Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 50

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Continual reinsertion of NFC images found inappropriate

What's the normal method for dealing with this? A discussion has been held both at WP:NFCR and at Talk:Punk rock, both with the clear outcome that the nonfree images must be removed. However, two editors are continuing to reinsert the massive number of photos and sound clips regardless, on the grounds that each individual one has not been discussed.

What's the normal procedure in a situation like this? I'm not generally one to edit war, but this has really reached the point of ludicrousness. There's not only no consensus for the material, but a pretty good consensus against it. Having a couple of editors continually stall like this is just not going to work. The discussion has already drug over a couple of months, with little to no change in its outcome. Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:29, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Warn the editors in question they are violating consensus, and if they continue to attempt to force non-free content onto the article in violation of that consensus, they may find themselves blocked. Wait for their response. If they don't respond in a couple of days, but continue editing in general, remove the offending material. If they then restore the material again against consensus, giving them a more severe warning, like a level 4 equivalent. Raise the issue at WP:AN/I at that point, and ask for an uninvolved administrator to step in. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:11, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
  • The "outcome" at Talk:Punk rock has clearly been misrepresented, and Seraphimblade's preemptive removal of all the media invites the destabilization of a Featured Article, as no clear policy basis has ever been established for such removal—precisely because no policy problems have been raised with individual items. Seraphimblade's position and imagined consensus appear to be based on the notion that there is some redline for how much non-free media may appear in any given genre article, a notion that has no firm basis in our policy—an RfC to determine if such a redline does or should exist is the appropriate means to deal with the dispute. I will draft the RfC and post it forthwith.—DCGeist (talk) 20:37, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
DCGeist, did you review the discussion at WP:NFCR? Apparently, every other editor there agreed with my assessment and the method of discussion. You may disagree with the form it took, but you cannot unilaterally ignore its result if several others found it acceptable. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:53, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
Let's back up a second folks. The discussion centered around NFC content, not just images. As such, the consensus didn't necessarily reflect the same level of support for clips as it did for the removal music. So, I will divide my comments amongst the two media.
Images: I see no need to have disc covers and other copyrighted pictures of bands unless the images added contribute to the understanding of the subject. I can certainly understand the inclusion of certain album covers if they are discussed in the text of the article.
Music clips: I believe when you are discussing the history of a musical genre, you need to listen to said music in order to understand it. I think the way we are putting things into articles constitutes a link to said music, not an instance of WP:NFCC. The ONLY difference between a wikilink and the input of a music file into an article (or any other page, for that matter), is the ease of use. We may have separate rules, but I think it is worth revisiting them. IMHO, I think we can get rid of part of a portion of WP:NFCC when it pertains to audio clips; clips would have to have a reason to exist on WP, but beyond that, I see no need to restrict their use as a link (we already allow that). — BQZip01 — talk 21:12, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
NFC applies to all non-free media, so #3a about minimal use includes the net sum of images, audio, and video clips.
As to the use of non-free sound clips in an article on the history or sub-genres of a genre, while the most recognized clips may be from non-free sources, the fact that there are numerous bands that put out work under CC licenses means that, like with photos of living people, such samples are replaceable. This doesn't discount the clip on the page about the band itself or the song, of course. --MASEM (t) 22:23, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
This misunderstands something fundamental about the nature of CC music. It is possible to replace a large amount of pictorial material, because the musical acts are not the source of all pictures. It is different in the case of music. An uploaded CC file by, lets say an obscure, current artist, cannot replace a recording within its historical context or variety. There are also issues about verifiability and notability here and we clearly should not be giving space to acts simply because it is available without reliable sources to indicate its nature or their notability. We should certainly look for free alternatives, but, within the limits of NFCC #8 (and that is important) it may be possible to justify the inclusion of fair use of non-free samples. This can only really be done on an individual basis and in the context of a particular article.--SabreBD (talk) 22:50, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
No, not really. If you are talking the history of a genre, there's no need for sound samples, because "hearing" the music does not help with comprehending the history. If you are talking on the separate idea on the sub-genre's within a genre, free samples can replace non-free works. There may be few limited cases where a non-free is the only known way to present an idea within the genre breakdown, but most are replaceable. --MASEM (t) 23:26, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
The point is development. The fact is that hearing music does help with understanding that because it allows comparison and different elements, contrasts and changes to be understood in a way that description cannot convey. Replacing these with sample that claim that they fit a sub-genre cannot do that. A reader cannot understand the development from, for example, 60s blues rock to 70s heavy metal by listening to second rate (sorry but most CC music is that) versions created on modern instruments and recorded digitally in the last year.--SabreBD (talk) 00:01, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Masem, I couldn't disagree more. I was a music minor for a while and we listened to pieces all the time to understand better how music progressed. It is one thing to say "XYZ's music has been cited as the quintessential example of ABC music and was the first to featurea driving bass, eclectic upbeats, and m7/Augmented 9th chords." It is quite another to play a clip from XYZ's music. The difference between video and pictures being shown is that the image shown is copyrighted. In the case of music, there is nothing copyrighted that is shown. — BQZip01 — talk 01:28, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure how you figure that nothing copyrighted is contained in a sound clip as opposed to an image. Surely, as a musician, you are aware that music most certainly can be copyrighted? Seraphimblade Talk to me 01:30, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
I never said that. I said that nothing displayed is copyrighted. All that is there is a grey box, blue circle, and a triangle. — BQZip01 — talk 08:23, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
That is an irrelevant distinction in this case; because you just click to hear. And that is copyrighted content you're hearing. --Errant (chat!) 08:41, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
While well within our NFCC, I can give a wikilink to the exact same copyrighted content resulting in only 2 clicks needed or other copyrighted content that is similarly only "one click away". I don't see the distinction. I'm not saying it is wrong, but the logic behind not including things in articles is that we don't want non-free content to be used willy-nilly. If we are now judging links to be a violation, we need to reword our policies to make this distinction one way or another. — BQZip01 — talk 07:05, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Remember that any decent band page article will likely have one or two non-free samples on them. And I would expect that in genre articles numerous bands to be named and linked, and thus, those samples are a click away. But they are appropriate when talking about the band, but not about the genre in general. --MASEM (t) 01:35, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
In fact many band articles, even good ones, do not have media files on them. Nor necessarily should they, because the policy includes no blanket right for non-free material on any article and we certainly cannot construct articles on the basis that other articles will contain certain information, which is pretty unlikely do be the case. Such a line of thinking also assumes quite a lot of a reader, they have to click on a series of articles and (if the samples are there) compare them without any context or understanding the significance for the original article. Your suggestion that there is a point in readers looking for audio material from such and article is also a tacit acceptance that it might be of benefit to the reader, which opens up the possibility that it might, "significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic" (as the NFCC policy puts it). In which case the only way of assessing that is the same as for any article, it has to be justified in context. Which brings me back to my original point. I am not suggesting a blanket right to having such media on genre articles, quite the reverse, I am suggesting that the policy indicates that there should be full and careful rationales and contextual text in order to have any non-free sample on any sort of article. Where that is disputed it can only be resolved by achieving consensus on a case by case basis. That is in line with the policy: blanket rights or lack of them are clearly not.--SabreBD (talk) 07:52, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
It's not so much a blanket issue as it is that non-free music samples are overused, and the idea of replacing at least a majority of them with free samples is being rejected. I can understand maybe the use of a non-free sample of the song or band that originated a genre as a key definition, and possibly showing how one style morphed into another. But these have to be judicious; Wikipedia is not expected to be the end-all source for music theory (or any other topic), and thus it's not necessary to demonstrate every genre or transition if it requires non-free media to do that. I still believe that ultimately genre articles can avoid non-free media altogether, but in terms of going forward, there needs to be at least a reduction in place. --MASEM (t) 19:46, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
We are getting to some common ground here. There certainly is no need to illustrate every sub-section of an article with non-free samples. Also due diligence needs to be undertaken to make sure that free alternatives are found where possible. It also has to be an ongoing process as free material may become available in the future. There may be some instances where developments can only be illustrated with a non-free sample, but those need to be contextualised and effectively justified. The only way I can think of doing that is by discussion on individual cases. I should note that, if we rightly hold genre articles to these high standards, we have to expect the same standards in band and song articles.--SabreBD (talk) 08:00, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
Masem, what is the policy basis for your statement that "there needs to be at least a reduction in place"? A reduction from what number of NF media items to what exact lower number of NF media items is demanded by policy? It's a serious question. Please answer it, and please point to the element of our policy that supports your answer.
And who is to say that the present figure does not already represent such a reduction? The article could plausibly have two hundred embedded sound clips...or a hundred...or seventy-five...or fifty. But it doesn't. The number of clips representing this sprawling genre, encompassing thousands and thousands of different bands playing in very different styles, has been reduced to a mere fifteen.
Now you're satisfied, right? No? You're not? That's why we need an RfC. Is there a hard number we need to get below per our policy or not? What I'm trying to assess before I launch the RfC is whether the question should be limited to genre articles (the direction toward which Seraphimblade's argument points) or should be addressed to all articles (the direction toward which John's argument points). In any case, if there is no redline figure (which there is not in our policy at this time) there is simply no basis for removing media—media that abides by policy on an individual basis—en masse on the basis that there is supposedly "too much" of it.—DCGeist (talk) 09:31, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
You make a massive assumption about it being "media that abides by policy on an individual basis". So far as I'm aware, it's only you that believes this. J Milburn (talk) 10:46, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
There is no hard number because it's impossible to define; but when I read NFCC and what the Foundation wants, and see, say, more than a couple NFC uses (and this all depends on article type), I expect there to be strong justification why so many are needed when our goal is "minimal use" and what free replacements are possible, and likely where else on WP those images or media can be found to avoid creating excessive reuse. Don't read this as saying "2 is the maximum", because technically, every article should strive to use zero non-free images. --MASEM (t) 15:31, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

(indent reset) And so the fact remains, for the moment, they have to go, because they do not currently enjoy consensus to stay. If anyone wants to try and change that, they're welcome to, but clearly at this point that's not happened. It's not alright to ignore the outcome of a discussion because you think it should've been done "individually" or what have you. I've no problem engaging in any further discussion that anyone wants, but I'd like to return to my original point. When a discussion's run for several months, at least a majority (if not a consensus) agrees the media files are unacceptable, and they're then removed, does there come a time at which it would be inappropriate to put them back? Seraphimblade Talk to me 15:23, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

There is clearly an issue here. I suggest that, DCGeist, if you feel that the files should be discussed individually, you do so after having removed them. Assuming that at least some are used improperly, it is better to have too few than too many for a little while. Then the purpose of each file can be assessed on NFCC#8 and NFCC#1 grounds (IE- what the file is being used to show, does that absolutely need to be shown, and, if so, is it possible that it could be shown with free content?) There currently does not seem to be consensus for the files to be used, and so they should not be. Files can then be added back as appropriate as they receive individual attention. J Milburn (talk) 14:33, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
It would be a show of goodwill for the files to be removed until the specific references to the sound in the files are written into the accompanying main text, and probably into the captions too. I do not think NFCC8 is breached by the use of such historically valuable understanding gained by listeners by these short excerpts (and I do believe readers' understanding is damaged by not having the illustrative sound-files); but the educational value must be evident, and the number of files used (and the number of articles in which they are used with a FU claim) might need to be reconsidered. I note that people here are quite willing to let go (i.e., not bother policing) the FU-claimed use of currently top-10 tracks, where there is clearly more for the owner to lose commercially than by the inclusion of short excerpts from these old 1970s tracks. And I do believe the likelihood that commercial profit might be increased by exposing readers to "teasers", which might prompt them to buy whole albums, should also be considered. Please see my statement here. Tony (talk) 14:56, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
We should never consider the reason of promoting a work by providing a sound sample as a valid reason to include non-free media. It is not our place to promote or scrutinize commercial ventures. It may happen because of that, but that cannot be a primary goal. --MASEM (t) 15:11, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, Tony, that's not a particularly useful view. Blanket approval of non-free content in that manner is completely contrary to the NFCC, and it's exactly the blanket disapproval to which DCGeist objects in this case. In any case, you can't justify NFC by simply writing "specific references ... into the accompanying main text"- just because something is mentioned, does not mean it needs to be illustrated by non-free content. This isn't about music from different periods or about increasing anyone's profit, it's about our non-free content criteria, and whether specific uses of non-free content meet them. J Milburn (talk) 15:26, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
Errr ... did someone mention book covers? Tony (talk) 06:46, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Sooooooooooooo, we don't want to set a maximum, but everyone cries "OVERUSE!!!" Get a grip people. This is WHY we should have specific limits on NFC in an article. "Use the minimum" is so friggin nebulous that it CAUSES more problems than it solves. I've got no issue with 5 being the max, or 2, or 10, but SOMETHING has to be set to avoid discussions like this. As far as I'm concerned, we could easily create an "exception to policy" board that could review NFC usage beyond the set max. But I believe this suggestion will be overlooked/figuratively spat upon so we can "worship" at the almighty altar of free content. Folks, our goal is to create a QUALITY encyclopedia as well as a free one. The two are NOT exclusive goals. — BQZip01 — talk 07:05, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

RfC: How should the potential replaceability of non-free by free material be assessed when media of both types is available for an article?

In the case of articles where (a) the inclusion of non-free media accompanying the main text (i.e., outside any infobox) meets, or arguably meets, our policy criteria on an individual item-by-item basis and (b) applicable free media is also available, are the purposes of our non-free content policy (see WP:Non-free content criteria/Rationale) better served, when determining if non-free by free replacement is possible (see WP:Non-free content criterion 1/No free equivalent), by the application of which of the opposing principles:

  • that we look at the topic as a whole and if we can get any free media for a topic, all nonfree media for that topic is replaceable, or
  • that we look at the specific encyclopedic purpose served by a non-free item, each of which shall be assessed for the specific information it conveys about a topic, not as representative of the topic in its entirety?—DCGeist (talk) 23:13, 21 January 2011 (UTC)


This is a summary; more detail can be found in the immediately preceding RfC. This RfC, like that one, is specifically inspired by a dispute arising around the Featured Article punk rock, but it deals with a question potentially applicable to any Wikipedia article. The relevance to other genre articles is obvious; in addition, any article treating an artistic topic that involves the last three-quarters of the 20th century is likely to be affected.

The last community vetting of punk rock came in late 2006 and early 2007 with a Featured Article Review. It passed the FAR on January 18, 2007. At that time, the article contained 8 fair-use images and 15 fair-use audio clips. Three months ago a thread was launched on the article's Talk page, Talk:Punk rock#Non-free media overuse, which focused on the question of whether each fair-use item was used in a way that met our policy criteria. At that time, the article contained 5 fair-use images and 21 fair-use audio clips. Pursuant to the discussion that resulted, the article now contains 4 fair-use images and 14 fair-use audio clips, with raised standards of policy-abiding use and presentation.

As the debate proceeded, it turned from whether the use of each fair-use item met our policy criteria to whether the use of any non-free media at all was appropriate or not. A non-free content review was launched, whose initiator argued that the (presumed) existence of free media suitable for inclusion in the article automatically rendered all or virtually all of the existing non-free media in the article in violation of NFC policy criterion 1 (No free equivalent, aka "Replaceability"). The related argument was made that "even if no nonfree material existed, we could demonstrate what punk sounds like with a sample or two." This point of view appeared to attract some support; certainly the consequent claim that all or virtually all non-free media should be purged from the article did. Those opposing this point of view hold that it is unfounded in our policy, guidelines, or procedural norms, all of which indicate that each non-free item should be evaluated on its individual merits, specific encyclopedic purpose in the context of a given article, and particular relationship to the criteria.

Whichever of the following viewpoints is determined to more accurately reflect the will of the community, the language can readily be added to the guideline portion of our NFC master page, perhaps most effectively in the currently very brief Implementation and enforcement section.

Viewpoint 1: When determining if replacement is possible, we look at the topic as a whole. If we can get any free media for a topic, all nonfree media for that topic is replaceable.

Support (Viewpoint 1)

  1. Support, as any other interpretation renders the requirement for replaceability meaningless. If we allow hairsplitting, all nonfree content is irreplaceable if you split the hair fine enough ("Well no free media illustrates this moment/aspect/piece/band, so it's irreplaceable..."). The only way a check for replaceability has meaning is if we say "Is there free media for this topic? Then we cannot have nonfree." If someone would like to remove #1 entirely, they should just say so. But this is a backdoor method to rendering it totally unenforceable. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:01, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Oppose (Viewpoint 1)

  1. DCGeist (talk) 07:15, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  2. ClemRutter (talk) 11:18, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  3. No. This is total bullshit. Case in point: I've recently been working up an article on Katie Morag, the title character of a series of Scottish picture-storybooks. At the moment, the lead image for the article is Image:Katie Morag Delivers the Mail.jpg, the original cover of the first storybook in the series; which set the consistent look for the character, which has been retained through all the subsequent storybooks in the series. If we want somebody to know "what does Katie Morag look like", then it is that watercolour image that we are wanting them to get. Now I've also sent emails to try to get CC-BY-SA-3.0 clearance to use this image from Flickr, showing the cast of a Katie Morag stageshow. The stage show is not significant enough (in my view) for the stage show image to merit inclusion as NFC in its own right; but if I can get the pic relicensed, it would be a nice thing to include to show how the character and her environment was put over for that particular stage show. But it shows what that adaptation looks like; it would be entirely misleading if from that image the reader thought they knew what the Katie Morag of the books looked like, because it's only a crude stage approximation -- it conveys nothing of the delicacy and artistry of the original illustrations, which shape so much of the whole feel of the character as consistently rendered in the books. Jheald (talk) 21:28, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  4. Hard to believe anyone would try to uphold this--but I saw it, and keep seeing it, with my own eyes.--Know Your Product (talk) 01:28, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
  5. SabreBD (talk) 23:39, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
  6. Oppose. It is impossible to make a decision about replaceability without analysing a context the NFC is being used in. The article's topic may have multiple aspects, so the availability of free media on the topic does not guarantee that all aspects of the article's topic are illustrated by free media, and, consequently, that the article's encyclopaedic purpose is achieved by using just free media.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:26, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  7. No way. Would eviscerate much of the encyclopedia. And that's not "hairsplitting." DocKino (talk) 05:51, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  8. Very strong oppose. Absolutely not. For example, there is a free image of Madonna, but File:4MinutesVideo(G3).PNG is in no way replaceable. There is no logical sense to this point. Adabow (talk · contribs) 02:16, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  9. No, replacability is judged per use, not per article. For example, the use of a logo from a school is not supplanted by freely availible pictures of buildings of that school. The free pictures of the buildings in said articles does not invalidate the use of the copyright logo in that article. It would invalidate the use of copyright photos of the buildings, but insofar as there is no way to create a free version of the logo, both it and the free images should be allowed. --Jayron32 21:06, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  10. This just treats all images as decorative, as if their only value is simply giving an article any old image, rather than an image that illustrates a specific fact or element. This proposal seems to arise more from the ideological drive to get rid of nonfree images by any wording that will accomplish that. It does not reflect any understanding of what images actually contribute to an article. postdlf (talk) 15:08, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  11. Just because you have a single picture that illustrates a single portion of an article, it doesn't mean you cannot include a copyrighted video clip or audio recording. — BQZip01 — talk 07:10, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Comment (Viewpoint 1)

In terms of conceptual basis, I see none for this position in our policy or existing guidelines. In terms of practical effect, it would logically mean the immediate elimination of all non-free media not only from punk rock, not only from virtually every article covering an artistic genre or similar topic, but from virtually every other article covering a topic of any breadth that currently employs non-free media. I believe that clearly violates the consensus understanding of our policy, its intent, and its demands.—DCGeist (talk) 07:56, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

A puzzling extension of the policy and guidelines. WP:NFCC states that "Where possible, non-free content is transformed into free material instead of using a fair-use defense, or replaced with a freer alternative if one of acceptable quality is available", this implies that each piece would be replaced (assuming, I think, that the purpose was valid), or presumably it would say, "all non-free media can be replaced with a piece of free media" or something similar. The quality issue is also significant as one generic example is unlikely to replace several with a specific purpose of illustration - again assuming those purposes are valid. The "hairspitting" argument is also unconvincing to me as the counter case would be to say that this argues that "any free media replaces all aspects of this topic". The solution must be to actually view things in the context of the article. No need to junk #1, but to bear in mind the clause about "encyclopedic purpose" already in there.--SabreBD (talk) 23:39, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Viewpoint 2: When determining if replacement is possible, we look at the specific encyclopedic purpose served by a non-free item. Each non-free item accompanying an article's main text (i.e., outside an infobox) shall be assessed for the specific information it conveys about a topic, not as representative of the topic in its entirety.

Support (Viewpoint 2)

  1. Rational. This is how the policy and the system indicated by the guidelines is set up.--Know Your Product (talk) 01:30, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
  2. SabreBD (talk) 23:39, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
  3. Support. That is exactly what the policy already says: NFC is used when the encyclopaedic purpose of the article is not fully achieved without it. Therefore, the use of NFC in each particular case should be analysed in the context of the article's encyclopaedic purpose. Otherwise "free equivalent" would become just "free replacement". However, since "replacement" (by contrast to "equivalent") can be both adequate and non-adequate, some free replacement may have a detrimental effect on the articles. The proponents of the viewpoint #1 forget about that.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:16, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  4. Support, and explicitly choosing this over viewpoint 3 below. While I appreciate the idea that "low concentration" of non-free media is desirable, it invites the side-effect that a "little bit" of non-free media in every article is fine, which is not a good idea. Every piece of non-free media should explicitly justify itself as clearly useful to the reader. SDY (talk) 00:43, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  5. Support. We look at any piece of media for the specific information it delivers, the specific purpose it serves, to determine if it is replaceable. When there are multiple items, yes, we compare them to each other to make sure we're not violating 3a. DocKino (talk) 05:55, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  6. Support. Duh. There is no way that you can cast a generalising guideline over a whole topic. Every inclusion of non-free media should be discussed on a case-by-case basis. Adabow (talk · contribs) 10:55, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  7. Absolutely. --Jayron32 21:07, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
  8. This seems obvious; it's entirely about the information the image provides within the article. It's not about whether the article has any old image. postdlf (talk) 15:04, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  9. We should use common sense? Uh...sure — BQZip01 — talk 07:11, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Oppose (Viewpoint 2)

Comment (Viewpoint 2)

Viewpoint 3 (by User:Masem)

We use a bit more than just 2 (the case-by-case) approach in that the number of NFC used for an article can play a role in how the case-by-case is evaluated; the less NFC used, the more lenient we tend to be with inclusion with a weaker rational; on the other hand, over a certain, undefinable threshold, each new NFC added will be under more and more scrutiny. This is simply a matter of appreciating the concept of "minimal use" per WP:NFCC#3.

Support (Viewpoint 3)

Oppose (Viewpoint 3)

  1. Not really, this isn't a case of having a bright-line limit (or even a fuzzy one) whereby the third NFC image is OK, but the fourth one is over the line. The use of the image should be judged of its own accord; either it is appropriate or not. I can't conceive of a situation where 20 or 30 NFC images would be needed in an article, but I also think its a bad idea to set some sort of hard limit on how many is "too much". Judge each use. --Jayron32 21:09, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
    As soon as you say I can't conceive of a situation where 20 or 30 NFC images would be needed, you've demonstrated that this approach is actually in play. But as I've emphasized below, there is no way to begin quantify that number because I think it will be different for every user. This is more word of advice - that as humans we will review case-by-case but our minds will inevitably consider the number of non-frees in an article during this review. It's not neither a good nor bad thing, but only something to be aware of if you start dumping non-frees into an article. --MASEM (t) 15:27, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
    If anyone wants an example of an article where large numbers of NFC images are in use, consider some of our articles on banknotes of particular countries, which regularly come right at the top of Betacommand's scan list. There is essentially no legal problem with our use of these images (nor any problem for our downstream re-users); they are not replaceable by free images; they clearly add significantly to the informational value of our article to readers; and nobody out in the real world thinks any the less of Wikipedia for our using them. So our NFCC as currently drawn are doing a good job, even if there may be some pages with high numbers of NFC images. Jheald (talk) 15:57, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  2. If an article is improved by ten images and has enough commentary to justify it all, then it should use ten images notwithstanding the trite fact that nine, eight, or seven are numerically fewer. If we're already limiting ourselves to images that can't be replaced for the purpose that they serve, I fail to see the merit to this proposal, other than satisfying some abstract ideology that abhors the use of non-free content. So what is the concrete benefit? Has anyone documented, for example, that it is harder for a downstream user to filter out five nonfree images than six? For that matter, if that is the concern, has anyone actually explored ways to make it easier for downstream users to filter out nonfree images? postdlf (talk) 15:13, 25 January 2011 (UTC)
  3. The number does not matter; the rationales do. I've never given an article with two non-free images a pass because it could have had a lot more. Each rationale should be held to the same standard; if you can get away with compelling rationales for ten non-free pieces of content, more power to you. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 15:35, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Comment (Viewpoint 3)

I concur with the gist of Masem's viewpoint. The more NF media there is in a given article, the more each one needs to be scrutinized for whether the encyclopedic purpose it serves abides by criterion 3a (Multiple items of non-free content are not used if one item can convey equivalent significant information). Still, that scrutiny takes (or should take) place on an item-by-item basis, and calls for an understanding of what significant information each distinct item conveys, not by a priori dismissal if any free media exists that is applicable to some aspect of the article, and not as if every media item serves and can only serve the same encyclopedic purpose of representing the article topic in its entirety.—DCGeist (talk) 07:13, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

I am fine with the concept that the more NFC on a page the more scrutiny should be used. Again we are using a example from film, media and music my interest is with valuable historical images from defunct companies and the criteria there does need to be very different. Yes it is important that the image relates directly to the text, and a degree of specialism is needed to recognise the link. There do appear to be many classes of NFC (I have just come School badges in the UK! and appalled at the standard of rationales)- I think the various volunteer deletionistas should be cautious if they are inexperienced in the topic. Back to communication- publishing examples of borderline cases would be helpful.--ClemRutter (talk) 11:35, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
I wonder if we can we get a little more clarity on viewpoint 3, so that it reads like a definitive statement like the other 2? Not quite sure what I might be assenting to here. Perhaps another version as a clear proposal and then this moves down to the support section?--SabreBD (talk) 13:36, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Apparently not. I cannot agree with this as it stands. I can see the point being made here, but I think we should hold all non-free media to the same high standards. I do not see this can be inferred from the policy as it stands.--SabreBD (talk) 23:42, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm more with DCGeist on this. In my view the key barrier the addtional items must face is NFCC #8 -- they must add significantly to understanding in some way that significantly adds beyond the content that is already there. I don't see this as raising the bar that NFCC #8 represents (in the way Masem's comment suggests); rather, that the existing content will in itself make it harder for new content to pass NFCC #8, even though the bar is set at the same level. The more content there is, the more likely that the weakest content may not be individually be contributing something appropriate and additional. Jheald (talk) 21:48, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

What I'm trying to say is not that we can quantify this "higher barrier for further NFCC", only that realistically, I've seen few challenges when there's one NFC used in an article, and a heck of a lot of discussion on the numbers when a lot of NFC is used in an article. Everything still has to meet all 10 NFCC aspects, and you can't get away with a weak-ass rational if you only use one NFC image. But as human editors, we'll lax a bit when the issue is not egregious. --MASEM (t) 21:53, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Although I generally agree with the Masem's point of view, I don't think I see any serious difference between this viewpoint and the viewpoint #2. I would say, Masem just developed the viewpoint #2 and made it more consistent with what the policy states. I support this the viewpoint #2 in its Masem's edition.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:02, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
Yea, if someone required me to support 2, I would do so in a heartbeat. But realistically, I've seen FACs where one non-free with a weak (but acceptable) rational gets by, while when many NFC images are used, each image is put under a microscope. Should this really be the way? It shouldn't but it's also impossible to iterate in policy. --MASEM (t) 00:25, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Viewpoint 4 (by User:ErrantX)

This is a very vaguely worded RFC which is also meant to clarify a specific case? Hmm... I will try and deal with both in my viewpoint.

In terms of the questions posed by the RFC, I think there is no binary option. When a large amount of non-free media is used on an article we should pause and consider if that use is in the spirit of our deliberately strict NFCC rules, particularly the rule on sparse use. Where non-free media is available for specific cases that should always be used without question. Where non-free media is available within a topic, but not to highlight the specific point this should be treated on a case-by-case basis. It should be carefully weighted against the importance of the content to the topic, the importance of the media in highlighting the content (i.e. is it possible the text does justice without) and whether it is possible to replace the content in the future (i.e. our usual approach to NFC). The fact that free media exists in general does not, I feel, automatically preclude non-free media use in specific cases - but it should be part of the weight against non-free use. In a topic with a lot of non-free media we should be carefully asking if all of the non-free media really desperately is required.

In the specific example used in the RFC (this is useful, actually to give an example to my general answer above):

  • Free media should be used to demonstrate general points where possible
  • Artwork should be used sparingly to highlight specific critical commentary of the most important album covers (etc.)
  • Non-free audio should be used sparingly alongside critical commentary of the most important aspects of the genre (to be specific; simply stating facts about and important song would not be enough, the content would have to specifically discuss the music - perhaps an unusual instrument or technique used for the first time - and the media should be important to understand the text) --Errant (chat!) 11:10, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Support (Viewpoint 4)

Oppose (Viewpoint 4)

Comment (Viewpoint 4)

Viewpoint x (by User:User)

Support (Viewpoint x)

Oppose (Viewpoint x)

Comment (Viewpoint x)


What is the point of this RfC? I think it's fairly clear what it means for non-free content to be "replaceable"... J Milburn (talk) 01:22, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

What is the point of your comment? There is obviously a deep difference of opinion among experienced editors over what it means for non-free content to be "replaceable" in the sort of circumstance described above. I am pleased to hear that you think the answer is "fairly clear." What is fairly clear to you? That Viewpoint 1 or Viewpoint 2 is right?—DCGeist (talk) 07:04, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Viewpoint two, except that I can't work out what that "infobox" clause is all about. Non-free images in infoboxes also have to meet the NFCC. This whole enterprise seems to be a very roundabout way to say "HAH! SEE! I CAN DO WHAT I WANT ON PUNK ROCK!" J Milburn (talk) 09:51, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Do you really consider that gratuitous personal aspersion beneficial to this process? That's sad.
Do you really have any basis for characterizing my attitude as you have, given, for instance, that the use of audio clips in the article has been reduced by a third since November? That's silly.
Do you really not see how the issue under discussion applies to a large group of articles? That's baffling.
As for the infobox caveat, that recognizes that the general terms of analysis are somewhat different and an infobox image is intended to play a unique role, as "representative of the topic in its entirety."
So, if there's any more LOUD COMMENTS you'd like to make about my character or attitude, I invite you to make them on my Talk page or via email (you can find my address on my profile page). Let's try to keep this RfC clear of that stuff.—DCGeist (talk) 22:13, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
This whole thing has been incredibly angry and confrontational. That's not my fault, but I'm sure plenty of us have ideas about whose fault it is. Yes, I'm being sarcastic, yes, I'm probably not helping much, but it's a massive coincidence that you've suddenly taken such a close interest in the NFCC at the same time someone tried to enforce the policy on an article you wrote. This RfC is literally about semantics, while the article in question remains populated with unwarranted non-free images/media files. J Milburn (talk) 17:52, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

What is interesting is that Seraphimblade's perception of how to serve the rationale of our policy and my own are not as radically different as this particular dispute, deep as it is, suggests. For instance, I am the primary contributor to and FAC nominator of the Featured Article baseball, which has 17 items of media content—every one of them free. Similarly, I am the primary contributor to the Good Article United States, which has 35 items (give or take) of media content—again, every single one of them free.

What is the difference between those broad topics and broad topics like rock music genres (e.g., punk, heavy metal), 20th-century visual art movements (e.g., abstract expressionism, pop art), and cinematic genres (e.g. film noir)? The difference is that the latter are among a sizable group of articles that treat topics that are both (a) media-centric and (b) modern.

What do I mean by those terms?

  • (a) By "media-centric", I mean that they cover topics where multiple items of creative media content (i.e., of the type often copyrighted) are not just of potential help and interest to readers (as in, say, United States or baseball), but vital to a fully informed, comprehensive understanding of the topic and to a high-quality, 21st-century encyclopedia. These would tend to be articles in the fields of, to use the FA categories, "Art, architecture and archaeology", "Media", "Music", and, I imagine, "Video gaming".
  • (b) By "modern", I simply mean that much, most, or virtually all of the creative media content that has significant encyclopedic value and is capable of conveying verifiably significant information was in fact produced with copyright and remains under copyright.

(It's worthwhile to point out a significant exception amid this group: Architecture is media-centric and much of it is modern, but given its nature, encyclopedically valuable free images conveying verifiably significant information are usually readily producible. And nothing here is to be taken as a defense of the clearly unwarranted galleries at the bottom of abstract expressionism and pop art.)

I believe that the practical approach we take in balancing the different elements of our NFC policy rationale and our dual mission of freedom and excellence must be different when it comes to articles that treat broad topics both media-centric and modern and articles that treat broad topics of other sorts. I believe our NFC language acknowledges that not all article topics can be treated in the same way and safeguards different, though necessarily judicious, assessments of proper balance for different sorts of topics.—DCGeist (talk) 08:37, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

Point of order NFC is not policy, it is simply a guideline on best practice in order to meet the policy WP:NFCC Fasach Nua (talk) 17:41, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, much of this discussion surrounds the interpretation of aspects of NFCC (partiicularly #1 and #3). It's just that the discussion started here at WT:NFC. --MASEM (t) 18:17, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
Remember, we have to balance the Foundation mission to create free content against the need of an encyclopedia. The Foundation Resolution has clearly set a line that a media-centric topic does not gain any special "privilege" of having non-free content over any other type of article; it's not the topic that allows the use of image but the use of the image that defines if it is appropriate. I would fear that any method of defining a "media-centric" article type that has weaker allowances for non-free image would be gamed all over the place. As such, it is still case-by-case. --MASEM (t) 18:17, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
In my understanding, the question is not in some "privileges". The problem is that for some topics a vast amount of free media is available, whereas for other topics the media is copyrighted, and no non-free media can be produced.
In addition, I fully support the DCGeist's idea that the articles and the topics should be treated individually (of course, within the limits set by NFCC), and the idea to develop simple, uniform and formal guidelines that would automatically determine if NFC is replaceable or not is absolutely flawed.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:29, 24 January 2011 (UTC)
More to the point, there are some articles (like the banknote articles I've raised above) where, to coin a phrase, the media are the message. It's not that such articles are privileged, it's just in the nature of the subject that the additional images do each add something of significant informational value to readers, and the real-world copyright taking that they represent is very slight. Jheald (talk) 16:05, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Question about NFCC#2

I have a question about how to correctly understand something in NFCC#2. I've looked through the talk archives for the past year, but if my question is one that was answered before, please feel free just to point me to the appropriate archived talk location.

Anyway, it says: "Non-free content is not used in a manner that is likely to replace the original market role of the original copyrighted media." My question is about "likely to replace". How do we (Wikipedia) assess that likelihood? How do we draw the line between likely and unlikely?

Thanks. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:37, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

The best example are press agency and stock footage photos (eg stuff from Getty Images), ones that are normally purchased by newspaper agencies or the like to accent articles. Their businesses are to sell those images, and thus for us to reuse them, we'd be replacing their role. The few we do use (see File:WW2 Iwo Jima flag raising.jpg for example) are generally cleared by special means for use here on WP. --MASEM (t) 23:50, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
A photograph taken by a freelance photographer and owned and represented by that photographer or his/her estate is also a prime example. In general, two-dimensional works intended primarily for commercial reproduction (as opposed to, say, oil paintings or watercolors) and to generate market value for themselves (as opposed to, say, work-for-hire publicity photos created to increase the market value of other media or people) also fall into the "likely to replace" zone: e.g., editorial cartoons, newspaper-style comic strips, informational graphics. Stock sound effects under commercial license would be the prime audio example.—DCGeist (talk) 09:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
There are also examples that do not involve money at all, but where our use of the image may still undermine its original market role. Suppose I run a website about ancient now-demolished buildings in southern Poland. In my website, as a companion to my texts, I post pictures of the buildings from my own private collection. If the Wikipedia article about one of these buildings uses my picture (it's irreplaceable, some will cry), there will be less people visiting my site. Wikipedia's use has made the image less useful for its owner, and that's wrong.
Note that the site could even be non-commercial. It's not (only) about the money. The original market role of my pictures could be simply to build me a reputation, or inflate my ego, whatever. As long as Wikipedia is using my work to build a website that takes away a part of my potential users, it's not a fair use of my work. --Damiens.rf 12:48, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
OK, thanks all three of you for your answers. In my original question, I asked about how we "draw the line". I can understand all of these examples as being cases where it is clearly likely to replace the original market role. But what about cases that are closer to the line, where it is not as clear? Criterion 3B seems to allow some partial intrusions into the market role, when only part of the original work is used (screenshots, single frames from a comic book, etc.), or where the resolution of the image is reduced below the market version. How is the line drawn, between being a small enough part of the work to be acceptable, and too large a part that it becomes unacceptable? --Tryptofish (talk) 21:31, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I think there is a threshold on the amount of commercial interest above which any rationale for fair use would be preempted for legal reasons (i.e. compliance with U.S. fair use). Below that, however, it's a holistic approach; for two images with the same commercial interest, one might be kept because it is more relevant/irreplaceable, while the other might be deleted. For instance, showing a company's logo on its article almost never hurts the company commercially. But when the company switches to a new logo, we typically delete the old logo (unless the logo itself is notable enough for critical commentary) and replace it with the new one. The company owns both logos equally and our use of either would not deprive them of commercial opportunities, but the new logo is kept because it is more significant in improving the reader's understanding of the topic. -- King of ♠ 04:32, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, although it seems to me that a company's logo isn't really a borderline case. It's almost like Wikipedia giving the company a tiny bit of free advertising. I cannot imagine a circumstance in which a business would feel that the inclusion of their company logo in the Wikipedia article about the company would hurt their business. I'm getting the impression, increasingly, that calling this a "holistic" approach is really a euphemism for the fact that we just have to decide these things case-by-case, where it may be more a matter of which editors show up to discuss a deletion, than of how policy can consistently guide decisions. --Tryptofish (talk) 18:14, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree, we're not talking about the commercial interest/promotion/etc. of including media related to a company or its products. NFCC#2 is specially aimed at images which are commercial works aimed to be sold as images to end-users, and not so much trademarks or artwork used in conjunction of selling of other products (eg books, albums) to users. --MASEM (t) 18:26, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

Blanket/grouped non-free rationales

I've come across a number of cases where editors are grouping rationales under a single umbrella (example). WP:NFCC #10c requires a separate, specific non-free rationale for each use. So in this example we have an otherwise apparently valid rationale (I think it's being used inappropriately, but let's assume it's acceptable). Then, for the other uses we have a list of other articles where it is used, apparently attempting to tie the 'valid' rationale to the list, indicating the rationale above is the rationale for the other items in the list. My first inclination is to remove the list, as they are not valid rationales under 10c. Thoughts? --Hammersoft (talk) 16:05, 1 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree its pragmatically wrong. It needs a separate rationale for each use, even if all but the article title is the same for each. I'm not commenting on the exact nature of the use, but the file page needs to be tagged/fixed to generate all those rationales. I don't think outright deletion of the listed uses is necessarily a good thing because, humanly, the intent is there and I understand what it means, but #10c requires it outlined a specific way. --MASEM (t) 16:19, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I would have to agree with you two. There need to be a separate rationale even though that's annoying to do. Like Masem said, it can be the same reason every time, but it has to be there. JDDJS (talk) 20:50, 1 February 2011 (UTC)
I am not in favor of many, if any, of the pre-existing template FURS. I understand the concept of cut and pasting something to save time, but the policy and guidelines are clear that a separate FUR must be provided for each use. Not only that but it should also explain how/why the non-free content meets *all 10* of the criteria. File:CymruCGA.png is beyond even the template/cut and past - it is just not acceptable at all based on what is laid out. (Although if one were to only read the "in a nutshell" description of this guideline page it certainly does adhere to "It has a valid rationale indicating why its usage would be considered fair use within Wikipedia policy and US law." But that is not a fully accurate "nutshell" description, IMO) (EDIT: Oh, and to be clear I agree with Hammersoft - "remove the list, as they are not valid rationales under 10c") Soundvisions1 (talk) 23:17, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Sydney AFL

is a complete disaster, it has a lot of miss-tagged files, and users claiming copyright on things that they dont hold copyright. ΔT The only constant 14:28, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Meaning of "Discography"

How does allowed use in commentary vs disallowed use in discography apply to a summary-style section of an article about the performer that links to more detailed specific articles about the items in the discography? Particular article that brought this to mind is the album-covers placed throughout The Monkeys (discussion at Talk:The Monkees#Excessive use of copyrighted album covers). DMacks (talk) 10:34, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Uses like that are rarely going to be legitimate. If the cover itself is of significance (and, therefore, discussed at some length) then it may be a useful addition, otherwise, it almost certainly won't be. J Milburn (talk) 11:16, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
My personal opinion is what J Milburn says - If the cover itself is of significance (and, therefore, discussed at some length) then it may be a useful addition - is 100% on the mark. However due to a recent RFC concerning exactly the wording you being up (Acceptable use - Images, Number 1 - "for identification only in the context of critical commentary of that item (not for identification without critical commentary).") the seemingly overwhelming opinion is that "critical commentary" means is that the subject of the article is the required "critical commentary". In short if the article is about a performers albums than it is allowable to show those albums. Despite a seeming consensus on that I still disagree that is the accurate definition of "critical commentary" as is most often used at Wikipedia. I have always, and still do, feel it means exactly what J Milburn has said. Soundvisions1 (talk) 14:56, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
The album art in The Monkees is not being used for anything beyond pure decoration—the lot can be deleted with no damage towards the comprehension of the rest. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 16:12, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

RfC: non-free galleries

WP:NFG: "The use of non-free images arranged in a gallery or tabular format is usually unacceptable, but should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Exceptions should be very well-justified and alternate forms of presentation (including with fewer images) strongly considered." appears to conflict with WP:VAMOS: "Galleries are often necessary within the body of a VA article. These galleries should relate clearly to the text, be proportionate to it and provide adequate information in the captions. Galleries are important, not just for decoration, but to reinforce and amplify the meaning of the article and to demonstrate meaning and nuance, which cannot be made by words alone."

we have a conflict with art of artists dead 70 years with many galleries, and living artists and their art in the public space, with "no galleries"

proposed solution: ammend WP:NFG to "except for galleries following the VAMOS" Slowking4 (talk) 15:37, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

I totally agree with Slowking bringing this up. As a person who writes a lot of articles about public art, it's really frustrating that gallery space is not allowed for these new artworks. These images are not being used for any other reason except to show users how these works of art are constructed. I think it'd be great to have a special exception for visual arts, or sculpture at the least. Missvain (talk) 16:03, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Not only no, but HELL NO, these galleries are "decoration", and thus fail NFCC#8. ΔT The only constant 16:08, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Definitely no. We don't make special exemptions for specific fields. There may be exceptional cases where a gallery of wholly or partial non-free may be acceptable but this is, as stated, very exceptional, and certainly cannot be allowed in general even for a specific area. --MASEM (t) 16:13, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Nope. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 16:16, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Not surprised by the sudden short responses. Exceptions or not, I appreciate the idea of discourse about the subject being a possibility. Again, as stated above: "Galleries are important, not just for decoration, but to reinforce and amplify the meaning of the article and to demonstrate meaning and nuance, which cannot be made by words alone." Expanded upon descriptions of each side of the work of art is easily doable. But, again, I'm not surprised this is going to go nowhere! What constitutes "very exceptional?" And who is "We?" ;-) Missvain (talk) 16:26, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
    • I'm not saying this is the perfect case as the article's tagged with a problem, but Stanley Kubrick, section "Trademark characteristics", uses galleries of non-free to show two different common themes across several films. The significant of that common theme is described by the text, and because it is primarily a visual theme and difficult to state in words, there's some reasonable allowance for that. Again - I can't say if this is a truly allowable case, but the contrast-and-compare alongside sourced discussion is a necessary first step to even begin consideration for allowing these. --MASEM (t) 16:34, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I would agree with the "no" opinion/s as well. This is exactly the type of thing I spoke of n another discussion when I said Wikipedia has a non-free content policy that starts to become watered down when specific interest groups (projects) starts to make there own exceptions specific to that project. A visual artist may have their own style but that does not/should not mean automatic use any one non-free image let alone several of them in a "gallery" mode. Soundvisions1 (talk) 16:28, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • comment i'm not surprised that you would want supremancy of NFG over a MOS that directly contradicts your deletion rationale: i suggest that without a spirit of compromise, you will be fighting this fire until hell freezes over. bonne chance Slowking4 (talk) 16:45, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Minimization of NFC is set by the Foundation, consensus cannot override that. --MASEM (t) 16:47, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict) Strong No From a legal standpoint, copyright policy trumps just about everything. There are justifications for the use of multiple non-free images on a page, but almost never in gallery format, and never (as in really there are 0 cases) in a gallery format with no accompanying descriptions of the images. Images are used to aid in the ability of users in gaining critical understanding and encyclopedic knowledge of depicted subject. Let's take for example the page Futurama, a good article with four non-free images. Each non-free image has a specific purpose, is placed in the relevant section, connected with text in the article, and given a thumbox description. This is acceptable, as the images aid the user's understanding of core parts of the article. Contrast that with the page that sparked this debate. My edit summary is indicative of my position, "Removed gallery. These images are not of such a high encyclopedic content as to justify fair use. One is sufficient." The current version has two images, the sculpture as a whole, and a detail of the love seat, no longer in a gallery, which is supported by text in the article. While I don't even think the second one is necessary, an argument can be made, so it might as well stay. No valid argument can be made for the inclusion of the gallery though, or of five non-free images in a page of that size. Therefore, in conclusion I will repeat: there are justifications for the use of multiple non-free images on a page, but almost never in gallery format. Sven Manguard Wha? 16:52, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
    • then this is a argument for moving the images into the body of the article, rather than removing and deleting them as you did. does deleting fair use images make it a better encyclopedia? or merely make you feel "safer"? i see you all like straw men. my edits are fully justified by the text [1] Slowking4 (talk) 16:54, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
      • No, because the question becomes: do the additional 4 pictures, even if sprinkled in the body of the article, enhance the reader's understanding anymore? That answer for that specific case is certainly no, as the article stands now. Maybe, say, there's significant discussion of one specific feature of the sculpture could a closeup image be included in addition to the full shot, but that's not evident right now. --MASEM (t) 16:58, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Surely the absolute best encyclopedia would have professional photography and writing. Why create text when we could just steal from Britanica? Why take pictures ourselves, when we could just steal from the best? The reason is probably 3-fold. 1) there are legal and ethical reasons not to do so 2) for better or worse, we have decided to be the free encyclopedia, which has its own limitations, and thus clearly favor free content in most instances 3) there is some pride to be had on user created, volunteer content. So clearly, you do have a point that we could have a better encyclopedia by including various non-free content, but it just wouldn't be Wikipedia if we had it your way. Keep in mind why we are all here, and the mission of Wikipedia, to be the free encyclopedia, and how we do have to compromise content at times in favor of our ideals. -Andrew c [talk] 03:21, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
        • now here's where we disagree: those pictures sure do enhance my understanding. how you can assert that one photo is the maximum allowable to show a 3D artwork? i thought mechanical drawing required three views? and fair use of works in public space, is qualitatively different from screen shots from films for which admission is charged. the gatekeeper mindset makes the encyclopedia worse. you wonder why expert editors like Missvain leave WP, and dislike the toxic environment? rather than death by a thousand cuts, just delete the whole project, since it is contradicting your "copyright anxiety". fair use where art thou? Slowking4 (talk) 17:30, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Fair use is alive and well in the real world - but this is Wikipedia. You must remember that:
  • 1. To minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content, using more narrowly defined criteria than apply under United States fair use law. (Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria)
  • 2.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. (Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria)
  • 3.Some usage of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright holder can qualify as fair use in the United States (but not in most other jurisdictions). However, since Wikipedia aims to be a free-content encyclopedia, not every image that qualifies as fair-use may be appropriate. (Wikipedia:Image use policy)
If the "toxic environment" is bothersome due to the policies the first step would be to change the actual policy. However in the case of non-free material at Wikipedia it is the Wikimedia Foundation that has set the bar for its use at Wiki based projects - which is that such material "must be minimal" in order "to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge." Soundvisions1 (talk) 17:43, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
i am fully congnisant of the law, and the more strict policy. i was trying to nudge policy, and i see the gatekeepers are adamant. i don't see how four images in a gallery are not minimal to describe a three dimentional work of art. there's policy, and then there's the snide remarks: "This image can be justified by the text, barely;" "These images are not of such a high encyclopedic content as to justify fair use. One is sufficient." this is the kind of edit summary that would give me pause. i reckon that MissVain is the expert of encyclopedic content of works of art, in this conversation. i see there is no reason here, but wikilawyering. Slowking4 (talk) 17:58, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
MissVain might be an expert on the subject matter. That does not make any difference in matters of the Wikimedia Foundation's mission and resolution. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 18:33, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
you quote policy; however, you fail to address the fact you have a subject matter expert who believes that the images add to the encyclopedic content. who are you to shout her down? does "minimize" mean whatever you say it means, or are you open to a good faith discussion? a reasonable person might well come to an unflattering conclusion. mission, really now? i do see the resolution though. Slowking4 (talk) 18:54, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Please do not imply that we are not acting in good faith. It is because I assume good faith that I have not resorted to clearer language. That ends now:
Slowking4, you are wrong. Every single other person that has commented here has told you the same exact thing. Fair use is not something to be toyed with or nudged. It is law which Wikipedia has to abide by, and it is WMF policy, both of which overrule guidelines, which the Manual of Style is, and consensus, which is what you are trying to achieve here. This is not something we follow because we want to. I'd love to use non-free images on tons of things. However it is something we unequivocally cannot do. Please drop this. By your own admission, this isn't going to change.
I don't like having to be that blunt. I'm not out inflict pain on other people. Fair use, however, is one of a core of about a dozen policies set in stone, not because they are always convenient or useful, but because Wikipedia would be inundated with lawsuits and complaints, and eventually completely shut down without them. Fair use is up there with the rest of the policies on copyright, libel, and illegal content, which are set by the government, not by Wikipedia, and thus are almost completely out of our control. Please do forgive me for being so intractable on this. I'm willing to work within the constraints of fair use as much as I am able, but the lines, for what it's worth, were well drawn before either of us ever edited Wikipedia. Sven Manguard Wha? 22:38, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
i don't see the difference in your language. i'm not seeking consensus: i am pointing out that you have a conflict between NFG and VAMOS. you can either clarify NFG, or strike the language at MOS and insert "you may use only one NF image". to shout that you are right and others are wrong, when there is no evidence in the policy, is not reasonable. I am refering to:
"3.a.Minimal usage. Multiple items of non-free content are not used if one item can convey equivalent significant information.
b.Minimal extent of use. An entire work is not used if a portion will suffice. Low- rather than high-resolution/fidelity/bit rate is used"
now, it is reasonable to say either: four images are minimum (per Missvain); or 3 images are minimun per drawing principles of 3D objects; or one image is minimum (per Sven); or no images are minimum per reductio ad absurdum.
Fair use is case law, that has changed and will change: Policy is more restrictive, that has changed and will change. There is nothing written in stone: even written inscriptions are erased; even the servers have archive issues. But no, i did not expect that you gatekeepers would change: rather, there will be consensus standards of practise among creative professionals and their law professors about fair use; these will challenged by the impecunious bar; these will be sustained by judges as a safe harbor, for use by good faith creative professionals; these will be incorporated by the Foundation when the creative professionals wrest control from the amateur lawyers. Save the fear mongering for Halloween. i am so afraid that David Black is going to complain and create legal work for the foundation. if you agreed to my clarification, there would a big yawn, noone would care but Missvain. (and the encyclopedia would be better for it) you could prove me wrong by producing the first OTRS ticket about a public work of art. i doubt there are any. now the foundation could go more towards the center line of fair use, and this would create more legal work for them as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ransom notes pile up. but given the good faith processes in place, i doubt that a plaintiff could prevail. in any event, WP is at no existential threat from this. "Minimize legal exposure: Voluntarily adhering to standards stricter than actual law is likely to minimize any litigation." dream on, you underestimate the rent seeking of the bar, they will go where the money is, regardless of where the line is drawn. rather than trolling recent changes, and crisis management, WP would be better to proactively review old content using commonsense, but will that will never happen, will it? Slowking4 (talk) 18:47, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Right, so after reading that block of text, let me sum up what you said: "I, realizing that not a single person here agrees with me, am going to make a vague and jumbled argument while repeating my attack on non-existent "gatekeepers" that seem to be impeding me." Okay, reality check. There are no gatekeepers, we're not wikilawyering, and the reason that everyone seems to be ganging up on you is because you're wrong. You can deny it, but I don't see anyone disagreeing with me on that point except for you.
In the simplest possible terms, and yes I know I'm dumbing down a lot to get a point across, the MOS says that image galleries are good, and the fair use policy says that images must be justified (i.e. that non-free image galleries are bad.) There is a clear heiarchy between guidelines, which the MOS is, and policy, which fair use is. Policy wins. Keep you galleries limited to free use images only. This is clearly a matter of right and wrong answers.
If you really want to change this, go ahead and shoot off an email to the newly hired WMF head council. He's about your only shot at this point, although something tells me he'll have no different an interpretation than every other person will.
Now, since there does not appear to be any chance of us reaching a reasonable agreement, I'm going to move onto less hopeless discussions elsewhere. I encourage you to do the same. Your doggedness and zeal are nice, but in this case they are very much misplaced. Sven Manguard Wha? 21:48, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Hell no concur with others above. The style guide states "decoration". We don't permit decorative use of non-free images. There's absolutely no reason imaginable to permit a non-free gallery. IF (and ONLY if) there is sourced commentary regarding a style, particular work of art, or theme, then a single image might be useful within the context of that discussion. It is not appropriate to place them in a gallery, and never will be. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:54, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
    • how disappointing that you should misrepresent the MOS, again: "not just for decoration, but to reinforce and amplify the meaning of the article and to demonstrate meaning and nuance, which cannot be made by words alone." Slowking4 (talk) 19:06, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
      • If there is "meaning and nuance" that, while can't be fully described by text, can at least be alluded to as a starting point from secondary sources that critique the works, that may be some exceptional allowance for these. But instead, most just through up 3 or more images of the artist and say "Look, his works!". --MASEM (t) 19:14, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
      • If understanding our free content m:Mission, and trying hard to see to it that the project holds to that purpose counts as "disappointing" people, then I am ever proud of it. Using non-free content for decorative purposes is absurd. We can't and won't allow it. If there is meaning to amplify, then I am quite certain you can find secondary sources to support that meaning, rather than resorting to original research. Without that, it is pure decoration. Galleries almost always fail NFCC because the text isn't tied to the gallery. If there is text regarding a particular image, with such text supported by secondary sources, then the image might be appropriate in the context of that text..but never in a gallery. --Hammersoft (talk) 13:57, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • No. The MoS does not and can not supersede the NFCC, and the idea of making exceptions for certain kinds of articles is almost laughable. J Milburn (talk) 01:36, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

In a nutshell

I changed the wording to reflect the actual policy here however DCGeist reverted it for "improper grammar and loss of clarity". The prior (and current version) is not correct in its present form. I will break it down here for discussion.

What the polices and guidelines say.

  • POLICY: To minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content, using more narrowly defined criteria than apply under United States fair use law. (Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria)
  • POLICY: 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. (Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria)
  • POLICY: Some usage of copyrighted materials without permission of the copyright holder can qualify as fair use in the United States (but not in most other jurisdictions). However, since Wikipedia aims to be a free-content encyclopedia, not every image that qualifies as fair-use may be appropriate. [SNIP] For details, or to ask questions about a specific instance, please see Wikipedia:Non-free content. (Wikipedia:Image use policy)
  • GUIDELINE: The use of non-free images on Wikipedia must fall within purposely stricter standards than defined by copyright law as defined by our non-free content criteria as described below. (Wikipedia:Non-free content)
  • GUIDELINE: Note that the use of such media must still comply with the Non-free content criteria and provide rationales and licensing information. (Wikipedia:Non-free content)
  • GUIDELINE: A separate, specific rationale must be provided each time the image is used in an article. (Wikipedia:Non-free use rationale guideline)

The "nuthshell" says non-free material may be used:

Non-free or copyrighted content can only be used in specific cases and only in as few cases as possible.

  • 1. Its usage would be considered fair use in United States copyright law
  • 2. It is used for a purpose that cannot be fulfilled by free material (text or images, existing or to be created)
  • 3. The usage of the non-free media complies with the above and the rest of the Non-free content criteria, and
  • 4. It has a valid rationale indicating why its usage would be considered fair use within Wikipedia policy and US law.

Starting off with the first sentence - copyrighted =/= non-free. The wording of "or copyrighted content" needs to be removed. The implication is based on older misconceptions that Wikipedia does not accept copyrighted material for use outside of "fair use". That thought process has been corrected overall but remnants such as this still pop up. Also the wording of "can only be used" does not really reflect the "not every image that qualifies as fair-use may be appropriate" wording of policy. In other words just because something may meet the policy requirements does not mean it "can" be used. What I did was reword it to this:

  • Non-free content should only be used in specific cases, and only in as few cases as possible.

Number one is "true" however misleading because Wikipedia requires not only that but, because we have "purposely stricter standards than defined by copyright law" that are "more narrowly defined criteria than apply under United States fair use law" , use of such material "may be used on the English Wikipedia only where all 10 of the following criteria are met". (This also goes along with the current number 3) My reworded number 1 was:

Number two is fairly clear, but I removed "cannot be fulfilled".

  • 2. It is used for a purpose where no free material is available (text or images, existing or to be created)

Number three can be combined with number one because, in the overall "nutshell" sense, it is part of, not separate from, that. Thus number 3 can be removed as it would already be part of the new number 1.

Number 4 has a combination of things. One is to reflect that a "separate, specific rationale must be provided each time" non-free material is used and second, and more important, the FUR should not indicate "why its usage would be considered fair use within Wikipedia policy and US law" but rather how "all 10 of the following criteria" are met. I agree it could still say "its usage would be considered fair use within Wikipedia policy" and remove "US law", but it should also indicate, which it currently does not, that the Wikipedia policy contains 10 criteria and "all 10 of the following criteria" need to be met. And the final item applies to everyhting, and that is that recently there have been rewordings to remove "fair use" to more of a "non-free" and/or "Non-free content criteria" when discussing the Wikipedia policy vs. US law because we have "purposely stricter standards than defined by copyright law". So, having said that, my wording of number 3 (remember the old number 3 would be removed, so this is a rewording of the old number 4) is:

So, "in a nutshell", the "in a nutshell" should be reworded to better reflect policy and guidelines. The "improper grammar and loss of clarity" comment has be stumped, but rather than edit war I am taking it here. Soundvisions1 (talk) 17:42, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

I don't think the changes are helpful. If one is constantly immersed in non-free image discussions here, yes, your version is clearer, but for the average new user that is looking to use an image, the statements are written to improve their understanding. For example, it's worth noting that the minimum bar to even start using a work is US Fair Use law, so that users recognize that the NFCC guides are not something completely arbitrary; the remaining 3 points go on to explain the specifics where we are more restrictive than fair use.
Or to put it another way, this is a guideline page clarifying the policy page NFCC. This page should be clear and readable to provide good examples of what we do expect from image uses in how they pertain to NFCC. Thus it is more casually-written in nature. NFCC will always overrule this page. Thus I see no impedius to try to harshen the language here. --MASEM (t) 18:17, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Part of this is what I was saying. You are well aware of how many conversations start with "But this is clearly within fair use so what is the problem?" That is always part of the oversimplification of Wikipedia - yes US law is the basis but the "nutshell" is not about the basis, it is about the page over all correct? Why do we need current "nutshell" 1 *and* 3? If a random person flys by and sees "Its usage would be considered fair use in United States copyright law" they simply bring that to the discussion (and many have and do) but if, instead they read "Its usage falls within Wikipedia's Non-free content criteria policy. This policy is stricter than defined by United States copyright governing fair use" how is that a worse thing? Or even a variation which might say "Its usage would be considered fair use in United States copyright law and complies with the rest of the non-free content criteria"?
That is really the major one, but also the wording of "or copyrighted content" and "can only be used" really bother me. I am not convinced removing those is changing the meaning of the page or creating misinformation about it. And again - the end result isn't for people who understand it, it is for people who don't and to me stating "in a nutshell" the things I suggested makes it far more clear "in a nutshell". (EDIT: And I just saw what you said up above as well - and I would agree down here. It is very important to make a distinction between fair use and non-free images, and that should be reflected in the "nutshell" section I feel.) Soundvisions1 (talk) 18:48, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, one change I could support is the phrase "Non-free or copyrighted content", and replacing it with something like "Non-free content—material that is not in the public domain or licensed as free content—can only be used..." That explains what non-free content is in a nutshell and deals with the copyright aspect. --MASEM (t) 22:53, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Just been waiting on other discussion before I make any change. Soundvisions1 (talk) 14:05, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Use of image of record cover in more comprehensive article

Hello all. Moonriddengirl suggested I post a question here. Me and Juliet is an article on a musical, and it sports an image of the cover of the audio recording in the infobox. My question is, is that OK? The article is not about the recording, though there is a section on the recording in it. This may seem nit-picky, but the article is up for GA. LadyofShalott seems to think it's OK, and Moonriddengirl thinks it's probably OK, but I'd like to make sure. If I don't hear dissent in the next day or two I'm going to assume that it is fine. Thanks in advance for your help! Dr Aaij (talk) 02:58, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

For the musical, it would seem to be better to have a poster for the musical if one exists, over the cover image. It's probably not wrong to use the album cover, but the poster would be more accurate. --MASEM (t) 03:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
IMO it seems out of place, and in its current position it does not increase user understanding/context thus fails WP:NFCC. — Lil_niquℇ 1 [talk] 03:22, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, one could ask if any cover ever increases understanding (in S&M (song) it doesn't), and maybe leave only the covers for The White Album and Sticky Fingers (with zipper). Surely we look at this a bit more broadly. Dr Aaij (talk) 04:16, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The difference in the examples you note is all three are the recordings themselves, not a stage production that had a recording as a component. Therefore, mere identification is insufficient reason, whereas in albums/songs, identification is sufficient rationale. Bottom line; I don't think it's appropriate. It might be appropriate for the recording section, but certainly not in the infobox. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:11, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • For the infobox, based on many past discussions of such things, the Album is not appropriate. As you say, the article is not about the soundtrack, it's about the play. As such this Playbill would be appropriate in the infobox. File:Me and Juliet 1953.jpg should be removed. Soundvisions1 (talk) 14:04, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Thank you all for weighing in. I'm not sure if I agree completely, but you all probably know this stuff better than I do and I respect your opinion. I've removed the image. Thanks, Dr Aaij (talk) 19:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I think this is clearly the wrong result. This is the only image that gives an impression of the musical and could be used in the infobox. A poster for the show might be marginally preferable, but it is the same artwork, under the same copyright. Please replace the image. -- Ssilvers (talk) 03:52, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The Playbill I linked to is not the same artwork. Also a soundtrack recording is not "the only image that gives an impression of the musical" as you feel. When one attends a Broadway show the attendee is handed a Playbill, not a soundtrack recording. Soundvisions1 (talk) 14:30, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The same artwork, from the same copyright holder, was used on theatre posters, albums and other promotional pieces used to advertise the original productions of the musical. Who cares whether it is printed on the album cover, a theatre poster, sheet music or a playbill? It is the same use of copyrighted artwork that relates in exactly same way with images from the production in all versions. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
At its core that is the *exact* same question I have raise din other like discussions. The overall consensus is that a non-free image must reflect the topic/subject of the article. In other words an article entitled "Me and Juliet (soundtrack)" would allow an image of the U.S released soundtrack ("cover art") in the infobox. If it were called "Me and Juliet (film)" it would allow an image of the U.S released film one-sheet ("cover art") in the infobox. If it were called "Me and Juliet (DVD)" it would allow an image of the U.S released DVD ("cover art") in the infobox. And so on. That ties into the same concept some feel why "free" material can not replace the "non-free" material. What the cover art looks like has not mattered in any past discussion/s, unless the discussion was based, specifically, on the cover art itself. (Which is the wider implication of using such material outside of the core articles subject matter) Soundvisions1 (talk) 18:27, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

So the implication here is that if the section on the recording were split out into its own (not very good) article, then the cover would be ok to use? That does not seem logical to me. LadyofShalott 21:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

  • If the recording is notable in its own right and can sustain an article, then yes it would be appropriate to place the album cover there. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
    • We use the cover of the original Broadway recording at Evita (musical), entirely appropriately in my view as it conveys the iconic head logo which represented the show in all media; so, like Masem above, I don't see a decisive objection to using the soundtrack cover in the infobox.
      Alternatively, I would think that the Playbill could be used at the top of the article, and the soundtrack recording cover at the section "Musical treatment and recording" in the way Hammersoft suggested at 14:11 yesterday. Jheald (talk) 18:10, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Blanket rationales, redux

Previously on this page at Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content#Blanket.2Fgrouped_non-free_rationales we discussed the appropriateness of blanket rationales. This is a slightly different case. At File:Prince logo.svg and Love Symbol Album there are two editors insisting that a rationale has been provided for usage on that article where they are wanting to use it 4 times. They are claiming that WP:NFCC #10c does not require a rationale for each use, but for each article. I've attempted to explain, but I fear I'm not getting through. I'm now being accused of being disruptive and edit warring [2], even though removing blatant violations of WP:NFCC is a specific exemption). Enjoy, --Hammersoft (talk) 15:35, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Confused: First is that "and a separate, specific non-free use rationale for each use of the item" is clear, to me anyway. Second is that I see Jheald reverted/restored all the FURS, which what I am guessing you removed because, at least right now, the image is only used in two articles and there is no need for four FURS. What is the issue with removing the unused FURS? Yes we need them if the image is used 4 times but from what I can see it is only used twice - and one of those times you have to have a magnifying glass to even see it. (Which would make me quesiton if it was even needed in that context - I.e: so small it is barely seen) Soundvisions1 (talk) 16:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
    • SV, Hammersoft is not talking about the four rationales that are there currently -- he is complaining that there aren't four separate rationales just for the article Love Symbol Album. As to why the glyph is appropriate there, see below. Jheald (talk) 16:20, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Ahh, gotcha. The policy is still explicit that a FUR must be provided for each use, if it is used more than once in one article a valid FUR needs to be there for each *use*. The rest is a bit beyond the direct question asked here, but I will say the article reads fine as is now. By an example most accept AMG as a legit source, and even their article does not use the the logo outside of the album cover, they call it "The Love Symbol Album." if there were verifiable source out there that sated this sign "is more appropriate than any other identifier" it could be taken into serious consideration, but, as the article states, Due to its official title being the unpronounceable symbol O(+>, which Prince later adopted as his name, the album has been referred to as the Love Symbol Album, or simply Symbol. But that should be a separate discussion as here the issues was about article FURS vs. per use FURS. Soundvisions1 (talk) 17:05, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
  • (ec) Response. The glyph is the most appropriate identifier for the album. It is Prince's choice of how he wanted his album to be designated, and no other title can claim to be "official" in that way. Objecting to our use of it to identify the album is like objecting to the phrase "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in its article and claiming the re-use of the phrase is infringing the Beatles' copyright, so we ought to be paraphrasing it as "the one with the long silly title" or some such. Any copyright taking here in using the glyph is de minimis; added to which there is clear and universal implied license, because this is how Prince intended his album to be designated. There is no useful purpose served to anybody, anywhere in the world by removing the glyph from the article as it was in this form. Use of the glyph to identify the album, as the identifier under which the album was released, is more appropriate than any other identifier -- more than enough to justify the essentially non-existent copyright taking.
    The reason given for the use in the FUR is "To display the proper title of the Love Symbol Album. The symbol is used at four points in the article to denote the album." Pretending that anything of use would be added by repeating the entire rationale four times over to say this would simply be time-wasting pointless bureaucracy -- which we are not (WP:BURO). At some point common sense has to supervene. Jheald (talk) 16:20, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I believe the intention is to restore the usage of the symbol to the articles where there are rationales. Those uses were all 12px icon uses of the image. This is a separate issue, but iconization of non-free images has routinely been frowned upon and eliminated as failing WP:NFCC #8 significance and #1 replaceability with text (i.e. "Love Symbol Album", which is a term in common use to refer to this album).
  • The chief issue at play with regards to this thread is the intent to use the image 4 times on one article, for example this diff, when there is only one rationale for the use of the image on that article. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:21, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
    • And the argument being put back to you is that use of the glyph is appropriate as the designated official identifier of the album in the places where the album identifier is expected; that there is no significant copyright exposure in doing so; and that nothing is served by having to write this out four times. Jheald (talk) 16:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
      • And your argument fails WP:NFCC, WP:BURO not withstanding. Each use of the item would not be identical in purpose. If you copy/pasted the purpose of use as "To display the proper title of the Love Symbol Album", you would then have four exceptionally weak rationales. Further, each use is different from the others. Even more further, WP:NFCC #3 requires minimal usage of an item. What Masem suggested (using the glyph, identifying it as "love symbol" and using the text thereafter) is a reasonable compromise. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:49, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
        • But four rationales that should be entirely acceptable, given the negligible extent of the copyright taking here. Breaking it out, we have (i) at the top of the infobox; being the proper title of the album, to present the album overall under that title; (ii) at the opening of the introduction; being the proper title of the album, to introduce the album under its proper title; (iii) in the chronology section of the infobox, being the proper title of the album, to represent the album under its proper title, and to reinforce that the squiggle was intended as its proper title; (iv) heading the 'singles' section of the infobox, being the proper title of the album, to represent the album under its proper title, and again to reinforce that the squiggle was intended as its proper title. There, would that satisfy your requirement for four specific FURs? Jheald (talk) 17:52, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
          • given the negligible extent of the copyright taking here You either are using copyrighted works, or you are not, there is no middle ground. --MASEM (t) 17:58, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
          • @Jheald: No. The use is superfluous in most of those cases. How many times does it need to be reinforced as to what the proper title of the album is? Easy answer; once. Do it in the lead, reduce usage elsewhere in line with WP:NFCC #3 and #1. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:04, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
            • Actually I was more interested in finding out whether this matched pro-forma the standards for specific setting out and arrangement for FURs that you were looking for; which I understood you to be representing as the whole point of this section.
              But @Masem: the extent of the copyright taking is relevant. The whole basis of the different requirements for different types of images at WP:NFCI is based on a recognition of the different copyright takings that the different classes typically represent, and is based on the degree of significance required to pass NFCC #8 being weighed against the copyright taking involved; given that the underlying purpose of the exercise is for us to be confident that our verbatim reusers will be safely on the right side U.S. fair use law. @Hammersoft: as I've written above, suppressing this image in the way you suggest has no more value than insisting we reduce the number of occurrences of the phrase "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in its article. There's no gain in it, to set against the value of properly representing the album under its proper title. Jheald (talk) 18:36, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
              • Fair use has nothing to do with this. If it is copyrighted, it breaks WP's free content mission. The question becomes how to minimize non-free image use when free replacements are possible. Here, no one questions that the symbol has to be used once, but once the reader is told that "here is the symbol, which commonly is called the Love Symbol" we have a free replacement to avoid any further reuse of the non-free image in the article (I agree that there's likely needs to use the symbol on other articles, but I'm focusing the attention on the multiple reuse here). --MASEM (t) 18:48, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • Actually, what our m:mission talks about is collecting and developing free content. It doesn't say not developing or not distributing non-free content. Where non-free content doesn't impact on collection, development, and distribution of our free content, the mission is silent about it. Arguably appropriate non-free content is entirely synergistic with our free content, making WP more accurate and more comprehensive, and so somthing that people are more likely to contribute to. Jheald (talk) 18:59, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                    • So the lack of specific language generates an approval for non-free use where it's not specifically prohibited? --Hammersoft (talk) 19:00, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                      • It generates neither approval nor disapproval. There are very good reasons for being very careful about NFC, and it is those practical reasons that underly WP:NFC, to definitively limit NFC usage to what is not practically damaging to our mission. However, use of appropriate NFC, that passes those practical considerations, I would see as supporting WP, and therefore in turn ultimately supporting our mission. The point of WP:NFC is to separate those usages which would be damage in practical ways the collection, development or distribution of our free content to from those which would not. I could go into this in greater detail on another day if you like, but I'm pretty much out of time here today. Jheald (talk) 19:10, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                        • That's fine. I think you've outlined the massive gap of understanding between the two sides of the never ending non-free debates. On one side (of which I am regularly part), the use of NFC encroaches on our mission in every use, and must be heavily justified. And forgive me if I'm paraphrasing, on the other part; it's fine to use it if it enhances our mission of being an encyclopedia. Betwixt the two lies the Grand Canyon. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:15, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                            • It goes a bit further than just "being an encyclopedia", to be fair. It also includes dissemination of the encyclopedia -- in practical terms the safety of commercial third parties to disseminate it under U.S. law; and also the rejection of media that would make it less likely for free media serving the same purpose to be uploaded. Both of which principles imply rather more than just "to be an encyclopedia". Jheald (talk) 19:28, 15 February 2011 (UTC) (And now I really must go.)
                          • Given the Resolution which uses the word "exception" it is clear we need to approach non-free images as striving for "no" non-frees, and determining how to define exceptional cases. Any other approach to thinking about NFC, even if its how it is used in practice on WP, is incorrect. --MASEM (t) 19:24, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                            • What the Resolution actually says is "their use, with limited exception, should be..." -- i.e. these are the principal areas where NFC may benefit the project, but there may be some beyond that. We'll have to come back to this another day, I'm afraid. Jheald (talk) 19:34, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                • A separate issue is its use in other articles. To date, it was used elsewhere as a 12px icon. At 12px, it's virtually impossible to recognize it as anything other than a squiggly graphic. Further, '"Love Symbol Album" -wikipedia' pumped into Google returns nearly 200,000 hits. It's obvious this album goes by that name in common usage and WP:COMMONNAME clearly applies. We don't have to use the symbol every time the album is mentioned to convey that this is the Love Symbol album. Once on the Love Symbol Album article, it can readily be conveyed to the reader what the 'proper' (as opposed to common) name of the album is. --Hammersoft (talk) 18:56, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • It probably needs to be used in the Prince article (since for a period of time that was his name). It might be appropriate (I'm not 100% sure) to use it in the discog article in this highly exceptional circumstance. But in every other case, say , other Prince albums referring to this one, the name "Love Symbol Album" is completely acceptable and the icon isn't needed. --MASEM (t) 19:05, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                • I have to go now, but per the title of this section, and per what you're looking for, would the style of enumeration (i) to (iv) of "Purpose of Use" above satisfy pro forma the formatting requirements you believe are required when there is more than one use of an item of NFC in an article? Jheald (talk) 19:15, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • IF valid rationales could be written, then yes. But, valid rationales can't be written. A compromise position was offered. I don't know that you've responded to that compromise. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:16, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                    • I'll leave that call to PaulGS. He's got much more involvement and history with the article. Jheald (talk) 19:28, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

By the way, even Prince calls it "Love Symbol" (example) in copyright applications. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:40, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

If "Words Love symbol represented by a drawing of the symbol" isn't laid out in the article already it should be and cited with that link. Soundvisions1 (talk) 20:58, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Well, the link goes stale after a while. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:28, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Re-drawing of figures from scientific works

Within science publications (journals, textbooks), particularly biology, it appears to be (or to have been) commonly regarded as 'fair use' to re-draw a representational drawing presented in an early work. Such figures are usually tagged with something like "Redrawn from ..." or "After ...". Note that I am specifically not talking about directly reproducing the figure (e.g. by scanning it). Such re-drawn figures cannot be uploaded to Commons if the original drawing is still in copyright, since they are derivative. I cannot find any discussion specific to whether or under what circumstances this could be allowed on Wikipedia, rather than Commons, as 'fair use'. There seem to be several cases, including:

  • The drawing is of an organism which could be re-drawn from life or photographed from life. Fair use would not seem to apply; editors need to find or make new drawings or photographs which are not copyright.
  • The drawing is 'definitional': it is present in the original in order to define some term (e.g. in botany, a particular term for the shape of a leaf). Such drawings seem to present real problems, since any re-drawing should of necessity look almost identical. Trying to explain a term for a shape verbally is difficult and error-prone, so a drawing is needed. Such drawings are also often quite simple, so that little 'artistic skill' is involved.
  • The drawing is a reconstruction of an extinct form of life. In this case, it's not possible to re-draw or photograph the original. Sometimes a new drawing can be made from the verbal description alone, distinctly different from any figure in the source because it's as if from a different angle, perhaps. Sometimes any possible drawing will closely resemble the original, even if not deliberately copied from the original drawing.

Can someone point me to any relevant discussion of these issues? Or give me any other guidance? Peter coxhead (talk) 10:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

With cases like you're describing, actual source matters a lot. Yes, any scientific drawing of a leaf, or a bird, or what have you, is going to look similar, just like any photo of the same building from the same angle will look very similar. Still, though, if you made your own original drawing (or photo of the building, to extend the analogy), without copying parts of any other, that's an original work and is yours alone to release under a free license, despite looking similar. Facts are not copyrightable, and so the first person to draw an image of a leaf can only protect their image under copyright. They cannot prohibit everyone else from drawing an original image of the same leaf! So drawings of organisms or things still in existence would always be replaceable by new original photographs or drawings of the real thing.
Extinct organisms are trickier. If the drawing was made from a live organism at the time, and there are few or no photos of what it actually looked like, we might be able to argue that's irreplaceable—the author at that time was, after all, really looking at one, and that's impossible now. On the other hand, if there are a significant number of photos, videos, preserved specimens, and/or descriptions of the creature during its existence, chances are such drawings are replaceable, since it would be possible to recreate the creature in a drawing from those visuals without borrowing so heavily from any one as to be a derivative. Seraphimblade Talk to me 11:21, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) To amplify a little what S'blade has written: in the United States (not necessarily the rest of the world, but it is U.S. law we are principally concerned with here), only original expression is copyrightable, not functional representation. If a thing could not have been drawn in any other way, or if there is essentially no creativity demonstrated in its presentation, then its representation will be considered solely functional, and so there will be no copyright. (Creativity may also be found in the creation or selection of facts -- ie what to include and what to leave out, if this shows originality, thought or judgement). The aim of "redrawing" is to preserve the functional content, while replacing any expressive artistic or creative element.
In some cases -- eg a scatterplot of some data -- there may be very little that is creative there at all. In other cases -- eg a leaf -- what is shown may be substantially determined by the functional nature of what the image is trying to put over, but because there is natural variation in leaves and in how to draw them and represent them, even in what angle to draw them from, it may be clear that our drawing is "after" somebody else's, rather than done de novo from a different wild leaf. In such a case our "redrawing" would be repeating expressive choices made in the original drawing, so should be considered a derivative work, and to be properly free would need to be redrawn in such a way that its only borrowings from the original are clearly functional, not expressive. As to the case where our drawing is based on a unique photograph, photographs of 3d objects in general (under U.S. law, not necessarily some Scandinavian laws) are typically considered to include something original and expressive -- eg the selection of the angle from which to take the photograph, the fall of the light on the target, the arrangement of the target, the judgement that this was a scene worth making a photograph of, etc. Where other photographs could have been taken but weren't, and our drawing therefore repeats expressive choices made in the taking of the original photograph, then, at least to that extent, it must be considered a derivative work. However, if there is no way to make a drawing which achieves the same encyclopedic purpose without drawing on such copyright material, and the drawing really does add something valuable and worthwhile to our treatment of the topic of the article, then we would very likely consider it appropriate fair use. Use of the original investigators' interpretative drawing of their photo may also be appropriate fair use, if what they thought was significant in the photograph is what we are trying to convey to our readers, and if this is really the overriding source of expressiveness in the drawing.
From what you say, it sounds as if you think we may have some systematic problems in this area. If that's the case, it's probably something that needs to be considered in a managed way to ask how we can systematically clean this up without losing value to the encyclopedia, rather than suddenly nominating a whole slew of things for deletion. Jheald (talk) 13:01, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
See below. Peter coxhead (talk) 18:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your advice. To take a real example, I am writing an article about an extinct plant. In a scientific article which is in copyright, I can find (a) photographs of fossil specimens (b) descriptions of the plant as it was believed to be in life (c) a drawing of a reconstruction. I can make my own drawing of a reconstruction using (a) and (b), but must not copy (c). Any drawing done in this way is then my copyright and can be uploaded to Commons. Only if (c) were the only evidence in existence could I copy it and claim 'fair use'. Is that your interpretation? I'd like to get it absolutely right as I'm working on a series of articles on extinct plants. Peter coxhead (talk) 12:01, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
What comes in from the other direction is WP:NOR. Yes, there is a carve-out in WP:NOR for original drawings and diagrams, but nevertheless you need to be careful to be sure that anything your new picture could be seen as putting over is verifiable. If you stick too close to (a) and (b) it may still be a derivative work; on the other hand some elements from (c) which may be purely functional, and not have any elements of selectivity or expressivity about them, but simply functionally express the purpose of the diagram, may be fair game. (Though even in an arrow labelling a feature, there may be some element of expression or selection)... Hope this gives at least a little help. Jheald (talk) 13:15, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Ok, let me give a specific example. The Aglaophyton article benefits greatly, in my view, from the drawing. The uploader clearly says that this is drawn using the information in a specific figure in a book (Kenrick & Crane's The Origin and Early Diversification of Land Plants). I can't show you the Kenrick & Crane drawing, since it's not online, but if you go to [3] and scroll down a bit, or to [4], you'll see another drawing of the same extinct plant, this time taken from Edwards (1986); it's more-or-less the same as the Kenrick & Crane drawing (which is probably a copy of the Edwards drawing anyway, which is a copy of another drawing which should be out of copyright as it was published in 1920, but it's in a journal which is hard to get hold of). Now suppose, for the sake of helping me understand this issue (which I'm finding difficult), that the "After Edwards" drawing had been the original copyright work and the figure in the Aglaophyton article had been a copy of this – in terms of drawing elements and quality this is about right. Would this image be ok or not if uploaded to Wikipedia as derivative and fair use? (Uploaded as it is to Commons and not marked as derivative is another matter but not one I'm concerned with here.) Peter coxhead (talk) 18:25, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
It looks to me like the new drawing in the article is, indeed, a new drawing. The plant heads are a different shape, the roots are missing a lot of the texturing present in the original, and basically, there are only so many ways you could draw it and still have it look like it. I think the Commons rationale actually is acceptable here, that it's a separate image, not a derivative. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:20, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Seraphimblade. Jheald (talk) 11:38, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
(The heads shouldn't really be a different shape, but...) Ok, that's great; if it's ok to re-draw provided there are such differences (lay-out the stems differently, use different or no shading, etc.) that is exactly what those of us working on prehistoric plants need! Peter coxhead (talk) 13:24, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Characters/actors images replacement

Recently several non-free images of characters from the show Glee were deleted at Wikipedia:Files for deletion/2011 January 20#File:SantanaLopezGlee.jpg because they were considered replaceable due to the fact that there are free images of the actors available. I strongly feel that a photo of a character is very different than a photo of the actor. All of the characters from Friends have non-free images used on their pages. There is currently no clear policy in this case. Once we form reasonably clear idea of what exactly to change to the policy, I will bring this to WP:VPP. JDDJS (talk) 19:59, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Policy is pretty clear: is an image of an actor in a live-action work where they aren't wearing anything to otherwise distinguish them from their normal, non-acting self, replaceable by a free image, per NFCC#1? That answer is yes. We generally accept ensemble cast pictures on the series article or list of characters, but on single character pages where the actor and role are not difficult to tell apart, we have clear guidance to remove these per the Foundation. --MASEM (t) 20:11, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
If that is currently the policy, than several of those images were wrongfully deleted. When removing the speedy deletions on the Brittany Pierce, Quinn Fabray, and Santana Lopez images, I pointed out that their cheerleading uniforms were very distinct and important to the characters, and on the Artie Abrams image, I pointed out that it shows his wheelchair which very important to the character. Another user also pointed out that the Tina Cohen-Chang image showed her dressed in her goth style which is important to the character. JDDJS (talk) 20:22, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
You've just described what their character looks like by saying "It's this actor in this type of outfit". That's a free replacement (in conjunction with a free image of the actor) and thus the non-free image wouldn't be appropriate. Now, even if the actor was identifiable outside of the outfit, but the outfit itself has merited discussion, then that's like ok - case in point is pretty much any incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor (eg Eleventh Doctor) where each costume has sourced commentary on it. But if the outfit's not commented at all by sources, then there's no need for it. --MASEM (t) 20:50, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
If there is something special about the appearance of a character that (a) differs from the actor in an indescribable/poorly describable manner and (b) is important/notable per reliable sourcing, then that character's article could warrant the judicial usage of copyrighted media. Most characters are probably nigh indistinguishable from the actors portraying them and any small differences would need to be argued on a case-by-case basis. — Fourthords | =/\= | 20:39, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Alright let me start this over. I want to change the policy to be that if a character is notable enough to have their own article, then that is reason enough to include a non-free image of the character over the free image of the actor. If the character is not notable enough to have their own page and is only part of a list, then only a free image can be used. If this policy changed is not accepted, than all of the non-free images of the Friends characters must be replaced by the free images of the actors. JDDJS (talk) 21:22, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

  • The policy change is very unlikely to happen. There really is an issue of replaceability. Let's take a case point. Rick Yune. We have a free image of that person at File:Rickyune.jpg. We also have a non-free image in a role he performed at File:Zao by Rick Yune.jpg. Those two images are dramatically different. Let's take a case point from "Friends". For the character Monica Geller played by Courteney Cox we have File:Friendsmonica.jpg. For Courtney's page, we have File:CourteneyCoxFeb09.jpg. There's just not much difference between the in-person actress and her onscreen persona in this case. Thus, the Monica image should be replaced by the free one. Other examples: List_of_Stargate_SG-1_characters#Hank_Landry, List_of_Saw_characters#Amanda_Young, Characters_of_Friends#Introduced_in_Season_2 (Richard Burke). All of these have been replaced by free licensed images. The bar here isn't whether there's an article on the person. The bar is whether a free image can adequately serve the same purpose, which is what NFCC #1 is getting at. In cases where the actor is not substantially different than their on screen persona, there's not much reason to include a non-free image. Also, there's an issue of being able to snap photos on set. In some cases, this is possible. See Josiah Bartlet, which contains a free image of the actor in costume (though his appearance in costume isn't really any different than in real life anyway). --Hammersoft (talk) 21:40, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree 100% with JDDJS. An actor is not the same as a fictional character, therefore a free image of an actor cannot be used to replace a character because it's not a picture of the character. Also it's really helpful for identification. I removed the redlinked images from all the Glee articles and although I watch it, I'm not aware of all their names. Images would mean I can identify who I'm reading about. I was looking at characters of Lost today, which I also watch, but I had no idea who Ilana Verdansky was or even Frank Lapidus. I even covered up the photo of Frank Lapidus and looked at the free image of his actor, Jeff Fahey, and was still none the wiser. Yes I could read the article but I'd have to come to a storyline that was familiar and that I remembered before I could realise who I was reading about. Someone gave the example of Eleventh Doctor, but that's just a simple image of a man in a costume. So there's commentary on his costume? Surely that would mean there's even less need for a photo, as there's a sourced description of his costume? Most characters don't have this, so images are more important. Remember also that there are many actors where free images do not exist and are unlikely to be created. In the UK, it's almost impossible to come across a celebrity in a public place, which is why there are so few free images of UK-based actors. –anemoneprojectors– 22:18, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  • We do permit cast photos. But, pure identification would never be sufficient reason to include a non-free image of every character in, say, List of Saw characters. We are not a guide or catalog. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:40, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I specifically said for lists, a free image should be used. JDDJS (talk) 22:44, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I didn't say you didn't. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:46, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
(ecx2) But we're not talking about images in lists, I am aware of WP:NFLISTS and this is a completely different issue. Anyway, if an ensemble cast photo – under a claim of fair-use – is permitted in a list of characters, what's the difference between that and a single fair-use image being used in an article about a single character? As far as I can see, there is absolutely no difference. Oh and we have precedent as well: Ringo Brown's image was FFD'd following extensive discussions and the result was a resounding keep - it was deemed by consensus that a free image of the actor would not be an appropriate replacement for a screenshot. –anemoneprojectors– 22:47, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Totally agree, celebrities from UK TV series are so hard to find pictures for, mainly because it's not like the USA... To go further, this convo is totally unoriginal, this has been talked about time and time before and the outcome each time was that a screenshot / non-free image is not replaceable currently or ever likley to be in the future. You can't get near sets whilst filming, it's all under wraps. Plus, it's the actor, you're taking a picture of the actor at work. Not the fictional finished product, because at the time it's just the actor. I'd refer to Hollyoaks, if we had taken a picture of Amber Hodgekiss and used it for a fictional character called Chrissie it makes a floor, Chrissy never became part of the serial although the actress filmed for months! Would you call her her a character. Would you say Batman can have his actors images used for an image of the character? So IMO the Glee images should not have stayed, I mean how many of them are like the character IRL... Plus the Ringo image discussion, one of the most recent, gave a massive consensus.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 22:59, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I think you made a typo. You said "the Glee images should not have stayed" which contradicts everything else you said. JDDJS (talk) 23:07, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm sure he meant they should have stayed. I also note that in the Glee FFD there was only one actual !vote, which said that it's sometimes possible to get a free image of actors in role - but the image in question is exceptional because it was taken by a member of the U.S. Navy. We don't have members of the U.S. Navy on every film set in the world! Most sets aren't accessible to members of the public. –anemoneprojectors– 23:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
We make limited exceptions for the use of non-free images of living persons if they are known to be reclusive or remote or the like. But that's limited exception. Just because it's difficult to get a shot of a celeb in public doesn't mean a free one can eventually be taken. Case in point was with Susan Boyle, where, finally, we have a free image of her despite several attempts to use non-free and derivative images. --MASEM (t) 23:13, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay, but these aren't living persons, they're fictional characters who don't exist in the real world. –anemoneprojectors– 23:19, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Susan Boyle is not Sue Sylsvester. Susan is a living person, but this Sue is fictional, unforuantley we can't find her anywhere else other than on the TV for her image.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 23:20, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Just to throw this out there. What happens when the fictional character doesn't have any remarkably unique visuals (i.e., what would be the argument for replaceability), but there isn't a free image of the actor available to actually replace the non-free image? Or what if said free image is of a time where the actor is significantly older/younger than when they placed the character and as such using it to identify that fictional character would be rather inaccurate and possibly confusing. I mean, Mark Hamill today looks a lot different than he did back in 1977.  BIGNOLE  (Contact me) 23:23, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we have to wait for the actor to die before we're allowed to upload a screenshot of the character :S –anemoneprojectors– 23:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
We are not a field guide for having people be able to spot fictional characters "in the wild". When we discuss fictional characters, we do it from the POV of an encyclopedia, which is generally how the character was created, their influence on the work they are in, and the reception of the character. Sometimes that development or reception will reflect on how the character looks or dresses, meaning that it starts to make sense to include non-free to show that aspect. But in the general case, no, if there's no discussion about visuals, there's no need for a non-free image of the character, or at best, allowing a cast promo image be used in lieu. --MASEM (t) 23:34, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The fictional characters are played by real people. Since we can obtain free imagery of living people in almost all circumstances (that's a presumption that will not change), if the actor not in character is essentially the same as the actor in character, there's not much argument for retaining a non-free image for depicting. Example; is there anyone in the world who would look at File:Tom Cruise 2006.jpg and be confused as to the identity of File:Ethanhunt.jpg? If there's little difference in the characters, there's not much point in having the non-free image. Contrast File:Michael Dorn.jpg and his appearance as File:WorfTNG.jpg. That's understandable. Dramatically different when in makeup. --Hammersoft (talk) 23:29, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

I do so love it when people only reply to the points they're able to... :-) So pray tell me this. What's the difference between the copyrighted image in Characters of Friends and the one in Monica Geller? What about the replaceability of the Eleventh Doctor photo by text that already exists in the article, yet the image is still allowed? What about the fact that there is precendent with Ringo Brown? –anemoneprojectors– 23:38, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
No one ever listens to the points, that this has all been discussed before and proved to be an unpopular suggestion. What if the actor is dead and buried, how do we sneak onto set (breaking the law of course) and take a picture of them in character then. I don't think we are going to find a picture of Rebecca Nash from Home and Away or Max Ramsay in Neighbours anytime soon are we? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Raintheone (talkcontribs)
Bignole makes an excellent point above. Specifically for old characters whose actors have aged beyond how they appeared in the film/tv programme - showing a free image of the aged actor 25-odd years after they appeared in the role is just completely misleading. Even if you start adding to policy that only current character's images can be replaced using free images, what happens when they cease to be current characters and no free image was found? The actor will obviously age and we're left with the same problem.
Up till now it has been fairuse on here to portray characters with copyrighted images such as screenshots, and the attempts by some to manipulate the language of policy depending on their views seems quite underhand to me. Screenshots provide a capture in time of the character, in an article specifically about the character. Pictures of actors are not pictures of characters. When actors are captured in pics, it's in their own attire, wearing typically expensive clothing/jewelry with their hair done how the actor wears it and not the charcater, and in places where the character would never be seen, like posing for pictures and signing autographs on a red carpet. It's misleading to readers to portray a character in that way. We might as well start taking pics of random looky-likies and stick them in character pages. I can dress up as wonder woman if you like and you can bung me in her page? Seems like we are one step away from that.GunGagdinMoan 00:36, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh and I love how it's deemed OK for the eleventh Dr to have a non free image because his outfit has been discussed. It's a tweed jacket and a bow tie! I can counter that argument and suggest you use a free image of a tweed jacket and a bow tie. Such hypocrisy.GunGagdinMoan 00:44, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I don't get what's wrong with using the non-free images. Seriously, how would using the non-free images to show characters hurt Wikipedia? Without the images, the articles look naked. I seriously find it hard to go to any of the character articles now because they look so empty without an image. If we used photos of the actors, it will be portraying a misleading image. So really, I can think of several positives to using the non-free photos, but no negatives. JDDJS (talk) 01:21, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
The worst thing is all those images were deleted with one actuall editor clear out stating Delete and they all go, but other images are kept with less than that after a simple discussion.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 01:38, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
WP's mission is to provide a free-content (free as in speech, not beer); every use of non-free material harms that mission. At the same time, however, the Foundation recognizes that some topics cannot be easily discussed without the use of non-free material. We have an exception allowance to use non-free media when the importance to the educational need of the work outweighs the harm to the free-content mission.
To that end, the use of non-free images of live-action characters when its possible to take free photographs of those characters, alone, does not satisfy that balance. --MASEM (t) 02:08, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── But it's not possible to get a free photo of most characters. JDDJS (talk) 02:13, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes, it is. If the character wasn't in an elaborate costume, a photo of the actor suffices. No image at all is also fine, not every article needs one. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:29, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
The articles looked empty and naked without photos. And even without a big costume change, the setting would be wrong. If you could find a free photo of the actor dressed similarly to the character and in a similar setting to what the character usually is found in, than maybe thw photo of the actor can replace the non-free photo of the character, but that is very rarely the case. JDDJS (talk) 02:34, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I should imagine you will all be advocating for the deletion of the non-free images in the article of Eleventh Doctor, then? Seeing as it's a normal non-descript chap wearing a tweed jacket and bow tie, AND THE OUTFIT IS THE ONLY ASPECT THAT MAKES NON-FREE CONTENT ARGUABLY NECESSARY, then surely we dont want to "harm the free-content mission" and we can replace those non-free images with free images from tweed jacket and a bow tie? The rest of his appearance is not necessary for the article according to deletionsits' views here. Look forward to seeing that one happen when hell freezes over....GunGagdinMoan 02:40, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I certainly would be. I find that all of that cleanup tends to get done sooner or later. Seraphimblade Talk to me 02:41, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
And don't forget to get all of the images of characters from Friends, Mad Men, Smallville and just about any other popular TV show. JDDJS (talk) 02:50, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yep and this character File:WorfTNG.jpg, whose actor has a free image, could surely just be deleted. Instead we could a) only display the free image of the actor's head with the forehead cropped off and discribe the forehead b) use that cropped image of the actor and paste a cropped image of a chicken comb on his forehead c) use a picture of a Rhino, which imo, looks quite similar. All subjective of course, but then again, isnt every interpretation of policy and what is deemed appropriate to enhance readers understanding on wiki?GunGagdinMoan 02:58, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
And I'm still waiting for these answers: "What's the difference between the copyrighted image in Characters of Friends and the one in Monica Geller? [...] What about the fact that there is precendent with Ringo Brown?" –anemoneprojectors– 03:05, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
So basically it's one rule for one and another rule for the other. So "your aim" will never be reached? That's what you are stating. Doesn't that mean if the actress is a goody two shoes type IRL, and her character is a real harlot, that image can stay. Because the actress wouldn't dream of fish nets and black eye liner. Just like Doctor Who doesn't walk around in bow ties and tardis' on his back. Aren't all fictional characters meant to be seperate from their real life counter parts. What is extreme cases, what are they? What rule on WP can you bend to make it fair that half of the fictional characters have screenshots and the other's can wait until some one winds up in prison for illegally taking shots on a set. I REPEAT! In the United Kingdom, if we enter a set without permission, you'll end up in a lot of trouble. Unless Steve McFadden, Bill Roache, Jackie Woodburne, Nick Pickard, Nicola Wheeler, Samara Weaving, Dakota Blue Richards, Johnny Zacchara, Joseph Mascolo decide to become official photoographers for their respective TV serials and upload to wiki... Maybe if Charles Divins, Sarah White, Jane Asher, Jesse Birdsall, Charlotte Gregg decide to start re-production on their former TV serials to aquire images for Wiki, we just might find there and many other defunct show's chaarcters an image... How are people like Belinda Emmett, Francis Bell, Frances Reid, Wendy Richard, Pat Phoenix, and Helene Palmer going to fair when they are gone and it's impossible to aquire an image of them.. Maybe we can lend the tardis. So looking at the bigger picture, it's impossible to create a set rule here. ..RAIN*the*ONE BAM 03:06, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Rain, your goal to rid wiki of evil fair-use images is never going to happen, because you contradict yourselves by adding in that a fairuse image can be used if someone is wearing a costume which at the end of the day is just fabric and stitching, or it's ok for use as critical commentary, or if its exclusion detracts from readers' understanding of the article (always going to be subjective). It cannot ever be one rule for some and another for the rest and, if it is, your goal to be copyright material-free has fallen on its arse already. The only way you are ever going to be able to get away with this is by getting rid of every fairuse image, in every article on wikipedia with no exceptions. Costumes can be described, and failing that, there's always the google image facility, so the exceptions touted by the deletionists here are flawed and inconsistent to say the least, and it wont just be fictional characters effected here....Please let me know when you attempt to get this blanket removal of fair-use passed...I need a good laugh.GunGagdinMoan 11:59, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

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Just my 2 cents... (and I'm runing out of money.) You cannot use an actor's image to represent the character. Passing off an image of an actor and then stating it is the character, is simly put, a plain distortion of the truth! If Wikipeida is to maintain a level of integrity, we cannot use a deceptive practice like that. Unless unambiguously stated that the image is that of the actor, I find it unacceptable to pass off an image as something that it is not, namely an image of the character. Edokter (talk) — 12:33, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I find it extremely hypocritical of people who say we can use File:WorfTNG.jpg or File:Eleventhdoctornew.jpg or File:Zao by Rick Yune.jpg to depict a character but not File:Ethanhunt.jpg or File:Friendsmonica.jpg or File:Roxie mitchell.jpg. They're all fictional characters; they all have costume and make-up; there is zero difference between any of them. –anemoneprojectors– 16:46, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Totally agree there, all look different from the actors or what what be the point of acting. Also I know some say well those is "50 inches of make up and are in super hero outfits etc" are extreme cases and are excused... that's not a set rule and it never can be, mainly because it won't cover every case. Where as the screen shot (which has forever been known as not replaceable) covers all fictional character. So anyway, has anyone's opinion changed, whats next? Where's this convo heading?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 16:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Exactly, saying some images are allowed because of costume and others aren't because of costume. How much costume is acceptible? Where's the limit? That's totally arbitrary, and goes against Wikipedia policy. –anemoneprojectors– 17:06, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
And in reply to "Where's this convo heading?" - clearly nowhere because nobody wants to say anything because they know they're wrong. Their arguments are flawed but they don't want to admit it, so they won't reply in the hope this will blow over and it won't get changed. –anemoneprojectors– 17:07, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Again, for NFC, we require images to be significant important for the reader to understand the text of the article, and that image is not replaceable by free work In most cases, particularly in contemporary-set works, the character's visual appearance is never discussed, so the picture is not critical to the reader's understanding (remember, we're talking about readers that have not and will likely never see the work in question) And with living actors, we can always use a free photo to give an idea of what the character looks like, then such images are completely inappropriate, per the Foundation's resolution. If you feel that the live actor picture isn't representative of the character, fine, don't put it in the infobox, but you can still have it in the body to say "X played Y" or the like, and leave the infobox empty. (And just because other such images exists doesn't justify the use elsewhere. --MASEM (t) 17:33, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Interesting you quote other such images exists when you were the one quoting other stuff initially...GunGagdinMoan 17:49, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
You also said "We generally accept ensemble cast pictures on the series article or list of characters" but there is no difference between using a photo of six characters from Friends under a fair-use claim and a photo of one. –anemoneprojectors– 17:58, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
"In most cases, particularly in contemporary-set works, the character's visual appearance is never discussed, so the picture is not critical to the reader's understanding (remember, we're talking about readers that have not and will likely never see the work in question)" I 100% disagree with that statement. A picture is worth a thousand words. When I read about characters I want to know what they look like. If they don't say anything about what they look like, I especially want an image so I can get an idea what they look like, and by they I mean the character not the actor. If I wanted to see what the actor looked like, I'll go to the actor page instead. JDDJS (talk) 18:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
in which case, according to users here, all we need do is start describing the character's appearance with sourced commentary and the rationale will be sound for inclusion of the image.GunGagdinMoan 18:52, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Back and forth, forth and back. Repeat, re-repeat. D.S. al coda. Debate, re-debate. Debate about the debate. Debate about whether the debate debate is a debate then repeat the whole thing all over again. Bottom line, policy isn't going to change. If you want it to change, start an RfC. The likelihood of change is quite low, but there's nothing stopping anyone from starting the RfC. At least doing so will stop the endless debate. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:30, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Bottom line is this is a brand new, POV-pased interpretation of the policy, which has never been discussed before and which the majority of Wikipedians disagree with. –anemoneprojectors– 19:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Oh I seem to have made a mistake. It has been discussed before, yet all I can see in previous discussions is that the only image that can portray a fictional character is an image of a fictional character. –anemoneprojectors– 19:50, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Should we start a !vote on whether to change the policy or can we just conclude that this new POV interpretation should not be used, and the Glee photos restored, or at the very least the deletion discussions be reopened? JDDJS (talk) 19:47, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
It has been discussed many times before. The issue of using live character images and how NFC interprets them is not new. Again, do not use "other stuff exists" to claim that this is not valid - there are 100,000s of non-free images and its near impossible to patrol every use, but when they are found to be a problem, they will be contested. --MASEM (t) 19:53, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
1. Where has it been discussed? 2. I wasn't using "other stuff exists". There seems to be consensus here that the non-free photos can be used. JDDJS (talk) 19:57, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
See the archive box at the top of the page? Type "characters" and you'll find this discussed at least 20 times before. And no, you're pointing to examples of the Friends pages that have pictures, when realistically, they probably fail as well. --MASEM (t) 20:03, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
I brought up the Friends images because you said it's acceptible to use a fair-use image in a list of characters, but there is no difference between a single picture of six characters and a single picture of one. –anemoneprojectors– 20:09, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
      • I have to concur with Masem. It has been discussed many times before, and the policy had remained as is to support the interpretation that Masem has been voicing. If you want to change policy, please start an RfC. If you want to debate this ad nauseum, don't start the RfC. :) --Hammersoft (talk) 20:04, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I typed "character" into the archive search at the top of this page and had a read of some of the results. Most are about lists of characters, but I have no issue with that. Where the discussions are about notable characters with their own articles, all the discussions I read have concluded that fair-use is appropriate regardless of costume/make-up/etc. Again, I would like to make the point that basing the use of images on how much costume and make-up a character wears is arbitrary and against policy. –anemoneprojectors– 20:07, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
  • According to you, yes. According to others, no. With no disrespect, every last one of us reads into what we read what we are biased towards. We can't help it. Which brings us back to; if you want to change policy, start an RfC. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:10, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Actually you're the one changing the policy because these images have ALWAYS been deemed acceptible before. –anemoneprojectors– 20:16, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── It seems like to me the consensus is to allow the non-free images. Only 2 editors actively disagree (Hammersoft and Masem) and another disagrees less actively (Seraphimblade), while 4 editors (AnemoneProjectors, Gungadin, Raintheone and myself) actively and one less actively (Edokter) agree with it. JDDJS (talk) 20:31, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

If you'd like, I'll throw my hat in behind Hammersoft and Masem. If an article has reliably sourced discussion about the appearance of a character beyond the same appearance of the actor portraying, then an argument for using non-free as opposed to libre-licensed content can be made. Otherwise it's unnecessary and arguably decorative. — Fourthords | =/\= | 20:49, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
My viewpoint was not necessarely aimed at NFCC interpretation, but rather the suggestion that we "could use an actor's image to depict a character", which in my view is simply unacceptable... regardless what NFCC says. It is distorting the facts (and is unverifiable). And if I seem less active in a discussion, that is simply because I don't like repeating myself. Edokter (talk) — 20:59, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
So the question is... how do we aquire these Images? What suggestions do you have. How do we aqquire these images?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:15, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
You're presuming that we need images on character pages. It is never necessary that a page needs images. --MASEM (t) 21:23, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Raintheone, we don't need to. That's what fair use is for. –anemoneprojectors– 21:26, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
AP, I was just seeing how they plan to follow up their suggestions. Behold what I thought, they don't have that answer which makes their original arguement flawed. Even more so the ulterior motive here is actually not creating a new rule, it's actually removing images for fictional sall together. (Unless they dress up of course they can, and those who do not have sourced info about appearance must not dress up obviously, they must just go into work in their own clothes and have the film rolling..) But yeah, I like how you avoid the answers to questions every single time.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:42, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


"If a fictional character is notable enough to have their own article, should a fair-use image of the character be allowed?" and "Is a free photograph of an actor an equivalent replacement for a non-free image of the live-action character that actor portrays?" My opinion is that if they have an article they should get their own image and the image of an actor is not at all acceptable to use. JDDJS (talk) 23:33, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

This is a far different question than the discussion above. It's actually "Is a free photograph of an actor an equivalent replacement for a non-free image of the live-action character that actor portrays?" --MASEM (t) 23:53, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
The answer to that is no by the way. I answered your question because It's polite, so please answer mine.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 00:59, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I see no question directed at me in this discussion, so it's a little hard to answer it. Also, your answer is just your opinion, the dispute is over that answer. --MASEM (t) 01:42, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Yet you passed comment on my question stating we don't infact need images at all... Masem, how would you suggest wikipedia users aqquire images of actors on sets they cannot access? (Which was suggested earlier in the discussion)RAIN*the*ONE BAM 03:15, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
The answer is: that is not WP's problem. The Foundation is explicit that if there's a living person, we can acquire a free image of them in public. And you're presuming we need a picture of the person in their outfit or on set to be complete, but that's not true at all. Most character articles can probably have no image and yet be fully comprehensive - adding a non-free image would fail NFCC#8. --MASEM (t) 03:26, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
No real answer their, avoiding the question again. I don't see it to be wise to suggest that images may be available if you don't even know how to aqquire them in the first place. What's worse is that it appears to be a case of "make it up as we go on" ... the conversation didn't start with "Fictional character can't have an image at all"... Anyway, you're happy to throw policies around when there is one that states fair use is perfectly acceptable. Seeings as the problem is beyond Wiki's control to aquire those images, it takes us back to the original point that there is no alternative image available to replace the ones with a fair use rationale.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 04:46, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You are ignoring the answer because you're starting with a flawed assumption that being "Character articles must be illustrated", and thus begging "how can I illustrate this article without non-free since I can't easily get a free image of the character". No article needs non-free images; we want to strive to reduce the use to zero whenever reasonably possible. The visual appearance of most live action characters does not merit any interest in the source, so except for fans of the show, there's no need to illustrate that. There are exceptions to that rule that we allow for, but that's based on showing that the image of the character aids in understanding of the article, hence a picture of Worf, for example. --MASEM (t) 05:18, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Aswell as the above, Masem, I notice you've worked to promote plenty of gaming articles, all of which have non free images. The difference is ones a game the other is a fictional character, but why do you allow your GA's to go through with images that have fair use rationales, when there is no need for multiple non free images apart from the infobox. Can't you find a free image for them that doesn't fail the guideline you want to abide by?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 04:58, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

In gaming articles, to describe gaming mechanics ,we incorporate screenshots to show how the game is structured, as it significantly aids in the understanding of the gameplay description and there's no free replacements for these images. Again, don't use WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS to try to justify this, images are judged case by case with general classes for allowances (see WP:NFCI). --MASEM (t) 05:18, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Masem's argument is well-intentioned, but it is simply wrong. A fictional character is not a real-life actor. Period. A random image of the latter should never be used to identify the former. Period. What our policy tells us is that non-free pictures—like screenshots from movies or TV series—must not be used to identify living actors in articles on those actors; as living people, it is possible to take pictures of them, and Wikipedia's mission to produce free content compels us to do so. Nothing in our policy tells us the reverse: that a free image of an actor is appropriate illustration of a fictional character. Why does our policy not tell us that? Because it is (a) false and thus (b) extremely poor encyclopedic composition.

It is hard to believe that this needs to be explained, but it is evidently necessary: Characters are not actors. They are fictional creations that, if they are cinematic or televisual characters, make significant use of one or more actors for their realization. A single character may be played by multiple actors, for instance (a) as the character ages, (b) if a movie has a sequel and the actor who originally played the character is replaced, or (c) if a TV series, extending over multiple seasons, replaces one actor with another in the role of a particular character. The only proper, encyclopedic representation of such a character is—wait for it—an image of the character.

Astounding, I know, but it's not that complicated. In practical terms, it means an image of an actor—or multiple actors, if the character has been portrayed by multiple actors—in character, meaning an image in which he or she is seen (a) expressing a demeanor characteristic (get it, guys?) of the character, (b) costumed as the character, (c) made up as the character, and (d) in a setting where the character could be encountered (i.e., in an image from the pertinent movie or TV show, or in an on-set publicity shot effectively replicating such a setting.)

There is absolutely nothing in our policy that indicates otherwise, nothing that forces us to falsely, non-encyclopedically present characters and actors as identical. And this idea—that "the visual appearance of most live action characters does not merit any interest in the source, so except for fans of the show, there's no need to illustrate that"—I'm afraid betrays a deep ignorance of the field of cinematic and television studies. As a film critic and historian, I assure you, I am not a "fan" of most of the things I write about, but being able to see, comprehend, and remember what significant characters look like is crucial. It is condescending in the extreme to suggest that the proper representation of characters is of interest only to "fans." Like any other information we present, it is of potential interest to all encyclopedia users, and its proper, truthful representation is essential.—DCGeist (talk) 07:04, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Everything you describe is basically "attaching a picture to some text" and not the intent of NFCC#8, a requirement for all non-free images. Yes, many people are visual readers - images do help with information retention, but that's not an allowance for the use of non-free images. They need to significantly help the reader to understand the work that they are reading, and thus if it's easier to show them an illustration or photo of the character in question than to describe that in detail, because that description is critical to understanding the character, then sure, we can use the image. But 90% of these character images I see are simply illustrative - in the infobox, never referred to at all. More-so for live actors, and here, a free image can be used for illustrative purpose. You have to put yourself in the shows of a person that never has seen a TV show but is looking for information about a character for some reason - is a picture really going to help them understand that any more ? Most of the time, that answer is no, and thus there is no appropriate reason to use non-free images. --MASEM (t) 07:15, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I'll be upfront and admit I'm not following all the back-and-forth with enough diligence, but I didn't realize anybody had suggested to use a photo of an actor and literally caption it claiming it to be the character (my apologies if I've honestly missed this), that would be inaccurate and incorrect. Using a photo of an actor, and captioning it as "the actor which portrayed the character" would not be, however; many argue then that for characters who are insufficiently different from their portrayers (as determined by a lack of reliably sourced prose to the contrary), identifying the actor (or lacking imagery whatsoever) is sufficient to understand the character. — Fourthords | =/\= | 07:19, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You know what, Masem may be right!!! I was just reading multiple gaming character articles, and you know what? I found myself not needing to know what any of the characters or scenes looked like, and I was perfectly content to not know because I have no real interest in the topic.... Blanket removal of all copyright gaming images please?....Speedily if possible. After all, I am not interested in appearance, it doesnt help my understanding of the topic, therefore all these images should be removed because I am so self-centred that I actually believe the way I feel/think, is the way everybody should feel/think.GunGagdinMoan 12:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
because I have no real interest in the topic. - That's not the reasoning I'm giving, nor are you arguing for the core issue of this discussion, the use of non-free images of live actors in characters as there are free replacements. --MASEM (t) 14:16, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You are going back and forth again, now back to the original point the images can be replaced, but no suggestion of how. This is the point every editor of these articles will want to know, how you replace the image. Also you can use the other stuff point, but you're still giving the green light to non free images in your interest zone. I read those articles, only really any use to a fan. Which does actually link into the points you have made throughout the article when you've out right stated that images that fail the the guideline have no place here. The title of the discussion is Non-Free content in anycase. One rule for one and another for the other.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 14:51, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
No, it is not a different set of rules: everything is based the NFCC policy and Foundation resolution. Comparing how non-free images of live-actor characters to other types of non-free content is not productive because everyone has to meet NFCC. In considering the NFCC for a non-free image of a live-action character, there are two major NFCC issues: NFCC#1, that requirs us to not use non-free images when free equivalents are possible - in this case that as long as the actor is living, we can except a free image of that people can be taken, and that we do understand that some live-action characters are a result of make-up or from several decades ago that would be significantly different from the actor's picture today so it is not a blanket rule on any live-action character - and NFCC#8 that requirs the image to significant contribute to the reader's understanding of the work - if seeing the character is critically important to understanding and comprehension such that removal of the non-free picture will make it very difficult to understand the context, then its appropriate, but as identified, in most cases, the visual appearance of the character is not stated at all within the text, and thus a picture is unnecessary. Both of these have to be meet (among the other 8 as well), and that is what the problem is with most live-action character pictures, in that they fail one or both of these.
I want to stress that we are not saying that a non-free image of a live-action character is never allowed; in context of the work they are in, it's often useful to show an ensemble cast, or to show critically central scenes of the characters in the work alongside text that describes it. An example going through recent featured articles is Martin Keamy, where the image given is a point in time in the series where, as sources describe, the character's arc significantly changes. To me, that's at least a satisfactory point to justify the use of a non-free image because its more than just slapping a nice photo of the character in place. I have a feeling that that is not a hard goal for any major character for any media-acclaimed series, but one that must be done. --MASEM (t) 15:15, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Discussion note added to Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Film, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Hollyoaks, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Soap Operas, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Television, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject American television and Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Comedy, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Heroes, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Buffyverse, Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Lost.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 15:12, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

I think the fair use rationales on the fictional character pages more than accounts for their use. Very much so on British Soap character articles. A screenshot, This is the only way we can aquire this image. You stating otherwise is obsurd and not a fact. You've never stated how we are meant to replace these images.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 15:26, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
You are ignoring what I said. Unless there is demonstrated sourced significance to an image of a live-action character who's actor is still alive, NFCC#1 and the Foundation resolution states that a free image taken of the actor is a reasonable and free replacement, even if it is not easy to acquire such an image. We have free images of British actors in other areas, so its certainly not the case British actors are difficult to photograph. And yes, that might mean that a page about a character could have no image while we wait for a free version to become available. If the picture is so critical to the understanding that that case is not acceptable, then find the sources that talk about the appearance of the character to back up a non-free rationale for it. --MASEM (t) 16:11, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Sorry but We've already established a consensus that the actor is not the character and is not suitable for the character as it's misleading.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 16:35, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
And has been stated above, we don't pretend that the actor is the character, but instead place the actor's picture in the body of the article with a caption "John Smith portrays the character X". Non-free has been replaced appropriately. --MASEM (t) 16:39, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Those free images are prefect for the casting section talking about the actors. Great additional content to go next to the character image, which sadly cannot be replaced.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 16:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
"Great additional content" is not an allowable rationale for non-free image use. I've outlined how you can justify a character image through sourced commentary about the character, but just because it's visibly appealing is not appropriate. --MASEM (t) 17:10, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
That's why I said "Great additional content" and applied it to FREE images of the actor, for the casting section, not non-free like you just said. It's very rude to assume I'd ever use that for my rationale when uploading images, I do know that that would be a very useless thing to put. I go into a lot of detail and explain why it should be included.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 17:48, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
I apologize, I misread your comment. --MASEM (t) 18:09, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • I'd say that no, an actor is not a character. Thus, my preference for illustrating characters would go something like: Free photo of character -> Promotional photo of character -> Screen shot of character -> Free photo of actor -> Promo photo of actor... and we can probably stop there. Within photos of "actors" rather than "characters", the preference would clearly be for a shot of the actor looking as close to the appearance of the character (attire, hairstyle, etc.) as possible. For example, a picture of James Marsters will not adequately illustrate Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) because the hairstyle (bottle blond) and attire (leather duster) are key attributes of the character... yet in his normal human appearance, Spike has no exceptional make-up to distinguish him from Marsters' normal appearance... certainly not to the extent Mark Metcalf differs from Master (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Jclemens (talk) 20:13, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying you support the use of non-free photos to illustrate characters, right? JDDJS (talk) 20:34, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
In one word? Yes, I suppose. Free content is preferable, obviously, but since free images of characters are generally not available, non-free images are the best way to illustrate characters, assuming that the community still believes that using non-free content is ever appropriate to illustrate any copyrighted creative element. Jclemens (talk) 21:41, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
  • Obviously no Non-free images are not an entitlement. Just because we have an article on X does not automatically mean we got to use a non-free image of X on it. It is a case by case basis, and in the case of fictional characters portrayed by living people, there must be an analysis of free alternatives that serve the encyclopedic purpose. An actor who looks essentially the same in 'real life' as they do 'in character' is a case where we would use a free image to convey to the reader what the character looks like. An actor who looks substantially different 'in character' (such as Worf or Zao) should have a non-free image if we have a separate article on that character. A free alternative does not and can not exist. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:43, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
This RfC, to which I'm replying above, asks two questions: Q: "If a fictional character is notable enough to have their own article, should a fair-use image of the character be allowed?" A Only if necessary. Q: Is a free photograph of an actor an equivalent replacement for a non-free image of the live-action character that actor portrays?" A: Unless the article warrants more. I've tried to be succinct and clear without being tl;dr. I'm happy to clarify or reply. — Fourthords | =/\= | 15:07, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
  • "If a fictional character is notable enough to have their own article, should a fair-use image of the character be allowed?" No, not ghenerally. I am generally opposed to the use fair-use images except where it is really necessary to enhance the Wikipedia. An exception might be made for a few very notable fictional characters. Robin Hood, or like that. But very few.
  • "Is a free photograph of an actor an equivalent replacement for a non-free image of the live-action character that actor portrays?" No, not in my opinion. Picture of an actor is not the same a picture of a character. If the only choice is 1) fair-use image of character or 2) free image of actor, the solution is: no image. Herostratus (talk) 18:55, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Hammersoft gives the obvious answer. "If a fictional character is notable enough to have their own article, should a fair-use image of the character be allowed?" Not necessarily, as there is no entitlement to non-free content. Possibly yes, though there are plenty of examples where it would not be acceptable (where we have a free image of the character or one is likely, for instance). As for "Is a free photograph of an actor an equivalent replacement for a non-free image of the live-action character that actor portrays?" Potentially, yes. Probably not, but it's a possibility. This RfC asks general questions to which there are not clear answers. J Milburn (talk) 19:13, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Obviously if a free image of the character is available that should be used over a fair use image, but that very rarely is the case. JDDJS (talk) 19:20, 31 January 2011 (UTC)
Just wanted to say that Roxy Mitchell's image FFD ended as keep, so with that and Ringo Brown's I think we should look to getting the Glee images restored - especially considering there was only one !vote in that FFD. –anemoneprojectors– 20:58, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree. At the very least the !votes should be reopened. Btw an editor added a new non-free image to Rachel Berry (Glee). I liked the other one better because it matched the other Glee articles, but I'll be happy with either photo. JDDJS (talk) 21:16, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
We can't use the results of one or two FFD to determine consensus. We have to look at the general trend of these FFDs, which clearly are for deletion. Those particular FFD suffer from a lack of input, since most of the commenter are those trying to defend these types of images, and thus are not well representative of the community. --MASEM (t) 21:36, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Only one editor actually !voted for deletion. I wasn't aware there was a discussion going on. There seems to be at least reason enough to reopen the discussions, even if it has the same out come. JDDJS (talk) 21:51, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Ringo Brown's image had a long discussion at FFD, and one before FFD on the image talk page. Did you read those, Masem? FFD result = consensus. –anemoneprojectors– 22:37, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
2 FFDs do not make consensus, and no , people don't patrol FFDs to offer input, so there are cases that slip through. If there were more eyes on either, it likely would have been closed as delete, since there's a strong violation of the Foundation resolution for both images, and show the extreme that some believe that non-free is irreplaceable - both images can be replace with photos of the actors without any lose of comprehension, period. --MASEM (t) 22:55, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── They have had a lot more discussion then the Glee articles did. And you're just guessing when you say they would've been deleted. In addition it is NOT "a strong violation of the Foundation resolution". The policy there is not very clear, and just because thats how you interpret it doesn't mean thats how it's meant to be. JDDJS (talk) 23:08, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

How is 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. not clear? --MASEM (t) 23:23, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Masem, with respect, it's an impossible argument. Just now, I ran across an argument from about a year ago, where an administrator was (rather severely) taken to task for replacing a non-free image with a free license one from Commons that absolutely served the same purpose. The bottom line with fair use images is that if someone...anyone...thinks its useful/unique/relevant/pretty/fun, it MUST be included and anyone who disputes that has to get mass consensus on their side to get it removed, and even then they'll most likely not see it removed. See, if I take a picture of an actor in costume, on a set, and free license it the image is not acceptable here. We must have an image of the person taken as a screen capture, and non-free. Otherwise, our readers will be confused as to what character is being discussed. I have a userbox on my page that says "This user finds that the only way to stop the fair use arguments is to allow as much fair use as possible". It's true. --Hammersoft (talk) 23:43, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe we simply have to be more forceful with image deletions, possibly creating a speedy deletion criteria for non-free images of live actors that are otherwise indistinguishable from their live actor. This is one of the few Foundation mandates that overrides consensus... --MASEM (t) 23:46, 3 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry but what makes you so special that you can decide that consensus doesn't matter? JDDJS (talk) 01:31, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
The Foundation, pretty much. BLP and NFC are the only two areas where the Foundation has put their foot down to overrule consensus. --MASEM (t) 02:14, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
So you get the last say and can now overrule everyone else?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 02:38, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The appropriate way to look at it is how do a small group of editors here get to override the Foundation? The Foundation's been pretty clear about this issue with regards to living people. --Hammersoft (talk) 04:04, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This isn't about living people. This about fictional people. And everyone has been doing this for years, so we're not a "small group of editors" like you suggest. JDDJS (talk) 04:10, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

It is about characters that are portrayed by living persons. We cannot pretend there is a difference between the two. And just because it's been done that way for years doesn't mean its right. --MASEM (t) 05:06, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Avoid non-free character images as much as possible. Generally, having an article on a character is the required basis for allowing a non-group fair-use image of the character, so we can leave all barely or non-notable out of this discussion. If that's a given, the editor thinking about adding a non-free image should ask himself if he'd recognize the actor on the street, based on his knowledge of the character's looks. If that's a yes, a non-free image is simply not necessary. Period. A road map is technically also not equivalent to a satellite picture, but it gets the message across of how where the road leads. Same with actors portraying live-action characters here. Now, for every one who's thinking that we should allow a non-free image if we currently don't have a free image of the actor, I'd point out that that's a terrible idea. No editor (and especially fan) would still try to find free images on flickr anymore, if he can use a nicer (and I agree more fitting) non-free screenshot. – sgeureka tc 13:29, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Masem's right on this score. Unless there is significant critical commentary on the look of a character that an image of the actor cannot adequately satisfy, there's no mandate for a non-free image when there are suitable replacements available, mostly easily attainable. There are very few television characters outside of genre shows that look dramatically different anyhow. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 14:44, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Also, I feel like mentioning that the Ringo Brown FFD is a horrible example to set consensus by. A) The people who started the RfC were involved in that, so it's pretty clear that it's not an impartial sample, B) the main policy-based arguments were ignored in favor of some philosophical "but is really the character when he's walking around?" (Protip: we're not judging performances, we're using a frame; it doesn't matter.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 14:59, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Fair use is allowed We know this because we already allow it. Pictures of actors are not accurate substitutes for pictures of the characters that they portray and we should not violate core policy to suggest otherwise. For example, I saw a theatrical performance of Hamlet in which Claudius was played by Patrick Stewart and Hamlet by David Tennant. If you start playing fast and loose with images then readers might get the idea that Dr Who looks exactly like Hamlet or that Gandalf looks exactly like Magneto. This is not acceptable. Colonel Warden (talk) 08:56, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
    • This is wrong. We do not allow fair-use images. Instead, we are stricter than fair use because the primary goal of the Foundation is free (as in speech) content, and thus we have allowances for when we can make exceptions for non-free image use. It is very important to make a distinction between fair use and non-free images. --MASEM (t) 13:47, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
  • My problem with some (most) of these types of discussions is they lead to an overall, for lack of a better word at the moment I type this, bastardization of the policies. The Non-free content criteria policy lays out the 10 criteria that should be applied to *all* such material. Yes, exceptions may apply, but they too should become narrow in scope and be identified as such. In my looking over this I see something specific being discussed but yet would, if accepted as the norm, fall back upon items most often never allowed. While some may feel it is somewhat of a tangent the concept of publicity photos and why they should be allowed have been the subject/s of many discussions, including Jimbos post that This page is dangerous where he surmised that In general, ordinary publicity photos of celebrities should not be used in Wikipedia unless they are released under a free license. We are powerful enough now that we can insist on this, and get it, from just about any celebrity, or we can get a free photo in a number of different ways. Using fair use in such cases discourages us from creatively looking for a way to enlarge the commons. That is the most common thought process across the board. I have always felt that such material is "freely distributed" by the studio, production company, distributor, etc to use in discussion of the product, as such there are no real issues with allowing such use here. In the case here the "product" would be the "character". However unless the "product" is not around we don't allow it. My problem is this - if that is how things are we should not make exceptions for a non-free replacement to replace another non-free image if there is a free image that shows the same "product". And that appears to be part of the overall discussion here. So, say, a network releases a publicity photo of an actor in a show and the caption says something like "The actor portrays a character in this television show". What is already accepted is we do not allow it. Period. But if one were to take a frame grab of the same actor in the same TV show as the same character it somehow becomes more accepted. How/why is that? (again, maybe a tangent but it is a valid question overall *and* for this discussion)
I 100% feel that common sense and logic should dictate non-free use overall. If Paramount issued a "free" publicity photo of a Star Trek character the real world would allow use of such material in an article about the show, the actor or the character. As I always point out this is not the real world - Wikipedia would not allow use of such material for various reasons. Wikipedia may allow use of a frame grab however. To me a publicity photo may be much better than the frame gab, so why shouldn't it be used *if it was deemed an important part of the article.* (As is being discussed here say the publicity image was of a "character"? How is a frame grab better, or worse? Sans any critical commentary in the article about how/why one was better or worse the idea should be to use the best available source) As only one example I would say 99% of the fans of Brian Warner are not fans of "him" but of his "character" - Marilyn Manson. The main info box uses File:Marilyn Manson.jpg but most people associate his visual more like this, this or even this - however we don't allow those because they are non-free, and Brian Warner is still alive. A similar question was raised at Quiet Riot. The free File:Quietriot2.jpg image is used in pace of publicity shots that are out there. Kevin DuBrow is now deceased so one argument is that the publicity shots are now acceptable, however the free shot includes him. The band holding a fans baby is really not, say, the image of the band here or here. So visual "image" or "character" really does not bear weight when the image is just used as an identifier. Why would television or film be different? (rhetorical question - does not require an answer)
Now I know that the narrow scope of the current discussion is only about "characters" as they might appear on a TV show, but that too is part of what I am saying - it actually applies to a much wider spectrum of "characters" as I have tried to pint out. If I follow the actual policy it is clear that if a person is alive (character or not) it is presumed a free replacement could be found. On the other hand common sense, to me, is that it would be unfair to require File:Michael Dorn.jpg to be used to illustrate the character seen in the non-free File:WorfTNG.jpg. But likewise I think it is equally as stupid to say if there is a publicity shot of "Worf" (such as this one) that said "Michael Dorn - Lieutenant Worf" (such as this one) we couldn't use it the exact same way we are using the frame grab. But my personal "exemption" feeling would stop at that type of make up related character. The "wider" implication of allowing such use in some sort of blanket "exemption" would then allow, say, something like this be used to show the "character" of Sydney White that Amanda Bynes portrayed. In that sense I really see no reason why File:Friendsmonica.jpg is allowable under current policy, even to illustrate the "character" of Monica Geller. The role of The Skipper, as played by Alan Hale, Jr., is a far more iconic "character" than Monica Geller is in terms of a visual image yet there is not any discussion of why we "need" an image of that "character" in that characters article *or* in the actors article - yet logic would say that File:Alanhalejr.jpg is not the visual image most people would associate with the actor - this or even this would be.
No matter what I feel until the policy is changed the policy is clear in what it allows for. And the "only" exception is 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. In that regards I see no problem with what that means. In the sense of using promotional or publicity material I think there will always be a problem however. Soundvisions1 (talk) 19:17, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Can I pose one not-so-hypothetical question? It seems to be generally agreed that non-free ensemble shots are, broadly speaking, acceptable under the NFCC guidelines. Like, for instance, File:300- Leonidas and Xerxes discuss surrender.jpg, from 300 (film)#Controversy. If I were to cut that image in half and use it as two separate images in the same section, would that still be acceptable? If I were to then move one of the images up to the #Cast section, would that be acceptable? More generally, if an ensemble image is acceptable fair-use, and it is possible to slice that same image up into individual images, is one acceptable and not the other? Happymelon 00:55, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Nope, because in cutting up the image, you are creating a new non-free use. The reason we generally accept cast pics (and again, there's no assurance for these in general) is that getting the ensemble of a group of actors together like that outside of the production is a rarity (for example, we found a way to do it for Fringe (TV Series) but that's the exception not the rule); so a free replacement is unlikely to be found. For individual actors, though... --MASEM (t) 01:08, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
So you're saying that it's the fact that the image is an ensemble that makes it irreplaceable. Why does an ensemble image more generally meet the Contextual Significance clause of NFCC than an individual image? Why would an ensemble image be preferable to a set of individual images of each member? Happymelon 08:37, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Evaluating whether to use non-free content or free content

Sgeureka's 13:29 4 February 2011 post above cuts well to the point; If we're going to use non-free content to depict a fictional character that is portrayed by a living person, we need an easily understood line in the sand that average editors can evaluate. There's obvious cases, and not so obvious cases. Adding a section to WP:NFC regarding this, with examples to either side may help. For example, an obvious case where we would use non-free content is to depict Worf (File:WorfTNG.jpg). An obvious case where we would not use non-free content is Jean-Luc Picard, where we are currently using File:JeanLucPicard.jpg but File:Patrick Stewart Met Opera 2010 Shankbone.jpg serves the same purpose under this metric and is free. Within such a section, there should be a statement that non-free content is not an entitlement, and per WP:NFCC if consensus does not exist to use the image, the default is to not use it. Thoughts? --Hammersoft (talk) 14:52, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

I can envision three explicit cases where a non-free image of a live-action character portrayed by a presently-living actor can be used:
  1. The actor is in a significant amount of makeup as to be non-obviously recognizable from the actor. Worf is a prime example where it works. On the other hand, say that in character, the only additional makeup is a pair of glasses or a scar - that's not significant enough to normally warrant a non-free image.
  2. The actor's current appearance due to age (separated by decades) or other factors is significantly different from the character. A picture today of Ron Howard would not be appropriate to use to show Opie Taylor. But like, say, simple cosmetic changes, like hair color or length, would not be significant enough.
  3. There is sourced commentary from secondary sources about the character's appearance itself (hair, outfit, etc.) that necessitates a non-free image to be used.
These are not assurances for keeping an image, because others will always judge if they believe they meed NFCC#8/NFCC#1 (for example, the image of Kira Nerys is a borderline case of #1). But failure to show these elements for a non-free living-actor character image should mean the image is deleted. --MASEM (t) 15:14, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
While I understand what you're saying, I think you should also explicitly point out that sourced critical commentary that demonstrates how the character's appearance is important can mean that a non-free image of the character is merited even if the total differences are slight, because we wouldn't want to illustrate said commentary with an actor shot (that starts smacking of OR.) Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 15:38, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Concur. In the Patrick Stewart example, a counter could be an interview of Michael Dorn I read a long time ago wherein he complained of how many hours he had to spend in makeup for each shooting day, whereas Patrick Stewart's time in makeup was very limited, mostly "dusting off his pate". In that case, an image of Stewart fully in costume might be supportable, contrasting it to Worf. Bit of a sidebar; Michael Dorn was at a trek convention, on an elevator. Two other people got on the elevator and were openly discussing whether Worf would be at the convention. They asked Michael Dorn if he knew, not realizing they were speaking to the actor who portrayed Worf. That case is obvious, and shows how the common street person would not have much chance of recognizing Michael Dorn as Worf. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:48, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Wording can be changed as necessary. We definitely want the commentary about an image to be sourced, and more than just a repeat of a description of the outfit or other facts, but either opinion or non-obvious factual. ("Ensign Smith wore a red outfit, meaning he was going to die that episode"). Here's a case in point is the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who - there's probably plenty of statues around that look like the Angels that could be used for free images, but the fact that its sourced that that is a human playing that character and forced to stand still for that longer is a non-obvious insight to the character. --MASEM (t) 16:14, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
As I've said at WP:Files for deletion/2011 January 20#File:SantanaLopezGlee.jpg:
  • I would welcome a consensus for a clear, consistent, and possibly newbie-friendly rule to determine whether a non-free image of a fictional character is appropriate
  • I find the established consensus from the NFCC not enough to decide for or against any of those images. I do believe that even an extreme position like "non-free images of all fictional characters of encyclopedic notability are generally acceptable unless there is a free image of that fictional character" can be argued to be within the bounds of the NFCC -- "serves the same encyclopedic purpose" is in my eyes extremely up for interpretation (≠wikilawyering!).
  • As for my personal opinion, even if you have a good image of the actor, say File:MS0363FB (2).jpg vs. File:Noah Puckerman.png, the article will never be complete without an image of the actual character, if only to have an image that can have a truthful caption stating: That's him.
Amalthea 18:57, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
At the end of the day, these are only guides; images are evaluated on case-by-case bases, and there can be cases where one can argue that we can use the image of a character (or other non-free image) over a free image of the living person because that living person is readily known to not appear in public, or there could be a case where, while the non-free promo shot of the character in full makeup and outfit is available, someone happened to snap a free photo of the same actor, in full makeup/outfit, where the lighting and angle are a bit off but still fully recognizable.
I can see these rules being adapted to be put in the acceptable and/or unacceptable uses list at WP:NFCI but only after we evaluate and get consensus on the wording (particularly point 3). --MASEM (t) 19:13, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

No one replies for a few hours (who originally were for non-free) and everyone's apperently decided what to do. I find it all a little sneaky. It's like saying we can change the rules as we please.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:02, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Excuse me? Nobody is 'sneaking' around. This entire discussion is out in the open. It's not like we're discussing it offsite and applying changes without discussion locally. Wow. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:07, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Maybe I should have said what I said above down here - so just read it up above for details. A currently living person does not require a non-free photo be used, a person in "make up" or some sort of elaborate costume might. But if it is only the costume it is a very fine line - people regularly dress up for awards and to walk the red carpet, if it was implied a non-free image is ok simply because of the cloths the subject wears in the image it would open up a much wider bastardization of the policies at play. Soundvisions1 (talk) 22:58, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

OK, so now what

We've had a lengthy discussion here, so, let's come up with some concrete guidelines so we can avoid confrontations/misunderstandings in the future. I suggest the following (borrowing largely from Masem's inputs):

In the case of an article regarding a character portrayed by a living person, a photo from the TV show, movie, etc may be used, but must meet one or more of the following criteria:
  1. The actor is in a significant amount of makeup or costumes in such a way as to be not readily identifiable from the actor. For example, a quality article on Worf would not be well served to only include a photo of Michael Dorn (the actor who plays the character). This does not apply if the only in-character additions are trivial (a pair of glasses or a scar).
  2. The actor's current appearance due to age (separated by decades) or other factors is significantly different from the character. A picture today of Ron Howard would not be appropriate to use to show Opie Taylor.
  3. There is sourced commentary from secondary sources about the character's appearance itself (hair, outfit, etc.) that warrants a non-free image to be used in order to accurately illustrate the comments.

I'd like to have one example and counter example for each point in order to provide more concrete examples. Your thoughts. — BQZip01 — talk 19:10, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

We already sorta have that for points 1: Worf/Michael Dorn vs Capt. Picard/Patrick Stewart. Point 2 would be the Opie/Ron Howard as a positive example counter to Doc Brown/Christopher Lloyd (who's character was already aged when he placed that role 25 years ago). Point 3's a bit more difficult to counterpoint, we can only show cases where we did allow for non-free of a living person due to commentary. --MASEM (t) 19:16, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree. Anything else we can include? Can you think of an example for either point of #3? Do we really need it? I can't see an example for #3 that wouldn't already meet #1. — BQZip01 — talk 19:50, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Final version

Feel free to edit this based upon consensus (this should reflect discussion above).— BQZip01 — talk 19:50, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

In the case of an article regarding a character portrayed by a living person, a photo from the TV show, movie, etc may be used, but must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The actor is in a significant amount of makeup or costumes in such a way as to be not readily identifiable from the actor. For example, a quality article on Worf would not be well served to only include a photo of Michael Dorn (the actor who plays the character). This does not apply if the only in-character additions are trivial (a pair of glasses or a scar).
  2. The actor's current appearance due to age (separated by decades) or other factors is significantly different from the character. A picture today of Ron Howard would not be appropriate to use to show Opie Taylor. An image of Christopher Lloyd would be appropriate for Doc Brown as there are no significant difference between the actor and the character.
  3. There is sourced commentary from secondary sources about the character's appearance itself (hair, outfit, etc.) that warrants a non-free image to be used in order to accurately illustrate the comments. An image of Drew Carey before and after his dramatic weight loss would be appropriate as it has been significantly discussed in the media regarding several characters he has played. An image of YYY is inappropriate because there is no sourced commentary warranting such an additional NFC image.
I think this is a bit strange. It's like saying "you can't use a non-free image now but if no free image is available by the time the actor ages significantly or dies then you can upload one." That, to me, just sounds weird. Not saying it's wrong, just that it's weird. I assume that it will apply to deceased actors... –anemoneprojectors– 20:06, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Yep, it is kinda wierd, but that's WP policy for you. We have NFCC for a reason and it is to promote WP as a free source as possible while still providing a quality source of information.
  • Final version??? We just started discussing this. Maybe "Next version", but not "Final". It's important to get this right, as it will be haggled over relentlessly after it's put in place. This isn't the final version. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
    Geez dude, calm down. If you don't like it propose something else or edit it! That's why I created this section. — BQZip01 — talk 04:14, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
  • So any character that has a similiar appearance to the actor cannot have an image, that's what you want? RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:13, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • That would be in line with the Foundation's stance on the issue, yes. The question is coming up with a rubric for aiding editors on when to use and when not to use non-free content. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:17, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Is the foundation joining in with this discussion?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:28, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The Foundation never enters such discussions. --Hammersoft (talk) 22:05, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I like the current version of points 1 and 2 but I think 3 is far too open. I would prefer (proposed changes in bold) the following in order to bring it closer in line with NFCC#8:
There is sourced critical commentary from secondary sources about the character's appearance itself (hair, outfit, etc.) that necessitates an image be used in order to accurately illustrate the comments and no replacement free image is could be created.
I also think that there should be a fourth point that emphasizes that the guideline only addresses NFCC#1 and NFCC#8 (and then only partially) and that an image-use must satisfy all ten criteria. CIreland (talk) 21:46, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
I also agree #3 might be a little weak. These criteria are designed to clarify how nfcc#1 and 8 are to be applied in the case of characters. It is worth noting that all NFC must meet all NFCC. — BQZip01 — talk 04:20, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Regarding this: "There is sourced commentary from secondary sources about the character's appearance itself (hair, outfit, etc.) that warrants a non-free image to be used in order to accurately illustrate the comments" - the example already given is Eleventh Doctor but surely the commentary negates the need for an image since it's all there in the text. And as someone already pointed out, it's also replaceable by a free image of a similar jacket and a bow tie - the actor doesn't need to be wearing it. Anyway, any image can be replaced by text. And I do mean any. –anemoneprojectors– 21:39, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

The argument is whether non-free content significantly increases reader understanding, and the piece of content missing would be detrimental to same. Yes if we need to we can remove every single image, that's a facetious argument however. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 21:45, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Do you think it's a good idea removing all non free content all together?RAIN*the*ONE BAM 21:51, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Stop fighting strawmen, Rain. This is getting tiresome. The Foundation recognized that non-free content was necessary under certain circumstances, that's why there's the exemption doctrine and WP:NFCC. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 21:53, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
Okay then, Honest question.. Will it account for weight, hair colour and attire? I'm sure we can see if they're any more exceptions. (I dislike being forced to change my opinion, but like with the government I guess you have play ball or get shot. lol)RAIN*the*ONE BAM 22:21, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
No, unless it falls into the 3rd point, where that change is commented on in a critical manner by secondary sources. I think the primary case here as where one can be justified is Weird Al Yankovic's old look (with afro and glasses) vs his new look, as it's documented that his old look is iconic. --MASEM (t) 22:26, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
AnemoneProjectors, I think it is clear you are in the FAR, FAR, FAR minority. Images cannot be simply replaced with text. Worf is a perfect example. — BQZip01 — talk 04:46, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

As a reader and occasional contributor, I largely disagree with the direction this discussion is going. In a visual medium, a fictional character is created by a combination of actor, hairdresser, makeup artist, director, casting supervisor, etc - with the actor being only one (important) component of that. It's like claiming a statue can be represented by an image of a person that modeled for the statue. At the very least, I'd think that there should be the presumption that a notable character with a distinctive look should have an image of that look in that article. This serves an identification purpose - it helps the reader determine that he has found the correct article, rather than some other character played by the same actor. I'd think that any character with a uniform - like Jean-Luc Picard - would easily meet this standard. Finally, I'd think this discussion should be listed on WP:CENT for a while, before trying to reach any sort of conclusion. This proposes a change to (probably) thousands of articles, and it deserves to be publicized more widely before aiming for consensus. — PyTom (talk) 22:43, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

If it is truly the case that the visual appeal of the character is the sum of several things including the actor, makeup artists, wardrobe person, and the like, then this has likely been asserted in sources, and thus can be used to justify the use of the picture. In most cases I'm seeing that are affected by this point, no, it's just yet another actor playing a role, end of story, and these claims are only those of passionate fans. --MASEM (t) 23:03, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
If it has to be critical commentary, I'd like to know what kind of critical commentary is acceptible. I wrote an article where one of the character's creators said that the actor in full costume and makeup looked perfect and exactly as they had imagined. Would that count? What about if it has been noted that a particular character is known for wearing Alice bands? Or a character whose weight had been discussed? –anemoneprojectors– 23:26, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
There one character who was big and it was part of the character, but after quitting she went on drastic health kick and is thin... but her character was big, it was also documented.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 23:38, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
We're not saying that drastic looks or changes are inappropriate to show via non-free if that's the only way. I've pointed out Weird Al Yankovic as one example. This example doesn't work, but say if we lacked free images of Drew Carey pre-2009, before he went on a massive-weight loss program (see [5]), we could include the hefty non-free image of Carey to contract with a free image that we can get of him today, because of a significant visual change. Of course, this is strengthened by numerous reliable sources that commented on that change. The same could likely be argued for your case of the fatter fictional character, though again, documentation of that weight loss strengthens its use. --MASEM (t) 02:39, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that specific commentary is necessary to show that makeup and costume design are important parts of creating characters - there are awards, like the Oscars and Emmys that show that they are important. Are the people who put on those awards passionate fans? In early Hollwood, it was common for actors to appear in their street clothes - that changed fairly quickly. Since then, professionals have created the look of a character - something that is important for identification, and increases the reader's understanding of the topic. — PyTom (talk) 23:47, 4 February 2011 (UTC)
This is original research, or at least the type of statements that can be gamed to such a great degree to weaken the free content mission. Just saying, an a WP editor, that the costume or look is important can lead to a case where a small costume change should be visually documented too, so, taking the trek example again, we would need three images of Captain Picard to show all the possible variations (original, newer with jacket, newer without jacket). Yes, this may seem exaggrated but this is the logic used by editors all the time to try to justify non-free use where is has previously been deemed nonallowable.
Again, if it is the case that the general experts on the show agree that the total sum of actor, makeup, costume, etc. makes the character distinct from the actor, this can be sourced, and can be used to justify a non-free image differ from the free image of the actor. Without sources, its an argument of "because I said so" which will not fly in deletion discussions. --MASEM (t) 02:39, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Concur with Masem, if they are so significant, then there will be critical commentary on the subject and such a use would be fine. This is a non-argument. — BQZip01 — talk 04:46, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Of course, the argument that the character is distinct from the actor flies all the time. It flew for Dr. Owen Hunt in a deletion discussion. It files in featured articles like Kahn Noonien Singh, Jack Sparrow, Martin Keamy, and Nikki and Paulo, as well as for thousands of other articles. To change it would be to massively change the status quo. There isn't going to be a lot of sourced commentary that a character looks different from the actor in street clothes - that's because the alternative is a fairly absurd proposition, and people don't usually write about rejecting the absurd.
The slippery slope argument is probably addressed by the solution that's used for cover art. An article about a character is presumed to benefit from a single image, for identification of that character. Additional images need to be justified by the article text. Identification is explicitly allowed by the foundation resolution. — PyTom (talk) 07:29, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
Khan Noonien Singh as Montalban portrayed him in The Wrath of Khan is once again entirely different from the character, and in the article case the prose specifically comments on the character in the film—his ragtag clothes, the reason he was given them, and the fact that the sixty-year old actor was ripped. It's not Worf, but it's definitely distinct from his appearance even at the time. As to the infobox image, it's possible since he was younger it might be possible to find an image like File:Ricardo Montalban in Fiesta trailer.jpg that might be free to use and fulfill enough of the purpose of the image to replace it. Either way, however, you're not picking very good examples. Jack Sparrow looks nothing like Johnny Depp on a good day (even the free image isn't that great) and there's a full four paragraphs on his costume. In the case of Nikki and Paulo, WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS. I'll nom those files for deletion now if I want to be pointy; as it is it wouldn't pass an FAC now as written, and was far different when it was passed. When identification can be sufficiently satisfied with a free image, we do it. Your counter-example, if we're going by FAs, anyhow, is Michael Tritter. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 17:32, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Gee whiz Ollie, that a lot of the same-ness here. As I said above the scope of this is narrow but would go backwards - it is not a good thing. What is already clear, in "plain English" wording is the guideline which says 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. It applies across the board all ready. We don't really need to make a new exemption for "characters." In short an image such as File:WorfTNG.jpg meets that "earlier visual appearance" for notability part, File:Friendsmonica.jpg really doesn't. For more detailed discussion just go back up the the RFC section and find my comment/s. Soundvisions1 (talk) 23:06, 5 February 2011 (UTC)
    • While it's there, clearly people are missing it. It's probably better to be explicit about what we consider acceptable as opposed to saying "no you can't use images, well, maybe in some cases you can..." --MASEM (t) 23:10, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Why is it impossible to get my questions answered here? First nobody will tell me why the image in Characters of Friends is acceptible when the picture of Monica Geller isn't, and then nobody will answer my questions on critical commentary. All I want is simple answers. Is it really too much to ask??? –anemoneprojectors– 21:48, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

I thought it has been answered, but again: cast shots are different in general, because one cannot assume that it is possible to assemble the cast in public in order to get a free image. A single person, yes, but not a full cast. Of course, if a free image does appear (see Fringe (TV series) for just such a case) we jump on it as a replacement. --MASEM (t) 21:57, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
Why not 6 free images then? And what about the critical commentary thing? –anemoneprojectors– 22:25, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
One non-free cast shot satisfies the minimal use of non-free image requirements set by the Foundation. And again, that still is based meeting NFCC#8. --MASEM (t) 00:08, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
If an image of 6 characters satisfies NFCC#8 then so does an image of one character - they are both "One non-free cast shot [which] satisfies the minimal use of non-free image requirements"... –anemoneprojectors
The Foundation also lets it's editors decide via their consensus. So because everyone decided the character image is not going to be replaced, because it cannot be, that's the said. The editors are the voice of the foundation.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 00:29, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
There are two areas that the FOundation's say overrules consensus: biographies of living persons, and non-free content, in both cases where we have been given a mandate to follow. The Foundation's resolution is very specific about living person photos.
As to the wording you're reading, "cast shot" is considered to be multiple characters, not one character. --MASEM (t) 01:06, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
But with Non-free content it's up the consensus again to evaluate if there is a replaceable image.. of the character. Haha! Every time it goes to the axe, they'll all the say the same thing. You know why? Becqause editors in general know the actress/actor aint the fictional character. That's what non of you can throw a policy at, mention a guideline from the foundation or call a fallacy. It doesn't say in the foundations text book that actors now have to be used for fictional characters, you're trying to get that to be seen as a replacement... and we don't want to see it like that because were not into putting rose tinted glasses on for editing.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 18:29, 7 February 2011 (UTC)


You can't use a photo of an actor as a photo of the character. A character is a copyrighted/trademarked creation of an artist. Whether they choose to use a great deal of makeup or not is irrelevant. Only FOX can decide what Gregory House looks like or does. They choose the costume, makeup, lighting, context, facial expression. You can get as specific as you want. Anything else is intellectual property infringement. Free images should only be used to illustrate their subject, and a photo of Hugh Laurie in any context is not an image of the artistic creation Gregory House, because we are not the artistic creators of Gregory House. The intellectual property belongs to FOX. If Nancy Stouffer published her Larry Potter books under the GFDL we could not use them to illustrate the Harry Potter movies, regardless of how similar we think they are.

Now, whether the NFCC allows photos of characters is a different question which I won't wade into. But I am quite sure that we should not be using free-use photos of actors to illustrate anything other than the actors' appearances. If NFCC doesn't apply then there's no need to have an image of the character at all. Put an image later in the article to illustrate the actor, but do not conflate the two like we did on the front page a few months ago. This type of thing should not happen. —Noisalt (talk) 03:42, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

Again, no one is saying that in the infobox we use a free pic of the actor and pretend its the character. In the case where the character picture is replaceable, the free photo would be located in body of the article, identified as the actor that portrays the character.
But what we are arguing is that in most cases, when the character looks close enough to the actor and there's no additional discussion about the character's look, we don't need to use the non-free image to give the idea of what the character looks like. We are in no way violating copyright when we don't show a non-free image. --MASEM (t) 04:29, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
OK. —Noisalt (talk) 04:37, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't see what "looking close enough" has to do with it. We don't use pictures because they look close enough to the subject, but because they show the subject , just as we don't use text to describe something that is "close enough"resembles the topic of the article, or references that refer to something "close enough" to the point being referenced. That's primitive, unencyclopedic, and irresponsible. We don't use a free picture from WWII for an article on WWII because the uniforms may be similar enough to give somewhat of the same impression. If someone tried to give a NFCC reason for a picture of person B in person A's article, saying its' "close enough" to give the same impression, they'd be laughed at. If we're going to illustrate a character we need a picture of the character in that work, for only that can be informative. I consider the indefinite clear unavailability of a free image of a notable character reason enough to use a small unfree image under fair sue, as essential for understanding: there is no other way to actually show what the character looks like. That's why there are pictures in the first place. DGG ( talk ) 20:50, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
That starts from the assumption that we need to show what the character looks like to begin with , which is a fallacy. --MASEM (t) 21:02, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
You'll try and tell everyone who has a different view point to yours they are wrong, we get that.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 23:00, 6 February 2011 (UTC)
No, it's a fact - the goal is to minimize non-free image use on WP, which can include "zero" non-free images. The German version of the wikipedia gets along fine with this, so clearly its not a requirement to communicate details on characters with an image of the character. --MASEM (t) 00:11, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
according to you, it's a fallacy that we have to show what a character looks like, unless of course, they wear a costume, which miraculously means we have to illustrate them..... Like Dr Who allegedly.... What a load of tripe. Cant you see how flawed that argument is? You either allow fair use for fiction or you dont. U cannot add such an exception in because every fictional character wears a costume, so everyone will have a valid argument to upload an image of a fictional character in "costume"..... Plus you are creating a hierarchy, suggesting some fictional characters are not worthy of being illustrated while others are. And why? Because they wear a costume for example? laughable.GunGagdinMoan 00:20, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem with your views, Masem, is that pages don't look complete without images. When readers look up characters they want to know what the character not actor looks like. Most readers don't care weather the images are fair use or free. So using your policy, the readers wou;ld be unhappy. And your policy isn't very hypocritical. you claim to want "zero non-free images", yet you have uploaded several fair use photos yourself. You added four non-free images to Crazy Taxi (series), which has three other non-free images. Meanwhile, I only want one fair use image for character articles. JDDJS (talk) 00:38, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
1) The fallacy that people are using is "A character page must have a picture of a character (not of the actor, but the character)". No, it doesn't. Otherwise, projects with stricter non-free content requirements, including, would have been ended long ago, completely unsuccessful. Yes, "pages don't look complete without images" can be considered true, but the Foundation's resolution is not written to allow non-free images where page feels empty. There has to be reason to use the non-free image of the character just like with every other free piece.
2) Our goal is to use "zero" non-free images, but that's the ideal, not the reality. We still strive to use minimal non-frees whenever possible, and live-action character articles are certainly an area where they can be addressed because the actor can be photographed freely. On the other hand, other areas like computer screenshots can't be replaced by free images. We still need to justify all uses of non-free regardless against the NFCC 10 points.
3) You should not be trying to use WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS to argue this, particularly comparing my contributions against this discussion. I'm well aware of NFCC and know when and how it is to be used. So do not be bringing up my contributions in that area in this discussion, you're side tracking off the main point. --MASEM (t) 01:03, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Why don't you answer Gungadin's points as well? –anemoneprojectors– 01:09, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, no we aren't creating a hierarchy. Every image has to be evaluated on its own. We have not said that just because the actor wears a costume that the image can be used. --MASEM (t) 01:23, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── This conversation is jumping around so much I am surprised anyone can follow it anymore. A few responses to various comments and questions.

  • why the image in Characters of Friends is acceptible when the picture of Monica Geller isn't is answered in a few "simple" ways. One is that the single frame grab of "Monica Geller" is just really a frame grab of Courteney Cox. Period. A group shot is just that - but, at least to me, it still falls under the same conditions all other non-free material does. The argument here seems to be it is acceptable because it would be fairly hard to get every cast member to pose at the same time for a free shot. I, personally, don't feel that reason alone is enough overall, but certianly can be taken on a case by case basis. On the other hand there is no reason you can't create something such as File:Stones members montage2.jpg from free images to create the same thing.
  • All I want is simple answers. The most "simple" answer is this: We do not need a non free image of an actor acting to establish they are an actor. The exception, as is defined already, is to "individuals whose notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance." That is why File:WorfTNG.jpg is more acceptable than other non-make up characters.
  • what about the critical commentary thing? is (or was) fairly clear that it meant there has to be some sort of text contained in the body of an article that discusses the non-free material, or, more direct, some text that explicitly describes something that only the non-free material can depict. This was called into question when some editors feel/felt that the needed "critical commentary" is the title of the article itself. So, for example, an article about a TV could use some sort of non-free image from that show because it was from the show itself. For most TV shows this seems to be the title card - such as File:Friends titles.jpg, File:Fringe intertitle.png, and File:30 rock logo.png. However, if this new definition takes hold it could also mean one could use any sort of non-free image in any article - such as is being discussed here. Keep in mind, however, the wider definition of "critical commentary" I firmly believe is not based solely on the title of the article but on the actual "commentary" *about* the what the non-free material is.
  • We don't use a free picture from WWII for an article on WWII because the uniforms may be similar enough to give somewhat of the same impression - but we do, and can. What we can *not* do is use a non-free image from WWII simply to illustrate WWII "because the uniforms may be similar to give somewhat of the same impression." It is most often accepted at Wikipedia that the material would need critical commentary on the material itself.
  • Most readers don't care weather the images are fair use or free. - this is most likely true, however Wikipedia has a set of criteria that requires all 10 of them be met. Judging what type of license a viewer will care about is not one of the criteria. However Wikipedia has, from day one, billed itself as a free encyclopedia most users will go off the assumption that everything they find here is free to do whatever they want with. That is why the Wikimedia Foundation's stated goal is to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge and, as such, has laid out that use of non-free material "must be minimal."

Overall a "character" is no different that a band, a signer, a make up artist, a producer, a writer, a scientist - anyone. In order to have an article on Wikipedia a subject must meet certain policy requirements. Namely somehting must make them "notable." The logic being seen here is that a "character" that is notable enough to have their own article should also have their own image because people may not understand the article is about that character with an image of the actor and not the "character". In order to understand an article on a author do we need to see them sitting at a typewriter typing out the exact book that made them notable least a reader may be confused as to which book they are working on in the picture? Do we need to see an image of a director on set of the exact film that made them notable for fear a reader will be confused if it is just a free image of the director at a restaurant? Most people reading this will get the idea so I don't think I need to go on with examples. But what about media? Expand it further - if a "character" was known for slapstick comedy or their funny walk should only non-free moving images be used because a free still image simply will not do? In the long run it isn't that editors don't feel such items are not useful, it is that Wikipedia has a "stricter than US fair use law" policy that needs to be followed as much a possible in order to maintain what Wikipedia was meant to be and the Foundation has laid out. Soundvisions1 (talk) 02:56, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for answering my questions on critical commentary. But I'm still confused. I gave two examples, though I didn't say what they actually were. One was Heather Trott, whose weight and general appearance has been criticised (by TV critics and medical professionals), and she's well-known for wearing Alice bands. The other is Naz Mehmet, where one of the character's creators (Emer Kenny) said that when the actress put on the character's costume and makeup, they were "perfect", and just as Kenny imagined her to look. Do these count? –anemoneprojectors– 12:47, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Anemone, the point is not to try and force people upholding NFCC into justifying every image you want to keep. Masem and others have very patiently gone over the applications of NFCC and the general policy that where free alternatives (not necessarily replacements) can be created, they are favored over non-free content. There's not much else to say now. This is turning into a rehash of the old WP:FICT discussion, where opponents spammed the page with "Would Lando Calrissian survive?" Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 12:53, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not trying to force people into justifying images I want to keep! I'm asking for examples of what is good critical commentary and what isn't based on articles I know about!!!!!! THANK YOU! –anemoneprojectors– 13:42, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
It's difficult to answer that question because, again, images are evaluated case-by-case, so we can't provide easy guides as to when the right amount of discussion about a picture is met. Clearly, the more secondary-sourced discussion there is commenting on a character's appearance beyond just what it is, the more likely it will be found to meet NFCC#8 and thus be kept. Of the two cases you say, the former is possibly a better case, because of the fact that there is actually a significant (and documented) change in appearance between the live actor today and the image of the character then. The second one is more unclear - commentary on the "character" seems to be there, but (as there's free image to compare) it could be that that person looks like that without a few minor embellishments in real life, and thus it might be considered for deletion - it might not, either. --MASEM (t) 14:08, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure you were looking at Heather Trott and Naz Mehmet? What you said doesn't sound quite right. –anemoneprojectors– 14:41, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes I am. The first one is where the actress trimmed down after the role; the second is just a head shot. --MASEM (t) 14:50, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't aware Cheryl Fergison had trimmed down. I thought you would say the other way around because Heather's commentary is basically "a fat woman with a headband" which doesn't take much imagination but Naz's is "with costume and makeup she was exactly as I had imagined", which leaves you wondering. –anemoneprojectors– 18:47, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Restating when character images can be used

An idea based on the previous discussion, instead of listing out the 3 points above, I think we can say something along these lines:

Non-free images of a single live-action character portrayed by a living actor is generally not appropriate under NFCC, as the non-free image is often replaceable by the free image of the actor him- or herself (per WP:NFCC#1). However, Wikipedia does make allowances for the use of a non-free character image when it satisfies WP:NFCC#8 in which the image is shown to be contextually significant for the reader. This is most often shown by the presence of secondary sources in the article body that analyzes and critiques the character's appearance (through casting, makeup, and/or costume) that would necessitate an image of the character to appreciate. Such common cases where this may occur include where the character has a significantly difference appearance from the actor, due to factors such as prosthetic makeup, elaborate costuming, and aging of the actor from the significant look of the original character. Note that meeting these conditions is not a guarantee that a non-free image of a character will be kept, but will provide better arguments for keeping the images if their appropriateness is challenged.

We can then follow this by some "this works, this doesn't work" examples as outlined above. --MASEM (t) 16:47, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

I appreciate that I'm coming late to this discussion; but I don't think the position you have set out above is correct; nor, I strongly suspect, does it accurately represent the view of the community.
It seems to me that if we think a character is sufficiently significant to have an article devoted to them, then prima facie they are of sufficient significance for readers to be shown what they look like, using NFC if necessary -- the same standard we apply to dead people.
The second proposition I would make is that almost always, if somebody who knows the work was presented with an image, they would be able to tell you straightaway whether that was an image of the character or the actor -- in part, because character tends to have a characteristic styling and look: actors and actresses are dressed, styled and made up for the part; they do not just walk on in their 'civvies'. So if what you're trying to do is show the character as represented, an image of the character generally will convey rather more that is informative for the reader for that context than an image of the actor or actress.
So in my view, we should say that an image of the character in an article specifically on that character in general will satisfy NFCC #8 and NFCC #1.
Looking in the discussion above, this seems to be a view that has substantial support -- there are good contributions from respected editors like DGG and Edokter and others saying just this; and particularly from those outwith the tiny minority who live and breathe this page -- who I suspect may be rather more reflective of broader views in the wider community. It also certainly always at least used to be a standard at IFD that pointing out that it was an image of a character rather than an actor would dispose of an NFCC #1 argument.
So this is not a view that can easily be dismissed. If you really do dispute it and think there is a majority for the much narrower restrictions you outline above, then you would need to convene a proper RFC with different positions and options outlined from the start, and you would need to advertise it much more widely -- at all the different film, tv, and media franchise project pages for a start. Jheald (talk) 21:21, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Except, again, the Foundation has specifically called out on the non-use of non-free images of living persons. This overrules any consensus that may be believed to exist. --MASEM (t) 21:31, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
That's for the Foundation to say. These are images of characters, not the actors per se. In my view what I've outlined above does not conflict with the Foundation resolution, (i) because images of actors do not serve the same encyclopedic purpose, and (ii) because I don't think they will make any difference to people trying to make images of actors to upload to the actor articles. Ultimately, it is for en-wiki-wide consensus to decide what we understand that resolution to mean, and what NFC we choose to have within that interpretation.
If the Foundation disagrees, that is something for the Foundation to lay down. But neither you, nor I, nor anybody here so far is the Foundation's appointed spokesman -- we aren't the Foundation. Jheald (talk) 21:50, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Again, the line from the resolution : 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. Now, I will say that if there is a notable character with its own article (passing the GNG), the likelihood that there is supporting information to justify the use of a character image increases greatly, but that is not an assurance that an image is needed. Some of the examples given above are literally just head shots of the character, looking just as they would in the street, so clearly they are replaceable. --MASEM (t) 21:59, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
No, I don't think they are replaceable - for the reasons I've outlined above. And Hermione Granger for example - do you consider that image replaceable? This is something that it is appropriate to ask wiki-wide for consensus to decide. Jheald (talk) 22:04, 7 February 2011 (UTC) (back tomorrow)
Thankyou Masem for pointing that out again, we know that we cant replace the character images, so the foundation .. I could unserstand all the hoo har if we were using character promotional shots with copyright labels on the images themselves. Were using the most sensible non free image there is... The line says living notables anyway. This confirms that people are still confused about wheather were discussing actors or characters here. Fine the actor one can be replaced, but not the character because were never going to see them..RAIN*the*ONE BAM 22:18, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you Jheald. I 100% agree with your position on non-free images, and I also agree thank Masem doesn't have the right to speak for the Foundation. JDDJS (talk) 22:51, 7 February 2011 (UTC)
  • If Masem can not speak for the Foundation (he isn't, by the way) then you as well are in no position to overrule the Foundation. --Hammersoft (talk) 23:39, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hermione is difficult because as a child character, her image has changes significantly since that point (and what I see on commons doesn't suggest commonality). In other words, per my statement, there's potential justification for using that image separate from one the actress herself, but I can't validate it.

A stronger case that I would say where we should not be using non-free images is Barney Stinson (played by Neil Patrick Harris) where there are plenty of commons images of Neil in a suit. That's the type of case that indisputable we should not be using non-free. --MASEM (t) 00:10, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

"the non-free image is often replaceable by the free image of the actor him- or herself" No. An image of an actor can be used in a character's article but it's not a replacement. —Noisalt (talk) 00:38, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes it is. It is not a exact drop-in replacement, but that's not the requirement of NFCC#1. Instead, a non-free of a character that looks exactly like the actor and has no unusual other embellishments is replaceable by a free image of the actor elsewhere in the article and text to identity that actor as the one that portrays the character. --MASEM (t) 00:43, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Exactly Noisalt, those images are perfect for the casting sections. Just an addition though, not a replacement for the character image. Well Hammersoft, Masem states at numerous points in this discussion "The foundation says this" and "the foundation says that" - When in actual fact as Masem quoted above, that there are exeptions when there is no free alternative. The consensus says that, were adhering to that very same guideline in stating there is no free replacement of the character. Only suggestions for a actor image have arisen so far... RAIN*the*ONE BAM 00:52, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Again: an equivalent replacement need not even be an image. The equivalence is based on the educational value to the reader, so if I can replace a non-free image with text, that's acceptable. --MASEM (t) 01:37, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
An image is perfectly fine though, with it's fair use rationale explained in depth, it is acceptable to use one. Btw, Why do you change your story for every point raised? It's either text, actor image, no image at all. All of which are not replacements really are they? It's like saying use an aligator for a croc because they bare similiaraties.. when they are different like the character and actor are.. Text isn't the best way to show things in many cases, some people are unimaginative and therefore would be mislead, especially if they are doing an assignment on fictional work for media studies..RAIN*the*ONE BAM 01:51, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Editors have been adding fair use images for years, and all of the sudden it's against Foundation? That makes no sense. And it seems to me, that most editors feel we should continue to do it. If either Masem or Hammersoft or anyone else wants to change it, then submit a RFC outlying what you want to change. And Masem, don't claim the policy is already clear because the policy you keep on talking about is made for living people and these are fictional, and by the very nature of being fictional they're not alive. JDDJS (talk) 02:34, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Every non-free image on Wikipedia must meet fair use, but not every fair use image is still acceptable as we have stricter criteria. It's not "sudden[ly]" against Foundation policy, excessive fair use images and/or those not keeping with WP:NFCC have always been disallowed since the policy's been around. Nothing is being changed. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 02:54, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) 1) I am not changing my story. I am saying that there are many ways that one non-free image can be replaced to maintain the same educational content, which includes but not limited to a free image, text, or even nothing.
2) We don't have a system to patrol non-free content. Instead, when its found to be a problem, it is eventually removed. So it's not that suddenly something changed; this is how it has always been, but since people want to try to push back against the Foundation's statement, its necessary to affirm that line in the ground.
3) We work with things out-of-universe; while from a creative standpoint there is a difference between a character and the actor, for an encyclopedic standpoint, especially in terms of visual representation, the character is just a role played by the actor and hence, we need to minimize and replace them whenever possible under the Resolution.--MASEM (t) 02:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
That's iffy for a start, the MoS that has in/out universe context grounds explains it all really well, so appyling that factor with the encyclopedic approach, and actor image would only aid the casting section of the article, out world context includes characterisation info, I'm not sure actors copy their characters appearance in the real world. If you're not changing your story, why is it this time you bring up yet another guideline you have read to try and ok this crusade. Also you say nothing is being changed Fuchs, well how come you're trying to tighten the requirement? Isn't tha changing it to meet what you have suggested throughout.. RAIN*the*ONE BAM 03:24, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I think what people feel has changed is that NFCC#8 is being applied to infobox images as a criterion for deletion, when it never was before. This is a very new thing that's happening, which says to me that someone's got a new interpretation of NFCC. –anemoneprojectors– 09:05, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
You've never spent much time at WP:FAC, then. NFCC#8 has always been applied to all non-free content in an article—why would an image be exempt by virtue of a template? Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 13:10, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
In all fairness this has nothing to do with FA requirements, has it now? If you want a featured article, you have to have strip it of any non-free content... but in reality, it's allowed with the rationale as I've always said.. so this shows how any straw is being clutched to try and make a point. Thankfully were atleast familiar with most of them. So away from that, it hasn't really applied for that, well not in the four or more years I've been watching.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 03:46, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Again, nothing has changed, it is only that, with >375,000 non-free images on WP, we do not have any practical means to patrol these images for subjective reasons (we do have automated tools for missing licenses and orphans, but that's about it). When a new "class" of NFC problems arise, that brings what may be long-standing issues to the forefront, giving the appearance of something new, but really it has always been a problem. The only substitute for image patrolling is the FA/GA process with both cite close adherence to the NFCC. Judging by the cases at FAC from the last few years, it's clear that there it is interpreted that non-free live-action character images must have really good rationals, irreplacability, and educational value to be used, otherwise they are going to be removed. --MASEM (t) 14:04, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

(ec) Pauline Fowler is a featured article. It passed with several non-free images being included. So it can't be anything to do with that. –anemoneprojectors– 14:12, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah I know about Pauline, so thosem saying it's always been a requirement on FA is not true. In that time period most articles passed with a any said amount of images... and to the one above comment, In that case there's no need to tighten anything. When I upload images I explain like crazy in the rationale, if I see one for a fictional character without, I update it. If everyone does that, it'll be fine. I'm sure we see if it's being abused I.E. using more than one non free image and so on, we will flag that.--RAIN*the*ONE BAM 14:16, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
That article was passed in 2007; since then FAC has become more strict. (I note very little discussion of images in the FAC discussion for that article where it passed). Presuming the actress was alive today and that article was at FAC, there would definitely be some trimming in place. Of course, the actress died two years ago and I'm not seeing any at-hand free images from a quick flickr/commons check, so that image does not apply in this situation. (technically, that article could be put to FAR for image overuse, but that would be bitey, and I'm not going to do that). Again, the better measure of what happens at FAC is what has been passed in the last year or so, and you'll see a stronger requirement to use NFC that supports the Foundation's resolution. --MASEM (t) 14:34, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
There are more like Pauline though, so saying it's always been applied FA noms is a little underhand with the truth. Also, I guess David didn't spend much time at FAN also? The foundation didn't make the requirement stronger, see knowing there is an editor in there who point blank refuses any non free content, there are a few there that still disagree, which can be seen in certain noms from mid last year.. . That's still a FA issue though, not the one were talking of.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 14:43, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) With all respect, it is not for a few individuals at FAC anyway to create a new interpretation of what is and what is not acceptable. If the lines at FAC have moved in the last couple of years by as much as you indicate, then that in itself is a signal that it is high time for a wiki-wide RFC to check whether that movement is or is not in line with the more general assessment of the whole editing community. Jheald (talk) 14:46, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
FAC is not changing the interpretation of NFCC, they are enforcing it better. Again, in the Pauline case (2007), there was nary a mention of an image, but if you take any FAC in progress today that's just been completely you will see someone has patrolled the images carefully for NFCC adherence. I will point out that the RFC recently on cover images was due to FAC reviewers trying to push a new view of NFCC to disallow cover images, and while I agree with them on that aspect, as you say, it wasn't their place to reinterprete that. So no, this isn't about a new interpretation of the NFCC or resolution. --MASEM (t) 15:00, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not so sure. I just looked in the archive here and found this from January 2008. If policy then was as set as you say, editors would have been all over Guest9999's suggestion, acclaiming his clear grasp of policy. Instead, his suggestion was met with indifference. That suggests very strongly to me that this interpretation of policy is a new development since 2008; that ties in with my memories of IFD; and you're also saying this is a line that has only quite recently really started being pushed at FAC. All of that suggests to me that a check to see whether this really is the view of the community would be appropriate -- particularly if, what would you estimate, we're talking about on the order of five to ten thousand articles and their images potentially affected? Or is it in fact even considerably more? Jheald (talk) 15:24, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
A one-reply discussion among several other concurrent discussions really is impossible to use as a data point. --MASEM (t) 16:08, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Rain, your constant misinterpretation of everything I say is getting tiresome. I'd expect better from Anemone, but adminship unfortunately has little to do with critical thinking. Pick any FA from, say, 2007 or before and there's a very good chance it doesn't meet FA criteria in some way. In the past the biggest difference (for our concerns) is that it was far more likely a nomination would get passed where the image criterion was not explicitly addressed. Anyhow, FACs aren't against non-free images, they are simply the only organized process we have where it is likely the images will be checked against WP:NFCC. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 15:37, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
That's just your viewpoint and you tend to talk down to everyone else, asif no one else but you has the right idea. Personal attacks have no place either. Also stating your patience is wearing thin doesn't really have benefit, if it were me I'd have a time out. It's not my aim to annoy you.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 15:46, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
But he's right in that the only former mass-image review process we have is FAC. One can take images to xFD , but that's less a formal review in article context than the FAC point. --MASEM (t) 16:08, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
But who is reviewing the reviewers? When there is a question as to whether their views are in line with the expectations of the wider community, the only reasonable solution, it seems to me, is to ask and find out. That's what was done on the cover images question, and look what we found. Jheald (talk) 16:27, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, there *is* an RFC tag on this discussion, so that's been open as you can tell. --MASEM (t) 16:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

I'm not sure why this is listed on RfC and CENT. Masem et al are right, and there is only one correct position here. Masem's clarification above already is policy, and it's not a policy that we can easily change. I can't believe so many words have been spilled on this subject. Gigs 16:40, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

If "Masem's interpretation is policy", when was this decided?
Looking through the archives here, I have found a few people asserting what Masem's saying, at various times and going right back. But in the various discussions I've looked at (and I haven't looked at all of them), there have always been at least as many people asserting the opposite, that character images are not replaceable in the sense of NFCC #1 (eg this from 2006). What I haven't yet found is any clear decision or consensus.
One that I did find interesting was Wikipedia_talk:Non-free_content/Archive_34#.22any_fair_use_image_of_any_combination_of_living_people_is_not_permitted_on_Wikipedia.22 this one from 2008, where Masem sets out the view (14:23 and 21:20) that character images used to represent the character do not breach NFCC #1. (If the character looked very similar to the actor, one might consider just linking to the actor page, but Masem did not consider this to be required):

....when an image is used to talk about a character in a series or movie that that person plays, then a non-free image is usually appropriate to show what that character is. (Mind you, if there is a free image of the actor and the character is not much difference in appearance, I would defer the additional non-free use and simply refer to the free actor, but that's not because of the issue at hand, just a general reduction in NFC content). Since the image in question is being used to describe characters of the show Heroes, and not describing the actors, it is a fair non-free use.
...we're talking a TV show character which is portrayed by a person. If we're talking about the actor, then the non-free character is inappropriate, but if we are talking about the character, then an in-character shot is appropriate, even if the actor is living

Jheald (talk) 18:02, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
And somewhat stronger disposition I have today from 3 years ago is relevant how? You can still see I've said the same thing then as I am now - that when there's little difference between actor and character, non-free makes no sense. You'll notice others in that discussion iterating the points of this discussion that such images are not appropriate in general, so certainly it has existed since then. --MASEM (t) 18:10, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
The views existed then; but quite clearly not a policy consensus or agreement
And your view then I think is relevant, because it showed you too agreed that there was no policy requirement to remove such images, even if it was something you personally would consider in your own editing in particular cases. Jheald (talk) 18:21, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Some here have decreed that fairuse in FAs are unacceptable, and the age of their FAC is being slated as the reason for this, yet these same articles have appeared on the wiki front page very recently, WITH the fairuse images on the page. Odd then that it is deemed unacceptable by FA standards to include fairuse, when in essence those involved with FA are actually increasing the traffic to those sites by bunging them on the front page of wikipedia's homepage and giving the impression that fairuse is OK, because they're putting an article including fairuse as featured on wiki's homepage!!!! I agree with the user above who said a wiki-wide RFC is needed, because it seems to me this project is giving out very mixed messages.GunGagdinMoan 18:55, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Once an article passes FAC , there's no review checkpoint save for FAR. An FA article that may have passed the bar 4 years ago but fails today can be randomly selected for Today's Feature Article and still possess the problems. So just because you saw a Front Page FA with fair use that seems to be contrary to the Foundation's position doesn't mean its correct. --MASEM (t) 18:59, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
There is no policy that says an FA can't contain NFC; just that any NFC that it does contain must be a model of compliance with the NFCC criteria, and that NFC should not appear on the front page itself. What may have changed comparatively recently is that more hard-nut NFC self-appointed "enforcers" may have joined the regular NFC reviewing group, who are insisting that any NFC comply with their standards, which may or may not match those of the project as a whole. Generally, for a team focussed on getting their article on the front page, it may be more politic to try to meet as far as they can the desires of such people, rather than tell them straight out that their personal interpretation of NFC policy does not have consensus. At least that's my impression of what may have been going on, in some cases. Jheald (talk) 19:18, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
You have opposed the promotion of an article because it didn't contain an image. I think I'm safe in saying that you don't have a thorough understanding either of how FAC works or the FA criteria more generally. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 19:27, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
It's true, FAC isn't somewhere I've ever had an involvement with or followed closely. Nevertheless, I think my description above isn't far off. FAC criterion 3 specifically contains the requirement for NFCC compliance and that all the NFC paperwork must be properly in order (which is no more than one would expect). FA pass/fail is determined by whether or not consensus can be built between the reviewers and nominators. Like any process, it has its own group dynamic, and attracts its own regulars. If one or more of those regulars has unusually hard-line views, that can over time affect the whole group; and it's only natural that when teams trying to "build consensus" as the process requires, that they are likely to try to accomodate as much as they feel they can. That's not to say that most of the NFC reduction that occurs when put under fine scrutiny at FAC may not be entirely appropriate -- I'm sure a lot of it is; and if there is a person there with particularly hard-line views on NFC, it may indeed be that he is routinely marginalised -- I'm not a close enough witness of the process to know. But from what I'm reading here, and also in the recent RFC on cover images, I do get the sense that there may not always be exact alignment there with the expectations of the community as a whole. Jheald (talk) 20:01, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and for the record, I stand by my view that if an article on an album doesn't show the album cover, it should in general fail FAC -- under FAC criterion 1(b) for not being comprehensive. And in my view that would correctly apply to the South Park series n DVD cover too. Jheald (talk) 20:11, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Featured articles are not the issue here here though. The main fact is that non free character images cannot be replaced with text or actor images in fictiona character articles.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 20:29, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
There are two core issues. One is this point: are non-free images of live-actor characters replaceable by free content? (This is the NFCC#1 question) But the second is related to JHeald's point which is: is the image of a character necessary to show for comprehensiveness in a character article? (This is the NFCC#8 question). --MASEM (t) 20:35, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
"are non-free images of live-actor characters replaceable by free content?" No. "is the image of a character necessary to show for comprehensiveness in a character article?" Yes. –anemoneprojectors– 21:22, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Starting an official !vote

Look we are not getting anywhere here. Nobody is going to change their minds. So instead of just continuing this never ending back and forth discussion, can we please just !vote on what the policy should be and also give every editor one of those messages that appear when you check your watchlist about this discussion, and then go with whatever comes out of there because I just want this to end already. JDDJS (talk) 22:18, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. As Jheald said near the very top of this thread subsection, we need a proper RfC. There is a clear difference of opinion among responsible editors about how to interpret our policy (and beyond that, the Foundation's directives) concerning the illustration of articles on fictional characters from live-action visual media. Let's find out which interpretation better reflects consensus.—DCGeist (talk) 22:31, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
There's already a proper RFC going. The problem is that we're failing to resolve how we meet the Foundation's requirements, which we must stay within. Those arguing that character images are de facto ok are not understanding that this is not a policy issue, this is a Foundation issue. --MASEM (t) 22:34, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
No it's not. Unless Jimbo or somebody else who works for the Foundation gets involved, this simply a policy issue. And the best way to end it is with a !vote. Masem, I mean this in good faith, but you're just being too stubborn right now. It doesn't have to be your way (or my way). Let the community !vote on this. If the consensus is to not allow these non-free images, then I would let it go, and if the community decides to allow them, please just let it go. JDDJS (talk) 22:44, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Masem, you only supported the point I made: A proper RfC helps us resolve a dispute. Like the properly framed RfC above this one has helped us resolve that Seraphimblade's notion that "when determining if replacement is possible, we look at the topic as a whole. If we can get any free media for a topic, all nonfree media for that topic is replaceable" is roundly rejected by the community.
Statements such as this are not helpful: "Those arguing that character images are de facto ok are not understanding that this is not a policy issue, this is a Foundation issue." It is easy enough to flip: Those arguing that character images are a priori not OK are not understanding that fictional characters and human actors are very different sorts of entities and that the Foundation statement addresses one sort of entity but not the other. Again, time for a proper RfC.—DCGeist (talk) 23:06, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
That last statement is exactly the twisting of words that people keep using to try to weaken the intent of the Foundation's resolution. The resolution stresses "free replacement", and they give one example of living persons. We need to consider every possible avenue for non-free minimization where any free replacement exists, and character images clearly falls into the Resolution's intent.
Mind you, I am aware there is some area for consensus here: that is, to what degree that a character must be discussed and/or different to warrant a non-free image when we have a free image of an actor. That falls in line with the Resolution. But when people are basically saying that Barney Stinson is fundamentally different from Neil Patrick Harris in appearance to require a separate non-free image of the former over one of the many free ones available for the latter - simply because one is a character and one is a real person and thus are different, I have to balk because that is completely against the Foundation's goals and wishes. The line cannot be drawn to that great an extreme. --MASEM (t) 23:30, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
You might have a point in the Barney/Harris because it might be possible to get a free image of Harris in a suit identical to one Barney would wear, but that is a very rare case. Also, currently there is no good replacement because the background of the image has to be considered and the only ones with Harris in the right type of suit, there are random people in the background, and we would need one with a more neutral background. And it all should still be voted on. JDDJS (talk) 23:39, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
Seriously? See, this is the problem, those arguing for loose character image inclusion are complaining that free replacements are not "exact" replacements. The Foundation considers "equivalent" replacements, from a standpoint of an educational work. If I showed you a picture of Neil Patrick Harris (free), told you he played Barney on this show, and then you watched an episode of the show, would you be so confused by the different outfit and background to not recognize the character? Of course not, and thus the free image is an equivalent replacement. I'm not saying no character image is allowable, but the line has to be set far from this de facto case. --MASEM (t) 23:49, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree with your interpretation. The resolution allows "to include identifying protected works" as long as there is no free alternative that "will serve the same educational purpose". In the context at hand, it is my opinion that there can't possibly be such a free alternative that serves the same educational purpose unless the copyright owner of the fictional character releases such a free alternative.
Whether I would be confused by your example is a different question. Amalthea 01:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
As the character Barney has the suit as a defining characteristic that is discussed extensively in the article, I think that it does serve a unique encyclopedic purpose, and would not be easily replaceable. I don't think this detracts from Masem's core point, however, that many character photos would be replaceable. Gigs (talk) 03:33, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I see that point, but I don't agree with it. No encyclopedic article of a fictional character is complete without an image of that character having a caption "that's him/her", assuming a canonical image of the character exists. Showing the canonical appearance is by itself an important, unique encyclopedic purpose to me, and it can't normally be replaced by a free non-canon drawing or by a free picture with a caption "Actor while playing fictional character". Amalthea 09:23, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

NFC requirements are absolute, and are not subject to vote or consensus. Seraphimblade Talk to me 23:45, 8 February 2011 (UTC)

To Masem; I would recognize him, but I still want to know what he looks like when he's playing the character and there are differences in appearance that can't be described in words.
To Seraphimblade; But many editors have different interpretations of when it implies and unless you can get someone who works for the Foundation to comment here, consensus is the best way to go here.
If consensus or somebody from the Foundation says to not use the images, I would let it go, but till either of those happen, or we restore the Glee images, I will not let this go. JDDJS (talk) 23:58, 8 February 2011 (UTC)
So no contrary solution would satisfy you. If you're actually committed to consensus, then there's no reason for a vote. I believe every participant has given his or her opinion above. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 01:36, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
There is no clear consensus. An official RFC vote should go on. I say consensus and note voting because if I did people might bring up WP:Voting is evil, but I guess a vote is what I really want. JDDJS (talk) 01:44, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Seraphimblade: The NFCC per se are axiomatic, I agree. But the NFCC#1's "would serve the same encyclopedic purpose" is certainly in need of interpretation, and in this particular context there certainly are very different interpretations of it. It's thus in need of a consensus. Amalthea 01:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

In this circumstance a vote would be appropriate. I recommend a simple two response vote with a restriction of a one sentence justification so people don't bombard the page with their reasons why. -- Lil_niquℇ 1 [talk] 01:54, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

That sounds perfect to me. JDDJS (talk) 01:58, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Its evident that plenty of discussion has already taken place... we just need people's views now. Yes/No or Support/Don't Support. There's no way anyone could navigate a consensus from the above discussion. The one sentence restriction should prevent discussion from restarting. (create a separate section: further discussion) -- Lil_niquℇ 1 [talk] 02:08, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
So can you start it? I would but I am unsure how to and don't want to mess it up. JDDJS (talk) 02:14, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Waitaminute... a vote is appropriate here Consensus is weighing strength of arguments, not counting heads. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 02:23, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Scratch that... what I meant was a straw pole to visually represent who is in favour and who is against. then someone could hopefully look at the weight of the arguments and conclude based on that. -- Lil_niquℇ 1 [talk] 02:48, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Who is in favor and who is against is irrelevant. We can't just vote away the NFCC. Gigs (talk) 03:25, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
We aren't just voting away the NFCC. It allows exceptions. We are voting to determine what exceptions are allowed. JDDJS (talk) 04:20, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If we are to poll the editorship, in my view it makes sense to be offering up more than one position -- so that people have something they can indicate for as well as against, or against as well as for.

I would suggest something like:

In general, a screenshot of the character in the infobox of the article about the character should be considered acceptable, unless there are specific special reasons for believing that it may be possible to get a free image of the actor in character.

To make quite clear, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm not suggesting that only a screenshot could ever be used in an infobox -- depending on its release conditions ($0, worldwide, universal use; or $$$, limited, exclusive use) sometimes a publicity shot may be more free than a screenshot, more often it will be less free because it is the entirety of a specially created artistic work in its own right. So in my suggestion is not to talk about publicity shots at all here, just to set a bright line for screenshots, because they are a comparatively known quantity. Similarly, my suggested proposition for consideration doesn't talk about use of screenshots outside the infobox, because again there are so many possible cases and permutations. Instead, I propose we concentrate on this one case, because in my view a bright-line decision on this would help clear the air enormously.

To those who feel this would be stepping on the Foundation's toes, my view is: ask them. Tell Jimbo, tell WP:OFFICE, tell Legal; let them know that this discussion is proposed. If they feel this discussion is stepping on the Foundation's toes, they can shut it down just like that; or, alternatively, suggest any changes they think need to be made. It's happened before -- for example, when a movement got together proposing a carve-out from NFCC to allow publicity photos, Jimbo simply shut down the discussion. But I don't think that would happen in this case, really for two reasons: (i) in my view, what is being proposed is a clarification which does not conflict with either NFCC or the Foundation resolution -- use of an image of a character on a character page is not going to act as a substitute for use of an actor image on an actor page, so this is not going to be a disincentive to people going out and trying to get actor images; and (ii) it actually represents the status quo -- these images are in place now; they have been in place for anything up to ten years; and it hasn't been something the Foundation has expressed concern about. I should also add that, in my view, use of a screenshot image to headline a page discussing the character will in general pass U.S. fair use requirements, both for us and for commercial reusers; and of course a character page is only appropriate if it passes quite stringent notability requirements.

As whether or not a poll is appropriate, my view is that we really need to get wider consultative input, and a poll may be the best way to do that. My guesstimate is that there may be something like 10,000 character pages with associated images -- I don't know the exact number, but I'm guessing that may be about the scale of it. Those images are there because even though some people have advocated what Masem is suggesting, going back years and years, the view that a character image is replaceable by an actor imaged has never achieved consensus, and I believe has only ever been the position of a small minority. But if what Masem has set out now gets the formal stamp of policy approval, I believe WP will be changed massively. Within two months I would expect somebody to produce a list of every character image heading up a character page; and as soon as that happens a team of dedicated volunteers will start going through that list putting every image they can on the fire. Masem says he thinks images like the one at Hermione Granger would be safe as a child character; but Emma Watson was 17 when that photograph was taken. Others in the past have said that images like Jean-Luc Picard would be safe, because it shows the character's costume; but they have been met with responses of 'so describe the costume, if it is significant'. My belief is that, if what Masem is suggesting goes through, then any character that doesn't have half a kilo of rubber stuck to their forehead would find their image for the chop. That would be a massive change to WP's coverage of live-action popular culture; one which I think really would significantly detriment readers' understanding of the topics; and therefore a decision which cannot properly be taken on the say-so of just a dozen or so discussants on a talk page, it's something where we do need to have got hundreds of editors to give their view.

My view is that this image of Emma Watson does not fulfil the same encyclopedic role as our image of Hermione; this image of Patrick Stewart does not fulfil the same encyclopedic role as our image of Picard; and even this image of Neil Patrick Harris does not fulfil the same encyclopedic role as our image of Barney Stinson -- it does not convey the ambience or the character of what is seen on screen.

I submit that the simplest "bright line" line to draw is the one I've set out above. As Masem put it in 2008: "If we're talking about the actor, then the non-free character is inappropriate, but if we are talking about the character, then an in-character shot is appropriate, even if the actor is living." Jheald (talk) 13:18, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Section break

(edit conflict)As I said somewhere way up above this is a special interest group/project trying to find a back door to change policy and this is what those close to it are failing to see. It seems to happen every time. What is being missed by those who are in favor of the "exception" is that Foundation made it clear each Wiki can set its own EDP, such allowed use of non-free material will be minimal. It is also the stated mission that the concept of such Wikis are to be free - not just free to look at but the content be free to use for anything. Those within one Wikiproject will tend to feel what they are asking falls withing the "minimal use" concept without noting the wider implications. Project A says "In order for our project to be truly legit we need free reign to use only non-free material because no free material would ever work." The "consensus" of those within the project is "Yes!". Project B comes alone and asks the same thing and the project members all voice their opinions of "Yes!", so that exemption goes through. With each project who does this suddenly the entire "minimal" idea becomes less and less and what is Wikipedia left with? A policy that lays out, and expands upon, a core resolution by the Wikimedia Foundation, that is ignored. What if every one of the approximate 3,554,200 articles on Wikipedia used at least one non-free element because the Wikiproject that oversaw that subject felt a reader would not understand the topic without non-free material? How would 3,554,200 file be "minimal"? Now before someone says "Ahh but that is a red herring/a strawman the point is that I see the exact same "But we can only use non-free material because it can not be replaced freely" argument presented from every group/editor who want so expand the EDP here. I feel the current trend is this: Wikipedia used to be a free content provider however, as far as images go, Wikimedia Commons has now taken up that role as they reject non-free material and will accept no "fair use" claims at all. As more and more of the truly free content here is moved to Wikimedia Commons what Wikipedia is becoming is a repository of non-free content, and as more and more special interest groups make demands for unilateral exemptions for such material the mission statement of the Foundation will be erased and Wikipedia will cease to exist as "a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project."

Moving along from that I also said this prior: What is being discussed is already laid out.

  • 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.

I can see how this "character" group feels it does not apply to them because of use of the words "retired or disbanded groups, or retired individuals" - but it does. Why not propose a few word changes in what already exists:

  • However, for some retired or disbanded groups, or retired individuals subjects 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 that illustrates that visual appearance, in which case the use would be acceptable.

Of course that would most likely lead to "visual appearance" discussions where editors would start to argue that, as a "character" changed hairstyles and cloths in each episode a non-free image would be needed for each "look". Soundvisions1 (talk) 13:50, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Excuse me, what special interest group am I suddenly a part of? I take a special interest in the usefulness and completeness of this encyclopedia, thank you very much, please don't imply that I have any other agenda, I find this quite rude.
Now, concerning your points: 1) The "minimal use" clause of the foundation resolution is explained in the same paragraph of the resolution, by saying that we must use free alternatives if they serve the same same educational purpose -- it's minimal compared to US legal fair use in general while still striving to be a compendium of all human knowledge. The resolution explicitly allows to include identifying protected works, and the core of the argument in this section is whether an image of an actor, even if taken by say a third person during a shooting of a film, can always or sometimes or never convey the same educational meaning. In my opinion it usually can't. 2) It is also part of the mission that Wikipedia is the "sum of all knowledge", and WP:5#3 includes non-free content where needed -- non-free content is part of the mission. Don't state as a fact the being a free encyclopedia takes precedence.
Amalthea 14:26, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The m:mission says nothing about being the sum of all knowledge (the 5 pillars are an interpretation of the Foundation's mission, but not written by them). The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally. Non-free content prevents this from happening to its fullest extent. And thus issue is between how much value a non-free image has towards its educational value, and thus their Resolution and our NFCC policy is exactly in line with this. See the discussion below about non-free galleries for visual arts: certainly it would seem appropriate to include numerous images of a visual artist's work to go along with an article about that artist but that's not in line with the Foundation's goals because it is not minimal use and certainly not exceptional. I'm sure every editor on WP would love to be able to use more non-free media within the bounds of US Fair Use law, but we all recognize that this is just impractical and need to figure out every corner that can be cut to reduce non-free use.
And this comes back to the point I've been trying to make. Some live-action character images are appropriate, and there's a line to figure out, but that line cannot be "every notable live-action character needs an image", because free pictures of the actors can easily serve as free replacements for non-free images of the character when there is no practical difference in appearance - a person will be able to pick out the character if they view the work after being shown and told who the actor is. That seems like a fairly straightforward point to judge the appropriateness of such images at least as a starting point. --MASEM (t) 14:45, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

If you look over this entire discussion you are not the only one participating so the comment was not about "you", so if you find "this quite rude" you should go back and re-read a lot of this, and other like discussions. What I said was Wikiproject, and that is seen as "special interest group." Also it can apply to any one, or more, editors who are discussing one very specific article yet may not see how the change would apply to *all* other articles. Look over this page alone to see what I mean for both cases.
Now to respond to your point/s. The Foundations resolution does take precedence. And my overall point was that either an editor looks at the entire policy and says "It is bogus" or they look at a "special interest" and say "Allowing only this does not harm" while ignoring the wider picture. The wider picture, in your eyes, is that Wikipedia is "a compendium of all human knowledge" and because of that no matter how much non-free content is used it is still "minimal" because, in the real world, fair use would allow so much more. I firmly disagree because, while those who are familiar with image use polices at Wikipedia get that, in regards to non free material, Wikipedia is far more strict than real world requirements the idea that, because the English Wikipedia is seen by some to be "a compendium of all human knowledge", only non-free content can satisfy an article about (take your pick) films, comics, television, albums, business, books, magazines, newspapers, radio, et al. is misguided because it is based on the assumption that, without them, nobody would possibly understand what the article is about. For me, personally, if I am shopping for something online I may want to look at what I am buying (think album cover, DVD cover, a bottle of shampoo) but if I am reading an article about, say, the film Inception I really do not need to see File:Inception ver3.jpg to understand the film, nor do I need to see File:Inception OST.jpg to understand there is a soundtrack for the film. Neither image adds anything to my understanding of the actual film or it's story (or it's soundtrack) While File:InceptionCastPremiereJuly10.jpg and File:Emma Thomas & Christopher Nolan at WonderCon 2010 3.JPG are fine free images I don't really need to see either to understand the article (neither tell me about the films story, its effects, its soundtrack, its editing, or even the cast of "characters" - after all, if one believes what is being said in this thread, is is impossible to understand that the character of "Dom Cobb" is "a professional thief who specializes in conning secrets from his victims by infiltrating their dreams" without an actual image of the character, presumably in the act of being a professional thief infiltrating someones dream.) What I, personally, would find far more insightful is actual video and/or stills that show how "visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin built a miniature of the Fortress Mountain Resort set and then blew it up for the film" or how "Cinematographer Wally Pfister gave each location and dream level a distinctive look." (or, for the soundtrack section, how does the "artwork" help the reader to understand "while composing the score, Zimmer incorporated a guitar sound reminiscent of Ennio Morricone and was interested in having Johnny Marr, former guitarist in the influential 80s rock band The Smiths, play these parts."? To me it would be better to actually *hear* that.) In the discussion taking place here I have already said that Worf is a good example of why/how a "character" shot is better than an actor shot. Although the argument could go both ways - many people could go to one of the Comic-Cons (San Diego Comic-Con International, New York Comic Con, etc) and snap away, uploading hundreds of "free" character shots, yet those who now, here, say it is not the actor but the character would most likely argue "That is not acceptable, it just someone dressed up that way, it is not the actual actor." Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:11, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

What the Foundation said

Quoting Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy;

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.

In contrast to that we have people arguing that

  • Fictional characters are not alive (I guess they're portrayed by zombies then?)
  • Including non-free images on every character is how we've always done it (which is why discographies are still to this day using album covers all over them, and episode lists have screen shots from every episode, right? see WP:OTHERCRAPEXISTS)
  • No free equivalent can ever be obtained (which I'm sure is why File:Martinsheennavy.jpg is erroneously marked as free)
  • People arguing against liberal inclusion are improperly speaking for the Foundation (yet, the same people aren't speaking for the Foundation when they interpret that liberal inclusion of non-free content is allowed?)
  • A free image can't serve the same purpose (since, of course, our desperately idiotic readers can't figure out that File:Martinsheennavy.jpg, when placed in the context of Josiah Bartlet, is really the titular character and not Martin Sheen)
  • Those advocating against liberal inclusion are in a tiny minority (and apparently should therefore be ignored? Who is keeping count anyway?)

And now we're urged to vote to finish this off in favor of inclusion? I propose a bolder, more sensible vote.

A real vote

Whereas the people advocating against liberal inclusion are a "tiny minority", Whereas those same are improperly speaking for the Foundation, Whereas our readers will be confused if we don't use non-free content, Whereas the Foundation obviously did not foresee this possibility yeah these four years past, Whereas fictional characters are not alive and therefore can not portrayed by images of living people, this proposal is made: The Foundation's licensing policy is irrelevant to non-free content in so far as it applies to any work protected by copyright.

  1. Oppose: Since I'm obviously in the extreme minority, I'm sure my !vote will be of no significance, and we will shortly have a definitive line in the sand by which we can all live by; non-free images can be used liberally and freely (as in beer) so long as we comply with Fair Use law. and for those who feel this is a sarcastic attempt of Reductio ad absurdum on my part; hardly. This proposal, when it passes, will definitively end these arguments once and for all. I've proposed essentially this for a very, very long time on my userpage --Hammersoft (talk) 14:57, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  2. Oppose: Yes, lets explicitly define what is being discussed. If the Foundations resolution is not of importance in regards to non-free content lets establish that first. Than move on to the policy here. Than move to the exceptions. Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:36, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Discussion (on real vote)

  • Since your proposal is plainly not going to be acceptable to the Foundation; and that nobody here is suggesting we tear up either NFCC or the foundation resolution, I hope you don't mind me boxing and closing it. Jheald (talk) 15:28, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Yes I do mind, and I've undone it. The discussions above have spun out of control and are achieving nothing. A line in the sand was previously proposed, and the people wanting liberal inclusion rejected. So, this is another line in the sand which is considerably closer (if not exactly like) liberal inclusion. If you have a better proposal, then propose it. Perhaps you have above; I haven't read _everything_. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:32, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • You can find what I have proposed here. Jheald (talk) 15:40, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Umm, that's what I proposed; you're linking to my diff. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:42, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I think what Hammersoft is doing is good as it sets a true "line in the sand". Once that step is done move on to the policy and than exemptions such as the wording you suggested. I also suggested wording based on existing wording in the guideline that allows for exemptions where "notability rests in large part on their earlier visual appearance". One step at a time is what I honestly feel is best at this pont. The Foundation issue ("vote") is important to see if the concept/s laid out in the Foundations resolution are considered valid to editors here - and if so to what degree. (i.e - one editor feels that as Wikipedia is "a compendium of all human knowledge" no matter how much non-free content is used it still meets "minimal" use because, in the real world, fair use would allow so much more.) Also if "copyrighted contemporary works" is how we define "characters" than how does "complement (within narrow limits) articles" apply? To me, the presumption that every character must have an image that is non-free because any free one will not "serve the same educational purpose" does not appear to "within narrow limits" when one considers how many "characters" there are in the world. Even narrowing it down to only Television shows does not, to me, keep it "narrow" when every show, even reality TV, provides "characters". Soundvisions1 (talk) 16:30, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

For the record, as I was typing this was "closed" - but I "oppose" It is clearly a great idea to explicitly define what is being discussed because many people here seem to indicate the Foundations resolution/s can be overturned. One the other hand "minimal" perhaps should be defined as well. (EDIT - and as I was typing that is has been re-opened) Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:33, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

To be honest I don't full get this idea, but it seems too radical. I would vote in favor Jheald's proposal, but that was never started. JDDJS (talk) 23:43, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure I understand your opposition. It would permit the uses you've been advocating for. --Hammersoft (talk) 23:49, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Well if I'm understanding this right (it is possible I'm not), it will allow for non-free images in too many places, and is clearly against the foundation. I think Jheald had a better and less radical solution. JDDJS (talk) 23:59, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
  • What do you define as "too many places"? What makes the exception you're seeking different from these other "too many places" where this proposal would permit usage? --Hammersoft (talk) 00:07, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Well it seems like it'll allow on virtually every page on Wikipedia, which thats not how it should be. But it's possible that I am misunderstanding it. However it seems pretty clear that this against the Foundation and shouldn't even be voted (again unless I am misunderstanding it). And also Hammersoft, shouldn't you be happy that I am siding with you in this case? JDDJS (talk) 01:25, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The proposal is to see if the resolution is a valid starting point. Either you are in support of the idea that "The Foundation's licensing policy is irrelevant to non-free content in so far as it applies to any work protected by copyright" or you are opposed to it. I think that is simple, and an easy way to establish a solid starting point. If consensus is that the Foundations resolution is valid (meaning "oppose" is the outcome to the concept that "The Foundation's licensing policy is irrelevant to non-free content") than it can said that consensus agrees with the keys ideas we are discussing:
1. Exemptions will be minimal
2. Non free material should be used "to complement (within narrow limits) articles about copyrighted contemporary works"
3. Any, and all, non free content "must be replaced with a freely licensed work whenever one is available which will serve the same educational purpose."
At that point another "vote" can be done to clearly define if the Wikipedia Policy that establishes the "minimal" use and defines what the "narrow limits" are is in line with that resolution. And lastly establish that all "characters" fall under the definition of "copyrighted contemporary works" and take the exemption and define under what circumstances "freely licensed work" can "serve the same educational purpose." That is the point where Masems, Jheald's and my suggestions as to exemption wordings can be brought into play. I hope that helps in your understanding of this "vote." Soundvisions1 (talk) 02:45, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for helping clarifying, but I'm not sure about voting because I'm still not completely clear and I feel it'll be wrong for me to vote on something I'm not entirely sure about. I guess maybe a weak support. JDDJS (talk) 02:57, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The liberal use you are seeking is supported by this proposal. I should think you'd be in strong support. It would ease a great many tensions and define a very clear line in the sand; all non-free content would be permissible within the limits of U.S. Fair Use law. If you think this is too liberal, please propose another line in the sand that would permit your suggested use while disallowing the uses you think would be excessive. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:08, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Just to re-instate the most relevant bits from my previous response, which you have now artificially separated and boxed off, so they don't get missed: Trying to get people to discuss things that don't conform with the Foundation's licensing policy is a waste of time. It's quite clear that NFC content has to comply readily not just with U.S. Fair Use law for us, but also for our verbatim commercial downstream reusers; and that NFC is not going to be allowed, if it discourages substitute free images from being uploaded. That is not going to change. Propositions such as those you seek, which it is believed do conform with the Foundation's licensing policy, have already been made. [6]. Jheald (talk) 15:47, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Thank you for your opinion. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Lol beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing, JDDJS.GunGagdinMoan 15:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

  • Hardly. As Soundvisions1 points out below, this is interesting. Further, I see another outcome of this that I did not expect; JDDJS wants liberal inclusion, but not that liberal; so then we need a metric by which his use would be liberally allowed but other cases where he feels its inappropriate would not be. That case hasn't been delineated. I think it's useful to approach the discussion from both angles. One seeks to allow the exception in an environment where exceptions are limited. The other seeks the opposite; to discern where exceptions aren't allowed in a liberal use environment. We've generated a hell of a lot of text with regards to the former and (until this subthread) virtually no text on the latter. This isn't a baited trap. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:38, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Here we have a vote, that has been designed to ignore all views above. Here is a vote that is clearly sarcastic. Dramaticising things to the highest possible level. Preposterous. Any editor can see your trying to cause trouble. And you want people to listen to your side? Why not make the line to the tune of the above discussion oppose/support.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 15:37, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Meta discussion about the nature of the conversation

Accusations of trolling

Inappropriate forum for accusations against editor, and lack of willingness of the accuser to take to the appropriate forum; close --Hammersoft (talk) 15:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
-- If a problem arises on a talk page, it's entirely appropriate first to try to resolve it on the talk page, and only to escalate further if absolutely necessary.
But I'll go with the close -- if Hammersoft wasn't aware that all this looked very much like trolling to at least one other user, he certainly is now. Jheald (talk) 15:55, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

(For the record, this was originally posted in response to Hammersoft's comment of 14:08, 10th Feb, above Jheald (talk) 15:55, 10 February 2011 (UTC))

Hammersoft, this is trolling, and not useful. The proposals made further up-page are made because it is believed that they do conform with the Foundation's licensing policy. Trying to get people to discuss things that don't conform with the Foundation's licensing policy is a waste of time -- yours, mine, JDDJS's, everybody's. It's quite clear that NFC content has to comply readily not just with U.S. Fair Use law for us, but also for our verbatim commercial downstream reusers; and that NFC is not going to be allowed, if it discourages substitute free images from being uploaded. That is not going to change. The propositions proposed elsewhere on this page conform with that; yours does not. You've made your rhetorical point, now stop wasting everybody's time. Jheald (talk) 14:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

  • You tried to prematurely close this discussion [7], and now you accuse me of trolling. You're welcome to your opinions, but kindly keep your sharp tongue to yourself and stop attacking me. At least one other person does not feel this is a waste of time. You've made YOUR point, that you don't like this discussion. Now drop it. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:48, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
    • Our dab page offers two definitions of trolling: "the practice of fishing by drawing a baited line or lure" and "willful action, attempting to disrupt a community or garner attention and controversy through provocative messages". Honestly, Hammersoft, which of those two do you think does not apply to your "proposal" above ? Jheald (talk) 14:53, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Hammer's certainly being sarcastic but that's not trolling. His "proposal" is where people in the above conversation believe our NFC policy should be at, breaking the Foundation's resolution. Was it the best way to point it out? No, but that's not trolling. --MASEM (t) 14:56, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
        • That's an appalling breach of AGF. The people above clearly do not believe what they are proposing is breaching the Foundation's resolution; and they are saying that if you do think it does, then in their opinion you are wrong. Jheald (talk) 15:04, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
          • Take your complaint elsewhere. If you believe I'm acting so out of line, I'm sure you'll find a receptive ear at WP:AN/I. I am not going to defend my actions here against your wrongful interpretations of them. This is not a court of law. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:07, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
            • DNFTT. Jheald (talk) 15:13, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
              • And again you accuse me of being a troll. Either make a report to WP:AN/I, or drop it. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:15, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
                • DNFTT. You are trolling, and I am not going to feed you. Jheald (talk) 15:20, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • You are quite welcome to your opinions. Continuing this thread is pointless. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

(edit conflict) (I posted this before it got it's own section) I do not see this as trolling at all. Based on the *full* discussion above (And others currently on this page and in the past) this is a valid point and a issue to "vote" on. The very first question was about character images from Glee being deleted and, at that time, JDDJS could not find "clear policy in this case." Masem, right off, said there was a policy and that "where the actor and role are not difficult to tell apart, we have clear guidance to remove these per the Foundation." The discussion has gone in a lot of different directions since than but the underlying concept from those who feel that the Foundations resolution and/or the Wikipedia policy actually imply something other than what it/they does/do appear to be editors who want to make broad, blanket, exceptions/exemptions. Almost every person who wants this claims copyrighted, non-free, material is in no way replaceable by anything free and that use of non-free material is allowed, and really there is no limit - again, as one editor has said, because Wikipedia is that "sum of all knowledge" non-free content is part of the mission. If that is really the case than yes, asking for consensus on the core resolution is 100% valid. If consensus is that "The Foundation's licensing policy is irrelevant to non-free content" they can step in an say what many of us have already said (it isn't irrelevant) or they can say "consensus always is correct so feel free to move forward", or they can stay silent. Soundvisions1 (talk) 15:31, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Getting back on track

Clearly, there are two proposals as starting points to discussion (specifically focused on live-action characters whose actor is still alive)

  1. That, in general, if the character has its own article (notable), a non-free image of the character is acceptable (or even necessary as some have suggested)
  2. Or, that a character image is only appropriate under certain circumstances. There's a sliding scale here but not necessary here to go into specifics.

The first option is the one that clearly edges on breaking the Foundation's resolution with respect for free replacement, and we need to figure out if this is even appropriate to consider. I realize that one can call and see if there is consensus for it, but this is what I am ambivalent about - clearly a !vote is going to favor this, but the position is so counter to the intent of the Resolution as to lead to slippery slopes for other NFC inclusion as a result, specific in light of "free replacement". Realistically, anyone that knows of the m:mission should be ultimately opposed to this point.

If we can agree that the first position is unattainable, and that some line must be drawn, we can work on setting that line. The proposal I've made sets a line I think is very fair, even for images of characters that appear similar to their actor counterpart, as long as there's "something" outthere that is critically talking about the appearance of some sort that at least is a good way to justify the use of the character image since the free replacement won't be the same. (I can't guarantee FA reviews will necessarily see the same, but that's a different matter). --MASEM (t) 16:39, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

  • I agree with your position but find it untenable due in part because consensus will never be achieved that your position is proper, and in part because if m:Mission or Foundation:Resolution:Licensing policy is invoked, we can't agree on what those mean, and accusations routinely fly like sparks from it. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) I dispute that the first proposal "clearly edges on breaking the Foundation's resolution with respect for free replacement". The resolution is supposed to protect people's uploading of free photographs. I don't think the first proposal affects that -- I don't think character images affect people's incentive to upload images of actors. We have character images, people still upload actor images. The Germans don't have character images, people aren't (as far as I've seen) uploading more actor images to fill the void, nor even using the ones that we've got. So I don't think there is real competition between the two -- in the language of NFCC and the resolution, they aren't fulfilling the same encyclopedic purpose. Jheald (talk) 16:53, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
You're missing the point of the resolution. Yes, in part, it is to encourage the generation of free content including free pictures. But the point of the resolution is to reduce non-free use by using a free equivalent (for the purposes of an educational encyclopedia) work or where one can except a free equivalent can be created. By pushing that we cannot use non-free images where free images are possible, that indirectly will promote people to take free pictures to supply the replacements. --MASEM (t) 17:05, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
But my contention is that in this case what you suggest will not happen: it will not, directly or indirectly, promote people to take free pictures to supply the replacements -- because the two types of images are not in competition. Jheald (talk) 18:08, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I agree with that idea, and why I support this current A real vote idea. I was considering posting a "new" RFC section with the other proposals laid out throughout this all (At least the "formal" ones, by JDDJS, BQZip01, CIreland, MASEM, Jheald and myself) plus the little 3 point break down as it would relate to all of this that I said in response to JDDJS above. I know some of just variations on the same theme but they are so spread out it is hard to find and comment on them directly. Soundvisions1 (talk) 17:02, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

What is "encyclopedic purpose"?

WP:NFCC #1 states "Non-free content is used only where no free equivalent is available, or could be created, that would serve the same encyclopedic purpose". A hanging point (of many) in the discussion appears to be the definition of "encyclopedic purpose". So have at it; what is "encyclopedic purpose"? --Hammersoft (talk) 17:36, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

My view would be that: an image B serves the same "encyclopedic purpose" as an image A if it increases readers' understanding of the topic in the same way and to the same degree as an image A; but if an image A improves reader understanding compared to image B to an extent that is considered significant, then B would not be serving the encyclopedic purpose of A.
As a second less formal indication I'd offer that: if people wouldn't be uploading B in its place if A weren't there, and, then it's probably safe to say that B would not be serving the encyclopedic purpose of A. However, for this indication I don't think the converse holds: there may be legitimate reasons why an image A would supplant an image B, if the image A shows something additional and significant that the image B doesn't.
In the way that we've long found with discussions of significance it is much easier to talk about this concretely, for particular images, or classes of images, than to try to draw lines in abstract. If you look at preceding sections I think you will find a number of places this more concrete discussion of significance, particularly as applied to particular images, has been attempted; though, of course, discussion continues and will continue to be an importnat theme of what we're trying to work through here. Jheald (talk) 19:06, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
We can't use what people actually upload because in this specific case, I'm sure the majority of the editors that deal with live-action television shows care little to replace the pictures of characters with free photos. We have to look at the potential of free replacement, not what actually has been used for free replacement. --MASEM (t) 19:26, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
We can talk about a concrete image B that people have uploaded; or a potential image B that they might upload. Either way, I think my analysis above is fair. Jheald (talk) 19:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
It is quite simple, if the same information can be conveyed by a free method then the non-free picture isn't necessarily allowed. That is if text OR a free picture OR a combination thereof could capture the character fully, there's no need to put up a copyrighted picture. If a character always wears a powderblue shirt, how can saying "He always wears a powderblue shirt" be insufficient in combination with a free picture of the actor's face? It's not. You can't argue that the picture of the character from a screen shot or other copyrighted source, merely because it shows him in a powderblue shirt, is somehow vastly superior to a similar picture of the actor wearing something else and accompanying text which says "He always wears a powderblue shirt". --Jayron32 19:35, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
On the other hand, what is the information being conveyed by the screenshot? More than just the actor's identity and the fact that he is wearing a blue shirt. The screenshot conveys that character in setting -- the whole ambience of his appearance: how he's styled, how he's lit, how what he's dressed in looks like on him, what the setting is like, how he holds himself when he is in character, and a thousand more subtle visual cues. What these images communicate is much more than just "it's X, and he's wearing a blue shirt". Jheald (talk) 19:46, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Saying that all those subtle visual details exist—without any sourced discussion to back that up—and thus necessitate a free image, is a slippery slope to allowing *any* non-free media to be used because "the reader can't appreciate this really subtle detail that only I can see without showing them this image". I have no problem if several sources comment that the actor's demeanor as the character is critical to the role, which can be expressed pretty much only through images, but that's just meeting NFCC#8 as stated. We cannot simply allow character images relying solely on the editor's claim that there's something important about it. --MASEM (t) 19:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
The issue in question here is what the community believes is significant. Sources can feed into that, but they are not a requirement -- ultimately it is the community assessment which counts. Jheald (talk) 21:01, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
It is worth noting that the image set which precipitated this discussion did not consist of screen shots, but of copyrighted posed photos of the actors on plain colored backgrounds taken from the shows website. It doesn't show any real context, the only way you could really identify that the pictures were the character, and not of the actors, is that the website labeled them. In otherwords, the pictures themselves conveyed absolutely no additional information unless you actually went to the website and saw "Oh, this is a piture of Will Shuester and not of Matthew Morrison." --Jayron32 19:56, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I think this subthread is already straying. I'm not after what is or is not in an image, or what is or is not sourced. More abstract than that; What is encyclopedic purpose? --Hammersoft (talk) 19:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

WP:NOT helps us to recongize that while we are elements of several types of reference works, there are certain things we are not as well. One of those unstated ones but can be read between the lines is that "we are not a fan guide". We must assume that a potential reader of WP will have never seen the work in question and may never see it. Visual displays of characters without any other context provide no relevance to this person. When such images are free, they are helpful; when they are non-free, they harm WP's mission. If the character's appearance is so critical to see to understand the context of the article in question, then sources should be available to corroborate this concept. Otherwise, such non-free images are decorative and not encyclopedic. --MASEM (t) 19:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
To answer even more simply: the purpose of an encyclopedia is to convey information. Now, Wikipedia policies and guidelines define what information is conveyed (for one example, WP:V) and how it is conveyed (for one example, WP:NPOV), and even has restrictions which define what types of information are inappropriate for Wikipedia WP:NOT. Insofar as a picture can convey information in ways which are in line with Wikipedia policies, pictures serve an encyclopedic purpose. Insofar as free pictures and/or text could convey the same information as a copyrighted picture could, the copyrighted picture has no place. --Jayron32 19:59, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Adding after seeing Hammer's comment, is that the encyclopedic purpose is to educate the reader as a tertiary source - a skin-deep understanding of the topic in question and providing further references if they need to know more. We aren't an end-all "sum of human knowledge" resource. To that end, we provide details to give the reader enough to understand the topic and appreciate it more, to be able to be fluent enough with the topic in other areas. Thus, when it comes to characters, our encyclopedic purpose is to explain who the character is, who plays them, how it was created, and how the media considers the character. Most of that rarely needs any image to convey, unless of course the visual appearance of the character is actually a critical part of the discussion. --MASEM (t) 20:03, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it's preposterous that some claim it's not encyclopedic to portray the topic of the article. When I read fictional character pages and they dont have an image, I immediately trawl through google images to see if there is some sort of picture that can give me a visual reference. And when we're talking about television characters who've not appeared on-screen in decades, there simply arent any images except for the images that have been uploaded to wikipedia by well-meaning individuals. And even if you google the actor, seeing them in some other role is not seeing them as the character of interest. Some of you may say 'OK then, what about those characters who do have images hosted on other sites? An argument for not permitting copyrighted images on wiki for these can be made'. Well, then I would respond to that by saying, 'fine, but equally then that should apply to all Fair-use images in every character page. and this includes images of characters in heavy make-up or those in costume....'. If we are to use off-wiki sources for visual identification of characters, as Masem suggests above, then why should characters wearing prosthetics (for example) be exempt from this? If you are going down that route and expecting readers to get a visual understanding through text and by other off-wiki sources, then you cannot make exceptions because the same can be done for every character on wiki, whether there is critical commentary about appearance or not.GunGagdinMoan 20:31, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
We have to assume that the typical reader will never seen the work in question; a non-free image of that character from the work does nothing for that reader if there's no discussion of the appearance of the character. The same is true of a free image of the actor, certainly, but because its free, we can include it without harming the free content mission of the encyclopedia. --MASEM (t) 20:43, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we have to assume that at all. I suspect it is far more likely that someone looking up one of our articles will know at least something about the subject, and will be looking here to find out more, or to remind themselves of things they have forgotten. I know that is what as often as not leads me to look up the articles I look up. It may well be that they have seen an episode, and so seeing the character image very much helps locate onto what they already know, and so contributes very materially to the improvement in the grasp of the topic they derive.
Secondly, I don't think we are harming the free content mission of the encyclopedia, because I don't think these character images are making it any less likely for regular images of the actors to be uploaded. Jheald (talk) 20:58, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Every non-free image uploaded to WP harms the free content mission. The question is the balance of that harm with meeting an encyclopedic purpose - if we serve the purpose better, we accept the harm.
As for identifying characters of the show from seeing them in one episode, that's why we typically do consider cast shows as acceptable; they are nominal non-replaceable save in limited cases (as you cannot get the group to reassemble as such in public settings), and from the standpoint of your example, the first place you'd go to figure out who that character is is the show article and if not there, the list of characters article, either which will have the cast pic. But again, your example is a case of trying to make Wikipedia work as a end-all tool and not as an encyclopedia. There are numerous other sites that document the cast and characters of TV shows (IMDB,, etc.), so certainly WP doesn't need to be the site that does this. And again, the number of readers that can use WP this way compared to the overall readership is very small, and provides minimal encyclopedic purpose. --MASEM (t) 21:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec):With respect Masem, that's rubbish. I am a casual reader who happens across various character pages as you do on wiki sometimes. I have frequently not seen the works in question and I am still interested in what the character looks like; it's entirely natural to be if you are reading an article about that character. Or are you assuming that only fans read these pages and have any interest in character appearance? Because that's clearly not so. Images of characters are even more important for non-fans anyway as they have no idea what the character looks like and portraying them as anything other than the character is grossly misleading to say the least. and as u say earlier, we are not a fansite so we need to cater for everyone... And I still dont understand why you suggest discussion about the appearance suddenly means that a person will miraculously want to know what the character looks like mnore so than if there was no commentray. That's a blatant assumption. u have stated many tiumes that text suffices and images arent necessary, so if there's commentary, that to me sounds like a textual description of some kind and therefore negates the need for an image more based on your assertion. No, these arguments do not stand up because there's so many contradictions.GunGagdinMoan 21:02, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Then should we permit per character non-free images in list of character articles, especially where there is no article for a given character? Is the encyclopedic purpose "depiction"? --Hammersoft (talk) 21:10, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
At least one important purpose (called out specifically in the foundation resolution) is to identify a protected work - in this case, to allow people to gain confidence they are at the correct article. In conjunction with this, it also helps to complement an article about that character, by showing how the character was portrayed by the people who created him. I think the current compromises are fairly sane - a visual article can use one bit of fair use content for identification, but more than that requires a sourced justification. List articles can identify the topic of the list (often with a group image), but having per-character images is probably overuse, unless the list has sourced comment on that character's appearance. — PyTom (talk) 21:25, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I know what the current situation is :) I'm just trying to get people to comment on what "encyclopedic purpose" is. That seems harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it's too nebulous an idea. --Hammersoft (talk) 21:28, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I guess, "in a nutshell", as long as the context of the materials use is explicitly clear (and/or obvious), its use is minimal, and falls "within narrow limits" as laid out in detail at Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria than it might be considered acceptable and seen as in line with the mission of Wikipedia and it's "encyclopedic purpose." For the longer, more detailed answer keep reading.
"encyclopedic purpose", on it's own with zero polices or connected words I take to mean something that will serve the need of an encyclopedia. Without any context "purpose" could mean many, many things. If it were an "encyclopedia" on NASA, for example, one would feel the text would serve to explain whatever sub topics are contained within that. To apply this to Wikipedia, *and* what is being discussed here, the phrase must be looked at in the context of non-free content *and* what words are associated with *this* "encyclopedia". At face value this is "The Free Encyclopedia" so the common assumption is what is here is "free." A little deeper search will explain Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model. If one were to stop there "non-free" is not "free-content". So we must look at the "encyclopedic purpose" as it relates to the overall content *and* context that content is presented. To do that the Resolution wording is needed to understand non-free content's "context" overall. First is that the Foundation's mission is "empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free content license", so that would follow *what* Wikipedia is, as an encyclopedia, and what "The Free Encyclopedia" means. As such use of non-free material, as is discussed here, could be used, "within narrow limits", in articles about copyrighted works however any, and all, non free content "must be replaced with a freely licensed work whenever one is available which will serve the same educational purpose." To be even more clear the Non-free content criteria policy states the obvious - "There is no automatic entitlement to use non-free content in an article or elsewhere on Wikipedia."
So, in the correct context, with the correct information, the "encyclopedic purpose" here is that, first, non-free material must meet all 10 of the criteria laid out in the Non-free content criteria policy and, if the material does meet all 10, it can be looked at overall, in the specific context of the article. Again - at face value, with zero context, resolutions or policies, almost anything, if not all, non-free material could have an "encyclopedic purpose" for any given subject. But placed in the correct context, non-free materials use here is extremely limited so the "encyclopedic purpose" goes beyond simply arguing that "its presence would significantly increase readers' understanding of the topic, and its omission would be detrimental to that understanding" when looked at in the confines of what is laid out. Soundvisions1 (talk) 21:53, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Maybe meta

Sorry if I'm starting another "meta discussion" here, but you all have written 34,717 words on this topic so far. If it were a paperback novel it would be 138 pages long. Why don't you just go ask Jimbo or Arbcom or even the foundation what they think? At this point you really need to consider some alternative to talking around in circles. Gigs (talk) 18:57, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

  • It's the nature of these debates. They always end up like that, and noting is ever agreed upon. --Hammersoft (talk) 02:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
    I think we should do that. I'm actually finding this whole thing pretty funny. –anemoneprojectors– 09:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
  • ArbCom would likely refuse to hear the case as there has been no edit warring or immediate harm to WP, attacks of character or th like, to any editor. They also don't set policy, and that would be explicitly part of the request.
  • The Foundation has been approached in the past to ask for clarity, but they don't get involved either direction (supporting or denying intent). The only time we get response from them was legal council to assure if a certain class of image would be legally appropriate, but not in any sense in relation to the Resolution. --MASEM (t) 14:47, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
    • As I mentioned earlier on, Jimbo did get involved when there was a proposal to create a carve-out from NFCC for $0 publicity photo images. He shut the proposal down dead. So, if this really does go outside the bounds, that is a possibility. In my view that won't happen, because the proposals that have been made in effect represent an accepted status quo.
      My belief is that the proposals that have been made do fulfil the key criteria of not damaging our verbatim reusers' position under U.S. fair use law, and not making it less likely that free pictures of actors will be uploaded; within those fundamental criteria, I believe it would be left for the editorship as a whole to give their view on how they want en-wiki to appear, and the best way to determine at least the rough balance of that is probably to poll them. Jheald (talk) 15:30, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Jimbo definitely was involved early on (the WP:NFCI guides came out of a discussion involving how to set up allowance for non-free images) but since the Resolution, they have been mum to offer more. --MASEM (t) 15:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
        • WP:NFCC in their current form date from essentially 4 October 2005, though the numbering came later. Jimbo's intervention on publicity photos was made in July 2006, so somewhat after that. The Foundation Resolution was issued in March 2007. If, as you seem to think, a proposal was made that clearly flew in the face of the Foundation Resolution, I suspect Jimbo would now be more likely to wade in, rather than less. If so far he hasn't felt the need to do so, that is probably a sign that nothing so far has made the powers-that-be concerned about their red-lines. I also think that Jimbo, as an enlightened autocrat, tends to go where he can with the mainstream of opinion. If after proper thought about this, and taking proper soundings with the editorship, we decide that continued use of character images in much the way they are being used at the moment is entirely consonant with what we are trying to achieve here, I would hope that the powers-that-be would take some account of that.
          The redlines, as I see them, are the legal issue: does this harm our verbatim reusers per U.S. law; and secondly, whether this going to materially affect the incentives for free actor images. On either of those two, I would expect our legal counsel, or Jimbo, or an authorised Foundation rep to give a very clear steer. But within those redlines, I would expect them to allow the project to substantially find its own way. Jheald (talk) 16:27, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
          • The Resolution is clearly more restrictive than fair use, so no, the redline cannot be simply the legal issue. --MASEM (t) 17:45, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
            • What I have set out is more restrictive than fair use. I suspect that this is the red-line where the powers-that-be would act. Though of course ultimately that's a matter for them. Jheald (talk) 18:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
  • In case this wasn't explicitly clear, straight from the horse's mouth, I can tell you with complete certainty ArbCom will never take part in the issue above in any official capacity. We take on conduct issues and disputes, but do not adjudicate content disputes if they are done in good faith and keeping in Wikipedia's conduct policies and guidelines. Der Wohltemperierte Fuchs(talk) 17:50, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
    • I stopped following the details long ago, but would WP:MEDIATION be an appropriate course of action? —Ost (talk) 22:09, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
      • Yeah why not, I think they'll all agree to it.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 22:19, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
        • Mediation would not work. Again, they don't set policy, they're there to help resolve issues at the article level when policies may conflict, but cannot set policy.
        • The point is this: There is no other authority, short of the Foundation, that can resolve this issue as cleanly as everyone would likely want. Yes, I would love if the Foundation would say - either way - how they expected the Resolution to be upheld, but they've been very quiet on the issue and we're forced to determine that solution ourselves. It's more unsettling than, say, the cover art issue, because they specifically talk about the issue we're having in the Resolution, and people are seeing vagueness that is leading to problems. But the Foundation's the only one that can clarify that for us. --MASEM (t) 22:31, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
            • Then honey, why have I had the feeling throught out, for those agaisnt, authority is yours - because you quote any given policy and use the foundation for anything there is no answer to. More people want the images in this discusion.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 22:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
              • And again we can spin it the other direction. If you accuse Masem of speaking for the Foundation, then you can equally accuse the people wanting the images included as speaking for the Foundation. It's a two way street. --Hammersoft (talk) 23:01, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
                • I wouldn't doubt you would, after all you've put a spin on everything in this discussion. It's like UK politics. Btw, don't think so, after all we aren't the ones saying "Foundation this, Foundation that, Foundation" everytime we need to make a point.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 23:13, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • Yet the supporters are certainly quite adamant that the Foundation's position on portrait of living people has no application here. Implied or stated clearly, that's what's being said. By the way, comment on content not the creator. Thank you, --Hammersoft (talk) 23:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
                • The claimed symmetry doesn't really hold. When on WP we seek to clarify or more precisely identify the contours of a policy, policy discussion is normal standard procedure. It doesn't need Foundation permission, it's simply what we do. On the other hand, claiming executive authority to prevent or shut down such a discussion is not standard procedure, and can only be done by someone that actually has that authority.
                  The normal sequence for a policy discussion, once views have been widely aired if consensus is still not apparent, would be to try to crystallise statements of the contending views with short explanatory rationales, and then open them to consultation, seeking wider input. That would seem to be the obvious next step. Jheald (talk) 14:44, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                  • We are trying to get to where there are at two options to talk about, but we cannot consider options that are counter to the Foundation's requirements, and that's what some have been proposing. People are ignoring the elephant in the room, thinking that consensus can override what the Foundation has said, but this is absolutely unallowable. Now , I realize that some others are arguing "well, the Foundation only said portraits of living persons, not portraits of live-action characters, so clearly that's different". I access that that is what is true, but I also challenge that the intent of the Resolution is pretty clear - that when there is a chance of free replacement, we use it, not only in that specific case. We have yet to start from that point for any other proposal, so until such comes by, the Resolution is going to be the mark you have to at least meet from which consensus then must derive. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                    • Nobody here thinks that what they are trying to do is to override the Foundation resolution. They do not think that what they are proposing runs counter to the Foundation's requirements. What they are suggesting is no different from what you yourself accepted in 2008 -- that a picture of a character is being used to represent a character, a picture of an actor is not a suitable replacement for that picture. Beyond that, I would also contest your characterisation of the Foundation's resolution: given the background to what went before it, and the preliminary statements that were made, the main driver apart from the legal position was to preserve the incentives for uploading free material and so not allow material that would pre-empt it. But images of characters are not pre-empting images of actors. Jheald (talk) 15:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
                      • The Resolution is not there to promote people to upload free images, it is to determine when the education and encyclopedic value of a non-free image is of more importance than the harm that including the non-free image does to the free content mission. It happens to promote users to create free content to avoid non-free images, but that's not the intended purpose. And remember, consensus - and people's opinions - can change. Quoting me from 2008 is not representing this discussion appropriately. --MASEM (t) 15:29, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Masem, as you well know, fictional characters can not be depicted using free imagery. This is why the use of File:Martinsheennavy.jpg on Josiah Bartlet is improper. We have to use a non-free image to capture ambiance, directorial intent, and accurate depictions of in-character representations. If we don't, we won't serve the encyclopedic purpose. Our readers will be short changed. We MUST use non-free content on fictional characters. There's no choice. --Hammersoft (talk) 15:22, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Knowing that Hammer's trying to be sarcastic here to point out the flaws, I will reiterate again that what I have described is certainly not a hard bar to meet for non-free images of characters if they their appearance truly is far different from their actor alone. The recently-promoted FA of Martin Keamy uses a non-free image that immediately I would think off the bat would be replaceable by free but when I review the FAC comments and changes made, they found a means to justify this image by talking about his visual appearance, it looks "chilling" (sourced quote), and that he was given a tough-guy appearance by the bullet-proof jacket and yet was killed early in the story, showing vulnerability
My argument here again falls back to those that think a non-free image of Barney Stinson is needed when we have File:5.3.10NeilPatrickHarrisByDavidShankbone.jpg or even File:Neil Patrick Harris 2008.jpg. There is nothing in the article (presently) to suggest that the character appears different from the person and thus requires the non-free image. I can appreciate from a creative arts standpoint that there's a poise, swagger, look, etc. implied by the actor to create the character, but claims of this without any source is basically the start of a slippery slope to use any non-free image over a free image because of small differences that WP editor claim to exist. --MASEM (t) 16:19, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Though I grant I use sarcasm frequently as a means to an end, I did not in this case. I've been trying to wrap my head around the stance that those wishing to include non-free content take. I don't know if I've encapsulated their position, but I hope I have. As to your comments more directly, specifically your last point, any discussion of the actor's appearance such that we need a non-free image of the character would be WP:OR without secondary sourcing. --Hammersoft (talk) 16:30, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Nothing is going to be changed, you'd of put the real vote on by now. But you know that more people support the use, so I guess that's why there has not been an end to this. As for carting off our views into a whole, they're still there. Think we're all bored of going round in giant circles though on this issue.RAIN*the*ONE BAM 14:03, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
We don't use voting, we need to evaluate the options with respect to existing policy and the like. A majority of our users likely think we operate under fair use, but that doesn't mean we do - we use non-free criteria which is stricter than this.
I have set forth what I think is a completely fair rationale that supports the idea that a free image of an actor cannot be considered a free equivalent replacement for a non-free image of a character when that critical reaction or creative insight to a character's visual appearance is discussed by secondary sources within the article. If there's zero discussion of the visual appearance by sources, there is no need for a non-free image. That's in line with the Resolution, in line with NFCC#10, and likely would not affect the majority of live-action character pictures.
Unless you can argue within policy and the Resolution that File:Barneystinson2006.jpg and File:Neil Patrick Harris 2008.jpg are not equivalent in terms of representing the live action character of Barney, then what I've proposed is the only reasonable solution on the table. --MASEM (t) 16:30, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Our purpose here is to add to reader understanding, not to illustrate secondary sources. If a character is significant enough to have an article on, they are significant enough for our readers to be shown what they look like. That is the proper test. Jheald (talk) 17:20, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Not only would that throw NFCC out the window, it would also throw notability out the window as users fight to keep images and pages about barely notable characters. --MASEM (t) 17:24, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • And to be very clear: it is important to understand what is different here from the use of album covers on notable album articles, as most album covers are not freely replaceable due to the artwork used; it's more exceptional that one can be replaced by a free image, and thus why NFCI#1 was recently reasserted by an RFC as being valid. The situation is flipped around for characters played by living actors in which it is rare that there is no possibility of a free image of the actor, and thus why it can't be blanket. I can appreciate that the character is (actor + wardrobe + makeup + actor's performance), but again, without any discussion of any of those elements, a free picture of the actor is a fair replacement for understanding of the article for a non-free character image. --MASEM (t) 17:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • What I have said merely represents the status quo. It demonstrably has not resulted in NFCC being thrown out of the window, nor notability being thrown out of the window.
    Also, as usual, remember it is understanding of the topic we are seeking to provide here, not understanding of the article. It is not to clarify the text that we have images of Hermione Granger or Jean Luc Picard, rather it is because showing people what the character looked like adds something worthwhile and important to what readers learn about the subject. Jheald (talk) 19:26, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Agreed with Masem. For me, I gain nothing by looking at an actor in costume when that costume is minimal/non-existent that I don't get from the actor out of costume. To me, it's more of a visual guide to a series; "Oh, THAT character was played by so and so, got it". So, having a free image of an actor with a caption like "John Smith was portrayed by John Doe" gives me all the information I would ever get from a non-free image. If there's something notable about the costume or performance in particular being represented by the image, then it would make sense. Otherwise, the costume is superfluous. I partially agree with Jheald, in that our purpose is in fact to add understanding for readers. That's what an encyclopedia does. But, we aren't just an encyclopedia. We are a free content encyclopedia. We have to keep that in mind. We can't compromise the free content aspect of our mission for the notional benefit that might be provided with a non-free image. There has to be a solid reason, not just guesses that we are adding something. --Hammersoft (talk) 19:31, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

That may be all you personally get out of it, but I suspect for most people, given that we're talking about a visual medium, showing how the character was represented visually does add more than just IDing the actor.
We're not talking about compromising our mission. The free content we provide is made quite clear at WP:REUSE. It will continue being GFDL or CC-BY-SA. Nothing is going to affect that. What we're dealing with here is NFC images for a particular role, that WP also can provide to benefit our readers, and which -- at least in my view -- are not going to make it any less likely that people will go on uploading free images of the actors, to use on the actor pages. Jheald (talk) 19:48, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • If the only metric is whether understanding is increased, then there should be no objection to having non-free images for every character, minor or major, in any series, or having sound clips of every song from every album. Further, just because downstream users CAN strip non-free content doesn't mean we get a free pass to include non-free content. Our mission isn't to provide an encylopedia that downstream users can strip non-free content from and use as a free resource. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • We provide free content for users to do with as they will. Our m:mission is to collect, develop and facilitate the dissemination of free content. As I argued the other night, appropriate non-free content is synergistic with that free content, by making WP more accurate and more comprehensive, and so something that people are more likely to contribute to. A healthy and vibrant WP is needed to keep all our content fresh and augmented. But the metric is not just whether understanding is increased; the underlying metric is how the NFC affects the collection, development and dissemination of our free content. Those are the practical grounds on which the NFC policy was drawn up, based on the practical considerations of protecting WP's own legal position; of rejecting media that would make it less likely for free media serving the same purpose to be uploaded; and of protecting the safety of commercial third parties to redistribute WP verbatim under U.S. law. Which is why we don't allow sound clips of every song from every album -- because it is very questionable under U.S. law whether such a substantial copyright taking by commercial entities would be allowed. The question of pages for minor characters is more one of WP:NOTABILITY, based as I understand it more on manageability and focus of the project. I have to admit that personally I rather sympathise with the description of WP's Pokemon coverage (as was) as one of the "8000 wonders of the universe". However, like too many of the other wonders, its lifespan has turned out to be rather sadly finite. For those characters which do pass notability, however, I stand by my view: that one important element of what a comprehensive article should provide is to show how they were actually presented on-screen. Jheald (talk) 00:48, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • And yet there's the Resolution that keeps on being ignored here. We have no choice but to abide by that, that's one of the few rules of the sandbox. If there's a possibility of a free equivalent for an encyclopedic purpose, we do not use non-free content. Period: not our rule, but the Foundation's. I've outlined a reasonable case where for living actors and the characters they portray where we can qualify that the non-free and free are not equivalent due to the encyclopedic content on the character article that necessitates a visual image to show the non-nonequivalence of the free image.
  • But, I stand on the example I've given: File:Barneystinson2006.jpg and File:Neil Patrick Harris 2008.jpg. Everything about this set of images, from the appearance to the content of the character article, tells me the free image is equivalent to encyclopedic understanding and per the Foundation we cannot use that non-free image. You're purposing an allowance that would allow it, but haven't explained in this specific case how the two images are sufficiently nonequivalent to qualify per the Resolution. We cannot just say "oh, a notable live-action character, they get a non-free image" because there are cases like this where it fails. --MASEM (t) 01:04, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I've already given you an answer on this particular pair of images further up. But basically, while the image of the actor in the wild may show what he looks like as a person, it doesn't show how he was presented on screen: it leaves the reader uninformed as to how he was styled and presented in the role. Which is why even on de-wiki where there are not character images, you don't find actor images being uploaded in their stead -- they don't really fill the brief. The bottom line here should be to think what NFCC #1 is for -- it's there to protect the legal position, both for us and our commercial redistributors, under U.S. law; it's also there to preserve incentives for uploading free images. In this case, legally (unless you're saying otherwise?) it seems to be accepted that both we and our reusers are okay; and, replacement-wise, such images are not stopping people making and uploading free actor images. So it's hard to see a good practical purpose that would be served by changing the status quo and deciding to take so much harder a line against these images. Jheald (talk) 12:32, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • The NFC and the Resolution have nothing to do with legalities. That's US Fair Use law that sets that, and WP could operate at that level without likely being in any legal problem. It is about maintaining the free content mission by minimizing non-free use as much as possible - which happens to be a more-strict position than fair use. It is that reason that the Foundation calls these "exemption doctrine policies", to define where it is ok to break the free content mission to allow non-free content where it serves the encyclopedic purpose that free content cannot. Again, nothing has changed; the problem is that there are so few people and no rigorous watches for NFC as there is for, say, copyvios or BLP, that of the 375,000 images, things can easily slip through the cracks. Nothing has changed since 2008. And in the case of, the fact they don't allow *any* non-free images in the first place may mean they have a different approach to building image-free encyclopedic articles about characters. It shows that entirely possible to write articles for an encyclopedia about characters without including any images in the first place, which to me implies that rarely the visual look of the character is important over the other aspects of them. Of course, because uses a different EDP I certainly can accept that we do include pictures, but cannot accept a blanket exemption for character images when free content exists for some cases. --MASEM (t) 14:24, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
    • has no EDP, but that's not an editorial choice: German law has no equivalent to the US fair use clause, and decided to comply with both German/Austrian/Swiss and Florida/US copyright law (see de:WP:Bildrechte#Wikipedia richtet sich nach DACH-Recht). That obviously does result in a different approach, but it's not an editorial choice. Amalthea 15:07, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I know that, its' not de.wike's lack of EDP that's the issue, as they are still free to use commons content. Jheald proposes they don't use actor pictures in lieu of non-free character ones because actor pictures aren't the same, I propose that when talking about characters, visual identity is rarely a key piece of knowledge -- in turn, why non-free images of characters on often do not serve any encyclopedia service. --MASEM (t) 15:17, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
To Jheald: actually yes, many uses do not respect the NFCC; this entire conversation started when users complains of non-free images of characters that look exactly like their actors were being deleted from their pages. This is not a problem we are creating, this a problem that needs resolution. --MASEM (t) 19:37, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Which represents a recent change being pushed by some to the interpretation of NFCC as it stood in 2008. A change which may or may not have the consensus support of the editorship as a whole. Jheald (talk) 19:52, 17 February 2011 (UTC) (Later, y'all)
  • It's not an isolated 2008 (huge gap) 2011 debate. I've seen a number of disagreements pop up over this over the years. --Hammersoft (talk) 20:07, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
  • I think the point I was making is that in 2008 there seemed to be broad acceptance for these images. A few people objected to them, but as far as I can see they were not getting any traction (viz. for example the 2008 discussion with Masem I've cited above; and others). So it's not clear why now that previous status quo should not be preserved. Jheald (talk) 12:36, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Hopping in the wayback machine, we used to accept non-free images of living people in BLPs. We can go back in time to lots of things that have changed. As the project matures, it becomes more apparent how it is or has failed in certain areas, and where work needs to be done. Not only can consensus change, but opinions of a given editor can change over time as well. I don't think a discussion from 2008 has any relevance. --Hammersoft (talk) 14:09, 18 February 2011 (UTC)