Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 47

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Copyright Infringement - 4 album covers

Hi. I think there is a significant copyright infringment at Robyn (album). Second opinions would be appreciated please. I dont think that 4 albums covers can be justified. Lil-unique1 (talk) 15:57, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

I think only 2 can be justified. The 4th one in the order is simply the same cover with the exlicit lyrics label - not necessary. Of the two less graphically-intense ones, we basically ahve the same logo and a shot of the artist, one with a facial closeup. I'd pick the body shot over that. --MASEM (t) 16:52, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think you can even justify more than one. None of them are discussed anywhere in the article (#8), and don't add anything except that a different cover was used in that release, which is completely replaceable by text. Black Kite (t) (c) 07:46, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The original Swedish one is reasonable. It was the original release cover, and the artist's home market, and looks nothing like the international cover. Jheald (talk) 21:40, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Define free equivalent

I am requesting more precise guidance on how to interpret the "No free equivalent" part of the Policy section, using my recent replacement of a fair-use image with (what I believed was) a suitable free equivalent. Of course I accept a photograph of a figurine is not the same as a screenshot, but it seems to show the same basic features. I noted the German Wikipedia (which only allows freely licensed images) uses the same figurines for its Flintstones article here.

From this search of the talk archives I could not determine whether this situation has been clarified before. Still-living human subjects, yes, but not objects or fictional characters. It is difficult wading through all those archives though. A similar example might be using photographs of replicas taking in states that have Freedom of Panorama, such as Germany or Turkey. The German article for Spiderman might serve as another example. -84user (talk) 12:11, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

We cannot illustrate articles such as The Flintstones or Spiderman without breaching copyright (or by resorting to fair use, if you prefer). Your image of the figurine is still not "free", because Hanna-Barbera have copyright in the figurine as well. Physchim62 (talk) 12:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

It seems you are right; Commons:Commons:Derivative_works#Casebook spells this out clearly. Just in case Turkey is a special case, I am now asking for clarification at Commons:Commons talk:Licensing#Statues in Turkey. -84user (talk) 00:24, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Non-free unsure

This might be more of a history lesson than anything else, but I'm not sure. At what point was Template:Non-free unsure deprecated? The history is a mess; there was a tiny discussion regarding other non-free templates here, and then the next year this change was made, which appears to have been a cut-and-paste from one of the other non-free templates, but I've been unable to find any specific discussion about this template, even of the variety "hey, we forgot to deprecate this one". --jpgordon::==( o ) 17:04, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

New template {{Biopic_fur}}

Hi, I've tried to start a new template to address a concern that arose when reviewing some images with non-templated rationales recently..

The template is aimed at covering most of the photos, sculptures, mugshots used to support biographical articles on Wikipedia.

However, I'm not sure what sort of wording it should include, and the precise syntax of how various if clauses should be phrase eludes me.

I am therefore posting here in the hope that some more experienced contributors will be able to bring the template to a usable state, such that it could ideally be used to further reduce the numbers of images without rationales.

Some other types of image that could possibly have semi-'generic' rationales :

I also previously tried to generate a generic template for screenshots, but that was felt to be a BAD idea during a TfD disscussion on the templates created. Sfan00 IMG (talk) 11:49, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

Post 1978 US stamp issues

This is an appeal to WP policy regarding the way works of the Federal government are treated by Fair-Use size limitations, in particular, US postage stamps. U.S. Postage stamps are issues of the Federal government. Images of those stamps issued before Jan. 1, 1978 are in the public domain, those issued after this date have copyrights owned by the U.S.P.S., which is a branch of the Federal government and headed by a Cabinet member. Of the eleven members of the U.S.P.S. Board, nine are appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate.

It is requested that Fair-Use size limitations for images of Federal stamps issued after Jan. 1, 1978 be relaxed, or removed, for the following considerations:

Images of Federal stamp issues distinquish themselves from all other types of images because the copyright is owned by the U.S.P.S., which is a branch of the Federal government. At the U.S.P.S. (website), they state that no permission is required to display images of post 1978 stamps so long as the images are used in an educational or journalistic capacity as would be the case when they are displayed here at WP. They also place no restrictions on image size. Like pre-1978 stamps in the public domain, post-1978 stamp production was/is also paid for by tax dollars. In a public domain forum such as WP it seems allowances in image size should be made for stamps that were issued to that public.

Unlike most images, images of stamps are used in Philately, a broad area of study which involves postal history and history itself. Presently there are hundreds of pages at WP devoted to this area of study in its many forms. While these pages are free to present images of pre 1978 US stamps with no limitation on size they are potentially and adversely affected by the rigid size limitations placed on post 1978 issues. There are many cases where this size limitation obscures both print and image of these stamps, the sizes of which are very small to begin with. Because of the small and resultant obscured images, making reference to the image in an article is very difficult and sometimes impossible.

It would seem that relaxed or removed restrictions on stamp image size would be in the best interest of Philately and of Wikipedia, as it would also inspire many a modern work of philately if these works were allowed to employ suitable imagery among their pages.

It is hoped that consideration will be given to current size limitations of images of post 1978 US stamp issues as they are issues of the Federal government and paid for by public tax dollars and because no private copyright holders would be compromised as the copyright holder is the Federal government and ultimately the American people. GWillHickers (talk) 00:17, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

First, we know that while other parts of the Federal Government cannot hold copyright, the USPS is specifically allowed so by recent laws, with only stamps post-1978 being under copyright. We can't change that, so regardless, these stamps will remain non-free for 75 years from point of creation (I believe that's the number, I'd need to doublecheck).
So, just like with art, and album covers, and tv screens, slapping a lot of non-free images on an article just because the images exist is not allowed. Now, there is no restriction on size of these images - they can't be high resolution, but for WP, a low resolution image should be fine. If people are making these too small to use, then that's a problem. --MASEM (t) 00:27, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The problem is, we want our free images to be able to be freely reproduced. "educational or journalistic capacity" just doesn't cut it. It is fairly easy to get permission for use on Wikipedia, but that is not good enough. We need a license which allows for our users to take the images and do whatever they want with it. This is far from unique to stamps, this happens in many areas of the project.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:34, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I would be happy if they just relaxed size limitations somewhat. Again, the USPS has placed no limitations on image size. What is preventing WP from relaxing image sizes of post 1978 US stamp issues? GWillHickers (talk) 00:45, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Our concern when it comes to size is to respect commercial opportunities. Given that stamps have some artistic value, there is a commercial opportunity there. However, stamps are also small, so it doesn't take much to recreate a commercial-quality stamp with a small high-resolution image. Do you have specific images where you are finding the size to be too small to show as example? (Also note, Wikipedia is purposely more strict than US law allows as we are more concerned with free content and less about fair use.) --12:58, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I would suspect that anyone looking for and planning to counterfit a stamp would copy the actual stamp. Also, there are plenty of pre 1978 stamp images displayed in (very) hi-resolution from which to chose stamp subjects to copy and counterfit. -- Yes, there is among others a stamp image that, because of its size, comes out obscured and with print along the bottom side being somewhat blurred. (The 1978 Viking Mission to Mars issue) None of the structural and equipment details can be discerned. The image can be viewed on the U.S. space exploration history on U.S. stamps page. Click on the image, scroll down and look at 'File History' and look/click at the stamp that was originally there. Viva la difference! -- If there is any way to relax size restrictions for Federal postage stamps just enough to allow for a more clearer image I am sure you would have the gratitude of the entire philatelic community here, along with many others. All the best. GWillHickers (talk) 17:35, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
We do not use stamps to illustrate the subject of the stamp, only to use the stamp image when there is discussion about the stamp itself (see WP:NFC). The fact that some of the detailed aspects of the Viking stamp are obscured are not critical for the reader's awareness of the issue as there's a free picture of Viking right there next to it. I would further argue that there's a lot of non-free images of stamps on that page - for example, there's no reason to have the shuttle 8-stamp breakout when a single stamp with all 8 images can be used. --MASEM (t) 17:48, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The stamp is being discussed for its topographical aspects. Image quality is important if the 'stamp image' is to be discussed. The stamp illustration is used to illustrate the stamp, not to define and bring awareness to the Viking Mission probe in of itself. Any reference to stamp detail, color, design, etc is meant to feature the stamp and the artwork that went into that stamp. Relaxed size restrictions for post 1978 Federal stamp issues would not change 'non-free content' policy. GWillHickers (talk) 17:57, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
No, at least not to our normal requirements for fine detail. I presume this line: Upon close examination one can discern the landing component used to collect soil samples on Mars, the radio dish, landing gear and other equipment. is what you are speaking of, but that line is unsourced and the like, which is fine because it is obvious those things are present in the stamp image. But the importance of the fine details is not given by the sourced information that I can see. If there was a hypothetical source that said for example "The stamp was noted to be highly detailed compared to other stamps, showing the individual control panels on the landing craft." that was included in the article, then there's some rationale to include a high resolution image to show that detail. But there is nothing in the text to do so, and illustrating the landing component, dish, and gear as currently in the article is clearly visible in the reduced-size image. In other words, for higher resolution images to be used, there needs to be a strong necessity to show off the fine details of the stamp and not just for philatelic enthusiasts but for the general reader. --MASEM (t) 18:11, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
WP is everybody's encyclopedia - that includes philatelic enthusiasts. Sourcing is part of WP:V, for body text; it's not a requirement for editorial decisions. And the idea that some commercial damage is being done by our reproduction here is preposterous. Jheald (talk) 21:53, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
No, to be fair, it is the Foundation's encyclopedia written by everyone. It is aimed at being a general encyclopedia with elements of specialized works. Now, I used to collect stamps, so I know there are books that cataloged these, but that would be the type of thing that we are WP:NOT, and thus understanding that we cannot be a stamp collecting guidebook as much as some philatelic enthusiasts would like it to be - free content or not. I do not question the article that is used here about the space exploration program played out on US stamps, but I do question the need for as many non-free images, against Foundation guidance, or any higher resolution images on that page.
I do find it very strange when people say "WP:NOT a guidebook" when they what they mean is "too specialist". The key example given as to what WP does not include as not being a guidebook is essentially: not subjective restaurant reviews. On the other hand, I would expect every location that has an entry in the Michelin green guide to London to have a WP article -- as well they should, because each place would satisfy WP:N. So saying "a general encyclopedia with elements of specialized works" is too cute. We're not paper, and we aim to cover anything that anyone anywhere is interested in, so long as the subject has attracted some modicum of sensible previous coverage. Jheald (talk) 22:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The point is: we are not a catalog. We don't catalog every restaurant in London - or even all those listed in the Michelin guide, but we can list notable restaurants that have their own pages, and if that so happens to map perfectly with every Michelin entry, hey neat. We don't catalog every stamp released, but can describe stamps specific for countries and certain series of stamps (such as the space exploration ones). That's being discriminate. We have to remember WP is not the only site on the internet, and if there exists a reliable better resource for the details, we should be deferring to that. --MASEM (t) 23:23, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
That's the Michelin red guide. The Michelin green guide is a guide book to places, and things worth seeing. And I contest your view that "because other sites exist, WP shouldn't cover things". Who knows whether those sites will still be there next month or next year. Too many websites just fold and disappear without trace. On the other hand WP is Forever (at least according to the adverts). Secondly, because WP is the "encyclopedia anyone can edit" - and that's also valuable. Anyone can bring good information and contribute to our treatment of these subjects. Other sites don't have that level of openness and democracy. And thirdly, because articles like this, and their comprehensiveness, are of value in their own right. We should be trying to make this as good an encyclopedia as we can, not crying off with the feeble cop-out "other people can do it". Jheald (talk) 10:30, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
And yes, sourcing is important to discussion of an image. Otherwise, I could say any image is important to a page because I have described that image in detail in text without sources - voila, a rationale! There needs to be something that is beyond words that the image needs to contain to allow it to be used in the first place, much less high resolution. As original research doesn't cut this, it usually requires sourcing to do just that. --MASEM (t) 22:05, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Questions of importance are questions of editorial judgement, to be assessed by the active editors of a page. It's what the people who create and use the page coherently argue adds significantly to user understanding that matters. External material can be grist to that mill, but it is not decisive, nor is it required. Jheald (talk) 22:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Judgment is appropriate, but it should be noted that the lack of encyclopedic (read: sourced) discussion of an image, beyond just placing it in a page, is likely going to be found inappropriate per WP:NFCC#8 particularly when reviewed by external editors. We do need to be careful to consider the editorial decisions that editors have used to include the image, but at the same time, random inclusion without showing a NFCC#8 case is going to be met with removal of the iamge or other similar change (in this case, lower resolution). --MASEM (t) 23:23, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Relaxed size limitations would show the stamp image more clearly, regardless of the subject or the wording used to refer to that subject. If the image is offered as an illustration of a particular stamp, size allowances should permit a more clearer view. GWillHickers (talk) 18:21, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Quite right. That is the fundamental point here. The image needs to be of sufficient resolution to provide a clear view of what's being shown. Jheald (talk) 21:53, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The low resolution is quite sufficient to make out the general aspect of the image - that it is the Viking craft on a planet without losing any features. Particularly when paired with the real life image of the Viking next to it, there is no need for any singificantly detailed resolution of the image. --MASEM (t) 22:05, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think an article about a specific stamp would be deleted if you could rise above the mere stats and make prose out of it. For a random stamp, say a Christmas stamp from 1973, that might be hard. For a few issues, it would not be hard (Scott C3a for example).--Wehwalt (talk) 23:01, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Clearly yes for certain specific stamps. But yes, doubtful for any random stamp. --MASEM (t) 23:24, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
The low resolution is 'OK' for stamps with simple designs but it is far from sufficient to make out stamp design details in general due to the small space a stamp image is confined to. This is esp true of the Viking Mission issue, whose image looks as if someone piled a load of junk onto the structure. Also the print along the lower side of the stamp is blurred. Again, the stamp image isn't being used to illustrate and discuss the Viking space craft, it is used to illustrate the stamp design. Stamp design, details, print are all part of that design and with the present 'one-size-suits-all' limitations for NFC images Federal Postage stamps in particular suffer the most as, again, they are inherently small to begin with. Is it possible to relax size limitations for some stamps? This is what you seemed to have suggested above. GWillHickers (talk) 02:07, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
The only allowance I think would even be allowed for higher resolution of stamps is if there is sourced commentary about the details of the work, not just your assertion that it is important. This has been an argument others have been used before and rejected numerous times for other types of image. Note that we already discourage the use of non-free images of stamps (per WP:NFC) for anything but discussion of the stamp itself, which is not really happening in that article; it's just an example of it. --MASEM (t) 02:14, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Hello again, MASEM and thank you for your prompt replies. I would have no problem providing the citations needed for any stamp design. In fact, most of the designs in the U.S. space exploration history on U.S. stamps page have citations where artists, engravers, etc are referred to. In any event, even a small increase in size would help a great deal as again, stamp designs are small to begin with. GWillHickers (talk) 02:38, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
In this very specific case of the Viking stamp, you would need reliable sources that talk about the attention to detail that would necessitate the higher resolution. Without it, we can easily recongize the Viking craft and major features at the lower resolution , satisifying NFCC#8. --MASEM (t) 03:12, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
No, actually he doesn't. What he needs to be able to do is to make a common-sense case that other editors recognise, that without being able to see the detail, what is depicted just looks like so much junk, and so access to higher resolution does add to reader understanding by then being able to make out what the stamp actually shows. Just as, essentially, he's done at 02:07 above. This argument just needs to go into the "Low resolution?" field in the fair-use rationale.
What's striking here is that there's no commercial problem with showing the stamp at such appropriate resolution. Nobody will think any the less of WP for doing so, nor would it pose any difficulty for any of our automated reusers. It's completely reasonable fair use, to show the image in the detail in which the designer intended it to be seen. But instead you seem to want to degrade the encyclopedia, and the reader experience, and their perception of the quality of the design, all for what? Just an empty ideological shibboleth? Who, precisely, is supposed to be helped by degrading this image? Jheald (talk) 10:45, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
But again, it is not a fair use issue, it is meeting the requirements that the Foundation has asks us for non-free content per the free content mission. We use the minimal amount of non-free content (regardless of the commercial value - it is strictly about intellectual property) in both amount and resolution that still makes the non-free content usable for the reader in conjunction with the article text. That means whenever we can reduce, we must do so. So for stamps, particularly ones that duplicate a real-life object that we have free imagery of, there no general need to show the stamp at that high of a resolution to understand what it is when it is in context of all other works around it. The only detailed gained with the higher resolution is of the artistic nature of the detail on the craft on the stamp, but without any discussion of that detail - why it was done that way, how people reacted to that detail, or the like, not just "a detailed image" - there is no connection to the text, and thus violates the free content mission. We don't allow high resolution of modern art, among other things, to be included without such a strong rationale for the high resolution, the same needs to apply here. --MASEM (t) 13:35, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
The argument here is straightforward. This is a page specifically about stamps. It is appropriate to use sufficient resolution for the artist's intention to be clear. It is not appropriate to reduce the resolution to such an extent that much of the content of the image just appears to be "junk", so that the artist's intention is not clear. And that argument would apply equally much to a representative piece of a modern artist's work used on the page about that artist.
As to citing the Foundation, that's spurious. Foundation members have made quite clear that the purpose of its resolution was to hold up what en-wiki was doing at WP:NFC as best practice, and to spread it elsewhere. There was no intention to go beyond WP:NFC. In turn, with the exception of replaceability by equivalent free images, WP:NFC was created directly by considering the limits of U.S. fair use law for commercial verbatim reusers of WP content. In other words, it is precisely a fair use issue -- and the word "minimal" flags this, because that is the word courts use when assessing fair use: no more than needed to achieve the purpose identified. In this case, the purpose is to improve reader understanding about this group of stamps. And we fall short of that purpose if, as the result of our rubbish thumbnail, the reader is not properly able to assess the artist's work.
It's also not very fair on the artist, though artists' moral rights are perhaps less of an issue in the States than they are in Europe. Jheald (talk) 19:42, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Providing sources for stamp designs is usually a matter of routine. This is what much of philatelic literature involves. It is understood that these considerations are in place out of various concerns with copyright holders and as such they are there "To minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content..."(NFC) In the case of copyrights on federal stamp images, they distinguish themselves apart from the average private or commercial copyright holder as the U.S.P.S. publicly grants permission for general stamp image usage with no concern for size. It would seem on this unique basis that stamp images should be considered differently and be given greater liberty for their display here in a public domain forum. GWillHickers (talk) 08:19, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

I understand that in the specific case of US Stamps (it may apply to other countries, but lets hold off on that), that the "commercial" opportunity appears to be non-existent for the work since the USPS doesn't operate that way. I don't think we need to worry about the "counterfeit" aspect - that someone could conceivably print out a high-resolution of a stamp image and use that to "make" their own stamp. The biggest problem I have is that if we make an allowance for stamps, it is going to be wanted by most other fields that would prefer high resolution imagery but where the commercial opportunity is more critical that makes the use of high-resolution non-free content a problem. We need some type of assured statement that the reproduction at high resolution of a stamp is specific for US stamps (and other countries, possibly, likely a country case-by-case basis) that is attached to all such images that cannot apply to other works, if we were to allow high resolution stamp images.
Making allowances for stamps was on the basis that the USPS holds the copy right and publicly grants permission for general stamp image usage. If anyone else made the same appeal they would have to show a similar copyright holder, one that has granted permission for image usage.
That said, I also feel we need to reexamine the amount of NFC used on that page. This is not a fair use issue, but keeping with our free content mission, and unfortunately, US stamps will be that way for some time. Technically most of the post-78 stamps on there do no purpose that cannot be replaced by a free image, beyond the stamp as an artist's interpretation of the real thing (and even less so for the photo-realistic ones at the bottom). "This stamp depicts the Viking lander", next to a free image of the Viking lander, is a free replacement for the stamp, unless the artwork has been discussed and analyzed by sources. Otherwise, we're using that stamp against existing NFC requirements - where it is being used to depict the subject and not the stamp itself. I'm not saying every image needs to be removed; I believe the shuttle 8-block (which, a single shot of the whole 8-block needs to be found, a pic of each individual stamp is absolutely unnecessary) is a reasonable one to include, but we cannot include NFC images of stamps willy nilly for these articles. --MASEM (t) 13:18, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
The page is offered as a topographical philatelic reference. It would seem on that basis alone that displaying stamps images with a space exploration theme is justified whether the stamp image in its entirety is discussed or not. There are other similar pages. 'Ships on stamps', etc. If someone has a stamp with a ship on it, they can go to this page, and likely they can ID that stamp and hopefully find some other interesting information. That is what a philatelic reference does, among other things. Works on postal history on the other hand do not require as many stamp images because that subject involves other things, ie.mail routes, post marks, rates, etc. However stamp collecting is an aspect of philately that focuses on the individual stamp, and of course the stamp image is required for reference. Trying to ID a stamp by looking for its description would be entirely frustrating for a reader trying to reference a particular stamp.
The block of 8 space-shuttle stamps are shown individually so each stamp will get optimum (NFC) size allowance. If the entire block of 8 were confined to the same space one stamp was you would not even be able to read the large print, let alone be able to admire any other details and artwork. GWillHickers (talk) 10:35, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately, WP cannot support this functionality of a stamp catalog without violating its free content mission. Be aware that we're generally not catalogs in the first place (see WP:NOT); however, I am not saying that I think an article on the space program on stamps is bad - that itself is fine but we have to recognize that display every NFC stamp that falls in it is just not appropriate to consider under a free content mission. We have to trim the # of NFC images used, and i would start with the photorealistic ones since they're likely based on real free images from NASA directly.
As to the 8-block, I don't know where you are getting this size problem from. There are two places where image size comes in: one is the uploaded image size which has to do with what resolution the image is its "File:" page. Then there is the image that is actually used on the page, which if you default to "thumb" is 220px wide (i believe now). There are no hard limits on either, only recommendations, but certainly nothing in software that's limiting this. The 8block could be uploaded at a size, roughly 1000 x 600 (this is ignore the resolution issue for the moment), and shown on page at 500 x 300 without having and problems, so I'm not seeing where you are getting this from. --MASEM (t) 14:21, 9 July 2010 (UTC)


(Clipped paragraphs in new section below)

Low Resolution


It was my understanding that the max pixel limit was only 300! This is what prompted my appeal in the first place. As for the number of (NFC) space stamp images, there are only a few. Is there an actual number of NFC images a page can have or is that a discretionary call? GWillHickers (talk) 16:31, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Dunno where 300 came from, but certainly this not true. NFC should be large as necessary to do its purpose which is to help the reader understand the text of the topic in conjunction with the image. So yes, I would go ahead and change that 8stamp ASAP to about the size I suggest. As to the number of NFC, there's no hard policy. We aim for zero, because of the free content mission, but we cannot set a max number. What we do have are cases when NFC is used with minimal discussion alongside every section or element of an article - that's far too many. Nor do we allow galleries of NFC (in nearly all cases) for the same reasons. --MASEM (t) 17:00, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
And just to be clear, looking over the U.S. space exploration history on U.S. stamps article, these are my suggestions (I'm ignoring everything pre-78):
  • File:Viking Mission Mars2 1978 Issue-15c.jpg is reasonable to include
  • The 8-block if condensed to a single image as described is reasonable to include
  • Of the 6 shuttle-based stamps, only File:Challenger 1995 Issue-$3.jpg I think would be necessary. 4 of the other 5 are photos, and while I'm glancing through Commons to see if we have actual photos (since anything from NASA is free), I don't see them immediately, but it is easy to include the free photo of the aspect they depict and the monetary amount. The 6th one, which looks like artwork, can probably also be found from NASA without the monetary markings. The only reason to include the one above is that you mention the microtype which the present image at the current resolution doesn't show. --MASEM (t) 17:13, 9 July 2010 (UTC)
Bear in mind that whether the block of 8 is displayed as a unified block or as separate images we are still dealing with 8 different images and possibly separate copyrights. But again since the U.S.P.S. doesn't have concerns about general stamp image usage perhaps there is no concern with WP in that area. Also, it would be interesting to know what exactly is meant by 'low resolution' and the pixel limits involved. When I created the Viking Mission section I originally uploaded a hi-res image of the Viking stamp for it, but one of the senior editors citing NFC/fair-use reduced it to an image of 300 pixels, which almost ruined the image. This is where I assumed the 300px limit. GWillHickers (talk) 00:26, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Because it is an 8 block that is printed at once and clearly meant to be part of the larger common picture, it is completely fair to use the single picture of the 8 block instead of 8 individual pictures. --MASEM (t) 00:58, 11 July 2010 (UTC)
Not to be difficult, but I feel it is fair that they are displayed individually, however, they do look better as a unified block of 8 -- one image, so I made the change. In full view (761 × 412 pix) enough size was allowed to be able to see the print and artwork fairly clearly. Am hoping this will be a suitable size for all. GWillHickers (talk) 01:23, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

Side note: i know at WP:ALBUMS#Infobox 300px is the standard size for album and single covers due to international standards. Not sure if the ISO it was taken from applies to all NFC though. --Lil-unique1 (talk) 00:03, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

I knew I had seen the 300px size mentioned somewhere in the non-free area and eventually found it documentation of the {{Non-free image rationale}}. ww2censor (talk) 04:22, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
I went and looked through the history and see that it was created with the 300px reference on it already, but I couldn't find the discussion if any which lead to its creation. Also, one editor who replaced it in the template specifically said "It's a rule of thumb on a template - not a policy or guideline; it's not binding or mandatory". VernoWhitney (talk) 10:51, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
We should only treat it as a rule of thumb. Now, mind you, I can easily see for album covers a 300 px being the max given how we use those covers with limited exception, but this doesn't carry over well to most other fields. I am going to be BOLD and remove this "advice" not because it isn't bad but because it as shown in this case creates a false impression of what's allowable. This doesn't affect my opinion that I think the stamp images are sufficiently served by the lower resolution, only that the image size confusion can be resolved by this. --MASEM (t) 17:28, 15 July 2010 (UTC)


Hi. This is something of a cross-project question, but I'm not sure where to ask it. Text is more my area, and there are still areas of Wikipedia's approach to non-free images and potentially derivative images with which I'm unfamiliar.

Okay, I know that on Commons (via Commons:Commons:Image casebook#Product packaging), product packages with printing is verboten unless the printing meets Commons:Commons:De minimis, is so simple as to be copyright ineligible, or is out of copyright, perhaps due to age. I presume that we have a similar approach here. But here we have the additional factor that non-free images are permitted with valid FUR. So, how do we handle images like File:FranksBottleShot1.jpg and File:Texas Pete.jpg? Both of these acknowledge that they may contain copyrighted elements by others. I do not know if the packaging on either is old enough to be PD. I would list these for review at WP:PUF, but if they're FURable, it would be sufficient to FUR them. (Presuming {{Non-free product cover}} would be a good start.) Should I list them at WP:PUF with a note that if it turns out they can't be released under the specified license they can be FURred? FUR by default? Get feedback at MCQ? Puzzled.svg --Moonriddengirl (talk) 22:07, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

I think it is a fair assumption that the two examples are covered by the original copyright as there is no evidence otherwise. Though the products may be sufficiently old, we'd need proof of when the packaging was designed to decide that it is PD. They be befurred now. When I run across these and it seems that we will have such an image, and no free alternative is possible, this seems the quickest way to an outcome. - Peripitus (Talk) 10:40, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'll adopt that approach when I encounter such situations in the future. :) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 12:13, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

Low Resolution and Fair-Use

Hello again MASEM. -- After discussing Fair-Use regarding NFC pixel size limits it seems what you're saying is that 'low resolution' is not something that is automatically determined by pixel size, as an image with large pixel dimensions can still yield an image that is not very clear or focused. What seems to be of most concern is the image clarity of the displayed (at full view) image in of itself. As we know concern here rests on WP producing an image that can compete with and compromise the interests of copyright holders. Evidently image size for fair-use is determined by image quality, not by pixel dimensions alone, and that enough resolution is allowed so that an image can be displayed clearly enough for the image and print to be viewable and readable. I would simply like to be clear on this before I commit more time and effort into building a page that makes reference to NFC images. GWillHickers (talk) 00:07, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Low resolution is a very subjective concept where it largely is in the eye of the beholder. This does come from the legal definition of fair-use where you are taking an "excerpt" from the original source to perform critical analysis or scholarly "research" on that item. This is akin to pulling a sentence or two from a much larger work when you are using textual fair use. As it applies to images, generally the pixel limit ought to be sufficient to display whatever it is that you are trying to show, but not over that amount.
While for textual fair use there is a generally presumed limit of about 200 words (give or take a few and no hard limit has been formally established in law) or 10% of the original work (whichever is less), I know of no such limit for rasterized images. I guess the idea here is to use common sense and try to use whatever it is that best suits the article. It would even be reasonable to take a portion of an image, concentrating on perhaps just one aspect that would be displayed in the article if that is appropriate. That would be akin to a cropped screen shot... using the same principle of an excerpt. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:02, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
To be clear, there is no restriction on pixel sizes with respect to low-resolution, nor is there any percentage restrictions either. What is taken into consideration is the balance between what a "high resolution" or full resolution image would be and the necessary resolution to understand what is in the picture to meet with how it is discussed in the article. That's fully subjective. There are some obvious cases: a screenshot of a movie that is running at 1080p should not be displayed at 1920x1020 (or whatever pixel-perfect resolution) unless clearly there is a need to be that high, requiring a strong rationale for that high resolution. In the case of stamps, you're scanning them in (apparently) so the resolution is arbitrary so we can't say what the full resolution is. --MASEM (t) 19:29, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Still, even for a scan you shouldn't have an image than is sufficient for the discussion on the page. If you only need a 150x150 image stamp to convey the concept of the stamp on a page that is a discussion of that stamp, that is the resolution you should be using. Generally even for a home scanner there should be some sort of reduction in pixel size. If you have a low-resolution scanner, perhaps that would be sufficient. --Robert Horning (talk) 19:49, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Of course - that's what a lot of the above discussion is about and still open for consensus. I don't think the stamps need to be high resolution for their current use on the page - which is just showing the stamp, but it is argued that high resolution is needed to see the fine details of the stamp, even though the base image is clearly visible and compared to a live free picture of the object in question. --MASEM (t) 20:03, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
My contention was that 'enough' resolution was needed to show the image and print somewhat clearly. 'Hi-resolution', as I understand the term, allows one to zoom in and examine paper fiber and print anomalies, etc. GWillHickers (talk) 16:06, 16 July 2010 (UTC)


I'm having some issues regarding some non-free images which also happen to be non-free government portraits of notable individuals, in particular, File:Ph pres aquino.jpg and File:Ph pres Noy Aquino.jpg. It seems obvious to me that these images are replaceable by one of our many free images of these individuals, but some have argued (and, I believe, a bit of votecounting resulted in their "victory") that these images have some iconic value above and beyond their status as images of the individual. I could buy that, I guess, if we had an article on the portrait series of Filipino heads of state, but that's not what we're trying to illustrate with these images, and I feel as though the outcome of the FFD should be clear. I've re-nominated each, and would appreciate any well-reasoned opinions - on either side of the question - to help us sort these out. (ESkog)(Talk) 23:56, 18 July 2010 (UTC)

Generally, you would have to have secondary sources discussing the actual photograph in question in order to make a serious case there.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:59, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

the sportses

I know there was a big huge long discussion about sports logos and their application in multiple articles, but I didn't follow it and am not familiar with its outcome. That's why I'm inquiring about the appropriateness of File:US Soccer logo.svg being used in nine articles when it's only rationaled for one (United States Soccer Federation). — pd_THOR | =/\= | 16:32, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

It needs to be removed from all articles it lacks a rationale for, or a rationale may need to be added. Can it be used on those other pages? They all appear to be all seperate teams under that logo, and that appears to be their logo, so I would argue that yes this is an appropriate us of the logo on the team and the league page. However, rationales must be provided. --MASEM (t) 16:43, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I removed them from the eight pages for which no rationale exists pending creation of rationales. To the larger question, the issue was never resolved. We still have images such as File:USCGamecocks.png and File:Texas Longhorn logo.svg being used more than two dozen times each. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:22, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I thought we had consensus that we wouldn't use team logos on individual season articles. That would clear up a lot of the overuse on those two files you just mentioned. -Andrew c [talk] 23:05, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I would be very amenable to that, and so would some others. However, there is an extremely vocal contingent that opposes that. Whenever such removals are attempted, the situation boils over again. --Hammersoft (talk) 00:17, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I appreciate the assist, but it would appear that "no your are really wrong". That's what you were talking about, and what I was afraid of. — pd_THOR | =/\= | 00:21, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I noticed. I removed it again. --Hammersoft (talk) 00:28, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
(after EC)I distinctly recall working on this in the past. What we did was replace the graphic logo with a text-only logo. I worked on either extracting the images from official PDF (vector) sources, or I traced them. I obviously didn't do every single college, but I don't think anyone objected to when the graphic logo was replaced with a text-only logo on the individual year articles. I'd be glad to do the exact same thing for these two your brought up (and any others), though if the task becomes too large, I'd need help. I guess it is more controversial to simply delete an image, than it is to replace it with a free equivalent (even though policy says we CANNOT use non-free content when there are free equivalents).-Andrew c [talk] 00:23, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I have made replacements for the two logos in question for the season specific articles. -Andrew c [talk] 14:52, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
Certainly in the Texas case, the text logo was tried before on at least a couple of articles, and was shot down. I only managed to get it stripped from seasons before 1963 due to the Longhorn logo not being used before 1963. At any rate, there's also:
This problem isn't confined to US college sports either. It's most common in that area, but there's spill over elsewhere;
As you can see, this is a rampant problem. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:39, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to go through and strike ones as I do them. I could use some help. There are some text only logos already available User:BQZip01/FBS_Trademarked_logos, but we should keep in mind that a) they need to be official logos, sourced to official sources (some on BQZ's page are not official) and b) they should be in SVG format (not all are in SVG format). For ones that don't have logos, or have the previous two shortcomings, I'd be glad to locate files and upload them. I've already done a few today, and I did a bunch back in November. Again, help with this would be nice, but I don't mind doing it all by myself. -Andrew c [talk] 17:03, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
  • (walking a delicate diplomatic line here) Due to rather severe negative interactions between myself and another editor here, I'm going to decline to actively work to replace these, though I wholeheartedly agree it needs to be done. I'll be happy to raise additional cases to interested parties as they are discovered. The above listed logos are those that are used at least ten times, which are pretty good bets for finding ones used in season articles. All of the ones listed above for US college teams are used in season articles. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:53, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Interesting afternote; for my efforts in removing File:US Soccer logo.svg from articles for which it did not have a rationale, I was told "your so fucken gay get a fucken life your fagot or go get laid or something" [1]. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:55, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

  • User given a short holiday to think about the appropriateness of that edit. Black Kite (t) (c) 22:05, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

I've done the ones that were easy enough for me to do. The remaining ones represent items that I could not easily locate a text-only logo in vector format. We may want to consider using a raster format for those to ensure compliance. I have also listed a request on the Illustration Graphics Lab to see if any other graphic nerds can help locate and create replacement logos. There were a couple issues above, which I left comments for, and would like to discuss further. Also, there was one NFL football uniform image that was used in 10+ season articles. It made me look at Category:American_football_season_stubs. Some of these season articles have uniforms and some don't. If we allow that it is important to show the design of the uniform for each season, and there were 10+ seasons where the uniform didn't change, I'd think we could allow these images. Alternatively, we could say that the uniform can only be shown on the season it was introduced, and refer back to that season in future articles? Or we could say that NO non-free uniform images are OK, because someone could have taken a photo of the players playing during that season, and licensed the photo freely, and thus the uniforms in those photos would be more of a de minimus/in situ situation. Does that make sense? What do you all think of the use of non-free uniform images in individual season articles?-Andrew c [talk] 15:49, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

  • First, thanks for your hard work. Second, with regards to the uniform images, I think such images would be appropriate to a section on the team's main page, discussing the history of the team's uniforms, etc. Scattering uniform images over every season would create a massive overuse situation. People can identify "2009 <team> season" well enough without a uniform. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:12, 12 July 2010 (UTC)

University of South Carolina

Not surprisingly, there's resistance to the replacement of non-free imagery with free content imagery. In particular, quite a bit of edit waring by an anon IP, but also by User:GarnetAndBlack. In particular, he's now reverted the replacement on Carolina–Clemson rivalry with the edit summary Only one school has their fair use content removed? This is also not a single season article. WP:NFCC is clear on this; if a free alternative exists or can be made, we use the free alternative. We have a free alternative at File:Usc-gamecocks-text-logo.gif. I've had arguments with this editor before, and have absolutely no desire to attempt to set him straight. But, policy is clearly not on his side. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:49, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

In this case, I'm trying to figure out what the complaint is all about. Both are "non-free" images that are the subject of the non-free content guidelines, and it would seem like the athletic logo would be much more appropriate given the topical context used. The "free alternative" is definitely not a free alternative. It may not be explicitly copyrighted, but as a logo it still has some pretty tight restrictions on its use. Also, the copyright status of that logo seems very suspect to me in terms of copyright status too, unless you can point to some specific copyright law in the state of South Carolina that exempts public institutions from copyright (as California does) or can point to some historical usage so that it qualifies for public domain due to its age. In this case, I would say policy is on his side in terms of policy, as the word mark for the university is an inappropriate use of the non-free image. The commentary in the article is about the athletic rivalry and not a rivalry between the two universities in general outside of that context... or does this rivalry extend to academics too?
BTW, I do get the lack of copyright status on the wordmarks as a legal issue, but it isn't necessarily something I would want to die on a hill to fight over if it came up again in a legal challenge. I wouldn't recommend that people post those images at random and freely everywhere they please. --Robert Horning (talk) 20:04, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
Is your final sentence proposing we don't use such images ever? The issue is of copyright vs. trademark. Under US law, typefaces, and single words or simple phrases depicted in type (even if highly decorated type) are ineligible for copyright, thus {{PD-ineligible}}. The owners can still register the trademark, but they cannot copyright the image/logo. There are numerous court cases (see here) that found even far more complex logos that have more elements than just type still ineligible for copyright. Therefore, text logos can almost always be tagged as "public domain" on the Commons, and thus be used freely throughout Wikipedia as we would any other freely licensed content. We do have the {{trademark}} template as well, but because that doesn't have to do with copyright, it isn't restrictive in our sense of image use policy. Are you suggesting we no longer allow PD-Text content? Or that we should change our image use policy to be more strict when it comes to these matters?
And to get more specific, while I may not have chosen the best logo for Clemson, as it isn't an athletics logos, under our CURRENT rules, it is clear we do not need a non-free athletics image to illustrate the topic of "rivalry". There is either a PD-text free direct equivalent that could replace the logo, or some other free image could be used to illustrate the rivalry (such as a fan shot of the two teams playing). My point is there is no reason to use non-free content in that article (or nearly all of the college athletics articles.) I'd be glad to discuss further restrictions or reconsider our use of PD-text images or what have you. Thanks for your comment :) -Andrew c [talk] 19:53, 16 July 2010 (UTC)
No, I'm not suggesting that we never use such images, but that they should be treated similar to or even under the presumption of fair-use images. Yes, I get that copyright infringement isn't a rationale for deletion (of the wordmarks), but that still gets into all of the complicated issues of international copyright and other problems generally associated with non-free images. I just don't see the rationale being supported here for the elimination of one non-free image with another one that may be slightly "more free" but really isn't completely free to use either. In the form and manner that the original athletic logo was being used (the "less free" version) I really don't see the legal challenge being any different or why it had to be replaced.
The point of the free vs. non-free image policy was for something like a publicity photo of a celebrity vs. one taken by a Wikipedian and released under the GFDL/CC-by-SA. One is clearly rights restricted and the other is clearly free. In that case, I agree that the "free" alternative should be used. I just don't see the difference here to be nearly as clear-cut nor a reasonable substitution. Both are logos and one is claiming "free" status due to specific common law exception, not because of the source, the age (for PD-Old images) or how those images were otherwise made. The use of logos still is heavily restricted regardless, although I will admit this is a legal use of those logos. I also believe that the previous athletic logo usage was just as legal under similar kinds of common law legal precedence. --Robert Horning (talk) 04:20, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Non-copyrightable images, such as woodmarks, are not regarded as being non-free for our purposes. Since they can not be copyrighted, there is no copyright restriction on their use. There may be trademark restrictions, but not copyright restrictions. Replacing a copyrighted/able image with a non-copyrightable image that serves the same purpose is always desirable here. It is very, very clear cut. If you can't copyright it, there's no copyright. There is a vast gulf of restrictions between trademark and copyright restrictions. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:59, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Universities seals in list of universities

Hi. Could such a list of seals be kept when the article is moved to the mainspace or not? User:Hammersoft does not believe so, but I would like to hear other opinions as well. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 13:12, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

No; the same logic we use for avoiding NFC images in discographies or the like applies here. Since it appears all these universities have articles where the seal is likely used in an appropriate manner, it is unnecessary to include them in the list. --MASEM (t) 13:37, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, they shouldn't be included at all while the article is in your editspace; NFC cannot be used outside of mainspace. When you're building an article, you can preface the image link with a : (eg [[:File:Example.png]] to retain the image link and the like without including the image). --MASEM (t) 13:39, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Does this logo qualify for {{PD-textlogo}}?

File:JP_MegaDrive_Logo.gif when this was uploaded the uploader didn't know of {{pd-textlogo}} and {{trademark}} and uploaded it as a copyrighted logo. Recently it was suggested the Mega Drive/Genesis article had excessive non-free content, specifically for including the three regional logos that were used concurrently during its lifespan. [2] this revision shows all three logos. Apparently having two logos was fine, but after seven months of having three logos it was suggested that perhaps having all three logos was possibly a violation of fair use. I took a look and realized that the JP logo possibly fell under {{PD-textlogo}}. I asked Anomie what he thought, and he said in his opinion it is probably a {{PD-textlogo}}. "I personally think it's probably {{PD-textlogo}} since it is just an M and a D and it's not really more complex than the W-thing at the top of File:Best Western logo.svg which the US copyright office officially ruled three times as insufficiently original." I see no © and no ® on the logo, just a TM. So I bring the issue here to find out for sure.--SexyKick 01:58, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

If this is not the best place to ask, can someone direct me to the proper place?--SexyKick 16:11, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
If only I could find out if image:JP_MegaDrive_Logo.gif was a {{pd-textlogo}} or not. Or the even less likely image:GenesisLogo.png They're both only marked with TM, though other iterations of the Genesis logo are also marked with (R). It's even possible that none of them are copyrighted Logos. This says that Sega and Genesis are registered trademarks of Sega, and this says that Sega, and Mega Drive are registered trademarks of Sega. Then there's this box art for Japan...I can't read it.--SexyKick 18:05, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Just wondering?

Would this picture be allowed under the rules on wiki? It is Peter Ostrum as an adult. --DrStrangelove64 (talk) 16:15, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

As he is still living, it is not beyond reason that we can get a free image of him as an adult today. So no, unless that image is licensed under an appropriate redistribution license (like CC-BY), we cannot use it. --MASEM (t) 16:40, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Since Ostrum seems to be best known for his film appearance, would there not be a case for using a picture from the film to show his appearance at that time, as noted at WP:NFC#UULP? Angus McLellan (Talk) 15:26, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Quick query for rapidly approaching Signpost deadline

The logo for the British newspaper "The Guardian" is on the Commons, and it says it's in the public domain. But then it says it may be subject to trademark laws. I'm confused. Can it be used in WP namespace? File:The_Guardian.svg Tony (talk) 13:34, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Trademark does not affect the NFC status of an image; we just need to be careful of overuse. Simple logos like the Guardians are well-believed to fail the Threshold of Originality test that defines a work as one of creative effort, and therefore are ineligible for copyright, and thus are considered in the public domain and free (and thus on Commons); they still carry the trademark, but for the most part we simply ignore that unless someone abuses it. --MASEM (t) 13:41, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Title screens and "List of ... episodes"

Readers here may be interested in Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style_(television)#Non-free_images_in_.22List_of_..._episodes.22. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:12, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Consistency query

WP:NFC#UUI#6 disallows non-free images that "illustrate an article passage about the image, if the image has its own article". Should not the same logic apply to multimedia files, as well? For example, a non-free audio file used in a passage when the song itself has an article. Эlcobbola talk 20:25, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

  • I could readily see the wording changed such that 'media' supplanted 'images'. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:32, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
    • That seems logical to me. I assume restriction solely to images was actually unintentional. Эlcobbola talk 20:35, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
The extension from images to any media type I agree with, but I would argue there are limited exceptions here that we may want to consider. For example, an article about a musical artist - who for the sake of argument has tens-to-hundreds of songs that have their own articles like The Beatles - may have some section that describes their sound (from secondary sources, natch), and a couple pre-existing ones brought into the article would seem to be a reasonable addition to the section that allows the article to stand alone, only reintroduces 2 or 3 previously uploaded samples as non-free, and thus should be ok. But again, the inclusion here is to strongly compliment existing text to support their repeated inclusion, moreso than what I would expect in the article on the individual song. The same arguments could apply to images too (artists and their paintings for example). --MASEM (t) 20:44, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

The Remix

There seems to be a disagreement with editors at this article over where an alternate cover used for release in the US and UK meets WP:NFCC#3a. I'd appreciate it if I could get a few comments from uninvolved editors experienced in this area. I am personally of the opinion that since the album covers are significantly different and the alternate cover was released in two of the largest music markets (and thus will be widely recognizable and will lead to considerable confusion if it is left out), that it meets NFCC, but I am not too experienced with copyright and fair use and such. –Chase (talk) 23:07, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Problems with NFC#UULP

The current wording of the WP:NFC#UULP has caused a lot of trouble, see also here and here for more focussed discussions.

In a nutshell, an editor, who is known to delete only, recently removed several non-free promotional images which have been there for years, are of low quality and have even been challenged earlier but have been kept because there was no rule against them. Four other editors disgreed with the deleting editor and a little edit war occured because of the deleting editor beeing rather unwillingly to even discuss that matter and claiming an obvious violation of WP:NFCC. At ANI he got even support by an admin who is apparently of the oppinion that keeping those fairly uncritical images is disruptive and felt the urgency to apply another mass-revert instantly and by also pointing to NFCC.

To my understanding WP:NFC explains WP:NFCC a bit more in detail and another administraor even confirmed this view and therefore there I also see no contradiction between both policy pages and the case should be quite obvious.

The current "rule" is:

Pictures of people still alive, groups still active, and buildings still standing; provided that taking a new free picture as a replacement (which is almost always considered possible) would serve the same encyclopedic purpose as the non-free image. This includes non-free promotional images.

However, for some retired or disbanded groups, or retired individuals whose notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance, a new picture may not serve the same purpose as an image taken during their career, in which case the use would be acceptable.

So this clearly applies for any aged or retired model, including notable pornographic actors. As the images in question are for the latter ones, it only took a few hours before "unbeatable" arguments like the keeping editors beeing just a bunch of "fanboys" and a "gang of pornhounds" were brought up and also with the background tone, that agressive deleting and battle tactics are decent means against them. In this specific case there is even a prove that local law prevents the replaceability of the material in question which got simply wiped away with the claim that national law does not apply to Wikipedia - which is obviously nonsense because the argument was to prove the difficulty of replacement and not the ruling of Wikipedia issues. Furthermore the related non-free images point at WP:P* also still complies with WP:NFC.

Now WP:NFCC leaves a lot of room for interpretation, so if that were the only policy page regarding this, it would be easily possible to interpret it that way, that non-free images ONLY of persons are allowed who are already dead. Even more strictly interpreted, actually no non-free images of any person at all are allowed because it's obviously rather impossible to prove that an image of a person is ultimately required for the "understanding" of an article. If you are really a funny guy, you could also claim that if there is a non-free image it's is possible that this somewhen will become free and therefore every non-free material can be deleted at will until then. (I am quite sure that I already read an explantion in that direction somewhere.)

Aside of this, the non insulting pro-deletion arguments were bascially:

  • the visual appearance of a model doesn't matter (sic)
  • the rule is a "rare exception that is only suggested and needs also well-referenced textual support" (whatever this would mean in this conext)

It was also indicated that there is a common practice which simply ignores WP:NFC#UULP.

So I am asking here, to either...

  • clarify the rule and also the relation of NFC to NFCC and possibly to remove that point or to dramatically improve its wording if the deleting editor and admin are right


  • to clearly confirm the validity of the rule and its purpose to specify related points of WP:NFCC

If there can be no clear rule defined without excluding in such a specific way, that WP:NOTCENSORED might be affected and if there are also frequent problems with similiar cases (I am still rather new here, so I may not know) perhaps it should be considered that any non-free images should simply be forbidden, like the German Wikipedia does it.

Aside of all rules, in the current case the images in question are difficult or impossible to replace, are of very low qualitly, show less than a usual TV guide cover and there is a very little to no chance that there will ever come somebody and demand to remove them from Wikipedia because they are his or her property. Furthermore one may get the impression that the actual motivation to remove the images in question are simply prejudices against any or some pornography related topics. While that is understandable, it should not be allowed that those people enforce their views "through the backdoor".

Testales (talk) 09:24, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

(note I've fixed your wikilink) There are a couple of areas where guidelines on WP:NFCC cause problems - this, cast shots and actors in character come up enough for me to notice. WP:NFCC itself says Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose. so the first question to always ask is "what is the encyclopaedic purpose of the image." It could be argued that if it is for identification, then if a picture of Harrison Ford taken recently is adequate, then a picture of any actor taken at any time is adequate. OTOH, WP:NFCI says Film and television screen shots: For critical commentary and discussion of the cinema and television are permissible, so it may be that you want to include the image in order to critically discuss the film. --Elen of the Roads (talk) 10:19, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I beleive Elen is right here. If the person is still living and likely can be photographed, we don't use a non-free image for identification. But if their appearance in visual work(s) is the subject of sourced discussion (I know there was a good example around but I forget which actress it was), and their appearance is, through common sense, quite different from their current appearance today, then a non-free image from the work can be used with that text to increase the reader's understanding for that section. --MASEM (t) 13:55, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I believe the example you're referring to is Twiggy, already cited in at least one of the discussions this has been spun out from. Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 15:24, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think that was the example I was thinking of but certainly qualifies where the nfc usage in a BLP seems appropriate. --MASEM (t) 15:32, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

The particular images being discussed here were copyrighted images being used to illustrate articles about Japanese porn starlets, specifically these removals:

I don't see how the appearance of these starlets is any more relevant to their notability than it is for any actress in any genre. This discussion strikes me as being fairly run-of-the-mill: editors that are fans of a particular person tend to interpret the escape clauses very liberally as a justification to include the images, and that liberal interpretation is generally unjustified.—Kww(talk) 15:40, 30 July 2010 (UTC)

Ok, I will try structure my concern a bit more.

Blame: Beeing biased

I think with "editors that are fans of a particular person" Kww was basically meaning the same as this uncivil user at ANI, just put in a nicer way.

So again: I have no personal interesst in keeping images of Japanese actors[3][4][5], in fact it is rather unlikely that I ever will see any material featuring them. I have also not seen Kintetsubuffalo, the editor who created the complaint about Hullaballoo Wolfowitz at ANI, beeing active in that area. This is simply a matter of principle.


The paragraph in question was added in August 2007[6][7][8], long after the Twiggy discussions[9][10]. Unfortunately there was not much discussion about it but by applying what I would dare to call common sense I would see no problem here. The editor of the orginal suggestion has on the other hand already foreseen that this may be controversial. He/she said:

The argument goes that pictures of an actor or sportsperson or musician during their career are the encyclopedic ideal, and that pictures of them long after they have retired, maybe when they are very old, may be less than ideal.

With what I absolutely agree. The only reply here used again the apparently rather unhelpful word significant. So once more, it comes bascially down to the simple question: Is a picture of a person who appears on visual media of significance or not? (If not in general then under which conditions?)

The current wording limits that to that the person must be largly notable just because of his or her visual appearance:

However, for some retired or disbanded groups, or retired individuals whose notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance, a new picture may not serve the same purpose as an image taken during their career, in which case the use would be acceptable.

But is that actually a good idea? The editor who brought up the suggestion also mentioned sportsmen and heck yes, if I think about it, even for sportsmen it is of a certain significance to be able to recognize them from public visual media. So to know how a person who appears usually on visual media (because of his/her profession) looks like can very well be seen as knowledge and is therefore encyclopedic. This even more applies to people who are indeed known because of their visual appearance. So it will probably be of little use to add a picture of Miss World 1956 when she was 76. Pamela Anderson on the other hand who also got mainly known for her looks, is still active or at least publically present so a current photo will also work while an additional photo of younger years can very well be seen as significant too. The same applies for Harrison Ford therefore the given example with him is of no use. While the appearance of Harrison Ford was likely also a factor that made him known, it certainly had only little influence on the notabilitly of say Louis de Funès. Yet a picture a him beeing barely 18 would also make no sense here. It's not much different for sportsmen although their notability is rarly connected with their apperance. It also should be a picture that has been taken during their career or shortly after or before. In some cases a sportsman may become a notable trainer and have also public presence in this second career. As for the previous examples an image from this part of their work is surely adequate too. But still, simply generally stating "a picture of any actor taken at any time is adequate" seems to be not to be very logical.


WP:NFCI was referenced regarding screenshots. Now look what we have [11] for Louis de Funès or for Miss World 1969. Both are screenshots but neither of them was used "for critical commentary and discussion of the cinema and television".


The policy page of WP:NFCC is not very clear. It uses elastic words such as "encyclopedic purpose" and "contextual significance". These are not very helpful (as shown above) for somebody who wants to upload an image to decide if there is even a chance that it will be kept. One might expect that it because it lists specific and clear criteria resulting from the actual WP:NFC but "Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose." is just too unprecise and furthermore the current wording of WP:NFC#UULP is a clear contradiction to what seems to be common practice. I also have the impression that WP:NFCC currently makes the arbitrary removal of non-free content very easy. Moreover I can still see no argument that clearly nullifies the WP:NFC#UULP for the images in question other than the claim of beeing not signifcant without giving any criteria which lead to this conclusion. Well, unless maybe the editors claiming that are experts in Japanese pornography and possible cultural differences which I doubt. I at least try to be carefull to judge the significance of topics where I have no clue.

Finally the by far most referenced points of WP:NFCC (1 and 8) overlap:

1. (...) "Could the subject be adequately conveyed by text without using the non-free content at all?" (...)


8. Contextual significance. Non-free content is used only if its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding.

This means exactly the same. So referencing both points as reason for deleting an image adds nothing.


If the typical situation is so easy and obviously recognizeable from WP:NFCC, so why there are no specific examples or descriptions given of what is accepted and what not. This may be complicated in some cases but I bascially see two main categories for which this can clearly be defined if there is really a consensus like "we don't use a non-free image for identification". As for Twiggy, her image was finally also only kept because she was most known while looking that way. This applies for actually any retired model and most actors, although surely some are more and other are less notable. On the other hand this lastly also depends on the reader's background, I heard of Twiggy now for the first time. If I am now stumbling over her article, I am certainly mainly interessted how she looked when she was known because of her appearnce. So it's already confusing that the image is not in the infobox, that's VERY unusal, because if there is only one image if usually goes to the infobox, beeing a current photo or not. The original contributor was also rather unhappy about that step. So I still see no clear indication about what exactly an exemption justifying "sourced discussion" is, aside of the fact that a BLP has to be sourced very well anyway.

So after all, let me put this into two simple questions:

1. Is the image of a person who (regulary) appears in visual media of significance and therefore serving an encyclopedic purpose?

  • a) No, never.
  • b) Only if he or she is mainly notable because of his/her appearance.
  • c) Yes, clearly always.
  • d) Only if the following criteria are fulfilled (...)

2. if a person's image has been classified as significant, what about the topicality of the image?

  • a) It doesn't matter.
  • b) If any possible should be in the active time of the subject, i.e. beeing repesentative for the look he/she become known with and preferable latest if subject is still active.
  • c) Depends on (...)

Note that is is bascially to estimate the significance and beeing encyclopedic in general. That could also be limited to non-free material only. In case of 2.b) there should also be a guide what to do with people with multiple careers. For buildings there are 1 or 2 similar questions.

So if these simple questions can be answered either on WP:NFC or on WP:NFCC that would surely be a great step forward and also end a lot of discussions. Furthermore a link could be added that points to WP:NFR if somebody thinks that the content he wants to upload justifies an exception. But the most frequent and general cases should be decideable having the questions above answered on a policy page.

I would also like to know whether somebody here remembers that Wikipedia has EVER been sued or nearly been sued for keeping a non-free image in the infobox of a BLP. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Testales (talkcontribs)

First, last point first - it is not a legal issue about NFC. It is a requirement set on us by the Foundation to minimize the use of non-free media in the free-content project. If we were talking a more legal issue, they pretty much we could be assured - to some extent - that such NFC images of living people would be within US Fair Use allowances. But our NFC policy is stronger than that because of what the Foundation asks.
So in considering these points, we need to ask two major questions: "Is there a free replacement for the non-free image?" and "Does that free replacement serve the same encyclopedic purpose as the non-free image?" If the person is living, question 1 is nearly always "yes", so now we have to consider if the free replacement is really a one-for-one replacement of a non-free image. If the person is far removed from their days when they were a celebrity in the visual arts such that they look nothing like what they did in the past, and that their look in the day is of sourced critical discussion (as the case with Twiggy, or another example Weird Al Yankovic's pre-LASIK look) then a free image taken today cannot replace the the non-free image from the past, and thus the NFC use is justified. It's a pretty decent and easily interpreted line to keep. This doesn't mean that we cannot also include a free image of the person today in their article, and infact we should strive to use that regardless of how different it is from the past appearance.
The reason to keep non-free content out of the infobox for living persons is that it is separating the discussion of that look from the actual context within the article. This better justifies the non-free use when the reader sees what they are reading about next to the text. --MASEM (t) 22:47, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I think I understand now what the consensus here seems to be, if there is consensus. But in no way is this obvious from the quoted "rules" which was the reason for me to bring up this issue. Furthermore to my opinion there shouldn't be images of private persons on a BLP. At the moment a person retires he or she is no longer subject of public interesst and so there is also no point to know about the current appearance. BLPs usually also end after the retirement from the public. So to conclude from beeing alive that also a new free image can be made is at least questionable. For at least one of Japanese images in question it was even proved that it is due to court ruling no longer possible to obtain new photos. Moreover the word "critical" is somewhat unclear. While the discussion of the look of Twiggy may possibly be seen as beeing critical, I absoutely can't tell this about the related section of the Weird Al Yankovic article. So it may be better to let it be more general like "if there are sources which cover the look or changes to it". Although I still don't see the point why it is important to have sources discussing the look. As indicated with the examples above, knowing how the subject looks like is also knowledge. Following your argumentation, the picture of the Miss World 1969 example also would have to be removed as there are no external sources or sections in the article which actually discuss the look - not even in an uncritical way. It's for mere identification, to allow the reader to recognize the subject from works which have been created during her (public) career. So bascially I would say there is no point always to demand a critical discussion. But if that for whatever reason is indeed consensus, please clearly add this to the policy. All these empty words about significance and encyclopedic should also be removed then. The significance is proably always given for any of the examples. The question then is only when is the significance high enough to allow NFC. And the understanding of the Weird Al Yankovic article would in no way be affected if the older image gets removed. It has only little effect on what he was and his work. It's a bit different for Twiggy though if she was more or less a "trend-setter" and/or idol of that era. Compared to her the changes of the style of Weird Al Yankovic are rather meaningless and only interessting for identification, no more interessing than any model getting fake boobs, a new haircolor and some piercings - which by the way also could cause sources covering this. So my concern remains, the current "rules" are rather unclear or even missleading. Testales (talk) 00:00, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
There is a point where it comes to consensus to determine whether the older NFC pic is necessary in addition to a free image. It is impossible to write down when we keep an old NFC and when we don't for such cases. The best defense against keeping these is threefold: a clear and unquestionable difference between the historical image and the person's current looks, a strong rationale on the NFC as to why its lack of inclusion will harm the article, and sourced text in the article that corroborates with this rationale to explain the importance of the old look. Now as to cases, Twiggy's article has such information, so it's fine. Weird Al's I thought had it but appears to be missing, but I know I can source it properly with a bit of time ([12], [13]). As for Eva_Rueber-Staier, its difficult to tell because I can't immediately find sources on her look, so my tendency would be to delete the image in favor of a fair one, but at the same time, that article is still a stubby-thing and I'd rather see it developed. But that's one opinion; each image could be put to consensus to verify but my gut will tell me you'd have problems arguing the removable of the first two examples because those images meet the 3 points I described.
Now, you bring up an issue that it is illegal for the creation of a new image of a living person for one of the models. If this is the case, then I see no reason why the NFC cannot be used as long as this legal issue is sourced and identified in the NFC rationale as to why there is no non-free replacement. Likely best to keep the image out of the infobox because there still may be a way to get the free image from someone that was taken before this precedent, but again, there are some very limited cases where we do allow for the non-free image of the person to be used on the assumption no free image is possible. --MASEM (t) 00:31, 31 July 2010 (UTC)
The legal issue is a red-herring. The Japanese privacy laws do consider it an invasion of privacy to take a picture of a person's private life and publish it in relation to his public persona. That law has no effect on Wikipedia's Florida based servers. A picture of any of these people can be taken and uploaded to Wikipedia so long as the upload doesn't occur in Japan.—Kww(talk) 04:53, 31 July 2010 (UTC)

I will respond to 3 important points first, then try to summarize a bit and finally offer a suggestion that may help to better clarify the situation.

  • Weird Al: Call me blind but I still fail to see where his look or changes to that are critically discussed. Both articles focus on his work, career and attitude, so I would tend to say that his visual appearance has no big relevance compared to that - in contrast to any model.
  • Eva_Rueber-Staier: It was surely not my intention to direct Mr. Wolfowitz there to ""contribute" once again by removing that image ASAP without even discussing and while this one is still going on here. Well simply to create facts is also a way to dominate. To limit this a bit is exactly why I am doing this here. The picture was uploaded in February 2006, so so guess 4.5 years beeing on Wikipedia can fairly be seen as older image. Even you Masem, said that this case is somewhat difficult. Yet HW has already sniped it out, maybe nobody will notice and even if, he would simply get crushed with a big bunch of unclear rules. So please, let's try to work out some more clear indications when to keep material and when not. You are right Masem, when saying each image could be put to consensus to verify but shouldn't that be are rare case? Wouldn't it be better to cleary decide based on some simple rules for the majority of material in question? At current state material can obviously removed freely at will as it is nearly impossible to defend it having no policy based hardly missunderstandable arguments in hand (aside of the point which I brought up initially and which is still to clarify).
  • Legal issues: It's not red-herring, it's actually an indication for what is right and what not and it still doesn't invalidate my argument. To my very opinion Wikipedia has to respect the privacy of a person as much as possible. So meanwhile I also think that this has also to be seen in a a wider scope. The Japanese court decision is just representative because simply beeing civil. WP:BLP states "the Foundation urges that special attention be paid to neutrality and verifiability regarding living persons; that human dignity and personal privacy be taken into account, especially in articles of ephemeral or marginal interest". While I am not sure about an US ex-president after his retirement, I am rather sure that Japanese pornographic actors can be considered as beeing of only or marginal interesst, so their privacy is to respect in any case. Bascially in absolutly most cases the retirement is "the end", so again to expect just because a person is alive, it would be possible to obtain new material it very questionable. And even for an US ex-president, does Wikipedia really want to have pictures of him sunbathing in his private garden taken by a relative and not beeing aware of that this material is online? I don't think so. So the only case where pictures of living persons in context of a BLP are acceptable is if they are a persons of a certain public interesst and beeing in public area, like on award giving ceremonies. So the mere the possibilty of relatives taking new photos of the subject, does not significantly increase the chance that there can be new material available because it is simply not usable as long as the subject is not either dead or has stated his accordance. In Germany there is even a law called "Recht am eigenen Bild" (right in own picture) no matter who has taken it and which is only overidden for persons who are currently of public interesst and are in a public area. Before you start yelling that the English Wikipedia does not care about German law like here (lower part), please also look for example at the link which was posted there - just aside from the WP:BLP quotation above. So I would conclude that it doesn't matter at all whether a person is alive or not if he or she has retired quite some time ago and is now only a private individual. This even more if the person has clearly visually changed meanwhile (which can be assumed for aging). The person may have older pictures of him/herself (which is almost sure) and there may be chance that they get released but the same applies if the person is dead. In fact the chances are even increasing then with relatives sorting out the legacy.

The current the decision procedure as I understood it so far seems to be:

1. Is there free content available which serves the same purpose*?

Same purpose if: Visual appearance doesn't matter (as subject did usually not appear on visual media) or is rather unchanged since last time of most notable actitiy

Yes: NFC not allowed.

2. Is the person still alive?

No: NFC allowed.

3. Are there sources where the person's look is subject of a critical discussion?

No: NFC not allowed.

Yes: NFC allowed.

To put it in such an algorithmic way would already be a pretty much clear guide and aside of point 3 fully preventing interpretable words like significant and encyclopedic. Additionally the technical requirements listed at NFCC must also apply what they do in the most cases anyway, so this is really just for the very basic decision of including.

Because I now know that the reason behind these restrictions is the guideline of the foundation to minimize the use of non-free media in the free-content project, I would suggest to focus more on the mainstream fame instead of strange de facto requirements like being dead or subject of a critical discussion. So a simple approach could be that the person in question must have been depicted repeated times on wide spread main stream media.

As shown above, the "alive" criteria is rather pointless if the person has retired long time ago or has cleary changed. Especially when considering the privacy aspect which even in the USA can not be simply ignored and which is also wanted to be respected by the foundation.

As for the "critical discussion of the visual appearance", I can still see no rational reason here. It sounds somewhat artifical and I doubt that Weird Al can fullfill this, no matter how many new RS of some importance are found. If a person's face was known from magazins and TV, people should be able to recognize the person from the image on Wikipedia. If the person won a price mainly because of his or her apperance then the mainstream awareness of this price should decide it, i.e. its covering by magazines and TV.

I think that way the amount of NFC material can also be limited by still having a fair and understandable tradeoff between this restriction and the ability of Wikpedia to offer people knowledge, simply based on the importance of a subject.

Testales (talk) 22:55, 1 August 2010 (UTC)


  • Preventing interpretable phrasing in the policy and even more so the guideline is essentially impossible. NFC isn't a one size fits all tool. While we might be able to tighten the wording for a particular application, doing so will very likely loosen it for another application. The "strange de facto requirements" you refer to are the pivotal underpinnings of this policy. The clear demarcation of whether a person is living or dead is codified from the Foundation itself; see Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy #3. I find it hard to understand it as "strange".
  • As for being the subject of critical discussion; whether a wikipedia editor finds a particular appearance of an actor significant or not is of no consequence. What matters is whether secondary sources, such as news articles, have discussed the appearance. For example, there's plenty of retired baseball players whose fame relies almost entirely on their baseball careers. Their visual appearance during their careers is almost never a source of their fame. Yet, lots of editors attempt to place baseball card images of retired (but living) players into the BLPs of those players. If there's no secondary sources regarding the notability of a particular baseball card of the notability of the appearance of the player during their careers, such use is not allowable because there can not be any critical discussion that does not involve original research. Case point; John Wooden's coaching career ended in 1975. His visual appearance had nothing to do with his fame. People recognized his appearance but he was not famous for it. So instead, we have this image of him, taken 31 years after he retired when he was at the ripe age of 95. Being retired isn't enough to qualify for a non-free image on a BLP. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:43, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
Ok, I now see where this "is alive?"-check comes from. I've already explained why I find it strange (private individual after retirement). If the man of your example is known enough to receive a public congratulation by a congressman, it can be assumed that he despite his retirement is still a person of public interesst. But what if there are valid resaons the think that the person indeed want to remain just an private individual? Having a source that reports a person to have court explicity ruled to protect the privacy is definitly such a hardly ignorable an indication. Unfortunatly the foundation policy you have linked does not give any clue about acceptable exceptions from the general must-be-alive rule. So whatever these exceptions are there should at least be some useable guide here on the policy page for them. You brought it back to notability (mainly) based on visual appearance and this is indeed already covered by WP:NFC#UULP. But obviously it gets constantly ignored and so this was my starting point. Reading the replies here and trying to figure out what the consensus may actually be and what the actual goal is (simply to minimize NFC as I now know) I made the suggestion to bind it more on the general fame of a subject instead of the actual appearance. So this was more a reaction to what I read in the attempt to find a better understandable compromise. I for myself would be perfectly fine with the current WP:NFC#UULP wording. But that would also imply that the images of the Japanese actors in question whose success without doubt mainly depends on their look would have to stay. It also didn't stop Mr. Wolfowitz from deleting the image of a Miss World where the case is even more obvious, not to mention that for older images at least a discussion should be sought. So something must be wrong here. I also would like to know your opinion on these examples. Testales (talk) 14:54, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • In short, welcome to the wonderful world of NFC compliance. In more depth; lots of people have consternation over our standards on first contact, and even after prolonged contact. It's an imperfect system which so far has not been found to be inferior to any other system. Concrete wording does not serve the ends we need. We can not anticipate all cases. The Foundation is not going to outline exceptions to the rule. They leave that to individual projects. Here at en.wikipedia, we make exceptions for living people in cases such as (1) there's reliable secondary sources affirming the notability of the appearance of a person (not just an assumption that their visual appearance was important, as is the case with many actors), (2) the person is famous (as reported by secondary sources) for being a recluse (Bill Watterson comes to mind, though we don't have a non-free image of him), (3) imprisoned for a period likely to exceed their natural life. Each of these cases can be the subject of debate, and there frequently is debate. That will not change, no matter the wording. Also, in the case of Miss World, I don't know the specific case but in abstract I would agree a non-free image of the person is not necessary. Obviously the visual appearance of Miss World is important, but such a person is generally not a recluse, imprisoned for life, etc. Such people frequently appear in public, and obtaining a free image of them is possible. That the free image doesn't show them at precisely the moment they won their title, it does show them. The encyclopedic purpose is served; depicting the person. A person is more than one event in their lives. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:08, 2 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I know that it is an imperfect system and if the NFCC are more or less a short overview about the basic concept behind this, it is indeed enough when having NFC explaining the most common cases in more detail. But it surely won't hurt to clarify NFC more if there is a point that is apparently missleading or usually ignored. Furthermore the little error I mentioned of overlapping of point 1 and 8 still remains. I call it little because it is more the annotation which causes the oberlap: "Could the subject be adequately conveyed by text without using the non-free content at all?". That part should possibly be moved to point 8 or together with the question right before it taken out of these ten points and placed before or after them. All 3 points points you brought up are clear, maybe the prison case could be added as example and it should also be said that these circumstances have to be proved with secondary sources (even if that is possibly obvious for an experienced editor). But then you have again evaded the critical point. Firstly, does an article about a Miss World (in general) really need a secondary that discusses her visual appearance to prove it beeing notable? Especially as it is obviously hard if not impossible to find such sources if it was long time ago. Secondly, while agreeing to the importance of the visual appearance here, you on the other hand bascially said that it is enough if it is theoretically possible to take a new photo somewhere much later. But when the Miss World is 95 it is absolutely pointless the include it there and actually it is even rather pointless to have an article without an image about a person who is mainly notable because of his/her visual appearance in general. I would say that is also the idea behind the current WP:NFC#UULP wording. So you still didn't take position what to do in such cases. Not to mention that a model who got awarded 40 years ago can also very well indicate what the ideal of beauty at this time was, what hairstyle and clothing was "hep". It is in that way simliliar to Twiggy, even without secondary sources explicitly supporting this. So when comparing the winners of notable prizes for visual appearance it might also be interessting to see how things have developed. Testales (talk) 11:00, 3 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I attempted to get the prison case added some months ago, and failed. I didn't evade the critical point. My view is different than yours. You see it as critical. I don't. Yes, it is enough that theoretically a free image can be obtained. We do not maintain non-free content hoping for the day when free content becomes available. We maintain non-free content only when free content is impossible or extremely difficult to obtain. As I note, our view points are different; you believe a non-free image of a Miss World from (insert year) who is currently 95 is essential to understanding the article. I don't. To you, it's critical. To mean, it's not. If we can obtain a free image of her in her current 95 year old state, I see that as plenty adequate. My position is simple; if the person is alive, there has to be a very, very good reason to be using non-free content to depict them on their article. That very good reason must be sustained with secondary sources supporting the notability behind that reasoning. Sources not existing now seems not a problem to me. Too many people around here depend on the availability of Internet based sources. Thousands of libraries in the world maintain archives of newspapers and magazines. They're there for a reason. As to an image indicating what the ideal of beauty was 40 years ago; fine. That might be quite useful on an article regarding fashion in the 60s, again if secondary sources supported it. If you can't get secondary sources to support a position, it's going to drift considerably closer to original research. All that said, I think further explanation now isn't going to change things. If you want to have the policy or guideline changed, make a recommendation for suggested wording changes based in part on the discussions that have occurred here in this section. Don't expect change; NFCC compliance is a hotly contested area. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:43, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Btw, Louis de Funès you mentioned in one of your examples is not a non-free content image. So it doesn't need to fulfil the requirements of WP:NFCC. Garion96 (talk) 15:02, 2 August 2010 (UTC)


As the current wording of (now) point 1 of "Unacceptable use of images"

Pictures of people still alive, groups still active, and buildings still standing; provided that taking a new free picture as a replacement (which is almost always considered possible) would serve the same encyclopedic purpose as the non-free image. This includes non-free promotional images.
However, for some retired or disbanded groups, or retired individuals whose notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance, a new picture may not serve the same purpose as an image taken during their career, in which case the use would be acceptable.

seems no longer to reflect the actual consensus behind the common practice or even never did, I suggest based on the comprehensive discussion above either

1) to simply remove the "However" part as it can be obviously missleading and there is still always the option of Wikipedia:Non-free_content_review


2) to reword the whole point for example as follows:

Pictures of people still alive, groups still active, and buildings still standing unless it can be proved that it is very difficult or impossible to obtain a new picture and if furthermore the visual appearance of the subject has explicitly been covered by reliable secondary sources in a way that only a contemporary image can be used to allow a better understanding.

This includes all high standards which have been brought up here, should also be valid for buildings and is still rather abstract as no specific cases are listed while still giving a much better clue for an uploader whether there is at least a chance to have the image kept or not.

Test against the discussed examples

  • The Japanese actors: If it can be proved that an actress has actions taken to prevent that new photos of her are taken, this could be seen as prove about the difficulty to obtain new material. On the other hand if there are no sources that comment on effects or specifics of her visual apperance, it still can't be included. On the other hand strictly following the "old" definition of "individuals whose notability rests it in large part on their earlier visual appearance" it obviously could be seen as includable.
  • Harrison Ford: He is still present in public and I don't know of sources which explicitly comment on his visual appearance at a given time. No difference for both definitions.
  • Twiggy: Can be included for both versions of the point in question.
  • Weird El: This article remains a borderline case. Strictly following the current rule, the older picture can not be included as his notability obviously not "rests in large part" on his "earlier visual appearance" (no source supports that even remotely). The new wording may allow its inclusion as the existence of a commercial explicitly made to parody his new look because of "reactions" at least indicates that there was some discussion. On the other hand, point 4 of acceptable use for images is still against this because there are still no sources present which actually critically discuss his visual appearance. Maybe that point should be modified also a little by exchanging the word "critical" with "important", maybe it was even actually already meant as commentary of "critical importance". Aside of all rules and strictly looking at the mere understandability of the article it is also rather questionable whether the omission of glasses and a mustache has to be illustrated with a non-free image at all costs.
  • Supermodels: The suggested wording allows the inclusion of a non-free image only, if several high standards are fulfilled which is probably mostly not the case. In contrast to the current wording, which would clearly allow the inclusion of a contemporary image because it is obvious even without sourcing that a model who won notable beauty prizes was at least in large part notable because of her (earlier) visual appearance.
  • Louis de Funès: Given he would be still alive, the image in question could not be included in both cases. Well, if it was a screenshot which it is not although it really looks like that. So this example was rather unsuitable.

So after all it would be good if the editors here would give that change a chance as it would make the policy a bit more clear when it comes to images. I am still not happy with these restrictions but after having put them into question in the discussion above, they have been explained mostly and there is obviously a rather strong consensus about them with little scope. So I tried to put exactly that into my suggestion and this also by taking some previous discussions and changes into account where among other things was some justified resistance to define a list of specific cases for inclusion or exclusion.

Testales (talk) 19:11, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

The change is not needed and weakens the NFC. We're very clear that NFC is an exception and even more so if 1) a free image is possible to get and 2) the free image serves the same purpose as the NFC image. That's why the current wording is good because it reflects on these key points on the NFC. I don't think any of the examples needed added justification beyond the existing phrase (and I have shown sources that are just not presently including for Weird Al, so you seem to be ignore that). --MASEM (t) 19:19, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
I can not see how this weakens the NFC as this is just exactly the way which are exceptions for non-free images are currently decided. In contrast to the current wording which for "retired individuals whose notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance" allows the inclusion of non-free images. That is obviuosly and without any doubt not what is accepted here. That's why I wrote all this. I already commented on your additional sources for Weird El but there was no reply. There is no critical discussion of his appearance and he is also alive. Testales (talk) 19:46, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

RFC: Katy Perry - Teenage Drean cover issues

There is an ongoing discussion here about which version(s) of the album cover are official and input from others would be useful seen that unofficial versions of the album cover or multiple versions would break NFCC. --Lil-unique1 (talk) 22:12, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

File:STM (logo, 2010).svg

Some days, I just want to bang my head on the keyboard. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:14, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

That one would be PD-ineligible in the U.S. I'm pretty sure. Text, plus two simple shapes, and not enough elements to really qualify for a creative arrangement. Not as sure about Canada. Carl Lindberg (talk) 00:43, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • While I would love to agree with Hammersoft, existing examples of ToO failure (PD-ineligible) from commons [14] clearly would edge in favor of this being tagged the same way. --MASEM (t) 14:18, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Meh. There's other forums for discussing that, and I would be happy to see it discussed. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:42, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Well, I have suggested the possibility of a forum to come to a consensus to discuss the ToO and logos and when the PD-ineligible can apply, based on that consensus. One thing, regardless, is that we should either modify Commons/'s PD-ineligible template language or create a new version so that when Wikipedians have come to consensus to assert a logo as PD-ineligible, the language reflects the iffy nature of it. (right now the language is "is free", it should basically read "is considered free". That would at least CYAs should it ever be challenged. --MASEM (t) 15:46, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Agreed. But, it never seems to fail that whenever we attempt to more clearly express a line, consensus never forms. It's only when it's nebulous enough for a majority to feel satisfied that they can still interpret from it what they will. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:24, 5 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Also because most of the attempted definitions I've seen have little bearing on actual law and regulation. In the U.S., visual effect or impact has zero relevance towards copyrightability; the Copyright Office decisions routinely shoot those arguments down. Yet, that is the most common type of argument I've seen. U.S. copyrightability can be based on the creativeness of the shapes themselves (nowhere close here), the creativity of the selection of elements (the more elements the more likely, and certainly not two), and creativity of the arrangement (which should be just as creative no matter what elements are being arranged, and is also nowhere close here). I don't think there is any other criteria which can be used. Different countries have (very much) different lines, but the above is fairly well defined by the U.S. Copyright Office guidelines, and I believe en-wiki goes by U.S. rules. This image is nowhere near copyrightable in the U.S., as far as I can tell. You can say "strongly disagree", but give no grounds whatsoever for that. Most people though seem to assume that visual effect is copyrightable, which drives a lot of doubt, but it is not. Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:41, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The point being missed is we're not copyright lawyers here. Making decisions that skirt with the demarcations found within the law is fraught with problems. We can cite the law all we'd like. But, copyright law is deliberately vague. Playing with such a vaguely defined line is playing with fire. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:58, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Guess I'll have to respectfully disagree ;-) The U.S. Copyright Office demarcations (based strictly on case law) are a lot more sharply defined than you imply, and the above image isn't anywhere near the line either. I can understand caution, but too much significantly damages the project, particularly when such caution comes from a lack of understanding rather than actual issues of contention such as court cases going different ways. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:52, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't believe I have a lack of understanding. We approach the issue from two different perspectives. I could just as well indicate you have a lack of understanding. My disagreement with your stance doesn't imply lack of understanding. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:30, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

"could be created"

Perhaps we need to reword "could be created" in point #1. At Wikipedia:Files_for_deletion/2010_August_6#File:Charon_plutoface.png (best available image of Charon), Hammersoft makes the argument that since the scientist who made the image "could" make another, free image, and that since one of us "could" get observation time on a space telescope, and that since in 5 years NASA "will" release public images, the fair use of this non-free image is unjustified. In other words, all non-free images should be deleted, because one can imagine situations in which they "could" be replaced, even if they currently can't be.

What about "could reasonably be created", "could be created by a member of WP", or some sort? — kwami (talk) 18:14, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

  • We allow the use of non-free imagery when it is not reasonable that a free version could be created. This is the case for logos (ex: File:Chevroletlogo.svg), images of dead people (ex: Ajay Ahuja), historically significant photographs (ex: Thích Quảng Đức), and etc. We can't recreate these into free forms. It's impossible. That's why we have that language. Where we can create free imagery, we don't accept non-free imagery. Such is the case for living people, for example. This is covered by Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy #3, where it says "may not allow material ... for almost all portraits of living notable individuals." We do not limit our ability to create free imagery to only Wikipedia editors. Nothing in any wording on any policy or guideline has supported that stance. There's zillions of agencies, groups, what have you that routinely create and release work under free licenses. The U.S. federal government, of which NASA is part, is one for example. The wording you suggest would eliminate that source as being a reason why we couldn delete non-free content. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:58, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
But we "can" recreate those in free forms! Apart from the logos, which would be protected regardless, I could copy them in crayon. The key term is "reasonable".
I mean, take this one. I could make a copy of that, so why do we allow it as a non-free image? For that matter, I could make a sketch of this photograph. Your requirement that we create a new image of Charon is about as reasonable as requiring that we make sketches from the non-free photos of dead people, something which, BTW, would be quite easy to do.
If the policy only allows for dead people, historical photographs, and logos, then it should say so. — kwami (talk) 19:12, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • A derivative work of this photograph would experience the same copyright burdens as the original. As to what the policy says, it already says that, just not in the explicit language you would like to say as much. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:21, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I think there is a time factor here; can we obtain an equivalent free replace today as members of the public without breaking laws or going to great expenditures to do so? With living persons, that answer is almost always yes, though of course its just a matter of waiting for that person to be available to photograph freely. On the other hand, in the case for Charon above, it is unreasonable to expect that we as the public to be able to get time on the telescope nor expect the researcher to free up his work. In the future - five years out it sounds like - yes, that will happen, but 5 years is a long time, so it is impossible to replace at this time the non-free with a free image and as long as the non-free is appropriate to include by all other means, then it should be included. Another case in point: for several music video games, they release images of the upcoming products for their game months before release. I know I can get a free image once the game is out, but until that point, such images are non-free. I do try to tag such images that after the expected date of release, they are replaceable but not until that point.
Obviously we're talking about cases where months or years will distance the non-free to free availability. If there's a non-free image where, in a day or two a free image could be gotten for replacement, the non-free should go away until then. Short term issues of obtaining the free replacement are not our concern; its the long-term ones that we need to worry about.
Regardless, if a non-free image has a chance outside of the standard copyright expiration to become free, we should be noting that in the "Replaceable?" part of the rationale and if this can be dated, done so so they can be reviewed regularly. --MASEM (t) 19:24, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Thank you. Present tense does seem to be a problem here, as does WP:crystal ball. (New Horizons could well fail in its mission.) There are no plans to keep the image past when a substitute becomes available: within hours of NH returning images of Charon, you can expect any of a dozen people to post one in its place. — kwami (talk) 19:52, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Masem, we routinely delete non-free images of people who are incarcerated and not expected to be released for years. Five years is not a long time period, given that. I'd also like to note that neither WP:NFCC nor Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy stipulates a time period, nor does WP:NFC outline such time period cases. The question is can it be created. If we want to add such time period language, fine. But, right now it does not exist. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:48, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
People are a different matter: there are privacy issues involved. Also, you could always visit them in prison. — kwami (talk) 19:52, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • We accept here that if a person is incarcerated for life, obtaining a free license image of them is, for our purposes, impossible. That's common practice. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:53, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
But getting time on the Hubble Space Telescope is possible? This is loony. — kwami (talk) 20:00, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it's generally been established that "could be created" does not mean "could be created if you had an unlimited amount of resources". –xenotalk 19:58, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • What unlimited resources? And what if we already have free imagery, just not as good? Do we permit it then? What line in the sand would you like to draw? --Hammersoft (talk) 20:02, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
"What line in the sand would you like to draw?" Again, 'reasonable' is the operating word. What is 'reasonable' will of course always involve judgement. But we don't try avoid that by changing 'when reasonable' to 'never'.
"what if we already have free imagery, just not as good?" The operating word here is 'comparable'. A blurry shot of the back of someone's head three blocks away is not comparable to a studio portrait, and therefore not a reasonable substitute. — kwami (talk) 20:08, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
Suchlike access to a highly powered space telescope. –xenotalk 20:05, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • In that particular case, as I noted elsewhere, you don't HAVE to have such access since (a) we already have free license alternatives and (b) the raw data from Hubble is already available under a free license. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:10, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
There is no comparable free alternative (this is an image of the surface of Charon, and there is no other image of the surface of Charon), and asking someone to redo the science is not reasonable. Giving multiple unreasonable arguments is not a substitute for a single reasonable argument. — kwami (talk) 20:13, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I give many unreasonable arguments. Would it help you to assume all of my arguments are unreasonable? Maybe you consider WP:NPA unreasonable. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:18, 6 August 2010 (UTC)
  • If we're going to have a discussion about the wording of this policy, can we place focus on the policy and not on Charon? There's already a discussion about that elsewhere. Thank you. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:19, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Yes, we need to reword the "could be created" clause. There are various ways to interpret this clause within the broader ambit of our policy and the foundation's policy. Here is one interpretation:

(A) "could reasonably be created at the present time"

Here is another interpretation:

(B) "could have even the slightest possibility of being created at any time in the future"

It seems clear that interpretation A represents the informed consensus of the Wikipedia community. To reduce the incidence of edit warring and curb the unnecessary waste of time and effort by both those who seek to improve the quality of our project by working with judiciously chosen fair use images and those who make sure our image policy is enforced, the language should be made more precise along the lines of phrasing A. DocKino (talk) 03:40, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Since multiple fair use images of incarcerated people have been deleted, your conclusion that (A) represents the community will is inaccurate. I disagree with the interpretation (A) expresses as well. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:29, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I think there needs to be a greater consensus than just evidence of images being deleted; IFD/FFD is far from the same field as AFD for gaining consensus. The interprestation of (B) above is the problem here, because I can say that all present non-free images from commercial works, we could just say "lets wait 75 years, they should be free by then", by the same logic. There has to be a "can be freely obtained in a reasonable amount of time" factor at play here, and yes, that would apply to incarcaerated people. --MASEM (t) 20:41, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Hammersoft, we've been over your irrelevant example of prisoners before: any local Wikipedian could visit the incarcerated and, with his permission, take a photo. A non-local could catch a bus. Easy enough to do, with little more effort than taking a photo of a building. — kwami (talk) 20:47, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
  • That you think it is irrelevant is a comment on you. Thank you. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:50, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I have not been aware that there has been ongoing deletion of images of subjects who are imprisoned for lengthy periods. I believe such deletions would violate the community's understanding of the "could be created" clause of our policy. I would be opposed to such deletions and I believe most members of the community would be similarly opposed if they were made aware of such deletions. If such deletions have been taking place, they are all the more reason why the language of the "could be created" clause needs to be improved to properly reflect the informed consensus of the Wikipedia community.

I looked back over the last month's worth of image deletions. I could find just one case of a fair-use image of a person in custody being deleted: Colton Harris-Moore. As it was correctly observed that there will be several opportunities to take a free image of him before his ultimate imprisonment, this was a proper deletion. We can certainly say this: the deletion of images of those (1) already imprisoned who (2) can be expected to be imprisoned for many years is (3) not a frequent occurrence. That such deletions may have taken place in the past in the realm of FFD, of which many contributors are unaware, is no indication that interpretation A of the "could be created" clause--"could reasonably be created at the present time"--is anything other than the consensus view. DocKino (talk) 23:42, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

The rule is clear—if it is conceivable that a free image could be created, we wait for it. We don't need any image whatsoever right this moment, and we can't "use a nonfree image until the free one is created". We only allow nonfree images where it is not conceivable that a free image could be created—dead people, historical buildings or artifacts that have been lost or destroyed since they were photographed, and things that by definition any recreation of them would be a derivative work (and still thus nonfree) such as album covers, logos, and software/movie screenshots. We never allow a nonfree image because there's not a free one yet, if it's in any way conceivable that there will be a free one someday. We can wait, and so we should. Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:23, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Not quite true. We routinely allow conceptual images of building projects that are underway, until the building actually exists so someone can take a free image of it.
The fundamental point here is not to discourage someone from taking or obtaining a free image, if in any way that would be remotely possible now. Jheald (talk) 17:31, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
That's not correct then, and if that's allowed somewhere, we'd need to correct that. The only time the "not possible" exception would apply to concept building art is if the construction of the building were abandoned on an effectively permanent basis, but the building in concept remains notable enough for an article. If it's in process, we can wait. "Possible" doesn't mean someone's standing in front of it with a camera right now. Regardless, for the case in front of us, telescopes and Charon both exist, so a free photo of Charon is most certainly possible (and likely at some point, through NASA if nothing else). I imagine free photos of Charon actually exist, if anyone went and looked. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:02, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I concur with Seraphimblade on that -- if there are non-free building concept art images around and those buildings are expected to be built, then those images should not be here unless there is something inherently notable about the images themselves. Hypothetical example: Architectural firms A and B submit drawings which turn out to be virtually identical because B employed a former employee of A and subsequently A sued B for intellectual property theft -- in that case, if the article covered this incident it would be completely justified to have both images there. howcheng {chat} 18:17, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Nevertheless, the fact is that such images are routinely kept, even when there is no inherent point of notability about the images, beyond showing what the project will look like.
The bottom line here is, what are we trying to achieve? If having an non-free image will prevent (or discourage) a free image from being taken or being obtained, then we choose not to have one.
But if having the non-free image will not prevent a free image from being taken or being obtained (because such a thing is currently impossible), then we revert to our basic rule, which is to accept an image if it will add something significant to reader understanding of the topic of the article. Jheald (talk) 18:31, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
That's why I've said that I believe when we talk free replacement, we are talking about sometihng that can be done with minimal cost and effort to Wikipedians, and that can be done at the present time, give or take a handful of days. Something that will not have a free image until months/years into the future because it is in planning means we don't have a free replacement today to use, and thus the NFC image is valid. That said, in such cases, as soon as the building is built or whatever condition is necessary to make an image of it free, the NFC is no longer valid. --MASEM (t) 19:21, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Mind you, one also has to justify the NFC per #8. Just because it is expected that at the end of the day a free image of a building can be added eventually, does not necessarily make a non-free image of its plans today valid; if it is a standard box-like building with no special architectural details or the like, there's no point adding the NFC image. --MASEM (t) 19:24, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Jheald is exactly right. That sensible, mainstream interpretation of the policy fully respects both our policy's 1st rationale--"To support Wikipedia's mission to produce perpetually free content for unlimited distribution, modification and application by all users in all media" and its 3d rationale--"To facilitate the judicious use of non-free content to support the development of a high-quality encyclopedia." That is why
  • (A) "could reasonably be created at the present time"
is clearly superior to an interpretation of the "could be created" clause that effectively annuls the 3d rationale without even furthering the practical realization of the 1st, such as Seraphimblade's:
  • (B)(i) "could conceivably be created someday"
Again, to reduce the incidence of edit warring and curb the unnecessary waste of time and effort by both contributors and policy enforcers, the language should be made more precise along the lines of phrasing A. DocKino (talk) 19:21, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
(EC) :::::One goal of the nonfree content policy is to encourage the taking of free images. However, another goal is to minimize the use of nonfree ones. Policy can disallow nonfree images even when no free image could replace it, in favor of a text-only representation. In many cases, this is exactly the requirement. In many cases, this is temporary—the article is to be text-only until a free content photo is available. Even in that case, in the case of a building or the like, a photo of the building's proposed site or the building under construction could be useful to the article, in the interim or even permanently. There's no requirement that every article have an illustration at all times, and if they're nonfree, we always err toward not having it in the absence of significant need for it. Just "showing what it looks like" is not significant need, and quite often, a link to the "official site" suffices to show people the images if they really want to see them anyway. That is, however, still rather offtopic—again, in this case, Charon already exists, so use of a nonfree image of it certainly would discourage the creation of free alternatives. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:26, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
The argument made above only underscores the need to tighten the language. Seraphimblade proposes that a "goal" of our policy "is to minimize the use of nonfree [images]" as if that is an end in of itself. That radical interpretation of our policy happens to be well outside the mainstream. It is the far more widespread view that we seek to minimize the use of nonfree images insofar as that promotes the creation, aggregation, and dissemination of free ones. For subjects where a free image can't presently be created with reasonable effort, Wikipedia's encyclopedic purposes are not served by "disallow[ing] nonfree favor of a text-only representation." Seraphimblade is, of course, entitled to hold his interpretation, but we would do well to tighten the language of the policy to underscore the fact that such an interpretation does not reflect the community's will. DocKino (talk) 19:50, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
I think that would require a wider discussion, as one of the five pillars is that we are a free content project. That would need to be changed before we change any rules to allow such a massive and unrestricted use of nonfree content. As a free content project, we should ideally have no nonfree content, but we should at most have an absolutely minimal level. So, yes, our purposes are served by that—the five pillars define our purposes, and one of them is to be a libre content project. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:28, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
But the first pillar is that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; as such, we must aim to impart information. To not use fair-use images when they significantly improve the reader's understanding is a violation of that first pillar. As for this particular image, Wikipedia hosting a fair-use image for five years is not going to discourage the U.S. government from creating a public-domain image. -- King of ♠ 21:43, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, I am calling for just such a discussion, in the form of an RFC. It is indeed a pillar that we are a free content project. It is another pillar that we are an encyclopedia. Our policies must reflect a balance between those pillars, just as Jimmy Wales's mission statement does: "free access to the sum of all human knowledge." Your view effectively treats one pillar (the 3d, as it happens) as far more important than the other (the 1st). I contend that view does not reflect the mainstream view of the community.
I do not advocate the "massive and unrestricted use of nonfree content". I advocate a tightening of the language of the "could be created" clause of our policy to more accurately reflect the community's view of (1) those circumstances where it is crucial to restrict nonfree content to promote the creation and use of free content and (2) those circumstances where the inclusion of nonfree content serves our mission to make accessible the sum of all human knowledge and does not rationally interfere with the creation and use of free content. Your edit summary suggests that such a clarification of the "could be created" clause would require a "major structural change". That is obviously not the case. DocKino (talk) 21:46, 15 August 2010 (UTC)
What you are suggesting is most certainly a major structural change. A free content project seeks to avoid nonfree content, not only because it would "discourage free content", but because it is nonfree. What you are suggesting is that we change away from being a free content project at all. There is no tension between being a free content project and an encyclopedia—that would mean we are an encyclopedia composed of only free content, just as Debian is an operating system composed of only free software. It is still an operating system nonetheless, and we would be an encyclopedia nonetheless, just as the German Wikipedia is most certainly still an encyclopedia. Now, of course, we are not legally required to be free content. We could legally include a lot of things that we currently do not. However, to actively seek to do so would move us away from being anything that could reasonably be called free content. To seek to do so is indeed a major structural change. That does not make it by definition wrong, but it certainly means we should not approach it with the cavalier attitudes which seem to be present here. Seraphimblade Talk to me 09:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Who here has approached this matter with a "cavalier" attitude? Please identify the party or parties and I shall join you in chastising them.
Seraphimbalde, your desire that Wikipedia consist of and host exclusively free content is well known. I'm not sure what relevant point you think you are making by once again reiterating this oft-reiterated view to which you are wedded. The fact is that our English-language Wikipedia, this here Wikipedia, has never and does not consist of and host exclusively free content. We have always struck a balance between our mission to promote the creation, aggregation, and dissemination of free content and our mission to be the best, highest-quality, most comprehensive encyclopedia on Earth. The language of our policies should be improved wherever possible to most clearly describe where the community strikes that balance. The phrasing of the "could be created" clause can and should be improved in just such as a manner, as I have outlined.
I appreciate that you wish the balance were struck at a very different point. I have suggested that the language be improved to "could reasonably be created at the present time". Using words that you yourself used here, I have suggested that your ideal version of the clause would read "could conceivably be created someday". Why don't you alter that as you see fit, let's launch an RFC that asks for comment on both refinements of the phrasing, and find out if we can reach an informed consensus on this matter in our collaborative community whose values we both cherish. DocKino (talk) 10:15, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't think either extreme position (could EVER be created, could be created NOW) will gain traction or is the appropriate phrasing. Far better would be to leave the wording as is in the policy, and add a section to the guideline stipulating current accepted / non-accepted norms. For example:

2.5 Replaceable images

Whether a non-free image can be replaced by a free alternative is considered on a case by case basis. Current norms of such considerations are:

  1. An article for a person incarcerated for life, or a sentence in addition to their age which exceeds a typical life span, may retain a non-free image for depiction. Incarceration alone is not enough to justify the non-free image.
  2. An article for a person who is famed, via secondary sources, as being a recluse from society may retain a non-free image for depiction.
  3. An article for a person who is a fugitive from legal authorities whose appearance in public would likely result in their arrest may retain a non-free image for depiction. Such an article for a person who is wanted in one country, but successfully fought extradition from another country may not.
  4. Age and/or infirmity are by themselves not sufficient reason to justify a non-free image for depiction, unless such condition makes them a famed recluse (see 2 above).
  5. An article on an object which exists within the observable realm of an average person, such as a building, an art piece, or other notable object may not retain a non-free image for depiction. An object for which significant assets well beyond the average person are required may retain a non-free image.
  6. An article for an object currently under construction may not retain non-free imagery. If the object is conceived of but not yet being constructed, a non-free image may be retained.

We can include specific case examples, such as Colton Harris-Moore for #1, Charon (moon) for #4, etc. This sort of thing has been shot down before, in one form or another, as being something we should address on a case by case basis. I agree. However, we're having considerable unending debate on these issues and defining some metrics would serve to reduce the amount of argumentation we're having over this. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:37, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree with these guidelines. While some may see it as creep, more detailed guidelines would almost certainly cut down on repeating this debate. VernoWhitney (talk) 14:00, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Me likey. howcheng {chat} 23:07, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
A couple things:
We need to assure that NFCC#8 is still met. Just because there will be a free image in the future (such as a building under construction) doesn't mean a non-free image to serve for that in the meantime is guaranteed to meet NFCC#8. Secondly, I disagree on #6. Yes, under construction means that their will be an image in the "near" future but that could be weeks, months, or years, particularly if construction stalls or the like. I would argue that there is a time of around a month that WP can "wait" for a free image to become available if we're certain one can be made; if the WP article exists far before that month-from-availabilities point and an NFCC image can be justified, it should be allowable, with the explicit acknowledgment that in the future the image needs to be removed or replaced with the free one. If we're within that month and we're just introducing replaceable NFC, that's a problem. (I would argue the same is true in the limited cases where a topic where once free imagery could be made no longer is possible due to death or deconstruction, we don't immediately allow an NFC image to replacement the free one because there's still a likely chance someone has a free picture to be used, but only after ~ month without any free image appearing, we can presume a NFC image.)
In general I think we can reduce these cases to a couple basic arguments, but emphasizing that we treat things on case-by-case bases, and then reiterate these points. --MASEM (t) 23:53, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah, and where is the difference to the proposal I made 11 days ago and which was simply rejected with "The change is not needed and weakens the NFC" if I may ask? Beside the point that I have put all this into a simple sentence. Not to mention that the current wording is still not reflecting the practice here and therefore missleading, as explained. Testales (talk) 00:14, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree to Hammersoft's version, but not as modified by Masem. Masem's version would allow even nonfree images of living persons if an image is not likely to be taken soon, which has been roundly rejected by both consensus and the WMF. The whole reason the WMF stepped in was nonfree content overreach—basically, we were using nonfree images anywhere that we didn't have a free image right then. We can wait as long as we need for a free image, so long as one could be available someday. The time for the nonfree content exception is when it is impossible (deceased people, demolished buildings, destroyed historical artifacts, logos/covers/etc. where it would be impossible to create a non-derivative free alternative), or unreasonable (life sentence/death row prisoners, recluses, people missing and presumed dead, historical artifacts lost for a long period, construction projects permanently abandoned, etc.), to expect a free alternative to ever be available. In the second case, even that's only so until the situation changes. If the prisoner wins an appeal and is freed, the recluse comes out of seclusion, or construction is resumed by a new entity, the justification would then be gone. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:28, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Can you point out where the WMF stepped in about these types of images, I've not seen it before. And again, I've mentioned before that if the criteria "could ever be created", would not we basically assert that any copyrighted image is unusable since in 75/90 years there will be a free version? There is a time factor here between "immediately" and "far distant" that needs to be explained and/or defined with some guideline on time, that time behind "how patient should we be waiting for a free replacement be available?" Possibly that that WMF guidance may help, but if not, we need a good metric. --MASEM (t) 02:37, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
WMF resolution is at [15]. I would agree that the fact that every image will theoretically go public domain someday is not a valid reason to exclude, as the Foundation specifically countenanced exceptions in its policy, and surely they know that. On the other hand, it does state that EDPs must be "minimal". I don't think a month or even a year would really be in keeping with the concept of minimal use. I would, for clarity's sake, be willing to accept terminology to the effect that "a future expiration date of copyright does not in itself constitute replaceability, though the existence of images for which copyright has already expired does." Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:52, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
See, I don't read the WMF resolution in that way (I thought you were talking a specific case they commented on about imprisoned individuals). The key line: Such EDPs must be minimal. Their use, 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. 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. Any content used under an EDP must be replaced with a freely licensed work whenever one is available which will serve the same educational purpose. (Highlighting mine). I agree that the bold part says that if free content can (but importantly, not could be) created, we don't use it, but the sentence after the bold part seems to consider NFC that is used temporarily even for short periods (a month or so) as long as it's purpose meets the other NFCC criteria and that upon the existence of free replacement (whether its a publicly-taken photo, the completion of a work under construction, or the work falling into the PD, among others) it is removed and replace. It speaks nothing to how long we must wait for that free replacement and instead suggests any period of time in the future is reasonable. Now, there could be other consensus for a larger period on or other clarification by WMF, but there's nothing well stated in the resolution as to what the WMF feels is reasonable period of time. --MASEM (t) 03:02, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I see nothing there allowing us to use nonfree content until and unless free content actually exists. We just must have a reasonable expectation that someone can upload free content for it. "An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose..." clearly makes this an "or", not an "and". If we have freely licensed media or could reasonably expect freely licensed media to be created for the article, we may not use nonfree. We need not have it already in hand. The specific example given quite bolsters my interpretation—the fact that the person is alive is enough to presume that someone could take a shot of them someday, and this fact disallows nonfree content. It does not say "Use nonfree images of the person until someone actually snaps a free one", which it would if your interpretation were correct. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:07, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Clearly, the problem is the fact that the bolded text I've marked does not give any time expectation of when free image available is expected. "Can" can be read present or future tense. Clearly, the last sentence gives the impression that WMF knows in some case we can justify NFC until such a time free content is available. Now, I do point out that the WMF calls out for limited exception on living persons, but does not spell those exceptions. What I think we need to clearly do is RFC on what we consider "reasonable" for getting a free image, both time, availability, and specific cases like those imprisoned or one, to fill in the spaces between the WMF resolution and current NFCC policy; most of what Hammer's written is good, but I seriously think that coming to a wide consensus on a time factor among others is critical to reduce a lot of the problems with the "reasonable" term. --MASEM (t) 03:23, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
I think it may be a wiser idea to ask WMF for clarification first? If they decline to clarify it or specifically say it's up to us, I think an RFC would be the logical next step, but if they do, that overrides anything an RFC comes up with anyway. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:48, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • It's unlikely WMF will respond. I've approached them multiple times before, and each time received utter silence. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:28, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Seraphimblade wrote: The whole reason the WMF stepped in was nonfree content overreach
This is a complete mis-statement of history, as has been expressly denied by for example Kat Walsh, who was there at the time.
She has said that there was no intention by WMF at the time to tighten en-wiki's image policy. Rather, the Foundation identified en-wiki's already adopted NFC criteria as an example of best practice, and sought through its resolution to require other language projects to adopt similiarly explicit and enforced guidelines. en-wiki already had its criteria in place, and there was no 'overreach panic' of the kind you assert.
Denying our readers relevant non-free content now, because free-content might become possible in the future is simply unreasonable. There is no purpose that it serves. The proper reason to deny readers NFC now is because a free content alternative could be created or obtained now. If a free content alternative will be possible sometime in the future, then in the future is the time to ban the NFC. This is how policy has been consistently applied, eg to buildings, and it seems to have worked entirely reasonably. Jheald (talk) 12:23, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
Just to add:-- Masem's thumbnail interpretation: 'could someone, somewhere maybe take or acquire a picture of this subject in the next month, that would achieve the same encyclopedic purpose' seems to me a very good and sensible common-sense rule of thumb contribution. Jheald (talk) 12:34, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Except that common practice has deleted images of incarcerated people. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:27, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I don't doubt this but it would be helpful to 1) provide examples of the FFD discussions and 2) realize that FFD is nowhere near the attention getter as AFD to interpret consensus from. If we're talking about images deleted with only a few commenter, that really doesn't reflect consensus except of the smaller group. I really think we need to put this point to a larger RFC if FFD is clearly not showing wide consensus. --MASEM (t) 14:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I may be missing something here, but wasn't the main plank of your argument for deletion in that FFD the assertion (which was taken up by others and ultimately carried the day) that it would be wholly possible for someone to take a free image of Harris-Moore, in the very immediate future?
That argument seems to replicate exactly the criterion that Masem has put forward. Jheald (talk) 15:28, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • (ec)No, I do trust you and believe there have been numerous images of imprisoned people that have been deleted. My question is - are the FFDs for these images (likely from the the same handful of people) with minimal input from the larger body of editors sufficient to establish that there is consensus? Also, I'd point out that the one you linked to is a case where the person appears (or appeared) to be available in public after some period of being a fugitive, and thus the free replacement aspect is well established. --MASEM (t) 15:30, 17 August 2010 (UTC)
  • @Jheald: A significant portion of my argument was that it was unlikely (and I had, I believe, a source to support this conclusion) Colton would be imprisoned for life. @Masem: I think the consensus of FFD regulars is deletion of images of incarcerated people if that person won't be imprisoned for life. To the larger body? Nobody knows. --Hammersoft (talk) 17:09, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Optional language

Let me suggest a different list/language for this idea of free replacement. There is one aspect I know is not agreed on (the time factor) but I think we can narrow down on the rest as in agreement.

For specific types of objects, such as persons, buildings, artwork, and the like, we require that free images that can be reasonably obtained replace non-free images in an equivalent manner. For purposes of determining if there is a reasonable free replacement for a non-free image, several factors are considered, with each being determined on a case-by-case basis. These include but are not limited to the following:

  1. No longer in existence. People that have passed away, buildings that have been demolished, and art or artifacts lost or destroyed can no longer have free images taken of them, and thus it is allowable to use non-free images as an equivalent replacement. Note, however, that if the object has only recently stopped existing, there is a strong likelihood that free images still do exist, and these must be used instead of non-free ones. Similarly, if there already exists a free image of the object before its end, this policy does not allow for replacing that free image with a non-free one.
  2. Availability For objects that are not available to the public, such as an artwork that is kept in secure storage, or a person that is known to be highly recluse and avoids public appearances; it is reasonable to use a non-free image for that object.
  3. Accessibility It should not be a considered financial and laborious effort to obtain free imagery to replace non-free works. It is unreasonable to expect free replacement of an copyrighted image taken by a high-resolution microscope, deep sea probe, or long-range space telescope of otherwise non-copyrighted objects, as access to such equipment is generally not possible by the public.
  4. Timeliness (this is the contested one) For objects that are yet to be completed or available to the public, such as buildings under construction, where a free image can be taken once the construction is complete, a non-free image may be used in the interim. Once the object becomes complete and available to the public in its complete form, the non-free image is no longer acceptable and must be replaced by a free image. Non-free images used in this manner should be tagged with a date to indicate when the free replacement is expected to become available.
  5. Media Free replacements should be on the same type and quality of media as the non-free image it is replacing. A free photograph of a an actor is a fair replacement of using a non-free shot of that actor from a film reel; a hand-drawn or painted image of that actor is not. It is appropriate to recreated graphs and charts from non-copyrightable data to avoid using non-free graphs and charts.

It is still required that a non-free image without a current free replacement must satisfy all other NFCC requirements, in particular WP:NFCC#8. If it is expected that a free image can eventually be added to an article, this does not justify the addition of a non-free image in the interim if that image does not serve to improve the reader's understanding of the topic.

I know point 4 is at question, but I believe the other 4 points capture the discussion to this point accurately. We still need to figure out the consensus on 4 and of course wordsmith the rest, but I think that if we agree to all these but 4, we can put forth an RFC to get input on these including #4. --MASEM (t) 15:56, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I think that's a reasonably good start. I think 4 should be changed to indicate that if it is known that a process is underway that will make the thing reasonably available to the public, we should wait until that process is completed (at which time we can get a free image) or is abandoned permanently or indefinitely (at which time #2 comes into effect). If something's going on that will make it potentially replaceable, it's still replaceable, just as an image of a living person is replaceable even if they're on a two year long expedition to the deep Amazon right this moment. Also, #3 might reflect that in some cases, while the equipment might not be available to the general public, we should make sure to check on institutions like the US federal government, since all its images are in the public domain. The general public might not have high-powered telescopes or deep sea probes, but NASA and NOAA, respectively, sure do, and if they've got a project underway to explore something, we'll have free images once they do. Perhaps add something like "If an agency or institution which can take such images and regularly and customarily releases such images to the public under a free license has undertaken a project to explore or take images of the item or place in question, the image is replaceable by such a project unless the project fails or is abandoned indefinitely." Also, #5 needs to be clarified to indicate that the free image need not to be subjectively "as good as" the nonfree one, it just need be relevant to the subject and in the same medium. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:45, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Let me first say, I'm truly gratified and impressed by this response. Though I disagree with some of its conclusions, it is deeply thoughtful.
On the points relating to #3 and #4, I would say this: "In the interim" between its conception and completion, an ongoing process or project is unlike an person: People, once both born and notable, are in most cases reasonably available to us for free image–taking. But many other notable objects are not. If we know a prominent architectural project will be completed in three years, I see no harm, but do see considerable encyclopedic value, in making available to our readers a fair-use artist's conception of that project in the interim—immediately to be eliminated once the actual project is realized, whether or not a Wikipedian has yet supplied a free image or not. I do completely believe in our mission to press for free images, once they become reasonably possible for us to attain. Similarly, a NASA expedition to a distant dwarf planet surely will yield us free images of that important subject some time in the future; but in the interim, are we not serving our readers by providing an authoritative (i.e, non-OR) artist's fair-use conception of that object? Again, once we know that a free image or images are available, fair-use ones should be immediately eliminated.
On the point relating to #5, I can accept that the free image need not be subjectively "as good as" the nonfree one, but I do believe it must be more than merely "relevant to the subject and in the same medium." The free image must convey roughly the same encyclopedic information as the fair-use image it replaces. In other words, our values favor a free image of a person's whole face over a fair-use image of roughly the same clarity showing that same whole face, even if the free image is poorly lit and a bit grainy and the person's expression is not ideal. But...if the free image shows just a half-profile of the face, it is not an encyclopedically adequate replacement; if it presents the face like a miniature at a 50-foot focal distance rather than a clear look at a 5-foot focal distance, it is not an encyclopedically adequate replacement. DocKino (talk) 06:36, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Again, to both above, I know #4 does not have consensus. It is what I think is normally acceptable but as can be seen by the discussion above, is contested. It is a point for further discussion (possibly in an RFC if we can nail down the other points). I do agree that there's a lot of finer points on #5 - I do agree "quality of the work" (as opposed to quality of the medium) is not a barrier to replacement up to a point, and I think here we may need to provide some specific explanations as for photos of living persons. --MASEM (t) 15:23, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • There's specifics to be ironed out, but we're headed in the right direction. We need something like this. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:50, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Remedy for non-free images in user space

I understand that while using an non-free image in article space may be fair use, using the same image in user space is not acceptable. So, suppose someone has used a non-free image in user space. Is it sufficient to change the current version of the user space page to remove the non-free image, or is it also necessary to delete the historical versions of the page so a person looking at old versions will not see the improper image? Jc3s5h (talk) 14:01, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

Just removing the image (or piping it, or commenting it out, or changing the code in a manner so the image doesn't show, but possibly still links to the image itself) are all fine. There is no need to do revision hiding or deletion. -Andrew c [talk] 14:44, 15 August 2010 (UTC)

New non-free overuse tag

In order to split out list-type articles with excessive non-free usage, I've created {{non-free-lists}}. This populates a new category Category:Articles with improper non-free content (lists) which should make it easier to identify the most grossly violating articles of such types. I have started with the interminable problem of Transformers articles - 33 articles already, and I haven't finished with that subject yet. I'll leave them tagged for a week and if an interested editor hasn't fixed then, strip them down to one or two images. Black Kite (t) (c) 06:03, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Note that per WP:NFCC and WP:NFLISTS, such images will not necessarily be limited to a single image in the lead, contrary to what your new tag purports. Are you sure you're fit to be doing this work?
I've therefore changed the wording from "this is typically a single image in the lead" to "this may often be only a single image in the lead" Jheald (talk) 08:51, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, thanks for the assumption of good faith there - and as you well know, list-type articles do typically have one or zero non-free images. Obviously there are a few which don't fit this convention (hence "typically") but they are few. There was nothing wrong with that template, though I can't be bothered to revert your fiddling about. I assume you don't want to help with the horrible state of these articles, then? Black Kite (t) (c) 11:15, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Some articles can convey all that one might want to convey with one image, if there is a group photograph or similar that all the most important entries all figure in. But equally often this is not the case -- because the images relate to different stories, different time periods, different realisations of a character, etc. That seems to be overwhelmingly the case with the "Transformers" articles which seem to currently most concern you. It's perhaps worth remembering that when NFLISTS was first being discussed, language was proposed that say four or five images would not usually be a problem -- and that this was resisted because it might often be too restricted and too few images to properly put over the content relevant to add to reader understanding.
I'm no expert on Transformers, but where a comic-book character has had different artistic treatments, we usually do show the most significant of those; and we usually do try to use sufficient images to capture the range and diversity of entries on a list.
I did look at one article. It appeared to have six items of NFC, with many realisations not illustrated; and appeared to be closer to what I would think of as a character article, rather than a list article. The notice appeared to have been added with no attempt at constructive engagement or even discussion on the talk page -- in short, the worst kind of impersonal "drive-by tagging", consistently deprecated as how not to use tags. Not good.
NFLISTS is a policy which calls for sensitive judgment and balancing of objectives. Stomping on people with an unexplained impersonal, spuriously voice-of-God tag is not a good way forward. Jheald (talk) 11:55, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Nicely hostile. Well done. --Hammersoft (talk) 12:16, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Actually, I did inform the major editor of the articles. I am unaware, however, how 95% of these articles can support more than one image - two at the most if there's a particularly notable toy - after all most of them are minor characters; if they've had six different toys - which of course are in themselves even less notable - made of them we certainly aren't going to have six non-free images for them. In fact, a lot of these articles should probably be merged into a "List of minor Transformers characters"-type article, which would solve the major non-free overuse straight away. Black Kite (t) (c) 16:12, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
  • No, that page does not appear to be particularly useful. While it lists article pages with multiple fair-use media files, it in no way whatsoever distinguishes between policy-abiding, policy-borderline, and policy-violating usage of such files. There is no evident basis for a description of it as "very useful for identifying grossly violating articles." As all experienced editors should be aware, an article with ten fair-use media files may well completely abide by our policy, while an article with two may be in "gross violation." Mama never done told ya? Quantity ain't quality. DocKino (talk) 07:56, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • I've identified a large number of policy violating articles via that list. I'm sorry you don't find it useful. Maybe mama can help. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:52, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The list is titled "List of articles with an unusually large number of non-free files", not "List of articles that fail our non-free use policies". It is very useful. When you've been using it for a while you get to know which articles with a large number of non-free images are using them properly, so that when a "new" article pops up near the top of the list you know it needs investigating. This list, and its predecessor, have helped the number of articles with more than six non-free usages be reduced from well over 2,000 to the current 900 in the last couple of years, which proves its use. Black Kite (t) (c) 14:56, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Non-free or PD-text?

File:Marquette Golden Eagles.svg. Borderline ... ? Black Kite (t) (c) 06:09, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Looks sufficiently creative to me. –xenotalk 14:08, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure we could get a version with just the MU and it'd be OK. We should make sure we find free replacements instead of blanket removal. -Andrew c [talk] 16:20, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Must all ten criteria at WP:FUC be explicitly addressed in a fair use rationale to avoid tagging for deletion?

Because some images that seemed to me to have perfectly adequate fair use rationales (for example, File:CSLEmperorRiverbank.jpg and the screenshots at were recently swept up in User:Sfan00 IMG's industrious tagging of images for deletion, I have become interested in determining whether it is in fact appropriate, according to Wikipedia policy, to delete images that offer a fair use rationale, and which may satisfy Wikipedia's requirements, but which do not explicitly address each and every of the ten points at WP:FUC. If I have understood Sfan00's reply to me here correctly, he/she (and perhaps other editors) believe that CSD tagging is the right response when an image offers a FUR that provides an explanation of the rationale for the article(s) in which it is displayed, but does not itemize its compliance with all ten of the WP:FUC requirements.

I am inexpert in this area. It is possible the images I have given as examples are not the best examples (though I think they satisfy all the requirements). If so, I am still interested in the general question: are there images on Wikipedia, with fair use rationales that do not explicitly address all ten points (say, the satisfaction of some of those points would be obvious to any careful reviewer), which SHOULD NOT be tagged for CSD deletion? If the images I list as examples should not have been CSD-tagged, then are there many more such examples among Sfan00's contributions? Wareh (talk) 14:36, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

  • To address the two examples, the Clay Sanskrit example is borderline. One could argue that the lead paragraph of the article ("Each work features the text in its original language (transliterated Sanskrit) on the left-hand page, with its English translation on the right.") says everything that the image does, and hence it would fail WP:NFCC#1 because text is of course free. The example is pretty straightforward - there's no need for 3 near-identical images just to show the fact that you can scroll across the page. That's clear WP:NFCC#3a (overuse) violation. I've cut it down to one. More generally, I would be tempted to send most images with WP:NFCC problems to Files for deletion rather than use CSD unless the violation was so obvious the image could never be kept (i.e. non-free images of living people). Black Kite (t) (c) 14:47, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
  • The rationales are weak, and need to be fixed. There's a deletion tag for missing rationales; Template:nrd. There's also a template for disputed rationales; Template:dfu. I'd use the latter in these cases. Using just File:CSLEmperorRiverbank.jpg as an example case; there is a rationale, and it does point to a specific article where it is used. This is the most common failing, and usually results in an NRD application. Passed on that score. But, there's no assertion that the image isn't replaceable by some other means and no free equivalent is available. I'm not in a position to evaluate that, but it is missing. There's a guide for this stuff located at Wikipedia:Non-free use rationale guideline, specifically the "Necessary components" section. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:50, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks; I have used your remarks to attempt to clarify this image's rationale. This image is my contribution, and I positively believe in its irreplaceable educational merit. Just to clarify, the screenshots I basically took at random from another editor's question at Sfan00's talk page. I am not blown away by their educational value either, but the question about whether CSD is being misused for images like these that do have rationales in some semi-adequate state still seems important to me. So far it seems that no one is going so far as to say that CSD is the right course. I also recently had to get a 1692 two-dimensional free image, which had been mislabeled as non-free content, undeleted after it went to CSD on Sfan00's nomination and was actually deleted. I have no idea how many non-free images with viable rationales will actually get deleted despite their merit in this way, but this experience of mine does make it seem quite possible. Wareh (talk) 15:06, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I don't think I said they actually needed to be itemised in tick-box fashion. Each point does need to be met in obvious terms in my understanding. Sfan00 IMG (talk) 15:12, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
May I suggest, then, that when you are taking action (whether CSD or something I would consider more appropriate in some of these cases), that you specify, "Does not seem to meet WP:FUC requirements nos. 3, 6, 8," or some such? That would show other editors that there is some concrete objection that they might be able to endorse or else help satisfy. Wareh (talk) 16:45, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

CSD tagging

I am concerned by how many images are being tagged where, even though they don't have much of a fair-use rationale, their actual use seems otherwise entirely in line with the usual standards and norms of our NFC policy. If they went to FFD, there's no way they would be deleted.

For example:

If these were put up at FFD, there is no question that they would be overwhelming keeps. If a standard rationale birdcage template were added, it wouldn't need more than the few words above in the "Purpose" section to make them valid.

I'm not disputing that much of what Sfan00 is tagging probably should go. But we may also be losing quite a lot of stuff that probably ought to be kept. It's also perhaps worth remembering that the requirement for a formal made-out rationale is comparatively recent: when most of these images were uploaded it was probably not required; and most of the uploaders may since have gone away (or at any rate, may well not login in the next seven days).

I don't know what the solution is. I appreciate that there is an absolute mountain of files to go through, and that a lot of the stuff that is being weeded out probably in all honesty does deserve to be weeded out. So I appreciate that those doing this review need to be able to do it quickly and straightforwardly, with a minimum of added burdens.

Nevertheless, perhaps the following might be helpful (more thoughts/suggestions very welcome):

  • a greater number of standard rationales for standard usages, available to add using FurMe
  • easier ways for the reviewers to quickly add a standard rationale birdcage, for when the purpose is clear and really only a few additional explanatory words are needed. (Can TW already do this?)
  • perhaps a new separate category, informally for "inadequate rationale, but probably ought to be kept", with a tag message along the lines of "this image could be nominated for CSD at any time", but without actually itself starting the CSD process -- something that would with any luck still scare the uploader into sorting things out pdq, but without inevitably losing the image if they weren't around. Such a triage would also direct clean-up people to the images most deserving their attention, saving them having to redo the work of the initial reviewer looking through all the rubbish as well.

What do people think?

Just to add: one other thing I have noticed is that, unlike nominations for FFD, nominations for CSD appear not to be in any way being reflected on the article pages where the image is a actually used.

Is this correct? It makes it a lot more likely that the CSD won't get noticed, and that more images like the above get deleted when really they should be being kept. Jheald (talk) 10:44, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

In regard to your third point, {{Short-Rationale}} already exists (and could be reworded), although I was told by several admins that it was the wrong approach.
In regard to your last point re marking article pages, Twinkle certainly used to caption images.
Sfan00 IMG (talk) 11:03, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
First, it is the WMF resolution that sets the deadlines on images that outright fail to include certain aspects (48 hrs and one week depending on what has been failed to be addressed). And since really only the uploader knows all the details immediately, that is their responsibility. It is impossible to upload to WP without knowing what the Foundation and NFC policy require, and while there's always the first-time problems and forgetful mistakes, it basically need to assume its like our disclaimers that under-sufficient NFCs will be tagged and removed quickly if not fixed. (We have recently been through the argument that states that admins deleting should have to fix these rationales, which was determined to not be true - they can if they want, but far from required).
Second, we really really need to avoid canned rationales. NFC are exceptions, and each one should be treated on a case by case basis. I think there are a few I agree with (like the one for logos) but I've seen some that have a handful of possible NFCC#8 reason, which may seem ok, but if you start adding more canned rationale templates or expand on our existing set, we could end up with one that has like 100 possible NFCC#8 reasons, and the image reviewer is supposed to guess which one. We should encourage people to use the empty FUR templates as much as possible to provide the needed rationale details, of coruse. --MASEM (t) 13:08, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
Some comments. Firstly, note that all four of the above examples were uploaded before the WMF resolution came in. Second, as I read it the WMF itself does not actually require that a rationale be given on the page, it requires that it must exist. ("existing media under such licenses should go through a discussion process where it is determined whether such a rationale exists"). That was in line with how policy was previously implemented here, before we decided to require mandatory written rationales. Not that I'm arguing against mandatory written rationales; but I don't think the WMF resolution strictly speaking requires them.
Thirdly, canned rationales. I take the view that I prefer standardisation and central quality control wherever possible. When we have a standard approved type of use, it's much more secure to have a single, standard, properly legalled and properly quality-controlled explanation of why we believe that standard type of usage is acceptable, rather than an unmanageable almost infinite number of home-brewed ones often half baked. One of the key drivers for NFC policy is concern for WP's reputation, and for those who want to blacken WP I fear that a badly-written presumptous arrogant over-assertive rationale - or one that is simply wrong and misleading to potential reusers - can be a lot more damaging than no rationale at all (especially in cases when the fair use itself may actually be entirely legitimate). I think frankly we're crazy asking people to write their own legal statements, but I appreciate that OMMV.
Bottom line: as I have always said, I think we should be trying to achieve compliance but with minimal collateral damage. I appreciate that in general reviewers can't be expected to supply rationales; but in some cases they're obvious, and for those cases it needs to be as easy as possible for reviewers to supply them if they want to. And I still don't see why a somewhat more eventual approach should not be taken, for images which do otherwise appear to be legitimate, at least for images uploaded before the end of 2007.
Oh, and at least for the four images above, it does indeed appear that TW is not touching the article pages. Jheald (talk) 15:32, 19 August 2010 (UTC)
The way I read that line and knowing the history, that was the period where we basically had a bot run through and assure that at least the article name(s) that the image was used on was made, that was like a year-long process. I think the implication is here is that if we decided tomorrow that all images must have an explicit source line, we should imply a period of grandfathering instead of just pulling out the rug. I do not believe that in our adoption period we individually, as human editors, checked each image file for a rationale, so I would be comfortable in adding language somewhere that says "Images updated before March 23, 2007 should not be CSD-tagged for lacking rationales, but instead should be send to FFD for review" or something like that.
I don't necessary mean to say that canned rationales are always bad. When, among certain fields there are common accepted uses of NFC, a canned rational can be good. Logos were one case; another case, coming from video games, is that we generally allow for the cover and one screenshot as NFC within such articles. So standard rationales are good here. We just need to make sure people don't blindly use them because they saw it used somewhere else and didn't stop to understand why it was used. I've seen screenshots take at 1200x1000 or higher - certainly far beyond our low-resolution requirement (and not needed in this case), and tagged with a canned rationale that asserts immediately the image is low resolution because there's nowhere to address it in the canned rationale template. We have to be able instruct users to go "off-script" in a manner and not blindly use these unless they truly are appropriate. --MASEM (t) 16:00, 19 August 2010 (UTC)

Creation date unknown

I found this image in a University of North Texas archive. The creation date is unknown. Should this image be presumed to be free or non-free? WhisperToMe (talk) 03:22, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

I would say yes. Looking around, "Gildersleeve" is Fred Gildersleeve, a Waco photographer who passed away in 1958 [16], so there is no way this photo was taken in 1963 or later, per WP:Public Domain. As there's no copyright statement, then we can presume this has fallen into PD per that table. --MASEM (t) 03:47, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! I uploaded it at File:GatesvilleJuvTrainingSchoololdpic.jpg WhisperToMe (talk) 03:57, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
You used the wrong license tag (while PD, it is not your work), but I fixed that. --MASEM (t) 04:05, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Ouch, I see what happened. Thank you! WhisperToMe (talk) 02:23, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

quick query

Can this be used in The Signpost? Tony (talk) 23:42, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

Presuming that everything is legit in the claims, yes, image is free to use anywhere on the Project. --MASEM (t) 23:44, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree - and for those with OTRS access, there is an OTRS on it as well if one needs to double/triple check. So as long at the rquired attribution is given (Which appears to be "Hungry Lucy/Christa Belle") per the CCL you should be good to go Soundvisions1 (talk) 01:21, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

More unknown date photographs

While looking at the Mississippi State archives I found:

All of them are dated "19--" so we don't know whether they are before or after 1923.

WhisperToMe (talk) 02:28, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

The problem is if you read the terms there is a sections that states: Use on the Internet or any web site is prohibited without prior written permission from the Division director and copyright holder(s), if applicable. Permission for use will be granted for a period of no more than ten (10) years; rights are not granted in perpetuity. MDAH, and copyright holders, must approve superimposition of text, cropping, bleeding, addition of color, or other alterations at the time the request for duplication is approved. I think each image would need to be taken on a case by case basis. Soundvisions1 (talk) 06:50, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Concur with Soundvisions1. Each image would have to be independently researched to determine its true copyright status. Reading through the archive's site I find this PDF regarding rights which in section II notes some works are protected. We don't know which works. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:34, 27 August 2010 (UTC)
I suppose I'll have to contact the MDAH and find out which images are protected by copyright and which ones aren't. WhisperToMe (talk) 20:10, 28 August 2010 (UTC)

File:LA - DOC Facilities.png

Even though the fair use rationale says this map is a "logo," File:LA - DOC Facilities.png is clearly not a logo. So, is this map copyrightable? The Louisiana corrections department doesn't say that its content is free, so we must assume its copyrighted. WhisperToMe (talk) 20:32, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Maps can be copyrighted, though the data on them cannot be. In this case, that image is freely replaceable through plotting the locations of the facilities on an open-source map (as is done with nearly any state article). And yes, it's definitely far from a logo. --MASEM (t) 20:52, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I deleted it. WhisperToMe (talk) 03:42, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Need a closer look

I just stumbled upon Template:Trainweb, which per Wikipedia:Templates for discussion/Log/2010 January 26#Template:Trainweb makes the images non-free. Yet the template text makes it seem like the images are under a free license. ΔT The only constant 03:49, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, it does correctly have the red copyright symbol and put tagged images in Category:All non-free media, but you're right: the text could be improved and it should really be renamed to {{Non-free Trainweb}}. I also didn't see a FUR for any of the images I glanced it in the images which used it, so that's an issue as well. VernoWhitney (talk) 05:05, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

input requested

I plan to convert File:Wizarding World of Harry Potter Logo.jpg to a transparent PNG, but is it sufficiently simple (fonts/words only) to qualify for {{PD-textlogo}}? — pd_THOR | =/\= | 02:01, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Personally for myself no (the text being highly stylized beyond a basic font, and with the shaded coloring), but I think established cases of what people have called PD-textlogo before would put it there as well. --MASEM (t) 02:05, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I would agree with MASEMs' assessment as well. I wanted to add on ff you duplicate it it would not be PD using the same fonts, but if you did some sort of offshot of it - a "derivative" work it might pass muster. I think of, for example, when Redd Kross made their early logo an offshoot of the Kiss logo with similar fonts - obviously using their own name and not Kisss'. Soundvisions1 (talk) 02:25, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
We need to keep in mind "Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring" are not generally eligible for copyright protection." I see nothing buy simple text here which has been stylized. Under US law, this isn't eligible for copyright protection. -Andrew c [talk] 04:28, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I would tend to agree. I don't see anything there beyond a highly stylized and colored font, so it looks PD to me. Fancy text is still text, there must be something beyond the letters to qualify for copyright. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:44, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
That's why I said personally I'd disagree it fails the ToO (or that we'd be safer to call it non-free barring other input), but realize that our ToO casebook would likely include this as ineligible for PD. --MASEM (t) 04:48, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Custom fonts are just as uncopyrightable as regular ones -- that is not a question. The stylized outlines of the letters here are not an issue, I'm fairly sure. My hesitation though would be the style of the letters themselves -- it is a 3-D look, and moreover it looks like there is specific styling and small lines all over, which may well be enough to qualify for copyright. If this is a simple effect straight from Photoshop (i.e. no creativity on the part of the user), it would probably be OK, but if that was hand-crafted at all, it may not be. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:57, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
@ Masem: Threshold of originality isn't relevant. Typeface is not eligible for copyright protection by virtue of being useful article, which is an entirely different concept than ToO (although certain typefaces would also be ineligible due to the latter). An object can have significant amounts of originality (e.g. [17] [18]), yet not be eligible if that originality cannot be separated and recognized independently from the utilitarian purpose. This is why the Copyright Office indicates that "variations of typographic ornamentation" are not generally eligible. You can't remove shading, jagged edges, or a "3-D look", and have it remain independently recognizable. Эlcobbola talk 16:16, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Here's a thought; why not contact the theme park and ask them rather than guessing? --Hammersoft (talk) 14:39, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
    • You honestly think they would be any more knowledgeable? ;-) I suppose if you could track down the graphic artist who made it and asked how it was done, that would help, but that seems kinda unlikely... Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:04, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
The logo (or at least the portion in question here - the words "Harry Potter") is trademarked. So in regards to generic text only - yes it could not be copyrighted, but if it is part of a logo that is unique it can be worked into a trademark, such as is the case with the words Harry Potter here, that trademark is protected. That is why I mentioned the Kiss logo above. I think this is more of a trademark infringement issue rather than a copyright-text issue. Harry Potter, like Kiss, is a "brand name" that is easily identified *because* the visual of logo is unique. The "easy" definition is A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name. (For more: United States Trademark and Patent office - Laws and Regulations). PD would imply anyone can take that text, in the trademarked form, and use it on anything for anything, which in the case of any trademark, you can't legally do unless it is licensed. On the other hand there is a generic aprroved logo for use, at least for the book promotion. That does not seem to carry the trademark. Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:43, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It is undoubtedly a trademark, and I'm sure a registered one. "Public domain" here generally means "free from copyright restrictions", which may not be the best way to use that term, but that appears to be the situation. It should have the {{trademark}} tag for sure (which we should always use to label trademarked-but-not-copyrighted items). Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:04, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia has long had a problem with trademarks and the use thereof. The current stance is that trademarks, if otherwise free of copyright, are 'free enough' for our purposes to the point that Commons hosts them. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:00, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Not a "problem"; even the GNU foundation (who pretty much came up with the "free" definition) has no issues with "free" works being trademarked. They are generally concerned with the copyright license, as the GPL, GFDL, Creative Commons, etc. licenses are all structured around copyright specifically. If trademark overlaps, then so be it. To me the problem is the use of the term "public domain" here, which is different than a lot of people use it, and may be misleading. Carl Lindberg (talk) 16:04, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Well, "public domain" just concerns copyright status, not anything else. The only real restrictions on trademarks is that you can't use them in such a way that a reasonable person would be confused into thinking that the trademark owner made or endorses what you're doing. That's why trademarks generally have been allowed on "" style webpages—no reasonable person is going to think the trademark owner made or authorized a page on how bad they suck. On the other hand, if I put together a car out of spare parts, slap a Nissan logo on it, and try to sell it, I'll be in trouble, even though the Nissan logo is unquestionably plain text and in the public domain. In that case, the problem is basically fraud (I'm claiming the car was built by someone it wasn't), not any type of copyright. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:18, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Many people use the term to indicate lack of any substantive intellectual property right, not just specifically copyright (and the same is in the definition at the public domain article). Thus, the usage to refer to only the copyright status can sometimes cause misunderstandings (though the "trademark" tag certainly helps there). The Library of Congress, with I'm sure a lot of experience in this area, uses the term "No known copyright restrictions". Carl Lindberg (talk) 14:12, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Alone in the Dark (2008 video game)

Could someone uninvolved have a word with User Talk:Mr Wesker as to why two functionally identical non-free images aren't allowed in this article? I'm not having a lot of luck myself. Black Kite (t) (c) 18:17, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Question / Doubt

I've been to wikipedia for a long time and here's where I learnt about 'fair use'. However, I still don't understand some stuff... for example, how come the logo for the Pirates of the Caribbean is owned by Disney and must be uploaded as 'fair use' while you can upload an original photo showing the mentioned logo but it can be freely distributed? -- (talk) 00:51, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


I feel that the image belongs in the Warsaw Ghetto and the The Holocaust articles but it is apparently a non-free image and I just can't seem to come up with Fair Use Rationales acceptable to Wikipedia and now it's up for deletion September 13. Can anyone think of any rationales to keep the image? I understand and agree with Wikipedia's strict policy about Non-free content. Slightsmile (talk) 21:46, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

There are tons of free images in both those articles, so there isn't an appropriate rationale. It fundamentally fails criterion #1, as it is replaceable and replaced by a tremendous number of free images. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:19, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Page description

Currently the page overview/description states "This page documents an English Wikipedia content guideline". As this seems to be the page most linked to when discussions arise on Fair Use the "overview" description has some editors (And admins) arguing that, as this is only a "guideline" and not policy, the information discussed on the page are only suggestions. Along with the actual Non-free content Policy being contained here there is also the Explanation of policy and guidelines section, which is not really a guideline or a policy, but does contain important information. Examples are the statement These concerns are embodied in the above requirements that all non-free content must meet, and our policy of deleting non-compliant content. That is not a guideline, it is not a suggestion. It is more directly reinforced shortly after with the statement Please understand that these rules are not arbitrary; they are central to our mission. Clearly not a suggestion. As I am writing this I do not have a firm wording in mind but I do know that stating the entire page is simply a "content guideline" is misleading. Perhaps: This page documents an English Wikipedia Policy as well as content guidelines based on that policy. The policy is considered a standard that all users should follow and not arbitrary. Guidelines are a generally accepted standard that editors should attempt to follow. I am open to suggestions. Soundvisions1 (talk) 14:22, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Part of the issue is that boiler plate text is coming from a standard template to ID content guidelines and make sure it is tracked as one. But I would also argue that this page is still a guideline because there is minimal actionable items here - these are still guidelines - ones perhaps more strongly asserted, but still not at the strength of a policy like WP:V. The policy part - NFCC - is tagged correctly as policy here, so I don't really see much of an issue. --MASEM (t) 14:44, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the policy is marked as Policy and the "history" is marked as such - however the issue is not that you and I understand, the issue is that the page, as a whole, is marked as a guideline. Common sense should dictate that these guidlines, because they are contained on a page *with* the policy and a "history", in your words, are "more strongly asserted" than others. But, for example, when one of the criteria from the policy is cited via a link to NFC rather than directly to Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria and the reply is "NFC is only a guideline", there is a problem. Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:04, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
  • That's happened to me on occasion, but it's never much of an issue. I point out to those that misunderstand that WP:NFCC is policy, and WP:NFC (which contains a transclusion of the policy) is a guideline. Regardless, the guideline carries a lot of weight. Too often I see people attempting to end run our practices here by saying "Well gosh, it's only a guideline, so I can ignore it if I want to". --Hammersoft (talk) 14:39, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

A tag for a derivative work

If some allegedly free image is uploaded that is in actuality a derivative work of some non-free image, should it be removed or tagged accordingly?--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:24, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

Should be sent to WP:PUF; however if it's obviously a valid use per all ten criteria of NFCC, I would add the correct tag and add a rationale. Have you got a particular image in mind? Black Kite (t) (c) 17:31, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes. The non-free red flag over Reichstag has been replaced with postal stamp under a pretext that the latter is an adequate free alternative for the former. However, if it is an adequate reproduction, then it is a derivative work, if it is not a derivative work, it is hardly adequate.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:35, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
  • I've voted on the deletion discussion of the image at Commons. I don't feel it's a derivative work. It's been influenced by the original, but it's not a derivative. We have many such images all across Commons, especially in icons representing software packages that are close, but not the same, to non-free icons. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:22, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
The deletion discussion in question is here should anyone else be interested in commenting. VernoWhitney (talk) 18:29, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

NFCC #1. Free alternative, or free "equivalent"?

I'm going to be bold here and close this discussion. It's devolved into a second discussion from Talk:Battle_of_Berlin#Free_equivalent_of_the_Reichstag_photo. Take it there if you must. This isn't the talk page of that article. If you really want outside input, you might take it to WP:NFCR. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:00, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

I am not sure premature closure of the discussion is an argument in the dispute. In my humble opinion, this step is somewhat too bold. The guideline say:"An image to illustrate an article passage about the image, if the image has its own article (in which case the image may be described and a link provided to the article about the image)". Unfortunately, this is not applicable to the case we discuss. The photo does not illustrate the article passage about the image, conversely, the photo depicts the event the article discusses, and no free alternatives exist for this event.
Re : "If that's the case, then your argument is for World War II, not Battle of Berlin." Yes, the same is applicable to both these articles (as well as to the Eastern Front (World War II) article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:13, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
  • The discussion has devolved into discussing the particular case of this image in that article. This is talk page for WP:NFC. It is not Talk:Battle of Berlin. You came here looking for answers. You did not like the answers you received from three different individuals, then raised the specific case. Since then, this has been a discussion of the specific case. I invite you to continue the discussion at Talk:Battle of Berlin, not here. Another appropriate venue would be WP:NFCR, as I noted. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:19, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
Of course, no. I do like the answer, namely, that my understanding of the words "free equivalent/version" was correct. The fact that you have to resort to citing guidelines, which are not relevant to the NFCC #1, just confirms that. Therefore, as soon as the issue with "free equivalent" is resolved, I agree that the discussion should be archived and continued in a different thread (or somewhere else).--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:08, 13 September 2010 (UTC)
  • If you believe the WP:NFC guideline is not relevant to WP:NFCC #1, you are mistaken. They are directly related to each other. Also, "resorting" to citing guidelines is not a negative thing. That's a positive thing. I prefer to base my expressed opinions on existing guidelines and policies. Citing them is entirely proper. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:54, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Controversial FFD debate

See here. More opinions have been requested by one of the participants, so I thought here would be a good place to note it as well... J Milburn (talk) 13:49, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Non-free content: sliding scale or bright line

A couple of recent nominations at WP:PUF got me wondering. Clearly images are either free or unfree except when they are indeterminate and indeterminable, a category which is far larger than you might suppose. But for images which are not definitely free, should we favour the use of images of indeterminable status to positively unfree ones, and of not-free-enough ones to not-free-at-all ones? Presumably we should if WP:NFCC#2 is to mean anything. Comments? Angus McLellan (Talk) 09:00, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

  • If we're not sure it's free (enough) it should be marked as non-free. There's no inbetween status on Wikipedia. It's either (a) free or (b) not free. So, I don't see an exception, With that, the question becomes moot. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:56, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Katy Perry album cover debate

It would be really helpful if you could give your opinion here. thanks. -- Lil_℧niquℇ №1 | talk2me 14:32, 17 September 2010 (UTC)


Does anyone know how we handle graffiti? There is a photograph of a piece of graffiti (in a public space) that I'd like to upload and use in an article. If I get a release from the photographer, who is not the original artist, is that enough? SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:52, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

  • Over here (the UK) taking a photograph of a work of art permanently displayed in a public space cannot infringe any copyright. However, I believe this does not apply in the US, and so I think you'd have to use it as a non-free derivative work. IANAL, though ... Black Kite (t) (c) 20:42, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Bot to tag non-free images with old, unused versions

See Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/J Milburn Bot 4. J Milburn (talk) 22:00, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Input from people familiar with the NFCC requested- there's an issue regarding the interpretation of "file" and the nature of NFCC#7. J Milburn (talk) 12:31, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
The assertion in the BRFA seems to be that a non-free image can only have one revision of the image, and that all previous revisions have to be deleted. I have never seen that required (or even described) by NFCC or NFC. Indeed, if someone edits a non-free image, the revised file will be a derived work with both the original non-free copyright and a free copyright of the person who did the modifications. In that case, it seems like we need to keep the old revisions for attribution purposes. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:21, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
As I explained, the attribution for images takes place on the image page, and, as is pretty clear from our NFCC, we cannot have non-free files sitting around when they are not in use anywhere. The fact that this particular part of the policy is not often enforced does not mean it is any less part of the policy. Can we please have some input here? J Milburn (talk) 23:45, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Certainly more input would be welcome. Of course I went there after seeing the post here, because I watch this page - don't I count as input? :(
For others: The question is not about unused non-free File: pages, but about old revisions of non-free images whose current revisions are in use. In my dealings with NFCC I have never seen those describes as "unused images". That should probably be addressed here, rather than on a BRFA. — Carl (CBM · talk) 01:48, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry to keep repeating myself like this, but I can't see any other way of saying this- they are unused images. They are images, which are not in use, and they are non-free. Forget about the "Wikipedia definition" for a second- are they or are they not images? Are they or are they not in use in the article space? Are they or are they not "non-free"? What's not to get? J Milburn (talk) 13:45, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
An "image" for NFCC is a page like File:Foo. That "image" can have multiple revisions. That is: NFCC does not refer to revisions, it refers to the page in the file namespace. There is nothing in NFCC about deleting individual revisions of an image, in fact there is nothing about individual revisions at all. That's an issue for this page, rather than a BRFA. — Carl (CBM · talk) 13:56, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Nazi images

I'm trying to track down the law (or rule or practice) that placed in the public domain images seized from the Nazis by the U.S. military after World War II. I remember reading about it on WP, but now can't find it. This is not connected to the recent debate about Holocaust images, by the way, but a separate issue. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 15:49, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

In the UK, German copyrights were extinguished by the Enemy Property Act; see also here and part 2. /Pieter Kuiper (talk) 15:59, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Pieter, that's helpful. I assume there's something similar in the U.S. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:02, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
The UK copyrights were revived by the Duration of Copyright and Rights in Performances Regulations 1995 (No. 3297), and by the ECJ judgment in Land Hessen v G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH (Case C-360/00), OJ no. C180 of 27 July 2002, p. 6. Physchim62 (talk) 06:17, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
You're probably thinking of Price v. United States (corresponding license: {{PD-HHOFFMANN}}), but be careful to note that it relates only to certain works in a certain circumstance and is not a carte blanche for NS images. Эlcobbola talk 16:06, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! The image I have in mind (an early image of Hitler) wasn't actually taken by Hoffmann, but it was found by U.S. military intelligence in the Rehse Archiv für Zeitgeschichte und Publizistik in Munich and confiscated. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 16:26, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, the typical circumstance was that seized property fell under the authority of the Alien Property Custodian and/or (later) the US Attorney General. As the federal government can indeed hold transferred copyrights (it just can't create them itself), this was done, in part, to extract the licensing fees as reparations. Most seized copyrights were returned to the countries of origin in 1962, and their status in the US (independent from status in the origin country) is now generally subject to the typical considerations (e.g. compliance with formalities, if published; status after URAA; etc). If you want a headache, this circular goes into some detail. Эlcobbola talk 16:41, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
I was foolishly hoping this might be a simple matter with a neat little image tag somewhere. :) Thanks for the link and the information. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 17:01, 17 September 2010 (UTC)
Most Nazi images are not PD in the US, it's as simple as that. There are one or two exceptions (such as Hitler's paintings, for example), but it is naïve to assume that, just because an original print or negative is in NARA, the image is PD. Physchim62 (talk) 05:43, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Next questions: do you know who the photographer was? If so, did he or she die before December 31, 1925; if not, was the photograph obviously taken before December 31, 1925? Physchim62 (talk) 06:00, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
It is a school photograph of Hitler taken when he was a teenager in Linz, Austria, June 1901, photographer unknown. You can see it here in the German Federal Archives, and here in the Library of Congress. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 19:50, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
In 1901? You're in the clear Slim, that's lapsed into the Public Domain. -- ۩ Mask 03:02, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

When can screencaps be used?

The image in the Tom Toles article is from 1970. He appeared in an episode of The Real World:DC back in March, but I'm not sure if screencaps are usable in this context. Can one be used in his article, or would a screencap only be permitted to be used in an article on that show? Can someone let me know? Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 05:37, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

If the person is still alive, we cannot use non-free imagery unless it is very clear that the appearance in said copyrighted work is icon of that person. In this case, very doubtful. --MASEM (t) 05:44, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Okay, thanks. Nightscream (talk) 21:53, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
One more thing: Does this also include publicity shots? The Kiele Sanchez article uses an photo of her in character from the TV show Lost, as does the Richard Anderson article a screencap of a film he did decades ago. Is that permitted? (This is pertinent, because I'm going to be covering the Big Apple Con, where Sanchez and Anderson will be present, and in deciding who to photograph, I prioritize those whose articles lack a good pic.) Please let me know. Nightscream (talk) 05:45, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
Publicity photos (presuming copyrighted) are a no go for living persons, though can be ok if the character portrayed has their own article. In the Richard Anderson case, due to the age of the work , the screencapture appears to be public domain thus a free image and ok (and also probably the iconic representation of that person). Most times. screencaptures like that do not work for living persons. --MASEM (t) 06:12, 1 October 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, publicity shots are generally under copyright, so not free use. If you need pictures of living celebrities, there are Wikipedia users who are especially good at getting high quality shots of them. The recently returned User:David Shankbone is known to get some good stuff. He may take requests. --Jayron32 06:15, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, David's pics are awesome. I noticed a few days ago that he returned, and expressed my satisfaction with that via an email to him. Thanks again. Nightscream (talk) 17:39, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

NFCC#7 and old versions of files

Does NFCC#7 apply to old versions of files? As in, if a file is uploaded over the top of a non-free file, should the old non-free file (which is no longer in use) be deleted? It seems fairly obvious to me that it should be, but, apparently, this is not uncontroversial. Perhaps it would be good to get a note on the guideline/policy page. J Milburn (talk) 20:24, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree that this should be clarified if people will be acting on it.
If I take a non-free file and make a non-trivial edit to it, then the new derived work has both the original non-free copyright, and a free copyright for my new work. It is still not free, of course. The issue is how we attribute the edits of the Wikipedians who have edited non-free files. I have always thought this is what the file history of the image was for: to give a record of who has edited the image, along with their edit summary. If we delete those revisions, we will lose that attribution history.
In general, despite following this page for years, I have never thought it was policy that a non-free image may only have one undeleted revision. So I have always thought that NFCC referred to a whole File: page, not to individual revisions. — Carl (CBM · talk) 20:30, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I can understand that the attribution issue may, in (very few) cases, be an issue. Let's take a couple of examples to consider this, though. If there is a non-free image of a dead person, and I upload a different non-free image to replace that one, the old one would be deleted, yes? But, if I upload it in the same place, it isn't deleted, and we continue to host the file on Wikipedia. How does that make sense? Alternatively, and it was in response to someone asking this question that I first requested the database report, assume we downsize a non-free image, and, for convenience, we upload it in the same place. When we still have the larger file, what's the point? Basically, in short, whether files keep the same name or not, we shouldn't be hosting non-free images that are not in use in the article space. J Milburn (talk) 21:53, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Without taking sides in the above, it seems to me that, having a regard to the attribution and change history issues, it would be better if the bot (if it does get approved) were to substitute a placeholder image for the old image on the file page, rather than to outright delete it. That way, the history of the image, and potentially very relevant edit summaries, would remain visible, even if the old image did not.

It should of course remain possible for someone with the admin bit to get past this, to be able to view and/or restore the old image if appropriate; and also for an admin to be able to make both versions visible again, at least temporarily, if for example a discussion comes up as to which is to be preferred. Jheald (talk) 23:34, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Is that technically possible? I don't know how to replace an old image revision with a placeholder. — Carl (CBM · talk) 23:39, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
I think I have seen it done. If it is possible to remove (or make invisible) a revision from a revision history, it should also be possible to add a doctored version in its stead -- effectively replacing it, at least with regards to what is visible. The process to do it might get slightly involved, but that shouldn't be a issue if we're thinking about automated (or semi-automated) code. Jheald (talk) 23:46, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
That's a bloody brilliant idea. How would we go about doing this? J Milburn (talk) 00:12, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
I have no knowledge of bot-writing; and I've never sought an admin bit, so I'm not even sure what is the exact scope of admin powers and permissions in this area. So I can't volunteer any practical help. But I do think it should be very possible. Jheald (talk) 16:27, 22 September 2010 (UTC)
To be honest, with regard to "replacing" the images with a place holder, it ain't that simple. Essentially, the images are still accessable if need be to undo erronious or malicious deletions. Replacing it with a place holder removes that ability. And "old versions" get removed for reasons other than "It isn't used". Lack of appropriate licensing, lack of sourcing, duplication of other existing files (a biggie with resized images), and the like. - J Greb (talk) 06:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
The point being made is that even if the "old version" gets removed for any of those reasons, it is important for the record of it in the edit history to be preserved. With regard to your first point, it seems inconsistent to argue against the milder step of replacing the old image with a placeholder for various reasons, and then to argue that actually it ought to be removed completely. Jheald (talk) 19:53, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

But isn't the whole point of the policy to allow people to freely use WP articles? A file in the history of an image is not being presented to the public as a free image for them to copy. — kwami (talk) 06:27, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Any editor can access file pages. Any editor can access the files listed in the file history at full size. If it is not free content, it should not be retained in the visible file history any more than the current file should be retained if it has been orphaned. - J Greb (talk) 06:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Any image that does not comply with WP:NFCC should be deleted and if that includes all old versions of such files then so be it. We are not here to provide access to non-compliant images through the history links. ww2censor (talk) 14:48, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok, so I'm sensing that the general feeling is that placeholder images is not as useful as first appears, and may not be possible, but that old versions should be deleted? J Milburn (talk) 16:38, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Umm, I thought we already had a solution to this? -- King of ♠ 03:34, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
So did I, but I put in a botreq recently and people weren't happy. J Milburn (talk) 16:44, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
"Non-free reduced" does not apply to the full scope of the images in question. For example, if I take an NFCC-compliant image and edit it (not reduce it), and then someone edits my version, I need to be attributed in the edit history somehow. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:02, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Even with respect to reduced images, images are quite often reduced excessively, even when there is a case for keeping a larger size (eg because relevant detail has been lost). So, even in this case, there needs to be an audit trail of the upload that there once was a larger image, which if necessary on request an admin should be able to make visible in the edit history if that would facilitate discussion. Also, copyright holers should be able to check up on us, and see the history of how WP has used their images in the past, when we are continuing to use them in the present. Jheald (talk) 19:53, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
Right now deleted versions of a file can be accessed through the deletion log. Also, using File:Hulk 2003 film.jpg as an example, uploads, aside from the initial, are noted in the edit history even if the particular version is deleted. [20] and [21] for the file's full history. - J Greb (talk) 20:52, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Can we get rid of the actual image but not the text of the revision without difficulty? I agree that after x months, old versions of in-use NFC should be pruned to the most recent revisions, but all of the edit history needs to stay intact. --MASEM (t) 16:48, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't know of any way to delete just the image part while keeping the upload summary publicly visible. — Carl (CBM · talk) 17:00, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
The upload summary could literally be copied to the image page, if that's concerning you. J Milburn (talk) 12:29, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

"No free equivalent" rule with regard to text

The first paragraph of the "Policy" section implies that criterion #1 "No free equivalent" (along with the other criteria) does not apply to text. This conflicts with the relevant WMF policy which states that "Any content used under an EDP must be replaced with a freely licensed work whenever one is available which will serve the same educational purpose." No distinction is made by WMF between text and images,media,etc. I suggest separating the "No free equivalent" criterion from the rest, putting it before the list and making it clear that it applies to all non-free content. Evil saltine (talk) 01:16, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

How would you see this making a difference in practice? Generally speaking, we already prefer to use article text rather than extensive quotations, as a matter of style if nothing else. Quotations are generally used only when the quote itself is somehow significant, and we've always discouraged direct quotes excessive in number or length. Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:20, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
It seems to apply to the dispute at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#Radagast3_blocked_for_reverting_copyvio_removal. An editor was removing quotes from a non-free version of the Bible and replacing them with quotes from a free, but arguably less-relevant version. Evil saltine (talk) 01:34, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I should mention that the policy contains the text "An EDP may not allow material where we can reasonably expect someone to upload a freely licensed file for the same purpose", but the policy's scope is not explicitly limited to files. This makes it somewhat confusing. Evil saltine (talk) 01:38, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Except that the opening paragraph of the policy states "Articles and other Wikipedia pages may, in accordance with the guideline, use brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media, properly attributed or cited to its original source or author." There is no call in there to ever replace "brief verbatim textual excerpts" with non-free equivalents. Jclemens (talk) 03:45, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Also I'm pretty sure that we don't consider the EDF as covering text - it covers other types of media, but text is expected to follow the standards for attribution and the like by US fair use laws. So an appropriate section of text from a non-free work, as long as its properly cited, means its ok. --MASEM (t) 03:59, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Do you mean that the WMF policy doesn't cover text, or do you mean that our EDP makes an exception to that policy with regard to text? Evil saltine (talk) 04:12, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
The WMF says little about text as noted below. There is no need to consider "exceptions" per EDP for text quotes. --MASEM (t) 04:13, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
The WMF talks about content. Content includes text. Evil saltine (talk) 04:15, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Right, but text quotes, when cited and used in limited manners, do not carry any weight of copyright on them that the WMF/EDP applies to. The WMF is designed to apply to "files" which are the visual and audio works that are hosted by the project. This is a long-standing principle of how the WMF/EDP applies to's NFC goals. -MASEM (t) 04:24, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "weight of copyright". Quotations fall under fair use ([22]). If the WMF policy is not intended to apply to text, then it should be edited to clarify that. Evil saltine (talk) 04:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
We can't change the WMF, but if you read the wording, it is clearly talking about "files", and if you look at the version of the NFCC policy that existing that the WMF resolution passed which the WMF explicitly calls out as a good example (this one) it is clear it is about files too. The end result is that our NFCC says that text is treated under normal fair use laws, but all other files are the more demanding NFCC requirements. Hence, we can use text from non-free works in a manner that fits fair use. --MASEM (t) 05:34, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
That makes sense, though they just mention files and don't say that the policy applies only to files. But if they gave our NFCC as an example, then they obviously meant for text to be treated differently. Thanks. Evil saltine (talk) 05:43, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Sorry, by "policy" in my last post I meant the WMF licensing policy, not's policy. I am trying to say that WMF policy does demand that we remove non-free text that has a free equivalent, and that we need to change WP:NFC to match that. Evil saltine (talk) 04:08, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
No, it doesn't. This is the extent of the WMF resolution/EDF regarding text: Articles and other Wikipedia pages may, in accordance with the guideline, use brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media, properly attributed or cited to its original source or author. --MASEM (t) 04:11, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Heh. Good luck with that windmill, Mr. Quixote. Jclemens (talk) 04:12, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

There's also the problem of "no free equivalent". In the case of biblical quotations, sectarian disputes may depend on the exact wording. An obsolete, substandard, or partisan translation such as the KJV or WEB is not "equivalent" to a respected non-sectarian academic translation such as the NIV. So even if the policy did apply to text (which seems dubious), it would still be acceptable to quote the NIV. — kwami (talk) 06:31, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Just to make a point here: The licensing policy clearly applies to text as well. The big deal here is that our EDP allows fair use under limited circumstances, and no one seriously argues that brief quotations violate the EDP OR the Licensing Policy as it applies to communities with an EDP EXCEPT in cases where there is both a copyright-encumbered text and a free text. That's only really possible in cases of translations (everyone's going to use, for example, the same text of Moby Dick as it doesnt need to be translated) and that means, to a large extent, this only applies to the Bible. I mean that. If there were a freely licensed draft of Harry Potter we would exclusively quote from that one except when comparing and contrasting textual differences. This is an edge case, the loop hole is wide enough to drive a truck through (any commentary on differences is enough to satisfy our EDP) and I'm ok living with that. We dont shuffle around policy we as a community are beyond modifying (the Foundation Licensing Policy) because it rustled up an ANI thread. We deal with edge cases and move on. The thread came to an acceptable conclusion, he found a freely licensed translation that achieved his ends, this is dead for now. -- ۩ Mask 09:53, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

Would Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Bible be a good place to establish a consensus on which way to go for this edge case? Evil saltine (talk) 19:38, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
No, because it isn't an edge case. To use the copyrighted version the article body would have had to specifically comment on the contents of the copyrighted version to justify why it needed to be used as opposed to the free version. This article did not, so its use of the copyrighted material was out of bounds.—Kww(talk) 15:28, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
I can see for some cases that if we are using the Bible as a primary source and avoiding interpretation, a quote from a free version will be just as a good as a quote from a non-free version. However, and forgive me for my ignorance in this area, but as I understand it, various translations will choose a translation of specific words, or a restatement of words, as to slightly alter the meaning. This can make the free quote from one translation less powerful or important than an equivalent quote from a non-free version. Now, mind you, the only place I think that we would consider the quality of direct language from a specific work would be in articles about that version of the translation and amended by secondary sources that note the choice and impact of the language used. It is a situation that I think is safely assured to be unique to religious texts where the original work has far been in the PD. --MASEM (t) 16:19, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
That is correct. Minor differences in rendering particular words or phrases into English form the basis for most interpretation disputes we'll be covering in There are several that hinge on Latin and Greek, of course, but the differences in translation aren't negligible, else people wouldn't create so many different translations. Jclemens (talk) 16:25, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Once the article actually does a compare-and-contrast of the language, it becomes permissible to use brief quotes of the copyrighted version. The cases in question had no discussion of how the copyrighted translation differed from any other.—Kww(talk) 17:03, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

The Actual NIV license...

(crossposted from ANI) Since I happen to have one handy, it says:

"The NIV text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses, without express written permission of the publisher, providing that the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible, nor do the verses quoted account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted."

No claim of fair use applies: any reasonable (as per above permissions) NIV quote in Wikipedia has the express permission of the publisher. The vast majority of other Bible translations have similar clauses. Jclemens (talk) 03:43, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

"providing that the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible, nor do the verses quoted account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted."" is more restrictive then our license (licenses? We switched a while back from the GFDL, there might still be GFDL-only content) and that means we use it exclusively under a claim of fair use to allow ourselves to remain freely redistributable. We do not accept their license for their work for the same reason 'Educational Use Only' licenses are unacceptable even though we squarely fall under their grant. -- ۩ Mask 12:59, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Right, even though it has a nice license it still counts as non-free for our purposes just the same as CC-NC or CC-ND licensed content does. VernoWhitney (talk) 13:14, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. The publisher's take reveals that, while the license is reasonably permissive, the acknowledgment citation that they require is at best imperfectly honored in our articles, even when properly cited. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 15:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec) That's nonsensical, in that any content we use under that grant of permissions is also transferrable to any other user under the same terms. I get that it's not a blanket license, but fair use needn't apply since the license is granted to any potential Wikipedia downstream user as well. Xymmax, the attribution requirement wasn't reproduced in the 2006 NIV I consulted for the license I posted. Jclemens (talk) 15:41, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
Again: text is not treated in the same fashion as other NFC. Quoted text regardless of copyright is required to cited to the work it came from (per the GDFL), and at least for works which aren't PD, we consider the amount of text used as part of fair use evaluation. The Bible is a unique situation in that there are numerous variant of what arguably is the same text, but from the standpoint of WP, copyrights and all that, any version can be used for brief quotes with citations, regardless if there is a free-er version or not. (I also wonder what the age of the original text comes into play here, and the (in)ability of these publishers to claim copyright on essentially a derivative work of something clearly in the PD...) --MASEM (t) 15:53, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
I hear you Masem, but at least at the moment the Wikipedia policy which governs the NFCC guideline reads "If you want to import media (including text) that you have found elsewhere, and it does not meet the non-free content policy and guideline, you can only do so if it is public domain or available under terms that are compatible with the CC-BY-SA license. If you import media under a compatible license which requires attribution, you must, in a reasonable fashion, credit the author(s)." Give the explicit mention of text and the reference to NFCC, I think we must assume it does apply. I fully admit this position seems to have changed over time, but I do think that is current policy. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 16:00, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
No, that line is specifically about importing large quantities of text above and beyond fair use, usually whole pages from other wikis, into WP. Not inclusion of short sections of copyright text. Otherwise we wouldn't be able to use any quotes from any non-PD source, which is the norm. It is important to stress that fair use inclusion of quotes, while a copyright issue, is not of the same level of concern as wholesale text inclusion, or that of media files. --MASEM (t) 16:21, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
As long as we agree that NFCC 1 applies, I think we agree ;) I do think that the Bible is a case inasmuch as our usage parallels scholarly usage, we're probably OK. Xymmax So let it be written So let it be done 16:39, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think we should even be thinking of using NFCC to consider text. We do encourage people to keep quoted text to a minimum, and paraphrase (free text) from the source. Technically, paraphrasing of a quote is always possible, thus if NFCC #1 was to apply to text, we'd never have quotes. But we don't do that, when a quote carries weight on its own, we use that instead of the "free" version. The issue of whether NFC applies to text has been considered in the past, and every time it is rejected, emphasizing fair use and the GDFL/CC-BY-SA allowances. --MASEM (t) 16:57, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
WP:C does say that text contents must "meet the non-free content policy and guideline", but NFCC and NFC are pretty clear about text. The policy portion says, "Articles and other Wikipedia pages may, in accordance with the guideline, use brief verbatim textual excerpts from copyrighted media, properly attributed or cited to its original source or author. Other non-free content—including all copyrighted images, audio and video clips, and other media files that lack a free content license—may be used on the English Wikipedia only where all 10 of the following criteria are met." (emphasis added). The 10 criteria, which are part of the policy, do not apply to text. Instead, we're pointed to the guideline which says, "Brief quotations of copyrighted text may be used to illustrate a point, establish context, or attribute a point of view or idea." We can't just use it; we have to use it transformatively, in keeping with fair use. But if we were trying to meet point 1, we would never be able to use quotes at all (or hardly at all), as it's probably always going to be possible to create a free version. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:44, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
  • This conversation is getting sprawling, it seems! In regards to this specific subsection, I wrote at ANI: "I agree that we need to treat this text like any other non-free text content. The danger of operating under that permission, were we so inclined, is that we are not publishing one article, but a collection of millions of them, and the risk that we'll go above 500 verses seems high." While Jclemens weighed in there a belief that each page is a separate publication, I myself don't think so. I think we are a compilation, just like any other encyclopedia. (And in terms of practical reality, we are a single website, in spite of multiple subpages.) --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:38, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Glad to pick it up here, but let's do a thought experiment: Is the NYT one publication? Each day, perhaps, but the NYT website has articles from every day in their archives. What about Lexis/Nexis: are they (or any other commercial content aggregator) one publication? Any large website will end up having quotes from various religious texts, which will aggregate to 500 or more total verses sooner or later. Religious-focused websites will likely hit that ceiling substantially faster. Do they suddenly become non-compliant? It doesn't seem reasonable to infer so. If Wikipedia were a paper encyclopedia, it might be more reasonable to assert that it consists of one publication, but the differences are greater than the similarities: Multiple authors may be common in paper encyclopedias, but instantaneous and asynchronous revisions to differing articles is not. Jclemens (talk) 20:52, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Each issue of the New York Times is one publication, with a discrete publication date. We don't have discrete publication dates, of course; instead, we are an aggregation of subpages into one entity: Wikipedia. The legal reality of that can only be established, really, by the judgment of a court. If a publisher finds substantial content copied across multiple articles, will he succeed in convincing a judge to consider the cumulative impact? I suspect he would, but in any event I would rather not be the website named as the defendant in that test case. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 20:58, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    That level of caution is more appropriate for one's own finances than for a collaborative effort with its own legal counsel. Seriously, a lot of "What if's" have to turn out in one particularly unfavorable manner for even technical infringing to be construed, and when was the last time you heard of a Bible version copyright owner suing someone else for infringement? The copyright holders broadly license reproduction of the entire translation as their revenue stream; suing Wikipedia is generally incompatible with that. Of all the non-free content issues that could possibly arise, the aggregate quotation of more than 500 verses across all of Wikipedia is somewhere between "quite unlikely" and "astoundingly unlikely" to cause problems for Wikipedia or the Foundation. Jclemens (talk) 21:15, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Or, as I've heard it said, unless its clearly a copyright violation (as the recent mass-scale CCI is revealing) we should not fear the development of WP over potential copyright issues until Mike Godwin says differently. --MASEM (t) 21:18, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Not fear the development of WP over potential copyright issues.... I'm not sure I follow you there. Unless there's a history of litigation here, so far as I can see, this policy is specifically about "potential copyright issues". Has it been established somewhere that using non-free images of living individuals is clearly a copyright violation, whereas using images of dead ones is not?
  • J, I think "that level of caution" (as relates to the question of whether each article on Wikipedia is its own publication or whether the collective is one entity) is no more than we owe to our project and our reusers. Copyright infringement cases hinge on substantial similarity; if the work being evaluated is the collection of articles, the usage is likely to be considerably more substantial. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 21:29, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Oh, I have no problem with you holding such a concern in good faith--I just believe that the opposite is the "reasonable man's" interpretation of what a publication is, and think it's a waste of time and a hindrance to the project to assume that everything will be going against such an interpretation. I concur with Masem, that until Foundation counsel specifically says that this is an issue (and I'd welcome you asking him), I just don't see it as one. Jclemens (talk) 22:56, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Generally, I try to bother Foundation counsel only when necessary, so he won't get sick of my bugging him when urgencies come up. But given the breadth of potential issues, I do think it might be worth asking him if we should regard Wikipedia as millions of individual publications or as a collection. I'll write him. (ETA: Have done. Will let you know if/how he responds.) Meanwhile, I disagree with you that it isn't an issue. It's simple enough to make transformative use of this text, as I suggested at the first (second?) (third?) conversation on this issue. We don't have to draw conclusions if we do that. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 23:19, 26 September 2010 (UTC)
    Mike responds that he doesn't believe there is a decisive legal answer to this question, though he thinks some courts would evaluate the articles independently. We're on our own with this one. I think it still falls into the category of "The legal reality of that can only be established, really, by the judgment of a court." --Moonriddengirl (talk)
    Thanks for doing that. Of course, it doesn't resolve anything, but that's par for the course when you ask a lawyer. :-) Jclemens (talk) 19:59, 27 September 2010 (UTC)
    It was a good idea to ask. :) You never know. There might have been a court case out there establishing precedent for this that we didn't know about and Mike did. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:18, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Yardley Talcum Powder image

Hi. I'm not versed in this area as well as others, but can this 1,296 × 2,304px image of a bottle of Yardley Talcum Powder really be entered into the public domain by an editor, given that it includes the logo of the company on one of his products? Wouldn't fair use be more appropriate than p.d., and only then at a much lower resolution? Just thought I'd point this out to those of you more knowledgeable in non-free image use. Nightscream (talk) 20:33, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I think the bottle itself is more functional than artistic (and therefore ineligible for copyright), while the logo would fall under de minimus, so it should be OK. -- King of ♠ 03:36, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Extensive quotes? Feedback requested

Hi. There's a question at WT:CP about the use of extensive quotations in Twilight Zone episodes. See Wikipedia talk:Copyright problems#Twilight zone episodes, please. We could use some conversation there, as it may help to shape the relevant project's guidelines, which currently recommend including the entirety of Serling's opening and closing narration. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:15, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

New essay

Following the recent debate over the non-free policy, I've started a new essay - Arguments to avoid in non-free image discussions - to have something as a rebuttal to the most common misunderstandings. At the moment it's partially in quote form, however at some point, I'll probably convert it to prose. Anyway, comments welcome. PhilKnight (talk) 19:43, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

Barry Bonds?

In section Wikipedia:NFC#UUI, item #7 seems wrong to me. The way it's written now, technically the restriction only applies to the Barry Bonds article and card. Shouldn't this say something like "A baseball card, to illustrate an article about the player. However..."

Am I misunderstanding? On any other page I'd just boldly make the edit, but I've never actually edited a guideline page before.... Qwyrxian (talk) 15:47, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Are you suggesting that if you made this change it would then only apply to baseball cards? Obviously not. The point of this section is to give some concrete examples which are illustrative of the more generally applicable principles. The specificity of this example does not take away from the principle it underlines; instead, in my view, it rather helpfully underlines the generalisable nature of all the examples in this section. Jheald (talk) 17:00, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
If that's the case, then the section needs a clear introduction that specifically states that these lists are just examples--I actually read this as a specific list of prohibitions. Even still, I don't think using "Barry Bonds" is any more clear than "A baseball player." In fact, I'd argue it just creates an unnecessary link to Bonds. Qwyrxian (talk) 22:23, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Qwyrxian. john k (talk) 00:02, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
I boldly added two statements to identify both acceptable and unacceptable example lists as non-exclusive lists. --MASEM (t) 00:08, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Flags, again

I recently ran across a city article in es:wiki which has an infobox for the city, with blanks for the flag and seal. Poking around, the policy of is to only use images on Commons. Commons only accepts free images. Does this section of the Paris Convention make flags, coats-of-arms, seals, etc., free images?

There's a discussion at Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive_72#Copyright.2C_unfree_images.2C_and_flag_cruft which makes it seem that if the flag or seal is copyright, that use in "flag cruft" is limited. However, use for illustrating an article about the locality/country which is symbolized by the flag or coat of arms seems to be a different sort of use than identifying the nationality (or regional origin) of a particular person. Argyriou (talk) 23:25, 5 October 2010 (UTC)