, and consciously trying to minimise quotations and maximise the impact of the quotes you do use, then you won't go far wrong. Carcharoth 16:49, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

You are aware, I hope, that one can run afoul of copyright even without much in the line of direct quotes? If you summarize the plot fully, even totally paraphrase, then you've made a derivative that may replace the source work for some people. The Jerry Seinfeld trivia book case is one example. And Wikipedia has much worse than that. --GunnarRene 17:15, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
And such abuses should be deleted as being unencyclopedic. There hardly seems to be a need for a copyvio test (although it is possible to make a copyvio as well). Citations should be no longer than is necessary for the purposes of "scholarship and criticism", as Kat puts it. Harper & Row v. Nation Publications is also relevant to many of our articles (no "public figure" defense). Physchim62 (talk) 19:21, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Like some people commenting above, I also see the Foundation post re: fair use as a reaffirmation of already existing policies. Note that the post said that no Wikimedia project shall have less restrictive licensing than Commons, plus "limited fair use." Which is what we have now. She used historically important photographs and significant modern works of art as examples of where fair use is necessary because no free content can be created for those; modern works of film and television would logically be included as well. We already have a non-replaceability requirement, and we already have various guidelines and policies regarding the importance of the use of the image to illustrating the subject. Absent clear instructions to the contrary, I don't see anything as changing, and this post certainly did not address more specific questions of when exactly an image does significantly contribute to an article or is necessary. We still have those to battle over case by case. Postdlf 18:32, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

The suggestion is the formal declaration will indeed limit it to those cases. ed g2stalk 19:01, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't read that suggestion in the post, but we'll obviously see when it happens. It would obviously be rather arbitrary and nonsensical to allow fair use images of "art" (which I assume means so-called "fine art," such as paintings) which requires a complete copy of the whole work (however low res it is), but not to allow fair use images of films or television series, which involves an insubstantial screenshot of the whole work, where the logic in needing fair use is the same for both. Do you really see the Foundation enacting a policy that isn't based on a legal (or free content) need, but instead just disfavors the subjects of certain articles? Postdlf 19:10, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd completely agree with that. The current statement is vague to the point of being practically useless. "Historic" and "important" and even "art" can apply (or not) to a huge range of stuff depending on who's making the judgement. Saying that it applies to paintings but not films (or even album covers) is not a legal distinction but an aesthetic one. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:13, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The "current statement" is, as it says, just a "message [to] provide the explanation behind the (forthcoming) resolution". ed g2stalk 19:17, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
There's a big difference between a thumbnail of a complete piece of art and a user-selected frame from film/tv which they think illustrates what they are saying very well. Still frames are rarely published as works in themselves to be commented upon. ed g2stalk 19:14, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Ahem. A still frame is easier to compare to a short sound clip or short passage of text quoted. The problem with paintings is that we show the entire painting most of the time. So actually, it is easier to make a fair use claim for a still frame (on the proportion of representation test) than for a painting. Kat meant those as examples of fair use. The main point about all this is to remove the middle ground between "free" and "non-free". We will always have non-free, if it's valid fair use, but these "non-commercial" and "With permission to English Wikipedia only" licensed materials will be phased out to remove that blur between fair use and fully liber. --GunnarRene 19:29, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

I'd agree that from a copyright standpoint, a thumbnail of a work of art probably is a greater infraction than one frame of a film. If showing an entire work of art is allowed, then why not a clip of a song or even video of a film or TV show, as long as we argue that it's "important art"? And looking at EB, they do seem to consider still frames worth publishing [5]. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:34, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure you want to stand on the principle of fair use of modern art, as the fair use rationale is quite weak for many cases where it is used on Wikipedia. I would also like to point out that the frames that you are comparing here on Encyclopaedia Britannica have a clear copyright disclaimer from the studio who owns the photo, and it seems as though EB has gone through the effort to get permission to use these photos in their content. Yes, they are worth publishing, but with permission. I don't think that is fair use. Unfortunately publishers aren't required to say that the image is "used with permission", so it is hard to say for certain. --Robert Horning 20:14, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Whether it is fair use or not, expected practice to identify the copyright holder (something we often do a mediocre job of), so unless they actually say used with permission, there doesn't seem to be any way to know whether they asked the studio for permission. Dragons flight 20:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I've been trying to find some clear cut example of fair use images being used by a commercial publisher in the manner that Wikipedia uses them, and this comes quite close. Unfortunately, I don't think that it is a good enough example for being used as an example of fair use film stills or publicity photos. It does illustrate, however, that such images can be useful to enhance an article, if permission can be obtained to use the images.--Robert Horning 21:37, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Ditto what Robert Horning said. The copyright disclaimer in full, for the first EB still from a Hitchcock movie is: "© 1940 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation; photograph from a private collection" - and the point someone made above still stands. This kind of use is easily tracked. EB can say precisely who has used the picture and where. With the GFDL and Wikipedia distribution, Wikipedia couldn't tell (in this case) Twentieth Century-Fox who has been reusing the image downstream and what they have been using it for. Twentieth Century-Fox would have lost control over the use of the image. EB's use is clear and limited. Wikipedia's use and reuse would be unclear and unlimited. Completely different. Carcharoth 20:23, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Of course they are different. My point in referencing them is disagreement that stills don't add to an article or that they aren't used in encyclopedia articles. Wikipedia can certainly choose not to take advantage of fair use, but that's sacrificing the quality of the encyclopedia for "portability". It's a shift in priorities and one that all editors don't share. As for "modern art" I suspect that the distinction between a painting and a film still is an arbitrary one, and that a policy that gets rid of stills may have the consequence of getting rid of paintings and "art" photos as well. --Milo H Minderbinder 20:38, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The stills that were used in this example were more publicity shots that were taken by a high resolution camera during the production of the film, rather than a frame from the film itself. These are often of much higher quality, which is why many Hollywood studios take photos of this nature and have for some time. I agree that if you can obtain permission to use the frames or photos, that they can be useful to enhance the article. The real question is more along the lines of what somebody in another forum asked when he said "So should an article about a movie published by a major studio have no images in it because any still from the movie is copyright someone else and categorically unavailable for free licensing?" I suggest that if you can't obtain permission from the film studio for some images, you are essentially out of luck. You certainly shouldn't upload images freely that are taken from the film just to enhance the article and make it look cool. The point that it crosses from a copyright violation to a fair use application is where the argument currently is at. --Robert Horning 21:37, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The statement from Kat doesn't say anything about permission, just free or fair use. My question is why would a photo of a copyrighted painting, or an art photo itself, be allowed under fair use (with no permission granted) but a photo of a film or album cover not? All are arguably "significant modern art". I don't see why, if wikipedia can't get permission from the copyright owner of a painting, why that article isn't "out of luck" as well. If an article about a copyrighted movie can't actually show the movie, why would an article be able to show a copyrighted painting? --Milo H Minderbinder 21:46, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
The only difference is in how the images are used. An image of a copyrighted painting that's just used for decoration would be invalid -- unfortunately that's how most film posters and album covers are used. Compare this with Guernica (painting) which talks about the piece itself. howcheng {chat} 22:17, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
So if an article about an album described the album cover in detail similar to that article would that make it fair use? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:27, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
I think so — at least, if it discussed the album cover as a work of art in itself, as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band#Album cover does. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 22:46, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Animals (album) is a good example. Even My Aim Is True does well. A description that just says, "The album cover shows a close-up of [artist]'s face" wouldn't work. In other words, is the user's understanding of the article greatly increased by the addition of the unfree image? If yes, then the image probably good to use. howcheng {chat} 22:55, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
From Animals (album): "A warning was sent out to pilots that a giant, flying pink pig was loose in the area." - ROTFL! :-) Another example of how to make a picture the subject of an encyclopedia article (rather than just decoration) is The Death of General Wolfe, though in this case the image is in the public domain. Essentially, if lots of people have written about the image, then we can write an article documenting that, and use a photograph of the image on the article under fair-use. That will always be the case, by my reading of what is going on here. Other historical images (all public domain, so not strictly relevant) are things like Ptolemy's world map, Piri Reis map, Fra Mauro map. See also Category:Photographs, for things like Earthrise, The Falling Man, Bliss (image), Che Guevara (photo), Migrant Mother, Nguyễn Văn Lém, Dancing Man, 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute. Some of these are public domain. Others aren't. Carcharoth 23:26, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Proposed changes to counterexamples

Any objection if I removed no. 8? I would like to be able to display an image of a living person that merely shows what they look like. Thanks. El_C 06:30, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Surely you jest? If not - then I object - that would breech the "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information." part of WP:Fairuse#Policy. See endless endless debates here and elsewhere about it. Megapixie 06:43, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I am voicing my opinion. That new "No free equivalent" is especially problematic; it often effectively means a highly remote possibility of finding an equivalent — all the while there's a perfectly legal fair use one that could be used. I find this area of the policy too narrow. El_C 06:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. But it's probably best to wait until the dust from Wikipedia_talk:Fair_use#IMPORTANT_NEWS_FROM_THE_FOUNDATION diktat settles. After that (assuming we still have fair use - which is pretty likely IMHO) getting policy changed at WP:Fairuse#Policy would probably be the first step to changing the counterexamples. Megapixie 07:36, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not entirely certain how that announcement applies to my specific fair use challenge. El_C 07:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
The counterexamples reflect policy, and copyright law. The interpretations of those would need to change first. The policy is narrow because copyright law is narrow. Use of an image for anything other than critical commentary of the artist, or style (or parody) is not within legal fair use, which is why it is not allowed by policy. Inconvenience of not having a free image does not override the rights of the copyright holder. Atom 08:10, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Well, I'm certainly interested in where to start. Not sure how "artist" is applicable — the image which led to me this was of a former Israeli Justice Minister. See some of my (somewhat refractored) thoughts on the talk pages of either Danny or Raul654 for further detail. When I added the image to that entry, it was fine — now suddenly it isn't because, theoretically, a free equivalent could be found. How (and why) did this happen? And how does this help the encyclopedia. El_C 08:26, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
The change you mention came about as a result of a decision by Jimbo several months ago (perhaps someone can find the exact reference, I don't archive the mailing list). As to the image use you're worried about, I don't think an image can ever be used under fair use simply to illustrate what a person looks like. To be fair use, the person's appearance would have to be so distinctive (or particular in some way) as to make it a subject of discussion in the article: Viktor Yushchenko would be an example where this would hold for me. The fact that the subject is a former Israeli minister changes nothing: "we see no warrant for expanding the doctrine of fair use to create what amounts to a public figure exception to copyright" Justice O'Conner for the U.S. Supreme Court in Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 560 (1984). Physchim62 (talk) 14:18, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii El_C 09:33, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Fair use images in Aaron Sorkin article blocking FA promotion

Hello. How many fair use images are acceptable for use in an article? I've currently got quite a few in the Aaron Sorkin article, and they're almost all promotional fair use images that depict one of Sorkin's works. The image at the top is taken from a documentary about Sorkin and is used to portray Sorkin himself. Are these fair use images acceptable? Are they not? Should I remove them all? Should I keep them all? You can currently see the debate ongoing at FAC here Wikipedia:Featured_article_candidates/Aaron_Sorkin. Please help build a consensus. Thanks.-BiancaOfHell 09:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

This version contains the images which Bianca is talking about. Physchim62 (talk) 13:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
For comparison, I believe I counted six in the current featured article Scottish Parliament. --Milo H Minderbinder 13:56, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
I call this "new strict policy" a cowardly act. It's more like Wikipedia doesn't want to address the difficulties of creating a free encyclopedia and are going to accept the bare minimum. There are probably all kinds of ways of making the usage of fair use photos acceptable. How does the FBI put together their top 40 wanted list of fugitives who clearly aren't giving them the right to use their photo, and whose photos were probably snapped covertly or some such. This new policy is the wrong direction to be heading in.-BiancaOfHell 14:01, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
It isn't (yet) a "new strict policy", merely enforcing the policy which we had before. The FBI can put together their wanted list because their use is fair: many of Wikipedia's uses aren't. Physchim62 (talk) 14:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
How is using a screenshot of Aaron Sorkin for the Aaron Sorkin article not fair? How is using a promotional poster for each of Sorkin's 3 TV shows, which are written about in depth, not fair? How is using a promotional poster for his new play, marking his return to writing plays after 15 years, not fair? What is fair? I keep hearing of the photographer and his photos and the article on the photographer, and the discussion of the actual photograph and the article about the photograph been the only real "fair use" of images.-BiancaOfHell 14:38, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
How is the use in the Sorkin article not fair while the uses in Scottish Parliament are? Why aren't you removing the fair use images from that article? Or is it too embarassing to enforce policy when everyone is looking? --Milo H Minderbinder 14:50, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

[reset tabs] Personally, I'm not removing fair use images from anywhere yet (or at least, no more than I would have done anyway, and I'm not going around looking for images to remove). I haven't looked at Scottish Parliament because nobody has asked about it. All I'm trying to do is to contribute to the discussion/explanation as to what is a fair use and what isn't, in particular in relation to the specific cases where editors have taken the trouble to bring their problems here for comment. I didn't remove the images from Aaron Sorkin, but I'm not going to put them back either... Physchim62 (talk) 15:00, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia content is supposed to be free for downstream users to use in any way they want - including producing commercial derivatives. This is why images for which we only have specific permission to use are not allowed. Like it or not this is one of our project goals. ed g2stalk 16:25, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

I am removeing them.Geni 16:49, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
It's only "kinda sorta" supposed to be free. Even the latest proclamation from The Powers That Be says that we can still use fair use...just not too much. And no real guidance is given what "too much" is. Downstream use is a moot point unless they completely ban all fair use, which they don't seem willing to do (yet?). --Milo H Minderbinder 17:03, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
The Aaron Sorkin article currently has 0 pictures. How many of them can I put back?-BiancaOfHell 17:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Based on WP:FU, you should use no more than necessary (obviously a judgement call), and you should only use those which provide illustration and critical commentary on the show/movie they illustrate. But based on WP:FU, there is no ban on screencaps, only those used without FU context. --Milo H Minderbinder 18:45, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
What about using promotional posters? If all these photos were free use would their use be justified?-BiancaOfHell 18:54, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
"Free use"? If you have gotten the copyright holder to release their work under a free license, such as the GFDL or CC-BY/-SA, then you don't have to "justify" anything. You can do whatever you want with them. Jkelly 19:02, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
FU says posters can be used as well, as long as it is "for critical commentary". I'm sure different editors have different interpretations of what that means, anyone know if any WP policies or guidelines go into detail about how "critical commentary" is defined? At the very least, it seems that the text should actually talk about what is shown in the image. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:28, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Let me restate something I said in the discussion immediately above: Is the user's understanding of the article greatly increased by the addition of the unfree image? If yes, then the image probably OK to use. howcheng {chat} 19:50, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Madness. A user's understanding has to be "greatly increased"? What does greatly mean? Is being able to see what the human being looks like from the neck up a description of a great increase in understanding? Do promotional posters for his greatest works meet that criteria?-BiancaOfHell 20:11, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

To answer your questions: Yes. It's quite a high threshold - we try to avoid it whenever possible. Not necessarily. Probably not - unless the image itself has some special significance relevant to the text. ed g2stalk 20:52, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Alright. So this isn't something I should worry about anymore. Those photos that were previously in the Aaron Sorkin article are done. Their time here at Wikipedia is over. The article is good as it is right now. It's now time to pursue the only remaining option which is to contact Aaron Sorkin, and ask for a photo of himself and possibly some other free use photos of his works. That process will take years possibly. I hope this does not preclude the Aaron Sorkin article from reaching FA, right? Because that would be absolutely ridiculous.-BiancaOfHell 21:04, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
Make sure to read WP:COPYREQ to avoid common mistakes when contacting an image's copyright holder. Good luck and drop us a note when you get it. --Abu badali (talk) 21:33, 9 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Idea As much as I hate this new strict policy, if it's going to be implemented do it in a big way. Remove all fair use images, not incrementally but in one massive campaign. This way Wikipedia may get some press coverage, and the problem will become well known. "100,000 fair use images removed from Wikipedia" It may help bring more attention to the need for public domain/free use photos and bring in some help from people in a position to offer help. Otherwise, a lot of editors/contributors are going to get pissed off, slowly, and for a long time.-BiancaOfHell 21:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

For the record, the policy doesn't say "greatly increased", it says "The material must contribute significantly to the article (e.g. identify the subject of an article, or specifically illustrate relevant points or sections within the text) and must not serve a purely decorative purpose." --Milo H Minderbinder 21:25, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

This is not a new policy - this has always been the case. However, because the majority of contributors to Wikipedia are unaware of the significance of free content (most are unaware of the difference between "freely licensed" and "I-found-it-on-the-internet free") it is often ignored and misinterpreted. ed g2stalk 22:13, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

And has removing all of the images from the Aaron Sorkin article, in any way, made this a better encyclopedia article? I say no. It's fundamentally unencylopedic, and I would say, contrary to the primary mission of Wikipedia, which is to create an encyclopedia. As part of the trade off between "encyclopedia" and "free/libre", I guess there's no way the project, as it's currently being led and implemented, can include, say, a high quality publicity photo of Mr. Sorkin. I find that extremely and needlessly self-limiting (and more than a tad bit frustrating), but hey, it IS very "libre." As someone who has contributed to Wikipedia with pleasure in the past, I find the increasing battles against those who seem only interetsed in deleting encyclopedic content to be, how shall I put this, very discouraging. Jenolen speak it! 01:21, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Pictures tell you what something looks like, which can be important but is just one element. I don't know about all of the pictures on that article, but take the movie posters for example. I don't need to see the movie posters to understand this guy's role in those movies. They might "represent" or help to identify the movie itself, but it doesn't tell you anything about the writter in the movie. Does the article not look as good? It does not look as good, it looks a lot better with pictures, but that's about it. The "value" that most of these pictures have (most, not all) is highly over-rated. Looking good does not always make something more informative or "better". -- Ned Scott 01:59, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Has anybody actually tried to contact Mr Sorkin and the copyright holders of the promotional material to ask whether we could get some images under a free licence? (See WP:ERP.) —xyzzyn 02:02, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

As someone who has worked in the media for the last fifteen years, I can tell you that trying to get "free licensed" material of this nature is just about the single most useless thing anyone could do. (Not saying it's impossible... just useless.) Why? Because Aaron Sorkin ... and thousands of other actors, politicians, sports figures, etc. ... have ALREADY posed for promotional pictures. Well lit, well shot pictures that are released to the media and others every single day, and are used around the world. What you're asking for is a massive cultural change in the Hollywood Publicity Machine(TM), to make it conform to Wikipedia's GFDL goals. And that won't be happening any time soon. But anyone who wants to explain to Aaron Sorkin's office, or Warner Bros., or NBC that the photos they've released for media useage aren't "libre" enough is welcome to do so; I simply wouldn't expect much sympathy. They have a system. You're asking them to change it... and give up some of their long-standing legal rights. They're likely to laugh at you, but please, be my guest. Jenolen speak it! 02:28, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think people are going to laugh. How many times has the Hollywood Publicity Machine(TM) changed just in the last few years to keep up with the internet? They should see the public domain and Wikipedia's insistence on only using photos from the public domain as one of the best breaks they've had on the internet in a long time . We'll only use images that _they_ approve as free use? That's incredible. That's the most responsible policy they (actors, politicians, sports figures, etc...) could ask for. So a Wikipedia article remains imageless until the subject agrees to release a photo of themselves. That's picture approval, and Wikipedia has made it their policy. If they don't like that system, then they're idiots. It's us, we don't like it, we laugh at it, and something might have to be done about it. I think the laws surrounding fair use need to be figured out for every possible scenario so that we're actually using fair use to the full extent of the law.-BiancaOfHell 09:12, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Ah, you've fallen victim to one of the classic blunders - no, not getting involved in a land war in Asia, but assuming this policy has anything to do with the LAW. Even Jimbo himself has said that as far as he knows, ALL of the fair use on Wikipedia has been legal. (This has never been seriously questioned.) This is NOT a legal discussion, although it looks like one. At its core, this is a PHILOSOPHICAL discussion, about the level of dedication to Wikipedia's Five Pillars, and how important libre/free should be in relation to the overall mission of creating an encyclopedia. Many in this debate want "free/libre" to trump all other considerations, and that's fine. It's a refining of the existing policies; as I've said many times, I worked hard with admins to make sure all of the photos I'd uploaded were properly referenced and sourced, then, this "new enforcement" began, and all that work was torched. Fine, fine, I'm just sorry admins didn't know what the policy was when they were advising people on how to fairly use photos. But now, people here are trying really hard to put the fair use genie back in the bottle, and it's now taken a Foundation dictum to help them do so. Good luck!
As for the "Hollywood Must Change" theory, uh, no. There's no money in it. And, in fact, if you were to call Aaron Sorkin's office, and they referred you to NBC publicity, and you explained that what you were really looking for was not just a normal publicity photo of Mr. Sorkin, but one which could be reused, in perpetuity, for any use, including commercial uses, they might wait until they got off the phone with you to start laughing, but believe me, they would be laughing. And denying your request. Remember - this culture change people seem to think will take place requires major multi-national corporations to give up financial interest in their product. That's never going to happen. Jenolen speak it! 17:40, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
You keep mentioning this laughing fit they're going to have. I get that they won't do anything unless they have to, but Wikipedia is an increasingly powerful web site. The articles here come ranked in the #1 or #2 position in most google searches. Wikipedia can say, "you want your photos up here, for your talent agency, or your TV network, or your production company, or your guild then you do as we say, and put them in the public domain." Otherwise, your beautiful actors or commanding looking CEOs will be without an identification photo. Or your commercial products will be without those arousing brands you've spent billions of dollars instilling into the public conscious. I think Wikipedia is now in a position to make demands but it has to make those demands and in the right way. There's no way for me to go ask Aaron Sorkin for a free use image, but Wikipedia could go ask the NBC network to put the company photo album in the public domain.-BiancaOfHell 18:07, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
In case it is not clear from my previous post, I meant getting permission to use existing images. And I won’t do it because I don’t know who the guy is, anyway. —xyzzyn 02:42, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe you'd recognize him... you know, if we had a picture up on his article?  ;) Jenolen speak it! 17:40, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Has a really famous person ever put a photo of themself in the public domain? I'd be more inclined to take the "just ask for it" argument more seriously if someone showed examples where we asked a celebrity and they handed over a free image. --Milo H Minderbinder 19:56, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Celebrities have been known to release these photos to Wikipedia under a free license, I'm sure someone here can provide you a link, I can't remember the ones I've seen.... And as Jimbo has said, we're big enough to make these sorts of demands. People go to all sorts of lengths for WikiPublicity, I would not be surprised to see this (release of pictures) happening more and more in the future (provided we keep removing the unfree publicity shots). ed g2stalk 22:07, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Examples? --Milo H Minderbinder 22:50, 10 February 2007 (UTC)
Image:Carlsons.jpg was a recent one that was mentioned here. ed g2stalk 00:48, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Successful requests for permission... ed g2stalk 00:56, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
I get an impression that 90% of contributors to that page don't understand the difference between permission and GFDL...  Grue  10:49, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Jenolen's comment about Hollywood habits reminded me of the debates I was engaged in the early days of free software. Corporate minions never knew what to do about Richard Stallman; they wanted to use GNU software in various ways violating the GPL, but he couldn't be persuaded to overlook, couldn't be bought, and had gotten some of the best legal advice in crafting the GPL, so there were no loopholes to exploit either. Twenty years on, they've all given in, free software is now ubiquitous, and even the companies that called RMS a dirty hippie commie use it now. So his stubbornness paid off in the end. It's not like Hollywood has any principles; the first time a study shows X% of moviegoers looked up stuff on WP before or after seeing the show, studios are going to be showering us with free-license photos, if that's only the only way they can get their pics in here. It's already happening on a small scale in commons, with agents trying to get visibility for their more-obscure clients. So let's not surrender our principles before at least giving them a try. Stan 03:51, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that people wouldn't be using Wikipedia to look up movies if the articles wouldn't have any images. After all, there is hardly anything else in these articles except a plot summary (which no sane moviegoer is going to read before watching the movie). There is no point for releasing promo photos under free license, when there are thousands of sites that will happily use these photos with unfree licenses. If Wikipedia doesn't want to use these images, this is only detrimental to Wikipedia, that's all.  Grue  10:47, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
"people wouldn't be using Wikipedia to look up movies if the articles wouldn't have any images" - What utter nonsense. Wikipedia is not IMDb - if we don't have a gallery of promo photos that doesn't make us any less of an encylopaedia. Most movie articles only have a poster, which doesn't tell you much about the film, yet people still read them. "there are thousands of sites that will happily use these" - Is it "detrimental" to Wikipedia that we don't host thousands of copyrighted videos like YouTube, and therefore people will start going there for their video needs? ed g2stalk 12:07, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Note that I said look up "stuff", not "movies". My most common movie-related lookup is when they say "based on actual events" to see what the actual events really were, second most common is to get the scoop on an unfamiliar actor. In both cases the text is what I'm after. WP is the top Google hit sufficiently often that I end up there even if I didn't originally intend to go. That would be another things getting studio executives' attention actually, when WP articles on movies or actors get a higher pagerank than their own sites. :-) Stan 15:04, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
And for instance "Aaron Sorkin" - #1 is IMDB, #2 is WP, various interviews below that. The American President, ditto, with Amazon in third place. The Warner Bros. site about their own movie is about #7, that's gotta hurt. Stan 15:10, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Stan and Ed make good points; they're not concerned about TODAY'S Wikipedia; they're apparently trying to use Wikipedia to affect a sea change in the modern publicity business. Stan seems to think that in ten to fifteen years, content that is currently protected as an extrememly valuable asset by multi-billion dollar corporations will suddenly be flowing freely into Wikipedia. I disagree. In all my years working in the business, I have seen very few decisions that were not, to some degree, influenced by money. And what you're hoping will happen is that, say, in the case of the Aaron Sorkin publicity head shot that currently is missing from his article, Warner Bros. and NBC will start to realize that they should not only be giving away promotional materials, such as actors in-character head shots, but giving away the RIGHTS to that material as well. Currently, they distribute and allow use, far and wide, of all manner of publicity photos, but they don't release them in to the public domain. If you think that at some point in the future, they will, then God bless ya' and the eternally optimistic world in which you live. It's simply not happening any time soon. Or, ever. But you're not interested in making the best encyclopedia you can... you're interested in making a point. Which is fine, if somewhat frustrating for those who like their encyclopeidas a bit more... oh, I don't know, encyclopedic? You know, with words AND pictures?

Of greater concern, I would propose, is that a German-style English Wikipedia (and hey, "Our German Future", as a previous post of mine called it, arrived a lot earlier than most of you thought it would, didn't it?) just ain't that useful. And it's certainly not going to be as fun for the majority of users to read or contribute to. And I think the over-valuation of free/libre is actually going to hurt Wikipedia much more than it helps. No one is going to want to look at an all-amateur photo encyclopedia. The problems caused by taking advantage of unsuspecting Flickr users, many of whom don't realize they're signing away some very important rights when they use a "copyleft" (ugh!) license, will eventually catch up to Wikipedia.

And I bet some web site, some where, will capitalize on this really draconian fair use crack-down, and find a better balance. Photos released, say, by the state of Michigan for use by the media, organizations, or the public WON'T be deleted for silly procedural reasons. Important historical photos of pop culture icons, say, like Boy George, won't be nuked after a widespread community consensus to keep. Two years ago, nobody had heard of YouTube, and yet, now, it's one of the most popular sites on the 'net. The previous version of Wikipedia - the one that had a rational and sane fair use policy - helped make it an exceedingly popular site. But without the enthusiastic - and, it should be pointed out, entirely legal contributions by thousands of tireless editors - it's tough for me to see much of a future for the German version of EN.

I encourage everyone to take a look at Wikipedia:Successful requests for permission; where are the film stars? TV actors? The recording artists? Anyone on that list that people have actually heard of? I also like that several of the "successful" images have been deleted for not having a fair use criteria. Gosh, we had "permission" to use them; you mean we need a fair use criteria too? Who says the anti-fair use crusade is out of control?  ;) Jenolen speak it! 10:39, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

I suspect we already have more images than any other encyclopedia in existiance. SO it is clearly posible to get by with less. As for youtube what do you think they are going to do when other companies start to follow viacom?Geni 12:14, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

"Which is fine, if somewhat frustrating for those who like their encyclopeidas a bit more... oh, I don't know, encyclopedic? You know, with words AND pictures?" - sure, because without using promo images there's no way to make articles more encyclopaedic? Heaven forbid our "out of control crusade" to uphold the project's mission should make pop-culture articles less "fun". "No one is going to want to look at an all-amateur photo encyclopedia." - sure, and no one will want to look at an all-amateur article encyclopaedia - oh wait, we have professional academics and photographers contributing? And it is well known that the wikis which don't use Fair Use get absolutely no traffic. ed g2stalk 13:32, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

If pictures are just "fun" why not save us all a huge amount of trouble and just get rid of all pictures on wikipedia? After all, you seem to think they don't do anything beyond making things look pretty. I certainly agree that if we can get free pictures, we should use them and replace FU ones. But if none are available, we do need promo images to make articles more encyclopedic. EB certainly believes that images (even of people, even if they just "show what it looks like") add value to an article. And I'm not sure the point of the comment about traffic - WP gets the most traffic of any wiki, and it has fair use images. I wouldn't be surprised if, all things being equal, sites with fair use images get more traffic than sites with only free (or no) images. If you can provide an example of a "free" wiki getting more traffic than a comparable "fair" wiki, go for it. --Milo H Minderbinder 14:37, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Notice the quotation marks around "fun" - it wasn't my word. There is no logical extension of my argument that results in the deletion of free content. The German speaking world is not as big as the English speaking world, but the German Wikipedia is nonetheless the second most successful wiki, Germany hosted the first WikiMania, and they've published the first WikiReaders. Sounds like they're doing alright without Fair Use. ed g2stalk 16:18, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of how well they're doing, they have many articles that would be improved with images. There's no question you can make a completely free encyclopedia, the issue is how good and successful can it be? And taking a quick look over there, I see fair use media on their featured article, comptete with big copyright C on the licensing box. Is it allowed, or are they just lax at enforcement? I also see logos, apparently allowed as well. --Milo H Minderbinder 17:02, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Jenolen, you probably don't realize it, but you're saying *exactly* the same things that skeptics said about free software in the 1980s and 1990s - it's "amateur", "nobody would use it", "unrealistic", "no money in it". Will WP go the same way? I don't know. I do know that free stuff twists the economy around in funny ways; for instance, while people were making fun of RMS' public ideology, us gnomes at Cygnus Solutions were quietly undercutting the proprietary competition by charging only to make the initial version of software tools, and for support, which customers thought was great because they hated the traditional per-seat licensing, plus they got to "own" the tools. Hollywood fought tooth and nail against VCRs, then embraced them once they came up with a way to make money. How would Hollywood make money from free photos in WP? Again, I don't know, but I wouldn't bet against them coming up with something. Stan 15:10, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

But what is the strategy? Continue on this course of attrition where it is slowly beaten into our heads that all images must be free use? or start a Press Bureau, and make it clear what the position is and how you can help. I know that I will be looking out for photos of value when I carry around my digital camera now.-BiancaOfHell 16:16, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
"I will be looking out for photos of value" - this is exactly the sort of thing our policy is encouraging, and evidence it makes it difference. ed g2stalk 16:26, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, but I learned this the hard way. It took about 10,000 words to get to this point. Shouldn't some kind of "bureau" be opened where you can show up, upload photos, have it all taken care of for you, licensed, with guides to read, examples of what others have done, etc... I mean, what are the examples for celebrities? If I were to catch Mr. Sorkin at a reading table signing autographs, and I snapped a photo, took off, would that be mine to license under the GDFL and put up on Wikipedia? How about a guide on a WikiPhoto site, called "So how do you get that photo?", or "Tales from a Guerilla Photographer."-BiancaOfHell 17:35, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
You mean like, say, ? Hundreds of Wikipedians are already out photographing everything. The non-en's already have no choice but to get free images, and you can see some thousands amassed at for instance. Dunno about celebrity photography, most of my advice would be about how to avoid getting a cactus spine through your knee when crouching down for that better angle. :-) Stan 21:43, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Resolution A free use image was obtained after a Flickr user graciously donated an image of herself and Aaron Sorkin at an autograph/book signing. Thanks go to ShadowHalo for communicating with the Flickr user and getting the Flickr user's consent.-BiancaOfHell 20:58, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
  • UPDATE: A second free use image of Aaron Sorkin has been obtained.-BiancaOfHell 21:12, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
  • 2nd UPDATE: A third free use image has been found for the Aaron Sorkin article. This one is from someone who went to see the revival of A Few Good Men in 2005. The quality is excellent and it puts the fair use images that were previously in the article to shame. ;) -BiancaOfHell 00:29, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
So, let's review the three images currently in the article, and judge them only on their encyclopedic content. The first one is a slightly fuzzy, mis-framed personal snapshot, where the other person in it has been "scissored" out, much as you would excise an ex-lover. The second photo, while lovely, does not show the subject of the article, and, in fact was likely taken in violation of a theatre "no photos" policy. (I have yet to see the major Broadway-style show that encourages audience members to take photos of the cast; photography is usually banned). The third photo is of "stalker-azzi" quality; an airport snapshot likely taken without the subject's permission, and from considerable distance. This is encyclopedia-worthy content? I agree; two of the three ARE, at least, pictures of Aaron Sorkin, but let's not labor under the misperception that these are photos that in any way meet what should be the minimum starting point for high quality encyclopedia content.
Sudden thought: If, as some here have suggested, the fair use of professional promotional photos inhibits the creation of free content, then does the use of poor quality free content inhibit the creation of higher quality free content? To put it another way - are we going to be stuck with the "Scissored Sorkin" photo at the top? Jenolen speak it! 01:55, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
I see it as a beginning. The photo of Aaron Sorkin at the top isn't of the highest quality, but it's good. Sorkin is smiling and it's colorful. The second photo is brilliant, and your claim that it's possibly in violation of the theatre's "no photos" policy is just that, a claim. It shows you the props of the play, the setting, and gives you a real look-in to what A Few Good Men is all about. The equivalent fair use image was nothing more than an ad. The third photo is interesting, and can be compared to the millions of photos like it where a celebrity is out in public and gets a photo taken. None of these photos were taken maliciously. This article is a real crowd-effort. It doesn't always have the Hollywood glamour which some might want, but it's more real and definitely encyclopedic. This isn't to say it ends here and all free use images will reach this level and no further. There are other levels to reach, and by that I mean we may some day see companies placing their previously guarded properties into the public domain.-BillDeanCarter 03:29, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
we may some day see companies placing their previously guarded properties into the public domain... We may. However, past evidence does not support this hope, and, in fact, makes it exceedingly unlikely. The story of copyrighted media in the latter half of the 20th Century is not similar to that of free computer software; instead, it's been marked with time and instance again and again of major corporations taking steps to preserve, protect, defend, and profit from their intellectual property. This list of material released by major entertainment companies into the public domain is a list that is so short and insignificant, it's tough for me to see where this optimism comes from. As for my "claim" that photographs taken inside a theatre should be treated with suspicion, this is simply a long-standing policy in the theatre world. Why aren't Wikipedians equally worried about a Flikr photo that has possibly been obtained illegally as they are about a legal fair use? Should not the user have to PROVE that the photo was taken in accordance with the theatre's photography policy? We wouldn't want to expose Wikipedia to any undue legal jeopardy, after all... at least, that's what I've been told by those who think our legal fair use of certain photographs is too "risky" for Wikipedia. Jenolen speak it! 04:19, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Alright, your claim about the "no photos" policy in general is valid, but I haven't found any supporting evidence for the Theatre Royal Haymarket. But that's not the central debate. The idea is that Wikipedia will become more worried about free use images, but only after that becomes the main type of image used in articles. Things can change too. When free use images start to intrude here and there, you offer alternatives. Perhaps theaters will allow photographs after the show, or in promotional venues. And this is one instance. As well, the focus on Entertainment is just, but there are other types of free use images out there that are going to start showing up at Wikipedia. There is no doubt that this could be disruptive in a decade, but it's a much easier give to make than putting music, video, and books into the public domain.-BillDeanCarter 04:46, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Use of Wikipedia logo and Wikimedia copyrighted images

I've started a discussion about the use of the Wikipedia logo and Wikimedia copyright images at the village pump that's relevant to "Fair Use" issues that people here may be interested in contributing to. Thanks! - 01:45, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Rewrites and #9

Could we perhaps note that fair use images in a user space are permissiable if and only if those photos are part of a work in progress that is actively being worked on? TomStar81 (Talk) 09:24, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Is it really necessary? You can always link to the image instead of showing it. When the aticle you're working on goes 'live' you can change that again. Garion96 (talk) 12:29, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Is removal of such files an actual problem? If you need more than a couple of weeks to put an article togeter it's probably best to not upload any images untill it's close to finished anyway, and the admin instruvtions do say to use common sense and give active in-progres articles time to finish before nuking it's images. --Sherool (talk) 12:41, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Painting based on music video screenshots

Image:HarrietWheeler.jpg, used in The Sundays to illustrate that now defunct musical group's lead singer, is based on screenshots from their music video for "Summertime." The creator says the same shots he used are not online, but some examples can be found here. I think the painting is a derivative work, which means that we need a fair use claim (which I can't think of) for whatever it copies from the music video upon which it is based. Another possible argument (one that I don't accept) is that the painter only used the music video as an informational source for how the individual looked, such that the painting did not copy anything that was copyrightable. My previous discussion with the uploader can be found here. Any other thoughts? Should this be kept, or listed for deletion as I believe? Postdlf 00:35, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Assuming the images were used for reference purposes only, and it's not a direct copy of any one of them, it's fine. --Carnildo 05:15, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Postdiff is right. This should be deleted as a derivative of a copyrighted work. Such extrapolations are upheld in case law. See Davis v. Mendenhall, a case in which a muralist projected a photograph onto a wall and painted that photograph. Davis (the photographer) won the suit, winning damages and affirming copyright of the mural. See also Rogers v. Koons, a case in which a source photograph was used for a wood sculpture, which was also won. Derivatives are derivatives are derivatives.--Jeff 05:35, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
That case covers what is fairly direct copying, just in a different medium. We're talking about using a set of pictures as the inspiration for a painting. If you can find a single frame in the music video that the painting is clearly based on, I'll agree you have a case. Until then, no. --Carnildo 07:05, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, but I am transferring the discussion from my talk pages here so we don't have to debate this in 2 places and since it addresses some points made by Jeff above. For Jeff, I would ask he read 2), 4) and 5) in my third response to Postdiff. Slffea 05:57, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

      • Start of previous thread here

I'm assuming you didn't draw this from real life, so could you please provide a link to the photograph that you based it upon? Thanks, Postdlf 20:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

The painting was based on several screen caps from the Sundays video "Summertime" rather than on a photograph. The screen caps I took aren't online, but here's a site which gives you an idea of what I worked from as well as the particular image that had the most influence(3rd row, 3rd column).
Siren's of Song
I think my painting counts as an original work which I own the copyright to and am allowed to release under the terms that I choose.Slffea 22:59, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
Why wouldn't it be a derivative work? Postdlf 23:01, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
To give the best answer would probably require a lot of legal reasoning requiring me to do research on the history of copyright as it applies to these kinds of situations. I would agree that it is in a sense a derivative work but permissible because:
1) It is not based on any one image in the video but a combination of images so there is no direct copying.
2) It's a person I'm painting who is a public figure and not a painting made from a video entirely composed of artwork created by the video maker. As an analogy, imagine I painted the Statue of Liberty based on watching a film. I think that would be allowed. But making artwork of Bambi by combining images from that movie might no be allowed. I suppose if there were a particular still shot of the Statue in the film, and I did a direct painting of that, there could be issues but I am not sure. Even in the Bambi case, I think that I'd probably get sued for using a Disney character rather than making a derivative work from images in the film.
3) It is an entirely new medium from the original. For comparison, had it been a collage of images from the video, that would be more derivative than what I have done. I suppose because the painting is a representational work, someone could make a legal counter-argument, but certainly, had I done it in the style of abstract expressionism, there would be no argument.
4) The works of Andy Warhol regarding Campbell's Soup Cans or Marylin Monroe(the latter which was likely made from a photograph not belonging to Warhol) seem not to be subject to copyright trouble. These works are more direct copies from their original sources than my painting, so this also makes me feel I am on sound legal ground. Now maybe Campbell and others simply decided not to sue, but had a case. On this, I don't know. Incidentally, Roy Lichtenstein has gotten away with making direct copies of the works of others(simply by scaling the sizes up) to a level that's pretty shocking.
As with a lot of legal issues, it becomes a matter of degree. All the Cubist paintings that came after Picasso were in some sense derivative works, but of course Cubism is a style of art which I think can neither be patented nor copyrighted. So I think my painting, though it can be argued is a derivative work, is unique enough from the original that it is my own.
Well anyway, that is my legal reasoning. Slffea 00:14, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
That's what a derivative work is—one based on another that has sufficient original content as to be independently copyrightable, but still subject to the copyright of the work upon which it is based. If it isn't sufficiently different, it's just a copy. Changing mediums (video to painting, photograph to drawing, etc.) only makes it easier for you to claim that you added something, but doesn't change that it does derive from a copyrighted work. Yes, many works of modern and contemporary art copy copyrightable subject matter. Artists are often sued over this and sometimes win, sometimes settle, sometimes lose (see some examples here). It all depends on how they justify their fair use of the copyrighted work in their own art, or manage to argue that they only copyrighted something that is uncopyrightable. So if your painting is a derivative, which I think it is, we need a fair use claim for whatever your painting copies from the video stills. I don't think whatever you added to it is informationally different from a screenshot of the music video (except to make it less accurate as a representation). Anyway, I'm going to post a comment on Wikipedia talk:Fair use to get more feedback. Postdlf 00:17, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I would like more specific examples of why my painting isn't sufficient differently enough that there is some danger of copyright infringement. Some points I will address:
1) I am NOT claiming that it isn't derived from a copyrighted work. Not being a lawyer, I don't know the very specific and exact language needed to categorize my work. For instance sometimes I see math images created from the program Mathematica. Because the maker used this software, is it derived from Mathematica? Probably not. So I don't know what legal implications there are to categorizing my work as a derivative. What I do claim is that I have total ownership of this work that I can release under any legal license I want.
2) Within the history of art, I would think there are millions of examples where major public figures(presidents, actors, athletes) were drawn based on non-public domain photos and images(such as a newscast) because the artist had no chance to have a one on one sit down with the subject to paint directly or make his own photos which he could then paint from. I would bet this is the case with 90% of the images of George W. Bush for example. Therefore, saying that the image was originally based on a video diminishes my ownership of it doesn't feel very compelling.
3) Related to the above, I see screen caps being used to illustrate TV shows and actors. Their usage is argued under fair use. If my painting, which is more removed from the original source than these caps, cannot even stay by fair use arguments, then I think we'd have to go and remove all copyrighted screen cap images. (And I want to add that I think my painting's usage is based on ownership rather than fair use. Which is not to be confused with using stills from the video in the first place which I think is fair use.)
4) You say, "I don't think whatever you added to it is informationally different" which I interpret to mean in this case that it would have been OK to paint her looking in a different direction from a viewpoint that was not found anywhere in the video. I would agree that this would give me more legal standing, but I still feel it unnecessary. One would have to be an exceptional artist(or maybe an autistic savant) to make a highly representational portrait based on seeing a series of images and reconstructing a person from any angle with any expression. Because most of the portraits in 1) weren't made this way and they seem free of copyright problems, I would again say I feel entitled to claiming ownership in its entirety for this work.
5) I think I am on better legal ground than Jeff Koons in the case of Rogers v. Koons which you referred me to. Jeff Koons made a sculpture from a photograph. A photograph, by its nature, is the artist saying that this specific image of this moment in time is unique and special and shall be preserved by this single image. Sculpture, being static, is basically a 3-D representation of that still image. In contrast, a video is a series of images which work together to convey movement and action, so taking out a single image and basing a painting on it is, at least to me, a significant act.
6) You say, "Artists are often sued over this and sometimes win, sometimes settle, sometimes lose" seems a bit of a tautology to me. People sue; sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, sometimes they settle.
7) You say, "So if your painting is a derivative, which I think it is, we need a fair use claim for whatever your painting copies from the video stills." Well, this is exactly what I am doing in this discussion. Are you saying that this debate has to be transferred to the page of the painting itself. I don't have a problem with that, although it would go better in the painting's talk pages because this debate is getting long. Slffea 02:55, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Please see Wikipedia_talk:Fair_use#Painting_based_on_music_video_screenshots, where I've posted a question about this; I don't want to continue two threads. Before you continue, you should read the article on derivative work, and some of this recent discussion might be helpful too. If your work is a derivative, the legal consequence is that you would not have full rights over it because it incorporated copyrightable elements of a copyrighted work. Postdlf 03:24, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

I have read the article on derivative works and my reaction is I am glad I have not classified my painting based on the legal definition of a derivative work which as that article states, the original maker of the work which I used would have almost total control over my painting and what I can do with it.
Some points about that article:
1) It talks about characters in fictional works like Chewbacca in Star Wars. I am painting a real living public individual and I assume neither Harriet Wheeler nor the copyright holders of the video have exclusive rights over the usage of her image. She isn't Chewbacca. I already addressed this in 2) in my second response to you in my discussion of Disney's Bambi.
2) The thread you pointed me to(which I admit I haven't read though entirely) seems more of the same. Coke, Pepsi, other corporate logos, and other people's artwork cannot simply be photographed and claimed as your own. But again, Harriet isn't Coke. As before, I already addressed this in 2).
No one questions that I have an unencumbered right to depict public figures in artwork.(Probably to the point that I can portray them as murderers(even if they're not) so long as I don't imply that it is based on an actual event.) So what are the things I can use to base my portraits? Maybe not a single photograph which I directly copy from and produce exactly as I can. But if it's from multiple photographs or multiple captures from video, I say yes.Slffea 05:57, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Problem is that videos have been copywriten as videos rather than a series of photos for some time. an interesting one though I really don't know.Geni 10:32, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

(resetting indent as I'm not sure where to really reply at) Re: Andy Warhol's Campbell's can paintings. Warhol secured a license and permission from Campbell's for the paintings. They were not unauthorized.--Jeff 22:50, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Of course, having permission is always best. Warhol, considering the degree of copying that went on, had a very compelling reason to get permission. I certainly would rather have it than not, but I don't feel it is necessary based on the other reasons I gave. Incidentally, I saw a documentary on Roy Lichtenstein where they interviewed one of the comic artist he took an image from, and this artist wasn't contacted in any way. This is not to say that what Lichtenstein did is good policy, but I think you will find that in the art world, even among major artists, there is a lot variability in terms of vetting everything that they do. I continue to stand behind the ownership of my piece.Slffea 00:11, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Your equivocation of all artists' copying was what I was responding to with my point about artists sometimes losing, sometimes winning litigation. You can't simply bank your position on the fact that many artists have copied, when what they've copied and what use they've made of it is completely different than in your case, and the reasons why they never got sued or why they won or lost when they did get sued are very fact-specific. "Lichtenstein got away with it" means nothing legally.
That being said, I'm not going to list your image for deletion myself, and I don't see a lot of strong judgment on here. You may have a point in some of what you have said, but you need to filter out irrelevancies. Either explain why what you copied from the video was not copyrightable, such that your work is independent and not a derivative; or lay out why whatever you copied from the video to make a derivative painting qualifies as fair use according to the criteria listed at WP:FUC. Postdlf 00:28, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I am in no way relying(entirely) on the "Everybody else does it, why can't I" argument. There are many other reasons why I feel justified in claiming entire ownership of the work which I have made. Of course '"Lichtenstein got away with it"' may mean very little(not necessarily nothing) legally. This is why I have offered legal arguments far beyond that. I was responding directly to Jeff and to overemphasize this misrepresents the bulk of my arguments.
In terms of what further explanations you are looking for and that I need to "filter out irrelevancies", I am not sure what you need. If the "irrelevancies" are my example of Lichtenstein, then I have already said this was a direct response to Jeff who was discussing one of my MANY points. As to "explain why what you copied from the video was not copyrightable, such that your work is independent and not a derivative; or lay out why whatever you copied from the video to make a derivative painting qualifies as fair use" I will say again:
1) A public figure is NOT copyrightable, unlike a fictional creation like Bambi. Harriet Wheeler is a public figure.
2) Extracting single images from video of public figures(like newscasts) to create a portrait is fair use so long as no single image was used.
Now there were other arguments I made which don't seem to fall into the 2 above rationales but I think still apply.
1) Painting is a separate entity from video in that it is static whereas video is dynamic so the resulting work represents a significant departure from the original.
If there are things beyond the above that are more legally appropriate or specific terms I should be using, I don't know them. As to consulting WP:FUC, it doesn't apply here as I am claiming ownership of the work and that page is for uploading things you don't own but consider fair use. My fair use arguments apply to how the art was created and NOT how I justify uploading work that isn't mine to Wikipedia.Slffea 01:39, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
While you're right, a public figure is not covered under copyright, you must realize that there is a whole separate section of law that covers one's rights in regards to their person. Please see Personality rights. Personality rights are rights covered under common law and codified in several different states. A person's likeness is protected from unauthorized works. Your reasoning is flawed and I'm hoping you'll see the error here rather than continuing your defense.--Jeff 05:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
So now we're talking about personality rights? Do you think I'm using my painting of Harriet to sell my hair care products? You say, "A person's likeness is protected from unauthorized works." So do we now go to to all the pages where we have photos of athletes, movie stars, and politicians, and remove them even if the photo was taken by a Wikipedian and released under a Free license because he or she didn't get authorization from the famous person to post it here? My reasoning is flawed? You're saying I cannot paint a portrait of a public figure and post it? OK Jeff and Postdlf, you win. I've removed the painting. I cannot spend anymore time discussing this. I'm sure there are aspects of contract law and probate law that I've neglected to consider so I'll defer to both your legal judgments. Postdlf please delete the image or tell me how to do it myself. For now, I've delinked it from The Sundays page, so it's an orphan image. I've also removed the license information so this problem should take care of itself in a week.Slffea 07:39, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I've put it back. Just because someone is making an ass of themselves over points of law they clearly don't understand is no reason to remove useful content from the encyclopedia. --Carnildo 07:48, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It doesn't have to be removed; it just has to have appropriate fair-use rationale and appropriate copyright notices. And your statement about "photos of athletes, movie stars...", you touch upon a heated debate that rages still over the past several months. In my opinion, no, we don't delete them, but they shouldn't be marked as released into the public domain either. From what I've read so far, there doesn't appear to be proper justification to do so.--Jeff 07:53, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

So, Jeff removed the image, but another user put it back with edit summary "Putting the image back. We can always use free-licensed images of celebrities." What does that mean? Are we in need of free-licensed images of celebrities, and does this image/painting qualify? - Peregrine Fisher 08:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

We've gotten far off track by irrelevancies of publicity rights and modern art history, so let me try to restate and clarify the issues. This is not a painting made from life—the painter instead used a copyrighted music video as its only source. Compare the painting with the third still in the third row here, which may indicate how the painting compares to portions of the video, in terms of how the subject is posed and framed, her expression, the colors used, etc. The makers of the music video made creative choices in deciding what angle to shoot the subject at, what shots to keep, how to frame/crop the subject, the lighting, etc. 1) Did this painting distill only the information of what that person looks like without incorporating anything copyrightable? Or, 2) Did the painting incorporate copyrighted elements of the video? If yes to #1, then the painting can be freely licensed. But if yes to #2, then the painting is a derivative work that cannot be freely licensed, and a fair use rationale is necessary for whatever it copied from the video. And if yes to #2, under WP:FUC I think at the very least this would fail the non-replaceability requirement, as it would be a non-free image of a living person that merely illustrates her general appearance. Postdlf 08:45, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

"We don't use unfree images of living people"

"We don't use unfree images of living people..." Is this now official Wikipedia policy? I've seen an especially vigorous anti-fair use editor use this line in explaining why he deleted someone else's contributions to Wikipedia, and I'm just curious. Is this the current consensus of our fair use policy, that "we don't use unfree images of living people"? Because I can't find that anywhere on WP:FU or WP:FUC, and frankly, if this editor is helping to delete material based on this criteria, I think he/she needs to be stopped. Jenolen speak it! 04:49, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Probably was truncated and should have read " illustrate what they look like." It's Counterexample number eight on the page. Jkelly 05:00, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
An unfortunate addition to policy made by limited, interested parties who didn't open the change to vetting until they started implementing it and caught ire of those like myself, which should be removed.--Jeff 05:07, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
it is posible to replace fair use images of people and in general the fair use claim on the images are somewhere between poor and painfuly bad.Geni 10:30, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
It's theoretically possible, but as a practical matter, it's possible in some cases but not in others. If it were truly possible in every case, I'd have to ask why haven't you replaced them? --Milo H Minderbinder 14:20, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
because I don't travel outside the UK a lot. Not saying it will be effortless or instant but is will be posible.Geni 14:36, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
What will be possible? You're not actually saying it's possible for wikipedians to get free pictures of any living person with an article in wikipedia? --Milo H Minderbinder 14:45, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Other than recluses yes it should be posible to get a free pic.Geni 14:47, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
The ironic thing is that almost everybody in the public eye, is, well, out in public a lot. Musicians play concerts, actors appear on stage and at openings and publicity tours, sportspeople are in the arena, authors do book signings, professors lecture, etc etc. "Hi Dr. Foo, I'm a great fan of yours and would like to get a good photo of you for Wikipedia - would you mind standing right there for a moment?" Tell you what, if anyone tries this, and the prof's posse :-) knocks them down and smashes the camera, we can officially upload an unfree picture and declare it unreplaceable. I'm not opposed to fair use, but c'mon, at least make some effort. Stan 15:15, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Reading this, I need to ask to whom I should make out my invoice? As a freelance writer I charge $100 per photograph (rights revert to the client) and $50/hour plus gas and mileage... If we're being asked to basically put in this sort of effort then Wikipedia better be ready to remunerate folks for time and effort. 23skidoo 19:53, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
How much do you charge for writing texts for encyclopedia articles? I may have a job offer for you. You can even keep your copyrights on the text, as long as you accept to released it under gfdl. --Abu badali (talk) 20:18, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
And for working as an admin on a collective project to write an encyclopedia, how much would you charge? --Abu badali (talk) 20:22, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
So 23skidoo, are you saying you've been getting paid for the 28,926+ edits you've made so far? Even for a fast typist, that adds up to a lot of hours to be giving away. That's another thing I don't understand about all this - people who put in thousands of hours on text edits, and then gripe at the prospect of investing a couple hours to get some photographs. Stan 22:32, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

We should allow non-free images of living people where legally possible. There is no valid argument against this and the clause needs to be removed from the policy page. There is no consensus for this change. — Omegatron 18:49, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia the free encycopedia. It has been policy for an awfuly long time not to use fair use if a free replacement is posible. In the case of most living people they are posible.Geni 19:02, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Non-free images should not be used when it is reasonably possible to replace with a free image that would serve the same educational purpose. That's the official position. As people above have noted, it's reasonably possible to obtain free images of most living people. — Matt Crypto 19:09, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, hasn't it generally been "when a free replacement is available"? Parts of the policy still say that. Was "possible" a recent change? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:10, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
No. The fun comes in defineing posible.Geni 19:11, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
You probably mean "There is no valid argument that I'm going to accept". I, for one, see a lot of "valid" arguments. Today, for instance, I have seen one: After removing all unfree headshots from List of freshman class members of the 110th United States Congress four days ago, today I noticed that some nice user started adding free replacements for some of the removed images ([6], [7] [8]). Slow work? Yes, but it would be a stalled work if the unfree images were to remain in the article. Is it worth giving up dozens of unfree images in exchange of some few? Yes. --Abu badali (talk) 19:56, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

We could do things the same way this one linux kernel dude did recently ;-) . Can we apply lateral thinking to this? [9] --Kim Bruning 19:23, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

We kind of do: Wikipedia:Requested pictures and Category:Wikipedia requested images and Wikipedia:Wikipedians/Photographers and Wikipedia:Photo Matching Service. I looked into the latter one and could take a picture of one of the requests in Colorado. I work about 5 minutes from the place. We just need to advertise these programs more. Everytime someone says "I searched the internet and no free image exists so we need this fair use image" I cringe. --MECUtalk 19:49, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Crital problem with Fair use and Template:Screenshot

Just to add to this mess...

It has come to my attention that misinterpretations of the statement shown on the template pages for screen shots may be exposing Wikipedia to a potential liability.

Example from Template:Game-screenshot:

This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game, and the copyright for it is most likely held by the company or person that developed the game. It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots

  • for identification and critical commentary on
    • the computer or video game in question or
    • the copyrighted character(s) or item(s) depicted on the screenshot in question
  • on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation,

qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law, as such display does not significantly impede the right of the copyright holder to sell the copyrighted material, is not being used to generate profit in this context, and presents ideas that cannot be exhibited otherwise. See Wikipedia:Fair use and fair use rationale.

The chief problem here is the wording in the first paragraph, and that it is incomplete and only applicable to the photographer (atleast for the U.S., and I have now confirmed this with two attorneys and an commercial magazine editor I have worked with in the past).

In the case of a photograph, it is established copyright law that:

1) a photograph itself is copyrighted to the photographer and/or photograph's publisher
2) the content of the photograph is copyrighted to the copyright holder of the content (object, etc...) that was photographed.

What the photographer can or can't do with that photograph depends on the end use and any restrictions put in place by the owner of the object/item being photographed (eg, the Eiffel Tower at night).

Additionally any fair use allowance with a photograph is purely with the original photographer and/or photograph's publisher. Fair use by a third party using someone else's photograph is only possible if or when the photograph has significant historical value and/or the image can no longer be recreated by a new source. For instance a photo of a famous deceased individual or a location that no longer exists.

(IMO) To expand on that within the subject of video games, a possible scenario where a third party might claim fair use might include a screen shot of a game that can no longer be played again in any manor. Say for instance a screen shot of a game that was exclusive to the Sega Channel in the 90's, or in the future, a game that is exclusive to X-Box Live Arcade after the game is no longer available on the platform.

I would take it upon myself to revise these templates, but I want to bring this issue to a higher level of attention first. Also, please feel free to read the original discussion on this issue which includes a few citations. BcRIPster 21:28, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no way to recreate photographs of video games from a new source, if by "new source" you mean something that isn't the game in question. Or are you simply saying we can't steal our screenshots from random websites and that we should capture them ourselves? --tjstrf talk 21:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
In short, I'm saying you can't steal screenshots from random websites, and that you need to capture them yourself. BcRIPster 22:06, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Depends on what it's a screen shot of.. if the screenshooter just hit a button and didn't put anything creative into the process he hasn't creative a copyright deserving derivative. If there was too much creativity in the process, I'd question the usefulness of the screenshot for our purposes. --Gmaxwell 22:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
No it doesn't "depend". This has nothing to do with "artistic copyright" it has to do with copyright via creation of a stand alone work (ala the photograph), what the photographer can do with that photo is dependent on intended use, and anyone else wanting to make use of that photo is going to have to get permission from the photographer at a minimum depending on intended use. BcRIPster 22:44, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Sigh Why does it seem that the aggressiveness which someone uses to defend their position is so often proportional to their level of ignorance related to the subject at hand?
If a screenshooters act of screenshooting is a pure mechanical reproduction, it does not earn a copyright. Really. Photography gains copyright because the law specifically defines it to, and even photography doesn't earn a copyright on a mechanical reproduction, see Bridgeman v. Corel. In the US and most other countries, the criteria for copyright demands originality and creativity, not mere sweat of the brow. When you illicitly copy a DVD, you in no way gain any copyright over the result... and I believe that it is fairly likely that the same is true for most types of screen-shots. --Gmaxwell 22:52, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
But a screen shot of a video game is not a mear mechanical reproduction. The photographer has made an effort to capture a photograph representative of the game for presentation. So some concious effort has been made on the part of the photographer. BcRIPster 22:57, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd argue that if it's a screen-shot of the title screen there wasn't. But sure, a representative example of gameplay.. Yes, I'd agree that there is room for originality there. ... Which is the whole reason I said it depends. In the case of movies we probably will never run into an example where there is a strong argument for substantial originality. --Gmaxwell 23:01, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
<wikilawyering>Wouldn't that mean that any screenshot we took ourselves would constitute original research since the claim to representativeness resides entirely in Wikipedia's own editors?</wikilawyering> --tjstrf talk 23:02, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
Gmaxwell, sorry for my aggressive tone, this has been a carry over of a drug out fight where I've had a hand full of people telling me that unless the image is watermarked, it is acceptable to steal photographs of gameplay images from any website, anywhere for inclusion into Wikipedia based off the wording of this template. FWIW, I agree on the title screen argument and I should have been more specific. Thanks for calling that out. BcRIPster 23:20, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm wondering what application, if any, this has to manga images, where the pictures uploaded often come from the work of scanlation teams. Should Wikipedia be crediting the scanlation group for their work in cleaning the image from its original scanned form? Should we be doing our own cleaning? Does the fact that scanlation groups are breaking copyright law in the first place have any bearing? Same thing with fansubbed screenshots where someone put a derivative-work's worth of effort into translating the episode's content, but those are more easily dealt with since you can just crop out the subtitle text on the bottom of the image. --tjstrf talk 23:02, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

What is the deal with that? A scanner can't copyright his scan, so their a middle man that can be ignored? - Peregrine Fisher 05:48, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
In my opinion and interpretation of copyright law, yes, they are a middle man that can be ignored. The copyright on any unauthorized derivative works is held by the original copyright holder. Near as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any precedent against using such derivatives under fair-use rationale, so long as you acknowledge the original copyright holder and the fair-use rationale is just. The only objection would be on morale grounds that "we should create our own derivatives rather than ganking someone else's".--Jeff 07:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Plot summaries redux

Please see Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (writing about fiction)#Excessively long plot as a suggested focal point for debate about long plot summaries. --GunnarRene 23:25, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Where/what is the definition of "critical commentary"?

I'm trying to decide exactly what "critical commentary" means. I was looking at the definitions of both words at It seems critical commentary is a series of explanations or interpretations characterized by careful, exact evaluation and judgment. Does that sound right? Is there an essay/guideline/policy page that has a paragraph explaining what CC is, exactly? Also, how does the CC definition avoid encouraging original research? - Peregrine Fisher 05:38, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I personally take a pretty broad view of what constitutes "critical commentary", that it's any text that talks about the bits in the image in some meaningful way. It's true that one needs to be careful about injecting personal opinion - "the red disk represents the rising sun" is a critical commentary that is easily sourced, while "this Pokemon's horn is clearly derived from a type used in ancient fertility rites" may be an interesting but likely original observation. Stan 05:56, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

What's the status of a user taken photograph of an automobile

If I take a picture of a Chevrolet Impala, can I release it into the public domain? I know I can't take a picture of a movie and release it. Why are they different? - Peregrine Fisher 06:19, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Read [10]. Megapixie 07:04, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Like Megapixie said, also checkout Commons:Commons:Derivative_works. --Gmaxwell 07:05, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Objects whose form and purpose is a utility (bottles, cars, computer mice, non-ornate knives, glasses, etc) which lack features that may be considered "art" (like the artwork on a coke label or the artwork printed on a glass) are excluded from having a copyright. This was made clear in ETS-HOKIN v. SKYY SPIRITS INC , although it had dissenting opinion which itself raises valid points.
There are cars which may, in fact, include artful elements beyond the utilitarian functions of the car and may qualify for a copyright. In my opinion, many of the cars from the 1950s were "art" (tailfins, whitewall tires, chrome finish which served no utility) and many modern hotrods are "art" especially with their paintjobs. Photos of cars which have elements such as these are probably not licensable by the photographer.
Suffice to say this is certainly a gray area of the law even in real courts, let alone the misguided court of Wikipedia. All that can be said for sure is that just because a photographer takes a photo themselves does not necessarily entitle the photographer to license it or release it lacking a license (public domain). Maybe we need to make a primer to outline all this crap.--Jeff 07:08, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Very interesting, another gray area. I can't tell if they are saying that the cladding on a car is copyrighted, but its internals aren't, or what. At least now I know there can be a difference. Yikes. - 07:26, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
From the article you provided, I would say there are great examples of photos properly and improperly into the public domain. Here is where I would make the distinction..
  • Image:Chevrolet-impala-2006.jpg This photo is a photo of a car that has very little artful design to it that is not of some utility. It is very much function over form, and in my opinion this is not a work of art.
  • Image:SC06_1959_Chevrolet_Impala_Convertible.jpg This photo is a photo of a car that has many features that serve no utility. Chrome along the side, distinctive front grill, tailfins and other unique features. In my opinion, it is art and photos of it qualify as a derivative work.
I guess it comes down to if it is art or not.--Jeff 07:45, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Jumping in at this point, I would suggest that the background of the pictures raises more problems here than the car themselves. In the first one, you have 'Crosby' signs on lorries in the background, and two other cars in the picture. In the second one, you again have part of another car in the picture, and a 'Michael's Gourmet Foods' shop sign in the background (the image source info identifies this as the Michael's Gormet Foods in Scarsdale, New York). If you are serious about worrying about Chevy's concerns over the picture, why not be concerned about the incidential trademarks and copyright material appearing in the picture? The poor composition of the pictures also raise a question about the ownership of the cars in question. If the person taking these pictures owned the cars in question, they could have driven the car to a suitably neutral location (an empty car park or the side of a country road or at home) and taken the pictures without any other cars, writing or whatnot in the background. The set-up of the pictures here implies to me that the photographers were either lazy (took poorly composed pictures - ask them to try again) or took pictures of cars owned by someone else (really, they should have had the courtesy to ask permission). The impression I get from these photos is that the first one was taken by someone taking a photo of their own car while they were out shopping, and the second one was taken by someone visiting a classic cars rally. Aren't these issue just as valid for the concepts of free pictures and fair use, as worrying about the copyright issues on the Chevrolet design? Carcharoth 22:12, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
On the other hand, I seriously doubt that the 1959 Chevy Impala was ever registered with the copyright office. --Carnildo 08:04, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
So if the car is ugly, it's OK? It's kind of crazy because new cars probably go through more through aesthetic design than old cars. Anyways, it seems like it comes down to; wikipedians need to try and predict whether a judge would think a car is a work of art or not. Is that it? It makes me wonder what copyright rational people who make auto calendars use. - Peregrine Fisher 08:22, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
This sounds more like a trademark issue than a copyright issue. And it all really depends on how you use the image. There's some stuff that you could use in the public domain and have no problems, but then one day company X gets a hair up it's ass and finds a way to spin something, and all the rules change. Chevy makes cars, cars that become apart of daily life, Chevy's not going to care because a picture of a car is not a car itself. If you use the picture to make a car then they'd care. Or something like that. -- Ned Scott 08:50, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Err, let me put it a different way, since it's not really about if Chevy cares or not. A picture of a movie is a part of the product, and a picture of a car is a picture of a product, rather than being apart of the product. A movie is a visual product, where even images from it are sold by the movie's studio for profit. Car companies don't produce cars to make money from the pictures of the cars. And no, I am not an expert in law or anything, but come on, it's totally different. -- Ned Scott 09:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
That sounds like a fair use rational: the company isn't harmed by the use, so it's OK. But, this doesn't speak to whether it can be released into the public domain. I know, it's tricky. - Peregrine Fisher 09:12, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It's a bit more than that, since Chevy isn't in the business of making images, the cars have become such common place items, the image isn't a part of the product (it's just of the product, which can still be a trademark that is held), etc. It's not black and white, and like I said, a pissed company can find all sorts of ways to spin copyright law if it wants to, but it's very different than a screen shot of a film. -- Ned Scott 09:21, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Theoretically replaceable images

Have we specified a threshold for what is replaceable? Someone mentioned a photo of a recluse may not be possible to get, leaving room for a FU image. Is it a hard/fast rule whether they are alive or dead? What if it was some image of a super criminal, where maybe only one image exists of them? Anyways, you can imagine a lot of scenarios where it's not impossible to acquire a free image, but you can also be sure that it will never happen. What's the rule? Or are we left to decide this on our own? - Peregrine Fisher 09:22, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

These are situations (jail, recluse, etc) where I think it would be ok to make a fair use claim, even though it's a living person.. -- Ned Scott 09:33, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't think there can be a simple rule. For instance, if someone is still living but in a nursing home or hospital, it seems unreasonable to insist that we invade the institution to get a shot of the person - on the other hand, that person's relatives might be happy to donate a photo from younger days, if we only asked them. So I think a good-faith effort to determine replaceability should at least include an attempt to contact potential image donors. Conversely, someone who is making regular appearances in public should be considered replaceable, irrespective of location - we have Wikipedians all over the world. It would be worth developing a page on the topic; I don't think we have one, and it's an interesting bridge between our fair-use policy and instructions to photographers. Stan 15:41, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Critical Commentary/Indeitification

Movie posters are rarely used for critical commentary - rather for identification. The standard FUC tag on such support this use-> {{Movie poster}}. I have modified the guideline to reflect this.

I have also modified the guideline for {{Albumcover}} to reflect it's standard use in identification. Hipocrite - «Talk» 15:39, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't believe it's a good idea to change guidelines or policies to reflect the common practices. Would you modify WP:NPOV to say "It's acceptable that some articles or sections may, sometimes, choose a point of view for the information it provides, according to the editor's own bias"? --Abu badali (talk) 16:01, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
If protected templates included a protected and blessed {{povallowedsection}} template, then yes. Either this guideline or those tags need to be fixed. I cannot fix the protected tags, so I fixed the guideline. Hipocrite - «Talk» 16:02, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I understand you point. But note that theses templates are not protected because what they say is settled in stone. They are protected because, for being heavly used, they are a common target for vandalism. You can request some admin to change a protected template in the template's talk page. And taking into account this thread above, I would suggest changing {{Movie poster}}, and not {{albumcover}}. --Abu badali (talk) 16:10, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I think there is confusion as to what "critical commentary" and "identification" mean. If I'm not mistaken, the term "identification" was imported from the Google images thumbnail court decision, Kelly v. Arriba Soft Corporation. In that case, the fair use copies of the thumbnails were being used to identify the images themselves, as they could be found on the web. But on Wikipedia, images such as book cover scans or movie posters in articles are often said to help "identify" the article's subject, much in the way that giving the publication date or author does: it helps us know exactly what we're talking about. The simple fact of what the cover looks like is also generally considered a key fact of the subject. This means that the images do function as critical commentary by contributing to the articles, because "critical commentary" is what Wikipedia articles are. There have been many discussions evincing a strong consensus that such scans substantially contribute to the articles, even where the articles do not expressly "discuss" (i.e., describe) the cover itself, simply based on the intrinsic relationship of the cover to the subject. Or, to put it simply, Abu has no support for this change and it is not a necessary and unambiguous consequence of policy, provided that he is targeting the latter use of "identify" and not the former as used in Arriba. At a minimum, the express exclusion of "identification" will only invite equivocation on that term. Postdlf 16:17, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
It wasn't a "change", it was a reversion. Comment on the edition, not the editor. --Abu badali (talk) 17:40, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
FWIW, I support that revert. —xyzzyn 17:57, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better to wait to change this policy until the foundation comes with that declaration Kat Walsh was talking about. See a few sections above. Garion96 (talk) 20:59, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Dilemma with current wording

"Can this image be replaced by a different one, while still having the same effect?" should be changed to "Can this image be replaced by a free one, while still having the same effect?" - otherwise if there are two or more non-free images, either of them could be replaced with the other. I believe this wording change fits the intent better and is independent of any ongoing dispute. --Random832(tc) 20:51, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

The wording is intentional, although it is not intended to be read in a way which would result in the conclusion that in cases where there exist two pictures of something, that said pictures will be always be considered replaceable. It's hard to get this point clear. Saying free is not correct, since in some cases it is completely plausible that we'll be able to get some currently non-free image release freely. --Gmaxwell 22:31, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe the wording is o.k., and it's indeed a good test. You can't replace the main image on The White Album or in Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima nor in Lenna, but any image in any list of episodes or any random screenshots used to illustrate text on movie articles may be replaced by others unfree images. This is a "image notability test", and it reflects the fact that the use of "fair use" on Wikipedia was originally intended for very few specific cases where the image is necessary for critical analysis, and not for being (ab)used in every case where the image makes the article look better and no law is broken.
But this test seems to fail in at least one case that I believe it's valid to use unfree images: Articles about fictional characters that happen to analyze (and not only illustrate) the character's look may use unfree images (when the character is still copyrighted), but the image itself wouldn't necessarily be notable.
Can anyone think of a tweak for this test to include this case? --Abu badali (talk) 00:42, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Is this eligible for copyright?

Image:OhioTurnpike.svg is the logo used by the Ohio Turnpike. But it is rather simple; is it simple enough for template:PD-ineligible or is it fair use? --NE2 23:41, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

I am no lawyer but I think the whole concept of juxtaposing a white silhouette on a field of green, then having "OHIO TURNPIKE" in capital letters in the same shade of green as the field is a copyrightable concept. Remember, my opinion is not qualified whatsoever. Signed, your friendly neighborhood MessedRocker. 00:03, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
PD-ineligible is for things like chemical compounds, math formulas, musical notes -- things that if anyone were going to create that kind of image, it would basically turn out the same. howcheng {chat} 03:12, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, delete unless it qualifies as PD-old. ed g2stalk 16:29, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Publicity photos

Right now the Publicity photos section of this guideline is quite limited in its scope, including only press kits and pictures from specific organizations. I would hope that we could extend this to include photos that fit these requirements:

  • photo is of a single person and taken expressly for identifying the subject
  • photo is taken by an organization to which the subject is connected (ie university, think tank, government etc.)
  • any freely available image would take precedence

The reason for this is that there are a host of images from universities, foreign governments, etc, which are used in bios of their personnel, but are generally not allowed on WP. Because many of these people do not make frequent appearances, there is very little chance of ever getting a free image, but because of WP guidelines, these bios are often left without pics. I don't claim to be a fair use expert, but considering google news, which includes pictures, is based entirely on fair use, I don't believe that WP would at all be overstepping fair use bounds. Joshdboz 12:22, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

google news uses thumbs and uses the thumbs so the the main images can be identified. Politicians do appear in public from time to time and a student of a university should not have too hard a time getting a pic of any given prof.Geni 13:06, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
There's also the parts where Google a) has business arrangements with many copyright holders, b) has a jillion dollars for lawyers, and c) could deal a body blow to any business with a simple tweak of its search. Even with all that, they're still getting sued regularly over purported cn there opyright violations, presumably by the under-100-IQ half of the population. :-) Stan 14:34, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
Even google can lose though. There was recently a court case about google news in Belgium. Mind you, that was Belgium law, not US law. Garion96 (talk) 14:44, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

You know, when the photo is of a living person, fair use is only one consideration. Individuals have rights (at least in the US) to control the use of pictures of themselves. It's rights of publicity, and it has nothing to do with copyright law. Just because something may qualify as fair use does not mean Wikipedia automatically has the right to use it. Cbdorsett 14:59, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps using google was a bad example. What I meant to say is that "publicity photos" under WP definition only covers press packets, while there are many other photograhps that are distributed for the same purpose, just online. And yes, theoretically, if a person is living, a free replacement is possible. However, in many cases, the likelihood of such an image being made are slim to none. Has WP ever considered using fair use thumbs that link to the original? Those are explicitly allowed Fair use on the Internet. -- Joshdboz 16:49, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

That is precisely what we do. We upload a small, lower-resolution thumbnail locally, and the link to the original is on the image description page, along with information on the copyright holder and our rationale for claiming Wikipedia:Fair use. Jkelly 17:41, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
The reason we restrict it to press packets is because otherwise uploaders try to engage in mind-reading: "this picture was available in such-and-such a place/available on the internet, therefore the copyright holder must have intended for the image to be promotional". --Carnildo 19:11, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
What about images released on official websites along with text that makes it clear that it's intended for promotional use? --Milo H Minderbinder 19:18, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

But Jkelly, wouldn't this allow nearly any picture to be claimed for fair use. This is what I'm trying to get at: it seems like there is a trove of pictures with few replacements that we are avoiding, even though a low-resolution pic would qualify under fair use. Joshdboz 20:06, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah we are avoiding them. Most people can be photographed or convinced to release a free licensed photo of themselves so replacements are possible. Wikipedia is supposed to be a project to create and spread free content, these images you are refering to are not free content, so they are only allowed in some narrowly defined cases where we need an image and no free works can be created (recluses, missing persons, or dead people for example). --Sherool (talk) 12:51, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I completely understand the reasoning. Sometimes I wonder though if quality is being sacrificed in the name of free content; would it really kill WP if it suddenly started using fair use photos on a broader basis? I think most people use WP for is value as a resource, and few ever realize what "free" means in terms of WP, other than the fact that they don't have to pay to access it. Anyway, I don't mean to be a pain about it. Joshdboz 15:04, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

You could flip the question around too - would it really kill WP to use fair use photos on a narrower basis? Are there really readers who tell their friends things like "I looked up Joe Blow on WP, and found out his birthday was the same as mine! But the article had no picture, so it sucked."? Stan 15:31, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I've had cases where I looked a person up, and without a picture I had no way of knowing if it was the right person. So yeah, lack of a picture can make an article worse. Does it kill WP? No. Does it hurt WP? I think so. --Milo H Minderbinder 15:36, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
There's not really a debate that quality is being sacrificed in the name of libre; of course it is. It's why we use poorly cropped Flikr photos (Aaron Sorkin) rather than officially released publicity shots. The sacrifice in quality is pretty much guaranteed when you try to write an encyclopedia which includes information about copyrighted material... but have a fair use policy that relies on an ever-changing variety of social statuses (recluses), potential criminal actions (missing persons), or respiratory states (dead people) to determine whether or not something is Wikipedia Fair Use(TM) (no relation to actual, real world fair use assumed or implied). Yes, Wikipedia Fair Use is much harsher than real world fair use, but the current fair use policy is not designed to be legal; it's designed to support a philosophy. On the other hand, there's no reason philosophy should automatically trump quality; hence, an essay I wrote, which I invite all to take a look at. WP:NBI -- It's fairly simple: No Blurry Images. But don't worry, Flikr-lovers; I'm sure there'll be many who leap to the defense of the poorly composed, out of focus, misframed images that many see as the savior and solution to our fair use problems... Jenolen speak it! 20:49, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding your last sentence, you bet. :) But concerning this image, it does it's job at identifying Aaron Sorkin (and is not that bad either). What more is needed? Garion96 (talk) 20:57, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
The philosophy is correct. The Aaron Sorkin article is much stronger and more original now that it has free use images taken from various users across the web. It will only get better from here. This is the more challenging direction to head in, and the more interesting one.-BiancaOfHell 21:17, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Jenolen, first, excellent essay, it proves that conciseness works. But to the issue at hand, I guess this is the problem I have with the philosophy vs. quality: Words and Images are two different beasts entirely. Any fluent English speaker, at any given time, is capable of writing an article that is equal or above anything copywritten about the topic, but that is simply not the case with images. So what we're settling for is well-written text, and the purposeful disregard of including images in thousands of articles that would be illustrated otherwise. If anyone did a survey, I would bet that a majority of Wikipedians, who are for the most part not from the whole free software movement, would be in favor of broader fair use. Joshdboz 22:00, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not from the "whole free software movement" or any part of it. I think the quality of the photographs from amateurs will improve, and if Wikipedia shows that it can do without using copyright photographs then the only alternative is to start making more and more of the images out there available in the Creative Commons. This is the Age of Amateurs, and every opportunity should be taken to participate in this new thing and let refinement come over time.-BiancaOfHell 22:15, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm not arguing against encouraging free alternatives. But why not use fair use images in the meantime? As long as free images took precedence over fair use, I don't think your destroying any incentive. And from a quick survey of the number of articles which could but don't have pics, there isn't exactly a great incentive now anyways. Joshdboz 22:29, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Go look at the William Monahan article I'm working on. I recently replaced a quality fair use image with a free use image and the result is a more authentic, fresh, and original image for the article. Free use is in many ways better. The 2nd free use image in the Aaron Sorkin article where he is working on a Macintosh is an original, high quality, and distinctly user-generated. If the Aaron Sorkin article had settled with fair use instead of being forced to go bare, then other users, such as User:ShadowHalo wouldn't have gone to lengths to find free use photos and a more generic article would have been the result. I followed his lead and searched for a free use image of William Monahan. There are good reasons to force Wikipedians to use free use images.-BiancaOfHell 22:39, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Again, I'm not arguing against images that are "authentic, fresh, and original." All I'm saying, is that I don't see any reason why wikipedia shouldn't use fair use images until such free images are found or created. By ignoring them, we are not creating the most comprehensive and quality encyclopedia possible. But by using them, we are improving thousands of articles. You could argue that using fair use images would destroy the incentive to find free content, but seeing how many important articles are imageless now, I doubt that that would be the case. We already include quotes (fair use material) in articles, why not use fair use images as well? Obviously quotes are used with discretion, but that decision is left in the editors' hands. Why do we centralize the deletion of fair use images, instead of allowing their use to be judged by the appropriate editors? All I'm trying to do is create a discussion over whether the very strict rules on fair use for images is counterproductive. Joshdboz 15:31, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

In theory the interim use of fair-use images could work, in practice it's been a failure. Images of things like high schools and public beaches, trivial to replace, sat ignored in the request category for many months. Not only that, but some editors were editing out free images to replace them with fair-use versions, using the "quality" argument. That's how all this came to wider attention in the first place; fair-use fans have to some extent brought all this on themselves by not policing their own. Stan 15:49, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for that background, I can imagine that blanket fair use would be a problem if not enforced to a certain degree of rigour. But the current policy, "No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information" is basically reacting to the problem by just banning it altogether. Several guidelines do create caveats, but the policy statement is pretty resolute. I find this somewhat ironic, because wikipedia usually tries to reach things by consensus, and the policy seems to just want to avoid the topic altogether. Joshdboz 17:07, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

This is not a reaction to the problem of unreplaced unfree placeholders, but a clarification of the fact that our Fair Use compromise was never intended for this purpose. Wikipedia was founded as a free content project and Fair Use was only ever supposed to solve the problem of irreplaceable unfree photos of encyclopaedic value. We negotiate most things through consensus, but not our meta:mission. ed g2stalk 01:37, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
We did go for a long time without worrying much about it. While this page mentioned replaceability in February 2004, the low-key "please replace eventually" tag dates from 2005, and the "justify in seven days" tag is from last year. I don't know how many other people felt likewise, but certainly I was hoping that the gradual approach would accomplish the mission without having to fight over every single image. I didn't expect there to be people to be actively pushing unfree over free, that's been kind of a surprise. Stan 14:57, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Part of the reason people have been "pushing unfree over free" is that the ways in which fair use images are "unfree" are rather abstract and non-intuitive. We're taught about plagiarism in school, so it's easy to understand why copying text from somewhere else is a copyright violation, and therefore unfree. The reason that our image policies are so difficult for users to get their heads around is because they have no resemblance to the practices, customs and laws most users are familiar with. And even when they familiarize themselves with the law and get an understanding of what "fair use" means in American law, that's not enough because our definition of fair use is so much more restrictive, and people get confused between what's legal and what's permitted by Wikipedia policy.
The idea of creating a libre encyclopedia is one that's pretty easy to understand. But the idea that a libre encyclopedia can't include images that are in wide use throughout the web, on websites with no connection to the copyright holder — images that in many cases the copyright holder has released so that they may be used by the press and public — that's hard to wrap your brain around. I understand the arguments for restricting fair use, even though I don't agree with them. But I also understand why a lot of users don't understand those arguments, and why they would fight to keep "unfree" images. Everything in their experience, and a lot in the law, suggests that those images are free, at least free enough. Hypothetical downstream use or foreign lawsuits are far too shadowy threats to be effective. If the opponents of fair use images really want to change the hearts and minds of the supporters, they'll have to find better ways of explaining their position. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 04:42, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

a quick question...

Is it OK to use an album cover picture in articles such as "discography of..." or "list of best selling albums...", while the album itself has an article and uses the picture? and if it's allowed here, is it allowed in other editions of wikipedia?
Thanks. GODFATHER 16:11, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Probably not. Also, each edition (language, I assume what you are trying to say) has their own policy on fair use photos. Some, like the Russian, might accept fair use photos. Others, like the Spanish and German, do not accept fair use photos at all. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 20:37, 17 February 2007 (UTC)