Wikipedia talk:Non-free content/Archive 8

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Nobel Prize medal

Apparently following the lead of another language wiki, a number of users have been taking on Nobel Prize images to the beginning of articles about Nobelists with the use of the {{Nobel medal}} template (i.e. [1]).

Does this present a fair use issue? The photograph of the medal—a dead on, well-lit photo—was made by a Wikipedian. But the medal itself is still probably under copyright protection—the engraver died only in 1966, and while I don't know much about engravings and statues in copyright law I assume it does not count as "published" in the same way that a mass-produced printed work does (someone correct me if I'm wrong).

The image itself is dual tagged—once as fair use for the engraving, once as GFDL for any creativity imparted by the photograph.

Should this image be used in templates in what is clearly a decorative fashion? It is clear to me, anyway, that the image does not have any substantive content role (it actually tells you less about the fact of the Nobel Prize than words do, since it does not tell you when and for what the prize was given, much less the question of people even recognizing the medal at that size), and it is certainly not being analyzed by the text itself, all of which leads to a diagnosis of "decorative" in my book. --Fastfission 03:50, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Remove it. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 04:36, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, clearly not fair use. Johnleemk | Talk 12:24, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Can a photo of a new statue (or engraving) in a public park be GFDL? If a statue/medallion has copyright which extends to all photos, then we have to remove all such photos? Does this only apply to a photo featuring the statue, or also any photo of the park where the statue is visible? A satellite image of the city with that park? (SEWilco 19:31, 13 August 2006 (UTC))
This varies by country. Jkelly 19:35, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
So do we also have to remove a lot of photos of city landmarks? (SEWilco 23:58, 13 August 2006 (UTC))
I know the Commons is facing a similar issue, but I will see what happens there before I state anything here. But as to what you said earlier, if the statute or the memorial is the main focus of the picture, it can be considered a derivative work. But if it is just there and not the main focus (like a satimage of the park), then it is fine. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 00:05, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you refer to Commons:Village pump#Photos of recent public sculptures. (SEWilco 01:05, 14 August 2006 (UTC))
I also think that one needs to take into account the relative contributions by the photographer and the creator of the statue. In the Nobel Prize shot, most of it is work done by the sculpter—the photographer is responsible for lighting and angle arrangements, but since the lighting is simply "well lit" and the angle is "dead on" I'd say those don't add up to much in this case in particular. --Fastfission 01:17, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed with fastfission. Can't release this under GFDL. Furthermore, the whole way this template has been implemented is absolutely awful. A large uncaptioned picture of a coin, left aligned in the opening paragraph of every article! Definitely a TfD. ed g2stalk 01:37, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Per this, the design of the medal has not changed since 1902. See also the bottom left quadrant of the coin image. I'm not sure why this is not considered public domain? KWH 20:18, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

I admit to not being sure about how sculpture is treated in regards to things being "published" or not. If it is considered "unpublished", it doesn't enter into public domain until life-of-the-author +70 years (author died in 1966 so this doesn't work). In any case it is claimed as a trademarked logo by the Nobel People (as that link indicates) which means it ought to have a {{logo}} template... --Fastfission 20:29, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Trademarked, yes, but not under copyright it would seem. You can check out the mark registration at the USPTO (interestingly only registered in 2001), if there's any question about trademark then there should just be a standard TM disclaimer-Although it does say "copyright and/or trademark", the other language in {{logo}} implies copyright.
From the publication standpoint, to my mind it's much like a toy or piece of jewelry, which are mentioned in the same clause of copyright law as sculptures/engravings. Although there's only a few of them made a year, and they are much more valuable and significant, the medal itself is like a toy which is awarded (rather than sold) to a very few people each year. Since the creative idea was fixed in a tangible medium in 1901/1902, that was the publication. If that page didn't claim that the design hadn't changed, I would say that there might be some question of whether the changes to the design from latter years were copyrighted - but it didn't change.
The Economics medal is another story, since it was introduced in 1968. KWH 21:08, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
So the photographed medal is a representation of the trademark with little creativity added by sculptor? That makes it different from a photo of an artistic sculpture. (SEWilco 21:15, 14 August 2006 (UTC))
No, it's a GFDL-photograph of an engraving which is putatively in the public domain by way of expired copyright, but the iconography of the engraving is also more recently trademarked by the Nobel folks in 2001. (I wish I could link directly to the registration, but USPTO's web application is difficult - it's serial #76230328). At the very most, as a matter of due deference and notice to downstream re-users of the photo, one might note that "The design of the Nobel Prize is a registered trademark of Nobelstiftelsen (The Nobel Foundation) Stockholm, Sweden." However, that is also covered by Wikipedia:General disclaimer. KWH 02:29, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Where to post justifications

I've (self-)nominated Ace Books for FA, and I'd like to make sure the images in it are correctly fair use. I see on the image page for one of the images that the fair use tag I used includes the phrase "To the uploader: please add a detailed fair use rationale for each use, as described on Wikipedia:Image description page, as well as the source of the work and copyright information." I took a look at Wikipedia:Image description page but wasn't quite clear to me where to add the text I wanted. So I figured I'd find a featured article and look for how a magazine or book cover was supposed to have fair use justified. I found this which was used in the Tony Blair article, but I can't see any justification written in anywhere, either in the article or the image page. Can you tell me if there is one and I'm missing it? And if it's missing, where should it go -- should I click the "edit" link on the "licensing" section of the image page and add text after the {{bookcover}} tag? Thanks for any help. Mike Christie 20:19, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

We've traditionally not been overly concerned with detailed rationales for the covers of books; the entire point of the creation of {{bookcover}} was to save people the effort of writing the same rationale over and over again. You are using this cover differently than our typical use (in the article about that book), and there is no reason not to pursue best practice for a WP:FAC. See Image:The Whole Of The Moon Waterboys Album Cover.jpg for where I claimed Wikipedia:Fair use of an album cover for an article not about that album. Ignore Tony Blair; that article is a terrible example of how to use unfree content. Jkelly 20:27, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, that's a very helpful example. I've replicated much of your text at the Ace image; however, I did notice that your rationale included the text "The image Image:The Whole Of The Moon Waterboys Album Cover.jpg is being linked here . . .", which seems backwards to me. Should it be "The article The Waterboys links here . . .", since it's the uses that require a rationale, not the original upload? Or am I missing something? Mike Christie 01:45, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I suppose that it is just confusing boilerplate... edit it as you see fit. Jkelly 03:00, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Hilton Playboy cover clarification?

There's currently some discussion as to whether the current use of an image in Paris Hilton is reasonable or not at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/IncidentArchive129#Repeat Copyright Offender?, and Thatcher131 suggested that y'all might be able to shed some light on the situation. Any thoughts? -Hit bull, win steak(Moo!) 19:46, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

That magazine cover currently has no fair use rationale for its use in the Paris Hilton article. I probably wouldn't make a fair use claim here; our purpose in republishing that cover could be served by an external link if a reader wants to look at it, and it isn't central to any real discussion in our article, but I could imagine a side-by-side comparison of the model on that cover vs a similar photograph that is indisputibly of Hilton and that meeting Wikipedia:Fair use criteria. Whether the dispute we're discussing is enyclopedic enough to devote so much attention to is another question. Jkelly 19:55, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, yeah, it's probably not worth this much effort on everyone's part. I was asking more for my own edification than anything else, since what I was hearing didn't jibe with my understanding of the rules. -Hit bull, win steak(Moo!) 20:14, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
When I started this discussion, I was focusing on the Paris Hilton article, but further investigation revealed that the uploader had uploaded near a hundred Playboy covers for use in articles on the cover models. So. What is the final decision? There needs to be clearer rules on the use of magazine covers. Is the only acceptable use of magazine covers in an article if the cover is mentioned in the article? Or is that not enough to justify it? This is not just about one cover. I agree that the Playboy cover for PH is acceptable for use because of the dispute over its authenticity. But what about every other one, the ones that are the main picture for a page (here and here, for example) and the magazine is only briefly mentioned in the article? What's the verdict? Lauren 15:28, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Probably for the two examples you gave us, those can be removed, since the amount of commentary the picture got pretty much needs no visual aid. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 15:54, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
So, should every image with similar circumstances should be removed? There are quite a few, and it would be a big deal to delete so many. If so, who should make the determination on which ones should be removed? And another thing, these Playboy covers aren't the only magazine covers with questionable usage. What should happen to all those? In my opinion, we should take a formal vote on how to interpret the fair use "doctrine" in the case of magazine covers. It seems to be hotly debated in many areas, and it needs to be settled once and for all. What's the procedure for getting a straw poll started on the subject? Lauren 20:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it's fine. It's low-res, the text does discuss it, it's transformative, it doesn't deprive anyone of revenue, etc., what's the problem? I think that most of the magazine covers are pretty safe, legally speaking. If people have nothing but spare time on their hands there are more important things to prioritize in terms of copyright issues. --Fastfission 22:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
When we use a magazine cover just to show how some celebrity looks like we are depriving the magazine's publisher revenue, in a sense. When the magazine editors decided to have an article about celebrity John Smith, they bought/produced a pretty picture of John Smith to use on the cover because they knew this would make people more interested on the magazine. If every other publisher is allowed to use this image, the magazine issue will loose part of its uniques.
Besides, we should avoid unfree images of living persons whenever we can. We should instead encourage editors to produce/upload free ones. We're building a free encylopedia and this encompasses the burdenning task of finding or creating freely available images. --Abu Badali 22:28, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
We have no evidence that the publisher bought an exclusive license to the photograph and we are also not depriving that in any way. (There was a recent case which pretty much affirmed that principle, on the grounds that if "possible licensing to the reuser" counted as monetary loss then the entire principle of fair use was worthless.) And we are not a magazine publisher and we are not using the image on the cover of a magazine—we are using low-res versions in an encyclopedia. That sort of use easily counts as transformative. Look up Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., et al for a very recent case on a very similar issue recently. And yes, I agree, free images are better than non-free, etc., but that should not be used as a legal justification for banning fair use media. Let's try and keep the two issues separate, because mixing them together produces conceptual muck. --Fastfission 16:50, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
In response to Fastfission's comment about having nothing but spare time on our hands, the Wikipedia is built by people in their spare time. So whatever we choose to do with that time is perfectly fine. I would hate to think that some areas are more worthy of our attention than others. If we didn't discuss the fair use issues, then we could have a lot of trouble on our hands! Now, that being said, I still think we should take a straw poll. So, in accordance with the guidelines set forth by WP:STRAW I have created one. The wording is still a little shaky, so I welcome improvements. The poll is here. Lauren 16:33, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean to say that having spare time on your hands was a problem; my implication was to say, "hey guys, there are more important fair use issues on here than magazine covers!" I think they are a pretty safe category, legally and practically speaking, and that if people want to be fair use inspectors they should take a look at the more problematic categories, like publicity photos and other places where we directly compete with other sources. I don't, by the way, think a straw poll is a good way to decide a pretty large piece of policy. --Fastfission 16:42, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
This straw poll isn't a binding vote, it's just my way of getting a better idea of the general consensus on the subject. It isn't very productive for a few people to debate heavily on the subject without coming to any agreement. This way, we can get a better idea of how the general public feel the fair use criteria should be interpreted. Kinda like the supreme court votes on interpreting a law, this is what we're doing. After we get a better idea, maybe a decision can then be discussed. Agreed? Lauren 16:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
The Supreme Court doesn't "vote"—they have reasoned conclusions that some members concur with and some members dissent with. That's a big step from a straw poll. The reason I don't like straw polls on legal issues that people can come along, plunk down a totally uninformed vote with no comment, and have as much apparent say as someone who actually understands the issues involved and has written out a thoughtful reply. --Fastfission 16:58, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
While I couldn't agree more with Fastfission that "there are more important fair use issues on here than magazine covers", I think that it is worth pointing out that we should be encouraging editors to listen thoughtfully to unfree content concerns. We should, as a matter of course, stop republishing unfreely licensed material if there is good faith concern from an editor. Of course we need to be sensible about this, but a Playboy cover with Paris Hilton on it (or not on it, as the case may be), is not the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. Jkelly 16:58, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Okay, fine let's come to a reasoned conclusion. I've listed this section on the WP:RFC/POLICIES page so that we can get a general consensus, since a straw poll doesn't seem to be the way to go. For anyone just coming in on the discussion, the Paris Hilton playboy cover is not the only article up for debate. Examples of other articles in question are Joanna Krupa, Heidi Strobel, and Brooke Burke. This discussion is not to decide on one image, but magazine covers in general! Lauren 21:48, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think there are any real question about the policy. I think some of the details need to be made clear to other editors. I have been removing covers from articles which do not even mention the published images. Still I run into resistance and hostility. There must be 100 more Playboy covers that aren't allowed by our policy. I think a clear statement like this would help:

^^^^^^^ Wikipedia's official "fair use" policy says that editors should "Always use a more free alternative if one is available." Most "fair use" pictures are only protected by copyright. Magazine covers are protected by copyright (on the picture) and trademark (on the logo). Photographs of almost all notable subjects who have appeared on magazine covers can be found. Therefore, Wikipedia "fair use" policy tells us not to use unlicensd magazine covers if any alternatives can be found.

More specifically:

Unlicensed magazine covers may not be used in infoboxes about the cover subject. Unlicensed magazine covers should not be used as the main illustration in the article on the subject. An exception could sometimes be made in the very rare case where the subject is known mainly for appearing on the magazine cover. Even then another image would be a better choice and the unlicensed cover could be used to illustrate specfic comments in the article. Even then the unlicensed cover could be used only if its importance was explained in the article. There it would be complimenting the text and not illustrating the subject. ^^^^^^^^ The editor formerly known as Harmonica Wolfowitz 23:56, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 19:34, 19 August 2006 (UTC)


The policy says that we should ALWAYS use a free version instead of a fair use item. This may be a bit too extreme. I note that originally the policy said "It is best to use a free version". I am asking this because, rather than use publicity photo's for Mel Gibson a really horrible amateur drawing is used instead because it is "free". This so substantially reduces the quality of the article that it seems egregious and a good example of how "Always" is not a good rule. I request comment --Blue Tie 03:33, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I note that this sense of "always" was not part of the debate. --Blue Tie 03:39, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

See Wikipedia talk:Publicity photos for where the thinking is going on this. Jkelly 04:18, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Magazine covers -- a more general discussion

I'm trying to break this off from the more specific discussion above and maybe get us out of a serious of seriously-indented quotation. ;-) Sorry about the length of it...

Here's what I would do to clarify magazine covers as a set of guidelines:

  1. In general practice magazine covers should not be used simply to illustrate someone who happens to be on the cover.
  2. The text should reference the magazine cover specifically, but it need not be a detailed analysis of the cover.
  3. The name of the magazine should be clearly visable on the cover and the caption of the image should clearly indicate the magazine and the date of publication.
  4. The scanned cover should be no larger than is necessary to read the headline text on the cover. A good guideline is a width of an individual cover should be no wider than 350px, though there could be some flexibility in this. 600 px wide or wider is likely in all cases to be too large.
  5. Freer images should be more privileged on the page itself than the magazine cover.
  6. Multiple magazine covers on a single page are discouraged unless each one portrays something visibly distinct from the other, i.e. very different phases in a person's life or how they were considered by the media.
  7. In cases where the above conditions are met, individual fair use rationales would not be needed, since the rationale would be the same in every situation. A specific rationale and justification would need to be included for any divergence from the above guidelines, however.

The ultimate effect of the above would be to lower the "critical commentary" bar a bit to make it more on par with the law and common sense (and to make it less of a stick for beating people with), but at the same time to encourage a minimum standard of use which makes the magazine covers worthwhile but not gratuitous. Something which followed the above guidelines would, I believe, be pretty safely within the bounds of "fair use", and would also be used in articles in a constructive way. Additionally I think that these guidelines would also privilege free images and encourage their creation and promotion within an article. It would also make it very easy to determine what the "right number" of magazine covers on a given page is.

The advantage here is also that this would make it very easy for people who think magazine covers are good to illustrate pages to incorporate them in a meaningful and legally conservative manner. It is, I think, a good compromise between the camps of people who believe that the freeness of the images outweighs the aesthetic/illustrative value of the page and those who believe the converse. Additionally it would make policing this easy—the guidelines are concrete but not draconian, and the thinking behind them is at least to me fairly straightforward and obvious, though we could elaborate on that if necessary.

Legally I think this would guarantee that all use was at least plausibly transformative, encyclopedic, and non-competitive. In thinking about these issues I heavily recommend that people read the ruling of Bill Graham Archives v. Dorling Kindersley Limited (2006) which is a well-articulated and careful ruling about the use of small reproductions of one type of media (in that case, posters) as elements in another type of media (in that case, a biography). Obviously the ruling of just one Circuit Court of Appeals is not the end-all in discussions of fair use, but in this case the details of the case in question are so very directly applicable to our situation (unlike most of the fair use case law), and the logic and motivation behind the ruling so carefully spelled out, that it seems appropriate to use it as a potential model for how to think about these issues.

I think the above could be also applied more generally to all media covers (CD covers, video covers, DVD covers) without much modification. The above guidelines would not necessarily cover their use in "non-encyclopedic" articles (i.e. lists) nor necessarily prohibit them (at this point in the discussion, anyway). I want to bracket that as a separate question for the moment, something to think about after we've taken care of the general case.

Obviously one can say, "well it is better to not have any fair use content at all." There are arguments both ways on this (on the one hand, fair use content is ambiguously free even in the USA, one of the few places where this type of usage is explicitly allowed. On the other hand, the assertion that fair use means nothing is a common way for big copyright holders to increase the strength of their copyrights, and capitulating to that may help no one), but I think it is important to remember that 1. for the moment, the issue of whether we should use fair use on the English Wikipedia is not the subject of the debate and it seems that for the near future we will, and 2. as long as we do use fair use content then there will be a tension between those who want to illustrate and those who want to be free, at least in areas where coming up with free images is currently difficult (i.e. photographs of people) or produces content which is harder to compete aesthetically with copyrighted content (i.e. the "shot of somebody at some function taken with a digital camera in bad lighting" versus the professional photographer's posed creation); working out guidelines which allow somewhat of a more straightforward compromise, while privileging the free content, may be a good resolution of this issue for the near future.

All thoughts are appreciated, though especially those pertaining to any of the individual policy points I proposed up there. --Fastfission 23:22, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Wonderful! Points to discuss: #4 spells out acceptable pixel sizes. The first Playboy image I got my nose on was 1615×2138. Can we set an official limit on the size of images submitted under the fair use tag? I think that would clear up a lot of concerns. Lauren 00:56, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good to me too. Sometimes the resolution might want to be a little higher, for instance if part of the critical commentary is about a misleading caption or some such. A rule of "the larger of 300 pixels or 72dpi" would cover the variety of sizes sufficiently I think. Stan 04:54, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Interesting point. Sounds good to me. How do we go about getting this into official policy? Lauren 14:39, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it's good, though I'd suggest getting rid of point #1 and just making #2 more strongly stated: "Covers should only be used when the text references the magazine depicted. When used in an article that is not about the magazine title itself, the text should reference the specific issue of the magazine from which the cover is taken to describe the issue's importance to that subject." This would avoid the erroneous claims I've repeatedly seen that magazine covers can only be used in articles about the magazines, regardless of whether an article on another subject discusses that magazine issue. Postdlf 16:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I believe #2 is too easy to be abused. Whenever a magazine cover is found to be violating the policy, the article would be changed to mention the specific magazine issue. This is problematic because it would make the magazine seem more notable than it really is.
We should make clear that the article must state the magazine cover importance and yet not be original research. That is, the magazine cover should have been previously discusses elsewhere, outside of Wikipedia. And of course, the discussion must be about the magazine cover, and not simply the magazine issue. For instance, "Time magazine published an manipulated screenshot of John Smith in it's February 2008 cover" discusses the cover but "John Smith was Time's Man of Year in 2008" discuss the issue. While the first is highly helped by the magazine cover image, the second is a complete piece of information that does not need an image to fulfill it's message. --Abu Badali 17:21, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
No, the text does not need to specifically describe the cover any more than an article on a book needs to describe the cover of the book in order for that cover scan to be used (I don't know what case law you think supports your narrow interpretation). And as for the article being changed to discuss the magazine without regard to importance just to keep a cover image, that's an editorial issue to be dealt with case by case. These fair use principles can at most guide them in the right direction, which I believe my suggested language above does ("the text should...describe the issue's importance to that subject."). I don't think it needs to be restated in these guidelines that original research is prohibited as a justification for use of a cover because that's a fundamental Wikipedia policy. Its omission here does not mean it does not apply, and its reiteration here would be redundant and possibly confusing. Postdlf 17:35, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Case law is not interesting. Our guidelines and policies are informed by our goal of being freely reusable content, not what editors here think we can get away with under United States copyright doctrine. Jkelly 17:48, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Agreed that we need to be clear that we shouldn't republish a magazine cover in every instance where we say "So-and-so was on the August 2006 cover of Cigar Aficionado." Jkelly 17:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Amen. Lauren 18:09, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with that too, but I think Abu Badali was arguing for something a lot more drastic than that. Postdlf 21:38, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I suggest instead the following rule of thumb; "If the reader would get the same benefit from following an external link to the copyright holder's website to view the image there, don't republish it here." Jkelly 21:09, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

If we all went by that rule of thumb, the Wikipedia might become a collection of external links. Using a "rule of thumb" is nice, but we need something hard and concrete; there has to be a specific limit. Lauren 23:56, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Anatomy of a good fair use rationale, IMHO.


This is not a question, but I wanted to take the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on what makes a good fair use rationale, if you have to use one. The exercise of writing a fair use rationale can be very instructive in learning how to think about fair use. Here are several examples for comment: KWH 08:51, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Image:Khatami Katsav.jpg

Note: I did not upload this image, but decided to add the rationale because I think it is a unique and illustrative image.

The image linked here is claimed to be used under fair use in the articles Iran-Israel relations,Mohammad Khatami, and Moshe Katsav for the following reasons:

  1. The image is being used in original encyclopedic articles on state leaders of Iran and Israel, as well as Iran-Israel relations on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. The image is illustrating a historic moment at the funeral of Pope John Paul II where the former leaders of the historically opposed countries were seated together and allegedly shook hands and exchanged niceties.
  2. The image is a published photo taken by a commercial news photo agency of a public event of worldwide significance, the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
  3. The photo is of the same resolution as various web sources, but using a lesser amount would make it more difficult to illustrate the event.
  4. The use of the work is not intended to replace the market for reprints or reproduction licenses for the original photo for use in news sources or for personal use. Reprints of the photo can be purchased from the AP at, and anyone intending to use this photo outside of the context described above is suggested to contact the AP.

These address the four factors of fair use, and how they are perceived in this case to justify the fair use.

  1. Purpose and character - I identify the purpose of the use, mentioning Wikipedia specifically to make this clear to people who might find the image on some other site which is non-GFDL compliant and does not link to Wikipedia, as example.
  2. Nature of the copied work - Important to state if the nature is commercial, educational, fictional, etc. Also, is there reason to believe it is not copyrightable? The fact that this image is from a event of worldwide significance might suggest that "the social usefulness of freely available information can weigh against the appropriateness of copyright for certain fixations", per fair use. Based on some recent research I did, I have added the word published here - this is also an important element.
  3. Amount and substantiality - I state how the resolution and quality differ from the original, if they do, and why they were not reduced.
  4. Effect upon work's value - I find this to be important, especially in the case of commercial works, to make clear the source, reiterate that it is not intended to replace the objects of the original, and to give as much information as possible to suggest downstream consumers to purchase licensed copies of the original. Also, I recently decided to use the language stating that anyone who wants to use the image copy for other purposes should contact the original rights-holder - it shows good intent.
This fails Wikipedia:Fair use#Counterexamples #5 and needs to be deleted. Jkelly 17:50, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I figured that someone would go ahead and do something like that. I weighed that argument and others when I came upon this image. It's not being used to illustrate the subject of the photo, but to illustrate the event and the controversy regarding the observation of the event, and I consider it to be newsworthy, and nearly as iconic as Image:Inselian.jpg. Why are you so certain that it is not? KWH 19:52, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
We need to be clearer about what "iconic" means. There's some conflation with that whole category of images between "This image is extremely valuable for illustrating our article" (which it needs to be for us to be willing to use unfree content at all) and "this image is iconic in and of itself" (which means that we are discussing the image as a work of art or historical artifact). With photographs from commercial information providers it is extraordinarily difficult to claim that our unlicensed use of that material is transformative, as we are using it in the exact same way that the copyright holder is using it; to illustrate an article. Relying on a "encyclopedia" vs. "news reporting" distinction only makes sense when those two things are actually very different (as with Raising the flag on Iwo Jima, where we treat the work itself encyclopedically. We don't want to come anywhere near what could be found an infringement of the rights of an entity that we could be described as "competing" with, even if we know that giving away a free web-based encyclopedia is very different than commercial web-based news coverage. Jkelly 21:17, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
The counterexample you cited has two branches to it - the language of the counter-examples needs some entangling, but it states one case where:
  • If a photo is from an agency (Reuters or AP) and it is non-iconic and it is used to illustrate an article on the subject of the photo - then it is "[an example of a use] that would almost certainly not be acceptable as fair use."

Another case is stated - strangely, a counter-counter example, where:

  • If a photo itself is newsworthy (i.e. news was written about the photo/image) and is of 'equivalent' notoreity as the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad Cartoon, then "low resolution versions of the photos may be fair use in related articles."
    • I have trouble parsing the concept 'equivalent notoriety' - does a photo need to cause rioting in the street, or was that just a simple and recent example chosen for illustration?
I find that it's salient that this photo meets all of the other standards of WP:FUP - for reasons I have stated and others which should be implicit - and is not equivalent to this counterexample. I do not disagree with anything you said regarding fair use on Wikipedia, but I do not find in it the explanation of where you found cause for immediate deletion in the cited Counterexample.
Also, for what it's worth, there is another photo extant that seems to actually show Katsav and Khatami interacting, but the source of that photo was not made clear, therefore I did not feel that I should upload it. [2]KWH 21:51, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I think, but am not sure, that we're in disagreement about what "iconic" means. We don't need rioting in the streets, but if it is inconceivable that we would have an article about the photograph, we are almost certainly using it to illustrate the subject of the photo, which is what we were doing this in particular case. The blog photograph is, as you mentioned, useless to us. Jkelly 22:03, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
On review, I believe that the photo is non-iconic and not necessary to illustrate the article. I believe it was an iconic moment in a way, and if a better photo were captured, the photo might be iconic, but the text and cited articles serve to describe the encounter without it. KWH 07:39, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Other examples:


The image linked here is claimed to be used under fair use in the article Jean Charles de Menezes for the following reasons:

  1. The image is being used in an original encyclopedic article on the life of Jean Charles de Menezes on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. The image is being used to show the visage of Jean Charles de Menezes, a deceased person. The image was obtained from voluminous media coverage of Menezes' killing, and it is difficult to illustrate certain aspects of the story without it.
  2. The image is a photo of Jean Charles de Menezes dating to January 2001. It is believed to be a print of a passport or other identification photo kept by the Menezes family. It lacks a substantial creative element, being a rote representation of the individual produced for government identification papers.
  3. The photo is of the same resolution as various web sources, but using a lesser amount would make it more difficult to illustrate this individual's visage.
  4. The photo is variously attributed to Reuters, AP, and Menezes family as a handout, and is thus believed to be have been given out by the family for free commercial distribution to aid in dissemination of their story.
This one needs better sourcing. We need to know who the copyright holder really is. Jkelly 17:52, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
History on this: it was originally uploaded to the Commons as a PD image. I took that image and uploaded it to enWP because there were doubts about that status. I too wondered about the source, but had sufficient evidence to attest that I believe that the proximate source is the Menezes family. Out of all the extant pictures of JCdM, this is the one with the best fair use rationale. KWH 20:04, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I think best practice would be to add some more reasoning why we think it came from the family. If it is actually a passport photo, that must be a very different licensing arrangement than if it was taken by a relative. Jkelly 21:22, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Image:21 July London Bombing Suspects CCTV.jpeg

The image linked here is claimed to be used under fair use in the article Jean Charles de Menezes for the following reasons:

  1. The image is being used in an original encyclopedic article on the life of Jean Charles de Menezes on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. The image is used to illustrate to a reader the visage of the suspects in the London Underground bombings of 21 July 2005, of which Menezes was mistaken for one.
  2. The image is a collage of 4 frame images from mounted security cameras in the London Underground. It lacks a substantial creative element.
  3. The photo is of the same resolution as the web source, but using a lesser amount would make it more difficult to illustrate the evidence.
  4. The image is believed to be released for broad distribution by the Metropolitan Police, who would not lose profit from its further distribution. It is believed to be free for distribution and reuse.
This one looks like it meets WP:FUC to me. We're still using a reduced "amount" of the original work, which is the CCTV. "It would make our illustration difficult" does not usually justify using the entirety of a work, and so should be rephrased to avoid giving that impression. Jkelly 17:56, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
The evidence is what is being illustrated; the reader is invited to judge whether the previous mentioned photo of Menezes has any resemblance to these suspects. I think that losing even a single pixel from this already low-res image makes it harder to illustrate that. Besides, the nature and effect on the work's value are pretty vocal in speaking in favor of the fair use. KWH 19:57, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I failed to make myself clear; I don't think we need to reduce this one at all. I think we just need to rephrase the rationale to be clear that we're using a small amount of the original CCTV footage, and not give the impression that we're considering the web source for the image to be the original work. Jkelly 21:02, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if this would be of any help, but I was reading the discussion about the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons and I saw the image of the cartoons. The size was small enough to give a general idea of what they were, but not large enough to actually read them all. There was a link on the page to a page with a higher resolution image of the cartoons if the reader wished to view them. IMHO, that is a good idea. A small version of the image, large enough to give a general idea of the subject in question, but not of high enough quality to compete with the actual copyrighted image. Lauren 12:57, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

What is low resolution?

Can anyone tell me where the boundary is between low resolution and high resolution?

I was wondering because a fair use image I uploaded was 64kb, yet it has been tagged as high resolution. Yet in my personal opinion, I would consider only images over 400kb to be high resolution? -- Paxomen 13:22, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

That was me, and the image in question is Image:Buffy the Vampire Slayer series-vol 1-(Dark Horse Comics)-62.jpg. When I tagged it, I was looking at pixel height and width, not how big in kilobytes it was. Probably make it around 400 or 350 pixels high and I will go ahead and remove the fairusereplace in tag I put. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 13:43, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
800px is pretty big. Especially in respect to how big it is being used—this page in particular seems blatantly against our fair use policies (there is almost no text at all). --Fastfission 01:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Cheers for replying, but are there any more concrete guidelines given anywhere on Wiki regarding image size height and width, because doesn't resolution take into account how detailed the image is as well (how many bytes of data), or just the height/width of the image, or a combination of both factors? -- Paxomen 05:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
There is no set guideline from what I am aware, but I mainly look more into the pixel size when I tag the images. My personal rule is for CD covers, maybe 300x300 pixels (kb size doesn't matter), but not sure about book covers, art, etc. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:38, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I suggest that "Low resolution" means that a copy is not competitive with the copyright owner who has on the market a high resolution image. (Ask: How would it look blown up to say 6x9 inches?) Fair use is about market value--and an image may have high informative value for the Wiki user but not be saleable on a market like ebay. Rjensen 05:42, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Bytes are not a useful way to discuss resolution—depending on the compression and file type the file sizes can vary widely, and it is not the file size that has any relation to its copyright status. A good rule of thumb is "no larger than you need to do the minimum work the image needs to do." If you need more specific guidelines, anything which makes Mediawiki thumbnail the image when it is in the image description screen is probably too big (that's a little over 400 pixels wide, I think) unless there are really specific reasons for needing it to be bigger. --Fastfission 06:10, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Fair use criteria and portals

Our current fair use criteria does not grant exceptions for fair use images to be used on portals. The only place such images can be used is in the main article namespace. However, I can readily see how a portal entry, depending on the entry, does not violate the spirit of our policies; the image is used in direct connection to the content, not as decoration.

I think we need to clarify out stance vis-a-vis portals and fair use image use. --Durin 13:41, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Point 9 of WP:FUC should cover it, since the portal is not the article space. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 13:45, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Coat of arms

Durin seems to be on some sort of odd campaign to remove coats of arms from country infoboxes, see Template:Infobox Australia. Almost all country CoAs have use restrictions (as do some flags) however as national symbols, and with the current design of the infobox, I think they are ok in specific country infoboxes. All flags and CoA are available on the commons - eventhough many are not free. However, there is a fair use problem with CoAs in other templates, like the politics of ... template series, which every country has, and a more constructive use of time would be fixing those templates.--Peta 14:07, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Peta, I don't appreciate your characterization of my efforts as "odd" and "bizarre" [3].
  • The coat of arms of Austalia, Image:Aust Coat of Arms (large).jpg, is tagged with a fair use tag. If this is improper, then fix it. Including it on the template is, until such time as it is fixed, improper. A more constructive use of time is to fix the image. Since you seem to have an understanding of the law surrounding the use of such images, perhaps you would be interested in fixing the image's licensing, providing some cites as to why this image can be used irrespective of copyright. --Durin 14:51, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
    • The point everyone is blissfully ignoring is that most CoAs are copyrighted. You cannot make freely licenced copies of them.--Peta 00:01, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think I quite understand the specifics of CoA copyrights, but I do think that infoboxes could be a specific exception to the "no fair use in a template". When the template is just organizing what would otherwise be the primary image on a page, then I don't think it breaks the "no templates" rule. --Fastfission 01:16, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
  • We just demonstrated at {{Infobox Australia}} that it is easy to add code to call the image when its rendered, thus allowing its use through the template on a main article namespace without having the image actually on the template. The template was deleted today though as it was a single use template. I don't see, given that reasonable fix, that we have to make an exception for info boxes. --Durin 01:35, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the fix is since none of those template links work. In any case I don't see the need for elaborate fixes in cases like this (where it is clear that it is not outside of the intent of the rule), but anyway. --Fastfission 03:02, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Because we need to draw a clear, and easy to understand line in the sand. No fair use outside of main article namespace is easy to understand. It's considerably easier than having a dizzying array of exclusions, exceptions, etc. --Durin 12:29, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

TV Screenshot quick simple question

According to our policies and guidelines, can we (should we) use a screenshot of a sport event tv broadcast showing basically a sportsperson face as the main image in the biographical article on for this sportsperson? --Abu Badali 06:52, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Nope. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 06:55, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Heh, there is never a yes or no to something like this. Just look at WP:FUC and / or As a quick test, ask yourself: "Can this image be replaced by a different one, while still having the same effect?" If the answer is yes, then the image probably doesn't meet the criteria above.
If the screenshot in question is necessary, such as illustrating a point in that specific event, and there was no free alternative, then you could probably claim fair use. However, it does not sound like you can make that claim when using it for just identifying the person on their biographical article. -- Ned Scott 07:19, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks you all. I just wanted to run a reality check. The images in this case are the ones listed at the August 21th Ifd. --Abu Badali 22:48, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I would appreciate input in this case (August 21th Ifd), as Ned, after checking the image uses by himself, has changed his mind over the validity of the fair use claim (he nows agree with it ).
(Ned, feel free to correct me whenever I misquote or misundertand you).
If these image uses are allowed on Wikipedia, I'll have to admit that I've completly misinterpreted out Fair Use guide criteria. I see them only as tv screenshots showing people. And they're being used as the main picture in biographical article... what Am I missing? --Abu Badali 19:58, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Mel Gibson

Okay, since I'm running into lots of opposition over at Talk:Mel Gibson, I thought I'd ask whether anyone would clarify whether it is appropriate to include a fair use image of Gibson, despite the existence of his mugshot as a public domain image? It seems to me that a generic fair use image would have a wholly different effect from the mugshot, and as such can be justified. If this is really counter to our fair use policy, we ought to make fair use policy more permissive, because it's absurd for the only picture of Gibson to be a mugshot (or, alternately, fan art, which is apparently our other option). john k 20:28, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Little help. The mugshot is actually of good quality, I have seen worse around. Personally, I don't think there isn't a single free pic at Flickr, even an old one (as used in the Michael Jackson article). -- ReyBrujo 20:34, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
This wasn't too helpful, I know. Similar discussions were held before (see should FU images be used when free alternative may be offensive and up to date information is more important than free content). -- ReyBrujo 20:43, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Try asking the creator of this photograph to reconsider their licensing. Or try asking his agent to come up with a freely licensed image. Jkelly 20:36, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Mugshots aren't public domain; they're copyrighted to the police department that took the picture. In most cases, they are available under relatively broad licenses, but let's be clear about this: they are not public domain. Kelly Martin (talk) 20:37, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that trying to request his agent a free alternative is our better option here. -- ReyBrujo 20:43, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I checked the website of the law enforcement agency that arrested Gibson, and according to them, the photo is not in the public domain, so it will have to be deleted off the commons. My sugggestion is that if they want to look at his mugshot, then link to it via the Smoking Gun website. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 23:26, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
You've misinterpreted the statements there, Zscout. All it says is that material on the site may be copyrighted; it doesn't assert copyright on anything other than their service marks. Please be more careful in reading T&C statements in the future. Kelly Martin (talk) 01:27, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
How can you assume that? As I understand it, copyright is automatic these days. Whoever took the photo, or the agency the photographer works for, owns the copyright. The U.S. government and it's employees and agents cannot hold copyright, but all product of state and local governments and of private entities is automatically under copyright. Nobody has to register the copyright, or even assert it; it is presumed to exist. As Wikipedia:Copyrights says, Images and photographs, like written works, are subject to copyright. Someone owns them unless they have been explicitly placed in the public domain. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 02:36, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm assuming nothing. The LASD site's copyright notice fails to make any statement at all as to copyright of mugshots on its site. Such documents may be "public records" under the law of California, which may place restrictions on the LASD's ability to claim or enforce copyright. In Illinois, for example, in some cases police records qualify as "public records" of the state, and the state and its subordinate entities are prohibited by state law from enforcing copyright. However, every state is different in this regard; someone needs to review the applicable law to determine what the actual legal status of those images is. Until we've done so, we must assume that the images are not licensed for any use, and that we may only use them as "fair use". Kelly Martin (talk) 04:18, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I think we are agreed, then, that we should assume an image is not free for our use until proven otherwise. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 10:35, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Why on earth would we want that awful Flickr picture? And the mugshot may not have to be deleted. Why is there this incredible level of conclusion jumping with respect to images? Why is it okay for Smoking Gun to use it, but not us? The chances of us getting into trouble for having the mugshot image seem minimal. If somebody wants to contact Mel Gibson's agent about a photograph, they should go ahead. Assuming this is unsuccessful, what on earth is wrong with a fair use image?? Why is there so much distaste for fair use? john k 23:37, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Their goal isn't to create a free product. Our goal makes us a little more restrictive about what can be included. Image:Nightwish1.jpg is a much better picture than Image:Nightwish Juhannus.jpg. However, the Nightwish article is using the later, because it is nearer to Wikipedia goal than the former. -- ReyBrujo 23:48, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
I am in the process of contacting the LASD to see what the copyright status of the mugshot photo. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 01:18, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
The "free" business irks me, I must admit. (As does the word "copyleft"). I understand that it is preferred that we use free images when possible. But that means, to me, "all other things being more or less equal, we should use a free image." It shouldn't mean, "if we can possibly attain any kind of free picture, we should not use a far superior fair use image." A publicity photo is released for the purpose of being publicized. I can see no problem whatsoever with using a publicity photo of an actor under fair use. If people want to go further and see if the actor's people will release an image for free use, that's wonderful, and people who care about such things should make such efforts. But as far as I can tell, the desire for free images seems largely to be used to delete existing fair use images on one pretext or another, and not to secure free images of comparable quality. The flickr image is shit, and would be embarrassing to include in the article. The mug shot should be in the article if possible, but it would be embarrassing to have as the principal image. A fan drawing is an embarrassing principle image. If we can't get a normal publicity photo to be released for free, we should use one under fair use. john k 14:25, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Just out of curiosity, if it turns out the mugshot isn't in the public domain, wouldn't that mean a fair use image is acceptable, since no free alternative is available and the subject of the photo is discussed in depth? -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 20:19, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
My opinion: if there is something about the mug shop that merits description (not just the arrest, and not just that a mug shot was taken), then a "fair use" argument could be made. We don't need any image to establish that Mel was arrested, and there are free images of Mel that better show what he looks like. If there were a situation in which, say, a mug shot showed someone with a black eye, and there was some question of how that person got the black eye, then I think a strong argument could be made for "fair use" to illustrate the reported injury. But, I haven't heard of anything about Mel's mug shot that would justify "fair use" of it. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 21:04, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Right now, however, the article has no images of Mel Gibson except for that one, which has been used as the primary photo to identify him in the past out of concern for freeness. From what I can tell, no free images of Gibson have been located, despite evidence of an ongoing effort at the article talk page. It seems to me like using a promotional image under fair use makes the most sense, especially if we can't determine the copyright status of the mugshot. That's what I'm trying to clarify. Is there a reason that can't be done? -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 21:35, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
No free image available is a problem. I would go with the promo photo over an unfree mug shot for identifying Mel. -- Donald Albury(Talk) 00:37, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

If the mugshot does turn out to be the only (more or less) free image available, though, is it really wikipedia policy that we cannot in that case use a promo photo under fair use, because there's a photo available? This continues to strike me as crazy. john k 17:24, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

If Gibson's publicity agent wrote a press release that was unquestionably better than our article, and gave us permission to post it here as long as we couldn't edit it and it couldn't be re-used by our mirrors or the CD project, do you think we should swap our article for the press release? Jkelly 17:31, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Nope, since that would be CC-ND, which has been "disallowed" on Wikipedia from what I remember correctly. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 17:38, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Are we allowed to modify publicity photos anyway we want? I don't think so. Also, cc-nd explicitly allows the use of the licensed work for any purpose, what's uncertain in publicity photos.--Abu Badali 18:17, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
What a total fucking strawman. Do you really think that's a fair comparison, or are you just point scoring? john k 02:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I am perplexed by your response. I was trying to help you understand our approach to images and licensing by drawing a comparison I thought would be helpful. Images, sound, and video are only here as part of our encyclopedic content, and we want to give them away and modify them as we see fit in the same way we do our text. Jkelly 02:59, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
What legitimate reason would we possibly have for wanting to modify a picture of Mel Gibson? I can understand something like this for maps, or something, but for a photograph? Modifying the text of an article is a basic part of wikipedia. I was not aware that we generally spent a lot of time modifying photographic images. That's why it's a straw man. Beyond that, I don't see why the top priority should be making wikipedia convenient for people who want to make a profit selling it. If they want to do that, they can strip out fair use images, which should be clearly marked, in any event. In the meanwhile, why should all the readers who don't give a damn about such things have to endure an article that has no picture, when it would be perfectly legal for us to include one? Why should our policies be designed for the convenience of entirely hypothetical entrepeneurs at the expense of actual users? john k 13:13, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
My apologies, though, for the vulgarity and rudeness of the previous post. I was rather drunk at the time, if that mitigates the offense. john k 13:14, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps we need a Mothers Against Drunk Editing WikiProject. If you go over to Wikipedia:Featured picture candidates, you'll get a sense of the kind of image editing that goes on at Wikipedia. Look at the collages that are in the ethnic groups articles for another example. The people who republish our content are our "users" as much as people who just read are, and our policies reflect the goal of giving away a freely reusable encyclopedia, instead of simply creating an informative website. Jkelly 18:57, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough, and of course if we can get a good free use domain, that's wonderful, as I stated. I don't see what exactly is the compelling interest in preventing the use of fair use images. If the option is an inadequate image that we can edit, on one side, and an adequate image that we can't, on the other, what on earth is wrong with the fair use image? And sure, the people who republish our content are "users", but why should we be more solicitous of them than of ordinary readers? john k 19:44, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
You can see User:Jimbo Wales' thoughts on this at Template talk:Promotional. Jkelly 23:20, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I think you meant Wikipedia talk:Publicity photos. This comment? Garion96 (talk) 23:27, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Oops, right, thanks. Jkelly 23:28, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Am I meant to accept without protest any opinion expressed by Mr. Wales? He himself admits that his own position is not official policy, and that it is at one extreme of the debate. So you have led me to understand that Jimmy Wales disagrees with me. So what? I've read these arguments, and I don't agree. He's not laying down official policy by fiat. Why not actually respond to my arguments instead of making an appeal to authority? john k 02:40, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I understand that you don't agree with my position, and now you've told me that don't think that his position is interesting. Is nothing interesting, or serve as an explanation, if it wouldn't win an argument against you? Your argument seems to be that unfree content should be treated more like free content, and I've tried to explain why it isn't. You seem to be suggesting that aesthetically pleasing images are worth compromising our goals for, but I can't see myself agreeing to that anymore than I would agree that we should start getting people to write noncommercial textual content for us because so many of our articles are embarrasingly poorly written. Jkelly 03:06, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not talking about "compromising our goals". How does having an unfree image rather than no image compromise any goals? And do you really think you can find people who would be willing to contribute non-commercial textual content, but are not willing to contribute at present? That strikes me as ridiculous. Pictures are not basically analogous to text. Look, I agree with the idea that we should have non-free images where possible. But I don't agree with the idea that any non-free image is inferior to any free image. What if it turns out that the mugshot is unavailable? And what if somebody then goes out and takes a picture of Mel Gibson sitting on the can, and releases it on a GFDL license. Are you saying that we have to use the picture of Mel Gibson on the can? Just think for a moment about the implictions of your position. As to Mr. Wales's position, I find it vaguely interesting, but not in the least bit convincing, and, at any rate, it is basically the same position that you have been advancing here all along, which is why I affected boredom. I don't find it convincing for someone to quote an authority figure making the same argument they've made. If Wales wants to make his position official policy, he has the means to do so. john k 12:35, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Basically I agree with John K. The ONLY problem I can imagine with Fair Use of Publicity Images is if wikipedia is going to somehow go commercial. In which case, I'm leaving the project. I don't want to be a free slave for someone else's pocket. I do not mind donating my time and effort to the cause that Jimbo Wales originally specified.. a free source of information for everyone, but I don't want to do that so that others can be enriched. My time is WAY too valuable for that. So is that the grief with Fair use? Is it that wikipedia has commercial desires? Tell me now so I can stop wasting my time here and start a class action lawsuit for unfair enrichment through false representation --Blue Tie 02:54, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
If you think that there is money to be made by selling Wikipedia in part or in whole, why not give it a try? It is just as freely reusable for you as it is for the Foundation. Jkelly 03:06, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and incidentally, see Wikipedia:No legal threats. People get pretty worked up about those, and it is best to avoid even joking about it. Jkelly 03:08, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I thought saying that might get a rise :-) But I did not think it was a legal threat against another user per that policy! But good point about not even joking. I guess in this time, joking about such things is like jokes about bombs at an airport. I suppose that wikipedia has its share of fear. But my question really still stands. Why are we so paranoid on this matter? If it is really rational, the explanation should be given as a special page or subpage on the copyright or fair use policy pages. But if it is not really rational why are we sticking to it? This is like a burr under the saddle. Very annoying.--Blue Tie 03:25, 27 August 2006 (UTC)!!
[After edit conflicts with Blue Tie and Jkelly] Beyond that, let me quote the policy, which states that we can only use fair use things when No free equivalent is available or could be created that would adequately give the same information. The key phrase here is "that would adequately give the same information." It is my contention that a mugshot of Mr. Gibson does not adequately convey the same information that a publicity photo would do. It conveys part of the information - Mr. Gibson's physical features - but it conveys them under a particular weird and stressful situation that is problematic as a general representation of the way the actor looks. As such, it ought to be acceptable to supplement this image by fair use images, if necessary. Again, what on earth can conceivably be the objection to this? I understand that we would like free images if we can get them. But we shouldn't accept an inferior product solely on the grounds of interpreting "adequately gives the same information" to mean "is a picture of the same person." john k 03:18, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
It could be argued that in a promotional photo the actor shows himself in a way that may not be his true representation in real life (?). I think that, if a well-standing editor contacts his representant explaining that, because of Wikipedia policy, we necessary need to use his mugshot instead of a promotional image, he may be convinced to release an image under a Creative Common license, just like with the twins in the past months (whose names I can't remember, thankfully). -- ReyBrujo 03:58, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
That is not wikipedia policy though. Look, does a publicity picture of Gibson actually convey the exact same information as the mugshot? Of course not. As such, it is not the rules themselves, but an incredibly narrow interpretation of the rules which demands this kind of activity. Telling Mr. Gibson's people this is a lie. It is not demanded by wikipedia policy. It is demanded by the narrow and bizarre interpretation of that policy taken by the people who've taken ownership of this talk page. john k 12:35, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
And just what information can only be conveyed by a mugshot? That he was arrested and booked? We have plenty of sources for that. Please explain what information about Mel Gibson can only be conveyed by the mugshot. -- Donald Albury 17:15, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Donald, I think you may have missed my main point, which was that a publicity photo conveys information that a mugshot does not. At any rate, the mugshot conveys "what Mel Gibson looked like in his mugshot when he was arrested for drunk driving." This is different from conveying "what Mel Gibson looks like in a professional photograph taken of him to be distributed for publicity purposes." This is not the same information, and pretending that one is a substitute for the other is silly. If we had a publicity image that was under a free license, and a mugshot that was public domain, we would have bsolutely no problem with including both in an article. What about an older picture of Gibson? From Mad Max days, say? Would that convey "the same information" as the mugshot, and thus be inappropriate? As noted before, the way the meaning of "adequately conveying the same information" is being construed here is incredibly broad - pretty much any picture of the same subject apparently "adequately conveys" the same information. john k 18:18, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, I don't think "what Mel Gibson looked like in his mugshot when he was arrested for drunk driving" is encyclopedic, at least, not enough so to justify 'fair use' of an unfree mugshot. We know he was drunk, we know he was stopped for a traffic infraction and behaved badly, we know that he was arrested and booked. I just don't see what a mugshot adds that is enough justification for 'fair use'. -- Donald Albury 00:40, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think we would every possibly get into any legal trouble for a fair use defense on that basis. But you continue to miss my point, which is that I don't care about the mugshot. My point was that even if the mugshot is free, we should still be able to use a non-free non-mugshot image under fair use, because the main image being a mugshot is incredibly problematic. john k 01:24, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I certainly agree that using a mugshot as the main image is problematic. I'm also uncomfortable with trying to carve exceptions out of general rules. I think there is good reason for saying a free image is always preferable to 'fair use' of an unfree image, and I don't think we should allow exceptions. That may be a problem on some articles, but I think it is best for WP in the long run. -- Donald Albury 02:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not talking about exceptions. I'm simply talking about interpreting the current written rule, which does not say that a free image is always preferable to fair use of an unfree image, but that fair use of an unfree image is only appropriate when no free use image that adequately conveys the same information is available. This is already clearly allowing us to make judgment calls about what adequately conveying the same information means. The current interpretation appears to be "any picture of the same subject counts for this purpose." I think this is ridiculous. john k 12:45, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree with John k. I think wikipedia has been damaged (despite that silly legal mumbo jumbo) by the removal of fair use images. Fair use is a long-standing and valid legal application that helps make the encyclopedia better. --Blue Tie 13:31, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
The rule isn't "no other free image exists"; the rule is "no other free image exists that conveys the same information", right? That last clause seems important here. If the goal of having a photo of Mel is just to convey what he looks like as a person, a mugshot will do that. But in the case of actor/performers, isn't the person's professional image actually relevant to the article too? We live in an era where celebrities consider themselves 'brands' as well as people. If that 'brand' can fetch tens of millions of dollars and is highly dependant upon image, it seems reasonable to want to illustrate that professional image with at least one example of official, professionally taken photography. In that regard, a free photo would usually not convey the same information about its subject, ie, the public image a celebrity puts forward and is more or less selling. To me it seems within policy to use a Fair Use promo image instead of a mugshot to illustrate that specific aspect of the subject. -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 13:24, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
The use of Mug Shots is a problem. Should we use Bill Gates Mugshot for his article? The reason that most mugshots are inappropriate is because they do NOT represent what the person NORMALLY looks like. Furthermore, Mugshots are not really "free" in many cases (I think federal mugshots might be). But we are just assuming that they are. --Blue Tie 13:31, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Lee Bailey says: The rule isn't "no other free image exists"; the rule is "no other free image exists that conveys the same information", right? That last clause seems important here. This is exactly what I have been trying to convey for this entire discussion. The problem is that the people who seem to have installed themselves as guardians of fair use here do not believe that the last phrase is terribly important, and interpret "conveying the same information" in as inclusive a manner as is conceivable, so that any photograph of the same subject "conveys the same information" as any other such image, seemingly. I also agree with both Lee's point that for an actor, their public image matters, and thus a promo picture is likely to convey different information from some other photo, and with Blue Tie's point that a mugshot does not particularly represent what the person normally looks like. (And mugshots taken by the US government are certainly public domain. I'd assume that photographs taken by state and local governments would vary based on state and local law, and of course, other countries will have their own rules. john k 19:08, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm fairly certain that most mugshots show people as they actually look like, much more than most publicity shots. Look at candid paparazi photos of celebrities -- do they look more like the person's publicity image or mug shot? But publicity photos show how a person is usually conveyed to the public. . . which is probably more important for an article. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 19:38, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, do you find that your driver's license picture looks like you? A mugshot or paparazzi photo is going to capture someone looking their worst, while professional photos capture them at their best. But I agree that what's most important for a celebrity is the image projected, not what they actually look like. john k 01:34, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

User's image contributions


I am wondering if others could give an opinion on this user's image contributions. Although there are several self-made diagrams and audio files which are both free and appreciated, in many of the other cases I believe the user has either incorrectly assumed a copyright license or has made an unnecessary claim of fair use. I don't want the user to feel like I am targeting them, so I am asking for second opinions before bringing some of these to WP:PUI. Thanks, KWH 07:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

It looks like most of the problems are with images taken in Iran. Iran has no copyright agreement with the U.S., so U.S. citizens have no legal obligations to honor Iranian copyright law; however Jimbo Wales has indicated that we should not use images that are copyrighted in Iran unless we provide a fair use rationalle. So I guess any of these should be given a fair use rationalle, or else should be deleted. The user's other images don't seem to be a problem. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 18:56, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

U.S. State/local agency mugshots

I'm a bit confused about the licensing of mugshots created by state or local law enforcement agencies. The {{mugshot}} tag states that a mugshot used properly on Wikipedia is believed to be covered under the fair use provisions of U.S. copyright law.

However, I am unsure which license to use with a state or local mugshot. If I choose "None Selected" or "I don't know" or some other license that mentions that the image is copyrighted, I get the message that my image is on the list for speedy deletion or automatic deletion.

The public domain license for U.S. Government images specifically says this does not apply to U.S. states, and if the {{mugshot}} tag asserts that mugs qualify under fair use -- and thus are copyrighted, I can't use a public domain license anyway.

The other fair use exemptions in the Fair Use section (money, postage stamps, low-rez album covers, etc.) have license tags. Why not mugshots?

I've looked at images in the Fair use mugshots category and some have licenses, some don't, and some simply say "public domain" without any license tage while also having the {{mugshot}} tag.

Any suggestions?

Marklemagne 03:11, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The tag is disputed at the Commons too, so we are not alone. I generally go by what the department that took the photograph said, as I did with the Gibson mugshot case (still no email yet, so if I get no response, then I will still assume it is copyrighted). I could ask some local cops and see what San Diego County goes by. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 03:20, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Image cropping?

Hmm...I seem to recall somewhere that cropping an image does not fall under fair use, but today I've read this policy 5-6 times and I can't find anywhere in that page that says that it's not allowed. Hbdragon88 18:21, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Cropping an image is fine. In fact, the smaller the portion of copyrighted material you use, the stronger your fair use claim is; so a cropped image is actually more likely to be usable under our fair use policy. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 18:38, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Be careful with that, some disclaimers state that the image is to be distributed without modification. Cropping is usually a bad idea because copyright notices are usually put in the border, top or bottom, and cropping tend to remove them. I find resizing images a better alternative than cropping. -- ReyBrujo 18:42, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Cropping off a copyright notice is deceptive. But other kinds of cropping (and forms of modification) fall well within fair use, regardless of what the disclaimer says. What I mean is, "fair use" is a defence used when we don't have permission; if it's fair use to use an image, then it's fair use to use a cropped version even if the "terms of use" specifically prohibit alteration. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 20:17, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I think the answer would be it depended what the croping involved.Geni 18:46, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

To clarify, I know that reducing the image in size is good - cropping down the resolution is a necessity. I'm talking about removing certain parts of the image itself. In this instnace, I nominated Image:Fischer-Life.jpg on the grounds that the cropping violated the terms of fair use. Hbdragon88 19:16, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The terms of use are completely ignore when making a fair use claim. (If we were following their terms of use, we wouldn't need to make a fair use claim.) Assuming that it would be fair use to use the uncropped image, it's fair use to use the cropped version. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 20:17, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
I would say the image is still in trouble because of its fair use rationale. It should explain what makes this image a "significant photo".

And of course, the item #3 in the rationale contradicts the "Note:" at the bottom of the {{magazine cover}} tag --Abu Badali 20:53, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

PD images that are OK for non commercial use like WPs not allowable on Commons.

There is a class of works that are in the public domain in nearly all respects except for an exception, such as commercial use is restricted unless permission is granted. Under Commons policy, only totally free images are allowed, and such images may not be added.

As an example of this class of works: Images in this class have been deleted from the article Gustav Vigeland. I can easily upload the images to Wikipedia, but Fair Use is really the wrong tag for these. Under Norwegian law for Public art (Norwegian copyright law § 24)

  • Works of art and photographic works may also be depicted when they are permanently located in or near a public place or thoroughfare. However, this shall not apply when the work is clearly the main motif and the reproduction is exploited commercially.

Use on Wikipedia is clearly permitted, and Fair Use requirements such as degrading the image are not appropriate. Could someone direct me to the correct procedures/ tags for this class of images? -Mak Thorpe 19:32, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Media that is under copyright, regardless of its licensing, are not in the public domain. Norway apparantly does not have "freedom of panorama", and we must treat these derivative works as we do any other media licensed for noncommercial use only. Jkelly 19:39, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
Right. I should stop myself when I write "PD except for". Anyhow, if an image is "no commercial use", does this run afould of Jimbo's admonition about accepting images with restrictions on commercial use? That is, even though as in this particular example the image is completely allowed in a noncommercial entity like wikipedia, if the image is not totally free, then it must obey all the restrictions of a fair use image- with no middle ground between them? -Mak Thorpe 01:17, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
If the image is under a non-commercial license, then don't bother uploading it, since it will be speedy deleted once it is uploaded. That is what Jimbo wants us to do with the new non-commercial images. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 01:19, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Wow, talk about synchronicity. Our posts collided just as I was bringing his statement up. Thanks. Actually they are old images- they illustrated the above mentioned article on Gustav Vigeland- see the red x'd images in that article. Just to clarify- that would imply to me that we accept no more new Fair Use images then. Is that correct? If an illustration was being used in a wiki article then is is ok to upload it as Fair use?-Mak Thorpe 01:21, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
English Wikipedia allows fair use, but not the Wikimedia Commons. But, given how small the article is, that one photo is just fine for now. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 01:37, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I had been working on—but never got around to finishing—a more detailed explanation of the non-commercial policy at User:Fastfission/Noncommercial. It is an (incomplete) attempt to describe the motivation behind the policy as well as different points of view on it. --Fastfission 02:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
You should get around to finishing that. Jkelly 02:27, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
I know. I habitually start things and then move on without finishing them, on here and in real life! Fact is that I'm more excited by new ideas than I am in pushing things through to completion. Sigh...' --Fastfission 15:12, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
My sin too, FastFission. Zscout- I wish it were just about The Norwegian park sculptures, but it isn't. Besides- that "one image" you refer to as being sufficient is also on Commons, and very likely falls under the same rule that deleted the others, so it is only a matter of time before it is deleted as well.

The general problem is that large numbers of images are being moved from the wikis to Commons. On commons we look at licensing very closely, and if it doesn't pass muster, then we delete it. That leaves blanked images on WP because the review could happen many months after the move. If commoners have no ability to restore images that were once included in the WP article, then there will be a whole lot of WP editors upset at commons for messing up their article in the way that Gustav Vigeland was made pretty ugly (also with no watchlist notification to the concerned parties, since the change to the image happened on commons, not WP). It is needless. It seems to me that if the Image was in the article prior to Jimbo's policy statement, then we should be allowed to transfer the image back to WP and give it the appropriate tag (which I assume is Fair Use.

I am not heavily involved copy violation identification, it is a pretty unfun kind of thing to do, but it is necessary. When we commoners delete an image we believe is against foundation policy, few of us have time or expertice to find suitable replacements. I'd just like to understand what is allowable under current WP policy to address this "Image boomerang" issue. -Mak Thorpe 16:30, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
We also look at a lot of laws, and IMHO, they are confusing as hell. If you try to take a picture of something, then you will have to worry about privacy in some nations, "freedom of panorama" in others and the copyright of the sculpture and sculpture and making sure that it is fixed on a plot of land. A lot of pics that I think could be free but with the way the Commons work, they are considered not free. >_< User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 17:42, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

Question about bookcovers

Greetings, on the article Seabiscuit there is an image of a {{bookcover}} Image:Seabiscuit.jpg used. The bookcover FU template states that fair use qualifies when the image is, "to illustrate an article discussing the book in question". In a sense the Seabiscuit article discusses the book in question by mentioning that the cover has a picture of Seabiscuit and Red Pollard. Is that what this fair use logic was meant to allow for or was it actually meant solely for an article say like Seabiscuit (book)? Thanks. (Netscott) 08:42, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

the illustration appears to be fair use, and does follow the Wiki rules--which do NOT say the article has to be solely about the book. Rjensen 08:41, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that this is well within the norms of our practice. Technically, however, when we are not using a book cover in an article about that book, we need to write a fair use rationale beyond simply using {{bookcover}}, because {{bookcover}} makes that assumption. In this case, however, that is the closest thing we have to an article about that book, so I wouldn't worry too much about this one. Jkelly 18:25, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

A fair use claim for a photo of a statue in the article Michigan State University

See Wikipedia:Possibly_unfree_images#August_25. User:Jeffness wants to use the photo Image:MSU Bronze Sparty 2.jpg in the article about Michigan state university. Can the photo be fair use in such a context? According to the fair use tag does "the use of a picture to illustrate the three-dimensional work of art in question, to discuss the artistic genre or technique of the work of art or to discuss the artist or the school to which the artist belongs (...) qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement.". The fair use policy #8 says that "the material must contribute significantly to the article and must not serve a purely decorative purpose". I will call it's use in this article decorative, what do you think? --Kjetil_r 18:22, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Considering that the statue is a very notable part of campus and the mascot of the university, I would say that you need to leave this alone, because it feels like a huge nitpick over an extremely minor issue, and I couldn't imagine in a million years the university getting angry about showing off their own mascot in a detailed article about the school. Fair use allows for fair comment and criticism, and as far as I can tell, that's not just limited to artistic endeavors. If it was, my newspaper would be screwed every time we ran an album cover and didn't write a critical review of its musical timing. - Stick Fig 19:39, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
The image does not fit that narrowly defined fair use tag. However, fair use can still be argued, especially if the statue is discussed in the article. Our specific fair use tags are very limited on purpose, so as not to give the impression that all uses are fair use; but they do not cover every eventuality. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 11:52, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Galleries of fair use images in discographies

There are a lot of discographies of recording arts on WP. Most of them are text-only or primarily text. However some of them are very little more than galleries of pretty large fair-use album covers with very short captions. (Or else the "album" section is even if the "singles" and "videos" sections aren't.) I don't think those galleries are allowed by WP:FU, especially since all the albums in them or almost all have their own articles with the same cover illos. (When I say pretty large I mean the space given to the cover is usually larger than the space used for the text.)

I think these "discographies" should have their galleries removed/reverted back down to text:

I think this discography uses fair use coverations for decoration, I can't connect the selection of covers to the text.

I think these discographies are borderline cases:

If fair used covers can be used extensively in discographies on WP I think these articles go about it the right way -- small cover images and significant lists of album information.

Anybody else want to comment? The editor formerly known as Harmonica Wolfowitz 19:54, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

From the proposed WP:MUSTARD guidelines for discographies at Category:Music_cleanup:_Discography: "Do not use album covers in discographies, as this is an unnecessary use of images and is not justifiable under fair use." Pages that do not follow the guidelines should be tagged with {{Mustard|August 2006|disco}}. --Fritz S. (Talk) 20:04, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, these need to be removed. ed g2stalk 00:44, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Can we use templates from a proposed guideline in articles that has yet to gain consensus? I mean, shouldn't we wait until it becomes at least a guideline? -- ReyBrujo 01:23, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Derivative work or not?

Is this image different significantly enough from the copyrighted image found here to validate it's Creative Commons license tag? Thanks. (Netscott) 10:22, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't look like it to me. The only differences are minor stylistic ones: the exact details of the layout, and the choice of font and color. It's clearly derived from the image in the PDF. --Carnildo 03:34, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Carnildo, I'll tag the infringing image shortly. (Netscott) 15:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)


Has this been reviewed recently to find out if/why these items are necessary? Thanks, KWH 06:11, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

It looks like about 75% of these images are not even posters for events. Beyond those, as fair use categories go, this one looks about par for the course. ×Meegs 04:29, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Most of them can probably be speeded per CSD I7... --Fritz S. (Talk) 13:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Amateur pics of covers

Just wondering: if a cover is copyrighted (being it an album, book, single, etc), and need to be used under Fair use claim, would it make any difference to create take a pic of the cover, and dual license it under Fair use and a free license? I am thinking this because the Fair use criteria requests a relative small size of the cover, however by creating it yourself the cover could have a slightly bigger in size, while not affecting Fair use (as the quality would be too bad to replace the original cover, in example). Am I right?

In the same way, if I take a pic of the three books of a trilogy, all three together, such pic would be a truly free one because we are not focusing on the covers but on the trilogy set, right? Thanks in advance. -- ReyBrujo 03:49, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

No, there is no creativity in making a faithful reproduction of a cover, so there is no copyright granted to the photographer. In the case of arranging three books in a single shot, I'd still estimate that there's next to no originality involved, that the covers' copyright holders retain full protection, and that there's little advantage to complicating things with a dual license. ×Meegs 04:16, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Too many images in an article

Some articles -- especially about popular movies and television shows -- contain large numbers of copyrighted images tagged with a "screenshot" tag of some sort. (See this former version of BB06 for an example.) While each individual image might be justifiable by itself, the use of 27 "fair use" images is much more difficult to defend, since the "amount and substantiality of the portion used" is much larger.

I had always heard to use the "rule of thumb" that an article should usually have no more than three "fair use" images, and I had thought that such a guideline was included here somewhere, but I can't find it. Fans of particular television shows and movies are sometimes quite unhappy to see their treasured images removed from articles, and it would be helpful to have a written guideline to that effect. What do you guys think? – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 13:06, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

people have always been somewhat reluctant to have a guildline since there would be the problem of people then beliveing they have a "right" to three "fair use" images or whatever.Geni 13:25, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
My own thumb of rule is having an image every 10kb of text, as a visual complement of what has been discussed in the article. If in no way the article talks about the action shown in the image, then the image should not go there. -- ReyBrujo 13:29, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I think we have too many of these articles and lists with all of these fair use screenshots, but given how we got problems in the past removing them, this is one issue it will take months to decide. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 05:25, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Sports uniforms and authorship

Let's say someone out there in internet land creates an illustration that's an exact reproduction of a sports team's uniform (See: Image:NewDevils.png). Can this person claim copyright on it?

Also, the use of an image like this would be fair use for identification purposes, correct?

– flamurai (t) 16:34, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The illustration would be a derivative work. Note that a derivative work is a copyright violation unless the copyright holder of the original has licensed the derivative work. An unlicensed derivative work (copyvio) may not be used in Wikipedia. A licensed derivative work would be subject to the same restrictions on 'fair use' that apply to the orignal work. -- Donald Albury 17:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I question that there's enough authorship for it to be a derivative work. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the jersey without the logo on it would not be copyrightable because of its simplicity. "Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify the work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself." – flamurai (t) 21:29, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree if something which is uncopywriteable is modified and happens to look similar to something else that is copywrited material, as long as there are small if relitivly unnoticable diffrences, they are two seperate pieces of work and neither would infringe on the copywrite of another.--Lucy-marie 21:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
The passage you quoted means that if someone copies a work without altering or adding enough new material to it to be a derived work, then it is merely a copy of the original. A copyright on a derived work is only on that part of the work which is a significant change or addition to the original work. Any copyright on the original work underlying the derived work is still valid. As for modifying a free work until it resembled a copyrighted work, I suspect almost all courts would hold that such a work infringed on the rights of the copyright holder of the original work. -- Donald Albury 00:32, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Garment design is not protected by copyright (although some people are currently proposing it[4]) and the New Jersey Devils, et al's rights are limited to those exercisable via their trademark registration of the team logo.
However, I daresay the original questioner was trying to say: since the garment design is non-copyrightable, is the work of the individual at (who says they drew all the graphics from scratch, with reference to photographs and logos) copyrightable, and I would say yes, their work is creative and subject to copyright. There is a copyright notice on the site and no apparent free license grant. Moreover, since the site owner indicates at their FAQ page that they are interested in publishing their numerous images as a book, we have a weak fair use claim for borrowing their work (Effect upon work's value weighs heavily against it). I would say either ask them if their work can be used in Wikipedia, or get to work drawing your own uniforms from scratch.
Just for what it's worth, the Devil's logo from the jersey appears to have trademark serial number 73395254, and filing date September 30, 1982, and is limited to trade in the following categories:
  • IC 041. US 107. G & S: Entertainment Services-Namely, Conducting Professional Hockey Competitions and Exhibitions. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 028. US 022. G & S: Hockey Pucks. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 025. US 039. G & S: Caps, Shirts and Wrist Bands. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 024. US 050. G & S: Pennants. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 020. US 050. G & S: Ornamental Lapel Badges. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 018. US 003. G & S: Soft Luggage-Namely, All-Purpose Tote Bags. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
  • IC 016. US 038. G & S: Printed Adhesive Labels and Programs for Professional Hockey Exhibitions. FIRST USE: 19820921. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820921
KWH 04:23, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the comprehensive answer, KWH. – flamurai (t) 11:27, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
General garment design may not be copyrighted, but the logo still is (or at least, is claimed to be - and we're not going to challenge that). ed g2stalk 11:04, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Would this principle cover the displaying of a schooluniform or for that matter any type of uniform?--Lucy-marie 12:53, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

To the extent that any part (most likely the logo) of the uniform was under (or was claimed to be under) copyright, yes, the provisions of policy on copyright and fair use would apply. -- Donald Albury 16:45, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Guidelines over policy?

Can anyone tell me why the guidelines have been given preferential placement at the top of this page over policy? Shouldn't it be the other way around? If no one has any disagreements then a switch should be made. Thanks. (Netscott) 09:29, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

It's been that way for a while now, so wait a few days for comments. -- Donald Albury 15:28, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
You can access the policy at WP:FUC. WP:FAIR appears to be meant as an explanation page for the criteria. -- ReyBrujo 16:13, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Character artwork template question

The template for character artwork only mentions comics and video games, so what about artwork featured in an artbook from the fictional Dragonlance campign setting? ddcc 02:43, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Another TV Screenshot quick simple question

The {{Film-screenshot}} image tag claims fair use for the use of the tagged image "for identification and critical commentary on the film and its contents".

Can I use a movie screenshot showing some actor's face as the main image in this actor's article? The argument is that the image is being used to identify the actor, which "was part of the film, therefore under the strictest definition, ... content.". The specific case is the use of the Romance & Cigarette's screenshot Image:Kate_Winslet.jpg as the main image for the article on Kate Winslet.

If this use is ok, is that a special case or is the "actor = content" argument valid for any movie/actor? --Abu Badali 16:39, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

This is no different than using an album cover of a rose to illustrate an article on roses, which is one of the specific counterexamples at Wikipedia:Fair use. So no, it's not a fair use, regardless of what the text on the image tag says. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 18:28, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe we should change the template text for something like "...commentary on the film and it's art". By "art" I mean makeup, visual effects, cinematography, costume design and the like. --Abu Badali 20:47, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
I think the same counts for using an album cover or a magazine cover to identify the person/group. If so, that would be an interesting job to remove those. Garion96 (talk) 20:51, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
As the person quoted in the original argument above, the fact is a content is "what is contained inside of something". So unless the wording is changed on the template, as far as I'm concerned an image being used "to identify a film/TV show or it's contents" (paraphrasing the tag) can be used to illustrate the work of an actor, or an article on a character from a TV show. Now I have to ask you people outright -- we can't use magazines anymore, we can't use promotional photographs, and we can't apparently use screenshots. We can't just go out on the street and take our own photo of Kate Winslet because I'm now told that's considered original research. So what the hell can we use to illustrate an article on Kate Winslet, or any other actor or human being??? Or do we just say screw it and go without images? If so, no one had better put an "images needed" tag on any article. 23skidoo 23:25, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
Taking your own photos is not "original research". Anyone saying otherwise is incorrect. If a person could (hypothetically) take a photo of Ms. Winslet and release it under a free license, then we can't really use a non-free image without violating the WP:FU policy, no matter what the image tag says. Now if the article is discussing her role in the film, and the caption of the photo says something like "Kate Winslett was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Romance & Cigarettes", then it would be fair use, since no free-license image would show her role in that movie. But if the image is just used to show "here is Kate Winslet, and this is what she looks like", then we can't use a non-free image for that, since a free-license image would show that. It's a fine line, but it's a reasonably clear line in this case. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 00:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
There's an important question to ask here... is the look of Ms Winslet in Romance & Cigarettes specially notable? One screenshot of Hugh Jackman portraying Wolverine would be easy to justfy, but we don't have one. One screenshot showing the creature E.T. in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial would be highly informative, but we don't have one. This screenshot showing Jim Carrey as Count Olaf makes some sense in Jim Carrey because there's something notable about his look in the movie. But even in all these cases, the screenshot image should be used not as the main image in the article (for indentification of the actor) but in a section discussing his work depicting the character (and why was this depiction visually notable). --Abu Badali 02:13, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I would argue that the "main image" for an article is basically to illustrate the subject of the article, and as such, an image that would not be a fair use to illustrate the subject should not be used as the "main image". Example: In the section on screen roles, it would be fair to show a screenshot of an actress in a movie, because it would be impossible to obtain a free-image of her in that movie. But as the "main image", the point of the image is to illustrate the actress, and it would not be impossible to get a free image showing the actress. So it's quite possible that an article would have several justified fair use images showing an actress, but no "main image". – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 13:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

I think Abu is confused about something. While I agree that this use fails WP:FUC, it's not because of which image tag it uses. We use different image tags to show the source and likely copyright holder for an image, not to dictate how it's used as long as it passes WP:FUC. How you use it does not change the fact that it is or is not a screenshot, or that a film company is likely to own the original rights to it. -- Ned Scott 23:37, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure Abu is confused, but you're right, the tag used isn't that important. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 00:55, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Abu Dhabi actually succeeded in getting an image of Demi Moore dressed up as Hester Prynne (a screenshot, by the way) deleted after he/she had removed, and in the process orphaned, it several times from both pages. In the Demi Moore article it could be argued that it shows the actress's versatility; in the Hester Prynne article, which refers to the film version, I don't think an explanation is needed why this must be seen as fair use. Now if this case becomes a precedent we're already on a slippery slope towards an imageless Wikipedia. Abu Dhabi will object and say he/she prefers "free" images, but I'll come to that (see below).
A practical question: How many celebrities covered by Wikipedia have already complained or filed a lawsuit because of one of their images appeared here? I really want an answer becuase I don't know.
You can probably take your camera, check out Professor Black of Brown University and ask if you can take his/her photo. But what about, say, Demi Moore? What about people who are dead?
People also tell me that you can't just go out, take a snapshot of someone and upload the image on the Internet against their will. But where would the proof? Saying "I think he/she mumbled 'yes, okay' when I took his/her photo"? Any comments on this legal matter?
While Abu Dhabi thinks screenshots are basically wrong and bad, I believe they are basically okay. Can't even imagine how they could be misused or abused. Wikikiwi 01:10, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Òne more thing: Changing the wording of the screenshot template now, after the fact -- after thousands of contributers have searched for and uploaded suitable images -- is simply unfair. If they had known that stricter rules would be passed in the future they would never have spent so much time and energy looking for them in the first place. Wikikiwi
You ask a lot of questions here. Here are a few answers. One, I don't think any celebrities have complained about the unlicensed use of their images on Wikipedia, but that's not relevant, since we still have to follow Wikipedia policy. Two, I don't really want to debate Abu Dhabi's actions -- you can do so in an RFC or on his talk page, but here isn't the appropriate place. Three, as I commented above, it might be valid to use an unfree image in an article to illustrate Prynn's portrayal (in a subsection), but not to illustrate Prynn in general. Four, if a celebrity is dead, that strengthens a fair use claim, since creating new images is not possible. Five, it's legally important to get the subject's permission, and that's usually done through a signed statement, but that's not a matter of copyright, so it's irrelevant here. (And besides, this is often not applied to celebrities.) Six, a screenshot is "misused" when it illustrates a subject that could be illustrated with a free image. If you want more examples, I'll elaborate. And seven, we have changed the wordings of image tags many, many times after they have been added to articles. The reason this isn't too big of a deal is that the tags are "descriptive" and not "prescriptive": they tell something about the image, but they do not give any legal basis for its use or offer a fair use rationalle. That still has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. I hope this helps. All the best, – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 13:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks a lot. I'll add you to my list of friendly users. Wikikiwi
I have to disagree Ned, We do tag images to "dictate how it's used" and not only "to show the source and likely copyright holder" of it. You don't have do tag an Image with {{Movie-screenshot}} just because it's a movie screenshot. You do so when you want to claim a boilerplate rationale for it's use on some article. The main image on Marilyn Monroe, for instance, is a movie screenshot, but it's not tagged as {{Movie-screenshot}} because nobody is claiming fair use there. --Abu Badali 02:13, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
The templates contain no rational, only examples of usage and ask that the uploader provide details. You don't tag an image and then look at the resulting template to see how you're supposed to use it (not only that, but when you upload the image you just see the pop-up menu). That's not what it says to do on Wikipedia:Fair use, Wikipedia:Image copyright tags, or in the Wikipedia:Image use policy. I've seen a few discussions (such as Wikipedia:Fair use/Fair use images in lists) where these templates have been criticized for being badly worded and/or misleading, and sometimes being in conflict with the guidelines that dictate their use. Also, the only reason that Monroe image isn't tagged with a fair use tag is because you can't claim fair use on a public domain image. {{Movie-screenshot}} is for copyrighted images that are being used under fair use, so ... your example doesn't apply. -- Ned Scott 06:27, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree with Ned here. The tags don't contain rationalles, and they may offer "guidance" on how they are used, but they don't "dictate" how they're used. – Quadell (talk) (bounties) 13:31, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I believe pharases like "It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots for identification and critical commentary on the film and its contents on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement" pretty much "dictate" when and where the image can be used. --Abu Badali 21:57, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Funny, those templates aren't policy, what is policy is WP:FUC. Also, "it is believed" is not an exact instruction, but supposed to guide the uploader to using a correct tag. Again, why would it be based on the template if you select the template via a popup menu when you upload the file and cannot read the template, nor are there any instructions that say the uploader needs to follow the template's instructions, only that the proper "tag" be chosen. You are nitpicking at the wording in a way that it wasn't meant to be. -- Ned Scott 06:28, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
"Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement" does not mean that all other uses are illegitimate by default. Wikikiwi

For record, Abu Badali again deleted the lead image for Kate Winslet. Noting a comment asking if the article does in fact reference her role in the film illustrated, I checked and it does. I have reverted the deletion because I am not satisfied that it fails fair use for the reasons I stated above. Abu asks if the image is representative of her. How show I know? The fact is if someone were to use a shot of her from Titanic -- undeniably her best known role -- someone would probably find an excuse to delete that too. I'm not in love with the image being used - it's the principle of the thing. 23skidoo 07:18, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

I'd like some third part input here. Thanks. --Abu Badali 15:32, 3 September 2006 (UTC)