Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 18

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A Last Resort?

I've seen many variations of this argument being used by deletion-happy editors recently: we only want to use it (fair use) as a last resort for critical commentary. A last resort? Goodness! Is this the new policy that's being discussed on back channels? And if so, may I suggest the following re-write to our main "fair use" page:

Current version: Fair use is a legal doctrine which may permit the use of copyrighted material on Wikipedia under a restricted set of criteria. It is not a blanket permission to use text, images or other copyrighted materials freely on Wikipedia.

Updated version: Fair use of copyrighted material, though permitted under U.S. law, is generally discouraged on Wikipedia as incompatible with the project's primary goal of creating free/libre content. However, in an extraordinarily restricted set of circumstances, and subject to change at any time, some fair use may be permitted. Photographs of living people are never allowed on Wikipedia under a fair use claim.

At least it's honest.

Just waiting for the German shoe to drop... Jenolen speak it! 12:16, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

You've pretty much got it. ed g2stalk 12:50, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

The complete non sequitor statement that "photographs of living people are never allowed" doesn't reflect any reasonable policy, whether current or not-yet adopted; it just sounds like an overblown rewrite of the current replaceable policy, without allowing any consideration of why the photo would actually be used. It's also completely arbitrary to single out living people as categorically excluded subjects, when other subjects may be even more accessible to free photographers, or to single out photographs as the only affected media. Policy statements should never be collapsed into such specific applications, because it detaches them from the benefit they are intended to serve and results in both under- and over- inclusivity. It should instead read: "Whenever freely licensed images are available or could be made, Wikipedia does not permit fair use claims for images that would serve the same informational function." Postdlf 14:32, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

With the specific statement about living folks gone, you pretty much nailed what we are trying to say all along. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:13, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

And again, if you find that statement so shocking then I don't know what you have to add to discussions here, other than the fact that you think we're all insane deletion happy image nazis. But I think you've told us that enough times already now? ed g2stalk 16:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Nazis? Oh dear, Ed... you lose. However, Postdlf's point is well taken. Instead of "never," a word which, understandably gives lawyers the heebee jeebees, I'm going to go with "rarely." Conveys the same information, but lays out the idea more clearly that fair use pictures of living people are being routinely deleted, and are, apparently, no longer fit for use in the project.
And Postdlf, I do think policy statements should be collapsed in to their most specific application and plain spoken versions, especially on difficult issues like this, where a non-cabal (there is no cabal, of course) of Wikipedia editors have been receiving help and guidance in ways to substantially scale back the amount of fair use on the project. I'm from the "rights - use 'em or lose 'em" school, so I think giving up valid fair use claims falls under the general heading of "bad idea," but hey, it's not my playground. And I'm sure we'll get around to the German solution (NOT a Nazi reference; DE Wiki doesn't allow fair use) sooner rather than later. As for why people are so afraid of photographic fair use, but have no problem with, say, long plot descriptions, you'll have to ask them. To be this restrictive, far, far exceeding anything the law requires when it comes to the fair use of images is, I believe, in the long run harmful to Wikipedia's mission of creating a free encyclopedia of the highest quality. And because policy here is made by those who show up, I'm not at all concerned that people like Ed, Abu, Robth, etc. have a different view than I, nor should they be particularly surprised that their new interpretation and enforcement of the much more restrictive fair use guidelines is both a pretty major change from the status quo of the last three years and is likely to cause a fair amount of disruption; however, it would be nice for them to be able to disagree with other Wikipedians without being disagreeable. Jenolen speak it! 18:05, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
You either didn't understood Ed's comment, or the Godwin's law] itself. The "deletion happy editors" (which includes Ed himself) are the ones usually called Nazi-jihadist free-content-crusaders. --Abu badali (talk) 18:26, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I understood it fine; he feels he's been victimized by people calling him a "Nazi." I've never, never, never called anyone that, nor will I; it comes from both having a sense of common decency, and personal experience, and crying "people call me a Nazi" in an attempt to win sympathy is both disingenuous and not helpful to the debate. I have refered to the current enthusiastic reinterpretation of policy as a crusade, though -- "a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm" -- because it seemed like the best word to describe what was going on. If the religious overtones are too offensive, I shall henceforth be happy instead to refer to "zealous remedial enterprise undertakers." Jenolen speak it! 18:35, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
On 2 November 2006 @ 08.14 UTC I put forward some options - "Suggested that either a) we keep current fair use images for now, and move gradually to free content within say 3 months time seeking to replace 'fair use' with 'freely licensed' where we can - the remainder to be discarded in 3 months, or b) we ditch all 'fair use' images completely, or c) we freeze 'fair use' images which are already on Wikipedia, and adopt a policy that all NEW content is to be GFDL. These are 3 clear alternative strategies." What's wrong with the DE option? I ask this to all. Thanks --luke 18:46, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
I said "nazi", not "Nazi" - thus referring to the 3rd definition listed here rather than the first. ed g2stalk 19:04, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

"exceeding anything the law requires" - That you still protest that our Fair Use policy is tighter than the law shows that you really haven't taken on board much about what we do. The quality of what we produce is not simply based on how an article looks, free-ness is one of our founding principles, like it or not. If an article is full of weakly claimed Fair Use images, its reusability decreases. You may not care about downstream use, and a lot of people have difficulty with the concept that we encourage people to copy our content and even sell it. This does not mean our only priority becomes "creating the coolest website on the internet", or even the "highest quality encyclopaedia we can legally publish". If you want to do that you can exercise your right to fork, but stop telling us it's what we should be doing. Your constant complaining and sarcastic commentary is becoming quite disruptive. ed g2stalk 19:19, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm really not concerned that our Fair Use policy is tighter than the law requires, certainly not to the level of protesting it. I'm merely pointing out the obvious; fair use issues on Wikipedia are almost never decided on a LEGAL basis, because nearly if not all of the fair use on Wikipedia is well within the legal standard. No, what I'm protesting is the half-assed committment to these "founding principals" you so often invoke. You lack either the fortitude or the community support to push for the German-style elimination of fair use on EN, so instead, you help create and enforce an arcane (at best) and contradictory series of "fair use guidelines" disproportionately targeting mostly harmless images, a campaign which neither respects the ability - as has been Wikipedia custom for many years now - to encyclopedically cover topics concerning copyrighted material nor the editors who have worked so hard to contribute it.
It's often invoked in these debates, "Well, Wikipedia is so popular now, we can do whatever we want, including demanding free/libre photos from celebrities/movie studios/copyright holders" ... when instead, the biggest "victory" in this fight for freeness has been the creation of a new, non-standard, non-international symbol for disabled access. (A Pyrrhic victory, I think you would agree... one which defeats the very purpose of having a standard, international symbol in the first place.)
I'm sorry if you think my "constant complaining" is becoming disruptive, but why is my opinion about these matters to be valued less than yours? That's for the community at large to judge, and I daresay, the vast majority of Wikipedia users, to say nothing of contributors, care not one whit about the free/libre portion of the founding principles. I'm not saying that's right, nor that they shouldn't be aware of it... but ask anyone what Wikipedia is, and you'll hear "Uh, it's an online encyclopedia." I would guess fewer still would be able to identify the "anyone can edit" feature, and a microscopically fewer still could talk about its committment to libre philosophy. By accepting copyrighted material under one fair use policy for many years, then NOW shifting to a much more restrictive enforcement scheme, it's completely understandable why so many users feel their contributions have been wrongly de-valued as they were edited out of existence. (I won't get in to the number of times deletionist editors (and you know who you are) have tagged material for deletion rather than simply bringing the page in question into compliance; oftentimes, it's as simple as moving an image out of an info box and in to the appropriate spot in the body of the article. But even in those cases, whoops, there's got to be some reason for deletion, consensus be damned.)
As I've said before: policy around here is made by those who show up. One of the reasons Wikipedia has become so popular, with such an enthusiastic contributor base, has been because of its ability to catalog and discuss copyrighted material. Of course I'm not advocating Wikipedia be turned in to the number one "fan" site on the Internet; but when the official state portrait of the Governor of Michigan is deleted in favor of blurry, poorly cropped amateur photographs, then I have to seriously wonder where things went off the rails. Simply put, I believe the new über-enforcement and constant deletion of material that has been a part of Wikipedia for many years -- often, material that had been reviewed and approved by an administrator after uploading -- threatens the future of the project, just as passionately as you believe the project is threatened by the inclusion of U.S. state goverment official photographs for which we've clearly been given blanket permission to use. I leave it to others to judge which of us is acting more rationally, and showing more concern over the practical future of the project. I'll simply say that I believe you'll never get to your utopian "Free/Libre" encylopedia ideal if the project becomes so amateurish and distrusted that it falls on the growing Internet scrapheap of websites thought of as a "Good idea, just didn't work out..."
Finally, as a professional writer, I find your reliance on "third definitions" to be disingenuous at best, and certainly poor communications strategy. Say what you mean. If you want to invoke Nazis, then fine, say Nazi. But don't you dare try to hide behind a small "n"... Jenolen speak it! 08:33, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
"..what I'm protesting is the half-assed committment to these "founding principals" you so often invoke. You lack either the fortitude or the community support to push for the German-style elimination of fair use on EN .." - this is something that has concerned me for a while, and it's pretty clear that person who must be held responsible is Jimbo Wales. And as you know, he closed a vote on promotional photos when it was becoming clear that his half-assed compromise view would not prevail. Never mind the fact that it's a compromise with his own so-called principles, about which people are informed all over the place. There isn't a consensus on our 'fair use' policy, and everyone knows it - well particularly those who pop in here anyway :) Jimbo could put an end to this dog's breakfast by imposing the DE model on EN too.--luke 10:03, 17 March 2007 (UTC)
Okay, it's been a whole week, and there's be no substantive objection to this re-write, which, with one notable exception, appears to have been accepted by the community. If you have issues with this re-write, list 'em here. Jenolen speak it! 08:18, 23 March 2007 (UTC)


Is it accepted that fair use pictures of artworks would be in a section of the works by an artist, from any kind? For example, the section "Shows" in the article Andrew Lloyd Webber? Tomer T 17:58, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

While I could imagine a way in which some of these works could be used within the spirit of Wikipedia:Fair use, it is a safe bet that something has gone wrong when gallery formatting has been used. Jkelly 18:49, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Interestingly, it looks like the editors of that article might actually be trying to do the right thing, even if they've perhaps gotten a little carried away. There's actually commentary in the main article text for every show that appears in that gallery. Perhaps they originally had the pictures spread out through the article and then later decided to consolidate them into a gallery? —RP88 20:11, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
But nothing said about the posters. If the posters have anything to do with Lloyd Webber then we should mention that before putting up a whole gallery of them. ed g2stalk 18:10, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Ignoring the issue of the gallery, the question you've brought up is interesting, i.e. "is it fair use to illustrate the discussion of a theater production with the production poster, without discussing the poster itself?" On one hand, we don't specifically require that an article about a music album actually discuss a CD cover before using the cover. On the other hand, its clearly inappropriate to use an image of an actor appearing in character in an article about the actor without discussing the role in question (and maybe not even then). —RP88 19:15, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, recently I read the justifacation for using the covers in game articles is that it's the "most easily identifiable visual aspect", or something of that nature. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 19:43, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Main Page Fair Use

Please comment at the discussion regarding fair-use images on the main page at Wikipedia talk:Fair use exemptions. Thank you, — xaosflux Talk 19:37, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Use of fair use in other Wikis

I'd like to know if I' right? To use copyrighted material, for example in Russian Wiki, this material must meet US Laws, Wikipedia's policy, and Russian copyright laws. Is it correct?--Vaya 16:19, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure if Russian copyright laws apply, since the servers are based in Florida. Borisblue 16:29, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
What about any other country? Does local laws apply to Wiki?--Vaya 19:30, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Each Wiki makes their own choice about fair use. From what I can tell, ru.wikipedia might accept fair use, but as with the policies on en.wikipedia, the policy on ru.wikipedia could change. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 19:43, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that's true. It would make sense for to want to follow russian copyright laws even if they don't have to, to make it easier for their users (presumably predominantly russian) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Borisblue (talkcontribs) 21:17, 19 March 2007 (UTC).
generaly the US has the most liberal copyright laws so following your local laws is not normaly a problem. There are a few conflicts but generaly people are sensible about dealing with them.Geni 14:49, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid I'll have to strongly disagree with you. As far as I know, The US has one of the world's longest copyright expiration periods (not counting that the laws are consistently changed to expand this period every time pre-1923 works are about to enter public domain). Also, the US is one of the few countries where a work may still be copyright protected even after it has entered the public domain on the country where it was first published (see Un chien andalou, for instance). Of course, IANAL. And would love to be wrong on this. --Abu badali (talk) 15:53, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
copyright length under US law is ah messy. At the present time stuff tends enter the public domain under US law (basicaly everything published in the US before 1923 is PD in the US) before it does in europe (where life +70 is increaseingly solid). This will change over the next few decades to the poitn where the two should be about equal (there will be a few local oddities but not of massive significance) While other countries do have shorter terms for historical reasons they far less material that we are interested in. However length of time untill PD is only one part of the law. There is also the issue of fair use. US fair use is rather more liberal than fair dealing (britain and it's former colonies) and right of citation (various).Geni 03:24, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Which foreign wikipedias allow fair use? I keep hearing how germany doesn't, but I haven't heard much about the ones that do. Until recently, I thought we were the only one. Since then, I think I've seen it on the Russian and Chinese wikipedias, but it's hard to tell what really going on without being able to read the language. - Peregrine Fisher 17:07, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
You can find a list at m:Fair use, but I'm not sure how up to date it is. sr: doesn't appear under the "allowed" list, for example. Jkelly 17:24, 22 March 2007 (UTC)
As an FYI, Wikibooks has a substantially different fair use policy than Wikipedia, and can be found at b:WB:FUP. While not "enforced", blantant violations of this policy are likely to be deleted. I should also note that this policy was modeled after the fair use policy on it.wikipedia (which is not noted for large numbers of American contributors). --Robert Horning 18:25, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Interesting discussion on Talk:Pete Townshend

Talk:Pete_Townshend#Revert_war_on_photo --Guinnog 18:22, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Free use image of David Mamet found!

The WNYC studios have released a photo they took of David Mamet to the Creative Commons. I uploaded it to the Wikimedia Commons here and here. It's getting easier all the time to find free use images.-BillDeanCarter 19:30, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

New intro reads like satire.

Upon seeing the new lead, I immediately assumed it to be satire. Checking the link to the discussion given in the edit, it seems once more to be tongue-in-cheek posting throughout, especially with the comments in the initial post such as "at least we'll be honest" and " an extraordinarily restricted set of circumstances, and subject to change at any time..." but User:Badagnani seems to think it was a serious addition. Could somebody please clear this up for me? --tjstrf talk 08:53, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

It's not satire. --Kim Bruning 13:07, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

If it's serious, I certainly don't agree with it. It doesn't reflect current policy or practice, and doesn't even seem to be consistent with the latest proclamations from TPTB. Not to mention that warnings to "almost never" do something are completely toothless since the policy itself allows fair use content in quite a few circumstances. --Minderbinder 13:19, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
All I know is that it's serious. You did have a whole week to respond, apparently. I'm not sure the current wording doesn't reflect current (preferred) practice, but I'll leave that open to debate. --Kim Bruning 13:25, 23 March 2007 (UTC) (Of course no-one did respond, which is why I keep telling people that it's just quicker to simply be bold in the first place, but I digress)

Jenolen wrote that to try an make a point about how absurd he thinks our policy is, however most responses were "that pretty much about sums it up" - but no one was taking at as a serious propsal to rewrite out policy. Now he seems to be trying to prove a point by actually implementing it. If we are going to change it, we need to have a proper discussion first. ed g2stalk 13:49, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

It is absurd, though.
We need to clarify in the intro that:
  1. Most of the contested images are perfectly legal to use on our website, but our policies add a lot of additional restrictions that prohibit them. These restrictions are not for legal reasons, in other words, but for ideological reasons.
  2. The additional restrictions haven't always been present, and weren't part of the original guiding principles of the project (when most of us signed up). It was changed because of [insert rationale here].
Omegatron 13:57, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
This seems tangential to either intro afaict. Are you actually reiterating a position you have held earlier? --Kim Bruning 15:09, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you're asking. — Omegatron 14:08, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I like it actually, I don't mind if it stays. But perhaps it's better to wait for the foundation's official statement regarding fair use before making any changes. Any idea when that statement will come? Garion96 (talk) 13:50, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think no one complaining during the week it was proposed is evidence of support and the edit should be undone until consensus is achieved. Lack of negative support is not consensus, as evident by this discussion. Also, it appears to overly simplify the issue. --MECUtalk 13:59, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Agree with that much. --Kim Bruning 15:09, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
I didn't complain when I saw it on the talk page about 4 days ago because I thought it was a joke. Probably others did as well. Why would I bother refuting an obvious parody statement? (Adding onto that, WP:FAIR debates are currently #4 on my top 10 list of things to avoid at all costs, just below having my spinal cord forcibly removed and just above participating in WP:TRAINWRECK AfDs, but that's beside the point.) --tjstrf talk 16:11, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Well, as someone who wrote the majority of the current version of the intro, I think I'm well qualified to write the new version, as well. So let's take a look at this new version, line by line:

Fair use of copyrighted material, though permitted under U.S. law, is generally discouraged on Wikipedia as incompatible with the project's primary goal of creating freely redistributable libre content. Who here disagrees with this? We've all been told time and time again, (granted, by the same six editors/admins, but still...) libre is what this project is all about. I'd be interested in seeing the counter-argument to this sentence.

However, in an extraordinarily restricted set of circumstances, and subject to change at any time, some fair use may be permitted. Again - this is emperically true. Wikipedia policy can and does change, based on a number of factors (Jimbo's mood, mysterious "directives to come from the Foundation", IRC chats, discussions between admins and board members who are dating, shifts in the planet's magnetosphere, who knows what else?)... Okay, I'm sure the magnetosphere has little to do with Wikipedia policy, but hey, the point is, things change. And they change for reasons that no new editor can reasonably be expected to know. Better to let people know straight up and ahead of time that's what's fair use TODAY may not be fair use TOMORROW. This is where a lot of the hostility toward deletionist editors comes from; I know I was especially honked that I had worked hard with tagging admins to get all of my image ducks in a row - all of my attributions and licensings set - when the ground shifted, and suddenly, a new set of admins decided all of my contributions had to go, in order to conform with a rededication to our libre philosophy. Fine. Then let's make that clear.

Photographs of living people are rarely allowed on Wikipedia under a fair use claim. Who wants to debate this? This is the current interpretation of policy, as applied by the most strict editor/admins, and therefore, is the practical standard. If one admin thinks fair use is okay for a living person photo, and another thinks it should be deleted, what happens to the photo? It's deleted. The deleting admin's standards are, therefore, the de facto standard, and we should let people know right up front - your fair use photo of an American Idol contestant or beauty queen or hockey player isn't going to survive the standards of deletionist admins.

This intro clearly and concisely explains the current orthodoxy vis-a-vis our extraordinarily restrictrive interpretation of fair use, and does that succinctly, while also adding, in a place of prominence, the fact that several admins and editors are now deleting any and all fair use photos of living people. Letting editors know that fair use claims are no longer acceptable for photos of living people -- and, in fact that this new policy will be applied retroactively (and, by nature, a little haphazardly) seems something that could help defuse the continued hostility toward those who seem to have a special enthusiasm for removing copyrighted material, fairly used or not. Jenolen speak it! 15:56, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

hmm not bad. It should be extreamly rather than "extraordinarily " and it misses non-free photos of existing buildings also being rather out of favor. While the magnetosphere does have an impact on policy (as do level of solar radation) the reason is complex and probably best not included.Geni 16:05, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
What about logos? What about album covers? What about magazines? What about statues in public, in a museum? What about art, music? None of these are covered by this intro. The focus on people isn't appropriate. I agree that "extraordinarily" is a bad word as well, though extremely is just as bad, but I cannot think of a better term. Perhaps something like: However, within the fair use criteria which is subject to change at any time, some fair use may be permitted.? --MECUtalk 16:20, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
There hasn't been a great hue and cry over logos, album covers, magazines, etc. The most contentious issue -- and most worthy of special mention right in the intro -- is the living persons issue. What's unmentioned here, is, of course, that once this new intro gets hammered out, we'll have to rewrite the rest of the policy to conform, but I'm sure that's a remedial enterprise which will be enthusiastically undertaken. Jenolen speak it! 16:24, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think the current intro is better than the short one you propose. If you wanted to add your intro to the current intro, I think it may make both version better. I also think your sarcastic attitude is unhelpful in this discussion. I recommend if you want to be taken more seriously, you should drop the tone. I say this because it was remarked above that the previous discussion no one took seriously, and your tone isn't helping the seriousness of the case. Lastly, just because people-oriented fair use issues are the most contested/complained about/misunderstood/debated doesn't make them anymore important than the other fair use types. I also think the overhaul of the page you suggested isn't needed to support that claim as well. Perhaps additional material to help clarify the more common people-oriented issues/problems would be better than an overhaul that turns the page into Wikipedia:Fair Use of people images. --MECUtalk 16:42, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

That intro isn't quite right, but it's closer to right than the old/current intro. People who are directed here when their image is deleted should be able to get a sense of why it was deleted from the first paragraph, I think. Get rid of the word "extraordinarily." The sentence should be like "However, in a restricted set of circumstances, and subject to change at any time, some fair use may be permitted." The last sentence should be changed to something like "Images where it may be possible to find a free equivalent, such as photos of living people, are rarely allowed on Wikipedia under a fair use claim." - Peregrine Fisher 16:40, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't think that Jenolen's edit was a bad one, actually. I have often thought that we should be as clear as we can be that we have confusing, or at least non-intuitive, policies and guidelines on the use of unfree content, and even if they are followed to the letter, such content may still be deleted. It would be a kindness to people to be as clear about this as possible, so that if an editor is going to spend a lot of time uploading unfree content, they should know exactly what they are getting into. If anything, those editors who would prefer more liberal use of unfree content, but also have a thoughtful understanding of our mission, may be better at explaining this guideline than editors who assume that everyone here is equally committed to the free culture movement. Jkelly 17:23, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

Content that violates any copyright will be deleted. Encyclopedic content must be attributable to a reliable source. You agree to license your contributions under the GFDL*. . (emphasis mine)

This is printed in bold right above the save page button. Clicking save means you agree. As far as I'm concerned, this is a binding contract.

It's clear, it's simple. There's a lot to be said for clear and simple, at least.

I know image uploads are a slightly different story. The wide array of options and possibilities and justifications is frankly bewildering, and leads to many mistakes. I guess what I've read previously is that lots of people would like to see that part of wikipedia tidied up too?

--Kim Bruning 17:42, 23 March 2007 (UTC)

that would be Fromowner.Geni 17:57, 23 March 2007 (UTC)
Image licensing has always been separate from article text licensing.
  • All original article text is released under the GFDL. This does not include quotations or other copyrighted excerpts, which are included under fair use.
  • Images are allowed if they have been released under a variety of free content licenses (such as the GFDL or Creative Commons), if they are copyrighted but subject to fair use, if we have permission of the copyright owner to reproduce the work on our project, or if the image is reusable by non-commercial or non-profit entities like ourselves. — Omegatron 14:08, 27 March 2007 (UTC)


Can someone explain to me (In English)why I can't put pictures on my subpages? Wikiman232 03:44, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

You can put pictures on your user page, but they must be freely licensed pictures, not copyright violations. For a collection of freely licensed images, try the Wikimedia Commons; you can include any image there just as if it were hosted here on the English Wikipedia (no need to upload a copy here). —Bkell (talk) 06:55, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Not sure if you're talking about a user page, but if you are, there's just a rule that says we can't have fair use images on our user pages. Imagine if you created a user page that was an exact copy of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It would meet all legal requirements just as well as the real article does, so that isn't the problem, it's not a legal thing. We just have a rule that fair use images aren't allowed in user pages, also known as user space. I think the rule is because if we did allow it, then people would abuse it, with images of Superman or whatever on their user page. Then, we'd have to evaluate each one, and decide if someones user page discusses Superman enough. Instead of going through that 100 times a day, we just don't allow it. - Peregrine Fisher 06:59, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Can I use a book synopsis from a back cover verbatim?

Is it fair to use the synopsis from the back of a book verbatim? If it is OK, what kind of references do I need, and what about in-line references. It it isn't, why not? If it's a grey area, what's grey about it? Thanks. - Peregrine Fisher 06:44, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

No. You can easily write your own synopsis of the book, so there's no need to plagiarize the one from the back cover, unless you need to quote the synopsis from the back in order to critically analyze the synopsis itself. —Bkell (talk) 06:52, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
I figured the answer would be no, but I'd like to know more about why. I don't think the ease of writing my own synopsis has any effect. Kind of like a screenshot from a movie, it's a small sample of a larger work that won't hurt the copyright holder financially. The synopses I'm thinking about are maybe 3 sentences long, which wouldn't be too long for a normal quote. Is that fact that it's a synopsis change something? It probably does, but what? Anyways, I want to understand the reasoning, not just get a "No." - Peregrine Fisher 07:07, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
The synopsis is copyrighted and (almost always) non-free. This is a free (as in ‘freedom’) encyclopaedia and in particular we expect text to be licensed under the GFDL. Since this is not the case for the synopsis from a book, you can either bug the publisher to get the material released under the GFDL or write something more original. The latter option has lower effort and a higher probability of success and is therefore recommended. —xyzzyn 07:27, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Darn. So the answer is that it isn't replaceable like an image of a living person, so it's up to the editor to decide? I'm an editor in favor of using fair use images when they would markedly improve an article, as long as they aren't replaceable. But, I was hoping there was a hard/fast rule that would dissallow it, so I wouldn't have to make the decision myself. - Peregrine Fisher 07:52, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
The hard, fast rule is that, except for quotations (to be used sparingly), all text is replaceable and no fair use is permitted. —xyzzyn 08:34, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Clarification on album covers

I have been reading through the above threads and some of the archives, and I can't find a direct answer to this question. Is it acceptable to have an album cover in a discography in a band's article? Assume that there is no critical commentary on the album or the cover. The reason I ask is that I've been going through the list of articles linked to Image:Nocover.png and finding and adding album covers, but I don't want to continue if the covers are going to be eventually deleted. --Joelmills 16:18, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

No, there shouldn't be album covers in discographies, per WP:FU#Images (cover art should not be used without critical commentary). --Fritz S. (Talk) 17:44, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
Those album cover galleries will need to be cleaned up at some point; but we may still find those images useful for an article about the album. Perhaps you would like to spend some time creating some album stubs for those albums? Jkelly 17:48, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, I read WP:FUC, not WP:FU. Maybe the {{Albumcover}} template should say that there needs to be critical commentary; right now it just says solely to illustrate the audio recording in question. My personal opinion is that an album stub that just gives a track listing, album cover, and release information is pretty useless, and that having a discography section with that info (minus the track listings) is a better solution. Thanks for the replies. --Joelmills 18:06, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

This is certainly an area where Wikipedia is hamstrung by its fear of copyrighted material (or, alternately, its dedication to libre principles). Any number of discographies on the web are more helpful to record collectors, when it comes to disambiguating (is that a word?) various versions of the same release; for example, on Wikipedia, there's no real good way to note the minor variations in cover art and track listing between U.S., European, and Japanese releases of an album, especially if each release would seem to require "critical commentary" on the cover in order to enable its useage. Is there a way to do this, and not run afoul of policy? I mean, since it appears Wikipedia can't simply help note these differences by including the specific cover which goes with the specific version of the album -- that information, apparently, failing the literal interpretation of "critical commentary" -- I think the current policy toward album covers is pretty useless. (I'm not sure why pages like The Eagles haven't had their album covers removed... but I'm sure someone will get around to it eventually.) Jenolen speak it! 18:35, 24 March 2007 (UTC)
please see this.Geni 20:57, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Your link is to an article dated 28 November 2002 -- five lifetimes ago on the Internet -- and refers to a site that is not Wikipedia. And, for the one millionth time, fair use (such as of an album cover) is not a copyright violation; fair use is an affirmative defense which PERMITS a legal use of copyrighted material. Wikipedia's fair use policy is much, much stricter than U.S. law; and, of course, all of this may be superceded by the new directive... Jenolen speak it! 10:48, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

using company logo's in infoboxes for Television stations

I noticed some Television station articles were using the company logo's in front of their company names of the affeliations and owners. This would be a FU violation in my eyes because they do not provide critical commentary to the article and don't discuss the company that the logo directly references. This has been judged similar on {{Infobox Television}} over a year ago. If not, then every TV article would now have the network logo in the infobox by now I guess. Anyway. I removed them from a ton of pages, but subsequently got reverted by User:Orangemonster2k1, who is saying that "The logos are already loaded into Wikipedia and just shorted down to size. If fair-use is put into effect for use this way, it would have to be for the logos on the pages already used." [1] Before I revert again, I would like to confirm that my interpretation of WP:FUC and WP:FU is correct. opinions anyone ? --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 01:59, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, use in this way is probably a fair use Wikipedia:Fair use violation, as fair use images may not be used for a purely decorative purpose. —Remember the dot (talk) 02:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
But wouldn't the same apply to sports teams? (see above, or in the recent archive) ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 03:40, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what discussion you are referring to directly, but in general I would think that any use of such logo's in articles that don't directly have a connection to the team, are not allowed. "visual identification of links" is what the use is, and that has never be an appropriate fair use rationale on wikipedia. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 19:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Look at "Unfree images on Templates" above. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 20:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
It's important to remember that "fair use" applies to each use of the image, not the image itself. There is really no such thing as a "fair-use image", only a "fair use" of the image. —Bkell (talk) 03:20, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
If the image is used in the main article (ie: NBC) and that is OK, then how is the 30px version of it on the TV station infobox a violation? It can't be OK and a violation at the same time. I think we need specific rules about fair-use and so-called "fair-use images" as people are using their own interpretation on it and we have seen what lengths that has gone to. - SVRTVDude (Yell - Toil) 05:10, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Andrew Van De Kamp image

A user has recently objected to this image on Andrew Van De Kamp on the grounds that it of Shawn Pyfrom and not the actor and thus cannot be used on the character's page. I disagree because I think it is of Shawn as Andrew in a publicity still (as in this one of Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndham-Pryce we have on his article), as Shawn Pyfrom looks nothing like that outside of Desperate Housewives, as shown on his website. The website it was taken from the official DH site uses the image for both Shawn and Andrew's bios. I would much rather use this image than the screenshot currently up, as it was taken almost two years ago and is now somewhat inaccurate. But I'm not prepared to break policy. So, can this image be used as a fair use image of Andrew or not? Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 05:43, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

This image is fair use as it shows the actor in-character. This image has no indication of it being of Andrew (I watch DH, yes..), I know for certain Andrew never appears in a scene like that. Also, if you believe it to be of the character does you have a source to corroborate this? It's my understanding ABC released them as "x, who portrays y", not "x, portrayed by y". Matthew 08:44, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Isn't this discussion irrelevant so long as this image is unsourced? ShadowHalo 10:45, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
It's from the official DH site. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 10:50, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
How does that work? That image is of a much lower resolution. ShadowHalo 10:52, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
No where on that site does it say the image is of Andrew and not Shawn. Matthew 10:56, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Because I've stupidly been looking at the bio the whole time and didn't see the much higher resolution image in the download section - that is very specifically labelled Andrew. It would therefore that the same rules apply to it as the other image, which seems to have also been taken from the downloads section before it was updated. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 10:58, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
That's to vague for me, it could mean "Shawn Pyfrom, who portrays Andrew", personally if that image was used within the article I'd list it at IfD, firstly it's a posed image, secondly it's not in the slightest bit representative of the character. Matthew 11:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
You think "Andrew" actually means "Shawn Pyfrom"? Right... Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 11:50, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Yay! Sourcing makes everything better. I'll scale down the image, tag it with {{furd}}, and feel free to add it back in. ShadowHalo 10:59, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Wait...There's no watermark on the image, so it couldn't have come from the downloads section. I'm gonna tag it with {{nsd}} and notify the uploader. (He's still an active contributor, so he should be able to source it soon.) ShadowHalo 11:14, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Would you create a new image from the download section? It seems easiest. Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 11:19, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
The images there have a giant watermark which can't just be cropped out. At this point, the image just needs a source, so the everything will be good once that's provided. ShadowHalo 11:33, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
What watermark? Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 11:50, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
The giant logo at the top right. There's no way to crop that out without cropping part of Pyfrom/Van Der Kamp. ShadowHalo 12:04, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Good point. I hope the guy replies soon, I'm intrigued as to where the hell they got that image from now. :) Dev920 (Have a nice day!) 12:19, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I also think that a screenshot has a much better fair use claim than a promotional photo, considering "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole". A screenshot is a small part of the copyrighted work (an episode), whereas a promotional photo is the whole copyrighted work. The use of the screenshot has probably almost no effect "upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work" while that may not be true for the promotional photo. (quotes from WP:FU#Law) --Fritz S. (Talk) 12:50, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I disagree. We also need to take into account "the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes". The screenshot does not appear to be provided by ABC, and the episode is being used to generate profit; however, a promotional shot is being provided for download and for promotional purposes. ShadowHalo 14:21, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm intrigued, where does it say they're promotional? They're websites TOU do say this though: "No information, content or material from any WDIG Site or any Internet site owned, operated, licensed, or controlled by us may be copied, reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted or distributed in any way, except that you may download one copy of the information, content or materials on any single computer for your personal, noncommercial home use only" - clearly not promo. Matthew 14:26, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
What I meant was that downloading the image was a promotional purpose as opposed to a profit-generating one. The purpose of the photo is to promote the show; the purpose of the video from which the screenshot was taken is solely to generate profit. ShadowHalo 14:32, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
No the purpose of the show is to entertain, it's the purpose of the adverts to generate profit.. there's nothing on that website stating the image is to promote the show, it could just as well be to give the fans professional images of their fave. actors/actresses. Matthew 14:37, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
Semantics. People either pay for videos with the television shows, pay to download them, or watch the television show with advertisements, which generates profit for ABC. The purpose of a downloads section of characters of a TV show is to promote the show and get people to watch it; ABC doesn't get money whenever someone downloads an image. ShadowHalo 14:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
/me is still waiting for the citation.. :-) Matthew 15:08, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Image:Riya Book.png

The image was going through a replaceable fair use dispute, which have not closed yet. I, the unloader, have made have made considerable arguments to validate its fair use, and have made changes to the article that uses the image to conform to Wikipedia principles. It uses a plain fair use license tag, with elaborate rationales, provided with readily verifiable external links (not a logo, promotional, book cover, album art, screen shot or any such specific fair use tag). How did it become an image with a clearly invalid fair use tag; or it is an image that fails some part of the fair use criteria? The fair use dispute was about the first fair use criterion, not a clearly invalid fair use tag. Surely there must be mistake here. Aditya Kabir 13:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)


Template:Fairuse has approximately 3500 images using it, Template:Fair use has ~500 images using it, and both redirect to Template:Restricted use, which has ~3500 using it, but it's not clear to me if those ~3500 are duplicate to the ones using "Fairuse". Anyways, the tag states that "This tag should not be used" and refers to the list of fair use tags or to use Template:Non-free fair use in. Would anyone oppose to my changing the tag to look nothing like a image license tag and simply has directions to use another license tag? After the change is made (in hopes of eliminating new use of the tag(s)), go through and mark all the existing licenses as no license after the tag has been removed for at least 1 month to allow hopefully the license to be changed to a valid tag? I'd even be fine with notifying the uploader that the tag is invalid and they should put a new license tag on it and put the images into a special category. I think changing the license tag to prevent new use is critical, but what to do with the 3500-7500 images using it is not clear. Any thoughts? --MECUtalk 14:06, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

This sounds like a good plan. And overdue. If the images using the template were uploaded after the grandfathering date, they should just be tagged {{nrd}}. The older ones will need to handled differently, under our current rules. Jkelly 00:43, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I suspect most of the ones with that tag are older images that currently can't be speedy deleted for lacking fair use rationales. I also fear the plan of contacting all the uploaders about the tag beeing depreciated will be futile. In my experience less than 1% of the uploaders will turn out to be active, and of those only a fraction is likely to actualy go back and update the tag, and maybe add token "rationale" along the lines of "It's beeng used for informational purposes"... A systematic run though the category would probably be a good idea though, and I guess just list older ones with no rationale on IFD or something... --Sherool (talk) 07:19, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
I've taken a few bites out (used to be 15,000+ images there), guess it's time for a final push. In practice, most are no-source with uploader long gone, but there is a little bit of everything, including PD and other legit images that have been misclassified for years because nobody ever looked at them. Stan 12:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
To try and stop the flow, and perhaps alert others in the problem with this template, I'd like to propose changing the Template:Restricted use with User:Mecu/RestrictedUse (the categories and such would remain). Images should not be marked with "no license" because of this tag. Perhaps including this in tandem with the existing tag to prevent this confusion? Feel free to edit the example tag. Suggestions & support welcome (criticisms too). --MECUtalk 13:31, 26 March 2007 (UTC)
It couldn't hurt, although in practice uploaders will use the tag up until the very minute it is deleted, which is why I've focussed on emptying the category first. Stan 16:01, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

MySpace images

Are pictures posted on the MySpace profiles of notable musicians fair-use? For example, John Mayer has a profile here. If he were to theoretically not have a suitable free image on his article, would a picture from his MySpace page be an acceptable substitute until a free one were to be found? --Hemlock Martinis 22:11, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

In order to claim Wikipedia:Fair use we need to have verifiable copyright holder information and be able to offer a convincing explanation of why the image could not in theory be replaced by a freely licensed image. I recommend using one of our standard requests to ask Mr. Mayer or one of his agents to provide a freely licensed image. Jkelly 22:14, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I note that Image:JohnMayer.jpg is freely licensed, so I am now puzzled by the question. Jkelly 22:17, 25 March 2007 (UTC)
I think Hemlock was using John Mayer as an example. Substitute any singer for John Mayer. The answer is then: No. The images would then be considered "replaceable" and fail the first part of the fair use criteria. We don't want just any image because we can grab it and it's there, we'll wait for a free one which serves us better in the long run. --MECUtalk 01:05, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Fair use/Amendment/Fair use images in portals2

Since the last amendment lost steam four months ago, i'm reinvigorating it at Wikipedia:Fair use/Amendment/Fair use images in portals2. There is clearly a strong desire from many people in the community to see portals given the same availability to fair use images that the main page has. I hope that we can reach something everyone can deal with. -ΖαππερΝαππερ BabelAlexandria 21:35, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Conversion to SVG and fair use

I am a member of WikiProject Illustration involved in converting some of these images to the SVG format. I recently noticed that a large number of them are copyrighted logos or maps uploaded under fair use rationale. I'm pretty sure that these are not valid targets for conversion, and I would like it if some informed minds reviewed the statement I'm thinking about adding to the category page:

I would greatly appreciate any recommendations on phrasing (specific enough?) links (are there better sources to link to?), simple facts (conversions do constitute derivate works, right?), or anything else. Also, are there any exceptions to this rule? And does this general concept apply to all image conversion and cleanup? If so, it would probably make sense to include a similar message on several other cleanup pages. Thanks! MithrandirMageT 01:22, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

This is a controversial topic. I would say that logos should usually be kept as low-resolution raster images so that our use is clearly acceptable under U.S. fair use law. Namely, it prevents unscrupulous persons from creating high-resolution copies of copyrighted logos, etc. very easily.
Others would argue that SVG images have no resolution and are therefore exempt from the Wikipedia:Fair use criteria concerning image resolution.
Of course, if the copyright holder gave explicit permission for anyone to redistribute high-resolution copies of their work, then it would be OK to vectorize the image. —Remember the dot (talk) 02:01, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Logos don't really matter one way or another: a clean lineart logo can be scaled to absurdly large sizes without problems, so it doesn't matter if we store it as a vector image or a raster image. Maps generally don't qualify for fair use, and should be deleted. --Carnildo 07:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
With regards to maps (and graphs and simmilar) they should not merely be "converted" to SVG. However please feel free to re-draw them in your own way based on the same source material as the copyrighted work (for example take a blank free licensed map from commons, and fill in colors based on election result tables and what not). This is equivelent to writing an article based on copyrighted sources (don't forget to cite source material used), this is why maps and such rarely qualify as fair use under our rules. Free licensed replacements can usualy be created. --Sherool (talk) 09:57, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
derivatives od copywriten maps are kinda risky. The case you are talking about though the maps you are deriveing from would be free.Geni 21:24, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Yet many people have argued for the deletion of SVG logos (with some success) because they're 'infinite resolution'. are we going to settle this sometime? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 19:07, 28 March 2007 (UTC) I have added the following message to Category:Images which should be in SVG format:

However, I am still open to recommendations. Thanks! MithrandirMageT 00:33, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Err, I think I acted too hastily. I've taken the message down until I can get further support for the fact that converting fair-use images is not fair use. User:Interiot has posted on Category talk:Images which should be in SVG format an argument against my position. It certainly unseated my certainty -- could someone else read it as well? Neither of us is an expert in fair use; could a few more qualified people please chime in with some clarification here? In particular:

  • Do our rights as Fair Users include making derivative works, given that we use the works with the same restrictions as the original we took via fair use? This seems to be what Interiot is saying.
  • If not, are we allowed to make lower "resolution" (i.e. detail) conversions? Under what restrictions may we use these?

I hate to bring up this problem here; it seems to be discussed everywhere, yet nowhere can I find a good consensus/make sense of it. Thank you very much for your help. MithrandirMageT 03:44, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

The derivative work argument might have merit, but so long as the copy is exacting it's a format conversion, and not a derivative in my view. I'd argue that conversion to SVG puts us in no worse a copyright position than changing between GIF and PNG. The resolution issue is completely silly: can we not host any simple raster logo because someone could use printer with a tracing based re-sampler and print to any size they wish? Of course not. Physical size, from the perspective of the fair use legal argument, is far more oriented to the appearance in the context of the document... Furthermore the size of a copyrighted *logo* has almost nothing to do with its commercial value. While I'd rather our SVG producing resources focus on free images and I'd rather not encourage it, I don't see an issue with SVGs. We can't stop people from doing it because if someone uploads a SVG of a logo, we'll generally never know if it actually came from the copyright holder. --Gmaxwell 19:56, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Foundation Licensing policy

The board has now passed its resolution on the media licensing policy, available now at:

This policy is intended to reflect the principles in the message posted earlier at and to make the guidelines for acceptable media licenses clearer across all projects.

A beginning draft of an FAQ page is on Meta at -- please add your own questions and suggest answers. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Shojo (talkcontribs) 05:23, March 27, 2007 (UTC).

So the impression that I get is that this just means we have to start enforcing our policy more vigorously, right? ShadowHalo 06:06, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
This new policy goes way beyond just enforcing existing Wikipedia policy. While some of the tempest has already gone over due to the previous announcement that some changes were going to occur, this is a very top-down policy change to nearly every single Wikimedia project, and is going to result in nearly endless debates about what is going to be acceptable in an "EDP" or not, and if a particular licensing arrangement fits the "four freedoms".
While not a terrible document, this four freedoms document has achieved a holy status due to this policy that exceeds even the five basic pillars of Wikipedia. And I predict holy wars (or at least religious sounding arguments) will come from those who will be citing this new "foundation" document. It will be very interesting to see what is going to happen next. --Robert Horning 06:38, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually we had already started enforcing policy fairly vigirously IMHO. What this policy will hopefully do is make it easier in the long run since it should help people realise that our free content policy is not somehow of less importance then creating a 'quality' (whatever that means) encyclopaedia. There is obviously going to be further debate but I'm glad we finally have something fairly clear policy wise. Nil Einne 09:02, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Well it looks like the biggest enforcement will be fair use rationales. These are generally nonexistant; the cover of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction nearly made it to the main page without one had I not caught it. And what's this about "no exception regarding, for example, political or religious considerations." Does this mean our flags are now unfree? ShadowHalo 09:06, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
At the end of the day it doesn't really change anything here. Matthew 09:20, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually my primary hope is it will reduce the amount of needless debate about the need to delete images which are resonably replacable. Of course, there is still going to be some debate about what constitutes resonably replacable but at least we shouldn't get so many 'I can't replace it so it's not resonably replacable' arguments. As well as hopefully reducing the arguments about keeping images just because contributors feel the free images don't look as nice and arguments about how we're destroying articles by deleting resonably replacable images. As Matthew and others say, the policy and our recent intepretation of it does disregard these arguments but by having this directive, hopefully it will now gain more complete, even if grudging acceptance Nil Einne 09:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Speaking of "the free images don't look as nice"... Would someone mind taking a look at the discussion at Talk:Christina Aguilera regarding the use of album covers, screenshots, and free images? I listed it at WP:FUR, but I'm not exactly confident that that page still does anything. ShadowHalo 10:12, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
If I understood it correctly, unfree images missing rationales uploaded after March 23 should be speedied, and the one before that date should be discussed.
Besides that, the greatest benefit will be to end up the "I start counting from the 2nd Pillar"-kind of argument. And the "living people" thing is now a Foundation direction, and not simply a guideline counterexample.
Putting this in practice, is there still discussion for using screenshots on lists of episodes? Or for using a magazine cover image every time a magazine (and not it's cover!) is mentioned? The same for dvd covers? What about unfree images of wrestlers or pageant contestants in the "historically significant event" of they receiving a prize? What about images of bands? I believe this changes a lot of things here. Not in the policy, of course, but on how they are enforced. The recent "repleceability" enforcement is the tip of the iceberg. We have too much work to do. --Abu badali (talk) 12:57, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Note that m:Foundation Issues is the foundation on which the 5 pillars are erected. Perhaps one of the changes that need to be made to that document is that we are now less restrictive? (The foundation now officially allows more than just GFDL content, though granted, we will be enforcing the rules more tightly.) --Kim Bruning 15:13, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

The policy announcement is more important for the projects that have had chaotic policies for non-free material. En: already has a plenty elaborate EDP (new initialism!), WMF policy is confirming more than changing it. Having Foundation-level policy will be helpful for shutting down some of the more pointless arguments here - moves it from "nasty mean admins and ideologues" to "nasty mean WMF board". :-) Stan 15:27, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

moves it from "nasty mean admins and ideologues" to "nasty mean WMF board".

Yeah, it needs to be explicit about this in the intro, so first-time visitors understand that this was not decided by consensus and know that complaining on the talk page is futile. The "generally accepted among editors" and "has wide acceptance among editors" bits of the templates should be changed, too. Maybe we need to create new templates for the policies that are mandated from above?

Besides that, the greatest benefit will be to end up the "I start counting from the 2nd Pillar"-kind of argument.

What do you mean by that? Those with the "I start counting from the 2nd Pillar" mentality are the ones fighting for these restrictions. They are only helped by this. — Omegatron 15:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Sour grapes much, Omegatron? ... Why is it that so often when something happens here that a user didn't personally approve, he runs around screaming about oppression? If you'd like I'd be glad to help you setup a fork where you can accept all the non-free content that you want, although I think your service is already being out-competed by youtube.--Gmaxwell 16:17, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Personal attack much? Believe it or not, some dedicated supporters of free content are also supporters of using non-free content where free content does not exist. No, this isn't a self-contradiction and no, it doesn't automatically disqualify our opinions. Restriction to only free content was never part of the original mission of the project, and some of us think the additional restrictions are harmful. — Omegatron 15:24, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Screenshots (2)

"Screenshots should only be used when being used for specific critical commentary of their contents, such as a particular technique of special effect being discussed, or an event of historical significance. As is the case for all non-free images, screenshots may not be used for purposes such as decorating plot summaries.They should not be used to just decorate plot summaries."
Wording subject to imporvement. ed g2stalk 14:30, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Where did you pull that one from, Ed? Matthew 14:48, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I just wrote it. ed g2stalk 15:24, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
We've long said FU can't be used as decoration. We need to avoid implying that the limitation is limited to screenshots. --Gmaxwell 15:07, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I see this as more of a clarification for the decorative rule specific to screenshots, not an implication of limitation, although perhaps it could be reworded to make that clearer. ed g2stalk 15:24, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
"Screenshots should only be used when being used for specific critical commentary of their contents, such as a particular technique of special effect being discussed, or an event of historical significance. As is the case for all non-free images, screen shots may not be used for decorative purposes such as list ornamentation."? ... I think it's disappointing and backwards that our pop-culture lists are so much better decorated than our lists of subjects which can be well decorated with free content. --Gmaxwell 15:31, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Implemented, but I still prefer "decorate plot summaries" at is applies to episode articles as well. ed g2stalk 15:51, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
There's two types of cultures on Wikipedia, I'll discuss the "freeness4eva" culture, these are people that mostly come to Wikipedia to write about modern day cultures, etc, stuff you could freely photograph, they develop a dislike against "pop. culture" and the "non-free" images, thus they attempt to eradicate them. I'm sure if it was possible for television captures to be free that people would upload them, but it isn't, and fair use helps us achieve our goals. Matthew 15:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
How very insightful. What about all the people who are interested in both, like myself? ed g2stalk 15:51, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
There's no reason why you can't be a bit of both - I've not seen anything compelling, though. Matthew 16:00, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Screen captures are used for critical commentary, screen captures are perfectly valid as per the FUC, and screen captures are also perfectly fine within US Fair Use laws. You're attempting to make "clarification" to hinder the usage of screen captures, which you and I both know are valid fair use. Which you've discovered every time you've attempted to remove them from LOEs, the consensus is always the same. That they're valid fair use. Matthew 15:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
If our policy on Fair Use was written by mass consensus it would look very different. There is a difference between critical commentary of the screenshot itself, and using it to decorate critical commentary of the plot. This clarifies they should only be used for the former. ed g2stalk 15:44, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
The issue I have with screenshots is this: why do we need screenshots for every single TV episode, for every season? One of the lists that confuses me is the list of deaths in the HBO show, Sapranos. While there is nothing wrong with that list existing, but the captions they use either serve little to no purpose. A guy lying in the casket doesn't really need decorating with a photo. Enough text can be used to describe the death of each person. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:48, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
The text both Ed and I are discussing says "Screenshots should only be used when being used for specific critical commentary", we're both okay with that. We're not disputing that. So don't worry about that.
Your characterization is bogus. I like that we have limited excerpts of copyrighted works in order to facilitate our articles on those subjects, and I've argued quite aggressively to keep them. I suspect that you haven't seen this because you're mostly involved with arguments about adding more of them.
Our project has a fundamental mission which involves free content. As such we need to keep a constant pressure up to confine and reduce non-free content to the minimum that we need to further our entire mission, this keeps us true to our mission and more importantly avoids giving new contributors the impression that we want a lot of "Free as in I took it and haven't been sued yet" content. We might not agree on the details, but I can promise that I am not trying to destroy your "pop-culture" articles. --Gmaxwell 15:47, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Yet another attempt to redefine "decorative" in your own terms so that you have justification for outright removing images like here. I didn't support your interpretation last time and I still don't support such an ambiguous and narrowly-focused change. Your single intention here is against screenshots (you outright admit it) which you have obviously shown your heavy bias against them in the past. Again, why I don't support this. I see absolutely NO reason why — no sense in beating around the bush — television screenshots must be singled out as you have intended here. Cburnett 15:49, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Because their use is the subject of widespread abuse. If another large category of Fair Use images was being used incorrectly we would address that too. ed g2stalk 15:53, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Abuse is an extremely subjective term. Your position on TV screenshots has been documented and demonstrated in the past and has not gained community consensus. First it was that it wasn't critical commentary. Then it wasn't fair use rationale. Now it's specific critical commentary and a couple examples. Basically you're loading up on more subjective words that suit your tastes to serve as rationale to remove images. Really what your doing with tv screenshots is a war of attrition. Cburnett 16:12, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
"Really what your doing with tv screenshots is a war of attrition." accusations like this add nothing to the discussion. ed g2stalk 16:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Seriously? How many runs at removing TV screenshots have you made? I've lost count and the locations those discussions happened. The number of times you've removed TV screenshots is equally hard to count. It's quite tiring rehashing the same discussion on a different day with different mix of people on a different page over the same topic. That's a war of attrition. Do you have another definition of "war of attrition" other than repeating until your "enemy" is worn down? Cburnett 16:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Haha. I think you can safely trust that I'm not focused on only screenshots: no class of non-free media is safe from me. ;) Ed proposed a clarification for screenshots, I responded in kind. For the most part I think clarifying further is redundant, but I trust Ed's judgment on what parts of the policy need special emphasis. --Gmaxwell 15:54, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
You didn't propose this so it wasn't directed at you. Cburnett 16:12, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Ah, well. I'm pretty confident that no form of non-free media is safe from Ed either. ;) Don't be confused, Ed has been cleaning up many forms of non-free media for a long time so you shouldn't take his actions personally. I don't always agree with Ed's bluntness or haste, but his conclusions are usually right, at least as measured by the long term results. --Gmaxwell 16:21, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It is Ed's lack of tact and his overwhelming tendancy to act instead of discuss that draws me to oppose him. Fundamentally, I don't really disagree with him. I would definitely rather have GFDL images instead of fair use wherever possible, except in the realm of fiction this is impossible until the work hits public domain. I've not for a dozen fair use images of an episode and I am equally against having zero images. I settle for one per copyrighted work unless the article merits more.
I've said this a dozen times in other discussion: fair use images can be distributed freely and does not interrupt WP's goal of a free encyclopedia. If someone's intentions of using an article and/or its images that contradict fair use then it is their responsibility to not use them, not our's. It would be absolutely foolish to take on or attempt to take on such a responsibility. WP is not a law firm. I am not here to act as a lawyer nor dispense legal advice and anyone proposing we act like one better pony up some credentials and a lot of free time. Filling up policy with ambiguous and subjective words, like proposed here, adds nothing of real value to the policy. Attempt to define decorative or critical commentary all you want but it will never be hashed out. Never. Attempts to do is coincident with instruction creep. [/rant] Cburnett 16:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Woah woah. Back up here for a second. In your statement "distributed freely and does not interrupt WP's goal of a free encyclopedia" it would appear that you have completely misunderstood "free encyclopedia". The goal has nothing to do with cost, instead free in this context refers to your freedom to use, adapt, distribute, and even sell the content. You are more than welcome to charge a lot of money for a copy of Wikipedia, but you can't further reduce the freedom that others have with the downstream versions. See Free content for more information. Do you understand better now? I'd be glad to discuss this matter with you more if you like.--Gmaxwell 17:10, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Please note— Matthew has posted an inflammatory characterization of the discussion here in a number of places likely to contain editors sympathetic to his perspective[2][3]. As a result, his position is more likely than usual to be over-represented in this discussion.
Fine. The above note is unsigned intentionally by Gmaxwell for some reason and his instruction is to reply. This is ridiculous. Cburnett 16:23, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Please note: Inflammatory... funny... oh and my wikitables sexier! —The preceding signed comment was added by Matthew (talkcontribs).
This is a rehash of Wikipedia:Fair use/Fair use images in lists and Wikipedia talk:Fair use criteria/Amendment 2. Different wording, same purpose. The only consenuss we have so far is to not change our policies/guidelines to prohibit these uses of images. That doesn't mean you can't start the discussion again, of course. It's a pretty big deal, so you should probably start up something like the Amendment 2 for it. - Peregrine Fisher 16:44, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry Ed, If there was anyone else who was bringing this up again, I might be inclined to go into a discussion about it again. But like Cburnett says. You have had SOOO many runs at removing all the screenshots from television articles, i just can't believe we are gonna have to go trough this all again. Not to be blunt, but I just don't wanna hear it, not from you, regardless of wether you are wrong or right. I'm sorry, that's just how I feel. I don't feel this discussion is going anywhere unless it's carried by other people. :( --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 20:18, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Too many... too few?

People seem to be suggesting that there are "too many" fair use images, what people forget though: Wikipedia is an encyclopaedia, Wikipedia is also not paper, we have very high potential for a lot of high quality articles, these are often assisted by fair use imagery. WP:NOT states, "Wikipedia is an online encyclopaedia and, as a means to that end, an online community of people interested in building a high-quality encyclopaedia in a spirit of mutual respect". Generally fair use imagery does add a lot of value to articles (if used correctly), mutual respect: Like I stated in my above comment about the two "cultures", one side taking a dislike to the usage of non-free imagery and going to great lengths to get it removed is not mutual respect. Respectfully, Matthew 16:19, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Not paper is an ancillary point to the fact that a TV series is not copyrighted as a whole. Each and every individual episode is copyrighted because they are independent works. The absolute minimum is obviously zero, but the non-trivial minimum is one per episode. Saying one per episode is not minimal is flat out absurd. Cburnett 16:26, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
And of course what people forget is the free content part. Plus the other side fighting tooth and nail to keep every fair use image is not mutual respect either. (FYI, I am in the middle there, I like the fact that we can use fair use (within limits), hate fair use abuse). Garion96 (talk) 16:40, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Free content, yes. If somebody forks Wikipedia they are not obligated to use copyrighted imagery. Matthew 16:45, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Matthew, there are a great many encyclopedias. Most are available online, some are quite a bit better than Wikipedia in some regards, and some have open editing. What makes Wikipedia special is its free content mission, this is not new, but it seems to be news to some of the folks here, especially people who started with the project since Dec 2005. With the widespread promotion of non-free images it's not hard for people to misunderstand our mission, but its time that the misunderstanding stops.--Gmaxwell 17:05, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It's not news to me, just my interests do not lie with things that could be freely photographed. None the less I have contributed free images here. I also contribute to several encyclopaedias/wikis. What makes me contribute more to Wikipedia is that it's a more professionally orientated environment, i.e. non-fannish. Matthew 18:19, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Cburnett, I would support having an image of the episode on an article about the episode. I don't see a problem with that. --Gmaxwell 17:05, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
The free content aspect of wikipedia is not news to the editors here. I think everyone here has discussed this like crazy. It's not a misunderstanding, but a difference of opinion in how to balance "free" and "encyclopedia." A list of episodes is an article about all the episodes, another balancing act. - Peregrine Fisher 17:46, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
And an article about an episode is an article about all the frames of video that make up the episode.. thus we can include the episode! How simple, viacom eat your heart out! ;) But really, it goes way beyond balancing free vs "the perfect encyclopedia article" we also must consider the message we send to our contributors and to the public about our values. When folks like you upload over 700 images for episode list articles while our featured lists about subjects which can be well decorated without non-free images remain mostly mostly unadorned (see List of districts of India for one of many examples) the message we're sending is that we are yet another Web2.0 copyright infringement machine like YouTube. This is a message which we can not afford to send for many reasons. --Gmaxwell 18:13, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It's never been argued convincingly that these images are copyright infringements. They meet fair use, per US law and our policies. If they were copy vios, there wouldn't be these ongoing discussions, they'd all be removed. So, I don't think we're sending any wrong messages about infringement. Me, I upload/write about what I know: TV, D&D, comics. People come to WP for pop culture, more than other things, readers turn into editors, and that's basically why List of Pokémon flourishes while pages like List of districts of India languish. Maybe if they made Pokemon for each district, that page would attract some interest. - Peregrine Fisher 18:57, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It is worth pointing out that en:'s definition of an image "copyvio" is "not a freely licensed image without the words "fair use" in a pastel box on a linked description page". Please do not put any stock whatsoever in this definition when making decisions about what to upload here, and do not encourage others to do so. On a related point, the more mess that is created by users uploading content that is not absolutely necessary, and which will eventually need to be cleaned up, the more new users get the impression that Wikipedia welcomes such material. Every problem area, and the episode lists being discussed here are just one example, creates more by setting a poor example. Jkelly 19:09, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Guess your PhD-in-progress isn't good for much, enh? :)
There are many many thousands of copyright infringements across our projects that have not yet been removed, so an argument based on the fact that the images are not yet gone is not useful.
You're seriously misrepresenting the Wikicharts data. The highest viewed page in the result is estimated at 1/10th of 1% of our page views with a nice power-law falloff, and the sampling rate is so low that the chart isn't expressing the overall order of the presented pages with any confidence. What is overwhelmingly clear is that most page views are scattered across our pages and not concentrated. The interesting question is if the aggregate of all the "pop-culture" material is greater than the non-popculture material. I suspect that it is not, but we can not know from this data. Regardless, Wikipedia is a non-profit free content encyclopedia, our mission isn't to present the most popular crowd pleasing material.
Also, many of the non-pop-culture list articles have more distinct editors than the pop-culture ones. Reality is that uploading 700 pictures of cities, or bird species takes real work.. while doing 700 TV screenshots takes only a few days with an easy news account and a willingness to break the law. So we see Wikipedia overrun with non-free images simply because they are easier to upload, and not because there is a comparative need or a corresponding userbase.
But in any case, by the end you are making my argument for me: As a result of the excessive use of non-free materials, people come to Wikipedia to get their copyrighted content fix (you know, when they want a complete plot summary play by play in cliff notes form rather than a 10minute youtube clip) they become editors and the mission demanded by Wikimedia's charter is forgotten. I don't have any objection to the pop-culture material, I have an objection to the ludicrous overuse of non-free content. --Gmaxwell 19:19, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Jkelly - I think you're saying that just putting a copyright tag on the image page is not enough, and I agree with that. We disagree on what is "absolutely necessary," and what will eventually need to be cleaned up. If one doesn't think the episode lists are a problem area, then they arent' creating problems. If people would agree that's it's possible for images of this type to used appropriately, we could even work on what the minimum requirements are.
Gmaxwell - The argument that the images in lists of episodes are not yet gone is useful. If it could be shown that these images are copy vios, there are a few editors just on this page that would remove them all. Maybe pop culture articles aren't a big part of wikipedia, just its top 100. I would love to see some research on this. As far as forgetting our charter, I believe our charter includes making a good film encyclopedia, a good televion encyclopedia, etc. These images are actually mandated by our charter. - Peregrine Fisher 19:55, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Peregrine Fisher, every time we say "a encyclopedia" when referring to Wikipedia in an argument, we would better say "a free encyclopedia". We should be making a "good free film encyclopedia", "a good free television encyclopedia", etc. Screenshot surely help websites about tv-episodes. But do they help a free encyclopedia? Is it worth the price of sacrificing our content's freeness? I believe showing an unfree screnshot of Darth Vader to discuss his look is worth the price. Also is using a Pink Floyd's album cover to discuss it's art. But adding an unfree image to illustrate a paragraph summarizing a plot? That could easily be done without any image at all. It's not worth the price. --Abu badali (talk) 20:20, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Images do not make the content any less free, it's a baseless argument with no substance to it, at all. Matthew 20:23, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
An article void of unfree material is 100% free. Add unfree material and it becomes less free. Remove unfree material and it becomes more free. --Abu badali (talk) 20:39, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
We're not a free encyclopedia and never have been. Sure, we're a "mostly free", a "use free whenever you can" encyclopedia, but certainly not a completely free encyclopedia. The people in charge can decide to go 100% free and ban fair use at some point (German style)...but they haven't yet, and in fact their latest declaration says that fair use is allowed if not overused (which is obviously open to interpretation). Until they do, we get to balance the benefits of free versus fair use. --Minderbinder 20:25, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
We have always been a Free Encyclopedia. But there is space for fair use in a free encyclopedia. The decision was not to simply allow fair use "if not overused", It was that it should be "minimal". It should be used "to illustrate historically significant events, to include identifying protected works such as logos, or to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works". Adding unfree image for the sake of having an image is not acting "within narrow limits". --Abu badali (talk) 20:39, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
No. We have always been a mostly free encyclopedia, and that's still the case. It's hypocriticial to use some unfree content and at the same time insist that the encyclopedia is free. Whether adding an image of a copyrighted contemporary works in a given case is "complimenting articles" or "just for the sake of it" is obviously a judgement call. --Minderbinder 22:43, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

I think they are mandated in a "good free television encyclopedia" as well. Also, what do we mean by "free content?" Adding a telvision screenshot doesn't reduce the amount of free content, taking up room that could be filled with a free image. - Peregrine Fisher 20:34, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

There is another thing i wanna mention. This is new technology. Until recently it was almost impossible to provide images with these kinds of articles, because it was really hard for normal users to create this. I think we can't even 100% say how much the encyclopedical value of such images currently is. For instance: Take the List of Lost episodes article, or the List of The Simpsons article. It's very hard for me to PROVE it, but i'm quite sure that just by looking at those lists and pictures, I'm getting a sense of the "feeling", the "atmosphere" of the series, even over the run of it's course. You can definetly argue that giving people that information might be useful in a free encyclopedia. Let us just not forget that we are very much new to all this. TV series are not like the books and movies and even series of old. Things have changed. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 21:28, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It would also be useful to include illegial copies of the whole episodes, and if YouTube is any indicator we could get away with it for a long time. --Gmaxwell 21:41, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Why would we include episode downloads :-\? Matthew 21:44, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Because we're WEB2.0, new technology, old rules don't apply and viewers would find it useful! --Gmaxwell 22:02, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm sure you'll do a peachy job! Matthew 22:04, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Gmaxwell, wake me up when you're done with the ridiculous strawman arguments. --Minderbinder 22:43, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
What I want to say has been said by Matthew, Minderbinder, TheDJ, Peregrine Fisher, etc. so I'll just say that I support the use of free use images in lists, and other places where a free alternative is unavailable. --thedemonhog talk contributions 23:58, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Some editors might remember that I used to defend the use of screen shots in LOEs, but I can no longer do so. Removing the screen shots does decrease the quality of these lists greatly, significantly so, however, our free content goals are a higher priority. I hate to see screen shots go in these lists, but they conflict with the goal of Wikipedia to have free content, free of copyright red tape, to be able to be reused by anyone for any reason. Even if the majority of the community has no problem with using this many fair use images, that can never override our free content goals. We feel like Wikipedia is a bit ours, and we should, but this issue is out of our hands. Identifying individual episodes in a list is a great thing in our modern media arts world, but that's not why Wikipedia is here. Our free goals actually limit us in being truly complete, but being free is that important. I hope more of you will come to this same conclusion, as I have. We don't need these pictures badly enough. -- Ned Scott 00:48, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

What exactly is this freeness that we're losing. Abu badali said "An article void of unfree material is 100% free. Add unfree material and it becomes less free. Remove unfree material and it becomes more free." Take a page with no images, now, 100% of that is free, call that amount 1 unit of free content. Now, add a non-replaceable FU image. It seems like I have 1 unit of free content, plus one non-replaceable FU image. How did the 1 unit of free content become less free? Now you remove the non-replaceable image, how did that 1 unit become more free? As people have mentioned, it's trivial to not include FU images in a fork or paper version. So it didn't become less free because you have to take the image along with the free content. Also, 2 FU images apparently makes it even less free. Please explain. - Peregrine Fisher 02:14, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Wikipedia is supposed to be just a place for free content. We have tons of places for unfree content, there's no reason to share or space with unfree content. It gives the wrong impression to editors, discourages editors from making free-use images, wastes Wikipedia's resources (bandwidth's not cheap. Side thought, maybe developers can make fair use images be low-priority on the servers?), makes free content harder to find on Wikipedia, makes work to strip fair use content when downstream users need to, and a lot of other stuff I'm sure someone else can better summarize than I. We also have many editors who are spending their valuable time on FU-related tasks when they could be spending that time making better articles. -- Ned Scott 05:21, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Is that all it is? Making quality articles easily trumps those reasons. Now, I agree with not using replaceable FU images, because that's a real reason. Discouragement is a real issue, and the board's recent announcement has helped with that. Non-replaceable FU images are another matter. Bandwidth and the (small) difficulty in stripping FU images are very minor concerns. I notice isn't worried about it. Taking up peoples time is also nothing compared to creating quality articles. - Peregrine Fisher 05:43, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, no, quality does not trump those reasons. Unless the image is vital to explaining the topic at hand, we should not include the image. If Wikipedia's goal is to make free content then what are we doing making it so people have to edit what we have before using it, just because we can find an episode in a list faster. It's taken me a long time to see that finding an episode, or seeing what episode someone is talking about, is a weak argument, and always has been, when you consider why Wikipedia is here. We're not here to replace the experience of an episode. -- Ned Scott 06:20, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
"They're not vital." "They're vital." "There shouldn't have to be any removal." "Removing FU images is trivial." "Freeness trumps quality." "Quality is key." "It's a free encyclopedia." "It's an encyclpedia foremost." "Words are good enough." "Illustration is vital for a visual medium." "There's not enough accompanying text." "The text summarizes the whole episode." "It's replacing the episode." "It's one image out of thousands."... - Peregrine Fisher 07:14, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
They are not vital, Peregrine Fisher. There are quite a number of LOE pages on internet without screenshots. For instance, my be the most comprehensive Simpsons episode guide in existence and it doesn't uses screenshots. Also does the first google hit for south park episode guide (, buffy episode guide ( or lost episode guide ( to name a few. Are these sites going to die, as they lack the vital element "screenshot"?
Also, if you think removing image is trivial, please help OrphanBot's developer to make it capable of removing deleted images from any kind of infoboxes. And for a content reuser, remember that it's not simply the script development time, but also the time spent to run this script.
Quality is not key. Freenes and quality should always walk together. The world already have quality encyclopedias. We're here to build something bigger.
It's not an "encyclopedia foremost". As someone said before, we're not "Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia" just as much we're not "Wikipedia, the Free Content Repository". We are "Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia". Don't give one of out pillars greater importance over the others. --Abu badali (talk) 15:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Abu, the buffy, lost, and south park sites all have plenty of screenshots, just not on the actual episode pages. Some have video clips as well. --Minderbinder 17:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
They are vital when discussing a visual subject like television episodes. I'm sure these other sites that don't use screenshots have their reasons, I'm not going to guess what they are, or apply their rules to wikipedia. I would say is more applicable, anyways.
If the hang up is technical difficulties, we should work on fixing that. I don't know Perl well enough, myself.
If a reuser is removing images, doing it to the hundreds of episode lists is a drop in the bucket compared to all the FU on wikipedia. If they're only doing it to episode lists, that isn't going to take much time, either.
It's a balancing act between quality articles and freeness, and from the arguments I've heard about how this hurts our freeness, quality easily trumps them. - Peregrine Fisher 16:13, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
A screenshot may be vital to discuss Homer Simpson's look, but not to describe what happened on Simpson's episode #3 on 7th season.
Regardless of those site's reasons, I repeat my question: Do you believe they're going to die because they lack a "vital" element?
The link you provided is a copy of Wikipedia content. They probably use screnshots because (1) it's not that trivial to remove them and (2) they don't have a compromise with free content.
"from the arguments I've heard about how this hurts our freeness" - When calculating this "balance", we should not start by asking "how much freeness does it remove?", but instead "how much quality does it add?". We should use an unfree image only when we have good reasons to do so, and not simply when we don't have good reasons not to do so. We need convincing arguments that the lack of this image will badly hurt our quality, more than we need convincing arguments that it's use doesn't "hurts our freeness". It's the image presence that must be justified, and not it's absence. --Abu badali (talk) 16:38, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Vital may not be the right word, since the articles aren't alive and can't die, but they are vital in the same way that all appropriate FU images on WP are vital. If you're discussing Homer's look, an image is vital. If you discussing an episode, simpsons season 3 episode 7 for instance, an image is vital when discussing it. What exactly is an episode? It's a group of images combined with some audio. is a for-profit corporation, so they are an excellent example. They need to worry about FU more than us, since they're making money off of it. They probably have the money to remove the images if they wanted to, and a legal team to ask about situations like this. If they didn't have the money, they would probably do something like not republishing the LOEs, which they haven't done. Again, I think these LOEs are easily within our comporomise with free content, judging by the arguments against them.
Never could figure out what freeness it removes. Anyways, these images add an enormous amount when discussing a visual medium like TV episodes. Lists are for information, navigation, and development. These images are enormously important for the first two. They contain vital visual information on a visual subject. They are also vital in navigating the larger lists. You can find an episode in a few seconds that otherwise may require reading 1000's of kb to find if only text.
Again, I don't know what other web sites are thinking. - Peregrine Fisher 17:08, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
"all appropriate FU images on WP are vital" - and I believe that screenshots on LOE are not appropriate.
"These images are enormously important for the first two". No. They are "useful" to the first two.
"I don't know what other web sites are thinking" - You conveniently choose to guess's reasons and to ignore the ones of the other sites. It doesn't matter what they are thinking. What matters is that they show that it's possible to build useful and informative LOE without the use of images. --Abu badali (talk) 17:38, 28 March 2007 (UTC) is a wikipedia mirror so not really very relivant. LOEs don't disscuss the subject thus even by your argument the images are not vital.Geni 16:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC) is a resuser of our content, which is what this freeness is all about. The subjects are television episodes, which each entry in an LOE is. - Peregrine Fisher 16:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
And how do all those LOE websites can do without them? --Abu badali (talk) 16:38, 28 March 2007 (UTC) already uses fair use imagery, unfortunately they're system works in a way that would make it difficult to make mass usage of imagery, which is a let down for their content. The Buffy fan site is exactly that.. a fan site. Matthew 17:16, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Why they don't use images is not what's important. The question here is "Are these worthless LOE since they don't use screenshots?". These sites show that it's possible to make usable and informative lists of episodes without the use of unfree images per episode, and here in Wikipedia, we don't do with unfree content what can be done without it. --Abu badali (talk) 17:38, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Ali, you're going to need to provide a convincing argument rather then giving argumenta ad ignorantiams. See Wikipedia:Copyrights, the text is released under the GFDL. Wikipedia is not a free image host nor a gallery of free imagery, it's an encyclopaedia, fair use imagery compliments this and helps articles, none the less the content is still free, there's also no obligation for forkers to use imagery. Now Ali, you were saying? Matthew 18:08, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Obviously we disagree about whether they're: appropriate and vital or not, enormously important or just useful. Other users have added some good reasoning concerning other web sites. Are they worthless without the images? They'd be just as useless as other pages would be without FU images. "Here in Wikipedia, we don't do with unfree content what can be done without it." That could be said of all articles, except FU images are still allowed on wikipedia. - Peregrine Fisher 18:00, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

My favorite part of this? When I re-wrote the intro for WP:FU, I posted it on the talk page, waited a week for people to comment on it, then when I made the change, I had it reverted (for the second time) by an editor who said "If we are going to change it, we need to have a proper discussion first." And now, thanks to that editor's actions, I've finally figured out what he meant by "a proper discussion" -- It's one hour, twenty one minutes long, and conducted entirely with User:Gmaxwell.

Side note to GMaxwell -- Enough with the harshing on YouTube! It's starting to sound like sour grapes. I'm sure you have plenty of reasons to be pissed at YouTube, because they're like, you know, billionaires and stuff, while you and your non-cabal (because, as we all know, there is no cabal) have your popular, but, sadly, free (as in beer AND speech) playground here, but gee, give it a rest. Yes, YouTube has some copyright issues... but they're obviously doing something right. Comparing the posting of movie studio promotional stills or official state government photographs on Wikipedia to the challenges YouTube faces in protecting the rights of copyright holders is like comparing apples and ducks. Jenolen speak it! 11:08, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

Getty and corbis however are more likely to sue than the MPAA or RIAA. Youtube is currently the poster child for copyvios on the web. It would rather we didn't challange them for that role.Geni 16:09, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Ah, I pick on YouTube because I've run into too many 'very important people' comparing us to them. Not only are we doing a poor job of educating the public on our mission, I think we're doing a poor job internally... so I think it is useful to highlight the distinction. If I have any dislike of YouTube it is only because the profitable over-use of the OCILLA may well result in a change in effective law that completely screws us over. The US congress and the courts have shown a strong commitment to protecting copyright. To allow the largest and most profitable form of infringement to continue unabated would be surprising indeed. YouTube can afford to make deals to cover the casual copyright abuse of their users, Wikimedia can't. As a 501(c)(3), Wikimedias ability to lobby the government is substantially limited. If our contributors do not clearly understand the difference between our operation and other websites they will be unable to clearly articulate why the safe harbor must be substantially preserved and why doing so will not represent an effective end to copyright protection.
There is also no reason why we couldn't end up just as bad off as youtube if we don't keep up constant pressure against non-free materials.. You can upload videos here too you know... We even have browser based playback. :)
In any case, I'm glad that *you* understand the distinction between Wikimedia and other sites, but there are still people that don't. If you'd like, I can spread my complaints out over more companies, as there is no shortage of Web2.0 copyright infringement machines. --Gmaxwell 18:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Is it any help to point out that Gmaxwell lives in Washington DC? --Kim Bruning 23:08, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
And speaking of harshing, Jenolen, if you want to impugn motives to people you know nothing about, Daniel Brandt and the collection of losers at Wikipedia Review is where you will find many likeminded spirits. I pretty much agree with Gmaxwell on all this, just don't have his level of patience. Stan 12:47, 29 March 2007 (UTC)


"in accordance with United States law and the law of countries where the project content is predominantly accessed" - surely this means we have to comply with UK, Australian, Canadian (etc.) ... law, i.e. all the interpretations of fair dealing? ed g2stalk 14:45, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Just to make your problems go forth and multiply: The English wikipedia is accessed worldwide, because English is the current Lingua franca. O:-) --Kim Bruning 15:09, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Of course, but to make our task actually achievable, we'll have to limit ourselves to predominate users for whom en is the main Wiki. ed g2stalk 15:28, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It's quite achievable without any sort of limit like that, thank you very much! --Kim Bruning 17:51, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
We cover a lot of countries, so we should try to balance out as much as possible. At least, we have to comply with US law, but our fair use policies go beyond it. I believe our policies go beyond what UK, Aussie, Kiwi, Indian and other laws require. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 00:57, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Dont Steal Mac OS X.kext

look at the article. theres a section which is the content of the file. The file explicitly states that u may not publicly display this file in whole or in part. But the file is being displayed on the article itself. And under the doctrine of "Fair Use" does he (the person who posted the content of the file) have the rights to do so?

The copyright holder saying you can't display the text has no effect on whether it is a fair use or not. - Peregrine Fisher 17:33, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Peregrine Fisher. --Gmaxwell 17:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. It's illustrating an important technical aspect of the technology. A technology that coincidently was rendered useless the first time it was publicly published. Regardless of what Apple can claim, this information will not disappear anymore (look at the way people found ways to publicize DeCSS As such to describe the technology encyclopedically, I'm 99% sure a court would rule that this would be a fair use. It might possibly be a DMCA violation, but again I doubt it. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 20:27, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Granted I'm sure no one really.. cares.. but that whole article is rather trivial.. Forget the fair use considerations, wtf is up with that being it's own article? -- Ned Scott 05:25, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
It's fine, but I agree with Ned, why does this have it's own article? Just merge it already. :D User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 00:59, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Penny Arcade (webcomic)#American Greetings

Um. In Penny Arcade (webcomic)#American Greetings, we have a comic that the publishers of said comic took down because of a C&D from American Greetings. Is this a good idea? - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire | past ops) 20:19, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

That's a really interesting point. What's our liability in such a situation? - Peregrine Fisher 23:04, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
IANAL, but I'd say not very much. The question is whether or not it's parody. If it is parody, then the image was legal for them to use and is legal for us to use. If it's not parody, it's not legal for them to use, but we're still covered under fair use since there's critical commentary on the image and incident. ShadowHalo 23:25, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Just because it is in a different context here doesn't mean American Greetings will feel differently. I wouldn't be surprised to see them send a C&D to the office here as well, if they knew. In addition, the image seems to be pretty high in resolution, at least for a fair use image. --Tom (talk - email) 23:29, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
I've tagged it with {{fairusereduce}}; Mecu will probably reduce the image sometime soon. ShadowHalo 23:37, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, the stated opinion of American Greetings was that it wasn't protected use as parody, because it wasn't parodying their copyrighted property (Strawberry Shortcake) but instead parodying American McGee's various game projects. - A Man In Bl♟ck (conspire | past ops) 03:36, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that AG's position is interesting, but doesn't speak to our use; our claim here is not that we are republishing this image as a parody, but are using a small (-ish, as of now) part of the original as part of a discussion about the image itself and the impact that the original publication of that image had. Jkelly 17:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Um if that's our claim, then the fair use rationale should say it is. Currently the fair use rationale says it's a parody. It doesn't say anything about it being used to discuss the impact the publication of the image had (it just say's it relevant to the article). The webcomic thing provides some detail but is insufficient in itself (Remember there are 2 copyright holders here. The copyright holder of the webcomic and the copyright holder of the original work which this allegedly violates. We have to assume both their claims are valid) (Edit: Actually make that 3 holders. American McGee's copyrighted work which was being parodied applies so I guess the parody template is appropriate altho the fair use rationale details still need to be expanded) Nil Einne 18:00, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
In a situation such as this, since a C&D has occured about that very strip even if not directed at us, I suggest we take it down and ask our legal counsel for advice. We could ask User:BradPatrick but might as well wait for however is going to replace him Nil Einne 11:29, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that this is necessary, but it would be courteous to inform the original uploader about the conversation and inquire as to their comfort level with continuing to publish the image here. Jkelly 17:32, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
We're not publishing it as a parody. We're publishing it so that we can demonstrate the why the controversy occured. I think we have a clear fair use claim. Borisblue 03:39, 29 March 2007 (UTC)


Please see this. The resolution by the board specifically says that "An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose, such as is the case for almost all portraits of living notable individuals." Does this mean that we have to change our FU policy? What about the large number of publicity photos of living people that we have here? - Aksi_great (talk) 13:15, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

This is already covered with the "image or content can only be used if it is not replaceable with a free content"Geni 14:14, 28 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes but it's more explicit and makes the point more strongly: "almost all portraits of living notable individuals". I see this as meaning cases where it is essentially impossible that a free photograph of the person could ever be found or created (very, very rare) rather than cases would it would only be extraordinarily difficult to get a free photo, as is often used now. I think the page should be changed in some way to reflect this emphasis. For instance "...not concieveably replaceable with a free content" Herostratus 16:15, 28 March 2007 (UTC)

"Narrow limits" — a call for compromise

Apropos of the screenshot discussion above, everyone should read the Foundation resolution passed last week. It states, in part, that project uses of content which is not under a free license "with limited exception, should be to illustrate historically significant events, to include identifying protected works such as logos, or to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works." I think that last clause merits some discussion.

" complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works."' This clause should set some boundaries for discussion on this page. It clearly shows that the Foundation is not attempting to remove all fair use images from "pop culture" articles. It also shows that the Foundation does not wish fair use to be abused willy-nilly.

It's worth noting that the Foundation statement doesn't say anything about "decorative" uses. IANAL, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that U.S. fair use law doesn't either. The long-standing guideline says that 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."

Both sides of the screenshot debate should recognize that the other is expressing a point of view which is consistent with Wikipedia policies, guidelines and philosophy. The central question is whether a screenshot needs specifically to illustrate a discussed directorial or cinematographic technique (as, for example, the use of Image:Citizen Kane deep focus.jpg in Citizen Kane) or whether it is "purely decorative" to have a screenshot which depicts a key plot point or element (as, for example, the use of Image:MashEpisode72.jpg in Abyssinia, Henry). It is perfectly reasonable to say that screenshots and other fair use images should not be used indiscriminately, and there should be a limit placed on their uses to prevent this. It is also perfectly reasonable to point out that in many cases (such as articles about individual television episodes) a screenshot may show a key scene from the episode's plot to aid identification and to illustrate a relevant point within the text. That is, there are circumstances in which a screenshot which depicts a plot or character aspect may not be purely decorative.

Since both sides have legitimate points, and it should be clear to everyone by now that this debate isn't actually progressing towards a consensus, shouldn't we consider a compromise? Many television articles use an unofficial "one screenshot per article" rule. What if we made that part of the fair use guideline? Obviously, there would be exceptions — but we could try to figure out what those exceptions are and make them explicit. (Intuitively, it should be possible to see why, for example, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope needs more screenshots than Surf Nazis Must Die. We should be able to articulate this distinction.)

Instead of trying to get rid of all screenshots (and other fair use images), or trying to use as many screenshots and other fair use images as we can get away with, let's work together figure out what the "narrow limits" the Foundation wants us to work within are. The conversation on this page has not been productive. Anyone for a fresh start? —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 09:22, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

A line or two of plot summary describes the generally progression of some story arcs. It doesn't describe any event in particular detail. A screenshot does exactly that - illustrates one particular event or character. LOEs are not for the discussion events/characters in detail so clearly the images are unnecessary, although I do not doubt that we will hear how the screenshots "complement" the article, and using just one per episode (albeit 50 for a fairly text-sparse article) is "within narrow limits". ed g2stalk 12:15, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I was trying to move past the list of episodes issue, and ensure that we had some common ground on one screenshot per episode in episode articles. I don't have a strong opinion on the use of images in LOEs. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 06:08, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
How many lines to do you want Ed? What kind of particular detail would you like about an event? This could work for Josiah is talking about, as well. - Peregrine Fisher 06:30, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree with ed, one nonfree image per episode is not "within narrow limits". I'd restrict it to one screenshot if the episode contains an encyclopedically notable camera technique (e.g. use of machinima in Make Love, Not Warcraft). Borisblue 12:23, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
And even then, only if we're going to meantion that technique in our list, IMHO. It only takes a quick glance at some of our other featured lists for subjects where we could easily include a free image for every item, like List of California birds, to see that there is something wrong with our TV lists. --Gmaxwell 12:41, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, there is an article about the episode which is the place to discuss any relevant screenshots. The List is about listing the episodes, and providing summary data. They don't go into detail, they don't need to go into detail, so they don't need screenshots. ed g2stalk 14:09, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
You think the TV lists need fixing? I think the List of California birds needs fixing. Isn't this supposed to be an encyclopedia. --Minderbinder 14:25, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
List of California birds is a featured list. It has images where there are appropriate, per the Featured List Criteria. There is a difference between "encyclopedia" and "image repository". Borisblue 15:00, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Yep, Go to the feature list page ... As far as I can tell the only lists which are totally overloaded with images are the ones which have non-free images. --Gmaxwell 15:41, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

So any compromise is rejected? - Peregrine Fisher 15:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Who said that? Allowing non-free images at all is a huge compromise. So obviously there is room for compromise. As stated above, several people would support the use of a small number of images but only when they are being used as part of a discussion about something noteworthy which is depicted in the episode. Thats a compromise ... it might not be the one you want, but it still is one. --Gmaxwell 16:30, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, I guess that might be some sort of compromise, but it sounds more like you just want to apply a strict interpretation of our FU rules. That's basically a compromise vs. no fair use at all. Since we do allow FU, how about we talk about what the minimum requirements are to justify a screenshot in a list of episodes. What do you think they should be? - Peregrine Fisher 16:42, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Peregrine, adding text to justify the presence of an unfree image is almost always a bad idea. Just write the plot summaries as you feel would be enough for an LOE article. If, after that, you believe the plot summary needs to be complemented by an image so that it could be understood, then add this image. --Abu badali (talk) 17:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Why is that a bad idea? Anyways, they're already written in such a way that I feel they need an image. I'm trying to find out what will make you, Ed, Gmax, etc. feel they need an image. - Peregrine Fisher 17:08, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
It's a bad idea because unfree images should be used only when they are needed by the article's text. We shouldn't modify the article so that it fits image that was unnecessarily added to it.
I believe I, Ed, Gmax etc feel that a plot summary (or any other piece of an article) needs an image if it contains noteworthy information that can't be completely conveyed with text only. --Abu badali (talk) 17:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I was hoping for a word count or something concrete. - Peregrine Fisher 17:57, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
This is not about how many words do you use, but more about what are these words talking about. --Abu badali (talk) 18:10, 30 March 2007 (UTC)


Based on the comments above, some editors still seem confused about my comment. When I said "one image per episode", I wasn't talking about lists of episodes. I was talking about individual episode articles, not lists of episodes. I don't really care whether lists of episodes have images or not. What I do care about is whether articles for individual television episodes can have screenshots at all. Some of the comments above suggest that Image:MashEpisode72.jpg should not be used in the featured article Abyssinia, Henry, because it doesn't depict a directorial or cinematographic technique. I think this is absurd. The Foundation resolution explicitly allows us to use nonfree content "to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works." Using one image which illustrates a key moment of a television episode, discussed a plot summary in the article, is obviously acceptable by U.S. fair use law. It even meets our fair use policy's requirement that the image should "specifically illustrate relevant points or sections within the text". The suggestion that only cinematographic or directorial techniques meet this requirement frankly does an injustice to the value of fiction in culture. When people discuss television, whether it's an academic discussion or chat around the water cooler, they generally discuss plot and character, not directorial techniques. This discussion is a vital part of "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching... scholarship, or research", and therefore there is no legitimate reason for excluding images which represent plot or character points discussed in a plot summary. —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 10:10, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

You've just had the misfortune to bring up your topic in the middle of one of the periodic LOE debates- just bad timing. :) The thing is, 'plot' and 'character' can be adequately described using text (and in fact, text serves the purpose of explaining plot and character better than images) , whereas directorial techniques are difficult or impossible to describe without use of accompanying images. There is no need for an encyclopedic discussion of a particular film episode to explain every detail of the plot- in fact, overly detailed plot summaries, even without images may constitute a copyright violation. Thus images should be used only if the work of film discusses a noteworthy camera technique or directional style. Borisblue 03:34, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
As an actor, I have to disagree with the suggestion that text can convey a performed character as well as, or better than, an image. An actor's performance contains numerous nuances of expression, attitude and body language, many of which can be conveyed by a still image of the actor in character — and that's even before mention of costuming, make-up and lighting. In many cases, an attempt to elaborate all these nuances in text would constitute original research; however, it is not original research to choose an image of the performer in the role, which may demonstrate those qualities without forcing an interpretation upon the reader. Text and images can complement each other, demonstrating different aspects of a performed character in different ways.
Similarly, a screenshot may convey aspects of a film or television production not conveyed or conveyable in a simple plot summary, including lighting, production design, film grading and so forth. All these aspects contribute to the overall look and feel of a filmed production, and even if they are not explicitly discussed in the article it can be encyclopedic to convey them in an image. (The question of detailed plot summaries is irrelevant to the question of whether it's appropriate to use a single screenshot alongside them.) —Josiah Rowe (talkcontribs) 17:29, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I believe some characters may have a specially notable look to deserve commentary, and such commentary may need imagery to be complete. A screenshot is usually the best/unique way to portrait characters of modern (i.e., still copyrighted) works of fiction. --Abu badali (talk) 12:02, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Machine readability

Greetings. The recent board resolution on our licensing policy mentions that all non-free media must be "must be identified in a machine-readable format". I can say with confidence that our current practice is not machine readable. We have a constantly shifting set of dozens of templates and categories which must be detected by someone working with a wikitext dump. It's also impossible to detect by inverting the set of free images since the free images are also marked through a constantly shifting set of tags.

I think we can solve this fairly simply by deciding that "all templates which identify non-free media must have a name which begins with {{nonfree-, and that all such templates must place the media in the category Category:Nonfree media". A non-free image which does not contain {{nonfree- will be treated as an improperly licensed file no matter what any of the templates on the page expand to. (i.e. nesting a nonfree tag is not sufficient for machine readability).

I think we should avoid the words "fair use" in place of my "nonfree" in the example, because non-free is a broader classification which does not require a complicated judgment. Is it freely licensed or not? If not, it's going to have a {{nonfree- on it.

I don't care too much what the actual text or category name. This is the general approach which I think would solve the machine readability issues and would not be too hard to implement. This would require renaming all our fair use templates, but since this can easily be carried out by bot, it will not be much of an effort. I expect the harder job will be finding all of them. Objections? Thoughts on going a step further and also requiring that all such templates also transclude a universal non-free boilerplate template which says that the media is non-free?--Gmaxwell 14:02, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

"Nonfree-" seems like a good prefix - one can imagine (free) "promophoto" and "nonfree-promophoto" tags coexisting for instance. As for finding, presumably the bot that flags untagged images works from a complete list of valid tags? Stan 17:40, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, i'm not sure... nonfree seems very difficult to define as a fixed value. Basically everything not in the public domain is not free. I agree that something should probably be done to fix this, but I doubt this is the proper way. Surely there are more refined ways to make this workable. Preferably this should be solved at the mediawiki level trough a metadata extension, but we have all been waiting so long for that, that is not realistic either of course. I think at least the Village Pump should be invited to participate in this discussion.

And perhaps we need to rework and reevaluate all the template licensing and naming conventions. In that case it might be a good idea to take a closer look at the reasoning behind all the commons conventions. Perhaps some of the ideas there can be applied here. The BIGGEST problem of course will be to process all the images and make sure they are actually complying with any new convention, because it's easier to identify what's free at the moment, then whats not. Basically, if we are gonna do this, why not take the time to evaluate almost everything about the en. images, templates and categories, since they will all need to be processed because of this. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 18:44, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

TheDJ, The Wikimedia foundation has adopted a formal definition of freely licensed content. See I believe that addresses your first point.
Before making any actual change I will, of course, hit the village-dump and the mailing-lists, but I wanted to work out the details here first since there is a greater concentration of people who are well informed on the subject areas here.
Commons is in may ways a mirror of enwiki in this regard and it is largely a mess. I don't believe commons has anything to offer us on this front. However, if you feel like fixing up PD tagging, Wikisource appears to have that area well solved.
I did not propose fixing anything else because mission/feature creep stinks, especially when I'll need to get consensus support around something. I hope you don't decide to oppose a good step just because it doesn't cure all ills. :) --Gmaxwell 18:52, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Complete list of valid tags? Ha. OrphanBot's got a list of 350+ tags and tag patterns, and it still comes up with tags it doesn't recognize on a daily basis. Most of them are redlinks where the user tried to make up a tag, but some of them are real. --Carnildo 18:54, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps something pertinent would be to have OrphanBot read new templates that it has never encountered prior, and if they contain the words "fair use" add to the non-free list. Matthew 19:00, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Except we change the meaning of templates too.. I can't think of any off hand that have switch status with respect to fair use, though I'm pretty sure thats happened too.. For example of a template changing meaning see {{PD-CAGov}}. It's a total mess. My plan is that after approving this change we'd take a list of "fair use" templates (Hopefully Carnildo will post his, mine is outdated and only has ~60... though I can look for all templates that contain the words fair use), then move all of them to their new names leaving redirects in place. Then we can run a bot over all the images to fix them to use the correct names, then we either delete the redirects or change them to deletion notices and protect them. Finally, we have a bot check that all the non-free templates conform to the standards we set, which is much easier because they will all have names beginning with a commons prefix. --Gmaxwell 19:09, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I think leaving a "soft redirect" type thing with an explanation and then protect the old names is the best approach. If we just deleted all the redirects outright it would probably cause a lot of unnessesary confusion and drama. --Sherool (talk) 22:12, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
I'll post my lists, but I'm not sure how useful it will be. OrphanBot's more concerned with tagging and sourcing, so it uses template patterns whenever there are a number of templates with similar names and sourcing requirements. All the logo tags, for example, are recognized using the pattern "*-logo", and are categorized as "no source required". --Carnildo 22:28, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
You're assuming things are neat and tidy, and that everyone behaves well. To get an idea of what OrphanBot sees when processing new uploads, check out User:Carnildo/Things OrphanBot found on image description pages -- it's a list of template-like objects that OrphanBot has found on image description pages -- after I filtered out templates OrphanBot knows about, URLs imitating templates, template transclusion with broken syntax, and approximately 6,000 duplicate reports. --Carnildo 22:28, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
"{{[[Template:used as vandalism on XBox]]}}" At least they were honest? --tjstrf talk 02:01, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I think getting a list of all the actual templates wouldn't be that hard, accounting for all the crazy things people "tag" their images with is something else entirely. - cohesion 03:43, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Reviving the discussion

I agree that we need some form of machine readability, at least to easily generate reports about fair use usage, non-article space usage, etc. How about, for the time being, we simply create a null template, Template:Non-free media and add it to every known non-free image copyright tag? I'll go create it and provide a list, and an admin can add 'em in. Be right back. --Iamunknown 04:42, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like a good way to spread the effort of finding all of them out among many people. Once thats done the actual transition can be entirely bot driven with only basic human supervision. --Gmaxwell 04:47, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Great point! About the actual implementation, I just added it to the templates in Category:Non-free image copyright tags from Template:Alberta-politician-photo through Template:Cvg-titlescreen (except for Template:Albumcover, Template:Book cover, Template:CrownCopyright and Template:Cc-sampling, which were protected) and I don't think I can do anymore for a while. Normally I am totally fine doing repetitive tasks, but I think I'll wait until tomorrow to do some more. If an admin sees this, please add {{Non-free media}} to those protected templates! Oh, and don't add them within "includeonly" tags...I thought it might be good to leave 'em out so that we can keep track of which image copyright tags transclude this template. --Iamunknown 05:30, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Added to the protected ones, I can help out later today also (around midnight utc), unless you finish by then :) - cohesion 11:47, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I've added it to a few of the "big ones" that are protected: ({{restricted use}}, {{fair use in}} and {{logo}}, that should keep the job que busy for a while... --Sherool (talk) 13:42, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I am totally in favor of having all free license templates start with {{free-xxx}} and all non-free license templates start with {{non-free-xxx}}. I realize this requires identifying and renaming just a freaking buttload of templates, but that's what robots are for, neh? Kelly Martin (talk) 16:32, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I didn't realise it, but Cydebot is already churning. :-) --Iamunknown 16:35, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
There is a list of non-free templates that have been tagged with the non-free media tag on Wikipedia:Non-free_content/templates. Cyde is running a bot to add to the list as more non-free templates are found. On that page we should list the new names, and discuss templates that should just be deleted rather than being renamed. --Gmaxwell 00:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Template:Infobox German Location is using a parameter named "Art" that's causing some weirdness in the what links here for {{non-free media}} [4]. (I think that's the cause) I left a message on the template talk page. - cohesion 03:51, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually.. it was transcluding Art. I fixed it. Man I hate our template syntax. I had to write a parser to find that unmatched brace.--Gmaxwell 04:03, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Ah, thanks Gmaxwell. I searched through the template and was trying to figure out what was going on, but didn't find the transclusion. --Iamunknown 04:07, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, I was thinking it was some weird bug, ignoring the obvious. What's not to love about a syntax that makes you count on your fingers open-open-open-open-open-close-close-open ;) - cohesion 12:07, 18 April 2007 (UTC)


It seems that some userboxes have logos in them. Is that allowed? Althepal 01:54, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

We have userboxes that use foundation logos, they're unfree.. apparently "foundation won't sue its self" is a valid usage excuse :-P. Matthew 02:02, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't get it. I mean, why can somebody have a userbox with the Vista Orb while they can't have a small vista orb on their user page? If you ask me, using the logo would make the company popular, so why would they be against it?Althepal 04:24, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
No, userboxes can't have logos. Like Matthew mentioned the Wikipedia globe seems to be an exception however. Borisblue 04:31, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
The problem is that when a fair use image is put in a userbox, many see it as pure decoration. Not only the fair use rules we have state we cannot use fair use images for decorations, fair use pages cannot be used in the userspace at all. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:36, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
It is pure decoration, because it's not part of the encyclopedia. Just recently I went trough all the TV station Userboxes (yes, those actually exist) and removed all tv station logo's from them again. So i agree, using fair use logo's in UBX in general is not allowed, with a few rare exceptions perhaps. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 09:30, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Althepal, a lot of the stuff on your user page is not allowed. - Peregrine Fisher 05:14, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for fixing my page. Just a question, can something I drew actually be fair use? Althepal 18:03, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, even though you drew a copy of the logo you do not own the copyright of it. Just in the same way that if I wrote a copy of "the Da Vinci code" I cannot claim copyright over it. Borisblue

International Symbol of Access

Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Use of international wheelchair symbol: I believe that this would result in a change to the fair use policy, or at least a clarification that a limited number of "official symbols" like the International Symbol of Access are not replaceable and do not require specific rationales for each use. --NE2 19:53, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

No, it won't. The ISA is clearly not the only way to indicate disabled access. Even the text "disable access" does it adequately. ed g2stalk 22:01, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
The ISA is, however, the standard, internationally accepted way. (The text "disabled access" being not at all adequate for the billions of people in the world who do not read English.) I know it's hard for libre absolutists to believe this, but somehow, the real world has survived the horror of this symbol being oppressed by its copyright status for, gosh, almost 40 years. Which is much longer than Wikipedia will be around if this type of irrational copyright-phobia continues to guide the editing philosophy of Wikipedia's most intransigent and closed-minded editors.
If Wikipedia decides not to use the ISA, the problem, folks, is not with the ISA, which has done a wonderful job over the past four decades.
And Ed - I love your new standard of "adequate"! Unfortuantely, that's not Wikipedia's standard; see, we're trying to build an encyclopedia of the "highest quality". Is that not something you're striving for these days? Or are you willing to create something "adequate" and incomprehensible, in lieu of actually creating something of high quality and understandable? Jenolen speak it! 23:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
We need to figure out some way of using this symbol. We should be bending over backwards to help the disabled. There's no bending over required in this case though, because allowing this image to indicate disabled access wouldn't hurt us at all. The disabled are helped, we're not hurt. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. What could possibly be wrong with using it? Some downstream user uses it to indicate disabled access of something with disabled access? - Peregrine Fisher 23:47, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Jenolen, the topic discussed in this page is hot enough to not need such inflammatory comments. Try to express your views without attributing any kind qualifications to those who disagree with you. Avoid religious comparisons (like absolutist, crusaders, jihadist, etc. (not implying you have used them all)). Use sarcasm sparselly, and not as your main argumentation technique. Your tone in this comment (and in most of your previous comments on this page) does nothing to instigate a fruitful discussion on a topic that I assume is of your interest. --Abu badali (talk) 23:56, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Abu, you're absolutely right. I didn't mean to say Wikipedia should be hauling garbage... I meant to say it should be hauled away AS garbage.  ;) (Any Trekkers here?)
For the record, "Crusader," I no longer use, preferring the more neutral "zealous remedial enterprise undertakers." (See above.) "Absolutist" I see as relatively neutral; Ed has shown no interest in tempering his views, nor any wavering in his dedication to being one of the most strict and consistent of the anti-fair use hobbyists. There's nothing wrong with absolutism, per se... extremism in defense of liberty, etc., but when entire forests of images have been hacked down with little regard for the trees, I think it's entirely appropriate to point out situations where other editors refuse to consider building a true consensus, and instead, rely on their own "I know in my heart of hearts what's really best for Wikipedia in every situation" instincts. Again, we're talking about an editor who has vigorously prosecuted a campaign to remove properly used images and symbols for ... what? Fun? A heartfelt belief in one of Wikipedia's five pillars above all others? This editor has shown no interest, time and time again, in being a reasonable part of a community, much less actually building an encyclopedia using the full power of the remarkable tools we have here. Note: I "get" libre; I get the zeal with which some people embrace it. What I don't get are "shooting ourselves in the foot" moments such as designing a new, non-standard, non-international symbol for wheelchair access, then expecting the entire world to embrace it, because of a copyright decision made by an international body 40 years ago. I won't hesitate to point out ridiculousness when I see it, and Wikipedia's creation of a "new international symbol for wheelchair access" is empirically ridiculous. Jenolen speak it! 01:41, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

"I love your new standard of "adequate"! Unfortuantely, that's not Wikipedia's standard;" - You clearly haven't read FUC#1 recently, the first point of our policy. As I have stated, the ISA is not the only way to indicate disabled access - we are not trying to create a new international standard, just finding an adequate free way to abbreviate "disabled access available". "The text "disabled access" being not at all adequate for the billions of people in the world who do not read English." - This is the English Wikipedia!!! If using English isn't good enough here then we're in real trouble. ed g2stalk 12:20, 31 March 2007 (UTC)


A user has placed this image of a sword at Excalibur, because the item in the picture is a "replica" of Excalibur. It's a copyrighted image of a commercial product, and there must be dozens of free images that can be used to illustrate King Arthur's weapon. Anyone care to comment?--Cúchullain t/c 23:49, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I have tagged the image as replaceable and warned the uploader. Unless something new comes up in the next 48hs, the image will be speedy deleted. --Abu badali (talk) 00:01, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Ayumi Hamasaki discography

I need someone to drop by Ayumi Hamasaki discography to explain, in better words, why covers there are decorative. As you can see, there was an awful edit war between AMiB and an anonymous. -- ReyBrujo 04:51, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Apparently this is no longer needed, a user understood, anonymous is blocked and AMiB is apparently gone forever. -- ReyBrujo 06:43, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Admins leave the project for various reasons; I'm sorry this admin was chased off by fair use issues. Jenolen speak it! 07:00, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
GoodBye. However, this was not the issue, his modifications in several videogames templates (that usually ended in templates fully protected or even a block for edit warring) were the cause (if I may say so). -- ReyBrujo 07:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

What We're Dealing With; Lack of Fortitude?

I read a post recently which said Fair use abuse is a constant presence and must be fought as hard as possible, and it got me thinking - shouldn't this person be devoting their energy to fighting copyright violations? (Fair use, of course, being a legal way to use copyrighted material...) Anyhow, I don't know where to find a list of the copyrighted material that has been found to actually (not hypothetically) have caused a fair use problem here. (I mean, there must be something in Wikipedia's history, in the past four years, that failed a legal test for fair use, right?)

So, I've created a place on my user page for just such a list. If anyone here knows of copyrighted material, uploaded to Wikipedia, and later found to be in violation of fair use laws, please stop by User:Jenolen/Fair Use Convictions and add it.

Not unrelated side note: Can we just go ahead and stop all this pussyfooting around, and go "German" already? Put a bullet through the head of silly arguments like the wheelchair thing, the state government photos thing, the "should we make an exception for the Main Page?" thing ... and just ban fair use! The most vocal, influential editors here hate it -- so why isn't it banned? It's the hypocrisy of those who claim "Free! Free! Free!" and yet won't put their quite considerable free time behind a simple, well-thought out and Jimbo supported proposal to simply ban it which I find so off-putting.

In the spirit of consensus, I'll even help with the press release: "Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, today announced a rededication to one of its core principles, deleting thousands of copyrighted images from its database, and encouraging users to replace the discarded content with material that is free of copyright concerns. As part of the plan to expand its rights-free offerings, Wikipedia also announced the elimination of "fair use" within the project, a legal doctrine which until now had permitted the limited use of copyrighted material."

Take it away! Jenolen speak it! 06:32, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

found by a court Sorry, but these cases do not reach the community. That is what the Foundation does (through WP:OFFICE if necessary): keep legal hassles away. I can tell you that Carlson Twins had an image dispute, where the copyright owner of the picture that was being used requested it to be removed because it was a commercial picture, and after some conversations the copyright owner accepted to release the current picture under a free license to end the discussion. -- ReyBrujo 06:47, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
And yes, my sarcasm sense is tingling, but I prefer to think it is because I haven't washed my hair tonight. -- ReyBrujo 06:49, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
No sarcasm intended; I simply am trying to get a sense of the history to better understand what has caused this virulent opposition to a free use -- which is what fair use is, after alll; a free use of copyrighted material. Jenolen speak it! 07:03, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
And the report from Anonymous Coward continued, after quoting the Wikimedia Foundation press release: "Google and Yahoo have both set up editable forks. The quick emergence of these forks suggests that both companies were prepared for this move; but will Wikipedia editors flock to either? And what is Microsoft's move here? Editable Encarta?"--GunnarRene 07:33, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not aware of anything that has reached the courts. If something doesn't meet Wikipedia's fair-use criteria, it gets speedy-deleted as soon as we get an informal complaint (at any given time, OTRS has one or two in the queue); if it does, we usually don't delete unless we get a formal DMCA takedown notice. --Carnildo 07:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

By "fair use abuse" in "Fair use abuse is a constant presence and must be fought as hard as possible", what was meant was "fair use abuse" or "Fair use" abuse?

I, for one, don't think we should "go german". That would prevent us, for instance, to use a screenshot of Darth Vadder to comment on his look. Do you understand a lot of us "absolutists" here believe there are valid reasons to use unfree material on a free encyclopedia? This "accept only 100% free"/"accept anything that's legal" dichotomy is not a creation of us? --Abu badali (talk) 08:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi, I think the point being made here is that if a cardinal principle becomes an aspiration then who decides where to draw the line. DE recognizes that point. If the compromise is to be allowed, however it is described, then libre is just no longer a cardinal principle.--luke 11:11, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

The problem, of course, comes when one editor accepts (random numbers used here to make a point) a 90% libre Wikipedia... while another wants a 95% libre Wikipedia ... and a third (the most strict, anti-fair use, most libre idealist) editor wants a 99% libre Wikipedia. Of these three editors - who's standards get applied? The 99%-er deletes nearly every image of copyrighted material, every promotional photo, every state government photo... everything that in his mind COULD be replaced, were we living in the libre utopia he slowly sees the real world becoming. And the policies and guildelines of Wikipedia are so confusing, contradictory, and poorly written, the 99%-er has no problem getting any image he wants deleted, citing a variety of rules, sub-rules, intents, pillars, off-list messages from Jimbo, etc.

Fun? Not really. Productive? Not at all. But it is part of the inevitable creep toward a fair-use free EN. Trust me - if you can't "save" totally harmless photos taken by state governments (and released specifically to Wikipedia to "do whatever you want" with), you don't have a prayer of saving the images of all 493 species of Pokemon. Make no mistake - within a year, that faux press release I started up above will seem positively Nostradaman. Jenolen speak it! 17:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

I think it's actually a healthy situation. The 99%ers are rarer than the 95%ers, and so on. If you look throught the edit histories of a hardcore anti-FU editor, there's a ton of removals. But, for every one of them, there's tons of less prolific users that have uploaded images. Replaceable FU images may be going away, I'm not sure, but non-replaceable images are sticking. If you look at the comments on this page, it may seem dire, but the users here are self selected. This is just where the hardcore from both sides gather. Basically, to end up in the middle, both sides have to push. - Peregrine Fisher 18:28, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I doubt any of the so called "99%" have an interpretation of the policy that isn't agreed upon by a much larger percent than 1, even if it isn't the majority. Your example of a such a "hard-core" opinion, removing promo shots of living celebrities, is now Foundation Policy. ed g2stalk 21:24, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
Which is why I find it so fascinating that fair use is being slowly bled out, rather than simply removed altogether. Why prolong the hassle? Why not commit to the German solution now? I mean, really, what are you guys waiting for? Even MORE hostile conflicts with editors who have a poor understanding that what they're doing is against Wikipedia policy, logic, the law, the technical ability be damned? Jenolen speak it! 21:27, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
We are not "waiting for" anything (to "go german"). We don't necessarily want to ("go german"). I like, for instance, the idea of using a unfree material when it's necessary for making critical commentary on the unfree material itself. Can you understand/accept that? That some of those who would like to see less unfree material on Wikipedia may also still accept some unfree material on Wikipedia? Don't group together all opinions you don't agree with as if they were only one opinion (conveniently absolutist, to facilitate your counter-argumentation). --Abu badali (talk) 21:43, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that there are valid fair uses, not least the ones that I personally uploaded :-), so I for one don't want the German solution. Repeatedly misrepresenting my position isn't convincing anyone of anything, so why do you keep doing it? Stan 23:46, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Protect the page

I suggest protecting Wikipedia:Fair use--Vaya 21:42, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

Why? —Remember the dot (talk) 05:18, 1 April 2007 (UTC)
Many reverted edits.--Vaya 14:22, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

International wheelchair symbol discussion

A discussion about how we should use the International Symbol of Access on Wikipedia is taking place at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)#Use of international wheelchair symbol]. —Remember the dot (talk) 05:23, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes - we've already been told, see above. ed g2stalk 21:32, 1 April 2007 (UTC)


Apparently the Foundation resolution wasn't clear enough for some people...

The Foundation policy explicity highlights portraits of living notable individuals as not being covered by EDPs. How much clearer does it need to be! The image will be deleted. If you still have a problem with this take it to WT:FU, WP:AN/I or anywhere else you want, but I have said all I have to say, several times over. ed g2stalk 00:43, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The image in question is Image:Mbragg1.jpg. ed g2stalk 00:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I'd ban him just for having an irritating user page. :-) Stan 12:59, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
Can you please link to that resolution, I'd like to read it.--Vaya 11:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy --Sherool (talk) 12:38, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
EDP "permits the upload of copyrighted materials that can be legally used in the context of the project." It need be replaced if a "free" replacement "is available which will serve the same educational purpose." Clear as mud. For this document to make sense, one must believe that "almost all" living notable individuals have at least one "freely licensed" portrait available. Not so. Just the publicity rights issues involved here make this impossible. Insert standard fair use debate here. Yakuman (数え役満) 13:33, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose, such as is the case for almost all portraits of living notable individuals.- clear as mud indeed. Borisblue 14:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, fine. "Almost all" living notable individuals do not have at least one "freely licensed" portrait available. They just don't. Yakuman (数え役満) 14:17, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Go take one then. I'll loan you a camera. ;) --Gmaxwell 15:22, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Max, will you pay for a lawyer to settle the forthcoming publicity rights dispute? Yakuman (数え役満) 18:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Are you arguing the the policy allows you to use the images, or that the policy is wrong? The former would be absurd, and the latter would be somewhat fruitless. ed g2stalk 16:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

In the US, at least since I don't know the law of other nations enough to comment, a free image would not be in a worse position wrt to publicity rights, nor does Wikipedia engage in any activity which would put us in danger of running into issues in that space. --Gmaxwell 02:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Policy allows me to use "the images," in that all my fair-use promotional uploads are irreplaceable. <smile> As for what you refer to, policy is at minimum vague, contradictory and useless. As I said above, for this document to make sense, one must believe that "almost all" living notable individuals have at least one "freely licensed" portrait available. Not so. Just the publicity rights issues involved here make this impossible. Yakuman (数え役満) 18:11, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
"one must believe that "almost all" living notable individuals have at least one "freely licensed" portrait available" - no, we mean that it is possible to create or acquire a freely licensed portrait of most living notable individuals. That is the opinion of the Foundation - disagree with if you want, but you must still abide by it if you want to contribute to its projects. ed g2stalk 18:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
That's not the only thing policy says. There's nothing that says I must agree with your favorite interpretations to contribute to its projects. The simple truth is that the claim that portraits are possible is rationally false regardless of the weight of the policy document. Yakuman (数え役満) 18:33, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Above user has now tried to re-upload two deleted images under different filenames (objections he filed for deletion are in brackets):

Both images were caption-less at the top of the page, with no reference to either "specific subject" in the article. Disagreeing with our policy is fine, but he must abide by it. Objections to deletion must be taken to undeletion requests. ed g2stalk 18:45, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

I say these photographs were properly used in accordance with current Wikipedia poliicies and guidelines. You disagree and invoke disproportionate power to remove them. Since discussion is fruitless, I reuploaded per WP:BOLD and WP:IAR. You reinvoked disproportionate power again, over my objections. That's all there is. Yakuman (数え役満) 19:02, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
You really don't believe everything you're writing, do you? ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ 20:47, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Every word of it. This is all good faith stuff, even if I am the biggest idiot who ever lived. Sometimes I think I am. Others do too. <smile> Yakuman (数え役満)
IMHO the good faith defence wears a little thin when you repeatedly ignore what the policy says even after having it pointed out by multiple people. Publicity rights are unrelated to copyright and beyond the scope of our licensing policies. See Wikipedia:General disclaimer#Jurisdiction and legality of content. Downstream users have to make sure theyr spesific use of our material does not violate any special laws that may apply in theyr juristiction (German users have to keep in mind local laws banning the use of symbols like the Swastica, users in various muslim countries have to be mindfull of bans on images of Mohammed, and users in some US states have to keep publicity rights in mind if engaging in scertain commercial activities). Our licensing policy does not cover things like that, it only ensures that there are no copyright related issues to worry about when you use a free licensed image, not that the image is always 100% legal to use in all contexts everywhere in the world. --Sherool (talk) 22:57, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Gmail and Image:DSCN2734small.jpg

I have drawn this image myself. Can I tag it {{GFDL-self}} and use it to describe Gmail logo?--Vaya 10:51, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

No. Borisblue 14:16, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
But it is nice, though. — pd_THOR | =/\= | 21:13, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

"Critical commentary" is vague and confusing

Critical and criticism have several meanings, so "critical commentary" is vague. Unfortunately the meaning of the phrase is not explained on this page. Critical can mean to pass judgment upon the qualities of something; clearly we do not mean that here because Wikipedia has a NPOV policy. Critical also means accurate and precise; while Wikipedia encourages our commentary to be accurate and precise by following reliable sources, I don't see how this is relevant to fair use. Maybe it does mean we should be critical in the accurate and precise sense, but just so it is clear that our purpose is scholarship, one of the six fair purposes listed in the law. But if that's the case, why not just say "scholarly commentary"? (though it is not clear why we should do that, since commentary alone is one of the six examples). I gather from my dictionary that critical, especially in scientific contexts (critical mass, critical pressure), also means the point or threshold something must obtain before something can happen. In this sense, I suppose "critical commentary" means our commentary should be in-depth as opposed to superficial. For example, an album cover in the article about the album is accompanied by a sufficient amount of text, whereas an album cover in a discography article is accompanied by a superficial amount. This seems to me the intended meaning, but I can't be sure. If it means that, it should say that; if it means something else, it should say that. It shouldn't cloak what is meant using words with a cornucopia of definitions.

"Critical commentary", a phrase seemingly invented by Wikipedia, can also be confused for language used in the Fair Use law. "Critical commentary" looks like a hybrid of criticism and comment from "...for purposes such as criticism, comment..." But in that context: (1) Criticism and comment are distinct. (2) They refer to one of several purposes you can select from, and the purpose is only one of the four considerations which all must be taken into account. In contrast, you either have "critical commentary" in Wikipedia or you don't: if you do the image's inclusion might be justified, if you don't it can't be. Having Wikipedia policy that is confusable with U.S. law is a problem.

In short, "critical commentary" is a problematic phrase that should use clearer terminology and be explained more thoroughly. Punctured Bicycle 22:28, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

The Slow Bleed Continues...

With this edit, Jimbo his own self seems to indicate that Fair Use, while (allegedly) acceptable within the pages of Wikipedia, is no longer welcome on the Main Page. Thanks for the clarifying "guidance," Jimbo! People who claim to be in the 90% and 95% categories above - Abu, Ed, etc. - the 99%'ers are gaining on you. And when they eventually take away your Darth Vader image, even if only to discuss Vader's fearsome appearance ("because text can adequately describe what he looks like!"), I don't want to hear any complaining about how you didn't see it coming... Jenolen speak it! 03:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Why isn't that a derivative work? - Peregrine Fisher 03:38, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Because a blue/green vw bus (and other vw inspired autos) with flowers painted on is nowhere near the threshold of originality required by art. Similarly painted vans predated the show. :) --Gmaxwell 03:48, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
A reproduction is subject to the same terms as the original work. Translation: Unfree image! Hide the children! Yakuman (数え役満) 03:59, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Either it IS derivative... and is supposed to, I guess, "evoke" Scooby-Doo, or it's NOT derivative... and has no business illustrating an article about Scooby-Doo. WP:FU at its finest... Jenolen speak it! 04:11, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

It says mystery machine on the side. Looking at the original, the only difference is that this has two flowers, and this has three. That image should be taken down from commons, and slapped with a fair use tag. - Peregrine Fisher 04:15, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The image is indeed a derivative; it has also been deleted from commons now. Matthew 10:26, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Even if the van in the picture used completely different colors, pineapples instead of flowers, and had a dolphin hood ornament... once you say, 'hey this is the Mystery Machine from Scooby-doo', it is a 'copy' of the original (technically the term 'derivative work' applies to authorized copies). Otherwise someone could take the next 'Harry Potter' book and make a 'free' movie of it provided they get alot of details wrong. It just doesn't work that way. If you seek to represent something as being some part of an earlier artistic creation then you need the permission of the owner of that earlier work. I'd like to see that reality understood a bit better here and on Commons. Then maybe someone will be able to explain to me why our three time picture of the day Image:Villianc.svg isn't a violation of the copyright on Snidely Whiplash. --CBD 12:51, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
What I want to know is why the villian pix is illustrating the article Snidely Whiplash when it's claimed to be an original work and not a picture of the character?? --Minderbinder 15:34, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The history of that page is rather amusing. --NE2 15:48, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Someone should slap Image:Villianc.svg with a fair use tag. It's a derivative work. Look at this, they just changed his color. - Peregrine Fisher 16:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Wow, I'm not seeing that at all? Are you really resorting to stooping so low to attack free content? I understand that you have a big thing for unlicensed images, but turning around and attacking free images reeks of sour grapes. Get over it; Wikipedia is a free content project. If that's not what you're looking for, you're free to leave. --Cyde Weys 17:10, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Cyde, this encyclopedia allows fair use images. Get over it. If it's not what you're looking for, you're free to leave. Johntex\talk 01:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
Snidely Whiplash and the Image:Villianc.svg image have the following characteristics in common: black attire, top hat, long curling mustache, bulging eyes, toothy grin, hunched back, hands clenching, and cartoon drawing. These can be described as 'stereotypical' traits of 'villains' (Montgomery Burns of The Simpsons shares the bulging eyes, hunched back, clenching hands, and cartoon drawing), but you put them all together and alot of people immediately think of Snidely Whiplash. I can't recall any other villain who'd share all of those traits. Nor do I see any notable differences from Snidely. The claim that an image draws from the same PD inspirations as another IS a valid defense against copyright infringement - up to a point where the similarities are considered too close. I'm not a copyright lawyer/judge so I don't know which side of the line this would come down on, but it's definitely in the realm of 'open to question'. --CBD 11:08, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Wow, the Main Page of a free content project restricting itself to free content! Truly a sad day in our history... ed g2stalk 11:03, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Has the main page ever had non-free content? unless you're talking about non-free imagery? Matthew 11:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Images are content. ed g2stalk 11:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Why not? The article itself includes non-free content. The site's policies allow non-free content. I still find it ridiculous that people keep calling this site a "free content project" when it explicitly allows non-free content. It will be a "free content project" when only free content is allowed. --Minderbinder 15:34, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, so let's do it. I'm ready; are you? --Cyde Weys 17:14, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
No. That would be a major detriment to our goal of creating a good encyclopedia. —Remember the dot (talk) 18:09, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Really? The vast majority of unlicensed images do little more than make the encyclopedia look prettier (in some people's estimations, anyway). Quality doesn't really have much to do with having lots of images on each page. Encyclopedia Britannica, for instance, doesn't use any unlicensed images, and nobody would possibly suggest that they aren't a good encyclopedia. --Cyde Weys 21:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
EB certainly uses plenty of unfree images, they just license them, which isn't an option at wikipedia. You honestly don't think EB would be regarded as the exact same quality if it got rid of all unfree images, do you? If images don't add to quality, then why does EB go to the trouble of licensing them? I think the fact that they do is evidence that they consider the images important and adding to the quality of their encyclopedia. --Minderbinder 19:58, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
  • We should encourage more use of legally-permissible fair use images, not less. We should stay focused on the goal of building a better encyclopeida and appropriate use of fair use images helps with that. We already have commons to be a completely free image repository and we should leave that crusade up to them. Johntex\talk 01:38, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
    • According to whom? The recent resolution says the exact opposite. —xyzzyn 13:08, 5 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Johntex, one of the main goals of Wikipedia is to increase the amount of free information available. We're not here just building yet another encyclopedia. Fair use is used only when it's completely unavoidable. Get over it. If it's not what you're looking for, you're free to leave. --Abu badali (talk) 15:49, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
      • But fair use is almost always completely avoidable. Back to the Darth Vader example - I have no doubt that certain editors (Hi, Ed!) would consider a description of Darth Vader to be an adequate substitute for a copyrighted picture of Darth Vader (since no free images of Darth Vander can exist). So, what the practical upshot of what you're saying is just another version of "Fair use is only used when WE say it can be, and never when YOU say it should be..." Make no mistake - The "Delete 99% of everything claimed under fair use" editors are driving this policy, and, as much as it frightens me to say, things are only going to get "worse," from the standpoint of new or policy-ignorant editors clashing with the vigorous remedial enterprise undertakers who have made it their mission to scrub out some fair uses, while leaving others intact. Jenolen speak it! 19:42, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
        • Forget Darth Vader. If you really want to get rid of fair use that means no images of any art done by living artists, including paintings, photos, sculptures. Many if not most pictures of historic events. And not just images, it also means any quotes from any text of copyrighted materials, regardless of how short. So absolutely no samples of text from books, poems, lyrics, plays, film/tv dialogue, not even short ones of a handful of words. Yeah, it would be a huge improvement for this encyclopedia to not provide any examples of the work of any living artists or writers. Fair use is certainly always "avoidable". It's just that in many cases avoiding it makes for a worse article and a worse encyclopedia. --Minderbinder 19:58, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
          • That image Jimbo used as a replacement on the Scooby Doo example is an embarrassment. I'd rather see all images (including the Wikipedia logo in the corner) banned outright from Wikipedia than see people uploading crap. And an encyclopedia without images is utterly useless in 2007 (the virtually image-less German and French Wikipedias are awful). As Abu badali says, of course, if we don't like it, we can leave. Well I think if the current trend continues you'll see more and more people jumping ship. And that won't help the cause any. 23skidoo 17:18, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


I know I've proposed this before, but I think this has more pertinence now that the foundation has explicitly advocated stricter rules regarding free content: have any of you guys who are opposed to the foundation's stance considered forking off wikipedia to a new project (say, Fairwiki)? You can pretty much copy all of Wikipedia's articles and add fair use images, audio, even video. Copying wikipedia in this way is definitely legal (an in fact, implicitly encouraged) by the GFDL license. FairWiki would focus on being "a publicly editable encyclopedia" rather than a "free encyclopedia"- I'm pretty sure you'd get sufficient support to get it off the ground.

This is an analogy with the various linux distributions- some are more strict about their interpretation of free content than others. Debian, for instance, is so strict that the developers didn't even allow firefox because they trademarked their logo- hence the creation of Iceweasel. The GFDL is designed to be dynamic, so users can create variations of the GFDL-licensed software/product to meet their own goals or needs. Those people who share Wikimedia's goals vis-a-vis free content can use wikipedia, those who want to create the highest-quality publically-editable encyclopedia legally permissible can use FairWiki. Everybody wins. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Borisblue (talkcontribs) 12:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC).

Be our guest. You just need a big computer, broad band and a community. And some lawyers. -- ReyBrujo 13:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think Boris wants to be part of such a project, but yes, I think the people who continue to express such disgust at the Foundation's view on licensing should either do something about it, or put up with it. ed g2stalk 13:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
I saw an idea on Meta that some users wanted to create a Wikimedia Commons clone, except it only accept fair use images. My main concern is that if there is a fork, or even a sanctioned project of Wikimedia, that has nothing but fair use images, it would just become a dump of photos we are not going to use (in the case of fair use photos, we have to use them). User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
A public collection of non-free images practically without context is certainly not fair use (unless it’s Google image search or something similar). Which is why it will not (well, should not, at least) be implemented by the foundation. However, people who want to fork Wikipedia for the purpose of using more fair use images are very welcome to do so. Such a fork would be a lightning rod for copyright-related litigation and we could still copy most article improvements back to Wikipedia. Of course it would be impossible to mirror such a project outside of the USA (and risky inside the USA), but, hey, the Library of Alexandria didn’t have mirrors either… —xyzzyn 16:09, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Just as a response to ReyBrujo's comment, I'm curious as to whether Wikipedia has ever actually been sued by anyone over the use of fair use images. I can't seem to get a straight answer from anyone on that. (Personally I think it's more likely that we'll see Wikipedia sued for WP:BLP violations such as false declarations of death or libel). Regarding the topic at hand, if someone creates a competing Wiki that isn't as paranoid about "small stuff" like images, then I'm there. It's only a matter of time; right now Wikipedia is really the only game in town so people are putting up. But the same was said of, oh, the IMDb a few years ago. Or pre-cable network television. 23skidoo 17:21, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Property rights?

What is the latest on property rights viz a viz fair use images? The Eiffel Tower at night is a good example. Can we still take pictures of buildings and statues and stuff from a public place, or do we have to look for the small print on the structure that tells us who owns the property rights? Carcharoth 14:01, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Ah, this is an interesting case. It was once said that everything that was in the "public eye" was free to take pictures of for private use. Although some artists have tried to prevent that, I remember the case of pictures of the "mirror blob" on flickr the artist demanded were taken down. This in turn led to a protest where people were encouraged to take as many pictures of the thing as possible and put them online to defend the rights of the average Joe making pictures.
Of course, we are NOT making private use!!! So this is indeed all Fair Use material for the countries where copyright extends as far as publicizing images of art/buildings for non-private use. Unfortunately again a highly debatable issue. Take it to court is all that I can say. That's why I find the current policy of the foundation so troublesome. Just get a rich sponsor that will help us in a court case to defend these rights, and simply wait to be sued and TEST the law. It's the only way this is ever gonna get resolved. --TheDJ (talkcontribsWikiProject Television) 14:17, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
See Freedom of panorama. Most countries allow you to use/sell a photo of a building which was taken from a public area. Ironically, the same picture taken out the window of a private residence (even your own) would technically be a copyright violation / 'fair use' only. Not truly 'free' since not all countries accept it (though photos buildings are allowed even in the US and other countries which have no other 'freedom of panorama'), but it is allowed on Commons. --CBD 14:28, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Right. Thanks for the advice. Is taking pictures of old buildings and statues still OK? Some (fictitious) examples: (1) a statue erected in 1701; (2) a memorial dedicated in 1927; (3) a skyscraper completed in 2001; (4) a power station built in 1935, photographed in 1955, and demolished in 1995. Carcharoth 14:40, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
For the US the answers would be; (1) free due to expired copyright, (2) possibly free under 'freedom of panorama' or expired copyright, (3) possibly free under 'freedom of panorama', and (4) possibly free under 'freedom of panorama' or expired copyright. For these examples those answers would be the same for most, but not all, other countries. Note that US law allows 'freedom of panorama' for buildings, but not statues... while most other countries allow both. Copyright on anything created prior to 1923 has expired in the US... whereas anything created since 1978 is under copyright until 2048 at the earliest. If it is a hundred years old or a building which you are photographing from an open public place then it is 'free use' for most of the world. --CBD 15:11, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. For the demolished building, if there are no other pics known to be available, would that be an example of where free use applies? Carcharoth 15:27, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
You could use the photo of the power plant as fair use, it is, however, not a free photo (it is not in the public domain due to its age) unless you have permission from the copyright holder. You can take a photo of any building in the US and license it in any way you wish but in France, for example, you can't. Yonatan talk 18:25, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The US doesn't have freedom of panorama, but as I recall, there's an explicit exception in copyright law that buildings (not statues or other publicly-visible works of art) are only copyrighted to the extent that you cannot build a copy of the building -- photos are perfectly fine.
So the answers to your questions are: (1) Free due to expired copyright, (2) Probably free: the law in 1927 required marking and registration, (3) Free due to the above exception, (4) Depends on the copyright on the photo. --Carnildo 18:07, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Just been thinking about this some more, and I realised my "statue erected in 1701" example was a little bit facetious. Did they have copyright back in 1701? How does copyright apply to future technologies? Before photography came along, people must have worried less about image rights. How does current copyright attempt to future proof (bah! it was predictable there would be some random music album called futureproof...) itself against future technologies? How far can it go in doing so, and how far should it go? Carcharoth 10:42, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

The answer to your question depends on where the buildings are. The relevant provisions of U.S. law were introduced by the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act (Pub. L. 101-650): U.S. buildings are only protected by copyright if they were "created" after December 1, 1990. Even for buildings created after that date, the Act inserted 17 U.S.C. 120, which states that making "pictorial representations" of a building which "is located in or ordinarily visible from a public place" is not an infringement of copyright in the building. Many other countries have similar provisions (although France is a notable exception). In the U.S., this "public place" exception only applies to buildings and the situation regarding statues is more complicated: however, in many cases, a statue which is permanently placed in a public place before January 1, 1978, may be considered to be released into the public domain as per Letter Edged in Black Press (why don't we have an article on that case??). So I would say that in all four of the above situations the picture would be OK if it had a valid release from the photographer. And no, there was no copyright in 1701! (see Statute of Anne) Physchim62 (talk) 03:30, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Need clarification:

I uploaded this image at after finding that the article was lacking an image and had a red linked image. User:Jesse Viviano tagged it twice now as replaceable fair use, with the summary once, "This man is still living and not a prisoner nor a fugitive, so a free image could be created." I actually went and contacted the Canadian Parliament, who holds the copyright, and explained how and why Wikipedia would like to use the image, and was granted permission in response, which I posted to the image page and the image talk page. Jesse tagged it again as replaceable fair use to delete. Is this image given that I've received permission from the copyright holder (Canadian parliament) alright to use? - Denny (talk) 15:40, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

I retagged for speedy myself, and will find a better free one. - Denny (talk) 16:04, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

"It has wide acceptance among editors"

Clearly, this guideline/policy has very little acceptance among editors. The tags should be changed to clarify that this is a Foundation mandate and was not decided by consensus or general agreement. — Omegatron 21:11, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Policies like WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR have also attracted a persistant small group of users who would prefer to be working on a project that didn't include them, and argue for their liberalisation or removal. That said, there should be a link to the Foundation resolution somewhere on the page. Jkelly 21:15, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't know that the number of editors who disagree with this is as small as those groups, or is even a minority. I'd bet that many editors aren't even aware of the recent push for change with FU, and may be under the assumption that wikipedia has the same FU philosophy as when they came to the site. The others also aren't very comparable since they probably haven't changed due to external forces and not consenus. --Minderbinder 21:26, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Also fun historical reading - WP:IUP -- the regulars here may want to take a whack at bringing that in to line with the Foundation mandate. Jenolen speak it! 21:34, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
As Jkelly suggested, I added a link to Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy, as it is highly related reading. —Remember the dot (talk) 23:35, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, it should be known that this is a Foundation policy, and not a normal consensus policy. As such we got to follow it, even if a large group makes a stink about it. -- Ned Scott 00:04, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that is a problem with the current policy, as consensus was not reached except with a small handful of individuals who participated in writing the board policy/guidelines. And there are a number of holes and other problems in terms of how others are interpreting this policy. The interpretation of the foundation policy, as much as anything else, is where you will likely find problems. At least in this case the policy is in English, so we can understand the cultural context of the policy. --Robert Horning 00:10, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
What are you talking about? Enwiki practice long predates the recent board resolution. --Gmaxwell 00:33, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
I guess I'm talking two different policies here. The WMF policy is going to force changes to the enwiki policy, regardless of what has been stated previously. And it has shut down whole philosophical camps here on enwiki that were arguing an expanded application of fair use. It is the WMF policy that did not really achieve any sort of concensus, but is a top-down dictation. This en.wikipedia policy, on the other hand, has been in near constant flux for some time but it at least has been a sort of compromise between all of the various philosophical camps, moving with the attitude of those editors who cared to join into the discussion.
I will say that earlier I was a very strong anti-fair use voice before, but the WMF policy has made me into a strong fair-use advocate, even though the content I considered acceptable/unacceptable has not changed. All that has changed is that the line which was drawn before was IMHO too relaxed toward fair use and now fair use of any kind is under assult with the no fair use allowed proponents having the upper hand. --Robert Horning 06:06, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

What tag i can put to Flickr Photos with the legend ©All Rights Reserved?

Some Idea? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Alx 91 (talkcontribs) 01:56, 7 April 2007 (UTC).

Images with that license on Flickr are not permitted on Wikipedia. Only images on Flickr with either Attribution (Cc-by new white.svg) or Attribution-Sharealike (Cc-by new white.svgCc-sa white.svg) are allowed.↔NMajdantalk 01:59, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
And if I'm not mistaken, images flagged as non-commercial (Cc-nc white.svg) are also not allowed. --Joelmills 02:08, 7 April 2007 (UTC)
Actually, (Cc-nd white.svg) is not allowed either. (Cc-by white.svgCc-sa white.svg) are the only limitations allowed. If you have an image that allows just this, please upload to Commons, where the license can be verified and help protect the image. You can then use the image here like it was uploaded here. MECUtalk 16:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Talk:The 48 Laws of Power

There is a discussion on the above page, which could do with some informed participation, regarding deletion of what I consider a copyvio.[5] Tyrenius 02:04, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use images in Featured Lists

There is a discussion taking place at Wikipedia talk:Featured list criteria#Fair Use images about the permitted level of usage of Fair Use images in Featured Lists. Your input would be welcomed. Tompw (talk) 23:00, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

proposed guideline

There is a new proposed guideline, Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline. It's nothing new really, just a reorganization done a while ago. It never got the guideline header, and not a huge amount of people discussed it. If you have any input add it to the talk page to see if we have consensus. This page is transcluded into Help:Image page also. - cohesion 01:42, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair-use audio excerpts in FACs and FARCs

The regular reviewers at WP:FAC and WP:FAR are increasingly dealing with nominations that have a lot of fair-use excerpts, often without sufficient justification, either educational or WRT the replaceable criterion. A current nomination at WP:FARC, Genesis (band), has no fewer than 17 fair-use excerpts. I posted the following note at Wikipedia:Featured_article_review#FARC_commentary_14:

  • "I'm concerned about the number of fair-use audio excerpts in the article (17!). I find it hard to justify their educational function, given that there is no mention of musical and/or lyrical features of these excerpts in the surrounding text (they appear to be decorative). The info pages do not specify the durations, an important issue for fair use. The recording company, the catalogue number of the recording, and the names of personnel such as the producers are not mentioned on the info pages."

I wonder whether we should be concerned about this issue. Is it possible to engage some of the experts in FU when we meet these problems? Tony 22:49, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

The clips will probably all be fair use. Short clips aren't going to hurt copyright holder. - Peregrine Fisher 23:18, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Still though, this is symptomatic of the larger problem. Too many articles are making it through FAC with unsourced images or images that lack fair use rationales and other essential items. I've gone through and objected to a dozen or so articles at a time because of issues like these, and many of the nominators had no idea about our fair use policies. For some articles, I ended up having to metaphorically hold their hands through it. ShadowHalo 23:24, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Not going to hurt the copyright holder. That only is fair use criteria #2. Garion96 (talk) 23:31, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
The worst part about not having a fair use rationale for audio files is that it can be hard for anyone other than the uploader to add one. Wikipedia:Music samples states that samples should be at quality level 0 on Audacity, and there's no set bitrate, so it's hard to tell if the audio quality is low enough. ShadowHalo 23:36, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
ShadowHalo, the encoded quality level is stored in the file. The file "Genesis Silent Sun.ogg" is -Q5. It's length is 44.9 seconds long. There appears to be a windows port of ogginfo here, but for some stupid reason it seems to display the nominal bitrate rather than the quality... however they map 1:1 and -q0 is 64kbit/sec nominal. --Gmaxwell 01:17, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't Image:Genesis SilentSun.ogg have a fair use rational? - Peregrine Fisher 23:56, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
Other than lacking copyright holder information, and specifying how long the sample is and of what quality, that one seems fine. Jkelly 00:03, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
JKelly, they seem major issues, unless you're being witty. So the number of fair-use excerpts in an article is not at issue? I thought it was, since WP is supposed to be copiable throughout the world, which kind of goes against the whole fair-use ethic, doesn't it? Peregrine, the FU rationale has been stamped out on the info pages, but the issue is that several of them are not supportable in the circumstances.
So what is the appropriate action to take? Apart from working against the nomination's claim to retain the gold star, should these excerpts be removed after the due warning is provided? Tony 00:35, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry that wasn't clear -- I responded at FAR earlier in re the entire article. Here I was commenting that the rationale for this file (that this was the last piece in a certain style, etc.) seemed reasonable, but was pointing out that there were other, non-rationale problems. Jkelly 00:46, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, but I'm a little confused. I thought WP was being very strict about satisfying the stated justifications, including the educational one. If an audio excerpt is just slapped into the text because the title of the song happens to be mentioned, that's not very educational, in my view. Isn't there an expectation of intelligent reference to aspects of the excerpt, or even analysis of it? Like ... some intellectual content? In any case, without proper documentation, I guess someone should remove all of the excerpts after a few days. Tony 03:09, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
(outdent) It depends upon which editor you ask. As you can see here and on the project page, Wikipedia fair use policy is not entirely clear cut. Though editors may say it is, your very confusion at what you percieve as other editors successfully circumventing policy is evidence that it is not. That said, "educational fair use" is, IMO, not a valid type of fair use for Wikipedia. You will notice under the section titled "Law" on the project page that the only references to the concept of "education" are (bolded):
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include—
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
  5. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of Fair Use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
The reference to tetaching at least includes but is at most restricted to "multiple copies for classroom use". Some may argue that Wikipedia's use of copyrighted material "is for nonprofit educational purposes"; the GFDL, however, is a publication license, and there are perennial calls to publish featured articles, so this may or may not hold water.
Regardless, simply having a portion of a copyrighted work but not interacting with it in a way akin to "scholarship or research" is, IMO, not a fair use. The following example from Genesis (band), thus, in my opinion, is not a fair use:
King assembled the tracks as a concept album, and layered string arrangements into the arrangements during production. Genesis's first single, "The Silent Sun" (sample (help·info)), was released in February 1968. The album sold poorly, however, on advice from King, the band decided to make a career out of music.[5] To this day, King claims responsibility for the band's subsequent success. It was he who introduced them to eventual label boss Tony Stratton Smith. King still holds the rights to the songs on the From Genesis to Revelation album, and has re-released the album many times, under a variety of names including In The Beginning, Where the Sour Turns To Sweet, Rock Roots: Genesis, ...And The Word Was, and most recently The Genesis of Genesis, in addition to the original title.
They the name of Genesis's first single, that it was released in 1968-02, that it sold poorly, and that is the extent to which the work is even mentioned? How is that a fair use? How did this article pass FAC? --Iamunknown 03:25, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
The clip identifies the song, and illustrates the accompanying text. Sounds like fair use to me. - Peregrine Fisher 03:44, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
How is that anything more than serving a purely decorative purpose? How does it contribute significantly to the article? Specifically, how does it pass WP:FUC#8? --Iamunknown 03:49, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It specifically illustrates relevant points or sections within the text. It's not decorative, it's informative. - Peregrine Fisher 03:59, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Exactly which relevant points within the text does it illustrate? --Iamunknown 04:01, 9 April 2007 (UTC) Additionally, are 17 excerpts necessary? And don't you think it replaces at least some of the market value of the albums? I do. --Iamunknown 04:03, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It illustrates "Genesis's first single, "The Silent Sun" (sample (help·info)), was released in February 1968. The album sold poorly..."
You think someone is going to listen to a half minute clip instead of buying the song? That doesn't sound reasonable to me. - Peregrine Fisher 04:33, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
(outdent) That has to be the most bizarre intepretation of "illustrate" I've ever heard. That sentence provides the following information:
  • it was the first single
  • it's title
  • it's release date
  • the album sold poory
The sound clip tells us how 30 seconds of the piece sounded. It tells us various other things:
  • the style of the piece
  • the key of the piece
  • the instruments used
  • various other musical properties
I fail to see any overlap there. The sound clip in no way illustrates any points in the text. ed g2stalk 16:28, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Exactly my point (but more clear). --Iamunknown 17:34, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
It's illustrating the song itself. What does their first song sound like, what does a song by genesis from that period sound like, what does a song that sold so poorly sound like? I'm sure if you told the FA workers that they should specify the style, key, and instruments, they would add that info. In fact, that's a minimum criteria that I would support. - Peregrine Fisher 17:40, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
First you say: "It specifically illustrates relevant points or sections within the text." . Then you say: "It's illustrating the song itself". Are you sure you're interested in engage in a fruitful discussion about the merits of the question, instead of simply wanting to win an argument? --Abu badali (talk) 21:14, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
The relevant text is about the song. I guess I don't understand what you mean. Anyways, let's come up with what should accompany a clip in a band article. Hopefully something that can move us beyond "it's significant," "it's not significant," "it's decorative," "it's not decorative." How do we tell if it's significant, for instance? - Peregrine Fisher 22:22, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

A point that is missing from this discussion is that WP has gone further than the strictures of the law WRT allowing fair-use content in its articles. This is because WP is meant to be freely available worldwide—copiable. This is the rationale behind using only a minimal number of tracks in each article. These tracks can be downloaded off WP, out of context, and used for whatever purpose we don't know. This is in conflict with the notion of fair use. I hold that 17 tracks, none of them nested within the surrounding text in a way that educates the reader in musical and/or lyrical matters, is legally risky and goes beyond one of the key tenets of WP (its own free reproducibility in any context). Tony 05:20, 9 April 2007 (UTC)

The number of tracks in an article is irrelevant. Fair use is decided on a case by case basis. - Peregrine Fisher 17:40, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Hi again, and wb to the bear pit ;) I'm interested in whether you consider you've changed your views since December last and if so why. TIA and cheers from luke 16:57, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I have changed my views. I don't see why the same strictures shouldn't be applied to all articles as were applied to the one in question then. There are differences between these cases (dates of composition), but that doesn't appear to have a bearing on the issues that are being discussed here. Do you think that's a reasonable, logical stance? Tony 23:23, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
The difference is that no one owns the Bach songs vs. someone does own the Genesis songs. You can record yourself or a friend playing Bach and create a free audio file if you want. That might be a pain, but it's not that hard to replace a fair use version of Bach. On the other hand, even if you record yourself humming a Genesis song, it's still fair use and not free. Basically, removing those songs from Bach just means you go and get a different version. Removing the songs from Genesis means game over, no songs. - Peregrine Fisher 01:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I've yet to see a WPian-produced file of non-popular music that is of acceptable quality, but that's quite irrelevant to this discussion. My advice is to (1) reduce the number of FU excerpts from 17 to something more reasonable, given that they can all be freely copied in ANY context, out of WP's control; and (2) say something useful about the actual content of the remaining excerpts, so that the educational/scholastic justification holds water.
Is that good advice, people here? Need expert input. Tony 01:50, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
What do you think is a reasonable number of songs, and why. What information do you think would make the educational/scholastic justification holds water. Personally, I don't really care about this particular Genesis article, but we should come up with some actionable consensus on how to include song clips in our articles, beyond our vague FU stuff. - Peregrine Fisher 02:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
My advice would be: (1) Write a good article. (2) If some text passages feels like incomplete information that could never be fixed with free text only, consider adding some "fair use material" (auidio/image/text). Changing an article's text so that it fits previously (and improperly) added unfree material is almost certainly a bad idea. --Abu badali (talk) 02:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Abu badali's edit summary said it best: "the text should call for the audio excerpts, not the opposite." --Iamunknown 02:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
This comes up becuase people frequently disagree on whether the text calls for it. We should come to a consensus on what that means. Also, why is it bad to change an articlest text so that it fits improperly added material? I've seen you say that several times, but still don't understand why. Also, Tony, if you search for "bach public domaiin mp3" on google, there seems to be a lot of good versions. - Peregrine Fisher 02:36, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Unfortunately, they're all crap; that's why they're in the public domain. Using 20th-century instruments, too, is questionable for 18th-century music, especially in an encyclopedic context. Tony 03:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I asked Danny, who deleted the original files, about what happened in relation to his voluntary re-application to be an administrator. It was Question 22a in his recent RfA. You might like to read his response, and his subsequent statement upon the RfA being successful. The recent v0.5 CD includes Bach as one of the featured articles. If you're thinking of burning, the search is a bit 'clunky' so it's just as easy to view online if the website is up.--luke 08:46, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
No one connected with this CD thing has been able to explain its purpose. I'd much rather the Bach article hadn't been included (it's incomplete and needs a copy-edit). Danny acted in defiance of the "seven-day" rule, and my protestations were spurned. It was insensitive behaviour; more helpful information (e.g., "why don't you get the copyright owner to put the tracks on the Commons", with time provided to do so) would have averted a stormy situation and saved the excerpts. I don't care anymore. Tony 09:05, 11 April 2007 (UTC)


Abu, Ed, GMax, anyone who has an opinion, let's figure out what a song clip needs to be on an artist page. I'm thinking about adding some audio clips to artist pages, and I would like to avoid revisiting this discussion. Give me some idea of what to look for to tell me it's OK, please. Something more specific than "If some text passages feels like incomplete information that could never be fixed with free text only." That kind of thing is a non-starter, since we have trouble agreeing. - Peregrine Fisher 07:00, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

You said you're thinking about adding some audio clips to artist pages. Explain the reasons that make you believe these articles need these audio clips and that would be a "starter". --Abu badali (talk) 15:30, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Force review

Just as every Flickr image uploaded to Commons must be reviewed, why don't we just force a review of every fair use image uploaded here? I remember there was a template requesting a review of an image license; we could modify the image upload interface to include it to every fair use image. Yes, huge backlog, but at least we will have a more reliable way of determining which fair use images are acceptable (if only temporarily). -- ReyBrujo 04:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Shall we centralize discussions on a specific page or list image talk pages that are currently undergoing discussion? I kind of like the latter, but then again it would clutter the image talk namespace, so the former might be better. Shall we archive or just have diff links? (You can tell I'm in favour of your proposal. :-D) --Iamunknown 04:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
In case anyone is unfamiliar with the system ReyBrujo is referring to, instructions are at commons:Template:Flickrreview. Jkelly 04:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Oh, after some brute force, I found the template, {{fairusereview}}, and a page, Wikipedia:Fair use review. Not sure, but I don't think that page is very active, considering the amount of images administrators are deleting... -- ReyBrujo 04:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Admins are mostly hitting replaceable fiar use and orphan fair use. There are other posible problems with fair use images.Geni 23:13, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
  • The problem with such a review is that we don't all seem to agree upon what constitutes a "fair use" of unlicensed content and what constitutes simple copyright infringement. And, further, a lot of unlicensed content simply has inadequate information regarding who the copyright holder, the copyright holder's terms of use for the content, etc.
  • AFAIK, most of the non-free content used to illustrate articles related to The Simpsons is tagged as promotional imagery which is directly contradictory to the Terms of Use. Basically, they don't want any of their material to be used for anything other than personal and totally non-commercial use. Our use of the material totally fails point #2 of the "policy" section of this project page. But little of the material gets deleted, even if it is tagged with {{no source}} or is taken to WP:IFD.
  • So what is one to do? And what is an entire community to do? --Iamunknown 23:19, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use and CC-NC-SA

So, suppose a video is released under CC-NC-SA, if you take a screenshot of the video, can you claim fair use to it? I am thinking about Image:Joannecolan1.png. -- ReyBrujo 13:21, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The license something is under have no bearing it's "fair usability". The image would appear to fail Wikipedia's inclution criteria for fair use though, seeing as it would be possible to obtain a free licensed photo of her. --Sherool (talk) 13:41, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
If the image had met the fair use criteria, is there an equivalent template to {{withpermission}}, or should that be mentioned in the text of the image description page? ShadowHalo 13:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
No, since we already know the photo is licensed unded CC-NC-SA and we cannot host new NC photos since May of 2005. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:19, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I knew it would fail our "alive => free possible" test. I was looking for an answer that would be applied for all cases, in example, if it were a commercial of a concept car released under CC-NC-SA. -- ReyBrujo 16:13, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, any non-free license (a license that fails one or more of the four freedoms) must be used with a fair use rationale and only if a free image of acceptable quality cannot be found or created to replace it. So for a CC-NC-SA concept art of a car, it could be possibly used even though it is unlicensed for GFDL-type use under fair use if it meets the WP:FUC. --Iamunknown 17:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


Hey Guys, I'm not certain if this is the place to put it, but if its not legal to put lyrics (full song lyrics I mean, not quotes) then how are there so many sites out there that devote themselves to them, and yet are left out of the RIAAs crosshairs?
Ferdia O'Brien The Archiver And The Vandal Watchman (Talk) 22:48, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Are you implying that loose enforcement of a law means the law does not exist? ShadowHalo 23:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Usually, the full printing of lyrics should not be done here, unless the lyrics are released under the GFDL, Creative Commons licenses or public domain. It would be ok to link to a website that contains the lyrics. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 23:27, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
What is the law on lyrics? If they are all a copy vio, then we probably shouldn't be linking to them, should we? - Peregrine Fisher 23:29, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
If memory serves me right, the record label sometimes put out the lyrics of the songs on their own websites. I think that kind of linking is fine, since it is coming from the copyright holder itself. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 23:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
[edit conflict] Correct. "If you know that an external Web site is carrying a work in violation of the creator's copyright, do not link to that copy of the work" (Wikipedia:Copyrights). Links to lyrics should only be when the lyrics are legally hosted (generally on the artist's own website). ShadowHalo 23:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyright holder objection

Perhaps its not clear on the policy page, but should it not be noted here somewhere that Fair Use will be removed upon refusal to publish by copyright holder of the image? Cary Bass demandez 15:30, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Isn't that done through WP:OFFICE, via a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice? We can remove it "as precaution", but nothing prevents others from adding it back unless there is an official complain. -- ReyBrujo 17:54, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that the question here is to what degree we want to advertise this. Jkelly 18:03, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
It's already advertised on WP:C and WP:CP, which both link to Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem/Copyright. howcheng {chat} 18:20, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
We don't know that the foundation will fold in 100% of cases. Near 100% yes.Geni 23:15, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Fair use in infoboxes

This seems one of our worse fallacies really, we have tens of thousands of them. Personally, I cannot see how this benefits us. A logo or book cover, in that location is being used for identification purposes and is redundant to the text of the infobox, article title and lead section. As far as I can tell removing all the images used solely in this manner would slightly reduce the decorative appeal of articles, but would not really affect the informative qualitye. However, the fact that the majority of our fair use imagery is probably used in this manner suggests a change here is probably unlikely. Can someone give me links to prior discussions on this matter; I'm certain it has come up before.--Nilfanion (talk) 18:31, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know where the old discussions on this are, but I can tell you this: We use fair use on infoboxes to help identify what company, school, or book we are talking about. This is especially helpful when distinguishing between companies/schools/books with similar names or titles. The fair use images are not in there just to look nice. —Remember the dot (talk) 18:40, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that applys in specific cases. However, isn't it pretty clear what this or this refers to? Those logos are being used solely for identification, and with those particular articles its obvious. That suggests that "fair use is useful for identification" should be part of the fair use rationales, and shouldn't apply instantly to all logos. Is "useful for ID in some articles" enough to make "good FU rationale for all"?--Nilfanion (talk) 18:49, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, showing those logos shows people what logos that company uses. For example, someone from another part of the world who is not familiar with the BBC or CNN might find it helpful to see the logos and be able to recognize them later. They might think, "Oh, that's the company I've read about! I've seen that logo before." —Remember the dot (talk) 21:45, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
That isn't a particularly strong rationale really, and its conceivable that a free image could replace such an image (the Headquarters of the org for example). If someone not familiar that with those organisations read the text they would quickly figure out "its that company!". Its important to question things like this as with all things fair use, in particular I find the {{logo}} boilerplate rationale rather weak - it needs bolstering for this sort of use.--Nilfanion (talk) 00:43, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
So are you saying that you do not think logos should not qualify under rule #8 of WP:FUC: "The material must contribute significantly to the article (e.g. identify the subject of an article...)"? Zzyzx11 (Talk) 01:27, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Logos do have use for ID purposes, but how much use are they for that in the context of a WP article is open to question. I wonder logos can be said to meet FUC #1, as can they really be said to be irreplaceable? Two things spring to mind: Imagine an organisation associated with an iconic building; a photo of that building could serve identification purposes as well or better than its logo. The second applies to older organisations, what happens when an organisation re-brands itself? Ultimately, its original logo would be in the public domain but its current logo would be copyrighted. It isn't obvious in either of these cases that a fair use logo would be superior to either of those alternatives. That means using the FU image needs justification, that in turn means a fair use rationale.--Nilfanion (talk) 18:53, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Proposal to limit the use of unfree WMF logos in article space

Please see: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)#Limiting_the_use_of_WMF_logos_in_article_space.

This relates to some of the discussion further up this page, but that discussion has grown a bit stale and differs in focus from what I see as the core concern, i.e. of having incidental uses of unfree works distributed in our content dumps. Please comment at the linked page. Dragons flight 22:16, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

This page needs to be renamed.

We don't have a "fair use policy"—the U.S. legal system does. We have an unfree content policy that goes beyond fair use. "The material must be used in at least one article", for example, has nothing to do with fair use; it has to do with Wikipedia's value that we shouldn't use unfree content unless we have to. Yes, this page has a section on fair use, and some of the points of our policy serve as a safety net for the legal guidelines, so having Fair use as the page title is somewhat appropriate. But it is imprecise, and imprecise wording too often leads to imprecise thinking. New users commonly conflate Wikipedia's unfree content policy with the legal doctrine of fair use; they speak about policies invented in Wikipedia as if they are written in the law books themselves. It also leads to remarks that those unfamiliar with Wikipedian lingo might find silly or incoherent, like "Fair use images should not be used here"—if they're really fair then why not? "Unfree images should not be used here" makes a lot more sense. The page briefly tries to distinguish fair use law and Wikipedia law in the intro, but in my opinion it isn't enough. The page is broader than Fair use, so naturally it should be given a broader name than Fair use.

The exact name is a trivial detail: Whether it should be "non-free content," "nonfree content," "unfree content," "unfree material," or something else can be hashed out. Punctured Bicycle 22:55, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I've always liked the name "restricted content". --Carnildo 23:56, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
We could always go with Exemption Doctrine Policy (WP:EDP) ;) --Sherool (talk) 00:08, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I strongly support the change. I approve of "Exemption Doctrine Policy", "Unlicensed content policy", and "non-free content policy". I am less fond of "restricted content" but would still support it over the current. --Gmaxwell 00:33, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Agree. SR - RE 18:00, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Throw my support into the ring under "unlicensed content policy", because that's exactly what we're dealing with. --Cyde Weys 00:37, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

This page concerns our polices when it comes to fair use. The name is appropriate. - Peregrine Fisher 00:41, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

No, it concerns our policies on unlicensed content. Don't forget, most countries don't even have a concept called "fair use", and we have a lot of non-American content. "Unlicensed content" is a better, less ambiguous blanket term. --Cyde Weys 00:43, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
It also concerns our policies on non-commercial licenses, media for which we have permission to republish only on Wikipedia, non-derivative licenses, etc. I also sympathise with Punctured Bicycle's complaint that users seem to be getting WP:FUC mixed up with the U.S. doctrine. A renaming that encompasses all of the material that this policy deals with seems to be a good idea. Jkelly 00:46, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I've long argued against using the term "fair use" to refer to media used on Wikipedia without a (valid) license, usually using the term "unlicensed media" or sometimes "nonfree content". Any of the names suggested by Gmaxwell would be fine with me. The name "fair use" is peculiar to US law (the same concept is called "fair dealing" in Commonwealth countries, and is absent entirely from German law, for example), and also tends to confuse editors into thinking that the policy does, or should, mirror the copyright law of the United States or some other nation, which is clearly not the case. Kelly Martin (talk) 00:48, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

The servers are in the US, and all the tags say fair use because of this, right? - Peregrine Fisher 00:52, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Not all of our servers are in the US, no. And many of the servers in the US still serve up sites for other countries, whose laws we generally have to obey, because otherwise we could risk getting blocked. --Cyde Weys 00:56, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Although all of the US servers are located in the US, so that's kind of irrelevant. Anyway, the major point is that a lot of our content is coming from countries where "fair use" doesn't exist, and since we are also hosting up our content to those countries (you'd be surprised how widely-read the English Wikipedia is), we need to be mindful of them. --Cyde Weys 00:57, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
The templates themselves should continue to refer to fair use as ultimately that is the legal doctrine that "fair use" images on Wikipedia rely on. However, fair use is significantly different to our policy - if we rename it we reduce ambiguity between the two and the confusion about what it actually is. My personal preference is "unlicensed content", but any of the suggestions given sound good.--Nilfanion (talk) 01:03, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
If the templates are for fair use, we should have a policy page called fair use. "For our policy on fair use, see some other name" seems unhelpful. - Peregrine Fisher 01:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Make the templates refer to both? "Per English Wikipedia's X policy and the US doctrine of Fair use"? --Gmaxwell 01:05, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Yep, we need to refer the templates to here in any case, whether we make any renaming of it or not. As license tags refer to copyright law, the legal doctrine of fair use should be cited else the templates become legal nonsense.--Nilfanion (talk) 01:43, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this should be renamed and like Gmaxwell’s suggestions, in descending order of preference. —xyzzyn 01:00, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I would be wholeheartedly in support of renaming this to "Exemption Doctrine Policy" on "non-free media" or something similar; I think "fair use" give a misleading impression when our policies differ somewhat. Kat Walsh (spill your mind?) 01:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

    • I agree that the name urgently needs to be changed, as per the points made above. "Exemption Doctrine Policy" sounds horrible. The policy also needs to be more detailed and explicit. Tony 01:29, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
      • Regarding how EDP sounds, the damage is done. —xyzzyn 01:48, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
        • Certainly, the page should be marked as the EDP, but I don't think it necessarily has to be named that. For the uninitiated, the "Exemption Doctrine Policy" is not very descriptive and sounds like (is) legalese. Punctured Bicycle 01:53, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I like Kat's idea of "Non-free media" WP:NFM, as is describes exactly what we're dealing with. "Unlicensed content" will just get us into more problems that it solves, along the lines of "but it had a license" (i.e. a non-commercial use license). Physchim62 (talk) 01:56, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Re: particularly Kat's contribution @ 01.26 This issue has been discussed at various times and in some detail over the past few months, the last time being about 22 weeks ago when a straw poll was inconclusive. However the root issue is whether we should allow any 'Fair Use' in EN. Since if we move in the DE direction then there will be no need for an EDP and the problem will be simply solved. So I suggest first a project-wide extensive sounding on moving foursquare and with no equivocation to our core principles and abolish all Fair Use in English Wikipedia, which will incidentally bring us more into line with other projects as well. It is clear from the recent Foundation policy that they would undoubtedly support such an affirmation of core values (anyone correct me if I'm mistaken), and then there would be no need to look for a suitable name (which has been an issue of controversy in previous debates).--luke 02:02, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
You could do a watchlist notification like was done for WP:ATT to decide this. - Peregrine Fisher 02:44, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
No fair use would mean no citations, as the U.S. has no equivalent of UrhG § 51. Editors may oject to this... Physchim62 (talk) 03:15, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
In practice what effect will there be, if any, on widely accepted limitations of copyright due to the fact that Wikipedia servers are mostly under US jurisdiction, do you expect?--luke 06:51, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I think people need to be fully aware of the consequences of abolishing all fair use. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would mean no copyrighted material of any kind unless we have permission, including text quotes, right? So articles on living writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers could have absolutely no examples of their work, is that right? As well as no copyrighted photos of historic events (unless we can somehow get permission) such as Iwo Jima? I don't know if even the foundation would be willing to do that due to the perceived drop in quality due to the removal of many (some would consider necessary) images. --Minderbinder 12:23, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with changing the name. Wikipedia:Fair use is not the same as fair use. This already came up a while ago, I then created Wikipedia:Non-free images. Basically the fair use criteria without naming it fair use. Non-free media sounds even better btw. Garion96 (talk) 15:05, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

When this page moves on, will there still be a WP:FU, to deal with fair use issues on Wikipedia? Something simple, like a comparison chart between U.S. fair use and WP:FU? It might help quickly clear up a lot of the misunderstandings anti-WP:FU-misuse editors spend time dealing with. Jenolen speak it! 16:26, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Definitely support renaming to "non-free"/"unfree" as this precisely describes what the policy covers (now our definition of "free" is fixed). EDP is confusing and "unlicensed" is incorrect. Many of these images have licenses, just not ones we accept. "Fair Use" is our legal defence and part of policy, but by no means the whole story. ed g2stalk 23:38, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree, preferring non-free to unfree. Exemption Doctrine Policy is a ridiculous confusing name. Is it a policy, or a doctrine, maybe both, exempting something. It's too late to change the name for the foundation (i tried [6]!), but that's no reason to confuse our users. Even that is probably better than fair use though. - cohesion 02:28, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it would mean no copyrighted material of any kind unless we have permission, including text quotes, right? I don't believe that is necessarily true in respect of the abolition of 'Fair use,' unless we are talking about the abolition of all 'non-free' material (per the adopted meaning of non-free in the current discussion). For example, in respect of the EU see: Copyright (Harmonization Information Society), Directive, 22/05/2001 Art 5, para 3(d). Also in many Commonwealth countries there are Fair dealing defenses to a copyright infringement action, which should be considered in relation to each country where EN Wikipedia is consulted. Regarding the question of copyrighted photos of historic events, this is something that Jimbo Wales has suggested be allowed as a rare exception to his own principle on copylefting. But, merely to ask, why should there be any exceptions to a core principle such as he suggested if it is indeed a core principle. Regarding your remark on the Foundation's attitude to quality v. freedom, I think Kat has already made clear in discussions elsewhere that the number one priority is freedom.--luke 06:51, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Text quotes in the U.S. fall under fair use, so if you were ever to "eliminate fair-use" from English wikipedia, you would eliminate text quotes from copyrighted works as well. Good luck in you planes to form a consolidated version of the copyright exemptions in 192 (at least) different copyright jurisdictions. Physchim62 (talk) 00:51, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
If the tags said "fair dealing," that would be an appropriate name. If the tags said "un-free," that would also be appropriate. They don't, so we should have a page that explains what they mean, since it's such a big issue. - Peregrine Fisher 06:58, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

My preference is non-free content or nonfree content. Wikipedia and the Commons call the stuff they encourage users to contribute "free content". The stuff that Wikipedia allows only under limited circumstances and what Commons bans entirely, then, would naturally be called "non-free content". Punctured Bicycle 09:35, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

having Fair use as the page title is somewhat appropriate. But it is imprecise, and imprecise wording too often leads to imprecise thinking The word free has generally understood meanings (e.g. see free). If you were to tell a woman in the street that you were making an encyclopedia and it is more 'free' to ban the use of NC content etc, I suspect she would be very puzzled. And furthermore, if you tried to explain what you meant and your reasoning I doubt her puzzlement would end, although she may say that she understands perfectly. Because many people are deeply offended that the freedom to make a profit from other people's work (while those doing the work receive nothing themselves) should take precedence over the freedom to use content which is 'freely' offered on the one perfectly reasonable condition that no commercial advantage is made from its use.
When this renaming idea came up for discussion a few weeks ago, these questions were considered at length as I mentioned earlier. The points made then (excerpts below) are still apt. The new Foundation policy doesn't affect the force of the arguments one iota. ... luke 11:48, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
we do more harm than good by suggesting that if we've called something "free," its re-use outside this site is equally legally permissible no matter how or where. Postdlf 22:29, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
I would think the first goal of Wikipedia copyright policy would be to protect the Wikimedia Foundation from legal liability for what its users upload and post. The less that policy is expressly connected to and references relevant law, the less it is likely that it will comply with the law Postdlf 17:06, 20 November 2006
Any policy on the use of "unfree" content is necessarily founded upon fair use. Yes, we have constructed a set of policies that are in practice significantly more strict than the legal doctrine of fair use, but that doesn't negate the point that fair use is the underpinning principle. ... I also find the idea of placing all discussions of our fair use freedoms under a heading of "unfree" to be an unappealing irony. Dragons flight 04:18, 20 November 2006
Andrew Levine succinctly rebutted all these points: "The page would continue to explicitly name fair use as the legal basis for accepting some unfree content. We're only discussing changing the page title."
As for the "irony" Dragons flight and Nareek mention: No one is saying you will no longer be free to use non-free content for purposes such as criticism and comment. Non-free describes the legal and intellectual status of the content; it doesn't describe restrictions on your freedom.
Some are looking into this more than they need to. It's simple: this guideline/policy discusses more than the title Fair use suggests. Besides discussing how non-free content is viewed in the eyes of the law (fair use), it discusses how non-free content is viewed in the eyes of Wikipedia (policy). The two different predicates share one subject, Non-free content, so that or something similar would be an appropriate name. Categories for Deletion was renamed to Categories for Discussion for the same reason: renaming and merging took place there too. Punctured Bicycle 21:27, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Non-free content sounds the best to me. "Nonfree" without the hyphen looks like yet another WP neologism. :-) Stan 14:10, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Agree, this is the best name so far, in my opinion :) - cohesion 16:32, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

I was just going to suggest this. Wikipedia:Exemption Doctrine Policy is accurate but confusing. Wikipedia:Non-free content is better and more descriptive, and should say the phrase "Exemption Doctrine Policy" somewhere at the top with a link the Foundation mandate. — Omegatron 22:48, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds good. So good, in fact, that I went and did it. Lots still needs to be cleaned up. I'm working on it but I'm sure I'll miss a few things. :) --Gmaxwell 04:25, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
After the change it seemed a bit odd that the page jumped straight into talking about fair use. So I added a fair amount of text to the intro [7], I hope that addition will be uncontroversial but I will not be offended if someone has something better. --Gmaxwell 09:06, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Deletion rationale proposing all web screenshots must go

A screenshot of the front page of Something Awful has been up for deletion at Wikipedia:Images and media for deletion/2007 April 4, but the rationale is one that would invalidate the inclusion of any web screenshot. Basically the argument for deletion is that it includes too much content (never mind that it's only the taglines/leadins to a handful of articles, and no full articles) and that it would be easy enough to click the link that we shouldn't include an image of the page when people could go there themselves (never mind that we try to be medium-independent). Could somebody else step in and provide a good explanation to this person of why web screenshots are legitimate? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 08:51, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Night Gyr, it's just been great discussing with you. I love how civil you've been since your first comment, "What the hell?" Best regards, --Iamunknown 20:16, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Given that there's over a thousand images tagged with web screenshot, and I've never heard that rationale for deletion (which would apply to all of them) claimed before, yes, I think shock is in order. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 08:56, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
This does bring up a good point, many screen shots of other websites should also be deleted. -- Ned Scott 05:59, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
So what of medium-independence? Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 08:56, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

use of copyrighted screenshots in articles that do not explicitly discuss it

is the placement of this copyrighted image (screenshot from a film) in the article consistent with fair use guidelines? WP:FU criteria stipulate the presence of critical commentary discussing the image in the article and establishing specific relevance. it's a no-brainer that this commentary must be present in the article text (and not the caption), but we've had editors arguing over it because it apparently doesn't explicitly specify critical commentary outside of the caption itself. the article currently does not discuss the film at all, nor does it establish the image's relevance to criticism directed against the Qur'an. please also see this discussion. ITAQALLAH 03:33, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I am one of the editors discussing this with Itaqallah. The caption does discuss the film in question, infact this film is highly relevant to the article i.e. Criticism of the Quran. The image shows verses of the Quran written on a woman's body to highlight (as the film claims) the oppression of women in the Quran. I didnt see any fair use violation in this case and have explained this in detail in the discussion linked above by Itaqallah.--Matt57 (talkcontribs) 03:44, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
This doesn't look like fair use to me. It reminds me of the example of taking using an album cover with a rose on it to illustrate a rose. The passage itself doesn't contain any discussion of the film, and the caption is really just identifying the image rather than providing any sort of commentary. ShadowHalo 03:58, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Ironically, the caption is so well written that it seems to invalidate the fair use claim. The text alone was enough for me. -- Ned Scott 05:56, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
So you're saying if we discussed the film in the article more, then it would be fair use? Also note, that this is the only other article in which the image is being used.--Matt57 (talkcontribs) 11:44, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
No, because text has done the job of the image. -- Ned Scott 01:59, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
No, this was more like using an album cover of a rose to illustrate an article about albums with roses on them. The editors decided to move the screenshot to Criticism of Islam.--GunnarRene 23:55, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Congressional pages?

Is material on pages fair use? Here is the page [8], I want to use the image of the district ([9]) to fix this page Georgia Congressional Districts. Thanks. Akubhai 14:02, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

The URL is currently not loading for me, so I'm looking at If you mean GA12 109.GIF, that image is in the public domain! (yay!) Just tag the image with Template:PD-USGov-Atlas and provide a link to the URL of the page and the image (possibly the link). Regards, Iamunknown 01:18, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
iirc, anything produced or published by the United States federal government is in the public domain. Of course, I am kind of wondering what is wrong with Image:United States House of Representatives, Georgia District 12 map.png? If you have an image editor, you can crop that image instead. Zzyzx11 (Talk) 01:22, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
GA got redistricted in 2005 so the maps on the wiki page (and the maps both of you linked to) are outdated.Akubhai 20:33, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Scanned pages from books to support citations

Sorry if this is answered somewhere, but I can't find a clear Wiki policy regarding the use of scanned pages of books. For example, this sample page was scanned from a Sanskrit text that is copyrighted. [10] The page image was referenced in connection with a discussion of what the text says on an article talk page: Talk:Ashvamedha#Griffith_reprint_.28again....29 Is it ok to scan pages in this way? Can they be used in articles or on talk pages to support references? Buddhipriya 18:56, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm confused by this image description page. We seem to be asserting that the copyright holder is the person who reprinted an older book. If we are, we need to fix that -- a faithful reprinting of a book does not give the reprinter copyright protection. We need to attribute the copyright to the original publisher. To answer the actual question asked, there is no need to upload a scan of pages of a book in order to cite those pages as a reference. Jkelly 19:55, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I did not upload that particular image, so I will not comment on the reprint issue. If the image is what it claims to be, the source date for the original publication by Ralph_Thomas_Hotchkin_Griffith was 1899.
To clarify my question, the purpose of uploading the page would be to allow someone to read it so they could assess what it said, which in the case of this example, includes the Sanskrit which is difficult to type in. So in this case, the editor was uploading the page so the Sanskrit source could be examined in conjunction with a debate about what the text says. This made sense in context as the article has some editors who know Sanskrit, and some of the texts are difficult to access in libraries or the corner book store. :) But is it a copyright violation to do that? Buddhipriya 23:23, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
If the page is a re-print wihtout any changes, then even if the re-print was very recent, and even if the re-print says Copyright Silly-corp 2005, the true copyright date is still 1899. This is because a faithful reproduction without any creative element can not be a derivative work. It would be another matter if it was a translation or appeared in another derivative way. --GunnarRene 23:43, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Let me ask a different example involving a work that is clearly under current copyright. Let's say that a new work on "Sanskrit Jokes" is newly published and is Copyright Silly-corp 2006. There is a particular joke that is under discussion on the talk page for Sanskrit Jokes. The book is hard to obtain, and the Sanskrit is difficult to type in. Would it be fair use to upload an image of the page containing that joke so the editors can review the claims made by the book, which might be a WP:RS if it can be agreed upon? Buddhipriya 00:03, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Provided that you a) document that you have made a good faith effort to get a hold of a copy of the book, including contacting the publisher/current rights holder and libraries b) use as little as possible of the book and otherwise follow the criteria - that would usually mean that you can't use the entire page, only the passage in question and c) the number of editors involved is to high to lend them the book by mail. Remember that typing it in as text is just as much of a copyright violation as scanning a page of text. If there is mistrust about authenticity, then scanning is rather useless; have a look at for lots of document fakery. There may be WP:RS problems if it's so hard to authenticate - in that case mailing them the book is the way to go. --GunnarRene 00:14, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
I have mediated a couple of disputes of this nature—admitted not actually involving Sanskrit humour :)—in which we cleared up the problem by emailing scans. In many jurisdications this is legal, and it is always more acceptible than publishing the copyrighted material on a high traffic website such as Wikipedia. For a (rare) example of a fair-use text scan which is currently tolerated, see Dord. Physchim62 (talk) 00:25, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, these examples are very helpful. The bottom line seems to be to not use book scans to support discussions on talk pages. Buddhipriya 03:48, 15 April 2007 (UTC)